Saturday, February 22, 2020

The 'Racist' National Anthem (VIDEO)

It's James Robbins, for Prager University:



Alex Biston's Saturday Forecast

It's going to be a beautiful day! Here's the lovely Alex, at CBS New 2 Los Angeles.



Blacks Flee Chicago

At NYT, "Black Families Came to Chicago by the Thousands. Why Are They Leaving?":

HILLSIDE, Ill. — Hardis White, 78, could hardly wait to break out of suburbia.

He dressed in a flannel shirt, jeans and a Bears cap, strode out of the rectangular bungalow he shares with his wife and daughter and folded his tall frame behind the wheel of his silver Nissan sedan.

Forty minutes away from his suburban neighborhood of Hillside, he arrived in Chicago, on Laporte Avenue, to see what he had come to see: a handsome brick house with white trim, two stories tall, as solid as the first day he saw it in 1967.

For a moment, he gazed at the house. Marvin Gaye played softly on the radio. The grass seemed a little long, he murmured. He put the car back in gear and started back to the suburbs.

“I don’t know why I keep coming back,” he said. “I guess I just miss the neighborhood.”

Some people, lured by nostalgia and curiosity, drive past their old houses now and then. Mr. White does it nearly every day.

Today, he is one of the more than 200,000 African-Americans who have moved out of Chicago in the last two decades, though in some ways, he never left. For more than a year, he has taken this daily pilgrimage back to the house on Laporte, to the city where his children grew up and where two of his daughters still live.

The steady exodus of African-Americans has caused alarm and grief in Chicago, the nation’s third largest city, where black people have shaped the history, culture and political life. The population of 2.7 million is still nearly split in thirds among whites, blacks and Latinos, but the balance is shifting. Chicago saw its population decline in 2018, the fourth year in a row. Since 2015, almost 50,000 black residents have left.

They have been driven out of the city by segregation, gun violence, discriminatory policing, racial disparities in employment, the uneven quality of public schools and frustration at life in neighborhoods whose once-humming commercial districts have gone quiet, as well as more universal urban complaints like rising rents and taxes. At the same time, white, Latino and Asian residents are flowing in, and Chicago’s wealthier, whiter downtown, West Loop and North Side have been booming. Lori Lightfoot, the city’s first black mayor in decades, has vowed to stem the loss of longtime residents, and the city has collectively grasped for solutions.

The White family is a living symbol of what Chicago has kept and lost.

Members of three generations of the White family have grappled with the choice of whether to stay in Chicago or leave. Each family member’s story offers a glimpse into the city’s shifting migration pattern. Each story reveals what has made Chicagoans decide to leave the city or made them more determined to remain.

Mr. White, who arrived in Chicago from Mississippi when he was a teenager, moved to the suburbs because of the growing needs of his wife, Velma, who has dementia. Like many Chicagoans of his generation, he left the city only reluctantly.

The couple moved in with Dora, their oldest daughter, who traded Chicago for Hillside for a very different reason: She was fed up with drug sales and violence in the family’s neighborhood on the West Side.

But the couple’s other adult daughters, Nesan and Tshena, still live in the family home on Laporte, confident that their neighborhood is showing signs of a turnaround.

And in the next generation, Ke’Oisha, the Whites’ oldest grandchild, left Chicago for job opportunities elsewhere, following a path out of the city that many other black college graduates have taken. She headed south, finding a career in Houston, a growing metropolis teeming with young transplants and opportunity.

In one sense, the Whites are an archetypal Chicago family, said Rob Paral, a demographer who studies the city’s population.

Many black Chicagoans have taken only small steps away from the city, resettling in nearby suburbs in Illinois or Indiana that offer more highly rated schools and a lower cost of living. Others have followed the path of a reverse migration, making homes in places like Atlanta, many decades after black families came to Chicago and other Northern cities in large numbers in search of opportunity.

“It’s an American tragedy,” said the Rev. Marshall Hatch, a pastor on the West Side whose congregants have been disappearing for years, heading to cities throughout the Midwest and the South. “Look at the legacy that the African-American community had in national politics, in culture, with blues and gospel and jazz, and sports, from Michael Jordan to Ernie Banks. African-American Chicago is being destroyed.”

The Chicago story of the White family begins in 1956, with 13-year-old Hardis riding a train north with his uncle. They started their journey in Tupelo, Miss. Their destination was Chicago’s Union Station. They were part of the Great Migration, when millions of African-Americans moved north, seeking a better life.

Life in Mississippi had often been grueling. Young Hardis was required to pick cotton, usually bringing in 150 pounds a day. Chicago was an instant wonder, with its skyscrapers and buzzing street life. He and his uncle, who came to Chicago to join family members who had already settled there, arrived days before the city hosted the 1956 Democratic convention.

“I loved it right away,” he said.

When he was 23, he married Velma, a fellow transplant from the South. In 1967, they bought the house on Laporte — a two-flat, in Chicago parlance, on the city’s West Side — for $23,500. They were among the first African-American couples on the block.

But the next year, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and riots tore through Chicago. “That’s when most of the businesses started moving out,” Mr. White said. “Car dealerships, supermarkets. When the business goes out of the neighborhood, that’s the neighborhood.”

White families were fleeing, urged on by unscrupulous real estate agents.

“Things were changing fast,” Mr. White said. “They had rumors going around, telling the whites that blacks were moving in, so they’d better sell their property.”

Some white neighbors vowed to stay, then left anyway. “One guy, three doors down, told me he wouldn’t sell his place just because blacks were moving in,” Mr. White said. “And that’s the last time I saw him.”

The house on Laporte was the center of the White family’s world. Dora, Nesan and Tshena attended school around the corner. Mr. White worked overnights as a meatpacker in an Oscar Mayer plant, stirring vats of sausage in bone-chilling temperatures on the factory floor, and Velma was a nurse at Cook County’s public hospital. More family members — Mr. White’s mother and his sister and brother-in-law and their children — lived in the upper flat...
Keep reading.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

It's Lindsey Pelas,

See, "Lindsey Pelas":




Morgan Stanley to Buy E-Trade for $13 Billion

From Seth Mandel, at Foreign Affairs, "Blue Chip Morgan Stanley to Buy Discount Broker E-Trade":

Morgan Stanley announced on Thursday that it would buy E-Trade, the online discount brokerage, for about $13 billion, in the biggest takeover by a major American lender since the 2008 global financial crisis.

The deal would give Morgan Stanley — long one of Wall Street’s blue-chip names, whose asset management business caters to the wealthy — a big share of the market for online trading, an additional 5.2 million customer accounts and $360 billion in assets.

The deal highlights the increasing convergence of Wall Street and Main Street: Elite bastions of corporate finance are increasingly seeking to cater to customers with smaller pocketbooks, and online brokerages that once hoped to overthrow traditional trading houses are instead suffering from a price war that has slashed their profits.

It also reflects Morgan Stanley’s strategy of focusing on asset management rather than investment banking and high-stakes trading, betting on steady fees over bigger paydays and bigger risks.

Under James P. Gorman, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive for a decade, the firm has increasingly de-emphasized jet-setting mergers bankers and aggressive bond trading, preferring the predictable and less costly business of wealth management.

Before Thursday, Mr. Gorman’s most transformative deal at Morgan Stanley was its acquisition of Smith Barney’s retail brokerage in 2012...

The Limits of Democracy Promotion

From Stephen Krasner, at Foreign Affairs, "Learning to Live With Despots":

Throughout its history, the United States has oscillated between two foreign policies. One aims to remake other countries in the American image. The other regards the rest of the world as essentially beyond repair. According to the second vision, Washington should demonstrate the benefits of consolidated democracy—free and fair elections, a free press, the rule of law, the separation of powers, and an active civil society—but not seek to impose those things on other countries. The George W. Bush administration took the first approach. The Obama administration took the second, as has the Trump administration, choosing to avoid actively trying to promote freedom and democracy in other countries.

Both strategies are, however, deeply flawed. The conceit that the United States can turn all countries into consolidated democracies has been disproved over and over again, from Vietnam to Afghanistan to Iraq. The view that Washington should offer a shining example but nothing more fails to appreciate the dangers of the contemporary world, in which groups and individuals with few resources can kill thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Americans. The United States cannot fix the world’s problems, but nor does it have the luxury of ignoring them.

Washington should take a third course, adopting a foreign policy that keeps the country safe by working with the rulers the world has, not the ones the United States wishes it had. That means adopting policies abroad that can improve other states’ security, boost their economic growth, and strengthen their ability to deliver some services while nevertheless accommodating a despotic ruler. For the purposes of U.S. security, it matters more that leaders in the rest of the world govern well than it does that they govern democratically. And in any case, helping ensure that others govern well—or at least well enough—may be the best that U.S. foreign policy can hope to achieve in most countries.

THE WAY WE LIVED THEN

Homo sapiens has been around for about 8,000 generations, and for most of that time, life has been rather unpleasant. Life expectancy began to increase around 1850, just seven generations ago, and accelerated only after 1900. Prior to that point, the average person lived for around 30 years (although high infant mortality explained much of this figure); today, life expectancy is in the high 70s or above for wealthy countries and approaching 70 or more for many poor ones. In the past, women—rich and poor alike—frequently died in childbirth. Pandemic diseases, such as the Black Death, which wiped out more than one-third of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century, were common. In the Western Hemisphere, European colonists brought diseases that devastated indigenous populations. Until the nineteenth century, no country had the rule of law; at best, countries had rule by law, in which formal laws applied only to some. For most people, regardless of their social rank, violence was endemic. Only in the last century or two has per capita income grown significantly. Most humans who have ever lived have done so under despotic regimes.

Most still do. Consolidated democracy, in which the arbitrary power of the state is constrained and almost all residents have access to the rule of law, is a recent and unique development. The experience of people living in wealthy industrialized democracies since the end of World War II, with lives relatively free of violence, is the exception. Wealthy democratic states have existed for only a short period of history, perhaps 150 years, and in only a few places in the world—western Europe, North America, Australasia, and parts of Asia. Even today, only about 30 countries are wealthy, consolidated democracies. Perhaps another 20 might someday make the leap, but most will remain in some form of despotism.

The United States cannot change that, despite the hopes of policymakers who served in the Bush administration and scholars such as the political scientist Larry Diamond. Last year, Diamond, reflecting on his decades of studying democratization all over the world, wrote that “even people who resented America for its wealth, its global power, its arrogance, and its use of military force nevertheless expressed a grudging admiration for the vitality of its democracy.” Those people hoped, he wrote, that “the United States would support their cause.” The trouble is that, regardless of such hopes, despotic leaders do not want to provide benefits to those they govern; they want to support with arms or money those who can keep them in power. They will not accept policies that aim to end their rule. What’s more, organizing against a despot is dangerous and unusual. Revolutions are rare. Despots usually stay in power.

Yet although the United States cannot build wealthy democracies abroad, it cannot ignore the problems of the rest of the world, either, contrary to what Americans have been told by people such as U.S. President Donald Trump, who in his first speech after he was elected said, “There is no global anthem, no global currency, no certificate of global citizenship. We pledge allegiance to one flag, and that flag is the American flag. From now on, it’s going to be America first, OK? America first. We’re going to put ourselves first.”

The trouble with wanting to withdraw and focus on home is that, like it or not, globalization has indeed shrunk the world, and technology has severed the relationship between material resources and the ability to do harm. A few individuals in badly governed and impoverished states control enough nuclear and biological weapons to kill millions of Americans. And nuclear weapons are spreading. Pakistan has sold nuclear technology to North Korea; the North Koreans might one day sell it to somebody else. Nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of jihadi groups. Pandemic diseases can arise naturally in badly governed states and could spread to the developed world, killing millions. The technology needed to create artificial pathogens is becoming more widely available. For these reasons, the United States has to play a role in the outside world, whether it wants to or not, in order to lower the chances of the worst possible outcomes. Revolutions are rare. Despots usually stay in power.

And because despots are here for the foreseeable future, Washington will always have to deal with them. That will mean promoting not good government but good enough governance. Good government is based on a Western ideal in which the government delivers a wide variety of services to the population based on the rule of law, with laws determined by representatives selected through free and fair elections. Good government is relatively free of corruption and provides reliable security for all citizens. But pushing for elections often results only in bloodshed, with no clear improvement in governance. Trying to eliminate corruption entirely may preclude eliminating the worst forms of corruption. And greater security may mean more violations of individual rights. Good government is not in the interests of the elites in most countries the United States wants to change, where rulers will reject or undermine reforms that could weaken their hold on power.

A foreign policy with more limited aims, by contrast, might actually achieve more. Greater security, some economic growth, and the better provision of some services is the best the United States can hope for in most countries. Achieving good enough governance is feasible, would protect U.S. interests, and would not preclude progress toward greater democracy down the road.

Policies aiming for good enough governance have already succeeded. The best example comes from Colombia, where for the past two decades, the United States has sought to curb violence and drug trafficking by providing financial aid, security training, military technology, and intelligence under what was known until 2016 as Plan Colombia (now Peace Colombia). The results have been remarkable. Between 2002 and 2008, homicides in Colombia dropped by 45 percent. Between 2002 and 2012, kidnappings dropped by 90 percent. Since the turn of the century, Colombia has improved its scores on a number of governance measures, including control of corruption, the rule of law, government effectiveness, and government accountability. That progress culminated in 2016 with a peace deal between the government and the guerilla movement the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)...

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Limits of Democracy Promotion

It's Stephen Krasner, at Foreign Affairs, "Learning to Live With Despots":



Throughout its history, the United States has oscillated between two foreign policies. One aims to remake other countries in the American image. The other regards the rest of the world as essentially beyond repair. According to the second vision, Washington should demonstrate the benefits of consolidated democracy—free and fair elections, a free press, the rule of law, the separation of powers, and an active civil society—but not seek to impose those things on other countries. The George W. Bush administration took the first approach. The Obama administration took the second, as has the Trump administration, choosing to avoid actively trying to promote freedom and democracy in other countries.

Both strategies are, however, deeply flawed. The conceit that the United States can turn all countries into consolidated democracies has been disproved over and over again, from Vietnam to Afghanistan to Iraq. The view that Washington should offer a shining example but nothing more fails to appreciate the dangers of the contemporary world, in which groups and individuals with few resources can kill thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Americans. The United States cannot fix the world’s problems, but nor does it have the luxury of ignoring them.

Washington should take a third course, adopting a foreign policy that keeps the country safe by working with the rulers the world has, not the ones the United States wishes it had. That means adopting policies abroad that can improve other states’ security, boost their economic growth, and strengthen their ability to deliver some services while nevertheless accommodating a despotic ruler. For the purposes of U.S. security, it matters more that leaders in the rest of the world govern well than it does that they govern democratically. And in any case, helping ensure that others govern well—or at least well enough—may be the best that U.S. foreign policy can hope to achieve in most countries.

THE WAY WE LIVED THEN

Homo sapiens has been around for about 8,000 generations, and for most of that time, life has been rather unpleasant. Life expectancy began to increase around 1850, just seven generations ago, and accelerated only after 1900. Prior to that point, the average person lived for around 30 years (although high infant mortality explained much of this figure); today, life expectancy is in the high 70s or above for wealthy countries and approaching 70 or more for many poor ones. In the past, women—rich and poor alike—frequently died in childbirth. Pandemic diseases, such as the Black Death, which wiped out more than one-third of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century, were common. In the Western Hemisphere, European colonists brought diseases that devastated indigenous populations. Until the nineteenth century, no country had the rule of law; at best, countries had rule by law, in which formal laws applied only to some. For most people, regardless of their social rank, violence was endemic. Only in the last century or two has per capita income grown significantly. Most humans who have ever lived have done so under despotic regimes.

Most still do. Consolidated democracy, in which the arbitrary power of the state is constrained and almost all residents have access to the rule of law, is a recent and unique development. The experience of people living in wealthy industrialized democracies since the end of World War II, with lives relatively free of violence, is the exception. Wealthy democratic states have existed for only a short period of history, perhaps 150 years, and in only a few places in the world—western Europe, North America, Australasia, and parts of Asia. Even today, only about 30 countries are wealthy, consolidated democracies. Perhaps another 20 might someday make the leap, but most will remain in some form of despotism.

The United States cannot change that, despite the hopes of policymakers who served in the Bush administration and scholars such as the political scientist Larry Diamond. Last year, Diamond, reflecting on his decades of studying democratization all over the world, wrote that “even people who resented America for its wealth, its global power, its arrogance, and its use of military force nevertheless expressed a grudging admiration for the vitality of its democracy.” Those people hoped, he wrote, that “the United States would support their cause.” The trouble is that, regardless of such hopes, despotic leaders do not want to provide benefits to those they govern; they want to support with arms or money those who can keep them in power. They will not accept policies that aim to end their rule. What’s more, organizing against a despot is dangerous and unusual. Revolutions are rare. Despots usually stay in power.

Yet although the United States cannot build wealthy democracies abroad, it cannot ignore the problems of the rest of the world, either, contrary to what Americans have been told by people such as U.S. President Donald Trump, who in his first speech after he was elected said, “There is no global anthem, no global currency, no certificate of global citizenship. We pledge allegiance to one flag, and that flag is the American flag. From now on, it’s going to be America first, OK? America first. We’re going to put ourselves first.”

The trouble with wanting to withdraw and focus on home is that, like it or not, globalization has indeed shrunk the world, and technology has severed the relationship between material resources and the ability to do harm. A few individuals in badly governed and impoverished states control enough nuclear and biological weapons to kill millions of Americans. And nuclear weapons are spreading. Pakistan has sold nuclear technology to North Korea; the North Koreans might one day sell it to somebody else. Nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of jihadi groups. Pandemic diseases can arise naturally in badly governed states and could spread to the developed world, killing millions. The technology needed to create artificial pathogens is becoming more widely available. For these reasons, the United States has to play a role in the outside world, whether it wants to or not, in order to lower the chances of the worst possible outcomes. Revolutions are rare. Despots usually stay in power.
And because despots are here for the foreseeable future, Washington will always have to deal with them. That will mean promoting not good government but good enough governance. Good government is based on a Western ideal in which the government delivers a wide variety of services to the population based on the rule of law, with laws determined by representatives selected through free and fair elections. Good government is relatively free of corruption and provides reliable security for all citizens. But pushing for elections often results only in bloodshed, with no clear improvement in governance. Trying to eliminate corruption entirely may preclude eliminating the worst forms of corruption. And greater security may mean more violations of individual rights. Good government is not in the interests of the elites in most countries the United States wants to change, where rulers will reject or undermine reforms that could weaken their hold on power.

A foreign policy with more limited aims, by contrast, might actually achieve more. Greater security, some economic growth, and the better provision of some services is the best the United States can hope for in most countries. Achieving good enough governance is feasible, would protect U.S. interests, and would not preclude progress toward greater democracy down the road.

Policies aiming for good enough governance have already succeeded. The best example comes from Colombia, where for the past two decades, the United States has sought to curb violence and drug trafficking by providing financial aid, security training, military technology, and intelligence under what was known until 2016 as Plan Colombia (now Peace Colombia). The results have been remarkable. Between 2002 and 2008, homicides in Colombia dropped by 45 percent. Between 2002 and 2012, kidnappings dropped by 90 percent. Since the turn of the century, Colombia has improved its scores on a number of governance measures, including control of corruption, the rule of law, government effectiveness, and government accountability. That progress culminated in 2016 with a peace deal between the government and the guerilla movement the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)...

Monday, February 17, 2020

What It's All About

From MARA LIASSON, at NPR, "What The 2020 Election Is All About":

More than anything, this election is about President Trump.

For most incumbent presidents running for reelection, approval ratings really matter. With Trump, there are several different striking ways to look at those numbers. He's historically unpopular — the most unpopular incumbent ever to stand for reelection.

He has a very locked-in base, with sky-high approval in his own party. But those who strongly disapprove of Trump outnumber those who strongly approve. Likewise, no modern president has had such high numbers of people who say they will definitely vote against him for reelection.

There is tremendous intensity that motivates Trump's supporters and opponents. Despite the many advantages he has (more on that later), he is incapable of sticking to a message that highlights those benefits. For every tweet about the great economy, there's another that picks a fight with a movie star or retweets something offensive. Trump remains impulsive and undisciplined — something he thinks works great for him, even though many Republicans (privately) disagree.

Trump also enjoys particular structural advantages, starting with the Electoral College. He received 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016 and won only 46% of the popular vote, a smaller percentage than Mitt Romney received when he lost to Barack Obama in 2012.

But America picks its presidents in a state-by-state, winner-take-all system, and Trump's voters are more efficiently distributed among battleground states than Democrats'. So how big of an advantage does he have going into 2020? One way to think about it is that Trump could lose Michigan and Pennsylvania but still win by holding on to all the other states he won in 2016.

Some estimates say he could lose the popular vote by as many as 5 million votes and still win the Electoral College.

Also, Trump has the advantage of incumbency. Only two incumbent presidents have lost in the last 40 years: George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter — and they were facing a recession and a hostage crisis, respectively. All the tools of the presidency are at Trump's disposal, including an early start on fundraising, and he commands the bully pulpit — and dominates news coverage — like no other president.

Democrats' choice

While Democrats might hope that Trump is so unpopular that a ham sandwich could beat him, that is not the case. The Democrats' choice for a nominee matters, because an election is not just a referendum on the incumbent; it's a binary choice between two candidates.

Trump and others who want him reelected (foreign and domestic) will be putting tremendous time, effort and billions of dollars into demonizing the Democratic nominee. And the president encourages these efforts, including his open calls for Ukraine and China to investigate candidate Joe Biden.

This year, despite the Democrats' overwhelming enthusiasm for defeating Trump, no Democratic candidate currently running looks like a slam dunk against him. And that's why the Democratic primary race is so unsettled. The weaknesses of the Democratic candidates that Trump can exploit are already well known: from Elizabeth Warren's claims of Native American ancestry and Bernie Sanders' socialism to Biden's age (and, yes, Ukraine) and Pete Buttigieg's inexperience.

Trump has megabucks to spend, but often overlooked is that the amount the Democratic candidates raised as a group in the last quarter was twice as much as Trump raised during that time. That shows how much grassroots enthusiasm Democrats could tap into if and when they unify behind one candidate. This year there's the rare possibility that the challenger will not be outspent by the incumbent. Another reason that might be the case this year is Mike Bloomberg...

More.


Hottest Mom

At the New York Post:



Megan Parry Monday Forecast

More cold weather in store --- indeed, some say we're headed for a drought.

At ABC 10 News San Diego:



MARISA TOMEI ENHANCED

At Celeb Jihad, "MARISA TOMEI NUDE SEX SCENE ENHANCED."

Alexis Ren Photoshoot

At Drunken Stepfather, "ALEXIS REN TOPLESS PHOTOSHOOT OF THE DAY."

Also, "INKA WILLIAMS NIPPLE RING OF THE DAY."

Democrats Scramble for the Black Vote

At LAT, "In aftermath of New Hampshire results, a scramble for black votes":

MANCHESTER, N.H. —  What’s one thing Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar all have in common, other than the fact they each had a good showing in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary?
They all come from mostly white states and have little history of electoral success with black voters. They now have only a few weeks to try to change that.

With the continued decline of Joe Biden’s candidacy, which endured a miserably bad night in New Hampshire, African Americans, a crucial Democratic constituency, may now be up for grabs to an extent that has not been true in a Democratic primary in many years.

As a result, black voters could be positioned to decide who becomes the next Democratic nominee. But unless Biden can pull off a huge reversal of his current fate, they may well be choosing among candidates whom many in the African American community have doubted.

“None of them have a long, deep history of support and work with the African American community,” said Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster who worked with President Obama’s campaign and is now a consultant to the campaign of former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

“If Biden does collapse, it will be a free-for-all for the support of the minority vote — which I think is a good thing for minorities to have a big field competing for their vote.”

Polls have shown that at least so far, black voters have preferred Biden over other 2020 presidential candidates by a wide margin, which he hopes will keep his campaign on track with a big win in South Carolina’s Feb. 29 primary, where some 60% of the primary electorate is black.

That’s why Biden traveled to South Carolina to kick off his campaign there Tuesday night rather than hang around New Hampshire for the disappointing results.

Speaking to supporters in Columbia, S.C., Biden minimized the significance of the results in Iowa and New Hampshire, saying it was more important to hear from more diverse states like Nevada and South Carolina.

“We just heard from the first two of 50 states,” Biden said. “Not all the nation, not half the nation. Not a quarter of the nation, not 10%. Two. Where I come from, that’s the opening bell, not the closing bell.”

“Up till now, we haven’t heard from the most committed constituents in the Democratic Party, the African American community or the fastest growing segment of society, the Latino community.”

Biden enjoys a reservoir of good will among black voters largely because of his eight years as President Obama’s vice president, but that support may prove to be more wide than deep.

Perhaps even more than other Democrats, black voters are intensely focused on finding a candidate who can defeat President Trump. In the wake of Biden’s weak showing, there are already signs that his support among blacks is eroding — and that the two billionaire candidates are gaining at his expense.

A new Quinnipiac University national poll released Monday showed Biden’s share of the black vote had dropped to 27%, from 51% in December.

Bloomberg came in second place, nipping at Biden’s heels with 22%. In South Carolina, Bay Area billionaire Tom Steyer is courting black voters and has jumped into second place in many polls...

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Assault on Free Speech on America's Campuses

It's Roger Kimball, at American Greatness:


Friday, February 14, 2020

Shop Today

At Amazon, Today's Deals. Save on our top deals every day.

Here, Mountain House Essential Bucket.

Also, Ray-Ban RB3025 Aviator Classic Sunglasses.

And, Buck Knives The 55 Folding Pocket Knife.

More, Outdoor Products Mountain Duffle Bag.

Still more, CLIF BAR - Energy Bar - Chocolate Chip - (2.4 Ounce Protein Bar, 12 Count).

Here, Samsung 75NU7100 75" NU7100 Smart 4K UHD TV 2018 with Wall Mount + Cleaning Kit (UN75NU7100).

BONUS: Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel.

Girls on Reddit

At Drunken Stepfather, "GIRLS ON REDDIT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY OF THE DAY."

Democrats Freak Out

At AoSHQ, "LOL: Democrats Panicking Over Prospect of Having to Run With Soviet-Loving Socialist Bernie Sanders at the Top of the Ticket."

Drawn-Out Fight Is More Likely Than Ever for Dems

It looks like it.

From Ronald Brownstein, at the Atlantic:

Senator Bernie Sanders’s unexpectedly narrow victory in New Hampshire underscored the splintering of the Democratic presidential field that was evident in last week’s murky Iowa caucus—and left two of his opponents facing grim questions about their future viability.

Just as in Iowa, the results illuminated the inability of any of the contenders to build a coalition broad enough to span the party or establish much separation from rival candidates. The roughly 26 percent share of the total vote that Sanders captured represents much less than half of his winning 60 percent just four years ago. And similar to former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s performance in Iowa, Sanders won the smallest share of voters ever garnered by a Democratic winner of the New Hampshire primary. (The previous low was nearly 29 percent, for Jimmy Carter in 1976.)

The New Hampshire results confirmed Sanders and Buttigieg as the field’s top-tier contenders and elevated Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who surged from a fifth-place finish in Iowa to a strong third here after a widely praised debate performance on Friday night. But the outcome may end up diminishing two of the field’s previous leaders more than it boosts the candidates who came out on top.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who were widely considered the race’s principal contenders for most of last year, were staggered by showings even weaker than anticipated. “I think everyone thought two weeks ago that Biden probably had the best chance of building the coalition that could pull everybody together,” Simon Rosenberg, the founder of the Democratic advocacy group NDN, told me. “And right now, assuming that Biden is weakened, it’s not clear that anyone is going to be strong enough” to amass a coalition that can produce a delegate majority for the convention this summer.

Biden’s campaign says it is ready to fight on in Nevada and especially South Carolina, with its large population of African American voters. But the extent of Biden’s collapse in New Hampshire, where he won less than 9 percent of the vote, has many Democratic strategists questioning whether he can forge a path back to relevance in the race. “I don’t see how he carries forward,” the veteran Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg told me. “I think it’s too much of a repudiation.”

Biden’s precipitous decline will immediately shift more focus to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg among party centrists skeptical of Sanders. Yet the release yesterday of an audio tape capturing Bloomberg defending in stark language the controversial stop-and-frisk policing tactic he employed in New York City underscores the ideological and racial obstacles he may face as the media and other candidates zero in on his record.

All of this stands in stark contrast to the past four Democratic nominating contests, when the race effectively resolved to a two-person battle after Iowa and New Hampshire. This year, the party faces the prospect of sustained uncertainty not only after the first two states, but even after the Nevada and South Carolina competitions still to come in February—and maybe even after Super Tuesday on March 3, when 14 states will vote.

“We’ll head into Super Tuesday without a lot of clarity and with Bloomberg representing an entirely new dynamic in all of this,” the Democratic pollster Geoff Garin told me. “This race is very, very different, where these first four states are setting the table for Super Tuesday but they are not the main event.”

If anything, the New Hampshire results spotlighted the obstacles confronting each of the candidates...

Professor Patricia MacCormack Calls for Human Extinction

At the Other McCain, "Feminist Witch/University Professor Advocates Human Extinction."

Bloomberg's Memes

He's spending astronomical amounts of money. And the "meme community"? Pfft.

It's Taylor Lorenz, at NYT, "Michael Bloomberg’s Campaign Suddenly Drops Memes Everywhere":

Mike Bloomberg has contracted some of the biggest meme-makers on the internet to post sponsored content on Instagram promoting his presidential campaign.

The Bloomberg campaign is working with Meme 2020, a new company formed by some of the people behind extremely influential accounts.

Mick Purzycki is the lead strategist of the Meme 2020 project. He is also the chief executive of Jerry Media, a media and marketing company that is a powerful force in the influencer economy. The company’s portfolio includes some of the most notable meme accounts on Instagram. Jerry Media was at the center of controversy last year after a debate around proper crediting in meme culture.

In January, Mr. Purzycki tapped a number of large influencers who he had formed relationships with through his association with Jerry Media. (Elliot Tebele, the founder of Jerry Media, has no involvement in the project.)

The campaign, which began this week, has already placed sponsored posts on Instagram accounts including @GrapeJuiceBoys, a meme page with more than 2.7 million followers; Jerry Media’s own most popular account, with more than 13.3 million followers; and @Tank.Sinatra, a member with more than 2.3 million followers.

The accounts all posted Bloomberg campaign ads in the form of fake direct messages from the candidate.

“Mr. Tank:” an ad on @Tank.Sinatra begins, “I’ve been waiting for my meme for so long that I learned how to make memes myself in photoshop. What do you think of this one?” The message is followed by a photo of Bernie Sanders that has become a meme in recent weeks.

George Resch, a director of influencer marketing at Brandfire and founder of @Tank.Sinatra, has served as Meme 2020’s primary liaison with the meme community.

Mr. Resch has posted two ads so far on behalf of the campaign. On Sunday, he posted an ad in which a fake direct message from Mr. Bloomberg asks Mr. Resch to make him look “cool” for the Democratic primary.

Evan Reeves, a creative director for Jerry Media, was brought in as the head of creative to devise an unconventional campaign, and to build a self-aware ironic character around Mr. Bloomberg...
Still more.


Great Essay on Walking Away from the Democrat Party

It's Karlyn Borysenko, "After Attending a Trump Rally, I Realized Democrats Are Not Ready For 2020":

I think those of us on the left need to take a long look in the mirror and have an honest conversation about what’s going on. If you had told me three years ago that I would ever attend a Donald Trump rally, I would have laughed and assured you that was never going to happen. Heck, if you had told me I would do it three months ago, I probably would have done the same thing. So, how did I find myself among 11,000-plus Trump supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire? Believe it or not, it all started with knitting.

You might not think of the knitting world as a particularly political community, but you’d be wrong. Many knitters are active in social justice communities and love to discuss the revolutionary role knitters have played in our culture. I started noticing this about a year ago, particularly on Instagram. I knit as a way to relax and escape the drama of real life, not to further engage with it. But it was impossible to ignore after roving gangs of online social justice warriors started going after anyone in the knitting community who was not lockstep in their ideology. Knitting stars on Instagram were bullied and mobbed by hundreds of people for seemingly innocuous offenses. One man got mobbed so badly that he had a nervous breakdown and was admitted to the hospital on suicide watch. Many things were not right about the hatred, and witnessing the vitriol coming from those I had aligned myself with politically was a massive wake-up call.

Democrats have an ass-kicking coming to them in November, and I think most of them will be utterly shocked when it happens. 
You see, I was one of those Democrats who considered anyone who voted for Trump a racist. I thought they were horrible (yes, even deplorable) and worked very hard to eliminate their voices from my spaces by unfriending or blocking people who spoke about their support of him, however minor their comments. I watched a lot of MSNBC, was convinced that everything he had done was horrible, that he hated anyone who wasn’t a straight white man, and that he had no redeeming qualities.

But when I witnessed the amount of hate coming from the left in this small, niche knitting community, I started to question everything. I started making a proactive effort to break my echo chamber by listening to voices I thought I would disagree with. I wanted to understand their perspective, believing it would confirm that they were filled with hate for anyone who wasn’t like them. 
That turned out not to be the case. The more voices outside the left that I listened to, the more I realized that these were not bad people. They were not racists, nazis, or white supremacists. We had differences of opinions on social and economic issues, but a difference of opinion does not make your opponent inherently evil. And they could justify their opinions using arguments, rather than the shouting and ranting I saw coming from my side of the aisle.

I started to discover (or perhaps rediscover) the #WalkAway movement. I had heard about #WalkAway when MSNBC told me it was fake and a bunch of Russian bots. But then I started to meet real people who had been Democrats and made the decision to leave because they could not stand the way the left was behaving. I watched town halls they held with different minority communities (all available in their entirety on YouTube), and I saw sane, rational discussion from people of all different races, backgrounds, orientations, and experiences. I joined the Facebook group for the community and saw stories popping up daily of people sharing why they are leaving the Democratic Party. This wasn’t fake. These people are not Russian bots. Moreover, it felt like a breath of fresh air. There was not universal agreement in this group — some were Trump supporters, some weren’t — but they talked and shared their perspective without shouting or rage or trying to cancel each other.

I started to question everything. How many stories had I been sold that weren’t true? What if my perception of the other side is wrong? How is it possible that half the country is overtly racist? Is it possible that Trump derangement syndrome is a real thing, and had I been suffering from it for the past three years?

And the biggest question of all was this: Did I hate Trump so much that I wanted to see my country fail just to spite him and everyone who voted for him?

Fast-forward to the New Hampshire primary, and we have all the politicians running around the state making their case...
RTWT.

Trump Revs Up Campaign

At LAT, "Flush with cash and confident after impeachment, Trump campaign revs up the road show":
WASHINGTON —  Four years after his hostile takeover of the White House, President Trump’s second campaign bears little resemblance to the first — he’s flush with cash, buoyed by an uptick in poll numbers, and brimming with confidence after surviving investigations, an impeachment and myriad controversies that have helped unite once-wary Republicans behind him. 
Unlike his slapdash, anything goes 2016 campaign, Trump now can rely on a massive, professionalized apparatus that has helped raise more than $200 million, deployed eager surrogates to early primary states, and built an extensive field operation and advertising network months before Democrats are likely to choose their nominee.

He also has found new ways to break political taboos, seeking to overshadow Democratic candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire just before they held their nominating contests and playing with voters’ already frazzled nerves. At a primary-eve rally in Manchester, N.H., the president even urged supporters in the state who were registered independents, and thus able to vote in either party’s primary, to vote for the weakest Democrat.

“My only problem is I’m trying to figure who is their weakest candidate — I think they’re all weak!” he said with a broad grin.

It’s an in-your-face strategy hashed out largely by campaign manager Brad Parscale and, of course, the president, an intense manager of his own brand who is determined to remain on offense and to create the appearance of dominance and popularity that, he hopes, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in November.

“He will not give the Democrats a free pass any day of this campaign. They don’t get to have their day where they dominate the news,” said Matt Schlapp, a veteran GOP operative whose wife, Mercedes, works for the Trump campaign. “He’s stepping into their days and talking about why he should get four more years.”

“The more Democrats smear President Trump, the more enthusiasm we see for him and his many accomplishments,” Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement.

There is some evidence for that. A Gallup tracking poll from the last two weeks of January, during the Senate impeachment trial, showed Trump’s approval rating at 49%, its highest point ever. And the campaign raised $1 million in online donations for 10 straight days during the trial. More recent polls show the president’s approval number back in the low-to-mid 40s, where it has hovered for most of his term, although his support among Republicans is sky high.

None of that makes his reelection as inevitable as his campaign suggests. He is running well behind the top Democratic contenders, according to a Quinnipiac University poll this week that showed the president losing a hypothetical head-to-head race to Michael Bloomberg by nine points, Bernie Sanders by eight and Joe Biden by seven.

He also trailed Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar by at least four points, according to the survey.
More.

Holy Cow Playmate Iryna!

Man, she's something.


Friday, February 7, 2020

Sea Lion Pup Tried to Cross Long Beach Freeway (VIDEO)

The little guy swam up the San Gabriel river and tried to walk his way out.

At CBS News 2 Los Angeles:



Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Big Winner of Impeachment: Partisanship

An excellent piece, at LAT, "News Analysis: Trump’s impeachment and acquittal please partisans on both sides":

WASHINGTON —  Minutes after President Nixon resigned in disgrace and left the White House in August 1974, Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as president and sought to heal a traumatized nation, declaring, “Our long national nightmare is over.”
Although President Trump was acquitted by the Senate on Wednesday and allowed to remain in office, a similar attempt at reconciliation or closure is difficult to imagine.

Americans are instead left with toxic images from Trump’s State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, with Trump refusing to shake House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s outstretched hand, and Pelosi later publicly ripping up the text of Trump’s speech in disgust.

A nation stewing with partisan fury has grown angrier, with Democrats bitter over a president they believe got away with abusing his office and Republicans incensed that he was impeached at all.

The final Senate votes reflected that vast gulf: No Democrats broke ranks, and only one Republican — Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee —condemned what he called “an appalling abuse of the public trust” and voted to convict Trump on one of two articles of impeachment.

Yet many caught in the maelstrom of the last 4½ months — first in a rancorous House impeachment inquiry and then an acrimonious Senate trial — believe their party emerged victorious, exciting passion among their core constituencies.

“The politics in America are so polarized right now that I think both sides probably think they’ve done well politically,” said Tad Devine, who served as a senior advisor to three Democratic presidential campaigns. “They’re talking to entirely different audiences.”

The lack of a consensus has left the long-term lessons of this impeachment unsettled, at least until Trump and Republican lawmakers face the voters in November, and perhaps beyond that.

Nixon resigned before he was impeached over the Watergate scandal after public opinion turned against him and senior Republican senators warned they would vote to remove him from office if he did not leave first. In 1999, President Clinton survived impeachment, publicly apologized, and saw his popularity rise as Americans largely decided he should not be removed for lying about an affair with a White House intern.

But Democrats paid a price the following year when Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore, lost the presidential election to George W. Bush by a razor-thin margin ultimately decided by the Supreme Court.

“In the Nixon case, the president left office ... because of a national bipartisan sense that he should,” said Timothy Naftali, founding director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. “So there was a resolution of the scandal, as much as you can have in a complex republic. There was a consensus he needed to be removed before the end of his term. That consensus doesn’t exist today.”

No president before Trump has been impeached and then gone on to seek reelection. That gives Americans a chance to weigh in more directly, but it also widens the political and social divisions that have defined the turbulent Trump presidency.

“What’s at stake is not just Trump’s reelection or the future of the Republican Party,” said William Howell, a University of Chicago professor who has written extensively about executive power. “It’s about Congress’ ability to check presidential power.”

Historians, constitutional scholars and Democratic lawmakers say Trump’s acquittal in the Senate has almost certainly weakened the authority of Congress to oversee and provide a check on the executive branch. Even if Trump isn’t reelected, future presidents are likely to cite his precedent in refusing to honor congressional subpoenas, blocking witnesses and evidence, without consequence.

Not only did the stonewalling thwart House investigators during the impeachment inquiry, but the Trump administration has also regularly declined to attend routine oversight hearings in Congress.

“Unfortunately, yes, that’s the precedent and everybody seems to love precedents more than they love laws,” said Brenda Wineapple, author of “The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation.” “Suspending the issue of right and wrong, when people get away with things, it’s incentive to do it again.”

The result, in some ways, is likely to be the reverse of the post-Watergate experience.

After Nixon resigned, Congress moved to sharply curtail the president’s authority and create direct oversight of U.S. intelligence agencies for the first time, among other reforms. But many of those changes have weakened in recent decades as Congress has handed more power back to the White House, giving Trump a freer rein than his predecessors.

Few scholars think Trump’s episode heralds a new “age of impeachment,” as former special prosecutor Kenneth W. Starr argued in his defense of the president. The most zealous partisans on each side often threaten impeachment but seldom muster the political power to force the grueling process.

Pelosi resisted several attempts to impeach Trump before acceding to her base in September when a White House whistleblower accused Trump of seeking Ukraine’s help in smearing Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, while withholding a White House meeting and $391 million in military aid as leverage...

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Megan Parry's Low Temperature Forecast

It's been cold!

Here's Ms. Megan, at ABC 10 News San Diego:



Bernie Sanders Internal Numbers

CNN's reporting the Iowa results right now, as are the other networks, no doubt.

Bernie's leading the popular vote totals, but Buttigieg has won more voters around the state, and hence took a larger share of the delegates.

Joe Biden absolutely crashed last night, and I expect he'll bomb in New Hampshire as well. (And Nia-Malika Henderson, on CNN earlier, questioned the strength of Biden's "wall" in the South Carolina primary coming later this month.

I love it.

In any case, at the Intercept, "SANDERS CAMPAIGN’S INTERNAL CAUCUS NUMBERS SHOW THEM LEADING IOWA, WITH BIDEN A DISTANT FOURTH."

Democrats Are Decadent and Depraved

It's true.

At the Other McCain, "Disaster in Iowa: The Democratic Party Is Decadent and Depraved":
The way Democrats run their Iowa caucuses is difficult to explain briefly, but the result Monday was clear. Within an hour of the beginning of the complicated process, the totals of the first-round voting began to be reported via social media, and from precinct after precinct came the same phrase: “Biden — not viable.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden has based his campaign on the argument that he’s the most “electable” Democratic candidate, but the voters of Iowa shot a torpedo through the hull of that argument. Due to a technical glitch that delayed the state Democratic Party’s counting process, we still don’t have official results. But by 10:30 p.m. Eastern time Monday, it became apparent to caucus-watchers that Biden was headed for a fourth-place finish in the Hawkeye State, behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Buttigieg’s strong second-place showing is a big story — the young mayor out-performed expectations — but Biden’s humiliating defeat is much bigger. . .

Superbowl Halftime Show (PHOTOS)

I liked it.

Conservatives got their panties in a wad, sheesh.

At Drunken Stepfather, "SHAKIRA PANTY FLASH FOR THE SUPERBOWL OF THE DAY."


How China Implements Quarantine

What a nightmare.

At NYT, "China, Desperate to Stop Coronavirus, Turns Neighbor Against Neighbor":

GUANGZHOU, China — One person was turned away by hotel after hotel after he showed his ID card. Another was expelled by fearful local villagers. A third found his most sensitive personal information leaked online after registering with the authorities.

These outcasts are from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, which is at the center of a rapidly spreading viral outbreak that has killed more than 420 people in China and sent fear rippling around the world. They are pariahs in China, among the millions unable to go home and feared as potential carriers of the mysterious coronavirus.

All across the country, despite China’s vast surveillance network with its facial recognition systems and high-end cameras that is increasingly used to track its 1.4 billion people, the government has turned to familiar authoritarian techniques — like setting up dragnets and asking neighbors to inform on one another — as it tries to contain the outbreak.

It took the authorities about five days to contact Harmo Tang, a college student studying in Wuhan, after he returned to his hometown, Linhai, in eastern Zhejiang Province. Mr. Tang said he had already been under self-imposed isolation when local officials asked for his personal information, including name, address, phone number, identity card number and the date he returned from Wuhan. Within days, the information began to spread online, along with a list of others who returned to Linhai from Wuhan.

Local officials offered no explanation but returned a few days later to fasten police tape to his door and hang a sign that warned neighbors that a Wuhan returnee lived there. The sign included an informant hotline to call if anyone saw him or his family leave the apartment. Mr. Tang said he received about four calls a day from different local government departments.

“In reality there’s not much empathy,” he said. “It’s not a caring tone they’re using. It’s a warning tone. I don’t feel very comfortable about it.”

Of course, China has a major incentive to track down potential carriers of the disease. The coronavirus outbreak has put parts of the country under lockdown, brought the world’s second-largest economy to a virtual standstill and erected walls between China and the rest of the world.

Still, even some government officials called for understanding as concerns about prejudice spread. Experts warned such marginalization of an already vulnerable group could prove counterproductive, further damaging public trust and sending those who should be screened and monitored deeper underground.

“We are paying attention to this issue,” Ma Guoqiang, the Chinese Communist Party secretary of Wuhan, said at a news conference there last Tuesday.

“I believe that some people may label Hubei people or report them, but I also think most people will treat Hubei people with a good heart.”

While networks of volunteers and Christian groups have been vocal about offering help, many local leaders have focused efforts on finding and isolating people from Hubei. On big screens and billboards, propaganda videos and posters warn people to stay inside, wear masks and wash hands.

In the northern province of Hebei, one county offered bounties of 1,000 yuan, or about $140, for each Wuhan person reported by residents. Images online showed towns digging up roads or deputizing men to block outsiders. Some apartment-building residents barricaded the doors of their towers with China’s ubiquitous ride-share bikes.

In the eastern province of Jiangsu, quarantine turned to imprisonment after authorities used metal poles to barricade shut the door of a family recently returned from Wuhan. To get food, the family relied on neighbors who lowered provisions with a rope down to their back balcony, according to a local news report.

Scared for the safety of his children as conditions at home worsened, Andy Li, a tech worker from Wuhan traveling with his family in Beijing, rented a car and began driving south to Guangdong, an effort to find refuge with relatives there. In Nanjing, he was turned away from one hotel before getting a room at a luxury hotel.

There he set up a self-imposed family quarantine for four days, until local authorities ordered all people from Wuhan to move to a hotel next to the city’s central rail station. Mr. Li said the quarantine hotel did not seem to be doing a good job isolating people. Food delivery workers came and went, while gaps in the doors and walls allowed drafts in.

“They’re only working to separate Wuhan people from Nanjing people,” Mr. Li said. “They don’t care at all if Wuhan people infect each other.”

To help, he stuffed towels and tissues under the door to block the drafts.

“I’m not complaining about the government," Mr. Li said. “There will always be loopholes in policy. But in a selfish way I’m just really worried about my children.”

Across the country, the response from local authorities often resembles the mass mobilizations of the Mao era rather than the technocratic, data-driven wizardry depicted in propaganda about China’s emerging surveillance state. They have also turned to techniques Beijing used to fight the outbreak of SARS, another deadly disease, in 2002 and 2003, when China was much less technologically sophisticated.

Checkpoints to screen people for fevers have popped up at tollbooths, at the front gates of apartment complexes and in hotels, grocery stores and train stations. Often those wielding the thermometer guns don’t hold them close enough to a person’s forehead, generating unusually low temperature readings. Such checks were worthless, for instance, against one man in the western province of Qinghai, whom police are investigating on suspicion that he covered up his symptoms to travel.

Authorities have used computerized systems that track ID cards — which must be used to take most long-distance transport and stay in hotels — to round up people from Wuhan. Yet one article about the ID system in The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party, included a plea to all passengers on affected flights and trains to report themselves...

Media Roundup Slams Democrats for Iowa Disarray (VIDEO)

Via Free Beacon:



Impact of the Iowa Chaos

From Jonathan Last, at the Bulwark, an excellent analysis.

It's been a perfect storm burying Iowa in negative coverage, and even the experts are saying the Hawkeye State's special role as "first in the nation" is at risk.



Added: See also AoSHQ, "The Soyciety Pages: Bill Kristol Declares, 'We Are All Democrats Now'."

Democrats Are Facing Disaster

There's too much to report on the Iowa chaos (check Memeorandum).

But one thing's for sure, things are going terribly for the Democrats.

For example, Gallup is out this morning with the best presidential approval number for President Trump --- he's at 49 percent approval, and more than 6 in 10 approve of his handling of the economy, a death knell for Democrat prospects this fall, especially if those number hold up.

More at AoSHQ, "GALLUP: TRUMP JOB APPROVAL RISES TO HIGHEST LEVEL EVER, AT 49%."


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Jeremy Popkin, A New World Begins

At Amazon, Jeremy Popkin, A New World Begins: The History of the French Revolution.




'Credulous Boomer Rube Demo'

This kinda of stuff practically guarantees Trump's reelection.

At the Other McCain, "Republicans ‘Punch Back Twice as Hard’ With Ad Targeting CNN Elitists."


More here.

Trump's Digital Advantage

I love this!

Thomas Edsall, at NYT, "Trump’s Digital Advantage Is Freaking Out Democratic Strategists":

In a blog post published in November, a year before the 2020 election, Brian Burch, the president of CatholicVote.org, a socially conservative advocacy group, announced that in Wisconsin alone his organization had identified 199,241 Catholics “who’ve been to church at least 3 times in the last 90 days.”

Nearly half of these religiously observant parishioners, Burch wrote, “91,373 mass-attending Catholics — are not even registered to vote!” CatholicVote.org is looking for potential Trump voters within this large, untapped reservoir — Republican-leaning white Catholics who could bolster Trump’s numbers in a battleground state.

Burch, whose organization opposes abortion and gay marriage, made his plans clear:

We are already building the largest Catholic voter mobilization program ever. And no, that’s not an exaggeration. Our plan spans at least 7 states (and growing), and includes millions of Catholic voters.
How did Catholic Vote come up with these particular church attendance numbers for 199,241 Catholics? With geofencing, a technology that creates a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a cellphone enters or leaves a particular area — a church, for example, or a stadium, a school or an entire town.

Geofencing is just one of the new tools of digital campaigning, a largely unregulated field of political combat in which voters have little or no idea of how they are being manipulated, in which traditional disclosure requirements are inoperative and key actors are anonymous. It is a weapon of choice. Once an area is geofenced, commercial data companies can acquire the mobile phone ID numbers of those within the boundary.

This is how the National Catholic Reporter described the process in an article earlier this month:
Politically minded geofencers capture data from the cellphones of churchgoers, and then purchase ads targeting those devices. That data can be matched against other easily obtained databases, including voter profiles, which give marketers identifying information such as names, addresses and voter registration status.
Such information can be a gold mine.

Burch described what CatholicVote.org initiated in the 2018 election. “We created ad campaigns targeted to mobile devices that have been inside of Catholic churches,” Burch explained. What’s more,
We told Catholics in Missouri the truth about then-Senator Claire McCaskill — that she was pro-abortion, was unwilling to protect the Little Sisters of the Poor, and opposed Catholic judicial nominees because of their religious beliefs. And she lost.
If you attend an evangelical or a Catholic Church, a women’s rights march or a political rally of any kind, especially in a seriously contested state, the odds are that your cellphone ID number, home address, partisan affiliation and the identifying information of the people around you will be provided by geofencing marketers to campaigns, lobbyists and other interest groups.

With increasing speed, digital technology is transforming politics, constantly providing novel ways to target specific individuals, to get the unregistered registered, to turn out marginal voters, to persuade the undecided and to suppress support for the opposition.

Democrats and Republicans agree that the Trump campaign is far ahead of the Democratic Party in the use of this technology, capitalizing on its substantial investment during the 2016 election and benefiting from an uninterrupted high-tech drive since then.

Republicans “have a big advantage this time,” Ben Nuckels, a Democratic media consultant said in a phone interview. “They not only have all the data from 2016 but they have been building this operation into a nonstop juggernaut.”

The new technology, Nuckels continued, allows campaigns to “deliver a broader narrative over the top” on television and other media, while “underneath in digital you are delivering ads that are tailored to those voters that you need to influence and persuade the most.”
RTWT.

Catholic Vote's 2008 campaign video is here.

Elsie Hewitt

At Drunken Stepfather, "ELSIE HEWITT OF THE DAY."

Senator Kelly Loeffler Takes Office Amid Impeachment and Foreign Policy Crises

Just appointed and not observing the normal niceties of Senate freshmen.

At NYT:


Hospital Masks in Irvine

I tweeted yesterday:


Plane Diverted to March Air Force Base

It's a nightmare.

Irvine is Beijing west. All these Chinese immigrants going around with hospital face masks. It's ridiculous.

Might was well be in Wuhan!

At CBS News 2 Los Angeles:



Megan Parry's Wednesday Forecast

January in California is a trip.

In the 70s during the day, it gets down to the low 40s in the early morning, brrr!

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

Look at those overnight lows!



Why America Needs a Trump vs. Sanders Election

It's Roger Simon, via Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.

Fear and Anger Among Americans in China

Well, I'd be mad too --- especially at myself for winding up in the China dumpster in the first place.

At LAT, "Americans evacuating Wuhan, China, clear health screening and head to California":
BEIJING —  A plane evacuating 201 Americans from the Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak arrived in Alaska and continued Wednesday to Southern California after everyone aboard passed a health screening in Anchorage, where the aircraft had stopped to refuel.
The plane was the only way out of the besieged city of Wuhan in Hubei province, and Americans clamored for seats.

A couple with a 7-year-old daughter did not receive the coveted call. A 65-year-old man’s phone rang, but he gave up his spot because others needed it more.

There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to who was tapped by U.S. officials to board the flight early Wednesday whisking them away from Wuhan, the epicenter of a respiratory virus outbreak that has killed more than 130 people in the last two months.

For a week, Wuhan has been under lockdown, with no transportation out of the city, as Chinese officials desperately try to keep the new coronavirus from spreading.

The inland city of 11 million, a university and business hub often called the Chicago of China, has become a cauldron of fear, stress and boredom, with overwhelmed hospitals, empty streets and isolated residents afraid to be in the same room with close friends.

It is unclear how deadly the virus is or how easily it spreads. Most reported cases have occurred in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province, and most patients elsewhere had recently traveled there.

But the tally of fatalities and confirmed cases, as well as the virus’ geographic reach, has increased daily, prompting the U.S. State Department to recommend that Americans avoid traveling to China. Some airlines have begun restricting flights out of the entire country, not just Wuhan.

For expatriates in Wuhan, many of whom teach English at universities and language institutes, the crisis is especially disorienting.

Many are not fluent in Chinese and worry about communicating if they go to the hospital. They share anxieties and questions with each other on WeChat and Facebook forums. On Wednesday, one man posted that he lost his temper at a Walmart cashier who rummaged through a quilt he had just bought, potentially spreading germs.

Americans still stuck in Wuhan have received no word about any future government-sponsored flights. Some are angry at U.S. officials for not doing more to help.

State Department officials could not be reached for comment.
Still more.


Saturday, January 25, 2020