The Bookworm Beat 9/26/16 — the “presidential debate” edition

Woman-writing-300x265With the presidential debate almost upon us, this is the right time to think about the two candidates and America’s political situation.

The years to come will demand a strong president.  The New York Times wrote an utterly ludicrous endorsement of Hillary Clinton, one that should be in the dictionary next to the phrase “damning with faint praise.” It basically concedes that she’s done nothing of note and says that the main reason to vote for her is that she’s been around a long time and holds the correct points of view.

While I disagree with the NYT’s conclusion (“vote for Hillary”), the sub-text that the NYT tries so hard to hide is accurate:  Hillary is weak, not just physically, but also when it comes to accomplishments. To date, all she’s really done is use her husband’s fame to ascend the political ladder.

Hillary’s own people are desperately afraid of her physical and intellectual weaknesses, which is why they’re trying so hard to have the supposedly neutral moderators be her partners in the Presidential debate:

“It’s unfair to ask for Hillary both to play traffic cop with Trump, make sure that his lies are corrected, and also to present her vision for what she wants to do for the American people,” Robby Mook said on ABC’s “This Week.”

When pressed by host George Stephanopoulos that that’s “what a debater is supposed to do,” Mr. Mook said this case is “special.”

“Well, I think Donald Trump’s special,” Mr. Mook said. “We haven’t seen anything like this. We normally go into a debate with two candidates who have a depth of experience, who have rolled out clear, concrete plans, and who don’t lie, frankly, as frequently as Donald Trump does.”

“So we’re saying this is a special circumstance, a special debate, and Hillary should be given some time to actually talk about what she wants to do to make a difference in people’s lives,” he continued. “She shouldn’t have to spend the whole debate correcting the record.”

Think about Mook’s statements as you contemplate the fact that the American people, as much as anything, are watching to see how the candidates perform under pressure. Hillary’s team has already conceded that she cannot perform at all under pressure. How’s that trait going to work out when Hillary is in a face-off with Russia or Iran?

And there will be face-offs. As Victor Davis Hanson chillingly details, Obama’s eight years in office will have left us with a scarily dangerous world, one that requires strong American leadership if we are to survive in something resembling our historic self:

Russia has been massing troops on its border with Ukraine. Russian president Vladimir Putin apparently believes that Europe is in utter disarray and assumes that President Obama remains most interested in apologizing to foreigners for the past evils of the United States. Putin is wagering that no tired Western power could or would stop his reabsorption of Ukraine — or the Baltic states next. Who in hip Amsterdam cares what happens to faraway Kiev?

Iran swapped American hostages for cash. An Iranian missile narrowly missed a U.S. aircraft carrier not long ago. Iranians hijacked an American boat and buzzed our warships in the Persian Gulf. There are frequent promises from Tehran to destroy either Israel, America, or both. So much for the peace dividend of the “Iran deal.”

North Korea is more than just delusional. Recent nuclear tests and missile launches toward Japan suggest that North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un actually believes that he could win a war — and thereby gain even larger concessions from the West and from his Asian neighbors.

Radical Islamists likewise seem emboldened to try more attacks on the premise that Western nations will hardly respond with overwhelming power. The past weekend brought pipe bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey as well as a mass stabbing in a Minnesota mall — and American frustration.

Europe and the United States have been bewildered by huge numbers of largely young male migrants from the war-torn Middle East. Political correctness has paralyzed Western leaders from even articulating the threat, much less replying to it.

Neither of the candidates has touched upon these issues, and the president has disengaged entirely. Their disengagement, though, doesn’t prevent these issues from touching the US, the only question being whether that happens sooner or later. VDH, the historian, likens this summer to the one that predated WWI when nobody imagined the “the war to end all wars” was waiting to explode.

Regarding Trump, he hasn’t touched upon these issues because he understands that they’re not persuasive. That is, they’ll scare American voters, but it’s unlikely that they’ll make them more likely to vote for Trump. North Korea is something one tut-tuts about, but it doesn’t play well in the ballot box. Also, to the extent he’s not a policy wonk, if he doesn’t have briefings from quality advisers, he risks falling into media traps about the minutiae of these issues (as happened to Gary Johnson, when he totally blanked on Aleppo).

Despite his deliberate decision not to go there when it comes to the post-Obama world, the reality is that whatever else one thinks of Trump, “weak” is not one of the adjectives that comes to mind. Aggressive, persuasive, agile, manipulative, adaptable — those are all good adjectives to describe Trump. None describe Hillary.

So at the end of this last summer before the next world war, who would you rather have in the White House? The woman too physically frail and mentally rigid to participate in the usual presidential debate or the man who is sharp as a sword and as crazy as a fox (and who actually likes America)?

Do understand that the “sexism” rallying cry will preclude constraints on Hillary.  Obama engaged in conduct that would have gotten any other president impeached or indicted (see below). He’s gotten a pass since Day One, though, by using his all-purpose affirmative defense:  No matter what you accuse me of, I win, because you’re racist.

Hillary is already playing her version of that card and playing it hard. She’s not corrupt, sick, duplicitous, mentally rigid, anti-American, anti-Israel, pro-radical Islamists (if they pay her), and ineffectual. None of that. The problem is that you’re sexist.

Imagine four to eight more years of a president who’s completely unaccountable and before whom a milquetoast Congress always bows. At least with Trump, whether you like him or not, Congress will rediscover its backbone.

How many facts does Trump need to win the presidential debate?  Hillary likes to present herself as a policy wonk. That she’s an unprincipled policy wonk whose forays into actual governance as Secretary of State have been disastrous doesn’t matter. Hillary and her acolytes believe that if she sounds smart, she wins.

Kyle Smith, though, suggests that, as with everything else in the modern age, debates are a form of theater and the candidate who dominates the presidential debate with wit and style will win. That candidate is not Hillary Clinton:

If Holt tries to catch Trump in a gotcha question like, “Mr. Trump, you say you have a plan to get the economy moving again but can you even estimate the size of the US economy within 2 trillion dollars?” Trump could easily win the exchange by turning the question into an attack on the current state of journalism: “You know what, Lester, that’s the kind of stupid question that is the reason why nobody trusts the media anymore. I’m not running for accountant in chief. I’m running for commander in chief. I’m a leader. I have a vision. And I have created tens of thousands of jobs building great things in this country, as opposed to Hillary Clinton, who has made herself rich by giving speeches to people who are buying access from her.”

Skilled debaters know that when you get a question you can’t answer or don’t want to answer, you swat it away and instead answer a question more to your liking.

Another effective Trump tactic, if Holt tries to insert himself into the presidential debate is to say something along these lines: “If I’m debating you, Lester, rather than Hillary, America is entitled to know where you stand on these matters. For example, you donated X dollars to Hillary’s campaign and before that you donated Y dollars to President Obama’s. To me, and I’m to the American people, that means you’re not a neutral moderator and fact-checker at all, are you? Instead, you’re a partisan working to destroy my candidacy and elevate Hillary’s no matter what the American people really want.”

Trump gets the coveted ICE endorsement.  America’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers have never endorsed a candidate — until now. They just endorsed Trump. The 95% of them that voted against endorsing Hillary know that her presidency means four more years (at least) of being forced to ignore the laws and regulations that cover America’s immigration enforcement.

Hillary’s estate tax grab has far-reaching consequences. Hillary announced her plan to impose a 65% death tax on large estates. She does not explain why she believes the government is entitled to this money. John F. Di Leo created an easy-to-understand graphic explaining what this tax would mean:

Hillary's death tax

It is another example of the Leftist belief that citizens have no rights in anything other than what the government allows them to have. Free people believe that government is the servant, not the master, and that when the government takes money from people, it should do so with great respect and for reasons that serve the people, not the government.

There’s already been one significant bit of fallout from Hillary’s announced money grab. Scott Adams, who started successfully predicting the election’s trajectory during the primary season (he saw in Trump a master persuader) has changed his endorsement. Early on, he endorsed Hillary for no other reason, he claimed, than because it was safer for him to do so. Yesterday, perhaps now completely convinced that Hillary’s descent in the polls is permanent, he changed his endorsement. Hillary’s proposed death tax was the top substantive reason for his doing so:

Clinton proposed a new top Estate Tax of 65% on people with net worth over $500 million. Her website goes to great length to obscure the actual policy details, including the fact that taxes would increase on lower value estates as well. See the total lack of transparency here, where the text simply refers to going back to 2009 rates. It is clear that the intent of the page is to mislead, not inform.

So don’t fall for the claim that Clinton has plenty of policy details on her website. She does, but it is organized to mislead, not to inform. That’s far worse than having no details.

The bottom line is that under Clinton’s plan, estate taxes would be higher for anyone with estates over $5 million(ish). I call this a confiscation tax because income taxes have already been paid on this money. In my case, a dollar I earn today will be taxed at about 50% by various government entities, collectively. With Clinton’s plan, my remaining 50 cents will be taxed again at 50% when I die. So the government would take 75% of my earnings from now on.

Yes, I can do clever things with trusts to avoid estate taxes. But that is just welfare for lawyers. If the impact of the estate tax is nothing but higher fees for my attorney, and hassle for me, that isn’t good news either.

You can argue whether an estate tax is fair or unfair, but fairness is an argument for idiots and children. Fairness isn’t an objective quality of the universe. I oppose the estate tax because I was born to modest means and worked 7-days a week for most of my life to be in my current position. (I’m working today, Sunday, as per usual.) And I don’t want to give 75% of my earnings to the government. (Would you?)

Be sure to go to his post to read the other compelling reasons Adams has for openly backing Trump’s candidacy.

Barack Obama is as corrupt as Hillary Clinton. One of the things Leftists love to tout is how “corruption free” the Obama administration has been. Certainly, there haven’t been indictments or firings, but that’s because (a) the Obama administration refuses to fire malfeasors (loyalty among thieves); (b) the Obama administration’s foot-dragging in investigations means they die on the vine because the media can bury these attenuated nothings; and (c) as a fish rots from the head, Obama’s corruption has infected those entities that are supposed to guard the people’s interests (e.g., the FBI and the DOJ). In other words, there’s lots of corruption out there. It’s just that Obama and his allies within and outside of the administration prevent any action on it.

A case in point is the curious case of Hillary’s illegal emails and Obama’s knowledge. Obama, from Day 1, disclaimed knowledge. That seemed like a lie, but one that couldn’t be proved — except it turned out that the lie was known months (even years) ago to the FBI. It knew that Obama was using a fake email address to correspond with Hillary on her home-brewed, unsecured server. This fact became public knowledge when the FBI informed Huma Abedin, when she didn’t recognize a name in an email thread, that it was Obama’s nom de cyber.

That knowledge, says Andrew McCarthy, explains the FBI’s bizarre approach to the investigation, from the freely given (and unnecessary) grants of immunity, to the failure to swear in Hillary during her examination, to allowing her to be represented by attorneys who were themselves under investigation, to Comey’s bizarre statement accusing Hillary of every security violation under the sun, only to conclude that she should not be prosecuted. With Obama’s rot as the top, and a politicized FBI and DOJ, the fix was always in. The FBI investigation was just more Kabuki theater to mislead and calm people who think the American government should abide by its own laws and that no person in America should be above the law.

(See also John R. Schindler’s article, which makes the same point McCarthy did:  the fix was always in.)

What’s truly disgusting — and what I predicted — is that not a single FBI agent has come forward with information about the corruption within the nation’s premiere law enforcement organization.

Think of all that tonight when you watch Hillary and the moderator try to affix the “dishonest” label on Trump.

This election should be a “Blexit” election. A few weeks ago, I put up a post saying that this is the election when black Americans, taking a page out of the British “Brexit” book, should have their own exodus from the Democrat party — a Blexit or Blaxit, if you will. I’m a person of non-color, though, so what do I know? It turns out I know as much as Deroy Murdock a conservative black writer who took umbrage when Obama harangued blacks telling them that it is their duty to vote for him to preserve his legacy. Murdock points out that, as to blacks, Obama’s legacy is not a proud one:

Obama’s economic performance among black Americans has been highly mixed, at best, with recent bright spots overshadowed by years of abundant bad news. Since he became president, according to the latest-available data, here is how black Americans have fared on selected economic indicators:

Unemployment rate: Down 36.2 percent

Labor-force-participation rate: Down 2.1 percent

Proportion below the poverty line: Down 6.6 percent

Real median household income: Up 2.5 percent

Food Stamp participants: Up 58.2 percent

Home ownership: Down 9.5 percent

(For further details, please click here.)

Perhaps worst of all was Obama’s attack on the Washington, D.C., school-voucher program. He has worked tirelessly to defund one of the few glimmers of hope available to overwhelmingly black students in America’s simultaneously most expensive and worst-performing school district. Meanwhile, to their tremendous advantage, Obama sends his daughters to Sidwell Friends, Washington’s most elite, exclusive, and expensive private school.


Turning anti-Trump hysteria into a pro-Trump ad. My hat’s off to the creative genius(es) who took the most recent dreadful Hollywood PSA — against Trump, of course — and turned it into a strong pro-Trump anti-Hillary ad without changing a single word from the mouths of the assembled airheads:

Are we underestimating Hillary? Is it possible that she’s not just depraved but actually demonic? In a marvelously tongue-in-cheek bit of writing, Esther Goldberg looks at everything from Hillary’s health, to the trail of deaths in her wake, to her vicious temper and then wonders whether all that’s needed to fix Hillary is a nice exorcism.

A very unexpected Trump endorsement. This weekend San Francisco held the annual Folsom Street fair, an open-air celebration of bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism. Attendees don complicated, minimalist, and painful leather garments, put on their leashes, and bare their butts to the paddle. It is definitely Democrat territory, except for this one guy….

If you crave variety in your reading, provided that the content is always good, be sure to check out WOW! Magazine, the online collaborative magazine from the Watcher’s Council.