Fourth of July Open Thread

Hillary was interviewed by the FBI today – don’t make too much of it. It’s all smoke and mirrors, as far as I’m concerned. From information in the public square, it is pretty obvious that an indictment is the right thing to do, but Obama’s Justice Department will not indict. Can’t. It would kill Democrat chances in November and that would risk Obama’s legacy. Now, I’d love to be shocked and find out that even among Democrats there is still an ounce of respect for the rule of law, but I’m not holding my breath.

When I was out camping last week, a guy was at the spring with his 12 year old daughter and his 8 year old son – they were just swimming as we were, but in the conversation we found out that as a special treat, he’s taking the 12 year old out hunting this November for deer and antelope (astonishing he managed to get her tags for both – but some times luck is with you). Now, that 12 year old girl will be 30 in 18 years and will be one of the rising people starting to rule our world…who do you think is going to be in charge: people like her, or the precious snowflakes of the Progressive cities who get participation trophies?

Give it up, Never Trumpers.

Keep going, Never Trumpers.

Take your pick, they are both great arguments. Victor Davis Hanson has something interesting to say to both sides.

A Progressive view of the revolving door of money and power in DC. Not a bad read, actually – Progressive, of course, so doesn’t make the connection that Big Government ensures a revolving door of money and power, but still pretty interesting.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace²but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! – Patrick Henry

11 thoughts on “Fourth of July Open Thread

  1. Amazona July 3, 2016 / 4:32 pm

    Spoiler alert: A lot of words will follow, many of them with more than one syllable.


    RE: Trump support opinions, pro and con.

    VDH is brilliant and his article is quite good, but I think he is missing the point. At least he is missing my point, which is that I fear a Trump presidency far less than I fear a Trump candidacy.

    As much as Trump makes my stomach churn, we have a history of electing bad presidents, and the only one I can think of so far who has had an actual agenda of harming this country has been Obama. Another Obama (ie: Hillary Clinton) must be avoided at all costs. I don’t think Trump has such an agenda, and though he is crass, crude,vulgar, ignorant and arrogant he is not likely to do more damage than, say, Jimmah Carter did. If I thought that he has a good chance to beat Hillary I would be less focused on finding a better candidate.

    I have noticed that most support for Trump depends on several assumptions that I just don’t think hold water.

    HE TELLS IT LIKE IT IS. No, he does not. He tells one version of “like it is” and then he tells another version and then another and then he admits that he didn’t mean it when he said the first thing. It is interesting to see him fearlessly blurting out the harsh ugly truths about Hillary Clinton, but it’s not as if no one else would do the same thing—-and no doubt do it better. A lot better.

    HE STANDS FOR WHAT I BELIEVE IN. As if no other candidate does. As I have never been able to stand watching or listening to Trump, I paid a lot more attention to the others on the stages than I did to him, and I heard them all, in one way or another, at one time or another, say almost exactly what Trump said. With the obvious exceptions of planning to instruct our military to commit war crimes, or the stupidity of claiming to have a plan to deport nearly 12 million people, the basic proposals of the other candidates were very similar to those of Trump in intent and purpose. They just had no voice. Few could be heard over his braying, and most Trumpsters made their decisions based on the “debates” and his approximately $2 B of free media coverage in which he was given a massive public stage and fawning attention by sycophants.

    HE WON THE NOMINATION. No, he didn’t. No one has. He bellows that to give the nomination to someone else would be “illegal”. He carries on with lies and efforts to make the nomination happen through threats, but he never got more than about 35% of the votes cast in the primaries, many of those were from Democrats, and only after other candidates decided that to fight Donald Trump meant wallowing in the gutter and bowed out of the mud wrestling did he get a majority of state votes, other than in one state.

    And so on. It is fascinating to see the passion with which his fans insist that fantasies and half truths and wishful thinking form a legitimate foundation for a nomination.

    Even the article on the Never Trumpers, linked in your thread post, gets it wrong:

    “Trump is out whining like the spoiled little princess he is and always has been that his fellow Republican presidential contenders, having been vanquished, are not making good on their promise to support the GOP nominee, presumably himself. Trump is of course absolutely correct that Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, et al. did make that promise, and that to withhold their support now would constitute violating a solemn promise made in public to their supporters.

    No, Kevin, withholding support for Trump now, before he is nominated, is NOT “….violating a solemn promise….” You are right in saying that if they do not support Trump if he is the nominee they would be, but your statement implies that by opposing a Trump nomination they are breaking a promise. I think that Rubio, Cruz, et al are committed enough to beating Hillary that IF Trump is the nominee they will support voting for him.

    Read more at:

    This is interesting, with perspectives from both sides. I think that most of the Trump side is based on Magical Thinking, but this does give it a voice.

    • M. Noonan July 3, 2016 / 4:48 pm

      It is a good point – no one is currently the GOP nominee, so the promise to support same hasn’t become operational. If, say, (and this is impossible) Ted Cruz were to endorse Hillary after Trump was nominated, then that would, indeed, be a breaking of the promise…but Cruz’ failure to so-far endorse Trump is nothing of the kind.

      Now, what does one do? There are people working to release the delegates – but the Rules Committee seems pretty stacked with Trump people plus GOP establishment types who are taking their cue from the party bosses. It isn’t impossible for them to change the rules, but it is highly unlikely. Now, once on the floor, who is to stop a delegate from not voting for Trump? Can’t see any way to do such a thing – but it would still take some intense parliamentary action to get that to be something strong enough to deny Trump a first-ballot majority…I don’t know if the Never Trumpers have such people ready to go on the floor.

      So, in the end, I suspect that Trump will be nominated on the first ballot – and it will end up being unanimous (or so close to unanimous as makes no matter). What do we do, then?

      As I never promised to support the eventual GOP nominee, I’m off the hook – I can vote my conscience. The rest of the GOPers who did make the promise will then be under intense pressure to go along. Unless Trump is stopped prior to or at the convention, a promise is a promise…and there’s no “out” clause on such, unless it was inserted in the promise at the time it was made. The promise was to back the nominee – it didn’t say “I promise to back the nominee unless between now and then the nominee turns my stomach”. The lesson here is to make no such promises – if I were to magically become a GOP candidate in 2020 you can rest assured that my promise would, “I’ll back the eventual GOP nominee as long as that nominee subscribes to core, Conservative principals…and isn’t a loudmouthed vulgarian”.

      • Amazona July 3, 2016 / 11:11 pm

        I haven’t taken the time to look up the rules for each state, regarding how it ties up its delegates. and I’m not even sure there is a place to look for that info. However, the GOP can do whatever it wants. There is a very large push to nominate someone else other than Trump, and the party has been under a lot of pressure. The party is in serious trouble, and I think it is sinking in that it will be in more trouble if it goes with Trump than if it picks someone else. Letting the Rules Committee make changes would let the party play Pontius Pilate and wash its hands of the decision, while saving its own butt.

        I’m not sure why you say the Rules Committee is stacked with Trump supporters. I’m not saying it isn’t, just that I don’t know where this info is coming from. I have heard and read that delegates have said they have been contacted by Cruz people but no one has been contacted by anyone from the Trump camp. Again, I don’t know if that is true, but it sounds like something that might be true, given Trump’s lack of a ground game and Cruz’s solid and knowledgeable and precise ground game.

        As I have said in discussions with friends, it is my impression that Trump supporters generally fall into two basic groups. One is the Identity Politics group, the true fanboys, the people who loved it when he strutted around the ring in WWE shows and never missed The Apprentice, who associate wealth with talent and quality, some of whom probably think his history of being a hound dog is cool, the ones who truly find him “charismatic”. The second group is the Issues group, the people who resonated with his stated positions on things that matter to them.

        I think if the party were to go with someone else, the first group would sulk and pout and maybe throw a few fits (or rocks) and probably would not vote at all in a snit. The second group, however, might fall in behind a different candidate if the real attraction to Trump was always what they thought he stood for. Two major factors would be in play here. One is that his stances have shifted nearly from day to day and right now the things he said that drew people in have undergone so many changes that those original reasons don’t really apply now, and the second is that others had many of the same basic positions but no one knew they did because Trump got all the attention and no one ever heard what Cruz or Walker or whoever had to say about immigration or taxes or anything else.

        However, the right candidate would also deflate the large group on the Left that doesn’t like Hillary at all but hates Trump so will come out to vote for her in spite of their antipathy toward her just to stop him. Remove Trump and you will remove that motivation.

        Not really on topic, but I copied from somewhere, possibly from one of your links, an interesting quote from Trump’s new campaign manager. He was asked about who Trump will choose as his VP. emphasis mine

        “To be fair to Manafort, the bar for being “qualified” for the vice presidency is higher than usual when the man at the top of the ticket is Donald Trump. That’s because, as Manafort admits elsewhere in the interview with Fineman, the job of Trump’s VP will be to do the parts of the United States presidency Donald Trump “doesn’t want to do”:

        He needs an experienced person to do the part of the job he doesn’t want to do. He seems himself more as the chairman of the board, than even the CEO, let alone the COO.”

        This raises all kinds of much bigger questions about Trump’s suitability for the presidency: what “the part of the job he doesn’t want to do” is; how much of the job it entails; and why Donald Trump actually wants to be president of the United States to begin with.”

        This is not the first time I have read something that indicates that Trump likes the fight, likes the race, likes the sensation of crushing the opposition, likes the spotlight, but isn’t really all that excited about the job itself.

      • M. Noonan July 4, 2016 / 12:03 am

        The bit about the rules committee I get from people I read who have been, thus far, rather juiced-in on such information – they could be wrong this time, but I’ve got no reason to doubt their word when they report on the composition.

        I think for the GOP Establishment is that they figure they’ve got a near-sure loser in Trump and a sure-loser if they dump him – I happen to think they might be wrong about the second part, but that is how I see them viewing it (and if you could mathematically prove it to them that Cruz could win if nominated, they’d probably still stick with Trump…they’d rather go down to defeat with Trump than on to victory with Cruz, who would rock the boat too much).

        I’m not at all sure how all this comes out – the only thing I feel confident in predicting in 2016 is that Hillary will not be indicted (and, as I said, I’d love to be shocked by that). Other than that, I don’t know what’s really going on in the electorate. Polling shows mostly Trump losing and by a big margin – but if that were the case, then I don’t think that Pennsylvania would be polling so close. Of course, it could be that Trump wins a couple normally-Democrat rust belt States and still gets crushed in the Electoral College as normally-Republican States fall away. That Jacksonian heartland running from western New York down to Alabama will be a gold mine for Trump votes…but how the rest of the country goes is beyond me.

      • Amazona July 3, 2016 / 11:19 pm

        I also see a difference between “backing” someone, “endorsing” someone, and just pulling the lever for someone because the alternative is just too awful to allow dominance without at least making an effort to stop it.

        I also think Trump has given people an out by becoming more and more toxic and because so much dirt has surfaced since those “debates”. Trump knew all along he has said disgusting things about women and has been accused of rape, including molestation of a minor, but most of us didn’t know those things until lately, as one example. His mob connections and shady business dealings were kept pretty hush-hush, thanks in part to the Complicit Agenda Media pushing him as our candidate. I think we have to assign responsibility for losing support where it belongs, and that is the person who has known all along his closet is packed with some very ugly skeletons.

      • Amazona July 4, 2016 / 12:46 am

        As for Cruz “rocking the boat” the GOP might have to choose between being a little seasick and pulling a Titanic. Right now I think a little boat-rocking might be preferable to the perfect storm that is brewing that is likely to take it down. I, too, read a lot written by people who are, supposedly, “juiced in” and I keep finding them clueless and way off base. You can be so “juiced in” you are actually in the same bubble, breathing the same recycled air and writing the same recycled crap you have been fed over and over.

        I love Cruz and think he would be the best president. However, Trump has succeeded in smearing him so badly that the worst of the Trumpbots have been so vile and vitriolic about Cruz it might be better to go with someone less polarizing. Keep in mind that Cruz would not be polarizing if the GOP had not sicced Trump on him, calculating that Trump would smear him in typical Trump fashion but really, folks, it’s not as if anyone would take Trump seriously as a presidential candidate! He seemed safe, at the time. Now they’ve got a tiger by the tail, and you know what you get covered with when you are hanging onto the tail.

        No, as much as I think Cruz would have been the best possible president we could have asked for, I think nominating him now might be a bad idea. Hey, if it happens I will be happy and will get on board, but if I could vote right now I would vote for the least polarizing, least offensive, yet highly qualified Scott Walker. We need an Un-Trump. We need the most amiable, non-threatening, likable, bullet-proof guy we can get. We need someone who won’t freak out Hillary-haters so much they will come out to vote for her anyway, just to stop her opponent.

        As for “..they’d rather go down to defeat with Trump than on to victory with Cruz..” then they absolutely do not deserve a scintilla of respect or support, or for that matter deserve to survive as a party. The thing is, merely nominating Trump guarantees some kind of defeat for those party leaders who still have not completely pulled their heads out of their nether regions. At that point, they will have lost the ideologues of the party and will be stuck with the shallow Identity Politics and Issues people, who will stick around till the next shiny thing comes along and then they will go sloping off after whoever that is. The ideologues, who are Republicans because of firm political ideals not dependent on personalities or issues, will either be in a different party or, more likely, mounting a revolt/insurgency within the party that will be a political bloodbath. If Trump wins, there will be a slight reprieve, in that the revolt will be a little less dramatic. If he loses, it will be ugly. If there is even a hint that a single party official actually thought what you just said, it will be beyond ugly.

        I have had conversations with one party leader who says we are stuck with Trump but yes, the party needs an “overhaul”. If this is how a party official who is trying to get me to support Trump feels, imagine how strongly the rest of us feel. And no, this is not a telephone solicitor, but a genuine party officer. The telephone solicitor said the same thing, and another person who called me said she gets almost the same reaction from nearly everyone she calls. It’s bad out there, very bad, if you are a GOP official or supporter, and pretending it will all blow over and everyone will be so happy is just whistling past the graveyard.

        If you think some of the 35% or so who really truly like Trump will be upset if he doesn’t get nominated, you need to think about how the other 65% will feel if their voices are not heard. Our reactions range from head-shaking disgust to “get a rope!”

      • Amazona July 4, 2016 / 12:52 am

        I’m surprised that the Dems already have their long knives out. I thought they would wait till we are formally stuck with the gilded toad before they started to unload their vast archives of actual facts about him. The latest, the quote of his that “women—you gotta treat them like s**t” is pretty ugly, especially following on the heels of the ad showing him brutally mimicking the movements of a disabled man whose disability causes his arms to move kind of randomly, while also pretending to imitate a speech pattern than implies a mental handicap as well.

        They must be convinced that we are going to nominate him. I just keep thinking of how much fun it would be to pull the rug out from under them and make all that expensive research and ad creation useless. That alone is a great reason to dump him.

      • Amazona July 4, 2016 / 9:54 am

        A super-quick scan shows that the chair of the Rules Committee is a Representative from Utah and the vice chair was an advisor to George H.W. Bush and was senior advisor to Mitt Romney in his 2012 campaign. On the surface neither jumps out as a likely Trump supporter.

        The linked article has some good information on the move to go into the convention with all delegates unbound, and there are some very good points made about prior rules and how they do, or do not, apply.

        Part of the link: Bolding not for emphasis but to show which parts were quotes within the article. Underlining is my emphasis.

        Curley Haugland, delegate and national committeeman of North Dakota, has been saying for some time that the delegates are already unbound. In a March 11th letter to the Republican National Committee, he wrote it was only once in history that delegates were actually bound by the rules:

        “In 1976, the Ford campaign, afraid of losing “pledged” delegates to Reagan forces and having the strength of delegate numbers needed, forced the adoption of the “Justice Resolution” which amended the convention rules to bind the delegates to cast their convention votes according to the results of binding primaries.

        He explained further, that “the 1980 convention rescinded the Justice Resolution entirely restoring the prohibition of binding.” He adds that the Legal Counsel’s office, specifically Tom Josefiak, opined this:

        “One of the important rules changes over the last 50 years has been the unit rule prohibited…that change was made so that an individual delegate can vote his or her conscience. (transcript, RNC Standing Committee on the Rules, January 19, 2006 pp 93-94)”

      • M. Noonan July 4, 2016 / 6:56 pm

        Read about that 1976 thing – had the unit rule not prevailed, Reagan would probably have been the nominee. I was only 11 at the time and only starting to take an interest in such things. I remember my mother being doubtful about Reagan…until he gave that concession speech and she realized the GOP had made the flat wrong pick.

        The whole mess is why I’m no longer in favor of primaries, at all – and I don’t really like caucuses, either. I figure that each State party should select it’s delegates by whatever means it likes and then those delegates go to the convention and vote for whomever they wish. Essentially, no primary campaign – though, of course, various candidates would be doing things to try and sway the delegates pre-convention (which is fine – completely fair and legitimate).

      • Amazona July 4, 2016 / 8:37 pm

        It’s a tough call. The primary process as it stands is flawed, for several reasons.

        The biggest reason is that some states allow anyone to vote in a primary. I think no one should be allowed to vote in a selection process who is not a member of the party and has been for quite some time. We had Dems and Indies voting in some Republican primaries, and according to Hugh Hewitt something like a million Dems switched parties right before the Ohio primary. Trump spun this as a million Dems moving to his side: Most of us saw it as a million Dems trying to choose our candidate for us, not necessarily because they wanted us to have the best candidate we could get.

        Another is that the early primary states divide their votes among the whole field of hopefuls, while later primaries have only one or two remaining hopefuls, so the vote tallies can’t be directly compared. If you can “win” a state with only 22% of the vote, just to pick a number, because there were 11 people splitting the votes, and the next person got 20% with the rest of the votes divided 9 ways, how can you commit the delegates of that state to the person who got 22% ? 78% did not vote for him. There is no way to tell how the votes would have been divided if there had been four, or three, or two people in the race.

        Then there is the problem of the earliest states voting so early that not much is known about the prospective candidates, but there is no way for anyone to change his vote when new data come in a couple of months later.

        Having said all of this, I still don’t want the entire thing turned over to state party leaders. After all the howling about the “establishment” it doesn’t make sense to allow that establishment to pick our candidates.

        I would have primary elections all on the same date, in every state, closer to the convention. so we are doing direct head-to-head comparisons. I would not bind the delegates to the primary votes, I would make it clear that they are intended to test the waters and let the people say what matters to them, but the votes are not binding. For the months leading up to the primaries I would have a series of debates that are actually substantive and not dependent on the bias of the moderators. I would have a series of head-to-head Lincoln/Douglas types of debates, a long series in which two people are randomly assigned to debate each other for two hours, maybe three hours, with a focus group kind of evaluation at the end.

        I would set aside one day or night for each series of debates, so each pair of debaters could have the same set of questions. They might be televised, they might not, they might only be on CCTV shown to party members in the state where each event is held. For a week, there would be a two or three hour contest between two hopefuls, in various cities around the country, so the focus groups doing the analysis would be from people in different areas, one contest per day. At the end of five days, for example, each hopeful would have gone head to head with five other hopefuls, each contest starting with the same questions. Make it every other day, for rest and travel.

        Let’s say we had tried this in this election cycle. Let’s look at Donald Trump as a hopeful. On Day 1, he is in Denver, matched with Marco Rubio, and the topics are immigration reform and the Supreme Court. On the same day at the same time the same topics are discussed between Cruz and Bush, Walker and Christie, and so on, in different cities. The next day everyone travels to different cities, where they are matched with different people, to talk about terrorism for the whole two or three hours. It would not be perfect, but it would ensure that every weak hopeful had to go head to head with at least a couple of stronger people, and they can tell how they are going to stand up to the pressure. Each state would be involved, able to bring in people for the focus groups, and some sort of analysis could be established.

        Even if this had to be expanded so every hopeful met with every hopeful, it would be cheaper for all, and a lot more productive and a better selection process than the rallies we see now, which are basically just circuses. This would be a more substantive, serious, selection process which tests a lot of things in each hopeful—how he or she handles pressure, the depth and scope of knowledge of certain issues, and so on. It could take six weeks, as far as I am concerned. 15 hopefuls, 15 different matchups.

        At the end of this phase of the process, I would have nationally televised interviews with each hopeful, of at least an hour each, where he or she is shown clips from the head-to-head encounters, given a chance to explain things, and asked about answers given or statements made.
        Time slots for these shows would be via a drawing, so no one would have an automatic good slot such as 7 on a Tuesday night, but everyone would take his or her chances. The interviews would be pre-recorded, so no hopeful would have the advantage of seeing what questions the others were asked, or how they answered.

        Then I would have a national primary day, so delegates can see how the people in their states feel, after following the selection process throughout the last two or three months, but I would not make the primary votes binding on the delegates. By this time some of the hopefuls would have dropped out, after being tested and realizing they can’t BS their way through the process and most of the others have better qualifications.

        I think this would shift the focus from who can get the most people standing on their chairs screaming like teen-aged Bieber fans to a more careful analysis of positions and character, get the media out of it to some extent, and get the people to show their real qualifications for the job. Hopefully it would diminish the “charisma factor” and move the process away from the American Idol spectacle it is now. I would make video of every matchup available to every delegate, so real decisions could be made. It might even be possible for people to access videos of the people they like the most, to see how they handled the debates with different people.

        We need to make the most serious decision we make as Americans a serious process.

      • Amazona July 4, 2016 / 8:59 pm

        Maybe after the primaries the top vote-getters could be matched up for a televised debate, but not the goofy moderator-as-part-of-the-story mess we have been seeing so far

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