Unexamined Premises

Unexamined Premises

Central-Park-Wollman-Rink

Before Donald Trump became a celebrity, before he became The Donald, even before he was regularly pilloried in the pages of the old Spy magazine as a “short-fingered vulgarian,” New Yorkers knew his name thanks to one thing in particular. Not the in-and-out-of-bankruptcy real estate empire he inherited, or his flamboyant love life, but the Wollman Rink in Central Park. And while I think he has little chance of winning the Republican nomination (is he even a Republican?), mostly thanks to the fixed-fight aspect of the GOP nominating process under the auspices of the junior wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, I do think his largely interchangeable opponents underestimate his appeal at their peril.

What’s the Wollman Rink, you ask? It’s a skating rink at the south end of Central Park that, like just about everything else in New York City, had fallen into decrepitude by the 1970s — the stinking, filthy New York City immortalized in such films as Death Wish and The French Connection. In 1980, the city announced it was closing the popular spot for renovations that were to last a couple of years; by 1986, the rink was still “under construction,” costs had soared to over $12 million, and the work that had been done was faulty; the rink had come to symbolize the futility of government at all levels. Up stepped Trump with a challenge to mayor Ed Koch: let him take over the rink and he would have the work completed in a few months and the place open to the public before the end of the year.

He did. Here’s how it went down, as chronicled in the pages of the New York Times.

May 31, 1986

Donald J. Trump has offered to take over reconstruction of the trouble-plagued Wollman Memorial Skating Rink in Central Park, to have it open by this winter and to operate it at no profit to himself.

The Koch administration has agreed to consider Mr. Trump’s proposal. ”This offer could be very helpful, but we must be very careful,” said Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern. He declined to elaborate, but other administration officials indicated that questions about potential profits, and the lack of competitive bidding should Mr. Trump proceed, would have to be resolved.

The flamboyant developer made his offer in a ”Dear Ed” letter to Mayor Koch dated May 28. ”For many years I have watched with amazement as New York City repeatedly failed on its promises to complete and open the Wollman Skating Rink,” he wrote. ‘Should Take No More Than 4 Months’

”During this six-year period,” he said, ”I have constructed major hotels, apartment buildings and, in 26 months, Trump Tower, a highly sophisticated and complex mixed-use building containing shopping, offices and apartments. Building the Wollman Skating Rink, which essentially involves the pouring of a concrete slab, should take no more than four months time.” Calling it ”unacceptable” that the city now wants another two years to rebuild Wollman, Mr. Trump offered to pay for the construction of a new rink, lease it from the city at ”a fair market rental” and then run it.

Naturally, this sent the bureaucracy into complete panic. But, to his credit, Koch gave the gig to Trump.

June 6, 1986:

At this point in the long saga of the skating rink that no one could fix, city officials and the developer Donald J. Trump essentially agree on how to rebuild Central Park’s Wollman Rink. They also agree on how long the job will take, barring further disaster. If the city does it, it will take 18 months. If Mr. Trump does it, it will take four months. Why? The difference, said Alan M. Moss, the head of capital projects for the Parks and Recreation Department, is that the city must adhere to a long list of procedural safeguards – which have only become more prominent since the eruption of the municipal corruption scandal – and that it cannot offer contractors the incentives that Mr. Trump, as a private businessman, can.

Mr. Moss said he believed that ”by keeping a close watch on our schedule,” the city could open the rink by November 1987. But he saw no reason why Mr. Trump, who in a barbed letter to the Mayor last week offered to take over construction and operation of the rink, could not have it ready a year earlier. Mr. Trump, not disputing that, makes some additional observations: ”I know how to build. I’m going to take the approach of leadership. I’m going to get good contractors and push the hell out of them. They’ve worked for me and they want to continue working for me. They want to prove you can do things in this city. ’You can always get the job done through sheer force of will,” he concluded.

To all of New York’s delight, Trump finished the job a month ahead of schedule. You can read the complete timeline of events here.

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St. Francis, the Pope’s role model

There’s a lot of fuss being made in some conservative quarters about Pope Francis’s forthcoming encyclical about “man-made climate change.” Let’s stipulate at the outset that “climate change” is a lot of hooey that conceptually survives not the slightest bit of rational scrutiny and that the “global warming” industry is mostly a scam to enrich a few Leftists and bring down the West economically while helping Madre Gaia not one whit. So what?

Pope Francis will call for an ethical and economic revolution to prevent catastrophic climate change and growing inequality in a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics on Thursday. In an unprecedented encyclical on the subject of the environment, the pontiff is expected to argue that humanity’s exploitation of the planet’s resources has crossed the Earth’s natural boundaries, and that the world faces ruin without a revolution in hearts and minds. The much-anticipated message, which will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops, will be published online in five languages on Thursday and is expected to be the most radical statement yet from the outspoken pontiff. However, it is certain to anger sections of Republican opinion in America by endorsing the warnings of climate scientists and admonishing rich elites, say cardinals and scientists who have advised the Vatican.

Here’s my advice: ignore it. Yes, it plays into the nutty fears in some precincts that the pope is a crypto-Latin-American Marxist liberation theologist (he’s actually just another Italian, who happens to have been born in Argentina, a demographically European country) who hates capitalism and is suspiciously nice to Muslims. News flash: the pope is Catholic. Which is to say he is concerned with the spirit, not the flesh; with the betterment of all mankind, not just Catholics; that he takes Church teaching seriously and that — surprise! — the first Jesuit pope follows consciously in the footsteps of his namesake and fellow Italian, St. Francis of Assisi. The quintessential rich kid who gave it all away and lived a life of extreme simplicity among God’s creatures is, in fact, the patron saint of the environment:

Slowly companions came to Francis, people who wanted to follow his life of sleeping in the open, begging for garbage to eat…and loving God. With companions, Francis knew he now had to have some kind of direction to this life so he opened the Bible in three places. He read the command to the rich young man to sell all his good and give to the poor, the order to the apostles to take nothing on their journey, and the demand to take up the cross daily. “Here is our rule,” Francis said — as simple, and as seemingly impossible, as that. He was going to do what no one thought possible any more — live by the Gospel. Francis took these commands so literally that he made one brother run after the thief who stole his hood and offer him his robe!

As I wrote here at PJ Media earlier:

Almost from the beginning of his papacy, there has been a lot of nonsense written about Pope Francis. On the Left, there has been much wishful thinking about how the former Cardinal Bergoglio is really a man of progressive sympathies, while on the Right, there is a deep suspicion that the first Jesuit pope is basically a “liberation theologian” who is not a particular fan of capitalism and may in fact be a sneak commie symp. Much of what the pope is said to have said turns out to be either a mistranslation or completely imaginary, the result of having reporters either ignorant of Catholicism or openly hostile to it reporting or commenting on the pope and the Church. So who is he? To quote the old joke, “Is the Pope Catholic?” You bet he is. To look at him any other way is simply wrong.

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That was the title of Hillary Rodham’s senior thesis back in her Wellesley College days, a reference to the work of Saul Alinsky, the Frankfurt School‘s most noxious avatar and a man of still-outsized influence today, having intellectually (if you can call it that) bequeathed us not only the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua but Barack Hussein Obama, both spawned in the petri dish of Alinsky’s Chicago. It was a theme she returned to yesterday, on the occasion of the “relaunch” of her creaky “candidacy” for the Democrat presidential nomination next year. Fight, fight, fight — the Democrats, it seems, always want to fight. But who are they fighting for? And who are they really fighting?

The short answer is: they’re not fighting at all. Since LBJ, the Pansy Party never met a war it wanted to fight to win, only a war it could use for domestic political advantage in its eternal quest for personal enrichment and societal destabilization. Reagan ended the Cold War with a decisive victory over the Soviet Union (which collapsed in defeat), but the Democrats have managed to resuscitate it via the “reset” button. Bill Clinton was content to make bellicose noises, and fire off a few missiles in the general direction of the Middle East during Saddam Hussein’s moments in the desert sun, and let bin Laden escape when his lawyers overruled his military men. The Democrat defeatist disease even infected two Republican presidents, Bush pere et fils, both of whom knew how to pick a fight in “Iraq” but neither of whom knew how to properly end it.

Rule of thumb: the war is over when the other side stops shooting.

Ah, but rhetorically, it’s a different story over on the increasingly deracinated, psychotic Left. Since they live in a pan-sexual academic world of signs and portents and nuances and microagressions, everything is a threat, and therefore the only proper response is to “fight.” Their candidates rage against the inequities of the vast conspiracy against special snowflakes that is the real world, and promise “safe spaces” for their precious charges — even though Democrats have been in the White House every year since 1993, with the exception of the Bush II eight-year interregnum. If they could run against themselves, they would and, practically speaking, they do. Because, you see, There Is Only the Fight.

Consider Hillary!’s latest blather, delivered in the”pleasant little police state” of Roosevelt Island (formerly Welfare Island, formerly Blackwell’s Island) in the middle of the East River, nicely eviscerated in this piece by Olivia Nuzzi at the Daily Beast:

Clinton formally declared her candidacy for the Democratic nomination almost exactly a month ago, in April, with a 2:15 video. “Everyday Americans need a champion,” she said then. “And I wanna be that champion.”

Since that time, Clinton has not been heard from much as she has traveled around, talking to some voters and ignoring questions from the media and trying to seem as normal as possible despite being anything but. Saturday’s event was designed to highlight her champion-ness by contrasting her with the New Deal Democrat, whose Four Freedoms she has attempted to mimic with her own “Four Fights,” the economy, families, campaign finance and national security.

In a royal blue blazer and glowing blonde hair, Clinton took to the stage to deliver her Four Fights speech. At times she sounded robotic, like the pol who won’t take a position without poll testing it as she has been accused at others some humanity crept through. All the while, though, it was hard to shake the feeling that she was already president—of this island.

Clinton borrowed from Elizabeth Warren and her primary competitor Bernie Sanders in her tough-talk about no-good corporations and the need for campaign finance reform. About the latter, she said, “If necessary, I will support a Constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.”

Well, of course she would, since that decision was in direct response to a documentary about her. (See above video.) There’s nothing better to bring out the fight in a Clinton than to be personally attacked, have the case go all the way to the Supreme Court — and lose.

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I'm thinking...

I’m thinking…

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the Grand Old Party and take them out. If conservatives — who are just now realizing the extent of the bait-and-switch double-cross that the loathsome Mitch McConnell and Weepy John Boehner have pulled on them — must now make common cause with their “friends” across the aisle in the interests of recapturing the Party of Reagan, so be it. Sometimes the enemy of my enemy really is my friend.

That the Republican Establishment has lined up in lockstep with President Obama really tells you all you need to know about the minority wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Government — ever bigger, ever more secretive, ever more disdainful of American sovereignty and of the voters who put them in office. The measure has already passed in McConnell’s Senate, so its fate is now up to Boehner’s House:

House leaders, confident but not yet certain they have the support to pass sweeping trade legislation, are aiming to bring the package to a floor vote by the end of this week — even as they rush to resolve a last-minute hangup over how to pay for aid to displaced workers. The vote to grant President Barack Obama fast-track authority to negotiate a massive Pacific Rim trade deal will be extremely tight by all accounts. Senior aides and lawmakers in GOP leadership are intent on scheduling the vote at the moment they believe they have the votes locked up — ideally by Friday, to spare supportive lawmakers the possibility of another weekend of attacks by trade foes back in their districts.

“We’re doing very well, we’re close,” Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who’s been at the forefront of the GOP effort to round up support, said Tuesday of the current vote count.

Just what you want to hear from the man who was the party’s most recent vice-presidential nominee: the same guy who let a grinning, jabbering, gibbering Joe Biden smack him around the ring in their one debate and never once threw a punch.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has been holding small meetings with lawmakers in his office as he seeks to maximize Republican “yes” votes — and he huddled late Tuesday with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to address some unresolved spending and procedural issues. House Republicans will hold a closed-door meeting on Wednesday morning at which the trade vote is expected to be a major topic of conversation.

The White House, meanwhile, is working with House GOP leadership to solidify Democratic support. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s operation has developed a whip list of at least 22 Democratic supporters of so-called Trade Promotion Authority, and they have worked with the White House and Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) to identify other lawmakers believed to still be in play.

Sources involved in canvassing for support say from 25 to 30 Democrats must vote for the package for it to pass. Ryan, Scalise and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the chief deputy majority whip, have persuaded many undecided GOP lawmakers to support the legislation.

This is what comes of putting bloodless men of no imagination in charge of important American institutions. For Boehner especially, a measure of success (proof that Republicans can “govern”) is how much legislation he can push through the sausage machine at the behest of his betters. This is the part of politics he likes:

Behind the scenes, Boehner and Ryan are consulting with Pelosi, the White House and other senior Democrats to avoid capping Medicare spending to pay for financial assistance to workers who lose their jobs to free trade, aid formally known as Trade Adjustment Assistance…. A GOP leadership aide said “there is more work to be done, but this is process.

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The hallmark of all fascist systems is their relentlessness. Like the Terminator, they cannot be satisfied, they cannot be negotiated with, they cannot be persuaded of the evil of their cause (in fact, that’s a feature, not a bug). They just keep coming until either they are destroyed — or they destroy you. Case in point:

A different health care issue has emerged for Democrats, in sync with the party’s pitch to workers and middle-class voters ahead of next year’s elections. It’s not the uninsured, but rather the problem of high out-of-pocket costs for people already covered. Democrats call it “underinsurance.”

After paying premiums, many low- and middle-income patients still face high costs when trying to use their coverage. There’s growing concern that the value of a health insurance card is being eaten away by rising deductibles, the amount of actual medical costs that patients pay each year before coverage kicks in. ”I think it’s going to be the next big problem,” said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., a congressional leader on health care.

“We’ve got some 17 million more people covered … but they can’t access the care they seem to be entitled to,” McDermott said. “It costs too much to use the care. That’s the deceptive part about it.” Since virtually all U.S. residents are now required to have health insurance by President Barack Obama’s health care law, McDermott said Democrats have a responsibility to make sure coverage translates to meaningful benefits.

In other words, having achieved their thug victory with Obamacare, they’re now ready to move on to the “next big problem,” because for these people there is always a next big problem — another expansion of government, another bite at your freedom. Now they’ve come up with the word “underinsurance” as they discover that their magic bullet of Obamacare is — wait for it — flawed and, with a brutish hack like McDermott in the lead, needs to be “fixed.”

But this is always the way things are on the Left: there is nothing wrong with “reform” that more “reform” won’t cure, until the thing or institution being “reformed” bears absolutely no resemblance to what it once was. None of this has anything to do with “health care,” of course; rather it is simply another way to expand government and subordinate the people using the bogus Leftist “virtue” of “compassion” — an expansion of the federal governments powers far beyond those enumerated in the Constitution. It is therefore unconstitutional and, worse, un-American.

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The Real Stephanopoulos Scandal

May 19th, 2015 - 6:27 am
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No, it’s not his blatant partisanship, his ties to the increasingly thuggish Clinton Machine, or even his complete lack of journalistic ethics. It’s that ABC should never have hired him in the first place.

Back in the Stone Age, before reporters became “journalists” and before “journalists” became politically motivated Fifth Columnists masquerading as members of the Fourth Estate, there was a cardinal rule: a reporter could leave a newspaper and accept a job as a public-relations flack, but under no circumstances could he or she then return to reporting. Ever. In other words, once having forfeited any pretense of objectivity, and having accepted payment for advocating a particular point of view, that guy’s career in real journalism was finished.

Recall the horror that greeted the New York Times when it hired the late William Safire as an op-ed columnist. That horror was due not only to Safire’s previous employment working as a speechwriter for the disgraced Richard Nixon — a president the Left loved to hate, with a visceral passion that would not be surpassed until Ronald Reagan — but also to his background in public relations. The Times‘ hire of Safire violated every previous tenet of journalistic procedures. But –

Safire never became managing editor of the Gray Lady, nor did he have any editorial function beyond the opinion pages (he later wrote a widely loved column, “On Language”). He did what he was hired to do — provide some much needed balance and invigorated writing to a stodgy, dull and stupefying editorial page — and nothing more. Still, in retrospect, the Times was wrong to hire him, and I say this as a fan.

ABC, of course, promised that Stephanopoulos would have nothing to do with news selection, in large measure because he wasn’t really a journalist; a fact that was evident to all his colleagues there:

On CNN’s Reliable Sources media criticism program, Stephanopoulos’s former ABC News colleague, Carole Simpson, unloaded on the former top aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton that she said she likes and respects. “There is a coziness that George cannot escape,” said Simpson, who toiled for two decades at ABC News, notably as the weekend anchor of World News Tonight from 1988 to 2003. “While he did try to separate himself from his political background to become a journalist, he really isn’t a journalist.”

Byron York, in fact, noted that at the time. As he wrote the other day:

George Stephanopoulos was one of the most partisan of partisan warriors ever — just look at “The War Room,” the documentary from the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign. So it was something of a surprise in 1996 when ABC News hired Stephanopoulos, fresh out of the Clinton White House. And there was some confusion about what the deeply partisan Stephanopoulos’ role would be: Analyst? Pundit? Straight news reporter? At the time, I asked ABC about it and was assured Stephanopoulos would be a pundit — like William Kristol, who was then with ABC News — and would not do any news reporting. Here is the opening of a piece I wrote in December 1996 for the Wall Street Journal editorial page:

Last week ABC News announced it has hired departing presidential aide George Stephanopoulos as a contributor to “This Week,” “Good Morning America” and other programs. The network seemed delighted with its catch. Mr. Stephanopoulos is “one of the best known and most articulate presidential advisers this country has ever seen,” news President Roone Arledge said. “His vast knowledge of Washington politics and policy will be an enormous asset to ABC News.”

The announcement created some confusion about Mr. Stephanopoulos’s role. A press release issued by ABC last Wednesday stated that he “will serve both as a political analyst and as a correspondent.” Vice President of News Joanna Bistany now says Mr. Stephanopoulos will be just an analyst; he will not report news or question guests on “This Week.” Ms. Bistany says his role will be similar to that of ABC contributor William Kristol, who was Dan Quayle’s chief of staff. “We want a mix of voices,” she says, adding that Mr. Stephanopoulos “won’t do anything that has any appearance of conflict.”

Ha ha ha! Remember, there is no lie the Left is not willing to tell in the furtherance of its aims (“by any means necessary”) and no amount of incrementalism too small for them to enjoy. The minute ABC crossed the line with Stephanopoulos, it was not just a little bit pregnant, it was destined to give birth to a bouncing baby boy.

The network had hoped their golden child would weather the storm, but as his unluck has it, his old (current?) boss Hillary! is being sucked into the vortex of the Clinton scandals, thanks in large part to the New York Times, which has been relentless in trying to take her down (going back to Whitewater, the Times has always loathed her), and Stephanopoulos is melting in the radioactive glare.  As the New York Post gleefully recounts, Steffi is on the ropes:

ABC has plenty of reasons to be freaking out over the George Stephanopoulos scandal — $105 million, to be exact. The “Good Morning America” and “This Week” anchor renewed his contract last year for $105 million, TV-industry sources told The Post Monday. The seven-year deal — which dwarfs the five-year, $50 million contract scored by since-suspended NBC rival Brian Williams — was supposed to keep Stephanopoulos in front of ABC’s cameras through 2021.

But now his credibility, and future, have been called into question since he admitted Friday that he had donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation since 2011, just as the presidential race gears up with Hillary Rodham Clinton the leading Democrats. In a mea culpa delivered Sunday on “This Week,” Stephanopoulos, who was also a top aide in Bill Clinton’s White House, said the gifts “were a matter of public record, but I should have made additional disclosures on air when we covered the foundation.” It was his second on-air apology in less than a week.

He can apologize all he wants, but he’s apologizing for the wrong thing; he’s apologizing for a breach of ethics as if he were a real journalist in the first place. But he’s not — never was, and never will be. Which is exactly the reason ABC hired him in the first place, and why they’ll defend him ’til the last dog dies.

NYT to HRC: Your Family’s Fair Game

May 11th, 2015 - 4:47 am
Loot, plunder, lie, and steal

Loot, plunder, lie, and steal

The war between Pravda and the Clinton Crime Family has taken an ugly new turn. In a big Sunday takedown, the Paper of Progressive Record turned its big guns loose on another of Lady Macbeth’s many soft spots: her idiot brothers. The headline serves both as an appetizer and a warning:

Tony Rodham’s Ties Invite Scrutiny for Hillary and Bill Clinton

The heavyset 60-year-old man who walked with a cane seemed an unlikely speaker at the glamorous launch party for a cosmetics company held in Santa Monica, Calif., in March. But Tony Rodham appeared at ease among the special guests and well-heeled investors, offering them encouragement as well as an invitation. “If there’s anything I can ever do for any of you, let me know,” Mr. Rodham said. “I’ll be more than happy to do it.”

A promotional video of the party that the cosmetics company later released identified the speaker as “the youngest brother of former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton,” a relationship that has been Mr. Rodham’s calling card since the days of the Clinton White House.

On and off for two decades, the affable Mr. Rodham has tried to use his connections with his sister and his brother-in-law, former President Bill Clinton, to further a business career that has seen more failures than successes. The connections to the Clintons have given Mr. Rodham, a self-described “facilitator,” a unique appeal and a range of opportunities, like addressing Chinese investor conferences and joining an advisory board of a company seeking permission to mine for gold in Haiti.

But his business dealings have often invited public scrutiny and uncomfortable questions for the Clintons as Mr. Rodham has cycled through a variety of ventures, leveraging his ties to them and sometimes directly seeking their help.

For the Clintons, of course, “uncomfortable questions” are just part of the cost of doing Family business, and to which they always have a ready answer: “You can’t prove it!” But the Times, which has been sending warning shots over the bow of the sinking ship Hillary! for months now, is clearly losing patience, and is almost ready to start putting two and two together and declaring them, definitely, four — which just so happens to be the same as the number of letters in the word RICO:

  •  When Mr. Clinton worked as a co-chairman of Haiti’s earthquake recovery commission, Mr. Rodham and his partners sought a $22 million deal to rebuild homes in the country. In court proceedings three years ago in an unrelated lawsuit, Mr. Rodham explained how “a guy in Haiti” had “donated” 10,000 acres of land to him and described how he had leaned on Mr. Clinton to get the rebuilding project funded amid bureaucratic delays. I deal through the Clinton Foundation. That gets me in touch with the Haitian officials,” Mr. Rodham said, according to a transcript of his testimony. “I hound my brother-in-law, because it’s his fund that we’re going to get our money from.”
  • When Mr. Rodham was short on cash in 2010, Mr. Clinton helped get him a job for $72,000 a year raising investments in GreenTech Automotive, an electric car company then owned by Terry McAuliffe, an old friend of Mr. Clinton’s and now the governor of Virginia. “I was complaining to my brother-in-law I didn’t have any money. And he asked McAuliffe to give me a job,” Mr. Rodham said during the court proceedings, which were the result of a lawsuit over unpaid legal bills filed by his lawyer in a child support case.
  • Mrs. Clinton’s other brother, Hugh Rodham, stumbled through an unsuccessful campaign for the Senate in Florida during Mr. Clinton’s first term. Roger Clinton, the former president’s brother, served a year in federal prison on a cocaine distribution charge. And all three were involved in lobbying Mr. Clinton for pardons for their associates as he left office, prompting a congressional inquiry.

Because having close family members go to jail and “lobbying for pardons” is something every family experiences– every crime family, at least. (Hillary defended her brother at the time by saying he had not been paid for the lobbying effort, so it was perfectly okay.) And how do Clinton apparatchiks like the Ballerina react to this?

“They’re all colorful,” Rahm Emanuel, a former Clinton aide who later became mayor of Chicago, said in an interview in 2001. “They’re all living large.”

Wel, ha ha ha! “Colorful,” certainly, in the sense that Al Capone and Owney Madden (Bill Clinton’s mentor in Hot Springs, Ark.) were colorful. “Colorful” the way Sandy Berger was “colorful” when he got caught stealing and possibly destroying incriminating documents from the National Archives relating to the Clinton Crime Family. “Colorful,” in other words, as in “criminal.”

But then the Democrat Party has long been a criminal organization masquerading as a political party, home to murderers, presidential assassins, mountebanks, curs, cads, enemy agents and garden-variety liars and thieves. The Clintons, who have made government “service” into their own private, lawless fiefdom, from which they have enriched themselves even beyond Bubba’s boyhood dreams of avarice back in Bubbles, are only its latest capos.

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Whodunnit?

Wha’ happen?

Word is out, as Harry Reid might say, that the soon-to-be-former senator’s explanation of the serious injuries he sustained in an “exercise accident” on New Year’s Day is bunk. One prima facie proof is that the soon-to-be-former senator has yet to identify the maker of the equipment that robbed him of the sight in one eye, busted him in the mouth and damaged several ribs. Nor to my knowledge has he sued the alleged manufacturer, which is normally the first thing a Democrat would do; additionally, the soon-to-be-former senator has given varying and contradictory accounts of what happened to him, and why he suddenly decided not to seek re-election. It’s all very hinky.

Acting on a phone tip, John Hinderaker of Power Line wrote that the culprit behind the beatdown might have been the soon-to-be-former senator’s brother, Larry Reid. (In the course of citing Larry Reid’s recent arrest for assaulting a cop, I referenced Hinderaker’s post here, since I too believe that the soon-to-be-former senator has not come clean about what really happened that night.) That report, however, turned out to be “prank” by a man using a false name, according to the Las Vegas Sun, Reid’s home-town newspaper — one designed to highlight the gullibility of the conservative media, especially Rush Limbaugh:

A Las Vegas man claims he started a false rumor that the injuries suffered by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid several months ago were the result of an attack by Reid’s brother, not an exercise accident.

Larry Pfeifer, a 50-year-old former consultant in the nightclub and entertainment industry, said he fabricated the story after becoming appalled that right-wing political blogger John Hinderaker published a rumor that Reid’s injuries stemmed from an assault by a Mafia enforcer. Pfeifer said he pitched his fake story about the Reid brothers’ supposed fight to Hinderaker, author of the Power Line blog, to test whether the blogger would publish it, as well. When Hinderaker reported it and the rumor was subsequently spread by others in conservative media, Pfeifer says he began plotting to self-report it as a lie to show the lack of credibility and journalistic standards among partisan media figures.

“It was just so outrageous,” he said. “The fact that someone can say something completely false that can destroy somebody’s life, it’s just wrong. Where’s the moral compass?”

Pfeifer, who describes himself as a motivational speaker who is involved in addiction counseling, said he completely concocted the story that Reid’s brother, Larry, showed up intoxicated at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on New Year’s Eve in Henderson and claimed to have beaten up a relative.

He might better address that “moral compass” question to himself. Hinderaker clearly labeled the account of “Easton Elliott” (the false name Pfeifer provided) of the AA meeting, which was offered in apparent good faith, as speculative: “I, of course, couldn’t vouch for the veracity of Elliott’s story, and I didn’t. In the linked post I wrote: ‘That is Easton Elliott’s account. I can’t vouch for it, of course….’ Later, I said: ‘Is Easton Elliott telling the truth? I have absolutely no idea.’ But I did check him out to the extent reasonably possible. Among other things, that included spending a couple of hours with him in multiple telephone conversations. He told his story consistently and with seeming sincerity, and swore repeatedly that it was true.”

You can read Hinderaker’s complete pantsing of Larry Pfeifer here.

The Sun has a little more background on Pfeifer and his aims in lying about Larry Reid. Note, by the way, the strangely sympathetic, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger tone the newspaper takes on Pfeifer’s behalf:

In coming forward, Pfeifer said he expected to encounter skepticism about whether he truly was the source of the rumor and whether he made up the story. A convicted felon who was sentenced to prison for financial crimes in the early 1990s, he offered dozens of emails and recordings as verification of his claim. He said he was not pressured to debunk the rumor and had never met Harry Reid or anyone in his family.

A rumor that Pfeifer himself started…

Pfeifer said he felt guilty for bringing unwanted attention to Larry Reid and for any harm he might have caused to the Reid family. “I would really like to apologize to Harry Reid and his brother. What I did was (expletive) up,” Pfeifer said.

Pfeifer said he encountered several reporters who acted responsibly, both while he was spreading the rumor and after he decided to blow the whistle on himself. The Sun demanded that Pfeifer reveal his legal name and show his driver’s license, then ran a public records check on him to verify his identity.

One might here note that the Sun demanded proof of the “former consultant in the nightclub and entertainment industry’s” identity only after he had outed himself:

Pfeifer said he tried to get on Limbaugh’s show, where he planned to admit he’d made up the story. “I thought the whole thing would be over in a day and a half,” he said. “I wasn’t after 15 minutes of fame. I wanted a platform where I could present this as what it was and 2 million people would pick up on it.” He said he decided to present the truth after Limbaugh rejected him as a guest but repeated the rumor April 15 on his talk-radio show. Neither Limbaugh nor Hinderaker presented the story as fact, and both told their audience to take it for what it was worth…

Now, Pfeifer is hoping his story goes viral and leads to appearances in national media to speak out about irresponsible partisan media. “Why are people so bloodthirsty?” Pfeifer said. “We’re all supposed to be good neighbors. Harry Reid’s a human being. If a complete stranger we knew was injured, wouldn’t we be concerned?

Gee, I dunno. Let’s ask Harry Reid.

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What the hell was she thinking?

What the hell was she thinking?

That the Hillary! candidacy is doomed is now a foregone conclusion. Madame Defarge has no aptitude for the job, only a taste for it, and a venomous certainty that it is somehow rightfully hers. But when you’ve lost Jon Chait:

The qualities of an effective presidency do not seem to transfer onto a post-presidency. Jimmy Carter was an ineffective president who became an exemplary post-president. Bill Clinton appears to be the reverse. All sorts of unproven worst-case-scenario questions float around the web of connections between Bill’s private work, Hillary Clinton’s public role as secretary of State, the Clintons’ quasi-public charity, and Hillary’s noncompliant email system. But the best-case scenario is bad enough: The Clintons have been disorganized and greedy.

The news today about the Clintons all fleshes out, in one way or another, their lack of interest in policing serious conflict-of-interest problems that arise in their overlapping roles:

There follows a list of the various Clinton disasters we have lovingly been chronicling here for weeks now. Still, it’s instructive that the default mode on the Left is to attribute to “disorganization,” “greed” and “sloppiness” (hello, Sandy Berger!) what is almost certainly outright and overt criminal behavior, undertaken in the belief that no one would ever be held accountable.

When you are a power couple consisting of a former president and a current secretary of State and likely presidential candidate, you have the ability to raise a lot of money for charitable purposes that can do a lot of good. But some of the potential sources of donations will be looking to get something in return for their money… And yet the Clintons paid little to no attention to this problem. Nicholas Confessore described their operation as “a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.” Indeed, as Ryan Lizza reported in 2012, Bill Clinton seemed to see the nexus between his role and his wife’s as a positive rather than a negative:

Regardless of Bill Clinton’s personal feelings about Obama, it didn’t take him long to see the advantages of an Obama Presidency. More than anyone, he pushed Hillary to take the job of Secretary of State. “President Clinton was a big supporter of the idea,” an intimate of the Clintons told me. “He advocated very strongly for it and arguably was the tie-breaking reason she took the job.” For one thing, having his spouse in that position didn’t hurt his work at the Clinton Global Initiative. He invites foreign leaders to the initiative’s annual meeting, and her prominence in the Administration can be an asset in attracting foreign donors. “Bill Clinton’s been able to continue to be the Bill Clinton we know, in large part because of his relationship with the White House and because his wife is the Secretary of State,” the Clinton associate continued. “It worked out very well for him. That may be a very cynical way to look at it, but that’s a fact. A lot of the stuff he’s doing internationally is aided by his level of access.”

Well, duh. Throughout the entire Clinton period, the media has done its best to ignore the organized-crime roots of Bill Clinton’s political career, from his early apprenticeship at the feet of the legendary Prohibition-Era gangster, Owney Madden, to the criminal nature of the town of Hot Springs, Ark., where Bubba grew up, to the quid-pro-quo gangland tactics both Clintons have always employed in their dealings with the wider world beyond the Ouchita mountains. Exactly none of what the Clintons now stand revealed as having done, both politically and through their phony “charity,” should come as a surprise to anybody who’s been paying the slightest bit of attention for the past twenty years.

The Obama administration wanted Hillary Clinton to use official government email. She didn’t. The Obama administration also demanded that the Clinton Foundation disclose all its donors while she served as Secretary of State. It didn’t comply with that request, either. The Clintons’ charitable initiatives were a kind of quasi-government run by themselves, which was staffed by their own loyalists and made up the rules as it went along. Their experience running the actual government, with its formal accountability and disclosure, went reasonably well. Their experience running their own privatized mini-state has been a fiasco.

And yet, the fact that it is coming as a shock to some die-hard Democrats is a tribute to the remarkable power of the Clinton-friendly media, which (as Glenn Reynolds has pointed out) sees its job not so much as deciding what to report, but what not to report, especially when it comes to its beloved Democrat party, famously described by your truly as a “criminal organization masquerading as a political party” — which of course it is. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that this comes about in part from the fact that elite liberal journalists and politicians naturally gravitate toward each other — they all attended the same schools and live in the same neighborhoods — and also from the journalists’ nagging sense that they really should have been Southern Poverty Law Center lawyers, rather than the oxpeckers they actually are.

What’s an oxpecker, you ask?

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Let us please stipulate that in a rational world, a woman like Hillary Rodham Clinton would have absolutely no chance of being nominated for, much less elected, president of the United States. She has achieved nothing, accomplished nothing (unless you count the four dead Americans at Benghazi, for which she will ultimately be held responsible); she is an exremely poor public speaker, full of annoying verbal and physical tics; she is legendarily dishonest; she is a hard-core Alinskyite; and in general a wretched human being. By rights, she should be laughed off the stage, the same way the smart set laughed at Lurleen Wallace, who succeeded her husband George Wallace, the racist Democrat, as governor of Alabama back in 1967.  She has no natural political constituency, except the manufactured “women’s vote,” and no rationale for her candidacy except that it’s “time” for a woman president, just as it was “time” for a part-black African, part-Arab, half-white, paternally cultural Muslim to pass for a traditional African-American Christian and be elected president in 2008.

And yet, even after the comically disastrous and transparently phony launch of her new “campaign,” she’s considered the “inevitable” Democrat nominee for 2016 and, very likely, the next president of the United States. For the sake of democracy in America, she needs to be defeated and politically destroyed. Break Hillary and you have begun to break the power of the Mainstream Media, a fifth column masquerading as the Fourth Estate whose mission it has been for decades to “fundamentally transform” the United States of America.

For the only reason an HRC candidacy is even plausible is the influence of the legacy media, which has simply declared, by fiat, her suitability and her inevitability. You may recall that the MSM did the same thing in the run-up to 2008, until their dreamboat, Obama, came along and gave the aging Baby Boomers, who had dreamed of exactly this moment since 1968, a reason to push the female candidate to the back of the bus in order to celebrate the only kind of “diversity” they advocate, which is racial.

It didn’t matter to the Racialist Left that Obama had exactly nothing to do with the authentic black American experience — he was not from a slave background, he grew up in largely racially colorblind Hawaii where his skin color matched that of the vast majority of the island’s population, and his mother was as white as, well, Kansas. (Like Obama, I grew up in part in Hawaii, and can relate from first-hand experience that the only people actively discriminated against in those days were “white” people.) But in choosing to send young Barry to the Punahou School — where the Anglo elite had long sent their progeny — his parents, or handlers, found the one school in the islands where he could feel racially aggrieved.

In short, his “blackness” was essentially manufactured in order to sell him to the media and then to a good-hearted American public as a plausible black candidate in a way that, say, Jesse Jackson was (in their view) not. Harry Reid inadvertently let the cat out of the bag away when he remarked that Obama had “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” In other words, Obama was not threateningly black, a racist view Joe Biden endorsed when he called him “articulate and clean.”

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In case you missed it, Joe Biden is now the vice president of the United States.

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