July 23, 2016

IN THE MAIL: Framed: Why Michael Skakel Spent Over a Decade in Prison For a Murder He Didn’t Commit.

Plus, today only at Amazon: Save big on Diamondback Bikes.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1171.

ROGER SIMON: MUNICH ALL OVER AGAIN. There’s something in the water there, Roger writes.


DAVID SOLWAY: How to Defeat Terrorism.

I’m old enough to remember when Western leaders actually cared about such topics.

HEH: TRUMP CAMPAIGN RELEASES MIKE PENCE HOSTAGE VIDEO — First post-RNC sighting of the shell-shocked VP nominee at Trump JFK conspiracy presser.

TWO FORECASTS for the Democratic Convention.

In many ways I expect the Democratic National Convention to be more of the same. Oh, I doubt that the convention will blazon the Clinton name larger than the American flag across the stage as she speaks. But you can expect her to paint a republic in crisis, one where women are practically indentured servants of their male managers, where the police routinely use civilians for target practice, and of course, where Republicans roam among us, tirelessly impoverishing the poor and oppressing the oppressed. Who can save us now? Only one person, of course. It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s — HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON!

That case will, of course, be a lot more challenging to make given that Barack Obama has been president for eight years — which is why to hear Democrats talk, you’d often think that George W. Bush was just completing his fourth term in office. So they will spend the week pinning America’s flaws on Republicans.

So it’s business as usual, then.

IT WASN’T A FAILED COUP; IT’S A SUCCESSFUL PURGE: Turkey’s Erdogan, using emergency decree, shuts private schools, charities, unions.

All hotbeds of violent political subversion, I’m sure.

21ST CENTURY PARENTING: With kids away at camp, parents revel in drug-fueled sex parties.

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REAL SCIENCE: Consensus ruled! Lichen biology was settled science. Then suddenly it wasn’t.

TRUMP UPENDS EVERYTHING AGAIN: Donald Trump and America’s Moral Authority.

Mr. Trump was asked about orders from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to detain tens of thousands of Turkish citizens. Asked whether he would press Mr. Erdogan “to make sure the rule of law applies,” Mr. Trump did not emphasize the delicate nature of criticizing a strategically important ally. Instead, he focused inward, saying that “when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country.”

The problems he had in mind were “policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore.” The United States needs “to focus on those problems,” he said.

This argument — that the United States could not be a model because of its domestic problems — was made during the early years of the Cold War, when racial segregation and violence against civil rights demonstrators generated international criticism. But this case was made by Soviet propagandists, not American presidential candidates.

Well, it’s a standard lefty talking point — those tend to come, ultimately, from Soviet propagandists whether the talkers know it or not, and usually they don’t — and it’s one that’s been echoed by President Obama with his reminders to Americans not to get on our high horse (the Crusades, you know) and his disparaging of American exceptionalism.

The big news here is that a Republican candidate is saying it, but then, Trump spent most of his life as a Democrat. And while it would be better if we had Presidential candidates who sounded like Reagan or Eisenhower, it’s pretty rich to see people complaining about Trump’s statement after 8 years of Obama saying pretty much the same thing.

WAS IT OVER WHEN OBAMA BOMBED PEARL HARBOR? Trump awakens the sleeping giant of America.

WE ALL KNEW THIS WAS COMING: Lack of Faith in Merkel Spreads With Bavaria’s Bloody Week of Mayhem: #WelcomeRefugees has come back to bite Germany as two murderous Muslim newcomers put the country on edge.

One need hardly be a far-right German to be unnerved that young people welcomed warmly to the country only a year ago, penniless and in need of sanctuary, now want to kill their “infidel” hosts. For Chancellor Angela Merkel, the consequences of domestic terrorism by Muslim newcomers promise to be politically harmful, and perhaps lethal. While Merkel delayed her Alpine holiday this weekend to head a meeting of her national security team in response to the Munich attack—showing more tact than President Obama, who joked during his statement about the massacre—skeptics will deem this insufficient.

After all, it was Chancellor Merkel who opened the country’s doors last summer in a fit of sunny optimism that already looks like a weighty political liability. Although there’s no indication that the Würzburg attacker had anything to do with the Islamic State except in his own sick mind, that’s cold comfort given the vast numbers of Muslim young men in Germany at the moment. ISIS was only too happy to hail the dead Afghan as their “soldier,” releasing the now-obligatory video of the “martyr” swearing allegiance to the Islamic State.

Germans, who are not used to their government being inept and dishonest, are shocked by all this.

Welcome to the club, guys.

SEE, YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO WEAR A $12,000 ARMANI JACKET WHILE SAYING YOU’RE FOR THE WORKING MAN: Ivanka Trump wore a $138 dress at RNC — and you can buy it.

OP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, gave a speech Thursday night to talk up her father before he accepted the party’s nomination.

Unlike so many politicians and their families, who wear outrageously expensive clothes when they give speeches, Ivanka wore a simple pink sheath dress that cost $138. It’s from her own fashion line, and after her speech she tweeted out a link for people to purchase the dress.

I get the obvious angle of Ivanka using her speech as a way to enrich herself. On some level I find it to be a cheap stunt, but on another level I’m just fine with this.

I find it difficult to find nice work clothes, and always end up seeing things that female politicians wear and wondering where they purchased their clothes. This made it easy to see a simple but nice dress and know where to buy it.

Even better, it only costs $138. She’s the daughter of a billionaire, married to a billionaire and successful in her own right. She could have worn a dress that cost thousands of dollars, but she wore something that cost a little over a hundred. Yes, she did it to sell that dress, but she still could have tried to sell a more expensive dress.

This is unlike, say, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who wore a $12,000 Armani jacket while giving a speech about inequality. Her supporters can claim she did so to highlight inequality all they want, but the optics don’t work in her favor.

They seldom do, which is why she needs to have the press under firm control.


Read the whole thing.

HOPE: Amid Cleveland Protests, a Moment of Understanding: Trump backer and Black Lives Matter supporter “agree to disagree.”

If I were running Trump’s campaign, I’d set up a booth outside and hand out bottled water to the protesters at the DNC, with a big banner that says “We’re All Americans.”

Trump Water, of course.

ARE EPA OFFICIALS LYING TO US OR THEMSELVES? Here’s why that’s a reasonable question: The fact the same EPA that recently said the Gold King Mine region of Colorado should be declared a Superfund cleanup area because of fish kills caused by mine waste also published its own internal study saying fish kills in the area were happening before any mines were ever dug there.

After fighting it at every previous turn, residences of the Colorado mining region recently succumbed to the EPA’s long campaign to win the Superfund designation, which, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group’s Ethan Barton, gives the federal agency immense economic power in the area. But that may change with Barton’s revelation of EPA’s contradictory evidence.

WHY IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SUCH A CESSPIT OF BIGOTRY? Outcry from Sanders supporters after leaked DNC ‘atheism’ emails.

Bernie Sanders supporters Friday tore into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on social media after a leaked email appeared to show a DNC official plotting to question Sanders’s religion.

The email, written by Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall and leaked by the DNC hacker Guccifer 2.0 to WikiLeaks, suggests sending a surrogate to ask an unnamed candidate whether that candidate believed in God.

The email does not name the Vermont senator, but it talks about a man of “Jewish heritage” Marshall believes to be an atheist. It makes reference to voters in Kentucky and West Virginia, two states that were weeks away from a Democratic primary at the time.

“It might may no difference, but for KY and WVA can we get someone to ask his belief. Does he believe in a God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist,” said the email, to other party officials in its entirety. . . .

The leaked email prompted swift outcry online Friday afternoon. One apparent Sanders supporter tweeted: “HRC folks called Sanders “McCarthyite” & ranted about purity while DNC plotted to smear him as godless commie Jew.”

Whatever works.

L.A. TIMES: Why the weasel word ‘problematic’ should be banned.

Urban Dictionary, that indispensable compendium of vernacular terms and usages, defines “problematic” as “a corporate-academic weasel word used mainly by people who sense that something may be oppressive, but don’t want to do any actual thinking about what the problem is or why it exists.” . . .

What’s more, as I’ve observed it, “problematic” tends to get used in inverse proportion to the seriousness of the offense.

We don’t hear “problematic” applied to police shootings of unarmed black men or to legislation preventing transgender people from using certain bathrooms. (The operative description of those issues would be, respectively, “actual problem” and “stupid.”) We certainly don’t hear it when the topic is international finance or the NFL because most people who use “problematic” can’t be bothered to follow such things. In the last few months the word has been applied, with some fanfare, to Calvin Trillin, who published a poem about Chinese food in the New Yorker that was deemed racist, and to Taylor Swift’s new boyfriend, whom fans are unhappy about because … I have no idea.

People who obsess over such things should be brutally mocked. It should be painful to be that stupid.

July 22, 2016

CHANGE: I (was a lifer) am a Dem and I’m Voting for Trump. Let’s talk about it… #DemExit.

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I HOPE WE’RE NOT TOO MESSIANIC, OR A TRIFLE TOO SATANIC: Me In The New York Post: Trump’s Not A Savior, But Neither Was Obama.

IMAGERY: Ivanka Trump is the Anti-Bill Clinton: Two featured family members paint the convention choice between new and inspiring, old and tired.

Bill’s not looking so good these days. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with him at the Convention.


VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Dream of Muslim Outreach Has Become a Nightmare. “When President Obama entered office, he dreamed that his hope-and-change messaging and his references to his familial Islamic roots would win over the Muslim world. The soon-to-be Nobel Peace Prize laureate would make the U.S. liked in the Middle East. Then, terrorism would decrease. But, as with his approach to racial relations, Obama’s remedies proved worse than the original illness.”

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Georgetown 3L: Law School Is A Terrible Idea For Most People. Of course, that’s true of any graduate program. Or college major.




IF ONLY WE HAD SOME WAY TO KILL THEM EFFECTIVELY, EN MASSE: Aedes Aegypti Mosquito: Fighting the Most Dangerous Animal in the World.

GOOD BOY: Dog’s heroic action saves 79-year-old owner’s life.


LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Twins, 44, Try to Get Pregnant With Cancer-Patient Method.


UPDATE: “The suspect was an 18-year-old Iranian who lived in Munich, police told a news conference, but his motive is unclear,” the BBC reports (read: obfuscates).



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CROOKED HILLARY CACKLES OVER CRUZ CONVENTION SPEECH: Her interpretation differs from Newt’s. Republican divisions over Trump were the convention’s biggest issue.

SCOTTY, TWO TO DRINK UP: Celebrating 50 years of Star Trek with Schmaltz Brewing Company’s “The Trouble with Tribbles” beer.

I’m holding out for a blackmarket bottle of Romulan Ale — only for medicinal purposes, of course.


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IT’S NOT AN EXPERIMENT IF YOU KNOW HOW IT WILL TURN OUT: 70 Years Ago, the U.S. Military Set Off a Nuke Underwater, And It Went Very Badly.


And “one hour before the Munich carnage began,” the London Daily Mail adds, “Obama had held a joint press conference with Mexico’s president, criticizing Donald Trump for exaggerating terrorism threats.”


ERDOGAN HAS GONE TOO FAR: His self-serving purge damages Turkey’s democracy.


As PJM’s Tyler O’Neil writes, “Duke does indeed represent a threat to the Republican Party, and Louisiana Republicans and their national counterparts are wise to reject him. While he may be right in opposing Affirmative Action, his disgusting declaration that ‘European Americans’ face ‘ethnic cleansing’ is beyond the pale and utterly reprehensible.”

Read the whole thing.

CONFLICTING REPORTS OF MUNICH SHOOTERS’ MOTIVES: “Reports of the gunman’s behaviour were confused and contradictory,” the London Telegraph notes. “A Muslim woman told CNN that she heard the gunman yell: ‘Allahu Akbar,’ yet video footage showed a gunman ranting against foreigners and Turks, suggesting a Neo Nazi attack.” In any case, the Telegraph adds, “Islamic State supporters celebrate on social media.”

TRUMP AS THE DISRUPTIVE PRESIDENT: Michael Barone says “Over history, America has mostly been built by disruption.” He wonders if Trump will disrupt the culture war-driven electoral pattern that has been in place for two decades. Read the whole thing.

LIVE AND LET EAT: Judge Not Your Neighbor’s Love for Mac n’ Cheetos.

VENEZUELANS FLEE THEIR SOCIALIST ECONOMIC WRECK: This article focuses on refugees entering Colombia. The situation is tragic and is going to get worse. I am bothered by missing information in this otherwise factual AFP report. Yes, declining oil revenues did unleash “deep recession, chronic shortages and hyperinflation.” The troubles do threaten “17 years of socialist rule” under Nicholas Maduro and Hugo Chavez. But their socialist dictatorship and economic ignorance created the systemic economic and political conditions where a price decline could wreak havoc. A few days ago Bloomberg ran an article which depicts the hell Venezuelans are fleeing. The diarist records her family’s hunt for food and necessities in Caracas. The big score occurs on June 17 — a five kilo can of corn flour.

RELATED: Tim Worstall has worthwhile thoughts in a Forbes magazine opinion piece. A commenter says “imperialist tampering” caused Venezeula’s woes. In a detailed reply Worstall dismisses that nonsense. Worstall doesn’t blame socialism per se for the mess, but fingers Chavista stupidities, such as “idiot interventions into the price system.” Read the whole thing.

MORE: This long StrategyPage update backgrounds Colombia’s current political situation then moves to a detailed discussion of the Venezuelan government’s decision to put the army in charge of the country’s food supply.

“HE’S NOT THE MESSIAH, HE’S A VERY NAUGHTY BOY:” Me In The New York Post: Trump’s Not A Savior, But Neither Was Obama.


Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna on Friday that air conditioners and refrigerators are as big of a threat to life as the threat of terrorism posed by groups like the Islamic State.

The Washington Examiner reported that Kerry was in Vienna to amend the 1987 Montreal Protocol that would phase out hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, from basic household and commercial appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators, and inhalers.

“As we were working together on the challenge of [ISIS] and terrorism,” Kerry said. “It’s hard for some people to grasp it, but what we–you–are doing here right now is of equal importance because it has the ability to literally save life on the planet itself.”

As someone tweeted in response, just imagine if Trump had said this. But let’s put Kerry and his party to the “global test:” When Congress returns from vacation, one of the first bills to be put up for a vote should ban the use of air conditioning at Foggy Bottom.

NEWS OF ANOTHER ELECTION: For UN Secretary-General. Handicappers favor former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres and former Slovenian president Danilo Turk. There is a serious effort underway to elect a woman secretary-general.

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: SOCOM Looking to Stealth Motorcycles.


The prototypes were first developed in 1980.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: Leaked DNC Emails Reveal Discussions About Attacking Bernie Sanders’ Religion.

NEWS YOU CAN USE. Obama: ‘The World Has Never Been Less Violent.’

Related: Munich Attacked: Several Shot at Mall, Gunmen on the Loose.

UPDATE: As frequent PJM contributor Patrick Poole tweets, “Ooofff…:”


LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Facebook’s Giant Internet-Beaming Drone Finally Takes Flight.

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Why, it’s like there’s an email list for DNC-MSM stenographers to coordinate their talking points or something. A list for journalists. A journalists’ list. Give me time, I’ll eventually think of a catchier name for it!

But as I said last night, it’s fascinating to watch a media that spent the last eight years hyping snipers, riots, racism, campus “rape epidemics,” Christian bakeries and pizza parlors, and the existential hell that is the gender-segregated bathroom suddenly having a Reagan-esque everything is wonderful “Morning in America” moment today isn’t it?

Which brings us to the DNC-MSM’s community organizer in chief’s response to Trump’s speech: Obama Hopes Americans Noticed ‘Birds Were Chirping’ After Trump’s ‘Vision of Violence and Chaos.’

UPDATE: Hey, did anyone make a ‘Mourning in America’ joke about Trump’s speech yet? Everyone?


But he did top Romney.




So which flavor of socialist is Trump this week? Is he Hitler, or Woodrow Wilson?

And note that while Maddow has no problem smearing Trump as Hitler (and Woodrow Wilson), when it comes to Republican voters’ responses to Hillary’s corruption, Maddow desperately needs a safe space woobie – and believes her viewers do as well:

Warning — viewer discretion advised.

That was the precursor for Rachel Maddow’s segment on Wednesday in which she showed viewers an array of anti-Hillary Clinton campaign buttons.

Maddow cautioned snowflake-viewers with a trigger-warning: “You may find it uncomfortable. And so, you may not want to look at this stuff,” referring to slogans like “Hillary for prison” and “Vote no to Monica’s ex-boyfriend’s wife in 2016.”

Reminder: Rachel Maddow was a protégé of former MSNBC anchor/spittle-flecked raver Keith Olbermann, who in 2008 when Hillary was hanging on during the Democrat primaries and slowing Obama’s inevitable coronation, demanded someone from the Democratic Party “take her into a room and only he comes out.”

She debuted on Air America, also home to Randi Rhodes, who in 2008 was suspended from the now-defunct leftwing talk radio network for describing Hillary as a “big f***ing whore” and the since-deceased Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman nominated to be vice president as “David Duke in Drag” for supporting Hillary that year.

But Maddow thinks a few anti-Hillary campaign buttons will cause her fellow lefties to dive for the fainting couches?

Earlier: Maddow Rambles For Three Minutes on “Incredibly Radical” “Openly Gay” Republican Peter Thiel.

I’m old enough to remember when being dubbed a “radical” was a compliment by lefties.



FASTER, PLEASE: This machine could remove plaque from your arteries in minutes.



WHY DO WE HAGGLE WHEN WE BUY CARS? “Saturn got rid of haggling at its dealerships. It went out of business. Scion got rid of haggling at its dealerships. It, too, went out of business.”

SKYNET SMILES: NASA’s Curiosity rover can now fire its onboard laser all by itself.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Amazon Prime’s latest perk is discounted student loans.


THIS IS NOT THE 21ST CENTURY I WAS PROMISED: Chatbot lawyer overturns 160,000 parking tickets in London and New York.

Dubbed as “the world’s first robot lawyer” by its 19-year-old creator, London-born second-year Stanford University student Joshua Browder, DoNotPay helps users contest parking tickets in an easy to use chat-like interface.

The program first works out whether an appeal is possible through a series of simple questions, such as were there clearly visible parking signs, and then guides users through the appeals process.

The results speak for themselves. In the 21 months since the free service was launched in London and now New York, Browder says DoNotPay has taken on 250,000 cases and won 160,000, giving it a success rate of 64% appealing over $4m of parking tickets.

“I think the people getting parking tickets are the most vulnerable in society. These people aren’t looking to break the law. I think they’re being exploited as a revenue source by the local government,” Browder told Venture Beat.


EXCLUSIVE: Manafort to PJM: Trump’s Speech Had ‘Truth-Telling Tone’


Shot:  “Airplane! is an American comedy film, first released on 27 June 1980, produced, directed, and written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker. Airplane! starred Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lorna Patterson. For release in Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines, Airplane! was re-titled as Flying High.”

—Found on the Wiki for Cartoon Network’s Robot Chicken TV series.

Chaser: “Come high with me British Airways jet forced to make emergency landing after stench of CANNABIS fills plane.”

The London Sun, yesterday. It’s a not-so-entirely different kind of flying, all together!

(Classical reference in headline.)

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: College rifle, pistol-shooting clubs under fire, underfunded amid gun debate.

Mass shootings and increasing politicization of the gun debate have left the activity marginalized, especially at eastern schools “staffed by liberals who have never touched a firearm in their lives,” according to the Young America’s Foundation spokeswoman Emily Jashinsky.

“[As gun issues] become a hotter topic and the more conservatives voice their opinions, the more liberals will try to stifle them,” Jashinsky said, adding that universities are “the most insulated bubbles of leftist thought.”

Do tell.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Try Squats Instead Of Kegels.

GREAT MOMENTS IN MSM CHUTZPAH: Alex Wagner Un-Ironically Scoffs: ‘Being Presidential’ More Than ‘Being Able to Read a Teleprompter.’

As NewsBusters notes, Wagner is a former MSNBC anchor “and current Senior Editor of left-wing publication The Atlantic.” She’s been married since 2014 to Sam Kass, who from 2009 through 2014 “served as President Barack Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy, as Executive Director for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, and as an Assistant Chef,” as his Wikipedia bio notes. The Obamas attended their wedding – along with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

Regarding Wagner’s complaint, perhaps we should give the final word to Obama’s old buddy, Teleprompter XD-235.

SOCIALIST PROSPERITY: McDonald’s Restaurants In Venezuela Stop Selling Big Macs.

Bloomberg reports that Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. stopped selling Big Mac sandwiches in Venezuela this week amid a bread shortage.

The Buenos Aires-based company, which operates more than 2,000 restaurants, says the stop-sale is only temporary, and that other sandwiches are available.

“McDonald’s Venezuela is working to resolve this temporary situation,” Daniel Schleiniger, a spokesman for Arcos Dorados, tells Bloomberg. “Together with our supplier, we are evaluating the best options that will allow us to continue serving high quality food to our customers.”

Bad luck, I suppose.

OIKOPHOBIA, BIG DESTROYA: Liberal Journalists Seethe With Hatred on Twitter When Republicans Applaud Gay Speaker at RNC.

Take pity on the coastal DNC-MSM elites; it’s not easy watching your stereotypes about flyover country being destroyed before your eyes in real-time.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, LEGAL EDUCATION EDITION: Amidst 38% Enrollment Decline, Nine Thomas Jefferson Faculty Retire.

KEVIN D. WILLIAMSON: What does Hillary want? Her only goal is an inauguration.

Read the whole thing.

ALLIES: Power Restored to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.

After these last seven years, it doesn’t seem all that strange to wonder what we had to give up to get our NATO ally to switch the power back on at our nuclear airbase.

RIP NFL COACH DENNIS GREEN, 67: The former Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals head coach died of cardiac arrest, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

IN THE MAIL: From Tony Daniel, The Dragon Hammer.

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TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1170.




BLUE MODEL BLUES: The Pension Vise Tightens in California.

Earlier this week, CalPERS—California’s pension fund for most public employees—reported abysmal annual earnings of 0.61 percent, a tiny fraction of the seven-and-a-half percent annual returns needed to keep it solvent over the long run. And its sister fund for teachers, CalSTRS, isn’t doing much better. . . .

As Steven Malanga has noted, both of these union-managed funds are notorious for pulling political stunts even as they face gaping shortfalls, going on a misguided “green” investing binge that flushed taxpayer money down the drain, and pulling out of tobacco companies on moral grounds just before those stocks began to rise.
But the underlying flaw with the funds is not their politicization. If anything, these kinds of moves are a distraction from more pressing crisis of public employee retirement systems: That state legislatures have epically over-promised the level of retirement benefits they can reasonably provide, and obscured this reality by presuming levels of investment returns that are impossible to sustain, especially in this era of historically low interest rates.

This long-running failure of governance may be irreversible. All that’s left for state governments to do now is reform pension systems for new employees, phasing out defined-benefit systems for 401(k)-style plans, and, where possible, trim benefits or raise contribution requirements for current workers. In the meantime, federal policymakers should start thinking about a reform-for-relief framework that will enable states and localities to honor their obligations to retirees while getting their finances back under control for the long haul.


GEORGE ORWELL, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Actual headline at the London Daily Mail: “How Harry Potter can make you hate Donald Trump: Study finds J.K. Rowling books made people more tolerant and lowered their rating of Republican nominee.”

Emphasis, mine. If you’re “more tolerant,” why would you “hate” a political figure you disagree with, instead of attempting a bit of empathy to understand both what makes him tick, and what his supporters admire about him?


LONG WAR JOURNAL: Treasury designates 3 senior al Qaeda members in Iran.

I had been assured that welcoming Iran back into the community of nations was essential to securing Tehran’s help in the fight against al Qaeda.



YEAH, WELL, TOO BAD HE’S READ ALL OF HER EMAILS: It’s Official: Hillary Clinton Is Running Against Vladimir Putin.

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NEW CROWDFUNDING RULES ALLOW ANYONE TO INVEST ONLINE: As of May 16th, restrictions limiting who could invest in crowdfunding opportunities have been seriously reduced. Learn all about it at the NextGen Crowdfunding July 2016 Ignition Event.

Whether you just like crowdfunding as way to help small companies chase the American Dream, or you are a Crowdfunding Shark looking for interesting deals, this online Ignition event on July 27th at 5pm Pacific is for you!

You can watch and ask questions to companies with crowdfunding campaigns as they present at this unique live-online event. Optionally, you can also follow, track results or even invest.

Register to watch the event online, and submit your questions here.


RESET, PART II: Russia Bombed Base in Syria Used by U.S.

U.S. and British special forces based in Jordan cross the border into Syria on missions, helping maintain an unofficial buffer zone on Syrian soil to protect Jordan from Islamic State, U.S. officials said. The special forces would rendezvous with their rebel allies at the garrison, initially used by the CIA. For security reasons, the forces wouldn’t spend the night.

A contingent of about 20 British special forces pulled out of the facility less than 24 hours before the U.S. tracked Russian aircraft on June 16 flying across Syria to the garrison, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials briefed on the strike. The aircraft dropped cluster munitions on the target, according to U.S. officials and rebel commanders.

After that first Russian strike, officers with the U.S. military’s Central Command air operations center in Qatar called their counterparts in Russia’s air campaign headquarters in Latakia, Syria, U.S. officials said. The American officers told the Russians that the garrison was part of the U.S. campaign against Islamic State and shouldn’t be attacked.

Roughly 90 minutes after the U.S. warning was delivered, U.S. aircraft circling nearby watched as the Russians launched a second wave of strikes against the garrison.

A U.S. military surveillance aircraft overhead tried to hail the Russian pilots directly using the frequencies which the U.S. and Russian governments had agreed to use in emergencies.

The Russian pilots didn’t respond.

The airstrike happened before John Kerry reached a deal with Moscow on joining forces against terrorist elements in the Syrian Civil War, which should leave you with no doubt about which side held the upper hand in the negotiations.

MICHAEL BARONE: George Orwell, Call Your Office.


RESET: The Russian Air Force Is Back.

BECAUSE THEY’RE A DISHONEST, POLITICIZED AGENCY THAT HAS A LOT TO HIDE: Why Doesn’t the IRS Comply with the Congressional Review Act?

ACT WHILE YOU CAN: One last chance for wild speculation about Hillary Clinton’s VP pick.

Hillary Clinton will likely announce her vice presidential pick on Friday. The decision could come earlier, or her pick could be leaked, so let’s go ahead and speculate (somewhat wildly, although the list is getting narrowed) about whom her running mate might be.

Maxim Lott and John Stossel’s betting odds website gives Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine a nearly 70 percent chance of getting the pick. The website accurately predicted Indiana Gov. Mike Pence would be Republican nominee Donald Trump’s vice presidential pick, so there’s a fair chance they’ll be right this time as well.

Kaine makes sense on multiple levels. He’s a safe choice for Clinton, since he’s not bombastic but still very liberal (the media are trying to claim he’s a moderate, but no, there are no moderates left in the Democratic Party, only fewer attention-grabbers). He’s also the senator from a critical state — Virginia — which could help ensure Clinton wins the Old Dominion State.

Kaine also speaks fluent Spanish and as a lawyer, he focused on housing discrimination. He is also the former governor of Virginia (so he has executive experience) and former chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Here’s something else that could keep the odds in Kaine’s favor — his replacement. If he’s tapped to be Clinton’s running mate and they win, he’d obviously have to leave the Senate.

If this happens, Clinton crony Gov. Terry McAuliffe would be able to appoint a replacement, and could choose someone connected to the Clintons. McAuliffe is also term-limited, so he could always try to run for the seat himself if Clinton and Kaine win.

Nah, the deal’s been cut. He’ll appoint Chelsea to fill the seat.

THIRSTY WORK: Officials detect THC, marijuana’s active ingredient, in Colorado town’s public water supply.

On Thursday afternoon, authorities notified the town of about 800 people that the water should not be drunk, used to cook with or even to bathe. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment later downgraded the warning — it was safe to shower, brush teeth and do laundry with the tap water. Ingestion remained inadvisable.

There have not been reports of health issues linked to Hugo’s water, according to an AP report. Nor did every Colorado local seem terribly distraught by the idea of a cool glass of THC.

“I might have to go drink some water,” Patsie Smith, the former mayor of Hugo, quipped to the Denver Post.

I’m reminded of the story, perhaps even true, of a Salvation Army fundraiser who had been accused of allowing his local organization to accept “tainted” money. “The only thing tainted about it,” he was supposed to have said, “is that there taint enough of it.”


The Manhattan mogul sold himself as the champion of a downtrodden working class — “America’s blue-collar billionaire” as one speaker had called him earlier in the evening — promising to restore “law and order” and casting himself as a change agent against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I am your voice,” he boomed, pointing straight toward the television audience.

“Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change. Never ever,” Trump said. “My message is that things have to change and they have to change right now.”

Trump delivered a deeply negative speech that described a darkening America. He spoke of spiking crime, “third-world” airports, growing trade deficits, “chaos in our communities,” and terrorism on the home front. Abroad, he said the situation was “worse than it has ever been before.”*

“This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness,” he said.

The political jujitsu in the bolded passage is key — if Trump can paint Hillary as the voice of reaction and a continuation of an Obama administration that’s exhausted both domestically and (especially) abroad, not least of which, when it comes to fighting terrorism both home and abroad — he’s halfway home to being able to tell Hillary…


* Apparently from the Politco’s point of view, it’s time to cue Reagan’s “Morning In America” reelection ad to describe the current happy-go-lucky state of a fundamentally transformed country. That’s some powerful hallucinogenics they must consume there.