GOP: ERICKSON – Data show disaster; ZITO – Trump & the House; WILLIAMSON – Not an A/B test; LEIBOVICH – GOP squirm; KRISTOL – Neither one.
LEADS: HANSON – Cooked or raw?; FORBES – Renounce citizenship; BABBIN – US air forces neutered; STRASSEL – Hillary Guccifered; BOOT – Prez learned zip; McGROATY & ROBBINS – Gates admits no changes.
PA: SNYDER – POLITICS PA.
END NOTES: McCARTHY – Conservative choices; COPLEY – Climate change.
Tzvia Wexler, FIDF: Israel’s 68th Birthday
“We are pleased to announce that FIDF is celebrating Israel’s 68th birthday on Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, Thursday, May 12th at Philadelphia’s historic Congregation Mikveh Israel. The program will include Government officials, and we will be saluting Israeli and American soldiers in uniform and parents of lone soldiers from the Philadelphia region. Following the Program, there will be music, dancing, wine and appetizers. Registration fee is $18. Pre-registration is required!”
“. . .in a coincidence of history, April 23 was the one-thousandth anniversary of the death of a king of England named Ethelred the Unready. His passing wasn’t mourned, and his shameful nickname was earned by his failure to prepare and defend his nation against a Viking invasion.
“The president, Congress and the Pentagon’s leaders are making decisions that would do old Ethelred proud.” Jed Babbin
GOP . . .
“His long litany of lies — which include fabrications about everything from his wealth to self-funding his campaign — is disqualifying. His low character is disqualifying. His personal history is disqualifying. His complete, utter, total, and lifelong lack of honor is disqualifying. The fact that he is going to have to take time out of the convention to appear in court to hear a pretty convincing fraud case against him is disqualifying.” Kevin Williamson http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435091/donald-trump-republicans-unite
Erick Erickson, Resurgent: “The Data Shows [sic] Disaster”
“There is not a single blue state on the map that polls show will pivot to the GOP. Trump supporters claim New York will be in play. Hillary Clinton has a twenty-five point lead in New York. Hillary Clinton got more votes in New York’s Democratic primary than all the Republican candidates combined. Trump is not winning New York.
“In Nevada, Trump has championed winning Hispanic voters in the GOP primary. That amounted to approximately ten people in the Nevada caucuses. In Florida too, Trump’s “Hispanic win” was a minuscule number. Polling nationwide, in Nevada, and in Florida shows Hispanic voters overwhelmingly going for Clinton. Even worse for Trump and the GOP, Cuban voters in Miami, once a stronghold for the GOP, are trending Democrat because of Donald Trump.
“While there is not a single blue state that risks going red because of Trump, there are now four red states that risk turning blue. Utah, which is the most Republican state in the nation, is in danger. Georgia is in danger. Mississippi is in danger. Arizona is in danger. On top of that, the swing states of Virginia and North Carolina stop swinging away from the Democrats because of Trump. . .”
Salena Zito, RCP: “The House and the Trump Factor”
“Trump and the Democrats’ presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, have “unfavorable” ratings of 60 percent and 59 percent, respectively, which means a large part of the electorate feels it faces a choice of being shot or stabbed. Do they vote for Hillary over Donald, not vote at all, or skip the presidential ballot in order to support their down-ballot representatives?
“Somewhere inside that calculation is the sweet spot for the Republican majority.
“Shuster offered his support for Trump the day after he won his race. He, like U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Lehigh Valley and Republicans trying to hold on to their big majority in Pennsylvania, will be scorched with Trump brands on everything they do.
“The fire in this race is at the top of the ticket; that is the one thing we do know about this election cycle. Whether the flames spread down-ballot depends on the individual candidates.
“The one thing everyone should glean from this cycle is simple — never promise to deliver what you can’t, and always deliver what you promise.”
Kevin Williamson, NRO: “This Election Is Not an A/B Test
“. . . “If you aren’t for Trump, then you’re for Clinton” is a cheap rhetorical ploy. I’d write that any thinking adult would be ashamed for falling for that kind of sixth-grade debater’s stratagem, but a Republican electorate capable of choosing Donald Trump as its standard-bearer is incapable of shame. The angry insistence — him or her! — is, for the moment, mainly an attempt to forestall further criticism of Trump. That criticism consists of stating a fact that is not a matter of degree but a binary proposition, a yes/no question. It is not that Trump is less mentally stable than Mrs. Clinton (probably true) or that he is more dishonest than Mrs. Clinton (difficult to say) or that he might do even more damage to the republic, or any other point of comparison between the candidates. “The issue, instead, is this: Donald Trump is unfit for the office.
“He is unfit for any office, morally and intellectually.
“A man who could suggest, simply because it is convenient, that his opponent’s father had something to do with the assassination of President Kennedy is unfit for any position of public responsibility.
“His long litany of lies — which include fabrications about everything from his wealth to self-funding his campaign — is disqualifying.
“His low character is disqualifying.
“His personal history is disqualifying.
“His complete, utter, total, and lifelong lack of honor is disqualifying.
“The fact that he is going to have to take time out of the convention to appear in court to hear a pretty convincing fraud case against him is disqualifying.
Mark Leibovich, NYT: “Welcome to the Great Republican Squirm of 2016”
“. . . as remarkable as Trump’s rise has been, what’s maybe more remarkable is how he has exposed the lameness of the political ranks he is seeking to join. Why does he even have to bother with some of these losers now? Trump seemed to be wondering as much Wednesday morning when he was asked on the “Today” show whether he would be able to unite the Republican Party. “I am confident that I can unite much of it,” he said. “There are parts of it I don’t want.” This struck me as the kind of perfectly Trumpian declaration — smirking, confident and dismissive — that explains how Trump’s romp over what was supposedly an elite Republican field looked almost easy in the end.
“With the ranks of the defeated now completed — John Kasich quit the race on Wednesday — Trump’s victims are now lining up to demonstrate their rationalized devotion to their abuser. It is a diminishing spectacle. Bobby Jindal, a onetime Republican star who flailed wildly at Trump during his short-lived quiver of a campaign, said on Wednesday that he would most likely be voting for Trump in November. “I’m not happy about it,” he felt the need to add.
“Neither, apparently, are some officials at the Republican National Committee. Committee staff members were told that if they can’t support Trump, ‘they should leave by the end of the week,’ according to The New York Times. The words ‘kicking and screaming’ come to mind: unity, or else. . .”
William Kristol, Weekly Standard: “Neither Clinton nor Trump”
“. . . My GOP presidential voting streak will end at 11. I cannot vote for Donald Trump. It’s not clear that his mixed bag of motley policies would be superior to those of his Democratic opponent. He could well pick better Supreme Court justices, which is important; but he could well pursue a less sound foreign policy, which is also important. But policy is not the issue. Character is. It is clear that Donald Trump does not have the character to be president of the United States.
“And it is clear Hillary Clinton ought not to be our next president either.
“What to do?
“Find a better choice. Recruit and support an independent candidate.
“I’m not prone to encouraging or supporting independent candidacies. I’ve never done so. I think the two-party system has served America well. I think, all in all, the Republican party has served the country well. I could even make a case that, of all the political parties in the world, the Republican party is one of the most impressive: It’s been right more often about more consequential things than almost any other.
“But it was wrong to nominate Donald Trump. . .”
LEADS . . .
Victor Davis Hanson, NRO: “Clinton? Or Trump? It Depends on Whether You Like Your Obtuseness Cooked or Raw”
“. . . There are six long months to go in what has already become a reckless, grueling, and unpredictable campaign between two iffy candidates. By the time of the election, Hillary Clinton will be 69, she has health problems, and she is mired in a host of scandals, from the shakedowns of the Clinton Foundation to a possible federal reprimand or indictment over her reckless use of her private e-mail server for State Department business; Donald Trump is a year older, with a trail of business controversies, and he is capable of saying anything at any time.
“Amid that dilemma, my suggestion is to curb the hysteria about ‘Never Trump,’ while watching him closely over the rest of the spring and early summer, in the context of assessing, not whether he is a humane and principled conservative, but whether he is, as alleged by some conservatives, really less conservative and less humane than Hillary Clinton.
“The Reagan horse left the 2016 conservative barn many months ago, and it is coming to be time to pause and assess whether we are really left with only two bad choices — or with a bad Trump and a far, far worse Clinton.
“If it is the latter, then it is an easy choice in November.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435138/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-conservatives-never-trump-2016
Forbes: “Many Americans Renounce Citizenship, Even Before President Trump”
“Others claim they will leave if Hillary is elected.
“It seems crazy to call it the ‘New Normal’, but once again, record numbers of Americans are renouncing citizenship.
“Every three months, the Treasury Department publicly names individuals who renounced. It is surely more about FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act enacted in 2010, than it is about politics. Still, numbers are flying, with one poll saying that 1 in 4 Americans would consider leaving if Trump is elected. Others claim they will leave if Hillary is elected.
“In reality, of course, most who bristle about politics are not serious. And for those who are, they surely mean a temporary move, not a final exit. In contrast, giving up citizenship is a big deal. Yet the number of published expatriates for the first three months of 2016 was a record 1,158. In 2015, there were approximately 4,300 expatriations. Comparing present to past suggests that Americans renouncing citizenship have risen 560% from their Bush administration high. There are now 18 times as many renouncers as in 2008.
“Of course, these numbers seem tiny compared to the influx of immigrants. Yet expatriations have historically been much lower, making the uptick worrisome. Moreover, the published list is incomplete, with many not counted. . .”
Jed Babbin, Washington Times: “Neutering U.S. combat air forces”
Thx John Batchelor!
“Shrunken budgets and bad planning threaten national security
“Our military went into combat a month after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks when we attacked al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. In the nearly 15 years since, our air forces have flown almost constantly, attacking the terrorist forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The burden on them has worn out too many aircraft to the degree that they can no longer be flown in combat.
“As reported by Fox News, only a small minority of Marine Corps aircraft — about 30 percent of the Marines’ F/A-18s — are ready to fly and only 42 of their 147 heavy-lift CH-53E helicopters are airworthy. They — like the F/A-18s — are just plain worn out.
Retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mike Groothousen flew A-7 attack aircraft and F-18 strike fighters. He was captain (in combat) of the nuclear carrier USS Harry S. Truman and had four other aviation and surface commands in his career.
“Adm. Groothousen told me, “In 15 years of war we’ve consumed the useful lives of many aircraft much faster than planned or budgeted for. Depending on aircraft type, that overutilization ranges from 150 percent to 300 percent beyond normal training and deployment. That’s due, in part, to additional hours flown to, from and over the target area by fewer available aircraft and increased structural fatigue caused by constantly carrying combat fuel and ordnance loads versus that of a regular day-to-day pilot training.”
“As Adm. Groothousen points out, a pilot puts a lot more stress on an aircraft’s structure making a 5 g-force combat turn in an aircraft loaded with thousands of pounds of fuel and ordinance than he would flying an unarmed training mission. (Landing an aircraft with bomb and missile racks still loaded places more stress on the airframe than almost anything else. About 75 percent of our attacks against the Islamic State return with unexpended ordinance.)
“When the life of a combat aircraft is used up (6,000 to 9,000 flight hours for an F-18) it has to be replaced. Before that point (at the 6,000-hour level for an F-18), it has to undergo an extensive overhaul that costs millions of dollars and can take months to perform. Part of the problem is that the necessity for these overhauls is multiplying far more rapidly than the Navy has budgeted or planned for them.
“The Navy and the Air Force would both be far better off if they bought replacement F-18s, but their choices are limited because the F-35 is strangling their budgets. . .”
Kimberley Strassel, WSJ: “Hillary Gets Guccifered”
“If an unemployed taxi driver from Romania knew about Hillary’s server, so did China.
“Maybe it should be a verb: To be Guccifered. Though maybe, in Hillary Clinton’s case, it would be better phrased as a crime. As in: “They got her on a Guccifer.”
“Guccifer is the nom de Internet of the Romanian hacker Marcel Lehel Lazar. Few people realize it, but the Eastern European anti-hero is why the world knows that Hillary Clinton maintained a private email server while secretary of state. This week he may have made Mrs. Clinton’s road to the White House a lot rougher.
“It’s a case study in why governments have rules about online security. Guccifer’s specialty was hacking top officials and their relatives—with an eye toward mayhem and humiliation. He hacked the account of Dorothy Bush Koch and circulated photos of her father, former President George H.W. Bush, in the hospital. He hacked years of Colin Powell’s correspondence, including personal financial information. He went after FBI and Secret Service agents, senators and the wealthy.
“In March of 2013, Guccifer released hacked AOL email correspondence of Clinton crony Sidney Blumenthal, revealing numerous memos he’d sent to Hillary while she was the nation’s top diplomat. Mr. Blumenthal had sent these notes to Mrs. Clinton at a private, nongovernmental email address. Security experts tut-tutted about the risks, though the assumption was that Mrs. Clinton used the private account for the occasional interaction with friends or political operatives. It wasn’t until early 2015 that the nation found out Hillary was using the home-brew server to conduct every bit of her state business.
“But that timing is by the by. What matters is that Guccifer knew, at least by March of 2013, that the third-highest official in the executive branch of the most powerful nation of the world was using a private server. Does anyone think a man devoted to hacking politicians and Federal Reserve bankers would ignore that opportunity? . . .”
Max Boot, Commentary: “A President That Learned Nothing”
“Ben Rhodes, a 38-year-old former creative writing major, has emerged as one of President Obama’s closest foreign policy aides in spite of his almost complete lack of any qualifications in international relations, defense, area studies, or any related field. As deputy national security adviser, he travels with the president, sees him all day long, and not only writes his speeches and communications strategies but also shapes the content of policy.
“As an eye-opening New York Times Magazine article by David Samuels notes, he is ‘the single most influential voice shaping American foreign policy aside from POTUS himself’–a judgment that will no doubt rankle National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry but that is probably accurate. So close are they that Rhodes is said by his colleagues to have a “mind meld” with the president. “I don’t know anymore where I begin and Obama ends,” Rhodes himself says.
“So it is worth parsing closely this high-revealing profile of the callow young man who is in de facto charge of American foreign policy. For a start he obviously shares with his boss a predilection for overly revealing on-the-record interviews. American allies were shocked in April to read Obama’s disparagement of them in an interview with Jeff Goldberg of The Atlantic. Just as embarrassing are the revelations in the Samuels piece.
“Most of the initial reaction has focused on the revelations about how Rhodes has manipulated the facts to sell the Iran deal. Samuels notes, for example, that the administration claimed that the nuclear talks got under way in 2013 because of the election of a supposed moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as Iran’s president. This ‘was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal,’ he writes. The reality is that Obama was ‘eager to do a deal with Iran as far back as 2012, and even since the beginning of his presidency.’
“Moreover, the administration claimed that the deal would help ‘moderates’ in Iran to oppose a ‘hard-line’ faction even though Leon Panetta, Obama’s former CIA director and secretary of defense, is quoted as saying that the CIA analysis did not support the contention that the “Iranian regime was meaningfully divided between ‘hard-line’ and ‘moderate’ camps.” “There is much more along these lines in the article, including Rhodes’ boasts about how he feeds the White House propaganda line to Washington journalists who faithfully parrot his talking points.
“But what really struck me about the article is the supreme arrogance that grips this White House. . .”
Emmett McGroarty & Jane Robbins, Daily Caller: “Bill Gates Admits On Education Tech, ‘We Really Haven’t Changed Outcomes’”
Thx Joanne! Someone should tell BillyG about genetics and IQ . . .
“Progressive educrats tell us that the onset of the 21st century changes everything about how we educate children. What worked for little boys named Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill is now passe. In its place must be installed sophisticated technological systems for “personalized learning,” which will transform education. It’s becoming clear, though, that the new orthodoxy comes with major drawbacks, so much so that even High Priest of Education Technology Bill Gates finds it necessary to concede a few problems and give the congregation a pep talk.
“Recently Gates admitted to a convention of ed-tech entrepreneurs and investors that education technology hasn’t lived up to its transformational promise. Despite the millions of dollars the Gates Foundation and the education establishment have poured into such technology, Gates acknowledged that ‘we really haven’t changed [students’ academic] outcomes.’
“Although Gates hastened to reassure the parishioners that success is likely once the industry gets a better grasp of student and teacher needs, his acknowledgement of trouble in paradise is significant. Return on investment won’t come soon, he warned, and the path to profitability is strewn with obstacles such as budgeting challenges, untrained teachers, and lack of product piloting. But perhaps with eyes on tantalizing business prospects for Microsoft, Gates promised that his foundation will “do everything we can to help facilitate the creation of great technology. . .”
PA . . .
Sy Snyder, PoliticsPA: “5/6 Ups & Downs”
The FBI, stop-and-frisk, and a historic upset. See who made this week’s list!
“John Estey. It’s never good news when you get dangled up with the FBI. Over the weekend, we learned that Governor Rendell’s former Chief of Staff is going to plead guilty to wire fraud charges. Eventually, Estey’s own misconduct got him involved in an undercover sting operation to find other instances of political corruption. In fact, it appears there may be a connection between Estey and former State Treasurer Rob McCord’s similar situation. This whole episode continues to gather steam and could be quite the spectacle once it finally boils over.
“Donald Trump. Contrary to popular belief, America is no stranger to surprise, outsider presidential nominees: William Jennings Bryan, Wendell Willkie, Barry Goldwater, George McGovern. Trump, however, very well may take the cake. Very few people predicted that he could actually win the GOP nomination but this week the party rallied around him after his win in Indiana. Remember, though, that all those names above failed to ultimately win the presidency. At this moment CNN, the Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball all have Pennsylvania (as well as the entire Electoral College map) leaning toward Hillary Clinton. One miracle is hard enough to pull off, but to win the ultimate prize “The Donald” will somehow have to perform another.
“Jim Kenney. The Philadelphia Mayor wanted to heal the city’s internal divisions after his 2015 victory. That goal is proving much more difficult than he initially thought. Controversy over whether the city’s police force has actually moved away from “stop-and-frisk” policies, as Kenney promised they would, ignited a raucous crowd at a forum the Mayor attended. Kenney’s dour body language angered protestors and epitomized the whole sad situation. As the Bard wrote, “uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
“John Sabatina. Not all elections end on Election Night. Such was the case in the SD-5 Democratic primary between incumbent State Senator John Sabatina and State Rep. Kevin Boyle. This week, though, Boyle finally conceded after losing by just 602 votes. Given the heavily Democratic nature of the 5th district, Sabatina should be secure in that seat for as long as he wants.
“Seth Williams. The Philadelphia District Attorney just can’t escape his connection with controversial prosecutor and Kathleen Kane archenemy Frank Fina. On Wednesday, Philly Councilwoman Cindy Bass and Helen Gym vigorously condemned Williams’ decision to retain Fina and two other prosecutors on his staff who were involved in the lewd email chains during their time in the AG’s office. Williams’ decision to hitch his wagon to these men get more baffling by the day.”
END NOTES . . .
Andrew McCarthy, NRO: “After Trump, Conservatives Must Continue to Explore Their Options”
TheDonald runs not for patriotism but to make more money . . . and the politicians run to keep their influence by doing favors, distributing money, and keeping some for themselves. . .
“. . .While Trump has his fans, he troubles most conservatives — to put it mildly. That is because records matter more than late-life conversions, proclaimed with varying amounts of and coherence. On his record, Donald Trump is a left-wing Democrat, whose newfangled conservatism is suspect. He is a deal-maker, whose positions, regardless of the fervor with which they are announced, are best understood as the start of a negotiation — endlessly elastic. . .” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435116/third-party-independent-presidential-candidates-conservatives-republicans-donald-trump-hillary-clinton
Gregory Copley, UnCivilization: Climate Change
“. . .The chance of addressing ad adapting to the real phenomenon of changing climate – given that climate is not a static phenomenon – will be lost as urban societies, in particular, squander their economies on artificial and ultimately unproductive ‘carbon offset’ schemes instead of agricultural and industrial productivity. Instead we see ‘advanced’ urban societies feverishly preoccupied with sacrificing all to the God of Climate Change, rather than adapting to cyclic changing climate.” (2012, 169)