The most frequent words that come to mind when Americans think about Hillary Clinton are "liar" and "dishonest." That's according to a new national poll from Quinnipiac that asked more than 1500 registered voters to say the "first word" that comes to mind when they hear the Democratic presidential frontrunner's name.
The most frequently mentioned word was "liar," with 178 people mentioning the word. Next on the list are "dishonest" at 123 mentions and "untrustworthy" at 93 mentions. There were some positive words for Clinton mentioned frequently, including "experience" (82 mentions) and "strong" (59 mentions).
The same question was asked about Republicans Jeb Bush and Donald Trump. The most frequent word for Bush was "Bush" (136 mentions) followed far behind by "family" (70 mentions). Trump received much greater variance in the words used to describe him, with "arrogant" leading the pack with 58 mentions, followed by "blowhard" (38 mentions), idiot (35 mentions), and businessman and clown (34 mentions each).
Despite the negative terms for Trump, he remains in the lead in Quinnipiac's national poll of Republican or Republican-leaning registered voters with 28 percent support. Trump has even support across demographic and identity groups, including Tea Party supporters, white evangelicals, very conservative Republicans, and somewhat conservative Republicans. The New York businessman and reality TV star actually does better than average with self-identified moderate/liberal Republicans.
Behind Trump in the GOP primary is neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who gets 12 percent support. The remaining candidates register in single digits. On the question of who Republicans say they would "definitely not support" for the nomination, Trump also leads with 26 percent saying that of him. Bush comes in second on that metric with 18 percent, followed by 14 percent for both Chris Christie and Rand Paul and 13 percent for Lindsey Graham.
On the Democratic side, Clinton remains in the lead with a plurality of 45 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 22 percent and Joe Biden (who is not yet a candidate) at 18 percent.
If you want a good idea of how much water the media is willing to carry for Planned Parenthood, go ahead and check out this Politico story. It seems Planned Parenthood commissioned a "forensic report" to analyze the undercover videos that have got the organization in trouble for harvesting and selling fetal organs, and leaked it to Politico. This is an obvious PR move and should be a non-story but naturally, headline at Politico is "Report for Planned Parenthood finds sting videos manipulated." But despite that favorable headline, the results of the study -- which given the circumstances that brought it about -- seem somewhat mixed [emphasis added]:
A report commissioned by Planned Parenthood has found that the sting videos targeting its tissue donation practices contain intentionally deceptive edits, missing footage and inaccurately transcribed conversations. But there is no evidence that the anti-abortion group behind the attack made up dialogue. ...
But the firm also wrote that it is impossible to characterize the extent to which the edits and cuts distort the meaning of the conversations depicted and that there was no “widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation.”
But one other detail caught my eye that bears mentioning: "The report by research firm Fusion GPS, which was obtained by POLITICO, attempts to undermine the videos’ political, legal, and journalistic value."
As Ms. Strassel has reported in recent columns, Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot has become the target of a smear campaign since it was disclosed earlier this year that he had donated $1 million to a super PAC supporting Mr. Romney. President Obama's campaign website teed him up in April as one of eight "less than reputable" Romney donors and a "bitter foe of the gay rights movement." One sin: His wife donated to an anti-gay-marriage campaign, of the kind that have passed in 30 or so states.
Now we learn that little more than a week after that Presidential posting, a former Democratic Senate staffer called the courthouse in Mr. VanderSloot's home town of Idaho Falls seeking his divorce records. Ms. Strassel traced the operative, Michael Wolf, to a Washington, D.C. outfit called Fusion GPS that says it is "a commercial research firm."
Fusion GPS is run by a former Wall Street Journal reporter, Glenn Simpson, who wouldn't say who is paying him for this high-minded slumming but said in an email that Mr. VanderSloot was a "legitimate" target because of "his record on gay issues."
Politico should have mentioned this. But the pro-life movement has never gotten a fair shake from the media, and it seems that's not about to change.
Hillary Clinton compared Republican views on federal funding for abortion and elective contraception to the views of terrorists. Speaking in Cleveland Thursday, Clinton criticized Republicans who want to limit federal funding for abortions as wanting to deny "access to health care."
"Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world, but it's a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be president of the United States," said Clinton. Watch the video below:
"We are going forward, we are not going back," said Clinton, cribbing a line from Marco Rubio's stump speech.
At the New York Times, Nick Kristof has written a column in favor gun control in the wake of Wednesday's terrible shooting of a local news personality and camera man near Roanoke, Virginia. It's a drearily predictable column in that it reiterates a number of pat talking points about gun control that are easily refuted. Kristof writes:
The lesson from the ongoing carnage is not that we need a modern prohibition (that would raise constitutional issues and be impossible politically), but that we should address gun deaths as a public health crisis.
Ok, fair enough. I don't think Second Amendment advocates are against measures to reduce gun deaths that don't compromise their rights. But seven paragraphs later, Kristof writes this:
Australia is a model. In 1996, after a mass shooting there, the country united behind tougher firearm restrictions. The Journal of Public Health Policy notes that the firearm suicide rate dropped by half in Australia over the next seven years, and the firearm homicide rate was almost halved.
Australia is the model? Really? When Kristof writes the "the country united behind tougher firearm restrictions" he's eliding over the fact those tougher firearm restrictions included the banning of semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. (Handguns can be owned in Australia, but licensing requirements are onerous, and large caliber handguns are illegal, as are handguns that hold more than 10 rounds.)
Further, the Australian government confiscated somewhere between 650,000 and 1 million guns. The government reimbursed gun owners using the proceeds from a special tax, and called the program a "buy-back." President Obama also cited Australia's gun laws as an example for the U.S. to follow earlier this year, and yet the reporting on Australia by the U.S. media often fails to mention that this buy-back program was compulsory.
Finally, if Kristof wants to tout that "firearm homicide rate was almost halved" since Australia banned and/or confiscated the lion's share of commonly owned rifles., surely he's aware that, according to a Congressional Research Service report, the firearm homicide rate in the U.S. was more than halved between 1993 and 2013? And this decline in the homicide rate happened (mostly) during a period of expanding gun rights:
From 1993 to 2013, the estimated firearms-related homicide victim rate per one hundred thousand of the population decreased from 6.62 to 3.10.
Kristof's use of Australia is certainly revealing. If Kristof wants to ban and confiscate guns, he should say so plainly and directly because there's no way to praise Australia's gun laws without acknowledging that following their lead would involve banning and confiscating guns. To simultaneously say "the lesson from the ongoing carnage is not that we need a modern prohibition" and "Australia is the model" reveals either Kristof has no idea what he's talking or he's harboring a dishonest hidden agenda.
As New York suffers through yet another challenging era of ineffective political leadership, it is worthwhile to recall what one leader can accomplish under the most difficult circumstances.
Context here is New York, New York, circa the bad old days of the 1980s. Many of that era’s pundits had decided to write off The Big Apple. The David Dinkins era was the nadir—rampant crime, dangerous schools, a declining real estate market, and a depressed (and fleeing) small business community—a scene reminiscent of the bleeding, burning New York of the 1960s.
Then there came along a tough-talking crime fighting former federal prosecutor with a can-do attitude and willingness to mix it up with the most strident progressives of the time. His name was Rudy Giuliani—and he was a Republican in a town where Democrats enjoyed an overwhelming registration advantage.
But he knew how to lead. Specifically, he understood the need to identify what was broken and then fix it in a quantifiable way. And so the Giuliani Administration instituted a “broken windows” crime fighting strategy whereby law enforcement was empowered to draw a line in the sand at the commission of minor offenses. In the process, a newfound sense of security was delivered to a worn down populous more than fed up with the great city’s obvious decline.
New York’s monumental turnaround has been well documented by observers right and left. As they say, statistics don’t lie, and in the case of Giuliani’s New York, the statistics were dramatic. How dramatic? A $2 billion deficit turned into a multi-billion dollar surplus, a 58% decline in welfare rolls, a 56% decrease in violent crime between 1993 and 2001 (the number of street cops increased from 28,000 to 40,000), a public-private partnership cleaned up Times Square, high performing charter schools exploded, small businesses returned, and tourism made dramatic gains. The Big Apple was back.
Of course, many people contributed along the way, not the least of which was a police force newly re-engaged in restoring a great city’s pride. But it was the unrelenting drive of one indispensable man that turned it around.
History records that a “Giuliani-Light” Administration followed under the leadership of Michael Bloomberg. “Giuliani” because many of Rudy’s crime and economic policies were kept in place; “Light” because the billionaire-turned-politician also displayed an un-Giuliani-like proclivity for government interference into individual liberty—the popularity of Big Gulps and sugary desserts notwithstanding.
Fast forward to Gotham 2015 and the delusory Administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio. You have to give it to the new anti-Giuliani—he never sought to hide the uber-progressivism of his program. Indeed, year one of the de Blasio Administration has borne witness to the worst inclinations of the progressive agenda.
"One American citizen will effectively choose the next President of the United States" Chris Matthews opines for viewers in the movie Swing Vote.The little-seen movie, which comes with the tagline, "A nobody becomes the voice of everybody," is a story about Kevin Costner being able to decide the fate of a presidential election due to a voting error.
On a smaller scale, in Missouri, one woman has found herself in such a position.
Meet Jen Henderson, a student at Mizzou. At present, she is the only person capable of voting on a sales tax increase (expected to yield over $200,000) in a newly formed "Community Improvement District."
The Columbia City Council established the district on a 5-2 vote in April in response to a petition from a group of property owners in the CID boundaries. The “qualified voters” in a CID are capable of levying various taxes or assessments within the boundaries of the district to fund improvement projects. Under state law, decisions to impose sales taxes in a CID are to be made by registered voters living in the district boundaries. If no such registered voters are present, property owners vote.
The CID planned to hold an August election to enact a half-cent sales tax, projected to bring in about $220,000 of additional revenue for capital improvement projects. CID Executive Director Carrie Gartner said when CID officials contacted the Boone County Clerk’s Office about holding the election, they found out Henderson registered to vote with her Business Loop address in February.
Alas, when drawing the boundaries, the council overlooked Henderson, who is the only registered voter in the CID, which effectively makes her the decider of whether or not the levy passes.
For her part, Henderson is not pleased with the behavior of some of the tax's boosters. She tells the Tribune:
Henderson said she doesn’t want her involvement with the CID to be private. She said Gartner initially approached her in June to explain the goals of the CID and ask her to consider “unregistering her vote” so the property owners could make the decision. The more she researched the situation, Henderson said, things “just didn’t seem to be as good as they were saying to me at first.”
Gartner “tried to get me to unregister, and that’s pretty manipulative,” Henderson said. “The district plan and the district border is manipulative, too.”
Henderson hasn't told the press how she intends to vote, and the board may ultimately cancel the vote.
One thing is for sure: For those who joke that votes never really matter, they're wrong. It just takes an inept government bureaucracy to make them matter.
The latest salvo in a bizarre exchange of international sanctions has been fired. Russia has already taken its boycott of Western foodstuffs to theatrical extremes, bulldozing piles of cheese and destroying apples whose sole fault was their Polish origin. Now the government of Vladimir Putin seems to be turning on household cleansers as it tries to scour away the taint of Western business.
Russian state regulator Rospotrebnadzor had restricted the sale of laundry detergents, soaps, and cleaning products manufactured by American, European, and Ukrainian companies, citing unspecified safety concerns after conducting toxicity tests at various manufacturing facilities.
“Those products that do not meet the requirements are being removed from sale,” the regulator said, “Investigations into the household products and detergents of other manufacturers are continuing.”
“P&G’s Fairy Platinum dishwashing detergent, Werner & Mertz’s Emsal floor cleaner and Clorox’s Formula 409 cleaner. They also include Palmolive Naturals olive and moisturizing milk soap, made by Colgate-Palmolive.”
In addition, Russia curtailed the sale of several products manufactured by the German consumer-goods firm Henkel.
Meanwhile, both manufacturers and retailers have been left wondering how to respond to the announcement, which stopped short of forbidding retailers from selling the products.
Hopefully the issue can be resolved before Russian consumers are left confronting growing stacks of dirty dishes and piles of laundry without access to their preferred soap brands.
... will announce her “Plan for a Vibrant Rural America” in Iowa today, a day after Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack endorsed her for 2016.
According to a campaign press release the plan would, among other things
… strengthen the Renewable Fuels Standard
Which is to say, it would continue the ethanol boondoggle which manages to be both fiscally imprudent and environmentally damaging But it has been good … real good for the famers and distillers of Iowa. That we need to continue making fuel for our cars out of what would otherwise be food for livestock and people, at a time when the price of oil is dropping and the supply is increasing … well, that is something that only a presidential candidate needing a win in Iowa would get behind.
Back when she was in the Senate, Clinton joined her New York colleague, Charles Schumer, in his strong opposition to the ethanol mandate, adding her signature to a letter insisting that there was “...no sound public policy reason for mandating the use of ethanol.”
The letter was strongly opposed to what it called, “...an astonishing new anti-consumer government mandate — that every US refiner must use an ever-increasing volume of ethanol.”
… said consumers would be “forced” to use ethanol and that the legislation was “the equivalent of a new gasoline tax.”
The letter was on element in Ms. Clinton’s resistance and
In all, during her stint in the Senate, Clinton voted against ethanol 17 times.
Marina Koren at Government Executive writes that the Food & Drug Administration recently “sent a warning letter to the makers of Just Mayo, a vegan mayonnaise spread."
The FDA is concerned that the company may be deceiving buyers who believe they are buying mayonnaise when, in fact, Just Mayo is nothing of the sort. Why, it contains no eggs!
According to the standard of identity for mayonnaise, egg is a required ingredient (21 CFR 169.140(c)); however, based on the ingredient information on the labels, these products do not contain eggs. We also note that these products contain additional ingredients that are not permitted by the standard, such as modified food starch, pea protein, and beta-carotene, which may be used to impart color simulating egg yolk. Therefore, these products do not conform to the standard for mayonnaise.
The company that produces Just Mayo, Hampton Creek, now has “15 days to respond to the food safety agency’s memo.”
Fifteen days. Took a little longer than that, didn’t it, for the IRS to produce the Lois Lerner e-mails?
Nearly 200 retired generals and admirals have written a letter to Congress urging its members to reject the proposed nuclear deal with Iran. The retired military officials say the consequences of the deal will national security.
The letter is the latest in a blizzard of missives petitioning Congress to either support or oppose the agreement with Iran, which lifts sanctions if Iran pares back its nuclear program. Letters have been sent by ad hoc groupings of rabbis, nuclear scientists, arms control and nonproliferation experts — and now, retired senior military officers, many of whom have worked in the White House during various administrations dating back to the 1980s.
On August 18, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker became the first leading Republican presidential candidate to release a full-fledged Obamacare alternative. Walker’s alternative would fully repeal Obamacare and provide the sort of real reform for which Americans have long been waiting. But there has been a fair amount of misreporting in the wake of Walker’s announcement, and it’s worth setting the record straight.
It’s not Burr-Coburn-Hatch (or Burr-Hatch-Upton).
A couple of outlets, most notably the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, have erroneously suggested that Walker’s proposal is pretty much the same as the one released last year by senators Richard Burr, Tom Coburn, and Orrin Hatch. For better or worse, that claim is false—Walker’s alternative is not Burr-Coburn-Hatch.
To be sure, the Burr-Coburn-Hatch proposal, now updated as the Burr-Hatch-Upton proposal (with House Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton as the third member), has much to commend it. Like Walker’s alternative, it would not change the tax treatment of the typical person’s employer-based insurance and therefore wouldn’t needlessly disrupt the employer-based market. (In contrast, the approach that Marco Rubio recently outlined in an op-ed would change the tax treatment of the typical employer-based plan and thus would be vulnerable to the politically potent charge that it would jeopardize the insurance of millions of middle-class Americans.) Moreover, like Walker’s alternative (as well as Rubio’s approach), Burr-Hatch-Upton wouldn’t neglect to deal with the poor and near-poor who have become newly insured under Obamacare—an important element of any alternative that wouldn’t be politically dead-on-arrival.
However, Walker’s alternative is strikingly different from Burr-Hatch-Upton in other ways. Burr-Hatch-Upton would not repeal all of Obamacare; Walker’s alternative would. Burr-Hatch-Upton would allow states to “auto-enroll” Americans in insurance plans they didn’t pick and didn’t indicate they wanted to be enrolled in, sending taxpayers the bill; Walker’s alternative wouldn’t. Burr-Hatch-Upton would income-test its tax credits, thereby playing on Obamacare’s redistribution-centered turf; Walker’s alternative would not.
Advertisements in Japanese for handbags, backpacks, running shoes, and more began showing up on the website of the U.S. National Archives this week. Hackers managed to compromise a subdomain of the site, eisenhower.archives.gov. Below are screen captures of just two of the unauthorized pages:
A Google search turns up hundreds of such pages on the site as of Wednesday afternoon. The hack appears to have started some time on Tuesday.
The "eisenhower" portion of the National Archives website is dedicated to the presidential library, museum and boyhood home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Such hacks of government websites have happened before. As THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported in 2014, a climate change website was commandeered by an online drug seller, and in 2013 a website of the Department of Health and Human Services was found advertising NFL jerseys, Ugg boots, and Armani fragrances. The HHS hack was subsequently investigated by a congressional committee looking into information security at HHS.
An email to the National Archives seeking comment has not been returned several hours later.
The recent excitement about homes and businesses someday soon operating off the grid—courtesy of rapidly improving solar panels and the potential of Elon Musk’s batteries—isn’t exactly a new phenomenon: In the late 1970s and early ‘80s I attended a high school completely off the grid. It was nobody’s idea of a hippie commune—it was a Catholic high school in Peoria, Illinois. Its self-sufficient oil-powered power plant was an experiment borne of the idealism and fanciful impracticality of the committee in charge of constructing the school a decade earlier.
The motivation back then for being off the grid was a desire to avoid what were, at the time, relatively common power disruptions resulting from the severe weather that befalls Central Illinois. However, by the time the 1980s arrived, the local power company had managed to bury a good chunk of its lines and greatly improve reliability, while the school was stuck with a failing power plant it had paid a fortune for. Evidently, no one on the school board understood the concept of sunk costs.
When the maintenance issues became so severe that it threatened the school’s before and after-school basketball practices—of paramount importance in a basketball-mad town—some well-heeled donors financed an overhaul that put the school onto the grid.
The ignorance of sunk costs is a common affliction these days, and one that is implicit in many arguments that deride the current heated discussion about how continued efficiency gains in solar, combined with new technological gains in energy storage, could transform the provision of energy in the United States.Even if these gains come to fruition, however, the grid will likely be with us for the indefinite future, so it makes sense to think about what the grid, and our nation’s energy portfolio writ large, will look like a decade hence.
The high energy prices of a decade ago precipitated a tremendous amount of research (both public and private) in the energy sector, some of which remains stillborn (e.g. clean coal technology in the U.S.). But in other energy sources it has paid off. Most important from the U.S. perspective, hydraulic fracturing (better known as fracking) finally became cost-effective and practical after decades of research and experimentation, and the gains in oil and natural gas production it has engendered have completely changed the global energy market. The collapse of global oil prices has made life inconvenient for OPEC countries and potentially disastrous for the kleptocracies in Venezuela, while transforming the economies of Texas, North Dakota, and other states. In non-oil-producing areas it has also given the economies a boost because of lower energy prices, which is just what the doctor ordered after a decade of subpar growth.
With domestic oil production at historically high levels and threatening to overtake Saudi production, it’s natural to question whether we need to bother further incentivizing the development of other energy sources, especially given that some of these incentives expire in the near future.
The two journalists were news reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward of WDBJ news, the CBS affiliate in Roanoke in southwest Virginia. Parker and Ward were killed after a gunman, now believed to be a disgruntled former employee, opened fire during a live news broadcast Wednesday morning.
Last weekend’s Defending the American Dream Summit in Columbus played host to five presidential candidates: Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio. This part isn’t a surprise—the two-day event was organized by Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-funded political advocacy group that wields considerable power and influence. What was surprising was the most interesting speaker isn’t running for office. Rather, he’s mostly concerned about how someone runs a bar. His name is Jon Taffer, host of the popular series Bar Rescue on Spike.
On the show, Taffer takes on struggling bars and bar owners and almost literally whips them into shape. The native New Yorker has decades of experience in the hospitality industry—but it’s his drill sergeant persona that grabs one’s attention, translating into ever higher television ratings. (Take, for instance, his confrontation with a kitchen staffer who handles raw chicken and cooked food without washing her hands.)
On stage in Columbus, Taffer was just as furious—but this time because of the plight of small business: “Fortunes lost, family security lost, and their American dream destroyed by a politically charged, economic environment that again destroyed—not cultivated—their American dream. How about this? Approximately 600,000 small businesses open every year, 720,000 close! We’re bleeding to death!” He paces angrily. “Let’s face it, regulations are being implemented by law and executive order that can only be chosen with a complete disregard for small business, right?!” (Most of the audience applauds, but I can’t help wonder if some were trembling in fear. Having met with Taffer in the past, I'd add that aside from his booming voice and towering stature, there’s also the matter of his bulging eyes piercing your soul.)
In a phone interview earlier this week, Taffer sounded much more calm. And he seemed pleased by his performance at the summit, his first ever political event. “It felt fantastic,” he said. “You know, honestly, I feel like I have a message.” And he insists that the message was meant to be about policy, not politics. “I put together a speech that I believe I could have given at a conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican event.”
Except I’m not quite sure how Democrats would have responded to the health care segment of his speech: “With Obamacare, small business owners are forced to weigh the benefits of growing their business with the increased cost of mandated health care…. Legislation that is passed in the dark of the night causes concern from the get-go, doesn’t it? When our legislative leaders say, ‘You’ll see what’s in it when we pass it,’ that caused pause, didn’t it? That caused fear, didn’t it? The rumors flew! The fear of elevated cost grew—the cost did go up! And the failures of the White House PR team was monumental! Lightweight! They totally blew it!”