Sunday, July 24, 2016

For Hillary, Death by a Thousand Email Cuts

The Hillary Clinton campaign is facing another email scandal, with emails just released on WikiLeaks showing that the ostensibly-neutral Democratic National Committee was secretly helping Hillary in her primary campaign against Bernie Sanders. Well, it was't really a secret. But now it's been proved beyond any shadow of a doubt.

Of course, you can argue that there is nothing wrong with Democrats in the party apparatus working to prevent their party from being hijacked by the Socialist Bernie Sanders. Indeed, you might even tout how much better a job they did than the RNC apparatus in its efforts to stop Donald Trump. But the Democrats need Bernie's voters in the race against Trump, so that argument won't be made.

WikiLeaks, I've always thought, was the real reason Hillary used her own email server when she was Secretary of State. The small "s" socialists behind that project of getting like-minded hackers and low level IT people to steal emails and other electronic documents would have loved to have gotten all of Hillary's emails. That would have been one hell of a document dump.

Hillary can't make that defense either - that she trusted some small independent contractor more than all the resources of the big federal government. But we aren't reading her emails on WikiLeaks. I'll bet Debbie Wasserman Schulz is wishing the DNC had used a reliable private email server.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

No Joy in Trumpville, Melania Is Caught Out

Say it isn't so! When Melania Trump stepped up to the podium Monday night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, her speech appeared to hit it out of the park. But, as she rounded the bases, the ball which had been headed for the center-right field bleachers just seemed to drop. Caught out, for plagiarism.

And not just plagiarizing anyone, but the wife of the putative antichrist, Michelle Obama. It would not have been a worse gaffe if she had cribbed directly from her husband's opponent Hillary Clinton.

Melania (2016):
"From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."
Michelle (2008):
"And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and to pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children -- and all children in this nation -- to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."
The Trump campaign issued a statement that only compounds the gaffe:
"In writing her beautiful speech, Melania's team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania's immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
Now I agree that it is Team Trump and not Melania that deserves the blame. They gave her a bad bat, and she just swung away. But aren't they, perhaps the same clueless hack writers that botched the speech, offering the excuse that Melania's thinking was in part inspired by and reflects the thinking of Michelle Obama?
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
Michelle Obama's laughing, and all the Clintons shout;
but there is no joy in Trumpville — Melania was caught out.
Yes, I plagiarized that from Ernest Thayer.

Tonight, the convention will be hearing from children of Donald Trump's first and second marriages, Donald Trump, Jr. and Tiffany Trump. I hope for their sake that Donald Junior and Tiffany have fact checkers working overtime on their speeches. Talk about coming up to bat in a pressure situation.

Update: The Trump campaign hacks did get wise and started suggesting that they had in fact cribbed from My Little Pony, which is so much better, politically, than from Michelle Obama.

Update: The Lazy Daily Strumpet Farmer reports that the copying happened because Melania and Michelle shared the same speechwriter, Navin R. Johnson, The Jerk!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Feed the Birds! Trumppence Gets a Comeuppance

Donald Trump has devalued his own currency by picking Indiana Govenor Mike Pence as his running mate and then selecting this as their new campaign logo:



One can imagine the meeting with the graphic designer. Don't use a simple TP because that implies toilet paper, do something artistic. A lot of people on the internet are suggesting that the T is being inserted into the P in a manner that is definitely NSFW (not safe for work). Or, less obscene and more scatalogical, it's a closeup of a man making use of the room where the toilet paper is kept.

To me it seems to vaguely desecrate the U.S. Flag. And what's with the 7 stripes, one for each of the original seven states in the Confederated Sates of America?

If you look closely, might there be a subliminal hammer and sickle message to communists, with a T for the hammer and a P for the sickle:



Looking past the logo, I'm seeing Trumppence and wanting to feed the birds:



This may not end well for Trumppence:



Update: Perhaps noticing a subliminal hammer and sickle was not so crazy: In her speech at the convention, Melania Trump described herself as "born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then communist country in Central Europe." Could it be that at the heart of the Trump campaign is a small, beautiful communist?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Brexit Reveals Donald Trump Is Real James Bond

Today in the United Kingdom it was Brexit for breakfast, Trump for lunch:
"The people of the United Kingdom have exercised the sacred right of all free peoples. They have declared their independence from the European Union and have voted to reassert control over their own politics, borders and economy. A Trump Administration pledges to strengthen our ties with a free and independent Britain, deepening our bonds in commerce, culture and mutual defense. The whole world is more peaceful and stable when our two countries – and our two peoples – are united together, as they will be under a Trump Administration.”
When I first heard Donald Trump had flown to Scotland just in advance of the Brexit vote, I assumed he had gone to renew his Scottish passport and cast his ballot. Now I am sure Trump is a secret sleeper agent of the Queen sent here to undo American independence.

His name is Trump, Donald Trump, Agent OO0 on her majesty’s secret service.

FU to EU: Britain has Brexit for Breakfast

The results are in overnight, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has voted to leave the European Union, 51.9% to 48.1%. I guess that answers the question everyone in Britain has been asking.



The vote was expected to be close, but the pro-EU elites expected to eke out a win. It didn't help that EU officials were threatening how hard they would make it on the UK to leave. Now financial markets are in full panic mode, with the Euro down 3.58% and the British Pound down 11%, as the everyone tries to get their money out of both the UK and the EU.



Now the United Kingdom faces the fact that Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU while England and Wales voted to leave. Does that mean Scotland and Northern Ireland will leave the United Kingdom? Does the European Union even want them? Will other countries want to leave the EU? Might some countries be kicked out?



I was in London in 1991 for about 10 days at the time when the European Union was first being hyped. I remember a young grad student from Germany going on and on a little too enthusiastically about how great it was going to be.

Update: The stock markets across the world were generally down Friday following the Brexit vote but took some curious bounces:

CountryIndexChange
WorldGlobal DOW-5.41%
United KingdomFTSE 100-3.15%
United KingdomFTSE 250-7.19%
FranceCAC 40 -8.04%
GermanyDAX-6.82%
NetherlandsAEX-5.70%
SpainIBEX 35-12.35%
ItalyFTSE MIB-12.48%
SwitzerlandSwiss Market-3.44%
RussiaRTS Index-3.04%
United StatesDJIA-3.39%
CanadaS & P/TSX Comp-1.69%
MexicoIPC All-Share-2.73%
JapanNikkei 300-7.38%
ChinaDow Jones China 88 -1.34%
IndiaS & P BSE Sensex-2.24%

In the United Kingdom, the largest companies fared better than average but medium-sized companies were clobbered. Germany, France, and Netherlands got clobbered worse than the big companies in the United Kingdom (better to be the jilter than the jilted, I guess). Spain and Italy got hit even worse, suggesting people think they're next (probably to be kicked out of the EU). Switzerland and Russia, which are in Europe but not in the EU, fared better than average, as did the U.S., Canada and Mexico fared better than average. In Asia, Japan got clobbered but China and India got off light.

How much money was lost Friday? $2.08 trillion globally according to S&P. In real terms, zero. The stock markets reflect investor confidence about the future which is essentially a figment of the collective imagination. When rich people panic, they sell, and other rich people who aren't so panicked buy. When the rich people get over their panic, or events prove them wrong, stock prices go back up.

We'll see what happens Monday, but right now this looks at most like a six to twelve month setback, as compared to the ten year hole that was dug in 2008.

Update: Here in the U.S., at least, the stock market has recovered from the Brexit slump after just a week.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cambridge Enters End of School Zone

To my small town Iowa upbringing, it seems barbaric to make kids attend school into June. But today in Cambridge is finally the last day of school, a little earlier than many years because of the lack of snow days this past winter. Be sure to watch out for the little miscreants.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Always Something a Little Off About Canada

The clean and inviting cab line at the well-designed and uncrowded airport:

The well-manicured public lawns and the flag you otherwise only see at hockey games:

The funny see-through plastic money:

The invasion of the jelly fish: