Friday, September 30, 2016

Out of the Office, Back in the House

I am starting to wonder what is going to happen to office rental prices in certain areas of the country which are dominated by what we politely call "professional services."

I say that after a discussion yesterday, in regard to the physical locations of professionals who work in areas such as information technology support, or people whose work is primarily writing or developing content, people whose lifeline to their colleagues is not so much the coffee pot or the water cooler but the wireless network and the Internet.

Back around 2005 or so, when I was a corporate employee and not yet a private consultant, I started to be asked, and to see others being asked, if we wanted to take "a couple days a week" and work from home.  The company would reimburse the Internet service we would need to be able to work remotely.

I was perfectly happy not to commute, and worked from home a couple days a week.  For myself, well, I found it to be perfectly reasonable not to have to be in the office all day; to be fair, I worked with a fairly scattered force throughout the country whom I didn't meet with "live", all that often.

Although I can't say for sure that it was the company "trying out" teleworking in some way, it turned out to be the case.  Over time, the number of commuting employees dropped, but the work still got done as the number of teleworkers rose.

Now, I don't want to debate the value of telework or telecommuting (I still don't know the difference, or care).  I simply wanted to comment on the curious implications, and there are several.

Obviously, for me the first thing was that I looked in the mirror and asked myself what the heck I was doing living in northern Virginia, a hugely expensive place to be, when I rarely went to see anyone locally anyway and lived on conference calls and online work.  As a consultant with multiple clients, I could literally live anywhere there was wireless Internet, and it wouldn't change my ability to be hired or my effectiveness for my clients.

So I'm now a 100% teleworking consultant, in a different and less-expensive part of the country.  But it's not about me.

One of my major clients had a headquarters facility ten years ago, including three fairly large towers in the complex, and hundreds and hundreds of employees worked there.  Today, although they are every bit as successful as they were back then, they occupy only one tower in that facility.  It is still their corporate headquarters, but obviously the need for sit-in-the-office types has shrunk massively.

The rest of their employees are, to put it bluntly, elsewhere.  And most of those are at home, still working for the same company, a firm whose rent bill has shrunk dramatically.  Since their expenses have dropped, and since they are a primarily Federal contractor (a very low-margin business), those lowered costs have made them cheaper -- and the government needs to spend fewer taxpayer dollars to get the same services it got before.

It's a win-win; the company is more competitive and the customer (the government) is paying less, so in turn it reduces the rapid increase in the national debt.  OK, I know the government will keep on spending, but you get the idea.

Aside ... In fact, and this is absolutely true, but last night one of the VPs at a client of mine asked me to a meeting next Wednesday in northern Virginia.  I wrote back and reminded him that I no longer lived in the area and could easily dial in to the meeting.  A man I work with daily had completely forgotten that I was living in another state.

There is, of course, a loser in all this.  That would be the owners of the buildings in congested metropolitan, urban and close-suburban areas that are being vacated at a high rate.  Northern Virginia real estate, like the real estate in other places where there are office buildings but fewer companies needing them, is becoming a luxury for companies, not a necessity as it was.  I would not have wanted to have invested in such a building a few years ago without an airtight tenant and a 20-year lease already signed.

The Internet, the promulgation of wireless availability and the success of telework has engendered a number of real changes to the work paradigm.  None is as dramatic as the financial risk to office building owners.  We, the professional employees, simply no longer need the physical presence we one had; dramatically fewer of us need to be in the office that often, and many of those need never be there.

It's neither a good nor a bad net "thing", but it is certainly worth noting that there are substantive impacts on our daily lives and on the costs of certain services formerly dependent on big staffs in big offices.

Sometimes, apparently, the more things change, the more they change.  There's probably a French phrase for that.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
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Thursday, September 29, 2016

No Immunity for the Taxpayer-Paid

There is a congressional committee hearing going on as I write this, with FBI Director James Comey essentially defending the fact that Cheryl Mills, the lawyer who has defended and represented the Clintons for a long time, was apparently granted some form of immunity from prosecution, and will not be pursued by the FBI for the destruction of government records and, possibly and likely, classified material.

Cheryl Mills was also -- and this is truly sad -- allowed to be present when Hillary Clinton, who was not even put under oath, was asked questions by the FBI in regard to her use of a private email server to conduct official government business.  That appears to be in conjunction with the FBI's actions respecting attorney-client privilege in regard to the events of Hillary's tenure at State.

We've also seen a pretty large number of Clintonistas associated with the State Department in the golden years of Hillary's secretariat also granted immunity.  And now, apparently, no one is to be investigated any longer, at least by the FBI, and the American public is sitting here with no grand jury hearings, no one even slapped on the wrist, no one even called to account, lots of Fifth Amendment pleadings, and plenty of immunity.

And Cheryl Mills walks merrily off, whistling in the wind.

One little problem, though.  And this is the one that has me immensely frustrated.  During Hillary Clinton's tenure at State, the entire tenure there, Cheryl Mills was her chief of staff, meaning that she was a Federal employee, salary paid for by the taxpayer.  By you and by me.

To my way of thinking, the Clintons and Cheryl Mills cannot have it both ways.  If Cheryl Mills has a protected status under attorney-client privilege, because she was Hillary's attorney while she was Secretary of State, she needs to refund to the taxpayer her entire salary, for the four years or so that she was there, and then I'll be happy to have the FBI grant her all the protection and confidentiality she can eat.

But I paid her frigging salary for those four years, as a taxpayer, and I sure as heck did not pay her to be Hillary's lawyer.  She was paid to be the chief of staff as well as counsel to the secretary, meaning that she was privy to the goings-on and the emails because, as chief of staff, she was running the office of the secretary.  Being paid to be the counsel to the secretary, well, that is providing legal advice to the office of the secretary, not as personal lawyer to Hillary Clinton.

The only way that anyone could recognize that Cheryl Mills had a shred of attorney-client privilege between 2009 and 2013 would have been if she had not had a taxpayer-paid job in that time, and her lawyering was to Hillary the person as opposed to Hillary the Secretary of State.

We certainly need for someone, perhaps one of the senior Republicans on the House committee that was grilling James Comey, to point out that, by taking a salary from the Federal government, Cheryl Mills cannot claim that she was also Hillary's personal lawyer, even if she was paid for legal fees by Hillary privately, on the side.

That's called a "conflict of interest."  It appears not to concern the left, the Obamists and the Clintonistas.

But it sure as heck concerns me.  And it should bother you too.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Not-So-Silly Debate Question

I have the news on TV in the house in the background while I work during the day.  So as I write this Tuesday afternoon, I am up to here with analysis of Monday night's debate.  There has been so much commentary, to the exclusion of almost all the rest of the day's news, that I truly feel I can't add anything insightful that wouldn't have been said eleven times by eleven different analysts and commentators.

In case you asked, I came down on the side of those who thought pretty much nothing should have changed in the polls; Trump was Trump and Hillary was Hillary.  We had probably forgotten what it meant to be Hillary, since she hadn't answered an unplanned question since 1947, but we remembered, after her plastic grin and condescending attitude reminded us who she is.  And yes, I thought Trump left about a billion dollars worth of points he could have made on the table.

But I have a different question.

Lester Holt was the moderator, as we all know, and I think it is fair to say that he was indeed fair, but indeed unbalanced.  His questions to Trump were not unfair; he certainly had a right to ask them, although some -- the birther thing for one -- were utterly irrelevant to the running of the country and wasted valuable minutes of a relatively brief debate.  However, Holt asked next to nothing of Hillary about comparable issues of contention -- Benghazi, the email server itself, the Clinton "Foundation", Uranium One.

What Holt said before the debate is a bit more relevant.  That would be when he admonished the audience to be silent during the ninety minutes of the debate itself.  Sit on your hands, make no sounds, he said.  For the most part, the audience complied.  Made up, it would seem, of some relative balance of supporters between the two candidates, there were only a few scattered times when they broke the silence.

But that is where the question comes in.  If there was a real problem with the potential of an audience making noise during the debate, and possibly influencing the TV audience's perception of what had happened, than why the heck was an audience in the auditorium in the first place?

Seriously, could they not simply have produced the debates in a spare television studio without an audience, exactly as the Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960 were done?  We would have been spared all the worry about audience sounds, all the worry about production.  They could all be done in the same studio.

The talking heads could then be anywhere they wanted to be, watching on TV like the rest of us.  We would be spared the big spin room we all detest, as well as the previous day's features on the location of the debate (hint -- 44 songs by the Hofstra University band were not what we turn on the news to hear).

Moreover, I rather think that a studio debate would actually temper the tone, as well as the perceived importance of the debates.  Without an audience to play to, silent or not, the candidates could talk to the issues, and the moderators might actually ask questions of relevance to the viewer, like, you know, what their plan to reduce the national debt might be.

That isn't going to happen this cycle, but I would really like for the Commission on Presidential Debates, or whatever they might be, to give it a thought.

I think the product would improve, to the betterment of the USA.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mourning the King of the Army

If you are 65, as I am, and a golfer, as I am -- or even a fan of the game for long enough -- your passion about last night's debate can take a slight back seat to our mourning of the loss of an all-time great of our sport and our nation.

Arnold Palmer, the King, has passed away.

I come from an era in which golf was a sport fairly new to television -- TV itself was a fairly recent development as far as its presence in the typical American home.  I remember a show called All-Star Golf, which lasted a number of years in the late 1950s and maybe early 1960s.  It was not the broadcast of any PGA tournament; it was a custom-done 18-hole match between two tour players, and we saw perhaps 12-13 of the holes actually played in the show.

I remember a young fellow name of Arnold Palmer -- he would be representing the "Laurel Valley Country Club, Ligonier, Pennsylvania" and would compete against some pros of the 1950s who were fading from the scene at the time -- Lloyd Mangrum, Tommy Bolt, Dow Finsterwald, fellows like that.

Palmer got my attention back then and I became a big fan of his.  His wins in the Masters in 1960, 1962 and 1964 and the U.S. Open in 1960 and a British Open or two cemented that fandom.  I naturally resented the arrival on the scene and rise of a younger Jack Nicklaus, more so than the third member of the big triumvirate of golf then, Gary Player.  Player, a South African, was my size more than the much taller Arnie and the much bigger Nicklaus, so I was OK with Player.  But head to head, Arnie was my guy.

There are four major tournaments; the PGA Championship is the last each year and was the one that Arnie had never won when he put on a tremendous charge in the 1968 PGA.  Nearly 40 at the time, it was certainly thought this might be his best shot to secure the last championship needed to achieve his career Grand Slam.

I'm not going to look this up, because I want to remember it the way I recall it now, 48 years since; I was living in Chicago that year and was visiting an uncle who lived there.  What I remember is Arnie trailing in the last round but within a stroke or maybe two.  With one or two holes left, Palmer hit a drive into woods maybe 220 yards from the hole and badly needing a birdie to tie for the lead.

Arnie took out a 3-wood, not something you'd normally hit out of woods, and without either a very good lie in the woods or a good line to approach the green.  But he showed then why he was the King, smacking an unbelievable shot onto the green with an 8 or 10-foot birdie putt left to tie.

Of course, he then showed why he was human, with heroic flaws.  He missed the putt, and ended up not winning the PGA that year -- or ever.  He was second three times, I remember that.

I was a high-school golfer then.  High-school kids being hat we were and are, we competed.  You were an Arnie guy or a Nicklaus guy (no one was a Gary Player guy; we sort of liked him but he wasn't American).  I was an Arnie guy then, at a time the younger Nicklaus, capitalizing on the popularity of the game that Palmer had essentially created, was winning far more.  Nicklaus to me was like the Yankees in baseball, so I rooted against him all the time.

Palmer being 22 years older than I, he was on the downside of his career as I started actually playing the game, and my memories of the dominant player he was in his prime are just a tad faded given that I was a bit too young to remember a lot, other than watching him - and the '68 PGA.

I loved the elder statesman role he took as his career as a competitive player ended.  The Masters, the perfect major to me, took pains every year to provide a place of honor to Arnold Palmer, whether a ceremonial first drive or another well-planned way to thank him for having brought golf fandom to the public.  He had been a pioneer in his use of an agent to promote his game and his brand, and in a sense every professional athlete today can thank Arnie for that concept.

In responding to Arnie's passing, Jack Nicklaus told us what we hoped was the case.  Their competitions were cherished by both men, Nicklaus said.  "Arnie always had my back, and I always had his", he told us.  In a game played by gentlemen, we wanted to know that its greatest rivalry, at least its greatest for the first 50 years of the television era of the sport, was a rivalry of gentlemen.

Rest in peace, Arnie.  You did well here.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Why No Riots Two Weeks Ago?

Last week a black man in Charlotte, North Carolina was killed by police, likely (based on police testimony) as the unfortunate outcome of a police stop where the man had a gun and refused orders to put it down.  The man was shot by a black police officer, it needs to be noted, which eliminates a presumption of the involvement of any white people in this matter.

Naturally -- and we hate to have to use the word "naturally", but it seems now to apply -- rioting people, clearly not all from Charlotte, broke windows, looted stores and generally embarrassed those protesters who had planned a peaceful (although not city-permitted) march.  Those riots have continued each night since.

So last week, as a news follow-up to the riots, Jesse Jackson was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on his Fox News show.  I provide the link here for your edification.

Now, Jesse Jackson is 74 and, although he left his native South Carolina long ago, he has for decades cultivated a mumbling accent and speech pattern that is so indistinct that it practically allows listeners to decide for themselves what he has said.  I actually believe he intends that, so that he leaves room to say later that he was misheard or misinterpreted, and that if he wanted to speak more distinctly he would have done so, and absolutely could.

And so I have to tell you that I understood about, maybe, three-quarters of what he actually said.  But you can listen to the interview, which is why I linked it, and hear things for yourself.

What I am sure that I did hear, though, amidst a fairly impassioned exchange on both parties' sides, was Jesse Jackson defending the rioters and looters, that they were motivated by a host of problems that were social and economic.  Yes, he said, that's why they were rioting.  No jobs, poverty, all those things that those nice Democrat mayors in those cities were working hard to fix.  Yeah, right.

But let me ask the good Mr. Jackson a question.

Were there not joblessness, poverty and "social injustice" (whatever that may actually mean) two weeks ago?

Where were the riots then, Jesse?

Look, there are better questions to ask, probably.  Cavuto asked a few of them, particularly where the connection was between looting and "social injustice" protesting; and how breaking windows at the store of someone who had nothing to do with any of those problems was justified.  Jackson answered none of that to anyone's satisfaction, which was itself disturbing because, in my moral code, breaking someone's store windows is never justifiable unless there's a medical emergency.

But I think my question is perfectly valid.  There is no connection between the shooting of the man there by a (black, remember) policeman and the economic condition of the black residents of greater Charlotte, NC.  Those conditions existed before the shooting and they continue today. So forgetting the fact that riots aren't any kind of solution to those issues, if you use Jackson's logic, where were the riots before?

The answer, I think, is fairly evident.  Leftists, funded by hugely wealthy scum like George Soros, are staging, or at least enhancing, those riots after unrelated incidents, in an effort to achieve their aims.  Those aims are a continuation of the existing, corrupt system that allows them to be as powerful as they are now.

They have nothing to do with the economic situation of black Americans, which only Donald Trump is proposing to try to address any differently from the failed approaches of the Democrats in power, Barack Obama absolutely included.  The Democrats don't want to fix the problem.  They need a subservient underclass voting to keep them in power.

And Jesse Jackson is no different.  When things improve for black America, no one will listen to the Jesse Jacksons of the world, and he is out of the public eye.

He can't have that.  So he has to be outrageous, and at this point it just looks silly.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
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Friday, September 23, 2016

Obama's Racial Failure

Barack Obama will (mercifully) leave office less than four months from now.  I'm reserving my celebration until I know whether a Democrat president, featuring incompetence and Marxist ideology, will be replaced by a Democrat president featuring incompetence and corruption (and a uterus, without which she wouldn't even be running this far).

While the media were salivating back in 2008 when Obama was running, and Chris Matthews of whatever network he's on was having tingling feelings up and down his leg, Obama was touted as the first "post-racial president."

I don't pretend that I didn't know what that was supposed to mean; I did.  It was supposed to mean that race no longer would matter; that once the first (half-)black president was elected, at the very least American race relations would be vastly improved.

And, of course, we would all get money from Obama's private stash, as explained brilliantly here.

But I digress.

With less than four months (mercifully) left in Obama's term, I suppose that we can celebrate the wonderful improvement in race relations.  Certainly they are far better in Ferguson, Baton Rouge, Charlotte, Dallas, Baltimore and Chicago than before Obama was elected.  Never been better there, right?

OK, enough sarcasm.  Let's look at the facts.  Race relations have been really terrible for a lot of American history.  Certainly the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s helped erase the last legal impediments to racial harmony, and implemented defenses for all races to be protected from inappropriate government and commercial discrimination.

So what could Obama have done?  Well, that's an interesting question, because there are two parts to the answer -- the proactive and the reactive.  And sadly, he failed in both areas, which is one of the reasons that, where race relations could have improved markedly in his term, they are in a very bad place right now.

Obama has done essentially nothing proactively as far as race relations are concerned.  In my view, the problem has been that he saw the solution in his shaving mirror and not in the office.  In other words, to the extent that Obama even wanted race relations to improve (a separate topic when you recall that he is a loyal Saul Alinsky follower), he thought that simply his being the president would improve those relations.

He didn't seem to feel the need to make compelling speeches from the start of his administration.  He could have addressed his approach to improving those relations, whatever he might have been thinking would be possible.  He could have set himself with a policy, an approach, with leadership.

Rather, he did nothing until police-based events overtook him.  And the more they did -- the Cambridge Police mess, then Ferguson, Baltimore, etc. -- the worse he got at dealing with them.  In every case, he assumed them to be racially-based, and took the side other than the police.  Worse, he used his Attorney General as a battering ram, generally on the wrong side, generally making presumptions before 1/10 of the facts were in, and generally interfering where the Federal government didn't belong.

And the nation took his lead.  If every single one of those incidents was enough to get the Obama "Justice" Department out there assuming the side of the injured or killed black person, well, then we had to assume that police (Cambridge, Ferguson, Baltimore) and the courts (George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin) must be bigots.

When it was clearly determined that, in Ferguson, Michael Brown was a thug who had just strong-arm-robbed a convenience store, and had rushed the policeman and tried to grab his gun, and the officer had done his duty to protect the citizens and himself from Brown, the real criminal, Obama was silent.

He didn't call off his Attorney General.  He didn't say "In this case, police acted appropriately, there was no hands-up-don't-shoot element, and by the way, my fellow black Americans, this Michael Brown was a piece of crap you shouldn't be rallying behind."  He didn't say that.  He didn't try to explain that there really are bad people of all races, and when they do bad things they might end up getting killed.

I don't know if he felt that he would have been thought of as an Uncle Tom if, say, he had called the mayor of Baltimore and told her that her DA had wildly overcharged the six policemen in the Freddie Gray case.  He could have told America that we need to listen to and obey the instructions of police officers who are trying to protect the citizenry, and if you run away -- especially if you have a rap sheet as long as Freddie Gray's -- you are putting yourself at risk.

He could have distinguished cases.  He failed in letting the Attorney General take the wrong side in the Michael Brown case, showing there have been justified shootings by police of black citizens.  He needed to have focused on the facts and helped black America understand that each case has its own facts -- black America knows it has an immoral criminal element in it; Obama needed to be a leader on all such cases and get on the right side in all those cases and explain which ones are justified.  But no, he is appallingly silent, to the detriment of race relations throughout the USA.

To the extent Barack Obama wanted to heal race relations here, he has literally done nothing to help and much to exacerbate it.  He could have been a leader in healing.

You have to wonder if he never really wanted to heal.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
Like what you read here?  There's a new post from Bob at at 10am Eastern time, every weekday, giving new meaning to "prolific essayist."  Sponsorship and interview inquiries cheerfully welcomed at or on Twitter at @rmosutton.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Predicting the Debates

In a few days, we will have the first of three presidential debates, between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.  As the polling, such as we can assess it across the various media, shows an even race, one might think that the debates could make a big difference.

And they might, depending on what outcomes may occur.

There are, of course, different kinds of outcomes.  One or the other candidate (or both) could have a really good debate, answering the questions presidentially, saying some good things, appearing like someone you could vote for.  Similarly, one or the other candidate (or both) could give a memorably bad answer to something, whether a question that someone should be able to do better on, or to some unimportant "gotcha" question ("Can you name the capital city of Togo", or "Who is the eighth avatar of Vishnu" -- that sort of thing).

Most likely, a truly unbiased observer would walk away thinking that nothing important had happened, that both candidates' supporters would walk away thinking their candidate had "won", and the polls would not be moved.  After all, that's the typical outcome; the rare one is a debate such as the one where Mitt Romney crushed an unprepared and bumbling Barack Obama in 2012.  And we know how that election ended.

Remembering that the electorate pretty much already has an unalterable understanding of Hillary Clinton, it would seem that you could forecast this only in terms of her opponent.  That is, the first debate is very likely a test only of Donald Trump (i.e., Hillary will be so predictably "herself" that unless she faints mid-debate, little she says or does will be memorable).  Either he does well, or he doesn't.

So let's ask ourselves, what does "does well" mean?

Not to invoke the soft bigotry of low expectations, but I don't think the bar is really that high for Trump.  If he is able to provide relatively reasonable answers to all the questions, and rationalize his views and his approaches, he does well.  If he is able to avoid getting baited by Hillary into anger or excessive verbal force, he does well.  If he is able to minimize the platitudes and the "Trust me, we'll make America great again" answers and actually keep with the plans, he does well.

Most of all, if he is able to do the above and convey the sense that his team -- the people he would lean on for Cabinet posts and advisory positions -- will be strong, well-respected people and that he will take their advice, he wins.  That is a really undervalued thing, but remember that Reagan's success was in part from the fact that he leaned on experts, debated their advice, and then acted on principle.

For Trump to convey that approach is to temper his own perceived strength and passion with faith in good advice, and that's actually a good mellowing of his perceived ego.

Either way, it will be instructive (perhaps) to see how the media respond afterward.  Hillary will, as I said, be so predictable that it will be hard for her minions in the press to expand that anticipated performance into wonderfulness.  Hillary is, of course, not very wonderful, and there are 50,000 emails found and 30,000 missing ones attesting to that, but I don't expect the moderators to press any of that stuff with her.

I'll watch it, certainly, although I suspect that my interpretation of the results may be slightly at odds with the next-day reporting.

I do know that, whatever happens, it ain't changing my vote.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
Like what you read here?  There's a new post from Bob at at 10am Eastern time, every weekday, giving new meaning to "prolific essayist."  Sponsorship and interview inquiries cheerfully welcomed at or on Twitter at @rmosutton.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

So What IS She Good At?

I would like to think that the principal themes of both of the major-party presidential campaigns are evident to the voting community here in the good old USA.  Masked though they may be by the meaningless or irrelevant slogans and barbs (and by actually important things like Hillary's obstruction of justice and perjury), the main points somehow lay amidst the campaigns' messages.

In Hillary Clinton's case, that "main point" has to do with her capacity to do the job.  That is supposed to be based on her "experience", which consists of a few years practicing law, then eight years as the wife of the governor of Arkansas, then eight years as the wife of the president.

Thereafter, she moved to New York, where her "experience" after campaigning for the Senate in a state in which she had never previously lived, consisted of eight years as a senator (the last few of those spent running for president) and four years as Secretary of State.  She has been running for president again ever since.

From that, Barack Obama called her the "most qualified person who has ever run for president."  As if a compliment from Obama holds any weight.

That is admittedly a non-fan's quick appraisal of her experience, but it is quite accurate.  And it's important, in the sense that, if she is running on "experience" and on being "qualified" to be president, we need to discard the irrelevant years and focus on accomplishment and in achievement.  Because if truth be told, once you get to Hillary Clinton's career by the year 2000, Hillary Clinton was exactly as experienced as, say, Laura Bush by 2008.

Would you have voted for Laura Bush if she had run for president in 2008?  Of course not, and I have only respect for Mrs. Bush.

My point, then, is that in assessing Hillary's experience -- and we have to, because it her major argument -- nothing prior to the 21st Century is of any value.

Sitting in an office, occupying a position, flying all over the world, well, that is not "experience", unless you are trying to accumulate time for a pension.  And that is not the question at hand.

No, the question is much simpler, and the answer unfortunately much more troubling.  The question is this: What is Hillary Clinton actually good at?

Hmmmm.  Well, she's one for two in running for office, so as a campaigner she's just OK.  She won a Senate seat but it was in New York, which as a Democrat is like running unopposed for dog catcher in a village of cats.  She didn't have to be a good campaigner, just good enough.  And certainly in this campaign she is already failing to gain a lead over an otherwise flawed candidate.  Just yesterday in fact, she admitted as such, presumably to lower the bar in advance of the debates.

When her supporters are asked to list Hillary's accomplishments, you can hear the crickets.  Senators simply don't do all that much.  It's not an executive position, you're not running anything except your staff, and the legislative process is so dull, so generally ineffective, and not a place to claim credit for much.  Ask Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio.  Or Tim Kaine.

The only position of actual potential leadership she has ever had was four years as Secretary of State.  And that, friends, is a frighteningly bad track record, from the Russian "reset" to the withdrawal from Iraq right after the surge gave the Allies a strong position there, to the overthrow of Khaddafi in Libya that led to the utter power vacuum there -- and more ISIS territory -- to the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, to our "red line" posture in Syria that led to more ISIS territory ...

And while doing that, she found ways to enrich herself by selling out the country for speech fees to her husband and huge donations to the Clinton Foundation.  In fact, knowing that was her plan, she planned right from the start to hide her communication from prying FOIA eyes by using a private email server.  She was good at that, at least ... oh, wait, she got busted.

Well, at least she can say she flew a lot of miles.

I'm sorry, but at 69 years old, she has a lifetime track record completely devoid of tangible achievement.  It behooves the American voter to take a serious look at that, and ask himself or herself the logical question -- What is she good at?  Because it's really hard to tell.

And when, some day, the first female president actually is elected, one can hope that the voting public will have done so not because of her chromosomal situation but because of a track record of actual accomplishment.

As to Hillary, sorry, but the next thing she does well will be the first.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
Like what you read here?  There's a new post from Bob at at 10am Eastern time, every weekday, giving new meaning to "prolific essayist."  Sponsorship and interview inquiries cheerfully welcomed at or on Twitter at @rmosutton.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bigotry Where None Exists

On Sunday, Chris Wallace (of Fox News) did an interview of Tim Kaine, the Virginia senator who is on Hillary Clinton's ticket, running for vice president.  Now Chris Wallace, a very experienced newsman who is going to moderate one of the three presidential debates, is the scion of a reporting family of some note, with a voice that reminds everyone of his father, the well-known TV journalist Mike Wallace.

Wallace felt the need to ask Kaine about the interesting press event Donald Trump held last week, supposed to be about the whole "birther" thing.  Trump had, if you recall, a bunch of Medal of Honor winners and retired flag officers endorse him, one by one for a half hour or so, after which he briefly stated that Hillary's campaign in 2008 had started the "birther" notion, Trump had finished it, and that Barack Obama was born in the USA.  End of story, end of event.

Kaine, of course, had to deny that anyone in Hillary's old campaign had possibly had anything to do with the notion.  So to deflect, he used the term "bigoted lie" -- twice.

Now, I'm 65 and have used a lot of words and a lot of phrases in my lifetime.  "Bigoted lie" is not one of them; I certainly have not used it twice within 90 seconds.  So I think we can be pretty sure that the phrase was slipped to the good senator by the Language Control Committee of the Hillary campaign, to make sure that somehow the listener heard the term "bigoted" in association with Donald Trump.  Twice in just that usage, in fact.

Now, all that would be fine, except for a few things.

Whether or not anyone cares about where Barack Obama was born anymore, is pretty much already decided.  We only have to endure his presidency for about four more months, and hopefully all the harm that he can cause has already been done and can, equally hopefully, be undone.  If someone somehow discovered "evidence" of his being born in Kenya or Indonesia or Mars, nothing is going to happen.  ISIS is already upon us, jobs are scarce, the debt has already gotten to $20 trillion, Guantanamo is mostly emptied, our cities are still a mess, Keystone pipeline still is unapproved.

No one cares anymore where he was born.

What is a problem is hurling around the term "bigoted" as often as Kaine and Hillary and their lackeys and sycophants do.  It is a problem because the people who promoted the "birther" idea, starting with the Iowa Clinton campaign worker who supposedly was fired "immediately" after suggesting Obama was born overseas, were all in political mode.

If it was a "lie", and we at least all agree now that the evidence points to Obama having been born in Hawaii, it was a political one, not a "bigoted" one.  It has been an article of faith among the left, the press and the Obamists (but I repeat myself) that you cannot criticize Obama because he is (half) black.  That continues now, laughably, by the campaign of the person whose campaign started the notion.

No, not only is it a "bigoted lie" but it is intended to "de-legitimize the first [black] president."  I quote the latter spouting, dreamed up by the Hillary Language Control Committee, because it's important to do so.  It is important, because the notion that Obama's father's race, and not Obama's contemptible politics and failed presidency, is what the birthers wanted to de-legitimize has to be pushed by the left, so as to avoid, you know, talking about his politics and how their implementation has failed the country.

We are, as a nation, so tired of the notion that everything has to be about race.  It would be rather nice if someone, and I don't know who, has the independence as well as the fortitude to stand up and tell the Clintons that trying to make this issue, which is dead already anyway, about race, is an embarrassment to their campaign.

Trump did the right thing.  I'm not sure he should have been on the "birther" story for the years before, but he finally put it to rest.  Hillary needs to do the same thing.

Because not to do so is ... well, a "bigoted lie."  There, I used it.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
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Monday, September 19, 2016

Careful on the Child Care, Mr. Trump

On Tuesday, Donald Trump rolled out his approach to the issue of child-care support, which was a particular exercise in walking the tightrope between the needs of citizens and a conservative approach to government.

And, of course, to the Law of Unintended Consequences. 

Admittedly, when I heard that there even was supposed to be a Trump plan for child care, my first reaction was that I wanted to ensure that its basics (as we know, by the time a "plan" becomes a "bill", things change a bit) were not the kind that would encourage people to have children they couldn't afford, or in any way encourage behaviors that were risky or otherwise negative for the family or the economy.

So here, according to the Trump website, are the main elements:

- A child-care tax deduction for expenses for child care -- and elderly in-home dependent care
- Flexible spending accounts to apply pre-tax dollars to child care and elderly in-home care
- Regulatory reform encouraging businesses to provide child-care solutions, and to promote community and family-based child-care solutions
- [Presumably] government-guaranteed paid maternity leave for working mothers up to six weeks

Now I know I have to repeat myself and note that this is a plan, not a law.  When a campaign presents a plan, we, as voters, can only look at it as something that the candidate would try to push for as president.  By the time such plans get through Congress, things change; all you can do as a voter is look at the plan and infer the candidate's priorities from it.

For me, my main issue is the debt.  We owe $20 trillion to China and elsewhere and are not paying down the principal.  Every single penny of spending in the government needs to be evaluated against the notion of whether or not it is so valuable that we should borrow money from China to pay for it.

So my first takeaway from Mr. Trump's plan is that he probably went about as far as he could go economically.  Maybe a bit too far -- I do not think it is the Federal government's role to pay for women to take maternity leave (or for men to take paternity leave, if that creeps into the proposed law), if they are working in the private sector.  Maternity leave is a benefit that should be a point of competition by employers to get the best (female) employees.

The rest of it is a trade-off between encouraging families (a good mission) and net lowering of tax revenues or raising of Federal expenses.  It's hard to evaluate, because Trump pointed out specifically that he was planning offsets in spending within the existing versions of these programs to make the changes financially neutral.  I would add that since the debt is the problem itself, any additional spending or reduced revenue needs not only to be offset but more than offset, because the debt is the problem.

He tried.  Trump tried particularly not to sound like he was adding a big, expensive Federal program because big, expensive Federal programs are the problem.  And the plan, while it was just a plan, was indeed a plan, if you know what I mean.  There was another window into his mindset and the influences around him.

And I do believe that to include in-home care for elderly dependents was important, that the encouragement for families to keep the elderly at home rather than draining Medicare and Medicaid (i.e., taxpayer) resources is a double benefit, as I wrote here.  That will not be discussed much by those assessing the plan, but it should be.

Most importantly, though, I believe that Mr. Trump seemed to be able to avoid putting much into the plan that would unintendedly promote behaviors that the government should not be promoting and certainly not subsidizing.  He seemed to do that, but I hope that as he continues to present further plans and approaches, he continues to assess those unintended consequences, and for him, the need for the pay-down of the debt and a balancing of the budget must be omnipresent.  And that he assesses all of that.

Someone has to.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
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Friday, September 16, 2016

Grace, I'm Not a Hater, But ...

Since the TV show "America's Got Talent" wrapped up last week, and because it has somehow managed to be a topic in 0.8% of the pieces on this site, I figured that since the outcome was so silly, I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on it.

Now, the outcome is often unfortunate, but when it gets to the point of being so silly as to make the viewer suspect something more sinister, well, you have to get into it a bit deeper.

"AGT", the show, features otherwise ordinary people (I don't say "Americans" because they're quite commonly not; even 75% of the judges are immigrants) performing for a minute or two, going through rounds judged by four celebrities, and finally a live Semifinals and Finals purported to be decided by the "voters" in America, so they say.

Last Tuesday was the live Finals, with a live, interminable two-hour results show on Wednesday.  At the end of the interminable results show, they announced that the winner was Grace VanderWaal, a 12-year-old girl from outside New York City, whose "talent" was singing original songs while playing the ukulele.  "Singing" would be a bit of a stretch, her voice is the sort of on-pitch whisper characteristic of middle-school chorus sopranos lacking the confidence to sing out.

For her win, she received $1 million and a "live show in Las Vegas", which is a one-time event that can be assumed to be the relative end of her career, at least until she grows up enough to where her voice matures into something that someone would actually pay to listen to.  I mean, here is her Finals performance starting at about the 1:30 mark.  She has little or nothing in the way of presentation skills, a very weak 12-year-old's voice, and the words are not understandable too much of the time.

But please listen to the part afterward, where the judges comment on her performance.  Tell me, please, what performance they were listening to, because it wasn't what the TV audience was hearing.  In fact, rewind back to where they start talking, and imagine that Grace was, say, the daughter of an NBC executive, the judges were instructed accordingly, and it was all rigged so that she would win.  Tell me where the comments would be any different.  Aside -- both parents are in marketing, the father with LG Electronics, the mother independent, according to LinkedIn.

Am I wrong?  Take a listen to this performance from the Finals.  It was by Laura Bretan, who just turned 14, and is also too young to be doing anything but mastering her skills, but who is so sufficiently, amazingly advanced in that process to where her God-given performance already brings tears.  Then tell me, after looking at and listening to both clips, where the "talent" resides.  And after watching and listening to both sets of judges' comments, tell me who they wanted to win, and in whose winning they had a vested interest.

And ... how that interest conflicted with the talent level, especially given that no published "America" voting results are provided

Just Laura?  No; here is the third solo singer from among the ten acts, Brian Justin Crum of LA.  Once again -- compare and contrast with Grace VanderWaal and tell me where the bigger talent was.  The same can be written about the amazingly entertaining singer Sal Valentinetti (link here), the magician, the artistic juggler, the contortionist, the clairvoyant act, the odd act called Tape Face, and certainly the male singing quartet Linkin' Bridge which was the focus of an earlier comment on the TV acoustics.

This is not the first time that there has been some disconnect between perception of a group and judges' commentary, for sure.  I did a piece on one such oddity here from when Howard Stern was judging.  But this one is way different.

First, of course, is that in this case the judges' comments were across the panel, not from just one of them.  Second, and this is troubling, is that Simon Cowell, who is the executive producer of the show (judge Howie Mandel occasionally refers to him as Howie's "boss") is now also on the judging panel as of this season.  This is a troubling conflict of interest, in that the production of the show is related to the outcome.

We don't like rigged outcomes, and we don't like the appearance of rigged outcomes.  And if this one were not predetermined, I'm sorry, but Grace VanderWaal would not be through the first round.  In fact, before the Finals show with the last ten contestants, nine of whom were clearly talented enough to have won, where Grace was positioned last (to leave the last voting impression), my best girl said this:

"She [Grace] is definitely going to win, because otherwise there's no way that she would even be in the Finals, if something weren't going on."

I don't know what to say.  This show has had some odd turns over the years that it's been on and I've tried to document some of them, starting with this piece in 2014.  This is one of the oddest.  I simply don't think anyone can look at the actual performances in the Semifinals and the Finals and conclude, on performance quality and on any judging of talent, that Grace belonged there, let alone won.

It's not that she was "a bit" less talented, or that her performance was "a bit" less impressive than the others; it's that she was (A) so much less capable than the others, and (B) so over-praised and gushed over by the judges in light of the mediocrity.  The two facts clearly don't combine well, and with the conflict of interest on the panel already there (at least the channel for such a conflict being present), it all adds up to a single explanation, and it's not pretty.

By the way, again, AGT does not release vote totals, nor do they indicate that an independent entity is collecting and counting them.  Surprise!

America is not that stupid.  But, like the limousine-liberal left, those with a desired result and contempt for America can simply bulldoze their way past us as if it assumed we were, even on a stupid TV show that we should none of us care or get too worried about.

I'm not a "hater."  I like her.  Grace VanderWaal seems like a perfectly nice girl who writes pretty songs, at least to the extent we could make out the words she mumbled into the mic (sort of a "Look, Mommy, I wrote a song all by myself!").  It's not about her.  But in a show purporting to present America's greatest previously-unseen talent, or whatever they say they are purporting to do, Grace is not who we would see has having that talent.

But at least she now has a million dollars, and whatever connection she has to NBC that got her that win will eventually come out, sadly for her, for her parents and for NBC.

I actually wish her well.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hillary Saying "Right" Is What's NOT Right

Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" speech at a fund-raiser for her campaign last week has become everything she did not want it to be.  It is now a lightning rod, uniting and growing support for her opposition, Donald Trump, as it exposes the contempt she has for ordinary Americans, who are not as good as she is.

While I suppose that different people may choose to be most offended by different aspects of that part of the fund-raising speech, I may take one word -- which many may see as a passing one -- for what the speaker truly intended.  And I think that one to be as bad as any she spoke that day.

Look at her exact words (you can hear them in your mind's ear):

"To just [sic] be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. [pause for light applause; then, raising her hands palms-up to the donors] Right? [pause again so that the country-club set in the room can identify with her] They're racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic -- you name it."

[Aside ... the word before "racist" has been represented in the media often as "the."  I believe the word she spoke, with elision, was "they're" and that makes sense in context where "the" does not.  But I digress.]

By now I think you can tell where I'm going with this.  The gross generalization, of course, is terrible, and the characterization of a large chunk of the country as horribly as she did is equally terrible.  But the message is beyond the characterization and generalization, and we need to expose the one word that best portrays that message.  That word was:


Yep, that's the one.  After uttering the "basket of deplorables" comment, the first thing Hillary Clinton had to do was to distinguish the rich donors in the room from the unwashed masses.

"You, the ones who are going to give me millions for my campaign, you're so much better than those nasty other people.  Please nod your heads in agreement."

Yes, that's what Hillary meant when she said the word "Right?", and we need to take her to task for the mindset that she clearly expressed, that exists in her and in the people in the room.  They're the elite, they're the upper crust, their money will be safe, they will still get to be entertained by Barbra Streisand and go home to their gated communities with armed guards.

Watch and listen to the recording yet again.  Listen to the tone of Hillary's voice when she says "Right?", watch her hands, and hear the combination of the contempt she has for Americans and the association she is trying to create with the limousine liberals in the room.  Then try to imagine that contemptuous attitude residing in the White House and running the country.

Donald Trump is a fabulously wealthy man.  He clearly can walk with the country-club set any time he wants to, and can continue to consort with the wealthy of the USA as he has for decades.  But at no time, in no speech, has a word he has uttered appeared to suggest an obligation as president more to any one American than another.

Surprisingly, he has not been the "rich man's presidential candidate" in the way that he could have been seen as being.  His policies and positions have been relatively mainstream Republican orthodoxy, as opposed to anything dramatically intended to keep the wealthy rich.  In fact, his own personal wealth and the impact of it on his presidency appear to be a non-factor in his appeals; the impression I get is more that he's made his money, is not afraid of losing it, and now, at a healthy 70, wants to do something for the USA.

That ain't Hillary.  With one word in an already-contemptible speech, she exposed her true feelings for America.

She cannot be allowed to lead it.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Crashing "Bombers"

Even Hillary Clinton doesn't give you something to write about every day.  OK, she does, because when your contempt for those outside your inner, sainted circle is so blatant, you're bound to say something we can all write about.  But other important things are actually happening.

Like, you know, baseball.

It is the last few weeks of the season before the playoffs start, the playoffs which Major League Baseball prefers to call the "postseason", perhaps to avoid confusion with football or the interminable playoffs in basketball and hockey.  And the end of this regular season is kind of fun.

It's fun for me, anyway, because the Red Sox are contending for the playoffs postseason, and the Cubs, who have not won a World Series in almost 110 years and haven't been in a World Series since World War II, are crushing the National League.  But some aspects of this part of the season, this year, are not so much fun.

One of those is the tendency of the sports media to seek out story lines involving the New York Yankees, even if they have to invent a few along the line when they're not doing that well.  And that seems to be happening as we speak.

There is this thing called "cause and effect", and this other thing called "post hoc, ergo propter hoc", and they both apply to this piece.  They apply, because it is a poor story that cites an action and an outcome, and then conflates the two to where the intent is to imply that the action caused the outcome.  When it is done that way, the Latin phrase applies, the logical fallacy that because A follows B, then A must have been caused by B.

So at some point during the summer, the Yankees organization decided that it was so horribly saddled with old players on massive, bad contracts, that it needed to pull the plug on its approach.  They released the ancient Alex Rodriguez (and ate the $60 million they still have to pay him), and traded the old but serviceable outfielder Carlos Beltran, and two of their top three relief pitchers, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, for a bunch of minor-league prospects, sending a boatload of cash along with them to pay their contracts.

Now, understand that Yankees don't pull the plug on their approach and concede seasons like this -- ever.  That would be to admit that they had done something wrong, which they simply don't do.  But in this case, it was so blatantly obvious that their fat contracts for players like Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, C. C. Sabathia and others had tanked the 2016 season, as they all got very old very much together.

"Bring up the kids", the fans wailed, and the organization actually did that, benching or trading the old players and bringing up players from AAA who were supposed to be the next great generation.  And that's where the cause-and-effect part of the story gets a bit muddled.  Since the trades, the last being at the July 31 trade deadline with a 52-52 record, New York has gone 24-14, including winning seven of their last eight games.

So they bring up the "kids", and they start winning games.  Naturally, they're winning because they brought up the kids, right?

Well, not so much.  Remember, for example, the discussion of OPS (on-base plus slugging), the individual combination stat that reflects the keys to offensive proficiency that actually correlate with team runs scored?  If you didn't remember, know simply that a tolerable OPS for a position player is .750; a player over .850 would be an All-Star, and one with a career over .925-950 or so would be a Hall of Fame-caliber hitter.

Want to know how those "kids" are hitting?  Well, exactly one -- the catcher Gary Sanchez -- has an OPS over .765 (admittedly it is 1.128, which is startling, although it's still only 34 games).  The infielder Ronald Torreyes is at .761 in 55 games; the outfielder Aaron Judge is at an abysmal .574 in 25 games.  In 49 games, the infielder-outfielder Rob Refsnyder is only at a weak .680; the catcher Austin Romine an even weaker .660 in 55 games, and the first baseman Tyler Austin in 19 games is at .688.

They're not hitting, one excepted.  What has happened is that there have been isolated incidents of note, such as two of them getting their first big-league homers in the same game, and a walk-off hit here and there.  Those make headlines, and assumptions follow.  But those just make for headlines, not systemic accomplishments.  And the team has been winning.

What is going on is that they have won not because of but in spite of the kids (again, Sanchez excepted), and the fan base and the media have gone all post hoc on us, making connections that don't exist and calling them the "Baby Bombers."  It makes for great headlines, but if you're out there in search of the truth, well, the facts are not bearing any of that up.

By contrast, let's look at the OPS of the other, older or somewhat older regulars in the lineup, since August 1st when the "kids" came up.  That would include second baseman Starlin Castro (.813 in that time), and mediocre but better-than-the-kids first baseman Teixeira (.741), third-baseman Chase Headley (.737), outfielders Brett Gardner (.729) and Jacoby Ellsbury (.776).  Catcher Brian McCann (.691) and shortstop Didi Gregorius (.678) have not contributed as much, but compared to the "kids", well, that's only comparably awful.

There is time, and there is as much chance of the young players proving themselves better as there is of Sanchez coming back to earth.  But in a political season, one where lies abound, truth is stretched and reality a fleeting blessing, we could live so happily with some accuracy in sports journalism.  There is surely a lesson in there.

The last 18 games will write their own stories, of course, but it will be of benefit to all of us if those stories are then written with limits on exaggeration and with boundlessness in reality.  Of course that never happens when the Yankees are concerned.

Caveat lector.  May the reader beware.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

It's Not the Pneumonia, It's the Secrecy

So Hillary Clinton has pneumonia.  After nearly passing out in New York at the 9/11 ceremonies on Sunday, stumbling around badly and being shoved into a waiting limo, her handlers were forced hours later to admit that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia, an obviously life-threatening medical situation.

On Friday.

Yes, for two days Hillary Clinton was out on the campaign trail, risking her life to raise ever more money in the pursuit of her ambition to be president of the United States.  OK, I'm sorry, her ambition is not actually to be president, i.e., to run the country, as much as it is to win the presidency and thumb her nose at her "husband."

Remember when I wrote long ago about trying to understand things in their simplest form, evaluating evidence based on consistency with guilt and inconsistency with innocence?

Let's rewind back to Friday.  Hillary has been coughing all week, and trying to make jokes of it.  Then on Friday, she sees a doctor who diagnoses her with pneumonia.

What would any of us do, even if we were running for president?  We'd stand up and make a statement that we're taking a few days off to rest and heal up and we'll be back on the trail Tuesday better than ever.  We'd gratefully accept the nation's sympathy and take full advantage of it after a few days of healing rest and medication.

But that is we, and if we know anything about Hillary it's that she is definitely not one of us.

No, after the Friday diagnosis Hillary immediately goes into full-scale information-shutdown mode, keeps the news on close hold to her immediate, unelected group of lawyers, sycophants and lackeys, and plans to go through with her full schedule of fund-raisers and ceremonies.  She was "overheated", the lackeys tell us.  The word "pneumonia" is not to be uttered on penalty of something or other.

And imagine this ... Hillary, who knows by Sunday that she has pneumonia, has a fainting spell at the 9/11 ceremonies in New York, and is immediately driven to, not a hospital as medical protocol would demand, but her daughter's condo in Manhattan.  In other words, her secrecy about her health is more important to her than her health itself.

The only reason we even know about her pneumonia is because her doctor -- presumably to defend himself against accusations of mistreatment of her -- released a public statement on Sunday that he had diagnosed her with with the disease.

What does that tell you?

It tells you, first, that you could expect to believe absolutely nothing about anything she says if, God forbid, she would ever to become president.  This is the United States, someone should tell her, not the Soviet Union or North Korea.  Hillary Clinton's trustworthiness numbers are in the toilet, and they just flowed all the way into the sewer.

She would follow, God forbid, the opaque Obama administration that was supposed to be the "most transparent" in history.  What we need is actual transparency, but what we would get is the poker-faced, lying, email-deleting, device-smashing, bit-bleaching, smug and self-important attitude so exemplified in this episode.

One has to wonder, when Hillary got pushed into the limo after collapsing, who among the candidate, the Secret Service, the immediate corps of lackeys, etc., told the driver, "Head to Chelsea's condo immediately -- not the hospital!"  The Secret Service would be "Hospital NOW!", right?  They're trying to protect her.  Someone had to overrule them, with enough power to stop the limo from going to the hospital.

And that's the problem.  The opacity.  The lies.  The deception.  The failure to tell the USA of her health crisis.  The lying to the USA about the health crisis.  The decision by someone that hiding the nature of the problem by going to Chelsea's condo was more important than Hillary's actual health.

The secrecy.  the secrecy.  the secrecy.

Hillary Clinton must never be president.  Never.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
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Monday, September 12, 2016

Deplorable Me

We're all pretty much of one mind or another regarding the contemptible swipe that Hillary "Glass Houses" Clinton took at the quarter of Americans who represent half of those intending to vote for Donald Trump on Election Day in November.

A small number of Americans, including Hillary's inner circle, actually believe that those planning to vote for Mr. Trump are motivated by racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia and whatever else they conjure up in their ivory tower.  The anointed inner circle truly believe that those Americans constitute a "basket of deplorables" and are of no importance or relevance.  The rest of us dropped our jaws in shock and contempt.

We didn't drop our jaws so much in surprise that she said it; Hillary will say anything, truthful or not, to get elected.  Nor that she actually believed it; we know that. The shock was that, in the environment she said it, she was getting applause, the kind of applause and laughter you get when people who think they're better than the rest of us say what they actually believe.

It's the kind of thing you see when Nancy Pelosi says something and then stops and gives that wretched, know-it-all smile that says "You know what I mean, those sloppy people who aren't good enough to do anything but vote for me, yuk, keep them away from my country club."  Mrs. Pelosi is a good one for that.  As, of course, is Hillary.

So today I wondered where Hillary was going with the whole "basket of deplorables" comment.  Because, think about it, what good can come out of saying something like that?  How does vilifying people who are voting for your opponent make your candidacy better?  How does it get more people to vote for you?

How does it even make your pitch to be president anything other than an acidic whine?

She will be allowed to get away with it, because the press are passionately committed, for reasons we cannot fathom, to getting Hillary elected.  Most of the press will faithfully carry the post-gaffe spin that her spin doctors come up with for what she was really supposed to have meant, although it was an explicit enough statement to have been clear in its meaning.

And it was clearly stupid enough, and un-misinterpretable enough, to where she was forced to issue what was supposed to pass for an apology (she "regrets" saying "half"), where she never says "sorry."

So I guess that it is time for me to step up an count myself in the "basket of deplorables" and let you know that I am going to vote for her opponent.  Not that there was ever any question, mind you, but that comment, that speech and that non-apology thereafter completely tells us all we need to know about Hillary Clinton, who wants so desperately to be president.

She has such utter contempt for such a large part of the population she would lead, that our voices would not be heard, our desires not represented, our needs never fulfilled, our freedoms never respected in a Hillary administration.

She does not respect the people who are not as good as she, and yet she wants to lead us.  This statement tells us that we could expect to be run by a close cadre of unelected, trusted associates, in the same kind of bubble that the current, disastrous administration has encapsulated itself in.  Voices of disagreement, voices of sanity, voices of reason, none would be welcome because none are respected.

We who are in the "basket of deplorables" reside there not out of bigotry but because we have grown weary and contemptuous of a Federal government that appears to exist for its own perpetuation rather than for the service of the country.  We decry a Federal government that has seized control of functions such as education that are Constitutionally the province of the states.  We decry a Federal government that spends more than it takes in, and seeks ever more taxes from its citizens to pay for its extravagance.

And we are contemptuous of a Federal government $20 trillion in debt and showing no interest in cutting wasteful and unconstitutional spending to pay it off, as we all in our households must.

Hillary will never get that.  The speech this past week demonstrates that in spades.

This, friends, is why she must never be president.

Copyright 2016 by Robert Sutton
Like what you read here?  There's a new post from Bob at at 10am Eastern time, every weekday, giving new meaning to "prolific essayist."  Sponsorship and interview inquiries cheerfully welcomed at or on Twitter at @rmosutton.