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On May 6, 2016, Russell Moore, a prominent Southern Baptist, wrote an editorial for The New York Times (NYT) explaining why Evangelicals should not support Donald Trump.

Yesterday’s post showed to what extremes his views have been taken by other Protestant clergy and laymen, including church discipline. Yikes!

Yet, not one of them is warning Christians against voting for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, both of whom are pro-choice. Clinton could also be asked any number of questions on unresolved topics over the past few decades.

Therefore, we appear to be receiving a particular sort of message from Moore and those who agree with him.

Unpacking the message

What a number Southern Baptists saw in Moore’s message was the mention of their denomination. Therefore, many of them are taking to heart the advice not to vote for Trump.

Some Evangelicals saw that his article, or citations of it elsewhere, concerned them. Gosh, they thought, it is time to sit up, read and reconsider.

Moore crafted his message cannily and cynically. In essence, he implies that white Evangelicals are inherently racist, beginning with the title, ‘A White Church No More’.

The body of his op-ed piece — which might have been more relevant in the early 1970s rather than now — includes insults to the intelligence such as:

If Jesus is alive — and I believe that he is — he will keep his promise and build his church. But he never promises to do that solely with white, suburban institutional evangelicalism.

No one ever said He did.

The question is whether evangelicals will be on the right side of Jesus …

Wow …

And finally:

The Bible calls on Christians to bear one another’s burdens. White American Christians who respond to cultural tumult with nostalgia fail to do this. They are blinding themselves to the injustices faced by their black and brown brothers and sisters in the supposedly idyllic Mayberry of white Christian America …

A white American Christian who disregards nativist language is in for a shock …

Mayberry, for my readers who are not from the US, refers to two 1960s television shows that took place in a fictional small town of the same name: The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D. There are very few Mayberries left. America is widely integrated today.

Moore is barking up the wrong tree.

I attended integrated churches — Catholic and, later, Episcopalian — in the US in the 1970s and 1980s. We had Hispanics in the former (suburbs) and blacks in the latter (metropolis). The white congregants made them feel most welcome. They played prominent roles in the guitar Masses (Catholic) or were ushers and greeters (Episcopalian).

I also once attended one of the first big-box Evangelical churches in the area where I lived in the 1970s. There were several black families, all greeted and treated like anyone else in the congregation.

No one cared what colour anyone else was then, nor do they now.

Moore’s Wikipedia entry says that prior to entering the ministry, he was an aide to a Democrat, Congressman Gene Taylor of Mississippi.

On this note, in 2015, Moore interviewed some of the presidential candidates at a missions conference during the summer. Interestingly, he did not issue invitations to fellow Southern Baptists — Republicans — Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz. Yet, he invited Methodist Hillary Clinton, a Democrat. She declined.

Regardless of his politics now, deep down he appears to be playing a Democrat game. So do the other men mentioned in this post; go to the linked essays therein and read the comments.

In 2016, as the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Moore opposed the views not only of Trump but also Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton. He objected to Cruz’s call for a religious test for refugees wishing to enter the United States. He opposed Clinton’s pro-choice stance.

Then, in March, he wrote, also for the NYT, that Christians should vote for a third-party candidate if faced with Clinton and Trump.

Now — in May — he mentions only Trump and gives Clinton a pass.

There is also the matter of churches making money off of resettling refugees and immigrants arriving in the United States. I saw a news show recently that said that immigration officials know where to direct newcomers. There is a list of local churches and charities who will take them in immediately and begin their resettlement.

Voluntary agencies (Volags) — religious and secular — helping out in this regard are paid by the US government, i.e. the taxpayer. Refugee Resettlement Watch has more, including the following:

Below are some of the sources of income for Volags:

a.  $1,850 per refugee (including children) from the State Department.

b.  Up to $2,200 for each refugee by participating in a U.S. DHHS program known as Matching Grant. To get the $2,200, the Volag need only show it spent $200 and gave away $800 worth of donated clothes, furniture or cars.

c. The Volag pockets 25% of every transportation loan it collects from refugees it “sponsors”.

d. All Volag expenses and overhead in the Washington, DC HQ are paid by the U.S. government.

e. For their refugee programs, Volags collect money from all federal grant programs – “Marriage Initiative”, “Faith-based”, “Ownership Society”, etc., as well as from various state and local grants.

The program is so lucrative that in some towns the Catholic Church has lessened support for traditional charity works to put more effort into resettlement …

Public money has thoroughly driven out private money.

Therefore, voluntary refugee and immigrant agencies — including churches — make a lot of money from the taxpayer. Readers may consider this at their leisure.

Evangelical churches in the United States

It is unclear as to why Moore works on the presumption that white Evangelicals are, by definition, anti-immigrant.

Evangelicals are truly a broad church and have different affiliations. Some, like the ELCA, are Lutheran. Others are Pentecostal. Others are independent but affiliate with broader Evangelical groups with similarly-minded theology.

Some are inclined towards the Democratic Party, even when they interpret the Bible literally. Others lean Republican but are openly accepting and welcoming of all who attend their churches.

I have read a lot of Evangelical commentary since I started this blog in 2009. I have not read one racist comment from anyone — layperson, elder or minister.

Why Trump is winning the Evangelical vote

Like every other American, Evangelicals also need to put food on the table and clothes in the wardrobe.

They have homes and health insurance to pay for, cars to run and jobs to keep — or find.

Evangelicals are concerned about the future, especially that of their children and grandchildren.

Trump is the only candidate who talks about job creation and improving the economy. Is it any surprise that people, including Evangelicals, like that message?

For the record

For the record, a Trump insider says the billionaire changed his mind about abortion once his youngest son Barron was born ten years ago. He sometimes tells the story as being about an anonymous third person, because it was an intensely private journey for him to make.

As for enemies foreign and domestic, Trump is the only candidate to point out that terrorism is an issue. He has said in a number of his rallies that he has Muslim friends and business associates in the US and in the Middle East. His proposals for immigration or travel among this religious group have always included either the words ‘temporary’ or ‘until we figure out what’s going on’. Note that, only a few days after he first said this in December 2015, the San Bernardino attack took place. He spoke of Brussels’s dire situation in January. Two attacks on that city took place in March. Meanwhile, the Belgian and French security forces already knew there was a hotbed of extremism in parts of Brussels. That became clear when Paris was attacked on November 13, 2015.

Also note that the no-fly list has been in place since Bush II’s administration. A Muslim family from the UK were banned from flying to the US just before Christmas — under the Obama administration — because Homeland Security suspected a family member of having links to extremists.

With regard to immigration, Trump is careful in his speeches to specify that he supports legal immigration. Can he help it if people like Moore and the media take it out of context? And, yes, there is a rape epidemic affecting Mexican women crossing the border into the US. Even PBS has pointed that out. Why can’t Trump?

In conclusion

Personally, I do not care for whom you vote. That is your business.

However, let’s not be taken in by people saying voting for this or that candidate is immoral and is subject to church discipline. That is absurd and wrong. Voting is an intensely private matter. Let’s nip this in the bud — now!

Singling out one candidate when the others are all equally sinners in one way or another is, in and of itself, morally objectionable.

You can read what clergy have to say at Time.

Some Christians say that voting for Donald Trump is a matter of church discipline.

This post on another site lays out the full case.

Why isn’t voting for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders worthy of church discipline?

There are scandals that took place during Bill Clinton’s administration, and his wife was at the heart of the action. Her term as Secretary of State has also had its episodes: Benghazi, then the classified emails which are still being investigated.

One could equally question whether Bernie Sanders represents a Jewish God-fearing perspective. One has to wonder about someone who went to the USSR on his honeymoon and who thinks that a highly-taxed populace is acceptable, when, in fact, excessive levies on a population could be construed as a form of theft.

More importantly, what about the Democrats’ pro-choice positions?

First, voting has always been considered a private activity, one of conscience. If your pastor or elders demand that you tell them who you are voting or have voted for, it’s time to find another church.

Secondly, do a bit of research and see who is making these statements. I shall look at one of these clergymen tomorrow. He is not a Republican — rather, a Democrat — yet he is advising conservative Republican Christians how to vote.

The second name mentioned in the post linked to above is that of a man who came to the Republican Party when James Dobson and the Religious Right began meddling in it during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. He is upset Ted Cruz is out of the running and a moderate Republican is in.

The third man mentioned in that post is one who, like many of his ilk, voted Republican only because of the party’s stance on social issues. He says (emphases mine):

We voted Republican because of the issue of abortion and a desire to protect our religious values against government coercion. Sometimes we went in for the various economic arguments, but we never really dug in deeply to understand them, and they didn’t actually come from any kind of long-standing conservative root system. For a variety of reasons, not all of them honorable, the GOP was not our home. We were just a passin’ through. And so now we have our opportunity to begin leaving it for good. We do not need to do this all at once, but we need to begin preparing ourselves to do so, and the Donald gives us our best opportunity to get started.

That is an honest assessment. (Incidentally, this man also admits to being partial to ‘distributivist theocracy’.)

It also calls into question what the word ‘conservative’ means. For him and his people it primarily means a biblical social policy.

For people like me ‘conservative’ means small government and fiscal responsibility.

In any event, the party is called the Republican Party. Until 1980, most of its members and unaffiliated supporters considered it a secular party that upheld the values upon which the United States was built. It was a broad church, so to speak, of people — including centrists — who loved America. They sought to preserve the Great Republic.

Donald Trump is a centrist candidate who loves America and wants to make the Republic great again. The Religious Right recoil because he rarely brings the Church or social issues into the equation.

In conclusion, one Democrat and two Religious Right men are mistaken in telling Christians that voting for Trump is a cause for church discipline.

This comment to the post cited in my second paragraph says it all:

I believe there to be some confusion between Christianity and politics here. Christians ought to be cautious when the church starts playing politics. There is only one mediator between man and God and He assures every man the right to his own conscience before God. The church is truly deceived if she looks to politics to fulfill her her responsibility to spread this truth. Perhaps in need of discipline herself.

Your vote is private, between you, God and the ballot box. No pastors, no elders — and, for women — no husbands or elder sons. Keep it that way.

Tomorrow: Russell Moore

Now that Ted Cruz has dropped out of the Republican race, right-of-centre Christians are concerned about whom to vote for in November 2016.

Ted Cruz was seen as the ‘moral’ choice for many churchgoers. I was never a supporter, and it emerges my instincts might have been right, especially as he suspended his campaign the day a startling family allegation, complete with photographic evidence, came to light. And it did not involve his wife Heidi.

What do these Christians do? They could vote for the Constitution Party.

The presumptive GOP nominee

However, the following questions should be asked and answered with thought and consideration:

  • Which candidate will best serve my family’s and my needs?
  • Is there a candidate who pledges to raise the profile of Christianity in America? (Yes, and he’s a Presbyterian.)
  • How much do I know about the presumptive Republican nominee?

As the past two posts have described — here and here — much media manipulation of the American public has occurred during the past eight years.

The media are now directing the narrative for the 2016 elections.

The candidate they dislike the most is the one who has pragmatic policies that will fix a broken America.

Yet, churchgoers say it would be immoral to vote for a man who is on his third wife and who speaks as he finds. Did it ever occur to them that the media are pushing certain themes — including accusations and quotes out of context — to steer honest Americans away from the man most likely to help them? Are the widespread negative optics influencing people unduly?

Have the churchgoers absorbing the media narrative and negative campaign advertising ever gone on YouTube to watch and listen to the candidate in question address the public — by now, hundreds of thousands of them?

If so, they would find a highly listenable extemporaneous speaker, one who puts forth his thoughts conversationally without the aid of a teleprompter. They will discover his plans for job creation and discouraging companies to leave the United States. They will hear how often he uses the words ‘love’ and ‘amazing’ — positively. They will understand why the US must stop being the world’s policeman free of charge to foreign countries. They may even see his immaculately-groomed wife and children. All of his children, bar the youngest (aged 10), are gainfully employed. They have families of their own. They have never been in trouble with drugs, alcohol or the police.

Nor has the candidate in question, who is stone cold sober every moment of the day and night. He only needs four hours sleep, so is able to take calls from world leaders. He enjoys working and he enjoys challenges.

He will not start a war. For him, that would be defeat. He prides himself on his negotiating skills. He even speaks highly of his opponents — Cruz or Paul Ryan — and wants to get along with them. He is not the problem at this juncture. They are. The same goes for protesters attempting to disrupt and destroy private gatherings of his supporters.

‘God qualifies the called’

You may remain unconvinced at this point.

However, in 2013, I read one of the Revd Walter Bright’s posts which has stayed in my mind ever since.

It is called ‘God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called’. I hope he does not mind my borrowing it for use in a political context, but this election cycle has me thinking of the title at least once a day.

The opening paragraphs, excerpted below, come from a Facebook post:

Isaac was a day dreamer, Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper and denied Christ, David had an affair and tried to cover it up with murder, Noah got drunk. Elisha was suicidal, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer and he was way too religious.

The post has this important message:

God is not looking for the qualified, he’s looking for people who would just avail themselves to him. When Jesus called the 12, most of them were not even educated. Yet, Jesus equipped them and they turned the world upside down …

Those whom God calls, He equips.

This same principle can apply to many people in this life, including in a secular context.

Rahab and the Wall of Jericho

Rahab was a woman of ill repute. Bible translations describe her as a ‘harlot’ or ‘prostitute’. Women in the Bible tells us the Bible story of the woman who ran an inn with her family:

They made their living by running a tavern: down- rather than up-market. It was a rowdy place, frequented by men who were not troubled by scruples. Rahab ‘comforted’ her customers from time to time. In short, she was no better than she should be.

Was she an upstanding, godly person? No.

Joshua 2 introduces her to us and describes her fearless work for the God she would come to know and love.

As Women in the Bible points out (emphasis in the original):

  • Even an ordinary person can further God’s plan. Rahab was definitely from the wrong side of the tracks, but God used her to help His people.

She hid two Hebrew spies from soldiers who sought them.

She later negotiated with the Hebrew men, telling them that their people were a threat to her city, Jericho. She told them she put her life and those of her family members at risk by hiding them. The men promised to protect her and her family in return.

She worked with them to plan their escape and signal with a red cord that she and her family would not perish.

Again, she had no belief in the God of Israel at this point. She had a bad reputation. Yet, she was actively helping God’s people and risking her life in the process.

Joshua 6 describes the fall of Jericho. It took a week:

15 On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. 16 And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city. 17 And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction.[b] Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent …

22 But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” 23 So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel …

25 But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

Rahab’s story reminds us that even those we do not perceive as godly can — and are called — to do the Lord’s work. Through that, those such as Rahab come to the Lord — or renew their relationship — with Him through grace by faith.

Before we get too self-righteous about our moralistic beliefs and personal purity, may we recall Rahab in the coming months and consider her story when deciding for whom to vote.

A final thought

In closing, the presumptive GOP nominee is a baptised Presbyterian who has also been confirmed. He is hardly the perfect Christian, but he does attend church at least twice a year and worshipped publicly on Easter Sunday 2016.

May conservative Republicans also remember that their party is called the Republican Party, not the Conservative Party. As such, moderate candidates should be made to feel welcome.

All political parties and world leaders have at least one spin doctor.

Many have writing qualifications and professional experience in that field.

Over the past week the name Ben Rhodes has been popping up in the news. An online search reveals that he is the spin doctor behind Obama’s Iran deal.

On May 5, the New York Times Magazine published David Samuels’ investigative article and interview with this heretofore anonymous man. Yes, American media know him, but the public did not. Now they do. ‘The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign Policy Guru’ is an eye-opener.

Ben Rhodes was born in 1977 to a Jewish mother from New York and an Episcopalian father from Texas. He never felt very comfortable with either Judaism or Christianity.

After graduating from Collegiate School in 1996, he worked on Rudy Giuliani’s mayoral campaign in New York. He then went to Rice University in Houston, where he majored in English and political science, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 2000. He returned to New York and, in 2001, worked on Diana Reyna’s city council campaign.

He attended New York University and earned an MFA in creative writing in 2002. That same year, he launched his career as a speechwriter. He also worked on the Iraq Study Group Report and the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

He began working for Obama in 2007 when the Illinois senator launched his first presidential campaign. For the past few years, Rhodes has created, shaped and disseminated the ‘narrative’ of the Iran deal to the media, who then sell it to the American public.

Rhodes is married to Ann Norris and has a daughter. Norris works in the State Department and used to be chief foreign policy adviser to California senator Barbara Boxer. Rhodes’s brother David, incidentally, is the president of CBS News.

David Samuels’s article for the NYT Magazine is lengthy and disturbing; it reveals Rhodes’s work. It begins with 9/11 as Rhodes watched it happen in New York. That event led to the aforementioned speechwriting and 9/11 assignments. He had originally intended to write fiction, then got interested in foreign policy.

When Rhodes began working for Obama in 2007 he was barely 30 years old. His youth earned him the moniker The Boy Wonder.

He is the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications and, as such, not only manages it and writes speeches but also arranges Obama’s trips overseas. However, Samuels says that this barely begins to describe Rhodes’s importance (emphases mine):

He is, according to the consensus of the two dozen current and former White House insiders I talked to, the single most influential voice shaping American foreign policy aside from Potus himself. The president and Rhodes communicate “regularly, several times a day,” according to Denis McDonough, Obama’s chief of staff, who is known for captaining a tight ship. “I see it throughout the day in person,” he says, adding that he is sure that in addition to the two to three hours that Rhodes might spend with Obama daily, the two men communicate remotely throughout the day via email and phone calls.

Also:

On the largest and smallest questions alike, the voice in which America speaks to the world is that of Ben Rhodes.

Although his work is political, his writing talent helps him to:

navigate and shape this new environment

which

makes him a more effective and powerful extension of the president’s will than any number of policy advisers or diplomats or spies.

Yet:

His lack of conventional real-world experience of the kind that normally precedes responsibility for the fate of nations — like military or diplomatic service, or even a master’s degree in international relations, rather than creative writing — is still startling.

It’s also startling that a community organiser turned junior senator has occupied the Oval Office for eight years. And he has the nerve to take a verbal shot at Donald Trump, saying that job is not ‘reality television’? However, I digress.

Rhodes’s White House colleagues repeatedly told Samuels that he has a ‘mind meld’ with Obama, meaning that he knows what the leader of the free world is thinking. Rhodes admitted:

I don’t know anymore where I begin and Obama ends.

Rhodes and his assistants have CNN on in their basement office all the time. Rhodes will watch the news coverage and work out an angle when the optics look bad. He has an entire network of water carriers in the media who will tweet and write articles based on what he says. Rhodes and his staff have been the ‘senior White House officials’ and ‘spokespeople’ quoted.

This is worrying, because Rhodes is purposely playing the media and, through them, the American public:

All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

In this environment, Rhodes has become adept at ventriloquizing many people at once.

Jon Favreau, who was Obama’s chief speechwriter when Rhodes came on board in 2007, found himself in sync with him. He told Samuels:

The idea of someone with a masters in fiction who had also co-authored the Iraq Study Group and 9/11 Commission reports seemed perfect for a candidate who put so much emphasis on storytelling.

As for the way the public understands the Iran deal, Samuels warns:

The way in which most Americans have heard the story of the Iran deal presented — that the Obama administration began seriously engaging with Iranian officials in 2013 in order to take advantage of a new political reality in Iran, which came about because of elections that brought moderates to power in that country — was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal. Even where the particulars of that story are true, the implications that readers and viewers are encouraged to take away from those particulars are often misleading or false.

He adds that the media are to blame because so many reporters lack seasoned experience:

I was struck by how naïve the assumption of a “state of nature” must seem in an information environment that is mediated less and less by experienced editors and reporters with any real prior knowledge of the subjects they write about.

Samuels explains at length how the Iran deal unfolded and Rhodes’s role in disseminating a particular perspective. Rhodes said that he had different ways of presenting it to the average American, to special interest groups and more. Samuels explains:

In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. “We created an echo chamber,” he admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

Rhodes told Samuels that he and the Obama administration doubt whether Iran can reform.

In closing, some of Samuels’s readers thought he was fawning over Rhodes. While the two seemed to have a good rapport, I did not walk away with the impression that he approved of Rhodes’s pulling the wool over the eyes of doe-eyed reporters — and the American public.

Finally, one of Samuels’s readers posted this on the many media connections within the Obama administration:

You cannot have a free and objective press when the media is in bed with the government.

People like Rhodes were not hired for what they know, but WHO they know. The corruption runs deep.

CBS President David Rhodes is the brother of Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications.

ABC President Ben Sherwood is the brother of Obama’s Special Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood.

CNN President Virginia Moseley is married to former Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Secretary Tom Nides.

ABC News executive producer Ian Cameron is married to Susan Rice, National Security Adviser.

ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman is married to former White house Press Secretary Jay Carney.

ABC News and Univision reporter Matthew Jaffe is married to Katie Hogan, Obama’s Deputy Press Secretary.

The list is is deeper than most would ever dream.

NBC General Counsel Kimberley D. Harris served as White House Deputy Counsel and Deputy Assistant to the President.

It is no doubt the same around the world, but it is still mind-boggling.

Tomorrow: Molly Button, ex-spin doctor

Obamacare has pushed many Americans’ insurance premiums and deductibles (‘excess’ in the UK) through the roof.

Jonathan Gruber helped develop and present the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Some say he was its ‘architect’.

In 2014, both Gruber and the Obama administration denied he had much of a role in that policy, however, he gave several interviews and public speeches on the topic. It was also known in January 2010 that he had a $297,000 contract with the US Department of Health and Human Services. He was promoting Obamacare during that time. Some journalists and pundits called this a conflict of interest.

Gruber has long had an interest in economics and health care. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), he went on to obtain a PhD in the subject at Harvard University. His thesis was Changes in the Structure of Employer-Provided Health Insurance.

Gruber has been teaching economics at MIT since 1992. He took leaves of absence to work for the public sector, initially for the US Treasury in 1997 and 1998. He later worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in devising Romneycare between 2003 and 2006 when Mitt was governor. In 2008, he advised three Democratic Party campaigns. Between 2009 and 2010, he worked on Obamacare.

After that, he worked for the State of Vermont in crafting Green Mountain Care, the first state-level single-payer health care scheme. That was in 2010 and 2011. N.B.: Vermont governor Peter Shumlin cancelled Green Mountain Care in 2014, because it was too expensive!

Odd that an economist should get his numbers wrong, don’t you think?

Obamacare Facts has a page on Gruber, featuring quotes and videos.

In 2013, at a lecture at the University of Pennsylvania, Gruber at one point explained that it was essential for the Congressional Budget Office not to portray the Obamacare bill as a tax or a mandate, even though it is (emphases mine):

This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If [Congressional Budget Office] scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in -– you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money — it would not have passedLack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass. And it’s the second-best argument.

Remember Nancy Pelosi saying, ‘We have to pass it to find out what’s in it’?!

The media pushed Pelosi’s lie.

Going back to Gruber’s statement, it was important to not present Obamacare as a tax, otherwise Joe and Jane Public, understandably, would have been on the blower to their legislators demanding the bill not be approved.

However, there was a more important legal reason:

It wasn’t until the National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius that the mandate’s fee was declared a tax.  Given the status of Gruber this statement could not only be used to sway public opinion away from the Affordable Care Act, it could be used in lawsuits against the ACA moving forward …

CNN’s S E Cupp has more Gruber quotes. Her article was published in November 2014, when all his proclamations were first broadcast to the American public. That was the point when some in government began to distance themselves from him. Pelosi denied knowing who he was even though, in 2009, she had praised his work. Obama referred to him vaguely as ‘some adviser’.

In 2010, Gruber told the following to an audience at the College of the Holy Cross:

… quite frankly the American public doesn’t actually care that much about the uninsured…..What the American public cares about is costs. 

Indeed they do. Shouldn’t an economist?

In 2012, at the Honors Colloquium at the University of Rhode Island he said:

It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.

Cupp was rightly aghast at Gruber’s arrogance:

For one, it was hardly a secret that the law relied on healthy people to pay in so that sick people would get coverage. Most of us — even the stupidest — know that’s how insurance works.

And just to be sure it was clear, Republicans and opponents of the law reiterated this fact ad nauseam during the public debate of the Affordable Care Act. Heck, even Obamacare supporters were insistent on explaining this point for the express purpose of getting healthy people to sign up for it. The administration spent millions on a marketing pitch to convince young, healthy millennials to invest in health insurance many didn’t appear to want.

For another, despite Gruber’s insistence that the administration maintained a necessary opacity about the law, there were plenty of warnings about its potential fundamental problems, and numerous advocacy groups, impartial economists and media outlets were steadily fact-checking the President’s rosy predictions about the law.

The point at which Gruber became unstuck on Obamacare was when he spoke with great certainty of state-specific health insurance exchanges in 2012. People who could not afford the premium would be able to apply for tax credits that the exchanges would honour. Obamacare Facts has the quote, excerpted below, then explains how wrong it all went in reality. At the time their page was published, there were three lawsuits (emphasis in the original here):

Gruber: Yeah, so these health-insurance Exchanges, you can go on ma.healthconnector.org and see ours in Massachusetts, will be these new shopping places and they’ll be the place that people go to get their subsidies for health insurance. In the law, it says if the states don’t provide them, the federal backstop will. The federal government has been sort of slow in putting out its backstop, I think partly because they want to sort of squeeze the states to do it …

The problem here is that in Gruber’s opinion, and remember he helped to create the law, that if a state doesn’t set up an exchange then its citizens can’t get tax credits.  Well that is exactly what three lawsuits are currently charging.  Two of those lawsuits have initial rulings against citizens getting tax credits.

FACT: About 87 percent of people enrolled in ObamaCare’s Health Insurance Marketplaces receive subsidies.

When asked in November 2014, Gruber said he made a mistake. He told the New Republic:

I honestly don’t remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake. People make mistakes. Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it.

During this era, at this time, the federal government was trying to encourage as many states as possible to set up their exchanges. …

Breitbart wrote about the Gruber controversy in June 2015, confirming that he really was the architect of Obamacare, observing:

once again, the media eagerly helped Obama shape a painful news cycle with falsehoods, and the truth comes out literally days before the Supreme Court rules on the subsidies – too late to influence the Court, while Obama was given a clear field to bully them into protecting his health care con job again.

Cupp nailed Gruber with this:

Gruber’s misguided sense of accomplishment reflects not so much elitism as it does the arrogance of liberal “solutionism,” or the tendency of technocrats to assume they can solve complex social problems easily …

he decided what the problem was (in this case, that healthy people were paying too little for insurance) and assumed we were all too dumb to ask any questions.

There is only one presidential candidate who promises to repeal Obamacare. You know who it is. And, if elected, he will ensure it’s done.

The Obama administration is not bowing out quietly.

On May 8, the New York Post reported that Housing Secretary Julian Castro has plans for Section 8 which will see more affluent suburbs integrated with families from the inner cities.

The programme — Small-Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR) — comes into effect in October 2016:

The scheme involves super-sizing vouchers to help urban poor afford higher rents in pricey areas, such as Westchester County, while assigning them government real-estate agents called “mobility counselors” to secure housing in the exurbs.

The Post says that Castro paved the way for this in two ways.

Last year, he implemented Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing:

that pressures all suburban counties taking federal grant money to change local zoning laws to build more low-income housing (landlords of such properties are required to accept Section 8 vouchers).

In April 2016, he threatened to sue suburban landlords if they refused to rent to people with criminal records, on grounds of discrimination.

When SAFMR comes into effect, it will forcibly lower rent subsidies for areas like Brooklyn and raise them for wealthy suburbs such as those in Westchester County (emphases mine):

In expensive ZIP codes, Castro’s plan — which requires no congressional approvalwould more than double the standard subsidy, while also covering utilities. At the same time, he intends to reduce subsidies for those who choose to stay in housing in poor urban areas, such as Brooklyn. So Section 8 tenants won’t just be pulled to the suburbs, they’ll be pushed there.

This is not a new concept. Bill Clinton tried something similar in 1994, with disastrous results. In an effort to socially and economically improve the lives of the urban poor, his Moving to Opportunity Initiative took families out of urban public housing and transferred them to more middle-class neighbourhoods and communities.

Clinton’s initiative died a death in 2009. In 2011, HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) sponsored a study which found that:

adults using more generous Section 8 vouchers did not get better jobs or get off welfare. In fact, more went on food stamps. And their children did not do better in their new schools.

Worse, crime simply followed them to their safer neighborhoods, ruining the quality of life for existing residents.

“Males…were arrested more often than those in the control group, primarily for property crimes,” the study found.

That is really sad.

The Post pointed out that quiet, industrious Dubuque, Iowa, is still suffering from increased crime rates after an influx of Chicago inner-city residents moved there, subsidised by Section 8 vouchers.

The article went on to say that left-wing experts looked at Dubuque’s situation and concluded that it would have been less likely to happen if Section 8 families had been relocated to affluent suburbs instead.

As a result, in 2012, HUD decided to experiment with the Dallas area. They ‘sweetened’ Section 8 vouchers and encouraged inner-city residents to move to communities furthest away from the city.

What happened? The same thing as in Dubuque:

Now Dallas has one of the highest murder rates in the nation, and recently had to call in state troopers to help police control it. For the first time, violent crime has shifted to the tony bedroom communities north of the city. Three suburbs that have seen the most Section 8 transfers — Frisco, Plano and McKinney — have suffered unprecedented spikes in rapes, assaults and break-ins, including home invasions.

Although HUD’s “demonstration project” may have improved the lives of some who moved, it’s ended up harming the lives of many of their new neighbors.

Come October, the same results may well be replicated across the country.

Not only will residents feel and probably be less safe, but their property values will also plummet.

It’s interesting that Julian Castro’s name often comes up as a potential running mate for Hillary Clinton. Ironically, Chappaqua, the town where the Clintons live, is currently fighting Section 8 housing because of the crime wave it brings.

Back in 2008, reports circulated that ruining the peaceful life of suburbs and exurbs was one of Obama’s plans. It is not surprising that nothing happened until now. Americans should expect more social re-engineering between now and January 2017.

Ted Cruz suspended his campaign after the Indiana primary on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

Donald Trump won the state with 53.3%. Cruz’s share of the vote was 36.6%. John Kasich picked up the remainder.

A number of Cruz’s supporters will not be supporting Trump — at least for now.

However, it is worth noting two things.

One is that Trump’s life has been an open book since he entered the Manhattan property market in the 1970s. I have been following his life and career since 1980. Everything worth knowing about him — good and bad — appeared in the media as it happened, not years later.

The other is that he is the only Republican who can defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election. He has the facts and the rhetoric, whether one likes his style or not, to reveal who she is.

The possibility of Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic Party nomination is rather narrow at this point. However, should he win, Trump will prevail.

Trump struck a chord with Hoosiers (Indiana residents) because he understands the economic climate. While Cruz focussed on conservatism, Trump spoke of jobs and lamented the number of firms going overseas. Indiana’s governor Mike Pence heard this and praised him for it. Pence’s fine words for Trump greatly outweighed his tepid endorsement of Cruz, no doubt pledged sometime earlier.

As I write, it is unclear as to what the exact catalyst was for Cruz’s withdrawal from the race was. The first few days of May were difficult for him, even though he went to Indiana at the end of April to make the state his. At the time, it seemed possible.

Soon, things began to derail. Cruz called a basketball hoop a ‘ring’ in a basketball-mad state. Then, with just over half of Trump’s delegate total, Cruz strangely named Carly Fiorina — another of the failed GOP presidential hopefuls this year — his running mate. On Monday, the day before the primary, she lost her footing at one of Cruz’s rallies and fell off the stage. Was it a sign? One cannot help but wonder.

Also that day, five out of six polls for the state showed Trump in the lead between two and 15 percentage points.

Then, on Tuesday morning, the polls had been open only a few hours when Cruz launched into an attack on Trump, who had spoken of a National Enquirer story linking Cruz Sr with Lee Harvey Oswald. (Wayne Madsen’s story about the two, complete with photos, has been on the Internet for several weeks now.) CNN described Cruz’s lengthy tirade as:

extraordinary even by the standards of the 2016 campaign …

Trump responded, in part, with this:

Today’s ridiculous outburst only proves what I have been saying for a long time, that Ted Cruz does not have the temperament to be president of the United States.

There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding Ted Cruz and his parents: his father’s political involvement before and after leaving Cuba, his mother’s possible Canadian citizenship in years past and, more importantly, Cruz’s own citizenship story. He appears not to be a natural born citizen of the United States, a requirement for both the presidency and the vice presidency. No one can say for sure because his records are sealed. However, all that can rest unless, heaven forfend, he has a major role to play in a possible Trump administration or puts his hat into the ring in 2020.

For the moment, we can focus on Donald Trump. Let us hope that it is he and not Hillary Clinton who nominates Antonin Scalia’s replacement on the Supreme Court. The next president may also have to make between one and three more Supreme Court nominations between now and 2020.

Thomas L Friedman wrote a considered editorial for The New York Times called ‘Trump and the Lord’s Work’. The last two paragraphs read in part (emphasis mine):

It’s clear: Free trade with China has hurt more people than originally thought. It’s clear: Low-skilled illegal immigration has hurt more American workers than we’ve fully understood. (And more high-skilled immigration in a knowledge age would enhance our economy more than most people understand.) It’s clear: Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare all need fixes to remain sustainable. It’s clear: Capitalism driven more by machines and robots poses new challenges for both white-collar and blue-collar workers.

Every one of these challenges can be met if we put our heads and hands together. For that to happen, though, this version of the Republican Party had to be destroyed, so a thinking center-right party can emerge. If that is what Trump has done, he’s done the Lord’s work

Amen!

This evening, my better half and I will celebrate with lobster and a glass of Meursault.

May God bless Donald Trump and keep him and his family safe from harm.

For the past 20 years, I have made a conscious effort to articulate views in conversation without saying ‘I feel’, instead using ‘I think’ or merely making a statement.

I knew a business professor at the time, now retired, who often introduced his conversational opinions with ‘I feel that …’ He said it so often that I began listening for those words from others, including friends, acquaintances and colleagues. There was a lot of ‘I feel’ among them as well as in television interviews with famous people.

SpouseMouse also noticed this.

Were we the only two who had?

We had a long wait, but, finally, it now emerges that other people have had enough of ‘I feel’. Before exploring their criticism of those words, let’s look at a bit of background from the late 20th century to today.

Thinking is being

Until recently, secondary school and university students took an introduction to philosophy course.

They read René Descartes, the French philosopher who wrote in his Discourse on the Method in 1637:

Je pense, donc je suis.

In 1644, he wrote the statement in Latin in Principles of Philosophy:

Cogito ergo sum.

Translated in English, it means:

I think, therefore, I am.

Wikipedia explains:

This proposition became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it purported to form a secure foundation for knowledge in the face of radical doubt. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception, or mistake, Descartes asserted that the very act of doubting one’s own existence served—at minimum—as proof of the reality of one’s own mind; there must be a thinking entity—in this case the self—for there to be a thought.

St Augustine of Hippo wrote similarly in the 5th century in his works The City of God and the Enchiridion, in discussing the errors of sceptics. By being alive, we are prone to error:

… one cannot err who is not alive. That we live is therefore not only true, but it is altogether certain as well …

Other philosophers and great thinkers also addressed the certainty of our existence, which revolves around the ability to think and to reason.

My point here is not to engage in philosophical discussion but rather to point out that thinking was seen as the foundation for rational expression.

When I was growing up, my parents asked me to substantiate my opinions with facts. Facts require thought in order to process the information therein. Facts give us solid reasons to support certain perspectives.

Thinking is not emotion. As my parents used to say, ‘Any fool can feel. You’re supposed to use the God-given gifts of thought and reason.’ To some that will sound tough, but it will produce critical thinking.

The therapeutic era

Most people under the age of 35 or even 40 will have encountered a therapeutic approach to language rather than a rational one.

If this approach to linguistics does not begin at home, it will certainly be taught at school.

Everything must be couched in inoffensive terms. Prefacing an opinion or even a fact with ‘I feel’ is understood to be more acceptable than using the more definite ‘I think’ or making a direct statement.

Defenders of ‘I feel’ think they and others who use those words are demonstrating humility, gentleness and openness towards others. ‘I feel’, they say, signals a willingness to change one’s mind if a good case can be made to the contrary.

However, there is also a manipulative side to ‘I feel’ when it is used by people who self-identify as victims. It is a passive-aggressive way of saying, ‘I’m a delicate little flower. Therefore, please don’t contradict me, because that will invalidate my feelings. Truth be told, I am not interested in what you have to say, anyway, unless you agree with me.’

The case against ‘I feel’

On May 1, the SundayReview in The New York Times featured an article by Molly Worthen, an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a contributing editorial writer to the NYT. Worthen’s most recent book is Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism.

Her article, ‘Stop Saying “I Feel Like”‘, is a must-read for both supporters and detractors of that perspective. The accompanying illustration of a woman opening her mouth with flowers falling out of it makes the point perfectly.

Worthen begins by saying she has been hearing people opine on the presidential candidates this year. Too many of them make statements similar to the following:

Personally, I feel like Bernie Sanders is too idealistic

or, as someone said of Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz, the ex-Canadian:

I feel like I can trust that he will keep his promises.

Worthen points out (emphases mine):

The imperfect data that linguists have collected indicates that “I feel like” became more common toward the end of the last century. In North American English, it seems to have become a synonym for “I think” or “I believe” only in the last decade or so. Languages constantly evolve, and curmudgeons like me are always taking umbrage at some new idiom. But make no mistake: “I feel like” is not a harmless tic. George Orwell put the point simply: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” The phrase says a great deal about our muddled ideas about reason, emotion and argument — a muddle that has political consequences.

Although women use the phrase more often than men, she says that among her own students:

male students begin almost every statement with “I feel like.” The gender gap is vanishing because the cultural roots of this linguistic shift were never primarily a consequence of gender.

Some students Worthen interviewed are making a conscious effort not to say the words:

Jing Chai, a senior at the University of Chicago, said: “I’ve tried to check myself when I say that. I think it probably demeans the substance of what I’m trying to say.”

As I said above, ‘I feel’ can be a passive-aggressive conversation stopper. Worthen agrees:

“I feel like” masquerades as a humble conversational offering, an invitation to share your feelings, too — but the phrase is an absolutist trump card. It halts argument in its tracks.

When people cite feelings or personal experience, “you can’t really refute them with logic, because that would imply they didn’t have that experience, or their experience is less valid,” Ms. Chai told me.

You know, we can’t have that these days. The atmosphere on campus is meant for victimhood rather than learning. Worthen says that Bradley Campbell, a sociologist at California State University, Los Angeles, has written about the shift:

from a “culture of dignity,” which celebrates free speech, to a “culture of victimhood” marked by the assumption that “people are so fragile that they can’t hear something offensive,” he told me.

People like that should not even be at university, regardless of their intelligence. University is for people who can think critically and encounter new ideas. It’s a place for well-reasoned, tempered debate and discussions which result in learning. Yet, for all their linguistic kindness, today’s university students, sometimes aided by lecturers or professors, violently shut down opposing viewpoints. Think of the Chicago ‘protests’ (assaults and vandalism) a few months ago by university students — encouraged by radical professors — which prevented a Trump rally from taking place. Elsewhere, earlier this year, one student purposely damaged a Trump supporter’s laptop because he couldn’t stand looking at the bumper sticker on it. Trump aside, many universities — including those in the UK — have had to cancel certain speakers’ appearances because they are not politically correct. This is in response to student protest and threatened violence. The wimpy ‘I feel’ is, in reality, manifesting itself as physical harm or damage. But I digress.

Worthen also interviewed Christopher Lasch’s daughter Dr Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, a historian at Syracuse University, who is carrying on her late father’s fine work in social commentary. If you have not read Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism, you are missing out on a treat. I read it in the early 1980s and it analyses our society to a T.

Of ‘I feel like’, Lasch-Quinn told Worthen:

It’s a way of deflecting, avoiding full engagement with another person or group because it puts a shield up immediately. You cannot disagree.

In 2001, Lasch-Quinn’s book Race Experts lamented that no real improvement is being achieved with equality or economics. Instead, the Left focusses on sensitivity training. ‘I feel like’ is part of this pattern:

a means of avoiding rigorous debate over structures of society that are hard to change

Cultivating the art of conversation goes a long way toward correcting these things,” Dr. Lasch-Quinn said. 

Her father wrote about what, today, Americans call ‘self care’. Worthen explains:

“self-care” — can lead to what the writer Christopher Lasch called “pseudo-self-awareness.” It can leave us too preoccupied with personal satisfaction to see the world clearly. “The new narcissist is haunted not by guilt but by anxiety,” Mr. Lasch wrote in his 1979 book “The Culture of Narcissism.” “He seeks not to inflict his own certainties on others but to find a meaning in life.”

Unfortunately, times have moved on. In the 2010s, it is all too apparent that those who are emotionally-driven actually do seek to inflict their own certainties on others, either by shutting down opposing viewpoints or threatening people. ‘I feel like’ is a contributing linguistic factor to this phenomenon.

Although philosophers have for centuries acknowledged emotion as essential to thinking, we can take our feelings too far. When Worthen spoke to the neuroscientist Dr Antonio Dimasio, who teaches at the University of Southern California, he agreed that ‘I feel like’ is:

“bad usage” and “a sign of laziness in thinking,” not because it acknowledges the presence of emotion, but because it is an imprecise hedge that conceals more than it reveals. “It doesn’t follow that because you have doubts, or because something is tempered by a gut feeling, that you cannot make those distinctions as clear as possible,” he said.

The best gift parents and teachers can give children is to get them to figure out why they like or dislike and agree or disagree with something or someone. Insist that they think about it and articulate it factually, without one-word answers or labels. Furthermore, when they see a soundbite from someone they disagree with, ask them to research further. Did they understand the full context in which a statement was given? Did they read or hear the full quote?

Saying ‘I feel like’ prevents our getting the full story. Using ‘I think’ or — even better — doing away with the first person preface altogether will produce sharper thought processes and a more reasoned point of view, easily articulated to our listeners and readers. Children should learn that as quickly as they can. It will serve them well in life.

Democratic Party voters should know about Hillary Clinton’s career.

It dumbfounds millions that this woman can even countenance running for the presidency. However, as one of the videos below explains, this has been the plan since 1986, when Bill was the governor of Arkansas.

It is interesting that Hillary considers Donald Trump her opponent in the general election. A few days ago, her campaign launched an ad against the billionaire attacking his ‘extreme makeover’ recently announced by convention manager Paul Manafort to the GOPe in Hollywood, Florida. Meanwhile, Trump is unsure whether he will even be the Republican nominee without Manafort and his team going on a PR offensive with delegates.

In other Hillary news, one of her supporters, David Brock, is heading a new Super PAC called Correct The Record (CTR), which will employ online trolls at the cost of $1m to ‘correct’ Bernie Sanders’s supporters in social media comments. Obama’s 2008 campaign team were the first to use this bullying technique. Oh, my. Who can forget how down and dirty they were?

Clinton voters point to Bill’s stellar presidency and how wonderful it was having a first lady who was a lawyer. Millions of other Americans did not share their enthusiasm, but having Bob Dole as the lacklustre Republican candidate in 1996 effectively swept Bill into office for a second term.

After they left office — and ‘they’ is no mistake — warm, fuzzy memories lived on in voters’ minds. So, when Hillary became a New York senator, her fans cheered. However, when she lost to Obama in 2008, they fractured. Some went to Obama, but the rest broke off to support either John McCain (and, later, Mitt Romney) or the Green Party. As they left the Democratic Party and became unaffiliated, they started researching their former heroine’s background. What they discovered wasn’t pretty.

A Bernie Sanders supporter has an interesting site called Won’t Vote Hillary which lists a number of reasons — greater and lesser — as to why not.

Unless I missed it, one hasn’t made the list: her smoothing over New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s racist joke at an event on April 10. The New York Daily News reported:

Their big moment became a big blunder when a tasteless joke — built off the stereotype that black people are chronically late — fell flat.

“Thanks for the endorsement. Took you long enough,” Clinton deadpanned.  

“Sorry, Hillary. I was running on C.P. Time,” de Blasio replied, riffing on the phrase “colored people time,” meaning always late.

When the event’s compère, black actor Leslie Odom Jr, objected, Clinton said:

“’Cautious Politician Time.’ I’ve been there.”

The New York Post has the video clip with subtitles.

Can you imagine if Donald Trump had been involved in a tasteless skit like that? The media would still be talking about it.

There are serious questions Hillary’s current supporters need to ask themselves about her candidacy. Why have questionable ethics been at the forefront throughout her career? What is her end game?

The compelling videos below provide those questions — and answers — against Hillary.

White House questions

The ‘Anonymous’ video below is 25 minutes long. In a simple and straightforward manner, it covers the many Clinton scandals from Bill’s time in the White House to Hillary’s time as Obama’s Secretary of State through to the present day. Benghazi (‘What does it matter?’) starts at the 16:00 mark:

Hillary’s 2016 campaign and the Clinton Foundation are also discussed. This is well worth watching, because seeing all these scandals and unethical activity bundled together makes the case against Hillary all the more powerful.

Arkansas questions

Two other videos raise ethical and criminal issues concerning the Clintons from their Arkansas days through to the campaign for the presidency in 1992.

Both feature interviews with a one-time Clinton insider, Larry Nichols, who eventually disassociated himself from the couple.

The Clinton Chronicles is nearly 90 minutes long and explores the couple’s shaky ethics at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock and later when Bill was Arkansas governor:

It’s shocking and, as the notice says at the beginning of the film, is intended for mature audiences only.

The next film is 33 minutes long and was made last year. In it, Nichols discusses the past and present. He says that, 30 years ago, the Clintons devised their 1986 Plan, which ultimately involves Bill becoming the Secretary General of the United Nations. If he achieved that power and if Hillary were President of the United States at the same time, they would accomplish their goal of being the most powerful couple in the world:

Nichols cautions against voters being taken in by Hillary’s attempt to position herself as the underdog in her campaign. She is anything but. He also says that the New York Times — knowingly or unknowingly — serves as a PR machine for her.

Nichols, who is battling cancer, thinks there is a very real possibility that the 2016 election could be the last one that Americans recognise. He says that if Hillary Clinton wins, the nation may be irrevocably changed — and not for the better.

He said that Hillary has always been the power behind the throne. It was she who directed Bill’s career. He explained that Bill is much more laid back, but Hillary’s mind is focussed on power.

Nichols sees only one viable option for reversing America’s travails and restoring the Great Republic: Donald Trump in the White House.

The Washington Post has an illuminating report on the amount of money presidential candidates have spent in February and March 2016 per vote.

There is an excellent graphic a quarter of the way down the page which shows the breakdown. This is before outside money, e.g. PAC funding, is factored in.

Strangely, Jeb Bush was omitted from the list, although his failed campaign cost $130m.

On the Republican side, overall, Ben Carson spent well beyond what the other remaining GOP candidates did. His campaign’s profligate spending made the news earlier this year. Unfortunately, in an attempt to speculate to accumulate, most of that money went on fundraising to generate more contributions: $85.64 per vote! That is more than four times’ Bernie Sanders’s equivalent spend of $21.27.

Carson aside, the Republicans have spent much less per vote than the Democrats. In February, Hillary Clinton spent $77.25 and Bernie Sanders an eye-watering $126.42. In March, Clinton spent $3.73 and Sanders $7.29.

Contrast those figures with Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz’s spend of $65.64 in February and Donald Trump’s $22.44 that same month. In March, Cruz spent $2.12 per vote and Trump $1.85.

Trump got excellent value for money, although that figure is about to change somewhat as he injects $20 million into his campaign for targeted aggressive advertising and GOTV (get out the vote) strategies.

The big picture shows us how Democrats spend far more money than Republicans do. If this is only a presidential primary campaign, imagine how much in hard-earned taxpayer dollars they would spend once in office. Food for thought.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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