Thursday, September 29, 2016

Clinton Inc. opens tomorrow

Clinton Inc.

A shorter version of this was published today at AMI Newswire.

A documentary opening Friday about how Bill and Hillary Clinton’s marriage has powered their political dynasty is the latest entree in a growing menu of politically charged, campaign-season films.

Clinton Inc. scheduled to open in Chicago on Friday and around the country by mid-October, casts the Clinton marriage as an unusual arrangement that allows the couple to support each other's separate political ambitions, and find ways to use their positions to enrich themselves along the way.

Loosely based the 2014 book Clinton Inc. by Daniel Halper, a former Weekly Standard editor who now runs the Washington bureau of the New York Post, the film draws on interviews and archival footage to explore the psychological roots of Bill Clinton's philandering. It argues that Hillary made herself and their marriage essential to his political career by enabling and covering up his affairs (a territory also explored in the Roger Stone book The Clintons' War on Women).

The documentary is part of a growing genre of influential and successful films that criticize contemporary politics and politicians. Peter Schweitzer, the author of a book on the Clinton Foundation, “Clinton Cash,” has produced a movie version of his book which anyone can be watched for free on the website of the conservative news outlet, Breitbart. 

A chronicle, by means of interviews and archival footage, of the rise of the Clintons as a nascent political dynasty, Clinton Inc. builds a case that the Clinton marriage is basically an unusual arrangement where Bill and Hillary support each other's separate political ambitions, and find ways to use their positions to enrich themselves along the way.  Produced on a budget of $1.5 million, the movie is heavy on exploring the psychological roots of Bill Clinton's philandering, and arguing that Hillary made herself and their marriage essential to his political career by enabling and covering up his affairs (a territory also explored in the Roger Stone book The Clintons' War on Women)  The film's producer has released four different trailers on YouTube.

It's not the first time an explosive documentary has been aimed at the Clintons during an election.  Many have forgotten that the famous Supreme Court case Citizens United, decided in 2010, was also about a movie, another movie about the Clintons, Hillary: The Movie (2008).  A political group, Citizens United, planned to air the movie on TV during the primaries, and Democrats went to court to prevent that, claiming it was advertising that should be regulated under campaign finance law.  The Supreme Court struck down those aspects of laws regulating campaign finance, arguing that they violated the First Amendment guarantees of free speech.

Doug Sain, the producer of Clinton Inc. is no stranger to making political documentaries.  Sain was the executive producer of the 2016: Obama's America, which was the #1 documentary of 2012 (earning $33.5 million at the box office), the #2 political documentary of all time, and #5 documentary of all time for highest domestic gross box office.  (It also came in second for the most DVDs sold for all movies during its home entertainment release week).

On a less elevated level than the Citizens United case, that Sain doc also ended up in court,  with Sain suing his co-producer of 2016, conservative writer and activist Dinesh D'Souza.  Sain claimed that his ownership should be increased from 25% to 50% and his production company should be paid additional fees for finding investors and other services.

The courts rejected Sain's case, but he has a chance for a rematch of sorts.  D'Souza went on to produce his own movie about one of the Clintons, Hillary's America, released this past July.  Starring Jonah Goldberg, an editor at National Review (a conservative rival to the Weekly Standard) and the son of Lucianne Goldberg, the PR pro who helped midwife the outing of Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.  Hillary's America netted only $5 million at the box office.  The tightening in the polls might create extra interest in Sain's later release. 

This election year is seeing a lot of free speech from filmmakers.  Besides Sain's and D'Souza's Hillary movies, Peter Schweitzer, the author of a book on the Clinton Foundation, Clinton Cash, also produced a movie version of his book which anyone can watch for free on the web at another conservative news outlet, Breitbart.  (In an echo of the 2008 Citizens United film release, a Clinton campaign spokesperson called in August for shutting down websites like Breitbart.)

A cable network could actually do a pre-election day marathon of campaign 2016 films.  Donald Trump has also become fodder for filmmakers. Johnny Depp's online mockumentary Donald Trump: The Art of the Deal, released in February, has had over 5 million visits on the Funny or Die, an entertainment industry community produced website which has many takedowns of the Trump candidacy.   A relatively unknown film, One Nation Under Trump, was produced for $25,000 and released last month to bad reviews from the very few who saw it.  And movies about Donald Trump as a public figure, not as a presidential candidate, have been produced every few years, going back to 1991's Trump: What's the Deal?

Not to be left out, a movie about Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson's unprecedented independent challenge, Rigged 2016, with a $1 million budget provided by founder Patrick Byrne, a Johnson supporter, also comes out in October.   And finally a movie somewhat aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement, IncarceratingUS, is available on line and is being shown at law schools, universities, and non-profit venues.  (Hillary Clinton has a cameo she probably didn't want, clapping for President Bill Clinton when he enacted mandatory minimum sentences for all crimes including non-violent drug offenses.)

Voters this year are despairing their electoral choices.  Someone could organize a film festival for them for entertainment.  Maybe throw in The Manchurian Candidate and Wag The Dog for levity.

Undivided - Gary Johnson 2016 Ad (Unofficial)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Clinton Inc. | :30 Spot | "Weirdness"

Fast Abe Lincoln talks about Gary Johnson and the 2016 Election

The First Debate - Needed more hot sauce.

This was originally published at Breitbart earlier today.

Lester Holt needs to be fact checked.

He introduced the first presidential debate by saying it was sponsored by the "non-partisan" Commission on Presidential Debates.

The Commission is bipartisan.

The Commission is composed entirely of establishment Republican and Democratic former party officers.  No one on the commission represents the plurality of American voters - and the majority of new voters - who are independents, let alone the other parties.

It was a mediocre debate, with Hillary giving a non-stop smug, toothy, smile, the kind of thing that lost a debate for an eye-rolling Al Gore, and with a sniffling Trump so held in check that he became boring and went into the weeds, defending himself on boring points about his personal business life, and probably angering Ann Coulter by failing to mention his signature issue of illegal immigration and unvetted immigrants.  It would have been much more interesting with Governor Gary Johnson - or anyone else - to challenge and derail them both.

Trump left a lot of money on the table, frittering away his time trying to explain why he hadn't released his tax returns, and allowing Hillary to place him in the unique position of being lectured by the queen of mendacity on how he must be hiding something.  Clinton meanwhile produced the kind of bumperstickers and sound bites like "Trumped Up Trickle Down" that motivate her base of low IQ, low information voters, who won't be prodded by a pro-Hillary media to wonder how Reagan's "trickle down" economics from the 1980s could cause an economic crisis in 2008, if the Clintons were in the White House for 8 years in the 1990s.

Too much of the debate consisted of Hillary telling people to go read her website.  For example, Hillary insisted that unlike Trump she has a plan to defeat ISIS - which we can read on her website.  Not having read her website, this debate told me nothing.  As far as I know her plan to defeat ISIS consists of sending classified emails from her unsecured private server listing ISIS leaders and naming them as CIA assets or double agents so they kill each other.  Trump often failed to mention Hillary's criminal recklessness with classified documents.  As University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato observed in post debate analysis "During a discussion on cybersecurity, Trump failed to bring up Clinton’s use of private emails as a potential cybersecurity issue. That was the equivalent of “missing the biggest, easiest softball lobbed right down the heart of the plate,” as our Twitter pal @EsotericCD put it."

For the past few days everywhere I've gone in the DC metropolitan area, Hillary supporters have been depressed.  Last Saturday, at the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Association picnic in Crystal City, Virginia, the one policy wonk in the group, a tax policy journalist, decided to eat the delicious BBQ provided (from the local Rocklands franchise) sitting across from me, because I was wearing a Johnson-Weld tee shirt.  He pitched me every Clinton talking point ("the economy is doing so great - stocks are up and people have jobs!").  He also expressed fear that Trump would be elected.

The morning before the debate, in the steam room at the gay-owned gym Vida, a local TV reporter told me "Trump is doing really well.  Hillary is doing well with millennials - but millennials who are actually registered to vote lean more to Trump."  When I pointed out to him that in a recent Nate Silver/538 post about DC Trump was up to 23% (Republican registration is only 7% of DC voters, and Romney only got 6% of the vote in DC)  so that must include African Americans (DC being 49% black) he responded: "A lot of blacks like Trump, because they hate illegal immigrants and think he will be good for the economy."  I said "maybe they just don't like the Clintons," and he expressed a somewhat "illiberal" thought that "They are mad because of (Bill) Clinton's welfare reform."

I visited two leftist debate parties, and watched the debate at one co-sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, the Latino Victory Fund, and the Environmental Defense Fund.  Congressman Mark Tanaka and Veep wannabe Julian Castro tried to warm up the crowd on a bad sound system.  A light sprinkling of press including the gay paper The Washington Blade and an Argentinian reporter interviewed the 150 half Latin, half white (very few blacks or Asians) crowd.  They were largely cheered by Hillary's performance, as were the presenters on MSNBC.

Earlier in the evening I attended another debate party whose guest of honor was Obama ghost writer and unconvicted terrorist Bill Ayers, who was launching a new book at DC's socialist bookstore Busboys and Poets.  His first question, after his book talk and before the debate began, was from a septuagenarian communist who asked why Ayers had given up on revolutionary violence (Ayers' website features a red star logo).  After an evasive answer Ayers returned to the topic later when answering a question from a Venezuelan immigrant with Ayers telling the audience that leftist factions here need to follow their Venezuelan brothers by learning how to get together to take power.

This debate may not much effect which faction will be taking power here this November.  The results of Lee Carter of Maslansky & Partners "dial" polling of  group of voters fits with what I think is true of voters generally - this debate mainly provided confirmation bias, where Hillary and Trump supporters each saw what they wanted and were confirmed in what they already believed.  A small number may have been driven to Jill Stein or Gary Johnson by Hillary's smugness or Trump's lack of debate preparation.  As Larry Sabato summed it up in his release in the wee hours of the morning "This debate might not ultimately make much difference, but if it re-energizes Democrats after weeks of sagging enthusiasm, that will be a victory for her campaign. If it does not, she might be in quite a bit of trouble."

But overall Trump didn't do well and his supporters may wish that the GOP ticket consisted of its two more articulate blonds, Kellyanne Conway and Ann Coulter.

Fact checking Hillary Clinton

This was published yesterday at Breitbart.

As the first Presidential Debate approaches, the Clinton campaign is working the ref.

Clinton campaign head Robbie Mook appeared on the Sunday morning chat shows demanding that NBC's Lester Holt, the debate moderator, fact check Donald Trump, as Mrs. Clinton might not have the stamina to both present her own vision of an America moving forward into the future by being stronger together AND respond to Trump's challenges to her.

Ironically, it can be a little hard to fact check the Clintons.

They've been in politics for so long that, as conspiracy theorists often point out, an unusually large number of their past associates are no longer alive.  And of course, many of the documents one might use to fact check them have been destroyed.

This election that would include Hillary's emails and her phones.  (And the people managing her emails are all now pleading the 5th Amendment or asking for immunity from prosecution, so they are legally the equivalent of deleted documents).  But it also includes archival government videos and transcripts, which we now know have had patches erased under President Obama, particularly videos and transcripts of briefings at Hillary's State Department.

Even pre-internet the Clintons were destroying documents.  Bill Clinton's National Security Advisor Sandy Berger (who passed away last December) was reprimanded for stuffing the original and only copies of documents related to 9/11 down his pants legs to remove them from the National Archives in 2003 and then destroy them.  Reminiscent of Hillary's "recklessness" with classified documents, Berger claimed he was just "sloppy."  Berger was fined $50,000, gave up his law license, and given two years probation.  It's probably good that Berger's wife, Susan Berger, a Washington, D.C. real estate agent had helped the Clinton's buy their $3 million D.C. home on Whitehaven Street in Embassy row (its backyard shares a property line with the Vice President's mansion at Observatory Circle) in January of 2001 - before 9/11 and before her husband absconded with the 9/11 documents.

Mr. Berger was originally from Millerton, New York, in Duchess County, slightly farther from New York City than the Westchester town of Chappaqua where the Clinton's own their two other multi-million dollar homes.  One Clinton fact that can be checked is one of Hillary's campaign promises when she ran for and was elected to Senate to represent New York state.  She promised to bring 200,000 jobs to upstate New York but instead the region lost 26,500 jobs during her first Senate term.

Hillary's failure to deliver jobs came up in her 2008 campaign for the White House.  She pointed out she had induced one Indian technology company, Tata Consultancy, to open an office in Buffalo, New York.  But when reporters investigated further Tata had only hired 10 employees in Buffalo, and it could not say how many of them were U.S. citizens.  Clinton has however held several Indian American community fundraisers, one of which produced $3 million for her 2008 presidential campaign.

This isn't the first time Clinton has been on a now unpopular side of outsourcing jobs to Asia.  Mrs. Clinton, as a lawyer at the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas, was appointed to the Board of Directors of WalMart, partly because the CEO's wife was campaigning for more women on the Board, and no doubt partly because the Board thought it would be useful for that woman to be the wife of the governor of the state where Walmart is headquartered on (the) board.  Hillary served on the Board of Directors from 1986 to 1992, only leaving when Bill Clinton decided to run for President. While Hillary was on the Board of Directors, Walmart dropped its official Buy American policy, widely criticized by Walmart critics on the left as merely marketing strategy, and began importing cheaper goods from Asia.  A source, gagged by non-disclosure agreements, who says he was in the room when the votes were taken, says Hillary Clinton was the swing vote in abandoning WalMart's Buy American policy.  Hillary has been collecting donations from Walmart executives and its PAC in all her races since.

However, if you'd like to see the minutes of the Board meetings where the vote was taken you can't.  They are as good a Bergered.  Walmart doesn't allow journalists or the public to see its corporate minutes.

So we won't be seeing them during this election.  Or at least, not unless WikiLeaks has gotten ahold of them.

Monday, September 26, 2016

From Abe Lincoln to Ronald Reagan to Gary Johnson

In Trump She Trusts

This was published today at The Daily Caller.

I love Ann Coulter.

Lately I've been descending into the smoking, stalling, short-circuiting Hades of the D.C. Metro holding as a protective relic her latest In Tump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome (Sentinel, 2016).  (She'd excommunicate me - I'm interfaith, so I was also wearing a Johnson-Weld tee shirt.)  It's now 3rd on the best seller list.

It's actually the first Coulter book I've read, though I've read many of her columns and seen her media appearances.  I was once sort of accused of reading a pre-publication copy of one of her earlier books - my immediate next door neighbor, like Coulter a former Congressional staffer when both were freshly minted law school grads, is one of the half dozen people who reads her drafts and makes suggestions, and is duly thanked in the prefatory acknowledgements. That year's preview draft was lost and everyone was anxious to find it and slightly terrified it might have been mis-delivered to someone like me.  Who might post excerpts or discuss it in advance.

My neighbor, who like me is more libertarian than is Ms. Coulter, tells me he always tells her about half a dozen things  so outrageous she must remove them, and much as if she was following Coco Chanel's fashion advice, she looks in her mirror and removes just one accessory before she goes out to the publisher.

Reading Trump I feel about Ms. Coulter and my neighbor the way I did when I started listening to Rush Limbaugh.  Everyone had always told me Rush was a sexist-racist-homophobe-bigot.  I had a job where I drove around a lot with the radio on, and I preferred talk, any talk, Howard Stern, Scott Simon, Terri Gross, Rachel Maddow, to music.  When poor gay GOP Congressman Mark Foley had the bad judgement to send purple prose mash notes to Congressional pages (who are all over the age of consent in Washington, D.C.) I was listening to the minor comic Stephanie Miller on Air America radio.  Stephanie, a "liberal," was coming pretty close to making jokes about lynching the pedophile gays - jokes that are even more gruesome given what it going on in the Middle East in the aftermath of the policies of Ms. Miller's heroes, President Obama and Secretary Clinton.

So I wondered, if Air America was calling for lynching the gays (around the time Sidney Blumenthal was inventing birtherism), what would that neanderthal Rush Limbaugh be doing?  I switched him on.  He was discussing the machinations of Congress and the two establishment parties as they scheme to enrich themselves and hold onto power.  It was like a case study of public choice theory.  Albeit delivered with humor by someone who was an American male from an earlier generation.

It wasn't what I had been told I would be hearing.

And this is what Coulter's book on Trump is like.

The Donald Trump she presents is not the Trump we've been told about.  Lots of Ann's fun is trading on the hypocrisy and ignorance of her subjects, politicians, the media, and the consultant class.

She quotes them saying Trump won't succeed in the primaries, and then shows them eating their words a few weeks later.

They say Trump has no policies, and she digests his many policy proposals and papers that they refused to cover.  His central policy, taxing the remittances that foreigners, especially illegal immigrants, working in the U.S. send out of the country, and using the money to build a wall on the southern border and otherwise vet immigrants and beef up border security may be a good or a bad idea.  But it does seem to be a policy, and a straightforward one that attempts to make people benefiting from cross border work and trade pay for an externality they are imposing on others, that is the cost of making sure violent criminals or terrorists are not crossing the border with them.  How is that much different from Gary Johnson's temporary flirtation with a carbon fee that would "internalize" the cost of carbon?

They say Trump should have been disqualified for denigrating Senator John McCain, a war hero.  Coulter reproduces the entire quote and the context of Trump's statement, where he was retaliating against McCain for saying that Trump was crazy, and more importantly smearing 15,000 Arizonan Trump fans who had gone to a rally  - McCain's own constituents - as "crazies."

They say Trump was making fun of a disabled reporter, Serge Kovaleski of the Washington Post.  Coulter makes a compelling case that Trump didn't know Kovaleski was disabled, and was making fun of him for being wishy washy, as Kovaleski had written one of the original reports on American Muslims who chose to celebrate the 9/11 attack the day it happened, but then tried to claim he had not written such an article when the liberal media smeared Trump for allegedly inventing this calumny on Islam.

And on and on.  Coulter targets the political class, the consultant class, and the media spinners who make a good living in the wealthy counties around Washington, D.C., in Manhattan, and a few other enclaves, by delivering failed policies - or kneecapped, failed campaigns to change those policies - that always only benefit themselves.  And she presents Trump, as a heroic figure who alone is willing to be rude and politically incorrect in bashing these people, calling them out, and disregarding their increasingly hysterical attempts to take him down with their usual smears.

Coulter's romance of Trump is not so much akin to an Ayn Rand story about an industrial titan, the easy parallel the facile might make.  It's far more street.

A few years ago media critic Bernard Goldberg took Coulter to task for being a shock jock.  He was correct (much like Jamie Kirchick may be in this year's conservative Jew vs right-wing blond contretemps with the gay Coulter, Milo Yiannopolous).  (Full disclosure:  I'm a little jealous of Milo's becoming the gay Ann Coulter before I could, though I am not as willing to add to the other "big" blogs at Breitbart - Big Government, Big Journalism, Big Hollywood - by creating and editing Big Black Cock.)

Ann Coulter is a kind of shock jock, a Jacqueline the Ripper as Jane Austen.  And so it's apropos that her admission of Trump is more akin to Howard Stern associate Robin Quivers'  admiration for Muhammad Ali.  Coulter sees Donald Trump as the prize fighter for the Deplorables, the new negroes in the establishment's new version of Jim Crow America. And she thinks the election is going to be a knockout.

Irish Lawmaker Clare Daly Destroys Obama during Parliament Speech - Pers...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

How the left does Rendition

This was first published on Breitbart.

On Thursday, September 1, a massive recall referendum rally is set to take place in Venezuela.  The opposition is hoping hundreds of thousands will descend on Caracas to demand a referendum to decide whether socialist President Nicolas Maduro should stay in power. 

In advance of the rally the Maduro regime has arrested, often without any charges or due process, opposition party leaders, including local elected officials. Media in the U.S. and Europe, while focusing on their own presidential election or Brexit referendum, have paid scant attention.  The Hollywood stars who produced movies about the Bush era detention of terrorism suspects like the 2007 movie Rendition have remained silent.  On the day before the protest, Agence France Press and Business India and other Asian media were the only news organizations covering the upcoming march.

Venezuelan secret police Monday kidnapped Popular Will Party opposition leader and 2008 Milton Friedman Prize winner Yon Goicoechea, 32, from his car after he left his home.    The Popular Will Party is the largest opposition party in Venezuela and other party activists have been kidnapped by the government earlier this year.
The kidnapping was first announced by David Smolansky, the mayor of El Hatillo, a municipality of Caracas, on Twitter: "[He] was kidnapped at 9:30 a.m. by an armed group. He's missing!"

Smolansky himself is being charged by Maduro loyalists with attempting to organize armed insurrection.  Writing for the opposition website Caracas Chronicles, journalist Daniel Cadena Jordan reported today "Hours earlier, Táchira State governor José Vielma Mora had accused our mayor, David Smolansky, of arming radicals in his state to plot the violent overthrow of the government. Well, I actually am one of Smolansky’s 'shock troops' and the only weapon I was given was a stack of flyers and a walking route. The government’s going all out to intimidate and demobilize our base ahead of tomorrow’s protests."
Venezuelan National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello, the second most powerful person in the country, publicly announced that the government had arrested Goicoechea on the claim that he was carrying explosives. In a nationwide television broadcast, Cabello referred to the $500,000 Friedman Prize award that Goicoechea  received as evidence that Goicoechea was some sort of foreign-employed agent bent on terrorism. “Today a man named Yon Goicoechea was detained and cords used for detonating explosives were found in his possession," said Cabello.  “It looks like his money ran out and he wants to come here to seek blood. They gave him the order there in the United States.”  Goicoechea, earned an LLM from Columbia University Law School, and lived in the U.S. and Spain until earlier this year.  Supporters of Goicoecha who are operating his twitter feed during his disappearance say he was moving furniture when he was arrested.  He had been moving from one friend's home to another, after receiving death threats.
The kidnapping was in advance of the major anti-socialist protest in Caracas planned for September 1.  The so-called "taking of Caracas" on this Thursday plans to demand a recall referendum vote this year to oust President Nicolás Maduro, amid the country's political and economic crisis, which has caused inflation, food shortages and high levels of violent crime.  Critics say the arrests and the claims that opposition leaders are foreign agents is an attempt by a failing regime to scapegoat political rivals and blame them for a disastrous economic crisis.
President Cabello has been under investigation for over a year, along with a number of Venezuelan government officials, by U.S. federal prosecutors for running a narco-terrorism cartel, which one investigator says funds Venezuela's ruling socialist party but also funds people in the Cuban regime as well as elements of Hezbollah.  The Obama regime has as yet filed no charges.
Venezuela’s "Socialism of the 21st Century" has produced shortages of everything from food and water, to medicine and electricity. Hunger is becoming widespread, the rate of violence is among the worst in the world, and the regime has become extremely unpopular.   As of late 2015, 70 opposition leaders, including the mayor of Caracas, had been imprisoned.  Reports of shortages and long lines for everything from food to funerals have fallen to absurd levels of gruesomeness, with families waiting days to be able to bury loved ones and women giving birth in breadlines, unable to leave the queue for fear of losing their place when their cupboards at home are bare.  This summer the Venezuelan government enacted conscription and compulsory farm labor in an effort to offset food shortages, and instituted a system where party loyalists are in charge of allocating food rations and can withhold them from political opponents.  Critics of 2014 protests against Hugo Chavez, Maduro's late predecessor, have said that middle class leaders like the Ivy-educated Goicoechea had then failed to reach out to the broader population of less educated, working class victims of the government's failed policies.  But the economic crisis has deepened dramatically since 2014.

Despite the many Venezuelan kidnappings of dissidents, the Venezuelan state claims it respects human rights, and cites membership on United Nations committees as proof of this.   Minister of People's Power for Foreign Affairs, Delcy Rodríguez, said that with the arrival of Hugo Chavez to the presidency in 1999, the protection of human rights they have been a banner of the Revolution."Not surprisingly Venezuela was reelected in the United Nations Human Rights Council; the rest is an advertising hoax orchestrated by opposition politicians, together with international powers to sell lies about our country " said the chancellor.

Amnesty International's overview of Venezuela on its website offers a different assessment: Human rights defenders and journalists continue to face attacks and intimidation. Political opponents of the government face unfair trials and imprisonment. There were further reports of excessive use of force by the police and security forces resulting in dozens of deaths, some in circumstances suggesting that they were unlawful killings. Most of those responsible for grave human rights violations during the 2014 protests were not brought to justice and there were concerns about the independence of the judiciary. Colombian refugees and asylum-seekers were deported, forcibly evicted and ill-treated. Prison overcrowding and violence continued. Survivors of gender-based violence faced significant obstacles in getting access to justice.
Goicoechea won the Friedman Prize in 2008 for having led the student movement that played the central role in defeating the constitutional reform that would have given Hugo Chavez  an unprecedented concentration of political and economic power. One of Goicoechea’s and the student movement’s central tenets is their advocacy of non-violence in the promotion of basic freedoms and democracy. Goicoechea had offered an optimistic vision about the future and potential of his country, in contrast with the regime’s reliance on repression and force. 
The Friedman Prize, named after free market economist and Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, is given “to an individual who has made a significant contribution to advance human freedom,” and has no conditions attached to it. It has been awarded to numerous freedom champions from around the world including prominent reformers and human rights and freedom of speech advocates.
The government has not said exactly where Goicoechea is being held or under what conditions (though his supporters believe he is in a cell at the headquarters of the secret police in Caracas).  In his last tweet, on the day of the kidnapping, Mayor Smolansky expressed concern that Goicoechea may have been executed.  Smolansky himself seemed to stop tweeting for 24 hours after tweeting about Goicoecha's kidnapping.

Let them eat gumbo!

Flood victims in Louisiana were not the only people in need of help President Obama ignored while he took an extended golfing vacation last month in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

According to journalist Susan Katz Keating he also neglected a hostage rescue in Afghanistan.  Katz Keating, who write for People and TIME, posted exclusive details at the AMINewswire:

Under the dim light of a quarter moon, a U.S. special operations team skimmed through the night skies above eastern Afghanistan, awaiting final mission approval from President Barrack Obama while speeding toward the objective. The commandos were fast on their way last month to rescue two western hostages held by hostile gunmen.
As the raiders approached their target — a makeshift prison compound — they suddenly were ordered to stand down. The president, who was vacationing on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, did not have time to give the required final go-ahead. He wanted 24 hours to consider the rescue.
A day later, Obama approved the mission. The commandos relaunched. This time, they reached the target — only to find the hostages had been moved four hours prior, said sources with direct knowledge of events. 
"We raised hell in that compound," said a security staffer with knowledge of the mission. "We knocked down walls and killed bad guys."
Seven hostile combatants were killed and one injured, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed to American Media Institute. Among its many duties, CENTCOM is the Pentagon's Unified Combatant Command in charge of operations in Afghanistan.
"No civilians were killed or harmed," said Col. John J. Thomas, the CENTCOM director of public affairs. "No U.S. forces were killed or hurt."
The missions took place Aug. 10 and 11, in Afghanistan, Thomas confirmed. He did not address operational details of the rescue missions; but AMI spoke to sources who provided details, some of which CENTCOM confirmed. 
The sources are security officials who are privy to the kidnaps and the attempted rescues. They do not work together and are affiliated with different agencies. The sources are not authorized to talk to the press, and spoke to AMI on condition of anonymity.
"We had the hostages within reach," said a source who met face to face with this reporter at a remote dockside setting in the United States to discuss the incident. The source insisted that the meeting be held outdoors and without access to electronic devices. 
"The first time we went in, we had to stand down," the source said. "The second time, the hostages were gone. Our special operations team went all that way for nothing."
The special operators aimed to recover two civilians — American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks — who were kidnapped Aug. 7, in Afghanistan. The kidnapped men are English teachers at the American University in Kabul.
FOX News first broke the story of the delay and the failure of the rescue operation.  Katz Keating is the first to report that anonymous CENTCOM sources say they were waiting for a vacationing Obama to authorize the mission.

You say "Aleppo," I say "Benghazi"...

This was originally published at Breitbart.

Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson had his first major campaign gaffe today, while appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe.  When asked by Mike Barnicle what he would do as President "about Aleppo," Johnson appeared perplexed and said "What is Aleppo?"

As gaffes go it may not be as major as Green Party candidate Jill Stein's mistake earlier this month, where she boarded the wrong plane and ended up in the wrong city in Ohio, making her supporters wait two hours for her to drive to a scheduled rally.

And as far as forgetfulness goes it may not compare to Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton forgetting over 20 times, as shown in the recently released transcript of her FBI interview, about what she knew, who she met, or what she did with classified emails.

Since Mrs. Clinton has now admitted to having had a blood clot and blamed her amnesia on it, one internet wag asked: "Johnson forgot something just one time; Hillary forgets things 20 times in a single FBI interview. Maybe she should try pot for that clot?"

Johnson's gaffe seemed to generate even more gaffes, with the New York Times coverage then mistakenly reporting that Aleppo was the capitol of ISIS.

Johnson was roasted throughout liberal provinces of twitter and other social media, as well as Democratic media like the Daily Beast, for his mistake.  He later appeared at a scheduled interview on ABC's The View where discussion of Aleppo dominated his segment.

Johnson then released an apology noting that he was only human to the Daily Beast and was rumored to have cancelled his remaining interviews for today.  Earlier he had also filmed a brief interview with MSNBC's Mark Halperin on his gaffe.

Libertarians and others on social media also responded to the gaffe, praising Johnson for his honesty and noting that they don't want a president who pays more attention to meddling in foreign cities than he does to the Constitution and the rights of U.S. citizens.

Liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias tweeted:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I kind of suspect that Mike Barnicle doesn&#39;t really know what Aleppo is either. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) <a href="">September 8, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

A conservative on twitter speculated on what Trump would have said:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">MJ: What would you do about Allepo?<br><br>Trump: I&#39;d make it so much better. Believe me. We wouldn&#39;t have it anymore. Have you seen the CNN poll?</p>&mdash; (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) <a href="">September 8, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

I weighed in with two replies for Hillary supporters:

on Facebook

Bruce Powell Majors Gary Johnson just forgot.

Everyone knows where Aleppo is.

It's where that warlord lives who donates $1 million to the Clinton Foundation every time he lynches a gay guy.

and on twitter

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Democrats won the MSNBC geography spelling bee - Hillary got them all correct from <a href="">#Allepo</a> to Zimbabwe. She only missed <a href="">#Benghazi</a> <a href="">#tlot</a></p>&mdash; Bruce Majors (@BruceMajors4DC) <a href="">September 8, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

One has to wonder if MSNBC was actually tasked, as a de facto Democratic Party political action committee, with asking Governor Johnson, who is something more of a jock than a scholar, a question about the middle east and the refugee crisis by means of somewhat recherché and obscurantist terminology.  

In some recent polls Johnson is breaking into double digits in many states, and this correlates with Hillary Clinton's poll numbers dropping while Donald Trump's stay the same. Hillary cannot attack Johnson directly for bleeding her of voters - then she might have to allow him on the debate stage with her. But she can have the Democratic media - or as conservative radio talk host Chris Plante says "but I repeat myself" - try to take him out.

Typhoid Hillary

This was originally published at Breitbart.

Hillary Clinton returned to the campaign trail yesterday, but earlier in the week her campaign was raising money from her illness.  Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia, the 8th leading cause of death in the United States, and also a leading news item for the past week, after Clinton collapsed in New York, coinciding with a collapse in her support in the polls.

Physically Hillary is supposed to be recovered, despite the rumors that a secret cabal at the Democratic National Committee is plotting to replace her with Joe Biden or some other presidential contender.  Wednesday's email message from the Hillary campaign to her donors said she is on the mend:

Friend --

I wanted to send you an update on Hillary.

I'm happy to report she’s feeling great, resting, and on her way to 100 percent in order to fight in the final eight weeks ahead.

The outpouring of support over the past few days has meant a lot -- to both Hillary and the team here at campaign HQ. It means so much to know that you’ve got her back.

When she's back on the trail, I want to give Hillary an update that we haven't missed a beat -- that we're on pace and on budget to hit our goals for September. We've set an ambitious goal to hit 2.5 million grassroots donors by the end of the month, and we need 9 donors from your area today to stay on track to hit our end-of-month goal. Chip in right now to get your free sticker and let’s make sure I can give Hillary good news:

Showing that you’ve got Hillary’s back is especially important as we enter these critical weeks. The debates are right around the corner, and we need to start getting in gear to show that we’re the stronger team. What you do today matters -- to Hillary and to our team.

Thank you so much for your support,

Dennis Cheng
National Finance Director
Hillary for America

Panels of doctors debate hourly on TV and radio on whether more isn't involved than just pneumonia (Parkinson's, lung cancer, a neurological disorder, the results of a stroke), fueled in part by the Clinton campaign's failure to disclose the diagnosis of pneumonia for several days, followed by sending candidate Hillary out while ill to a 9/11 event - and then having her hug a child outside daughter Chelsea Clinton's apartment where Mrs. Clinton had been recuperating.  Top Obama campaign consultant David Axelrod accused the Clinton campaign staff of "political malpractice" and diagnosed the campaign's illness as "not health, it's stealth."

There are many types of pneumonia, an inflammation of the air sacs - alveoli - in the lungs, depending on what causes it - bacteria, virus, fungi (often in AIDS patients), medication, autoimmune disorders, etc.  450 million people suffer from pneumonia annually, mainly from the bacterial pneumonia Mrs. Clinton was diagnosed with, but only 4 million of them die from it, about 7% of the world's deaths.  Children under 5, and seniors over 75 are the main victims, and those mainly in the less developed world - almost 10% of those infected (43 million) are in India alone.  Mrs. Clinton's doctor released a statement claiming that Clinton's pneumonia was simultaneously bacterial but non-contagious and thus not a danger to others, like the little girl Mrs. Clinton, a famous advocate for children whose first job out of law school was for the Children's Defense Fund, hugged as a photo op only hours after her collapse.  A variety of medical professionals have criticized that spin, including callers to today's Rush Limbaugh show.

Pneumonia was identified by both the ancient Greek ethicist and physician Hippocrates and by the medieval Jewish philosopher-rabbi-doctor Maimonides, but it took until 1875, after the formulation of the germ theory of disease, for the Swiss pathologist Theodore Edwin Klebs to discover that pneumonia was associated with a heavy presence of bacteria in the lungs.  Bacterial pneumonia is treated with antibiotics, analgesics, and fluids, and its prevention can be aided by disinfecting items that could transfer the bacteria.  Both the American Lung Association and the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs list washing your hands as second (after getting a flu vaccine - according to the Center for Disease Control over 60% of Americans like Hillary Clinton who are over 65 do get the vaccinate ) as a way to prevent pneumonia.   (One internet wag:  "It's too bad Hillary has bacterial pneumonia. She should have used that BleachBit on her doorknobs and kitchen surfaces too.")

Clinton's team was widely criticized not just for their lack of transparency, but for choosing to take a 68 year old woman collapsing, allegedly from pneumonia, to her daughter's Manhattan condo instead of to an emergency room.  There might have been some perverse wisdom in this.  The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute  divides pneumonia into three categories - community-acquired,  hospital-acquired, or health service-associated - by where it is contracted.  In other words, shockingly, many people contract pneumonia when seeking medical care for other issues.  (My maternal grandmother, if my teen memory is correct, died in the late 1970s from pneumonia contracted in a county hospital in rural Tennessee, where she was being diagnosed and treated for a blood clot.)  The CDC estimates that 1 in 25 patients - over 700,000 - are infected while in the hospital, with pneumonia-infections being the most common - 157,000 hospital patients acquiring pneumonia in 2014 while in the hospital. Thirty eight thousand people die annually from pneumonia in the U.S. while in a hospital, according to the Center for Disease Control, most of them patients over 65.  

There is actually a British medical journal just for this issue, The Journal of Hospital Infection.  Appropriate, because Britain's socialist National Health Service doesn't compare well to the U.S. in terms of hospital-acquired infections.  In a World Health Organization survey of all hospital-acquired infections (not just pneumonia) covering the years 1995-2008, only South Korea has a lower rate of hospital-acquired infection than the U.S., with Canada having a rate almost three times as high, and most European countries with socialized medicine having twice the U.S. rate.

Earlier in the campaign, Mrs. Clinton was criticized for defending Veterans' Administration hospitals as adequate and as a great examples of government-provided healthcare, in one of her rare TV appearances, on the pro-Hillary MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show, last year.  One 2011 study showed that only 30% of older Veterans with pneumonia had received recommended pneumonia vaccinations, despite having government provided VA healthcare benefits.  A Veterans' Administration report released in 2015 showed that over 300,000  veterans died while waiting for medical care.

When Donald Trump cited this study, Democrat media fact checkers tried to denounce him.  Mrs. Clinton continues to defend increased government control of medicine, where the absence of consumer sovereignty leads to increased mortality cause of lax disinfection procedures.  The Clintons, with their hundreds of millions in Clinton Foundation donations, will no doubt have access to the remaining private concierge medical centers.

Falling asleep in front of the TV