Friday, October 28, 2016

Rogue Democrats

This was published today in the Daily Caller.

Just eleven days before the election, polls have tightened in the presidential race.  Trump and Clinton are tied in today's Los Angles Times poll.  A week ago chances of Donald Trump being elected seemed remote, and the Republican candidate and his surrogates were spending much of their time defending him against charges of being a sexual predator.

During a few days in which Wikileaks, undercover videographer James O'Keefe, and the National Enquirer have exposed the pecodilloes and possible legal violations of Hillary and Bill Clinton, their Foundation and campaign staffers, and contractors and staff of the Democratic National Committee.  New DNC chair Donna Brazille had a meltdown on The Kelly File ( a few days before Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich had his own awkward interview there).

Some of the voters leaving Hillary are high profile Democrats.

"Hillary says she has a plan for this and a plan for that, but she won't get any program through Congress, since she'll spend the first year in office in impeachment hearings," former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel, who represented Alaska in the U.S. Senate for two terms.  "Hillary and Bill are into aggrandizing themselves.  They've become millionaires and they'd like to be billionaires.  It's a sick situation.  And the media is totally biased."

Gravel is one of several former Democrats turned off by the Democratic Party or the Clinton campaign, some even before the emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign were published by Wikileaks or the undercover videos from James O'Keefe which seem to show subcontractors to the Clinton campaign promoting voter fraud.

Gravel, a life-long Democrat until 2008, the year he entered the race for the Democratic presidential nomination along with fellow Senators Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama, and John Edwards, agrees with Donald Trump that the electoral system "is rigged, but what else is new?  That's why voters are so disillusioned."  Gravel says his 2008 candidacy was torpedoed by the Democratic establishment much as Bernie Sanders' campaign was, when General Electric chairman Jeff Immelt excluded him from NBC's presidential primary debates (NBC was owned by GE), because of his opposition to nuclear power.  (Gravel now promotes a Constitutional amendment to create direct democracy, and is soured on the possibilities of elections.  He quotes a saying attributed to Mark Twain: "If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.")

"I learned nothing new from the emails that I didn't already know about the Clintons," Terry Michael, a Capitol Hill Democratic press spokesman for 17 years..  "Together, they comprise an unbridled bundle of naked ambition."  Michael was a Democratic press person for most of his career, working for the lIlinois House Democrats from 1973-74; for the late Sen. Paul Simon, during Simon's first five years in the U.S. House; for the late Cong. Bob Matsui, from 1981-83; and for the Democratic National Committee, where he worked from 1983-87, before serving as communications director for Simon's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and founding the Association of House Democratic Press Assistants.

Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, a Bernie Sanders supporter and member of his Our Revolution group, has also openly criticized the Democratic establishment, telling MSNBC: "“I believe that the Democratic party, when all of this is said and done, will have to deal in a very deep way with the healing process, because the fact of the matter is that the hackers didn’t write the emails,” Turner explained. “We’re dealing with people who talked about needy Latinos. We’re dealing with people who said things about African-Americans and others. Heck, I’m even in the emails, as well. I can tell from you reading the ones that I’ve seen so far with my name in them, the Russians didn’t write those emails. They were by the people within the Clinton camp.”

Turner was originally scheduled to have a prime time speaking slot at the Democratic Party convention, to endorse Bernie Sanders - but the DNC, then headed by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, removed her at the last minute from the schedule.  Even before the Wikileaks on DNC "rigging" of elections, Turner summarized her exclusion from the nominating convention for  Salon:  "picture this: Within that same space they’re giving a salute to black women, and they bring out all these mothers of the movement. At that same time they’re trying to put another black woman in her place, put me in my place.  ‘Cause make no mistake about it; that symbolically was putting me in my place.  The black woman vote is the vote that they need. It was really the black woman vote in the South that gave her the huge advantages over Sen. Sanders in the South. So just the irony. To have all these speakers come up like Cecile Richards talking about how Secretary Clinton is going to give women voice. And then you take another woman, who is a Democrat in good standing, who supported another Democrat, and you gonna put her in her place — the black woman, I want to emphasize, black woman, in her place."

Brunell Donald-Kyei, a former Democrat and Obama voter who is a diversity outreach staffer for the Trump campaign, echoes Turner's idea of a need for healing and Gravel's prediction that a Clinton administration will be bogged down in hearings.  Kyei told FOX News' Bret Baier yesterday: "The most important issue to me is economics because the last eight years the economy, the poor people of this nation have suffered. The middle class have suffered and let me tell you something, the American people don't want to be dealing with a presidential person going into office with all the baggage, with all the investigations that are going to be on top of Hillary Clinton."

"Our nation needs to heal. We want to heal. We want peace between the races. We want to make sure that our youth, whether they're white, back, Hispanic, have jobs. We want to make sure that the Supreme Court, you know, that the constitution is protected. Those are American issues. That has absolutely nothing to do with your race. That's to protect this nation."

Besides Kyei working for Trump, Senator Gravel has endorsed Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and Terry Michael is woking with the media team for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.  Turner has joined Bernie Sanders Democratic Party reform organization Our Revolution, but has not been campaigning for any candidate.

Polls show Hillary Clinton being abandoned mainly by independents and millennials, who left her in the past week both for Trump, and for Governor Johnson, who in several polls is back up to 7 or 8% nationally.

Gary Johnson loses his cool when pressed on his disputed tax policy | US...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Rigging the Election - Video IV: $20K Wire Transfer From Belize Returned

Finalists chosen for Great Communicators Tournament

This was published earlier today at Breitbart.

Three finalists were chosen yesterday out of twelve semi-finalists in the Great Communicator Tournament, a contest that offers three cash prizes annually - $10,000, $5,000, and $2,500 - to millennials who can craft the most inspiring elevator pitches for libertarian oriented political messaging.

The only question now is which of the three finalists - Charles Blatz, Jim Pagels, or Ben Klutzy - will win which prize.

Blatz, a video producer who was a theater major, co-wrote and starred in Hungry People, The Musical, an off Broadway performance that explored homelessness in New York City.  Pagels, is an economics researcher and journalist who likes to do visual presentation of data, like sports scores.  Klutsey is a research in international finance regulation at George Mason University.

The three finalists face off tonight at the D.C. Improv, a venue in downtown Washington, in the heart of the K Street corridor.  The contestants will mainly be delivering messages - that are supposed to be inspirational, aspirational, and humorous - that would lead to a lot of pink slips for the lobbyists there.  The judges are Fox News contributor Guy Benson, Federalist writer Molly Hemingway, and PR maven Beverly Hallberg,

Though semi-finalists are picked from 100 entrants from around the country who submit videos, and the finalists are picked in a round of extemporaneous speaking trials. "There are three rounds with different topics and four competitors in each. One finalist is chosen from each round, for a total of three finalists," McKenzie Snow, one the semifinalists cut in the last round of competition, explained. " Ms. Snow, an education policy wonk, runs a local Toastmasters group in D.C.

Blatz feels good about is chances because of his background: "It's always a toss up when you go live. That's why I love theatre because it trains you to be ready for anything in the moment. you have to be ready for any unexpected thought, stutter, or slip up. When you're going live, there are no retakes." This year's finalists were from Kentucky, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, and D.C.

The finalists were announced Tuesday night at a happy hour at the libertarian Cato Institute.

Three years old, the tournament in previous years held its finals in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Denver, Colorado.  But tomorrow night if you're in D.C.and needs some inspiration in this election season, you can get a free ticket from the sponsoring non-profit, ThinkFreelyMedia.

2016 Great Communicators Tournament tonight

The liberty movement lacks great communicators – people that penetrate and
persuade effectively. For liberty to prevail on a sustained basis, we have to solve
this problem or we’ll continue to win the battle of ideas, but lose the policy and 
political debates that decide electoral outcomes. Think Freely Media addresses 
this challenge by sponsoring the Great Communicators Tournament. An annual 
event, our goal is to identify, from within the liberty movement or beyond, and 
promote individuals who can effectively and persuasively discuss and defend 
the free market and the benefits of individual freedom.
The tournament kicks off with an online contest, where contestants submit 
short videos that make arguments that meet our requirements. The videos 
are posted to our website, our staff and judges deliberate and a group of 
semi-finalists are identified. These semi-finalists are brought together for 
several rounds of in-person competition and the winners of these semi-final 
rounds advance to the final round of competition. In the final round, the
contestants are judged by an all-star panel as they give prepared speeches
and answer questions on the fly. The judging panel deliberates and identifies
a winner, using our guiding criteria and our Great Communicator is awarded
a cash prize of $10,000.
Contestants are asked to make an emotionally compelling moral argument that takes the free market or pro-liberty position on a current public policy issue. As the contestants formulate their arguments, we ask that they:
  • take the moral high ground
  • be hopeful and aspirational
  • address the issue of fairness or inequality
  • put the other side on the defense
  • communicate the value of freedom and increase the audience’s demand for it
  • use storytelling to make their case


$10,000First Place
$5,000Second Place
$2,500Third Place


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Gary Johnson announces post-election plans

This was published earlier at Breitbart.

"If elected I'd pardon Edward Snowden," Governor Gary Johnson told an audience of two hundred at a breakfast at the Washington Post this morning.  "That is, as long as his release of information - including to your paper - was shown not to have harmed anyone," the former two term New Mexico governor told "Daily 202" columnist James Hohman.

Johnson took questions from Hohman and from social media, though not from the audience at the hour long live streamed event.  "However, I wouldn't abolish the National Security Agency, but I would re-direct its satellites away from us, American citizens," Johnson told the audience, while listing the government agencies, like the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, or Homeland Security, that he would abolish, in some cases returning their functions to the FBI or other agencies.

Johnson criticized Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, calling Mr. Trump "such a nasty man," and saying neither had addressed the costs of the drug war or the need for entitlement reform.  Asked about Evan Mcmullen, an independent candidate who is only on 11 state ballots, but is threatening to win his home state of Utah, beating Clinton, Trump, and Johnson, Governor Johnson said "more power to him."

If not elected, Johnson, a triathlete who has climbed most of the world's great mountains, said his plans include skiing 120 days in 2017 and leading a biking group down the continental divide bike trail from Banff, Canada to New Mexico.

"I won't be running again, this is my swan song," Johnson, 63, told Hohman.  "But I will probably still be involved in the Libertarian Party, which is growing and becoming a force to be reckoned with."  Johnson also answered questions about places were his campaign themes had not matched up with the Libertarian Party's platform.

"I'm growing to like the Libertarian Party more and more," said one writer for the libertarian magazine reason in the audience, opining that it has become more serious than in previous elections. "Gary is getting better at interviews," said Johnson supporter Marta Howard, a music teacher from Vienna, Virginia.  One executive from the libertarian CATO Institute in the audience joked that the whole election was "a march into the abyss."  "I think Gary blew away a great chance because he didn't care enough to communicate his candidacy better. Today he was better than most times i've seen him speak," according to a former Ron Paul operative who was in attendance.

Outside, mainly millennial age Johnson supporters waved yard signs as the candidate left for an interview at ABC.  Jacqueline Mason, an MBA student and bookkeeper from central Virginia collected names of volunteers for a major campaign push this Saturday, details as yet unannounced.

Interviewed on FOX earlier in the morning, Johnson will appear on ABC and NBC in the afternoon.  Supporters planned sign waving events throughout Washington, D.C. at each stop.

Fraud! Milo not really British!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Liberty Tour Finds Comedy in the Pain

"Lots of people think Donald Trump is the next Hitler.  And by people I mean Donald Trump supporters."

This is Travis Irvine's favorite joke from his fellow comic Jeremy McLellan, both of whom are on a shrink wrapped libertarian tour bus that pulled into D.C. today for the Liberty Tour, with an 8:30 pm performance at the Bier Baron on the Georgetown edge of Dupont Circle.

It's the 19th stop for Irvine, a comic who works for Viceland TV, who has M.C.ed the tour, from Denver and Salt Lake City to Richmond and D.C., with a few remaining stops in Philadelphia (at the Good Good Comedy Club tomorrow) and New York before the election.

It's a homecoming of sorts for Irvine, who was an intern for Congressman Chuck Schumer and then worked for Matthew Lesko.  Tonight's event is all beer and standup, though depending on what city it pulls into the other people on stage can be Democrats like former DNC press person Terry Michaels, Republicans like Liz Mair, marijuana activists, Libertarian state legislators like Nebraska's Laura Ebke, or FOX News RedEye regulars like Ben Kissell and Katherine Timpf.

The Liberty Tour has played about half campuses and half non-campus venues like beer gardens and comedy clubs, with the largest event so far being 800 people at Richmond's Hippodrome Theater, where Gary Johnson also spoke.  It's a free event, paid for by the non-profit foundation, the Our America Initiative, Governor Johnson set up several years ago, before he was running for president, to work on local initiatives chosen by local affiliates.  The foundation rents the spaces and pays for the bus and the comic, which many people may think a better use of donated dollars than a life size portrait of Trump or a Lear jet lease for Hillary.  You have to buy your own beer.

It's actually a 19th century institution - the chautauqua - where people before radio, TV, or the internet, were entertained and informed by a traveling caravan of speakers, singers, or comics.  But these libertarians are using it to pull millennials away from their hand held devices.

James O'Keefe is Back On Twitter

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

HIDDEN CAM: NYC Democratic Election Commissioner, "They Bus People Aroun...

"Liberty Conservatives" vs Libertarians

Lionel Jefferson Griffith to 
The goons at Liberty Conservatives just *unsuccessfully* attempted a Trojan Horse takeover of the largest liberty/Rand Paul group on Facebook: Making Friends Through Rand Paul. Thank goodness I was able to warn the owner (a great lady) before it was too late. 
I will name names. Rocco and Jebby, via their ally Mark Wilmoth, were able to recruit a troublesome admin (Jim Taylor) to their cause. Taylor's first step was to get me out of the way. He removed me as an admin, removed me from the group, and then banned me from the group after I was let back in. 
Then they offered the owner a position with their site in exchange for admin positions. I have no doubt they would have removed her given the chance. As I have mentioned, they removed me from my own page, so I am so happy that this was quashed. 
My resolve to take down these hacks has never been stronger.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rigging the Election - Video II: Mass Voter Fraud

Bronte Capital: Some comments on the New York Times story about Do...

Bronte Capital: Some comments on the New York Times story about Do...: Decades ago - before I was a fund manager - I was the resident expert on tax avoidance working for the Australian Treasury. That was where I...

I, Whiskey

This was published yesterday at The Daily Caller.

For people wanting a vacation from non-stop election coverage, one advocacy group is inviting people to organize their own happy hour to escape it.  
"I, Whiskey," is a short film that takes you to a cocktail hour at an upscale whiskey bar, Jack Rose, in the District of Columbia's hipster Adams Morgan neighborhood.  Produced on an $80,000 budget crowd funded from 107 donors, the short has high production values, and looks like either an unusually long high end whiskey commercial, or like several scenes from a sexy Hollywood drama set in a beautiful venue with shelves of hundreds of brands of whiskey climbing up exposed brick walls to a 20 foot ceiling. The venue, Jack Rose Dining Saloon, hosts a variety of creative events, including Buzzfeed's annual White House Correspondent's Dinner after-party.

A variety of happy customers and bartenders are interviewed about what whiskey means to them,  along with interviews with specialty producers like Rick Wasmund, whose Copper Fox Distillery makes an applewood aged whiskey in rural Virginia, and with Garret Peck, a historian whose recent book includes "Prohibition in Washington, D.C." and "The Prohibition Hangover."  Bill Thomas, the owner of Jack Rose, loves the film: "Amazing what they could capture in 8 minutes.  It's a good balance of the history of whiskey making and of the modern whiskey drinker - they just captured the energy of whiskey culture."  Asked if he thinks the short might lead film industry location scouts to consider the saloon for feature films, Thomas, who appears in the short, answered "I feel like I've already been in a major film."
The film is a subtle celebration of the creativity and diversity of small start up businesses, like micro-breweries and small distillers - and of free market economies that allow them to flourish. 
Producer Amanda France, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market advocacy group, is following up on a 2012 animated short she produced that has received 500,000 views.  "This is the second installment in CEI’s acclaimed I, Pencil film series.  I, Whiskey is the story of freedom and how the human spirit thrives when it has the freedom to connect, create, and innovate."  Wasmund, one of the whiskey entrepreneurs featured in the film – who met his wife when she asked him what he was drinking and he answered "a whiskey I make" - was interviewed this weekend on RealClearRadio, an interview and news broadcast Ms. France also produces, aired on the IHeart radio app, and 13 terrestrial radio stations around the country.  Wasmund's Copper Fox Distillery now has two plants and employs his mom and several other family members.

France, whose group produced the film with Passing Lane Films, says she hopes to get "a quarter of a million views in the first two months."   Though she thinks the political philosophy of the film, which is so subtle some viewers may miss it, will appeal to the growing ranks of libertarian sympathizers who made Congressman Ron Paul and then Governor Gary Johnson household names and regular TV presences, she says the film has a broader appeal because it is "fun.  At CEI we like to work hard and play hard.  And I think this film will reach people who like to have fun beyond our usual work with policy studies and legal briefs." 

CEI founder Fred Smith appears as a bar patron in the film.  When he retired as the group's head in 2013, he told the Washington Post"I recognized that intellectuals were dour, and that the war was going to be a long one.  In warfare, you need R&R; in our world, that means having fun while you fight. And we do have fun.”

Garrett Peck, author of several history books on and also a tour guide on the history of the Prohibition era, says I, Whiskey "shows how much innovation and how much community - Americans tend to be social drinkers, drinking whiskey - or wine or beer - around a table.  Americans innovated when they started using corn, which is what they had, instead of the barley Scots used, creating the foundation for bourbon."  When asked if he thinks the film is so subtle - and so beautiful - that viewers won't get that it is trying to educate them, Peck answers: "I think the ideas are there - especially about innovation."
The earlier short "I, Pencil," was based on an influential 1958 essay by popular economics writer and educator Leonard Read, was a first person narrative, from a pencil's point of view, of how it was made without any central planning, from wood, graphite, rubber, and clay transported from many different continents.  Thousands of students read the short essay in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.  Milton Friedman based an episode of his "Free to Choose" PBS series on it, and more recently it was the basis for an episode of NPR's popular "Freakonomics" broadcast.  
"I, Pencil," along with a longer 70s film, "The Incredible Bread Machine," were popular educational media for high school and junior high school students learning basic economics.  (A pre-political Ronald Reagan read the story Bread Machine was based upon on one of his broadcasts.)  France says people as far away as middle school teachers in Africa have asked her for transcripts of the "I, Pencil" film, and even though "I, Whiskey" has only been live on-line since midnight Tuesday, she's already had a request from college professors for transcripts they can use in classrooms.  France says she's "bracing," in today's climate, for someone to eventually complain that the film triggers people or promotes drinking, though no one has done so so far. 
The film's producers held a premier Wednesday at Jack Rose Saloon, as part of the whiskey Wednesday popular with whiskey aficionados - though the guests in attendance were heavy with D.C. policy wonks and lobbyists, like Grover Norquist - a frequent guest on The Daily Show and Real Time with Bill Maher - and his wife Samah.  But CEI is inviting people - some of whom might have been students who read "I, Pencil" - to contact them for the video and information and to hold their own viewing party next "whiskey" Wednesday, October 19.  

Falling asleep in front of the TV