Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

Piers Morgan on how Trump can win

July 26th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Piers Morgan looks at how Trump can win the presidency. His ten points are:

  1. “Crooked Hillary” meme
  2. His family – aesthetically pleasing, articulate charmers
  3. The TV debates – Trump is a TV superstar and natural showman who loves working the camera and audiences
  4. The Rust Belt – win over Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
  5. VP Pick of Mike Pence – locks in conservative voters
  6. His gut – follows guts instinct not focus groups
  7. Social media – Has 10.1 million followers on Twitter
  8. Get organised – needs a top back room team
  9. Charm – show his softer side
  10. “Crooked Hillary” – when in doubt use this again

The polls show Trump got a boost from the convention but Clinton still ahead on average. The state polls will be the real ones to watch out for.

538 now projects Trump to win

July 26th, 2016 at 11:14 am by David Farrar

For the first time ever an electoral college projection has Trump in the lead, and it is Five Thirty Eight’s Nate Silver.

538

This will be major news. And just as the Democratic convention starts. Every time Clinton’s name is mentioned, the is huge booing. It has got so bad Bernie Sanders has had to text all the delegates asking them to stop booing speakers when they mention Clinton’s name.

The projection has Trump 281 and Clinton 257. Trump is now rated 56% likely to win.

They now have Trump ahead in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada and Georgia.

Trump so anti trade he could get tenure at Auckland University

July 25th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

Donald Trump used his presidential nomination acceptance speech to once again criticise the Trans-Pacific Partnership — and to raise suspicions Hillary Clinton supports the free market.

“My opponent has supported virtually every trade agreement that has been destroying our middle class,” he told the Republican Convention.

“She supported NAFTA, and she supported China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization – another one of her husband’s colossal mistakes. She supported the job- killing trade deal with South Kourea. She has supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP will not only destroy our manufacturing, but it will make America subject to the rulings of foreign governments.”

To Kiwis of all political stripes, Mr Trump channeling Jane Kelsey seems surreal.

The extreme left and extreme right often collide.

The Democrat e-mails

July 25th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

On the eve of the convention at which Hillary Clinton is to be confirmed as presidential candidate, the Democratic Party has been plunged into crisis – the US media is brimful of ugly and embarrassing stories from within the party’s head office, all based on 20,000 emails dropped on Friday evening by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

The correspondence seems to confirm allegations by the campaign of defeated Senator Bernie Sanders that the Democratic National Committee was actively rooting for Clinton to win, a revelation that will most likely serve as a wedge between the two camps and make it even more difficult for her to persuade Sanders voters to support her.

The emails also reveal plotting within the DNC to embarrass Republican candidate Donald Trump, including drafting a fake ad to recruit “hot women” to work for him.

The thought occurred to me that if someone hacked Trump’s e-mails they’d find nothing sensational because he publicly tweets his most offensive things anyway 🙂

The leaked emails might also cause embarrassment in some newsrooms around the country because they reveal a close and, at times, too close working relationship with the Democratic Party. In one case, a reporter submitted his story to the DNC for clearance ahead of publication.

Incredible.

UPDATE: The Herald reports:

Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she is stepping down as Democratic Party chairwoman at the end of this week’s convention.

The Florida congresswoman has been under fire following the publication of hacked emails suggesting the Democratic National Committee favoured Hillary Clinton in the presidential primaries.

That prompted runner-up Bernie Sanders to call today for Wasserman Schultz’s immediate resignation.

In a statement, Wasserman Schultz says she still plans to fulfill her duties formally opening and closing the convention in Philadelphia.

Sanders supporters are up in arms, and with justifiable reasons this time. The DNC has been exposed as trying to stop the Sanders campaign.

 

Trump backs away from NATO

July 25th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

News.com.au reports:

DONALD Trump hinted at a new world order if he becomes president, saying the United States, under his leadership, might not come to the defence of some NATO members if Russia were to attack them.

The Republican nominee said he would decide whether to protect the Baltic republics against Russian aggression based on whether those countries “have fulfilled their obligations to us.” …

Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves tweeted: “Estonia is 1 of 5 NATO allies in Europe to meet its 2% def expenditures commitment. Fought, with no caveats, in NATO’s sole Art 5 op. in Afg.”

Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russia, tweeted: “We have had decades of bipartisan commitment to NATO, which has made it the greatest alliance in history. Trump is now threatening that.”

We all know who Putin will be hoping wins.

Police appreciated in Cleveland

July 23rd, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

USA Today reports:

CLEVELAND — Sometimes they approach cautiously, other times full of confidence, with a smile and an outstretched hand.

“Thank you!”

“Thanks for your service.”

“We appreciate you.”

Despite their overwhelming numbers on the streets, police patrolling around the Republican National Convention here are being treated less like an occupying force and more like respected members of the community, no matter where they’re from. More than 2,000 officers from more than a dozen states are working in Cleveland this week, alongside local officers.

“I appreciate the work they do. Their lives are on the line at all times,” said 7-Eleven clerk Eddie Vernon, after shaking an officer’s hand near Public Square. “The officers really do appreciate it. They will almost break your hand shaking it, they appreciate it so much.”

Vernon, who is black, says he goes out of his way to show respect and appreciation for police officers. He’s all-too-aware of how many members of the black community feel about cops these days, he says.

Nice to see most protesters treating the officers who are doing their job with respect.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said visitors — and even many protesters — have been thanking officers, which hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“The mood is good,’’ Williams said. “They are taking pictures with people. It’s been good.’’

Great.

And Wednesday afternoon, as officers broke up a flag-burning protest and pushed the crowd back onto the sidewalk, several Republican delegates and their guests loudly thanked the officers and broke out into “America The Beautiful.” That clash, which police say started when a flag burner accidentally lit himself on fire, turned chaotic as a total of 17 people were arrested and two officers suffered minor injuries.

Heh I’m sorry, but that is sort of funny.

Bryan Hambley, an organizer for the Stand Against Trump group, credited police with transforming the anxiety-ridden preparations for the convention into a largely peaceful convening so far, involving demonstrators of all stripes.

“The police are doing a great job, and the protesters are doing a great job,’’ Hambley said.

Protests are good. Protests that break the law are not. Those in Cleveland are doing it the right way.

 

Trump’s acceptance speech

July 22nd, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Post has Donald Trump’s acceptance speech.

It is very powerful and damning of the status quo. And this is the challenge for Clinton – she is the status quo candidate at a time when 70% of Americans think their country is heading in the wrong direction.

Trump may have few specific policies, but he is effective in pointing out the failings of the US both domestically and internationally.

US Navy to visit

July 21st, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The United States Navy will send a ship to New Zealand this year, ending a 33-year absence from our ports because of the anti-nuclear rift.

US Vice-President Joe Biden will formally accept the invitation today when he meets Prime Minister John Key in Auckland.

Biden arrived in Auckland last night and in a speech was effusive in his comments about New Zealand and its shared history with the US, particularly around defence.

He did not mention the rift of the past, nor the hugely symbolic gesture of the US Navy’s return.

New Zealand and the United States shared the same values, the same commitment to freedom and equity, and the same fierce independence, Biden said.

“You nor we never bend. We never bow. We know who we are. We mean what we say. We say it in slightly different ways but it is the same.”

The US is one of 30 foreign navies invited to attend the 75th birthday celebrations of the NZ Navy.

It has been mulling the invitation for the past 18 months and the matter is understood to have gone right to the Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama.

If correct, this is very good news. The US is an important ally and friend and it would be a shame to not have them attend.

He mentioned the work the two nations did together in the Antarctic, in the Ross Sea and at the United Nations Security Council.

There was deep history of partnership including in World War II when troops were stationed in New Zealand.

The US will be very pleased that we have announced a ship is being built that will be able to service Scott Base and McMurdo in Antarctica. We have been totally dependent on the US Navy to get supplies in by sea, so having a RNZN ship capable of getting to Antarctica makes it a more equal partnership down there.

There is probably no area the two countries work more closely together than in Antarctica.

UPDATE: It is confirmed.

Trump now the official nominee

July 20th, 2016 at 11:49 am by David Farrar

Politico reports:

Donald Trump is presumptive nominee no more.

The New York delegation put Trump over the 1,237-delegate threshold necessary to claim the Republican Party’s presidential nomination during a roll call vote on the floor of Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday. Convention rules permitted the delegation from Trump’s home state, which initially passed when called to announce its votes, to go out of order during the alphabetical roll call vote of states and territories.

Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., announced the 89 delegates from New York that the real estate mogul needed to clinch the nomination nearly an hour after voting began.

“It is my honor to be able to throw Donald Trump over the top in the delegate count tonight with 89 delegates,” Trump Jr. said. “Congratulations, Dad. We love you.”

Speaking to CNN’s Dana Bash moments later, Trump Jr. called it “one of the most surreal moments” of his life to nominate his father.

“I mean it’s incredible. I mean, one of the most surreal moments of my life other than the birth of my children,” he said. “I’ve watched him work so hard on this and speak to so many real people who were just feeling left out and left in the dark here in New York and all over the country, and to be able to do that is just, you know, it’s historic. It’s awesome.”

Trump received 1,725 votes from delegations, Cruz 484, Kasich 125 and Rubio 123.

538 now has Trump at a 39% probability to win the election and become President. They have Clinton ahead in the popular vote by just 2.9% and her lead in the electoral college as 56 electors. Florida is worth 29 electoral votes and Clinton leads there by just 0.7%.

Farce at the Republican convention

July 19th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

News.com.au reports:

Delegates opposed to Donald Trump’s nomination claimed to have gathered enough signatures from their colleagues to force a vote on the convention’s rules. Those rules include a measure “binding” delegates to their presidential candidates, meaning most of them are required to vote for Trump to be the nominee whether they want to or not.

If the rules had been rejected by the convention, delegates would have been free to vote “with their conscience” instead, throwing Trump’s nomination into serious doubt. …

To prompt a roll-call vote on the floor of the convention, the rebel faction needed signatures from a majority of the delegates in seven states. They appeared to have surpassed that threshold, with the delegations from Colorado, Washington, Virginia, D.C., Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Wyoming and Utah on board, when Congressman Steve Womack, who was serving as convention chair, appeared on stage.

Instead of announcing a roll-call vote, however, Womack simply asked the delegates to shout “yea” or “nea”, before quickly announcing the rules had passed and abandoning the stage. …

The secretary of the convention, who normally would have received the delegates’ petition, reportedly went into hiding in an effort to avoid it before the vote. Meanwhile, Trump’s aides moved around the floor trying to force delegates to remove their signatures.

The secretary was hiding behind a curtain with armed guards, so he couldn’t receive the petition. What a farce.

 

Republican vs Democrat policy platforms

July 18th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

An interesting article in the Guardian comparing the policy platforms being adopted by the Republicans and Democrats

Immigration – Democrats want a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants while Republicans will build a wall,

LGBTI – Democrats support same sex marriages, GOP defends “natural marriage” and embraces “conversion therapy”

Environment – Republicans praise coal, Democrats want to reduce greenhouse gases 80% by 2050

Washington DC – Democrats want DC to become a state, Republicans don’t

Porn – Republicans see pornography as a “public health crisis”

Six Police shot in US

July 18th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Three officers are confirmed dead and three others wounded after a shooting in Baton Rouge, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman said Monday. One suspect is dead and law enforcement officials believe two others are still at large, the spokeswoman said.

Casey Rayborn Hicks, a spokeswoman for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement that the public should call 911 immediately if they see anything suspicious.

The shooting – which happened just before 9 a.m (local time), less than 1 mile from police headquarters – comes amid spiraling tensions across the city – and the country – between the black community and police. The races of the suspect or suspects and the officers were not immediately known.

This is the second targeted execution of Police officers. The US is on the brink of a very nasty conflict.

No tag for this post.

The Economist on the 2016 unpopularity contest

July 17th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Economist has done a report on the 2016 presidential election. Their findings include:

  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 presidential election
  • The Democrats are likely to win back a majority in the Senate
  • The Republicans will retain control of the House of Representatives
  • Ms Clinton will benefit from the broad unpopularity of her opponent, Donald Trump.
  • Mr Trump’s plans for a huge wall on the southern border with Mexico and mass deportations of millions of undocumented workers are completely unrealistic.
  • Filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court will be the most consequential act by the new president.
  • We expect Ms Clinton to serve for one term.
  • The business cycle will turn in 2019, pushing the economy into recession. Voters will desert the Democrats, disappointed with its failure to maintain economic growth.
  • The Republicans will win the 2020 presidential election, having made small concessions on immigration policy and toned down its nativist rhetoric. The party will field a better salesman than Mr Trump as its candidate, but its long-term success will depend on changing some of its policies, which appeal to a shrinking proportion of the electorate.
  • A long-term realignment of the two parties is possible. We expect union influence to weaken in the Democratic Party, enabling a pivot towards policies supportive of free trade. The Republican Party, swayed by its voters, will increasingly adopt protectionist rhetoric and will grow more suspicious of globalisation. This could trigger the biggest shift in voters’ allegiance since the Democrats embraced the civil rights movement in the mid-20th century.

It will be very sad if the Republicans do become more protectionist.

Trump to pick Pence

July 15th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Roll Call reports:

Donald Trump is planning to announce that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is his choice for his vice presidential running mate, according to a Republican with direct knowledge of the decision.

This looks a pretty sound decision. VP picks rarely lift a ticket, except maybe in the VP’s home state – and then only by around 2% on average.

But a bad VP pick can hurt a ticket, such as Curtis Le May did for George Wallace in 1968 and Thomas Eagleton for George McGovern in 1972.

Pence has legislative and executive experience. He was in Congress from 2000 to 2012 and elected Governor of Indiana in 2012 by around 3%. He was leading by around 4% in the polls to be re-elected but will have to withdraw if he is the VP nominee.

Trump gains in the polls

July 15th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

538 reports:

At 6 this morning, Quinnipiac University released a set of surveys of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania with the best polling news Donald Trump has gotten in a long time. In the version of the polls that includes third-party candidates — that’s the version FiveThirtyEight uses — Trump led Hillary Clinton by 5 percentage points in Florida, 1 percentage point in Ohio and 6 percentage points in Pennsylvania.

The results run in contrast to the preponderance of national polls, whichshow Clinton ahead by roughly 5 percentage points, on average. And some of the other polls released today weren’t as bad for Clinton. Some were even good for her, in fact. A Monmouth University poll showed her up by 13 percentage points in Colorado, while Fox News had her up by 9 points there. And a Marist College poll, contradicting Quinnipiac, had her up 8 points in Pennsylvania.

Nonetheless, the bevy of state polls today worked strongly to Trump’s benefit overall. His chances of winning the Electoral College are up to 29 percent, from 23 percent on Tuesday, according to our polls-only model. And they’re now 33 percent, up from 27 percent, in our polls-plus model, which also accounts for economic conditions.

Clinton is rightfully losing support after the FBI report showed her numerous deceptions over her e-mail server.

Ordinarily, this is the point at which I’d urge a little patience. There’s been a lot of news over the past two weeks — the conclusion to the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s emails and the Dallas shootings of police officers, in particular — and it would be nice to see how the polls settled in after a couple of slow weeks on the campaign trail. However, we’re entering a period of rapidly moving political news. Bernie Sanders endorsed Clinton only Tuesday. Trump is expected to name his VP later this week. And then we’ll have the party conventions. The prospects definitely look better for Trump than they did a week or two ago, but the landscape also looks blurrier, and it may not be until mid-August that we have a chance to catch our breath.

Once both party conventions are over, then things may look clearer.

Sanders finally endorses Clinton

July 14th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Democrat Bernie Sanders endorsed former rival Hillary Clinton for president in a show of party unity on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time), saying she was the best candidate to fix the country’s problems and beat Republican Donald Trump in the November 8 election.

With Clinton nodding in agreement beside him, Sanders put their bitter primary campaign behind them and said Clinton would take up the fight to ease economic inequality, make college more affordable and expand healthcare coverage for all Americans.

“This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crises that we face, and there is no doubt in my mind that, as we head into November, Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate to do that,” he told a raucous crowd in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, that included plenty of vocal Sanders supporters.

To get his support, Clinton has had to sign up to several of his unaffordable ideas.

It came after Clinton last week adopted elements of Sanders’ plans for free in-state college tuition and expanded affordable healthcare coverage. Sanders also successfully pushed to include an array of liberal policy positions in the Democratic platform, which a committee approved on Saturday (Sunday NZT).

Sanders did not win all of his policy fights, most notably failing to win support for blocking a vote in Congress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

But he told the rally in Portsmouth that “our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratically controlled Senate, a Democratically controlled House and a Hillary Clinton presidency – and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen.”

Normally a candidate veers towards the centre once they get the nomination, but Clinton is signing up to a very left agenda. This is because the Republican candidate is also spouting leftish policies in some areas such as trade and deficits – and combined with a belief he can’t win.

UPDATE: Not all Sanders supporters on board. The Hill reports:

Bernie Sanders endorsement of Hillary Clinton on Tuesday isn’t stopping his supporters plans to hold a “fart-in” at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) later this month. 

The unusual political strategy will have Sanders delegates consuming a lot of beans before heading to Philadelphia later this month, according to US News and World Report. 

Protest organizer Cheri Honkala, national coordinator for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, has been stocking up on boxes of dry beans and canned beans. 

The plan is for delegates to chow down, then let presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton smell what they think of her. 

“The fart-in is to raise attention about things that really stink in our society,” said Dr. Walter Tsou, of the Philadelphia branch of Physicians for Social Responsibility. 

What wonderful people.

Biden to visit NZ

July 13th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Newshub reports:

US Vice President Joe Biden is coming to New Zealand for his first ever visit.

It’s a trip Prime Minister John Key says will be fleeting but significant.

He’ll have just 24 hours on the ground, but they’ll cover a range of important issues.

“The United States has been moving towards that pivot into Asia and it’s been a big plank of President Obama’s foreign policy,” says Mr Key.

“They were instrumental in leading the TPP, of which we are a member, and so they have had a much heavier focus and they’ve been pretty strongly making statements about the South China Sea. So there’s a lot of issues in the region.”

One of the issues to be discussed will be whether a US naval ship will be sent here to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the New Zealand navy. 

 

Off memory the last VP was Lyndon Johnson.

Ginsburg picks NZ over Trump

July 12th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A US Supreme Court judge could become one of New Zealand’s newest residents if Trump becomes president.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has strayed from the usual apolitical public stance of Supreme Court Justices to tell people just what she thinks of presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she told the New York Times.

“For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

But she did have a possible escape plan up her sleeve – one she said her late husband, tax lawyer Martin Ginsburg, would have liked.

“Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,” Ginsburg said, smiling ruefully.

Trump could be great for migration to NZ 🙂

In an interview with the New York Times in her chambers, Ginsburg talked about a stormy term and criticised the Senate for refusing to act on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Her colleagues have said nothing in public about the presidential campaign or about Obama’s stalled nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. But Ginsburg was characteristically forthright, offering an unequivocal endorsement of Garland, the NY Times reported.

The court has been short since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February, and Ginsburg said it was likely to remain short-staffed through most or all of its next term, which starts in October.

I suspect Garland may get confirmed by the Senate. If the polls continue to show Clinton well ahead, the Republicans will conclude better a moderate liberal like Garland than whomever Clinton would nominate if elected. Either way though it will see the end of a 30+ year Conservative majority.

Five Police killed in Dallas

July 9th, 2016 at 6:59 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Five Dallas police officers were fatally shot and seven others wounded during a protest over the deaths of black men killed by police this week in Louisiana and Minnesota – the deadliest day for US law enforcement since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Police Chief David Brown blamed “snipers,” but it was unclear how many shooters were involved. Authorities initially said three suspects were in custody and a fourth dead, killed by a robot-delivered bomb in a parking garage where he had exchanged fire with officers.

Before dying, the police chief said, the suspect told officers he was upset about recent shootings and wanted to kill whites, “especially white officers.” The man also stated that he acted alone and was not affiliated with any groups, Brown said.

Many are upset over recent shootings, but what he has done is make such shootings more likely, not less. Plus five families have lost a family member, and will never recover.

Incredibly sad. If others were involved, hopefully they will be held accountable.

Clinton’s e-mail problem

July 7th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The FBI report is really very damning for Clinton. The Washington Post dissects:

Most importantly, Comey said the FBI found 110 emails on Clinton’s server that were classified at the time they were sent or received. That stands in direct contradiction to Clinton’s repeated insistence she never sent or received any classified emails. And it even stands in contrast to her amended statement that she never knowingly sent or received any classified information.

And eight of those e-mails were top secret. This will go to the heart of the trust issue.

Comey said Clinton had used not one but multiple private email servers during her time at State. He said Clinton used multiple email devices during that time. (She had offered her desire to use a single device for “convenience” as the main reason she set up the private server.) He noted that the lawyers tasked by Clinton with sorting her private emails from her professional ones never actually read all of the emails (as the FBI did in the course of its investigation). Comey said that while the FBI found no evidence that Clinton’s private server was hacked by foreign governments, it was possible that it had been. He argued that the Clinton lawyers had deleted emails they marked as personal that contained professional content, and that while the FBI found some of those emails in its investigation, it was certainly possible more existed that they were unable to track down.

This is also very problematic for her. The e-mails deleted were not purely personal, and so it looks like she was covering up.

It’s hard to read Comey’s statement as anything other than a wholesale rebuke of the story Clinton and her campaign team have been telling ever since the existence of her private email server came to light in spring 2015. She did send and receive classified emails. The setup did leave her — and the classified information on the server — subject to a possible foreign hack. She and her team did delete emails as personal that contained professional information.

Those are facts, facts delivered by the Justice Department of a Democratic administration. And those facts run absolutely counter to the narrative put forth by the Clinton operation: that this whole thing was a Republican witch-hunt pushed by a bored and adversarial media.

Normally this would be fatal for a candidate, but one thing saves her:

The best thing Clinton may have going for her at this point is that Republicans are two weeks away from formally picking Donald Trump as their party’s presidential nominee. Trump has shown a unique ability to hog the national spotlight and make comments that make people wonder whether he is fit to be president. While Clinton’s image numbers are bad, Trump’s are worse.

Almost any of other Republican candidates could have beaten her. But they chose the one who is unelectable.

Clinton not to be charged

July 6th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

FBI Director James Comey said that his agency will not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server as secretary of state, but called Clinton and her staff “extremely careless” in handling sensitive material.

Comey said the FBI investigations into more than 30,000 emails – and others pieced together from data “fragments” – determined that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” The findings now go to the Justice Department.

The announcement – which came only about 72 hours after FBI agents interviewed Clinton – in some ways lifts the cloud that has been hanging over Clinton’s presidential campaign for months.

But it will almost certainly spark criticism that the outcome of the high-profile probe was a foregone conclusion, influenced heavily by political considerations.

Comey said Justice Department prosecutors also must make a final determination, though he was unequivocal in stating his view.

“We are expressing our view to Justice that no charges are appropriate in this case,” he said.

But Comey note clear shortcomings in security protocols for the emails, which include 50 in “classified” categories with eight “top secret.”

“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey said.

538 has Clinton at 80% to win

July 2nd, 2016 at 7:04 am by David Farrar

538 has launched their general election forecast and has Clinton at 80% to win.

Their poll of polls has Clinton at 49%, Trump 42% and Johnson 8%.

On the electoral college they project Clinton 354 and Trump 183. In the swing states they have Clinton winning Arizona, North Carolina, Colorado, Ohio, Iowa and Florida. Trump to win Missouri, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Kansas, Indiana, Texas and Utah.

The 183 projected for Trump (and it is only a projection) would be the worst result for the Republicans since 1996 when they got 159.

Trump goes hard left on trade

June 30th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The WSJ reports:

Donald Trump offered a starkly protectionist view on trade policy, pledging for the first time on Tuesday to scrap the current North American Free Trade Agreement while saying he would label China a currency manipulator and kill America’s involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“I’m going to tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers,” said Mr. Trump, adding that if they don’t agree to favorable terms, “America intends to withdraw from the deal.”

Trump on trade is to the left of the Greens. I don’t think even the Greens advocate tearing up trade agreements already in place.

Democrats not opposing TPP

June 29th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

Party unity will keep US Democrats from opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), despite both of the party’s leading presidential nominees saying they are against the deal.

Members of the Democratic National Convention platform committee have decided to move against including a specific opposition to the TPP to the party’s platform (essentially, it’s manifesto for the November election).

The attempt failed because both members appointed by Hillary Clinton and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz say it is inappropriate to oppose the TPP when US President Barack Obama is supportive of the deal.

Clinton’s opposition to TPP is insincere. Her husband did the same – campaigned against NAFTA, but then endorsed it.

If Clinton wins, I’d say there is a reasonable chance it will pass in the lame duck session of Congress with support from mainly Republicans but also some Democrats.

If Trump wins, then far harder for Republicans to vote for it, when the President-Elect has campaigned so vigorously against it.

So the best chances for Jane Kelsey and co of stopping TPP, is for Trump to win.

Trump drops 7%

June 28th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

News.com.au reports:

HILLARY Clinton leads Donald Trump by double digits in a new national poll — a stark reversal for the mogul, who one month ago led the same poll by two percentage points.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Clinton at 51 per cent to Trump’s 39 per cent — her largest lead in the survey since last fall.

A month ago, the same poll had Trump at 46 per cent and Clinton at 44 per cent, reports the New York Post.

So he is down 7% and she is up 7%. And this is even before the conventions. The Democratic convention will be a fairly unified affair with keynote speeches from Obama, Biden, Bill Clinton, Sanders and of course Hillary.

The Republican convention is struggling to find anyone prominent to attend, let alone speak!

Trump is not just going to cost the Republicans the presidency against a candidate whom was very vulnerable, but also the Senate and much of their House majority. Oh, and also the Supreme Court for maybe the next 20 years or so.