Re smoking: Do as I say, not as I do.

Yesterday afternoon concluded my two and a half days as the guest of Dallas Presbyterian Hospital, owing to escalating COPD–by which I mean an acute attack of being unable to breathe properly, against a baseline of a chronic inability to breathe properly. (It all sounds very clinical until you’re the one unable to breathe properly. It is terrifying.)

Even more than your average Joe or Jane, people prone to depression are also prone to rationalizing bad habits like smoking as unimportant–particularly the subset prone to suicidal ideation. The problem is, only a small minority of suchlike folks are ever going to follow through on said ideation; meanwhile, though, they often wreck their health (as well as wreck their lives in other ways, but that’s a tale for another time) with bad habits like smoking.

So here I am, in a cycle (cycle is the wrong term, since I am not bipolar, but it will have to suffice) that could be called Least Worst, Mood-Wise, dealing with the the consequences of behavior engaged in when the cycle was of a far less pleasant nature.

Oh well.

Do yourself a favor: Stop smoking before you get to the point I have. I wish I had video of myself being driven to ER, unable to breathe properly. I would gladly post it, embarrassment aside, if I thought I could persuade one reader that deliberately inhaling garbage chemicals is not such a bright idea.

Jaw-dropping excerpt from Trump’s roundtable with county sheriffs

White House transcript:

SHERIFF AUBREY: … And the other thing is asset forfeiture. People want to say we’re taking money and without due process. That’s not true. We take money from dope dealers–

THE PRESIDENT: So you’re saying — okay, so you’re saying the asset-taking you used to do, and it had an impact, right? And you’re not allowed to do it now?

SHERIFF AUBREY: No, they have curtailed it a little bit. And I’m sure the folks are–

THE PRESIDENT: And that’s for legal reasons? Or just political reasons?

SHERIFF AUBREY: They make it political and they make it — they make up stories. All you’ve got to do–

THE PRESIDENT: I’d like to look into that, okay? There’s no reason for that. Dana, do you think there’s any reason for that? Are you aware of this?

MR. BOENTE: I am aware of that, Mr. President. And we have gotten a great deal of criticism for the asset forfeiture, which, as the sheriff said, frequently was taking narcotics proceeds and other proceeds of crime. But there has been a lot of pressure on the department to curtail some of that.

THE PRESIDENT: So what do you do? So in other words, they have a huge stash of drugs. So in the old days, you take it. Now we’re criticized if we take it. So who gets it? What happens to it? Tell them to keep it?

MR. BOENTE: Well, we have what is called equitable sharing, where we usually share it with the local police departments for whatever portion that they worked on the case. And it was a very successful program, very popular with the law enforcement community.

THE PRESIDENT: And now what happens?

MR. BOENTE: Well, now we’ve just been given — there’s been a lot of pressure not to forfeit, in some cases.

THE PRESIDENT: Who would want that pressure, other than, like, bad people, right? But who would want that pressure? You would think they’d want this stuff taken away.

SHERIFF AUBREY: You have to be careful how you speak, I guess. But a lot of pressure is coming out of — was coming out of Congress. I don’t know that that will continue now or not.

THE PRESIDENT: I think less so. I think Congress is going to get beat up really badly by the voters because they’ve let this happen. And I think badly. I think you’ll be back in shape. So, asset forfeiture, we’re going to go back on, okay?

SHERIFF AUBREY: Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: I mean, how simple can anything be? You all agree with that, I assume, right?

PARTICIPANT: Absolutely, yeah.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you even understand the other side of it?

PARTICIPANT: No.

THE PRESIDENT: It’s like some things–

PARTICIPANT: No sense.

THE PRESIDENT: Sort of like the Iran deal. Nobody even understands how a thing like that could have happened. It does nothing.

PARTICIPANT: You shouldn’t be allowed to profit from the illegal proceeds. So if you’re going to sell narcotics and sell illegal drugs in our country, you also cannot profit from that. And so we seize those profits.

THE PRESIDENT: So do we need any legislation or any executive orders for that, would you say, Dana — to put that back in business?

MR. BOENTE: I don’t think we need any executive orders. We just need kind of some encouragement to move in that direction.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Good. You’re in charge. (Laughter.) I love that answer, because it’s better than signing executive orders and then these people take it and they make it look so terrible — “oh, it’s so terrible.” I love it. You’re encouraged.

PARTICIPANT: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Good. Asset forfeiture. You’re encouraged. Okay. Yes, sir.

How To Tell Your Family To STFU About Politics This Thanksgiving*

Find a way.

 

* (Title in honor of endless think-pieces on the Left telling you how to talk politics on Thanksgiving. IT’S A TRAP!)

About that California National Guard story…

What a difference six years make.

Sacramento Bee, October 2010: “Massive fraud at California Guard, officials allege”:

From 1986 until her retirement last year, Master Sgt. Toni Jaffe’s job with the California Army National Guard was to give away money – the federally subsidized student-loan repayments and cash bonuses the Guard is supposed to use to tempt new recruits and entice Guard members to sign on for another stint.

Instead, according to a Guard auditor turned federal whistle-blower, as much as $100 million has gone to soldiers who didn’t qualify for the incentives, including some who got tens of thousands of dollars more than the program allows.

That’s an entirely different perspective than the stories this week about the hardships suffered by those forced to repay incentives that they should not have received.

The article continues (emphasis added):

Early in the audit, Clark said, he became concerned that officers implicated as recipients or enablers of improper payments might attempt to interfere with his work. So for the first time in his career, Clark said, he became a whistle-blower. He secretly contacted the Internal Revenue Service and FBI.

“I don’t like grifters,” Clark said. “And I’m disgusted – at times, ashamed – to wear the same uniform as those who steal taxpayer funds or protect thieves.”

It’s quite a read. The article concludes (emphasis added):

His concern was heightened, Clark said, when he heard about California National Guard Maj. Jeffrey Nichols. Guard documents show that Nichols received $45,000 in loan repayments in 2008 without the required contract on file. The amounts exceeded program limits, the loan was obtained too far back to qualify, and Nichols’ officer commission date made him ineligible.

Around the time his student loans were repaid, Nichols was picked to head the national incentives program at the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. Nichols, who now works to reduce National Guard attrition, declined to comment.

Clark said he began to worry that the National Guard Bureau might exercise its legal right to forgive improper payments, to avoid embarrassment and possible impact on recruiting. At that point, he said, he contacted federal agents.

“I came to realize that this criminal matter would be multi-jurisdictional, and would require vast resources to investigate,” Clark said. “Soon National Guard officials will know this is for real and that there are no more lumpy rugs to hide stuff under.”

What an interesting choice to head the National Guard Bureau incentives program!

Also, the phrase “legal right to forgive improper payments” flies in the face of more recent assertions that the DoD’s hand are tied vis. possible forgiveness of innocent over-payments.

Three years later, via the Merced Sun-Star: “Guard figures involved in the incentive fraud”:

From 2000 to 2010, thousands of California National Guard members improperly or illegally received enlistment incentive payments. Guard audits to date have found that at least 115 service members – most of them officers – committed fraud or acted improperly. Following are some of key players who benefited from or led the problem program, which The Sacramento Bee exposed in October 2010. Many have faced discipline under the Guard’s current leader, Adjutant Gen. David S. Baldwin.

At that point (in 2013), the emphasis of the reporting was still on the fraud angle.

This week, the story suddenly reappeared, but with an entirely different cast:

From The New York Times comes “Soldiers Struggling to Repay Enlistment Bonuses Issued in Error,” with a particularly manipulative first paragraph:

After 21 years in the military, three deployments, and a roadside bomb blast that left him bleeding and unconscious, Christopher Van Meter got a letter from the Pentagon saying he improperly received enlistment bonuses and now owed the government $46,000

Similarly, from The Los Angeles Times: “Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war”:

Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Please forgive my cynicism if I read that as an attempt by the Times to frame the whole thing as apple-cheeked innocents, cruelly used by the war machine, in over their heads. The piece isn’t much for subtlety, any more than its headline.

And now, of course, comes the political fallout: “Pentagon: ‘Looking at’ National Guard bonus complaints” (emphasis added):

The Pentagon on Monday said complaints about California National Guard troops forced to repay old bonuses have “the attention of our leadership,” while a San Diego County congressman’s staff says current law allows waiver of the debt.

So we have a both a National Guard auditor and a San Diego area Congressional office both assuming a right to waive. Interesting.

I tend to agree with Josh Earnest and the White House, which doesn’t happen very often:

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday he did not believe Obama would support a blanket waiver of repayments, but said California National Guard members should not be held responsible for “unethical conduct or fraud perpetrated by someone else.”

Of course, that presupposes that said individual members were not among those who knew that the fraud was occurring, and chose to look the other way–or worse, chose to directly enable it.

But if you’d merely read the headlines, you’d likely have an entirely different perspective on this story.

Why I Love Twitter #6,497,712

This is even funnier if you spent hundreds of hours, in the day, listening to J. Krishnamurti. Suffice it to say that this gentleman is not exactly walking the walk.

krishnamurti

Trumpspeak: Re-defining ‘fiduciary’

TrumpFightsAviIt just gets better and better. By which, of course, I mean worse and worse.

From CBS News, “Allies call Donald Trump a ‘genius’ if no taxes paid”:

The New York Times reported Saturday that the GOP nominee declared a $916 million loss on his income tax returns in 1995. This move would have corresponded to a tax deduction so large that he could avoid paying federal income taxes for “up to 18 years.”

Since missing the point has become America’s Pastime, much of media (both news and social) is fixated on the tax angle, rather than the loss angle.

The best slap-down of that misplaced feeding frenzy comes from Megan McArdle at Bloomberg. In “Trump’s 1995 Return Shows Good Tax Policy at Work,” she notes (emphasis added):

I mean, the Times story is true as far as it goes: Losing $900 million dollars may save you $315 million or so on future or past taxes. But astute readers will have noticed that it is not actually smart financial strategy to lose $900 million in order to get out of paying $315 million to the IRS. Most of us would rather have the other $585 million than a tax bill of $0.

If that paragraph was less than clear to you, please read (and re-read, as necessary) Ms. McArdle’s article in its entirety.

The idea that the carryforward and carryback provisions of the U.S. tax code are a “nefarious bit of chicanery,” as Ms. McArdle writes tongue in cheek, is the sort of thing that makes accountants smile a wry smile and scratch their heads–which is the bean-counter equivalent doubling over in raucous laughter.

So the question is, why is it “genius” to lose nearly a billion dollars in a single year?

Nice try, Rudy, but it’s not.

—–

But the most fascinating part of this story, to me, was Team Trump’s response; they asserted that Dear Leader was merely fulfilling “a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required” (emphasis added).

Obviously, somebody at Team Trump got more than a bit creative in their terminology.

The tax return The New York Times obtained was a personal (state) return, not a corporate return. (Trump’s “first and only initial public offering raised $140 million….A decade later, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, filed for bankruptcy.”)

Politico‘s Ben White writes, with a fair amount of definitional overkill, in “Fiduciary duty nonsense”:

There’s no evidence yet that Donald Trump violated any tax laws with his mammoth $916 million reported loss in 1995. But the claim by Trump and his surrogates that he had a “fiduciary duty” to his family and investors to pay as little tax as possible is pretty silly. Fiduciary duty, of course, applies to public company executives who have to maximize shareholder value by paying the lowest legal rate. But these are personal returns, not corporate returns. Are his family members going to sue him for paying too much tax? That would be … novel.

University of Delaware’s Charles Elson tells MM: “It’s a stupid answer. In a corporate setting you have an obligation to pay the lowest tax rate you can, but not in a personal setting. It doesn’t apply to his family. I think he misspoke on that one.”

White’s definition is as overly-narrow as Team Trump’s is overly-broad. I get what he’s getting at, but “Fiduciary duty, of course, applies to public company executives…” ignores all the other contexts in which a fiduciary duty applies. Perhaps in his haste to blow Team Trump’s idiocy out of the water, he accidentally made an “in this case” argument sound like an absurdly generalized, hyper-constrained definition.

Here’s one version of the broader definition (emphasis in original):

Fiduciary

An individual in whom another has placed the utmost trust and confidence to manage and protect property or money. The relationship wherein one person has an obligation to act for another’s benefit.

A fiduciary relationship encompasses the idea of faith and confidence and is generally established only when the confidence given by one person is actually accepted by the other person. Mere respect for another individual’s judgment or general trust in his or her character is ordinarily insufficient for the creation of a fiduciary relationship. The duties of a fiduciary include loyalty and reasonable care of the assets within custody. All of the fiduciary’s actions are performed for the advantage of the beneficiary.

What “property or money” belonging to his children or to his employees is Trump acting as a trustee for?

So West is correct insofar that Team Trump’s use of the term in that context is absurd, notwithstanding his overly-narrow definition.

—–

The funniest part of all this, though, is that Trump was supposedly exercising his fiduciary duty to his children and employees by losing money, while ripping off vendors, contractors, customers, depositors and investors.

But that is a topic for a future post.

CLA Radio 09/02/16: Tom Waits (repeat)

CLAR171-TomWaits-Banner

Back by popular demand for the Labor Day holiday weekend, ConservativeLA Radio will be a repeat of the Tom Waits show from June.

We’ll start in the early 80s-and be more biography-heavy–for the first 40 minutes or so, then we’ll move back in forth through time with more emphasis on the music per se.

When: Friday, September 2, 2016, 6:00 PM Pacific/9:00 PM Eastern.

Where: Duane FM in the Hughniverse.

Spotify playlist: It’s here, but omits a lot of bonus material–music only.

Twitter info: My twitter handle is @ConservativeLA, and the applicable hashtag is #CLARadio.

Set List:

Tom Waits: Second Hand Stories (documentary) – Clip 1
Rain Dogs (Rain Dogs)
Second Hand Stories – Clip 2
16 Shells From A 30.6 (Swordfishtrombones)
Second Hand Stories – Clip 3
Gin Soaked Boy (Swordfishtrombones)
Second Hand Stories – Clip 4
Jesus Gonna Be Here (Bone Machine)
Second Hand Stories – Clip 5
Time (Rain Dogs)
Second Hand Stories – Clip 6
Walk Away (Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards)
Second Hand Stories – Clip 7
Primus: Tommy The Cat (Sailing The Seas Of Cheese)
Les Claypool talks about Tom Waits and ‘Tommy The Cat’
Filipino Box Spring Hog (Mule Variations)
Fernwood Tonight introduction
Warm Beer And Cold Women (Nighthawks At The Diner)
The One That Got Away (Small Change)
The Part You Throw Away (Blood Money)
NPR Fresh Air interview, 2011
What’s He Building In There (Mule Variations)
Poor Edward (Alice)
Circus (Real Gone)
Frank’s Song (The Early Years Vol. 1)
Iggy Pop and Tom Waits (from Coffee And Cigarettes)
Big In Japan (Mule Variations)
Poncho’s Lament (The Early Years Vol. 1)
Tom Waits on Everything & Nothing – Blank on Blank interview (1988)
Jersey Girl (Heartattack And Vine)
Hold On (Mule Variations)
House Where Nobody Lives (Mule Variations)
Jockey Full Of Bourbon (Rain Dogs)
Diamonds On My Windshield (The Heart Of Saturday Night)
The Heart Of Saturday Night (The Heart Of Saturday Night)
Swordfishtrombone (Swordfishtrombones)
Old Shoes (The Early Years Vol. 2)
Downtown Train (Rain Dogs)
Induction, Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
Burma-Shave (Foreign Affairs)

Why Are Headline Writers Always Wrong?

Why Are Headline Writers Always Wrong?
The answer won’t surprise you in the least.

Bill Walsh, a copy editor at the Washington Post, once remarked that “Writing headlines is a specialty — there are outstanding writers who will tell you they couldn’t write a headline to save their lives.”

Given the rise of online news headlines that appear to have been written by interns wholly unfamiliar with the content of the articles their headlines purport to describe, such specialists must be a dying breed — all the more so if otherwise outstanding writers are sacrificing themselves in the effort.

I kid.

But what is a headline? Is it merely a way of fooling potential readers into thinking there might be nudity (ideally, a naked Kardashian) somewhere in the article?

The presence of breasts focuses the mind, as a wise man once said.

Wait, that was me. Never mind.

Wikipedia, which is never wrong (see also, “sarcasm”), defines a headline as “text indicating the nature of the article below it.”

Compact and descriptive. I like it.

Merriam-Webster, on the other hand, mutters something about “the title written in large letters over a story in a newspaper,” a rather archly narrow definition as to venue (what about magazines, websites, and the like?), but open-ended as to function (the function of a headline being, presumably, to give the reader an accurate sense of the article’s subject matter).

I’ll leave it to others to explore the wonderful world of what Derek Thompson at The Atlantic calls “headline tropes that multiply like viruses across the News Feed of your life.”

I’m looking at you, Vox.

No, what galls me are news headlines (or Twitter teases) that directly contradict news content — albeit in ways ranging from subtle, to so painfully obvious that they might be largely responsible for the much-discussed opioid epidemic.

Earlier this month, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) gave his Trumpkinist challenger, Paul Nehlen, a world-class ass-thumping, winning “80 percent of the vote with nearly 90 percent of the district’s precincts reporting,” Robert Costa wrote at the time.

The initial headline? “Paul Ryan weathers his primary but GOP’s populist storm still rages,” which can be seen in the article’s URL, although the headline itself was later changed to “Paul Ryan easily wins his primary, but GOP’s populist storm still rages.”

Winning over 80% of the primary vote in ones Congressional district is hardly “weathering” a “storm,” is it?

Why the hyperbole? Media outlets thrive in part on conflict (in addition to breasts), so “Paul Ryan barely notices human speed bump Paul Nehlen” might not optimize ones clicky metrics and suchlike.

Then again, maybe this has something to do with the rise of dumb headlines: “Scientists determine how much pot is in a joint. Here’s what they learned.”

I think the headline writer probably meant to say how much THC, but perhaps thought the acronym for marijuana’s primary psychoactive ingredient a bit too jargony, and ended up with an exceedingly silly construction instead.

And then there’s raging understatement: “Orlando Highlights Islam’s Complicated Relationship With Homosexuality.”

I bet it does.

But I shouldn’t complain about inaccurate, misleading, or overblown headlines. Things could be worse: “When a newspaper apologizes for publishing an accurate headline.”

The nail which sticks up gets a good pounding.

I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge all the headline writers out there who are masters of their craft: “Fans bewildered by lack of country music at CMT Awards.”

Well done. Well done, indeed.

Finally, there are the unintentionally hilarious headlines. For example: “Prince’s death raises numerous questions about his health,” which was so wonderful they changed the URL altogether.

And yes, in case you were wondering, the headline of this article was misleading. Anyone need a headline writer?

Call me.

Trump’s Russian Connections: A List

TrumpFightsAviAs if determined to again prove what a deeply un-serious people we are, the news is dominated by stories about Trump’s email joke.

Yes, it was a joke. I loathe Donald Trump, but were I to compile a list of reasons for my loathing, making piss-poor, un-Presidential jokes about Hillary Clinton would rank near the bottom.

Also, we begin bombing in five minutes.

One side effect of the perverse fixation on that relatively trivial joke is that Trump’s actual Russian connections, which are disturbing in the extreme, are lumped in with the joke and dismissed as one thing, similar to the effect that Ron Paul or Alex Jones have regarding any topic they touch. (And speaking of Ron Paul, he’s up to his wazoo in Russian connections, too.)

Hyperventilating accusations that Trump is a Russian agent likewise distract from the already alarming reality–it’s bad enough that Trump’s views largely align with Putin’s without engaging in tinfoil conspiracies.

And so, I thought it might be useful to create a list of a few articles that dive into the very serious topic of Trump’s actual connections with Russia in general, and with Team Putin in particular. There will necessarily be some overlap and redundancy in the material, but hopefully this post will make it just a bit more difficult for some people to argue from ignorance on the topic.

  1. Here’s what we know about Donald Trump and his ties to Russia (The Washington Post, 7/29/16). A serviceable, fairly brief overview.
  2. Putin’s Puppet (Slate, 7/21/16). Lots of background detail and links, particularly on Trump’s interesting investor and banking relationships.
  3. Trump picked stock fraud felon as senior adviser (AP, 12/4/15). Included here because Felix Sater is a bridge between Trump’s Russian connections, and his organized crime connections; the latter is an extremely important topic in itself.
  4. Trump & Putin. Yes, It’s Really a Thing (Talking Points Memo, 7/23/16). Yes, I know, another Leftist site, but the piece contains more detail on Trump’s banking/investment activities, etc.
  5. And, finally, Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin (The Washington Post, 6/17/16), which is referenced in the first Washington Post article above.

Again, to be perfectly clear, allegations that Trump is a Russian agent, or that he violated the Logan Act by sarcastically joking about Hillary’s emails, are total horseshit, completely besides the point, and are convenient excuses for Trump/Putin apologists to dismiss Trump’s actual connections with Putinist Russia.

Don’t take the bait.

Irresponsible Talker Says We Must Choose

Since I’ve been a regular listener to Hugh Hewitt for some years, there have of course been times when he has annoyed me to no end.

This is not one of those times. This is a pivot point.

At this point I have to seriously mull the utility of listening to Mr. Hewitt’s opinions about anything, going forward, including whether the sky is blue. (And blue sky is all we will get out of a Trump presidency.)

After having gone back and forth, seemingly in random order, through the proverbial stages of grief during the current election cycle, Mr. Hewitt has finally returned to the role he knows best: that of a GOP homer. Party uber alles, etc. That’s fine as far as it goes, and completely consistent with Core Hugh. It’s certainly not unexpected, anyway.

But not content to be merely flirt with morphing into a hectoring, sarcastic, sanctimonious gasbag like his favorite guest host Mark Larson Davis [sorry Larson], demanding that we get on the Trump Train, Mr. Hewitt saw fit to pen “Responsible citizens have to choose” in the Washington Examiner.

Golly, does that make me an irresponsible citizen because I refuse to vote for either of the morally-retarded front-runners?

Well gee, I guess it must.

No rogue headline writer at work here. Mr. Hewitt makes quite plain his meaning throughout the article, and particularly in the concluding paragraph.

After insulting our intelligence, as if none of his points had ever occurred to us, and after listing his bill of horribles against Hillary Clinton without ever addressing the yawning void of ignorance that is Donald Trump, Mr. Hewitt insults us.

Emphasis added.

Mr. Hewitt begins:

It is a binary choice — that is obvious at least to every active duty member of the American military.

Or perhaps Mr. Hewitt is just adding the second clause because he wouldn’t dare say the things about active duty military that he’s about to say about the rest of us (who see more than a binary at work).

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be their commander in chief.

Mr. Hewitt doesn’t mention whether Trump ever get around to boning up on the nuclear triad.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will select the secretary of defense.

I’m pulling for Corey Lewandowski.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will select the secretaries of the Army, Air Force and Navy, the service chiefs, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the nine heads of the Combatant Commands.

We get the drift.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will sign off on the next four proposed budgets for the Department of Defense.

This might be a good time to talk about Trump’s comments on wasting money on things military, NATO, and suchlike, one might think.

Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will decide how to respond to the next Moammar Gadhafi marching on his own people, the next Benghazi surprise attack on an American installation, the next red line crossed where WMD are used, the next Vladimir Putin aggression against a near-helpless neighbor.

Putin? Seriously? Mr. Hewitt is a smart guy, but he must think we’re unfathomably dumb.

Civilians, it seems to me, shouldn’t sit out an election because they don’t like the choices, not while American fighting men and women are in harm’s way, flying missions to attack the Islamic State from carriers or as part of special forces deployments in Kurdistan or Syria. Civilians are being protected from our enemies by sailors deploying under and on the sea for six months at a time — minimum — or by soldiers and Marines in far away places like Kosovo for more than a year at a time.

Don’t like the choices? What are we, finicky kids who won’t eat our peas?

Thanks to Mr. Hewitt for reminding us of the importance of Americans in uniform. And thanks for implying that we’d forgotten, in our dislike for vegetables, and he’s here to set us straight.

The civilians get to go to the movies, play golf, have a beer. The soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines get to pull watch or, at times, go into combat.

The longer this goes on, the more intolerably sanctimonious and condescending it becomes.

Basically it’s Do It For The Kids, except the Kids being trotted out are US military personnel, perhaps with suitably somber music swelling in the background.

Civilians owe the military their best judgment as voters as to who ought to be the commander in chief and whose team ought to take up the positions in the Pentagon that are a part of the approximately 3,000 appointees the new president will bring with him or her. When active duty military are putting their lives on the line, civilian voters ought to at least put themselves through the stress of making a necessary if unpalatable choice.

I am not agonizing on a lesser-of-two-evils beauty contest, Mr. Hewitt. I see two candidates, neither of whom is fit to serve in the capacity you describe at length.

The other detail that would have been good to note, at least in passing, is the harm Trump as standard bearer does to the Republican Party Mr. Hewitt reveres, the conservatism he typically embraces–and, not incidentally, the harm that Trump’s spiteful ignorance has the obvious capacity to inflict on America, militarily and otherwise.

When House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it perfectly clear that there would be no mutiny at the GOP convention in Cleveland, the obligation to choose between Clinton and Trump became very obvious to me. Once Ryan and McConnell closed all the exit ramps, I quickly chose Trump for a host of reasons, the most important being the inescapable conclusion that former Secretary of State Clinton’s law-breaking maintenance of the unsecured server handed our enemies a complete dossier on her and her associates. I have expert testimony on this reality given to me on the record on air by former Deputy CIA Director Mike Morell and off the record by a former senior CIA operations officer.

In other words, Trump was dangerous enough to warrant overthrowing the will of the primary electorate in a delegate mutiny, but not dangerous enough to warrant not supporting him in other circumstances. OK, that’s the conclusion you reached, Mr. Hewitt. I strongly disagree with it, not the least reason of which being that he has no chance in hell of winning in November.

Mr. Hewitt can whistle past the graveyard, and trot out outlier polls like the recent Rasmussen Trump+4, but he knows it’s bullshit, and I know it’s bullshit. Trump cannot, and will not, win.

If Mr. Hewitt’s goal is to ensure turnout to salvage down-ballot races (which is my primary concern–preserving the Senate majority as a backstop against the inevitable packing of the Supreme Court with liberals and Leftists that will ensue under President Clinton), perhaps he should try to find a way to make that case independent of implicitly arguing that Trump is fit to serve (he is not), and independent of implicitly arguing that he can win (he cannot, no matter what voters like me do or don’t do).

Mr. Hewitt generally fails to acknowledge (or perhaps even recognize) the difference between losing, and losing while turning the party over to the worst populist, racist, misogynist, knuckle-dragging elements of the right.

This is the reality of the situation, and the hack of the DNC by Russian intelligence agencies, which was revealed last week, is just more evidence of our enemies’ capabilities and intentions. Those clinging to the idea that there is no proof of the compromise of the Clinton server fool themselves and no one else. She is disqualified because she is compromised. The Russians and who knows which other powers can manipulate her and her electronic associates. That’s why nations collect intelligence…to use it. It is doubtful that any of our adversaries have ever known more about any of our leaders that the Russians et al know about Clinton. Not even Alger Hiss could have given the Soviets more on FDR than the Russians took from Clinton’s home-brew server.

The implicit argument is that Trump would be less vulnerable to the Kremlin, and less malleable, than Clinton. The most polite response I can come up with to that implicit assertion is to laugh; the least polite would be to characterize it as either intellectual dishonesty, or madness.

There is also the matter of Clinton’s disastrous record as secretary of state, beginning with her record of failure in Libya writ large throughout that failed state that is now an Islamic State colony, and in Benghazi specifically on the night of 9/11/12.

And nothing Trump has said indicates the likelihood of anything better. No mention of NATO in all this, oddly enough.

There is her record of dithering and disaster in Egypt that handed the country for a time to the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s her judgment on display: Ceding the key Arab state to the brotherhood and tossing aside a reliable American ally in the process. What must Egyptian President Sisi think of the approach of a second President Clinton.

And Trump’s solution is what, exactly? Or should I be more specific and ask what is his solution this week? It’s very bad, we need to be smarter, we need to make deals, and we’ll get the freaking Saudis to pay for it?

Her “Russian reset” button was far worse than an episode of merely embarrassing buffoonery. It was actually an expression of deep seated naïveté regarding Putin, one likely to be repeated again and again. Her incompetence doesn’t end with Russia. Her role in the failure to negotiate an extension of the Bush-era Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq precipitated President Obama’s abrupt and tragic bug-out of Iraq in late 2011, which led to the Islamic State rampage across Iraq from its first home in Syria.

Get off the SoFA. That was an excuse and Mr. Hewitt knows it. A talking point. Obama repeatedly demanded that it be revoked, even as others in his Administration were saying they had all the SoFA they needed.

As for naivete, it’s hard to beat Trump liking Putin because Putin played to Trump’s mammoth ego.

And the Syrian genocide and all that it has birthed including and especially the long and deadly tentacles of the Islamic State across the West even into a nightclub in Orlando and a conference room in San Bernardino are all on her scorecard. Negligence in the carrying out of her duties to cabin and defeat the “jayvees” is not the same as direct responsibility for the atrocities of the terrorists, but it is very predictive of the lack of seriousness we could expect from her and her team if she wins in the fall. It’s a given that she will strike poses as President Obama has struck poses, and with the same consequences. “Leading from behind,” “red lines” that get erased, and condescension towards fanatical “jayvees” are a given with her as they have been with President Obama. His legacy is her platform. It is inevitable.

And Trump’s is what? Bomb the holy shit out of them? Something you’d hear in any chatroom or barroom full of people with such nuanced foreign policy ideas? We never win any more? This is the guy who Mr. Hewitt sees as CiC?

As is her party’s reflexive underfunding of the military; the hollowing out of every Defense Department budget for the next four years; the readiness crisis that consumes major components of the services; and the loss of a generation of skilled officers to budget irresponsibility that is the hallmark of the left that Clinton personifies and leads.

Trump has already signaled a breathtaking ignorance of things military, least of all concerning the level of funding a robust military post-Obama will require.

But all of that is just a lead-up to this breathtakingly insulting coda to Mr. Hewitt’s piece:

So this inescapable binary choice it is an easy choice for me, and one I will make because either she or Trump will be commander in chief. No third party throw away ballots or symbolic gestures. One of two people will command the Warriors. The far riskier path for the country is choosing Clinton as that one of two, but I will respect the wrong-headed voters who pull that lever on the basis of wooly-headed reasoning or thread-bare rationalizations. I will never understand those who refuse to choose when a choice must be made. That is not a choice, it seems to me, of anyone who genuinely believes in self-government.

So having made his decision, and having forgotten the reasons for deciding otherwise, Mr. Hewitt demands that we support one of these deeply unqualified and incompetent candidates, and concludes that if we do not, we do not genuinely believe in self-government.

That coda is not just a condescending (and thus counter-productive) exercise in sanctimony, persuading nobody–it is a exercise in raging one-sided intellectual dishonesty. Shame on Mr. Hewitt.

Many “responsible citizens” will do a different political and moral calculus than Mr. Hewitt does–and it won’t make a dime’s worth of difference in the outcome, except to accelerate the conservative movement’s abject sellout to an anti-conservative populist cult of personality.

Bear that in mind the next time you decide to impersonate Mark Larson, Mr. Hewitt.