Date: October 23, 2016

Duterte’s embrace of China is the latest fruit of Duterte’s irrationality

Paul Mirengoff at the conservative blog Powerline has an article up blaming President Obama for Filipinian president Rodrigo Duterte aligning his country with China.

There’s a tendency among conservatives and Republicans to blame things on Obama, as he is a Democrat, and conservative critics of Obama have also been making a case that Obama hasn’t been strong enough backing up his words on some issues. There is a case to be made. But even the most hardcore Republican Obama critic would have a hard time making the case here.

Duterte, like candidate Trump, is a very unconventional politician and a tyrant. Since taking office he has waged an extrajudicial war on alleged drug users, killing over 2,000 with no due process, including many who aren’t drug users. He has praised Hitler, saying that if Hitler killed 3 million Jews, he would kill 3 million drug addicts. He called Obama a son of a whore.

Now he has unilaterally decided to tell America to go to hell because he wants to align himself with the totalitarian forces of the world, even as China is asserting claim to islands claimed by the Philippines, even as the Philippines just won a case against China in the UN Law of the Sea court. Duterte said:

America has lost now. I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow. And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.

If Trump wins maybe the U.S. could join the gang and get back in good graces with the Philippines.

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On evaluating claims of sexual assault against presidential candidates

A pornstar who claims that Donald Trump has offered to pay her $10,000 to go to return to his hotel room is just the latest of nearly a dozen women who have come forward this month accusing Trump of sexual improprieties.

Trump, naturally, denies all charges. At the same time, Trump has been hyping the affairs and allegations of sexual assault against Bill Clinton. This week a former Arkansas reporter came forward to allege the former president sexually assaulted her three times while he was governor of Arkansas in 1980. In a climate where stories of sexual assault or rape are fiercely scrutinized, how is one to evaluate the veracity of these claims?

The standards for evaluating claims of crimes having been committed are, of course, different inside and outside a courtroom. No one is asking the voters to throw Donald Trump in prison for sexual assault—or for violating sanctions on Cuba, or for self-dealing with his foundation, or for defrauding investors and consumers. If he is guilty of any of those crimes, it is up to investigators and prosecutors to pursue and for the accused to be able to defend themselves in court. What the voters are tasked with, however, is to decide whom they think is most qualified to be the next president of the United States of America. For that, there is no requirement of proving someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is a choice each voter can make on their own.

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