Sunday, August 28, 2016

Meta Sudans

You won't find it if you are in Rome today.  The remaining part of the crumbling structure was bulldozed on Mussolini's orders in 1936.

(Meta Sudans, in front of Colosseum, 1890, from flashbak)
The Coliseum and Meta Sudans.
The precise purpose of the Meta Sudans is still debated.  What is known is that it was built in the 1st century AD, during the same period as the Colosseum.  Nor does it have anything to do with the country of the Sudan.  It's meaning in Latin is roughly "sweating turning post" and it's thought it served as a fountain and point on which Roman Triumphs turned left, from heading along the valley between the Palatine and Caelian hills, and proceeded up and over the incline on which sat the Arch of Titus, and then on down into the Roman Forum.  Below is an 1860 photo showing the remnants of the Meta Sudans looking toward the Arch of Titus; an arch commemorating a dark time in Jewish history, Rome's suppression of the Jewish Revolt of 66-70 AD and the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
meta_sudans2_altobelli(from roger pearse)

This is an artist's impression of what it may have looked like during the time of the Roman Empire.  Next to it is the Arch of Constantine, which was not constructed until around 320 AD.  Behind is a corner of the Palatine Hill, which held the Emperor's Palace.
 
(From detritus of empire

Friday, August 26, 2016

I'm A Boy

For prior Who singles  . . .

50 years ago today, The Who released I'm A Boy, their 6th single.  It was to be their most successful releases to date, hitting #2 or #1 on the British charts.  Like their previous singles, it was a flop in the U.S.   It's also one of their funniest lyrics:
One girl was called Jean Marie
Another little girl was called Felicity
Another little girl was Sally Joy
The other was me, and I'm a boy.

My name is Bill, and I'm a head case
They practice making up on my face
Yeah, I feel lucky if I get trousers to wear
Spend evenings taking hairpins from my hair

I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But my ma won't admit it
I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But if I say I am, I get it

Put your frock on, Jean Marie
Plait your hair, Felicity
Paint your nails, little Sally Joy
Put this wig on, little boy

I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But my ma won't admit it
I'm a boy, I'm a boy
But if I say I am, I get it

I wanna play cricket on the green
Ride my bike across the street
Cut myself and see my blood
I wanna come home all covered in mud
One thing I've never been able to clarify is why The Kids Are Alright was released only two weeks prior to I'm A Boy.  Some histories of The Who don't even refer to the release of The Kids, so the mystery remains (at least for me).

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tears Of God

The four founders of Los Lobos have been playing together since the mid-70s.  All from East Los Angeles, David Hildago (guitar), Caesar Rosas (guitar), Louie Perez (drums), and Conrad Lozano (bass) play a mix of rock n roll, Chicano funk, folk, traditional Mexican music, sometimes adding a  dash of zydeco or country.  A good live act, go see them if you have a chance.

Here's a ballad, Tears of God.
When it's up to you
To figure out what's right and wrong
It's someone else's parade
And yours is an unhappy song
When it hurts so bad
And you feel that you can't go on
Each day goes by too fast
And the nights are so very long
You'll find out true
What mother said to you
That tears of god will show you the way
The way to turn

And for something more upbeat, Don't Worry Baby.


Emily, in the country/folk mode, with Hildago on fiddle and lead guitar.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Ottomans Turn East: Chaldiran & Marj Dabiq

When the eighth Ottoman sultan, Bayezid II, died on May 26, 1512, the Empire he left behind was mostly built on expansion into Europe from the Ottoman heartland in western Asia Minor.  The Ottomans crossed the Dardanelles at Gallipoli in 1354 and rapidly began expanding into the Balkans, dominating most of the region by the end of the 14th century.  With the capture of Constantinople in 1453, final destruction of the Serbian Kingdom, the new trans-Danubian dependencies in Wallachia and Moldavia, and the submission of the Khanate of the Crimea, its hold was consolidated by the time of Bayezid's death.  Although there would be further European expansion (for more on that, read The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of, and The Song of Jan Sobieski), the greatest future territorial growth of the empire would occur in the Middle East and North Africa.

Two battles, the first occurring 502 years ago on this date in 1514, and the second, five hundred years ago as of tomorrow, marked the great directional change in Ottoman expansionism, and had repercussions for the history of the region that are still felt today.  

(Ottoman Empire in 1500, outlined in red, from euroatlas)
http://www.euratlas.net/history/europe/1500/entity_6084.jpg

Bayezid's successor was his youngest son, Selim, who was in his early 40s in 1512.  The events that brought him to the Sultanate were triggered when Bayezid, who had reigned since 1481, announced his oldest son as his heir.  Selim revolted upon this news, defeated his father's troops, forcing him to abdicate and go into exile (he died a month later), and then putting his brothers and nephews to death to avoid future threats to his rule.
http://i-cias.com/e.o/ill/s09-selim1.jpg(Selim I)

Selim faced two external challenges upon ascending the throne.  The first, a longstanding rivalry with the Mamluk Sultanate which had ruled Egypt since 1250 and also occupied Syria, and the second, the new, and aggressive, Safavid dynasty of Iran/Persia.

The Safavid's were Selim's first priority.  The Safavid family were able to seize power in the early 1500s in the midst of the turmoil and fragmentation that followed the slow disintegration of the empire founded by Tamerlane the Great.  They quickly defeated rivals and reassembled an empire that covered all of modern Iran, parts of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq and the eastern part of Turkey.  The Safavid's aggressive expansion quickly brought them to the Ottoman borders, and they added a second element to their threat; the Safavid's were Shiite Muslims, while the Ottomans were Sunni.  When the Safavids began recruiting soldiers from the Turkish tribes on their border with the Ottomans, and Selim became alarmed that they were trying to provoke a Shiite uprising in the Ottoman lands, he decided on a forceful response. Receiving a religious ruling that Shah Ismail and the Safavids were unbelievers and heretics, he assembled his army and rapidly marched eastwards into the mountainous terrain of Kurdistan.

The Ottomans encountered the Safavid army near the town of Chaldiran (just inside the current border of Iran), and the two armies battled on August 23, 1514.  The Ottomans held two advantages; they had perhaps twice as many soldiers as their opponents, and they were better armed, both with firearms and artillery.   The result was a rout, and the Ottomans pushed on to temporarily conquer the Safavid capital of Tabriz.  Safavid expansion to the west was permanently blocked, and the Ottomans took possession of eastern Anatolia and norther Mesopotamia (Iraq).(Monument commemorating Battle of Chaldiran, from wikipedia)

It was not the end of warfare between the Ottomans and Safavids (their dynasty lasted until 1722).  The next hundred years saw frequent and lengthy outbreaks of war.  While the Safavids prevailed occasionally, overall the Ottomans were more successful, seizing the rest of Mesopotamia all the way to the Persian Gulf, and holding it until British Commonwealth troops seized it in 1917-18 during World War One.

With the immediate threat from the Safavids checked, Selim turned his attention to the Mamluks.  While there had been a war between the regimes in the late 15th century, the Mamluks were not a direct threat to Ottoman rule, although the dynasties vied for control of the spice trade and religious supremacy in the Sunni world.

The Mamluks originated as ethnic Turks and Georgians, brought as slaves to Eqypt to serve its Arab rulers, a process that began in the 9th century.  After training and conversion to Sunni Islam, the Mamluks would be freed but were expected to continue to serve their masters, both in administration and in the military.  The Ayyubid dynasty of the 12th and 13th centuries made extensive use of Mamluks and they were the backbone of the Sultan Saladin's army which defeated the Christian crusaders and reconquered Jerusalem.

In 1250, a Mamluk uprising was successful and they established their own sultanate, centered in Egypt.  The new dynasty consolidated its rule, expanding into Syria and defeating the Mongols, who overran much of the Middle East from 1258 on.  During the mid 14th century the original Turkish Mamluk dynasty was overthrown by Circassian Mamluks, from the region of the Caucasus.  Relying on their traditional methods of warfare, the Mamluks, unlike the Ottomans, had not adapted the new technologies of firearms and artillery.

In 1516, Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghawri marched north with his army to bring to an end disturbances in the Syrian portion of his empire.  He had been lulled by emissaries of Selim that the Ottomans remained focused on the Safavids and thus did not expect a conflict.  However, Selim advanced into Mamluk lands and the armies met on August 24, 1516 at Dabiq, a town in modern Syria, just five miles south of its border with Turkey.  As at Chaldiran, Ottoman numbers and technology carried the day and the Mamluks were completely defeated and al-Ghawri killed.  Not giving the Mamluks time to regroup, Selim advanced rapidly, capturing Damascus, entering Egypt in early 1517, occupying all of the former Mamluk lands, and becoming protector of the holy sites in Medina and Mecca in Arabia.  Even with their success, the Ottomans arranged for members of the Mamluks to administer Egypt on their behalf.
 (Portrait of Sultan al-Ghawri from wikipedia)

The successful campaigns of Selim resulted in all of the Middle East falling to the Ottomans, with Egypt remaining under its control for three centuries and the lands of Syria, Iraq and Arabia for yet another century beyond that, until the end of the Ottoman regime in the aftermath of World War One.  The Arab world, which had already seen turmoil and decline in the centuries before the arrival of the Ottomans, became even more of a backwater afterwards, as the Ottomans did themselves by the end of the 17th century.
 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/Territorial_changes_of_the_Ottoman_Empire_1520.jpg(Empire 1520, from wikimedia)

Selim, who died in 1520, is considered one of the most able Ottoman Sultans.  The empire tripled in size during his short reign and he paved the way for his son and successor, Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-66), who expanded the empire further in both Europe, Asia and Africa.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2a/Territorial_changes_of_the_Ottoman_Empire_1566.jpg(Empire 1566, from wikmedia)

One final, and chilling note, about Dabiq, the town where the Mamluks met their end.  Today, it is the place where, in ISIS ideology, the final battle for domination of the world between Christians and Muslims will take place, and their online magazine is called Dabiq.







 








Monday, August 22, 2016

Joey & Jose

Two ball players, who've been remarkably hot for long periods this season are Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds and Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros.  Yes, I've read Bill James and know hot streaks aren't real, but I like pretending.

Votto has always engendered controversy over his refusal to swing at pitches outside the strike zone, regardless of circumstances (see Skynet Is Activated), but consistently hit for high average, on-base and slugging percentages.
http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/St+Louis+Cardinals+v+Cincinnati+Reds+5GwTSG7xvgfl.jpg(Votto, not swinging, zimbio)

This year he seemed to make the argument moot.  Joey was horrible for the first 50 games, hitting only .207 on May 29, with an on base percentage (OBP) of .330, and slugging a miserable .367.  This was coupled with an erosion in his control of the strike zone.  In his last two full seasons, Joey walked in 20% of his plate appearances (PA) and struck out in 19%.  As of May 29, he'd walked in only 14% of his PA and was striking out 27% of the time.

But in the 69 games since then, Votto has played like a alien visitor from another galaxy with superhuman capabilities, hitting .378, with an OPB of .507 (that's Ted Williams, Babe Ruth territory), and slugging .622, raising his season average to .307, and his stats now look like a normal Joey Votto year.  During this run, he's been walking in 21% of his PA and striking out in 17%.
https://espngrantland.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/jose-altuve-tri.jpg
(Altuve, from espn grantland)

Jose Altuve, the diminutive second baseman for the 'Stros, has played well since the beginning of the season.  On May 27, he was hitting .311, and an OPS of .939, with more power and walks than he'd had in prior years.

And then he got really hot.  Over his last 73 games, Altuve's batting .402 (raising his average to .366), with an OPS of 1.042, and propelled himself into the American League MVP discussion.

It'd be fun to see both of them continue at this pace until the end of the season.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Why Hillary?

HillarySickandTired
(from never yet melted)
TrumpNewYorkerCartoon
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-8vjJFsvltDU/V5u8ci-IKwI/AAAAAAAARKs/zCgard-TpIAbTjcl43frrGg0DHE60QF4gCLcB/s1600/xip1d486mv4x.jpg

I get why someone would not vote for Donald Trump.  Heck, I've written about it myself here, here, here, and here, among other places.  It's why my bumper sticker for this election remains:
13307204_798229783645328_2331576008277142142_n

But why would anyone vote for Hillary Clinton?  Seriously.

Not that the third-party choices are much better.  The Libertarian candidate for President is a pothead (I'm not kidding, he really is a stoner), who doesn't think religious liberty is included within the concept of . . . liberty.  The Libertarian candidate for Vice-President says he wants more Supreme Court Justices like Stephen Breyer and senators like Susan Collins (R-ME).  Now, whatever else you may think of Breyer and Collins, they usually line up on the side of more, not less, government control, so the Libertarian ticket sure doesn't seem libertarian this year.  And then you have the Green Party, with its Putin supporting Presidential candidate, and completely loony party platform, which includes a call for the destruction of Israel.

But back to Hillary.

Is it her qualifications or experience?

Her first big public policy job was serving as Healthcare & Insurance Reform czar under her husband.  She managed to perform so ineptly that a Democratic-controlled Congress refused to bring her proposal up for a vote, was a major factor in the 1994 loss of Congress to the Republicans (the last time the GOP had controlled the House was in 1954), and ended up with her husband relegating her to making tea and cookies in the White House, and being sent off on ceremonial foreign trips, which, to be fair, gave her the material to write her best-selling book, It Takes A Village To Raise Your Kid, But Keep Your G--d--- Hands Off Mine.

And then she went on to become the junior senator from New York, where she was responsible for such groundbreaking legislation as . . . . ????  Oh, and on the most important issues during her tenure, she supported the invasion of Iraq and opposed the Surge (the latter of which President Obama cited in 2011 as creating a stable and secure Iraq, thus enabling him to withdraw the remaining American military force).

Was it when she was Secretary of State?  Let's leave aside the general foreign policy chaos of the Obama Administration and just focus on her two key initiatives.  The first was the "reset" with Russia, designed to restore good relations after the supposed mess George Bush made of them (and about which Barack Obama mocked Mitt Romney).  How's that gone?
http://www.americanthinker.com/images/bucket/2016-02/196066_5_.jpg(Hillary with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov & the reset button she presented to him)
http://drrichswier.com/wp-content/uploads/reset.jpg(from drichswier.com)

The second was the overthrow of Muammar Ghaddafi of Libya, for which Hillary was the primary advocate within the administration.  The result?  Ghaddafi, who had been cowed by Bush's 2003 Iraq invasion, surrendering his nuclear program and no longer supporting terrorism, was deposed and killed and Libya reverted to a state of anarchy, becoming a hotbed for terrorism, as well as leading to the creation of an ISIS mini-state within the country.  Gosh, it's almost like we overthrew Ghaddafi without a plan about what to do next.

David Burge summed it up best:
Hillary has foreign policy experience like Typhoid Mary had nursing experience. 
Is it because she would be the first woman President?

She seems like an odd flagbearer for the cause under the circumstances.

Hillary Clinton would never have had the opportunity to run for President if it she had not ridden the coattails of her more personally, and politically, popular husband.  Or, as a commenter on the Althouse Blog recently put it, regarding Bill Clinton's convention speech:
Bill Clinton had a very difficult job last night: He was tasked with making it seem like Hillary would have been the nominee even if she wasn't Mrs Bill Clinton, the wife of the former Governor of Arkansas and the former President of the US.
And she is in the position of having to thank Bill for his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky, which  removed the stain of her healthcare failure, catapulted her back into the public eye, and allowed her to regain popularity by playing Tammy Wynette, standing by her man.

In the course of that defence, she exposed the rotting underpinnings of feminism, as many defended Bill since they liked his position on abortion, culminating in Gloria Steinem's announcement of the newly discovered "one-grope" rule.  In that respect, it was similar to the moment in 2008 when Barack Obama, realizing that his wealthy donors would enable him to swamp John McCain in fundraising, reneged (unlike McCain) on his pledge to rely on public financing for his campaign, thereby confirming that "campaign finance reform" was a tactical political issue for Democrats, not something based on principle.  Obama supporters, who supposedly cared about the issue, just ignored his action.

But then, all this should not have been a surprise, since Hillary's built a consistent record, going back to her days in Arkansas, of enabling harsh and intimidating attacks on any woman who leveled accusations of sexual misbehavior against her husband, or even, for that matter, claims to have had consensual sex with Bill (also known as "bimbo eruptions", a term coined by her hatchet-woman, Betsey Wright).  For a more recent example of Hillary's compromised position on feminism, read Hillary Scrubs Sexual Assault Pledge After Allegations Against Bill Resurface.

Is it because of her positions on the issues?

If you believe in the Progressive, upside-down Constitution, in which all rights belong to the Government, except those it decides to delegate back to the people, you may be a lost cause.  But most people don't, so here goes.

Her position and Donald Trump's on what to do about ISIS are the basically the same.  Yeah, I was surprised too, but once I looked more carefully through the mishmash of Trump's bad grammar, half-sentences and bombastic speech patterns, it's the same.  No troops, bomb 'em a lot, have better intelligence, work with allies, though Donald shouts more when he says it.

As for the rest of her foreign policy, I can't find anything beyond bland platitudes.  Can you?

She wants the First Amendment changed so she can restrain your right to free speech and prevent political opponents from making films critical of her.  While most Progressives have tried to skate around the fact that the Citizens United case was about the government's attempt to suppress the rights of Americans to voluntarily come together and make a movie criticizing Hillary Clinton, Hillary has been open in her outrage that this was allowed to occur.   

On immigration, she's for open borders, and placing more downward pressure on lower wage American workers, including recent immigrants, a position particularly harmful for lower income African-Americans.  Why would someone want to create downward pressure on wages at the same time as they complain about inequality? Actually, it's not really a mystery.  From the political angle, Democrats are gambling they can bring in enough immigrants,  naturalize them fast enough, make them dependent on the government and gain their votes to ensure a permanent Democratic majority, before other lower income Americans realized they've been played.  And, by the way, if you parse through Donald Trump's word salad, you will realize he consistently promises the largest amnesty in American history.

And when it comes to illegal immigrants, if you are yearning for a return to the 1830s philosophy of John C Calhoun, you can join Hillary in supporting the nullification of federal law by sanctuary cities, where violent illegal immigrants are shielded from deportation. If you do, make sure to petition Yale University to allow Calhoun's name to remain on a building there. 

On economic policy, she favors pursuing ever more strongly the policies that gave us the city of Detroit or, for that matter, my state of Connecticut, with its massive unfunded liabilities to state employees, ever higher tax rates, and fleeing businesses and taxpayers. If you read the Democratic Party platform (I actually did), there is not one word about economic growth, it's all about redistribution.  They'll manage it as well as they are managing Obamacare.  Trust 'em.
http://i.bnet.com/blogs/vacant-lots-in-rock-city.jpg(Detroit: Coming Everywhere! from bnet)

She's pledged to expand further the use of Executive Power.  Some of you children may not remember the old days, way back in 2007, when Progressives said Bush's use of Executive Power was taking us down the road to fascism.  I guess this time it's for a good cause; I believe it because President Obama said so.

Do you like choice?  Sorry, but if you're a lower income family seeking a better education for your children and would like to have alternatives to what's being served to you by the 1% of the educational establishment, Hillary says, "no soup for you" - you're stuck with whatever her donors from Big Education decide to give you.

Her vision is of an America divided by race, ethnicity and gender (or gender choice, if you prefer), in which all are expected to vote in accordance with their designated categories, rather than as thinking individuals, and jobs and education divided up accordingly.  For more on her flawed vision read What Would Otter Do?

Ask yourself, if the big cities we've been told are hot beds of racism have been run by Democrats for decades (the last Republican mayor in Chicago was 1932, Milwaukee 1908, Philadelphia 1952, Newark 1907, St Louis 1949, Detroit 1961, and the list goes on), and college campuses, controlled by Progressives for decades, festering pits of racism and sexual assault, doesn't it strike you there is something fundamentally wrong with Hillary's approach?


To solve all this, Hillary's promising a lot of free stuff.  Actually, it's not free, since you are going to pay for it (for more about why, read the section below on wealth and inequality).

When Hillary starts talking about pie in the sky and free stuff, just remember that seven years ago, Barack Obama promoted Obamacare with a litany of lies (or "incorrect promises" as the New York Times referred to them, when even that stalwart defender of the President was forced to admit they weren't true):

If you like your doctors you can keep them!
If you like your health care plan you can keep it!
Your family will save $2500 a year!

Don't fall for it again.  Once can happen to anyone.  Twice, and you're a fool.  Don't let them make you a fool.

Is it because of her record of trust and transparency? 

Who does Hillary fear most; the American public or our foreign enemies?

When she became Secretary of State, Hillary had a choice; should she keep her email correspondence in compliance with law and regulation, and be willing to risk that, at some future date, some of it might become available to her fellow Americans, or should she try to avoid disclosure to the American public and accept a greater risk that foreign enemies of America could access the information?  She chose to avoid disclosure to the American public, and today, most intelligence analysts believe Vladimir Putin has all the emails, including the ones she destroyed in defiance of the rules (some of which, it turned out, contained relevant material, despite her claims).  And let's not forget that, as the FBI and Inspector General showed us, everything she told us about this matter since it became public was a deliberate lie. If you believed her, don't you feel used?

Compounding her previous lies, Hillary insisted the FBI found she was being truthful about her earlier statement, a claim the Washington Post awarded "Four Pinocchio's", its top rating for untruthfulness, writing:
"Clinton is cherry-picking statements by Comey to preserve her narrative about the unusual setup of a private email server. This allows her to skate past the more disturbing findings of the FBI investigation,"   
The risks posed by the compromised security of Clinton's emails aren't just theoretical.  One of the names discussed in Hillary's emails was of an Iranian scientist who had provided information on that country's nuclear program to American intelligence, and was executed upon his return to Iran.  On the other hand, we all have to be ready to make sacrifices, and Hillary has always been willing to sacrifice others.

There is no doubt she violated government procedures.  I think it also clear it was an indictable offense as I wrote here.  But that is was deliberately done to get around the Freedom of Informationn Act, there is no doubt.  Read the factual conclusions reached by FBI Director Comey, and the report of the State Department's Inspector General, the latter summed up by the Washington Post as "concluding that she failed to seek legal approval for her use of a private email server and that department staff would not have given its blessing because of the 'security risks in doing so'".

Exit question:

Q. What does her decision on how to handle her emails say about how she views her fellow Americans?
A. She holds us in contempt.

The bigger issue is that Hillary's actions as Secretary of State are consistent with her personal history. Her health reform task force was run in secrecy.  She used a veil of secrecy, deception and defamation to cover up that the firing of the White House travel office staff was undertake at her direction and for political reasons.  The Rose Law firm billing records mysteriously disappeared for two years. The last time she held a full press conference was in December 2015, which is simply unbelievable in the middle of a Presidential campaign.  And, of course, for reasons that remain unclear she spun a web of lies about the motivation for the assault on the American mission in Benghazi, lies not just told to the public, but in her conversations with the family members of the four men who died, who she then went on to publicly disparage and dismiss when they contradicted her account.

And let me ask you; it's been reported from several sources that more than one US Attorney's office has opened an investigation of the Clinton Foundation.  Given the pace at which investigations occur, it is unlikely that any investigations would be completed by January 20, 2017.  If Hillary Clinton is elected, she will appoint the Attorney General for whom US Attorneys work.  Do you think Hillary will do the right thing, and have a nonpartisan Special Counsel appointed, vested with the full powers of the Attorney General, to oversee the investigations (as George W Bush did in the Valerie Plame case)?  Yeah, I thought so.  Me too.

Do you really want to know what is going on in your government?  Democrats already have an advantage.  Most of the bureaucracy is staffed by Democrats, making leaks less likely.  The Obama administration has scared those who might leak by launching more prosecutions for leaks than the combined total of every administration in prior American history.  Indeed, most of the government's Inspector Generals wrote a letter to Congress in 2014, objecting to the Administration's obstructionist tactics that blocked investigation of wrong-doing in government agencies that might embarrass the President.  I'm still waiting for the 27-part series in the New York Times about this unprecedented protest.

If Hillary Clinton is elected you will have the least transparent administration in history.  On this point, if no other, Trump has a distinct advantage, for voters.  He will be so hated by the permanent government, they will go running to the press on every occasion he does something they have the slightest problem with.

Is it because of her position on wealth and inequality?

Exhibit 1:  George Soros, the great speculator, convicted of trading on insider information, the leading funder of Progressive and Leftist causes, who gave Congressional testimony supporting Dodd-Frank because of the need for greater transparency in the financial sector and who, when it passed, promptly took his hedge fund private to avoid public disclosure.  His lack of transparency shouldn't come as a surprise, as he runs the ironically named Open Society Foundation, dedicated to promoting his nihilistic philosophy, and possibly the least transparent "public interest" foundation in the Western World.

Exhibit 2: Warren Buffet, a vocal Hillary supporter, and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a company designed as a tax dodge, who loves to proclaim that his tax rate is lower than his secretary's and an example of why taxes need to be raised on the rich.  In reality, unlike those who work for a salary or hourly wage, Warren can control how he receives his income.  He could solve his lament very simply by taking more of his income as salary and less as long-term capital gains.  He doesn't. 

After making their proclamations about higher taxes and inequality, Soros and Buffet go home and have a good laugh about how they fooled the rubes.

Exhibit 3: Remember the Great Recession of 2008-9 and the bad guys on Wall Street?  Dick Fuld, CEO at Lehman Brothers, was a yuuge contributor to the Democratic Party.  Jaime Dimon at JP Morgan is a Democrat and his wife a major fundraiser for Hillary.  Citigroup operates as a virtual subsidiary of the Democratic Party, the place where Democrats are hired for some nebulous position with a big salary and bonus, allowing them to replenish their wealth, before plunging back into "public service" - see, for instance, Jack Lew (current Treasury Secretary) and Peter Orszag (former OMB Director).  Even Lloyd Blankfein, over at Goldman Sachs (you know, the company that likes to frequently pay Hillary $225,000 a pop for her, no doubt, insightful speeches), is a Democrat.

And what about the hedge funds?  Hedge funds get favored treatment under the tax code.  In 2007, Senators Schumer (D-NY) and Dodd (D-Countrywide Financial), stopped an effort by their fellow Democrats to change this by pointing out the hedge funds were big contributors to the party.  And how does that look in 2016?  As of now, hedge funds have contributed more than $45 million to Hillary and less than $20,000 to Trump.  Maybe that's because Trump is calling for them to be taxed at higher rates.

And what about the Clinton Foundation, a scam designed to rake in millions and provide the Clintons with a wonderful lifestyle (taking in about $500 million since 2010, and spending less than 15% on grants), all because donors can leverage Bill and Hillary's influence, and it's a game others know they need to play because, after all, "she might be President one day, and we can't tick her off"?  As somebody recently said on Twitter:
"the difference between Hillary and normal people is that when she gets an email from a rich Nigerian proposing a deal, it’s actually from a rich Nigerian, proposing a deal"
Ask yourself:

Why did Hillary hold a $100,000 a couple fundraising dinner, raising $3 million, on Martha's Vineyard last night?

Why are the states with the greatest income inequality (New York and Connecticut), long-time Democratic strongholds?

Why are 13 of the 15 wealthiest Congressional districts in America represented by Democrats?

Why are the three U.S. counties with the highest median income adjacent to the District of Columbia, and why are seven of the top twelve counties located in the Washington DC metropolitan area?

Why does California, another Progressive stronghold (with a dominance so complete, they were able to change primary election laws so there is no Republican candidate on the ballot for US Senate this November), have the highest poverty rate of any state?  I remember when California was called the Golden State; I guess it still is for the Hollywood crowd and the libertine (not libertarian) oligarchs of tech.  Under the Obama Administration, it's become hard to tell if Google is a government subsidiary, or if the government is a subsidiary of Google (see, for instance here, or the Administration rewriting the net neutrality rule to meet Google's competitive demands).

Why are the 1%, those who hold wealth and/or power, on Wall St, in the entertainment industry, technology, education, the news media, and the big foundations like Rockefeller and Ford, supporting Hillary?  Because they know they'll be just fine.  This is about people with protected wealth and entrenched power, planning to take money from you to give to other folks in order to buy their votes.

Bottom line, if you are not super wealthy and not poor, you are being played for a chump by Hillary.  After the election, she'll be coming for your money, because with all those promises she's making about free stuff - someone is going to have to pay. It won't be Buffet or Soros.

Is it because she's likeable?

Some think she's likeable enough.