Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cruising the Web

What a blow to Obama's arrogant aggrandization of executive power. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a federal judge's injunction against implementation of the President's immigration plan.
Republicans had criticized the plan as an illegal executive overreach when Obama announced it last November. Twenty-six states challenged the plan in court.

The administration argued that the executive branch was within its rights in deciding to defer deportation of selected groups of immigrants, including children who were brought to the U.S. illegally.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was praised the ruling.

"President Obama should abandon his lawless executive amnesty program and start enforcing the law today," Abbott said in a news release.

The ruling further dims prospects of implementation of the executive action before Obama leaves office in 2017. Appeals over the injunction could take months and, depending on how the case unfolds, it could go back to the Texas federal court for more proceedings.

Part of the initiative included expansion of a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, protecting young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. The other major part, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, would extend deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for years.

The 70-page majority opinion by Judge Jerry Smith, joined by Jennifer Walker Elrod, rejected administration arguments that the district judge abused his discretion with a nationwide order and that the states lacked standing to challenge Obama's executive orders.

They acknowledged an argument that an adverse ruling would discourage potential beneficiaries of the plan from cooperating with law enforcement authorities or paying taxes. "But those are burdens that Congress knowingly created, and it is not our place to second-guess those decisions," Smith wrote.
Imagine that. Congress wrote a law and the president cannot single-handedly overrule what that law. President Obama has been acting unilaterally for years in a whole host of areas. Congress couldn't seem to stop his executive actions that went against actual laws or beyond what laws had written. We're just starting to see a whittling down by the courts of his ability to do so. The Supreme Court unanimously struck down his overreach in recess appointments. Heritage has a list of actions of executive overreach by President Obama from announcing that he would not enforce laws pass by Congress despite having taken an oath to do so to simply deciding that it was fine to change what laws said or ignore deadlines written into law as he has done repeatedly for Obamacare. The 5th Circuit's ruling will undoubtedly be challenged by the administration in the Supreme Court. Look for another controversial case that, I would predict, will ultimately trim back his executive overreach.

Just today, in my government class, we're covering the checks and balances in the Constitution. I hate that I spend a class covering what is in the Constitution and then have to spend part of my unit on the Presidency explaining how that has been stretched beyond all recognition. Then I spend a good part of the Congress unit explaining how the normal process of how a bill becomes a law no longer applies. It's all very discouraging.

We may well see another ruling to join the Hobby Lobby decision to limit the administration's attempt to limit the Free Exercise Clause as the Court takes up Little Sister of the Poor v. Burwell.
So the saga of the Little Sisters of the Poor and their challenge to ObamaCare’s birth-control mandate will be resolved by the Supreme Court. A more humane Administration would have long ago found a way to abide the convictions of this order of nuns, but that’s not how the Obama crowd rolls.

Last year the High Court struck down the mandate for some closely held companies, but on Friday the Justices accepted cases that challenge the ad hoc arrangement that is supposed to exempt the health plans of nonprofit religious institutions like hospitals and colleges from being forced to supply contraception and abortifacients. The Little Sisters believe this implicates them in a grave moral wrong.

The response from White House theologians has been to instruct them, no, it does not. It is a measure of this Administration’s ideological radicalism that even the supposed exemption from the birth-control mandate violates the conscience protections that used to undergird America’s tradition of religious pluralism.

Little Sisters is an important test of whether this tradition can withstand the resurgence of militant cultural liberalism. For now, reflect on what it says about contemporary politics that nuns who minister to the sick and dying must appeal to the nation’s highest court to practice their faith without government interference.

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It sounds like the Ted Cruz Super PAC has really fallen down on the job.
The Keep the Promise set -- four super PACs which have collected more than $38 million to independently support Cruz's surging bid -- is struggling to show signs of life that can satisfy budding external pressure from both the official campaign and other Cruz allies.

Keep the Promise II, the group funded with $10 million from Houston investor Toby Neugebauer, has not reserved any television time and has no plans to air advertisements until March or April, according to a leader of the super PACs, who requested anonymity to outline internal thinking in detail.

The group was intended to be the main super PAC that purchased television spots, while the other two groups focused on radio and digital advertising. But right after Neugebauer, a controversial figure in some Cruz circles, delivered a PowerPoint presentation to Cruz donors during an exclusive campaign retreat at The Broadmoor resort this summer in Colorado, he abruptly pulled back on a planned major television campaign.

The buy, which would have been for a substantial series of 9,600 60-second biographical spots, or a biopic, across South Carolina, a critical stop coming as the first southern state after the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. The source said the sudden decision came after a non-profit affiliated with Marco Rubio's campaign made its own purchase, jacking up television rates statewide. Other sources dispute that, saying the abandoned TV campaign was scuttled by legal questions about the perception of coordinating with the campaign.

The super PACs are staffed in part by a few individuals with no formal political experience, including Neugebauer, who has been the groups' main fundraiser and formerly its chief executive officer -- in addition to one of its lead donors. The groups have only recently begun hiring their first political professionals
Imagine that - having professionals with experience makes a difference. I wonder, with so many Super PACs springing up for all the different candidates, if they've just run out of experienced people to run these things.

Ross Kaminsky has some advice for the GOP candidates tonight. It's the same advice I give my students: Answer the questions.
If you get a hard question from Neil Cavuto or Maria Bartiromo, I suggest you don’t reply with some obviously scripted evasion about media bias. Cavuto and Bartiromo are nobody’s idea of left-leaning media hacks. Cavuto is a proud conservative/libertarian capitalist; Bartiromo is pro-free market though she generally keeps her political views to herself. They are both highly experienced and qualified business-oriented journalists.

We (voters who are likely to support a Republican in the general election) want to hear specifics from you: What are the key details of your plans for tax reform, health care reform, immigration reform, and whatever else the moderators ask you about? Why are your plans better than the next guy’s (or gal’s) plan? If contrasting with others, give an answer that addresses the other candidate’s plan, not their personality or face or hair or credit cards or childhood or famous last name or position on the stage.

There was value in putting the media in its place and reminding millions of Americans that there are truly massive double standards in how you are treated compared to how Democrats are treated.

But if you continue down that path on Tuesday night when being questioned by people as qualified and fair as Cavuto and Bartiromo, you will appear unprepared, unserious and unpresidential.

Perhaps some of you are simply afraid of being unmasked as actually being unprepared, unserious and unpresidential and have no other strategy available to you. I certainly have my suspicions. For the rest of you, I encourage you to remember that Fox Business Network is not CNBC and that Republican voters won’t long be satisfied with superficialities.
Wouldn't that be lovely?

Matthew Continetti explains the way to beat Hillary Clinton. He wasn't impressed with her supposedly great days between the Democratic debate and her appearance before the Benghazi Committee.
But look at what’s happened since Clinton’s “great 10 days.” The more one examines the statements she made before Congress, the more they are revealed to be not entirely true. The polling says the electorate has the same impression of her that it’s had for some time now: She can’t be trusted. Twenty-seven percent in the Journal poll says she is honest. And “Clinton has the lowest rating for honesty” in the Quinnipiac poll, “as American voters say 60-36 percent she is not honest and trustworthy.”

You’ll hear pundits say trustworthiness doesn’t matter because the public didn’t trust Bill Clinton in 1996 but reelected him anyway. Ignore them. In 1996 Clinton was the incumbent, the economy was growing, and he was in a three-way race with two unsympathetic opponents. It’s not just that the public distrusts Hillary Clinton. It’s that its distrust is related to its unflattering view of her as unlikable and out of touch.

Clinton’s unfavorable rating according to the Huffington Post’s Pollster Trend: 49 percent. In the Quinnipiac poll it’s 52 percent. And she’s underwater in the “cares about my needs” question: 53 percent in the Q-poll says she does not.

That’s a terrible result for a Democrat. It was Clinton’s own pollster, Joel Benenson, who wrote in 2012 that Republicans lost because “voters simply didn’t believe that Mr. Romney was on their side.” Will they believe that of Hillary next November?

The job of the Republican nominee is to make sure they do not. You do it by reminding the public, day after day, that Clinton can’t be trusted. Trade, same-sex marriage, crime, foreign policy—she’ll betray you whenever it suits her political needs. She lied about the Benghazi video; she lied about her email; she lied about Sidney Blumenthal. That’s what she does. She lies. The Republican nominee will have to say this repeatedly, just as Donald Trump brands his opposition as low energy. It will take discipline. But it will also reinforce voters’ suspicions—and damage Clinton.
The public already think she's untrustworthy. Just don't let them forget it.

Greg Sargent also worries about the Democrats next year as he reports on a poll by a Democratic pollster showing that a lot of the Democratic coalition is just not that excited about voting next year.
Can Clinton turn out the coalition that helped power Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 wins at the same levels that the president did?

A new poll by veteran Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, to be released later this morning, illustrates the challenge Clinton faces.

The new poll, which was commissioned by Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, shows that members of the Rising American Electorate — minorities, millennials, and single women — are significantly less tuned in to next year’s election than GOP-aligned voter groups are.

The poll has some good news for Democrats. The survey, which was taken in four key battleground states — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin — suggests that in those states, the demographics do favor Dems. That’s because the poll finds that RAE voter groups — who helped drive Obama’s wins — now make up a “majority or near majority of the vote” in all those states. The poll also finds Dems leading in Senate races in two of those states and tied in two others.

But members of the RAE are insufficiently engaged in next year’s election when compared to Republican-aligned voter groups:
Philip Klein adds,
Specifically, 71 percent of seniors said they were "extremely interested" in the presidential election; 70 percent of conservatives and 70 percent of Republicans said the same. In contrast, just 65 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of minorities, 60 percent of unmarried women and 42 percent of millenials said they were "extremely interested."

Liberal Greg Sargent of the Washington Post notes that, "The basic problem outlined by Greenberg (and noted by other Dem pollsters) is that, even if Democratic economic policies are broadly popular, this isn't enough on its own, because many Americans don't believe government can or will actually deliver on those policies."

This is a key point, and the challenge for Clinton is two-fold. First, she isn't as inspiring of a figure as Obama. And secondly, after nearly two-terms of Obama, who saw his promises of a wave of change come crashing against the realities of Washington, there's more disillusionment among voting groups who have been attracted to the liberal economic message in the recent past.

Here is more evidence that Donald Trump is really a man of the left. Now he's attacking other Republicans for trying to reform entitlements. If you took out his name from the following quote, everyone would guess that it was a Democrat making these attacks.
'They're gonna cut Social Security. They're gonna cut Medicare. They're gonna cut Medicaid. I'm the one saying I'm not gonna do that."

"They're attacking Social Security — the Republicans — they're attacking Medicare and Medicaid."

"Ben Carson wants to knock out Medicare. He wants to abolish Medicare." Paul Ryan is "so anti-Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security."
This sort of demagoguery is despicable when Democrats do it. TO have a supposed Republican who is one of the top candidates for the nomination is astounding and demoralizing. He seems to think that the problems with entitlements can be fixed simply by growing the economy. That is a pipe dream. I would like to see the Neil Cavuto ask him about this.

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The Bush camp is betraying itself by allowing their internal dithering over attacking Marco Rubio to play out in the press. The NYT reports,
Seething with anger and alarmed over Mr. Rubio’s rise, aides to Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, and his allies are privately threatening a wave of scathing attacks on his former protégé in the coming weeks, in a sign of just how anxious they have become about the state of Mr. Bush’s candidacy.

Their looming problem: In trying to undercut Mr. Rubio as unaccomplished and unprepared, Mr. Bush is a flawed messenger. Over the years he has repeatedly, and sometimes lavishly, praised the younger lawmaker, often on camera.

In one of many such tributes, Mr. Bush declared in a 2012 television interview that Mr. Rubio had “the intellectual acumen and the fortitude to be a good president.”
However, a lot of Bush's donors and supporters are arguing against such attacks. They feel it demeans Bush and they don't want to see him attacking a rising star of the GOP.
Some Bush donors, campaign aides and Republican operatives are cautioning Mr. Bush and his staff about the dangers of seeking to wound Mr. Rubio, whose career he assiduously nurtured for years when Mr. Bush was governor and Mr. Rubio was a member of the Florida House of Representatives.

“Given their closeness while governing, I find the whole thing baffling,” said Stuart Stevens, a Republican strategist who oversaw Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign.

“I seem not to be alone,” Mr. Stevens added. “I don’t see any evidence that it’s working.”

Some supporters of Mr. Bush are publicly urging restraint. “At the end of the day, wisdom dictates that an internecine fight between the two is unnecessary, and potentially damaging to both,” said Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and Bush fund-raiser.

Mr. Rubio’s campaign sees a potential benefit: Attacks by Mr. Bush and his allies could engender sympathy for Mr. Rubio, as occurred when Charlie Crist, his Republican rival in the 2010 Senate primary, was perceived as overly hostile to Mr. Rubio.

hose involved in the Bush camp’s discussions about whether to assail Mr. Rubio said that no firm plan or timeline was in place and that their focus could shift to different rivals in the coming weeks.
So they dither and leak. Even if they don't launch the attacks, they are whispering to the media what the attacks would be. Is this the sign of strength that Jeb Bush seeks to project? Perhaps, he might read Stephen Hayes' column about the attacks on Rubio have made him stronger. Rubio released the earlier years of his use of the Florida GOP credit card and there just doesn't seem to be all that much there.
On Saturday, Rubio released his 2005 and 2006 statements that showed he only spent $65,000 on party business. That’s far less than other Republican leaders who succeeded him in the Florida House. And it’s just about half of the $117,000 Rubio himself charged on his party credit card after he became Florida House speaker in 2007-08.

Caputo makes clear that Rubio’s record-keeping was sloppy, something Rubio has acknowledged. But absent a major new development, suggestions of a “scandal” emerging from Rubio’s “lavish” credit card practices appear greatly exaggerated and those making such hyperbolic claims, including GOP rivals and journalists, look foolish.

The Bush campaign, still hyping the credit card issue in conversation over the weekend, is left with little more than eroded credibility. In fact, among the most vigorous defenders of Rubio on credit cards have been Bush supporters.

A former Rubio staffer whose endorsement the Bush team was touting last week came to Rubio’s defense on the credit card matter. Richard Corcoran, a former chief of staff to Rubio who is backing Bush’s presidential bid, dismissed the complaints. Corcoran, who charged items to party cards himself, told the Washington Post: “These are decade-old credit card statements that have been audited extensively by independent outside auditors and found to be fine.”

Beyond that, Bush’s aides have suggested that the credit card, among other things, concerned Mitt Romney’s vice presidential vetting team. One slide from the Bush strategy document, part of a presentation to the campaign’s donors, claimed: “Those who have looked into Marco's background in the past have been concerned with what they have found.” A “Bush aide” told U.S. News’ David Catanese, who obtained the presentation, that the line “refers to concerns Mitt Romney's team unearthed when they vetted Rubio for vice president in 2012.”

But two of the leaders of Romney’s campaign have disputed this. Matt Rhoades, who managed Romney’s campaign, told Politico: "Our vetting team was confident that, if chosen, Sen. Rubio's legislative record and high personal character would have been a great asset to Gov. Romney. To say otherwise is utterly dishonest.”....

Donald Trump’s tirade on Rubio generated significant media attention – as it was no doubt designed to do. But Trump got his facts wrong, as he does regularly. Rubio was not, contrary to Trump’s accusation, “running the party” during the time in question. And Trump ought to know better, since he supported the man who was the titular leader of the Florida Republicans at the time, Governor Charlie Crist, and who hand-picked the actual leader, Jim Greer. Trump hosted a fundraiser for Crist at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach on December 9, 2009.

And what about the media? Reports on CNN, ABC News, MSNBC and in newspapers around the country fly-specked Rubio’s spending and at times suggested hinted at impropriety.
Hayes goes through Rubio's charges on the card for food and wine and contrasts the media frenzy over those numbers with the spending from Hillary Clinton's campaign.
There seems to be a double-standard in the coverage. Many of the same kinds of Rubio expenditures highlighted by the media in recent days go unreported when the money is spent by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

There’s a reason for that. Such spending is unremarkable – even routine. According to recent FEC reports, Hillary Clinton’s campaign spent thousands at wine stores ($461.56 at the Mills Wine Group, $1400.87 at Silverlake Wine), four times Rubio at the Apple Store ($2625.30 and $412.64 in separate charges) and also shopped at Winn-Dixie ($474.86, plus another $463.10 at Publix and $629.81 at Whole Foods).

The Clinton campaign has spent $14,591.53 at the Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton hotels and another $6,687.59 with limousine companies and other transportation services. There was also the $15,071.69 on an event at the 40/40 Club in New York City – owned by Jay Z.

Are Rubio’s charges – most of them made before Barack Obama was elected president – really more newsworthy than Hillary Clinton’s spending today? Some examination of Rubio’s credit card spending is appropriate. But it’s fair to wonder whether the intense scrutiny is driven more by facts and legitimate journalistic inquiry than by assumptions reporters (fed by campaign opponents) bring to the story.

Remember the New York Times exclusive on Rubio’s “luxury speedboat?” The paper reported that Rubio “splurged” on the “extravagant purchase” by spending $80,000 on a boat the paper described as opulent. In fact, it was a fishing boat common in south Florida.

And the investigation into Rubio’s speeding tickets? The Times reported that Rubio “has been a hurry to get to the top” but “politics is not the only area where Mr. Rubio…has an affinity for the fast track. He and his wife, Jeanette, have also shown a tendency to be in a rush on the road.” The bombshell: the Rubios received 17 tickets between 1997 and 2015 (four for Rubio, 13 for his wife). The Times story was accompanied by an interactive feature, “View the Rubios Traffic Infractions,” with copies of the citations.

It is possible there is something in Rubio’s background that will present real problems for his presidential bid. The Florida press has looked critically at Rubio’s history. We’ve done the same.

But unless an actual scandal surfaces, the rival campaigns and journalists attempting to weaken Rubio by hyping these pseudo-scandals are probably strengthening him.
If Hayes proves correct, Rubio's resistance to these attacks mirrors Ben Carson's. And Rubio might have benefited from the Carson brouhahas this past weekend, because it distracted from discussion of his charge card. Soon he'll be able to play the trick the Clintons love to use - this is old news that has been asked and answered.

Teachers don't seem too fond of Los Angeles's new school-discipline policies to reduce suspensions.
In a South Los Angeles classroom, a boy hassles a girl. The teacher moves him to the back of the room, where he scowls, makes a paper airplane and repeatedly throws it against the wall. Two other boys wander around the class and then nearly come to blows.

"Don't you talk about my sister," one says to the other. The teacher steps between them.

When she tries to regain order, another boy tells her: "Screw you."

It's another day of disruption on this campus in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has been nationally hailed by the White House and others for its leadership in promoting more progressive school-discipline policies. The nation's second-largest school system was the first in California to ban suspensions for defiance and announced plans to roll out an alternative known as restorative justice, which seeks to resolve conflicts through talking circles and other methods to build trust....

The district moved to ban suspensions amid national concern that they imperil academic achievement and disproportionately affect minorities, particularly African Americans.

But many teachers say their classrooms are reeling from unruly students who are escaping consequences for their actions.

They blame the district for failing to provide the staff and training needed to effectively shift to the new approach — and their complaints are backed up by L.A. schools Supt. Ramon Cortines....

Sylvester Wiley, an L.A. Unified police officer for 32 years, said schools are increasingly calling police to handle disruptive students. "Now that they can't suspend, schools want to have officers handle things, but we constantly tell them we can't do this," he said. "Willful defiance is not a crime."

So what's a bigger surprise - that the Russians were breaking Olympics sports rules on doping or that the Olympic Committee actually wants to do something about it?
In a devastatingly critical report, a World Anti-Doping Agency panel accused Russia on Monday of complicity in widespread doping and cover-ups by track and field athletes during the 2012 London Olympics and other major events, and said they should all be banned from competition until the country cleans up its act.

WADA commission leader Dick Pound says Russia seems to have been running a "state-supported" doping program, adding, "I don't think there's any other possible conclusion."

The commission's report said the London Games were sabotaged because track's governing body and Russia's anti-doping authority didn't take doping seriously enough and allowed runners to compete who should not have.

In addition, the report claimed the country's intelligence service, the FSB, infiltrated anti-doping work at the Sochi Olympics. One witness told the inquiry that "in Sochi, we had some guys pretending to be engineers in the lab but actually they were from the federal security service."

The commission recommended that WADA immediately declare the Russian federation "non-compliant" with the global anti-doping code, and that the International Association of Athletics Federations suspend Russia from competition.

It also said the International Olympic Committee should not accept any entries from the Russian federation until the body has been declared compliant with the code and the suspension has been lifted. Such a decision could keep Russian athletes out of next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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