Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Cruising the Web

Hillary has to worry about more than future coin flips. Philip Klein detects some worrisome signs for Hillary Clinton. She has to worry about younger voters. But the real problem for her is that people just don't trust her.
Among those who said that "honest and trustworthy" was the candidate quality that mattered to them most, Sanders won 83 percent to 10 percent. As Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state continues to produce new revelations, the fact that she's viewed this way among a Democratic electorate is not a good sign.

James Taranto points out that Hillary's supporters are definitely more willing to paint her squeaker of a win in Iowa based on winning coin tosses as a victory than they were to characterize George W. Bush's squeaker of a win in Florida in 2000.
Among known tosses, then, Mrs. Clinton has a net gain of five delegate equivalents, more than double her lead of 1.8. Maybe there are unreported Sanders tosses that even things out, but at any rate the designation of one or the other candidate as the “winner” comes down to pure randomness.

Which won’t stop Mrs. Clinton’s supporters from insisting their woman won. Last night Peggy Noonan tweeted: “I’m sorry but a 50-50 race on Democratic side is not, if she wins, a Hillary win. This is a draw. The fight continues. No HRC validation.” Which prompted this response from Democratic strategist Donna Brazile: “Let’s not set new rules in the middle of the game. A win is a win. They will fight this out next week and beyond.”

Donna Brazile was not saying “a win is a win” in Florida in 2000, when George W. Bush really did have more votes than her man.

Jonathan Last finds a silver lining for Hillary despite her awful showing Monday night.
It's the ugliest, least decisive win imaginable. Clinton seems—at least as of this writing—to have beaten Bernie Sanders by a very, very small margin, essentially by leaning into the tape. This is bad news for all sorts of reasons: She shouldn't be struggling just to hit 50 percent; she and Sanders take away basically the same number of delegates; and when you looked at their victory rallies, Clinton was shrill and robotic—it was a terribly delivered speech—while Sanders was his usual fiery self. And all the energy was with Sanders people.

But on the other hand, it was (probably!) a win. His campaign is such a longshot that to even have a chance to win the nomination, he needs to run the table in winnable states. And not only did she win, but she won with the sort of high turnout that was supposed to guarantee a Sanders victory. Unless something (like an indictment) unsettles the race, you can now see a path forward where Clinton has ups-and-down—she won't run the table—but in the end should be positioned to secure the nomination.
As William McGurn points out, Hillary will face a lot of problems being the advocate of continuing Obama's legacy as the middle class feels the bite of the economy.
In a nation whose electorate is growing more diverse, the thinking goes, the White House is increasingly moving out of Republican reach.

It doesn’t look that way to Ed Goeas, who runs the Republican strategy firm the Tarrance Group and was advising Scott Walker’s presidential campaign until the Wisconsin governor withdrew from the race. Recently Mr. Goeas carried out a survey for the Ripon Society zeroing in on voters who describe themselves as middle class, which works out to 70% of the electorate. The survey confirmed they are unhappy—but it finds they are specifically unhappy with President Obama and a federal government that does not provide them value for their tax dollars.

Mr. Goeas puts it this way: “The middle class believes the rich get the benefits, the poor get the programs and they get stuck with the bill.”

Which points to Mrs. Clinton’s dilemma.

Only 26% of middle-class Americans, according to this survey, believe their children will enjoy a better quality of life than they do, and this has soured them on the direction President Obama has taken the country. At the same time, Mr. Obama remains highly popular with the Democratic coalition that elected him. Mrs. Clinton’s pickle is that the agenda that works well with the Obama coalition turns off the middle class.

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Ian Tuttle chortles at how far Hillary has come from what was thought just last year would be her experience this year as she would go from victory to victory to an ultimate coronation at the Democratic convention.
For the last three years, the entire work of the Democratic party has been to ensure the smooth, graceful ascension of Hillary Clinton to the presidency. It’s “her turn.” Toward this end, the party machine has trudged, unenthusiastically but inexorably, grinding down every obstacle in its path by force of sheer inertia. Those obstacles included viable primary challengers: Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo.

Yet, over that same period, the Democratic coalition has fractured and the center of gravity has moved decidedly leftward, thanks largely to a younger generation of liberals animated by the impulses of the Occupy movement rather than the Vietnam protest movement. The Clinton-style rapprochement with free markets is noxious to young Democrats. They want to skin some fat cats. Bernie Sanders might not be the most compelling candidate, but he’s been hating the rich since Hillary was a Goldwater Girl.

Michael Barone notes
that a lot of those new caucusgoers who came out Monday in Iowa were actually evangelicals and that is what helped Cruz.
It was widely speculated that Donald Trump would bring new people into the caucuses, and he apparently did. The entrance poll showed he carried first-time caucusgoers. But it was also widely speculated that bringing new people in would reduce the percentage of evangelical Protestants among caucusgoers. In 2012 that percentage was 57 percent, the highest in any Republican primary or caucus outside the South that year. But this speculation was wrong. Evangelical Protestants clocked in at 64 percent of turnout in the entrance poll. This tends to substantiate the claims of Ted Cruz and his campaign that he could increase turnout among conservatives, particularly religious conservatives.
That turnout among evangelicals is one of the reasons that the pollsters got the result wrong.
The pre-election polls greatly underestimated the evangelical vote. Only 47 percent of voters were self-identified evangelicals in the final Des Moines Register poll. The final Monmouth University poll had evangelicals at 55 percent of the electorate. The Quinnipiac survey out Monday morning was comprised of 39 percent white evangelicals (a minor distinction, given the racial homogeny of the Iowa GOP caucus universe).

We'll see how the Cruz team can do in a state like New Hampshire that doesn't have as many evangelicals.

The Washington Post has an interesting tick-tock of Trump's campaign in Iowa and why Cruz defeated him.

Ted Cruz had another victory this week when the Illinois Board of Education confirmed his citizenship to allow him to appear on their primary ballot.
The GOP senator has had his presidential bid challenged in recent months by Iowa GOP runner-up Donald Trump, who claimed Cruz's Canadian birthplace disqualifies him from being president. Two Illinois objectors, Lawrence Joyce and Williams Graham, also agreed that Cruz's citizenship did not meet guidelines in the Article II of the Constitution. But the board of elections disagreed and cleared Cruz's name for the March 15 primary.

"The Candidate is a natural born citizen by virtue of being born in Canada to his mother who was a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth," the board said, explaining Cruz met the criteria because he "did not have to take any steps or go through a naturalization process at some point after birth."

....A ballot commission in New Hampshire also ruled in favor of Cruz in January, but the language in Monday's decision by the Illinois board took a stronger tone than the previous ruling, warning other skeptics, "Further discussion on this issue is unnecessary."
But that won't stop Trump and his supporters from jeering at Cruz's birth in Canada.

Byron York highlights how Iowans just didn't like that Trump skipped the debate and some of the other things he did.
In the days leading up to the voting , when I talked to voters on the fence between candidates — people who could possibly be persuaded to support Trump — one thing became clear: everybody watched the debate. It was the only debate held in Iowa, and it took place in the final days of the campaign, when voters who had been reluctant to pay attention months earlier had finally become interested and involved. They all tuned in. And Trump wasn't there.

"That was the one thing that I thought was a clear mistake," Republican blogger Craig Robinson, a former political director of the state GOP, said in a phone conversation Monday afternoon. With that one decision, Trump undermined a lot of the work he had done in the previous months.

The debate decision showed that Trump's political instincts could be wrong. But the caucus loss could point to even more serious problems ahead for Trump.

A lot of people like Trump and agree with what he has to say. They cheer him on. But as the time to vote approaches, they apply a seriousness test, a test of whether they would trust him in a position of grave responsibility. The difference between Trump's high pre-caucus polls and his underwhelming support in the actual caucus could indicate that voters who had supported him for months beforehand began to develop doubts as the time neared to actually cast a ballot. Would it be safe and smart to vote for this guy?

Just as fundamentally, Trump's Iowa loss could cast doubt on his unconventional tactics in other states. Trump's strategy is based on a big bet: that because voters are tired of conventional politicians, then they will also be resistant to conventional political appeals. Iowa proved just the opposite. Ted Cruz won a smashing victory by doing things the old-fashioned way, visiting all of Iowa's 99 counties, pressing the flesh in gatherings of 100, 150 people, and tailoring his pitch to appeal to concerned evangelicals. That — plus a highly sophisticated data operation — won the day for Cruz. Trump tried something different, and it didn't work.

Trump also said a few things that might have crossed a line with Iowans. One was the "how stupid are the people of Iowa" line from a few months ago that was featured in a recent Cruz attack ad. The other was the late-in-the-campaign statement that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose voters. At a Rubio rally in Sioux City a few days before the caucuses, I met a man named Gary Swanson who told me he once seriously considered supporting Trump — until he heard the shooting quote.

"He makes the statement that he's so popular that he could shoot a person on Fifth Avenue without losing a vote. Well, he just lost two right here when he said that," Swanson said, pointing to a friend who had accompanied him to the Rubio event.

Erick Erickson appreciates Sarah Palin for her ham-handed endorsement of Donald Trump.
First Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump at a time she had negative 11% favorables with the GOP.

Then she missed the first event of the day following her endorsement.

Then she blamed her son being involved in a domestic incident on Barack Obama’s treatment of veterans, turning off a lot of veterans in the process by suggesting those who came back from overseas were no longer able to control themselves and were not culpable for their actions.

Then she went to a Trump rally the day of the election with tons of undecided voters and started attacking Congressman Steve King, one of the most popular politicians in Iowa.

It was really an amazing spectacle. Sarah Palin then turning on Ted Cruz pretty rapidly and attacking him as unlikable, etc. was almost as pathetic as Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum showing up at Trump’s rally.

Sarah Palin did a huge favor for both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. She should really be thanked for leading the carnival barker wing of the party to Donald Trump.
And now Trump is going back to the well for the endorsement for a former star of the tea-party who has since become a loser as he gains the backing of Scott Brown. In the endorsement sweepstakes, Rubio beat out Trump with winning Senator Tim Scott's endorsement.
I'm not the only one who was picturing a new Green Acres remake of a reality show for Trump's exclamation that he might come back to Iowa and buy a gun. Taranto writes,
David Burge (who calls himself “Iowahawk,” though he lives in Texas) tweeted: “Trump says he wants to buy a farm in Iowa; wife says ‘New Yorlk is vere a vant to stay.’ ”

Is a reality-show remake of “Green Acres” such a crazy idea? Trump has the Eastern European wife, and Mike Huckabee, another candidate with TV experience, could audition for the part of Mr. Haney—though if Rubio wins the nomination, Ted Cruz might be an even better fit.

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Donald Trump is back to his normal bombastic approach to policy making.
And the crowd roared when he cursed as he pledged to aggressively target Islamic State terrorists. "If we are attacked, somebody attacks us, wouldn't you rather have Trump as president if we're attacked?" he asked. "We'll beat the [expletive] out of them."
Just like Cruz saying in his approach to ISIS is to see if sand can glow in the dark and that we'll carpet bomb them to oblivion. It sure sounds like Cruz was saying he would drop nuclear weapons on ISIS, but let's just give him the benefit of the doubt that he was exaggerating for rhetorical effect. I know that these make nice lines at political rallies, but this plays into a self-deception that many Americans have that we can defeat Islamic insurgents just by using more bombs. Sure, there is a place for targeted bombing, but ISIS is smart enough to hide among captive, civilian populations. Such simplistic demagoguery is really abhorrent. If either became president, they would have to deal with the heightened expectations from Americans that we could easily destroy ISIS simply by dropping bombs on them.

Well, we knew that this was going to happen.
The uniformed leaders of the Army and Marine Corps said on Tuesday that they believe women should sign up for the draft now that the combat ban has been lifted.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley both said women should be required to sign up with the selective service in case the country ever needs to implement a draft.
IF they don't go ahead and change the policy to spread the registration requirement to women, the courts will do it for them.

This is not a good sign.
Two witnesses scheduled to testify in front of the House Oversight Committee Wednesday about the lead water crisis in Flint, Mich., will not be attending, including the emergency manager in charge of the city in 2014 when the water supply was changed.

Darnell Earley was the emergency manager in charge of Flint when the city switched from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Company to the Flint River in April 2014. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the committee, said Earley will not be coming to Congress Wednesday to face the committee.

"We won't hear from the governor, any of the emergency managers he appointed in Flint, or anyone else from the state who was involved in making decisions that led to this crisis," Cummings said.

THe WSJ points out that the Obama administration can't hope to engineer a "moonshot" in the fight to cure cancer is Democrats are going to support policies to retard research. But it seems that they can't stop themselves from their love of demagoguing companies that make money.
The latest offender is Maura Healey, who is threatening to sue Gilead Sciences for having all but cured Hepatitis C. The Democratic Attorney General of Massachusetts claims the prices of the drug maker’s medicines Sovaldi and Harvoni “may constitute an unfair trade practice in violation of Massachusetts law.”

Ms. Healey never cites a specific Massachusetts statute in her sternly worded Jan. 22 letter, and she later suggests that Gilead is violating consumer protection laws, so the legal risks are probably nonexistent. The intimidation tactic is more notable for its political and moral illogic.

The AG is careful to praise innovation, which she calls “incredibly important,” and she says companies that develop breakthrough treatments “should be generously rewarded.” But she adds that “especially in a case like this one where the breakthrough drug cures, a balance must be struck that allows the drug to achieve its intended purpose: the effective treatment—and achievable eradication—of a life-threatening infectious disease” (emphasis hers). Instead, “taxpayers across the country have been footing the bill for Gilead’s record profits.”

In other words, if Gilead had merely created another incremental treatment, no one would have cared: As recently as 2012, before Sovaldi, Hep C was a life sentence to take debilitating but ineffective immune-weakening drugs that didn’t prevent liver failure and premature death. But because Gilead’s medicine can cure the condition for 97% of patients, Ms. Healey says it deserves political harassment.
After last year's hack of the Office of Personnel Management, it would be nice if we could have more confidence in the government protecting personal records, but alas, no.
The education department doesn’t hold nuclear launch codes. But its vast data trove on student-loan borrowers and their parents—and the nearly $100 billion it disburses in new loans every year—are reason enough to want the bureaucrats to prevent digital intrusions. Mr. Chaffetz says the bureaucracy now holds, among other things, 139 million Social Security numbers in its digital files.

The stakes go well beyond personal privacy. Federal student loans outstanding exceed $1 trillion, and Team Obama is trying to forgive those debts. It would add injury to injury if cyber-fraudsters were able to pile on for a taxpayer plundering. A Tuesday oversight hearing will explore the department’s failure to protect its information from cyber-attack, as well as the conduct of its chief information officer.

Department of Education Inspector General Kathleen Tighe reported in November that her team has been “finding the same deficiencies over and over again” regarding information security. Since 2009 independent auditors “have found persistent IT control deficiencies in key financial systems,” she said.

The 2015 internal audit of information security revealed more problems, including an “inability to detect unauthorized devices connecting to the network.” The IG also flagged “key weaknesses” in “internal intrusion detection and prevention of system penetrations.” Specifically, her team was “able to gain full access to the Department’s network and our access went undetected” by both the contractor overseeing the system and the department’s information office.

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The news keeps getting worse and worse for Jeb Bush. Guy Benson writes.
The outcome was a catastrophe for Jeb World. The Bush campaign and its allies spent roughly $15 million in Iowa alone, significantly more than any other candidate's campaign and supporters, in either party. Those millions were primarily directed toward boosting the former Florida governor and attacking Marco Rubio. In the end, Jeb finished with a paltry three percent of the vote in Iowa, and Rubio surged in a major way. A comprehensive failure. And then there's this. Oof:

Buzzfeed reports that donors are really shifting from Bush to Rubio.
Approximately 119 previous Jeb Bush donors gave to Marco Rubio for the first time in December.
That’s part of an accelerating trend over the last few months as Bush’s candidacy slowly tanked during the fall, according to a BuzzFeed News data analysis of the most recent campaign finance reports.

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It sounds like Rush Limbaugh is moving away from how he's supported Trump for months. He even expressed his support for Marco Rubio.
Remember that Limbaugh lives in Florida and has had a front seat to observe Rubio over the years. He went on to say,
I'm gonna tell you something, folks. I'm a lone wolf on this, but I know everybody is assuming that Marco Rubio is the chosen establishment candidate and they're doing so on the basis that Rubio has experienced the Gang of Eight and amnesty and so forth, but Marco Rubio I really like. I like Ted Cruz. There are any number of people in this campaign, two or three people, if they win, I'd be happy.

But it doesn't matter because the establishment does have their candidate, and it looks like it is going to be Rubio. And, as such, Rubio is gonna end up becoming an enemy of several Republican -- or many perhaps potential Republican -- voters. I just remember the days that Marco Rubio was in the state of Florida, local politics, state politics, and then going national. He was considered, perhaps, one of the greatest potential heirs to Ronald Reagan, and now he's being derided as a sellout member of the establishment.

I thought his speech last night... He was the first to get out there. He hustled to get out there. As such, it made him look like the winner. He had energy. I thought it was a great speech that Rubio gave last night. It was energetic. I'm not choosing sides on anything here, folks. Nothing's changed in that regard. Simple observations I share with you as the program unfolds. I just find it stunning
Wow. Could the Rubio ask for anything better than to have Rush Limbaugh say the Floridian is a "legitimate, full-throated conservative"? And then he criticized Trump for not being a conservative and that's why Iowans didn't think that Trump "shares their values."
In a Republican primary, you do not win if you’re going to sound like a liberal Democrat criticizing Ted Cruz. And it wasn’t just health care. How many of you remember (I pointed this out when it happened) Mr. Trump pointing out that you can’t do anything if you can’t make deals, can’t cooperate? Part of his criticism of Ted Cruz is he’s hated; nobody likes him. Trump said, “I can do deals with Harry Reid and Pelosi. I know these people. I like these people. Schumer? I can do deals.” No, no, no, no! We don’t want to do any more deals with these people. We want to beat those people. There are many things that harm Mr. Trump, but not showing up at the debate is not one of them.
It cracks me up that Limbaugh seems to just be noticing that Trump is not a conservative.

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Donald Trump demonstrated
once again that he doesn't have the knowledge to be commander in chief.
In Donald Trump’s last speech on the eve of the Iowa Caucus, he talked about winning, Sarah Palin, China and 2,300 up-armored Humvees stolen by the Islamic State when the group overran the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014.

“I talk about it all the time: 2,300 brand new up-armored Humvees, I talk about it all the time…the best in the world,” Trump said. “Armor plated, top, bottom, all over, if a bomb goes off our wounded warriors–instead of losing their legs, their arms, worse, they’re okay. They go for a little ride upward and they come down.”
Anyone who follows the news at all or cares about veterans as Trump pretends to would know that this is terribly wrong.
There are a number of things wrong with Trump’s statement. It’s true that sometimes when vehicles hit buried explosives that fail to detonate or partially explode, there’s little more than a bump and a lot of smoke. But regardless of how well armored your vehicle is, IED detonations that don’t kill or mutilate the vehicles’ occupants can blow eardrums, cause traumatic brain injures or eject people.

Up-armored Humvees are also some of the poorer vehicles for combating buried explosives. In 2007 they were largely replaced by MRAPs or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles because the Humvees were being destroyed en-mass on the roads of Iraq. Humvees, like the Willys Jeeps of old were meant to be general purpose vehicles–trucks that could ferry troops to and fro on the battlefield with little protection. When the insurgency in Iraq spread the vehicles were given armor kits to increase their longevity in environments fraught with ambushes and roadside bombs. The kits made the vehicles extremely heavy and unwieldy and were quickly defeated by an a highly adaptive enemy.

MRAPs and their V-shaped hulls, were designed specifically to hit roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Even still, Iraqi and Afghan insurgents managed to build explosives that flipped MRAPs over—often ejecting the service member in the turret—or were so strong that even if the vehicle survived, the concussion from the shockwave would collapse the occupant’s organs.

According to a Washington Post database 2,500 troops have been killed by IEDs since 2001.

To Trump, the loss of the U.S.-turned-Iraqi vehicles to the Islamic was part of anecdote shared by a friend’s son, meant to illustrate how the United States is giving weapons to allies who then surrender the equipment to the United States’ enemies. But in doing so, he managed to trivialize the thousands of U.S. troops killed and maimed by IEDs and mine blasts in the last 15 years of conflict.
That is why Trump is being slammed on Twitter by veterans who suffered terrible injuries from IEDs.

IJR profiles one Iraq War veteran, J.R. Salzman who was outraged by Trump's claims since he was injured riding in a Humvee when it was injured by a special IED designed to penetrate armored Humvees.

Salzman and other veterans are outraged by Trump's ignorant comments. They feel that Trump's blithe remarks are hurting the efforts of veterans to raise awareness of the problems that they are facing.
In a telephone interview with Independent Journal Review, Jones said that his biggest problem with what Trump said was how it minimized the seriousness of the injuries that are caused by IEDs, specifically the traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Jones, who is the Chief Operating Officer of the Boot Campaign, a non-profit organization that provides support to veterans and their families, told the Independent Journal Review that he felt like Trump’s comments “set us back ten years,” undermining the work that he and so many other veterans and veterans’ advocates had done to push the Veterans Administration and the medical community to understand TBI, the seriousness of it, how to treat it, and that it is something that veterans can overcome.

“Right now today, the biggest issue that plagues veterans is the idea that suicide is an option,” said Jones. A 2012 report by the VA found that an average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day. More than 138,000 veterans had been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from 2000 through June 5, 2015. During that same period, there were more than 327,000 incidents of TBI.

“One of the leading causes [of veteran suicides] is so many guys coming back with traumatic brain injuries, and they don’t understand why they’re not themselves anymore,” said Jones. “Someone who is running for president has to understand veterans enough not to simplify or overgeneralize this issue.”

President Obama has chosen to visit a mosque to day to show a contrast to what he regards as hateful rhetoric coming from some Republican candidates and others. What is distressing is the choice of mosque that he chose to visit. Steve Emerson and Pete Hoekstra point out that his selection of the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB) mosque had to be thoroughly vetted so the administration must not care about what such a vetting would have revealed.
Perhaps we are being overly generous, but his national security team must have spent considerable time and energy reviewing its leadership, relationships and history prior to the announcement over the weekend.

In the process of due diligence, they should have learned that ISB leaders financially and ideologically support radical Islamist terrorists and hate homosexuals. It is a controversial choice of venue for a roundtable focused on tolerance, rejecting bigotry and celebrating religious freedom.

If the White House truly believes that the ISB represents the acceptable mainstream practice of Islam in America, it suggests a much larger issue with radicalism in the U.S.

In 2014, two ISB officials — President Muhammad Jameel and General Secretary Abid Husain — joined with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in a news conference where they denounced Israeli for committing "genocide in the name of self-defense" in Gaza, when it was in fact the murderous Hamas terror organization launching rockets at Israel from heavily populated civilian areas.

CAIR was designated an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, which resulted in the largest terrorist money-laundering conviction in U.S. history. The FBI terminated its formal relationship with CAIR in 2008 over its ongoing status as a front for Hamas.

Why would Obama confer legitimacy on a mosque that joins forces with a terrorist front group? Would he visit a church that welcomed the KKK as a political partner?

Mohamad Adam el-Sheikh, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood and lmam of the ISB for 18 years, endorsed Palestinian suicide bombings in a 2004 Washington Post interview. El-Sheikh also served as regional representative for the Islamic African Relief Agency — which the U.S. Treasury Department shut down for funding Osama bin Laden and other terrorists — while serving as ISB Imam and director.

Soon after Sept. 11, 2001, the ISB hosted American-born al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, whose inflammatory sermons are among the most effective online recruiting tools for jihad.

Does Obama condone advocating violence against the Jewish people? Does he think that it presents less of a complication than "Islamophobia," a fabricated term designed to portray murderous Islamist extremists as victims and to silence their critics?

The president famously "evolved" on the issue of same-sex marriage during his 2012 re-election campaign. Did he now evolve to where he can accept resident ISB scholar Yaseen Shaikh's 2013 description of homosexuality as a psychological disorder?

Does Obama even believe that radical Islam is a problem?

Dan Wetzel, who has done excellent reporting on how weak the NFL's case was in deflategate, reports that the NFL destroyed the data they collected in the past season on the air pressure in footballs.
Roger Goodell sure did get upset when Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone last year during the deflate-gate saga, an implication the quarterback was hiding something.

The NFL commissioner returned the favor on Tuesday when he announced the league did not keep any of the data on air pressure of footballs that officials were required to log and submit to the league office during the 2015 season.

Evidence? What evidence?

Now the New England Patriots are no longer able to point to specific, NFL-generated data that proves Ideal Gas Law, not human tampering, caused its footballs to lose air pressure in the 2014 AFC championship game.

That study was supposed to be the franchise's best chance to introduce new information that might allow the return of the 2016 first- and fourth-round draft picks, plus $1 million, the league docked it for deflate-gate.
But the NFL destroyed the data so now the Patriots and scientists can't use the results to demonstrate that what happened to their balls that prompted the Deflategate scandal. If the Ideal Gas Law had worked as scientists had predicted, there would have been data from the checks that the NFL was performing throughout the 2015 season which would have refuted the idea that the Patriots did something untoward to get the low numbers measured back in the Colts playoff game last year. And don't be naive about the NFL's motives in destroying the data they had carefully collected. Such behavior is part and parcel of how they have acted throughout the whole story.
Consider the original "Brady destroyed his cell phone" story – conveniently leaked via "league sources" to scream through the news cycle. It turned out Ted Wells, who headed the NFL's investigation, told Brady that he didn't need to hand over the phone. Brady's mistake was trusting Wells.
It didn't matter. When something that wasn't needed was destroyed, the league used it as proof of guilt, both in Goodell's findings and the court of public opinion.

Now that something that was needed was "lost," hey, it's no big deal.

As recently as October, with the new pressure measuring system under way, Goodell was asked at a formal news conference when and how the NFL data would be released publicly.

"I don't know," he said, with zero insinuation that the league wasn't keeping the information.

The NFL, in a follow-up inquiry from Yahoo Sports, stated a week later, "we simply haven't focused yet on how the information will be distributed."

Apparently it was distributed into an incinerator.

Confused? Try being Roger Goodell, who has seen deflate-gate become an albatross. The NFL hasn't looked good in this since the release of Wells' report in May 2015. It was then the public was able to comb over the findings away from the frenzy of false media reports.

What emerged were endless inconsistencies, absurd reaches in logic, failures of scientific methods and proof of an over-the-top misinformation campaign. And then there are the clown-show rationalizations like this one.

Day by day, drip-by-drip, the case has fallen apart, be it in federal court, a lecture hall at MIT or in the commonsense-rooted laughter that greeted Goodell's acknowledgement on Tuesday.

What remains is this most likely scenario: that NFL officials, completely unaware of Ideal Gas Law, believed that any New England football that measured below the minimum of 12.5 psi in the AFC title game was proof of orchestrated tampering. Anything in the 11s was proof of a massive conspiracy. In fact it was all a natural act.

Ignorant of science and overwhelmed by confirmation bias, the NFL embarked on an effort to nail the Patriots. Then, via leaks to favored reporters who were as prejudicial as they were false, the league found itself too far out on the limb to climb back as facts came in and theories fell apart.

All it could do is point to random text exchanges and nicknames, and hope the public was too naïve to question it, too scientifically ignorant to comprehend it or too bored to still care.

Well, there were also those howls about destroyed evidence, because we know destroyed evidence is something that Roger Goodell's NFL must absolutely take a stand against. The NFL just can't tolerate that type of behavior.
I still hear and see people referring to how guilty Brady must have been to have destroyed his phone. Goodell used the destroyed phone as a reason for the harsher penalty against Brady. And the whole story was bogus, prompted by deceptive reporting from the NFL.