Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cruising the Web

Donald Trump has an odd way of seeking to bring the party together - by signaling to his followers that they should riot at the convention if he doesn't get the nomination. The rules say that the nominee must get the majority of the delegates, not the plurality. For the purposes of the nomination, the rules are the laws of the party. By insisting on things going his way even if it's not according to the rules, he is also signaling that he doesn't really care about the rule of law.

He has done this all along with all his talk about sending all immigrants back and then readmitting the "good" ones, or banning all Muslims from entering the country, or ordering soldiers to kill the wives and children of terrorists, or slapping tariffs right and left on countries of his choosing, or single-handedly changing the libel laws so reporters can't say nasty things about him. Never once to you hear him talk about working with Congress to achieve any of his goals. He's going to do it all by himself. It's as if he doesn't comprehend how our system works and that he can legally do none of this by himself.

He's basically promising to continue Obama's efforts to rule the country without Congress, but just do more of it. And if he can incite violence against protesters at his rallies or against the GOP convention to achieve his ends, then that's just fine with him. Next will probably be his promise to pay the legal bills of anyone arrested for rioting. His followers will justify such actions by saying that the other side started it so it's just dandy to up the ante and hit them back harder.

Ace makes this same point about how Trump is just promising more of Obama's approach to governance.
Nice Reichtag you got here. Be a shame if somethin' 'appened to it.

I love being threatened.

If Obama said something like this -- if he said, "If my Supreme Court nominee isn't given an up or down vote, I think we'd have riots; I wouldn't lead it, but I think bad things would happen; that would disenfranchise my voters" -- what would you say about that?

Would you nod along and say "You tell 'em, Obama. You rattle that saber about the mob uprisings you could stir."

Or would you say: "Why does this shady interloper believe he has the right to threaten me?"

Well, I guess having one standard is a p****y thing now.

This is an interesting harbinger of what a Trump presidency would look like. He is forcing volunteers to his campaign to sign a non-disclosure agreement that would forbid them from saying anything disparaging or demeaning about Trump, his family, or the campaign, or his Trump's products. And this is supposed to last for life. Oh, and there is a non-compete clause to prevent anyone for working, even as a volunteer, for any other campaign.
Legal experts say, however, that the contract's non-disparagement clause would likely never hold up in court.

The tight control of volunteers stands in stark contrast to not only American political-campaign norms but also Trump's reputation for speaking his mind.
But hey! Laws aren't of interest to Trump.
In addition to forbidding volunteers from disparaging Trump, the contract also includes a sentence that demands volunteers prevent their employees from criticizing Trump, thus making volunteers responsible for the free speech of others for an indeterminate amount of time.

“I guess he doesn't know about the First Amendment,” Davida Perry, an employment lawyer in New York City, told the Daily Dot. “This is really shocking.”

Non-disparagement, non-disclosure, and non-compete agreements—which are all found in Trump's contract—are common in business contracts, but they apply to employees, not volunteers who receive no compensation for their time and work.

Because volunteers give up their rights but get nothing in return, the contract is likely legally unenforceable, professor Samuel Estreicher, who directs the labor program at NYU Law School, told NBC News.

The Trump campaign could risk a lawsuit by forcing volunteers to give up so much without treating them as employees, Jeanne Christensen, an employment lawyer at Wigdor LLP, told NBC.

The contract extends down to the lowest levels of the Trump campaign, including at call centers, where people spend hours making phone calls to convince other citizens to vote for Trump.
It's all a part of his threats to change libel laws so no one in the media can criticize him.

This reminds me of the laws of seditious libel that existed in the American colonies to prevent the colonists from saying anything bad about the King, Parliament, or any of his ministers such as the royal governors of the colonies. Why shouldn't King Donald be protected just like George III was?

Kindle Deals up to 80% off

New Deals Every Day for Home and Kitchen

Today's Best Deals

It seems these days that politics is about about who can play the hypocrite the most self-righteously. That trend is fully on display with the opening on the Supreme Court. The Republicans have taken the position that we should wait for the results of the election when we all know that they would be happy to confirm a conservative nominee if the lame-duck president were a Republican. And the Democrats are playing the hypocrites by demanding an up-or-down vote on Judge Garland when they have previously embraced filibusters against Republican nominees especially in election years. And everyone knows that they would have adopted the Republicans' position if the opening on the Court has occurred with the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2008 while George W. Bush were still president and they controlled the Senate. So stop arguing about this as if it were a question of principle. It's all about the politics. They know it. We know it. And the American people know it.

And now they're pretending that Merrick Garland is such a moderate that there is no reason to not confirm him. Does anyone really think that he would not side with the four liberal justices on every important case? Obama wouldn't have nominated him if there was any doubt about that. The WSJ points out two areas where Garland is definitely not a moderate.
Judge Garland’s 19-year tenure on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals demonstrates a reliable vote for progressive causes, with the arguable exception of criminal law. Two issues in particular make the point: the Second Amendment and deference to the growing power of the administrative state.

In 2007 Judge Garland voted for a rehearing en banc after a three-judge panel invalidated Washington D.C’s handgun ban. In 2000 Judge Garland was part of a three-judge panel that allowed the FBI to temporarily keep files with information from gun purchase background checks. In his dissent, Judge David Sentelle wrote that the Attorney General was not only making “an unauthorized power grab, but is taking action expressly forbidden by Congress.”

Judge Garland has also shown a pattern of over-deference to administrative agencies including the EPA. Scotusblog’s Tom Goldstein points out that Mr. Garland has strong views on agency deference and “in a dozen close cases in which the court divided, he sided with the agency every time.”

In an especially notable case, Judge Garland dissented when the D.C. Circuit struck down the EPA’s egregious regional haze rules (American Corn Growers v. EPA, 2002). Excessive judicial deference to regulators is especially dangerous now given the Obama Administration’s unrestrained use of executive power to rewrite statutes and dare Congress to stop it.

In his remarks Wednesday, Mr. Obama praised Judge Garland for “building consensus” among colleagues and showing an ability to “assemble unlikely coalitions, persuade colleagues with wide-ranging judicial philosophies to sign onto his opinions.”

But that’s also what President Bill Clinton said when nominating Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993. Mr. Clinton said then Judge Ginsburg was a “moderate” who was “balanced and fair in her opinions” and would be “a force for consensus-building on the Supreme Court, just as she has been on the Court of Appeals.” Today, Justice Ginsburg is the most liberal member of the Court and uses her consensus-building skills to keep fellow liberals in lockstep.
They also have a recommendation for what endangered Republicans up for reelection can say.
But if GOP Senators up for re-election want to be more conciliatory, they could say they regard Judge Garland as a suitable choice for a Democratic President and would be happy to vote for him in a lame-duck session—if Mrs. Clinton wins the election. That would be standing on principle and calling Mr. Obama’s bluff.
Sounds like a plan.

Just as a reminder, here is what Democratic leaders have done in the past that they're now pretending is absolutely scandalous when the Republicans are doing it.
You’d never guess Obama not only voted against Chief Justice John Roberts but also supported a filibuster — that is, he opposed an up-or-down vote — to thwart the confirmation of Samuel Alito in 2005. Hillary Clinton also opposed Roberts and supported an Alito filibuster. Both Roberts and Alito won confirmation with Democratic support — which tells you they were qualified but not immune to the sort of partisan opposition that Obama now finds distasteful.

On the other side of the aisle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor to promise he’d oppose an election-year confirmation in deference to the “Biden rule.” (In 1992, then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden said he would oppose an election-year GOP nominee.)

Judicial nominations are political by design, Georgetown University law professor Randy Barnett told me. “Judges are picked by a politically elected president and

Best Deals in Auto Parts

Sales and Deals in Beauty and Grooming

Deals in Jewelry

Hillary's sense of entitlement to violating the law becomes more clear each day as we learn more and more about how she conducted herself as Secretary of State.
Less than a month after becoming secretary of state, and registering the personal email domain that she would use exclusively for government business, Hillary Clinton’s team aggressively pursued changes to existing State Department security protocols so she could use her BlackBerry in secure facilities for classified information, according to new documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

“Anyone who has any appreciation at all of security, you don’t ask a question like that,” cybersecurity analyst Morgan Wright told Fox News. “It is contempt for the system, contempt for the rules that are designed to protect the exact kind of information that was exposed through this email set up. “

Current and former intelligence officials grimaced when asked by Fox News about the use of wireless communications devices, such as a BlackBerry, in a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) emphasizing its use would defeat the purpose of the secure facility, and it is standard practice to leave all electronics outside.

A former State Department employee familiar with the Clinton request emphasized security personnel at the time thought the BlackBerry was only for unclassified material, adding their concerns would have been magnified if they had known Clinton's email account also held classified material.

“When you allow devices like this into a SCIF, you can allow the bad guys to listen in,” Wright added.
But hey, she is the privileged one so no stinking laws to protect security should have applied to her, right?

Why does the Obama administration hate the people of Flint, Michigan?

We're going to start hearing a lot about the rules governing how convention delegates get chosen. I thought I knew a lot about the political process, but some of this is new to me. We're used to seeing delegates as just a bunch of enthusiastic activists wearing funny hats and partying at the convention. But now it looks very much like those are the people who will be determining the fate of the Republican Party this year since they will mostly be free to vote as they wish after the first ballot. And there will be plenty of fights over procedures, credentials, and rules for which their votes are not predetermined.
e identities and loyalties of individual convention delegates could become the subject of intense interest and scrutiny. The process of selecting them will be crucial and will be the subject of hand-to-hand combat in nearly every state over the next few months. In the Internet era, there is no such thing as a smoke-filled backroom; once-anonymous delegates could find themselves feeling the heat from all sides.

South Carolina GOP Chairman Matt Moore said he has already warned those who may represent the Palmetto State as delegates: “Expect every person in America to have your cellphone numbers and email addresses.”

Only a handful of delegates have been named so far across the country. Most will be selected at local and state party gatherings, which means that the picks will be heavily influenced by the GOP establishment in those states — governors, party chairmen, elected officials, donors and longtime activists....

Were Trump to arrive with the most delegates and leave without the nomination, “I think you’d have riots,” he said Wednesday on CNN.

Noting that “many, many millions of people” have voted for him, Trump added, “if you disenfranchise those people and you say, well I’m sorry but you’re 100 votes short, even though the next one is 500 votes short, I think you would have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen, I really do.”

The system, however, says otherwise. “You don’t get the nomination if you’re close. This isn’t like horseshoes and hand grenades. There are no points in close. You have to get 1,237,” said Stephen Duprey, a mainstay in New Hampshire politics and a member of the Republican National Committee.

Each state has its own peculiar system for naming delegates after the results of its primary or caucus are in.

Largely left out of the equation: The candidates themselves.

Fully 73 percent of delegates are selected without direct input from the presidential contenders, by state party executive committees or at state and local conventions, said veteran GOP campaign lawyer Ben Ginsberg. “The campaigns have to be sure their people and people who are loyal to them are elected as delegates. That is a complicated process and requires on-the-ground organizing.”

Virginia is a good example. As a result of its March 1 primary, Virginia’s convention delegation will be casting 17 votes for Trump; eight for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and five for Ohio Gov. John Kasich. It will also give 16 votes for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and three for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, even though they have suspended their campaigns since the primary.

Of Virginia’s 49 convention delegates, 33 will be chosen at district conventions between now and June 1, and 13 will be picked at the state convention at the end of April. State chairman John Whitbeck and the national committeeman and committeewoman are the remaining three.

“This year, it’s like the campaigns are actually taking notice” of a normally sleepy and parochial process, Whitbeck said. “We see the most activity with the Cruz campaign in Virginia, in terms of an organized effort.”

Officials elsewhere also say that Cruz’s forces seem most engaged in state and local delegate selection.

“What we are focused on is after we won a state, to go back in and make sure we got delegates to hold their commitment to vote for our campaign. That’s a laborious process, and we are absolutely doing that,” said Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe.

Typically, “once the election’s over, [delegates] are nominated from state, county and congressional districts to be nominees to their state conventions. In that process, we make sure that we have slates of people that are supporting Ted Cruz,” Roe explained. “So that’s a county-by-county, congressional-district-by-congressional-district, state-by-state process that’s ongoing for the states that have already voted.”

The Trump campaign is putting a team in place to track the delegates who have already been designated on state ballots, said senior adviser Ed Brookover, and it will coordinate with its state staffs to monitor delegate selection.

Brookover, who is managing the process for the Trump campaign, says that skepticism of its ability to compete in this sort of process is “wishful thinking on the part of Mr. Trump’s opponents.”
But don't be so sure.
Till, the process predates Trump’s candidacy in some cases. All of South Carolina’s 50 delegates, for instance, will be committed to supporting Trump on the first ballot. But to become a national delegate, someone has to have been a delegate to last spring’s state convention, which happened before Trump was even in the race.

“We have a known delegate pool,” South Carolina chairman Moore said. And their allegiances are likely to be closely tied to state officials such as Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, both of whom have tangled with Trump.
In some states the delegates get to offer their own slates of delegates. And there are all sorts of future fights we have to look forward to.
Looking ahead, the campaigns will not only be tasked with tracking and lobbying delegates, but will also need to keep an eye on the emerging composition of the Republican National Convention Rules Committee. That committee of more than 100 will carry wide authority over the nominating rules at the convention, including rules over who can be nominated at all on the floor of the convention.

As it stands, one controversial rule dictates that candidates have to have won at least eight states with a majority to be nominated on the floor. Trump is the only candidate to have passed that benchmark thus far — which, ironically, was initially intended to protect establishment-favorite Mitt Romney in 2012.

The composition of that committee will be decided in proxy fights between the establishment and grass-roots wings of the party at the state level. Party officials in each state will select two delegates to appoint to that committee — which is separate, and larger, from the RNC’s rules committee — and will have to balance grass-roots pressure alongside the preferences of power brokers in their regions.

Michael Barone doesn't think well of Kasich's chances in winning Pennsylvania.
On Tuesday night, an ebullient Kasich said he was going to Philadelphia, though Pennsylvania's primary is April 26, six weeks hence. The obvious reason: the Philadelphia suburbs have lots of upscale voters, the only demographic among which Kasich has run well.

But the Philly suburbs cast only about one-fifth of Pennsylvania primary votes. In Ohio, despite his local popularity, Kasich lost every county along the Pennsylvania and West Virginia borders. He's likely to do worse against Trump in demographically and attitudinally similar western Pennsylvania, which casts as many votes as the Philly suburbs.

Why didn't Kasich talk about traveling elsewhere? Because the contests between now and April 26 are not in places favorable to him. He barely registered in a February poll in Wisconsin, which votes April 5, and whose Republican suburbanites are much more conservative than those in most Northern metro areas.

His boosters look to New York, which votes April 19. But its registered Republicans are less likely to be Ivy Leaguers liberal on cultural issues (they're Democrats now) than Italian-American homeowners angry about high property taxes and corrupt local governments. Cruz might be competitive with Trump among such voters. Kasich would just split the vote and give Trump more delegates, as he did in Illinois.

The final big contest is California on June 7. What happens there if the anti-Trump vote is split can be seen by looking back to 2008, when California voted early. John McCain won statewide with 42 percent, with the more conservative Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee getting 35 and 12 percent. But most California delegates are chosen winner-take-all by congressional district, and with split opposition McCain carried 48 of the 53 districts and thus won 155 of 170 delegates.

Many anti-Trump voters dislike Ted Cruz and, like most senators, regard him as self-serving. But if nominated his interests and the party's will align, at least temporarily. Republicans who want to stop Trump need to hold their noses, if necessary, and vote for Cruz.
When Kasich bowed out of Monday's Fox debate after Donald Trump said he wouldn't attend, I lost a whole lot of respect for him. Kasich spends a lot of time in debates whining that he doesn't get called on and then going on to say he wants to talk about policy and not engage in silly insult games. But when he's given a chance to go one-on-one with Ted Cruz and talk about nothing but policy and his record, he ducked out. I can well understand why Trump would bow out. He never does well when the debates are substance. And any forum that gives him more time to talk also gives him more time to say something bizarre and ignorant. And the Fox News team has shown that they won't back away from asking tough questions. So Trump, the supposed strong guy who can stand up to the nation's adversaries, ducked having to stand up to Megyn Kelly and Ted Cruz. And so did John Kasich. Rather telling, isn't it?

Does this surprise anyone?
Donald Trump finally shared the name of someone he consults on foreign policy: himself.

Asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” who he talks with consistently about foreign policy, Trump responded, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things."

"I know what I’m doing and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people and at the appropriate time I’ll tell you who the people are," Trump said. “But my primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff."

The New York real estate mogul has kept mum on his foreign policy team, despite promising in early February to release a list of his advisers in “about two weeks."

Trump was also asked on Wednesday morning if his foreign policy was “neoisolationist,” to which he responded “I wouldn’t say that at all.”
Why should a guy who admits he learns what he needs to from watching "the shows" have to have anyone who actually knows anything about foreign policy advise him?

Featured Deals in Sports and Fitness

Today’s Deals at Amazon

Best-selling Vitamins

Once corrupt, always corrupt.
n the latest of a series of explosive revelations that could bring down the Brazilian government, a secretly recorded phone call between former president Luiz InĂ¡cio ‘Lula’ da Silva and his successor, Dilma Rousseff, suggests his appointment to a ministerial position on Wednesday was motivated by a desire to avoid prosecution in Brazil’s worst-ever corruption scandal.

Judge Sergio Moro, the lead prosecutor in Operation Lava-jato, a two-year investigation into corruption at the state-run oil company, Petrobras, released nearly 50 audio recordings to the media on Wednesday evening, prompting chaotic scenes in congress as opposition deputies demanded Rousseff’s resignation.

Earlier in the day, Lula was appointed cabinet chief in a controversial move that Rousseff said would strengthen her government, but which critics argued was an attempt to shield the former president, who is under investigation for corruption and money-laundering, from prosecution.

Under Brazilian law, government ministers can be tried only in the “privileged forum” of the supreme court. Opposition activists believe any trial in Brazil’s highest court is likely to progress much more slowly than in the federal court.

They also believe that the supreme court justices – many of whom were appointed by Lula and Rousseff – may prove far more sympathetic than Moro. The judge, from the southern city of Curitiba, has already handed down a number of severe sentences for some of Brazil’s top businessmen who have been found guilty of involvement in the Petrobras scandal.

In the most damaging conversation, recorded on Wednesday afternoon, Rousseff tells Lula that she is sending him over his ministerial papers “in case of necessity”. The Brazilian media and opposition have interpreted the remarks to mean that she was giving him the papers quickly so that Lula could show them to police to avoid detention.

Why are American students even traveling to North Korea? Don't they know that this can't end well. What part of totalitarianism don't they understand? This is not a tourist destination. I feel sorry for this kid, but I hope other similarly misguided people will take this lesson to heart. And if he thinks that the US State Department will get him out of there, he hasn't paid attention to what has happened to Americans arrested in Iran.

Just in case you don't believe that Trump has a history of encouraging violence, check out this video.