Thursday, April 14, 2016

Cruising the Web

Trump's decision to compensate for his own incompetence in working to corral delegates who will support him at the convention by lying to his supporters about how the system is "rigged" against him is truly despicable and pernicious. He has decided that, since he can't organize as Ted Cruz has, he will whip up his followers to make them think that he was unfairly treated by the party so that they will reject anyone else who gets the nomination.
By blaming the process rather than his own inadequacies as a manager, Mr. Trump is trying to shift focus after Senator Ted Cruz of Texas outmaneuvered him in delegate contests in states like Colorado, North Dakota and Iowa, losses that could end up denying Mr. Trump the nomination.

Asked about the appearance of disorganization, Mr. Trump said in an interview, “You have to remember I’m leading.” He added, “I’m more than 200 delegates ahead, so over all, I’m doing very well.”

But in what sounded like a wink-wink aside, he said, “Don’t forget, I only complain about the ones where we have difficulty.”

The new approach is a tacit admission that Mr. Trump’s campaign, which has been so reliant on national news coverage and mass communication via Twitter, has not been able to compete in the often intimate and personal game that is delegate courtship.

Continue reading the main story
His effort to sow doubt about the system plays into the suspicions and anxieties that many of his most ardent backers have about a political process they believe has intentionally disenfranchised them. And it allows Mr. Trump to divert attention from his recent losses in delegate races occurring all over the country.

Mr. Trump has a pattern of claiming fraud when an election does not go his way. And his critics say this kind of misdirection is his specialty.
So he even admits that it's all fake complaining just in the states where he's losing. Otherwise, it's all good.

He is deliberately stoking anger and people's suspicions. He is totally lying, but why should that surprise us? Anyone who truly was concerned with "making America great again" would not want to so divide the country with vicious lies and deceive people who support him. I find this stage of the whole ugly Trump campaign practically the worst thing that he has done. Truly great Americans don't lie in order to tear the country apart and stoke violence and cynicism about the country.

It is also so ludicrous to hear Trump complain about Ted Cruz using the complicated rules concerning delegates. This is a guy who has bragged about how he took advantage of bankruptcy laws to screw his investors. He is proud of how he attempted to use the laws of eminent domain to take an elderly woman's home so he could build a garage for his casino. And he defended his employment of foreign workers instead of Americans at his Florida resort by saying that what he did was perfectly legal even though he thinks those laws should be changed. So that is how he's conducted himself all his life. Hey, it's the "art of the deal." He should be admiring Ted Cruz's mastery of the system instead of whining about it. But of course, whining is a Trumpian tactic.

The Associated Press explains how the delegates that Trump has amassed won't necessarily support him. But it might be too late for him to change things.
Trump is just ramping up his operation, but in some states he's too late.

In Virginia — a state where Trump won the primary — he has missed the deadlines to assemble lists of potential delegates. Cruz, however, has delegate candidates in 10 of Virginia's 11 congressional districts.

The application deadline was last month.

Indiana's primary is May 3, but 27 of the state's 57 delegates — the actual people — have already been selected at congressional district caucuses. The deadline to register as a candidate for delegate was March 15.

In all, at least nine states have picked some or all of their delegates: Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, North Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
And this is the guy who keeps promising us that everything he will do as president will be wonderful, just trust him, because he knows how to make deals. If this is the level of competence he brought to his businesses, no wonder his businesses had to declare bankruptcy four times.

Featured markdowns on Home and Kitchen products

Markdowns in Furniture

Featured deals in Home and Garden

Deals in Outdoor Recreation

Jim Geraghty is skeptical about Trump's plan to give a bunch of policy speeches to win conservative support.
If this is all it takes to get a conservative on board with Trump, they’re the cheapest of cheap dates. Trump speaks off the cuff and offers liberal progressive views, time and again. He supported the stimulus, TARP, and the auto bailout. When he criticized Scott Walker, Trump said, “instead of raising taxes, he cut back on schools, he cut back on highways, he cut back on a lot of things.” He’s defending Planned Parenthood at length, supported affirmative action, and said the impeachment of George W. Bush would have been “a wonderful thing.” He said his sister, a judge who believes the Constitution guarantees the right to a partial-birth abortion, would make a phenomenal Supreme Court judge. Until recently, Trump supported higher taxes on the wealthy, the Assault Weapons ban and longer waiting times for gun purchases.

And now conservatives are supposed to put aside their doubts because Trump manages to stick to the script for one speech? What do you think more accurately reflects Trump’s true perspective, his off-the-cuff comments or delivering a speech written by someone else?

Barnes concludes, “The overtures to conservatives are crucial to the Trump campaign. His ‘pivot’ will have to be genuine, his speeches credible. It’s all up to the unpredictable Mr. Trump.”

I see Trump as an incoherent populist authoritarian, but at least he’s an authentic incoherent populist authoritarian. Don’t insult conservatives by clumsily trying to be something you’re not.
Newt Gingrich, who has sold away any conservative bona fides by his support of Trump, thinks that this will be a pivot for Trump. But that might be a bridge too far.
Attracting conservatives won’t be easy. Many are fiercely opposed to Mr. Trump, some to the point of declaring that they wouldn’t vote for him under any circumstances. And with the GOP convention only three months away, it is awfully late to begin pursuing the GOP’s most important bloc of voters after having largely ignored them.

There are other problems. As the longtime conservative political analyst Michael Barone has observed, “Trump speaks conservatism as a second language he hasn’t bothered to master.” The candidate may have felt he would score points with the pro-life movement with his recent advocacy of punishment for women who have abortions. He was wrong and had to reverse his position publicly....

Mr. Trump’s political instincts haven’t helped him with conservatives. He decides day-to-day what to say and frequently speaks off the cuff. He is often rash and undisciplined. His conservative detractors, especially those in policy and media circles, are appalled.
Peter Wehner adds in,
It isn’t simply that Trump isn’t a conservative in the spirit of Goldwater or Reagan; it is that he has been an active opponent of conservatism long ago, recently and to this very day. He has given large sums of money to liberal Democrats. He supported President Obama’s stimulus package. He called for the impeachment of George W. Bush. He is a critic of Paul Ryan and others who want to reform entitlements. He has praised Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and, during the Republican presidential debates, spoke favorably about a single payer health care system. He’s a fierce protectionist. The list goes on and on.

But that’s hardly all. Mr. Trump has shown no familiarity with conservatism as a philosophy. As his answers on abortion, health care, the Obamacare mandates, mass deportation of illegal immigrants, how to cut the size of government, the nuclear triad, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Quds Force/Kurds, NATO, seizing Iraqi oil, targeting the families of terrorists and so many other issues show, he hasn’t even thought about most policies. He has no intellectual curiosity, no interest in mastering issues, no ability even to carry on a coherent conversation on most topics. He just wings it, and he does is quite poorly.

But the main objection to Mr. Trump is his temperament. He specializes in stoking resentments and grievances and ugly passions. He condones political violence. Conservatives — those who are paying attention, anyway — know this. A few set speeches he won’t write and will soon forget won’t change any of the basic realities. Donald Trump is a threat to conservatism. Only the foolish will think otherwise.

Markdowns in Grills and Outdoor Cooking

Spring Savings in Grocery and Gourmet Food

Groceries under $10

Best Deals in Pet Supplies

Bill Clinton is finding that crafting a Sister Souljah moment in 2016 isn't as easy as it was back in 1992. If you'll recall, Clinton won major props from the media for criticizing a little-known hip hop performer and author who had mused about having a week when black people kill white people. Clinton took her words out of context and then criticized the idea that anyone would encourage blacks to kill whites. The media went crazy praising Clinton for being willing to criticize someone who was part of his base. The phrase "Sister Soujah moment" was born. So now, 24 years later, Bill reached for another such moment by taking on Black Lives Matter demonstrators who were protesting the 1994 crime bill and Hillary's use of the term "superpredators" to describe some inveterate criminals who preyed upon their own community and thus deserved to be incarcerated. Things are different now. Not only did he not win acclaim for taking on the base, but he got so much pushback from the more radical elements of his party that he had to back down and abse himself.
The confrontation last week turned out not to be another Sister Souljah moment. Instead, it was a reminder to Clinton of the new terms of debate on racial matters and the reinterpretation of the 1990s through the lens of a quarter-century later.

After his exchange last week, Clinton said he almost wanted to apologize and said it was regrettable that the two sides had talked past each other. He then campaigned Sunday on his wife’s behalf in three African American churches, seeking to ensure the strongest possible minority support for her in next Tuesday’s New York primary (which looks likely). On Monday, he was still trying to explain himself for what had happened the week before.
And to wrap up the Bill and Hillary's abasement, she will go speak before the Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference in New York. Somehow, I don't think that 1992's Bill Clinton would have been legitimizing Al Sharpton. Though, as Dan Balz describes the differences in the Democratic Party in the Washington Post, we can imagine how the Hillary Clinton of 2016 would have actively campaigned against the Bill Clinton of the 1990s.
The Black Lives Matter episode is not the only example of how the Clinton presidency is seen in a different light today. Clinton’s staunch advocacy of free trade, his support for financial institution deregulation and the fact that his economic team was staffed by Wall Street figures all are viewed with far greater skepticism by Democrats today. That is why Sanders has gathered such energy behind his candidacy and why Hillary Clinton has had to tack left to keep up with the base.

Bill Clinton was an eloquent advocate of free trade, as a candidate in 1992 and as president. Former president George H.W. Bush, after listening to Clinton make the case for the North American Free Trade Agreement at a White House ceremony, quipped that it should be pretty clear why the silver-tongued Clinton was now occupying the Oval Office and he was on the outside.

Clinton championed NAFTA and free trade in the face of opposition of organized labor and many Democrats. Today, that anti-trade sentiment among party activists is even more intense, throwing both Clintons on the defensive. Exhibit A is Hillary Clinton’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership after she championed its potential as President Obama’s secretary of state.

For Sanders, the trade issue has been clear-cut. He has long opposed such trade deals. To him, the TPP was one more example of the downside of globalization and a potential cudgel against Clinton in their contest for the Democratic nomination. But even though Clinton now sides with him rather than Obama, Sanders continues to use consistency on the issue as a line of demarcation in their debates.

The same can be said about Wall Street and the financial industry. Bill Clinton made a turn toward the bankers early in his presidency — and over the objection of many of his political advisers — as he prepared his first economic program.

His administration was populated with advisers who were partial to or straight out of Wall Street, from Lloyd Bentsen, his first Treasury secretary and the former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to influential economic counselors Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, both of whom went on to serve as Clinton Treasury secretaries.

The economic record of the Clinton administration is enviable: more than 20 million jobs created and a balanced federal budget during his second term. That is the legacy of the Clinton years that Hillary Clinton wants to embrace. But it is the other legacies that compete for attention and which have caused her and her husband some discomfort.

Josh Earnest is trying to walk back the impression that President Obama has given with his remarks on Hillary's server scandal.
President Barack Obama says he believes his former secretary of state did not intentionally endanger national security in her handling of classified information. But he also says he's not trying to influence his administration's investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

The White House on Tuesday was under pressure to reconcile those two statements - asserting Obama's public defense of Clinton was not an attempt to meddle in an ongoing probe and that federal investigators will not be swayed by the boss' views.

"The president is committed to ensuring that individuals who are conducting criminal prosecutions do their work without influence from politicians or anybody that's involved in politics," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Earnest's reassurances came amid growing criticism that Obama had put his finger on the scale with recent comments describing Clinton's use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state as mere "carelessness."
If the president doesn't want there to be influence from politicians, maybe he should have just kept his big mouth shut and given a diplomatic refusal to speak out on a scandal that is the subject of an ongoing investigation. That excuse was right there for him to use, but he couldn't stop himself from trying to defuse criticism of the Democratic frontrunner.
It wasn't the first time that Obama has suggested that he doesn't think there's much to the email controversy. In October, he said flatly he didn't think the set-up posed a national security problem.

Each time he weighs in, it raises legal experts' eyebrows and roils political adversaries. Republicans this week have suggested Obama is signaling prosecutors to go easy, and using a different standard for Clinton that has been applied to other administration officials investigated for mishandling information, like former CIA Director David Petraeus.

The White House routinely dodges questions about ongoing Justice Department investigations, saying it does not want to appear to be trying to influence the outcome. Obama's decision to twice express his thoughts seems to cast aside some of that caution in favor of defending a political ally and former administration official.

Kindle Deals up to 80% off

Today's Best Deals

New Deals Every Day for Home and Kitchen

The guy that Donald Trump has hired to run his delegate operation has spent a lot of his career arguing on behalf of what is sometimes referred to as the "Torturers Lobby."
So when Manafort accused opponent Ted Cruz of using “gestapo tactics” to court Republican delegates on Meet the Press this past Sunday—it’s something he may have quite a bit of experience with firsthand.
Manafort was a principal at the lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly (along with another top Trump ally, Nixon alum Roger Stone), a K Street powerhouse with close ties to the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, as well as top Republicans on Capitol Hill.

But over the years, they made millions by representing a rogue’s gallery of clients far away from D.C.’s genteel corridors of power: dictators, guerilla groups, and despots with no regard for human rights—including one man responsible for mass amputations, and another who oversaw state-sanctioned rape.

One such client was Jonas Savimbi, who led a guerilla army trying to wrest control of the Angolan government from Marxists during the country’s brutal civil war. Savimbi hired Manafort’s lobbying firm to help him get financial support from the U.S. government for his guerilla army, UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola).

And Manafort and co. delivered....

“I thought we were making a colossal blunder in Angola,” he wrote. “I had no sense that Jonas Savimbi, our client guerilla warrior, was any more committed to democracy than was the country’s dictatorial leftist leadership. When Gorbachev pulled the plug on Soviet aid to the Angolan government, we had absolutely no reason to persist in aiding Savimbi. But by then he had hired an effective Washington lobbying firm, which successfully obtained further funding.”

The slow peace process meant protracted violence....

Savimbi and UNITA were not the only Manafort clients comfortable with brutality.
A 1992 report from the Center for Public Integrity listed Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly as one of the lobbying firms to profit the most by doing business with foreign governments that violated their people’s human rights.

From 1991 to 1992, the firm made $3.3 million from what the Center for Public Integrity dubbed “the torturers’ lobby.”

....Severe police brutality, prisoner abuse, and crackdowns on hunger strikers all drew opprobrium. The country [Kenya] still raked in $38.3 million in aid from the U.S. government—thanks in part to the hard work of Manafort and his partners.

Mobutu Sese Seko, dictator of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) also benefitted from Manafort’s lobbying expertise. The Guardian described him as “one of Africa’s most flamboyantly corrupt leaders.”

He was also one of its worst. Human-rights activists hold the dictator responsible for government-sanctioned torture, detainment, and rape.
The list of Manafort's brutal dictator clients goes on and on. He most recently worked for Putin's guy in Ukrain, Viktor Yanukovych. I guess that is okay with Trump since he's such an admirer of Putin's strength. Why should he draw the line at hiring someone who made a fortune pumping up a corrupt guy who stole millions from the Ukrainian people while serving as a front for Putin? And why should a guy who mused cheerfully about ordering American soldiers to use torture and to target the wives and children of terrorists worry about his employee's past lobbying for murdering and thuggish dictators?

After all, Trump is all about hiring the best people, isn't he?

No wonder so many GOP politicians, especially those on the ballot, are thinking that it is the better part of valor to skip the convention in Cleveland.
It’s no secret why these and other Republicans who will be on the ballot this year are keeping their calendars free. Whatever happens in Cleveland – whether there is an orderly process or outright pandemonium – it will not reflect well on either the party or its members.

The Trump campaign has for weeks been laying the groundwork to contend that any process that does not yield to him the Republican presidential nomination is illegitimate. Trump ally Roger Stone has threatened to personally sic the Trump campaign’s more rabid fans on individual delegates who decline to support Trump after the first ballot. “We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal,” he insisted. An unnamed “Trump advisor” reportedly told the New York Times that their candidate’s forces “will burn the place to the ground,” should the process not go their way. All of this betrays that the Trump campaign knows its core supporters are religiously committed, somewhat unstable, and can be incited to violence. With that threat alone, the GOP can be held hostage and made to capitulate to the Trump campaign’s demands.

Even if the Trump campaign were to pull the trigger on this threat, the results of a convention that goes to a second ballot (or more) will be of questionable legitimacy. What’s more, such an eventuality will project to the nation that the Republican Party is not an orderly institution capable of maintaining stability and continuity. The political-activist class might salivate over the idea of radical change born of blood and fire, but the majority of the 120 million or so general election voters will not. They’ll see a vote for the GOP as a risky gamble, and one on which they will not stake their lives, their jobs, their mortgages, and their children’s futures.

Here's another sneaky scheme by Ted Cruz to rig the election by being better organized than Donald Trump in California.
To secure the nomination on June 7, Trump will have to win roughly 70 percent of California’s delegates. But the state’s primary is a little quirky — and all those quirks favor the senator from Texas.
Since California is a closed primary, Trump won't benefit from crossover votes from Democrats and independents. And it's a winner-take-all by congressional districts and some of those districts only have a few thousand Republicans in them. So it's very important to organize on the district level and the Cruz campaign have been busy working there to get out their supporters for a year. That work will be important since so many people will be voting early by mail.
Also helping Cruz is the fact that the campaigns have to pick their own delegates — 169 of them, plus 169 alternates. The process of identifying six committed Cruz supporters in every single congressional district — including districts where Republicans haven’t really campaigned in decades — wasn’t easy. It took Schroeder five months. But now he’s finished — and the Trump campaign, which just hired a state political director today, is only getting started.

“It’s been a huge project for me,” Schroeder said. “And they have to file all of those names with the secretary of state on May 7? That’s less than a month from now. If you don’t have those names by May 7, even if you win that district, you don’t get any delegates.”

On Monday, Trump convention manager Paul Manafort accused the Cruz campaign of using “Gestapo tactics” to earn delegate support. Schroeder chuckled when he heard that.

“These are the rules,” Schroeder said. “They’re pretty simple. Follow them. Get over it. Stop whining.”
Exactly. But if you can't be organized, whining is all you got left.

By the way, it seems like a wacky system that should be reformed for the GOP to award delegates on a winner-take-all basis by congressional district when some districts will have a hundred thousand more voters than another district. That is a system that they should consider reforming.

Shop Amazon - Prime members save 20% off pre-order and newly released games

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Amazon Coupons

Here's a victory for conservative college students everywhere.
Students with unpopular views on campus often have trouble defending themselves against complaints that their speech constitutes harassment or another code violation.

Under a surprise ruling last week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, perhaps the most liberal appeals court in the country, it will be easier for those punished students to hold their (public) administrations accountable.

The court said a lawsuit by Neil O’Brien, who organized a campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, can continue against Fresno State University.

What was the standard history lesson when I was in elementary school is now considered a microaggression.
A business class at Purdue University teaches students the phrase “America is a melting pot” is a microaggression, according to class handouts obtained by The College Fix. That phrase is among at least a dozen examples students were recently instructed on in the Management 301 course.

Additional microaggressions listed on the worksheet include: “Where are you from,” “There is only one race, the human race,” “Everyone can succeed in society if they work hard enough” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”

These phrases are problematic because they promote the “myth of meritocracy” or represent “statements which assert that race or gender does not play a role in life successes,” the handout stated. Others are said to be color blind, apparently a bad thing that indicates “that a white person does not want to or need to acknowledge race,” according to the handout.
Oh, dear. You can't say anything that ignores racial differences. No more judging people by the "content of their character." No more encouraging students to work hard to succeed on their own merits because that would promote the "myth of meritocracy."

I can remember way back when I was in fifth grade, my social studies book at a chapter on "America: the Melting Pot." There was a picture of a big black pot and all sorts of people wearing traditional-looking clothing from their home countries such as a Russian guy in a fur hat or a Japanese woman in a kimono or a Mexican man in a sombrero were jumping into the pot and then coming out wearing red, white, and blue. This was back in the 1960s. Can you imagine such heartless bigotry in a school book today?

This is what can happen if you get Chinese tattooed on your body and you don't know Chinese. It could have been so much worse. Why do people do that?