Monday, May 02, 2016

Cruising the Web

How far will Hillary go in making gender quotas in her administration? She vows that her cabinet will have 50% women. Why stop there?
If Clinton wants a Cabinet that "looks like America," she is going to have to institute a lot more quotas than just sex.

I highly doubt that she plans equal representation for the 41 percent of Americans identify as Republican or Republican-leaning. Thirteen percent of Americans are black. Will Clinton make sure 13 percent of her Cabinet is black?

One percent of Americans are American Indian or Alaska Native. Will Clinton make sure one percent of her Cabinet is American Indian or Native Alaskan? Is that even possible?

Seventeen percent of Americans are Hispanic. Will Clinton make sure 17 percent of her Cabinet is Hispanic?

Five percent of Americans are Asian. Will Clinton make sure 5 percent of her Cabinet is Asian?

Eight percent of Americans under 65 have a disability. Will Clinton make sure 8 percent of her Cabinet is disabled?

Twenty percent of Americans are Catholic. Will Clinton make sure 20 percent of her Cabinet is Catholic?

Twenty-two percent of Americans are unaffiliated with any religion. Will Clinton make sure 22 percent of her Cabinet is unaffiliated with any religion?

Nearly 6 percent of Americans follow a non-Christian faith, including Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and others (maybe Scientology?) Will Clinton make sure 6 percent of her Cabinet represents these religions?

Nearly 70 percent of Americans don't have a college degree. Will 70 percent of Clinton's Cabinet not have a college degree?
Once politicians start making bean-counting promises, there are few barriers to how ridiculous their promises can get. But of course, the media will just accept her claims to have a Cabinet that looks like America without penetrating any further to how ridiculous such a promise is.

This can't be a helpful comment for Ted Cruz's wife to make.
At a campaign stop just days before the critical Indiana primary, Heidi Cruz, wife of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, said one of her husband's strengths in the campaign is that he "is an immigrant."

"Ted is an immigrant," Mrs. Cruz said, emphasizing the word "is." "He is Hispanic."
Isn't she aware of all the digs Donald Trump has made about Cruz being ineligible for the presidency since he was born in Canda.

The man who campaigns based his business experience and his ability to make a deal hasn't actually planned for his actual campaign in the general election....

Whether the most talented GOP fundraisers will agree to work for him, and whether top Republican donors will be willing to write him checks, are separate issues.
For candidates running for president, raising money isn’t the only problem. So is spending it. Setting up and staffing campaign offices in 50 states, contacting potential voters and organizing get-out-the-vote operations are all labor intensive operations that must be meshed with an eye to the campaign's strategy and messaging. David Schultz, a political science professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, likens it to going from a start-up to a major corporation in 18 months.
“The longer you wait to crank up the business, the harder it is to start,” he said.
On the cusp of the Republican nomination, Donald Trump has no blueprint for raising the estimated $1 billion he'd need to take on the Democrats and no process in place to begin vetting vice presidential contenders, according to multiple people familiar with the campaign.
His aides don't seem worried. Their basic theory is that Trump has been successful with running based on instinct and speaking off the cuff without a large fund-raising apparatus so why should he change.

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Barack Obama keeps telling us how well we're doing economically and how we owe the supposed recovery to that actions of his administration. But when there is bad economic news...crickets.
The White House labored Thursday to explain a first-quarter economic report showing the weakest growth in two years, even as President Obama was trumpeting his mastery of the economy in a New York Times Magazine interview.

The Department of Commerce reported that U.S. gross domestic product rose 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016, the third straight sluggish start to a year. Consumer spending and business purchases both fell, continuing trends that could have ominous implications for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as she tries to claim the mantle as Mr. Obama’s successor.

Kevin Williamson has an interesting question
for all those liberals who are so dogmatically against corporations spending money to advertise in political campaigns. Should we include entertainers who donate their celebrity name to host fundraisers for their favored candidates. Williamson notes that Louis C. K. is hosting a fundraiser for Mayer Bill de Blasio.
I am a First Amendment absolutist and a free-speech absolutist. I think Louis C. K. should be able to say what he likes, where he likes, how he likes, on behalf of whatever candidate he likes. But I also think the same thing about Charles and David Koch, Exxon, and Charles C. W. Cooke.

On the other hand, I also believe in striving as mightily as we can toward the rule of law, which means consistently applying the law to all citizens in all contexts. The editors of the New York Times have First Amendment rights, Louis C. K. has First Amendment rights, and David Koch has First Amendment rights.

“Money isn’t speech,” the anti-First Amendment gang insists in lamenting Citizens United. But of course it is. Louis C. K. talks for a living, and he does not do that for free.

Campaign-finance law, at the federal and state level, recognizes in-kind contributions as a form of campaign donation. So, for instance, if I donate $100 worth of business services to Candidate X, I’ve given him a $100 donation. If I donate $2,000 worth of pizza to a phone-banking party for Candidate X, I’ve made a $2,000 contribution, generally treated the same as if I’d written him a check.

It is impossible to see how Louis C. K.’s donating his only major asset — his celebrity — to the cause of Bill de Blasio is anything other than an in-kind contribution. And, given that Louis C. K.’s ordinary rate (between $500,000 and $1 million minimum for U.S. appearances) far exceeds the legal limit on contributions to mayoral campaigns, it is difficult to see why this should be legal while other in-kind contributions valued at the same level are forbidden. Why should $1 million worth of photocopying be verboten while $1 million worth of high-value celebrity fund-raising is hunky-dory?

This is no surprise to anyone, is it?
Not a single member of the White House press corps is a registered Republican, according to survey results recently published by Politico.

Those results are buried in a story this week on President Barack Obama’s relationship with the press. An infographic posted in the story reveals that not a single one of the 72 members of the White House press corps surveyed by the Virginia-based trade publication identifies with the GOP.

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Jim Geraghty is puzzled by those Donald Trump supporters who are so angry at Ted Cruz because they don't think he will fight and Donald Trump will. Even if Trump isn't fighting for what the voters say they want on immigration and Obamacare. Geraghty's remarks are sparked by a caller to the Rush Limbaugh's radio show who admitted that he disagreed with Trump about 80% of the time but still liked that he would be a tough fighter.
I’m getting accused of being out-of-touch, snobbish, elitist, “Leftist Trotskyist”, etc. Ultimately, I see a lot of people making decisions that don’t make much sense. I don’t understand how you can look at Ted Cruz and, out of all possible flaws, conclude he isn’t willing to fight for what he believes in. (His flaw is more likely the opposite, quixotic fights and antagonism to potential allies that isn’t helpful in the long run.) And I don’t think this is a, “Well, you see it your way, I see it my way’ disagreement.’” I think a guy arguing that Cruz is too weak-willed, wishy-washy and excessively conciliatory -- particularly to the Left! -- is simply not that well-informed about the Texas senator.

Secondly, if you elect a ferocious fighter who you disagree with on four out of five issues, it means he’ll be fighting ferociously against you on four out of five issues. You’ve empowered a guy who you mostly disagree with in the hopes that he really comes through on that 20 percent.

Trump supporters assure us that he will be extremely strong in opposing Hillary Clinton. They ignore all the polls that show him losing big to Clinton. But now they've decided whom to blame if he doesn't win. Because they're all about conspiracy-mongering. So, as Dan McLaughlin writes, they're pre-spinning Trump's loss by blaming all the #NeverTrump people.
You see, Nolte and other Trump supporters taking this tack must realize by now that Trump is a complete disaster of a general election candidate, for reasons we have all discussed exhaustively. But this causes not the slightest bit of self-reflection over why this is. It can’t be that Trump alienates moderate and independent voters by being boorish, crude, insulting to women, ignorant, and all too eager to throw around racial, religious and ethnic stereotypes. It can’t be that Trump attracts white supremacists like dung attracts flies (Nolte likes to deploy nonsensical uses of words like “supremacist” when used against him or his allies precisely to deprive them of meaning, it’s a regular m.o. of his and of the Trump supporters generally – here, he’s using it to mean people who think Trump voters are stupid and basing that primarily on the fact that voting for Trump is stupid). It can’t be that Trump activates otherwise-unenthused elements of the Democratic base and drives more Hispanic voters into the Democratic camp by loudly broadcasting the message that Hispanics are unwelcome in America. It can’t be that Trump additionally alienates conservatives by being a socially liberal fan of abortion and Planned Parenthood and a big-government fan of single-payer healthcare and confiscatory taxation, and Republicans by being a faithful donor to Democrats who supported John Kerry for President in 2004 and Hillary Clinton for President in 2008 as well as the Democratic takeover of Congress. It can’t be that Trump would be a terrible Commander-in-Chief, hypersensitive to his own ego, easily cowed (as even his own explanation of paying off Democrats suggests), and getting his ideas and information from the likes of Michael Moore and Code Pink. It can’t, in short, be that people don’t want to vote for Trump for President because they think Trump would be a terrible president who doesn’t agree with them on issues, doesn’t represent their values, and isn’t even minimally competent to the job.

No, that can’t possibly be the explanation for why Trump would be a disaster candidate in spite of the colossal press coverage he’s been gifted and his near-universal name recognition. It must be an elite conspiracy! A conspiracy that will extend to the 130 million or so people who may vote in November.

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Here is an amazing story about how a public outcry got the police to return the tens of thousands that they confiscated from a Christian band that had been raised for an orphanage in Thailand and a religious college in Burma. The police just confiscated the money that they found in the car and disregarded the explanation the band's volunteer manager gave for having that much cash in the car.
As shocking as this may sound, it's unfortunately common. This is called "civil asset forfeiture." It "allows law enforcement to seize and keep private property, even if the owner has never been charged with a crime," according to the Institute for Justice (IJ). IJ argues, "No one should lose his or her property without being convicted of a crime."
What made a difference was the public outcry that this story aroused when it went public that the police had taken $53,000 from the Christian band and the charities the money was raised for.
Alban told THE WEEKLY STANDARD, "The Muskogee District Attorney's rapid dismissal of both cases is most welcome, but it indicates how flimsy these cases often are. Based on practically zero evidence to support either the civil forfeiture or the criminal charge, they ruined Eh Wah's life for two months, and likely would have permanently ruined his life if IJ hadn't gotten involved and attracted publicity to this gross injustice."

The outcome is a testament to how the public eye can check government's power, encouraging it to back down when pursuing an illegitimate end. If Eh Wah's story didn't receive so much attention, IJ would likely be defending him in court.

But if IJ was unable to represent him pro bono, Eh Wah's future would have been even more uncertain.
Cheers to the Institute for Justice which does yeoman's work to fight to protect people's property and other civil rights.

Chris Cillizza decided to take the opportunity of Cruz's naming of Carly Fiorina as his running mate to scope out who might be Trump's running mate. The five that he comes up with are, in order, Chris Christie, Rick Scott of Florida, Joni Ernst, John Kasich, or Marco Rubio. I can't see any of the final three accepting the nomination. It would be the end of Rubio and Ernst's political futures. They're still young and will have the opportunity to return to politics if they so desire. While Kasich might be an appealing candidate in the old-time considerations of winning a key state with a VP nomination, he and Trump are just too different. Kasich is so full of himself that he has stayed in the race long past the time that he had a chance. I don't think he did that to spend the time as the guy stumbling along behind Trump. I know that a lot of people think he's stayed in the race in order to help Trump, but I think he's egotistical and stubborn enough to still see himself as a winner that the convention will turn to in its desperation. That leaves the two governors who have both endorsed Trump. I count out Chris Christie who is now so very unpopular in New Jersey. And I don't see a ticket of two New York and New Jersey guys who duplicate each other's abrasive personalities appealing to the public. Christie would do much better as a potential Attorney General or Secretary of Homeland Security nomination. But winning over voters - not so much. Rick Scott, however, is a reasonable choice. Cillizza writes,
The Florida governor wrote a Facebook post Wednesday urging the party to rally behind Trump. "The Republican leaders in Washington did not choose him, but the Republican voters across America did choose him," Scott wrote. "The voters have spoken." Scott has been consistently supportive of Trump for months now, endorsing him as soon as the real estate billionaire won the Sunshine State in early March. Scott's profile is also likely appealing to Trump -- a wealthy businessman who ran and beat the Republican establishment to get elected governor. Plus, he's from a big swing state.
Although Rick Scott's ratings in Florida are not very good. He's not a very flamboyant guy so that might balance out Trump's over-the-top personality. Jim Geraghty is also pondering the question of Trump's running mate. He finds Scott a choice that "isn't likely to do much harm." And that's a big plus for a vice-presidential candidate. He presents a funny twist on the idea of a Kasich nomination.
(After Trump’s impassioned diatribe about Kasich’s “disgusting” table manners, the pair would have some exceptionally awkward White House lunch meetings.)
As far as Rubio, Geraghty writes what I think about the possible choice of Marco Rubio.
For Rubio, or any Trump critic, a decision to sign on with Trump is a lose–lose: It alienates anti-Trump Republicans but isn’t likely to win over that much goodwill among Trump’s most loyal supporters.
Geraghty has some other possible names that would help Trump double down on his anti-immigration message. Senator Jeff Sessions has been one of the most important early supporters of the Trump campaign. And he also brings up former Arizona governor Jan Brewer. She could amplify his stand on immigration and border security as well as his propensity to say awkward things that offend people. And I totally discount Geraghty's musing about Scott Brown or Sarah Palin. Sure they endorsed him early which might count for a lot in Trump's mind, but does he really want to pick people who are regarded as losers and who don't add anything to his candidacy?

The NYT is also contemplating Trump's running mate. I guess all these articles is a sign that people consider the nomination just about wrapped up in Trump's favor and now are moving on to the next political question that journalists love pondering in election years. No one cares as much about a running mate as when that person's name is still unknown. The NYT has some other names to add into the mix of people willing to run with Trump. Newt Gingrich is one and he's made it clear that he would likely accept the nomination. That would give Trump someone with Washington experience and a similar sort of bombastic iconoclast to run with. Though it would be a way to double down on negative ratings. Gingrich might be able to mobilize Republicans, but he couldn't do that for his own candidacy against Romney. Of course, Trump has gotten a lot of his ideas about politics from watching cable TV and Gingrich has been a continual face on cable for years.

Everyone likes to muse about how Trump might soften up his image by picking a woman or a minority. I'm just not seeing who would fulfill that role as well as having the governing experience the Trump campaign says he's looking for and be willing to run along with him.

I have no idea, of course, and my prediction that Cruz would pick Scott Walker was completely wrong. But right now I'm seeing Rick Scott in the crystal ball as the guy with the fewest negatives.

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Politico warns about a November surprise from Obamacare. More and more insurance companies are pulling out of the Obamacare exchanges as they lose money. This was, of course, totally predictable. It was part of the DNA of the law. By requiring companies to issue insurance to everyone regardless of existing conditions, the law increased the costs to the insurance companies. The individual mandate was supposed to offset those losses, but the fines were too light for healthy people to overcome their unwillingness to shell out the money for increasingly expensive plans. And they knew that, if they developed a terrible disease, the insurance companies had to take them on anyway. Of course, the insurance companies thought they could count on the federal government to bail them out, but the Republicans blocked that avenue.
The timing, though, is bad news for Democrats. Proposed rate hikes are just starting to dribble out, setting up a battle over health insurance costs in a tumultuous presidential election year that will decide the fate of Obamacare.

And the headlines are likely to keep coming right up to Election Day since many consumers won’t see actual rates until the insurance marketplaces open Nov. 1 — a week before they go to the polls.

“Any reports of premium increases will immediately become talking points on the campaign trail,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. “We’re in an election where the very future of the law will be debated.”
It would be nice if we returned to debating such an important issue. Hillary was a total booster for Obamacare and even went further in her proposals for Hillarycare. Of course, Trump is not the guy to carry forth the argument since he's endorsed single-payer countries. So we might have an argument between two candidates who will both argue for further federal payments to rescue the failed plan.