Friday, May 20, 2016

Cruising the Web

Matt Bai rightly derides Hillary's statement that she's going to put Bill in charge of the economy.
In response to the uproar over this comment, Clinton’s campaign fired off an email to reporters detailing all the instances over the last several months when the candidate has made pretty much this same statement. The message being, apparently: If you think this was boneheaded, wait until you see how many other times she said it before you noticed.
I can’t really tell if Clinton’s political instincts are just that bad, or if a few of the people giving her advice should consider other careers, like maybe welding, which Marco Rubio highly recommends. This one statement undermines so much about her campaign, while revealing the absence at the core of it, that it’s truly hard to peel back the layers of inanity.
But it’s a slow week in Washington, so let’s give it a try.
First, let’s just pretend that Bill isn’t Hillary’s husband. Let’s say he is the world’s leading authority on economic revitalization. Let’s assume he can’t walk down the street to buy a smoothie without creating 10 jobs by accident.
Even if all that were true, economic policy isn’t something for which you name a czar, like Ebola or Asian carp. (I’m not making this up — there is actually a czar for that.) It’s kind of a central plank of the presidency. It’s the reason we elect you, more or less.
Maybe Clinton plans to turn over foreign policy to President Obama while she’s at it, and then she can just spend her days as president hunting down all the Republicans and reporters who’ve done her wrong, like that guy in “The Revenant.”
Bai then points out how saying that she's going to turn over a major task of her future administration to her husband is not exactly the feminist promise that she is campaigning to fulfill. She's running her whole campaign on the premise that it's finally time to elect a woman to office yet she's going to have her husband in charge.
So it’s difficult to understand why Clinton would toss aside that hard-won image as an independent and powerful intellect in her own right, all for the votes of a few white men in Kentucky.
It’s one thing for Obama to deputize Bill Clinton as his economic salesman and let him go out there and steal the show, as he did at the 2012 convention. But the unfortunate truth is that it’s different for a woman, and it’s different for a wife. If Hillary wants to keep inspiring the little girls of this country, she probably shouldn’t go around saying she’ll turn over the big stuff to her husband.
And then there is the whole problems that she's running now against many of the policies of her husband's presidency. She'd never say today that "the era of big government is over." Of course, Bill didn't mean it when he said it, but at least he acknowledged that there were some things government couldn't accomplish and even signed welfare reform as well as campaigning for free trade.
Clinton’s advisers should caution her to give that one up. Because the bottom line is this: However admired a politician Bill may be, Americans don’t elect presidents with the expectation that their spouses will do the governing.

She of all people should understand that.
But she has also come to acknowledge how deeply unpopular she is. If she's going to throw her feminist bona fides overboard whenever convenient, she might as well still try to squeeze a little bit of reflected likability out of Bill while she still can.

Kindle Deals up to 80% off

Today's Best Deals

New Deals Every Day for Home and Kitchen

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

Shop Amazon - Most Wished For Items

Shop Amazon - Best Selling Products - Updated Every Hour

Charles Krauthammer thinks
that the real battle between Trump and Clinton will be over who can best appeal to the Sanders supporters.
It turns out that the ultimate general election question is not where Cruz or Rubio or Kasich supporters are going — almost all seem to be making their tortuous way to Trump — but where do Sanders’ supporters go?

Most will, of course, go to Clinton . Some will stay home. But Trump is making a not-so-subtle pitch to those Democrats and independents who gave Sanders his victories in the industrial Midwest.

The Trump and Sanders constituencies share one stark characteristic: They are both overwhelmingly white. In the Rust Belt, the appeal is to middle- and working-class voters who have suffered economic and social dislocation. The question is whether Trump can win a sufficient number of those voters, erstwhile Reagan Democrats, to flip just a few states that, like Michigan and Pennsylvania, have gone Democratic for the past six elections.
That's why Clinton and the Democratic Party hope that Bernie can be bought off with a more prominent role at the convention and on the platform committee. They are also hoping that Elizabeth Warren can be the peacemaker between Clinton and Sanders when the campaign finally ends. Good luck with that.

Daniel Henninger notes that what Trump and Sanders have in common - they're using slogans rather than any specific policies. And that seems to be what the people want.
At the Trump campaign website, five policy positions are listed. Two are “Pay for the Wall” and “Immigration.” Other than trade with China, there is no entry on foreign policy.

Sen. Sanders’s campaign is essentially variations on several evocative phrases. Liberal analysts have debunked what little detail he has proposed as implausible, notably on health care.

And still: political minimalism is a winner in 2016....

Could it be that these two have read the electorate’s zeitgeist correctly? They, especially Mr. Trump, understand that the vapors shaping public sentiment—and “sentiment” is the word—have shifted decisively away from a past built, for the most part, on substance and logic.

My apologies to the Trump and Sanders supporters who have their support analyzed out to the third decimal point. But not everyone does, nor wants to anymore.

Professional politics itself has been transitioning toward more emotive metrics. The most important candidate tests now are “cares about people like me” or “tells it like it is.”

All of Mr. Trump’s main opponents—Messrs. Bush, Cruz, Rubio and Kasich—were policy wonks. For them, what mattered was hands-on political experience. But the kind of experience in vogue now is more like the elation from attending a mass rally.

The Trump-Sanders policy pitch resembles a Rorschach test. They let voters read meanings of their own into immigration, make America great again and the billionaire class. Their rhetoric-only campaigns flip the switch for the already wired.

As Anne Applebaum writes, we seem to be living in a political world where facts are totally irrelevant.
All people are more likely to believe in “facts” that confirm their preexisting opinions and to dismiss those that don’t. But those with unusually strong opinions — those who are more partisan — are less likely to change their views, more likely to claim that fact-checkers themselves are “biased,” and even more likely to spread their views aggressively to their friends. This has always been the case, but social media now multiplies the phenomenon: In a world where people get most of their information from friends, fact-checking doesn’t reach those who need it most.

The constant growth of information may be undermining the effectiveness of fact-checking, too. As Jill Lepore of the New Yorker has written, the sheer quantity of facts now available makes people cynical about truth itself. Can anything really be “known” if Google customizes its searches for particular people and places? With so many sources of information available, isn’t it better to assume they are all wrong? If truth is passe — if we really do live in a “post-fact world” — then there isn’t any reason for liars to feel any shame, let alone worry about being “PolitiFacted.”
It's the perfect environment for our remaining candidates: Trump, Sanders, and Clinton.

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

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Amazon Coupons

Catherine Rampell despairs o
f our fragile college students who seem to be frightened of anything that might force them to encounter something that they disagree with. She reports on the University of Oregon's "Bias Response Team" and the times in the past year that people sought the help of the administration because there was some perceived bias upsetting them.
Among the incidents for which Oregonians sought redress or punishment:

● A poster featuring a “triggering image” displaying “body size” bias.

●Sexually explicit doodles on Post-its.

●Too little coverage of transgender students in the newspaper.

●A professor writing “an insulting comment on their online blog.”

●A professor joking that a nontraditional student was “too old to answer a question about current events.”

In some cases it wasn’t clear what the offense was, or why “bias” was alleged. One student “reported that a tutor consistently ignores him,” and tagged the incident as “Bias Type: Age, Ethnicity, Gender, Race.”

When in doubt, blame any unsatisfactory encounter on bias, and call in the authorities.
What started to root out invidious racism or sexism has now become just an administrative initiative to protect students from anything that might disturb their insular little lives. And thus the whole goal of the university is diverted into maintaining their bubble.
Rather than confronting, debating and trying to persuade those whose words or actions offend them, students demand that a paternalistic figure step in and punish offenders.

Adult students, in other words, are demanding more of an in loco parentis role from their schools. And administrators appear ready and willing to parent....

Colleges are supposed to be places where young adults develop the critical thinking and social skills to peacefully, productively engage with people with whom they disagree, whose ideas they may even find detestable. But today’s students — and tomorrow’s workers — are discouraged from resolving such conflicts on their own.
Rampell wonders what happens when these students are out in the real world. Don't expect them to suddenly adapt. No, they will seek ways to force the businesses they work for, the communities in which they live, and the schools their children attend to duplicate the protective walls against freedom of speech and expression that they so fear today in college. We can just hope that the 18th century document that they don't seem to understand will still protect the rest of us better than it has protected anyone with opinions outside the accepted norm in college.

One effect of the Obama administration's new regulations on overtime pay is to turn people who worked for salaries into wage workers.
But the Fair Labor Standards Act regulations exempt many salaried employees. This makes sense: Salaried employees get paid to do a particular job, not work particular hours. They also generally have more control over when and where they work.

Many salaried employees have the flexibility to do things like take off early in the afternoon to attend a child’s soccer game, and then finish their work from home in the evening when their child has gone to sleep. Similarly, millions of salaried employees telecommute at least once a month.

The Labor Department just restricted this flexibility.

On Wednesday it raised the overtime “threshold” test for salaried employees to $47,500 a year. All salaried employees making less than that—no matter how advanced their job duties—now qualify for overtime. Their employers must pay time and a half when they work more than 40 hours a week.

On the surface this seems appealing. Why shouldn’t workers get extra pay for working longer hours? However, economic research shows that is unlikely to happen. Most employers respond to overtime laws by reducing base pay an offsetting amount. Combining new overtime pay and lower salaries, most workers will earn almost exactly what they made before.

This is what happened when IBM reclassified 7,000 salaried and technical-support workers as overtime-eligible in a lawsuit settlement. It also cut their base pay by 15 percent, leaving total earnings unaffected. Even liberal supporters of the rule concede that the “wage offer reflects expected overtime hours” and so there will be “no change at the margin” in pay.

The rule will change how employees work. Overtime-eligible salaried employees must carefully log their hours. Each time they respond to a work e-mail, take a work phone call, or do any other work from home, their employer must track and pay them for it. If they do not, they risk getting sued. Trial lawyers filed 8,800 Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuits in 2015, many of them for employers who did not compensate overtime-eligible employees for work done remotely.

In order to avoid lawsuits, many employers deny flexible work arrangements to overtime-eligible employees. Virtually all employers who permit remote work and flexible work arrangements allow overtime-exempt employees to use them.
In our modern work world, being able to work on a flexible schedule or work from home is a great advantage to so many workers, particularly working parents. Yet the Obama administration is actually making their lives more difficult.

A federal district judge is quite fed up with how the DOJ has responded to the court in delaying and misrepresenting the documents needed to turn be turned over while ignoring a federal injunction.
In other words, the Obama administration launched its executive amnesty program behind the court’s back, and lied about it — ultimately granting lawful residence to more than 100,000 illegal immigrants until the court halted the program with an injunction. If the government had told the truth, the state plaintiffs (including Texas) would have been able to seek a temporary restraining order to attempt to block the program. The judge was furious:
Such conduct is certainly not worthy of any department whose name includes the word “Justice.”7 Suffice it to say, the citizens of all fifty states, their counsel, the affected aliens and the judiciary all deserve better.

In response, the court ordered the DOJ to provide lists of each affected illegal alien in each of the plaintiff states, required each DOJ attorney who practices in each of the plaintiff states to take additional legal ethics courses for a period of five years, and ordered the Attorney General to produce a comprehensive plan for ensuring that similar misconduct will not occur in the future. The court did not have the power to disbar the individual lawyers who made the misrepresentations, but it did revoke their permission to appear in the case.

The DOJ’s conduct is an example of lies compounding lawlessness. The Obama administration circumvented Congress by attempting mass-scale executive amnesty via memorandum, then its lawyers attempted to circumvent judicial accountability by lying to a federal judge. And through it all, the administration and its defenders are unashamed — because, after all, when it comes to matters of social justice, the ends justify the means.

Best Deals in Auto Parts

Sales and Deals in Beauty and Grooming

Deals in Jewelry

Robert Kagan of Brookings connects the success of Donald Trump in taking over the GOP to the fear that the Founders and de Tocqueville as well as Edmund Burke had of the tyranny of the majority leading to the man on horseback taking over the government.
Republican politicians marvel at how he has “tapped into” a hitherto unknown swath of the voting public. But what he has tapped into is what the founders most feared when they established the democratic republic: the popular passions unleashed, the “mobocracy.” Conservatives have been warning for decades about government suffocating liberty. But here is the other threat to liberty that Alexis de Tocqueville and the ancient philosophers warned about: that the people in a democracy, excited, angry and unconstrained, might run roughshod over even the institutions created to preserve their freedoms. As Alexander Hamilton watched the French Revolution unfold, he feared in America what he saw play out in France — that the unleashing of popular passions would lead not to greater democracy but to the arrival of a tyrant, riding to power on the shoulders of the people.
Kagan fears that this is the path that leads to fascism.
Fascist movements, too, had no coherent ideology, no clear set of prescriptions for what ailed society. “National socialism” was a bundle of contradictions, united chiefly by what, and who, it opposed; fascism in Italy was anti-liberal, anti-democratic, anti-Marxist, anti-capitalist and anti-clerical. Successful fascism was not about policies but about the strongman, the leader (Il Duce, Der F├╝hrer), in whom could be entrusted the fate of the nation. Whatever the problem, he could fix it. Whatever the threat, internal or external, he could vanquish it, and it was unnecessary for him to explain how. Today, there is Putinism, which also has nothing to do with belief or policy but is about the tough man who single-handedly defends his people against all threats, foreign and domestic.

To understand how such movements take over a democracy, one only has to watch the Republican Party today. These movements play on all the fears, vanities, ambitions and insecurities that make up the human psyche. In democracies, at least for politicians, the only thing that matters is what the voters say they want — vox populi vox Dei. A mass political movement is thus a powerful and, to those who would oppose it, frightening weapon. When controlled and directed by a single leader, it can be aimed at whomever the leader chooses. If someone criticizes or opposes the leader, it doesn’t matter how popular or admired that person has been. He might be a famous war hero, but if the leader derides and ridicules his heroism, the followers laugh and jeer. He might be the highest-ranking elected guardian of the party’s most cherished principles. But if he hesitates to support the leader, he faces political death.
Throughout history there have been people who have risen to power because those in power thought that they could use those figures' popularity with the people to maintain their control of government and power. It really ends well for those political manipulators behind the scenes. As I teach European history, the students start to see this pattern from Savonarola to Napoleon to Mussolini and Hitler. I don't truly see Trump as following the model of any of those men, but I would warn Republican leaders who think they can mold and control Trump to be very skeptical of being able to do so. Is there anything in his past that indicates that, once in power, he would be more respectful of the rule of law and checks and balances than he has appeared to be throughout his campaign? Or that he would be more interested in enacting conservative, small-government policies? Or limiting the power of the executive?

The media are doing their best
to get Bernie to just fade away. They are angry that he and his followers dare to continue to oppose their chosen candidate. Michael Walsh of PJ Media links to this tirade by Kurt Eichenwald on Newsweek's site.
Violence. Death threats. Vile, misogynistic names screamed at women. Rage. Hatred. Menacing, anonymous phone calls to homes and offices. Public officials whisked offstage by security agents frightened of the growing mob. None of this has any place in a political campaign. And the candidate who has been tolerating this obscene behavior among his supporters is showing himself to be unfit for office.

So, Senator Sanders, either get control of what is becoming your increasingly unhinged cult or get out of the race. Whatever respect sane liberals had for you is rapidly dwindling, and the damage being inflicted on your reputation may be unfixable. If you can’t even manage the vicious thugs who act in your name, you can’t be trusted to run a convenience store, much less the country.

When Bernie Sanders launched his presidential campaign, he seemed to be the kind of candidate who would inspire voters from the liberal blocs of the Democratic Party, push the party leftward and influence the future direction of politics—either as the nominee or as a force for change. But Sanders has increasingly signaled that he is in this race for Sanders, and day after day shows himself to be a whining crybaby with little interest in a broader movement. His vicious—and often ridiculous—attacks on the party whenever he doesn’t win a contest have inspired a level of ignorant fanaticism among a large swath of his supporters that is becoming more akin to what might be seen at an out-of-control rally for Donald Trump. Signs are emerging that the Sanders campaign is transmogrifying into the type of movement through which tyrants are born.
Gee, note any similarity to criticisms of Trump?

Featured Deals in Sports and Fitness

Today’s Deals at Amazon

Best-selling Vitamins

Perhaps you've already watched the video of Hillary Clinton lying for 13 minutes straight. It's gone viral with over seven million viewers.
The maker of that video is now warning that a similar video on Trump is next. I'm just surprised that such videos are just 13 minutes long.

It was so funny to see liberals' heads explodes in the light of the Washington Post poll finding that 90% of Native Americans asked did not find the name "Redskins" offensive.I was watching PTI yesterday and Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser both admitted that they had no idea that that is what a poll of Native Americans would have found. They were so sure that the word was as offensive to Native Americans that the "n" word would be to African Americans. Their amazement at the poll results demonstrated what a bubble they live in since a much-covered 2004 poll from the respected Annenberg Public Policy Center had found the exact same results with 90% of American Indians saying that they didn't find the word offensive. Redskins owner Dan Snyder has been citing that poll for years. Liberals have tried to downplay the Annenberg results ever since. Yet Kornheiser and Wilbon, two sports journalists who have or are living in Washington purport to be surprised when a poll duplicates the earlier results. Liberals are so sure that the word is offensive that they have closed their eyes to the fact that it, apparently, isn't all that offensive to those who they are so positive are the ones being offended. Both Wilbon and Kornheiser agreed that the Washington Post results effectively ended the campaign to force Snyder to change the name of his team. Paul Mirengoff at Powerline agrees,
The name-change project has been driven by left-winger Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Nation. Halbritter and certain others associated with the Oneida Nation have become rich thanks to casinos.

Their wealth and involvement in Democratic politics have gained them the influence they deploy in the effort to force the Redskins to change their name. However, as the Washington Post’s poll shows, Halbritter and his fellow casino-enriched tribe members are out of touch with ordinary American Indians.

Halbritter and others who make it their business to get worked up over very little will continue their crusade against the Redskins. They will argue that it is inappropriate for the name of a professional sports team to offend even a small percentage of a population that historically has been badly mistreated in America.

But the poll demolishes the only good argument for a forced name change. That argument isn’t that the name “Redskins” offends some people — as the last Indian quoted above says, nowadays you can find people who are offended by just about anything.

The potentially winning argument is that “Redskins” is a racial slur. But if 90 percent of those said to be victims of the alleged slur aren’t offended, this argument evaporates. How can a word that’s inoffensive to the supposed target be a slur?