Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cruising the Web

This is what I get for going to bed in the 8th inning with the Cubs down 5 to 2. I wrote my daughter that the entire city of Chicago would have to be talked down from the ledge. And then I missed one of the greatest championship 9th inning comebacks of all time. I guess I should have had more faith. Wow! Anything seems possible now!

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Here is a rare bit of good news for conservatives and all those interested in the rule of law. The job of Richard Cordray, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Board has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal court yesterday. As the WSJ writes,
This is a triumph for democratic accountability and thus individual liberty as envisioned by America’s founders. Writing for a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Brett Kavanaugh noted that under Article II of the Constitution “the President alone is responsible for exercising the executive power.” The President, unlike the many bureaucrats he oversees, must answer to voters.

The problem is that under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that created the consumer bureau, the director serves a five-year term, and the President can only fire the director for cause. While the Supreme Court has (unfortunately) blessed so-called independent agencies for decades, such agencies have traditionally been controlled by bipartisan commissions as a check on the power of any single person.

Because one man runs the powerful consumer bureau, the court observed that he “enjoys more unilateral authority than any other officer in any of the three branches of the U.S. Government, other than the President.” He also “possesses enormous power over American business, American consumers, and the overall U.S. economy.”

Mr. Cordray can issue new rules, determine how and when to enforce them, decide against whom they will be enforced, and dictate what sanctions and penalties to impose. As the appeals court points out, even judges can’t fully serve as a check on such broad powers. That’s because “judicial review serves as a constraint on illegal actions, but not on discretionary decisions within legal boundaries.”

This sweeping quasi-judicial, quasi-legislative authority in one man whom the President cannot fire is a clear violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers, and “a gross departure from settled historical practice,” said the court.
Finally, we see some check on the expanding administrative state.

Debra Sanders
has a good question for Hillary.
Trump was best when he challenged Clinton's self-serving story about her homebrew email server. "I take responsibility for using a personal email account," she responded. "Obviously, if I were to do it over again, I would not. I'm not making any excuses. It was a mistake. And I am very sorry about that." If there were a debate fairy, then I'd make one wish. Can someone please ask Clinton: What does it mean when you take responsibility? How is it different from when you do not take responsibility?

Devin Watkins at The Federalist writes about a man who did just what Hillary Clinton did and now he's in jail and she's on the verge of becoming president.
Police executed a warrant to search Harold Thomas Martin III’s home and found classified documents. Did police execute a warrant to search Clinton’s home? No, of course not.

What is the evidence against Martin? First, they found documents that “contained highly classified information of the United States, including Top Secret and Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (SCI).” Hillary Clinton’s server also contained eight email chains of Top Secret information and had emails classified as Special Access Programs an even more restricted subcategory of Sensitive Compartmented Information.

Six of the documents found in Martin’s house were “obtained from sensitive intelligence” including being produced “through sensitive government sources, methods, and capabilities.” Hillary Clinton’s emails contained spy satellite information on North Korean nuclear assets. It is hard to get more “being collected through sensitive government sources, methods and capabilities” than that.

The documents found in Martin’s home were marked classified, but so were the emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton....

According to Martin’s lawyer, “There is no evidence that Mr. Martin intended to betray his country,” and no further evidence of intent was provided by the criminal complaint. So the intent requirement for Harold Martin and Hillary Clinton is the same—both intended to keep the classified information in their home without authorization for that location.

So the question remains, why did Hillary Clinton get special treatment that a normal citizen like Mr. Martin would not get? Why wasn’t Hillary Clinton arrested and charged like Mr. Martin was?

Clinton Threatened More Than National Security
The sad thing is that the FBI’s treatment of Hillary Clinton may now bar any such treatment of someone like Martin. The Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment requires that everyone have “equal protection of the laws.” If the only material difference between Hillary Clinton and Harold Martin is that Clinton is the Democratic Party nominee, this means the FBI must treat them the same. If the FBI won’t charge Clinton with a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1924, the courts will not let the government charge other people under the same set of facts.

The Obama administration is announcing that "will consider a response that is proportional.” against Russia for its hacking. Of course, we don't know what that means or why we haven't done anything yet - or perhaps we have and we'll never know. But we may well be on the verge of a cyberwar that we seem ill prepared to fight. Since we are so much more dependent on our use of the internet, we're much more vulnerable than Russia is. This is scary stuff and I have no confidence that we will be victorious.

Tim Tebow is still a mensch.
Tim Tebow’s most impressive moment Tuesday came after his debut in the Arizona Fall League.

Tebow, who went 0-for-3 at the plate, was signing autographs when a fan suffered a seizure and lowered himself to the concrete ground.

The man remained remained alert and Tebow waited with him for about 15 minutes before paramedics arrived at Camelback Ranch stadium.

“They’re going to take good care of you, buddy,’’ Tebow said.

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This is the media bias that Republicans always knew existed.
The massive trove of emails by Clinton confidant John Podesta released by Wikileaks has exposed journalists from a variety of media organizations who are “with her.”

CNBC chief Washington correspondent and New York Times political writer John Harwood is the most prominent journalist who is cozy in the emails with the Clinton camp. The CNBC anchor is also the one who should arguably be the most embarrassed.

Harwood in several emails to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta showers Hillary in praise. Harwood in one email to Podesta says “[Hillary] was good here” after an event and in another describes her as “pretty strong.”

Worse than just showing his love for Hillary, Harwood in the emails helps the campaign. The CNBC anchor describes a story he is writing about Hillary as one “she wants.”

....Another email in the Wikileaks release shows that Donna Brazile, the current head of the Democratic National Committee, and then a CNN contributor tipped off the Clinton campaign on a question Hillary would receive in a town hall.

“From time to time I get the questions in advance,” Brazile wrote to Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri on March 12, 2016.

Brazile added, “Here’s one that worries me about [Hillary],” and gave Palmieri a question about the death penalty. The next day Hillary was asked about her stance on the death penalty during a CNN town hall.

CNN has not responded to a Daily Caller inquiry about if whether they ever shared town hall questions with Brazile, if so was it typical practice, and if they had any comment regarding Brazile sharing the questions with a campaign.

There has been much discussion on sports radio about why NFL ratings are down. I don't think it has much, if anything to do with protests of the Pledge of Allegiance. I think people who object to those protests will just tune in later. If they decide to boycott watching, they probably weren't going to watch much anyway.

Jim Weber has a column at Awful Announcing with a perceptive analysis of what is wrong. The NFL has gotten just too greedy and, in so doing, they've diluted the quality of their product.

And that wasn't all that Harwood bragged about.
In a December 2015 email to Podesta, Harwood bragged about his much-criticized debate performance in which he asked Trump “Let’s be honest, is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?”

Harwood titled the email “I imagine…” and continued the sentence in the body of the email, writing, “…that Obama feels some (sad) vindication at this demonstration of his years-long point about the opposition party veering off the rails.”

“I certainly am feeling that way with respect to how I questioned Trump at our debate,” Harwood continued.
How often do you think that happens that a journalist is basically crowing to a candidate's campaign about helping her out and zinging another candidate from the other party?

And does it surprise anyone but the most devoted Hillary fan that the State Department was channeling lucrative Haiti aid through "Friends of Bill"?
In a series of candid email exchanges with top Clinton Foundation officials during the hours after the massive 2010 Haiti earthquake, a senior aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly gave special attention to those identified by the abbreviations “FOB” (friends of Bill Clinton) or “WJC VIPs” (William Jefferson Clinton VIPs).

“Need you to flag when people are friends of WJC,” wrote Caitlin Klevorick, then a senior State Department official who was juggling incoming offers of assistance being funneled to the State Department by the Clinton Foundation. “Most I can probably ID but not all.”

....“Is this a FOB!” Klevorick writes later, when a Clinton Foundation aide forwards a woman’s offer of medical supplies. “If not, she should go to,” she adds, directing the person deemed not to be a Clinton friend to a general government website....

However noble the motives of the officials working to get supplies into Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, numerous messages show a senior aide to then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coordinating with a Clinton Foundation official to identify FOBs. The Clintons have said repeatedly that the State Department never gave favorable treatment to foundation supporters in Haiti or anywhere else.

“Nothing was ever done for anybody because they were contributors to the foundation,” Bill Clinton told CBS News’ Charlie Rose in September. “Nothing.”

The correspondence offers a glimpse into the first stages of a $10 billion Haiti recovery effort. The emails appear to show a State Department process that at times prioritized — and, some argue, benefited — people with close ties to the Clintons.

“I think when you look at both the State Department and the Clinton Foundation in Haiti, that line was pretty faint between the two,” said Jake Johnston, a Haiti analyst for the nonpartisan Center for Economic and Policy Research. “You had a lot of coordination and connection between the two, obviously. And I think that raises significant questions about how they were both operating.”

George Will reviews Nicholas Eberstadt's new book Men Without Work about the dismal employment picture for so many adult men in their prime working years who are just not working.

Since 1948, the proportion of men 20 and older without paid work has more than doubled, to almost 32 percent. This “eerie and radical transformation” — men creating an “alternative lifestyle to the age-old male quest for a paying job” — is largely voluntary. Men who have chosen to not seek work are two and a half times more numerous than men that government statistics count as unemployed because they are seeking jobs.

What Eberstadt calls a “normative sea change” has made it a “viable option” for “sturdy men,” who are neither working nor looking for work, to choose “to sit on the economic sidelines, living off the toil or bounty of others.” Only about 15 percent of men 25 to 54 who worked not at all in 2014 said they were unemployed because they could not find work.

For 50 years, the number of men in that age cohort who are neither working nor looking for work has grown nearly four times faster than the number who are working or seeking work. And the pace of this has been “almost totally uninfluenced by the business cycle.” The “economically inactive” have eclipsed the unemployed, as government statistics measure them, as “the main category of men without jobs.” Those statistics were created before government policy and social attitudes made it possible to be economically inactive.

Eberstadt does not say that government assistance causes this, but obviously it finances it. To some extent, however, this is a distinction without a difference. In a 2012 monograph, Eberstadt noted that in 1960 there were 134 workers for every one officially certified as disabled; by 2010 there were just over 16. Between January 2010 and December 2011, while the economy produced 1.73 million nonfarm jobs, almost half as many workers became disability recipients. This, even though work is less stressful and the workplace is safer than ever....

In 1965, even high-school dropouts were more likely to be in the workforce than is the 25 to 54 male today. And, Eberstadt notes, “the collapse of work for modern America’s men happened despite considerable upgrades in educational attainment.” The collapse has coincided with a retreat from marriage (“the proportion of never-married men was over three times higher in 2015 than 1965″), which suggests a broader infantilization. As does the use to which the voluntarily idle put their time — for example, watching TV and movies 5.5 hours daily, two hours more than men who are counted as unemployed because they are seeking work.
It is a terrible thing for a society to have healthy people choose not to work. This is the sort of deeply ingrained problem that we just won't hear politicians talk about.

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Students at the University of Michigan, beware. They're watching and judging you. And if you don't think correctly, you will be made to do so. This is extremely disturbing.
The University of Michigan is going to start using an “Intercultural Development Inventory” to monitor its students “cultural sensitivity levels” as part of its new $85 million diversity initiative — and it’s pretty clearly an irresponsible use of money.

The point of the inventory — which is explained in this very creepy video — is, according to the school website, to judge students’ “ability to shift cultural perspective and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences and commonalities,” give students a “customized learning plan and a variety of intercultural training opportunities designed to improve cross-cultural engagement by targeting specific areas for skill development and increased personal capacity” based on their answers, and then test them again later to see if they’ve “improved.”
Robby Soave at Reason comments,
It's always a plus to learn more about other cultures. But learning about them is one thing—accepting them as equally valid is quite another. Some people might think—rightly, in my view—that certain post-Enlightenment values of the West are actually morally superior to backward notions about, say, blasphemy, that are still quite popular in the Middle East. In any case, students shouldn't be required to accept the values of other cultures as a precondition of continuing to dwell on campus. Furthermore, the proper place to have conversations about cultural relativity is the classroom: university administrators have no business usurping the faculty and seeking to instruct students as to what they should and should not think.

The university will also spend more money researching diversity at UM, form two diversity committees, build a new multicultural center, and train staff. In total, the university will be spending $85 million on diversity efforts over the next five years.

Tuition increased 3.9 percent at UM this year, as the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's Derek Draplin noted.

There are two great ways to increased actual diversity at the university. One, lower tuition, so that disadvantaged students can actually afford to attend. Two, prioritize the hiring of faculty members who hold a diverse range of views (at most universities, this would mean hiring more conservative and libertarian professors).

UM, like so many other institutions, isn't actually committed to increasing diversity. It's committed to spending a lot of money on five-year-plans filled with meaningless buzzwords. And it's committed to contracting, rather than expanding, the range of acceptable opinions on campus.
I was just talking with a student today about dystopian novels. I can't stand them and was saying how depressing I found them. She finds them encouraging because they show her how lucky she is to be living now and all the freedoms she has. My thought was that life today seems to edge ever closer to some of these dystopian futures depicted in such novels. This story about the University of Michigan's efforts to make sure students think properly seems to be one step closer to instituting the Ludovico technique.