Recently in Politics, Government & Public Policy Category
At the root of legitimacy is the belief of the people that the government can and will protect their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. During the Obama administration it has become obvious that the authorities can't or won't protect us here at home.
Personally, I have great respect for our law enforcement agencies... but they can't be expected to make up for the disaster Bush, Obama, and Hillary created in the Middle East. We decided not to fight our enemies there, so now we're fight them here.
The most disturbing aspect of recent terror attacks is that the authorities were taken by surprise each time despite advance warning. This serial failure undercuts the administration's claim to competence.
This is something the non-expert public understands. Suppose someone came to you claiming he was a brain surgeon. Even if you were not a doctor but had questions only a brain surgeon could answer correctly, you could evaluate the "brain surgeon" by giving him one exam and another to the cleaning person in the hallway. If they scored the same, you would begin to suspect the brain surgeon might be fake.
If the cleaning person continually outscored the "brain surgeon," a rational employer would consider hiring that person as head of surgery, which possibly explains the rise of Donald Trump.
The administration's demand for more gun control crucially rests on the claim of competence.
The State Department's assertion that it will take 75 years to release emails in response to a Freedom of Information Act request makes a mockery of the law and spits in the face of transparency. Interagency reviews and classifications shouldn't supersede the right of Americans to know what government officials are up to. If the reviews can't be completed in the timely manner, then they should give way to transparency requirements.
The RNC has sued the State Department under FOIA, seeking all emails to or from four aides to former Secretary Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2013.
The State Department has claimed that the result would yield roughly 1.5 million pages of documents that it and other federal agencies would need to go through page by page.
The department claimed in a court filing last week trying to kill the lawsuit that the emails are "complex" and include "classified documents and interagency communications that could have to be referred to other agencies for their review."
After discussion with the government, the RNC offered to impose some limits on the subject matter and dates of the emails of three aides, to pare the list of emails down to roughly 450,000 pages.
Because the State Department expected that it could process roughly 500 pages per month, processing all 450,000 pages would take 900 months, or 75 years.
Sanders knows at this point that he can't win the nomination outright from Hillary, so why does he keep fighting? Why does he promise to go all the way to the convention? Because he wants to make sure that when Hillary withdraws he's in position to take her place.
Meanwhile, former Bill Clinton advisor and pollster Douglas Schoen gave the strongest signal yet in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week ("Clinton may not be the nominee") that worried backstage huddles in the Democratic party establishment are reaching fever pitch. The article's floating of the idea of a Joe Biden-Elizabeth Warren substitute ticket (which I've been privately predicting to friends all year) is so evenly and magisterially phrased that I wondered if the text had been vetted by an approving White House. So this may be why Bernie Sanders (my candidate) has gone into overdrive--not to damage Hillary, as her acolytes spitefully claim, but to fight off the tactical insertion of Biden at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. Sanders could rightly claim, on the basis of his long and strenuous primary campaign, that if anyone deserves the nomination vacated by a tarnished Hillary, it is he. If Sanders does defer to Biden, it will only be via enormous concessions, beginning with the unceremonious removal of devious DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
It seems likely to me that after the California vote next Tuesday and before the convention, the major players will negotiate some kind of arrangement that accomplishes the following:
- Hillary drops out
- Hillary gets a pardon "for the good of the country"
- Sanders drops out in exchange for "enormous concessions"
- Joe Biden swoops in
The real question is, though, why would Sanders drop out for anything? Presumably the Dems have tried to blackmail him by now and have failed. What concessions would really be worth giving up a chance at the presidency?
The number of Latinos who support Donald Trump is greater than zero. The Left and media are trying very hard to paint Trump as a racist, when really he is more of a nationalist. Nationalism has ugliness in its own history, but is distinct from racism.
Taking Trump at his word, he wants to put "America first" -- which means ahead of Mexico and Mexican citizens, but not to the detriment of American Latinos. I can't recall Trump ever speaking negatively about Latinos, although he has denigrated Mexicans and Mexico. (I completely disavow Trump and his anti-Mexican sentiments.)
Is this distinction between ethnicity and nationality a needle Trump can thread? Trump is not known for his subtlety and finesse. However, if he is able to capture even slightly more Latinos (and blacks) than Romney did in 2012 he will pull the rug out from Hillary. He doesn't need to win every Latino, or even a plurality, to win the presidency.
"My name is Angelo Gomez and I have something very clear to say to the liberal media and Hillary Clinton: yes, I'm an American Latino who supports Donald Trump.
"Yes, I come from a family rooted in immigrants and I support Donald J. Trump to be the next president of the United States.
"I support Donald Trump with every ounce of my being," Gomez says, "for the very reasons that this country, that the Constitution, that this flag behind me was founded upon and that's putting the American people first. That's putting this country first."
He adds, "Hillary Clinton is the face of an incompetent politician who has lied to, who has cheated, and who has gotten Americans killed.
"If we get this wrong, our country will no longer be here for the future generations," Gomez says.
The video shows dozens of Latinos at rallies and around the country supporting Trump.
Says Democrat pollster Peter Hart about Hillary Clinton. But don't fret: Hillary's campaign is working hard to rehabilitate her image.
To counter these challenges, Clinton is relying primarily on the prospect that her likely Republican opponent's weaknesses are even greater. But advisers also are working to soften her stiff public image by highlighting her compassion and to combat perceptions about trustworthiness and authenticity by playing up her problem-solving abilities.
Too bad she didn't start working on her image 25 years ago! It's too bad these "perceptions about trustworthiness and authenticity" only surfaced recently.
said Justin Shur, the former deputy chief of the Justice Department's public integrity section.
"Regardless of whether the charging decision is supported by the facts and the law, there's always someone who will suggest there was a political agenda behind it."
Maybe this wouldn't be true if the bureaucracy hadn't been so politicized during the Obama administration?
Is it too much to ask that the law simply be applied as written, without regard for the political power of the person being investigated?
Kurt Schlichter has a hilarious future-retrospective looking back at how Trump beat Hillary. The best parts are the made-up Trump quotes.
Hillary tried to compete using free media, but her condescending, bitter demeanor made her a ratings albatross. And Trump bored right in: "No one's watching her. Really, look at her. She's like a first wife. Nag, nag, nag. No, seriously, I love my first wife, and my second, but really, no one wants to hear Hillary's complaining. Can you imagine four years of this, of her in the White House nagging us for four years? Naggin' Hillary! And Crooked Hillary! Naggin', crooked Hillary! Sad!" That was in August. By then the polls were effectively tied. ...
Hillary finally agreed to a debate, and it was a disaster. She was prim, prepared, and utterly stiff while Trump was loose, limber, and lacerating. She called him sexist, and he went for the throat: "I love women, not like your husband did, which was very shameful and which you tolerated. And a lot of young people who weren't around then don't know about how you covered up when Bill behaved very badly to women but when they learn about it it's going to be very bad for you because you were very bad to the women. And everyone knows if you weren't a woman you wouldn't even be here. Sad!"
Later, in an exchange on global warming, Trump made one of the comments that was supposed to be a campaign-ender and instead it simply slid off him: "I don't know if there is global warming but I'll tell you I like the idea of global warming because when it's warmer beautiful women wear bikinis and we all enjoy that, but then some women who shouldn't might wear them too." He was staring at Hillary as he spoke the last clause.
With seven months to go, Trump is leading Clinton in the polls.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds Trump with 41% support to Clinton's 39%. Fifteen percent (15%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
This is the first time Trump has led the matchup since last October. Clinton held a 41% to 36% advantage in early March.
Trump now has the support of 73% of Republicans, while 77% of Democrats back Clinton. But Trump picks up 15% of Democrats, while just eight percent (8%) of GOP voters prefer Clinton, given this matchup. Republicans are twice as likely to prefer another candidate.
Among voters not affiliated with either major party, Trump leads 37% to 31%, but 23% like another candidate. Nine percent (9%) are undecided.
I tend to agree with Scott Adams who thinks that Trump will ultimately win, but unlike Adams my record of prediction is terrible. Still, I enjoy being contrarian: 86% of campaign reporters think Hillary will win.
To many people it seems far-fetched that the right to bear arms that is enshrined in the Second Amendment is intended to empower citizens to protect themselves from tyranny -- but it is. And America has a sad history with tyranny. We're not immune, and we citizens need guns to protect our liberties.
"Do you really think that it could happen here?" remains a favorite refrain of the modern gun-control movement. Alas, the answer should be a resounding "Yes." For most of America's story, an entire class of people was, as a matter of course, enslaved, beaten, lynched, subjected to the most egregious miscarriages of justice, and excluded either explicitly or practically from the body politic. We prefer today to reserve the word "tyranny" for its original target, King George III, or to apply it to foreign despots. But what other characterization can be reasonably applied to the governments that, ignoring the words of the Declaration of Independence, enacted and enforced the Fugitive Slave Act? How else can we see the men who crushed Reconstruction? How might we view the recalcitrant American South in the early 20th century? "It" did "happen here." And "it" was achieved -- in part, at least -- because its victims were denied the very right to self-protection that during the Revolution had been recognized as the unalienable prerogative of "all men."
When, in 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney buttoned his Dred Scott v. Sandford opinion with the panicked warning that if free blacks were permitted to become American citizens they might begin "to keep and carry arms wherever they went," he was signaling his support for a disgraceful status quo within which suppression of the right to bear arms was depressingly quotidian. Indeed, until the late 1970s, the history of American gun control was largely inextricable from the history of American racism. Long before Louisiana was a glint in Thomas Jefferson's eye, the French "Black Codes" mandated that any black person found with a "potential weapon" be not only deprived of that weapon but also beaten for his audacity. British colonies, both slaveholding and free, tended to restrict gun ownership to whites, with even the settlements at Massachusetts and Plymouth prohibiting Indians from purchasing or owning firearms. Throughout the South, blacks were denied weapons. The intention of these rules was clear: to remove the means by which undesirables might rebel or resist, and to ensure that the majority maintained its prerogatives. In 1834, alarmed by Nat Turner's rebellion in Virginia, Tennessee amended its state constitution to make this purpose unambiguous, clarifying that the "right to keep and to bear arms" applied not to "the freemen of this State" -- as the 1794 version of the document had allowed -- but to "the free white men of this State."
So says Speaker Paul Ryan, explicitly ruling himself out as an option for the Republicans. However, don't miss the subtext: the Democrats are stuck with Hillary and Bernie.
"I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee -- to be the president -- you should actually run for it," said Mr. Ryan, who will be the convention chairman. "I chose not to. Therefore, I should not be considered. Period. I just think it would be wrong to go any other way."
Ryan is proficient at political brinksmanship, and perhaps he has concluded that the country (and party) is most likely to prosper if both Republicans and Democrats are saddled with their current candidates. If he accepted the nomination -- or even flirted with it seriously -- he would open the door for Joe Biden or another Democrat to swoop in and save the Democrats from Hillary or Bernie.
So writes David Lightman about the rubes in St. Louis.
Clinton was paid $675,000 for three Goldman Sachs speeches behind closed doors in the years after she left her job as secretary of state in 2013. She demanded transcripts be kept, and so far refuses to release them publicly.
Andrew Williams, Goldman Sachs spokesman, explained, "Clinton spoke at conferences that we hosted for clients. We host literally hundreds of conferences around the world and continually search for fascinating speakers." Such speeches are commonplace, he said, and singling out Clinton's talk is "misleading."
I think most people can "fathom" why the Clintons get paid more than the value of an average American house for a 30-minute speech: it's a bribe. It's buying the favor of some of the most powerful people in the world. That isn't hard to understand.
(HT: Ed Driscoll.)
It's hard to think of a stronger endorsement for Trump than the numerous Wall Streeters who don't like him.
"I can't find connective tissue between the financial sector and Trump," said one senior industry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being seen publicly questioning Trump. ...
"Wall Street works in close collaboration between policymakers and markets, and Trump is a disrupter," said Peter Kenny, a 20-year Wall Street veteran. "Just because he's a billionaire does not mean that he is part of the team."
What's more, the short snippet about Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank strikes me as complimentary.
Trump had personally guaranteed $40 million of Deutsche's $640 million construction loan for the project. When a payment came due in November 2008, the billionaire asked for an extension. Deutsche refused, and Trump sued for $3 billion, condemning the bank's "predatory lending practices."
Deutsche countersued and did not hold back in asking that Trump's suit be thrown out. "Trump is no stranger to an overdue debt," the company said in one filing. "This suit is classic Trump."
Trump and Deutsche Bank, which declined to comment for this article, finally reached an agreement in August 2010 that extended the loan for five years. It has since been paid off.
Eventually both sides patched things up. Trump and his daughter Ivanka are building a $200 million luxury hotel at the Old Post Office Pavilion in the District. Trump has said he is investing $42 million of his own money into the project.
There is just one loan: $170 million from Deutsche Bank.
I wonder if Trump will be able to mend fences with the Republican elites and general voters who don't like him now?
I agree with law professor Glenn Reynolds: it's bad that American is entirely dominated by lawyers. Put some non-lawyers on the Supreme Court.
But law is supposed to govern everyone's actions, and everyone is supposed to understand it. ("Ignorance of the law," as we are often told, "is no excuse.") But when the Supreme Court is composed of narrowly specialized former judges from elite schools, the likelihood that the law will be comprehensible to ordinary people and non-lawyers seems pretty small. (In addition, a recent book by my University of Tennessee colleague Ben Barton makes a pretty strong case that lawyer-judges systematically favor the sort of legal complexity that, shockingly, makes lawyers rich. He, too, recommends non-lawyer judges, which, as he notes, are common in other nations and were common in colonial America.)
The Supreme Court is one-third of the federal government, and the other two branches, Congress and the presidency, are already dominated by lawyers. But there are hundreds of millions of Americans who aren't lawyers, and surely some of them are smart enough to decide important questions, given that the Constitution and laws are aimed at all of us. Shouldn't we open the court up to a little diversity?
Michael Barone continues, "I suspected that Southern blacks tend to be more socially connected, especially through churches, than Northern blacks."
I thought of all these things, too! And so many more things. Smart things. So many smart things that I don't have time to write them all down! But when I see someone else come along behind me and write down something that I've already thought of, it prompts me to point out to everyone that I had that thought first. Just for the sake of historical accuracy.
The Republican elites are making plans to prevent the nomination of Donald Trump. Unfortunately, they completely misdiagnose the illness in the party.
Other governors voiced exasperation not only at the prospect of a Trump nomination but also at the political culture that gave rise to his candidacy.
"We've got this Enquirer magazine mentality," Gov. Gary R. Herbert of Utah said in an interview. "We are subject to this reality-TV voyeurism that is taking place. Fast-food headlines, no substance, all flash. The Twitter atmosphere out there, snarky comments on email, Snapchat. Everything is superficial. . . . We've got to wake up, America."
To these governors, the problem is the voters, the media, the culture... never themselves. It's impossible for them to recognize that Trump's rise was fueled by the persistent refusal of the Republican elite to listen to the will of the members of their party. This willful blindness is why Trump is running so strong.
Kurt Schlichter writes that Republican elites have no one but themselves to blame for Trump's rise.
Think of this as, in large part, the struggle between the haves and have nots of globalization. Amnesty was a great idea for bubble people who think illegal immigration satisfies some sort of libertarian ideal, or who only experience its impact by being able to hire a cheaper nanny. It's a pretty great idea for the illegals too. But leave your nice neighborhood and go where a high school grad who was born here can't get a job as a roofer since any general contractor who doesn't hire illegals is going to go broke because his competition will. Tell somebody whose daughter is shot dead in front of him by an illegal who got arrested five times but never got deported that it's an act of love.
If we had built the damn wall we promised our base back then, we probably wouldn't have that damn Trump now.
Free trade is great, in a macro sense. It sure helps enrich the donor class. But go tell the guy who lost his $25 an hour job because NAFTA let Carrier move its air conditioning plant to Mexico about Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose." What's he free to choose? Long-term unemployment? Making a fake Social Security disability claim? Or taking a job greeting at Wal-Mart for $8 an hour?
Immigration and free trade are generally good, but they impose real costs and our base is getting handed the bill. These folks have been asking us for help, and what was our response? Shut up, stupid racists. Well, they finally found someone who is taking their side. His name is Donald Trump, and we made him possible. Hell, we made him inevitable.
Seems right to me.
Allahpundit writes that thanks to early voting, Cruz has no chance to win Florida, making it a likely win for Trump no matter what Rubio does.
You can see what sort of dynamic is shaping up here and why Trump stands to benefit most from it. A private poll taken yesterday of Florida had the race Trump 35, Rubio 30, Cruz 16. It seems safe to assume, after last night's results, that some Rubio voters will conclude that Cruz is the only game in town now if you want to beat Trump. Their votes will shift -- but others will stay put due to Rubio's stronger-than-usual support in his own backyard. And don't forget: Thanks to early voting, many votes in Florida have already been banked for Rubio (and for Trump, of course). Even if his fans choose to desert him and vote strategically for Cruz, there may be five or six percent already on the books that are committed to Rubio and can't be changed. What's shaping up here, in other words, is a dynamic where Cruz wins a bigger share of the vote in Florida than everyone expects but not so much that he manages to consolidate all of Rubio's support, especially once you factor early voting in, thus producing ... a narrow Trump victory, possibly along the lines of Trump 37, Rubio 29, Cruz 25. In a state that awards its delegates proportionally, that would be no big deal. Trump would finish with an extra 10 delegates or whatever. But Florida is winner-take-all; if the vote goes the way I'm imagining, with conservatives stalemated between Cruz and Rubio, Trump gets 99 delegates for his trouble. That alone is eight percent of the total he needs to clinch the nomination. It'd be a disaster for anti-Trumpers.
Scott Adams makes a strong point: if you're losing, you need to take chances if you want to win. You can afford to play it safe when you're in the lead.
Do you want more risk?
Generally speaking, you want to avoid risk when things are going well and accept risk when things are totally broken. If you think the country is doing well, and will continue to do so, Hillary Clinton is an excellent choice on the left, as is Marco Rubio on the right. They will keep things mostly the same.
But if you think government is rigged against your interests, and unlikely to improve on its own, you want a bloodless revolution. And the candidate you hire for the revolution is likely to have rough edges.
Still, I think I prefer Tex Cruz, the less erratic antiestablishmentarian. I disavow all of Trump's racist, xenophobic, crazy remarks.