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Friday, February 05, 2016

Cruising the Web

Charles Krauthammer derides the idea that some candidates are "establishment" and that Trump represents the anti-establishment.
The threat to the GOP posed by the Trump insurgency is not that he’s anti-establishment. It’s that he’s not conservative. Trump winning the nomination would convulse the Republican Party, fracture the conservative movement and undermine the GOP’s identity and role as the country’s conservative party.

There’s nothing wrong with challenging the so-called establishment. Parties, like other institutions, can grow fat and soft and corrupt. If by establishment you mean the careerists, the lobbyists and the sold-out cynics, a good poke, even a major purge, is well-deserved.

That’s not the problem with Trump. The problem is his, shall we say, eclectic populism. Cruz may be anti-establishment but he’s a principled conservative, while Trump has no coherent political philosophy, no core beliefs, at all. Trump offers barstool eruptions and whatever contradictory “idea” pops into his head at the time, such as “humane” mass deportation, followed by mass amnesty when the immigrants are returned to the United States.
Now that Trump and Cruz are taking each other on, we can see that there are clear political differences on policy and affect between them. And Cruz's victory in Iowa over Trump is a victory of conservatism over populism.

Rush Limbaugh continues
his defense of Marco Rubio as a true conservative despite people's concerns about Rubio as the supposed "establishment" favorite.
Rubio is somebody whose life story and ideology are much closer to Reagan than, say, a Mitt Romney or a McCain or take your pick of whoever, Bob Dole, the establishment people happen to love. And I know that a lot of people are very nervous about Marco Rubio because of the Gang of Eight and Rubio's out there saying (paraphrasing), "I don't think we have enough support in our party alone to get elected president. We're gonna have to branch out." Some people look at Rubio as an interventionist in foreign policy, which, to them, means globalist.

I understand the fears people have of Rubio. And I understand the conservative contrasts that can be made between Rubio and Cruz. There's no question that you can make that contrast, that one, Cruz is top to bottom, checkmark after checkmark after checkmark no doubt is Ted Cruz a conservative. I understand Rubio's given people reason to be less confident, Gang of Eight bill alone, the argument over whether or not he does favor ultimately, at the end of everything, amnesty. I understand all of that.
Limbaugh goes on to assert that he's in opposition to the GOP establishment, but he doesn't include Rubio in that category. Limbaugh adds together the votes of Cruz, Rubio, and Carson it demonstrates that over 60% of Iowans voted for conservative ideals. And he refutes the idea that the true establishment candidates are the governors, not Rubio.
By that I mean the RNC, the GOP, the elites, inside-the-Beltway cadre, whatever. If they had their druthers, it would be Jeb, and then after that it would be Christie, and after that it would be... I mean, some of them might even want to glom onto Kasich. But Rubio is the last chance they got to have a horse in the game. I don't know if Rubio wants to take it and run with it as that, but I'm just talking about in a vacuum. Vacuums don't exist. But Rubio just, as he stands and is. I listened to his speech after the Iowa caucus.

I did not hear somebody embarrassed of or afraid of conservatism, conservative ideology. I heard somebody, on the contrary, who understands it, who can articulate it cheerfully, happily, confidently. The idea to peg this guy as an establishment type, knowing what that really means, is just something that doesn't compute with me.
Limbaugh says that he doesn't want to "throw people out" for once issue like immigration and then goes on to recount a conversation that he had with Rubio on Monday morning in which Rubio told him how frustrated he is in the Senate and that is why he is leaving it.
Not word-for-word, but thematically I've heard the same thing, how frustrating it is that the only thing anybody in the Senate cares about from morning to night is reelection and maintaining their position. He said, "I'm not staying there. I'm out. If I don't win the presidency, I'm going to the private sector. Not politics. I don't want to stay in the Senate 30 years. I don't want to have to stay there that long to acquire any power. The place is just not built for somebody that wants to move as quickly as I do." It's what he told me.

Now, there isn't an establishment person in the world that wants out of it. There isn't an establishment power broker that wants out. The reason for their existence is to be in the club and to climb the ladder of success in the club and to be anointed by your betters and elders in the club and be given a hand up. And Cruz has told me the same thing. Cruz has talked about it publicly. Cruz took it public with his direct criticism of McConnell and the claim that McConnell lied to his face about a number of things. They can't get anything done there.

They can't get anything done there as conservatives because the place doesn't have very many. But besides that, it doesn't have an agenda anyway, other than self-preservation. So they said. Both of them have said this to me, and they're not the only ones. I've heard it from members of Congress. The Republican freshman class of 1994? Those are the people that made me an honorary member. Within, what was it, four terms, they were all gone? They were all dynamic private sector successes, and they showed up with fire in the belly and they were gonna reform the place --and after two terms, they got out.
Limbaugh comes as close as he does as endorsing Rubio because he thinks Rubio is a true conservative who can unite the various constituencies of the Republican Party. He still likes Cruz, but the fact that he has now devoted two days defending Rubio shows that he's on the conservative train and would support any candidate whom he regards as a "legitimate, full-throated conservative." And Limbaugh has finally realized that Trump is not a conservative. And Rubio is reaping the benefits. And, of course, his Super PAC has rushed to put out an online ad highlighting Rush's praise. We'll see how long it takes to get a shorter version on TV.

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Now that Trump is campaigning in New Hampshire as if he's all in and doing five events a day instead of just one, he's letting it all hang out. CBS highlights how expletive-filled his rants are in his speeches. The crowd apparently loved it because throwing in a few expletives shows he's really, really strong. Instead of saying anything the least specific about what he'll do to contend with China or ISIS, he just lets a few swear words rip and that should be enough. It rather reminds me of some teenagers I hear speak who substitute expletives for content. And that sounds a bit like Donald Trump.

Guy Benson and Byron York highlight the CEO wisdom that Trump has brought to his campaign.
He's always promising us that he'll put the best people in charge and solve the nation's problems and he doesn't need to know what he'll do to address problems because all he needs to do is pick the best people and put them in charge. But, as Politico reports, Trump ignored the advice that his advisers gave him and refused to put the money in necessary to establish a ground game in Iowa. He didn't put the money in early enough to buy a data program to use analytics target voters. But apparently Trump didn't even know what that term meant. Benson writes,
That sounds an awful lot like a clueless rookie pol stubbornly ignoring good advice from allies, while his under-equipped staff assured him that everything was copacetic -- and he blithely went along. Or at least that's what he's claiming now. Once his "whatever, I'm famous!" approach blew up in his face, he started blaming unnamed "people" (the very best!) for failing him, while tossing out ludicrous, unsubstantiated allegations of "fraud," and threatening to sue.

Mark Steyn has long thought that corruption would be a major theme of this election. And the results from the Democrats in Iowa continue the taint that has stuck to their party throughout Obama's administration.
Unfortunately, the system that produces the candidate is itself a sewer. Sixteen years after the chad-diviners of Florida we now have the coin-flippers of Iowa. The Des Moines Register, which endorsed Hillary Clinton pre-caucus, is post-caucus calling for a "complete audit" of the vote to establish whether she actually won it - as the maniacal cackler has been going around bragging about ever since.

I would say it is almost certain that she did not win it. But whether anyone can know for sure is more doubtful. The Democrats run their end of the Iowa caucus as a folksier version of the union block vote in the old British Labour Party. No actual vote tallies are released, just the numbers of SDEs - or "state delegate equivalents". Whatever that means it doesn't mean delegates to the summer convention. It's just some term of art the Iowa Dems use as a substitute for actual votes of actual citizens. On Monday night it was reported that SDE-wise Bernie Sanders had won 695 and Hillary 693. Which sounds like Bernie won.

But SDEs are themselves calculated via a larger number of county delegates, of whom six were decided by a coin flip, all of which Hillary won. So the net result is that Hillary beat Bernie by four SDEs.

If Iowa were one of those banana republics in which the president-for-life has been prevailed upon to hold an election and Jimmy Carter and a bunch of UN observers had flown in to certify it, none of the above would pass muster. But in the Democrat Party it does....

But Democrats are used to that smell. Whether Bernie's social justice youth corps is willing to put up with it is another matter.

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President Obama went to a mosque that has been investigated for terrorism and lectured Americans on tolerance. Wasn't there a more moderate mosque, one that has spoken out forcefully against Islamic terrorism that they could have chosen? David Harsanyi points out the fallacies in the President's words.
Acceptance of outsiders is an American virtue, yes. Do we have to embrace all ideas, as well? Obama has conflated tolerance of individuals and groups with tolerance of a select belief system — one that he demands be immune from criticism.

We certainly don’t want people attacking peaceful Muslims, but it’s irresponsible and intellectually obtuse to act as if the pervasive violence, misogyny, homophobia, child abuse, tyranny, anti-Semitism, bigotry against Christians, etc. that exists in large parts of Islamic society abroad has absolutely nothing to do with faith.

Yesterday, Obama spoke about the evils of Islamophobia to a group that featured women covered, subordinated, and segregated from men. I’m happy he’s open-minded about that sort of thing. Americans are free to practice their faith in any way they choose. But I’m not sure why all of us should feel obligated to celebrate this kind of narrow-mindedness as well. You will remember how offended liberals get when presidential candidates visit Bob Jones University or Mormons fund campaigns they find objectionable. Why is this different?

We don’t need the president gratuitously attacking an entire religion. But most liberals, as you know, won’t even allow that terrorism and extremism have something to do with Islam. Obama hits this note quite often, but this week John Kerry, the Imam of Beacon Hill, said this about ISIS: “And they are also above all apostates, people who have hijacked a great religion and lie about its real meaning and lie about its purpose and deceive people in order to fight for their purposes.”

Kerry has no more theological authority to brand someone an apostate of Islam than King Salman of Saudi Arabia has to consecrate the Eucharist. Not even moderate Sunni clerics make this claim. Yet, over and over, leftists try and detach the branches of Islam they dislike from the trunk so they can call you a bigot for attacking their idealized conception of Islam.

Yesterday, the president explained that an “attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths.” Christian communities, often older than Islam itself, have been decimated by Islamic groups and left unprotected by moderate Muslim governments for decades. These attacks are aimed Christians. We have done nothing to help them. It is then completely rational for Christians to be apprehensive about Islam. We can see Europe’s assimilation problems — which the Muslim community here has largely avoided — and wonder how this theology and culture will adapt to secularism. It’s not narrow-minded to do so. It would be reckless not to.

“We have to respect the fact that we have freedom of religion,” claimed a president who believes forcing nuns (and everyone) to buy birth control comports with American values. There is no law in this country that inhibits the freedom of Muslim Americans to practice their religion freely. Not one.

I’m unsure if the president understands that hearing things you don’t like does not constitute an attack on freedom. People say ugly things all the time. No crime is acceptable, but Muslims have experienced far fewer hate crimes than blacks, Jews, or gays. Any way you want to parse the numbers there is no epidemic of Islamophobia.

But Obama likes to create the impression that some great injustice is occurring here.
I was also struck at the hypocrisy of the President to celebrate a mosque that segregates women and demonizes gays while his party goes ape when someone like Brendan Eich contributes to Prop 8 in California. How come the same logic doesn't apply?

Now they're telling us not to have any faith in New Hampshire's polls. They might be just as misleading as the Iowa polls turned out to be.
Pollsters and other observers surveyed by POLITICO this week pointed to a number of reasons why New Hampshire is such a uniquely difficult state to poll. Chief among them: The volatility in the electorate that persists right up until voting begins.

“People are moving around from candidate to candidate,” said Dante Scala, an assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire and author of a book on the state’s first-in-the-nation primary. “I think if you called the same person in two successive nights, you might get two different answers of who they like.”

....“It comes very soon after Iowa, which is a major news event,” warned Steve Koczela, the president of the MassINC Polling Group, which polls the state for WBUR-FM, the Boston-area NPR affiliate. “Any time you do a poll right after a major news event, you can expect changes. And the New Hampshire primary comes right during those changes.”

That leaves those polling New Hampshire with a limited window. They want to measure changes since Iowa, but the news organizations that commission those polls don’t necessarily want to wait until the last minute. (Besides, some pollsters believe releasing horse-race polls on Election Day is an unethical practice that could unfairly influence results.)
And then there are the problems with independents who can vote in either primary. Who knows if they'll be more excited about voting for Bernie Sanders or come to vote in the GOP mash-up.
Smith, however, insists Koczela and others are making too much of the independent factor. “Most of them are partisans,” he said. “They vote consistently partisan – and vote consistently in their party’s primary.”

Another complication: The sheer number of polls and calls from campaigns in the state has left voters dreading the ringing of their telephones.

“People in New Hampshire are inundated with calls and information and requests on their time,” said UMass-Lowell pollster Joshua Dyck. “It’s not only pollsters calling voters, it’s also campaigns calling voters.”

Yet there are also ways in which polling New Hampshire is an easier endeavor than Iowa. Pollsters cited the extremely high turnout rates for presidential primaries in New Hampshire, which can draw more than half the eligible voters. (In Iowa, on the other hand, fewer than one-in-five active voters participated in Monday’s caucuses.)

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Jonah Goldberg warns Republicans from throwing around the "Republican Obama" label at Marco Rubio as if it's the worst thing that can be said.
Which brings us back to this whole “Republican Obama” thing. For Scarborough, not to mention Jeb Bush and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the charge that Rubio is a Republican Obama is meant to be a scathing indictment of Rubio’s inexperience. But that may not be the way everyone hears it. They might hear: “He’s a Republican who can win.”

Moreover, while conservatives have rightly faulted President Obama for not being up to the job, particularly when it comes to foreign policy, that indictment isn’t the one most on the right focus on. Rather, conservatives have been told, with good reason, that Obama has been a hugely effective progressive ideologue.

While Obama has been something of a disaster for the Democratic party in terms of congressional and state offices, he still got Obamacare. He also helped steer same-sex marriage to a victory at the Supreme Court, a court where his two ideologically left-wing appointees sit. His EPA helped kill the coal industry while he’s poured billions in subsidies into wind and solar boondoggles.

No Republican wants to emulate Obama’s many failures, but few wouldn’t love to emulate his successes – in a conservative way.

The point is, it depends what you mean by a Republican Obama. For instance, when Cruz was elected to the Senate, many conservatives hoped – and many liberals feared – that he would be a Republican Obama.

My National Review colleague Jay Nordlinger wrote back in 2009, before Cruz was elected, “Is he our Obama – a Republican Obama? Well, he is far less slippery than our new president. But there are similarities – especially where communications skills are concerned.”

Every candidate’s record is fair game. But by their very nature, arguments about a politician’s record are arguments about the past. Rubio and Cruz – or as I like to call them, Los Hermanos Cubanos – can frame their candidacies on the future. In a year when a majority of Americans – and a super-majority of Republicans – think the country is on the wrong track, that’s an advantage.

As Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen wrote last year, “Those who dismiss Cruz as a ‘Republican Obama’ should not forget what we call Obama today: Mr. President.”

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Marco Rubio's opponents are attacking him as a lightweight who has accomplished nothing. Christie loves to bring up that he's a governor so he's had to make tough decisions unlike senators do. Byron York examines the question to try to figure out whose accomplishments are bigger. Much has been made of Rick Santorum going on Morning Joe to be grilled by Joe Scarborough (who seems to detest Rubio) and not being able to answer a question on Rubio's accomplishments. Rubio himself rolls out a response mentioning how he helped shepherd a bill to limit eminent domain abuse in Florida and has pushed for VA reform and killing the Obamacare bailout of insurance companies as well as voting more sanctions on Hezbollah and working for a bill to address human trafficking. Somehow, the Gang of Eight bill doesn't make it into his list. That continues to be a problem for him, but it's not clear that Jeb Bush, Christie, or Kasich have different approaches to immigration. As York points out, Cruz also has a short list of accomplishments.
Cruz has faced these questions before. Last year, Fox's Megyn Kelly asked him, "What have you actually accomplished?" and Cruz said his main achievement was keeping President Obama from implementing some of his agenda. "What we've accomplished over and over again, in many instances, is stopping bad things from happening," Cruz said, pointing to Obama's unsuccessful effort to tighten gun controls. (By the way, Kelly wasn't satisfied with Cruz's answer, telling him, "When you're the leader, when you're the president ... you just can't be somebody who stops things, you actually have to be somebody who gets things through.")
He should probably add in the cases he argued successfully before the Supreme Court.
epublican governors tend to have more substantive accomplishments they can point to; it's just the nature of heading the executive branch versus being part of the legislature. But the GOP governor with the biggest and most recent accomplishment, Scott Walker, has long exited the race. The others — Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, John Kasich — are scrambling to get a foothold. As this New Hampshire week goes on, the candidates will continue to take aim at each others' accomplishments. But there's not a lot to go on.
Of course, the governors would like everyone to notice the comparisons between Obama, a backbencher of a junior senator with Cruz and Rubio. But sometimes the question is not what they have accomplished, but what they want to accomplish.

Hint to young women - don't go to the Carnival in Cologne. A female journalist was actually groped while she was broadcasting live. So think of what is happening for those for whom attacks will not be captured on video.
A report released by Cologne police on Friday morning said that there had been 18 sexual assaults, up to and including rape, in the city on the first night of carnival.

Police said they had arrested 181 people over the course of the night, stepping in early to nip confrontations in the bud.

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Cruising the Web

Given that Ted Cruz has a liking for reading Dr. Seuss aloud, I have a suggestion for the next Dr. Seuss book he can read to the public as he responds to Donald Trump's malarkey.

That doesn't mean that the Cruz campaign wasn't clearly playing all the angles in Iowa. It was a bit nasty to jump all over the announcement that Carson was leaving the state and to imply that he was going to drop out. And I didn't like his vote shaming flyer that was disguised as a mailing from the Iowa government. Sure, it's an old-time voting technique that lots of other campaigns have done, but it's still distasteful I am not sure how much this will hurt Cruz. Clearly, Trump has yet again found a way to dominate the media and swallow up coverage of Cruz's victory in Iowa. But it didn't hurt Cruz in Iowa to have the focus the weekend before the vote devoted to criticism of his mailer. John Hinderaker has a good point about how, if at all, this might damage Cruz.
The conventional wisdom is that mini-scandals like these hurt a candidate when they reinforce a negative perception that voters already have. I think that is the case here. One knock on Cruz is that he is desperate to be president and will do anything to win. While I have generally admired Cruz, I think that critique has merit. My guess is that quite a few voters who have heard that Cruz will bend the rules to win now believe that what they have been told is true. Will that sink his candidacy? No, but it certainly won’t help. And it leaves him vulnerable to worse damage if similar incidents occur later in the campaign.
And it will be a distraction going into the vote in New Hampshire on Tuesday. But I don't think it will help Trump at all. He just comes off as a whiny brat who would rather make these sorts of nonsensical accusations than talk about the issues that people really care about. For a guy who portrays himself as the ultimate winner, a strong guy that voters should put their dependence on, Trump seems to be pushing people to keep remembering him as a loser.

And as David Harsanyi points out, there is no evidence that the Cruz passing on rumors about Ben Carson dropping out turned out to hurt Carson in the Iowa caucuses.
Where is the evidence that the CNN story or the Cruz tactic changed the dynamics of the race at all? Carson’s RealClearPolitics polling average was 7.7 percent—with some of the better polling putting him at 9 percent. One poll even had him at 10 percent. He finished the night with 9.3 percent of the vote. This seems right, and probably a little better than expected. Carson’s numbers had taken a nosedive since peaking on Nov. 1st, and there was no evidence that a Carson surge was underway. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Even if we concede, for the sake of discussion, that Carson lost two or even three thousands voters to the rumor (which is pushing it), nothing changes. Even if Carson finished at 10 percent or 12 percent, the political outcome is the same. To believe Trump was cheated out of the race, you have to accept that Carson lost more than six thousand supporters, and all of them went to Cruz. Well, Carson pulled in a little over 17,300 votes.

In truth, it’s far more likely that any Carson defecting voters would have dispersed somewhat evenly among the other major candidates. Let’s go big, though, and say Carson lost 15,000 supporters. According to a not-very-scientific NBC poll in early January, Cruz and Trump were tied as the second choice of Carson supports, at 26 percent each. Trump would have been in the same place.

Donald K. Trump, Will you Please Go Now?

Every time I think he's plumbed new depths of ridiculousness, he digs in deeper. Apparently, he thinks poll results say more than actual votes. And if you pay attention to the polls, he clearly won Iowa. It's all clear.

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Donald Trump gets the much-valued Jimmy Carter endorsement.
Jimmy Carter would pick Donald Trump over Ted Cruz, but he doesn't think Trump will make it that far.

“I think I would choose Trump, which may surprise some of you,” the former Democratic president said during an appearance at Britain’s House of Lords on Wednesday afternoon. He was asked who he would pick for the GOP nomination.

“The reason is, Trump has proven already he’s completely malleable,” Carter explained. “I don’t think he has any fixed [positions] he’d go the White House and fight for. On the other hand, Ted Cruz is not malleable. He has far-right wing policies he’d pursue if he became president.”
Gee, being called malleable by Jimmy Carter - doesn't that give Republicans confidence in Trump. It almost makes me wonder if Carter is not so appalled by Trump that he decided that the best thing he could do to harm Trump was come out in support of him while delivering the sort of back-handed compliment that would repel Republicans.

Donald Trump has come out blaming his team in Iowa for his loss there. Kevin Williamson points to the irony of that excuse that I had actually been thinking when I read that.
Donald Trump’s professed strategy — for everything — is: I’ll find the best people, the smartest people, terrific people, and those terrific people will come up with the best solutions possible. Implicit here is a pyramid of terrificness with Donald Trump at its apex.

And what was Trump’s explanation for his poor performance in Iowa? “People told me my ground game was fine.” I.e., “I got bad advice.” As it turns out, Trump could not find the best people, the smartest people, terrific people for the relatively straightforward process of identifying supporters in Iowa, the population of which is less than half of Long Island’s, and getting them to caucus locations.

Bend Beijing to his will? Construct thousands of miles of effective barriers across the Mexican border? He couldn’t get his team to the Dunkerton Community Hall and Bunger Middle School when it really mattered.

Trump cannot accept responsibility for his mistakes, which is a crippling disability for any leader. He blames his underlings while insisting that the most important skill he brings to the contest is his ability to choose the right people for the job.
This is the man who thinks he doesn't need to give any hint of how he would address any foreign policy problem or the wars we're engaged in because he's just hire the best people. Well, why doesn't he hire better campaign operatives? And we now find out that his staff was giving him good advice and he just ignored it.
n the lead-up to Donald Trump’s loss in Iowa, staffers sought additional funding for campaign infrastructure and were denied.

Now, six days from the New Hampshire primary and looking for his first win, Trump is still refusing to shake up his ground game. He has added just one paid organizer in the state, a move that came a month ago. Instead, he is pushing ahead with plans to campaign outside of the state in the final week of voting and will count on the glamour of famous surrogates, including his sons, who plan to tour New Hampshire beginning this weekend.

Even as Republicans here warn that Trump does not appear to have the ground game to match his sky-high expectations and the campaign grapples with internal disagreements about investments in infrastructure, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Trump should and would stay the course heading into Monday’s primary.

“Two completely separate states, two very different races,” he said. “No Republican in the history of the modern Republican Party other than an incumbent president has won both the states of Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Trump enjoys much larger polling leads in New Hampshire and South Carolina than he did in Iowa — and voter turnout efforts matter less in these primary states than in caucus states.

But there is tension inside the Trump campaign about the robustness of its field and data operations. One person familiar with the disagreements said Trump’s state directors have been denied funding for their field and data requests.
I hope his employees realize that they can't win. He'll resist their good advice and then blame them when things don't turn out his way. Or he'll blame both them and Ted Cruz's dirty tricks.

The Washington Post looks at how and why Tim Scott chose Marco Rubio for president. I didn't find his choice all that remarkable considering who else is running. Why wouldn't he pick a senator who is basically congenial to his views rather than one who wasn't or the governors. I assume he never considered Trump, but perhaps he did. But it was interesting to read how he went about making up his list of pros and cons.

It seems that Hillary Clinton isn't the only member of an Obama administration who didn't understand the importance of not sending sensitive information by unprotected emails.
The State Department has confirmed that Clinton’s successor as secretary of state, John Kerry, sent her a message, now deemed secret, from his personal e-mail account.

At the time (May 2011), Kerry chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with access to top-level secrets. But since Kerry sent the message, he presumably knew Hillary also wasn’t using a government e-mail address.

Same for President Obama: He claims he first learned about Clinton’s private e-mail address from news accounts — but it turns out he and Hillary exchanged at least 18 ­e-mails, which State refuses to make public.

Uh-oh: What did the president know, and when did he know it?

....Which raises the question of whether the president, by communicating with Hillary over her unprotected server, also mishandled classified information. Will that play a role in the final call on bringing criminal charges in Clinton’s case?

The scandal, in short, is about more than just Hillary Clinton now.
And now we learn that, as first lady, even though she didn't have security clearance, she still saw classified information. The Daily Caller finds an interview that she did with George Stephanopoulos during back in 2007 while she was running against Obama.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about in the White House? The New York Times wrote this week that you did not attend National Security Council meetings, you did not receive the president's daily briefing, didn't have a security clearance. And that calls your experience in the White House into question.

CLINTON: Well, I just disagree with that. You know, I can imagine what the stories would have been had I attended a National Security Council meeting. You were there. I think you can vouch for that.

But I had direct access to all of the decision-makers. I was briefed on a range of issues, often provided classified information. And often when I traveled on behalf of our country. I traveled with representatives from the DOD, the CIA, the State Department. I think that my experience is unique, having been eight years in the White House, having, yes, been part of making history, and also been part of learning how to best present our country's case.
The Daily Caller talks to a security expert who handles security clearance and Freedom of Information Act cases.
“Although a first lady does not have a security clearance, per se, I think most of us expect that married people will discuss professional matters with each other in private, even if they are the president and first lady,” Moss told The Daily Caller, adding that as the “ultimate Original Classification Authority,” the president “can, technically speaking, choose on his own authority to disclose to his spouse certain classified information.”

“If that is what she is claiming occurred…and the information is solely provided verbally, then this is an interesting but ultimately minor insight into White House operations,” said Moss, noting that Clinton did not clarify the source of the information in her interview with Stephanopoulos.

It is also noteworthy that when Clinton bragged that she received classified information as first lady, she mentioned it in the context of having “direct access to all the decision-makers.”

....But if Clinton was indicating in her 2007 interview that she was given access to classified documents or that officials other than her husband were giving her access to classified information, “then there are numerous questions and concerns that would obviously be raised about the appropriateness of that having happened,” says Moss.

“The first lady is not a constitutional officer and the position does not require access to classified information,” he said, adding that he struggles to imagine a scenario where it would be appropriate for anyone other than the president to provide such information to their spouse.
Have other first ladies gotten classified briefings or is it just Hillary who was breaking the law?

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Betsy McCaughey explains
how Obama is giving a huge present to lawyers with his "'diversity' diktat."
If you’re a white male looking for a job, your search just got harder.

Claiming women aren’t getting paid enough, President Obama wants to make it easier to accuse employers of gender discrimination and hit them with class-action lawsuits. A new regulation proposed on Friday will require all employers with 100 or more workers to report how much their workforce is paid, broken down by race and gender.

The rule, slated to go into effect in September 2017, will cause headaches for employers and anyone — man or woman — who works hard and expects to get ahead based on merit. The winners are federal bean counters, class-action lawyers and the Democratic Party, which is playing up the gender “wage gap” as usual during this election year.

Never mind that the gap is largely fiction. Or that Uncle Sam’s social engineers are foisting their cookie-cutter vision of a politically correct workplace on employers, denying them the freedom to hire and promote based on merit.

Race and gender discrimination is already against the law. As it should be. But seniority, education and merit often explain salary differences.

That won’t be good enough in the future. Employers will have to change their policies to avoid these differences — for example, not preferring the job applicant who has a college degree over the applicant who doesn’t, unless the job can be shown to require college skills. The burden is on employers. It’s assumed they’re discriminating, in other words, and they have to prove they’re not.
The harm that this president has done to our country and government keeps going on and on.

Universities keep trying to deprive students of their rights. The College Fix reports on a proposal at the University of Iowa to give the school the power to search fraternities and sororities without a warrant.
Fraternities and sororities could find their residences searched without a warrant – even those that are privately owned – under a rule being considered by Indiana University-Bloomington.

The College Fix, which does a great job of letting us know of the craziness going on in universities, reports on how Georgetown Law School wants to deny its students the right to engage in political speech.
Since September it has prevented students who support Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders from distributing campaign material and primary voting information – tabling either inside or outside,...

The law school claims that its tax-exempt status is threatened if it lets students engage in campaign-related activities on campus or use university resources for political activity.
They don't even want students to distribute leaflets, display posters, or transmit campaign materials over the internet. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has written Georgetown Law to explain how they are totally misinterpreting the law.
Georgetown Law fails to recognize the distinction between institutional expression and that of individual students and student organizations, which are strongly presumed to speak only for themselves and not their institutions. Provided that students and student organizations comply with relevant policies applied in a content-neutral manner to all individuals and groups, the university does not face a threat to its tax-exempt status by permitting them to engage in partisan political speech.
It makes one wonder about the sort of education people are getting at Georgetown Law if they don't understand this difference.

David French
links to this story in the Chronicle of Higher Education about how colleges are establishing "bias-response" teams. The purpose of such teams is to allow students to report when they perceive bias on campus. French comments,
Universities are playing a dangerous constitutional game. They’re trying to deter speech they don’t like while avoiding creating policies or procedures that are plainly unconstitutional. As a result, they often do is create a “process-is-punishment” mechanism that subjects offending students to intrusive and humiliating investigations all the while claiming to any watching free speech advocates (or federal judges) that they’re not actually prohibiting protected speech, they’re just “investigating complaints.”

Moreover, if you think the participants are overzealous college students, think again. The team members are often “student-affairs officers or professors.” And campus censorship is always accompanied by a healthy dose of coddling. This is just pitiful:
[A]t the University of Oregon, volunteers armed with cards and information attend events — protests, for instance — that are deemed potentially upsetting and tell offended students what they can do and where they can go for help.
I know from speaking to countless college students that bias-response teams have a profound chilling effect on free speech. In schools where teams are active, it’s the rare college student who has the intestinal fortitude to speak freely on matters of race, class, gender, or sexuality if their views are out-of-step with campus ideologues. Bias-response teams are ripe for legal challenge and legislative intervention. Do state lawmakers really want their universities to spend money on the speech police?
It really is frightening to see how far colleges are going these days to protect students from anything that might upset their tender sensibilities. Freedom of speech be damned!


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Jeff Jacoby ponders Hillary Clinton's qualifications for the presidency. Both Senator Cory Booker and James Carville think she's the most qualified candidate since George Washington. How do they even say such things. Apparently, one unremarkable term as senator and four years as Secretary of State that strains people's creativity to list her accomplishments equals whatever other qualifications any other president has had. Oh, and she rode into the White House with her rogue of a husband. These ware all just titles; they're not accomplishments. Jacoby remembers another president who had a truly sparkling resume.
If imposing resumes augured presidential greatness, James Buchanan would be on Mount Rushmore. Prior to becoming the 15th president of the United States, Buchanan was a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, was elected five times to the US House of Representatives, and served as ambassador to Russia. He went back to Congress after his diplomatic tour in St. Petersburg, spending 10 years as senator from Pennsylvania — a post he resigned in 1845 to become secretary of state. He was offered a seat on the Supreme Court, which he declined, but later returned to diplomacy as America’s ambassador to Great Britain.

When Buchanan was elected president in 1856, it doubtless seemed to many that a candidate with such glittering political credentials was destined for brilliance in the White House. But Buchanan failed miserably as president. He was hesitant to lead, paralyzed by the secession crisis, and unwilling to hear dissenting viewpoints. Moreover, as presidential historian Alvin Felzenberg writes, Buchanan was a cynical operator who “betrayed a cavalier attitude toward ethics, both public and private, and seemed to believe that most everyone else did as well.” By the time he left office, the nation was on the brink of civil war.

Buchanan was succeeded by the president Hillary Clinton says she finds most inspiring: Abraham Lincoln. One of the most heroic figures in American history, President Lincoln was also, in conventional terms, one of the least qualified. A single term in Congress, an unremarkable stint in the Illinois legislature, a failed Senate campaign — nobody could have called Lincoln’s pre-presidential career a dazzling political success. Yet it was he who preserved the Union, ended slavery, and saved the “last, best hope of earth.”

A list of offices held is a flimsy guide to the quality of a presidential candidate. Integrity, vision, humility, consistency of purpose, a willingness to learn — those are far more reliable indicators of excellence in a potential president. Clinton has a fine resume. But history repeatedly reminds us that it takes more than that to make a fine president.
My students often ask me who my favorite president is. That's easy. In my mind, no one, not even Washington, measures up to Lincoln. And when they ask me who the worst one was, I tell them that James Buchanan retired the prize. But he was also Secretary of State, so he must have been great. If we were going to rate presidents who had also served as Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams wins that race hands down. I think he was perhaps the best Secretary of State we ever had. He was clearly one of the best qualified men to be president having served as a diplomat ever since he was a young man. Unfortunately for him, he was president in the era of Andrew Jackson and he just couldn't compete.

Daniel Henninger has been looking over the polling data from Iowa and discovers that Trump lost the election for those who considered economic issues the most important.
On the central conservative issue of government spending—Iowa Republicans’ top concern at 32%—Mr. Cruz led with 27% to Mr. Trump’s meager 19%. Mr. Trump also trailed Marco Rubio here.

Sophists might argue that spending is Republican code for suppressing outlays on Social Security and Medicare, which Mr. Trump, with an eye toward the general election, has said he won’t do. Then let’s move on to the less partisan subject of jobs and the economy, which Iowa Republicans’ identified as their second most-pressing issue. Marco Rubio won them with 30% of the vote.

At the margin, Mr. Trump lost votes to Messrs. Cruz and Rubio on spending and to Mr. Rubio on the economy.
Henninger points out that the unemployment rate is low in both Iowa and New Hampshire, but higher when we start turning to the Southern states. And it's particularly high among black men. So he argues that "It's the economy, stupid" should still be the mantra for the 2016 election.


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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Cruising the Web

Hillary has to worry about more than future coin flips. Philip Klein detects some worrisome signs for Hillary Clinton. She has to worry about younger voters. But the real problem for her is that people just don't trust her.
Among those who said that "honest and trustworthy" was the candidate quality that mattered to them most, Sanders won 83 percent to 10 percent. As Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state continues to produce new revelations, the fact that she's viewed this way among a Democratic electorate is not a good sign.

James Taranto points out that Hillary's supporters are definitely more willing to paint her squeaker of a win in Iowa based on winning coin tosses as a victory than they were to characterize George W. Bush's squeaker of a win in Florida in 2000.
Among known tosses, then, Mrs. Clinton has a net gain of five delegate equivalents, more than double her lead of 1.8. Maybe there are unreported Sanders tosses that even things out, but at any rate the designation of one or the other candidate as the “winner” comes down to pure randomness.

Which won’t stop Mrs. Clinton’s supporters from insisting their woman won. Last night Peggy Noonan tweeted: “I’m sorry but a 50-50 race on Democratic side is not, if she wins, a Hillary win. This is a draw. The fight continues. No HRC validation.” Which prompted this response from Democratic strategist Donna Brazile: “Let’s not set new rules in the middle of the game. A win is a win. They will fight this out next week and beyond.”

Donna Brazile was not saying “a win is a win” in Florida in 2000, when George W. Bush really did have more votes than her man.

Jonathan Last finds a silver lining for Hillary despite her awful showing Monday night.
It's the ugliest, least decisive win imaginable. Clinton seems—at least as of this writing—to have beaten Bernie Sanders by a very, very small margin, essentially by leaning into the tape. This is bad news for all sorts of reasons: She shouldn't be struggling just to hit 50 percent; she and Sanders take away basically the same number of delegates; and when you looked at their victory rallies, Clinton was shrill and robotic—it was a terribly delivered speech—while Sanders was his usual fiery self. And all the energy was with Sanders people.

But on the other hand, it was (probably!) a win. His campaign is such a longshot that to even have a chance to win the nomination, he needs to run the table in winnable states. And not only did she win, but she won with the sort of high turnout that was supposed to guarantee a Sanders victory. Unless something (like an indictment) unsettles the race, you can now see a path forward where Clinton has ups-and-down—she won't run the table—but in the end should be positioned to secure the nomination.
As William McGurn points out, Hillary will face a lot of problems being the advocate of continuing Obama's legacy as the middle class feels the bite of the economy.
In a nation whose electorate is growing more diverse, the thinking goes, the White House is increasingly moving out of Republican reach.

It doesn’t look that way to Ed Goeas, who runs the Republican strategy firm the Tarrance Group and was advising Scott Walker’s presidential campaign until the Wisconsin governor withdrew from the race. Recently Mr. Goeas carried out a survey for the Ripon Society zeroing in on voters who describe themselves as middle class, which works out to 70% of the electorate. The survey confirmed they are unhappy—but it finds they are specifically unhappy with President Obama and a federal government that does not provide them value for their tax dollars.

Mr. Goeas puts it this way: “The middle class believes the rich get the benefits, the poor get the programs and they get stuck with the bill.”

Which points to Mrs. Clinton’s dilemma.

Only 26% of middle-class Americans, according to this survey, believe their children will enjoy a better quality of life than they do, and this has soured them on the direction President Obama has taken the country. At the same time, Mr. Obama remains highly popular with the Democratic coalition that elected him. Mrs. Clinton’s pickle is that the agenda that works well with the Obama coalition turns off the middle class.

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Ian Tuttle chortles at how far Hillary has come from what was thought just last year would be her experience this year as she would go from victory to victory to an ultimate coronation at the Democratic convention.
For the last three years, the entire work of the Democratic party has been to ensure the smooth, graceful ascension of Hillary Clinton to the presidency. It’s “her turn.” Toward this end, the party machine has trudged, unenthusiastically but inexorably, grinding down every obstacle in its path by force of sheer inertia. Those obstacles included viable primary challengers: Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo.

Yet, over that same period, the Democratic coalition has fractured and the center of gravity has moved decidedly leftward, thanks largely to a younger generation of liberals animated by the impulses of the Occupy movement rather than the Vietnam protest movement. The Clinton-style rapprochement with free markets is noxious to young Democrats. They want to skin some fat cats. Bernie Sanders might not be the most compelling candidate, but he’s been hating the rich since Hillary was a Goldwater Girl.


Michael Barone notes
that a lot of those new caucusgoers who came out Monday in Iowa were actually evangelicals and that is what helped Cruz.
It was widely speculated that Donald Trump would bring new people into the caucuses, and he apparently did. The entrance poll showed he carried first-time caucusgoers. But it was also widely speculated that bringing new people in would reduce the percentage of evangelical Protestants among caucusgoers. In 2012 that percentage was 57 percent, the highest in any Republican primary or caucus outside the South that year. But this speculation was wrong. Evangelical Protestants clocked in at 64 percent of turnout in the entrance poll. This tends to substantiate the claims of Ted Cruz and his campaign that he could increase turnout among conservatives, particularly religious conservatives.
That turnout among evangelicals is one of the reasons that the pollsters got the result wrong.
The pre-election polls greatly underestimated the evangelical vote. Only 47 percent of voters were self-identified evangelicals in the final Des Moines Register poll. The final Monmouth University poll had evangelicals at 55 percent of the electorate. The Quinnipiac survey out Monday morning was comprised of 39 percent white evangelicals (a minor distinction, given the racial homogeny of the Iowa GOP caucus universe).

We'll see how the Cruz team can do in a state like New Hampshire that doesn't have as many evangelicals.

The Washington Post has an interesting tick-tock of Trump's campaign in Iowa and why Cruz defeated him.

Ted Cruz had another victory this week when the Illinois Board of Education confirmed his citizenship to allow him to appear on their primary ballot.
The GOP senator has had his presidential bid challenged in recent months by Iowa GOP runner-up Donald Trump, who claimed Cruz's Canadian birthplace disqualifies him from being president. Two Illinois objectors, Lawrence Joyce and Williams Graham, also agreed that Cruz's citizenship did not meet guidelines in the Article II of the Constitution. But the board of elections disagreed and cleared Cruz's name for the March 15 primary.

"The Candidate is a natural born citizen by virtue of being born in Canada to his mother who was a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth," the board said, explaining Cruz met the criteria because he "did not have to take any steps or go through a naturalization process at some point after birth."

....A ballot commission in New Hampshire also ruled in favor of Cruz in January, but the language in Monday's decision by the Illinois board took a stronger tone than the previous ruling, warning other skeptics, "Further discussion on this issue is unnecessary."
But that won't stop Trump and his supporters from jeering at Cruz's birth in Canada.

Byron York highlights how Iowans just didn't like that Trump skipped the debate and some of the other things he did.
In the days leading up to the voting , when I talked to voters on the fence between candidates — people who could possibly be persuaded to support Trump — one thing became clear: everybody watched the debate. It was the only debate held in Iowa, and it took place in the final days of the campaign, when voters who had been reluctant to pay attention months earlier had finally become interested and involved. They all tuned in. And Trump wasn't there.

"That was the one thing that I thought was a clear mistake," Republican blogger Craig Robinson, a former political director of the state GOP, said in a phone conversation Monday afternoon. With that one decision, Trump undermined a lot of the work he had done in the previous months.

The debate decision showed that Trump's political instincts could be wrong. But the caucus loss could point to even more serious problems ahead for Trump.

A lot of people like Trump and agree with what he has to say. They cheer him on. But as the time to vote approaches, they apply a seriousness test, a test of whether they would trust him in a position of grave responsibility. The difference between Trump's high pre-caucus polls and his underwhelming support in the actual caucus could indicate that voters who had supported him for months beforehand began to develop doubts as the time neared to actually cast a ballot. Would it be safe and smart to vote for this guy?

Just as fundamentally, Trump's Iowa loss could cast doubt on his unconventional tactics in other states. Trump's strategy is based on a big bet: that because voters are tired of conventional politicians, then they will also be resistant to conventional political appeals. Iowa proved just the opposite. Ted Cruz won a smashing victory by doing things the old-fashioned way, visiting all of Iowa's 99 counties, pressing the flesh in gatherings of 100, 150 people, and tailoring his pitch to appeal to concerned evangelicals. That — plus a highly sophisticated data operation — won the day for Cruz. Trump tried something different, and it didn't work.

Trump also said a few things that might have crossed a line with Iowans. One was the "how stupid are the people of Iowa" line from a few months ago that was featured in a recent Cruz attack ad. The other was the late-in-the-campaign statement that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose voters. At a Rubio rally in Sioux City a few days before the caucuses, I met a man named Gary Swanson who told me he once seriously considered supporting Trump — until he heard the shooting quote.

"He makes the statement that he's so popular that he could shoot a person on Fifth Avenue without losing a vote. Well, he just lost two right here when he said that," Swanson said, pointing to a friend who had accompanied him to the Rubio event.

Erick Erickson appreciates Sarah Palin for her ham-handed endorsement of Donald Trump.
First Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump at a time she had negative 11% favorables with the GOP.

Then she missed the first event of the day following her endorsement.

Then she blamed her son being involved in a domestic incident on Barack Obama’s treatment of veterans, turning off a lot of veterans in the process by suggesting those who came back from overseas were no longer able to control themselves and were not culpable for their actions.

Then she went to a Trump rally the day of the election with tons of undecided voters and started attacking Congressman Steve King, one of the most popular politicians in Iowa.

It was really an amazing spectacle. Sarah Palin then turning on Ted Cruz pretty rapidly and attacking him as unlikable, etc. was almost as pathetic as Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum showing up at Trump’s rally.

Sarah Palin did a huge favor for both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. She should really be thanked for leading the carnival barker wing of the party to Donald Trump.
And now Trump is going back to the well for the endorsement for a former star of the tea-party who has since become a loser as he gains the backing of Scott Brown. In the endorsement sweepstakes, Rubio beat out Trump with winning Senator Tim Scott's endorsement.
'
I'm not the only one who was picturing a new Green Acres remake of a reality show for Trump's exclamation that he might come back to Iowa and buy a gun. Taranto writes,
David Burge (who calls himself “Iowahawk,” though he lives in Texas) tweeted: “Trump says he wants to buy a farm in Iowa; wife says ‘New Yorlk is vere a vant to stay.’ ”

Is a reality-show remake of “Green Acres” such a crazy idea? Trump has the Eastern European wife, and Mike Huckabee, another candidate with TV experience, could audition for the part of Mr. Haney—though if Rubio wins the nomination, Ted Cruz might be an even better fit.

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Donald Trump is back to his normal bombastic approach to policy making.
And the crowd roared when he cursed as he pledged to aggressively target Islamic State terrorists. "If we are attacked, somebody attacks us, wouldn't you rather have Trump as president if we're attacked?" he asked. "We'll beat the [expletive] out of them."
Just like Cruz saying in his approach to ISIS is to see if sand can glow in the dark and that we'll carpet bomb them to oblivion. It sure sounds like Cruz was saying he would drop nuclear weapons on ISIS, but let's just give him the benefit of the doubt that he was exaggerating for rhetorical effect. I know that these make nice lines at political rallies, but this plays into a self-deception that many Americans have that we can defeat Islamic insurgents just by using more bombs. Sure, there is a place for targeted bombing, but ISIS is smart enough to hide among captive, civilian populations. Such simplistic demagoguery is really abhorrent. If either became president, they would have to deal with the heightened expectations from Americans that we could easily destroy ISIS simply by dropping bombs on them.

Well, we knew that this was going to happen.
The uniformed leaders of the Army and Marine Corps said on Tuesday that they believe women should sign up for the draft now that the combat ban has been lifted.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley both said women should be required to sign up with the selective service in case the country ever needs to implement a draft.
IF they don't go ahead and change the policy to spread the registration requirement to women, the courts will do it for them.

This is not a good sign.
Two witnesses scheduled to testify in front of the House Oversight Committee Wednesday about the lead water crisis in Flint, Mich., will not be attending, including the emergency manager in charge of the city in 2014 when the water supply was changed.

Darnell Earley was the emergency manager in charge of Flint when the city switched from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Company to the Flint River in April 2014. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the committee, said Earley will not be coming to Congress Wednesday to face the committee.

"We won't hear from the governor, any of the emergency managers he appointed in Flint, or anyone else from the state who was involved in making decisions that led to this crisis," Cummings said.

THe WSJ points out that the Obama administration can't hope to engineer a "moonshot" in the fight to cure cancer is Democrats are going to support policies to retard research. But it seems that they can't stop themselves from their love of demagoguing companies that make money.
The latest offender is Maura Healey, who is threatening to sue Gilead Sciences for having all but cured Hepatitis C. The Democratic Attorney General of Massachusetts claims the prices of the drug maker’s medicines Sovaldi and Harvoni “may constitute an unfair trade practice in violation of Massachusetts law.”

Ms. Healey never cites a specific Massachusetts statute in her sternly worded Jan. 22 letter, and she later suggests that Gilead is violating consumer protection laws, so the legal risks are probably nonexistent. The intimidation tactic is more notable for its political and moral illogic.

The AG is careful to praise innovation, which she calls “incredibly important,” and she says companies that develop breakthrough treatments “should be generously rewarded.” But she adds that “especially in a case like this one where the breakthrough drug cures, a balance must be struck that allows the drug to achieve its intended purpose: the effective treatment—and achievable eradication—of a life-threatening infectious disease” (emphasis hers). Instead, “taxpayers across the country have been footing the bill for Gilead’s record profits.”

In other words, if Gilead had merely created another incremental treatment, no one would have cared: As recently as 2012, before Sovaldi, Hep C was a life sentence to take debilitating but ineffective immune-weakening drugs that didn’t prevent liver failure and premature death. But because Gilead’s medicine can cure the condition for 97% of patients, Ms. Healey says it deserves political harassment.
After last year's hack of the Office of Personnel Management, it would be nice if we could have more confidence in the government protecting personal records, but alas, no.
The education department doesn’t hold nuclear launch codes. But its vast data trove on student-loan borrowers and their parents—and the nearly $100 billion it disburses in new loans every year—are reason enough to want the bureaucrats to prevent digital intrusions. Mr. Chaffetz says the bureaucracy now holds, among other things, 139 million Social Security numbers in its digital files.

The stakes go well beyond personal privacy. Federal student loans outstanding exceed $1 trillion, and Team Obama is trying to forgive those debts. It would add injury to injury if cyber-fraudsters were able to pile on for a taxpayer plundering. A Tuesday oversight hearing will explore the department’s failure to protect its information from cyber-attack, as well as the conduct of its chief information officer.

Department of Education Inspector General Kathleen Tighe reported in November that her team has been “finding the same deficiencies over and over again” regarding information security. Since 2009 independent auditors “have found persistent IT control deficiencies in key financial systems,” she said.

The 2015 internal audit of information security revealed more problems, including an “inability to detect unauthorized devices connecting to the network.” The IG also flagged “key weaknesses” in “internal intrusion detection and prevention of system penetrations.” Specifically, her team was “able to gain full access to the Department’s network and our access went undetected” by both the contractor overseeing the system and the department’s information office.

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The news keeps getting worse and worse for Jeb Bush. Guy Benson writes.
The outcome was a catastrophe for Jeb World. The Bush campaign and its allies spent roughly $15 million in Iowa alone, significantly more than any other candidate's campaign and supporters, in either party. Those millions were primarily directed toward boosting the former Florida governor and attacking Marco Rubio. In the end, Jeb finished with a paltry three percent of the vote in Iowa, and Rubio surged in a major way. A comprehensive failure. And then there's this. Oof:

Buzzfeed reports that donors are really shifting from Bush to Rubio.
Approximately 119 previous Jeb Bush donors gave to Marco Rubio for the first time in December.
That’s part of an accelerating trend over the last few months as Bush’s candidacy slowly tanked during the fall, according to a BuzzFeed News data analysis of the most recent campaign finance reports.

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It sounds like Rush Limbaugh is moving away from how he's supported Trump for months. He even expressed his support for Marco Rubio.
Remember that Limbaugh lives in Florida and has had a front seat to observe Rubio over the years. He went on to say,
I'm gonna tell you something, folks. I'm a lone wolf on this, but I know everybody is assuming that Marco Rubio is the chosen establishment candidate and they're doing so on the basis that Rubio has experienced the Gang of Eight and amnesty and so forth, but Marco Rubio I really like. I like Ted Cruz. There are any number of people in this campaign, two or three people, if they win, I'd be happy.

But it doesn't matter because the establishment does have their candidate, and it looks like it is going to be Rubio. And, as such, Rubio is gonna end up becoming an enemy of several Republican -- or many perhaps potential Republican -- voters. I just remember the days that Marco Rubio was in the state of Florida, local politics, state politics, and then going national. He was considered, perhaps, one of the greatest potential heirs to Ronald Reagan, and now he's being derided as a sellout member of the establishment.

I thought his speech last night... He was the first to get out there. He hustled to get out there. As such, it made him look like the winner. He had energy. I thought it was a great speech that Rubio gave last night. It was energetic. I'm not choosing sides on anything here, folks. Nothing's changed in that regard. Simple observations I share with you as the program unfolds. I just find it stunning
Wow. Could the Rubio ask for anything better than to have Rush Limbaugh say the Floridian is a "legitimate, full-throated conservative"? And then he criticized Trump for not being a conservative and that's why Iowans didn't think that Trump "shares their values."
In a Republican primary, you do not win if you’re going to sound like a liberal Democrat criticizing Ted Cruz. And it wasn’t just health care. How many of you remember (I pointed this out when it happened) Mr. Trump pointing out that you can’t do anything if you can’t make deals, can’t cooperate? Part of his criticism of Ted Cruz is he’s hated; nobody likes him. Trump said, “I can do deals with Harry Reid and Pelosi. I know these people. I like these people. Schumer? I can do deals.” No, no, no, no! We don’t want to do any more deals with these people. We want to beat those people. There are many things that harm Mr. Trump, but not showing up at the debate is not one of them.
It cracks me up that Limbaugh seems to just be noticing that Trump is not a conservative.

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Donald Trump demonstrated
once again that he doesn't have the knowledge to be commander in chief.
In Donald Trump’s last speech on the eve of the Iowa Caucus, he talked about winning, Sarah Palin, China and 2,300 up-armored Humvees stolen by the Islamic State when the group overran the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014.

“I talk about it all the time: 2,300 brand new up-armored Humvees, I talk about it all the time…the best in the world,” Trump said. “Armor plated, top, bottom, all over, if a bomb goes off our wounded warriors–instead of losing their legs, their arms, worse, they’re okay. They go for a little ride upward and they come down.”
Anyone who follows the news at all or cares about veterans as Trump pretends to would know that this is terribly wrong.
There are a number of things wrong with Trump’s statement. It’s true that sometimes when vehicles hit buried explosives that fail to detonate or partially explode, there’s little more than a bump and a lot of smoke. But regardless of how well armored your vehicle is, IED detonations that don’t kill or mutilate the vehicles’ occupants can blow eardrums, cause traumatic brain injures or eject people.

Up-armored Humvees are also some of the poorer vehicles for combating buried explosives. In 2007 they were largely replaced by MRAPs or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles because the Humvees were being destroyed en-mass on the roads of Iraq. Humvees, like the Willys Jeeps of old were meant to be general purpose vehicles–trucks that could ferry troops to and fro on the battlefield with little protection. When the insurgency in Iraq spread the vehicles were given armor kits to increase their longevity in environments fraught with ambushes and roadside bombs. The kits made the vehicles extremely heavy and unwieldy and were quickly defeated by an a highly adaptive enemy.

MRAPs and their V-shaped hulls, were designed specifically to hit roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Even still, Iraqi and Afghan insurgents managed to build explosives that flipped MRAPs over—often ejecting the service member in the turret—or were so strong that even if the vehicle survived, the concussion from the shockwave would collapse the occupant’s organs.

According to a Washington Post database 2,500 troops have been killed by IEDs since 2001.

To Trump, the loss of the U.S.-turned-Iraqi vehicles to the Islamic was part of anecdote shared by a friend’s son, meant to illustrate how the United States is giving weapons to allies who then surrender the equipment to the United States’ enemies. But in doing so, he managed to trivialize the thousands of U.S. troops killed and maimed by IEDs and mine blasts in the last 15 years of conflict.
That is why Trump is being slammed on Twitter by veterans who suffered terrible injuries from IEDs.

IJR profiles one Iraq War veteran, J.R. Salzman who was outraged by Trump's claims since he was injured riding in a Humvee when it was injured by a special IED designed to penetrate armored Humvees.




Salzman and other veterans are outraged by Trump's ignorant comments. They feel that Trump's blithe remarks are hurting the efforts of veterans to raise awareness of the problems that they are facing.
In a telephone interview with Independent Journal Review, Jones said that his biggest problem with what Trump said was how it minimized the seriousness of the injuries that are caused by IEDs, specifically the traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Jones, who is the Chief Operating Officer of the Boot Campaign, a non-profit organization that provides support to veterans and their families, told the Independent Journal Review that he felt like Trump’s comments “set us back ten years,” undermining the work that he and so many other veterans and veterans’ advocates had done to push the Veterans Administration and the medical community to understand TBI, the seriousness of it, how to treat it, and that it is something that veterans can overcome.

“Right now today, the biggest issue that plagues veterans is the idea that suicide is an option,” said Jones. A 2012 report by the VA found that an average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day. More than 138,000 veterans had been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from 2000 through June 5, 2015. During that same period, there were more than 327,000 incidents of TBI.

“One of the leading causes [of veteran suicides] is so many guys coming back with traumatic brain injuries, and they don’t understand why they’re not themselves anymore,” said Jones. “Someone who is running for president has to understand veterans enough not to simplify or overgeneralize this issue.”

President Obama has chosen to visit a mosque to day to show a contrast to what he regards as hateful rhetoric coming from some Republican candidates and others. What is distressing is the choice of mosque that he chose to visit. Steve Emerson and Pete Hoekstra point out that his selection of the Islamic Society of Baltimore (ISB) mosque had to be thoroughly vetted so the administration must not care about what such a vetting would have revealed.
Perhaps we are being overly generous, but his national security team must have spent considerable time and energy reviewing its leadership, relationships and history prior to the announcement over the weekend.

In the process of due diligence, they should have learned that ISB leaders financially and ideologically support radical Islamist terrorists and hate homosexuals. It is a controversial choice of venue for a roundtable focused on tolerance, rejecting bigotry and celebrating religious freedom.

If the White House truly believes that the ISB represents the acceptable mainstream practice of Islam in America, it suggests a much larger issue with radicalism in the U.S.

In 2014, two ISB officials — President Muhammad Jameel and General Secretary Abid Husain — joined with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in a news conference where they denounced Israeli for committing "genocide in the name of self-defense" in Gaza, when it was in fact the murderous Hamas terror organization launching rockets at Israel from heavily populated civilian areas.

CAIR was designated an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, which resulted in the largest terrorist money-laundering conviction in U.S. history. The FBI terminated its formal relationship with CAIR in 2008 over its ongoing status as a front for Hamas.

Why would Obama confer legitimacy on a mosque that joins forces with a terrorist front group? Would he visit a church that welcomed the KKK as a political partner?

Mohamad Adam el-Sheikh, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood and lmam of the ISB for 18 years, endorsed Palestinian suicide bombings in a 2004 Washington Post interview. El-Sheikh also served as regional representative for the Islamic African Relief Agency — which the U.S. Treasury Department shut down for funding Osama bin Laden and other terrorists — while serving as ISB Imam and director.

Soon after Sept. 11, 2001, the ISB hosted American-born al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, whose inflammatory sermons are among the most effective online recruiting tools for jihad.

Does Obama condone advocating violence against the Jewish people? Does he think that it presents less of a complication than "Islamophobia," a fabricated term designed to portray murderous Islamist extremists as victims and to silence their critics?

The president famously "evolved" on the issue of same-sex marriage during his 2012 re-election campaign. Did he now evolve to where he can accept resident ISB scholar Yaseen Shaikh's 2013 description of homosexuality as a psychological disorder?

Does Obama even believe that radical Islam is a problem?

Dan Wetzel, who has done excellent reporting on how weak the NFL's case was in deflategate, reports that the NFL destroyed the data they collected in the past season on the air pressure in footballs.
Roger Goodell sure did get upset when Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone last year during the deflate-gate saga, an implication the quarterback was hiding something.

The NFL commissioner returned the favor on Tuesday when he announced the league did not keep any of the data on air pressure of footballs that officials were required to log and submit to the league office during the 2015 season.

Evidence? What evidence?

Now the New England Patriots are no longer able to point to specific, NFL-generated data that proves Ideal Gas Law, not human tampering, caused its footballs to lose air pressure in the 2014 AFC championship game.

That study was supposed to be the franchise's best chance to introduce new information that might allow the return of the 2016 first- and fourth-round draft picks, plus $1 million, the league docked it for deflate-gate.
But the NFL destroyed the data so now the Patriots and scientists can't use the results to demonstrate that what happened to their balls that prompted the Deflategate scandal. If the Ideal Gas Law had worked as scientists had predicted, there would have been data from the checks that the NFL was performing throughout the 2015 season which would have refuted the idea that the Patriots did something untoward to get the low numbers measured back in the Colts playoff game last year. And don't be naive about the NFL's motives in destroying the data they had carefully collected. Such behavior is part and parcel of how they have acted throughout the whole story.
Consider the original "Brady destroyed his cell phone" story – conveniently leaked via "league sources" to scream through the news cycle. It turned out Ted Wells, who headed the NFL's investigation, told Brady that he didn't need to hand over the phone. Brady's mistake was trusting Wells.
It didn't matter. When something that wasn't needed was destroyed, the league used it as proof of guilt, both in Goodell's findings and the court of public opinion.

Now that something that was needed was "lost," hey, it's no big deal.

As recently as October, with the new pressure measuring system under way, Goodell was asked at a formal news conference when and how the NFL data would be released publicly.

"I don't know," he said, with zero insinuation that the league wasn't keeping the information.

The NFL, in a follow-up inquiry from Yahoo Sports, stated a week later, "we simply haven't focused yet on how the information will be distributed."

Apparently it was distributed into an incinerator.

Confused? Try being Roger Goodell, who has seen deflate-gate become an albatross. The NFL hasn't looked good in this since the release of Wells' report in May 2015. It was then the public was able to comb over the findings away from the frenzy of false media reports.

What emerged were endless inconsistencies, absurd reaches in logic, failures of scientific methods and proof of an over-the-top misinformation campaign. And then there are the clown-show rationalizations like this one.

Day by day, drip-by-drip, the case has fallen apart, be it in federal court, a lecture hall at MIT or in the commonsense-rooted laughter that greeted Goodell's acknowledgement on Tuesday.

What remains is this most likely scenario: that NFL officials, completely unaware of Ideal Gas Law, believed that any New England football that measured below the minimum of 12.5 psi in the AFC title game was proof of orchestrated tampering. Anything in the 11s was proof of a massive conspiracy. In fact it was all a natural act.

Ignorant of science and overwhelmed by confirmation bias, the NFL embarked on an effort to nail the Patriots. Then, via leaks to favored reporters who were as prejudicial as they were false, the league found itself too far out on the limb to climb back as facts came in and theories fell apart.

All it could do is point to random text exchanges and nicknames, and hope the public was too naïve to question it, too scientifically ignorant to comprehend it or too bored to still care.

Well, there were also those howls about destroyed evidence, because we know destroyed evidence is something that Roger Goodell's NFL must absolutely take a stand against. The NFL just can't tolerate that type of behavior.
I still hear and see people referring to how guilty Brady must have been to have destroyed his phone. Goodell used the destroyed phone as a reason for the harsher penalty against Brady. And the whole story was bogus, prompted by deceptive reporting from the NFL.