Thursday :: April 28, 2016

The Will of Bernie

Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane seem to think that the Democratic nomination isn't about nominating a Democrat. (scroll down to 7:45 am entry.) They think non-Democrats should be allowed to dictate who the Democratic nominee should be:

In an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday, Jane Sanders noted that Bernie Sanders won Rhode Island on Tuesday, which was an open primary, allowing independents as well as Democrats to vote for her husband.

"If you close the primary and you only have people who have been in the Democratic Party for years, what you are doing is effectively shutting the door on the millions of people that Bernie has brought in to the political process during this election," she said.

This isn't rocket science. There's a Democratic nominee and a Republican nominee. The Democrats nominate a Democrat and the Republicans nominate a Republican. If an outsider wants to participate, he can run as a third party candidate after being nominated by that party. [More...]

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House Committee Passes Bill Requiring Women to Register for Draft

A House Committee has passed a bill requiring women to register for the draft upon turning 18.

Women would be required to register for the military draft under a House committee bill that comes just months after the Defense Department lifted all gender-based restrictions on front-line combat units. A divided Armed Services Committee backed the provision in a sweeping defense policy bill that the full House will consider next month...

Total defense spending package in the overall bill: $602 billion.

War is not the answer. Either is the draft (which we haven't had since 1973.)

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San Bernadino Shooter's Brother Charged With Marriage Fraud

Syed Raheel Farook is the older brother of San Bernadino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. Syed Raheel, the elder brother, served in the U.S. Navy from 2003 to 2007, with distinction, earning medals in the "Global War on Terrorism." He is married to Tatiana (Chernykh) Farook. Tatiana has a sister named Mariya Chernykh. The sisters are from Russia and emigrated here. Mariya is married to Ernesto Marquez, who was charged with providing guns to Syed Rizwan Farook and marriage fraud. The Government alleges he paid Mariya Chernykh to marry him and the marriage was a sham marriage. They never lived together.

Now the Government has charged Mariya, Syed Raheel and Tatiana with marriage fraud conspiracyincluding making false statements under oath . The conspiracy charge carries a maximum 5 year sentence. There are a total of five counts to the indictment. According to the FBI, Syed and Tatiana took staged photos of Enrique and Mariya's wedding and lied to the FBI.[More...]

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Wednesday :: April 27, 2016

Supreme Court Hears Ex-Gov. McDonnell Bribery Case

Reuters reports the Supreme Court seems inclined to toss the bribery conviction for former VA Republican Governor Bob McDonnell (short backgrounder from trial here):

During the one-hour argument, several of the eight justices signaled that McDonnell's acceptance of $177,000 in luxury gifts and sweetheart loans from a businessman seeking to promote a dietary supplement did not constitute a criminal act.

They voiced concern that the broad interpretation of U.S. anti-corruption law used by federal prosecutors could criminalize numerous commonplace actions by politicians.


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Wednesday Night Open Thread

Donald Trump laid out his foreign policy agenda today. It's being bashed by Republicans and Democrats alike. On the car radio, the CNN commentator I happened to hear criticized everything about it, from his halting delivery (his teleprompter skills are apparently not ready for prime time) to his use of the slogan "America First" (a throwback to the much criticized 1930's isolationist policy).

Trumpís use of an expression so dated and discredited reflects his willingness to dip into the past for catch phrases that, no matter their historical baggage, can still appeal to voters.
More on that era at the New York Times here. (The CNN commentator said the America First policy led us into WWII (a view espoused here) showing that Trump doesn't even understand the phrase.

Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright rips his points apart on Twitter. Former Trump rival Lindsay Graham: [More...]

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Sanders Campaign Lays Off Hundreds of Workers

Is the Sanders' campaign taking its final breaths? The Sanders campaign has laid off hundreds of workers. Sanders today insisted he's still in the race.

Sanders told supporters at a rally at Purdue University in Indiana Wednesday that he was "in this campaign to win and become the Democratic nominee," and said, "If we do not win, we intend to win every delegate that we can so that when we go to Philadelphia in July we're going to have the votes to put together the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen."

Interestingly, Politico, which first reported the story, doesn't use his exact words and conveys a different impression to the reader, adding the word "primarily." [More...]

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Imagining a Hillary-Trump Debate

Listening to Donald Trump "soil himself yet again" (as one CNN commentator put it last night) in his extended personal attack on Hillary Clinton during his victory tirade, I couldn't help but wonder what a debate between the two of them would look like.

How do you respond to someone who calls you "crooked", a criminal, unfit to be running for office, lacking in stamina, having nothing going for her but gender, etc?

Trump really is uncouth. I can't remember a candidate for national office in my lifetime who made personal attacks like these against an opponent. Sometimes you just want to take a shower after listening to him. And when he's not being uncouth, he's using bizarre statistics and exaggerating his importance. [More...]

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Tuesday :: April 26, 2016

Did Trump Pay the Stones to Use "Start Me Up"?

At the end of Trump's victory tirade tonight, just after he said goodbye, I heard the first five notes of the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up." Did he pay the Stones or get their permission to use the song? When asked about it in February, the Stones said he never asked permission.

I doubt the Stones would let him use their music. They should send a "cease and desist order" telling him they have no sympathy for the devil. (Or maybe release a new version changing some lines. How about, "I'm a man of wealth and shame." )[More...]

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Tuesday Democrat Election Results

Update: Bernie Sanders issued a statement tonight congratulating Hillary Clinton on her victory. Instead of talking about going to the convention to win the nomination, his statement says his supporters will go to the convention to influence the party platform.

John King on CNN says the math is now impossible for Bernie Sanders, "barring a miracle." He said even though tonight's numbers don't put her over the top, the multiple wins will likely "lock in" the super-delegates. (or something like that, I thought he was a little less articulate than usual.)

Update: Hillary wins Connecticut. So she took four of five states.

Update: Hillary wins PA. I haven't heard her speech yet, but CNN said she praised Bernie Sanders. Over at Fox, Joe Trippi says Hillary would have an easier time beating Cruz than Trump because he's so unpredictable. Karl Rove agrees, but says Trump will either win big or lose big.

As of 8:35 pm, Hillary has won Maryland and Delaware.

Bernie Sanders is ahead in Rhode Island. CT is much closer, with them taking turns in the lead.

Hillary has a pretty big lead in Pennsylvania, but it's early.

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Big Night for Trump: Takes All Five States

Update: According to Fox News' number cruncher, Trump didn't just win five states tonight, he won every county in every one of the five states.

Update: Why does no one ask what Trump promised Chris Christie? He's standing in his usual place behind Trump with his mouth open. I don't think Trump's dumb enough to make him Veep -- I just hope in the unlikely event Trump actually succeeds on his mission, it's not Attorney General.

Trump needs a hair colorist and make up artist who know how to deal with TV lighting. The top of his hair is bright yellow and he's got those racoon white circles around his eyes that look like concealer (but could be goggle marks from a tanning machine session.) With all his money, not to mention the hair and makeup talent in New York, you would think he wouldn't look like such an amateur.


Donald Trump has won all five states voting today. No matter what happens on the Democratic side, this will be tonight's headline.

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Monday :: April 25, 2016

Hillary Town Hall

Hillary Clinton is doing a town hall with Rachel Maddow. I don't think it's live, but it had to be filmed since yesterday, since they are discussing the Cruz-Kasich alliance.

Hillary sounds very confident. She reminds Rachel a few times she is 2.7 million votes ahead.

She doesn't sound worried about Sanders, or whether he tells his supporters to support her.

She emphasizes her support for the Democratic party. She is raising money for Democrats down ticket.

Maddow keeps trying to get her to acknowledge Sanders' permanent mark on the Democratic party. She won't say he changed the party. Instead she says how important it is to support Democrats. And for Democrats to increase their turnout at midterm elections, not just presidential elections.

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Cruz and Kasich Deal Already Fraying

Donald Trump is reveling in the seemingly quick demise of the deal between Cruz and Kasich to divvy up Indiana, New Mexico and a few other states hoping to stop Donald Trump from being the Republican nominee.

The agreement, in which the two candidates agreed to cede forthcoming states to one another — Mr. Kasich would, most crucially, stand down in Indiana’s primary on May 3 to give Mr. Cruz a better chance to defeat Mr. Trump there, while Mr. Cruz would leave Oregon and New Mexico to Mr. Kasich — carried the stench of desperation, but initially it seemed like a breakthrough.

Cruz is apparently putting his hopes on Indiana and California. [More...]

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DOJ Tells States to Ease ID Requirements for Ex-Inmates

The Department of Justice has issued a directive to states telling them to make it easier for those leaving prison to get ID cards. It's part of a broader new initiative to make it easier for felons leaving prison to re-enter society. The initiative is called Roadmap to Re-entry.

The AP reports: [More...]

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Sunday :: April 24, 2016

Sunday Night TV and Open Thread

The best TV show I saw this weekend: Viceland's States of Undress goes to Palestine (it's available On Demand on Comcast, or you can watch it online here.)

The Good Wife has just a few episodes left. There are so many characters on this show that I can't stand watching, I'm surprised I watch the show at all. Is it really going to go out at the same place it began, with Alicia's husband Peter indicted? Only this time, Alicia refuses to stand by his side? I hope the ending isn't as trite as that. But it's really gone downhill this season fast, so I won't be surprised if it is.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Bernie's California Timetable

According to this Yahoo News article, Bernie Sanders gave the clear impression today his campaign will only last through the California primary, not to the convention. On ABC's This Week:

“We intend to take the fight all the way to California,” Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” “so people throughout this country have a right to determine who they want as president and what kind of agenda they want for the Democratic Party.”

On Meet the Press:

“We are in this race. We are not writing our obituary. We’re in this race to California,” he said, before letting a tense change slip. “And we’re proud of the campaign we ran.”

He still thinks he can win. And in case there was still any doubt, he's not catering to Democrats [More...]

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