Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Worth listening to

Posted by Charles II on January 9, 2016

(From 2014) Senator Jeff Jackson speaks to his colleagues in the NC Senate

 

Via Windsong01

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Ted Cruz: Trump with a Ground Game

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 2, 2016

Lost in all the noise about Trump is the fact that Trump’s views differ only in tone from those of his fellow Republican rivals. When even alleged “moderates” like Jeb Bush holler about “anchor babies”, an intelligent and educated oberver cannot with a straight face state that Trump is not the face of the GOP.

Consider, if you will, one Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz. He is, for all intents and purposes, Donald Trump with a ground game.

As the redoubtable “brooklynbadboy” states in the comments thread:

I was commenting on Cruz rapidly emerging organizational prowess long before the beltway media got wind of it or before he began moving in the polls. Plus, when he would discuss his theory of the campaign terrain in public, his analysis seemed to me the most closest to correct. That means he’s looking very clear-eyed at the campaign and is positioning himself based on that. That says to me “DATA AND ANALYTICS” and when I went through all their announcements of hirings and then looked into THOSE people…I said to myself haha…here’s a guy who knows what the fuck he’s doing. He’s been planning this a long, long time to get these people on board.

Then I started reading about his wife. Aha. Then things started coming together. Here is a powerful, dynamic woman who knows what she wants and by god, she’s going to get it. I like that. You can’t elect a president without a strong spouse.

So when I started fitting the pieces together, looking back and the things Cruz has done in Washington, putting the pieces together one by one, peering into his connections and his carefully orchestrated moves…well there you are.

Now, what I didn’t predict was the total collapse of Bush. Because I expected Bush to be able to destroy him. Nor did I predict the rise of Trump, whom I never expected to be taken seriously. So with Bush defeated, Trump not sustainable due to lack of organization, the way is wide open for Cruz.

And that tells me something as well…he’s got some LUCK on his side.

So who are the people quietly working on Cruz’ team? Over in another comments thread, Triple-B gives us a list:

Cruz’s campaign manager is Jeff Roe out of Kansas City. He helped Huckabee win Iowa in 2008 before Huck’s lack of cash led to his rapid demise. Roe is experienced with many statewide races, including in swing states. He’s elected 4 senators including Cruz. He’s very much a hard worker type…stays out of camerashot. Reminds me a lot of Plouffe. Just very…head down, do the work, shut up. Like the opposite of the Sanders people who talk more to the media than the candidate.

Often next to Cruz, basically anywhere he goes, youll see a tall young bald guy. That’s Jason Johnson. He’s a Texas guy. Been with Cruz since Cruz was working for now Governor Greg Abbott. He is ruthless and very smart.

Some folks have read about his young digital outreach guy Josh Perry who, like the others, stays out of the limelight as much as possible. But the real guys you need to know about are the “two chrisses” Chris Wilson and Chris Perkins. These guys are the ones that scooped most of the young talent from Rick Perry’s data nerds whom Sasha Issenberg wrote about in “The Victory Lab.”

He’s got a good solid young team, very Texas, not Washington based. They have experience in a variety of electoral environments, have all worked together before and all seem to have the greatly desired ability to shut up and let the candidate do the talking.

Like I said: Trump with a ground game.

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Happy New Year!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 31, 2015

That is all. :-)

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Walkergate appealed

Posted by Charles II on December 23, 2015

(h/t 1WattHermit on Eschaton). Pema Levy, Motherjones)

It’s the campaign scandal that just won’t die. For three years, prosecutors in Wisconsin tried to investigate what they believed was illegal campaign coordination between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and conservative outside groups. …

The Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed the case, but on Friday, the case moved to the national stage when prosecutors signaled their intention to take it to the US Supreme Court. And the focus is now set to shift from the actions of Walker and his allies to potential ethical violations by the Wisconsin Supreme Court justices themselves.

Then, in August, the special prosecutor, Francis Schmitz, asked the state Supreme Court to consider reopening the investigation. The request was viewed as a sign that Schmitz was considering an appeal to the US Supreme Court. Not only did the court say no; it went further, issuing an opinion earlier this month that removed Schmitz from the case….

Although Schmitz was removed from the case, cutting him off from resources for an appeal, the court gave the other five prosecutors involved in the case the ability to intervene. On Friday, three Democratic district attorneys who had worked with Schmitz on the investigation chose to intervene in the case—signaling they want to go to the US Supreme Court.

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Holiday classics

Posted by Charles II on December 23, 2015

Some newspaper headlines that show the kind of age we live in:

What if Sheldon Adelson buys your newspaper? Write about him, then leave

Doctor convicted in Medicare ‘greed’ fraud blames Obamacare

Purple haze: lilac sky at night highlights China’s smog blight

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Doris Dungey Remembered

Posted by Charles II on December 23, 2015

The lady who got the housing bubble correct. Joe Weisenthal and Tracey Alloway, Bloomberg

Bill McBride of Calculated Risk gets a lot of credit, too. But Tanta was a star.

Posted in mortgage crisis, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Who are you going to believe? A former Solicitor General/former Acting Solicitor General or some random guy on the Internet? /Updated

Posted by Charles II on December 22, 2015

Scott Rohter is a Tea Party guy. His full bio state that his accomplishments in life are: “being a property rights activist since 1995” and writing articles for such noted law journals as Free Republic and Red State. It’s really quite an extraordinary life!  Which, in his own mind, qualifies him to interpret the Constitution.

And so, he states with full conviction:

The United States Constitution says that you have to be a Natural Born Citizen to be the President of the United States.  That means that you have to be born in the United States in order to be the President of the United States.  That just seems like common sense to me…  the kind of common sense that our Founding Fathers had plenty of.  It is also the kind of common sense that makes perfect sense in the dangerous world that we live in today.

There is no definition listed in the Constitution for what it means to be a Natural Born Citizen, but the Founding Fathers knew exactly what it meant.

This is because he personally knew the Founding Fathers, I guess. At any rate, he quotes as his authority The Law of Nations by Emerich [sic; it’s actually Emmerich, and also written Emer] de Vattel. de Vattel is of course the best source to cite because (a) he was Swiss, and (b) he died in 1767, well before the writing of the Constitution. The fact that the American Supreme Court has considered the issue, and despite the fact that in making rulings about the law they reviewed the proceedings of the Founders, it doesn’t count because:

The definition of what it means to be a Natural Born Citizen has been vigorously debated over the centuries and thanks to recent Supreme Court decisions it has been watered down by progressive judges to the point that it means just about anything they want it to mean.

Well, if by “recent,” you mean the Naturalization Act of 1790 and Supreme Court decisions from the 19th century, yeah, I guess if you make “recent” mean anything you want it to, then sure, Mr. Rohter’s ascension to the Higher-than-Supreme Court of the United States makes sense.

On the other hand, you could look at the work of a former Bush Solicitor General and a former Obama Acting Solicitor General, both now distinguished law professors at Georgetown who write in the Harvard Law Review:

All the sources routinely used to interpret the Constitution confirm that the phrase “natural born Citizen” has a specific meaning: namely, someone who was a U.S. citizen at birth with no need to go through a naturalization proceeding at some later time. And Congress has made equally clear from the time of the framing of the Constitution to the current day that, subject to certain residency requirements on the parents, someone born to a U.S. citizen parent generally becomes a U.S. citizen without regard to whether the birth takes place in Canada, the Canal Zone, or the continental United States.

The Supreme Court has long recognized that two particularly useful sources in understanding constitutional terms are British common law
and enactments of the First Congress.

Both confirm that the original meaning of the phrase “natural born Citizen” includes persons born abroad who are citizens from birth based on the citizenship of a parent.

The Framers, of course, would have been intimately familiar with these statutes and the way they used terms like “natural born,” since the statutes were binding law in the colonies before the Revolutionary War. They were also well documented in Blackstone’s Commentaries, a text widely circulated and read by the Framers and routinely invoked in interpreting the Constitution.

No doubt informed by this longstanding tradition, just three years after the drafting of the Constitution, the First Congress established that children born abroad to U.S. citizens were U.S. citizens at birth, and explicitly recognized that such children were “natural born Citizens.” The Naturalization Act of 1790 provided that “the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States . . . .”

The actions and understandings of the First Congress are particularly persuasive because so many of the Framers of the Constitution were also members of the First Congress.

Rohter can’t even be called a liar or a fool, because he clearly inhabits some alternate reality where facts and history and reason bend to fit his prejudices. But of course, he call call people he disagree with liars and fools at will, because nothing matters except his opinion.

Arrogance will destroy this country. As we see in Iraq and Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, the Ukraine and the Bakken, Ferguson and Baltimore, it is already well underway. We’re all so d–ned sure of ourselves that we can’t take the time to look and listen.
______________
Update: It turns out the the case is not cut-and-dried. Mary Brigid McManamon written a piece in the WaPo describing her research on the topic:

First, although Katyal and Clement correctly declare that the Supreme Court has recognized that common law is useful to explain constitutional terms, they ignore that law. Instead, they rely on three radical 18th-century British statutes. While it is understandable for a layperson to make such a mistake, it is unforgivable for two lawyers of such experience to equate the common law with statutory law. The common law was unequivocal: Natural-born subjects had to be born in English territory. The then-new statutes were a revolutionary departure from that law.

Second, the authors appropriately ask the question whether the Constitution includes the common-law definition or the statutory approach. But they fail to examine any U.S. sources for the answer. Instead, Katyal and Clement refer to the brand-new British statutes as part of a “longstanding tradition” and conclude that the framers followed that law because they “would have been intimately familiar with these statutes.” But when one reviews all the relevant American writings of the early period, including congressional debates, well-respected treatises and Supreme Court precedent, it becomes clear that the common-law definition was accepted in the United States, not the newfangled British statutory approach.

Third, Katyal and Clement put much weight on the first U.S. naturalization statute, enacted in 1790. Because it contains the phrase “natural born,” they infer that such citizens must include children born abroad to American parents. The first Congress, however, had no such intent. The debates on the matter reveal that the congressmen were aware that such children were not citizens and had to be naturalized; hence, Congress enacted a statute to provide for them. Moreover, that statute did not say the children were natural born, only that they should “be considered as” such. Finally, as soon as Madison, then a member of Congress, was assigned to redraft the statute in 1795, he deleted the phrase “natural born,” and it has never reappeared in a naturalization statute.

So,it’s not settled law. I don’t think McManamon’s view would prevail simply because it creates complications that the Supreme Court would avoid by defining away “natural born.” Otherwise we have two classes of citizen with different rights. What other rights are to be denied those not “natural born”? On what possible rational basis? But I will have to say: Scott Rohter might be right… even if it’s totally by accident. Only the Supreme Court can say for sure.

Posted in Constitution, Flying Monkey Right, history, libertoonians, propaganda, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Forget DWS: Tad Devine and Jeff Weaver Are the Real Threats to Bernie Sanders’ Campaign

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 21, 2015

To paraphrase Mr. Ehrenstein, the facts are not in dispute, except among those crafting Dolchstosslegende to cover for their own failings:

 

[The Sanders campaign’s] national data director (not, as they tried to play it off earlier, a “low-level” staffer) took advantage of a breach in the VAN’s firewall to access sensitive and valuable proprietary data from the Clinton campaign. While the Sanders campaign called this act “unacceptable” and quickly fired the staffer, they also consistently framed it in a larger complaint against the DNC and the VAN.

Then, in what is perhaps the most irresponsible fundraising email I’ve ever seen, the Sanders campaign actually tried to raise money off it. And that’s where this went from an embarrassing press day for Democrats to a seriously dangerous moment for the Democratic Party’s chances in 2016.

In an email entitled “Urgent: DNC tipping the scales for Hillary Clinton,” the Sanders campaign accused the DNC of trying to “undermine” their campaign by shutting down their database access. They framed the situation as being caused by “a fault in [the DNC’s] own technology platforms.” At absolutely no point in the email did they mention in any way that one of their top staffers improperly accessed Clinton data and was fired for it.

In fact, they tried to pass themselves off as the heroes of this situation in their press conference and press release. The Sanders campaign discovered a glitch in the VAN’s software back in October, they say, and brought it to the attention of the DNC then. They were being punished when they were the ones who found the problem, a line their die-hard supporters repeated non-stop throughout the day.

Just one problem: NGP VAN says they were never alerted to such a problem, and in interviews on Friday afternoon, the former Sanders data director, Josh Uretsky, says the glitch being referred to wasn’t even with the VAN. It was a different program. So not only did the Sanders campaign commit a lie of omission in their fundraising email, it appears they outright lied about the earlier problem to the press. Or, at the very least, this was yet another instance where many people inside the Sanders campaign don’t seem to be on the same page.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not mt favorite human being, if for no other reason than her efforts to scuttle the Iran deal. But her actions in Sandersgate are a hell of a lot more decent than those of Devine and Weaver.

This relentless demonization of, not just Hillary Clinton, but the entire Democratic party infrastructure, is the sort of behavior that poisons the well for all Democrats from this point forward. (Think of how Teddy Kennedy’s constantly telling his supporters in the 1980 primaries that Jimmy Carter was evil hurt Carter during the general election.) The problem is that many of the people in the Ted Kennedy role this time around aren’t even Democrats and so might not know, or care, what they’re actually doing.

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Republicans are so bullish on war that 30% would bomb a fictional country

Posted by Charles II on December 20, 2015

Trevor Timm, The Guardian:

A poll on Friday by Public Policy Polling perfectly encapsulates the Republican presidential race so far: “30% of Republican primary voters nationally say they support bombing Agrabah.” That would be the fictional country in Aladdin.

Council on Foreign Relations’ Micah Zenko has a handy chart where he is tracking all the people and places each presidential candidate has said he or she wants to bomb. He reminds us that Ben Carson has not only promised all of the above, but to also unleash drone strikes in Mexico.

It’s worth noting that Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is just as militaristic, or more so, than most of the Republicans when it comes to Isis and Iran. She has at least refrained, however, from calling for a third world war with Russia or launching drone strikes in Mexico.

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Who is running the Red Cross? Fake administrators

Posted by Charles II on December 15, 2015

Via Atrios, Justin Eliott, ProPublica:

 

When Gail McGovern was picked to head the American Red Cross in 2008, the organization was reeling. Her predecessor had been fired after impregnating a subordinate. The charity was running an annual deficit of hundreds of millions of dollars.

McGovern and her handpicked team of former AT&T colleagues have presided over a string of previously unreported management blunders that have eroded the charity’s ability to fulfill its core mission of aiding Americans in times of need.

Under McGovern, the Red Cross has slashed its payroll by more than a third, eliminating thousands of jobs and closing hundreds of local chapters. Many veteran volunteers, who do the vital work of responding to local fires and floods have also left, alienated by what many perceive as an increasingly rigid, centralized management structure.

Far from opening offices in every city and town, the Red Cross is stumbling in response to even smaller scale disasters.

Driving the alienation, longtime employees and volunteers say, is a gulf that has opened up between McGovern’s executive suite and the rank and file who have spent decades in the mission-focused nonprofit world.

She has surrounded herself with a tight-knit group of former telecom colleagues, they say. “They’re all people from the period when AT&T imploded,” said one former senior official. “The priorities seem to be a reflection of what that team is comfortable with: sales and marketing.”

While McGovern has angered many employees and volunteers, she has maintained the support of the constituency that matters most for her job: the Red Cross’ board of governors, which hires and can fire the CEO. The board includes current and former executives from Goldman Sachs, Eli Lilly and Home Depot along with the chairwoman, McElveen-Hunter, a successful businesswoman and former ambassador to Finland.

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