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With varying enthusiasm, GOP elites are accepting Trump as their nominee

Huffingon Post Politics - Thu, 2016-04-28 20:08

Throughout the Republican Party, from New Hampshire to Florida to California, many leaders, operatives, donors and activists arrived this week at the conclusion they had been hoping to thwart or at least delay: Donald Trump will be their presidential nomine

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Why An Uber Lobbyist Wants A Reporter's Emails

Huffingon Post Politics - Thu, 2016-04-28 19:37

A lobbyist for Uber Technologies Inc. has filed an open records request to obtain more than a year's worth of my emails and text messages sent to city of Austin elected leaders and staff.


Uber's Austin-based lobbyist Adam Goldman, CEO of Congress Avenue firm The Goldman Group, filed a public information request with the city of Austin on April 22 seeking the emails and texts that I sent to City Council members, their policy aides, staff in the Austin Transportation Department, and the city attorney's office for a period stretching from Jan. 1, 2015 to April 22, 2016.


Note: The Huffington Post's Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington is a member of Uber's board of directors, and has recused herself from any involvement in the site's coverage of the company.

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Secret Money Advocates Prepare to Unload on Milwaukee DA John Chisholm

Huffingon Post Politics - Thu, 2016-04-28 19:17

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm may soon appeal the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that ended the five-county "John Doe" criminal investigation into whether Governor Scott Walker illegally coordinated with supposedly "independent" dark money groups during the 2011-2012 recall elections to the U.S. Supreme Court.



As prosecutors ready their case, the secret money advocates at the heart of the investigation are planning their next move.



Dark money maestro Eric O'Keefe, who sits on the board of Wisconsin Club for Growth, has declared that Chisholm "is not fit for public office" and "should not be allowed to serve out his term." He has threatened to get him disbarred, he has tried to get Scott Walker to fire him. O'Keefe's high-powered, D.C. lawyers are suing Chisholm in federal court on behalf of Cindy Archer. Archer claims to be a victim of a renegade prosecutor, but she was a top Walker aide caught up in Chisolm's investigation of a sordid bid-rigging scheme detailed by the Center for Media and Democracy.



Now O'Keefe and his associates appear to be prepping to go after Chisholm in a low turn out primary, using the new tools they worked so hard to legalize in Wisconsin, a flood of coordinated secret money and phony "issue" ads.



Scott Walker John Doe Headed to Divided SCOTUS

In July 2015, the Wisconsin Supreme Court not only shut down the investigation of potentially illegal coordination between Governor Walker and dark money groups, they took the extraordinary measures of firing the Republican Special Prosecutor, who was hired to coordinate efforts at the behest of a bipartisan group of five District Attorneys, and throwing up roadblocks to any appeal by, for instance, telling prosecutors they could not use expert, outside counsel to help with the filing.



These actions were unprecedented and reminded many of the Saturday Night Massacre, when Richard Nixon fired U.S. Attorney General Archibald Cox and his successors during the Watergate investigations.



"My career in the military and as a federal prosecutor fighting violent criminals and terrorists did not fully prepare me for the tactics employed by these special interest groups," said Special Prosecutor Francis Schmitz. "To somehow remove the lawyer representing one of the parties after the opinion [has been issued] is extraordinary," said former state Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske.



The GOP-controlled legislature took action in 2015 to retroactively decriminalize the activities at the heart of the investigation, making significant changes to Wisconsin's campaign finance law, exempting political corruption from the John Doe statute and dismantling the nonpartisan Wisconsin elections board.



Now the three Democratic prosecutors are slated to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state Supreme Court ruling. At issue is the $10 million spent to elect the conservative majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court by the very same groups--Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce--that were under investigation in the John Doe probe.



According to the 2009 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Caperton v. Massey, outsized spending in a judicial election could be significant enough to demand that judges recuse themselves. On this basis, Special Prosecutor Francis Schmitz had asked both Justice Prosser and Justice Gableman to recuse from the John Doe, but they failed to do so.



It is unknown whether prosecutors will also appeal on the merits of the case. It is notable that coordination between independent groups and candidates is prohibited in most states and at the federal level. In 2016, a state legislator in Montana was convicted of breaking state law after engaging in similar coordination and, in 2015, a political operative working on a federal campaign was sentenced to 24 months in prison after being prosecuted under federal law.



Common Cause's Jay Heck tells CMD that it makes sense that O'Keefe would go after Chisholm this election cycle. "The dark money groups want to protect the gains they have made in Wisconsin, changing the law to allow coordination between candidates and issue ad groups. They want to stop an appeal before it goes any further."



The prosecutors' appeal is sure to have Wisconsin's far-right yelling "partisan witch hunt" again. Yet, the reality is that Milwaukee DA John Chisholm has a long record of prosecuting Democrats for political corruption. In 2010, Chisholm used the John Doe process to prosecute Democratic Milwaukee County Supervisor Toni Clark on felony charges related to the use of just $6,300 in campaign funds. Scott Walker didn't call that a witch hunt; instead Walker said the case was "a reminder to all others in office that we must maintain the highest ethical standards."



Dark Money Advocates Take Aim at Chisholm in Re-Election Race

Chisholm announced on April 18 that he would run for re-election; the primary is August 9th.



Chisholm's Democratic primary challenger is Verona Swanigan, an attorney and Milwaukee native who is new to electoral politics. Swanigan holds a law degree from Northern Illinois University (2005), and has practiced law out of her own firm, Swanigan Legal Services, for about a decade. She registered her campaign in August 2015, and released a video announcing her candidacy in November that focused on reducing crime and addressing domestic violence.



Swanigan is an African American who has participated in community rallies calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate police brutality. She calls herself a "conservative democrat," but her campaign is being backed by well-known GOP political operative, Craig Peterson, who has worked closely with Wisconsin Club for Growth's Eric O'Keefe on efforts to reshape Milwaukee politics in recent years. According to news reports, Peterson has long been associated with Zigman Joseph Stephenson, a public relations firm, but has had financial troubles in recent years. Peterson has ties to former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, who was caught up in the "Caucus Scandal," an earlier John Doe prosecution of campaign finance abuses, and who now works for big money groups trying to privatize public schools.



Peterson had reported $250 in monetary contributions and $1,681 worth of in-kind contributions to Swanigan's campaign as of December 31, 2015, a substantial part of the campaign's $5,476 total take for the year. (Reports covering the first part of 2016 are not yet available.)



Milwaukee scribe, Bruce Murphy of Urban Milwaukee says that Peterson is "clearly preparing to go after Chisholm."



Earlier this spring, Peterson spearheaded an effort to reshape Milwaukee's city government through a secretive group called "Milwaukeeans for Self-Governance," which spent at least $200,000 on radio ads to influence mayoral and aldermanic races. The group, whose name strongly echoes that of the O'Keefe group "Citizens for Self-Governance", has not been formally registered, and its funders have not been disclosed, but their impact is being felt.



"It really feels like we're running against him, and not his so-called candidates," Alderman Bob Bauman, a veteran Common Council member told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Bauman's opponent, who lost her race, was Peterson associate Monique Kelly, formerly known as Monique Taylor.



Peterson "is trying to build his credibility in the black community and build a power base," explains Murphy. Peterson needed to have some victories after he and his associates failed to get enough signatures to scuttle a Milwaukee street car project they spent a lot of time and effort on.



Using Racial Justice Issues to Advance a Tea Party Candidate

In the 2014 Milwaukee County Sheriff's race, a liberal dark money group spent big trying to unseat incumbent Sheriff David Clarke Jr. Clarke is a right-winger, a darling of Fox News and a Democrat in name only. The NRA rushed to his aid and influential right-wing radio urged Republicans in the county to turn out in the open democratic primary.



Another unregistered Peterson group calling itself "Citizens for Urban Justice" also came to his aid, running radio ads attacking his opponent. In the ads, Monique Taylor presented herself as a community activist and listed the names of African-American men killed by Milwaukee police, then said, "Now a lieutenant in that same police department wants to be our sheriff." The ads had a big impact in predominantly African-American wards in the city.



But Clarke, who is African-American, is better known for attacking the Black Lives Matter movement, which he has called "black slime," than for addressing the problem of police violence.



While he has been vague about the funding behind Milwaukeeans for Self-Governance and the city council takeover, Peterson has previously credited O'Keefe with arranging the funds to support Clarke. "Eric raised money for that campaign," Peterson told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "And I spent the money. That's another benefit to our relationship: He's good at raising it; I'm good at spending it."



Peterson also worked with the Wisconsin chapter of David Koch's Americans for Prosperity and Citizens for Responsible Government in an attempt to rally support against a modern streetcar project under development in Milwaukee. Instead of telling folks the truth--that the Kochs object to any type of clean energy transport, including trolleys and electric cars--the Peterson crew slammed the trolleys for furthering segregation. Peterson paid for radio ads featuring the brother of police shooting victim Dontre Hamilton urging listeners to send Mayor Barrett and John Chisholm a message by writing letters opposing the streetcar.



While the ads stated that they were "Paid for the Black Lives Matter Coalition," Peterson paid for them himself, according to Urban Milwaukee.



With big money friends like O'Keefe and the Kochs, who are trying to turn secret spending by millionaires and billionaires in campaigns and elections into a principled fight for "constitutionally protected free speech," Peterson is well positioned to unleash a tidal wave of phony "issue ads" at the last minute to sway a low turnout election. In the August 2014 Milwaukee Democratic primary, less than 114,000 voted compared to 332,000 in the November general election.



Stay tuned.



Jessica Mason contributed to this report. Learn more about Eric O'Keefe in the Progressive "Dark Moneys Front Man" and in Sourcewatch.

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The Art of Compromise

Huffingon Post Politics - Thu, 2016-04-28 19:13
Compromise is the lifeblood of democracy. Yet the reliance on compromise to keep the wheels of government churning can at times lead to paralysis or worse.

Compromise embodies the essence of democracy in the sense it allows all parties in a controversy to have their say, and Compromise poses a problem to democracy on occasions when the middle ground has been exhausted and a resolution can only occur when one side totally prevails.

In other words, democracy has difficulty dealing with absolutes, even in an all-or-nothing situation when the choice might seem obvious. Faced with such a choice in a contentious dispute, especially one that demands immediate action, a benevolent dictator would seem to have the advantage over the cumbersome machinery of a democracy. The trouble is that most dictators are not benevolent, and even the occasional one who is, might not be in a future controversy.

Environmental issues provide excellent illustrations of democracy's success and occasional difficulty with its fundamental modus operandi.

Compromise was riding high recently when the Senate produced in bipartisan fashion a national energy bill. It contained enough give and take to create at least a temporary détente between the camps favoring fossil fuels and those advocating an emphasis on clean, renewable energy,
Indeed, Compromise is integrated into our federal legislative process. That system directs the Senate and the House of Representatives to settle in conference the differences between their respective versions of legislation as a precursor to final passage.

Our governmental land agencies, whenever possible, work to create arrangements in which adjacent developmental projects and wildlife habitat can co-exist.

Even a tax on greenhouse gas carbon emissions, in limbo because of political opposition, is the manifestation of a built-in compromise. [It would be revenue neutral because of rebates of its proceeds to the public. Pricing would be used to steer national energy consumption away from fossil fuels and towards renewables. Fiscal conservatives and environmentalists alike would be mollified, which augurs well for the levy's future.]

An example of compromise being stretched to its breaking point is when government imposes a moratorium on fish catch to rejuvenate a dangerously depleted species. When a natural resource is reduced to a level beyond which it cannot survive, that is when it can get tricky, even though rationality usually dictates that there is no option to salvation.

In line with that thought, a majority of scientists say carbon emissions must be stabilized in the not too distant future to assure a hospitable climate for succeeding generations. That will mean leaving the bulk of the remaining fossil fuels in the ground. Enactment of such a highly controversial policy may well require the intervention of a bold leader willing to risk re-election by foregoing compromise.

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Amazing Moments: Son Asks Grandma About Holocaust

Huffingon Post Politics - Thu, 2016-04-28 19:02
Why do I love saving people time? I think it has a lot to do with my mother. She is a holocaust survivor who lived through an experience very similar to Anne Frank. Thankfully, my mom survived her ordeal. My son recently asked her about it and she shocked us all by producing the actual Jewish Gold Star that she was forced to wear during the holocaust. Incredible. So time and times like these... are precious to me.



Somehow, this amazing woman had managed to save this star for over 50 years in order to present it to my son. Within the video, our entire family is seeing this star for the first time.

I hear many angry voices in the world but I am not angry. I understand the anger but I never let it take me over. When we start restricting people based on religion -- we are going down the very pathway my mother describes in this incredible video. And, we seem to be forgetting the past. As my mom asks at the end of the video. "Did you get it?" I hope we all do.

I work smart every day to carve out time for my family. I have invested in time management and it has paid me back a thousand times over. The trip we were on was possible due to working efficiently and if I can help you in any way... just let me know. You can reach me via our website.

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Solar LED spotlight adds convenience & security to outdoor spaces (review)

TreeHugger Science-Tech - Thu, 2016-04-28 17:52
This little LED spotlight offers an easy hands-free lighting option, powered by the sun, for just about any outdoor space.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Confirms Washington Is Just As Ridiculous As 'Veep' Portrays It

Huffingon Post Politics - Thu, 2016-04-28 05:23

Art may imitate life -- and vice versa -- but sometimes HBO's "Veep" feels a little too close to reality for comfort. For example, title character Selina Meyer uses the remarkably vapid slogan "continuity with change" in her run for president. Months later, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull used an almost identical motto.


Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays Vice President Meyer, says it's not accidental. She told Time this week that "our show isn't a parody. We create situations that are plausible." And because the show doesn't mention parties, she said that real politicians "all think we're making fun of the other guy."


It's not the first time the show has admitted to being a bit more documentary than satire. Series creator Armando Iannucci once said that sometimes "we’ve come up with the most ridiculous story… and we do it, and then we get a call from Washington where they’ll ask, 'How did you find that out?'"


As Mother Jones pointed out, Hillary Clinton's emails from when she was the U.S. Secretary of State also suggest parallels. At least two times, she showed up for meetings that had been cancelled -- and no one had bothered to tell her (Meyers is often left out of important meetings and otherwise ignored by the president's office.)


Hey, at least Netflix's crazy dramatic "House of Cards" appears to be far from the truth!

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

HuffPost Rise: What You Need To Know On April 28

Huffingon Post Politics - Thu, 2016-04-28 05:18

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Welcome to the HuffPost Rise Morning Newsbrief, a short wrap-up of the news to help you start your day.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Donald Trump Tweet Becomes Fodder For The Weirdest Fake Holiday Inn Express Ads Ever

Huffingon Post Politics - Thu, 2016-04-28 02:23

He might not have any experience running a country, but he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night! 


Donald Trump tweeted an unusual endorsement of the hotel chain on Wednesday night, describing the Holiday Inn Express where he was staying in Indiana as "new and clean, not bad!" 



I am in Indiana where we just had a great rally. Fantastic people! Staying at a Holiday Inn Express - new and clean, not bad!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2016


It's not a bad review, but it's not exactly the kind of endorsement you feature in an ad, either. Yet that didn't stop Twitter users from having fun with it.


Many played off the company's "...but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express" ad campaign slogan:



"Are you qualified to be President?"
"No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night." https://t.co/nlRONLwYne

— Mike (@YunBoyWonder) April 28, 2016



"I'm gonna make America Great again!" Why, are you really smart? "No, I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night!" #Trump2016

— Herb (@CanadianLibtard) April 28, 2016



He may not be an expert on foreign policy, but he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express tonight. https://t.co/jIfpIza0az

— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) April 28, 2016



"Hey... you're not even a real conservative!"
.
"No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night." - Donald Trump

— THE Donary Trumpton (@17ebivor) April 28, 2016



"I'm running for President!"
"Do you know what you're doing?"
"No but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night." https://t.co/7m4GCUo3X9

— Jason Kersey (@jasonkersey) April 28, 2016



If TV has taught me anything, spend one night at a Holiday Inn Express and you're ready to perform brain surgery. https://t.co/Nu7pocWMFl

— Marc Sherman (@marctsherman) April 28, 2016



@JamesFallows "I'm racist, sexist, don't get policy, and am unprepared to be President. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

— Camilo Forero (@ForeroCam) April 28, 2016



I've also stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.
I liked it!
It made me Great Again! https://t.co/vQhyH2KJuj

— City Comforts (@David_Sucher) April 28, 2016



New Holiday Inn Express slogan https://t.co/3ppcICmerL

— kt (@KatelynLarson) April 28, 2016



Donald Trump: the only person who can discuss his political rally and review a Holiday Inn Express all in 140 characters.

— Ryan J. Stashko (@r_stashko) April 28, 2016


The thousands of responses to Trump's tweet even caused the phrase "Holiday Inn Express" to trend on Twitter late Wednesday. 


 



Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.



-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

State Prosecutors Accuse Student Loan Giant Of Wrongdoing

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 23:54

Navient Corp., the nation’s largest student loan company, violated state laws that ban unfair or abusive practices by paying call center workers based on how quickly they could get struggling borrowers off the phone, a group of more than two dozen state attorneys general alleged.


The states’ findings are the result of a two-year investigation launched at the end of 2013 that analyzed thousands of Navient documents, more than 4,000 consumer complaints, and an unspecified number of recordings of calls between borrowers and Navient call center workers.


The coalition of 29 state attorneys general, led by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, shared their findings with Navient on April 13 and proposed terms for a legal settlement, officials said. The company has not yet formally responded.


The allegations are devastating, several officials involved in the investigation said, calling into question Navient’s ability to provide basic customer service to the more than 12 million Americans whose private and government student loans it services. The company formerly was known as Sallie Mae, and the investigation covers practices under both names.


The findings raise the specter of higher costs and reduced profitability for Navient, which in recent years has been in the crosshairs of state prosecutors, federal banking and consumer regulators, and the Department of Justice for allegedly mistreating student loan borrowers.


Navient has generally denied wrongdoing. Patricia Christel, a company spokeswoman, didn't respond to a request for comment. "We're working aggressively with the regulators to make sure that they understand what we are doing, how we run our business, and certainly more than willing to work with them to improve the way the federal student loan program works and operates," CEO John Remondi told investors last week.


Maura Possley, a spokeswoman for Madigan, declined to comment.


The investigation found that Navient, a prominent Department of Education loan contractor, inappropriately steered borrowers desperate for help into plans that temporarily defer required payments. But those plans allow loan balances to grow. Navient employees instead should have steered borrowers to White House-promoted plans that could’ve allowed zero payments based on earnings and eventually debt forgiveness, officials said.


Navient employees did this, officials alleged, because it was faster to enroll borrowers in temporary plans -- and get them off the phone -- than in income-based plans.


In 2013, before the company changed its name to Navient, Remondi told investors that it was “very expensive work“ to enroll borrowers in income-based plans. A Huffington Post investigation in 2013 revealed that the company was failing to enroll many of its distressed borrowers in income-based plans.


Borrowers who use temporary deferment or forbearance plans are more likely to default on their federal student loans, according to a 2006 Education Department study. In 2014, fewer than 5 percent of loan balances enrolled in the two most popular income-based plans were delinquent, according to a separate Education Department review.


Deferment and forbearance plans “should not be the first option” for struggling borrowers, the Education Department told financial aid administrators in November 2012.


The investigators found that employees often didn’t know the basics about the federal government’s income-based plans. Data from Google appears to back up that claim. The company has a major call center in Fishers, Indiana. People in no city in America search more often for the term “ibr” -- short for the government’s Income-Based Repayment plan -- than folks in Fishers.


The White House will announce on Thursday a public relations effort to increase the number of borrowers enrolled in income-based plans. White House officials previewed the effort in March, when they described the campaign as a “call to action” for employers and others “to help more borrowers better understand their options,” even though the Obama administration already paid loan contractors such as Navient nearly $804 million last year to do exactly that.


Navient’s practices seemed to strike vulnerable borrowers particularly hard. Severely disabled Americans with federal student loans are eligible to have their debt extinguished as a result of their disability. Investigators found evidence Navient employees weren't informing these borrowers about their rights. The company’s response in those cases, officials said, amounted to “tough luck.”


Similarly, Navient employees demanded payment from borrowers with federal student loans who may have been eligible for debt forgiveness because their school abruptly shut down or defrauded them. Company employees, officials said, rarely bothered to inform debtors about options.


The company’s practices extended to private student loans, or those without government backing. Distressed borrowers who called Navient requesting lower monthly payments often were given the runaround, winning temporary relief from one Navient employee, only to have the offer rescinded by another Navient worker.


The company has previously and repeatedly claimed that it offers a “highly successful” private loan modification program. Officials said the state investigators found that Navient employees often squeeze struggling borrowers for as much money as possible, and that loan modifications generally are offered only when borrowers claim they can’t pay anything.


Prosecutors may go after other student loan companies after they wrap up the Navient investigation, officials said.


The state attorneys general are demanding reforms aimed at improving customer service. For example, prosecutors want Navient to stop giving its call center employees financial incentives to rush distressed borrowers off the phone. When borrowers struggling with federal loans call the company, state prosecutors want Navient to begin by asking for borrowers’ earnings information so they can immediately inform borrowers about income plan options.


Officials told Navient that they expect call center employees to know when federal borrowers may be eligible for debt forgiveness under special circumstances, such as if the former student’s school abruptly shut down, if the borrower is severely disabled, or if the Education Department previously determined that the borrower’s former school defrauded its students.


Prosecutors also demanded that the company have customer service representatives specially dedicated to helping borrowers enroll in income-based plans. They want the company to increase the amount of training it gives its call center workers.


State officials have not yet formally suggested to the company how much money they are seeking to remedy the alleged mistreatment of borrowers.


State prosecutors are working closely with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which over the last few years has publicly warned that its examiners found similar practices pervasive throughout the student loan industry. The consumer bureau told Navient in August that its enforcement staff had found enough evidence to indicate the company violated federal consumer protection laws, and was considering suing the company for allegedly cheating borrowers.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

The FBI Could Gain Unprecedented Access To Hack Into Computers

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 22:10

WASHINGTON, April 27 (Reuters) - U.S. judges will be able to issue search warrants giving law enforcement agents power to access computers in any jurisdiction, potentially even overseas, under a controversial rule change likely to be approved by the Supreme Court by May 1.


Magistrate judges can normally only order searches within the jurisdiction of their court, which is typically limited to a few counties.


The U.S. Justice Department, which is pushing for the rule change, has described it as a procedural change needed to modernize the criminal code for the digital age, and has said it would not permit searches or seizures that are not already legal.


Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, and civil liberties groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Access Now, contend the change would vastly expand the ability of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to hack into computer networks. They say it could run afoul of the U.S. Constitution's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.


Should the Supreme Court approve the change, it would have to pass both chambers of Congress, a move seen as unlikely given gridlock in the legislature ahead of the U.S. presidential election.


The proposed amendment is to Rule 41 of the federal rules of criminal procedure, a text governing the judicial branch that is regularly updated. It was at the center of two court opinions issued this month throwing out evidence gathered by FBI sting operations targeting child pornographers who relied on the anonymous Internet browser called Tor network.


Federal courts in Virginia and Oklahoma said the FBI's use of a warrant to deploy a "network investigative technique" on computers outside the geographic bounds of the issuing judge's district was invalid.


A Justice Department spokesman pointed to those cases as reason for why changes to Rule 41 are necessary.


Though it has been several years in the making, the effort to widen warrant jurisdiction has not garnered the level of attention of other recent clashes over government access to digital information, such as the FBI's standoff with Apple over encryption.


Congress would have until December 1 to reject or amend a change to Rule 41.


Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, has vowed to mobilize opposition to the Rule 41 update. Sources familiar with his plans say he is expected to announce he is working on legislation to block the changes if they earn approval from the Supreme Court.


"This rule change could potentially allow federal investigators to use one warrant to access millions of computers, and it would treat the victims of the hack the same as the hacker himself," Wyden said during a speech last month at a digital rights conference in San Francisco.


HISTORY OF DEFERENCE

Proposed changes to the criminal procedure rules go through several layers of vetting by committees comprised of lawyers and judges before reaching the Supreme Court.


The review of the Justice Department's Rule 41 proposal, which was first drafted in 2013, led to it being pared back to only apply in situations when a suspect can be shown to be using technology to conceal the location of his or her computer or for an investigation into a network of hacked or infected computers, such as a botnot.


The Supreme Court rarely rejects such proposals to change federal rules, according to lawyers familiar with the process.


Google and other opponents say the Rule 41 proposal amounts to a "substantive" change to the rules, and therefore should be properly debated in Congress.


The change "raises a number of monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal, and geopolitical concerns," Richard Salgado, Google's director for law enforcement and information security, wrote in public comments submitted in February 2015. (Reporting by Dustin Volz, additional reporting by Joan Biskupic. Editing by Jonathan Weber and Andrew Hay)

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Arianna Huffington Did Not Edit This Story About Uber

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 21:58

On Wednesday, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced in a blog post on The Huffington Post that The Huffington Post's editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington, would be joining Uber's board of directors.


Valued at more than $60 billion, Uber is fighting legal and regulatory battles around the world. The ride-sharing pioneer stands at the very nexus of pressing questions about technology and work in the app age. In short, the company is one of the biggest and most controversial business stories of our time, which is why HuffPost tries to cover the company's every move.


So how can HuffPost readers rely on HuffPost's coverage of Uber going forward, knowing its editor-in-chief has a personal and financial stake in the company's success?


According to media ethics experts, the newsroom will have to take precautions to keep readers' trust.


"How influential is Arianna Huffington over The Huffington Post?" Kelly McBride, a media ethicist at the Poynter Institute, asked in earnestness.


Quite influential, HuffPost assured McBride.


In that case, "It's definitely a concern," McBride said. "Uber is a massively controversial company, and it's sort of right in the sweet spot for Huffington Post coverage. ... It's a blatant, obvious conflict of interest, and it can be managed."


On Wednesday, Huffington told editors at the site that she was recusing herself from news coverage of Uber. This, according to McBride, was a good first step. Huffington should go further, she said, and designate an editor in charge of all things Uber, and assure that editor and everyone else "that there's editorial independence to make decisions that serve the audience, not Arianna Huffington or Uber."


Huffington has already done so, she said in an email responding to questions about the board seat. The responsibility to watchdog Uber coverage will fall to Jo Confino, an executive editor overseeing the site's business coverage, who was previously at The Guardian for 22 years. 


"Today might be my first day on the Uber board, but I’m in year 11 as Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post," Huffington said. "And throughout all of those years HuffPost's editorial independence has been a paramount concern, whether we’re covering people that I or other staffers know personally, or stories involving the interests of our parent companies or involving our advertisers, as is clear from our multi-part Highline series on Johnson & Johnson."


Huffington said every story related to Uber will be accompanied by a disclosure noting that she's on the company's board. According to an email sent out to HuffPost staffers Wednesday, such a disclosure will be attached whether the story subject is Uber, one of its competitors or ride-sharing in general.


That disclosure is going to see a lot of action. HuffPost's newspage for Uber indicates that the site often runs multiples posts about Uber each day. Many of these stories ask hard questions about Uber's business practices; as Huffington notes, that includes stories that ran on the site when she already knew she was joining the company's board. (See here, here and here.) Uber's business model famously relies on classifying drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees, in order to save money. Many on the left believe Uber is helping to put downward pressure on working standards in the broader transportation industry.


Despite the assurances to staff, one senior editor, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the arrangement "makes me very uncomfortable." 


Given the company's newsworthiness, Huffington's relationship with Uber is problematic, but workable, said Bob Kaiser, the former managing editor at The Washington Post. Kaiser said making a clear disclosure in every story related to Uber would help. He noted that The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, includes a parenthetical disclosure to any coverage of Amazon or other business interests of Bezos.


"I wouldn't have joined any board of a commercial enterprise when I was an editor or reporter myself," Kaiser said. "I wouldn't have done it if I were her, but in this corrupt world we live in, this is not an egregious thing. It's modest by my standards."


For as long as there have been newspapers, media moguls have had relationships -- personal or financial -- with powerful businesses and politicians. That was true for William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, and it's true today for the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Michael Bloomberg.


What makes Huffington different is that she is not a publisher who resides strictly on the business side. Her title is president and editor-in-chief, making her the site's top-ranking editor. She makes broad decisions related to news, as well as more granular ones, including assigning stories and spiking them. Bezos, for instance, does not regularly join story meetings with editors and reporters or steer coverage. That responsibility is left to the paper's editor, Marty Baron.


"I don't think you'd find Marty Baron advocating for another company," said Aly Colón, the Knight Professor in Journalism Ethics at Washington and Lee University.


McBride said one potential solution would be for Huffington to recuse herself as editor-in-chief, relegating herself to the business side as a publisher.


"When you're editor-in-chief, your job is to serve the editorial mission of the organization," she said. "Which means you do have to set aside some of your personal passions, because they create too many conflicts of interest."


One problem HuffPost could face is the prospect of self-censorship by editors and reporters, McBride said. Even if the staff has assurances it can cover Uber as it normally would, she said, some journalists may be reluctant to pursue stories critical of Uber knowing of their boss' relationship to the company. This is an issue McBride said she often sees in newsrooms in smaller cities and towns, where publishers are friends with local power brokers.


"That's really a question about the culture of the organization," Kaiser said of self-censorship. "It shouldn't be. But if there's a culture of intimidation, then it could be."


According to Colón, all the editorial safeguards in the world may not erase some readers' skepticism. In this sense, he says, the very perception of a conflict of interest could saddle the site with a credibility issue on Uber matters.


"It's a challenging situation," Colón said. "It doesn't mean [readers] will cease to trust Huffington Post news about Uber. But it will raise a question for anybody who knows she's on the board. There's no way around it … If I read a positive story now about Uber in The Huffington Post, I would wonder."


Of course, one way to ease readers' concerns is for the HuffPost staff to cover Uber even more aggressively than it has in the past.


As Colón put it, "The product will be part of its own proof."


Note: The Huffington Post's Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington is a member of Uber's board of directors, and has recused herself from any involvement in the site's coverage of the company.

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American University Will Stop Making Sexual Assault Victims Sign Confidentiality Agreements

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 21:29

American University will no longer require students reporting that they were sexually assaulted to sign a confidentiality agreement.


American, a private university in Washington, D.C., is making a series of changes to how it handles sexual assault cases, according to a document released by an alumna who petitioned for the school to overhaul its procedures. Several of the reforms appear to respond to allegations in a federal complaint filed this year by Faith Ferber, an undergraduate at American.


Ferber had to sign a confidentiality agreement before she could participate in a disciplinary hearing for the male student she said sexually assaulted her, according to documents shared with The Huffington Post. Federal guidelines say schools are not allowed to require confidentiality once a sexual misconduct case has been resolved.


American's changes are a "really good start," Ferber told HuffPost on Wednesday. But she said she still has concerns after an administrator publicly criticized her for filing the federal complaint accusing AU of violating the gender equity law Title IX.


American alumni petitioned for reforms after news reports described how the school handled the assault case involving Ferber. The petition garnered nearly 85,000 signatures in a few weeks.


Bianca Palmisano, an alumna who started the petition, met with students and administrators on April 18 to discuss reforms. Changes were forwarded to the university's Sexual Assault Working Group for implementation, the university said.


"We made some important, incremental changes to policy with this petition, but more than anything, I know it inspired a lot of advocates working on this issue to keep pushing forward," Palmisano said. "And that's a big win for me."


Days later, however, Gail Hanson, AU's vice president for campus life, told the student newspaper that Ferber's federal complaint "discourages people from stepping forward, it doesn’t encourage them, and we’ve already seen a little bit of evidence of that."


"If things don’t work for you, everybody here is committed to continuous improvement, you just have to tell us, you don’t have to file a complaint," Hanson told the Eagle student newspaper last week



Ferber said such "victim-blame" makes her concerned the school "will always be reactive instead of proactive."


"It shouldn't take 85,000 people watching you to do what's right for your students," she said.


American confirmed it has agreed to changes listed in the document released by Palmisano, but didn't immediately have additional comment.


Ferber's federal complaint pointed out the confidentiality agreement and said the disciplinary hearing in her case was delayed six months because the school didn't want it to interfere with final exams. The student she accused of assaulting her admitted responsibility and received one year on probation, according to Ferber. She said the university told her the student would be banned from Greek life, but he's now in a fraternity. 


American's planned reforms replace the requirement that students reporting an assault sign a confidentiality agreement with a statement that will be read aloud. The statement will clarify that accusers and the accused in sexual misconduct cases will be able to share their experiences and will guarantee their First Amendment rights are protected. 


AU also agreed to consider input from accusers when deciding punishment for offenders. Further, the school will not allow students on disciplinary probation to study abroad in an AU-sponsored program or participate in fraternity or sorority membership recruitment. The school said it would consider using Skype to hold "timely hearings" and avoid long delays.


The school also said students on probation will not be allowed to serve in student government or as elected Greek life officers, though they can belong to a fraternity or sorority. 


Prior to Ferber's federal complaint, AU was already the subject of a U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights investigation over its handling of sexual assaults. That review began in March 2015. 


Read the reforms planned at American University:


 






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Tyler Kingkade covers higher education and sexual violence, and is based in New York. You can reach him at tyler.kingkade@huffingtonpost.com, or find him on Twitter: @tylerkingkade. 

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John King Is Concerned

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 21:18
If you're on the USED mailing list, this weekend you received a "Friend" e-mail from John King, the latest in a series best entitled Let's Keep Throwing PR Spaghetti At The Wall Until Something Sticks.

The theme, as with his Vegas speech a few weeks ago, is that gosh, we just have to get the focus back on a well-rounded education because somehow, some way, we've just gotten all twisted up with this testing stuff.


















The most powerful thing about John King is his story, so he pulls that out again and seriously, there is nothing that anyone can mock about King's story. His mother died, and he was raised for a few years by a very sick father who then also died, and King was an orphan at age 12. He credits his teachers in general and one, Mr. Osterweil, in particular, for saving his life. And in this letter's retelling of the story, he also credits how involvement in and exposure to the arts also made a huge difference. That's a new feature; the moral of King's story is usually that great teachers and an orderly school can turn a student's life around. Now they also need exposure to the arts to open up the world.

The most intriguing thing about King's story has always been that he fails to draw any of the obvious lessons from it, like that fact that Alan Osterweil saved King's life without the benefit of Common Core Standards or a Big Standardized Test. King has never publicly considered whether the reforms he has championed would have helped or hindered Osterweil, or if Osterweil would have approved of the aggressive, excessive suspension policy at King's Roxbury charter.

But King plows on, with more thin-sliced baloney:

I hear frequently and passionately from educators and families who believe that the elements of a great well-rounded education are being neglected because of a too tight focus on reading and math.

Well, yes. I'm sure you do. But do you have any idea how such a thing happened?

Sometimes, that's because of constraints on resources, time, and money. Often, teachers and administrators describe how No Child Left Behind and its intense focus on English and math performance left other subjects under-attended to or even ignored.

The mystery here is whether King is incredibly dense, or he thinks the rest of us are. First, the constraints of resources, time and money would not necessarily affect the arts except the federal government mandated that reading and math must be the focus of all education. And that didn't just happen under NCLB-- it continued and was intensified under the Obama-Duncan administration and Race to the Top along with Waiverpallooza, which required states to tie math and reading scores to teacher and school evaluations.

And King has to know that. Arne Duncan can claim ignorance from being safely ensconced in the beltway bubble, but King was out there trying to sell this mess to the people of New York in meetings so contentious that King canceled them and had to be forced back out there to meet with people.

The narrowing of the America's curriculum did not just mysteriously happen. It was the direct and completely predictable result of the policies pursued by the last two administrations.

I've been clear, as has the President and my predecessor, Arne Duncan, that in many places in the country, testing has become excessive, redundant, and overemphasized.

We're committed at the Department of Education to changing that reality, but we need your help. We need to work together to make well-rounded education a priority for the benefit of our students.

Great. I look forward to the department calling for the end of Big Standardized Tests. I look forward to the department demanding that teacher and school evaluations no longer be linked in any way to such tests, so that no system of perverse incentives continues to twist education out of shape. If all that happens, I will even be willing to move forward and stop waiting for the day when USED wailing and moaning about too much testing and narrowing of curriculum is accompanied by a secretary saying, "We did that. We did that. It was our policies. Our ideas. This is totally our fault."

But none of that is going to happen.

Done well and thoughtfully, assessments provide vital information to educators and families, but this shouldn't come at the cost of those subjects that spark passion and inspire the joy of learning.

Y'all keep testing. Just, you know, do it more thoughtfully.

King goes on to say that a well-rounded education is now the thing, and that many non-wealthy non-white students are missing out on this swell stuff, and that's a huge bummer. Then we reach the money sentence (I know because it is in bold, underlined text).

We've got to see this as an urgent social justice challenge for the country. Help me share the message far and wide: we must work together to give every child the well-rounded education they deserve.

"Help me share" turns out to mean "click on this link and post a cool meme on Facebook."

"That's what a well-rounded education is all about: that inextricable intersection between what our kids learn and who they become."

I think the inextricable intersection here is between denying responsibility for past policy screw-ups and attempting to co-opt movements that are already going on. I mean, does King think that the rest of us do not already know that a well-rounded education is important, or that such roundedness has been a casualty of the last fifteen years  worth of reformsterdom.

What audience is he imagining here? Who on the USED mailing list is smacking themselves in the forehead, saying, "Why, damn! That's right! A well-rounded education IS important! How have I not seen this??!!" We all already knew this. We've been trying to tell the USED this for years!

No, this is the fine political process of figuring out where the crowd is headed and trying to run out ahead of them so you can pretend you're the leader. And it's a weak attempt. King would get so much further by saying,

We've made a lot of mistakes. We meant well, but we screwed things up, and now we would like to sit down and listen to you. We know you've been trying to tell us for years what public education needs, and now we are ready to hear what you have to say.

But of course, listening has never been King's strong suit.

Originally posted at Curmudgucation

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The End Of Hillary Clinton's 2008 Campaign

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 21:18

To tell you the truth, I never thought I'd have to write this article. I fully expected someone else to dig this stuff out, if the calls for Bernie Sanders to drop out of the race (or "say nice things about Hillary Clinton") began. Now that they have, I still haven't seen any detailed reminders of how the 2008 Democratic primary race ended yet. So I went ahead and dug them out on my own.


What follows is a review of the last few weeks of the 2008 primary, for those who have forgotten what it was like. All of these articles come from the Washington Post (because it made the database search easier, mostly). I apologize for not providing links; this is due to the fact that I retrieved the articles from a commercial database (with a paywall).


All of the following articles were published from mid-April to the first week in June of 2008. In other words, exactly eight years ago. I'm going to present them with only limited commentary (to only provide any needed historical context).


One more thing before I begin, in the interests of fairness. While Hillary Clinton did fight hard until the end, she is to be credited for two strategic moves from roughly the same period of time. First, she largely refused to attack Barack Obama in the midst of all the "Reverend Wright" mudslinging. She easily could have piled on, along with the rest of the political universe. She didn't. Secondly, during the time period below, Clinton had a stock line she threw in to most of her speeches (even the ones quoted below): "I will work my heart out for the Democratic Party and the party's eventual nominee." She signaled that she would work for Obama's election if she lost, which was rightly seen as a big step towards party unity.


With those caveats firmly in place, though, let's take a look at the end of Clinton's 2008 campaign. Just before the Pennsylvania primary, from an article titled "Obama Sharpens His Tone; As Pa. Vote Nears, Clinton Criticizes Rival's Negative Turn," Clinton showed her displeasure at Obama's attacks on her health care reform plan (which, at the time, had a mandate for coverage that Obama did not support):


Clinton, campaigning in Bethlehem, called her rival's approach "so negative" and charged him with mimicking Republicans by attacking her plan for universal health care.


"He has sent out mailers, he has run ads, misrepresenting what I have proposed," Clinton said. "I really regret that because the last thing we need is to have somebody spending as much money as he has downgrading universal health care."


From an April 22 article entitled "Clinton in the Wilderness," a previous and very personal slight towards Obama was noted:


But she [Clinton] has gone too far -- too much disturbing stuff, some of it shocking in its coarseness. For instance, she added the coy "as far as I know" to her 60 Minutes statement that Obama is not a Muslim.


Clinton used some inartful language in an interview with USA Today, which Eugene Robinson pointed out on May 9 ("The Card Clinton Is Playing"):


From the beginning, Hillary Clinton has campaigned as if the Democratic nomination were hers by divine right. That's why she is falling short -- and that's why she should be persuaded to quit now, rather than later, before her majestic sense of entitlement splits the party along racial lines.


If that sounds harsh, look at the argument she made Wednesday, in an interview with USA Today, as to why she should be the nominee instead of Barack Obama. She cited an Associated Press article "that found how Senator Obama's support... among working, hardworking Americans, white Americans, is weakening again. I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on."


As a statement of fact, that's debatable at best. As a rationale for why Democratic Party superdelegates should pick her over Obama, it's a slap in the face to the party's most loyal constituency -- African Americans -- and a repudiation of principles the party claims to stand for. Here's what she's really saying to party leaders: There's no way that white people are going to vote for the black guy. Come November, you'll be sorry.


How silly of me. I thought the Democratic Party believed in a colorblind America.


On May 20, in an ironically-titled article "Democrats Observe A Fragile Cease-Fire," the Clinton campaign tried to equate Obama with George W. Bush's infamous "Mission Accomplished" photo:


Obama is favored to win the Oregon primary today, and Clinton is an even stronger favorite to win the Kentucky contest. But Obama will not celebrate primary night in either of those states. Instead, he has chosen to be in Iowa, where his victory in the caucuses in January turned the Democratic race upside down. There, at a rally in Des Moines, he is expected to declare that he has secured a majority of the pledged delegates currently eligible to attend August's Democratic convention in Denver.


Obama and his advisers insist the event will stop short of a declaration that he has won the nomination. But it will be seen as another signal to superdelegates to climb aboard his bandwagon as quickly as possible.


The celebration, however, has rankled the Clinton campaign and the candidate herself. They see it as a highhanded effort to embarrass her and to generate renewed calls from others in the party for her to quit the race before anyone has achieved a genuine majority of pledged delegates and superdelegates.


In a signal of how fragile the detente between the two sides is, the Clinton campaign sent out a tart memo yesterday under the name of communications director Howard Wolfson calling the Obama rally in Iowa "a slap in the face of millions of voters in the remaining primary states and to Senator Clinton's 17 million supporters." Then, in language tying the Obama campaign to the Bush White House, the memo continues: "Premature victory laps and false declarations of victory are unwarranted. Declaring mission accomplished does not make it so."


On May 23, Hillary Clinton said something downright despicable. There's just no other word to describe her insinuation. From "Hillary Clinton Raises the Specter of the Unspeakable," here is Hillary musing on a possible end to the Democratic nomination race:


Smart candidates don't invoke the possibility of their opponents being killed. This seems so obvious it shouldn't need to be said, but apparently, it needs to be said.


"We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California," Hillary Clinton said yesterday, referencing the fact that past nomination contests have stretched into June to explain why she hasn't heeded calls to exit the Democratic race. She was in an editorial board meeting with a South Dakota newspaper, and she didn't even seem to notice she'd just uttered the unutterable.


The nation's political science students, our future strategists and campaign managers, would do well to pay attention to this moment. There are taboos in presidential politics, and this is one of the biggest. To raise the specter of a rival's assassination, even unintentionally, is to make a truly terrible thing real. It sounds like one might be waiting for a terrible thing to happen, even if one isn't. It sounds almost like wishful thinking.


She had to immediately apologize, but within the apology article ("Clinton Sorry For Remark About RFK Assassination; Comment Was Made in Reference to Primaries") were a few other slights she had recently made (there was an enormous battle over whether the Florida and Michigan delegations would count at the convention, since they had defied D.N.C. rules by scheduling their primaries too early):


Hillary Clinton's reference to the shooting of Robert Kennedy on June 6, 1968, after he had just won the California primary, hardened feelings in the Obama campaign once more, following a brief thaw as it appeared that Clinton would seek to unite the party in the final weeks of the campaign. Her allusion came on the heels of two other comments over the past few days that the Obama campaign described as off-putting: her reference to the Michigan and Florida delegations as similar to the fraudulent elections in Zimbabwe, and her comparison of that dispute to the ballot recount in the 2000 presidential election.


Not mentioned in this article was the fact that she had also compared the battle over seating the delegations "with the abolition of slavery" (from a May, 25 article, "To Claim Popular Vote, Clinton Is Seeking Wins In Last 3 Primaries").


On the very last day of primary voting, when Montana and South Dakota put Barack Obama over the top in the delegate count, Clinton essentially refused to concede his victory. From a June 3 article, "Obama Claims The Democratic Presidential Nomination," the key line in the speech she gave:


Obama scored his final primary victory in Montana and was quickly endorsed by the state's governor as well as the two Democratic senators. Clinton, meanwhile, claimed a come-from-behind victory in South Dakota, after trailing in the state for weeks.


Clinton, who spoke roughly 30 minutes before Obama at Baruch College in New York City, congratulated the Illinois senator for the "extraordinary race" he ran, although she did not acknowledge he had effectively won the nomination and stressed that "I will be making no decisions tonight" about her future plans.


For more context, from her speech transcript that night:


Now, the question is: Where do we go from here? And given how far we've come and where we need to go as a party, it's a question I don't take lightly. This has been a long campaign, and I will be making no decisions tonight.


But this has always been your campaign. So, to the 18 million people who voted for me, and to our many other supporters out there of all ages, I want to hear from you. I hope you'll go to my Web site at HillaryClinton.com and share your thoughts with me and help in any way that you can.


And in the coming days, I'll be consulting with supporters and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interests of our party and our country guiding my way.


From an article ("Obama Is Poised To Clinch Victory; Clinton Ponders Options at Finish Line") filed the same day:


As Clinton made a final push for votes across South Dakota, her advisers said her options ranged from dropping out Tuesday night and endorsing Obama to making a final effort to convince uncommitted superdelegates that she would be a stronger rival to McCain.


Another, according to senior Clinton advisers, is what they dubbed the "middle option," for Clinton to suspend her campaign, acknowledging that Obama has crossed the delegate threshold but keeping her options open until the convention in late August. Advisers said she is looking at historical precedent while weighing her recent victories, including her landslide win in Puerto Rico, in trying to sort out what to do.


Clinton has been angered by recent calls for her to quit, her advisers said, and the "soft landing" of suspending her campaign would allow her to move ahead on her own terms.


Speaking to reporters in Sioux Falls, S.D., spokesman Mo Elleithee was unequivocal, saying that Clinton intends to spend the next several days "making the case to undecided delegates" and adding: "She's in this race until we have a nominee. She expects to be that nominee."


On June 6, Barack Obama met with Hillary Clinton in Senator Dianne Feinstein's house in Washington. The next day -- a full four days after the last primary finished -- she finally announced the end of her campaign (from "Clinton to Publicly Withdraw, Support Obama"):


After a tumultuous 17-month journey, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) will formally withdraw as a presidential candidate today, publicly declaring her support for Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) for the first time since he secured the Democratic nomination.


Clinton drew the wrath of many Democrats when she did not acknowledge Obama's victory in her speech on Tuesday night. Her farewell address to supporters, scheduled for noon today at the National Building Museum at Fourth and F streets NW, is intended to repair any lingering damage from the Tuesday speech and will close the door on an epic primary campaign that, after dividing Democrats, produced the first African American presumptive nominee of any major party in history.


The former rivals made progress in their search for common ground during a clandestine hour-long meeting at the home of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Thursday night. Details of the sit-down, held in Feinstein's living room, began to emerge as Clinton aides turned in their cellphones, packed up their offices and put the finishing touches on her much-anticipated speech.


"Hillary will be holding an event tomorrow in Washington D.C. to thank all of her supporters, to express her support for Senator Obama, and to talk about the issues that have been at the core of her public service, the issues she will continue fighting for," campaign manager Maggie Williams wrote in a letter yesterday inviting supporters to attend the gathering. The e-mail doubled as a fundraising solicitation -- a reminder of the nearly $30 million in debt that Clinton will seek to retire.


Now, even with such a tumultuous end to the Democratic primary campaign, Hillary Clinton eventually made good on her promise to "campaign her heart out" for Obama. She personally put him over the top in the delegate voting on the convention floor (being a senator, she was also a superdelegate). Eventually, after winning the general election, Barack Obama appointed her Secretary of State (there were many rumors at the time that Bill Clinton was pushing hard for her to be named as Obama's running mate, but obviously that didn't come to pass).


Hillary Clinton worked for party unity, but only after a very hard-fought and contentious primary season. I offer these reminders up because now she finds herself in the opposite role. And it seems like everyone's memory has gone fuzzy when recalling the final two months of the 2008 race. Hillary Clinton's campaign team has no real leg to stand on now, in calling on Bernie Sanders to "stop attacking Hillary" or even to drop out of the race for her convenience. Because that's definitely not what Hillary herself did, exactly eight years ago.


 


Chris Weigant blogs at:


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


 

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Bobby Knight: Trump Will Be One Of The Best Presidents In History

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 21:16

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Legendary and incendiary Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight said Wednesday night that Donald Trump would be one of the best presidents in U.S. history.


Trump, who has boasted that he can be "more presidential than anybody, other than the great Abe Lincoln," got a boost from Knight a day after Trump swept the primary contests in five northeastern states.


"They talk in a negative way when they want to about Donald, and say he isn’t presidential," Knight said of Trump’s opponents. "I don’t know what the hell that means. To me I think of Harry Truman, they said Harry Truman wasn’t presidential. And damn, he went on to be one of the three best presidents in U.S. history. [Trump] will at some point be one of those also."


"You folks are taking a look at the most prepared man in history to step in as president of the United States," Knight added at the rally in Indianapolis, less than a week from the state’s primary on May 3.


"The General" has one of the most impressive resumes in American sports. As a college coach, he set a record for wins, led the Hoosiers to three NCAA Championships, won a dozen other college championships and was named Big Ten Coach of the Year eight times. He also coached the U.S. Men's Olympic Team, Texas Tech and U.S. Army.


But his conquest of college sports came with heavy doses of controversy and aggression. He was charged and convicted in absentia of assaulting a police officer in Puerto Rico during the 1979 Pan American Games, famously threw a chair across the court during a 1985 game, manhandled players and fans, and was not always friendly with the press and refs. He was fired from his position at Indiana in 2000 over his "unacceptable pattern of behavior," which included verbal attacks on a female university official, and allegations that he choked a former player.



Trump said earlier this week that he would like it if Knight endorsed his campaign. "Tough, strong, smart. I would like to get that for Indiana, I’ll tell you what. To me, that would be a great endorsement," Trump said.


Last night, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) chose basketball as his avenue to connect with Indiana voters. Cruz tried to recreate a famous scene from the iconic basketball movie "Hoosiers," but it didn’t work out that well.


Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

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A Lawyer Addressed Justice Ginsburg By The Wrong Name. Her Response Was Perfect.

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 20:38

WASHINGTON -- Noel Francisco, the lawyer arguing in former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption appeal, only had one job: to convince the Supreme Court that his client didn't break federal anti-bribery laws.


For better or for worse, he may very well have succeeded.


But toward the end of the hearing in McDonnell v. United States, which the justices heard Wednesday, the way Francisco addressed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after a critical question about what federal law prescribes caused some commotion in the courtroom.


"There are lots of other statutes that would prohibit precisely what you are suggesting, Justice O'Connor, and you don't have to interpret ..."


At that point, Ginsburg interrupted him: "That hasn't happened in quite some time." The room exploded in laughter. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, it turns out, retired more than a decade ago.


Francisco, who at this point might have wished that one of the courtroom's marble columns would come crashing down on him, was contrite: "Justice Ginsburg, I'm very very very sorry." More laughter filled the room.


"Justice Ginsburg, my apologies," Francisco continued, as he picked up where he left off and carried on with his argument. If he wins the case, it's likely all will be forgiven. 


More notably, Ginsburg's quick-on-her-feet response harkens back to the time she and O'Connor shared the bench -- a period of adjustment for some top-flight lawyers who had to get used to the presence of two women who otherwise were very different in the way they looked, sounded, and viewed the law.


"During oral argument, many a distinguished counsel -- including a Harvard Law School professor and more than one solicitor general -- began his response to my question: 'Well, Justice O’Connor ..." wrote Ginsburg in a Politico essay reflecting on the years she worked side-by-side with O'Connor.


"Sometimes when that happened," Ginsburg continued, "Sandra would smile and crisply remind counsel: 'She’s Justice Ginsburg. I’m Justice O’Connor."


At the time, it took a group of forward-looking women lawyers to devise a solution, albeit a tongue-in-cheek one.


"Anticipating just such confusion, in 1993, my first term as a member of the court, the National Association of Women Judges had T-shirts made for us," Ginsburg wrote. "Justice O’Connor’s read, 'I’m Sandra, not Ruth,' mine, 'I’m Ruth, not Sandra.'"


All of this, of course, coming from a woman who faced insurmountable odds as she rose through the ranks of the legal profession and once said the Supreme Court will be perfectly gender-balanced when "there are nine" women justices.


Maybe one day.

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The U.S. Could Soon Have A National Mammal -- And It's Not Us

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 20:38

The American bison is one of the most iconic species in the U.S., but it doesn't get the same recognition as the beloved bald eagle.


Now, in a rare moment of both legislative action and bipartisanship, Congress has passed a bill that could make the American bison the national mammal of the United States.



"The bison, like the bald eagle, is a quintessentially American symbol," John F. Calvelli, executive vice president of public affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society, wrote in a blog for The Huffington Post. "It already appears on two state flags, on the seal of the U.S. Department of the Interior and National Park Service, and on our currency." (Check out the state quarters for Kansas, North Dakota and Montana.)


It is also considered the first American conservation success story.


In the 1500s, an estimated 30 to 60 million bison, also known as buffalo, roamed North America. They played a vital role in Native American culture, providing many tribes with material for food, shelter and tools.


But as Americans pushed westward during the 19th century, the species was driven to the brink of extinction. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Americans had so decimated the population that by 1884, there were just 325 wild bison living in the U.S.



Now, after many years of legal protection, the population is healthy once again, estimated at more than 500,000 individual bison living in both commercial and conservation herds. 


According to a WCS Press Release, the current bill will "officially commemorate the ecological, cultural, historical and economic contribution of bison" and is the result of four years of effort by the Vote Bison Coalition -- a group of more than 60 organizations, tribes and businesses.


While the House of Representatives passed the National Bison Legacy Act late Tuesday night, the Senate passed its version of the bill last December and is now expected to adopt the House version, according to WCS. 


Once signed by the president, the law would catapult the bison into a family of classic American symbols, including the oak (the national tree), the rose (the national floral emblem) and the bald eagle (the national emblem).

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Ted Cruz Announcement: Vice President Carly Fiorina and Tax Policies

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 20:21


By Laura Woods, Contributor

Ted Cruz isn't giving up his bid for The White House just yet. Despite last night's Republican primary results -- where party frontrunner Donald Trump won all five states with primaries yesterday -- the Texas senator put himself back in the spotlight by announcing Carly Fiorina will be his vice president, if elected.

Read More: Presidential Hopeful Ted Cruz Intends to Kill the IRS If Elected

Ted Cruz Announcement: Carly Fiorina as Vice President

Prior to ending her presidential bid on Feb. 10, Ted Cruz's Vice President Carly Fiorina was often questioned about her monetary policy, but didn't have too much to say. Here are highlights of what is known about her policies:



  • Fiorina shared Cruz's sentiment that the U.S. must take any necessary measures to spur the economy.


  • She never released a formal tax plan but publicly supported the 1995 Hall-Rubushka flax tax, which would tax personal income and businesses at 19 percent, minus certain allowances.


  • Unlike other candidates who proudly tout their Social Security reform plans, Fiorina vowed not to propose reforms until she was president.




Remaining mum on key money matters might work to Fiorina's advantage in the Cruz campaign, as she can simply align her viewpoints with his without having to backpedal on previous statements.

Fiorina will have to overcome her rocky legacy as the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, a job she was fired from in 2005, taking a $21.4 million severance package with her. Her tenure was plagued by furloughs, layoffs and a poorly-managed 2002 Compaq merger.

Ted Cruz Net Worth: $3.5 Million

Ted Cruz has a net worth of $3.5 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, which reports on celebrity earnings. The Republican presidential candidate became a Texas senator in 2012, and he reportedly has earned $175,000 per year in that role.

The GOP hopeful likely amassed his fortune during his previous stint in the private sector, where he earned $1.57 million and $1.02 million in 2011 and 2012, respectively, as a lawyer for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Prior to taking unpaid leave in March 2015, his wife Heidi Cruz worked as a managing director at Goldman Sachs, where her last reported salary was approximately $360,000 in 2010.

Ted Cruz's Money Policies

If Ted Cruz becomes president -- and current Republican primary election results make it appear unlikely -- he has vowed to grow the economy by at least 5 percent annually. He plans to get rid of the IRS and institute a flat tax plan, where all individuals pay a personal income tax of 10 percent and businesses are taxed at 16 percent.

Cruz plans to keep Social Security intact but hopes to reform it to gradually increase the retirement age, match benefit increases to inflation and create personal accounts, allowing people to control a portion of their payments and pass them down to their loved ones.

Ted Cruz 'Major Announcement' Planned





If I am nominated, I will run on a ticket with @carlyfiorina as my Vice President. Join us: https://t.co/sGy8idmZDEhttps://t.co/4RZxR2zlMz



-- Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 27, 2016





More from GOBankingRates:

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Female GOP Lawmakers Don't Want To Talk About Trump's 'Woman Card'

Huffingon Post Politics - Wed, 2016-04-27 20:07

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump reduced Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to little more than a female human vessel Tuesday night, saying her gender is the only thing she's got going for her in her campaign.


"The only card she has is the women's card," Trump said during a victory speech after sweeping in five state's primaries. "She's got nothing else going on. Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she would get 5 percent of the vote."


The Huffington Post wondered how Republican women in the House and Senate felt about their party's presidential front-runner talking like this about about a former secretary of state and U.S. senator. So we spent Wednesday asking them. It was like pulling teeth.


"Oh God, I'm not getting into that. I'm not getting into that," said Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), walking away quickly.


Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), ducking into a Senate lunch, said she missed Trump's speech. Asked what it means to have a women's card to play, Collins said only, "I don't know."


None of the other female GOP senators returned HuffPost's messages to their offices seeking comment. We're looking at you, Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).


Democratic women in the Senate, not surprisingly, had some thoughts on Trump. Asked about her women's card, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) gave an eye roll. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said Trump has "gone from demeaning to downright ridiculous" in the way he talks about Clinton.


"Oh, there he goes again," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who's been in Congress since 1977. If anyone has an amazing girl-club card, surely it's her.


"I don't have a woman's card," Mikulski said. Whatttt?


"What's my card?" Mikulski asked. "My card is the Democratic card. My card is my voting card."


In the House, GOP congresswomen had surprisingly different takes on the way Trump talks about Clinton's gender.


"I cannot be held responsible for anything Donald Trump says," said Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), zipping down a Capitol hallway. "I think everyone, regardless of gender or color, should stand on their policies and how they're going to move America forward."


Asked if she had her women's card in the purse swinging on her shoulder, Love said, "I have no idea what that is."



Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) said she missed Trump's speech, but said Clinton does play the women's card. By that, she said, she means Clinton talks a lot about the fact that she's a woman.


"You don't have to say anything about it," said Miller. "I just try not to engage in the woman politics ... I've never considered myself a woman member of Congress. I'm a member of Congress. I don't have to run around saying, 'Hey, I'm a woman member of Congress.'"


Asked if she's saying Clinton runs around talking about being a woman, she replied, "I'm not saying that. You asked me what Trump said."


But she just said Clinton plays the women's card? "Well, she does," said Miller.


At least one GOP congresswoman acknowledged thinking Trump's comments were offensive. Longtime Texas Rep. Kay Granger said she proudly carries several cards.


"I have a woman card. I have an intelligence card. I have an achievement card. I have a background card," Granger said. "I play with a full deck."


It's insulting to all female politicians to say someone is just playing a women's card, Granger said. "It's not saying you have nothing to offer," she said, "but it's very close to nothing."


Asked if a political opponent has ever accused her of playing the women's card in her 18 years as a congresswoman, Granger said she did have one challenger who told voters not to just vote "for a pretty face." She took it in stride.


"I said, 'You can vote for me for any reason you want to,'" she said. "The votes count and I'm going to do a great job."


Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

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