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Phil Knight Wants to Solve Poverty

[ 45 ] February 24, 2016 |

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So Phil Knight wants to solve poverty, among other problems in global society.

Philip H. Knight, the co-founder and chairman of Nike Inc., said on Monday that he had pledged to give Stanford University $400 million to recruit graduate students around the globe to address society’s most intractable problems, including poverty and climate change.

The gift to the new Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, which is modeled on the Rhodes scholarships, matches one of the largest individual donations ever to a university, the $400 million that John A. Paulson, the hedge fund tycoon, gave to Harvard last year to improve its engineering school. The Stanford project is meant to improve the world.

“This is using education to benefit mankind and I think it really could be transformative,” Mr. Knight said in a phone interview. “I jumped on it right away.”

Leaving out the fact that giving $400 million to one of the world’s richest institutions is a terrible way to solve any kind of problem except perhaps your own tax bill, I wonder if Phil Knight could do anything else to solve poverty? Like stop exploiting workers in low-wage sweatshops? Maybe?

But the reality is that the long-term exploitation of people at very low wages is completely OK with Americans and their companies in ways that other forms of oppression are not. See Nike distancing itself from the homophobe Manny Pacquiao, rightfully damning one horrible thing while completely embracing another because it creates profit.

Moas couldn’t square Nike’s seemingly PR-oriented move with its actions, which include a history of sweatshop production, slave wages and child labor practices in Southeast Asian countries.

“So Nike is pro-gay and anti-gay comments are unacceptable to them?” Moas asked in an email to investors Thursday morning. “That is great, but their use of sweatshops is okay? I guess people being abused in sweatshops can’t boycott because they have no money to pay $100 for a $5 pair of shoes.”

“Nike pays Kevin Durant $300,000,000 and LeBron James $500,000,000,” wrote Moas. “The 100,000 workers in Indonesia at the Nike sweatshop get paid $3 a day. Nike’s market cap is now $99 billion. They could take 3% of their $3 billion profit and double the salaries of the 100,000 Indonesian workers.”

Nike has been criticized over the years for its outsourced labor practices, but has tried to re-shape its image in recent years.

A Nike spokesperson told Benzinga the company had no comment on the matter at time of publishing.

That half-billion deal with LeBron is a real thing too.

And while most of the talk about Nike and sweastshops in 2016 is about how it is better than any other companies at controlling its supply chain, thanks to the terrible publicity it received in the 1990s over its Indonesian contractors, the reality is that these are still very poor people. If Phil Knight wants to solve poverty, how about making sure the people assembling his shoes receive a quality wage that raises standards throughout the industry and allows the creation of a Vietnamese or Indonesian middle class, not to mention the potential of making some of these shoes in the United States and recreating an American middle class? That would go a whole lot further to poverty alleviation than giving a bunch of money to Stanford.

Also, this.

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Outside the Trains Don’t Run on Time

[ 252 ] February 24, 2016 |

The elites are mystified at the broad-based support for Donald Trump, presumptive Republican nominee for president. At this point, I’m even more bullish on Trump than Paul. I think there is almost no way he doesn’t win the nomination, barring him dying or just deciding he doesn’t want it anymore. The media doesn’t understand, the Tea Party and evangelical die-hards (which are different than the average person motivated by Tea Party sentiments) are shocked that a “progressive” like Trump is winning their party instead of Cruz or Rubio, the conservative elites are wishing for a Rick Perry third party run. But it’s really quite simple, as Jeb Lund points out. White people are really, really, really angry and they want a daddy to justify their anger. And the media struggles with this because they look down on working-class people.

Anger isn’t something that Beltway pundits recognize, let alone understand because everyone employed in media or in politics in and around Washington DC is pretty well off. Even ink-stained wretches pull down five-figures – and, unlike everywhere else in America, since journalism is built on documenting nonsense, there’s some real job security in documenting Washington. Television people fare even better, because TV money is stupid money. Thinktank malefactors reap great sums from the aggrieved heartland or from industries looking to build a canon of falsified data, and Congress and the attendant lobbying is a helluva racket.

Anger is pretty easy to miss when it’s something pretty difficult to feel. When you sit at the center of the world and are unlikely to ever lack for the basic materials of self-sufficiency, the idea of blind, gnawing resentment – let alone of feeding that resentment even with irrational aims – is ineluctably beyond your ken.

It’s harder still to understand that there are millions of people in America whose ambitions for a life of steadily improving conditions cratered sometime around nine years ago and have never recovered. If you can hardly imagine that you could follow the Horatio Alger script to the letter and still find yourself sinking in quicksand, you’re never going to understand why someone would be so contemptuous of the pieties of a system that only pays attention to you when doing soft-focus interviews in search of a journalism award or a campaign ad.

And anger isn’t something so easily ratiocinated. When your job is explaining world events, irrational phenomena lie fundamentally outside your brief. Explaining things with, “Well, people are angry!” is like surrender; it’s explaining badly resolved story lines in a TV show with, “A wizard did it.” Journalists learn to see the world in terms of the push/pull of conflicting ideologies and the necessary stratagems within a needlessly complicated governmental system; they’re necessarily going seek their explanations for seeming irrationality in the more elegant realms of philosophy and economics and political science.

Doing so fails them all the time. Look at the Tea Party, which the Beltway (at various points) tried desperately to explain as populist resentment of Business As Usual, or a new libertarian moment. Only recently has the media madding crowd come around to some kind of consensus about it just being racist as hell.

That wasn’t a difficult conclusion to reach, and it didn’t need to take seven years; all they had to do was look at their damn signage – all those placards of Obama as “Curious George” the monkey and signs like “OBAMA’S PLAN = WHITE SLAVERY” were kind of unambiguous.

Why are they angry? For lots of reasons. Some are of course just open racists who love a candidate who speaks their truths about white supremacy.

According to P.P.P., 70 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters in South Carolina wish the Confederate battle flag were still flying on their statehouse grounds. (It was removed last summer less than a month after a mass shooting at a black church in Charleston.) The polling firm says that 38 percent of them wish the South had won the Civil War. Only a quarter of Mr. Rubio’s supporters share that wish, and even fewer of Mr. Kasich’s and Mr. Carson’s do.

Nationally, the YouGov data show a similar trend: Nearly 20 percent of Mr. Trump’s voters disagreed with the freeing of slaves in Southern states after the Civil War. Only 5 percent of Mr. Rubio’s voters share this view.

But as Lund points out, this is not the entirety of it. Some of them are racists, others are sexists, most of them are authoritarians of some kind who are looking for a leader to tell them what to do. But none of this can be separated from a corporate-dominated politics and media that has kicked working people over and over again. As I’ve said before, if you send all the good jobs overseas, dooming the once-middle class to a lifetime of economic insecurity, you are opening the door for terrible domestic consequences, including the revival of open racism, violence, and fascism. If you want to argue that shipping good-paying jobs overseas is a morally correct choice even though you are dooming Americans to insecurity, that’s fine, but you have to be held responsible for the consequences. Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination using fascist stylings is very much one of those consequences. Own it because you helped create it.

“Son, Back In My Day Justice Scalia’s ‘Originalism’ Was Highly Influential.” “Really?”

[ 70 ] February 24, 2016 |

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Nah, not even really with respect to his own jurisprudence:

Hollis-Brusky is certainly correct that the conservative constitutional principles advanced by Scalia and the Federalist Society alike will endure, and that future Republican Supreme Court nominees are likely to be even more reactionary than Scalia. What is up for debate is whether these judges are likely to make frequent use of originalism—the theory that holds judges should ascertain the original intent of the Constitution’s framers—and whether it will really matter if they do or not.

My guess is that it will not. Originalism is already a relatively marginal force in the Supreme Court’s constitutional interpretation. And, more importantly, originalism doesn’t meaningfully drive judicial decision-making even when judges nominally use it.

[…]

Heller is precisely analogous. The vote on the case broke down precisely on expected ideological lines. What grand theory the majority and dissenting opinions used to justify their conclusions is not terribly important. Before and after Scalia, justices will use history when they believe it supports their ex ante conclusions and ignore it when they believe it doesn’t.

And, of course, Scalia himself was far from a consistent originalist. As Heller shows, history is often indeterminate, providing adequate evidence for both sides of a debate. And in cases where historical evidence might be inconsistent with his cherished political views, Scalia would simply ignore it. It is farcical to argue that the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment was originally understood in 1789 as forbidding all racial classifications. This didn’t stop Scalia from finding that federal affirmative action programs were categorically unconstitutional because they classified people by race, with a conclusory two-paragraph opinion that says nothing about the history of the Fifth Amendment.

[…]

I welcome the relative candor of Alito and Roberts. No grand theory constrains or explains judicial decision-making. Whether the next Supreme Court justice is appointed by a Republican or Democratic president matters a great deal, because Supreme Court justices tend to reliably reflect the constitutional values of the president that appointed them. How often the next justice justifies his or her decisions using historical evidence, conversely, is of trivial importance.

Scalia certainly had an influence on how judges predisposed to agree with him wrote their opinions, although this is more true with his statutory than with his constitutional interpretation. Whether he influenced the far more important question of how judges decide cases is a different story.

Trumpland

[ 227 ] February 24, 2016 |

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The Las Vegas caucuses gave Donald Trump his biggest victory yet, as he exceeded the total vote going to his two challengers combined in what is now all but officially a three-person race.

This result seems pretty significant, for several reasons:

(1) It is a caucus, and one with a historically low turnout relative to the three prior contests, meaning Trump’s lack of much of a traditional on the ground organization would figure to hurt him. Turnout ended up being high by historical standards, but still low relative to the three earlier states. It didn’t matter.

(2) Nevada should have been a good state for Marco Rubio. The entire local GOP establishment united behind him, the biggest newspaper in the state is owned by Rubio’s billionaire semi-backer Sheldon Adelson, and Rubio even lived in Las Vegas for a time. (Not sure which way Rubio’s time as a Mormon cuts. There are a lot of Mormons in Nevada). But Rubio was left in the dust, with the only consolation being that he managed to edge out Cruz for a very distant second.

(3) Speaking of which, Cruz is pretty much dead at this point. As in South Carolina and New Hampshire, he’s not only continuing to finish third, he’s also still losing to Trump even among what should be the core of his base:

He carried only 27 percent of the white born-again and evangelical Christian vote, behind Trump’s 41 percent. Cruz also lost this group in New Hampshire and South Carolina. But, unlike in South Carolina, Cruz also trailed among “very conservative” voters in Nevada, 34 percent to 38 percent for Trump. Finally, Cruz continues to struggle among “somewhat conservative” and moderate voters. He earned just 16 percent and 7 percent among those groups, respectively, according to the entrance poll.

Cruz, Huckabee and Santorum might make up an OK personal injury law firm, or the worst folk-rock group ever, but it will be remembered as three-pronged evidence that getting a bunch of Iowa evangelicals to vote for you isn’t a particularly significant step on the way to a hypothetical nomination.

Cruz remaining in the race (as he certainly will for at least several weeks; the idea that he’ll be willing to do any favors for the GOP establishment is laughable) is killing Rubio’s chances, but in fact even if he were to drop out it’s far from clear it would help Rubio much: this Elon poll indicates that Trump would pick up nearly 20% more of Cruz voters than Rubio would.

(4) What’s John Kasich’s game? He has no money, no endorsements, and not even a lottery ticket shot at the nomination, but he can definitely hurt Rubio’s already not very good chances by staying in the race for another three weeks, through several Midwest primaries, most particularly Ohio. He’s more or less an establishment guy, so you would think they would make him an offer he couldn’t refuse. VP on a Rubio ticket? Supreme Court? (I don’t know if he’s a lawyer but at this point does it even matter?)

Anyway for what it’s worth the electronic betting markets currently make Trump a nearly 3 to 1 favorite over Rubio, with Cruz relegated to a 25 to 1 long shot. That seems about right to me.

SCS

[ 6 ] February 23, 2016 |
Mui Ne4.jpg

“Mui Ne4” by MikeRussia – MikeRussia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

I spoke with CBC Radio this morning about the South China Sea.  Transcript here, listen here. Long story short, the US should worry about China’s assertiveness in the SCS, but it shouldn’t worry too much.

Fernando Cardenal, RIP

[ 14 ] February 23, 2016 |

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Fernando Cardenal, the leftist priest of the Sandinistas, has died. He was truly an amazing man.

The Rev. Fernando Cardenal, a son of privilege who embraced Latin America’s poor as a revolutionary priest and brazenly defied Pope John Paul II’s order to quit Nicaragua’s leftist cabinet in the 1980s, died on Saturday in Managua. He was 82.

The cause was an infection after a hernia operation, said Iñaki Zubizarreta, the country’s superior of Jesuits.

Father Cardenal was the brother of Ernesto Cardenal, the 90-year-old poet and intellectual voice of the insurgency that overthrew the dictator Gen. Anastasio Somoza Debayle in 1979. Father Cardenal was one of four priests steeped in liberation theology, a Christian movement committed to a Marxist agenda of promoting social justice and alleviating poverty, who joined the revolutionary Sandinista cabinet.

As education minister from mid-1984 to 1990 under the Sandinista National Liberation Front, Fernando Cardenal oversaw a sweeping campaign that local officials credited with reducing illiteracy to 13 percent from 51 percent. His brother served as the culture minister.

After the Cardenal brothers and two other clergymen were warned by the church that their political and priestly posts were incompatible, Fernando Cardenal was the first to be disciplined. He was expelled by the Jesuits in 1984 and suspended from the priesthood by the pope.

“My problem with the Vatican was political,” he said in a television interview last year. “The pope was against the revolution because he had been marked by his experience as a young priest in Poland, when he was persecuted by the Polish Communist Party. This marked him forever.”

But Father Cardenal said his exposure to Marxism and earlier to the Sandinista revolution had the opposite effect.

“I had thought through my decision in 1973, being convinced that it was Jesus who had asked me to commit to this revolution for the poor,” he recalled. “I said, in my spiritual and communitarian discernment, that the voice of Jesus was stronger than that of the pope.”

When John Paul suspended him, Father Cardenal said, “I can’t conceive of a God that would ask me to give up my commitment to the people” by abandoning a post committed to the poor.

To his credit as well, when the Sandinistas became ridden with corruption and right-wing social policies by the 1990s, he heavily criticized them as well. Unfortunately, Daniel Ortega is still the (living*) revolutionary hero of Nicaragua, despite his horrible personal behavior and his war on women.

I saw Cardenal speak in 2009 when I was teaching in Texas. It was great. So inspiring, such dedication to fighting poverty. Really, he was just a great human. Everyone has flaws and I don’t believe in heroes, but Cardenal worked hard to make the lives of the Nicaraguan masses better at great sacrifice to himself. I don’t know how much more one can ask of a person.

* What would have happened if Carlos Fonseca, the Nicaraguan Castro, had lived until the Sandinistas took power is an interesting hypothetical. Ortega ended up being president because he was the military commander, but he by no means was the clearly respected leader of the Sandinista movement and the government was pretty split between various wings in the early years, including the Cardenal wing.

Some people have to play little games

[ 98 ] February 23, 2016 |

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You can have my answer now if you like.

It’s the end of the Court as we know it (and I don’t feel fine):

But while the Republican blockade may lack any ­precedent, it, too, is probably well within the law. This is the problem. Americans like to imagine our form of government as a perfectly designed system of checks and balances that prevents any one branch from abusing its power. In fact, as the late Spanish political scientist Juan Linz pointed out a quarter-century ago, presidential systems nearly always collapse. Linz attributed America’s unusual ability to make its presidential system operate without violent coups to its weak, ideologically overlapping parties. But that signal observation, which was true when Linz made it, has grown less true over time, as the Democrats have moved somewhat leftward and the Republican Party has lurched far to the right.

It turns out that what has held together American government is less the elaborate rules hammered out by the guys in the wigs in 1789 than a series of social norms that have begun to disintegrate. Senate filibusters were supposed to be rare, until they became routine. They weren’t supposed to be applied to judicial nominations, then they were. The Senate majority would never dream of changing the rules to limit the filibuster; the minority party would never plan to withhold all support from the president even before he took office; it would never threaten to default on the debt to extort concessions from the president. And then all of this happened. . .

If Hillary Clinton wins in November and Republicans retain the Senate, they may feel shamed by their promises to let the voters decide the Court’s next nominee and give her a justice. Or maybe not — maybe some dastardly Clinton campaign tactic, or reports of voter fraud on Fox News, will make them rescind their promise. The Supreme Court could remain deadlocked at 4-4 for the remainder of her term, causing federal rulings to pile up and further fracturing the country into liberal and conservative zones with dramatically different constitutional interpretations. On some of the most contentious issues, there would be, effectively, no Supreme Court at all.

If Republicans win the White House and retain the Senate, Democrats would regard Scalia’s vacated seat as rightfully theirs and oppose any nomination. This will cause Republicans to abolish the filibuster altogether; then they will fill the seat, solidifying their control over all three branches of government.

A world in which Supreme Court justices are appointed only when one party has both the White House and the needed votes in Congress would look very different from anything in modern history. Vacancies would be commonplace and potentially last for years. When a party does break the stalemate, it might have the chance to fill two, three, four seats at once. The Court’s standing as a prize to be won in the polls would further batter its sagging reputation as the final word on American law. How could the Court’s nonpolitical image survive when its orientation swings back and forth so quickly? And given that the Court can affect the outcome of elections directly (like it did in Bush v. Gore) or indirectly (by ruling on the legality of partisan redistricting schemes, laws designed to inhibit voting by marginal constituencies, campaign-finance regulations, or labor’s ability to organize politically), with every election, the stakes will rise and rise.

The Supreme Court is a strange, Oz-like construction. It has no army or democratic mandate. Its legitimacy resides in its aura of being something grander and more trustworthy than a smaller Senate whose members enjoy lifetime appointments. In the new world, where seating a justice is exactly like passing a law, whether the Court can continue to carry out this function is a question nobody can answer with any confidence.

The politics of “grief”

[ 116 ] February 23, 2016 |

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Body of Manuel Granero, bullfighter killed in the Madrid ring, May 1922. Hemingway’s caption to this photo in Death in the Afternoon reads: “Only two in the crowd are thinking about Granero. The others are all intent on how they will look in the photograph.”

I

Press release, Georgetown University Law Center

February 13, 2016 — Georgetown Law mourns the loss of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (C’57), who died in Texas at the age of 79. “Scalia was a giant in the history of the law, a brilliant jurist whose opinions and scholarship profoundly transformed the law,” said Dean William M. Treanor in a statement.

“Like countless academics, I learned a great deal from his opinions and his scholarship. In the history of the Court, few Justices have had such influence on the way in which the law is understood. On a personal level, I am deeply grateful for his remarkably generous involvement with our community, including his frequent appearances in classes and his memorable lecture to our first year students this past November.”

Justice Scalia most recently visited the Law Center on November 16, when he delivered a 20-minute talk on education to the first-year class. His talk was followed by more than 30 minutes of responses to written student questions. How much influence do Scalia’s law clerks have on his opinions? “More than my colleagues,” the justice replied, to great laughter.

“The justice offered first-year students his insights and guidance, and he stayed with the students long after the lecture was over,” Treanor said. “He cared passionately about the profession, about the law and about the future, and the students who were fortunate enough to hear him will never forget the experience. We will all miss him.”

See some of Justice Scalia’s visits to Georgetown Law over the years here. Read more from Georgetown University here.

This press release led Michael Seidman of the GULC faculty to send the following email to the rest of the faculty: Read more…

Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 21

[ 75 ] February 23, 2016 |

This is the grave of Richard Nixon.

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There is no real reason to talk about what a terrible person Richard Nixon was. You already know this. I will say the phrase of his grave may be true but has absolutely nothing to do with the life of Richard Nixon.

Richard Nixon is buried at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, Yorba Linda, California. As I have stated before, the museum there is the greatest place on Earth if you are a cynical left-wing historian who likes to crack jokes at the expense of dead and living conservatives. What’s more, we had to leave early because a wedding was about to begin. The bride and groom were to be standing about 10 feet away from Nixon’s grave. I know we’ve all wanted to play a little Dick and Pat on our wedding night, but this was a bit much.

Kinder, Küche, Kasich

[ 73 ] February 23, 2016 |

Gov. John Kasich, America’s Last Moderate Centrist He’s Just an Old Softy, Really Republican, has a cunning plan to become the next PotUS.

The problem? All this modernization means there aren’t enough women sitting at home, waiting to enlist in the John Kasich Army.

“How did I get elected?” Kasich asked the crowd, recalling his first run for state Senate in Ohio in 1978. “Nobody was — I didn’t have anybody for me. We just got an army of people, who, and many women, who left their kitchens to go out and go door to door and to put yard signs up for me. All the way back, when — you know, things were different. Now you call homes and everybody’s out working. But at that time, early days, it was an army of the women that really helped me get elected to the state Senate.”

Aww.

The solution? Make sure more ladies are at home with the kiddies!

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill Sunday prohibiting the state from contracting for health services with any organization that performs or promotes abortions, blocking government funds to Planned Parenthood.

Sheer. Centrist. Genius.

(Alternate explanation – Kasich is a dick and calling him a centrist or a moderate shows a poor grasp of the meaning of words.)

Growing Old in Prison

[ 72 ] February 23, 2016 |

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Given our national goal for decades of jailing as many people of color as possible for long periods of time, it’s hardly surprising that growing old in prison has become a major problem. Occasionally, the story ends with someone being let free after decades in prison. We saw that this week with the release of Albert Woodfox, the last of the Angola 3 to remain in prison, after 45 years in prison for a murder he almost certainly did not commit. That most of those years were spent in Louisiana’s notorious Angola prison under terrible conditions of solitary confinement (which by any moral standard is an obvious violation of the 8th Amendment, but of course that’s one of the amendments that don’t matter for so-called originalists). This is not a happy ending in any way, shape, or form, but at least he can live outside of his torture chamber.

More often though, long-term prisoners die there. What happens in these cases? What does hospice care look like in prison? To say the least, it’s a complicated issue and question that does not always serve prisoners well at all.

But such programs, according to the study, have two primary challenges: pain and trust. Pain management in a facility where drug use is rampant—and, indeed, a major cause of incarceration—is problematic. Doctors and nurses can find it hard to believe a patient who tells them he’s in pain. “A culture of suspicion emerged concerning the illicit drug trafficking of narcotics intended for pain relief,” the Palliative Medicine report states. The “macho” prison culture also prevented many in pain from admitting what they felt. But a larger issue, one difficult to measure, exists: “Prison healthcare staff may believe that prisoners deserve their suffering.” In other words, pain is punishment. Staff members tend to default on the side of pain over more medication when prescribing narcotics to hospice patients. In church parlance and even in broader society, the belief that pain makes us better people is commonplace. In prison, suffering is part of the centuries-old plan.

It’s also hard for prisoners to believe that staff members have their best interests in mind. Can you trust doctors who work for a system that controls every aspect of your life? A system that was established to punish, subjugate, discipline, restrain, subdue? Decisions to limit care (or not pursue every option) can make prisoners even more distrustful of their caregivers. Couple that with the requirement that, in 55 percent of prisons, patients must sign DNR orders before they can enter hospice, and a climate of deprivation, ill will, and doubt about the facility’s objectives can grow. Patient safety is tempered with a paternal “we know what’s good for you” attitude; prisoners who feel their lives are less valued think the system doesn’t care about them or is invested in getting rid of them. Yet sending prisoners to external hospices, as is done in the United Kingdom, or releasing those who are too ill to violate laws, is also a problem. The saddest sentence of the Palliative Medicine report is: “For some, the prison and its inhabitants are all that is familiar due to institutionalization.”

Just part of our society’s larger failings in the criminal injustice system.

If you liked George W. Bush But Thought He Wasn’t Wingnutty Enough, You’ll be Madly In Love With Marco Rubio

[ 87 ] February 23, 2016 |

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The fact that the Rubiobot, far from a being a moderate, has been programmed to be “George W. Bush, but much worse” is a point that cannot be made often enough:

If prediction markets (and most hardheaded analysis) are to be believed, Hillary Clinton, having demonstrated her staying power, is the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic nomination. The Republican race, by contrast, has seen a lot of consolidation — it’s pretty much down to a two-man race — but the outcome is still up for grabs.

The thing is, one of the two men who may still have a good chance of becoming the Republican nominee is a scary character. His notions on foreign policy seem to boil down to the belief that America can bully everyone into doing its bidding, and that engaging in diplomacy is a sign of weakness. His ideas on domestic policy are deeply ignorant and irresponsible, and would be disastrous if put into effect.

The other man, of course, has very peculiar hair.

Marco Rubio has yet to win anything, but by losing less badly than other non-Trump candidates he has become the overwhelming choice of the Republican establishment. Does this give him a real chance of overtaking the man who probably just won all of South Carolina’s delegates? I have no idea.

But what I do know is that one shouldn’t treat establishment support as an indication that Mr. Rubio is moderate and sensible. On the contrary, not long ago someone holding his policy views would have been considered a fringe crank.

I agree that Rubio is scarier than Trump. And Cruz trying to get to the not-very-ample space on Rubio’s right is also scary.

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