Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "Ted Cruz will announce Wednesday that Carly Fiorina will be his vice presidential nominee if he's the Republican Party's pick for president, according to two sources with knowledge of the announcement." -- CW ...
... "That Face!" Nick Gass of Politico: "Picking Carly Fiorina to be his running mate would be a bad choice on the part of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump opined Wednesday, remarking that the former Republican presidential candidate 'did not resonate' and that it would further hurt the Texas senator's case." -- CW
Nick Gass: "Donald Trump laid out his broad vision for what American foreign policy would look like with him in the White House, vowing to chart a different course than the post-Cold War order that has 'lacked a coherent policy.' Trump's speech on Wednesday offered little in the way of policy details, instead riffing on a series of his past comments about temporarily banning Muslim refugees, vowing to wipe out the Islamic State and make allies pay their fair share. He also rebuked President Barack Obama and laced into Hillary Clinton, who is increasingly becoming the target of his barbs as he starts to focus on the general election." -- CW
Monica Davey, et al., of the New York Times: "J. Dennis Hastert, once among this nation's most powerful politicians, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Wednesday for illegally structuring bank transactions in an effort to cover up his sexual abuse of young members of a wrestling team he coached decades ago. Mr. Hastert, 74, who made an unlikely rise from beloved small-town wrestling coach in Illinois to speaker of the House in Washington, sat in a wheelchair in a federal courtroom here as a judge announced his fate." -- CW ...
New Rules for Hastert. Matt Ford in the Atlantic: "Describing the longest-serving Republican speaker of the House as a 'serial child molester,' a federal judge in Chicago sentenced Dennis Hastert to 15 months in prison on Wednesday for lying to investigators and evading federal banking regulations as part of a scheme to cover up decades-old sexual abuse. Judge Thomas Durkin also imposed two years' supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and attendance in a sex-offender treatment program." ...
... Akhilleus: Old Hastert Rule: Democracy is only for Republicans. New Hastert Rule: Orange jump suits are for lying pederasts.
Robert Barnes & Laura Vozzella of the Washington Post: "Supreme Court justices on Wednesday seemed highly skeptical of former Virginia governor Robert F. McDonnell's 2014 corruption conviction for actions he took on behalf of a businessman who provided his family with more than $175,000 in benefits. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. suggested that the law used to convict McDonnell might be unconstitutionally vague. Justice Stephen G. Breyer said he worried about prosecutors having too much power in deciding when politicians cross the line from political favors to criminal acts, even if it 'will leave some corrupt behavior unprosecuted.'" -- CW
Doug Stanglin of USA Today: "Robert Durst, the one-time fugitive New York real estate heir who faces a murder charge in California, was sentenced Wednesday in New Orleans to seven years and one month in prison under a plea deal on a firearms charge." -- CW
Feelin' the Heroicism of the Bern. Daniel Strauss of Politico: "Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed Tuesday night to go all the way to the Democratic National Convention this summer despite losing four of five contests in the April 26 primaries. But he signaled that his focus would shift from winning the nomination -- an all-but-impossible task given Hillary Clinton's nearly insurmountable delegate lead -- to influencing the platform of the Democratic Party. In a statement issued after Clinton sealed wins in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania while losing Rhode Island, Sanders congratulated Clinton on her victories and said he looked forward to 'issue-oriented campaigns in the 14 contests to come.'" -- CW
Jose DelReal & Dan Gearan of the Washington Post: "While celebrating sweeping victories in five primaries Tuesday night, Donald Trump mocked the qualifications of ... Hillary Clinton and suggested she was playing 'the women's card' to her advantage in the presidential race. 'Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she's got going is the women's card,' Trump said during a press conference at Trump Tower. 'And the beautiful thing is, women don't like her.' New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's wife, Mary Pat, who was standing behind Trump, appeared to react negatively as he made the comments." CW: I dunno; Mary Pat looks as happy as her husband. Looking forward to a sexist general election.
... Libby Nelson of Vox: "But among women, Clinton is still much more popular than Trump." -- CW ...
... Stephen Stromberg of the Washington Post: No, Donald, it won't be "easy" to "beat Hillary." -- CW ...
... Greg Sargent: "If there is one thing that should alarm Republicans the most, it's that Trump has already 'pivoted,' to use the well-worn cliche -- that is, from trying to appear restrained and presidential (as his aides suggested he was doing) to renewing his determination to do everything possible to alienate female voters in the showdown against Clinton." CW: Well, at least that's the Real Donald Trump. ...
Real Donald Trump Identity Crisis. Tara Golshan of Vox: Donald "Trump ... fielded multiple questions Tuesday on how he will act after winning the Republican nomination. First he said he would never change.... Then he said change is good and necessary for leading the country." But for sure, for sure, he's going to make America great again, says He, Whoever He Is. -- CW
Patrick Healy & Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump crushed his Republican opponents in Pennsylvania, Maryland and three other states on Tuesday, a sweep that put him considerably closer to capturing the party's presidential nomination outright, while Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware and was battling to amass enough delegates to claim the Democratic nomination as early as mid-May. Though Mr. Trump was widely expected to dominate the primaries, his margins of victory represented a breakthrough: He received 55 percent to 60 percent of the vote in some states, after months of winning many primaries with less than a majority." -- CW
The New York Times liveblog is here. Occasionally humorous.
Connecticut: With 71 percent of the vote counted, the state is too close to call. Hillary Clinton has 50 percent of the vote, Bernie Sanders 49 percent. With 85 percent counted, the AP has called the state for Clinton; current count: Clinton 51 percent, Sanders 47.
Delaware: With 99 percent of the vote counted, Clinton won with 60 percent of the vote. Sanders received 39 percent.
Maryland: With 46 percent of the vote counted, Clinton is prevailing with 63 percent of the vote. Sanders has 33 percent.
Pennsylvania: With 65 percent of the vote counted, Clinton is winning with 56 percent of precincts reporting. Sanders has 43 percent.
Rhode Island: With 99 percent of the vote counted, Sanders won with 55 percent of the vote. Clinton garnered 43 percent.
I consider myself the presumptive nominee. -- Donald Trump
Connecticut: Donald Trump is headed for a wide majority win. With 62 percent of the vote counted, Trump won with 59 percent of the vote, followed by John Kasich with 27 percent & Ted Cruz with 12.
Delaware: Allow me to repeat myself: Trump won by a wide majority. With 99 percent of the vote counted, Trump won with 61 percent of the vote, followed by Kasich with 20 percent & Cruz with 16.
Maryland: Ditto. Trump is headed for a wide majority win. With 37 percent of the vote counted, the AP has called the race for Trump, who now has with 56 percent of the vote, followed by Kasich with 22 percent & Cruz with 19.
Pennsylvania: Ted's on top. Of the losers, that is. Trump is headed for a wide majority win. With 68 percent of the vote counted, Trump won with 58 percent of the vote, followed by Cruz with 22 percent & Kasich with 18.
Rhode Island: What I said. Trump won by a wide majority. With 97 percent of the vote counted, Trump won with 64 percent of the vote, followed by Kasich with 24 percent & Cruz with 10.
And You Thought Bernie Bros were Bad? Neetzan Zimmerman of the Hill: "Multiple Facebook pages supporting Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders were abruptly removed from the social media network late [Monday] night following a cyberattack. The pro-Sanders pages ... were collectively followed by over a quarter-million supporters of the Vermont senator, and many had been operating continuously since Sanders launched his campaign last year.... According to eyewitness reports, the pages were flooded with pornographic images in what appeared to be coordinated fashion and then flagged for obscene content, prompting Facebook to remove them.... At least one Facebook user linked to the pro-Hillary Clinton group Bros 4 Hillary was reported to have participated in the attacks.... The attack began around 9 p.m. EDT and lasted until just after midnight, when most of the pages recovered their accounts." CW: Good thing the pseudo-hackers didn't load Clinton's e-mail account with porn. ...
... Eric Levitz of New York: "The attack came days after a Hillary Clinton super-pac announced that it had spent $1 million on a digital task force called Barrier Breakers 2016, a group of elite Twitter users who plan to fight the patriarchy by spamming 'BernieBros' with pro-Clinton memes." But maybe Trump/Nixon dirty trickster Roger Stone was behind the attack! Or a plain ole bug. CW: Add your conspiracy theory below.
Jayne Mayer of the New Yorker: No, the Koch brothers are not going to support Hillary Clinton. -- CW
Anh Do & Matt Hamilton of the Los Angeles Times: "Supporters and opponents of Donald Trump clashed at Anaheim City Hall on Tuesday as the City Council considers a resolution denouncing the GOP presidential candidate. The skirmish started outside before the meeting, when witnesses said both sides were screaming obscenities at each other. At some point, protesters on either side fired pepper spray at each other, and an ambulance arrived to provide care for two young girls as well as a woman who were hit by pepper spray." No word on the vote results. -- CW
Conor Skelding of Politico: "A state judge said she won't grant summary judgment to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office as it pursues its fraud case against Donald Trump. Both sides quickly claimed victory: Trump's lawyer said a trial in front of a jury would work in his favor, while Schneiderman subsequently issued a statement indicating that his office would call on Trump to testify, saying that the businessman would be an 'essential witness.'" -- CW
"Trump's Biggest Con." When Whining Pays. Ed Kilgore: "... Donald Trump's campaign has relied on a lot of small 'cons' -- transparently cynical efforts to exploit a lack of public knowledge about the details of issues, compounded by mistrust of Establishment fact-checkers and naysayers.... Still, Trump's most important con is his biggest and best: the claim that anything that stands between him and the presidential nomination is itself a con job and the product of a 'rigged system.' And the con has boosted his standing as the final primaries approach, while giving him an excellent backup plan if he falls short of the 1,237 bound delegates needed to guarantee him the nomination. What makes Trump's ploy devilishly clever is that he's turning a campaign failure -- the inability to keep up with Ted Cruz in the delegate-selection process that runs parallel to the primaries -- into a grievance and then a strength...." -- CW
... CW: If you missed Andy Kroll's investigative piece on Trump & the military, which LT linked yesterday, take the time to read it today.
Saul Hubbard of the Eugene, Oregon, Register-Guard: "John Kasich ... isn't featured in Oregon's voters' pamphlet for the May primary election -- an embarrassing blunder for any major campaign. The state said the Kasich campaign failed to submit information by the March 10 deadline. It's up to candidates to get their photos and statements into the pamphlet, which is one of the most cost-effective political advertising tools in the state." The campaigns of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton & Bernie Sanders all managed to get candidates' info into the pamphlet. -- CW
Other Primary Races
Rachel Weiner of the Washington Post: "Rep. Chris Van Hollen won a hard-fought Senate primary that exposed racial and gender divisions within the Maryland Democratic Party, defeating Rep. Donna F. Edwards for the nomination. He will compete in November for a rare open Senate seat -- Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) is retiring after serving 30 years. African American turnout reached record levels, exceeding 2008 when President Obama first ran and outnumbering white voters, according to exit polls. Yet the candidate who would have been Maryland's first black senator and the second black woman to ever serve in the U.S. Senate fell short.... Van Hollen ultimately won a third of the black electorate, which, combined with his strength among white, wealthier, older and more-educated voters catapulted him to the lead." -- CW
Cristina Marcos of the Hill: "Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown made a comeback Tuesday night, winning the Democratic primary to replace outgoing Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.). Brown disappointed national Democrats when he lost the 2014 gubernatorial race in the deeply Democratic state to Republican Larry Hogan, a contest many had expected to be an easy win in an otherwise GOP wave year." -- CW
Bill Turque of the Washington Post: "State Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (Montgomery), outspent 6-to-1 by a wealthy Potomac wine retailer who poured more than $12 million of his own into his candidacy, won Maryland's 8th Congressional District Democratic primary Tuesday. Raskin, 53, a constitutional law professor, led with slightly more than one-third of the vote. He ran ahead of David Trone, who became the biggest self-funding House candidate ever." CW: See Patrick's commentary in today's thread.
Jonathan Tamari, et al., of philly.com: "Katie McGinty won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate Tuesday night, beating Joe Sestak with a late surge fueled by millions of dollars and high profile party support from Washington.... McGinty's win was a victory for the Democratic establishment, whose endorsements and spending elevated a candidate with deep party roots but who had never won an election and lagged in polls until the final stretch. The results set up a matchup with the incumbent Republican, Sen. Pat Toomey, in a race with national implications - both parties see it as one of a handful that will decide control of the Senate." -- CW
Chris Brennan of philly.com: "Chaka Fattah, a fixture in Philadelphia politics for three decades, was ousted by State Rep. Dwight Evans from the Second Congressional District seat in Tuesday's Democratic primary. Fattah's fall came 20 days before the start of his federal criminal trial, an impending peril Fattah tried to push off as he campaigned for a 12th term." -- CW
Laura McCrystal of philly.com: "Republican John Rafferty and Democrat Josh Shapiro easily won their respective primaries late Tuesday, according to unofficial results. The men are vying to replace Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who chose not to seek reelection as she prepares for a criminal trial this year....Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County board of commissioners, faced attacks for his lack of prosecutorial experience. But he gathered big-name endorsements, from President Obama, Gov. [Tom] Wolf, and U.S. Sen.Bob Casey Jr." -- CW
Other News & Views
Rich, Powerful & Selectively Liberal. Thomas Edsall of the New York Times: "This self-segregation of a privileged fifth of the population is changing the American social order and the American political system, creating a self-perpetuating class at the top, which is ever more difficult to break into." -- CW
Adam Liptak of the New York Times: Supreme Court "justices, in a 6-to-2 decision, said it was unconstitutional to demote a police officer based on the mistaken assumption that he had engaged in political activity." Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the decision. CW: I'll let you guess who the two dissenters were. Let's just say that neither they, nor the lower court, which ruled for the employer, make any sense at all. The decision & dissent are here.
New York Times Editors: "Republicans have admitted that they do better when fewer people vote, and that voter-identification laws and other restrictions are intended to deter Democratic-leaning voters from getting to the polls. That's the reality, and Judge [Thomas] Schroeder ... a George W. Bush appointee ... was wrong to disregard it [in letting stand the North Carolina voter suppression law]. His decision will be appealed to the Fourth Circuit, which should waste no time in knocking down this latest obstacle so that all North Carolinians can exercise their voting rights in November." -- CW
Thomas Gibbons-Neff of the Washington Post: "The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria has dropped from roughly 2,000 a month down to 200 within the past year, according to the Pentagon, which says the waning numbers are further proof of the Islamic State's declining stature. The declining number of fighters is a direct result of strikes that have targeted the terror group's infrastructure, Air Force Maj. Gen. Peter E. Gersten, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State, said Tuesday." -- CW
Carol Morello of the Washington Post: "Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Tuesday that religious communities can play a role in achieving foreign policy goals around the world. Invoking religion in an unusually direct manner, Kerry said understanding the importance of faith is essential in diplomacy and working with religious leaders can help solve complex problems in foreign countries." -- CW
... Peter Schroeder of the Hill: House Speaker "Paul Ryan ... is pressing his conference to back legislation providing debt relief for Puerto Rico, but it's not clear the Wisconsin Republican can muster a majority of his members. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sidestepped a question Tuesday on whether a bill would come to the floor only if a majority of Republicans back it.... [CW: That would be the so-called "Hastert rule," & by gum, this is a great time to defer to the legacy of that scumbag.] Conservatives are grumbling about helping the territory rework a massive debt burden built over decades, while rank-and-file members were spooked by outside ads lambasting the package as a 'bailout' for the island. The Center for Individual Freedom is behind the ads and not required to disclose its donors. But many believe hedge funds that stand to gain from not passing the bill are involved in the ads...."
... CW: Thanks, Stephen. Now I have to apologize for completely skipping all of the stories about the "Lemonade," because I erroneously assumed it was just some substance-free pop culture thing. Wrong. So here's one, by Hilton Als of the New Yorker, who places the work in its artistic & cultural context.
Petula Dvorak of the Washington Post: "Just Not Sports videotaped [sportswriters Sarah] Spain and [Julie] DiCaro sitting across from sports fans who were asked to read some of the online messages the women get every day. First of all, these poor guys. They didn't know what they were in for. -- CW ...
Dahlia Lithwick: "Brigham Young University made national headlines this month when it was revealed that female students who reported being raped could be suspended or expelled for violating the school's onerous honor code. The details of the case are infuriating. Whether or not the school is technically in violation of Title IX remains to be seen, but the school is clearly violating the spirit of the law in a way that does untold damage to rape survivors and makes future rapes more likely." -- CW
Capitalism Is Occasionally Awesome. Make Mine Chobani. Stephanie Strom of the New York Times: "The 2,000 full-time employees of the yogurt company Chobani were handed quite the surprise on Tuesday: an ownership stake that could make some of them millionaires. Hamdi Ulukaya, the Turkish immigrant who founded Chobani in 2005, told workers at the company's plant here in upstate New York that he would be giving them shares worth up to 10 percent of the company when it goes public or is sold. The goal, he said, is to pass along the wealth they have helped build in the decade since the company started. Chobani is now widely considered to be worth several billion dollars.... The number of shares given to each person is based on tenure, so the longer an employee has been at the company, the bigger the stake." P.S. Screw TPG Capital, a private equity firm. -- CW
How Nice. Claire Landsbaum of New York: Valeant Pharmaceutical's ex-CEO Michael Pearson will tell a Senate panel "He’s Really, Really Sorry for Raising the Price of Life-Saving Heart Drugs 700 Percent.... His testimony comes as Valeant is facing multiple investigations into its drug pricing and accounting practices by U.S. prosecutors. The company is also about $30 billion in debt, its stock is down 90 percent, and its earnings releases have been delayed as it struggles to factor in just how much money it lost in 2016." -- CW
Hayley Tsukayama of the Washington Post: "Apple reported its first quarterly revenue drop since 2003 in what investors worry is the end of a remarkable period of growth that had catapulted the computer maker into the most valuable company in the world. Shares fell sharply, as the Cupertino company said sales of its flagship iPhones dropped for the first time since their debut in 2007. That, more than any other statistic, likely drove the stock down 8 percent in after-hours trading." -- CW
Bundy Agonistes. Maxine Berstein of the Oregonian: "Ammon Bundy's lawyers intend to argue that the federal government doesn't have the authority to prosecute protesters who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, claiming that the federal government lacks control of the land." The essence of their argument is that once Oregon became a state, it lost the right to own or control anything in that state, despite a 1935 Supreme Court ruling very much to the contrary. ...
... Akhilleus: Bundy's lawyers who seem to have gone to the same school as he did (the one where students make up their own history and law) demanded more time from the judge for Bundy to prepare for his assault on legal issues settled since Bruno Hauptmann was on trial for the Lindbergh baby murder. The judge said fuggedaboutit. Maybe Hauptmann should have had lawyers like Bundy's. They would have told the court it had no right to try him because Constitution, something, something, founders, something, something...
Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.
** "Anger Is a Business." Jeffrey M. Berry & Sarah Sobieraj in Vox: Many news outlets' business models now depend on stoking anger. This exacerbates the political system's polarization and dysfunction.... At the core of the business model is telling the audience that no one in government or politics can be trusted. The subtext, of course, is that you need to tune into outrage networks and programs if you're to hear the truth." -- CW ...
... CW P.S.: If you don't like Fox "News" & Rush Limbaugh, you can thank Bill Clinton & Newt Gingrich for their dominance of the airwaves. One of the few Members of Congress to vote against the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which Bill Clinton signed "with great fanfare": Rep. Bernie Sanders. Not surprisingly, "... of all the presidential candidates running in 2016, the Big Media lobby has chosen to back Hillary Clinton."
CW: It's super-great to win a Pulitzer Prize -- just ask Maureen Dowd -- but before you start judging people by the medals on their mantles, read this Gawker post by Brian Burghart on how the Washington Post got its Pultizer "for its revelatory initiative in creating and using a national database to illustrate how often and why the police shoot to kill and who the victims are most likely to be." Actually, no, it was two tiny news outfits, whose previous data collection the Post used (and has credited in its news stories but not in its Pulitzer application). Also, too, the Guardian's database, which also relied on data from one of the small outlets -- Fatal Encounters -- is more comprehensive than the Post's.
Peter Sterne of Politico: "Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith resigned from the paper on Tuesday, after the paper prevented him from writing about casino owners Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson, whose family owns the Review-Journal.... Smith was first told not to write about Adelson on Jan. 28, a person with knowledge of the situation told Politico. That's the same day that Craig Moon was named publisher of the paper and that the R-J eliminated its standing disclosure about Adelson's ownership." -- CW
... Here's Las Vegas institution Jon Ralston's take. -- CW
Charles Pierce: "At 6:41 p.m. Monday night, a column appeared on the Wall Street Journal's website. It was written by Jim VandeHei, one of the founding geniuses of Tiger Beat On The Potomac. The column was about how the good real white Americans of the author's hometown in the Midwest are hungering for a third-party presidential disruption, possibly by Mark Zuckerberg, perhaps bankrolled by Michael Bloomberg. It took less than an hour for political Twitter to eat VandeHei's column, bones and all. You rarely see a single piece disemboweled so completely and so immediately, and from so many directions.... And, not for nothing, but the scorn blizzard was richly deserved." ...
... CW: My question: does VanderHei now know what a complete ass he is? Almost certain answer: nah. Also too, does presumptive-Politico-party-nominee & boy billionaire Zuckerberg need Bloomberg's money? ...
... Steve Benen: "... VandeHei seems to consider 'Normal America' small, rural towns that are overwhelmingly white. Given that most Americans live in cities, it's unclear why we should perceive urban areas any less 'normal.'... So what 'Normal America' longs for -- and desperately needs -- are billionaires capable of 'disruption' and a willingness to 'exploit the fear factor.'... What's striking is VandeHei's lack of self-awareness. His thesis is warmed over No Labels pabulum peddled by Joe Lieberman in D.C. ballrooms.... While his argument claims to take aim at Establishment America, it ends up reflecting Establishment America's worst instincts. He's not disrupting a stagnant inside-the-Beltway worldview so much as he's reinforcing it."
Way Beyond the Beltway
James McAuley of the Washington Post: "Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the terrorist attacks in Paris in November, was handed over to French authorities Wednesday, where he is slated to stand trial in the coming months, Belgium's federal prosecutor said." -- CW