|4:15 PM, Oct 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The camera caught many empty seats at a rally Hillary Clinton is headlining in College Park, Maryland:
Hillary Clinton, a possible candidate for president of the United States, had not come out to speak yet, but was expected to take the stage shortly.
The rally is for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is running to become the next governor of Maryland.
The location of the rally, College Park, is a Democratic stronghold and home of the University of Maryland.
Daniel Halper is author of Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine.
4:01 PM, Oct 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
It looks like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is bracing for a bad election next week. At least, that's what they're openly telling supporters.
The latest alarmist fundraising email from the Democratic group has this subject line: "Accept Defeat."
"We are completely out of ideas," the first line of the email reads.
"After Hillary Clinton emailed you this morning to ask for help, we really thought we would be in a better place.
"But we aren't. The Koch Brothers are pummeling us spending millions against us. Republicans are spending $26 MILLION against us this week alone -- the most of the entire election. So big -- it doesn't even look like Hillary Clinton's email can dig us out of this hole.
"There is still time, though. Things are rough, but we’re not ready to accept defeat. If we can bring in 35,OOO donations before tomorrow’s fundraising deadline, we can get back on track before Tuesday’s election."
Polling suggests the Democrats are likely to loss seats in the already Republican controlled House of Representatives.
3:36 PM, Oct 30, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Paul McLeary of Defense News writes that the administration has a way of accounting for what went wrong in Iraq. According to Deputy National Security Adviser Anthony Blinken (a rare "top administration official" willing to go on record):
… the Obama administration had in fact “sought to leave behind a residual force and a counterterrorism presence to help Iraqis develop intelligence” on al-Qaida while also stationing an F-16 squadron to protect Iraq’s airspace. But “the Iraqi body politic did not want us to stay in Iraq. That’s what happened.”
… violence had decreased to such levels that Iraqi officials felt their own security forces could handle it.
“We were also, to some extent, the victim of success,” [Blinken] said, since violence had come down so significantly from its height during the “surge” years of 2007-2008.
“... we had to leave in order to find a way back on the security side, and gradually build up our engagement.”
2:26 PM, Oct 30, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Just five days out from Election Day and Vice President Joe Biden is again campaigning for Iowa's Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley -- but not in Iowa. Thursday afternoon, Biden heads to the 8th Floor in New York City according to the official White House schedule for a 6:00 p.m. event:
The 8th Floor is a "private exhibition and event space established to promote cultural and philanthropic initiatives." There is a note on the organization's website that "the 8th Floor will be closed to the public on the 29th and 30th of October." It is not clear if Braley himself will be attending the event, but a search for the event on Braley's campaign website comes up empty:
According to the White House schedule, the event will be closed to the press.
1:17 PM, Oct 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Jeff Sessions will soon release this statement in response to a report in the Wall Street Journal that details President Obama's plans to unilaterally implement amnesty.
"The Wall Street Journal confirmed today that the President is planning to issue a massive unilateral executive amnesty after the election.
"In its report, the WSJ certifies that this executive amnesty would provide work permits for illegal immigrants—taking jobs directly from struggling Americans.
"Based on the USCIS contract bid and statements from USCIS employees, we know this executive immigration order is likely to be broader in scope than anyone has imagined.
"Earlier this week, President Obama’s former head of Homeland Security revealed that she overrode resistance from administration lawyers and law enforcement agents in implementing the President’s earlier unlawful amnesty and work authorization program for illegal immigrants 30 and under. This was an open admission by one of the most senior people in government of violating one’s oath of office in order to accomplish a nakedly political aim.
"The President is assuming for himself the sole and absolute power to decide who can enter, work, live, and claim benefits in the United States. He has exempted virtually every group in the world from America’s immigration laws: people who enter before a certain age, people related to people who enter before a certain age, adults traveling with minors, minors traveling with adults, illegal immigrants who are not convicted of serious crimes, illegal workers who are convicted of serious crimes but not enough serious crimes, almost anyone who shows up the border and demands asylum, the millions who overstay their visas, and, as was recently exposed, illegal immigrants with serious criminal histories. The list continues to grow.
"A nation creates borders and laws to protect its own citizens. What about their needs?
"The President is systemically stripping away the immigration protections to which every single American worker and their family is entitled. He doesn’t care how this impacts Americans’ jobs, wages, schools, tax bills, hospitals, police departments, or communities.
"But it gets worse still. The WSJ reports that the President is ‘expected to benefit businesses that use large numbers of legal immigrants, such as technology companies.’ Those changes include measures to massively expand the number of foreign workers for IT companies—measures aggressively lobbied for by IT giants like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Yet we have more than 11 million Americans with STEM degrees who don’t have jobs in these fields. Rutgers professor Hal Salzman documented that two-thirds of all new IT jobs are being filled by foreign workers. From 2000 through today, a period of record legal immigration, all net gains in employment among the working-age have gone entirely to immigrant workers.
"And now, in order to help open borders billionaires, President Obama is going to deny millions of Americans their shot at entering the middle class and a better life.
12:45 PM, Oct 30, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Bloomberg is reporting that:
NATO fighter planes made interceptions of seven Russian military aircraft near Latvia’s border today, following a similar incident yesterday, the country’s army said on its Twitter account.
Increased and intrusive Russian military activity has also been seen elsewhere as:
Estonia and Finland reported increased violations of their airspace, while Sweden earlier this month staged its biggest naval mobilization since the Cold War in a week-long hunt for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago.
The Washington Post quotes a:
U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the air activity publicly,
Who says, “It’s concerning because it’s moving in the wrong direction. It’s not helping to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine. It’s not helping to improve relations between NATO and Russia. It’s not helping anybody.”
Perhaps it is not intended to.
Upset?11:18 AM, Oct 30, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan has a 5-point lead over Democrat Anthony Brown in a surprisingly close race in Maryland, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the Hogan campaign and obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
The survey of more than 500 likely Maryland voters finds Hogan with 44 percent support, while Brown, the lieutenant governor, has 39 percent support. Fourteen percent say they remain undecided. That's a 17-point swing from the campaign's internal poll in July, when Brown led Hogan by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent.
The poll also found Hogan winning self-identified moderate voters by 6 percentage points and independent voters by 27 percentage points. The Republican also has a higher favorability rating (49 percent) than the Democrat (41 percent). View the full poll results here.
National Democrats have begun investing resources in the Maryland race, in which Brown maintains a sizable lead in public polls. In recent weeks both presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton have stumped for Brown, and another Democratic heavyweight, Hillary Clinton, will be attending a rally in Maryland today with the lieutenant governor.
Hogan, a businessman, has been emphasizing the increased cost of living in Maryland and declining standard of living under the state's current two-term Democratic governor, Martin O'Malley. Brown was O'Malley's running mate and has served under the governor since 2007. One recent Hogan ad featured a lifelong Democratic voter who encouraged others like herself to vote for the Republican. Watch that ad below:
10:01 AM, Oct 30, 2014 • By JIM SWIFT
Today, in an article for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Apple CEO Tim Cook makes an announcement: "I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."
Cook continues, writing:
"The company I am so fortunate to lead has ... taken a strong stand in support of a workplace equality bill before Congress, just as we stood for marriage equality in our home state of California."
While he "doesn't consider himself an activist," Cook has personally lobbied on gay rights issues in his home state of Alabama and at the United Nations.
All of this sounds familiar—haven’t we heard this story before?
A southern-born CEO invoking religion regarding his views on homosexuality, lobbying for what he believes in, and using his company to financially and publicly support those views?
Indeed, we have a heard a story like this before.
Before Tim Cook, this perfectly described another CEO and son of the south: Daniel Truett Cathy of Chick-fil-A.
Correction: An earlier version incorrectly referred to S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A.
9:08 AM, Oct 30, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The indicators for the economy are looking good. For those who view the world through a political prism, this news may be coming too late to help the president and his party in the mid-terms. And for those whose view is long and wide, the skies are not entirely blue. There is the matter of labor force participation, which is historically low. Also home ownership, which is also in a deep trough. And interest rates will soon be rising. Still …
Third quarter GDP rose by 3.5 percent, as reported by Bloomberg. A good number, and one that exceeded expectations of 3.1 percent. (Skeptics may point to the impact of government spending on that number but a win is a win.)
And: First time claims rose very modestly, keeping the running average at a 40-year low. A good jobs trend may not cure all ills, but it makes many of them more bearable.
Another dominating trend in economic news is the declining price of oil. This, of course, shows up for the average person when filling up to make the commute. Lower oil prices are a kind of increase in discretionary spending since gasoline for the car is sort of like milk for the baby. Falling gasoline prices, then, are a quick means of putting cash in people’s pockets.
Think of it as a stimulus plan. Without all that central planning.
7:24 AM, Oct 30, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently suspended all background investigations on current and prospective Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employees due to security concerns over Personally Identifiable Information (PII). The information is revealed in newly released documents justifying recently awarded government contracts: At least five sole-source, no-bid contracts of "unusual and compelling urgency" totaling almost a half million dollars were awarded to various information technology vendors at the end of September.
Although the justification documents for the contracts state that the awards were "not the result of a lack of planning," the contracts' sole-source, no-bid nature was justified because "[t]ime and urgency did not allow for soliciting multiple sources." CBP halted all background investigations until security upgrades are completed:
The five upgrade contracts were awarded in Colorado, Virginia, Indiana, Maryland, and New Mexico. According to the documents, the need for the upgrade is the result of "a requirement for increased security standards for background investigation contractors accessing Personally Identifiable Information." No source is cited for the "requirement for increased security standards":
The BPA referenced in the document covers at least 47 transactions stretching back to 2009 totaling $53 million for background investigations for the CBP. Market research, usually a requirement for government contracts, was not done in the case of the security enhancements because, per the government documents, only the selected vendors can conduct the upgrades due to the systems' proprietary nature. Without the upgrades, use of the systems would have to be discontinued.
October baseball notebook.7:38 PM, Oct 29, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Gregg Ritchie, head coach at George Washington University, says that the Royals have more of their game-changers going into tonight’s game than the Giants do. With pitching, as my former GW teammate explains, the two clubs are basically even. Royals’ starter Jeremy Guthrie and his Giants counterpart Tim Hudson are pretty similar—right-handers whose top velocity is 90-92 mph, and who, as Ritchie says, change speeds up and down, making them plus-and-minus pitchers, rather than power pitchers.
The Royals big game-changer is speed, on offense and defense. The Giants’ big game-changer throughout the World Series is Madison Bumgarner. And that’s why Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy will have him ready in the bullpen. As Royals assistant general manager and another former GW coach Mike Toomey told me earlier today, Bumgarner “can rest all winter. He’s a horse. For game seven, it’s all hands on deck.”
In pitching the first World Series shutout since 2003 Sunday night, the Giants’ 25-year-old southpaw has already become an October legend. With four wins in three World Series (2010, 2012, and this year), Bumgarner has registered a 0.29 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 31 innings. In all postseason play, Bumgarner is 7-3, 2.27 ERA and 73 Ks in 83.1 innings. He’s made 13 postseason appearances in ten series, only one of them a relief appearance. Tonight, however, Giants’ skipper Bruce Bochy has decided to go with Hudson, with Bumgarner only a phone call away in the bullpen.
“Bumgarner is a game-changer,” says Ritchie. “With him striking out eight to ten a game, how many chances do you have to execute something? These other guys are very good pitchers, who keep hitters off balance, but they’re not major strikeout guys. With these other pitchers, there are fewer strikeouts, more times the ball will be put in play and so more opportunity to execute things.”
That’s good for the Royals. “The more balls they put in play will allow their speed to be used,” says Ritchie, who played in the Giants organization. He had decent power as a player, but his premium physical tool was speed, a game-changer that he prizes even now as a college coach. “If speed comes in to play for the Royals tonight,” he tells me, “it’s a big advantage.”
Ritchie agrees with Mike Toomey that speed helps the Royals not only on offense but on defense, too. “Guys who can run balls down in the outfield like Lorenzo Cain and Jarrod Dyson cover more ground and make the field smaller for opposing hitters. The same balls hit by one team may get caught and another team might not make the play on that same ball. That’s how defense is a game-changer,” says Ritchie.
Same on offense. “When Cain and Dyson put the ball in play, it’s tougher to make a play against a guy who runs something like 3.9 from home to first, as opposed to a guy who runs a 4.5 down the line. There’s more pressure on the defense, just knowing that the Royals have guys who can do that.”
October baseball notebook.5:34 PM, Oct 29, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
The fact that the Royals and the Giants have pushed the World Series to a game seven is evidence the two clubs are very evenly matched. Even tonight’s probable starters, Tim Hudson for the Giants and Jeremy Guthrie for the Royals, are similar style pitchers. Top velocity for both is around 90-92 miles per hour. They’re not power pitchers, but plus-and-minus pitchers, meaning they change speeds, up and down, to keep hitters off balance.
And to further even things out tonight, while the Royals are known for their dominant bullpen, for game seven the Giants have lefty starter Madison Bumgarner ready to come out of the pen on only two days’ rest after his masterful shutout Sunday night.
“I will not be at all surprised to see Bumgarner come in,” says Royals assistant general manager Mike Toomey. “He can rest all winter. He’s a horse. For game seven, it’s all hands on deck.”
Toomey, another former head coach at George Washington University, has worked in professional baseball for decades, managing and scouting for, among others, the Pirates, Giants, and Expos/Nationals organizations. He’s been with the Royals for nearly seven years now and even after logging some 200 nights on the road the past year, he shows few signs of tiring. After all, his club is playing baseball in October.
“Playing in the World Series has brought a lot of happiness to a long-awaiting fan base,” says Toomey. “It’s been 29 years since the Royals last won it, and now we’re having a great year.”
It’s true Royals’ fans have been loyal and patient, but the failure to get to the World Series for nearly three decades put some pressure on the Royals’ front office. Toomey explains how the organization built a winner.
“After pitching, the priority in putting together any club is to be strong up the middle,” says Toomey. “Our catcher Salvador Perez is only 24. Our guys signed him out of Venezuela at the age of 16 and then he went to our baseball academy in the Dominican Republic.”
Perez, as Toomey explains, is one of the club’s pillars, homegrown like many of the other Royals’ stars. “Moustakas, Gordon, Hosmer, Ventura,” says Toomey, all of them grown down on the Royals farm and, thanks to their performance this October in front of a national TV audience, now stars.
5:28 PM, Oct 29, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Laura Barron-Lopez of the The Hill is reporting that:
Secretary of State John Kerry said he wants to make a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline "sooner rather than later.” Kerry's comments came after a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday. Kerry said the pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Alberta to Gulf refineries, "of course" came up during their talk.
"I certainly want to do it sooner rather than later, but I can’t tell you a precise date," Kerry said, referencing the recommendation he must ultimately send to the president on the pipeline.
It has been five or six years, now, but who is counting. Important thing is to get it done sooner rather than later.
4:19 PM, Oct 29, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
A candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, after a debate with his opponent, said that:
… he’d like to substantially downsize or eliminate the federal Education Department, giving more power to the states. He’d like to see less testing in the K-12 space. And on higher education, [he] wants to see student loan rate reductions or refinancing and better disclosure by private loan companies to borrowers. “We need to address the overall costs of higher education,” he said, adding that Randolph-Macon tuition has doubled since he started working there.
That candidate, as reported in Politico, is a Democrat who is given little chance of winning the race for the seat Eric Cantor expected to be occupying before he was so rudely upset in the primary. Hard to say which is more surprising. The fact that Jack Trammell is a Democrat or that he is a college professor. As is his opponent, for that matter. Both teach at Randolph-Macon.
Whatever white wine they are serving at the faculty soirees there, send a tanker truck of the stuff around to all the colleges and universities.
3:39 PM, Oct 29, 2014 • By WALTER OLSON
Editor’s note: In the final debate between Maryland gubernatorial candidates Anthony Brown (D) and Larry Hogan (R), one contender flubbed the name of the state’s second-largest city. “When I travel around the state of Maryland, whether I’m in Oakland, whether I’m in Cumberland, whether I’m in Frostburg, Hagerstown, Frederickstown, families want the same thing,” the Democrat said. Brown—who is Maryland’s lieutenant governor—meant to end with “Frederick.” He did not notice or correct his error.
TWS friend and Maryland resident Walter Olson, author most recently of Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America and founder of the invaluable Overlawyered blog, shared with us a parody of the performance, which he says can be sung to "Nottamun Town," made famous by Jean Ritchie.
SHOW ME THE WAY TO FREDERICKSTOWN,
or, LOST IN MARYLAND
Come all you good people and now gather round,
I’ll sing you the story of Anthony Brown;
Who wandered thro’ Mar’land, up hills and down,
Saying show me the way to fair Fred-er-ickstown.
“For eight years in office I’ve just hung around,
Except for that website I ran to the ground,
But Emperor O’Malley has willed me his crown,
So show me the way to fair Frederickstown.”
“Oh Tony, oh Tony, please pencil this down,
There’s a city called Frederick, of famous renown,
The state’s second largest, with green hills all round,
But there is no city called Frederickstown.”
“Do not contradict me,” Tony said with a frown,
“These eight years I’ve traveled this whole state around,
Eastminster, St. Gary’s, and Salisboro town,
From Hagersville-Port to the Chesapeake Sound.”
We wanted a governor with feet on the ground,
We chose Larry Hogan, our taxes came down,
If out on the byways you should meet Mr. Brown,
He’s still out there looking for Frederickstown.
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