Tuesday, March 03, 2015

We don't have to show you any email

The New York Times has discovered that Hillary Clinton has a Treasure of the Sierra Madre approach to diplomacy. Email? We don't have to show you any email. We don't need no steenkin' email:
Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.

Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.
Requirements of this sort are for suckers. And why wouldn't she do this? It makes many things possible, including the following:
It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.
Emphasis mine. Oversight is for suckers, too. Two thoughts:

  • We haven't heard much from Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina congressman who has been running the select committee on Benghazi. He's chosen to keep a low profile to this point. He almost certainly was aware of this practice and would have shared the news eventually. This story feels like Team Clinton is trying to get ahead of the game.
  • Are private email servers secure? Maybe. If a foreign government hacked into the server, this becomes a huge story. Certainly our government had no qualms about listening to Angela Merkel's phone calls.
There's another issue to consider -- back to the Times:
Mr. Merrill, the spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, declined to detail why she had chosen to conduct State Department business from her personal account. He said that because Mrs. Clinton had been sending emails to other State Department officials at their government accounts, she had “every expectation they would be retained.” He did not address emails that Mrs. Clinton may have sent to foreign leaders, people in the private sector or government officials outside the State Department.
Again, emphasis mine. Why would the private sector emails matter? Oh, I don't know:
The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed Wednesday.
This is going to get a lot more interesting. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Wall Street and Main Street

The gulf in conservative politics is between Wall Street and Main Street. I don't worry that Wall Street is taking my money away, but at the same time I'm not convinced that what Wall Street would prefer makes much sense for those of us who live closer to Main Street.

Scott Walker speaks Main Street. Byron York shares an anecdote:
Scott Walker likes to tell a story about shopping at Kohl's. Under instructions from his wife Tonette, Walker has learned how to pile on the discounts and coupons whenever he goes to the popular Wisconsin-based department store. If he sees a shirt on the rack with a tag that reads, "Was $29.99, Now $19.99," Walker explains, he goes to the cash register with a flyer from the newspaper and gets another ten or 15 percent off. Then he pulls out his Kohl's credit card and there's another ten percent. And another newspaper flyer that might be worth as much as 30 percent off. "And the next thing you know, they're paying me to buy that shirt!" Walker exclaims.

When Walker told the story at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa in late January, the audience ate it up -- just loved it -- and Walker was rewarded with rousing applause. Fast forward to Saturday morning, here in Palm Beach, when Walker told it again at a meeting of wealthy donors sponsored by the Club for Growth in an ornate ballroom at The Breakers, one of the most opulent hotels in America. The reception to Walker's story was polite, but noticeably more subdued than in Iowa.
I shop at Kohl's from time to time. I would imagine that many people who read this feature do as well. I don't know that I've ever paid full retail for anything at Kohl's, although that's more a feature of their pricing strategy than it is about my consumer prowess. Walker understands, and can speak to the way many voters live. Everyone delights in getting a deal.

The challenge for Walker is translating an essentially populist message to the folks who hang at The Breakers. It won't be easy -- the moneyed crew would prefer Jeb Bush, most likely. The money is on Wall Street, but the potential votes are on Main Street. It's especially important for the Republicans to speak Main Street, since every potential Democratic candidate is a plutocrat, including Elizabeth Warren. The Main Street votes are available this time.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

More things I see on the internet

Did you know this?

Correlation and causation
It's settled then. Mark Dayton should be the one running for president. Go ahead, Democrats -- let's see your hero on the national stage!

Strike Two for Jezebel

We've been awaiting a retraction from Jezebel for its utterly scurrilous broadside against Scott Walker. The Daily Beast published a full retraction for their piece, which was based on the Jezebel article. For its part, Jezebel can't yet admit what is obvious to everyone:
[Editor's Note: After Jezebel ran this item yesterday, a spokesman for the University of Wisconsin came forward—over two weeks after the budget was released—to clarify: the University requested that Gov. Walker delete the requirements because efforts were redundant with their compliance of the Clery Act. Scott Walker's camp assures that he's committed to protecting victims. We reported this piece without full context, and while this piece conveys factual information, omission of that context for that information presents an unfair and misleading picture. We regret the error and apologize.]
Emphasis mine. The problem should be obvious here, but in case they can't figure it out, we'll explain it. The only context the article had is the one that Jezebel itself created. No one was reporting that Scott Walker was cutting funding for sex crime reporting until Jezebel ran their article.

Recall the claim itself:
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposed budget—which would cut $300 million dollars out of the state's beloved public university system—has a non-fiscal bombshell tucked in between its insane pages.

Under Walker's budget, universities would no longer have to report the number of sexual assaults that take place on a campus to the Department of Justice. Under Walker's plan, university employees who witness a sexual assault would no longer have to report it.

There are no policy recommendations in Walker's budget how or what would replace these reporting mechanisms. The Governor simply instructs that they should be deleted.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the bewildering force that is Scott Walker, know this: he is a small-time guy who is having a big-time moment by playing the conservative werewolf, a role Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are so far unwilling to play in their presidential bids.
We'll set aside the "insane" and "conservative werewolf" stuff, because that's the usual subtlety and nuance we've come to expect from our betters. The parts I've emphasized are lies, pure and simple. To argue that university employees can just look the other way is a lie. Flat out. To say that the governor is getting rid of reporting mechanisms is also a lie.

An apology for omitting context isn't nearly enough. A full retraction is what is required. Let's see if they figure that out.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

This is how it should be done

So the crap story that Jezebel reported about Scott Walker? The Daily Beast picked it up and ran with it. Having realized it was crap, they have up a complete retraction:
CORRECTION AND RETRACTION: A Daily Beast college columnist at the University of Wisconsin based this article off a Jezebel posting which was incorrectly reported. Jezebel updated their post on Saturday with the following after USA Today published a story debunking Jezebel's account and clarifying Gov. Scott Walker's position. "UPDATE: After Jezebel ran this item yesterday, a spokesman for the University of Wisconsin came forward—over two weeks after the budget was released—to clarify: the University requested that Gov. Walker delete the requirements because efforts were redundant with their compliance of the Cleary Act. Scott Walker's camp assures that he's committed to protecting victims.”

The Daily Beast is committed to covering the news fairly and accurately, and we should have checked this story more thoroughly. We deeply regret the error and apologize to Gov. Walker and our readers. This story should be considered retracted.
The new, accurate headline:

Good job, Daily Beast

Meanwhile, Jezebel hasn't retracted their story yet. By their deeds ye shall know them.

The new journalism

Did you know that Scott Walker is a monster? Just ask Natasha Vargas-Cooper:
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposed budget—which would cut $300 million dollars out of the state's beloved public university system—has a non-fiscal bombshell tucked in between its insane pages.

Under Walker's budget, universities would no longer have to report the number of sexual assaults that take place on a campus to the Department of Justice. Under Walker's plan, university employees who witness a sexual assault would no longer have to report it.

There are no policy recommendations in Walker's budget how or what would replace these reporting mechanisms. The Governor simply instructs that they should be deleted.
Every undergraduate on the UW campus is apparently only moments away from being Kitty Genovese or something, because of that balding bastage. My goodness!

Except. . . well, it's not true in the least.
The University of Wisconsin requested that Gov. Scott Walker remove a requirement that all 26 campuses report allegations of sexual assaults to the state every year because it already submits similar information to the federal government, a UW spokesman said Friday.

The proposal to delete the annual reports to the state Department of Justice is among dozens of requirements that would be removed as part of Walker's plan to decouple the university from most state laws and state oversight. Though the budget proposal came out earlier this month, the sex assault request was explained in a summary released Thursday by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

UW System spokesman Alex Hummel said Friday that the university requested the change because information given to the state is duplicative of data required to be reported to the U.S. Department of Education under federal law. The university also posts the information on its website.
Jezebel has appended an "update" to her piece that confirms the same thing:
UPDATE: After Jezebel ran this item yesterday, a spokesman for the University of Wisconsin came forward—over two weeks after the budget was released—to clarify: the University requested that Gov. Walker delete the requirements because efforts were redundant with their compliance of the Cleary Act. Scott Walker's camp assures that he's committed to protecting victims.
So, not to put too fine a point on it -- the piece is bullshit. Every word that precedes the update is a straight-up lie. However, as I write, this is what you see on their website:


No, we were fair -- we hid his bald spot, haters

And for her part, Vargas-Cooper, is unrepentant for writing a straight up lie:

I am a blameless journalist, so shut the #@%! up, haters

Bad optix, eh? Tact, you say? It's Scott Walker's fault that he honored a request, you see. In this case, bad optix = moral blindness.

I'll be watching for the retraction that has to come.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Don't tell Marie

So remember that business about ISIS needing a jobs program? Well, that's really not it. For example, consider the case of Jihadi John:
The world knows him as “Jihadi John,” the masked man with a British accent who has beheaded several hostages held by the Islamic State and who taunts audiences in videos circulated widely online.

But his real name, according to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming. He is believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined the Islamic State, the group whose barbarity he has come to symbolize.
Not an impoverished guy? Not surprising. Mohammed Atta wasn't particularly poor, either. Poverty isn't what drives these guys. You are all probably sick of me flogging Eric Hoffer's The True Believer, so I hope you'll forgive me for quoting the book yet again, but this seems right:
“For men to plunge headlong into an undertaking of vast change, they must be intensely discontented yet not destitute, and they must have the feeling that by the possession of some potent doctrine, infallible leader or some new technique they have access to a source of irresistible power. They must also have an extravagant conception of the prospects and the potentialities of the future. Finally, they must be wholly ignorant of the difficulties involved in their vast undertaking. Experience is a handicap." 
and
“Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience—the knowledge that our mighty deeds will come to the ears of our contemporaries or “of those who are to be.” We are ready to sacrifice our true, transitory self for the imaginary eternal self we are building up, by our heroic deeds, in the opinion and imagination of others.” 
Perhaps there is a better explanation for Jihadi John and his ilk, but I've not found it.

The Constitutional Lawyer Strikes Again

One of the reasons we were assured that Barack Obama would be a good president is that he is a bona fide constitutional lawyer. His administration seems to have an interesting take on constitutional issues:
The U.S. Treasury Department has rebuffed a request by House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R- Wis., to explain $3 billion in payments that were made to health insurers even though Congress never authorized the spending through annual appropriations.

At issue are payments to insurers known as cost-sharing subsidies. These payments come about because President Obama’s healthcare law forces insurers to limit out-of-pocket costs for certain low income individuals by capping consumer expenses, such as deductibles and co-payments, in insurance policies. In exchange for capping these charges, insurers are supposed to receive compensation.

What’s tricky is that Congress never authorized any money to make such payments to insurers in its annual appropriations, but the Department of Health and Human Services, with the cooperation of the U.S. Treasury, made them anyway.
Now, I'm not a bona fide constitutional lawyer, but I have read the Constitution. There's this tricky part called Article 1:

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

In other words, Congress has the power of the purse. The executive branch can request anything they want, but they cannot spend money that Congress hasn't authorized.

Apparently this executive branch doesn't care much:
In a Feb. 3 letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Ryan, along with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., asked for “a full explanation for, and all documents relating to” the administration’s decision to make the cost-sharing payments without congressional authorization.

In response, on Wednesday, the Treasury Department sent a letter to Ryan largely describing the program, without offering a detailed explanation of the decision to make the payments. The letter revealed that $2.997 billion in such payments had been made in 2014, but didn't elaborate on where the money came from. 
If I were Paul Ryan, I have Jack Lew's butt in a chair on Capitol Hill today to explain himself. This cannot stand.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nothing to see here, move along

So that Homan Square facility in Chicago? Nothing to see here, folks:
The Guardian newspaper published a story Tuesday saying the Chicago Police Department operates an “off-the-books interrogation compound” that some local defense lawyers called the domestic version of a secret CIA “black site,” but police officials responded that the facility isn’t used to violate suspects’ rights — and isn’t even secret.
Further, we have assurances from a guy named Marty -- how can you not trust a guy named Marty?
Marty Maloney, a spokesman for the police department, said interviews are handled no differently at Homan Square than at other police facilities, such as the department’s 22 districts or its three detective headquarters.

“If lawyers have a client detained at Homan Square, just like any other facility, they are allowed to speak to and visit them,” Maloney said. “There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is not any different at Homan Square.”

Arrest reports are completed at Homan Square, and suspects are taken to other facilities for booking, Maloney said.
Recall what the Guardian article said:
Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Witnesses, suspects or other Chicagoans who end up inside do not appear to have a public, searchable record entered into a database indicating where they are, as happens when someone is booked at a precinct. Lawyers and relatives insist there is no way of finding their whereabouts. Those lawyers who have attempted to gain access to Homan Square are most often turned away, even as their clients remain in custody inside.

“It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place – if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there,” said Chicago lawyer Julia Bartmes.

Chicago civil-rights attorney Flint Taylor said Homan Square represented a routinization of a notorious practice in local police work that violates the fifth and sixth amendments of the constitution.

“This Homan Square revelation seems to me to be an institutionalization of the practice that dates back more than 40 years,” Taylor said, “of violating a suspect or witness’ rights to a lawyer and not to be physically or otherwise coerced into giving a statement.”
Access is the problem. Yes, if an attorney knows the client is at Homan Square, the attorney can visit. But if you don't know and the CPD won't tell you, you can't.

Meanwhile, the dutiful Sun Times reminds us that, hey, it could be worse:
And unlike other Chicago Police facilities over the years, no allegations of torture have been reported in the media in connection with Homan Square.
As we all know, if it hasn't been reported in the media, it hasn't happened. QED. We'll be watching the reporting coming out of Chicago in the next few days concerning Homan Square. Unless I miss my guess, there won't be much other than the Adventures of Spin and Marty we've seen here.

Your internet landlord

Net Neutrality is the same ol' thing -- the gubmint gets to decide:
This Thursday, Feb. 26, will be a fateful day for the future of the Internet. In the nearly 40 years that I have been involved in communications law and policy, including serving as the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) associate general counsel, this action, without a doubt, is one of the agency's most misguided.

The sad reality is that, without any convincing evidence of market failure and consumer harm, the FCC is poised, on a 3-2 party-line vote, to expand its control over Internet providers in ways that threaten the Internet's future growth and vibrancy.

Here is the nub of the matter: By choosing to regulate Internet providers as old-fashioned public utilities in order to enforce "neutrality" mandates, the commission will discourage private-sector investment and innovation for many years to come, if only as a result of the litigation that will be spawned and the uncertainty that will be created. And the new government mandates inevitably will lead to even more than the usual special interest pleading at the FCC, as Internet companies try to advantage themselves and disadvantage their competitors by seeking favored regulatory treatment.
Time to start the rent seeking from the new landlord.

As seen on the internet

When lefties call in an air strike on their own position:


So remind me again -- where does the National Debt stand right now? As I write this, the National Debt stands at:


I don't have any problem with bashing Republicans, especially  George W. Bush, on fiscal profligacy grounds. I don't think the current administration has much to brag about, however.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Home truth

Walter Russell Mead, discussing the report from the Guardian of the Homan Square facility that the Chicago Police Department uses to interrogate people (and worse) before they are formally charged:
The Homan Square scandal should remind us that governments don’t work very well, and that big city governments under long term Democratic rule generally work less well than others. This wasn’t happening in Alabama; this wasn’t the KKK targeting minorities. This isn’t uncaring white suburbanites mistreating urban minorities. It happened in the most liberal city in one of the most liberal states in the country.

But we shouldn’t be surprised that a Democratic urban machine failed its prisoners. Look at what happens in Chicago schools. And Chicago, whatever its problems, is nowhere near the bottom tier of American cities when it comes to incompetent government.

Blue model “progressives” are always sure that big and complicated government programs can and will fix complicated and difficult social problems. They are always sure that the people who are skeptical about these programs are evil racists who hate the poor. And they are always surprised when the inevitable happens, the programs don’t work, and the institutions go wrong.
Personally, I think Mead gives these progressives too much credit. I think the more likely explanation is that they don't really give a shit. That's the way it is in the City That Works.

It's too bad that Ace Commenter Rich doesn't come around any more. I'd love to see him go all Bertrand Russell on this topic. There's more in the post immediately below this one.

Back to that same old place

Though your brother's bound and gagged
And they've chained him to a chair
Won't you please come to Chicago
Just to sing
The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.
Now this could only happen to a guy like me
And only happen in a town like this
Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

* Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
* Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
* Shackling for prolonged periods.
* Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
* Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15. 
At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.
You came to take us
All things go, all things go
Jacob Church learned about Homan Square the hard way. On May 16 2012, he and 11 others were taken there after police infiltrated their protest against the Nato summit. Church says officers cuffed him to a bench for an estimated 17 hours, intermittently interrogating him without reading his Miranda rights to remain silent. It would take another three hours – and an unusual lawyer visit through a wire cage – before he was finally charged with terrorism-related offenses at the nearby 11th district station, where he was made to sign papers, fingerprinted and photographed.

In preparation for the Nato protest, Church, who is from Florida, had written a phone number for the National Lawyers Guild on his arm as a precautionary measure. Once taken to Homan Square, Church asked explicitly to call his lawyers, and said he was denied.

“Essentially, I wasn’t allowed to make any contact with anybody,” Church told the Guardian, in contradiction of a police guidance on permitting phone calls and legal counsel to arrestees.

Church’s left wrist was cuffed to a bar behind a bench in windowless cinderblock cell, with his ankles cuffed together. He remained in those restraints for about 17 hours.
We had our mindset
All things know, all things know
You had to find it
All things go, all things go
The Chicago police statement did not address how long into an arrest or detention those records are generated or their availability to the public. A department spokesperson did not respond to a detailed request for clarification.

When a Guardian reporter arrived at the warehouse on Friday, a man at the gatehouse outside refused any entrance and would not answer questions. “This is a secure facility. You’re not even supposed to be standing here,” said the man, who refused to give his name.
Six and three is nine
Nine and nine is eighteen
Look there brother baby and see what I've seen
Three attorneys interviewed by the Guardian report being personally turned away from Homan Square between 2009 and 2013 without being allowed access to their clients. Two more lawyers who hadn’t been physically denied described it as a place where police withheld information about their clients’ whereabouts. Church was the only person who had been detained at the facility who agreed to talk with the Guardian: their lawyers say others fear police retaliation.

One man in January 2013 had his name changed in the Chicago central bookings database and then taken to Homan Square without a record of his transfer being kept, according to Eliza Solowiej of Chicago’s First Defense Legal Aid. (The man, the Guardian understands, wishes to be anonymous; his current attorney declined to confirm Solowiej’s account.) She found out where he was after he was taken to the hospital with a head injury.
Somehow people must be free
I hope the day comes soon
Won't you please come to Chicago
Show your face

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Like a big Pisa pie

ISIS is controlling a lot of geography in the Middle East, but it seems a bit confused about geography elsewhere:
Hapless Islamic State militants have vowed online to take over Rome - and 'throw homosexuals off the leaning tower of pizza'.

In the message, posted by a Twitter account linked to the terror group, the ISIS supporter also threatens to bring sharia law to the Italian capital.
So where exactly is (ahem) Pisa?

That would be 222 miles away
I also suspect this scene wouldn't have played out so well in a burqa:


I don't suspect ISIS will be at the Trevi Fountain any time soon. I wouldn't dismiss them entirely, though.

Love to love you Bibi

Joe Lieberman suggests that Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum go see Benjamin Netanyahu when he speaks to Congress next week:
Go because you know that Israel is one of our closest and most steadfast allies and you feel a responsibility to listen to its leader speak about developments that he believes could threaten the safety, independence and even existence of his country, as well as that of our closest allies in the Arab world.
So, do you believe Ellison and McCollum know any such thing?
Go because — regardless of what you think of the leaders involved or their actions in this case — you are a strong supporter of America’s alliance with Israel, and you don’t want it to become a partisan matter.
It's been a partisan manner for a long time now. Ellison and McCollum are partisans. There's no point pretending otherwise.

My guess -- Lieberman is wasting his breath.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The kid next to Benster

I have the picture in my hand -- a Little League team photo from 2008, really not that long ago. There are nine kids in the photo, enough to play a game. There are five kids in the front row and four in the back, flanked by the coaches. Benster is in the front row, the second kid shown. I'm standing in the back row, along with my friend, the head coach. I'm standing directly behind a different kid, who died on Friday.

I don't know the circumstances of his death, but I do know that, at the age of 18, his life ended way too soon. I remember the kid well -- he played infield for us, mostly second base and sometimes the outfield. He is a year younger than the Benster, a class younger. He would have been 11 years old then. Once we got past that year, we didn't see much of the the kid next to Benster; he was on a different team and played against us one year, and we greeted him then, but he wasn't a kid that was part of the Benster's social circle. The short obituary online says that he played football and lacrosse for his high school. He was a scrappy kid back then, on a team with a lot of scrappy kids. This team wasn't very good and lost most of its games, but it was a team that had a great run in the midyear tournament and won second place, defeating a team along the way that had earlier edged our squad 43-2. I still have the trophy from that tournament in my office, along with a baseball the kids all signed at the end of the season. They all signed balls for one another.

In a metropolitan area of 3 million people, it's a statistical certainty that some kids will die during the year. We live in a stable, relatively prosperous area, a place where kids have plenty of opportunities and generally get to adulthood without too much difficulty. The kid next to Benster made it to the age of 18. Technically, he made it to adulthood. I look at the picture in my hand, then look at the picture that accompanies the obituary. He was a handsome young man with his life in front of him. Or so one would think. I don't have a tidy summation or a moral lesson to share this morning. Some situations don't lend themselves to such things. I do know this -- it's a horrible thing to read an obituary for a kid you've coached.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Must be oyster season. . .

. . . with all the pearl-clutching going on:
As the world now knows, Giuliani, the former New York mayor, said at a dinner featuring Walker, the Wisconsin governor, that “I do not believe that the president loves America.” According to Politico, Giuliani said President Obama “wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”

And Walker, just a few seats away, said . . . nothing. Asked the next morning on CNBC about Giuliani’s words, the Republican presidential aspirant was spineless: “The mayor can speak for himself. I’m not going to comment on what the president thinks or not. He can speak for himself as well. I’ll tell you, I love America, and I think there are plenty of people — Democrat, Republican, independent, everyone in between — who love this country.”

But did he agree with Giuliani? “I’m in New York,” Walker demurred. “I’m used to people saying things that are aggressive out there.”
That's Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, who thinks that Republicans who don't explicitly defend Barack Obama are cowards and should be disqualified from the presidency. Here's the Milbank Standard::
This is what’s alarming about the Giuliani affair. There will always be people on the fringe who say outrageous things (and Giuliani, once a respected public servant, has sadly joined the nutters as he questioned the president’s patriotism even while claiming he was doing no such thing). But to have a civilized debate, it’s necessary for public officials to disown such beyond-the-pale rhetoric. And Walker failed that fundamental test of leadership.
Emphasis mine.

So, do you remember when a political candidate said this?


That would be the future Leader of the Free World, calling out his predecessor. The part I like the best is how he talks about Bush taking the national debt up to $9 trillion. As it happens, the national debt is over $18 trillion now. Perhaps Bush wasn't trying hard enough. This wasn't an unrelated third party questioning the patriotism of the president. This was the actual candidate. I'm sure Milbank was out of town that day or something, otherwise he'd have denounced Obama in the same way.

By the way, do you remember this?


I remember that a lot of Republicans were outraged by those statements, but there wasn't a general requirement that any of the 1988 Democratic candidates were duty bound to condemn the attack. If you want to go way back, there's this:
John Quincy Adams, the son of founding father and second president John Adams, began his career in public service by working as the secretary to the American envoy to Russia when he was still a teenager. He had an illustrious career as a diplomat, which formed the basis for his later career in politics.

The supporters of Andrew Jackson began spreading a rumor that Adams, while serving as American ambassador to Russia, had procured an American girl for the sexual services of the Russian czar. The attack was no doubt baseless, but the Jacksonians delighted in it, even calling Adams a “pimp” and claiming that procuring women explained his great success as a diplomat.
Yeah, politics can get a little nasty. Let's boil it down. At this moment, Rudy Giuliani speaks for no one but himself. He is not in the employ of Scott Walker or any other politician. Giuliani is, in fact, a private citizen, a prominent one but a private citizen nonetheless. If Scott Walker is required to denounce private citizens for expressing unkind opinions about the Leader of the Free World, he's not going to have much time to do anything else. Which is kinda the point.

As seen on the internet

The job interview could be problematic, though