Thank Larry Tribe

February 11, 2016 at 1:42 pm

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Plenty of people on the center-right, including me, mocked Donald Trump when in a recent presidential debate Mr. Trump cited the liberal Harvard law professor (no, that isn't redundant) Laurence Tribe as his legal authority for the idea that Senator Cruz, born in Canada, may have trouble fulfilling the Constitution's requirement that a president be a natural born citizen of the United States.

My thought was that the reference to Mr. Tribe wouldn't exactly help Mr. Trump with his audience of Republican primary voters. But I may have spoken too soon, for, after this week's order from the Supreme Court blocking the Obama administration's unconstitutional crackdown on coal, Mr. Tribe may wind up as a hero in the conservative legal pantheon right up there with TGS (the editor of the New York Sun's term for "The Great Scalia"), Kenneth Starr, or Theodore Olson.

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SEC Returns $21.5 Million Penalty to Hedge Fund

February 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm

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Somehow I missed this last month, but what a great symbol of how unclear insider trading law is and how capricious the enforcement of it is: the news that the Securities and Exchange Commission is going to refund the $21.5 million that Level Global Investors paid as a settlement to the SEC after that firm was raided and shut down. The Second Circuit ruled that prosecutors were wrong to go after the firm and its personnel for behavior that was not illegal.

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Kondracke on Bloomberg and Centrism

February 10, 2016 at 9:34 pm

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Morton Kondracke has a Wall Street Journal article about Mike Bloomberg's presidential possibilities that makes some sound points:

Mr. Bloomberg also closed New York City's $6 billion deficit in 2002 and left his successor with a balanced city budget in 2013. He battled teachers unions to improve New York public schools, and championed tough anticrime and antiterrorism policies. He's emphatically pro-business and pro-free trade. He is not, in other words, a knee-jerk liberal. He is a moderate....If Mr. Bloomberg is, as rumored, willing to spend $1 billion on a presidential bid, he shouldn't devote it all just to a single election. He also should establish something lasting—perhaps modeled on the Democratic Leadership Council that (temporarily) shifted the Democratic Party toward the center in the 1980s and provided Bill Clinton with a base to run in 1992.

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FT Was the Right Place for Bloomberg's Presidential Trial Balloon

February 10, 2016 at 8:47 am

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The Federalist has published a piece I wrote arguing that, notwithstanding the critics, the Financial Times was actually the perfect place for Michael Bloomberg to talk about his presidential possibilities:

For one thing, the FT is a business newspaper at a time when a stock market downturn is heightening America's already formidable anxiety about the state of the economy. Bloomberg sends the message that he is sophisticated about markets, unlike the other presidential candidates, who are either career politicians, socialists, or the real-estate-mogul-turned-reality-television star.

FT's global nature highlights the contrast between Bloomberg's internationalist approach and the inward-looking policies of his would-be rivals.

For another thing, the FT's global nature highlights the contrast between Bloomberg's internationalist approach and the more crimped, inward-looking, perhaps even xenophobic policies of his would-be rivals for the presidency.

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Wall Street To Washington

February 9, 2016 at 9:19 am

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Our sister site SmarterTimes.com has coverage of a problematic New York Times column. The Times column claims "chances are slim that anyone connected to Wall Street has a prayer of securing a top post" in the next presidential administration.

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U Mass Professor Imagines Sanders Utopia

February 8, 2016 at 9:38 pm

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CNN reports:

Median income would soar by more than $22,000. Nearly 26 million jobs would be created. The unemployment rate would fall to 3.8%.

Those are just a few of the things that would happen if Bernie Sanders became president and his ambitious economic program were put into effect, according to an analysis given exclusively to CNNMoney. The first comprehensive look at the impact of all of Sanders' spending and tax proposals on the economy was done by Gerald Friedman, a University of Massachusetts Amherst economics professor.

This more sweeping analysis was not commissioned by the candidate, though Sanders' policy director called it "outstanding work." Friedman has worked with Sanders in the past, but has never received any compensation.

CNN does quote a few more skeptical voices toward the end of the article.

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Bloomberg Confirms Presidential Look

February 8, 2016 at 4:37 pm

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Michael Bloomberg has an interview with the Financial Times about his consideration of a presidential run. He doesn't show much leg, but he keeps the story alive. If the electorate were FT readers, Mr. Bloomberg would probably win in a landslide. Says the former mayor of New York: "I find the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters."

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Veterans Health Care Debate Highlights Rift Between Parties

February 8, 2016 at 4:31 pm

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The debate in the presidential campaign over whether to privatize health care for veterans is a fine example of the ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats, I write in my column this week:

Republicans don't trust the government; they think it's a bloated monopoly run by overpaid, inefficient bureaucrats. Democrats don't trust the private sector; they suspect overpaid corporate executives just want to siphon excessive profits out of government programs. Neither party is perfectly consistent about this...But these are the fundamental instincts and tendencies, and they run deeply.

Please read the whole column at CapX (here), the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Schoen on Bloomberg

February 4, 2016 at 3:30 pm

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Michael Bloomberg's pollster, Douglas Schoen, who also worked for President Clinton, has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal laying out the reasoning for a Bloomberg presidential campaign:

Commentators have mistakenly characterized Mr. Bloomberg's mayoral tenure as exclusively focused on a relatively limited (but widely known) social and public health agenda, including laws to prevent gun violence and discourage smoking. They're missing the bigger picture. Over more than a decade in office Mr. Bloomberg governed with (and articulated) sensible alternatives on reforming taxes and government services, as well as revitalizing the economy. He kept New York safe from a terrorist attack for 12 years and stood firm with law enforcement to reduce crime by 32% and make it the safest big city in the nation.

A Bloomberg candidacy would make no effort to kowtow to the religious right or labor unions.

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Steve Forbes on Time and Money

February 4, 2016 at 10:45 am

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Steve Forbes talked about time and money in an interview about his recent book Reviving America: How Repealing Obamacare, Replacing the Tax Code and Reforming The Fed will Restore Hope and Prosperity:

I think the key thing now is to get the dollar fixed in value, which we propose in that book, whether it's a thousand dollars an ounce or eleven hundred dollars an ounce.

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Circuit Judge Says Preet Position Sounds Sadistic

February 2, 2016 at 10:45 pm

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"Sadistic" is the word that Barrington Parker, a judge who rides the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, used to describe the position by federal prosecutors in New York that money manager Doug Whitman should remain confined even as the Supreme Court hears a case that could clarify insider trading law in a way that overturns his conviction. Bloomberg (here) and Reuters (here) have the details.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, has gotten a lot of favorable press in New York City and nationally. But sadism is not a quality that is particularly attractive in an officer of the court, especially when the law being enforced is unclear enough to be the subject of a circuit split.

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Good Cruz News

February 2, 2016 at 11:02 am

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Ted Cruz's victory in the Iowa Republican caucus proves you can win that state while opposing ethanol subsidies. That's pretty good news. I'm not the first or only person to observe this, but it's a point worth mentioning, anyway.

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The Most Newsworthy Presidential Candidate Was Not on the Iowa Ballot

February 2, 2016 at 9:35 am

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Michael Bloomberg's potential presidential run is the topic of my column this week. Please check it out at the New York Sun (here), Reason (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Juxtaposition of the Day

February 1, 2016 at 9:29 pm

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Item one: two New York Times editorials — "Monopolizing Beer," October 7, 2014, and "How Mergers Damage the Economy," October 31, 2015, contending that the government should use antitrust law to block anticompetitive consolidation in the beer industry that would hurt consumers.

Item two: a Super Bowl preview article on the front of the Times sports section headlined, "For Beer, Color of Competition: Red and White," about how "wine sales have been steadily growing faster than beer sales, especially around Super Bowl time, a reflection of the changing preferences of younger fans and an increase in women who watch the country's biggest sporting event."

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Sharansky on Campus

February 1, 2016 at 1:52 pm

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Again, this is a bit far afield from our usual topics here, but some readers may be interested in my dispatch for the New York Sun about Natan Sharansky's visit to Brown University. The link is here.

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