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PASPA part two? Hatch pushes for federal control over sports gambling after SCOTUS loss

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Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down the law Congress passed 26 years ago that forbade 49 state legislatures from allowing sports gambling. That doesn’t make the issue dead in the water, at least not for one of the original authors of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Sen. Orrin Hatch plans to use his last year in office creating new legislation that will allow Congress to impose federal regulation of any interstate sports gambling, especially in the online arena, so to speak:

“The problems posed by sports betting are much the same as they were 25 years ago,”Hatch said. “But the rapid rise of the Internet means that sports betting across state lines is now just a click away. We cannot allow this practice to proliferate amid uneven enforcement and a patchwork race to the regulatory bottom. At stake here is the very integrity of sports. That’s why I plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to help protect honesty and principle in the athletic arena. I invite stakeholders and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in addressing this important issue.”

Note that this is quite a bit different than PASPA. The law overturned by the Supreme Court in Murphy v NCAA flat-out prohibited states other than Nevada from legalizing sports gambling — but didn’t ban it, either. That ran afoul of the anti-commandeering principle embodied in the Tenth Amendment, Justice Samuel Alito ruled in his majority opinion. If the federal government wants to ban sports gambling or regulate it directly, Alito suggested, it has the authority to do so, but not to tell state legislatures that it must act in a certain manner absent that federal action.

Can Hatch make the sale on federal control over sports gambling? He will have some powerful allies on his side:

The National Basketball Association and National Football League called for a federal framework that would apply to all states moving forward with sports gambling legislation.

“We remain in favor of a federal framework that would provide a uniform approach to sports gambling in states that choose to permit it, but we will remain active in ongoing discussions with state legislatures,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Regardless of the particulars of any future sports betting law, the integrity of our game remains our highest priority.”

The NFL said in a statement that it would ask Congress to “enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting.”

Major League Baseball said it would “continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal.”

The question ahead for members of Congress, and especially for Republicans and conservatives, will be just how much federal control they’re willing to impose. The party and the movement has changed since 1992, I write in my column at The Week, growing more libertarian. There may not be as much appetite for expanding federal control over sporting issues as there was 26 years ago:

In one sense, this ruling should please conservatives. The Supreme Court has not often gone out of its way to strengthen the Tenth Amendment, a key constitutional touchstone for small-government activistsMurphy v. NCAA had already been cited as a potential game-changer for limiting Washington’s power — an antidote to previous expansive precedent on the Commerce Clause, starting with Wickard v. Filburn.

Justice Samuel Alito didn’t upend Wickard or limit the Commerce Clause in his governing opinion. However, he did set a hard limit on Congress’ ability to dictate what state legislatures can and cannot do without enacting a full federal prohibition on an activity, which PASPA avoided. The Constitution allots limited authority to Congress, Alito wrote, but “all other legislative power is reserved for the states, as the Tenth Amendment confirms.” Alito added: “And conspicuously absent from the list of powers given to Congress is the power to issue direct orders to the governments of the states.” …

When he co-wrote PASPA in 1992, Hatch was one of the stronger conservative voices in the upper chamber. At that time, the three-legged stool of the right still prevailed: social conservatism, fiscal discipline, and a strong military. Hatch’s PASPA fell clearly into the first leg, a moral stricture against vice that has the potential to corrupt not just governments but souls.

The world has changed since those days, and so has conservatism. While abortion still occupies its own place in the conservative agenda, the prominence of other social issues has fallen in favor of a more libertarian approach. Younger voters see issues like gambling and recreational use of marijuana as personal choices more than moral or public policy issues. In March, for the first time ever, Gallup found a majority of Republicans in favor of marijuana legalization, noting that “the trajectory of Americans’ views on marijuana is similar to that of their views on same-sex marriage over the past couple of decades.”

In those areas, Republicans have often argued that these issues are best left to the states, not to the federal government. That may be tougher to argue when dealing with online gambling, but states can and do regulate online commerce within their own sovereignties, as tax collections demonstrate. The question will be this: do we really want to expand federal government into more areas of personal choice and/or to act as the guarantor of private industry? The sports leagues seem to have survived for decades well enough with Nevada’s legalized sports betting and lots of illegal sports betting taking place everywhere else, enabled by online communications.

If nothing else, this will set up an interesting debate on the Right over the principles of smaller government, states’ rights, and moral signaling.

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Lesley Stahl: Trump told me he attacks the media so that people won’t believe us when we report bad news about him

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I mean, obviously. A scandalized shiver runs through the room in the clip after Stahl says this but nothing about Trump is as transparent as his strategic goal in gaslighting people about “fake news.” Here’s something I’ve linked before, written two days after his inauguration and attempting to explain why Sean Spicer held that embarrassing “these were the biggest inauguration crowds ever!” press conference. Among the suggested reasons:

The point of carping about “fake news” isn’t to discredit the stories that are false, it’s to discredit the stories that are true. It’s the same as the “witch hunt” rhetoric about Russiagate, which has already produced five guilty pleas and 17 indictments. Any politician pinned to the wall by damaging news would kill to have a reservoir of suspicion about the media among their base that they can call on in a pinch to defuse that news. The goal isn’t necessarily to get people to disbelieve a story but to stoke enough doubt about the reliability of its narrators that the public will conclude there’s no way to know what’s truth and what isn’t. That’s the art of the gaslight. And the author I quoted above also anticipated that:

If ever there was a “tell” about Trump’s strategy, it was this tweet posted 17 days after he was sworn in. It’s one thing to claim that reporters are slanting their coverage to disfavor him, as that obviously does happen. It’s another to suggest that pollsters are engaged in willful fraud, en masse, to make him look bad by manipulating their data and willing to risk their professional reputations in doing so:

Everything that’s bad for him is “fake” and you shouldn’t believe it, and if you do you’re siding with Them over him. He’s not coy or in any way subtle about this. This is a guy, remember, who back in the day used to dial up reporters posing as his own PR flack to tout his wealth or his womanizing or whatever. Subtlety’s not his thing, certainly when dealing with the media. The reason there are murmurs in the room after Stahl tells her story, I think, is just because he’s willing to cop to the gaslighting openly, even to a member of the media itself. It’s all just a game, played to a strategic end. Why pretend otherwise?

In lieu of an exit question, something unrelated but fun. Apparently Trump’s inimitable Twitter style is, in fact, imitable:

“West Wing employees who draft proposed tweets intentionally employ suspect grammar and staccato syntax in order to mimic the president’s style, according to two people familiar with the process,” the Boston Globe’s Annie Linskey reports.

The details: “They overuse the exclamation point! They Capitalize random words for emphasis. Fragments. Loosely connected ideas. All part of a process that is not as spontaneous as Trump’s Twitter feed often appears.”

That’s GOP-style populism in microcosm. You’ve got one guy, the populist-in-chief, whose grammar and spelling are not the best but whose style is “authentic” and “relatable.” And then you’ve got a coterie of well-educated phonies and cronies mimicking him, pretending to be stupid in the same way because that’s what he wants and they’re convinced that that’s what the people want. No one has any incentive, political or financial, to be better. Sad!

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Trump Goes Scorched Earth on FBI Spy Campaign: ‘Follow the Money, the Spy Was Only There to Help Crooked Hillary Win’

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President Trump unleashed on the FBI’s infiltration of his campaign Tuesday evening in a pair of tweets.

The President said, “Follow the money!” the spy wasn’t there to find ‘Russian collusion,’ he was there to help Crooked Hillary win the election!

President Trump, please never stop tweeting!

President Trump lit up Twitter Tuesday evening after he tweeted what we are all thinking–the spies infiltrated his campaign for political purposes to help Hillary Clinton win the election.

Trump tweeted: If the person placed very early into my campaign wasn’t a SPY put there by the previous Administration for political purposes, how come such a seemingly massive amount of money was paid for services rendered – many times higher than normal…

Trump then slams Crooked Hillary: …Follow the money! The spy was there early in the campaign and yet never reported Collusion with Russia, because there was no Collusion. He was only there to spy for political reasons and to help Crooked Hillary win – just like they did to Bernie Sanders, who got duped!

The informant, Stefan Halper, was paid a total of $411,575 in 2016 and 2017 for work with the US government that included spying on the Trump campaign.

It was a lucrative business for Stefan Halper.

Now the Democrats are in spin mode.

They went from ‘there was no spy inside of Trump’s camp’ to ‘the informant was there to help protect Trump against the Russians.’

Former DNI Chief James Clapper is claiming embedding spies is “a standard investigative practice.”

Hillary Clinton wanted to spy on her political opponent and she accomplished her goal with help from Obama’s weaponized intel agencies.

President Trump is right; Spygate is worse than Watergate.

Earlier Tuesday, President Trump told reporters, “If they had spies in my campaign, that would be a disgrace to this country.”

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Shouldn’t Publix be forced to bake the Latin cake?

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Palette cleansers don’t usually come this sweet … if we’re still permitted to use that phraseology. A family celebrating the graduation of their son with high honors had ordered a cake made from the local Publix supermarket, using their online system to proudly display Jacob Kosinski’s status as a summa cum laude student. Just one problem, the online system responded — they don’t allow obscenities on their cake designs.

Shouldn’t they be forced to bake the Latin cake?

Cara Koscinski organized a graduation party for her 18-year-old son. For the occasion, she ordered a cake online from her nearest grocery store, Publix, which lets customers build their own cakes complete with a customized inscription, which they enter into a message box marked “cake message option.”

Carefully, she typed in the words she wanted on the cake: “Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude class of 2018.”

Publix’s online system was unhappy with the word “cum.”

Good Lord. This is less about mandatory cake-baking than it is about cultural ignorance and classical illiteracy. We stopped teaching Latin as a compulsory subject in most schools decades ago, but this Latin phrasing in particular remains very common — used in all college and university graduations, and many high school degrees, too. Magna cum laude is understood by most people not to be a reference to a particular prophylactic, for Pete’s sake.

Publix apologized and returned the family’s money, which is as much as they can do for this particular error. It should remind them to pay attention to the special instructions in their own flippin’ system, however, especially when the customer calls to explain it to them in plain English. If Publix doesn’t want to make cakes for a particular special occasion or to proclaim a particular message, they shouldn’t be forced to do, and neither should anyone else. But is it too much to ask that they check out requests to ensure that they really object to it?

At least Jacob has a pretty clear understanding about the nonsensical levels of political correctness and ignorance he’ll encounter in the wider world. It might keep him more grounded than most other high school graduates entering colleges and universities this fall. In the meantime, let’s offer a Latin lesson for bakeries around the country, just in case they need to conjugate. In the language sense, that is.

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