That Judge Attacked by Donald Trump? He’s Faced a Lot Worse

Experts in legal ethics say that seeking to discredit a judge is not a winning strategy and that the suggestion that Judge Curiel could not treat a case fairly because of his ethnicity raises questions about Mr. Trump’s ability to appoint judges.

Deborah L. Rhode, a professor at Stanford Law School and the founding director of the university’s Center on Ethics, said that calls for Judge Curiel to step down from a case because of his Mexican roots were akin to saying that Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice, should never have been able to decide civil rights cases.

“If race were a disqualifying factor, nobody could preside over these cases,” Ms. Rhode said.

.. But, remembering when his friend, then a prosecutor, arrived at his house for a barbecue flanked by bodyguards, Mr. Vega noted the irony of Mr. Trump’s criticizing someone who had risked his life to slow the flow of drugs coming from Mexico into the United States — an issue that is dear to Mr. Trump.

“A lot of us have never been tested like that,” Mr. Vega said.

Donald Trump: The Art of Losing the Deal

The underlying story of the rally was that Trump wanted to distract attention from the fact that he had faced down Ailes and lost.

.. Having lost the battle over Kelly, he shifted to a new demand. “Trump offered to appear at the debate upon the condition that Fox News contribute $5 million to his charities,” the network said in a statement.

.. Trump may not be as great a negotiator as he proclaims, but he is undeniably a terrific marketer, with an impressive ability to spin defeats into victories.

.. Any other candidate would have been pilloried for doing what he did—you can imagine the consequences if Hillary Clinton tried to skip a Democratic debate because she objected to Anderson Cooper’s presence, then announced that she would host a charity event instead and use the Clinton Foundation to collect the money.

Russians’ Anxiety Swells as Oil Prices Collapse

Food prices rose 20 percent last year, according to official statistics, but often Russians say their grocery tab is up by a third or more, thanks in part to sanctions Moscow slapped on Western food imports in retaliation for sanctions the West imposed over Ukraine.

.. Russia has around $360 billion in foreign currency reserves and some $120 billion in two rainy day funds, down from just under $160 billion a year ago. At current spending rates, however, the two funds are expected to last only 18 months. It might also sell significant stakes in state-run companies like the oil giant Rosneft or Sberbank, and it will not increase military spending.

.. Russian involvement in wars in Ukraine and Syria has swelled the general whirlpool of anxiety, with the possibility of a global war discussed on state-run television. Some analysts accuse the Kremlin of deliberately seeking overseas adventures to distract people from domestic economic woes.

.. “The Russian people got what they wanted, a czar ruling the country,” he said of Mr. Putin. “What we need is an effective manager, but what we got is the Olympics, soccer and war.”

Can Hillary Outflank Bernie on Wall Street Reform?

The politics of Clinton’s play are fairly easy to divine. By picking a fight over shadow banking, she can distract attention from Sanders’s focus on his more populist proposals to break up the banks and reinstate Glass-Steagall, which for many progressives is a sorer spot on Bill Clinton’s legacy than even his impeachment. Clinton also is attacking Sanders’s perceived strength, knowing that if she can dent him there, the rationale for his challenge to her becomes much weaker.

.. But what’s interesting in the divide over financial regulation is that while Clinton has adopted some of the more popular items on the progressive wish list—debt-free college, expansive proposals on immigration, gun-control, and criminal-justice reform—she is relying on a wonkier approach to Wall Street reform.

Saudi Arabia’s Barbaric Executions

America’s longstanding alliance with the House of Saud is no reason for the Obama administration to do anything less than clearly condemn this foolhardy and dangerous course with a more robust response than its call Monday for both sides to exercise restraint.

.. Saudi Arabia’s income has sharply declined as a result of the prolonged drop in oil prices — caused, in part, by the regime’s insistence on maintaining production levels — and the government has announced cutbacks in the lavish welfare spending that Saudis have long taken for granted. The executions provided both a sectarian crisis to deflect anger over the cutbacks and a graphic warning of what can befall critics.