Tuesday, September 29, 2015

News Nuggets 1535

DAYLEE PICTURE: Snow-covered pines in Norway's Laponia Wilderness Are.  From National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: Republicans -- Lonely Climate-Science Deniers

Why Are Republicans the Only Climate-Science-Denying Party in the World? (Jonathan Chait) from the New York Magazine
"The “moderate” candidates are still, by international standards, rabid extremists. It is the nature of long-standing arrangements to dull our sense of the peculiar, to make the bizarre seem ordinary. From a global standpoint, the entire Republican Party has lost its collective mind."

The Inside Story of the Iran Nuclear Deal

“If You Can’t Do This Deal ... Go Back to Tehran.” from Politico Magazine
"This story of the behind-the-scenes calculations along a seven-year road to a deal is based upon those accounts, as well as on hundreds of hours of reporting on the talks I did as they unfolded in recent years in capitals across three continents."

What You Never Hear About the United Nations

These 5 Facts Explain Why We Need the United Nations from Time Magazine
"It's important and infuriating, but the world wouldn't be the same without the UN. It just needs to be better."

Big Oil ... in Big Trouble?

It’s Getting Harder for Oil Companies to Make Money. Here’s Why (Mark Schapiro) from Mother Jones Magazine
"Shell has pulled out of the Arctic. That's just the latest sign that Big Oil is in big trouble."

Joe PAC Hiring Staff in Primary States

Exclusive: Joe Biden backers hiring staff in more states in hopes of 2016 run from Reuters
"The political action committee backing the vice president, Draft Biden, has begun building operations in 11 states holding primary elections on "Super Tuesday" in March 2016, two of the group's officials told Reuters, an important series of votes for any candidate seeking their party’s nomination."

Latinos Looking to Make Nativist GOP Pay ... at the Polls

GOP Nativist Rants Energize Immigration Rights Movement to Defeat Republicans (Robert Creamer) from the Democratic Strategist
"The anger generated by the nativist rants coming from Donald Trump and the Republican party look like they are fueling a growing political revolution in immigrant communities. This is one reality show that will be fun to watch, and I am going to do my very best to help my friends to make it happen."

Jeb Needs to Go Up in the Polls ... or Else!

It’s make or break time for Jeb Bush from the Washington Post
"Jeb Bush is entering a critical phase of his Republican presidential campaign, with top donors warning that the former Florida governor needs to demonstrate growth in the polls over the next month or face serious defections among supporters. ... Bush continues to battle against a steady decline in the polls, sinking to fifth place at just 7 percent in a national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday and similarly languishing in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Those Religious Comments were Deeply Offensive ... When Obama Said Them!

Pope Francis Just Echoed Obama's 'Offensive' Prayer Breakfast Remarks from US News and World Report
"Obama's comments were criticized as "offensive," "wrongheaded" and detached from present-day reality. Of course, it's more politically acceptable to criticize the president than the pope – time will tell if Francis' remarks draw a similar response."

REPORT: More evidence that Obamacare skeptics have been completely wrong

Obamacare Haters Freaking Out Over New Report (Jonathan Chait) from the New York Magazine
"Based on the evidence to date, the Obamacare skeptics have been completely wrong. Incredibly, some of the skeptics are claiming vindication anyway. ...  Their unwillingness to concede that this program is working on its own terms is delusional."

More evidence of how badly strained the Republican coalition is.

For Republicans, questions of who can lead them and can they govern? (Dan Balz) from the Washington Post
"...  it has become a party in almost permanent disorder, torn by warring factions and near-constant tensions between its establishment leadership and a tea party-infused grass roots. ... Can a party so riven by anger, a party divided over confrontation vs. compromise, actually govern in Washington? ... Boehner’s decision to quit, and the suddenness with which the news broke, provided one more piece of evidence of how badly strained the Republican coalition is."

With Boehner's Resignation, Who Are the Real Losers?

John Boehner's Last Deal (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic
"The House speaker’s resignation symbolizes the frustration of the GOP’s governing wing.  "
"If he had a constituency at all, it was the ever-more-powerless Beltway Establishment, its own isolated and isolating club. ... His resignation is the ultimate frustration of the GOP's status-quo-oriented business wing. ... There are two rules of John Boehner, John Lawrence, a former chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi, told me recently: One, he always wants to make the deal; two, he can never deliver the votes for the deal."

Boehner "Real Crime"

Conservatives Hated Boehner Because He Couldn’t Get Rid of Obama (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
" Three quarters of Republicans believe, incredibly, that their party leadership has not done enough to oppose Obama. Three fifths feel “betrayed” by their party. “In the last seven years Barack Obama has successfully recruited, or corrupted, or hijacked — however you want to describe it — John Roberts of the Supreme Court; John Boehner, speaker of the House; Mitch McConnell, Republican leader in the Senate; and, some might even say, the pope,” ranted Rush Limbaugh the other day. This discontent runs much deeper and wider than Boehner."

Walker: "A Candidate Badly Out of his League"

Walker's campaign manager unloads from Politico
'It's a f---ing bitch, man,' Rick Wiley tells POLITICO of the Wisconsin governor's stunning collapse.  Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pulled the plug on a bloated campaign that was headed into debt and was being undermined by furious donors, a warring staff and — at the root of it all — a candidate who was badly out of his league."


How Ted Cruz Gave Away The GOP’s Muslim Strategy (Amanda Marcotte)  from Talking Points Memo
A BIG excerpt is in order here!
"After affirming that he can read by noting that the constitution requires no religious test for office, Cruz said, “The broader question, and what I think Ben was trying to get at, is what are the consequences been in the last six and a half years of the Obama presidency?” Say what? ...  The last public poll on this belief showed that 86 percent of Republicans are warm to it, with 54 percent believing that Obama is a Muslim and 32 percent saying they are unsure. Only 14 percent of Republicans correctly describe Obama’s religion as Christian. ... In other words, the belief that Obama is a Muslim is an entrenched “fact” on the right, much like the belief that global warming is a hoax or Planned Parenthood is a for-profit company that makes its money selling fetal parts. Carson and Cruz aren’t really talking about a hypothetical Muslim president in some future world. This is all a coded way to talk about Obama. ... There are a couple of major benefits to this game, beyond just being able to demonize political opponents without being called out by the media for lying. For one thing, it reinforces the conservative narrative that they’re victims of a liberal elite suppressing their great truths through the almighty power of political correctness. After all, they have to talk in coded language like they’re all in some spy network! Clearly, they are being oppressed and censored by people who can’t handle the truth."

The Real Barriers to Trump's Big "Wall"

An Engineer Explains Why Trump’s Wall Is So Implausible from National Memo
"The challenge of Trump’s border wall is not technical, but logistical. The leap in complexity between “building a wall” and “building a 2,000-mile-long continuous border wall in the desert” is about equal to the gap between “killing a guy” and “waging a protracted land war.” Trump’s border wall, if built as he has described it, would be one of the largest civil works projects in the history of the country and would face an array of challenges not found when constructing 95-story skyscrapers. ... In order to adequately answer Mr. Ramos’ question, let’s first make some assumptions on the project’s scope"

Dr. Ben Carson is a wreck waiting to happen

From abortion to 'sharia', Dr. Ben Carson is a wreck waiting to happen (Hunter) from Daily Kos
"... he's quite happy to tell the Republican base what they want to hear, on Muslims andsharia and why being a Christian is not only just better, but why being not-Christian is antithetical to being a true American. Telling the base that hard-right religious conservatism is the only true religion is, after all, why Ben Carson has a conservative lecture career today. He's Mike Huckabee with sleepy eyes and an infinitely less grating persona.  Combine both those things, however, and you've got the recipe for one hell of an eventual flameout."


The 50 greatest Yogi Berra quotes from USA Today
"Sample: The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase."
There's one missing from the list: "Yeah, the food at that restaurant  is terrible and the portion sizes are so small."

Monday, September 21, 2015

News Nuggets 1534

DAYLEE PICTURE: Another stunning view of the Namib Desert in Namibia! From National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: The Real Threat Posed by The Donald

The Importance of Donald Trump (Frank Rich) from New York Magazine
"Far from being an apocalyptic harbinger of the end-times, it’s possible that his buffoonery poses no lasting danger. Quite the contrary: His unexpected monopoly of center stage may well be the best thing to happen to our politics since the arrival of Barack Obama. ... As Ross Douthat, a reform conservative, wrote in August, Trump has tapped into the populist resentments of middle-class voters who view the GOP and the elites who run it as tools of “moneyed interests.” If the Republicans “find a way to crush Trump without adapting to his message,” he added, the pressure of that resentment will keep building within the party, and “when it bursts, the GOP as we know it may go with it.”"
A longer-than-usual MUST-READ analysis of the real damage Trump is causing for both parties -- but especially the Republicans!  Frank Rich is in high form here! -- Nuggetsman

The Iran Nuclear Deal: Obama's Most Strategic Success

How the Iran deal became the most strategic success of Obama’s presidency (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"The political circus surrounding the Iran nuclear deal shouldn’t obscure the fact that President Obama won an enormous victory in negotiating the agreement and mustering the necessary congressional votes to sustain it. It’s the most determined, strategic success of his presidency."

Europe Getting "Reintegrated" Back into an Unstable Region

Europe Discovers a New Geography (Robert D. Kaplan) from Bloomberg View
"For decades, the dream of the European Union was to become a post-national paradise of prosperity and the rule of law, and gradually, through various association agreements, extend the bounties of civil society to contiguous regions. Now the process is being reversed: The contiguous regions are exporting their instability into Europe itself. Eurasia, a super-continent of historic exoduses, is starting to reintegrate Europe."

What Happens When the "Global Policeman" Stays Home

Germany’s Real Refugee Crisis (Clemens Wergin) from the New York Times
"After World War II, Europeans grew accustomed to the United States’ taking the lead in addressing security threats in and around Europe. That has nurtured a complacency in Europe’s foreign and security posture, the dangers of which have now been fully exposed. With Washington unwilling to act, Europe could no longer pretend that someone else would step in, as happened so often in the past."

Berlin, dancing on the volcano again?

Weimar and contemporary Germany from the Economist [of London]
"Both periods are seen as a kaleidoscopic mix of rise and decline, misery and luxury, light and darkness. To illustrate these themes, the exhibition mingles consumer goods and vintage clothes with paintings, drawings, posters, photographs and sculptures—around 500 pieces from 200 artists. The exhibition bears witness to the darker side of the "Golden Twenties”..."

Russia's Shrill Nationalism Bodes Ill for the Future

Why Russians Hate America. Again. from the New York Times
"“They keep crossing boundaries only to find that once they are across, it’s only logical to cross the next one,” he said. “That’s not a strategy. That’s a behavioral pattern.” Others believe that the government is unraveling, and that the shrillness of the nationalist narrative is a harbinger."

Asylum-Seekers Travelling the "Black Route" to Austria

One Family’s Journey from Aleppo to Austria from the Washington Post
"Many land in Italy, but a surging number of migrants are coming ashore in Greece. From there, they venture north through the Balkans to the rest of the European Union — a web of perilous trails stretching hundreds of miles. Aid workers have nicknamed it the Black Route. Ahmed had meticulously plotted the trek on his phone’s GPS."

America's Military Footprint Around the World: A Primer

The United States Probably Has More Foreign Military Bases Than Any Other People, Nation, or Empire in History (David Vine) from the Nation
"More and more military analysts are thus concluding that maintaining stores of weapons and supplies overseas — what the military calls “pre-positioning” — is more important than having tens of thousands of troops there, with the attendant costs to support them and their families. Most lily pads can serve this pre-positioning function while also offering, like somewhat bigger forward operating sites, “surge capacity” to expand easily and rapidly in order to accommodate much larger numbers of troops and weaponry in a crisis."

Obama and Clean Energy -- What Isn't Getting Attention

Obama has done more for clean energy than you think from Salon
"Raising fuel-efficiency standards isn't the only way the president has tackled climate change head on."

For Senate Democrats, the GOP Helped Seal the Iran Nuclear Deal ...

Obama’s Secret Weapon (Jamelle Bouie) from Slate
"The GOP helped convince Democrats to support the president’s Iran deal. ... None of this scared Democrats into voting against the deal. Instead, it was evidence that this fight was irreducibly partisan, with no chance of a compromise or détente."

The Clinton Emails: Another Dem Non-scandal?

Hillary Clinton Was Totally Free To Delete Personal Emails, DOJ Claims from the Huffington Post
"Nothing to see here, says the government."

Behind the scenes with Bernie Sanders

Three days in Iowa that explain why Hillary’s fading and the Dems have a new front-runner (Shane Ryan) from Salon
"He has a few favorite stats he likes to deploy to illustrate the scope of the problem, starting with the fact that in America, the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. He hammers this message home as his rabid crowds rage along: One family, the Waltons, owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent; the 14 wealthiest individuals have added $156 billion to their fortunes in the past two years, which is more than the combined assets of the bottom 130 million Americans; 56 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent; the Koch brothers, as a result of the Citizens United decision, will spend more money on the 2016 election than either Republicans or Democrats."

Traveling in Trump's Time Warp

Dear Donald Trump: China, Japan and Mexico are not “killing us” (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"... if there is an idea animating his candidacy, it is that the United States is being badly beaten by its economic competitors. In his speech on foreign policy this week, Trump explained that America is being bested by countries such as China, Japan and Mexico because their leaders are “smarter, more cunning and sharper than our leaders.” “They’re killing us,” he often says. This is an odd moment to make these charges because the reality is almost entirely the opposite."

The "Birther"ing of the Trump/Carson Movements

How the ‘Party of Stupid’ Birthed Trump and Carson (Ana Marie Cox) from the Daily Beast
"Decades of Republicans leveraging racism plus pandering to the dumb and incoherently angry explains not only the success of the billionaire—but also the neurosurgeon. ... their courtship of nativists, segregationists, and other grievance-seekers has led to this Trump/Carson moment. Not the party of ideas, but the party of stupid, where even smart, successful people have to pander to the dumb and incoherently angry."

Why Trumps Tactics/Antics Have Worked So Far

5 Reasons It’s So Easy For Trump To Make Republicans Look Like Fools from National Memo
"So how did a guy who has never won one vote as a Republican stomp on the longest-serving governor of one of the most important states in the union? Easily. And he’s doing the same thing to Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, and Bobby Jindal. Why is Trump so successful in drawing his opponents into battles they can’t win? He riffs on a Republican Party that is ripe for contemptible comedy, ridiculous rhetoric, and daring demagoguery.  Here are five reasons why Trump’s tactics work so well: ...  In this crowd, a guy who says the biggest problem with the Iraq War is that we didn’t take all the oil sounds reasonable. GOP leaders promised their base that if they took over Congress, all their dreams would come true. Now the base is mad at those leaders because Obamacare hasn’t been repealed, Planned Parenthood is still funded, and the president’s executive action on immigration is still in effect. They prefer the lies to reality. And whoever is lying loudest will get their vote."

Jeb's Slow, Steady Decline

Slipping far back in polls, can Jeb Bush bounce back in the next debate? from the Washington Post
"The drop also resulted in what top donors have hinted was a less-than-anticipated haul in fundraising during August, forcing the campaign to tighten its spending. While the changes affected mostly senior campaign aides, the most notable change is that Bush, who spent most of the year traveling on private jets to campaign events, has started flying commercial airliners more often, as he did Friday."

GOP Candidates: Fundamental Cluelessness on the Constitution

The GOP candidates need a remedial course in constitutional law (Ruth Marcus) from the Washington Post
"What was notable, and unsettling, was the vehemence of some candidates’ resistance to the court’s decrees; the fury unleashed on Roberts; and their fundamental cluelessness about constitutional guarantees. This crowd didn’t engage in the usual, polite ritual of disclaiming litmus tests — it vowed to impose them, at long last."

The Donald and Bernie ... Worlds Apart

Nate Silver: 'Stop Comparing Donald Trump And Bernie Sanders' (Laurence Lewis) from Daily Kos
"Nate Silver took a look at the media's comparisons of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and found them lacking. He makes ten points, each of which are blockquoted below and followed by my own reactions, but you'll have to click through to read the entirety of Silver's analysis."

What Can the GOP "Establishment" Do at this Point?

Wall Street's Latest Panic: Trump Could Win (Ben White) from Politico
"With Bush and Clinton taking their lumps, financial executives face populist critics in both parties. ... the assumption in the financial industry remains that something will eventually knock Trump off and send voters toward a more establishment candidate. But that assumption is no longer held with strong conviction. And a dozen Wall Street executives interviewed for this article could not say what might dent Trump's appeal or when it might happen."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Polls Reveal Stormy Weather Ahead for the GOP Establishment

This Post-debate poll will horrify the GOP establishment (Dara Lind) from Vox
"... when you consider that this is a poll of Republicans (and independents who plan to vote in Republican primaries) who are engaged enough to watch an early debate — who one would think are the most engaged voters out there — it gets even more worrisome for the establishment. Here are four terrible signs for the GOP establishment in the poll, and one good one:..."

The Big Intra-Party Feud: The Real Action in the GOP

The GOP at War (Juan Williams) from The Hill
"Forget presidential politics.  —  The real action in American politics these days is the in-house feud among Republicans.  It features the center-right GOP establishment in one corner and the talk show hosts and Tea Party activists in the other. ... The polls reflect hard-right criticism of the leaders for failing to use their majorities to halt ObamaCare or same-sex marriage, and for failing to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood."

Jeb!'s Decline in the Polls

Jeb leaves a vacuum. Who fills it? (Matt Bai) from Yahoo News
"No, establishment Republicans remain pretty sanguine that Trump, for all his momentum, doesn’t have much room to grow beyond his 30 percent or so of the primary vote. ... What has Washington Republicans truly worried is Jeb’s precipitous decline."


How the South’s Public Enemy No. 1 climbed onto the Supreme Court from the Washington Post
"The opening chapters of Wil Haygood’s engaging “Showdown” make clear that even if Thurgood Marshall had not made it into history books as the first African American to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States, he would have deserved a place in American history as one of the best, most effective lawyers of his generation. In truth, he should be considered one of the best lawyers in the nation’s history, for during the 1940s and 1950s he tied together a string of legal victories that not only served the aims of his clients — they helped transform American society."


August Wilson's 'Pittsburgh Cycle' of stage plays coming to HBO from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
"Denzel Washington is bringing August Wilson's 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle of plays to HBO.
"At an event Sept. 17 at the University of Southern California, Washington said he will direct, produce and star in “Fences” and be the executive producer on the other nine plays chronicling the black experience through the decades of the 20th century."


Desperate Elephants Shot With Poison Arrows Travel To Humans For Help from The Dodo
Last month, a wild elephant and two of his friends were attacked by poachers. Wounded by poisoned arrows, they trudged across the African landscape to the one place that could help them: the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). Though the wild elephant had never been a resident at DSWT, he knew elephants who had."


Family reunites with missing German Shepherd after 3 years from Fox Channel 5 [in San Diego]

Sunday, September 13, 2015

News Nuggets 1533

DAYLEE PICTURE: Water-bound willows of Glenorchy, New Zealand.  From National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: The Souring Between China and North Korea

He Shells, She Shells from The Economist [of London]
"The shooting has stopped, but China is fed up with its ally, North Korea. ...  Since Xi Jinping came to power three years ago, official communication between China and North Korea, its supposed ally, has slowed to a “trickle” as the relationship worsened over the North’s nuclear posturing and over Mr Kim’s mercurial petulance."

Culture Wars ... in the Vatican

Conservative dissent is brewing inside the Vatican from the Washington Post
"Burke’s words belied a growing sense of alarm among strict conservatives, exposing what is fast emerging as a culture war over Francis’s papacy and the powerful hierarchy that governs the Roman Catholic Church."

So Wrong for So Long

Why neoconservatives are never right (Stephen Walt) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"... the real problem is that the neoconservative worldview — one that still informs the thinking of many of the groups and individuals who are most vocal in opposing the Iran deal — is fundamentally flawed. Getting Iraq wrong wasn’t just an unfortunate miscalculation, it happened because their theories of world politics were dubious and their understanding of how the world works was goofy."

The Future of Climate Change Reform: An Optimist's View

The Sunniest Climate-Change Story YOU’VE EVER READ (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"This is the year humans finally got serious about saving themselves from themselves."

A Summer of Historic Events!

5 Huge Historical Events That America Is Mostly Ignoring from National Memo
"... what we can say for sure is that truly historic things have unfolded this summer, and been only glanced at by a media transfixed on conflict and personality. Here are five events that history will definitely have to reckon with, even if the media would rather not."

The Dirty Secret of the Jobless Recovery

All Work and No Pay: The Great Speedup (Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery) from Mother Jones Magazine
"You: doing more with less. Corporate profits: going strong. The dirty secret of the jobless recovery."

The Meaning of "Religious Freedom"

‘Religious liberty’ cloaks intolerance (Leonard Pitts, Jr) from the Miami Herald
"...  “religious liberty” as defined by Davis and her supporters is about what happens in the wide world beyond those parameters, about whether there exists a right to deny ordinary, customary service and claim a religious basis for doing so. And there does not."

The More GOP Lawmakers Do Nothing, the Better Trump Looks

Maybe This Time Really Is Different (Norm Ornstein) from the Atlantic
"Historical precedents augur against Donald Trump—but perhaps the old rules no longer apply. ... "So is anything really different this time? I think so. First, because of the amplification of rage against the machine by social media, and the fact that Barack Obama has grown stronger and more assertive in his second term while Republican congressional leaders have become more impotent. The unhappiness with the establishment and the desire to stiff them is much stronger."

Geopolitical Outcomes as Oil Prices Drop

From Russia to Iran, the consequences of the global oil bust (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"We are witnessing a historic fall in the price of oil, down more than 50 percent in less than a year. When a similar drop happened in the 1980s, the Soviet Union collapsed. What will it mean now?"

New Challenges to China's Economy

Stocks Fall Most in 4 Years as China Dread Sinks Global Markets from Bloomberg
"The week’s retreat from the riskiest assets picked up speed as data showing a gauge of China manufacturing at the lowest level in more than six years highlighted the challenges facing the nation’s economy."

A Clearer Assessment of Iran's Power

Iran’s Middle East allies are crumbling (Basheer Nafi) from Middle East Eye
"In spite of mounting evidence that the Iranian influence was in decline, many concluded that the nuclear agreement would provide the Iranian expansionist project with what it needs to become an invincible power. So, where is the fault in the reading of the Iranian expansionist project, or in Tehran's own assessment of its power?"

The Growing Importance of Gay Rights in Foreign Affairs

Gay and Marked for Death (Frank Bruni) from the New York Time
"I can’t recall any foreign trip by a president that prompted as much discussion of gay rights as Obama’s to Kenya, where homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Obama confronted that harsh reality head-on.  “The state should not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation,” he said at a news conference with the Kenyan president, going on to add: “The idea that they are going to be treated differently or abused because of who they love is wrong. Full stop.”"

No Connection to the Job Market? No Help for You!

America's Poorest Are Getting Virtually No Assistance (Jared Bernstein) from the Atlantic
"Over the past few decades, anti-poverty policy in this country has evolved to be “pro-work.” This means that if you’re a low-income parent who’s well connected to the job market, the government will help you in a variety of ways. But, if you’re disconnected from the job market, public policy won’t help you much at all. How do people in that second group survive?"

Speaker Boehner's Future

Boehner's future as speaker in doubt from Politico
"The Republican leader faces a grueling next few months, and even allies believe this will be his last term atop the GOP conference."

Celebrating Vacuity on the GOP Side

The Year Of The Know-Nothing Candidates (Howard Fineman) from the Huffington Post
"Especially on the GOP side, vague is good; ignorance is better. ...  the 2016 campaign, especially on the GOP side, is setting a modern record for vacuity and even pride in ignorance about government. The widespread lack of civic education, the failure of media interest and growing public cynicism have made not knowing any details a perverse qualification for the highest office."

The Revolt Against the Predictable

The Populist Revolt Against Brain-Dead Politics (Larry J. Sabato) from the U.Va. Center for Politics
".... observers are right when they insist “there’s something going on out there.” And in our view, what’s going on is a populist revolt against the utterly predictable, locked-in, hyperpartisan politics of the two major parties."

Getting Real About Bernie

Loving Bernie, But Getting Real (James Quandy) from OpEd News
"This has led many (including myself) to no longer consider Bernie's candidacy just an amazing phenomenon, but an absolutely essential component of any real change in this country. This having been said, there are still certain political realities, which we're going to have to face sooner or later. What I am referring to is the very basic fact of what I believe one could call his "political identity": Bernie is a 73-year-old Jewish Socialist from Vermont. Now this very brief description in itself presents what I see as at least 4 "challenges", any one of which (unfortunately) could be fatal to any candidate for President."

Outsiders and Insiders in the Primaries This Year

The Truth About the 2016 Race from Politico
"The GOP outsiders dominating the polls remain longshots; the under-siege Democratic front-runner retains an edge; and neither party’s nominee will have complete control over his or her destiny."

The Trump "Boomlet" a Temporary Phenomenon? Maybe Not

Why Donald Trump Won’t Fold: Polls and People Speak from the New York Times
"In the command centers of Republican presidential campaigns, aides have drawn comfort from the belief that Donald J. Trump’s dominance in the polls is a political summer fling, like Herman Cain in 2011 — an unsustainable boomlet dependent on megawatt celebrity, narrow appeal and unreliable surveys of Americans with a spotty record of actually voting in primaries. A growing body of evidence suggests that may be wishful thinking."

The GOP's "Deep Bench"? -- A Bunch of Vapid Mediocrities?

How Trump Got In Jeb’s Head (Eleanor Clift) from the Daily Beast
"Trump has shone a harsh light on the rest of the Republican field, exposing the vapidity and mediocrity of the candidates, who have been touted as this sterling field of current and former governors and senators. None has shown good political chops; they don’t know how to make themselves and their ideas stand out, to the extent they have any beyond the usual sound bites.The Donald gets away with endlessly mocking and belittling his opponents and, unlike the other Bushes, Jeb can't handle it."

Portents of Doom for the GOP

Trump’s immigration plan could spell doom for the GOP (George Will) from the Washington Post
"It has come to this: The GOP, formerly the party of Lincoln and ostensibly the party of liberty and limited government, is being defined by clamors for a mass roundup and deportation of millions of human beings. To will an end is to will the means for the end, so the Republican clamors are also for the requisite expansion of government’s size and coercive powers."

The devastating history lesson that Republicans are completely ignoring

Donald Trump is the harbinger of GOP doom (Heather Parton) from Salon
"More and more are candidates getting sucked into Trump's immigration vortex — bad news if you're a Republican."

The GOP ... Looking to Stop its Own Front-runner?

Talk in G.O.P. Turns to a Stop Donald Trump Campaign from the New York Times
"A group identified with the Republican establishment would risk ending up in a war with Mr. Trump, while a new group — such as a political nonprofit to which other donors and organizations could secretly funnel cash — would play into Mr. Trump’s comments about lobbyists and corporations scheming to prop up his rivals. Mr. Trump also has begun to preview such attacks."

Walker’s dramatic implosion

The one-time Iowa frontrunner is now barely registering in the polls (Simon Maloy) from Salon
"Scott Walker is trying to fight his way back into presidential contention by pretending to have a personality."

Friday, September 4, 2015

News Nuggets 1532

DAYLEE PICTURE: An aerial view of volcanic lakes near Mýrsalsjökull Glacier in Iceland.  From National Geographic.

TODAY's BIG NUGGET: The GOP's 2016 "Deep Bench" is in Deep You-Know-What!

The GOP Field That Failed (Rich Lowry) from Politico
"In the normal course of things, the establishment front-runner provides coherence to the field. Hence, the expectation that the field would have Jeb Bush and a not-Bush, or maybe two. For the moment, this assumption has collapsed, as the current shape of the field is Trump and everyone else. This is quite the comedown for Bush."
An excellent overview (from a usually clueless pundit) of why everyone but Trump is failing so badly this primary season. -- Nuggetsman

The Cooling of the China-Russia Courtship

Friendship Between Putin and Xi Becomes Strained as Economies Falter from the New York Times
"Mr. Putin has enjoyed basking in the stature of Mr. Xi, who leads one of the world’s largest economies. But with the recent stock market turmoil in China and the slowest economic growth in a quarter-century, Beijing will be unable to provide the ballast that Mr. Putin has sought against economic sanctions imposed on Russia by Europe and the United States after its annexation of Crimea, not to mention plummeting oil prices worldwide."

A Big Change Coming With the End of the "Subcontractor" Trickery?

Unions Plot Major Push After Landmark Labor Ruling from Reuters
"U.S. union leaders said on Friday that a landmark U.S. labor board ruling on companies' obligations toward contract and franchise workers would help them organize manufacturers and e-commerce companies as well as fast food chains. On Thursday the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled the owner of a California recycling plant was a "joint employer" with the contractor that hired workers at the plant, essentially forcing both to bargain with the union together or risk violating U.S. labor law."

Millennials the most stressed demographic in America

Generation Stress from the Huffington Post
"Millennials (18-33 year olds) and Generation X (34-46 year olds) are now called Generation Stress. That's because for the last three years, the American Psychological Association'sresearch on stress has found Millennials to be the most stressed demographic in America, with Generation X coming in a close second. Both generations report almost twice the level of stress that's considered safe from serious health risk."

What Happens When a Black Judge Stops Handing Out Harsh Sentences

Whites Quit Working With Black Mississippi Judge, Then He Got Sacked (Justin Glave) from the Daily Beast
"Rickey Thompson started a drug court to start treating offenders and stop imprisoning them. Then he says officials quit sending him offenders altogether.
An INCREDIBLE story! Check it out!

Trigger-happy Cop Shoots One of His Own

Trigger-Happy Cop Shot One of His Own and Kept Blasting Away from the Daily Beast
"A detective who worked narcotics with an undercover officer walked up to a car, shot his fellow officer twice, and then seven more times against the victim’s pleas."

Anti-Immigration Policies Have a History of Backfiring on Advocates

How Trump Can Ensure Democratic Dominance for Generations (Michael Kazin) from Politico
"... what would be the political impact if Trump and other angry nativists in the GOP actually achieved most or all the changes they desire, cutting immigration back sharply?  We already know, because something very similar happened once before in American history. Ninety years ago, two Republican presidents—Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge—and a Congress dominated by Republicans enacted equally harsh policies against immigrants. Their success helped usher in the longest period of one-party rule in the 20th century. But it was the Democrats, not the GOP, who benefited, in one of the most whopping instances of unintentional consequences in American political history."

The GOP’s nuclear option for Donald Trump

Why the only way to beat Trump is so scary for the GOP (Elias Isquith) from Salon
"If the Republican Party wants to win back Trump's fans, they have one realistic option. But it might be even worse. .... one that helps explain why the Republican Party establishment is so out of touch, and so incapable of defeating Trump in a zero-sum battle for influence. The trait is a lack of belief. Not in God or country, both of which Trump supporters rather enjoy, but rather in the fundamental legitimacy of American society’s most powerful and entrenched institutions; the government, the banks, the media, the academy, etc. Because aside from one extremely notable exception (which we’ll talk about in a bit), there’s not a single major institution of American political life that these folks wouldn’t like to see Trump conquer — the Republican Party itself very much included."

The Costs and Benefits of Stoking Resentment in the GOP

Republicans Come to Terms with Their Worst Trump Nightmare (Brian Beutler) from the New Republic
"The tenor of Republican Party rhetoric has darkened. Until recently, most Republican candidates and strategists regarded Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as something ephemeral—a flash in the pan; a storm to be waited out. Now they are openly contemplating the possibility that he could win, or at least ride his steady support all the way to the Republican nominating convention next summer, leaving havoc in his wake. ... As much as Trump himself is an outgrowth of the reckless way conservatives have stoked the resentment of the Republican Party base, his durability is also an outgrowth of an electoral process conservatives have shaped aggressively."

What Losing Birthright Citizenship would Look Like

These Countries Show Why Losing Birthright Citizenship Could Be A Disaster from the Huffington Post
"Some Republicans want to change the 14th Amendment. That would have major consequences."

The Clinton 'Scandal' That Isn't

The Clinton 'Scandal' That Isn't (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"Does Hillary Clinton have a serious legal problem because she may have transmitted classified information on her private email server? After talking with a half-dozen knowledgeable lawyers, I think this "scandal" is overstated. Using the server was a self-inflicted wound by Clinton, but it's not something a prosecutor would take to court."

The Down-Ticket Blues with Trump at the Top

Trump's Latino Bashing Risks GOP Senate Hopes In 3 Key States from Talking Points Memo
"Of the five states that had the largest share of Hispanic voters in 2012 cycle, Florida, Colorado and Nevada are holding what are expected to be extremely contentious Senate races. And already, some of the candidates in those races have been expected to weigh in on Trump's antics, which involve labeling Mexicans "rapists" and calling for the end of birth citizenship."

Trump and Evangelicals -- A Strange Pairing

Evangelicals love Donald Trump: How a thrice-married New York braggart won them over — and why it’s so scary (Heather Digby Parton) from Salon
"... evangelicals are not that different from other Republicans, in that they are perpetually let down and disappointed by their leaders, but more than anything are just looking for a winner after eight years of living in a liberal horror movie. Apparently, they are just as mad as hell as the rest of the GOP base...  What this religious outreach shows, though, is that Trump has been strategizing this presidential run much more consciously than perhaps anyone realized. It’s hard to know what’s more disconcerting — that Trump is winning because he’s crazy, or that he’s winning because he’s crazy like a fox."

The GOP Base verses the Establishment

The conservative establishment is in deep denial about Donald Trump's appeal (Matthew Yglesias) from Vox
"Trump is the egomaniacal opportunist who's finally giving voice to those ideas. And much of the American establishment is in deep denial about their real appeal.  ... More than one-fifth of the electorate endorses the Trump view that "immigration should be decreased a lot" while Social Security should not be cut. All mainstream Republican Party figures, by contrast, hold views in the right-hand column of Drutman's chart — opinions that collectively secure the endorsement of less than 10 percent of the electorate. ... But these generally unpopular views are popular with the kind of people who finance the Republican Party."
For way too long the GOP has won election after election by feeding their voters hugely out-of-touch promises that cater to people's ignorance and insecurity, promises that they have NO INTENTION on fulfilling!! Indeed, I have long believed that certain issues (such as abortion) they wage endless, largely symbolic campaigns that impact rates of abortion only on the extreme margins, a strategy designed to KEEP the issue hot and unresolved so pro-life will simply continue to throw their money, time and votes to the GOP. -- Nuggetsman

Statistic of the Day!!

Republicans Support Outsider Presidential Candidates Over The Establishment, Polls Show from the Huffington Post
"The share of Americans who are unhappy with both political parties, though, is at a more than 20-year high, according to Pew Research, in large part because a significant fraction of Republicans are currently unhappy with their own party. Nearly three quarters of Republican voters, but only 18 percent of Democrats, told Quinnipiac they'd prefer a Washington outsider to someone with Washington experience."

For the Bushes it Must Be in the Genes: Being Inarticulate

Jeb Bush’s foot-in-mouth problem (Dana Milbank) from the Washington Post
"But Jeb Bush’s slips tend to be different from those of his kin. His are more Freudian, involving accidental truths. ... The context, in general, is plain: When Jeb Bush opens his mouth, danger occurs."

Is the Good Ship Bush Sinking?

Top Jeb fundraisers leave campaign amid troubling signs from Politico
"Three top Jeb Bush fundraisers abruptly parted ways with his presidential campaign on Friday, amid internal personality conflicts and questions about the strength of his candidacy, POLITICO has learned."

A Season for Candidates from the Private Sector

What happened to Scott Walker? from the Washington Post
"Walker’s backers see a campaign discombobulated by Trump’s booming popularity and by his provocative language on immigration, China and other issues. They see in Walker a candidate who — in contrast to the discipline he showed in state races — continues to commit unforced errors, either out of lack of preparation or in an attempt to grab for part of the flamboyant businessman’s following."
You know, it is conventional wisdom within the political class that the strongest candidates for the presidency almost always come from governors' offices, not Congress and CERTAINLY not the private sector.  The last private sector candidate to run an even remotely plausible presidential campaign was the GOP's Wendell Willkie in 1940 and FDR beat him handily.  This Republican primary season seems to be turning all that conventional wisdom on its head!  All the governors and former governors are dying in both national and early state polls.  These include Jindall, Christie, Walker, Huckabee, Kasich (who is at least moving upwards in the polls), and Perry.  Another lawmaker, Rand Paul is as dead as the rest of them.  And who is doing well or rising in the polls? The Trumpster, of course.  Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina -- ALL from the private sector!!  Many beltway pundits have stated, implied (or hoped) that if Trump dropped out that his supporters would gravitate towards one of the more reasonable, moderate (read establishment) candidates.  My take on the polling right now is that these folks are deluding themselves.  If you add Trump's Carson's, and Fiorina's numbers together, you have close to a majority of GOP likely primary voters -- and my sense is that these people have HAD IT with Republican lawmakers, governors, etc.  Look back to 2012:  With his eye on the presidency going way back, Mitt Romney had spent decades building a resume of sizable (but traditional) accomplishments -- only to see that, when his time finally came in 2012, he had to run from or be silent about most of those accomplishments (remember Romneycare?)  What we are seeing this season is the next logical step in the fracturing of a deeply alienated Republican Party.  For near half of the Republican electorate, is it possible that holding elective office now is a straight-from-the-gate disqualifier for real consideration?!  We shall see.

Inspiring Video Nugget!!

For those who haven't heard about En Chroma glasses, they correct for COLOR BLINDNESS!  There are a growing number of Youtuble clips out there showing people who have been color blind their whole lives seeing color for the first time!  Here's one of them!