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Friday, December 16, 2016

News Nuggets 1560


The DAYLEE PICTURE: The sanctuary of Athena Pronaia at Delphi. From National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda

"In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his own racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image. If progressives are going to stop this, we must stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the members of Congress who would do his bidding. Together, we have the power to resist - and we have the power to win."

The How-To for Resisting Trump

"From marching in the streets to calling members of Congress, here's how the Trump resistance is shaping up."

More Resistance Methods in the Age of Trump

What can you do? Resist. from Raw Story
"This is a frightening time in the United States of America. Many people are asking — What can I do? Here is one thing you can do: Help us hold Trump accountable by supporting the Trump investigative fund. ..."

Where to Fight Next: The States

The Best Way to Stop Trump Is at the Local Level (Joy-Ann Reid) from the Daily Beast
"Of course we think first about Congress. But Democratic governors, mayors, and state legislatures are the ones now with the real power to stop Trumpism."

Training Workers for the New Economy

Better Way to Help U.S. Victims of Free Trade (Ronald J. Daniels & Michael Trebilcock) from Bloomberg View
"The most successful programs, such as in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, tend to have a number of similar traits: They aggressively press workers into training programs, in some circumstances making it mandatory in order to receive other benefits. They engineer flexible opportunities with industry for workers including apprenticeships and short-term training opportunities. And they subsidize part-time opportunities for workers, to keep them in the workforce and their skills sharp while they look for new opportunities."

An Obama Media Empire?

"When Rolling Stone asked the president about his future plans, Obama said he would begin "organizing my presidential center," where a top subject would be, "How do we rethink our storytelling, the messaging and the use of technology and digital media, so that we can make a persuasive case across the country?" In recent days — even before Trump's surprising victory — Obama also mused openly about what he views as the dangerous state of media and his desire to play a role in fixing it."
I seriously doubt this is what's coming -- but who knows?

Sanctuary Cities Coming into Their Own

"Since his election, local officials in at least 18 major "sanctuary" cities have pledged to limit their cooperation with federal immigration officials. By one estimate, 12 of these cities account for roughly 20 percent of all undocumented immigrants in the United States."

What's Happening to the American Dream?

"Barely half of 30-year-olds earn more than their parents did at a similar age, a research team found, an enormous decline from the early 1970s when the incomes of nearly all offspring outpaced their parents. Even rapid economic growth won’t do much to reverse the trend. ... As wages stagnate in the middle class, it becomes hard to reverse this trend."

Syrian Refugees Land in the US

"The small city is struggling to figure out who it is and just how welcoming it wants to be."

The New Republican Party

"While the Russian president still has a net un-favorability rating among Republicans, his standing has improved dramatically – from a net negative of 66 points to a mere 10 points.  By comparison, only 17 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of President Barack Obama, the December poll found. Obama’s net negative among Republicans is 64 points – significantly worse than the party’s take on Putin."
What you have here is definitive proof (if any was still needed) that GOP voters have become (using a term I hate) unprecedentedly "tribal" -- which is to say they vote based on who their party nominates, not on any real issue or principle.  The issues and principles will shift to whatever the candidate advocates.  Republican lawmakers and talking heads will follow as well.  What this means looking ahead is that the segment of the electorate that is "persuadable" in the next cycle is VERY SMALL.  The only thing that unifies the Republican Party is ... their opposition to the Democratic Party.  They will exercise the power or no one will.

Pope Francis: Spreading Fake News is "a Sin"

"In an interview with a Belgian Catholic weekly publication released Wednesday, Pope Francis criticized the spread of fake news in graphic terms, comparing it to coprophagia, according to a translation of the transcript published by the Vatican.  Coprophagia is the act of eating one’s own feces. Francis also compared “disinformation” from the media to coprophilia, or an interest in feces, often for sexual arousal."

China Economy Nugget!!

"China won't be luring foreign tech talent any time soon. And its struggles hold a lesson for every other country hoping to become the Silicon Valley of the future: The competition for global talent will be won by countries that foster the culture of openness -- to new ideas and new people -- that defined the American tech business for decades before Trump."

EUROPEAN IMMIGRATION NUGGET!!

Heat, Hunger and War Force Africans Onto a ‘Road on Fire' from the New York Times
"Scholars of migration count people like Mr. Bokoum among the millions who could be displaced around the world in coming decades as rising seas, widening deserts and erratic weather threaten traditional livelihoods. For the men who pour through Agadez, these hardships are tangled up with intense economic, political and demographic pressures."

Friday, December 2, 2016

News Nuggets 1559


DAYLEE PICTURE: Cold morning mist in a Dutch forest.  From National Geographic.
Well, it has been a while since I last posted and since the election.  Needless to say, the election results were a shocker to me and it caused me to reassess the whole role of the News Nuggets blog.  In retrospect, I think the blog had a similar impact as the analysis from the mainstream media -- which was to understate Trump's strength and overstate Hillary's chances of victory.  Given the result election night, my first reaction was to shut down the blog almost immediately and write it off as being more "part of a problem" rather than "part of a solution." Upon reflection, the blog is going to shift its emphasis towards news that promotes voter activism and empowerment looking ahead to 2018 and 2020.  

Today's set of postings exemplify what this will look like.  If you want to read about Trump's latest stupidity, his dopey appointments, his contempt for democratic norms and the constitution, etc., this blog may no longer be the place for you.  The goal here now is to give progressive voters actions, information and possibility that will empower them in what could easily be a dark, bleak period where people retreat into resignation, cynicism, and despair.  As Americans, that is not who we are.  We are people who fight for what we believe in -- and, God knows, the country has in the past faced down bigger challenges than a Trump presidency.  What we need are concrete actions, ideas, examples of people making a difference, and a clear eye on containing the damage Trump does. It is my goal to provide that kind of inspiration here.  Blog postings will continue to be periodic -- but when you get an announcement in your inbox, you will know what to expect when you check us out!  Thanks everyone for your ongoing interest and commitment to a better future.   Jared

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: For Dems -- Rediscovering the White Working Class

What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class (Joan Williams) from the Harvard Business Review
"“The thing that really gets me is that Democrats try to offer policies (paid sick leave! minimum wage!) that would help the working class,” a friend just wrote me. A few days’ paid leave ain’t gonna support a family. Neither is minimum wage. White Working Class men aren’t interested in working at McDonald’s for $15 per hour instead of $9.50. What they want is what my father-in-law had: steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life to the 75% of Americans who don’t have a college degree. Trump promises that. I doubt he’ll deliver, but at least he understands what they need."
So far, this is the best examination I have seen about why the Dems lost the white working class so badly in this election.  A must-read for anyone looking to win them back.  Just one key point for Dems: STOP talking about minimum wage and parental leave!  Start figuring out how to deliver to the working class a middle class level of income and life as they had had in the 1950s and 1960s. This is what Trump promised and what Dems STOPPED promising 25 years ago. Impossible? We'll need to figure it out.

Will Congress Do Proper Oversight of Trump? If We Demand It!

House Oversight Committee Phones Jammed By Angry Calls Over Trump Conflicts Of Interest from the National Memo
"A social media storm calling for a congressional investigation into conflicts of interest between Donald Trump’s family members who will run his businesses while he serves, and his presidential transition team, jammed House Oversight and Government Reform Committee phone lines Friday. “The committee’s phones became jammed most of Friday after a Facebook post calling for an investigation into President-elect Donald Trump’s finances started to go viral,” the Washington Post reported."

Obama: A Passive Ex-President? Maybe Not

Obama says he may take on Trump from Politico
"The president refuses to say he’d hold to the tradition of avoiding public comment or political attacks on the successor."

What's Next for Obama Loyalists? BIG THINGS

Obama loyalists plot Trump resistance from Politico
"One attendee called the meetings “Obama Anonymous,” and while they largely started as impromptu commiseration, they’ve shifted to mobilization. It’s an early sign that Obama can continue to command a formidable movement and potentially launch a serious defense of his legacy as a private citizen."

Elizabeth Warren's Role

Elizabeth Warren fills the Democratic void from Politico
"The Massachusetts senator is making clear she intends to stand against Donald Trump every step of the way."

Michael Moore issues stark warning to Trump

Moore: 'You haven’t seen anything yet’ from Raw Story
"Michael Moore responded to the Hamilton controversy Monday, warning Donald Trump and Mike “Pencey” they “haven’t seen anything yet.”"

Building the Trump Corruption Argument Now

How Democrats Can Use Trump’s Corruption Against Him from the New Republic
"His conflicts of interest can help build the populist argument against him that Clinton's campaign failed to mount."

The Opportunity for Dems in 2018

Dems' secret 2018 weapon (Brent Bubowsky) from The Hill
"The secret weapon for Democrats in the 2018 elections, if they make the most of it, is that there will be races for governor in 36 states, 26 of which are now run by Republican governors. Democrats should begin — today — the largest early stage recruitment and fundraising operation in modern political history to find first-rate candidates to run for governor and seats in Congress."

Why Voters Vote the Way They Do?

Democrats need to focus on the gut, not the head (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"The conclusion is clear. As Gabriel Lenz writes in his landmark 2012 book, “Follow the Leader?”, “Voters don’t choose between politicians based on policy stances; rather, voters appear to adopt the policies that their favorite politicians prefer.”  And how do voters pick their favorite politicians? It is a gut decision that is more emotional than rational."

Saving Obamacare

The Alternative to Obamacare Is Obamacare (Brian Beutler) from the New Republic
"If Democrats play their cards right, they can save the Affordable Care Act or even set the stage for moving health care in a more progressive direction."

Climate Change Progress in the Trump Era

How the Climate Movement Can Still Make Headway in the Trump Era from the Allegheny Front
"... I think it has [given] a lot of people who weren’t even thinking about climate change very much a new sense of urgency. One of the challenges that we face politically is a sense of despair and a sense of giving in and being cynical about politics. And we actually think that what [Trump] intends to do about climate change will jolt people out of that..."

Detecting Authoritarianism in the Next Administration

10 Ways to Tell if Your President Is a Dictator from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Given what is at stake, one of the most important things we can all do is remain alert for evidence that Trump and those around him are moving in an authoritarian direction. For those who love America and its Constitution more than they love any particular political party or any particular politician, I offer as a public service my top 10 warning signs that American democracy is at risk."

Figuring Out What is Going on with the Dakota Access Pipeline

Competing groups are trying to define the Dakota Access pipeline debate. So where does the truth lie? from the Los Angeles Times
"Opposing sides in the increasingly tense standoff over the Dakota Access oil pipeline have found little to agree on. But on this fact there is no dispute: Sometime between 3 and 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 21, a young woman demonstrating against the pipeine nearly had her arm blown off.  But agreement ends there"

Trump's "Weakness"

How to Manipulate Donald Trump (William Saletan) from Slate
"He’s an emotional weakling, and his recent interviews give us models for dealing with it."

The Role of "Weaponized Misinformation"

The Year Knowledge Died (Noah Rothman) from Commentary
"Weaponized misinformation is hardly a new phenomenon. Its effect on the 2016 presidential race has, however, been exceptionally ominous. A campaign of deliberate deceptions involving but not limited to foreign entities seeking to disrupt the American political process to their own ends should be ringing alarm bells for patriotic American voters. But there’s no one left to ring them; the stewards of objective discourse have been discredited in the minds of those this campaign has targeted. The age in which there was universally understood and incontrovertible truth is over. The information age has given way to something more closely resembling its antonym.?
I completely agree with this conservative columnist.  Read the whole thing. SPOT ON!

New Economy Nugget!!

Job Interviews Are Useless (Cass R. Sunstein) from Bloomberg View
"A lot of evidence suggests that in cases of this kind, employers will stubbornly trust their intuitions -- and are badly mistaken to do so. Specific aptitude tests turn out to be highly predictive of performance in sales, and general intelligence tests are almost as good. ... Unstructured interviews have been found to have surprisingly little value in a variety of areas."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

News Nuggets 1558


Daylee Picture: Northern Italy near the Alps.  From National Geographic.

Today's BIG NUGGET: A Disturbing Profile of an Angry Trump Voter

‘Finally. Someone who thinks like me.’ from the Washington Post
"She was a 52-year-old woman who had worked 20 years for the railroad, had once been a Democrat and was now a Republican, and counted herself among the growing swath of people who occupied the fringes of American politics but were increasingly becoming part of the mainstream. Like millions of others, she believed that President Obama was a Muslim. And like so many she had gotten to know online through social media, she also believed that he was likely gay, that Michelle Obama could be a man, and that the Obama children were possibly kidnapped from a family now searching for them."
A VERY insightful look into the social meltdown that those profiled here have endured.  Sad, disturbing ... and NOT the stuff long-term movements are made of, at least not political ones.

The Trump Campaign: A "Half-Assed Ego Trip"?

The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump (Matt Taibbi) from the Rolling Stone Magazine
"Trump's shocking rise and spectacular fall have been a singular disaster for U.S. politics. Built up in the press as the American Hitler, he was unmasked in the end as a pathetic little prankster who ruined himself, his family and half of America's two-party political system for what was probably a half-assed ego trip all along, adventure tourism for the idiot rich."

This Election's "Lessons for Young Minds"

Burning Down the House (Timothy Egan) from the New York Times
"He’s made it O.K. to bully and fat-shame. He’s normalized perversion, bragging about how an aging man with his sense of entitlement can walk in on naked women.  Here’s his lesson for young minds: If you’re rich and boorish enough, you can get away with anything. Get away with sexual assault. Get away with not paying taxes. Get away with never telling the truth. Get away with flirting with treason. Get away with stiffing people who work for you, while you take yours. Get away with mocking the disabled, veterans and families of war heroes."

Voices of Trump Voters

Trump says the election is rigged — and his supporters are furious (Viser and Jan) from the Boston Globe
“We’re heading toward North Korea, without a doubt,” said Grant Reed, a Trump supporter wearing a shirt that said, “If you’re offended, I’ll help you pack.” Joe Cecil, a 39-year-old restaurant manager, said he has never voted before but is newly inspired by Trump. “If people are offended by the sexual stuff, what do they think is going to happen when Muslims come here, implement Sharia law, and start raping our women?” he asks."

The Tragic Future for Trump Voters

Trump’s Fans Have More to Lose Than Trump Himself (Michelle Cottle) from the Atlantic
"If anything, Trumpism has, in part, made the rest of the nation all the more eager to ignore the millions of white voters living on the edges of the economy. Many may now be written off without guilt, because they have shown themselves to be not just unfortunates but undesirables—irredeemable hate-mongers itching to reassert their cultural dominance. ... No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, this is a tragic outcome."
SPOT-ON analysis here from Michelle Cottle!

Dream the Impossible Dream: SPEAKER Pelosi!

Democrats dream the unthinkable: Speaker Pelosi: Donald Trump's nose dive has suddenly made it possible. from Politico
"As Donald Trump’s poll numbers tank, dragging the whole GOP down with him, the possibility that Pelosi could return to the speaker’s chair after a six-year absence has suddenly grown very real. No one has done anything like this since the legendary Sam Rayburn did 60 years ago, and it is still unlikely to happen. Yet the House is definitely in play, according to experts on both sides of the aisle, which means the 76-year-old Pelosi could be wielding the speaker’s gavel again come January."

For Blacks, the Persistence of the Wage Gap

African Americans are paid less than whites at every education level from the Economic Policy Institute
"As you can see from the chart below, while a college education results in higher wages—both for whites and blacks—it does not eliminate the black-white wage gap. African Americans are still earning less than whites at every level of educational attainment."

Evangelicals: Do NOT be Silent!!

Speak Truth to Trump from Christianity Today
"Evangelicals, of all people, should not be silent about Donald Trump's blatant immorality. ... He has given no evidence of humility or dependence on others, let alone on God his Maker and Judge. He wantonly celebrates strongmen and takes every opportunity to humiliate and demean the vulnerable. He shows no curiosity or capacity to learn. He is, in short, the very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool."
At least one evangelical leader speaking out!

Our Industrialized Food System

Super Size: The Dizzying Grandeur of 21st-Century Agriculture from the New York Times
"Our industrialized food system nourishes more people, at lower cost, than any comparable system in history. It also exerts a terrifyingly massive influence on our health and our environment. Photographer George Steinmetz spent nearly a year traveling the country to capture that system, in all its scope, grandeur and dizzying scale. His photographs are all the more remarkable for the fact that so few large food producers are willing to open themselves to this sort of public view."

US Bases Abroad and Who Pays the Bills? Of Course Trump is Wrong!

Actually, Foreign Nations Pay Billions For U.S. Military Bases from the National Memo
"The Pentagon spends an estimated $10 billion a year on overseas bases. More than 70 percent of the total is spent in Japan, Germany and South Korea, where most U.S. troops abroad are permanently stationed. In return, the Pentagon receives various forms of compensation from the host countries, like rent-free real estate for the bases and cash payments to offset U.S. costs. ... "But we gain the most out of these alliances because it helps keep threats much farther from our shores than they otherwise would be," he said."

Post-election, What is Obama Up To? Something AWESOME!

Obama, Holder to lead post-Trump redistricting campaign from The Hill
"The former attorney general heads up a new Democratic effort to challenge the GOP's supremacy in state legislatures and the U.S. House. ... The new group, called the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, was developed in close consultation with the White House. President Barack Obama himself has now identified the group—which will coordinate campaign strategy, direct fundraising, organize ballot initiatives and put together legal challenges to state redistricting maps—as the main focus of his political activity once he leaves office."

FUTURE-OF-ACADEMIC-HISTORY NUGGET

Ken Burns or Instructors? from Inside Higher Education
"He said that he favored "certification," in which people could demonstrate competency or skills in certain areas through testing rather than earning degrees. ... Johnson also said the education system could become much more affordable by changing the role of instruction. "We’ve got the internet -- you have so much information available. Why do you have to keep paying different lecturers to teach the same course? You get one solid lecturer and put it up online and have everybody available to that knowledge for a whole lot cheaper? But that doesn’t play very well to tenured professors in the higher education cartel. So again, we need disruptive technology for our higher education system," he said. Johnson added, "One of the examples I always used -- if you want to teach the Civil War across the country, are you better off having, I don’t know, tens of thousands of history teachers that kind of know the subject, or would you be better off popping in 14 hours of Ken Burns’s Civil War tape and then have those teachers proctor based on that excellent video production already done? You keep duplicating that over all these different subject areas.""
Sadly, I think Johnson is spot-on here about the future of history (and several other subjects) in academe.  The constituency for maintaining the current faculty/resource heavy commitment to history, literature, philosophy, etc. is collapsing. One dynamic professor on video shown to thousands of students and given a quiz will do.  Then use an army of $10/hr adjuncts to grade the damn things.  Channel the savings to STEM.  Problems solved!

What It is Like for a Woman Reporter Covering Trump

My Crazy Year with Trump (Katy Tur) from Marie Claire Magazine
"The presidential hopeful has insulted reporter Katy Tur on national TV, called her names during interviews, and made his campaign seemingly impossible to cover. Here, her no-holds-barred account of trailing the most unlikely candidate in GOP history."

The Dark Side of the Sexual Revolution on Display

A Playboy for President (Ross Douthat) from the New York Times
"This is where you find Trump’s strongest (and, yes, strangest) fans. He’s become the Daddy Alpha for every alpha-aspiring beta male, whose mix of moral liberation and misogyny keeps the Ring-a-Ding-Ding dream alive."
A very valid critique of some of the seedier aspects of the sexual revolution ... and how Trump taps into them.

The Right Wing Media v. The MORE Right Wing Media

Donald Trump broke the conservative media from the Huffington Post
"... throughout the election season, it has appeared that Republicans have fielded more attacks from their supposed friends on the right than their political opponents on the left. It's an incidental twist, considering how Republicans helped foster the growth of the conservative news media in order to avoid the skewering of mainstream journalists.  Instead, it appears their plan of using friendly pundits to tap directly into the vein of red-blooded Americans sympathetic to their political views has backfired."

"A Way of Life Under Siege"

Trump, hillbillies and race (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"The rage that is fueling the Trump phenomenon is not just about stagnant wages. It is about a way of life under siege, and it risks producing a “politics of cultural despair.” That phrase was coined by Fritz Stern to describe Germany a century ago. The key to avoiding that fate is not a series of public policies — whether tariffs or tax credits — but enlightened politics, meaning leadership that does not prey on people’s fears and phobias."

Trump's Long-term Impact -- Our On-the-Money Pundit of the Day!

Trump may cost the GOP a generation of voters (Michael Gerson) from the Washington Post
"I would venture that Trump’s failure among the young has something to do with his assault on the idea of tolerance, particularly racial and religious tolerance. Younger voters are less likely than other age groups to regard racially inclusive language as “politically correct.” They are less likely to believe in “reverse discrimination” and to embrace anti-immigrant attitudes."
This IS what is happening!

Where are Millennials? Where they should be!

Young voters flee Donald Trump in what may be historic trouncing, poll shows from USA Today
"Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is consolidating the support of the Millennials who fueled Bernie Sanders' challenge during the primaries, a new USA TODAY/Rock the Vote Poll finds, as Republican Donald Trump heads toward the worst showing among younger voters in modern American history."

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

News Nuggets 1557


DAYLEE PICTURE: The Haleakala volcano in Hawaii. From National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET -- A Look Back at Obama's Convention Speech

Obama just brought the hammer down on Trumpism. Very, very hard. from the Washington Post
"...underneath it was a cold, hard, long-term calculation: The GOP’s nomination of Trump, some Democrats believe, has created a unique opportunity for the Democrats to lay claim to the mantle of sober, responsible, sane, and mature governing party in a manner that could transform our politics to an unforeseen degree in coming years. This morning, there are indications that some conservatives agree with this, too."
If any of you missed it, Obama gave the best convention speech -- and Greg Sargent shows why!

A Look Back on Obama's Approach to Foreign Policy

What Obama’s last year in office teaches us about resilience (David Ignatius) from the Washington Post
"... in this period of national difficulty, it’s good to remember not just Obama’s setbacks but also the side of him that demonstrates what resilience looks like. These moments remind us of America’s exceptional character, even in its current, ugly paralysis."

Whites Discovering Racism

Why some whites are waking up to racism from the Washington Post
"As the nation’s first African American president completes his second term, the country’s racial divide has grown more pronounced, bursting into full view during heated debates over issues such as income inequality, jobs, educational opportunities and, perhaps most prominently, how the criminal justice system treats blacks."

Scary Reports from a Trump Rally

Writer live-tweets Trump rally: 'Anger in here is palpable' from the Oregonian
"The Story, which has so far been viewed 314,177 times, is full of details followed by commentary like, "Guy wearing Socialism Sucks shirt and lip syncing to Tiny Dancer. Nothing makes sense anymore." The entire Twitter journey, through tailgating, the rally itself and its aftermath, is engrossing."

GOP Donors Moving to Clinton, Not Trump

Donors for Bush, Kasich and Christie Are Turning to Clinton More Than to Trump from the New York Times
"People who donated to establishment Republican candidates in the primary season are more likely to give money to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, than to their own party’s candidate, Donald J. Trump."

Trump, the Campaign Manager

In campaign chaos, Donald Trump shows his management style from the Washington Post
"For the past two months, Donald Trump has presided over a political team riddled with turf wars, staff reshuffling and dueling power centers.  But the tensions are more than typical campaign chaos: They illustrate how Trump likes to run an organization, whether it’s a real estate venture or his presidential bid. Interviews with current and former Trump associates reveal an executive who is fond of promoting rivalries among subordinates, wary of delegating major decisions, scornful of convention and fiercely insistent on a culture of loyalty around him."
The sad aspect of this is that this is very similar to the way the Clintons run their campaigns and the way Bill ran the White House.  

The Impact of Trump ... Long Term

The Seven Broken Guardrails of Democracy (David Frum) from the Atlantic
"Here’s the part of the 2016 story that will be hardest to explain after it’s all over: Trump did not deceive anyone. Unlike, say, Sarah Palin in 2008, Trump appeared before the electorate in his own clothes, speaking his own words. When he issued a promise, he instantly contradicted it. If you chose to accept the promise anyway, you did so with abundant notice of its worthlessness. For all the times Trump said believe me and trust me in his salesman patter, he communicated constantly and in every medium that there was only thing you could believe and trust: If you voted for Donald Trump, you’d get Donald Trump, in all his Trumpery and Trumpiness. "

The Delusions of a Trump Supporter

A Dialogue With a 22-Year-Old Donald Trump Supporter (Conor Friedersdorf) from the Atlantic
"He lives near San Francisco, makes more than $50,000 per year, and is voting for the billionaire to fight against political correctness."
A demonstration how a really intelligent person can still be really stupid.

Inside the Mind of Trump Voters

What Do Donald Trump Voters Actually Want? (Conor Friedersdorf) from the Atlantic
"30 of the billionaire real-estate developer’s backers offer individual explanations for their support."

Talk Radio Topic: "A Good Patriot" Killing Trump

Glenn Beck Suspended After On-Air Talk Of 'Patriot' Taking Out Prez Trump from Talking points Memo
"SiriusXM radio suspended conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck this week after a recent guest on his show warned Donald Trump poses an “extinction-level” threat to the country and suggested a “patriot” might need to remove him from office by any means necessary, Politico reported. During Wednesday’s “Glenn Beck Radio Program,” fiction writer Brad Thor said he “guarantees” Trump would temporarily suspend the Constitution during his possible presidency and is a “danger to America.”"
For Fox News and talk radio, here's the payoff of decades of promoting right-wing crazies as authorities and media stars.  They've nurtured thousands of gun-toting paranoids many of whom are now preparing to turn those weapons on their own!  

COLD WAR HISTORY NUGGET!!

Reviled by Many Russians, Mikhail Gorbachev Still Has Lots to Say from the New York Times
"In an interview, Mr. Gorbachev shrugged off the fact that 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he remains among the most reviled men in Russia. “It is freedom of expression,” he said. Yet the official line denigrating traditional democracy, combined with the very idea that he should face trial, obviously irks him, so he churns out articles, essays and books about the need to enhance freedom in Russia."

HISTORY NUGGET!!

How an Outsider President Killed a Party (Gil Troy) from Politico
"The Whigs chose power over principles when they nominated Zachary Taylor in 1848. The party never recovered."

Saturday, May 28, 2016

News Nuggets 1556


DAYLEE PICTURE: A street in Guizhou, China.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Consequences of Economic Contraction in China

China's Economy Is Past the Point of No Return (Gordon Chang) from the National Interest
"The economy is essentially moribund as there is not much that can stop the ongoing slide. A contraction is certain, and a severe adjustment downward—in common parlance, a crash—looks likely."

Petrostate Dreams Turn to Nightmares

Twilight of the Petrostate from the National Interest
"About twenty countries around the world are dependent on a single number: the price of oil. Some, primarily Persian Gulf states, live entirely off their oil and gas wealth. They rely on crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products for 50 percent of their Gross Domestic Product and for 70-plus percent of their budget revenue. ... Oil-producing countries have been living a dream. ... An awakening from this dream is now inevitable."

Weakness and Disorder among Regional Powers will Mark the 21st Century

The Post-Imperial Moment (Robert Kaplan) from the National Interest
"Vulgar, populist anarchy will define the twenty-first century. ... WORLD DISORDER will only grow. The weakening and dissolution of small- and medium-size states in Africa and the Middle East will advance to quasi-anarchy in larger states on which the geographic organization of Eurasia hinges: Russia and China. For the external aggression of these new regional hegemons is, in part, motivated by internal weakness."

America -- Still the Leading Power in the World

America is still great — but it needs to stay strong (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"In fact, it is increasingly clear that the United States has in recent years reinforced its position as the world’s leading economic, technological, military and political power. The country dominates virtually all leading industries — from social networks to mobile telephony to nano- and biotechnology — like never before. It has transformed itself into an energy superpower — the world’sbiggest producer of oil and gas — while also moving to the cutting edge of the green-technology revolution. And it is demographically vibrant, while all its major economic peers (Japan, Europe and even China) face certain demographic decline."

Asia Clamoring for Closer Ties with the US

Obama's pivot to Asia is working (Doyle Macmanus) from the Los Angeles Times
"...  the pivot has actually worked pretty well – as will be evident when Obama travels to Asia this week. Almost every country in the region is clamoring for a closer relationship with the United States."

Trump Transforming America in 2016

This is how fascism comes to America (Robert Kagan) from the Washington Post
"...the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party. ... His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger."

Foreign Policy Experts: Stop Trump

How to Save America From Donald Trump (David Rothkopf) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"There’s only one way to stop the misogynist, racist, policy-illiterate candidate from becoming the next U.S. president."

An Election without "Fundamentals"?

Focus on the Fundamentals (Amy Walter) from the New Yorker
"Before we talk of disrupting the fundamentals or the assumptions of 2016, it’s best to take a serious look at what they are and what they mean."

In the Trump Universe, New Voters Do Not Equal More Voters

Donald Trump Is Not Expanding the GOP from Politico
"A POLITICO analysis of early-voting data show little evidence for one of the Republican nominee’s core claims. ... Donald Trump likes to say he has created a political movement that has drawn “millions and millions” of new voters into the Republican Party. “It’s the biggest thing happening in politics,” Trump has said. “All over the world, they’re talking about it,” he's bragged. But a Politico analysis of the early 2016 voting data show that, so far, it’s just not true."

Electoral map looks grim for Trump

Electoral map looks grim for Trump (Juan Williams) from the Hill
"These national and swing state polls are pure joy to Trump’s supporters. But there is reason to be cautious. The polls are hiding some hard truths about what it will take for Trump to win the White House. The electoral college battlefield is forbidding for him. A Trump-Clinton matchup will dramatically expand the electoral playing field beyond Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania — in Clinton’s favor."

POLLING UPDATE: Clinton Still Doing Well in Rust-Belt States

Clinton Beats Trump With Middle-Income Rust Belt Voters: Bloomberg Poll from Bloomberg
"The findings should sound an alarm for Trump because they show he's failing—at least so far—to dominate among the sort of voters thought to be more sympathetic to him. The poll also splashes cold water on suggestions that the real-estate developer and TV personality is well positioned to win in the Rust Belt."

We beat Donald Trump by mocking Donald Trump

What Bill Maher and Barack Obama understand about whipping a bully from Salon
"Trump's weakness is ridicule. Even if Jon Stewart is sitting this one out, Democrats need to embrace serious satire."
BINGO!!

Trump's "Self-Funded" Campaign?

Key G.O.P. Donors Still Deeply Resist Donald Trump’s Candidacy from the New York Times
"A powerful array of the Republican Party’s largest financial backers remain deeply resistant to Donald J. Trump’s presidential candidacy, forming a wall of opposition that could make it exceedingly difficult for him to meet his goal of raising $1 billion before the November election.  Interviews and emails with more than 50 of the Republican Party’s largest donors, or their representatives, revealed a measure of contempt and distrust toward their own party’s nominee that is unheard of in modern presidential politics."

The GOP Identity Crisis

Who are the Republicans now? from the Christian Science Monitor
"Donald Trump has created a GOP identity crisis: Will he end up reinventing the party?"

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Closer Look at the "Polling Game"

Stop the Polling Insanity (Ornstein and Abromowitz) from the New York Times
"The problem is that the polls that make the news are also the ones most likely to be wrong. And to folks like us, who know the polling game and can sort out real trends from normal perturbations, too many of this year’s polls, and their coverage, have been cringeworthy."

Can Donald Trump deliver the Dems a Senate landslide?

Why Democrats increasingly think Donald Trump can deliver them a Senate landslide from Vox
"Now that Donald Trump will be the GOP presidential nominee, Democrats are daring to hope that an anti-Trump landslide could lead to an anti-Republican landslide down ballot as well.  And in Senate races across the country, the party appears really well-positioned to take advantage of this prospect."

The Contemptible Resurrection of Vince Foster

Vince Foster was my brother. Donald Trump should be ashamed from the Washington Post
"It is beyond contempt that a politician would use a family tragedy to further his candidacy, but such is the character of Donald Trump displayed in his recent comments to The Washington Post. In this interview, Trump cynically, crassly and recklessly insinuated that my brother, Vincent W. Foster Jr., may have been murdered because “he had intimate knowledge of what was going on” and that Hillary Clinton may have somehow played a role in Vince’s death. How wrong. How irresponsible. How cruel."

Sunday, May 15, 2016

News Nuggets 1555


Daylee Picture: Renndolsetra in Norway.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: The Xenophobic Tide

The march of Europe’s little Trumps from the Economist
"Xenophobic parties have long been ostracised by mainstream politicians. That may no longer be possible"

The Energy Revolution has Arrived

The Energy Revolution Is Actually Happening Right Now from Think Progress
"The energy mix in the U.S. is changing — and two separate events this week point to how we’re getting more green energy and less of the dirty stuff."

Major Concerns about the European Economy

The Diabetic Economy (Paul Krugman) from the New York Times
"Things are terrible here in Portugal, but not quite as terrible as they were a couple of years ago. The same thing can be said about the European economy as a whole. That is, I guess, the good news.  The bad news is that eight years after what was supposed to be a temporary financial crisis, economic weakness just goes on and on, with no end in sight. And that’s something that should worry everyone, in Europe and beyond."

The Real Origins of the Revolt of the Republican Base

The Day the Republican Party Died (Molly Ball) from the Atlantic
"With Donald Trump its presumptive nominee after his win in the Indiana primary, the GOP will never be the same.  ... Cruz’s failure and Trump’s success have cast the Republican insurgencies of yesteryear in a new light. Was ousting Dick Lugar and his fellow longtime incumbents ever really about the strict conservative agenda of Washington groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth? Or was it, for the voters who carried it out, about a deeper, more primal, more identitarian resentment, an indiscriminate rage against the machine? Cruz’s loss revealed that his brand of activist conservatism wasn’t really driving the past years’ rebellions of the GOP base. It is this realization that has made the rise of Trump so disturbing for the party intelligentsia."

Hilary's Trump Card

Why the Clintons Don’t Fear the Coming Armageddon With Donald Trump (Joe Klein) from Time Magazine
"Hillary Clinton’s ultimate trump card will not be her gender but her relative humanity."

Trump's Money and the Coming Campaign

Donald Trump isn't rich enough to defeat Hillary Clinton (Paul Waldman) from The Week
"A presidential campaign can swell to over 1,000 paid staffers; in 2012, Barack Obama's campaign spent $721 million, while Mitt Romney's spent $449 million. All observers expect the 2016 race to be even more costly. If you think Donald Trump not only has that kind of cash in liquid form but would drop it on his presidential campaign, I've got a line of steaks to sell you. And Trump is way behind the curve already. ... One can't help but wonder whether Trump even understands how far behind he is, in both money and public esteem."

Friendship in the Age of Trump

Friendship in the Age of Trump (Peter Wehner) from the New York Times
"Strained relationships resulting from political differences are pretty common. What makes this moment so unusual is that the ruptures are occurring among people who have for years been political allies, whose friendships were forged through common battles, often standing shoulder to shoulder. This dynamic is playing out in public, too. ... Others, like me, consider him emotionally unstable, unprincipled, cruel and careless, the kind of demagogic figure the ancient Greeks and the American founders feared. ... Mr. Trump’s candidacy is putting more stress on more friendships than any other political development in my experience. Precisely because of the antipathy I have for Mr. Trump, I need to try doubly hard to resist the temptation to assume the worst of his supporters even as my worries about him mount."

What's Possible for Hillary's Campaign?

Can Clinton Make Good on Her Opportunity? (David Frum) from the Atlantic
"Given her general election opponent, she has a historic opportunity to unite a grand, cross-party coalition."

Dems Looking to Strike Trump Early and Often

Democrats Plan to Pound Trump Before He’s Nominated from the National Journal
"Super PAC will air $20 million in negative ads before Donald Trump can counter with general-election money, a strategy that defined Mitt Romney in 2012."
The Dems MUST do this -- start pounding Trump, early, often and everywhere!!

Clinton Going After Republicans

Hillicans? As Trump Wins, Clinton Explores How to Woo GOPers from ABC News
"The Democratic front-runner's campaign believes Trump's historically high unfavorable ratings and penchant for controversy may be enough to persuade a slice of GOP voters to get behind her bid, in much the same way so-called Reagan Democrats sided with the Republican president in the 1980s."

Trump Moving Women to Clinton More than People Realize

Donald Trump’s Problems With Women Voters Are Worse Than You Think (Tierney Sneed) from Talking Points Memo
"Current polling shows Trump is turning off the subset of women voters who are typically up for grabs in elections and who in other cycles have swung races towards Republicans. He is even alienating the type of dependable Republican female voters who turned out for Romney the last time around. To make matters worse for him, Trump’s deficit among women are blunting some of the vulnerabilities Clinton would be facing if pitted against a less controversial Republican."

Trump's Embarrassing Foreign Policy

Trump’s head-spinning and secret plans for foreign policy (Fareed Zakaria) from the Washington Post
"Clearly we now consider it a wonder of sorts that Trump can spend 40 minutes in front of cameras and avoid vulgarity, refrain from bigotry and read from a teleprompter. The speech Wednesday was, in fact, an embarrassment — a meandering collection of slogans that were mostly pablum: “We must make America strong again”; “Our goal is peace and prosperity.”"
A VERY INTERESTING, historically informed critique of Trump's widely panned foray into foreign policy.

Can the Dems Take the House in November?

The Seats Democrats Must Win to Retake House from Roll Call
"Minority party must gain 30 seats in November; little to no room for error."

Insiders: Clinton would crush Trump in November

Insiders: Clinton would crush Trump in November from Politico
"In the swing states that matter most, GOP insiders worry about a down-ballot disaster."

Clinton's Hardball Tactics May Trump Trump's

Clinton's Battle Plan (Peter Beinart) from the Atlantic
"Don’t expect Hillary Clinton to stay above the fray in the general election—her campaign plans “sustained and brutal attacks” on Donald Trump. ... The conventional wisdom is that Trump’s penchant for gutter politics makes him difficult for Clinton to handle. I suspect that’s wrong. Clinton’s instinct is to use hardball tactics in pursuit of what she sees as the greater good."

Sunday, April 24, 2016

News Nuggets 1554


DAYLEE PICTURE: Morning mist settling over Bhutan.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.;

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: The Difference Between Allies and "Clients" Around the World

The Bankrupt U.S.-Saudi Relationship (Daniel Larison) from the American Conservative
"The choice is between indulging the Saudis in their worst behavior or changing the relationship so that it is much more balanced and consistent with the very few benefits it affords us. As I keep saying, it is important to distinguish between clients and allies, and we shouldn’t treat them the same. Saudi Arabia isn’t a “stable ally.” It is a largely useless client state that is actively working to destabilize other countries in the region."
One of two VERY INTERESTING takes by Larison on America's relationships both with Saudi and other countries!  -- Nuggetsman

US Allies Around the World: Who Needs Who in the 21st Century?

Ryan and the ‘Reassurance’ Racket (Daniel Larison) from the American Conservative
"While some of the client governments may dispute the claim that they are free-riders, the main reason why Obama’s statements have been greeted with such alarm in some foreign capitals is that these governments are not accustomed to being called out for their dependence and uselessness in public. They know very well just how little they do for the U.S. and how much the U.S. does for them, but they don’t want anyone calling too much attention to that imbalance for fear that their racket will be shut down.  The key to keeping the “reassurance” racket going is maintaining the illusion that the U.S. has great need of its clients, when the truth is that they are the ones that need us far more than we need them."

Who's in the Hunt to be Clinton's Veep?

Who Might Hillary Clinton's Running Mate Be if She's the Nominee? from the New York Times
"Here are some likely contenders — according to allies and advisers of the Clintons and prominent Democrats — and a look at their strengths and weaknesses."
I hate to say it -- but none of these people light me up.  Mark Warner of Virginia?  THAT'S the best they can do?! Who knows? Maybe when the time comes they will convince me that they are worth getting excited about.  I hope so!  Nuggetsman

Sanders' Pledged Delegate Dilemma

No matter how you measure it, Bernie Sanders isn’t winning the Democratic primary from the Washington Post
"It is not true that Sanders is having trouble catching Clinton “because of her overwhelming lead with ‘superdelegates.’ ” He is having trouble catching her because he trails her badly with pledged delegates (as on that sign at Clinton headquarters), and the states he keeps winning are smaller states with fewer delegates given out. In fact, by every possible democratic measure, Clinton is winning."

The GOP Delegate Selection Process Under Unprecedented Scrutiny

GOPers Face Wave Of Threats From Trump Fans Incensed By Delegate Counts from Talking Points Memo
"... the current backlash from Trumpites portends some dark days ahead if Trump is denied the nomination.  From Indiana to Colorado to Tennessee, those involved in the delegate selection process are receiving harassment and even death threats from Trump fans who believe that the system has been “rigged” against the real estate mogul."

Middle Class America's On-going Financial Crisis

The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans (Neal Gabler) from the Atlantic
"Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I’m one of them. ... According to research funded by the Russell Sage Foundation, the inflation-adjusted net worth of the typical household, one at the median point of wealth distribution, was $87,992 in 2003. By 2013, it had declined to $54,500, a 38 percent drop. And though the bursting of the housing bubble in 2008 certainly contributed to the drop, the decline for the lower quintiles began long before the recession—as early as the mid-1980s, Wolff says."

PC Critics: What They Really Want to Say

How to win against 'political correctness' (David Akadjian ) from Daily Kos
"One of the things that comes up a lot is “political correctness.” They are really angry about political correctness. So I wanted to hear what they had to say about PC. Instead of arguing, I asked, “What is it that you want to say but don’t feel you can?”"

Pope Francis: Pushing the Church Away from the Culture Wars

Faith’s Mysterious Ways in the 2016 Campaign (E.J. Dionne) from the Washington Post
"The 2016 election is transforming the religious landscape of American politics. ... The pope didn’t change church doctrine on gay marriage but was offering another sign that he’s pushing the church away from cultural warfare and toward a focus on poverty, economic injustice, immigration and the plight of refugees."

The New "Magical Thinking": Great Universities Are Possible ... Without Funding

The Pillaging of America's State Universities (Jonathan Cole) from the Atlantic
"A type of delusional thinking seems to convince American policymakers that excellent public colleges and universities can continue to be great without serious investment. ... these education investments have a very high payoff for states, the nation, and the larger world. All this amounts, arguably, to a pillaging of the country’s greatest state universities. And that pillaging is not a matter of necessity, as many elected officials would insist—it’s a matter of choice."

The BIGGEST Supreme Court Case in 100 Years!

United States v. Texas, the biggest immigration case in a century, explained from Slate
"When it takes up the question of whether President Obama's 2014 immigration executive actions were constitutional, the Supreme Court will throw out its typical playbook.  United States v. Texas is one of the most — if not the most — important cases before the highest court this term. It's certainly the most important immigration case the Supreme Court has taken up in a generation (or, arguably, a century). And the Court is treating it accordingly."

Cruz's Behavior in the Senate Now Haunting His Presidential Bid

Ted Cruz's Senate Outreach Isn't Going Well from Talking Points Memo
"Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has decided he may want some help from Washington after all to stop Trump. But alas, his entreaties to his Senate colleagues aren't going very well. ...  Ultimately, Cruz is little more than a polarizing colleague asking individual senators to go out on a limb for him on his long-shot bid to deny Trump the nomination."

GOP Base Voters: Not Your Father's Republicans

GOP elites think stealing the nomination from Trump will be a cakewalk. They're wrong. (Ryan Cooper) from The Week
"The Donald Trump insurgency has demonstrated several things. First, there is a large constituency among Republican primary voters for outright bigotry and xenophobia; second, the commitment to traditional conservative economics among many Republican base voters is totally ephemeral. It turns out that hardscrabble racist white people aren't actually interested in gutting Medicare, privatizing Social Security, or Olympus Mons-sized tax cuts for the rich. ... Now Trump has blown the scam wide open."

Obama: Trump and the GOP - One and the Same

Obama plays the Trump card on the GOP (Edward-Isaac Dovere) from Politico
"“This notion that Donald Trump or Ted Cruz are outliers and that now suddenly the Republican establishment wants to—they're embarrassed by them,” Obama said, beaming at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. ... The crowd laughed along with him, then started applauding as he cast crushing defeats in November as something reasonable Republicans should be rooting for along with them.  “I want a Republican Party that is rational and well-functioning,” Obama said. “But that's not what we have right now. And that’s why this election is so important.”"

The End of the Road for the Sanders Campaign

Bernie Sanders Is Even Less Competitive Than He Appears from FiveThirtyEight
"Sanders fans seem to be conflating the pledged delegate count and the “will of the voters,” when in fact the two are far from interchangeable."

The Lost Moral Compass of the GOP

Republicans Need a New Party, Not a New Candidate (Gary Younge) from the Nation
"Whether they choose Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, bigotry and immorality have already won the day in the Republican Party."

Has NPR Lost Its Way?

The Fight for the Future of NPR from Slate
"A slow-moving bureaucracy. An antiquated business model. A horde of upstart competitors. Can National Public Radio survive?"

And at the other end of the radio quality spectrum...

Rush Limbaugh's contract is up, his benefactors are broke, and his audience 'toxic.' Next? from Daily Kos
"Let us all take a moment to celebrate the fall of Rush Limbaugh, previous Republican kingmaker who is still filthy rich, thank you very much, but whose contract is up this year and whose previous radio benefactor is now teetering on the edge of penny-stock status."

Saturday, April 9, 2016

News Nuggets 1553


DAILY PICTURE: A morning view in Malaysia.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

The Conflicts Frozen in Time in Russia

The Soviet Union Is Falling Apart Again (Leonid Bershidsky) from Bloomberg View
"Armenia and Azerbaijan have announced a truce after three days of fierce fighting in the secessionist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, but the flare-up is proof that the post-Soviet frozen conflicts are not really frozen. At any moment, they can be ignited by the realignment of international alliances and loyalties, and people will start dying again. There are four post-Soviet frozen conflicts."

The Shifting Balance of Economic Power in Africa

Africa’s Petrostates Are Imploding (Luke Patey) from Foreign Policy Magazine
"And that’s setting off a dramatic shift in the economic balance of power on the continent. ... Africa is witnessing a gradual shift in the continental balance of economic power — away from petrostates like Nigeria and Angola and toward less flashy but more diversified economies like Ethiopia and Tanzania."

The GOP's Forbidding Electoral Map in November

Electoral Map Is a Reality Check to Donald Trump’s Bid from the New York Times
"Donald J. Trump’s presidential candidacy has stunned the Republican Party. But if he survives a late revolt by his rivals and other leaders to become the party’s standard-bearer in the general election, the electoral map now coming into view is positively forbidding. In recent head-to-head polls with one Democrat whom Mr. Trump may face in the fall, Hillary Clinton, he trails in every key state, including Florida and Ohio, despite her soaring unpopularity ratings with swing voters."

Obama's Legacy on the Partisan Political Landscape

Obama’s Greatest Triumph (Daniel Henninger) from the Wall Street Journal
"He is six months away from destroying both the Republican Party and Reagan’s legacy. ... Barack Obama will retire a happy man. He is now close to destroying his political enemies—the Republican Party, the American conservative movement and the public-policy legacy of Ronald Reagan."
A very biased and often off-base analysis by a never-say-I'm-wrong conservative columnist -- but I suspect the headline will HOLD!

Why there are Muslim ghettos in Belgium, but not in the US

Why there are Muslim ghettos in Belgium, but not in the US from the Boston Globe
"Why, despite the efforts of Islamist pressure groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations — a Muslim supremacist operation that masquerades as an advocate for civil rights — are most American Muslims intent on adopting America’s customs and way of life? The United States has been far more successful at assimilating and integrating Muslim immigrants into American society and culture than has Western Europe."

The Upside of Downsizing the Import of the National Security Council

How the NSC Hijacked U.S. Foreign Policy from the National Interest
"In the last year, the Obama administration began a little-noticed process that should be embraced by the next president: the downsizing of the National Security Council (NSC). ..., while the paring back of the NSC is unlikely to feature in presidential debates or stump speeches, it is a consequential initiative that, if supported by the incoming administration, will help the next commander-in-chief more effectively deploy America’s diplomatic resources."

Too Much Bad Blood Now in the GOP

GOP nears the breaking point (Jesse Byrnes) from Roll Call
"I believe that we're beyond the point in the campaign where we feel we can unify. There’s been too much bad blood that's been created," said GOP strategist David Payne, who said he would like to see Cruz win the nomination before the convention."

The House Just Around the Corner?

Can Trump become so unpopular that Democrats take back the House? from the Washington Post
"It’s one of the most controversial things to say on Capitol Hill, sparking looks of shock and disbelief: The House majority is in play this fall."

All Roads Seem to Lead to Chaos in Cleveland

How the Republican Race Could End (Norm Ornstein) from the Atlantic
"Regardless of which scenario prevails, there’s likely to be conflict in Cleveland."

Understanding the Clinton Email Controversy

The Truth About Hillary Clinton's Emails Is That The Truth Is Elusive (Dan Kennedy) from WGBH (Boston)
"With an eye toward settling in my own mind whether or not the email story—I hesitate to call it a scandal—could derail her candidacy (or worse), I spent some time on Monday reading two in-depth accounts of exactly what occurred and whether it could lead to legal trouble."

Convention Chaos a Formula for Voter Defection in November

A Party Divided Is a Party Defeated -- Usually from Roll Call
"History has bad news for Donald Trump and the fracturing GOP.  ...  Over the past four elections, according to exit polls, between 6 percent and 9 percent of self-identified Republican voters have voted for the Democratic nominee for president. That “normal” defection rate could at least double if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, and just as important, Republican turnout could plummet, drowning down-ballot Republicans along with the top of the ticket."

Trump grasps the embarrassing reality that most Republican voters are not driven by real ideas

Donald Trump Versus the Republican Brain (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
" The conservative movement has succeeded for decades by channeling racial resentment, nationalism, and authoritarianism into traditional policy proposals that can be justified in white papers on foreign policy, welfare, crime, taxes, and so on. Trump has made a mockery of this whole process, substituting boundless faith in his personality for a policy architecture constructed over generations. Conservative intellectuals understand and care about these ideas. They have articulated serious reasons for, say, restricting immigration levels, but Trump grasps the embarrassing reality that most Republican voters are driven by base animus toward immigrants. The rupture he’s opened does not divide one set of ideas from another. Trump has simply pitted the Republican brain against the Republican brain stem."

The GOP is the party of stupid, but its voters are the deluded ones

Republicans really fall for this nonsense from Salon
"In assessing the candidates in both parties, Politifact finds that Hillary Clinton edges out Sanders as the least dishonest (let us frame it this way rather than say “most honest”). While she underplays her opposition to Wall Street, her falsehoods are, for the most part, on the order of “We have more jobs in solar than we do in oil.” She favors the phrase “empirical evidence,” which Mr. Addison would no doubt approve. Yet in televised punditry, the most often heard critique of Hillary is that she lacks the fundamental honesty of Sanders. The real difference in honesty is that which separates the opposing parties."

The Mythic Past for "Family Values" Voters

Decades On, Advocates Of ‘Family Values’ Still Miss The Point (Mary Sanchez) from National Memo
"You can’t make America great “again,” a la Donald Trump, if you are clueless to what work life really looked like for most of the 20th century. You can’t restore traditional family values, a la Ted Cruz, if you start with an interpretation of family that never existed in America."

Clinton fires up voters more than Bernie does, so why is no one talking about it?

The strange silence about Hillarymania (Amanda Marcotte) from Salon
"More Clinton supporters are enthusiastic than those backing Sanders, but the media won't tell you that.  ...  Gallup released a poll showing that actually, her supporters love her more than any other candidate besides Donald Trump, a man who literally expects everyone around him to act like he’s God’s gift. And yes, Bernie Sanders supporters were polled, and fell about 10 points behind Clinton supporters in the enthusiasm department. Over half of Clinton supporters — 54% — rated themselves as “extremely enthusiastic” or “very enthusiastic.” Only 44% of Sanders supporters could say the same. Sixty-five percent of Trump supporters are high on enthusiasm"

Trump is Becoming MORE Unpopular

Trump's popularity nosedives in critical stretch from Politico
"As he inches toward the GOP nomination, Donald Trump is becoming more and more disliked among American voters."

Rush Limbaugh’s primary from hell

Even conservatives are finally turning on the famous blowhard from Salon
"Trump has exposed him for the fraud he's always been. Critics and listeners alike won't let him hear the end of it" ... The current primary battle is the most bitter in recent memory. It’s also threatening to implode the Republican Party — and to a degree, the entire conservative movement as we know it — as Trump angles to secure the party’s nomination while breaking free from core beliefs that have been considered sacrosanct for generations by Limbaugh’s listeners. The host, meanwhile, has become a piƱata, as conservatives line up to take whacks at him in a way we’ve never really seen before.

Adjunct teaching: Ain't it Wonderful!

Universities think I’m disposable, but my non-tenured status makes me a better teacher from Salon
"As an adjunct, I'm in the institution but not of it, an often-invisible loose end; I wouldn't have it any other way."
In academe these days, even the best teachers are easily replaceable.  This author just hasn't been replaced enough times in her career.

No Revival in Nixon's Reputation

The Disaster of Richard Nixon (Robert G. Kaiser) from the New York Review of Books
"Is Nixon’s historical reputation doomed forever? These books suggest that it is."

Friday, March 25, 2016

News Nuggets 1552


DAYLEE PICTURE: Simmering volcanos in Indonesia.  From the Daily Mail of the UK

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: HUGE HISTORY NOTE

Nixon Aide Reportedly Admitted Drug War Was Meant To Target Black People from the Huffington Post
GREAT WORK from Harpers Magazine on Nixon's "War on Drugs"!!
The money quote from John Ehrlichman in 1994:
“You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

ISIS Losing on Most Fronts

Will the Islamic State survive 2016? from Al-Monitor
"If IS continues to lose territory at the same pace, some people believe the year 2016 could well be its last. But experts are maintaining a cautious optimism in agreeing with this prediction, which is frequently voiced by Iraqi decision-makers."

ISIS in Retreat

In Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State is in retreat on multiple fronts from the Washington Post
"These are just two of the many fronts in both countries where the militants are being squeezed, stretched and pushed back. Nowhere are they on the attack. They have not embarked on a successful offensive in nearly nine months. Their leaders are dying in U.S. strikes at the rate of one every three days, inhibiting their ability to launch attacks, according to U.S. military officials."

Why these terror attacks keep happening ... in Europe

Is America Next? (Daniel Benjamin) from Politico
"I’ll make no guarantees, but there’s a reason these terror attacks keep happening in Europe. ... So if an explosion propels shattered glass and broken bodies in a Brussels airport, we instinctively expect it to happen here next.  We shouldn’t. While the jihadist threat is genuinely global, it is by no means equally distributed. ... there are individuals in the United States who are prepared to commit violence against other Americans. But the European context underlying the attacks at Brussels Airport and the downtown Maelbeek subway station—one of alienated, underemployed and ghettoized Muslims as well as subpar security differs dramatically from anything found in the United States."

Obama blazes a path for Cuba's future ... and for his own

Obama's Cuban revolution from Politico
"In Havana, the president blazes a path for Cuba's future and his own. ... With his decision to move toward normalized relations with the Castro regime, Obama forced a geopolitical transformation, the rare instance when a president can start and nearly finish so complete a change in foreign policy all within his own time in office. And he did it less with a pen and a phone and more with a series of prods and the force of his personality."

The Astounding Legacy of a Pragmatic President

Obama in Cuba, and the astounding legacy of a pragmatic president (Emily L. Hauser) from The Week
"There are days on which this old woman looks at her young president's record, and all but falls out of her chair. The foregoing is but a partial list, missing many things Obama has accomplished or advanced that were, as far as I once knew, impossible or pretty near. The beautiful thing, of course, is that you don't actually have to be old to see it — you just have to be paying attention. Thanks, Obama."

Obama's "New Alliance" for the Americas

Obama’s Cuba visit is latest step towards ‘new alliance of the Americas’ from the Guardian [of the UK]
"The first visit to Cuba in 88 years by a US president comes as South America undergoes radical political change. ... Even after Obama entered the White House, many doubted he would fare any better than his predecessors in winning the hearts and minds of his regional neighbours. The nerdy northern president looked like a soft touch compared with the caudillo hard-men of the south. Fast forward eight years, however, and it is undoubtedly Obama’s vision that is in the ascendant.e-of-americas"

A Foreign-policy Debate that is Divorced from Reality

Where in the World Are We? (Joseph Nye) from Democracy Journal
"In the aftermath of the Great Recession, a majority of Americans believed that China was about to overtake the United States. The result is a foreign-policy debate that is often divorced from reality. Yes, the Middle East is in turmoil, and American influence has diminished. But the causes are the revolutions in the Middle East, not American decline, and conditions in the rest of the world are far more propitious. It is a mistake to generalize from the Middle East to the rest of the world. While the United States has many domestic problems, America is not an empire in decline like ancient Rome ..."

GOP Foreign Policy Rifts will Last Long After 2016

The GOP's New Foreign-Policy Populism (Jacob Heilbrunn) from the National Interest
"Whether the GOP will actually nominate Trump or Cruz is an open question. But the rift that they have opened up within the conservative movement over the true faith is not going away any time soon."

What Are the Finns Doing in Their Schools?!

Why Finland has the best schools from the Los Angeles Times
"... for five months, my wife, my son and I experienced a stunningly stress-free, and stunningly good, school system. ... Finland doesn't waste time or money on low-quality mass standardized testing. Instead, children are assessed every day, through direct observation, check-ins and quizzes by the highest-quality “personalized learning device” ever created — flesh-and-blood teachers."