Friday, March 25, 2016

News Nuggets 1552

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


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."

How and Why Senate Republicans Might Change Course on the SCOTUS Nominee

Four scenarios that could still put Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court from the Washington Post
"... with the caveat that all of this or none of this could happen, here are four scenarios that could make Senate Republicans switch course and consider Obama's Supreme Court nominee, ranked in order of most to least likely."

WaPo American Electorate Series Pt 1

The Great Unsettling Pt 1 (David Maraniss and Robert Samuels) from the Washington Post

WaPo Series, Pt 2

Awaiting a Political Awakening Pt 2 from the Washington Post

WaPo Series, Pt 3

Longing for something lost Pt 2 from the Washington Post

WaPo Series - Pt. 4

A Nation, Divided Pt 4 from the Washington Post

The "Nonreligious" and Young People

How Will Young People Choose Their Religion? from the Atlantic
"Introducing our special project on the changing nature of beliefs and practices among teens, 20-, and 30-somethings. In the United States, fewer young Americans identify as religious or attend regular services than members of any other living generation. People in their 20s and early 30s account for more than a third of the country’s “nones,” an academic nickname for the religiously disaffiliated. Religion is no longer the mode through which many people live their lives, and this relatively new state of affairs affects even those who remain religious: It opens up the possibility of beliefs and practices that are not simply inherited, but actively chosen."

The Advanced Age of the Fox News Audience Says A Lot About ... the GOP and its Problems

Republicans are old and getting older. That’s a huge problem for the GOP (Reihan Salam) from Slate
"My lack of interest in Fox News makes sense, though, when you realize that it isn’t a channel for Republicans. It’s a network for old people. As of the end of last year, the primetime median age of Fox News viewers was 68. Mind you, I’m not particularly young. I’m deep into my 30s, and I’m profoundly unhip. ... The advanced age of the Fox News audience tells you everything you need to know about the topics it covers, the look of its most prominent personalities, and its many advertisements for pharmaceutical solutions for older gentlemen who still like to get it on."

Clinton and her allies prepare for Trump

Here comes the REAL Trump Opposition Book from the Washington Post
"They are now focused intently on researching the billionaire real estate mogul’s business record, dissecting his economic policies and compiling a long history of controversial pronouncements that have captivated and repelled the nation in this tumultuous election season."

The GOP's Lose-Lose Election Season

Nominating Donald Trump will end the Republican Party as we know it. So will not nominating him (Jonah Goldberg) from the Los Angeles Times
"... he's right that if he's denied the nomination, many – not all, but many – of his supporters will bolt from the convention and the party. Left out of Trump's unsubtle threat: Many anti-Trump Republicans will desert the convention and the party if he's not denied the nomination. ... To wit: This ends in tears no matter what. Get over it and pick a side."
Goldberg is one of the loudest neo-con right-wing pundits out there -- and this is probably the FIRST time I have whole-heartedly agreed with him on anything!  But here it is! -- Nuggetsman

PUNDIT: Some Things More Important than One Year's Election...

No, Not Trump, Not Ever (David Brooks) from the New York Times
"... there are certain standards more important than one year’s election. There are certain codes that if you betray them, you suffer something much worse than a political defeat. Donald Trump is an affront to basic standards of honesty, virtue and citizenship."

Trump's "Vichy Regime" Already Occupies the GOP

There was No Republican Establishment After All (Frank Rich) from New York Magazine
"Can we please retire the notion that Donald Trump is hijacking someone else’s party? .... Even after the recurrent violence at Trump rallies boiled over into chaos in Chicago, none of his surviving presidential rivals would disown their own pledges to support him in November. Trump is not Hitler, but those who think he is, from Glenn Beck to Louis C.K., should note that his Vichy regime is already in place in Washington, D.C."

PERSPECTIVE: I was at the last contested Republican conventions.

Here’s what to expect at Trump’s Contested Convention.(Tanya Melich) from Vox
"My first Republican National Convention was in 1952. This year, the party may finally fall apart. ... Passions rule at such times. Delegates, candidates, their followers, and party leaders believe they are deciding the nation's future."

More Money to the #NeverTrump Movement

Donald Trump Is Finally Uniting Top Republican Donors — Against Him from the New York Times
"... officials involved with the political groups have made clear that they are aggressively raising more money to fight Mr. Trump, hoping to deprive him of enough delegates to win the Republican nomination outright. That would set the stage for a contested convention in July."

A DECISIVE Period in this Election Cycle

Here’s How You Know 2016 Is Already Decided (Doug Sosnick) from Politico
"Regardless of how you do the math, the current environment paints a picture of a Republican Party at the verge of implosion during the most critical period in the presidential campaign. Assuming little changes, years from now people will look back at the decisive nine-day period in mid-October last fall when the stage was set for the 2016 elections."

In the House, 10 Ratings Changes Favor Democrats

House Republicans Staring Into the Abyss? from the Cook Political Report
"Republicans are sitting on their largest majority since 1928 - 247 seats to 188 - meaning Democrats would need to pick up 30 seats, a daunting challenge given the GOP's immense redistricting advantage and the vaporization of swing districts. But all cycle, Democrats have daydreamed about Republicans nominating an extremely polarizing presidential candidate, and suddenly it's almost certain they will get their wish."

Trump puts GOP House majority in jeopardy

Trump puts GOP House majority in jeopardy from Politico
"Donald Trump is on the verge of two things once thought to be impossible: winning the Republican presidential nomination, and putting Republicans’ historically large House majority in danger. Democrats have for the past year discussed the GOP’s 30-seat majority as a long-term problem, solvable only by shrinking it over several successive elections. But Trump’s remarkable rise in the GOP presidential race, and the backlash he has already provoked among the broader electorate, has suddenly raised the prospect of a large November wave against Trump and the Republicans who would share the ballot with him."

On SCOTUS Nominee, Pressure Coming to GOP Senators

Democrats plan push to force hearings on Supreme Court nomination from the Washington Post
"The approach, which is being implemented in part by a well-organized group led by former aides to President Obama, involves targeting vulnerable GOP Senate incumbents for defeat by portraying them as unwilling to fulfill the basic duties of their office. The idea is to so threaten the Republicans’ Senate majority that party leaders will reconsider blocking hearings on Garland’s nomination."

FIRST PERSON ACCOUNT: I yelled ‘Black lives matter!’ at a Trump rally

I yelled ‘Black lives matter!’ at a Trump rally. This is what happened next from the Washington Post
"I knew I had to do something. I couldn’t just sit and watch someone who is trying to be our president incite violence. I could not let the progress people have made in learning to love and accept one another go to waste. Trump is playing on the emotions and fears of this country to serve himself. His defenders say his campaign has nothing to do with racism, but what I saw and heard in Fayetteville — and what’s happened at other events — prove they’re wrong."

Thursday, March 17, 2016

News Nuggets 1551

An Orchid Mantis native to Southeast Asia.  From the Daily Mail of the UK.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: Judge Garland's Surprisingly Progressive Record

How far left could Obama's Supreme Court nominee push the Supreme Court? Pretty far (Kerry Eleveld) from Daily Kos
"Here's some good news for progressives: Scoring from four political scientists suggests that President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, D.C. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland, would land to the left of six sitting justices, including Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer, who are both considered to be part of the court's liberal cohort. Only the notorious Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor score to the left of Garland according to their history of rulings."

Can Trump Control His Supporters? Can He Control HIMSELF?!

Let It Burn (Josh Marshall) from Talking Points Memo
"... the early embrace of birtherism, the sting of the humiliation at Barack Obama's hands, the palpable psychic energy he derives from ramping up a climate of racial confrontation all suggest he is animated, even driven, by the same rage at upended privilege and cultural and yes racial loss as his followers. All of which is to say that it is not that Trump can't control the beast he's unleashed. He cannot control himself because the same psychodrama and politics of resentment that is playing out among his followers is playing out within himself."

Longtime GOP Operative: "Trump will never, repeat never, get the nomination ..."

How the GOP Elite Plan to Rob Donald Trump (Roger Stone) from Infowars
"Cleveland, ladies and gentlemen, won’t be for the faint of heart. ... Despite his historic run in the primaries, Trump will never, repeat never, get the nomination if this bunch can stop him. Forget about them conceding Trump the victory once he gets to the magic 1237 (Fifty percent of the available delegates). They’ve cooked up a strategy to be employed at all costs to steal delegates from Trump so that he’ll fall below the 1237 on the first ballot, and then, before the second ballot to present one of their group (Mitt Romney, call your office) as the Savior of the Grand Old Party."
Please note that Roger Stone is one of the most prominent hardline career dirty trickster dating back to the days of Watergate. -- Nuggetsman

Right Wing Pundits: "The Dems were Right About the Republican Party All Along"

The right’s shocking admission: Stunned by Trump’s dominance, some GOP pundits concede that Dems have been right about Republicans all along (Sean Illing) from Salon
"Longtime Republicans are questioning the party's broader strategy as Trump has exposed its inner rot. ... Legislatively, the GOP has been virtually useless. Election after election, session after session, Republicans have failed to pass any meaningful pieces of legislation, which is what happens when compromise becomes a heresy in your party."

Life on the edge of America’s abandoned middle class

I’m stranded in Trumplandia from Salon
"While our leaders boast about an anemic recovery, both parties ignore the suffering before them. I know it too well."

Politics as Usual from the Democratic Party -- and That's a Good Thing!

The difference between the Republican and Democratic parties has never been clearer (Ezra Klein) from Vox
"... the Democratic Party, for better or worse, is practicing politics as usual. The Republican Party is embracing what David Brooks calls"antipolitics": leaders with "no political skills or experience" who are "willing to trample the customs and rules that give legitimacy to legislative decision-making if it helps them gain power." If this were just about Trump, it could be dismissed as an aberration. But it's not just about Trump."

Republican Voters Feel Betrayed by their Own Party

Super Tuesday 3 exit polls: Economic worries, feeling of GOP betrayal dominate from CNN
"Voters in Tuesday's contests expressed worries about the economy and a broad sense among Republicans that their party has betrayed them, according to early exit poll results. ... Republicans continued the trend of saying they felt betrayed by their party, but only about a third or more Republican voters in the five states said they were angry with the federal government."

Poll shows that Millennials would flock to Clinton against Trump

Poll shows that Millennials would flock to Clinton against Trump (Susan Page and Jenny Ung) from USA Today
"...  a new USA TODAY/Rock the Vote poll finds a way forHillary Clinton to solve her generation gap: Donald Trump. Opposition to Trump nearly unites the rising generation. In a hypothetical Clinton v. Trump contest in November, voters under 35 would choose Clinton by a crushing 52%-19%, a preference that crosses demographic lines."

Looking Ahead to Florida in the General Election

Have Republicans Already Lost Florida? from the New Republic
"Trump may win the Republican primary, as polls suggest—and in the process deal Marco Rubio a deathblow in his home state. But there’s little optimism about the frontrunner’s viability as a general-election candidate in Florida. Or about any other Republican’s chances in November, for that matter."

GOP Elites gather to plot third-party run against Trump

Top conservatives gather to plot third-party run against Trump from Politico
"The meeting is scheduled for two days after tonight's primaries in what many Republican operatives believe will determine whether Trump is on an unstoppable march to the nomination."

Fox News and Talk Radio: NO LONGER the "Trusted" Sources...

Donald Trump is Merely the Symptom. The Republican Party Itself is the Disease (David Atkins) from the Washington Monthly
"Fox News, talk radio and the Drudge Report became the only trusted media sources. But at a certain point those outlets stopped becoming the media arm of the Republican Party; instead, the Republican Party became the legislative arm of those media outlets. It should come as no surprise that when the Republican establishment seemed unable to deliver on its promises to their voters, conspiracy theory peddlers new and old from Breitbart to Drudge would turn on the establishment and convince the GOP masses that Fox News was the new CNN, just another liberal arm of the media not to be trusted."

Immigration and the Anti-Immigrant Voters

The Geography of Trumpism from the New York Times
"One of the strongest predictors of Trump support is the proportion of the population that is native-born. Relatively few people in the places where Trump is strong are immigrants — and, as their answers on their ancestry reveal, they very much wear Americanness on their sleeve."
Think about this stat.  What this reveals is that these people who are rabidly anti-immigrant are actually citizens who have very little contact with actual immigrants! -- Nuggetsman

Political science can explain the appeal of Donald Trump’s bullshit

Here lies the secret to Trump’s rise (Sean Illing) from Salon
"Trump has tapped into his supporters' hunger for order, jingoism and a world painted in black and white. ... Politico analyzed nearly five hours of Trump’s speeches and news conferences, roughly a week’s worth of words. The Donald averaged a lie every five minutes. No matter the subject – poll numbers, his record, domestic policy, foreign policy, our trade deficit with China, his personal wealth, or his approach to lawsuits – Trump lied and exaggerated with perfect dexterity, like a man with no compass or shame."

Obama and the Wise Use of Celebrity Status

Celebrity: The Obamas’ Smart Cultural Power (Spencer Kornhaber) from the Atlantic
"Whether hosting Hamilton or releasing a pop song, Barack and Michelle have used their celebrity status wisely."

Scandinavian Happiness Nugget!

Denmark Ranks as Happiest Country; Burundi, Not So Much from the New York Times
"Denmark has reclaimed its place as the world’s happiest country, while Burundi ranks as the least happy nation, according to the fourth World Happiness Report, released on Wednesday."

Saturday, March 12, 2016

News Nuggets 1550

DAYLEE PICTURE: A New Zealand silvereye in Chile.  From National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: On the Court, the Conservative Era is OVER!

The Conservative Era Is Over (Dahlia Lithwick) from Slate
"Antonin Scalia’s death has already changed the way the Supreme Court—and conservative litigants—do business. ...  Nobody quite knows what to make of it yet, but nobody disputes it, either: The Supreme Court of March looks nothing like the court we knew in February. The loss of a single justice, Antonin Scalia, has blown up the court and reshuffled everything."

The Dictatorship Voters

The rise of American authoritarianism (Amanda Taub) from Vox
"A niche group of political scientists may have uncovered what's driving Donald Trump's ascent. What they found has implications that go well beyond 2016. ... He polled a large sample of likely voters, looking for correlations between support for Trump and views that align with authoritarianism. What he found was astonishing: Not only did authoritarianism correlate, but it seemed to predict support for Trump more reliably than virtually any other indicator."

Trump: Can He Win with Just the White Vote?

Donald Trump Needs 7 of 10 White Guys (David S. Bernstein) from Politico
"The math suggests Trump would need a whopping 70% of white men to vote for him. That’s more than Republicans have ever won before – more than the GOP won in the landslide victories of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and far more than they won even during the racially polarized elections of Barack Obama."

Trump and the Rise of "Vichy Republicans"

Are we finally reaching ‘peak Trump’? (George Will) from the Washington Post
"It is axiomatic that you cannot reason a person out of a position that the person has not been reasoned into. The adhesive that binds Trumpkins to their messiah can be dissolved by neither facts nor eloquence. Romney and other defenders of Republican traditions are trying to prevent a stampede to Trump of “Vichy Republicans,” collaborationists coming to terms with the occupation of their party."

Frum: Conservatives Face an Impossible Choice

Conservatives Face an Impossible Choice (David Frum) from the Atlantic
"They can back Trump, or run a candidate of their own—but either way, they’ll bring this era of American politics to a close."

Sad Truth: Trump Supporters Know EXACTLY What They Are Voting For!

The Beast Is Us (Timothy Egan) from the New York Times
"You heard the word “scary” used a lot this week, that and much more. Not from the usual scolds. Or Democrats. The loudest alarms came from desperate, panicked Republicans, warning of the man who is destroying the Party of Lincoln before our eyes. “The man is evil,” said Stuart Stevens, a chief strategist for Mitt Romney in 2012. Romney himself called Donald Trump a fraud on Thursday. ... it’s time to place the blame for the elevation of a tyrant as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee where it belongs — with the people. Yes,you. Donald Trump’s supporters know exactly what he stands for: hatred of immigrants, racial superiority, a sneering disregard of the basic civility that binds a society. Educated and poorly educated alike, men and women — they know what they’re getting from him."

Obama Derangement Syndrome and Its Enablers Now Paying a Price

Republicans have destroyed their party; will they take America with them? (Leonard Pitts Jr.) from the Baltimore Sun
"Republicans and their media accomplices buttressed that strategy with a campaign of insult and disrespect designed to delegitimize Mr. Obama. With their endless birther stupidity, their death panels idiocy, their constant budget brinksmanship and their cries of, "I want my country back!" they stoked in the public nothing less than hatred for the interloper in the White House who'd had the nerve to be elected president."

At CPAC: Fears that the GOP is "Breaking Apart"

Rank and File Republicans Tell Party Elites: We’re Sticking With Donald Trump from the New York Times
"As polls showed Mr. Trump likely to capture the Louisiana primary on Saturday, the biggest prize among states holding contests this weekend, the party establishment in Washington seemed seized by anxiety and despair. At the Conservative Political Action Conference, a long-running gathering of traditional conservatives, attendees feared that they were witnessing an event that has not occurred in more than a century: the breaking apart of a major American political party."

Trump and the Spike in Latinos Seeking Citizenship

Donald Trump Sparks Surge of Latinos Seeking Citizenship (Tina Nguyen) from Vanity Fair
"... it appears the anti-immigration billionaire is not just turning out people who would support him—he’s also inspiring hundreds of thousands of Latino residents to apply for citizenship so they can vote against him come November. Immigration advocates tell The New York Times that they’ve witnessed a steady uptick in naturalization applications in 2015 from the previous year, and believe they could likely process nearly a million applications by November 2016. ... The rush for citizenship is much more visible in Latino-heavy swing states like Nevada and Florida, and much higher among the 2.7 million Mexicans eligible for citizenship."

With These Unfavorables, is The Donald Even Electable?

Unelectable: Trump's Unfavorable Rating Spikes to 67 Percent Nationally from
" Trump's overall favorable/unfavorable rating is a breathtakingly bad (-37), much worse than anyone else polled (Hillary -6, Rubio -6, Cruz -16). NBC also has a new survey pegging Trump's unfavorables near 70 percent."

The GOP Convention: Shaping Up to be a Brawl?

GOP Activists Increasingly Concerned The Republican Convention Will Be A Brawl from the Huffington Post
"With Donald Trump as the front-runner, a fractured party is barreling toward a clash later this summer."
This column just focuses on what might be going on INSIDE the convention.  After last night, I think they will need to be concerned about the optics OUTSIDE the hall in the streets of Cleveland!

Conservatives: Not Eager to "Make America Great Again"?

Conservative Millennials Are Terrified Of Donald Trump from the Huffington Post
"Youth support for Donald Trump has been mixed, and the general lack of enthusiasm for The Donald at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference among millennials illustrates the extent to which CPAC -- and the tea party, as well -- no longer represents the Republican Party's insurgent wing. Instead, it's just one-third of a Republican Party composed of establishment, conservative and populist camps. If the mood at CPAC is any indication, the conservative camp, including its young activists, is not eager to Make America Great Again."

"The Truth" is What "The Donald" Says it is!

Why Donald Trump's brazen lies overwhelm the press (Paul Waldman) from The Week
"But there are liars, and then there's Donald Trump. He may have an inflated opinion of himself, but when it comes to lying, the man has truly reached a level no one else can approach."

Sanders had little impact on Capitol Hill

Sanders had big ideas but little impact on Capitol Hill from Politico
"Democrats who worked with the Vermont senator say he contributed to the debate, but rarely forged actual legislation or left a significant imprint on it."
I had heard that this was the case.

Prize-Winning Pundit: The end of this GOP might be a blessing

The end of this GOP might be a blessing (Kathleen Parker) from the Washington Post
"Even though few Republicans could ever vote Democratic, and certainly not for Clinton, it wouldn’t be the end of the world as we know it. But voting for Trump, whom other civilized nations find abhorrent, might be."

5 takeaways from the GOP debate

5 takeaways from the GOP debate (Glenn Thrush) from Politico
"Fox's real-time fact check reveals Trump's vulnerabilities. Halfway through Thursday’s melee in Detroit, pollster Frank Luntz tweeted that his focus group of Republican voters selected the following word to describe the proceedings: “embarrassing.” Here are five takeaways. ... The instant fact-check should be a feature of every debate — if the campaigns allow it, which they most certainly will not."
MANY GOPers think that The Donald will somehow have Hillary for lunch at one-on-one debates in the general.  I think these folks are deeply delusional!  As a practical matter, Trump has barely held his own in even his best debates -- and that was in front of overwhelmingly Republican audiences and against opponents who were only marginally less knuckle-headed than he was! -- Nuggetsman

Friday, March 4, 2016

News Nuggets 1549

DAYLEE PICTURE: Iceland’s Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon from National Geographic.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: The Rise of the Unprotected

Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected (Peggy Noonan) from the Wall Street Journal
"... my thoughts keep revolving around the idea of protection. ... I think I am seeing it now grow into an overall political dynamic throughout the West. There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.  The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time."
Peggy's best column in years!!  I have been saying something like this for years -- but my focus has been more on (I guess) a narrower group, the "super-protected" -- which is to say the chatterers on the 24-hour news channels, with their endless panels of talkers.  You can hear heated gas-bagging for many hours and not see ONE PERSON on those panels who is making less than six figures a year.  CONVINCE ME that any of these people have any experiential knowledge of the recession, of health care crises, of the fear of losing their homes, their jobs, or their livelihoods in an economy that may provide nothing to replace them! -- Nuggetsman

Today's One-and-Only Foreign Policy Don't-Miss-the-Importance Nugget

Moderates Win Big in Iranian Elections from the Daily Beast
"Iranian moderates on Monday won a majority in parliament and in the body that selects the Islamic Republic’s next supreme leader. ... Reformists, who are in favor of a relationship with the West and social freedoms, won at least 85 seats in parliament. Reformists and moderate conservatives now have a reported majority in the 290-seat assembly."

What a Clinton v Trump Election Might Look Like

Five Points To Watch For In A Clinton v. Trump General Election Showdown from Talking Points Memo
"... demographers and pollsters say that a Democratic wave and a Clinton victory is hardly sealed even against Trump.There is still a path, albeit a narrow one, for him to win. Here is what to watch for in a Clinton-Trump showdown this year."

Trump's New GOP

The Trump Realignment (Scott McConnell) from the American Conservative
"If Rubio's attacks on the Donald aren't successful, will neoconservatives leave the GOP for Hillary Clinton? ... The resulting electoral sociology could be breathtaking. Whether he deserves it in any meaningful sense or not, Trump is clearly reliant on working-class support in his bid for the GOP nomination. That is his base, people who have voted Republican for two generations now and received nothing in return but seeing their kids sent to war, the loss of good jobs, and declining living standards."

Anti-Trump Forces Can't Win ... Depending on What "Winning" Means for Them

New Light on the Nomination Process (Josh Marshall) from Talking Points Memo
"Now you have a substantial number of party stakeholders who are at least toying with the idea that it may be more important to deny Trump the nomination than win the election in November. As I noted earlier today, that's what the 'contested convention' story is really about. ... I got the first inclinations late today that certain party stakeholders may be genuinely considering the possibility of throwing away the presidential election over Trump."

More Violence Coming to Trump Events

The Violence to Come (Peter Beinart) from the Atlantic
"What will happen to American politics if, as now appears likely, the Republican Party nominates Donald Trump? Here’s one bet: It will get more violent. The United States is headed toward a confrontation, the likes of which it has not seen since 1968, between leftist activists, who believe in physical disruption as a means of drawing attention to injustice, and a candidate eager to forcibly put down that disruption in order to make himself look tough.

A Closer Look at Who is Signing Up for #NeverTrump

The Die-Hard Republicans Who Say #NeverTrump (Megan McArdle) from Bloomberg
"“She’s beside herself,” my mother said of a near relation, who is apparently seriously considering voting for a Democrat for the first time. I wanted to understand this phenomenon better. I asked on Twitter whether this was a real thing, just as the hashtag #NeverTrump began trending. And I got an earful."

On Trump, What Should a Good Right-Wing Ideologue Do?

Don’t Assume Conservatives Will Rally Behind Trump (Nate Silver) from FiveThirtyEight
"If you’re one of these ideological conservatives, it may even be in your best interest for Trump to lose in November. If Trump loses, especially by a wide margin, his brand of politics will probably be discredited ..."

Evangelicals WAKE UP to the Trump Threat

Donald Trump Is a Scam. Evangelical Voters Should Back Away from the Editorial Board of the Christian Post
"The Christian Post has not taken a position on a political candidate before today. We are making an exception because Trump is exceptionally bad and claims to speak for and represent the interests of evangelicals.  We the senior editors of The Christian Post encourage our readers to back away from Donald Trump. As the most popular evangelical news website in the United States and the world, we feel compelled by our moral responsibility to our readers to make clear that Donald Trump does not represent the interests of evangelicals and would be a dangerous leader for our country."

More Anti-Trump Blowback from the Evangelicals

Right-wing host asks MSNBC: How can Christians vote for Trump after he said Romney ‘offered to blow him’? from Raw Story
"According to conservative radio host Andrew McKay, Republican evangelical voters should not choose Donald Trump because he suggested that former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney offered to give him oral sex.  After Romney blasted Trump as a “phony” at a speech in Utah on Thursday, Trump fired back a few hours later, slamming the former nominee for seeking his endorsement in 2012. “He was begging for my endorsement,” Trump said. “I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees.’ He would have dropped to his knees.”"

The Neocons WAKE UP to the Trump Threat

Neocons declare war on Trump from Politico
"Steill and Boot — who also has advised Rubio — call Trump "singularly ill-equipped to manage the resulting turmoil" from his policies. .... Cohen also added that he doesn't oppose Trump solely on foreign policy grounds, calling the Manhattan mogul “the most dangerous demagogue in American politics in my lifetime.”
One of the most preposterous things in this article is that it mentions William Kristol leading the charge of the neocons.  KRISTOL -- who discovered and pushed hard to have Sarah Palin put on as McCain's running mate back in '08! Rampant brainlessness on display this week from the putative intellectuals within the Republican Party. -- Nuggetsman

Wall Street WAKES UP to the Trump Threat

Wall Street readies big Trump assault from Politico
"Wall Street is getting ready to go nuclear on Donald Trump.  Terrified that the reality TV star could run away with the Republican nomination and bring his brand of anti-immigrant, protectionist populism to the White House, some top financiers are writing big checks to fund an effort to deny Trump a majority of delegates to the GOP convention."

GOP Moderates: Up for Grabs in the Fall?

Democrats Draw Plan to Shatter the GOP from Politico
"Through a combination of messaging and the ascendance of Donald Trump, Democrats see a path to cutting into the GOP coalition. ... Democracy Corps’ Stan Greenberg, a prominent national Democratic pollster, released data Monday morning that suggest moderate Republicans — nearly a third of the GOP base — are being ignored by their presidential candidates. ... “It’s mind-boggling,” Greenberg said. “They’re considered illegitimate within the Republican Party, and no one is speaking to them. ... The poll shows that Trump, more than his leading rivals, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, would cause Republicans to rethink their party loyalty. About one in five say they would either not vote or are unsure whom they’d support — or even consider supporting a third-party candidate — if Trump is the nominee. Among Catholics and moderates, these figures jump even further."

GOP Congressmen Face Brutal "No Win" Election Cycle Under Trump

GOP Braces for Trump Comparisons from the Morning Consult
"In whispered conversations with their own political strategists and party leaders, Republicans running for Congress find themselves stuck between two unpalatable options, should Trump become the nominee: They can support him and risk alienating voters offended by his most egregious insults, or publicly break with him, and risk angering the thousands of Trump backers in their home district."

Trumpvangelicals and the New "Culture Wars"

Trumpvangelicals are the New Evangelicals (Sarah Posner) from The Week
"... many evangelicals are aghast at Trump's ascendancy. These conservative white Christians who reliably vote Republican have for decades prioritized abortion, religious freedom (the kind at issue in the Hobby Lobby case), and Israel. Trump has de-prioritized abortion, barely gives lip service to religious freedom, and has declared himself "neutral" on Israel. Trump and the Trumpvangelicals are revolutinizing the culture wars. The priorities now are immigration, Islamophobia, and guns."

Oppo Research FINALLY Showing its Head Against Trump

Trump's Shock Strategy Works, Till It Backfires (Megan McArdle) from Bloomberg
"...his front-runner status means that he is no longer going to be immune from those traditional attacks. His support may begin to slip in the primary, as his opponents finally start doing what they long ago would have done to any other front-runner: hammering him with every bit of oppo research, and rolling out those negative ads. Even if they don’t, the Democrats certainly will. These ads will be devastating."

Trumpism and the Death Knell of "Principled Conservatism"

What Trumpism Means for Democracy (Andrew Bacevich) from the American Conservative
"If Trump secures the Republican nomination, now an increasingly imaginable prospect, the party is likely to implode. Whatever rump organization survives will have forfeited any remaining claim to represent principled conservatism."

Trump Supporters: Four Theories

Who Are Donald Trump's Supporters, Really? (Derek Thompson) from the Atlantic
"Four theories to explain the front-runner’s rise to the top of the polls."

The GOP's Crisis of "Irreconcilable Differences"

Can the GOP Survive Donald Trump? (David Corn) from Mother Jones
"With his Super Tuesday wins, the tycoon fuels a bloody civil war. .... he threatens not only to smash up the GOP but to blow apart the conservative movement. The conflicts he has detonated will not easily be resolved. He presents an irreconcilable difference. ... However the GOPers and conservatives handle this existential challenge, it likely won't be pretty or classy."

Trump's Bad Associates from the Past

The Klansmen and Mobsters in Donald Trump’s Closet (Michael Daly) from the Daily Beast
"Trump’s campaign is haunted by his reported dealings with a mafia boss, a drug smuggler, and a Russian gangster, as well as his dad’s alleged Klan arrest."

SCOTUS Women Upend the Court

The Women Take Over (Dahlia Lithwick) from Slate
"In oral arguments for the Texas abortion case, the three female justices upend the Supreme Court’s balance of power."

The Impact on the Body of Space Travel

What One Year of Space Travel Does to the Human Body (Marina Koren) from the Atlantic
"After months aboard the International Space Station, Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are coming home."