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."

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."