Friday, February 26, 2016

News Nuggets 1548

DAYLEE PICTURE: How about something different?  The best picture of Humphrey Bogart out there ... from Entertainment Weekly.

TODAY'S BIG NUGGET: For Some Republicans, the Party is Beyond Saving

Trump is the GOP’s Frankenstein monster. Now he’s strong enough to destroy the party. (Robert Kagan) from the Washington Post
"The Republicans’ creation will soon be let loose on the land, leaving to others the job the party failed to carry out. For this former Republican, and perhaps for others, the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton. The party cannot be saved, but the country still can be."

TODAY'S SECOND BIG NUGGET: Trump's Implacable Opposition within the GOP:

The Dilemma of Conservatives Who Say They’ll Never Vote for Donald Trump (Ryan Lizza) from the New Yorker
"If Trump succeeds in capturing the Republican nomination, the debate that is now playing out on the margins of the right will be front and center for every elected Republican. They may soon have to choose: Would they rather have as President an enemy they can oppose, or one for whom they are—in more ways than one—responsible?"

Russia's Failing Economy

What Russia's Failing Economy Means For Putin's Legacy And Military Ambitions from the Huffington Post
"The WorldPost spoke with Sergey Aleksahenko, former deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank."

A Bleak Long-term Picture for Saudi Arabia

Preparing for the Collapse of the Saudi Kingdom from the Atlantic
"It can’t last. The U.S. better get ready."

The Politics of Demographic Decline in Japan

Why Japan's Elderly Are Endangering Its Military from the National Interest
"Dramatic demographic shifts are challenging Abe's plans to expand the ambit of Japan's defense force."
Other countries such as Germany, Russia and China each face their own version of this demographic crisis.

Foreign Policy and the Ideology of Popular Nationalism

The GOP's New Foreign-Policy Populism (Jacob Heilbrunn) from the National Interest
"Trump and Cruz seek to replace Rubio’s militant doctrine with another Republican tradition—an ideology of popular nationalism, coupled with an opposition to global elites and the dilution of national sovereignty—that dates at least to the League of Nations debate after World War I."

Reinvention and Renewal in the Aftermath of the Great Recession

How America Is Putting Itself Back Together (James Fallows) from the Atlantic
"Most people in the U.S. believe their country is going to hell. But they’re wrong. What a three-year journey by single-engine plane reveals about reinvention and renewal."

Sanders, Trump and the Economics of the Great Recession

Sanders and Trump: How the Political and Media Establishment Got 2016 So Wrong (Leonard Steinhorn) from the History News Network
"Daily insecurity is palpable and real to a large number of Americans. A year ago the Pew Research Center reported that about a third of Americans making $30,000 to $100,000 per year said that the recession had a "major effect" on their personal finances and they still have not recovered. For many, family expenses exceed monthly income, savings have essentially zeroed out, and debt – consumer, student and mortgage – leaves them at best running in place."

The GOP Is Finally Debating Bush-Era Failures

The GOP Is Finally Debating Bush-Era Failures (Daniel Larison) from the American Conservative
"The point is that there were plenty of opportunities in the last decade for the GOP and conservative movement to acknowledge the colossal errors of the Bush years and to try to learn from them, but their leaders were committed to making excuses and rationalizations for Bush-era failures long after Bush left office."

The Republican Faithful ... are Perhaps Not So Faithful

The More Donald Trump Defies His Party, the More His Supporters Cheer from the New York Times
"...  the stubborn popularity of Mr. Trump, who defies Republican orthodoxy on issue after issue, shows how deeply the party’s elites misjudged the faithfulness of rank-and-file Republicans to conservatism as defined in Washington think tanks and by the party’s elected leaders."

For the "Establishment", Brutal Delegate Math

Mainstream G.O.P. Field of Three Faces Brutal Delegate Math (Nate Cohn) from the New York Times
"On Super Tuesday, March 1, 25 percent of the delegates to the Republican national convention will be awarded. If the mainstream field hasn’t been narrowed by that point, it will become very hard to avoid serious damage to the candidate who ultimately emerges as the party’s anointed favorite. The top mainstream candidate could easily fall more than 100 delegates short of what he might have earned in a winnowed field. He would even be in danger of earning no delegates at all in several of the largest states because of one number: 20 percent."

Trump the Unconverted

I Will Not Vote For Donald Trump. Ever. (Erick Erickson) from The Resurgent
“Donald Trump has had no ‘road to Damascus’ conversion. He only wants to date the preacher’s daughter. Once he’s gotten in her ballot box, he’ll be back to his pro-abortion New York values self.”

2016: "A rebirth of electoral conservatism at the national level or its death knell?"

While Rubio and Cruz shine, Trump continues his clown show (John Podhoretz) from the New York Post
"Rubio and Cruz are losing to Trump. The GOP electorate is surrendering its commitment to conservative ideas in its desire for a strong man who makes ridiculous promises about making us great again that he has no idea how to fulfill. The next six weeks are either going to represent a rebirth of electoral conservatism at the national level or its death knell."
My prediction: death knell.  Podheretz is one of the most strident right-wing pundits out there and it is getting VERY LATE in the day for someone other than Trump to get the nomination.  Cruz still has a chance -- but the so-called establishment candidates seem fully poised to nullify each other.

A bare-knuckled, brawling, adolescent, old school primary campaign

This Is the Dirtiest Presidential Race Since ’72 (Joseph Cummins) from Politico Magazine
"I study dirty tricks, and I can recognize a bare-knuckled, brawling, adolescent, old school primary campaign when I see one."


Watch This Iraqi Refugee Family's Tearful Reunion With Beloved Lost Cat from Huffington Post
"When a mother and her five children fled Iraq, they couldn’t bear to leave their beloved cat, Kunkush, behind."They brought their fluffy white feline on a perilous trip that included a rubber boat voyage across the Mediterranean Sea to Greece in November. But in the chaos on shore, their pet became frightened and ran off ...

Sunday, February 14, 2016


DAYLEE PICTURE: A Pacific Brittle Star - from the Atlantic.

TODAY's BIG NUGGET: Obama, the "Grandmaster" in Foreign Policy?

Breaking the chessboard: the geopolitics of Obama's Asia pivot (Rosanna Ryan) from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
"As far as McCoy is concerned, Obama is in the league of only two other Americans in the field of geopolitics: Theodore Roosevelt's secretary of war, Elihu Root, and president Jimmy Carter's national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski. These three men, he says, are the only ones who can really be described as 'grandmasters' of the game.  'The world is a chessboard, and a leader is very skilful in moving the pawns and the rooks and the pieces about the board,' McCoy says. 'But the grandmaster actually breaks the chessboard itself into pieces and manoeuvres those pieces."

Turkey: A Declining "Rising Power"

Erdogan’s Foreign Policy Is in Ruins from Foreign Policy Magazine
"Just a few short years ago, Turkey was heralded as one of the region's rising powers. What happened?"

America: Is it really going to Hell!?

How America Is Putting Itself Back Together (James Fallows) from the Atlantic
"Most people in the U.S. believe their country is going to hell. But they’re wrong. What a three-year journey by single-engine plane reveals about reinvention and renewal."

After I Lived in Norway, America Felt ... Backward

 After I Lived in Norway, America Felt Backward. Here’s Why. (Ann Jones) from the Nation
"A crash course in social democracy."

The Fundamental Decency of Pres. Obama

I Miss Barack Obama (David Brooks) from the New York Times
""... over the course of this campaign it feels as if there’s been a decline in behavioral standards across the board. Many of the traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses, and that maybe we have taken too much for granted, have suddenly gone missing or are in short supply.The first and most important of these is basic integrity."

America’s Delicate Dance Between Deterrence and Assurance

America’s Delicate Dance Between Deterrence and Assurance (Reza Marashi) from the National Interest
"With both allies and adversaries, Washington needs to keep its diplomacy in step."
A great primer on US diplomacy!

Iran's Biggest Threat is to Itself

Can Iran Get Out of Its Own Way? from the National Interest
"Tehran’s foremost security threat is not war with America, but rather war with itself."

Chinese Stock Market Regulators: AWOL!

How Political Insiders Are Trashing China’s Stock Market from the Fiscal Times [of the UK]
“The widespread existence and ubiquitous importance of political connections in China’s stock markets suggests that to some degree, China’s stock markets have been regulated on a political connections-based regime, which may explain the poor performance of China’s stock markets,” the authors write in a paper published last week."

Trump Finds an Echo in European Politics

The Trump Party vs. the Republican Party (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"Trump is offering something genuinely transformational. His candidacy would reshape the Republican Party as more of a European-style white-identity party, rather than a party rooted in opposition to big government. Far-right parties in Europe organize their politics around opposition to immigration and defense of cultural traditionalism."

Another Right-Wing Talk Titan in Trouble

Why Glenn Beck’s Media Empire Is Burning Down (Lloyd Grove) from the Daily Beast
"Glenn Beck was thanked by Ted Cruz in his Iowa victory speech, but for all his ‘mad genius,’ the right-wing media firebrand’s media company has become an abyss of backbiting and paranoia."

The Base of the GOP: Just how 'Revolting' are they?

The Great GOP Realignment (Joshua Green) from Bloomberg
"Ted Cruz and Donald Trump may herald an historic working-class Republican revolt against the party establishment."
"Re-align" ... towards what?  When a FUNDAMENTAL part of a party base "revolts", what are you left with?! Most likely outcome in my view: the party falling apart on the national level. -- Nuggetsman

The GOP's "Deep Bench" Keeps Getting Shallower and Shallower

Rubio's "Marcobot Moment" May Have Ruined a Political Career (Kevin Drum) from Mother Jones
"The index cards aren't bad, mind you, and I suppose they allow him to emulate a dumb person's notion what a smart person sounds like. ... Unfortunately, now that Christie has pointed out Rubio's index-card habit, everyone is going to be looking for it on every other subject too. Reporters will be combing through his debates and stump speeches looking for canned talking points, and then doing side-by-side comparisons as if he's an author being accused of plagiarism."

Trumpian Rage and Its Amazing Appeal

The Rise of Donald Trump is a Terrifying Moment in American Politics (Ezra Klein) from Vox
"Trump answers America's rage with more rage. As the journalist Molly Ball observed, "All the other candidates say 'Americans are angry, and I understand.' Trump says, 'I’M angry.'" Trump doesn't offer solutions so much as he offers villains. His message isn't so much that he'll help you as he'll hurt them."

For Dems, an Upside to a Trump nomination

Why Liberals Should Support a Trump Republican Nomination (Jonathan Chait) from New York Magazine
"There are three reasons, in descending order of obviousness, for a liberal to earnestly and patriotically support a Trump Republican nomination. The first, of course, is that he would almost certainly lose."
Regular readers of this blog know that I have been predicting a historic crackup of the GOP this election cycle the likes of which we have not seen since 1932.  While a Trump nomination would make that prediction even more probable than it is already, I confess (unlike Mr. Chait here) that I am ambivalent about a Trump nomination.  On the one hand, I am confident that a Trump nomination would not only lead to a defeat of historic proportions, it would sink the GOP's chances of keeping the Senate and even endanger their hold on the house.  (All of this is also true for a Cruz nomination as well).  On the other hand -- whether Clinton or Sanders gets the nomination, both have fundamental weaknesses which make each quite capable of booting the prospect of almost certain victory into the gutter. Sanders has yet to face the kind of withering assault the GOP will send his way if he gets the Dem nomination.  In many ways the nominating contest thus far has NOT vetted him adequately.  Clinton, in contrast, already has a number of nano-scandals which could easily matastacize into campaign-sinking cancers in the general election.  The truth of the matter is that this will be one of the UGLIEST elections in US history (no matter who is nominated).  Sane, patriotic voters will just need to hold on and hope for the best when it is over!  AND work like hell for the Democratic nominee during the general election!!  -- Nuggetsman

Clinton -- Looking Ahead to a Battle with Trump

How Clinton is plotting to go after Trump (Glenn Thrush) from Politico
"Her top officials and allies have begun accelerating plans to take him on."

What the Media is REALLY selling this primary season

What pundits are trying to sell you (and won't tell you) about the Iowa caucuses (Susan J. Demas) from her blog
"... beware of what pundits are trying to sell you. They're too often seduced by the most sensational (and ratings-rich) narrative –– why do you think Trump gobbled up so much free airtime?  The Democratic contest remains far more boring than most observers would like to admit. And the Republican establishment isn't nearly as strong as many would like you to believe."

Trump: Ignorant of what it means to be "conservative"

5 Reasons Donald Trump Makes America So Anxious from The Week
"He’s revealing the true nature of conservatism..  When Trump suggests that he’d propose “some kind of government program” to make college more affordable, it doesn’t just betray a ridiculous lack of knowledge about government and, for that matter, reality  It shows he doesn’t know what real conservatives are supposed to say. ... Because conservatism isn’t really about ideology, it’s about preserving unjust power and denying it to “them,” as Corey Robin explains in The Reactionary Mind. That makes him the truest example of the conservative movement ever to seek his party’s nomination."

Marco Rubio Proves Obama's Point About Islam

Marco Rubio Proves Obama's Point About Islam (David Graham) from the Atlantic
"The Florida senator accused the president, who visited a mosque to promote American values and stress the need for inclusion, of “pitting people against each other.”"