July 16 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #887

ON THE RECORD ….

“I have a great relationship with the Mexican people. I have many people working for me – look at the job in Washington – I have many legal immigrants working with me. And many of them come from Mexico. They love me, I love them. And I’ll tell you something, if I get the nomination, I’ll win the Latino vote.” — Donald Trump. 7/08/15

“There’s nothing we can do about it, and that’s what’s so scary.” —A GOP state party chairman about Donald Trump’s candidacy. 7/08/15

“It’s July for God’s sakes! So a national poll is a lousy way, in my view, to determine who should be on the stage. And I quite frankly resent it.” —Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC). 7/10/15

“These are the same House Republicans who voted for a party leader who once described himself as ‘David Duke without the baggage.’ These are the same congressional Republicans who have declined to criticize the race-baiting rhetoric of a leading Republican presidential candidate.” — White House press secretary Josh Earnest criticizing House Republicans on Thursday for fumbling passage of an annual spending bill by linking it to a debate over protecting the Confederate flag. 7/09/15

“I’m going to speak out against the uncontrollable use of guns in our country because I believe we can do better.” Hillary Clinton, who is vowing to fight the NRA 7/09/15

“I don’t know. I really don’t know.” — Donald Trump, who is still not convinced President Obama was born in America. 7/09/15

“It’s July for God’s sakes. So a national poll is a lousy way, in my view, to determine who should be on the stage. And I quite frankly resent it.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham. 7/10/15

“I believe that Mr. Trump is kind of telling it like it really, truly is. ” — AZ Gov. Jan Brewer (R) defending Donald Trump’s remarks calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and killers.” 7/10/15

“Most other candidates would have folded. Some might have doubled down. On Saturday (in Phoenix), Donald Trump tripled down.” — Ben Schreckinger in Politico 7/11/15

“Jeb Bush, let’s say he’s president — Oy, yoy, yoy. How can I be tied with this guy? He’s terrible. Terrible.” —Donald Trump 7/11/15

Iraq was a needed buffer against a hostile Iran and that it was wrong for the United States to have invaded Saddam Hussein’s fiefdom. Instead we should have invaded Mexico.” — Donald Trump 7/11/15

“He has an altar boy’s appearance. But Darth Vader writes his policies.” — Wisconsin state Sen. Bob Jauch (D) on Gov. Scott Walker (R).7/12/15

“Today Hillary Clinton began to offer the kind of comprehensive approach we need to tackle the enormous economic challenges we face.” — Nobel laureate and chief economist at the Roosevelt Institute, Joseph Stiglitz. 7/13/15

1. THE SIMPSONS: Trumptastic Voyage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz7_JP7ROvA

2. The DAILY GRILL

“The committee has issued several subpoenas, but I have not sought to make them public. I would not make this one public now, but after Secretary Clinton falsely claimed the committee did not subpoena her, I have no choice in order to correct the inaccuracy.” — Benghazi Committee Chair Trey Gowdy who couldn’t wait to get out the news that Clinton said she hadn’t been subpoenaed for the email on her personal server when they’ve got evidence — a subpoena signed by the House clerk — that says otherwise. 7/09/15

VERSUS

The problem for Gowdy is that Clinton clearly wasn’t responding to the question of whether she’d ever been subpoenaed by the Benghazi Committee but whether she’d been subpoenaed before she deleted the emails from her server. A review of the videotape makes it clear that Clinton was speaking specifically to whether she’d erased email to evade a subpoena. — Jonathan Allen in Vox. 7/09/15

The call lasted about 45 minutes, the donors said, and Priebus was cordial, updating Trump on the party and the primary calendar while also urging him to “tone it down” — a phrase used repeatedly by those with knowledge of the exchange. Priebus told Trump that making inroads with Hispanics is one of his central missions as chairman. He told Trump that tone matters greatly and that Trump’s comments are more offensive than he might imagine with that bloc. — Karen Tumulty, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa in the Washington Post 7/08

VERSUS

Totally false reporting on my call with @Reince Priebus. He called me, ten minutes, said I hit a “nerve”, doing well, end! — Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump 7/09/15

“Workforce participation has to rise from its all-time modern lows. It means that people need to work longer hours and through their productivity gain more income for their families. That’s the only way we are going to get out of this rut that we’re in.” — Jeb Bush to the The New Hampshire Union-Leader editorial board. 7/09/15

VERSUS

“Unfortunately Gov. Bush does not seem to understand what is happening in our economy today. The sad truth is that because the middle class has declined over the last 40 years, while almost all new income and wealth have gone to the people on top, Americans already work the longest hours of any people in the western industrialized world. In fact, 80 percent of working men work longer than 40 hours a week. What we need now is an economy that provides decent wages and income for the middle class, not demands that people work even longer hours than they currently do.” —  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) responding to Bush’s comments. 7/09/15

“Senator, we had Speaker John Boehner on. He said he came to Congress with you and that he characterized you by saying that there’s not a tax increase that you haven’t liked. What is your response to that? He says you’re out of the mainstream of America.” — John Dickerson, host of CBS’s Face The Nation 7/12/15

VERSUS

“All right. Well, let me respond to that issue by issue. And you determine who is out of the mainstream.

I want to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A recent “Wall Street Journal” poll said a majority of the American people want to do that. John Boehner is not going to bring up any legislation in the House to raise the minimum wage at all. And many of his members want to do away with the concept of the minimum wage.

I want to see this country expand Social Security benefits, not cut them. John Boehner, his party want to either privatize Social Security or cut Social Security benefits to the elderly and disabled vets. The American people say overwhelmingly we have got to expand Social Security benefits by lifting the cap on taxable incomes.

I want to create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. And I have introduced legislation to do that. Republican Party is very reluctant to spend a nickel to rebuild our infrastructure. — Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (video) 7/12/15
– Treason. Obama Will Forever Live In Infamy Among America’s Enemies.” — Right-wing author Matthew Vadum

– Deal Is A “Horrendous Capitulation To The Terrorist Regime.” —Right-wing radio host Mark Levin

– Nuclear Deal Marks Obama Administration With “Innocent Blood On Its Hands.” — Breitbart.com editor-at-large Ben Shapiro

– Iran Deal Proves We Shouldn’t Have Elected “A Cowardly Anti-American To Be President.” — Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor

– Obama “Wants To Give The Iranians Nuclear Weapons” — Fox News’ Hannity

– “This agreement … is the greatest appeasement since Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler.” —  Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)

VERSUS

– “I congratulate President Obama, Secretary [John] Kerry and the leaders of other major nations for producing a comprehensive agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) 

– “We should applaud President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Moniz for getting this done, and proceed with wisdom and strength in enforcing this deal to the fullest and in meeting the broader Iranian challenge.” — Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)

Fox & Friends’ Doocy: “Sadly, People Are Murdered All The Time By Illegals”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/09/fox-amp-friends-doocy-sadly-people-are-murdered/204326

Fox Guest Blames Obama For Ariana Grande Saying She Hates America http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/09/fox-guest-blames-obama-for-ariana-grande-saying/204321

O’Reilly Demands Congress Make A Law To Arrest State And Local Government Officials Who Provide “Sanctuary Cities” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/08/oreilly-demands-congress-make-a-law-to-arrest-s/204318

Watch Donald Trump Praise Fox News’ Laudatory Coverage Of His Incendiary Immigration Remarks http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/08/watch-donald-trump-praise-fox-news-laudatory-co/204317

Limbaugh: Pope Francis Is A Clown For Criticizing “Unfettered Capitalism” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/10/limbaugh-pope-francis-is-a-clown-for-criticizin/204360

Daily Caller Wants You To Know Polar Bears Threatened By Climate Change Are Doing Just Fine http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/10/daily-caller-wants-you-to-know-polar-bears-thre/204353

Right-Wing Media Seems To Have Convinced Donald Trump That The Undocumented Immigrant Population Tripled http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/07/09/right-wing-media-seems-to-have-convinced-donald/204347

Rush Limbaugh: Rep. John Lewis Is “Living In The Past” For Opposing Confederate Flag http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/10/rush-limbaugh-rep-john-lewis-is-living-in-the-p/204364

Fox News Reporter Wonders If U.S. Capitol Will Be Banned (Because It Was Built By Slaves) After Confederate Flag Removal In South Carolina http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/10/fox-news-reporter-wonders-if-us-capitol-will-be/204368

Fox’s Kimberly Guilfoyle: The U.S. Now In The Business of “Importing Criminals Instead Of Exporting Them”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/10/foxs-kimberly-guilfoyle-the-us-now-in-the-busin/204367

4. Letterman’s Top Ten List targeting Trump

10. That thing on his head was the gopher in “Caddyshack.”

9. During sex, Donald Trump calls out his own name.

8. Donald Trump looks like the guy in the lifeboat with the women and children.

7. He wants to build a wall? How about building a wall around that thing on his head!

6. Trump walked away from a moderately successful television show for a delusional, bull… Oh, no, wait, that’s me.

5. Donald Trump weighs 240 pounds — 250 with cologne.

4. Trump would like all Americans to know that that thing on his head is free-range.

3. (tie) If President, instead of pardoning a turkey on Thanksgiving, he plans to evict a family on Thanksgiving. AND: That’s not a hairdo — it’s a wind advisory.

2. Donald Trump has pissed off so many Mexicans, he’s starring in a new movie entitled, “NO Amigos.”

1. Thanks to Donald Trump, the Republican mascot is also an ass. 7/12/15 http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-david-letterman-donald-trump-20150712-story.html

5. DemRapidResponse: Retrumplican Party

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGVnisiEiGc

6. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The selective hearing of gun violence

https://vimeo.com/132999912

7. Americans With Guns

Far more Americans have been killed by gun violence in 2013 alone (33,636) than all the Americans killed on U.S. soil by terrorists in the last 14 years (3,025), and that includes 9/11.

Between 2000 and 2010, 335,609 people died from guns in our country; that’s more than the entire population of St. Louis, Missouri. 7/13/15 More at  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/13/the-biggest-threat-to-americans-other-americans-with-guns.html

8. Global Warming: Latest numbers show at least 16 foot sea-level rise locked in

Calculations by The New Scientist say it’s too late to stop a 16-foot rise in sea levels, and without drastic cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions – more drastic than any being discussed ahead of the critical climate meeting in Paris later this year – a rise of over 65 feet will soon be unavoidable. Scientists consulted by the magazine say two melting glaciers in Antarctica are expected to raise sea levels 1.2 meters—4 feet—all on their own. Additional melting from the polar ice caps can bring those numbers even higher. 6/10/15 More at  http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22630253.300-latest-numbers-show-at-least-5-metres-sealevel-rise-locked-in.html

9. Trump In Phoenix: Mexicans Are Coming To Take Your Jobs And Kill You

The GOP sowed the wind, and Donald Trump is reaping the whirlwind. Much to the horror of the Republican Establishment, Trump has a message that connects with the party’s base, and makes no bones about it. With his in-your-face style, Trump is simply saying what the Republican rank-and-file think. Period, full stop. 7.11.15 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/11/trump-in-phoenix-mexicans-are-coming-to-take-your-jobs-and-kill-you.html

10. ‘Key & Peele’: Hillary Clinton’s anger translator Savannah too angry even for Obama and Luther

http://zap2it.com/2015/07/key-peele-hillary-clintons-anger-translator-savannah-obama-luther/

11. Why the GOP Won’t Renounce Trump

The mathematical delicacy of a Republican victory in 2016 — and its dependence on aging, anxious white voters — make it exceedingly perilous for the Republican Party to treat Mr. Trump as the pariah many of its leaders now wish he would become. 7/09/15 More at  http://politicalwire.com/2015/07/09/why-the-gop-wont-renounce-trump/

12. The Best Way to Vilify Hillary Clinton? G.O.P. Spends Heavily to Test It

In rooms around the country, an expensive and sophisticated effort is underway to test and refine the most potent lines of attack against Mrs. Clinton, and, ultimately, to persuade Americans that she does not deserve their votes. While the general election is 16 months away, Republican groups are eager to begin building a powerful case against the woman they believe will be the Democratic nominee, and to infuse the public consciousness with those messages.”

The effort to vilify Mrs. Clinton could ultimately cost several hundred million dollars, given the variety and volume of political organizations involved. 7/11/15 More at  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/us/the-best-way-to-vilify-clinton-gop-spends-heavily-to-test-it.html

13. What the world looks like to Donald Trump, mapped

By Aaron Nemo 7/08/15 More at  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-world-map_559c48f3e4b04e28f1e52bb4

14. Live Action Puts Out Another Titillating but Misleading Video About Planned Parenthood

The conservative media is aflutter thinking it has a “gotcha” against Planned Parenthood: a video supposedly exposing the organization for “selling” fetal body parts, which is against the law. The video, created by a group called the Center for Medical Progress but distributed and promoted by Live Action, shows Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services Deborah Nucatola at a lunch meeting with people who apparently pretended to be medical research organizers seeking donated fetal tissue.

But of course, Nucatola’s actually dining with conservative operatives running one of the many “stings” that Live Action is built on promoting. (The organization has also attempted to scare people about Planned Parenthood’s acceptance of patients who practice BDSM and to portray sex-selective abortion as common when it is not.) But this isn’t evidence of wrongdoing. It’s another masterful piece of propaganda. 7/14/15 More at  http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/07/14
/lila_rose_and_live_action_have_another_planned_parenthood_sting_yet_again.html

15. Republicans Are Acting Like Democrats. Democrats Are Acting Like Republicans.

“You know the difference in Democrats and Republicans?” Bill Clinton said in a 2003 speech. “In every presidential election, Democrats want to fall in love. Republicans just fall in line.”

But this year, the historical trend has reversed itself. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with any endorsements from current governors or U.S. senators and representatives. And she has a boatload of them: 88 representatives, 27 senators and two governors have endorsed Clinton, giving her 243 endorsement points, the highest figure ever at this stage of the race for a Democrat.

Republicans, however, haven’t fallen in line behind anyone. Jeb Bush is the nominal endorsement front-runner, but his 18 endorsement points are the lowest total for any leader at this point in the campaign since Tsongas in 1992. Only two Republican governors and three Republican senators have endorsed any candidate at all. Nate Silver 7/14/15 More at http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/republicans-are-acting-like-democrats-democrats-are-acting-like-republicans/

OPINION

1. Brent Budowsky: A Bernie Sanders summer

The surge in support for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in 2016 is the latest evidence of a progressive populist wave growing across America that has the potential to create a new political majority in the tradition of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy.

The rise of Sanders and the challenges and opportunities it creates for Hillary Clinton are the great story in presidential politics, while a gaggle of GOP candidates competes to move America backward.

The prospect of this new era of new thinking from a new populism of a new left, following the Gilded Age corruptions of the last financial crash and the revolving door corruptions of Washington, is driving the surprise surge for Sanders and posing the dramatic test for Clinton.

If Clinton can conquer her penchant for calculation and caution, she can ultimately ride the wave, lead the movement and become a transforming president. If she proves to be a polyester populist, the Sanders summer will continue into fall and Clinton, whether she ultimately loses or backs into the presidency, will miss her moment to achieve a mandate for greatness.

The right offers an anger-ridden vision of which Americans should be pushed down or locked out, while the left offers an uplifting vision that every citizen should have an equal share of the American Dream.

This is what fuels the Bernie Sanders summer and creates the opportunity for Hillary Clinton if she chooses to seize it.  07/08/15 More at  http://thehill.com/opinion/brent-budowsky/247281-brent-budowsky-a-bernie-sanders-summer

2. Dana Milbank: Donald Trump is the monster the GOP created

It has been amusing to watch the brands — the PGA, NBC, Macy’s, NASCAR, Univision, Serta — flee Donald Trump after his xenophobic remarks. Who even knew The Donald had a line of mattresses featuring Cool Action Dual Effects Gel Memory Foam?

But there is one entity that can’t dump Trump, no matter how hard it tries: the GOP. The Republican Party can’t dump Trump because Trump is the Republican Party.

One big Republican donor this week floated to the Associated Press the idea of having candidates boycott debates if the tycoon is onstage. Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham and other candidates have lined up to say, as Rick Perry put it, that “Donald Trump does not represent the Republican Party.”

But Trump has merely held up a mirror to the GOP. The man, long experience has shown, believes in nothing other than himself. He has, conveniently, selected the precise basket of issues that Republicans want to hear about — or at least a significant proportion of Republican primary voters. He may be saying things more colorfully than others when he talks about Mexico sending rapists across the border, but his views show that, far from being an outlier, he is hitting all the erogenous zones of the GOP electorate.

Anti-immigrant? Against Common Core education standards? For repealing Obamacare? Against same-sex marriage? Antiabortion? Anti-tax? Anti-China? Virulent in questioning President Obama’s legitimacy? Check, check, check, check, check, check, check and check.

Trump may be a monster, but he’s the monster Republicans created. 7/08/15 More at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/donald-trump-is-the-monster-the-gop-created/2015/07/08/5b0bb834-259b-11e5-aae2-6c4f59b050aa_story.html

3. Dan Pfeiffer: Stop the bed-wetting: Hillary Clinton’s doing fine

It’s officially bed-wetting season in the political world when it comes to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. With stories this week in Politico and The New York Times about the newly competitive Democratic primary, the whispers have begun about whether this is 2008 all over again. Back then, Clinton was defeated by Obama, an insurgent, progressive outsider.

But, Hillary Clinton circa 2015 is not Hillary Clinton circa 2008.

Her first campaign was beset by timidity, dissension and constant changes in strategy in reaction to the D.C conventional wisdom du jour. In Obama headquarters, we would shake our heads in bemusement at some of her campaign’s decisions as we realized it was either using an outdated playbook or no playbook at all.

Her campaign this time has been disciplined, cohesive and bold. Sure there are tactical things they could have done differently, but they have a smart strategy and are executing it with a precision that reminds me of the Obama campaign in 2008.

For all the contretemps about emails, speeches and roped-off reporters, elections are about fundamentals and the fundamentals point to a decisive if hard fought victory for Clinton.

A lot can change in the coming months, but at this point in the race, everyone should stop all the bed-wetting. 7/0715 http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/07/opinions/pfeiffer-bedwetting-over-hillary-clinton/index.html

4. Sean Illing: Fox News built a f**ked-up Frankenstein, dumb, angry and divorced from facts. Now Donald Trump will devour them

Fox News –and the conservative media-industrial complex – have created a Frankenstein. His name is Donald Trump, and his political success is now a huge problem for the Republican Party. In so many ways, Trump’s political existence was inevitable. For years, Fox News and the conservative talk radio machine have played to the populist Tea Party id: fomenting fear, demonizing immigrants, and enabling every nativist anxiety imaginable. Now they’re paying the price.

Donald Trump is practically a mirror image of the Fox News psyche. Most of his speeches consist of repackaged stupidities plucked right out of the conservative mediascape. It’s kind of brilliant, really. Trump knows his audience, and he beams back at them every idiotic thing they want to hear. Which, of course, is exactly what Fox News does.

The wonderful irony of all this is that the conservative media have ruined conservative politics, far more than liberals ever did. And the results speak for themselves. It’s true that Fox News has promoted the conservative brand and very likely energized grass-roots conservatism in some sense, but at what cost? The GOP, increasingly, is no longer a national party – it’s confined more and more to the South and to pockets of rural America.

It will be fascinating to watch how Fox News handles Trump, particularly as we move along in the process. It will be a delicate balancing act. The longer Trump hangs around, the more ridiculous the Republicans look. At the same time, Trump is a boon for ratings; the delightful dolts on Fox and Friends can’t get enough of him. Which makes perfect sense. The right-wing media machine – led by Fox News – has created a demand for his insane ramblings. As the chief supplier, Fox News has an interest in covering Trump, in extending his ruse for as long as possible.

Promoting Trump is a disaster for the GOP, though. His bombast, left unchecked, will undermine the Republican primaries and jeopardize their shot at the White House. How Fox News manages Trump’s ascendance will therefore tell you all you need to know (if you didn’t already) about where their loyalties lie.

I suspect we’ll discover what most observers have long known: Fox News cares about conservatism about as much as it cares about the news. 7/08/15 Read more at http://www.salon.com/2015/07/08/fox_news_built_a_fked_up_
frankenstein_dumb_angry_and_divorced_from_facts_now_donald_trump_will_devour_them/

5. Paul Krugman: Greece’s Economy Is a Lesson for Republicans in the U.S.

Greece has played an outsized role in U.S. political debate, as a symbol of the terrible things that will supposedly happen — any day now — unless we stop helping the less fortunate and printing money to fight unemployment. And Greece does indeed offer important lessons to the rest of us. But they’re not the lessons you think, and the people most likely to deliver a Greek-style economic disaster here in America are the very people who love to use Greece as a boogeyman.

On one side, just about everyone in the G.O.P. demands that we reduce government spending, especially aid to lower-income families. (They also, of course, want to reduce taxes on the rich — but that wouldn’t do much to boost demand for U.S. products.)

On the other side, leading Republicans like Representative Paul Ryan incessantly attack the Federal Reserve for its efforts to boost the economy, delivering solemn lectures on the evils of “debasing” the dollar — when the main difference between the effects of austerity in Canada and in Greece was precisely that Canada could “debase” its currency, while Greece couldn’t. Oh, and many Republicans hanker for a return to the gold standard, which would effectively put us into a euro-like straitjacket.

The point is that if you really worry that the U.S. might turn into Greece, you should focus your concern on America’s right. Because if the right gets its way on economic policy — slashing spending while blocking any offsetting monetary easing — it will, in effect, bring the policies behind the Greek disaster to America. 7/10/15 More at  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/opinion/paul-krugman-greeces-economy-is-a-lesson-for-republicans-in-the-us.html

6. Mark Leibovich Re-Re-Re-Reintroducing Hillary Clinton

A few minutes before my meeting with Hillary Clinton on the Fourth of July, during my drive to the Mount Washington hotel in Bretton Woods, N.H., where she was staying, I passed a moose near the side of the road. At first I thought it was fake, one of those life-size cutouts that you sometimes see of big land mammals or, on occasion, famous politicians. But the specimen proved to be real and spectacular, antlers and all. I had never seen a moose before. It was thrilling, and I felt compelled to tell Clinton about it within seconds of my arrival. ‘‘Oh, really? Wow,’’ Clinton exclaimed with a big smile as she poured herself a cup of coffee. She might have been humoring me, but still seemed genuinely excited by my sighting and seized on it as a point of connection.

We were meeting in an old conference room of the grand hotel, which is perhaps best known to history as the site of the Bretton Woods Conference, a gathering of delegates from 44 countries to regulate the international financial system after World War II. Clinton and I sat at the same table where the agreement that established the International Monetary Fund was signed in 1944. As a former first lady, senator and secretary of state, Clinton was of course no stranger to such heady sites of statecraft. But what we started talking about was the moose. She had seen a few in her day, she told me. ‘‘I’ve eaten moose, too,’’ she said. ‘‘I’ve had moose stew.’’

Clinton explained that during college she worked one summer in Alaska, washing dishes at a resort. She was 21, and her energy and freedom felt limitless; she took long hikes in the midnight sun. ‘‘The guides told us the most dangerous animals in the park — more than the grizzlies, because the grizzlies will basically ignore you — were the moose,’’ she said. Natives knew to keep their distance. But the moose were all over, impossible to miss. ‘‘Oh, I mean like, between you and me,’’ Clinton said, and I thought for a second she was about to tell me something conspiratorial (‘‘between you and me’’), but in fact she was simply describing how close she had been to a moose, roughly the same distance as we were sitting from each other there at the birthplace of the I.M.F.

Hillary Clinton is private and guarded by nature, and three decades of being inspected like an exotic species has made her even more so. But right now, in the early days of what will be a 19-month campaign for the White House, she is trying to share and expound on her experiences, to project some greater measure of herself, big and small. Moose tales aside, this does not come easily. She has resided at the center of so many scandals, psychodramas and culture wars that it’s hard to even keep track of them all, let alone know what the person within that bubble of attention is actually like.
7/17/15 More at  http://ift.tt/1HwAGop

7. Philip Rucker: Hillary Clinton’s push on gun control marks a shift in presidential politics

In her standard stump speech, Hillary Rodham Clinton talks about fighting income inequality, celebrating court rulings on gay marriage and health care, and, since the Emanuel AME Church massacre, toughening the nation’s gun laws.

That last component marks an important evolution in presidential politics. For at least the past several decades, Democrats seeking national office have often been timid on the issue of guns for fear of alienating firearms owners. In 2008, after Barack Obama took heat for his gaffe about people who “cling to guns or religion,” he rarely mentioned guns again — neither that year nor in his 2012 reelection campaign.

But in a sign that the political environment on guns has shifted in the wake of recent mass shootings — and of Clinton’s determination to stake out liberal ground in her primary race against insurgent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — Clinton is not only initiating a debate about gun control but also vowing to fight the National Rifle Association.

“I’m going to speak out against the uncontrollable use of guns in our country because I believe we can do better,” Clinton said Tuesday in Iowa City.

In recent months, Clinton’s speechwriters and policy staff have sought counsel from Bloomberg’s group, Everytown for Gun Safety. Erika Soto Lamb, ­ Everytown’s spokeswoman, said Clinton’s focus on the issue is “striking.”

“Knowing how hard we tried in 2012 to get [Republican nominee Mitt] Romney or Obama to say something about guns,” she said, “it is a changed world now when Hillary and other candidates are making it a part of their stump. This is the first presidential election when we’ve seen proactive statements.” 7/09/15 More at  http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/clinton-makes-big-gun-control-pitch-marking-shift-in-presidential-politics/2015/07/09/4309232c-2580-11e5-b72c-2b7d516e1e0e_story.html

8. Mark Binelli: Weekend With Bernie

In many ways, the most boring question about Sanders’ candidacy is the horse-race question. What are his odds of defeating an extraordinarily smart and driven opponent with 100 percent name recognition, more White House experience than arguably anyone who has ever run for the office and access to obscene amounts of money (Clinton’s campaign has vowed to raise $2 billion) — plus, of course, the thrilling possibility of offering voters the chance to make history once again and elect the first female president? I’d say pretty slim!

Sanders, though, believes these odds only hold true if the existing electoral reality remains unchanged — which is to say, extremely low voter turnout, a focus on personality rather than issues, and the rank corruption of outside campaign spending. So the far more interesting question becomes: Does Sanders have a shot at changing what have come to be accepted as the fundamentals of modern presidential campaigning? If you are willing to risk sounding naive or unsophisticated and entertain the notion, as Sanders does, that it’s possible to upend the system entirely if you mobilize enough grassroots support, well, then, who knows? Seven years ago, Barack Obama broke all previous records when it came to small-donor fundraising and African-American voter turnout. Sanders looks to the way activism by fast-food workers agitating for a $15 minimum wage, a demand taken seriously by very few members of the elite early on, has entirely changed the national debate on what a living wage should be (and has actually become law in major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle).

To that end, Sanders, as much as possible, wants to disassociate his own ego from this most egocentric of public exercises and exploit the platform given presidential candidates in order to tantalize voters with a heretofore unoffered possibility of true radical change. “The evolution of American politics has resulted in a major, multibillion-dollar effort to tell the American people the government can’t do anything for you, and you should pin all of your hope and faith on corporate America and Wall Street,” Sanders tells me. “I often say, ‘You should think about why the Koch brothers are going to spend a billion dollars in this campaign. If they think politics is pretty important, maybe you should as well.’ ” 7/09/15 More at  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/weekend-with-bernie-sanders-20150709

9. Paul Waldman: The next GOP president won’t walk away from the Iran deal. Here’s why.

For now, there are two questions that every Republican who opposes this deal must be asked: First, what’s your alternative? And second, can you explain exactly how your alternative would prevent Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon? Policy choices don’t exist in a vacuum. Whenever we say that one course of action is problematic, we’re saying that another course would be better. As far as I can tell (though it isn’t easy to figure out since they’re so vague on this question), the Republican position is that we should have walked away from these negotiations and just…wait. Then after some undetermined period, Iran would come crawling back and give us everything we could ever want, without the need for any negotiations at all.

No one in his or her right mind actually believes that would happen, of course. And if conservatives are right that Iran is hell-bent on getting a nuclear weapon, if the entire deal actually fell apart, there would be no reason for them not to ramp up their nuclear program with all deliberate speed. At which point, Republicans would say we have no choice but to launch military action. So the people who brought you the Iraq War would be sending us into another war in the Middle East, which would no doubt turn out just as splendidly.

All of this isn’t to say that every provision of this deal is exactly what we would have wanted. But that’s the nature of negotiation — you seldom get everything you want, but if it goes well, what you do get is better than the alternative. At the moment Republicans can’t articulate their own alternative, because it sure seems like that alternative is another war. But if they’re fortunate enough to win the White House next year, they’re likely to find that walking away from this deal is a lot less attractive than it seemed when they were trying to win over Republican primary voters. 7/14/15 More at  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/07/14/the-next-gop-president-wont-walk-away-from-the-iran-deal-heres-why/

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