July 30th and August 6th, 2015 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #889

ON THE RECORD ….

“And that’s why I think it is essential that we all stand up and say loudly and clearly, ‘Yes, black lives matter.’ And we all have a responsibility to face these hard truths of race and justice honestly and directly,” —Hillary Clinton calling Sandra Bland’s “heartbreaking” death in a Texas jail cell “another African-American life cut short.” 7/23/15

The New York Times truly has become an embarrassment to American Journalism. Second anti HRC story in three months THEY GOT WRONG! — Howard Dean 7/24/15

“As I noted this afternoon, a lot of this has a disturbing similarity to the Times Whitewater coverage, which dominated much of the Clinton presidency and turned out to be more either vastly over-hyped or in numerous cases simply false. And this is the Times! What’s supposedly to be the best paper in the country.” — Josh Marshall7/24/15

““This past term, the court crossed a line, continued its long descent into lawlessness to a level I believe demands action. … When we have five unelected judges who are declaring for themselves they can decide every contested policy issue in our society, it is incumbent on elected representatives to take that authority.” — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 7/23/15

“We now know that when the majority leader looks us in the eyes and makes an explicit commitment that he is willing to say thing that he knows are false. That has consequences for how this body operates. If you or I cannot trust what the majority leader tells us, that will have consequences on other legislation, as well as on how this institution operates.” — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of lying to him over a deal to vote on reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. 7/24/15

“I’m just chugging along. You know, maybe people will get tired of me. Who knows? This press is crazy.” —Donald Trump, 7//23/15

“Wisconsin is doing terribly. It’s in turmoil. The roads are a disaster because they don’t have money to rebuild them. Schools are a disaster. Hospitals and education are a disaster. And he was totally in favor of Common Core, which I hate.” —Donald Trump, attacking Gov. Scott Walker in Iowa. 7/25/15

“First, let me say that I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received.” — Hillary Clinton, brushing off a new investigation into whether she sent or received classified information on her personal email address while at the State Department. 7/25/15

“He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued. … Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded. … We must move past the empty calories of Trumpism, and return to conservatism.” — Rick Perry’ at the Opportunity and Freedom PAC forum. 7/22/15 http://www.vox.com/2015/7/22/9016901/donald-trump-rick-perry

“If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it. As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws.” —Gov. Chris Christie (R) suggesting that residents of states where marijuana is legal smoke up before the next presidential inauguration, 7/29/15

 

1. The DAILY GRILL

“Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday. The request follows an assessment in a June 29 memo by the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies that Mrs. Clinton’s private account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” — The New York Times 7/24/15

VERSUS

“This is the latest example in a series of inaccurate leaks to generate false front-page headlines − only to be corrected later − and they have absolutely nothing to do with the attacks in Benghazi or protecting our diplomatic corps overseas.” — Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) rebutting reports that the State Department has formally requested a federal criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State. 7/24/15

 

“This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven. “ — Governor Huckabee who, according to Breitbart News, has demonstrated his keen ability to articulate conservative principles and values. 7/25/15

VERSUS

“The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are I think part of just a general pattern we’ve seen… that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad. Maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines but it’s not the kind of leadership that’s needed for America right now.” — President Obama responding to Mike Huckabee’s inflammatory comments on the Iran deal. 7/27/15

2. GOP Favorability Nosedives

The Republican Party’s image has grown more negative over the first half of this year. Currently, 32% have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 60% have an unfavorable view. Favorable views of the GOP have fallen nine percentage points since January. The Democratic Party continues to have mixed ratings (48% favorable, 47% unfavorable). 7/23/15 Read more at http://www.people-press.org/2015/07/23/gops-favorability-rating-takes-a-negative-turn/

3. Medicare still on stable footing because of Obamacare

The Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund will have sufficient funds to cover its obligations until 2030, the same year that was projected last year, and 13 years later than was projected in the last report issued prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act. 7/22/15 Read more at  http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0127.aspx

4. DNC’s GOP Debate Watch Party Pack

Be ready for the August 6th GOP debate is — order your GOP Debate Watch Party Pack and you’ll receive:

– Four (4) “I survived the GOP Debates” 16 oz plastic cups
– Four (4) “I survived the GOP Debates” lapel stickers (please only wear these if you do survive!)
– One 50-sheet bingo pad to play our official GOP Debate Bingo game with your friends.

http://store.democrats.org/products/gop-debate-watch-party-pack

5. ‘The New York Times’ Bungled the Hillary Clinton Emails Story

In our hyper-partisan world, many people will not care about the truth here. That the Times story is false in almost every particular—down to the level of who wrote what memo—will only lead to accusations that people trying to set the record straight are pro-Hillary. I am not pro-Hillary. I am, however, pro-journalism. And this display of incompetence or malice cannot stand without correction.

And to other reporters: Democracy is not a game. It is not a means of getting our names on the front page or setting the world abuzz about our latest scoop. It is about providing information so that an electorate can make decisions based on reality. It is about being fair and being accurate. This despicable Times story was neither.– Kurt Eichenwald in Newsweek 7/24/15 Read more at
http://www.newsweek.com/hillary-clinton-new-york-times-emails-357246

6. Late Night with Seth Meyers: Rachel Maddow Discusses Donald Trump’s Campaign

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

7. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Raising your candidate

https://vimeo.com/fiorecartoons/raising-your-candidate-a-behavioral-guide-for-republicans

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

Legislation To Defund Planned Parenthood Based On Deceptively Edited Videos http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/07/23/how-a-lie-becomes-a-law-gop-introduces-legislat/204559

Fox Hosts Have No Idea What Planned Parenthood Does Nor How Obamacare Works http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/22/fox-hosts-have-no-idea-what-planned-parenthood/204551

Erick Erickson Compares Pregnant Women To “Female Animals,” Calls On Companies To Stop Donating To Planned Parenthood http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/23/erick-erickson-compares-pregnant-women-to-femal/204556

Chris Christie Spending Big Money To Get Into Fox News Debate http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/24/chris-christie-spending-big-money-to-get-into-f/204577

Fox Demands More Media Coverage Of Flimsy NYT Report On Probe Into Clinton’s Email http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/24/fox-demands-more-media-coverage-of-flimsy-nyt-r/204580

From Scandal To Farce: What The Clinton Email Coverage Tells Us About The Press http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/07/from-scandal-to-farce-what-the-clinton-email-co/204276

Fox’s Steve Doocy Praises Trump For Treating The Press Like The “Left Wing Political Operatives That They Are”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/07/24/foxs-steve-doocy-praises-trump-for-treating-the/204573

NRA’s Ted Nugent: People Upset About The Killing Of Cecil The Lion Are “Stupid” http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/29/nras-ted-nugent-people-upset-about-the-killing/204658

RedState.com: Planned Parenthood Is “Our Auschwitz” http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/29/redstatecom-planned-parenthood-is-our-auschwitz/204657

Vox’s Jonathan Allen Implicates Trey Gowdy In The NY Times Botched Clinton Emails Story http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/29/voxs-jonathan-allen-implicates-trey-gowdy-in-th/204654

This Critic Of Hillary Clinton’s Climate Change Plan Should Actually Read It http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/07/29/this-critic-of-hillary-clintons-climate-change/204652

9. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“A major Iowa newspaper published an op-ed against Trump calling him a ‘self-absorbed, wholly unqualified feckless blowhard.’ Or as Trump put it, ‘You forgot very rich . . . I’m a very rich, self-absorbed, wholly unqualified feckless blowhard. Very, very rich.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Ohio Governor John Kasich became the 16th Republican to announce that he is running for president. During his speech he referred to Jesus Christ, which is ironic because so did Americans when they heard another Republican was running for president.” –Jimmy Fallon

“”Donald Trump’s children released a statement this week calling their father a ‘true visionary and a great mentor.’ And Trump released a statement calling his kids ‘suck-ups’ and ‘not the best.'” –Seth Meyers

“In a speech in South Carolina, Donald Trump responded to criticisms from Senator Lindsey Graham by giving out Graham’s personal cellphone number. Graham knew something was up when he saw he had more than one missed call.” –Jimmy Fallon

“In a new campaign ad, Jeb Bush referenced ‘The Godfather’ and said his nickname used to be ‘Veto Corleone’ because he vetoed so many bills in Florida. When you’re the third person in your family to run for president, maybe you shouldn’t bring up a movie trilogy where the third one was clearly the worst.” –Jimmy Fallon

“At a campaign event in South Carolina, Trump gave out Senator Lindsey Graham’s personal cellphone number. He’s bringing the same level of class to this presidential election that one does to a stall in a public restroom.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“At a campaign event today, Donald Trump read Senator Lindsey Graham’s cellphone number aloud on live TV. It’s the craziest thing Trump has done since whatever he did right before that.” –Seth Meyers

“Donald Trump got in some trouble for saying that John McCain is not a war hero, and said, ‘I like people that weren’t captured.’ Not good. In fact, Trump’s people are telling him to lay low for a while until this all combs over.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Rick Perry said Donald Trump is unfit to be president and called for him to immediately withdraw from the race. Then he said, ‘And that’s coming from ME!'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Perry actually said Trump is a toxic mix of demagoguery and nonsense who is unfit to be president. Then Perry took off his glasses and said, ‘Whoa! I think these things are magic!'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump’s campaign has raised about $100,000 in donations during the second quarter. Which raises an important question: Who is giving Donald Trump money? That’s like giving your money to a pile of money.” –Jimmy Fallon

“In a recent interview, John McCain addressed Trump’s campaign rally in Arizona and said that he just quote, ‘fired up the crazies.’ Not to be confused with Trump’s show ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ where he just FIRED the crazies.” –Jimmy Fallon

“MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell is saying Donald Trump lied when he said he made $20 million a year off his ‘Apprentice’ series on NBC. NBC also denied Trump’s claim, saying, ‘We don’t have $20 million. We’re NBC.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Researchers here in New York created a robot that actually passed a self-awareness test. So if you’re keeping score, that’s robots: 1, Donald Trump, 0.” –Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison yesterday. Obama said it was a good chance to talk about prison reform, and to catch up with so many former congressmen.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Over on the Democratic side, Martin O’Malley recently spoke about the need for Wall Street reform and said that he isn’t running for president to be quote, ‘wined and dined’ by executives. Then Chris Christie said, ‘And I am also not running to be wined.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“In a new poll of Democratic voters, presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee came in with zero percent support. Or in other words: We’re all tied with presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee.” –Jimmy Fallon

“In an interview, Hillary Clinton said she likes nearly every flavor of ice cream. When he heard this, Chris Christie said ‘Hey, she stole my speech.'” –Conan O’Brien

10. Texas Denies Birth Certificates to Immigrant Children

Texas health officials are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by immigrant parents who were denied birth certificates for their U.S.-born children because local authorities refused to recognize as valid certain forms of identification.

Lawyers representing 19 immigrant parents and their 23 children filed suit against the Texas Department of State Health Services after officials refused to issue birth certificates for their U.S.-born children, citing invalid forms of identification. The parents came from Mexico and Central America and living in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Although the parents are not U.S. citizens, their children are, because the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment guarantees the right of citizenship to anyone born on American soil. Without a birth certificate, it can be difficult for parents to access medical care, travel, school enrollment and other benefits available to U.S. citizens. http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Texas-Fights-Immigrants-Lawsuit-Over-Birth-Certificates-318311561.html

11. The Nightly Show: Donald Trump’s Hip Hop Ways

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/xiyjbr/the-nightly-show-donald-trump-s-hip-hop-ways—mike-yard

12. Hillary Clinton Outlines ‘Bold’ Climate Change Proposals

Hillary Clinton on Sunday set two “bold national goals” to combat climate change, promising that if she’s elected president, she would set the United States on a path toward producing enough clean renewable energy to power every home in America within a decade. 7/26/15 Read more at  http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-07-26/hillary-clinton-outlines-climate-change-proposals

13. The Borowitz Report: In Bid to Take Attention from Trump, Other 15 Hopefuls Release Joint Sex Tape

In what critics are calling a desperate attempt to draw the media’s attention away from Donald Trump, the other fifteen candidates for the Republican nomination have released a joint sex tape.

The tape, including such luminaries as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Texas senator Ted Cruz, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, appeared briefly on major news Web sites before an avalanche of viewer revulsion demanded it be taken down.

According to Carol Foyler, a viewer who happened to catch the tape during its brief appearance on the CNN Web site, the video contained images “I may never be able to get out of my mind.”

“I couldn’t believe that these people would participate in such a thing,” she said. “Except maybe Santorum.”
A spokesman for Rick Perry defended the former Texas governor’s appearance on the tape. “It changed the conversation, at least for a minute or two,” the spokesman said.

Possibly as a result of his exclusion from the sex tape, in the aftermath of its release Trump has surged another eleven points in the latest poll.

EARLIER: Presidential candidate Donald Trump revealed a little-known episode of personal heroism from his youth on Saturday, telling an Iowa audience that he narrowly avoided capture in Vietnam by remaining in the United States for the duration of the war.

Trump’s tale of valor appeared to move many members of his audience, some of whom waited in line after his speech to thank him for his lack of service. Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

14. Billionaire brothers give Cruz super PAC $15 million

Two low-profile Texas brothers, billionaires Farris and Dan Wilks, have donated $15 million to support Sen. Ted Cruz, a record-setting contribution that amounts to the largest known donation so far in the 2016 presidential campaign. 7/25/15 Read more at http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/25/politics/ted-cruz-wilks-brothers/

15. New poll finds strong support for Iran nuclear deal

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that there’s strong support nationally for the Iran deal, that voters want their members of Congress to let it move forward, and that there’s no potential political backlash for members who do support the deal. 7/27/15 Read more at  http://aufc.3cdn.net/e6dca770dc6d71f7d2_tgm6bxklu.pdf

Note: ALA Jewish Journall survey finds that 48% of Jewish Americans support the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration while 28% oppose it and 25% hadn’t heard enough to form an opinion.

16. The Kochs freeze out Donald Trump

The Koch brothers are freezing out Donald Trump from their influential political operation — denying him access to their state-of-the-art data and refusing to let him speak to their gatherings of grass-roots activists or major donors. 7/29/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/kochs-freeze-out-trump-120752.html

17. GOP Media Advisory

Today’s campaign events by Republican candidates for president:

Sen. Rand Paul will cut up a Donald Trump mannequin with a chainsaw, throw the pieces into a woodchipper, and set the pile of Trump dust on fire with a flamethrower.

Sen. Lindsey Graham will follow Rand Paul’s lead by destroying his own Trump mannequin, except he’ll do it with a golf club, meat cleaver and lighter fluid.

Gov. Rick Perry, currently under felony indictment, will continue his six-day soliloquy lamenting that Donald Trump is creating an unfavorable impression of the Republican party.

Sen. Marco Rubio will drink several bottles of water to prove, if nothing else, that he’s more hydrated than Donald Trump.

Gov. Scott Walker will claim that Ronald Reagan’s ghost visited him in a dream and told him that “Donald Trump is not the solution…Donald Trump is the problem.”

Gov. Chris Christie will criticize Donald Trump for being a bully and Carly Fiorina will criticize him for being a poor CEO.

Dr. Ben Carson will release a statement calling Donald Trump worse than slavery.

Gov. Mike Huckabee will compare Donald Trump to the holocaust while serving grits and gravy with Ted Nugent.

Gov. John Kasich will give his stump speeches while swinging from a tire swing because—hint hint—guess what kind of state Donald Trump’s not from. Go ahead…guess!

Gov. George Pataki will mow YOU SUCK into Donald Trump’s lawn.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Rick Santorum will toilet-paper Trump Tower after dark.

Sen. Ted Cruz will continue auditioning to be Donald Trump’s running mate.

Gov. Jeb Bush will spend another day waiting for Donald Trump to implode, and spend another night going to bed disappointed.

Donald Trump will spend the day being Donald Trump.

For further information, contact RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who currently is curled up in the fetal position under his bed. From the Daily Kos at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/07/29/1406460/-Cheers-and-Jeers-Wednesday

OPINION

1. Molly Ball: There’s No Stopping the Trump Show

The media, you may have noticed, is full of Trump—explanations of Trump, denunciations of Trump, justifications of Trump, analyses of Trump, handwringing about the coverage of Trump, and accounts of the latest outrageous thing Trump has done. He is on the front page of every newspaper, the top of every newscast. They can’t believe it; they can’t get their heads around it, that this is happening, and not only is it happening, it is the biggest thing in American politics right now. It has consumed American politics. It—Trump—is bigger than the entire rest of the Republican field, which, by the way, has 15 other people in it—governors, senators, very big, very serious people. Trump is bigger than them all.

Trump is so big they are attacking him just to get themselves noticed. Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina, called Trump a “jackass,” so Trump gave out his cell-phone number on national television, and suddenly Lindsey Graham, languishing at less than 1 percent in the polls, was all anybody was talking about. You’re welcome, Lindsey Graham.

Trump has the Republican Party by the throat. It cannot figure out how to get rid of him. The party elites, those snobs in D.C. who do not respect or understand the people out there in America, are tearing their hair out over the damage Trump is supposedly doing to the party. “He is, I believe, causing some problems,” Randy Blair, the county Republican chairman, a polite, mustached accountant in a gray-tweed suit, tells me as we ride on Trump’s bus.

Yet the party has no power over Trump. He has the money, he has the press, he has the voters. If he does not feel the GOP is treating him fairly, he is considering running as an independent instead. In that case, polls indicate he would take a chunk of votes from the Republican candidate, and Hillary Clinton would win by a large margin.

So the party has to be nice to him; it has to let him on the stage. The 20 percent of the party that loves Trump may be dumb or racist or angry or wrong, but the Republican Party cannot live without them. The GOP is damned if Trump stays and damned if he goes, and no one knows how the show will end.

You can’t stop it. Nobody can.

Trump is just too big.  http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/07/theres-no-stopping-the-trump-show/399587/

 

2. Frank Rich/Alex Carp: The GOP Only Has Itself to Blame for Weaponizing Donald Trump

For all the other much-discussed factors contributing to the Trump boom — the power of celebrity, his “anti-politician” vibe, his freak-show outrageousness, his Don Rickles–style putdowns — it is the substantive issue of immigration that remains the core of his appeal to his fans. That’s why Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are defending him; it’s why Bill Kristol did until last weekend. And those Republicans who are now demanding that he desist are mostly hypocrites. John McCain himself, after all, enabled and legitimized those Trump partisans he now dismisses as “crazies” by putting Sarah Palin on the ticket in 2008. Other GOP leaders waited too long to disown the conspiracy theories about the president’s birth certificate that Trump would eventually exploit to reboot his political aspirations. Romney ostentatiously courted and received Trump’s endorsement in 2012. Many of the Republican politicians now condemning Trump for attacking McCain’s heroism in Vietnam were silent (or worse) when John Kerry’s Vietnam heroism was Swift Boated in 2004.

The GOP can blame the media all it wants, but the party has no one to blame but itself for weaponizing Trump. It subsidized and encouraged the market for what Trump is now selling. Now the Republicans’ only really hope is that Trump will blow himself up, Herman Cain style. Maybe he will, and he certainly has no chance of getting the nomination no matter what he does. But in the meantime he can keep wreaking havoc. Nine other GOP candidates were onstage at the Ames, Iowa, forum last weekend where he trashed McCain, and no one remembers anything anyone else there said unless it was in response to Trump. The same may well happen at the first national debate on Fox News on August 6, which is likely (because of Trump, and much to his delight) to be the highest rated primary debate in history.

Even over the short term, the Republicans are clueless about how to deal with him; they keep playing into his hands. A classic example was yesterday, when John Kasich, regarded by some Republicans I know as perhaps the most substantive and qualified prospect the party has, announced his presidential candidacy. His announcement was drowned out not just by Trump, with his stunt of revealing Lindsey Graham’s private cell-phone number at a campaign event, but by Graham himself, who took the bait by taking to Twitter and television to joke about it — thereby making certain even a minor Trump stunt would keep depriving the rest of the GOP field of oxygen. Read more at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/07/gop-only-has-itself-to-blame-for-trump.html

3. Brenday Gilfillan: The Disturbing Subtext Of The GOP Opposition To The Iran Deal

Diplomacy—specifically, diplomacy with Iran—has always had its adversaries. Ever since the country was declared part of the Axis of Evil, the bottom line for a vocal minority of folks has been that Iran is simply too evil to deal with. And to be sure, these opponents have a solid point; Iran’s behavior at home and abroad is the primary obstacle to its inclusion in the international community. At the end of the day, pretending adversaries don’t exist isn’t how a responsible superpower engages with the world—just as we stared down the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, so we chose to do with a belligerent Iranian regime.

Opponents of negotiation—those who have been trying to derail the talks since they began—aren’t acknowledging these incredible victories, but that’s hardly surprising given their peculiar behavior throughout the process. On March 9, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) led 47 other U.S. Senators in sending a letter addressed to the leadership in Iran condescendingly “explaining” America’s constitutional system and promising to undermine any deal struck with the current American administration.

While that might have been the most outrageous stunt, the rhetoric has been equally absurd. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) compared chief negotiator Wendy Sherman to Neville Chamberlain in an ill-advised historical analogy. And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) rushed to CNN yesterday morning to denounce the agreement “as a bad deal, the worst possible outcome”…before admitting he hadn’t read it. Would they have stood in the Senate and decried President Reagan’s arms control agreements and written a letter to Gorbachev?

The volume and the noise isn’t just reflexive partisanship designed to grab the spotlight: it also serves to mask the fact that these Senators have no alternative to this deal. At least, no alternative grounded in reality. 7/15/15 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/republicans-opposition-to-iran-deal

4. Ed Kilgore: Trump Card

When I opened my favorite news aggregator this morning, nine of the top ten items were about Donald Trump. That’s right: 90% of the top stories involved the bloviating real estate tycoon and reality TV star.

No, I’m not going to write 90% of my 12 posts today on The Donald, but as someone whose job is at least partially to inform readers of what others are talking about, I can’t ignore him, either.

Still, whereas the big question at the beginning of the week was whether Trump’s suddenly high standing in early horse-race polls of the Republican nomination contest could survive his criticism of John McCain’s war record, now we have to wonder how long he can succeed in blotting out the sky with “controversial remarks” that feed his publicity machine.

Unless fresh polls show his support collapsing, or he suddenly attacks Jesus Christ or U.S. troops in the field, it’s probably inevitable that Trump-o-mania will last at least until the August 6 GOP presidential debate, where the debate within the debate will be about Trump’s interaction with other candidates and his relative ability to overshadow the proceedings. Beyond that, his perpetual trump card—yeah, pun intended—is going to be his ability at any moment to strike terror into the heart of Republicans by hinting at an independent candidacy that could threaten the soft white working class underbelly of the GOP base.

The prospect of a very close, high-stakes major-party race for the presidency means that a Trump indie run could become a serious factor even if he loses much of his current support. We could go through two or three or eight boom and bust cycles of “Trump mania” and “Trump fatigue” without getting rid of him. So get used to it. 7/23/15 Read more at http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_07/trump_card056723.php

5. Steve Benen: Jeb Bush pushes to ‘phase out’ Medicare

Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush appeared at a New Hampshire event last night sponsored by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, and the former governor raised a few eyebrows with his comments on the future of Medicare.

Remember, Jeb Bush is the ostensible moderate candidate in the massive GOP presidential field. It says something important about Republican politics in 2015 when the most mainstream candidate is also the candidate who wants to scrap Medicare altogether.

\The Florida Republican is convinced that “people understand” the need to get rid of Medicare. He’s mistaken. Given the polling from the last several years, what people understand is that Medicare is a popular and successful program, and a pillar of modern American life.

Previous attempts to “phase out” the program have met with widespread public scorn and if Jeb Bush believes he can “persuade people” to get rid of Medicare, he’s likely to be disappointed.

Before “Obamacare” was passed, Medicare was projected to face a serious fiscal shortfall in 2017. As of yesterday, Medicare trustees now believe the system is fiscally secure through 2030.

Medicare’s future is looking brighter, it’s as popular as ever, and its fiscal challenges can be addressed without tearing down the entire system. It’s a matter of political will – either elected policymakers will fight to protect Medicare or they’ll push to eliminate it. 07/23/15 Read more at  http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/jeb-bush-pushes-phase-out-medicare

6. Michael Arceneaux: Why Donald Trump Isn’t As Fringe As You Think

As silly as Donald Trump’s presidential bid has proven thus far, and as indefensible as some of his recent remarks have been, there is a sanctimonious tone to the criticism leveled at both that would be far less grating if it weren’t so hypocritical.

Trump may rightly be accused of bigotry, but he’s no worse than, say, homophobia’s grand slam champ Rick Santorum, who has compared gay sex to bestiality. And genuine or not, the GOP has never had a problem playing on its core base’s prejudices to win political office. So while RNC Chairman Reince Priebus may have reportedly asked Trump to “tone down” his controversial remarks about immigration—you know, referring to Mexicans as “rapists”—this is the same party that demonizes immigrants regularly. Look at Arizona’s fervent (and eventually unsuccessful) attempts at racial profiling. Look at Iowa GOP congressman Steve King, who has compared immigrants to dogs.

Or look at the wave of “birtherism” that the likes of Trump and many, many Republicans across the country aimed at President Obama for years. There was no widespread condemnation by GOP leaders. Asking Trump to “tone down” his language won’t alter the reality that the GOP is not a friend to immigrants. Or blacks. Or women. Or gays. Or trans men and women. Or the poor.

Tellingly, the only hard line the GOP has taken is in response to Trump’s comments about Senator John McCain. RNC chief strategist and communications director, Sean Spicer, said, “Senator McCain is an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than most can imagine. Period. There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”

McCain may have taken issue with the swift-boating of then Democratic presidential contender, John Kerry, in 2004, but the national party sure didn’t.

I was initially annoyed with the attention lavished on Trump’s run for the presidency, but now I realize it’s a valuable opportunity to illustrate how Trump is a monster Republicans helped create. He is nothing more than a louder, shameless example of what the GOP has become. Let’s not pretend he’s a Republican outlier; he’s their id. 7/23/15 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/donald-trump-monster-gop-helped-create

7. Chattanooga Times Free Press: When will the shooting stop?

We have the same conversation about guns and public safety after every mass shooting in this country.

Each time, the conversation also gets hijacked — muddled with incorrect perceptions that anyone talking about gun standards must be talking about taking our guns away. We must get past the red herrings in this and begin to talk long enough to make this distinction: Guns in the woods and fields of our hunting lands are very different from guns in our neighborhoods, in our parks, in our strip centers, theaters, restaurants, bars, offices — even churches. Secondly, we must recognize that standards for legal gun ownership should correlate with the risk an owner or would-be owner presents.

Louisiana’s Gov. Jindal is rated an A+ by the National Rifle Association, and he has opposed every sensible piece of gun control legislation in Louisiana. Last year, he signed two bills to expand gun rights in his state — one allowing people with concealed handgun permits to carry their weapons into restaurants that serve alcohol and another expanding Louisiana’s “stand your ground” law.

Like many of our Republican politicians, Jindal called President Barack Obama’s calls for stricter gun control “completely shameful” after a Dylann Roof killed nine people in Charleston, S.C., in June. But when a naturalized U.S. citizen from Kuwait opened fire here earlier this month, Jindal released a statement saying the incident “certainly looks like an act of terrorism” that “underscores the grave reality of the threat posed to us by radical Islamic terrorism every single day.” Now in his state, with another white right-winger behind the trigger, yet another mass shooting is simply a tragedy that needs prayers again.

When are we going to say enough is enough with guns?

Our country has no common-sense gun laws — and what few we had have been stripped away by lawmakers goaded by the NRA.

It is time to stop this madness. 7/25/15 Read more at  http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/opinion/times/story/2015/jul/25/when-will-shooting-stop/316416/

8. Amy Davidson: Broken

On consecutive days last week, two Republican senators, both of whom are hoping to be the next President, released videos in which they destroyed stuff. First, Rand Paul went at a pile of paper, which he said was the United States tax code, with fire, a wood chipper, and a chain saw. (He wore safety goggles—he may be against regulations, but he’s also an ophthalmologist.) The next day saw Lindsey Graham attacking his Samsung flip phone with a cleaver, a blender, and a golf club. He also dropped a concrete block on it, threw it off a roof, and doused it with lighter fluid and ignited it. These videos suggest that Fox News, which is co-hosting the first G.O.P. Presidential debate, in Cleveland, on August 6th, should have in place firm rules regarding props, and that, perhaps, extra fire marshals should be deployed. With sixteen declared candidates, there is already a crowd-control problem; now the campaign threatens to be defined by demolition.

It’s hard enough to be heard in a crowded room without having to compete with a man who ended the week in Laredo, Texas, so that he could inspect the border, professing, “They say it’s a great danger, but I have to do it.” (He added that, once he is elected, “the Hispanics” are “going to love Trump.”) It’s harder still when you’re trying not to offend his supporters. After Trump insulted Mexicans last month, Bush said that he was personally offended, but others were more cautious. Christie commented that although some of Trump’s remarks may be “inappropriate,” he is “a good guy.” Cruz said, “I think he speaks the truth.” But if Trump weren’t around would the other Republicans behave that much more responsibly?

To mount a Presidential campaign these days, you need just two people: a candidate and a wealthy donor. Or, in Trump’s case, just one: he is his own billionaire. And he is the unadorned face of American politics. 8/03/15 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/08/03/broken

9. Timothy Egan: Trump Is the Poison His Party Concocted

Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade or so – from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout “You lie!” at their commander in chief.

It was fine when all this crossing-of-the-line was directed at President Barack Obama or other Democrats. But now that the ugliness is intramural, Trump has forced party leaders to decry something they have not only tolerated, but encouraged.

Using the X-ray vision of his new glasses, Perry has correctly diagnosed the problem, and forecast the outcome. But that toxic mix has been just the tonic for his party for years, including Perry’s suggestion that Texas might have to secede. Obama was barely into his first months in office when Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted “You lie!” at him in a joint session of Congress. For hurling that insult, Wilson was widely praised in conservative media circles.

Trump also stoked the humiliating lie about Obama’s citizenship. He began that crusade, he claimed, because so many Republicans still believe it and have encouraged him to keep it alive.

Now, the only way to trump Trump is to act like a fool in public. So Sen. Rand Paul, formerly seen raising good questions about national issues, fired up a chain saw and took it to the tax code a few days ago – a pathetic stunt. And there was Sen. Lindsey Graham, flummoxed by Trump’s exposing him as sycophant to a plutocrat, destroying his cellphone in a blender. It only made us long for the real thing: Dan Aykroyd’s Bass-O-Matic.

All of this overshadowed the entry into the race of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a sensible conservative who could beat Hillary Clinton. But he won’t get any traction until Republicans destroy Donald Trump and the vulgar, nativist element in their party that they nurtured – until it became a monster.  http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/trump-is-the-poison-his-party-concocted-1200600

8. Jamelle Bouie: Bad Polls

This early in an election cycle, polls don’t tell us anything. They aren’t predictive or especially useful. For example, at roughly this point in 2011, Barack Obama was a goner. With a net negative job approval rating, he was behind in key swing states and losing to a generic Republican in a nationwide matchup. But the election came, and the picture changed: Discontented Democrats returned to his corner, and the race tightened to a virtual tossup. With economic growth on his side, Barack Obama won, with a victory that matched those fundamentals.

With that said, if you’re going to pay attention to polls at this stage of the election, then national ones are more helpful than state-by-state rankings. Simply put, what’s true nationally tends to be true in the states as well. If a candidate holds an overall lead, then odds are good she holds it in swing states as well. By contrast, it’s hard to extrapolate from the other direction—a poll of swing states doesn’t tell us much about the national picture. In other words, whether Clinton is unpopular in three particular swing states is less important than whether she’s unpopular nationwide. As it stands, the most recent national poll—from the Washington Post and ABC News—shows her well-placed versus the other side. 7/27/15 Read more at http://www.slate.com/
articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/07/hillary_clinton_swing_state_polls_why_you_should_ignore_the_doomsayers.html

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