Aug 13 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #890

ON THE RECORD ….

“It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and congress members.” – Former President Jimmy Carter. 8/03/15.

“Their ruling really says anybody can marry anybody — and eventually it will be in any combination. I had a strong, Christian lawyer tell me yesterday that, under this decision that he has read, what it brings about is: It only requires one human being in this relationship — that you could marry your lawnmower with this decision. I think he’s right.” Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

“She couldn’t run a Fortune 500 company and now she wants to be president of the United States? She got fired. Obviously her board of directors did not think she was doing a very good job.” — DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Carly Fiorino’s tenure as CEO at HP, during which the stock lost half its value and “tens of thousands of people” lost their jobs. 7/28/15

I’ve got a record in Florida. I’m proud of my dad, and I’m certainly proud of my brother. In Florida, they called me Jeb, because I earned it. — Jeb Bush taking credit for his name! 8/07/15

“Donald Trump proved something last night. Fox News threw everything they had at him, they did it on national television, and he didn’t flinch. Donald Trump proved that you cannot embarrass Donald Trump. He is a man who lives entirely without shame or self-doubt. It’s like a superpower. And every time he refuses to back down, every time he shows what you can do and say if you have no shame, his supporters thrill to him a little more. After all, if the media can’t stop him, then what chance do the Democrats have? What chance do America’s enemies have? — Ezra Klein 8/06/15

“There’s an unspoken accord between Trump and his supporters that Thursday’s debate can only have intensified. Trump rants and raves in language that upsets and scandalizes the establishment. In return, his fans annoy the elite know-it-alls by rallying to him anyway. Together, they raise a big middle finger to everyone. That’s the art of the deal.” — Joshua Green 8/07/15

“The word came down [from Roger Ailes], ‘Get Trump! Kill this fucking Rosemary’s Baby monster in its black crib! I swear, that’s exactly what he said. So, they let Trump speak three times more than anybody else—and he did. He revealed himself to be nasty, boorish, sexist, ignorant, smug. What they forgot is that’s what the Republicans love about him!” — Bill Maher. 8.07.15

“Everything is being placed in jeopardy by the antics of Mr. Trump and we’re at a crossroads as a party. The good news is that 24 million people watched the Republican debate. The bad news is that 24 million people watched the Republican debate.” — Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) 8/08/15

“Do you have any idea what year it is? Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950s or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor? Because I simply cannot believe that in the year 2015, the United States Senate would be spending its time trying to defund women’s health care centers. You know, on second thought, maybe I shouldn’t be that surprised. The Republicans have had a plan for years to strip away women’s rights to make choices over our own bodies. Just look at the recent facts.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren responding to the latest tiresome Republican attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. 8/04/15

“We don’t want to destroy people’s jobs based on some theory that’s not proven.” — Gov. John Kasich on whether humans have caused climate change. 8/09/15 http://www.nationaljournal.com/2016-elections/john-kasich-climate-change-20150809

Roger Ailes just called. He is a great guy & assures me that “Trump” will be treated fairly on @FoxNews. His word is always good! Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump 8/10/15

“I think that if no one stands up to a bully, a bully will just keep doing what they’re doing. We’ve got an empty suit here, full of bravado but not full of anything really meaningful for the country.” — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Donald Trump. 8/10/15

“The Republican Party and Fox permitted and encouraged Trumpian vitriol for years. All that talk over the years about birth certificates and Kenya and terrorist fist-jabs (remember that one?!) and the moocher class and the scary brown people and all the rest of it…all of it created a need for a Trump, and for other Trump-like candidates, to flourish. Now it threatens to overtake them. If they’re wondering who created Trumpism, I have someplace they can look. The mirror. — Michael Tomasky in the Daily Beast 8.11.15

 

1. The Borowitz Report: Trump Fails to Back Up Misogynist Slurs with Anti-woman Proposals, Rivals Say

Tempers flared in the aftermath of Thursday night’s Republican debate, as rival candidates accused the billionaire Donald Trump of failing to back up his misogynist slurs with concrete and workable anti-woman proposals.

“As governor of Florida, I defunded Planned Parenthood,” Bush said. “Donald Trump is good at creating misogynist sound bites, but I’ve actually rolled up my sleeves and gotten things done.”

Governor Walker piled on, touting his own anti-woman achievements during his time in office. “In Wisconsin, I used my power as governor to repeal a law supporting equal pay for women,” he said. “No offense to Mr. Trump, but nothing on his résumé compares with that.”

The attacks by Trump’s rivals seemed to sting the hotheaded billionaire, who hit back hard on Friday. “When it comes to coming up with solid anti-woman solutions, I do not intend to be lectured by Jeb Bush and Scott Walker,” he said, noting that the wall he intends to build on the border with Mexico would keep out many women. More at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

2. A debate without moderation

— Mike Huckabee suggested he would defy the Supreme Court in order to ban abortion, because it’s “not the Supreme Being.”

— Marco Rubio denied that he supports abortion rights for rape and incest victims.

— Scott Walker defended his opposition to abortion when the mother’s life is at risk.

— Ben Carson came out for a tithe-like 10 percent across-the-board flat tax, because “God’s a pretty fair guy.”

— Huckabee suggested he would tax “pimps, prostitutes and illegals” to raise money for Social Security.

— Sen. Rick Santorum said the same-sex marriage ruling is not settled law “any more than Dred Scott was settled law to Abraham Lincoln.”

— Bobby Jindal said he would direct his Internal Revenue Service to investigate Planned Parenthood on Day One, which sounded like a potentially impeachable way to start a presidency. http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2015/08/a-debate-without-moderation-000191

3. Fox News Had Its Own GOP Debate Agenda: Narrow Down The Field

Fox News’ purpose in the main 10-candidate event was made plain with the first question: an in-your-face spotlight on Donald Trump’s refusal to promise not to run as an independent candidate. And the relentless pounding of Trump—on his bankruptcies, his past support for single-payer health care and abortion rights, his “specific evidence” for claiming Mexico has dispatched criminals to the U.S. (slurs about immigrants by other candidates didn’t come up) and even his sexist tweets-—continued right on through to Frank Luntz’s post-debate focus group, designed to show how much damage Trump had sustained. It was by far the least impartial showing by debate sponsors I have seen, up to and including the disgraceful ABC-moderated 2008 Democratic event that involved a deliberate trashing of all the candidates. 8/07/15 Read more at  http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/fox-news-control-over-gop-debates

4. Moody’s Forecasts a Democratic Win

“Moody’s newly released analysis for the next election, titled “A Nail-Biter in 2016,” predicts that the Democratic nominee for president will win with exactly 270 votes from the U.S. Electoral College — the minimum amount required to win. Meanwhile, the Republican nominee is forecast to earn 268 votes.” 8/15 Read more at http://images.politico.com/global/2015/08/05/presidential_election_model_080415.pdf

5. The DAILY GRILL

“Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding, and she came to my wedding. She had no choice because I gave to a foundation.” — Donald Trump

VERSUS

Trump’s comment “hurts [Sec. Clinton’s] feelings. That’s the only reason he invited her?” —Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri

 

“I was appointed U.S. Attorney by President Bush on September 10th, 2001, and the world changed enormously the next day, and that happened in my state. This is not theoretical to me,” —Chris Christie in his closing remarks, repeating the claim and date.

VERSUS

Christie was not sworn in as a federal prosecutor until January 17, 2002, over 3 months after the attacks. —  Marcy Wheeler,

 

“Barack Obama became president, and he abandoned Iraq. He left, and when he left Al Qaida was done for. ISIS was created because of the void that we left, and that void now exists as a caliphate the size of Indiana.” — Jeb Bush

VERSUS

The so-called Status of Forces of Agreement between the United States and the government of Iraq regarding the long term U.S. military presence was sealed not by the Obama administration but George W. Bush, the former Florida governor’s brother. It required U.S. combat forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009 and for all U.S. combat forces to leave the country by December 31, 2011. — Politico

 

“I governed as a conservative, and I govern effectively. And the net effect was, during my eight years, 1.3 million jobs were created. We left the state better off because I applied conservative principles in a purple state the right way, and people rose up.” — Jeb Bush

VERSUS

Home prices in the Sunshine State fell 47 percent from 2006 to 2009, the unemployment rate climbed from 3.5 percent in January 2007 to as high as 11.2 percent by the end of 2009. The Florida courts are still working through the fallout of the housing market’s collapse there. More than 105,000 foreclosures were completed in the 12 months ending in April, the most of any state.. — Politico

 

For what may be the first time in Donald Trump’s surprisingly successful campaign for president, his popularity has slipped. A national poll released by Rasmussen Reports on Tuesday found that Trump slipped 9 points from the same poll conducted in July. — The Hill 8/11/15

VERSUS

There is no sign that Donald Trump’s raucous first presidential debate is hurting his support among party voters, with the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll showing he still has a big lead over his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.” — Reuters 8/11/15

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

On Fox, Ben Stein Suggests Obama’s Defense Of Iran Deal Stems From Poor Mental Health http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/08/07/on-fox-ben-stein-suggests-obamas-defense-of-ira/204839

Fox Business Turns To Anti-Immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio For Post-Debate Analysis On Immigration http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/08/07/fox-business-turns-to-anti-immigrant-sheriff-jo/204838

GOP Presidential Field Criticized For For Courting Serial Sexist Erick Erickson http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/08/09/gop-presidential-field-criticized-for-for-court/204846

George Will On Fox News Sunday: Obama’s Comments On Iran Deal “Extraordinarily Unpresidential” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/08/09/george-will-on-fox-news-sunday-obamas-comments/204841

GOP Presidential Field Criticized For Courting Serial Sexist Erick Erickson http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/08/09/gop-presidential-field-criticized-for-for-court/204846

Two Big-Name Iowa Conservative Radio Hosts Slam Fox News’ GOP “Inquisition,” Accuse Network Of Self-Promotion And Favoritism http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/08/11/two-big-name-iowa-conservative-radio-hosts-slam/204890

Fox Host Neil Cavuto Calls Out Fox’s Erick Erickson For Sexist Comments http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/08/10/fox-host-neil-cavuto-calls-out-foxs-erick-erick/204871 

Rush Limbaugh: Transgender People Are Mentally Ill http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/08/12/rush-limbaugh-transgender-people-are-mentally-i/204905

After Banning Trump For Sexism, Erick Erickson’s RedState Calls Clinton A “Homely Woman” Who Slept “Her Way Into Power” http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/08/12/after-banning-trump-for-sexism-erick-ericksons/204902

7. Jon Stewart: You Can’t Prove That On Television

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/pm4vbu/you-can-t-prove-that-on-television

8. Democratic National Committee Announces Six Primary Debates

– October 13 – CNN – Nevada

– November 14 – CBS/KCCI/Des Moines Register – Des Moines

– December 19 – ABC/WMUR – Manchester

– January 17 – NBC/Congressional Black Caucus Institute – Charleston

– February or March – Univision/Washington Post – Miami

– February or March – PBS – Wisconsin

9. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“A new study finds that Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ program may have caused people to actually gain weight. Many mistook the slogan to mean, let’s move next door to a Cinnabon.” –Conan O’Brien

“Over the weekend in Iran, temperatures reached 165 degrees, one of the highest temperatures ever recorded on earth. In fact, it was so hot in Iran, American flags burst into flames on their own.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Thursday night is the first Republican presidential candidates’ debate. Just like ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ you’ll see Donald Trump on TV yelling at people you barely recognize.” –Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump’s phone number has been leaked. When you call Trump’s cellphone number it plays a campaign message. If you want to hear Trump’s message in English, press one. If you want to hear it in Spanish, you probably don’t follow the news.” –Conan O’Brien

“Ben from Ben & Jerry’s has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. After hearing this, Chris Christie said, ‘After all we’ve been through together?'” –Conan O’Brien

“After Donald Trump gave out Lindsey Graham’s personal phone number a couple of weeks ago, the website Gawker gave out Trump’s personal cellphone number. Which backfired when Trump just speed-insulted everyone who called him: Loser. Moron. Idiot. Loser.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rick Perry are currently fighting for the final two spots in Thursday’s Republican debate. It’s going to be tough – Chris Christie really wants those two spots.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump has fired a campaign adviser for posting racist remarks on Facebook. Isn’t that shocking? Donald Trump has a campaign adviser.” –Conan O’Brien

“It seems like everybody’s weighing in on Trumps campaign – even Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. He said that Trump is ‘probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time.’ Then Trump was like, ‘Well, at least one Cuban loves me.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Jeb Bush participated in his first Spanish-language interview with Telemundo this week, where he said he’s more optimistic than the other candidates. And you can tell he’s optimistic, cuz he thinks speaking in Spanish will help him with REPUBLICANS.” –Jimmy Fallon

“We’re in the middle of a heat wave here in New York City, and temperatures are supposed to be in the 90s for the next several days. In fact Donald Trump was so mad about the weather, he actually gave away Al Roker’s personal phone number.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Trump said if his presidential campaign fails, he will ‘ride into the sunset.’ And if Donald Trump WINS the presidency, Hillary says she’s gonna ride off a cliff like Thelma and Louise.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Chris Christie attended the Italian-American Heritage Festival street fair in Iowa this weekend, where they celebrated Italian culture and Italian food. The street fair involved two of Christie’s favorite pastimes – eating, and shutting down traffic. It’s a combo platter.” –Jimmy Fallon

10. The left responds to Chuck Schumer’s opposition to Iran deal

— “Chuck Schumer, who said it was a mistake to pass Obamacare, now comes out against the Iran Deal. This is our next Senate leader?” — Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau. 7/06/15

— “Our country doesn’t need another Joe Lieberman in the Senate, and it certainly doesn’t need him as Democratic leader. The vast majority of Democratic voters — the people who elected President Obama in part because of our shared belief that war must always be a last resort — will not stand for it.” — MoveOn political action executive director Ilya Sheyman. 8/08/15

— “We’re going to get the Iran deal done with or without Sen. Schumer or anyone else who insists on being trapped in the past when it comes to conflict resolution in the Middle East. Senator Schumer was wrong when he voted to back the war with Iraq and he’s wrong to work with Republicans to kill this nuclear deal with Iran, period.” — Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America. 8/07/15

— “You can imagine a scenario where, let’s say Republicans win the presidency and Democrats are not only in the minority but there’s a Republican in the White House, and who will the Democratic Party want to lead them? The guy that said ObamaCare was a mistake? A guy that championed the first Iraq war? A guy that helped Republicans take us into, if successful, a new war of choice in the Middle East? That’s not going to be the guy the Democrats need to lead.” — Becky Bond, political director for Credo Action. 8/07/15

— He’s the senator from Wall Street, not Main Street. In 2002, he voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq. In 2006, he supported George Bush’s nomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, reportedly telling his fellow Democrats that “a vote against Bolton was a vote against Israel.” As leader, his job would be to unite Democrats, not divide them. Yet now, given a chance to stand with President Obama, he’s chosen to stand instead with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), with Netanyahu.” — Bill Press 8/10/15

11. Jimmy Fallon: Donald Trump Clarifies Megyn Kelly Comment

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks_240VM1WI

12. Donald Trump Is Winning The Polls — And Losing The Nomination

Twelve years ago, in August 2003, Joe Lieberman led in most polls of the Democratic primary. Eight years ago, in August 2007, Rudy Giuliani maintained a clear lead in polls of Republicans, while Hillary Clinton led in polls of the Democratic nomination contest. Four years ago, in August 2011, Mitt Romney began with the lead in polls of Republican voters, but he would be surpassed by the end of the month by Rick Perry, the first of four Republican rivals who would at some point overtake Romney in national polling averages.

Lieberman, Clinton, Giuliani and Perry, as you’ve probably gathered, are not the faces atop Mount Rushmore. Only Clinton came close to winning the nomination.

It’s possible that Trump has already peaked — or that he’ll hold his support all the way through Iowa and New Hampshire, possibly even winning one or two early states, as similar candidates like Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich have in the past.4 Our emphatic prediction is simply that Trump will not win the nomination. It’s not even clear that he’s trying to do so. 10/11/15 http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/donald-trump-is-winning-the-polls-and-losing-the-nomination-2/

13. Myths And Facts On Hillary Clinton’s Email And Reports Of “Top Secret” Materials

MYTH: Clinton Received Emails Marked As “Top Secret”
FACT: None Of The Emails Sent To Clinton Were Labeled As “Classified” Or “Top Secret”

MYTH: Emails Weren’t Marked As “Classified” Because Clinton Used A Private Server Instead Of State Dept. Email
FACT: Emails Originated In State Dept. System, And Questions About Retroactive Classification Would Have Occurred Regardless Of Clinton’s Server Use

MYTH: Hillary Clinton’s Email Use Is Comparable To David Petraeus’ Crimes
FACT: Experts Have Debunked The Comparison — Petraeus Knowingly Mishandled Classified Documents, Whereas Clinton Had Authorization To Use Private Email, And There’s No Evidence She Knowingly Emailed Classified Information

MYTH: Clinton Is The Subject Of A Federal Criminal Investigation
FACT: IG Referral To Justice Department Was Not Criminal, And FBI Isn’t Targeting Clinton Herself

http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/08/12/myths-and-facts-on-hillary-clintons-email-and-r/204913#noneclassified

More facts about Hillary’s emails athttps://www.hillaryclinton.com/p/briefing/factsheets/2015/07/13/email-facts/

OPINION

1. Paul Krugman: From Trump on Down, the Republicans Can’t Be Serious

This was, according to many commentators, going to be the election cycle Republicans got to show off their “deep bench.” The race for the nomination would include experienced governors like Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, fresh thinkers like Rand Paul, and attractive new players like Marco Rubio. Instead, however, Donald Trump leads the field by a wide margin. What happened?

The answer, according to many of those who didn’t see it coming, is gullibility: People can’t tell the difference between someone who sounds as if he knows what he’s talking about and someone who is actually serious about the issues. And for sure there’s a lot of gullibility out there. But if you ask me, the pundits have been at least as gullible as the public, and still are.

For while it’s true that Mr. Trump is, fundamentally, an absurd figure, so are his rivals. If you pay attention to what any one of them is actually saying, as opposed to how he says it, you discover incoherence and extremism every bit as bad as anything Mr. Trump has to offer. And that’s not an accident: Talking nonsense is what you have to do to get anywhere in today’s Republican Party.

Until now, however, leading Republicans have generally tried to preserve a facade of respectability, helping the news media to maintain the pretense that it was dealing with a normal political party. What distinguishes Mr. Trump is not so much his positions as it is his lack of interest in maintaining appearances. And it turns out that the party’s base, which demands extremist positions, also prefers those positions delivered straight. Why is anyone surprised?

Can Mr. Trump actually win the nomination? I have no idea. But even if he is eventually pushed aside, pay no attention to all the analyses you will read declaring a return to normal politics. That’s not going to happen; normal politics left the G.O.P. a long time ago. At most, we’ll see a return to normal hypocrisy, the kind that cloaks radical policies and contempt for evidence in conventional-sounding rhetoric. And that won’t be an improvement. 8/07/15 Read more at  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/07/opinion/paul-krugman-from-trump-on-down-the-republicans-cant-be-serious.html

2. Eugene Robinson: Do-Nothing Republicans on Climate Change

The vast majority of scientists who have devoted their professional lives to studying the Earth’s climate believe human-induced warming is an urgent problem requiring bold action. Republican candidates for president insist they know better.

With one possible exception — Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who barely registers in the polls — GOP contenders either doubt the scientific consensus on climate change or oppose attempts to do anything about it. This promises to be one of the starkest ideological divides facing voters next year.

No pressure; it’s only the fate of the planet hanging in the balance.

Before President Obama could even announce his administration’s tough new curbs on carbon emissions from power plants, Republican hopefuls launched pre-emptive attacks. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who flat-out denies that climate change is taking place, accused scientists of “cooking the books” and Democrats of choosing “California environmentalist billionaires and their campaign donations” over “the jobs of union members.” Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida charged that the new rules “will make the cost of electricity high for millions of Americans.” Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called the regulations “unconstitutional” and claimed they would cost jobs.

These comments came at Sunday’s Freedom Partners forum, organized by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch to give GOP candidates a chance to strut their stuff. In that setting, I suppose, reality-based rhetoric would be too much to hope for.

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both promise even tougher action against climate change than Obama has taken. This is a very big reason why elections matter. 8/04/15 Read more at  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/08/04/do-nothing_republicans_on_climate_change_127639.html

3. Noam N. Levey: How Medicare fulfilled a president’s half-century-old promise

Half a century after President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation creating Medicare and Medicaid with a pledge that seniors no longer would “be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine,” the promise has been largely fulfilled.

The two entitlements – one for the elderly and one for low-income Americans – have kept generations of seniors in their homes and extended life-saving insurance protections to poor children and families. The share of uninsured seniors, which was 48% in 1962, is now less than 2%.

Yet, the two programs today look far different than they did in 1965, as Democrats and Republicans have each expanded and reshaped them over the last five decades.

The evolution has been at times contentious, and often unexpected, with GOP presidents presiding over some of the biggest expansions of the government healthcare plans.

That history may offer clues about what lies ahead for the sweeping health law that President Obama enacted in 2010.

Since the ’80s, the federal government has used its power as the largest single payer for healthcare to drive medical providers around the country to improve quality and efficiency.

“We’ve had Republican presidents expanding benefits and imposing cost controls,” said University of North Carolina political scientist Jonathan Oberlander, a Medicare authority. “The politics of Medicare aren’t entirely predictable.”

Whether the Affordable Care Act will follow a similar trajectory remains unclear.

Unlike Medicare and Medicaid, which were ultimately backed by Republicans and implemented with relatively little controversy, the 2010 law remains deeply polarizing, even five years after its enactment.

But around the country, there are some signs that GOP officials are quietly making accommodations, and even putting a conservative stamp on elements of the law, such as the Medicaid expansion.

“Once you have government insurance programs, they tend to stay around,” said Oberlander. “Lots of people have screamed about socialized medicine over the years, yet on marched Medicare and Medicaid.” 7/29/15 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-medicare-anniversary-20150729-story.html

4. Van Jones: Busted: 3 myths about Obama’s climate plan

On Sunday morning, President Obama released a video “memo to America.” It pointed to droughts, super-storms and increases in asthma as evidence that climate change is not just a problem for future generations, but our own.

Today, the administration ispublishing the plan to do something about it.

If you live, work or breathe in the United States, Obama’s new national Clean Power Plan is good news for you. Unfortunately, you would never know that — if you listened to all the big polluters screaming bloody murder about it.

The clean power plan is a smart approach — because it is both powerful and flexible. It requires that U.S. power plants reduce their emissions 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. But each state gets to decide how best to do that. They can invest in renewables like solar and wind, switch to natural gas, or simply upgrade coal plants to produce more electricity with lower emissions.

This is smart federal policy-making. President Obama is setting a clear goal, but he is leaving it to the laboratories of democracy to decide how best to get there.

Of course, that fact will not stop the bellyaching from fossil fuel companies and their puppet politicians. Big polluters are already pulling out all the stops, trying to convince you that this plan will somehow doom the republic.

But the free ride for dirty energy is coming to an end. The clean power plan is dramatic leap toward a healthier, more prosperous America. If anyone tells you otherwise, help them get their facts straight. 8/03/15 Read more at http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/03/opinions/jones-obama-climate-plan/index.html

5. David Shorr: We Need Real Options For An Iran Deal, Not Unicorn Fantasies

What do unicorns and a perfect agreement to constrain Iran’s nuclear activities have in common? The question is rhetorical of course, but it makes a serious point about the deal recently reached by Iran, the U.S., and six other key international players, and is currently being debated in Congress.

By any reasonable standard, the deal places stringent limits on the Iranian nuclear program and subjects it to highly intrusive verification—under penalty of re-imposed sanctions if Iran fails to comply. But that hasn’t stopped critics from judging the agreement by unreasonable unicorn-like standards and the fantasy of walking Iran back to the tiny program it had ten years ago.

An honest and healthy policy debate focuses on realistic options, not unicorn fantasies. Iran will not offer a better deal. The rest of the world will not go along with continued sanctions if we reject this deal. Even the advocates of military strikes admit Iran could rebuild its nuclear capabilities within just several years after being attacked. So if a war would bring us back to square one after just three to five years, how is that preferable to limits set for 15 years?

Some critics of the agreement simply don’t want to deal with Iran at all. They’re correct that the agreement won’t stop Iran’s leaders from oppressing their own people or sewing instability in the region. There are two big problems with this position. First, Iran’s leading dissidents are on-record supporting the nuclear deal. And second, anyone arguing this case and rejecting the deal cannot then complain about the special dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran. The deal does not solve all problems with Iran, but it does an excellent job with most urgent one. 8/03/15 Read more at  http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/iran-nuclear-deal-unicorn-fantasies

6. Matt Taibbi: Republican Assault on Trump May Only Make Him Stronger

The main argument of all of Trump’s conservative critics seems to be, “He’s not a real Republican! He’ll destroy the party establishment!” The people making these criticisms seem to assume that conservative voters will see this as a bad thing.

But there are plenty of Tea Party-type voters out there who hate the Republican Party establishment almost as much as they hate the Democrats. There are also plenty of right-wing voters who think George Will and Charles Krauthammer are smug media weasels only slightly less disgusting than the Rachel Maddows and Keith Olbermanns of the world. A know-it-all is a know-it-all.

Trump’s followers are a gang of pissed-off nativists who are tired of being laughed at, belittled, dismissed, and told who to vote for. So it seems incredible that the Republican establishment thinks it’s going to get rid of Trump by laughing at, belittling and dismissing him, and telling his voters who they should be picking.

These hysterical critics are making one of the world’s most irredeemable bullies look persecuted and like a victim, a difficult feat. The desperation to get rid of him may just feed more and more into the right wing base’s crazy victim complex, and in turn get Trump even more support.

The Republican party and its allies at Fox, on afternoon radio and in the blogosphere have spent many years whipping audiences into zombie-style bloodlusts. When it suited them, party insiders told voters across middle America that foreigners were trying to crawl through their windows to take their wives, and that stuffed suits in Washington and in the media were conspiring to enslave their children in Marxist bondage.

Now all of that paranoia is backing up on them. They created this monster, and it’s coming for them now. Trumpenstein lives. He is loose in the town and on his way to the doctor’s castle. We may not be laughing two years from now, but for the time being, man, what a show. 8/07/15 Read more at  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/republican-assault-on-trump-may-only-make-him-stronger-20150807

7. Tom Blanton: America classifies way too much information — and we are all less safe for it

The inspectors general of the State Department and the intelligence community have made a security referral to the Justice Department regarding Hillary Clinton’s emails on the grounds that some of them were “potentially classified.”

So is this column.

Watch out: Your clearance is at stake.

Here at the National Security Archive, in our “Dubious Secrets” series, we have published hundreds of U.S. government documents that one office or official considers declassified, while another insists must stay secret. Whom do you listen to?

But let’s talk about Clinton. Thank goodness she used a private email server when she was secretary of state. If she had used the State Department system, practically none of her email would survive. That’s how bad State’s electronic archiving was then. Instead, the State Department has 30,000 of her messages, and history is becoming much the wiser. Her critics, not so much.

Now, the same folks who clamored to see those messages seem to want to lock them up in classified vaults. Foolishness. They intend to redact the emails, thus putting red flags right on messages that circulated for years in unclassified form, thus highlighting the secrets they contain, if there really are any. Keeping the emails unclassified would actually be the best way to protect anything sensitive – through obscurity.

There were significant efficiency gains for our national security when the secretary of state ran her main email account in unclassified form. No artificial barriers to information sharing. A bright line against including truly classified documents. A standing rebuke to the massive overclassification all around her.

I’ve seen a couple-million pages of documents that were classified when the government put them on paper or computer screens. I can say from experience that few deserved such consideration.

The best defense of an open society is open information. We are not safer in the dark.

Those inspectors general poring over Clinton’s emails need to get back to their transparency and accountability jobs, where they should focus on opening – not closing – the files that will empower a free citizenry to protect our country and ourselves, and hold our leaders to account. 7/31/15 Read more at  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-united-states-is-not-safer-when-its-citizens-are-left-in-the-dark/2015/07/31/641b53fa-36e2-11e5-b673-1df005a0fb28_story.html

8. Jennifer Granholm: GOP candidates’ fatal problem

I used to chuckle when people claimed that voters make decisions based upon how much they like a candidate and not on a candidate’s policies. But after last night’s debate, I’m starting to think that the GOP candidates must believe that policies don’t matter much to voters at all.

However, if people actually do vote based upon policies, you only need to look at public opinion polls to realize how destructive these positions will be with the general electorate.

The debate took place on the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, yet not a single candidate expressed support for the freedom to vote. Candidates in the first debate did not utter the words “middle class” even once. The words were uttered only twice in the prime time debate. You’d think with all of those candidates, one could afford to spare a moment for issues that are so important to so many Americans. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

In 2008 and 2012, the Republican Party lost presidential elections because its candidates hitched their campaigns to an unpopular, out-of-touch and out-of-date agenda. This time around, some Democrats privately worried that, perhaps, they had finally learned their lesson and would moderate positions.

If last night was any indication, the Democratic nominee may not have anything to worry about. 8/07/15 Read more at http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/07/opinions/granholm-debate-reality/index.html

9. Paul Krugman: G.O.P. Candidates and Obama’s Failure to Fail

What did the men who would be president talk about during last week’s prime-time Republican debate? Well, there were 19 references to God, while the economy rated only 10 mentions. Republicans in Congress have voted dozens of times to repeal all or part of Obamacare, but the candidates only named President Obama’s signature policy nine times over the course of two hours. And energy, another erstwhile G.O.P. favorite, came up only four times.

Strange, isn’t it? The shared premise of everyone on the Republican side is that the Obama years have been a time of policy disaster on every front. Yet the candidates on that stage had almost nothing to say about any of the supposed disaster areas.

And there was a good reason they seemed so tongue-tied: Out there in the real world, none of the disasters their party predicted have actually come to pass. President Obama just keeps failing to fail. And that’s a big problem for the G.O.P. — even bigger than Donald Trump. 8/10/15 Read more at  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/10/opinion/paul-krugman-gop-candidates-and-obamas-failure-to-fail.html

10. Josh Marshall: The Declining Marginal Value of Crazy

Several days ago, perennial presidential candidate Mike Huckabee charged that President Obama was ready to lead Israeli Jews “to the ovens.” A few days later, he said he might use not only the FBI but even the US military to prevent abortions. And around the same time, Ted Cruz called Obama the world’s biggest funder of Islamic terrorism. There was a day when cracks like these would have stopped the political world in its tracks, spurring transgressive glee from supporters and outrage from liberals and normal people. But this summer, they’ve struggled to break through. And the reason is obvious: Donald Trump has flooded the market with a new, purer brand of Crazy that has left the other candidates scrambling and basically unable to compete.

Trump is now in the lead in virtually every national poll of the Republican primary race. It’s easy to overstate what that means since, in such a populous field, he can do that handily with something like a mere 20% support. But it’s worth stepping back to see how we got here. Because Trump is in many ways the logical end result of seven years – really two-plus decades – of Republican cultivation of anger and grievance as a method of conducting politics.This is what brought us the 2010 and 2014 election triumphs on the one hand, but also government shut-downs, debt crises based on nothing, and more.

That novelty and lack of normal political constraints is what is allowing him to run circles around his competitors who had hoped to play in the Crazy space. Showmanship, lack of touch with reality, and a palpable handle on the grievance and unrestrained self-assertion that is at the center of modern Republican base politics have made Trump, for now, almost impossible to outdo in a crowded field. 8/10/15 Read more at  http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-declining-marginal-value-of-crazy

11. Matt Taibbi: Inside the GOP Clown Car

On the campaign trail in Iowa, Donald Trump’s antics have forced the other candidates to get crazy or go home

Politics used to be a simple, predictable con. Every four years, the money men in D.C. teamed up with party hacks to throw their weight behind whatever half-bright fraud of a candidate proved most adept at snowing the population into buying a warmed-over version of the same crappy policies they’ve always bought.

Pundits always complained that there wasn’t enough talk about issues during these races, but in reality, issues were still everything. Behind the scenes, where donors gave millions for concrete favors, there was always still plenty of policy. And skilled political pitchmen like Christie, who could deftly deliver on those back-room promises to crush labor and hand out transportation contracts or whatever while still acting like a man of the people, were highly valued commodities. pagebreak

Not anymore. Trump has blown up even the backroom version of the issues-driven campaign. There are no secret donors that we know of. Trump himself appears to be the largest financial backer of the Trump campaign. A financial report disclosed that Trump lent his own campaign $1.8 million while raising just $100,000.

There’s no hidden platform behind the shallow facade. With Trump, the facade is the whole deal. If old-school policy hucksters like Christie can’t find a way to beat a media master like Trump at the ratings game, they will soon die out.

In a perverse way, Trump has restored a more pure democracy to this process. He’s taken the Beltway thinkfluencers out of the game and turned the presidency into a pure high-school-style popularity contest conducted entirely in the media. Everything we do is a consumer choice now, from picking our shoes to an online streaming platform to a presidential nominee.

The irony, of course, is that when America finally wrested control of the political process from the backroom oligarchs, the very first place where we spent our newfound freedom and power was on the campaign of the world’s most unapologetic asshole. It may not seem funny now, because it’s happening to us, but centuries from this moment, people will laugh in wonder.

America is ceasing to be a nation, and turning into a giant television show. And this Republican race is our first and most brutal casting call. 8/12/15 Read more at  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/inside-the-gop-clown-car-20150812

12. Scott Lemieux: Anti-abortion hysteria: the new norm for Republican presidential candidates

Roe v Wade wasn’t overruled in the 1992 US supreme court case Planned Parenthood v Casey, but the justices did give states the power to regulate and restrict the procedure. In the years since, many states did make abortion much harder to obtain without officially outlawing it. But the pro-life movement means to push until restrictions turn into bans. And as the electoral primaries heat up, it’s becoming clear that that radicalism has moved into the mainstream in the Republican Party.

The latest anti-choice move: try to take custody of a woman’s fetus

Followers of policy at the state level could see all this coming. Opponents of reproductive freedom, especially in the reddest states, are no longer satisfied with merely making abortion less accessible (especially for poor and rural women). They want it all. And those awful ideas from the state level are floating to the top. Some of the frontrunner Republicans are explicit about wanting women to have even fewer reproductive rights than 19th-century American women did.

American women, then, face a stark choice. Two of the frontrunners would seek to extinguish a woman’s right to choose entirely. If Scott Walker had his way, women who get pregnant would potentially face a state-imposed death sentence. Given that the next president could be in a position to replace Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer – two of the members of the razor-thin five-vote majority supporting Roe v Wade – Americans who don’t want to return women to the reproductive dark ages should vote accordingly come November. 8/10/15 Read more at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/10/anti-abortion-hysteria-republican-candidates

13. David Denby: The Three Faces of Trump

People are constantly surprised and shocked by Trump because he doesn’t play by any known set of political rules. Even the three formidable Fox moderators (including Chris Wallace) were limited in their understanding of him by what they expected of political candidates—acknowledgment of some minimal level of consistency, plausibility, and accountability. They thought they could trip him up, even trap him, Tim Russert-style, in his contradictions and political changes. But he answered them with gibberish—silly jokes, non sequiturs, and irrelevant assertions. It’s impossible for Trump to contradict himself, since, as many have said, he has no beliefs, in the sense of ideological beliefs.

He exploited the country’s bankruptcy laws when his hotel-casino investments in Atlantic City went sour, and anyway, he got out early and made a lot of money. Got it? He made money. A single-payer system, often known as socialized medicine, “works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you’re talking about here.” (i.e., fifteen years ago). Got it? It works. But the Affordable Care Act, which could be seen as a hesitant first step toward a single-payer system, “is a disaster.” You can’t argue with reasoning like this because it always circles back to Trump’s triumphs over the naïve. He’s gone past contradiction, beyond tautology, into infallibility. In advance of the debate, he stopped studying policy papers. He doesn’t need answers; his temperament is the answer. My guess is that he will persist as long as he’s having fun, not spending much of his own money, and enjoying high poll numbers. Which could be right into the primaries next winter. The Republican Party and the media can’t begin to understand him until they look at his face. 10/12/15 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-three-faces-of-trump

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