ON THE RECORD ….
“This email thing, it has kind of a mystique to it. You know, an email is just an utterance in digital form. But it has some kind of dark energy that gets everybody excited. It’s almost like a vampire. She’s going to have to find a stake and put it right through the heart of these emails in some way.” — Gov. Jerry Brown 8/21/15
“Americans expect Congress to help keep our country strong and growing – not threaten to shut down our government. When Congress gets back, they should prevent a shutdown, pass a responsible budget, and prove that this is a country that looks forward – a country that invests in our future, and keeps our economy growing for all Americans.” — President Obama in his weekly address 8/22/15
“The ‘classification’ [of Hillary Clinton’s emails] has become an administrative tug of war which occurred long after the emails were sent: should some information that was not considered classified at the time now be re-designated as classified? And if that happens, should Hillary be in trouble for discussing classified information on her personal email server by some sort of time warp logic because some government officials now think these documents should be classified differently.” — Josh Marshall 8/21/15
“My generation is on the sidelines of policy making now; this is a natural development. But decades of experience strongly suggest that there are epochal moments that should not be squandered. President Nixon realized it with China. Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush realized it with the Soviet Union. And I believe we face it with Iran today.” — Brent Scowcroft, urging the Congress to support the Iran nuclear deal. 8/21/15
“We live in a nation in which a handful of very, very wealthy people have extraordinary power over our economy and our political life and the media. They are very, very powerful and many of them are extremely greedy. For the life of me, I will never understand how a family like the Koch brothers, worth $85 billion, apparently think that’s not enough money.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). 5/23/15
“The email story may not be the most ridiculous fake scandal in the history of the Clintons, because there’s a lot of competition for that title. As has often been the case, it was a poor decision Hillary Clinton made that got the scandal ball rolling. But there are only so many times you can ask “What is she hiding???” before you have to come up with something that she might actually be hiding.” — Paul Waldman 8/19/15
The Dow Jones Industrial Average’s massive sell-off Monday morning was God’s way of punishing the Obama administration for supporting abortion rights and funding Planned Parenthood, not the reverberations of China’s stock-market crash. — Televangelist Pat Robertson 8/14/15
“Trump has certainly crafted an appeal to voters who like impractical ideas. But his true threat lies in the fact that Trump himself is crazy — not just ideologically, though he is certainly that as well, but in the sense that he lacks any rational connection between his actions and his goals, to the extent that his goals are discernible at all. That is also his downfall.” — Jonathan Chait 8/26/15
“Donald Trump is the political equivalent of chaff, a billion shiny objects all floating through the sky at once, ephemeral, practically without substance, serving almost exclusively to distract from more important things – yet nonetheless completely impossible to ignore.” — Leon H. Wolf in Red State 8/25/15
“Twenty-five percent of our party that probably thinks Obama was born in Kenya or wants to believe that. There’s 25 percent of our party wants him to be a Muslim because they hate him so much. So, there’s a dark side of politics that Mr. Trump is appealing to.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 8/25/15.
Trump’s casual relationship with facts and workable policy is actually most likely part of his appeal. This poses fresh challenges for the media — not just Ramos-style questioners — and also for his rivals. The games may be rigged, but few in the audience can claim they didn’t get their money’s worth. And Trump, of course, owns the ballpark, and is trying to buy the league.” — ABC’s Rick Klein 8/26/15
“It’s the ones who won’t win anyway, I suppose, who can take the gloves off. Those who have a chance of winning don’t want to engage with a megalomaniac with a billion dollars.” — Iowan Republican, Doug Gross. 8/20/15
“You know, if this were another country, we could maybe call for an expedited election, right? I would love that. Can we do that? I’d like to have the election tomorrow, I don’t want to wait.” — Donald Trump, 8/21/15 The Hill.
“Yes, Donald Trump, America’s great Irish hope, unveiled his immigration plan this week — and it is yuge. It’s a three-point plan called Cinco de Bye-o. Here are the plans: repeal the 14th amendment, seize the wages of illegal immigrants who are working here, use that money to build a wall, and then deport all 11 million of them. Is any of this possible? No. But it gave millions of Fox News viewers their first erection in years.” — Bill Maher (video) 8/21/15
Trump is not only successfully dashing the 2016 hopes of the GOP, he’s also putting a target on Latinos. And unfortunately, he’s catering to the basest instincts of the least measured segment of our citizenry. Trump is unleashing a destructive fervor that’s taking on a life of its own and even the Republican establishment—with all its billions and billions of dollars—can’t put a muzzle on it.” — Kerry Eleveld in the Daily Kos 8/22/15
“If Trump is nominated, then everything we think we know about presidential nominations is wrong.” — Larry Sabato, 8/22/15.
“Trump is breaking every convention of presidential politics—flaunting his unapologetically egotistical, politically incorrect style—and baffling pundits in the process. Trump is often lampooned for this, but maybe the joke’s on everyone else. His grandiosity appears to be working.” — Brian Resnick in the NationalJournal 8/20/15
“Trump could explode at any moment in a fiery orange ball. But meanwhile, he has exploded the hoary conventions, money-grubbing advisers and fund-raising excesses of the presidential campaign, turning everything upside down, inside out, into sauerkraut.” — Maureen Dowd 8/23/15
“Hopefully, he’s going to sit there and say, ‘When I become elected president, what we’re going to do is we’re going to make the border a vacation spot, it’s going to cost you $25 for a permit, and then you get $50 for every confirmed kill. That’d be one nice thing.” — Jim Sherota, an attendee at Trump’s Alabama rally. 8/21/15
1.The DAILY GRILL
“I for one don’t think Planned Parenthood ought to get a penny, though, and that’s the difference. Because they’re not actually doing women’s health issues. They’re involved in something way different than that.” — Jeb Bush calling to defund Planned Parenthood. (Video) 8/25/15
“More than 4.4 million sexually transmitted infection tests or treatments in 2012, including HIV testing, doesn’t count as women’s health. Neither do 2.1 million women who received reversible contraception. Nearly half a million Pap tests and more than half a million breast exams. None of this is women’s health, says Jeb Bush, noted women’s health expert.” — Laura Clawson in the Daily Kos 8/25/15
A Boston man told police that he beat and urinated on a homeless man early Wednesday because the man was Hispanic, then justified the assault by telling police that “Donald Trump was right — all these illegals need to be deported.” — Boston Globe 8/20/15
“I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.” — Trump, when told of the alleged assault.
“There ought to be greater enforcement … so that you don’t have these, you know, ‘anchor babies,’ as they’re described, coming into the country. … frankly, it’s more related to Asian people” — Jeb Bush 8//19/15
How about “babies,” “children,” or “American citizens.” — Hillary Clinton✔@HillaryClinton 8/19/15
2. Bernie Takes on the Media
3. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don’t have to)
Fox’s The Five Hosts Embrace View That Government Assistance Is “A Way To Keep Minorities Enslaved” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/08/20/foxs-the-five-hosts-embrace-view-that-governmen/205078
Limbaugh: “94 Million Americans Are Not Working, And They’re All Eating”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/08/20/limbaugh-94-million-americans-are-not-working-a/205066
Joe Scarborough Hypes Right Wing Media’s False Claim That Clinton’s Server Was Kept In A Bathroom Closet (the server was actually stored in a data center in New Jersey) http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/08/20/joe-scarborough-hypes-right-wing-medias-false-c/205063
Fox Host Dismisses Income Inequality: “It’s Sort Of A State Of Mind” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/08/21/fox-host-dismisses-income-inequality-its-sort-o/205090
Fox Host Thinks It’s “Thrilling” That Trump “Says Exactly What He Thinks,” Like Using the Slur “Anchor Baby” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/08/21/fox-host-thinks-its-thrilling-that-trump-says-e/205104
Fox & Friends Rewrites Background Of Alleged Terrorists To Make Them The Face Of Birthright Citizenship http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/08/21/fox-amp-friends-rewrites-background-of-alleged/205097
NRA Smears Martin O’Malley As A Friend To Criminals With First 2016 Campaign Magazine Cover http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/08/21/nra-smears-martin-omalley-as-a-friend-to-crimin/205084
Fox Host Blames Obama Administration For Attempted Train Attack In France http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/08/24/fox-host-blames-obama-administration-for-attemp/205111
Breitbart News Compares Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards To Hitler http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/08/24/breitbart-news-compares-planned-parenthood-pres/205112
Fox Host Connects Thwarted Attack On Train To Completely Unrelated “Very Strict” French Gun Laws http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/08/24/fox-host-connects-thwarted-attack-on-train-to-c/205125
Major Media Outlets Fail To Disclose That Prominent Clinton Critic, Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Is An Adviser To Jeb Bush http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/08/24/major-media-outlets-fail-to-disclose-prominent/205123
Laura Ingraham Calls Planned Parenthood Employees “Heinous, Hitlerian Freaks” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/08/26/laura-ingraham-calls-planned-parenthood-employe/205180
4. Late Night Jokes for Dems
‘The beautiful Heidi Klum is on the show tonight. Donald Trump was actually quoted as saying that Heidi is ‘no longer a 10.’ Heidi said the comment didn’t bother her, especially coming from someone who was never even a 4.’ –Jimmy Fallon
“Trump recently said he won’t eat Oreos anymore because the company that makes them moved to Mexico. Then Chris Christie said, ‘Does that mean I can start dipping them in salsa?'” –Jimmy Fallon
“A new CNN poll shows that Donald Trump is within six points of Hillary Clinton. It’s the closest Trump has ever gotten to a woman over 40.” –Seth Meyers
“Apparently President Obama’s favorite cocktail is a martini. When asked how he likes it, he said, ‘On the beach, in Hawaii, in 2017.'” –Jimmy Fallon
“This week the Obama administration warned China to remove its secret agents from the U.S. Then in the middle of Obama’s announcement a plant behind him got up and walked away.” –Jimmy Fallon
“Donald Trump unveiled his immigration policy and now he’s getting a lot of flak. His policy would have prevented his own grandfather from coming to America. That explains his new campaign slogan: ‘Vote Trump to prevent another Trump.'” –Conan O’Brien
“Donald Trump is the grandson of German immigrants. Don’t worry. The last time a German guy with crazy hair took over a country, everything turned out fine.” –Conan O’Brien
“A new CNN poll shows that Carly Fiorina has pushed Chris Christie out of the top 10 for the Republican nomination. Unfortunately, she threw her back out doing it.” –Seth Meyers
“There are reports that if Joe Biden runs for president, he would promise to serve for only one term — because nothing says confidence like promising your presidency would be over quickly.” –Jimmy Fallon
“Chris Christie said he will top Donald Trump’s Iowa State Fair helicopter entrance by riding in on a pony. As a result, all the ponies in Iowa have gone into hiding.” –Conan O’Brien
“Donald Trump was photographed at the Iowa State Fair eating a pork chop on a stick. That’s what I love about America. You can fly on a private jet and eat at five-star restaurants. But if you want to be president, when they hand you a pork chop on a stick in Iowa, you have to eat it.” –Jimmy Kimmel
“Donald Trump’s new policy paper would not give automatic citizenship to children born in America if they have foreign parents. Said Trump, ‘It’s nothing personal, Sasha and Malia.'” –Seth Meyers
5. Et tu, NPR?
An NPR article on the government inquiry into classified emails cited two former government officials to criticize Hillary Clinton’s handling of her private email server when she was secretary of state. However, the article did not disclose that the former officials have conservative ties, with one of them advising GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush.
In the article, NPR extensively quoted Ron Hosko, who was identified only as previously leading “the FBI’s criminal investigative division.” Hosko suggested that emails which were sent to Clinton — and which have since been retroactively classified in an interagency dispute over classification levels — might represent “serious breaches of national security”:
NPR did not mention that Hosko is currently the president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF), a right-wing non-profit that claims to defend police officers fighting criminal charges, but which has come under scrutiny for financial ties to other conservative groups, such as the Federalist Society and the American Spectator.
The NPR article also cited an interview that former NSA Director Michael Hayden gave on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where Hayden said about Clinton’s email use: “Put legality aside for just a second, it’s stupid and dangerous.” But NPR failed to note that Hayden is not just a former NSA director; he works as an adviser to Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign: 8/20/15 http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/08/20/npr-story-on-clinton-emails-does-not-disclose-s/205074
6. The Borowitz Report: Nation Needs Cheaper Way to Find Worst People
With U.S. Presidential elections now costing more than five billion dollars, there must be a cheaper way to find the worst people in the country, experts believe.
According to Davis Logsdon, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota, the United States could use current technology to find the nation’s most reprehensible people at a fraction of the five-billion-dollar price tag.
“Any search for the worst people in the country should logically begin one place: on Twitter,” said Logsdon, who recommends scouring the social network for users who consistently show signs of narcissistic-personality disorder, poor impulse control, and other traits common to odious people.
Once a comprehensive list of those Twitter users is compiled, Logsdon said, it could be cross-referenced with a database containing the names of people who have presided over spectacular business failures, have been the target of multiple ethics probes, or are currently under indictment for a broad array of criminal offenses.
All in all, Logsdon believes that his method for finding the nation’s worst people would cost practically nothing, leaving five billion dollars left over to help rebuild the nation’s schools, roads, and other crumbling infrastructure.
The political scientist expects to encounter significant resistance to his proposal, however. “It’s hard to imagine a new system finding worse people than our current one does,” he admitted. Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/
7. Hillary Clinton email “scandal” fact check
8. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The toxic mining law
9. GunFAIL CXXXIV
Between August 7th and 13th, 55 guns were discovered by TSA agents at airports around the country.
Among the stranger stories from the week are the Minnesota man who slept with a gun for protection but … shot himself in his sleep; the Pennsylvania man who dropped his gun at home and shot his elderly neighbor through the apartment wall, and; the local elected official from Alburgh, VT, who accidentally shot himself, and then turned out to be the biggest drug dealer in town, and not a “good guy with a gun” after all. — David Waldman in the Daily Kos. 8/20/15 For the full listings for the week go to http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/20/1410421/-A-gun-in-the-home-increases-the-risk-of-accidents-So-does-a-gun-next-door-GunFAIL-CXXXIV
10. Robin Williams: Political Humor at the 2008 British Gala
11. Digging Up Dirt on Hillary
A RNC staffer spends his days wading through the the hundreds of boxes stored in the Clinton archives as part of an unprecedented research operation undertaken by the RNC to stop Hillary Clinton in her tracks. 8/25/15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/24/how-the-gop-is-digging-up-dirt-on-hillary.html
12. Government shut down threatened over Planned Parenthood funding
An explosive confrontation brewing between the House Republican leadership and conservatives over Planned Parenthood is threatening to shut down the government for the second time in three years. And House GOP leaders have yet to settle on a strategy to avert it.
Desperate to avoid another closure, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his team would prefer to build bipartisan opposition to funding the group through a series of high-profile Congressional investigations. But, at this point, that seems unlikely to cut it with a bloc of House conservatives who have said they simply won’t vote for a large-scale spending plan that funds Planned Parenthood. 8/25/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/story/2015/08/house-gop-leaders-congress-avoid-shutdown-government-121687.html
1. Betsy Woodruff: Why Evangelicals Worship Trump
Trump has been courting the evangelical vote for quite some time. The Donald J. Trump Foundation has made donations to evangelical groups like Iowa’s The Family Leader ($10,000 in 2013), Samaritan’s Purse ($10,000 in 2013) and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ($100,000 in 2012), according to IRS forms posted on Guidestar.org.
But beyond the financial investment, the conservative Christian voters who play a key role in helping Republican candidates win primaries and general elections like him for some pretty understandable reasons. And that helps explain why his candidacy has had staying power that leaves many beltway graybeards scratching their heads—and why he could be an even bigger problem for the Republican establishment than some expect.
A clever observer could have foretold all of this by watching Trump’s appearance at Liberty University on September 24, 2012. The college—a powerhouse of conservative influence where virtually every Republican presidential contender speaks—invited Trump to deliver one of their convocation addresses, and he agreed, taking care to note that he waived his classy, hefty, yuuuge speaking fee.
Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of the college’s late founder, Jerry Falwell, introduced Trump to raucous applause, calling him “one of the great visionaries of our time.”
Falwell also praised Trump’s accomplishments in the political realm.
“In 2011, after failed attempts by Senator John McCain and Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump singlehandedly forced President Obama to release his birth certificate,” he said without irony, drawing more applause. 8/21/15 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/08/21/why-evangelicals-worship-trump.html
2. Gene Lyons: Hillary Clinton can’t catch a fair shake with media
No cage filled with parrots could have recited the list of familiar anti-Hillary talking points more efficiently than Diane Rehm’s guests.
The email flap, opined the Times’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “creates and feeds into this narrative about the Clintons and Mrs. Clinton that the rules are different for them, that she’s not one of us.”
Most Americans, she added indignantly, “don’t have access to a private email server.”
Actually, most Americans don’t know what a server is, or why the hardware’s supposed to matter. Then, too, most Americans have never been secretary of state, aren’t married to a former president, and don’t enjoy Secret Service protection at home.
Stolberg saw a perception problem, too. Nobody was rude enough to ask her about the perception caused by the Times’ public editor’s conclusion that her own newspaper appeared to have an ax to grind against the Clintons, after it falsely reported that the emails were the object of a criminal investigation.
Which they are not.
Stolberg also complained that both Clintons “play by a separate set of rules, (and) that the normal standards don’t apply.”
Which normal standards? According to, yes, The New York Times:
“When (Clinton) took office in 2009 . . . the State Department allowed the use of home computers as long as they were secure. . . . There appears to have been no prohibition on the exclusive use of a private server; it does not appear to be an option anyone had thought about.”
So why are we talking about this at all? No secretary of state previous to Clinton had a government email account.
Meanwhile, this has to be at least the fourth time the same crowd has predicted her imminent demise, if not her indictment and conviction. All based upon partisan leaks — this Trey Gowdy joker is nothing compared to Kenneth Starr’s leak-o-matic prosecutors — and upon presumed evidence in documents nobody’s yet seen.
From the Rose Law Firm billing records to Benghazi, it’s the same old story: When the evidence finally emerges, it turns out that Hillary has been diligently coloring inside the lines all along. 8/20/2015 http://chicago.suntimes.com/opinion/7/71/894561/gene-lyons-hillary-clinton-cant-catch-fair-shake-media
3. Anne Applebaum: Donald Trump: Spokesman for birthers, truthers, and Internet trolls
Trump’s defenders — and I know because they tell me so online — say they admire him because he is allegedly “anti-establishment.” They are wrong: He isn’t anti-establishment at all. As a vastly wealthy man — one who can invite an ex-secretary of state to his wedding and expect her to come — he lives at the very heart of a certain slice of the establishment. But of course he is different from other politicians in another sense: He is the only presidential candidate who uses, on television, the kind of language normally found in the comment section of a celebrity Web site or the more aggressive Reddit forums. Vulgar insults, racist slurs, manufactured “anger” and invented “facts” are all a normal part of debate in those kinds of public spaces. Thanks to Trump, they have now migrated to presidential politics, too.
Protest candidates are hardly a uniquely American phenomenon. Silvio Berlusconi brought the language and style of Italian tabloid television into the center of Italian politics. Multiple far-right ideologues have brought anger and bombast into European debates. In Britain, the obscurantist far left is having a revival in the form of Jeremy Corbyn, a bearded Marxist — he favors the nationalization of industry and nuclear disarmament — who may well be the next leader of the Labor Party.
All of these candidates appeal to electorates who have strong online ties but don’t hear their views reflected in mainstream politics. Trump falls into that category, too. But instead of the far left or the far right, he speaks for the sarcastic hate-tweeters, the anti-everything nihilists and the conspiracy theorists who write convoluted, anonymous comments at the bottom of news articles. He’s simply taken their outraged feelings out of cyberspace and translated them into real life. 8/21/15 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-and-the-hate-tweeters/2015/08/21/3c863846-4817-11e5-8e7d-9c033e6745d8_story.html
4. Jamelle Bouie: Not Just Anti-Hispanic
Most of the time, when we talk about immigration, we’re talking about Latin America. Donald Trump isn’t threatening to round up Irish immigrants in Boston who entered the country illegally or to build a wall between us and Canada; he’s threatening Latinos and tapping into an ugly strain of racist nativism. It’s why “anchor baby”—slang for the American-born children of unauthorized immigrants—is such a charged term. To many, it’s racial code for often brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking children.
Of course, rhetoric aside, America’s immigrant community goes beyond Latino and Hispanic Americans. It includes Africans, Europeans, and Asians, one of the fastest growing groups in the country. Not all Asians are tied to the immigrant experience—more than a quarter are native-born, with long and durable ties to the United States. But the large majority are foreign-born, with roots in a variety of different countries, from China and Japan to Korea, Vietnam, India, and Bangladesh. Moreover, they’re a rising share of the electorate—in 1996, just 1.6 percent of voters were Asian. In 2012, it was 3.4 percent. As second- and third-generation Asian Americans take the stage in national life, that voting block will increase.
When Republicans attack immigration—and increasingly, immigrants—we know it alienates Hispanic and Latino voters. Indeed, between Trump and his chorus of imitators, the party has all but abandoned its outreach to that community. But in this analysis, we shouldn’t ignore Asian Americans. This rhetoric matters to them too, and if Republicans aren’t careful, they’re set to lose two groups and likely seal their fate for next November. 8/21/15 Read more at http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_
5. Will Leitch: Trumpus Maximus Goes to Mobile
“I love that he talks like a normal person,” said Kevin Ward, who traveled 35 miles from Pascagoula, Mississippi, for the rally. “Every other politician talks weird, like an alien.” Diana Alston, a woman who had moved to Mobile from St. Louis a decade before, wore a Michael Jackson RIP T-shirt and sat in a walker while breathing through a nasal cannula and an oxygen tank, was wistful when asked to describe what she liked about Trump. “It feels like you know him,” she said. “He’s like your uncle. No one else feels like anyone you’d know, or even meet. Trump feels like one of us.” She gave a conspiratorial wink. “And he’s a good-looking man for 69, if you know what I mean.”
They hate Hillary Clinton, they hate Obama, they hate Jeb Bush, and they hate them all for the same reason: They think they’re lying to them. Many, I found, especially hated Bush for his Spanish-language campaign ads. This came up several times. Bush is “as bad as any of them,” said Tony Hamilton, a truck driver from nearby Pensacola, Florida. “I voted for his brother and his dad, but not him, never. He’s just like the rest of them.” Hamilton, who smoked and drank from a coffee mug emblazoned with “If You Don’t Like Me, Buy A Map, Get A Car And Go To Hell!!!!”, said he’d been waiting to vote for Trump for years, and that he couldn’t understand how Obama had been re-elected. When asked how he thought Obama got elected the first time, Hamilton pointed to his friend Marco. Marco, a security guard in Pensacola who is African-American, just shrugged.
Few of the people in line could summon any specific policies Trump was advocating, other than “build the wall” and “Make America Great Again.” He’s a vessel, a receptacle, as has often been observed, for an inchoate rage. His wealth and celebrity are crucial parts of his political appeal. And he doesn’t even seem to want to be president all that badly.
This was a common refrain: “He doesn’t even need it!” One woman told me she worried that Trump would win the election but not take the job because “it’s a headache” and “wouldn’t pay him enough.” 8/22/15 Read more at http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-08-22/trumpus-maximus-goes-to-mobile
6. Josh Marshall: Act Two of the Trump Epic
Ending birthright citizenship used to be an idea embraced on the far right of the House GOP caucus and bandied about by rightwing policy wonks. Trump has now not only made it a signature of his campaign, but he’s also pulling all the other candidates along with him. Now Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, Scott Walker and others have all joined him.
It is difficult to convey just how mammoth a change this would be or how bad an idea it is. “Birthright citizenship” is at the core of the post-Civil War concept of American citizenship and the whole framework of rights and governance built around it. It’s written into the 14th Amendment! It’s what prevents us from having intergenerational resident non-citizen populations like they do in Germany and so many other countries.
In three years we’ve now gone from the need to support comprehensive immigration reform, to balking on supporting the deal, to embracing the policies that used to be held by the comical likes of Steve King and another couple dozen members of the House have done yeoman work providing a steady stream of radioactive nonsense that even current GOP congressional leadership almost always ignores.
But these are now the official Republican positions. Going into a presidential election year. And Donald Trump is defining the terms of the debate. 8/19/15 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/act-two-of-the-trump-epic
7. Katrina vanden Heuvel: The GOP’s deeply flawed field
Trump, despite his current lead in the polls, isn’t likely to be the Republican presidential nominee. William Galston, the Wall Street Journal’s designated Democratic pundit, last week suggested that there were five “plausible” Republican candidates — Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.), Govs. Scott Walker (Wis.) and John Kasich (Ohio) and dynast Jeb Bush. In the most recent edition of his 2016 candidate rankings, conservative Charles Krauthammer, while not dismissing Trump, suggests that Walker, Rubio and Bush stand in the first tier of the Republican run-off.
But these “plausible” Republican candidates hold views that are dramatically at odds with interests and values of the vast majority of Americans.
Take climate change. The scientific consensus that human activity is causing extreme and accelerating climate change is virtually unanimous. The Pentagon already terms it a clear and present national security threat.
Yet Rubio continues to be in denial. Saying, “I am not a scientist,” he asserts,“I don’t agree with the notion that . . . there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening in our climate.”
Bush admits “the climate is changing,” but says he doesn’t “think the science is clear of what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural.” For a solution, he essentially suggests doing nothing, noting the current trend from coal to natural gas. Then he notes with characteristic clarity, “I don’t think it’s the highest priority. I don’t think we should ignore it either.”
On immigration, both Rubio and Walker were for a path for citizenship before they were against it. Now they have joined the clamor to strengthen the border rather than comprehensive reform. Bush is marginally better, supporting a path to “legal status,” but not citizenship.”
Those are the Republican “plausible” candidates: for more wars abroad, for spending more on the military and less on vital needs at home, for doing nothing about climate change, for sustaining failed trade policies, for cutting Social Security and adding to the growing retirement crisis, for rolling back regulation of Wall Street, for reviving the conservative war on women, gays and immigrants. Galston praises Rubio as “the future of conservatism,” but like Bush and Walker, Rubio advocates a future that would drag us relentlessly back to the failed policies of the past. 8/18/15 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gops-deeply-flawed-field/2015/08/18/7f26c076-4510-11e5-846d-02792f854297_story.html
8. Matthew Miller: The Real Clinton Email Scandal: Our Ridiculous Classification Rules
Intelligence officials often argue that information is classified even when the same information can be gleaned from unclassified sources. While still at the Justice Department, I once wrote a draft press release that a Department attorney claimed contained multiple pieces of classified information. He accused me of a grave violation of the rules for handling classified information, instructed me to destroy all copies and threatened to refer me for investigation. But I had drawn the release from unclassified sources and had never even been briefed on this particular underlying secret—how could I possibly have exposed something of which I wasn’t aware?
As ill advised as Secretary Clinton’s decision to operate a private server was, it has nothing to do with the potential classification problems that the intelligence community has raised. The exact same issue would have arisen had she been using an unclassified State Department email account, which, like her personal account, would not have been authorized to receive classified information. Furthermore, the only reason the interagency government committee began reviewing her emails for classification in the first place is because Clinton herself asked that they be released to the public.
If the Justice Department were to broaden this investigation, it would be doing so in the middle of a campaign, at the behest of partisan members of Congress and opposing candidates, with no indication of predicate potential criminal wrongdoing. In this context, it could not credibly investigate Secretary Clinton’s email account without opening similar investigations across the government and exposing thousands of officials to baseless charges of wrongdoing.
Protection of genuine classified material is without a doubt important, and the government has the responsibility to ensure it does not fall into the wrong hands. But with that no longer an issue in this case, the most important step it could take would be to finally begin implementing long overdue reforms to the classification process. That would have a far more lasting impact than an arbitrary, politically motivated fishing expedition. 8/18/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/08/the-real-clinton-email-scandal-our-ridiculous-classification-rules-121507.html
9. Matthew Gilbert: We’ve seen Trump’s theatrics before — on reality TV
What does it take to be a top reality TV star? Extroversion, blind confidence, the willingness to say or do anything to win, and enough of the V factor — villainy — to keep producers happy. On reality TV, swagger and drama are keys to stardom; they help keep you from getting voted off the island — and off the air.
Which, like so many things in this early stage of the 2016 presidential campaign, brings us to Donald Trump. He’s the first candidate to employ the tenets of reality TV in a run for president of the United States, to use a savvy reality contestant’s approach to sticking around and evading elimination rounds. And he certainly had experience in the field, with backstage and onscreen roles in “The Apprentice” shows, the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, and the blueprint for the entire reality TV genre, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), where theatricality is king.
So far, it’s working brilliantly, as Trump continues to prevail at “Survivor: D.C.” tribal councils to become the leader of recent polls in the Republican race.
But playing “made you look” with America isn’t the same as running America. The presidential campaign only looks like a reality competition, a face-off among personality types. The candidates only look like contestants. On a deeper and more critical level, it’s an interview process for a job, with America doing the choosing.
The reality-TV provocateurs don’t usually come out on top. But with his mugging and his manipulations, with his soul in the same game as controversy-courting reality TV legends Puck from “The Real World” and Omarosa from “The Apprentice,” Trump is writing his own rules. So far, Trump is outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting. The question is: Could he actually win? http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2015/08/25/seen-trump-theatrics-plenty-times-before-reality/xWmlygSHXhIPNYHJMIGjHP/story.html
10. Brent Budowsky: Hillary vs. media malpractice
It is media malpractice to treat the election of our next leader as a blood sport, reality television show, freak show or sporting event and refuse to treat voters as serious people concerned about serious issues. This disrespect of voters cheats voters by denying them the kind of campaign they deserve, and it accounts for the humiliating low trust levels that voters demonstrate toward the media.
It is unprofessional, wrong and causes further public distrust of the media when media malpractice legitimizes a partisan attempt to falsely turn what the candidate has acknowledged was a mistake first into a scandal, and then into a crime.
The malpractice is magnified again when reporters shout perp-walk-style questions to a candidate about a criminal investigation that does not exist and will not happen, and then offer, instead of objective analysis of the facts, their theatrical evaluation of the candidate’s rhetorical charm when faced with this media malpractice mayhem.
It is media malpractice turned into farce when commentators suggest that a CNN poll showing the Democratic candidate winning by 6 percent to 10 points is in trouble and that the Republican candidates losing by 6 percent to 10 points are doing well.
Does Hillary Clinton’s campaign have challenges? Yes, you can bet your pants suit it does. But there is not one Republican candidate who would not trade places with her strength in the campaign for the nomination and general election. Any GOP candidate who claims otherwise is bearing false witness, and anyone who reports otherwise is guilty of one more moment of media malpractice. 8/20/15 Read more at http://thehill.com/opinion/brent-budowsky/251614-budowsky-hillary-vs-media-malpractice
12. Joseph Cirincione: What happens if the Senate rejects the Iran deal?
The nuclear agreement with Iran is supported by almost every nation in the world. It has the backing of nearly the entire American security establishment, current and retired. It enjoys the overwhelming support of nuclear scientists and policy experts. There is no credible alternative.
And yet, with almost a month to go before the vote, lobbying against the deal is intense. No Republican senator supports the agreement. Two prominent Democratic senators, Charles Schumer and Robert Menendez, have denounced it.
If the Senate follows their lead and kills the deal, it will spell humiliation for the United States, an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program and the increased risk of a new war in the Middle East.
Here is how rejection would play out.
First, our allies would desert us. This is not just an agreement struck between the United States and Iran. It is a deal negotiated over two years by the world powers. America led the way, but Russia, China, the conservative governments of Britain, France and Germany, and the entire European Union were equal partners. Everyone had to agree on every term or there would have been no deal.
Opponents spin fanciful notions of a “better deal” with tougher terms, bigger sticks. This is nonsense. Our European partners have already told us that it is this option or nothing. If Congress blocks the deal, no nation, least of all Iran, will believe that the United States is capable of making and keeping a new agreement. U.S. credibility would collapse faster than the Chinese stock market.
The sanctions regime would then unravel. The U.S. persuaded most of the world to curtail their trade and financing with Iran because we presented a feasible path to a diplomatic solution. Take away diplomacy and the sanctions cannot hold. Any new ones passed by Congress would be feckless. 8/23/15 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-cirincione-iran-deal-scenarios-20150823-story.html
13. Matt Taibbi: Donald Trump Just Stopped Being Funny
Earlier this week, when Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson blew up Twitter by calling for undocumented immigrants to become “property of the state” and put into “compelled labor.” When a caller challenged the idea, Mickelson answered, “What’s wrong with slavery?”
Why there’s suddenly this surge of hatred for immigrants is sort of a mystery. Why Donald Trump, who’s probably never even interacted with an undocumented immigrant in a non-commercial capacity, in particular should care so much about this issue is even more obscure. (Did he trip over an immigrant on his way to the Cincinnati housing development his father gave him as a young man?)
Most likely, immigrants are just collateral damage in Trump’s performance art routine, which is an absurd ritualistic celebration of the coiffed hotshot endlessly triumphing over dirty losers and weaklings.
Trump isn’t really a politician, of course. He’s a strongman act, a ridiculous parody of a Nietzschean superman. His followers get off on watching this guy with (allegedly) $10 billion and a busty mute broad on his arm defy every political and social convention and get away with it.
People are tired of rules and tired of having to pay lip service to decorum. They want to stop having to watch what they say and think and just get “crazy,” as Thomas Friedman would put it.
Trump’s campaign is giving people permission to do just that. It’s hard to say this word in conjunction with such a sexually unappealing person, but his message is a powerful aphrodisiac. Fuck everything, fuck everyone. Fuck immigrants and fuck their filthy lice-ridden kids. And fuck you if you don’t like me saying so.
Those of us who think polls and primaries and debates are any match for that are pretty naive. America has been trending stupid for a long time. Now the stupid wants out of its cage, and Trump is urging it on. There are a lot of ways this can go wrong, no matter who wins in 2016. 8/22/15 Read more at http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/31970-focus-donald-trump-just-stopped-being-funny
14. Nathan Heller: Feeling the Bern With the Youth Vote
The oddest thing about the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator seeking Democratic nomination for President, is not his distaste for fund-raising, his insistence that he is a “democratic Socialist,” or even his unofficial slogan, “Feel the Bern,” a phrase that vividly recalls Jane Fonda at the moment of her disentanglement from the New Left. It is his popularity with kids. Since tossing his worn cap into the ring, in April, Sanders has racked up a disproportionate share of the youth vote: thirty-seven per cent of voters twenty-nine or younger, compared with Hillary Clinton’s forty per cent, in one poll. Why? Outwardly, he does not seem like a particularly hip or youthful guy. Sanders is nearly seventy-four, dresses like Willy Loman, and can name, from direct memory, the Dodgers’ lineup in the year 1951. When he shows up at events, his fleecy hair, or what remains of it, looks ravaged, as if he had puttered all the way there in a drop-top Model T. He wears a watch; it’s not by Apple. And yet, today, Sanders boasts a larger Facebook following than Clinton and Jeb Bush combined.
It’s on Facebook that Sanders fandom, and a language associated with it, has flourished. Followers post about the way he “slayed” in this or that speech, how he seems “so logical” compared with other politicians, how he motivated them to vote, for the first time, in their late twenties. As Sanders, an independent, throttled into a strong second place for the Democratic nomination, Bern-ers on Twitter praised him as “clever” and “trustworthy.” In the magazine last week, Daniel Wenger reported on an eighteen-year-old kid’s attempt to organize a Sanders YouTube viewing party in his parents’ living room. On Friday, in a greater coup, Sanders received the endorsement of the fifteen-year-old prank candidate Deez Nuts, who made a splash in some Midwestern polls earlier this month, and who cited his frank and accessible style. Queried about Sanders’s leading opponent in the race, Hillary Clinton, Mr. Nuts simply asked, “Why can’t you be more open and friendly like Bernie?” 8/25/15 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/feeling-the-bern-with-the-youth-vote
15. Rep. Linda Sanchez: When it comes to the politics of immigration, the GOP’s candidates are sinvergüenzas — shameless
As someone who was born in the United States to immigrant parents, I find the phrase “anchor babies” — used by Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and other Republican candidates to describe American-born children of immigrants — incredibly offensive. And the word that keeps coming to mind is the Spanish term, sinvergüenza, which refers to someone utterly without embarrassment or shame. And right now, to many Latinos, the term is synonymous with another word: Republican.
It’s shameful how the GOP field has perpetuated the ugly myth of a swarm of Mexican women crossing the border to have their children in this country and manipulate the immigration system — an absurd characterization that’s not supported by the facts. The reality is that American-born babies, who are U.S. citizens, cannot petition for their parents to gain legal immigration status until they are 21 years old. Not exactly the shortcut to citizenship Republicans claim it is.
The “anchor baby” narrative is politics at its worst — serving mostly as a Republican dog-whistle, tapping into an implicit racial sentiment that suggests children of color are less than fully American or they’re just a vehicle for gaming the system. It accomplishes nothing other than stoking the unwarranted fear that too many Americans continue to hold about our country’s changing demographics. 8/25/15 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/08/25/on-immigration-the-gop-candidates-are-sinverguenzas/
16. Amanda Marcotte: Why Fox News’ Defense Of Megyn Kelly Is Going To Backfire
Donald Trump has reignited his sexist harassment campaign against Megyn Kelly, and the folks at Fox News are, in seemingly coordinated fashion, striking back. Fellow Fox News hosts and pundits are asking Trump to cool it, and even Roger Ailes has released a statement calling Trump’s abuse “unacceptable” and “disturbing.” It’s almost touching, watching all these conservative media people who usually profit at peddling sexism choose, this time at least, to join together in an effort to stop this one particular instance of it.
It’s also going to backfire.
Conservative media and Fox News in particular have spent years – decades, if you count talk radio – training their audiences to believe that exhortations against sexism and racism are nothing but the “political correctness” police trying to kill your good time. Indeed, one reason that Trump was able to get so much attention for his presidential run in the first place is that Fox has spent years building him up, knowing that their audience enjoys vicariously needling imagined liberals and feminists with his loud-mouthed insult comic act.“Bossy” women are treated, in conservative media, like the great Darth Vaders of the world who need to be harassed and resisted and abused at all costs. Of this, there can be no doubt. Michelle Obama started a program to encourage exercise and healthy eating, and conservative media reacted like she was holding a gun to your dog’s head and telling you to eat broccoli or the pooch gets it. The news that women sometimes make more money than their husbands was treated like a national emergency on Fox, with Lou Dobbs suggesting that “society” is “dissolv[ing] around us” and Erick Erickson arguing that women’s inability to stay in our place is “tearing us apart.” The possibility of women being Army Rangers has created a similar meltdown at the network, with Andrea Tantaros whining, “men can’t have anything to themselves anymore.”
Hell, this is a network where a man literally told a female host, “Know your role and shut your mouth.” 8/26/15 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/fox-news-defense-megyn-kelly-backfire
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