Nov 5 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #902

ON THE RECORD ….

His only memorable moment came when he bragged about how well his fantasy-football team was doing—“Gronkowski is still going strong!”—better, it seems, than his fantasy Presidential campaign.”– AMY DAVIDSON in the New Yorker

“Why shouldn’t he [resign]? He hates the Senate. Why should the taxpayers of this country and people of Florida put up with having only one senator? Doesn’t seem fair to me.” — Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) 10/29/15

“I just can’t tell you how pissed off I am. It was insanity. Obviously we had assurances that it was going to be straight up finance, which is what they do every day, and what was delivered was just nothing but a crap sandwich,” — RNC Chair Reince Priebus, railing against the CNBC Republican debate moderators 10/30/15

“The Republican primary has thus far been a festival of outlandish policy. The candidates seem to be competing to craft the tax plan that gives the largest tax cut to the rich while blowing the biggest hole in the deficit (a competition that, as of tonight, Ted Cruz appears to be winning. — Ezra Klein in Vox 10/28/15

The problem isn’t that CNBC engaged in “gotcha” questions meant to “embarass” the Republican candidates. It’s that any serious look is a fatal blow to GOP plans and proposals, which don’t deliver on promised substance. Trump can’t deport millions of immigrants; Carson can’t raise enough revenue to fund the federal government; and the “middle-class” tax plans of Bush, Rubio, and others shower most of their benefits on the rich. And as long as this is true, GOP candidates will have a hard time with all but the most friendly moderators. — Jamelle Bouie in Slate. 10/30/15

“Jeb is trapped in a nightmarish déjà vu. Once he was cast as the wonky one while his brother, the sparky one, slipped ahead. Now Jeb is cast as the wonky one while Marco, the sparky one, slips ahead.” — Maureen Dowd10/31/15

“They say, ‘when I talk to Putin, he’s going to straighten out.’ And then it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators. If you can’t handle those guys, I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.” — President Obama mocking Republican presidential candidates.

“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain. Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.” — Ben Carson during a commencement address in the late ‘90s.

 

1. The DAILY GRILL: The 3rd Republican debate

“Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent e-mails to her family saying, ‘Hey, this attack at Benghazi was caused by Al Qaida-like elements.’ She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video. And yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  It was the week she got exposed as a liar.” —Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 10/28/15

VERSUS

“Focusing just on the public statements made by Clinton — as opposed to the rest of the administration —one finds little support for Rubio’s claim that Clinton told the American people that the attacks were because of a video. She certainly spoke about the video, but always in the context of the protests that were occurring across the Middle East …. He does not have enough evidence to label Clinton a liar.” — Glenn Kessler, the Wash. Post Fact Checker. 10/30/15

 

“Well, it’s easy to answer. I didn’t have an involvement with them. That is total propaganda and this is what happens in our society. Total propaganda. I did a couple of speeches for them, I did speeches for other people, they were paid speeches, it is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them. Do I take the product? Yes. I think it’s a good product.” — Ben Carson when asked if his judgment should be questioned in light of his involvement with Mannatech, a sketchy nutritional supplement company

VERSUS

His declarations that “I didn’t have an involvement with them” and “absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them” are just bald-faced lies.” JIm Geraghty in the National Review. 10/29/15

 

“A single mom buying groceries, she sees hamburger prices going up nearly 40 percent. She sees her costs of electricity going up. She sees her health insurance going up, and loose money is one of the major problems.” — Sen. Ted Cruz argued that loose-money policies by the Federal Reserve were pushing up the cost of living. 10/28/15

VERSUS

“BLS data shows that the average inflation rate for all goods and services since the fall of 2008 has been about 1.4 percent per year. That’s below the Fed’s longstanding target of 2 percent annual growth, and the least inflationary period in the past half-century.” — Vox 10/28/15

 

“It is the height of hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to talk about being the first woman president, when every single policy she espouses, and every single policy of President Obama has been demonstrably bad for women. Ninety-two percent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women.” —Carly Fiorina. 10/28/15

VERSUS

“Carly Fiorina chose figures from January 2009, months into the recession, ignoring the millions of jobs lost before then, when most of the job loss fell on men.“ — PolitiFact, 10/28/15

 

“All that’s in that trust fund is a pile of IOUs for money they spent on something else a long time ago. And they’ve stolen from you because now they know they cannot pay these benefits and Social Security is going to be insolvent in seven to eight years.” — Gov. Christie

VERSUS

“Interest income and redemption of trust fund assets from the General Fund of the Treasury, will provide the resources needed to offset Social Security’s annual aggregate cash-flow deficits until 2034”. — Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds’ most recent report.

 

“Hillary Clinton put a server, an unsecure server, in her home as secretary of state. We have no doubt that that was hacked, and that state secrets are out there to the Iranians, the Russians, the Chinese and others. That alone should disqualify her from being president of the United States.” — Former NY Gov. George Pataki 10/29/15

VERSUS

“Investigators have not reached any conclusions about whether the information on the server was compromised or whether to recommend charges, according to the law enforcement officials.” — New York Times, 10/16/15

 

We’ve lost 2 million jobs — 2 million jobs — under this administration in manufacturing — 15,000 manufacturers have left this country. Why? Because of bad tax policy, bad regulatory policy and, yes, bad trade policy. —Sen. Rick Santorum 10/29/15

VERSUS

The US has 243,000 manufacturing jobs fewer than we had in January 2009, but not nearly the 2 million fewer that Santorum claimed. — FactCheck.org 

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

Limbaugh: Republican Establishment Would Rather Elect Clinton Over Cruz So They Can Continue To “Feed Off The Federal Teat” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/29/limbaugh-republican-establishment-would-rather/206502

Media Debunk Carly Fiorina’s “Utterly Wrong” Debate Claim That 92 Percent Of Job Losses Under Obama Were Women http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/10/29/media-debunk-carly-fiorinas-utterly-wrong-debat/206500

Rush Limbaugh: “Sole Purpose” Of CNBC’s GOP Debate Was To “Grease The Skids” For Hillary Clinton http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/29/rush-limbaugh-sole-purpose-of-cnbcs-gop-debate/206499

Another Fox Host Pushes Debunked Allegation That Clinton Misled The Public About Benghazi Attacks http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/30/another-fox-host-pushes-debunked-allegation-tha/206522

Fox’s Megyn Kelly Defends Marco Rubio’s Debunked “Opinion” That Clinton “Lied” In Benghazi Testimony “Is He Not Entitled To His Opinion That She Lied?”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/30/foxs-megyn-kelly-defends-marco-rubios-debunked/206538

Sean Hannity Slams House Republicans For “Betray[ing]” Voters By Passing Budget Deal “This Is Exactly Why So Many People Feel Washington … Is So Broken”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/10/30/sean-hannity-slams-house-republicans-for-betray/206536

Fox’s Carlson And Erickson: The Obama Administration “Want[s] To Take Away Our Guns” And “Arm The Government Instead” http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/11/01/foxs-carlson-and-erickson-the-obama-administrat/206540

“This is a woman that is a terrible person. I watch her on television. She’s a terrible person. And in all fairness, she negotiated a great deal for Hillary because they gave Hillary all softballs.” — Crazy and neurotic Donald Trump saying that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is “crazy” and “highly neurotic.” 11/02/ 5 http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/trump-debbie-wasserman-schultz-215435#ixzz3qLuZzcUZ

“They don’t know me. They don’t know me,. I eat nails when I wake up, then I have breakfast.” — Jeb Bush when asked if people were underestimating his ability to make a comeback in the GOP race. 11/02/15 http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jeb-bush-eats-nails-tough

Conservative Media Outlets Go Even Further Than Congress By Falsely Accusing NOAA Of Hiding Global Warming Study Data.  http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/11/03/conservative-media-rally-around-house-committee/206597

Rush Limbaugh: People Who Accept Climate Science Have “Been Hoping” For More [Hurricanes] So That They Can Use That To Prove” Climate Change Is Real http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/11/03/rush-limbaugh-people-who-accept-climate-science/206593

Limbaugh: Trump’s Plan To Conduct His Own Negotiations With Networks For Future Debates “Is What A Leader Would Do”http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/11/03/limbaugh-trumps-plan-to-conduct-his-own-negotia/206591

3. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Paul Ryan shrugs

https://vimeo.com/143950092

4. The Borowitz Report: New G.O.P. Debate Format Forbids Questions About Things Candidates Said, Did

According to a format negotiated between the Republican National Committee and the television networks, future Presidential debates during the 2016 campaign will strictly forbid questions about things the candidates “said” or “did,” the R.N.C. confirmed on Monday.

In the new format, the time previously allotted to questions about things the candidates said or did will now be devoted to questions written by the candidates themselves and read, verbatim, by the moderators.

“Carly Fiorina would very much like to answer the question, ‘How has your experience as the most successful C.E.O. in U.S. history uniquely prepared you to be its greatest President?’ ” Priebus said. “This new format will let her speak to that.”

Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

5. The third Republican debate, in 2 minutes

https://www.facebook.com/Vox/videos/450058038515137/

6. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“On Monday, former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson endorsed Donald Trump. Tyson joins Trump’s biggest group of supporters: ‘People Who Have Been Hit in the Head a Lot.'” –Conan O’Brien

“But Tyson isn’t the only celebrity endorsing Trump. He’s also been endorsed by Kirstie Alley, Gary Busey, Dennis Rodman, and Hulk Hogan, which sounds like a season of ‘Celebrity Apprentice.'” –James Corden

“Republican candidate Mike Huckabee has earned endorsements from several members of the Duggar family. And that is a smart political move, since nearly 40 percent of Republican voters are actually members of the Duggar family.” –James Corden

“Bernie Sanders has received an endorsement from Justin Long, the actor who famously played a ‘Mac’ in those old Apple commercials. The endorsement meant so much to Bernie, he’s thinking of switching over to a Mac from his current computer, a yellow legal pad.” –James Corden

“Meanwhile, the other big competition from Boulder, Colorado, another Republican presidential debate on CNBC. Do we learn anything from these debates? The only thing voters might learn is CNBC is a channel.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“The two front-runners: Ben Carson, who doesn’t believe in evolution; and Donald Trump, who kind of proves his point.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Like a lot of New Yorkers, I am a little tired and pissed off this morning. I’m guessing a lot of you flipped over from the third Republican debate. I don’t know what happened yet because we taped this at 5:30, but I am super excited about the brand new Republican front-runner, retired neurosurgeon and current tired person Ben Carson.” –Stephen Colbert

“It’s been a great time for him. This surgeon is surging in the polls, 26 percent, ahead of Donald Trump’s 22 percent. The other 52 percent, of course, is going to the other 52 candidates.” –Stephen Colbert

“I haven’t been able to watch tonight’s Republican debate yet, but I’m excited to see the face-off between the party’s biggest opponents: Carson and staying awake.” –Stephen Colbert

“Chris Christie was kicked out of the Amtrak quiet car for making too much noise. Christie said it wasn’t him that was making the noise, it was his eight-pound block of peanut brittle.” –Conan O’Brien

“A cracker that survived the sinking of the Titanic sold today for $23,000. Experts say the 100-year-old Titanic cracker pairs very well with any hot dog from 7-Eleven.” –Conan O’Brien

“In response to his drop to second in the polls, Donald Trump said today that he will run until the very end and does not mind running from behind. Trump says he knows what it’s like to be the underdog, because he wears one on his head.” –Seth Meyers

“President Obama gave a speech in Chicago this afternoon and told police they have ‘work to do to restore trust’ in minority communities. It was going pretty well, but halfway through the speech, Obama got pulled over.” –Seth Meyers

“Former President George W. Bush yesterday spoke to voters on his brother’s behalf, and told them ‘one reason Jeb is going to win is because he’s a fierce competitor.’ Adding, ‘And one reason he’s going to lose is because of me.'” –Seth Meyers

7. Jimmy Kimmel: Donald Trump Debate Issue of Lie Witness News

https://youtu.be/vytuHS8ZnRo

8. Yes, Marco Rubio’s Finances Are a Big Deal

Becky Quick, a CNBC correspondent, asked Rubio the following question:

Senator Rubio, you yourself have said that you’ve had issues. You have a lack of bookkeeping skills. You accidentally intermingled campaign money with your personal money. You faced foreclosure on a second home that you bought. And just last year you liquidated a sixty-eight-thousand-dollar retirement fund. That’s something that cost you thousands of dollars in taxes and penalties. In terms of all of that, it raises the question whether you have the maturity and wisdom to lead this seventeen-trillion-dollar economy. What do you say?

Rubio responded: “You just listed a litany of discredited attacks from Democrats and my political opponents and I’m not gonna waste sixty seconds detailing them all, ” as if that proved the accusations were false,.

Not a bad line. But Rubio must know that the issue of his finances isn’t going away. The Miami Herald has reported that Rubio “amended his financial disclosure forms … after The Miami Herald asked why they lacked a $135,000 home equity loan he obtained from a bank controlled by his political supporters.” The Tampa Bay Times has reported that Rubio “double-billed the Republican Party of Florida and state taxpayers for eight flights while he was House Speaker.” (He said that was a mistake, and that he would repay the party.) The Times also reported that “Rubio billed the party for more than $100,000 during the two years he served as the state’s House speaker,” and that “charges included repairs to the family minivan, grocery bills, plane tickets for his wife, and purchases from retailers ranging from a wine store near his home to Apple’s online store.” (Rubio said that the expenses were all related to party business.)

Rubio is about to go through a period of much more intensive media scrutiny. Complaining about media bias won’t be enough to get him through it. — Ryan Lizza:in the New Yorker 10/29/15 http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/yes-marco-rubios-finances-are-a-big-deal?mbid=social_twitter

9. Bad Lip Reading the Debate

The First Democratic Debate: https://youtu.be/V_yxGsWHx9o

The First Republican Debate: https://youtu.be/ufGlBv8Z3NU?list=RDufGlBv8Z3NU

10. GunFAIL CLXIII

64 guns were discovered by TSA agents at airports across the country, during the week of 10/09 through 10/15/15.

It was still early in the hunting season, but 23 people accidentally shot themselves, with another two incidents that are highly suggestive of self-inflicted injury, but where the language of the report is less than 100 percent clear on the question of who pulled the trigger. Or rather, who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, when the gun “suddenly went off,” as the saying goes. Muich more at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/10/30/1430765/-Good-guy-with-a-gun-takes-out-a-theater-shooter-GunFAIL-CLXIII

11. Stephen Colbert: The Biggest Loser Of The CNBC Debate Was Everyone

https://youtu.be/gDUFvLWl-Oc

12. Bernie 2016 ad: Real Change

https://youtu.be/hwwwn9zHT-8

13. The Daily Show w/Trevor Noah: The Ferguson Effect – It’s hard out there for a cop

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/m248e3/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-the-ferguson-effect–it-s-hard-out-there-for-a-cop

14. Jimmy Kimmel: The Ben Carson Sleep System

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I0eYDW5IRk

 

OPINION

1. Frank Rich: Is the GOP Cracking Up?

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been treated to a steady barrage of articles and opinion columns in virtually every major publication touting Marco Rubio as the most talented, the most likely, the most obvious survivor in this overcrowded field — the sole Establishment candidate who can survive the onslaught of the Trump-Carson crazies and walk away with the prize. The only flaw in the Rubio case is that there has been no evidence that his fellow Republicans particularly like him; as a first choice among GOP voters, his poll numbers are more or less in the 10 percent range (though, we’re assured, he’s everybody’s second choice).

Last night was Rubio’s opportunity to prove his case. He grabbed more speaking time than anyone except the tenaciously tedious Carly Fiorina. And he is nothing if not slick and glib. His response to every tough question is always the same. He invokes his father, a bartender, and his mother, a hotel maid. He sanctifies himself as the living proof of the power of the American dream. The litany sounds automatic at this point, but who knows? Maybe it plays. If his rise among actual voters, as opposed to pundits and political professionals, is to come, it must start now. Particularly since the once-favored candidate among Establishment Republicans, the fallen Jeb!, had the least speaking time last night, leaving Rubio an enormous opening to poach whatever remains of his onetime mentor’s support (and donors). John Kasich, who might also have inherited some of Jeb!’s mantle as the adult Republican in the room, and who seems far more substantive and accomplished than Rubio, came across as shrill and angry in tone in the debate (even when his words were not so). http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/10/the-gop-cracking-up.html

2. Jeffrey Toobin: Paul Ryan Won the Right to Do Nothing

The bizarre, extreme behavior of the Republicans now in charge of the House of Representatives reveals itself most strikingly in those it has chosen as its principal enemies—Boehner and his counterpart in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, now the Majority Leader. They are hardly what conservatives like to call “squishes.” As the leader of his party in the Senate, McConnell was best known for this expression of his priorities: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President.” Likewise, Boehner said the following about his plans for Obama’s agenda: “We’re going to do everything—and I mean everything we can do—to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

In expressing these views, Boehner and McConnell were channelling the beliefs of their party. Republicans had no higher goals than to defeat Obama and stall his agenda. They failed to stop him from winning in 2012, but they did manage to vote dozens of time to repeal his signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. In taking all these votes, the Republicans in the House never came up with an alternative to Obamacare, but that was never the point. The point was to oppose—endlessly.

The chilling reality, though, is that the new leadership in the House may make Obama and the country regard Boehner’s reign as the good old days. When he wasn’t hurling insults at the President, Boehner did have the temerity to meet with Obama and try to find common ground on a handful of areas, at least on keeping the government open. Mindful of the consequences of Boehner’s apostasies, Ryan’s team will probably not make that mistake.

And the Republican Presidential candidates? During the debate Wednesday, in Boulder, they were already competing to oppose the budget compromise the loudest, cripple it the most, and, if possible, shred it altogether.  http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/paul-ryan-won-the-right-to-do-nothing?intcid=mod-latest

3. Jonathan Chait: Is Ben Carson Running for President?

The notion that Carson could be president is preposterous. The problem is not only that he has never run for elected office. He has never managed a large organization; he has not worked in and around public policy, and he lacks a competent grasp of issues. His stance on health care, the closest thing to an issue with which his professional experience has brought him into contact, is gibberish. He mostly thrills audiences by scoffing at evolution and insisting Muslims be barred from the presidency, stances he cannot even defend coherently.

It is possible that Carson has come to genuinely believe that he is qualified to serve as president. (As a follower of the conspiracy theorist W. Cleon Skousen, Carson seems to subscribe in earnest to a series of completely fantastical beliefs.) It is also possible that Carson is being manipulated by staffers who stand to profit off their association with him. But the most likely explanation for his behavior is that Carson himself is in this thing to make a lot of money.

Carson’s relationship with Mannatech, a medical-supplement operator that uses misleading claims to exploit Christian customers, may provide the most revealing window into his methodology. Consider the utterly calm and putatively genuine way in which Carson flatly denied a question at the last debate about his business relationship with Mannatech.

If you have the facts in mind — Carson  maintained an extensive relationship with the company — when you watch his answer, his unflinching dishonesty has a chilling quality. He is a perfect con artist. And his history with Mannatech seems to serve as a precursor to his current enterprise. Carson used his inspiring story to pitch credulous (overwhelmingly Christian) customers. Carson has simply moved on to a bigger stage and cut out the middleman. The old scam was using the Ben Carson brand to pitch Mannatech. The new scam is pitching Ben Carson. 11/03/15 http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/11/ben-carson-running-for-president.html

4. Jonathan Alter: Paul Ryan, the Radical Now Running the House

Ryan has been explicit about repealing the New Deal. “It is so rare in American politics to arrive at a moment when the debate revolves around the fundamental nature of American democracy and the social contract, but that is exactly where we are today,” he said in 2012, the year he ran for vice president with Mitt Romney.

Since then, Ryan is showing signs of at least reassessing his rhetoric, if not his positions. In a 2014 memoir, The Way Forward, he expresses regret over his argument that 60 percent (more than Romney’s 47 percent) of Americans are “takers.” After listening to a Democratic speaker lay into him at a Wisconsin county fair, he thought to himself: “Who is a taker? My mom, who is on Medicare? Me at 18-years-old, using the Social Security survivor’s benefits we got after my father’s death to go to college? My buddy John Ramsdell, who had been unemployed and used job training to get back on his feet?.. That guy taught me a valuable lesson that day…The phrase I’d been using implied a certain judgment about the group that received government benefits—one that is in deep conflict with the American idea.”

This is an astonishing anecdote. Fifteen years after arriving in Congress it occurs to him that maybe he’s been a bit of a hypocrite in trashing programs his family has benefitted from. He realizes that maybe the libertarian doctrine he imbibed isn’t much of an answer to the problems of the modern world.

I guess it’s possible that he has learned something and will step back from radicalism to work harmoniously with Democrats, but only someone ignorant of the Ryan record would bet on it. 10.29.15 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/28/paul-ryan-a-conciliator-as-speaker-don-t-bet-on-it.html

5. Republicans displayed their passion for the little guy at Wednesday’s debate. It was a total scam.

If you knew absolutely nothing about American politics and tuned into the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night, you would have come away convinced that the GOP is the party of the little guy, the party that wants to advocate for low-wage workers, middle-class families, and those who are struggling. And the wealthy? Screw those guys — Republicans can’t stand them. If somebody told you that this party’s last presidential nominee got in a heap of trouble for contemptuously saying that 47 percent of Americans are lazy leeches who just want to live off government handouts while the morally upstanding wealthy do all the work, you’d respond, “Surely you must be mistaken.”

All the tax plans that have been released by the Republican candidates so far shower their biggest benefits on the wealthy, not the middle class, both in percentage terms and in absolute terms.. They all either use a flat tax, which by definition cuts the taxes of the wealthy, or they reduce income taxes for the wealthy and eliminate other taxes the wealthy pay; for instance, Marco Rubio would completely eliminate both capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes. As Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times wrote, “among the proposals with real detail, there’s a rough consensus, and it comes down to this: lower taxes for everybody, but especially for the wealthy.” 10/29/15 http://theweek.com/articles/585830/republicans-displayed-passion-little-guy-wednesdays-debate-total-scam

6. Gail Collins: Oh, Those Debating Republicans

Hard to believe the race is still barely beginning — one week until one year until presidential Election Day! But you can’t say things have been boring. “What the hell are you people doing to me?” Trump demanded in Iowa, where he’s no longer in the lead. Perhaps we will look back on this as the moment when the former star of “The Apprentice” fired a state.

But about Wednesday night’s debate — the topic was economics, and the big takeaway was probably that when there are 10 people onstage, nobody is going to have to explain how that flat tax plan adds up. When in doubt, complain about government regulations.

Jeb Bush is not going to be the Republican presidential nominee. Neither is, let’s see — Christie, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina or any of the other supporting cast members. Ted Cruz did have a big moment when he answered a question about raising the debt limit by attacking the questioner. That went over so well that by the end of the two-hour session, the left-wing media had overtaken government regulators as the greatest threat to the future of American democracy.

Or do you think it could actually be Carson? The guy who seems to blame gun control for the Holocaust?

Somebody has got to be nominated. Happy Halloween. 10/30/15 http://nyti.ms/1HcYlKL

7. Michael Tomasky: There’s No Centrist Superman to Save You

You’re all well familiar with Kubler-Ross’s famous five stages of death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Here are Tomasky’s five stages of watching a Republican debate: mockery, rage, double rage, boredom, despair.

I start, as I’d reckon most liberals do, with mockery, which was easy Wednesday night when most of them said in essence that their greatest flaw was that they cared too much (in fairness, Hillary Clinton had earlier said something similar). Then one of them says something unforgivably idiotic—and yes, there’s such a thing as forgivable idiocy—like Carly Fiorina pretending that the characters “401k” were handed down to the human race from God on Sinai and not created by the very federal government she was in that selfsame sentence traducing, and it’s rage time. And so on and so on.

But I end with despair, because the previous two (if we’re lucky) hours have revealed to me that these candidates and the citizens cheering them on just live in a totally different universe than the one I and most of my friends inhabit, and while there can be an occasional meeting of the minds on certain small matters, the sad fact is that we are going to be stuck with the current polarization for a long time yet. I think at least eight more years. 10.30.15 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/30/there-s-no-centrist-superman-to-save-you.html

8. John Cassidy: Why the G.O.P. Candidates Don’t Do Substance

Take Cruz’s tax plan, which might be the most regressive and irresponsible one yet. According to the preliminary Tax Foundation analysis that Cruz cited, households in the top one per cent of the income distribution would see their post-tax income rise by 29.6 per cent, whereas households in the middle twenty per cent of the distribution would see their incomes rise by 1.5 per cent or less. (I’m citing the “static” estimates, which don’t incorporate an overly rosy growth scenario for tax revenues. But the “dynamic” figures also show a big difference in how the ultra-wealthy would make out relative to everybody else.)

Relative to the other candidates’ plans, Cruz’s proposal is at the edge of the curve, but in its basic features it’s not atypical. Given the way these plans work, about the only way to have them avoid looking like reverse-Robin Hood schemes is to exempt some of the households at the bottom of the income distribution from any federal income tax. That’s what Marco Rubio’s plan would do, for example, and another analysis from the Tax Foundation suggests that he was right when he claimed, in response to a challenge from CNBC’s John Harwood, that the biggest gains (in percentage terms) under his proposal would go to the poor. But the exemptions in his plan wouldn’t apply to payroll taxes paid by poor families, and they wouldn’t apply to any of the taxes paid by middle-income households. So Harwood, who had said that very rich households would make out a lot better than average households under Rubio’s plan, was also right.

That assessment is also true of Bush’s plan, and of Trump’s plan, and of Carson’s plan, and of Huckabee’s plan, and of Paul’s plan. Indeed, when you delve into the details of the Republicans’ economic proposals, it’s easy to see why most of them would rather not get into the details. G.O.P. primary voters tend to be tax averse. But most of them are also averse to tilting things even more in the direction of the donor class. 10/29/15 http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/why-the-g-o-p-candidates-dont-do-substance

9. Paul Krugman: Springtime for Grifters

At one point during Wednesday’s Republican debate, Ben Carson was asked about his involvement with Mannatech, a nutritional supplements company that makes outlandish claims about its products and has been forced to pay $7 million to settle a deceptive-practices lawsuit. The audience booed, and Mr. Carson denied being involved with the company. Both reactions tell you a lot about the driving forces behind modern American politics.

As it happens, Mr. Carson lied. He has indeed been deeply involved with Mannatech, and has done a lot to help promote its merchandise. PolitiFact quickly rated his claim false, without qualification. But the Republican base doesn’t want to hear about it, and the candidate apparently believes, probably correctly, that he can simply brazen it out. These days, in his party, being an obvious grifter isn’t a liability, and may even be an asset.

And this doesn’t just go for outsider candidates like Mr. Carson and Donald Trump. Insider politicians like Marco Rubio are simply engaged in a different, classier kind of scam — and they are empowered in part by the way the grifters have defined respectability down.

The point is that we shouldn’t ask whether the G.O.P. will eventually nominate someone in the habit of saying things that are demonstrably untrue, and counting on political loyalists not to notice. The only question is what kind of scam it will be. 10/30/15 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/30/opinion/springtime-for-grifters.html?_r=0

13. Matthew Yglesias: Marco Rubio looks strong because so far nobody’s tested his biggest weakness

In an excellent June National Review article, Jim Geraghty ran through Rubio’s serious problems on immigration — running in 2010 as an amnesty opponent, co-authoring the 2013 bipartisan Senate immigration bill, then swiftly abandoning the bill and disavowing the entire approach, but doing so on procedural rather than substantive grounds.

Yet one surprising aspect of Geraghty’s story hasn’t held up well. Geraghty predicted that during debates “every one of [Rubio’s rivals] will surely remind GOP primary voters of Rubio’s role in creating and supporting the ‘Gang of Eight’ comprehensive immigration-reform bill” and that “it’s inconceivable that Rubio’s foes won’t hit him on this issue early and often.”

That certainly seems like what you would say if you wanted to beat Rubio. But so far none of the other candidates are doing it. Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Reform, called Rubio’s brief remarks on immigration in the third debate “either clueless or lying … a useful caution for those excited by his genuine rhetorical gifts.” But nobody on stage called him on it. 11/02/15 http://www.vox.com/2015/11/2/9656288/marco-rubio-immigration-record

10. Ed Kilgore: Why Ben Carson Isn’t Going Away — And What Makes That So Scary

The conventional wisdom is that Carson is beloved for being a genial, soft-spoken figure and a non-politician with a distinguished biography. That may be true, though this does not necessarily distinguish him from many thousands of his fellow Americans. An equally obvious factor is that he is African American, and Republicans frustrated with being accused of white identity politics if not outright racism love being able to support a black candidate who is as conservative as they are.

Less obvious — and finally being recognized by political reporters spending time in Iowa — is that Carson is a familiar, beloved figure to conservative evangelicals, who have been reading his books for years.

Another factor, and one that I emphasized in my own take here two months ago <http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/the-secret-to-ben-carsons-success-calm-bedside-manner&gt;, is that Carson is a devoted believer in a number of surprisingly resonant right-wing conspiracy theories, which he articulates via dog whistles that excite fellow devotees (particularly fans of Glenn Beck, who shares much of Carson’s world-view) without alarming regular GOP voters or alerting the MSM.

So there remains what should actually disqualify Carson: his extremist, paranoid “world-view” which treats regular boring old center-left liberals as conscious and systematically deceitful would-be destroyers of this country bent on imposing a Marxist tyranny via “politically correct” suppression of free speech and confiscation of guns.

There’s unquestionably a constituency for this point of view, but we may never know whether it would outnumber the Republicans baffled or horrified by it until such time as one of his rivals or the heretofore clueless media start talking about it. If they don’t pretty soon, then one theory of the 2016 GOP nominating process could come true: conservatives want to rerun the 1964 elections, and they’ve finally found their Barry Goldwater. 11/04/14 http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/why-ben-carson-is-no-herman-cain

11. Matt Taibbi: The Case for Bernie Sanders

Sanders is a clear outlier in a generation that has forgotten what it means to be a public servant. The Times remarks upon his “grumpy demeanor.” But Bernie is grumpy because he’s thinking about vets who need surgeries, guest workers who’ve had their wages ripped off, kids without access to dentists or some other godforsaken problem that most of us normal people can care about for maybe a few minutes on a good day, but Bernie worries about more or less all the time.

I first met Bernie Sanders ten years ago, and I don’t believe there’s anything else he really thinks about. There’s no other endgame for him. He’s not looking for a book deal or a membership in a Martha’s Vineyard golf club or a cameo in a Guy Ritchie movie. This election isn’t a game to him; it’s not the awesomely repulsive dark joke it is to me and many others.

And the only reason this attention-averse, sometimes socially uncomfortable person is subjecting himself to this asinine process is because he genuinely believes the system is not beyond repair.

Not all of us can say that. But that doesn’t make us right, and him “unrealistic.” More than any other politician in recent memory, Bernie Sanders is focused on reality. It’s the rest of us who are lost. 11/03/15 http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-case-for-bernie-sanders-20151103

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