Nov 19 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #904

Nov 19 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #904


“I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate. ISIL seeks to exploit the idea that there is a war between Islam and the West, and when you start seeing individuals in positions of responsibility, suggesting that Christians are more worthy of protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative. It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop.”— President Obama, criticizing the GOP presidential candidates for their rhetoric about Syrian refugees.

“France will remain a country of freedom.” — French President Francois Hollande defending his decision to honor a commitment to accept migrants and refugees despite Friday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris. 11/18/15

“Instead of using this tragedy to scapegoat all refugees, I call upon our public officials to work together to end the Syrian conflict peacefully so the close to 4 million Syrian refugees can return to their country and rebuild their homes. Until that goal is achieved, we must work with the world community to provide safe haven to vulnerable and deserving refugees who are simply attempting to survive.”  — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops 11/17/15

“I would bomb the s— out of them. I would just bomb those suckers. And that’s right: I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries. I would blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left.” — Donald Trump, saying, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do.”

“All our prayers are with the people of France tonight. We must stand side-by-side every step of the way with France and our allies around the world to wage and win the struggle against terrorism and violent extremism. Even in this darkest night, Paris remains the City of Light. No terrorist attack will ever dim the spirit of the French people or our common commitment to the democratic values we share.” — Hillary Clinton urging America to stand with the French “to wage and win the struggle against terrorism and violent extremism.”

“Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values. … Many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism themselves. That’s what they’re fleeing. … Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both.” — President Obama at the G20 summit in Turkey on Monday on the Syrian refugees.

“The one who is responsible for the attacks in Paris cannot be put on equal footing with refugees, with asylum seekers, and with displaced people. He is a criminal, and not a refugee. And I would like to invite those in Europe who are trying to change the migration agenda we have adopted to be serious about this and not give in to these basic reactions.” — European Commission President Juncker 11/15/15

“I recognize Barack Obama does not wish to defend this country.” — Ted. Cruz 11/15/15

“We haven’t come up with an exact number yet, but it will not be as high as the number under Dwight D. Eisenhower, which was 90 percent. I’m not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on his proposal to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

“Before the Paris horror, ISIS was killing Muslims on a daily basis. We Muslims despise these crazy people more than anyone else does.” — Dean Obeidallah 11.16.15

“Now to me, that was us stepping in a trap because we should have known that she (Hillary) was going to go on and just stall, debate, filibuster, on these answers to make it go as long as possible, so we would look cruel.” –House Select Committee On Benghazi member Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R). 11/12/15

The National Rifle Association has stood in the way of legislation that is designed to prohibit terrorists from purchasing firearms legally, and that obstructionism goes back to 2007.” — The Daily Kos, noting that one the NRA’s arguments is that terrorists will just acquire firearms illegally, so such a law would only hurt “law-abiding citizens.” The gun lobby also trots out its standard rap about this kind of legislation being “sponsored by gun-control extremists.” 11/17/15


1. The Borowitz Report: Trump’s Focus on Muslims Distracting Him from Campaign Against Mexicans, Supporters Fear

There are growing fears among supporters of the Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump that his new focus on Muslims is distracting him from his campaign against Mexicans.

After the billionaire said he would consider shutting down mosques if he were President, supporters expressed concern that such signature proposals as a wall with Mexico and mass deportations were being lost in the shuffle.

Trump supporter, Harland Dorrinson, agreed. “Shutting down the mosques is a great idea, sure, but he shouldn’t do that if it’s going to divert resources from forcibly deporting eleven million immigrants,” he said. “I would be very sad to see that happen.”

But Tracy Klugian, a die-hard Trump volunteer who is working for his campaign in Iowa, called such criticism of her candidate “misguided.” “You don’t get to be a successful businessman like Donald Trump without being able to multitask,” she said. Read more at

2. The Late Show with Stephen ColbertThe 4th GOP Debate Was A Thing That Happened


– “We are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily.” — Donald Trump
– “The most important question any of us can have is how do we get the economy growing?”How do we bring back economic growth?” — Ted Cruz
– “We have to take our government back ecause innovation and entrepreneurship is crushed by the crushing load of a 73,000 page tax code” and “Obamacare isn’t helping anyone.” — Carly Fiorina,
– “What we are going through in this country is not simply an economic downturn. We are living through a massive economic transformation.” — Marco Rubio.


They would be surprised to find that unemployment is at 5 percent, America’s recovery from the financial crisis has outpaced that of other developed nations, the percentage of uninsured Americans has been plummeting even as Obamacare has cost less than expected, and there’s so much money flowing into new ideas and firms in the tech industry that observers are worried about a second tech bubble. —  Ezra Klein in Vox. 11/13/15


“[T]hey do not hate us because we have military assets in the Middle East. They hate us because of our values. They hate us because young girls here go to school. They hate us because women drive. They hate us because we have freedom of speech, because we have diversity in our religious beliefs. They hate us because we’re a tolerant society.” — Marco Rubio 11/15/15


“This is simply false. The Islamic State may hate tolerance, liberty, and women’s rights. But that’s not why its cadres attacked Paris. … America’s domestic freedoms, precious as they are, don’t have much to do with it.” — Peter Beinart in the Atlantic 11/15/15


“I have several sources that I’ve got material from, I’m surprised my sources are better than theirs.” — Ben Carsonabout the White House for dismissing his claims that China is moving into Syria, saying his sources are clearly better than those of the U.S. government


“Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East.” — Duane R. Clarridge, a top adviser to Mr. Carson on terrorism and national security 11/17/15

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

Fox’s Bolling Defends Trump’s “Deportation Force” As “Good For Latinos”

Right-Wing Media Immediately Criticize Obama After He Condemned Paris Attacks

Fox’s Kimberly Guilfoyle: Refugee Resettlement In The United States Is “Forced Infiltration”

After Paris Attacks, Ingraham Fearmongers About Terror Threat Posed By Immigrants And Refugees

Laura Ingraham: The US Should Only Accept Refugees “We Can Verifiably Say Are Christians,” Muslims “Stay In The Middle East”

Fox’s Varney Offers Financial Advice In Response To The Paris Attacks: Buy Gun Stocks

On Fox Business, Mark Steyn Invokes Image Of Terrorists “Sawing Bernie Sanders’ Head Off” To Mock Him For Accurately Linking Climate Change To Terrorism

Fox Contributor On Mosque Surveillance: “Let’s Stop Worrying About People’s Rights”

Governors Who Don’t Want To Accept Syrian Refugees Are Recycling Debunked Right-Wing Media Myths

Ben Stein: Obama’s “Hatred Of America” May Be “Because He’s Part Black”

Fox’s Tantaros Claims “Older” Muslim Immigrants Are Not The Problem, “It’s Their Kids, It’s Their Offspring” — Women And Kids “Are The Exact People We Need To Worry About”

Laura Ingraham Hypes Fears About Muslim Refugee Women: “What’s Under That Burqa, Baby?”

5. The GOP’s war on voting (cont.): Chris Christie vetoes automatic registration bill

On Monday, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the Democracy Act — preventing New Jersey from becoming the third state, after Oregon and California, to adopt automatic registration in 2015. The Democracy Act also would have given voters the opportunity to register and update their information online, and created two weeks of in-person early voting, among other reforms. Together, they would have boosted registration rates, cleaned up the rolls, saved money, and made voting more convenient. 11/10/15

6. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Climate interruptus

7. Republicans Support Trump on Immigration

A new Economist Group/YouGov Poll finds that 49% of Republicans and independents who lean to the GOP say Donald Trump is the presidential candidate who can best handle immigration — well ahead of Marco Rubio with 10%, Ted Cruz with 7% and Jeb Bush at 5%. 11/11/15

8. Time for GOP panic? Establishment worried Carson or Trump might win

Less than three months before the kickoff Iowa caucuses, there is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them.

Party leaders and donors fear that nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.

The party establishment is paralyzed. Big money is still on the sidelines. No consensus alternative to the outsiders has emerged from the pack of governors and senators running, and there is disagreement about how to prosecute the case against them. Recent focus groups of Trump supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire commissioned by rival campaigns revealed no silver bullet. Philip Rucker and Robert Costa 11/13. 2015

9. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“California governor Jerry Brown signed a controversial new bill allowing assisted suicide. Yeah. Just in time for Lakers season.” –Conan O’Brien

“I read that Donald Trump’s hotel chain may have experienced a data breach that may have exposed people’s debit and credit card information to hackers for more than a year. When asked how he planned on fixing the situation, Trump was like, ‘I’m going to build a huge firewall.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“I do think Donald Trump is honest in his own way. He is honestly an egomaniacal billionaire.” –Stephen Colbert

“Much to the dismay of many Republicans, a new report said Donald Trump is still leading in the polls, and one voter was quoted as saying, ‘Unfortunately, I’m leaning toward Trump.’ Even worse, that voter was Jeb Bush.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump’s wife Melania just gave an interview where she said their 9-year-old son Barron wants to grow up to be a golfer, a businessman, and a pilot. When Melania told him that’s very unlikely to happen, he replied, ‘Dad’s in first place for president, anything can happen.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Ben Carson talks like he forgot he had a press conference and just took a load of Benadryl. This guy is a retired surgeon. Apparently, instead of giving his patients anesthesia, he just talked to them until they passed out.” –James Corden

“Ben Carson has made a lot of controversial statements. He’s said prison turns people gay and that Obamacare is the worst thing to happen to our country since slavery. And that was just to his waitress at breakfast.” –James Corden

“This is what happens when you give Donald Trump attention: Everyone else seems reasonable in comparison. Ben Carson is over here saying ‘You’re Hitler!’ ‘Obamacare is slavery!’ And we’re like, ‘Finally, an adult in the room!'” –James Corden

10. Cut for Time: Donald Trump’s Hair – SNL

11. “The Daily Show” w/Trevor Noah:The GOP Debate – Definitely Not A Game Show–definitely-not-a-game-show

12. “The Nightly Show” w/Larry Wilmore: Blacklash 2016: The Unblackening – Donald Trump’s Contempt For Higher Thinking–the-unblackening—donald-trump-s-contempt-for-higher-thinking

13. House Freedom Caucus’ “Contract with America II”

Members of the House Freedom Caucus are preparing a “Contract With America II” that would call for House votes in the first 100 days of 2016 on replacing Obamacare, overhauling entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, and repealing the estate tax.

An early draft of the plan obtained by Bloomberg News also calls for legislation to slash government regulations by 20 percent, cut corporate tax rates and expand offshore oil drilling. Efforts are still under way to finalize contents of the “contract,” which lawmakers say they hope will become the basis of House Republicans’ 2016 agenda. 11/13/15

14. YouGov/Huffington Post survey: Bible & Politics

Do you believe that the Egyptian pyramids were used:

As tombs . . . .. .72%

As grain silos . . . .4%

Not sure . . . .. .. .25%

15. Republicans beating Clinton, Dems in Wall Street donations

Wall Street donors are favoring Republicans over Democrats in the 2016 campaign — a reversal from the last time Clinton ran for president when she and then-Sen. Barack Obama out-raised their GOP rivals with the financial sector’s cash.

In fact, despite lagging in the polls, performing poorly in debates and being nowhere near as sure a bet as Clinton is for his party’s nomination, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) has so far taken more than five times as much Wall Street money as Clinton into his campaign and super-PAC. 11/15/15

16. SNL: Young Ben Carson

17. GOP field takes new shape after Paris attacks

It took just 48 hours, but the tragic terror attacks on Paris have quickly cleaved the 2016 Republican primary into a contest between those with serious foreign policy experience and those without, shifting the race, at least for now, from a campaign for the presidency to a test for commander in chief.

The disparity between candidates has been present and glaring for months, of course, but it took a backseat in a primary where experience has been akin to a dirty word, and early state voters haven’t demanded great familiarity with world affairs. The question for 2016 now turns on whether foreign policy fluency and the seasoning of elected office somehow morphs into an asset, a development which could dislodge the two outsiders who are currently perched comfortably atop the polls – Donald Trump and Ben Carson – and reorder the race. 11/15/15

18. John Oliver curses the Paris attackers

19. The primary storylines

The policy debates in the two primary races seem like they’re two countries apart, let alone two parties. The reason: Both the Democratic and Republican primary electorates simply don’t look a lot like the electorate at large. To wit:

Ninety-two percent of GOP primary voters are white – compared to 72 percent of the general electorate in 2012. Sixty-nine percent of Republican primary voters consider themselves conservative, while 25 percent say they’re moderate; compare that to 35 percent and 41 percent, respectively, for the overall voting pool.

The Democratic primary electorate is 62 percent white and 38 percent non-white, while the electorate overall is 72 percent white and 26 percent non-white. And half of Democrats planning to vote in the primaries say they consider themselves liberal, while only about quarter of those who will cast a general election vote next November say the same. 11/13/15

20. Colbert: We Stand With The People Of France

21. The GOP’s nightmare scenario is very, very real

The near future may be playing out in the stress nightmares of the Republican establishment. Rubio eliminates Bush on age, polish, and the value of a last name. Cruz eliminates Rubio based on the Florida senator’s support of amnesty. And suddenly, the deepest field in recent history has collapsed into Trump, Carson, Cruz, and some also-rans. 11/16/15



1. Stanley B. Greenberg: Why 2016 could be shattering for Republicans

The United States is emerging as racially blended, immigrant, multinational and multilingual — accelerating the growth of a new majority coalition of racial minorities, single women, millennials and seculars. Together, these groups formed 51 percent of the electorate in 2012, but our analysis of census survey data and exit poll projections indicates that they will comprise fully 63 percent in 2016. With these growing groups each supporting Hillary Clinton by more than 2 to 1 in today’s polls, it is fair to say that the United States has reached an electoral tipping point.

This is evident in the shrinking proportion of people who think of themselves as conservative. When Republicans challenged President Obama in the off-year elections of 2010, 46 percent of the country was conservative at the high point. That figure is now 37 percent.

For Republicans, 2016 will prove to be no normal election, because it will confirm that the new America is here and that the counterrevolution has lost. That is why I expect the result to be shattering for the Republican Party as we know it. 11/13/15

2. Elspeth Reeve: The Hillary Clinton Living Inside the Republican Brain

Imagine a police sketch artist drawing a picture of Hillary Clinton based only on descriptions from the Republicans at the Fox Business Network debates on Tuesday night. The sketch would be unappealing, obviously, but also weird and contradictory. According to the collective wisdom of the GOP crowd, Clinton is a power-mad monster who is nearly unstoppable, but she’s also weak. She is afraid of debating Republicans, but Republican debates are making her stronger. She is a hard leftist who hasn’t been shaken from her mission to drive America into socialism, but also a flip-flopper who only recently began capitulating to the left. At one point in the undercard debate, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal summed up the theme: “Look, we all agree Hillary Clinton is bad.” But how is she bad?

She is woman with no ideas except for bad ones: Clinton has no ideas (Rubio: “The political left has no ideas about the future”). Except for one: single-payer health care (Christie: “She will completely nationalize the federal health care system”).

A criminal-ish politician: Christie, in particular, painted Clinton with a tint of criminality. Christie said being governor of a blue state made him better equipped to win nationally, but he seemed to think his time as a U.S. attorney was more appealing; four times, he said some version of the idea that he would be best at “prosecuting” her.

A foreign-policy failure who agrees with Republicans on foreign policy: Clinton is trembling and weak on foreign policy. (Bush: “This president, and Hillary Clinton both, do not believe the United States has a leadership role to play.” Rubio: “Around the world, every day brings news of a new humiliation for America—many the … direct consequence of decisions made when Hillary Clinton was the secretary of state.” Christie: “Remember why we’re in the position we’re in with China, because of an absolutely weak and feckless foreign policy that was engineered by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.”) At the same time, she agrees with many Republicans about what to do with the gravest international crisis, in Syria (Paul: “The idea of a no-fly zone, realize that this is also something that Hillary Clinton agrees with several on our side with…”).

A big spender who is also stingy: She wants to tax Americans to death (Christie: “Hillary Clinton’s coming for your wallet”). But she won’t spend the cash to build up some of the biggest government expenses (Fiorina: “Imagine a Clinton presidency. Our military will continue to deteriorate. Our veterans will not be cared for”).

A socialist who loves Wall Street: Clinton is a socialist (Christie: “What Hillary Clinton is talking about doing, if she’s president of the United States, is to make sure that the government gets even more involved in the economy, even more involved in making choices for everybody”) who is screwing up the financial sector by backing Dodd-Frank, which is unpopular on Wall Street (Bush: “This vast overreach has created a huge problem for our country, and Hillary Clinton wants to double down on that”). But she’s also in the pocket of Wall Street (Cruz: “Hillary Clinton embodies the cronyism of Washington.” By contrast, Cruz said he would go after the Wall Street criminals of the financial crisis.).

It gets worse. Clinton wants to regulate the economy to death (Carson: “Even for the average person, every single regulation costs money. … Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton won’t tell you that that’s the thing that’s really hurting middle class in the core. They’ll say it’s the rich, take their money, but that won’t help”). But she has not backed the right regulations (Bush: “What we ought to do is raise the capital requirements so banks aren’t too big to fail”).

Their bizarrely contradictory portrait of Clinton points to what’s confusing in the Republicans’ own message. They know Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are on the other team; what they don’t know is why the GOP team is better or more noble, or what exactly binds it together. They can’t agree on what parts of the old GOP platform should be thrown out—Santorum says Republicans should pander less to business owners than to the people who work for them, Paul suggests ditching some social conservatism and hawkish foreign policy, Bush says lose the hostility to immigrants, and Trump says cut entitlements. But they do agree on what to keep: being against whatever Clinton is for. And whoever she is.

3. Washington Post Editorial Board: Mr. Trump praises a grotesquely inhumane immigration plan from the 1950s

“WE HAVE a country that’s going to hell.” So pronounced Donald Trump, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, at Tuesday night’s debate. If Mr. Trump thinks that now, it’s likely many Americans would come to agree with him were they to see the economic and social upheaval unleashed in carrying out his plan to forcibly deport more than 11 million undocumented immigrants, a major portion of whom are employed, have lived in the United States 15 years or more and have children and other relatives who are U.S. citizens.

Mr. Trump, who has stirred up so much enthusiasm for mass deportations, is now offering what he evidently regards as an exemplary template: the far more modest but still massively cruel round-’em-up-and-throw-’em-out program carried out, mainly in the summer of 1954, under the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

What little sense entered the GOP debate on this issue came from Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who called advocacy of mass deportations “silly” and juvenile, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who put his finger on the problem precisely. “It’s not embracing American values,” Mr. Bush said. “And it would tear communities apart, and it would send a signal that we’re not the kind of country that I know America is.” 11/11/15

4. Matt Taibbi: The GOP Clown Car Rolls On

Not one of them can win, but one must. That’s the paradox of the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, fast becoming the signature event in the history of black comedy.

Conventional wisdom says that with the primaries and caucuses rapidly approaching, front-running nuts Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson must soon give way to the “real” candidates. But behind Trump and Carson is just more abyss. As I found out on a recent trip to New Hampshire, the rest of the field is either just as crazy or as dangerous as the current poll leaders, or too bumbling to win.

Disaster could be averted if Americans on both the left and the right suddenly decide to be more mature about this, neither backing obvious mental incompetents, nor snickering about those who do. But that doesn’t seem probable.

Instead, HashtagClownCar will almost certainly continue to be the most darkly ridiculous political story since Henry II of Champagne, the 12th-century king of Jerusalem, plunged to his death after falling out of a window with a dwarf. 11/17/15 Read more at: 

5. Damon Linker: Why aren’t conservative intellectuals disgusted with the GOP?

Somehow, my friends on the right don’t seem to hear anything troubling, anything intellectually offensive emanating from the mouths of the Republican candidates. And I just don’t get it.

I don’t just mean the obvious stuff. You know, the unprovoked and petty anti-intellectualism of Marco Rubio denigrating philosophers by contrasting them unfavorably to welders (and presumably people who work at other skilled trades as well). Or Rand Paul’s nonsensical, conspiratorial musings about the Federal Reserve. Or Donald Trump’s xenophobic promises to build a 2,000-mile wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and round up and deport eleven million undocumented immigrants. (If they’re undocumented, how will we find them? House to house sweeps by armed agents of the state through poor and heavily Latino neighborhoods? That’s either absurdly unfeasible, as Jeb Bush and John Kasich pointed out, or a program for American fascism.)

The Republican Party’s 2016 presidential candidates have descended into vapid, puerile bleating. Conservative intellectuals are better than this, smarter than this. The time has come for them to speak up and call the GOP field what it is: ignorant, insulting, and dangerous. 11/13/15

6. Paul Krugman: Fearing Fear Itself

Like millions of people, I’ve been obsessively following the news from Paris, putting aside other things to focus on the horror. It’s the natural human reaction. But let’s be clear: it’s also the reaction the terrorists want. And that’s something not everyone seems to understand.

Take, for example, Jeb Bush’s declaration that “this is an organized attempt to destroy Western civilization.” No, it isn’t. It’s an organized attempt to sow panic, which isn’t at all the same thing. And remarks like that, which blur that distinction and make terrorists seem more powerful than they are, just help the jihadists’ cause.

Think, for a moment, about what France is and what it represents. It has its problems — what nation doesn’t? — but it’s a robust democracy with a deep well of popular legitimacy. Its defense budget is small compared with ours, but it nonetheless retains a powerful military, and has the resources to make that military much stronger if it chooses. (France’s economy is around 20 times the size of Syria’s.) France is not going to be conquered by ISIS, now or ever. Destroy Western civilization? Not a chance.

So what was Friday’s attack about? Killing random people in restaurants and at concerts is a strategy that reflects its perpetrators’ fundamental weakness. It isn’t going to establish a caliphate in Paris. What it can do, however, is inspire fear — which is why we call it terrorism, and shouldn’t dignify it with the name of war.

The point is not to minimize the horror. It is, instead, to emphasize that the biggest danger terrorism poses to our society comes not from the direct harm inflicted, but from the wrong-headed responses it can inspire. And it’s crucial to realize that there are multiple ways the response can go wrong.

Again, the goal of terrorists is to inspire terror, because that’s all they’re capable of. And the most important thing our societies can do in response is to refuse to give in to fear. 11/16/15

7. Michael Brendan Dougherty: Ben Carson is political malpractice

Carson’s virtues are starting to crack under pressure. Carson’s story of religious transformation, which has gone from personal testimony to bookable persona is under question. And, boy, did he suddenly become prickly and defensive. It’s bonkers that Carson and the media are debating not only whether he lied about getting admitted to West Point, but also about whether he attempted to stab a childhood friend — and Carson is the one arguing that he did! This is sketch comedy, not a campaign. And as his biography continues to get shredded, it will become a farce.

Carson is diverting monetary, emotional, and organizational resources away from the real long-term work of evangelical politics. He has no ideas to offer his party, which is in need of them. He has no political leadership skills for a culture that is desperate for them. He is pulling evangelical influence and resources away from candidates who can win, which ultimately enhances the grip of the more secular, more liberal Republican establishment. This is political malpractice.

8. William Falk: The death of the swing voter

Here’s a strange thought to chew on a year before the presidential election: The votes of 95 percent of Americans likely to cast ballots are already determined. People who lean conservative will vote for any Republican who emerges from the scrum (with the possible exception of the divisive Donald Trump). Ditto for people who lean liberal. New research by Michigan State political scientist Corwin Smidt confirms that the percentage of voters who are truly “independent,” swinging from party to party, has plunged from 15 percent in the 1960s to just 5 percent today. Crossing over party lines to vote for the other tribe’s presidential candidate has become unimaginable. As Jonathan Chait put it this week at New York: “The dominant fact of American politics is that nobody is changing their mind about anything.”

It wasn’t always this way. For much of the latter half of the 20th century, there were liberal-leaning Republicans and conservative-leaning Democrats. It was not impossible to find common ground. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both actively sought the votes of people who traditionally vote for the other party, and enjoyed great popularity partly as a result. But since 2004, polarization on immigration, climate change, abortion, religion, and social issues has become so acute that every presidential election seems to represent a major turning point, with the very definition of our nation at stake. Polls suggest that the gulf between the two parties is actually widening. Republicans loathe Hillary Clinton as much as they do Barack Obama; Democrats see Trump and Ben Carson as wackos and frauds, and have only slightly less contempt for the rest of the field. So here’s a safe if depressing prediction: The new president John Roberts swears in on Jan. 20, 2017, will be very quickly despised and distrusted by roughly 45 percent of the nation. Is this a democracy, or a dysfunctional family? 11/13/15

9. David Brooks: The G.O.P. at an Immigration Crossroads

It’s no exaggeration to say that the next six months will determine the viability of the Republican Party. The demographics of this country are changing. This will be the last presidential election cycle in which the G.O.P., in its current form, has even a shot at winning the White House. And so the large question Republicans must ask themselves is: Are we as a party willing to champion the new America that is inexorably rising around us, or are we the receding roar of an old America that is never coming back?

Within that large question the G.O.P. will have to face several other questions.

The first is: How is 21st-century America going to view outsiders? For Republicans in the Donald Trump camp, the metaphor is very clear: A wall. Outsiders are a threat and a wall will keep them out.

The second question Republicans have to ask is: Can the party see reality? The great Victorian critic John Ruskin once wrote: “The more I think of it I find this conclusion more impressed upon me — that the greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see.”

The third G.O.P. question is: How does the party view leadership? For a rising number of Republicans — congregating around Trump and Ben Carson — leadership is about ignorance and inexperience. Actually having prepared for the job is a disqualifying factor. Knowing the substance of government is a negative. 11/13/15

10. John Avlon: The GOP’s Reckless Refugee Rhetoric

In the wake of the Paris attacks, more than two dozen governors—all Republicans, except for New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan, a Democrat—announced they did not want to have any Syrian refugees darken their states. One would-be governor, the desperate David Vitter, lost no time in cutting a negative attack ad trying to make it look like President Obama was intentionally importing terrorists to Louisiana. Folding to fear-mongering apparently seems like good politics in 2015. It will look awful in a few decades.

The way we will win this long war is not through military means alone, though that is an essential component (and it is ridiculous that the city of Raqqa has been allowed to solidify its role as the ISIS capital for so long). Ultimately, we will succeed by showing that we are different and bigger and better than the “us versus them” stereotypes that terrorists so desperately want the Arab street to believe.

That requires us living up to our best traditions, not solidifying our worst fears. And for those governors and presidential candidates who would seek to turn away refugees from ISIS, I’d recommend that they reacquaint themselves with the poem written by Emma Lazarus on the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore/Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me/I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

That is the spirit of Liberty. All the reflexive campaign rhetoric about America being a beacon of freedom is now being put to the test. We should screen refugees for security and then welcome them in, letting the process of assimilation work without apology.

That is the American story and it is our responsibility to carry that story forward. Failure to do so represents a rejection of our best traditions, folding in the face of fear. Governors and presidential candidates above all should hold themselves to a higher standard. 11/1715

11. LA Times Editorial Stop the fear-mongering on Syrian refugees

It was inevitable that the terrorism attacks in Paris last week would echo quickly through the U.S. presidential campaign. Given the stream of nativist rhetoric already out there, it was also inevitable that some politicians’ responses would be highly objectionable, beginning with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s assertion that the United States should accept only Christian refugees from the Syrian conflict. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sounded a similar note, calling for special efforts to protect Christians in the region; never mind that Islamic State jihadists target fellow Muslims with just as much viciousness.

It’s preposterous that a serious contender for the presidency of the U.S. would bar war refugee status based on someone’s religion. And the suggestion by GOP candidate Ben Carson that the U.S. bar all Syrian refugees for fear that a “sleeper” terrorist might slip in is an emotional, and ill-conceived, overreaction, as are pledges by several Republican governors to resist efforts to resettle refugees in their states.

It defies what the nation stands for to deny a safe haven for the persecuted based on their faith, nation of origin, or our fear. 11/1/7/15



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Oct 8 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #900

Oct 8 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #900


The United States criminal justice system could be improved if we sell poor people convicted of crimes into slavery. — Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. 10/15/15

“It amazes me and it actually kind of scares me. I’ve been spending more time going after Bernie and socialism because I don’t want America to succumb to the notion that there’s anything good about socialism. I think it’s not an accident of history that most of the times when socialism has been tried that attendant with that has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it.” — Rand Paul warning the a Sanders presidency could lead to “mass genocide.”

“I own guns. I’m planning on keeping them. But there’s a problem… Obama is coming for our guns.”— Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), in a fundraising letter. 10/16/15

“I would have taken her to task for that, and if she wins the nomination and if I win the nomination, trust me, this is not going to end.”— Jeb Bush, on Hillary’s email problem.

“OK, so here’s the deal. First of all, The Wall Street Journal was bought for $5 billion [in 2007]. It’s now worth $500 million, OK? They don’t have to tell me what to do.” — Donald Trump, after the WSJ called him “the most anti-trade candidate since Herbert Hoover.” 10/18/15

“Trey Gowdy is delusional if he thinks the Benghazi Committee’s partisan curtain hasn’t been lifted. The investigation into the tragic events in Benghazi stopped long ago, while the true focus of the Committee’s partisan, taxpayer-funded effort being to target Hillary Clinton. Through their actions, the Republicans have guaranteed that this Committee’s work will be remembered as a political witch hunt, spurred by leaked information, cheap partisan hackery and the long-debunked notion that this would ever be a fair investigation.” — David Brock 10/18/15

“We’re seeing our freedoms taken away every day and last night was an audition for who would wear the jackboot most vigorously. Last night was an audition for who would embrace government power for who would strip your and my individual liberties. Every one of the Democratic candidates is agreed on doubling down on the failed Obama strategies. So it was really quite interesting for America to see each and every Democratic candidate explain how they’re every bit as socialist as Bernie Sanders is.” — Ted Cruz, who acknowledged that he hadn’t actually watched the Democratic debate. 10/14/15

“I would say in some ways these have been among the worst weeks of my life. Attacks on your character, attacks on your motives, are 1,000-times worse than anything you can do to anybody physically — at least it is for me.” — Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), on suggestions that his Benghazi investigation is only a political attack on Hillary Clinton.

“And in my judgement, with respect to Hillary Clinton, she will be a unique president if she is elected by the public next November, because the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment because she has committed high crimes and misdemeanors,” — Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) preparing to impeach Hillary Clinton, should she get elected.10/19/15

“I just don’t like the guy.” — George W. Bush about Ted Cruz. 10/19/15

“Absolutely. Good. I would do that.” — Donald Trump, about closing mosques as a measure to fight ISIS in the US. 10/21/15


1. GOP Gerrymandering Is Disrupting the House

Thanks to gerrymandering, all but two of the 45 anti-Boehner rebels are guaranteed re-election in politically engineered monopoly districts that insulate them not only from Democratic challengers but also from the dictates of their party leadership, as John Boehner learned in five tormented years as Speaker. 10/01/15

2. GunFAIL CXLI: Week of 9/25 – 10/01/15

53 guns were discovered by TSA agents at airports around the country.

Twenty-four people shot themselves or a family member/significant other. Eleven kids were accidentally shot, ranging in age from two to 17. There are three hunting accidents and three “home invasion” shootings, and a “thought she was an intruder” shooting.

The story of the week was the two women were accidentally shot and killed this week by boyfriends posing for Snapchat photos with their guns and training their laser sights on them.

For the rest of this week’s list go to

3. Andy Borowitz: Benghazi Hearings Cancelled After Clinton Drops Out of Race

Washington was in turmoil on Tuesday morning as a House select committee abruptly cancelled its Benghazi hearings shortly after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she was withdrawing from the Presidential race.

“As you know, we have been preparing for this week’s hearings for months,” Gowdy said. “However, after meeting with fellow committee members over the past four minutes, we’ve come to the conclusion that we know all we need to know about Benghazi.”

But shortly after Gowdy’s announcement, Clinton called an impromptu press conference at 9:13 to announce that she was jumping back into the race. “I was just trying to prove a point,” she told reporters, before heading off to campaign stops in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Minutes after Clinton’s second announcement, an irate Gowdy called her decision to reenter the race “beyond unethical” and revealed that the committee’s investigators had just uncovered fresh evidence about Benghazi.



“‘When you talk about George Bush – I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time. …He was president, OK? Don’t blame him, or don’t blame him, but he was president. The World Trade Center came down during his reign.’ — Donald Trump 10/16/15


“How pathetic for @realdonaldtrump to criticize the president for 9/11. We were attacked & my brother kept us safe.” — Jeb Bush@JebBush who has always avoided the fact that the period of time during which Bush kept us safe includes 9/11 itself.

“It’s time for people to stand up and proclaim for what they believe and stop being bullied.” — Ben Carson, defending free speech on campus. 10/21/15


“I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do. It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.” — Ben Carson, opposing free speech on campus. 10/21/15

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

Fox Regular: Democratic Endorsement Of Black Lives Matter Is “Plantation Politics,” “Whoring For Votes”

Limbaugh: Women Of The DNC Support Hillary Clinton Because They Are “Harboring A Secret Rage,” And The Men Kowtow “To Feminazis”

New York Times Fails To Explain Right-Wing Ties Of Obama Critic (The New York Times allowed retired F.B.I. senior official Ron Hosko to criticize President Obama over his recent comments concerning the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server without explaining that Hosko is the president of a right-wing organization.)

Rep. Elijah Cummings Debunks Right-Wing Media’s Claim That Clinton Sent “Classified Information” About CIA Source Over Private Email

Fox’s Kilmeade Encourages Donald Trump To Blame Bill Clinton For 9/11 Attacks

6. CIA Debunks Gowdy’s Allegation That Clinton Email Contained Classified CIA Source


Dear Mr. Chairman:

On October 7, 2015, you sent me a 13-page letter making a grave new accusation against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Specifically, you accused her of compromising national security and endangering lives.

The problem with your accusation—as with so many others during this investigation—is that you failed to check your facts before you made it, and the CIA has now informed the Select Committee that you were wrong. I believe your accusations were irresponsible, and I believe you owe the Secretary an immediate apology.

Contrary to your claims, the CIA yesterday informed both the Republican and Democratic staffs of the Select Committee that they do not consider the information you highlighted in your letter to be classified.  Specifically, the CIA confirmed that “the State Department consulted with the CIA on this production, the CIA reviewed these documents, and the CIA made no redactions to protect classified information.”

Unfortunately, you sent your letter on October 7 without checking first with the CIA.  Now that we have done so, we have learned that your accusations were incorrect.

Unfortunately, the standard operating procedure of this Select Committee has become to put out information publicly that is inaccurate and out of context in order to attack Secretary Clinton for political reasons.  These repeated actions bring discredit on this investigation and undermine the integrity of the Select Committee and the House of Representatives.

Sincerely, Elijah E. Cummings,
Ranking Member

7. SNL Cold Open: Democratic Debate

8. A Petition For Stronger Gun Laws (video)

America’s lax gun laws are often based on a reading of the Second Amendment that makes it hard to pass restrictive gun laws, even as our weapons get much, much deadlier.

9. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“Moderator Anderson Cooper asked Lincoln Chafee why he switched parties from being a Republican, and Chafee called himself a ‘block of granite.’ When asked what he meant by that, Chafee said, ‘I meant that I’d make a better countertop than president.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Turned out it was the highest-rated debate for the Democrats ever. More than 15 million people tuned in to watch Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the three high school principals they invited to fill out the stage.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Sanders supporters pointed to the fact that Bernie was the most googled of all the candidates during the debate. Sounds like a big thing until you realize the top questions they googled included, who is Bernie Sanders? And, is Bernie Sanders Jewish?” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Anderson cooper tried to make a case that Bernie Sanders isn’t electable because he calls himself a socialist. I think that’s the least of his problems. I think he isn’t electable because he calls himself Bernie.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Donald Trump was live tweeting the debate last night. This morning he told ABC News he thought Clinton got through it ‘fine.’ Which is the highest compliment he can give a woman without marrying her.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Sheryl Crow performed the National Anthem before last night’s debate, but many Twitter users were unhappy with her performance. Mostly because they thought the National Anthem was Uptown Funk.” –Seth Meyers

“During the debate, the candidates mentioned the middle class eleven times. Once for each remaining member of the middle class.” –Seth Meyers

“One of Bernie Sanders’ campaign advisers said they wanted him to tone down his yelling at tonight’s debate. You could tell he was yelling too much because I had to keep turning the volume UP to hear the commercials.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A new analysis of recent political speeches found that George W. Bush actually used longer and more complex words in his speeches than President Obama does. Granted none of those words were actually in the dictionary. ‘Don’t be condescencious. My vocablulation is completely misunderestimated.'” –Jimmy Fallon

10. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Conservatives gone wild

11. “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah — Post-debate Exhilaration

12. Presidential Debate Schedule

Republican presidential debate schedule

October 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colorado. To be aired on CNBC
November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee. To be aired on the Fox Business network.
December 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. To be aire aired on CNN.
Next, sometime in January, in Iowa. To be aire aired on Fox News.
There will be 3debates in February, and at least two more expected afterward.

Democratic presidential debate schedule

November 6, 2015: First in the South Candidates Forum. To be aired on MSNBC. Details here.
November 14, 2015: Des Moines, Iowa. Hosted by CBS, KCCI, and the Des Moines Register.
December 19, 2015: Manchester, New Hampshire. Hosted by ABC and WMUR.
January 17, 2016: Charleston, South Carolina. Hosted by NBC and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.
February 11, 2016: Somewhere in Wisconsin. Hosted by PBS.
March 9, 2016: Miami, Florida. Hosted by Univision and the Washington Post.

General election debate schedule

September 26, 2016: First presidential debate in Dayton, Ohio, at Wright State University
October 4, 2016: Vice presidential debate in Farmville, Virginia at Longwood University
October 9, 2016: Second presidential debate in St. Louis, Missouri, at Washington University in St. Louis
October 19, 2016: Third presidential debate in Las Vegas at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

13. Fox News ‘Terrorism Expert’ Was Just Arrested For Fraud

Wayne Simmons was arrested by the FBI for what the agency called “major fraud” — lying about having worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for nearly 30 years, and then using that lie to obtain government security clearances.

Before his arrest Simmons was a frequent contributor on Fox News, which billed him as a “former CIA operative.” As might be expected, he used his claimed experience to make provocative assertions – such as telling Fox News that the Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi) is a pathological liar. 10/16/15

14. CIA shrugs off Clinton’s ‘classified’ email

The credibility of the Republican-led Benghazi committee came under fresh attack Sunday after the CIA informed the panel that it does not view a 2011 email forwarded by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as including any classified information. The committee chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., had cited Clinton’s handling of the March 18, 2011, email as a prime example of her misusing her private email server to receive and send highly classified information. 10/19, 2015

15. Poll: Obama’s approval rating hits an 18-month high, is back over 50 percent

51 percent majority of the public approves of President Obama’s job performance in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, while 45 percent disapproves. Although tepidly positive, those are Obama’s best numbers since May 2013 in Post-ABC surveys. 10/19/15

16. Americans’ Desire for Stricter Gun Laws Up Sharply

Fifty-five percent of Americans say they want laws covering the sale of firearms to be stricter than they are now, a distinct rise of eight percentage points from 2014. Fewer Americans than last year want the laws to be less strict, and the proportion who want the laws to stay the same has also declined slightly. 10/19/15

17. MarkFiore: Conservatives Gone Wild

18. Ted Cruz comments on the Democrat’s debate – that he hadn’t watched

Ted Cruz, who acknowledged that he hadn’t actually watched the Democratic debate, said:

“It was more socialism, more pacifism, more weakness & less Constitution. It was a recipe to destroy a country.”

“We’re seeing our freedoms taken away every day and last night was an audition for who would wear the jackboot most vigorously. Last night was an audition for who would embrace government power for who would strip your and my individual liberties.”

“Every one of the Democratic candidates is agreed on doubling down on the failed Obama strategies. So it was really quite interesting for America to see each and every Democratic candidate explain how they’re every bit as socialist as Bernie Sanders is.” October 14, 2015


1. Heather Digby Parton: The resurrection of the “liberal”: How the right tried to destroy American liberalism — and how it came back from the dead

What a difference a decade makes. On Tuesday night, the Democratic presidential candidates not only openly identified themselves as progressives, they embraced gun control, support for Planned Parenthood, criminal justice reform, LGBT and immigrant rights, and a long, impressive list of progressive economic reforms. The moderators even asked if the candidates considered themselves to be capitalists, a question so startling it would have drawn gasps from the audience in the not too distant past. Instead of rushing to defend their all-American capitalist bona fides as they once would have done, Bernie Sanders matter of factly said he didn’t consider himself a “casino capitalist,” and Hillary Clinton said she hope to save capitalism from itself. These comments from front-running Democratic candidates would have once been the headlines in the morning papers. Instead, it pretty much passed unnoticed. Indeed, it appears that even the word “socialism” is once again respectable, a development which would have caused the political establishment to collectively call for the fainting couch just a few years ago. 10/15/15 Read more at

2. Jamelle Bouie: An Empty Conspiracy

At this point, the House Select Committee on Benghazi is a dead letter. Democrats will dismiss it entirely, Hillary Clinton—in her upcoming testimony—will likely treat it with contempt, and the media will disregard its claims. Indeed, there’s a chance this could spread beyond the committee to Clinton’s email controversy.

For all the noise over her server, there’s been no evidence of wrongdoing or legal misconduct in Clinton’s emails. And President Obama has challenged the idea that Clinton harmed national security by using a private system. Barring genuine revelations, the collapse of the Benghazi committee might create skepticism around future email releases. In other words, it could kill the story or at least make it less critical to Clinton coverage.

For months, the Benghazi Committee was the sharpest tool in the GOP’s fight against Hillary Clinton. Now, thanks to missteps (and a little hubris), it’s almost dull beyond use.

3. Lanny Davis: Real Winner in Vegas Was the Democratic Party

There are a lot of ways to contrast the Democratic debate Tuesday night with the Republican debates, but one thing would likely get agreement across the spectrum – from voters in red states and blue states, liberals and conservatives: Democrats avoided personal attacks and insults and debated the issues; Republicans have spent much more time during their debates attacking one another, with the vitriol and bile of Donald Trump leading the race to the bottom.

Tuesday night in Las Vegas, Senator Sanders exemplified what all the Democrats in the debate conveyed: He refused to attack Hillary Clinton personally and refused to make an issue of the email controversy.  He received a standing ovation from the crowd, and he deserved it.

Sen. Sanders said that most Americans care more about hearing discussions about solutions to their most important problems. Of course he is right, according to all the polls.

So good for Sen. Sanders – the handshake with Hillary Clinton was the high point of the evening.

Why? Because most Americans want civil disagreement – a debate about the issues – not personal attacks.

Republicans ought to learn this lesson. The problem is, with Trump on the stage, it appears that most (though not all) can’t resist sinking down to his level. 10/15/15

4. Dana Milbank: The House Benghazi committee unravels

If this were one of Trey Gowdy’s murder prosecutions, it would be declared a mistrial.

For 17 months, the former prosecutor who leads the House Benghazi committee has labored to give the appearance of diligence and impartiality. But, in an inexplicable and ruinous outbreak of honesty in recent weeks, the thing is unraveling just in time for Gowdy’s moment in the spotlight: Hillary Clinton’s testimony Thursday.

The ham-handed targeting of Clinton predates the Gowdy panel. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who led an earlier Benghazi investigation, suggested, falsely, that Clinton had issued a “stand-down” order to block a military response the night of the Benghazi attack. Issa also alleged, falsely, that Clinton personally authorized security reductions in Libya with her “signature” on a cable.

The contretemps have continued under Gowdy. The chairman claimed that he had “zero interest” in the Clinton Foundation and hadn’t issued a subpoena related to it or interviewed a “single person” about it other than the staffer who set up Clinton’s private email server. But Gowdy had armed marshals serve a subpoena at the home of Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal, and Gowdy and others asked Blumenthal numerous questions about the foundation.

Could such a skilled prosecutor and his experienced staff really be so hapless? Or are the mistakes more purposeful? Consider the damaging New York Times story this summer that initially reported, incorrectly, that federal inspectors general had requested a “criminal investigation” into whether Clinton “mishandled sensitive government information.”

The “senior government officials” responsible for the two false allegations were anonymous. But there are some likely suspects. 10/20/15

5. Edward Maibach: Voters to GOP: ‘I’m not a scientist’ won’t cut it on climate change

If the Republican Party wants to win the White House in 2016, it should take climate change seriously.

Republicans have been groping for the right way to talk about global warming. They want to satisfy their big donors — fossil fuel companies and executives, for example, which don’t want regulations imposed on carbon pollution — without frustrating or alienating voters. Until recently, this quandary yielded tortured statements from politicians like “I’m not a scientist.”

A wiser approach for GOP candidates would be to walk out of the corner they have painted themselves into and embrace the handful of congressional GOP climate realists who recently issued a resolution recognizing human-caused climate change and calling for debate on how best to limit it.

The data are clear: Most Americans, including most Republicans and most Latinos, want to limit carbon pollution. There is only one winning position for the GOP candidates: embrace climate change, and make a forceful case for the policies that they feel will be most effective in addressing the problem. Anything else is likely to make it harder for Republicans to take back the White House in 2016.

6. Eugene Robinson: Democrats debate issues people care most about

The main event was Clinton versus Sanders, and what should worry Republicans is that the two leading Democrats spent so much of the evening on the issues Americans say they care about. To cite one representative survey, a recent CBS poll asked registered voters what they most wanted to hear the candidates discuss. “Economy and jobs” came in first at 24 percent, while “immigration” was a distant second at 11 percent and “foreign policy” third at 10 percent.

But what do Republicans talk about in their debates? Who is going to be toughest on illegal immigration, who is more opposed to President Obama’s foreign policy, who is more determined to defund Planned Parenthood. On the economy, they fight to establish who is more opposed to raising the minimum wage.

The GOP establishment candidates have no economic message to offer beyond the party’s standard prescription of tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation for businesses. That may be why the front-runners are Trump and Carson, who have never held public office and whose economic prescriptions are more populist.

The Democratic candidates understand that these are the issues people care most about. Trump gets it, too, in his own bombastic way. A party that goes into the election without a compelling message on jobs and incomes — I’m talking to you, GOP establishment — is begging to lose. 10/16/15

7. Kevin Drum: The Benghazi Charade Is Finally Melting Away

Republicans have screwed the pooch on Benghazi. The press can only play along with their faux investigation as long as they maintain plausible deniability about its partisan goals. But now we have (a) Kevin McCarthy spilling the beans, (b) news reports that John Boehner wanted to use the committee to attack Hillary, (c) Richard Hanna agreeing that it was mostly a partisan witch hunt, and (d) no less than the New York Times reporting that the committee has all but given up on Benghazi in favor of holding hearings on Hillary’s email server. We knew all along there was a man behind the curtain, but now he’s actually been exposed. It’s getting harder and harder to play along with the charade. 10/15/15

8. Amy Davidson: Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, the 9/11 Bullies

In the past few days, one thing we’ve been reminded of, as Donald Trump and Jeb Bush have sniped at each other about whether George W. Bush “kept us safe,” is that the two men represent two different schoolyard types. Trump is the sort of bully who relies on a freewheeling instinct for the weaknesses of others—in this case, an opponent who is reduced to befuddled outrage whenever he is called on to speak publicly about his brother. Trump’s aim can be scattershot, but he can hurt. Jeb Bush is a more refined bully, who simply expects everyone to share his amazement that a person who doesn’t fit in would dare show up for a party or for a debate—the sort whose go-to insult is “weirdo.” “Does anybody actually blame my brother for the attacks on 9/11? If they do, they’re totally marginalized in our society,” Bush told Jake Tapper, on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

And that is where Jeb Bush most gets lost. He is setting Trump—and not just Trump—up for the obvious reply: maybe no terrorist group followed up with anything like the September 11th attacks, but George W. Bush launched an invasion of Iraq that crumbled into civil war, destabilized the region, led to the neglect of Afghanistan, and laid the foundation for ISIS. By keeping “us” safe, does Jeb Bush also mean the more than four thousand Americans who died in Iraq, the more than three thousand who died in Afghanistan, and the many thousands more who were wounded? It’s a good guess that “us” does not encompass the Iraqis who died; their estimated number ranges from a hundred thousand to more than half a million. Perhaps by “safe,” Bush only means “complacent.” 10/19/15

9. Brian Beutler: The Benghazi Witch-Hunt Against Hillary Is Backfiring Just Like Bill Clinton’s Impeachment

Back in 1998, House Republican leaders had to dial back an investigation into the Clintons’ campaign finance practices after then-oversight committee chairman Dan Burton tried to hoodwink the press with heavily edited transcripts meant to implicate Hillary. That botched operation forced Burton to fire his top aide David Bossie, who went on to become president of Citizens United, and prompted an angry backlash from Speaker Newt Gingrich on behalf of an embarrassed Republican conference.

The recent blows to the Benghazi committee’s self-styled credibility are at least as severe, beginning with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s admission that Republicans empaneled it to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy, running through well-substantiated allegations that Republicans have been using committee resources to investigate Clinton at the expense of the actual attacks on the U.S. facility in Libya.

In the nearly two decades since the last Clinton investigations went nowhere, social media has made it easier for events like congressional hearings to become defined by key moments, rather than by overall substance, and if Republicans are able to embarrass Hillary on Thursday once or twice, the dividends will dwarf any reputational damage the committee has suffered. Ever since Watergate, Republicans have been consumed with the certainty that a similar scandal will one day befall Democrats, and have gone to great lengths to make it so. But when their inquiries run aground, or devolve into partisan witch hunting, they eventually relent, and allow the investigations to fizzle out. The Benghazi committee is flirting with the same fate. 10/19/15

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This site contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. “Go to Original” links are provided as a convenience to allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “Go to Original” links. 

Oct 8 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #898

Oct 8 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #898


“I want to continue to be a Republican because it annoys them.” — Colin Powell 9/30/15

“African Americans fought for the right to vote in the face of unthinkable hatred. They stood up and were beaten down, marched and were turned back. Some were even killed. But in the end, the forces of justice overcame. Alabama should do the right thing. It should reverse this decision. And it should start protecting the franchise for every single voter, no matter the color of their skin.” — Hillary Clinton on the closure of 31 driver’s license offices in Alabama’s mostly in majority-black counties. 10/02/15

“The only people in the lead in primary are the people who’ve never been in government, because they’ve spent 35 years telling people to hate government. I felt bad for them. In the first debate, it felt like they were taking a theology test in hatred of government, and Trump blew past them.” — Bill Clinton, 10/02/15

“According to multiple sources, it was Biden himself who talked to her [renowned Hillary Clinton-critic Maureen Dowd], painting a tragic portrait of a dying son, Beau’s face partially paralyzed, sitting his father down and trying to make him promise to run for president because “the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.” — Edward-Isaac Dovere in Politico10/06/15

On the Republican Party’s Benghazi investigation:

“To put it simply, the game is over, and they’ve lost. This was supposed to be the big moment for Gowdy and his committee and instead what we have is the person who’s likely the next speaker validating everything critics have been saying. . . . Now everyone can see the fact that this has been a partisan charade all along.” — David Brock about Rep. McCarthy’s Benghazi Committee comment 10/01/15

“You’re now a Benghazi Watchdog. Let’s go after Obama and Hillary Clinton. Help us fight them now.” —  Republican Party’s House campaign fundraising solicitation.

“What he (Rep. McCarthy) said was, it’s very much to the effort to reduce Hillary Clinton’s numbers, her favorability numbers, her trustworthy numbers in the mind of the American people before the election. I don’t think there’s any question that’s what this has been about. She’s testified seven times and they haven’t found anything and they’ve got her coming again in late October to testify.”– Juan Williams

On the mass killings at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College-.

“Stuff happens.” — Jeb Bush. 10/02/15

“I will tell you, I am going to fight for new, effective gun control measures. I gotta tell you it is just heartbreaking, it is sickening to me to see another massacre.” — Hillary Clinton. 10/02/15

The Obama administration … tries to use these tragedies as an excuse to come after the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. It’s unconstitutional, it’s cynical, and it’s wrong.” — Sen.Ted Cruz 10/02/15
“Meanwhile, the shallow and simple minded liberals will continue to blame pieces of hardware for the problem, and they will long for the days before firearms were invented.” — Bobby Jindal 10/06/15

“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me, I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.'” — Ben Carson, on what he would have done had a gunman walked up to him and asked him to state his religion. 10/06/15

““But no matter what you do you will have problems and that’s the way the world goes.” — Donald Trump 10/04/15

“If you have crazy people who want to kill a lot of individuals, they’ll find a way to do it.” — Mike Huckabee 10/02/15

“How on Earth could he compile 13 guns? How can that happen? They talk about gun laws, they talk about gun control. Every time something like this happens, they talk about it, and nothing is done. I’m not trying to say that that’s what to blame for what happened, but if Chris had not been able to get a hold of 13 guns, it wouldn’t have happened.” — Ian Mercer, the father of Chris Harper Mercer 10/04/15

“Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise.” — Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R) on Facebook, saying that “fellow Christians who are serious about their faith” should “think about getting a handgun permit.” 10/02/15



1. Democrats Release New Video and Fact Sheet: “Couldn’t Be More Plain”

Democrats on the Select Committee on Benghazi released a new video and fact sheet rebutting claims made by Chairman Trey Gowdy that the Committee is not focused on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  The new video and fact sheet come after Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted on national television that the purpose of the Select Committee has always been to damage Hillary Clinton’s bid for President.

Watch the video here:

The fact sheet is at

2. Hillary Clinton Does ‘Saturday Night Live’

3. The Borowitz Report: Americans Opposed to Being Shot Seek Representation in Washington

Carol Foyler, founder of the lobbying group Americans Opposed to Being Shot, believes that the right to not be shot, much like women’s right to vote, the right to same-sex marriage, and other rights that were deemed controversial in their day, may be an idea whose time has finally come.

“For years, we’ve been talking about the right to not be shot and people have been looking at us like we’re out of our minds,” she said. “But recent polls show that a vast majority of Americans, in fact, do not want to be shot.”

While Foyler and other anti-being-shot activists believe that Washington may finally be receptive to their radical ideas, Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice-president of the National Rifle Association, is doubtful. “People who don’t want to be shot are a very narrow interest group,” he said. Read more at


“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable [sic]. But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.”- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’ (R-CA) (Check out Correct The Record’s newest video on Kevin McCarthy at


“We are writing to ask you to disband the House Select Committee on Benghazi after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s recent comments admitting that the Select Committee was put together to serve the political purpose of defeating Secretary Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential elections by hurting her in the polls, rather than conducting a serious investigation into a terrorist attack that killed four Americans. We should not disrespect their sacrifice by further politicizing this tragedy.” — Letter to Speaker Boehner from Sens. Reid, Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) 10/01/15

“Let’s just get through this thing, and whatever it costs, it costs.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asking for federal aid for his home state of South Carolina as it battles raging floods. 10/06/15


“Graham was among the Republican senators who opposed a federal aid package in January 2013 to assist states hit by Hurricane Sandy, but now he doesn’t remember why.” —Eric Bradner on CNN 10/06/15

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

Limbaugh Suggests Parents Are “Trying To Transgender” Their Children In A “Quest For Fame,” And It’s Caitlyn Jenner’s Fault

Rush Limbaugh: “The People That Are Shooting Up Schools More Than Likely Vote Democrat”

Fox Anchor Blames Obama For GOP’s Unwillingness To Pass New Gun Laws

Fox’s Hannity Claims Obama’s Response To Oregon Mass Shooting Is “A New Low” For The Administration

Fox Correspondent Criticizes Obama For “Politicizing” Gun Violence In The Wake Of Oregon Mass Shooting

Meet Judicial Watch, A Driving Force Behind The Clinton Email Story That Keeps Duping The Press

The New York Times published in print a story about the International Association of Firefighters backing away from an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, but only published in a blog online that the National Education Association (NEA), the biggest union in the country, announced its support for Clinton on Saturday.

PunditFact Rates As “False” Conservative Media’s Claim That Cecile Richards Said 86% Of Planned Parenthood’s Revenue Comes From Abortion Services

Bill O’Reilly Denies The Existence Of Child Hunger: “It’s A Total Lie”

Megyn Kelly Defends Police Shown Punching Unarmed Woman In The Head: “You Can’t Resist Arrest”

6. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“The story says that Donald Trump gets so little sleep, he actually suffers from sleep deprivation. Then again, so do most people who think about Donald Trump becoming president.” –Jimmy Fallon

“NSA leaker Edward Snowden joined Twitter yesterday, and immediately got more followers than the NSA. Which raises an interesting question: Who’s following the NSA on Twitter?” –Jimmy Fallon

“While visiting America, Pope Francis secretly met with Kim Davis, the county clerk who denied marriage licenses to gay couples. At first she refused to meet with the Pope because she was told, ‘There’s a guy in a dress named Francis here to see you.'” –Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump’s wife, an immigrant from Slovenia, says she lets Trump be himself. She said, in return, he lets me be in America.” –Conan O’Brien

“Governor Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign is angrily insisting that the “Duck Dynasty” cast supports him and not Donald Trump. And that is the current report on the state of the Bobby Jindal campaign.” –Conan O’Brien

“After their meeting got off to a tense start, Obama and Putin wound up talking for 90 minutes, and Putin described the talks as ‘surprisingly open.’ Putin said it was the most productive conversation he’d ever had with someone who wasn’t tied to a chair.” –Jimmy Fallon

“While in New York City, President Obama and Vladimir Putin met and the meeting was described as awkward. Apparently Obama was upset that he looks nothing like his Tinder photo.” –Conan O’Brien

“In a speech Marco Rubio talked about the danger of electing a president who does not understand technology. Unfortunately, Rubio’s speech was interrupted when his beeper went off. He had to get to a pay phone.” –Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump came out with this proposal for a new tax plan yesterday. Just like a real presidential candidate would do! It’s kind of adorable.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Trump plans to raise taxes on the very rich — which doesn’t include him because he’s very, VERY rich.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Under Trump you won’t have to pay any income taxes if you make less than $25,000 a year, if you and your spouse make under $50,000 a year, and if you capture an illegal Mexican you won’t pay any taxes at all.” –Jimmy Kimmel

7. Majority of House Republicans vote to shut down government over women’s health, and lose

Five out of eight Republican House members voted to shut down government over women’s health care on Wednesday. Just 91 of them voted with Democrats and, in the words of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, “[o]ne-hundred and fifty one Republicans decided their obsession with women’s health was more important than the thousands of disabled veterans, disadvantaged children and working families who would pay the price of another government shutdown.” That vote, and how candidates for leadership voted, doesn’t bode well for the future of the Republican conference and a functioning Congress.

8. Late Night with Seth Meyers: A Closer Look: Planned Parenthood

9. Gun violence

America’s unique problem with gun violence: Homicides by firearm per 1 million people:

Australia (the lowest): 1.4
Canada 5.1
Switzerland (the next highest): 7.7
US (the highest): 29.7

According to the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Center the reason is simple: The US is an outlier on gun violence because it has way more guns than other developed nations.For the full chart see

American deaths in terrorism vs. gun violence: From 2004 to 2013, 316,545 people died by firearms on U.S. soil. (2013 is the most recent year CDC data for deaths by firearms is available.) This data covered all manners of death, including homicide, accident and suicide.

Meanwhile during that same period, there were 36 people killed in domestic acts of terrorism. 10/02/15 Read more at

10. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Thoughts On Pretending And Honesty

11. Daily Show w/Trevor Noah: Donald Trump: America’s African President–america-s-african-president

12. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mental Health

13. Poll: Clinton leads Sanders, Biden, and the entire Democratic fantasy team

There has been seemingly endless discussion over the last few months about potential big name Democratic primary challengers entering the race to take out Hillary Clinton. So Public Policy Polling newest national poll tested Clinton not just against Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, but also against Al Gore and Elizabeth Warren and John Kerry and to make sure we were covering all our bases even Michael Dukakis.

Clinton leads the Democratic race with 42% to 24% for Sanders, 20% for Biden, 2% for Jim Webb, and 1% each for Lincoln Chafee and Martin O’Malley. Among Biden voters, 44% say Clinton would be their second choice to only 21% who say Sanders would be. If Biden doesn’t get in and you reallocate his backers to their second choice, Clinton leads Sanders 51 to 28. 10/06/15 Read more at

14. Alabama Demands Voter ID–Then Closes Driver’s License Offices In Black Counties

Because the same Alabama Legislature that could not raise enough money to properly run the state in three sessions this year decided in 2011 that all voters must have a photo ID. It was such a great idea that Gov. Robert Bentley signed that bill into law despite complaints that such a move would disproportionately disenfranchise black voters.

It went into effect last year. And now this.

So Alabama closes 31 driver license offices. And while the cuts come across Alabama, they are deepest in the Black Belt. The harm is inflicted disproportionately on voters who happen to be black, and poor, in sparsely populated areas.

That Alabama refuses to pay for its own government, and used it as an excuse to keep black people from the polls. That Alabama hasn’t changed a bit. 10/01/15 Read more at


1. Josh Marshall: LOL

Perhaps Kevin McCarthy is clumsy enough to be a Speaker Democrats can really get behind.

After McCarthy’s candid admission that the House Benghazi committee only exists to beat up Hillary Clinton, House Oversight Committee chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is rebuking McCarthy for saying something so totally outrageous as what everybody knows to be obviously true. But let’s go a little further in stating the painfully obvious. The “Benghazi” story, issue, whatever you want to call it, has always been about and solely about exploiting the death of four Americans for partisan political gain.


From day one.

The exploitation and conspiracy derp predated having any idea what happened because that was what it was about: working a political angle. What actually happened, good or bad, was a secondary detail – facts of whatever sort which could be used or arranged in such a way to advance the core goal: exploiting the deaths for political gain.

We know this. Thanks you, Kevin McCarthy for stating the obvious.

McCarthy for Speaker. 10/01/15 Read more at–4

2. Leonard Pitts Jr.: The adult has left the building. Now what?

Republican Rep. Peter King probably put it best when he said of Boehner’s resignation: “I think it signals that crazies have taken over the party.”

Ya think? Heck, some of us — including some Republicans — have been saying that for years. Moreover, the unruliness of the tea party seems part and parcel of a more general lawlessness that has afflicted the once-upon-a-time party of law and order. Consider how GOP presidential candidates rushed to lionize Kentucky bureaucrat Kim Davis, who, in declining to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, did only what George Wallace and Orval Faubus did once upon a time: refused to abide by a Supreme Court ruling. Unable to vindicate their ideals within the rules, conservatives seem increasingly unwilling to be constrained by rules or, indeed, by much of anything.

These are the forces that felled Boehner, and you might describe it as a case of just deserts given that the speaker once supported, and saw political benefit from, the unleashing of those selfsame forces. But what happened here is not good for any of us. Governance in a democracy requires give and take between at least two political parties. More and more, we seem to find ourselves one party short, the GOP choosing instead to function as a cult or belief system.

Boehner’s departure does not help. It only removes one more adult from the equation in a party that doesn’t have any to spare. Read more here:

3. LA Times Editorial: Demand an end to gun violence, now

Gun violence is a singular issue in this country, grotesquely defended by the cult of the gun and enshrouded in a romanticized interpretation of the 2nd Amendment that the Supreme Court wrongfully endorsed in its 2008 District of Columbia versus Heller decision recognizing an individual right to bear arms. It’s sobering to note the Washington Post’s analysis that not a calendar week has gone by in President Obama’s second term that has not included at least one mass shooting (identified as four or more victims killed or injured). counts 375 people (including gunmen) killed and 1,089 wounded this year as of Thursday in 294 incidents in which four or more people were shot though not necessarily killed. And the carnage continues: Associated Press reports that on Thursday night in Florida, three more people were killed, including the gunman, and a fourth wounded.

Yet elected officials in state legislatures and Congress largely do nothing, clinging to a near-religious embrace of the right to bear arms in a political theater owned by gun manufacturers and their gun-worshipping acolytes. Not only is that a dereliction of the elected officials’ duty to keep the American people safe, it is a horrific disregard for human life. And the shame is shared by an electorate that doesn’t demand more. 10/02/15 Read more at

4. Kathleen Parker: The New McCarthyism is dead on arrival

The consequences of McCarthy’s sleight of tongue can’t be overstated. It wasn’t just a Washington gaffe — when someone accidentally tells the truth. It was a self-inflicted, potentially fatal wound, not just to McCarthy but to Republicans more broadly, including those running for president.

One minute McCarthy was the near-certain next speaker of the House; the next he was persona non grata as GOP colleagues, their own minds hurtling through various apocalyptic scenarios, hammered him.

McCarthy has since tried to cram the bad genie back into the bottle, but the damage has been done and can’t be undone.

Essentially, he had handed Clinton the keys to her prison cell. Held hostage these past three years by a series of Republican interrogators about the September 2012 attack in Libya that killed our ambassador and three others, she has been liberated.

The Benghazi hearings that led to the private server, that led to the missing 30,000 e-mails, that led to the FBI investigation that thus far has led only to the conclusion that she was hackable — have been reduced in the public mind to a political hit job organized to damage her chances of becoming the Democratic presidential nominee.

This isn’t necessarily the whole of it — House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and others certainly believe there’s more to know — but the cement has set on what McCarthy implied. At the very least, any previous suspicions that Republicans were just out to get Clinton have cleared the bar of reasonable doubt.

One can imagine, meanwhile, that Clinton is performing mental pirouettes and grand jetes, dancing circles around the vast right-wing conspiracy, even as she conveys almost sorrowfully how “deeply distressing” McCarthy’s admission is. 10/02/15 Read more at

5. Paul Waldman: Why Kevin McCarthy’s ‘gaffe’ enraged reporters

There was not a single reporter in America who heard McCarthy’s comments and said, “Wait a minute — the Benghazi committee is political? My god!” So why would McCarthy’s remark get so much press attention when it’s merely stating the obvious? The answer lies in reporters’ frustration.

Nobody likes to be lied to, even if the lie is exactly what they expect, and even if the lie can be dismissed as mere spin. Politicians are constantly spinning to reporters, so in response, the reporters look for any opportunity to uncover, refute, or discredit those lies, whether they were trivial or momentous. That’s one reason that so much political coverage is about strategy, coverage that essentially says, “This is what politicians are saying, but the more important truth can be found in their motives.” It characterizes all politics as theater, a great big fiction meant to mislead and manipulate. By talking about politics that way, reporters not only assert their own agency but assure themselves and their audience that they haven’t been taken in, that they’re no suckers.

But every once in a while, a politician gets caught in a lie but refuses to act properly contrite. So it is with Carly Fiorina, who for the last couple of weeks has kept repeating falsehoods about what was on those Planned Parenthood “sting” videos, no matter how many times she gets corrected. Fiorina’s calculation, which may well be accurate, is that it’s working, so why stop? Her poll numbers are rising and anti-abortion Republicans are treating her like their new hero, so who cares what a bunch of fact-checkers say? Read more at

6. E.J. Dionne Jr.: The conservative evasion on guns

Conservatives might usefully listen to former Australian prime minister John Howard, who has noted that he led “a center-right coalition” whose parties represented “virtually every nonurban electoral district in the country.” In other words, his party is a lot like our Republicans.

After a psychologically disturbed man killed 35 people in Tasmania, Howard championed state bans on the ownership, possession and sale of all automatic and semiautomatic weapons by Australia’s states, along with a federal ban on their importation. He also sponsored a gun buyback scheme that got almost 700,000 guns — the statistical equivalent of 40 million in the United States — off the streets and destroyed. “Few Australians would deny that their country is safer today as a consequence of gun control,” Howard wrote in the New York Times shortly after the Newtown killings.

Politicizing this struggle means being unrelentingly candid in calling out an American conservative movement that proudly champions law and order but allows itself to be dominated by gun extremists who deride every gun measure that might make our country a little bit safer — no matter how many mass killings we have.

Conservatives all over the world are aghast at our nation’s permissive attitude toward guns. Is a dangerous and harebrained absolutism about weaponry really the issue on which American conservatives want to practice exceptionalism? 10/04/15 Read more at

7. Norm Ornstein: How GOP Radicals Made the Speakership Unappealing

The huge election victory in 2014, which included recapturing the Senate, emboldened the radicals—the government shutdown they had pushed in 2013 did not cost them at the polls. But it left party leaders in both houses realizing that now, with Republicans controlling all of Congress, the need to show responsibility, no longer playing games with shutdowns or debt limits, was even greater. The growing strength of populist radicals resulted in the ironic primary defeat of the head Young Gun, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, by Tea Partyite Dave Brat.

It was inevitable that these two forces—radicals flexing their muscles, demanding war against Obama from their congressional foxholes, and leaders realizing that a hard line was a fool’s errand—would collide violently.  The party outside Congress, including at the grass roots, has itself become more radical, and angrier at the party establishment for breaking promises and betraying its ideals. When polls consistently show that two-thirds of Republicans favor outsiders for their presidential nomination, it is not surprising that Ted Cruz would call his own Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, a liar on the Senate floor. Even insiders like Marco Rubio and Chris Christie have been eager to treat McConnell and Boehner like pinatas.

By any reasonable standard, John Boehner is a bedrock conservative—opposed to big government, pro-life, and in favor of big tax cuts. Boehner would have been placed at the right end of his party a couple of decades ago. But as a realist operating in the real world of divided government and separation of powers, he became a target within his own ranks. Now he is almost at the left end of a party that has gone from center-right to right-center to a place that is more radical than it is conservative—what Tom Mann and I called “an insurgent outlier.” On the verge of losing complete control, Boehner bailed. Boehner, with a month to go, may try to avert a shutdown and make the job of his likely successor, Young Gun Kevin McCarthy, easier. That won’t last long. In the new tribal world of radical politics, the first constitutional office has lost its luster. 9/25/15 Read more at

8. Paul Krugman: Voodoo Never Dies

So Donald Trump has unveiled his tax plan. It would, it turns out, lavish huge cuts on the wealthy while blowing up the deficit.

This is in contrast to Jeb Bush’s plan, which would lavish huge cuts on the wealthy while blowing up the deficit, and Marco Rubio’s plan, which would lavish huge cuts on the wealthy while blowing up the deficit.

For what it’s worth, it looks as if Trump’s plan would make an even bigger hole in the budget than Jeb’s. Jeb justifies his plan by claiming that it would double America’s rate of growth; The Donald, ahem, trumps this by claiming that he would triple the rate of growth. But really, why sweat the details? It’s all voodoo. The interesting question is why every Republican candidate feels compelled to go down this path.

You might think that there was a defensible economic case for the obsession with cutting taxes on the rich. That is, you might think that if you’d spent the past 20 years in a cave (or a conservative think tank). Otherwise, you’d be aware that tax-cut enthusiasts have a remarkable track record: They’ve been wrong about everything, year after year.

Never forget that what it’s really about is top-down class warfare. That may sound simplistic, but it’s the way the world works. Read more at

9. Paul Waldman: Ben Carson is ready for the coming American apocalypse

As someone who has never run for office before and who seems to neither know nor care much about the substance of what a president does, Ben Carson’s appeal among Republican voters can be a little hard to discern. He’s outwardly devout, appealing to evangelical voters — but so are many of the other presidential hopefuls (Mike Huckabee is even an actual Baptist minister). He has an inspiring life story, which is great, but that doesn’t necessarily make you choose him over other candidates. He’s an “outsider,” but so are lots of other contenders (even some who currently serve in Congress claim that mantle).

But there’s one thing that distinguishes him from other candidates that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, and may have something to do with the fact that Carson is firmly in second place in the GOP race: only he fully embraces an apocalyptic vision of the American nightmare that is upon us. More than anyone else, he represents a particular fringe faction of the conservative movement, one that saw its prominence increase during the early years of the Obama administration, but as of late has been fading somewhat.

If you listen to Carson, you won’t have to wait long before he references some bizarre conspiracy theory or says something indicating that he thinks everything is about to turn to hell. This a marked contrast with Donald Trump, for instance, who insists that America is already a dump, where our leaders are idiots, China stole all our jobs, and we never win anything. Carson, on the other hand, says that the real cataclysm isn’t here yet, but it’s on its way. Read more at

11. Eric Boehlert: Benghazi, Emails, Planned Parenthood: How D.C. Press Keeps Enabling The GOP’s Orchestrated Distractions

Within the span of just 12 hours this week, multiple Republican-sponsored political pursuits partially unraveled in plain sight.

The long-running investigations were the Benghazi select committee and the related probe into Hillary Clinton’s private emails, and Republicans’ crusade targeting Planned Parenthood. Journalists would be wise to take note of the pattern of plain deception and ask themselves if they want to keep sponsoring these planned distractions.

One reason these Groundhog Day scenes keeping play out, again and again and again, is the fact that too many journalists are absolutely wed to the very simple definition of what constitutes news: What are conservatives angry about?

As Media Matters can attest, virtually none of the often-hysterical allegations attached to those distractions were ever proven to be true. Instead, the pursuits imploded under their own weight. Yet too often, these supposed scandals broke out of the Fox News bubble and became mainstream “news.”

So when’s the press going to get the message and stop enabling these charades? 10/03/15 Read more at


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Sep 3 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #893

Sep 3 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #893


“Extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world. But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States.” —  Hillary Clinton comparing the Republican presidential field to “terrorist groups” where women’s issues are concerned.

The more you look at the Biden bandwagon, it looks more like a ghost ship being pulled through the mist by a combination of hungry political reporters, Hillary haters (including most of the conservative media), and Delaware-based Friends of Joe who, of course, would love to see him run.” — Ed Kilgore 8/26/15

“Look, nobody knows the tax code better than I do. OK. I know it better. I’m the king of the tax code.” — Donald Trump, 8/28/15

“If we were to elect someone who’s been part of the problem creating the socialism, really there is no hope.” — Sarah Palin 8/27/15

“In addition to saying “hateful things” about immigrants, he “also insults and dismisses women. Just yesterday he attacked me once again and said I didn’t have a clue about women’s health issues. Really? I mean you can’t make this stuff up, folks. Trump actually says he would do a much better job for women than I would. Now that’s a general election debate that’s going to be a lot of fun.” — Hillary Clinton 8/28/15

It is “the height of irony that a party which espouses small government would want to unleash a massive law enforcement effort – including perhaps National Guard and others – to go and literally pull people out of their homes and their workplaces, round them up, put them, I don’t know, in buses, boxcars, in order to take them across our border. I just find that not only absurd, but appalling,” — Hillary Clinton 8/28/15

“Yes, I believe we can pray potholes away. Moses prayed and a sea opened up.” — Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Tony Yarber, on his cities’ need for $743 million worth of repairs to its crumbling infrastructure.

“The party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump.”— Hillary Clinton. 8/29/15

“Look, Jeb Bush was a very successful governor, he’s a thoughtful man, he was a good, conservative governor. But every day, Donald Trump is emasculating Jeb Bush, and Republican primary voters are not going to default to the establishment candidate who is being weakened by these attacks that go unresponded to.” — GOP strategist Steve Schmidt. 8/31/15


1. The Borowitz Report: Cutting Losses, Kochs to Sell Scott Walker

Saying that “things just didn’t work out,” the billionaire Koch brothers have decided to put Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker up for sale.

The Kochs, who earlier had purchased Gov. Walker with great fanfare, announced their plan to sell the politician in a terse statement from Koch Industries headquarters in Wichita.

“Scott Walker is a fine individual, and we wish him well,” the Kochs’ statement read. “We are confident that he will be a good fit for some other billionaire industrialists.”

In Iowa, an aide to Walker said that the Governor was “still processing” the news that he had been put up for sale. “It takes a while for Scott to understand things,” the aide said.

Elsewhere: As America’s bridges, roads, and other infrastructure dangerously deteriorate from decades of neglect, there is a mounting sense of urgency that it is time to build a giant wall.

Harland Dorrinson, the executive director of a Washington-based think tank called the Center for Responsible Immigration, believes that most Americans favor the building of border walls over extravagant pet projects like structurally sound freeway overpasses.

While some think that America’s declining infrastructure is a national-security threat, Dorrinson strongly disagrees. “If immigrants somehow get over the wall, the condition of our bridges and roads will keep them from getting very far,” he said. Read more at

2. Poll: Trump Supporters Think Obama is A Muslim Born in Another Country

PPP’s newest national poll finds that 66% of Trump’s supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim to just 12% that grant he’s a Christian. 61% think Obama was not born in the United States to only 21% who accept that he was. And 63% want to amend the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship, to only 20% who want to keep things the way they are. 9/01/15

A new Des Moines Register poll in Iowa finds 47% of likely GOP caucus goers say it’s a good idea to gather up an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally and send them to their home country. Among Donald Trump supporters, nearly three-fourths (73 percent) say so. 9/01/15–want–round-up-immigrants/71532432/

3. New poll showing Clinton beating everyone is reported as bad news for Hillary

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Hillary Clinton coasting to a crushing victory in a three-way race against Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, winning 45 percent of the vote, compared with 22 for Sanders and 18 for Biden.

And the good news for Clinton doesn’t stop there.

— The poll shows Clinton beating Jeb Bush head to head.

— The poll shows Clinton beating Marco Rubio head to head.

— The poll shows Clinton beating Donald Trump head to head.

— The poll shows Clinton winning in a landslide in scenarios where Trump runs as an independent.

So how did the media report this poll showing that if the election were held this week Hillary Clinton would win? Well, as bad news for Hillary Clinton!

Bloomberg: “Biden More Competitive Than Clinton Against Leading Republicans: Poll”

Politico: “Poll: Biden outperforms Hillary in general election; Trump leads GOP field”

Time: “Voters open to Joe Biden presidential bid in new poll”

CT Post: “Q poll: Trump numbers soar, Hillary continues slide”

Two things are happening here. One is that “Clinton is still winning” is a boring headline, so there’s a tendency to grasp at straws to come up with something else. The other is that the press as a whole doesn’t like Clinton very much (and the feeling is mutual), so there’s a bias toward believing that the public feels the same way. So somehow her campaign is struggling even when it’s winning, and polls that show her winning are reported as showing her losing. — Matthew Yglesias 8/27/15

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

NRA News Tries To Shut Down The Debate: Calls For New Gun Laws Show “A Lack Of Shared Humanity”

Fox Guest Recycles Debunked Clinton Email Myths To Call For Criminal Investigation

Whether Fox News Acknowledges A Hate Crime Depends On The Race Of The Shooter

Fox Guest Recycles Debunked Clinton Email Myths To Call For Criminal Investigation

CLAIM: The FBI “Grabbed Control Of The Server.” — Jay Sekulow 8/27/15
FACT: Clinton Voluntarily Handed Over Email Server To The FBI,

CLAIM: Clinton’s Server Was Stored “In The Bathroom” Of A Colorado Company. — Jay Sekulow8/27/15
FACT: Clinton’s Server Was Not Kept In A Bathroom Closet

CLAIM: Investigators Have Found “Hundreds Of Classified Emails” — Jay Sekulow 8/27/15
FACT: Emails Were Flagged For Review And May Not Contain Classified Information

CLAIM: Clinton’s Lawyer Lacked Security Clearance To Handle Emails. — Jay Sekulow 8/27/15
FACT: Clinton’s Lawyer Has “Top Secret” Security Clearance

Limbaugh Conspiracy: Hillary Clinton Blackmailing Obama To Avoid Indictment Over Emails

Media Debunk Misinformation Surrounding Clinton’s Use Of Private Email

Fox & Friends Distinguishes Itself From Jorge Ramos Who Is “Advocating For A Certain Point Of View” And “Not A Reporter”

A Comprehensive Guide To The Deceptively-Edited Videos Used Against Planned Parenthood

Fox & Friends Relies On Flawed Timeline In Attempt To Revive Baseless Attack On Clinton’s iPad Use

James O’Keefe Targets Clinton Campaign For Legally Selling A T-Shirt

5. The Feud: The Donald vs. Jeb



A list. of the mogul’s 33 jabs at the Bushes is at:

6. Jimmy Kimmel: Donald Trump’s Newest Campaign Ad


I found it surprising that somebody as high ranking as secretary of state, who’s dealing with classified and sensitive information all the time, would think that it was OK to have a private server in your phone where you put information and so forth — where you send emails. — Dick Cheney on CNN. 8/31/15


“To complement the official State Department computer in my office, I installed a laptop computer on a private line. My personal email account on the laptop allowed me direct access to anyone online. I started shooting emails to my principal assistants, to individual ambassadors, and increasingly to my foreign-minister colleagues who like me were trying to bring their ministries into the 186,000-miles-per-second world.” — Former Sec. of State Colin Powell, in his book “It Worked For Me: In Life And Leadership.”


Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server at the State Department is a criminal problem.” — Donald Trump8/15/15


“Her decision not to segregate her email accounts was regrettable, but unlike the actions and prosecution of Petraeus, there has been no evidence of criminal conduct.” —  Petraeus prosecutor Anne M. Tompkins 8/31/15

Fully, 53% have an unfavorable impression of Hillary Clinton, the highest since April 2008 in Post-ABC surveys. That mark is eight percentage points higher than in July, though not as far from a Post-ABC poll in late May (49%).” — The Fix 9/02/15


“But it also shows something else: Clinton continues to be popular among a broad coalition of Democrats, and is still better liked than GOP heavyweights Donald Trump and Jeb Bush with the public at large.” —The Fix 9/02/15

8. Pollsters Dumbfounded by Trump

Polling experts agree on one thing when it comes to Donald Trump’s presidential run: They’ve never seen anything like it.

The billionaire businessman’s dominance of the Republican presidential race is forcing experienced political hands to question whether everything they know about winning the White House is wrong.

The shocks have come in quick succession, with Trump first rocketing to the top of national polls, and then taking double-digit leads in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

In another act of political magic, Trump managed to flip his favorability rating from negative to positive in one poll during the span of a month — a feat that Monmouth University’s Patrick Murray called “astounding.”. 8/27/15

9. Clinton Camp Says One-Fifth of Delegates Secured for Nomination

The total number of delegates to next summer’s presidential nominating convention will be about 4,491, meaning that a candidate would need 2,246 votes to win. The Clinton camp claims to already have more than 440 delegates committed, or more than 60 percent of the approximately 713 superdelegates who, under party rules, are among those who cast votes for the nomination. 8//28/15

10. The GOP lurches to the far right: Trump, Cruz to attend event hosted by radical anti-Muslim group

Texas GOP senator Ted Cruz’s campaign announced Thursday that he’s invited Trump to join a rally planned at the Capitol soon to pressure lawmakers on opposing the nuclear agreement. The rally is sponsored by Tea Party Patriots, Center for Security Policy, and the Zionist Organization of America.

11. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Smokey the climate scientist

12. Late Night Jokes for Dems 

“Today is a special day. Today is women’s equality day. Donald Trump calls it, that time of the year again.” –Conan O’Brien

“At a press conference yesterday, Donald Trump kicked out a Latino reporter but the man returned a few minutes later. Yeah, so already Trump’s deportation plan isn’t working.” –Conan O’Brien

“Donald Trump presided over a rally in Dubuc, Iowa, where he touted his strong skills as a negotiator and showed off his considerable skills as an impressionist. I don’t know if Donald Trump will make America great again but he has certainly made CNN great again.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Donald Trump got into it with a well-respected Spanish language news anchor, Jorge Ramos from Univision, who made Donald upset when he tried to ask a question. ‘Go back to Univision,’ he said as he kicked him out of the place. He’s not even president yet and he’s already kicking Mexicans out.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“It’s come out that Donald Trump’s grandfather owned a brothel. When reached for comment Trump said, screwing people for money is a long family tradition.” –Conan O’Brien

“South Korea has agreed to stop broadcasting insulting propaganda over the North Korean border. They’ve agreed to stop doing it. They’ve also canceled their Comedy Central roast of Kim Jong Un.” –Conan O’Brien

“There was a time when it seemed unimaginable that Joe Biden could ever be taken seriously enough to win his party’s nomination, but Donald Trump just blew that idea right out the window.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“A lot of people are upset because Jeb Bush used the term ‘anchor babies’ to describe children born of illegal immigrants. Calling a child an anchor baby is almost as derogatory as calling a child Jeb. But he was in McAllen, Texas, defending himself, reminding everyone that his wife is Mexican. You don’t mention that your wife is Mexican as much as Jeb Bush.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Bill Gates alone, lost $3.2 billion on the stock market yesterday. To put that in perspective, that’s like a regular person losing a dollar in a vending machine.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“The CEO of Starbucks sent the message to Starbucks employees yesterday, instructing them to be sensitive to customers who might be feeling stressed out about the market. I like that the place that charges $5 for a cup of coffee is concerned about our finances.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Donald Trump had a rally at a football stadium in Mobile, Alabama, after planning to have it in a hotel ballroom. It got too big for the ballroom, so they moved it to the convention center. It got too big for the convention center, so they moved it to a football stadium. Apparently the strategy of saying whatever crazy thing pops into your head is really paying off for him.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“President-elect Trump discusses all of the big issues, China, opponents, Univision, Mexico, Oreos … everything. He even talked about the weather and how the weather might affect his hair. ‘You know if it rains I will take off my hat and I will prove, I will prove once and for all that it’s mine. Okay.’ Sounds good to me. Why not just dip it in a bucket? You don’t have to wait for the rain.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Jeb Bush has photo shopped a photo for an ad which gives him a black left hand and a much different looking body. Jeb just can’t get it right. I wonder if his black hand handshake is different from the white hand handshake.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“In an interview this week, Jeb Bush said that if he had a magic wand, there are at least ten things that he would like change about the Constitution. Then Jeb Bush was given the prize for ‘lamest use of a magic wand.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Donald Trump had an interview with CNN in the lobby of the Trump Tower Hotel this week, and apparently someone yelled, ‘You’ll never win the Latino vote.’ And then immediately, Trump had the guy deported over to La Quinta Hotel.” –Jimmy Fallon

13. Hillary Clinton Really Is Coming For Your Guns

“I vow on this day the NRA will stand shoulder to shoulder with you and good, honest decent Americans, and we will stand and fight with everything we’ve got and in 2016, by God, we will elect the next great president of the United States of America and it will not be Hillary Rodham Clinton.” — NRA chief Wayne LaPierre in April at the NRA convention. 8/29/15

14. How not to win the Latino vote

“Mr. Trump, I have a question,” — Jorge Ramos, news anchor at Univision and one of the country’s most recognizable Mexican-Americans.

“Excuse me. Sit down. You weren’t called. Sit down.” — Trump

“I’m a reporter, an immigrant, a senior citizen. I have the right to ask a question.” — Ramos, calmly trying to ask Trump about his plan to combat illegal immigration.

“Go back to Univision.” — Trump motioning to one of his bodyguards, who walked across the room and physically removed Ramos from the room. 8/25/15 

15. Trump’s Insults Shock Even Seasoned Politicians

Donald Trump “is turning the schoolyard taunt into a political art form – these aren’t gaffes or off-script asides. They are part of a strategy, people close to Mr. Trump say, of knocking his Republican presidential rivals off their game. That, at least for now, is getting him the attention and poll ratings he wants among voters looking for an antidote to the artifice of U.S. politics.”

“But the intensely personal nature of Mr. Trump’s insults, sometimes mocking his rivals by mimicking them, is startling even to those who have grown accustomed to the sometimes low levels of civility in politics today.” 8/27/15

16. Only 3 of 45 House Democrats who voted “no” on Obamacare are still there

Voting for Obamacare was supposed to be lethal for congressional Democrats from conservative districts. But five years after it passed the House, only three Democrats who voted against its final version still remain. 9/01/15

17. Hillary Proposes $10B Drug War Overhaul

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday unveiled a $10 billion drug and alcohol treatment plan, in which the federal government would match state dollars by as much as $4 to $1. The plan includes “alternatives to incarceration for low-level and nonviolent drug offenses,” and aid to get people back on their feet. 9/01/15


1. Evan Osnos: The Fearful and the Frustrated

Trump’s candidacy has already left a durable mark, expanding the discourse of hate such that, in the midst of his feuds and provocations, we barely even registered that Senator Ted Cruz had called the sitting President “the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism,” or that Senator Marco Rubio had redoubled his opposition to abortion in cases of rape, incest, or a mortal threat to the mother. Trump has bequeathed a concoction of celebrity, wealth, and alienation that is more potent than any we’ve seen before. If, as the Republican establishment hopes, the stargazers eventually defect, Trump will be left with the hardest core—the portion of the electorate that is drifting deeper into unreality, with no reconciliation in sight. 8/31/15

2. Paul Waldman: Why Nothing Can Quell the Media’s Addiction to Clinton Scandals

The important thing to understand about the politics of what’s happening now is this: There is nothing—nothing—that Hillary Clinton could have said or done differently since this became a public issue that could have made this go away, or that she could do now to “put it to rest.”

That’s not because it’s such a dreadfully serious issue, or because the American people care so deeply about the question of State Department email security that they’d never elect anyone to the White House who exercised anything less than the greatest of care with their communications, adhering to not just the spirit but the letter of every regulation. If you asked most voters what this is all about, they’d probably say “Um … something about emails?” No, it’s because Hillary Clinton is Hillary Clinton, and because she’s running for president.

That means that Republicans will never be satisfied with any answer she gives on this topic, or any other for that matter. She could read Trey Gowdy every email she ever wrote while giving him a foot massage, and it wouldn’t change their conviction that there was still something nefarious hidden somewhere in something they hadn’t seen. She could have personally delivered her server to Roger Ailes’s office on the day the story broke, and it wouldn’t change their determination to figure out what she’s hiding.

Multiple investigations of what occurred in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, have shown that it was a terrible tragedy, but there was no “stand-down order,” there was no criminal negligence, and there was no impeachment-worthy malfeasance, no matter how fervently Republicans might wish it. Yet their investigations go on. In fact, at this point it’s impossible to see how anything other than Clinton losing the 2016 election will ever stop them. If she becomes president, they’ll go on investigating it for the length of her time in the Oval Office. 8 31/15

3. Washington Post Editorial: Will America finally do something to stop our gun-fueled carnage?

The dramatic shootings that make the news remind us that guns are not noble instruments of freedom; they are highly dangerous machines that have some legitimate uses and many illegitimate ones. Any rational government would carefully regulate them. Instead, our leaders have declined to fix obvious loopholes in background-check systems, refused to ban wholly unnecessary high-capacity magazines, thwarted efforts to study the effects of having a society saturated with firearms and generally cowered before the lobbying might of a political fringe.

Congress must act. And if not Congress, then state leaders who want to finally do something about the gun-fueled carnage. 8/26/15

4. Jonathan Allen: Hillary Clinton really did call Republicans terrorists. But here’s the real issue.

The question, posed by both Clinton and her Republican rivals, is whether it’s more extreme for the government to subsidize abortion and Planned Parenthood, which uses its private funding for abortion services, or for the government to ban abortion and deny funding to groups like Planned Parenthood that are otherwise eligible for grants because they are engaged in providing abortion services.

This battle has tremendous implications for the 2016 presidential election, the outcome of which will make a big difference in how the US deals with abortion and funding for women’s health clinics.

If Clinton and her allies win, poor women are sure to have equal or greater access both to abortion and to that set of health care services that Democrats say make the debate about a much larger philosophical divide between the parties over women’s rights. 8/29/15

5. Dean Obeidallah: Behind Trump, the GOP Really Is Becoming the Racist Party 

We are, seeing a bone chilling attraction to Trump by white nationalist groups. It’s almost like they view Trump’s candidacy as their last stand against the changing demographics of America. He’s become the poster child for their philosophy that “White Lives Matter More.”

The issue is not just that these hate groups see something they like in Trump. These groups have the right to endorse anyone they like. The more alarming issue is Trump’s failure to publicly to condemn them.

Isn’t it time for the GOP leaders to make it clear where they stand on white supremacists supporting their party’s frontrunner for the presidential nomination? I, for one, very much look forward to hearing what they have to say on this issue. 8.31.15

6. Madeleine Albright: Iran deal is a win-win

Many people I respect have voiced concerns about this agreement, but I believe the administration has provided solid answers to their questions. It troubles me that many opponents came out against the JCPOA before even reading the text.

The advocates for a vote of disapproval in Congress have also not put forward a viable alternative or any plan to deal with the consequences of rejection. And make no mistake, those consequences would be grave.

Rejection of this accord would leave the United States isolated and Iranian hardliners empowered. It would be practically impossible to reassemble the coalition that united against Iran’s nuclear activities and imposed the robust sanctions regime that brought Iran to the table. Many of our tools of influence in the region would be rendered useless, and it would hurt our ability to lead on a range of pressing global issues.

Rejection of this agreement would be a strategic setback for the United States, one that our rivals and adversaries would not ignore.

In a turbulent Middle East, there is no way to predict what the next decade will bring. But the United States will be in a far better position to shape events in the region with this nuclear agreement in place than without it. This accord is a bold stroke of diplomacy, and an opportunity we must not waste. 8/31/15

7. Robert Creamer: Out of Touch Punditry Should Get a Grip — Hillary’s Email Is Non-Story

A message to the out-of-touch Washington pundit class: get a grip. What was or was not on Hillary Clinton’s email server when she was Secretary of State is not a game-changing news story.

In fact, no one outside the chattering class — and right-wing true believers — could give a rat’s rear about this story — and there is a good reason: there is no “there” there. If someone really thinks the great “email” story — or the Benghazi investigation — are going to sink her candidacy, I’ve got a bridge to sell them.

At the time Ms. Clinton was Secretary of State there was no prohibition against the Secretary of State having a private email server. In fact, no Secretary of State before Ms. Clinton had a government email account.

None of the emails on the Secretary’s personal account were classified at the time they were sent or received. That is not in dispute. There is an on-going controversy between various agencies of what ought to be classified in retrospect as the material is released to the public by the State Department, but that does not change the fact that none of it was classified at the time. In fact, one of the several emails at issue actually says the word “unclassified” in the upper left hand corner and can still be accessed by the general public on the State Department web site.

Finally, no one has ever pointed to an instance where the fact that something was on her server instead of a government server had any negative consequences whatsoever.

There is no issue here, period.

It’s time for the media to resist continuing to play its role as enabler of baseless right wing attacks like the great email and Benghazi “scandals” of 2015.

8. Matt Latimer: Trump Is Setting the GOP Agenda

Remember way back to two weeks ago when the Donald Trump candidacy was the best thing to ever happen to Jeb Bush?

The billionaire business mogul would distract the other contenders for the nomination, the Bush team assured pundits all over Washington. Trump is “other people’s problem,” declared Mike Murphy, chief strategist of the pro-Bush Super PAC Right to Rise. The Donald would allow Jeb to just keep on chugging along. Bush would become the safe and responsible brand—the Honda Odyssey of 2016—to which panicked Republicans would eventually flock.

That didn’t last long. A week after boasting that it would ignore Trump, with its usual Clouseau-like finesse, JebWorld decided to hit Trump every day. Which means every GOP candidate is now playing Donald Trump’s game instead of their own—and doing about as well as you’d expect.

The decision to engage him has outsized consequences for the GOP “brand,” whatever that is these days. Not since Joan Collins sauntered onto the set of “Dynasty” or Gary Coleman uttered his first “Whatch talkin’ about, Willis,” has anyone so dominated a universe as Donald Trump has the GOP. Trump single-handedly has moved the GOP to the right on immigration, to the left on free trade and in circles on pretty much everything else. He has the other candidates so confused that they are stepping all over their own messages. After all, how else can one explain Bush’s latest effort to show he is not an establishment loser by going flaunting an endorsement from Eric Cantor, the most notorious establishment loser in history? 08/30/15


9. Eugene Robinson: Republicans are digging themselves a hole over immigration

The catalyst for the current eruption of anti-foreigner bombast is, of course, Republican front-runner Donald Trump. His rhetoric blaming undocumented Mexicans for a crime wave and insisting — without a shred of evidence — that the Mexican government is deliberately sending miscreants across the border has struck a nerve. What Trump says about immigration is nonsense and his proposed remedies are infeasible. Yet GOP voters are eating it up.

Among Trump’s rivals, only Bush is forcefully pushing back. “He wants everyone deported, which would tear family lives asunder,” Bush said Sunday. “It’s not conservative and it’s not realistic and it does not embrace American values.”

But as long as other candidates are competing to sound tougher-than-thou, as long as the conversation is about how high to build new walls and blame is ascribed to immigrants for not assimilating quickly enough, the GOP is digging itself a hole that will be hard to escape.

In his last election, President Obama won 73 percent of the Asian American vote and 71 percent of the Hispanic vote. If the message Republicans send to these groups sounds like “we don’t want any more of your kind,” the Democratic nominee, whoever it is, will have a hard time losing. 8/31/15

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Aug 27 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #892

Aug 27 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #892


“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


“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”

Limbaugh: “94 Million Americans Are Not Working, And They’re All Eating”

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)

Fox Host Dismisses Income Inequality: “It’s Sort Of A State Of Mind”

Fox Host Thinks It’s “Thrilling” That Trump “Says Exactly What He Thinks,” Like Using the Slur “Anchor Baby”

Fox & Friends Rewrites Background Of Alleged Terrorists To Make Them The Face Of Birthright Citizenship

NRA Smears Martin O’Malley As A Friend To Criminals With First 2016 Campaign Magazine Cover

Fox Host Blames Obama Administration For Attempted Train Attack In France

Breitbart News Compares Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards To Hitler

Fox Host Connects Thwarted Attack On Train To Completely Unrelated “Very Strict” French Gun Laws

Major Media Outlets Fail To Disclose That Prominent Clinton Critic, Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Is An Adviser To Jeb Bush

Laura Ingraham Calls Planned Parenthood Employees “Heinous, Hitlerian Freaks”

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

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

7. Hillary Clinton email “scandal” fact check

8. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The toxic mining law


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Aug 13 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #890

Aug 13 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #890


“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

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

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.

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

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


“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


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.


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


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


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


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

Fox Business Turns To Anti-Immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio For Post-Debate Analysis On Immigration

GOP Presidential Field Criticized For For Courting Serial Sexist Erick Erickson

George Will On Fox News Sunday: Obama’s Comments On Iran Deal “Extraordinarily Unpresidential”

GOP Presidential Field Criticized For Courting Serial Sexist Erick Erickson

Two Big-Name Iowa Conservative Radio Hosts Slam Fox News’ GOP “Inquisition,” Accuse Network Of Self-Promotion And Favoritism

Fox Host Neil Cavuto Calls Out Fox’s Erick Erickson For Sexist Comments 

Rush Limbaugh: Transgender People Are Mentally Ill

After Banning Trump For Sexism, Erick Erickson’s RedState Calls Clinton A “Homely Woman” Who Slept “Her Way Into Power”

7. Jon Stewart: 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

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

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

More facts about Hillary’s emails at


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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July 16 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #887

July 16 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #887


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. THE SIMPSONS: Trumptastic Voyage


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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Fox & Friends’ Doocy: “Sadly, People Are Murdered All The Time By Illegals”

Fox Guest Blames Obama For Ariana Grande Saying She Hates America

O’Reilly Demands Congress Make A Law To Arrest State And Local Government Officials Who Provide “Sanctuary Cities”

Watch Donald Trump Praise Fox News’ Laudatory Coverage Of His Incendiary Immigration Remarks

Limbaugh: Pope Francis Is A Clown For Criticizing “Unfettered Capitalism”

Daily Caller Wants You To Know Polar Bears Threatened By Climate Change Are Doing Just Fine

Right-Wing Media Seems To Have Convinced Donald Trump That The Undocumented Immigrant Population Tripled

Rush Limbaugh: Rep. John Lewis Is “Living In The Past” For Opposing Confederate Flag

Fox News Reporter Wonders If U.S. Capitol Will Be Banned (Because It Was Built By Slaves) After Confederate Flag Removal In South Carolina

Fox’s Kimberly Guilfoyle: The U.S. Now In The Business of “Importing Criminals Instead Of Exporting Them”

4. Letterman’s Top Ten List targeting Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Thanks to Donald Trump, the Republican mascot is also an ass. 7/12/15

5. DemRapidResponse: Retrumplican Party

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

7. Americans With Guns

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

Between 2000 and 2010, 335,609 people died from guns in our country; that’s more than the entire population of St. Louis, Missouri. 7/13/15 More at

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

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

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

The GOP sowed the wind, and Donald Trump is reaping the whirlwind. Much to the horror of the Republican Establishment, Trump has a message that connects with the party’s base, and makes no bones about it. With his in-your-face style, Trump is simply saying what the Republican rank-and-file think. Period, full stop. 7.11.15

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

11. Why the GOP Won’t Renounce Trump

The mathematical delicacy of a Republican victory in 2016 — and its dependence on aging, anxious white voters — make it exceedingly perilous for the Republican Party to treat Mr. Trump as the pariah many of its leaders now wish he would become. 7/09/15 More at

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

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

The effort to vilify Mrs. Clinton could ultimately cost several hundred million dollars, given the variety and volume of political organizations involved. 7/11/15 More at

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

By Aaron Nemo 7/08/15 More at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1. Brent Budowsky: A Bernie Sanders summer

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

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

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

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

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

This is what fuels the Bernie Sanders summer and creates the opportunity for Hillary Clinton if she chooses to seize it.  07/08/15 More at

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump may be a monster, but he’s the monster Republicans created. 7/08/15 More at

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

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

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

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

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

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

A lot can change in the coming months, but at this point in the race, everyone should stop all the bed-wetting. 7/0715

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

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

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

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

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

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

I suspect we’ll discover what most observers have long known: Fox News cares about conservatism about as much as it cares about the news. 7/08/15 Read more at

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

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

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

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

The point is that if you really worry that the U.S. might turn into Greece, you should focus your concern on America’s right. Because if the right gets its way on economic policy — slashing spending while blocking any offsetting monetary easing — it will, in effect, bring the policies behind the Greek disaster to America. 7/10/15 More at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Knowing how hard we tried in 2012 to get [Republican nominee Mitt] Romney or Obama to say something about guns,” she said, “it is a changed world now when Hillary and other candidates are making it a part of their stump. This is the first presidential election when we’ve seen proactive statements.” 7/09/15 More at

8. Mark Binelli: Weekend With Bernie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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July 9 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #886

July 9 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #886


“For Democrats, Donald Trump amounts to a kind of divine intervention. With the Republican Party on an urgent mission to woo Latino voters, one of its leading presidential candidates has been enmeshed for two weeks in a nasty feud over his inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants.” — Philip Rucker in the Washington Post. 7/01/15

“Thank you so much for your support for the GLT community. This is the first time in my 24.5 year career that I have seen this type of support. I appreciate all the hard work you have done in the short time as Secretary of State. You have given so much hope to so many. I am so proud of you and your work. May God continue to bless you.”–A letter from a State Department employee to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was dedicated to expanding gay rights both domestically and abroad from the beginning of her term.

“You still love him. He’s still a member of your family. Right? But you’ve got to correct him. You don’t want to put him in charge of stuff.” — Barack Obama likening Governor Scott Walker and the “bus full” of Republican candidates to an “Uncle Harry” at Thanksgiving dinner who says something that makes no sense. 7/02/15

“Just like the simple question asked of Jeb on Iraq — where it took him five days and multiple answers to get right — he doesn’t understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come ‘out of love.’” — Donald Trump on Jeb Bush’s immigration stance. 7/06/15

“I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration. The Washington cartel doesn’t want to address that. The Washington cartel doesn’t believe we need to secure the borders. The Washington cartel supports amnesty and I think amnesty’s wrong, and I salute Donald Trump for focusing on it.” —Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) aligning himself with Donald Trump. 7/05/15

“And that’s why what Rand Paul has done to make this country weaker and more vulnerable is a terrible thing, and for him to raise money off of it is disgraceful. It’s disgraceful.” — Gov. Chris Christie criticizing Sen Paul’s role in forcing the expiration of the Patriot Act. 7/06/15

“I’ve been in law enforcement 55 years. I think I know a fraudulent, fake document. I’m not a computer expert. I rely on my people. But I’m pretty well convinced it’s a fake document.” — Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio agreeing with Donald Trump that President Obama’s birth certificate is forged. 7/05/15

“If you look at politics as a baseball game or a football game, then I’m supposed to be telling the people that my opponents are the worst people in the world and I’m great. That’s crap; I don’t believe that for a second…. I don’t need to spend my life attacking Hillary Clinton or anybody else. I want to talk about my ideas on the issues.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 7/06/15

“Look closely at this Hillary photo; isn’t that a Confederate flag behind her on the bookshelf?” — Conservative author and convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza circulating an image of Hillary Clinton with a photoshopped Confederate flag in the background. 7/07/15

1. Democrats Regain Edge in Party Affiliation

In the second quarter of 2015, Democrats regained an advantage over Republicans in terms of Americans’ party affiliation. A total of 46% of Americans identified as Democrats (30%) or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party (16%), while 41% identified as Republicans (25%) or leaned Republican (16%). The two parties were generally even during the previous three quarters, including the fourth quarter of 2014, when the midterm elections took place. 702/15 Read more at


“Back in April, Gov. Paul LePage stood up at a monthly breakfast forum and told the crowd that seniors had demanded he stop the minimum wage from going up.” — Bangor Daily News 702/15


“Two months later, on June 26, his office sent reporter Amy Browne the results of her Freedom of Access Act request: two emails. Neither email cited the specific and personal sort of concerns that LePage raised in his talk.” — Bangor Daily News 702/15

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

Fox’s Eric Bolling: People Calling For Boycotts Of Trump Products Are “Economic Terrorists”

Ann Coulter Claims Credit For Donald Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Bomb Throwing

Limbaugh Defends Trump: Liberals Believe In “Cockamamie Crap” Like Sexual Assault Epidemic, Then Get Upset When You Ask “Who’s Doing The Raping”

Fox News Contributor Instructs GOP Presidential Candidates To Follow Trump’s Lead On Immigration

Fox’s Eric Bolling: People Calling For Boycotts Of Trump Products Are “Economic Terrorists”

Megyn Kelly Uses Ann Coulter’s Book To Defend Donald Trump’s Comments About Immigrants

The Fox News Primary For June: Donald Trump Takes Over

Megyn Kelly Uses Ann Coulter’s Book To Defend Donald Trump’s Comments About Immigrants

Allen West On Controversy Over Donald Trump: What About Benghazi?

Megyn Kelly: Jeb Bush Can’t Be “Hostile” Towards Immigrants Because He Is “Married To A Woman … From Mexico”

4. Hoping For A Republican President In 2017 Republicans Block Dozens Of Obama Judge Picks

The GOP-controlled Senate is on track this year to confirm the fewest judges since 1969, a dramatic escalation of the long-running partisan feud over the ideological makeup of federal courts.

Republicans appear willing to absorb criticism that they’re interfering with the prerogative of a president to pick his nominees in the hopes that the GOP can get its own judges installed in 2017, with one of their own in the White House. In the meantime, federal courts could be left with dozens of unfilled vacancies. More than two dozen federal courts have declared “judicial emergencies” because of excessive caseloads caused by vacancies. 7/06/15 Read more at

5. Who makes the debate stage — and who doesn’t?

With the first GOP presidential debate now less than a month from now and with the first debate is restricted to the top 10, one of author crunched the numbers from the last five national polls (two from Fox, one CNN, one NBC/WSJ, and one from Monmouth) with the following results:

1. Jeb Bush – 15.4 %
2. Scott Walker – 10.8%
3. Ben Carson – 10%
4. Marco Rubio – 8.8%
5. Rand Paul – 7.6%
6. Mike Huckabee – 7.4%
7. Donald Trump – 6%
8. Ted Cruz – 4.8%
9. Rick Perry – 3.8%
10. Chris Christie – 3.6%

11. Rick Santorum – 2.2%
12. Carly Fiorina – 2%
13. John Kasich – 1.6%
14. Lindsey Graham – 1.4%
15. Bobby Jindal – 1.2%

More at

6. The Nightly Show: The Unblackening Trump Dump–the-unblackening—trump-dump

7. A reality check on the Hillary-vs.-Sanders horserace

Hillary is still ahead in Iowa by at least 19 points, a much wider margin than exists in the GOP race.

Sanders’ surge is being fueled by progressive whites — the same folks who supported Bill Bradley in 2000 and Howard Dean in 2004. In fact, what Sanders has done is consolidate the 30% who were there for Elizabeth Warren. (What should concern Clinton Land is if he starts creeping up into the 40s).

And as the political scientists put it, the party (though its elected officials) ultimately decide the nomination. And so far, two-thirds of sitting Democratic senators have endorsed Hillary. That, to political scientists, matters more than the polls or crowd sizes.

Sanders has consolidated the progressive wing of the party, and that is impressive. The question is: Can he grow it? And remember, a recent Gallup poll showed that a presidential candidate being labeled a socialist was the worst attribute — lower than being a Muslim or an atheist. And for Sanders to TRULY take off, he needs to prove to Democratic elites that a socialist like him could win a general election.

8. Hillary Shreds The Republicans’ Benghazi Hoax With Devastating Ad

In this video, Hillary Clinton’s campaign strikes back against the Republican muckraking campaign that has been fruitlessly attempting to frame her for the 2012 terrorist attacks at the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, by militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The FOX News echo chamber and congressional Republicans have seized on the Benghazi issue as a way to smear Clinton’s credentials and undermine her foreign policy experience.

It’s an atrocious politicization of a national tragedy, and the Clinton campaign has had enough. This video slams back at the House Benghazi Committee for spending $8,000 taxpayer dollars a day to orchestrate a political witch-hunt, even after 7 prior congressional investigations, 32 hearings, and 2,780 questions. Clips of FOX News are arranged to paint a disturbing picture of the way that the “controversy” has been carefully constructed for political gain. 7/02/15 Read more at Watch the ad at

9. Daily Show: Jon Stewart Thanks Donald Trump

10. Two Reasons Not to Dismiss Donald Trump

Mr. Trump is important for two reasons: first for the damage he can do to the Republican Party, and second for the useful lesson he can teach that same party. The potential damage comes largely in the harm he can do—indeed, already may have done—to Republicans’ crucial mission of building better bridges to Hispanics. The lesson comes by way of illustrating the depths of populist anger running through sectors of the GOP right now. 7/06/15 Read more at

1. Jonathan Chait: Why Are Conservatives Defending Donald Trump?

It is not politically significant that Donald Trump would claim to be running for president, that he would say something flamboyantly ignorant, or that he would “surge” to “second place” in polls by using his name recognition to get into double digits in a splintered field. What is significant and genuinely disturbing, not to mention poisonous to the Republican Party’s electoral interests, is the fact that conservative thought leaders feel compelled to defend Trump’s nativist ramblings. And not just bottom-feeding outlets like the Daily Caller and Breitbart, either. National Review editor Rich Lowry writes in Politico that Trump “has a point.”

In his announcement speech, Trump began by denouncing Mexico as an economic competitor, then shifted from protectionism to nativism by portraying Mexican immigrants as criminals:

This demagoguery would be merely comic if it were not being defended by respectable figures like Lowry. The National Review editor hardly offers a full-scale defense, but instead cleverly insists we must acknowledge the nuggets of wisdom in Trump’s ravings.

If conservatives feel frustrated that they can’t question immigration levels without being tarred as racist, that is understandable. But when they’re defending the likes of actual racists like Trump, they have only themselves to blame. 7/01/15 Read more at

2. Dana Milbank: In his presidential homestretch, Obama regains the momentum

“This,” President Obama said in the Rose Garden on Wednesday as he announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba, “is what change looks like.”

This echo of his 2008 campaign theme was self-congratulatory but deserved, coming at a time of unexpected hope late in his presidency. In the space of just over a week, Obama’s tired tenure came back to life. He bested congressional Democrats and got trade legislation on his desk. The Supreme Court upheld the signature achievement of his presidency — Obamacare — and thereby cemented his legacy.

The high court also made same-sex marriage legal across the land following a tidal change in public opinion that Obama’s own conversion accelerated. Had the court’s decisions not dominated the nation’s attention, Obama’s eulogy Friday for those slain in a South Carolina church, and his extraordinary rendition of “Amazing Grace,” would have itself been one of the most powerful moments of his presidency.

It is little surprise, then, that this lame duck’s job approval rating hit a respectable 50 percent this week for the first time in two years in a CNN poll, and his disapproval rating dropped to 47.

“The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to Momentum is everything in politics — and for the moment, Obama has it again. 7/01/15 Read more at

3. Matt Bai: Christie can’t win New Jersey. Does that matter?

Here’s the bad news for Chris Christie: He embarks on a presidential campaign with hardly any support among primary voters. He might not even make it onstage for the first debate, because unlike four years ago, when conservative donors were begging Christie to offer himself up as not Mitt Romney, there are at least 15 other Republicans vying for position.

But here’s the good news for Christie, if you want to be glass-half-full about it: At least he’s not running for reelection as governor. Because with a 30 percent approval rating in New Jersey, Christie is now less popular in his home state than his predecessor, Jon Corzine, whom he beat pretty much by just showing up and having a pulse. If Christie takes a liking to bucolic New Hampshire, he might consider moving there.

When you’ve made yourself a divisive figure at home in hopes of uniting Republicans hundreds or thousands of miles away, it’s hard to be taken seriously as the kind of governor who can win a general election, like Clinton or Bush.

Christie likes to say that his mother taught him a valuable lesson — that it’s better to be respected than loved, because love without respect never lasts anyway. Right about now, I’m guessing he’d take either one. 7/02/15 Read more at

4. Philip Rucker: As Donald Trump surges in polls, Democrats cheer

For Democrats, Donald Trump amounts to a kind of divine intervention.

With the Republican Party on an urgent mission to woo Latino voters, one of its leading presidential candidates has been enmeshed for two weeks in a nasty feud over his inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants.

“They’re bringing drugs,” Trump said in his campaign announcement speech. “They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

The comments — and many more since — have prompted an uproar among Latino groups and acrimonious breakups between Trump and various corporate partners. His outlandish rhetoric and skill at occupying the national spotlight are also proving to be dangerously toxic for the GOP brand, which remains in the rehabilitation stage after losing the 2012 presidential race.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democrats, meanwhile, are eager to make Trump the face of the Republican Party, which is momentarily leaderless with a disparate presidential field and no clear front-runner.

“I am a person of faith — and the Donald’s entry into this race can only be attributed to the fact that the good Lord is a Democrat with a sense of humor,” exulted Paul Begala, veteran Democratic strategist and adviser to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC boosting Clinton’s candidacy. 7/01/15 Read more at

5. America Ferrera: Thank You, Donald Trump!

Dear Donald,

I heard what you said about the kind of people you think Latino immigrants are — people with problems, who bring drugs, crime and rape to America. While your comments are incredibly ignorant and racist, I don’t want to spend my time chastising you. I’ll leave that to your business partners like Univision and NBC, who have the power to scold you where it hurts. Instead, I’m writing to say thank you!

You have made your thoughts on the Latino community clear and you continue to stand by them. And in return, we will do more than tweet about our indignation and beat piñatas of your likeness. We will silence you at the polls. We will vote and use our growing position in U.S. politics. Our fellow Americans who understand and value our contributions will join us. We know there is nothing that scares you more.

The truth is, Mr. Trump, that your comments mean that you fail to see that immigrants are what have made this nation. They are at the core of our ideals, and they are the foundation that keeps us afloat. No, Mr. Trump, you may not reduce us to drug dealers and rapists. We are moms and dads, sons and daughters. We are valedictorians and honor students. We are college graduates, bankers, police officers, entertainers, teachers, journalists, politicians and we are the future of America.

Thank you for helping us in our work to energize the Latino vote and to usher in our shared future! Keep it up!



7/02/2015

6. Ben Schreckinger and Jonathan Topaz: The socialist surge

Democratic primaries have always featured liberal insurgent candidates, but perhaps none quite so liberal or insurgent as the socialist senator from Vermont. Sanders’ comments are a reminder of just how far the second-place Democratic presidential candidate stands from the American mainstream on some issues, and the looming reckoning Democrats face with their party’s leftward drift.

Never mind whether Sanders can crack 40 percent in any primary against Hillary Clinton — he has already established himself as her de facto challenger and a standard-bearer of a party that was, until this year, too far to the right for his liking.

“When I hear Bernie talk I’m almost inclined to accuse him of plagiarizing me,” said Ralph Nader, the left-wing gadfly whose third-party bid many Democrats still blame for swinging the 2000 election to George W. Bush.

Nader’s kinship with Sanders is yet another sign that the Democratic Party’s goal posts have moved left. The percentage of Democrats who identify as socially and economically liberal has increased 17 points since 2001, according to a recent Gallup poll. And the party’s restive liberal base — led in recent years by progressive icon Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — has pushed the party establishment on social issues like same-sex marriage and populist economic ones like equal pay and paid sick leave. 7/06/15 Read more at:

7. Jamelle Bouie: The GOP Base Loves Trump

Just because Trump is an unqualified vanity candidate doesn’t mean he’s unimportant in the story of the 2016 GOP presidential primary. Unlike Chris Christie or Mike Huckabee—two vastly more legitimate candidates—Trump is popular with Republican voters. A new CNN national poll puts him in second place in the GOP field at 12 percent support—seven points behind the leader, Jeb Bush—while recent polls from Iowa and New Hampshire also show him with a second place spot in those crucial early contests. If Trump holds his position, he’ll be on stage with Bush, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio when official debates start in August (he could even lose some support and still make the cut).

The obvious question is “Why?”—why does Trump have a hold on this thick slice of the members of the Republican base? The answer is, unlike the professional politicians in the race, Trump is—from his views on immigration to the “issue” of Obama’s citizenship—one of them.

Trump doesn’t just represent the Republican base on immigration. He is the Republican base on immigration. His anxieties are their anxieties. And his rhetoric—a revanchist stew of foreign policy belligerence, small government ideology, anti-elite agitation, and raw bigotry—reflects and appeals to a meaningful part of the Republican electorate.

The good news is that this meaningful part is still a small minority of the Republican Party. The right-wing of American populism might be ugly and angry, but it’s not powerful. The bad news, on the other hand, is that you don’t have to be a majority to be influential. You just have to grab the right influence at the right time. Trump is a distraction, but don’t be surprised if a more credible candidate—like Walker, who can cloak his hard-right politics in suburban blandness—tries to bring Trump’s voters to his side. Alone, these voters won’t bring victory. But in a close fight, they could offer the winning points. 7/01/15 Read more at

8. Juan Williams: A rising tide for Dems on green issues

If you think the most politically powerful decision out of the Supreme Court in recent weeks was on gay marriage or ObamaCare, think again.

It was the 5-4 win for conservatives when the court rejected Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules limiting pollution from power plants.

An intense fight over the environment is now certain to be a dominant feature of the 2016 presidential race. The fight will be fueled by President Obama’s willingness in his last months in office – during the campaign – to defy the court and risk new EPA restrictions on emission of greenhouse gases to stop global warming.

That’s a winning position in a GOP primary. But with the Pope against you and nearly half the voters saying global warming is a “serious issue,” it is a suicidal stand for a general election candidate.

Good luck with that, GOP. 07/06/15


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May 28 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #881


“I’d rather go to Iraq than work for Carly Fiorina again.” — Anonymous former Carly Fiorina staffer complaining that Ms. Fiorina who, although she has a worth an estimated $120 million, failed to pay her high-ranking staffers who worked on her failed 2010 bid for California Senate until a few months before she launching her presidential campaign.

“Republicans running in the 2016 campaign would rather threaten jobs than ‘stand up to the tea party and talk radio.'” — Hillary Rodham Clinton on Republicans in Congress and GOP presidential hopefuls who, by seeking to eliminate the Export-Import Bank, are threatening tens of thousands of small-business jobs. 5/22/15

“The Republican bet is that they can scare voters about ISIS and pin the blame on Obama, wiping out the memory of the role of the invasion of Iraq in destabilizing the region and creating the conditions for the formation and rise of ISIS. They probably can scare voters—but it’ll be tough to scare enough people to overcome opposition to more years of war and to Republican domestic policies.” — Laura Clawson in the Daily Kos 5/21/15


“Mr. McConnell promised that his party would instill more discipline, avoiding the last-minute legislative cliffhangers that have long marked Congress and left government workers and the capital markets in a state of constant unease. Instead, he allowed the Senate to depart with a key national security program dangling on the precipice of extinction. Senators also failed again to find a long-term solution for fixing the nation’s crumbling roads.”– NY Times 5/23/15

“I think many conservatives live in a bubble where they watch only Fox News on television, they listen only to conservative talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, many of the same people. When they go on to the Internet, they look at only conservative websites like National Review, Newsmax, World Net Daily, and so they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again, and that’s brainwashing.” — Conservative historian Bruce Bartlett explaining how conservatives are “brainwashing” themselves with Fox News and other right-wing media.

“These people are so greedy, they’re so out of touch with reality. They think they own the world…I’m sorry to have to tell them, they live in the United States, they benefit from the United States, we have kids who are hungry in this country. We have people who are working two, three, four jobs, who can’t send their kids to college. Sorry, you’re all going to have to pay your fair share of taxes.” — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), criticizing Wall Street executives. 5/26/15

Subsidies being available only to those using the state exchanges was “never part of our conversations at any point. Why would we have wanted to deny people subsidies? It was not their fault if their state did not set up an exchange.” — Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), the latest lawmaker involved in the drafting of President Obama’s health care law to undermine the case against the ACA currently being considered by the Supreme Court. 5/26/15

“Everything I know about the Iranians I learned in the pool room. I ran the pool room when I was a kid and I met a lot of liars, and I know the Iranians are liars.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) during a video address to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. 5/26/15

“Let’s ask ourselves….Why did I see 75 planes spraying white stuff into the sky on my 15 minute drive to work? Who pays for this and why is it happening? Is something being exterminated here? Is that something me? Does this have anything to do with why Honey Bee’s are Dying off really fast. Why are some days normal with no planes spraying and others look like this? Whos is responcible? What effect will this have on our health and our childrens future? WHO THE F#*% THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? Am I the only one who sees this? [sic] — Kylie Jenner, the 17-year-old star of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, unknowingly stumbling into the chemtrail conspiracy theory, which dates back to 1996. 5/26/15

“The Holy Father is being misled by ‘experts’ at the United Nations who have proven unworthy of his trust. Humans are not causing a climate crisis on God’s Green Earth—in fact, they are fulfilling their Biblical duty to protect and use it for the benefit of humanity.” — Koch-funded global climate change-deniers at the Heartland Institute:4/27/15

“Just a cool thing.” — Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Wisconsin’s requiring for mandatory ultrasounds for women hoping to get an abortion. 5/27/15


“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately, and most these arms were snatched up by ISIS.”— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), in an interview on Morning Joe.


It has become impossible to imagine a President Paul defeating Radical Islam and it’s time for the rest of us to say it. — Gov. Bobby Jindal@BobbyJindal


“When the secretary of state answers a question concerning the murders of six Americans, including an American ambassador, by saying, ‘What difference, at this point, does it make?’ I think that’s a pretty clear indication that it’s time for that person to go.” — Rand Paul taking Hillary Clinton out of context in a passage from his new book “Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America.” 5/27/15


“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. […]” — Hillary Clinton in response to repeated questions about why then-Ambassador Susan Rice characterized the attack as coming out of a protest, and accusations that the Obama administration was purposely misleading the public.


“Are we gonna light our hair on fire every time that there is a setback in the campaign against ISIL? Or are we gonna take very seriously our responsibility to evaluate those areas where we succeed and evaluate where steps are necessary for us to change our strategy where we’ve sustained setbacks?” — WH press secretary Josh Earnest 5/21/15


“Of course my most unfavorite is this idiot Earnest saying ‘Well, we’re not gonna set our hair on fire every time there’s a setback. Mr. Earnest may not, but bodies are on fire on the streets of Ramadi as we are speaking. This is an evil.”– Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” before almost immediately retracting it. 5/23/15


“This decision is an important victory for the rule of law and for every legal immigrant who is disrespected by the president’s unconstitutional amnesty.” —Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals appeals court decision that blocked President Barack Obama’s action to defer deportation. 5/27/15


“With Republicans doing this, it definitely demonstrates who is on our side and who isn’t, and who we should support and who we shouldn’t.” — Cesar Vargas, the co-director of the Dream Action Coalition, on the ruling which is felt deeply in the Hispanic community. 5/27/15

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

Fox Attacks Obama For Calling Climate Change An Immediate National Security Threat

Iraq War Architect Bill Kristol: Knowing What We Know Now, “We Were Right To Fight In Iraq”

Fox Host Blames ISIS Recruitment In America On Schools Embracing Multiculturalism

O’Reilly Factor Misrepresents DACA To Claim Obama’s Executive Action Makes It Easier To Enter U.S. “Illegally”

Climate Change Poses Huge Challenge To The Coast Guard, But Fox News Would Rather Dismiss It

Former CIA Official Calls Out Fox News’ Latest “Benghazi Myth, criticizing Fox and the media at large for habitually scandalizing the Benghazi attacks based on incomplete or unsupported claims.”

Limbaugh Instructs GOP To “Focus” On Benghazi In 2016

Immigrants Are More Dangerous Than ISIS And 10 Other Horrible Anti-Immigrant Media Moments From Ann Coulter

Bill Kristol: Fox News “Colluding” With RNC To Limit GOP Presidential Debate Field

The Uncomfortable Truth About The Political Nature Of Fox News — It’s Not “Entertainment,” It’s The Engine Driving The GOP Agenda

Fox’s Napolitano Floats Impeachment After Court Continues Hold On Obama’s Executive Actions For Immigrants

3. Poll: Hillary Clinton vs Republican field

PPP’s newest Washington poll finds that Clinton leads the GOP hopefuls by anywhere from 10 to 15 points. Ben Carson and Marco Rubio come the closest, each trailing by 10 at 49/39. Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are each down by 11 at 48/37 and 49/38 respectively. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul face 12 point deficits at 50/38.  Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry lag by 13 points at 50/37. And Chris Christie does the worst of the Republican field with a 15 point deficit at 49/34.  Clinton doesn’t quite match the 15-17 point margins Obama won the state by, but exceeds the 5-7 point ones Gore and Kerry had. 5/21/15 Read more at

4. Late Night Jokes for Dems

“President Obama broke a world record after he reached a million followers on Twitter in just five hours. The only guys not following Obama? His Secret Service agents. They lost track months ago.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A lot of people think I’m retiring, but I’ve been telling a fib. I’ve been forced to leave this job because I gave $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation. ” –David Letterman

“A new poll found that almost 70 percent of voters say that whoever our next president is, they must have political experience. You know, because it would be rude to say ‘anyone but Donald Trump.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“Former Texas Governor Rick Perry said yesterday that knowing what we know now, he would not have invaded Iraq. Mostly because ‘what we know now’ is that Rick Perry will never be president.” –Seth Meyers

“George W. Bush gave a commencement speech at Southern Methodist University this weekend. It was pretty inspirational. He said, ‘As I like to tell the ‘C’ students, you too can be president.’ Even George W. Bush has George W. Bush comedy material in his act.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Lindsey Graham is now the seventh Republican running for president. If you’re keeping score, that’s basically one Republican candidate for every two Republican voters.” –Conan O’Brien

“President Obama joined Twitter today with a tweet that began ‘Hello, Twitter!’ His bio says, ‘Dad, husband, and president of the United States.’ He didn’t have to say ‘Dad.’ We got that when he tweeted ‘Hello, Twitter!'” –Seth Meyers

“Jeb Bush said recently that he believes apps on the Apple Watch could help Americans better manage their healthcare than Obamacare. So there you go. If you can’t afford healthcare, just buy yourself an Apple Watch.” –Seth Meyers

“It’s Friday. That’s one reason to celebrate. Also, it’s the first day in a long time when no one declared they’re running for president.” –Jimmy Fallon

“During a recent event at a restaurant called Tommy’s Country Ham House in South Carolina, presidential candidate Ben Carson delivered a speech right after he lost his front tooth. Which still left him with more teeth than everyone combined at Tommy’s Country Ham House.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Former New York Governor George Pataki may enter the race for president. It’s not definite, but he tweeted that he’ll announce his 2016 plans on May 28 in New Hampshire. Well, what’s he gonna do, go to New Hampshire to say he’s NOT running? That’s like getting down on one knee and saying, ‘I think it’s time to see other people.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“By accident Jeb Bush announced that he was running for president. And then he said, ‘No, not yet. OK, I made a mistake.’ And then later in the day, by accident, he called Hillary and congratulated her. ” –David Letterman

“It turns out Hillary’s brother could damage her campaign. But then Jeb Bush said, ‘I think we all get a pass on who our brothers are.'” –Jimmy Fallon

“The White House encouraged Tom Brady to be more of a role model. They would’ve said more, but there was a drunken Secret Service agent streaking across the Rose Garden.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Senate Democrats blocked President Obama’s trade bill yesterday because they’re worried it could hurt jobs. It’s not an issue for Republicans, since they’ve all found work as presidential candidates.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Last night we had Bill Clinton, the former president. Security was as tight as Governor Christie’s yoga pants.” –David Letterman

“Kim Jong Un reportedly had his defense chief executed after he fell asleep during a meeting. Not only did they execute him, they shot him with an anti-aircraft gun. I’d like to see NBC hire Kim Jong Un to host ‘The Apprentice.’ His way of firing people is much more exciting than Donald Trump’s.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Things like that make me glad I live in America — where our political figures are free to fall asleep wherever they want.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“Kim Jong Un — it’s really Catch-22 with him. If you close your eyes, you get shot for nodding off. If you open them, you get shot for laughing at his haircut.” –Jimmy Kimmel

“According to a new report, since he’s been governor, Chris Christie has spent $82,000 at a concession stand at MetLife Stadium. Now, I know it seems like the perfect story for a Chris Christie joke but I’m actually on a Chris Christie joke diet. So nothing for me, thanks.” –Jimmy Fallon

“If you’re going to do a Chris Christie joke, just say, ‘Christie spent $82,000 at a concession stand at MetLife Stadium. Then he turned to his friends and said, ‘You guys want anything?” That’s a joke. I can’t believe it. I caved in. I feel awful.” –Jimmy Fallon

“The U.S. unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in nearly seven years. The job sector that has seen the most growth is in the field of Republican presidential candidates.” –Conan O’Brien

“Former President Bill Clinton is on the program tonight. He says that while his wife runs for president, he would like to stay out of the limelight. Well, he’s certainly come to the right place. He’ll be fine here.” –David Letterman

“A new poll finds that the majority of GOP voters say they can’t see themselves supporting Chris Christie. The trick is to lift with your legs, not your back.” –Seth Meyers

5. Fox, CNN Set Criteria for First GOP Debates

The big debate about the Republican presidential debates is over – at least for the first two rounds.

Facing the unprecedented dilemma of having more candidates (19, plus or minus) than a single stage can reasonably bear, Fox News and CNN, the networks hosting the first two debates, came up with two different approaches.

Fox will accept the top 10 contenders, based on their poll numbers, for the first debate in Cleveland Aug. 6. Entrants must have formally registered for a presidential campaign with the Federal Election Commission and have paid all necessary federal and state filing fees.

CNN announced a two-tier system for its Sept. 16 debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. The top 10 candidates will debate in one group, and the remaining candidates will face off in another. Each candidate must poll at 1 percent or higher. CNN requires debate participants to have at least one paid campaign staffer in two of the early voting states and have visited two of those states at least once.

The Aug. 6 debate will take place at the Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland. Fox News anchors Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, and Chris Wallace will moderate.  Caitlin Huey-Burns – 5/20/15 Read more at


6.The GOP’s war on the poor (cont.)

The Kansas legislature has placed a daily cap of $25 on cash withdrawals beginning July 1, which will force beneficiaries to make more frequent trips to the ATM to withdraw money from the debit cards used to pay public assistance benefits.

Since there’s a fee for every withdrawal, the limit means that some families will get substantially less money.

It’s hard to overstate the significance of this action. Many households without enough money to maintain a minimum balance in a conventional checking account will pay their rent and their utility bills in cash. A single mother with two children seeking to withdraw just $200 in cash could incur $30 or more in fees, which is a big chunk of the roughly $400 such a family would receive under the program in Kansas. 5/21/15 Read more at


7. New York Times does its best to be a ‘real opponent’ to Hillary Clinton

New York Times reporters really aren’t bothering to hide their loathing of Hillary Clinton anymore, to the point where the next logical step is for the newspaper to adopt the mottoes “fair and balanced” or “we report, you decide.” Here’s how one Times reporter tweeted his latest article:

In Iowa, Queen Hillary and the Everyday Americans of the Round Table distribute alms to the clamoring press. — @jasondhorowitz

Laura Clawson in the Daily Kos

8. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Jeb Bush and Brotherly Love

9. The Borowitz Report: Louisiana Breaks Off Trade Relations with Ireland

In the aftermath of Irish voters legalizing gay marriage, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has used his emergency powers to ban all Irish products from the state.

Jindal explained that breaking off trade with Ireland was necessary to protect the sanctity of marriage in Louisiana.

“Every time someone takes a sip of Guinness, a part of straight marriage dies,” he said.

10. Pope’s pronouncements making trouble for GOP Catholics

Catholic Republicans are developing a pope problem. Earlier this month, Francis recognized Palestinian statehood. This summer, he’s going to issue an encyclical condemning environmental degradation. And in September, just as the GOP primary race heats up, Francis will travel to Washington to address Congress on climate change.”

“Francis may be popular with the general public, but key Republican primary constituencies — hawks, climate-change skeptics and religious conservatives, including some Catholics, are wary of the pope’s progressivism. 5/26/15 Read more at

11. Suspicion of US government reaches a new level in Texas

How did America become so divided, the state of the union so fractured, that the secretary of defense is forced to deny the Army is planning the hostile takeover of a state?

The conflict about the Jade Helm exercise illustrates some of the most confounding political divisions in the country. It reveals how an increased willingness to believe in sinister plots, fomented by people once dismissed as occupying the political fringe, has seeped into the political mainstream of the nation’s second-largest state. 5/25/15 Read more at


12. Republicans’ 2016 math problem

“The 2016 electorate, demographically speaking, will be worse for Republicans than 2012. And unless Republicans can begin winning more of the nonwhite vote, the 2020 election will be worse for the party than the 2016 election. And 2024 will be worse than, well, you get the idea.” 5/26/15 Read more at

13. It’s becoming cooler to call yourself ‘liberal’

For the first time since Gallup began tracking it in 1999, there are now as many Americans who describe their views on social issues as “liberal” as there are who describe them as “conservative.” 

“It’s been a long and slow crawl, but Americans have steadily become more liberal on social issues without much interruption — except for a brief dip when President Obama first took office in 2009. Today, it’s tied at 31 percent. Back in 1999, it was about two-to-one conservative over liberal.” 5/26/15 Read more at


1. Paul Waldman: Fox News is taking control of the Republican primary

Liberals often say that Fox News is the house organ of the Republican Party, but in the 2016 election, the network is becoming something more: a kind of stern boss, setting the agenda, plotting the group’s course, and weeding out the weak performers. As powerful as the network has been within the conservative movement, the 2016 election has given it the opportunity to increase its influence even further

Fox News chief Roger Ailes’ genius has always been in his ability to balance Fox’s twin goals: making money and serving the interests of the Republican Party. But at a time like this, the latter goal becomes more complicated to achieve than when Republicans are just fighting with Democrats. And some Republicans who just a few months ago could expect nothing but hugs and applause from the network now aren’t getting such friendly treatment.

Once there’s a GOP nominee, he’ll be praised and defended on Fox News like he was the second coming. But until then, Fox is going to work to find the strongest candidate and get rid of the rest. Because if they don’t do it, nobody else can. 5/22/15 Read more at


2. Alan Rappeport: Republicans Continue to Lurch Right on Immigration

Staring at startling exit polls after a beating by President Obama in 2012, Republicans vowed they were finally ready to do something about immigration reform or risk further alienating Hispanic voters.

But two-and-a-half years later they have seem to have decided to lurch to the right on the issue.

In interviews on Fox News this week, three Republican White House hopefuls did their best to assure potential primary voters that “amnesty” would not happen on their watch.

On Monday, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey told Megyn Kelly that a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants was an “extreme way to go” and explained why he has changed his view on the issue.

“I think I have learned over time about this issue and done a lot more work on it,” Mr. Christie said. “I think everyone has to do what you need to do to be able to get educated on these issues and learn.”

Bowing to political realities, Mr. Rubio, who says he still wants to change the immigration system, is now among those who say the focus should be on border security.

“If we want to move forward on immigration, the first thing we’re going to have to do is prove to the American people that future illegal immigration is under control,” he said. 5/20/15 Read more at


3. Paul Waldman: Hillary Clinton has fewer problems with the Democratic base than you might think

If you’re part of the DC establishment, you know that liberals’ feelings about Hillary Clinton are nothing if not complicated.

Your average professional liberal here in the nation’s capital, whether it’s a think-tank wonk, a Capitol Hill staffer, an interest group activist, or a writer like me, has always had and will always have mixed feelings about Clinton. We acknowledge her talent, her smarts, and her tenacity. We recognize how historic it would be if she became president. And sooner or later we find ourselves defending her, if for no reason other than the craziness of her enemies.

If you look at what the polls are telling us so far, Democrats seem quite happy to have Clinton as their presidential nominee. In the latest Pew poll, 77 percent of Democrats see her favorably, and she has strong approval across ages, incomes, and races. (African-Americans, the most important Democratic sub-group, rate her particularly highly, at 87 percent favorable.)

Approval may be a pretty low bar, but we need to understand that there are lots and lots of Democrats who think Hillary Clinton is the bee’s knees. Many of them are women, and for them the possibility of America’s first woman president is likely to become more and more exciting as election day approaches.

Just like any candidate, Clinton has plenty of problems she’ll have to overcome if she’s going to win the White House. But uniting the Democratic base behind her may be less of an issue than many of us suspect. Read more at

4. Olivia Nuzzi: Dear Chris Christie: Sorry We Did Our Job

On CNBC Thursday morning, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made a simple request: that the media apologize for its unjust treatment of him during Bridgegate.

“I do believe there’s an absolute bias and rush to judgement,” he said. “You all know this. You saw the coverage of me 15 months ago. I was guilty, I had done it. Now we’re 15 months later. Where are the apologies pouring in? Not one thing I said the day after the bridge situation has been proven wrong. Fifteen months later everything that I said the day after that story broke—everything I said—has proven out to be true after three different investigations.”

Christie has, as is his nature, graciously handed all of us an opportunity, and I intend to make the most of it.

I would like to apologize.

I would like to apologize to Christie, first, on behalf of everyone who noticed that access lanes to the George Washington Bridge had been inexplicably shut down and wondered why it happened, and how it could have happened without the state’s top lawmaker being—at the very least—aware of it.

And I would like to apologize to Christie on behalf of the children who were late to their first day of school because of the profound traffic jams those lane closures caused, and on behalf of the emergency workers who—instead of sitting in the traffic—were forced to respond to calls on foot.

I’m sorry that Christie’s initial response to this bizarre occurrence in the northern part of his state was indifference, and his response to reporters asking questions total contempt.

I’m sorry that in December 2013, two months after the lane closures, Christie told the press, “I know you guys are obsessed with this. I’m not. I’m really not. It’s not that big of a deal.” I’m sorry that Christie mocked WNYC reporter Matt Katz for asking if the lane closures were an act of political retribution by saying, “I worked the cones, actually. Unbeknownst to everybody I was actually the guy out there, in overalls and a hat. You cannot be serious with that question, Matt!”

I’m sorry the theory that the lane closures were orchestrated to exact revenge turned out to be true.

I apologize that as Christie attempted to go about the business of running for president while largely neglecting the state of which he is ostensibly in charge,

I apologize on behalf of everyone in the media who did their job, despite Christie’s belittling, bullying tactics. That was wrong, and we all should have been covering the Clinton email story, instead—the one that wouldn’t break for another year and a half. 5/21/15 Read more at


5. Shikha Dalmia: Hillary Clinton has already crushed Republicans on immigration

You can question Hillary Clinton’s political scruples. But don’t doubt her political smarts.

There is no better proof of either quality than her U-turn decision last week to go all out in embracing amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Clinton’s gambit is a major flip-flop — one that will put Republicans in a bind that they’ll have a hard time extricating themselves from. It’s heads she wins and tails they lose, regardless of what they do.

Clinton stunned everyone — even Latino activists — when she boldly called for a “path to full and equal citizenship” for all of the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. Speaking at a gathering of handpicked young immigrants in a high school in Nevada, a Latino-heavy swing state, she rejected the notion of a mere path to legalization — like the sort Jeb Bush and some of the more immigrant-friendly Republicans have skittishly backed. “That’s code for second-class status,” Clinton declared. She promised to go much further than even President Obama’s recent executive action and “defer” deportation proceedings not only against some illegal immigrants, but virtually all of them, while working toward comprehensive immigration reform that included citizenship.

This was a remarkable shift for someone who has not only maintained a studious silence for months about Obama’s executive action, but also previously opposed drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. Indeed, her flip is so dramatic that instead of raising questions about her credibility, it has changed the conversation so much that we’re immediately asking what Republicans need to do to catch up.

Regardless of where one stands on the merits of the issue, the political reality is this: Republicans’ harsh anti-immigration rhetoric has left them no good options. They have created their own vulnerability. And Hillary Clinton has just zeroed in on it. Read more at

6. Tim Mak: Sorry, GOP. There’s No Smoking Gun In Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Emails

If Republicans were looking for a silver bullet to use against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the State Department’s Friday document dump about Benghazi wasn’t it.

There’s no illicit weapons Libyan program to be found in the emails, as some have speculated. No “stand-down” order. Just a hectic flow of information to and from Hillary Clinton—about danger, about death, and ultimately, about condolences. 5/22/15 Read more at


7. Peter Beinart: Hillary Clinton’s Surprisingly Effective Campaign

Hillary Clinton has been an official candidate for president for five weeks, and she still hasn’t done the thing most candidates do on day one: given a speech laying out her vision for America. Nor is she planning on doing so anytime soon. Politico reports that Hillary’s “why I’m running for president,” speech, initially scheduled for May, has now been delayed until June, or even later.

There’s a reason for that: The speech is unlikely to be very good. Soaring rhetoric and grand themes have never been Hillary’s strengths. That’s one reason so many liberals found her so much less inspirational than Barack Obama in 2008. And it’s a problem with deep roots. In his biography, A Woman in Charge, Carl Bernstein describes Hillary, then in law school, struggling to articulate her generation’s perspective in an address to the League of Women Voters. “If she was speaking about a clearly defined subject,” Bernstein writes, “her thoughts would be well organized, finely articulated, and delivered in almost perfect outline form. But before the League audience, she again and again lapsed into sweeping abstractions.”

Team Clinton appears to understand this. And so it has done something shrewd. Instead of talking vision, Hillary is talking policy, which she does really well.

Sooner or later, Hillary will have to move from policy to philosophy. It may be a rocky transition. And if the Republicans nominate Marco Rubio (which at this point looks like a decent bet), she will face a candidate who interweaves personal biography and national aspiration better than she does. But if Hillary stumbles, these opening weeks of her campaign may offer a template for how she regains her footing. She’s at her best talking about America not abstractly, but concretely. She’s most inspiring when talking not about what she believes, but about what she wants to do. And she most effectively humanizes herself by being true to who she is: knowledgeable, passionate, and vaguely obsessive about making government work. Against Rubio, or any other likely Republican challenger, that identity should provide an excellent contrast. 5/22/15 Read more at

8. E.J. Dionne: The Right’s Political Correctness

The shortage of philosophical adventure and the eagerness of GOP hopefuls to alter their positions to make them more conservative have the same cause: a Republican primary electorate that has moved so far right that it brooks no deviationism. What makes it even harder for the candidates to break new ground is that the imperatives of orthodoxy are constraining even the thinkers who are trying to create a new “reform conservatism.”

The fall-in-line-or-fall-in-the-polls rule means that Walker has gone from supporting to opposing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, as has Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. Rubio got much praise for his work in negotiating a bipartisan bill that would have allowed the undocumented to become citizens — and then, faced with hostility from tea partyers, he turned against it.

Paul, the most daring of the lot because of his libertarian convictions, deserves kudos for being true to his small-state ideology by standing up — literally, for nearly 11 hours on the Senate floor — against the Patriot Act. But even Paul has recast his foreign policy positions to make them sound more hawkish and thus more in keeping with prevailing Republican views.

Accommodating right-wing primary voters poses real risks to the party in next year’s elections. Its candidates’ messages on immigration and gay marriage, could hurt the GOP with, respectively, Latinos and the young.

But the greater loss is that none of the leading Republicans is willing to offer a more fundamental challenge to the party’s rightward lurch over the past decade. L. Brent Bozell III, a prominent activist on the right, could thus legitimately claim to The Washington Post: “The conservative agenda is what is winning the field.” 5/25/15 Read more at

9. Jonathan Chait: The Endurance of Bushism

When GW Bush’s economic program turned the projected surplus into persistent deficits, conservatives did not concede they had failed. Instead they blamed Bush for allowing spending to get out of control. Of course the tax cuts had been sold as a way to prevent this very outcome. Conservatives simply shifted from claiming tax cuts wouldn’t lead to deficits because they would prevent excessive spending to claiming tax cuts hadn’t caused the deficit because the true culprit was excessive spending.

Not only did the new conservative attempt to shift blame from tax hikes onto spending undermine the original rationale, it presented a wildly distorted account of what actually caused the deficit. It was not “big spenders” defying the right who produced deficits. It was that Congress enacted the very policies conservatives were demanding: tax cuts plus more spending on defense. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities broke down the legislative causes of higher deficits under Bush, and virtually all of it was the result of policies conservatives had demanded:

Indeed, Bush himself repeatedly used this line during his own presidency. He attacked Congress for “acting like a teenager with a new credit card” and vetoed bills to increase domestic spending. When Jeb Bush and other Republicans blame George W. Bush’s indulgence toward Congress for Bush-era deficits, they’re not actually indicting his administration. They’re making the same argument Bush himself used.

Indeed, the striking fact about the Republican Party is how little it has questioned Bush’s economic program. The central tenets of Bush-era economic doctrine remain as firmly entrenched as ever. All the Republican economic proposals combine deep tax cuts, higher defense spending, and a general refusal to accept that revenues must bear some long-term relationship to likely outlays.

The party’s disposition toward Bush’s Iraq War has attracted deep (and warranted) scrutiny. Its disposition toward Bush’s economic policies has not. Despite their bellicose rhetoric, none of the Republican candidates are actually proposing to recapitulate his regime-change policy, in Iraq or elsewhere. It is in domestic policy where Bush-era dogma remains completely unreconstructed. 5/25/15 Read more at

10. Paul Waldman: The Koch brothers try to rein in the GOP presidential clown show

Up until now, the Koch brothers hadn’t indicated that they’d be taking a side in the primaries. It almost seemed that they viewed that as the kind of thing amateurs like Sheldon Adelson do, throwing money at some candidate based on overly irrational personal feelings, while they keep focused on the real goal of getting a Republican — any Republican — into the White House. By saying they’re going to support several candidates in the primaries, the Kochs are pledging to accelerate the winnowing process, by which the race’s chaff can be sloughed off and the focus can stay on the serious contenders.

Don’t be fooled by the line about them supporting all the ones whose policies they’re happy with. That’s because there’s almost no disagreement among the candidates, at least on the issues the Kochs care about. All of them would like to see low taxes on the wealthy (most have even advocated a flat tax, a boon to people like the Kochs), a dramatic reduction in regulations that affect corporations and a rollback of the social safety net. Where the Kochs personally disagree with the candidates (as they may on some social issues or on immigration), they disagree with all the candidates, because the candidates’ positions are so similar.

So mark my words: If the Kochs pick out a few candidates to support, it will be the ones they think would be the strongest in a general election and those they think put the best face on the GOP.

If the Kochs are ready to put some of their ample resources into the primary campaign, it’s a sign that the enormous size of the primary field is generating some serious concern at the top of the GOP. The question is whether, even with their money, there’s much they can do about it. 5/25/15 Read more at



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Apr 30 – DIRECT eZine for Democrats #877


“A book that has not yet been published has caused the New York Times to publish a wildly speculative, innuendo-laced article about the Clinton Foundation and my role in contributing money to it. There is not one shred of evidence to back up the Times‘ conclusions. This is not about me, but rather an attempt to tear down Secretary Clinton and her presidential campaign. If this is what passes for investigative journalism in the United States, it is very sad.” — Frank Giustra, the Canadian businessman who the Times noted also donated to the Clinton Foundation and who owned the predecessor to Uranium One, selling his personal stake in the company in 2007 before its sale to the Russians . 4/23/15

“We’ve spent the past six years trying to rescue the economy, retool the auto industry, and revitalize American manufacturing. And if there were ever an agreement that undercut that progress, or hurt those workers, I wouldn’t sign it. My entire presidency is about helping working families recover from recession and rebuild for the future. As long as I’m President, that’s what I’ll keep fighting to do.” — President Barack Obama in his weekly address. 4/25/15 VIDEOTEXT

“More astronauts have been to the moon than farmers who paid the inheritance tax in 2013.” — Bill Maher poking a hole in the Republican argument that the estate tax threatens the livelihoods of “family farmers.” 4/23/15

“[W]hen you take a closer look at Mr. Schweizer’s organization and who is backing him, it is a who’s who of big right-wing funders, including one of the guys behind the right-wing media site, for which Mr. Schweizer has previously written — also the billionaire family that is currently bankrolling Ted Cruz’s presidential run.” — Rachel Maddow on the author of ‘Clinton Cash.’ 4/20/15

“At the end of the day, his record, in my view, shows a foreign policy vision one step behind leading from behind. And all I can say is that if he’s the nominee, I will support him. But if he’s the nominee of the party, we risk giving up the central issue of the 2016 campaign which will be foreign policy.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), taking offense at Sen. Rand Paul’s comparison of him as one of President Obama’s lap dogs. 4/22/15

“The Republicans’ multi-year search for evidence to back up their Benghazi conspiracy theories has turned up nothing. The Select Committee has identified no evidence — documentary, testimonial, or otherwise — to support claims that Secretary Clinton ordered a stand-down, approved an illicit weapons program, or any other wild allegation Republicans have made for years.” — Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the panel, accusing Gowdy of intentionally dragging out the proceedings to harm Clinton. 4/23/15

“Hillary Clinton has already spent five hours testifying at two congressional committee hearings but, as she’s been saying since last year, she’s happy to do it again. Unfortunately, Republicans insist her testimony is done behind closed doors, where the American public is unable to see their true, politically motivated intentions.” — Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, on the request by Benghazi Committee Chairman Gowdy (R-SC). 4/23/15


“Causes considered “pro-Israel”—and make no mistake that killing an Iran deal is, in Washington, a pro-Israel cause—are increasingly being conflated with doctrinaire neoconservatism and taken up solely by Republicans. This is the battle neocons are winning—but being the ideologues that they are, Kristol and his comrades will be satisfied with nothing short of total victory in the war. Which, in the case of Iran, would be launching an actual one.”– Ali Gharib in “The Nation” 4/24/15

“By finally admitting that he omitted key details and has no direct evidence, the author of ‘Clinton Cash’ just confirmed what many media reports had already made clear. ‘Clinton Cash’ is nothing more than a tangled web of conspiracy theories backed by no actual evidence.” — Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin. 4/26/15

Jeb Bush “told about 350 of the top donors to his super PAC on Sunday evening that the organization has raised more money in its first 100 days than any other Republican operation in modern history.” — Washington Post 4/26/15

“Today’s Democratic Party has decided there is no room for Christians. There is a liberal fascism that is going after Christian believers.” — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), 4/25/15

“I believe that I take over on Day One as president prepared to lead this country in the most crucial obligation the president faces, as commander in chief … Governors can certainly read about foreign policy, and take briefings and meet with experts, but there is no way they’ll be ready on Day One to manage U.S. foreign policy.” —Marco Rubio 4/25/15

“I will build the best wall, the biggest, the strongest, not penetrable, they won’t be crawling over it, like giving it a little jump and they’re over the wall, it costs us trillions. And I’ll have Mexico pay for the wall. Because Mexico is screwing us so badly. I will take it from out of just a small fraction of the money they’ve been screwing us for over the last number of years.” — Real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump 4/27/15

“I will disclose my records. I will disclose everything. And I tell you what: People will be very, very, impressed.” — Donald Trump 4/27/15

“What we have seen in Baltimore should, and I think does, tear at our soul. The patterns have become unmistakable and undeniable. … We have to come to terms with some hard truths about race and justice in America.” — Hillary Clinton, 4/29/15

1. The Borowitz Report: G.O.P. Chairman Warns Against Hatred for Hillary Peaking Too Soon

In an urgent memo to the field of G.O.P. Presidential candidates, the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, praised them for their relentless personal attacks on Hillary Clinton, but warned that their hatred for the former Secretary of State might be “peaking too early.”

Priebus called the candidates’ ongoing evisceration of Clinton “magnificent,” but expressed his concern that “no human beings, even an impressive group like yourselves, could possibly sustain such a high intensity of throbbing hatred for an entire year and a half.”

“Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint,” he wrote. “You need to leave some hate in the tank.” Read more at

2. ‘Clinton Cash’ & NYT Fail to Prove Any Connection Between Hillary Clinton & Russian Purchase of Uranium Assets

Relying largely on research from the conservative author of Clinton Cash, today’s New York Times alleges that donations to the Clinton Foundation coincided with the U.S. government’s 2010 approval of the sale of a company known as Uranium One to the Russian government. Without presenting any direct evidence in support of the claim, the Times story — like the book on which it is based — wrongly suggests that Hillary Clinton’s State Department pushed for the sale’s approval to reward donors who had a financial interest in the deal. Ironically, buried within the story is original reporting that debunks the allegation that then-Secretary Clinton played any role in the review of the sale.

The essential fact is that Hillary Clinton was not involved in the State Department’s review of the sale to the Russians. While it is true that the State Department sits on the multi-agency, inter-governmental panel that reviews deals like this one, Hillary Clinton herself did not participate in the review or direct the Department to take any position on the sale of Uranium One.

Mr. Giustra, the main Clinton Foundation donor that the Times suggests stood to gain from the sale of Uranium One to the Russians had liquidated his stake in Uranium One entirely back in 2007 and thus had no reason to have sought any favor from Clinton’s State Department. 4/23/15 Read more at


3. Swiftboat 2016: Why Buy The Ad When You Can Get The Press For Free?

Today’s news is full of speculation about what the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) has dredged up on Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and donors from foreign countries who gave to different initiatives promoted by the Clinton Foundation. As it turns out IRS reports give a pretty clear look at who’s footing the bill for all of this “government accountability.”

The three largest donors to the GAI are Donors’ Trust, the Koch-founded and operated political slush fund through which donations are laundered and sent to various organizations connected with them, Franklin Center, and the Mercer Family Foundation in New York.

The Mercer Family Foundation is a private foundation established by right-wing hedge fund mogul Robert Mercer. The trustee of the foundation is Rebekah Mercer, who also happens to sit on on the GAI board, alongside Citizens United board member Ron Robinson, former Wall Streeter Hunter Lewis, and Heritage Foundation Fellow Owen T. Smith.

There have been many reports about the reclusive Robert Mercer, because he has been identified as one of the big Ted Cruz funders for the 2016 primaries. According to Mother Jones, “Mercer has a history of spending big to topple House members who support restrictions on the finance industry.” 4/20/15 Read more at


“Well, here is what’s important to keep in mind. It was one of nine agencies, but any one of those agencies had veto power, so she could have stopped the deal.” — Peter Schweizer, claiming that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had the power to unilaterally veto the Uranium One deal. 4/26/15]


“Only The President May “Decide Whether A Transaction Should Be Suspended Or Prohibited.”  — According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the only person with the power to make a final decision on a proposal requiring CFIUS oversight is the president — not members of the CFIUS.. 4/27/15


Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act of 2015” strips federal courts of jurisdiction to hear cases related to marriage.  The effect of the bill would prevent federal courts from hearing marriage cases, leaving the issue to the States where it properly belongs. […]


“Mr. King has perverted the Constitution to create rights to things such as discrimination, bullying, and disparate treatment. These efforts to enshrine these appalling values as constitutional rights were not envisioned by the voters, or by King’s colleagues who must currently try to restrain his attempts to single-handedly rewrite the nation’s founding principles on a bill-by-bill basis.” — Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), whose tongue in cheek “Restrain Steve King from Legislating Act,” would block King from introducing legislation related to judicial authority. 4/25/15


“Schweizer is working on a similar investigation of Jeb Bush’s finances that he expects to publish this summer.” — Bloomberg Politics, suggesting that this book will quiet the left-wing clamor that Schweizer is simply out to get Hillary Clinton: 4/23/15


“HarperCollins, the publisher of Clinton Cash, denies that any such book is in the works.” — Media Matters 4/24//15


“When a guy shows up at a Las Vegas emergency room on New Year’s Day with severe facial injuries and broken ribs and gives as an explanation the functional equivalent of ‘I walked into a doorknob,’ it isn’t hard to guess that he ran afoul of mobsters.” — John Hinderaker, a proprietor of the conservative blog PowerLine on Harry Reid’s exercise equipment accident. 3/30/15


“It was just so outrageous . The fact that someone can say something completely false that can destroy somebody’s life, it’s just wrong. Where’s the moral compass?” — Larry Pfeifer who pitched a fake story about the Reid brothers’ supposed fight to Hinderaker, to test whether the blogger would publish it as well. Hinderaker did and the rumor was subsequently spread by others in conservative media. 4/27/15


“In his book’s chapter on Haiti, dubbed ‘Disaster Capitalism Clinton-Style,’ Schweizer writes that O’Brien, whose company Digicel was attempting to secure a contract for mobile phone service in Haiti, paid Clinton $600,000 for speeches in Ireland on Sept. 29, 2010, Oct. 8, 2011, and Oct. 9, 2013.” — John Stanton in BuzzFeed 4/28/15


“The book’s reporting is false. President Clinton did not personally receive speaking fees for any of these three speaking engagements in Ireland.” — Clinton spokesperson Matt McKenna 4/28/15

5. Secret Koch memo outlines plans for 2016

“The Koch brothers’ political machine is expanding into new states and recruiting new donors as it seeks to shape the Republican Party — and its presidential field — headed into 2016,” according to confidential donor briefing documents.

“The documents detail plans to beef up the network’s state-of-the-art data system, and pay hundreds of staff embedded in local communities across the country in preparation for get-out-the-vote efforts that are unprecedented from a third-party group.” 4/22/15 Read more at


6. The GOP’s war against consumer protection (cont.)

The House passed bill would set new limits on, and effectively cut, the amount of money the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau can spend.

The bill was approved by a vote of 250-173. Just nine Democrats voted in favor of the measure, and no Republicans voted against it. 2/04/15 Read more at

7. Senate GOP Leaders Endorse Bill To Extend Obamacare Subsidies To 2017

The Senate’s top five Republican leaders have cosponsored legislation to extend until 2017 the Obamacare insurance subsidies that may be struck down by the Supreme Court this summer.

The legislation would seek to protect the GOP from political peril in the 2016 elections when Democrats would blame the party for stripping subsidies — and maybe insurance coverage — from millions of Americans in three dozen states. A defeat for the Obama administration in a King ruling would likely create havoc across insurance markets and pose a huge problem for Republicans, many of whom have been pushing the Supreme Court to nix the subsidies. 4/23/15 Read more at

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

Conservative Media Float Conspiracy That Obama Made Statement On Drone Strike To Distract From Clinton Cash

Schweizer’s Anti-Clinton Claims Start Falling Apart

Who Funds Peter Schweizer’s Government Accountability Institute?

ABC News Finds More Errors In Schweizer’s Clinton Cash

Limbaugh: Baltimore Has Been Left Unprotected Like Clinton Left Amb. Stevens Unprotected In Benghazi

Fox Wonders If Muslim Faith Would Keep Military Veteran From Saluting The Flag

Fox Personalities Blame Obama For Baltimore Violence

Limbaugh: “Ultimate Goal” Of Same-Sex Marriage Activists Is To Close Churches

NRA Uses Baltimore Riots To Promote “Stand Your Ground” Laws

Laura Ingraham Likens Same-Sex Marriage Rights To State-Validated Incest, Polygamy

Former Ambassador: Clinton Cash Author Peter Schweizer Took My Comments “Badly Out Of Context”

9. 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner

President Obama’s remarks:

Cecily Strong’s remarks:

10. Voters Back Iran Deal By Wide Margin

American voters support 58 – 33 percent the preliminary agreement with Iran to restrict that country’s nuclear program, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today.

Supporting the agreement are Democrats 76 – 15 percent and independent voters 60 – 33 percent, with Republicans opposed 56 – 37 percent. 4/26/15 Read more at

11. Jon Stewart: Baltimore on Fire

12. President Obama & Bill Nye Talk Earth Day in the Everglades

13. Conservative author admits evidence on Hillary Clinton is circumstantial

“In back-to-back interviews over the past 24 hours, conservative author Peter Schweizer admits he doesn’t have direct evidence that Hillary Clinton intervened to assist individuals and entities because they donated large sums of money to the Clinton Foundation.” 4/26/15 Read more at


1. James Carville: Clinton Cash And The Clinton Rule

The Clinton Rule is as follows: There shall be one standard for covering everyone else in public life, and another standard for Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Never have we seen a more instant classic for followers of the Clinton Rule than with this latest tome. The book isn’t even slated to be released for several weeks and yet The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Fox News are in cahoots with the author — reporting on what might be inside. I’ll run you through the playbook.

Let’s start with the facts. The star of this latest instance of the Clinton Rule is the author, Peter Schweizer. He’s a discredited fringe conservative activist and former political aide to the likes of George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, and Bobby Jindal. That’s a trifecta that pays a high dollar for pushing right wing conspiracies. Schweizer has worked for such “reputable” publications as — the same that once called gun safety advocate Gabby Giffords a “human shield” for the gun safety movement. His right wing bona fides don’t end there. Schweizer is even listed as a contributor to one of former Fox News host Glenn Beck’s books.

The bottom line is that mainstream media must be up for the challenge. To all the reporters wanting to push the limits and take an advance look into the claims of a guy whose history of reporting is marked by errors and retractions, I say it’s time to break the Clinton Rule. But in this case, I’m afraid the smarter bet is that we are going to see the same playbook over and over again. 4/23/15 Read more at

2. Brent Budowsky: Holy war against Hillary

What have the American people done to deserve the political campaigns that have become a permanent feature of American life, starring politicians who perpetually escalate every unsavory tactic that brings politics into widespread disrepute?

Today, consider the Republican campaign for the presidency in 2016, which has degenerated into an obsessive war against Hillary Clinton that borders on becoming a vindictive and venomous holy war, that is more reminiscent of political discourse in the Middle East than the contest of serious ideas that should be the hallmark of democratic nations. Tomorrow, we will consider the Democratic side of what is shaping up as a vapid and empty 2016 campaign.

For two years Clinton has been the target of the most personally hostile, lavishly financed and longest-lasting negative campaign of personal destruction and character assassination in the history of presidential politics.

One might have thought the GOP had reached rock bottom when Republicans were unable to agree at least that the current Democratic president of the United States loves our country and believes his faith. But no, in their rage and partisanship directed against Barack Obama, some Republicans question the president’s love of America and Christian faith, while many other Republicans respond with agreement, acquiescence or silence to these false and defamatory attacks.

Listening to the long list of GOP candidates for president doing their dog and pony shows, when these candidates should be offering their vision and plans for America, they appear to be going through a psychic transference of their political venom and vindictiveness from President Obama to Clinton.

Ever since Clinton left her post as secretary of State, the GOP has been running a nonstop campaign of vilification against her that is the only unifying principle of Republicans. It takes a form of a two-year holy war, financed by huge conservative money, subsidized by taxpayer funding for partisan congressional hearings, that paints a demonic portrait of a woman who does not exist and publishes a book that turns a half truth into a big lie, propagated by presidential candidates who substitute their derision against the demon for the vision of America they lack. 4/28/15 Read more at


3. Chris Cillizza: Why the middle is irrelevant in American politics

It’s become fashionable in American politics to talk about how the ranks of independents, those famously fickle people without a preferred party, are growing in every state as people sour on the traditional bifurcated model of elections.

But, it’s  also somewhat meaningless.

Why? Because politics has increasingly become about campaigns and candidates talking to people who are already paying attention to what they are saying. Again, why? Because those high news consumption folks also happen to be — surprise, surprise — the sorts of people who turn out to vote. And where do those people tend to reside on the political spectrum? On the far left and the far right, of course. Independents? Not so much.

This battle of the bases is only likely to escalate in 2016 as advances in technology make it harder and harder — and more and more expensive — for politicians to reach people who aren’t already on their side or, more accurately, paying much attention.

Such a “base” campaign will likely grow the ranks of so-called independents as they feel ignored and unappreciated by the two major parties. Of course, until independents start paying more attention to politics, they don’t have much room to complain. 4/22/15 Read more at


4. Michelle Goldberg: The Clinton Scandal Rabbit Hole

The phrase “Clinton rules” has two very distinct meanings. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s enemies use it to mean that the couple flout rules that apply to everyone else. In the early years of the blogosphere, however, liberals used “Clinton rules” as shorthand for the way journalists regularly abandoned ordinary standards of evidence to breathlessly pursue Clinton pseudo-scandals, often cooked up by right-wing operatives. As the Daily Howler wrote in 2007, “Under ‘the Clinton rules of journalism,’ you can say any goddamn thing you want—as long as you say it about the Clintons.”

Both versions of ‘Clinton rules’ describe real phenomena, and with any given Clinton story, it can be extremely difficult to figure out which Clinton rules are at work. Things are easier if you start off with a strong stance on the couple, always assuming the worst of either the Clintons or of anyone who criticizes them. But if you believe, as I do, that the Clintons have been demonized and persecuted to a preposterous degree and that they have cut ethical corners, if you delight in the idea of a female president but dread the return of the Clinton circus, it’s not easy to sort out who the real wrongdoers are in each new Clinton investigation. You find yourself plunged into rabbit holes, arguing about minutia, wishing for some sort of ideological heuristic to make sense of it all.

Take today’s New York Times investigation, “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company.” The story implies—but does not clearly allege—that money funneled to the Clinton Foundation greased the wheels for a deal that left Rosatom, the Russian atomic energy agency, in charge of 20 percent of American uranium reserves. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was part of a committee of cabinet officials that had the power to accept or reject the deal.

The origin of the piece is suspicious. On Monday, Times reporter Amy Chozick wrote about a forthcoming book, Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, by the right-winger Peter Schweizer. (Among Schweizer’s other books is Makers and Takers: Why conservatives work harder, feel happier, have closer families, take fewer drugs, give more generously, value honesty more, are less materialistic and envious, whine less…and even hug their children more than liberals.) According to Chozick, Clinton Cash is potentially more threatening to the Clintons than other right-wing hit jobs, “both because of its focused reporting and because major news organizations including The Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have exclusive agreements with the author to pursue the story lines found in the book.”

This last line caught many up short. Why on earth would The New York Times enter into an “exclusive agreement” with a right-wing hack like Schweizer? After all, there’s nothing to stop the paper from following up on Schweizer’s reporting on its own. Why make a deal with him? What did it entail? Chozick didn’t say, and a piece today by Margaret Sullivan, the paper’s public editor, only clarified things a bit. “Any agreement limiting journalistic inquiry is unacceptable; the wording in the original story certainly suggested that,” wrote Sullivan. “I believe…that such a thing didn’t happen here; that, rather, The Times merely pursued the angle it was most interested in, with no restrictions. But I still don’t like the way it looked.” Indeed, it looks terrible—a clear example of the second sort of Clinton rules. 4/23/15 Read more at


5. John Cassidy: “Clinton Cash” Attacks Could End Up Aiding Hillary

On Monday night, Sean Hannity opened his show on Fox News by claiming that new developments had emerged that could derail Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign. He was referring to the revelation, in the Times, that an upcoming book, “Clinton Cash,” by Peter Schweizer, a conservative speechwriter and author, reportedly alleges that overseas donors to the Clinton Foundation, as well as foreign entities that paid Bill Clinton for speeches, received favors from the State Department while Hillary was in charge.

Many viewers of Hannity and other Fox programs will probably seize on the new book in order to confirm their view that Hillary Clinton is unworthy of the Presidency. But none of these people were going to vote for her anyway. Politically, the important question is what impact, if any, the book’s allegations will have on independent voters, who may or may not vote for Clinton, and also on liberal Democrats who are inclined to vote for her, and maybe even to campaign for her, but who still have some reservations.

On this front, my guess is that “Clinton Cash” (whose full title is “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich”) could end up benefitting Hillary. With Hannity and other conservative media figures piling on, the Clinton campaign will be able to portray questions about the Clinton Foundation and the family’s finances as a political witch-hunt rather than a legitimate exercise in vetting Presidential candidates. And if that happens, many Americans may end up dismissing the whole thing as a partisan squabble.

From here on out, however, things could get tricky for journalists covering the Clinton donations. Every word they write will be doubly scrutinized for evidence of political bias, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign operatives will be on hand to dismiss as part of a G.O.P.-inspired vendetta anything that is critical of the candidate. Until this week, it was easy to label such tactics as political spin, and few fair-minded people questioned the credibility of the Clinton money stories or the motivations of those writing and publishing them. Now that Schweizer has entered the fray, with the likes of Hannity and Paul to ballyhoo what appear to be largely unsubstantiated allegations, partisan politics is likely to color the views of the broader public. If and when Hillary Clinton falls back on the old argument that it’s all a right-wing conspiracy against her and her family, many people might well be prepared to take her at her word. 4/22/15


6. Olivia Nuzzi: Republicans’ Gay-Marriage Hysteria

The social conservatism of presidential elections past will be a hard sell in 2016—but apparently no one has informed the Republican candidates. 

At the Point of Grace Church in Waukee, a Des Moines suburb, GOP candidate after candidate (or likely-candidate) pledged support for a constitutional amendment that would overrule the Supreme Court’s decision and allow states to ban same-sex marriage again. (How this would work is not quite obvious.)  

While most of the country favors the legalization of same-sex marriage, Republicans overwhelmingly do not. According to that Washington Post-ABC poll, over 60 percent of Republicans and more than 70 percent of conservative Republicans remain opposed. 

Appearing soft on traditional marriage could prove fatal in the primary, where socially conservative voters hold significant power. Candidates prone to more moderate rhetoric on marriage (if not actually moderate policies)—Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul—must compete with the likes of Cruz and Huckabee, both of whom usually sound like they are on the verge of waving snakes in the air and speaking in tongues. 

This places Republican candidates in a tough position. What wins the primary may be the very thing that sets the nominee up for failure in the general. 4/27/14

7. E.J. Dionne: Is Democracy Unraveling?

The world’s democracies, perhaps especially our own, face a peculiar set of contradictions that are undermining faith in public endeavor and unraveling old loyalties.

There is a decline of trust in traditional political parties but also a rise in partisanship. A broad desire for governments to reduce the levels of economic insecurity and expand opportunity is constrained by a loss of confidence in the capacity of government to succeed. Intense demands for change are accompanied by fears that much of the change that is occurring will make life worse for individuals and families.

In the United States, partisan splits have rarely been so deep and acrimony across party lines so intense. But these feelings don’t come from wildly positive views about the parties voters embrace. In a widely discussed paper released earlier this month, Alan Abramowitz and Steven Webster, Emory University political scientists, noted that “one of the most important trends in American politics over the past several decades has been the rise of negative partisanship in the electorate.”

It occurs, they write, when “supporters of each party perceive supporters of the opposing party as very different from themselves in terms of their social characteristics and fundamental values.” Yes, our current form of partisanship leads us to dislike not only the other side’s politicians but even each other.

This is a big problem for self-government, since aggregating sustainable majorities is the first task of politicians in democratic countries. They are not doing a very good job, and the unfolding 2016 campaign doesn’t inspire much confidence that they’ll do better. 4/27/15 Read more at 

8. Matea Gold and Ed O’Keefe: Never before have so many people with so much money run for president

The 2016 Republican presidential contest, designed to be a tidy affair, is instead shaping up to be a chaotic, drawn-out slog, thanks largely to an expanding pool of rich patrons raining money on a broad field of candidates.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has raised tens of millions of dollars for his allied super PAC, collecting a historic amount, he told donors Sunday night. But that hasn’t been enough to stop his rivals from amassing their own stockpiles. A super PAC supporting Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida secured about $20 million in commitments in less than two weeks, according to people familiar with the totals. An independent operation backing Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas says it pulled in $31 million in a single week. A new super PAC allied with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is close to matching that, fundraisers say.

Never have so many candidates entered a White House contest boosted by such huge sums. The financial arms race could fuel a protracted primary season similar to the one in 2012 — exactly what party leaders were hoping to avoid.

“There could be as many as a dozen candidates that have a threshold amount of money in their campaigns and super PACs to compete vigorously in the early states,” said Phil Cox, a Republican strategist who runs America Leads, a super PAC supporting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie that has the backing of at least two billionaires. 4/27/15 Read more at


9. Dana Milbank: For the GOP, ‘one man, one vote’ becomes ‘one billionaire, one ballot’

GOP leaders exulted a few years ago when the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and other decisions invited the rich to pour unlimited sums into political campaigns — and they are, by the billions of dollars.

But the Law of Unintended Consequences frequently rules the practice of politics, and it has once again. Republican candidates are hauling in so much money that the flood of cash has washed away the Darwinian system of natural selection that previously allowed parties to pick their nominees.

In the past, there was a money primary: If candidates polled poorly, their fundraising would dry up and they’d have to drop out of the race. But such market principles no longer apply, because a large number of inviable candidates are artificially subsidized — kept in the race by a beneficent billionaire, or even a friendly multimillionaire or two. With no easy way to push weak candidates from the race, Republicans are being hoist by their own gilded petard.

My Post colleagues Matea Gold and Ed O’Keefe reported Monday that no fewer than 15 White House hopefuls are being assisted by outside groups typically formed as “super PACs” and run by the candidate’s allies. For the first time in the modern political era, political operatives say it’s possible the eventual nominee need not win in either Iowa or New Hampshire.

The outright acquisition of the primary process by the wealthy is the latest instance of the 1 percent taking over the American political system – although in this case it’s more likely the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent. As the Center for Responsive Politics notes, the top 1 percent of donors to super PACS (about 100 people and their spouses) contributed 67 percent of super-PAC funds in 2012.

Fred Wertheimer, a campaign-finance reformer who runs the group Democracy 21, predicts that, for the first time, spending by super PACs will exceed spending by candidates and parties combined in the 2016 presidential campaign, which is expected to cost some $5 billion.

Thanks to the Roberts court, the sacred concept of one man, one vote has been replaced by a new reality: one billionaire, one ballot. 4/27/15 Read more at


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