They’re out to fuck with your lives too.
Yes, the dinosaurs are out in droves…particularly in the last 48 hours you will find them hunting the bare stark cornfields of Iowa.
Right before heading to church, Donald Trump ripped Ted Cruz’s campaign on Sunday morning for sending mailers to Iowa voters designed to look like official documents that accuse them of a “VOTING VIOLATION” for failure to turn out in past elections.
“The Cruz campaign issued a dishonest and deceptive get out the vote ad calling voters ‘in violation,'” Trump tweeted. “They are now under investigation. Bad!”
Story Continued Below
Trump’s comments come after Iowa’s top elections official condemned the mailers on Saturday, though he did not announce any investigation.
Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate said in a statement that Cruz’s mailers, which has the words “official public record” printed in red at the top, “misrepresents the role of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law.”
“There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting,” said Paul, who was elected statewide as a Republican in 2014. “Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses.”
The controversial Cruz mailers show the name of the person receiving the mail at the top and then give them a grade on an A to F scale. Below, it shows their neighbors and their voting scores. It then urges them to caucus next week and warns, “A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.”
Ted Cruz on Saturday evening defended a mailer sent out by his campaign that has been criticized by Iowa’s secretary of state as “misleading” and a violation of “the spirit of the Iowa caucuses.”
“I will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote,” Cruz said, speaking to reporters before a rally in Sioux City, Iowa.
Earlier Saturday, the Cruz campaign came under fire for sending out a mailer, with the look of an official state document, that warns of a “voting violation.” It informs voters they are receiving the notice “because of low expected voter turnout in your area” and says a “follow-up notice” may arrive after the Iowa caucuses.
The mailer looks like it is building on social science research showing that guilt is a powerful way to mobilize voters to turnout.
Cruz claimed that there was nothing wrong with the mailer—and that in fact mailers like this are routine. “Matt Schultz, who is a former secretary of state, is the chairman of our campaign, put out a public statement saying these mailers are routine,” he said. “The Iowa Republican Party has done so in the past—in past elections.”
Yes, deception is used frequently by Republicans in Iowa.
And you know, there is another link if you care:
There is one dinosaur who is really out on the kill. He is not one of those who viciously attacks his prey, his death dance is one of lethal environmental racism and contamination…while email messages clearly show he protected those of his fellow Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species .
Throughout most of 2015, the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder told the residents of Flint, Mich., that their tap water was safe to drink. But emails released on Thursday suggest the state was concerned about its own employees’ exposure to the city’s water as early as January of last year, even arranging for purified water to be provided at a state office building there.
The emails depict an exchange that month between employees of two state departments that expresses concern about the water’s safety within the Michigan government long before Mr. Snyder acknowledged to residents in the fall that there was a problem.
The correspondence — between employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget — was obtained by a liberal advocacy group, Progress Michigan. The news was reported on Thursday by The Detroit Free Press.
Lonnie Scott, the executive director of Progress Michigan, accused the state government of valuing the well-being of its employees more than that of Flint’s residents.
…attorneys have subpoenaed all emails and communications between Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) over the ongoing Flint water crisis, a few details have been released showing what can only be described as depraved indifference on the part of state workers to the plight of Flint citizens.
The Republican governor released some staff emails on Jan. 20, showing that he was well aware that Flint citizens were slowly being poisoned following a decision by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to force them to live with lead-tainted water.
Out of over 270 pages of communications released, one comment was stunning in its admission of how shabbily complaints over the water were treated by state workers.
According to the NY Times, Snyder was informed in one email that a state nurse told one young mother to not worry about the damage being done to her child when her son’s blood showed an elevated lead level.
“It is just a few IQ points. … It is not the end of the world,” the nurse reportedly told the worried mom.
According to whistle-blower Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, “If you were going to put something in a population to keep them down for generations to come — it would be lead.”
The state of Michigan and Flint have already come under attack for using a poster – created by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services — informing parents that it was safe to bathe their children in the contaminated water.
While the poster was pulled, an advisory remained on the state website informing residents that the water is “safe to use for washing because ‘lead in bath water will not soak into your skin fast or at high levels.’ ”
Gov. Snyder’s administration has until Feb. 9 to turn over all communications regarding Flint, dating back to 2011.
Other area’s in the country feel a similar death dance, from different dinosaurs…
South Dakota has 272 Abandoned Uranium Mines (AUMs) which are contaminating waterways such as the Cheyenne River, and desecrating sacred and ceremonial sites. An estimated 169 AUMs are located within 50 miles of Mt. Rushmore where millions of tourists risk exposure to radioactive pollution each year.The delegation is warning of the toxic legacy caused by more than 15,000 AUMs nationwide, extreme water contamination, surface strip coal mining and power plants burning coal-laced with radioactive particles, radioactive waste from oil well drilling in the Bakken Oil Range, mill tailings, waste storage, and renewed mining threats to sacred places such as Mt. Taylor in New Mexico and Red Butte in Arizona.Indigenous communities have been disproportionately impacted as approximately 75 percent of AUMs are located on federal and Tribal lands.“In 2015 the Gold King Mine spill was a wake-up call to address dangers of abandoned mines, but there are currently more than 15,000 toxic uranium mines that remain abandoned throughout the US”, said Ms. White Face. “For more than 50 years, many of these hazardous sites have been contaminating the land, air, water, and national monuments such as Mt. Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. Each one of these thousands of abandoned uranium mines is a potential Gold King mine disaster with the greater added threat of radioactive pollution. For the sake of our health, air, land, and water, we can’t let that happen.”[…]UPDATE: The Navajo Nation’s non-Indian water rights attorney is once again giving away Navajo water rights. Navajos are urging the Navajo President to veto a water rights settlement for Utah Navajo water rights, ramrodded through the Navajo Nation Council on Tuesday.Read more:The water contamination on the Navajo Nation is more horrific than in Flint, Michigan. However, the contamination continues because of the racism in the United States which disregards the contamination in Indian country. The collapsed media in Indian country, and the biased mainstream media, fail to expose it.Today, an Indigenous delegation begins a series of protests and events in Washington D.C. to expose the radioactive pollution in Indian country.The Navajo Nation’s water has been poisoned since the 1950s by uranium mining, then by coal mining, and dirty coal-fired power plants.Navajo water has long been contaminated by Peabody Coal mining on Black Mesa, uranium spills, strewn radioactive tailing from the Cold War uranium mining, and recently the EPA’s poisoning of the Animas and San Juan Rivers.Further, the US government knew when it relocated Navajos to the Sanders, Arizona, area that radiation from the Church Rock, N.M., uranium spill would poison their water by way of the Rio Puerco wash. In the Four Corners region, three coal fired power plants poison the water in runoffs.Dine’ (Navajo) Louise Benally, resisting relocation at Big Mountain for 40 years, said, “Our water has been impacted since the 1950’s on to today.” Read more at:Meanwhile, in south central Arizona, Apaches continue their fight against the copper mine which Arizona Sen. John McCain sneaked into the defense bill. McCain’s land giveaway to Resolution Copper would desecrate the Apache ceremonial grounds at Oak Flat. The copper mine would result in an environmental disaster, which includes poisoning the water. McCain has long been a member of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, which reveals the true nature of this committee and its role in the theft of Indian lands, and the poisoning of Indian country by corporate polluters. Apaches welcome all to their march at the end of February.
With the Iowa caucuses only days away, Senator Ted Cruz has announced the formation of a “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition that aims to “champion every child, born and unborn.”
Among the national co-chairs of that coalition is Troy Newman, one of the more malevolent figures in the anti-choice movement. He is the president of the radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, and a board member at the Center for Medical Progress, which just saw two employees indicted in Houston for deceptions conducted while creating the now-infamous “baby parts” videos that targeted Planned Parenthood.
Newman has often suggested that the murder of abortion doctors is legally permissible, and his group has been connected to several notorious anti-choice acts of violence over the past 20 years.
It would be virtually impossible not to be aware of this fact—it defines Newman’s career—yet Cruz said in a statement Wednesday that “Every single national co-chair in this coalition has led the charge for the pro-life cause and is a true inspiration.” Newman formally endorsed Cruz back in November, which created a small stir-up in the press, and Cruz is now doubling down on his connection with Newman.
Cruz unveiled his new “pro-life coalition” at a Wednesday night rally in Des Moines where he argued that he is the candidate with the most credible opposition to abortion. “The question we ought to ask is, don’t tell me that you’re pro-life. Show me. When have you stood up and fought to defend the right to life?” he said.
Some articles that will give you a breather in all this massive pile of dinosaur shit…
That one above is by Mary Steenburgen.
At the end of tonight’s Trump-less GOP debate, the candidates played the customary “wander around the stage and pretend you actually like each other” game. But apparently, even when they’re just pretending, the candidates stillcan’t bring themselves to stomach Ted Cruz.
Video of the full “ignore the asshole Ted” at the link.
And now a look at how the Dinosaurs look from outside the USA:
In connection with this…
On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, I am very concerned when I see presidential candidates fanning the flames of animosity. In the ’30s in Germany, Jews were the target, but the dangerous rhetoric of today is focused on Muslims and particularly Syrian refugees. Like the anti-Semitic tirades of decades ago, many of the same ingredients are present in the speeches of candidates who hold surprisingly high levels of support from the American people.
It is an all too familiar recipe: Strip away individuality and wrap everyone in the group into an amorphous and frightening entity. Speak about what they will take from us and add in a strong nationalist sentiment that allows people to justify their hatred as patriotic allegiance. It was this lethal combination that sent my family to Auschwitz, my father to the gas chamber, and me, a boy of 16, to a slave labor camp where I was forced to build railroads on starvation rations. The SS guards were able to do this to us because they lost sight of our humanity and of our individuality.
Unfortunately, there will always be leaders who will attempt to garner power through the vilification of others. McCarthy in the ’50s, and George Wallace a little later, come easily to mind. History is never on the side of these leaders. Instead, it reveres the people who opposed them. And so it will be with our fear mongering candidates and the citizens who refuse to support them.
Leaders can be persuasive, and rhetoric can be powerful, but we always have the option to think more deeply than these politicians and to resist being swayed by words meant to denigrate others. We have some powerful tools in the arsenal of our own minds. Scientists have found that we can resist prejudice by focusing on the commonalities between others and ourselves, by recognizing the joys and pains experienced by the individual and how these are so very similar to our own experiences.
When I see Syrian refugees on television struggling to make their way to safety, I see the similarity between their plight and my own struggles to come to America after I was liberated from the camps. I can remember what it was like to flee danger in search of a safe place to begin my life anew, the fear as we bribed Soviet border guards to let us pass, the arduous journey, day and night, carrying all of our belongings on our backs, the grief and worry for family who had stayed behind.
And a last round up of various links:
State Rep. Tommy Benton is an unapologetic supporter of Georgia’s Confederate heritage.
He flatly asserts the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery, compares Confederate leaders to the Founding Fathers and is profoundly irritated with what he deems a “cultural cleansing” of Southern history. He also said the Ku Klux Klan, while he didn’t agree with all of their methods, “made a lot of people straighten up.” (Read the AJC’s latest coverage here.)
The Ku Klux Klan has gotten a bad rap, according to one Georgia lawmaker. He says the terror group “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order” that “made a lot of people straighten up.”
That leader is now hellbent on stopping the “cultural cleansing” of the South’s heritage. So far this year, State Rep. Tommy Benton (R) has co-sponsored two bills to preserve the Confederate’s legacy.
Following the massacre at the historic Emanuel AME Church last year, activists and lawmakershave pushed to removeConfederatesymbols in the South. According to Benton, those efforts constitute “cultural terrorism,” akin to what ISIS is doing.
“That’s no better than what ISIS is doing, destroying museums and monuments,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). “I feel very strongly about this. I think it has gone far enough. There is some idea out there that certain parts of history out there don’t matter anymore and that’s a bunch of bunk.”
So on Wednesday, Benton introduced House Resolution 1179, which would amend the state constitution to prevent the tarnishing of monuments at Stone Mountain. Referencing Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, the bill says “heroes of the Confederate States of America … shall never been altered, removed, concealed or obscured in any fashion and shall be preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.”
Benton also introduced House Bill 855 to make Confederate Memorial Day and Lee’s birthday “public and legal holidays.” During his interview with AJC, Benton echoed the longstanding argument that the Civil War was not about slavery.
The KKK, for example, is currently devising new ways to recruit new members and “save [their] race.” The hate group has ramped up its inflammatory rhetoric, calling for the murder ofimmigrants and gay people. It’s creating neighborhood watch groups to snuff out criminal activity. And now it’s organizing around Donald Trump’s Islamophobia.
And finally, the end all of all dinosaurs coming to get you….if you live in Kentucky…you can rely on two things. Death and your Taxes going towards the Jesus rides a Dinosaur Museum.
Kentucky taxpayers may end up subsidizing this embarrassing project after all.
This is an open thread….
Has any other presidential candidate in history had to fight the corporate media in addition to attacks from the other party and her opponents for the nomination to the extent that Hillary has to? I don’t think so. In just two days, Iowans will head to the caucuses. What “bombshells” will the media find to hype against Hillary before Monday night?
Today it’s “Eghazi” once again. Yesterday, the State Department announced that some of Clinton’s emails have been retroactively deemed to be “top secret.” The emails were not sent by Hillary from her private email server. They were sent to her by other people using the State Departments unclassified email server, because the information was not classified at the time.
Unfortunately, someone in the “intelligence community”–presumably GOP partisan(s)–told the State Department they cannot release these emails, so now the Hillary haters can speculate to their hearts’ content. Some of these withheld emails were exchanges between then Secretary of State Clinton and President Barack Obama! But you know, “Benghazi!!” Eghazi!!
I’ll post just one corporate media article about this from eminent Clinton hater and Washington Post columnist Chris Cillizza: Hillary Clinton’s email defense just hit a major bump in the road. Seriously? Oh, and the article is accompanied by an unflattering photo of Hillary frowning.
For months, Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign have stuck to a consistent story line when faced with allegations of classified information on the private server she used exclusively as secretary of state: She was the victim of an overzealous intelligence community bent on categorizing information as top secret or classified when it was, in fact, neither.
That defense hit a major snag on Friday when the State Department announced that it, too, had found “top secret” information on Clinton’s server — 22 emails across seven separate emails chains. The information, the State Department said, was so secret that those emails would never be released to the public.
Suddenly Clinton’s narrative of an overly aggressive intelligence community or a broader squabble between the intelligence world and the State Department didn’t hold water. Or at least held a whole lot less water than it did prior to Friday afternoon.
The Clinton team quickly pivoted. “After a process that has been dominated by bureaucratic infighting that has too often played out in public view, the loudest and leakiest participants in this interagency dispute have now prevailed in blocking any release of these emails,” said campaign spokesman Brian Fallon.
Calling for the release of the allegedly top secret emails is a smart gambit by the Clinton folks since it makes them look as if they have nothing to hide while being protected by the near-certainty that the State Department won’t simply change its mind on the release because the Clinton team asked them to.
Still, the timing of the State Department announcement, coming just three days before the pivotal Iowa caucuses, and the nature of that announcement seem likely to further complicate a situation that has already caused Clinton and her campaign huge amounts of agita since the existence of her private email server was revealed almost one year ago to the day.
You can read more Cillizza lies and distortion at the link.
It’s not likely you’ll see the true story in the corporate media, so here are some calmer responses from people who actually know what they’re talking about. By the way Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon is one of those people. He was previously director of communications for the Department of Justice and dealt with classified material on a daily basis.
Why does the Clinton campaign want the emails released if they are show shocking? Because they’re not.
This from Sen. Dianne Feinstein:
So what is really happening? As far as I can tell, there is absolutely nothing new here. It’s all about politics and trying to keep Hillary Clinton from becoming POTUS.
Max Fisher at Vox: The Hillary Clinton top-secret email controversy, explained.
If it’s top secret, then it must be really sensitive, right?
Not necessarily. A large proportion of documents that our government classifies are not actually that sensitive — more on that below. So the key thing now is to try to figure out: Were these emails classified because they contain highly sensitive information that Clinton never should have emailed in the first place, or because they were largely banal but got scooped up in America’s often absurd classify-everything practices? [….]
According to a statement by the State Department, “These documents were not marked classified at the time they were sent.”
In other words, they do not contain information that was “born classified,” but rather fall into the vast gray area of things that do not seem obviously secret at the time but are later deemed that way — not always for good reason.
Go over to Vox to read about “America’s problem with overclassification.”
Big Tent Democrat AKA ArmandoKos at Talk Left: eGhazi: Same BS IC story: different day. Check the links in the post also if you want to know more.
The furor over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account grew more serious for the Democratic presidential front-runner Friday as the State Department designated 22 of the messages from her account “top secret.” [. . .]
“These documents were not marked classified at the time they were sent [and they weren’t sent by Clinton imo – BTD my emhphasis] ,” Kirby said in a statement.
Sound familiar? It should because it is the same story I’ve been writing about since this nonsense started. See in particular State v. IC classification battles:
Now what does this mean? It means the Intelligence Community, represented here by the IC IG, disagrees with the State Department’s determination on the classification of certain information contained in the Clinton e-mails. In their opinion, the information should have been designated classified and should be so designated now. But State does not agree.
Now what were those “classified documents then? I reviewed some that got through. As you can see, the IC is full of crap.What about this batch? I think we can safely say that the bulk of these are news stories discussing drone strikes.
The messages deemed “secret” also vary widely. One from Feb. 25, 2012, appears to discuss U.S. drone operations in Pakistan.”This is hitting the news, with Taliban or HQN [the Haqqani Network] claiming responsibility,” State policy planning chief Jake Sullivan wrote to Clinton. The message originated with the U.S. Ambassador in In Pakistan, Dick Hoagland. Nearly all the text is deleted, but press reports that day described the crash of a drone in North Waziristan.
U.S. drones in Pakistan are operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, but the program is officially covert and therefore classified, even though President Barack Obama has acknowledged it publicly.
In short it is just more crazy crap from IC – news articles are Top Secret!! seems to be the theory.
But leaving aside the overclassification issue, there is just a little problem for those who want to take Clinton down with this nonsense – she didn’t transmit any of the information – just received it. And the issue is not a private server – after all the State’s unsecure email system would not be appropriate for “classified” material either.
As you have heard from me often, if anyone is in trouble, it will be career State officials like the current Ambassador to Bahrain, William Roebuck, Timothy T. Davis and William J Burns.
Addicting Info: Hillary Clinton Did Not Send ‘Top Secret’ Emails On Private Server.
- There are seven emails which the State Department says are now considered classified.
- The emails originated from inside the agency’s unclassified system.
- They were not marked ‘classified’ or ‘top secret’ when they were sent.
- The emails were not sent by Hillary Clinton, but were sent to her, along with a number of other people.
- One of the ‘top secret emails’ is likely a published newspaper article.
In other words, this is not the huge scandal republicans were hoping for. Instead, it’s just another baseless right wing attack on Hillary Clinton that falls apart under even the slightest amount of scrutiny.
Sigh . . . I’m already exhausted from this crap and the weekend is just beginning.
I’ll end with two Politico pieces, one on Bernie Sanders and his campaign’s “foreign policy advisers” and another on Sanders’ claims that he is more electable than Clinton.
Not long after President Barack Obama ordered U.S. airstrikes in Libya in 2011, his national security adviser, Tom Donilon, trekked to Capitol Hill to brief Democratic senators. After a few minutes of discussion about the military operation, Bernie Sanders took the floor.
To talk about the economy.
“Sanders delivered a meandering manifesto about Democratic messaging on the economy,” says a former Senate chief of staff. “It wasn’t that his insights were wrong. It just wasn’t the time or place. Everyone was thinking, ‘Here goes Bernie!’ ”
Current and former Senate aides call the episode typical of Sanders, who on any given day would rather talk about Wall Street profits than about Middle East conflict….
Sanders has yet to give a speech exclusively on foreign policy, and on Friday his campaign backed away from an earlier commitment to deliver one before the Iowa vote. Numerous Democratic foreign policy insiders contacted by POLITICO could not name anyone who regularly advises the Vermont Senator on world affairs — a stark contrast to a Clinton campaign teeming with several hundred foreign policy advisers.
Oddly, the Sanders campaign is claiming to have foreign policy advisers who had no idea they were advising Bernie.
When asked whether Sanders has a full-time campaign staffer who handles foreign policy issues, his campaign did not respond. And several people whom the Sanders campaign has cited as sources of national security advice tell POLITICO they barely know the socialist firebrand.
“Apparently I had a conversation with him last August,” said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a Brookings Institution Middle East scholar, after checking her calendar upon hearing that her name was on a list of people the Sanders campaign said he had consulted in recent months. “My vague recollection is that it was about [the Islamic State] but I don’t really remember any of the details.” Wittes added that she backs Clinton.
“I don’t know how I got on Bernie Sanders’ list,” said Ray Takeyh, an Iran scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations who says he spoke to Sanders once or twice about the Iran nuclear deal at Sanders’ request in mid-2015.
What the hell? But of course Bernie voted against going into Iraq in 2002, so he’s the real foreign policy expert, right?
Bernie Sanders might have an electability problem, by Stephen Shepard.
“Not only is Bernie Sanders electable in the general election,” insisted Sanders senior adviser Tad Devine, “he’s a stronger candidate than Hillary Clinton in the general election.”
Indeed, public pollsters who’ve conducted surveys in both Iowa and New Hampshire caution that the Sanders team might be misreading the data the campaign is relying on to make its case that Sanders would broaden the Democratic electorate and make more states competitive by luring young, more independently minded voters.
Patrick Murray, who runs the Monmouth University Polling Institute in New Jersey, said the independent voters who are backing Sanders in the primary are more liberal in orientation and would be likely to vote for the Democrat in November anyway.
“It’s a big leap of faith to take primary poll data and jump to the general,” added Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, which has conducted recent polls for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal. “You do ask the questions, and it tells you something: Hillary has a problem with independents, and Bernie doesn’t. Fast forward to September, October and November. The campaigns will change, and that dynamic will be different.”
Duh. Read the rest at the link.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great weekend.
It is a Saturday Morning Cartoon Post.
So sit back and enjoy some funnies!
I think that first cartoon pretty much sums everything from the Trump-a-Dump campaign up…don’t you?
I never put this next cartoonist in a post, because he is so fucking right wing, it is disturbing the stuff he puts out. This was his cartoon on Ted Cruz….
That’s All Folks!!!!!
This is an open thread.
Today is one of those perfect New Orleans Winter days! It’s sunny and 68 degrees F. It’s brisk enough for a walk in a sweater which is just how I like it. It’s a great day for checking out the local Mardi Gras decorations prior to the descent of the Ugly Tourist. It’s always so glittery until the day it all goes down. Then, it’s mostly drunk people and disappointment.
Speaking of drunk people and disappointment, the Iowa caucuses are Monday night which supposedly signals the end of the silly season. I guess we’ll see about that. I’m still struck by the similarities between the Trump and Sanders campaigns. Perhaps it’s the nature of so-called “outsider” campaigns. You know me, I still wonder how a long term Senator and a Trust fund Baby Billionaire can be outsiders. It just seems that mostly what we’re getting is attacks on the press and disassociation of policies with reality and intersectionality.
Bernie Sanders and WAPO are going back and forth today about the paper’s criticism of his campaign and policy suggestions. Jonathan Capehart–speaking on Hard Ball last night–said that the voice of the editorial page on this was Chris Cillizza so that’s who probably wrote this response today. I actually find myself agreeing with him. Sanders ideas simply are lofty goals. They do not add up when actually put to the pencil which is the kind of thing that I’ve spent my 35 years of adult life having to do for huge corporations, for the Fed Atlanta, and for primary research. The term used at WAPO was “half-baked”.
Sanders suggests they are too “bold” for the staid WAPO. Today, WAPO characterizes them as over-promising.
What concerns us is not that Mr. Sanders’s program to tackle these issues is “radical,” as he put it, but that it is not very well thought out. We are far from the only ones, for example, to point out that his health-care plan rests on unbelievable assumptions about how much he could slash health-care costs without affecting the care ordinary Americans receive. “Their savings numbers are — well, politely said — simply wrong,” Emory University health-care expert Kenneth E. Thorpe told Vox. Mr. Thorpe, who is not hostile to single-payer systems of the type Mr. Sanders favors and has even advanced single-payer plans of his own, released an analysis Wednesday finding that Mr. Sanders’s proposal would cost $1 trillion more than the candidate estimated. That is not over a 10-year budget window. That is every year.
Mr. Sanders’s response to concerns over health-care costs was that other countries, such as Canada and France, spend much less than the United States per person on health care. That is true, but the question is how, specifically, he would make the model work here. The countries he praises ration care in ways that federal health programs in the United States, such as Medicare, do not. While there may be a fair case for a single-payer health-care system, Mr. Sanders does not make it. Instead, he promises comprehensive benefits without seriously discussing the inevitable trade-offs. That is not just bold; it is half-baked.
Health-care policy is only one place where Mr. Sanders makes solving the country’s difficult problems seem easy and obvious when reality is messier. He would use higher taxes on Wall Street and the rich to fund vast new programs, such as free college for all, but has no plausible plan for plugging looming deficits as the population ages. His solution to the complex international crises the United States must manage is to hand them off to others — though there is no such cavalry. This might not distinguish him much from other politicians. And that is part of the point: His campaign isn’t so much based on a new vision as on that old tactic known as overpromising.
This is one thing that I’ve really noticed from all the outsider campaigns this year which definitely have some political steam. Trump promises a wall across our Southern Border paid for by the Mexican Government. This project would cost tens of billions of dollars.
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words,” Trump said in his presidential announcement speech.
The jingoistic Rubio and Cruz promise to level ISIS and hundreds and thousands of their innocent victims right along with them. The rhetoric in this campaign is so over the top that I find myself wondering if so many candidates have overpromised on so many things in one presidential primary before. It’s really odd because I actually found Jeb Bush’s attempts to bring the Republicans back to reality last night at the debates both sad and heartening. No one seemed to care much about Jeb’s pronouncements except the few folks with a firm grip on political and scientific reality. But even then, we continue to get treated to crap like the question-ability of global warming and the call to defund Planned Parenthood which provides so many health care services to so many people that it’s essentially a call for mass slaughter of one’s own citizens.
We continue to see absolute phony promises and little desire on the part of electorate to wake the fuck up. They cannot complain about being sorely disappointed in their elected officials when the elected officials they fall in love with spout absolute crap and nonsense. The numbers are relevant. The analysis is by Albert Hunt for Bloomberg so it comes with a be forewarned from me.
The overpromising may be more egregious than ever in the 2016 presidential race. Yet taxes were glossed over in the debate of Republican candidates last week.
Donald Trump says that his tax plan, which has huge reductions in rates and on the amount paid on investment income, focuses on working folks and sticking it to billionaires such as himself. A recentanalysis by the Tax Policy Center showed just the opposite. The Trump plan would cost the Treasury $9.5 trillion over the first decade, and almost $25 trillion over 20 years. The tax cuts would principally benefit the wealthy, almost 40 percent would be for the top 1 percent. The superrich — the top one-tenth of 1 percent — would get an average annual tax cut of $1.3 million.By comparison, the lowest, or poorest quintile, would get an average tax cut of $130, or 1/1000th of what the wealthiest receive. In percentage terms, the top 1 percent gets a 7 percent cut, the poorest taxpayers a 1 percent reduction.)
The center also analyzed Jeb Bush’s proposal, which would cost less: $6.8 trillion in a decade. The distributional effects would be almost the same, the center found, with upper-income taxpayers receiving much of the benefit. The wealthiest 1 percent would get an average annual tax deduction of $167,325.
The center plans to examine the plans of Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz next week. Although some of the specific proposals are different, the bottom lines are expected to be similar.
Both the Bush and Trump tax plans would “improve incentives to work, save, and invest,” the center stated, while noting that these gains could be partly offset by increases in the national debt.
Also, while both these Republican plans would remove any limits on exemptions for charitable contributions, the Tax Policy Center projected that the steep reduction in rates would reduce the incentive to give to charities.
Conservatives complain that the center is associated with the left-leaning Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. But the analysts include Republicans, and the team reached out to the campaigns and Republican economists for input. The conservativeTax Foundation, while projecting smaller revenue losses, concurs that the distribution of the cuts heavily tilts to the wealthy.
The center has also said that the liberal Democrat Bernie Sanders significantly exaggerates the revenue that would be brought in by his financial transaction tax. The Vermont senator hasn’t produced a comprehensive tax plan that would pay for the enormous expansions of social programs he proposes: universal health care coverage, free tuition at public institutions and huge infrastructure projects. He advocates further tax increases on the wealthy, but some hikes for the middle class seem inevitable under his plan.
Hillary Clinton, seeking to stem a surge by Sanders in the Democratic nomination race, rushed out a proposal last week that would impose a levy on annual income of more than $5 million. Her spending proposals are more modest than those of Sanders, as is her tax plan. But she has vowed not to increase taxes on anyone making $250,000 or less, a promise that some Democratic economists say is unrealistic.
I suppose no politician ever really lost an election by overpromising, but sometimes you just have to wonder how gullible the American populace really is. However, these are the same folks that send money to Pat Robertson and think that Rick Warren speaks for an actual and very angry Sky Fairy.
Some of us made it through the Republican Debate last night that had the notable absence of Donald Trump who is perhaps the beacon of over-promising, under-delivering, and covering it up with bravado.
Here comes Donald Trump, again, and again, and again, touting his prowess at dealmaking. There goes Donald Trump, again, and again, and again, touting his prowess at dealmaking. Gliding into February’s Republican presidential primaries atop a flotilla of polls, Trump has made “deals” the litmus test of his candidacy.
“If I’m president,” he announced at the most recent GOP debate, “there won’t be stupid deals anymore.”
But a well-documented and widely reported trail of bad deals litters Trump’s career as a real estate developer and gambling mogul. (Disclosure: I wrote a book about the Republican candidate,“TrumpNation,” for which he sued me in 2006 because, among other things, it questioned the size of his fortune; the suit was laterdismissed.)
Fueled by a slew of bank loans in the late 1980s, Trump absorbed an airline, a football team, a landmark hotel, a bunch of casinos, a yacht, and other nifty stuff — almost all of which he eventually lost because he couldn’t juggle the debt payments.
He overcame those setbacks, but the man who emerged from that mess wasn’t really a dealmaker anymore. Kept afloat by his wealthy father’s funds and his own gifts for self-promotion, Trump became a reality TV star, golf course developer and human shingle who licensed his name on everything from real estate and vodka to mattresses and underwear.
Through Trump’s rise, fall and rebirth, there was one major real estate project that he tried to keep. The tale of what happened to that property should be of interest to anyone looking for insight into how Trump might perform as president. It was a deal of genuine magnitude and would have put him atop the New York real estate market. And he screwed it up.
I’d like to say that gullibility is symptomatic to the new, disintegrating Republican Party but it’s alive and well in the Sanders campaign too. However, it does look like the Sanders campaign will burn out. There’s some indication that what will happen in 2016 will be a burn out of the Republican Party itself. Frankly, I’ve been expecting this ever since the evangelicals stormed the country club back in the 1980s. Donald Trump may be the straw meeting the camel’s back. Read this interview with Rick Perlstein who has documented modern conservatism for a number of years.
Are you surprised that things seem to be turning up Trump?
I had a very interesting experience this summer. I remember exactly when it was. It was when I was reading an article by [Evan] Osnos in the New Yorker about Trump. He happened to be covering the white nationalist movement, basically neo-Nazis. Coincidentally, it was right when Donald Trump burst onto the scene, and he wrote about how these guys were embracing Trump, as they never had embraced any Republican candidate before. The feeling I got was that this was the first time in a very long time that I’ve read anything about the Republican Party that I couldn’t assimilate into my normal categories. That was a very uncanny and uncomfortable feeling for me. I realized that I had to go back to the drawing board and rethink what was going on. This is something that’s very new, very strange, and very hard to assimilate into what we thought we knew about how the Republican Party worked.
How has it changed your opinion of how the Republican Party works?
Well, of course, the whole of my intellectual project, which I have been working on for a good, solid 15 years now, has been the rise of a conservative infrastructure that has taken over the Republican Party and turned it into a vehicle for conservative policy. If there’s one thing that I thought I knew, it is that basically the ideas and the institutions that were born through the Goldwater movement were a backbone of this conservative takeover of the Republican Party. Donald Trump is perhaps most interesting in his lack of connections to that entire world. The first sign that something very different was happening was when he basically rejected Fox News, threw them over the side, and had no interest in kowtowing to them.
That has been amazing to behold.
By the same token, things I’ve been tracing about conservatism and the conservative takeover of the Republican Party as a backlash against the forces of liberalism—and anger at perceived liberal elites and all of the racial entailments of that—are part of the Trump phenomenon, too. So, how these things mix together and how they produce the phenomenon we’re seeing now is something that’s been very humbling for me.
Do you think the things that Trump has been exploiting have always been exploitable, or do you think that some conditions, either in the Republican Party or the country at large, have changed and made Trump possible?
That’s a good question. I think that people who base their political appeal on stirring up the latent anger of, let’s just say, for shorthand’s sake, what Richard Nixon called the “silent majority,” know that they’re riding a tiger. Whether it was Richard Nixon very explicitly, when he was charting his political comeback after the 1960 loss, rejecting the John Birch Society. Or whether it was Ronald Reagan in 1978 refusing to align himself with something called the Briggs Initiative in California, which was basically an initiative to ban gay people from teaching, at a time when gays were being attacked in the streets. Or whether it was George W. Bush saying that Islam is a religion of peace and going to a mosque the week after 9/11. These Republican leaders have always resisted the urge to go full demagogue. I think they understood that if they did so, it would have very scary consequences. There was always this boundary of responsibility, the kind of thing enforced by William F. Buckley when he was alive.
I think that Donald Trump is the first front-runner in the Republican Party to throw that kind of caution to the wind. As demagogic as so much of the conservative movement has been in the United States, and full of outrageous examples of demagoguery, there’s always been this kind of saving remnant, or fear of stirring up the full measure of anger that exists.
Again, I will say that a good number of both Trump and Sanders supporters are angry white men and they love all these promises because the lack of talk on intersectionality is taken as a return to their predominance in one way or another. The separating feature appears to be age. They seem to bask in white male privilege and view the idea of any one else achieving equality with them as a lose on their score cards. Melissa at Shakesville has some very astute analysis here about Sanders which explains to me why so many young, white, scared males are attracted to Sanders’ vision.
I will never forget having to see a female president start her campaign event by addressing misogyny, intended as a “compliment.”
I will never not understand that Hillary Clinton is not allowed to forget her womanhood for a moment, even if she wanted to, while she is running for president, and what it means that Bernie Sanders’ primary line of attack against her depends on treating her womanhood like it doesn’t matter.
This, of course, is indicative of Sanders’ entire campaign, where gender, or any identity, isn’t what’s important; the issues are. And no wonder: If Sanders actually embraced an intersectional approach that detailed how marginalized people are disproportionately and differently affected by economic, social, and political injustice, it might become abundantly clear how absurd it is to continually suggest that a woman is representative of the establishment.
And oh how absurd it is, truly, when one takes a long gaze at the uninterrogated misogyny that is being lobbed at Clinton, even by ostensible progressives. (That link shared with Erica’s permission.) If gender really didn’t matter, then it wouldn’t matter to Clinton’s opponents, either.
But it does. Clinton’s womanhood matters. Her clothes matter. Her hair matters. Her voice matters. Her tone matters. Her likeability matters. Her emotions matter. Her “murderous cackle” matters.
The thing about “the establishment” is that it’s impervious to such demeanment.
It sets the rules by which Hillary Clinton is judged ever wanting, by virtue of metrics that are inextricably tied to womanhood.
There is a person in this Democratic primary who can be visibly angry, who can shout, who can use any tone and show any emotion, who can show up to campaign events looking like they just rolled out of bed after a bender. Who can coast by on the double-standard defined and enforced by the establishment.
It is not Hillary Clinton.
All the things I am admonished to admire about Bernie Sanders, that he is passionate, that he is unpolished, that he is impolitic, that he doesn’t give a fuck, are things that the very establishment he allegedly wants to dismantle do not afford his female competitor.
How is this different from all the things that Trump has said about Megyn Kelly which increases his viability in the eyes of so many pundits and voters alike? Yes. Just like we’ve had to defend Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann from slut slamming and misogyny, we have to defend Megyn Kelly. Republican Rednecks and Democratic DudeBros both swim in the same shark tank and spout the same sexist nonsense.
Early Thursday morning, Trump followed up with a new line of attack,retweeting a pair of images from a photoshoot Kelly did for GQ magazine and the message: “And this is the bimbo that’s asking presidential questions?” The images were captioned: “Criticizes Trump for objectifying women. Poses like this in GQ magazine.”
We also were treated, last night, to Rand Paul mansplaining that Hillary Clinton can’t be a feminist icon because Monica Lewinsky and because Bill’s still her husband.
So, tell me, how are these campaigns essentially any different when you’ve got most of them promising things that they can never deliver and acting like there’s no such thing as sexism or institutional racism outside of making the right minimal gestures and that every one will benefit the same from their beneficence? How many people are going to get fooled by this again? And which campaigns acknowledge that the US is in fact full of a women, children, and men of many creeds and colors? Oddly enough, it’s the two big “establishment” candidates that speak to inclusion and to varying degrees, intersectionality.
Frankly, I have one thing to say. This country does not need any more Great White Fathers in Washington. The majority of us have been the White Man’s burden and chattel for too long. Campaigns and politicians like these two need to be stopped now. They’re establishment wolves in anti-establishment sheep’s clothing.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Can the 2016 primaries get any more odd? Tonight’s the final Republican debate prior to the Iowa Caucuses next Monday. Frontrunner Donald Trump will be holding an alternative event that will be attended by other candidates Mike “the Huckster” Huckabee and Rick “the frothy” Santorum. The event will benefit Veterans by sending money to a nonprofit that’s notorious for not spending its money on Veterans. It’s not sure who the Fox Debate will benefit although bets seem to be on Cruz or Rubio. Rand Paul figured out how to get on the main stage. Whine.
Republican presidential candidates will square off Thursday evening at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. The debate is the final one before next Monday’s Iowa caucuses, and is especially notable for being the first one in which Donald Trump is not present.
Both the undercard and primetime debates will air on Fox News, with a different set of moderators for each. The earlier event, which begins at 7 p.m. ET, will be hosted by America’s Newsroom anchors Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer, and will feature four candidates: Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Jim Gilmore.
The primetime event will begin at 9 p.m. ET, and will be moderated by Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace, and Bret Baier. Participating in the big event are Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rand Paul. Frontrunner Donald Trump qualified for the event but declined to participate because of his ongoing feud with Fox News.
Cruz is chomping at the bit to go one on one with the Strump and has even set up a venue. Trump’s campaign manager has said there’s no point to debating some one that may not even be eligible to be President. (Ouch)
Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said on Thursday that his candidate would be “happy” to debate Ted Cruz once the Texas senator gets a federal judge to rule him eligible to run for president.
“Once you’ve gotten that ruling from the federal judge and you’re the last man standing in this presidential contest next to Donald Trump, we’ll be happy to have a debate with you one-on-one, anywhere you want, because that’s the way the system works,” Lewandowski said. “But, as it stands right now, we don’t even know if Ted Cruz is legally eligible to run for president of the United States.”
Trump and his supporters have argued that Cruz, who was born in Canada to a U.S. citizen, is not natural born and therefore ineligible to run for president under the Constitution.
Cruz challenged Trump to debate him one-on-one after Trump announced that he would not be attending the Fox News Republican presidential debate Thursday night because of objections to the presence of anchor Megyn Kelly and a statement Fox issued in response to his complaints.
“What this is, is a publicity stunt by Senator Cruz who is continuing to fall in the polls in the state of Iowa,” Lewandowski told Boston radio host Jeff Kuhner, before unleashing a slew of attacks at Cruz, arguing that he had used “dark money donors” through his super PAC to offer a donation to charity if Trump agreed to the debate.
Pundits are discussing the internecine battles apparent in the Republican Party since Trump has obviously challenged Roger Ailes Kingmaker status and placed the party itself in a pretty weird place. Priebus was on MSNBC earlier on the weekday MTP explaining that the party really had nothing to do with the debates other than setting up the venues and times even though it had earlier removed media outlets for participating. This group is not Bob Dole’s Republicans, for sure.
Trump’s rivals view the debate as a chance to get their own messages across without having to compete with Trump’s bomb-throwing rhetoric.
“It gives us more time at the microphone and more time to talk about answers to substantive issues that Iowa voters are demanding right now,” said David Kochel, a senior adviser to Republican candidate Jeb Bush.
“It is undeniable that what he’s doing is denying his opponents a large audience as they make their final arguments to Iowa voters,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a Republican strategist who advised the party’s 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
While it might be tempting for Trump’s rivals to use the debate to criticize him aggressively, some Republican analysts are cautioning against a scorched-earth approach.
“It’s delicate for the candidates because you have to pull back from attacking a man who is not there,” said Ari Fleischer, who was White House press secretary for President George W. Bush. “It will be OK to make a passing reference or two, the fact that he’s not there. But if you try to beat him up, it won’t play well because he’s not there to defend himself.”
Campaigning on Wednesday in West Des Moines, Cruz mocked Trump for skipping the debate, calling him a “fragile soul.” He renewed his offer to Trump to debate him one-on-one.
After ducking the final Republican presidential debate heading into next week’s Iowa caucuses, GOP front-runner Donald Trump announced that he would hold his own pro-veterans event during the debate to raise money for veterans. Trump even set up a special website to solicit donations to help veterans.
“Honor their valor,” the website, donaldtrumpforvets.com, states. “Donate now to help our Veterans.”
The website, which is nothing more than a single page with stock photosand a credit card donation form, claims that “100% of your donations will go directly to Veterans needs.”
There’s only one problem: 100% of the money raised on the site goes directly to Donald Trump’s personal non-profit foundation, according to a disclosure listed at the bottom of the page.
“The Donald J Trump Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization,” the disclosure reads. “An email confirmation with a summary of your donation will be sent to the email address provided above.”
Well, alright then. Guess vets will have to kiss the ring to be considered for the money.
Josh Marshall–while regretting the gender bias in the term–is looking at this as the “bitch slap” theory of politics. He has a few interesting thoughts on the matter of Trump challenging Ailes.
But this driving force of Republican politics has only become more salient and central as the GOP has become increasingly dominated by core constituencies animated by anger and resentment that things to which they believe they are entitled are being taken away from them.
Trump doesn’t apologize. He hurts people and they go away. He says things that would kill a political mortal (ban members of an entire religion from entering the country) and yet he doesn’t get hurt. Virtually everything Trump has done over the last six months, whether it’s a policy proposal or personal attack, has driven home this basic point: Trump is strong. He does things other people can’t.
This is why Trump has so shaken up and so dominated the GOP primary cycle, at least thus far. As I’ve said, this kind of dominance symbolism is pervasive in GOP politics. It’s not new with Trump at all. Most successful Republican politicians speak this language. And yet somehow for most it is nonetheless a second language. But it’s Trump’s native language. I still believe it’s rooted in the mix of the hyper-aggressive New York real estate world, his decades of immersion in the city’s febrile tabloid culture and just being, at the most basic level, a bully. Wherever it comes from, he seems to intuitively get that for this constituency and at this moment just demonstrating that he gets his way, always, is all that really matters. Policy details, protecting the candidate through careful press releases and structured media opportunities … none of that matters. Trump doesn’t kiss babies. Babies kiss him. He doesn’t have a billionaire backer; he is a billionaire. Trump doesn’t ask for support. He just tells you that you need to stop being a loser and get on board.
So this debate power play is all of a piece. He can just take the table, flip it over and walk out of the room. It’s all about him.
There is no question that Trump will completely dominate tomorrow night’s debate by his absence. After all, he’s the one in the lead everywhere. If he’s not there, what is there to talk about? The Rubio v Christie stand off? Jeb? Who cares?
It may be two plus hours of people attacking him without him being there to respond – and the moderators themselves out to get him too. But again, it’s still all about him. He can make it all about him by not even being there. He doesn’t kowtow to Fox News or go on retainer with the network during the off-season. He calls the shots. And there is little question in my mind that in one fashion or another you will have two competing TV shows tomorrow night, Trump’s and everybody else’s. And Trump’s will almost certainly be better.
So, grab a beer or a cuppa, a nice comfy sitting situation, and a bag full of nerfballs to throw at the TV. It’s time to listen to Right Wing Anger and Paranoia.