Live Blog: Western Tuesday and the Returns of the Day

ede9cfe9aa96d97cdabbc695b8ddb57cGood Evening!

We’ve got primaries and caucuses to discuss this evening!   The election has gone West big time as states up and down the nation’s Rocky Mountains take to the voting booth.   Dynamics here may be different than the nation’s east coast and the south.  These states have populations of Native Americans and Hispanics as well as many white people.   Additionally, they’re home to many of the Nation’s National Parks and natural resources.  What’s in store for tonight?

On March 22, three states and one territory will hold nominating contests in the 2016 presidential election.

Arizona will hold a primary for both Republicans and Democrats, Idaho will hold Democratic caucuses, Utah will hold both Republican and Democratic caucuses and American Samoa will hold Republican caucuses.

Historic Photos of Women Voting Throughout the Years (1)Both Trump and Clinton are expected to boost their leads from the previous primaries.  This particular primaries may not provide windfalls for any one, but should continue the trend.

Eager to move beyond a divisive primary season, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seek to pad their delegate lead over their underdog rivals as the 2016 race for the White House moves West on Tuesday.

Arizona and Utah feature contests for both parties, while Idaho Democrats also hold presidential caucuses. Trump and Clinton hope to strengthen their leads in delegates that decide the nominations, as Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republicans Ted Cruz and John Kasich struggle to reverse the sense of inevitability taking hold around both party front-runners.

“I have more votes than anybody,” Trump charged on the eve of the elections as he courted skeptical Republican officials in Washington. “The people who go against me should embrace me.”

A firm delegate lead in hand, Clinton looked past Sanders ahead of Tuesday’s contests and instead sharpened her general election attacks on Trump. “We need steady hands,” she said, “not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday and who-knows-what on Wednesday because everything’s negotiable.”

Despite the tough talk, both Trump and Clinton face challenges on Tuesday.

Trump’s brash tone has turned off some Republican voters in Utah, where preference polls suggest Cruz has a chance to claim more than 50 percent of the caucus vote and with it, all of Utah’s 40 delegates. Trump could earn some delegates should Cruz fail to exceed 50 percent, in which case the delegates would be awarded proportionally based on each candidate’s vote total.

Kasich hopes to play spoiler in Utah, a state that prizes civility and religion. A week ago, the Ohio governor claimed a victory in his home state his first and only win of the primary season. Yet Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, is telling his fellow Utah voters in a recorded phone message that Cruz “is the only Republican candidate who can defeat Donald Trump.”

Here are some of the latest poll results from RCP:Iconic Photos That Paved the Way for Civil Rights Victories (2)

Monday, March 21
Race/Topic Poll Results Spread
2016 Republican Presidential Nomination CNN/ORC Trump 47, Cruz 31, Kasich 17 Trump +16
2016 Democratic Presidential Nomination CNN/ORC Clinton 51, Sanders 44 Clinton +7
2016 Republican Presidential Nomination CBS News/NY Times Trump 46, Cruz 26, Kasich 20 Trump +20
2016 Democratic Presidential Nomination CBS News/NY Times Clinton 50, Sanders 45 Clinton +5
Arizona Republican Presidential Primary FOX 10/Opinion Savvy Trump 46, Cruz 33, Kasich 17 Trump +13
Utah Republican Presidential Caucus Deseret News/KSL Cruz 42, Kasich 13, Trump 21, Rubio 17 Cruz +21
Utah Democratic Presidential Caucus Deseret News/KSL Sanders 52, Clinton 44 Sanders +8

There are quite a few things to look for

Mr. Sanders may face a daunting delegate deficit after his defeats on March 15, but he may be on the verge of a wave of successes.

Tuesday begins a series of contests in friendly territory for him. He is a strong favorite in both Utah and Idaho, where he could win by a two-to-one margin or better. A win in Arizona would show his resilience after a weak performance last week. Even if he fails to sweep the three states, he could follow up with strong performances in Hawaii, Washington, Alaska and Wisconsin over the next few weeks.

Of course, Mr. Sanders needs a lot more than a sweep of Western caucuses to erode Mrs. Clinton’s big lead in pledged delegates. But a string of sizable victories could blunt the pressure on him to withdraw from the race and could keep his fund-raising efforts strong as he heads into bigger and more competitive contests in April.

41GDIP5GCZL._SX466_All the results will come in late because, well, it’s the West!!!

Results will be coming in late — very late, in some cases. Arizona is holding primaries, with polls closing at 7 pm local time. Utah is holding caucuses in person and, for Republicans, online; online voting doesn’t end until 11 pm local time.

Here’s what’s expected from the few polls available on those races.

Arizona and Utah, as well as Democrats in Idaho and Republicans in American Samoa, vote Tuesday. Arizona is the biggest prize of the day, with 85 delegates to be awarded in the winner-take-all Republican primary and 85 delegates to be divided proportionally among Democrats. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are leading their respective parties in the limited Arizona polling. According to HuffPost Pollster’s average, Trump is ahead by a 17 percentage point margin with 37 percent of the vote, followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 20 percent, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 16 percent. But there have only been three polls in the last month, and only one in the last week.  On the Democratic side, Clinton leads Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) by 26 points, 58 percent to 24 percent, according to the one poll conducted in the past month.

Utah appears to be Cruz territory –  Polls are scarce in Utah, but Cruz is widely expected to win the caucus. The most recent poll, conducted by Republican firm Y2 Analytics, shows Cruz leading with 53 percent. Kasich is in second place with 29 percent and Trump trails with  11 percent. Utah’s 40 delegates for Republicans will be distributed proportionally among the candidates unless one reaches 50 percent, in which case all the delegates will go to the winner.

Sanders is running a close race in Utah and Idaho – A Dan Jones/Deseret News/KSL poll released Monday shows Sanders leading Clinton with 52 to 44 percent in Utah, while a month-old survey from the same pollster shows the two candidates in a close race in Idaho. The 37 delegates up for grabs in Utah and the 27 delegates in Idaho will be distributed proportionally.

So, it’s time to grab your popcorn and curl up for our live blog!  I know we have a few voters out there!  Let us know what you hear from your state and what your voting day was like!

Tuesday Reads


Good Morning!!

A series of terrorist bombings took place in Brussels, Belgium early this morning just days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam, the last surviving member of the group that perpetrated the attacks in Paris last November. This is a breaking story.

NPR: Terrorist Bombings Strike Brussels: What We Know.

At least 26 people are dead and more than 100 wounded, after explosions struck Brussels during the Tuesday morning rush hour, Belgian officials say. Two blasts hit the international airport; another struck a metro station. Belgium has issued a Level 4 alert, denoting “serious and imminent attack.”

“What we feared has happened, we were hit by blind attacks,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said at a midday news conference Tuesday. He added that there were many dead and many injured.

Citing Minister of Social Affairs and Health Maggie De Block, Belgian media say 11 people died in the airport attack. Transit and other officials say 15 people died at the metro station. Those same sources say there were 81 injured at the airport and 55 hurt in an attack on a train near the Maelbeek station.

French President Francois Hollande says, “terrorists struck Brussels, but it was Europe that was targeted — and all the world that is concerned.”

Obviously, the number of dead and injured could go up as authorities learn more. See live tweets with photos at the link.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - MARCH 22: Passengers are evacuated from Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport after a terrorist attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 13 people are though to have been killed after Brussels airport was hit by two explosions whilst a Metro station was also targeted. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – MARCH 22: Passengers are evacuated from Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport after a terrorist attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 13 people are though to have been killed after Brussels airport was hit by two explosions whilst a Metro station was also targeted. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)

Slate is posting updates on a live blog.

Three explosions rocked Brussels on Tuesday morning, killing more than two dozen people and injuring an untold number of others, according to local authorities and reports from the ground. While the cause of the blasts—two at the city’s airport and then one in its subway system about an hour later—remain unknown, officials are treating them as acts of terrorism. The carnage comes only days after Belgium police arrested Salah Abdeslam, the man believed to be the sole remaining survivor of the 10 men who carried out the terrorist attacks in Paris this past November that killed 130 people.

The latest update says “several of the apparent attackers may still at large.”

Metro train after Brussels attack

Metro train after Brussels attack

CNN reports: Brussels eyewitness: ‘A lot of people were on the floor.’

Jef Versele, from the Belgian city of Ghent, was making his way to check-in for a flight to Rome at Brussels Airport Tuesday morning when he heard a loud noise emanating from several floors below him.

“At first I was not aware that it was a bomb,” he told CNN. “I had the idea that an accident had happened in a food court or something like that.”

The explosion set off a panic, with people screaming and running through the terminal, before it was followed by a second explosion, “which was in my eyes much more powerful than the first one.”

The second blast, which blew out windows at the airport and brought ceiling panels down, left people collapsed on the floor and triggered even greater panic.

“It was quite a mess,” he told CNN.

He said although he was two floors above the source of the explosions — at least one of which was a suicide bombing, according to Belgian prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw — many people around him were injured by the blast. He said there about 50 to 60 injured on his level of the airport, while the scenes on the lower levels were worse.

“A lot of people were on the floor. They were injured,” Versele said. “I think I was lucky, I was very lucky. I think I have a guardian angel somewhere.”

More eyewitness accounts at the link. Brussels is now on lockdown, according to the Boston Globe, which is also posting live updates.

U.S. President Barack Obama tours Old Havana with his family at the start of a three-day visit to Cuba, in Havana March 20, 2016. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama tours Old Havana with his family at the start of a three-day visit to Cuba, in Havana March 20, 2016. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

President Obama is still in Cuba with his family, but he has been briefed on the attacks in Brussels. The Washington Post: Obama to address the Cuban nation in historic Havana visit.

President Obama will address the Cuban people directly Tuesday, delivering a speech that will be televised live on state television.

The address in Havana’s newly renovated Gran Teatro, before an audience of invited guests of the U.S. and Cuban government, is the keystone event in Obama’s two-and-a-half-day visit to the island. His top advisers said it represented his best chance to outline his vision of the future to ordinary citizens here, and to Cuban Americans at home.

White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters Monday the speech was “important because it’s the one chance to step back and to speak to the Cuban people, and all of the Cuban people,” including “Cubans in the United States.”

One of Obama’s overarching goals in fostering a diplomatic thaw with America’s longtime adversary, Rhodes said, was “reconciliation of the Cuban American community to Cubans here on the island.”

Still, even the speech’s setting spoke to the ongoing challenge the United States faces when it comes to engaging in a public dialogue in Cuba. American officials had originally hoped to do the address in an open-air setting, which would have allowed more ordinary citizens to attend. Instead, the national theater accommodates roughly 1,000 people, and the two governments evenly divided the tickets.

And even as the president seeks to highlight how his approach to Latin America has paid dividends, a series of blasts at Brussels’s airport and a metro station Tuesday served as a powerful reminder that terrorism overseas continues to threaten global stability. The apparently coordinated strikes have killed at least 26 people.

Back in the USA, Arizona is holding a presidential primary today and there will be caucuses in Idaho and Utah. (In Idaho, the Republicans have already voted.) On the Democratic side, Arizona, with 75 delegates, is the biggest prize.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Arizona March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni MARIO ANZUONI / Reuters

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Arizona March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni MARIO ANZUONI / Reuters

NBC News: Clinton, Sanders in Primary Showdown for Arizona’s Latino Vote.

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Guadalupe Arreola can’t vote in the Arizona primary Tuesday because she is undocumented, so she has spent the last few weeks encouraging Latinos who can to vote for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. On Sunday, she hosted a phone bank at her house. More than 50 people showed up.

“There are people who still don’t know Bernie Sanders, and I want to raise awareness of who he is,” said Arreola, whose daughter Erika Andiola is Sanders’ Latino media spokeswoman.

Martin Hernandez said he likes Clinton’s stance on a number of issues important to Latinos, including healthcare and immigration. An organizing director for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 99, hesaid he especially likes that that she seems to understands the needs of Latino workers.

“I want somebody in the presidency who is going to help workers, especially those in our immigrant community,” he said. “They are the ones who face the most abuse. Many of them are underpaid and their rights are violated by their employers.”

Arreola and Hernandez represent the split that exists among Latino Democrats in Arizona on whether Sanders or Clinton should be the Democratic nominee for president. Both candidates have the backing of prominent Latino leaders, some of whom have appeared in television and radio ads being broadcasted across the state.

I’m not sure if NBC is just trying to make the primary look close or not. According to the Real Clear Politics average, Clinton is leading Sanders in Arizona 53-23, but FiveThirtyEight says there hasn’t been enough polling for them to project a winner. From everything I’ve heard, I think Hillary will win Arizona, and Sanders could win the Iowa and Utah caucuses.

Horrifying photo of Donald Trump at a rally in Salt Lake City.

Horrifying photo of Donald Trump at a rally in Salt Lake City.

However, there’s a wild card in Utah, according to Al Giordano (from privately distributed newsletter). He says that more and more Mormon women are voting Democratic, and it’s possible they could caucus for Clinton. Mormons absolutely hateand fear Donald Trump, so Giordano argues that it’s even possible that Utah could turn blue in November if Trump is the GOP nominee.

From McKay Coppins (who is a Mormon) at Buzzfeed: Mormon Voters Really Don’t Like Donald Trump — Here’s Why.

So far in 2016, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have proven to be one of the most stubbornly anti-Trump constituencies in the Republican Party — a dynamic that will likely manifest itself in Utah’s presidential caucuses next week.

National polling data focused on Mormon voters is hard to come by, but the election results speak for themselves. Even as Trump has steamrollered his way through the GOP primaries, he has repeatedly been trounced in places with large LDS populations.

In Wyoming, the third-most-heavily Mormon state in the country, Trump was able to muster just 70 votes in the low-turnout Republican caucuses there — losing to Ted Cruz by a whopping 59 points.

In Idaho, the country’s second most Mormon state, Trump lost the primary by 18 points.

And in the Mormon mecca of Utah, the most recent primary poll has Trump in third place — more than 40 points behind Cruz and 18 points behind Kasich.

The pattern holds at the county level as well. As New York Times data journalist Nate Cohn illustrated, the larger the proportion of Mormons in a given county, the worse Trump has generally performed in the primary contest there.

Much more at the link.

Mitt Romney will caucus for Ted Cruz in Utah.

Mitt Romney will caucus for Ted Cruz in Utah.

Philip Bump at The Washington Post: Why Utah hates Donald Trump (Hint: it’s not just about Mormonism).

Donald Trump is getting crushed in Utah.

First, the state’s adopted son, Mitt Romney, went gunning for Trump for weeks on end, and eventually revealed that he was backing Ted Cruz in the upcoming caucuses. Utah is adjacent to Idaho and Wyoming, where Trump has seen two of his biggest losses so far, both to Cruz. In a poll from Y2 Analytics released over the weekend, Trump comes in third, 42 points behind Cruz. (If Cruz wins more than half of the votes in the state, he gets all of the state’s 40 delegates.)

What’s even more remarkable, though, is that another poll suggested that Trump would lose to either Democrat in Utah in the general election. Utah is, of course, one of the reddest states — if not the reddest state — in the country. “Any matchup in which Democrats are competitive in the state of Utah is shocking,” Brigham Young University’s Christopher Karpowitz said to the Deseret News about that result.

Why? Mormon voters, of course; but polling (see lots of graphics at the link) show that people of any religion who are regular church-goers are more likely to be anti-Trump.

What may be prompting the stiff resistance to Trump, then, isn’t just that Utah is home to a lot of Mormons — it’s that those Mormons are more religious and that religious voters are more likely to view Trump with hostility.

The good news for Trump is that most of the states with the largest groups of regular churchgoers have already voted. Most are in the Bible Belt, as you might expect — a region where Trump did very well. Political beliefs are more complicated than they might appear at first glance. Sort of like religious ones.

It’s an interesting wild card, and something to keep an eye on. I’d certainly expect Jewish voters to be frightened by Trump’s strong-man campaign.

So . . . lots of things happening around the world today. What stories are you following? Dakinikat will post a live blog this evening for us to discuss primary and caucus results.

Live Blog/Open Thread: CNN “Final Five” Interviews



Good Evening Sky Dancers!!

The good news is that it’s the first day of Spring. The bad news is this endless primary campaign is only about half over.

There’s some kind of town-hall-type thing on CNN tonight from 8-11PM ET. So here’s a thread to discuss the goings on if you are so inclined. You can also feel free to treat this as an open thread and talk about whatever else is on your mind.

Raw Story has the basics:

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), as well as their GOP counterparts Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, will take part in a three-hour event on CNN starting at 8 p.m. EST on Monday.

The “Final Five” broadcast, as the network has dubbed it, will feature interviews with all of the candidates. It was put together in the wake of the cancellation of a Fox News Republican candidate debate. That event was scrubbed after both Trump — the Republican front-runner — and Kasich bowed out.

The even will be live streamed at CNN. Raw story is also offering a live stream at the link above.

Read this one at the link. Eric Bradner at CNN: What to watch for on ‘The Final Five’ Monday night. The article basically summarizes each candidate’s argument for why he or she should be the nominee of his party (according to Bradner).

Stories to check out before or during the broadcast:

Slate: Here’s What We Know About Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Advisers.

NYT: Most Republicans Feel Embarrassed by Campaign, Poll Says.

Reuters: Obama spars with Castro on human rights during historic Cuba visit.

NBC News: U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Referee State Disputes Over Marijuana.

WaPo: Today’s winning Google Doodle invoking Black Lives Matter was designed by high school sophomore.

Vice: He Skipped AIPAC, but Here’s Bernie Sanders’ Plan for Peace Between Israel and Palestine

LA Times: Hillary Clinton challenges Donald Trump over ‘dangerously wrong’ views on Israel

Monday Reads: Attack of the Killer Bunnies

3rabbit-with-axe-from-Gorleston-Psalter-14th-centuryGood Morning!

Things can frequently come in confusing packages.  Take my choice of Killer Bunnies today for your visual enjoyment.  You just wouldn’t think those cute little furry things could be the source of any one’s nightmare!  Yet here there they are!  It’s much easier to envision a critter gone bad when it looks positively evil.

I’m with Frank Rich  who thinks it’s nuts when all the bunnies in the Republican Party keep saying that Donald Trump is not one of them.  They all seem genuinely confused when it’s really quite easy.  Donald Trump is their FrankenBunny.

The Republican Elites. The Establishment. The Party Elders. The Donor Class. The Mainstream. The Moderates. Whatever you choose to call them, they, at least, could be counted on to toss the party-­crashing bully out.

To say it didn’t turn out that way would be one of the great understatements of American political history. Even now, many Republican elites, hedging their bets and putting any principles in escrow, have yet to meaningfully condemn Trump. McCain says he would support him if he gets his party’s nomination. The Establishment campaign guru who figured the Trump problem would solve itself moved on to anti-Trump advocacy and is now seeking to unify the party behind Trump, waving the same white flag of surrender as Chris Christie. Every major party leader — Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Reince Priebus, Kevin McCarthy — has followed McCain’s example and vowed to line up behind whoever leads the ticket, Trump included. Even after the recurrent violence at Trump rallies boiled over into chaos in Chicago, none of his surviving presidential rivals would disown their own pledges to support him in November. Trump is not Hitler, but those who think he is, from Glenn Beck to Louis C.K., should note that his Vichy regime is already in place in Washington, D.C.

Since last summer, Trump, sometimes in unwitting tandem with Bernie Sanders, has embarrassed almost the entire American political ecosystem — pollsters, pundits, veteran political operatives and the talking heads who parrot their wisdom, focus-group entrepreneurs, super-pac strategists, number-crunching poll analysts at FiveThirtyEight and its imitators. But of all the emperors whom Trump has revealed to have few or no clothes, none have been more conspicuous or consequential than the GOP elites. He has smashed the illusion, one I harbored as much as anyone, that there’s still some center-right GOP Establishment that could restore old-school Republican order if the crazies took over the asylum.

The reverse has happened instead. The Establishment’s feckless effort to derail Trump has, if anything, sparked a pro-Trump backlash among the GOP’s base and, even more perversely, had the unintended consequence of boosting the far-right Ted Cruz, another authoritarian bomb-thrower who is hated by the Establishment as much as, if not more than, Trump is. (Not even Trump has called McConnell “a liar,” which Cruz did on the Senate floor.) The elites now find themselves trapped in a lose-lose cul-de-sac. Should they defeat Trump on a second or third ballot at a contested convention and install a regent more to their liking such as Ryan or John Kasich — or even try to do so — they will sow chaos, not reestablish order. In the Cleveland ’16 replay of Chicago ’68, enraged Trump and Cruz delegates, stoked by Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Matt Drudge, et al., will go mano a mano with the party hierarchy inside the hall to the delectation of television viewers while Black Lives Matter demonstrators storm the gates outside.

Republican Donors are acting in backrooms all over the country.  It’s probably coming a lot too late, but what’s left to really stop Trump?  Utah? 

If Donald Trump becomes the Republican Party’s nominee, Utahns would vote for a Democrat for president in November for the first time in more than 50 years, according to a new Deseret News/KSL poll.

“I believe Donald Trump could lose Utah. If you lose Utah as a Republican, there is no hope,” said former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, a top campaign adviser to the GOP’s 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.

The poll found that may well be true. Utah voters said they would reject Trump, the GOP frontrunner, whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is the Democratic candidate on the general election ballot.

Yes, Tuesday night is the night Donald Trump will likely get “whipped in Utah”.  Does it really matter?  And, Cruz is the overwhelming favorite there.  Is that the like the utlimate Hobson’s choice or what?

The good news for Donald Trump’s foes: Three lions of Utah Republican politics agree the insurgent billionaire is the wrong choice for 2016.

The bad news: They can’t agree on the right choice to stop him.

Mitt Romney, beloved by Utah’s heavily Mormon and conservative electorate, sought to steer his party toward Ted Cruz on Friday, pledging to vote for Cruz at Tuesday’s caucuses as part of a strategic voting strategy to deny Trump delegates.

But instead of falling in line behind Romney, one of his closest allies, former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, threw his voice behind John Kasich instead. And Gary Herbert, Utah’s current governor, says his heart’s also with Kasich, but he can’t bring himself to offer an official endorsement when Utah’s hard-right voters more clearly line up with Cruz. So Herbert’s sitting this one out entirely.

Adding further confusion to the tangled messaging: a fourth favorite Utah son, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, has ruled out backing Kasich — despite what he described as lobbying by Kasich’s allies for his support. Though he’s offered no endorsement either, he’s been less hostile to Trump than his fellow Utah leaders, praising his call to focus more American dollars on domestic infrastructure and signaling support for Trump if he’s the party’s nominee.

Interviews with the state’s last three governors reveal a Utah-based discord that doubles a microcosm of the dispute wracking Republican insiders around the country. Huge swaths of Republican Party loyalists are working feverishly to deny Trump the GOP nomination — afraid he could redefine the party’s brand and doom it to electoral oblivion for a generation, if not destroy it altogether. Yet their attempts to bring down Trump, while united in principal, have been scattershot and at times at cross-purposes in practice.

You can look up all the little Red Blogs that are apoplectic about this.  Just Google it.   I’m still wondering what the Trump v. Clinton general election is going to be all about.   I 4tumblr_n1tk64ff8p1st07y0o1_500keep wondering what those hapless media and pundits who did the debates and townhalls are going to do with both of these folks on the same damn stage.  It should be pretty popcorn worthy.  Things certainly bounce off Trump much differently than Hillary.  The media’s rampant sexism is undoubtedly a contributing factor.

When is a gaffe not a gaffe? When Donald Trump says it.

Over a period of 72 hours earlier in the month, the Republican front-runner faced a campaign crisis after unrest at his events forced him to cancel a rally in Chicago. He responded, not by apologizing but by justifying his supporters’ violent reactions to protesters at his events and offering to pay legal fees.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton spent much of the same period cleaning up misstatements about former first lady Nancy Reagan’s role in addressing the AIDS epidemic, whether her policies would kill coal-mining jobs and her husband’s 1993 health care plan.

The three-day window offered a glimpse into an extraordinary campaign cycle, in which strategists on both sides are wondering whether Trump’s penchant for provocation has shifted the gaffe gauge in American politics.

His bombast already has shaken up the Republican primary contest. Now, as the race moves toward the general election, new questions have arisen about a double standard in political rhetoric —— one for Trump and another for everyone else.

“Trump’s ‘gaffes’ haven’t hurt him because a certain segment of GOP primary voters actually support the things he is saying and the way he is saying them,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a former Obama adviser.

Mike DuHaime, a Republican strategist and former adviser to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential campaign, says that the image Trump projects as a political outsider has superseded the controversy that surrounds him. Christie has endorsed Trump.

Whether by mistake or intention, there’s little question that Trump’s eruptions are key to his strategy.



I haven’t had a chance to check out the AIPAC meetings today but it’s usually an interesting indicator of foreign policy chops.  So, Hillary explained a lot of stuff and is seen as pro-Israel and hawkish.  Bernie just skipped the entire thing because foreign policy has never been his thing but his staff sent them a nice glossy brochure.  The Donald, well, he’s getting the full on treatment,

But it’s not Trump’s comments or his opaque policy positions on Israel and the Middle East that bother many of the Jewish leaders who plan on protesting him Monday. It’s the general demagogic tone and tenor of a campaign and candidate who, they believe, is dividing the country.

“When he belittles his opponents, refers to ethnic groups as a monolithic group, the way he speaks about immigrants with disdain, the way he encourages violence, those are things that have been turned against Jews and used against Jews in the not-so-distant past. So there is a real sensitivity to that in our community,” Raskin said. “Those are issues we feel a responsibility to respond to as people who are teachers of religion.”

“What Donald Trump has engaged in is something significantly different than any other candidate in political history. For obvious reasons, the challenge to those who are somehow ‘the other,’ and the use of inflammatory language, the rhetoric of hate and division, we think is unbecoming not only of a presidential candidate but anybody in American political discourse,” said Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz of Port Washington, New York, whose newly formed group, “Come Together Against Hate,” plans to sit through Trump’s speech in silent protest.

Michael Koplow, the policy director for the Israel Policy Forum based in Washington, wrote last week about the importance of sending a message to Trump.

“AIPAC cannot be seen as legitimizing Trump, even if it provides him with a pulpit,” he wrote on the IPF’s ‘Matzav’ blog. “If this means allowing the crowd to boo, or multiple anonymous quotes to journalists from AIPAC grandees about how odious they find Trump, or some other way of signaling that Trump is outside the boundaries of what is acceptable in the American political arena, it must be done. … Trump must be rejected not on the basis of his approach to Israel; he must be rejected on the basis of everything else. What he does or does not think about Israel is ancillary to the conversation, because American Jews and the state of Israel do not need a friend who looks like this.”

10killer-rabbitHillary went after Trump at AIPAC showing she’s shifted to the General Election as she should.  As you know, I’m not an all out supporter of what Israel’s been up to recently under Bibi. So, i’ll put this up with that caveat.

Hillary Clinton used a speech today on Israel and Palestine to slam her potential opponent in the general election, Donald Trump, accusing him of being unqualified to take on the challenges in the Middle East.

“We need steady hands. Not a president who says he’s neutral on Monday, pro-Israel on Tuesday and who knows what on Wednesday because everything’s negotiable,” the Democratic presidential front-runner said during remarks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee gathering in Washington, D.C., referring to Trump’s recent comment that he is “neutral” on Israel and Palestine.

“America can’t ever be neutral when it comes to Israel’s security or survival. We can’t be neutral when rockets rain down on residential neighborhoods. When civilians are stabbed in the street, when suicide bombers target the innocent,” she continued.

“Some things aren’t negotiable,” she added, “And anyone who doesn’t understand that has no business being our president.”

Hillary and her advisors are being quite open about their strategy on facing Trump in the General.

Neither the Clinton campaign nor several independent super PACs working on her behalf plan to respond with the same brass-knuckles style that Trump has taken with his Republican opponents, aides and outside supporters said. But in their view, Trump isn’t Teflon: Republicans waited too long to go after him, and they went about it the wrong way.

“What the Republicans did was too little, too late,” said David Brock, who runs two pro-Clinton super PACs now engaged in researching and responding to Trump. “It was petty insults. It was not strategic.”

Justin Barasky, spokesman for the large pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA, said Republican candidates committed “malpractice” by failing to raise liabilities from Trump’s past or aggressively challenge him on offensive or incorrect statements.

Implicit in the effort is real worry about Trump’s outsider appeal in a year dominated by ­working-class anger and economic anxiety. The prospect that Trump could compete for some of the blue-collar voters who have flocked to Sanders, for instance — or to reorder the map of competitive states to include trade-affected Michigan or Pennsylvania — has prompted Clinton’s allies to leave nothing to chance.

Yet, they also believe that, although Trump has motivated a loyal plurality of supporters in primary contests, he has limited ability to expand that support once the Republican field clears. Because of the litany of controversial pronouncements he has made, they expect a Trump nomination to make it easier to rally women, Latino and African American voters to turn out for Clinton. In fact, her aides are planning for a historic gender gap between Clinton and Trump.

Given Trump’s willingness to attack his opponents — and his pivot to going after Clinton in recent days — one clear presumption has emerged about the fall contest: It will be ugly.

That’s one reason the former secretary of state plans to counter Trump with high-road substance, policy and issues, according to one senior campaign aide. The idea is to showcase what Clinton’s backers see as her readiness for the job without lowering her to what they describe as Trump’s gutter.

Of course, we have yet to get through what Republicans hope will be a brokered convention where they will be looking for some kind of white knight.   There is a key convention rule that can be changed and would need to be changed at this point.

Trump’s main rivals were able to meet minimum thresholds to collect delegates in many of the Super Tuesday contests. But Trump regained his momentum in the March 8 contests, winning three – Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii – while Cruz prevailed in Idaho.

Yet there is a key Republican convention rule, known as Rule 40, which could hand Trump the nomination on a silver platter because it limits the number of nominees while prohibiting certain attempts to steal the nomination away from a front runner.

The purpose of this rule was to help ensure the coronation of a clear front runner and to give a presumptive nominee a celebratory sendoff into the general election. Prior to the 2012 convention, this rule required a candidate to have won a plurality of delegates in at least five states to have his or her name put into nomination at the convention.

However, once Mitt Romney secured enough delegates to win the 2012 nomination, his supporters (especially key adviser-operative Ben Ginsburg) got this rule revised to block any person from being nominated at the convention unless he or she had won a majority of delegates in at least eight states. (Part of Romney’s reasoning was to freeze out a major floor demonstration of support for libertarian Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and thus to present to the nation watching on TV a united party rallying behind the former Massachusetts governor.)

In addition to prohibiting the recording of any delegates won by candidates who failed to meet the eight-state threshold, Rule 40 barred delegates from promoting a groundswell on the convention floor for any person who did not participate in the state contests. Thus, the rule prevents a modern-day replay of the “We Want Willkie” selection of Wendell Willkie at the 1940 Republican convention. (Ironically, that would now rule out a stealth establishment strategy to mount a “Romney, Romney” uprising at the convention in Cleveland.)

It remains to be seen if and when Trump and his rivals can secure majorities of the delegates in eight states. Trump has met that threshold in seven of the 15 states in which he has won the most votes, meaning he is just one state short of the threshold.

Cruz has won the most votes in seven states and secured a majority of delegates in four states: Idaho, Kansas, Maine and Texas. In other words, the Texas senator is halfway there.

That could be one of the reasons the Republican Killer Bunnies are holding their nose and 1T7klmP3giving Ted Cruz a second look.  We all know that he’d be bad for all kinds of social justice issues, but he could wreck the economy too.   This is from the Street.

The IRS is broken, and the current tax system is convoluted, according to Cruz. He has said he wants doing taxes to “become so simple that they could be filled out on a postcard.”

A simplified tax code is something that Republicans of all stripes have been advocating for years, but Cruz takes this to the extreme.

In 2014 Cruz wrote an op-ed in USA Today calling to abolish the IRS and impose a national flat tax that, as opposed to our current system of progressive taxation, would tax all income levels at the same rate.

Policy wonks argue over the potential economic fallout, but flat tax supporterssuggest that the increased spending resulting from abolishing a complicated tax code with its attendant incentives would give government revenues, in the case of a 17% flat tax, a 1.8 percentage-point shot in the arm.

In a plan like the one Cruz suggests, the poor and middle class would pay more in taxes, but the rich would pay less and have more money to invest back into the economy. A flat tax system would also remove incentives toward consumption by eliminating the various deductions that offset costs, and instead encourage savings. Advocates also argue that the possibility of reaching a higher tax bracket would no longer disincentivize people from earning more and crossing a tax bracket threshold, thus contributing to long-term economic growth.

According to a seminal study by the National Center for Policy Analysis, the flat tax would boost the production core of the economy in every area by getting rid of corporate tax avoidance schemes, except for subsidized agriculture since tax subsidies would be lost there. In the case of a 17% flat tax, there’s also the suggestion that the housing sector would see a 1.5% uptick.

Flat tax opponents, however, argue that such a policy would increase the national deficit because of lost tax revenue in the higher brackets and also would cause outsized economic burdens on the poor while favoring the rich who can shoulder the same tax rates more easily.

Here’s the same analysis with Hillary if you’d like to read it.  There is similar analysis for the other candidates.  You can compare Bernie and Hillary’s Wall Street policy as viewed 9tumblr_n1se1pN8E91rou0cuo4_1280by Wall Street insiders.  It’s kind’ve interesting.

My personal thoughts are that Trump will continue to sound more reasonable other than when he’s out the stump with the likes of Arizona’s Sheriff Joe.  He’s beginning to get some surrogates–like Palin and Christie–who have no problem sounding outrageous and mean.  We’ll just have to see.  He’s already called Hillary tired and low energy but it seems like a vanilla threat since every one appears to be smeared with that one.

So, tonight is a townhall with all five remaining candidates on CNN.  We will be live blogging it later.  Also, tomorrow is the next set of elections.  We’ll live blog that too!  So stay tuned for more of “Attack of the Killer Rabbits”.

What’s on you reading and blogging list today? 


Sunday Absofuckinlutely Not!

Here’s an open thread to voice your main concern and say…Absofuckinlutely Not!!!!



Lazy Saturday Reads: Primary Voting Moves West

Arizona Landscape, Jose Aceves

Arizona Landscape, Jose Aceves

Good Afternoon!!

On Tuesday, Democratic voters in the West will be voting in the Arizona primary and the Idaho and Utah caucuses. In each of these states, only registered Democrats can vote. The biggest delegate prize is in Arizona, where 85 delegates will be up for grabs. Republicans will also vote in the Arizona and Utah caucuses. For Republicans, Arizona is winner take all and Utah is proportional. All Democratic primaries are proportional.

I was hoping we were finally done with TV debates and town halls, but CNN has announced it will hold a town hall on Monday night that includes the five remaining candidate from both parties. CNN press release:

CNN announced today that Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer will host a three-hour primetime event with both Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls on Monday March 21 from 8 to 11 pmET. The event will take place just before the ‘Western Tuesday’ primary contests in Arizona, Utah and Idaho (D). 

Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will each be individually interviewed in the CNN Election Center in Washington, D.C. while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will be interviewed from the campaign trail.

The event will air from 8-11 pm ET on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Espanol, and will be live-streamed online and across mobile devices via CNNgo

Scattered Rain, Grand Canyon, Ed Mell

Scattered Rain, Grand Canyon, Ed Mell

The Sanders campaign believes that Western states will provide good opportunities for him to pick up delegates, but there won’t be masses of Independents voting for him this time. He’ll have to appeal to Democrats. As of today, FiveThirtyEight estimates that Clinton has a 51.1 percent chance of winning Arizona and Sanders has a 22.7 percent chance. RealClearPolitics has Clinton leading 48.5 to 21.5. There hasn’t been much polling of the state though. Donald Trump is strongly favored on the GOP side.

As Dakinikat wrote yesterday, the Sanders campaign is still claiming the Hillary can only win in red states in the Deep South. Never mind that she won Iowa, Nevada, Massachusetts, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and Ohio. He is also still peddling the fantasy that he is the candidate who is better equipped to defeat Trump in the general election, even though he has so far won far fewer popular votes than either Clinton or Trump. He bases this claim on his big rallies, his supposed ability (not demonstrated so far) to increase voter turnout and the media-generated meme of an “enthusiasm gap.”

Grand Canyon, Maxfield Parrish

Grand Canyon, Maxfield Parrish

At FiveThirtyEight, Harry Enten explains why primary results can’t be used to project general election turnout: Primary Turnout Means Nothing For The General Election.

Republican turnout is up and Democratic turnout is down in the 2016 primary contests so far. That has some Republicans giddy for the fall…And some commentators are saying that Democrats should be nervous.

But Democrats shouldn’t worry. Republicans shouldn’t celebrate….voter turnout is an indication of the competitiveness of a primary contest, not of what will happen in the general election. The GOP presidential primary is more competitive than the Democratic race.

Indeed, history suggests that there is no relationship between primary turnout and the general election outcome. You can see this on the most basic level by looking at raw turnout in years in which both parties had competitive primaries. There have been six of those years in the modern era: 1976, 1980, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008.

Check out Enten’s charts and detailed analysis of the question at the link.

Moon Rising, Barbara Gurwitz

Moon Rising, Barbara Gurwitz

This one is for Dakinikat. Eric Levitz at New York Magazine: The Republican Party Must Answer for What It Did to Kansas and Louisiana.

In 2010, the tea-party wave put Sam Brownback into the Sunflower State’s governor’s mansion and Republican majorities in both houses of its legislature. Together, they implemented the conservative movement’s blueprint for Utopia: They passed massive tax breaks for the wealthy and repealed all income taxes on more than 100,000 businesses. They tightened welfare requirements, privatized the delivery of Medicaid, cut $200 million from the education budget, eliminated four state agencies and 2,000 government employees. In 2012, Brownback helped replace the few remaining moderate Republicans in the legislature with conservative true believers. The following January, after signing the largest tax cut in Kansas history, Brownback told the Wall Street Journal, “My focus is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, ‘See, we’ve got a different way, and it works.’ ”


Louisiana has replicated these results. When Bobby Jindal moved into the governor’s mansion in 2008, he inherited a $1 billion surplus. When he moved out last year, Louisiana faced a $1.6 billion projected deficit. Part of that budgetary collapse can be put on the past year’s plummeting oil prices. The rest should be placed on Jindal passing the largest tax cut in the state’s history and then refusing to reverse course when the state’s biggest industry started tanking. Jindal’s giveaway to the wealthiest citizens in the country’s second-poorest state cost Louisiana roughly $800 million every year. To make up that gap, Jindal slashed social services, raided the state’s rainy-day funds, and papered over the rest with reckless borrowing. Today, the state is scrambling to resolve a $940 million budget gap for this fiscal year, with a $2 billion shortfall projected for 2017. Like Bizarro Vermont, Louisiana can no longer afford to provide public defenders for all its criminal defendants. Its Department of Children and Family Services may soon be unable to investigate every reported instance of child abuse. Education funding is down 44 percent since Jindal took office. The state’s hospitals are likely to see at least $64 million in funding cuts this year.

Superstition Mountains, Carol Sabo

Superstition Mountains, Carol Sabo

As we all know, Brownback’s and Jindal’s policies brought both states to their knees economically. For more detailed analysis, go to the link and read the entire piece. So why haven’t Republican presidential candidates been asked to explain why they are pushing the same tired policies that destroyed two states?

What has happened to these states should be a national story; because we are one election away from it being our national story. Ted Cruz claims his tax plan will cost less than $1 trillion in lost revenue over the next ten years. Leaving aside the low bar the Texas senator sets for himself — my giveaway to the one percent will cost a bit less than the Iraq War! — Cruz only stays beneath $1 trillion when you employ the kind of “dynamic scoring” that has consistently underestimated the costs of tax cuts in Kansas. Under a conventional analysis, the bill runs well over $3 trillion, with 44 percent of that lost money accruing to the one percent. John Kasich’s tax plan includes cutting the top marginal rate by more than ten percent along with a similar cut to the rates on capital gains and business taxes. Even considering Kasich’s appetite for Social Security cuts, his plan must rely on the same supply-side voodoo that Kansas has so thoroughly discredited. As for the most likely GOP nominee, even with dynamic scoring, his tax cuts would cost $10 trillion over the next ten years, with 40 percent of that gargantuan sum filling the pockets of Trump’s economic peers.

If any of these men are [sic] elected president, they will almost certainly take office with a House and Senate eager to scale up the “red-state model.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said of Brownback’s Kansas, This is exactly the sort of thing we (Republicans) want to do here, in Washington, but can’t, at least for now.” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s celebrated budgets all depend on the same magical growth that has somehow escaped the Sunflower State.

Maxfield Parish Cowboys' Hot Springs AZ

Maxfield Parish, Cowboys’ Hot Springs AZ

In an important op-ed at The Washington Post, Mark Barden and Jackie Barden respond to comments Bernie Sanders made during the Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan. The Bardens’ son Daniel was murdered in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School  in Newtown, Connecticut.

Sanders is wrong about the lawsuit we filed after our son’s murder in Newtown.

Our son, our sweet little Daniel, was just 7 when he was murdered in his first-grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. We are among the 10 families suing the manufacturer, distributor and retail seller of the assault rifle that took 26 lives in less than five minutes on that terrible day.

We write in response to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s comments about our lawsuit at the recent Democratic presidential debate in Michigan. Sanders suggested that the “point” of our case is to hold Remington Arms Co. liable simply because one of its guns was used to commit mass murder. With all due respect, this is simplistic and wrong.

This case is about a particular weapon, Remington’s Bushmaster AR-15, and its sale to a particular market: civilians. It is not about handguns or hunting rifles, and the success of our lawsuit would not mean the end of firearm manufacturing in this country, as Sanders warned. This case is about the AR-15 because the AR-15 is not an ordinary weapon; it was designed and manufactured for the military to increase casualties in combat. The AR-15 is to guns what a tank is to cars: uniquely deadly and suitable for specialized use only.

We have never suggested that Remington should be held liable simply for manufacturing the AR-15. In fact, we believe that Remington and other manufacturers’ production of the AR-15 is essential for our armed forces and law enforcement. But Remington is responsible for its calculated choice to sell that same weapon to the public, and for emphasizing the military and assaultive capacities of the weapon in its marketing to civilians.

Indeed, Remington promotes the AR-15’s capacity to inflict mass casualities. It markets its AR-15s with images of soldiers and SWAT teams; it dubs various models the “patrolman” and the “adaptive combat rifle” and declares that they are “as mission-adaptable as you are”; it encourages the notion that the AR-15 is a weapon that bestows power and glory upon those who wield it. Advertising copy for Remington’s AR-15s has included the following: “Consider your man card reissued,” and “Forces of opposition, bow down. You are single-handedly outnumbered.”

Please go read the rest at the WaPo. I really hope Bernie Sanders reads it carefully.

Arizona, Jose Aceves

Arizona, Jose Aceves

Finally, here’s just one reason I believe Hillary Clinton will crush Donald Trump or any other GOP candidate in November.

CNN: Obama plans to campaign hard, with legacy on his mind.

Expect to see a whole lot of President Barack Obama this campaign season as he works to spell out what he sees as the stakes in the 2016 election and tries to defend his legacy.

As he approaches the end of his term in the midst of an election year that has been defined by heated, often controversial rhetoric coming from the leading Republican candidates, like GOP front-runner Donald Trump, the President is vowing to do all he can to make sure a Democrat replaces him at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He also wants to retake the Senate and win more seats in the House of Representatives.

So far, he has headlined 35 fundraisers since the 2014 midterm elections and he has already endorsed 10 candidates at the state level, according to the Democratic National Committee.

“The President has been clear that as we get closer to the general election, it will become even more important that the American people understand what is at stake,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Jennifer Friedman. “Do we continue to build on the policies that reward hard-working American families, advance our economic and national security, and address challenges for future generations, or do we stop in our tracks, reverse our progress and move in the wrong direction? This is a choice that the President does not take lightly, and is something he will lay out for the American people with increased frequency in the weeks and months ahead.”

Obama has implicitly endorsed Hillary four times now, and he has said he would not campaign for any candidate who doesn’t support “commonsense gun laws.” If she is the nominee, there will be an awesome team behind her–President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, as well as other prominent Democrats. Can you just imagine what a team Barack and Hillary will make on the campaign trail? I can’t wait.

What stories are you following today? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great weekend!

Friday Reads: Low Information Voters (SMH)

berniesupportersm9Good Afternoon!

I have to admit it still feels like the middle of the night to me.  It looks like the middle of the night from my desk window.  I do know–because my brain works–that it’s just damned daylight savings time freaking with my internal clock again.  My brain always wins the argument though.  I know I can’t ignore the time change even though I really really want it to go away.  I know it’s longer than it used to be. (That’s another product of DUBYA’s shock and awe attacks on the nation.)  I doubt that the US Congress will buck the Leisure Industry lobby and get rid of it.  That’s the story of my life.  My brain always wins the argument.

Some times it amazes me how many people can shut down any ability they’ve developed in math, science, reality, and life in general to believe what they want to believe.   BB’s the psychologist around here so maybe she can explain it to me.  My Facebook and Twitter feeds are cluttered up with so much nonsense these days that it’s enough to make a professor weep.  My mantra these days is believe me, the math is the math.  Do you know what kind of probabilities we’re talking here?  It’s all to no avail.

This story sort’ve sums up what I keep seeing but in a macro kind’ve way.   It’s not Florida Man for a change but East Texas Man is just about right there with him.  This fossil enthusiast-not a rocket scientist or even 5th grade scientist with a chem kit–says he found fossils from Noah’s flood in his back yard.

“From Noah’s flood to my front yard, how much better can it get,” Wayne Propst said.

Propst is stunned. He was helping his aunt lay some dirt outside her home in Tyler when he found this.

“What’s really interesting to me is we’re talking about the largest catastrophe known to man, the flood that engulfed the entire world,” Propst said.

He called up self-proclaimed fossil expert Joe Taylor who confirmed that what Propst found is in fact from the time of Noah’s ark and he says finding those fossils in Tyler is rare.

“I’ve never heard of anything about that from over there, I’m surprised he found it there,” Taylor said.

For days, Wayne and his aunt Sharon have been combing through this dirt with the help of some neighborhood kids.

“I just take my toothbrush and work on it until we get it,” Wayne’s aunt Sharon Givan said.

And send pictures off to Taylor.

“To think that like he says that we have something in our yard that dated back to when God destroyed the earth. I mean, how much better could anything be,” Givan said.

1918243_10154147437028690_3419065895148824258_nBut those damned experts at UT Austin just won’t let a man have his delusions.  Why is it that they just can’t let a man and his love of fairy tales be?

But one expert at the University of Texas at Austin isn’t so sure. He said that the fossils predate humans by millions of years.

“The rocks there are about 35-40 million years old, and these little turret snails are commonly found in marine rocks of that age,” said James Sagebiel, Collections Manager of the Texas Vertebrate Paleontology Collections. “It’s not unusual.”

James Sagebiel said this type of fossil is usually found in sandy soil and the reason it’s here is not due to a great global flood.

“The Texas coastline would have run several miles closer inland than what it is today,” said Sagebiel. “So where Tyler is today would essentially be the coastline.”

Sagebiel said the scientific evidence points to the earth being billions of years old. And that there’s no evidence of a great global flood, as described in the Noah’s Ark story.

So, the Bernie memes and koolaid are in.  We’re deep in the doo doo.  For example, I found out today that Bernie says “Hillary is running out of deep red states” yet, I look at the 2016 Primary schedule and see a list that sort’ve defies whatever attempt at logic that was. Yes, 1930636_985854941494717_3009700940723770100_nSky Dancers, Arizona, Indiana, Wyoming, Alaska, West Virginia, Idaho, Kentucky have suddenly turned blue.  Imagine the surprised look on my face!  Facts just don’t seem to bother people any more.  Journalists and low information voters alike have decided they dislike Hillary based on a whole bunch of things that aren’t true and have been proven untrue.

Clinton has been in the public eye for so long, journalists have long since formulated a storyline about her, as former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis recently observed. Their view—and portrayal—of her as “remote and programmed,” he said, is “nonsense” and impervious to accounts by those who know or meet her that she is actually warm, smart and funny. Political opponents have had decades to dredge up (or fabricate) accusations, with a smoke-there’s-fire (you might say blame-the-victim) result. Whitewater! Benghazi! Email! After endless investigations, each accusation has turned out to be groundless. Yet the impression remains: she’s been the object of so many accusations and investigations, she must be doing something wrong. Hence the impression she’s not trustworthy.

There is also a self-fulfilling prophecy element to Clinton’s long history with the press. Part of the reason that they see, and depict, her as stiff and measured (and therefore inauthentic) surely is what she herself saidrecently: she’s not a natural politician—something that is as ironic as it is obvious, since her being a seasoned politician is one of the main criticisms raised against her. But another part of it, no doubt, is that she has had so much experience having her words and actions turned against her, it’s no wonder she might be cautious in choosing them. And this, too, started with her hair.

When Clinton first appeared on the national stage back in 1992, the young wife of the Arkansas governor running for president, she kept her natural-brown hair off her face with a headband. This sparked an avalanche of criticism, so she colored her hair and had it styled, which led to a new round of accusations: she was nefariously manipulating her image! Other damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t attacks were also particular to her as a woman. Because the Clintons kept their small daughter out of the public eye, polls showed that people thought they were childless, a condition that stigmatizes women. When evidence emerged that Clinton was a devoted mother, Margaret Carlson writing in TIME found her guilty of “yuppie overdoting on her daughter.”

All these forces have played a role in Clinton being seen as inauthentic and untrustworthy. And they are all related to the double bind that confronts women in positions of authority, as I recently wrote in the WashingtonPost. A double bind means you must obey two commands, but anything you do to fulfill one violates the other. While the requirements of a good leader and a good man are similar, the requirements of a good leader and a good woman are mutually exclusive. A good leader must be tough, but a good woman must not be. A good woman must be self-deprecating, but a good leader must not be.

Sanders is appealing when he comes across as tough by railing against Wall Street and corporations, and as comfortingly homey and authentic with his rumpled clothes and hair and down-home Brooklyn accent. When Clinton is tough, a characteristic many see as unfeminine, it doesn’t feel right, so she must not be authentic. And a disheveled appearance would pretty much rule her out as an acceptable woman. As Robin Lakoff, the linguist who firstwrote about the double bind confronting women, put it, male candidates can have it both ways but Clinton can have it no ways.


The biggest nitwit meme I’ve been seeing these days comes under the heading of there’s no excitement for Hillary.  WTF?   Bernie keeps getting on TV to insist only he can beat Trump. But look at the damned vote count.  Who is beating Trump and who is NOT beating Trump?

Considering that narrative, one would expect Clinton to be faring far worse in the primaries. Instead, she currently holds a popular vote and delegate lead over Sanders that far surpasses Obama’s lead over her at this point in the race in 2008.

This is no accident. An examination of Clinton voters and their motivations might reveal that the narrative that most media outlets have been feeding us this election cycle is dubious at best. Because if the biggest vote-getter of either party is Hillary—by a large margin—then that suggests the electorate is not necessarily as angry as pundits claim. It further suggests that perhaps some people are tired of hearing about how angry they are, and are quietly asserting their opinions at the ballot box. If Democrats are so angry, Clinton would not be in the position she is today. Is it really so farfetched to claim that quite a few Democrats aren’t voting for Sanders precisely because he seems angry? Which isn’t to suggest that people aren’t angry—certainly many Republican primary voters seem to be. Rather, it is to suggest that voters who aren’t angry are still showing up at the polls, despite being ignored in news stories.

Of course, angry voters make for sexier clickbait. So it’s not too surprising that we’re not seeing front-page headlines that scream, “Satisfied Obama Supporters Show Up in Droves.” Furthermore, Trump and Sanders have seen enormous crowds at their rallies, and exuberant support on social media platforms.

So perhaps Clinton voters don’t show up at rallies so much. Perhaps they are a bit less passionate on Facebook, share fewer articles, give less money to their candidate (she does have a super PAC, after all). But what they are doing is perhaps the only thing that actually matters in an election. They are showing up to vote. In numbers that no other candidate can boast.

It’s certainly curious to presume, as many do, that Clinton’s supporters are somehow less enthusiastic than Sanders’s are. How is enthusiasm measured, if not by actual vote count?

So here are some things worth reading today.

Clinton is kicking butt and taking names in NY: RCP

Clinton is kicking butt in CA: RCP

So much for the Bernie’s gonna cream her in Deep Blue States.

Clinton owes her commanding lead to African American Women.

 I call this Sistertude !!!!  Sisters are into doing it for themselves!!!

The bedrock of her winning campaign is African-American women, and, as a group, these women seem pretty damn determined to vote for her.

“They are the absolute heart of the party,” Jaime Harrison, the South Carolina Democratic Party chairman said of African-American women in a comment posted on Sidewire (the political communication platform I work for). “Hillary is their BFF.”

The connection isn’t lost on Clintonworld. Her last two major ads featured the “Mothers of the Movement” who lost children in killings involving police and ABC television luminaries Shonda Rhimes, Viola Davis and Kerry Washington, all of whom (in case you’ve been living on a television-free planet) are black.

It is not common for a presidential candidate to run ads that feature an all-African American cast — or, in the case of the ABC stars’ ad, a mostly African-American cast. Ellen Pompeo of “Grey’s Anatomy,” who is white, was also in the spot.

But it’s not unusual for Clinton to rely on African-American women. Over the years, her top aides have included Maggie Williams and Cheryl Mills, owners of two of the sharpest minds in the political world.

More compelling, though, are the numbers.

Consider exit polling from the dozen states where there were enough African-American Democratic primary voters to adequately survey both how white men and women voted and how black men and women voted.

African-American women supported Clinton at between 66 percent (Michigan and Illinois) and 93 percent (Alabama) in those dozen states, according to data on CNN’s Website.

I’d call that enthusiasm too!  So, why are young white college kids getting all the press?

Bernie is getting more hypocritical in his quest to win. It appears to be coming at any cost now including his purity ring.  First he wanted to get rid of super delegates calling them establishment and corrupt!  Not now.

So, Rachel asked again whether he might try to convince superdelegates to side with him, even if he’s behind in pledged delegates. Sanders said he and his campaign are “going to do the best we can in any and every way to win,” but he still avoided comment on the specific approach he’s prepared to take.
So, Rachel asked again. For those who missed it, this was the exchange that stood out.
MADDOW: I’m just going to push you and ask you one more time. I’ll actually ask you from the other direction. If one of you – presumably, there won’t be a tie – one of you presumably will be behind in pledged delegates heading into that convention. Should the person who is behind in pledged delegates concede to the person who is ahead in pledged delegates in Philadelphia?
SANDERS: Well, I – you know, I don’t want to speculate about the future and I think there are other factors involved. I think it is probably the case that the candidate who has the most pledged delegates is going to be the candidate, but there are other factors.
It was arguably one of the more controversial things Sanders has said this year.
When the race for the Democratic nomination first got underway, many saw this same scenario, but in reverse: it seemed possible that Sanders would do well in primaries and caucuses, and Clinton would turn to powerful superdelegates to elevate her anyway.
That possibility, not surprisingly, enraged many of Sanders’ backers. The Hill published this report in early February:

All is fair and good as long as Bernie is the one to do it.  Same with using Shadowy SuperPacs. Try this one on for size:  Bernie Sanders Gets an Alaska ‘Super PAC’ Aimed At Millennials.  This one operates on murky legal ground.

Now, there is a pro-Sanders super PAC just for the millennials of Alaska.

The Anchorage-based America’s Youth PAC, made up almost entirely of former Bernie 2016 campaign staffers, is the latest unconventional outside group to throw its support behind the Vermont senator. Its leaders broke off from the Sanders campaign last week and have holed up in an old mall on the outskirts of town, just steps away from the official campaign’s office in the same building.

Despite Sanders’ fading odds for the Democratic nomination, America’s Youth PAC’s 10-person team is canvassing, making buttons and registering voters in the hopes of giving him a victory in the Alaska caucuses on March 26 against Hillary Clinton. Chris Johnson, the executive director of the super PAC and former Sanders field director in Alaska, said they abandoned the Sanders campaign over “creative differences.”

“We were all former staffers on the Bernie Sanders campaign and we came to a realization that there was a niche where we could do some really good work,” Johnson said. “We really felt like there was a niche of activating new voters that was left untapped.”

It is an unusual arrangement: Instead of billionaire donors looking to fund television ads, Sanders campaign staffers have formed a dissenting splinter group in the northernmost state and campaign on the ground for the Alaska caucus. From a drab shopping mall storefront, they want to take on Clinton’s powerful alliance on the Acela corridor.

The group also exists in murky legal territory, as federal election law requires a “cooling-off period” that prevents a candidate’s staff from leaving the campaign and doing certain kinds of work for a supporting super PAC within 120 days. America’s Youth PAC disputes it is doing anything illegal, but several independent campaign finance experts said it was pressing the boundaries of election law.

The so-called “cooling off period” is intended to prevent coordination with the campaign. Technically, the law prohibits former campaign staff from assisting on paid “public communications” that rely on material knowledge from the campaign.

Bernie’s being nasty to our President again.  It’s not only Republicans that don’t want President Obama doing his job.  Bernie Sanders Says He Will Ask Obama to Withdraw SCOTUS Nomination if He Wins. Another link to Maddow, btw.  Oh, and Bernie is all about getting rid of citizens united and no SuperPacs.  (Don’t forget to go reread that last link so you can see exactly how clearly hypocritical the man can be.)

tumblr_o1d4646zC01rr5t33o1_1280And of course, Bernie is now after Clinton’s pledged delegates that resulted from actual votes.  Feeling the Fucking Bern yet?  BB wrote on Master Taddler’s presser a few days ago but just thought I’d remind you.

Bernie Sanders’ campaign believes it can win the nomination by persuading delegates pledged to Hillary Clinton to defect.

In a call with journalists just now, Senior Strategist Tad Devine suggested that a string of victories from his candidate in the second half of the race would put “enormous” pressure on Clinton delegates.

“A front-runner in a process like this needs to continue to win if you want to keep hold of delegates,” he said. He said pledged delegates are not bound to the candidate they are pledged to.

“I think that pressure is going to build. If we can win, I think the pressure on the other side is going to grow and be enormous.”

This is a major step beyond the Bernie camp’s reported push to persuade superdelegates to switch their endorsement.

Here are Devine’s comments in full, made in a briefing call that we were on this afternoon.

If you really want to read Master Taddler’s tales follow the link to Bernie Wonderland.  Bernie is now leaving pressers when reporters ask him questions he doesn’t like.  How very Trumpish of him!!!

So, here’s my favorite read of the day from Amy Freid Bangor:  Four reasons why it’s so unlikely Sanders will win the Democratic nominationFreid basically responds to all the totally unrealistic Bernie wet dreams I’m seeing since the Mega Tuesday Bloodbath. Oh, btw, Missouri has been officially called for Hillary so she did officially sweep all five states.  Again, the big shitty argument is that the landscape improves as we move towards the West Coast and back to the East coast.

First, one specific claim is that Sanders will do much better in the next eight contests.

Those are the Arizona and Wisconsin primaries, the Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Washington state and Wyoming caucuses.

That’s true for the caucuses and indeed the Sanders campaign could win the primary in the very progressive Wisconsin, although the recent polls have it close.

However, there are just not that many delegates in all of those contests. Taken together, there are just a few more than in just Florida and Illinois. Clinton won Florida huge and Illinois narrowly, netting 69 more delegates more than Sanders from those two states.

Moreover, Arizona is by no means a slam dunk for Sanders. He has weaknesses on immigration and gun control, both of which matter in Arizona, due to the shooting of former Rep. Gabby Gifford and the large Hispanic population.

In fact, the most recent poll I could find for Arizona found Clinton with 50%, 24% for Sanders and the rest undecided. Given that Arizona is the third largest of the eight states, a good Clinton win here could provide enough delegates to wipe out Sanders leads from small caucus states or even from a small win in one of the large states.

Second, the states following those include many states that, based on demographics and their past voting behavior, are likely to be good states for Clinton.

For example, April 19 and 26 include a trove of 753 delegates in New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

New York elected Clinton as U.S. Senator with 55% in 2000 and 67% in 2008. The most recent polls have her 21 points ahead. It’s also a diverse state with a closed primary. All of that suggests she should do well there.

As for the other states of April 19 and 26, unless something comes along to seriously transform the race, Clinton will likely win all or most of the others.

There are of course other states after this, and those could be won by both candidates or be close, but if Clinton gets to April 27 having done well on April 19 and 26, any chance for Sanders winning most pledged delegates is pure fantasy.

My final offering of the day is this: “Hillary Won the Confederacy”: How Bernie’s Campaign is Subtly Fueling Racist Rhetoric of His Supporters.  How is this not as freaking racist as the STrump?

This is one of the most racist things I've seen during the entire primary season and it comes from Bernie Supporters NOT TRUMP.

This is one of the most racist things I’ve seen during the entire primary season and it comes from Bernie Supporters NOT TRUMP.

Ed Schultz. Michael Moore. The Huffington Post. Shaun King of New York Daily News. Prominent Bernie Sanders backers in the media and culture have for some time been perpetuating the reprehensible idea that black voters – who delivered 30, 40, 50 point wins for Hillary Clinton in southern states don’t count because their states are likely to vote for the Republican in the general election in November.

But it isn’t just his prominent supporters. The Sanders campaign has itself repeated that message, albeit in more subtle forms. After Hillary Clinton won seven out of 11 states on March 1, Sanders senior adviser Tad Devine and campaign manager Jeff Weaver sent the message that the “calendar” ahead didn’t look good for Clinton, intimating that the black-heavy southern states where Clinton racked up big margins were about done voting (well, that prediction didn’t work out too well).

It was only a matter of time before a prominent Sanders backing organization would do something like this:

Progressive Democrats of America is an ultra ideologue Leftist organization that backed Bernie Sanders’ candidacy early. After Sanders lost 5 out of 5 states on Tuesday, PDA has taken the logical next step to what Bernie’s mouthpieces have been doing for more than a month: they have gone from minimizing the black vote as insignificant because they live in “red states” to minimizing them as part of the confederacy.

That is outrageous. The people providing Clinton’s huge margins, black voters, are by and large descendants of slaves, and to associate them with the confederacy is a disgusting display of racism.

There’s examples from Weaver and Master Taddler Devine at the link. Be sure to read it. It’s not that long.

So, anyway, I was already sick of that shrill, finger wagging man. I’m really sick of him and his little followers now.  Where’s a good house to drop when you need it?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?