Elections Matter. Noam Scheiber of the New York Times: "With little fanfare, the Obama administration has been pursuing an aggressive campaign to restore protections for workers that have been eroded by business activism, conservative governance and the evolution of the economy in recent decades. In the last two months alone, the administration has introduced a series of regulatory changes. Among them: a rule that would make millions more Americans eligible for extra overtime pay, and a guidance suggesting that many employers are misclassifying workers as contractors and therefore depriving them of basic workplace protections.... A little more than a week ago, a federal appeals panel affirmed an earlier regulation granting nearly 2 million previously exempted home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections. And on Thursday, ’s appointees to the National Labor Relations Board issued an important ruling that makes it easier for employees of contractors and franchises to bargain collectively with the corporations that have sway over their operations."
Steven Mufson of the Washington Post: "President Obama in Anchorage on Monday will announce the renaming of Mount McKinley, honoring the 25th president, to Mount Denali, an Athabascan name used by generations of Alaska Natives that means 'the great one.' The White House said Obama would rename the continent’s tallest peak in order to improve relations with Native Americans. As a central part of the Athabascan creation story, Denali carries cultural importance to many Alaska Natives."...
Maria La Ganga of the Los Angeles Times on Kivalina, Alaska: "This is what climate change looks like, up close and personal. In this town of 403 residents 83 miles above the Arctic Circle, beaches are disappearing, ice is melting, temperatures are rising, and the barrier reef Kivalina calls home gets smaller and smaller with every storm. There is no space left to build homes for the living. The dead are now flown to the mainland so the ocean won't encroach upon their graves. Most here agree that the town should be relocated; where, when and who will pay for it are the big questions. The Army Corps of Engineers figures Kivalina will be underwater in the next decade or so."
Nahal Toosi of Politico: "Dozens of former members of Congress want lawmakers on the job to know they sympathize with the stress they feel over the Iran nuclear deal, but that they should vote for it anyway. The message is contained in the latest in a slew of letters being sent to Congress by both opponents and supporters of the nuclear deal ahead of the mid-September vote. It warns that the risks of scuttling the agreement 'include the increased likelihood of a military confrontation.'... Notable signatories include former Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a Republican who has long been active in promoting nuclear non-proliferation, and former Sen. George Mitchell of Maine, a Democrat who served as a special envoy to the Middle East."
Nick Gass of Politico: "Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley on Sunday announced his support for the Iran nuclear deal, becoming the 31st Democratic senator to back President Barack Obama on the issue. Just two Senate Democrats have come out against the deal -- New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez. Just three more senators are needed in the Senate to sustain any veto of a resolution of disapproval." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)
Julian Hattem of the Hill: "The father of one of the journalists murdered live on the air in southwest Virginia is pledging to keep up a sustained fight to enact new gun restrictions. 'I am going to be working on this for a long time,' Andy Parker, whose 24-year-old daughter, Alison, was shot to death last week while reporting on camera, said on CNN’s 'State of the Union.'”
Steve M. notices that two NYT columnists -- Ross Douthat & Maureen Dowd -- look at Donald Trump and see "a reflection of themselves! Funny how that works." CW: It's also evidence of brilliant politics. Voters looked at Barack Obama the same way. Sadly, it took him five or six years to give more than a hint of the guy I thought he was. He wasted all of his first term making nice with the scum on Capitol Hill, & he's still being pretty damned nice to the dirty rats of Wall Street. ...
** Paul Krugman: "... those predicting Mr. Trump’s imminent political demise are ignoring the lessons of recent history, which tell us that poseurs [like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker & Bobby Jindal] with a knack for public relations can con the public for a very long time. Someday The Donald will have his Katrina moment, when voters see him for who he really is. But don’t count on it happening any time soon."
George Packer's "Comment" in this week's New Yorker compares & contrasts the populism of Donald Trump & Bernie Sanders. CW: I don't think Packer gets what populism is. How can it be "populist" to pit one large segment of the population against another? Populism must have broad appeal, & that's what Sanders offers; moreover, he has workable ideas on how to achieve some of the public's goals. He is not ashamed to be a politician & he believes popular leaders can undo the influence of wealthy elites on political hacks. Although Trump has some achievable goals -- likely fairly taxing hedge funds -- his appeal is in reinforcing the fears & bigotry of poor & middle-class white people. Trump actually wants to eradicate (deport) one huge group of people. For the most part, he is as naive in his own way as Obama was when he ascended to the presidency & thought he could "reason" with Republcans. Both Trump & Obama think/thought they could persuade kept politicians to repudiate their elite owners. ...
... Paul Rosenberg in Salon (August 16), does a better job, IMO, of describing the ideological differences between Sanders & Trump: where Sanders is a true poulist, Rosenberg argues, Trump bends toward fascism.
Niall Stanage of the Hill: "Donald Trump tops The Hill’s rankings of 2016 GOP candidates for the first time, as the race cranks up to a new level of intensity with debate season underway. Trump has utterly transformed the race, challenging conventional wisdom every step of the way. The Hill did not even rank Trump when we first assessed the field in May, and he came in eighth in our most recent version in early July. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has also risen sharply, from tenth place to third. Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have all slid downward."
Like Democrats in 2007 who looked for their savior in Barack Obama, Republicans in 2015 seem to be looking for their savior in Trump. -- Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register
That pretty much tells you all you need to know about the difference between Democratic & Republican voters. -- Constant Weader
Peter Beinart of the Atlantic (August 28): "Calling Trump a bigot misses the point. It implies that he has genuine convictions. He’s an opportunist using bigotry to feed his megalomania." CW: This rings true. It's why it is not a contradiction for Trump to say he'll "deport all the illegals" & at the same time claim, "I love Mexicans." It's why he could simultaneously embrace the ridiculous, racist birther movement & tout his "good relationship with the blacks." In Trump's view, everybody is a pawn to be gamed. If he has to lose some pawns to win his game, so be it.
Once we’ve secured the border, once we’ve proven we can do this, once we’ve stopped the Obama administration’s policy of releasing 104,000 violent criminal illegal aliens in one year. — Sen. Ted Cruz, interview on Fox News, Aug. 25, 2015
Cruz is combining two other statistics: convicted criminal aliens from detention who were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings, and deportable aliens released under the administration’s guidelines for 'prosecutorial discretion.'... [Cruz's numbers] add up to slightly more than 104,000, but it also mixes up two years.... Cruz’s statistic falls apart with the emphasis on 'violent criminals.' The percentage of violent criminals among the 68,000 who were released is unclear, but said to be relatively small. The detailed list of 30,000 released from detention turns up relatively few who actually were charged with violent crimes. -- Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post
Whatever Happened to Scottie? Dan Balz & Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: Scott "Walker’s backers see a campaign discombobulated by Trump’s booming popularity and by his provocative language on immigration, China and other issues. They see in Walker a candidate who — in contrast to the discipline he showed in state races — continues to commit unforced errors, either out of lack of preparation or in an attempt to grab for part of the flamboyant businessman’s following. These supporters say ... there also needs to be a clear acknowledgment inside the campaign that the governor has yet to put to rest questions about his readiness to handle the problems and unexpected challenges that confront every president." CW: Maybe these "backers" should also acknowledge that their candidate is a dunce & a nasty piece of work. ...
... Scott Walker says he's "looking 'em [-- voters, that is --] in the eye & telling 'em what I'm going to do" because that's the kind of "leadership' "Americans want." So it's a little hard to understand why he's too skeert to give a straight "leadership" answer on birthright citizenship. ...
Crazy Immigration Idea o' the Day. Julian Hattem of the Hill: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is open to the idea of building a wall along America’s northern border with Canada, he said on Sunday. Given that the northern border poses a potential risk for terrorists to bleed into the U.S., the Republican presidential candidate said that he would not rule out a wall to increase security there. 'That is a legitimate issue for us to look at,' Walker said on NBC’s 'Meet the Press.'" CW: Hey, at least it would create a honking-big jobs stimulus for the next 20 years. Meanwhile, can't we just immediately incarcerate anyone who speaks with a suspected Quebecois accent? (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)
Crazy Clinton Slam o' the Day. Mark Hensch of the Hill: "With Hillary Clinton, it just seems to be one scandal after another,” [Bobby Jindal] told host Martha Raddatz on ABC’s 'This Week.' 'She’s literally one email away from going to jail,' Jindal said. 'What I fear is that maybe we’ll have to go to the Chinese and the Russians to actually see her emails.'” CW: Literally one email? I think it must be that one where she did a blast-mailing of the nuclear codes.
Standard-Issue Clinton Slam: Mark Hensch: Chris "Christie argued on Sunday that [Hillary] Clinton’s actions as secretary of State flaunted her disregard for the laws governing transparency and national security. He added that she is now presenting a haughty attitude.... 'The worst part about this is her arrogance,' Christie said.... 'This is not royalty in the United States,' he said, referring to Clinton as 'queen.' 'This is not a familial ascendancy.' 'She’s wiped away tens of thousands of emails that have relevant information because she feels entitled to do that,' Christie added.” (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)
Amy Chozick of the New York Times: "Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the popular Democrat from New Hampshire and the first woman to be elected senator and governor in the state, will publicly endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton next Saturday, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said."
Josh Gerstein of Politico: "The roiling controversy over Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state looks likely to intensify Monday with the State Department set to release the largest batch of her messages made public thus far."
Julian Hattem: "Sen. Bernie Sanders is arguing that his record makes him the best qualified presidential candidate to push through new limits on guns. Despite criticism that the independent Vermonter has been to the right of many liberals on gun rules, Sanders said on CNN’s 'State of the Union' that he is best positioned to negotiate new restrictions preventing mentally ill people from acquiring weapons.... 'In fact, coming from a rural state that has almost no gun control, I think I can get beyond the noise and all of these arguments and people shouting at each other and come up with real constructive gun control legislation which, most significantly, gets guns out of the hands of people who should not have them,' he said."