The Wires

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: (August 2): "Federal health authorities on Monday urged pregnant women not to visit a South Florida neighborhood where new cases of the Zika virus have emerged, the first time officials have warned against travel to part of the continental United States due to the outbreak of an infectious disease.” -- CW

New York Times: "The veteran television personality Jane Pauley will replace Charles Osgood as the anchor of the highly rated CBS show 'Sunday Morning.' Mr. Osgood, who is retiring, announced the news on his last show on Sunday. Ms. Pauley’s first day in the role will be Oct. 9, and she will become only the third anchor of the show, which started in 1979." -- CW 

New York Times: "Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe?.... In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer. In the journal Nature, three separate teams of geneticists survey DNA collected from cultures around the globe, many for the first time, and conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.... All non-Africans are closely related to one another, geneticists found, and they all branch from a family tree rooted in Africa.... There are also clues that at least some modern humans may have departed Africa well before 50,000 years ago, perhaps part of an earlier wave of migration." -- CW ...

... CW Note to White Racists: You, too, are black. It's way past time to give up your quest for "racial purity"; it's genetically impossible. This, BTW, is something non-ignoramuses have known for a couple of decades. No wonder you hate science.

 

The Los Angeles Times has extensive coverage of the Emmy Awards here.

The video below will most likely be taken down for copyright infringement, so watch it while you can. It's pretty funny. Here's a WashPo report on Jeb!'s cameo on the opening bit for the Emmy Awards. Also, ABC may put up a video of it here, but they have nothing at all up on the awards ceremony as of 8:30 am ET, Monday, Sept. 19.

Chris Welch of the Verge: "Twitter is about to make a big change to the way that tweets work.... Beginning September 19th, the company will cut down on exactly which types of content count toward the platform's 140-character limit. Media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce the count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility in composing their messages."

You'll want to supersize this one:

 

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, unsuccessful in his bid to become Donald Trump's running mate, has reimagined himself as a celebrity, instead. He'll appear this season on "Dancing with the 'Stars,'" competing against other fabulous celebrities like Ryan Lochte, unless Lochte is unavoidably detained in a Brazilian jail. (Here's a link to Perry's veepstakes proffer. Of course Trump ultimately rejected Perry, but promised to make him head of some agency or department Perry probably can't remember.) CW: As always, we concentrate on the serious, important news because politics ain't funny.

...Washington Post: Charles Osgood, who is 83 years old, announced Sunday, August 28, that he was retiring as host of the long-running CBS show "Sunday Morning." "He will stay on through Sept. 25. Osgood has been the face of the weekly program since 1994, when he took it over from its first host, Charles Kuralt." -- CW 

... Guardian: "The search for life outside our solar system has been brought to our cosmic doorstep with the discovery of an apparently rocky planet orbiting the nearest star to our sun. Thought to be at least 1.3 times the mass of the Earth, the planet lies within the so-called 'habitable zone' of the star Proxima Centauri, meaning that liquid water could potentially exist on the newly discovered world." -- CW 

Guardian: "A fisherman in the Philippines has kept what might be the largest natural pearl ever found hidden in his home for more than 10 years. The enormous pearl is 30cm wide (1ft), 67cm long (2.2ft) and weighs 34kg (75lb). If it is confirmed to have formed within a giant clam, as has been reported, it would likely be valued in excess of US$100m." CW: Looks like there will be a fight on this: when he moved house, the fisherman entrusted it to his aunt for safekeeping. "With his permission, she offered the pearl to the mayor, Lucilo R Bayon, to serve as new tourist attraction of city." -- CW 

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Tuesday
Jul122016

The Commentariat -- July 13, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Heather Stewart & Peter Walker of the Guardian: "Theresa May promised to fight 'burning injustice' in British society, govern for the poor and marginalised, and create a union 'between all of our citizens' in her first remarks as the UK's prime minister. Standing outside No 10 Downing Street after visiting the Queen in Buckingham Palace to 'kiss hands' and be formally anointed as Britain's second female prime minister, May made a bold grab for the political centre ground." CW: Hmm. I think we just heard from a "compassionate Conservative." Oh, dear.

Shes' as good at curtseying as Thatcher:

*****

See also yesterday's Afternoon Update.

Gardiner Harris & Mark Landler of the New York Times: "President Obama said on Tuesday that the nation mourned along with Dallas for five police officers gunned down by a black Army veteran, but he implored Americans not to give in to despair or the fear that 'the center might not hold.'... Former President George W. Bush[, who lives in Dallas,] spoke earlier at the memorial." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

Campbell Robertson of the New York Times: "Law enforcement officials said [in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,] Tuesday that they were investigating a plot by four people to shoot at police officers, and they cited the threat to explain the heavy police presence at protests within the last week. The discovery of the plot arose from arrests made in connection with the burglary of a pawnshop early Saturday, federal, state and local officials said." -- CW ...

I also think it's important that we acknowledge that the fact that there are people in this country who believe that because of their color of their skin, they're not as safe as everybody else. And the fact that people think that and feel that is a problem in this country. -- Paul Ryan, on a CNN "town hall," Tuesday

CW Translation: "Those people" suffer from paranoid delusions, & that's a problem. ...

... Matt Fuller & Laura Barron-Lopez of the Huffington Post: Paul Ryan proposes to "have a good conversation where we calm things down, and we talk about solutions" to gun violence. Actual "solutions": zero: "... It's nearly certain that no legislation will materialize on gun regulation before lawmakers leave Washington for a seven-week break...." -- CW ...

... Jonathan Chait: "Conservatives like Brit Hume and Myron Magnet are lashing out at a wide array of subjects -- Black Lives Matter activists, President Obama, black crime in general -- in a perfectly emblematic display of the reflexive denial that remains the foundation of right-wing racial thought. The reactionary beliefs are hard to pin down, as they are more diffuse expressions of resentment than any kind of specific analytic claim.... The reactionary's response to this reality [of police discrimination against minorities] is to change the subject to the sources of his own grievance.... Suppose [the right's] entire litany of historical grievances was completely justified. What would any of this have to do with the question at hand, the treatment of African-Americans by police?" -- CW

The Height of Cynicism. Ian Millhiser of Think Progress (July 11): "One month ago on Tuesday, a gunman shot and killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. House Republicans plan to mark this milestone with a hearing on a bill that would enable widespread discrimination against LGBT people. The legislation, ironically named the 'First Amendment Defense Act' (FADA) ... grants special rights to individuals with a 'religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.'... The anti-LGBT bill has 171 different co-sponsors, nearly all of them Republicans." Thanks to Forrest M. for the link.

The Party of (a Dystopian) Yesterday. Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "Republicans moved on Tuesday toward adopting a staunchly conservative platform that takes a strict, traditionalist view of the family and child rearing, bars military women from combat, describes coal as a 'clean' energy source and declares pornography a 'public health crisis.' It is a platform that at times seems to channel ... Donald J. Trump -- calling to 'destroy ISIS,' belittling President Obama as weak and accusing his administration of inviting attacks from adversaries. But the document positions itself far to the right of Mr. Trump's beliefs in other places -- and amounts to a rightward lurch even from the party's hard-line platform in 2012 -- especially as it addresses gay men, lesbians and transgender people." -- CW ...

... Kira Lerner of Think Progress picks "six of the most notable planks that the party approved for its platform on Monday: (1) Pornography is a 'public health crisis'...; (2) Marriage should still be between a man and woman...; (3) Children raised in 'traditional' homes are 'healthier'...; (4) Parents can force their LGBT children to undergo 'conversion therapy'...; (5) Education includes 'a good understanding of the Bible'...; (6) Coal is a 'clean' form of energy." CW: She forgot the ones embracing the tooth fairy & the Easter bunny.

Will Hobson & Cindy Boren of the Washington Post: "In 2014, a man testified that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno ignored his complaints of a sexual assault committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 1976 when the man was a 14-year-old boy, according to new court documents unsealed Tuesday in a Philadelphia court. Four other former assistant football coaches at the school also were aware of Sandusky acting inappropriately with boys before law enforcement was first notified in 1998, according to testimony contained in the documents. The allegations suggest that Paterno may have been made aware of Sandusky's actions far earlier than has previously been reported, and that knowledge of Sandusky's behavior may have been far more widespread among the Penn State football staff than previously known." -- CW

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.

Matt Gertz of Media Matters: "Former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is still being paid by ... [Trump's] campaign while simultaneously drawing a salary as a CNN contributor to discuss the candidate on-air, according to the network. CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and host Don Lemon noted that Lewandowski is 'still receiving severance from the Trump campaign' while introducing him in July 11 and July 12 segments. These references appear to be the first time CNN has disclosed the severance payments even though Lewandowski was hired nearly three weeks ago.... Since his hiring, Lewandowski has by his own admission continued to advise the Trump campaign, even pushing a camera away from the candidate during a campaign stop." -- CW

John Koblin of the New York Times: "Speaking publicly for the first time since she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former boss, Roger Ailes, the Fox News chairman, [Gretchen] Carlson repeated the allegations she made in the suit, saying Mr. Ailes made sexual advances toward her and later fired her because she complained about sexual harassment at the network.... In recent days, more than a dozen prominent Fox News personalities -- Greta Van Susteren, Sean Hannity, Neil Cavuto and Kimberly Guilfoyle, among others -- have spoken out to defend Mr. Ailes.

Presidential Race

Greg Sargent: "With many political observers and commentators wringing their hands about the failure of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to unite the country in the wake of police killings and deaths..., we should be pointing out that one of the two candidates is actively trying to divide the country, while the other just isn't.... Clinton [today, at the site of Lincoln's "house divided" speech,] will once again speak to grievances on both sides, as she has been doing. Meanwhile, Trump claims Black Lives Matter is inherently racist. Spot the difference there?" -- CW

Amy Chozick & Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "In an apparent sign that Senator Elizabeth Warren will not be named Hillary Clinton's running mate, Ms. Warren was invited by Mrs. Clinton's campaign on Tuesday to deliver a prime-time address on the first night of the Democratic convention this month -- a marquee speaking slot but one that is earlier than vice-presidential picks typically appear.... Two Democrats briefed on the invitation to Mrs. Warren, however, cautioned that Mrs. Clinton had not yet made a decision about a running mate and that asking Ms. Warren to take the stage on the first night did not preclude her from being tapped as the vice-presidential nominee." -- CW ...

... Ashley Parker & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Hillary Clinton's campaign is vetting James G. Stavridis, a retired four-star Navy admiral who served as the 16th supreme allied commander at NATO, as a possible running mate, according to a person with knowledge of the vetting process. Some close to Mrs. Clinton ... say she was always likely to have someone with military experience on her vice-presidential shortlist, and Mr. Stavridis, currently the dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, fits the description." -- CW

I think the senator's [Bernie Sanders] intentions is to stump quite heavily for the secretary [Hillary Clinton] all across the country, obviously and specifically in the battleground states. In addition to that, he'll be campaigning for down-ballot progressive Democrats in states all across the country -- whether they are battlegrounds or not in battlegrounds. I think you are going to see a lot of Senator Sanders on the stump. -- Jeff Weaver, Bernie Sanders' top aide, in a Politico interview (CW Note: the only link is a generic one, which I think will be "disappeared" tomorrow.)

John Cassidy of the New Yorker: In endorsing Hillary Clinton, Bernie "Sanders, having delayed this moment since the California primary, on June 7th, and having extracted a number of significant policy concessions from the Clinton campaign (including the free-tuition pledge for students at in-state public universities), was keeping his side of an old-fashioned political deal. And he was doing it with an enthusiasm that was either genuine or impressively faked. At times, Clinton seemed to be so pleased that she didn't know whether to nod or applaud, so she did both." -- CW ...

... Charles Pierce on Bernie Sanders' endorsement of Hillary Clinton. CW: Like me, Pierce attended the endorsement event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I'd add one thing to Pierce's assessment: I think Hillary showed a lot of guts in allowing Bernie to endorse her deep inside Bernie territory (he beat her by 22 points in New Hampshire, & by 29 points in Maine, which is right next door. In his home state of Vermont, which is also close by, he beat her by72.5 points.

Jeff Toobin of the New Yorker: Hillary "Clinton has committed no crimes with regard to her e-mails, but she has developed an unhealthy relationship with her pursuers, who surely will only redouble their efforts if she becomes President. Burned in the past, she has become excessively defensive, and harms herself more than those who long to bring her down. The next time she's under fire -- and there will be a next time -- Clinton would be best advised to forget her past and act like she hasn't seen it all before." -- CW

Jamelle Bouie: "... the greatest triumph of the Sanders campaign: To surpass establishment fundraising with small-dollar donations is to change how presidential politics is conducted. Now, candidates have space to marginalize influential factions and interests within the party -- Wall Street, for instance -- without facing an insurmountable deficit in election-year funding. That, far more than Sanders' electoral performance, opens the space for more left-wing politics (although the two are related)." -- CW

Stubby-Fingered Man Points Out He Has a White Friend:

Like Black People, Donald Trump Is Victim of Bias. Sabrina Siddiqui of the Guardian: "... even as he expressed concerns over the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, describing videos of the encounters as 'tough to watch', [Donald] Trump blamed Barack Obama and Black Lives Matter as primarily responsible for divisions over race.... Asked what he would say to African Americans who feel as though the system was biased against them, Trump drew an analogy with his own campaign. 'Well, I've been saying, even against me the system is rigged,' Trump told O'Reilly. 'When I ran for president I could see what is going on with the system, and the system is rigged. I can really relate it very much to myself'." -- CW

Eric Levitz of New York reprises an AP interview of Donald Trump in which the Trumpster criticizes Black Lives Matter. CW: I'd say Levitz is suggesting that Der Drumpf is a hypocrite.

Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot - resign! -- Donald Trump, in a tweet, Wednesday morning ...

... Joan Biskupic of CNN: "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's well-known candor was on display in her chambers late Monday, when she declined to retreat from her earlier criticism of Donald Trump and even elaborated on it. 'He is a faker,' she said of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, going point by point, as if presenting a legal brief. 'He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego.... How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.'" -- CW ...

... Michael Shear & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump described Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Tuesday as a 'disgrace' to the Supreme Court after she expanded on the criticism of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee that she first voiced last week.... 'I think it's highly inappropriate that a United States Supreme Court judge gets involved in a political campaign, frankly,' Mr. Trump said in a telephone interview. 'I think it's a disgrace to the court, and I think she should apologize to the court. I couldn't believe it when I saw it.... And I would hope that she would get off the court as soon as possible.'" -- CW ...

... Nick Gass: "While remarking Wednesday on ABC's 'Good Morning America' that he would let Ginsburg herself speak to whether her recent criticism was inappropriate, [Bernie] Sanders added, 'Let me very clear: I agree with what Justice Ginsburg said.'" -- CW ...

... digby: "Seriously, I think the thing that exposes Mr Politically Incorrect's insanity (or stupidity) as much as anything is the fact that he believes he can criticize others for behaving inappropriately even as he behaves like a barbarian on a daily basis. But it does mark him as a perfect wingnut. Their pearl clutching over their rivals doing things they constantly do themselves is one of their fundamental characteristics.... And predictably the media and establishment Democrats are calling for the smelling salts a la ACORN and General Betrayus." -- CW ...

... New York Times Editors: "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs to drop the political punditry and the name-calling." -- CW

... Washington Post Editors: "However valid her comments may have been ... and however in keeping with her known political bent, they were still much, much better left unsaid by a member of the Supreme Court. There's a good reason the Code of Conduct for United States Judges flatly states that a 'judge should not ... publicly endorse or oppose a candidate for public office.' Politicization, real or perceived, undermines public faith in the impartiality of the courts." -- CW ...

... Mark Stern of Slate: "... Ginsburg has decided to sacrifice some of her prestige in order to send as clear a warning signal about Trump as she possibly can. The subtext of Ginsburg's comments, of her willingness to comment, is that Trump poses an unparalleled threat to this country -- a threat so great that she will abandon judicial propriety in order to warn against looming disaster." -- CW ...

... Eric Levitz: "As Glenn Greenwald notes, there is something quaint in the idea that Ginsburg's comments threaten the perception of the Court's impartiality -- and not, you know, that time the Supreme Court picked the U.S. president by a 5-4 party-line vote.... [And what if] one sees a Trump presidency as the gravest threat currently facing American democracy. In which case, shouldn't Supreme Court justices have license to sound the alarm?" -- CW ...

... Noah Feldman, in Bloomberg: "Nothing in the Constitution ... demands that the justices be nonpartisan, or even pretend to be. John Marshall, the greatest Chief Justice, served as John Adams's secretary of state at the same time that he was chief justice.... Sure, Marshall's dual role ... would be unthinkable today. But it's good proof that the Founders' generation, at least, wasn't obsessed with the idea that justices have to be outside the reach of politics.... The arguments against Ginsburg's candor almost all come down to the idea that she should have respected propriety and upheld the myth of judicial neutrality. But who, exactly, believes in that myth in the year 2016? It's been 16 years since Bush v. Gore killed off any vestiges that might have existed." -- CW ...

... Here's Robert Kuttner of the American Prospect on the many ways Donald Trump would trash the Constitution (published in the Prospect's summer issue). -- CW ...

. -- David McCullough, historian ...

... Jim Dwyer of the New York Times: David "McCullough and Ken Burns, the filmmaker and author, have assembled a group of distinguished American historians to speak about the candidacy of Donald J. Trump ... in videos being posted to a Facebook page, Historians on Donald Trump. It is a diverse, honored group -- including, among others, Robert A. Caro, Ron Chernow, David Levering Lewis, William E. Leuchtenberg, Vicki Lynn Ruiz -- that speaks with alarm about Mr. Trump's candidacy and his place in the march of American history." -- CW

Kelly O'Donnell of NBC News: "Donald Trump will showcase his vice presidential pick at a public event on Friday, multiple sources tell NBC News." CW: Whoop-de-doo, the anticipation is killing me. ...

... Eric Bradner, et al., of CNN: "As anticipation builds for Donald Trump to name his vice presidential pick, two hopefuls -- Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- appear to be the front-runners, according to a person familiar with the deliberations. Also still in the mix: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Trump will likely make the announcement on Friday, the source said." -- CW ...

... Paul Farhi of the Washington Post: "Fox News Channel said Tuesday that it has suspended its agreement with contributor Newt Gingrich due to 'intense media speculation' about Gingrich's possible selection as Donald Trump's running mate. The cable news channel said the suspension -- typical in cases in which an on-air contributor is running for office or considering it -- was mutually agreed upon." CW: Nice to know Fox -- not to mention Newt! -- is still the paragon of probity. ...

... Steve M.: Trump "could pick Sessions, or General Mike Flynn, or Ivanka, or whatever his overheated synapses tell him to do. And yet the press will describe whatever ticket he coughs up as carefully crafted and likely to do great damage to Hillary Clinton, because ... he's likely to pick a self-styled tough guy the press admires and/or regards as good copy. So there'll be a better ending than there should be for this mess of a vetting process." -- CW

So you think it's great Elizabeth Warren has a prime speaking spot on the first night of the Democratic convention? Ha! Democrats having nothing on the GOP. Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is expected to address the Republican National Convention -- perhaps as early as Monday, the opening night of the convention, according to two sources familiar with the plans." CW: Maybe Trump's purpose here is to show that there is, in fact, someone more execrable than he is.

Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "In a country where the wealthiest and most influential citizens are still mostly white, Mr. Trump is voicing the bewilderment and anger of whites who do not feel at all powerful or privileged. But in doing so, Mr. Trump has also opened the door to assertions of white identity and resentment in a way not seen so broadly in American culture in over half a century, according to those who track patterns of racial tension and antagonism in American life." -- CW

Congressional Race

That's What I Like About the South. Gideon Resnick of the Daily Beast: "David Duke says he is getting ready to run for Congress. The former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and ex-candidate for Louisiana governor told The Daily Beast he is heavily leaning towards challenging Rep. Steve Scalise. Scalise is the No. 3 Republican in the House who reportedly once called himself 'David Duke without the baggage' and spoke at a white nationalist group that Duke founded (two event attendees later said Scalise never attended the conference)." -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

Christine Hauser of the New York Times: "Christopher Simcox, a founder of the now-disbanded Minuteman border patrol group, has been sentenced in Arizona to more than 19 years in prison for sexual abuse of a 5-year-old girl, in a case that drew the attention of the Supreme Court after Mr. Simcox tried to question the young victim." Simcox, who represented himself at trial, plans to appeal the sentence. -- CW

Way Beyond

Griff Witte of the Washington Post: "Britain readied itself on Wednesday for a new prime minister as Theresa May prepared for a summons from the queen and David Cameron made his valedictory appearance in Parliament as the nation's leader. The day was filled with all the pageantry that comes with a change of occupancy at 10 Downing Street. Cameron received a poignant send-off from the green benches of the House of Commons. After that: the ritual trip down The Mall to Buckingham Palace for his successor. Cameron was welcomed to the House floor with a booming cheer...." -- CW

Monday
Jul112016

The Commentariat -- July 12, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Gardiner Harris & Mark Landler of the New York Times: "President Obama said on Tuesday that the nation mourned along with Dallas for five police officers gunned down by a black Army veteran, but he implored Americans not to give in to despair or the fear that 'the center might not hold.'... Former President George W. Bush[, who lives in Dallas,] spoke earlier at the memorial." -- CW

CW: What I Learned at the Revolution. Above is the one and only photo I took of the Clinton-Sanders event. Sanders, Clinton & the warm-up speakers -- Bill McKibben, John Dean, Gov. Maggie Hassan & Sen. Jeanne Shaheen -- all said all the right things. Hillary has another different hairdo. Her supporters behaved like ladies & gentlemen. The only person more obnoxious than the hard-core Sanders backers was a Trumpbot who paraded past everyone waiting in line before the event & warned us to "get your asses out of the country because you won't be safe when Trump takes over"; when he noticed there were hardly any minorities in the crowd, he amended that to, "well, you're okay because you're white, but look out, everybody else." ...

     ... Inside the event, a Sanders supporter sitting behind me started screaming, "fuck the pledge" during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. An old guy sitting in front of me almost reflexively told her to shut up, at which point she began screaming there was no god and we were all delusional to say the pledge. I very nicely told her she could do what I do & just skip the "under god" part, but show respect for people who want to recite the pledge, god or not. Her response: "I can hardly wait for you & your whole generation to die. You've fucked everything up & left it for me to clean up." (She was about 45, I'd guess.) She went on in that vein for a while until some security guy encouraged her to air her opinions out on the lawn. Later, when Hillary began speaking, Bernie had to signal his loudmouthed peanut gallery to STFU, as many of his supporters kept shouting their opinions over Hillary. They really liked yelling "No fracking!" because it sounds obscene. Democracy is an ass. ...

... It's About Time. Amy Chozick, Patrick Healy, and Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "After 14 months of policy clashes and moments of mutual disdain, Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, clearing away the last major obstacle to a united Democratic front heading into the party's convention this month and the general election this fall.... About 85 percent of Democrats who backed Mr. Sanders in the primary contests said they planned to vote for her in the general election.."

... Akhilleus: We await a first person report from our intrepid boots-on-the-ground correspondent, the Constant Weader.

News from the South China Sea, parts of which now under new management: Jane Perlez of the New York Times: "An international tribunal in The Hague delivered a sweeping rebuke on Tuesday of China's behavior in the South China Sea, including the construction of artificial islands, and found that its expansive claim to sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis. The tribunal also said that Beijing had violated international law by causing 'severe harm to the coral reef environment' and by failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from harvesting endangered sea turtles and other species 'on a substantial scale.'" -- Akhilleus

benghazi, Benghazi, BEN...oops, we mean email, Email, EMAIL! Matt Zapotosky of the Washington Post: "U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch repeatedly declined to answer any questions on Tuesday about her department's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state, making for a bizarre congressional hearing in which she referred questions about the matter to a man lower than her on the organizational chart. At the outset of her testimony Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Lynch said it would be 'inappropriate for me to comment further on the underlying facts of the investigation or the legal basis for the team's recommendation.' That put her in contrast with FBI Director James B. Comey, who answered questions for nearly five hours last week about how he concluded Clinton should not face criminal charges. -- Akhilleus

Be Careful What You Wish for Department. Ned Parker of Reuters: "The New Black Panther Party, a 'black power' movement, will carry firearms for self-defense during demonstrations in Cleveland ahead of next week's Republican convention if allowed under Ohio law, the group's chairman said. The plan by the group could add to security headaches for the Ohio city after last week's killing of five police officers in Dallas.... Several other groups, including some supporters of ... Donald Trump, have said they will carry weapons in Cleveland, leading to concerns about rival groups being armed in close proximity. 'If it is an open state to carry, we will exercise our second amendment rights because there are other groups threatening to be there that are threatening to do harm to us,' Hashim Nzinga, chairman of the New Black Panther Party, told Reuters in an interview."

... Akhilleus: Hoo-boy. This could get bad real fast. But guess which group will be the first to be told to face the wall with their hands up? I'll give you a hint. They won't be the guys wearing the Trump hats.

*****

I'm off to join the circus and won't be back till late afternoon. Carry on. -- CW

Cops Gone Wild. Zack Kopplin of the Daily Beast: "Hundreds of people in Baton Rouge who were peacefully protesting on private property Sunday evening were thrown into the street by police -- and then several were arrested for being on the street.... After 90 minutes of peaceful assembly, police charged the crowd [of about 500 people] for no apparent reason. Protesters scattered, many running down a side street. Those protesters were then arrested for obstruction of a highway.... Throughout the confrontation, police threatened to arrest all journalists without credentials." -- CW ...

... Charles Pierce: "Baton Rouge cops are operating like they're on the streets of Fallujah." ...

... The Lady and the Storm Troopers. Michael Miller of the Washington Post: The woman in a summer dress being rushed and arrested by police in riot gear at a Baton Rouge protest has been identified. "Within hours of the photo's publication, news outlets, activists and the Internet itself were working overtime to figure out who she was.... After activist and New York Daily News writer Shaun King posted the photo to Facebook, several self-identified friends and family members identified her as Ieshia Evans. 'To see all of the comments under this post shows me that my cousin did not make a mistake by going out there and standing up for her rights and what she believes in,' wrote Nikka Thomas." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

     ... Akhilleus: One commenter to the WaPo article noted that it looked like a queen meeting the peasants. But plenty of other commenters can't stand the fact that this is a calm black woman not knuckling under to the power. One idiot whined that Black Lives Matter protesters can't possibly look like that. Others are complaining that protests like this should not be allowed. Still other misogynists zero in on the fact that she has a child but is not married. "Her kid will be a thug soon enough" and "Shame" are common attacks. They can't stand the idea of any black person, especially a woman, displaying dignity when faced with an overwhelming show of force. She should be on her knees begging forgiveness. Heads are exploding all over. Thank you, Ieshia. ...

... Christopher Spata of Complex: "A day after Chris LeDay helped the first video of police officers shooting Alton Sterling to death in Baton Rouge, La. go viral, he was arrested himself in what he believes was retaliation by police officers. LeDay, who lives in Atlanta, didn't film the shooting himself, but was the first person online to help it spread to a wider audience when he posted it to his Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts that all have large followings." -- CW

Charles Fleming & Samantha Masunaga of the Los Angeles Times: "The Securities and Exchange Commission is reportedly investigating Tesla Motor Co. for possibly breaking securities law by failing to disclose that one of its drivers had died while using the company's Autopilot semi-autonomous software." -- CW

All About Bill. Evan Halper of the Los Angeles Times reviews some of the huge speaking fees Bill Clinton charged non-profits in California, along with his requiring super-expensive perqs & refusing to allow non-screened audience questions. -- CW

Presidential Race

Matt Zapotosky of the Washington Post: "Two Republican congressmen on Monday formally requested that the U.S. Attorney for the District investigate whether Hillary Clinton committed perjury when she testified before a congressional committee about her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. The letter from U.S. Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) asserts that evidence collected by the FBI during its investigation involving Clinton's email practices 'appears to directly contradict several aspects of her sworn testimony' and asks federal authorities to 'investigate and determine whether to prosecute Secretary Clinton for violating statutes that prohibit perjury and false statements to Congress, or any other relevant statutes.'" -- CW ...

... David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "A watchdog group with ties to Democrats has asked the IRS to investigate Donald Trump's charitable foundation over a report that Trump used money meant for charity to buy a football helmet signed by former NFL star Tim Tebow. 'What's unambiguous is that Mr. Trump ... manager and fiduciary of the Foundation's charitable assets, used Foundation dollars to purchase football memorabilia that he personally coveted,' wrote Brad Woodhouse of the American Democracy Legal Fund, in a letter to the IRS. Woodhouse is a longtime Democratic operative." -- CW

Louis Nelson of Politico: "'We must maintain law and order at the highest level or we will cease to have a country, 100 percent,' [Donald Trump] said during a speech in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in which he heaped praise upon America's law enforcement officers. 'We will cease to have a country. I am the law and order candidate.... Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is weak, ineffective, pandering, and as proven by her recent email scandal which was an embarrassment not only to her but to the entire nation as a whole,' Trump continued." ...

     ... CW: I wish somebody would asked Trump what he means by "we will cease to have a country," something he says often. I have no idea what that means. Will we all become non-citizens? Will all the states secede? Will we abolish the Constitution? Will Elizabeth II be our new queen? Or will we become part of Mexico? Cuba? What? Maybe we can all join the Conch Republic. That could be cool.

Arturo Garcia of the Raw Story: "A federal judge ruled on Monday that a Virginia law binding Republican state delegates to Donald Trump was unconstitutional, the conservative news site RedState reported. While it does not change rules regarding delegates at the upcoming Republican National Convention, the decision allows the plaintiff, Carroll 'Beau' Correll, as well as other Virginia delegates to vote for another candidate during the first round of balloting. WTKR-TV reported that the judge agreed with Correll's argument that being forced to vote for Trump as a delegate violated his First Amendment rights." -- CW

Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "Ohio's open-carry laws mean that those who legally own guns can take them into the 1.7-square-mile area where many of the events and protests connected to the Republican convention will be held next week. Beginning Sunday, protesters are expected to flood into the city, with causes ranging from white supremacy to Palestinian rights." CW: We passed a stupid law because we could, & now we're worried about the consequences.

Who Will Stand Up for Racism, Authoritarianism, and Ignorance? Who Else? Priscilla Alvarez of The Atlantic: "The list of speakers for the Republican national convention is taking shape, even as tensions among some Republicans and the party's presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, run high. House Speaker Paul Ryan is among the latest adds to the speaking list.... Ryan ... said 'I want to talk about our ideas, our solutions, and how our party should unite ... around our common principles and how we apply those principles to problems.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

     ... Akhilleus: Sure, Paul Ryan claims he doesn't agree with Donald Trump but he's happy to go to Cleveland and support his candidacy. Did I miss something there? Oh, Ted Cruz is also happy to stand up for racism and authoritarianism. Natch.

Trump Allowing Religious Right Loonies to Run the Show. Peter Montgomery of Right Wing Watch: "The Republican Party's platform committee started meeting in Cleveland this morning to hash out final language that will be presented to delegates at the Republican National Convention next week. Religious Right activists have been gearing up for months to make sure that the platform keeps the anti-gay and anti-abortion language.... In May, right-wing Iowa Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told Fox News that his goal was 'to get as many solid, constitutional conservatives to Cleveland and onto the platform and rules committees.' That same month, The New York Times reported that Ted Cruz supporters, including former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, were out to 'fill the Rules and Platform Committees with strong conservative voices.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

     ... Akhilleus: Surprise, surprise, surprise! Maybe they can open the proceedings with a reading from Two Corinthians. ...

     ... CW: @Akhilleus: Wouldn't that be two readings?

Never Mind. Kristin Salaky of TPM: "A rumored choice for Donald Trump's running mate reversed his stance on abortion Monday, calling himself 'a pro-life Democrat.'Just one day after saying the procedure should be a woman's choice, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn appeared to flip-flop on his view of abortion in a convoluted clarification to Fox News. 'This pro-choice issue is a legal issue that should be decided by the courts...,' Flynn told Fox News. 'If people want to change the law, they should vote so that we can appoint pro-life judges. I believe the law should be changed.' He sent shockwaves through anti-abortion groups Sunday when he said on ABC's 'This Week' that women should have 'sort of, the right of choice' with regard to abortion." -- CW

Senate Race

Tom LoBianco of CNN: "Evan Bayh is mounting a return bid to the U.S. Senate, giving national Democrats a boost as they aim to retake the chamber in November.... National Democratic leaders have encouraged Bayh to run for more than a year, ever since incumbent GOP Sen. Dan Coats announced he would not run again." CW: Because what the Senate needs now is another insufferable bore. ...

... Richard Mayhew of Balloon Juice Looks at the Bright Side: "... what do we know about Bayh -- he is an opportunist, a weather vane, and conventional wisdom Very Serious Person. And those are his good qualities. If he is willing to jump into a race that should be an uphill climb in a neutral environment, the opportunist as a concurrent indicator means things are looking good" in November." -- CW ...

... Dylan Matthews of Vox: "... his announcement could turn this race from a long shot for Democrats into a seriously competitive contest. And that could significantly improve the party's odds of retaking the chamber. -- CW ...

... AND, as Paul Waldman puts it, "Tom Lobianco reports that corporate lobbyist and former senator Evan Bayh is running for his old seat, now that former corporate lobbyist senator Dan Coats is retiring, presumably to resume being a corporate lobbyist." -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

Katrease Stafford of the Detroit Free Press: "Berrien County[, Michigan,] Sheriff Paul Bailey confirmed at a Monday press conference that two court bailiffs -- both retired police officers -- were killed and the suspect, an unidentified man, was shot and killed by police inside the county courthouse in downtown St. Joseph.... 'The person had shot two bailiffs, they're both deceased, and shot a deputy sheriff who is at the hospital right now being treated in an emergency room.'" -- CW

Sunday
Jul102016

The Commentariat -- July 11, 2016

Afternoon Update:

The Lady and the Storm Troopers. Michael Miller of the Washington Post: The woman in a summer dress being rushed and arrested by police in riot gear at a Baton Rouge protest has been identified. "Within hours of the photo's publication, news outlets, activists and the Internet itself were working overtime to figure out who she was.... After activist and New York Daily News writer Shaun King posted the photo to Facebook, several self-identified friends and family members identified her as Ieshia Evans. 'To see all of the comments under this post shows me that my cousin did not make a mistake by going out there and standing up for her rights and what she believes in,' wrote Nikka Thomas."

...Akhilleus: One commenter to the WaPo article noted that it looked like a queen meeting the peasants. But plenty of other commenters can't stand the fact that this is a calm black woman not knuckling under to the power. One idiot whined that Black Lives Matter protesters can't possibly look like that. Others are complaining that protests like this should not be allowed. Still other misogynists zero in on the fact that she has a child but is not married. "Her kid will be a thug soon enough" and "Shame" are common attacks. They can't stand the idea of any black person, especially a woman, displaying dignity when faced with an overwhelming show of force. She should be on her knees begging forgiveness. Heads are exploding all over. Thank you Ieshia.

Who Will Stand Up for Racism, Authoritarianism, and Ignorance? Who Else? Priscilla Alvarez of The Atlantic: "The list of speakers for the Republican national convention is taking shape, even as tensions among some Republicans and the party's presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, run high. House Speaker Paul Ryan is among the latest adds to the speaking list, according to Politico's Playbook, just days away from the convention in Cleveland. Ryan, who will deliver a 10-minute speech, said 'I want to talk about our ideas, our solutions, and how our party should unite ... around our common principles and how we apply those principles to problems.'"

...Akhilleus: Sure, Paul Ryan claims he doesn't agree with Donald Trump but he's happy to go to Cleveland and support his candidacy. Did I miss something there? Oh, Ted Cruz is also happy to stand up for racism and authoritarianism. Natch.

Trump Allowing Religious Right Loonies to Run the Show. Peter Montgomery of Right Wing Watch: "The Republican Party's platform committee started meeting in Cleveland this morning to hash out final language that will be presented to delegates at the Republican National Convention next week. Religious Right activists have been gearing up for months to make sure that the platform keeps the anti-gay and anti-abortion language.... In May, right-wing Iowa Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told Fox News that his goal was 'to get as many solid, constitutional conservatives to Cleveland and onto the platform and rules committees.' That same month, The New York Times reported that Ted Cruz supporters, including former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, were out to 'fill the Rules and Platform Committees with strong conservative voices.'"

...Akhilleus: Suprise, surprise, surprise! Maybe they can open the proceedings with a reading from Two Corinthians.

*****

Anushka Asthana of the Guardian: British PM "David Cameron has said he will step down as prime minister on Wednesday afternoon following prime minister's questions, allowing Theresa May to succeed him at No 10. The outgoing prime minister made a brief statement on Monday, welcoming the fact there would not be a prolonged Conservative leadership contest, saying that he felt Andrea Leadsom had made the right decision to step aside." See also linked story under Way Beyond the Beltway. ...

'It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done' ....


Michael Schmidt of the New York Times: "President Obama will deploy 560 troops to Iraq to help retake Mosul, the largest city controlled by the Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter announced on Monday. It is the latest escalation of the United States' role in the war here by Mr. Obama, who ran for office on a pledge to end America's involvement in the conflict. The additional troops will bring the official number of American service members deployed in Iraq to 4,647." -- CW

... How to Safely Arrest a Dangerous Protester. CW: Illustration from the Louisiana State Police Manual, I guess. (Actually, the photo is by Jonathan Bachman.)

Manny Fernandez, et al., of the New York Times: Dallas "city and county leaders said the presence of armed protesters openly carrying rifles on Thursday through downtown Dallas had created confusion for the police as the attack unfolded, and in its immediate aftermath made it more difficult for officers to distinguish between suspects and marchers.... Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas suggested in an interview on Sunday that, in the wake of the attack, he supported tightening the state's gun laws to restrict the carrying of rifles and shotguns in public." CW: Apparently in Texas it takes a Democrat like Rawlings to articulate the consequences of Stupid Republican Tricks. ...

... Yamiche Alcindor & Steve Kenny of the New York Times: "DeRay Mckesson, a national voice for the Black Lives Matter movement, was among hundreds of people arrested at demonstrations across the country late Saturday and early Sunday, as protesters expressed anger over the shootings of two black men by police officers last week.... Among those arrested in Baton Rouge were three members of the news media and Mr. Mckesson.... He was released around 3:30 p.m. Sunday after more than 16 hours in custody." -- CW ...

     ... The Washington Post story, by Fenit Nirappil & others, is here. -- CW ...

... Darlene Superville & Kathleen Hennessey of the AP: "President Barack Obama on Sunday urged respect and restraint from Americans angered by the killing of black men by police, saying anything less does a 'disservice to the cause' of ridding the criminal justice system of racial bias. He also urged law enforcement to treat seriously complaints that they are heavy-handed and intolerant, particularly toward minorities. 'I'd like all sides to listen to each other,' Obama said in response to a reporter's question after he met with Spain's acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, during an abbreviated first visit to Spain as president." -- CW ...

... Jessie Hellman of the Hill: "President Obama will visit Dallas on Tuesday at the invitation of Mayor Mike Rawlings, following the shooting deaths of five police officers. Obama will deliver remarks at an interfaith memorial service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the White House announced on Sunday afternoon." -- CW ...

... ** Aviva Shen of Think Progress: "Another black man was shot and killed by police in Texas early Saturday morning. Houston Police said Alva Braziel was waving a gun around and pointed it at them when they opened fire. But surveillance footage from a nearby gas station suggests otherwise. The video, which began circulating Saturday night on Twitter, shows Braziel walk out toward an intersection. When the squad car arrives, he appears to put his hands in the air and turn around, standing still for a few seconds before police shoot him.... In a majority-white neighborhood of Houston this weekend, an armed suspect fired seven rounds at police officers. Yet police managed to end the standoff with gas and other non-lethal means without killing the man." -- CW ...

... Alan Blinder & Timothy Williams of the New York Times: "The sniper who fatally shot five police officers in Dallas was believed to be planning a larger attack, the city's police chief said Sunday, providing new details of how the gunman had been singing, laughing and taunting officers during prolonged negotiations before he was killed by a bomb-equipped robot. David O. Brown, the police chief, said that evidence showed that Micah Johnson ... had been practicing detonations and that the explosive material had the potential 'to have devastating effects throughout our city and our North Texas area.'" -- CW ...

... Brandi Grissom of the Dallas Morning News: "Gov. Greg Abbott was in severe pain from second- and third-degree burns on his legs when he joined Dallas city officials Friday for a press conference in the aftermath of the mass shooting that left five police officers dead, the Austin American-Statesman reported Sunday." -- CW ...

... AND Rudy Giuliani Just Can't STFU, Part 1. Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Sunday said when people use the phrase 'black lives matter,' it's 'inherently racist.'... Giuliani said only a small number of African-Americans will die at the hands of the police, whereas the majority of African-Americans killed will die at the hands of a civilian, 'most often another black.'" CW: Yo, Rudy, the majority of Caucasian-Americans killed will die at the hands of a civilian, most often another white. I'm sure you know that, but that's not your point; you point is to diss black people. ...

... Rudy Giuliani Unable to STFU, Part 2. Nick Gass of Politico: "'So if you want to deal with this on the black side, you've got to teach your children to be respectful to the police, and you've got to teach your children that the real danger to them is not the police. The real danger to them, 99 out of 100 times,' is 'other black kids who are going to kill them; that's the way they're gonna die,' Giuliani said.... He said 'there's 60 shootings in Chicago over the Fourth of July and 14 murders, and Black Lives Matter is nonexistent, and then there's one police murder of very questionable circumstances, and we hear from Black Lives Matter.'" CW: To be fair, Giuliani did say the police must have "zero tolerance" for racial discrimination. ...

... Wait, Wait! There's a Part 3. Nick Gass: "... Rudy Giuliani on Monday fiercely defended his remarks the previous day in which he laid out the possible solutions to the United States' racial divides.... 'I believe I saved a lot more black lives than Black Lives Matter. I don't see what Black Lives Matter is doing for blacks other than isolating them,' Giuliani said Monday on 'Fox & Friends.' 'All it cares about is the police shooting of blacks. It doesn't care about the 90 percent of blacks that have been killed by other blacks. That's just a simple fact....' Giuliani then noted that '82 percent of the whites are killed by other whites,' adding that 'if you want to care about white lives matter, you have to worry about whites.'" CW: I told you Rudy knew that. But look how he managed to twist even that into a racist remark. I'm surprised Giuliani isn't on Trump's veep shortlist.

I can't imagine what this place would be -- I can't imagine what the country would be -- with Donald Trump as our president. For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be -- I don't even want to contemplate that. -- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in an interview Friday ...

... Adam Liptak of the New York Times: "In an interview in her chambers on Friday, Justice Ginsburg took stock of a tumultuous term and chastised the Senate for refusing to act on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee." Justice Ginsburg also discussed earlier decisions. "Asked if there were cases she would like to see the court overturn before she leaves it, she named one. 'It won't happen,' she said. 'It would be an impossible dream. But I'd love to see Citizens United overruled.'" -- CW

Telesur via Juan Cole: "U.S. state and local spending on prisons and jails grew at three times the rate of spending on schools over the last 33 years as the number of people behind bars ballooned under a spate of harsh sentencing laws, a government report released Thursday said.... State and local spending on postsecondary education has remained mostly flat since 1990, the report said. Average state and local per capita spending on corrections increased by 44 percent as higher education funding per full-time equivalent student decreased by 28 percent, it said." --safari

Paul Krugman: "there has been an extraordinary plunge in long-term interest rates.... Policy makers should be ... accepting the markets' offer of incredibly cheap financing." -- CW

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.

If Only the NYT Could Be More Like the Huffington Post. Isaac Chotiner of Slate: Liz Spayd, the new public editor of the New York Times, thinks the best way for the Times to prosper is to dumb it down & do lousier journalism, because that's what readers wants. Also, more comments (because the important thing isn't the news; it's what people think of the news). -- CW

Rosie Scammell of the Guardian: "The Vatican has named a former Fox News journalist and member of the controversial Opus Dei group as its chief spokesman, while a Spanish female reporter will serve as his deputy. The appointment of Greg Burke, 56, was announced following the resignation of Federico Lombardi, a Jesuit priest who has served as spokesman for Pope Francis and his predecessor, Benedict XVI." -- CW

Presidential Race

Nick Gass: "Bernie Sanders will join Hillary Clinton on Tuesday for a rally in New Hampshire, Clinton's campaign announced Monday. Sanders will campaign with Clinton at a high school in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at 11 a.m. Tuesday, less than two weeks before the party's convention begins in Philadelphia." -- CW

Ezra Klein interviewed Hillary Clinton June 22. Here's a transcript & video of the interview. (CW: Not sure why it took so long to publish the interview.) ...

... Klein says there's a gap between Hillary the public figure & Hillary the private person because she's a lousy speaker but a great listener, a skill she uses to help determine public policy. He says this gap is a sexist thing: women are listeners & men are talkers. -- CW

Katie Williams of the Hill: "Pressure is growing on the State Department to revoke the security clearances of several of Hillary Clinton's closest aides, potentially jeopardizing her ability to name her own national security team should she become president. The move could force Clinton to make an uncomfortable choice: abandon longtime advisers or face another political maelstrom by overriding the White House security agency." CW: It appears that "pressure" is coming from the usual suspects, so I'd take this story with a grain of salt.

Juan Cole: "The Clinton loyalists debating the Democratic Party platform have defeated an amendment that would have called for an end to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and condemned Israeli squatter settlements illegal.,..If the Democratic Party can't even just state that the Israeli squatter settlements are illegal, which is what the US signed on to when it ratified the Geneva Conventions, then it should change its name to the Colonial Party." --safari

Washington Post Editors: "... yes, the two major-party candidates for president are historically unpopular. But if this election is unusually bad, it is not because both parties chose bad candidates. There is no equivalence between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.... Ms. Clinton is a knowledgeable politician who has been vetted many times over. She understands and respects the U.S. Constitution. She knows policy. She can cite accomplishments in the public interest.... Mr. Trump, by contrast, has waged a campaign based on bigotry, ignorance and resentment. He has no experience as a public servant, and his private record of bankruptcies and exploitation should be disqualifying. He regularly circulates falsehoods. He has no discernible interest in or knowledge of policy.... Ms. Clinton is a politician, long in the arena, whom you may or may not support. Mr. Trump is a danger to the republic." -- CW

Alexander Burns & Maggie Haberman do some reporting on how Trump has stayed on message (one crafted by others, of course) this weekend. "Mr. Trump gave no interviews, and his normally active Twitter account sent only five posts.... His advisers have tried to seize opportunities for him to project a sense of calm leadership. So far, this has been unsuccessful." CW: If he hadn't attended a fundraiser in the Hamptons, I'd suspect his campaign had literally tied him down & taken away all means of communication. As it was, I suppose the tranqed him & sent him out among his people, albeit on a short leash.

Today's Kneeslapper. Edward Helmore of the Guardian: "Oklahoma's governor, Mary Fallin [R], said Donald Trump was 'trying to campaign as a racial healer', as the presumptive Republican nominee tried to paint himself as a unifying force in a country feeling fractured over race, violence and policing." -- CW ...

... Here's Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.), speaking Sunday on "Meet the Press," with a Reality Chek: "So when I hear a presidential candidate like Donald Trump gratuitously demeaning women, demeaning Muslims, demeaning Latinos, at a time when our country needs reconciliation, we need people that bind our wounds and build bridges across our chasms -- to see someone so callously stoking hate and fear and inflaming divide, this is not the person to be president of the United States I believe ever, but definitely not at the time we need a healer, a reconciler." -- CW

Jessie Hellman: "A Donald Trump campaign stop in Indiana scheduled for Tuesday is raising speculation that the presumptive Republican nominee will announce Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. The Washington Times reported Sunday evening that Pence has a '95 percent probability' of being Trump's choice, according to sources close to the campaign and to the governor." -- CW ...

... John Santucci & Corrine Cathcart of ABC News: "Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal is among those being considered as a possible vice president pick for presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, sources tell ABC News.... McChrystal retired from the military in 2010 after being relieved of his position as the top commander in Afghanistan by President Obama following a controversial interview he held with Rolling Stone magazine." -- CW ...

... Cross This Guy Off the List. Jessie Hellman: "Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a rumored possible running mate for Donald Trump, said in an interview Sunday that it's a woman's right to choose whether or not she wants an abortion." CW: Flynn is a registered Democrat.

Michael D'Antonio of The Daily Beast: "Always deeply psychological endeavors, presidential campaigns reveal, in remarkably accurate ways, the hearts and minds of the candidates.... In 2016, with Donald Trump, we have a candidate who has spewed anger and bigotry and lurched from one controversy to the next.... But if you pay attention to his style, and the unique themes he returns to again and again, you start to recognize a pattern.... Trump's life is filled with so many examples of his effort to humiliate others as 'losers' (one of his favorite words) or 'dummies,' or 'ugly,' that it becomes clear that the concept of shame is always lurking in his psyche and ready to be flung at anyone who comes near...The supply of shame inside Trump is so great and near the surface that it comes bubbling up in his campaign that we naturally look for its source." --safari ...

... David Remnick of the New Yorker: "By his own standards, Donald Trump's statements on the violence in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas had, as the weekend began, been remarkable mainly for how subdued they were. And yet it can't be overlooked that these events come in the midst of a troubling election campaign in which Trump has done everything possible to arouse the worst instincts of many voters. His casual race-baiting, deliberate divisiveness, and stagey swagger are the last qualities the country needs in a leader -- always, but now in particular. Have you been watching Trump this past week? I mean, watching him in all his unbalanced fullness? To watch him is to wonder about his mental stability." -- CW

Sean Posey, via Salon: "Writing off Trump might be presumptuous at this point, especially since the media and other experts missed almost every salient facet of Trump's seemingly improbable rise. Yet even if his campaign encounters electoral bankruptcy in November, the specter of another Trumpian figure emerging in the future remains highly probable." --safari

** Yastreblyansky, posting on No More Mister Nice Blog, points to evidence that Trump would be largely an absentee president. "He might be willing to be the Head of State -- like the president of Germany or the queen of England -- but not the Head of Government. He'll fly around from photo op to photo op, taking meetings and looking at things, and perhaps relaxing at the local golf course.... He'll spend a lot of time on the Twitter denouncing his critics, of course. It doesn't make the prospect of a Trump presidency any less dangerous." -- CW

Nicole Hemmer & Brent Cebul in the New Republic: Trump is the new Gingrich. -- CW ...

... Alex Shephard of the New Republic: No, Donald & Newt don't suddenly get it, just because they made the appropriate noises in the wake of the Dallas massacre. Their long histories of overt racism aren't wiped away by a couple of reasonable statements. -- CW ...

... Aaron Rupar of Think Progress: "Gingrich, like Trump, has advocated for profiling as a counterterrorism strategy. He also dog whistled about black-on-black crime during Friday's Facebook Live broadcast, saying that part of the reason it's more dangerous to be black is 'because of the crime, which is the Chicago story.' And of course, Gingrich has linked himself closely to Trump, who has spent his campaign fomenting many varieties of racial animus." -- CW

Way Beyond the Beltway

Anushka Asthana, et al., of the Guardian: "Andrea Leadsom has pulled out of the race to become the next Conservative leader in the 'best interests of the country', paving the way for Theresa May to be crowned prime minister.... Graham Brady, the chair of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee, said he would now formally confirm May as the new leader of the Conservative party.... Leadsom had been shaken by the scale of the response to a newspaper interview in which she suggested that the fact she was a mother meant she had a larger stake in society than May." -- CW

Jake Adelstein of The Daily Beast: "In the Land of the Rising Sun, a conservative Shinto cult dating back to the 1970s, which includes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe..., finally has been dragged out of the shadows.... The state-sponsored Shintoism promulgated here before and during World War II also elevated the Emperor to the status of a God and insisted that the Japanese were a divine race -- the Yamato; with all other races considered inferior.... The current cult's goals: gut Japan's post-war pacifist constitution, end sexual equality, get rid of foreigners, void pesky 'human rights' laws, and return Japan to its Imperial Glory. With Japan's parliamentary elections to be held on July 10, the cult may now have its chance to dominate policy completely." --safari

Jason Burke of the Guardian: "More than 300 people are reported to have been killed, including many civilians and a Chinese peacekeeper, in renewed fighting in South Sudan's capital Juba, raising fears the country is returning to civil war. The new clashes broke out on Thursday and Friday between troops loyal to Salva Kiir, the president, and soldiers who support the vice-president, Riek Machar. Observers say it is clear that the peace deal concluded last August between the two main factions in the young country is only holding 'by a thread'." --safari

News Lede

New York Times: "John Brademas, a political, financial and academic dynamo who served 22 years in Congress and more than a decade as president of New York University in an all-but-seamless quest to promote education, the arts and a liberal agenda, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 89." CW: I knew Brademas back in the day. He was a magnificent man, the embodiment of "a gentleman & a scholar." And he did single-handedly turn a third-rate university into a world-class institution, by itself a remarkable feat.

Saturday
Jul092016

The Commentariat -- July 10, 2016

Darlene Superville & Kathleen Hennessey of the AP: President Obama has arrived in Madrid for a shortened visit, his first to Spain. "Obama noted the 'difficult week' as he made small talk Sunday with King Felipe VI after arriving at Spain's Royal Palace for a meeting." -- CW ...

... Mark Landler & Rick Lyman of the New York Times: "President Obama, acknowledging that the trans-Atlantic alliance faces an unprecedented array of threats from terrorism, migrant flows and an aggressive Russia, said on Saturday that 'in good times and in bad, Europe can count on the United States -- always.... We haven't simply reaffirmed' the alliance, Mr. Obama said at a news conference. 'We're moving forward with the most significant reinforcement of collective defense any time since the Cold War.' Mr. Obama spoke in Warsaw at the end of a NATO summit meeting that illustrated how radically the global security situation has changed since he took office in 2009." -- CW ...

... Evelyn Rupert of the Hill: "President Obama said Saturday that he is 'concerned' by the FBI assessment that the State Department has acted carelessly in handling classified information.... But he cast the problem as a government-wide struggle to keep up technology and the fast-paced flow of information." -- CW

... Greg Jaffe & Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post: President Obama, "speaking on Saturday at the NATO summit here, suggested that the licensed gun in the car of Philando Castile, who was shot by police in Minnesota during a routine traffic stop, had contributed to the tragedy there.... On the gun issue, he said the polarization in the country pitted 'a very intense minority' against the 'majority of Americans who actually think we could be doing better when it comes to gun safety.'... Obama said some of the protesters in Dallas, a large city in a state where people can openly carry weapons with a license, were armed during the march. 'Imagine if you are a police officer and you are trying to sort out who is shooting at you and there are a bunch of people who have got guns on them,' he added." -- CW ...

... Michael Barbaro & Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "Black Lives Matter now faces perhaps the biggest crisis in its short history: It is both scrambling to distance itself from an African-American sniper in Dallas who set out to murder white police officers and trying to rebut a chorus of detractors who blame the movement for inspiring his deadly attack." CW: The "chorus of detractors" is stupid. Peaceful protest is an American institution, & that's what most protesters in Dallas & elsewhere were doing -- protesting peacefully against grave injustice. ...

... Steve Kenny of the New York Times: "DeRay Mckesson, who has become a national voice for the Black Lives Matter movement, was arrested Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La., while protesting the death of Alton Sterling. Mr. Mckesson filmed his own arrest while broadcasting the protest on Periscope." -- CW ...

... Brian Murphy & Ashley Cusick of the Washington Post: "Across the country, more than 120 people have been arrested since Friday in protest marches and rallies in more than a dozen cities following a week of searing images: videos stemming from the deaths of two black men fatally shot by police -- in Baton Rouge and Minnesota -- and later downtown Dallas streets erupting in sniper gunfire that would leave five police officer dead." -- CW ...

... Jon Swaine & Tom Dart of the Guardian: "Dallas police searched in vain for a suspicious man spotted in its headquarters on Saturday evening amid fresh threats to the city's officers and renewed anti-police violence protests across the country. Amid heightened security in Dallas, Swat team officers and dog units scoured a multi-level parking garage connected to the police force's building. An explosive device and a shotgun were used to gain entry to locked passages, according to police." -- CW ...

... Jon Swaine: "The Dallas police department has defended its decision to use a robot to kill the gunman who fatally shot five of its officers, saying the controversial method was used only 'as a last resort'. Amid disquiet about the potential legal implications of the killing, the department also gave the first public details of the model of robot and type of explosive device they used against Micah Johnson, a 25-year-old army reserve veteran." -- CW ...

... Mitch Smith of the New York Times: "A lawyer for the suburban police officer who fatally shot a black man during a traffic stop said on Saturday that the race of the driver, Philando Castile, played no role in how his client responded, and that the officer 'was reacting to the presence of a gun' when he opened fire. The comments from the lawyer, Thomas Kelly, provided the fullest accounting yet of Officer Jeronimo Yanez's version of the shooting Wednesday night, even as many details remain unclear.... Officer Yanez is Latino." -- CW ...

... Carla Johnson & Steve Karnowski of the AP: "Philando Castile ... had been pulled over at least 52 times in recent years in and around the Twin Cities and given citations for minor offenses including speeding, driving without a muffler and not wearing a seat belt. He was assessed at least $6,588 in fines and fees, although more than half of the total 86 violations were dismissed, court records show.... The records show no convictions for more serious crimes." -- CW ...

... Reese Dunklin & Juliet Linderman of the AP: "The gunman who killed five police officers at a protest march had practiced military-style drills in his yard and trained at a private self-defense school that teaches special tactics, including 'shooting on the move,' a maneuver in which an attacker fires and changes position before firing again. Micah Johnson, an Army veteran, received instruction at the Academy of Combative Warrior Arts in the Dallas suburb of Richardson about two years ago, said the school's founder and chief instructor...." -- CW ...

... Brian Fung of the Washington Post: "The NRA is facing internal division as its members argue that the group did not do enough to defend gun owners' rights by speaking out on behalf of Philando Castile of Falcon Heights, Minn., who was shot to death during a traffic stop.... Castile had a valid permit to carry a gun. He also reportedly informed the officer who shot him that he was armed in an attempt to head off a misunderstanding. The NRA appeared to drag its feet on the Falcon Heights shooting, taking more than a day and a half to address it publicly. When a statement was posted on the NRA Facebook page, the group obliquely referred to 'reports from Minnesota.' It neither named Castile directly nor took a position on the shooting." CW: I can't imagine why. ...

It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years to get a sense of this. If you are a normal, white American, the truth is you don't understand being black in America and you instinctively under-estimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk. -- Newt Gingrich, Friday ...

... Leon Neyfakh of Slate: "Gingrich wasn't the only conservative who was moved on Friday to break the rules of conservative discourse.... It is surprising and intriguing to see such rhetoric from the right, especially on the day after the murder of five police officers. It's enough to make you think even the most sturdy-seeming ideologies can be dislodged in times of crisis -- and that, as horrendously sad as this week has been, it may end up being some sort of turning point." -- CW

Mike Zapler of Politico: "Longtime Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown will step down from her role as ranking member of the Veterans Affairs Committee until a federal corruption case filed against her Friday is resolved, Democrats said. The Florida congresswoman and her chief of staff were charged with 24 counts of wrongdoing. Federal prosecutors say she used her position in Congress to solicit money to a phony education group and spent the money on car repairs, vacations, and lavish events." -- CW

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd.

Poland stands and needs to continue stand as an example for democratic practices around the world. -- President Obama

Poland is and will be an example of democracy for the whole world. -- "Translation" by the nation's top public broadcast station

... Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post: Polish television, which is effectively controlled by the government, censored President Obama even as he was obliquely criticizing the government for, um, censoring the media: "'More work needs to be done,' Obama said [at a press conference]. 'And as your friend and ally, we've urged all parties to work together to sustain Poland's democratic institutions.' But viewers of Telewizja Polska, the main public broadcaster..., [heard] 'Concerning the issue of the constitutional tribunal, [Obama] said he is sure that spreading democratic values in Poland will not stop.'... More than 100 journalists have been dismissed or have resigned from Poland's public broadcaster this year.... Shortly after the [Polish Law & Justice] party took office, it changed laws giving Poland's Finance Ministry the direct power to appoint the head of the broadcaster." -- CW

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "In my 2014 biography of [Roger Ailes]..., I included interviews with four women who told me Ailes had used his position of power to make either unwanted sexual advances or inappropriate sexual comments in the office.... In recent days, more than a dozen women have contacted [Gretchen] Carlson's New Jersey-based attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, and made detailed allegations of sexual harassment by Ailes over a 25-year period dating back to the 1960s when he was a producer on The Mike Douglas Show.... Taken together, these stories portray Ailes as a boss who spoke openly of expecting women to perform sexual favors in exchange for job opportunities.... Six of the women agreed to speak with New York publicly for the first time." -- CW ...

... Erik Wemple of the Washington Post: Roger Ailes is a chicken-shit slimebag. (Or words to that effect.) -- CW

Presidential Race

Maureen Dowd, who certainly reinforced my sense of Billary Clinton back in the day, nails them again: "... the Clintons, who are staying true to their reputation as the Tom and Daisy Buchanan of American politics. Their vast carelessness drags down everyone around them, but they persevere, and even thrive. In a mere 11 days, arrogant, selfish actions by the Clintons contaminated three of the purest brands in Washington -- Barack Obama, James Comey and Loretta Lynch -- and jeopardized the futures of Hillary's most loyal aides.... The Clintons work hard but don't play by the rules. Imagine them in the White House with the benefit of low expectations." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... CW: And why would they change? Back in the White House, they will again be the most powerful couple in the world. Their methods of shady dealings, parsing the truth down to the meaning of the word "is," & naked arrogance have got them where they are. And where we're not. ...

... The Wages of Clinton Connections. Evan Halper of the Los Angeles Times: Democrats on the House's Benghaaazi! committee accidentally released a document which revealed, in redacted testimony that was easily cut & pasted into readable text, that Clinton consigliere Sidney Blumenthal received "about $200,000 a year" for occasional advice to organizations controlled by Clinton supporter David Brock. The transcript "shows that Republicans did, indeed, leverage their subpoena of Blumenthal for political gain.... And for Democrats, the exchange exposes once again the absurd amounts of money people in the orbit of the Clintons sometimes seem to rake in just for, well, being in the orbit of the Clintons." -- CW

John Wagner & Dave Weigel of the Washington Post: "Hillary Clinton, in moves aimed at securing an endorsement from Bernie Sanders, on Saturday highlighted her support for a 'public option' in health insurance and proposed additional funding for community-based centers championed by her rival for the Democratic nomination." -- CW ...

... Andrew Prokop of Vox: "On Saturday morning, Hillary Clinton released a new health care policy proposal that emphasized several major progressive priorities, including a public option and increased funding for community health centers.... In a press call after Clinton's announcement, [Bernie] Sanders described her health care proposal as an 'extremely important initiative' and 'an important step forward' -- and emphasized that it was made 'after discussions with our campaign.' Sanders also praised Clinton's new plan to encourage free tuition at public universities, which she announced Wednesday." -- CW ...

... Patrick Healy of the New York Times: "Amid boos from the sidelines, allies of Hillary Clinton and President Obama on Saturday beat back an effort by the Bernie Sanders campaign to have the Democratic Party officially oppose a congressional vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal." -- CW ...

... Dave Weigel: "The Democratic Party endorsed a 'reasoned pathway to future legalization' of marijuana and called for the drug to be downgraded in the Controlled Substances Act, in a tense and unexpected victory for supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders." -- CW

Nightmare Scenario. Oliver Milman of the Guardian (July 8): "Bernie Sanders has been invited to continue his underdog bid for the White House by the Green party's probable presidential candidate, who has offered to step aside to let him run. Jill Stein, who is expected to be endorsed at the party's August convention in Houston, told Guardian US that 'overwhelming' numbers of Sanders supporters are flocking to the Greens rather than Hillary Clinton." CW: I swear to god, if you do this, Bernie, I'm going to stop recycling, start eating nothing but methane-producing beef & tuna from dolphin-snaring nets, & buy a '58 DeSoto or a humungus Winnebago to drive on unnecessary trips every damned day.

Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "After weeks of focusing on a group of current and former elected officials in his search for a running mate, Donald Trump is increasingly intrigued by the idea of tapping retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn to project strength and know-how on national security, according to four people familiar with the vetting process. Flynn, a registered Democrat but fierce critic of President Obama, previously ran the Defense Intelligence Agency." -- CW ...

... Might Not Matter Whom Trump Chooses. Rosie Gray of BuzzFeed: "Anti-Trump delegates are preparing a rules change proposal that would chart a path for delegates to choose their own vice presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention, instead of voting for Donald Trump's choice." -- CW

Way Beyond the Beltway

Dana Priest of the Washington Post: "American war correspondent Marie Colvin was deliberately targeted and killed by artillery fire in 2012 at the direction of senior Syrian military officers seeking to silence her reporting on civilian casualties in the besieged city of Homs, according to a civil lawsuit filed Saturday on behalf of her sister and other heirs." The allegations in the suit are "based on information from high-level defectors and captured government documents...." -- CW

Nicola Slawson of the Guardian: "The hopes of more than 4.1 million people who signed a petition calling for a second referendum on the EU have faded, after a response from the government saying it was a once in a generation vote'." -- CW