The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, May 26, 2016.

New York Times: "Provocative new research by a team of investigators at Harvard leads to [the] startling hypothesis ... that Alzheimer’s disease stems from the toxic remnants of the brain’s attempt to fight off infection..., which could explain the origins of plaque, the mysterious hard little balls that pockmark the brains of people with Alzheimer’s. It is still early days, but Alzheimer’s experts not associated with the work are captivated by the idea that infections, including ones that are too mild to elicit symptoms, may produce a fierce reaction that leaves debris in the brain, causing Alzheimer’s." -- CW 

Public Service Announcement

New York Times (May 22): "An outbreak of a life-threatening illness that has been linked to foods packaged by a processing plant in Washington State has prompted a large-scale voluntary recall of frozen fruits and vegetables marketed under 42 brand names. The scale of the recall reflects the severity of the outbreak of the illness, listeria, and of concerns about how the contaminated food might have “trickled down” into other products, said Brittany Behm, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." -- CW

Washington Post: "After an epic duel of word masters, an 11-year-old Texan and a 13-year-old New Yorker tied Thursday night [May 26] in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the third year in a row two victors shared the championship trophy."

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

... Washington Post: The White House goes Scandinavian for a state dinner for the leaders of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

New York Times: "Morley Safer, the longest-serving correspondent on '60 Minutes' who was known as much for his hard-hitting reporting as the quirky stories he covered, will formally retire this week after a career in broadcast news that lasted more than 50 years, CBS said on Wednesday. Mr. Safer, 84, served on '60 Minutes' for all but two of its 48 seasons. He started scaling back his appearances on the show after he turned 80; his last segment, a profile of the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, aired in March.... An hourlong program on Sunday, “Morley Safer: A Reporter’s Life,” will, among other highlights, recall an investigation by Mr. Safer that resulted in the freedom of Lenell Geter, a black man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to life in prison in Texas. In an appearance on the special, Mr. Geter credited Mr. Safer with saving his life."

U.K. Telegraph: "A Canadian schoolboy appears to have discovered a lost Mayan city hidden deep in the jungles of Mexico using a new method of matching stars to the location of temples on earth....In hundreds of years of scholarship, no other scientist had ever found such a correlation.... Studying 22 different constellations, [William Gadoury] found that they matched the location of 117 Mayan cities scattered throughout Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. When he applied his theory to a 23rd constellation, he found that two of the stars already had cities linked to them but that the third star was unmatched. William took to Google Maps and projected that there must be another city hidden deep in the thick jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The Canadian Space Agency agreed to train its satellite telescopes on the spot and returned with striking pictures: what appears to be an ancient Mayan pyramid and dozens of smaller structures around it."

Politico: "Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry will not be appearing on the channel for the time being, following a report in In Touch Weekly that he cheated on his wife with a Las Vegas hostess. 'We recently became aware of Ed’s personal issues and he’s taking some time off to work things out,' a Fox News spokesperson told Politico in a statement."

New York Times: “'Hamilton,' the groundbreaking hip-hop musical about the nation’s founding fathers, has been nominated for 16 Tony Awards, the most in Broadway history." ...

... Here's the full list of Tony Award nominees.

MIT News: "For the first time, an international team of astronomers from MIT, the University of Liège in Belgium, and elsewhere have detected three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star, just 40 light years from Earth. The sizes and temperatures of these worlds are comparable to those of Earth and Venus, and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the solar system. The results are published [Monday, May 2] in the journal Nature.... The scientists discovered the planets using TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope), a 60-centimeter telescope operated by the University of Liège, based in Chile."

Washington Post's Reliable Source: At an "afterparty hosted by MSNBC following the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner [Saturday, May 1]..., a scuffle broke out between Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters and Ryan Grim, the Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief.... The two flailed around a bit, upending a table and bumping into several people. 'Punches were definitely thrown,' said one witness. Before any damage was done, several bystanders, including Sean Spicer, communications director at the Republican National Committee, separated the two."

New York Times: "... a nearly 47,000-word journalistic series [by Walt Whitman] called 'Manly Health and Training,' were lost for more than 150 years, buried in an obscure newspaper that survived only in a handful of libraries. The series was uncovered last summer by a graduate student, who came across a fleeting reference to it in a digitized newspaper database and then tracked down the full text on microfilm.Now, Whitman’s self-help-guide-meets-democratic-manifesto is being published online in its entirety by a scholarly journal, in what some experts are calling the biggest new Whitman discovery in decades."

This is for safari:

... Via the New Yorker.

Washington Post: "Late last week, Comcast announced a new program that allows makers of smart TVs and other Internet-based video services to have full access to your cable programming without the need for a set-top box.  Instead, the content will flow directly to the third-party device as an app, including all the channels and program guide. The Xfinity TV Partner Program will initially be offered on new smart TVs from Samsung, as well as Roku streaming boxes.  But the program, built on open Internet-based standards including HTML5, is now open to other device manufacturers to adopt. As video services move from hardware to software, the future of the traditional set-top box looks increasingly grim. With this announcement, Comcast customers may soon eliminate the need for an extra device, potentially saving hundreds of dollars in fees."

BBC: "Dame Judi Dench and David Tennant have joined other stars at a gala marking 400 years since Shakespeare's death. Saturday's Shakespeare Live show in the playwright's birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon included play scene performances, dance and music." Then this:

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Monday
Mar142016

The Commentariat -- March 15, 2016

Presidential Race

Amy Chozick & Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "The chorus of anyone-but-Trump from Republicans reached a roar as voters prepared to go to the polls in Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Florida.... Mrs. Clinton, who has struggled to connect to white working-class voters in the pivotal Midwestern states, faced intense criticism over comments she made in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday. 'We're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,' she said, in explaining her plan to create clean energy jobs. America Rising, an anti-Clinton 'super PAC,' said the comment showed a 'brazen disregard for the men and women who help power America.'"

Leo Shane & George Altman of the Military Times: "In an exclusive survey of American military personnel, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders emerged as active-duty service members' top choices to become the next commander in chief.... Trump was the most popular candidate in a subscriber poll that closed Sunday, with 27 percent saying they would back the business mogul if the election were held tomorrow. Sanders ... was a close second at 22 percent. The results -- based on responses from 931 active-duty troops, reservists and members of the National Guard -- do not offer a scientific status of military voting preferences. However, they do show that the outsider candidates' messages are resonating with individuals in uniform."

** Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker on the "great divide" in the Democratic party: "By the time Sanders made his decision to run, last April, there was a restless base ready to support a candidate who broke with the perceived centrism of both the Clinton and the Obama Administrations.... Hillary's campaign was slow to grasp the scale of that movement and to acknowledge the momentum of the Sanders campaign."

Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "Bernie Sanders, campaigning at a feverish pace on Monday, made last-minute pitches to supporters on the eve of crucial primaries, holding five rallies in four states as he seized on his anti-trade message to rally people to turn out to vote on Tuesday." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: Bernie Sanders "has spent a quarter-century in Congress working the side door, tacking on amendments to larger bills to succeed at the margins, generally focused on working-class Americans, income inequality and the environment.... Yet in spite of persistent carping that Mr. Sanders is nothing but a quixotic crusader -- during their first debate, Hillary Clinton cracked, 'I'm a progressive, but I'm a progressive who likes to get things done' -- he has often been an effective, albeit modest, legislator -- enacting his agenda piece by piece, in politically digestible chunks with few sweeping legislative achievements.... Over one 12-year stretch in the House, he passed more amendments by roll call vote than any other member of Congress. In the Senate, he secured money for dairy farmers and community health centers, blocked banks from hiring foreign workers and reined in the Federal Reserve, all through measures attached to larger bills."

Here It Comes. Travis Gettys of the Raw Story: "A North Carolina pastor warmed up the crowd at a Donald Trump rally by urging Sen. Bernie Sanders to become a Christian. Televangelist Mark Burns spoke to Trump supporters at a campaign event in Hickory ahead of Tuesday's North Carolina primary election, reported the Friendly Atheist blog. 'Bernie Sanders, who doesn't believe in God, how in the world (are) we going to let Bernie -- I mean, really?' Burns said, as the crowd applauded. 'Bernie's got to get saved, Bernie's got to meet Jesus. He's got to have a coming to Jesus meeting.'"

Matthew Daly of the AP: "Nearly two years after it was created, the House Benghazi Committee is ... promising a final report 'before summer' that is certain to have repercussions for Democrat Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency.... 'The only real deadline is the presidential election' in November, said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the Benghazi panel and a longtime [Trey] Gowdy critic." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Hot Mic Moment. Abby Philip of the Washington Post: "... during a commercial break while taping an MSNBC town hall on Monday, [Hillary] Clinton and host Chris Matthews chatted it up about the state of the race. Clinton scolded the media for its constant coverage of ... Donald Trump, speculated about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's political future and his motivations for endorsing Donald Trump.... 'Did he have a debt?' Clinton mused [about the reason for Christie's endorsement]. ...

... MEANWHILE, Trump himself mocked Christie, who sat dutifully behind his master at a rally in Columbus, Ohio. ...

... As for the debt thing, it may be the other way around: Trump is paying off Christie. According to NJonline, Christie may have spent a couple of days last week vacationing at an unspecified "Trump resort" in Florida. Christie won't say. Meanwhile, the folks back home are understandably criticizing him for doing the Trump roadshow instead of attending the funeral of a state trooper killed in the line of duty. CW: Living it up on other people's (including taxpayers') money is what Christie does.

Paul Singer of USA Today: "While you were sleeping, a few hundred people in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands were voting, and most of them voted for Donald Trump. Trump took 343 votes of the 471 total cast in the CNMI Republican caucuses, giving him about 73% of the total and all 9 delegates. Ted Cruz got 113 votes, John Kasich got 10 and Marco Rubio got 5 votes. Turnout on the tiny islands was down quite a bit from 2012, when 848 people voted in the CNMI GOP caucuses, and Mitt Romney won with 87% of the vote."

John Santucci & Lisette Rodriguez of ABC News: "... Donald Trump today said that despite some of the recent violence at his rallies, he has no plans to change the script. 'Well, I don't think I should be toning it down,' the real estate mogul told 'Good Morning America' in an interview this morning. 'We have had very little difficultly.'"

The Art of the Demagogue. Dana Milbank sat with the crowd at a "relatively tame for a Trump rally [in Boca Raton, Florida], in part because Trump supporters fingered suspected infiltrators in the crowd and had them removed by private security guards before Trump spoke.... Those around me were almost all white and mostly men. Their T-shirts and caps said they were gun owners, veterans, Marines and Harley riders. I heard nothing racist or angry or paranoid in their conversations. But once Trump arrived, they became ominously transfixed and aggressive. They pumped their fists, flashed thumbs up..., chanted 'Trump! Trump! Trump!' and hung on the candidate's every word -- often with looks of ecstasy and some visibly trembling." ...

... Daniel Lippman, et al., of Politico Magazine: "Donald Trump says he is a truthful man.'"Maybe truthful to a fault,' he boasted last week at a North Carolina rally.... But truthful he is not.... Politico subjected a week's worth of his words to our magazine's fact-checking process. We chronicled 4.6 hours of stump speeches and press conferences.... The result: more than five dozen statements deemed mischaracterizations, exaggerations, or simply false.... It equates to roughly one misstatement every five minutes on average." CW: When a lying liar inspires "ecstasy & trembling" in his followers, what you have is more a pseudo-religious cult (with a sexual undercurrent) than a political movement. ...

... Charles Pierce pointed out a moment on Press the Meat that illustrated in real time Trump's uncanny denialism: "My man Chuck Todd is playing the clip under discussion while He, Trump denies what is plainly happening on the electric teevee machine. Isn't this about where a rational television show would conclude that this man is a Gong-Show caliber crank and cut him off? Isn't this where the average late-night radio talk-show would drop the call?"

Wing-Nuts Also Notice Trump Is Winging It. Seung Min Kim of Politico: "The candidate of 'build that wall' is suddenly having a hard time with ... immigration hard-liners.... 'He hasn't done a very good job of connecting what he's been saying in both debates and his other press appearances and in his pep rallies ... versus what he wrote in his immigration policy,' Chris Chmielenski ... of Numbers USA, said in an interview on Monday. 'I think for us, what is posted on his website is very, very helpful. But the rhetoric hasn't matched.'... 'I thought it was an excellent paper written by someone in [Sen. Jeff] Sessions' office,' added Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute. 'And it's apparent that he never read it.' Others who call for stricter immigration laws are also adopting an increasingly critical tone toward Trump. 'He doesn't know enough about the subject and won't listen to his own staffers to be able to distill a clear, coherent message,' added Mark Krikorian ... of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that calls for more restrictive immigration policies. 'In other words, I'm not sure he's so much flip-flopping as just making this stuff off the top of his head.'

More on the Alternate Reality of Drumpf. Jose DelReal & Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "... Donald Trump ... insist[ed] during an event [in Hickory, N.C.,] that violence has not been an issue [at his rallies]. 'The press is now going, they're saying, "Oh but there's such violence." No violence. You know how many people have been hurt at our rallies? I think, like, basically none except maybe somebody got hit once,' Trump said at Lenoir-Rhyne University after several protesters were escorted out during the first of three interruptions. 'It's a love fest. These are love fests,' Trump added later. 'And every once in a while ... somebody will stand up and they'll say something.... It's a little disruption, but there's no violence. There's none whatsoever.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... That's odd, because ...

David Fahrenthold & Sarah Larimer of the Washington Post: "A North Carolina sheriff's office is investigating whether Republican front-runner Donald Trump's actions at a Fayetteville, N.C., rally last week 'rose to the level of inciting a riot,' according to a statement from the department's lawyer.... The statement said the sheriff's office was also looking into further charges against John Franklin McGraw, 78, who allegedly was the man seen sucker-punching a protester as that person was being led out of the Trump rally by police. In addition, Mitchell said, the office was investigating how its own deputies reacted -- or didn't -- during the incident." CW: Huh. Drumpf has said President Drumpf would look into prosecuting Hillary Clinton because "she seems to be guilty." Maybe he'll end up being the one behind bars. I just hope that can get him an orange jumpsuit that perfectly matches his hair. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Disappointing Update. The story's new lede: "Republican front-runner Donald Trump will not face charges of inciting a riot after a raucous rally in North Carolina last week, the investigating sheriff's office announced in a news release Monday night."

Andy Borowitz: "Republican front-runner Donald Trump was crying foul on Monday after Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders allegedly dispatched an army of vegan thugs to attack a rally of peace-loving Nazis in Cincinnati." CW: I'm pretty sure this is satire. However, witn Trump, it's hard to tell, isn't it? Thanks to D.C. Clark for the link.

Roger Cohen of the New York Times: "Nobody who knows [former Italian PM Silvio] Berlusconi and has watched the rise and rise of Donald Trump can fail to be struck by the parallels. It's not just the real-estate-to-television path. It's not just their shared admiration for Vladimir Putin. It's not just the playboy thing, and obsession with their virility, and smattering of bigotry, and contempt for policy wonks, and reliance on a tell-it-like-it-is tone. It's not their wealth, nor the media savvy that taught them that nobody ever lost by betting on human stupidity. No, it's something in the zeitgeist. America is ripe for Trump just as Italy was ripe for Berlusconi."

In his own words:

The Wisdom of Joe. Joe Scarborough, in a WashPo op-ed, says Trump's Chicago spectacle was deliberate. He wishes the protesters had been more articulate. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Wild Man. Ken Vogel, et al., of Politico: "Donald Trump's staff and advisers have expressed concerns about campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's quick temper and heavy-handed leadership, and some even planned a coup against him last month.... A series of presidential primary victories ended the talk of deposing Lewandowski, the sources said.... In interviews with more than 20 sources who have dealt with Lewandowski during his nearly year-long tenure with the Trump campaign and in his previous job with the Koch brothers-backed advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, complaints emerged about Lewandowski being rough with reporters and sexually suggestive with female journalists, while profanely berating conservative officials and co-workers he deemed to be challenging his authority." CW: Still think (former) Breitbart "reporter" Michelle Fields was making up the manhandling incident?

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Sarah Palin ... canceled a planned campaign event in Florida to support Donald J. Trump on Monday because her husband was hospitalized after a snow machine accident, according to Mr. Trump's campaign." CW: My apologies. It was on the front page of the NYT, so I kinda have consider this news. (Also linked yesterday.)

What Confederate Elites Really Think about the Base. Martin Longman in the Washington Monthly: "... you probably can't understand the appeal of Trump to white working class voters without understanding that there's a widespread suspicion that Republican elites think ... these communities are filled with white trash junkies who should die quicker so they cost less to maintain." Read the whole post. ...

... It's little wonder the elites disdain their base. digby points out that today's Trump fanboy is yesterday's Reagan Democrat. "They've been part of the GOP coalition or more than 30 years. And their views have always been the same. Nativism/racism, authoritarian/lawandorder, nationalist/militarist, economic populists. These are blue collar white people who used to vote for Democrats until Democrats became the party of civil rights, civil liberties and anti-war protests."

Dave Weigel of the Washington Post on Mitt Romney's non-endorsement endorsement of John Kasich. "It looked like an endorsement, and it sounded like an endorsement.... 'You look at this guy, and unlike the other people running, he has a real track record. He has the kind of record that you want in Washington. That's why I'm convinced that you're going to do the right thing tomorrow,'" Romney said at a Kasich event in North Canton, Ohio. CW: I'd say this was Mitt, keeping open the option for a Draft Mitt moment at the GOP convention.

Hadas Gold of Politico: "Two more staffers for Breitbart have resigned from the company, citing the website's pro-Donald Trump stance. National security correspondent Jordan Schachtel and associate editor Jarrett Stepman sent their resignations to management on Monday afternoon. '... Some of us have been fighting behind the scenes against the party-line Trump propaganda for some time, but without any success, unfortunately,' Schachtel said in a statement. "Breitbart News is no longer a journalistic enterprise, but instead, in my opinion, something resembling an unaffiliated media Super PAC for the Trump campaign. I signed my contract to work as a journalist, not as a member of the Donald J. Trump for President media network...." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Michelle Grynbaum of the New York Times: "... Breitbart ... is now facing a problem similar to the one roiling the Republican Party it likes to torment: a scathing internal dispute, with Mr. Trump at its center." CW: Kinda breaks your heart, doesn't it? P.S. Still thinking of you, Shirley Sherrod.

Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post: "Giving what sounded like a valedictory address, Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday cited 'the disintegration of our culture' for the increasingly nasty nature of American politics. Rubio made the comments amid a final campaign bus trip along the eastern coast of Florida before Tuesday's Republican presidential primary." ...

... Steve M.: "Rubio's fall is so dispiriting to the national political press that there's a 2,777-word elegy for his presidential campaign running in The New York Times right now. The article, by Mark Leibovich, suggests not that Rubio is a failure as a candidate, but that -- tragically -- he just wasn't made for these times.... [Steve sez] If he never gets back into politics, he'll find himself on a lot of corporate boards, and he'll show up on a lot of political talk shows. At worst, he'll be a Republican Harold Ford, a moderately ethnic, moderately telegenic corporatist who plays a savant on TV. He'll land on his feet. So shed no tears for him after he loses today."

Ben Carson Is Still Ben Carson. Hanna Trudo of Politico: "Ben Carson said on Monday that even if Donald Trump turned out to be a lousy president, he'll only be in office for four years." CW: If only Ole Doc could be more like Gov. Chrisco.

Senate Races

Greg Sargent: "In a preview of what Republicans will face from Democrats if Trump does win the nomination, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee just released this new video:

Other News & Views

Suzanne Goldenberg of the Guardian: "The Obama administration is expected to put virtually all of the Arctic and much of the Atlantic off limits for oil and gas drilling until 2022 in a decision that could be announced as early as Tuesday. The decision reverses Barack Obama's move just last year to open up a vast swathe of the Atlantic coast to drilling -- and consolidates the president's efforts to protect the Arctic and fight climate change during his final months in the White House. The five-year drilling plan, which will be formally announced by the interior department, was expected to block immediate prospects of hunting for oil in the Arctic...." ...

... Coral Davenport of the New York Times: "The Obama administration is expected to withdraw its plan to permit oil and gas drilling off the southeast Atlantic coast, yielding to an outpouring of opposition from coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia but dashing the hopes and expectations of many of those states' top leaders.... The decision represents a reversal of President Obama's previous offshore drilling plans, and comes as he is trying to build an ambitious environmental legacy. It could also inject the issue into the 2016 presidential campaigns, as Republican candidates vow to expand drilling."

Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post: "Americans will be allowed to travel to Cuba for individual 'people-to-people' exchanges under new regulations announced Tuesday by the Treasury Department ahead of President Obama's trip to the island this weekend. Those previously wanting to visit Cuba were required to travel under a general license issued to organizations sponsoring authorized trips. Although visits purely for tourism remain prohibited, the new regulations shift the responsibility for legal trips to individuals who declare they will engage in 'educational' purposes. They follow the signing of a new U.S.-Cuba commercial airlines agreement that is expected to bring the first U.S. flights to Cuba later this year."

Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "The Republican National Committee (RNC) is teaming up with a prominent conservative advocacy group to block President Obama's effort to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court. The RNC has formed a task force to launch radio and digital attack ads, petitions and media appearances to back up Senate Republicans, who have pledged not to hold hearings or votes on Obama's replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Oliver Milman of the Guardian: "The EPA's role as a national regulator of water is questioned by Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House oversight committee, who said the Flint crisis demonstrated serious flaws in the federal agency's ability to protect the public.... On Tuesday, the committee will hear from former EPA regional administrator Susan Hedman and Darnell Earley, the former emergency manager of Flint.... Hedman resigned in the wake of the disaster, after it emerged the EPA was aware of problems long before a state of emergency was declared in December. In a previous committee hearing, the EPA said it warned of the crisis but was 'met with resistance' from Michigan authorities, with scientists ignored and officials sidelined when concerns were raised." ...

... Gina McCarthy, the EPA administrator, in a Washington Post op-ed: "This week, I will testify along with Gov. Rick Snyder and others from Michigan and Flint about the health crisis in the city.... Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Congress gives states primary responsibility for enforcing drinking water rules for the nation's approximately 152,000 water systems, but the Environmental Protection Agency has oversight authority. The EPA's relationship with states under the act is usually a strong and productive partnership. But looking back on Flint, it is clear that, from day one, Michigan did not act as a partner. The state's interactions with us were dismissive, misleading and unresponsive."

Matt Apuzzo of the New York Times: "The Justice Department on Monday called on state judges across the country to root out unconstitutional policies that have locked poor people in a cycle of fines, debt and jail.... In a letter to chief judges and court administrators, Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department's top civil rights prosecutor, and Lisa Foster, who leads a program on court access, warned against operating courthouses as for-profit ventures. It chastised judges and court staff members for using arrest warrants as a way to collect fees. Such policies, the letter said, made it more likely that poor people would be arrested, jailed and fined anew -- all for being unable to pay in the first place." (Also linked yesterday.)

Des Bieler of the Washington Post: "A top official with the NFL made a stunning admission Monday, agreeing with a neuropathologist before a Congressional panel that a link exists between football-related brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The league had never before publicly acknowledged such a connection."

Beyond the Beltway

Lynh Bui, et al., of the Washington Post: Landover, Maryland, police officer Jacai Colson was likely shot & killed by another officer amidst a man's unprovoked attack on the town's police station & passing vehicles. The attackers two brothers, standing nearby, recorded the attack. The man, Michael Ford, who was attempting suicide by police, survived. "Police Chief Henry Stawinski ... said Ford, who was shot during the incident and is still at a hospital, and his two brothers would face 21 charges for the baffling and coldblooded attack, including conspiracy, second-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Police said the Ford brothers did not work with any outside groups...." CW: And here's hoping these horrible SOBs remain guests of the state for life.

Jeffrey Collins of the AP: "A white former state trooper pleaded guilty Monday to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for the 2014 shooting an unarmed black driver seconds after a traffic stop. Ex-Trooper Sean Groubert faces up to 20 years in prison.... He will serve some prison time. The shooting was captured on dash-cam video from the trooper's patrol car and shocked the country, coming during a wave of questionable police shootings. The video shows Levar Jones walking into a convenience store in September 2014 when Groubert gets out of his patrol car and demands Jones' driver's license. Jones turns back to reach into his car and Groubert fires four shots. Jones' wallet is seen flying out of his hands." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Way Beyond

Wow! Rick Gladstone of the New York Times: "President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has ordered the start of a military withdrawal from Syria, where Russian forces have been bombing insurgent enemies of the government for five months, Russia's state news media reported Monday....The United Nations special envoy on the Syria conflict, Staffan de Mistura, resumed his efforts on Monday to broker a peace deal between [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad's forces and the array of insurgent groups aligned against him." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... CW: Count the hours till Donald Trump takes credit for this.

News Ledes

Washington Post: "In an unprecedented move, officials will shut down entire Metrorail system for at least 24 hours starting at midnight tonight so that crews can inspect 600 electric cables in tunnels throughout the system, General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld announced at a late-afternoon news conference Tuesday." The WashPo's Dr. Gridlock has some advice on alternative means of transportation.

New York Times: "Three police officers were shot and slightly wounded on Tuesday afternoon during a counterterrorism operation in Brussels linked to the Paris terrorist attacks of Nov. 13, according to Belgian news reports."

BBC News: "Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun who worked with the poor in the Indian city of Kolkata (Calcutta), is to be declared a saint on 4 September, Pope Francis has announced."

Sunday
Mar132016

The Commentariat -- March 14, 2016

Afternoon Update:

David Fahrenthold & Sarah Larimer of the Washington Post: "A North Carolina sheriff's office is investigating whether ... Donald Trump's actions at a Fayetteville, N.C., rally last week 'rose to the level of inciting a riot,' according to a statement from the department's lawyer.... The statement said the sheriff's office was also looking into further charges against John Franklin McGraw, 78, who allegedly was the man seen sucker-punching a protester as that person was being led out of the Trump rally by police. In addition, Mitchell said, the office was investigating how its own deputies reacted -- or didn't -- during the incident." CW: Huh. Drumpf has said President Drumpf would look into prosecuting Hillary Clinton because "she seems to be guilty." Maybe he'll end up being the one behind bars. I just hope that can get him an orange jumpsuit that perfectly matches his hair.

Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "The Republican National Committee (RNC) is teaming up with a prominent conservative advocacy group to block President Obama's effort to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court. The RNC has formed a task force to launch radio and digital attack ads, petitions and media appearances to back up Senate Republicans, who have pledged not to hold hearings or votes on Obama's replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia."

Hadas Gold of Politico: "Two more staffers for Breitbart have resigned from the company, citing the website's pro-Donald Trump stance. National security correspondent Jordan Schachtel and associate editor Jarrett Stepman sent their resignations to management on Monday afternoon. '... Some of us have been fighting behind the scenes against the party-line Trump propaganda for some time, but without any success, unfortunately,' Schachtel said in a statement. "Breitbart News is no longer a journalistic enterprise, but instead, in my opinion, something resembling an unaffiliated media Super PAC for the Trump campaign. I signed my contract to work as a journalist, not as a member of the Donald J. Trump for Presidentmedia network...."

Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "Bernie Sanders, campaigning at a feverish pace on Monday, made last-minute pitches to supporters on the eve of crucial primaries, holding five rallies in four states as he seized on his anti-trade message to rally people to turn out to vote on Tuesday."

Wow! Rick Gladstone of the New York Times: "President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has ordered the start of a military withdrawal from Syria, where Russian forces have been bombing insurgent enemies of the government for five months, Russia's state news media reported Monday....The United Nations special envoy on the Syria conflict, Staffan de Mistura, resumed his efforts on Monday to broker a peace deal between [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad’s forces and the array of insurgent groups aligned against him." ...

... CW: Count the hours till Donald Trump takes credit for this.

The Alternate Reality of Drumpf Jose DelReal & Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "... Donald Trump ... insist[ed] during an event [in Hickory, N.C.,] that violence has not been an issue [at his rallies]. 'The press is now going, they're saying, "Oh but there's such violence." No violence. You know how many people have been hurt at our rallies? I think, like, basically none except maybe somebody got hit once,' Trump said at Lenoir-Rhyne University after several protesters were escorted out during the first of three interruptions. 'It's a love fest. These are love fests,' Trump added later. 'And every once in a while ... somebody will stand up and they'll say something.... It's a little disruption, but there's no violence. There's none whatsoever.'"

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Sarah Palin ... canceled a planned campaign event in Florida to support Donald J. Trump on Monday because her husband was hospitalized after a snow machine accident, according to Mr. Trump's campaign." CW: My apologies. It was on the front page of the NYT, so I kinda have consider this news.

Matt Apuzzo of the New York Times: "The Justice Department on Monday called on state judges across the country to root out unconstitutional policies that have locked poor people in a cycle of fines, debt and jail.... In a letter to chief judges and court administrators, Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department's top civil rights prosecutor, and Lisa Foster, who leads a program on court access, warned against operating courthouses as for-profit ventures. It chastised judges and court staff members for using arrest warrants as a way to collect fees. Such policies, the letter said, made it more likely that poor people would be arrested, jailed and fined anew -- all for being unable to pay in the first place."

Matthew Daly of the AP: "Nearly two years after it was created, the House Benghazi Committee is ... promising a final report 'before summer' that is certain to have repercussions for Democrat Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency.... 'The only real deadline is the presidential election' in November, said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the Benghazi panel and a longtime Gowdy critic."

The Wisdom of Joe. Joe Scarborough, in a WashPo op-ed, says Trump's Chicago spectacle was deliberate. He wishes the protesters had been more articulate.

Jeffrey Collins of the AP: "A white former state trooper pleaded guilty Monday to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for the 2014 shooting an unarmed black driver seconds after a traffic stop. Ex-Trooper Sean Groubert faces up to 20 years in prison.... He will serve some prison time. The shooting was captured on dash-cam video from the trooper's patrol car and shocked the country, coming during a wave of questionable police shootings. The video shows Levar Jones walking into a convenience store in September 2014 when Groubert gets out of his patrol car and demands Jones' driver's license. Jones turns back to reach into his car and Groubert fires four shots. Jones' wallet is seen flying out of his hands.

*****

 

Forget the depressing news. As D.C. Clark points out in today's Comments, today is a very special Pi Day: 31416, one that, obviously, occurs only once a century (tho last year aficionados ignored the rounding error & celebrated 31415).

Presidential Race

Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "... Donald Trump has postponed his Monday night rally scheduled in Florida and will instead hold an event in Ohio. Trump was planning to hold an event Monday night at Trump National Doral. Instead, the candidate will hold a 'massive rally' in Youngstown, Ohio, according to the campaign."...

     ... CW: I don't doubt that the Trump campaign chose Youngstown because the Youngstown area is "the most racist region in America." ...

... Sunday, Trump held a rally in Bloomington, Illinois.

Judd Legum of Think Progress: When Donald Trump told Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" Sunday that he was considering paying the legal fees of John McGraw, the guy who sucker-punched Rakeem Jones at a Trump rally, he was expressing support for "a man who threatened to murder a non-violent protester.... In another appearance on Sunday on Fox News, Trump was played the video of McGraw's murder threat. Although Trump made sure not to endorse the specific threat, he immediately attacked Jones and defended McGraw. Whether or not Trump ultimately provides McGraw with financial support he is already providing him with substantial rhetorical support."

Sean Sullivan, et al., of the Washington Post: "A defiant Donald Trump touched off a political maelstrom Sunday that didn't spare his Republican and Democratic presidential rivals, as he threatened to encourage supporters to stage protests against Sen. Bernie Sanders and drew escalating criticism from GOP opponents desperate to slow him ahead of Tuesday's crucial nominating contests."

Rosie Gray & McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed: "Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro are resigning from the company over the site's handling of Donald Trump's campaign manager's alleged assault on Fields.... Fields and Shapiro informed Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon of their decision Sunday night."

Jonathan Chait: "Last month, I made the case that a Donald Trump nomination would be better for America than the nomination of one of his Republican rivals. I no longer believe that."

Maggie Haberman & Alexander Burns of the New York Times wrote a somewhat entertaining piece for Sunday's paper in which they try to trace the genesis of Donald Trump's presidential ambitions. Guess what? Trump is Obama's fault, according to Haberman & Burns. They argue that Trump was so hurt by President Obama's needling him at the 2011 White House Correspondents' dinner that he decided to gain some respect by running for president. Trump denies Obama hurt his feelings. ...

... MEANWHILE, Jamelle Bouie also says Trump is all Obama's fault. Suddenly finding the country led by a black president -- a guy who seemed to come out of nowhere (or Kenya!) -- white voters, especially less-educated ones, panicked. They realized/feared they had lost their dominance in the American hierarchy. They want to go back to the days when affirmative action was for whites only & "hope Trump will restore the racial hierarchy upended by Barack Obama." Bouie has done the research to support his point, but it sure is pathetic.

John Cassidy of the New Yorker: "To many members of minority groups, the sight of Trump and Trumpism atop a national ticket would represent a grievous insult to their dignity, and a potential threat to their well-being; to many moderates, liberals, and leftists of all backgrounds, it would represent a moral outrage. The anti-Trump forces won't stand back and let him parade around the country unopposed. They will exercise their democratic right to protest against him and what he represents, and some of them will be disruptive." CW: Frankly, the whole Republican party represents a grievous insult to American dignity. Period.

Paul Krugman: "The truth is that the road to Trumpism began long ago, when movement conservatives -- ideological warriors of the right -- took over the G.O.P. And it really was a complete takeover. Nobody seeking a career within the party dares to question any aspect of the dominating ideology, for fear of facing not just primary challenges but excommunication." ...

     ... Greg Sargent (linked above): "Another way to put all of this: Maybe Trump is proving to be better at misleading GOP base voters than GOP establishment figures are."

The Hollow Man. Charles Blow: Ben "Carson’s endorsement [of Donald Trump] further tarnished his already tarnished reputation. He validated and rubber-stamped a grandiloquent fascist who is supported by a former grand wizard. All Carson's calls for civility were in that moment proven hollow.... But the more I thought about it, the more sense it began to make. Carson and the real estate developer are not so different from one another in this predilection for outrageous utterances, it's just that one smiles and the other scowls." CW: You forgot the grifter part, Charles.

Rosalind Helderman & Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post: "Documents and interviews reveal the personal role Trump played in negotiating [a deal to manufacture & market men's clothing under his label]. Participants said they could not recall him expressing a preference that products be made in the United States." And they're not. "Donald J. Trump Collection shirts -- as well as eyeglasses, perfume, cuff links and suits -- are made in Bangladesh, China, Honduras and other low-wage countries.... Trump's rivals and critics say he is a hypocrite, enriching himself with overseas labor while blasting the practice for political gain." ...

... Greg Sargent explains how Trump turns revelations like this -- which might devastate anyone else's candidacy -- into arguments for his election.

Charles Pierce opposes in-house protests against Trump: "Having watched almost every second of the appalling events of the weekend just passed, I have a modest suggestion for all the groups working in rough alliance to keep the Republic out of the hands of a vulgar talking yam. Stay out of the buildings."

Hallie Jackson of NBC News: "Mitt Romney will campaign with John Kasich Monday at two stops in Ohio.... Romney is not expected to endorse the Ohio governor during the campaign swing, the source said, but it will be the first time Romney has campaigned on behalf of a Republican candidate this cycle." ...

... Also, I didn't bother to mention it, but John Boehner (you remember him) endorsed John Kasich Saturday. Not exactly earthshattering.

E. J. Dionne, without mentioning her name, presents the argument for a Hillary Clinton presidency. It's a rather weak argument. ...

... Jeff Greenfield, in Politico Magazine, in more specific terms, on why Hillary is hardly the ideal "anti-Trump": "First, Hillary Clinton commands little trust among an electorate that is driven today by mistrust. Second, her public life the posts she has held, the positions she has adopted (and jettisoned) define her as a creature of the 'establishment' at a time when voters regard the very idea with deep antipathy. And finally, however she wishes it were not so, however much she argues that she represents the future as America's first prospective female president, Clinton still embodies the past, just as she did in 2008 when she lost to Barack Obama.... If the discontent with the economy persists in the fall..., there is no Democrat more in the cross-hairs of an angry electorate than Clinton. Everything from her Wall Street financial links to her work as secretary of state become targets of opportunity. Those targets, further, are independent of the more obvious vulnerabilities...." Read the whole article. ...

... CW: When voters express their antipathy to "Washington politicians," I think maybe what they mean is "snobs." And Hillary Clinton is a snob. Trump, ironically, comes across as a guy they'd like to have a beer with (he doesn't drink) & who made it big despite his humble outer-borough roots (oh, & something like a $200MM inheritance). Even when his words don't match his actions -- like when complaints about trade deficits while selling clothing made in foreign factories (see above) -- it's only because he is forced to work within a corrupt system of of the Clintons' making.

... Over the weekend, Driftglass tried to track down the time & place of a supposed "town hall" in Springfield, Illinois, featuring Hillary Clinton. No luck. "Dear Clinton Campaign and MSNBC -- You don't get to call it a 'Town Hall' if you won't tell anyone in the damn 'town' where the damn 'hall' is." Much later, Driftglass learned that the fake town hall would be held at the Old State Capitol & that "a limited number of tickets ... had already been given out." MEANWHILE, Ted Cruz was hosting a rally in the same area with a "y'all come on down" invitation. So says Driftglass, "Dear Clinton Campaign and MSNBC -- when you are losing an open-door-and-welcome-one-and-all contest to Ted Cruz, you are hanging on way too tight. Also for what it's worth. no Bernie Sanders event I ever heard of ever turned away the great unwashed."

Salon excerpts a chapter of Thomas Frank's book Listen, Liberal. The chapter is devoted to Bill Clinton's "centrist" presidency. CW: Frank tends to be a bit over-the-top, but his assertions here comport with my memory of the Clinton administration. I thought it was terrible. Frank alludes to Hillary Clinton's promotion of her husband's anti-liberal philosophy. Can she have changed over the years? Of course. I just don't think she has. I'll admit Obama is no Bernie, but he learned some of his anti-liberal views from Clinton people: Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Rahm Emanuel, Bill Daley, etc. What passes for pragmatism is an elitist disdain for ordinary Americans. ...

Rachel Bade of Politico: "A State Department staffer who oversaw security and technology issues for Hillary Clinton is refusing to answer Senate investigators' questions about the former secretary of state's use of a private email server -- marking the second time an ex-State employee has declined to talk to lawmakers. John Bentel, a now-retired State employee who managed IT security issues for the top echelon at the department, declined to be interviewed by GOP staff on the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, according to a letter obtained by Politico." CW: This is being treated as Big News; that's the only reason I'm linking it.

Other News & Views

Edward-Isaac Dovere & Josh Gerstein of Politico: "As soon as President Barack Obama announces a Supreme Court nominee from his short list -- which is now set -- the White House and its allies will unleash a coordinated media and political blitz aimed at weakening GOP resistance to confirming the president's pick. Administration allies have already started putting a ground game in place. Obama campaign veterans have been contracted in six states -- New Hampshire, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where GOP incumbents are most vulnerable, plus Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley's Iowa." ...

... Ian Millhiser of Think Progress on the ugly counter-attack, parts of which the right is already rolling out, against the President's nominee. Millhiser shows how the attacks undermine not just the nominee but our Constitutional rights.

Jared Bernstein in a New York Times op-ed: "... we should welcome the end of the era of [free trade agreements], which had long devolved into handshakes between corporate and investor interests on both sides of the border, allowing little voice for working people. With such noise behind us, we might be ready to foster the next generation of advanced production and help our exporters fight back against currency manipulators. That would be more productive than fighting tooth and nail over the next big trade deal."

Colin Dickey of the New Republic: "As the political debate over gun control stagnates and stalemates..., white men will continue to display AR-15s openly and brazenly, threatening mosques and people they don't like in the name of the Second Amendment, like the slave patrols of the Antebellum South. Mass shooters will continue to walk around with guns drawn, law enforcement powerless to stop them until they start firing. Black men and women and young children will continue to be shot on sight for holding pellet guns, or for any vague movement that might be later classified as 'reaching for a waistband.'"

CW: If, like me, you don't watch the Sunday morning showz, you can rely on Driftglass to tell you what you missed, even when he doesn't watch in real time. (So what, it ain't real anyway.)

Beyond the Beltway

Lenny Bernstein & Joby Warrick of the Washington Post: "Republican Rick Snyder called himself #onetoughnerd when he swept into the Michigan governor's office in 2010, winning election easily after pledging to run the state more like the businesses that generated his substantial wealth.... Yet now, as he prepares for congressional hearings on the water-contamination debacle in Flint, Mich...., no fewer than three efforts to recall him are formally underway, and a special prosecutor is investigating whether the governor or others in his administration should face criminal charges. Some people want him jailed."

In the South, They're Still Whistling Dixie. Alan Blinder of the New York Times: "Public sentiment is mixed, but support for Confederate symbols remains."

Way Beyond

Anthony Faiola of the Washington Post: "German voters on Sunday appeared to send a message to Chancellor Angela Merkel: Close the door on migrants. Her center-right Christian Democratic Party suffered universal setbacks in local elections -- in a vote widely seen as a referendum on Merkel's humanitarian stance allowing vast waves of migrants to cross German borders."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Lloyd S. Shapley, who shared the 2012 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for work on game theory that has been used to study subjects as diverse as matching couples and allocating costs, died on Saturday in Tucson. He was 92."

New York Times: "An American fighting for the Islamic State was captured in northern Iraq early Monday morning, according to Kurdish and American officials. The American, identified by Kurdish officials as a young man from Virginia, was captured near the city of Sinjar, which Kurdish forces retook from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in November."

Saturday
Mar122016

The Commentariat -- March 13, 2016

Presidential Race

District of Columbia: With 100 percent reporting, Rubio got 37.3 percent of the vote & 10 delegates, followed by Kasich with 35.5 & 9 delegates, Trump with 13.8 & no delegates & Cruz with 12.4 & no delegates. ...

... The Washington, D.C., Republican caucuses end at 9:00 pm ET. ...

... Katherine Shaver of the Washington Post: "Thousands of District Republicans -- usually such a small cohort that they joke about holding meetings in phone booths -- waited in long lines Saturday to vote in what many saw as the city's most influential GOP presidential primary in years."

Wyoming is holding "county conventions" Saturday which will "allocate twelve pledged delegates on March 12. The remaining delegates will be allocated at the state convention on April 16," per the New York Times. At 8:00 pm ET with all of the counties reporting, Cruz has 67 percent of the vote & 9 delegates, Rubio 19.5 & one delegate, & Trump has 7 percent & one delegate. That only adds up to 11 delegates, but then Republicans don't do math. Update: According to Politico, "Uncommitted" gets one delegate.

CNN: "Ted Cruz ... picked up a delegate in Guam, but the state's other five delegates remain uncommitted."

Dangerous Times. Karen Tumulty, et al., of the Washington Post: "An already ugly presidential campaign has descended to a new level -- one where the question is no longer whether Donald Trump can be stopped on his march to the Republican presidential nomination, but whether it is possible to contain what he has unleashed across the country. Violence at Trump's rallies has escalated sharply, and the reality-show quality of his campaign has taken a more ominous turn in the past few days.... The racially tinged anger that has both fueled Trump's political rise and stoked the opposition to it has turned into a force unto itself....

     "But Trump should not be viewed in isolation or as the product of a single election, President Obama said Saturday at a fundraiser in Dallas. Obama said those who 'feed suspicion about immigrants and Muslims and poor people, and people who aren't like "us," and say that the reason that America is in decline is because of "those" people. That didn't just happen last week. That narrative has been promoted now for years.'...

     "GOP political consultant Stuart Stevens, who was a top strategist for 2012 nominee Mitt Romney, said Trump's rhetoric is 'almost verbatim' what segregationist George Wallace was saying in his third-party 1968 presidential campaign." ...

     ... CW: It's nice to see the MSM & public figures catching up to what we've been saying here since last year. ...

... NEW. Kyle Balluck of the Hill: "Donald Trump early Sunday accused Bernie Sanders of lying by saying the Vermont senator's 'disrupters' aren't told to go to the GOP front-runner's events. Trump also threatened in a tweet that his supporters would go to Sanders events if the Democratic hopeful wasn't 'careful.'" ...

All I know is what's on the Internet. -- Donald Trump, Sunday, on why he accused a man who tried to jump on stage with him of probably being linked to ISIS

... Kevin Robillard of Politico: "Donald Trump ... said Sunday he would consider paying the legal bills for an elderly man who was arrested after sucker-punching a protester at a Trump rally in North Carolina, while defending his claims a man who rushed the stage at Trump rally was linked to ISIS. 'We'll see,' Trump said Sunday on NBC's 'Meet The Press. 'I'm going to take a look at it.'"

... Evelyn Rupert of the Hill: "Video from outside of Donald Trump's rally in Kansas City, Mo., shows at least five police officers using pepper spray against protesters." ...

... Evelyn Rupert: "Trump ... promis[ed] to press charges against people who interrupt his events from now on. 'I'm going to start pressing charges against all these people,' he said at a rally in Kansas City, Mo. 'And then we won't have a problem.'"...

     ... Update. Mark Tracy of the New York Times: "During the event, inside a grand old theater with inlaid carvings, a chandelier, a mezzanine and upper deck, Mr. Trump, notably hoarse, called on the police to arrest people who were merely demonstrating. He drew some of the audience's loudest cheers when he pledged, 'I'll file whatever charges you want.' The police escorted people out throughout the event, though they did not appear to have arrested anyone just for speaking up. At one point Mr. Trump held up the protesters as examples of the kind of people his campaign was massed against: 'It's all a little group that wants free lunch.'" ...

... Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump announced from the stage at a rally in Kansas City, Mo., that a man who had charged him at an event earlier Saturday was 'probably' linked to the Islamic State, appearing to base his statement on an Internet video that has been described as a hoax." CW: So, speaking of suing people, it sound like that guy has a pretty good case of defamation of character against Trump. On the other hand, all bets are off if Trump should become president because there's a good chance he would declare himself not-sueable. ...

... Jose DelReal & Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: "An unidentified man charged at ... Donald Trump on Saturday during a campaign event ... in Dayton, [Ohio,] one day after increased security concerns forced his campaign to cancel an event in Chicago. The Secret Service quickly surrounded the real estate mogul after a man attempted to get beyond the barricades to the dais where Trump was standing. The man, whose motives remain unclear, was charged with disorderly conduct and inciting panic by the Dayton Police Department, according to an official familiar with the matter." ...

... CW: Trump told the crowd he was "ready for it"; that is, to take on the interloper, "but it's much easier if the cops do it." Yeah, right. Our superhero. ...

... It's All Obama's Bernie's Fault. Dave Weigel of the Washington Post: "In the wake of last night's canceled Chicago rally, Donald Trump has taken to blaming Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and supporters of his Democratic Party bid for president for incitement. He debuted the argument on Friday night's cable news coverage, as footage of protesters cheering 'Bernie' played under Trump's phoned-in interviews. He honed the argument at rallies Saturday. 'They were taunted, they were harassed by these other people,' said Trump at his [Saturday] morning rally in Dayton, Ohio. 'These other people, by the way, some represented Bernie, our communist friend. With Bernie, he should really get up and say to his people: stop. Stop. Not me, stop.' In a statement released Saturday afternoon, Sanders chose not to do that. 'As is the case virtually every day, Donald Trump is showing the American people that he is a pathological liar,' Sanders wrote. "Obviously, while I appreciate that we had supporters at Trump's rally in Chicago, our campaign did not organize the protests. What caused the protests at Trump's rally is a candidate that has promoted hatred and division against Latinos, Muslims, women, and people with disabilities, and his birther attacks against the legitimacy of President Obama. What caused the violence at Trump’s rally is a campaign whose words and actions have encouraged it on the part of his supporters.'" ...

... Alex Seitz-Wald of MSNBC: "When Ja'Mal Green, a prominent black activist and Bernie Sanders supporter in Chicago, saw that Donald Trump was coming to the University of Illinois Chicago, he knew what he had to do. 'Everyone, get your tickets to this. We're all going in!!!! ‪#‎SHUTITDOWN‬,' he posted on Facebook last week. Little did he know they actually would shut it down." Seitz-Wald reports on how activists organized via social media & developed a plan to disrupt the rally. MoveOn.org, which has endorsed Sanders, assisted the protesters. This all happened within a four-day span.

... CW: The Audacity of Both-Siderism. Michael Barbaro, et al., of the New York Times write a classic both-sides-do-it report. If you want to know how Trump gets away with blaming Sanders for the violence at the Chicago rally, you need only read this above-the-fold New York Times "analysis." Why, it's kinda like the reporters got together with Hillary Clinton to blame the anti-Trump protesters. ...

... NEW. Evelyn Rupert: "Hillary Clinton penned an article in Medium Saturday, expanding on her previous apology for praising Nancy and Ronald Reagans' response to HIV and AIDS." Her essay is here. ...

... Abby Phillip of the Washington Post: Hillary Clinton's message about "political unity" in response to the violence at Donald Trump's rallies failed to even mention Trump &, by the way she invoked the massacre in Charleston, S.C., seemed to blame black protesters. "Later on Saturday, [perhaps in response to reaction to her initial statement,] Clinton addressed Trump more directly in a statement, criticizing him for encouraging violence at his rallies." ...

... CW: I have no idea what Barbaro & Clinton really think, because, like Will Rogers, I only know what I read in the papers. And what the papers say is that the problem isn't Trump so much as it is the reaction to Trump & his ilk. The idea is that the rest of us should show more restraint & let the demagoguery proceed. I'll bet that's what a lot of well-mannered Germans thought in 1930s Germany. Sorry about the argumentum ad Hitlerum, but I kinda mean it. In the meantime, over the course of 24 hours, Clinton has managed to alienate gay voters, black voters & everyone in solidarity with their interests. Something is way off here. ...

... Marc Caputo of Politico: "Donald Trump claimed Saturday that he's 'asking law enforcement to check for dishonest early voting in Florida,' but neither the state's law enforcement agency nor elections officials have received any complaints or reports of voting irregularities." ...

... The Trump supporter who made a Nazi salute outside the Chicago rally to fend off protesters says she was born in Germany but she's not a Nazi. Great. ...

     ... The Nut Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree. Daniel Politi of Slate: Donald Trump, Jr., retweeted a claim by the "Supreme Dark Lord" that the not-Nazi woman was actually Bernie Sanders campaigner Portia Boulger in disguise; Junior complained "the media will never run with this." Perhaps because it's not true. Boulger, who doesn't look like the not-Nazi lady, was in Ohio. ...

... Robert Mackey of the Intercept: "For months now, Donald Trump has been complaining about the level of violence inflicted on protesters at his campaign rallies. Complaining, that is, about protesters -- who have been tackled and kicked, pushed, spat on, and sucker-punched -- not being subjected to nearly enough violence." ...

... Ezra Klein: "Violence is scary. But violence-as-ideology is terrifying. And that's where Trump's campaign has gone.... The great mistake the media makes with Donald Trump is to pretend he has no ideology.... Like most nationalists, the emotional center of Trump's ideology is an Us vs. Them argument.... He is a man with an evident appetite for suppressing dissent with violence, a man who believes America's problem is that it's too gentle to its dissidents. Trump is making an argument for a politics backed by force, for a security service unleashed from 'political correctness,' for a country where protesting has consequences. The results are playing out before us, night after night, on our televisions." ...

... Isaac Chotiner of Slate: "It was once easy to root for Trump to blow up the GOP. Not anymore." ...

... Rosie Gray of BuzzFeed: "Breitbart senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak ordered staffers in an internal chatroom to stop defending Michelle Fields, the staffer who was allegedly manhandled by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski."

Beth Reinhard of the Wall Street Journal: "One day after he officially endorsed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, former rival Ben Carson said he would be 'willing' to be his vice president.
Asked at a Republican Party fundraiser in Broward County, one of the biggest counties in Florida, whether he would be amenable to the No. 2 slot, Mr. Carson said, 'I've told Mr. Trump that if it was really going to make a big difference I'd be willing to.'" CW: Okay, then, one more thing I don't have in common with Ben Carson.


Yamiche Alcindor
of the New York Times: "A day after many of his supporters protested at a rally for Donald J. Trump [in Chicago], Bernie Sanders defended the demonstrators and pointedly attacked the city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, for closing schools and firing teachers."

Amy Chosick of the New York Times: Hillary Clinton said Saturday that Bernie Sanders "had not always been such an advocate [for healthcare reform].... 'I don't know,' Mrs. Clinton said. 'Where was he when I was trying to get health care in '93 and '94?'... The answer: 'Literally, standing right behind her,' a Sanders spokesman, Mike Casca, said on Twitter, posting a photo from a 1994 news conference that shows Mr. Sanders next to Mrs. Clinton when the then first lady spoke about the White House's proposed health care overhaul. A spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton, Jennifer Palmieri," responded, 'Exactly, he was standing behind her. She was out in front.'"

Caitlin Yilek of the Hill: Jennifer Epstein of Bloomberg tweeted a 1993 vintage photo of Clinton & Sanders conferring one-on-one & side-by-side, apparently about healthcare; at the bottom of the photo is a handwritten note from Clinton to Sanders: "With thanks for your commitment to real health care access for all Americans...." Includes photo with readable inscription. CW: Clinton is really off her game. Or else she thought Bernie had burned the evidence & she was free to make up stuff.

Other News & Views

Edward O. Wilson, in a New York Times op-ed: "Unless we wish to pauperize the natural world drastically and permanently, believing that later generations will be smart enough to find a way to bring equilibrium to the land, seas and air, then we, the current inheritors of this beautiful world, must take more serious action to preserve the rest of life." CW: I'd be happy to let the species Drumpfus donaldus go extinct; unfortunately, there's already a Drumpfus donaldus secundus, & he's just as much a mutant form as the primus.

Oh, Good Lord! Emma Brown of the Washington Post: "The Christian Educators Association International, an organization that sees the nation's public schools as 'the largest single mission field in America,' aims to show Christian teachers how to live their faith -- and evangelize in public schools -- without running afoul of the Constitution's prohibition on the government establishing or promoting any particular religion.... Although the Christian Educators Association is small, it is at the center of a pending Supreme Court case that has the potential to substantially weaken public sector unions in more than two dozen states. The association is a plaintiff in the case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which challenges the right of teachers unions to collect dues from nonmembers."

Friday
Mar112016

The Commentariat -- March 12, 2016

President Obama spoke at a Democratic fundraiser in Austin, Texas, last night:

... Niraj Chokshi of the Washington Post reports on some of the more serious remarks the President made about the state of the Republican party.

*****

Presidential Race

Extreme, Bizarre Revisionist History. No, people, Republicans do not have a lock on it:

It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan, in particular, Mrs. Reagan, we started national conversation when before no one would talk about it, no one wanted to do anything about it, and that too is something that really appreciated, with her very effective, low-key advocacy, but it penetrated the public conscience and people began to say 'Hey, we have to do something about this too.' -- Hillary Clinton, Friday, speaking to MSNBC in the environs of Reagan's funeral ...

... Eric Levitz of New York: "Clinton's Iraq War vote was a big mistake, but it's possible that she's never been more wrong than she is here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the first medical report about HIV in 1981. President Reagan gave his first major public address on the subject in 1987. In 1984, after more than 3,000 Americans had been killed by the virus, the notion that the president may have given the matter any thought was cause for laughter in the Reagan White House.... When the Reagan administration finally did start 'the national conversation' about the disease six years and 25,000 deaths into the crisis, he made sure to note that the 'final judgment' on the souls of the dead was 'up to God.'" ...

It's almost tempting to interpret this as withering, devastating sarcasm. The Reagans 'started a national conversation about AIDS' in the same sense that George W. Bush 'started a national conversation' about Iraq. -- Sam Biddle of Gawker

Marie Antoinette did some incredible LOW KEY ADVOCACY for the French Underclass. -- Dan Fishback, a writer and performer, on Twitter

... Amy Chozick of the New York Times: "She faced a swift and fierce backlash, and issued a contrite apology within hours." ...

While the Reagans were strong advocates for stem cell research and finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease, I misspoke about their record on HIV and AIDS. For that, I'm sorry. -- Hillary Clinton, apologizing for her praise of the Reagans' work on AIDS, praise she repeated in a tweet

... Matt Yglesias of Vox comes to Hillary's & Nancy Reagan's defense, sort of. ...

... CW: Hillary Clinton was an adult in the 1980s. She had access to newspapers & TV news. Her husband was a politician & usually the governor of Arkansas. How Clinton can have missed the incessant public cries for the Reagan administration to address the AIDS crisis in a meaningful, serious way, & the continual criticisms of Reagan's failure to do so, I cannot imagine. She must know something about Nancy Reagan the rest of us don't know. ...

... Like the rest of us, Kevin Drum is flummoxed: "I can't imagine why Clinton said something so dumb and inflammatory, and I can't imagine she was pandering to anyone. What the hell caused her to momentarily lose her senses over this?" ...

... CW: The one thing I can think of is this: Hillary Clinton & Andrea Mitchell (to whom she was speaking) belong to the same Elite Schmooze Club, & Nancy Reagan of course was one of them. The Schmooze Club knows no political, ideological boundaries, & its members praise each other all the time. You see it at public & quasi-public events. If you care to surf C-SPAN for the introduction portions of policy forums or other events where people of various political persuasions appear, Schmooze Club etiquette is on full display. Usually, but not always, the encomiums fall somewhere within the range of the truth, even as they gloss over the actual whole truth. As Drum & other noted, apparently Nancy did encourage Ronnie a bit to take AIDS more seriously after the death of her friend Rock Hudson (whom she refused to help when he was dying of AIDS & asked her for assistance). So there was that teeny grain of truth to Hillary's remarks. Maybe Hillary got caught up in the funereal moment -- the prime venue for this kind of laudatory half-truth -- & forgot she wasn't just talking to her Schmooze Buddy Mrs. Greenspan but also to all of us non-Club members. (This explanation, lame tho it may be, does not cover the tweet Hillary or her campaign sent out, making the same claim about Nancy's endeavors for AIDS victims.)

ABC News: "Hillary Clinton won the Northern Mariana Islands' Democratic caucuses, according to the commonwealth's Democratic Party. Clinton won four delegates in addition to a previously pledged superdelegate. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won two delegates."

Let's see what President Obama says about Nancy Reagan's work on AIDS. Oh, nothing:

Chicago Politics, Bernie-Style, & a Rahm Referendum. Gabriel Debenedetti of Politico: "Top campaign surrogates [for Bernie Sanders] have been dispatched to Chicago, and Sanders is running two separate television ads critical of [Chicago Mayor Rahm] Emanuel in an attempt to highlight [Hillary] Clinton's connections with the mayor." ...

... Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "A group of 17-year-olds in Ohio has successfully persuaded a state judge to allow them to vote in the state's primary on Tuesday. The ruling comes after Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont sued Ohio's top elections official, Secretary of State Jon A. Husted, in federal court on Tuesday arguing that Mr. Husted had 'arbitrarily' discriminated against young black and Latino voters by not allowing 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the general election in November to vote in the primary on Tuesday. On Friday, an Ohio state judge ruled that the teenagers can vote in the primary as well as in congressional, legislative and mayoral races. Mr. Husted has vowed to appeal...." ...

     ... Also from Flegenheimer's report: At a Sanders rally in Toledo, Ohio, "Representative Marcy Kaptur of Ohio announced her endorsement" of Sanders.

Clinton & Sanders, back in the day. Photo via the Week.... Paul Waldman on how the very different political histories of Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton explain each of their unique strengths & weaknesses now.


Patrick Reis & Eliza Collins
of Politico: "Nineteen delegates are on the line Saturday when the D.C. Republican party holds its caucus, which will be conducted at a lone polling place a few blocks from the White House in the Loews Madison Hotel."

Jason Williams of the Cincinatti Enquirer: "Donald Trump is no longer planning a rally in Downtown [Cincinatti] on Sunday afternoon. The Secret Service security supporting the GOP presidential front runner's campaign could not complete its preparation work in time to hold the event at the Duke Energy Convention Center, said Eric Deters, a local spokesman for Trump's campaign." In an update, Williams writes, "... Trump has scheduled a campaign stop at the Savannah Center in West Chester on Sunday at 2 p.m." CW: West Chester, a new, upscale suburb of Cincinatti, about 22 miles from the Cincinatti city center. Ha ha. The median house size is about 3,500 sq.ft. The West Chester population is 83 percent white; in Cincinatti, it's slight less than 50 percent white. ...

... CBS News: "A CBS News journalist covered all of Friday night's events until he himself was detained.... Sopan Deb was on the floor of the arena as tensions built - raw emotions on both sides. He interviews both protesters and Trump supporters.... Deb says he was thrown to the ground and handcuffed, without notice or warning. Illinois State Police charged him with resisting arrest although there is no sign of that on the video [he was shooting]." Includes video you should watch. In a taped segment, you can hear Deb attempting to show the cops his press credentials. He said an officer held him down on the ground by placing his boot on Deb's neck. ...

... Arturo Garcia of the Raw Story: "A scheduled rally for Donald Trump's presidential campaign in Chicago on Friday was postponed. A spokesperson for the GOP presidential front-runner cited safety concerns for the 'tens of thousands gathered in and around' the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavillion." ...

     ... Update. Monica Davey & Julie Bosman of the New York Times: "With thousands of people already packed into stands and music blaring to warm up the crowd, Donald J. Trump's campaign abruptly canceled his rally [in Chicago] on Friday night over security concerns as protesters clashed with his supporters inside an arena where he was to speak. Minutes after Mr. Trump was to have taken to a podium on the campus of a large, diverse public university just west of downtown, an announcer suddenly pronounced the event over before it had begun. Hundreds of protesters, who had promised to be a visible presence here and filled several sections of the arena, let out an elated, unstopping cheer. Mr. Trump's supporters, many of whom had waited hours to see the Republican front-runner, seemed stunned and slowly filed out in anger.... Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich, condemned the disruptions, but said Mr. Trump was responsible for the tenor of his rallies. Mr. Cruz said Mr. Trump 'affirmatively encourages violence.'" ...

... Jenna Johnson & Mark Berman of the Washington Post: "The decision [to scrub the rally] immediately sparked nasty verbal and physical fights between protesters and Trump supporters.... soon as the cancellation was announced, shoving matches broke out between the two groups, and police tried to break up one scuffle after another. Everyone moved outside, and the crowd grew in numbers and the altercations continued.... The Chicago Police Department said it was informed shortly before 6:30 p.m. that the Trump campaign had canceled the event, an announcement that took the department by surprise, according to the police chief." According to the Trump campaign, Trump consulted with police before making the decision. CW: So Drumpf, who during Thursday night's debate answered a question about his antipathy to Muslims by praising cops, doesn't even play well with the police. ...

     ... CW: Earlier this week, my high school stadium illustrated the demise of Marco's candidacy; yesterday my college alma mater U of I - Chicago put a big crimp in the Donald's modus operandi. I'm feeling like a time-traveling, virtual Forrest Gump. ...

Part of the problem and part of the reason it takes so long [to kick them out] is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore. There used to be consequences. There are none anymore. These people are so bad for our country. You have no idea, folks; you have no idea.... They contribute nothing. Nothing. And look at the police, they take their lives in their hands. -- Donald Trump, at a St. Louis rally Friday morning

I expect "these people" who "contribute nothing" are black. -- Constant Weader

... Sasha Goldstein, et al., of the New York Daily News: "Donald Trump's divisive hate tour exploded in violence Friday with a bloody stop in St. Louis and chaos in Chicago -- while the tone-deaf hate-monger denied his role in the madness. The fury filled day began with clashes outside St. Louis' Peabody Opera House, leaving one man bloodied and another charged with assault." ...

... Bethania Markus of the Raw Story: "A demonstrator at a St. Louis rally for GOP front runner Donald Trump had his face bloodied and was taken to an ambulance by police officers, according to video posted online and the New York Daily News. The African-American man is a locally-known activist named Anthony Cage. He became a local activist against police violence and racism after the killing of unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, in 2014, by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson." With photos & video. ...

... Before the Chicago fiasco, Sam Stein & Dana Liebelson of the Huffington Post wrote a piece cataloging Trump rally violence. "Racial slurs, nasty rhetoric and violence at Trump rallies have become commonplace against protesters, bystanders, and reporters. Assaults are committed not only by rowdy Trump fans, but by the staff he employs to keep the events safe. But rather than denounce these incidents, Trump is making them part of his brand, and uses them to rev up crowds." ...

... Here's Rachel Maddow on the same topic, aired just after Trump cancelled his Chicago rally. Thanks to Victoria for the link:

     ... CW: Trump keeps promising to pay the legal costs for his followers who beat up on protesters. Let's see if he pays to defend John McGraw, the white guy who sucker-punched black protester Rakeem Jones in Fayetteville, N.C., then said "Next time, we might have to kill him." ...

... Steve M.: "... even if there's really bad violence at Trump rallies, the Republican rank and file will assume the victims deserved it. And I'm not sure the even moderate whites will find that this violence shocks their consciences. Trump is playing with fire. But he's not going to get burned at the ballot box -- not with the voters he's trying to reach." ...

... Gail Collins attempts her usual fun take on the clown parade, but Trump finally has managed to shake her out of Erma Bombeck mode: "He's going all the way. Running for president on an anti-Muslim platform. Good God." ...

... Hate Speech, the New Normal. The Washington Post Editors have had enough, too: "THE REPUBLICAN presidential race, the headlines tell us, suddenly turned civil and substantive this week.... Donald Trump merely stated that 'there is tremendous hate' among 'large portions' of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims. 'We better solve the problem before it's too late,' Mr. Trump said. A debate is not civil when it includes this kind of ignorant stereotyping. It is not substantive when such rank prejudice earns inadequate protest from the others onstage. In fact, it is a measure of how crude Mr. Trump has made GOP politics that the front-runner's hateful spewing seems increasingly normal." ...

... Elements of a Con Game -- The Trump "University" Review. Michael Barbaro & Steve Eder of the New York Times: "Interviews and documents show that employees of Trump University at times applied pressure on students to offer favorable reviews, instructed them to fill out the forms in order to obtain their graduation certificates, and ignored standard practices used to ensure that the surveys were filled out objectively. 'It's absolutely a con, said [Robert] Guillo, who spent $36,000 on Trump University classes and later requested a refund. 'The role of the evaluations were a defense against any legal actions. They anticipated those actions.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Brain Surgeon Testifies Trump Has a Brain. Sean Sullivan & Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson endorsed Donald Trump on Friday, throwing his support to the GOP front-runner in a 45-minute joint appearance where Trump said he doesn't see a need for any more televised debates. Carson ... said he and Trump have 'buried the hatchet' after trading nasty words during the primary. He also said there are 'two different' Trumps: the one the public sees and a more 'cerebral' Trump in private." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Valerie Strauss, a Washington Post's education reporter: "Donald Trump ... declared that Carson was going to help him with education issues because he knows so much about them." Strauss looks into how much of an education expert Carson is: his Website is full of inaccurate information [CW: no doubt gleaned from other Wingnut Websites] about education programs, testing, school performance, etc., & he has shown such a lack of familiarity with the basic structure of K-12 education that Strauss thinks he has no idea that charter schools are public schools & that Congress has repealed No Child Left Behind. CW: So there's your new Secretary of Education. And don't be thinking, "Oh, well, Ole Doc is smart; he'll learn on the job." This is a guy whose own adviser said he was incapable of grasping any information about American international policy. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Quinn Hilyer of the National Review: "Dr. Ben Carson has just made a hypocrite of himself and done great damage to the country by endorsing the moral monster, Donald Trump. Carson has spent an entire campaign pleading for honor and decency and decorum, only to endorse a man who is the crassest, most vulgar, most deceitful person in the race -- a man who has repeatedly attacked in the most vicious ways, and lied about, every other candidate in the race. Trump is a man who has repeatedly incited violence at his rallies, saying that protesters should be punched out and carried away on a stretcher, and promising to pay the legal bills of those who throw the punches." ...

... Kevin Drum: "Ben Carson has been grifting the conservative movement for years. He knows the main chance when he sees it, and right now Trump offers him the best prospect of staying in the spotlight and selling more books. I wonder if Trump will make him stand obediently behind him during his next rally, like he did with Chris Christie?" ...

(... CW: I think Ben Carson is a true believer, a fundamentalist's fundamentalist Christian. So how in his mind does he justify this never-ending grift? If he took a really good look in the mirror, he'd see more of an anti-Christ figure than a saint. I realize his belief system requires him to constantly reject evident facts, but it's extra-weird that he -- any many other self-identifying super-Christians -- ignores his own decidedly anti-Christian life choices. ...)

... Ravi Somaiya of the New York Times: "Earlier this week, a reporter for the website Breitbart News said that she had been dragged down by the arm as she was asking Donald Trump a question at a campaign event at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla. Another reporter present said that the Breitbart reporter, Michelle Fields, had been grabbed by Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump's campaign manager.... Mr. Trump's campaign has continued to vehemently deny that Mr. Lewandowski grabbed Ms. Fields.On Friday, according to the Jupiter Police Department, Ms. Fields filed a police report alleging 'battery-simple (touch or strike).'” ...

... How the Trump Machine Stands up to Hysterical Women. Gabrielle Bluestone of Gawker: "New video from the Donald Trump press conference Tuesday appears to show Donald Trump's campaign manager grabbing the reporter he swore he didn't grab.... The video also appears to invalidate a theory advanced by Fields' own employer, Breitbart, which today published a story by Joel B. Pollack concluding there was no way Lewandowski could have done it." ...

... Rosie Gray of BuzzFeed: "Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella is no longer working with the company in the wake of controversy over Donald Trump's campaign manager allegedly roughly handling one of the site's reporters.... Asked if it would be fair to say he was parting ways with Breitbart because he disagrees with its handling of the situation with Michelle Fields, Bardella said 'It would be fair for you to say that' but that he wasn't going to."

... Janell Ross of the Washington Post responds to Trump's racially-coded responses regarding violence at his rallies. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Eli Stokols of Politico: "Marco Rubio on Saturday said he is no longer sure he can support Donald Trump should he become the GOP presidential nominee following the protests and unrest sparked by a planned Trump rally in Chicago. 'I don't know,' the Florida senator said, pausing in despair.... 'I already talked about the fact that I think Hillary Clinton would be terrible for this country, but the fact that you're even asking me that question ... I still at this moment intend to support the Republican nominee, but ... it's getting harder every day.'" ...

... Nancy LeTourneau of the Washington Monthly: "Perhaps you heard the news that Jeb Bush met with Cruz, Rubio and Kasich on Wednesday in Florida prior to the debate last night. If Erick Erickson is to be believed, they have hatched a 'stop Trump' plan. It all comes down to this: 1. Marco Rubio gets Florida. 2. John Kasich gets Ohio. 3. Ted Cruz gets Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina."

Eli Stokols & Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Marco Rubio, desperate to save his presidential campaign in his home state, is adopting the Mitt Romney strategy -- asking Republicans hoping to stop Donald Trump to support his rival, John Kasich, in Ohio. 'John Kasich is the only one who can beat Donald Trump in Ohio,' Rubio said.... The flip-side of that strategic gambit is to convince any voters in Florida not backing Trump to support him in Tuesday's primary. 'I'm the only one who can beat Trump in Florida,' Rubio said during a press conference Friday morning.... 'We were going to win in Ohio without his help, just as he's going to lose in Florida without ours,' said Kasich campaign spokesman Rob Nichols." CW: Either Kasich didn't understand Jeb!'s memo or he doesn't negotiated with the terrifieds.

Matt Flegenheimer of the New York Times: "Speaking to reporters at a local Republican dinner outside Chicago, where Mr. Trump had just canceled a rally..., [Ted] Cruz began by saying that the 'protesters who took violence into their own hands' were responsible for the episode. 'But in any campaign, responsibility starts at the top,' Mr. Cruz continued. 'And when you have a campaign that disrespects the voters, when you have a campaign that affirmatively encourages violence, when you have a campaign that is facing allegations of physical violence against members of the press, you create an environment that only encourages this sort of nasty discourse.' BUT also everything is Obama's fault: because he "sought to divide us on racial lines, on ethnic lines, on religious lines, on class lines." ...

     ... CW: See, if President Obama weren't so blackity-black-black (or, more accurately, half-blackity-black, but let's not get into math & the fractions that divide us), that old white guy would not have felt the need to cold-cock a black guy at a Drumpf rally this week, & Corey Lewandowski would not have had to shove around a white reporter. Really, Mr. President, stop being so damned black. You're scaring the nice white peoples. ...

     ... AND speaking of black & white & Chicago & Nancy Reagan, there was that time "when she telephoned from a fundraising event in Chicago in 1980. 'Oh Ronnie,' she enthused, 'I wish you could be here to see all these beautiful white people ... black and white people, I mean.'" R.I.P., Nancy. The beautiful Black Person in the White House has been saying nice things about you.

The National Review Editors endorse Ted Cruz for president.

Other News & Views

Sari Horwitz, et al., of the Washington Post: "President Obama is finalizing his decision on a Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia and appears to have narrowed his choice to three candidates, according to people with knowledge of the vetting process. The three under consideration are Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; Sri Srinivasan, a judge on the same court; and Paul Watford, a judge on the California-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Obama said this week that he wanted to make a decision quickly, and his announcement could come as early as next week, the sources said." ...

     ... CW: So disappointing he's overlooked my neighbor's favorite: Judge Judy. First of all, a lot of people think she's already on the Supreme Court, so her appointment to an actual seat would go practically unnoticed. Second, she'd whip the asses of those old farts on the Judiciary Committee if they tried to deprive her of a hearing. A President known for his pragmatism should be more pragmatic here.

Jemima Kiss of the Guardian: "Barack Obama today attempted to heal a rift between the technology community and the government, saying the two sides must engage constructively to build technologies that balance individual privacy with the government's obligation to keep people safe. Addressing a small and enthusiastic audience at the SXSW festival, Obama told the 2,400 festival-goers, technologists, local politicians and media that the American constitution and bill of rights are a system designed to protect the public from government overreach." ...

... Joe DeLessio of New York: "Delivering a keynote address at South by Southwest Friday, President Obama said he couldn't discuss the ongoing battle between Apple and the FBI over access to the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. But the president ... took a stand against pro-Apple 'absolutism.' Said Obama, via Chris Welch of the Verge: 'What will happen is, if everybody goes to their respective corners, and the tech community says, "either we have strong perfect encryption or else it's Big Brother and an Orwellian world," what you'll find is that after something really bad happens, the politics of this will swing and it will become sloppy and rushed and it will go through Congress in ways that are dangerous and not thought through.'" ...

... Video of President Obama's full conversation is here.

     ... CW: I see the President is still promoting macroeconomic hoohah. Here he misinforms a new generation: "There is growing inequality because of globalization." Right. Because if only we didn't import Chinese toys, rich Americans wouldn't get tax breaks.

Elements of a Con Game -- Manufacturing VA "Scandals." Martin Longman in the Washington Monthly: "At [Thursday] night's debate in Miami, the Republican candidates - as they have all primary season - attacked the VA health care system and demanded its radical restructuring. Few viewers were aware, however, that the candidates were following a script written by the Koch brothers." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Alicia Mundy has the full story: "Working through the CVA [Concerned Veterans for America], and in partnership with key Republicans and corporate medical interests, the Koch brothers' web of affiliates has succeeded in manufacturing or vastly exaggerating 'scandals' at the VA as part of a larger campaign to delegitimize publicly provided health care. The Koch-inspired attacks, in turn, have provided the pretext for GOP candidates to rally behind the cause -- only recently seen as fringe -- of imposing free market 'reforms on the federal government's second largest agency." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Peter Hermann, et al., of the Washington Post: "The mysterious death of [Mikhail Lesin,] the Kremlin-connected businessman -- found two days after he failed to show at an exclusive Washington fundraiser -- is fueling conspiracy theories around the globe. Speculation ranges from Lesin being targeted by a political or financial rival to being the victim of a mundane bar fight."

Beyond the Beltway

Lead, Lead Everywhere. Marc Santora & David Chen of the New York Times: "On Wednesday, water at 30 of Newark's 67 schools was shut off after being found to contain high levels of lead. The move left state and school officials trying to reassure nervous parents that they had the situation under control, even as questions swirled about how the problem had been handled in the first place. The potential danger of lead exposure was something school officials in Newark had been aware of for years, and the district had installed lead-reduction filters on water fountains and kitchen prep sinks, particularly in schools built before 2006.... But it took a crisis in Flint, Mich., to focus attention on the issue of lead contamination in Newark, New Jersey's largest city." Previous "solution": Just let the taps & drinking fountains run a while.

Lynchings as "Humor": "I Didn't Like the Gumbo." Elahe Izadi of the Washington Post: A couple complained to the NAACP (for some odd reason) after they went to Joe's Crab Shack (a national chain) in Roseville, Minnesota, & found themselves seated at a table into which had been laminated a blow-up of an early-20th century photograph of the hanging of a black man. The "joke"? The hanged man says, "All I said was 'I didn't like the gumbo.'" Ha ha. The restaurant removed the image after the NAACP's complaint & apologized, but the head of the Minneapolis NAACP says Joe's parent company, Ignite Restaurant Group, has not made a commitment to survey its other restaurants for offensive material. CW: To be clear, the photo depicted a public hanging, not a lynching. But still. The story raises questions not answered about how this image got there, & how long & why it stayed.

AP: "A man suspected of intentionally driving a snowmobile into teams of two mushers near the front of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was arrested Saturday in a Yukon River village. Arnold Demoski, 26, of Nulato was arrested on suspicion of assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and six counts of criminal mischief."

Way Beyond

The Assassins' Cold Feet. Lorenzo Tondo of the Guardian: "Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York, was targeted for assassination by the Sicilian mafia during a trip to Italy in 1992, according to an imprisoned Cosa Nostra hitman. Maurizio Avola, 54 -- who is currently serving a life sentence for his part in 43 murders and 40 armed robberies -- told the Guardian that mobster bosses planned an ambush involving about a dozen gunmen armed with assault rifles and explosives. The attack was only called off when the scale of Cuomo's security detail became apparent, he said."

Adam Taylor of the Washington Post: "Israel Kristal is 112 years and 178 days old. That's quite an achievement. On Friday, representatives of Guinness World Records came to his home in Haifa, Israel, to officially give him a certificate. He's now officially the world's oldest living man." He has lived a remarkable life, even surviving Auschwitz.