Reality Chex was far better than usual this weekend because of contributions by Weaders other than I. Thank you all. -- Constant Weader
Greg Sargent: "Hillary Clinton's secret weapon against Bernie Sanders: Democratic voters." New York state & a number of other states will hold "closed primaries"; that is, where party crossovers or independents are not permitted to vote. Since many of Sanders' voters have been independents, while more of Clinton's core supporters are registered Democrats, Clinton has an advantage in these states which Sanders may not be able to overcome. -- CW
The Guardian has been liveblogging developments in the British Parliament re: published revelations based on Panama Papers documents.
Whose Big Mistake Was It? Claire Landsbaum of New York: "'Failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya' was 'probably' his biggest regret as president, [President] Obama told Fox's Chris Wallace." CW: Hmmm. That would have been the Secretary of State's job, wouldn't it? See video of the full interview in yesterday's Commentariat.
... Juan Cole of Informed Comment: "You could make a case that some Clinton policies as secretary of state did contribute to the spread of Daesh to Libya, but in my view that is a stretch. Libyan radical fundamentalists were well established in the country, and had supplied fighters against the US in Iraq in the thousands." -- LT, HT: PD Pepe.
Neil Irwin & Quoctrung Bui of the New York Times: "For poor Americans, the place they call home can be a matter of life or death. The poor in some cities -- big ones like New York and Los Angeles, and also quite a few smaller ones like Birmingham, Ala. -- live nearly as long as their middle-class neighbors or have seen rising life expectancy in the 21st century. But in some other parts of the country, adults with the lowest incomes die on average as young as people in much poorer nations like Rwanda, and their life spans are getting shorter.In those differences, documented in sweeping new research, lies an optimistic message: The right mix of steps to improve habits and public health could help people live longer, regardless of how much money they make." Includes interactive map. -- CW
Carol Morello of the Washington Post: "Secretary of State John F. Kerry will focus on the vision of a nuclear-free future while he is here and will not apologize for the atomic bomb that the United States dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, killing 140,000 people, a U.S. official said Sunday. Kerry arrived in Hiroshima on Sunday morning to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of Seven countries, who discussed the war in Syria and the refugee crisis sweeping Europe." -- CW
... Update. Carol Morello: "Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Monday said he thought everybody, including President Obama, should visit Hiroshima, after completing what he called a 'gut-wrenching' visit to a museum at ground zero in the city where the United States dropped the first atomic bomb, in World War II.... No decision has been made about whether President Obama will visit Hiroshima next month when he comes to Japan for a meeting with leaders of the G-7 countries."
Dan Lamothe of the Washington Post: Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin, "a Taiwan-born Navy officer who became a naturalized U.S. citizen, faces charges of espionage, attempted espionage and prostitution in a highly secretive case in which he is accused of providing classified information to China, U.S. officials said." -- CW
Paul Krugman writes about a court case that sided with MetLife on its objections to being designated a "systemically important" financial corporation. CW: I suspect he's written an extended criticism of Bernie Sanders, even tho he doesn't mention Sanders by name. ...
... CW: Here's why it's sometimes important to read comments sections:
According to Open Secrets, Met Life has contributed the third highest amount to the Clinton campaign -- $156,000, trailing only Citicorp and Goldman Sachs in Open Secrets' listing of her top 20 contributors ... but you snidely imply -- once again -- that Bernie Sanders, who does not do Super PACS or accept donations is unfit for president but Hillary Clinton with her Snoopy-endorsed MetLife money is? Good grief, PaulKrugman! -- Gluscabi
Annals of Journalism, Ctd. Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times: The Panama Papers"... leak signaled something ... that was a big deal but went unheralded: The official WikiLeaks-ization of mainstream journalism; the next step in the tentative merger between the Fourth Estate, with its relatively restrained conventional journalists, and the Fifth Estate, with the push-the-limits ethos of its blogger, hacker and journo-activist cohort, in the era of gargantuan data breaches." -- CW ...
... CW: Just because the Panama Papers are a huge cache, I don't see how their use by the Fourth Estate has been materially different from countless other journalistic scoops. That is, investigative journalists traditionally rely on information which whistleblowers have obtained illegally from the government or in violation of their confidentiality contracts with private entities. What is different from the old days, where hardcopy documents were physically stolen or copied, is hacking, a virtual theft. Hacking usually, but not always (Ed Snowden hacked the accounts of NSA coworkers), is the work of outsiders.
Abby Phillip of the Washington Post: Hillary & Bill Clinton "spent an entire day [Sunday] courting black voters in half a dozen New York churches and at a campaign event in Baltimore" after Bill Clinton escalated an encounter with Black Lives Matter activists last week. -- CW
Rachel Weiner of the Washington Post: "Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) endorsed Hillary Clinton on Sunday, after months of staying neutral in the presidential contest because of his post as the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform." -- CW
Kristen East of Politico: "Donald Trump on Sunday dismissed the Boston Globe as a 'stupid' and 'worthless' newspaper on the same day that the organization published a fake front page with stories depicting would-be news events during a Trump administration. '... The whole front page, they made up the story that Trump is the president and they made up the whole front page,' he said during an event in Rochester, New York. "It's a make-believe story, which is really no different than the whole paper.'... At the same event Sunday, Trump also criticized the New York Times and the Washington Post as 'dishonest' publications." -- CW
David Masciotra of Salon: "We let the idiots take the wheel... The framers of the United States Constitution were ... terrified of what damage the public might inflict upon their invention. Benjamin Franklin even went so far as to predict that 'the people shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.' Thomas Jefferson... called information the 'currency of democracy.' It would appear that large parts of America are all but bankrupt, suffering the consequences of a long liquidation at the hands of a sensationalistic media, but most of all, a broken education system." -- LT
...speaking of idiots: Jenny Rowland of the Center for American Progress: "By launching an ideological attack on the government's authority to protect and preserve lands, waters, and wildlife, the anti-parks caucus is proving to conservative primary voters that it is opposed to the federal government in every way." -- LT, an unhappy national and state park-loving Coloradan
Ed Kilgore of New York: "The [Trump] campaign seems to figure all policy specifics are premature until [he] takes office and sits down with Republicans -- and Democrats -- on the Hill (...) The [Republican] party has been hoping and planning to avoid deal-making or bipartisanship at all costs if it takes the White House. In the first days of a new Republican administration, the plan has been to cram absolutely everything the right wants on major domestic-policy topics -- with health care high on the list -- into a budget-reconciliation bill (which, because it deals money, cannot be filibustered) and whip it through Congress to be signed immediately by the president." -- safari
Kristen East: "CIA Director John Brennan shut down one of Donald Trump's biggest campaign talking points on Sunday, saying his agency would not engage in waterboarding, even if a future president were to order it. 'I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I've heard banded about because this institution needs to endure,' Brennan said in an interview with NBC News." -- CW ...
... National security expert Donald Trump derided Brennan. Nick Gass of Politico: "'Well I think his comments are ridiculous,' Trump said in a telephone interview Monday with 'Fox & Friends.'... Trump went on to suggest that the reason the U.S. cannot defeat the Islamic State is because it cannot operate in a 'strong' enough manner." -- CW
Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "Donald Trump's convention manager, Paul Manafort, said on Sunday that the Republican presidential front-runner's campaign didn't do all it could to win delegates in Colorado. 'I acknowledge that we weren't playing in Colorado,' he said." -- CW
Steve M. has a good summary (with links) of Trump's Bad Weekend. Trumpelstiltskin has been raging about the "crooked deal" he got as five states, to some extent or another, chose Cruz's delegates over Trump's, even where Trump won the popular vote. But the Trumpbots are "not rioting. Unless that changes, I think they could be paper tigers in reaction to a Trump-thwarting convention." -- CW
Worse than Trump? The terrible, no-good horrible prospect of a Drumpf presidency must not cloud the very real possibility that a Cruz victory could actually be worse. Kyle Mantyla of Right Wing Watch reminds us that there "...seems to be no activist who is too extreme" for Ted Cruz who engaged "...infamous demon-hunting, anti-gay exorcist/state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt" to help him win whatever that was that happened in Colorado. -- Akhilleus
To whom much is given, all will be retained, except insofar as there be a payoff. -- The Gospel according to Drumpf ...
... ** American Cheapskate -- A Narcissist's Definition of Charity. David Fahrenthold & Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post: "... Donald Trump has said that he gave more than $102 million to charity in the past five years. But ... not a single one of those donations was actually a personal gift of Trump's own money. Instead..., many of the gifts that Trump cited to prove his generosity were free rounds of golf.... The largest items on the list were ... land-conservation agreements to forgo development rights on property Trump owns.... Many of the gifts on the list came from the charity that bears his name..., which didn't receive a personal check from Trump from 2009 through 2014.... Its work is largely funded by others, although Trump decides where the gifts go. Some beneficiaries on the list are not charities at all: They included clients, other businesses and tennis superstar Serena Willimas. His giving appears narrowly tied to his business and, now, his political interests." -- CW
Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: "While [House Speaker Paul] Ryan has repeatedly said that he has no intention of becoming his party's nominee this year, he is already deep into his own parallel national operation to counter Donald J. Trump and help House and Senate candidates navigate the political headwinds that Mr. Trump would generate as the party's standard-bearer -- or, for that matter, Senator Ted Cruz, who is only slightly more popular. Mr. Ryan is creating a personality and policy alternative to run alongside the presidential effort -- one that provides a foundation to rebuild if Republicans splinter and lose in the fall." -- CW
Stupid Apples Don't Fall Far From Ridiculous Loser Tree. it appears, according to Carrie Dann at NBC news, that those crazy Trump kids "Eric and Ivanka Trump -- failed to register as Republicans in the state in time to be eligible to vote for him in New York's April 19 primary...according to New York's public Voter Registration Database, both Eric and Ivanka Trump are registered to vote but not enrolled in a political party." Oopsy. -- Akhilleus
Beyond the Beltway
Laura Vozzella of the Washington Post: "Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe gutted a bill to let Virginia use the electric chair when it cannot find scarce lethal-injection drugs, making an 11th-hour amendment Sunday that would instead allow the state to hire a pharmacy to make a special batch in secret. [McAuliffe was u]p against a midnight deadline to veto or amend legislation from this year’s General Assembly session...." -- CW
Mike Dumke of the Chicago Sun-Times: As Mayor Rahm Emanuel faced growing criticism last fall over the city's handling of police shootings, Chicago Police Department officials laid plans to have undercover officers spy on protest groups, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show." -- CW
Spencer Ackerman of the Guardian: "Police used punches, knee strikes, elbow strikes, slaps, wrist twists, baton blows and Tasers at Homan Square, according to documents released to the Guardian in the course of its transparency lawsuit about the warehouse. The new information contradicts an official denial about treatment of prisoners at the facility. The injured men are among at least 7,351 people -- over 6,000 of them black -- who, police documents show, have been detained and interrogated at Homan Square without a public notice of their whereabouts or access to an attorney."--safari
Jonathan Cole in the Atlantic: "America's great public research universities, which produce path-breaking discoveries and train some of the country's most talented young students, are under siege. According to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' recently completed Lincoln Project report, between 2008 and 2013 states reduced financial support to top public research universities by close to 30 percent. At the same time, these states increased support of prisons by more than 130 percent." --safari
Sam Levin of the Guardian: "Eleven employees at the University of California at Berkeley have been fired or resigned after facing accusations of sexual harassment, according to new records that provide disturbing details on numerous misconduct allegations and dramatically expand a scandal plaguing the prestigious institution. The hundreds of pages of records -- which include extensive documentation of harassment cases involving 19 employees and were released on the heels of multiple high-profile controversies -- show that men in powerful positions avoided discipline after the school substantiated harassment complaints from students and employees." -- CW
Christopher Goffard of the Los Angeles Times: On his last day in office, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) reduced the sentence of convicted murderer Esteban Nuñez, the son of former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, a friend & political ally of Schwarznegger's. Esteban will be released this week. Schwarznegger did not reduce the sentence of Esteban's s co-defendant, who will presumably serve out his term. "'Of course you help a friend,' Schwarzenegger later said, a remark that deepened widespread outrage over the commutation, which was reflected in editorials and denunciations by Republicans and Democrats alike." -- CW
Samantha Page of ThinkProgress: "A group of youngsters just won a major decision in their efforts to sue the federal government over climate change. An Oregon judge ruled Friday that their lawsuit, which alleges the government violated the constitutional rights of the next generation by allowing the pollution that has caused climate change, can go forward." --safari
BOYCOTT! The Associated Press in the Hollywood Reporter:" Canadian rocker Bryan Adams is canceling a performance this week in Mississippi, citing the state's new law that allows religious groups and some private businesses to refuse service to gay couples." --safari
Andrew Roth of the Washington Post: "Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Sunday announced his resignation, calling for the formation of a new government as Kiev endures its worst political crisis since the Euromaidan revolution of 2014. The public's patience has grown thin with Yatsenyuk, as well as with President Petro Poroshenko, because of a struggling economy, stalled reforms and entrenched corruption. The ruling coalition has fractured as public support hits new lows." -- CW
Thomas Seibert of The Daily Beast: "Forget The Donald, Hillary and Bernie in New York. If you want to see some serious mud-slinging, look to Turkey's capital Ankara, where the president of the republic and the leader of the opposition have been calling each other political and sexual perverts." --safari
Gangster Islam. Andrew Higgins & Kimiko De Freytas-Tamura of The New York Times Khalid Zerkani, who lived in the Molenbeek district of Brussels, Belgium, & whom Belgian judges had previously sentenced to 12 years in prison for terrorist-related activity, “has emerged as a central element in attacks in both Paris and Brussels — as well as one in France that the authorities said last month they had foiled.” -- CaptRuss
Ben Taub of The New Yorker: "The Commission for International Justice and Accountability's ... four-hundred-page legal brief ... links the systematic torture and murder of tens of thousands of Syrians to a written policy approved by President Bashar al-Assad, coördinated among his security-intelligence agencies, and implemented by regime operatives. ...The case is the first international war-crimes investigation completed by an independent agency ... funded by governments but without a court mandate. The organization's founder, Bill Wiley....had grown frustrated with the geopolitical red tape that often shapes the pursuit of justice." -- LT
Washington Post: "Duane R. 'Dewey' Clarridge, a CIA operative and official of dash, daring and swagger who helped establish and headed the agency's counterterrorism center and also was known for his connection to the Iran-contra affair of the 1980s, died April 9 at his home in Leesburg, Va. He was 83." CW: An entertaining obituary.