The Wires
The Ledes

Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

Los Angeles Times: "Authorities have arrested a former police officer who is suspected of being one of California’s most prolific serial killers and rapists — the Golden State killer. According to law enforcement sources who were unauthorized to speak publicly about the case, a local and federal task force apprehended the suspect late Tuesday evening. A 72-year-old Citrus Heights resident, Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held without bail, according to Sacramento County jail records. In the 40 years since the Original Night Stalker began his campaign of terror in Sacramento and moved south through Oakland, Santa Barbara and Orange counties, he had remained unidentified. The attacker was also dubbed the East Area Rapist and the Golden State killer, and authorities say he is responsible for 12 killings, 45 rapes and more than 120 residential burglaries between 1976 and 1986."

... Guardian: "The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a boy. Kate and Williams’s third child was born at 11.01am at St Mary’s hospital, Paddington, central London. The baby weighed in at 8lb 7oz. The birth was announced to the public by Kensington Palace with a tweet.... The new Prince of Cambridge is fifth in line to the throne, and is Queen Elizabeth II’s sixth great-grandchild."

Mrs. Bea McCrabbie on "Why I take my political advice from country & western stars":

I would have voted for [Donald Trump] because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right? -- Shania Twain, a Canadian C&W performer

Especially if you're into very high-end decorative porcelain, here are some highlights of David & Peggy Rockefeller's collection that will go on auction beginning May 1. Unless you're a Rockefeller, your grandmother's curio cabinet never looked quite like this. To access the full Christie's catalog on the Rockefeller estate objets, start here.

Oh Noes! The Local: "Rome's Jewish community is embroiled in a standoff with Israel's top religious authority after it declared the Eternal City's cherished dish of 'carciofi alla giudia' (deep-fried whole artichoke) not kosher. The crisp golden delicacies are a speciality of the Roman-Jewish cuisine and a prominent feature on menus. But Israel's Chief Rabbinate said the method of cooking the artichoke whole made it impossible to clean properly and it didn't therefore adhere to kosher standards. 'The heart of the artichoke is full of worms, there's no way you can clean it,' said the head of imports of Israel's Rabbinate, Yitzhak Arazi, in an interview with national newspaper Haaretz. 'It can't be kosher. It's not our politics, this is Jewish religious law.'" ...

     ... Mrs. McCrabbie: This would be a tragedy. I've had Jewish-style artichokes in Rome's old Jewish quarter, & I'm pretty sure god would approve.

New York Times: Turns out the reboot of "Roseanne" is the result of ABC Entertainment's plan to become the Trump Nation's go-to teevee network, a strategy that began to take shape the day after Trump's election. "The top markets for the debut [of "Roseanne"] read like a political pollster’s red-state checklist: Cincinnati; Kansas City, Mo.; Tulsa, Okla. Liberal enclaves like New York and Los Angeles did not crack the top 20." ...

... Mrs. Bea McCrabbie: If, like Medlar & me, you happened to miss the premiere/reboot of the "Roseanne" show, where Roseanne Barr plays a Trump supporter (as she is in real life),

This video is dedicated to the Wives of Trump. Thanks to a friend for the link:

Here's a related story by Avi Selk of the Washington Post: "Deep-sea anglerfish sex ... is an endless horror. Every. Single. Time. A male anglerfish's first and only sexual adventure results in his becoming permanently fused — by his lips, no less — to the side of a relatively gargantuan female that resembles David Cronenberg's nightmare about the shark from 'Jaws.'”


An Outsider Artist Who Changed Modern Painting. New York: "In the 1940s, a 16-year-old girl captured the minds of the art world’s elite. The self-taught Algerian artist, Baya Mahieddine (1931-1988) — known as Baya — is finally being celebrated in the first North American exhibition of her work, at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, through March 31. Baya used gouache as her primary medium, depicting a world without men but full of bright images of women, nature, and animals." Baya influenced, among others, Picasso & Matisse, which is kinda obvious.

I posted this for no other reason than this is the first time I've seen it. But the "national policy" Tommy announces is more true today than ever in American history. To those of you too young to have seen a Carson monologue, I apologize:

ObamaTV. New York Times: "Former President Barack Obama is in advanced negotiations with Netflix to produce a series of high-profile shows that will provide him a global platform after his departure from the White House, according to people familiar with the discussions.Under terms of a proposed deal, which is not yet final, Netflix would pay Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, for exclusive content that would be available only on the streaming service.... The Netflix deal, while not a direct answer to Fox News or, would give Mr. Obama an unfiltered method of communication with the public similar to the audiences he already reaches through social media...."

Chicago Tribune: "A new scientific study claims that bones found in 1940 on the Pacific Island of Nikumaroro belong to [American aviator Amelia] Earhart, despite a forensic analysis of the remains conducted in 1941 that linked the bones to a male. The bones, revisited in the study 'Amelia Earhart and the Nikumaroro Bones' by University of Tennessee professor Richard Jantz, were discarded. For decades they have remained an enigma, as some have speculated that Earhart died a castaway on the island after her plane crashed." Jantz's conclusion is based on measurements of the bones taken by a medical doctor in 1941.

Constant Comments


Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. -- H. L. Mencken (probably)

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. -- A. J. Liebling


The Commentariat -- February 2, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "Presidential candidates flew through the night to hit the New Hampshire campaign trail running on Tuesday morning, eager to capitalize on a race that has been reordered by surprising finishes in the Iowa caucuses."

Patrick Healy of the New York Times: "Hillary Clinton was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday after final vote counts showed her narrowly beating Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, according to The Associated Press and other news organizations." ...

... Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post has a longish piece on how Clinton nearly got Berned in Iowa. Here's my favorite bit: Sanders "was headed to a May 31 rally at the American Indian Center in Minneapolis, his first big campaign event outside his New England home turf. But Sanders was still blocks away -- and the car he was in was not moving. 'Is there a wreck ahead?' Sanders anxiously asked his field director, Phil Fiermonte. 'No,' Fiermonte replied, 'they're here to see you.' More than 3,000 of them, many standing outside because the hall was full. 'It never occurred to me in a million years that line was for us,' Sanders recalled in a telephone interview Sunday.... 'I said, "Whoa." That was the first inkling that I had that this campaign was catching on.'" ...

... Frank Rich reflects on the Iowa results & what may happen going forward. As we noted here a few days ago, Rich's predictions haven't been too great. (Have you heard anybody outside of the Paul household saying "President Paul.") Nonetheless, Rich always offers an interesting perspective. ...

... AND Charles Pierce reflects on the Iowa results. Something, something, inequality, Epistle of James.


Presidential Race

Josh Cassidy of the New Yorker sums up the state of the race: "After a remarkable night in Iowa, one that served as a rebuke to Donald Trump and to the opinion pollsters, the Democratic Party was faced with the prospect of confronting a youthful and articulate Republican candidate come November: Senator Marco Rubio, who finished a strong third in the G.O.P. caucus, behind Ted Cruz and Trump. Before then, though, Democrats have some messy internal business to deal with: Bernie Sanders, promoting an American version of 'people power,' has confirmed his capture of the Party's under-forty wing, which means trouble for Hillary Clinton." ...

Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "Monday night's results confirmed that despite the widening cultural and political fissures that have divided right and left, voters are united in an impatience, even a revulsion, at what they see as a rigged system that no longer works for them. For Republicans, the enemy is an overreaching government, strangling their freedoms and pocketbooks. For Democrats, it is an unfair economy, shrinking their paychecks and aspirations.... And it sent a forceful message to Democratic leaders that it was unwilling to put aside its resentment of Wall Street and corporate America to crown a lifelong party insider who has amassed millions in speaking fees from the big banks."

Patrick Healy of the New York Times: "Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont were locked in an intensely tight race in the Iowa caucuses on Monday as Mrs. Clinton's strong support among women and older voters was matched by the passionate liberal foot soldiers whom Mr. Sanders has been calling to political revolution. The close results were deeply unnerving to Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as well as her advisers, some of whom had expressed growing confidence in recent days that they had recaptured political momentum after weeks when Mr. Sanders was drawing huge crowds and rising in the polls. The Clintons had appeared optimistic at rallies over the weekend, thanking Iowans for their support as much as urging them to turn out to vote. The close vote means that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders are likely to split Iowa's share of delegates to the Democratic convention, and Mr. Sanders will be able to argue that the Iowa result was a virtual tie."

Dan Roberts, et al., of the Guardian: "Both [Democratic] candidates will now move on to New Hampshire buoyed up, Clinton with a 'sigh of relief' that her bid to be the first female president of the United States is alive, and Sanders believing that his revolution against the 'billionaire classes' truly began in the snowy cornfields of Iowa. With half of the results in across the rural midwest state, Clinton appeared to be easing to victory, three points up on the Vermont senator, whose relatively ramshackle campaign seemed to be no match for her mighty political machine. But as the night wore on, Clinton's lead shrank to two and then one point, until she was locked in a virtual tie with the 74-year-old whose passion has ignited a fervour among young Americans. Appearing onstage in Des Moines before the final tally arrived, Clinton hailed 'a contest of ideas' and appeared battle-ready for the fight of her political life."

Jamil Smith of the New Republic: "The Clinton campaign released a statement that read, in part, 'After thorough reporting -- and analysis -- of results, there is no uncertainty and Secretary Clinton has clearly won the most national and state delegates. Statistically, there is no outstanding information that could change the results and and no way that Senator Sanders could overcome Secretary Clinton's advantage.'"

Tony Leyes of the Des Moines Register: "Hillary Clinton's campaign claimed a slim victory early Tuesday over populist firebrand Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, though his spokeswoman said the results were not settled. Iowa Democratic Party officials worked into the early morning hours, trying to chase down results from a handful of precincts. About 2:30 a.m., the party's website showed that Clinton had 49.9 percent of the delegates to Sanders' 49.6 percent, with 1,682 of 1,683 precincts reporting":

Jason Noble of the Des Moines Register: "In a handful of Democratic caucus precincts Monday, a delegate was awarded with a coin toss. It happened in precinct 2-4 in Ames, where supporters of candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton disputed the results after 60 caucus participants apparently disappeared from the proceedings. As a result of the coin toss, Clinton was awarded an additional delegate, meaning she took five of the precinct's eight, while Sanders received three....Similar situations were reported elsewhere, including at a precinct in Des Moines, at another precinct in Des Moines, in Newton, in West Branch and in Davenport. In all five situations, Clinton won the toss." CW: What are the odds? Seems like a conspiracy to me! (Yeah, I know how probability works. Each toss is independent. Also, apparently not socialist.)

Scott Bixby, et al., of the Guardian: "Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley announced that he was suspending his campaign for the White House on Monday night after a devastating loss in the Iowa caucuses that gave the candidate a fraction of a percentage point."

Eric Levitz of New York: "Bernie Sanders owns the future of the Democratic Party. In 2008, voters under 30 propelled Barack Obama to victory, choosing the Illinois senator over Hillary Clinton by a 43-point margin. In 2016, those younger voters single-handedly lifted America's favorite democratic socialist to a virtual tie: Sanders outperformed Clinton among voters 18 to 29 by 70 points, according to CNN's entrance poll.... Considering the structural disadvantages Sanders faced -- the concentration of his support among college students in a few select counties -- it's entirely possible the Vermont senator actually turned out more supporters than Clinton did."

Jeet Heer of the New Republic: "... if the night was muddy and unclear in term of its electoral meaning, it did show the ideological direction of the party in very forthright terms: Sanders is winning the battle of ideas and tugging Clinton to the left."

Jamelle Bouie of Slate: "if you are a Democrat who wants to win the White House for a third term -- or a progressive who just wants to minimize the damage to your priorities -- you should relish the upcoming combat. Why? Because a competitive primary will energize the Democratic Party and prime it for a tough and grueling general election. In Iowa, for example, returns suggest turnout that either meets or exceeds the record from 2008." ...

... John Cassidy (linked above): "Speaking on CNN as it got late, David Axelrod, President Obama's former campaign manager, made an acute point. One of Hillary's problems is that her campaign is largely about herself — her experience, her electability, and her toughness. 'I will keep doing what I have done my entire life,' she said in her non-victory speech. 'I will keep standing up for you. I will keep fighting for you.' Sanders, on the other hand, rarely mentions himself in his speeches. His campaign is all about his message of taking American back from the billionaires. And as Axelrod pointed out, it is often easier to inspire people, particularly young people, with an uplifting theme than with a résumé."

Greg Sargent on the Clinton who can't feel your pain.

Jonathan Martin
of the New York Times: "Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, powered by a surge of support from evangelical Christians, dealt a humbling loss to Donald J. Trump in the Iowa caucuses on Monday, throwing into question the depth of support for Mr. Trump's unconventional candidacy.... Senator Marco Rubio of Florida finished a strong third, bolstering his case to consolidate the support of Republicans uneasy about the two top finishers. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Cruz had nearly 28 percent of the vote, Mr. Trump 24 percent and Mr. Rubio 23 percent."

Allegra Kirkland of TPM: "After decisively winning the Iowa GOP caucuses late Monday night, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asked Democrats to join him in the race to the White House in an emotional, teleprompter-free speech that ran more than 30 minutes.... Joined on stage by his wife Heidi Cruz, his father Rafael Cruz, and his senior Iowa campaign staffers, the Texas senator gave a lengthy speech that leaned heavily on his spiritual beliefs and his political battles against the 'Washington cartel.' The lengthy run-time prompted all four major cable networks -- CNN, Fox News, C-SPAN and MSNBC -- to cut away to the Democratic candidates before the Iowa victor was finished speaking."

Andy Borowitz: "Senator Ted Cruz's stunning victory in the Iowa caucuses is serving as a beacon of hope to despised people across the nation, a number of disliked Americans confirmed on Monday."

Sasha Issenberg of Bloomberg reports on how Ted won -- and, yes, those fraudulent shame-the-voters mailers were part of the plan.

Fox Gets the Last Laugh. Brian Stelter of CNN: "When Donald Trump lost to Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses Monday night, Fox News commentators were quick to suggest that Trump's decision to skip Fox's debate had something to do with it. Entrance poll surveys of Iowa voters supported the theory. Marco Rubio won 30% and Ted Cruz won 25% of the GOP voters who made up their minds in the days between the debate and the caucuses. Trump won only 14% of those late-deciding voters.... Kelly was the anchor who announced Cruz's defeat of Trump during the 10 p.m. hour on Monday." ...

... Nate Silver: "... there's good reason to think that the ground game wasn't the only reason for Trump's defeat. Republican turnout in Iowa was extremely high by historical standards and beat most projections. Furthermore, Trump won the plurality of first-time caucus-goers. There may have been a more basic reason for Trump's loss: The dude just ain't all that popular. Even among Republicans." ...

... Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times: "At around 2:30 on Monday afternoon, at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Donald Trump was loudly, confidently and repeatedly proclaiming his impending victory in Iowa. Just before 10 p.m., he was acting like he had never expected to win, and like coming in second was a YUGE accomplishment.... It's impossible to know whether Mr. Trump understands that his slack campaign organization in Iowa may have cost him dearly here. Kenneth P. Vogel of Politico said Mr. Trump spent almost as much on hats as he did on payroll." ...

Steve M.: "Am I sorry the ignorant bigot lost? Yes, I am. Even though Trump has created a particularly toxic strain of Republicanism, he poses a threat to the Republican Establishment -- he tarnishes the GOP brand by saying out loud what other Republicans say in code, and while his agenda may overlap with that of the GOP's power brokers on many issues, he wouldn't just take an ALEC or Grover Norquist agenda off the shelf and run on it, much less govern by it. I think a Trump presidency would be a nightmare, but it would be a singularly Trumpian nightmare -- it wouldn't be a tactical advance in the long war being fought by the Koch brothers and their allies. And we might never get to that point, because Trump would be a weak general election candidate, at a time when the Democrats are going to have a weak candidate of their own. (If Marco Rubio is the nominee, he will win. Take that to the bank.)... I hope someone -- Trump, Kasich ... hell, even Jeb -- humiliates Rubio in New Hampshire next week. If not, I hope Trump and Cruz cleans his clock in South Carolina. He's dangerous."

Adam Gabbatt of the Guardian: "Republican candidate Mike Huckabee has suspended his campaign for president after winning less than 2% of the vote in the Iowa caucus. The former Arkansas governor announced that he was dropping out of the race on Twitter." CW: Now he can devote full-time to scamming the gullible.

Andrea Gonzales & Katherine Faulders of CNN: "Ben Carson's presidential campaign on Monday night insisted the Republican presidential candidate would not be suspending his campaign in the wake of the Iowa caucuses. Instead, the candidate, himself, told reporters that he would be 'going home' to Florida 'to get some fresh clothes.' Carson, who appeared to be running in a distant fourth in Iowa behind leading contenders Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, said he would be home for just 'ten or twelve hours.'"

Sam Shepard of Politico explains why the polls did not predict the caucus outcomes.

Gail Collins & Arthur Brooks have a conversation about the Iowa results. Collins: "Cruz's victory notwithstanding, my current nightmare scenario is that Sanders does somehow win the nomination, with Trump on the other side. Causing Michael Bloomberg to enter as an independent. Which draws away the votes of moderate Democrats and puts Trump in the White House...." Collins on also-rans: "It reminds me of a state legislator I knew years ago who ran against a totally entrenched, incumbent senior U.S. senator. I asked him why and he said: 'Well, he could die. Or get drunk and run into a school bus full of nuns.'"

The New York Times is liveblogging the Iowa caucuses. Their results page is here. (At 9:00 pm ET, the Times had caucus results on its front page.) The Washington Post will have the Iowa caucus results here.

Jose DelReal, et al., of the Washington Post: "Voters gathered at caucus sites around the state and the events officially began at 7 p.m. Central time. Political operatives predicted a high turnout -- and there were reports that some sites were so packed that officials had trouble closing the doors -- despite a significant snowstorm that was bearing down on the state. Forecasters said the storm would likely hit after the caucuses were closed."

Six- to eight-year-olds from the Washington, D.C., area assess the candidates:

Ian Millhiser of Think Progress: The Iowa caucus system is so undemocratic that even Iowa's senator, Joni Ernst (RTP) can't vote -- she has to be at work in Washington. "... Thousands of Iowans will ... be unable to vote because they work for a living."

Jamelle Bouie: "Win or lose, [Bernie] Sanders will stand as a historic presence in the Democratic Party.... Democrats have always kept their left flank at arms length.... Whatever the Democratic Party is in the next 20 or 30 years, it will owe a great deal to Sanders and all the people -- young or otherwise -- who felt the Bern." Also, he has "real clean teeth."

Sara Jerde of TPM: "Donald Trump told the crowd gathered at his campaign rally on Monday to 'knock the crap' out of anybody who threw a tomato at him. Trump said the event's security staff told him there was a risk people would throw the juicy fruit.... 'I will pay for the legal fees. I promise,' he added. 'They won't be so much because the courts agree with us too.'" ...

... digby: "I'm not in favor of tomato throwing by the way. But Trump telling citizens to 'knock the crap' out of them and he'll pay the legal fees is ... unpresidential to say the least. If anyone takes him up on it, it might even be called accessory to an assault. What the hell is happening here? is this becoming normalized? Gangster in Chief?" ...

... Trump drops cash in the place his little wine & little cracker go. This makes me laugh even as someone who has surely goofed during ceremony or rite with which I was unfamiliar. Anyway, it's the thought that counts. ...

... Kareem Abdul-Jabar, in a Washington Post op-ed, tells Trump voters their guy isn't who he says he is & won't be able to give them what they want. It's a pretty devastating analysis. ...

... Jonathan Swan of the Hill: "Donald Trump is so fiercely opposed by the Koch brothers network that some donors believe the powerful group will intervene to stop the billionaire if it looks like he could win the Republican presidential nomination.... On the eve of the Iowa causes, Koch network officials revealed in a private meeting with donors that they had commissioned focus group research to identify Trump's vulnerabilities." CW: Which is something of an argument contra Abdul-Jabar. Trump voters don't want these fat cats picking the president. They'll pick their own, thank you, even if in their foolishness they opt for a megalomanical fat cat. ...

... OR, as Paul Waldman remarks, "Nothing says 'democracy' like a couple of billionaires spending millions of dollars to keep another billionaire from winning the presidency." ...

All In. Brian Beutler: "How did the party that has recently been led by country-club candidates like Mitt Romney and Bob Dole come to be overtaken by a performance artist whom these former nominees detest?... The maximalism of the GOP's obstruction [of President Obama's initiatives] reflected not just the party's ideological median, but its political determination that Obama's presidency should be a failure.... Trump..., more than any Republican candidate..., has shaped his entire campaign around defining himself as an anti-Obama.... As the first votes of 2016 are cast, Republicans are preparing themselves to nominate the antithesis of an outgoing president that about half the country still likes.... It's an incredibly risky political gamble. And to the regret of the faltering establishment candidates who will be exiting the race in the coming days, the party went all-in seven years ago."

Ed Kilgore of New York: "The vibe at Jeb Bush's downtown Des Moines caucus 'briefing' Monday afternoon is upbeat and upscale -- but it's taking place under the shadow of reports circulating in the right-wing media that the campaign is paying an army of 'seat fillers' $25 an hour to make this rally look full.... A Congressional Medal of Honor winner who begins the proceedings refers to him as 'George — er, Jeb -- Bush.'... [At the end of Iowa Gov. Terry Bradstad's introduction,] two young men stand up and yell out, 'We've been here for two hours and haven't gotten paid.'... The interruption is yet another recapitulation of the general sense of failure that has haunted Jeb's campaign from around the time Trump entered the race."

Other News

If it's Groundhog Day, it must be time for the House to vote to repeal ObamaCare. Sure enough.

Richard Alba in the American Prospect: "The disappearance of a white majority in the United States by the middle of this century is now widely accepted as if it were an established fact." But it ain't necessarily so. Alba explains why "longstanding processes of assimilation could produce a white-dominated mainstream at the national level and in many regions for the foreseeable future."

Ariana Cha, et al., of the Washington Post: "The World Health Organization designated the Zika virus and its suspected complications in newborns as a public health emergency of international concern Monday. The action, which the international body has taken only three times before, paves the way for the mobilization of more funding and manpower to fight the mosquito-born pathogen spreading 'explosively' through the Americas." CW: Somehow, this real crisis is going to become "all Obama's fault" & Chris Christie will quarantine a pregnant Guatemalan woman.

Stephanie Clifford & Jessica Silver-Greenberg of the New York Times: "Though much of the focus on bank fraud has been on sophisticated hackers, it is the more prosaic figure of the teller behind the window who should worry depositors, according to prosecutors, government officials and security experts.... Rich and elderly bank customers are particularly at risk, prosecutors say, when tellers and other retail-branch employees tap into accounts to wire funds without authorization, make fake debit cards to withdraw money from A.T.M.s and sell off personal information to other criminals. Accounts with high balances and those with direct deposits of government funds, like Social Security payments, are especially coveted." ...

... CW: Yikes! Except for the rich part, that would be me. I am the mark.

Julian Aguilar of the Texas Tribune: Texas "Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, pressed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday to explain why the agency plans to reduce its aerial surveillance on the Texas-Mexico border. In a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, the lawmakers said the cut to a requested 3,850 hours of aerial detection and monitoring in 2016 amounts to 50 percent less coverage than recent years."

Capitalism Is AWESOME! Michael Liedtke of the AP: "Alphabet now comes before Apple atop the list of the world's most valuable companies. The shift occurred in Monday's extended trading after Alphabet, Google's new parent company, released a fourth-quarter earnings report that highlighted the robust growth of the digital ad market. Apple Inc.'s iPhone, meanwhile, is suffering its first downturn since it debuted eight years ago." ...

Capitalism Is Awesome, Ctd. Clint Rainey of New York: "Last fall, Nestlé took the unusual step of admitting slave labor exists in its seafood supply chains. These accusations had been around for a while, but Nestlé's report owning up to them was seen as groundbreaking for the industry. The thing is..., Nestlé doesn't really buy that much fish, and human-rights advocates have shifted to a much bigger raw material for the conglomerate -- cocoa from the Ivory Coast -- that they also say is tainted by ties to slavery, only Nestlé won't acknowledge it. Their anger is mostly centered on Nestlé's tactics to kill a big lawsuit filed by former victims of child slavery who worked on these farms. And this fury's officially kicked into high gear now that the Supreme Court looked at the case and refused to throw it out, taking Nestlé from good guy back to bad guy in slave-labor news."

Beyond the Beltway

Judd Legum of Think Progress: "On Saturday, 300 plumbers from unions across the country descended on Flint to install new faucets and water filters for free.... The effort was coordinated by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry, known as the United Association. The fixtures were donated by the Plumbing Manufacturers International." CW: Take a look at the photos of the plumbers. They are mostly white guys. The residents of Flint mostly are not. Think progress.

Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post: "Republican lawmakers in Illinois last month pitched a bold plan for the state to seize control of the Chicago Public Schools, one of a growing number of states that are moving to sideline local officials -- even dissolve locally elected school boards -- and take over struggling urban schools. Governors in Michigan, Arkansas, Nevada, Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio and elsewhere -- mostly Republican leaders who otherwise champion local control in their fights with the federal government -- say they are intervening in cases of chronic academic or financial failure." ...

... CW: The evidence that Republicans fundamentally oppose democracy is now overwhelming.

Molly Young of the Oregonian: "The dividing line over a monthlong armed standoff in [Burns, Oregon] ... deepened Monday. Hundreds of people converged on the county courthouse lawn to send a singular message to the remaining occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and their supporters: Go home. But backers of the anti-government standoff also turned out by the hundreds and made clear they would not back down.... A self-styled patriot group from Idaho organized the protest backing the occupation." The protests lasted for about four hours. ...

... Maxine Bernstein of the Oregonian: "Lawyers for Ammon Bundy this week will challenge U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman's order to keep Bundy in custody pending trial." ...

... Maxine Bernstein: "Peter T. Santilli, one of the 11 defendants charged with federal conspiracy stemming from the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, will challenge a magistrate judge's detention order before another federal judge on Tuesday. On Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman had characterized Santilli's case as a 'close call,' but on Monday, she ordered him to remain in custody, pending trial. She found he remains a serious risk of flight and danger to the community." ...

... The Hypocrites' Defense. Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post (Jan. 29, updated yesterday): "As of Friday, six of the militants have been assigned a federal public defender or court-appointed lawyer, meaning the federal government they were protesting will be footing their legal bills. Ammon Bundy -- the son of rancher Cliven Bundy, who engaged in a prior battle with the federal government over unpaid grazing fees -- is crowdsourcing online to pay for his private legal defense. All of the people arrested -- Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan Bundy, Jon Ritzheimer, Joseph O'Shaughnessy, Ryan Payne, Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox and Peter Santilli -- have a court appearance scheduled for Feb. 3 and an arraignment set for Feb. 24."


The Commentariat -- February 1, 2016

Cristina Marcos & Jordain Carney of the Hill: "The House is slated to take up repealing ObamaCare on Groundhog Day.... The House has voted more than 60 times since Republicans took over the majority in 2011 to undo the healthcare law. Tuesday's vote, however, will be the first attempt to override President Obama's veto of a measure to overturn his signature legislative accomplishment.... Republicans are not expected to secure the necessary two-thirds majority to override a presidential veto. And once the veto override attempt fails in the House, the Senate won’t be able to consider it."

Jonathan Swan of the Hill: "The Koch brothers' donor network spent close to $400 million last year, and is on its way to spending an unprecedented $889 million supporting right-wing politics and causes during the 2016 cycle. On Saturday afternoon, the Koch network assembled 500 wealthy conservatives -- its largest gathering ever -- at a luxury resort near the foothills of Palm Springs' Coachella Valley.... The network is now the most powerful force in right-wing politics, with a budget and technological infrastructure that rivals that of the Republican Party." ...

... Paul Krugman: "So what's really at stake in this year's election? Well, among other things, the fate of the planet." ...

... CW: For almost all of their lives, the Koch boys knew the family business was extracting limited resources from the earth. And for the last several decades, they certainly knew that their little business model also was bad for the planet. Yes, I know they've somewhat divested into renewable sources -- they bought Georgia Pacific, for instance -- but the font of their business, as well as their philosophy, centers on raping the earth in one way or another. We may be past the age of rapid technological change, but we're still into rapid cultural change, & the fact that the Koch boys are not innovative enough to keep up by acknowledging & adapting to a culture that demands clean, renewable energy shows that Chuck & Dave are not just greedy bastards; they're also kinda stoopid. ...

... Paul Krugman reviews Robert Gordon's The Rise & Fall of American Growth. "Perhaps the future isn't what it used to be." CW: One thing Krugman doesn't discuss, & perhaps Gordon does, is how technological inventions are now universally available. If you recall, several years ago, Fox "News" pundits were very upset that poor people had refrigerators & coffeemakers. Refrigerators still aren't cheap (though used ones are), but many of the gizmos we think we want get cheaper every year, & that makes them, eventually, available to the vast majority of Americans. Those homes in the South to which Krugman refers have power & plumbing now. ...

... James Koren of the Los Angeles Times: "To the long list of things you can do with your phone -- including watch a movie, buy a latte and hail a ride -- prepare to add one more: get cash. Over the next few months, the nation's three biggest banks [-- Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase & Bank of America --] will start rolling out ATMs that will let customers withdraw currency using their smartphones instead of debit cards -- the latest step toward a future in which phones could replace bank branches and wallets. 'My boys are 5 and 6 -- I don't think they'll carry around plastic when they grow up,' said Michelle Moore, head of digital banking for Bank of America, which plans to make cardless ATMs widely available as early as May."

Joby Warrick of the Washington Post takes another look at "Bundystan," the land in Nevada that Cliven Bundy & his clan have stolen from the people. The standoff between Bundy & the feds isn't over. He now owes the government about $2 million in grazing fees. CW: There are several good reasons not to eat much beef. The Bundys are one of them.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, in a New York Times op-ed: "IN Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, 2016 has begun much as 2015 ended -- with unacceptable levels of violence and a polarized public discourse. That polarization showed itself in the halls of the United Nations last week when I pointed out a simple truth: History proves that people will always resist occupation. Some sought to shoot the messenger -- twisting my words into a misguided justification for violence. The stabbings, vehicle rammings and other attacks by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians are reprehensible. So, too, are the incitement of violence and the glorification of killers.... Keeping another people under indefinite occupation undermines the security and the future of both Israelis and Palestinians." ...

... CW: The "some" who "sought to shoot the messanger" include Benjamin Netanyahu. Looks like the only friends Bibi has left in the whole wide world are U.S. Republicans.

W. J. Hennigan & Brian Bennett of the Los Angeles Times: "President Obama has repeatedly touted the U.S.-led coalition assembled to battle Islamic State militants, but Pentagon officials are expressing growing frustration that some of the 64 partner nations and regional groups are backing the effort in name only. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has been the most vocal, complaining last month that some allies are 'not doing enough or doing nothing at all.'"

The End of a Bromance. Paul Farhi & Manuel Roig-Franzia of the Washington Post on why Jim VandeHei left Politico, the online news source he co-founded. CW: Like everything else in Washington, it was about power & prestige.

Presidential Race

** George Packer of the New Yorker: "Direct primaries -- the selection of candidates by voters instead of by party leaders -- came into existence a hundred years ago. They were the inspiration of reformers who wanted to take power away from political machines and corporate interests, and return it to the people, who were believed to be wiser and more capable than the bosses, because they were less self-interested.... But ... the voters turn out to be more partisan than the bosses." Packer adds an important piece to the puzzle "How'd we get into this mess?"

Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "... with the caucuses on Monday hours away, the presidential candidates have switched gears, furiously crisscrossing Iowa and making direct appeals to voters to stand for them in the election's first nominating contest." ...

... Abby Phillip has the Washington Post story of the final Iowa sprint.

If you want to know what's going on in the presidential campaign cash game, Politico currently has a lot of front-page stories. Fer instance, here's one on Donald Trump's lending his campaign $10.8 million; here's another on George Soros' dropping $6MM on a Clinton superPAC. ...

... Fredreka Schouten of USA Today: "Bernie Sanders' campaign announced Sunday that it had raised $20 million this month -- an enormous haul as the Vermont senator seeks to demonstrate he's prepared for a protracted battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination." CW: I think Politico ran this story yesterday.

Kyle Balluck of the Hill: "The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Sunday said it has agreed to sanction more presidential debates after facing criticism over a limited schedule.... ... A person familiar with the discussions said on Sunday that the DNC will sanction the MSNBC debate for this Thursday in New Hampshire once the Democratic candidates all agree on the details."

... Eli Stokols of Politico: Clinton & Trump headlined rallies two miles apart in Council Bluff, Iowa. It was Clinton who delivered the populist speech. ...

... Charles Pierce Blow talked to black Iowans, who make up only 3.7 percent of the state's population, about today's caucuses. Funny, but the only choice Blow mentioned was between Hillary & Bernie. What? No Donald? ...

... Bryce Covert of Think Progress in a New York Times op-ed: "The largest difference [between Clinton & Sanders], and therefore what the Democratic Party is truly grappling with, is not about two different visions of the party. The choice is between two theories of change. It's the difference between working the system and smashing it." ...

... Bill Clinton: Hillary is a change-maker:

... Eliza Collins of Politico: "Hillary Clinton said that all the stories suggesting the FBI inquiry into her email practices is gaining momentum are just 'selective leaking.' 'It means the people are selectively leaking and making comments with no basis,' Clinton said in an interview with CNN's 'New Day' Monday. 'We need to let this inquiry run its course, get it resolved.'" ...

... Lisa Lerer & Ken Thomas of the AP: "Seeking victory in Iowa, Hillary Clinton has begun channeling the economic indignation of her rival Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose unapologetically liberal campaign has tightened the race ahead of Monday's caucuses and given him a lead in the New Hampshire contest that follows. Making her closing argument to Iowa caucus-goers, Clinton now cloaks her detailed policy plans in Sanders' outraged rhetoric. Pharmaceutical pricing 'burns' her up. Companies that take advantage of the tax loopholes get her 'pretty riled up.' And she promises to 'rail away' at any industry that flouts the law." ...

Her Cheatin' Heart. Ben Smith, et al., of BuzzFeed: "Hillary Clinton's campaign for president is instructing its Iowa caucus leaders to — in certain cases -- throw support to former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, with the goal blocking her main opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, from securing additional delegates. The tactical move is rooted in the complex math of the Iowa caucuses Monday night, where the campaign is looking to defeat Sanders in a state whose caucus-goers have historically backed progressive challengers.... The goal, in the caucuses' complex terms, is to cost Clinton no delegates in the state's 1,681 caucuses while ensuring stray O'Malley supporters don't defect to Sanders." Read on. Clinton isn't the first candidate to use this ploy, & her aides were "outraged" when candidates Obama & Bill Richardson pulled a similar stunt in 2008. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Corey Robin, in Salon: "... the Clintons' national ascendancy was premised on the repudiation of black voters and black interests. This was a move that was both inspired and applauded by a small but influential group of Beltway journalists and party strategists, who believed making the Democrats a white middle-class party was the only path back to the White House after wandering for 12 years in the Republican wilderness." ...

... John Wagner of the Washington Post: "With an Iowa win on Monday within reach, Sanders is suddenly running a gantlet of criticism from Clinton and her allies, many in the media and even President Obama, all of whom seem to have awakened to the looming reality that a 74-year-old self-described democratic socialist could, at the very least, damage the Democratic front-runner and turn her march to the party's nomination into a long, costly slog." ...

... Gabriel Debenedetti of Politico: Bernie Sanders refrains, for the most part, from directly attacking Clinton, even if his surrogates do not. ...

... CW: I saw on the Internets over the weekend that wingers were very upset that Jill Sobule sang this "racist" song at Bernie Sanders' rally at Ames, Iowa. So I figured I'd better give it a listen. The song is racist in the same way that many wingers thought Stephen Colbert's "Colbert Show" character was actually one of them:

... There seems to be a decided lack of self-awareness over there in Right Wing World.

Unpossible. Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "A former paid organizer for Donald J. Trump who was fired this month has accused his presidential campaign of sex discrimination. Elizabeth Mae Davidson, 26, who was the Trump campaign's field organizer ... in Davenport, Iowa's third-largest city, said in a discrimination complaint that men doing the same jobs were paid more and were allowed to plan and speak at rallies, while her requests to do so were ignored. She also said that when she and a young female volunteer met Mr. Trump at a rally last summer, he told them, 'You guys could do a lot of damage,' referring to their looks. The complaint was filed on Thursday with the Davenport Civil Rights Commission." ...

... Bradford Richardson of the Hill: Donald Trump "on Sunday pledged to extend healthcare coverage to the lower class, but remained vague on the details of his plan.... When host George Stephenopoulos asked the billionaire businessman how he accomplish that, Trump said he would 'work something out'" with doctors & hospitals. CW: See, everything is easy for a dealmaker who apparently is unaware that the "lower class" is already able to get health care thru Medicaid. ...

... Donald Trump, Nouveau Tenther. Elise Viebeck of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump criticized the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and said he would 'strongly consider' appointing judges inclined to overrule it if he is elected president. 'I don't like the way they ruled,' Trump said on 'Fox News Sunday.' 'I disagree with the Supreme Court from the standpoint that it should be a states' rights issue and that's the way it should have been ruled on ... I would have much preferred that they ruled at a state level and let the states make those rulings themselves.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Greg Sargent: "I'm hoping that Dems take more seriously the notion that Trump might be tapping into something very real with the larger argument he is making about our political system.... He is not claiming that 'government is the problem.' Rather, he's arguing that the stupid fools running the government are the problem, and that the bought-and-paid-for politicians and corrupt bureaucrats are the problem...." ...

... CW: Sargent is right. Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton would have very different problems in a faceoff with Trump, but both would have problems. Clinton's would be ideological, Sanders' would be personal. It is not unreasonable to think Trump could beat either one of them.

Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker: "Ted Cruz's Iowa mailers are more fraudulent than everyone thinks." His campaign appears to have made up the "grades" the recipients & their neighbors received. Iowans like Donna Holstein found Cruz's letters troubling. Holstein was "upset to learn that she had been given a failing grade and that her neighbors might be told whether she participates in the caucus. She told me that she has voted consistently but that she can't this time because of a disability.... 'That's what you call a bully,' she said about Cruz's tactics. 'I wish he would quit.'... On Saturday night, Cruz responded. 'I will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote,' he told reporters during a campaign stop in Sioux City." CW: As we know, sociopaths never apologize. So what if he embarrassed a disabled woman? She's not even going to vote. To hell with her. ...

... CW: I really get this woman's outrage. If I want to tell my neighbors my voting record, I will. But I sure don't want some "government official" -- that would be Senator Cruz -- ratting on me. And I most certainly don't want that government official lying about my record. On paper. In my neighbors' mailboxes. It seems that Ted, like most Republicans, think "government is the problem" except where he's the government. ...

... Chris Wallace Whacks Ted Cruz:

... Sorry, Ted, "the facts have a well-known liberal bias." ...

... digby finds the exchange between Wallace & Cruz amusing: "Oh dear, they really are confused these days aren't they? They hate Trump but nobody can stand Cruz who is lying about Obamacare which they also hate but which is actually working so they're using it against Cruz. It's awesome." ...

... Even Ted's daughter can't stand him:

... Sometimes the littlest campaign props don't cooperate. And for those of you who object to my using the candidate's young child to mock her father, you're right. I should not have done this.

Alexander Burns of the New York Times: "Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey are locked in an increasingly bitter fight in New Hampshire. Both men have anchored their presidential campaigns in the state, holding dozens of town hall meetings and spending most of their money in an effort to seize momentum here.... Without a standout performance in the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9, it may rapidly become difficult for either governor to pay for the fundamentals of campaigning in the next round of elections in South Carolina and Nevada, and beyond."

Congressional Races

The Party of Pond Scum. Ben Kamisar of the Hill: "The House Republicans' campaign arm is fundraising off of Bernie Sanders's presidential bid by using the images of the communist hammer and sickle." CW: Apparently those lowlifes have forgot its their own top-polling candidate, Donald Trump, who is the only avowed fan of Vladimir Putin in the race.

Beyond the Beltway

Molly Young of the Oregonian: "The four holdouts [at the Maheur Refuge] awoke to discover that many lost phone and Internet service overnight, according to Greg Whalen, a Nevada supporter who said he had been in contact with the armed protesters. They have refused to leave the refuge until they are guaranteed they won't be arrested."

Way Beyond

Anthony Faoila of the Washington Post on the social unrest in Finland that has developed between Muslim asylum-seekers & Finns, much of it apparently stemming from some Muslims' antipathy to Finnish women.

New York Times: In northeastern Nigeria: Boko Haram, the militant Islamic group, went on a brutal rampage that the government said killed "65 people, with twice that number injured. Residents of Dalori, the site of the latest attack, said the death toll was even higher, with as many as 100 dead."

News Lede

New York Times: In northeastern Nigeria: Boko Haram, the militant Islamic group, went on a brutal rampae that the government said killed "65 people, with twice that number injured. Residents of Dalori, the site of the latest attack, said the death toll was even higher, with as many as 100 dead."


The Commentariat -- January 31, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Her Cheatin' Heart. Ben Smith, et al., of BuzzFeed: "Hillary Clinton's campaign for president is instructing its Iowa caucus leaders to -- in certain cases -- throw support to former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, with the goal blocking her main opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, from securing additional delegates. The tactical move is rooted in the complex math of the Iowa caucuses Monday night, where the campaign is looking to defeat Sanders in a state whose caucus-goers have historically backed progressive challengers.... The goal, in the caucuses' complex terms, is to cost Clinton no delegates in the state's 1,681 caucuses while ensuring stray O'Malley supporters don't defect to Sanders." Clinton isn't the first candidate to use this ploy, & her aides were "outraged" when candidates Obama & Bill Richardson pulled a similar stunt in 2008.

Donald Trump, Nouveau Tenther. Elise Viebeck of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump criticized the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and said he would 'strongly consider' appointing judges inclined to overrule it if he is elected president. 'I don't like the way they ruled,' Trump said on 'Fox News Sunday.' 'I disagree with the Supreme Court from the standpoint that it should be a states' rights issue and that's the way it should have been ruled on ... I would have much preferred that they ruled at a state level and let the states make those rulings themselves.'"


Michelle Boorstein & Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "President Obama will make the first visit during his presidency to a U.S. mosque, the White House announced Saturday, part of the administration's push to promote religious tolerance at a time when rhetoric linking Islam with terrorism is growing. On Wednesday, the president will visit the Islamic Society of Baltimore, a sprawling community center in the city's western suburbs that serves thousands of people with a place of worship, a housing complex and schools, according to its website."

Craig Whitlock & Adam Goldman of the Washington Post: "Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter has decided not to impose any further punishment on David H. Petraeus, the former CIA director and retired Army general who was forced to resign in a sex-and-secrets scandal in 2012." CW: Big surprise.

Presidential Race

CNN: "Caucus meetings for Iowa Democrats and Republicans begin at 7 p.m. Central Time, or 8 p.m. for the East Coast [Monday night]. Anyone who shows up on time can take part. But don't be late. Once the doors close, there is no entry for stragglers."

The New York Times editors endorse Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Alan Rappeport of the New York Times: "Making her final push before the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton staked out her position as the lone defender of the Affordable Care Act on Saturday night, warning that her Democratic rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, would scrap it and start over and that Republicans [--specifically mentioning Ted Cruz's inability to offer an alternative plan (see Katie Zezima's story, linked below) --)] would hand healthcare back to insurers and drug-makers." ...

... CW: Cedar Rapids is Iowa's second largest city. From the photo accompanying the story, it would appear about 150 people showed up for Clinton's rally.

... Rachel Bade of Politico: "Hillary Clinton told NBC she did not generate any of the 22 newly upgraded 'top secret' emails recently withheld by the State Department and is not concerned about the contents of the messages. 'No, I did not,' she told NBC News' Monica Alba when asked whether she personally wrote any of the emails. She waived [sic.] them off as old news, according to excerpts of the conversation distributed by NBC News. 'I'm really not concerned because it's the same story that has been going on for months now, and I just don't think most people are as concerned about that....'" ...

... Evan McMorris-Santoro & Ruby Cramer of BuzzFeed: "The campaigns of the two major candidates for the Democratic nomination have agreed to hold four more debates, should they be sanctioned, sources from both the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns tell BuzzFeed News. The details -- where and when -- remain unresolved, and the Democratic National Committee has not yet agreed to the arrangement...."

Jason Horowitz of the New York Times: "Bernie Sanders held a rally and concert at the University of Iowa tonight with thousands of students, whom he urged to vote for him on Monday and 'make the pundits look dumb.'... Many of the thousands of students also showed up for the musical portion of the evening. (One band sang 'It's nothing to fear, you are a socialist too.') The main attraction, beyond Mr. Sanders, was the indie rock group Vampire Weekend." ...

... Bradford Richardson of the Hill: "... Bernie Sanders will receive protection from Secret Service, according to Fox News' Ed Henry. Sanders joins Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton and Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson as the only White House contenders with details from the agency."

Steven Shepard of Politico: "Both parties' races in Monday's Iowa caucuses are coming down to the wire, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton slightly ahead, according to the state's most influential poll. Trump ... has a 5-point lead in the Republican race over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, according to the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is in third place at 15 percent, and retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson is at 10 percent. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is at 5 percent, and no other candidate earns more than 3 percent. In the Democratic race, Clinton is running neck-and-neck with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 45 percent to 42 percent -- though Clinton's support appears more secure. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is at 3 percent and appears unlikely to be viable at most caucus sites on Monday night."

The New York Times editors sort of endorse Ohio Gov. John Kasich for the Republican nomination as the best of a bad lot: "Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, though a distinct underdog, is the only plausible choice for Republicans tired of the extremism and inexperience on display in this race. And Mr. Kasich is no moderate. As governor, he's gone after public-sector unions, fought to limit abortion rights and opposed same-sex marriage."

Maureen Dowd interviews Donald Trump. CW: Why bother, since he can't even tell the truth about himself. ...

... Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: "Five myths Donald Trump tells about Donald Trump.... 1. 'I'm, like, a really smart person.'... 2. 'I have the world's greatest memory.'... 3. I'm proud of my net worth. I've done an amazing job.'... 4. 'I'm self-funding my campaign.'... 5. 'I'm probably the least racist person on Earth.'"

Vampire Weekend, Ctd. Shane Goldmacher of Politico: "Iowa's top elections official condemned Ted Cruz's campaign on Saturday for sending mailers to Iowa voters designed to look like official documents that accuse them of a 'VOTING VIOLATION' for failure to turn out in past elections. Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate said in a statement Cruz's mailers, which has the words 'official public record' printed in red at the top, 'misrepresents the role of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law.' 'There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting,' said Paul, who was elected statewide as a Republican in 2014.... The controversial Cruz mailers show the name of the person receiving the mail at the top and then give them a grade on an A to F scale. Below, it shows their neighbors and their voting scores. CW: Ted just likes to frighten people. And shame them, while he's at it. ...

... Katie Zezima of the Washington Post: An Iowa voter, who is a Democrat, challenged Ted Cruz for his attacks on ObamaCare. The voter said his brother-in-law, who was unable to get coverage until he obtained it through the ACA, died shortly thereafter for previously undiagnosed cancer. The voter "said after the exchange that Cruz hadn't answered his question. The answer, he said, was incomplete." CW: No kidding. ...

... ** digby: "Cruz does have a plan. He wants to repeal Obamacare and all the requirement that are in it including the ban on denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. Then he will make it so people can buy insurance across state lines (in order to avoid state regulations requiring insurers to treat their customers fairly.) He wants to get rid of employer sponsored health care so everyone can 'own' their own insurance policy. And he wants to 'expand' health savings accounts. In other words, he wants to go back to the way it was before and then make it a hundred times worse. Because freedom. Oh, and he even lies about his own insurance."

About That Iowa Poll. Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "A Bloomberg-sponsored poll, made public in extravagant Bloomberg style amid shrimp and champagne, delivered some sour news about Michael R. Bloomberg himself: Few Iowa voters like him as he weighs a third party White House run. A poll of likely caucusgoers conducted for Bloomberg Politics and The Des Moines Register and released on Saturday night found just 17 percent of Democrats and 9 percent of Republicans had a 'favorable' view of Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.... By comparison, 50 percent of the Republicans polled had a favorable view of another Manhattan billionaire, Donald J. Trump, whose candidacy has offended and baffled Mr. Bloomberg. And 46 percent of the Democrats had a favorable view of Martin O'Malley, who is faring poorly in polls...."

Congressional Race

Worse Than Dick. Karoun Demirjian of the Washington Post: "Liz Cheney, the older daughter of former vice president Richard B. Cheney, is running for Wyoming's sole seat in the House of Representatives, according to federal campaign documents she filed Friday establishing her candidacy."

Beyond the Beltway

Carissa Wolf & Kevin Sullivan of the Washington Post: "Heeding calls for daily protests after Tuesday's shooting death of a man who had been occupying a nearby national wildlife refuge, a 'rolling rally' of dozens of vehicles clogged the streets of this tiny rural town [of Burns, Oregon,] Saturday evening. The cars and trucks, many of them the oversized, rugged models favored in this rough desert terrain, roared around town bearing U.S. flags, Confederate flags and passengers brimming with rage."

Way Beyond

Rick Noack of the Washington Post: "Up to 100 masked men threatened to attack refugee children in central Stockholm on Friday, according to local police accounts. Fredrik Nylén, a spokesman for Stockholm police, told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, that several men had been arrested because they may have gathered 'with the purpose of attacking refugee children.'"