The Wires

Hollywood Reporter: "Michael Wolff's controversial Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is coming to television. Endeavor Content — the financing and sales arm formed in October between sister companies William Morris Endeavor and IMG — has purchased film and television rights to the No. 1 best-selling book. The massive deal is said to be in the seven-figure range. Endeavor Content plans to adapt the book as a TV series. A network is not yet attached, as Endeavor will now begin shopping the project."

New York Times: "CBS said on Tuesday that it had chosen [John] Dickerson, 49, to replace Charlie Rose as the third co-host of “CBS This Morning,” a spot left empty since Mr. Rose was fired in November after allegations of sexual harassment. Mr. Dickerson is to join the lineup of Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, who have carved a niche as a relatively serious, news-driven morning team. Mr. Dickerson — whose mother, Nancy Dickerson, became in 1960 the first female correspondent at CBS News — plans to move to New York and leave 'Face the Nation,' which he joined in 2015. CBS has not yet chosen his successor, effectively setting off a horse race at the network for one of television’s most influential political roles."

Oprah Gives Moving Speech, Celebrities Nominate Her for President. For full coverage of the Golden Globe awards, the Los Angeles Times has a pageful of blurbs & links.

Medlar's Amazing Sports Report (Is about Sports!):

New York Times: "Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota [executed] ... what would prove to be the critical play of the Titans’ shocking 22-21 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in an N.F.L. wild-card playoff game on Saturday.... [The Titans were] trailing by 18 points in the third quarter..., i and as Mariota scrambled toward the line of scrimmage, he appeared to throw the ball away.... But when Darrelle Revis of the Chiefs batted the pass back toward Mariota, the quarterback snagged it out of the air. And ... Mariota sprinted forward for a touchdown that went into the books as a 6-yard pass from Mariota to Mariota."

New York Times: "Hoda Kotb, a longtime NBC News correspondent, will permanently replace Matt Lauer as co-anchor of NBC’s flagship morning program, 'Today,' the network said on Tuesday. Ms. Kotb (pronounced COT-bee) had replaced Mr. Lauer on an interim basis since he was fired in November over allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with a subordinate. The appointment is the first time that two women will be the program’s official main hosts; 'Today' has an overwhelmingly female audience and is the network’s most profitable franchise. The decision signals a turning point of sorts for NBC: In addition to the Lauer scandal, the network also reviewed 2005 footage from an NBC-owned show in which President Trump bragged about grabbing women’s genitalia but was beaten to publication by The Washington Post, and passed on an exposé of [Harvey] Weinstein by an MSNBC contributor." ...

... Mrs. McCrabbie: I forgot this part of the tape saga: that NBC suits sat on it until someone at the "Today" show leaked it to David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post.

 

Here's one of the film's trailers:

So finally they called me up because it got so late, and the argument got so tense, and said you're going to have to decide this. And I said, well, why do we have to do it right away? The Times took three months. And they - the editors all got on the phone. And the businesspeople were on the other phone saying wait a day. The editors were saying we mustn't wait a day. Everybody knows we have these papers. And we have to maintain the momentum that was stopped when the Times was enjoined. And it's very important. People have their eyes on us. And we have to publish.... And finally after talking to both sides, I asked my colleague Fritz Beebe what he would do. And he was a lawyer. And he said, I guess I would not. And that made it hard but not impossible. He said it in such a way that I thought he's leaving it up to me. And I can do this. And so I said let's go. Let's publish. And I hung up because I was so freaked out by having had to make that decision so fast. -- Katherine Graham, on her decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, in an interview, 1997 ...

... Terry Gross of NPR interviewed Katherine Graham in 1997 about her 1971 decision to publish the Pentagon papers -- and other things. Graham died in 2001. Audio & transcript. Via David Von Drehle of the Washington Post.

Guardian: Britain's "Prince Harry is to marry his American actor girlfriend Meghan Markle in spring next year, Clarence House has announced. 'His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle,' it said in a statement on Monday."

 

The full Neiman's Christmas book is here, with some items costing less than $35K.

Constant Comments

 

Editor-in-Chief:
Mrs. Bea McCrabbie

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. Des MacHale (often misattributed to H. L. Mencken)

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

Saturday
Sep052015

The Commentariat -- Sept. 6, 2015

Alison Smale of the New York Times: "Pope Francis on Sunday called on every parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary in Europe to shelter refugees fleeing 'death from war and hunger,' adding that the Vatican's two parishes would lead the way by taking in two families." ...

... Katrin Bennhold, et al., of the New York Times: "Germans waving welcome signs in German, English and Arabic came to the train station [in Munich] Saturday to greet the first group of what is expected to be about 8,000 migrants to arrive in Germany by early Sunday, after an arduous and emotional journey through Hungary and Austria. Germans applauded and volunteers offered hot tea, food and toys as about 450 migrants arrived on a special train service from Austria, finally reaching Germany, which had held out an open hand to them." ...

... Griff Witte & Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post: "A column of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty made it to Western Europe on Saturday, after forcing Hungary's anti-immigrant leaders to yield in a days-long campaign to turn them back. But with a fresh rush of migrants at Europe's borders, the broader refugee crisis only looked to be worsening." ...

... Ian Traynor of the Guardian: "Europe’s meltdown in the face of its biggest post-1945 immigration emergency is generating the worst east-west split since the Iraq war.... On Thursday Germany and France ordered the European commission to come up with a new 'permanent' and binding regime for spreading the refugee load around all of the 28 countries in the union. [British PM] David Cameron and home secretary Theresa May want nothing to do with the scheme and have absented themselves from the policymaking, carping from the sidelines. On Friday the prime ministers of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic told Paris and Berlin to get stuffed, arguing that west European-style multiculturalism is nothing but trouble and that they have no intention of repeating the same mistakes.... On Wednesday [the commission] president, Jean-Claude Juncker, will unveil proposals obliging at least 22 countries with a combined population of almost 400 million to absorb 160,000 people from Italy, Greece and Hungary, which are struggling with influxes from the Middle East and Africa." ...

... Der Spiegel: "This year has seen a sharply increased number of attacks on asylum hostels in Germany, many of them perpetrated by right-wing extremists. Officials are concerned that neo-Nazi networks may be spreading across the country." ...

... Der Spiegel: "The attacks on refugee hostels in Germany have reached a shocking level this year. By July 6, there were fully 199 of them, and the attacks have shown no signs of stopping. At the same time, though, Germans seem more willing to help than ever before. They visit refugee hostels, bringing along clothes and toys. They cook together with the Syrians and Sudanese. They invite migrant boys to join the football teams where their own children play. Which Germany will prevail?" ...

... David Herszenhorn of the New York Times: "Pleas for more aggressive American-led rescue measures seem all the more futile given the failures to reach a consensus on the country's own immigration problems, made vivid in the simmering debate over policing the border with Mexico and calls by a leading Republican presidential candidate to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants." ...

... Ben Hubbard of the New York Times: Rich Gulf nations that won't aid Syrian refugees angry at critics.

Jana Kasperkevic of the Guardian on what has changed for American women -- and what hasn't -- since Hillary Clinton gave her speech on women's rights in Beijing.

Bob Cesca, in Salon: "... the GOP appears to be getting behind the idea that both public and private sector workers can refuse to do their jobs with impunity as long as they can recite a biblical verse to back it up." ...

... What Kim Davis & David Koch Have in Common. Elias Isquith of Salon: "... just as a socialist and a liberal can differ on many things but still share a fundamental belief in the legitimacy of redistribution, so too can conservatives find common ground in the 'defense of power and privilege.' As [Kim] Davis and her Republican champions show us, if there's one organizing principle to conservatism, that -- and not law, order, gradualism or liberty -- is it."

Presidential Race

Sabrina Siddiqui of the Guardian: "Twenty years to the day since her iconic address on women's rights in a suburb of Beijing, Hillary Clinton delivered a stirring speech on gender issues in America while casting her Republican rivals as decidedly anti-women. And for those who might accuse her of playing the gender card, Clinton repeated a simple message: 'Deal me in.' Clinton spoke before more than a thousand supporters on Saturday at a launch event for 'Women for Hillary' in New Hampshire, touching upon many of the familiar themes of her presidential campaign -- equal pay for women, paid family leave, raising the minimum wage."

Beyond the Beltway

Reuters: "A high school football player in Louisiana died from injuries he sustained on the field during a game, officials told Reuters on Saturday. Tyrell Cameron, 16, a student at Franklin Parish High School in north-east Louisiana, was wheeled off the field on a stretcher after he was injured during the fourth quarter on Friday night, Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb said in an interview. Tyrell was pronounced dead later at a local hospital, Cobb said."

Way Beyond

Veit Medick of Der Spiegel: Jim Messina, "who organized Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign and this year orchestrated British Prime Minister David Cameron's spectacular, nail-biting win, is now getting into German politics. Messina has agreed to a consulting job in Berlin: He wants to help the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) beat Chancellor Angela Merkel of the conservative Christian Democrats in the next national election in 2017."

Friday
Sep042015

The Commentariat -- Sept. 5, 2015

White House: "In this week's address, the President recognized Labor Day by highlighting the economic progress our country has made, and underlining what needs to be done to continue that growth":

Peter Baker of the New York Times: "President Obama and King Salman of Saudi Arabia met at the White House on Friday in hopes of moving past their differences four months after the king refused the president's invitation to visit amid concerns over American negotiations with Iran. During brief public remarks at the beginning of their meetings, neither of the leaders directly addressed the disagreement that has driven a wedge between their countries, namely the deal to lift sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. Instead, they stressed a long history of cooperation and friendship between the United States and Saudi Arabia." ...

... Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), in a Washington Post op-ed, says he will vote against the Iran nuclear deal. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... David Herszenhorn of the New York Times: "Mr. Cardin's closely watched decision did not jeopardize the implementation of the nuclear accord, but it did raise the likelihood that the president would have to veto a resolution disapproving it this month -- a diplomatic embarrassment the White House is hoping to avoid.... Also on Friday, Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, the only incumbent Democrat facing a possibly difficult re-election fight next year, said he supported the deal." ...

... Jonathan Chait: "The pro-Israel lobby organized an important constituency in American politics that shared a relatively unified understanding of its collective self-interest. A month ago, that lobby was gearing up for a massive national campaign to block the Iran nuclear deal, using every medium at its disposal.... The campaign has not only failed, it has appeared almost completely ineffectual, and its failure has left its members stupefied. "

** Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post: "If you've heard anything about the upcoming budget battle, it's probably that Republicans want to dramatically slash spending. Yay, fiscal conservatism! What you may not know is that many of their desired funding cuts would increase deficits in the long run." CW: Once again proving that ideology & stupid are a bad mix. I realize that some form of representative democracy is the best form of government humankind has devised. Again and again the Congress of the United States reminds us what a misbegotten species we are.

Shut 'Er Down. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), in a New York Times op-ed: "Since its formation, the Select Committee on Benghazi has been aimless and slow moving, not knowing what it was looking for or where. It has acted in a deeply partisan way, frequently failing to consult or even to inform Democratic members before taking action, and selectively leaking information to the press. After 16 months and more than $4 million, the committee has gained no additional insight into the attacks in Benghazi.... The committee is solely concerned with damaging [Hillary Clinton's] candidacy, searching for something, anything, that can be insinuated against her.... A committee that cannot tell the American people what it is looking for after 16 months should be shut down."

Elections Matter! A Lot! Ed Kilgore: Confederate legal theorists have proposed a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees that would require them to "have a clearly documented willingness to ignore both other branches of government -- the principle behind the receding Republican doctrine of 'judicial restraint' -- and stare decisis -- the principle against overturning well-settled Court precedent -- in pursuit of the 'original' meaning of the Constitution. That means treating SCOTUS as an all-powerful institution communing with eighteenth century Founders -- or worse yet, Con Con mythologies about those Founders -- and empowered to kill many decades of decisions by all three branches of government, precedent and democracy be damned.... [The theorists] are very clearly pointing the way to abolition of the entire New Deal/Great Society legacy via rulings by judges serving lifetime terms."

Presidential Race

Heidi Przybyla of USA Today: "Hillary Clinton plans to launch a new initiative this weekend as she seeks to weave women's issues into every facet of her campaign instead of using them in a separate silo as she did in her unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid.... The rollout coincides with the 20th anniversary of the former first lady's 1995 speech to the United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing, in which she proclaimed 'women's rights are human rights.'" ...

... Alex Seitz-Wald of MSNBC: "In an exclusive interview with NBC News/MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Friday, Hillary Clinton said she's 'sorry' there's been so much controversy over her private email server, but declined to apologize for the decision to use it. She also suggested that GOP front-runner Donald Trump is unqualified to be president and weighed in on the surprisingly robust challenge to her candidacy from Democratic primary rival Bernie Sanders": (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

... Rosalind Helderman & Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post: "Hillary Rodham Clinton and her family personally paid a State Department staffer to maintain the private e-mail server she used while heading the agency, according to an official from Clinton's presidential campaign.... The private employment of [Bryan] Pagliano [-- who this week said he he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination rather than testify before the House Benghaazi! committee --] provides a new example of the ways that Clinton ... hired staff to work simultaneously for her in public and private capacities.... Pagliano did not list the outside income in the required personal financial disclosures he filed each year." ...

... Michael Hirsh of Politico: "If Clinton's long-running problem until now is that the public mistrusts her -- and the revelations about her private email server have only exacerbated this mistrust -- the emails themselves appear to leave the opposite impression. They are, for the most part, utterly mundane, the chatter of daily diplomatic life at a high stratum of society and, all in all, prosaic rather than pernicious. If there's plotting going on, it isn't happening here -- either that or Hillary Clinton has developed a very clever code. Does 'bring some skim milk' really mean 'destroy the documents'?"

Sabrina Siddiqui of the Guardian: "Against the backdrop of a crushing debt crisis, Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio took their presidential campaigns to Puerto Rico on Friday. They offered pointedly different views on how to best resolve the financial woes afflicting the US territory.... Speaking entirely in Spanish [sorry, Donald!] at a restaurant in San Juan, Rubio told around 150 people that allowing Puerto Rican municipalities to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection was not the solution to its problems.... Clinton stood firmly behind her stance [of extending bankruptcy protection] on Friday and, though she did not mention Rubio by name, sharply criticized Republicans in Washington over congressional inaction."

The Drs. Frankenstein Not Happy with the Monster. Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times: "... the mammoth big-money network assembled by Republicans in recent years is torn about how best to defuse the threat Mr. Trump holds for their party, and haunted by the worry that any concerted attack will backfire." ...

... Sean Sullivan & Matea Gold of the Washington Post: "Officials with the Club for Growth -- a prominent anti-tax group that frequently targets Republicans it deems not conservative enough -- said Friday that the organization began reaching out to its network of donors in recent weeks to help fund an anti-Trump ad blitz. The organization's super PAC arm, Club for Growth Action, would run the ads, the group said.... But the group's pitch has been met with skepticism among some top GOP financiers, who believe that any effort to attack the real estate mogul could backfire.... Trump has criticized the Club for Growth for attacking him after previously talking to him about donating money....

Who knows more about growth than I do? -- Donald Trump

The stock market. -- Constant Weader ...

... ** Trump Is No Biz Wiz. S.V. Dáte of the National Journal: "As 'really rich' as Donald Trump is today, he might have been even rich­er if, instead of dab­bling in skyscrapers and casinos, he'd simply taken his eight-figure inheritance decades ago and sunk it into the stock market. Had the celebrity businessman ... invested his eventual share of his father's real-estate company into a mutual fund of S&P 500 stocks in 1974, it would be worth nearly $3 billion today, thanks to the market's performance over the past four decades. If he'd invested the $200 million that Forbes magazine determined he was worth in 1982 into that index fund, it would have grown to more than $8 billion today.... That a purely unmanaged index fund's re­turn could outperform Trump's hands-on wheeling and dealing calls into question one of Trump's chief selling points on the campaign trail: his business acumen."

Mark Hensch of the Hill: "Donald Trump is blasting Hugh Hewitt after stumbling over foreign policy questions in an interview with the conservative radio host. '[He is] a third-rate radio announcer,' Trump told hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' on Friday morning."

Robert Schlesinger of US News: "The great Donald Trump experiment of 2015 entered a new phase this week with the exchange of attacks between the ersatz (Trump) and erstwhile (Jeb Bush )GOP frontrunners. Trump has been running a campaign so long on tone and posture as to be post-ideological. Bush has started systematically mounting a thoroughly conventional assault aiming to demonstrate issue by issue that Trump is an unsuitable standard bearer for the party. It's not so much a battle for the soul of the Republican Party as it is a struggle over whether the GOP needs a soul -- a core set of issues that define it -- at all. Instead Trump offers leadership -- snarling, angry and combative -- as an end instead of means." ...

... The Bodyguard: David Nakamura of the Washington Post: "Two weeks ago, [Trump bodyguard Keith] Schiller stepped between his boss and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos during a news conference and physically ejected the influential journalist...." This week, Schiller punched out a protester who grabbed Schiller from behind after Schiller wrested a banner from the hands of protesters. "'The Secret Service would not operate that way,' Ralph Basham, who oversaw the federal protective agency from 2003 to 2006, said of the fisticuffs outside Trump Tower. 'They're not a bunch of jackbooted thugs.'" Nakamura goes on to report on the system for providing Secret Service protection for presidential candidates. Clinton, because she is a former First Lady, is the only candidate who currently has protection.

Beyond the Beltway

James Higdon, et al., of the Washington Post: "An attorney for jailed Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis said Friday that the marriage licenses issued by her deputies to several same-sex couples are invalid. 'They are not worth the paper they're written on,' Mat Staver said outside the Carter County Detention Center, where Davis is being held on a contempt charge." CW: So Kim the Incarcerated is still trying to impose her personal religious beliefs on others. Talk about tyranny, Ted Cruz. ...

... Lyle Denniston of ScotusBlog: "... even the judge conceded that those licenses, if issued, may not be valid, although he refused to decide that issue and left it to the lawyers for the same-sex couples to confront. ...

... Renee Graham of the Boston Globe: "Kim Davis ... isn't a religious freedom fighter. She's a homophobe, pure and simple.... Wrong and strong, Davis's actions are reminiscent of Alabama Governor George Wallace's infamous 'Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.'... Defying the rule of law didn't work for Wallace, and it won't work for Davis.... Davis is just the latest in a long, infernal line of fanatics to contort their so-called faith into an excuse for hatred and division." ...

... John Tierney of KGW Portland, Oregon: "A Marion County[, Oregon,] judge has refused to perform same-sex marriages and has asked his clerks to refer couples seeking same-sex marriages to other county judges. Judge Vance Day, a circuit court judge and former chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, is now facing an ethics investigation over that decision, according to the judge's spokesman.... Day hasn't performed any same-sex marriages since he joined the bench in 2011, but only stopped doing marriages of any kind this past spring. Judges in Marion County are not required to perform marriages...."

Way Beyond

Rick Lyman, et al., of the New York Times: "Thousands of migrants who have been bottled up in Hungary, demanding passage to the West, will be allowed into Austria and Germany, the Austrian chancellor said late Friday. Early Saturday, the first buses carrying them arrived at the Hungary-Austria border." ...

     ... The Guardian story, by Emma Graham-Harrison & others, is here. ...

     ... Update. Shawn Pogatchnik & Pablo Gorondi of the AP: "Thousands of exhausted, elated migrants reached their dream destinations of Germany and Austria on Saturday, completing epic journeys by boat, bus, train and foot to escape war and poverty. Before dawn, they clambered off a fleet of Hungarian buses at the Austrian border to find a warm welcome from charity workers offering beds and hot tea." ...

... Griff Witte & Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post: "Stepping back from a confrontation with asylum-seekers that drew condemnation from throughout Europe, Hungary will use buses to ferry thousands of migrants from Budapest to the border with Austria, a senior government official said Friday. The government's fierce attitude to asylum-seekers fleeing war and poverty sent more than a thousand of them on a long march across the nation in a bid to reach Western Europe, where they hope for better lives. The turnaround was a major admission of defeat for Hungarian authorities...." ...

... Anthony Faiola of the Washington Post: "Call him Europe's Donald Trump. Hungary's maverick Prime Minister Viktor Orban is emerging as the straight-talking voice of right-wing Europe, vowing to block a wave of desperate refugees from seeking sanctuary in the region. Continuing a wave of blunt statements rarely heard from heads of state on this side of the Atlantic, he warned Friday that Europeans now stand to become 'a minority in our own continent' if the floodgates are not immediately closed."

News Ledes

New York Times: "Ben Kuroki, a decorated Japanese-American gunner in the Army Air Forces of World War II, who was hailed on the American homeland at a time when tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans were confined to internment camps as supposed security risks, died on Tuesday in Camarillo, Calif. He was 98."

New York Times: The annual pillow "fight on the West Point, N.Y., campus turned bloody as some cadets swung pillowcases packed with hard objects, thought to be helmets, that split lips, broke at least one bone, dislocated shoulders and knocked cadets unconscious. The brawl at the publicly funded academy, where many of the Army's top leaders are trained, left 30 cadets injured, including 24 with concussions, according to West Point."

Thursday
Sep032015

The Commentariat -- Sept. 4, 2015

Afternoon Update:

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), in a Washingtn Post op-ed, says he will vote against the Iran nuclear deal.

Alex Seitz-Wald of MSNBC: "In an exclusive interview with NBC News/MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Friday, Hillary Clinton said she's 'sorry' there's been so much controversy over her private email server, but declined to apologize for the decision to use it. She also suggested that GOP front-runner Donald Trump is unqualified to be president and weighed in on the surprisingly robust challenge to her candidacy from Democratic primary rival Bernie Sanders":

*****

Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post: "Justice Department on Thursday unveiled a new policy that will require its law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant to deploy cellphone-tracking devices in criminal investigations and inform judges when they plan to use them. The department's new policy, announced by Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates, should increase transparency around the use of the controversial technology by the FBI and other Justice Department agencies. It imposes the highest legal standard for the device's use, and a single standard across the department."

Alexander Burns of the New York Times: "Senator Cory A. Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, endorsed President Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran on Thursday, padding support for the accord, which already has enough votes in the Senate to thwart a Republican-backed resolution of disapproval." ...

... Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) will support the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran, he announced Thursday." ...

... ConservaDem Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) also announced her support today. Via Paul Waldman. That's 37.

... Kevin Drum on why Republicans couldn't kill the Iran nuclear deal: "Ever since 2009, their political strategy has been relentless and one-dimensional: oppose everything President Obama supports, instantly and unanimously. They certainly followed this playbook on Iran. Republicans were slamming the deal before the text was even released.... This did two things. First, it made them look unserious.... Second, by forming so quickly, the Republican wall of opposition turned the Iran agreement into an obviously partisan matter. Once they did that, they made it much harder for Democrats to oppose a president of their own party. A more deliberate approach almost certainly would have helped them pick up more Democratic votes.... [But] it's quite possible that Republicans actually did nothing wrong. They simply never had a chance in the first place." ...

... AND there's this. Times of Israel: "An official from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the leading pro-Israel lobby in the US, on Thursday blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for harming the opposition to the Iran nuclear deal by insisting on addressing Congress on the issue in March. 'Netanyahu's speech in Congress made the Iranian issue a partisan one,' the AIPAC official told Israel's Walla news. 'As soon as he insisted on going ahead with this move, which was perceived as a Republican maneuver against the president, we lost a significant part of the Democratic party, without which it was impossible to block the agreement,' said the official, who asked not to be named." ...

... Update: Adam Entous of the Wall Street Journal on Netanyahu's lobbying efforts to scuttle the deal: "Both supporters and opponents say they can't recall any other foreign government inserting itself so directly into an American political debate, especially against a deal the White House considers a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's legacy." Firewalled, so cut & paste a snippet into Google search if you don't have a WSJ subscription.

Amanda Holpuch, et al., of the Guardian: "Aid groups and at least 14 senators have called on the US government to take in thousands more Syrian refugees by the end of 2016, amid international outcry prompted by shocking images of a three-year-old boy's body lying face down in the surf in Turkey.... Asked on Thursday about US plans to take in more refugees, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there are no 'impending policy changes' and that the US will continue to offer aid to Europe." CW: It isn't clear to me who the 14 senators are, but the article obliquely suggests they're Democrats & that Republicans are resisting bringing Syrian "jihadists" into the U.S. See also Way Beyond the Beltway below.

Paul Krugman: "Take it from those who share our language, but not our currency: There are many ways to make money work.... What's important for both capital and trade, it turns out, is whether your economy offers good investment opportunities under an umbrella of legal and political stability." ...

... CW: Which is why Republicans' ceaseless efforts to destabilize the government & tear down the social fabric & that bolsters the economy are, IMO, the largest drags on the U.S. economy. Our biggest economic problem is Republicans.

Deflategate Punctured. Ken Belson of the New York Times: "In a major setback for the N.F.L., New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady prevailed in his battle to have his four-game suspension overturned on Thursday, as a federal judge reversed a ruling by Commissioner Roger Goodell to bench one of the league's biggest stars in a dispute over underinflated balls he used in a January championship game. Judge Richard M. Berman of Federal District Court in Manhattan did not rule on whether Brady tampered with the footballs in a bid for competitive advantage. Instead, he focused on the narrower question of whether the collective bargaining agreement between the N.F.L. and the players union gave Goodell the authority to carry out the suspension, and whether Brady was treated fairly during his attempt to have his suspension overturned." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Presidential Race

Margaret Talev of Bloomberg: "Vice President Joe Biden opened up for the first time publicly about his painful deliberations over whether to run for president so soon after his son Beau's death to brain cancer, saying the key question is 'whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run. Can I do it? Can my family undertake what is an arduous commitment that we'd be proud to undertake in ordinary circumstances?' Biden told an audience of 2,000 people at an Atlanta synagogue Thursday night, during a question-and-answer session following a speech he gave on U.S. foreign policy. 'The honest-to-God answer is I just don't know.'" CW: So looks like all the tea-leaf reading wasn't complete balderdash. For the first time, Joe himself admits to be considering a run.

Jamelle Bouie cites a number of reasons that Bernie Sanders is likely to lose the nomination. CW: Bouie's list is okay as far as it goes, but he ignores Bernie's biggest hurdle: the superdelegates. These are the 800 or so party poobahs who can shift the nomination despite the states' popular votes. They were such an impotant factor in 2008 that I started Reality Chex because there was no one place where a person could keep track of the superdelegate totals, & those totals would determine whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would get the nomination. No matter how well Bernie does in the primaries, the vast majority of superdelegates are unlikely to give him a nod unless Clinton is under indictment, Biden (or some other savior-candidate) doesn't step in & O'Malley drops out.

Rebecca Traister in New York: "What if the big secret contained in Hillary Clinton's emails is that she's not the monster her critics have portrayed her as for decades? ... Barring the possibility that more serious breaches are turned up, these emails may do the work a thousand soft magazine profiles never could have: letting us in on the fact that after all these years, we do know Hillary Clinton. And she's not half bad." CW: An enjoyable read. ...

... Ellen Brait of the Guardian: "Edward Snowden has branded as 'completely ridiculous' the idea that Hillary Clinton's personal email server was secure while she was secretary of state.... In 2014, Clinton accused Snowden of inadvertently helping terrorists. Since then she has toned down such criticism and said the NSA needs to be more transparent.... Snowden was also asked if he was concerned about what the Republican frontrunner Donald Trump might do to him if he is elected president in 2016. Trump has called Snowden 'a total traitor' and 'a bad guy' and said 'there is still a thing called execution'.... 'It's very difficult to respond in a serious way to any statement that's made by Donald Trump,' he said." ...

... Philip Victor of Al Jazeera America has more here.

Tim Egan: "In just under two weeks, the Republicans who want to be president will gather in Simi Valley, Calif., at the presidential library of Ronald Reagan for their second debate.... The real Ronald Reagan -- serial tax-raiser, illegal immigrant amnesty granter, deficit creator, abortion enabler, gun control supporter and peacenik -- would never be allowed on the stage. The party has moved so far to the right from Reagan's many centrist positions that the guy would be told to go find a home among the Democrats." ...

... CW: Egan brushes aside Reagan's supply-side economics & neglects to mention his views that elements of the social safety net -- Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, etc. -- formed a network of communistic programs, that unions were there to be busted, the wilderness was there to be raped, & regulations were there to be cut. Nostalgia for Reagan cuts both ways. Today's Republican elites are merely carrying Reaganism to its logical extremes. ...

Patrick Murray of Monmouth University: "When Republicans and Republican-leaning voters are asked who they would support for the GOP nomination for president, Donald Trump leads the pack at 30%, which is up 4 points from early August before the first debate. Ben Carson (18%) has increased his vote share by 13 points and now holds second place. Jeb Bush (8%) has dropped by 4 points and now stands in a tie for third with Ted Cruz (8%). Following behind are Marco Rubio (5%), Carly Fiorina (4%), and Mike Huckabee (4%). Scott Walker (3%), who held third place in Monmouth's August poll, has dropped 8 points since then. Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rand Paul each get 2%. The remaining six candidates included in the poll score no higher than 1% each." Via Paul Waldman. ...

... Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare. Michael Lind in Politico Magazine: "The success of Trump's campaign has, if nothing else, exposed the Tea Party for what it really is; Trump's popularity is, in effect, final proof of what some of us have been arguing for years: that the Tea Party is less a libertarian movement than a right-wing version of populism.... Tea Partiers are less upset about the size of government overall than they are that so much of it is going to other people, especially immigrants and nonwhites. They are for government for them and against government for Not-Them."

Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "... Donald Trump will sign a pledge Thursday to support the GOP nominee in next year's general election, effectively ruling out a third-party or independent run, according to two Republicans familiar with the move." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Paul Waldman: "Since the pledge would be happily violated by the only candidate who it was designed to constrain in the first place, it has little practical significance. But it does make the Republican Party look pathetic. They're so scared of the guy leading their primary race (as well they should be) that they have to beg him to pinkie-swear that he won't turn around and screw them over in the general election...." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Prince Rebus's Pyrrhic Victory. Robert Costa: "... bringing Trump more fully within the party's tent, Republicans gain reassurance about his intentions -- and court possible fallout for working closely with the unpredictable and sharp-tongued billionaire, who has angered Hispanic leaders with his controversial comments on illegal immigration. Trump made his announcement at an afternoon news conference after meeting with the loyalty statement's author, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus...." ...

... "Trump Outsmarted the GOP." Jim Newell of Slate: "The Republican Party ... has now committed itself to supporting [Trump's] agenda, which goes against decades of its own dogma, if Trump is able to pull off the nomination. Most of [Thursday's] news has been framed as Trump signs pledge to support eventual nominee. Another way to look at it is Establishment Republican candidates pledge to support Donald Trump." ...

... "Donald Trump Has the Republican Party in the Palm of His Hand." Brian Beutler of the New Republic: "Trump wasn't communicating to the party that its knock against him for threatening an independent run has been effective. To the contrary, it's that he doesn't think the threat is necessary anymore -- that he's now genuinely well-positioned to win the primary, rather than an insurgent threat who can be neutralized by party heavyweights.... It is now easy to imagine Trump eclipsing 40 percent of the vote before the primaries begin, and ripping up that pledge if a panicky Republican Party responds by erecting obstacles to his victory." ...

... Jason Horowitz of the New York Times: "In a tussle outside Trump Tower on Thursday, a member of Donald J. Trump's security team responded to a protester, who had grabbed him from behind, by hitting him in the face. The member of Mr. Trump's security team had ripped a large blue sign reading 'Trump: Make America Racist Again' away from protesters gathered outside Trump Plaza, where the candidate signed a pledge to the Republican Party that he wouldn't stage a third-party candidacy...." CW: So, yeah, Trump's rhetoric incites violence against Hispanics -- even in his own staff. ...

... Hugh Stumps Trump. The Internets is abuzz with the news that confederate talk-show host Hugh Hewitt challenged Donald Trump's knowledge on Middle East politics & Trump flunked (oh, & Carly Fiorina pretty-much aced it). But as Steve M. correctly (IMO) notes, "The fans don't care." ...

     ... Update: Trump may not know the names of leaders of Middle-East revolutionary groups, but Greg Sargent notes that his thinking on the Iran nuclear deal is a lot smarter -- and more realistic -- than his rivals'.

What Did the Dingbats Say Today?

Elections Matter -- to the Earth. Sabrina Siddiqui of the Guardian: Marco "Rubio vowed to reverse key components of the climate agenda [President] Obama has been touting in Alaska, while also making the case for turning back some of the nation's energy authority to the states and away from the federal government. While outlining his proposals during a swing through Oklahoma -- currently the fourth-largest producer of natural gas in the United States -- the Florida senator decried in particular the Environmental Protection Agency's new rules to reduce greenhouse emissions under its Clean Power Plan."

Radley Balko of the Washington Post: Scott Walker wrote an opinion piece on the right-wing site Hot Air blaming President Obama -- & others who urge or have implemented scrutiny of policing practices -- for the recent killing of law enforcement officers in Texas & Illinois. Scottie said things were way better in the good old days. "Walker is simply wrong when he tries to use [Texas officer Darren] Goforth's death to say that more oversight and scrutiny of cops have made the job more dangerous. There's just no evidence of that. All the available evidence suggests precisely the opposite.... For some reason, Republicans and conservatives from Donald Trump to Ted Cruz to Walker to Mike Huckabee think the government entity that has the power to detain, arrest and kill should get the least scrutiny of all."

Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America.... I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to chose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court decision.... Where is the call for President Obama to resign for ignoring and defying our immigration laws, our welfare reform laws, and even his own Obamacare? Blah blah. -- Ted Cruz, on the incarceration of County Clerk Kim Davis

Lawless, tyrannical Judge David Bunning, who jailed Davis for contempt of court, is a George W. Bush appointee. Not quite sure how a judge who tells a defendant she must obey the law is lawless. Maybe Harvard Law should ask Ted to return his sheepskin. It has to be embarrassing for a prominent law school to have a prominent graduate who doesn't know what the meaning of "law" is. Much less "tyranny." -- Constant Weader

AND Jeb! is still confused about the whole thing. Which he described as "a sign of leadership." The Bush family's idea of leadership might not be just the same as yours.

Quote of the Day. A broken clock is right once a day. -- Rick Perry, responding to Donald Trump's remark that Perry was dropping out of the presidential race

Beyond the Beltway

Richard Fausset of the New York Times: "Deputy clerks at the [Rowan C]ounty[, Kentucky,] clerk’s office [in Morehead] issued a marriage license to [a] same-sex couple on Friday, a day after their boss was jailed for refusing to do so. Trailed by supporters and the news media, a couple, James Yates and William Smith Jr., entered the Rowan County clerk's office and received a marriage license, ending a standoff that has captured the attention of a country still coming to grips with a Supreme Court decision establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage." ...

She has done her job. Just because five Supreme Court judges make a ruling, it’s not a law. -- Legal scholar Joe Davis, husband of Kim, today

Kim Davis mugshot.... Alan Blinder of the New York Times: "A defiant county clerk rejected a proposal that would have allowed her deputies to grant same-sex marriage licenses, hours after she was sent to jail by a federal judge for disobeying a court order. Through her lawyer, the clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, said she would not agree to allow the licenses to be issued under her authority as county clerk. Had she consented, the judge would have considered releasing her from custody. Five of the six deputies told Judge David L. Bunning of Federal District Court that they would issue the licenses, though some of them said they would do so reluctantly. The lone holdout was Ms. Davis's son, Nathan." CW: Holy cow! Nepotism, too? This story was linked yesterday when the lede was,

A federal judge [in Ashland, Ky.,] on Thursday ordered a Kentucky clerk jailed for contempt of court because of her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, was ordered incarcerated after a hearing here before Judge David L. Bunning of Federal District Court. ...

... Ryan Felton of the Guardian, relying partially on new agencies: After Davis refused to allow her clerks to issue the licenses in her stead, "the judge then ordered ... the deputies to begin issuing the licenses on Friday. Upon the hearing's conclusion, [Judge David] Bunning said he expects compliance, even with the clerk's continued dissent.... Davis, a Democrat, earns $80,000 annually; she took office in January after winning a close election last fall." ...

... MEANWHILE, Davis's lawyer sees the whole thing as the U.S. goosestepping toward the Holocaust. ...

... Noah Feldman of Bloomberg: "It's just fine ... for a public official to say that he or she won't enforce any law that's fundamentally immoral and in contradiction to God's laws. But the only way to keep that promise consistent with the oath of office is for the official to resign when she thinks enforcing the law would be wrong.... Indeed, she must [resign] -- or she'd be living in a position of hypocritical sin.... Under the Constitution, the government can't force you to engage in a religious action or stop you from exercising your freedom of religion. Normally, it shouldn't coerce you to act against your faith. But no one was or is coercing Kim Davis. She's free to serve the public and obey her oath to God to follow the law. And she's free to quit and absolve herself of that oath. The choice is hers." ...

... CW: One of Davis's arguments is that she is following her oath because she is obeying the law as it was at the time she swore the oath. That is ridiculous. It would suggest that public officials are required to enforce only the laws in effect at the time of their swearings-in. In addition, if Davis had no idea the law in regard to same-sex marriage could change while she was in office, it's her own damned fault. She has said, "I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage." As I noted in a comment yesterday, Davis suffers mightily from a lack of imagination. It was common knowledge while Davis was running for office -- thanks in part to Nino Scalia -- that the Court would likely make marriage equality the law of the land. By the time Davis swore her oath, Obergefell was already before the Supreme Court, & there was a better-than 50-50 chance that the Court would uphold Obergefell's petition. Davis knew the risk she was taking that her beliefs would force her to violate her oath. I'd say it was "immoral" for her to run for office, then swear an oath that she knew from the get-go she could not keep. So in addition to breaking the law, encouraging her employees to break the law & being a first-rate bigot, she ran for & accepted a public position under false pretenses. Immoral cow. ...

... Charles Pierce: "Let me explain to you what happens now. The entire political communications apparatus of the wingnut welfare system goes to DefCon 1.... Kim Davis now becomes the latest ornament on the Hang Yourself Cross of Bible-banging victimhood. There will be marches and vigils. There will be a six-figure book deal; my money's on John Fund as Davis's ghost. There may even be one of those movies produced by gullibility trawlers like the one helmed by Rick Santorum. Anybody want to bet me that she doesn't speak at next year's Republican National Convention? You have made a star, Judge Bunning, and the rest of us have to live with her."

Michael Miller of the Washington Post: "Last week, a Tenn. judge refused to grant a straight couple a divorce because the U.S. Supreme Court allowed gay marriage." Thanks to D. C. Clark for the link. The judge -- who is elected -- is using the travails of this couple -- who reportedly presented valid & customary reasons to divorce -- for his own ideological purposes. The state judicial bar should sanction him for dereliction of duty in failure to follow established state law.

AP: "The white man accused of killing nine black churchgoers during a Bible study will face the death penalty, according to court documents filed Thursday. The documents said prosecutors would pursue the death penalty against Dylann Roof, 21, because more than two people were killed, and that others' lives were put at risk." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Mookie's Misfire. Henry Curtis of the Orlando Sentinel: "Spike's Tactical [in Apopka, Florida] is marketing an assault rifle it claims was 'designed to never be used by Muslim terrorists.' The AR-15 assault rifle is laser-etched on one side with a Knights Templar Long Cross -- a symbol of the Christian Crusades to reclaim the Holy Land from Muslims -- and Psalm 144:1 on the other side: 'Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.' The company's spokesman, former Navy SEAL Ben 'Mookie' Thomas said he came up with the idea and believes no devout Muslim would touch such a weapon.... 'Is it designed for Christian terrorists?' asked Hasan Shibly, executive director of CAIR-FL, who said out of 205 mass killings so far this year in the U.S. only one involved a Muslim." CW: Sorry, Mookie. I think Hasan just pointed out a teensy flaw in your anti-terrorism plan. But nice try.

Way Beyond

Nicholas Watt of the Guardian: British Prime Minister David Cameron has bowed to overwhelming domestic and international pressure and announced that Britain will accept thousands more Syrian refugees." ...

... Rick Lyman & Alison Smale of the New York Times: "With thousands of migrants pouring out of Afghanistan and the Middle East, the business of smuggling them across the Balkans into the European Union has grown even larger than the illicit trade in drugs and weapons, law enforcement officials said. In Greece alone, there are 200 such smuggling rings, said Col. Gerald Tatzgern, head of the Austrian police service fighting human trafficking." ...

... Ishan Tharoor of the Washington Post: "As Amnesty International recently pointed out, the 'six Gulf countries -- Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain -- have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees.' This claim was echoed by Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.... That's ... shocking..., given these countries' relative proximity to Syria, as well as the incredible resources at their disposal. As Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi, a Dubai-based political commentator, observes, these countries include some of the Arab world's largest military budgets, its highest standards of living.... Moreover, these countries aren't totally innocent bystanders. To varying degrees, elements within Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the U.A.E. and Kuwait have invested in the Syrian conflict, playing a conspicuous role in funding and arming a constellation of rebel and Islamist factions fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad." ...

... Anne Barnard of the New York Times: "It was never any secret that a rising tide of Syrian refugees would sooner or later burst the seams of the Middle East and head for Europe. Yet little was done in Western capitals to stop or mitigate the slow-motion disaster that was befalling Syrian civilians and sending them on the run."

News Lede

New York Times: "The American economy added 173,000 jobs in August, a bit less than expected, making it less likely that the Federal Reserve will feel comfortable enough to make its long-awaited move to raise interest rates when policy makers meet this month."