Edward Rosenfeld of CNBC: "President Barack Obama unveiled his plan to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants on Monday, potentially kicking off a legal battle between regulators and coal industry supporters. Calling the plan 'the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change,' Obama emphasized that the regulation was about the present not just the predictions of forward-looking models." Here's a clip:
... Adam Vaughn of the Guardian: "Hundreds of businesses including eBay, Nestle and General Mills have issued their support for Barack Obama's clean power plan, billed as the strongest action ever on climate change by a US president.... The rules are expected to trigger a 'tsunami' of legal opposition from states and utilities who oppose the plans, which will significantly boost wind and solar power generation and force a switch away from coal power. Republican presidential hopefuls moved quickly to voice their opposition, saying they would be economically damaging. But 365 businesses and investors wrote to 29 state governors to strongly support the rules, which they said would benefit the economy and create jobs."
Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post: "GOP lawmakers in Congress will make their first explicit move Monday to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood after a series of undercover videos raised questions about its practice of harvesting tissue for research from aborted fetuses. The Monday evening procedural vote on a Senate bill to immediately halt funding to the group is expected to fail. Democrats have vowed to filibuster the bill, and Republicans have thus far been unable to peel off enough support to counter it."
Michael Gordon of the New York Times: "Persian Gulf monarchies issued a cautious endorsement on Monday of the accord Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated last month to constrain Iran's nuclear program. 'This was the best option among other options,' said Khalid al-Attiyah, the foreign minister of Qatar, who hosted a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council that Mr. Kerry attended."
Seung Min Kim of Politico: "Sen. Chuck Schumer is teaming up with another Schumer — actress and comedian Amy -- on Monday to push for stricter gun-control laws. The two Schumers held a news conference in New York to unveil a new proposal drafted by the senator meant to prevent violent criminals, abusers and those with mental illnesses from obtaining guns. The push comes in the wake of the shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, last month at a screening of Amy Schumer's new movie 'Trainwreck,' where two women were killed and at least nine other people were injured." Chuck Schumer & Amy Schumer are cousins. ...
... CW: This guy should be the first to have his gun confiscated under the proposed law:
... Adam Gabbatt of the Guardian: "Food safety experts and gun experts have warned against cooking bacon on the barrel of a machine gun, after Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz released a video showing him doing just that."
Oh, Gawker is back. Sam Biddle: "Last month, American reality show entertainer turned American political system entertainer Donald Trump publicized presidential rival Sen. Lindsey Graham's cell number, urging his supporters to 'try it.' In the spirit of open and fair political debate, we now bring you Trump's number." A commenter writes, "He doesn't even have a (212) number? I thought he was rich. Poser."
Sabrina Siddiqui of the Guardian: "Wisconsin governor Scott Walker encountered what looked like a group of young supporters during a campaign stop on Monday at a [Manchester, N.H.,] pizza shop, only to be presented with a fake check from the billionaire Koch brothers by a group of climate activists.... 'I'd like to present you with this check from the Koch brothers for climate denial,' [Tyler] McFarland, 23, told Walker."
Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times' public editor addresses the paper's "tortured history" of coverage of Hillary & Bill Clinton. Times executive editor Dean Baquet told her, "If you look at our body of work, I don't believe we have been unfair." Sullivan noted, "But the Times's 'screw-up,' as Mr. Baquet called it, reinforces the need for reporters and their editors to be 'doubly vigilant and doubly cautious.'" ...
... Erik Wemple of the Washington Post is not impressed with Sullivan's "wishy-washy" column. He notes that the original Times story, 11 days old on Monday, still contains the error that two inspectors general sent the DOJ a security referral; only one of them sent a referral, according to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). Sullivan has not addressed this likely error. Since Times editors granted Sullivan access which they denied other media reporters, she should have (a) done a better job, & (b) been willing to talk to reporters.
Daniel Strauss of Politico: "Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton turned himself in to law enforcement officials on Monday in the face of felony charges on securities fraud."
Greg Sargent on how President Obama's Clean Power Plan is likely to play out in the upcoming national elections. "Given that this would combine Obummer Mandates with a new effort at international engagement that many GOP primary voters will likely oppose, it could perhaps make Obama's climate push even more ideologically toxic to Republicans, requiring the GOP candidates to outdo one another in their zeal to oppose it." ...
... New Rules. Eric Holthaus of Slate: The Obama administration's climate-change policy is fairly lame.
The New Kochs, Ctd. Ken Vogel of Politico: "Charles Koch, in a Sunday afternoon speech to conservative donors and GOP dignitaries, compared the causes of his conservative political and policy operation to the American Revolution, the abolitionists, suffragettes and civil rights crusaders. 'They all sought to overcome an injustice. And we, too, are seeking to right injustices that are holding our country back,' Koch said on the second day of a summit he and his brother David Koch convened the at the St. Regis Monarch Beach luxury resort, which drew 450 rich conservatives, as well as numerous leading Republican politicians.... For the Koch network, the cause is reforming the criminal justice system, and reducing government spending and regulation that conservatives believe limits prosperity for all Americans. Or, as Koch put it Sunday, 'we aim ... to remove the shackles preventing all Americans, especially the disadvantaged, from pursuing their dreams.'" CW: Yes, the "disadvantaged" should be free to sell arms to Iran, pollute the environment & have offshore accounts, too. ...
... Matea Gold & James Hohmann write the Washington Post story. CW: I'm all dewy-eyed.
CW: Yesterday, I pointed to a Reuters story about how Donald Trump's companies regularly hire low-wage foreign workers under the barely-regulated H-2 temporary visa program. I missed this excellent BuzzFeed investigative piece (July 24) on how the H-2 visa program "works": "The H-2 visa program invites foreign workers to do some of the most menial labor in America. Then it leaves them at the mercy of their employers. Thousands of these workers have been abused -- deprived of their fair pay, imprisoned, starved, beaten, raped, and threatened with deportation if they dare complain. And the government says it can do little to help."
Jack Hitt of Mother Jones: "Police Shootings Won't Stop Unless We Also Stop Shaking Down Black People." CW: Hitt is right about that of course, but what his story inadvertently reveals is a huge flaw in the low-tax libertarian philosophy. Many local governments have chosen to lower property taxes & raise revenue instead via fines for minor vehicle & home infractions -- from failures to signal to cheesy miniblinds (really). Police & code enforcement officials are expected to earn their wages by citing citizens, & for some odd reason, they tend to cite poorer citizens. I don't doubt that the city councilmembers who have developed this flawed structure ran for office on low-tax platforms, & voters chose them for that very reason. As Hitt points out, carried to its logical extreme (and municipalities do carry it to the extreme), it is often more costly to demand payment (by jailing those who can't pay) than it would have been not to fine the citizens in the first place.
Paul Krugman: After writing a post criticizing "crotchety crank" Ron Paul's ever-erroneous wacko economic theories -- which he is now selling in video format! -- "I've received some mail from Ron Paul admirers deeply angered by the suggestion that they are not engaged in deep intellectual argument. By and large the mail reads like this:
Dear shmak, Paul Krugman!
Stop insulting Ron Paul!
You are low level Socialist/Liberal who should be jailed
your insulting writing style.
Ron Paul is Real Man with Capital M
and you are nobody!
... CW: I suspect Krugman is unfair to these writers. I'm sure he cleaned up their spelling.
Paul Krugman in the New York Times Book Review: Don't bother to buy Thomas Picketty's "new" book, because it's really 15 years old & doesn't reflect recent economic changes, new data & revised scholarship, even his own.
Ellen Brait of the Guardian: "Several New York retailers, including Walmart, Sears and Amazon, have agreed to remove realistic toy guns from their shelves and pay $300,000 in penalties as part of a settlement with the state. State attorney general Eric Schneiderman announced on Monday that his office had found over 6,400 toy guns sold from 2012 to 2014 that violated preexisting New York laws, which ban the sale of black, blue, silver, or aluminum toy guns. Instead, these must be brightly colored or translucent."
Carrie Dann of NBC News: "Days before the first Republican debate, Donald Trump has surged into the national lead in the GOP primary race, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush following, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows. Trump is the first choice of 19 percent of GOP primary voters, while 15 percent back Walker and 14 percent back Bush. Ten percent support retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson." ...
... Steven Thomma of McClatchy News: "... the McClatchy-Marist Poll has temporarily suspended polling on primary voter choices out of concern that public polls are being misused to decide who will be in and who will be excluded. The Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducts the national survey, said the debate criteria assume too much precision in polls in drawing a line between candidates just a fraction apart, presume that the national polls being averaged are comparable, and turn the media sponsoring most of the polls from analysts to participants."
He's the Doofus, Not the Donald. Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump's surge in the polls has been met with barely concealed delight by Jeb Bush and his supporters. Mr. Trump's bombastic ways have simultaneously made it all but impossible for those vying to be the alternative to Mr. Bush to emerge, and easier for Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, to position himself as the serious and thoughtful alternative to a candidate who has upended the early nominating process.... Mr. Trump has essentially frozen the rest of the field." Trump is peeling off potential Scott Walker voters, in particular.
Kevin Cirilli of the Hill: "Donald Trump is assembling a team of political strategists and campaign staffers charged with sustaining his lead in the Republican presidential polls. While strategists say Trump still got a ways to go to catch up to his rivals for the White House, he is taking aggressive steps to build a political machine, particularly in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire." ...
... Laura Reston of the New Republic: Donald Trump is a candidate in the longstanding American tradition of Know Nothings. CW: Worth nothing [Oops! That was a Freudian typo; s/b "worth noting"]: Reston's little history lesson reminds us anew that the Northeast has never been immune to racist sentiments. ...
... Mistakes Were Made. Emily Atkin of Think Progress: "... Donald Trump said on Sunday that more power should be given to the police. 'It's a massive crisis,' Trump said on Meet the Press, when asked about the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement. 'Some horrible mistakes are made. At the same time, we have to give power back to the police, because crime is rampant.'" ...
... Black People Are All Alike. Emily Atkin: "In an interview with ABC News on Sunday..., [Donald Trump] said Americans wouldn't elect another black president for a long time because of Obama's 'poor standard.'... ' think that he has set a very low bar and I think it's a shame for the African American people." CW: Okay, no more white presidents because Warren Harding, Andrew Johnson, George W. Bush, etc. Sorry, Donald. I'm going for the best-qualified Inuit. ...
... Ben Jacobs of the Guardian: "The Trump campaign confirmed to the Guardian on Sunday that longtime aide Sam Nunberg had been fired, after Business Insider reported on an eight-year-old social media post. In 2007, a post on Nunberg's Facebook page referring to the veteran civil rights campaigner Al Sharpton read: 'Meeting Rev Sharpton today, no joke -- he will tell him that his daughter is N---!'" CW: Good to hear that Trump won't abide racism.
Zachary Warmbrodt of Politico: "Donald Trump made clear on Sunday that he's not ruling out a third-party run if his bid for the Republican presidential nomination falters. In a phone interview on ABC's 'This Week,' the billionaire businessman-turned-political celebrity said he'd have 'no interest' in running as a third-party candidate if he's 'treated fairly' by the Republican Party but 'would certainly not give that up' if he felt burned." CW: Since the Republican party is essentially impotent, this is more a warning to Roger Ailes & Fox "News" debate questioners. ...
When people are chopping off other people's heads and then we're worried about waterboarding and we can't, because I have no doubt that that works. I have absolutely no doubt.... When you see the other side chopping off heads, waterboarding doesn't sound very severe. -- Donald Trump, on ABC's "This Week with Whomever"
... CW: There really should be more violence against teachers.
E. J. Dionne: Some GOP candidates, like Jeb! & Marco, "talk about the need to restore paths to upward mobility, [but] their underlying proposals remain rooted in the thinking of the Reagan era...: that government can do little about what ails us and that the path to nirvana is still paved with tax cuts and business deregulation. But as progressive economist Joseph Stiglitz noted to me..., it's precisely the rules and policies of the past 35 to 40 years that have helped lead the middle class into its current economic impasse."
Rick Perry Discovers Government Regulation. David Dayen in the New Republic: Rick Perry inherited mortgage-lending regulations that are stricter than what even the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau promotes. Altho he wants to gut the CFPB, Perry is now touting his state's strict lending regulations, which saved Texas from the burst bubble that brought down Florida's economy just after Jeb! left the governorship. In his speech on Wall Street reform, Perry also "endorsed higher capital requirements for the largest banks so they can absorb trading losses rather than pass them on to the government. He also advocated for a firewall between investment and commercial banks, which is not unlike the Depression-era Glass-Steagall reforms now championed by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.... Even if Perry doesn't make it to the general election [and he won't], he's done the country a service by telling the truth about the value of consumer protection."
Paper Soldier. Craig Whitelock of the Washington Post: "a detailed examination of [Sen. Lindsey] Graham's military record -- much of it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act -- shows that the Air Force afforded him special treatment as a lawmaker, granting him the privileges of rank with few expectations in return. During his first decade in Congress, the Air Force promoted Graham twice even though documents in his military personnel file reveal that he did little or no work. Later, the Pentagon gave the military lawyer a job assignment in the Air Force Reserve that he highlighted in his biography for several years but never performed.... After he became a colonel, Graham began to dedicate more hours to the Reserve. He deployed for brief stints in Iraq and Afghanistan, visits timed to overlap with his travels there as a senator. For nearly a decade, however, Graham gave inaccurate public descriptions of his job assignment...."
Beyond the Beltway
Hedge Clippers: "Hedge funds and billionaire hedge fund managers have swooped into Puerto Rico during a fast-moving economic crisis to prey on the vulnerable island. Several groups of hedge funds and billionaire hedge fund managers have bought up large chunks of Puerto Rican debt at discounts, pushed the island to borrow more, and are driving towards devastating austerity measures. At the same time, they are also using the island as a tax haven.... Known as 'vulture funds,' these investors have followed a similar game plan in other debt crises, in countries such as Greece and Argentina." Via Think Progress. ...
... Alice Ollstein of Think Progress: “'The reason Puerto Rico has such unsustainable debt has everything to do with the policies of austerity and the greed of large financial institutions,' said [Sen. Bernie] Sanders [I-Vt.]. He additionally noted that just seven years ago, Congress 'acted with a fierce sense of urgency to bail out Wall Street,' yet is now dragging its feet on helping the commonwealth of Puerto Rico." ...
... Paul Krugman: "... too much austerity can be self-defeating. It would, in particular, be a terrible idea to give the hedge funds that have scooped up much of Puerto Rico's debt what they want -- basically to destroy the island's education system in the name of fiscal responsibility. Overall, however, the Puerto Rican story is one of bad times that fall well short of utter disaster. And the saving grace in this situation is big government -- a federal system that provides a crucial safety net for American citizens in times of need, wherever they happen to live." ...
... Or Not. Lizette Alvarez & Abby Goodnough of the New York Times: "On an island where more than 60 percent of residents receive Medicare or Medicaid -- an indicator of Puerto Rico's poverty and rapidly aging population -- the dwindling funds have set off outpourings of concern among patients and doctors, protest rallies and intense lobbying in Washington. And while the crisis is playing out most vividly today, its cause dates back decades and stems, in large part, from a vast disparity in federal funding for health care on the island compared with funding for the 50 states. This disparity is partly responsible for $25 billion of Puerto Rico's $73 billion debt, as Puerto Rico's government was forced to borrow over time to keep the Medicaid program afloat, according to economists."
The Anti-Education Governor. Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post: "Teachers can't hotfoot it out of Kansas fast enough, creating a substantial shortage expected only to get much worse. Why? Well, there's the low pay.... Then there's the severe underfunding for public education by the administration of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, so much of a problem that some school districts closed early this past school year because they didn't have the cash to keep operating.... The Kansas Board of Education decided in July to allow six school systems -- including two of the largest in the state -- to hire unlicensed teachers to ease the shortage.
AP: "The Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, prepared on Sunday to become the latest powerful state official booked on felony charges. But unlike when Governor Rick Perry smiled for his mugshot last year, Republicans are not rushing to Paxton's defense."
AP: "A person of 'interest' was taken into custody in connection with the fatal shooting of a police officer during a traffic stop in Memphis, police said on Sunday." ...
... Update: Adrian Sainz of the AP: "Tennessee police officials on Sunday identified a suspect in the fatal shooting of a Memphis police officer, and an intense search for the man is underway. Tremaine Wilbourn, 29, faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Officer Sean Bolton, 33, on Saturday night, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said at a news conference.... Armstrong said Bolton interrupted a drug deal in progress.... The driver [of the vehicle in which Bolton was sitting] later turned himself in to police, and police described him as a person of interest in the case before he was released without being charged."
Washington Post: "Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Sunday called a parliamentary election for Oct. 19, kicking off an 11-week campaign -- a marathon in Canada -- that is likely to focus on a stubbornly sluggish economy and his decade in power. Polls indicate that Harper's right-of-center Conservative Party, which has been in office since 2006, could well lose its majority in the House of Commons."
Farai Mutsaka of the AP: "Zimbabwe accused a Pennsylvania doctor on Sunday of illegally killing a lion in April, adding to the outcry over a Minnesota dentist the African government wants to extradite for killing a well-known lion named Cecil in early July. Zimbabwe's National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority accused Jan Casimir Seski of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, of shooting the lion with a bow and arrow in April near Hwange National Park, without approval, on land where it was not allowed."
Guardian: "Former City trader Tom Hayes has been sentenced to 14 years in jail after becoming the first person to be convicted by a jury of rigging the Libor interest rate. Hayes, 35, a former UBS and Citigroup yen derivatives trader, was convicted of eight counts of conspiracy to defraud."
New York Times: After being closed for five weeks, the Greek stock exchange reopened today, & prices plummeted.
AP: "Fire officials called for thousands of evacuations as numerous homes remained threatened by Northern California wildfires Monday, while more than 9,000 firefighters battled 21 major fires in the state, officials said. Wildfires were also burning in Washington and Oregon as the West Coast suffered from the effects of drought and summer heat."