Sunday, February 14, 2016


I didn't like him, but he was a conservative titan. Justice Antonin Scalia, dead at 79. Now the fight to replace him heats up -- and everyone is reminded of what is at stake with the next election
Obama to Nominate Scalia Replacement Over Republicans’ Objections
It took only a few minutes after news broke of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death on Saturday for conservatives to demand that Senate Republicans block any replacement nominated by President Barack Obama.  It took just a little while more for Republican leadership to agree with them.  In a swift statement designed to warn Barack Obama against even nominating a replacement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pledged to sit on his hands for the remaining 11 months of the president's term.  "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice," the statement read. "Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President."

[NB: I think the American people did have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court Justice - they elected Obama!]
Can Republicans really block Obama’s Supreme Court nomination for a year? Probably.
Justice Scalia’s Death And Implications For The 2016 Election, The Supreme Court And The Nation
How Scalia's Death Will Change the Supreme Court, America, and the Planet
Antonin Scalia's death makes the 2016 presidential election a referendum on the Supreme Court

What it means for current cases before the Court

Possible appointees?

There was a Republican debate last night. What a disaster for them
The Latest GOP Debate Was an Embarrassing Nightmare for the Party
An ugly fight that saw the GOP succumb to Trumpism
I find it hard to know quite what to say about this debate. It was chaotic and disordered. Lots of candidates called each other liars. Donald Trump used variations of the actual word numerous times. Our initial count from the rough transcript has Trump saying "single biggest liar" twice, "this guy lied" twice and "why do you lie" no less than three times. Rubes said Cruz "lies" a handful of times. And that was just the start of it. I don't think there's ever been a presidential debate where so many of the candidates have called each other liars so many times. At some moments the trash talking and chest-puffing and general drama got so intense I thought this might be a fair approximation of West Side Story if you'd written it about two battling country clubs, the plutocrats versus the plutocrat flunkies. . . .
This debate was downright nasty. Tons of name-calling. Lots of quotes that can be harvested by Democrats to be used against whoever emerges from the current bloodbath to be the Republican nominee. Just a bad face to put forward to the public. [read on]
The longer, the bloodier, and the sillier this campaign season is, the better it is for the eventual Democratic nominee. And it doesn't get much longer, bloodier, or sillier than the debate tonight. [read on]

Trump vs Cruz:

Trump vs W:
In 2008, Donald Trump said George W. Bush should’ve been impeached

Trump vs the GOP base:
Donald Trump stood up for Planned Parenthood
Donald Trump’s defensive, angry debate night
Trump finally went too far for Republicans

The weirdest moment of the CBS GOP debate
One final thought: The audience was an abomination. Letting them hoot and holler after every answer made the debate feel like it was taking place in a Roman coliseum. It was a total embarrassment for the Republican party.

The Sunday talk show line-ups
NBC Meet The Press: Raging Narcissist Donald Trump (R); Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R); Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Roundtable: Guests TBD.

CBS Face The Nation: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R); Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Roundtable: Jamelle Bouie (Slate), Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal), Dan Balz (Washington Post) and Kimberly Strassel (Wall Street Journal).

ABC This Week: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R); Roundtable: Matt Bai (Yahoo News), LZ Granderson (ESPN), Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard) and Republican Strategist Ana Navarro.

CNN State of the Union: Jeb! (R); Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Roundtable: Radio Host Hugh Hewitt, Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, Radio Host Bill Press and Republican Pollster Kellyanne Conway.

Bonus item: Gravitational waves!

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Saturday, February 13, 2016


Stuff Bernie Sanders is promising
His campaign says he will "stop corporations from shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes," but doesn't offer a mechanism for how to do that. Sanders does propose a "progressive estate tax" on the Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million and a new tax on Wall Street to raise some of the revenue needed for Sanders' promises of "free stuff." He also wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2020, because "no one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty," and says he will champion a bill he's introduced to Congress mandating the break up of "too big to fail" Wall Street banks. As part of his income inequality crusade, Sanders also promised to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Employee Free Choice Act. . . .

As president, he promises to reverse the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA), the Central American Free Trade Association as well as Permanent Normal Trade Relations status for China.  . . .

Sanders doesn't exactly argue Citizens United was a bad ruling—he actually wants a constitutional amendment to give the government the power to shut up corporate entities, even newspapers and other media organizations, ahead of elections . . .
Sanders said his Medicare-for-all plan would work if government had the courage to stand up against pharmaceutical, insurance and medical device companies. . . . Sanders said he would not get rid of the ACA, but Clinton countered that a Medicare-for-all plan would by definition not include the law, which built on the existing employer-based insurance system. . . . Multiple analyses of Sanders plan have found he is likely overestimating its cost savings and the amount his proposed taxes would raise to pay for it.
How Bernie Sanders would remake the whole U.S. economy
“I believe that we have got to pass comprehensive immigration reform, something that I strongly supported. . . . Bottom line is a path towards citizenship for 11 million undocumented people, if Congress doesn’t do the right thing, we use the executive orders of the president.”
Bernie Sanders’s social agenda, and his College for All Act in particular, make a powerful statement about the centrality of higher education as a public good—or as he puts it, “a right, not a privilege.” Sanders’s plan would eliminate undergraduate tuition at four-year public colleges and universities. . .
Bernie Sanders promises to free half a million prisoners in first term
The trouble with Bernie Sanders' campaign promise: Federal prisons are a small slice of the nation's mass incarceration problem
To fund his plans, Sanders has suggested large tax increases that would bring in $6.5 trillion over 10 years . . .

The plans include a $15 trillion health program, $1.2 trillion in benefit packages, $1 trillion on roads, bridges and airports, $750 billion on schools, and billions in other expenses. . . .
Price Tag of Bernie Sanders’s Proposals: $18 Trillion
[NB: Psssst! NONE of these things can happen. Not one of them.]

The Sanders campaign is flirting with danger
Why Is Bernie Dodging Questions About Whether He’d Expand Government? 

Is this really a fight Bernie wants to pick?
Senator Sanders, Why Do You Hate President Obama?


I guess it needs to be said
Clinton shouldn’t apologize for being a moderate. That’s what would make her a good president.

Questioning the superdelegate system

A tale of two parties
Democrats are freely talking about systemic racism. Republicans have Donald Trump.

In South Carolina, people are upset about Trump's profanity. . .  but not about this
What is astonishing to me is that everyone in the Republican Party knows they cannot attack him for his barbaric proposals to deport millions of people, build walls, ban Muslims, kill and torture suspects families, waterboarding "and worse". 


Conservative honcho John Podhoretz says the Dems are crying doom and gloom. Are you KIDDING me? Look at the Republicans

Speaker Paul Ryan wants to show that the Republicans can be responsible and govern (but they can't)
Paul Ryan failing at uniting fractious conference

Bonus item: Laughing about the NH primary outcomes
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Friday, February 12, 2016


Clinton wins the PBS debate
Clinton was clear, full-throated, and tried out a new critique on Sanders that just might work.
It paints Sanders as a kind of protest candidate who's just in the race to make a statement, and shouldn't be taken all that seriously.

It advances Clinton's argument that she has broader experience and qualifications on many more issues — that she's more serious than him.

It implies to women and nonwhite voters that Sanders just doesn't care about issues important to them all that much.

It portrays Sanders's diagnosis of what ails America — mainly the influence of big money — as simplistic.

It's a reason Sanders shouldn't be the nominee that doesn't require people who like him (as many Democrats and even Clinton supporters do) to stop liking him.

And, unlike many of Clinton's other arguments against Sanders, it has the ring of truth to it — Sanders really does bring up Wall Street, corporations, and the wealthy in his answers to practically every question (in this debate he said he'd improve race relations by getting rid of "tax breaks to billionaires"). And he seems less comfortable when he discusses other topics.
Clinton attacks Sanders over his criticism of President Obama
Hillary Clinton Paints Bernie Sanders’s Plans as Unrealistic
Bernie Sanders delivers all these big, stemwinding proposals and doesn't really have to explain how he's going to pass any of them or get them paid for. But he sure is visionary! Hillary, conversely, is just constitutionally incapable of talking like this. When a problem is raised, her mind instantly starts thinking about what works and who will vote for it and where the payfors are going to come from. And that means she sounds like an old fuddy duddy patiently explaining why your bright idea won't work. No wonder young voters don't care much for her.

What do you call a zinger that . . . doesn't zing?
Watch Bernie Sanders's awkward attempted zinger against Hillary Clinton

Bernie Sanders Dumped Momentum in the PBS Debate

More on superdelegates
Overall, according to the AP's count, Clinton has endorsements from more than 360 Democratic superdelegates, versus eight for Sanders. According to our back-of-envelope math, that means that Sanders must win 54% of the remaining delegates to get to the magic number of 2,382 delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination, while Clinton needs to win just 46%. That is a HUGE advantage, especially when you consider that the 2008 Democratic delegate race between Barack Obama and Clinton was essentially a 52%-48% affair. Now there's one caveat to all of this: If Sanders does win a majority of the bound delegates, there will be ENORMOUS pressure on the supers to back him. And that pressure could likely lead to many elected supers -- perhaps worried about a future Dem primary -- to suddenly get cold feet on Clinton and simply promise to support the Dem who wins their district or state. Then again, this is one the disadvantages of Sanders never being a Democrat until now. . .


The Democratic nomination will probably be decided in March
How Bernie Sanders can win. Or at least survive March.


One thing about African-American endorsements. Hard-headed and pragmatic, folks cut to the bottom line of who they believe can really help them
Hillary Clinton picked up a major endorsement from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC who praised her for her work during the civil rights movement. The endorsement also comes withing stinging attacks against Bernie Sanders from civil rights icon John Lewis. . .


Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) makes the case: Clinton has a record of successful legislation and advocacy - what evidence is there that Sanders can turn his rhetoric into reality?
For example:
Sanders says single-payer health care can happen in his first term if ‘people demand it’

[NB: I call b.s. on that] 

Still, to be fair, the black voice isn't homogeneous

Sanders and foreign policy
One of the remarkable developments of the Democratic presidential primary is the conventional wisdom on foreign policy. Rather than treating Hillary Clinton as the hawk and Bernie Sanders as the dove — a dynamic that would hurt Clinton in the primary but help her in the general election — Clinton is considered across-the-board superior and Sanders more or less hopeless.  Whatever you think of their respective foreign policies, it's hard to deny that Sanders has largely ceded the issue to Clinton. He largely avoids foreign policy, and when he does discuss it he offers platitudes or bizarre and vague proposals. . . .[read on]

His strange Henry Kissinger detour in the PBS debate was just another diversion from his lack of a plan to confront today’s foreign policy challenges. [read on] 

Bernie and millennials
Why do millennials love Bernie Sanders? Here's a weirdly intriguing possibility: because they don't have enough daughters. According to Michael Tesler, millennial parents with sons overwhelmingly support Sanders. But millennial parents with daughters overwhelmingly support Hillary Clinton. . . .


Why aren't young women supporting Hillary?


Hillary's troubling investigations 

Why Hillary can't take Nevada for granted
The Rich Guy says real unemployment is 42% (no, it's not) 


I really don't know where this nightmare ends
Donald Trump insists that Hillary Clinton is “evil” — or at the very least, “insane” 


How former GOP Trump critics are changing their tune (with great difficulty)

Marco Rubio has a plan to win. It's a dumb plan, but it's a plan
As results from the New Hampshire primary were still being tallied, Marco Rubio’s communications director urged Jeb Bush to drop out of the race in order to prevent Donald Trump’s nomination. As Team Rubio sees it, the Republican “establishment” should simply rally behind the Florida senator, and Jeb stubbornly stands in the way.   It’s a common refrain from Rubio, but it’s also kind of hilarious – because in this week’s high-profile primary, Bush beat Rubio. Though polls showed the senator finishing second, he actually came in fifth. The former governor narrowly edged past him for a fourth-place finish.   In other words, Team Rubio’s pitch is, “That guy who just beat us should quit, so it’ll be easier for us to do better.” . . . [read on] 

Just say what you mean
The president is the party leader, and one of the whole points of being part of the establishment is that you're the kind of person who accepts the leadership of your president. This explains, for example, why the establishment is horrified about Donald Trump. They can't imagine taking orders from a politically ignorant jackass like him. And they hate Ted Cruz's guts, so they can't abide the idea of taking orders from him either.  But what about Marco Rubio? Everyone's been wondering lately why the establishment didn't rally around Rubio earlier, since he seemed like sort of an obvious choice. My guess is that it's not because they hate Rubio, or because they think he's a buffoon. But they do think he's a nervous and overly ambitious young man who's a bit of an empty suit. . . .

Theocracy watch. For real
Heidi Cruz: Ted Shows America 'The Face Of The God That We Serve'

Every Democrat's favorite Republican, John Kasich, really isn't much of a "moderate"

Yeah, how's that GOP outreach to Latinos going?
Carlos Santana, Zoe Saldana and other Latinos say Rubio and Bush belong to the 'party of Trump'

Those adorable Republicans
We can by no means take this as a disinterested claim. And no specific names are mentioned. But a high-ranking Iranian government official, who is an appointee of reformist President Hassan Rouhani, says that Republicans asked the Iranians to delay last months prisoner exchange deal until after the Presidential election. . . .

Voter ID laws: working just as planned
Voter ID Laws Dampen Turnout For Minorities And Liberals


I love cool videos from space. Here's a good one
Bonus item: Jimmy Fallon gives us a great Bernie Sanders

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL:
I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***