“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

A Bad Tuesday for The Neocons

Trump Wins Indiana and Cruz Drops Out, While Sanders Scores Upset Win Against Clinton

The GOP nomination season started 17 candidates strong boasting establishment insiders, but now has been whittled down to Trump and Kasich.

Donald Trump swept away the final obstacles to the 2016 Republican nomination in Indiana on Tuesday, trouncing Ted Cruz in a one-on-one contest that the “stop Trump” movement saw as their last chance to keep Trump from the presidential nomination.

Cruz, who finished double-digits behindTrump, suspended his presidential campaign, telling stunned supporters in Indianapolis that his path to the nomination had been “ foreclosed," but pledged to continue his crusade against "the tyranny of political correctness at home."

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders upset Hillary Clinton, beating her 53 percent to 47 percent. That gives Sanders the showing he needs to keep campaigning, although his victory does not alter the dynamics of that party’s nominating contest where Clinton is ahead. That’s because they will proportionately split Indiana’s 92 delegates, moving Clinton closer to the nomination while keeping Sanders from substantially gaining on her. (He needed to get 65 percent of the vote in Indiana and every remaining state to do that.)

Trump the Nominee

But the night’s biggest news was on the GOP side, where Trump, who is still 200-plus delegates short of the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the nomination, now has a clear path to that threshold—especially as Cruz has suspended his campaign and nine states have yet to vote. Before Tuesday's vote, polls found that Trump was far ahead of Cruz in delegate-rich California.
The Republican National Committee chairman called Trump the "presumptive nominee" and called for all Republicans to unite behind him. While some Republicans could still try to deny him the nomination at their convention in Cleveland, that scenario becomes much harder as he keeps winning state after state. The only other candidate still in the race, John Katich  has only won his home state.

Trump topped 50 percent of the vote in Indiana, garnering its 57 Republican delegates. On the Democratic side, the state held an open primary, which allows independents to vote–unlike the recent New York State primary. That factor undeniably helped Sanders score a symbolic upset, and he will keep making the case the party’s Democratic contest is still in play—even if the delegate math is not in his favor.  Speaking at a Kentucky rally on Tuesday, Sanders said, “If we have large voter turnout, we win.”

The Surprising Republican Finish

Like the finish line flag at the state’s famous speedways, Indiana’s vote on Tuesday signaled the end of the nominating season for the Republican Party. The GOP presented 17 candidates, including governors, U.S. senators and the son and brother of a past president. For a party that bragged about its deep talent pool and a nominating process designed to boost establishment insiders—whether ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush or current Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker—it now is facing a nominee whose profile and stature only seemed to grow as its establishment’s power has withered and shrunk.

Time will tell if the 2016 race marks the end of the Republican Party as it’s been known in recent decades. But one thing is clear, the party of Trump is not the same party of the Bushes and even the last entertainer to be nominated—Ronald Reagan. Whether or not Trump’s unlikely coalition of less-educated and older white voters, women who do not mind his misogyny, and others drawn to his strongman posturing can win nationwide in the fall remains to be seen.
Only 30 percent of the expected November electorate took part in this year’s nominating contests, according to the Pew Research Center. But Trump’s ability to reach untraditional voters has introduced an unpredictable element into the General Election campaign.
Cruz’s Sudden Surprising Collapse

Indiana’s primary vote brought the race to an unexpectedly hasty conclusion. It ended Cruz’s presidential prospects in 2016, thwarted the Stop-Trump forces that lined up behind him, further marginalized John Kasich—the only other remaining GOP candidate—and forced the party to realize that their top political talent was badly beaten by an outsider who their establishment had derided and dismissed, yet apparently understands their base better than they do.
The Indiana race was hard-fought by Cruz, but everything he tried either flopped or was too little too late. He entered the state with a non-compete agreement with Kasich, who did not campaign there—a neighboring state—because Cruz was ahead of him in the polls. Cruz then announced he would pick former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina as his running mate—who dutifully campaigned with him, and accidentally fell from a stage after she introduced him and he did not immediately come over to help her.

For his part, Trump fired back, repeatedly calling Cruz “lyin' Ted” and a tool of the GOP establishment (even as he is arguably the most reviled Republican senator), and referring to a vague report in the National Enquirer that Cruz’s father was seen in Dallas with President John F. Kennedy’s killer shortly before the assassination.

Cruz let loose on Trump Tuesday, telling reporters “what I really think of Donald Trump.” He called Trump “a pathological liar,” “utterly amoral,” “terrified by strong women,” “a narcissist,” and a “serial philanderer” who had venereal diseases.

All of this would be as ludicrous as it is entertaining in a supermarket tabloid way—were it not for the fact that Trump is now a step closer to the presidency. But after Indiana, Trump has a clear path to the 2016 presidential nomination and it appears unlikely there will be a contested convention or a third-party run.

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).


  1. Trump was interviewed on Fox News Sunday by Chris Wallace.

    On the issue of foreign policy, Trump gave detailed and quite witty formulations of just where the past two presidents have gone wrong with their bungled interventions in the Mideast since 9/11.

    "You know, if our presidents went to the beach for 365 days a year, we'd be a lot better in the Middle East than we are now," Trump said at one point.

    He then listed the failed efforts to remove secular dictators in Iraq, Libya and Syria and stated "I mean, they couldn't have been worse. The people that advised our presidents or our presidents, whoever was the one that came up with this plan -- I mean, what we've done in the Middle East, we've spent $4 trillion and we're far worse than the first gunshot that was fired."

    No intelligent person could disagree with that

    1. All intelligent people agree with Trump's assertion that, whether right to go in or not, it was a disaster to take the troops out way too soon. Thus the current situation is far worse than the first, and it is all O'bozo's fault.

      I have heard him affirm this reasonable insight at least 10 times.

      It makes me think he might make a good President.

      One plays the cards one is dealt, and do not throw a decent hand away, and risk losing the entire pot.

  2. Bernie Sanders threw a last-minute hurdle in front of Hillary Clinton’s march toward the Democratic party nomination on Tuesday by clinching a surprise victory in the Indiana primary.

  3. Thank you indiana:

    Cruz is gone. Hillary is wounded.

  4. Hillary promised AIPAC to meet with Netanyahu in the White House “during my first month in the White House” to bring the relationship to the “next level” .

  5. Hillary is a known evil. Trump, who knows? Sanders?

    1. Sanders ?

      Truly befuddled.

      Unable to learn from history and the experience of other nations.

      Got to admire the old fellow's spunk and energy though.

      And one must admire Trump's energy level too.

    2. "Got to admire the old fellow's spunk and energy though."
      He was saving it all up while never doing an honest day's work.

  6. Hillary is panning for votes in the UFO/Area 51 stream too.

    She has promised to give the American People all that is known about UFO's and Area 51.

    She will 'promise' anything to anyone for a few votes.

    I really doubt she will be meeting with George Noory on 'Coast to Coast AM' during her first month in the White House.

    My hunch is Bibi is probably hoping Trump wins.

  7. Personally, I think Trump in office would be controlled by the Neocons.

    Trump is often inconsistent and contradictory.

    The neocon press has been totally against Trump.

    Ask said, who knows?

  8. My bottom line: Anyone but Clinton.

    1. Right On !!!!

    2. If one rejects the worst one is likely to do a little better.

  9. Some of the commentators on Fox are analyzing things Conservative according to Kubler-Ross and her five stages of grieving.....


  10. I'm a Healthcare, Minimum Wage, Alternative Energy Voter.

    Hillary is The One. :)

  11. Arizona kills children's insurance program that every other state offers (because it costs nothing)

    I’m going to try to stay calm and PG-13 here, because some commenters have called me out lately for all the blue language. But holy fucking shit, I’m really trying tonight, because Arizona.

    I’m going to try to stay calm and PG-13 here, because some commenters have called me out lately for all the blue language. But holy fucking shit, I’m really trying tonight, because Arizona.

    So this evening the GOP lizard brains at the Arizona legislature refused to renew a program called KidsCare. It’s a small agency that provides vital services to at least 30,000 children. It costs the state nothing to operate the federally-funded program, which provides low-income families affordable medical, dental and vision insurance for children under 19. For $50 a month a child is insured. Every other friggin’ state in the country has one, because it costs those states nothing and it does good things.

    I can see why it wouldn’t fly in Arizona.

    These monsters just passed another $8 million tax cut for businesses, when the previous $4 billion in corporate BJs hasn’t resulted in the “creative” growth they promised, unless you count call centers and Walmarts. Hey, GOP brain trust: Google didn’t pass on Arizona because the taxes are too high; they said adios because there’s no political commitment to education.

    Or the welfare of children, apparently.

    The cost of [KidsCare] is covered by federal dollars at least through 2017 and possibly through 2019.

    Gov. Doug Ducey had been non-committal on restoring KidsCare. But he has not been a fan of accepting federal dollars for health insurance.

    In his 2014 run for governor, Ducey questioned the financial viability of the Medicaid program. As governor, he introduced a Medicaid reform plan that would kick 350,000 people off the rolls.

    Can you even begin to wrap your head around that pile of diarrhetic thinking? He’s not been “a fan” of federal dollars?!

    Bleepedy bleeping bleep!! So let’s let kids suffer, and chuck coverage for 350,000 people, because Ducey’s not a fan of taking dollars that we, as U.S. taxpayers, paid. Because the governor’s got some pesky Milton Friedman economic dipstick stuck up his butt (yeah, it worked great at Cold Stone Creamery, didn’t it?) many struggling families can’t afford health insurance for their children.

    All those GOP farts had to do was flip the “Yes” switch. No appropriations debate. Nothing more. Kids covered.

    1. They did say “Yes” to Gov. Ducey’s $21 million Border Strike Force, and they appropriated $5 million for three right-wing university think tanks seeded with Koch Brothers cash—money the schools did not request. But authorizing no money for children was too much to ask.

      “That rug really tied the room together.” — Walter Sobchak beginneth the rant

      Please don’t say Arizonans “deserve” these peckerheads because we elected them. You’ll see similar comments directed toward the fine people in Florida who suffer through Rick Scott; same in Michigan (Rick Snyder), Wisconsin (Scott Walker) and Maine (Paul LePage), whose governors are every bit as crazy as ours. No one deserves these numskulls, least of all children. I’m reminded of NAACP leader Daisy Bates’s comment about her governor during the 1955 Little Rock integration battle: “You may deserve Orval Faubus, but by God I don’t!”

      No, “we” did not elect them. Arpaio loses 25-75 here in downtown Phoenix, but he kicks butt in Sun City, full of white Republicans and their golf carts. There are real progressives out there, but even they know they are outnumbered by the goobers who organize bus trips to the polling station so everyone can vote “No” on the school bond. That’s where Sheriff Arpaio goes when he wants to launch a new hate initiative.

      They move here from Iowa, Michigan or wherever and the first thing they want to do is tell locals how to run the state. Their first order of business is usually to kick out more Hispanics, who’ve called this land home much longer than the caucasian jolt-headed shuffleboarders from [insert a state].

      There was a time Arizona was a Democratic stronghold. Most governors and congresspersons until the 1950s were Democrats; the longest serving member of Congress, Carl Hayden, was an Arizona Democrat; when Arizona joined the union in 1912, its constitution was heralded as one of the more progressive charters in the nation (President Taft even vetoed the first version because it was too progressive). Within a few months of joining the union women had the vote here, years before the 19th Amendment.

      And then on January 1, 1960, . . . . . .

      The Stupid (Racist) Party Strikes Again

    2. You could have corrected the Kos headline and reported more accurately that it costs the STATES nothing.

      ...but of course, you believe that Federal dollars are not only free, but limitless.
      Like perpetual motion.

    3. Other than the fact that you enjoy calling others racists, what substance is there in that article that points to racism?

    4. "The cost of [KidsCare] is covered by federal dollars at least through 2017 and possibly through 2019."
      ...and of course by 2017 and certainly by 2019, all states will have found the magical free money printing ground.
      Bequeathing our offspring a massive, unsustainable expense is the honorable thing to do.

      Each generation does that to the next, ad-infinitum.

  12. Charlie Hustle for President!

    1. Teammate fuck up? (Bush, Obama)

      Call Charlie Hustle!

  13. Rufus once said, I remember it well,(admittedly long ago in a more sensible time) that without the 2nd Amendment we got nothing.

    He might want to recall this intelligent statement of his before voting for Hillary and her inevitable anti 2nd Amendment Supreme Court appointees.

    Lest he end up with nothing.....

    1. In my last gasp years I may end up in Miss Oula Montana, voting along with the others there for secession.

      Did you know that the guy that shot bin Laden came from Butte, Montana ?

    2. Montana....Land of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms....and fly fishing.....

    3. The guy that inspired bin Laden spent time in Montana.

      (The Leaning Tower)

    4. In an effort to educate the unread like Quirk who think that the American Thinker folk all sing from the same page -

      It’s Trump. Get over it.
      Thomas Lifson

      Trump is the chosen vehicle of the rebellion against a system that has failed us. More
      Trump and Supporters Insult Our Intelligence
      C. Edmund Wright

      The highest office in this country is now within reach of a man who has jettisoned any concern for truth and intelligence. More

      In fact, opinions AT and Hot Air are all over the map......

      Rufus, meanwhile, now subscribes to the Daily Kos and the Huffington Post.

      Quirk continues his long subscription with The Detroit Decibel.

  14. At least the KOS/Rufus consortium gave us one priceless gift:

  15. Politico reported today on a Florida poll conducted for a business group in the state that shows Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump by 13 points and Ted Cruz by nine.

    Why is that important? Because if Clinton wins Florida and carries the 19 states (plus D.C.) that have voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in each of the last six elections, she will be the 45th president. It's that simple.

    Here's what that map would look like:

    And here's the underlying math. If Clinton wins the 19 states (and D.C.) that every Democratic nominee has won from 1992 to 2012, she has 242 electoral votes. Add Florida's 29 and you get 271. Game over.

    The Republican map — whether with Trump, Cruz or the ideal Republican nominee (Paul Ryan?) as the standard-bearer — is decidedly less friendly. There are 13 states that have gone for the GOP presidential nominee in each of the last six elections. But they only total 102 electorate votes. That means the eventual nominee has to find, at least, 168 more electoral votes to get to 270. Which is a hell of a lot harder than finding 28 electoral votes.

    1. Many Republicans — particularly in Washington — are already preparing to blame a loss this fall, which many of them view as inevitable, on the divisiveness of Trump. That's not entirely fair to Trump, though.

      While his dismal numbers among women and Hispanics, to name two groups, don't help matters and could — in a worst-case scenario for Republicans — put states such as Arizona and even Utah in play for Democrats, the map problems that face the GOP have very, very little to do with Trump or even Cruz.

      [VIDEO: These 10 states will decide whether Trump is the GOP nominee]

      Instead they are, largely, demographic problems centered on the GOP's inability to win any large swath of nonwhite voters. New Mexico, a state in which almost half the population is Latino, is the ur-example here. In 2004, George W. Bush won the Land of Enchantment in his bid for a second term. (His margin over John Kerry was 588 votes.) Eight years later, Barack Obama won the state by 10 points over Mitt Romney; neither side targeted it in any meaningful way.

      What has become increasingly clear is that any state with a large or growing nonwhite population has become more and more difficult for Republicans to win. Virginia and North Carolina, long Republican strongholds, have moved closer and closer to Democrats of late. (Obama won both states in 2008 and carried Virginia in . . . . . .

      Washington Post

    2. It will be a much greater country when it becomes more like Mexico.

    3. California was number 1 in education when I went to school.
      Now it is nearly last.
      California is now number one in poverty, thanks to illiterate Hispanics with no interest in assimilation.

    4. ...and liberal rule and unionized education, of course.

      Onward and Downward!

  16. California was once nearly Paradise.

    Now it is approaching the status of third world shit hole.

    Thank you, Democrats.

    1. The richest, most successful fucks (Bay Area) live 50 miles away from poverty and lawlessness, and act and vote as if it does not exist.

    2. 21st Century California Reverts Back to the Wild West

      What I regret most is the disappearance of the rule of law.


    3. We'll all be dumb fucks, drug addicted and broke, but we'll all be equal !

    4. 21st Century California Reverts Back to the Wild West

      Today I generalize that about every old rural farmhouse in these environs can be characterized by three traits: a) the house is a rental and not connected with the corporate fields around it; b) there are two to three families, in illegal fashion, living in ramshackle trailers and sheds on the property; c) the authorities don’t dare enforce zoning or health laws, on the grounds that enforcement is a bad investment of their limited time and budget.

      If I find a dead dog dumped on the alleyway (as I have three or four times over the last 12 months), with a rope around his neck and his insides exposed from dog fighting, I bury him and pass on calling the animal-control people. In fairness to them, what would they do, run an investigation into rural dog fighting—in a state in which felons are routinely released from prisons and jails, and sanctuary cities offer amnesties? I suppose a Queensland with his face ripped off is small potatoes. (Does multiculturalism trump the ASPCA or PETA?)

      Nor do I ever contact the state EPA or the county when monthly I collect baby carriages, car seats, tires, used paint cans, old Christmas trees, mattresses, and dirty diapers dumped on the side of the road—despite occasional junk mail signifying the address of the polluter. About 50 pounds of coils of old worn-out drip hoses are out in front of my house today, a huge pile of plastic junk dumped as if my roadside was a free waste site. (Is the theory that my house qualifies for public service waste removal and thus someone poorer, in our spread-the-wealth society, has a right to dump his trash there?) How can such a green state that refuses to sell plastic bags at the coastal grocery markets prove indifferent to the spoliation of its rural hinterland?

      The lawlessness is characterized by two facts: One, there are so many residing here illegally from Mexico and Central America that the system is overwhelmed; and, two, ideologically law enforcement has become a political, not a legal issue. As best as I can decipher, it works on the following principle. California has the highest bundle of gas, income, and sales taxes in the country, but borders on chronic insolvency. Social programs, subsidized health care, law enforcement, and crises in public education claim most of the budget, and the result is that the overtaxed state’s roads, reservoirs and once landmark water transfer systems are under-capitalized and dysfunctional.

  17. May 4, 2016

    If trade made the US rich, explain this graph

    By Sierra Rayne

    At the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman claims that "[w]e got rich as a country through trade."

    Undoubtedly all mainstream economists would agree with him. So would probably most alternative economists.

    So, if what Friedman says it true, how does he – or anyone else – explain the following graph?

    Graphic Graph Here

    The more the U.S. trades, the lower its GDP growth becomes. It's a simple, yet profound and fundamental, relationship that is highly statistically significant and that holds over the entire post WWII period.

    America became rich under economic nationalism. Its growth has progressively stalled and is effectively flatlining under an increasing trade regime. In the early 1960s, trade made up just 9% of U.S. GDP, and growth was rapid. As of the mid-2010s, trade constitutes 30% of GDP, and growth is nonexistent.

    There is no need, nor desire, to see the vigorous hand-waving that always occurs whenever such basic questions are asked. The adherents of trade religion inevitably bring out their calls to authority (which are, of course, logical fallacies) and theoretical frameworks. And please, no econometric multiple regression snake oil trying to show that what is going backward is actually going forward via the judicious selection of variables.

    If your argument is founded on logical fallacies and theories that do not match reality, perhaps the belief is wrong. It goes without saying that the situation is complex, but to some extent, that is irrelevant. The result is what matters, and for as far as reliable records go back, the result is wrong.

    Too bad the United States wasted many trillions in lost economic growth on junk theories of macroeconomics over the past half-century. If the Democratic attorneys general are looking to prosecute the promotion of junk science, rather than persecuting climate skeptics, they can instead start with trade-promoting economists and their allies in the pundit class who made wild promises of untold riches that failed to come true. These economists and commentators have done more real damage to the American public and national fabric than any climate "deniers" could ever accomplish.

    So much for that settled trade science.

  18. Kasich dropping out.

    From the lips of the Huffington Post to the ears of Rufus -

    Here Are 7 Reasons Why Donald Trump Could Really Win In November

    Not that much stands between America and the Trumpocalypse.

    05/03/2016 08:09 pm ET | Updated 13 hours ago

    Howard Fineman 

    Global Editorial Director, The Huffington Post

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, lives along so many fault lines of American politics that he is especially sensitive to Trump tremors, which he fears could become an earthquake by November.

    “I’m concerned,” he said. “Beating Donald Trump won’t be as easy as it might look.”

    Casey is a pro-life Roman Catholic with a pro-gun history until recently, in a state that Democratic consultant James Carville once described as “Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in between.” He is also an old-school Democrat and a new-school one: He’s pro-union and wary of global trade; he defends Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare and same-sex marriage.

    The mix works: Casey won re-election in 2012 — the first Democratic senator in Pennsylvania to do so in half a century — and ran well ahead of President Barack Obama that year. So he knows his people.

    In Casey’s view, presumptive (if weakened) Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will do well in Philadelphia and some of its suburban counties, and probably on his own home turf of Scranton in the state’s hardscrabble northeast.

    “The problem will be out west,” he said, where what used to be called Reagan Democrats live in large numbers in cities and towns that have never recovered from economic recession and off-shored industrial jobs – and where resentment of Washington and the coastal establishment is as much a part of the terrain as coal seams and forests.

    “We’ve got to take Trump seriously,” said Casey.

    Indeed you do, senator.

    1. Here are seven reasons why Donald Trump could actually become president:

      “It’s the Economy, Stupid.” That’s another famous Carville dictum (from Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign).

      It could sum up Trump’s chances, too. Start with Casey’s concern about those towns out “west,” and add not only the well-documented stagnation of America’s middle class but the possibility of another economic slowdown.

      The rise of Trump could itself cause market tremors – it may already be doing so – but that won’t make it any less difficult (if not impossible) for Hillary Clinton to avoid being cast as the “incumbent” defender of the Obama economy.

      Divided Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders is determined to carry his crusade through to July’s Democratic convention in Philadelphia and to play the role that another failed candidate, the late Ted Kennedy, played in 1980 in New York: the star of someone else’s show. Kennedy’s dramatic farewell stole the moment from a sitting president, Jimmy Carter, and presaged Carter’s loss to Ronald Reagan.

      The dispirited Kennedy clan rallied, reluctantly, to Carter in the end because they still had a residual sense of loyalty to the party they had long dominated. But the Sanders crowd has no such loyalty, and their leader is not even a member in good standing of the Democratic Party. What’s more, the power of social media means that his troops can do what they wish by caucusing among themselves, no matter what Bernie says.

      Republican Weakness. Some Republicans and conservative commentators, such as The New York Times’ David Brooks, are warning Republicans that they face a “Joe McCarthy Moment,” in which they must repudiate Trump or risk the wrath of history’s judgment. And some Republicans are still vowing never to back Trump.

      But GOP leaders such as Chairman Reince Priebus are more interested in immediate peace than their place in history, and amenable characters such as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman have said that nominating Trump is no big deal.

      The GOP failed its last “Joe McCarthy moment.” It was Sen. McCarthy’s own persona, as displayed on a newfangled thing called broadcast television, that brought him down — not his fellow Republicans.

      Will Sen. Ted Cruz, who suspended his campaign Tuesday night, urge his evangelical minions to abandon the GOP this November? Nah. He will pipe down and hope to pick up the pieces in 2020.

    2. Journalistic Weakness. It comes in two flavors. One is false equivalence. Reporters have yet to fully examine Trump’s record, especially the details of his business dealings and personal life, but soon enough his story will be yoked with and compared to Clinton’s, which will make it easier for Trump to slide by in the resulting din.

      The second flavor is the media’s hunger for an audience. The closer Trump gets to the White House, the more frightening he becomes, the more desperate his enemies become – the more eyeballs are focused on smartphones and TV sets.

      That means more billions in “free” media for Trump.

      Hillary Clinton still looks good for the Democratic nomination, but after that, the road gets rockier.

      Hillary the “Incumbent.” As much as Clinton talks about new ideas and a fresh start, she will be attempting the difficult task of holding the White House for the same party for a third-straight term. That last happened in 1988.

      More important, Clinton and her husband represent a force in the Democratic Party that is a kind of incumbency within an incumbency, and that is a perilous place to be at a time when voters so despise Washington.

      “There are reasons why a 74-year-old socialist from Brooklyn is doing so well,” said Tad Devine, Sanders’ media adviser and friend for decades. “The level of dissatisfaction with the establishment is sky high, and she is a symbol of it.”

      Not surprisingly, Trump is now claiming Sanders as a sort of ally. Will the senator cry foul and unleash his fury on Trump? Even if he does, will his supporters agree?

      Trump Turns. The flip side of having no voting record and no consistent views is that you can reshape your positions at will to suit the moment. Watch Trump, the master huckster, play more to the social middle from here on.

      It’s cynical but cunning, and it could work. The bar for him is so low, the expectations are so low, that Trump has a lot of freedom to move.

      The Numbers. Shockingly – given his outrageous, race-baiting and even violence-tinged rhetoric – Trump is not that far behind in the horse race as the “fall” campaign informally begins.

      Nor does the Electoral College map look that impossible for him. With the possible exception of Arizona, there are few, if any, red states from 2012 that he would likely lose.

      There are also at least five large blue states in which he could compete, especially for the votes of those former Reagan Democrats. Those states are Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and, yes, Pennsylvania.

      Together, they represent more than enough electoral votes to send Trump to the White House.

      Bob Casey will be working hard to keep his state out of Trump’s column, but there are no guarantees.

  19. QuirkTue May 03, 06:56:00 PM EDT


    If anyone else here is interested in what is going on, here is an article by Elizabeth Warren...

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose

    By Elizabeth Warren February 25, 2015

    Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts in the Senate.

    The United States is in the final stages of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free-trade agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries. Who will benefit from the TPP? American workers? Consumers? Small businesses? Taxpayers? Or the biggest multinational corporations in the world?
    One strong hint is buried in the fine print of the closely guarded draft. The provision, an increasingly common feature of trade agreements, is called “Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” or ISDS. The name may sound mild, but don’t be fooled. Agreeing to ISDS in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty.
    ISDS would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. Here’s how it would work.

    Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.


    Wow, sounds pretty scary but is it a true depiction of how TPP will work? I doubt it.

    If TPP is anything like NAFTA the way it works is that you have to treat a treaty company the same as you would a domestic company. So, in the case above, if the US bans that toxic gasoline additive then it must apply that ban to both American gas companies and treaty companies equally. If it doesn't then the companies can seek remedy through the dispute settlement process.

    1. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Quirk.

    2. SMUG has just stolen the 'momentum' in this on going argument.

      What will Q do to recover the 'momentum' ?

      CAN he recover the momentum or is he now flat on his butt in the 15th round ?

    3. .

      Nice try, O'Bumble, but as I said, I've wasted enough time in conversation with our colleague from the Great White North.


    4. I've referred to every point you've made criticizing TPP Quirk.

  20. Some idiot bimbo commentator on Fox with a pretty face just said, in reference to Kasich dropping out, that Team Kasich is realizing that Trump has the 'momentum'.

  21. "you have to treat a treaty company the same as you would a domestic company."
    Treaty weaty, I had Parakeet named "Peaty"

  22. .

    Back in March, this headline in the Times of Israel caught my attention...

    The wolves of Tel Aviv: Israel’s vast, amoral binary options scam exposed

    I didn't know what 'binary options' were so I read and found out it is simply a scam designed to milk unsuspecting people out of their life's savings. These firms pray on unsophisticated investors and the elderly. They are just the old Nigerian e-mail scams updated for a new age. In a word they are fraud.

    Since the industry started in Israel and is mainly centered in Tel Aviv, the Times of Israel has been running a series on the binary options scam, pointing out what it is, the people and companies involved, and pushing for the Israeli government to shut these operations down. The scam is raking in hundreds of millions possibly billions each year.

    I read today's article because of the title,

    Israeli binary options firm inadvertently tries to sell to Canadian fraud investigator

    I thought well this ought to get someone in trouble. It didn't. Below is the part of the article I found most interesting...


    1. {...}

      Given that so much binary options fraud targeting Canadians and citizens of other countries originates in Israel, why has the Israel Securities Authority allowed it to continue for years?

      In an interview with The Times of Israel in March, Itzik Shurki, director of the ISA’s Exchange and Trading Platforms Supervision, acknowledged that he is aware of massive binary options fraud being carried out by employees in Israel against investors abroad. But he claimed that such activity is not under the ISA’s jurisdiction, in the same way that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) only protects British citizens and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, only protects Americans.

      In March, the ISA outlawed the sale of binary options to customers in Israel, but companies in Israel are still permitted to sell the financial product to people overseas — which is where the overwhelming proportion of the fraud is perpetrated.

      If an American company tried to sell securities to Israelis, it would be our job to protect our citizens, not the Americans’ responsibility,” Shurki said by way of explaining the ostensible division of authority.



    2. {...}

      But one veteran of the financial services industry outside of Israel said he was shocked by that statement. “The universally recognized convention is that securities supervisors are responsible for all business conducted in their jurisdiction, whether customers are based onshore or offshore,” Jonathan Hoffman, a London-based former official with the Bank of England and Credit Suisse, told The Times of Israel.

      Hoffman added that if a company has a physical presence in Israel, which can include employees or an office, then the ISA is obligated to regulate it or shut it down if it is fraudulent.

      “It is simply not acceptable to regulate the binary options business for Israel-based investors alone,” he charged.

      Hoffman, who has also served in a voluntary capacity as co-vice chair of the UK Zionist Federation, added: “I am personally ashamed that this kind of thing is happening in Israel. The Israel Securities Authority can’t just stand aside and ignore it. It’s not an option.”
      Jason Roy, the Canadian regulator, said he could not comment on securities laws in other countries, but indicated that in his country, things are done differently. “In Manitoba and in the rest of Canada, when we have individuals involved in securities fraud, we investigate. It doesn’t matter if they are targeting people outside of Canada. If they’re based here, they’re under our jurisdiction.”

      As for the Israel Securities Authority, asked repeatedly by The Times of Israel if it was doing anything to stop or shut down fraudulent binary options companies operating from Israel, a spokeswoman replied: “The ISA cooperates with securities authorities in foreign countries regarding securities crimes perpetrated there that have a connection to Israel.
      “This cooperation,” she added, “is carried out in accordance with Israel’s securities law and with the ISA’s agreements with the securities authorities of many other countries. The aid the Israel Securities Authority provides includes the use of all its investigative authority, and this constitutes intensive activity in which the ISA invests many resources. Due to the sensitivity of the topic, the ISA is not authorized to reveal its enforcement activity in these matters.”
      [Editorial translation: Please go away and pound sand.]

      Asked if the Israel Securities Authority is addressing his complaints of binary options fraud diligently, Roy said: “I have been in contact with the ISA, but I cannot provide specific details about our dealings with other regulators.”

      And what, specifically, about “Sean Bessi,” who purported to be calling Roy from Toronto to invite him — illegally — to “trade” in binary options? What has the ISA done in response to the formal complaint lodged by this senior Canadian binary fraud investigator? What action has it taken against Central Option?

      Roy said he could not elaborate. But the ball, as with the entire Israeli binary options fraud colossus, is in the ISA’s court. As it has been for years, while the corrupt industry snowballed, enabling unscrupulous Israeli firms, employing thousands of Israelis, to steal huge sums of money from vast numbers of people all over the world...


  23. Strikes in Iraq

    Ground-attack, fighter, bomber, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 22 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Albu Hayat, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Bashir, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area and an ISIL vehicle bomb.

    -- Near Beiji, a strike destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Fallujah, five strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units, destroying an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL supply cache, an ISIL vehicle bomb, two ISIL beddown locations, six ISIL tunnel entrances, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL improvised artillery piece and degrading two ISIL trenches.

    -- Near Hit, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Mosul, 10 strikes struck nine separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL headquarters and destroyed nine ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL heavy machine gun, three ISIL large machine guns, two ISIL weapons caches, four ISIL mortar systems, 17 ISIL vehicles, an ISIL bulldozer, two ISIL-used bridges, two ISIL vehicle bombs and an ISIL fuel truck.

    -- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

  24. Republicans Want To Strip 3.4 Million Kids Of Free School Lunches

    Republicans Want To Make It Harder To Have Kids Fed Lunches At School

    In yet another case of Republicans not giving two shits about the nation's kids, Congress wants to make it even harder for children in poverty to get free lunches at schools.

    According to Slate, here is the situation. Back in 2010, the Community Eligibility Provision was passed as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Until this was passed, meal assistance at school was something that individual families had to apply for unless they already qualified for help with meals under Head Start or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Under the provision, if a school district has a certain percentage of students below the poverty line, the district can apply for the program to feed all kids they cover, regardless of income saving families the hassle of having to apply themselves.

    Currently, a district has to have 40 percent of its student population below poverty line to qualify. Now, however, Indiana Republican Rep. Todd Rokita wants to raise that to 60 percent, effectively taking the food right out of the mouths of babes who desperately need it.

    According to 2003 figures, a whopping 51 percent of America's school kids are low-income and this change in the law could leave 3.4 million students high and dry and probably going to school hungry according to the Washington Post.

    "[T]his threshold would render all but the highest-poverty schools (generally those in which more than 90 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals) ineligible for community eligibility."

    And, for the headaches, heartaches and empty stomachs that will be created the change in the provision would only result in a savings of $1.6 billion over 10 years which, in the end, isn't enough of a savings to justify the bad it would do.

    "It wouldn't come close to offsetting the administrative burden, increased social stigma for low-income students, and negative health and academic effects it could create. House Republicans propose redirecting these savings to summer food programs for poor students and a higher reimbursement rate for the school breakfast program. Good ideas, for sure, but why pit an important program, one that school officials absolutely love, against these other worthy objectives?"

    Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee, chair of the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity, is one politician speaking out against the Republican's efforts to cheat millions of kids out of affordable or free lunches.

    The Ugly Party

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. "Why two international trade deals are in limbo

    The Globe and Mail
    Published Wednesday, May 04, 2016 6:00AM EDT

    Canada finds itself in the odd and slightly uncomfortable position of waiting on two large trade deals, one in the Pacific region and the other with the European Union.
    The Liberal government favours both deals, the negotiations for which began long ago under the Harper Conservatives. No domestic opposition of consequence exists, apart from the usual grumblers who don’t like free trade, period, but who are are no longer consequential, except in their own minds. Neither deal, however, is a sure thing, for reasons that have nothing to do with Canada.

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries is ready for approval. The trouble is that the United States, TPP’s largest country and the one that drove the negotiations, has turned politically protectionist. Republican Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both oppose the TPP, as does, of course, Ms. Clinton’s left-wing Democratic adversary, Bernie Sanders. There is no chance Congress will approve the TPP before the November election. And it’s difficult to imagine approval if the occupant of the White House, who will take office next January, stands opposed.

    That leaves the narrow window of the “lame dunk” congressional session, after the election but before the new administration takes office, for the TPP to squeeze through Congress. That window will open after a presidential campaign – from primaries through to the actual election – in which free trade has taken a whipping, with particular scorn for “free-trade deals” that candidates assert have sold out American workers.

    Ms. Clinton, who favoured TPP while secretary of state during the first Obama administration, swung against it early in this presidential sweepstakes for reasons relating entirely to her political fight against Mr. Sanders. As secretary of state, she was part of an administration dedicated to paying more attention to Asia. The TPP was aimed, in American eyes, as a huge trade deal to offset somewhat the influence of China in the region. It therefore had an economic ambition and a geopolitical one, which Ms. Clinton, with her international experience, once understood. Perhaps she still does, but being secretary of state and a presidential candidate are two different vocations.

    1. Given the U.S. uncertainty, it is not too early for the Trudeau government to put out diplomatic feelers to other Trans-Pacific Partnership countries, indicating Canada’s willingness to negotiate bilateral deals if the TPP craters.

      If the United States is foolish enough to let slip the TPP opportunity to expand trade, there’s no reason for Canada, with a different political culture, not to take advantage of U.S. parochialism. Canada was already in preliminary talks with Japan before that country decided to jump into the TPP negotiations.

      Canada could dust off the bilateral work done with Japan and push for a deal, knowing that Japan could protect its rice farmers in any agreement with Canada which, in turn, could retain its prohibitive protection of supply-managed farmers.

      Those farmers, who oppose all free-trade agreements that even marginally threaten their cartels, were promised a staggering $4.3-billion by the Harper Conservatives if the TPP and the European Union deals took effect. It will be fascinating to watch the Trudeau government deal with the powerful supply-managed lobbies whose cartels and protection Liberal governments have embraced as fervently as did Conservative ones.

      The other trade deal, with the EU, was recently tweaked to alleviate concerns about clauses offering investors protection against capricious actions against their interests. The tweaking was supposed to satisfy European critics, but many of them still remain opposed to the Canadian deal, especially in Germany and in the eccentric European Parliament with its crazy quilt of factions.

      The Canada-EU agreement has to be ratified by the European Parliament and by all the member states, a process sure to drag on for a long time. There is no guarantee that all the European ducks will line up behind the Canadian deal, since the deal is being held hostage by critics who also oppose a free-trade deal with the United States. They think the Canadian deal is a template for a U.S. treaty and, as such, should be killed.

      Irony of ironies. Before the EU agreed to negotiate, it sent a team of ambassadors across Canada to make sure the provinces would not sabotage successful negotiations. Now, it’s Canada that ought to be worried about some European governments or parliamentarians sabotaging the deal."

  27. Here you go - the current text of the TPP

  28. Highlights

    ISM non-manufacturing has been among the strongest indicators on the calendar and once again showed strength in April, coming in at 55.7 to just beat out Econoday's high-end forecast by 2 tenths.

    And the strength is centered where it must be, in new orders which jumped more than 3 points to 59.9 for the best rate of growth since October. And perhaps a surprise plus, at least following this morning's ADP report, is a nearly 3 point gain in employment to 53.0 which is the best reading so far this year.

    Another special plus in the report, and the latest indication of strength tied to dollar depreciation, is another solid reading for new export orders which came in at 56.5. This is 2 points below March outside of which, however, is still the best reading since July last year. Imports also rose, up 1 point to 54.0 and contrasting with weakness in first-quarter trade data to hint at an upturn in business expectations for domestic demand.

    This report comes at a good time when much of the economic data have been weakening not strengthening. And the gain for employment is definitely a plus ahead of Friday's monthly jobs report.

    ISM Non-Manufacturing Index

  29. SMUG is smelling blood.

    Type Q Blood.

    SMUG doing the rope a dope, Q is weakening, becoming confused.....

    There !


    The crowd howls for more !!!...

    1. Meanwhile, in a dark corridor, Rufus waits for his hoped for chance to see his heartthrob walk by.

    2. For him, that would be super special double plus good.

    3. Rufus will always be Rufus, no matter how he tries to change his identity.

    4. "a whopping 51 percent of America's school kids are low-income"
      How could this be in the miracle that is the Obama Economy, as documented here by Rufus?

    5. Quirk is down !

      Unresponsive !!

      SMUG is hulking over Q's twitching body, his arms raised in VICTORY !!!

      The Referee moves forward for the Count, waving SMUG to a corner....

    6. The kids certainly aren't eating Michelle's Free Federally Approved Healthy Lunches, that's for sure.

      Most of it is going into the garbage cans, caught in the act of being tossed away on undercover cameras all across our great nation....

    7. Once great nation.

      I've rotated and enlarged that painting for you:

      Try again.

    8. Thanks, think I'm catching on to it now.

      I read the angel as blowing a horn of distress, and no one in our once great nation responding.

      Read an article the other day about a woman getting helplessly mugged and robbed on a subway in NYC, and no one responded at all, neither man nor woman, neither white nor black nor yellow....

  30. The world made easy for Rufus to understand in Drudge Headlines:

    Illegal immigrant numbers skyrocket at Mexican border...

    More join armed groups to patrol...

    'Bad people' crossing...

    Cut through barbed wire in seconds...


    L.A. sharp rise in homelessness, outdoor tents...


    Record Gun Sales 12 Months Straight...

    President Fox Apologizes, Invites Trump to Mexico....DRUDGE

    I like that last one -

    President Fox Apologizes, Invites Trump to Mexico....

    Vincente is no fool....Vincente sees the writing on the wall....time to suck up....

  31. Old News
    Paul Ryan Betrays America: $1.1 Trillion, 2,000-Plus Page Omnibus Bill Funds ‘Fundamental Transformation of America’

    Paul Ryan’s first major legislative achievement is a total and complete sell-out of the American people masquerading as an appropriations bill.

    Too harsh, you say? Let the programs, the spending, and the implications speak for themselves.

    (1) Ryan’s Omnibus Fully Funds DACA
    Paul Ryan’s bill funds entirely this 2012 executive amnesty for “DREAMers”—or illegal immigrants who came to the country as minors.
    (2) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds Sanctuary Cities
    (3) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds All Refugee Programs
    (4) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds All of the Mideast Immigration Programs That Have Been Exploited by Terrorists in Recent Years
    (5) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds Illegal Alien Resettlement
    (6) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds the Release of Criminal Aliens
    (7) Ryan’s Omnibus Quadruples H-2B Foreign Worker Visas
    A recent BuzzFeed exposé revealed how this program allows businesses to discriminate against American workers and “deliberately den[y] jobs to American workers so they can hire foreign workers on H-2 visas instead.” As one GOP aide told Breitbart News, “This provision is a knife in the heart of the working class, and African Americans.”
    (8) Ryan’s Omnibus Funds Tax Credits for Illegal Aliens
    (9) Ryan’s Omnibus Locks-In Huge Spending Increases
    (10) Ryan’s Omnibus Fails to Allocate Funds to Complete the 700-Mile Double-Layer Border Fence That Congress Promised the American People

  32. One !

    Two !!

    Three !!!

    Four !!!!

    Five !!!!!

    Referee is moving to his second hand....

    Q's Coach Throws In Towel To End The Agony

    SMUG dances around debate ring, the People rush the ring, put him their shoulders, carry him out.....

    Stretcher finally brought in for Quirk, who is finally carried away, hands dragging on floor, head lolling....

    And the Main Event of Our Discussion Day is over....

  33. Replies
    1. The Once Great Quirk, now a has been, only to be remembered hence forth for having been bested in debate by SMUG.