Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bernie's January Haul Is Mighty Impressive

The Democrats Face a Revolution
In Sarandon’s telling, the unkempt socialist senator from Vermont is the Barack Obama of 2016. To many Sanders supporters, Obama’s successes—from the Iowa caucuses to tough two national elections—render moot the argument Clinton is once again making that she’s the only one who can win. ...... Sanders is sharply ideological, beloved mostly by white liberals, and represents the party’s 1960s protest-movement past more than its techno-utopian future. .....

a field of Republican candidates that is “so weak and so weird,” he said, many Democrats believe the presidency is theirs no matter who they nominate—so why not go with their hearts?

....... It’s one thing to draw thousands of kids to a Vampire Weekend concert on a college campus, as Bernie would do a few days hence. It’s another to bring them out here. ...... The 2016 campaign’s twin unexpected phenomena—the parallel rise of Sanders and Donald Trump, who currently command an eerily similar 37 and 36 percent of their parties’ national vote in poll averages—have taken by surprise the pundits and wise men and party establishments who fundamentally underestimated partisans’ desperate desire for extremes. ......

If Sanders pulls out a win on Monday, he will have proven yet again that what seemed far-out was actually the party mainstream.

....... “I’m also a socialist,” John Dallas, a goateed Mason City housepainter, told me matter-of-factly. “I mean, how’s that capitalism working out in the United States? It’s fine for the top one-tenth of one percent, but the other 90 percent of us aren’t doing so well.” ....... And so Sanders has exposed the left-wing ideals in the hearts of a substantial portion of Democrats, just as surely as Trump has illustrated liberals’ stereotypes about Republican nativism and xenophobia. A Democratic Party that strained for decades to position itself as moderate, and to ostracize its radical voices, has instead seen its long-suppressed liberal energy burst to the fore. ....... How severe are the Democrats’ divisions? The factions seem nowhere near as tribal and mutually incomprehensible as the Republican crackup;

most Sanders supporters I met said they respected Clinton, even if they didn’t trust her, and Clinton supporters said they get where the Sanders people are coming from

......... It’s still a mystery why, exactly, Clinton lost control of this race. As of mid-December, she seemed to be sitting pretty, winning the debates, leading in Iowa, and catching up to Sanders in New Hampshire. But sometime around the new year that changed, and Sanders surged. ........

the professionals behind Team Clinton reacted to this surprise development with all the grace and equanimity of a mule that’s just been bitten by a deerfly and is thrashing wildly around.

Clinton attacked Sanders with wild implausibility, insisting he was both too left-wing to win and not liberal enough on certain issues, primarily gun control. When Sanders lashed rather mildly back, her campaign flew off the handle, accusing him in dire terms of a viciousness ill-befitting his gentle reputation......... Most D.C. Democrats still do not believe Clinton to be in much real peril. .......

Sanders, however, hopes an Iowa-New Hampshire one-two punch will set off a chain reaction, dominos falling unstoppably as Clinton relives her miserable experience of 2008.

..... This is Clinton’s challenge: to argue for an extension of the status quo at a time when few people are satisfied with the way things are. .......

Clinton’s stay-the-course appeal felt like a postcard from another era when sensible centrism was still the rule in politics.

........ Clinton, in her speech, cast herself as the candidate of dogged incrementalism and detailed, specific proposals. ...... She spoke briskly and cogently, in well-practiced paragraphs ...... She cast Sanders’s grand plans for things like single-payer health care as destabilizing. She hugged a woman who’d lost her home. ...... Clinton said, as cameras clicked away, capturing the rare moment of intimacy. ......

we live in a time of revolution, unsettled and restive.

President Bill Clinton's closing argument for Hillary: “She’s the best changemaker I’ve ever met." Watch the new video ⬇️

Posted by Hillary Clinton on Saturday, January 30, 2016

Donald Trump Said Something Nice About Indians

A few days back Donald Trump said something nice about Indians. That was the first time. Otherwise he has not said anything nice about anybody, not Mexicans, not Muslims, not the Chinese, not white women. But he is trying to play nice with Indians. That’s a breath of fresh air.

What The Donald does not seem to understand is there are more Muslims in India than anywhere else in the world. Muslims came to India because there was too much sand where they were, and this was before oil, and so they came for the green. They came, they saw, they conquered. There are more Muslims on the Indian sub-continent than anywhere else in the world. India is the number one Muslim hub in the world. Muslims rule Bollywood, for example. India has had two Muslim presidents so far compared to only one black president in America. Don’t even get me started on Akbar. Akbar Birbal stories are still sold on the footpaths of India at dirt cheap prices. Akbar’s propaganda machine is still running full throttle. Compare that to the Soviet propaganda machine. Long gone. Gone with the wind.

Conversely, there are more people from India than from anywhere else in the world in the now Arab countries. Talk about people to people contact.

So, Donald, you can’t do right by Indians, and talk shit about Muslims. Can not do. Eepikaiye!

For Putin Assad Is Himself
What Donald Trump Thinks About India
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump thinks India is doing well, but that the country isn’t getting the attention it deserves....... “India is doing great. Nobody talks about it,” Mr. Trump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Monday...... Mr. Trump’s brief praise for the fast-growing South Asian economy was a reaction to comments he made in a 2007 interview with Mr. Blitzer, in which he expressed concern about the U.S. economy being overtaken by India and China. ...... “We’ve gone from a tremendous power that is respected all over the world to somewhat of a laughing stock and all of a sudden, people are talking about China and India and other places,” Mr. Trump said at the time. ........ On Monday, he asserted: “That was the beginning of China. That was the beginning of India.” ..... His praise for India followed in the same breath. “By the way, India is doing great. Nobody talks about it. I have big jobs going up in India. But India is doing great,” he said....... India’s $2-trillion gross domestic product is a fraction of China’s, at $10 trillion, and that of the U.S. at $17 trillion, according to the World Bank. GDP per capita in the U.S. is around $55,000, while in India it is about $1,500 and in China it is $7,400...... Harvard University economists have projected that India’s economy will grow at an average of 7% through 2024, the fastest of any major economy. ...... A recent World Economic Forum survey found that 17% of India’s population was undernourished. The prevalence of undernourishment in China was about 11%. ....... The 69-year-old billionaire has been trying for years to capitalize on his brand in India, teaming up with local property developers. In 2014, he announced the launch of Trump Tower Mumbai, an 800-foot skyscraper with 75 stories tobe erected in city’s upscale neighborhood of Worli by Indian developer Lodha Group. ...... “It has been my desire for many years to be involved in a great project in Mumbai, and it is my honor to bring the Trump lifestyles to the citizens of this truly global metropolis,” he said in a statement at the time. ...... Priced from $1.6 million, the three- and four-bedroom apartments in this property advertise indoor Jacuzzis, Poggenpohl kitchen cabinets and automatic toilets. ...... Before that, in August 2012, developer Panchshil Realty announced another luxury residential property with the Trump name, in Pune, a city about 90 miles from Mumbai. The Trump Towers Pune feature two towers with 23 stories each. Initially expected to be completed by the end of 2015, the project is still under construction. ..... According to the findings of a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, a third of people who said they would vote in a Republican primary said they favored Mr. Trump to be the GOP nominee, followed by Texas senator Ted Cruz at 20% support and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 13%.
Saudi Arabia: SuperPower?

इस धरती पर तो कुछ नहीं

या अल्लाह, ए भगवान
इस धरती पर तो कुछ नहीं
रणभुमि में मरुभुमि में
सब जगह तु ही तु
कर्म के पथ पर
मैं समा जाऊँ
मैं समाहित हो जाऊँ
ये काम जो करना है
तेरे को समर्पित
मैं उस धरती पे
जिस धरती पर तो कुछ नहीं
दे ताकत
रणभुमि पर मैं कुद परुँ
बिगुल की आवाज
सुनाइ दे रही मुझे
तेरी प्रार्थना करते वक्त
मैं रोया था

Saturday, January 30, 2016

US News (5)

Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination
Mrs. Clinton’s main opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, has proved to be more formidable than most people, including Mrs. Clinton, anticipated. He has brought income inequality and the lingering pain of the middle class to center stage and pushed Mrs. Clinton a bit more to the left than she might have gone on economic issues. Mr. Sanders has also surfaced important foreign policy questions, including the need for greater restraint in the use of military force. ....... His boldest proposals — to break up the banks and to start all over on health care reform with a Medicare-for-all system — have earned him support among alienated middle-class voters and young people. But his plans for achieving them aren’t realistic ....... Her economic proposals for financial reform reflect a deep understanding of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act, including the ways in which it has fallen short. She supports changes that the country badly needs, like controls on high-frequency trading and stronger curbs on bank speculation in derivatives. ........ Her lifelong fight for women bolsters her credibility in this area, since so many of the problems with labor law hit women the hardest, including those involving child care, paid sick leave, unstable schedules and low wages for tipped workers. ...... Mrs. Clinton is keenly aware of the wage gap for women, especially for women of color. It’s not just that she’s done her homework — Mrs. Clinton has done her homework on pretty much any subject you’d care to name. ....... She was the secretary President Obama needed and wanted: someone who knew leaders around the world, who brought star power as well as expertise to the table. .......

Certainly, the Israeli-Palestinian crisis deepened during her tenure, but she did not cause that.

...... Mrs. Clinton has honed a steeliness that will serve her well in negotiating with a difficult Congress on critically important issues like climate change. It will also help her weather what are certain to be more attacks from Republicans and, should she win the White House, the possibility of the same ideological opposition and personal animus that President Obama has endured. Some of the campaign attacks are outrageous, like Donald Trump’s efforts to bring up Bill Clinton’s marital infidelity. Some, like those about Mrs. Clinton's use of a private email server, are legitimate and deserve forthright answers. ....... Hillary Clinton is the right choice for the Democrats to present a vision for America that is radically different from the one that leading Republican candidates offer — a vision in which middle-class Americans have a real shot at prosperity, women’s rights are enhanced, undocumented immigrants are given a chance at legitimacy, international alliances are nurtured and the country is kept safe.

What Happens If Bernie Sanders Wins Iowa
If you’re dreaming of Bernie Sanders beating Hillary Clinton, you know how the movie begins (he wins Iowa on Monday1), how it ends (he accepts the nomination to a Simon & Garfunkel tune), and one of the major plot lines (black, Hispanic and moderate Democrats, who for now prefer Clinton to Sanders, begin to #feelthebern). ........ Sanders is highly competitive in the first two states, Iowa (where he’s only narrowly behind Clinton) and New Hampshire (where he leads her). However, those states are favorable for Sanders demographically, with Democratic turnout dominated by Sanders’s base of white liberal voters. ......

The first challenge for Sanders is that he appears to be trailing in Iowa. Our “polls-only” forecast gives Clinton a 68 percent chance of winning the state, compared with 32 percent for Sanders, on the basis of her being about 4 percentage points ahead in our weighted polling average.

Our “polls-plus” forecast, which assigns some additional credit to Clinton because of her massive lead in endorsements, has Clinton as a 76 percent favorite........ suppose Sanders does win Iowa. The next step is relatively easy: He’ll probably also win New Hampshire ......

No candidate (Democrat or Republican) has lost the nomination after winning both Iowa and New Hampshire since Ed Muskie in 1972.

...... Sanders’s success in Iowa and New Hampshire might be a reflection of their Sanders-friendly demographics rather than a harbinger of Clinton’s doom. That seems to match the polling we’re seeing in other states, where (for instance) Sanders is doing relatively well in Wisconsin, which also has plenty of white liberals, but struggling in North Carolina, which has fewer. ...... even if Sanders gained a lot of momentum after the early states, he could have trouble closing the sale with voters who think he’s a little too far to the left. ......

The other factor is that Clinton has the Democratic machine more or less fully behind her.

....... In 1992 .. Clinton was billed as the “comeback kid” despite losing each of the first four states ........ But Sanders would have an avalanche of momentum going for him after wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. ...... One factor helping Sanders: Voters who had been attracted to his message before, but who weren’t sure he could win, would mostly have their doubts removed after he beat Clinton twice. .....

It’s also possible that Democratic party elites would panic.

....... One state that doesn’t look good for Sanders is South Carolina, where Clinton is ahead by 31 points and where the Democratic electorate is majority black and relatively conservative. If Sanders wins there, or comes within a few points of doing so, that will be an unambiguous sign that Clinton is in deep trouble. ......

What if Sanders loses Iowa? ...It’s probably over.

.... If Sanders can’t win Iowa, he probably won’t be winning other relatively favorable states like Wisconsin, much less more challenging ones like Ohio and Florida.

"Like Trying To Interview A Ball Of Mercury"

When I arrived to do interviews, children would be sent to fetch an older man, someone with the authority to speak to me. Someone would drag over a chair, an honor reserved for dignitaries or bureaucrats. And those I wanted to speak with, the women, would slide down onto the ground, which was the only place they could sit when older men were present, or disappear into the dark interior spaces where they did their chores.

It was like trying to interview a ball of mercury.

........ Last summer, the increase in female employment in the village had erupted into a raw power struggle, with the conservative male caste leaders demanding that the women resign from their jobs. ...... We spent so much time in the village that the people there began to regard us with sincere pity........ Then they began to ignore us. This is when the work began to bear fruit. We became professional eavesdroppers. Four months into our reporting, we were in the village for a series of tense, clamorous late-night meetings, in which the elders grudgingly decreed that the women could return to work........... That night, the headman, Roshan, pushed us out of the village with his hands pressed against our backs; later he admitted that he had done so because he did not want us to witness violence. We returned to New Delhi and almost immediately learned that a large group of villagers had assaulted Geeta and her friends, also leaving her husband badly injured. We returned to find our subjects utterly changed — unhurt for the most part, but

humiliated and shrunken

. One teenage girl never forgave us for failing to protect her.

Fox News Will Not Survive The Donald Onslaught

I don't expect Fox News to survive The Donald Onslaught. It is pretty brutal.

How To Turn Patna Into A Smart City For Free

Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, was in India last year wanting to help spread internet access through the TV spectrum. You broadcast the internet like you broadcast TV waves. Nitish could talk to Satya and offer Patna as an experimental space for the initiative. If the entire city of Patna can be blanketed with internet broadcast over the TV spectrum, paid for by Microsoft, Patna will end up the smartest city in India. Nitish already has a great personal relationship with Bill Gates. Time to cash on it, maybe?

Nitish laments absence of Bihar on smart cities’ list

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar attacks Centre for 'ignoring' Bihar in Smart City list
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today hit out at the Centre for not selecting any city from Bihar in the the list of 20 smart cities and said the BJP-led Union government has no consideration to maintain regional balance. ...... "There is no rule or law before them...something other is going in the country these days," he said........ "There is no 'maryada' (decency), 'niyam' (rules), neither they have any consideration to maintain regional balance," Kumar, who is senior leader of JD(U) said. ....... "This is example of 'andher nagri' (misrule)," the Bihar CM said.
Microsoft wants to bring cheap broadband to 500,000 Indian villages
Last November, the company began experimenting with the unused spectrum between TV channels, known as ‘white space‘, to provide internet services to a school in the Srikakulam district in the state of Andhra Pradesh. ...... It’s now extended its pilot testing to the city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Nadella said Microsoft plans to work with the central and state governments to bring connectivity using this technology to 500,000 villages across the country. ...... That could be huge for India, where roughly 70 percent of the population inhabits nearly 640,000 villages. ...... Between Nadella’s announcement and Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s plan to bring public Wi-Fi to 400 train stations in India, it looks like Narendra Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley is proving to be rather fruitful for the millions of citizens who are yet to log on to the Web for the first time.
Report: Google testing 5G drones that deliver internet 40 times faster than 4G
Google is testing solar-powered drones at Spaceport America, a New Mexico facility that formerly played host to Virgin Galactic. ....... The project, codenamed SkyBender, aims to test several prototype transcievers and drones using millimeter wave radio transmissions. ...... Millimeter transmissions occupy the 28GHz frequency and although the range is shorter than that of current 4G technologies, the speeds are incredible. ..... Theoretically milimeter wave technology can transfer multiple gigabits of data per second, up to 40 times more than current 4G LTE systems.
Microsoft plans to provide free Internet across India using ‘white space’ TV spectrum
Microsoft has announced its plans to bring Internet connectivity across the country completely free of cost. ...... Microsoft has proposed to make use of

the “white space” or the unused spectrum between two TV channels

, to make Internet connectivity to a vast population an economically-viable solution. .......

Unlike Wi-Fi, which has a range of only about 100 metres, the 200-300 MHz spectrum in the white space can reach up to 10 km. This spectrum currently belongs to the government-owned Doordarshan TV channel and is not used at all.

....... The initiative seems to have come right in time when PM Narendra Modi has announced his Digital India project. The project that would cost $1.2 billion aims to connect 250,000 gram panchayats in order to make Internet connectivity accessible to every part of the country. The project has garnered the interest of several tech giants, including Facebook and Microsoft, who have shown their willingness to offer support to make it a reality.
White spaces (radio)
National and international bodies assign different frequencies for specific uses, and in most cases license the rights to broadcast over these frequencies. This frequency allocation process creates a bandplan, which for technical reasons assigns white space between used radio bands or channels to avoid interference. In this case, while the frequencies are unused, they have been specifically assigned for a purpose, such as a guard band. Most commonly however, these white spaces exist naturally between used channels, since assigning nearby transmissions to immediately adjacent channels will cause destructive interference to both. In addition to white space assigned for technical reasons, there is also unused radio spectrum which has either never been used, or is becoming free as a result of technical changes. In particular, the switchover to digital television frees up large areas between about 50 MHz and 700 MHz. This is because digital transmissions can be packed into adjacent channels, while analog ones cannot. This means that the band can be "compressed" into fewer channels, while still allowing for more transmissions. ...... In the United States, the abandoned television frequencies are primarily in the upper UHF "700-megahertz" band, covering TV channels 52 to 69 (698 to 806 MHz). U.S. television and its white spaces will continue to exist in UHF frequencies, as well as VHF frequencies for which mobile users and white-space devices require larger antennas. In the rest of the world, the abandoned television channels are VHF, and the resulting large VHF white spaces are being reallocated for the worldwide (except the U.S.) digital radio standard DAB and DAB+, and DMB.
White Space, the next internet disruption: 10 things to know
White Space has started spreading internet access to unconnected areas. Here's what you need to know about this confusing, widely-hyped, emerging technology.
In even the most developed countries, there are huge gaps in internet access. Fixed broadband access is unaffordable for 3.9 billion people around the world. In the U.S., about 72 percent of people have home broadband internet access, but 60 million people are still living without it. ....... White Space stands to transform the way we purchase and use wireless internet. It isn't yet widely adopted, but this unlicensed, free form of broadband is gaining traction. ........... Typical home Wi-Fi can travel through two walls.

White Space broadband can travel up to 10 kilometers, through vegetation, buildings, and other obstacles.

Tablets, phones, and computers can all access this wireless internet using White Space through fixed or portable power stations. The actual amounts of spectrum vary by region, but White Space spectrum ranges from 470 MHz to 790 Mhz........ In 2011, Wilmington, North Carolina implemented White Space technology to connect the city's infrastructure, allowing public officials to remotely turn lights on and off in parks, provide public wireless broadband to certain areas of the city, and monitor water levels. At West Virginia University, White Space technology is used to power a "super Wi-Fi network". It started in 2013 with wireless internet on the campus public transit platform, which transports about 15,000 students a day. WVU is the first campus to utilize White Space broadband internet. ....... "The Gigabit Libraries program is using TVWS devices to deliver Internet service to local libraries and a number of operators in rural areas are using these devices to provide service to homes and businesses in rural areas" .........

Google and Microsoft are already chasing the emerging White Space market in Africa, where only 16 percent of the population is online. Because the waves can travel up to 10 kilometers in radius, it is great for remote, off-the-grid villages.

...... Microsoft's 4Afrika initiative is focusing on White Space technology throughout the continent, hoping to bring millions of people online, and has projects in place in Tanzania and South Africa. ...... Rural areas, both in the U.S. and abroad, are often inhibited from wireless access because they are inaccessible and off the local power grid. Cell towers are difficult to install and can't connect, either. Fortunately, White Space power stations can be charged with solar panels, and the excess electricity generated can also power other institutions in the area such as schools....... With a cell tower or other device, the White Space technology can travel 10 kilometers and service many more customers at one time. ....... Microsoft has implemented White Space projects throughout Asia, including a recent deployment in Singapore through partnerships with Singapore government research agencies and a UK wireless service provider in areas where vegetation makes wireless access difficult. In conjunction with its projects in Europe, Microsoft is also creating a database for White Space in the U.S., much like Google's. ........

Internet service providers were ranked the lowest customer service satisfaction of any industry in America, according to American Customer Satisfaction Index's most recent survey. The two largest providers, Comcast and Time Warner, were ranked the lowest out of all internet service providers.

...... So far, the FCC has allowed very few internet service providers to license the White Space spectrum. Hopefully, they will continue to be cautious about who they allow to purchase the spectrum so that it can be a disruptive force in connecting more people to the internet.

How new 'white space' rules could lead to an urban super-Wi-Fi
White space, or buffer channels, refers to the unused channels between the VHF and UHF spectrum. In the pre-cable era, when over-the-air broadcasts ruled the day, these buffers were used to prevent broadcasters from interfering with one another. We all know how prevalent over-the-air broadcasting is now; today this spectrum is largely unused. ...... a super Wi-Fi network knitted together with next-generation TV or smart remotes. ...... wireless data could be transmitted over UHF channels during active TV broadcasts without interference. ......

The UHF spectrum, which ranges from 400 to 700 MHz, is superior to the higher-frequency signals used for existing Wi-Fi hotspots

...... as these signals carry for miles and are not blocked by walls or trees.
TV white space will connect the internet of things
White spaces in the radio spectrum can now be used for anything from wireless flood defences to city-wide Wi-Fi. Services using the technology could appear before the end of the year with surplus spectrum filling in gaps where Wi-Fi and Bluetooth fail. ........ The spare spectrum comes from bands currently shared by digital TV and wireless microphones. ..... Broadly the technology will allow internet of things devices to communicate with one another and the internet. White space spectrum could also improve broadband coverage in rural areas and boost Wi-Fi signals in crowded cities. ...... King's College London is currently researching how white space spectrum could be used to improve broadband coverage by linking white space connections between buildings. The technology could also be used to add extra capacity to crowded networks.

Friday, January 29, 2016

US News (4)

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg opening ...
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg opening the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dems to Bloomberg: Don't run
Senate Democrats say former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has almost no chance of winning the presidency if he mounts an independent run and would likely only act as a spoiler. ..... A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Bloomberg’s entry into the race would cut Clinton’s lead over Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump from 10 percentage points to six. ..... A recent Morning Consult poll showed that Bloomberg has only 13 percent support in a three-way match against Trump and Clinton. ..... Sources close to Bloomberg say the most likely scenario for him to get into the race would be if Trump or conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz won the Republican nomination and Sanders, a self-described socialist, won the Democratic nod. ...... But even if Clinton wins the Democratic primary, Bloomberg might still run if she looks weak enough to give him an opening for success. .....

He will likely have to make a decision before the end of March in order to get his name on the ballot in all 50 states. The outcomes of the Democratic and Republican primary fights may not be known at that time.

....... One Senate Republican speculated that he might even be able to carry New York state — an unlikely possibility but one that would prove devastating to Democratic chances of winning. .......

Bloomberg is widely seen as a pragmatic centrist. He was a longtime registered Democrat who switched his party affiliation to Republican before running to become mayor of New York. He left the GOP to become an independent before running for a third mayoral term.

...... “He’s not been known to make a lot of unwise decisions. He’s been known to make pretty good decisions. I think he’ll evaluate it pretty well.”

Iowa and New Hampshire Are As Good As It Gets for Bernie Sanders
You don't have to be white and liberal to support Bernie Sanders, but it is a thing. ..... his biggest challenge is to find some traction in states dominated by centrist and minority voters. ..... the top three states by this measurement are Vermont (59 percent), New Hampshire (54 percent), and Iowa (50 percent). ..... Sanders could prove to have greater appeal among African-Americans and Latinos — and maybe even non-liberal white folks .....

we should not underestimate the media reaction to back-to-back Clinton losses in Iowa and New Hampshire

...... Sanders would have an avalanche of momentum going for him after wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. The national press corps, which spins even minor stories into crises for Clinton, would portray Clinton’s campaign as being in a meltdown. Momentum usually matters in the primaries — and sometimes it matters a lot ....... if Sanders wins Iowa Monday, the odds of him winning New Hampshire, perhaps by a big margin, are extremely high.

The Trump Party vs. the Republican Party
a party that is cleft in two. But there is something puzzling and ethereal about this schism. The opposing factions are not divided over a policy question, like pro– and anti–Vietnam War Democrats in 1968, or pro- and anti-slavery Whigs in the 1850s. ....... Trump’s main policy differentiator is immigration, and here he differs from his opponents only in tone and emphasis. ....... Trump is offering something genuinely transformational.

His candidacy would reshape the Republican Party as more of a European-style white-identity party

, rather than a party rooted in opposition to big government. ....... a welfare state whose benefits should be restricted to people like us. ...... Richard Nixon’s “silent majority,” Ronald Reagan’s disdain for “welfare queens,” both presidents Bush depicting their opponents as elitist fops — these are all iterations of white identity politics. The second President Bush took the racial edge off his appeal without losing the cultural thrust. ....... his racial demagoguery .... Cultural appeal was the means, and economics the ends. What conservatives fear is that Trump might upend that delicate, unstated system by turning the means into the ends. ...... He has in the past praised single-payer health care, proposed higher taxes on the wealthy, and supported Democrats, casting justifiable suspicions on his true intentions. ...... Trump has promised to save Social Security, to raise taxes on the rich, to let Medicare negotiate down the price of the prescription drugs it finances,

and to replace Obamacare with “something terrific.”

......... Conservatives justifiably fear that Trump could upend this configuration — that he might use populism not just as an electoral strategy but as a governing blueprint.

How Barack Obama has reformed America’s prisons
Mr Obama continues to emphasise action over rhetoric. Nowhere is this more evident than in his continuing efforts to reform the criminal justice system, an American institution that incarcerates nearly 1m black people. According to statistics provided by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the fact-gathering wing of the Department of Justice,

non-Hispanic blacks make up about 13% of America’s population and about 40% of its prison population.

........ at its heart, America is a nation of second chances
Obama targets gender pay gap with plan to collect companies’ salary data
would require every large company in America to report employees' pay based on race and gender, an effort to reduce longstanding pay inequities for women and minorities. ...... would order companies with at least 100 employees to add salary numbers on a form they already annually submit that reports employees’ sex, age and job groups .......

Oftentimes, folks are doing the same job and being paid differently

......... if company data shows typical female managers earn, say, 25 percent less than typical male managers, the government may launch an investigation. ...... The EEOC also intends to turn the aggregated data into an annual salary report, showing the average pay for workers in different sectors and industries across the country ....... The measure also abolished all “gag rules,” which prevented federal contractors from discussing their salaries. ...... The proposed policy, she said, would “allow enforcement agencies to look at it, and it will allow researchers to get at it. It’s definite progress.” ...... Federal law has prohibited pay discrimination since 1963. But in the United States, women on average earn 79 cents for every dollar paid to men. The gap widens by race, with black women ........ Women, for example, concentrate in low-paying jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while male-dominated fields, like finance and technology, tend to pay more. Mothers also tend more time off work than fathers to care for children, delaying professional growth and promotion opportunities. ........

“Discrimination is not necessarily overt or conscious,” Blau said. “It could be subtle. People have stereotypes about males and females, and they can creep in during hiring or promotion decisions.”

...... Bosses in corner offices may not be aware that men in their company may make, say, 20 percent more than their female counterparts.

Rihanna's Anti Capitalism
The new way to make money off a blockbuster album
her tweeting out a free download code for an album that fans have spent three years anticipating. ..... The Recording Industry Association was then able to certify Anti as platinum—one million downloads or physical copies sold in the U.S., as opposed to streams—within about 14 hours of its release. ....... Another financial factor is that Rihanna is a co-owner of Tidal; the platform’s success is to some extent also her success. It getting Anti before Apple or Spotify probably counts as its biggest win yet in the streaming wars. The many people who used the free download code for Anti are also possible new Tidal customers (they’re each eligible for two-month subscriptions, and the company now has their contact info). Tidal reps said the album was streamed 13 million times in 14 hours.
'Autism in Love': Dating and Courtship on the Spectrum

Why Isn't Bernie Sanders's Superior Foreign-Policy Judgment a Decisive Edge?
The Vermont senator seems far less likely to start a war of choice as president, but that doesn’t seem to count for much in the Democratic primary.
Bernie is off to Hillary's left—either genuinely or rhetorically—but in office they'd both be constrained to the same place. ....... Hillary doesn't want to highlight her relative hawkishness in a Democratic primary and Bernie doesn't really want to highlight what his dovishness would mean in practice. ...... she’s a bit more electable than her opponent and a bit more likely to broker effective deals with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. “There have been a million noxious compromises along the way, but that's how politics works in the real world. Plus I'd love to see a woman in the White House,” he concludes. “I like Bernie. I like what he says. If I believed he could do all the stuff he talks about, he'd have my vote. But I don’t.” ........ the consequences of the Iraq War that Hillary Clinton favored: ..... The rise of ISIS......Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis.......Roughly 4,500 dead American soldiers.....Tens of thousands of Americans wounded.....

$6 trillion in costs.

......... War must be the last recourse in international relations, not the first. ....... We are opposed by Osama bin Laden and religious fanatics who are prepared to engage in a kind of warfare that we have never experienced before. ..... “An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken.” ..... Who will govern Iraq when Saddam Hussein is removed and what role will the U.S. play in ensuing a civil war that could develop in that country? Will moderate governments in the region who have large Islamic fundamentalist populations be overthrown and replaced by extremists? .......

Sanders has much better foreign-policy judgment than Hillary Clinton. You could hardly make up a more stark illustration. They were on different sides of the most consequential and disastrous war since Vietnam. Yet this difference is dismissed as if it amounts to no more than an afterthought in most comparisons.

....... Clinton lobbied President Obama to help orchestrate a regime change in Libya. Predictably, that country is in chaos too ...... Hawkish Democrats should vote for Clinton. ..... Another dumb war of choice is much more likely with Clinton in the White House.

Why the Gap Between Worker Pay and Productivity Is So Problematic
Labor has become more efficient and profitable, but employees aren't sharing in the benefits.
The stock market may be booming, corporate profits increasing, and home values rising, but middle and lower-class workers often don't truly feel the benefit of such improvements unless wages rise. ...... Though productivity (defined as the output of goods and services per hours worked) grew by about 74 percent between 1973 and 2013, compensation for workers grew at a much slower rate of only 9 percent during the same time period ...... companies and the people who own and run them are doing much better than the people who work at the companies. ...... Large businesses and the people who run them, and invest in them, are thriving but working and middle-class Americans are struggling—as are many small businesses. ..... systematic underinvestment in the commons, which is a set of shared resources that every business needs in order to be productive: an educated populace, pools of skilled labor, a vibrant network of suppliers, strong infrastructure, basic R&D and so on. ....... the decline in collective bargaining and the weakening of labor unions. ....... weakened the connections between companies and their communities ..... intense pressure on the middle class, which found itself competing for jobs with hundreds of millions of skilled, ambitious workers around the world—so this is the point at which we see the divergence between productivity growth and median-wage growth. ........... For those who had unique skills, this became a golden age because now those individuals were able to sell their talents around the world, amplified by technology. ....... We could have doubled down on making the middle class so capable that it could compete with anyone, but I think instead, what we did collectively is we made a series of unsustainable promises to maintain the illusion of prosperity. Promises like let's extend credit to the middle class so that people can consume—especially houses; promises like the government will increasingly cover your healthcare costs in retirement; promises like the government will directly employ you. You then take those promises, couple them with a nasty recession and two wars and you wind up with a government that is physically hobbled and politically divided. So

from government and from business you've got a systematic underinvestment in those shared resources that we need for the middle class to thrive.

............... Without a strong middle class we see weak consumption. .......

The damage done by underinvestment is a self-inflicted wound.

...... companies can't thrive for long if their communities are struggling. ...... The current path is one where federal policy makers squabble for partisan gains, delay tough choices, and make America a less attractive place to compete. Business leaders pursue their narrow short-term interest and free ride off each other's investments—the business environment deteriorates, businesses leave America, the government enacts anti-business policies, companies reduce their U.S. activities further, and distrust deepens. ........ far-better path possible.

Federal policy makers put their long-term fiscal house in order, invest in infrastructure, enact policies that make America a great place to do business.

........ a skilled workforce, to upgrade local suppliers, to foster innovation, to reinforce education ...... with robust growth, government and business gather the resources to reinvest in making the business environment better and better over time. ..... The first steps down that attractive path are fairly clear

Can We Ever Take a 3rd Party Run Seriously?
Here's Ralph Nader with some advice for Michael Bloomberg.
The biggest variable Bloomberg faces is whether the two parties will nominate candidates he considers to be polarizing figures representing the extremes of each party: Donald Trump—or worse, Ted Cruz—and Senator Bernie Sanders. ...... the speaker is John Crittenden of the Constitutional Union Party. The year is 1860 and Crittenden is arguing to push the uncomfortable issue of slavery down the road once again. The "statesmen of great integrity" are John Bell and Edward Everett, the CUP's national ticket in that year's election. The man whose election would be "a great calamity" was the Republican nominee, a gawky Illinois lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. ......... We have problems in this country with how we have chosen to govern ourselves. The only solution to most of them are rigorous, involved, and occasionally raucous politics.

What The Washington Post (and Nearly Everyone) Gets Wrong About Bernie Sanders
Every presidential campaign is necessary aspirational.
The Washington Post, a once-great newspaper now doing business as an adjunct to the home delivery industry ..... There's nothing like the scorn of the Church Of The Savvy. ...... Fred and his minions find Sanders' proposals to be unrealistic, an insight now shared by almost every putatively liberal pundit, as well as every gas station attendant between Des Moines and Ottumwa. ....... Wall Street has already undergone a round of reform, significantly reducing the risks big banks pose to the financial system. The evolution and structure of the world economy, not mere corporate deck-stacking, explained many of the big economic challenges the country still faces. And even with radical campaign finance reform, many Americans and their representatives would still oppose the Sanders agenda. .......

"The evolution and structure of the world economy" is a nice touch, especially coming from folks with sinecures in places like the editorial boards of once-great newspapers. (Talk to a steelworker.)

..... the many legitimate checks and balances in the political system that he cannot wish away. ..... there is no indication from recent history that President Hillary Rodham Clinton will be treated any differently than either President Bernie Sanders or the guy who has the job at the moment. She claims that her financial-reform package is tougher than both the existing Dodd-Frank regime and the proposals put forth by Sanders. If we assume that to be the case, then her proposal is as dead as Kelsey's nuts in the House of Representatives. So, by the way, would be any attempt to use the Affordable Care Act as a stepping-stone to true universal health-care. ....... His proposals may seem a bit blue-sky, but are they really as improbable as Ted Cruz's promises to roll us back to the Counter-Reformation, or Marco Rubio's threats to go to war in Iran, or Jeb (!) Bush's sudden lust for a second Constitutional Convention? Every single Republican candidate is pledged to the death to defend the complete fiction that is supply-side economics. ........

What Bernie Sanders proposes may be blue-sky stuff, but at least it's looking at the sky. It's not the shoe-gazing trudge toward oligarchy with which The Washington Post is comfortable.

Poll shows Bloomberg has a good shot at becoming president

Mike Bloomberg has a better chance of becoming president as an independent candidate than most people realize, a new poll found Thursday.

....... The survey by veteran pollster Frank Luntz

shows Bloomberg within striking distance

of the two leading major party candidates — Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary ­Clinton. ........

Bloomberg would garner 29 percent, compared to 37 percent for Trump and 33 percent for Clinton.

Bernie Sanders tries to be the next Barack Obama in Iowa, not the next Howard Dean
“the energy, the enthusiasm is with our campaign.” ....... Obama bested Clinton by motivating huge numbers of voters who normally wouldn’t participate in the caucus process to show up. Sanders himself is doubtful his campaign can reproduce the turnout Obama achieved, saying this week that the 2008 election “is really going to stay in the history books. It was an unbelievable campaign. In places they ran out of ballots, as I understand it.” ........

he will be using a lot of the same organizational tools Obama did

...... Targeting technologies pioneered by Obama’s campaign have made it possible for outsider candidates like Sanders to turn out Iowans who a decade ago might have showed up at a rally and then faded away before the caucuses. Now, computers can quickly link them up with a caucus coach who can walk them through the bewildering voting process and even make sure they have a ride on election night. ......

ultimately, much of the work of sealing a commitment from voters happens through human contact

....... the Sanders campaign has been rushing to build the infrastructure to capture enthusiasm and turn it into votes. ...... Sanders has invested heavily in field offices, opening nearly two dozen in Iowa, just a few less than the much better-funded Clinton operation.

The offices are a crucial hub for connecting with voters, and Obama opened an unprecedented 37 in Iowa in 2008.

........ Another problem for Sanders is that everything he is doing, Clinton is also doing. Her campaign is determined not to be out-organized in Iowa again, and many of the strategists who set up Obama’s infrastructure are now working to elect her. ....... Clinton is, of course, using the same tactics. ...... The enthusiasm for Sanders, meanwhile, tends to be concentrated in a few parts of the state where there are big college campuses. That creates a challenge on caucus night, when the victor is decided by how many local precincts choose them, not the total number of votes they garner statewide. ...... It’s a big problem that did not affect Obama, even though his support was also concentrated in college towns. The caucuses were held in early January of 2008, when most students were home on break, so they voted all over the state. ....... he wants help college students return to their hometowns to caucus, rather than just gathering on campus, to spread support as widely as possible.......“We’ve rented every van in a four-state area” ......

said he became a fan of the senator after watching the debates and researching his speeches on YouTube.

...... “I said, ‘This is the guy,’” Miller said. “Everything I support, he supports.” .....

“She’s like a robot,” he said. “Bernie talks with passion.”

...... “He gets at the issue more. I feel like Hillary skirts around it,” said Hannah Will, 20, a nursing student at Luther College who has attended speeches from both candidates.

A New Thought On Agricultural Subsidies

Instead of the government paying farmers to not grow as much they could, why not just let them grow as much as they want, and instead use that subsidy money to buy from them, and give the food first to the poor, and then to whoever might want it? There should be an emphasis on fruits and vegetables.

I don't think food is expensive. But what if it were 10 times cheaper? Because 10 times as much is grown. Michelle Obama should make this happen while Barack Obama works on guns. If this can not become bipartisan, shame on you America.

Food stamps should not be a matter of shame. It should be a signal that you are eating healthy.

Why The Minimum Wage Should Be $11 Immediately

It is not demand and supply that has kept wages stagnant. Unless the masses can purchase, you can not produce. A rising tide lifts all boats. Only when you throttle the market can wages stays stagnant. The wages have been kept artificially low.

It's not just economics though. It's also a matter of fairness. Someone working full time should be able to take care of themselves and their families. That should be the benchmark.

Forget minimum wage. We are at the cusp of the era of the Universal Basic Income. Rises in productivity will be so outlandishly dramatic, they are going to be off the radar screen. Old measuring tools will no longer work.

Universal Basic Income is not minimum wage. It is not unemployment benefits. It is a new concept.

I am for growing 10 times more food and let everyone just have it. I am for free internet access for everyone. It would be a money maker for every municipality. It would also be a community building exercise. People who might want free internet access might have to congregate. There is health value to that. NYC is about to make $500 million per year by turning all its phone booths into Gigabit WiFi hotspots.

For health, the US government should buy a copy of my book on behalf of every American. I would be happy to offer a 60% discount.

As for super cheap housing, I am waiting for some advances in nanotechnology.

Donald Trump In The Republican Party: Bull In A China Shop

The Donald might claim he has been a lifelong Republican, but he is not exactly a one year old. He does not look the part. You can't just talk it, you also gotta look it.

Donald Trump moving through the Republican primary is a bull moving through a china shop. Republicans like to engage in China bashing. The Donald is more into china bashing. Capital letter C, small letter c. And what a difference it seems to make.

The guy has been doing a thorough job of it. By the time The Donald is done, Fox is no longer going to be the number one news channel in America. You don't pick fights with The Donald. Nobody picks fights with The Donald. Ask Rosie.

Republican Party: Abe To Dope

When all is said and done, The Donald will do just fine. He will still be standing. Heck, he will be flying. He is going to be the most sought after reality TV star in America. But I am not sure the Republican Party is going to survive the travail. Oh, well.

All Debate Is Good

Eliot Spitzer, Barack Obama
Preet Bharara, Eliot Spitzer Parallels
Bloom Ponders
2016 And Gender
Bloomberg 2016?
What Did I Do?
Barack Obama: FDR, Lincoln And Washington
Twitter Board Diversity
Zuck, Free Basics, India
Zuck, Free Basics, India (2)

The US presidential election perhaps can be called the World Cup Soccer of democratic elections. It is quite spectacular to watch. It is designed well. It is designed to sweep through the entire political spectrum, from left to right. Even fringe candidates have followers, and of course they matter. During a presidential election Americans become aware of each other's existence. As in, I did not realize you were also around.

Personally I am surprised how well Trump is doing. I am also surprised how well Sanders has been doing. But then who am I? There are tens of millions out there who will get heard. The fermentation is spectacular.

And Bloomberg stares from the horizon. People talk about taking money out of politics. There is a Bloomberg way to do that. For a guy who has been both a Democrat and a Republican, who Al Sharpton likes. This is not a born rich billionaire. He is self made. He is 10% of Steve Jobs. A lot of people don't look at him that way. But he is. He is a divorced billionaire like Donald Trump. He is Jewish like Sanders. He would be a first Jewish president like Hillary would be the first woman. He has been a Republican like Trump and a Democrat like Hillary. I am tempted to go meet him.

I am also amazed how everybody who is running is a New Yorker. Everybody, from left to right. Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders. Bernie has the most pronounced Brooklyn accent. The looming candidate Bloomberg is a New Yorker. Has this ever happened in history when everybody who was running for the top job was a New Yorker? And Barack Obama is moving to New York when he is done. Capital city of the world.

I was expecting to not even tune in until the two parties were done nominating. But now I find myself checking in daily. I am already looking at the twists and turns. The churn is spectacular.

The Indian election of 2014 was also pretty spectacular. But the polls in India are not there yet. They tend to be way off from actual results. And there are not yet organized debates between the leading candidates. In India the spectacle is at the level of mass rallies. They tend to be huge with no parallels anywhere on the planet. In 2007 Obama gathered 30,000 in Washington Square Park, and that was announced a record. That was a culture shock to me. Even in Nepal, which is smallish, a 30,000 strong crowd is a joke. A small time politico could pull that off. In India there is a "million man march" going on somewhere in the country every year. Often there are multiple ones. And they don't even stand out locally. A large rally is just landscape. Politicians organize large rallies for no rhyme or reason. In Bhutan they have a Gross Happiness Index, in India they have a Gross Democracy Index. You attend rallies, just because. It is like a New Yorker hitting a bar. You don't need a reason.

Donald Trump is running so hard, because he thinks he is getting paid for this. This feels like reality TV, but this is not, Donald.

US News (3)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

US News (2)

Michael Bloomberg Will Never Be the Next U.S. President
If he runs, the former New York City mayor will hand the election over to Republicans
Once again, Mr. Bloomberg seems to be channeling his inner Frank Sinatra and musing that if he can make it there—in the Big Apple—he can make it anywhere. ......

If Mr. Bloomberg does launch an independent run for the White House, he’ll be attempting to do what nobody has done since George Washington: win the presidency without the backing of a major political party.

........... the former mayor does have something going for him that past independent candidates have not: a billion dollars. Reports indicate Mr. Bloomberg says he is willing to sink at least that much money into mounting a run, if he decides to go. .........

Mr. Bloomberg has as much of a chance of winning 270 electoral votes as the proverbial camel has of passing through the eye of a needle.

....... Conservatives don’t trust Mr. Trump, who has demonstrated that he is not particularly doctrinaire about political issues ..... Among Democratic regulars, there is scarcely more love for Mr. Sanders, who seeks the nomination of a party he never joined and has consistently criticized throughout his career as an independent politician and admitted socialist. ....... it could well be that Mr. Bloomberg, backed by his bundles of billions, might be able to siphon off moderates from both left and right. But winning the election—that’s a whole different deal, one complicated considerably by that most American anachronism, the Electoral College. ......

With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, the candidate who receives the largest number of votes wins each state’s entire cache of electors

....... Bottom line: if Michael Bloomberg runs for president as an independent this year and achieves a significant percentage of the votes, the end result is a Republican victory. ..... the last billionaire to mount an independent presidential run, H. Ross Perot, failed to win a single electoral vote in 1992 despite earning more than 19 percent of the national popular vote. ...... Mr. Perot’s percentage of the popular vote marked the best showing by an independent or third-party candidate since former President Theodore Roosevelt, denied the Republican nomination in his 1912 comeback attempt, formed his own party (the Progressive or “Bull Moose” Party) and won 27 percent of the national vote. Mr. Roosevelt won eight states that year—something no independent or third-party candidate has ever matched—but the only tangible effect of his candidacy was to split the Republican Party’s votes and deny a second term to President William Howard Taft, as Democrat Woodrow Wilson won the presidency with a mere 41 percent of the national popular vote. ........ The institutional advantages enjoyed by the Democratic and Republican parties make it exceptionally difficult for a third-party or independent candidate to win any states at all. The last third-party candidate to win any states was the segregationist Alabama governor George C. Wallace, who took five Southern states in 1968 for a total of 46 electoral votes. ........ what he doesn’t have is the ability to win any states in which gun-rights supporters hold sway. ....... He starts the race with at least 206 electoral votes off the table. ....... That would leave Mr. Bloomberg battling the Democratic nominee for electors in the solidly Democratic “blue states” and in the swingy “purple states” that tend to swing back and forth between Democrats and Republicans. In 2012, these states accounted for 332 electoral votes. The ultimate effect would be the dilution of left-wing and center-left votes in these states between Mr. Bloomberg and the Democrats, thus enabling the Republican candidate to win the “purple states” and even a boatload of states that normally go Democratic. ........

no independent or third-party candidate has ever won more than 88 electoral votes—less than one-third of the total currently required to win the presidency.

....... The other, far more unlikely, outcome is that he wins a handful of states and prevents any candidate from receiving the required 270 electoral-vote majority, thereby leaving the election to be decided by the House of Representatives for the first time since 1824.
Donald Trump won’t participate in debate over feud with Fox News
“There are powerful forces that are really controlling our lives,” Gilmore said. “The biggest one is the organized establishment media. And I just noticed, just now, you gave Carly Fiorina two one-minute answers in a row.” ..... All of the low-polling candidate have been overshadowed by Trump, the bombastic billionaire who rose to the top of the GOP field with promises to erect a giant wall on the border with Mexico and to bar Muslim foreigners from entering the country. ..... But they may never have been as overshadowed as they were tonight. That’s because, just as their early-evening debate begins, Trump will be holding a press availability elsewhere in Iowa, stirring speculation that he might change his mind and attend the main debate, which is set to begin at 9 p.m. ....... But the timing of Trump’s event could still leave him time to make an appearance,

and still be able to make the debate – or make a spectacle that would overshadow it.

........ So far, Fox hasn’t blinked. Trump hasn’t either. ..... As of Thursday morning, Kelly was still set to moderate the debate. And Trump had scheduled his own “special event for veterans” rally, to be held elsewhere in Des Moines on the same evening. Trump will be joined by a pair of long-shot candidates, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, after they participate in the 7 p.m. “undercard” GOP debate. ....... “Fox is playing games,” Trump said in a news conference Wednesday. “They can’t toy with me like they toy with everybody else. Let them have the debate. Let’s see how they do with the ratings.” ........

a race dominated by the reality-TV-trained showman.

..... could allow Trump to dominate the debate without even having to show up. If networks show his rally before, or even during, the formal debate, Trump could steal the moment again. ....

A few days ago on Twitter, Gilmore compared himself to, yes, a toe.

How Trump Will Foil The Desperation Prayer Of Democrats, Liberals

For the first time in its history, the United States has had four, and arguably five, consecutive terms of unsuccessful federal government, from administrations and Congresses of both parties.

The last Clinton term under-reacted to the original terrorist incidents at the Khobar Towers (1996), the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam embassies (1998) and the USS Cole (also 1998); and stoked up the housing bubble through the Community Reinvestment Act and executive orders to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to invest massively in sub-prime mortgages. ......... Two-thirds of Americans, in all polls, feel the country is headed in the wrong direction ....... It is a corrupt and vulgar system and virtually all Americans know it, and everyone above the age of 40 has seen an alarming decline in the quality of candidates for high, and especially national, office since the Reagan years. ...... The presidencies between Polk and Lincoln (Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan sharing three terms) were inadequate, and so were those between Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt (Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, though Coolidge retains his apologists), but none of these presidents was re-elected after a full term, and neither talent drought was as profound or extended as the 20 years of misgovernment the United States is reeling from now.In the circumstances,

it is little wonder that the country is looking elsewhere than the ranks of its elected officials to find a possible president.

.......... Viewed from that perspective, the rise of Donald Trump is not so surprising, and he is not running as a spoiler, as Ross Perot did against George H. W. Bush did in 1992, nor as an aggrieved Theodore Roosevelt did in 1912 against William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson. He has the populist aptitudes of the old Progressive party because of his often outlandish Archie Bunker–esque political incorrectness,

but he is more credible than Archie because his views emanate not from a blue-collar reactionary, but from an accomplished billionaire as well as a successful television personality.

........... Mr. Trump is financing himself ..... there is no point merely to ejecting the incumbents ...... They have tried turning the rascals out many times in the last 30 years and they just get worse rascals. ....... The liberal press establishment is frenzied in its animosity to Donald Trump, and their hysteria is becoming more vociferous and desperate

as he utters clangorous violations of the normal parameters of political discourse.

The echo chamber explodes, the commentariat foams at the mouth, but he seems to pay no penalty in the polls. I think there are two explanations for this: Donald doesn’t really say such outrageous things as his opponents spinningly impute to him; and vast sections of the population are more bitterly disappointed and angry at the deterioration of their country and the misinformation of the mainstream media than the subjects of that resentment can imagine. .......... Mr. Trump’s durability now scares them. Last week, the New York Times accused Mr. Trump of being on “the brink of fascism.” ....... On health care, he seeks the repeal of Obamacare, the shattering of the insurance cartel, and the provision of universal health care, with health-savings accounts and with, presumably, where necessary, the according of discretionary tax credits. He is for gradual, extensive legalization of drugs with some of the proceeds of savings available to drug education and treatment. ......... thinks climate change is a hoax, and cap-and-trade both insane and hypocritical. ....... He would disband the Department of Education and distribute its funds to the states, and leave legalization of specific drugs, like the rules over same-sex marriage, to the states. ...... He would abolish super PACs, lift limits on individual contributions to candidates, and ban soft money. ...... his tax plan is a moderate reduction in income taxes and a steeper reduction in the corporate rates;

he seeks, effectively, to turn the national debt into a sinking fund, cutting expenses beneath revenues and steadily shrinking the deficit.

....... Germany, he believes, can sort out Ukraine with the Russians, who are welcome to Syria, and let Russia destroy ISIS. .......

his policy positions, though vague in places, and subject to being moved around in response to his apparently spontaneous aperçus and reminiscences, are not especially radical or provocative.

....... The Trump effect appears to rest on his talent for shocking conventional opinion, and on his extreme contempt for the conventional wisdom, the degraded political modus operandi, and the snipers’ gallery of the biased and lazy senior media. He still leads the polls of those for whom people absolutely will not vote, and I suspect that

in the end the elected Republican politicians will stand on each other’s shoulders and deny him the nomination

, while making profound concessions to his policy preferences.......... is striking very close to the heart of the American problem: the corrupt, dysfunctional political system and the dishonest press. ..... it all started to go horribly wrong with Watergate, when one of the most successful administrations in the country’s history was torn apart for no remotely adequate reason and the mendacious assassins in the liberal media have been awarding themselves prizes and commendations for 40 years since. ......... I suspect the Bush-Clinton era, which had its moments, is ending, and that whatever happens next year, Donald Trump will have played an important role in it........ To adapt George Wallace’s old phrase, he has shaken the American political system “by the eyeteeth,” and it will be better for it.
Donald Trump’s Hostile Takeover of the G.O.P.
What, in the frantic year leading up to the nomination of a Presidential candidate, look like mass movements that are on the cusp of taking over a party often turn out to be nothing more than gyrations in the polls, even if they are extended ones, or the inflation of one noisy slice of the electorate that gets disproportionate media attention. .......

The history of Presidential primaries is the history of small and exciting movements that quickly get snuffed out.

...... For a moment in the 2012 campaign cycle it seemed like Michele Bachmann was going to remake the G.O.P into a vehicle for the religious right, but she never made it past Iowa ...... On the Republican side, you have to go back to Senator Barry Goldwater’s nomination, in 1964, to find a Republican who captured a party against the will of the party’s élites. ......

Donald Trump’s attempt at a hostile takeover of the G.O.P. is astonishing in its breadth. He is not just competing against a large field of candidates for votes in the primaries; he is at war with nearly every power center in the Republican Party—and he is winning.

...... the rise of a movement on the right that dislikes Republican leaders almost as much as it dislikes the President. ....... his pattern of insulting women with terms like “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.” After the debate, Trump seemed to make Kelly’s point by attacking her in a vulgar way. .......

Fox News has long been considered the most influential news organization for conservatives.

........ Castellanos called Fox “the most powerful Republican institution in contemporary American politics” and “the stage on which Republicans play.” ...... “Most Republican candidates kneel before it, supplicants hoping to sip airtime from its chalice.” ........ Similarly, Trump has been attacking, and been attacked by, the main organs of conservative opinion—National Review and The Weekly Standard—which were previously considered the enforcers of conservative ideology and institutions to be flattered rather than condemned. ......

And, of course, Trump has his nearly six million Twitter followers, which he has sometimes described as better than owning his own newspaper.

...... Trump is also at war with his Party’s more interventionist foreign-policy establishment, and he often attacks the biggest donors in the G.O.P. ......

Trump would undoubtedly welcome the support of any of the establishment figures he now ridicules. Like an inept high-school boy trying to win the affections of a girl, he sometimes seems to mock people in order to get their attention.

..... Nobody has voted yet, and what looks now like an unstoppable movement may in a few weeks or months seem more like a passing fad. .... Trump, at the moment, rather than trying to ingratiate himself with the power brokers of his adopted Party, is trying to destroy them. What’s astonishing is that it’s working.

A Saudi Prince Burns Donald Trump
With his battle with Megyn Kelly and Fox News still raging, Donald Trump got into another spat on Thursday—this time with an ultra-wealthy Saudi prince who helped him out, financially, twice in the nineteen-nineties, when some of Trump’s businesses were struggling. ......... the Prince isn’t the sort of fellow to sit back and ignore such antics. On Thursday afternoon, he posted a tweet of his own, in English, which read, “Trump:You base your statements on photoshopped pics?I bailed you out twice;a 3rd time,maybe?” ........ this isn’t the first time that bin Talal, who is a nephew of the late King Abdullah, has tangled with Trump on Twitter. .......

In December, after Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, the Prince tweeted, “You are a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America. Withdraw from the U.S presidential race as you will never win.”

Trump fired back: “Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected. #Trump2016.” ........ According to Forbes magazine, he is the richest individual in the Arab world, with a net worth of more than seventeen billion dollars.