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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Same As It Ever Was 

by tristero

Horribly, it is quite plausible that a major-party presidential candidate would willingly collude, and possibly sponsor, a foreign government to create mischief in order to influence the election in his favor. Nixon did it:
It begins in the summer of 1968. Nixon feared a breakthrough at the Paris Peace talks designed to find a negotiated settlement to the Vietnam war, and he knew this would derail his campaign. 
He therefore set up a clandestine back-channel involving Anna Chennault, a senior campaign adviser. 
At a July meeting in Nixon's New York apartment, the South Vietnamese ambassador was told Chennault represented Nixon and spoke for the campaign. If any message needed to be passed to the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, it would come via Chennault. 
In late October 1968 there were major concessions from Hanoi which promised to allow meaningful talks to get underway in Paris - concessions that would justify Johnson calling for a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam. This was exactly what Nixon feared. 
Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal. 
So on the eve of his planned announcement of a halt to the bombing, Johnson learned the South Vietnamese were pulling out. 
He was also told why. The FBI had bugged the ambassador's phone and a transcripts of Anna Chennault's calls were sent to the White House. In one conversation she tells the ambassador to "just hang on through election". 
Johnson was told by Defence Secretary Clifford that the interference was illegal and threatened the chance for peace. 
Nixon went on to become president and eventually signed a Vietnam peace deal in 1973
In a series of remarkable White House recordings we can hear Johnson's reaction to the news. 
In one call to Senator Richard Russell he says: "We have found that our friend, the Republican nominee, our California friend, has been playing on the outskirts with our enemies and our friends both, he has been doing it through rather subterranean sources. Mrs Chennault is warning the South Vietnamese not to get pulled into this Johnson move." 
He orders the Nixon campaign to be placed under FBI surveillance and demands to know if Nixon is personally involved. 
When he became convinced it was being orchestrated by the Republican candidate, the president called Senator Everett Dirksen, the Republican leader in the Senate to get a message to Nixon. 
The president knew what was going on, Nixon should back off and the subterfuge amounted to treason. 
Publicly Nixon was suggesting he had no idea why the South Vietnamese withdrew from the talks. He even offered to travel to Saigon to get them back to the negotiating table.
Johnson felt it was the ultimate expression of political hypocrisy but in calls recorded with Clifford they express the fear that going public would require revealing the FBI were bugging the ambassador's phone and the National Security Agency (NSA) was intercepting his communications with Saigon. 
So they decided to say nothing. 
The president did let Humphrey know and gave him enough information to sink his opponent. But by then, a few days from the election, Humphrey had been told he had closed the gap with Nixon and would win the presidency. So Humphrey decided it would be too disruptive to the country to accuse the Republicans of treason, if the Democrats were going to win anyway. 
Nixon ended his campaign by suggesting the administration war policy was in shambles. They couldn't even get the South Vietnamese to the negotiating table. 
He won by less than 1% of the popular vote.
Adding: the notion that Trump is in any way anomalous is belied by this story. There has been something very sick and dangerous afoot in Republican party post-Eisenhower, and especially post-Ford. Trump is only the latest manifestation.
We've come a long way

by digby

Trump stiffs the Freedom Kids

by digby

Remember this amazing campaign song?

Are you serious?
Apologies for freedom—
I can’t handle this!

When freedom rings—
Answer the call!
On your feet!
Stand up tall!
Freedom’s on our shoulders.

Enemies of freedom
Face the music
Come on, boys—take ‘em down!

President Donald Trump knows how
To make America great
Deal from strength or get crushed every time…

Over here…
Over there…
Freedom and liberty everywhere…

Oh, say can you see
It’s not so easy
But we have to stand up tall and answer freedom’s call

We’re the land of the free and the brave… USA…
The stars and stripes are flying
Let’s celebrate our freedom
Inspire, proudly, freedom to the world

American pride…
It’s attitude, it’s who we are

Stand up tall…
We’re the red, white, and blue
Fiercely free, that’s who!
Our colors don’t run, no sirree…

Over here…
Over there…
Freedom and liberty everywhere…

Oh, say can you see
It’s not so easy
But we have to stand up tall and answer freedom’s call!

Well, guess what?

It started in Pensacola. When Popick first reached out to the Trump campaign about performing, he spoke with various people including former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. His understanding from the campaign was that the Kids would make two appearances in Florida, where Popick lives. The first event didn't come to fruition, and Popick says he asked for $2,500 in payment for the second performance, in Pensacola. The campaign made a counter-offer: How about a table where the group could presell albums? Popick took the deal.

When they arrived at the venue, though, there was no table, Popick says. The result was "complete chaos," he said. "They clearly had made no provisions for that."

Popick, believing that he was owed some alternate compensation, tried to contact the campaign afterward, without luck. In addition to costs spent on promotional materials for the nonexistent table, Popick says, he also lost several promotional opportunities due to confusion over his relationship with the campaign.

When Trump made the sudden decision to skip the January Fox News debate and instead hold an event for veterans, a representative of the campaign called Popick to see if the Freedom Kids might perform. The call came the day before the event, Popick says, which was being held in Des Moines at 6:30 p.m. With the promise that the exposure from the event would be "huge," Popick readily agreed, and the kids and their parents packed up for a direct flight to Chicago and a long drive to Iowa.

It wasn't to be. When the plane landed, Popick had a message from the campaign staffer indicating that there was a change of plan. The campaign invited the performers to attend the rally, which they did, in their outfits. The campaign asked Popick not to talk to the media, he says, but then gave them seats within arm's length of the press. "They just were constantly coming over, wanting pictures," Popick said of the news media. "They wanted to take pictures, they wanted to ask questions — and I had to be a real jerk." The cost of the flights, rental car and hotel were all absorbed by Popick.

[Donald Trump used money donated for charity to buy himself a Tim Tebow-signed football helmet]

After that, he kept reaching out "again and again and again and again," without luck. He was passed around between staffers; calls went unreturned even after calls were promised. Emails Popick sent to the campaign (which he shared with The Post) detail the interaction between himself and the campaign and his ultimate request. "We are now asking and DEMANDING for what has been promised to us and is now long-overdue (and has been rightly earned by us); that is, a performance at the convention," an email dated July 9 reads. "Or, be made whole."

An email to the campaign requesting their understanding of the agreement was not returned by our deadline.

"These are guys that insist they're straight shooters," Popick said, "'You may not like what we're going to say, but we mean what we say and we say what we mean' — and they just would not say anything of any substance!"

"I've invested a lot of time, effort, money," he continued, "and it's just been complete silence."

It's hard to believe that they would do this ... well, actually it's totally believable. Join the long line of Americans who've been stiffed by Donald Trump. I've said it before, if you're doing any work for the Trrump campaign get your money up front.

But I have to love this:

"These are guys that insist they're straight shooters," Popick said, "'You may not like what we're going to say, but we mean what we say and we say what we mean' — and they just would not say anything of any substance!"

The hell you say ...


DNC DAY 1: Michelle Sets the World Right 

By Dennis Hartley

July 25 dawned a bit ominously for America. From the east coast…

Lightning strike, Empire State Building 7/25 (Henrik Moltke, Intercept)

To the west coast…

Wildfires rage near Big Sur, California 7/25 (The New Milford Spectrum)

Clearly, the gods were angry. WTF was happening? Are we actually living in that United States of impending doom and dystopian Hellscape, as envisioned by the speakers at the RNC last week?

I began to despair. All seemed lost. But then, I heard this lady speak:

Then somehow, all seemed right with the world. She gave me hope.

And that’s a good thing.

crossposted from DenofCinema
About that bump

by digby

From Princeton's Sam Wang:

The measure of the post-RNC bounce so far is a median swing of 4 percentage points 1 percentage point. For stragglers, see HuffPollster.

One point is not an impressive change. Recall that in states won by Mitt Romney (R) in 2012, Trump has been lagging by about 9 percentage points. A CBS crosstab (can’t find at the moment – perhaps a reader can help) reports that Trump’s progress was made entirely with Republicans – whose support went up by 2 points. This suggests that with many reluctant Republican voters, Trump did not close the sale. Also, note that some of the change may be changes in how likely people were to respond to the survey. And of course, it remains to be seen whether any increase in support is lasting.

Current numbers do indicate that the race has closed up a bit. As of today, the election could possibly go to Trump. However, the election is not today.

Convention bounces aren’t what they used to be. Shown below are patterns that come from Gallup data, 1984-2012 in the net change in direct support for a candidate.

As you can see, the median change in candidate support in modern times is only 2 or 3 percentage points.

This reflects what I wrote about over the weekend, decreases in net impact, i.e.change in “likelihood of supporting candidate”, which allows favorability to be measured without forcing voters to change their minds.

In the CNN/ORC poll (see Q13), 42% of respondents said they were “more likely to support Trump,” and 44% said “less likely.” That’s a net difference of negative 2 percent, which is worse than any value in the graph above. By that measure, the Republican convention was a failure.

In both graphs, a notable shift occurred around the time that national elections became more polarized, in 2000. We are in an era of government shutdowns, endless Congressional investigative hearings, criminalization of political opposition, and ever-more-contentious judicial nominations. Voter entrenchment appears to be just one more symptom.

In the coming week you may be surprised to see relatively little change in the Princeton Election Consortium electoral-vote tracker and November win probability. There are two reasons: (1) We use state polls, which take time to reflect national shifts. (2) The Bayesian-win probability listed in the banner uses polls over the entire 2016 campaign to set a prior expectation for where things are likely to head. The second assumption also has the more traditional name of “regression to the mean.” Effectively, these two mechanisms prevent the calculations from spinning out of countrol whenever there is a momentary bump in polling. Therefore, today’s November win probability is 80%.

Of course, if the race shifts in a lasting manner, it will show up eventually. Just to state the obvious, now is not the optimal time to gauge where the race is headed in steady state. Recall that in 2008, the Republican convention and the addition of Sarah Palin to the ticket led the race to briefly appear tied.

If you want to see the prediction without the Bayesian prior, the assumption that polls can drift equally in either direction, toward Clinton or toward Trump, is therandom drift probability. Today, that probability is 65%.

This is why it's helpful to have women at the top

by digby

I don't know if they would have responded this quickly if Samantha Bee hadn't tweeted a reaction, but the fact is they did. That nobody knew how offensively sexist it was to begin with is still a sad reality of America life:
It was one woman looking out for another. But Samantha Bee had second thoughts.

The brash, brainy comedian — who broke ground this year by becoming the only female late-night host in a crowded field dominated by men — took to Twitter on Monday night to tell her own network, TBS, to "delete your account" after the network posted a video comparing Hillary Clinton's laugh to that of wild hyenas.

The network responded on Tuesday morning by issuing an apology. "This post was obviously a poor attempt at humor and has been taken down," a statement read. "Moving forward we'll leave political satire to professionals like Samantha Bee."

Bee's tweet, which was quickly deleted, was posted just as the first night of the Democratic National Convention concluded with a rousing speech from Bernie Sanders calling on disruptive supporters to rally around the presumptive presidential nominee, the first female major-party nominee in U.S. history.

The network posted the controversial video to Twitter on Sunday. "Move over Donkey! There’s a new mascot in town. ... #ImWithHyena," the caption read.

The video, titled, "Hillary Clinton's Call of the Wild," runs 24 seconds and features clips of a laughing Clinton alternating with shots of a pack of wild hyenas making cackling sounds.

I'm sure it was hilarious.

I've never understood this particular hit. To me her laugh sounds like a mirthful belly laugh which I think is one of her better personal qualities. But all you have to do is look at the internet to see mountains of evidence that people find her laugh to be a horrifying blight on humanity so what do I know? Hillary Clinton's voice seems to drive people crazy.

In any case, women leaders' voices are policed in ways that men's are not with an expectation that they be more masculine, but also feminine. It's a tough line to walk.

Democrats in disarray (and so what?)

by digby

I wrote about Day-1 for Salon this morning

Day one of the Democratic National Convention started out the way we might have expected considering the week-end's events. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz, who had been relieved of duty the day before, was still on the hot seat hanging on to the job of gavelling in the convention seemingly unaware of just how toxic she'd become at the Philadelphia gathering. Then she was booed by her own Florida delegation and within a couple of hours it was announced that she'd withdrawn from her duties at the DNC and rumor had it she had decided to get on a plane to Florida. In any case she was nowhere to be seen for the rest of the day. The reign of Wasserman-Shultz was finally over.

But nobody expected that at a rally for his delegates later in the morning Bernie Sanders would be booed as well when he exhorted his followers to support Hillary Clinton. The lusty booing at both events led to a day of breathless media reporting about crazed Sanders supporters promising to disrupt the convention. Reporters took to the streets to interview every odd duck protester they could find to back up their prediction. There were plenty of them. Philadelphia was crawling with thousands of protesters  for various causes and virtually all of them were Bernie Sanders supporters vowing never to vote for Hillary Clinton. Or so it seemed on television anyway.

As the time came for the convention to begin the delegates were rowdy and worked up and rumors were flying through the media that the Sanders delegates were planning walk outs and protests and promising to boo and jeer everyone who uttered the name Clinton on the stage last night. And for the first couple of hours it seemed as though that might be right. There were a lot of "Bernie" and "Hillary" chants which wasn't unusual at a political convention. But there were also some vissue protests about the TPP and yes, some booing at the mention of Clinton. People were getting nervous.

But before long it started to calm down likely due to a couple of important gestures and entreaties. The first came in the form of a statement from the DNC signed by the new chair Donna Brazile:
“On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic party for inexcusable remarks made over email. These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not — and will not — tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates. Individual staffers have also rightfully apologized for their comments, and the DNC is taking appropriate action to ensure it never happens again."
Then Senator Sanders sent this text to his supporters:
Our credibility as a movement will be damaged by booing, turning of backs, walking out or other similar displays. That's what the corporate media wants. That's what Donald Trump wants. But that's not what will expand the progressive movement in this country. I know everyone is frustrated especially by the the recent DNC disclosures. But as a result of this disclosure Debbie Wassserman Schgultz was forced to esign. This is a very positive sign. We have made great progress in the last year. Let's continue going forward. I would ask you as a personal courtesy to me to not engage in any kind of protest of demonstration on the convention floor. 
Going forward there were some scattered chants that were mostly unintelligible but as the night wore on the focus turned much more toward the speakers and less toward the audience. If there was continuous booing and heckling in the hall the television audience didn't hear it.

The contrast between the speakers line-up at the RNC and the DNC couldn't have been more stark. Where the Republicans offered up D-List TV stars and unknown athletes, the Democrats had Sarah Silverman (who gave the Bernie or Bust folks a little piece of her mind about the booing) and Demi Lovato and the classic singer songwriter Paul Simon, whose song "America" had been the soundtrack for a beautiful poetic Bernie Sanders ad during the primaries. (He chose to sing "Bridge of Troubled Waters" which was a perfect theme song for the day).

The political stars were even more impressive. Unlike the RNC which seemed to require hate speech from every person on stage culminating in a full blown primal scream by the keynote speakers, who incited shrieks of "lock her up!" or "Hillary for Prison" from the crowd,the DNC speeches were upbeat and optimistic. To the extent that Trump was even mentioned it seemed to be almost in passing. The focus was on specific issues, the future and the particular qualities and qualifications that made Hillary Clinton the right person to lead the country into it.

By the time the prime time speakers, Corey Booker, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders spoke the crowd was primed for some inspirational oratory and they got it. Booker overcame the last of the heckling and energized the crowd. Michelle Obama gave the best speech of the night, by far, making the most personal case for Clinton in the most poetic terms. (Melania Trump will have a lot to work with for her future speaking engagements.) Warren spoke to the progressive Democrats to persuade them that Clinton's tenacity and fighting spirit made her a strong advocate for the cause and Sanders gave his followers exactly what they were looking for, an impassioned entreaty to keep their progressive movement alive past the election.

It wasn't Pollyanna night by any means. There was plenty of criticism of the system and a long list of issues that need attention. But it wasn't anything like the Darkness at Noon dystopia of the RNC. Instead of promises to "Make America Great Again" which implies a return to the past, these people made a pitch for making America's better for future generations.

It's possible the discord that characterized much of day one prior to the big speeches will continue today and beyond. It's also possible that there will continue to be disagreements on the floor and some protests could still break out in the hall. (There has been some talk of a walk out on Tim Kaine on Wednesday as well as some other demonstrations.) There will almost certainly be plenty of people in the streets protesting for their causes. Democratic Party politics has never been entirely well-behaved.

But this first day was actually pretty interesting and pretty inspiring. Maybe a little passion and a little drama isn't such bad thing after all.

Perspiration then inspiration

by Tom Sullivan

What a difference a week makes. Plus, Corey Booker, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and the Russians.

After some nervous moments early yesterday when Bernie Sanders' own delegates booed him for supporting Hillary Clinton, the Democrats' national convention cranked up in Philadelphia last night with a string of speeches that shook the Wells Fargo Center. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz had announced her resignation, been booed by her own Florida delegation at breakfast, and was nowhere to be seen by last night. By afternoon, the FBI reported it was investigating stolen DNC emails, and:

... suspects that Russian government hackers breached the networks of the Democratic National Committee and stole emails that were posted to the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks on Friday. It’s an operation that several U.S. officials now suspect was a deliberate attempt to influence the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, according to five individuals familiar with the investigation of the breach.
Even after a request from Sanders not to boo or protest during the convention, chants from a few Sanders delegates interrupted speakers at any mention of Hillary Clinton until Sarah Silverman told "Bernie-or-bust" delegates, "You're being ridiculous." It was a moment.

But the mood and speeches last night were a remarkable departure from the xenophobic gloom and witch trial antics at the Republican convention last week in Cleveland. Time (and sleep deprivation) prevent remarking on stunning speeches by Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders (whose welcome almost prevented him speaking). But it was Michelle Obama's speech that will be most remembered. If you missed it last night, you owe it to yourself to watch. The text is below the video.

Thank you all, thank you so much. It is hard to believe that it has been eight years since I first came to this convention to talk with you about why I thought my husband should be president. Remember how I told you about his character and his conviction? His decency and grace? The traits we have seen every day as he has served our country in the White House.

I also told you about our daughters, how they are the heart of our hearts, the center of our world, and during our time in the White House we have had the joy of watching them grow from bubbly little girls into poised young women.

A journey that started soon after we arrived in Washington when they set off for their first day at their new school. I will never forget that winter morning as I watched our girls, just 7 and 10 years old, pile into those black SUVs with all those men with guns. And that's all their little faces pressed up against the window, and the only thing I could think was, What have we done? At that moment, I realized that our time in the White House would form the foundation of who they would become. And how well we manage this experience could truly make or break them.

That is what Barack and I think about every day as he tried to guide and protect our girls from the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight. How we urged them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith. How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country. How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don't stoop to their level. Our motto is, when they go low, we go high.

With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are the most important role model.

Let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as president and first lady because we know that our words and actions matter, not just to our girls but the children across this country. Kids who say, “I saw you on TV,” “I wrote the report on you for school.” Kids like the little black boy who looked up at my husband, his eyes wide with hope, and he wondered, Is my hair like yours?

Make no mistake about it, this November, when we get to the polls, that is what we are deciding. Not Democrat or Republican, not left or right. In this election, and every election, it is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives. I am you tonight because in this election, there is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be president of the United States, and that is our friend Hillary Clinton.

I trust Hillary to lead this country because I have seen her lifelong devotion to our nation’s children. Not just her own daughter, who she has raised to perfection, but every child who needs a champion: kids who take the long way to school to avoid the gangs. Kids who wonder how they will ever afford college. Kids whose parents don't speak a word of English, but dream of a better life; who look to us to dream of what they can be.

Hillary has spent decades doing the relentless work to actually make a difference in their lives. Advocating for kids with disabilities as a young lawyer, fighting for children’s health care as first lady, and for quality child care in the senate.

And when she did not win the nomination eight years ago, she did not get angry or disillusioned. Hillary did not pack up and go home because ... Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own disappointment. She proudly stepped up to serve our country once again as secretary of state, traveling the globe to keep our kids safe. There were moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being [torn] apart for how she looked, or how she talked, or even how she laughed.

But here's the thing: What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure.

She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life. And when I think about the kind of president that I want for my girls and all our children, that is what I want. I want someone with the proven strength to persevere.

Somebody who knows this job and takes it seriously. Somebody who understands that the issues of our nation are not black or white. It cannot be boiled down to 140 characters. Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can't make snap decisions. You can't have thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well-informed.

I want a president with a record of public service. Someone whose life’s work shows our children that we don't chase fame and fortune for ourselves; we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed. And we give back even when we are struggling ourselves because we know that there there is someone worse off. There but for the grace of God, go I. I want a president who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters.

A president that truly believes in the [precedent] that our founders put forth all those years ago — that we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story. When crisis hits, we don't turn against each other, we listen to each other. We lean on each other. We are always stronger together. I am here tonight because I know that that is the kind of president Hillary Clinton will be and that is why in this election, I'm with her.

You see, Hillary understands that the presidency is about one thing and one thing only. It is about leaving something better for our kids. That is how we have always moved this country forward — by all of us coming together on behalf of our children. Volunteering to coach the team, teach the Sunday school class, because they know it takes a village.

Heroes of every color and creed who wear the uniform and risk their lives to pass on those blessings of liberty; police officers and protesters in Dallas who all that really want to keep our children safe; people who lined up in Orlando to donate blood because it could have been their son, or their daughter in the club.

Leaders like Tim Kaine, who show our kids what decency and devotion look like. Leaders like Hillary Clinton, who have the guts and the grace to keep coming back and putting those cracks in the highest and hardest glass ceiling until they finally break through, lifting all of us along with her.

That is the story of this country. The story that has brought me to the stage tonight. The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, who kept on striving, and hoping, and doing what needed to be done. So that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters — two beautiful intelligent black young women — play with the dog on the White House lawn.

And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all of our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that this country is not great. That somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on Earth.

And as my daughters set out on the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader worthy of my girls’ promise and all of our kids’ promise. A leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.

In this election, we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best, we cannot afford to be tired or frustrated or cynical. Hear me: Between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago. We need to knock on every door, we need to get out every vote, we need to pour every last ounce of passion into electing Hillary Clinton as president of the United States of America. Let's get to work. Thank you all and God bless.
If the black First Lady saying, "I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves" didn't bring a lump to your throat, there's little hope for you. But I won't say no hope. That's not who we are.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Let the healing begin

by digby

Donna Brazile sent this official DNC statement out this afternoon:

“On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic party for inexcusable remarks made over email. These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not — and will not — tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates. Individual staffers have also rightfully apologized for their comments, and the DNC is taking appropriate action to ensure it never happens again. 
We are embarking on a convention today that — thanks to the great efforts of Secretary Clinton, her team, Senator Sanders, his team, and the entire Democratic Party — will show a forward-thinking and optimistic vision for America, as compared to the dark and pessimistic vision that the GOP presented last week in Cleveland. Our focus is on electing Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine and Democrats across the country, thanks to Democratic Party that is strong, unified, and poised for victory in November.”
Sanders sent this text to his delegates:

It looks like night one is going to be pretty raucous and who knows what will happen. But there seems to be a concerted effort to unify.

As Nate Silver quipped on twitter: "It's a shitshow not a clusterfuck." That's good!

The good news is that sexism is dead, so we have that

by digby

Michelle Cottle addresses Hume:
To be fair, Hume is not alone in his musings. Lots of folks have been muttering (some more snidely than others) about why Carlson waited so long to come forward. Men in particular seem dismayed that a woman would not have immediately spoken up about this kind of mistreatment. And if the woman didn’t bother blowing the whistle at the time, then it must not have been that big of a deal, right?

Sorry, guys, but this is more treacherous terrain than you might think. Way too many women still find themselves putting up with way too much inappropriate nonsense from bosses for all kinds of reasons. Certainly, I’ve had colleagues who were impressively willing to call bullshit the second a boss stepped over the line. But not everyone wants to kick that hornet’s nest. (And it’s always a hornet’s nest.) Some women are loath to come forward lest they be labeled a troublemaker or—as Carlson says happened when she complained to Ailes about her Fox & Friends cohost, Steve Doocy—an uptight “man hater” who doesn’t play well with “the boys.” Others don’t want to do anything that might endanger their jobs and figure that they can defuse/deflect/manage the boss’s occasional skeeziness on their own. (Been there. Done that. Many times.) If the guy is a great leader in other ways—as so many people assure us that Ailes was—that makes women all the more hesitant to raise a stink. What if no one believes them? And even if they make their case, they’re still marked as the person who brought down a beloved leader.

Is there an ideal approach for handling out-of-line bosses? Probably not. In an ideal world, bosses like Ailes would keep their grubby mitts and pervy propositions to themselves.

This is not to say that women are the only ones to find themselves in awkward to-tell-or-not-to-tell positions. All whistle-blowing entails risks—chief among them that the company will trash the whistle-blower as a disgruntled employee. In many cases, this may be 100 percent true. But disgruntled doesn’t necessarily mean dishonest, nor do an employee’s motivations change the wrongness of the behavior they are reporting.

And here's what tends to happen when you do report:
As the New York Times is also reporting, the incident that Bakhtiar describes allegedly took place around Thanksgiving 2006 at the George Hotel, near the Fox bureau in Washington. At the time, Bakhtiar was going back and forth between New York and D.C. Wilson, who was about to be promoted to bureau chief, asked to meet Bakhtiar — “'off-campus' is how he put it” — to tell her about his new position. In the lobby of her hotel, he said he would make her a full-time Washington correspondent, which was her dream job. “Oh my God, Brian, that’s wonderful!” she recalls saying. “And he says, ‘Well, you know what that means for you.’ I said, ‘Brian, I won’t let you down. I’m going to bust my ass for you. You’re going to be so proud.’ And he says, ‘Yeah, I know. You’re great at that. But you know how I feel about you, right, Rudi?’ And all of a sudden I’m like, Uh oh. I said, ‘Well ... I really respect you, too. I think you’re wonderful at what you do.’ And he says, ‘No, no, no ... do you know how I really feel about you?’ I went from ecstasy to my whole body freezing. I said, ‘No, I’m not following, Brian.’ He said, ‘Well, let’s just say I want to see the inside of your hotel room.’”

Bakhtiar tried to get out of the situation as gracefully as possible.

“I just thought, Choose your words carefully, Rudi. He’s the next bureau chief, and you really want this job. So I said, ‘Brian, I have tremendous respect for you. If I’ve done anything to make you think that I feel that way about you, I apologize, because I thought we were friends, and we have a professional relationship, and I’m sorry, but I just don’t do that. I’ve never had to do that for a job. This is not okay with me.’ And he says, ‘What’s wrong with being friends with benefits?’” Bakhtiar again told him no. “‘I’m engaged. I’m in love with my fiancé. I really want this job, but there’s no way that I’m going to show you the inside of my hotel room.’” She ended the meeting as quickly as possible.
Reluctantly, Bakhtiar agreed to meet with Fox News’ vice-president for human resources, Maureen Hunt, to tell her about what had happened in D.C. and its effects on her career. She felt that Fox was making efforts to marginalize her by assigning her frivolous stories on the afternoon news show hosted by John Gibson, according to internal documents obtained by New York...

When she finally met with Fox general counsel Dianne Brandi and other Fox representatives, “They kept asking me, ‘Are you pressing charges? Are you pressing charges?’ And I kept saying, ‘Are you going to give me the job? I want the job. I don’t want problems. All I want is this Washington, D.C., correspondent’s job.’”

Not long afterward, Ailes called her into a meeting. “We’re letting you go, Rudi,” she remembers him telling her. “I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘John Moody doesn’t think you’re a good reporter.’ And I said, ‘Excuse me? I broke news for you in Iran. I was the only reporter able to get into Iran for you guys. You know as well as I do that this has everything to do with Brian Wilson, because I didn’t play ball.’” Ailes replied, “Oh no, come on! It had nothing to do with that.”

And then the inevitable:

In the end, the mediator ruled in Bakhtiar’s favor, instructing Fox to pay the $670,000 remaining on the three-year contract she signed with the network on July 13, 2006. Additionally, Fox had to cover Bakhtiar’s legal fees, “which were enormous,” she says.

For years after leaving Ailes’s channel, Bakhtiar says she couldn’t find equivalent work in television. She went into public relations for a while and is now a producer at Reuters in Washington. She says she decided to speak about her experience at Fox in the wake of Gretchen Carlson’s sexual-harassment lawsuit because she believes Fox’s culture of harassment extends far beyond Ailes, and women are afraid to talk about it. She thinks there are many good people at Fox but they are subjected to abusive behavior by senior managers, whose attitude about sexual harassment, she says, is that “it’s only a problem if you complain about it.”

It's not just Roger Ailes or Fox, this crapola happens in workplaces all over the country. (Try working in Hollywood for awhile.)

But see, sexism is dead, women are perfectly equal and there's not reason for all of us bitches to be so sensitive about everything. Which is great. So let's all relax. Donald trump is going to be president and everything will be just fine. Oh by the way, here's what he had to say about it:

Well, I don't want to comment. But he's been a friend of mine for a long time, and I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he's helped them. And even recently, and when they write books that are fairly recently released, and they say wonderful things about him.

And now all of a sudden they're saying these horrible things about him. It's very sad. Because he's a very good person. I've always found him to be just a very, very good person. And by the way, a very, very talented person. Look what he's done. So I feel very badly. But a lot of people are thinking he's going to run my campaign.

Bitchuz are liars, amirite???


The program for Monday

by digby


Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale
Founding and Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church -- Decatur, Georgia

Presentation of Colors
Members of Delaware County American Legions and Veterans of Foreign Wars

Pledge of Allegiance

Ruby Gilliam
Ohio Democratic National Delegate. At 93 years old, she is the oldest member of the Ohio delegation.

Clarissa Rodriguez
Texas Democratic National Delegate. At just 17 years of age, she is the Youngest DNC national delegate.

National Anthem

Bobby Hill
14 years old, Veteran member of Keystone State Boychoir (KSB)

Roll Call

The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Secretary, Democratic National Committee
Mayor of Baltimore


Boyz II Men
Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman, House Band

Introduction of and Report by the Credentials Committee

Lorraine Miller
Co-Chair, Credentials Committee
35th Clerk of the United States House of Representatives

James Roosevelt
Co-Chair, Credentials Committee
Grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Introduction of and Report by the Rules Committee

The Honorable Barney Frank
Co-Chair, Rules Committee
Former Member of the US House of Representatives, Massachusetts

The Honorable Leticia Van de Putte
Co-Chair, Rules Committee
Former State Senator, Texas District 26

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
House Democratic Leader
Member of the US House of Representatives, California

The Honorable Marcia Fudge
Member of the US House of Representatives, Ohio

The Honorable Maxine Waters
Member of the US House of Representatives, California

The Honorable Gina Raimondo
Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

The Honorable Hilda Solis
Former United States Secretary of Labor

The Honorable Norman Mineta
Former United States Secretary of Transportation

The Honorable Gary Peters
United States Senator, Michigan

The Honorable Wellington Webb
Former Mayor of Denver

The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Secretary, Democratic National Committee
Mayor of Baltimore

Turning Over the Gavel

The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Secretary of the Democratic National Committee, turns over the gavel to The Honorable Marcia Fudge, Permanent Chair of the 2016 Democratic Convention.


The Honorable Marcia Fudge
Member of the US House of Representatives, Ohio

Presentation of Rules Report
The Honorable Wellington Webb
Former Mayor of Denver


The Honorable Steny Hoyer
Parliamentarian, Democratic National Convention
House Democratic Whip
Member of the US House of Representatives, Maryland

Introduction of and Report by the Platform Committee
The Honorable Elijah Cummings
Member of the US House of Representatives, Maryland

The Honorable Shirley Franklin
Former Mayor of Atlanta

The Honorable Dannel Malloy
Governor of Connecticut

Presentation of Platform

Paul Booth
Member, Platform drafting committee

Voice Vote On Platform Committee Report

The Honorable Marcia Fudge
Member of the US House of Representatives, Ohio

The Honorable Shirley Franklin
Former Mayor of Atlanta

The Honorable Dannel Malloy
Governor of Connecticut

Remarks and Moment of Silence

The Honorable Robert Brady
Member of the US House of Representatives, Pennsylvania


The Honorable Brendan Boyle
Member of the US House of Representatives, Pennsylvania


The Honorable Raúl Grijalva
Member of the US House of Representatives, Arizona


The Honorable Nita Lowey
Member of the US House of Representatives, New York

Introduction of New York Electeds and Leaders

The Honorable Nita Lowey
Member of the US House of Representatives, New York

The Honorable Adriano Espaillat
New York State Senator

Remarks by Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

The Honorable Tina Kotek
Member, Oregon House of Representatives

The Honorable Kevin de León
California State Senator

The Honorable Stacey Abrams
House Minority Leader, Georgia General Assembly
Member, Georgia House of Representatives


The Honorable Keith Ellison
Member of the US House of Representatives, Minnesota

Remarks by Democratic Governors Association

The Honorable Dannel Malloy
Governor of Connecticut


Rev. Leah Daughtry
CEO of the 2016 Democratic National Convention


John Podesta
Clinton Campaign Chair

Congressional Hispanic Caucus


The Honorable Linda Sánchez
Member of the US House of Representatives, California


The Honorable Marty Walsh
Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts

Remarks by Labor Leaders

Lee Saunders
President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Lily Eskelsen Garcia
President, National Education Association

Mary Kay Henry
International President, Service Employees International Union

Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

Sean McGarvey
President, North America's Building Trades Unions

Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers



Pam Livengood
Keene, NH. Pam and her family have been personally affected by the growing substance abuse epidemic and are guardians for their grandson because of their daughter’s struggle with addiction.

The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen
United States Senator, New Hampshire


Demi Lovato

Steven Rodriguez, Charity Davis, Ayana Williams, House Band


The Honorable Jeff Merkley
United States Senator, Oregon

8:00pm – 10:00pm



Karla Ortiz (11-yr old) and Francisca Ortiz (mother)
Karla is an American citizen but her parents, including her mother, Francisca, are undocumented and live in fear of deportation.

Astrid Silva
DREAMer sharing her story and her fight to keep families together

The Honorable Luis Gutiérrez
Member of the US House of Representatives, Illinois



Jason and Jarron Collins
Twin brothers and former professional basketball players

Jesse Lipson
Founder, ShareFile

The Honorable Pat Spearman
Nevada State Senator



The Honorable Bob Casey
United States Senator, Pennsylvania

The Honorable Luke Feeney
Mayor of Chillicothe, Ohio

The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senator, New York

The Honorable  Al Franken
United States Senator, Minnesota


Sarah Silverman
Comedian, Actress and two-time Emmy Award winner

The Honorable Al Franken
United States Senator, Minnesota


Paul Simon
American musician, singer-songwriter and actor.


Mick Rossi, Carmen "CJ" Camerieri, Joel Guzman, Jim Oblon, Bakithi Kumalo, Vincent Nguini


Anastasia Somoza
International Disability Rights Advocate, Speaker And Consultant

10:00 PM – 11:00 PM


Eva Longoria
Founder, The Eva Longoria Foundation


The Honorable Cory Booker
United States Senator, New Jersey

Video Introduction of Michelle Obama


Michelle Obama
First Lady of the United States


Cheryl Lankford
San Antonio, TX


The Honorable Joseph P. Kennedy, III
Member of the US House of Representatives, Massachusetts

Keynote Remarks

The Honorable Elizabeth Warren
United States Senator, Massachusetts

The Honorable Bernie Sanders
United States Senator, Vermont


Rabbi Julie Schonfeld
Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly, first female rabbi to hold a chief executive position in an American rabbinical association
Make Your Own Reality! 

by tristero

Oh, yes. And those of us who remember Bush Jr., can't help thinking of this while watching John Oliver's brilliant, caustic comments:
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
One more demonstration that Trump is not, as many in the media will have you believe, an anomaly in an otherwise reasonable and serious national party, a party with decent-thinking national figures that was hijacked by some orange-furred infestation .

No. Trump is Republican values incarnate. And the attitude that Trump has towards reality is the same as Gingrich and as Ryan. If I feel it, it's a fact.

Hey, it worked for Bush.
The Don loves Vlad

by digby

Friendly reminder from a few months ago:
Donald Trump hasn't gotten a lot of big-name endorsements, so in that sense it's not a huge surprise that he'd embrace a thumbs up from someone pretty well-known. The catch is that the well-known person in this case, as you may have heard, was Vladimir Putin. And in accepting Putin's praise, Donald Trump ends up in exchanges like this one, from MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday.

TRUMP: When people call you "brilliant" it's always good, especially when the person heads up Russia.

HOST JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, I mean, also is a person who kills journalists, political opponents and ...

WILLIE GEIST: Invades countries.

SCARBOROUGH: ... and invades countries, obviously that would be a concern, would it not?

TRUMP: He's running his country, and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country.

SCARBOROUGH: But, again: He kills journalists that don't agree with him.

TRUMP: Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe.

A bit later, asked if he would condemn the killing of journalists, Trump replied, "Oh sure. Absolutely." And in the next response, "I've always felt fine about Putin. He's a strong leader. He's a powerful leader." Putin, Trump said, was respected as a leader -- his approval is in the 80s!

Seriously, he said this last December. He says a lot of things. But events of this week make such comments just a little bit more salient than they were before.

By the way, how come Manafort, with all his major RNC connections and all his skill hasn't run a presidential campaign until now? He hasn't even been involved with one since the 1980s when he decided to lead the Torture Lobby and start working exclusively for foreign dictators.

Odd, don't you think?

As is this:
Just weeks after she started preparing opposition research files on Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort last spring, Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa got an alarming message when she logged into her personal Yahoo email account.

“Important action required,” read a pop-up box from a Yahoo security team that is informally known as “the Paranoids.” “We strongly suspect that your account has been the target of state-sponsored actors.”

Chalupa — who had been drafting memos and writing emails about Manafort’s connection to pro-Russian political leaders in Ukraine — quickly alerted top DNC officials. “Since I started digging into Manafort, these messages have been a daily oc­­­­currence on my Yahoo account despite changing my p­­a­ssword often,” she wrote in a May 3 email to Luis Miranda, the DNC’s communications director, which included an attached screengrab of the image of the Yahoo security warning.

“I was freaked out,” Chalupa, who serves as director of “ethnic engagement” for the DNC, told Yahoo News in an interview, noting that she had been in close touch with sources in Kiev, Ukraine, including a number of investigative journalists, who had been providing her with information about Manafort’s political and business dealings in that country and Russia.

“This is really scary,” she said.

Chalupa’s message is among nearly 20,000 hacked internal DNC emails that were posted over the weekend by WikiLeaks as the Democratic Party gathered for its national convention in Philadelphia. Those emails have already provoked a convulsion in Democratic Party ranks, leading to the resignation of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the wake of posted messages in which she and other top DNC officials privately derided Bernie Sanders and plotted to undercut his insurgent campaign against Hillary Clinton.

But Chalupa’s message, which had not been previously reported, stands out: It is the first indication that the reach of the hackers who penetrated the DNC has extended beyond the official email accounts of committee officials to include their private email and potentially the content on their smartphones. After Chalupa sent the email to Miranda (which mentions that she had invited this reporter to a meeting with Ukrainian journalists in Washington), it triggered high-level concerns within the DNC, given the sensitive nature of her work. “That’s when we knew it was the Russians,” said a Democratic Party source who has been directly involved in the internal probe into the hacked emails. In order to stem the damage, the source said, “we told her to stop her research.”


Debbie Downer

by digby

After the successful, buttoned-up production of the Clinton campaign Vice-Presidential pick on Friday it seemed the narrative of the Democratic convention would be starkly different from the hectic, chaotic RNC. (Trump's VP rollout may have been the worst in history with leaks and second guessing and delays culminating in a 60 Minutes joint interview that looked like the most uncomfortable partnership since Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth.)

That's not to say that everyone was thrilled with her choice.  In fact there was a lot of grumbling from the left that Senator Tim Kaine is too centrist and there were many (including yours truly) who felt it was a missed opportunity to electrify the party with a more unconventional choice like Senator Elizabeth Warren or Labor Secretary Tom Perez.  But the roll out itself was handled masterfully, with no official leaking and what most people saw as a good introduction for Tim Kaine. After a week of dystopian demagoguery and an acceptance speech worthy of a banana republic dictator, the Democrats thought they were looking at a smooth and upbeat convention without a whole lot of drama, which was just what they wanted.

And then all hell broke loose. The emails that had been previously reported to have been stolen by Russian hackers (possibly at the behest of the Russian government) were released by Wikileaks and confirmed what had long been suspected  ---  that high level executives and staffers at the DNC had been actively hostile to the Sanders campaign. The Sanders contingent already gathering in Philadelphia for the convention were outraged and the various protests and challenges that were already scheduled took on a new urgency. Demands for action were instantaneous and the narrative of competence and unity that the Clinton campaign and the DNC had hoped would open the convention exploded all over Philadelphia.

The documents did not show any actual manipulation of the race but nonetheless the idea of any Democrat seeking to use someone's religious beliefs against them or party officials going beyond shooting the breeze among their colleagues to actually propose smearing a candidate they don't personally prefer is just wrong. That it wasn't acted upon is really beside the point. These DNC employees had no business even thinking in these terms much less communicating this way among themselves. It was inevitable there would be an outcry and a reckoning once it was proven that had happened.

The fact that Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, a long time nemesis of the progressive wing of the party, was at the helm and personally involved made it all the more imperative that swift action be taken. For many years she has been a living example of party establishment big-footing progressives in House primary campaigns, going back to when she worked for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee under Rahm Emmanuel and ran its red to blue program. Progressive Sanders supporters had good reason to be suspicious and documented proof of her hostility toward the Sanders campaign was the last straw. There would be no unity with her in charge.

Less publicly known was the apparent disdain in which she was also held by the establishment. According to this article in Politico high level members of the Clinton campaign, including campaign chairman John Podesta, had wanted her out for some time but the president wasn't interested in getting into an internecine battle in the last year of his administration so he didn't make the move. From the various new reports it was clearly very difficult to find anyone to speak up for Wasserman-Shultz's job performance.  

At mid-day Sunday it was announced that she would be stepping down as DNC chair, given a face-saving but powerless "honorary" title and would be replaced by long time Democratic stalwart Donna Brazile, an experienced hand who had run Jesse Jackson's campaign and who knows a little something about how to bring a party together after a fractious primary. Some of you may remember this from 1988:
In a move that sets the stage for a potential fight over delegates at the Democratic National Convention, the Rev. Jesse Jackson's campaign plans to send a letter to Gov. Michael S. Dukakis charging that the nomination process is ''inequitable,'' ''demonstrably unfair'' and ''distorted by rules that favor insider politics.''
That convention was quite dramatic, with a restless left wing led by a charismatic leader coming to the convention with a list of demands. (The media refrain then was "what does Jesse want?") And some people may also recall that one of Jackson's most ardent supporters back in the 80s was none other than the mayor of Burlington Vermont, Bernie Sanders.  The Sanders camp was reportedly very pleased with the Brazile appointment which may be because of that long ago association. 

This tension between the reformers and the establishment, the insider vs the outsiders, is ongoing and healthy.And  it's certainly nothing new for the Democratic Party. 

Both Senator Sanders and his combative campaign manager Jeff Weaver were obviously upset but satisfied with Wasserman-Shultz's resignation and made it clear in media appearances that Sanders did not intend to change his plan to endorse and work for the Clinton victory against the demagogue Donald Trump.  Weaver spoke with Chuck Todd on MSNBC and sounded downright optimistic about future reforms:
TODD:  I was going to say does the resignation tell -- should your supporters say, this resignation should show you that you're actually welcome in the Democratic Party? 
WEAVER:  Yes. 
TODD:  They want you in? 
WEAVER:  You can make a difference.  Yes. 
TODD:  You know, that actually, they should see this as a positive development, not some sort of negative development. 
WEAVER:  It's a very positive development.  I think it bodes well for the future of the party.
Sanders himself thanked Wasserman-Shultz for her years of service but emphasized the lesson that one hopes will be learned by all future party operatives: "The party leadership must also always remain impartial in the presidential nominating process, something which did not occur in the 2016 race." If they could carry that into the down ticket primaries as well, we might really get someplace. 


Channeling the anger

by Tom Sullivan

Photo: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A friend directed me to a Sunday post at DKos. It's about the emotional dynamics of our politics. It's about dealing with the raw feelings at work right now in the electorate. Because if there's one thing you should never do, it is try to talk people out of what they feel. Reason doesn't work well on that.

David Akadjian writes:

In sales, when someone has an objection, the first thing you need to do is acknowledge the objection. Honestly.

If you don’t hear the objection and honestly acknowledge it, you might as well stop. Not dismissively acknowledge it with a cliché like, “I hear what you’re saying” or “That’s a great point.” But honestly acknowledge the objection.

In politics, this involves emotion. You have to show some genuine emotion.

People say that Trump is honest not because he’s honest. It’s because he shows emotion and he’s acknowledging the anger people feel and that this rage is genuine. He’s not making fun of them. He’s not telling them they’re wrong. He’s not reading some scripted speech.

Does he lie? Constantly. It doesn’t matter to many people though, because he’s saying that they’re right to be angry. Similarly, it doesn’t matter to many on the religious right that he’s not religious. It doesn’t matter to many libertarians that he’s not libertarian. He’s angry. They’re angry. By and large this is what counts. (And yes, racism probably plays a big part in this and you will never win the consciously racist. You’re also never going to win people over by calling them racist though. So I find it more productive to teach about racism in other places.)

People don’t care that Trump lies because he is acknowledging a genuine concern of theirs. Similarly, this is one of the reasons people liked Bernie Sanders: Because he speaks to a concern genuinely. If you listen to someone like Elizabeth Warren, she does the same thing.
A lot of Bernie Sanders supporters are frustrated and angry too, but at different people. A few think they are going to Philadelphia to overturn the tables of the money changers. That probably won't happen, but at least Debbie Wasserman Schultz is stepping down (and probably shouldn't show up on stage). I get how they feel: angry that the world seems out of their control. It's a helpless feeling. I loathe that feeling. (In other quarters, people self-medicate by buying more guns.) Whether Hillary Clinton acknowledges the anger honestly in Philadelphia is her choice to make. She had best make it a good one. How Sanders delegates channel their feelings during and after the convention is similarly their choice to make. They are poised to build on their successes if they choose to.

One of the times I felt most frustrated was after I almost died in a head-on collision that didn't happen.

A friend and I were in my family's VW bus sitting at night in the left-turn lane of a major intersection and waiting for the light to turn. Out of nowhere, a white panel truck raced into the intersection headed straight for us through the opposite left-turn lane. I could see the driver's face inside. But instead of hitting us head-on, the van hit the left front of a passenger car that crossed between us, left to right, traveling with the light. The two vehicles slid past us and came to rest up against a phone pole on the corner to my right. The passenger car flipped up onto its right side when it hit the curb, its roof coming to rest against the pole. The driver of the still-upright van started to climb out the driver's side window.

As we sat there with our mouths hanging open, a pink Mustang convertible (I kid you not) screeched to a halt in the middle of the intersection. The Mustang driver jumped out, leveled a large revolver at the van driver and screamed for him to "Hold it!" He did. Our jaws dropped even lower.

The guy in the van was an escaped convict. The Mustang driver was a prison guard who had taken chase.

What happened next changed me. We jumped out and ran over to the wrecked car as the guard handcuffed his prisoner. A family was inside. With kids. Broken and bleeding. But we stood there, two high school kids, helpless, not knowing what we could or should to help as police and an ambulance arrived. That helplessness was one of the worst feelings of my life. I still hate that feeling.

Never again. It took time, but I eventually signed up for EMT training.

After George W. Bush invaded Iraq, I started doing this and more. I used to get angry. Now I just get busy.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Your Sunday Night Homework

by digby

This piece by Alexander Burns in the New York Times about Trump's historical antecedents and where he fits ideologically is extremely interesting. You won't be sorry you read it.  An excerpt:

Historians see in Mr. Trump’s candidacy the winding together of different strains in reactionary politics under a single banner. No reality television star has run for president before, but Mr. Trump, with his grasp of the art of notoriety, has forebears of a kind in General MacArthur and Charles A. Lindbergh, the celebrity aviator whose “America First” slogan Mr. Trump has appropriated, and in Hearst and Henry Ford, a pair of renowned and eccentric tycoons who eyed the presidency.

His message contains echoes of George Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor who sought the White House on a law-and-order platform, and of Mr. Perot and Lee A. Iacocca, modern industrialists drawn to politics and preoccupied with economic threats from Asia and Latin America.

Viewed from this angle, Mr. Trump looks less like a singular phenomenon of 2016, and more like the political equivalent of a comet that crosses the track of an American presidential campaign every few decades.

“We’ve seen everything in Trump before,” said Kevin Kruse, a political historian at Princeton, “but we’ve never seen it all together at once.”

For much of the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump has defied ideological labeling: He has ignored traditional cultural wedge issues like abortion rights and same-sex marriage, and has taken shifting and often contradictory stances on a host of other matters, from military intervention in Syria to the concept of universal health care.

Mr. Trump has brusquely dismissed the charge of philosophical inconsistency. “I’m a conservative,” he said in a speech in May in California. “But at this point, who cares?”

Yet beneath his swerving and scattered policy agenda, he has been steadfastly consistent over time on a few broad inclinations that define his political worldview.

To the extent that he has an ideology, it is a kind of fortress conservatism, taking a bunkered outlook on the world and fixating on challenges to America’s economic supremacy and to its character as a nation defined by the white working class.

Patrick J. Buchanan, who ran for president both as a populist Republican and as a third-party immigration hawk, called Mr. Trump a kindred spirit. “You could call it tribalism,” Mr. Buchanan said. “You could call it ethno-nationalism.”

Since Mr. Trump first toyed with running for president in the 1980s, he has been hostile to foreign trade and immigration and suspicious of international organizations he views as impinging on America’s free hand. He is distrustful of alliances with less powerful countries, which he has characterized as freeloading off America’s wealth and power.

In the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump has suggested withdrawing from NATO and pulling troops back from longstanding bases in countries like South Korea and Germany. His threats are a precise echo of a speech he gave in New Hampshire in 1987, declaring that the United States had been “kicked around” by ungrateful allies in Asia and the Middle East.

In domestic matters, Mr. Trump’s main impulse is toward hard-line law and order. He is indifferent to civil liberties and contemptuous of objections to racial targeting. For decades, he has described the country as harried by rampant crime, and has typically placed blame with different nonwhite communities, including urban blacks, Hispanic immigrants and Native Americans.

Long before he called for banning Muslim immigration and torturing terrorism suspects, Mr. Trump argued for unleashing the New York Police Department to attack social unrest with a mailed fist. He spoke approvingly of the Chinese government’s brutal crackdown in Tiananmen Square. He recently expressed admiration for Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s autocratic president, and Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi dictator, whom he praised as tough on terrorism.

He is not the first American businessman with presidential aspirations to be drawn to strongman government: Hearst and Ford, the anti-Semitic car manufacturer who considered a presidential bid in 1924, both maintained cordial and even admiring relations with emerging fascist regimes in Italy and Germany.

Charles Murray, a conservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said Mr. Trump’s autocratic tendencies placed him well outside the conservative intellectual mainstream.

“The word fascist is simply thrown around too easily, and so I don’t want to use that word. But part of Trumpism is the man on the white horse,” Mr. Murray said. “That’s neither left nor right. That’s authoritarian, and it’s really, really scary.”

That's the Charles Murray saying that. And he's right.

There's much more to the article all worth reading. Let's just say that the salient point about all of these previous examples of similar strong men types is that none of them actually got the nomination of one of America's two main political parties. It's much closer to actual reality than it's ever been before.


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