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Thursday, July 28, 2016


The real work ahead

by Tom Sullivan

Secretary Hillary Clinton has some tough acts to follow tonight when she accepts her party's nomination for president. There were too many "moments" to count at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia last night.

Vice President Joe Biden's celebration of the American spirit:

The 21st century is going to be the American century. Because we lead not only by example of our power, but by the power of our example. That is the history of the journey of Americans. And God willing, Hillary Clinton will write the next chapter in that journey.

We are America, second to none, and we own the finish line! Don't forget it! God bless you all and God protect our troops.
There was former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (of all people), a self-made billionaire unloading on "dangerous demagogue" Donald Trump, several times Bloomberg's lesser in net worth (that had to sting):
I'm a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one! Trump says he'll punish manufacturers that move to Mexico or China, but the clothes he sells are made overseas in low-wage factories. He says he wants to put Americans back to work, but he games the US visa system so he can hire temporary foreign workers at low wages. He says he wants to deport 11 million undocumented people, but he seems to have no problem in hiring them. What'd I miss here?!
Democratic nominee for Vice President, Sen. Tim Kaine, made a case for why voters can trust Hillary Clinton, and then took down Trump with his own words:
And as he's serving our nation abroad, I trust Hillary with our son's life.

You know who I don't trust? Donald Trump. The guy promises a lot. But you might have noticed, he has a habit of saying the same two words right after he makes his biggest promises. You know the words I mean? "Believe me."

It's gonna be great — believe me. We're gonna build a wall and make Mexico pay for it — believe me! We're gonna destroy ISIS so fast — believe me! There's nothing suspicious in my tax returns — believe me.
And finally, President Barack Obama's remarkable valedictory speech and his full-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton: "[T]here has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America." Obama stunned the audience when he referenced Donald Trump (not by name) in the same sentence with fascists, communists, jihadists and "homegrown demagogues."

But there was something else Obama and several other speakers mentioned last night. Obama said (emphasis mine):
So if you agree that there’s too much inequality in our economy, and too much money in our politics, we all need to be as vocal and as organized and as persistent as Bernie Sanders’ supporters have been. We all need to get out and vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, and then hold them accountable until they get the job done.

If you want more justice in the justice system, then we’ve all got to vote – not just for a President, but for mayors, and sheriffs, and state’s attorneys, and state legislators. And we’ve got to work with police and protesters until laws and practices are changed.
Nick Rathod, an Obama White House veteran, echoes what speakers reminded us last night, that there is much more to this election than the marquee race at the top of the ticket. “Trump and Hillary are taking up all the oxygen [but] really where policy making is getting done is the states.” Democrats' 2010 losses were catastrophic:
In Rathod’s opinion, Democrats have only themselves to blame. Even though both President Obama and outgoing Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz started out as state legislators, “The Democratic Party has effectively ignored down-ballot races,” he says. The situation has become so dire that Politico reports the president will campaign for state legislative candidates this fall. He has a lot of catching up to do. Republicans “have made smart and large investments in both state races and infrastructure building that has allowed them this historic control of state legislative chambers and policymaking at the state level,” Rathod says.
This is why (other than Supreme Court picks) our fixation on the top of the ticket – on a savior from the left or the right – is misplaced. Ask me. I live in North Carolina. Ask friends in Michigan, Wisconsin, or Kansas, or those fighting noxious, revanchist legislation in other states.

Mad at the DNC? Fine. Since they abandoned the 50 State strategy they don't exist out here. Take Obama's advice and get out and help Democrats win those down-ticket races. The only way you'll save your state and reform the DNC is from the ground up, not from the White House down.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

When Ronald Reagan was president and the cold war still raged

by digby

This was what Trump believed was the problem. From 1987:

''There's nothing wrong with America's Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can't cure.'' 
''For decades, Japan and other nations have been taking advantage of the United States'' and that it has been costing this nation in terms of the economy, deficit and taxes, the ad said. ''The saga continues unabated as we defend the Persian Gulf.'' 
Trump described the Gulf as ''an area of only marginal significance to the United States for its oil supplies, but one upon which Japan and others are almost totally dependent.'' 
''Why are these nations not paying the United States for the human lives and billions of dollars we are losing to protect their interests? ... The world is laughing at America's politicians as we protect ships we don't own, carrying oil we don't need, destined for allies who won't help.''
He has literally not evolved in his thinking on this for more than three decades. He's been making the same trivial argument since he was a young man, complaining about the US being "laughed at" for paying money to ensure the world doesn't blow up as if that's more important than the fact that we haven't had a major war in Europe for half a century --- and no nuclear war ever. He never understood the point of any of it.

*I'm not saying that nothing should ever change about NATO. But Trump's argument of decades is stupid, myopic and irrelevant. It was stupid in 1987 and it's stupid now.

Would Trump use the NSA for political purposes?

by digby

Of course he would. To all those who insist that Clinton is worse on issues of civil liberties and privacy than the authoritarian, strongman demagogue, wake up. His calling for the Russians to release Clinton's "missing emails" shows that he's even more Nixonian than Nixon and his buddies were when they broke into the Watergate --- and did a whole lot more with the powers of the presidency to punish his political opponents.

Consider this:
[Lewandowski] also shook his head when asked about a report of dissension within the lean and efficient team, including fears among the staff that some of the campaign’s Trump Tower offices were bugged with listening devices.

“This is media hype,” he said...

As for the reports of people fearing they were targets of bugging, he said, “I think that’s a lot of speculation I don’t think that’s going on at all.”

Mr. Manafort, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” also gave a less-than-definitive denial about the bugging.

“Do I believe it?” he said. “No, I don’t believe it. But I don’t know who said that.”
Earlier this month, following a protracted dispute with Trump and his co-owner, casino billionaire Phil Ruffin, the National Labor Relations Board officially certified a union for over 500 staff at the hotel. Workers argue they have been subjected to surveillance, intimidation, and unlawful dismissal as they have sought to organize.
At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate, according to six former workers. Several of them said he used that console to eavesdrop on calls involving staff.

Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks responded to written questions with one sentence: “This is totally and completely untrue.”

The managing director of Mar-a-Lago, Bernd Lembcke, did not respond to emails. Reached by phone, he said he referred the email query to Trump’s headquarters and said, “I have no knowledge of what you wrote.”

At the 126-room Mar-a-Lago mansion, Trump keeps an apartment set aside for himself and his family, and rents the rest out to guests and members.

BuzzFeed News spoke with six former employees familiar with the phone system at the estate. 
Four of them — speaking on condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements — said that Trump listened in on phone calls at the club during the mid-2000s. They did not know if he eavesdropped more recently.

They said he listened in on calls between club employees or, in some cases, between staff and guests. None of them knew of Trump eavesdropping on guests or members talking on private calls with people who were not employees of Mar-a-Lago. They also said that Trump could eavesdrop only on calls made on the club’s landlines and not on calls made from guests’ cell phones.

Each of these four sources said they personally saw the telephone console, which some referred to as a switchboard, in Trump’s bedroom.

None of the four supports Trump’s bid for president. All said they enjoyed their time working at Mar-a-Lago.

Two other sources — the tycoon’s former butler and Mar-a-Lago’s former security director — said the console in Trump’s private apartment merely made it easier for Trump to call other rooms in the estate. They said their former boss either did not or would not listen in on calls. They both support Trump for president.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, is running at a time when Americans are increasingly concerned about surveillance — both by the government and by their employers. Some of his own campaign staff feared that their offices in Trump Tower in New York might be bugged, the New York Times reported last month. 
Trump has backed the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata, telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that “I tend to err on the side of security.” Trump added, “I assume when I pick up my telephone people are listening to my conversations anyway, if you want to know the truth.”

And then there's this:
On Thursday evening, Trump faced questions from NBC News about creating a database system to track Muslims, which Trump said at the time he “would certainly implement.” On Friday, Trump attempted to distance himself from the comments, saying in a tweet, “I didn’t suggest a database-a reporter did.”

At a campaign rally Saturday at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, Trump explained that he was originally “referring to the wall [along the Southern U.S. border], but database is OK. And watch list is OK. And surveillance is OK.”

He continued: “If you don’t mind, I want to be, I want to surveil. I want surveillance of these people that are coming in, the Trojan horse, I want to know who the hell they are.”

I can't find any evidence that Clinton used the powers of the government to spy on her employees or her political enemies. It's possible that she will do it, of course. But there's no doubt that if he can do it, he will. Buh-lieve me.


ICYMI: Trump's memorable quote from the press conference

by digby

Here it is in all its glory. The GOP nominee for president:
TRUMP: I'm not going to tell Putin what to do. Why should I tell Putin what to do? He already did something today where he said don't blame them, essentially, for your incompetence. 
Let me tell you, it's not even about Russia or China or whoever it is that's doing the hacking. It was about the things that were said in those e-mails. They were terrible things, talking about Jewish, talking about race, talking about atheist, trying to pin labels on people -- what was said was a disgrace, and it was Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and believe me, as sure as you're sitting there, Hillary Clinton knew about it. She knew everything.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz could not breathe without speaking and getting approval from Hillary Clinton. Couldn't breathe. And you saw that. It also showed that it was a fixed race, but I've been saying that long before I saw the e-mails. It was a rigged race. It was totally rigged. And Debbie Wasserman Schultz rigged it for Hillary Clinton, and the sad part is, Bernie Sanders has, to use an old word that I use on occasion, he's lost his energy. He wants to go home and go to sleep. But he's got a lot of people that walked out last night. Now, hundreds of people walked out of the Democrat Convention last night. I didn't even hear about it. Nobody showed it. I didn't see it on television. You people don't talk about it. 
The Republican Convention was incredible. I hear I had one of the biggest bounces in decades. Like, some people are saying nine points. In fact, a poll just came out ten minutes ago, "Los Angeles Times", Trump 47, Clinton 40. And the reason is that people are sick and tired of Hillary Clinton. 
QUESTION: (inaudible) Putin (ph) say stay out? Why not say that?
TRUMP: Why do I have to (ph) get involved with Putin? I have nothing to do with Putin. I've never spoken to him. I don't know anything about him other than he will respect me. He doesn't respect our president. And if it is Russia -- which it's probably not, nobody knows who it is -- but if it is Russia, it's really bad for a different reason, because it shows how little respect they have for our country, when they would hack into a major party and get everything. But it would be interesting to see -- I will tell you this -- Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens. That'll be next. 
Because he invited Russia to release Hillary Clinton's private emails to the press, which some people might consider an invitation to a foreign country to help him win the election, it's gotten the most attention. And for good reason.

But also note that he, and most Republicans along with many members of the press, are claiming that the DNC emails are the real scandal because they show one email where someone suggested that they use Bernie Sanders religious beliefs against him, which is indeed very wrong. There is also evidence of hostility within the DNC toward the Sanders campaign, also very wrong. The DNC apologized, Wasserman-Shultz was run out of the convention and that was the right thing to do. But there isn't any evidence that their hostility translated into any action that caused Sanders to lose the election. Really folks, that did not happen.

But what about the rest of what he said?  Donald "they're rapists and criminals" Trump is seriously clutching his pearls over some DNC official  "talking about Jewish, talking about race, talking about atheist, trying to pin labels on people?" The man who has inspired the white supremacist movement in this country to heights it hasn't seen for decades? The man who personally tweets bogus racist statistics and antisemitic symbols? The king of the fucking birthers? You've got to be kidding me.

Just as there's no evidence that Trump himself directed the hack against the DNC there's no evidence that Hillary Clinton directed the DNC to try to thwart Sanders' election. But let's just say that if the former were proven to be true, there would be some issues that go far beyond hardball party politics.

Indeed, if "someone" outside the US, for reasons that are obscure, is trying to tilt the election on behalf of this lunatic that strikes me as substantially more interesting and important.  Seriously, there is just no equivalence to the alleged "crimes."

*And by the way, how times has Trump asserted positively that some woman "knew" what was going on? This is the basis of his call for "the families" to be tortured and "taken out" because he's always saying the wives, the mothers and the sisters  were in on it. He said it about the 9/11 hijackers (who weren't married) and the San Bernardino killers and the Orlando shooter. 
On CBS’ Face the Nation, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said his administration would target the wives and families of known and suspected terrorists.
Trump compared the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center to Wednesday’s San Bernardino shooting, saying that he would have gone after the wives of the 9/11 terrorist:
“At least I would certainly go after the wives who absolutely knew it was happening, and I guess your definition of what I’d do, I’m going to leave that to your imagination.”
They weren't married.

But whatever, bitches be devious liars, amirite?

Donald Trump doesn't believe in climate change

by digby

Just saying:

Trump signals his support for hacking

by digby

Earlier today:
Donald Trump invited Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's emails on Wednesday, asking them to find “the 30,000 emails that are missing” from the personal server she used during her time as secretary of state.

“It would be interesting to see, I will tell you this, Russia, if you're listening I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” the Republican nominee said at a news conference in Florida. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

He's right about that, of course.

There is some context for this comment:
In the interview, Mr. Assange told a British television host, Robert Peston of the ITV network, that his organization had obtained “emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,” which he pronounced “great.” He also suggested that he not only opposed her candidacy on policy grounds, but also saw her as a personal foe.

At one point, Mr. Peston said: “Plainly, what you are saying, what you are publishing, hurts Hillary Clinton. Would you prefer Trump to be president?”

Mr. Assange replied that what Mr. Trump would do as president was “completely unpredictable.” By contrast, he thought it was predictable that Mrs. Clinton would wield power in two ways he found problematic.

First, citing his “personal perspective,” Mr. Assange accused Mrs. Clinton of having been among those pushing to indict him after WikiLeaks disseminated a quarter of a million diplomatic cables during her tenure as secretary of state.

“We do see her as a bit of a problem for freedom of the press more generally,” Mr. Assange said.

(The cables, along with archives of military documents, were leaked by Pvt. Chelsea Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence. WikiLeaks also provided the documents to news outlets, including The New York Times. Despite a criminal investigation into Mr. Assange, he has not been charged; the status of that investigation is murky.)

In addition, Mr. Assange criticized Mrs. Clinton for pushing to intervene in Libya in 2011 when Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was cracking down on Arab Spring protesters; he said that the result of the NATO air war was Libya’s collapse into anarchy, enabling the Islamic State to flourish.

“She has a long history of being a liberal war hawk, and we presume she is going to proceed” with that approach if elected president, he said.

Who knows what he has? But Donald Trump probably read that article and feels quite enthusiastic about it.


Bill and his speeches

by digby

I wrote about Bill for Salon this morning:

It seems as long as I can remember that Bill Clinton has been giving highly anticipated speeches and the press has whined petulantly about how long and boring they are. In fact,  the vast majority of his speeches have been extremely well received by the American people but the media follows a script that came from his very first national exposure back in 1988 when he was Governor of Arkansas and a rising young political star. His DNC speech nominating fellow Governor  Michael Dukakis really was exceedingly dull finally ending with catcall and jeers from the hall. It was bad enough that many people assumed his career was finished.

But Bill Clinton is high wire act and often looks like he's going to take a fatal tumble only to catch himself at the last minute and pull himself back up to the great relief of the people watching.  In this case he decided to go on the Tonight Show directly afterwards and as has happened so many times since, reports of his death were premature and he came out of the whole thing as a popular national figure. Here's how the press reported it at the time:
Clinton, panned for a Democratic convention speech that seemed like the last word in boredom when he nominated Michael Dukakis for president, has apparently made a comeback with his appearance Thursday with Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show.” Cable News Network on Friday cited the governor for the “fastest turnaround ever” on its weekly “Winners and Losers.” 
“People who watch television love this kind of comeback story. He was so boyish and charming. I’m sure he won a lot of hearts,” said Tom Shales, syndicated television critic for The Washington Post.
Ever since then virtually every speech Clinton has given is characterized in the media as being long and dull, often a laundry list of boring policies that the pundits are sure will finally turn the public against him.  And inevitably, people actually like the speech, his favorabilities go up and the media acts surprised. Until the next time.

Clinton is different from Barack Obama. He doesn't have that "thrill up the leg" quality as Chris Matthews once described it. But he is a masterful speaker in his own right. He's a spinner of stories and an adept explainer of complicated issues in simple terms. And there's always a sense of enjoyment in the task.

He's also very fast on his feet. Being the high wire act that he is, there can often be some problem with technical problem that requires him to wing it. The most famous example was one of his most important speeches back at the beginning of his first term when he appeared before a joint session of congress to present his comprehensive health care plan. For some reason the wrong speech was fed into the teleprompter and Clinton had to wing the wonky speech for nearly 10 minutes until they managed to get the right one in the machine. Nobody would have known if the press hadn't reported it. He didn't miss a beat.

In 1997, they had another technical problem with the SOTU  that caused the speech to be unformatted. This time they fixed it seconds before the speech was about to start. Bizarrely, that was happening at the same moment the OJ Simpson civil trial verdict was returned and the networks actually believed they needed to cover it so they broadcast the State of the Union on a split screen. And the following year Clinton delivered it just as the Monica Lewinsky story was breaking which had the media watching his every move for signs of stress. He didn't show any.

He has given good speeches at all the Democratic Conventions since that debacle on 1988. But his most famous, until last night perhaps, was the 2012 barn burner where he made the case for President Obama's reelection. Again the press whined that it was too long but even they had to admit that it was extremely effective. Historian David Maraniss described it for the Washington Post:
Twelve years out of office but still and always ready to be needed, he took to prime time as master explainer and policy clarifier, party morale booster extraordinaire, voice of experience, historian longing for the old days of political bipartisanship, earnest economics instructor, hoarse whisperer to the middle class, and empathetic testifier for President Obama, who came to the Democratic National Convention arena on Wednesday night to watch as the former president placed his name in nomination.
The Obama campaign gave him credit for launching the president out of his convention with a big bounce that never went away.

Last night the usual jaded attitude from the press was in full effect. On twitter they groused about the length of the speech as usual but the likely reaction among the general public will be what it always is. This time, rather than being the "explainer-in-chief" he spun stories to reintroduce Hillary Clinton to America through the eyes of the man to whom she's been married for more than 40 years. He presented her as scary smart and committed to social justice from the time she was a young lawyer working for the Children's Defense Fund, registering voters in Texas and investigating housing discrimination in Mississippi.  He said, "Hillary opened my eyes to a whole new world of public service by a private citizen."

He took the country into their personal life showing her as a girlfriend, a newlywed and a young mother. This was not new to people who've read Clinton's memoirs or followed her career (although the story of a pregnant future presidential nominee's water breaking was a new one.) But for many people last night was the first time many of them may have seen Hillary Clinton as something other than a caricature. He said:
"If you win elections on the theory that government is always bad and will mess up a two-car parade, a real change-maker represents a real threat. Your only option is to create a cartoon alternative then run against the cartoons. Cartoons are two-dimensional and are easy to absorb. Real life is complex and hard to absorb."
Indeed it is and Bill Clinton, for all his flaws, came through for her last night with one of the best speeches he's given. It was a fitting benediction.


To humanize Hillary Clinton

by Tom Sullivan

The goal of last night's Democratic convention program was, as a Time magazine headline explained, to humanize Hillary Clinton. Beyond the roll-call vote to formally nominate the the first woman to head a U.S. presidential ticket, the DNC rolled out a long line of Americans to highlight a woman they know personally, but few see in public. “She is the most famous, least-known person in the country,” Clinton campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters.

In making his case for his wife, President Bill Clinton's spoke last night repeating many of the stories he used on the stump during the primary season. Plus some. Plus a lot about Bill Clinton. No surprise there.

Dahlia Lithwick observes:

Bill Clinton is still a hell of a storyteller. He dove into the elaborate biography of a woman who spent most of her professional life trying to troubleshoot crazy crap at Yale–New Haven Hospital, at the Children’s Defense Fund in D.C., for children denied equal access to education in Alabama, for voters in Texas and juveniles incarcerated in South Carolina, and for kids trying to access schools in Massachusetts. And then more and more and more. No credit. In a strange way it was a woman’s story, told the way a woman would tell it: long on detail, short on ego. Sure Bill Clinton name-checked half the states in the convention hall. But that was largely because Hillary Clinton upped and traveled to those states long before young women hopped from state to state to effect social and legal change.
After he had ticked off a seemingly endless list of her unsung accomplishments, he concluded:
Now, how does this square? How does this square with the things that you heard at the Republican Convention? What's the difference in what I told you and what they said? How do you square it? You can't. One is real, the other is made up. And you just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans.

The real one had done more positive change-making by the time she was 30 than many public officials do in a lifetime in office. The real one, if you saw her friend Betsy Ebeling vote for Illinois today, has friends from childhood through Arkansas, where she has not lived in more than 20 years, who have gone all across America at their own expense to fight for the person they know. The real one, has earned the loyalty, the respect, and the fervent support of people who have worked with her in every stage of her life. Including leaders around the world who know her to be able, straightforward, and completely trustworthy. The real one calls you when you're sick, when your kid's in trouble, or when there's a death in the family. The real one repeatedly drew praise from Republicans when she was a senator and Secretary of State. So what's up with this? Well, if you win elections on the theory that government is always bad and will mess up a two car parade, a real change-maker represents a real threat.

So, your only option is to create a cartoon alternative. Everybody gets the cartoon. Cartoons are two dimensional, they're easy to absorb. Life in the real world is complicated and real change is hard, and a lot of people even think it's boring. Good for you. Because earlier today, you nominated the real one.
This squares with what people who know her (or have worked around her) tell me. Having never met Hillary Clinton, I cannot say. After exposure to 25 years of propaganda directed at the woman, after 25 years of faux scandals and fruitless, taxpayer-funded investigation, I'm not sure I can trust what I think I know about her. Being aware of the propaganda does not immunize one from its cumulative effects. Still, the purveyors of the cartoon narrative have the strong scent of a cattle farm about them.

Over the course of the primary season, I found myself increasingly irritated at the unfairness of the personal vitriol directed at Hillary Clinton from both the right and the left for sins real and imagined. It's not about policy, really. It's about her. Where does the cartoon woman end and the real one begin?

The right wing has been gunning for Hillary Clinton at least since the "baking cookies" comment in 1992. Rush Limbaugh and (later) Fox News have made a piñata of her, day after day, for decades. What galls the patriarchs most is she is more like a punching clown. No matter how hard they hit her, no matter how many times they knock her down, she bounces back for more. The caricature they've made of Clinton as a lying, scheming, emasculating witch was on full display at the RNC convention last week. Republican after Republican has lined up hoping to be the one to finally claim her scalp, and one after one, accusation after accusation, investigation after investigation, they have failed. Somehow, this never proves they are lying assholes. It only proves just how deeply corrupt and untrustworthy Cartoon Clinton is.

Sadly, 25 years of all smoke and no fire has done its work. The right has convinced many in the country that the cartoon Hillary they have created is the real one. The cartoon one is the only Hillary Clinton many under 30 have ever known.

Over the course of the primary season, my social media feed has been laced with anti-Clinton propaganda, right-wing oppo-research, and disinformation circulated by a minority of passionate Bernie activists. Many articles are linked from conservative websites set up to lure the left into doing the right's propagandizing for them. (A WhoIs search is your friend.) No accusation is too far-fetched. No source is too tainted. No allegation is too unsupported to pass along to further ... what? Progressivism? It doesn't matter. The woman is poison. Evil, pure and simple. In social media, this is defended as "research." In reality, what it supports is the proposition that politics does not exist on a spectrum, but in curved space, and that if you go far enough left, you meet David Horowitz.

I've never been a big fan of Hillary Clinton. Still, the base cruelty of it all has me getting defensive for her (as if she needs my help).

It is not surprising at this point that Hillary Clinton presents in public as closed off. After 25 years of constant attacks, of always having to be ready to duck the next punch, she never seems to go out in public without wearing psychic body armor. If it feels as if she is is peering at you over the top of a shield, she is. And it comes off in public as if she has something to hide. It is not a good look for a candidate. It reinforces her enemies' untrustworthy narrative.

The private Hillary Clinton, those who know her say, is a different person, as warm and caring and as good a listener as we heard repeatedly last night. And funny. Maybe she'll find a way to show the public that Hillary between now and November.

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

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