Politics and Reality Radio: Marcotte: Republicans See a Dystopian Hellscape; Digby: Dems Embrace America
by Joshua Holland
This week, we kick off the show with a look at what the #DNCLeaks do and don't tell us about the relationship between senior party officials and the Sanders campaign.
Then we'll be joined by two Salon columnists to take a look back at the two major parties' political conventions. They offered dramatically different presentations of the world around us.
First, we'll speak to Amanda Marcotte about what it was like in the belly of the beast -- at the GOP convention in Cleveland. Amanda also caught some of the fireworks in Philadelphia.
Then we'll talk about the Democrats' remarkably inclusive convention in Philadelphia, which culminated in the first woman being nominated to top a major party ticket.
Sarah Darling: "With or Without You"
Radio Citizen: "The Hop"
Norah Jones: "Come Away With Me"
Sia: "I Go to Sleep" ---jh digby 7/31/2016 04:30:00 PM
He inherited many millions from his father. Just saying:
“I think I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard,” he said. “I've created thousands and thousands of jobs — tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I've had tremendous success. I think I've done a lot.”
You really have to read the whole story of this internet meme by Olivia Nuzzi and how it originally came to be and how it has been turned into a Donald Trump white supremacist emblem for Donald Trump. This excerpt takes up the story after the "alt-right" decided to use it to advance their cause:
It began in late 2015 on /r9k/, a controversial 4chan board where, as on any message board, it can be difficult to discern how serious commenters are being or if they’re just fucking around entirely. Nevertheless, /r9k/ has been tied to Elliot Rodger—the UC Santa Barbara shooter who killed six people in 2014—who found fans there, and GamerGate. There, Pepe transformed from harmless cartoon to big green monster.
“We basically mixed Pepe in with Nazi propaganda, etc. We built that association,” @JaredTSwift said.
He sent me a “rare Pepe,” an ironic categorization for certain versions of the meme: Pepe, his eyes red and irises swastika-shaped, against a trippy rainbow backdrop. “Do with it what you will,” he said.
Building the Trump association came next, after which @JaredTSwift said the images got crossover appeal. They began to move from 4chan to Twitter, which is when “journalists were exposed to it via Trump memes.”
On Jan. 7, Cheri Jacobus, a Republican consultant and pundit who is suing Trump for defamation and has been harassed by Trump supporters, tweeted, “The green frog symbol is what white supremacists use in their propaganda. U don’t want to go there.”
#FrogTwitter considered Jacobus, the first prominent person to be duped, its first scalp and inundated her with ever more Pepe images and Trump memes, some of which were violent and sexually explicit.
In one, a blond woman is decapitated before Pepe has intercourse with her headless body. In another, Jacobus’s face is photoshopped onto a topless woman kneeling before Trump, who is himself photoshopped to wear a Nazi uniform.
“When they adapt Pepe the green frog and turn it into an anti-Semite, staring into the screen with the World Trade Center behind it, is that cute or funny?” she asked when reached by phone Wednesday.
“Does that make it OK? I don’t know,” she said. “Violent and disturbing images are violent and disturbing images regardless of what their stated reasons are.”
Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor at National Review, a conservative publication opposed to Trump’s candidacy, asked Twitter on Jan. 30, “Does anyone know what that green face is that ‘alt’ and ‘cuck’ people put in their avatars and their other images?”
@TopKanker replied with an image of Pepe dressed as a Nazi soldier and holding a Star of David.
On May 16, Ben White, a reporter for Politico, tweeted a drawing of Pepe and asked, “What/who is this character and why do I see it associated with Trumpsters/Alt-Right types all the time?”
#FrogTwitter descended on White’s mentions, with predictable results. @DonaldjBismarck, a self-described “Nationalist,” replied with a meme of Hillary Clinton, squinting at a computer screen and asking, “WHO THE HELL IS PEPE?”
“Turns out asking about Pepe was a bad idea,” White tweeted, in conclusion.
But Pepe’s twisted transformation wouldn’t be complete until a few hours after White’s foray down the froghole, when Margarita Noriega, an executive editor at Newsweek, tweeted a Pepe at Marco Rubio.
Benny Polatseck, who runs the public relations firm Colossal PR, accused Noriega of employing an image “used by racists to make fun of latinos.” Noriega deleted the Pepe.
“Most memes are ephemeral by nature, but Pepe is not,” @JaredTSwift told me. “He’s a reflection of our souls, to most of us. It’s disgusting to see people (‘normies,’ if you will) use him so trivially. He belongs to us. And we’ll make him toxic if we have to.”
@JaredTSwift said some of the support for Trump was in jest, but for most of his cohorts, it’s sincere. He even claimed to have voted for Trump in the primary himself, wherever it is he lives, and said he’d vote for him in the general, too.
“In a sense, we’ve managed to push white nationalism into a very mainstream position,” he said. “Trump’s online support has been crucial to his success, I believe, and the fact is that his biggest and most devoted online supporters are white nationalists. Now, we’ve pushed the Overton window. People have adopted our rhetoric, sometimes without even realizing it. We’re setting up for a massive cultural shift.”
There is a sickness at the center of Donald Trump's support. This is a big part of it.
ABC host George Stephanopoulos corrected Donald Trump after the Republican presidential nominee claimed that Russia was "not going to go into Ukraine."
In an interview on ABC's "This Week" that aired Sunday, Trump asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not going to invade Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels — and some Russian special forces — have been operating for several years despite Putin's reluctance to acknowledge any role.
"He's not going into Ukraine, just so you understand. He's not going to go to Ukraine," Trump said.
Trump responded by simultaneously criticizing the US's decision not to intervene to stop the annexation of Crimea, a former Ukrainian territory seized by Russia in 2014, and noting that many citizens of Crimea were allegedly supportive of Russia's decision to invade.
"Well, he's there in a certain way, but I'm not there. You have Obama there," Trump said. "And frankly that part of the world is mess, under Obama. With all the strength that you're talking about, and with all the power of NATO, and all of this, in the mean time, [Putin] takes Crimea."
He added: "You know the people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were, and you have to look at that also."
Earlier in the interview, the real-estate magnate shrugged off his campaign's influence in removing a provision of the Republican Party platform that would've advocated providing arms to Ukraine to defend itself from Russian aggression.
"I was not involved in that. I'd have to take a look at it, but I was not involved in that," Trump said of the decision to alter the platform.
Seriously people? Here's the exchange:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Vice President Biden told me this week that Vladimir Putin wants to beat Hillary and Madeleine Albright said that your victory would be a gift to Putin.
And what they're pointing to is things like your statements about conditioning our commitments to NATO allies, softening the GOP platform on Ukraine, even considering softening sanctions and recognizing Russian annexation of Crimea. They fear that that's going to hurt America and advance Russia's interests.
TRUMP: They only fear one thing, losing the election. If our country got along with Russia, that would be a great thing. When Putin goes out and tells everybody -- and you talk about a relationship, but he says Donald Trump is going to win and Donald Trump is a genius, and then I have people saying you should disavow. I said, I'm going to disavow that?
But when Putin says good things and when we have a possibility of having a good relationship with Russia...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if we have a good relationship...
TRUMP: -- I think...
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- his annexation of Crimea.
TRUMP: I'm not going to be mean to anybody. George, you know me pretty well. I don't bow, OK. I don't bow.
But if we can have a good relationship with Russia and if Russia would help us get rid of ISIS, frankly, as far as I'm concerned, you're talking about tremendous amounts of money and lives and everything else, that would be a positive thing, not a negative thing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if that means conditioning our commitments to NATO, as you said?
TRUMP: No, because you're not going to do that. NATO is going to be just fine. But NATO countries -- we have 28 countries -- many of them are taking advantage of us because they're not paying. So we're protecting these countries and they're not paying.
And when people leave that last part in, everybody agrees with me.
I'm all in favor of NATO. I said NATO is obsolete. I was asked a question by one of your competitors and I said NATO is obsolete, because it's not taking care of terror. You understand that. And it turned out I was right. A lot of people gave me credit for that.
Then, three months ago, on the front page of "The Wall Street Journal," they said NATO to develop a terror division. And somebody who's supposed to be very extraordinary was put in charge of it.
That was all because of me. So I was right about that.
I was also right about the fact that NATO, we're being taken advantage of by NATO countries, totally advantage of (INAUDIBLE)...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Then why did you soften the GOP platform on Ukraine?
TRUMP: I wasn't involved in that. Honestly, I was not involved.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your people were.
TRUMP: Yes. I was not involved in that. I'd like to -- I'd have to take a look at it. But I was not involved in that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you know what they did?
TRUMP: They softened it, I heard, but I was not involved.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They took away the part of the platform calling for the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine to defend themselves.
Why is that a good idea?
TRUMP: Well, look, you know, I have my own ideas. He's not going into Ukraine, OK?
Just so you understand. He's not going to go into Ukraine, all right?
You can mark it down and you can put it down, you can take it anywhere you want.
TRUMP: OK, well, he's there in a certain way, but I'm not there yet. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama, with all the strength that you're talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this, in the meantime, he's going where -- he takes -- takes Crimea, he's sort of -- I mean...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you said you might recognize that.
TRUMP: I'm going to take a look at it. But, you know, the people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that, also.
Now, that was under -- just so you understand, that was done under Obama's administration. And as far as the Ukraine is concerned, it's a mess. And that's under the Obama's administration, with his strong ties to NATO.
So with all of these strong ties to NATO, Ukraine is a mess. Crimea has been taken. Don't blame Donald Trump for that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You said that...
TRUMP: And we'll do better and yet we'll have a better relationship with Russia.
And having a good relationship -- maybe. and having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.
Yes, it would be good to have a better relationship with Russia. I doubt anyone disagrees with the most anodyne statement in the world. But the chances of Trump being the one to bring that about (at least in any way that makes sense for a democratic nation) is one in a trillion. He is ignorant and incapable and is far more likely to cause nuclear war. His platitudes about how much Vladimir Putin "likes" him as being the reason why he will bring world peace is idiotic.
The morning after Fox News chief Roger Ailes resigned, the cable network’s former director of booking placed a call to the New York law firm hired by 21st Century Fox to investigate sexual-harassment allegations against Ailes. Laurie Luhn told the lawyers at Paul, Weiss that she had been harassed by Ailes for more than 20 years, that executives at Fox News had known about it and helped cover it up, and that it had ruined her life. “It was psychological torture,” she later told me.
So far, most of the women who have spoken publicly about harassment by Ailes in the wake of Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit had said no to Ailes’s sexual advances. They ran out of hotel rooms, they pulled away from embraces, they complained or avoided or generally resisted, even when it hurt their careers. This is the account of a woman who chose to go along with what Roger Ailes wanted — because he was powerful, because she thought he could help her advance her career, because she was professionally adrift and emotionally unmoored.
Doing so helped Luhn’s career for a time — at her peak, she earned $250,000 a year as an event planner at Fox while, according to both her own account and four confirming sources, enjoying Ailes’s protection within the company. But the arrangement required her to do many things she is now horrified by, including luring young female Fox employees into one-on-one situations with Ailes that Luhn knew could result in harassment. “He’s a predator,” she told me. In recent years, Luhn had a series of mental breakdowns that she attributes to the stress of her situation, and was even hospitalized for a time.
There's more and it's awful.
There is a lot of talk that Ailes is going to join the Trump campaign. But I don't think even Trump is idiotic enough to make that official. He will have to do it on the down low. Which I assume he will.
On Friday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond unanimously struck down North Carolina's Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA), one of the most sweeping voting "reform" laws in the country, a voter ID law that was about far more than photo IDs. Perhaps the Charlotte Observer Editorial Board put it best:
We knew. Deep down, most of us knew.
We knew that North Carolina’s 2013 voter ID law, like similar laws across the country, was not truly about voter fraud, but voter suppression.
We knew Republicans were less interested in the integrity of elections than in building obstacles for their opponents’ supporters.
We knew. Some Republicans even admitted it. And last week, in North Carolina, they got called on it.
This, as I keep saying, is their M.O.: Find the line. Step over it. Dare someone to push them back.
The federal court did. Judges found that North Carolina's law targeted African Americans "with almost surgical precision." Plaintiffs included the League of Women Voters, individual plaintiffs, and the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, led by Rev. William J. Barber II, whose address wowed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Thursday night.
It was the third such defeat in the courts this month for Republican voting legislation. On July 19, U.S. District Court Judge James Peterson struck down multiple provisions of Wisconsin's voting law. In particular:
The law limiting early voting "intentionally discriminates on the basis of race," Peterson wrote. "I reach this conclusion because I am persuaded that this law was specifically targeted to curtail voting in Milwaukee without any other legitimate purpose.
"The Legislature's immediate goal was to achieve a partisan objective, but the means of achieving that objective was to suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee's African-Americans."
The 4th Circuit found that North Carolina's law was the product of research. The Washington Post reports:
In particular, the court found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state. "This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)," the judges wrote.
So the law eliminated forms of acceptable IDs to those most likely to be held by whites. As in Wisconsin, limiting early voting as a means of disenfranchising black voters was also a factor.
The data also showed that black voters were more likely to make use of early voting — particularly the first seven days out of North Carolina's 17-day voting period. So lawmakers eliminated these seven days of voting. "After receipt of this racial data, the General Assembly amended the bill to eliminate the first week of early voting, shortening the total early voting period from seventeen to ten days," the court found.
Most strikingly, the judges point to a "smoking gun" in North Carolina's justification for the law, proving discriminatory intent. The state argued in court that "counties with Sunday voting in 2014 were disproportionately black" and "disproportionately Democratic," and said it did away with Sunday voting as a result.
[I]n what comes as close to a smoking gun as we are likely to see in modern times, the State’s very justification for a challenged statute hinges explicitly on race -- specifically its concern that African Americans, who had overwhelmingly voted for Democrats, had too much access to the franchise.
In finding that North Carolina's voter ID law was discriminatory by design, the 4th Circuit cited the testimony of a former county Republican official to the Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi. In a footnote, the ruling says:
7 Some of the statements by those supporting the legislation included a Republican precinct chairman who testified before the House Rules Committee that the photo ID requirement would “disenfranchise some of [Democrats’] special voting blocks [sic],” and that “that within itself is the reason for the photo voter ID, period, end of discussion.” See J.A. 1313-14; Yelton testimony, Transcript of Public Hearing of the North Carolina General Assembly, House Elections Committee (Apr. 10, 2013) at 51. Responding to the outcry over the law after its enactment, the same witness later said publicly: “If [SL 2013-381] hurts the whites so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it.” See J.A. 1313-14; Joe Coscarelli, Don Yelton, GOP Precinct Chair, Delivers Most Baldly Racist Daily Show Interview of All Time, New York Magazine, Oct. 24, 2013. These statements do not prove that any member of the General Assembly necessarily acted with discriminatory intent. But the sheer outrageousness of these public statements by a party leader does provide some evidence of the racial and partisan political environment in which the General Assembly enacted the law.
Full disclosure: I know that guy.
The real purpose of these voting reforms was obvious. Republican lawmakers again stepped over the line and dared America to push them back. What is most amazing is the bald-faced, transparent mendacity with which these lawmakers across the country look constituents in the eye and swear they are passing voter suppression laws in the name of election integrity. As if they think constituents are such fools that by their publicly saying so the public will not see what they are plainly doing in full view of the public. Amazing, yes, but hardly unprecedented.
Just weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Texas abortion clinic law in Hellerstedt. The women on the court, in particular, were not buying the state's argument that the law was passed out of an abundance of legislative concern for women's health. In her concurring opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg observed that many other medical procedures are far more risky than abortions, including childbirth, tonsillectomy, colonoscopy, and in-office dental surgery. She agreed with the brief from the American Civil Liberties Union, writing: "[I]t is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women, and certain that the law 'would simply make it more difficult for them to obtain abortions.'"
Anyone but those fooling themselves knew that was Republican legislators' intent from the get-go. They are not even being particularly artful about it anymore. They are winking into TV cameras and speaking into live mics about it.
I guess I’m mellowing with age. The first sign was when I saw a Wes Anderson film…andactually liked it. As I wrote in my 2014 review of The Grand Budapest Hotel:
I have been somewhat immune to the charms of Wes Anderson. I have also developed a complex of sorts over my apparent inability to comprehend why the phrase “a Wes Anderson film” has become catnip to legions of hipster-garbed fanboys and swooning film critics […] Maybe there’s something wrong with me? Am I like the uptight brother-in-law in Field of Dreams who can’t see the baseball players? […] To me, “a Wes Anderson film” is the cinematic equivalent to Wonder Bread…bland product, whimsically wrapped.
Mr. Anderson isn’t the only director I’ve had this “problem” with. Enter Michel Gondry, who I’ve always viewed as Anderson’s French cousin (i.e. a purveyor of bland product, whimsically wrapped). As I lamented in my 2014 reviewof Gondry’s Mood Indigo:
Not that I haven’t come to expect a discombobulating mishmash of twee narrative and wanton obfuscation from the director of similarly baffling “Romcoms From the Id” like Eternal Sunshine of the SpotlessMind and The Science of Sleep, but…enough, already.
I seriously doubt that Gondry literally read my silly little review and took it to heart, but I’ll be damned if he hasn’t dropped the twee narrative and wanton obfuscation for once, and made a film that I really enjoyed (hey wait…when did those ball players get here?!).
Microbe and Gasoline is a straightforward coming-of-age/road dramedy about two nerdy 14 year-old school chums who embark on a decidedly offbeat summer adventure. With its socially awkward protagonists and gentle comedic observations on the emotional (and hormonal) turbulence of young adolescence, the film is a mélange of Small Change, Gregory’s Girl, My Bodyguard, and Breaking Away, with a just a hint of Weird Science.
Daniel (Ange Dargent) is a daydreamer and budding artist who sketches portraits of his classroom crush Laura (Diane Besnier) in lieu of paying attention to the teacher. Small for his age and slightly built (hence the nickname “Microbe”), he is frequently mistaken for a girl. This makes him a natural target for bullies. Theo (Theophile Baquet) is the new kid at school, which automatically makes him an outsider. Theo (dubbed “Gasoline”, because he helps out in his dad’s auto repair shop) is more boisterous than Daniel, but generally shunned by the other kids because of his caustic wit, which he uses as a shield.
Bonded by their shared insecurities and outsider status, Daniel and Theo become fast friends. Theo mentors Daniel on strategies to get Laura’s attention (although he’s obviously not speaking from experience) and how to handle the bullying (of which he undoubtedly does speak from experience). “Remember,” he sagely tells Daniel, “today’s bullies are tomorrow’s victims.” When school’s out for summer, the two decide to split Versailles and hit the road, Jacques. The only problem with that plan is that they are too young to hold driver’s licenses. So, combining Theo’s mechanical savvy with Daniel’s vivid imagination, they design and build their own vehicle…a wooden shack on wheels.
Best described as an outhouse set atop a go-cart (or perhaps a mini-version of Howl’s Moving Castle), the theory is that if they encounter any gendarmes on their journey, they simply pull over to the side of the road and, voila! It’s just a shack on the side of the road. This element of the narrative is Gondry’s sole acquiescence to his innate twee tendencies.
This is the director’s most accessible film, with great performances all around (although Audrey Tautou seems underutilized in her relatively small part as Daniel’s mom). Parents should be advised that the film has an ‘R’ rating (one scene in particular, in which Daniel wanders into a massage parlor for a haircut, assures that this one will never pop up on The Disney Channel). It’s a simple tale; but if you hit the right notes (as Gondry does here) there’s eloquence in simplicity. It may not win a prize for originality, but in the midst of a summer movie roster rife with murder and mayhem, it’s a breath of fresh air.
Adding: Like Michael Moore, I did not wish to vote for Clinton (because of her inexcusable vote for the Bush/Iraq War resolution among other things). However, given the alarming policies and character of all the Republican candidates, I decided during the primaries I would vote for whichever Democrat won the nomination (I'm a lifelong Independent).
Mike Pence chastised President Obama on Friday for indirectly referring to Donald Trump as a demagogue, saying — perhaps ironically — that "name calling" has no "place in public life.
Pence, responding directly to the president's comments about Trump at the Democratic convention on Wednesday, told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt: "I don't think name calling has any place in public life, and I thought that was unfortunate that the president of the United States would use a term like that."
Pence's remarks backed up against his own running mate's use of derogative nicknames over the last year on the campaign, including: "Little Michael Bloomberg", "Crooked Hillary" [Clinton], "Corrupt [Tim] Kaine", "Liddle Marco [Rubio]", "Lyin' Ted" [Cruz], "Crazy Bernie" [Sanders], "Goofy" [Elizabeth Warren] and "Low Energy Jeb" [Bush].
Lately he's been saying "HIllary Rotten Clinton." Yes, he has the mind of a 12 year old.
Clinton said: “I believe climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs.”
“I am proud we shaped a global climate agreement,” she said later in the speech. “Now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.”
A five-minute video called “Not Reality TV” played at the DNC on Wednesday night, narrated by Sigourney Weaver and produced by James Cameron. It showed the impacts of climate change, touted Hillary Clinton’s clean energy priorities, and attacked Donald Trump for his “reckless denial of climate change” that is “dangerous, a threat to your livelihood, your safety, your children and the prosperity of this nation.”
The video features former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), former President George H.W. Bush, and Pope Francis all expressing varying levels of concern about climate change. This provided a clear distinction with the current GOP nominee, who has consistently denied the reality of climate change and the science that backs it.
Cameron said earlier in the day that Trump was “a madman” and “incredibly reckless, incredibly dangerous” due to his climate denial.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said on Monday night that “Hillary will fight to preserve this earth for our children and grandchildren.”
Clinton’s onetime rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), made the case for Clinton and against Trump when it comes to the climate crisis:
This election is about climate change, the great environmental crisis facing our planet. And the need to leave this world in a way that is healthy and habitable for our children and future generations.
Hillary Clinton is listening to the scientists who tell us that unless we act boldly to transform our energy system in the very near future, there will be more drought, more floods, more acidification of the oceans, more rising sea levels. She understands that we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs transforming our energy system.
Donald Trump? Well, like most Republicans he chooses to reject science. He believes that climate change is a hoax, no need to address it. Hillary Clinton understands that a president’s job is to worry about future generations, not the profits of the fossil fuel industry.
Sanders’ appointees to the party platform committee were instrumental in helping to write thestrongest climate platform in party history. It did not call for a fracking ban — a key Sanders goal — but it did call for a carbon price, a goal of 100 percent renewable energy nationwide, and an outline for steps to exceeding our Paris commitments.
The Republican platform, however, now denies the reality of climate change — a reality the same document treated much more seriously just eight years ago.
Donald Trump offered a new explanation this week on why he believes climate change is a hoax. Past explanations have includedblaming China for making up climate change for their benefit. But that was before being nominated for President. So what’s his position today?
O’REILLY: Did you ever call climate change a hoax?
TRUMP: Well, I might have because when I look at some of the things that are going on, in fact if you look at Europe where they had their big summit a couple of years ago, where people were sending out emails, scientists practically calling it a hoax and they were laughing at it. So, yeah, I probably did. I see what’s going on and you see what’s going on.
The Discredited ClimateGate Conspiracy Theory
Trump appears to be referring here to the illegal hacking of scientists’ emails in 2009, which climate skeptics gleefully dubbed “ClimateGate.” These conspiracy theories have been thoroughly debunked (see for example FactCheck.org , Union of Concerned Scientists, and Politifact). After the emails were released, every investigative report — from the National Science Foundation Inspector General, NOAA’s Inspector General, Penn State University, University of East Anglica, and the UK Parliament — reached the same conclusion: nothing in the emails in any way altered the overwhelming scientific evidence that the world is warming due to increased levels of pollution.
Illegal Hacking Timed to Disrupt Climate Talks
Despite the thorough debunking of these attacks on scientists, the conspiracy theories gained traction in the media and, as Trump demonstrates, remain a convenient go-to point for skeptics today. The hacked emails were mysteriously dumped in 2009 on a server in Russia at an optimally timed moment as President Obama and world leaders were preparing to head to Copenhagen forge a new global climate agreement. The scientific community was instantly judged guilty in kangaroo courts led by Fox News and other media outlets who chased the story before investigating the facts. Fox News’ Sean Hannity helped lead the charge, declaring:
HANNITY (2009): “it is safe to say that ClimateGate has revealed that global warming and that movement is run by hacks and frauds.”
Fast forward to 2016
Today, NASA says there is a 99 percent chance that 2016 will be the hottest year on record, following the previous record set just last year.
The Democrats are imperfect on this issue. But please ... as Wired points out this is the first time any political party has put climate change up front as one of its defining issues. And that party is not the GOP.
I had seen this old movie "The Dead Zone" before but it was on the other night and I had it on in the background. It struck me as an interesting flick for the current period:
A high school teacher and soon-to-be wife winds up in a fateful car crash that turns his life upside down. When he awakens from a five-year coma, he discovers that through physical contact he can predict a person's ultimate fate. This power can serve to be a gift, or a curse, as Walken soon realizes when he shakes the hand of a power-hungry politician.
Martin Sheen really chews the scenery in this one as the megalomanic politician. And to think he had never seen Donald Trump at the time ...
This is a re-run of an earlier post. I think I'm going to re-run it once a month until November.
He's just losing it. He started off his rally yesterday morning pissed off at the fire marshal for refusing to let too many people into the room because these people "don't know what the hell they're doing" --- and they might be Hillary people. The fire marshal.
Then there was this when the lock her up chant started:
"I've been saying let's just beat her on November 8th. But you know what, I'm starting to agree with you," Trump said.
The comments, which came in his first public appearance since Clinton ripped him in her speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night, marked an about-face for Trump, who in the last week has resisted joining in on his supporters' chants and instead urged them to channel their anger at the ballot box.
"You know it's interesting. Every time I mention her, everyone screams 'lock her up, lock her up.' They keep screaming. And you know what I do? I've been nice," Trump explained to his supporters in this evangelical bastion of Colorado Springs. "But after watching that performance last night -- such lies -- I don't have to be so nice anymore. I'm taking the gloves off.
Needless to say he's lying. His Nuremburg rally speech at the RNC was the first time he ever said "lets beat her in November." He's been saying for months that she should be in jail:
After months of insisting that Clinton was "guilty as hell," Trump argued in June that Clinton should "go to jail" over her email use, which Trump and Republicans allege may have compromised national security.
Meaningless, I know, to point such things out anymore. It's actually more useful to point out the rare times when he isn't lying or bragging or otherwise being a cretin.
Yes, he also said he wanted to hit someone (Bloomberg) for saying mean things about him and he says he takes these insults personally.
But nothing, nothing comes close to this batshit crazy comment:
I was curious to see whether she’d do a class act and not mention my name,” the Republican nominee said at a rally with supporters in Colorado. “Or mention it with respect, like, say, ‘I’d like to congratulate my Republican opponent for having done something that nobody has ever done in the history of politics in this nation.’”
“See, I thought she might do something like that. I thought she'd give me a big fat beautiful congratulations. If she did that, would that have been cool? Would that have been great?,”
Yes, he actually said that. And it wasn't a joke. That's the weirdest projection I have ever seen. Twisted, bizarre, freakish. He think he's the one who has "done something that nobody has ever done in the history of politics in this nation." And he's angry that Clinton didn't congratulate him for it.
The mind boggles.
By the way, here's what John McCain did when Obama won his nomination in 2008:
Have been observing the aftermath from the Democratic convention among grassroots supporters of both Secretary Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders. It is a small sample, but feelings are still raw.
A friend who worked the 2008 Obama campaign (and numerous others since) had some advice for Clinton supporters in the virtual space. They need to be graceful winners and less gloaty:
To my friends that are being mean to BernieOrBusters:
Point I'm trying to make is that most of these BernieOrBusters are either first time voters or sporadic voters, not solid Democrats, with some notable exceptions. And these voters kinda need to be coddled and nurtured into growing from sporadic voters to precinct organizers. And the DNC, to this point, has told them to fuck off. My experience is that more fuck off will not turn their heads. Telling them that they owe us their vote -- also not a winner. Telling them that they owe this to themselves -- that has a shot.
Remember the recent lesson of G. W. Bush. In 2000 Gore lost New Hampshire partially due to a successful Green Party movement that splintered off enough votes to give the state to Bush. If Gore had won that state, then the fuckery in Florida wouldn't have mattered, and probably wouldn't have even taken place. The Democrats first solution was to whine about it for four years. The result was a Bush reelection. Yes, there was some fuckery in Ohio, but Bush won that election.
Enter Howard Dean as chair of the DNC who decreed that we will stop blaming voters whom don't vote with us and instead, explain why it's best for them if they do, everywhere. Result: took back both houses of congress and the majority of state governments in the very next cycle and gave the Democrats their first landslide presidential win in a generation the cycle after that.
So please stop calling BernieOrBusters shitheads, 'cause we need them and you are tired of doing all of the precinct organizing and voter registration yourself -- you are doing those things, yes?
"Coddled" might not sit well with people. But his point is taken. Bernie Sanders' grassroots supporters have energy and a fire in their guts that Democrats will need, not just for this coming election, but beyond. Losing is always tough. The trick is to learn from it, to pick yourself up and channel that energy. Besides, as one Sanders delegate told a friend after the convention, "We may have lost the battle, but we won the war."
Colleague David Atkins (who has won a few and lost a few) seems to concur (above).
The counterpoint to my friend's comments above is that Sanders supporters are now positioned to leverage the knowledge and experience they've gained and the networks they've built into party leadership and renewal, and into legislative gains around the country. If. They. Stay. Engaged.
Progressives politics is an unending struggle to advance the ball, to make this world a better, more inclusive place for more people, and to be a check against those corrupted by power. That's what democracy is. That's what Bernie supporters have worked for. It is a struggle for the power to enact change and to displace or co-opt those with whom we disagree.
Already some of my Bernie friends are re-registering as independents, unwilling to participate further in the Democratic Party after an election contest in which, one supporter alleged, the party "wouldn't let Bernie win."
Seriously? Seriously? Letting your opponent win is called throwing the fight. That’s not how elections work. Think opponents across the aisle will be so nice?
Plus, why would anyone expect human dynamics inside a political party to be different from politics in any other organization? You can find assholes anywhere. Families feud. Clubs have fallings out. Churches have schisms. Team members don't get along. Parties have internecine struggles. So it goes.
Parties are like unions. Joining doesn't mean you are signing away your immortal soul. You don't join a union because every provision of the charter perfectly aligns with your deepest principles, or because you agree with the union president, or because you like everyone you work with or stand beside on the picket line. People join political parties for the same reason they join unions: to find strength in numbers. That's why I did.
Now, not everybody is a joiner. (By nature, I'm not.) Non-joiners prefer to stand apart, and politically independent. Sometimes defiantly so. That's their choice. But if having less of a voice in the political process makes them feel marginalized, they are marginalized by choice. They are not being excluded. To riff on that old Irish joke, it's not a private fight. Anybody can get in. All they have to do to join is register. All they have to do to participate is show up and work. Sometimes alongside people they don't much like.
Gaining influence, credibility, authority? That is something else. You don't walk into a church for the first time and expect people to ask you to preach the sermon. You don't walk in a third time and expect people to ask for your sage counsel. We all understand that. So we don't get offended when they don't. So it is in party politics. Bernie friends say they want R-E-S-P-E-C-T. What they really want is to be taken seriously. But credibility is not conferred by registering at the DMV. Credibility, you have to earn over time.
Nothing gets accomplished, resolved or advanced by leaving the game after your first setback. So to those ready to bail, which is truer? Your opponents wouldn't let you win, or by abandoning the field you let them beat you?
This ain't the Montessori School. Jumping into this fight, would-be revolutionaries are vying to lead the most powerful country on the planet. You are promising voters you are going to take on and subdue the most powerful corporate entities in the world. Are you going to run home now because Little Debbie was mean to you? Give me a fucking break.
After the starship Enterprise's first disastrous encounter with the Borg, the entity Q tells Captain Jean Luc Piccard:
Q: If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid.
People’s futures are on the line. The world is. If you expect to win at this game, first learn how to play it. If you expect to advance your agenda and defeat your rivals inside your own party – any party – you'd best learn how they play it. Better yet, cooperate with and win them over. Or else outwit, outlast, and outplay them. But this isn't "Survivor." This is for real. And in the long run, that’s what it takes to win. Plus allies. Lots of allies.
This is democracy, warts and all. At the end of the day (and on Election Day it is the end of the day) we count votes. That’s how we determine winners and losers. There is math involved. We don’t count passion or ideology or likeability or past decisions or check-off boxes on candidate questionnaires. Politics is a competition. It’s a contest. You must be present to win. If you don’t show up to play, you forfeit.
It pays to have friends, especially ones with such big hearts.
Last weekend, the Montez family got a call they had long given up hope of ever receiving. Their dog, Corky, who'd gone missing in 2009, had been found and rescued nearly 7 years later. He was brought to the Humane Society of North Texas after being picked up as a stray wandering along a busy street. Thanks to a microchip, rescuers were able to track down his rightful owners.
"We were in shock when we got the news," Corky's owner, Jimmy Montez, told The Dodo. "We just couldn't believe it."
Corky has been back with his family for less than a week now, but it's already clear that things wouldn't be complete without Captain there, too.
"They're as thick as thieves. Wherever Captain goes, Corky is right there with him," Montez said. "I think Corky had been helping him out on the streets because he's missing an eye. He always lets him eat first and they always nap together. Corky looks after him."
... that women were literally second class citizens.
Retiring Senator Barbara Mikulski was celebrated at the DNC as the first Democratic woman to become a US Senator in her own right. She wasn't young when she won the seat. She was already 51. (Republican Margaret Chase Smith had been elected in her own right back in the 1950s when Northeast republicans were the country's leading liberals.)
Only fifteen women had ever served in the Senate before Mikulski got there, almost all of them appointed or serving in their late husband's seats. There have only been 30 in the years after she arrived.
Mikulski was first elected in 1987, only 29 years ago. That is not ancient history.
[T]here are no fewer than 400,000 women in the United States [who were born before women got the right to vote.). In the Census Bureau's 2015 estimates, some 428,000 women were born in 1920 or earlier. The 19th Amendment was ratified in August 1920. Of course we've lost some of those women who were alive in 2015, but there are still hundreds of thousands — more than 1 out of every 1,000 people in the country — who predate suffrage and can vote for Clinton.
My own mother was born before women could vote. (Black women who lived in the south, like black men, did not get the unequivocal right to vote until even later, of course.) She didn't live to see this day but I'm sure she would be pleased. She was a very smart women and women of her age suffered many insults to their intelligence and were often infantilized throughout their adult lives. As a divorced woman in the 1950s she suffered many indignities, including having to get her father to co-sign for a checking account when she was in her 30s.
This week I left the arena here each night burning with indignation at Mike Pence. I almost don’t blame Trump. He is a morally untethered, spiritually vacuous man who appears haunted by multiple personality disorders. It is the “sane” and “reasonable” Republicans who deserve the shame — the ones who stood silently by, or worse, while Donald Trump gave away their party’s sacred inheritance.
It as actually America's inheritance that they thought they owned but whatever. He's right about Pence and all the others who have shown their cowardice and their willingness to put their parochial self-interest above their country. #Neverletthemforgetit
Trump's speech got the least positive reviews of any speech we have tested after the fact: 35% of Americans interviewed last weekend said it was excellent or good. Of the nine previous speeches we have rated, the top one was Barack Obama's in August 2008, which 58% of Americans rated as excellent or good. The lowest-rated speech other than Trump's was Mitt Romney's in 2012, with 38% excellent or good.
It goes on to point out that he received better reviews from people who watched the whole convention which one might assume was Republicans. This is pretty brutal:
Of those who watched very little or none of the convention, 19% rated Trump's speech as excellent or good.
The self-reported net impact of the GOP convention was also negative. Overall, 51% of Americans say the convention made them less likely to vote for Trump, while 36% said it made them more likely to vote for him. This is the highest "less likely to vote" percentage for a candidate in the 15 times Gallup has asked this question after a convention. The previous "less likely" high was 38% after both conventions in 2012, and after the GOP conventions in 2004 and 2008.
They pulled out 2004 (barely) but haven't been too successful since.
We'll see how Clinton did. Considering polarization and many people's general loathing of her as a speaker, I won't be surprised if her numbers aren't any better. But Trump's Nuremberg Rally speech didn't test well at least and that's a big relief.
After promising a “showbiz” Republican National Convention that would dazzle the American public, Donald Trump shrugged off responsibility for staging it after seeing the higher ratings and production values the Democrats' convention had to offer this week in Philadelphia.
“I didn’t produce our show — I just showed up for the final speech on Thursday,” Trump told The New York Times in a phone call this week.
Trump actually broke with tradition by making multiple appearances during the Cleveland convention, coming on stage to introduce his wife Melania on the convention's opening night and appearing onstage with running mate Mike Pence, who followed Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) non-endorsement speech on the convention's third night.
He also dialed into Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show while a mother who lost her son in the Benghazi terrorist attacks described her experience on the RNC stage.
The real estate mogul acknowledged these other unannounced appearances but told the Times they didn’t distract from the convention programming because “nobody even knew” he would be making them.
His claim that he had no hand in the convention programming was also eyebrow-raising, given that campaigns typically dictate the speaker roster and many of the RNC speakers had direct ties to Trump. Among those were five members of the Trump family, the manager of Trump Winery and ‘80s sitcom star Scott Baio, who said Trump personally invited him to speak at a campaign fundraiser.
Fun fact: Paul Manafort produced Reagan's Morning in America convention.
Spicer’s tweet references a portion of Clinton’s Thursday night address where she seemingly paraphrased Alexis de Tocqueville, the political scientist who wrote “Democracy in America.”
“But here’s the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump — this is it,” Clinton said in Philadelphia. "And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: that America is great — because America is good.
“So enough with the bigotry and the bombast. Donald Trump’s not offering real change. He’s offering empty promises.”
“America is great because she is good” is often quoted from de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America.” According to an analysis from The Weekly Standard, however, the passage does not actually appear in de Tocqueville’s work.
That's adorable. And it's true. Except for the #NeverTrump movement and the delegate walkouts and the Major Party figures refusing to vote for him and the runner-up showing up on the stage in prime time and refusing to endorse him it was a model of party unity.