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Hullabaloo


Saturday, July 30, 2016

 

Outwit. Outlast. Outplay. Outorganize.

by Tom Sullivan

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.


Friday, July 29, 2016

 
Friday night soother: Good people

by digby
















Via the Dodo:
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."
And this:


 
It just wasn't that long ago...

by digby

... 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.

And then there's this:

[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.


Here's one of the 400,000. 102-year-old honorary Arizona delegate Geraldine "Jerry" Johnson Emmett gained attention July 26 for her enthusiastic announcement of her state's support of Hillary Clinton:



.
 
QOTD: Stopped clock edition

by digby


















David Brooks:
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

.
 
They didn't like him, they really didn't like him

by digby















I don't know how people will respond to Clinton's speech but we know how they responded to Trump's:

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.

And this:

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.

Meanwhile, like the emotional 12 year old he is, nothing is ever his fault fault:
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.

.
 
A unified hatefest

by digby











Someone should tell Republicans to delete all their Twitter accounts. They don't have a sense of humor and they just end up embarrassing themselves:
The chief strategist of the Republican National Committee (RNC) accused Hillary Clinton of plagiarism in her speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination.



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.
And this too:


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.

.


 
Here's a quote for you

by digby





















I just ...
During her headline speech on Thursday at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Clinton noticeably cleared her throat twenty-two times. In and of itself, it could be written off as temporarily being under the weather. Given its persistence, however, questions arise about the Democrats' presidential nominee. She seemed to have deliberately timed her throat clearing during manufactured applause directed by her audience managers.
These right wingers are going to keep talking about her "health." They have been saying she's having strokes and had some kind of brain damage already. I would look for Trump to pick it up soon.

It's all about portraying her as old and decrepit. Trump is older than she is but there's this so no problem:
Donald Trump's personal physician released a statement on the GOP presidential candidate's medical history on Monday, declaring that the real estate magnate would "be the healthiest" president ever. 
"If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency," said Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, a gastroenterologist from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. 
The full letter is written in true Trumpian fashion, full of hyperbole and boasting of greatness. Bornstein calls Trump's blood pressure "astonishingly excellent" and Trump says in his own statement he was "fortunate to have been blessed with great genes." The physician also says Trump has "no history of ever using alcohol or tobacco products."
.
 

“You have sacrificed nothing!”

by Tom Sullivan

It was hard to imagine the final night of the 2016 Democratic Convention could be more dramatic than the first three. The heavy hitters had spoken Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: Michelle, Elizabeth, Bernie, Joe, and Barack. Secretary Hillary Clinton's historic acceptance speech as the first woman nominated for U.S. president was expected to be the best of her career. It was. But as she herself admits, "I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me." She does not pretend to be a great speaker. Sometimes it's not oratorical skill that matters.

When the parents of a fallen American Muslin soldier, 27-year-old Army Captain Humayun S.M. Khan, stood on stage to speak of their sacrifice and that of their son, it was the most iconic moment of the convention. I couldn't have been the only one undone by Khizr Khan. Donald Trump certainly was, but not in a good way.

One of the things that most infuriated Republicans in the 1990s about Bill Clinton was how he appropriated what they saw as "their' policy positions. This week, under Hillary Clinton, Democrats took back the flag and patriotism too. One wonders what besides anger and resentment Republicans have left.

Slate provides some backstory:

Humayun Khan was born in the United Arab Emirates and immigrated to the U.S. as a small child, growing up in Maryland and attending college at the University of Virginia. He was a 27-year-old Army captain when he was inspecting the gates of his camp in Baquba, Iraq, and a speeding vehicle approached. Khan told his fellow soldiers to hit the ground and he signaled at the vehicle to stop. He took 10 steps toward the vehicle, which had in it two suicide bombers and a large amount of explosives. The car exploded, injuring 10 of his fellow soldiers and killing Khan. The captain was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, and Khizr Khan believes his son’s actions saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers.

“We still wonder what made him take those 10 steps,” Khan’s father has said in the past. “Maybe that’s the point where all the values, all the service to country, all the things he learned in this country kicked in. It was those values that made him take those 10 steps. Those 10 steps told us we did not make [a] mistake in moving to this country.”
That's all you need to know. Watch.

I got nothin'.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

 
GOP jerk o' the day

by digby














They just can't help themselves:
When Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine addressed the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Wednesday night, the North Carolina GOP thought it quickly spotted something wrong.

“[Tim Kaine] wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag,” the state party tweeted as he was speaking. “Shameful.”

There was one problem: Kaine’s pin, which had a single blue star on a white background bordered with red, wasn’t the flag of Honduras, where he spent a year as a missionary decades ago. It was the symbol for Blue Star Families, or those with members serving in the military.
Typical... Apparently, there was no apology forthcoming when it was pointed out.
 
What in the world was he talking about? 

by digby

I meant to ask about this yesterday and forgot with all the hoopla. What was he talking about with this comment?
“I was shocked he mentioned the N-word,” Donald Trump told a pool of reporters, before asking them “Do you know what the N-word is? He mentioned it. I was shocked. It’s a total lack of respect for President Obama.” Seconds after criticizing Putin for being such an alleged racist, Trump added “I hope he likes me.”
Some people are wondering  if he's had some conversation with Putin in the last year that nobody knows about because there's no record of him saying it.

But there is this tweet from a Breitbart correspondent who describes himself as
"Hollywood Talent Agent-Turned War Correspondent/Filmmaker, Founder SAFE, contributing journalist at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, Big Peace, Big Hollywood."

The link leads to a blank page now.

Obviously, I have no idea whether this is the national security expert he got this little bit of phony intelligence from but I wouldn't be surprised.

I also wouldn't be surprised if Paul Manafort shared some personal gossip about him with Trump either. He's very tight with Putin's inner circle.

Anyway, it was a very weird thing to say. But what else is new? As Ezra klein argued a few months ago, on of trump's most important disqualifying characteristics is his childlike gullibility.  It's one thing for some Tea Partyer from Sand Point Idaho to believe everything he reads on his twitter and Facebook feeds. Presidents need a bit more skepticism.

.
 
RNC sends out email telling people not to watch DNC #Trump ratings disaster

by digby














It looks like Trump's convention was kind of a bust:
President Obama's prime time speech lifted the Democratic convention to its third straight night of ratings wins over the Republican convention last week -- and now the Trump campaign is exhorting supporters not to watch the Democrats' final night.

About 24 million viewers watched Wednesday's DNC coverage on the six biggest channels (CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox News), according to preliminary Nielsen data.

Last Wednesday's RNC coverage drew 23.4 million viewers across eight channels.

The coverage of Obama's speech and Hillary Clinton's appearance on stage spilled into the typically lower-rated 11 p.m. hour, but the ratings results indicate that most viewers kept watching until the very end of the evening.

For the third night in a row, CNN was #1 overall, with 6.17 million viewers between 10 and 11:45 p.m. MSNBC was #2 with 4.92 million. NBC was #3 with 4.17 million.

The Democratic ratings advantage has come as something of a surprise, given Donald Trump's reputation as a ratings magnet.

Last week he touted the viewership for his Republican convention and predicted that no one would watch the Democrats.

On Thursday morning, Trump's campaign sent a fund-raising email urging supporters not to tune into Clinton's acceptance speech on Thursday night.

"Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."
Sad!

.
 
The man who says "Crooked Hillary" has hurt feelings

by digby













He's whining about all the meanies at the Democratic convention.
"Well, they don't all hit me, but some of them do. And they try to hit you as hard as possible. And it's mostly false stuff," Trump said in an interview with Brian Kilmeade on "Fox & Friends" that was taped Wednesday, before the latest night of the convention that saw high-profile speakers like vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine, Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama going directly after the Republican nominee.

Shrugging off criticism, Trump remarked, "I get it. It's the way it goes. It's called politics."

He added, "They're doing their thing, trying to win, justify eight years of horror." 
"You're not taking it personally?" Kilmeade asked.

"I guess I take it a little bit personally," Trump responded. "You can't let it get you down. You have to go out."
The poor little boo-boo.

.
 
Trump is Uniquely Dangerous? Hardly

by tristero

Josh Marshall yesterday:
But if you're choosing this venue to boo when we're in the middle of a battle simply to make sure a dangerous - uniquely dangerous - figure like Donald Trump doesn't become president...
As if Cruz would be any better? Or Christie? Or Carson? Or Ryan? Or Rubio? Or Santorum? Or - God help us - the spineless, hot-headed J. Bush? Have we all forgotten already how really bad these candidates were?

Nope. Trump is nothing unique. This delusion that he is is one that Cruz and the rest of the Whole Sick Crew have a vested interest in propagating - in the hopes that they look sensible by comparison. (Spoiler alert: they're not.)

Don't get me wrong: Trump is extremely dangerous, but characterizing him as uniquely dangerous minimizes the ongoing threat from the far right.  Things do not go back to normal if Trump is defeated. Unless and until a new crop of actually sane Republicans emerge, American political discourse will remain alarmingly broken.

Of course, I agree with Josh that "The damage that this man has done simply through his campaign is far more than I think we understand. What would come after his election is unthinkable." But the problem is, in fact, not beyond Democrats and Republicans. It is a systemic problem within the Republican party. The damage that a Cruz, Ryan, Rubio, or Christie candidacy could inflict would be different from Trump's only in kind, not in catastrophic quality. And let's not forget: Cruz and Co. are going nowhere.

To provide Trump the narcissistic thrill he so clearly craves, to call him uniquely dangerous in his odious-ity , is to play a game the right wing wants us to play. It's  a game where Trump is perceived as some kind of bizarre visitation on an otherwise sober-minded Republican party.

And in both the short and long term, it's a game we'll lose.
 
Come over from the dark side into the light

by digby













I wrote about last night for Salon:

Last night we saw Barack Obama give his last DNC speech as president and it was one of his best speeches ever, which is saying something. It's very unusual for a president to pass the baton with such enthusiasm to his successor. In the past the president either had no respect for the person running to replace him or the new candidate felt he needed to run against the president's record. There was nothing like the full-throated endorsement from Barack Obama last night with Eisenhower-Nixon, Johnson-Humphrey, Reagan-Bush, Clinton-Gore or Bush-McCain. There is no doubt that President Obama is happily entrusting Clinton to carry on his legacy and Clinton is warmly embracing it. For better or worse, these two believe their legacies are entwined.

It was a good night for the Democrats in general. While there were many thematic moments, including some moving testimonials about gun violence and a film about climate change by James Cameron. But coming as it did after Donald Trump held a press conference and invited the Russian Government to do some more hacking on his behalf (among other inhinged ramblings), it was an excellent opportunity for the party to show America that voting for a madman is unnecessary, even if you generally vote Republican. And as it turned out that was exactly what they had planned.

If the first night was the night for demonstrating the party's progressive bonafides, last night was about reaching out to the disaffected Republican moderates who watched that hatefest last week in appalled horror. The first speaker to address those folks was retired Admiral John Hutson, a former Judge Advocate General and law professor. He got right to the point, saying:
 “Donald Trump calls himself the ‘law-and-order candidate,’ but he’ll violate international law. In his words, he endorses torture ‘at a minimum.’ He’ll order our troops to commit war crimes like killing civilians. And he actually said, ‘You have to take out their families.” And what did he say when he was told that’s illegal? He said our troops ‘won’t refuse, believe me.’ This morning, he personally invited Russia to hack us! That’s not law and order. That’s criminal intent!”
There are almost certainly Republicans who are shocked by those comments. Many people with a military background are deeply offended by them. Admiral Hutson was speaking to those people, trying to tell them that there is an alternative.
Former Pentagon and CIA chief Leon Panetta made a similar case testifying to the clear and present danger of a Trump presidency. He was booed lustily by a contingent of anti-war Democrats in the hall, which was probably to be expected. (I wrote about Panetta's propensity for self-serving "maverick" behavior a while back.) So he may have served a broader purpose. If the goal was to reassure certain Independents and moderates, Panetta is a good choice to do that.

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg was the one who made the case most explicitly.  He said upfront that he didn't agree with many of Clinton's policies and that he didn't consider himself a Democrat. (This would be more shocking if it weren't for the fact that the runner up for the nomination just announced that he's going back to being an Independent as well! The Democratic coalition is full of them these days.)  And Bloomberg's task was essentially the same as Bernie Sanders' was --- to indict Trump and make the case that it's important that Clinton beat him.  He put it starkly: "Together, let's elect a sane, competent person." The implication of what that said about Trump couldn't have been clearer.

Vice President Joe Biden gave a barn burning speech aimed directly at middle class suburban Republicans who are looking at Trump and wondering just what in the world he knows about their lives. Biden has that common touch and he said it as only he can.
Ladies and gentlemen, let's say the obvious, that is not Donald Trump’s story. Just listen to me a second without booing or cheering. His cynicism and undoubtedly his lack of empathy and compassion can be summed up in that phrase he is most proud of making famous: "You're fired." I'm not joking. Think about that. Think about that. Think about everything you learned as a child. No matter where you were raised, how can there be pleasure in saying, "You're fired? 
He is trying to tell us he cares about the middle class. Give me a break. That is a bunch of malarkey.
He ended his speech saying "come on!"

Finally there was Tim Kaine there to accept the VP nomination and prove to average Americans that the Democrats are the party of normal people.  And he did. He is America's square Dad and that's bound to be reassuring to a few Americans who may be nervous about electing another "first" even as the GOP is offering up someone who appears to be unstable and unqualified. Kaine is the anti-Trump, a self-effacing, modest, obviously decent regular guy.

All of this oblique appealing to the center annoyed some more ideological observers on both sides. Some Democrats found the defense of John McCain and some chants of "USA" discordant and it's not surprising. Republicans were upset to see the Democrats using language they thought they owned:




But Democrats shouldn't be upset about using this kind of rhetoric to advance progressive goals. It's not a capitulation to the other side. Using some of their familiar riffs just makes it comfortable for people to make the switch.

There is evidence that this election may end up finally dislodging the white, college educated demographic from the GOP, which has won them since the time polling first began.  Many of them can see that Trump is dangerous. Last night was an invitation from the Democratic party for them to leave the dark side and come into the light. And they did it with the most liberal platform in history. That's a pretty neat trick.

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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.

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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.”
This:
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.
This:
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.

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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?

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Donald Trump doesn't believe in climate change

by digby

Just saying:




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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.

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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.

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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?



Cowardice
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.
USA!

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…
USA!
Over there…
USA!
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
USA! USA! USA!

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

Ameri-tude…
USA!
American pride…
USA!
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…
USA!
Over there…
USA!
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 ...

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