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Saturday, October 22, 2016

He's always been a jerk

by digby

You remember this from the last debate, when he angrily tore up his notes at the end ....

He's prone to such tantrums:
If you’ve seen Home Alone 2 or The Little Rascals, you already know that Donald Trump used to get a kick out of playing himself in movies. According to a new Newsmax report, producers in the entertainment industry described him as someone who “wasn’t a hard get” because he would be in any movie as long as he could highlight his fame and wealth. To that end, they also described him as “incredibly pompous.”

One of the most interesting parts of the Newsmax report is the story of Trump’s appearance alongside then-wife Marla Maples on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The article says this:

According to a member of the crew—who spoke on condition of anonymity because she fears jeopardizing her current job—Trump threw a small tantrum backstage. He was holding a paper-clipped stack of pages with his lines when he became annoyed about something. He motioned as if to hand them off to Maples and, when she reached for them, threw them all over the floor so the pages went flying.

Maples was reportedly extremely apologetic for her husband’s behavior and told Fresh Prince production staff not to worry about helping her clean the mess. No one could remember exactly what set Trump off, but executive producer Gary H. Miller was able to recall that Trump was worried his lines weren’t funny enough.

“I would never think of giving you any advice about real estate, because I don’t know about real estate,” he said he told the mogul. “But I do know comedy—and trust me, you’ll get a laugh.”
A real email scandal

by digby

This is a Newsweek story from a month or so ago that you might want to keep handy when some rightwinger starts screaming about emails:

For 18 months, Republican strategists, political pundits, reporters and Americans who follow them have been pursuing Hillary Clinton’s personal email habits, and no evidence of a crime has been found. But now they at least have the skills and interest to focus on a much larger and deeper email conspiracy, one involving war, lies, a private server run by the Republican Party and contempt of Congress citations—all of it still unsolved and unpunished.

Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.

Like Clinton, the Bush White House used a private email server—its was owned by the Republican National Committee. And the Bush administration failed to store its emails, as required by law, and then refused to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking some of those emails. “It’s about as amazing a double standard as you can get,” says Eric Boehlert, who works with the pro-Clinton group Media Matters. “If you look at the Bush emails, he was a sitting president, and 95 percent of his chief advisers’ emails were on a private email system set up by the RNC. Imagine if for the last year and a half we had been talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails set up on a private DNC server?”

President Bush and Former American Vice President Dick Cheney in the Presidential Limousine. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty

Most troubling, researchers found a suspicious pattern in the White House email system blackouts, including periods when there were no emails available from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. “That the vice president’s office, widely characterized as the most powerful vice president in history, should have no archived emails in its accounts for scores of days—especially days when there was discussion of whether to invade Iraq—beggared the imagination,” says Thomas Blanton, director of the Washington-based National Security Archive. The NSA (not to be confused with the National Security Agency, the federal surveillance organization) is a nonprofit devoted to obtaining and declassifying national security documents and is one of the key players in the effort to recover the supposedly lost Bush White House emails.

The media paid some attention to the Bush email chicanery but spent considerably less ink and airtime than has been devoted to Clinton’s digital communications in the past 18 months. According to the Boston social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon, which ran a study for Newsweek, there have been 560,397 articles mentioning Clinton’s emails between March 2015 and September 1, 2016.

In 1978, Congress passed the Presidential Records Act (PRA), which mandated that all presidential and vice presidential records created after January 20, 1981, be preserved and that the public, not the president, owned the records. The following year, the Reagan administration installed the White House’s rudimentary first email system.

Despite the PRA, neither the Reagan nor the George H.W. Bush administration maintained email records, even as the number of White House emails began growing exponentially. (The Bush administration would produce around 200 million.) In 1989, a federal lawsuit to force the White House to comply with the PRA was filed by several groups, including the National Security Archive, which at the time was mostly interested in unearthing the secret history of the Cold War. The suit sparked a last-minute court order, issued in the waning hours of the first Bush presidency, that prevented 6,000 White House email backup tapes from being erased.

When Bill Clinton moved into the White House, his lawyers supported the elder Bush in his effort to uphold a side deal he’d cut with the National Archives and Records Administration to allow him to treat his White House emails as personal. At the time, George Stephanopoulos—then the White House communications director—defended the resistance, saying his boss, like Bush, didn't want subsequent, and potentially unfriendly, administrations rooting around in old emails.

The Clinton White House eventually settled the suit, and White House aide John Podesta—now Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman—even invited members of the National Security Archive into the White House to demonstrate how the new system worked. If anyone tried to delete an email, a message would pop up on screen indicating that to do so would be in violation of the PRA.

“We were happy with that,” recalls Blanton, who edited a book on the Reagan-Bush email evasion, White House E-Mail: The Top Secret Messages the Reagan/Bush White House Tried to Destroy.

Eight years later, in 2003, a whistleblower told the National Security Archive that the George W. Bush White House was no longer saving its emails. The Archive and another watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (which had represented outed CIA agent Valerie Plame in her case against the Bush administration), refiled their original lawsuit.

The plaintiffs soon discovered that Bush aides had simply shut down the Clinton automatic email archive, and they identified the start date of the lost emails as January 1, 2003. The White House claimed it had switched to a new server and in the process was unable to maintain an archive—a claim that many found dubious.

Bush administration emails could have aided a special prosecutor’s investigation into a White House effort to discredit a diplomat who disagreed with the administration’s fabricated Iraq WMD evidence by outing his CIA agent wife, Plame. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who was brought in to investigate that case, said in 2006 that he believed some potentially relevant emails sent by aides in Cheney's office were in the administration's system but he couldn’t get them.

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney listens as former President George W. Bush makes remarks about the U.S. defense budget after meeting with military leaders at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2007. Larry Downing/Reuters

The supposedly lost emails also prevented Congress from fully investigating, in 2007, the politically motivated firing of nine U.S. attorneys. When the Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed related emails, Bush’s attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez, said many were inaccessible or lost on a nongovernmental private server run by the RNC and called gwb43.com. The White House, meanwhile, officially refused to comply with the congressional subpoena.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called the president’s actions “Nixonian stonewalling” and at one point took to the floor in exasperation and shouted, “They say they have not been preserved. I don't believe that!” His House counterpart, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), said Bush's assertion of executive privilege was unprecedented and displayed “an appalling disregard for the right of the people to know what is going on in their government.”

In court in May 2008, administration lawyers contended that the White House had lost three months’ worth of email backups from the initial days of the Iraq War. Bush aides thus evaded a court-ordered deadline to describe the contents of digital backup believed to contain emailsdeleted in 2003 between March—when the U.S. invaded Iraq—and September. They also refused to give the NSA nonprofit any emails relating to the Iraq War, despite the PRA, blaming a system upgrade that had deleted up to 5 million emails. The plaintiffs eventually contended that the Bush administration knew about the problem in 2005 but did nothing to fix it.

Eventually, the Bush White House admitted it had lost 22 million emails, not 5 million. Then, in December 2009—well into Barack Obama’s administration—the White House said it found 22 million emails, dated between 2003 and 2005, that it claimed had been mislabeled. That cache was given to the National Archives, and it and other plaintiffs agreed, on December 14, 2009, to settle theirlawsuit. But the emails have not yet been made available to the public.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was operating on a different track but having no more luck. In a bipartisan vote in 2008, the committee found White House aides Karl Rove and Joshua Bolten in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas in the investigation of the fired U.S. attorneys. The penalties for contempt are fines and possible jail time, but no punishment was ever handed down because a D.C. federal appeals court stayed the Senate’s ruling in October 2008, while the White House appealed. Rove’s lawyer claimed Rove did not “intentionally delete” any emails but was only conducting “the type of routine deletions people make to keep their inboxes orderly,” according to the Associated Press.

By then, Obama was weeks away from winning the election, so the Bush administration basically ran out the clock. And neither the Obama administration nor the Senate committee pursued the matter.

The committee’s final report on the matter was blunt: “[T]his subversion of the justice system has included lying, misleading, stonewalling and ignoring the Congress in our attempts to find out precisely what happened. The reasons given for these firings were contrived as part of a cover-up, and the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort.”

At the time, some journalists and editorialists complained about a lack of transparency on the White House’s part, butThe Washington Post, in an editorial, accepted the White House explanation that the emails could have been lost due to flawed IT systems.

The mystery of what was in the missing Bush emails and why they went missing is still years away from being solved—if ever. The National Archives now has 220 million emails from the Bush White House, and there is a long backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests already. But not all of the emails will be available to the public until 2021, when the presidential security restrictions elapse. Even then, with currently available archiving and sorting methods, researchers still have years of work to figure out whether Cheney deleted days’ worth of emails around the time of the WMD propaganda campaign that led to war, Blanton says.

“To your question of what’s in there—we don't know,” he says. “There was not a commitment at the top for saving it all. Now was that resistance motivated by political reasons? Or was it ‘We gotta save money’?”

Former U.S. President George W. Bush winks to a member of the audience before he delivers the final State of the Union address of his presidency at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 28, 2008. Tim Sloan/Reuters

Like Leahy, Blanton has doubts that the emails were ever truly “lost,” given that every email exists in two places, with the sender and with the recipient. But unlike watchdog group Judicial Watch, which has been relentless about forcing the State Department to publicly release Hillary Clinton’s emails, Blanton and his fellow researchers have decided not to press their fight for the release of the Bush emails.

Blanton says he has no idea whether the Bush email record will be found intact after 2021, when his group will be allowed to do a systematic search and recovery process in the National Archives. “Did they find all of them? We don't know,” he says. “Our hope is that by that time, the government and the National Archives will have much better technology and tools with which to sift and sort that kind of volume.”

Blanton says he’s not expecting that kind of upgrade, though. “Their entire budget is less than the cost of a single Marine One helicopter,” he says. “It’s an underfunded orphan.”

Meanwhile, the episode has been nearly forgotten by almost everyone but the litigants. A source involved with the stymied congressional investigation recalled the period as “an intense time,” but the Obama administration didn’t encourage any follow-up, devoting its political capital to dealing with the crashing economy rather than investigating the murky doings that took place under his predecessor. Since then, no major media outlet has devoted significant—or, really, any—resources to obtaining the emails, or to finding out what was in them, or what, exactly, the Bush administration was hiding (or losing).


Trump's Gettysburg disaster

by digby

It was bad, very bad. This lede from the Washington Post says it all:

Donald Trump traveled Saturday to the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, where he suggested that the United States is nearly as divided now as it was then. But instead of laying out his vision for uniting the country, as President Abraham Lincoln once did here, Trump declared that the system is rigged against him, that election results cannot be trusted, that Hillary Clinton should have been barred from running for president, that the media is “corrupt” and that he will sue all of the women who have accused him of sexual assault.

He actually called it "hollowed ground."

Bannon-Ryan cage match

by digby

I've been posting right wing emails excoriating Paul Ryan for well over a year now. They hate him. For reasons of their own, the Village refuses to see this and they believe dreamboat Ryan is a "unifier" who can bring everyone together. Nah guh happen:

A right-wing website closely tied to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is taking its war against House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to new levels.

Breitbart News on Saturday published as its lead story an article written by Julia Hahn, headlined: “He’s with her: Inside Paul Ryan’s months-long campaign to elect Hillary Clinton president.”

Accompanying the story is an image of a grinning Ryan beside the Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign slogan, “I’m with her.”

The piece is brutal even by the standards of Breitbart’s proudly scorched-earth approach to journalism, asserting that Ryan “leads the pro-Islamic migration wing of the Republican party.”

The 2,800-word attack on Ryan comes amid a concerted strategy by the pro-Trump nationalist wing of the GOP to ensure Ryan isn’t re-elected Speaker in January.

Influential Fox News host Sean Hannity — a major Trump booster — is leading the charge against Ryan, calling him a “saboteur.” Members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus held a conference call last week in which they discussed challenging Ryan’s leadership role.

The Breitbart piece, which claims that the Speaker has been conspiring for months to “sabotage” Trump, is straight from the playbook of Stephen Bannon, the Breitbart chairman who last month became CEO of Trump’s presidential campaign.

As The Hill revealed earlier this month, Bannon has given private orders to Breitbart’s editorial staff to destroy Ryan. An internal email obtained by The Hill showed Bannon telling senior staff in December 2015 that the “long game” for the news site was for the Speaker to be “gone” by the spring.

This latest anti-Ryan story gives further insight into the Bannon-Trump worldview.

It accuses Ryan and Clinton of being essentially the same person, and of both wanting to destroy the very concept of America as a nation state. This argument neatly dovetails with the language Trump is using in his stump speeches and media interviews.

In an extraordinary situation, the GOP presidential nominee is now using his campaign megaphone to attack not only Clinton, but the highest-ranking elected official in his own party. He's ignored the counsel of GOP establishment figures and is advancing the
view that a cabal of “globalist” elitists — which includes Ryan, Clinton and international bankers — are undermining American sovereignty by pushing for open borders in trade and immigration.

This war within the GOP is already very, very ugly. And my bet is that rather than a Trump trouncing calming the waters, it's going to get uglier. When you have 40 million or so people voting for a proto-fascist it's not likely to simply fade away. They want the party.

Trumpie's don't give a damn about Ayn Rand. They have other fish to fry.

Highlights of the roast

by digby

I'd guess some of you didn't catch the Al Smith dinner --- or only caught the Trump "jokes" that crash landed.  Here are a few of Clinton's jokes:

My personal favorite:

Gotta get that money up front.

The tradition at the dinner is to give an inspiring closing. Trump didn't bother. This is Clinton's:


True Grit

by digby

This is a nice piece by Michael Tomasky about Clinton's toughness:

People ask why she’s winning, and the usual answer is that Trump is such a catastrophe. And he is, obviously. But I say she’s winning mainly because she’s one tough dame. She’s made of steel. And not Trumpian Chinese steel. And even though she’s going to face a wall of total resistance from Congress if she’s president, I say history tells us not to sell this woman short.

I’ve seen it for years. I’ve covered her on and off for 17 years, when she first went up to New York to run for Senate. All these alpha males were supposed to bury her. First, the tabloid New York media (a metaphorical alpha male) was supposed to eat her alive. And it took some bites out of her, no doubt about that. Especially Murdoch’s Post, and especially in those early months of the race, in 1999, when she kissed Suha Arafat. But in time, she neutralized them. The Post never warmed to her during that campaign, God knows, but the Daily News did (it endorsed her), and she learned how to anticipate the tabs’ rhythms and return their best serves.

Then Rudy Giuliani was supposed to crush this carpetbagger. He left the race in the spring of 2000 for reasons that didn’t have anything to do with her. It was about his prostate cancer diagnosis. But by the time he dropped out, she’d been running a better campaign than he had (he could hardly be bothered to go upstate) and she was a couple points up in most polls. You might think he’d have beaten her in the end, but I can tell you he didn’t think so: He might deny this now, but he told me himself December 2000 that he didn’t think he’d have won, mainly because Al Gore beat George W. Bush by 1.7 million votes in the state, and Rudy didn’t believe he could have wooed enough ticket-splitters to overcome that. Clinton 2, alpha males 0.
Rick Lazio wasn’t exactly an alpha male, but after he got in the race, Clinton was in an important sense running against the whole vast right-wing conspiracy she had so famously named on the Today show two years before. Tons of national right-wing money was thrown at stopping her, heavyweights came in to campaign against her, and the New York State Republican Party made robocalls linking Clinton to the terrorists who’d just bombed the USS Cole in Yemen (yes, they did; don’t ask). They all thought they could bully her. But in the end it was she who conquered them. They went too far, got hysterical (imagine if she, a woman, had done that). She stayed steady as a rock.

Next up was Trent Lott, Mississippian, consorter, shall we say, with white supremacist groups, and at the time the Senate majority leader. After Clinton won, he—the leader of the United States Senate, a body that fetishizes decorum, far more so in those days—said: “I tell you one thing, when this Hillary gets to the Senate, if she does—maybe lightning will strike and she won’t—she will be one of 100, and we won’t let her forget it.”

And she? In the face of the boss at her new workplace wishing that she’d be struck by lightning, she said nothing and got to work. Within two years, most Republican senators were working with her and marveling that she was a pretty decent human being after all—Sam Brownback once publicly admitted he had hated her and asked for her apology to her face, which she of course graciously accepted. And into the bargain, she was someone who could really hold her liquor. Three-nil.

Oh, there were plenty others, before and since. Back in her first lady days, Ken Starr, and Bill Safire of the Times, and Fred Thompson, and Al D’Amato, and Michael Chertoff—every one of them was going to bring her down. They’re now deceased (Safire), disgraced (Starr), retired from public service (D’Amato and Thompson), or endorsing her (Chertoff). She’s the one who’s standing.

And now, she’s two-plus weeks away from becoming the first woman president of the United States. Imagine what she’s been through. Some of it, yes, she brought on herself; the email server, the speeches, some aspects of the foundation story. But most of it has been a cabal of ideologues who’ve been trying and failing for 25 years to put her in jail. And in two months and 28 days, unless something goes really kablooey, she’ll be standing up there becoming president.

I would guess that one reason so many women admire her is because of that toughness. We've all experienced at least some of the misogyny and sexism if not the bizarre, inexplicable hatred and mind-boggling distortion of her personality and record. And we simply cannot believe that she just keeps going. That's grit. I have to wonder if many women will want to follow in her footsteps once they see the amount of abuse you are required to take, though. It's inspiring but also frightening.

Please tell me the upside

by digby

The latest in the New York Times' investigative series on gun violence is really depressing. In a country that fetishizes guns and has a large patchwork of laws and jurisdictions, this problem seems to be beyond solutions.
The New York Times examined all 130 shootings last year in which four or more people were shot, at least one fatally, and investigators identified at least one attacker. The cases range from drug-related shootouts to domestic killings that wiped out entire families to chance encounters that took harrowing wrong turns.

They afford a panoramic view of some of the gun control debate’s fundamental issues: whether background checks and curbs on assault weapons limit violence; whether the proliferation of open-carry practices and rules allowing guns on college campuses is a spark to violence; whether it is too easy for dangerously mentally ill or violent people to get guns.

The findings are dispiriting to anyone hoping for simple legislative fixes to gun violence. In more than half the 130 cases, at least one assailant was already barred by federal law from having a weapon, usually because of a felony conviction, but nonetheless acquired a gun. Including those who lacked the required state or local permits, 64 percent of the shootings involved at least one attacker who violated an existing gun law.

Of the remaining assailants, 40 percent had never had a serious run-in with the law and probably could have bought a gun even in states with the strictest firearm controls. Typically those were men who killed their families and then themselves.

Only 14 shootings involved assault rifles, illustrating their outsize role in the gun debate. Nearly every other assailant used a handgun. That is in line with a federal study that concluded that reviving a 1994 ban on assault weapons and ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds would have a minimal impact, at best, on gun violence.

But there were also cases in which victims arguably would have lived had they been in a state with tighter firearms restrictions, because it would have been harder for their attackers either to get guns or to carry them in those circumstances. That includes several of nine attackers who were dangerously mentally ill but still met the federal standard for gun possession.

Ever since Newtown I've wondered if anything could change this in any serious way. After all, that horror was met with the NRA doubling down on any restrictions.

We've had gun culture go even more crazy since then. I honestly don't know what it would take to end this nightmare here. So many yahoos, so many guns.

Read the whole article. It's important.


The website you have dialed is not in service at this time

by Tom Sullivan

Photo by Marcin Wichary via Wikimedia Commons.

PLEASE STAND BY. The Internet is experiencing technical difficulties.

According to reports, a number of popular sites went down Friday, victims of a massive cyberattack. Reuters reports:

Hackers unleashed a complex attack on the internet through common devices like webcams and digital recorders and cut access to some of the world's best known websites on Friday, a stunning breach of global internet stability.

The attacks struck Twitter, Paypal, Spotify and other customers of an infrastructure company in New Hampshire called Dyn, which acts as a switchboard for internet traffic.

The attackers used hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices that had previously been infected with a malicious code that allowed them to cause outages that began in the Eastern United States and then spread to other parts of the country and Europe.
The FBI is investigating:
Obama administration officials have determined the outages were the result of a malicious attack, according to a federal law enforcement official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal assessments. Investigators have come to a preliminary conclusion as to who carried them out, but are not planning to make that public for now, the official said.
Atlantic has more:
If it seems like there have been more of these sorts of outages lately, it’s because there have. “Recently, some of the major companies that provide the basic infrastructure that makes the Internet work have seen an increase in DDoS attacks against them,” the security technologist Bruce Schneier wrote in a blog post in September. “Moreover, they have seen a certain profile of attacks. These attacks are significantly larger than the ones they're used to seeing. They last longer. They're more sophisticated. And they look like probing.”

“Probing” refers to a specially calibrated kind of attack, one that’s designed to take advantage of an individual website’s precise security weaknesses. “We don't know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses,” Schneier wrote.
Why not aliens? Probing used to have another connotation that involved alien attackers. In the Star Trek universe, unexpected probing usually provoked "Shields up!" and "Red Alert!" To date, the response in the meatspace seems less decisive. (Does Patrick Stewart need another project?)

Your brain may no longer be in control

It seems our little techie devices are easily assimilated and turned against us. Security researcher Brian Krebs has had his blog taken down before. On Friday, he wrote:
The size of these DDoS attacks has increased so much lately thanks largely to the broad availability of tools for compromising and leveraging the collective firepower of so-called Internet of Things devices — poorly secured Internet-based security cameras, digital video recorders (DVRs) and Internet routers. Last month, a hacker by the name of Anna_Senpai released the source code for Mirai, a crime machine that enslaves IoT devices for use in large DDoS attacks. The 620 Gbps attack that hit my site last month was launched by a botnet built on Mirai, for example.

Is there a BorgWarner in your hybrid vehicle?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Night Soother

by digby

In honor of the Chicago Cubs!

Red panda cubs at Lincoln Park Zoo are named in honor of the other Cubs who call Chicago home. The cubs are named Sheffield and Waveland, the streets on each side of Wrigley Field.

Clowns are scary

by digby

From Vox:
In 2016, we’ve seen hundreds of mass shootings. We’ve watched the gap between rich and poor Americans widen. We’ve witnessed the fulminant rise of Donald Trump, whose nomination left Vox editor in chief Ezra Klein “truly afraid” for the first time in American politics.
But in the eyes of our citizens, there is a graver threat at hand: clowns.
In a poll we conducted with Morning Consult last week, 42 percent of Americans said they were, in some capacity, afraid of clowns. Among voters ages 18 to 29, nearly one in three admitted to at least a minor case of coulrophobia — fear of clowns.
Apparently people are more  scared of clowns than they are of terrorism. I can understand that. But not because of the silly clown sightings around the country.


A normal reaction to Trump

by digby

His terrible performance at the Al Smith dinner is legendary. So is this reaction:

Meanwhile, America's mayor pouted:

The other member of the Bad Hombres, Chris Christie, didn't show up. But then he's got big, big problems of his own...

What could go wrong?

by digby

Via the Guardian:

Donald Trump loyalists will attempt to conduct their own crowd-funded exit polling on election day, ostensibly due to fears that electronic voting machines in certain areas may have been “rigged”, the Guardian has learned.

But the effort, led by Trump’s notorious informal adviser Roger Stone, will focus on 600 different precincts in nine Democrat-leaning cities with large minority populations, a tactic branded highly irregular by experts, who suggested that organizers could potentially use the polling as a way to intimidate voters.

Stone told the Guardian that around 1,300 volunteers from the controversial Citizens for Trump grassroots coalition would conduct exit polling in Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte, Richmond and Fayetteville – all locations in pivotal swing states.

I'm actually skeptical that this will amount to much. Stone likes to promise stuff like this and it never amounts to much.

But that doesn't mean some nut isn't going to take things into his own hands and decide he needs to protect the integrity of the election using his second amendment remedy. Trump's certainly ginning up his craziest crazies with all this talk of a rigged election.

I think most Trumpies are more mouthy than dangerous. But there are so many guns in this country and at least a few of them are in the hands of fanatics. It's worrying.


Powerful messaging FTW

by digby

I know it's conventional wisdom that Clinton's campaign has been so terrible that it's only the miracle of Trump that's keeping the Republicans from decimating her. But the truth is that her campaign has been exceptionally good in a polarized electorate running against an alien from outer space who is unpredictable and dangerous. That's not easy. Just ask Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

Anyway, the latest ads are really good. They've all been really good:

Update: I just saw Krugman's column today. He writes about the Villager conventional wisdom that Clinton is a terrible candidate who's squeaking into office on a fluke. And he rips it to shreds.

I have no problem with people being suspicious of her positions on issues. We should be suspicious of all politicians. But I'm increasingly irked by the Villager CW that she's a shitty politician. It's just not true. She won the NY Senate seat twice, she almost tied Barack Obama, one of the most gifted politicians of this era, and she won the primary handily despite a strong challenge from the left. Her convention was very well executed and her debate performances were nearly flawless. In fact, considering the cretinous freak she's been up against, her GE campaign has been terrific. Credit where credit is due.

If she gets in we'll all be watching her like a hawk as we did with Obama and every other president. But it's time to put to rest this ridiculous notion that she's a terrible candidate.

Oh, and if it were easy for a woman to do this surely someone would have done it before.



Trump's taking the brand down with him

by digby

I wrote about it for Salon this morning:

If the polls hold up and Donald Trump loses the election next month, America will have dodged many bullets. One of them will be the prospect of having a president who thinks he can avoid conflict of interest by turning his privately owned international brand and real estate business over to his children while he’s in office. With the exception of one big story in Newsweek that issue was never seriously pursued by the news media, even though it would have literally been impossible for Trump to properly carry out the duties of the office had he won, given the nature of his business and the legal problems that would have ensued if he tried to extricate himself from it. Trump would have had to unwind his businesses years before running for president to avoid being paralyzed by conflicts.

He may come to regret not having done so, even though he’s probably going to be back to full-time “deal-making” in about three weeks. We don’t know how much he was worth when he started this campaign but reports suggesting it’s a lot less today. The Trump brand has a problem and it’s spreading beyond his consumer goods to his real estate holdings.

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that regular customers for his consumer goods are throwing out their Trump merchandise in small acts of rebellion against his baleful candidacy. And some of Trump’s well-heeled customers are now boycotting his hotels and golf courses and refusing to dine in restaurants on his properties. One retired doctor interviewed for that story cancelled an $18,000 vacation at Trump’s Doral golf club with 11 of his buddies, saying, “For me, it’s an ethical statement.”

Ivanka Trump’s clothing line has been similarly impacted. Her customers are younger working women — few of whom are voting for her father. And she is obviously concerned, although in typical Trump fashion the woman everyone sees as the classy face of the Trump empire reacted very much like her father earlier this week, when quizzed about his “rigged election” talk at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Conference in California. She said this:

I will tell you that the media has been vicious and, look, there’s a lot of business people in the room. We’ve all had articles written about us by the business press that we say, “Hmm, you know, that wasn’t exactly fair,” or, you know, the fact-check — there’s a few things off. But you know, this has been, this has been a different level. And look, we take it personally. Obviously, there are some things said that are deeply personal, but just on a less emotional example, this week or in the last couple of days, I saw on the front cover of the New York Times a story talking about how the Trump brand was being decimated due to the campaign.

She further complained that the Trump Organization had provided all kinds of statistics challenging the Times’ conclusions, but the paper refused to listen. She said, “I think that the bias is very, very real. And I don’t think I would have said this to you even a year ago. I don’t. But I’ve just — I’ve seen it too many times. It’s tremendous.” Since the question was about the campaign and she immediately launched into a diatribe about the media being unfair to the business, it’s logical to assume that she is feeling the pressure in that regard.

From various other reports, Ivanka and her family have good reason to worry. The Los Angeles Times has reportedthat some of Trump’s wealthy tenants are embarrassed to live in properties with his name on them and would like it to be removed. The paper quoted one saying, “I used to tell people I lived in Trump Place. Now I say I live at 66th and Riverside Boulevard. He has a mouth like a sewer.” These are mostly licensing deals, so it may not be possible to change the names until the contracts expire, but it doesn’t bode well for new ventures.

As hard as it is to believe considering New York’s overheated real estate market, properties with the Trump name are losing value, including those he owns. Broadcaster Keith Olbermann sold his Trump condo last summer. tweeting “I got out with 90% of my money and 100% of my soul,” and told the L.A. Times that his neighbors also wanted to sell but couldn’t afford to lose the money.

Trump’s hotels are suffering too. Los Angeles Dodgers starAdrian Gonzalez famously refused to stay with the team at the Trump hotel in Chicago during the National League playoffs, in protest against Trump’s bigotry. According toNew York magazine, the new Trump hotel in Washington, which the candidate has often used his abundant free TV time to advertise, is not doing well. It’s had to reduce rates during peak season, and is facing protests and boycotts, along with lawsuits stemming from broken contracts with restaurateurs who want nothing to do with Trump’s name. (According to the article, many people predicted that the D.C. hotel would be another Trump failure, so this may be less about his toxic campaign than his usual terrible business sense.)

The folks who go to Trump rallies and buy red MAGA hats and “Monica sucks but not like Hillary” T-shirts may buy a Trump tie for Dad’s birthday or pick up a pair of Ivanka high heels for their cousin’s wedding. But most of Trump’s fortune is tied up in luxury properties and licensing deals for people who play golf at his golf clubs, stay in his expensive hotels and buy multi-million-dollar condos in buildings with his name on them. They live in big cities and wealthy suburbs, and many of them are appalled by Trump’s crude campaign. They can vote with their pocketbooks too.

It certainly sounds as if Keith Olbermann could be right when he said, “In Russia, there was quite a spree of pulling down statues of Stalin and erasing his likeness from buildings. That’s how the real estate market will treat Trump.” When your name is your brand and your brand is your business, people running away from it is a problem. Donald stands to lose a lot more than the election.



Turning "wooden" into a plus

by Tom Sullivan

Hillary Clinton's critics from the beginning of her campaign have panned her for being wonky and wooden in public. People who know and have worked with her insist she's warm and engaging in small groups. Public speaking is not one of her strong suits, Clinton admits. Plus, Barack Obama and husband Bill are two hard acts to follow.

A Republican Travis County, Texas County Commission candidate has found a way to turn wonky and wooden into selling points.

It doesn't hurt that this ads runs in progressive Austin, Texas. Ashley Lopez of NPR station KUT writes:

There’s a lot to like here. For one, throughout the ad Daugherty is nerding-out pretty hard about local transportation issues and the county jail -- and he can’t seem to notice that no one else cares that much about what he’s talking about, which is pretty endearing.

But the real star is Daugherty’s wife, Charlyn Daugherty. Her dead-pan “get me out of here” looks into the camera are a thing of beauty. She’s the Jim Halpert of political ads, and it doesn’t get any better than that.
Hillary Clinton could use a self-effacing ad like this to break the ice with enough Hillary haters to turn a win over Donald Trump into a rout. At this point in a long, nasty campaign, we could all use the relief. But Clinton would need a spouse less wonky than she is to pull it off. And deadpanning as the long-suffering husband would be as much a stretch for Bill Clinton to pull off as it would be for audiences to believe it.

Clinton did not give an Obama-level speech last night at the Al Smith dinner. But with her polling lead over Donald Trump widening and prospects of Democrats winning the Senate climbing too, she was looser than ever and even in a mood to laugh at a few of Donald Trump's jokes, however woodenly delivered through a chorus of boos.

(h/t SBS)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

When Trump tried to fraudulently vote they wouldn't let him

by digby

And yes, he was with that Billy Bush. They have quite the relationship:

Has there ever been a bigger whiner than Donald Trump?

by digby

This article about Trump acting like an ass about losing the Emmy says it all:
A refrain of this election season has been the necessity to fact check the comments made at the presidential debates. And so here we are to settle one controversial claim: Should The Apprentice have won an Emmy?

At Wednesday night’s final showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Clinton dutifully listed all the instances in which Trump had argued that something was “rigged” against him, including the Emmys, which has never rewarded Trump’s reality TV competition series The Apprentice.

“There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him,” Clinton said, to which Trump interjected: “Should have gotten it.”

Indeed, Trump has, as is his wont, taken to grieving in 140 characters over various Apprentice Emmys slights.

“The Emmys are all politics, that’s why, despite nominations, The Apprentice never won—even though it should have many times over,” he tweeted in 2012. “I should have many Emmys for The Apprentice if the process were fair,” he tweeted in 2013, “in any event, it’s not my day job.” And, never one to let go of a grudge, in 2014 after another year of zero nominations for his show: “Which is worse and which is more dishonest—the Oscars or the Emmys?”

He reprised it in 2014:

I mean --- this:

According to awards website GoldDerby.com, in a 2015 episode of Celebrity Apprentice Trump complained about the Emmy slight for the first season of The Apprentice over a decade earlier, in 2004.

“Everybody thought I was gonna win it,” he said. “In fact, when they announced the winner, I stood up before the winner was announced. And I started walking for the Emmy. And then they announced the most boring show on television, The Amazing Race. Piece of crap.”

Read the whole thing to see how ludicrous it was that he thought he should win.

I suppose it's possible that he might be a gracious loser in November. But I wouldn't count on it.


Clinton's most important moment

by digby

Clinton mopped the floor with Trump last night. But something else important happened too. Hillary Clinton made the most impassioned defense of Roe vs Wade any candidate has ever made in a debate. Pro-choice women really shouldn't think twice about voting for Clinton because of this alone:

CLINTON: Well, I strongly support Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a constitutional right to a woman to make the most intimate, most difficult, in many cases, decisions about her health care that one can imagine. And in this case, it's not only about Roe v. Wade. It is about what's happening right now in America.

So many states are putting very stringent regulations on women that block them from exercising that choice to the extent that they are defunding Planned Parenthood, which, of course, provides all kinds of cancer screenings and other benefits for women in our country.

Donald has said he's in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. He even supported shutting the government down to defund Planned Parenthood. I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v. Wade, and I will defend women's rights to make their own health care decisions.

WALLACE: Secretary Clinton... CLINTON: And we have come too far to have that turned back now. And, indeed, he said women should be punished, that there should be some form of punishment for women who obtain abortions. And I could just not be more opposed to that kind of thinking.

WALLACE: I'm going to give you a chance to respond, but I want to ask you, Secretary Clinton, I want to explore how far you believe the right to abortion goes. You have been quoted as saying that the fetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term, partial-birth abortions. Why?

CLINTON: Because Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case.

The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who toward the end of their pregnancy get the worst news one could get, that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. So you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and the health of the mother taken into account.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, your reaction? And particularly on this issue of late-term, partial-birth abortions.

TRUMP: Well, I think it's terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.

Now, you can say that that's OK and Hillary can say that that's OK. But it's not OK with me, because based on what she's saying, and based on where she's going, and where she's been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that's not acceptable.

CLINTON: Well, that is not what happens in these cases. And using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate. You should meet with some of the women that I have met with, women I have known over the course of my life. This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. And I do not believe the government should be making it.

You know, I've had the great honor of traveling across the world on behalf of our country. I've been to countries where governments either forced women to have abortions, like they used to do in China, or forced women to bear children, like they used to do in Romania. And I can tell you: The government has no business in the decisions that women make with their families in accordance with their faith, with medical advice. And I will stand up for that right.

So, this happened

by digby

I'm hearing a lot of people say that last night was Trump's best debate and that if he hadn't said he might not accept the results of the election and called Hillary "such a nasty woman" he would have been the winner.

Uhm, no. He made a total fool of himself the entire time.  Here's just one example:

A window into his soul

by digby

Here's Trump at the end of last night's debate, tearing up his  notes:

This is not the guy you can trust with nuclear weapons. He can't control himself.

"False criminalization as birtherism"

by digby

That's basically what Trump is promising. I wrote about it for Salon this morning:

After Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee last spring, he went before a West Virginia audience and said, “You’ve been hearing me say it’s a rigged system, but now I don’t say it anymore because I won. It’s true. Now I don’t care. I don’t care. And the only way I won was I won by such big margins because it is a rigged system. But the only way you can do it, it’s like a boxer, you got to knock them out then you don’t got to worry about the judges.”

He didn’t win by big margins. He won by grinding it out in primary after primary, winning just enough in a huge field to come in first with far less than a majority. But Trump is a total stranger to the truth and he says whatever he needs to say to get through the moment.

The polls show that Trump is lagging far behind right now, and on Wednesday night in the final presidential debate in Las Vegas, when Chris Wallace asked him if he would accept the results of the upcoming election, Trump said again that the system is rigged, the media has been dishonest and corrupt and has poisoned the minds of the voters. Then he said this, very pointedly:

So let me just give you one other thing. So I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people — tell you one other thing: she shouldn’t be allowed to run. It’s crooked — she’s — she’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run. And just in that respect, I say it’s rigged, because she should never … Chris, she should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with emails and so many other things.

He refused to say whether he would follow the American tradition of peaceful transfer of power, telling Wallace that he wanted to leave the American people “in suspense.”

This seemed to shock just about everyone, despite the fact that Trump has been saying this at every recent appearance. Apparently people thought that in the formal setting of a nationally televised debate he wouldn’t dare defy the norms of our electoral system, which is silly. That is what he does.

This is the man who challenged the legitimacy of Barack Obama for many years and only a few weeks ago conceded that he was an American citizen and therefore entitled to run for president. If you look at his comment above you will see where he’s heading with Hillary Clinton. Just as he questioned whether Obama should have been “allowed to run” because he had not adequately proven his citizenship, he is saying that Clinton shouldn’t have been “allowed to run” “based on what she did with emails and so many other things.” That’s what will make her victory illegitimate, not the vote count. As Rebecca Traister of New York magazinedescribed it on Twitter, “this is false criminalization as birtherism.”

How all this will play out after the election is unknown, but anyone who thinks he plans to just fade away like his favorite old soldier, Douglas MacArthur, is probably fooling herself. The birther stuff fed directly into the right-wing obstructionism that characterized the last eight years so we can expect this to be even more salient during a Hillary Clinton administration. Trump’s angry army will believe the presidency was usurped by a criminal.

And it may end up somewhere substantially more dangerous. Trump had been coasting along in the debate with snippets of his stump speech and managed to avoid blowing his cool until Clinton challenged him to repudiate the Russian interference in the election. Despite the fact that the consensus of intelligence agencies is that Russia deliberately interfered with the election, Trump refused to concede that it’s happening. Republican strategist Steve Schmidt on MSNBC said that his unwillingness to concede this point is every bit as bad as his unwillingness to commit to accepting the outcome of the election, since Russian interference in western elections on behalf of far-right parties is becoming a serious challenge. He speculated that this relates to what Trump has planned:

I think he plans on being martyred. I think in his martyrdom he’s going to wave the bloody shirt and he’s going to go out and say through a party of grievance and resentment that “we were cheated and this was stolen” and he’ll have a critical mass [for] a UKIP style third party that splits off from the Republican Party. Who knows where the funding for Trump TV will come from, but it will be a media designed to undermine the democratic foundations of the United States and the credibility of our elections processes. Vladimir Putin couldn’t hope for anything better than that.

That’s a startling scenario and perhaps it’s hyperbole. But Trump’s behavior with respect to all the Russian activity around this election is strange. But then, what isn’t strange when it comes to him? Perhaps Trump simply believes that “someone” has good taste in presidential candidates. One thing we do know is that even if he concedes the election in some technical sense, he is not going to concede that Clinton is a legitimate candidate whatever the outcome of the vote. The chants of “lock her up” will fuel whatever he does next.

To those Trump surrogates who are using Al Gore and the 2000 election as their precedent: Please. Gore did not spend the month before the election telling millions of people that George W. Bush was a criminal and shouldn’t have been allowed to run. The state of Florida’s laws kicked in an automatic recount and when the whole process was finished, he graciously accepted the results. Since Donald Trump doesn’t have a gracious bone in his body, it’s highly doubtful we can expect the same, even if he loses in a landslide.

Unfortunately, the right has killed off another important American democratic norm. Soon there won’t be any left, not even for them.

They've exposed themselves for what they are

by digby

The Trump campaign has exposed so many of the right's hypocrisies. From conservative evangelicals having no problem with a thrice married libertine groper to heresies on free trade and safety net programs, they have proved they have no principles or morals when it comes to family values or small government.

Now that they have proved they aren't really social conservatives or fiscal conservatives, they are also proving that they aren't national security conservatives either, at least not in the traditional patriotic sense of the word:

It's going to be important to remember this stuff for the future. These Republicans can't be allowed to go back to pretending that they are morally superior, patriotic fiscal conservatives. They've shown their true colors.


Says it all

by Tom Sullivan

It's show time.

Polls open in North Carolina at 10 a.m. EDT, so there is not a lot of time to comment on last night's third and final presidential debate. Thankfully, the tweet at the top says it all.

It was bad enough yesterday for the Donald. Hillary Clinton is now leading among men in Bloomberg's latest poll of likely voters.

Still, all anyone will be talking about this morning, however, is this:

Trump Won’t Say if He Will Accept Election Results — New York Times

Trump refuses to say whether he’ll accept election results — Washington Post

Trump Won't Say If He Will Accept 2016 Election Results — Newsweek

"It was a shocking and cravenly irresponsible thing to say, the sort of thing that threatens to rend our national fabric, and for that alone, Trump has earned his place in the history of American ignominy." — John Podhoretz, New York Post

"Donald Trump turned, in the third and final presidential debate, from insulting the intelligence of the American voter to insulting American democracy itself." — New York Times Editorial Board

To the barricades.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What Hillary needs to do

by digby

"You let me do the worrying"

by digby

I think this is one of the most powerful ads of the cycle:

That little girl is reportedly going to be at the debate tonight.


I gotcher wall for ya right here

by digby

That's the taco truck "wall" of protest in front of Trump hotel in Las Vegas, where the candidate spent the night.

Down in Texas, taco trucks are registering Latino voters. They've awakened the sleeping taco truck giant!

(If you're confused about the Taco trump meme, it comes from this.)

Wavering women in Real America

by digby

You wouldn't know it from this year's election reporting  but there are tens of millions of women who are voting enthusiastically for Hillary Clinton because of her stand on the issues and the fact that she's going to be the first woman president which is a meaningful milestone to them. Very few people have bothered to profile them or look into what they're thinking. (There's so little time for that what with the need to focus, as we do in every election, on the much more important angry white males who are voting Republican.) These women are the invisible people in this election just like they are often the invisible people in this world.  But whatever, they are working to get her elected and they will vote and then go back to doing whatever it is they do that nobody gives a shit about.

Meanwhile, it's making the difference in places where Trump is supposed to be the strongest:
Vigo County [Indiana] is as good a bellwether as any place in America. It’s voted for the winning presidential candidate all but two times the past 128 years, and hasn’t missed since 1952, choosing neighboring Illinois’ Adlai Stevenson over Dwight Eisenhower—and even then it missed by a margin of only .07 percent. And signs are, in 2016, Vigo, situated in the home state of his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, is firmly in the Trump column.

But on this day inside Pizza City, as members of a France 2 television crew hovered boom mics over the proceedings, Trump’s Indiana team wasn't playing offense, but defense. A dour mood filled the air. Only days before, video had surfaced of their candidate bragging about his prowess in assaulting women, and the subject had overtaken the matter of early voting as the topic of conversation. Polls weren’t looking as rosy as they once had, either. In August, Trump led Hillary Clinton in Indiana by 11 points. But only a week or so before today’s visit, a WTHR/Howey Politics poll in the field from October 3 through October 5 had Trump up with only a 5-point margin in Pence’s own backyard, 43 percent to 38 percent. Meanwhile, a Monmouth University poll released a few days later would show Clinton trailing Trump here by a margin of 4 points.

All was not well in Importantville, as Trump himself had dubbed the state during Indiana’s decisive primary. As political gossip around Terre Haute had it, Trump’s comments about women had caused a surge of female voters registering in the waning hours before early voting began. Could Trump lose Vigo County? And if he did, that could mean, well, he couldn’t lose here, could he? That was the question that hung in the air, in the background of the political chatter that could be heard on sidewalks and in libraries and the town’s bars during the time I spent in the county last week.

And then there was this bit of data: At a drive-through voter registration event at the Vigo County Courthouse the day before, about 150 voters registered. I spoke to one volunteer who worked the event, and she told me that 90 percent of them were women who planned to vote for Clinton.
The whole piece is interesting, showing how the air has gone out of the Trump Balloon generally. And not all women are coming around. Like this one:

Lisa Reed, 58, a landlord, said she wasn’t bothered by Trump’s comments, especially compared to the specter of a Clinton presidency. “She’s for everybody else but my gender and my race,” she said. But she admitted that if a man said to her what Trump had said about women, she wouldn’t take it sitting down. “I got a gun. I’ll shoot your ass.” Even Trump? “Even Trump,” she said.

“And if Trump is president, you’ll still have your gun,” Jaworowski interjected.

People nodded.

Afterward, Reed told me that she wasn’t against the idea of a female president. “I’d love to see a woman president—I’d just like it to be a real woman,” she said. Did she think Hillary Clinton was not a real woman? “If you can’t satisfy a man enough to keep him home, than you are not a real woman. I always thought the best female president would have been Condi Rice,” she said, apparently unaware that, days earlier, in the wake of the Access Hollywood video leak, the former secretary of state had called for Trump to withdraw. (“Enough! Donald Trump should not be President,” Rice posted on Facebook.)

But this too:

Women for Trump aside, though, rank-and-file female voters with whom I spoke across town seemed generally turned off by Trump.

The night before the gathering at Pizza City, at a League of Women Voters candidate forum, I could find only one female Trump supporter. “I’ve worked with a lot of men, and I realize how men are,” Laura Wilkey, 65, told me. “It’s crude language, but he wasn’t in mixed company.” (At another forum later in the week, the BBC broadcast a debate between Trump’s Indiana team and two Clinton supporters from a local watering hole. Clinton’s side of the room at the forum sat substantially more women than Trump’s side did.)

“This election is insane,” Sue Bentrup, an 80-year-old retired nurse who planned to vote for Clinton, told me. “I feel sorry for the Abraham Lincoln Republicans. I’m nervous.”

Personally, I don't think it's the "pussy" video itself that caused it. It's the accumulation of all of it. And it's always possible that a few of these women, ridiculous as it obviously is, might even think Clinton will make a pretty good president.

Conway shows how a true liar gets it done

by digby

Trump has invited Obama's Kenyan half brother Malik who is a Trump supporter to the debate. He is very disappointed in his half-brother and Hillary Clinton:
He’s also annoyed that Clinton and President Obama killed Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy, whom he called one of his best friends.

Malik Obama dedicated his 2012 biography of his late father to Khadafy and others who were “making this world a better place.”

“I still feel that getting rid of Khadafy didn’t make things any better in Libya,” he said. “My brother and the secretary of state disappointed me in that regard.”

But what bothers him even more is the Democratic Party’s support of same-sex marriage.

“I feel like a Republican now because they don’t stand for same-sex marriage, and that appeals to me,” he said.

Obama believes strongly in the institution of marriage — so strongly that he has at least three current wives, although press reports have put the number as high as 12.

Kellyanne Conway was on MSNBC this morning and lied so smoothly about all this that it actually scared me:
MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle: Help me understand why bringing President Obama's half brother tonight, how does that help voters know who they want to elect as the next president of the United States?

Conway: That's all right. he wanted to come and we're happy to give him a ticket and accomodate him.

Ruhle: You guys are friends with him?

Conway: I'm not personally friends with him, I've never met him.

Ruhle: Donald Trump is friends with him?

Conway: But, yuo know, we're very inclusive.

Ruhle: To me, inviting president Obama's brother, are you not ringing some conspiracy theories? Are you not winking at the birther issue again?

Conway: What? No ...
That's not spinning. It's pathology.


Trump's trusted media sources

by digby

Margaret Sullivan has a good piece up today about Trump's affiliation with the conspiracy mongers and character assassins:

In recent days, Donald Trump stood in front of riled-up crowds and argued that both candidates should undergo drug tests before the final presidential debate Wednesday. Why? Because Hillary Clinton, he claimed, is taking performance-enhancing substances.

“I don’t know what’s going on with her, but at the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end it was like take me down,” he said. “She could barely reach her car.”

He provided no evidence for any of this. In fact, he seemed to be purposely mixing up Clinton’s debate performance with her recent bout with pneumonia. (In a much-viewed video, her knees buckled as she departed early from a 9/11 commemoration in New York.)

But here’s how Roger Stone, Trump’s ally and longtime dirty-trickster, described Clinton’s second debate behavior, in a recent interview with Alex Jones, the syndicated radio host and proprietor of InfoWars, a website that thrives on far-right conspiracy theories.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump believes there's a global conspiracy to stop him from becoming president – but it's not the first time he's pushed unfounded theories. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

“Look, of course she was jacked up on something. I assume some kind of methamphetamine.”

[It’s time for TV news to stop playing the stooge for Donald Trump]

It sounds like a perfect circle of disinformation: Stone provides unfounded allegations to InfoWars, and lately, Trump has been using InfoWars like a news source.

Let’s be clear: If InfoWars is news, the yowling of feral cats is classical music, and Trump University the best place to invest your hard-saved tuition dollars.

InfoWars was founded by Jones, a purveyor of various crackpot notions, including that the Sandy Hook massacre of tiny children in 2012 was a government hoax intended to promote gun control. (It was all done with actors, Jones claims.)

And the California drought? Made up. InfoWars is also a great place to go for 9/11 “truther” rumors; Jones proudly calls himself a founder of those.

But Trump seems to be a fan: He did an interview with Jones last year, telling the host his “reputation is amazing.” Which is indeed true, but not in the complimentary way Trump intended it to be taken.

[What could a future Trump TV venture look like? Tune in here.]

“InfoWars is poisonous, and its journalistic value is negative,” said Rick Perlstein, the historian who has chronicled the modern conservative movement in books about Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon. He called the circularity of Trump referring to Roger Stone’s interview in InfoWars as “a burlesque version” of Dick Cheney’s planting a story in the New York Times in the run-up to the Iraq War and then citing that story on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Perlstein wrote about the Jones/Trump connection in Salon in the spring, calling Jones “a lunatic,” observing that Trump was citing Jones’s denials of a California drought.

It’s well known, of course, that Trump increasingly is campaigning against what he calls “the corrupt media,” slamming news organizations for “false stories, all made up . . . lies, lies.” He calls reporters “scum” and insists that they are all tools of the Clinton campaign.

Still, he makes a few exceptions. He borrowed his top campaign executive, Stephen Bannon, from Breitbart News, the far-right website which is practically a wing of his campaign, often referred to as Trump Pravda.

Read on. It's a great story and should inform Villagers of some stuff of which they are obviously unaware.

She did miss one piece of the story. Stone didn't make up the drug thing. That came out of the Mercer family "Defeat Crooked Hillary" PAC which formerly employed both Kellyanne Conway and David Bossie. This ad was put online before Trump mentioned it on the stump: