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Hullabaloo


Friday, June 24, 2016

 
The Democrats' big Florida mistake

by digby

a baby gator is much cuter than Patrick Murphy


















I wrote about Patrick Murphy for Salon this morning:


The American people really don’t like congress right now. It’s popularity is only slightly above the popularity of compost as a dessert topping. But in reality, what they really seem to hate about congress is the party they don’t belong to. According to the most recent Pew Poll, polarization is at an all-time high with members of both parties pretty much loathing each other. There are plenty of theories about what’s driving this, which we won’t get into here. (My personal belief is that the Republicans went completely nuts, which is born out by data and not just by my own partisan biases.) But one thing each side can agree upon is that their opponents are simply insufferable:





If the last seven years are any example, it’s not going to be easy for either party to govern effectively in this climate without a majority in both houses of congress. The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics Crystal Ball forecast by analyst Larry Sabato shows that the Democrats are very highly favored to win the presidency with nearly 350 electoral votes and in ordinary times that might also usher in a congressional majority. Unfortunately, the Republicans managed to gerrymander the House so thoroughly that it will take an epic landslide for Democrats to win it back. It’s not impossible --- the Trump factor may be instrumental in turning it over. But it’s a heavy lift.

The Senate, on the other hand, has long been considered doable and while that doesn’t solve the problem of that Blue Eyed devil Paul Ryan and his Tea Partying wrecking crew, it does mean something when it comes to things like Supreme Court judges and Executive Branch appointments. (And if the worst were to happen and, God forbid, Trump were to win the presidency, having the Senate majority could be the difference between simple dysfunction and total chaos.) It is a very important goal and one for which the Democrats have been preparing for some time.

There are a number of seats where Republican incumbents are vulnerable and a few open seats that could turn over to a Democrat. One of the most promising was Marco Rubio’s in Florida which he pretended to vacate when he decided to run for president. He waiting until the last minute but finally jumped back into the race earlier this week. Apparently, he figured he still had plenty of time to make his fortune and he is clearly eyeing another run at the presidency.

His strategy seems to be to run against both Clinton and Trump which is an odd choice since that’s what he did during the primaries and it didn’t work out too well for him. The polling isn’t showing much enthusiasm among Floridians for more Marco in the Senate. Perhaps they weren’t impressed by his constant demeaning of the job, saying it wasn’t even worth showing up for --- which he rarely did. But he’s a familiar face now so perhaps he’ll just win by default.

The Democrats meanwhile went out of their way to recruit one of the worst possible candidates available in any state, Congressman Patrick Murphy a two term congressman with a very wealthy and generous Republican father. The Democrats had persuaded Murphy to switch his R to a D in 2012 and he unsurprisingly went on to compile one of the most conservative records in the House Democratic caucus. He was even one of the chief Benghazi witch hunters enthusiastically helping Republicans smear Hillary Clinton.

In fact, it was rumored that Murphy was missing his old buddies in the GOP:
According to a source very close to the Republican Congressional leadership, Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner granted Patrick Murphy’s request to a private meeting to discuss Murphy’s possible defecting to the Republican Party.

For reasons unknown that didn’t happen and Murphy then became the Democratic establishment’s choice for Rubio’s seat. And what a terrible choice he was. Even before Rubio stepped back into the race it was very doubtful that Murphy could pull out of the nosedive his campaign has been in for the last month.

First there were the stories of his dubious campaign contributions. It’s obviously the case that he became such a favorite of the likes of Senator Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid because he is a veritable money machine. And it’s a dirty one:

The Democrat has seen an avalanche of news headlines and political attacks in the last week surrounding: money his family-owned company and father gave to a super PAC that supports him; donations he received from an admitted felon; and a House bill he co-sponsored that would have benefitted political donors and his family business...

Murphy is the best-funded candidate in the race and his family wealth — or the contributions he took from big donors and Wall Street — didn't hinder him in past elections. He won his first election in 2012 despite media coverage of his father's pouring $550,000 into pro-Murphy super PACs, one of which ran attack ads against GOP opponent and then-U.S. Rep. Allen West. The ads generated controversy in District 18 as it depicted West, who's black, as a boxer punching white women.
(Yes, Alan West is a political extremist and a war criminal, but that’s still disgusting.)

This week the local Miami CBS station released a two part investigation into Murphy’s financial conflicts and his ongoing lies about his education and his job experience in the private sector. It’s devastating. His claim to fiscal expertise lies with his alleged background as a CPA. Upon investigation it turned out that Murphy repeatedly failed the Florida CPA exam and never worked a day in that capacity. His heroic tale of creating an innovative new type of “oil-skimming” boat, thoroughly tested by the government and found to be 100 percent effective, to help with the BP spill turns out to be false. Certainly the government has no record of ever seeing one. The “small business” he brags about starting from scratch was actually affiliated with his father’s very successful construction firm. In other words he’s an empty suit who doesn’t appear to have ever left his father’s nest.

It’s too bad Reid and Schumer put all their eggs in that basket and have been so dismissive of his primary opponent the firebrand progressive Alan Grayson, who polls just as well against the Republicans and isn’t as dumb as a bag of rocks. GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s former chief of staff was recently quoted as saying, “right now, I can envision a scenario where the balance of the Senate tips to the Democrats with the election of Alan Grayson. And I’m not the least bit kidding about that…Grayson could beat that entire field of Republicans.”

These investigations of Murphy’s shady finances and lies about his experience had eroded his chances anyway and now that Rubio’s back in the race, he’s in even worse shape. This was an unforced error by some powerful members of the party leadership who are still seduced by the idea of recruiting Republicans to switch parties under the mistaken impression that that will gain “independent” votes and keep the big money flowing. It could be a very consequential mistake. One Senate seat could make all the difference in January 2017.

There’s one group that’s very happy about all this --- Republicans:




.

 
The perils of the protest vote

by digby















Why didn't anyone tell us?

Following Britain’s 52% to 48% decision to leave the European Union on Thursday (June 23), BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire convened a group of voters in Manchester who cast ballots for a Brexit.

One of them, a man named Adam, is harboring some rather immediate regrets.

“I’m a bit shocked to be honest,” he said. “I’m shocked that we actually have voted to leave, I didn’t think that was going to happen.”

Adam told Derbyshire that he didn’t think his vote would ultimately matter. “I thought we were just going to remain,” he explained, “and the David Cameron resignation has blown me away to be honest.”

When Derbyshire asked him if the results had him concerned for the country’s future, he replied, “I think the period of uncertainty that we’re going to have for the next couple of months, that’s just been magnified now. So yeah, quite worried.”

Adam is not alone, apparently. Google is reporting a sharp uptick in searches relating to not just the implications of Britain leaving the EU, but the basic functions of the body all together:




With presumptive major-party nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the United States faces a similarly stark choice as EU referendum voters. Indeed, the parallels between the Leave campaign and Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement are clear—both are built on a bedrock of white, working-class angst; anti-immigrant paranoia, economic protectionism, and queasy ultranationalism.

Clinton is leading Trump in polls nationwide. She has built a coalition of key demographics—women, ethnic minorities, and the college-educated—that make up a pretty strong firewall against a Trump victory. But then again, it appears many Britons couldn’t conceive of a Brexit in the same way many Americans can’t conceive of a Trump presidency. Yet here we are, a day after the referendum, with Britain on its way out of the EU and David Cameron on his way out of office.

Political analysts say turnout for the Remain campaign was lower than expected. This, in combination with the notion that perhaps large numbers of Leave voters did not cast their ballots seriously has precipitated the current situation. And a parallel recipe has the potential to bring about a Trump victory in November.

There is no doubt that the austerity regime under Cameron made people sour and bitter and you can't blame them. It's also true that many British people just don't like immigrants. (And yes,terrorism plays a part in that as well.) Europe does not have the same history with immigration as the US and we also escaped the level of super harsh austerity that was inflicted on much of Europe, yet we're having a xenophobic backlash too.

The reasons for this are complicated. But no matter what is making people so anxious, blaming immigrants and people of color for that anxiety is just wrong. It's wrong on the merits --- they didn't cause the problem. And it is wrong on a moral basis. It's not something that people of integrity should excuse simply because big structural issues that are driving all this instability around the world are making people unhappy.

There is a danger that people will not take the threat of Donald Trump seriously enough to stop him. There is a large contingent of Americans who are signed on to his toxic program because they really like it. And there are others who either aren't taking him seriously or who are myopically obsessed with internecine battles that can be dealt with after Trump is defeated. That's a bad strategy.

As you can see from the word coming out of Britain today, a whole lot of people didn't understand the ramifications of their vote, assumed that it couldn't come to this so they didn't bother to vote, or used voting as an emotional expression of their personal discontent. None of those things are a good idea in times like these. Actually, they're never a good idea, but in times like these the consequences could be grave.The last time we had a big protest vote in the US, we got Junior Bush and Cheney gang.

I don't know if Brexit will have any long term serious effect on the world economy. This is beyond my ken. Hopefully, economic elites will learn (again) that it's playing with fire to force austerity on hard working people as a sort of moral lesson in fiscal responsibility. They rarely learn what you want them to from that.

But it is also clear that this vote was a public endorsement of disgusting xenophobia and racism. It shouldn't be hard to condemn that:




.
 
Uhm, Trump spoke today surrounded by swastikas

by digby


























You cannot make this stuff up:
CHRIS CUOMO (HOST): Break into Donald Trump's statement right now which is not something we often do but it's very remarkable at this point because of what he hasn't mentioned yet. Donald Trump has been up at the podium for about five minutes, has not mentioned Brexit, is only talking about his golf course and his other business ventures and how it came to be. Let's discuss why he would make this choice and what the implications are.

TRUMP: Blah, blah, blah, my golf course is fabulous, blah, blah, I'm fabulous, it's beautiful, it's grand it's great, blah, blah, blah...

JOHN AVALON: This is insane. The presumptive Republican nominee has the world watching on a historic day and he is doing a five minute advertorial for his golf course in great detail, talking about the beauty of the suites, how great the pars are on certain holes, not talking about Brexit. This is a summation in some ways of his campaign. He is in the right place at the right time for his message, and he blows it because at the end of the day, it's all about him. He seems to be trying to profit off a presidential run and not taking it seriously. This is trump steaks all over again after winning the primaries. It's completely insane.

ALISYN CAMEROTA (HOST): David, is that how you see it?

DAVID GREGORY: I think John understates the importance of adding suites to the lighthouse. But I totally -- I mean, look, we spent all this time analyzing the potential significance of the parallels with his own campaign. We spent all of this time highlighting parallels of the campaign and way out ahead of where Donald Trump's campaign is. I'm shocked that, even given his statements, that he didn't come out and immediately seize on the importance of this. Maybe he wanted to inject a note of caution by not getting involved. But no, this just seems like political malpractice. I'm as bemused as everyone else looking at this thinking how strange this is.

And then there was this:



I don't know what to say ...

On behalf of all America, I apologize.

.
 
The Gun Business Is Making A Killing by Making it Personal
 by Spocko

We know the stages of how the media cover mass shootings. One stage we are hitting now is "the business of guns." Where reporters duly note how much the gun stock prices rise after shootings. They talk to industry analysts, talk about projected earnings as if they were selling abstract widgets.

 Yesterday the New York Times did a piece about how the gun industry is growing via assault rifles and handguns.

Today I listened to Evan Osnos who wrote the piece Making,a Killing, The business and politics of selling guns. by Evan Osnos for the New Yorker.  Osnos was on Fresh Air with Terry Gross Fresh Air interview with Osnos.
 I really encourage people to listen to the entire interview or read the story. Osnos talks about a number of things that I have been writing about and that I've heard about from listening to Cliff Schecter and my friends at various non-profits who are working on this issue.

 What I and others have noted is how the gun industry grows. Osnos talks about the conceal carry "lifestyle" and how it uses fear to constantly sell guns as the answer. They tell men and women,
"The world is dangerous, look at this mass shooting! You must protect your family! What kind of man would you be if you were powerless to protect them! Now watch and read these carefully chosen examples that prove you are doing the right thing." 
 What the interview also shows is that any talk about smart guns that might stop toddlers from blowing their brains out will be stopped. It might get in the way of selling more guns.

He gives the example of when Smith & Wesson tried to do something in this area they were punished financially. Their stock price dropped by 95 %. But that really wasn't good enough. The CEO also got death threats.

A gun maker CEO who tried to make things safer, is punished in one of the only ways that really counts in the US, falling stock prices. They gave him death threats instead of a golden parachute.

This is what people who would like less gun violence in America are up against. This is an industry that would rather block actions that would save the lives of thousand of kids every single year than risk slowing market growth.

What I take away from the Osnos piece and the many, "business of guns" stories  is the industries' focus on making money at any cost is becoming a weakness Especially when someone like Donald Trump takes them at their word.
The last half of the interview covers that.

 If the gun industry sells more guns after every tragic shooting is there a time when they don't make money? What can activists do that gets in the way of their revenue stream? And if they do, how will the industry react?

Sam Seder pointed out the other day that the market caps on the gun companies are small. Maybe Bloomberg could buy one? But also, who else makes money by supporting the gun industry? Who loses money? If you can't cost the gun industry money, can you cost the buyers money?

There are ways, but as I found out when I started the process of defunding Right Wing radio that when you get in the way of a revenue stream people get pissed off. They may talk about how important their rights are, but it's not about the industries' great desire to help men defend their families or defend our freedoms, it's about making a buck.

 
The ponies aren't coming 

by digby

Unbelievable:




Of course the real issue was immigration. And let's see how people deal with the fact that they aren't going to ever have a Merrie Olde England without all those you-know-whats everywhere unless something very, very ugly happens. Maybe that's what they want.

.
 

Brexit: "Leave" wins. Now what?

by Tom Sullivan

Donald Trump, who weeks ago didn't know what #Brexit was, suddenly does. He won't understand it any better. (Not that I do. This will take time to digest.)

If you are just waking up, Britain voted 52-48 to leave the European Union. Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister Tony Cameron is the first casualty:

Britain has voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow to the European project of greater unity since World War Two.

Global financial markets plunged on Friday as results from a referendum showed a near 52-48 percent split for leaving a bloc that Britain joined more than 40 years ago.

The pound fell as much as 10 percent against the dollar to touch levels last seen in 1985, on fears the decision could hit investment in the world's fifth-largest economy, threaten London's role as a global financial capital and usher in months of political uncertainty.

World stocks headed for one of the biggest slumps on record, and billions of dollars were wiped off the value of European companies. Britain's big banks took a $130 billion battering, with Lloyds (LLOY.L) and Barclays (BARC.L) falling as much as 30 percent at the opening of trade. [MKTS/GLOB]
Trump was more interested in how it might affect his golf course, because there's nothing that's not about Donald Trump:

As Nigel Farage of the "once-fringe United Kingdom Independence Party" celebrated, other far-right leaders sent congratulations:

Farage and his colleagues were quickly congratulated by the leaders of nationalist, far-right parties in the Netherlands and France, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen, who both called for similar referendums in their countries.

Closer to home, however, another part of Farage’s statement seemed at odds with the mood in some parts of the country. Namely, his confidant assertion that citizens of the United Kingdom comprise a single nation. As the results were tallied, it became obvious that there was a clear disparity of outcomes across the kingdom’s four nations: while England and Wales voted to leave the EU, Scotland and Northern Ireland both voted to stay in it, which raised the possibility that the decision to withdraw from one union could trigger the imminent collapse of another.

Scotland is already considering another independence vote:

Nicola Sturgeon said it was "democratically unacceptable" that Scotland faced the prospect of being taken out of the EU against its will.

She said the Scottish government would begin preparing legislation to enable another independence vote.

Scotland voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62% to 38%.

Writing for the Guardian, Diane Abbott summed up the Brexit results as a false promise:

For many Brexit voters the prime minister just confirmed to them how little the winners of globalisation like him cared about them, the losers.

If only the false promise that Britain’s malaise of disenfranchisement, voicelessness and an economic system that rewards the rich at the expense of the poor could be fixed by leaving the EU. The idea that migrants or politicians in Brussels are the problem with modern, unequal Britain was the canard at the core the referendum debate.

Britain’s problems come from a place much closer to home. They come from successive government policies that have promoted the financialisation of our economies and public services, thereby valuing profit over people. They come from a Tory government slashing public services and widening inequality under the dubious banner of austerity. And they come from a prime minister who was passionate about nothing but his own political survival.

These problems are so systemic today that fixing them will take a radical change to the structure of both our economy and political class. More of the past will not do to resolve the very real and interconnected global issues of our time: vast and rising wealth inequality, climate change and a foreign policy trapped in a cycle of destruction.
That feels about right. Because similar sentiments are boiling up here among those who feel like globalization's losers and the political class' victims. (A lot of us, frankly.) Sadly, for those easily swayed by mountebanks, TRUMP is the remedy for anything that ails ya. Just ask him. Got Mexicans? No problemo. TRUMP stops unwanted immigrants in their tracks. Pesky establishment? TRUMP politically incorrects for that. Lost your job? TRUMP again. Whites not white enough? TRUMP will make them bolder if not brighter.

For the left, Bernie Sanders more than his rival has focused on the harm the financialization of the economy has done to working Americans (and to those who once worked). Nonetheless, Hillary Clinton is poised to be the presidential candidate for Democrats this fall. Sanders told MSNBC this morning he will vote for her and "do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump." With Sanders having come so far attacking economic inequality and a calcified establishment, with Trump peddling economic snake oil to the disenfranchised, and with Britain having given EU austerity the middle finger, the question for the left here is: Are Democrats listening? This week's sit-in on the House floor suggests they might be, finally. Those who know her say Hillary Clinton is a good listener. She has a chance now to prove that to the rest of the country.

My recommendation? Get out there and register people to vote.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

 
The comment section at Breitbart doesn't count as "facts"

by digby




















NBC's Lester Holt asked Trump what proof he'd seen that Clinton's server had been hacked. Trump proceeded to argue that it was illegal for Clinton to have a private email server in the first place and lamented that she would not be charged because of a "rigged system." 
"You don't know that it hasn't been [hacked]," Trump said. "What she did is illegal. She shouldn't have had a server." 
When Holt pressed Trump to say what evidence he'd seen of a hack, Trump struggled to respond. 
"I think I read that and I heard it and somebody—" Trump said. 
"Where?" Holt asked. 
"Somebody gave me that information," Trump said. "I will report back to you."
This is what he said in his speech:
[Clinton’s] server was easily hacked by foreign governments, perhaps even by her financial backers in communist China. Sure they have it. Putting all of America and our citizens in danger, great danger. Then there are the 33,000 emails she deleted. We may not know what's in those deleted emails. Our enemies probably know every single one of them. So they probably now have a blackmail file over someone who wants to be the president of the United States. This fact alone disqualifies her from the presidency. 
Her financial backers in communist China ...

Remember when everyone called Ted Cruz Joe McCarthy for implying that Chuck Hagel had been taking money from North Korea? John McCain admonished him publicly over it. Everyone was aghast. But Trump has so lowered the bar for decency that he can say this in a formal speech and it doesn't even garner any notice.

Update: There's more:
Donald Trump sleep-walked back his remark that Hillary Clinton was 'asleep' during the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi Libya in 2012, saying whether Clinton was snoozing or not she was 'asleep at the wheel.'

He modified his comment a handful of times, saying Clinton 'might have been sleeping' and that the attack went on for 'a long time.

Trump got a wake up call about his comment in an appearance on NBC News Thursday, when Lester Holt asked him about his comment during a blistering speech Wednesday.

Trump had said in his anti-Clinton speech that Hillary 'spread death, destruction and terrorism everywhere she touched' as secretary of state.

'Among the victims was our late Ambassador Chris Stevens. I mean what she did with him was absolutely horrible. He was left helpless to die as Hillary Clinton soundly slept in her bed. That’s right. When the phone rang, at 3:00 in the morning, Hillary Clinton was sleeping,' Trump said, in one of the harshest lines of his attack.

Holt asked Trump about the comment, saying that fact-checkers found the attack occurred during the day. Politifact reported that the attack occurred at 3:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time.

'It happened all during the day and it was going on for a long period of time,' Trump responded, as Holt pressed him.

'Excuse me, it was going on for a long period of time,' Trump continued.

'And she was a sleep at the wheel. Whether she was sleeping or not – who knows if she was sleeping? She might have been sleeping,' Trump continued.

Then he tried to knock down the idea that she was awake because she sent a tweet.

'Why, because she put out a Tweet. Somebody said she put out a tweet therefore she wasn’t be sleeping. Nobody else could put out a tweet?'

'I can tell you this, whether she was sleeping or not – and she might have been sleeping – it was a disaster.

There was no tweet.

.


 
Act like a 12 year old bully, this is what you get

by digby



















I can only imagine how people with disabilities felt when they saw that. It's horrifying.

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This is why he doesn't need to raise money

by digby

They just can't quit him:



 
Are the Democrats seeing red?

by digby



















They might be:
A new poll shows Hillary Clinton running ahead of Donald Trump in Arizona, where a Democratic presidential candidate has carried the state only once in the last 64 years.

A survey by Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights found Clinton taking 46.5 percent support over Trump at 42.2 percent.

About 6 percent of respondents said they would vote for an unspecified third-party candidate, while 5.6 percent said they’re undecided.
Former President Bill Clinton is the last Democrat to carry the state, narrowly defeating Bob Dole there in 1996, when Reform Party candidate Ross Perot was also on the ballot. Prior to Clinton, the last Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state was Harry Truman, in 1948.

Mitt Romney defeated President Obama in Arizona in 2012 by 9 points.

“It’s shocking to think that a Democratic presidential candidate would carry Arizona if the election were held today, considering that every statewide office in Arizona is held by a Republican as well as significant majorities in the Arizona House and Senate,” Wes Gullett, a partner at OH Predictive Insights, told the Phoenix Business Journal. “Arizona should be a reliable red state.”

There are a handful of states with diverse electorates and growing minority populations that Democrats believe they can compete in with Trump at the top of the ticket.

Trump's good pal isn't helping:
Joe Arpaio may be a local sheriff, but his national profile has helped him build a war chest three times the size of Donald Trump’s.

According to Arpaio’s latest campaign finance disclosure (PDF), the combative immigration hardliner has raised nearly $9.9 million for his November bid for a 7th term as Maricopa County sheriff, including $1.94 million since January alone.

But despite the famous sheriff’s enormous fundraising haul, Democrats are convinced that an ongoing federal trial against Arpaio, along with Arizona’s growing Latino voting population, will not only make the sheriff vulnerable, but will also make him as much of a drag on Arizona’s Republican ticket as Trump, especially for Sen. John McCain’s bid for a 5th Senate term.
The 84-year-old sheriff’s national appeal shows up in his massive small-dollar donor list. Of the more than 100,000 people in his active donor file, 26 percent come from Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, while the rest are a hodgepodge of retirees, teachers, cops, cashiers, and electricians from California to North Carolina.

Most of those have probably seen Arpaio on Fox News, where he has long been a fixture as a conservative attack dog on everything from President Obama’s “fake” birth certificate to the finer points of Donald Trump’s candidacy. Arpaio endorsed Trump before nearly any other Republican elected official in the country and recently hammered Republican leaders as “gutless” for not getting behind Trump more strongly.

Probably not the smartest thing in the world for the Republicans to nominate an unreconstructed racist for president under these circumstances. But maybe they figure they can sneak in since the Dems are putting a woman for the first time. If they can start deporting a bunch of these immigrants for various reasons and roll this back long enough to end birthright citizenship and force white women to give birth to many more children,they might just have a chance to turn this thing around. That's Ann Coulter's advice anyway.

Unfortunately, the man they chose for this important task turns out to be an incompetent scam artist. They just aren't making authoritarian racists the way they used to ...

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A brand new Supahstah!

by digby
























Roger Stone must be jealous. He got fired by Trump and all he got was a lousy weekly stint on Alex Jones' show.

Former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is joining CNN as a political commentator, according to a source familiar with the arrangement.

It's a salaried position and will make Lewandowski exclusive to CNN, effective immediately.
Trump fired Lewandowski on Monday, ending the tenure of the fiery operative who faced a steady string of controversies while guiding Trump's skeleton campaign operation to a shocking victory in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. That same afternoon, his first in-studio interview was with CNN's Dana Bash (an NBC News reporter caught up with him outside of Lewandowski's apartment as he headed down to the studio).


I'll looks forward to his completely unpredictable commentary.

Actually, who knows? Maybe he's so mad or stupid that he'll spill some dirt on The Donald. But I doubt it...
 
Sneaky, sneaky

by digby













You can take this off the "human decency" side of Paul Ryan's ledger:
A measure to bar confederate flags from cemeteries run by the Department of Veterans Affairs was removed from legislation passed by the House early Thursday. 
The flag ban was added to the VA funding bill in May by a vote of 265-159, with most Republicans voting against the ban. But Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) both supported the measure. Ryan was commended for allowing a vote on the controversial measure, but has since limited what amendments can be offered on the floor.
He gets no credit for this kind of maneuver to make himself look good and then quietly remove it at the behest of his caucus. That's the price he pays for being Speaker. He is responsible for which items he uses as bargaining chips and this was evidently one of them.

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Trump's Wall Street Wingnut backers

by digby
















I wrote about Trump's outreach the super-rich for Salon this morning:

Yesterday hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, Ted Cruz’s former sugar daddy, announced that he had formed a Super PAC for wealthy Republicans who were too cowardly to own up to being Trump supporters. It’s subtly called the “Defeat Crooked Hillary Pac” and it being sold as a way for rich donors to contribute without having to sully their reputations by associating with that awful Donald Trump. Mercer hired professional Clinton character assassin David Bossie to head up the project, which is perfect. His Clinton stalking goes all the way back to the 1990s with his organization called Citizens United. Yes, it’s that Citizens United.

One wonders who they think they’re fooling by pretending that trashing Hillary Clinton does something other than help Donald Trump but it turns out the donor class isn’t always as bright as they like to think they are. After all, as the New York Times pointed out in its big Atlantic City expose the other day, supposedly sophisticated Wall Street investors repeatedly gave Donald Trump vast sums of money which he squandered even as he personally made a fortune. It took four bankruptcies before they finally wised up that the man wasn’t a business genius, he just played one on TV.

Some still believe it. Take this fellow quoted in Adam Davidson’s scathing profile of Trump’s business ventures in the New York Times Magazine:

Andrew Beal, a billionaire banker and investor, called me the other day to talk Trump. I had been leaving messages for every prominent business executive I could find who has publicly expressed support of the Republican candidate.

Before I could ask my first question, Beal told me he wanted to get something out of the way. He knew that I would ask about specifics. “Everybody wants to be real specific,” he said. But Beal’s support for Trump has nothing to do with specifics. He grants that he doesn’t know much about Trump’s policy goals or about whom he might choose for key economic positions. He doesn’t even think Trump knows. And that, he explained, is exactly why he supports him. “All these politicians with all these specific plans,” he said. “I think it’s total [expletive].”

His point was that business doesn’t run this way: If you’re hiring someone to be a chief executive, you don’t ask them to lay out every decision they’ll make, years ahead of when they’ll make it. You hire someone whom you trust, and you let them run things. Beal says he knows that Trump will do the right things to make the economy perform better. “You’re going to say, ‘How?’ ” he told me. “I don’t know how. I know that sounds crazy. That’s how the real world operates.”

That would be one of the so-called Masters of the Universe who allegedly keep the engine of capitalism working with their strategic insight and keen grasp of complex issues. When you read something like that you realize how easily all those rich investors got taken in by Trump. It turns out they’re even more clueless than those poor dupes who ran up their credit cards to attend Trump University. They were dazzled by The Donald like everyone else.

And he’s not the only one. Get a load of NY magazine’s Michelle Celarier’s rundown of the cast of characters who got together Tuesday night for a high dollar fundraiser at Le Cirque in New York. It was hosted by hedge fund billionaire John Paulson and raised between five and seven million dollars:

The bigger gift among Paulson and his fellow hosts might have been attaching their names to the event in the face of a generally souring view of Trump — too erratic, too offensive — among the top ranks on Wall Street. At least in the case of Paulson, there may have been a business motive for supporting Trump: As of last July, the presumptive GOP nominee was an investor in Paulson’s funds at a time when others were fleeing because of poor performance. But whatever his reason, the hedge-fund titan is now officially part of the small band of financiers publicly throwing their support behind Trump — others include investors Carl Icahn and Wilbur Ross, Cerberus’s Stephen Feinberg, hedge-funders Robert Mercer and Anthony Scaramucci, and former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin — even as many of their peers question whether doing so will prove to be reputational poison.

That’s a Wall Street wingnut rogues gallery with Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci (who I wrote about here) as co-sponsor of the event and Stephen Feinberg, a gun nut so extreme that he probably even scares Wayne LaPierre a little bit. And this was the event that reportedly brought Ted Cruz’s richest fanboy Robert Mercer fully on board the Trump train.

One wonders if any of them were shaken by this Moody’s analysis released on the day after the fundraiser:

"The economy will be significantly weaker if Mr. Trump's economic proposals are adopted. Under the scenario in which all his stated policies become law in the manner proposed, the economy suffers a lengthy recession and is smaller at the end of his four-year term than when he took office," the report said. "By the end of his presidency, there are close to 3.5 million fewer jobs and the unemployment rate rises to as high as 7 percent, compared with below 5 percent today. "During Mr. Trump's presidency, the average American household's after-inflation income will stagnate, and stock prices and real house values will decline."

That doesn’t sound like such a great America, does it?

Nonetheless, most investors are with Trump:

A Bloomberg/Morning Consult national poll on investment, tax and economic issues shows voters with money in the market pick Trump over Clinton, 50 percent to 33 percent, as the person they think will be better for their portfolio. Those with more than $50,000 invested answer the question almost identically as smaller investors...

"Donald Trump has made his business experience a key point in his campaign, and it seems to be resonating with voters," said Kyle Dropp, co-founder and chief research officer at Morning Consult, a Washington-based media and technology company.

Some of this is driven by partisanship with six in ten self-identified Democrats saying they’ll be for Clinton and six in ten Republicans for Trump. Indies split two to one for Trump. The big difference is obviously that there are many more Republican investors than Democrats.

It’s a bit mind boggling how this notion that the GOP (even under Trump) is better for the economy continues in spite of so much evidence proving the contrary. By any measure, whether it’s the stock market, GDP, reducing inequality, unemployment, poverty or racial economic progress the country does better economically under Democrats. Of course the really wealthy ones aren’t really concerned about the economy in general. Many of them, like Trump donor John Paulson make fortunes from other people’s misfortunes. (He made a killing on the mortgage meltdown in 2007 although now he’s down to his last 13 billion or so.) What they care about is their own tax rates and any regulations that may impede their freedom to gamble with the economy as they see fit. On that score, the Republicans are much more responsive to their personal needs and so is Donald Trump.

In fairness, there are many Wall Street types who are appalled by Trump even as they loathe and despise Democrats like Clinton and Obama for being mean and calling them fat cats and forcing them to adhere to some regulations after they crashed the world economy with their reckless gambling. They really would prefer a nice, easy Republican like Mitt Romney who wouldn’t have a slavering mob of left-wing populists breathing down the new president’s neck watching his every move for signs of favored treatment for the 1%.

Instead they are stuck with Trump, a man so obnoxious and ignorant that even though he’s more or less “one of them” they recoil in horror at the prospect of supporting such a cretin. Luckily, there will be vehicles like the “Defeat Crooked Hillary PAC” available for them to express their dislike of both candidates without having to take responsibility for the result.

.
 

"You've got to stand for something if you want to win"

by Tom Sullivan

The 2014 midterm elections were a disaster for Democrats across the country. Appearing on Meet the Press afterwards, former DNC chair Gov. Howard Dean complained about their lack of message, “Where the hell is the Democratic party? You've got to stand for something if you want to win."

It takes more than that. You've got to demonstrate you are willing to fight for it too.

Yesterday, some Democrats finally did. By sitting down for over twelve hours to demand a vote on "no fly, no buy" gun control legislation. In the wake of the Orlando shootings, they'd had enough:

Georgia congressman John Lewis deployed a strategy from his days as a civil rights activist and coupled it with social media to stage a dramatic sit-in Wednesday on the House floor with his fellow Democrats to force a vote on gun control — and disrupt political business as normal well into the night.

[...]

"Sometimes you have to do something out of the ordinary, sometimes you have to make a way out of no way," said Lewis, one of the last living icons of the civil rights movement. "There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time to act is now. We will be silent no more."

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) refused to allow a vote, the presiding Republican recessed the body and shut off the cameras, but the protest continued, broadcast via social media.

Late last night, Ryan managed to adjourn the House until after the July 4th break:

After a chaotic, daylong occupation of the House floor, Republican leaders moved in the middle of the night to cut off House Democrats' gun control "sit-in" by adjourning the House through the July 4 — without a vote on gun control.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sought to to quell the Democratic demonstration by having lawmakers vote at 2:30 a.m. on several bills they had to pass this week, including one to combat the Zika virus. After that, Republican leaders sent lawmakers home until July 5, starting their already-scheduled recess a few days earlier than planned.

I have no illusions that this is more than a one-off. But perhaps Democrats on the Hill have finally gotten Dean's message. The rest of their candidates and their presidential nominee had best pay heed. Voters will stand with candidates who show they will fight for them.

Sing me no song, read me no rhyme
Don't waste my time, show me!
Don't talk of June, don't talk of fall
Don't talk at all!
Show me!

"Show Me" by Lerner & Loewe from My Fair Lady



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

 
Such lovely folks

by digby















Rush on Trump's speech getting all excited over the Hillary hate. Oooh baby:

"Finally! It's about time somebody started telling the truth about Hillary Clinton, and it's not you.  Finally somebody that's an official Republican starts telling us what we already know!" People are jazzed by this, according to my email and other feedback that I'm getting. We've got all the audio sound bites coming. Of course, I, as a powerful, influential member of the media, had a transcript of the speech before it was given.

It happens it was a speech given on the prompter today down at SoHo, one of Trump's hotels that he owns.  So Trump basically said things about Hillary Clinton that you just don't hear Republicans saying.  You've heard them before.  You've heard them on this program, of course.  You've probably heard similar things that Trump said in other areas.  But you just do not hear Mitt Romney say this, for example.  You wouldn't hear the Bush family talk this way about Hillary.  You wouldn't. You just wouldn't hear it.

You wouldn't hear fellow establishment types talk about this, 'cause it's too close to home for all of them.  But Trump can say this stuff as an outsider. He can say this stuff as a nonmember of the elite or the establishment, and it's gonna be interesting to see, because while everything Trump said about Hillary has been said before by people -- and, of course, we have the Peter Schweizer book, Clinton Cash, which Trump quoted from extensively.  You don't see things like that happen, either.

Limbaugh's right. Nobody but bottom feeding wingnut freaks traffic in this nonsense. And those are the only people who believe it.

But Trump certainly did what he thought he needed to do today which is give every Trump primary voter a thrill up the leg. Which is nice. As he famously said, "we love the poorly educated!"

Hey, here's one of them now [NSFW]:



Time for a cocktail, I'm afraid.

.
 
Manforté

by digby


















Does everyone remember that when Trump hired Paul Manafort it was supposed to be because he knew how to handle a contested convention? I do:
In the hopes of staving off the GOP establishment’s efforts to block his nomination at a contested convention, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump hired a new delegate manager who has successfully led similar convention battles over the past several decades.

Trump has hired delegate manager Paul Manafort to lead his GOP convention efforts and shore up enough delegates to ensure he wins the nomination on the first ballot at the GOP presidential convention in Cleveland in July. Manafort is well known in GOP circles because in 1976, on behalf of then President Gerald Ford—who ascended to the presidency without being elected because of Richard Nixon’s Watergate-driven resignation—Manafort successfully fended off future president Ronald Reagan in a delegate battle that may end up looking a lot like 2016. Thanks to Manafort’s work for Ford that year, the incumbent president barely held on to the party’s nomination, beating back Reagan’s challenge.

But four years later, when Reagan faced a similar but less complicated delegate battle in 1980, he hired Manafort to lead his successful delegate fight at the convention that year.

Then Trump won and everyone assumed that Manafort was moving on to other duties. It looks like he's actually put quite a bit of planning and energy into his original task anyway and it's probably a good thing since there's a "delegate revolt" in the offing:
Donald Trump’s campaign is preparing a sophisticated operation to fight back against resurgent plans by recalcitrant conservatives to deny him the nomination at next month’s Republican National Convention.

In a high-level Tuesday night conference call led partly by Trump’s top adviser Paul Manafort and including 200 staffers and volunteers, Trump’s senior convention aides sketched out a whip operation led by a half-dozen operatives with deep convention experience. The effort will rely on a team of 150 volunteers and paid staff to keep the convention’s 2,472 delegates in line, and it will utilize a database with information on many of the delegates.

The plans laid out during the call suggest that Trump’s campaign is working to reverse a narrative that it has lacked organization, and the planning also indicates that Trump’s aides are taking seriously efforts by his GOP opponents to out-maneuver him on the convention floor.

The campaign is planning to reveal an additional eight “regional whip” leaders in the coming days, sources familiar with the operation said. Each will oversee seven of the 56 states and territories sending delegations to Cleveland.

That's why they pay him the big bucks. But I hope Manafort's getting his money up front. Trump has a nasty habit of not paying his bills...


.
 
From the "I know you are but what am I" files

by digby


.
 
Phony integrity for the win

by digby

















God, politics is just insufferable right now:
Robert Mercer, the GOP mega-donor and co-founder of Renaissance Technologies hedge fund who once backed Texas Senator Ted Cruz, is launching a super-PAC with a novel twist to get establishment-minded donors off the sidelines. The new project will informally be dubbed the “Defeat Crooked Hillary PAC” and, despite its Trumpian name, will focus solely on attacking Clinton, not boosting Trump. The idea is that conservative donors reluctant to support Trump can still donate in good conscience to a super-PAC that only attacks Clinton. “It’s a way to participate without [directly] supporting Trump,” says a source involved in the super-PAC’s creation.

Mercer’s new anti-Hillary vehicle is actually a refurbished version of Keep the Promise PAC, a pro-Cruz super-PAC that Mercer and his daughter Rebekah poured $13.5 million into during the primaries. Kellyanne Conway, the Republican pollster who is president of Keep the Promise PAC, may leave to join the Trump campaign.

David Bossie, president of the conservative advocacy group Citizens United, will take over as the head of Defeat Crooked Hillary. “This is an opportunity to really refocus the presidential debate around Hillary Clinton and her character, and the whole culture of corruption that’s surrounded the Clintons for decades,” says Bossie.

Conway said that she recruited Bossie for his role at the super-PAC, but hasn't decided what she'll be doing next.

"Very few people have studied Hillary Clinton longer or stronger than Dave Bossie, and I support him in this role as I decide where I can be most helpful in defeating Hillary Clinton," she said.

Bossie says that the name Defeat Crooked Hillary PAC won't actually appear in Federal Election Commission filings. “Technically, the name of the super-PAC is going to be ‘Make America Number One,’” Bossie says. “If we call it ‘Defeat Crooked Hillary,’ it’s an FEC violation. You have to do these things because of the way federal election law works.”

Bossie would know. It was his 2007 anti-Clinton film "Hillary: The Movie" that was the basis of the 2010 Supreme Court case, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission. The court ruled 5-4 in Bossie’s favor, opening the floodgates for more private money in politics.

However, many of the Republican donors who took advantage of the court’s ruling have refused to support Trump. The Mercers hope that Defeat Crooked Hillary will open a pathway for them to do so, at least indirectly.
If you are able to look at yourself in the mirror and feel as if your are morally unsullied because you didn't directly donate to Trump but you did help him get elected by giving that soulless hack David Bossie money to trash Clinton then good luck to you. You're not fooling anyone but yourself.

Hey, if you hate Clinton so much that you're willing to throw away money on scam artists like Bossie and Conway, people with fewer principles than a single cell organism, then just own the fact that you are willing to elect a fascist demagogue. Give the money directly to Trump. He needs it. Don't try to evade your personal responsibility for what you are doing. He's your guy.

Honestly, I have far more respect for the rank and file Trump voter cheering madly at his bigotry at those rallies than I have for these cowards.


.
 
Keeping it real

by digby














Why not just be up front?
An independent candidate running for Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District seat is under fire for a campaign billboard he posted with the slogan "Make America White Again," local TV station WRCB reported Wednesday.

Rick Tyler confirmed to the station that he put up the billboard, which also lists the address for his campaign website. Tyler told WRCB that he does not hate people of color, but does believe America "should go back to the 1960s."

"(The) Leave it to Beaver time when there were no break-ins; no violent crime; no mass immigration," he told the news station.

Tyler also posted a billboard for his campaign that features part of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech superimposed on a drawing of the White House with Confederate flags around it, according to WRCB.

This is Trump politics. He's proven it works. Just be as outrageously retrograde as you like, the news will cover you and at least some people will probably vote for you. It's a winning strategy in 2016.

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A brand name in a suit

by digby














As we prepare for the big Trump speech on Clinton's "crimes" and the economy tomorrow, consider this:

Andrew Beal, a billionaire banker and investor, called me the other day to talk Trump. I had been leaving messages for every prominent business executive I could find who has publicly expressed support of the Republican candidate.

Before I could ask my first question, Beal told me he wanted to get something out of the way. He knew that I would ask about specifics. “Everybody wants to be real specific,” he said. But Beal’s support for Trump has nothing to do with specifics. He grants that he doesn’t know much about Trump’s policy goals or about whom he might choose for key economic positions. He doesn’t even think Trump knows. And that, he explained, is exactly why he supports him. “All these politicians with all these specific plans,” he said. “I think it’s total [expletive].”

His point was that business doesn’t run this way: If you’re hiring someone to be a chief executive, you don’t ask them to lay out every decision they’ll make, years ahead of when they’ll make it. You hire someone whom you trust, and you let them run things. Beal says he knows that Trump will do the right things to make the economy perform better. “You’re going to say, ‘How?’ ” he told me. “I don’t know how. I know that sounds crazy. That’s how the real world operates.”

There you have it. A lot of these guys don't know shit and this is one of them. So is Trump. I wrote about it this morning. Here's a little more from the piece linked above by Adam Davidson in the New York Times magazine:

When you try to weigh Trump’s record as a businessman, you quickly find that there’s nothing of substance. Think of the characteristics you might find noteworthy in a business leader: A vision of the future? A single-minded focus on excellence? Discrimination and judgment? He’s no visionary, no Steve Jobs who forges new things. Trump’s accomplishments have come from replicating the products and services of others. He seems to lack any instinct for righting a sinking ship. Despite the declarations of his backers that he’ll “get the best people,” his organizations have hardly been magnets for talent — as evidenced by the fact that his leadership teams so often consist of people whose last names are Trump or whose sole accomplishment is having worked for him.

Despite all this, Trump receives extremely high marks among voters for how he would supposedly handle the economy: A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll in May found he outpolled Clinton by 11 points on the issue. The biggest mystery is why so many voters — apparently including, at least for now, some who plan to vote for Hillary Clinton — seem to have fallen for his act. Perhaps it’s simply the fact that in the absence of real information about Trump the businessman, Americans have spent years watching him play the part. His true calling seems to be acting like a successful businessman — a performance made all the more impressive by its distance from reality.

He inherited many millions from his father. And has been acting the part of a self-made billionaire ever since. But it's just a role. His record is clear. But many rich guys bought the con hook line and sinker and they bought it over and over again. It didn't matter how much he failed and how much they lost, they kept giving him money. They bought the hype.

If there's one thing that's become obvious over the past few years it's that few of these very rich people are Machiavellian geniuses. It turns out that once you reach a critical mass of money you can be dumb as a post and still make more. In fact, I think that's probably the rule rather than the exception.

Trump is a brand name in a suit, an actor inhabiting a role in a reality series. The problem for him is that he is miscast in the role of president. He's just not talented enough to pull it off.

.


 
A brand name in a suit

by digby














As we prepare for the big Trump speech on Clinton's "crimes" and the economy tomorrow, consider this:

Andrew Beal, a billionaire banker and investor, called me the other day to talk Trump. I had been leaving messages for every prominent business executive I could find who has publicly expressed support of the Republican candidate.

Before I could ask my first question, Beal told me he wanted to get something out of the way. He knew that I would ask about specifics. “Everybody wants to be real specific,” he said. But Beal’s support for Trump has nothing to do with specifics. He grants that he doesn’t know much about Trump’s policy goals or about whom he might choose for key economic positions. He doesn’t even think Trump knows. And that, he explained, is exactly why he supports him. “All these politicians with all these specific plans,” he said. “I think it’s total [expletive].”

His point was that business doesn’t run this way: If you’re hiring someone to be a chief executive, you don’t ask them to lay out every decision they’ll make, years ahead of when they’ll make it. You hire someone whom you trust, and you let them run things. Beal says he knows that Trump will do the right things to make the economy perform better. “You’re going to say, ‘How?’ ” he told me. “I don’t know how. I know that sounds crazy. That’s how the real world operates.”

There you have it. A lot of these guys don't know shit and this is one of them. So is Trump. I wrote about it this morning. Here's a little more from the piece linked above by Adam Davidson in the New York Times magazine:

When you try to weigh Trump’s record as a businessman, you quickly find that there’s nothing of substance. Think of the characteristics you might find noteworthy in a business leader: A vision of the future? A single-minded focus on excellence? Discrimination and judgment? He’s no visionary, no Steve Jobs who forges new things. Trump’s accomplishments have come from replicating the products and services of others. He seems to lack any instinct for righting a sinking ship. Despite the declarations of his backers that he’ll “get the best people,” his organizations have hardly been magnets for talent — as evidenced by the fact that his leadership teams so often consist of people whose last names are Trump or whose sole accomplishment is having worked for him.

Despite all this, Trump receives extremely high marks among voters for how he would supposedly handle the economy: A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll in May found he outpolled Clinton by 11 points on the issue. The biggest mystery is why so many voters — apparently including, at least for now, some who plan to vote for Hillary Clinton — seem to have fallen for his act. Perhaps it’s simply the fact that in the absence of real information about Trump the businessman, Americans have spent years watching him play the part. His true calling seems to be acting like a successful businessman — a performance made all the more impressive by its distance from reality.

He inherited many millions from his father. And has been acting the part of a self-made billionaire ever since. But it's just a role. His record is clear. But many rich guys bought the con hook line and sinker and they bought it over and over again. It didn't matter how much he failed and how much they lost, they kept giving him money. They bought the hype.

If there's one thing that's become obvious over the past few years it's that few of these very rich people are Machiavellian geniuses. It turns out that once you reach a critical mass of money you can be dumb as a post and still make more. In fact, I think that's probably the rule rather than the exception.

Trump is a brand name in a suit, an actor inhabiting a role in a reality series. The problem for him is that he is miscast in the role of president. He's just not talented enough to pull it off.

.


 
Trump's dirty imagination

by digby






















I wrote about Trump's obsession with filthy rumors today for Salon:

I don’t know exactly what Trump is going to say in his highly anticipated Hillary speech today, but we do have some hints. Recall that he announced his intention to deliver this speech on the night of the California primary largely in reaction to Clinton’s scathing recitation of his inane rhetoric in San Diego a few days before. He had scheduled it for the Monday after the Orlando Massacre and postponed it for obvious reasons. We can predict from what he said that night as well as subsequent tweets this week that he will say she’s a criminal who used her position as Secretary of State as a “hedge fund” to steal money from ordinary Americans and sell out the security of the United States. He’ll say she’s being protected from prosecution and a lengthy jail term by an equally corrupt president. And he’ll complain about her “judgment” and her “strength” and her “stamina.” .

It’s possible that the “reboot” everyone’s breathlessly talking about in the wake of the firing of his inept campaign manager has resulted in his focusing his grotesque overwrought allegations only on her official record. But whether or not he goes further than that and launches into the personal attacks he telegraphed on twitter that night is unknown. This was his immediate reaction to her win:











The book to which he’s referring is the latest in the lucrative Clinton-hating cottage industry that dates back to the 1990s. In his Amazon number one bestseller called “Crisis of Character,” this former uniformed Secret Service agent alleges that Clinton is a mentally unhinged, profane harridan, completely off her rocker, nearly frothing at the mouth. Here’s a taste of what he reports:
One day, UD [Uniformed Division] officers met to review events at their respective postS. A bewildered new officer arrived. ‘Hey you’ll never believe it, but I passed the First lady and she told me to go to hell!’ A second young officer responded, ‘You think that’s bad? I passed her on the West Colonnade, and all I said was ‘Good morning, First Lady.’ She told me, ‘Go f— yourself.’ ‘Are you serious?’ ‘Go f— yourself!’ He imitated her, pointing a finger.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, he insists that she hated the Secret Service with a passion:
‘They f—ed us, Bill!’ Hillary screamed. I stifled a laugh. The president tried his best to calm her down. He couldn’t. Hillary Clinton possessed no perspective. ‘We need to get rid of these assholes, Bill!’ She thought she was being tough—in command—but the issue commanded her. She fumed that the Secret Service’s Uniformed Division, my branch, disloyal leftovers from Papa Bush, conspired against the administration. ‘They’ve had it out for us from the beginning!’ she kept yelling.
She also allegedly threw her Bible at the back of an agent’s head in another of her vicious attacks. (No word on whether it was the Wiccan Bible, but I think we can assume it was.)

The Secret Service is not amused by this cheap opportunist. Politico reported that some former agents took the unusual step of disavowing this book yesterday:
The author of a new tell-all book about Hillary Clinton could never have seen any of what he claims — he was too low-ranking — say several high-level members of Secret Service presidential details, including the president of the Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service. 
On Tuesday, AFAUSSS, which is strictly nonpartisan, is set to release a statement blasting Gary Byrne author of “Crisis in Character,” saying members “strongly denounce” the book, which they add has made security harder by eroding the trust between agents and the people they protect.

“There is no place for any self-moralizing narratives, particularly those with an underlying motive,” reads the statement from the group’s board of directors, which says Byrne has politics and profit on his mind...The book has rankled current and former members of the Secret Service, who don’t like anyone airing their business in public — but who also take issue with Byrne inflating his role. Byrne was a uniformed officer in Bill Clinton’s White House. But that’s the lowest level of protection within the White House and around the president.
People who know the West Wing say it’s ridiculous that anyone in this man’s position would have been able to witness any of this. The guy was such a cipher that nobody in the actual presidential protective division at the time even remembers him. But you have to give this book’s publicist some serious props for unbridled chutzpah for issuing this statement in response to questions about whether the man could have actually seen the former First Lady of the United States telling Secret Service agents to fuck off and throwing objects all over the White House: “The Clintons always trash the messenger. This is the first of many Clinton-directed media attempts at character assassination.”

You cannot make this stuff up. 

You also can’t blame a bottom-feeding former secret service agent for trying to get his grubby hands on a little of that wingnut lucre. After all, one of the most famous of the Clinton hating “tell-all” best sellers of the 1990s was written by a former FBI agent named Gary Aldrich whose tales of Clinton depravity and decadence in his book “Unlimited Access” caused a sensation and made him a conservative media superstar. Perhaps the most famous of his “revelations” was the story of the Clintons’ White House Christmas tree decorations:
Some of the ornaments were silly and some were dangerous, like the crack pipes hung on a string. We couldn't figure out what crack pipes had to do with Christmas no matter how hard we tried, so we threw them back in the box. Some ornaments were constructed out of various drug paraphernalia, like syringes, heroin spoons, or roach clips, which are colorful devices sometimes adorned with bird feathers and used to hold marijuana joints... 
I picked up another ornament that was supposed to illustrate five golden rings. One of the male florist volunteers grabbed my arm and laughed and laughed. 
"What's so funny? What are you laughing at?" 
"Don't you know what you're holding?" 
No, I didn't, but he was happy to explain it to me: the golden rings I was holding were sex toys known as "cock rings"--and they had nothing to do with chickens. 
Another mystery ornament was the gingerbread man. How did he fit into The Twelve Days of Christmas? Then I got it. There were five small, gold rings I hadn't seen at first: one in his ear, one in his nose, one through his nipple, one through his belly button, and, of course, the ever-popular cock ring... 
Here was another five golden rings ornament--five gold-wrapped condoms. I threw it in the trash. There were other condom ornaments, some still in the wrapper, some not. Two sets had been "blown" into balloons and tied to small trees. I wasn't sure what the connection was to The Twelve Days of Christmas. Condoms in a pear tree?

The male white house “florist” filling him on cock rings was a nice touch. Texas activist "Doc Marquis," wrote a long dissertation about this whole cock ring, crack pipe and condom ornament scandal as "proof positive that Hillary Clinton is a power, practicing witch." Plenty of people believed him.

This is the Hillary Clinton as Lady MacBeth in the febrile imaginations of the right wing heart of darkness: a malevolent, shrieking harpy who treated everyone around her with violent contempt, forcing poor old Bill to coddle and calm her. The man had no choice but to stray --- after all he was living with a madwoman. (Go to a Trump rally and you’ll find plenty of swag featuring that swill today.)

And now Clinton’s rival for the presidency is apparently devouring every crazed right wing conspiracy he can find. This article by Jonathan Martin of the New York Times surveyed his various connections to conspiracy theorists and right wing cranks. He writes:
With Mr. Trump as the Republican standard-bearer, the line separating the conservative mischief makers and the party’s more buttoned-up cadre of elected officials and aides has been obliterated. Fusing what had been two separate but symbiotic forces, Mr. Trump has begun a real-life political science experiment: What happens when a major party’s nominee is more provocateur than politician?
His speech today will certainly be provocative. Whether he rolls around in this personal dirt remains to be seen. But he’s a tabloid kind of guy with a taste for character assassination and you can bet that he’ll find ways to “share” these ludicrous stories at some point. He can’t help himself.


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