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Monday, October 31, 2016

GOP Instincts

by digby

I guess they just can't help themselves:
Sen. Richard Burr privately mused over the weekend that gun owners may want to put a "bullseye" on Hillary Clinton, according to audio obtained by CNN. 
The North Carolina Republican, locked in a tight race for reelection, quipped that as he walked into a gun shop "nothing made me feel better" than seeing a magazine about rifles "with a picture of Hillary Clinton on the front of it." 
"I was a little bit shocked at that -- it didn't have a bullseye on it," he said Saturday to GOP volunteers, prompting laughter from the crowd in Mooresville, North Carolina. "But on the bottom right (of the magazine), it had everybody for federal office in this particular state that they should vote for. So let me assure you, there's an army of support out there right now for our candidates."
He apologized later. 
A Burr campaign official said that the senator's remark about feeling "better" was in reference to other GOP candidates winning support from gun-rights groups -- not from Clinton potentially being shot.
That's a relief.
Happy Halloween

by digby

Let's get serious

by digby

It's Halloween, but this is for real:

"We found a witch! Buuuhn Her! Buuuhn the witch!"

by digby

The latest Trump rally

Libertarian vice presidential nominee and former Justice Department official Bill Weld thinks FBI Director James Comey made a “disgraceful” decision when he announced he intended to look at a Hillary Clinton aide’s emails in a letter to Republican congressional committee chairs.
Think Progress reports:

Comey’s letter, we know now, was sent before the FBI even read Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails, which were reportedly found as part of an unrelated investigation on a computer she shared with estranged husband Anthony Weiner. During a Monday morning appearance on CNN, Weld argued that Comey’s letter was premature, unnecessary, and created a political firestorm that’s benefiting Donald Trump as the presidential campaign enters its final week.
The case for firing James Comey

Weld, who was head of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department under President Reagan and later served as a Republican governor of Massachusetts, said, “If you don’t know [what’s in the emails], keep your mouth shut. Don’t speculate.” 
“Now [Comey] announces, or someone announced, ‘We got permission to look at the emails.’ They’re not even announcing, ‘We’ve looked at the emails,’” he added. “What’s it going to be tomorrow? ‘We looked at an email. There was nothing there, but tomorrow we’re going to look at another email.” 
Weld said he was speaking in his role as a former top DOJ official and not as a candidate, but expressed concern about how Comey’s letter helps Trump, who he denounced as unfit for office in a statement released last week. 
“Mr. Trump braying about this latest development reminds me of the guy in Monty Python who says, ‘She’s a witch! Burn her, burn her!’ It has no more content than that,” Weld said. “And the point of that skit in Monty Python was that those townspeople were ignorant and stupid, not that they were great.”

Weld's running mate Gary Johnson babbled something incoherent about this being bigger than Watergate....

James Comey is no white knight

by digby

James Comey and Michael Chertoff of the Senate Whitewater Committee

Some of us always thought picking Comey for FBI was a huge mistake.  I wrote about it for Salon this morning:

Unless you spent the weekend fishing on the Yukon River with your phone turned off, you have heard about Comeygate, the latest nuclear bomb to drop into this already explosive presidential race. The details are well explained here, but with new information being leaked by the FBI minute by minute — and with no way of knowing if any of it is true — all that could change. At the time of this writing, the cable news outlets and the front pages of all the papers are obsessed with the story, both the substance of it and the political fallout. Democrats are stunned that the FBI director would inject himself into the presidential election just 10 days out, and Republicans are giddy with excitement that their nonstop condemnation of FBI director James Comey for failing to prosecute Hillary Clinton seems to have paid off.

Most legal professionals are appalled. Jamie Gorelick and Larry Thompson, former Justice Department officials under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, put it this way intheir scathing Op-Ed in the Washington Post yesterday:

Having taken the extraordinary steps of briefing the public, testifying before Congress about a decision not to prosecute and sharing investigative material, Comey now finds himself wanting to update the public and Congress on each new development in the investigation, even before he and others have had a chance to assess its significance. He may well have been criticized after the fact had he not advised Congress of the investigative steps that he was taking. But it was his job — consistent with the best traditions of the Department of Justice — to make the right decision and take that criticism if it came.

Yes, when Rep. Jason Chaffetz and his witch-hunt committee found out after the election that the FBI had found some emails on Huma Abedin’s laptop, they would have screamed bloody murder that the FBI had covered it up. So what? The larger issue is that the rules and norms of the Justice Department have held for a very long time, and for very good reason, that in the 30 to 60 days prior to an election they should make no public announcements that could influence the vote. That’s all Comey would have had to say by way of explanation. And if Chaffetz and Trey Gowdy yell at him for doing this, well, he’s the FBI director. If he can’t take the heat and defend both his own institution and democratic norms, maybe he’s not the right man for the job.

But then this isn’t the first time Comey broke with DOJ guidelines in this case. His press conference last July announcing that no charges would be brought, while excoriating Clinton for her handling of classified emails, was completely out of bounds. If the government doesn’t have the goods, it certainly doesn’t have the right to smear the subject of its investigation anyway, which is essentially what Comey did with his statement and repeated inappropriate testimony before a partisan congressional committee. And now there’s this.

Some of us are anything but surprised. Liberals who lived through the ’90s and the endless Whitewater probe that went nowhere met President Obama’s appointment of James Comey as director of the FBI with a primal scream of “Are you kidding me?” It was inconceivable that just as President Bill Clinton foolishly appointed a Republican FBI director, Louis Freeh, who saw it as his primary duty to investigate a president he did not respect, a Democratic president was appointing a GOP lawyer to the same job 20 years later in an even more toxic political environment.

At the time, everyone in Washington seemed to be very pleased with the choice, seeing Comey as a “straight-shooter” without a political agenda. That was largely based on his dramatic congressional testimony about the night in 2004 that he and then-FBI director Robert Mueller raced to John Ashcroft’s sick bed to stop Alberto Gonzales from coercing the ailing attorney general into signing an illegal domestic spying order. A lot of civil libertarians understood that to mean the heroic Comey was arguing the constitutional point, but he wasn’t. His concerns were over a technical problem with the program’s legal basis. They fixed a few little details and Comey himself signed the order that month to keep the secret domestic surveillance program going for many years. A civil liberties hero he is not.

Comey was also the U.S. attorney who oversaw the prosecution and torture of José Padilla, an American citizen convicted of terrorism whose horrific treatment was described by a forensic scientist at his pre-trial hearing as “essentially the destruction of a human being’s mind.” Again Comey took to the microphones to gallantly inform the public that his purpose was to “allow the American people to understand the threat he posed, and also understand that the president’s decision [to prosecute Padilla as an ‘enemy combatant’] was and continues to be essential to the protection of the American people.” If there’s a camera for Comey to preen before to proclaim his righteous purpose, he’ll find it.

It’s not as if the Democrats didn’t know that Comey’s reputation for being nonpartisan was bunk before the White House inexplicably tapped him for FBI director either. He first came to public attention as the deputy special counselfor the Senate committee investigating Whitewater. Foreshadowing his testimony last summer, he and his committee were unable to find any criminal wrongdoing, but nonetheless decided to issue a public report filled with aspersions and innuendo accusing both Bill and Hillary Clinton of hiding secrets and engaging in misconduct. That’s par for the GOP course with their congressional witch hunts, but it’s beyond the pale for an FBI director.

Nonetheless, Obama appointed him and the political establishment rejoiced. But it wasn’t long until he showed that he wasn’t going to adhere to the normal rules. Indeed, Comey is the first FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover to flout institutional processes, ignore scientific data and independently wield his authority however he chooses. Since taking office on 2013 he’s battled with the executive branch on sentencing reform and how to handle the Black Lives Matter movement. He’s defied the White House on its attempt to create new policy on cybersecurity issues. He’s gone around the country ginning up hysteria about ISIS infiltration in small-town America. And then there’s the Clinton email investigation.

Comey doesn’t resemble Hoover in temperament or background. But law enforcement and justice officials have worried for years that his independent, authoritarian style was dangerous, making him politically unassailable in the same way Hoover was back in the bad old days. Legal luminaries like longtime Justice official Philip Heymann, former attorney general Eric Holder and numerous other former federal prosecutors and law enforcement officialshave objected to his latest action. Unfortunately the damage is already done. It’s a mess that can only be cleaned up with James Comey’s resignation.
Recommend Share/export

"Emails! The crime!"

by digby

Matt Yglesias examines the Clinton Rules, which are in full-effect:
The latest Hillary Clinton email revelations arose out of an unrelated investigation into Anthony Weiner’s sexting.

The best way to understand this odd hopscotch is through the Prime Directive of Clinton investigations: We know the Clintons are guilty, the only question is what are they guilty of and when will we find the evidence?

So somehow an investigation that once upon a time was about a terrorist attack on an American consulate becomes an inquiry into FOIA compliance which shifts into a question about handling of classified material. A probe of sexting by the husband of a woman who works for Clinton morphs into a quest for new emails, and if the emails turn out not to be new at all (which seems likely) it will morph into some new questions about Huma Abedin’s choice of which computers to use to check her email.

Clinton has been very thoroughly investigated, and none of the earlier investigations came up with any crimes. So now the Prime Directive compels her adversaries to look under a new rock and likewise compels cable television and many major newspapers to treat the barest hint of the possibility of new evidence that might be damning as a major development.

It’s the same drive that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial on the grounds that he had perjured himself to try to cover up an affair that was uncovered in an investigation that was originally supposed to be looking into a years-old Arkansas land deal on which the Clintons had lost money. The Whitewater investigation did not reveal any crimes. So rather than wrap things up and consider the Clintons exonerated, the investigators went looking under other rocks and came up with Monica Lewinsky.

There are several rules that govern media coverage of the Clintons, but this year the Prime Directive has dominated them all. Network news has devoted more minutes of coverage to Clinton’s emails than to all policy issues combined even as email investigations have not uncovered any wrongdoing. It’s inexplicable news judgment, unless you simply assume there’s a crime out there.

I don't understand why someone who has been investigated for years by a runaway prosecutor and a relentless media machine and found to have committed no crime continues to be the holy grail to these people but she does. There's a hive-mind mentality about all this that comes into play when the media decides to "like" or "not like" a politician. It's really that simple. And they do not like Hillary Clinton.

But the assumption that Clinton is guilty of crimes based upon her use of emails in the state department is just ... nonsense. There is simply no there, there. And yet it's taken on a life of its own, as these things do, and the original "crime" is no longer the issue. And we have no idea what the issue actually is. The idea that this has anything to do with the substance of "the case" is ludicrous. There is no case.

There's more on this at Vox. It's a good piece.

Should anyone be bothered by this?

by digby

Whether or not you agree that VladimirPutin is a great leader whom we should admire, isn't it just a little bit weird that Trump clearly said he knows him back in 2013 and now denies it? Was he lying then or is he lying now?


A hollowed out economy

by Tom Sullivan

Making money using money to make more money has all but killed off the middle class. The post-war economic expansion that Republicans like Dwight Eisenhower embraced was built on making real stuff, and while the rich got theirs, the rest of working America benefited. Financialization and globalization have unmade that economy and replaced it with a hollowed out one, with hollowed out communities and hollowed out futures for the country's youth. To the extent that both the Democratic and Republican Parties bought into the new reality they helped create, they lost authority to represent working people. Two lengthy articles address how Trumpism grew out of America's dying blue-collar workscape left by both parties' embrace of globalization and free trade.

At New York magazine, Jonathan Chait looks at how feeding authoritarians in its ranks slowly drowned the Republican Party, not the government, in the bathtub. The party's elite now struggles "to appease Trump’s blue-collar supporters while still maintaining their grip on the party’s agenda, especially its fixation with reducing the top tax rate." Accomplishing that may take some "tough, and perhaps even odious, compromises." Trumpism with a human face, perhaps:

This misalignment between the conservative movement and the American people has, in fact, bred among conservatives a fundamental distrust of the American people. The welfare state, in the eyes of conservatives, was merely a government-sponsored mechanism by which the masses of voters could steal from the minority. (Russell Kirk, the influential mid-20th-century conservative, lamented that “taxation of the prosperous for the benefit of the less wealthy, through the votes of the benefiting crowd,” was “first cousin to theft.”) Since conservatives define liberty as the preservation of property rights, democracy — and its potential for legalizing theft via redistribution — poses a constant threat.

Some things never change.

At the New Yorker, George Packer examines how Democrats' attempts to appease and co-opt the center separated the party from its blue-collar base. Bill Clinton led that effort in the 1990s with NAFTA, deregulation, and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. Hillary Clinton hopes to reconnect with them during her presidency:

In our conversation, Hillary Clinton spoke of the limits of an “educationalist” mind-set, which she called a “peculiar form of élitism.” Educationalists, she noted, say they “want to lift everybody up”—they “don’t want to tell anybody that they can’t go as high as their ambition will take them.” The problem was that “we’re going to have a lot of jobs in this economy” that require blue-collar skills, not B.A.s. “We need to do something that is really important, and this is to just go right after the denigration of jobs and skills that are not college-connected.” A four-year degree isn’t for everyone, she said; vocational education should be brought back to high schools.
What Hillary Clinton sees is how her husband's advocacy of what Packer calls "a secular brand of Calvinism, with the state of inward grace revealed outwardly by an Ivy League degree, Silicon Valley stock options, and a White House invitation" has left behind anyone not suited or constitutionally inclined to life among the "cosmopolitan élite." The question is, what to do about it?

Clinton believes you start with telling a better story:
I asked Clinton if Obama had made a mistake in not prosecuting any Wall Street executives after the financial crisis. She replied, “I think the failure to be able to bring criminal cases, to hold people responsible, was one of the contributing factors to a lot of the real frustration and anger that a lot of voters feel. There is just nobody to blame. So if we can’t blame Company X or C.E.O. Y, let’s blame immigrants. Right? We’ve got to blame somebody—that’s human nature. We need a catharsis.” F.D.R. had done it by denouncing bankers and other “economic royalists,” Clinton said, her voice rising. “And by doing so he told a story.” She went on, “If you don’t tell people what’s happening to them—not every story has villains, but this story did—at least you could act the way that you know the people in the country felt.”
The question is whether Clinton the policy wonk is up to that task. Clinton herself may be more up to the task of addressing people's beliefs that government works against rather than for them by changing how government approaches their problems. Trump voters and disaffected blue-collar Democrats didn't want less government. They want government "to do more things that benefitted them (as opposed to benefitting people they saw as undeserving)." As a minimum, they would like their lives stabilized. If we all survive this election, maybe Clinton will get half a chance to begin work on that.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Stopped clocks

by digby

This is another example of Republicans having no capacity for empathy unless they've experienced something personally. Pirro is rightly upset that a prosecutor would flout the normal rules and inject himself into an election just days before voters cast their ballots. But clearly the only reason she's able to see the unfairness of this is because it literally happened to her.

To give her some credit, there are people like her who would find a way to defend Comey's actions even if it had happened to them, rationalizing that it's completely different because they didn't deserve it and Clinton does. But there is very little evidence that Pirro had her eyes opened generally about abuse of power. It's just that this very specific incident reminds her of her own experience.

It's very much like the Republicans who change their minds on gay rights when one of their kids comes out or who work for government funding for a particular disease once one of their own family members contracts it. They often cling to their ideology when the concerns of other people seem like mere abstractions to them. They can't even summon up the empathy for their constituents. It's only when they are literally personally affected that they can feel any empathy.

What happened to Poppy's missing emails?

by digby

Here's a little nugget from Rick Perlstein in a piece about presidential libraries and the government rules about maintaining presidential papers for historical purposes:
 Don Wilson, the national archivist appointed by Ronald Reagan (on the recommendation of Dick Cheney), was so bad that the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, which usually superintends the library system with about as much vigilance as the Intelligence Committee reins in the CIA, was forced in 1992 to conclude he had “failed to exercise care and diligence in fulfilling his responsibilities.” 
So why in the world did George H.W. Bush name Wilson executive director of his library and foundation? Could it be because with only hours left in the Bush I term, Wilson signed a secret document granting Bush physical custody of the White House email backup tapes? (A federal judge would later strike this document down as “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law,” but by then Wilson had already begun his new job.)
This is nothing compared to what his son did, of course, with the use of a private RNC email server and deletion of millions of official emails, but it shows that unless you're Hillary Clinton you can do anything with emails that you like and nobody will think much about it.

He shall live forever!

by digby

This guy is full-blown General Jack D. Ripper.  I'm glad he's out of the army. But I wonder how many more of them there are ...

Politics and Reality radio: Comey Drops a Bomb; Campus Speech Wars; Rick Perlstein on the GOP After Trump

by Joshua Holland

This week, we speak with Ian Milhiser, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and legal analyst for Think Progress, about FBI Director James Comey's oddly vague letter to Congress regarding emails reportedly found on a computer shared by Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin.

Then we're joined by journalist E.J. Graff, a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and managing editor of the WaPo's Monkey Cage blog, to talk about what she discovered when she drilled down past the headlines of some high-profile campus controversies for a recent report released by Pen America. Graff's observations may surprise you.

Finally, we'll speak to historian and author Rick Perlstein about the future of the GOP after the rise of Trumpism, and the potential for Election Day violence.

Chris Lavancher: "Lone Train Whistle"
Nirvana: "Oh, Me"
Sandy Rogers: "Fool for Love"
Bobby McFerrin: "The Garden"

As always, you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes or Podbean.
"The Alinskey-esque tactics of the Democrats and their extremist ideology"

by digby

Raw Story on the latest RNC election suppression efforts:

Donald Trump’s repeated calls for his supporters to monitor polling places on Election Day are increasingly dangerous as various state Republican parties have echoed Trump’s proposal.

Earlier this month, the North Carolina Wake County Republican Party chair, Charles Hellwig sent out a letter to his community that read, “We are under assault by the Alinskey-esque tactics of the Democrats and their extremist ideology, which demands they take whatever action necessary to achieve their desired results.”

His letter was a call for supporters to sign up and volunteer on Election Day as “poll observers.” Hellwig’s is not the only call to action in what some are referring to as historically racist voter intimidation tactics.

On Friday, political analyst Jon Ralston shared on Twitter a similar call to action that was made by Nevada Grassroots.

The organization wrote in a post on their website that they were looking for “hard-working, professionals, who are interested in politics” and want to help shape this year’s election.

“We are currently hiring Election Representatives to assist with voting integrity,” the post continues. The position they are hiring for requires individuals to “stand watch” at polling places and the call was directed toward Republicans in particular.

Another organization linked to Trump recently released a script for “citizen journalists” to intimidate voters at polling places, as well.

The organization, called Vote Protectors offered resources to volunteers interested in monitoring polling places, including fake ID badges, and told their volunteers to film voters.

Such tactics of intimidation are incredibly dangerous, and target black voters and people of color heading to the polls, in particular.

Trump has made calls at his rallies for his supporters to “Go out,” and “watch your polling booths,” specifying, “Certain areas. I hear too many bad stories, and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about.”

During a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this month, he told his supporters “We’re gonna watch Pennsylvania. Go down to certain areas and watch and study and make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times.”

I don't know if any of these yahoos will actually do anything. They are often just loudmouthed phonies who do a lot of prancing around. But you never know.

This time it's different

by digby

I think this is one of the best ads I've seen this cycle. Simply, straightforwardly pointing out that Trump is just beyond the pale.

You may not like "experts" or "elites" and think that they need to be ignored or put in their places.  Donald Trump is not the answer to that problem. It's that simple.


The Cubs, Trumpism, and the Field of Dreams

by Tom Sullivan

Wrigley Field, Chicago, 7/30/2004, by Rick Dikeman CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

"When did they start putting a thousand days in a month?" one volunteer asked the other day. "I've never seen an election like this," is another frequent comment. Everybody wishes this election was over.

A friend sent this story yesterday about electioneering downtown:

While I was handing out sample ballots, some guy told me to go back to where I came from, even after I told him I was married to an American. I said maybe now he knows how Native Americans feel about white people taking over their country. He did come back an hour later to apologize and said that was why he had to stop watching so much Trump! I told him he had restored my faith in people by coming back to apologize.

Then while I was recounting the story to [a friend's daughter] at a massage school waiting area, this couple confronted me when [she] left and obviously had eavesdropped on my conversation, to say they were voting for Trump and that illegal aliens should not be allowed in the country and dared to question if I was legal or not. The woman especially was quite ugly about it. Not to go on & on but it made me realize that Trump's talk has really emboldened all these racists to question people who are not the same as they are.
My friend is from Hong Kong (I think). She had just told someone that in all her years in England and the U.S., she had not experienced any sort of racism.


Last night before the World Series, I watched an old clip of Steve Goodman playing "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request" from a rooftop on Waveland Ave. just over the left field fence at Wrigley Field. NPR's Weekend Edition did a story on Goodman Saturday morning. Clay Eals, author of "Steve Goodman: Facing The Music," told host Scott Simon:
I mean, if anything, that song is a hugely affectionate song. It's a fatalist song (laughter) saying that they never win. But he was such a devoted fan. He always hoped for them to win, and there is no way to listen to that song and not have just a tremendous respect and affection for Steve Goodman and for baseball itself. It has all of these references in it that are very specific that any baseball fan would recognize and also just anybody who is used to running up against failure. And it does it in this baseball metaphor that is just utterly charming.
The Cubs lost game four to Cleveland last night in Chicago. A smiling waitress there once told me, "They wouldn't be the Cubs if they didn't break our hearts."


There is tremendous, free-floating nostalgia in America for what for what people perceive they have lost. Civility, for one, probably even among those who show it least. Innocence, for sure. And confidence. September 11 killed that off. For people who always assumed (the way people once assumed the world was flat) that this is a country of, by, and for white people, Barack Obama's election shook their confidence in that. Obama came into office along with the Great Recession, so the two are inextricably linked in many people's minds. September 11; the first black president; and an economic downturn that turned millions of families out of their homes and into the streets. Three strikes, you're out.

People are pretty angry over what they perceive they have lost. When Donald Trump declares, "I am your voice," that's what he is talking about.

I wonder, do even bitter conservatives cry at the end of A Field of Dreams? I wonder, do millennials? Perhaps it is just a film for people of a certain age and a different America (and a different Chicago ball club). The 1989 film was, even then, about nostalgia for what America has lost. James Earle Jones (as writer Terrence Mann) gives a moving speech about that:
          People will come, Ray. They'll come to
          Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom.
          They'll turn up your driveway, not
          knowing for sure why they're doing it,
          and arrive at your door, innocent as
          children, longing for the past. 'Of
          course we won't mind if you look
          around,' you'll say. 'It's only twenty
          dollars per person.' And they'll pass
          over the money without even looking at
          it. For it is money they have, and
          peace they lack.

          They'll walk out to the bleachers and
          sit in shirtsleeves in the perfect
          evening, or they'll find they have
          reserved seats somewhere in the
          grandstand or along one of the baselines
          -- wherever they sat when they were
          children and cheered their heroes.
          They'll watch the game, and it will be
          as if they'd dipped themselves in magic
          waters. The memories will be so thick
          they'll have to brush them away from
          their faces.

          Listen to me. Tomorrow morning, when
          the bank opens, they will foreclose.

          People will come, Ray.

          You're broke, Ray. Sell now or lose

          The one constant through all the years,
          Ray, has been baseball. America has
          rolled by like an`army of steamrollers.
          It's been erased like a blackboard,
          rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball
          has marked the time. This field, this 
          game... it's a piece of our past. It
          reminds us of all that once was good.
          And that could be again. People will
          come. People will most definitely come.
But it is not why people come to Trump rallies. The mood is much uglier.

A friend observed years ago about electioneering in South Carolina what my friend above experienced on Friday:
... he could spot Republicans as they approached the polling place by the sour looks on their faces.

"They're not coming to vote," he said. "They're coming to f--k someone!"
Now, when training electioneers I advise them to treat their counterparts as opposing team members. You're out on the same field playing the same game in the same weather wearing different jerseys. Believe it or not, you share the same hobby. The unsportsmanlike conduct doesn't usually come from the other team's regulars, but from the bleacher bums.

During early voting in 2008, I shared the sidewalk outside a polling place with the 1st vice chair of the county Republican Party. He had a hunting and fishing show on public access TV, he said, so during the lulls I made chit-chat about hunting and fishing. (I do neither.) An older woman got out of her car, eyeballed my logos and went off on me.

"Blah, blah, blah, Democrats. Blah, blah, blah, Obama. I'm from the south side of Chicago. They destroyed the neighborhoods." Etc. She headed in to vote.

"Thanks for coming!" I said.

Five minutes later, she came out still ranting.

"Blah, blah, blah, socialists. Blah, blah, blah, hate America."

After she climbed back into her car, my Republican counterpart leaned over and whispered, “What's her problem?” We weren't having any.

A new friend who came over from the GOP two years ago teared up at the welcoming she received among local Democrats. "Y'all actually do things," she told a gathering. "You're not just sitting around badmouthing the other guys."

After she and her husband told their story to a community group last year, you could have given an altar call. She's out electioneering for our local candidates this weekend.

As with the Cubs, there is always hope. Even so, be careful out there.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A little trip down email lane

by digby

I'm just laying this out there again in case you are under the misapprehension that the Clinton email scandal investigation of 2016 is business as usual for the authorities.
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?”

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.

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 emails deleted 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, but The 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’?

Just throwing that out there for some perspective on this whole thing. In fact, it's weird that the media doesn't ever mention this, don't you think? For context? In fact, you'd think it would be appended to virtually all stories of Clinton's alleged "email crimes" especially the ones that hint darkly that she "deleted" official emails and is lying when she said they were personal.

Of course, according to many journalists that isn't their job. They just report whatever someone hands them and it's up to you to look this stuff up. You have google don't you?


Be You y Vota

by digby

Howie put this up at Down With Tyranny this morning. I warn you, it's an earworm:
I'm thinking this video got lost last night in the post You Know "California" Is A Spanish Word, Right? so... I decided to feature it again this morning.

The point is still the same: Trump and Triumpism is encouraging a huge surge in Latino voter participation-- 1,960.060 newly registered Latino voters in California alone,unprecedented numbers of early vote by mail ballots already cast in Hispanic neighborhoods... and major trouble for entrenched Republican congressional incumbents like Jeff Denham, Darrell Issa, Steve Knight, David Valadao, maybe even Kevin McCarthy! To put 1,960.060 newly registered Latino voters into some kind of perspective, that's around the same number of people who voted for Obama and Romney combined in states like South Carolina, Alabama and Louisiana. It's more than the total number of 2012 presidential votes in plenty of states... like

• New Hampshire- 799,479
• Mississippi- 693,582
• Iowa- 1,553,161
• Kentucky- 766,560
• Maine- 693,582
• Connecticut- 1,539,975
• Idaho- 633,698
• Kansas- 1,133,360

1,960.060 is more than the number of people who voted for Romney in Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, or Colorado and more that Obama's total vote in Georgia in 2012. It's more than the number of people who voted in total for George W. Bush, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama, John McCain and Mitt Romney combined in the state of Delaware. And 1,960.060 is more votes than all 4 of Nevada's members of Congress got in 2014... combined:

• Dina Titus- 45,643
• Mark Amodei- 122,402
• Joe Heck- 88,528
• Cresent Hardy- 63,466

And that's just newly registered Latinos in California alone since Trump came down that escalator at Trump Tower. The 2 Florida counties with the highest share of Latino voters, Miami-Dade and Osceola, are outpacing the rest of the state in terms of early voting-- 75% more in Miami-Dade and 74% more in Osceola. This is huge for Democrats up and down the ballot in two of the most important counties in the biggest prize of all the swing states! Early voting from Latinos in Bexar and Travis counties in Texas is the highest anyone remembers. Hillary is going to crush Trump in the center of Texas-- and 20 year veteran congressman-- and Congress' #1 Climate denier-- Lamar Smith, could get swept away by an under-financed Berniecrat, Tom Wakely, in TX-21, a candidate so not on the DCCC's map that they never once returned a phone call from him after he won the primary against some conservative Democrat there.

The 11 year old actress in the video, Sarai Gonzalez lives in Green Brook, New Jersey. The NY Times described her as "the nerdy, round and confident tween who confronts bullies on the streets of Brooklyn in the video for "Soy Yo" or "That’s Me," by the Colombian group Bomba Estéreo. If you’re Latina, chances are you’ve already seen her.

“Soy Yo” seemed to appear at precisely the right moment-- a defiant, and adorable, rebuke to the anti-Latino rhetoric of the Trump campaign, and haters in general. “Don’t worry if they don’t accept you,” goes the song’s chorus, in Spanish. “If they criticize you, just say, ‘That’s me.’ ”

The video resonated particularly with Latinas. Rarely in American life, especially in an era of ugly debates over immigrants, had popular culture created a young, brown, working-class character so heroic, free of victimhood, full of straight-up dignity.

Sarai made Latinas visible. Real Latinas. And they responded, in a chorus of “yes, that’s me.”

“It’s a reminder that Latinos are part of American life, American space is Latino space,” said María Elena Cepeda, who studies Latino representations in popular culture and teaches at Williams College. “Right now, that is a pretty transgressive statement.”

For Sarai, the video became like a home movie forever on repeat. “My mom was always checking it,” Sarai said. “My dad was playing it when he was washing clothes."

And yesterday NBC News reported that "the young Latina who stole the show in Bomba Estéreo's music video for "Soy Yo" is back with a message for Hispanics: vote. Sarai Gonzalez, of central New Jersey, replete with oversized glasses, braids, dance moves and overalls that made her a social media sensation, is the star of a new video campaign paid for by the liberal group People For the American Way to inspire more Latinos to vote in the coming elections. In the video she serves as a Latina pied piper to get her family off the couch and neighbors and friends out of homes and yards to lead them to the voting booth."

And this People for the American Way music video isn't the only effort helping channel Latino indignation and furry at Trump's racism into the 2016 election.

The ad is part of a flurry of activities by Democrat and liberal groups targeting English-and Spanish-speaking and bilingual Latinos as early voting continues and the days tick down to Election Day, Nov. 8.

Service Employees International Union/iAmerica Action, working with the pro-Clinton PAC Priorities USA, released an ad to run on cable on Spanish language stations Univision, Telemundo, Estrella and Mundo Max. The $3 million ad featuring a young boy praying that his parents vote against Donald Trump started Friday and is expected to run through the election.

The Clinton campaign announced that Jennifer Lopez plans a free performance in Miami with Marc Antony and Cuban reggaeton duo Gente de Zona and DJ Extreme to encourage early voting and voting on Election Day for Clinton. Lopez endorsed Clinton in April 2015.

Not all activity is focused on the presidential race. The American Federation of Teachers' political action committee re-released a digital ad criticizing Sen. Marco Rubio, who bowed out of the presidential race after losing his home state of Florida but is seeking re-election to the Senate. The digital ad, which AFT said costs five figures and was paid for by AFT Solidarity PAC, criticizes Rubio's response to the Puerto Rico fiscal crisis. A previous report had put the cost at $135,000.

The add previously ran for two weeks in September. Kombiz Lavasanay, a director at AFT, said the ad was successful and so is being used again and will be delivered to Puerto Ricans in Florida and run through the election on various web sites. The group purchased space on the sites where the ad will run, he said. Rubio has done better than Trump with Latinos in Florida.

Meanwhile, Latino Victory Project, a national group founded by actress Eva Longoria and businessman Henry Muñoz, announced it was investing $100,000 to pay for 92,000 calls to be made to Latinos ton behalf of Catherine Cortez Masto, the Nevada attorney general who hopes to fill the seat now held by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who is retiring. Winning the seat could help return Democrats to control of the Senate, but Republican Joe Heck has been mounting a tough challenge.

People for the American Way also released an television ad to reach Spanish-speaking Latinos in North Carolina. The ad targets Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and his support of Donald Trump. As North Carolina has become more important in the presidential election, its Latino voters-- 248,000 who are eligible to vote-- are getting more attention.

Polls have shown overwhelming support by Latinos for Clinton and Democrats are hoping it will help win some elections lower on the ballot.

Watch the video again and please consider contributing to Doug Applegate, Ruben Kihuen, Alina Valdes, Tom Wakely and DuWayne Gregory, the progressive opponents, respectively, of Trump-enablers Darrell Issa, Cresent Hardy, the shameful and disgraced Mario Diaz-Balart, Lamar Smith and Peter King.

Vote rigging for dummies

by digby

This is just kind of sad:

A woman in Iowa was arrested this week on suspicion of voting twice in the general election, court and police records show.

Terri Lynn Rote, a 55-year-old Des Moines resident, was booked Thursday on a first-degree charge of election misconduct, according to Polk County Jail records. The charge is considered a Class D felony under Iowa state law.

Rote was released Friday after posting $5,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 7.

The Des Moines Register reported that Rote is a registered Republican who cast two ballots in the general election: an early-voting ballot at the Polk County Election Office and another at a county satellite voting location, according to police records.

Rote hadn’t planned on voting twice but said it was “a spur-of-the-moment thing” when she walked by the satellite voting location, she told The Washington Post in a phone interview Saturday.

“I don’t know what came over me,” Rote said.

She added she has been a supporter of Donald Trump since early in his campaign, after Republican candidate Mike Huckabee dropped out of the primary race.

Rote told Iowa Public Radio that she cast her first ballot for Trump but feared it would be changed to a vote for Hillary Clinton.

“The polls are rigged,” Rote told the radio station.

Leigh Munsil, an editor for the Blaze, noted on Twitter that Rote was the same woman who had caucused for Trump earlier this year.

 I blame Trump and the Republican Party more than her. They cynically manipulate people like her and they pay no price --- she does.

The coward

by digby

I don't know if James Comey wants Hillary Clinton to lose the election. Everyone seems to think his integrity is so unimpeachable that he couldn't possibly have partisan motives. Assuming that's true, then he's a simple coward. Going against all advice from the leaders of the Justice Department, he went his own way and violated long-standing rules that barred the Justice Department of any appearance of interference 30-60 days from an election. And his reasons are that he believed he had a "choice" between making the Republicans mad and being accused of improperly interfering in a presidential election. He chose the latter, which is simply stunning:
James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, faced a dilemma on Thursday when deputies briefed him about the discovery of a trove of emails that might be linked to the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s private email server that was closed months ago. 
Mr. Comey could immediately inform Congress about the emails, which were found in an investigation into former Representative Anthony D. Weiner. That unusual step, months after Mr. Comey had cleared Mrs. Clinton of any criminal wrongdoing in the email case, would risk accusations that he was unfairly harming her presidential campaign less than two weeks before the election. 
Or he could delay any announcement and examine the new emails more closely, risking criticism that he had suppressed important new information if it came out after the election, despite his pledges of “transparency” in the investigation. 
Mr. Comey, a Republican appointed by President Obama three years ago, decided that he could live with criticism of his judgment, aides said. So on Friday morning, the F.B.I.’s congressional liaison emailed a letter from the director to the chairmen and ranking members of eight congressional committees — virtually ensuring that it would be quickly publicized by eager Republicans...
Across Pennsylvania Avenue from the F.B.I., Justice Department officials were said to be deeply upset about Mr. Comey’s decision to go to Congress with the new information before it had been adequately investigated. 
That decision, said several officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, appeared to contradict longstanding Justice Department guidelines discouraging any actions close to an election that could influence the outcome. 
One official complained that no one at the F.B.I. or the Justice Department is even certain yet whether any of the emails included national security material or was relevant to the investigation into whether Mrs. Clinton had mishandled classified material in her use of a private email server.
Here's what we know about this issue he felt was so important that he had to throw a grenade into a presidential election, according to Newsweek:
There is no indication the emails in question were withheld by Clinton during the investigation, the law enforcement official told Newsweek, nor does the discovery suggest she did anything illegal. Also, none of the emails were to or from Clinton, the official said. 

That last part is contradicted by other stories which suggest that there were some that were to or from Clinton although everyone seem to agree that none of them came from Clinton's private server, the supposed focus of this investigation. The Newsweek piece by Kurt Eichenwald suggests that these were all actually emails sent to Abedin which she printed out at home to give to Clinton because the state department printers were so cumbersome. It's possible they were the secret directives from the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS that Huma gave to Hillary to carry out her treason but at the moment we have no idea what's in them because the FBI hasn't looked at them and can't do that until after the election. 

Just finding emails on Huma Abedin's computer without having any idea what was in them was enough to for Comey to violate all protocols, rules and norms 10 days from a presidential election.

Huffington Post has more:
The U.S. Attorneys’ manual emphasizes the importance of “limited confidentiality” in “ongoing operations and investigations” to safeguard “the rights of victims and litigants as well as the protection of the life and safety of other parties and witnesses.”

Julie Werner-Simon, a former federal prosecutor who retired from DOJ in August 2015 after 29 years of service, argues that Comey’s decision to make public an incremental development in the investigation with little clear significance is a breach of the protocol outlined in the manual.

“It is shocking and disheartening that someone I admired would do this,” she said. “If I did what he did, I would be censured.”

“My view is that there should be an investigation” into Comey’s behavior, she added. “Under the rules that he violated, that investigation should be secret. That’s the point.”

There are exceptions to this protocol under unusual circumstances, but Comey would have had to consult with a senior official at DOJ before doing so, according to Werner-Simon, who instructed federal prosecutors about these protocols as senior litigation counsel at DOJ, the last position she held there.

“Who gave him permission? If he is going to use unusual circumstances under the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual, who did he discuss it with?” Werner-Simon said.

Nancy Gertner, a retired federal judge appointed by President Bill Clinton who now lectures at Harvard Law School, had a similarly stinging indictment of Comey’s actions.

“I cannot think of any reason except Comey’s own personal interests to make public the possibility that there may be emails whose content he does not know that may be relevant to the investigation,” Gertner said.

“To release that kind of information is outrageous,” she added. “The FBI typically does not release information about an ongoing investigation, information that could have an impact on an upcoming election ― and he does not have the foggiest idea what is in these emails.”

The professional considerations that may have motivated Comey are obvious. Comey, a Republican, faced considerable criticism and scrutiny from congressional Republicans for declining to press charges against Clinton for her handling of classified emails on a private email server.

Comey appeared to recognize the unusual nature of his decision to release the information about the newly unearthed emails on Friday in a letter to his employees explaining the choice.

“Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed,” Comey wrote. “I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.”

Indeed, some former federal prosecutors believe that based on his previous commitment, Comey was required to follow up with Congress.

Solomon Wisenberg, a former federal prosecutor who served as deputy independent counsel in the investigation of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, argues that Comey made a mistake in July when, in an announcement that the DOJ was declining to press charges, he criticized Clinton’s behavior and promised to report to Congress on additional findings.

“His duty was to shut up and he didn’t. If you want to talk about violating protocol, he has provided a roadmap,” Wisenberg said.

Having made that error, however, Comey was likely obligated to inform Congress about the discovery of the new emails, according to Wisenberg, who is now a white-collar criminal defense attorney.

“He told them if things change, he would report to them. Given that set of facts, he was duty-bound to do it,” Wisenberg said.

John Bellinger, a former legal adviser to the State Department and National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration and one of many Republican former federal prosecutors to sign a letter calling for nominee Donald Trump to be “rejected” at the polls, offered a similar assessment.

“I don’t think Comey had any choice but to disclose the fact now so that he is not accused later of withholding material information from Congress,” he said.

But, Bellinger also argued, “Comey now owes it to the American people to announce his assessment before the election, even if he normally would have taken a longer period to run down every loose end.”

Werner-Simon maintains, however, that if Comey felt obligated to provide Congress with piecemeal updates about the investigation, he should have ben less equivocal about the implications of his findings.

Comey, she noted, wrote that the emails “appear to be pertinent to the investigation,” and other phrasing that lacks the full-throated conviction that would justify making an exception to protocol.

“If there is some kind of rule of completeness argument, then be more forthcoming in your controversial disclosure,” she said. “Do not use words like ‘appears’ or ‘could be’ or ‘maybe’ or other conditional speech. If you’re going to do it, then at least do it in a standup complete way.”
Those are the words you use if you're covering your ass. It's clear to me that Comey has been successfully mau-maued by the Wall Street Journal, Donald Trump and Jason Chaffetz for his unwillingness to indict Hillary Clinton on spurious nonsense back in July and he was more concerned about looking bad with them than he was about trashing the integrity of the FBI and inappropriately influencing a presidential election. That's pretty shocking.

We have outside forces, possibly foreign governments, interfering in the election on behalf of one party with the Wikileaks dumps. We have the candidate of that party declaring his opponent is guilty of crimes and promising to jail her if he wins, suggesting that any other outcome is illegitimate. Now we have the director of the government's most powerful police force ignoring his own bosses and abandoning all norms and precedent to interfere in the election just ten days before it is to take place, benefiting the same party. And we have a media which is ready and willing to run with all of this as it's being fed to them with virtually no concern that they are being used to undermine our democratic processes, excusing themselves with the fatuous "it's out there" and "that's our job."

This is the way banana republics do "elections." That's what we are becoming. Maybe we already are one.

A view from across the pond

by digby

Destroying ourselves is one thing. But we'll take a whole lot of other people down with us.

Cartoon link
Your gross Donald Trump video of the day

by digby

From Huffington Post: 
Revenge has been a fixture of Donald Trump’s corporate speeches for years. It almost always comes up as he offers advice to his audience on how to succeed in business, and usually includes a Rosie O’Donnell anecdote.

But at one speech in Sydney in October 2011, he decided to give the audience a live example of what revenge looks like by calling a woman he felt had slighted him onstage and sexually humiliating her in front of thousands of onlookers.

Remarkably, Trump telegraphs precisely what he is about to do.

“Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard. I really believe that,” he begins, receiving a round of applause and cheers.

“I’ll give you an example: Jennifer Hawkins. Where’s Jennifer? Where’s she sitting? Get over here, Jennifer,” Trump says, referring to the 2004 Miss Universe winner, who is Australian. “First of all, how beautiful is Jennifer? This is about getting even.”

Trump then explains why he needs to “get even” with Hawkins, whom he accuses of declining to introduce him at the event. “I was so angry at her yesterday. Seriously, as I said, I thought that she dissed me. I thought that my Jennifer ― I’m going around saying she’s my favorite Miss Universe, but I think I like the new one better, Jennifer. So I go around saying she’s the greatest ... then when I came here, there was no Jennifer Hawkins to introduce me.”

Hawkins asks to take the mic to explain herself. Trump initially offers it, then bumps her aside quickly.

The next exchange is difficult to hear, but sounds like:

Hawkins: No, no, in my defense...

Trump: Go ahead...

Hawkins: ...there was a miscommunication. Of course I wanted to come here...

Retaking the mic, Trump ramps up the revenge. “I was actually going to get up and tell you that Jennifer is a beautiful girl on the outside, but she’s not very bright,” he says, as the crowd laughs. “That wouldn’t have been true, but I would have said it anyway.”

Trump then elaborates on how he believed Hawkins had slighted him. “Because I said, ‘You know what, it would be great. I haven’t seen Jennifer in a couple of years. She’s so great and she did so well, and she’s a big star here, and I helped her make it ― I own the Miss Universe pageant. And I heard that she wouldn’t introduce me.’”

Hawkins jumps in, “But I did!”

“No, but you didn’t,” Trump replies. “So what happens is ― and you know what? She came tonight, she came ― came, she came, she came,” he says, finally getting the prolonged laughter he was looking for.

In case there was any question whether Trump was deliberately using the word, he adds, “See, so they have the same filthy minds in Australia.”

“As you,” Hawkins replies, accurately.

It goes on for a while like that, with Trump "kidding around" and then he forcibly kisses her.

It's as creepy as it gets. Everybody laughing, this women with a plastic smile on her face, trying to be game and getting through it, everyone enjoying the "joke" at her expense. It's how he rolls, all the time.


Dylan on getting it right

by Tom Sullivan

Bob Dylan at Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, June 2010. Photo by Alberto Cabello, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Two weeks of silence from Bob Dylan followed news that the Swedish Academy had awarded him the Nobel Prize in literature. In a Friday call to Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, Dylan said he would accept the award. "The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless," he said. "I appreciate the honour so much." Dylan's silence had garnered criticism:

Dylan had not responded to repeated phone calls made by the academy following the prize announcement, nor had he made any public statement, prompting one academy member to call him "impolite and arrogant".

The academy said Friday that it had not yet been decided yet if Dylan would visit Stockholm to pick up his award.
Dylan told Britain's Daily Telegraph he would, "Absolutely. If it's at all possible." The Guardian quotes Dylan on talent, practice and process (emphasis mine):
“I’d like to drive a race car on the Indianapolis track. I’d like to kick a field goal in an NFL football game. I’d like to be able to hit a hundred-mile-an-hour baseball. But you have to know your place.” he said. “There might be some things that are beyond your talents.

“Everything worth doing takes time. You have to write a hundred bad songs before you write one good one. And you have to sacrifice a lot of things that you might not be prepared for. Like it or not, you are in this alone and have to follow your own star.”

The academy announced that Dylan would be awarded the prize on 13 October, saying he had “created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
It is easy to forget that when evaluating politicians who are not in it alone. We expect them to answer to our concerns over those of every other constituency. Progressives expect their allies to get it right the first time and are primed to throw them under the bus the first time they don't. One sees this especially with novice legislators still learning the trade. Not grasping all the nuances and traps, they vote for a bill they should have voted against. They draft a well-intentioned bill with a fatal flaw. They write a bill that gives us only some of what we want and includes something for adversaries as a sweetener and we go all Red Queen on them. If politicians were songwriters and bills were songs, nobody would get beyond the state legislature.

It took a speechless Bob Dylan two weeks to get accepting the Nobel Prize right.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Night Soother

by digby

Needed now more than ever:

On Friday, world leaders meeting at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources announced that part of the ocean around Antarctica — namely the Ross Sea — would become the largest-ever marine sanctuary. Known formally as a marine protected area (MPA), the area would be closed off to fishing and hunting, making life much, much better for the animals there.

The new MPA is about 600,000 square miles. That's roughly the size of France and Spain combined, or a little smaller than Alaska.

This is good news for the hundreds of thousands of animals who live in the chilly Antarctic waters, including orcas, whales and birds.

One animal who'll benefit is the emperor penguin. About 240,000 of these distinctive-looking birds currently live in the Ross Sea region, but the population has been under threat because of overfishing and ice loss, which is a result of climate change.

Then there's the minke whale — the smallest baleen whale in the world. While minkes don't spend all of their time in Antarctica, thousands migrate down during the summer months to feast on fish and krill. With the sanctuary's "no fishing" rule, minkes will have more food to eat.

Hopefully the sanctuary will also put a stop to whaling. That said, Japanese fishermen have previously hunted whales in protected areas, including the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, another protected area off Antarctica that was declared off-limits by the International Whaling Commission.

Other Antarctic animals that would be protected by the new sanctuary include Adelie penguins, orcas, Weddell seals and Antarctic petrels.

The move was applauded by conservation groups, many of whom have spent years campaigning on behalf of the animals who live in the Ross Sea.

"This is a moment of optimism for the incredible wildlife of Antarctica and is a shining beacon of hope for ocean conservation everywhere," John Tanzer, leader of oceans practice, WWF International, said in a media release. "We will take that hope and move to protect more of the ocean off Antarctica and around the world because this has never been more urgent."

Via The Dodo