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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween Scenario: Trump Launches A Drone Strike On The Caravan
By Spocko

It's Halloween so I wanted to use my knowledge of military drones, rules of engagement by the military on US soil and Donald Trump's executive power as Commander In Chief. I'll call this Scenario: Operation Cucaracha Crush 

1) Trump launches surveillance drones to report on "the invaders" in the caravan while they are in Mexico. 

Drone footage shows caravan of migrants in southern Mexico.
Thousands of Central American migrants arrived in southern Mexico on Oct. 21, on their journey to the United States --Washington Post footage from October 21

2) Trump says the surveillance drone footage shows there are some really "bad hombres" in the caravan who are using the women and children as cover.

Here are Trump's real October 31st tweets. 

3) Trump tells "the invaders" to disband and stop coming. If they don't stop he will launch an airstrike. (This will bring up comparisons to Obama ordering airstrikes in foreign countries and allow a flurry of "both sides do it" stories in the media. Trump will take advantage of the executive power granted to Obama by congress to launch drone strikes in foreign countries, so questions about its use in Mexico will only be about breaking "norms" not breaking laws.

3) Mexico will see this as an unwarranted attack on their sovereignty and respond, saying that they will shoot down any drones in their airspace.

4) Trump will claim that he has a responsibility to protect America and---since he doesn't have a wall yet---he has to act. The caravan doesn't disband after his warning, so Trump sends a drone.

5) The drone will kill some people who Trump says are "bad hombres" He will claim to use intelligence about the "bad hombres" gathered in the same fashion Obama did. The use of this method is suggested by John Bolton.  Any criticism about the process will end with, "Obama did it."  Women and children will be accidentally killed, but so did strikes run by Obama.

Alternative 5a) Drone is shot down by Mexico before the strike.

6) Trump declares war on Mexico for their response in aiding and abetting invaders.

7) Trump tells the Mexico that they either stop the invaders or he will send in his own troops that are already massed at the border. (Trump can't order military action on US soil, but if they move to Mexican soil they can attack to retaliation for shooting down a US drone and to take out the invading caravan.

8) Because Mexico doesn't want to have a war with Trump, they are forced to act, which is what Trump wanted. Mexico sends in local troops to break up the caravan.

9) Trump "wins" showing he is tough on illegal immigration. This escalation all happens before midterms while the GOP still controls the House and Senate.

Scary enough for ya? Happy Halloween!

Bannon in focus

by digby

I don't know what this is really all about but it's interesting considering that Bannon has escaped most of the Russia collusion talk and I've always wondered why. He was a principal in Cambridge Analytica. Anyway, it appears that someone is looking at him at long last:
The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee is pursuing a wide-ranging examination of former White House adviser Steve Bannon’s activities during the 2016 presidential campaign, three sources familiar with the inquiry told Reuters.

The committee is looking into what Bannon might know about any contacts during the campaign between Moscow and two advisers to the campaign, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, they said. 
William Burck, a lawyer for Bannon, told Reuters: “The Senate Intelligence Committee has expressed an interest in interviewing Mr. Bannon as a witness, just as they have many other people involved in the Trump Campaign. But the Committee has never suggested that he’s under investigation himself and to claim otherwise is recklessly false.” 
Papadopoulos, a consultant, initially advised the presidential campaign of Republican hopeful Ben Carson before joining the Trump campaign. Page is also a consultant, who had business contacts in Russia. 
On Sept. 7, Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison. He had pleaded guilty last year to lying to FBI agents about the timing and significance of his contacts with Russians, including a professor who told him the Russians had “dirt” on Trump’s Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton. 
The panel also will examine Bannon’s role with Cambridge Analytica, a former data analysis company that the Trump campaign hired to help identify and target messages to potentially sympathetic voters, the sources said. 
The Senate committee is working with Bannon’s advisers to set a date for him to be interviewed by staff investigators in late November, two of the sources said.
Bannon recently met for the second time with investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations of Russian interference on Trump’s behalf in the 2016 presidential election, one of the sources said.

Meanwhile, Bannon is setting the conservative world on fire:

He got 38 people in Staten Island last week:

The Senate Intelligence Committee investigation could be the best thing that's ever happened to him. Being martyred for the cause is a sure-fire winner. 


The secret Watergate Grand Jury Indictments

by digby

Some long-sought documents on Watergate have just been released. How very interesting they are:

U.S. archivists on Wednesday revealed one of the last great secrets of the Watergate investigation — the backbone of a long-sealed report used by prosecutor Leon Jaworski to send Congress the evidence in the legal case against President Richard M. Nixon.

The release of the referral — delivered in 1974 as impeachment proceedings were being weighed — came after a former member of Nixon’s defense team and three prominent legal analysts filed separate lawsuits seeking its unsealing after more than four decades under grand jury secrecy rules. The legal analysts argued the report could offer a precedent and guide for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as his office addresses its present-day challenge on whether, and if so, how to make public findings from its investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, including any that directly involve President Trump.

The legal specialists said they and Watergate veterans sought to have the Jaworski report made public because of the historical parallels they see to the current probe and the report’s potential to serve as a counterexample to the independent counsel Ken Starr's report before President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

The 453-page Starr report, written in 1998, deepened partisan divisions when its graphic detail and legal conclusions about Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky were immediately made public by House Republicans, who suffered an electoral backlash.

By contrast, the reputation of Jaworski’s report has fared far better, even as its bare-bones form remained a mystery. The Jaworski report is known colloquially known as the “Sirica road map,” for then-Chief U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica, who approved its creation and transmission to lawmakers.

“There were no comments, no interpretations and not a word or phrase of accusatory nature. The ‘Road Map’ was simply that — a series of guideposts if the House Judiciary Committee wished to follow them,” the late Jaworski wrote in his 1976 memoir, “The Right and the Power: The Prosecution of Watergate.”
The road map consists of a two-page summary, followed by 53 numbered statements, supported by 97 documents including interviews and tapes, according to information that the National Archives turned over to Howell.

While much of the report’s substance — including evidence of the Nixon campaign’s funding of the break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters and the president’s role in the subsequent coverup — has long been public, its structure and potential to serve as a template for others remained under seal...

“It is one of the only precedents of a report that has had to go through that kind of process [under grand jury secrecy rules] to get to the House for consideration as grounds for impeachment,” Bates said in an interview. “If Mueller could say, ‘We have structured this report the way Leon Jaworski did in 1974, and Judge Sirica approved it,’ that might be persuasive in this case.”
Other veterans of past White House investigations differed on the road map’s lessons.

Paul Rosenzweig, who served on Starr’s team, said the document is important for historians, but that Justice Department regulations issued since then provide for Mueller to report to his supervisor, currently Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

Nick Akerman, who served as an assistant prosecutor on Jaworski’s team, said however it could provide a model for Mueller, particularly should his team decide the president engaged in wrongdoing but that department regulations do not allow them to seek an indictment or make a case for impeachment.

“It’s absolutely an approach he could take -- simply giving them the facts, without coming to a conclusion,” Akerman said.

This piece at Lawfare goes into detail about what's in the documents and it's fascinating. It draws very clear differences between Jaworski's report and that bodice-ripping romance novel they called the Starr Report. They are different as night and day ... They conclude:

Are there lessons in the Road Map for the Mueller investigation? Without knowing precisely what sort of report Mueller is working on and what his plans are, it’s hard to know for sure. But to the extent that Mueller is working, or comes to be working, on a communication to Congress, a few lessons stand out.

First, less really is more. The document is powerful because it is so spare; because it is trying to inform, not to persuade; because it utterly lacks rhetorical excess. Starr took a different path. The merits of his decision are complicated. The results are less so. His approach worked less well, partly because it sought to do more.

That also made him vulnerable to the charge of being a rogue or overzealous prosecutor after President Clinton for political purposes. Doing less, rather than more, has helped insulate Mueller against similar charges. The insulation has not been total, but it has helped a lot. The Road Map is a fine example of how not to fan flames, in a politicized environment, that are apt to blow back on a prosecutor.

Second and relatedly, the Road Map is extremely careful not to do—or seem to do—Congress’s job for it. The power to impeach is a congressional function in which no executive-branch official plays a role—except as the object of the impeachment. More ambitious reporting styles, one way or another, have the effect of instructing Congress what it should do, what does and does not constitute an impeachable offense, how it should read complex patterns of evidence. By contrast, the Road Map simply gave Congress information to use as members saw fit and assiduously avoided instruction or didactic messaging as to how to put that information to use. This discipline as to the report’s role must have required steely restraint. It has aged extremely well. It is the work of an officer, or group of officers, who asked important questions: What is my role, and what does my role not include? How does my role interact with that of other actors? What duty do I have to facilitate the role of other constitutional actors—and how can I fulfill that duty without interfering in their roles? Mueller may not be writing an impeachment referral, but for someone in his position, these questions are always worth asking.

Finally, the Road Map teaches an important lesson about restraint. There is a tendency in the age of Donald Trump to assume that excess is needed to combat excess, that the proper response to gross norm violations involve the scrapping of other norms. Yet faced with Richard Nixon, Leon Jaworski wrote a meticulous 55-page document that contains not a word of excess. He transmitted it to Congress, where it did not leak. It is powerful partly because it is so by-the-book.

Kind of like Bob Mueller.

Ken Starr's operation was a full-blown partisan hit team. And it showed. Mueller won't make that mistake.

They'll say he was anyway but maybe it won't matter if his case is this buttoned up.


Next Tuesday is only the beginning

by digby

Paul Waldman points out
the daunting fact that all this chaotic ugliness is a preview of what the next two years are going to be like:

While it isn’t uncommon for presidents to roll out appealing initiatives in their fourth year to build a case for their reelection, with Trump it will likely be driven by alarm that increases as the election approaches. There’s a good chance he’ll be trailing in the polls — after all, even with the economy in excellent shape right now his approval ratings barely top 40 percent, so if there’s a slowdown he’s likely to dip even lower. Even so, with partisan attachments so rigid, it’s a near-certainty that the race will be close. As we get into October 2020, Trump could be ready to panic.

What will he do? It’s hard to tell this far in advance, but we’ve seen over and over again that Trump believes playing to his base — and making it as angry and fearful as possible — is the only way for him to win. That means heightening divisions, playing up xenophobia and appealing to white racial resentments.

It will have to be big and dramatic, in a way that’s impossible for voters to ignore. It will probably be profoundly anti-democratic, in a way guaranteed to generate outrage not just from Democrats but also from the news media and anyone else Trump can characterize as the “elite.” That way Trump will be able to pose as the rebel taking on powerful forces in the service of his regular-guy supporters.

Right now, Trump is afraid, as he should be, of losing one or both houses of Congress. But when his own job is on the line, that fear will be multiplied tenfold as he confronts the possibility that he’ll be forever remembered as the thing he hates most: a loser. We don’t know what he’ll do, but we know it will be ugly.

And, by the way, the presidential campaign starts next Wednesday morning.

Oh God.


Everyone knows that "birthright citizenship" is what the "anchor baby" slogan is all about, right?

by digby

It's been around a long time. This is from 2015 when this all came up in the early days of the GOP primary:

"They're called babies"

by digby


Seeking to tie Jeb Bush to Donald Trump, the Clinton campaign published a bilingual video on immigration Thursday morning that tied the two Republican candidates together.

The campaign hits Trump, the Republican front-runner, and Bush, the Clinton campaign's most common GOP target, on comments both made about "anchor babies," a term some used for children of undocumented immigrants who gain U.S. citizenship by being born in the country.

Maybe they could start using the term "wetback" again too. "Spic" is good too. You know, in order to show their solidarity with the bigots. It's a good thing they don't need any Latino votes.


Jeb Bush on Thursday said he doesn’t think the term “anchor babies” is offensive, wading further into the controversial debate over birthright citizenship that was sparked by Donald Trump.

“Give me another word” than “anchor babies,” he challenged while speaking at a press conference in Keene, New Hampshire Thursday.

That's exactly what Trump said yesterday:

“You know what? Give me a different term.”

Let's not kid ourselves. Racism and bigotry are his central organizing principles

by digby

Greg Sargent is on a roll and this piece today is no exception. He points out that Trump's "birthright citizenship" move is just another aspect of his white nationalism:

Trump, by moving to reverse what was originally intended as a bedrock guarantee of citizenship to those born here regardless of their race or the heritage of their parents, is again confirming fealty to a racialized vision of American citizenship, as Adam Serwer argues. When Trump recently said, “I’m a nationalist,” he prefaced this by suggesting this was a taboo thing to say, which is a way of dog-whistling, “I’m a racial nationalist, and I’m not afraid to say so,” while actually speaking aloud only the uncontroversial half of that notion.

By reviving ending birthright citizenship, Trump has again confirmed — as he did with his “s—hole countries” remark — that his animating impulse is to stall or roll back the country’s evolving racial and ethnic mix. As Garrett Epps has noted, stripping away citizenship is also the stuff of autocrats and tyrants. But it’s worth recalling that this position is hardly confined to Trump. When he floated it during the campaign, multiple other GOP contenders joined him.

Also, the Muslim ban, the Wall, the vote suppression and more.

This is his central organizing principle. He believes in it. It brought him to political prominence with the birther smear and it fueled his rise in 2016. He's anything but a genius but he has a feral instinct for bigotry and racism. It's who he is too, always has been.

His nationalism is white nationalism, and his lame dog whistle shows that on a primitive level he understands that.

QOTD: Huckleberry

by digby

Lindsey Graham explains why he's become Trump's most sycophantic lieutenants:
“I don’t think there’s any room in the party for wanting him to fail. If they see your criticism is designed to want him to fail or not support him, then you’re in trouble.”
Remember when he was called a maverick? An iconoclast? His own man?

It was always a stretch. But now he's been liberated from even pretending to have a conscience and he's just a full-blown Trump fluffer. I think he likes it.


Will the GOP benefit from Trump's border stunt?

by digby

My Salon column this morning:

President Trump refused to postpone his visit to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Local officials and leaders of the community begged him not to come until after their funerals and time of mourning were over, but Trump has a busy rally schedule and said it was the only time he could fit in the PR stunt that nobody wanted him to do. So he went anyway, diverting security from the gatherings of mourners who were concerned that there could be another violent incident. The president, the first lady, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were on their own, lighting candles at the Tree of Life synagogue accompanied only by the rabbi and the Israeli ambassador as a sad, slow protest took place just blocks away:

The New York Times reported that Trump's Jewish daughter and son-in-law had talked him into going, and that he didn't really want to do it. He was angry that his superfan, alleged MAGAbomber Cesar Sayoc Jr., along with the Pittsburgh killer inspired by his rhetoric about the caravan, Robert Bowers, had disrupted his "strategy." He was anxious to get right back to it.

That strategy is to gin up hatred and paranoia about a ragged band of Central American refugees, most of them women and children, who are walking through Mexico to seek asylum in America. They are several hundred miles from the U.S. border, but Trump is sending more than 5,000 troops down there to protect us from these dangerous invaders to the border. According to the Pentagon they will be armed, although Homeland Security head Kirstjen Neilsen says there are no plans to shoot anyone. So that's a relief.

What they will be doing is still obscure but we know that Trump is very impressed by the pictures of the DMZ between North and South Korea. He said, “Look at Korea. We have a border in Korea. We have a wall of soldiers...You look at that, nobody comes through. But our own border, we don’t take care of it.32,000 soldiers, their finest equipment, barbed wire all over the place,” referring to the DMZ. We protect that whole thing. Nobody comes through."  They don't come through because his beautiful pen pal Kim Jong Un orders them to be shot if they try.

Trump told Fox News, "we're going to build tent cities. We're going to put tents up all over the place. We're not going to build structures and spend all of this, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars — we're going to have tents."  Apparently, he's unaware that this costs money as well, much more than it would cost to simply process people the normal way. According to CBS News, the Department of Health and Human Services expects to "spend $367 million on the government's tent city at the Tornillo Port of Entry in Texas in just the final three months of the year." That facility holds 1500 unaccompanied minors.

As for the cost of the troop deployment, let's just say it's going to be very high. Jennifer Griffin of Fox News reported that this will come out of the Pentagon budget and the numbers have not been finalized. But she notes that when President Bush sent 6000 National Guard it cost $1.2 billion.

In other words, this stunt is going to waste billions of taxpayer dollars for no reason. This is not a crisis. These refugees coming to the border are not dangerous. There is no threat to national security. Border crossings are way down from where they were a decade ago. The unemployment rate is very low. Migrants have been flowing back and forth over that border for centuries. There is no "invasion."

Donald Trump wagging the dog. Instead of waging a phony war on foreign soil, he's putting on a pricey pageant at America's southern border in a blatant attempt to get his base out to vote next week. It would have been much cheaper to let him have his big parade.

It's not that the country hasn't faced a number of real crises requiring the mustering of federal resources and manpower since he's been in office. There have been five major hurricanes and massive wildfires in the past two years resulting in horrible loss of life and property. And he has not shown even a tiny fraction of the same level of concern for those as he is showing for this phony border crisis.

In fact, he commonly complains about how much money they are costing "him" and suggests that the ones that take place in areas that didn't vote for him had it coming. We all remember his  ghastly performance after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, even complaining  in the first few days that it was busting his budget. The federal recovery effort was incompetent from the beginning and the island is still in dire straits (made even worse by the GOP tax cuts.) And this is what the president had to say about that just last week:

To this day, Trump still does not understand that Puerto Rico is not a foreign country. But then he treats California as if it's a foreign country too:
What's happening should never happen. I go all over the country and I meet with governors. The first thing they say is there's no reason for forest fires like that in California. So I say to the governor or whoever is going to be the governor of California you'd better get your act together because California, we're just not going to continue to pay the kind of money that we're paying because of fire fires that should never be to the extent that they were telling me in a couple of states I wouldn't even mention their name...it's costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars because of incompetence in California...it's hurting our budget, our country. And they just better get their act together.
Evidently, he's under the impression that the people of California don't pay federal taxes. Or perhaps he sees all such payments as a donation to the United States of Trump and anything the people get back is a gift from him.

There are real crises happening all the time right here in the United States. But unless it can be blamed on a person of color, a foreigner, Democrats or the media, Trump's interest is very limited. Just as he does with foreign countries, he likes to threaten to withhold money if people fail to kowtow properly before his throne. But he's happy to spend billions on ridiculous stunts like sending troops to repel a nonexistent "caravan invasion," in a ploy so obviously designed to rile up his followers to vote in the midterms that a five-year-old could see through it. What Trump hasn't yet absorbed is that this kind of stuff also riles up his opponents. Perhaps that lesson will sink in next Tuesday night.
Cynically Clueless? Cluelessly Cynical? Views Differ 

by tristero

You don't have to be Jewish (as the old commercial goes) to know that this was a spectacularly bad idea:

At a campaign stop in Michigan on Monday, Vice President Mike Pence condemned anti-Semitism and the deadly massacre at Pittsburgh synagogue, and asked “a leader in the Jewish community” to offer a prayer for the victims and the country. 
As he began his prayer, it became immediately clear that the rabbi, Loren Jacobs of Congregation Shema Yisrael in suburban Detroit, would not be considered a Jew by any of the four major denominations of Judaism. In his prayer, he mentioned the “saving power” of the Lord and concluded, “In the name of Jesus, amen.” 
Rabbi Jacobs believes that Jesus is the Messiah, a conviction that is theologically incompatible with Judaism. Some Jews believe that the movement the rabbi represents, Messianic Judaism, is not only antithetical to Judaism but also hostile to their religion because its goal is to persuade Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah, and by doing so convert Jewish people to Christianity. 
Rabbi Jacobs, a leading figure in the denomination colloquially known as Jews for Jesus, quickly came under criticism on Monday for appearing to represent Jews at the rally and for leading the only prayer by a religious figure at the event for the 11 people and six others injured in the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday.

After the rally, Mr. Pence’s office said that the vice president did not invite the rabbi to the event and asked him to offer a prayer on stage as a message of unity.
One religious leader upset about Rabbi Jacobs’s prayer on Monday was Rabbi Jason Miller, who lives in Detroit. He said on Twitter that there are more than 60 Jewish rabbis in Michigan that campaign rally organizers could have asked to offer a prayer. 
“For the record, Messianic ‘Judaism’ is a branch of Christianity & offensive to the Jewish community,” Rabbi Miller wrote in a separate tweet. “It was an insulting political stunt.”
One can't begin to count the ways this was clueless and cynical. Clueless because mainstream Jews can't accept Jesus as the Messiah. Cynical because Pence and Company are merely pretending to be ecumenical while actually asserting the dominance of American christianism.

Of course, Loren Jacobs and his Jews for Jesus followers are entitled to worship however they want. This is not about religious tolerance. But if Pence and his party sincerely wanted to demonstrate their "unity" at this awful time with the traumatized American Jewish community, this was a terrible way to show it.

Let them eat junk insurance

by Tom Sullivan

John Tester timed his last campaign ad to help him close the deal with Montana voters who sent the Democrat to the U.S. Senate twice already. Tester's ad speaks to voters' health care concerns and reinforces his authenticity against an opponent hailing from Maryland.

Republican Matt Rosendale has already lost points after disclosure he is a "rancher" with no cattle. He has dropped that affectation and now runs as a "Trump conservative" instead. Republicans hope nationalizing the race will help them defeat red-state Democrats like Tester.

Leaning on a ranch-sized meat grinder, Tester says:

I was nine years old when I lost my fingers in this meat grinder. My parents paid for the hospital because our healthcare didn’t cover anything. It was junk insurance. Thank god Montana got rid of junk healthcare plans a long time ago — until our insurance commissioner, Matt Rosendale, let them back in. My opponent is also pushing to allow insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Tester's ad also reaches voters as the six-week enrollment period for 2019 coverage under the Affordable Care Act opens November 1 — another reminder that health care is on the ballot days from now. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has already declared he would try again to repeal the Affordable Care Act if has has the votes to do it after the election.

Preserving protection for pre-existing conditions is voters' most important concern in this election. So, Republican candidates are speaking like born-again believers in the Affordable Care Act even as they await a decision in a Texas lawsuit (joined by multiple conservative states) to have it declared unconstitutional.

Plus, having scrapped the individual mandate designed to keep costs down, the Trump administration is launching new efforts at undermining the act as it stands, including scheduling server downtime during the enrollment period and allowing sale of the kind of "junk insurance" Tester opposes, Politico reports:
The Trump administration is trying to take credit for the improving insurance marketplaces at the very same time that it’s chipping away at the law’s underpinnings. Those measures are expected to disproportionately hurt poor and vulnerable patients who have benefited most from the Affordable Care Act. Many of the changes, such as the wider availability of skimpier non-Obamacare plans, will take time to unfold. The impact won’t be apparent this week when sign-ups start just days before midterm elections defined in part by backlash to the GOP’s unpopular Obamacare repeal efforts.


Still, the law remains under attack from Republicans who still vow to repeal it and the Trump administration, which is asking federal courts to overturn protections for pre-existing conditions and issuing regulations promoting coverage alternatives. The Trump administration says it wants to create more affordable insurance options outside of Obamacare for millions of middle-class Americans who’ve been priced out of the law’s marketplaces. Those steps will likely appeal to healthier patients attracted to cheaper, less robust health plans, which could cause sicker patients left behind in the Obamacare marketplaces to face spiraling costs.
Like other red-state Democrats, Tester is campaigning against GOP efforts to weaken protections for pre-existing conditions. In Montana, he has the states acceptance of Medicaid expansion backing him up.

With his missing fingers, flat-top haircut and collection of ugly ties, Tester is in a tightening race that will test whether "a state-specific, parochial campaign still works against a national GOP message," writes Politico's Burgess Everett. Tester, who voted against the last Supreme Court nominee, has the sitting president, the Club for Growth, the Chamber of Commerce, Senate leaders, and the NRA gunning for him. Still, he welcomes the late money spent against him as “economic development. Bring it in.”

* * * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Speaking of stone cold thieves ...

by digby

Trump had the monumental gall to call Andrew Gillum, Florida's Democratic candidate for Governor "a stone cold thief." He also called him corrupt.

You can't make this stuff up:

President Donald Trump, his eldest three children and his business have each been named in a new class action lawsuit that claims they Trump brand to prey on vulnerable investors to take part in fraudulent schemes, allegedly defrauding them of millions in the process.

Four anonymous individuals filed the 164-page lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Mondayaccusing the Trumps of "promoting what they described as promising business opportunities with three companies in exchange for 'secret' payments: ACN Opportunity, a telecommunications marketing company; the Trump Network, a vitamin and health product marketing company; and the Trump Institute, a seminar program that 'purported to sell Trump's 'secrets to success,'" according to CNN.

The suit says the Trumps "deliberately misled" consumers about the success of their investments and lied about the fraudulent opportunities and why they supported them. Other charges claim that the Trumps engaged in "a pattern of racketeering activity" and "were aware that the vast majority of consumers would lose whatever money they invested in the business opportunities and training programs" offered by the aforementioned companies. However, the companies are not listed as co-defendants.

According to the Washington Post, the alleged schemes stemmed from "promotional spots and speeches that Trump made on behalf of marketing company ACN, also known as American Communications Network, which charged $499 for the chance to sell video phones licensed by the company and sometimes extracted thousands of dollars later to have a chance of recouping the money."

The Post's report continued: "Trump earned $450,000 each for three speeches he gave for ACN, according to his government disclosure form, but in marketing videos he told potential investors that the opportunity came 'without any of the risks most entrepreneurs have to take' and that his endorsement was 'not for any money.'"

Aside from the Trump family allegedly knowing that the investments were fraudulent, the lawsuit also accused the family of promoting the schemes, including on the president's former reality TV show "Celebrity Apprentice" — twice. The plaintiffs are seeking financial relief and a decision that blocks the Trumps from promoting similar schemes moving forward.

Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, seized on the timing of the lawsuit, as well as its funding from the Tesseract Research Center, a nonprofit with ties to Democratic candidates. "This is clearly just another effort by opponents of the president to use the court system to advance a political agenda," Garten said in a statement. "The motivations here are as plain as day," he added, given the timing ahead of the upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 6.

A spokesman for the plaintiff's countered the Trump Organization's assertion, telling CNN that the complaint was filed on Monday "because it is ready now." "We did a thorough investigation and a lot of legal research, and the plaintiffs are eager to file," he added. "No matter when this was filed, the Trump Org. would say it was politically motivated."

But the Trump Organization also said that "not only are the allegations completely meritless, but they all relate to events which took place nearly a decade ago and are well past the statute of limitations."

Trump stepped away from his business once entering the White House, and his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, now run the company. However, Trump still owns it, and Ivanka is a former executive at the company.

This new lawsuit recalls similar allegations of fraud leveled at the president. Trump settled three lawsuits relating to the now-defunct Trump University for $25 million a few days after the 2016 presidential election. Thousands of students of the real estate seminar were allegedly swindled out of millions of dollars, according to one of the suits.
He is, even today, stealing the country blind with both foreign and domestic emoluments. His kids are all over the world selling access to foreign developers.

Hell hath no fury like Fox News scorned

by digby

I don't feel sorry for Megyn Kelly. She's a right-wing hack and she made her bed. Still, this is pretty astonishing:

For 18 turbulent months at NBC, when Megyn Kelly stumbled, her former employer was lurking in the shadows—eagerly waiting to kick her while she was down.

Soon after Kelly departed her highly rated prime-time perch at Fox News in early 2017, Fox News’ notoriously ruthless public-relations and communications arm began encouraging outside reporters to cover negative stories about Kelly—a practice that continued right up to the “blackface” comment that proved to be her downfall.

Multiple sources tell The Daily Beast that top Fox flack Irena Briganti’s team suggested other media outlets write not just about Kelly’s “blackface” remarks, but about several other missteps throughout her NBC career.

According to two sources familiar with the situation, when Megyn Kelly Today showed initial signs of terrible ratings at NBC, the Fox News comms apparatus flagged those numbers for media reporters.

Late last year, when Kelly endured an online backlash for asking a Will & Grace fan if he was influenced to become gay because of the show and its lead character—and when Will & Grace star Debra Messing subsequently criticized Kelly—Fox PR quietly pushed the news to entertainment and media scribes.

Another instance: Hollywood Reporter journalist Jeremy Barr tweeted last week that Fox PR gave him “a tip” to try to deter him from reporting on a different story about a current Fox News host, telling him he should instead cover the “NBC/Megyn stuff” that was just starting to explode.

According to three people with direct knowledge, Briganti deeply resented Kelly, in large part because she privately blamed Kelly for leaks that painted the top Fox flack as an enabler for former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes amid the sexual-harassment scandal that ended his career.

Fox News said in the statement that the allegations were “wildly inaccurate and patently absurd.”

It denied urging reporters to jump on Kelly’s Will & Grace gaffe, saying the blunder created an “instant firestorm” that required no contribution from Fox News. It said that any conversations about Kelly’s ratings were in the context of Fox News beating her show.

As for Barr’s tweet, Fox said he “mischaracterized” the exchange and that a PR rep was just pointing out “that there was bigger news on the media beat to cover” than the story he was pursuing.

“The Daily Beast is relying on outdated information from former employees,” the statement said. “The PR department here defends and protects the Fox News brand and all of its talent on a 24/7 basis. There is no war whatsoever and no resentment against anyone who formerly worked at the network, including Megyn.”

“Irena has been wrongfully tagged with this narrative—no one is resentful here and everyone moved on two years ago. If anything, Irena (and the entire PR team) actually feel sorry for Megyn.”

Fox said its current PR team was being blamed for tactics employed by Briganti’s predecessor, who left in 2013.

Yet just last year, Kelly publicly accused Fox News of attacking her. During a segment about former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s history of alleged sexual harassment, Kelly noted on NBC that Briganti was “known for her vindictiveness,” and had shopped stories about alleged victims of Ailes.

“To this day, she pushes negative articles on certain Ailes accusers, [including me],” Kelly said.

A former senior Fox employee said Kelly had a point.

“Megyn Kelly was one of the single biggest beneficiaries of Fox News comms when she worked there. It was turned on her the very moment she packed up for… the competition,” the ex-staffer told The Daily Beast.

Trump TV allows Shep Smith to be a bit of an apostate. But Kelly betrayed not only Trump, she betrayed Roger Ailes. There's no going back for her.

If the GOP ever completely turns on Trump I'd guess she runs for office.


How Democrats can stop vote suppression

by digby

Honestly,if Democrats don't fix this problem this country could lose it all. And they have to be very smart about it because the courts are in extremist right wing hands for a generation:

Faced with the latest flurry of hardball Republican tactics on voting issues this election cycle, Democrats are grappling with the reality of an opposition that now seems determined to cement long-term minorityrule. In order to combat this dynamic, progressives need a plan of their own for the next time they control both houses of Congress and the presidency. The single best step that Democrats could take under a future unified control would be to use the “nuclear option” to expand voting rights. This would let Democrats, by a simple majority vote, enact wide-ranging voting reform, from restoring a key part of the Voting Rights Act, to automatic voter registration, to statehood for D.C.

This progressive version of electoral hardball—which would merely mean killing the filibuster for voting rights legislation—is an appropriate response to the hardball tactics Republicans have used to manipulate the U.S. political system in recent years. Consider the most prominent example of recent Republican hardball: the Republican Senate in 2016 denying Obama-nominated Judge Merrick Garland a hearing for a Supreme Court spot after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. In 2017, meanwhile, the Republican Senate invoked the so-called nuclear option, which lowered from 60 votes to a simple majority the number of senators necessary to confirm a Supreme Court nominee, leading to the confirmations of Justices Neil Gorsuch and, more recently, Brett Kavanaugh.

GOP hardball has by no means been restricted to the federal level. From Georgia to Kansas to North Carolina to North Dakota, Republican-dominated legislatures have used a variety of means to make it harder for likely Democratic voters to register and vote.

The Supreme Court has abetted all of these efforts, killing off a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, freeing the wealthy to spend unlimited sums of money to influence elections, and failing to rein in extreme partisan gerrymandering in states like North Carolina and Wisconsin.

There is thus a growing fear that all these moves, combined with the bias of the Senate toward small states, will lead to a period of sustained minority rule in the United States. In response, some have proposed radical changes, such as a plan to pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices if and when Democrats take control. Others fear that such tactics by Democrats could cause things to spiral out of control, further eroding democratic norms after a period in which President Donald Trump has attacked courts, the free press, and the integrity of the election system itself.

In his engaging new book, An Uncivil War, Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent grapples with the challenges to democratic norms and majority rule unleashed by Trump and the Republican Party. Sargent mines the political science and legal literature on norm devolution and constitutional hardball to urge Democrats to think carefully about the kind of change they might undertake should they retake the levers of power in 2021 or beyond. Drawing on the work of professors Joseph Fishkin and David Pozen, Sargent cogently argues that “Democrats will have to do whatever they can to, in effect, take the weaponry out of GOP hands (in effect, out of both parties’ hands) whenever possible.”

Sargent is on the right track, and the key is finding the right balance between restoring political equality and fomenting an all-out political war. Rather than begin with a radical step like court packing, Democrats could, by simple majority, vote to adopt a procedure whereby all future voting rights measures need only a simple majority to pass. Not only would killing of the filibuster here be the exact same move that Republicans did to allow for the majority votes on Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, Democrats could correctly claim that such a move will further the values of equality embedded in the 14th and 15th amendments of the Constitution.

That's election expert Rick Hasen and he offers some specifics.

It's also important that Democrats start talking about this issue openly. It's been going on forever, but in recent years as its ramped up in GOP circles I think Democrats have been afraid to make a big deal of it because it calls the legitimacy of elections into questions and they are afraid the right will weaponize that.

After 2016 and Russian interference and Trump's claiming Clinton won the popular vote with "illegals" voting, it's pretty clear that ship has sailed. It's time for the Democrats to make this a central plank of their agenda and go out and make the argument in the name of simple fairness. If a majority of the country hasn't gone completely batshit insane it should be a basic civic argument they can make. And doing it in the wake of this imbecile gaining the White House under blatantly unfair voting systems and foreign interference is the right time. If not now, when?

Gird yourself for a major dirty trick

by digby

I don't think we should be surprised that they'd try this. They think they can discredit Mueller by twisting the left into pretzels and throwing the Kavanaugh claims back in their face. The aim is to make those who say "believe women" denounce Mueller as a predator.

It's a good thing that we know that they're offering money to women to come forward but I'm going to guess that they'll just say it's a Deep State pushback and they'll claim the one woman who is apparently going along with this should be believed.

Natasha Bertrand in The Atlantic:

An alleged scheme to pay off women to fabricate sexual assault allegations against Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been referred to the FBI for further investigation, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office told The Atlantic. “When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation,” the spokesman, Peter Carr, told me in an email on Tuesday.

The special counsel’s attention to this scheme—which was brought to the office by a woman claiming she herself had been offered money to make up sexual harassment claims against Mueller—and its decision to release a rare statement about it indicates the seriousness with which the office is taking the purported scheme to discredit Mueller in the middle of an ongoing investigation.

The special counsel’s office confirmed that the scheme was brought to its attention by several journalists who were told about it by a woman alleging that she herself had been offered roughly $20,000 by a man claiming to work for a GOP activist named Jack Burkman “to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller.” The woman told journalists in an email, a copy of which I obtained, that she had worked for Mueller as a paralegal at the Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro law firm in 1974, but that she “didn’t see” him much. “When I did see him, he was always very polite to me, and was never inappropriate,” the woman wrote. The firm has not returned a request for comment about whether the woman actually worked there.

The woman explained that she was contacted by a man “with a British accent” who wanted to ask her “a couple questions about Robert Mueller, whom I worked with when I was a paralegal for Pillsbury, Madison, and Sutro in 1974. I asked him who he was working for, and he told me his boss was some sort of politics guy in Washington named Jack Burkman. I reluctantly told [him] that I had only worked with Mr. Mueller for a short period of time, before leaving that firm to have my first son.”

She continued: “In more of an effort to get him to go away than anything else, I asked him what in the hell he wanted me to do. He said that we could not talk about it on the phone, and he asked me to download an app on my phone called Signal, which he said was more secure. Reluctantly, I downloaded the app and he called me on that app a few minutes later. He said (and I will never forget exactly what it was) ‘I want you to make accusations of sexual misconduct and workplace harassment against Robert Mueller, and I want you to sign a sworn affidavit to that effect.’” The man “offered to pay off all of my credit card debt, plus bring me a check for $20,000 if I would do” it, she wrote. “He knew exactly how much credit card debt I had, right down to the dollar, which sort of freaked me out.”

The woman was not willing to speak to the reporters by phone, according to Scott Stedman, one of the reporters who received the letter. So portions of her story have gone uncorroborated. Around the time that the journalists began receiving the email, Burkman released a video on his Facebook page claiming, without evidence, that Mueller “has a whole lifetime history of harassing women.” On Tuesday, the day the special counsel revealed that it had referred the woman’s claims to the FBI, Burkman tweeted a similar allegation.

In an emailed statement, Burkman denied knowing the woman who originally alerted journalists to the alleged scheme and called the FBI referral “a joke, mueller wants to deflect attention from his sex assault troubles by attacking me.” He added in a separate email that “on Thursday 1200 NOON ROSSYLN HOLIDAY INN we will present a very credible witness who will allege that Mr. Mueller committed against her a sexual assault.” Mueller’s spokesman reiterated that the claims are false.

Burkman, a conservative radio host, is known for spreading conspiracy theories. He launched his own private investigation into the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, dangled uncorroborated claims of sexual harassment against a sitting member of Congress, and earlier this year offered $25,000 to FBI whistleblowers for any information exposing wrongdoing during the 2016 election.

It's an obvious play. Don't underestimate their ability to manipulate the left with this either. 2016 showed they can do it.

Update: Here's the email from the woman he tried to recruit:

This woman is about to get dragged through the streets by the rabid wingnuts, I'm afraid.

The gender gap on the economy

by digby

What could possibly explain this? I can't imagine.
A remarkable gender gap has opened up in Americans’ views of their own finances and the broader national economy.

Men feel better about the economy than they have in over a decade. Women are far more skeptical. And the sharp divide has emerged since President Trump was elected two years ago.

Nearly half of men — 47 percent — said their family’s finances had improved in the past year, according to a survey conducted for The New York Times in early October by the online research platform SurveyMonkey. Just 30 percent of women said the same, despite an unemployment rate that is near a five-decade low and economic growth that is on track for its best year since before the recession.

Asked how they expected the American economy to fare over the next five years, nearly two-thirds of men said they anticipated “continuous good times economically.” Women were more likely to expect “periods of widespread unemployment or depression.” The gaps remain even between men and women who are similar in age, race, education and income.

It isn’t clear how men’s and women’s diverging views of the economy will affect next month’s elections. There has historically been at most a loose connection between the state of the economy and midterm election results, and Mr. Trump’s signature economic policies poll poorly with swing voters. What is clear is that the gender divide — transcending party lines and voting preferences — is a striking departure from the past.

Polls by the Pew Research Center going back to the mid-2000s showed almost no gender gap on economic questions until Mr. Trump took office; since then, men have become significantly more confident, while women’s confidence has stalled.

And maybe it's because having a misogynist billionaire in the White House has opened their eyes about this:

The gender gap in pay has narrowed since 1980, but it has remained relatively stable over the past 15 years or so. In 2017, women earned 82% of what men earned, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers in the United States. Based on this estimate, it would take an extra 47 days of work for women to earn what men did in 2017. 
By comparison, the Census Bureau found that full-time, year-round working women earned 80% of what their male counterparts earned in 2016. 

And maybe most men just like Trump's bullying attitude and want to excuse that by giving him credit for the growth in an economy he has nothing to do with.

And maybe most women just know that something is very, very wrong.

Real Americans only need apply

by digby

Trump's been saying he wants to end birthright citizenship since the campaign but he hasn't talked much about it until now. I guess he's been saving it as a special gift for his white supremacist base. Ian Millhiser unpacks is proposal:

Donald Trump, in an interview with Axios, said that he plans to sign an executive order stripping many Americans of their citizenship. Though it is unclear how far Trump wants to go, or whether he would attempt to retroactively strip many existing citizens of their citizenship, Trump apparently wants to target the children of undocumented immigrants.

“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” Trump falsely claimed. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

Trump’s plan is unconstitutional. It’s not even arguably constitutional. It is so obviously unconstitutional that it was rejected by a notoriously racist Supreme Court more than a century ago. The few scholars who think that Trump can actually do this are considered radicals even within conservative legal circles.

If the Roberts Court ultimately upholds such an order, it will reveal that its Republican majority is so captured by partisanship that it cannot even be trusted to read the clear words of the Constitution.

“Subject to the jurisdiction thereof”
The Fourteenth Amendment was the price a victorious Union extracted from rebellious states that waged a treasonous war to defend slavery. In order to be admitted back into the Union, ex-Confederate states were required to ratify this amendment. Among other things, the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly stated that nearly anyone born in the United States would automatically become a citizen.

One of the primary purposes of this amendment was to wipe away the Supreme Court’s decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, the infamous pro-slavery decision which held that black men and woman are “regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

Yet the Fourteenth Amendment also speaks in expansive terms about who qualifies for birthright citizenship — much more expansively than if the amendment were intended simply to grant citizenship to former slaves. “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

The amendment, in other words, only places two limitations on who automatically qualifies as a citizen. A person must either be born or naturalized in the United States, and they must be “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

The word “jurisdiction” is a legal term which refers to lawful power over a person. A federal court has “jurisdiction” over a particular individual if it has the power to issue binding rulings against that person. Likewise, someone is “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States if they are bound by its laws.

Thus, if the children of undocumented immigrants were beyond the reach of the Fourteenth Amendment’s citizenship provision, that would mean that they were immune to American law altogether. It would be unlawful for the federal government to arrest, detain, or deport them.

The Supreme Court explained more than a century ago, in its 1898 decision in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, why the Fourteenth Amendment contains a limited exemption for people not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States.

The real object of the fourteenth amendment of the constitution, in qualifying the words ‘all persons born in the United States’ by the addition ‘and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,’ would appear to have been to exclude, by the fewest and fittest words (besides children of members of the Indian tribes, standing in a peculiar relation to the national government, unknown to the common law), the two classes of cases,- children born of alien enemies in hostile occupation, and children of diplomatic representatives of a foreign state,-both of which, as has already been shown, by the law of England and by our own law, from the time of the first settlement of the English colonies in America, had been recognized exceptions to the fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the country.

When the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, in other words, there were a few limited classes of children who were born with the United States’ territory but not subject to its laws. They included some Native Americans whose tribes existed as separate sovereign nations within the United States, but also children of foreign diplomats (who enjoy diplomatic immunity from the law of the nation they are visiting), and any children born to a hostile invading army.

All other children, by the Fourteenth Amendment’s explicit terms, are citizens if they are born in the United States.

More racist than the racists

It’s unclear why Trump believes that the text of the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to him. Last July, however, former Trump administration official Michael Anton published a Washington Post op-ed arguing against birthright citizenship. (Notably, after this op-ed was published, the Post added a lengthy editor’s note to it, revealing that Anton doctored a quote in order to bolster his argument.)

Anton’s argument is difficult to follow, and key parts of it rest on mere assertions that propositions that Anton wishes were true are “clearly” true. Anton writes, for example, that “the children of immigrants who came here illegally clearly don’t” qualify as citizens, without citing any provision of the Constitution or other historic text that supports a distinction between the children of documented and undocumented immigrants.

Nevertheless, the crux of Anton’s argument appears to be that someone is not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States if they do not owe “allegiance” to this nation — and therefore are unable to bestow citizenship upon their children.

This argument is foreclosed by Wong Kim Ark. The United States citizen at the heart of that case was a laborer born in the United States to “persons of Chinese descent, and subjects of the emperor of China.” Yet the Supreme Court held him to be a citizen, regardless of the fact that he was born to parents who owed no allegiance to the United States.

It’s worth noting once again that Wong Kim Ark was decided in 1898 — two years after the Court’s notorious segregation decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. Notably, five of the justices who endorsed segregation in Plessy also upheld birthright citizenship in Wong Kim Ark.

The case for birthright citizenship, in other words, is so clear cut that even many of the most notorious racists in the Supreme Court’s history believed that the children of foreign nationals born in the United States are American citizens.

Trump is literally taking a position to the right of many of the justices who gave us separate-but-equal.

It goes on. Much will depend, of course, on the Trump Court.

As Newt Gingrich says, "we'll see if the Kavanaugh fight was worth it."


Weighed in the balances and found wanting

by Tom Sullivan

Sharper than any razor. Watch:

Every charge Schmidt leveled against Trump and Trumpism, Chris Hayes observes, was raised "by Mitt Romney, by Lindsay Graham, by Marco Rubio, by Rick Perry, I mean, on and on and on...." One by one, "the Borg assimilates them," Hayes laments. Former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt responded:

All of these people were happy to stand and assert that they believed in the American idea and ideal when the American idea and ideal was not being tested, when it was not under assault, when it was not being contested.

What we see is a crisis of profound cowardice in what I would argue is the worst generation of political leadership the country may have ever had.
Only Robert Mueller could add to that indictment. Or the God of Abraham. Or a chastened Jules Winnfield pondering the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

The only accomplices Schmidt omitted from his rebuke Monday night are the president's unshakable evangelical and conservative foot soldiers. They wrapped themselves in the mantle of Americanness and in the name of Jesus so long as their primacy in the social order went uncontested. Now, Redhats celebrate the Seven Deadly Sins on two legs. They wait in line for hours to applaud the man of corruption who lies to them with abandon, sneers at the rule of law, embraces murderous despots, and "pals around with" white supremacists. Xenophobes all, he and they traffic in fear in the home of the brave.

Redhats chant for retribution against those who will not bow as they do before their idol in supplication. Followers, once, of a different man who two millennia ago was himself scapegoated cheer when their president-king vilifies their neighbors and scapegoats the weak and strangers in the land of Washington, and of Lincoln, and of e pluribus unum.

They have sold their birthright for a mess of Trump pottage. They have no claim left either to those American ideas and ideals, or even to their savior's name.

* * * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.

Dumbass in chief

by digby

This is so idiotic I don't even know what to say:

President Donald Trump complained that his predecessor Barack Obama wasn’t criticized for the 2015 mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in an interview with Fox News on Monday.

After Laura Ingraham asked the president about last week’s attempted bombings of almost a dozen prominent Democrats who have been frequent targets of his incendiary rhetoric, Trump pivoted to criticizing the Washington Post before making the bizarre comments about Obama.

Referring to media reports that connected Trump’s rhetoric with the attempted bomber, whose van was covered with stickers supporting the president and taking aim at numerous Democrats and the media, Trump said, “They didn’t do that with President Obama with the church, the horrible situation with the church. They didn’t do that.”

Ingraham did not follow-up on Trump’s remarks to ask why Obama could have been blamed for a mass shooting that was carried out by a white supremacist.

Most of the time he's just dumb as dirt.


Monday, October 29, 2018

"I never believed what liberals said about us all along"

by digby

"It's like we can't be shocked by Donald Trump because we know who he is. We know what's in his DNA. But the way people react, turn the lens to those crowds after this horrific shooting, this tragedy," Charlie Sykes said. "They're talking CNN sucks, chanting lock her up. The moral test to the Republican party that they have failed over and over again, the president has been a man who has stoked our divisions, has stoked the fear and the hostility, has created this toxic stew. and we're being reminded the number of people out there who take him both literally and seriously.

"So at one level you have people who are willing to rationalize and defend his behavior, but also you have the folks out there, the haters who draw oxygen from what this president has done, from the whistles that he has sent. That's what makes this such a dangerous time. the fact is the president of the United States is the arsonist in chief."

"Rick Wilson, I'm naive," Scarborough said.

"I never believed what liberals said about us all along. I never believed there was this undercurrent in the Republican party of racism, nativism, anti-semitism. We spent our entire lives telling people it wasn't true. I'll be damned, I'm 55 years old. Bingo, they had us exactly right. They had the party exactly right. What are we to do now?"

"Joe, this is emblematic of the entire problem of the Republican party being bought out by Trumpism. It revealed a segment of our demographic, a part of our party we wanted to pretend was in the closet, we kept them in the basement and hosed them off once a year on Election Day, and unfortunately we now have to face the fact that that element feels empowered and emboldened," Rick Wilson said.

"They read tweets like today -- I'm sure that tweet sounded better in the original German --and they're not taking it as some sort of joking Trumpism. They take it as marching orders. And maybe it's only a tiny fraction, but it only takes a tiny fraction to march into a synagogue and kill 11 people. It only takes a tiny fraction to send out 14 bombs It's not a dog whistle, it's an air raid siren.

"But Rick, the problem is, 90% of Republicans support him. You have people chanting in the crowd. I would have never, ever, ever over five decades predicted this would happen. After people were targets of bombs, that you actually still have the president of the United States still attacking those people and people in the crowd more disturbingly chanting attacks at CNN and Hillary Clinton 'lock her up!' Where were they raised? Not in my neighborhood."

"They were raised in the post-2010 era. They repeated over and over again conspiracy theories and stoked the sense of inferiority," Wilson said.

"The victim complex, 'I'm a victim, Hollywood doesn't like me, the media doesn't like me,' but hold on, I own the Supreme Court, I own the United States House of Representatives, I own the United States Senate, I open the United States presidency, I own the Justice Department, I own the DHS, I own everything but i'm still a little snowflake who gets their feelings hurt when Hollywood does a movie I don't like. Please explain that to me. They own the world and they're still victims?" Scarborough said.

"This is a sign of how fundamentally weak Donald Trump is. The guy is a quivering blob of man-baby goo," Wilson said. "He's a tantrum-throwing infant all the time, He knows his base loves that sense of alienation. They love being reminded that certain people can read and they don't read so good. And they love that sense of somebody who's going to be their champion and stoke their anger and tell them all their resentments are justified. That's part of what you and I fought against and Charlie fought against and Peggy fought against for so long, is the acknowledgment that there are people who want to have their fears stoked."

"Donald Trump is an arsonist, as Charlie said, and in a whole spectrum of areas that we have to acknowledge that his unique social media power makes that arsonist incredibly dangerous for this country and this republic."
From Susie at Crooks and Liars.

I don't recall Peggy and Charlie warning anyone. I do remember Peggy arguing in the days when New Orleans was underwater after Katrina that looters should be shot though.
We see you, Donnie

by digby

Those are results from the latest PRRI Poll. It would appear that a majority of Americans see him for what he is. Even 33% of Republican voters don't want him to be the nominee in 2020.
Across a wide array of measures, a majority of Americans disapprove of the president and his conduct in office. Almost six in ten (58%) disapprove of Trump’s job performance as president. 
Nearly seven in ten say they would like his speech and behavior to be more consistent with his predecessors (69%) or that he has damaged the dignity of the presidency (69%). Nearly six in ten (59%) say he has not used his authority to pardon appropriately, and a majority (54%) believe that his decisions and behavior as president have encouraged white supremacist groups.

Among Republicans, and independents who lean toward the Republican Party, one-third (33%) say they would prefer someone else as the Republican nominee in 2020. Support for Trump is nearly unchanged from one year earlier.

With the 2018 midterms fast approaching, nearly six in ten (58%) Americans disapprove of Trump’s performance as president, including 42% who strongly disapprove. Just over four in ten (41%) Americans have a positive view of Trump’s job performance.

A majority of Americans say there is nothing that President Trump could do to change their opinion of him. More than four in ten (46%) say they disapprove of Trump’s job performance and that there is nothing he could do to win their approval, while 14% say they approve of Trump and that there is nothing he could do to lose their approval. By contrast, four in ten Americans either approve (27%) or disapprove (13%) of the president but say that there is something he could do to change their mind.

Among Democrats, almost eight in ten (78%) say they disapprove of the president and there is nothing he can do to win their approval, while 12% disapprove but say there is something he could do win their approval. By contrast, nearly four in ten (37%) Republicans say they approve of the president and that there is nothing he can do to lose their support. A slim majority (51%) of Republicans approve of Trump but say there is something he could do lose their approval. 
There are notable gender gaps among partisans. Democratic women are more likely than Democratic men to say they will never approve of Trump (82% vs. 72%). By contrast, Republican men are more likely than Republican women to say they will always approve of Trump (44% vs. 30%).

There are deep divides between members of different religious traditions. Black Protestants (66%) are more likely than religiously unaffiliated Americans (58%), Hispanic Catholics (56%), white Catholics (39%), and white mainline Protestants (38%) to say they will never approve of Trump. Only 16% of white evangelical Protestants say the president cannot win their approval. 
Meanwhile, about one-quarter of white evangelical Protestants (25%) and white mainline Protestants(22%) say there is nothing Trump could do to lose their support, compared to 19% of white Catholics and 12% of Hispanic Catholics. Just six percent of black Protestants and four percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans say there is nothing Trump could do to lose their approval.

Trump and the Republicans have been going on and on the last few days about their African American outreach really paying dividends.  They had a black youth confab in recent days and held an event in the White House with some big Trump fans and they're pushing this Russian bot campaign called #walkaway which is about Democrats, particularly black Democrats, leaving the party to join the Trump cult.  Kanye's even selling t-shirts that say "Blexit" on them.

These numbers suggest they found every single young African American Trump supporter in the country for their little gathering. It filled one hotel ballroom.

He won't distance himself from violent Redhats. He respects them.

by digby

People keep saying that Trump should simply say that he doesn't want the support of racists and anti-Semites and that anyone who commits a violent act against his opponents is not a supporter of his.

The problem is that he doesn't believe that. He likes these extremist criminals.

Remember this from the campaign?

Asked what motivated the alleged attack, Scott Leader — who was convicted of a hate crime and jailed for a year in the assault of a Moroccan man shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks — name-checked the Republican front-runner.

“Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” Scott Leader, 38, allegedly told the police. The Leaders pleaded not guilty to multiple assault charges with a dangerous weapon, indecent exposure and making threats.

Trump was asked about the alleged assault at a news conference on Wednesday.

“I haven’t heard about that,” Trump said. “It would be a shame, but I haven’t heard about that.”

He then added: “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate. I will say that, and everybody here has reported it.”

He gets them and they get him.