Thursday, June 30, 2016

Nice Try, Jonathan Easley

This is how you spin something into an anti-Hillary hit piece:

A strong majority of Democrats would cancel the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump if it meant President Obama could serve another term, a new poll found.

Data provided to The Hill by the conservative polling outlet WPA Research found that 67 percent of Democrats would take a third term for Obama over a potential Clinton administration.

Only 28 percent said they’re ready to move on from the Obama White House, while 6 percent are undecided.

Obama is enjoying a surprisingly strong approval rating for a president serving out the final months of his second term.

A Washington Post-ABC News survey released this week found Obama’s net approval rating approaching 80 points in positive territory among Democrats. Former President Bill Clinton was at about 60 points positive within his own party at this point in 2000, while former President George W. Bush was under 40 with Republicans.

At the same time, a Gallup survey from April found Clinton’s net approval rating among Democrats hitting a new low. She had a 63-point net positive approval rating last November. That plummeted to only 36 points in April.


This is where Jonathan Easley at The Hill veers off track with his post. He first cites polling from the past week and then he compares it to polling done months ago--April in fact, which is when Hillary was locked in a tight race with Bernie Sanders and was undergoing massive attacks on her credibility. The Republicans were hitting her with the so-called E-mail scandal and their primary debates were focused mainly on savaging her in public.

It is utterly dishonest to compare the polling from recent weeks to April when the primary race was still a battlefield. Easley is cherrypicking polls to find the justification he needs to advance the idea that Democrats don't want Hillary. But we know this is garbage. After California, after endorsements from Elizabeth Warren and the president, and after Donald Trump's numerous missteps, Hillary's popularity has surged considerably. Americans are getting a clear comparison of what she wants to do and what Trump wants to do and they're choosing Hillary in droves.

And, guess what else has surged in recent months? President Obama's popularity, given the fact that the Republicans have imploded while the economy does well and while the president keeps fighting for working Americans. A better piece would be, "how did the Republicans screw up a sure thing in 2016?"

This kind of dishonest bullshit is going to keep bloggers in pajamas for years and years.

Sit There and Act Dumb

This story just keeps getting worse and worse:

The 10 American sailors who were detained by Iran in January gave too much sensitive information to their captors when they were seized from their ship. The U.S. Navy said in a report that the crew members, who were detained at gunpoint on Jan. 12 in the Persian Gulf, revealed sensitive information like laptop and phone passwords to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. “It is clear that some, if not all, crew members provided at least some information to interrogators beyond name, rank, service number, and date of birth,” the report said. Iranian officials learned about specific information involving Navy vessels, in addition to the passwords, the report said.

They were poorly led and poorly trained as well? The Iranians gave them up because they got everything they wanted. They must have been shocked to have been given access to secure communications systems. The Navy will now have to assess the breach and take the necessary steps to secure their networks. Good God.

I think this story also serves to wake people up to one thing--when we, the United States, goes out and tortures people, we open up our own people for the same horrible fate. We surrender any moral authority. And while it is pretty clear that there are nation/states that would torture our people no matter what, you can't deny the impact this had on the psyche of the Americans who were captured. They knew they were fucked, they knew they could be tortured, so whatever techniques were used by the Iranians worked as advertised. 

Every time Trump puffs out his sallow, sunken chest and promises to torture people, he paints a target on the backs of every man and woman in uniform. He exposes them to needless danger. He arms our opponents with all of the righteous indignation they need.

Whoever sent those sailors into harm's way has no business sending any more. And the first rule of being captured is to act dumb and forget everything. Be ready to tell a lot of stories that involve your grooming habits, personal problems, and your love of teacups and doilies. They may not leave you alone, but if you act like you're the smartest guy in the room, you can be well assured they'll figure out if you are or not.

Trump Has Done Nothing in Pennsylvania

There's almost no way for Donald Trump to win the presidency without winning Pennsylvania. He has to fight for every electoral college vote at this point and he can't afford to write off a huge state like this. However, that's exactly what he's doing. It's almost July, and Trump has no presence in the state:

[...] local officials report little interaction with the Trump campaign.

“I’ve not had much contact directly from the campaign,” said David Show, Republican Party chairman of Fayette County in southwestern Pennsylvania. Fayette gave Trump 70 percent of the vote in the primary. “State party-wise, they’re starting to get more active, but as far as direct contact with the Trump campaign, no. I haven’t heard much.”

“The state committee, the state party has people on the ground,” said Bill Donnelly, the chairman of the Montgomery County GOP in suburban Philadelphia. “The Trump people themselves I haven’t heard from.”

When there is outreach, Korns said, it’s not always from credible or official sources.

“There are a number of individuals, with varying levels of authority, some self-appointed, some not, that sort of float around on that campaign, so it’s definitely been a bit of a learning curve on our end,” Korns said.

Trump’s strategy differs from past nominees in that it cedes organizational control and direction to the Republican National Committee and the state party. And several GOP county leaders stressed that the state Republican Party is in contact with Trump’s operation — Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, has been in touch with the GOP state chair, as has Jim Murphy, the campaign’s new political director.

The Trump campaign is committing political malpractice. There are no adults in charge--just "self-appointed" grifters trying to get their hooks in some rubes out there in the sticks. Instead of bringing in hundreds of professional political operatives and campaign veterans, the Trump campaign is creating a vacuum where identity thieves and scammers can run wild. Every single Republican in Pennsylvania is now vulnerable because there's no one coordinating efforts between the state campaign and the Trump campaign to actually win races. 

So what if the head of the State GOP is talking to Paul Manafort. What does that mean if there aren't already hundreds of people in place, ready to make a run at winning the state?

With Trump, everything is a scam. Always and forever.

Swift Boat Birther Goes After Hillary

Anyone who believes that Jerome Corsi has a shred of credibility left is about to be separated from their wallet:

The Clinton Foundation is 'a vast, criminal conspiracy' and 'a slush fund for grifters' with thousands of honest people who are victims after contributing their hard-earned money to what they believed would be used for philanthropic causes.

In truth, the money that was donated to help earthquake victims in India and Haiti and HIV/AIDs sufferers in the Third World has mostly enriched the Clintons and their friends through scams spanning the globe, claims author Jerome Corsi in his book, Partners in Crime: The Clintons' Scheme to Monetize the White House for Personal Profit, which will be published in August.

Driven by insatiable greed while crying they were near-broke, the couple schemed  and Hillary used her position as secretary of state to leverage lucrative deals for the Foundation as well as six-figure speaking fees for Bill Clinton.

The scheme engineered through the Foundation has enriched the Clintons by hundreds of millions of dollars as well as adding $2billion to the Clinton Foundation and raising $1billion for Hillary's second run for the presidency, writes Corsi in his upcoming book.

Jerome Corsi is one of the worst examples of the right wing media conspiracy against the Clintons. For some inexplicable reason, this grifter keeps being given access to the media so that he can perpetrate his lies, sell his books, and continue the decades-long smear campaign against the Clintons.

This book will rattle around inside the bubble, and then it will disappear. There's no reason to sit and try to discredit each and every charge in it because Corsi is not an academic. He's a fraud. And we knew this when he participated in the Swift Boating of John Kerry. We knew this when he put out his Birther book about President Obama. Same shit, different day.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Is It Really This Close?

It's that time! Time to bookmark Nate Silver's 538 and start thinking about the polling for the race for the presidency.

This is a pretty shocking map. Could Missouri and Georgia really go for Clinton? Wouldn't that be an extra special kick in the cojones for the Republican Party? I think so.

I also think it is very telling to see that Silver is making no effort to hide the fact that Trump is looking about as bad as he possibly could at this point in the race. Hillary has faced a tough primary season and has been beaten up in the mainstream media for as long as anyone can remember. His "Crooked Hillary" attacks aren't working but that doesn't mean they're going to stop. We have several months of relentless negative advertising ahead, and it will be funded by organizations that won't be dedicated to electing Trump but will be geared towards minimizing the damage that will be done to the GOP if they lose the Senate and the House.

If this map holds, we could have an entirely new makeup in Congress.

Trump Will Never Do Anything For the Working Class

This analysis of Donald Trump's penchant for being a flaming hypocrite is a great example of why he should not be believed when he opens his mouth and words fall out:

Donald Trump just got done giving a speech, staged appropriately in front of a pile of recycled trash, about the evils of trade. This has, of course, been one of his consistent campaign themes—that incompetent (or possibly courrupt) U.S. politicians (especially Bill and Hillary Clinton) have sold out U.S. workers in one bad trade deal after another, and that only he, Donald Trump, is willing to stand up for the interests of American blue-collar workers. (He even had a charming, seemingly ad libbed aside in this speech about how presidents after him might go back to mucking things up.)

Because, like an elephant, the internet never forgets, some writers have been having fun remembering the days when Trump wasn't so sour on the idea of sending jobs overseas. NBC's Alex Seitz-Wald pulled up this 2005 gem from the Trump University blog, titled, “Outsourcing Creates Jobs in the Long Run.”

It reads:

We hear terrible things about outsourcing jobs—how sending work outside of our companies is contributing to the demise of American businesses. But in this instance I have to take the unpopular stance that it is not always a terrible thing.
I understand that outsourcing means that employees lose jobs. Because work is often outsourced to other countries, it means Americans lose jobs. In other cases, nonunion employees get the work. Losing jobs is never a good thing, but we have to look at the bigger picture.
Last year, Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Lawrence R. Klein, the founder of Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, co-authored a study that showed how global outsourcing actually creates more jobs and increases wages, at least for IT workers. The study found that outsourcing helped companies be more competitive and more productive. That means they make more money, which means they funnel more into the economy, thereby, creating more jobs.
I know that doesn’t make it any easier for people whose jobs have been outsourced overseas, but if a company’s only means of survival is by farming jobs outside its walls, then sometimes it’s a necessary step. The other option might be to close its doors for good.

Now, to be fair to Trump, he was railing about foreign countries taking advantage of the U.S. in trade since way back in the 1980s. Maybe his affection for outsourcing was just a momentary lapse of judgment. Or maybe he's just more comfortable with IT firms sending jobs overseas than manufacturers. Who knows.

That's a great take down. Trump is trying to exploit working class resentment against anyone that looks like they might be a Democrat. The problem is, he has a long track record of believing everything that is the opposite of the party he just took over. He has selected the voters he wants to appeal to and he's actively engaged in trying to maintain their enthusiasm in a race where there is a massive gap in what is needed to sustain interest and what is necessary to maintain a pulse. It's a great strategy if you're running the right kind of race against the right kind of candidates. It's a terrible choice when you realize that the primaries are over.

That's right--Donald Trump is still running his campaign as if this were the primary season. He has not made any demonstrable "pivot" towards the general election. Forget the fact that he's using a teleprompter--he couldn't come up with a cohesive plan if you spotted him one. Trump is a follower of conventional wisdom. He's not a thinker in any sense of the word. He reacts to what is around him and he regurgitates the opinions of others as if he had an original thought.

I can guarantee you one thing--this is not a man who has ever spent a moment worried about working people. He may feel pity but he's not going to engage himself in finding solutions for their problems. To him, their problems are irrelevant because he can't make money thinking about them. The very people who need his help are voting against their economic self-interest but they don't care. They don't care because Trump is a blank screen on which they can project their beliefs. You could wave the contradictions under his nose, and it would be dismissed as pure media bias. This guy swims in his own bullshit and he thrives because that's all he knows.

And, more importantly, this is exactly what the Republican voter wants--a bullshitter who pretends to be smarter than the liberals.. They don't want to be challenged with ideas. They want Trump to be the asshole that stops everyone from doing things they don't like. All he has to do is appeal to their inner racist and he's won. Except Trump won weeks ago. To see him running as if he doesn't understand presidential politics would be hilarious if it wasn't the sad last gasp of a political party with no future.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Father But Not a Dad

Whoever this man is, he's an asshole of the highest order:

The Advocate reports that although 48 of the 49 Orlando shooting victims' bodies were claimed by family, one father of a gay man who died in the Orlando shooting rejected his son's body.

The names of the men were not released so as not to "further victimize the deceased," but many, including The Advocate, said the action of a family rejecting their gay child's dead body harkened back to the not-so-distant past.

 "[This] case echoes a reality that was widely seen during the height of the AIDS crisis, in which countless numbers of young gay men died and family members did not claim the bodies of their so-called loved ones," they wrote.

Fortunately, the Orange County Medical Examiner and Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System convinced other family members living in Orlando to claim the body and arrange a funeral. 

"The tale is part of the untold stories of the Latino victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre," the Orlando Latino wrote.

You can have issues with someone's lifestyle choices if you come from a certain cultural background, but to reject a human being who has lost their life in this way is to break loose from decency and humanity. This is so much worse than a family disagreement. What horrible thing would make a person reject their own family like this?

That whole, love the sinner, hate the sin thing does not apply. I think it is well past the time when we need to worry about coddling those who wear their bigotry on their sleeves. 

Whoever made the decision not to publish this father's name is a much better person than myself.

Bernie Missed His Chance to be Relevant

There was an opportunity a few weeks ago for Bernie Sanders to demonstrate that he wants to be a player in presidential politics and public policy. There was a chance for him to ease the hard feelings of the primary season and become part of the solution. We all know he pushed Hillary slightly to the left (as if she was all that right wing to begin with) and we all know he brought people into the fold that were feeling left out.

But he held out, obstinately, and he refused to act like an adult who just lost an election. He grabbed onto some ridiculous notion that math didn't apply to him and that a mythical U.S. Attorney in front of a grand jury that hasn't been seated will somehow find a way to indict Hillary Clinton. But he blew it. He blew his chance to be noble and he blew his chance to matter.

This is the beginning of a slew of think pieces that will discuss how he blew it:

What is Bernie Sanders thinking?

That isn’t intended as snark or even as a rhetorical question. I genuinely don’t understand what Sanders thinks is going to happen if he continues to refrain from endorsing Hillary Clinton, as he did on CNN yesterday. It seems unlikely at this point that holding out in this fashion will make any real difference to the outcome of his efforts to shape the party platform at the convention.

Meanwhile, if anything, the window for Sanders’s endorsement to have made a dramatic impact in terms of media attention and rallying his supporters against Donald Trump — a goal Sanders himself has said he intends to devote himself to — may, if anything, be closing.

At this point, who cares if he endorses Hillary? Elizabeth Warren is on board, and she's a bigger star than he'll ever be. And I would argue that whatever concessions he may have won with regards to the Democratic Party's platform are as pointless as wondering whether or not he'll introduce legislation in the Senate to champion the working class. Of course, he could do that, but he already knows that it won't get anywhere. Might as well give a speech, rake in some donations, and keep doing whatever it is he does.

They could shorten this process and point out that Sanders has always been a fraud who has hidden behind the prestige of the United States Senate. You can survive there for decades and never do anything as long as someone in your office returns the right phone calls. It's a charmed life when you can run for president without having to demonstrate that you know how to get things done.

Hillary Cut Them Down With the Edge of Her Hand

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1200.0"]   Well, I stand up next to a  mountain .   And I  chop  it  down  with the edge of my hand   Well, I stand up next to a mountain .  And I chop  it down  with the edge of my hand [/caption]

Today's release of the House Report on Benghazi isn't about discrediting Hillary Clinton. It's a quiet effort to minimize the fact that she tore them to pieces and scattered their bones upon the ground when she testified before them:

The former secretary of state survived the 11-hour interview without stumbling, a showing that ultimately sapped much of the committee's credibility, at least in the eyes of its Democratic foes.

Minority members on the panel even flirted with a push to end their own investigation after the hearing, citing the fact that Clinton's testimony exposed few new details.

Democrats on the Benghazi committee attempted to blunt the impact of the findings released Tuesday by publishing their own report one day earlier, in which minority members called out what they saw as "abuses" by Gowdy and other panel Republicans.

Gowdy's findings questioned the administration's dubious reasons for placing diplomatic personnel in Benghazi despite clear and consistent warnings of violence in the area.

The temporary mission in Benghazi was on the road to becoming a permanent facility in the fall of 2012, when Stevens and a skeleton security team headed to the coastal Libyan city to prepare the announcement of a lasting U.S. presence there.

That's rich. Hillary "survived" the ordeal?

Bitch, please. Change the narrative on your own dime. 

Hillary's testimony more than made the case that she should be the next president. It was a trial by fire that neither Donald Trump nor Bernie Sanders has ever had to face. You want to talk about who is qualified to be president? The entire weight of the Republican Party was behind Trey Gowdy and his effort to drive her out of public life. They have spent the better part of the last three decades trying to shame this woman and discredit her and she is standing tall against an onslaught of negative advertising that has never been seen before in human history. She talked, she smiled, she laughed, she put her head in her hand and she won the day and she won the presidency.

Hillary won. They lost. They will never get over it.

Today marks failed attempt number 5,876 or so in the effort to make the Clintons go back to Arkansas. That's what they're trying to do today. They're trying to get people to forget how she pantsed them on television. When was the last time anyone said "Trey Gowdy" out loud without laughing their ass off at what might have been?

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Second Amendment

This horrific story, from the March 1, 1946 edition of the Chicago Tribune, highlights for me an important aspect of the Second Amendment--it used to be applied differently to people based on their race, even though the question of citizenship had been settled a good 80 years before this tragedy in Tennessee. 

The very idea that there was a "house to house" search designed to confiscate weapons indicates to me that this whole right to bear arms thing has never been as sacred as some would make it out to be. I don't know how you could read that story and not wonder why this point isn't made more often--the right to bear arms is a matter of white privilege and it always has been. Dead in police custody. Does that ring any bells?

The newspaper article above is the imperfect, immediate account of what happened. Here's the exact same incident in historical context:

The Highway Patrol marched into the black area of town and began searching businesses and homes. By the time they were finished, homes were ransacked, and merchandise was scattered over businesses’ floors. More than 100 blacks were arrested. The guard, by contrast, stopped a group of armed whites from entering the black section of town.

During the night of February 28, two of the black prisoners were killed by Columbia policemen. The policemen claimed the two men had grabbed guns from the white officers and started shooting. The policemen said they had fired back in self-defense, killing two and wounding a third.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) sent lawyers Thurgood Marshall and Walter White to Tennessee to organize a defense. They in turn hired Nashville attorney Z. Alexander Loobyand white Chattanooga lawyer Maxwell Weaver.  

Twenty five blacks were tried on the charges of shooting the white policemen. The all-white jury, in a surprise verdict, found only two of the men guilty. Charges against these two were later dropped. Of the other black men charged in the riot, only one was found guilty. The mother and son whose radio started the riot were never tried. No whites were ever charged.

The jail deaths were investigated by a federal grand jury which ruled that it was “justifiable homicide.” The Columbia riots, along with other acts of violence against blacks, received nationwide publicity. In response to pressure from the NAACP and others, President Harry Truman created the President’s Committee on Civil Rights.

Where have we heard the term "justifiable homicide" before? Two men, shot down by police, and no accountability, nothing. This reminds me of how Freddie Gray somehow died after being handled by six different police officers, some of whom have gone to trial and have been found not guilty...

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hillary Stays on the Attack

It's easy to take Hillary Clinton's attacks on Donald Trump for granted. She has maintained a consistent anti-Trump message since winning the California primary and she has leveled some devastating blows at the very idea of a Trump presidency. Today, she stays on message and really goes at Trump for his bizarre Scottish news conference:

Declaring the aftermath of Brexit a "time of uncertainty," Hillary Clinton on Friday said the United Kingdom's decision to exit the European Union raises the stakes for the November election against Donald Trump as her campaign's top advisers laced into the Republican as unfit to handle the weight of the moment.

"This time of uncertainty only underscores the need for calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House to protect Americans' pocketbooks and livelihoods, to support our friends and allies, to stand up to our adversaries, and to defend our interests," the presumptive Democratic nominee said in a statement. "It also underscores the need for us to pull together to solve our challenges as a country, not tear each other down."

Clinton foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters in a conference call that the presumptive Republican nominee "proves again and again that he is temperamentally unfit for the job." On the same day, Trump devoted a significant portion of a news conference in Scotland to discussing his renovated Turnberry golf course."The American people need a steady hand at times of uncertainty, not a reckless egomaniac," Sullivan said.

"Donald Trump actively rooted for this outcome and the economic turmoil in its wake," Sullivan said of the Brexit vote, adding that from Clinton's perspective, it really matters who's actually sitting in the Oval Office."

This is the kind of consistent messaging that will help Hillary solidify the Democratic Party's natural base (yeah, a lot of people need to come around and face reality) and it has been very effective, but relatively under-reported in the mainstream media. They get way to much of a revenue bump when they put Trump on the stage and they are praying for a horse race. There is such an inherent conflict of interest at work here. The media is afraid to upset Donald Trump so they go out of their way to be fair (and Trump ends up banning them anyway).

Right now, we don't need fair. We need them to report on the fact that Trump is dangerous for the future of America. Molly Ball doesn't think Hillary has closed the deal with the voters yet:

Rather than being over before it began, then, the election is at an extraordinarily volatile and uncertain point. Clinton has helped turn voters against Trump, but she hasn’t convinced them to support her. If Trump wishes to exploit this situation, he faces two tasks: First, he must convince voters that, as much as they dislike him, they ought to find Clinton at least as unpalatable. And second, he has to convince them that if they put him in the White House, they will not have bequeathed the nation’s highest office to an unstable madman with no self-control. He has to be cool, and he has to sustain it long enough to be convincing.

As many times as Trump has already failed to live up to that standard, those inside his orbit insist this new turn is for real. The dismissal of Lewandowski is seen as a crucial move, one that demonstrated that Trump is committed enough to the campaign’s mission to sacrifice a key enabler and confidant. So pervasive and toxic was Lewandowski’s influence that his departure unlocks enormous opportunities for the campaign, insiders say. And unlike past efforts to change Trump’s trajectory simply by putting new words in his mouth, his campaign is now actually engaged in a serious of major operational changes to address its profound deficiencies.

Given that it is still June, I agree with this. There's an attention deficit right now--voters are done with the primary and won't begin to really engage until September. I don't think Lewandowski really mattered, though. He was a flunky who lost an internal fight with Trump's kids. No one controls Trump and no one knows what he's going to do next. Hillary's message is, "this guy is too dangerous to be president" and I think more and more people are waking up and paying attention.

 Hillary's consistent messaging is helping her maintain a strong lead right now. Hundreds of millions of dollars in Republican PACmoney is going to be unleashed against her this summer. We haven't even started to see the worst of what they will throw at her. The one thing that all of that money can't do is make Trump an acceptable alternative.

Did We Really Vote For That?

It's the day after the Brexit vote and there's a bit of a hangover:

Cornwall has issued an urgent plea for reassurance that it will not be worse off following the Brexit vote.

The county has received a "significant amounts" of funding from the EU for the past 15 years due to its "relatively weak economy".

But, after 56.5% of voters in the county chose to leave the Union, the council says it is now seeking urgent reassurance that money allocated to it will still be received.

Apparently, there are a lot of Red State American Republicans living in Cornwall. They don't want anything to do with the European Union, but they damned sure don't want to lose the money that the EU promised to give them. This reminds me of the Republicans who don't want the government to spend a dime on anyone but won't hesitate to beg for cash when they need it. You won't go broke betting that people will vote against their economic self-interest every time they get a chance.

In All Likelihood, This Bernie Sanders Post Will Piss You Off

Bernie Sanders told the folks at Morning Joe that he was going to vote for Hillary Clinton. Then he went on TV with Chris Cuomo and said this:

Cuomo: When the day comes in November and Sanders has to cast his vote, to whom does it go?

Sanders: In all likelihood, Hillary Clinton.

Cuomo: When you say all likely hood, what percentage?

Sanders: I don’t want to parse words right now.

Is there anyone in American political history who has done a worse job of leaving the stage? The man lost. Leaving the arena has turned into one of those situations where you're trying to leave Toys 'R' Us with a four year old who can't stop screaming and can't walk because their legs do not work anymore. I know you've been there--I know you've held the kid with one hand while trying to move quietly to the exit but the kid is kicking themselves into a circle and now you're standing on one foot, trying not to fall over into the Lego display. And everyone's watching, and someone chuckles, and someone else pushes past you because they're in a hurry and that's when the kid shrieks and panic grips you and you fall over, not knowing whether or not you just split your pants open. I could go on, but I'm tired of this, too.

Bernie Sanders is a howling, tear-soaked four year old with a rubber band spine and no Earthly idea how to turn back time and end up with the toy he's been denied.

The Brexit Vote Shows Us What Racism Can Do

If you want to see what racism can do to a country, look no further than Great Britain. Felix Salmon is probably the only person who could say this better than anyone else:

This vote is also the grimmest of reminders of the power still held by the older generation, not only in the UK but around the world. Young Britons—the multicultural generation which grew up in and of Europe, the people who have only ever known European passports—voted overwhelmingly to remain. They’re the generation that just lost its future. Meanwhile, Britons over the age of 65, fed a diet of lies by a sensationalist UK press, voted by a large margin to leave. Most of them did so out of a misplaced belief that doing so might reduce immigration, or make them better off, or save them from meddling bureaucrats. In a couple of decades, most of those voters will be dead. But the consequences of their actions will resonate far beyond the grave.

In calling this vote, David Cameron has opened up a true Pandora’s Box. The forces of narrow-minded nationalism have tasted a major victory; they will want more, much more. The economic malaise that has beset all of Europe for the past decade will work in their favor, as will the growing inequality that can be seen in almost every country worldwide. International institutions like the European Union, born of an idealistic belief in peace and prosperity, have become avatars of unaccountable power, and are much loathed by the suffering European middle classes.

The result is that we are now entering a world in retreat from progress, a world of atavistic nationalisms and mutual distrust, a world in which we demonize foreigners and prefer walls to bridges.

In November, the U.S. will have its own plebiscite, and will likely vote along similar lines to Britain. The cities, and the young, will vote for progress, inclusion, and unity. Meanwhile, the white, rural areas and the old will vote for a sepia-tinged dream of a past in which equality was something only straight white men really qualified for.

Before the Brexit vote, I didn’t believe it could happen here. But Britain is significantly more cosmopolitan than America, and we managed to shoot ourselves (and all of Europe) straight through the heart.

America has a David Cameron, and his name is Paul Ryan. He's the Speaker of the House who presides over a slow-motion car crash of a legislature. He is flailing around, wondering why he even took the job in the first place. The House Republican caucus is populated with some of the most absolutely venal and corrupt human beings ever to serve in a national legislature. Hell, a few of them might be lizards for all we know. Our politics are absolutely fractured and dysfunctional and so the worst thing that we could possibly do is entertain the idea of Donald Trump presidency.

Trump represents the worst of every aspect of nationalism and populism. He has been herding people into big rooms for the past year with the sole purpose of unleashing the mob on society. As long as you're committing violence in his name, and in agreement with whatever nutjob theory he believes today, you're with him and you're a winner. Anyone opposed is a sad, sad loser who is wild with hate. 

The sheer ugliness of Trump's racism should give everyone pause, but it doesn't. The Republican Party opened the barn doors and let every lunatic with a half-assed theory say whatever they wanted to say about the President of the United States, aka, the Kenyan-born Muslim dictator. They wallowed in this filth, year after year, and now they're on record as being aghast at this uncouth Trump fellow. Fuck them, they made this world. They loved the racist bullshit flung at the President, and as long as they were able to pin it on flunkies and county chairmen, they were glad that this stuff was out there. Never mind that it was like a cancer eating at the brain. Never mind that it was wrong. Never mind that it let Trump stroll into the front door and start changing the drapes.

Thanks to Ryan and Trump, we are at a point where American politics no longer works. We are at a point where you might as well head on down to the phone bank and volunteer for Hillary because the November election is going to be a long, hard slog. I still believe that Hillary will win in a landslide, but if it's closer than that, the Trump people will not accept the results. Hell, even if she wins forty states going away, they're still going to claim victory. Be ready for a knock-down, drag-out fight from now until November.

When you let a poorly informed bunch of people make choices for everyone else, enjoy watching the shit hit the fan.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Electoral College

Here's a handy look at the Electoral College, as prepared by Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

I mean, it looks like a blowout to me. President Obama's coalition is alive and well and it supports Hillary. There are solid state organizations all throughout the Clinton campaign--robust, well-organized campaigns that know how to get out the vote and compete in every Congressional district. The Trump campaign has no such organization--no infrastructure, nothing. This is the wake-up call that Republicans aren't answering. Trump has wasted the last six months running his mouth instead of seeding the competitive states with volunteers and staffers. I mean, Hillary has been building her campaign for what seems forever. Trump has been funneling campaign money to his failing businesses. That should tell you something.

There are a few Hillary-curious states out there but, by and large, the Electoral College map has not shifted over the last few months. Mitt Romney eked out 206 Electoral Votes and it doesn't appear to me that Trump is going to beat that, not by a long shot. 

I really think that Kentucky and Louisiana can be stripped away from the Republicans. Why? Obamacare! One state is ratfucking it (KY) and another state is embracing it (LA). If the case can be made that real, honest help is on the way, those citizens could revolt against their state governments and vote Democratic. Kansas, we're all looking at you, too.

In any event, this amounts to a Clinton landslide. People do not stay stupid forever.

You're Not Helping

Meet the guy who called Congressman John Lewis a terrorist:

During the June 22 broadcast of the NRA’s radio show Cam & Company, as the sit-in proceeded, host Cam Edwards claimed, “So in order to push legislation that the sponsors say would not have prevented the attacks in Orlando, Florida, they’re also going to flout the House rules. Kind of like, you know, criminals and terrorists flout the rules that we have in place right now and will continue to do so?”

Mr. Edwards is clearly not making life easier for the Republicans in Congress who have stuffed NRA money into their pants. They're now busy runnin' and hidin' and obfuscatin' and all those other things that members of Congress do when someone is not helping. His poor choice of words smacks of desperation. Why didn't he just call gun control advocates child molesters, puppy kickers, and cat jugglers?

Where's Donald Trump? Why isn't he helping? Trump and his beautiful family could go to the Congress, get a visitor pass, and just go run things on behalf of Paul Ryan and his cronies. He could play with the gavel, look for the light switches, and tell the Capitol Police to throw all of those Dimmycrats in the hoosegow.

Yeah, that's pretty much the only thing that would get the television cameras turned back on--if Trump showed up and made a hootenanny out of it.

Seriously, though. Congressman Lewis is a terrorist now? I'm not aware of any terrorist organizations that want to keep people from getting shot by terrorists. 

Is this what a terrorist does? I mean, I'm no expert, but it looks like peaceful civil disobedience to me. I think the giveaway here is the fact that he's the one sitting down so that he can register his disapproval of a policy he does not support. You can plainly see that he's not the one trying to buy assault rifles, dude. He's the one trying to persuade a do-nothing Congress run by Republicans to stop arming terrorists.

Is Amy Schumer a terrorist now, too? Pretty much everyone trying to get guns out of the hands of crazy people, actual terrorists, wife beaters, felons and ammosexuals who can't shoot straight because they're tripped up on goofballs is a terrorist? Really? Did you stop and think about how that is just not helping? Perhaps you should have.

This is the Battle of Our Time

The opening salvo in the battle to take back the House of Representatives was fired today, and it damned near broke the Internet:

As Democratic members of Congress staged a dramatic demonstration on the floor of the House of Representatives, seeking action on gun control legislation, the television cameras up in the balcony were restricted from showing the scene. That's because the cameras are operated and controlled by the government -- specifically, the Republican leaders of the House and the recording studio that works for them. 

So Democrats live streamed the sit-in with their cell phones instead. 

The protest action continued into the early hours of Thursday. 

C-SPAN, CNN and other cable channels tapped into the congressional Periscope and Facebook Live streams in ways that weren't possible a decade ago. 

Lawmakers also posted videos on Snapchat, uploaded photos to Instagram and sent out urgent tweets on Twitter. But it was Periscope that received the most media attention during the sit-in -- a fact sure to be celebrated by the app's owner Twitter (TWTRTech30). 

House Republicans sought to end the extraordinary day of drama in the early hours of Thursday morning by adjourning for a recess that will last through July 5. 

Democrats, however, have promised to continue -- without TV cameras, lights or a legislative session. They'll publish the protest themselves, using the new digital methods.

This is a critical aspect of the story--the Republicans cannot grasp the importance of the social media already being harnessed by Democrats. They haven't figured out that the smart move would have been to bring the vote to the floor quickly and quietly. They're going to lose control of the House and Senate this fall, and their polls are telling them this, and the Democrats just united and put the full weight of common sense behind throwing every Teabilly hick out of Federal office.

The fight of our time is not just gun control or bringing a vote to the floor of the House. The fight of our time is to take the Congress away from a radical group of individuals who refuse to let anyone debate anything in order to protect the billionaire class from being inconvenienced by the will of the people.

Whether we're talking about Hillary's website, the commanding lead that Democrats have in fundraising, and the people-centric power of being able to use apps that confuse old people and make them run for the exits, there's no question as to what the last 24 hours have meant to the people who are going to swarm the capitol and support the ideas being debated. They are well past the idea that the one percent need to be put in check. They are well past the idea that we're going to run from debates on the floor of the House, where very little work is being done to alleviate the suffering of the American people. They are well past putting up with any of the shit that has gone down.

What does it mean? It means a lot that they are even there.

It means the end of tolerating gun violence.

It means the end of business as usual as the minority party in the House.

It means the end of any discussion about "Dems in Disarray."

This is the kind of coordinated messaging that the Democratic Party is doing the right way. They timed this perfectly. It stole the hot air and the muffled thunder of Donald Trump's ridiculous anti-Hillary Clinton speech and it left it by the side of the road with no tires and a broomstick jammed into the gas tank--a real dick move, if you ask me, but the kind of dick move you pull on a clown with no class. It left Trump flailing around in a world where the only people who could possibly save him are now going to have to fight for their political lives against a Democratic Party messaging machine that combines the '60s and the teens into a lethal ball of snark covered in righteous outrage.

Kudos to Bernie Sanders for showing up. Kudos to the lofty idealists in the Senate for showing up with snacks. And the greatest kudos of all for the American people. If they stand behind the Democrats, the Republicans will break, en masse, in order to hold onto their jobs.

Remember the government shutdown? This is bigger. This is bigger because you have polls behind what the Democrats are doing that run at least 80% in favor of common sense gun laws. You have law enforcement, military leaders, and business people behind, of all parties, the Democratic Party. This is the story of the summer. If this sit-in brings a vote to the floor, it's all but over for Paul Ryan. He may resign at the end of all of this. You can see his disgust with not only being on the losing side of history but as the cat herder for the most insane group of cats that ever went crazy on the catnip and ate the canary full of strychnine. 

Ryan made the biggest rookie mistake of all time. He pretended they weren't there--that they didn't have the moral authority of tens upon tens of thousands of people, dead from gun violence behind their efforts--and he tried to mock them.

Does John Lewis look like the sort of man anyone should mock?

The Republican Party is now on record defending the rights of terrorists to buy guns in this country. How would you like to defend that record back home?

This movement will not only break the Congress but it will break across the idea that we can't do anything to change our insane gun laws. It will be heartbreaking if it fizzles out. Unlike the Malheur occupation, the snacks being brought to bear are the right ones, and the reasoning behind it is as solid as any we have ever seen in American civil disobedience. 

All you can do right now is pull for the home team and give them your support.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Hubris Behind the Make America White Again Billboard

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="900.0"] Photo: Amy Hines, Delano TN Photo: Amy Hines, Delano TN [/caption]

Oh, it's racist all right. And the thinking behind it is straight out of Donald Trump's playbook:

"With its towering and massive stature, the billboard sign is difficult to ignore and its message comes across as authoritative and influential."
"For these reasons we are confident that a widespread and creative billboard advertising game plan could go a long way toward making the Rick Tyler For Congress candidacy both viable and a force to be reckoned with. Clearly we are in uncharted waters, in that there has never been a candidacy like this in modern political history. Of great significance, as well, is the reality of the Trump phenomenon and the manner in which he has loosened up the overall spectrum of political discourse."
"The Make America White Again billboard advertisement will cut to the very core and marrow of what plagues us as a nation. As Anne Coulter so effectively elucidates in her book, Adios America, the overhaul of America's immigration law in the 1960's has placed us on an inevitable course of demise and destruction. Yes the cunning globalist/Marxist social engineers have succeeded in destroying that great bulwark against statist tyranny the white American super majority. Without its expedited restoration little hope remains for the nation as a whole."

The man responsible for this white supremacy is Rick Tyler, and he rejected the phrase "mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be miscegenators." I suppose I have to post this now.

Anyway, this asshole identifies as an independent, thereby associating the independent political movement with racism and segregation forever. No, strike that last part. This guy is so racist and mentally ill, he declined to run as a Republican (even though he thinks Trump is right on the money).

Each and every time a public official was allowed to question President Obama's faith or his place of birth or his patriotism without consequence helped this guy make up his mind to run for office based on being a racist jackass. Each and every time a politician was allowed to get away with praying for the president's days to be few, they gave this guy the green light to put up that billboard. It's 2016 and we have mainstreamed the notion that you can hate the President of the United States for being a black man. Fuck these God-awful people right in the earhole.


Trump Will be Slumming With the Poors

Notorious orange grifter Donald Trump might have to accept public financing of his election campaign:

Trump could also use public financing to fund his general election campaign, something that hasn’t been done since McCain accepted it in the 2008 presidential campaign. Taxpayers would be on the hook for up to $96 million in Trump campaign spending—removing the need for Trump to spend time fundraising for his White House run.

He has previously left the door open to the idea, he now appears to be leaning against. 

Taking $96 million in public financing would mean that his campaign would be closely audited by the Federal Election Commission and limit his ability to loan his campaign money to just $50,000—something he’s unlikely to do.

“Because of the $96 million cap, going that route is almost a concession of defeat—Hillary will certainly raise and spend $500 million plus,” said Charlie Spies, a Republican lawyer who supported Jeb Bush earlier in the election cycle. “It would also be humiliating for someone who claims to be worth $10 billion and able to self fund, to settle for such a low amount.”

Ultimately, whether the campaign decides to involve itself in get-rich-quick schemes in the future, even the campaign spending Trump has engaged in up until now has been questionable.

I wouldn't put much stock in that whole "leaning against" thing because the fiscal reality of being absolutely broke and having no sugar daddies to save him might make up his mind for him. If Trump has to spend the taxpayer's money to run for President, it will bring down a chorus of insults and recriminations from people who understand how the whole thing works. It will make the case for the Democratic Party that Trump is a broke-dick incompetent businessman who couldn't manage to get on the phone and beg the right people for money. The best part is, this absolutely hurts the down-ticket candidates who will see their hopes and dreams dashed into pieces when voters turn into a pack of rabid dogs and begin relentlessly voting against Trump. 

From Trump supporters? Expect a belligerent shrug of indifference. It's not like they understand anything relevant about law, politics, or money.

Hillary Can Win Without Their Support

Don't yell at me for writing about this, but Bloomberg is out with a report today that says that almost half of the people who supported Bernie Sanders are not going to vote for Hillary Clinton:

In the two weeks since Hillary Clinton wrapped up the Democratic presidential primary, runner-up Bernie Sanders has promised to work hard to defeat Donald Trump — but he’s given no sign he’ll soon embrace Clinton, his party’s presumptive nominee. Neither have many of Sanders’s supporters. A June 14th Bloomberg Politics national poll of likely voters in November’s election found that barely half of those who favored Sanders — 55 percent — plan to vote for Clinton. Instead, 22 percent say they’ll vote for Trump, while 18 percent favor Libertarian Gary Johnson. “I’m a registered Democrat, but I cannot bring myself to vote for another establishment politician like Hillary,” says Laura Armes, a 43-year-old homemaker from Beeville, Texas, who participated in the Bloomberg poll and plans to vote for Trump. “I don’t agree with a lot of what Trump says. But he won’t owe anybody. What you see is what you get.”

Conversations with two dozen Sanders supporters revealed a lingering distrust of Clinton as too establishment-friendly, hawkish or untrustworthy. As some Sanders fans see it, the primary was not a simple preference for purity over pragmatism, but a moral choice between an honest figure and someone whom they consider fundamentally corrupted by the ways of Washington. Sanders has fed these perceptions throughout his campaign, which is one reason he's having a hard time coming around to an endorsement.

Voters like Armes, who says she’ll “definitely” vote in November, highlight the difficulty Clinton faces in unifying her party. Clinton’s paltry support among Sanders voters could still grow, as his disheartened fans process the hard-fought primary campaign. But the Bloomberg poll found that only 5 percent of Sanders supporters who don’t currently back Clinton would consider doing so in the future.

Eric Brooks, 52, a community organizer in San Francisco, won’t be among them. “I will absolutely never vote for Clinton,” says Brooks, a Sanders supporter who participated in the Bloomberg poll. Although Brooks indicated in the poll that he’ll support Johnson, that is not his intention. “I’d be okay voting for Johnson as a protest vote,” says Brooks. “But as a Green Party member, I’m going to vote for [Green Party candidate] Jill Stein. If you care about the climate, like I do, it makes a lot of sense strategically to vote for Stein, because she could get five percent, which has implications for the Green Party getting federal funding.”

Now, I know that the typical reaction is going to be, "so what!?!" and "get out of here with this bullshit!" and "why didn't you think about how this affects me before you posted it?" I get that.

I also want to note that the story is problematic because it is way too early to predict how many Sanders supporters are going to change their minds between now and November. We're a long way from Election Day. We haven't even had the conventions or the debates, and they will move the polls considerably once their impact is felt by the electorate. If the GOP Convention blows up, the conventional wisdom could swing around to Hillary and bring a lot of vehemently opposed voters onto her side (no one likes to look foolish or back a loser). The sensible ones will come home to the Democratic Party. The rest were never going to vote Democratic.

Oh, and the Sanders people? They're not "likely" voters. A lot of them never voted and have no plans to vote. They support him but they haven't gotten that voting thing figured out. Their impact in states like New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio is going to be minimal anyway. States that Hillary won going away are not going to be impacted too badly by the Sanders vote. And, besides--if Trump is the nominee, he has no organization in those states and no chance of beating Hillary. 

Let them throw away their vote, if they even bother to vote at all.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Closer to the Gutter Than the Stars

It would be a huge relief for Republicans if Donald Trump were honest and could tell the truth about his money situation. Now would be a great time to release his tax returns, speak openly and honestly about how much money he has, and release a plan to raise money for the general election.

That relief is not coming. Instead, Trump is going to spew bullshit, tell lies, and make the kinds of baseless accusations that only someone accustomed to being blown in public by the media could possibly utter:

Donald Trump’s campaign money problems aren’t problems at all, the presumptive Republican nominee said Tuesday morning.

The billionaire real estate mogul kicked off the month of June with just $1.3 million in his campaign account, a fraction of the $42 million Hillary Clinton had on hand. But that financial gulf between the two campaigns did not appear to worry Trump though during an appearance on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” Tuesday morning.

Story Continued Below

“We want to keep it lean. I'm not looking to spend all this money. You know, I hear people spend a billion dollars. I’m saying, how do you spend a billion dollars? It's impossible. Politicians are the only ones who can spend a billion dollars,” Trump said. “Hillary Clinton will spend a billion dollars of Wall Street money and money from the Middle East. She's got a lot of money from the Middle East. She's got money from people you don't want her to have money from, but she's going to spend more than a billion dollars. I don't want to do that.”

Trump, as he boasted throughout his upstart run through the Republican primary, said he could easily infuse the campaign with his own money and continue his White House bid without the usual level of support from the GOP and its top donors.

"I can go a different route, I can just spend my own money," Trump said. "I have a lot of cash and I can do like I did with the other — just spend money on myself and go happily along, and I think I win that way. There are many people that think I do better that way, by being a little bit of the insurgent, the outsider and, you know, not working along."

It is hysterical to note that this is the man who convinced the GOP to give him the nomination due to the claim that he has been a great businessman for decades. This guy is closer to the gutter than the stars.  He won't release his tax returns and tell people who he does business with but he's quick to insinuate that the Clinton campaign is taking foreign money from whoever and whatever. Trump says that he has a lot of cash, but we've seen no evidence of this. We have seen evidence that Trump doesn't pay his bills and his campaign is so broke, it couldn't buy a condo in Manhattan.

This is the number one story of the day and Trump's only answer to it is to promise to spend money he doesn't have to fix a problem he doesn't understand. I tell you, it's a magical time to follow politics, simply magical.

Another Easily Debunked Hillary Smear

There will be a number of these hit pieces in the months ahead, and they're all very easily debunked because they come from the same place--the fevered imagination of the right wing rumor mill:

The author of a new tell-all book about Hillary Clinton could never have seen any of what he claims — he was too low-ranking — say several high-level members of Secret Service presidential details, including the president of the Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service.

On Tuesday, AFAUSSS, which is strictly nonpartisan, is set to release a statement blasting Gary Byrne author of “Crisis in Character,” saying members “strongly denounce” the book, which they add has made security harder by eroding the trust between agents and the people they protect.

“There is no place for any self-moralizing narratives, particularly those with an underlying motive,” reads the statement from the group’s board of directors, which says Byrne has politics and profit on his mind.

AFAUSSS rarely issues public statements of any kind.

The book has rankled current and former members of the Secret Service, who don’t like anyone airing their business in public — but who also take issue with Byrne inflating his role. Byrne was a uniformed officer in Bill Clinton’s White House. But that’s the lowest level of protection within the White House and around the president.

People familiar with West Wing security laugh at the idea that Byrne or any uniformed officer ever would have walked in on Bill Clinton anywhere, whether in a meeting or, as a New York Post articleover the weekend claims, in the middle of a make-out session in the Map Room with the late daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale. The Secret Service presidential detail would have stopped him. (That affair was a well-worn rumor during the Clinton years, though strongly denied by Eleanor Mondale, who died of brain cancer in 2011.)

I don't know what's sadder--the constant lies from people who wouldn't pass even the most basic test of their credibility or the trashing of the late Eleanor Mondale. I think it is very telling that they went with the Mondale story because she is not around to defend herself, proving that the people behind this latest smear campaign have no class or dignity. This book was published by Hatchette, and they should have known that trusting someone who didn't have actual access to the Clintons would blow up in their faces. As if they care about the details, right? In the anti-Clinton book industry, you have to sell as many copies as you can before everything in the thing is debunked and ridiculed. 

Gary Byrne's book has been featured on Breitbart and the usual Republican hit sites as if it was something unbiased and capably researched. It's not. It's the kind of thing that just doesn't pass muster and any mainstream outlet that reports on this is simply feeding the smear machine.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Trump is Broke and Begging For Cash

Josh Marshall is trying to figure out why Donald Trump is begging for money:

My real interest is in a different question: where's the money?

I got onto thinking about this when I saw John McQuaid's short piece in Forbes. As McQuaid notes, this is the gaping hole, the burning question at the center of Trump's campaign. Reports suggest that Trump has been unwilling to undergo the ego effacement of calling high dollar Republican donors and asking for money. His campaign has virtually no money in the bank ($2.4m at last count).

Even if Trump can't not be Trump, the damage of being Trump could at least be off-set by pouring money into advertising in key swing states and field work. But at this moment, the Clinton campaign (and pro-Clinton superPACs) is rolling out a barrage of targeted swing state advertising focused on solidifying and embedding the highly negative image Trump has built for himself over the last year and especially the last eight weeks. That advertising is going entirely unanswered by the Trump campaign. Trump's been reduced to making emergency appeals to raise $100,000. And running ads like this which a reporter covering the campaign got in her Instagram feed.

This could be the biggest political story of the decade. How did the Republican Party fall for a scam like this? Donald Trump does not have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend. He doesn't even have $100,000 to spend on anything at all. Trump has 1.3 million in cash on hand--an incredibly small amount for a Republican running for president.

Every aspect of Trump's rationale for electing him president stems from his business acumen. He does not have the liquid assets to loan his campaign a hundred million dollars; he is cash poor and incapable of bridging the gap between now and when, theoretically, the Republican National Committee releases funds to his campaign. 

Why would they throw good money after bad? Trump entered into a bad-faith business arrangement with the GOP and now he doesn't have any cash. The Ponzi scheme has collapsed. All that is left are ashes and hurt feelings. Contrast this with 2012 and 2008 and how the Republicans were basically lined up with their two respective nominees and raising money like crazy. Trump might as well go play golf. He has no campaign, no ideas, no resources and no reason to even show up anymore.

Trump 206 is the greatest scam ever perpetrated. He convinced the world he was rich and smart about business. Instead, he was overextended, flat busted broke, and incapable of finding the right people to run things.

Corey Lewandowski is Looking For a New Job

Oh, this is a sad development:

Donald J. Trump is parting ways with his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, a move that comes as the presumptive Republican nominee faces challenges as he moves toward the general election.

“The Donald J. Trump Campaign for President, which has set a historic record in the Republican primary having received almost 14 million votes, has today announced that Corey Lewandowski will no longer be working with the campaign,” the campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said in a statement. “The campaign is grateful to Corey for his hard work and dedication and we wish him the best in the future.”

Mr. Trump had faced increasing concerns from allies and donors, as well as his children, about the next phase of the campaign as he pivots toward a general election.

Two people briefed on the move said that Mr. Lewandowski was let go.

The campaign manager was seen as having a hostile relationship with many members of the national press corps that covers Mr. Trump, and many officials at the Republican National Committee had strained relationships with him.

This is sad because Lewandowski was doing serious damage to the Trump campaign on a day-to-day basis and I wanted that to continue for a few months. Clearly, no one thought of my needs before making this decision.

 Someone in the GOP finally talked some sense into Donald Trump and now he is jettisoning the amateurs who helped him win the nomination. I hope he paid Lewandowski a lot of money to go away and keep quiet, otherwise we're looking at weeks of post-mortem think pieces where he's the real hero in all of this and whoever got him fired is just a craven, incompetent bootlicker. 

UPDATE: Wow. Lewandowski has been cut loose without a non-disclosure agreement and no financial incentive to keep his mouth shut.

I mean, wow.

Trump must be broke. And Trump must be counting on being able to denigrate this guy in public and discredit him.

The Republican Masses Want Trump

High information people know that Donald Trump cannot win the presidency. He's locked out of the Electoral College because he cannot win enough big states (in point of fact, he probably won't win a single one of them besides Texas). The support that he gets from the South is regional and limited--he may end up losing Virginia, Florida and North Carolina and, if the polls can be believed, Georgia.

This is why they want to dump him. They see the reality of a Trump candidacy and they know he will hurt the GOP's chances of keeping control of the Senate. However, low information voters are having none of this:

There's another reason why a GOP coup against Trump is likely to fail: The strength and depth of support of many of his primary voters, who aren't your typical grand poobahs of the party. As NBC's Benjy Sarlin writes in a richly reported analysis of Trump's voters, many of them are Americans "alarmed by economic trends, unsure of their place in a more diverse nation and convinced that the major parties no longer have their interests in mind." More: "According to our county analysis, one of the most dramatic predictors of [Trump's] success early in the race was how much a county's average pay had grown (or hadn't grown) from 2004 to 2014. Another major predictor was the percentage of whites who participate in the labor force. Still another was whether residents were more or less likely to hold at least a high school degree." And here's Trump telling NBC's Hallie Jackson why his GOP detractors can't stop him: He already beat them at the ballot box. "I worked for one year and we won all of those delegates. And, you know, I guess I'm at almost 1,600, 15-to-1,600… And I competed along with a lot of establishment people. I beat them all. And now a couple of them would like to come in through the back door. It's awfully hard when I win, what did I when, 37 or 38 states? So I win 38 states and somebody else won none, and they're going to be the nominee? I don't think so."

This is where the whole idea of paying Trump $150 million dollars to quit the race comes from--savvy insiders know that Trump is wealthy but he's not a billionaire. He is not worth $10 billion. He has relatively few liquid assets and his wealth is based on a fantasy assessment of what his properties are worth. Paying him to go away would break his link to his followers (it would be Trump betraying them, not the people who raised the money to buy him off) and allow a more refined candidate to run.

They cannot break the link between Trump and the low information voters that made him the nominee. It would be better to write off this election and spend the next four years raising money to defeat Hillary in 2020. The fact that the Republicans don't even want to do that should tell you something. They know she is competent and will do exactly what her husband did and start making the case to give her a second term the minute she lands in office.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Jill Stein is in No Danger of Being President

This glowing assessment of Jill Stein's presidential chances is just the sort of lazy think piece that people are going to write now that be mere mention of the name Bernie or Sanders makes people throw their laptop across the room:

Asked in an interview with Politico Magazine this week whether the Warren endorsement presents a problem for her, Stein suggested that the Massachusetts senator lacks the progressive credibility to sway Sanders voters: “Elizabeth Warren has very good proposals regarding Wall Street, but she really has not been leading the charge for single-payer health care … and is pretty much a war hawk in alignment with Hillary Clinton.” (Stein is not the first voice on the left to criticize Warren’s foreign policy record as militaristic.)

You may be wondering: The Green Party? What’s that—one of those European lefty outfits? And do they have a prayer of getting more than a fraction of the vote? As of today, Stein is but a blip. Eighty-seven percent of voters don’t know enough about her to register an opinion in a late May Quinnipiac poll. And Clinton’s lead over Trump appears big enough to weather a little left-wing erosion. But with a recent Bloomberg poll showing that only 55 percent of Sanders voters are ready for Hillary, the conditions exist for Stein to spark a larger exodus–if she can raise her profile and if Democrats can’t unify at next month’s convention.

And while the Greens have been under the radar in America for the past several years, they proudly claim at least 100 municipal officeholders, and from 2007 to 2015 they controlled the mayoralty of the 100,000-person city of Richmond, California. Now, like the Libertarian Party, the Green Party sees its moment in this season of widespread discontent, when both Clinton and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump begin the general election campaign with record-high unfavorables. Stein’s platform is nearly identical to Sanders’, only more pacifist (the two diverge on the use of military drones) and more ambitious (beyond providing free college, Stein would cancel all existing student debt).

And Stein may be making big strides toward being treated like a legitimate presidential candidate. In her 2012 Green Party run, she appeared on only 36 state ballots. But her campaign’s ballot access coordinator told Counterpunch last week that “we fully expect to get on the ballot in all but three states due to our petition drives” and will then litigate the “onerous” requirements in the three remaining states in hopes of hitting 50.

Let's see if I have this right. Elizabeth Warren is a "war hawk."

Okay, then. I can assure you that Senator Warren is probably not of a mind to invade South America or kill millions with a punitive nuclear missile launch, but still. There's a kooky version of the left in this country and everyone slightly to their immediate right is a corporate sellout who should be incarcerated for even thinking about showing up.

If you're coming from nowhere with no name recognition, no money, and no one else in your party who can claim to have been successful, I guess you have to tear down a far more successful and accomplished person, kind of like how they do in pro wrestling or the NBA or competitive curling. I really have no idea why Jill Stein thinks she can compete with the Democratic Party. I guess these people have it in their heads that working people and environmentalists and people who want our endless war on terrorism to end are not being capably represented by the Democratic Party. In point of fact, they are. 

This president has done plenty to let people down, no question about that. But he's been the best president of my lifetime. His administration has done more for minorities, the LGBT community, Veterans, working people, people who want something done about climate change, and real, actual Democrats than these people care to admit. Yeah, I would love to have single payer, but that's not going to happen unless there is a huge shift in the makeup of Congress. And, even then, wouldn't it be better to keep strengthening Obamacare so that people are ready for single payer?

So, Jill Stein, with no party behind her, no one who knows her, and no money is going to win the presidency and compel Democrats and Republicans to just do whatever she wants? 

Man, that's fucking delusional.