Lazy Saturday Reads: Political Incorrectness For Me, But Not For Thee

Good Afternoon!!

Well, Hillary’s gone and done it now. And her base is fired up! Last night at the LGBT for Hillary gala in NYC, she told the truth about Trump supporters last night, and the Trump campaign and the white male media are reaching for their smelling salts and swooning onto their fainting couches. Outrage!

Trump supporters have spent months yelling “lock her up” and “hang the bitch” whenever Trump mentions her name in his rallies. When he mentions President Obama, they scream “he’s a Muslim.” But when Hillary talks about their ugly bigotry, they’re suddenly innocent victims and “hard working Americans.”

Trump rally in Mobile, Alabama

Trump rally in Mobile, Alabama

Guess what? There are millions of hard working Americans who are not white bigots. The simple truth is that anyone who supports Trump at this point is aligning him or herself with racism and xenophobia. That is Trump’s entire platform. He doesn’t have any realistic plans to bring jobs to working people, and he plans to lower taxes on the rich so much that there will be zero federal money to do anything about jobs, infrastructure and the other fake items in his talking points.

Abby Philip of the Washington Post last night: Clinton: Half of Trump’s supporters fit in ‘basket of deplorables.’

Hillary Clinton said Friday that “half” of Donald Trump’s supporters could be grouped in “the basket of deplorables” at a fundraising event in New York City.

“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables’. Right?” Clinton said to applause and laughter from the crowd of supporters at an LGBT for Hillary fundraiser where Barbra Streisand performed. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”

Man at Trump rally

Man at Trump rally

“And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up,” she added.

Clinton then noted, as she has several times in the past, that Trump has “given voice” to white supremacist and anti-Semitic voices on the Internet.

“He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric,” Clinton said. “Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

Of course that’s not all she said.

“That other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change,” Clinton said. “It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different.

“They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead end,” Clinton said. “Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”

Oh my God! How dare Hillary call out the racists and white supremacists who not only flock to his rallies, but also inhabit the highest levels of his campaign? Although the media didn’t cover it very well, she gave an entire speech on this topic last month. Some excerpts:

From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia.

He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.

His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.

In just this past week, under the guise of “outreach” to African Americans, Trump has stood up in front of largely white audiences and described black communities in such insulting and ignorant terms:

“Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing. No homes. No ownership. Crime at levels nobody has seen.” Right now,” he said, “you walk down the street and get shot.” [….]

A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far, dark reaches of the internet, should never run our government or command our military.

Hillary Clinton at last night's LGBT for Hillary gala.

Hillary Clinton at last night’s LGBT for Hillary gala.

Ask yourself, if he doesn’t respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans?

Now, I know some people still want to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.

They hope that he will eventually reinvent himself – that there’s a kinder, gentler, more responsible Donald Trump waiting in the wings somewhere.

Because after all, it’s hard to believe anyone – let alone a nominee for president  – could really believe all the things he says.

But the hard truth is, there’s no other Donald Trump. This is it.

Maya Angelou, a great American whom I admire very much, she once said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Were any of the white reporters who are so outraged today paying attention to that speech? Right now Hillary is the only person who can save this country from being taken over by a racist populist demagogue who publicly expresses admiration for strongman leaders like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un.

We’ll see what happens with this, but I hope Hillary doesn’t back down. In fact the percentage of “deplorables” in Trump’s audiences is probably greater than 50 percent.

Here are a couple of article from June about the Trump “coalition.”

Vox: The easiest way to guess if someone supports Trump? Ask if Obama is a Muslim.

You can ask just one simple question to find out whether someone likes Donald Trump more than Hillary Clinton: Is Barack Obama a Muslim? If they are white and the answer is yes, 89 percent of the time that person will have a higher opinion of Trump than Clinton.

That’s more accurate than asking people if it’s harder to move up the income ladder than it was for their parents (54 percent), whether they oppose trade deals (66 percent), or if they think the economy is worse now than last year (81 percent). It’s even more accurate than asking them if they are Republican (87 percent).

Those results come from the 2016 American National Election Study (ANES) pilot survey. My analysis indicates that economic status and attitudes do little to explain support for Donald Trump.

These results might be rather surprising since most political commentators have sought to root Trump’s appeal in the economic anxieties of working-class whites. As George Packer recently wrote in the New Yorker:

The base of the [Republican] Party, the middle-aged white working class, has suffered at least as much as any demographic group because of globalization, low-wage immigrant labor, and free trade. Trump sensed the rage that flared from this pain and made it the fuel of his campaign.

Other analysts, however, have found that support for Trump is rooted in animosity and resentment toward various minority groups, especially African Americans, immigrants, and Muslims.

Read more at the link.

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The Atlantic: Donald Trump’s Coalition of Restoration.

[A] survey by the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute, and the center-left Brookings Institution, measures Americans’ attitudes about a broad range of issues relating to immigration and demographic change. Consistently, the poll found that Trump supporters view the changes with greater—often much greater—alarm than not only Democrats or independents, but also Republicans who did not support Trump during the GOP primaries. In all, the survey shows that Trump was lifted by a coalition that largely believes the America it has known is under siege—and that unprecedented measures are required to reverse the threat.

According to figures provided to me by PRRI, Trump supporters (including both Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who backed him during the primary) are more likely than Democrats, independents or other Republicans to say that they worry about being a victim of terrorism or violent crime; that they are bothered when they hear immigrants talking in a language other than English; that discrimination against whites is as great a problem as discrimination against minorities; and that American and Islamic values are inherently at odds. Fully 80 percent of Trump voters say that immigrants are more burden than benefit to America; just 27 percent of Democrats, 41 percent of independents, and 53 percent of other Republicans agree.

Often the contrast between Trump supporters and all other adults widened further when the poll measured those who hold these positions most vehemently. Fully 44 percent of Trump supporters, for instance, said they “completely agree” it bothers them when they hear immigrants speaking a language other than English; less than half as many independents, Democrats, or non-Trump-supporting Republicans agreed. Likewise, while about two-fifths of Trump Republicans “completely” agreed that “because things have gotten so far off track in this country, we need a leader who is willing to break some rules,” less than one-fifth of Democrats, independents, and other Republicans concurred.

That instinct helps explain the broad support in Trump’s coalition for his edgiest proposals; indeed, the poll makes clear that Trump triumphed not in spite of his most polarizing ideas, but largely because of them. Roughly four-fifths of Trump supporters say they back his plans to build a wall with Mexico, to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the country, and to bar Syrian refugees. In each case, between 43 and 47 percent of Trump supporters back those ideas strongly.

TERRE HAUTE, IN - MAY 01: Guests wait in line before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses a rally at the Indiana Theater on May 1, 2016 in Terre Haute, Indiana. Trump is campaigning in Indiana ahead of the state's primary election on May 3.  (Photo by Charles Ledford/Getty Images)

TERRE HAUTE, IN – MAY 01: Guests wait in line before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses a rally at the Indiana Theater on May 1, 2016 in Terre Haute, Indiana. 

Republicans are now trying to claim that this is Hillary Clinton’s “47 percent moment.” Bullshit! From Daniel Politi at Slate: Why It’s Ridiculous To Call Clinton’s “Basket of Deplorables” Her “47 Percent” Moment.

Hillary Clinton has straight out called Donald Trump a racist who is “offering a dog whistle” to the most extremist, hateful portions of American society. But now Republicans are acting very shocked that Clinton would say that around half of Trump’s supporters could be classified under the broad heading “basket of deplorables,” meaning racists, sexists, homophobes or xenophobes. In other words people who would never vote for Clinton.

The Democratic presidential candidate’s use of the word “half,” immediately made Republicans associate it with Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” line from the campaign that was secretly recorded. Except, you know, this event was covered by the press and her statement—read in context—was actually a call to arms for her supporters not to automatically dismiss someone as irredeemable just because he or she happens to support someone like Trump.

As is evident from the remarks, what Clinton was saying is that not all Trump supporters are racists, xenophobes or homophobes, a common thinking in particularly liberal circles. So “if you know anybody who’s even thinking about voting for Trump, stage an intervention,” Clinton said before adding that getting people to stop supporting the Republican candidate “may be one conversion therapy I endorse.” [….]

[In 2012] Romney talked down and dismissed the importance of poor people while Clinton talked down to and dismissed racists, xenophobes, and homophobes. A slight difference. Plus, Romney was talking about people who may have actually chosen to support him whereas Clinton was referring to people who in no way would vote for her. So the risk of alienation really isn’t that great to begin with, although of course it could make the most fervent Trump supporters more fervent.

Please don’t back down, Hillary! You are right, and the media will disparage you no matter what you say or do. Thank you for standing up for Americans who don’t want our country to be led by a disgusting racist, white supremacist,  and wannabe dictator.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday Reads: Love Will Trump Hate in November

 2815Good Afternoon!!

Last night Dakinikat and I were talking about how the Donald Trump phenomenon is affecting us, and it dawned on me that it reminds me of what it’s like to live in an alcoholic family with an abusive and completely unpredictable father–only in this case it’s the entire country that is trying to deal with the crazy abuser. You never know what is going to happen next, but you know it will be incredibly stressful and emotionally exhausting.

In the case of Trump’s very public behavior, I never know what shocking news will greet me when I get up in the morning. If it’s a day when I write a post it’s even worse because I get overwhelmed trying to figure out what to write.

It’s not a perfect analogy, but it helps me understand why I feel so disoriented and stressed-out as I follow the news each day. I suppose it’s not as bad for people who aren’t paying as close attention to the campaign as we are; but judging by the polls, just about everyone except angry, racist white men is turned off by Trump’s bizarre behavior.

There have even been reports of bullying by children who have heard and been influenced by Trump’s ugly hate speech.

From The Guardian in June: ‘You were born in a Taco Bell’: Trump’s rhetoric fuels school bullies across US.

Tracey Iglehart, a teacher at Rosa Parks elementary school in Berkeley, California, did not expect Donald Trump to show up on the playground….

“They said things like ‘you’ll get deported’, ‘you weren’t born here’ and ‘you were born in a Taco Bell’,” said Iglehart, 49. “They may not know exactly what it means, but they know it’s powerful language.”

Hearing it in Rosa Parks elementary, of all places, came as a shock. “Berkeley is not an area where there are Trump supporters. This is not the land of Trump.”

Yet the spirit of the GOP presidential candidate has surfaced here and, according to one study, in schools across the country.

An online survey of approximately 2,000 K-12 teachers by the Southern Poverty Law Center found toxic political rhetoric invading elementary, middle and high schools, emboldening children to make racist taunts that leave others bewildered and anxious.

“We mapped it out. There was no state or region that jumped out. It was everywhere,” said Maureen Costello, the study’s author. “Marginalized students are feeling very frightened, especially Muslims and Mexicans. Many teachers use the word terrified.” The children who did the taunting were echoing Trump’s rhetoric, she said. “Bad behavior has been normalized. They think it’s OK.”

So my notion of the Trump campaign as a dysfunctional family that is affecting millions of Americans is not so far-fetched.

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The latest Trump shock came early yesterday when his campaign announced its latest shake-up. The campaign “manager” will now be pollster Kellyanne Conway and the “chairman/CEO” of the campaign will now be Steve Bannon, editor of the far right white supremacist website Breitbart. In essence, there has been a hostile takeover of the Republican Party by the worst lowlifes in the right-wing fever swamp. I wonder how Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell feel about that?

Joshua Green at Bloomberg: Steve Bannon’s Plan to Free Donald Trump and Save His Campaign.

“I am who I am,” Donald Trump declared, shortly after the New York Times ran a story depicting chaos in his presidential campaign. “I don’t want to change.” He wasn’t lying. The next day, on Aug. 17, Trump shoved aside his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and installed Steve Bannon—ex-Naval officer, ex-Goldman Sachs banker, ex-Sarah Palin filmmaker. Until Trump called, he was executive chairman of Breitbart News, the avatar of the so-called alt-right: the nationalist, racially paranoid splinter group of anti-establishment conservatives who have rallied to Trump’s banner.

Since June, Manafort has tried fruitlessly to mold Trump into someone palatable to establishment Republicans and the swing voters he’ll need to win over if he’s to have any chance of beating Hillary Clinton. Bannon, who becomes chief executive of the Trump campaign, represents a sharp turn in the opposite direction—a fireball hurtling toward the 2016 presidential election. (In announcing the hiring, the Trump campaign quoted Bloomberg Businessweek’s description of Bannon from a profile last fall as “the most dangerous political operative in America.”) Along with campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, Bannon will encourage Trump to cast aside political niceties and aggressively go with his gut. “I’ve known Steve for a long time—he is an extraordinary guy, an extraordinary talent, and he, like me, truly loves our country,” Trump said in a statement to Businessweek.

Trump’s own diagnosis of his campaign’s shortcomings led to this unusual prescription—which is the diametric opposite of what most Republicans have been counseling for their embattled nominee. “The campaign has been too lethargic, too reactive,” says a senior Trump official. “They wanted to bring in someone who understood new media, understood digital. It’s not going to be a traditional campaign.” Trump was frustrated by Manafort’s efforts to contain him and angry about his plummeting poll numbers. With Bannon in the fold, the source adds, Trump will feel free to unleash his inner Trump: “It’s very simple. This is a change election. He needs to position himself as anti-establishment, the candidate of change, and the candidate who’s anti-Washington.”

The shake-up is an ominous development for Republican elected officials alarmed at Trump’s collapse and the effect he could have on down-ballot races across the country. In recent years, Breitbart News has bedeviled Republican leaders, helping to drive out former House Speaker John Boehner and, more recently, making life difficult for his successor, Paul Ryan. Last fall, at Bannon’s insistence, Breitbart reporters visited Ryan’s Wisconsin home (which is surrounded by a wall) and published a story shaming him for not endorsing Trump’s proposal to erect a wall along the Mexico border.

Bannon, who’s as eager to attack Republicans as Democrats, is unlikely to worry much about the plight of mainstream GOP incumbents. At a New Year’s party at his Capitol Hill home last year, Bannon gave guests silver flasks stamped with his personal motto: “Honey badger don’t give a shit.”

Cartoon_44

The piece ends with this choice quote from Stuart Stevens, who managed Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign:

“This is the bunker scene in Downfall, only the Trump crowd won’t tell Hitler the truth. It’s utter madness,” says Stuart Stevens, who ran Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. “Trump is a nut, and he likes to surround himself with nuts. It’s a disaster for the Republican Party.”

Read the whole thing at the Bloomberg link.

At Vanity Fair, Ken Stern has a longer article about Bannon and Trump, Exclusive: Stephen Bannon, Trump’s New CEO, Hints at His Master Plan. It’s well worth the read.

The night before the big shake-up, Trump gave a “law and order” speech in West Bend, Wisconsin, a lily-white town about 40 miles north of Milwaukee, where protests have been raging after police shot and killed a black man whom they claim had a gun. In the speech, Trump pretended to “reach out” to African Americans, while advocating for more and harsher policing in poor urban areas. During the speech, Trump repeatedly said he was in Milwaukee. It was insulting to black people and to anyone who cares about inequality.

While he was in Wisconsin, Trump gave an interview to The La Cross Tribune. At Huffington Post, Julia Craven called attention to one very “tone deaf” comment in the interview:

Trump, whose campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again!” said he views the 1980s as the time when things were good for the nation, though he also hearkened back to the late 1700s and early 1800s.

“The industrial revolution was certainly — in terms of economically — that was when we started to grow,” Trump said. “I liked the Ronald Reagan years. I thought the country had a wonderful, strong image.”

Craven notes that the Industrial Revolution was built on the backs of slaves and during the Reagan era, black neighborhoods were inundated with crack and “the war on drugs drove the incarceration rate for black people through the roof.”

I’m almost beginning to buy into Peter Daou’s theory that Trump is campaigning not for the presidency but for leadership of a white nationalist movement.  Here’s Daou’s latest at Blue Nation Review: We’re Witnessing History: The Extreme Right Just Seized Control of the GOP. Please go read the whole thing if you haven’t already.

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Now here’s something to help get the bad Trump taste out of our mouths: Wired Endorses Optimism.

Wired has never been neutral. For nearly a quarter of a century, this organization has championed a specific way of thinking about tomorrow. If it’s true, as the writer William Gibson once had it, that the future is already here, just unevenly distributed, then our task has been to locate the places where various futures break through to our present and identify which one we hope for….

We value freedom: open systems, open markets, free people, free information, free inquiry. We’ve become even more dedicated to scientific rigor, good data, and evidence-driven thinking. And we’ve never lost our optimism.

…for all of its opinions and enthu­siasms, WIRED has never made a practice of endorsing candidates for president of the United States. Through five election cycles we’ve written about politics and politicians and held them up against our ideals. But we’ve avoided telling you, our readers, who WIRED viewed as the best choice.

Today we will. WIRED sees only one person running for president who can do the job: Hillary Clinton.

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Why have the magazine’s editors made this decision?

Right now we see two possible futures welling up in the present. In one, society’s every decision is dominated by scarcity. Except for a few oligarchs, nobody has enough of anything. In that future, we build literal and figurative walls to keep out those who hope to acquire our stuff, while through guile or violence we try to acquire theirs.

In the other future, the one WIRED is rooting for, new rounds of innovation allow people to do more with less work—in a way that translates into abundance, broadly enjoyed. Governments and markets and entrepreneurs create the conditions that allow us to take effective collective action against climate change. The flashlight beam of science keeps turning up cool stuff in the corners of the universe. The grand social experiments of the 20th and early 21st centuries—the mass entry of women into the workforce, civil rights, LGBTQ rights—continue and give way to new ones that are just as necessary and unsettling and empowering to people who got left out of previous rounds. And the sustainably manufactured, genetically modified fake meat tastes really good too.

Our sights might not be perfectly aligned, but it’s pretty clear Hillary Clinton has her eye on a similar trajectory. She intends to uphold the Paris Agreement on climate change and reduce carbon emissions by up to 30 percent in 2025. She hopes to produce enough renewable energy to power every American home by the end of her first term. She wants to increase the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, two major drivers of research and innovation via government funding. And she wants to do the same for Darpa, the defense research agency—without which, let’s face it, WIRED probably wouldn’t exist, because no one would have invented the things we cover.

Clinton also has ideas that clear away stumbling blocks for entrepreneurs and strivers. She proposes linking entre­preneurship to forgiveness of student loans, as a way to help young people start businesses. Clinton favors net neutrality—giving every packet of data on the Internet the same priority, regardless of whether they originate from a media corporation or from you and me. She has proposed easier paths to legal immigration for people with science, technology, and engineering degrees. And she has spent my entire adult life trying to work out how to give the maximum number of Americans access to health care; she will con­tinue to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, which among other things has helped people walk away from crappy, dead-end jobs by alleviating the fear that they’ll lose their insurance.

I agree that Hillary is an optimist and she has the competence and intelligence to turn her ideas into real change. I think most Americans will also choose optimism and love over negativity and hate in November.

What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a tremendous Thursday!

 


Thursday Reads: “We’ll Be Lucky To Live Through It.” — Daniel Drezner

jm081116_COLOR_Trump_Jokes_Hillary_Threat

Good Morning!!

I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for hours now without writing anything. I’m so overwhelmed by the insanity Donald Trump has been spewing since the end of the conventions, that I’m really at a loss. I honestly feel as if I’m in shock.

This morning, the media is struggling to explain away Trump’s latest–his claim in a speech last night that President Obama “founded ISIS” and “Crooked Hillary Clinton” was the co-founder.

“Isis is honoring President Obama,” Trump said of Islamic State. “He is the founder of Isis. He founded Isis. And, I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.”

Trump’s declaration echoed an attack he made against Clinton last week, also in Florida, in which he said the former secretary of state “should get an award from them as the founder of Isis”.

Republicans have long sought to blame the turmoil in the Middle East on the Obama administration’s foreign policy, often criticizing the president for underestimating the threat posed by Isis. But Trump has routinely gone a step further by stating directly that Obama is sympathetic to terrorists.

The former reality TV star employed the same tactic on Wednesday, referring to the president by his full name – Barack Hussein Obama – and repeating it several times for emphasis of his claim that Obama had founded Isis.

The origins of Isis trace back to the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The group has been deemed an offshoot of al-Qaida, which carried out the attacks on 9/11. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant terrorist viewed as the founder of Isis, was killed in a US airstrike in Baghdad in 2006.

I’m afraid to think what ghastly thing Trump might say today, but I’m sure there will be something. Just imagine how Vladimir Putin feels!

 

The first link I opened this morning was from Time Magazine: Inside Donald Trump’s Meltdown. Next I opened Twitter and found that the article had been trending for a couple of hours. It’s an extended list of Trump’s outrageous remarks along with hand-wringing by desperate Republicans who just want him to stop saying stupid things. But Trump obviously can’t help it. The piece is a must-read. Here are just a couple of samples:

When Donald Trump mucks things up, the first person to let him know is usually Republican Party boss Reince Priebus. Almost every day, Trump picks up his cell phone to find Priebus on the line, urging him to quash some feud or clarify an incendiary remark.

The Wisconsin lawyer has been a dutiful sherpa to the Manhattan developer, guiding him through the dizzying altitude of the presidential race and lobbying the GOP to unite behind a figure who threatens its future.

But every bond has its breaking point. For this partnership, the moment nearly arrived in early August. Priebus was on vacation when he learned that Trump had declined to endorse Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House and a close friend. The chairman had a frank message for the nominee, according to two Republican officials briefed on the call. Priebus told Trump that internal GOP polling suggested he was on track to lose the election. And if Trump didn’t turn around his campaign over the coming weeks, the Republican National Committee would consider redirecting party resources and machinery to House and Senate races.

Trump denies the exchange ever took place. “Reince Priebus is a terrific guy,” Trump told TIME. “He never said that.” Priebus could not be reached for comment. But whatever the exact words spoken on the phone, there is no doubt that the possibility Republicans will all but abandon Trump now haunts his struggling campaign.

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Of course. Trump also denies the Secret Service spoke to his campaign about his implied threat against Hillary.

Republicans groan that the difficult task of keeping their Senate majority gets tougher with each outré remark. Which is why the RNC is considering shifting some cash and staff away from the presidential race and toward down-ballot contests. That plan is already in motion among powerful outside groups that typically spend hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of the party nominee. “There’s going to have to be some resource reallocation,” says a senior Republican official familiar with internal party deliberations. A second senior party official routinely instructs Senate campaign managers to distance their candidates from Trump. “Don’t worry about the appearances,” the official said on a recent conference call. “Worry about winning.”

That explains why Republicans running for office this year don’t meet Trump’s plane at airports or introduce him at rallies. In some places, the avoidance strategy seems to be working. Senator Pat Toomey is in a statistical tie in his re-election bid in Pennsylvania, a state where Trump trails by about 10 points. In the key swing state of Florida, Senator Marco Rubio is running ahead in his re-election bid even as Trump narrowly trails Clinton. But in New Hampshire, Trump’s troubles may be dragging down Ayotte, who plummeted from a virtual tie to 10 points down in a recent poll.

On calls with Senate campaign donors, Trump often comes up, as moneymen probe for details on coordination with the top of the ticket. “What Trump campaign?” one swing-state Senate campaign manager snapped at a volunteer recently. “We have more offices than they do.” ….

Like the rest of the party, Trump’s staff has been flummoxed by his political naiveté. They describe a candidate who doesn’t understand the basics of modern campaigns, from why you knock on doors to how to read a poll to why he should be dialing for dollars more aggressively. His headquarters has enough palace intrigue and warring fiefs to rival the fictional badlands of Westeros. “You’re always afraid of getting fired,” says one staffer, “but it’s his fault, not ours.”

These staff members are still cashing checks but have begun to lose faith that their boss can or should win the top prize in American politics. Most highly regarded Republican operatives have stayed away from the campaign, wary of being blackballed for future gigs. “If someone applied for a job and brought in a résumé that had Trump 2016 on it,” says a GOP fundraising consultant, “I wouldn’t give them an interview.”

There’s much much more at the Time link, so be sure to check it out.

Secret Service guard Trump's mouth

Secret Service guarding Trump’s mouth

So what’s Trump up to this morning? He’s doubling down on his “found of ISIS” and “second amendment people” remarks. Politico reports: Trump ramps up attack on Obama as founder of Islamic State.

Donald Trump on Thursday escalated his attack on President Barack Obama, doubling down on his accusation that he’s a founder of the Islamic State and claiming that both Obama and Hillary Clinton remain the terrorist group’s most valuable players….

After first leveling the terror-related accusation against Obama and Clinton at a Wednesday night rally, Trump made the claim three more times on Thursday — all before noon.

“Our government isn’t giving us good protection. Our government has unleashed ISIS,” he said as he addressed the National Association of Home Builders in Miami. “I call President Obama and Hillary Clinton the founders of ISIS. They’re the founders. In fact, I think we’ll give Hillary Clinton the — you know, if you’re on a sports team, most valuable player, MVP, you get the MVP award — ISIS will hand her the most valuable player award. Her only competition is Barack Obama.”

His remarks echoed his sentiments earlier Thursday during a phone interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” during which he also named Obama the MVP of ISIS.

“He gets the most valuable player award. Him and Hillary, she gets it too. I gave her co-founder if you really looked at this speech,” Trump said. “But he and Hillary get the most valuable player award having to do with Iraq, and having to do with the ISIS situation, or as he would call it, ISIL. He calls it ISIL because nobody else does and he probably wants to bother people by using another term, whether it’s more accurate or not.”

And Trump sees no problem with calling the President of the United States a terrorist.

The Manhattan billionaire bristled at the notion that referring to the president and his former secretary of state as the co-founders of a terrorist group intent on killing Americans was somehow inappropriate. He said that he has been successful thus far as a political outsider throughout the election cycle by speaking his mind, and if that ends up costing him the general election, so be it.

“Is there something wrong with saying that? Are people complaining that I said he was the founder of ISIS?” Trump said. “Look, all I do is tell the truth. I’m a truth teller. All I do is tell the truth.”

Unbelievably, there is even more at the link.

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Here’s Daniel Drezner at The Washington Post in response to Trump’s implication that Hillary should be assassinated: The 2016 campaign is getting out of control. We’ll be lucky to live through it.

The Trump campaign is trying to spin this every which way they can. Claims that his remark about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was just a “joke” don’t really hold water in the sense that jokes still mean something, particularly in presidential campaigns. Furthermore, the statement was serious enough for the Secret Service to have a conversation with the campaign about this kind of rhetoric. The fact that Trump won’t apologize for a joke gone bad is indicative of the many other dangerous statements that he never walks back.

And there are consequences for this kind of violent rhetoric. Read some examples at the link.

This is the kind of thing that Trump supporters think is funny. From the Buffalo News last month: Festival apologizes for ‘Hillary Clinton in a coffin’ car show entry.

It seems there’s no escaping the politics of bad taste when a presidential campaign is in full swing. Just ask Leslee Chilcott.

The Village of Hamburg resident has attended BurgerFest for 20 years. But this year, she cut her visit short after visiting the car show with her four children. Hitched to a 1920s Model-T Ford was an open coffin on a trailer hitch with a full-sized doll inside representing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. An image of Donald Trump’s face, attached to the rear car window, making it appear as if Trump is looking down on Clinton’s smiling-but-dead mannequin body. The coffin also featured beer taps on the side.

“That was enough for me,” said Chilcott, who abruptly took her disappointed children home early Saturday afternoon.

When her 6-year-old son asked her why there was a coffin with a dead woman in it named Hillary, Chilcott said, “I had to explain to him that some people are mean. For me, it wasn’t a political stance for this person to have the dummy. It was a living person.”

Hillary-coffin

What’s next? I shudder to think. Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread. I’ll add a few more stories there too.


Wednesday: Nothing, it seems, is ever enough…

imageGood Afternoon

By now you have heard and seen the latest terroristic threat from Trump. Actually, Trump’s violent assassination request has a name…There’s a Name for Trump’s Violent Incitement Against Hillary: Stochastic Terrorism | BNR

Donald said at a rally: “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick— [boos from audience] If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although, the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” 


Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.

Donald’s point about Hillary was unambiguous.

What he was doing, as explained by feminist law professor and reproductive rights activist David S. Cohen, was engaging in “stochastic terrorism,” which is “an obscure and non-legal term” meaning to use “language and other forms of communication ‘to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable,’” a sort of incitement well-known among those familiar with anti-choice violence.

Writes Cohen: “Stated differently: Trump puts out the dog-whistle knowing that some dog will hear it, even though he doesn’t know which dog.”

The sort of diffused threats that are a feature of stochastic terrorism are, unfortunately, extremely familiar to me. As a feminist progressive woman with a public profile, these are the kinds of “not really threats – wink!” I get all the time: Hoping someone else will rape and/or kill me.

Or “warning” me that someone might – if I insist on keeping up my work. Being on the receiving end of those words for more than a decade: I know what Donald meant.

It is chillingly familiar.

[…]

This man openly incited violence against a woman, who also happens to be a presidential candidate – which makes his exhortation possibly criminal, too.

imageDoesn’t it make your blood boil? This article is written by Melissa McEwan, she continues focusing on the feminist angle. You can read the rest at the link, but I prefer to focus on the main issue…feminist or not.

What the fuck!!! This is a real presidential candidate, running for the Republican Party, and he called for the assassination of his running mate and “future” president!

I’ve spent months watching and listening to the horrors that spew from Trump’s mouth…as we see, this is yet another time that Trump has, “Gone too far,” only to get away with inciting violence and murder against Hillary and Supreme Court Justices.

 

Trump’s Assassination Dog Whistle Was Scarier Than You Think – Rolling Stone

One day after his widely discussed “reboot” in which he did nothing more than read basicRepublican economic talking points from a teleprompter, Donald Trump uttered perhaps his most outrageous – and dangerous – ad-lib yet. And that’s saying something for a campaign in which he’s criticized John McCain for being a prisoner of war, characterized Mexicans as rapists, called for banning Muslims from coming into the country, picked a fight with a Gold Star family and urged Russia to hack his political opponent.

Speaking to a crowd in Wilmington, North Carolina, Tuesday, Trump expressed concern about Hillary Clinton possibly picking Supreme Court justices and other judges. He then said, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”

Let that soak in for a second. One of the two major-party nominees for president just called for “Second Amendment people” to “do” something about his political opponent’s judges. According to the Trump campaign’s rapid response team, he was talking about those “Second Amendment people” coming together politically – “unification,” as they called it. The Clinton campaign, and pretty much the entire Internet, saw it differently: as a clear suggestion of violence against a political opponent.

It’s hard not to side with the Clinton campaign here. What Trump said was that a particular group – those who are defined by rallying around guns – should do something about Clinton and her judicial nominees. What can people who rally around guns do that’s different than others? Use those guns.

But it’s really irrelevant what Trump actually meant, because enough people will hear Trump’s comments and think he’s calling for people to take up arms against Clinton, her judges or both. Though most of the people hearing that call may claim he was joking, given what we know about people taking up arms in this country, there will undoubtedly be some people who think he was serious and consider the possibility.

In other words, what Trump just did is engage in so-called stochastic terrorism. This is an obscure and non-legal term that has been occasionally discussed in the academic world for the past decade and a half, and it applies with precision here. Stochastic terrorism, as described by a blogger who summarized the concept several years back, means using language and other forms of communication “to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.”

Let’s break that down in the context of what Trump said. Predicting any one particular individual following his call to use violence against Clinton or her judges is statistically impossible. But wecan predict that there could be a presently unknown lone wolf who hears his call and takes action in the future.

Stated differently: Trump puts out the dog whistle knowing that some dog will hear it, even though he doesn’t know which dog.

Those of us who work against anti-abortion violence unfortunately know all about this. Valerie Tarico wrote about this form of terrorism following the Planned Parenthood murders in Colorado Springs last November. The pattern she noted there is 100 percent applicable to Donald Trump and his supporters right now – except that we haven’t yet had the major act of violence at the end of the string. As Tarico wrote:

“1. A public figure with access to the airwaves or pulpit demonizes a person or group of persons.
2. With repetition, the targeted person or group is gradually dehumanized, depicted as loathsome and dangerous—arousing a combustible combination of fear and moral disgust.
3. Violent images and metaphors, jokes about violence, analogies to past ‘purges’ against reviled groups, use of righteous religious language—all of these typically stop just short of an explicit call to arms.
4. When violence erupts, the public figures who have incited the violence condemn it—claiming no one could possibly have foreseen the ‘tragedy.'”

This explains Donald Trump’s campaign against Hillary Clinton to a letter. He has 1) demonized her whenever he can by calling her “Crooked Hillary” and constantly degrading her; 2) organized a convention around which the central theme, repeated over and over, was that Clinton is a criminal who needs to be locked up, clearly using fear and moral disgust as motivators; and 3) is now using violent metaphors (or “jokes,” if that’s what you think his statements were) against her, just short of an explicit call to arms.

Now we just have to hope that #4 doesn’t come about – that violence does not erupt. Though, if it does, we know exactly what Trump and his supporters will say: that they never could have foreseen this tragedy.

Donald Trump Suggests Shooting Hillary Clinton, Her Supreme Court Picks, Or Both

 

 

Donald Trump hints at assassination of Hillary Clinton by gun rights supporters | US news | The Guardian

His extraordinary remark on Tuesday was swiftly condemned by Democrats. Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, said: “This is simple – what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting took place in Newtown in 2012, went further in a tweet: “Don’t treat this as a political misstep. It’s an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.”

British novelist Salman Rushdie then weighed in, tweeting: “Of course the Trump flacks are now trying to confuse the issue, but Senator Murphy is clear about what Trump meant.”

The claim was rejected by Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama and longtime Trump supporter. He responded on CNN: “Totally wrong. I don’t believe that’s true. I don’t believe that’s at all what he meant.”

But Sessions acknowledged: “It may have been awkwardly phrased.”

As the usual line goes, Trump is allowed to explain his “true” meaning behind his words:

Trump said later in reply to Sean Hannity on Fox News that he was referring to the political movement around the Second Amendment.

Hannity asked: “You know, so obviously you’re saying that there’s a strong political movement within the Second Amendment, and if people mobilize and vote, they can stop Hillary from having this impact on the court. But that’s not how the media is spinning it. What’s your reaction to it?”

Trump replied: “Well, I just heard about that, and it was amazing because nobody in that room thought anything other than what you just said. This is a political movement. This is a strong, powerful movement, the Second Amendment … there can be no other interpretation. Even reporters have told me – I mean give me a break.”

Trump has been striving to show more discipline on the campaign trail after astring of gaffes in recent weeks. He remained in control in Detroit on Monday when a speech on the economy was repeatedly interrupted by protesters. But in Wilmington, he apparently could not resist going off-script.

Campaigners for gun control expressed outrage at his off-the-cuff remark. Po Murray, chair of the Newtown Action Alliance, said: “Donald Trump continues to pander to the corporate gun lobby and the gun extremists who thrive on fear and rhetoric.

“Any suggestion that gun violence should be used to stop Hillary Clinton from appointing supreme court justices is dangerous and reckless. It’s no surprise that 50 GOP national security experts have signed a letter making a pledge to not vote for him.”

And this…

The concern was echoed by Paul Begala, a former adviser to Bill Clinton in the White House. “This is not something that should be joked about,” he told CNN. “I hope in the best case you could say he was joking. It didn’t seem like a joke to me. Tony Schwartz, the guy who wrote [Trump’s book] The Art of the Deal, says Trump never jokes.

“I fear that an unbalanced person hears that in this inflamed environment and, God forbid, thinks that was a threat. I certainly take it as a threat, I really do, and Trump needs to apologise.”

Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and National Security Agency, said on the same channel:

“Well, let me say, if someone had have said that outside the hall he’d be in the back of a police wagon now with the secret service questioning him.”

As yet another controversy threatened to engulf him, Trump’s campaign insisted that his words had been misunderstood. Jason Miller, a spokesperson, attempted to explain the candidate’s comments. “It’s called the power of unification,” he said. “Second amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”

National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker called the uproar over Trump’s remarks a “distraction created by the dishonest media.”

JUST IN: Elizabeth Warren Responds To Trump’s Assassination Threat, Wins ENTIRE Internet (TWEET)

Another thought for everyone, Giuliani: Trump supporters would cheer Trump’s call to assassinate Hillary – AMERICAblog News

imageIn perhaps the worst attempt ever at damage control, Donald Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani attempted to defend Trump’s call yesterday for Hillary Clinton to be assassinated.

Giuliani told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that had Trump actually called for Hillary to be assassinated, the crowd would have gone wild.

Wait, what?

Video at the link.

The Real Joke is Paul Ryan – The Bob and Chez Show | News and Politics Podcast and Blog

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump invoked the Second Amendment at a rally yesterday evening and implied that gun owners may need to shoot Hillary Clinton or the Supreme Court judges she nominates as president.

That was not a joke and it isn’t funny, but Speaker of the House Paul Ryan insists that it was.

“I’ve been a little busy today. I heard about this Second Amendment quote. It sounds like just a joke gone bad. I hope he clears it up very quickly. You should never joke about something like that,” Ryan said at a press conference after winning his Republican primary. “I didn’t actually hear the comments, I only heard about those comments.”

A joke gone bad is a toady like Paul Ryan ever being treated like a serious person and being third in line to the presidency. Assassination is not a joke.

Donald Trump once said he could shoot someone and not lose support over it and I think he was right. There’s nothing Trump could say or do that would prompt Speaker Ryan to withdraw his support for Trump.

 

Fox News’ Dana Perino: If Hillary Made Same Trump Remarks: ‘We Would All Be Going Crazy’ | Crooks and Liars

Trump Idiots Can’t Seem To Agree On What He Meant By ‘Second Amendment People’ Comment Either

Trump Spokeswoman Offers A New Explanation For ‘2nd Amendment’ Line

I think that should cover the latest on Trump.

How about a little more outrage, since I am sure you are up for it?

A white homeowner called 911 to report ‘hoodlums’ outside. Then he fatally shot a black man. – The Washington Post

Chad Copley told the 911 operator to send a police car fast — he was “locked and loaded,” he said, and going outside to confront a group of “hoodlums.”

“We got a bunch of hoodlums out here racing,” the 39-year-old Raleigh man told the dispatcher early Sunday morning. “I’m going outside to secure my neighborhood.”

The dispatcher, responding to Copley, asked: “You’re going to do what?”

“I’m going to secure my neighborhood,” Copley said.

He continued: “I’m on neighborhood watch. I am going to have the neighborhood meet these hoodlums out here racing up and down the street. It’s 1 in the morning. There’s some devil in them. They have firearms and we’re going to secure our neighborhood. If I was you, I would send PD out here as quickly as possible.”

A few minutes later, Copley was on the phone with dispatchers again.

This time, haltingly, he explained the aftermath:

“I yelled at them, ‘Please leave the premises,’ ” he said. “They were showing firearms, so I fired a warning shot and uh, we got somebody that got hit. …

“I fired my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law. … They do have firearms, and I’m trying to protect myself and my family.”

The dispatcher pressed for more information: Who’s been shot, how badly are they injured — and where, exactly, is the victim?

“Please just send a car,” Copley responded. “There’s friggin’ black males outside my friggin’ house with firearms. Please, send PD. Thank you.”

He then hung up.

When officers arrived, they found a 20-year-old black man, Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, dying of a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.

Life in a post-Zimmerman world.

Please read more about this murder at the link.

One more article, it is an op/ed, from Huffington Post. I think the headline says it all, and for me…I do not agree with it, 71 Years Ago: When Truman Failed To Pause — And The Nagasaki War Crime Followed

Nagasaki a war crime?

I have one thing to say, war is hell. Sherman meant to destroy the southern audacity so that it would never forget what happened, that was his message behind his march to the sea…

Those bombs showed the world that nuclear war is the ultimate in devastation, the finality that must be realized, justified and acknowledged with the coming of a nuclear age. It was required to end World War 2, and necessary as a warning of what will come if diplomacy is not the main path to peace going forward. I do not believe it was a war crime.

And, I don’t think we should be wiping out our history and revising it…I’m not talking about changing the names of elementary schools that honor KKK founders…but I have a difficult time with some memorials being eliminated completely. They should remain but I feel that other monuments or large prominent historic markers should be added to explain the historical significance. Make it a real teaching moment for people who see these old statues and carvings on a mountain. (Yeah, carve another monument on Stone Mountain…a memorial to Fredrick Douglas, Harriet Tubman etc.)

Last link is a fun one.

Accidental Censorship Of Olympic Divers Makes Them All Look Like Porn Stars

Every four years something really cool happens during men’s Olympic diving competitions: The scores that show up on screen cover the diver’s groin area, accidentally making it look like porn.

Here’s an example of that from the London games:

Here's an example of that from the London games:

BBC / Via fmforums.co.uk

And here are a bunch of examples of it happening in Rio. Let your mind wander because you sure as hell know we won’t judge. After all, we’re the ones who spent hours screenshotting these in the first place.

 

Some of these shots are hilarious.

Dicks out, thumbs up!

Dicks out, thumbs up!
NBC

WYD, CHEN?!

WYD, CHEN?!
NBC

#FREETHESPEEDO.

#FREETHESPEEDO.
NBC

Hmm?

Hmm?
NBC

Ummm?

Ummm?
NBC

He’s like, “Why are you naked, dude?”

He's like, "Why are you naked, dude?"
NBC

Naked friends are the best friends❤

Naked friends are the best friends <3
NBC

Butt.

Butt.
NBC

If you haven’t noticed, his name is Steele Johnson.

If you haven't noticed, his name is Steele Johnson.
NBC
And that is all for me today. See y’all in the comment section below.

Thursday Reads: Trump’s Meltdown Continues as Clinton Rises

trump putin

Good Morning!!

I hardly know where to begin this morning. Yesterday was one of the strangest days I’ve experienced in my 56 years of following politics. The day began with multiple reports that the Trump campaign was melting down, that campaign staffers are “suicidal,” that campaign manager Paul Manafort has given up and is “mailing it in” because Trump doesn’t listen to advice from anyone. RNC Chair Reince Priebus was reported to be “apoplectic” over Trump’s attacks on the Kahn family and especially his refusal to support GOP Candidates Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Kelly Ayotte.

On the Morning Joe show, Joe Scarborough revealed that in a meeting with a potential national security adviser, Trump asked three times why the U.S. can’t use nuclear weapons. Yahoo News:

“I’ll have to be very careful here,” Scarborough said slowly. “Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on international level went to advise Donald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked, at one point, ‘If we have them, why can’t we use them?’ That’s one of the reasons why he just doesn’t have foreign policy experts around him.”

Scarborough, previously a Republican congressman from Florida, clearly startled his colleagues with this story. “Trump,” asked a nonplussed Mike Barnicle. “Trump asked three times?” “Three times, in an hour briefing,” confirmed Scarborough. “Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?”

On the same program General Michael Hayden, former director of both the CIA and NSA, explained why he can’t vote for Trump. Think Progress: 

Hayden also expressed concern about “how erratic” Trump is.

“I can argue about this position or that position — I do that with the current president,” Hayden said. “But he’s inconsistent. And when you’re the head of a global super power, inconsistency, unpredictability, those are dangerous things. They frighten your friends and they tempt your enemies. And so, I would be very concerned.”

Asked which people in the national security community are advising Trump, Hayden said, “No one.” And in response to a question about what steps might stand in the way of Trump using nukes if he’s elected president, Hayden said, “The system is designed for speed and decisiveness. It’s not designed to debate the decision.”

012916coletoon

During the course of the day yesterday, news outlets reported that an effort was under way to stage an “intervention” to convince Trump that he has been damaging his campaign with his attacks on a gold star family and on fellow Republicans and that he needs to focus on Hillary Clinton as well as broadening his appeal to voters outside his crazy base. The “intervention” team was supposed to consist of Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and Reince Pribus.

This morning Giuliani is denying the reports and blaming them on Gingrich. Politico:

Donald Trump is not having any sort of “intervention” with the likes of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus or former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Giuliani said Thursday, pointing to Gingrich as the source of the term.

“So first of all I find the word intervention completely out of line,” Giuliani said during a discussion on Fox Business’ “Mornings with Maria.”

Giuliani then singled out Gingrich specifically.

“That word, I think, honestly I love him dearly, but I think that word was used by Newt in a memo that got around,” Giuliani said. ” What a ridiculous word. An intervention is for a drug addict and it’s for someone who’s an alcoholic and I’ve had to do them with people at times. There’s nothing wrong with them, if that’s the case. Donald Trump doesn’t drink or smoke, by the way. We don’t have that problem.”

NBC News first reported Wednesday that the trio close to Trump were hoping to push the GOP nominee into a reset of his campaign after a calamitous week that led to a subsequent drop in the polls and high-profile Republicans defecting to Hillary Clinton.

All of this is happening just a little over two weeks after Trump accepted the GOP nomination! And on Tuesday, much of the public discussion was about Trump’s mental health, capped off by a discussion with clinical psychologist George Simon on MSNBC’s The Last Word, in which it was decided that Trump probably has a personality disorder. Simon calls it “character disturbance.” Whatever is wrong with Trump, many more people in the media and public office are beginning to notice and express concern.

20160713edohc-a

Republican donors are “panicking,” according Buzzfeed.

Republican donors weren’t expecting a traditional campaign from Donald Trump, but they weren’t expecting the level of this week’s implosion either.

“I don’t know what he’s doing — trying to commit suicide?” said Stan Hubbard, a Minnesota-based top donor to a pro-Trump super PAC. Hubbard has been trying to get other Republican donors, including Charles and David Koch, on board with Donald Trump for months.

But he said Trump’s recent comments, in particular those about the parents of a Muslim American soldier who died in the Iraq War, were “just nonsense,” adding that he sent Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus a note pleading with him to do something. “The whole world is laughing at that. It’s just very frustrating.”

Although Trump’s campaign and the RNC announced raising $80 million in July, the candidate’s rolling implosion has been felt. He’s continued to engage in attacks on the Khan family, refused to endorse Paul Ryan and John McCain, and suggested Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s email. A high-profile Republican — Meg Whitman — has said she will not only donate to Clinton, but encourage friends to do so as well.

Prospective donors are now having second thoughts about getting involved, while those who convinced themselves to get behind Trump, like Hubbard, are at their wits’ end over the presidential nominee’s behavior.

Reports on other concerned Republican donors at the link.

trump_continues_to_ruin_his_reputation_by_andrewtheartist-d5ka2oz

And Trump himself? He thinks he’s doing just fine! David Catanese at US News: Donald Trump, Party of 1. Furious with his top campaign command, Trump’s response is to go it alone.

Amid a pileup of self-made political disruptions, mounting Republican defections and internal staff exasperation, Donald Trump is proving himself to be a candidate running a presidential race all by his lonesome.

With little regard for the GOP’s future, he continues to antagonize its most prominent elected officials. With an uncontrollable proclivity for tumbling into a tangent on any given target – no matter the time, relevance or risk – he regularly relinquishes control of a media message. Having no capacity to absorb even the slightest political attack, he is constantly lured into petty fights that place him on the wrong side of public opinion. And with little reverence for seasoned political advice, he alienates even those who want to see him recover and succeed.

Trump is a party of one – a candidate embarking on his quixotic and increasingly improbable quest for the presidency without a compass or a map, without a front-line defense shield or significant reinforcements, and always and forever without any regrets.

Even the Lone Ranger rode a horse named Silver; Trump seems quite content to traipse ahead on his own two feet.

And check this out:

When Trump landed in Ashburn, Virginia, on Tuesday – a state in which he has yet to open a campaign office – he huddled backstage with Will Estrada, chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, for advice on how to carry the crucial area.

“George, these people here in Virginia know what we need to do to win Virginia,” Trump told his advance aide, George Gigicos, according to Estrada’s recollection posted on his personal Facebook page.

But Trump also unleashed another line that reverberated with those in the setting, U.S. News has learned: “Don’t listen to New York.”

The message conveyed was that going forward, Trump wanted local leadership to make the decisions on where to hold events and how to stage them – not the suits at high command in Trump Tower.

According to Catanese the only people Trump might listen to are his children and his son-in-law Jared Kushner; but it’s not clear he’ll listen to them if they try to interfere with his own ego-driven decisions.

Meanwhile Trump’s polls are collapsing and Hillary’s are rising. Kevin Drum: Hillary Clinton Is Now Way Ahead of Donald Trump.

I showed great self-restraint yesterday by not posting the latest poll numbers, but today is Wednesday, which is officially the middle of the week. So here’s the latest from Pollster, based entirely on post-convention polls:

blog_pollster_trump_vs_clinton_2016_08_03

Hillary Clinton’s convention bounce will almost certainly fade a bit by next week, but even if it does she’ll remain 4 to 5 points ahead of Trump. This is roughly the same as her lead before the conventions, which suggests that this year’s four-day infomercials probably had no net effect at all.

From Chuck Todd and Carrie Dann this morning: First Read: The Clinton Bounce Is Real.

A spate of new polling shows that the initial evidence of a significant post-convention bounce for Hillary Clinton is looking like it COULD become a sturdy lead for the Democratic nominee. A new Franklin and Marshall College poll of Pennsylvania shows Clinton with an 11 point lead over Trump, 49 percent to 38 percent. A Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll of Michigan voters finds a nine point lead for the former secretary of state, 41 percent to 32 percent. And a freshWBUR/MassINC poll this morning shows Clinton opening up a 15 point lead over the GOP nominee in New Hampshire, 47 percent to 32 percent. Add that to national polls this week from NBC News|SurveyMonkey (Clinton +8), CNN/ORC(Clinton +9) and FOX News (Clinton +10). Bottom line: Trump couldn’t have picked a worse week to have a DISASTROUS week. Clinton was already in the midst of a convention bump, and Trump exacerbated it with his series of unforced errors and unnecessary fights. The next question: How does the Trump campaign react in the next week, when even more national and state polls are likely to show a similar gap between the two candidates?

174459_600

Clinton is now far ahead of Trump in Michigan, according to The Detroit News.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has widened her lead over Republican Donald Trump in Michigan as 3-in-5 likely voters say the New York businessman is not qualified to be president, according to a new poll conducted for The Detroit News and WDIV-TV.

Clinton led Trump 41 percent to 32 percent in the statewide survey of 600 likely voters conducted Saturday through Monday following Clinton’s formal nomination at last week’s Democratic National Convention.

The poll contains many troubling signs for Trump’s White House campaign, including a “shocking” lead for Clinton in the Republican strongholds of west and southwest Michigan, pollster Richard Czuba said.

Sixty-one percent of likely general election voters said Trump is ill-prepared to be the nation’s commander-in-chief. The figure grows to 67 percent among women, a group with whom Trump performs poorly. Clinton has a commanding 21-percentage-point lead among female voters.

In New Hampshire, where Hillary is now leading Trump by 15 points, GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte has fallen 10 points behind Democrat Maggie Hassan! That is huge. Obviously, we can’t get overconfident, but I really don’t believe Trump is capable of suddenly becoming a sane, reasonable candidate who can at least fake acting presidential.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a tremendous Thursday!


Lazy Saturday Reads: Trump, Russia, and the 2016 Election

 CogStC0UsAAZLac

Good Morning!!

This has been one of the strangest and most dramatic weeks in the history of U.S. politics.

We have seen the nomination of a woman for President of the U.S. by a major political party after 240 years of male candidates only.

On the G.O.P. side, we are watching a madman campaign for President while praising the autocratic leader of Russia and inviting Russian intelligence agencies to hack into U.S. government computers and computer systems used by his Democratic opponent. This madman has also suggested that we should let Russia have Crimea and lift the sanctions on Russia that were applied after Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.

What the hell is going on!

The Guardian: Donald Trump and Russia: a web that grows more tangled all the time.

A key figure at the Republican national convention where Donald Trump was nominated for president has strong business ties with Ukraine, the Guardian has learned.

The party platform written at the convention in Cleveland last week removed references to arming Ukraine in its fight with Russia, which has supported separatists in eastern Ukraine. Trump’s links to Russia are under scrutiny after a hack of Democratic national committee emails, allegedly by Russian agents.

Frank Mermoud also has longstanding ties to Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who in 2010 helped pro-Russia Viktor Yanukovych refashion his image and win a presidential election in Ukraine. Manafort was brought in earlier this year to oversee the convention operations and its staffing.

Three sources at the convention also told the Guardian that they saw Phil Griffin, a longtime aide to Manafort in Kiev, working with the foreign dignitaries programme. “After years of working in the Ukraine for Paul and others, it was surprising to run into Phil working at the convention,” one said.

The change to the platform on arming Ukraine was condemned even by some Republicans. Senator Rob Portman described it as “deeply troubling”. Veteran party operative and lobbyist Charlie Black said the “new position in the platform doesn’t have much support from Republicans”, adding that the change “was unusual”.

And that’s just the beginning. The article spells out and analyzes Donald Trump’s and his advisers’ extensive past ties to Russia. For decades, the G.O.P. was the party of anti-communism and anti-Russian sentiment. In 2012, Mitt Romney even argued that Russia was the top geopolitical threat to the U.S.; in 2016, Romney’s party is getting very cozy with Russian and its autocratic leader Vladimir Putin.

https-%2F%2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fuploads%2Fcard%2Fimage%2F88619%2Flovewins

Now it has become crystal clear that Russia is behind a number of cyberhacks on U.S. and Democratic Party computers.

Thousands of Democratic National Committee emails were hacked and published by WikiLeaks on the eve of the party’s convention in Philadelphia this week. They showed that officials, who are meant to remain impartial, favoured Hillary Clinton and discussed ways to undermine her rival, Bernie Sanders. The leak led to the resignation of chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The FBI is investigating, with all signs pointing to Russian involvement, though Moscow rejects this. Experts note Vladimir Putin’s past attempts to damage western democracy, including cyber-attacks on French, Greek, Italian and Latvian elections. In 2014, malware was discovered in Ukrainian election software that would have robbed it of legitimacy.

Alina Polyakova, deputy director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, said: “We can’t say 100% that Mr Putin had a hand in any of this but this kind of meddling in other countries’ affairs is part of Russia’s toolkit. It’s a kind of asymmetric warfare. To me, this looks like something straight from the Russian secret service playbook, but I’m surprised at how brazen they’ve been.”

Trump and his campaign have denied any connection but on Wednesday he ignited a firestorm by calling on Russia to find 30,000 emails deleted from Clinton’s private server. “I think you will probably be mightily rewarded by our press,” he said. He later claimed that he was being sarcastic.

Please read the entire article to learn about Donald Trump’s extensive ties to Russia and Putin.

Russian President President Vladimir Putin holds up a glass during a toast at a luncheon hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

ABC News: Trump’s Russia Reset Ideas Alarming Allies, Many in US.

Donald Trump’s flurry of offhand remarks and abrupt zingers on Russia — praising Vladimir Putin, dismissing NATO — have jolted the world, not to mention the U.S. presidential campaign.

With Russia’s behavior rattling nerves in the U.S. and elsewhere, Trump is accused of cozying up to a “dictator.” Of threatening the very underpinnings of America’s relationship with Europe. And of naiveté.

Some of the GOP presidential nominee’s goals are consistent with long-held U.S. views, many experts say. The idea of fostering U.S.-Russian cooperation isn’t outlandish. After all, Hillary Clinton tried to “reset” relations with Russia when she was secretary of state. Also, past U.S. administrations of both parties have quietly complained that other NATO members should pay their share to the alliance.

It’s what Trump is willing to do to achieve those goals and the way he expresses his views that have shocked many foreign policy experts.

The notion of refusing to defend NATO allies who don’t pay their bills, for example, or of buddying up to Putin despite his aggressive stances is jarring to Democrats and Republicans alike. And it’s on the minds of foreign leaders.

“We’re going to talk about NATO and Russia,” Secretary of State John Kerry said as he met Saturday with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Paris. Kerry wouldn’t address Trump’s comments specifically, but said he would discuss anything Ayrault wanted to talk about “that has to do with our relationship.”

So Trump’s remarks are already threatening our relationships with our allies.

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Reuters claimed last night that the Clinton Campaign itself has been hacked.

A computer network used by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign was hacked as part of a broad cyber attack on Democratic political organizations, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The latest attack, which was disclosed to Reuters on Friday, follows two other hacks on the Democratic National Committee, or DNC, and the party’s fundraising committee for candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives.

A Clinton campaign spokesman said in a statement late on Friday that an analytics data program maintained by the DNC and used by the campaign and a number of other entities “was accessed as part of the DNC hack.”

“Our campaign computer system has been under review by outside cyber security experts. To date, they have found no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised,” said Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill.

Later, a campaign official said hackers had access to the analytics program’s server for approximately five days. The analytics data program is one of many systems the campaign accesses to conduct voter analysis, and does not include social security numbers or credit card numbers, the official said.

The U.S. Department of Justice national security division is investigating whether cyber attacks on Democratic political organizations threatened U.S. security, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The involvement of the Justice Department’s national security division is a sign that the Obama administration has concluded that the hacking was sponsored by a state, people with knowledge of the investigation said.

The Clinton Campaign told The Washington Post that their internal computers have not been compromised.

The Clinton presidential campaign said Friday that an “analytics data program” maintained by the Democratic National Committee had been hacked but that its computer system had not been compromised, denying news reports from earlier in the day that the campaign had become the third Democratic Party organization whose systems had been penetrated.

So far, campaign computer experts “have found no evidence that our internal systems have been compromised,” campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement.

Merrill said that “an analytics data program maintained by the DNC and used by our campaign and a number of other entities was accessed as part of the DNC hack.” The campaign did not provide details, but a source familiar with the situation said that the hacked material was generally dull and did not include email communications, memos, research or other potentially inflammatory communications. Mostly, the source said, it included innocuous data such as computer code and lists of email addresses.

Nevertheless,

Senior figures in the national security community are warning that the Russian hack of the DNC and the subsequent release of committee emails by the anti­secrecy group WikiLeaks may be part of a broader attack on the U.S. electoral process….

If the email leak was orchestrated by the Russian government, “this is an attack not on one party but on the integrity of American democracy,” the Aspen Institute Homeland Security Group, a group of 32 homeland security and counterterrorism experts, said in a statement.

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Besides his obvious reasons to think he could easily manage Donald Trump if he became POTUS, Putin has reasons to dislike and fear Hillary Clinton. From The Washington Post:

Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly accused Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state of interfering in Moscow’s affairs — and if Russian security was behind last week’s release through WikiLeaks of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails, it would look a lot like Kremlin payback.

Even if the breach was carried out by a mid-level intelligence official acting on his own initiative, hoping to please his boss, disclosures that seemingly raise questions about the legitimacy of Clinton’s nomination speak directly to Putin’s complaints about her….

In December 2011, large protests unexpectedly broke out in Moscow following parliamentary elections that featured brazen cheating. Clinton, as secretary of state, called the election “neither free nor fair,” and Putin jumped on that as an attack on Russia and, by extension, him.

“She set the tone for some of our public figures inside the country, sent a signal to them,” Putin said. “They heard this signal and launched active work with the U.S. State Department’s support.”

The rest of that winter saw ever sharpening attacks on the United States as Putin was in the midst of his own presidential election campaign. In the year that followed, some of the strongest anti-American steps that Russia took were only tangentially related to Clinton — expelling the USAID, forcing Radio Liberty off the AM dial, harassing then-U.S. Ambassador Michael A. McFaul….

Clinton had also pushed hard for the Libya intervention in the spring and summer of 2011, which Putin was appalled by, seeing it as unwarranted interference in another nation’s sovereignty. After she stepped down as secretary of state, she made a well-publicized visit to Yalta — in 2013, when it was still part of Ukraine — to support Ukraine’s signing of an agreement with the European Union. Putin hoped to strong-arm Ukraine into joining his Eurasian Economic Union, which Clinton had called an attempt to “re-Sovietize” areas of the former Soviet Union.

That comment and others “were in part seized upon for domestic political reasons,” Samuel Charap, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington, said Wednesday. “She became a convenient scapegoat.”

Read more analysis of the Clinton-Putin relationship at the link.

Joy Reid has been covering this story extensively on her MSNBC show. If you missed it this morning, please check it out on the website. She had some experts on who were quite alarmed by what is happening with Trump and the Russian hacks that seem designed to help him become POTUS.

More important stories to check out:

Washington Post: Appeals court strikes down North Carolina’s voter-ID law.

Mother Jones: Voting Rights Advocates Score a Huge Win in North Carolina.

Kansas City Star: What a great day for protecting voting rights in Kansas and elsewhere

Slate: Islam, Equality, and Pocket Constitutions: How the DNC Did Religious Liberty Right.

NBC News: Parents of Capt. Khan Warn GOP’s Ryan, McConnell Over Trump.

Reuters: Clinton leads Trump by 6 points after Democratic confab: Reuters/Ipsos poll.

New York Magazine: Former Fox News Booker Says She Was Sexually Harassed and ‘Psychologically Tortured’ by Roger Ailes for More Than 20 Years.

 

 


Thursday Reads

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Good Afternoon!!

This is what we’ve come to folks. We have a nominee of a major political party and his surrogates calling for the opposition candidate to be thrown in prison, hanged, or shot by a firing squad. Talking Points Memo: The Trump Campaign is Now Wink-Winking Calls to Murder Clinton.

As our reporters on the ground in Cleveland are telling us, the “lock her up” theme of the Cleveland convention is pervasive. Signs, T-shirts, memorabilia – it’s pervasive. It’s not just a chant on the convention floor. The campaign isn’t just comfortable with it. They’re actively pushing it. We noted earlier that a New Hampshire Trump delegate, who’s also a Trump advisor on veterans issue has just said Clinton should be “shot for treason.” He’s now being investigated by the Secret Service for threatening the former First Lady and Secretary of State’s life.

But there’s a part of this story that’s been overshadowed by the shocking nature of what Al Baldasaro said. That’s the response from the Trump campaign. In response to Baldasaro’s attack, Trump Campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said: “We’re incredibly grateful for his support, but we don’t agree with his comments.”

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I’m not sure why no one has referenced this. But this is the kind of statement one usually hears about a policy disagreement rather than a demand to murder the opposing party’s nominee.

Calls for violence or the killing of a political opponent usually spurs the other candidate to totally disavow the person in question. Frankly, it’s a pretty new thing for a prominent supporter of a prominent politician to call for killing opposing candidates at all. But the Trump campaign is still “incredibly grateful his support” even though “we don’t agree” that Clinton should be shot.

This too is not normal.

Maybe you didn’t notice her statement until now. I assure you Trump’s more rabid supporters have – or at least noticed the conspicuous lack of any clear denunciation.

Yesterday, Melissa McEwan had a great post at Blue Nation Review on the unforgivable media complicity in this : WE’VE REACHED PEAK HILLARY HATE (Thanks to Our Noxious Media). And she provides plenty of linky goodness.

The national media’s treatment of Hillary has never been great. Whether it’s endlessly discussing her “likability,” or casually referring to her as “Godzillary” or “a Lovecraftian monster, the Cthulhu of American politics,” or depicting her with devil horns, or portraying her as a towering man-crushing monster, or constantly subjecting her to Remember Your Place pictures, or saying she “must be stopped,” they have long been prominent purveyors of narratives about Hillary being History’s Greatest Monster.

But their coverage in 2016 has been a total disgrace. A complete and utter embarrassment, culminating with this now-scrubbed headline care of the Washington Post: In Trump’s moment of triumph, Clinton is in the crosshairs.

Not only are the WaPo’s editors evidently watching a different convention than the rest of us if they imagine Donald is having “a moment of triumph,” but where is their sense of decency that they would say Hillary is in “the crosshairs”? Using such violent rhetoric at any time would be extraordinarily cruel, but to do so in the middle of a national nightmare of mass shootings is truly breathtaking.

And the replacement is hardly any better: Trump captures GOP nomination as focus their fire on Clinton.

“Focus their fire.” This is truly unconscionable.

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Melissa goes on to write about the media’s refusal to acknowledge the millions of people who support Hillary and are excited about the prospect of her becoming the first woman POTUS.

The fact is this: despite all the vitriol, Hillary is a popular presidential candidate. How can I make such a controversialclaim, in spite of her high unfavorables (ahem) and relentless articles detailing how unpopular she is? Because she won.

Because in winning her party’s nomination, she defeated Bernie Sanders, who himself was a popular candidate, by millions of votes and hundreds of delegates. Because she was a popular First Lady. Because she was a popular Senator. Because she was a popular Secretary of State. Because she has been the most admired women in the world for two decades.

And, no, that’s not hyperbole.

But you wouldn’t know that Hillary is popular, if you depended exclusively on corporate media for your news—because there is a seemingly endless parade of stories about how unpopular she is (whoops!); how unliked she is (bloop!); how little enthusiasm there is for her candidacy (uh-oh!).

There’s much more at the link, so please go read it if you haven’t already.

Tony Schwartz

Tony Schwartz

Also yesterday, Tony Schwartz, who wrote Trump’s bestselling book The Art of the Deal, discussed his experience of GOP nominee in an interview with The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer.

Schwartz had ghostwritten Trump’s 1987 breakthrough memoir, earning a joint byline on the cover, half of the book’s five-hundred-thousand-dollar advance, and half of the royalties. The book was a phenomenal success, spending forty-eight weeks on the Times best-seller list, thirteen of them at No. 1. More than a million copies have been bought, generating several million dollars in royalties. The book expanded Trump’s renown far beyond New York City, making him an emblem of the successful tycoon. Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, “Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein.”

Starting in late 1985, Schwartz spent eighteen months with Trump—camping out in his office, joining him on his helicopter, tagging along at meetings, and spending weekends with him at his Manhattan apartment and his Florida estate. During that period, Schwartz felt, he had got to know him better than almost anyone else outside the Trump family. Until Schwartz posted the tweet, though, he had not spoken publicly about Trump for decades. It had never been his ambition to be a ghostwriter, and he had been glad to move on. But, as he watched a replay of the new candidate holding forth for forty-five minutes, he noticed something strange: over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, “If he could lie about that on Day One—when it was so easily refuted—he is likely to lie about anything.”

It seemed improbable that Trump’s campaign would succeed, so Schwartz told himself that he needn’t worry much. But, as Trump denounced Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” near the end of the speech, Schwartz felt anxious. He had spent hundreds of hours observing Trump firsthand, and felt that he had an unusually deep understanding of what he regarded as Trump’s beguiling strengths and disqualifying weaknesses. Many Americans, however, saw Trump as a charmingly brash entrepreneur with an unfailing knack for business—a mythical image that Schwartz had helped create. “It pays to trust your instincts,” Trump says in the book, adding that he was set to make hundreds of millions of dollars after buying a hotel that he hadn’t even walked through.

In the subsequent months, as Trump defied predictions by establishing himself as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, Schwartz’s desire to set the record straight grew. He had long since left journalism to launch the Energy Project, a consulting firm that promises to improve employees’ productivity by helping them boost their “physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual” morale. It was a successful company, with clients such as Facebook, and Schwartz’s colleagues urged him to avoid the political fray. But the prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology—Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered.

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Please go read the whole thing. As soon as the article was published, Trump sent him a “cease and desist letter.” and demanded that Schwarz return all of his royalties from the book.

You may have seen Rachel Maddow’s interview with Schwartz last night in which he called Trump “a black hole,” and a “sociopath.” Steve Benen writes:

Schwartz is eager to tell the public about what he learned about Trump after their collaboration.
As Rachel discovered last night, Trump’s lawyers have a different plan in mind.
Tony Schwartz, ghostwriter of Donald Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal,” told MSNBC Wednesday that the Trump campaign sent him a cease and desist letter in response to his comments about the Republican candidate.
Schwartz, a former journalist, was employed by Trump to ghostwrite his memoir in 1987. In an interview with MSNBC, Schwartz described the Republican candidate for president as “having no heart and no soul.”

“This notion that I didn’t write the book is so preposterous,” Schwartz added. “You know, I am not certain that Donald Trump read every word, but I’m sure certain that I wrote every word. And he made a few red marks on the manuscript and sent it back to me, and the rest was history. The idea that he would dispute that is part of why I felt I had to come forward. The notion that if he could lie about that he could lie about anything.”

Benen says the New Yorker article is a must-read, and I agree wholeheartedly.

More stories to check out:

TPM: Ted Turns the Tables on Trump–Hard.

NYT: Donald Trump Sets Conditions for Defending NATO Allies Against Attack.

CNN: Defiant Ted Cruz stands by refusal to endorse Trump after being booed during convention speech.

Jonathan Chait: Republicans in Chaos Must Decide Whether to Elect a Madman.

Slate: Newt Gingrich Probably Just Gave the Last Major Speech of His Career.

HuffPo: Tim Kaine Calls To Deregulate Banks As He Campaigns To Be Clinton’s VP.

NYT: Bill Clinton Said to Back Virginia’s Tim Kaine for Vice President.

NBC News: Cops Shoot Unarmed Caregiver With His Hands Up While He Helps Man.

The Guardian: Roger Ailes accused of harassment by at least 20 women, attorneys say.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a tremendous Thursday!