Monday Reads: As we learn more about the MAGAs and EmoProgs that fell for the old “provokatsiya”

Good Morning!

I woke this morning at 5 am to the sound of a tornado warning going off on my smartphone. This is not exactly the most welcome sound at any early hour but particularly cruel on a Monday. Some how, it seems that our endless experience with tornadoes and the torrential rain, wind and hail are metaphorical harbingers of the state of our country.  The weather is getting more extreme and severe and yet we’re in the process of going back to denial and letting it happen.  I wonder if Alexandria and the other small communities of Louisiana will be able to get a Federal State of Emergency signed in time. I’m not hopeful.  Eastern New Orleans is still waiting for a lot of help after the destruction of the February 7 Tornado Outbreak.

This so didn’t have to happen.

I don’t know how much longer I can endure hearing or seeing either Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump on TV or any place else. How did two throwbacks to the past become installed as “leaders” when they basically look to turn our national dreams into the national nightmares of the past? Headlines regale us of the antics of old, snotty white men like Bernie, Donald, and Mitch McConnell who are desperately trying to put women, minorities, immigrants, and the GLBT community back in their historical places. Alarms should be sounding constantly. Hell is being rained on our civil rights, liberties, and democracy.  Just “Gimme Some Truth”.

 

There are some incredible and powerful reads for you today. Here’s the one on my list from the LA Times. They’re running a four part series on the incredible lying Kremlin Caligula. Here’s the link to the Sunday Op Ed that kicks it off: “Our Dishonest President”.  Don the Con may soon replace Tricky Dicky in the National Hall of Shameful Presidential Crooks.

It was no secret during the campaign that Donald Trump was a narcissist and a demagogue who used fear and dishonesty to appeal to the worst in American voters. The Times called him unprepared and unsuited for the job he was seeking, and said his election would be a “catastrophe.”

Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck. Like millions of other Americans, we clung to a slim hope that the new president would turn out to be all noise and bluster, or that the people around him in the White House would act as a check on his worst instincts, or that he would be sobered and transformed by the awesome responsibilities of office.

Instead, seventy-some days in — and with about 1,400 to go before his term is completed — it is increasingly clear that those hopes were misplaced.

In a matter of weeks, President Trump has taken dozens of real-life steps that, if they are not reversed, will rip families apart, foul rivers and pollute the air, intensify the calamitous effects of climate change and profoundly weaken the system of American public education for all.

His attempt to de-insure millions of people who had finally received healthcare coverage and, along the way, enact a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich has been put on hold for the moment. But he is proceeding with his efforts to defang the government’s regulatory agencies and bloat the Pentagon’s budget even as he supposedly retreats from the global stage.

These are immensely dangerous developments which threaten to weaken this country’s moral standing in the world, imperil the planet and reverse years of slow but steady gains by marginalized or impoverished Americans. But, chilling as they are, these radically wrongheaded policy choices are not, in fact, the most frightening aspect of the Trump presidency.

What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself. He is a man so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality that it is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation. His obsession with his own fame, wealth and success, his determination to vanquish enemies real and imagined, his craving for adulation — these traits were, of course, at the very heart of his scorched-earth outsider campaign; indeed, some of them helped get him elected. But in a real presidency in which he wields unimaginable power, they are nothing short of disastrous.

Go savor every word of it.

Yes.  The Trumptanic is going down.   What will it take with it? This is from the keyboard of Jonathan Allen writing for Roll Call.

Dear Republican member of the House:

Run away from Donald Trump. Run hard. Run fast. And don’t look over your shoulder.

This president doesn’t care about you, he doesn’t share your values, and a dumpster fire would be envious of his reckless disregard for everything and everyone around him.

Senate Republicans have figured this out, and their distancing act is well underway. Sure, they say supportive things, but look at their actions.

When Trump’s first bill was headed toward the House floor, several Senate Republicans openly pressed their colleagues not to pass it. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t crack down on them a bit. And, when the clunky-at-best legislation was pulled from the floor, he pronounced it dead even as the White House and House GOP leaders were explaining how they might revive it

The chances that we will see impeachment are going up as quickly as Trump’s poll numbers are plummeting.  This is from Juan Williams writing for The Hill.

Last week, a new poll from the liberal outfit Public Policy Polling (PPP) asked Americans if President Trump should resign if evidence emerges that his campaign worked with Russia to help defeat Hillary Clinton. A majority, 53 percent, said he should resign.

That is important because PPP also found that 44 percent of Americans already believe that Trump’s campaign did just that.

It is no fantasy to say the drip-drip-drip of the Trump-Russia investigations is draining this presidency of political capital. The president’s historically high disapproval rating — 51 percent in the latest McClatchy poll — tells the same story.

That’s why astute Republicans are starting to look out for themselves.

The first Republican to begin to run for cover was Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who decided to recuse himself from any role in the investigation. Last week Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, sought immunity in exchange for his testimony to congressional investigators.

A majority of Americans want a special prosecutor — including 39 percent of Republicans, according to one poll. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has called for Congress to form a bipartisan select committee to probe ties between Russia and the Trump camp.

I loved this headline from Raw Story: Trump allies in short supply as DC finds out trusting him is ‘like putting your faith in a human IED’.  It talks about Trump’s new war on the Freedom Caucus.

At heart, the Freedom Caucus agrees with the basic principle of Trumpism: that Washington doesn’t work, that its members are denizens of a corrupt and dysfunctional swamp, and that only a revolution in its operations can save the republic. The dilemma for Trump is that conservatives largely built their base of support on fierce opposition to the establishment agenda, and an ability to gum it up to the point nothing gets done. Its hardline members think it’s better to maintain gridlock rather than allow bad government to continue.

Trump may agree with that, but as president he also needs to get things done. He made promises after all: to repeal Obamacare, to reshape the tax system, to build a wall … lots of things. If he can’t follow through, what’s the point of being president

Unfortunately, Trump’s inexperience and basic lack of understanding of government – and reluctance to learn – evidently included ignorance of the fact the president lacks the power of a chief executive, and is dependent on Congress to approve major initiatives. He can’t just wave his hand and order compliance. He needs the votes. But Democrats won’t vote with him out of principle, and moderate Republicans still recall how gleefully he savaged them during his election bid. He pretty much dedicated himself to chasing their sorry asses out of Washington.

Doncha love it when you can watch Evil fight Evil?

This all will undoubtedly happen but only after the Republicans pull their prize from the National Crack Jack box.  That would be the radical and unfit Gorsuch being placed to do decades of damage on the Supreme Court. Mitch McConnell wants white male supremacy so badly that he’s going to go nuclear.

Senators in both parties are speculating that a blowup over President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court could lead not only to the end of the filibuster for such nominations, but for controversial legislation as well.

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the legislative filibuster is safe, lawmakers fear that pressure will grow to get rid of it if Democrats block Neil Gorsuch’s nomination this week.

McConnell has all but promised to change the Senate’s rules to allow Gorsuch to be confirmed in a majority vote if Democrats filibuster him.

The showdown will take place later this week after a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Monday.

Senators in both parties are worried about how the fight over Gorsuch will affect the filibuster.

“The thing I worry most about is that we become like the House of Representatives. What’s the next step? Legislation?” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

“I’m convinced it’s a slippery slope.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) warned last week on the Senate floor that growing pressure from the right and the left will make it difficult to withstand calls to eliminate the legislative filibuster.

“If we continue on the path we’re on right now, the very next time there’s a legislative proposal that one side of the aisle feels is so important they cannot let their base down, the pressure builds, then we’re going to vote the nuclear option on the legislative piece,” he said.

“That’s what will happen. Somebody will do it.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), one of only three Democrats who have explicitly said they’d oppose a filibuster of Gorsuch, warns the Senate is in danger of becoming a smaller version of the House, where the minority party has few rights.

“People who have been here for a long time know that we’re going down the wrong path here. The most unique political body in the world, the United States Senate, will be no more than a six-year term in the House,” he said.

“I’m doing whatever I can to preserve he 60-vote rule,” he said.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who like Manchin says she will vote to allow Gorsuch’s nomination to move forward, said she is also concerned about the legislative filibuster.

“This erosion that seems to be happening, of course I’m worried about it,” she said.

Gorsuch picked up a third Democratic vote on Sunday when Sen. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) said he would back him

It’s being reported (NPR here) that the Dems have to votes to filibuster.

Senate Democrats now have enough votes to block the Supreme Court nomination under current Senate rules, which require 60 votes to proceed on a nomination.

That sets up a showdown later this week that will likely lead to a reinterpretation of Senate rules, so that the nominations of Supreme Court justices can be advanced with 51-vote majorities, rather than the preliminary 60-vote threshold that has long applied to high court nominations.

“If we have to, we will change the rules,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said during Monday’s Judiciary Committee meeting. “It looks like we’re going to have to.”

Yup, right. We’ve learned that this last few years in spades. The Republican motto is “Cheat if you have to”.

So, I’ve saved the best for last.  You must read this excerpt of a book by Susan Bordo at The Guardian:  ‘The destruction of Hillary Clinton: sexism, Sanders and the millennial feminists’.  It’s a long and cathartic read.

Many books have been written about the way racial differences among feminists both divided and pushed feminist thinking and practice forward over the past several decades. In the 2016 election, however, it was not race but generation that was the dynamic factor among left-leaning women. Women like me, who experienced many cultural battles in the “gender wars” firsthand – from the first scornful comments that journalists had heaped on “women’s libbers”, to the public shaming of Anita Hill, to the renewed threats to bodily rights that we thought we had won decades earlier – brought to the 2016 campaign a personal knowledge of the fragility of feminist accomplishments and an identification with Hillary that was deeper and longer than any current headlines.

We may have winced – as I did – when Madeleine Albright quoted a coffee-cup version of feminism or Hillary said “deal me in”. But we understood that behind every seeming appeal to “sisterhood” was the history of what was indeed a revolution – and one that was far from over. We knew the role Hillary had played in that revolution, and the price she had paid for it. Many of us, too, had followed Clinton through the course of her public career, had read her autobiography, and knew very well that the accusation that she had come to issues concerning racial and economic justice late and “for political purposes” was among the most extraordinary fabrications of the campaign.

Many younger women, on the other hand – no less feminist, no less committed to gender equality – had formed their ideas about “the Clintons”, as Savannah Barker reminds us, in the shadow of 20 years of relentless personal and political attacks. Few of them – as I know from decades of teaching courses on feminism, gender issues, and the social movements of the 60s – were aware of the “living history” (to borrow Hillary’s phrase) that shaped the woman herself.

These young women weren’t around when the GOP, appalled that liberals like the Clintons had somehow grabbed political power, began a series of witchhunts that have never ended. (Hillary was correct: it has been a “vast rightwing conspiracy”, from the Spectator magazine’s “Arkansas Project”, designed specifically to take Bill Clinton down, to Kenneth Starr’s relentless digging into Bill’s private life, to the Benghazi and email investigations.)

They hadn’t experienced a decade of culture wars in which feminists’ efforts to bring histories of gender and race struggle into the educational curriculum were reduced to a species of political correctness. They didn’t witness the complicated story of how the 1994 crime bill came to be passed or the origins of the “super-predator” label (not coined by Hillary and not referring to black youth, but rather to powerful, older drug dealers).

It isn’t necessary, of course, to have firsthand knowledge of history in order to have an informed idea of events and issues. When it came to Hillary Clinton, however, sorting out fact from politically motivated fiction was a difficult task, particularly if one’s knowledge was filtered through the medium of election-year battles.

The 2016 election was no academically rigorous history course; it was dominated by versions of Hillary Clinton constructed by her political opponents and transmitted by reporters who usually don’t see offering context as their job and don’t have the time (or, for some, the inclination) to sort fact from fiction. And then, too, after decades of harsh schooling in the ways of politics and the media, Hillary herself was no longer the outspoken feminist who chastised reporters when they questioned her life choices, but a cautious campaigner who measured her words with care.

I knew just what one of my graduate students meant when I asked her how millennial feminists saw Hillary and she said “a white lady”. A white woman herself, she wasn’t referring to the colour of Hillary’s skin, or even her racial politics, but rather what was perceived as her membership in the dominant class, all cleaned up and normalised, aligned with establishment power rather than the forces of resistance, and stylistically coded (her tightly coiffed hair; her neat, boring pantsuits; her circumspection) with her membership in that class. When I looked at Hillary, I saw someone very different – but I understood the basis for my student’s perception.

So that’s a long excerpt but I had trouble just finding one little nugget to highlight.

Which brings me to Bernie and Berning Down the House.  Bernie’s Tad Devine appears to be yet another Paul Manafort with deep ties and economic interests with Russians. Berners and Trumpsters were taken in by Russian Bots and propaganda.  Many of them are still dead enders that insist on some kind of “progressive purity”.  After I go after these ties in two links, I will return to the Bordo book.  (And I am amazed at how I want to say Bardo when I see her name.)

But Manafort was not the only American political consultant in 2016 who had a checkered history of muddying the waters of international politics. In 2009 Manafort was working to help improve the image of pro-Russian Ukranian politician Viktor Yanukovych in an effort to make the presidential nominee seem more accessible, and thus more palatable, to the American Congress. Joining Manafort in that effort was an American consultant named Tad Devine, a man who himself had a dubious history of foreign intervention. Among Devine’s highlights is having worked for exiled Bolivian president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada in 2002 as well as ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in 2005. Devine then worked for Yanukovych from 2006 up until he was elected president of Ukraine in 2010. Like both Lozada and Zelaya, Yanukovych has since been removed from power and he currently resides in exile in Russia and just happens to be wanted for treason in Ukraine.

In addition to having supported corrupt politicians abroad, Devine has also supported unsuccessful presidential candidates here at home. Devine had increasing roles in the campaigns of Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bob Kerry, Al Gore, and John Kerry. After having previously worked on actual successful campaigns for Bernie Sanders’ 1996 congressional run as well as his 2006 senatorial run, Devine officially joined Sanders’ presidential campaign as a senior advisor in May of 2015. Over the course of the next fourteen months, Devine not only became one of the mouthpieces of the campaign but was also able to net himself a pretty penny. According to Slate, through both his consulting work as well as his work with Old Time Media, Devine was able to net himself roughly $10 million through his work on the campaign. For a campaign that prided itself as going to fight for the little guy, Devine, an establishment political consultant and friend of Bernie Sanders, seemed perfectly content to pocket millions of dollars.

But Devine’s hefty payday might not have been paid for entirely by gullible Americans giving $27 each. Throughout the Democratic primary, the Sanders campaign was cited for FEC violations on three separate occasions including a mysterious $10 million donation from a single address in Washington, DC. Despite consistent calls for financial transparency on the campaign trail, the Sanders campaign was exceedingly secretive when it came to its own finances. After twice filing for extensions from the FEC, the Sanders campaign ultimately decided to forgo its final financial disclosure statement in June citing the fact that campaign was no longer active. This decision was accompanied by the news that Sanders himself had purchased a $575,000 home in August, much to the dismay of his loyal followers. The home would be the third residence for Sanders, someone who railed against a system that increasingly favored the millionaires and billionaires of our country.

Yet these financial gains for both Devine and Sanders would never have been possible had it not been for the millions of campaign contributions that came their way. And the only way to get campaign contributions is to convince your supporters you might actually have a chance to win. Luckily for Devine and Sanders, they had some foreign friends who were willing to step in. As reported by Rachel Maddow late on Tuesday, there existed an army of Russian bots who were weaponized to influence our election. Many of them took to various social media sites to discredit and disrupt Hillary Clinton’s campaign and thus, enegize potential Bernie Sanders supporters. Knowing that Clinton had been a target of right-wing media smears for a quarter-century, all the bots had to do was plant this seed to potential Sanders supporters, many of whom had no experience in politics, to get them onboard with the Sanders campaign. By doing this, Sanders and Devine were able to successfully pocket millions of dollars all while pretending to be champions of the common man.

Yes, those BernieBots may have been Russians.

Indeed, some estimates now say that as much as one-fifth of Twitter traffic was controlled by pro-Trump, anti-Clinton bots and troll accounts during the election. With these #MAGA account attacks, it was relatively easy to block them and move on — emotionally, at least, as the abuse they delivered was easy to deflect because “they” were not “people” with whom I believed I had values in common in the first place.

However, the rest of the abuse came from accounts purporting to be supporters of Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders. And these were “people” with whom I believed I shared common values and policy interests. Almost all of the accounts presented as men — mostly young and white — and used sexist and misogynistic tones and words. I was called “mom” and “grandma” as epithets by these “young men.” I was called every vile sexualized name you can imagine. For some reason that I did not understand at the time, they liked to call me a “vagina.” (I now believe non-native English — i.e. Russian — speakers wrote the algorithms controlling these bots and perhaps imagined “vagina” to be the equivalent of the c-word when hurled at a woman.) Not being conversant in the mechanisms of Russian psychological warfare techniques at the time, it never occurred to me that, like the #MAGA bots, these “Bernie Bro” accounts were actually bots too.

And the abuse from these accounts was much harder to dismiss. It wentin further, emotionally speaking. The vitriol of the attacks felt like a painful betrayal. After all, “we” probably shared 99 percent of our political perspective; we just supported different candidates — which is something I said repeatedly in my attempts to appeal to reason with some of the attackers over the course of those long months. Nonetheless, even the mildest criticism of Sanders or comment of support for Clinton would bring out a swarm of these “Bernie Bro” accounts spouting off with abusive language and mockery.

It was not just me who experienced this — nearly every female supporter of Clinton I know who was outspoken on Twitter or Facebook received similar treatment. In addition, men of color who were vocal Clinton supporters were targeted in a similar way. The abuse was also highly targeted toward journalists, especially female journalists reporting on the primary and opinion journalists who were supportive of Clinton.

None of us knew we were being targeted for psychological warfare by a foreign power during these exchanges.

The attacks started in late 2015 and escalated through early 2016. Most of these accounts no longer exist to link to, but others on twitter noticed similar patterns.

I am now called a “pantsuiter” by progressive Dems who still think Bernie’s the future.  It’s a the same as being called a gramdma by a damned Russian Troll and they were obviously well-schooled by them. Back to the brilliant Susan Bordo.

And as much as I am in agreement with many of his ideas, Bernie Sanders splintered and ultimately sabotaged the Democratic party – not because he chose to run against Hillary Clinton, but because of how he ran against her.

Sanders often boasted about the importance of the issues rather than individuals, of not playing dirty politics or running nasty ads in his campaign. And it’s certainly true that he didn’t slime Hillary by bringing Bill’s sexual accusers forward or by recommending that she be put in jail, as Trump did. He also seemed, at the beginning of the primary season, to be refreshingly dismissive about the “email scandal”: “Enough already about the damned emails!” he shouted at the first debate, and I remember thinking “Good man, Bernie! Way to go!” But within months, taking advantage of justified frustration with politics as usual (a frustration more appropriately aimed at GOP stonewalling of Democratic legislation), Sanders was taking Hillary down in a different way: as an establishment tool and creature of Wall Street.

“I think, frankly,” he said in January, campaigning in New Hampshire, “it’s hard to be a real progressive and to take on the establishment in a way that I think [it] has to be taken on, when you come as dependent as she has through her super PAC and in other ways on Wall Street and drug-company money.”

Progressive. It’s a term with a long, twisty history. In the 19th century, it was associated with those who argued for the moral “cleansing” of the nation. A century ago, both racist Southern Democrats and the founders of the NAACP claimed it for their purposes. The Communist party has described itself as progressive. By the time Sanders argued that Clinton was “not a true progressive”, the word was not very useful descriptively – one can be progressive in some ways and not so progressive in others, and no politician that I know of has ever struck every progressive chord. Context matters, too. As Jonathan Cohn wrote, in May: “If Sanders is the standard by which you’re going to decide whether a politician is a progressive, then almost nobody from the Democratic party would qualify. Take Sanders out of the equation, and suddenly Clinton looks an awful lot like a mainstream progressive.”

For Sanders supporters, however, progressive wasn’t an ill-defined, historically malleable label, but rather a badge of honor, a magical talisman for those who considered themselves anti-establishment. It may have been “a fallback identifier for pretty much anyone The Nation and its journalistic kin smiled upon” (as Michael Kazin described it), but it was an identifier with a great deal of potency, particularly for a younger generation longing for lives organised around something other than job hunting. When Sanders denied that badge of honour to Clinton he wasn’t distinguishing his agenda from hers (their positions on most issues were, in reality, pretty similar), he was excluding her from the company of the good and pure – and in the process, limiting what counted as progressive causes, too. His list didn’t include the struggle for reproductive rights or affordable child care. Nor, at the beginning of his campaign, was there much emphasis on racial justice.

***

So which ones on the list did the Trumpsters and Berners fall for and who was duped the worst?

I’m going with this one.

First, there’s provokatsiya (provocation), which is the cornerstone of the Russian espionage worldview. This part of Kremlin spy culture is older than the Bolsheviks, dating to the late Tsarist era, when Russia invented the modern intelligence agency to fight anarchist terrorists.

Provocation is complicated, but at its most basic involves secret acts to confuse and dismay your enemy. The recent antics of Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee—positing conflicting and unsubstantiated allegations of malfeasance by our spy agencies—are a classic provocation designed to divert attention from the White House as its Russia crisis mounts. Regardless of whether anyone in Russia has a hand in this, the Kremlin surely approves.

Provokatsiya gets more complicated and nefarious from there, with the ultimate aim of turning the tables on your enemy and defeating him detail—before he realizes what’s happened. As I’ve explained, this involves a lot of shady stuff such as:

Taking control of your enemies in secret and encouraging them to do things that discredit them and help you. You plant your own agents provocateurs and flip legitimate activists, turning them to your side…While this isn’t a particularly nice technique, it works surprisingly well, particularly if you don’t care about bloody and messy consequences.

Moscow is alarmingly forward-leaning about provocation, and the Kremlin’s traditional devil-may-care attitude about these dirty tricks means it’s a safe bet that when you encounter rabid anti-Putin activists, there’s a solid chance some of them are secretly working for the Russians.

So far, it’s been a slow news day.  Deadly tornadoes, bombs in St Petersburg, and threats from North Korea, plus a boatload of hearings and a vote on a nimrod SCOTUS nomination are all up for grabs.  (Snark font on)

Let me know what’s on your mind and blogging list today. I’d like to go back to bed but I have to grade homework. I’m tired and seriously behind.  I need to go soak in some sun too while it’s out there.


Tuesday Reads: Democratic National Convention, Day One

Michelle Obama, shining star

Michelle Obama, shining star

Good Morning!!

I want to begin today with some excerpts from Michelle Obama’s brilliant and inspiring speech last night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. In talking about her children and the nation’s children, she delivered a stunning rebuke to the ugly, divisive and racist campaign of Donald J. Trump.

A journey that started soon after we arrived in Washington when they set off for their first day at their new school. I will never forget that winter morning as I watched our girls, just 7 and 10 years old, pile into those black SUVs with all those men with guns. And that’s all their little faces pressed up against the window, and the only thing I could think was, What have we done? At that moment, I realized that our time in the White House would form the foundation of who they would become. And how well we manage this experience could truly make or break them.

That is what Barack and I think about every day as he tried to guide and protect our girls from the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight. How we urged them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith. How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country. How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. Our motto is, when they go low, we go high.

With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are the most important role model.

Let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as president and first lady because we know that our words and actions matter, not just to our girls but the children across this country. Kids who say, “I saw you on TV,” “I wrote the report on you for school.” Kids like the little black boy who looked up at my husband, his eyes wide with hope, and he wondered, Is my hair like yours?

I’m tearing up just reading her words on my computer screen.

On Hillary:

I trust Hillary to lead this country because I have seen her lifelong devotion to our nation’s children. Not just her own daughter, who she has raised to perfection, but every child who needs a champion: kids who take the long way to school to avoid the gangs. Kids who wonder how they will ever afford college. Kids whose parents don’t speak a word of English, but dream of a better life; who look to us to dream of what they can be.

Hillary has spent decades doing the relentless work to actually make a difference in their lives. Advocating for kids with disabilities as a young lawyer, fighting for children’s health care as first lady, and for quality child care in the senate.

And when she did not win the nomination eight years ago, she did not get angry or disillusioned. Hillary did not pack up and go home because … Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own disappointment. She proudly stepped up to serve our country once again as secretary of state, traveling the globe to keep our kids safe. There were moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being [torn] apart for how she looked, or how she talked, or even how she laughed.

But here’s the thing: What I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure.

She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life. And when I think about the kind of president that I want for my girls and all our children, that is what I want. I want someone with the proven strength to persevere.

Yes, Hillary has persevered. There was a time when Michelle Obama didn’t have nice things to say about her. But Hillary didn’t quit. She wholeheartedly supported Barack Obama in 2008 and then became his Secretary of State. And she apparently won Michelle over with her efforts.

And finally these beautiful and heartbreaking words:

Leaders like Tim Kaine, who show our kids what decency and devotion look like. Leaders like Hillary Clinton, who have the guts and the grace to keep coming back and putting those cracks in the highest and hardest glass ceiling until they finally break through, lifting all of us along with her.

That is the story of this country. The story that has brought me to the stage tonight. The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, who kept on striving, and hoping, and doing what needed to be done. So that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters — two beautiful intelligent black young women — play with the dog on the White House lawn

And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all of our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country is not great. That somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on Earth.

Can we as a country truly rise above our long history of slavery and exploitation of people who are not rich white men? Michelle seems to believe it is possible. But only if we defeat the fascist menace of Donald Trump and elect Hillary the first woman President of the United States.

Without once mentioning Trump’s name Michelle Obama destroyed his childish Twitter campaign by saying this of Hillary:

Somebody who knows this job and takes it seriously. Somebody who understands that the issues of our nation are not black or white. It cannot be boiled down to 140 characters. Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions. You can’t have thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady and measured and well-informed.

That speech deserves to go down in history as one of the greatest political speeches ever.

I also thought Cory Booker’s speech was magnificent. If you missed it, you can read the transcript at that link. Bill Clinton was as transfixed as I was.

Sadly, Bernie-or-busters did the best they could to damage the Democrats’ chances of defeating Trump by screaming their childish chants right through all the speeches, including those of Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. They even crossed out the word “love” in the “Love Trumps Hate” signs and wrote in “Bernie.” This morning Sanders tried to speak to his fans in the California delegation, and they shouted him down once again. Sanders has now cancelled several events that he had scheduled with “supporters.”

Sanders did the best he could to get his fans to accept reality and realize the dangers Donald Trump poses; but it was far too late. He encouraged their bad behavior for the past year, and at least 10 percent of them are still acting out. Many people who tuned in to the campaign for the first time last night wondered what all the fuss was about.

Sanders also announced this morning that, despite Jeff Weaver’s statement that Bernie is now a Democrat for life, he’s going back to being an independent.

He also announced that he will not raise money to support Hillary’s efforts to beat fascism.

Despite rumors that he would release his delegates, Sanders insisted on a roll call vote today, so erasure of Hillary’s enthusiastic supporters will probably continue on the cable channels. I think it’s very sad that Bernie can’t join with the rest of us in celebrating the nomination of the first woman in American history ever to head a major party ticket.

Last night I went to bed after watching MSNBC and CNN highlight Bernie-or-busters and denigrate the woman whose nomination this Convention was designed to celebrate. I woke up this morning determined to give him the benefit of the doubt, but now I know he’s not going to join the fight with the rest of us. But that’s his choice. Ninety percent of his supporters have already joined us, and the rest were never Democrats to begin with.

Some headlines to peruse today.

As usual, it was extremely difficult to find anything positive about Hillary in the media, but I found one at WBUR in Boston: Hillary Clinton’s Call to Public Service Came Early.

I found this at the WaPo, but I haven’t read it yet. I hope it’s positive: To understand Hillary Clinton, don’t watch the convention. Read her memoirs.

Ed Kilgore writes down his delusions: Bernie May Have Broken the ‘Never Hillary’ Movement Once and for All.

Jonathan Chait: How Bernie-or-Bust Fanatics Dominated the First Day of the Democratic Convention.

Sarah Kendzidor: The Democrats’ America on display: Flawed but not fatalistic.

CNN: Bernie Sanders: ‘I am proud to stand with her.’

Amy Davidson at The New Yorker: Michelle Obama’s Message: Trust Hillary Like I Do. Davidson is unconvinced.

NYT: Attack on Church in France Kills Priest and ISIS is Blamed.

That’s all I can write for now, folks. I’m very sorry that I’m so angry and disappointed. To me Hillary is a beacon of light in a dark world. I can’t even begin to describe how enthusiastic I am about her becoming the Democratic nominee–and I hope the President of the United States. For my entire life I’ve dreamed that women could eventually gain equality with men. Now I know that will never happen in my lifetime; but having a woman president would be a beginning.

I knew this year was going to be difficult; I knew that the misogyny and CDS of 2008 would be magnified 100-fold. But today, I’m having a hard time with it.

I’m afraid the Bernie-or-busters will attack Bill Clinton tonight, and I hope he has been well prepared to handle it. I can’t imagine how painful it must be for him to see his beautiful, talented, hard-working wife treated so horribly by the media and by supposed “progressives.”

I hope and pray that on Thursday night MSNBC and CNN will stop talking about Bernie Sanders for just a few hours to at least tell their viewers they are watching history in the making.

Over to you. What stories are you following? If you can cheer me up a bit, I’d be very grateful.


Monday Reads: Let’s Party On!

Good Afternoon!! 13775518_10208996102160286_3629317989192247839_n

I’m looking forward to the opening Gavel of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia tonight.  Ohio Congress woman Marsha Fudge is the chair now of this DNC.  The other DNC is being chaired temporarily by Donna Brazile. Elizabeth Warren will be the Keynote Democratic Convention speaker tonight. Other speakers include Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), first lady Michelle Obama and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

It is rumored that Bernie Sanders will turn over his delegates tonight.  We shall see and we shall have an open thread for it.  I’m excited to hear  Booker, Michelle, and Warren.  Hopefully, Michelle will joke mightily on how she has already had her words ring through the RNC.

Meanwhile, as you may have noticed, we have a new front pager.  We’ve known her for a very long time as BlueLyon.  Today, she’s our woman on the spot in Philadelphia as an important member of Team Hillary Nevada!  She’s also been working since the caucuses with one of Hillary’s organizers that came to work with me in Louisiana so we’re getting all of our six degrees of separation connected!   I’m going to be working on the Florida general as part of Team Louisiana but if I get a chance to call up to Nevada I surely will. I’ve got that image of the front of  USA Today because Carissa is right there representing for Nevada and Hillary.

If you have an Apple phone. You can call and volunteer for Team Hillary and win cool swag. The Android ap is on its way. Check out the apple ap here. Help out those hard workers like Carissa Snedeker who are fighting to win a key state if you’re in a red state like me, or a super safe blue state like Boston Booomer.

I can’t think of a better way to welcome BlueLyon to our front page than by sharing the USA Today interview with her from Philadelphia. Well, that and to remind you that she is one helluva photographer too!!

“I’m so excited about the prospect that there could be children who are born who have never seen a Reno_Snedeker_Carissa_Clinton (1)white man in the White House as president because we’ve had eight years of Barack Obama and then maybe we go to a woman and it’s just the paradigm, it’s changes the conversation in a way that I’ve seen in my own lifetime. I’m a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s and, I mean, the horrific things that are happening now, but yet we have marriage equality, and we have trans rights and we’re talking about gay people where they’re our neighbors and they don’t have to hide anymore, and women can be CEOs and there’s no help wanted ads where “help wanted male” and “help wanted female.” I’ve seen all these things change in my life so I know that we can still keep making progress. I don’t want to go backwards, I want to go forwards. I want to move forward, and that’s why I do this.”

So, obviously she’s very very busy and will check in with us when she can!  Give her a great welcome and wish her luck!!!

So here’s a treat!!! There will be painted Donkeys all over Philadelphia this week.  I’m going to feature some pix of them. Fifty Seven Donkeys will be on display throughout Philadelphia.

Ed Rendell came up with the idea. Obviously.

A collection of 57 painted donkey statues will decorate Philadelphia during the months of July and August, the former governor and current chairman of the Democratic National Convention host committee announced today at a press conference. The point of the donkeys, he says, is to get Philadelphians excited about this summer’s Democratic Convention and encourage delegates to visit different parts of the city. We’re guessing it doesn’t hurt that the donkeys will inevitably inspire tons of photo-ops and selfies, too.

“You all remember the bulls or the cows in Chicago,” Rendell said. “I thought, what a great idea to have donkeys around town. … The host committee wants this to be a great convention for the Democratic Party, but we also want it to be a great convention for the people of Philadelphia.”

Donkey7-1000x562That being said, not all the Bernie supporters are getting on the Hillary Train.  I have a feeling we’re having similar problems to the ones we had in 2008 where Hillary Blogs got completely overrun by republican ratfucking Tea Partiers!  If you were with us when this blog turned from my personal file cabinet to a functioning blog, you’ll remember it well. I do believe those folks abandoned Hillary eventually and went on to hate her as much as they hated President Obama.  We were very critical of the President here–especially in his first term–because he seemed overly willing to give in to Republicans.  That being said, Obama learned a few lessons and he’s been doing great and we support him while still being critical based on whatever issues we care about.  We’ve been investigating Tim Kaine as part of that and are beginning to warm up to him.

The silliest kerfuffle of the day has been the Wikileaks DNC stuff.  My bottom line is this  on the very idea that an entire state or group of states can be rigged by the DNC.  I’m tired of freaking conspiracy theorists from the left and right wing. I don’t think people have a clue about the idea of rigging elections. Just because a bunch of us learned to actively dislike and not vote for a candidate running as a Democrat to Grift the benefits of party apparatus and then actively showing contempt for everyone and everything is not evidence of anything illegal. Party politics with its internecine infighting is always ugly. There are too many state and local governments run by Republicans for a Democratic political entity to rig any state election. If you want to get rid of the worst of it, fight to end caucuses.

Joshua Holland has this to say and I agree completely.  What worries me most is the idea that BostonBoomer discussed on Saturday.  Trump is beholden financially to the Russian state and most likely the Russian Mafia and it’s likely the hack was done for wikileaks by Russians.

You can’t prove a negative, but when you strip away the furious spin, the DNC leaks provide strong evidence that the DNC did nothing to influence the outcome of the primaries.

The key here is just how candid and unvarnished these discussions were. It’s abundantly clear that they never imagined that these emails would ever see the light of day. They are frank in their contempt for people like Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver. They don’t hesitate to say fuck this or that person. They are open in their discussions of how to respond to various accusations that they were influencing the primaries.

And yet, in almost 20,000 very candid emails among seven high-level DNC officials over a five-month period, there is zero evidence that the organization took any action to tilt the playing field. There is a single email where one staffer floats the idea of intervening in the primaries by questioning Sanders’ religious beliefs in the South, but that idea was shot down. (I think it’s obvious that guy should resign or be fired.)

You can’t prove a negative — maybe they used a Get Smart-style Cone of Silence to discuss rigging the primaries. But one would imagine that in such a large trove of totally unguarded correspondence, some evidence of active intervention would emerge if it were indeed happening.

Again, there’s a lot of spin going on here, including by Wikileaks itself, which has been tweeting links to banal documents with inflammatory editorial comments this am.

The leaks reveal two things that are being spun as evidence that the DNC wasn’t neutral.

First, it’s clear than over the course of the campaign, an enormous amount of bad blood developed between the organization and the Sanders camp. This likely dates back to the NGP-VAN brouhaha. The objective facts were that a Sanders staffer breached the Clinton campaign’s data. The campaign apologized for it, and fired the staffer responsible, but then cried foul when its access was suspended for 24 hours while they investigated how it had happened. Their frustration then grew noticeably when the campaign accused the Nevada Democratic Party of breaking its rules at the state convention — claims that have been widely debunked. Whatever one thinks about those incidents, neutrality does not mean pretending that you aren’t pissed off about constantly being accused of corruption.

Others are seizing on the fact that the DNC leadership seemed pretty sure that HRC would be the party’s nominee. The implication is that they were only so confident because they had a thumb on the scale. The problem with that argument is that if you surveyed Washington DC-based political professionals, it’s likely that 90+ percent of them would tell you that they never though Sanders had much of a chance of securing the nomination. That includes people who *supported* Sanders. I backed him and never thought he could win, and I know many other knowledgeable Sanders supporters who felt the same way. Neutrality doesn’t require either believing that all candidates have an equal shot of winning, or pretending to believe it.

The DNC Leaks would be a big nothingburger aside from the fact that they entailed a very serious breach of donors’ private data, including financial information.

Also troubling is the fact that some individuals or groups, perhaps allied with the Russian government and perhaps not, are very purposefully trying to intervene in the election in a way that might lead to the ascension of a fascist. That’s the part that should be really troubling.

So, I really don’t want to give much space too Trump but there are two links that I really minnesota prince donkeythink you should have for reference.  First, I’d like to just say that it appears that the hackers were Russian.

Is the Kremlin trying to throw the U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump? It sounds like something out of a spy novel. But many cybersecurity experts, as well as the Hillary Clinton campaign, are now saying the Russians are responsible for last month’s hack of the Democratic National Committee.

That hack has dominated the news cycle on the eve of the Democratic convention, and for good reason. The emails disclosed Friday by WikiLeaks are embarrassing. They show DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, plotting to undermine the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders, confirming the worst suspicions of the left flank of the party. She resigned her post on Sunday.

But the bigger issue is who was responsible for the hack in the first place. Bob Gourley, a former chief technology officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency and now the co-founder and partner Cognitio, a cybersecurity consultancy, told me Sunday that he thinks the Russians did it.

“The software code that I have seen from the hack had all the telltale signs of being Russian, including code re-used from other attacks,” Gourley told me. “This is a really big deal. Some people in the community are saying this is the Russians pretending to be a hacker, then giving that information to Julian Assange is all part of an operation.” (Assange founded WikiLeaks.)

Gourley is not alone among cybersecurity experts. When the hack of the DNC was first disclosed in June, the security firm Crowdstrike alsopointed to the Russians. Crowdstrike investigated the incident for the Democratic party and concluded it was the same actor that penetrated the State Department, White House and Pentagon unclassified systems in 2015. Describing the code used for the penetration in a blog post, Crowdstrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch wrote: “Both adversaries engage in extensive political and economic espionage for the benefit of the government of the Russian Federation and are believed to be closely linked to the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services.”

Virgin-Islands

Yesterday, folks were trying to say folks were trying to reignite the cold war.  Again, Cybersecurity and Intelligence experts say it’s the Russians not just Clinton Supporters.

Here’s a link which is from Reddit and contains the very troublesome, autocratic records, affiliations, comments, and foreign dictators of Trump.  I’ve provided a few examples which are just a few of us outrageous acts of war statements.

Trump openly calls for the U.S to commit war crimes and advocates for the murder of innocent women and children.

Trump doubles down after veterans speak out claiming U.S soldiers would not commit war crimes or torture children even if ordered to. Trump responds with, “They’re not going to refuse me. If I say do it, they’re going to do it.“

Trump on torture: “Even if it doesn’t work they probably deserved it anyway.”

Trump renews calls for torture citing public executions and mass rape committed by ISIS promising for the U.S to do the same, “fighting fire with fire.”

Trump says Geneva Conventions a problem and needs to be changed since, US soldiers are to afraid to do their job due to laws which outline the definition of war crimes.

Go check out the entire thing because if you ever need to convince any one we’re dealing with a fascist, this list will open your eyes.636041630797870281-071416-WIL-DNC-ART-JC00056

This other link is from The National: “Trump’s vision is one of exclusion and enmity.”  I have no doubt that this week in Philadelphia will be all about the opposite thing as we see the faces of all American and not just the angry few.

Historically it’s rare that the public isn’t warned about a would-be demagogue well in advance of their actual rise to power. Typically, this work is done by the narcissistic aspiring strongmen themselves. And in the case of Donald Trump, by now no American can claim they haven’t been put on ample notice about his character and intentions.

Last week’s Republican convention – a festival of rage, loss, anger and hatred – said it all. It was driven by vicious, personalised hatred against the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, as delegates persistently chanted “Lock her up!”

One of Mr Trump’s campaign advisers suggested she should be shot for treason. Ben Carson accused her, literally and with a straight face, of being in league with Satan.

Hysterical outrage was compounded by the relentless cognitive dissonance of a movement that, no matter how brazen, is moving so far beyond the bounds of propriety that it has cultivated some deniability. Virtually every important message was shadowed by some twisted doppelganger lurking visibly in the background and contradicting it.

Mr Trump’s main appeal is his alleged competence. He claims the country is being run by crooks, losers and idiots, three of his favourite epithets, and suggests that not only can he do better, but that “I alone” can solve the apocalyptic “crisis” facing the country.

But the convention itself, and the Trump campaign more broadly, strongly suggest he can’t run a bath. From plagiarism to high-level defections, tedious programming, stunning no-shows and a reliance on the candidate’s own children, rather than national party leaders, to endorse him, one couldn’t have wished for a more thorough refutation of claims of minimal competency, let alone excellence.

After more than a year of unprecedented, systematic dishonesty, Mr Trump posed as a champion of truth. “There will be no lies here,” he promised. It’s easy to tell when he’s lying: his body language, penchant for repetition, and, above all, his insufferable catchphrase: “believe me” are his sure-fire “tells” (unconscious admissions of deception). Whenever he says “believe me”, he knows he’s brazenly lying.

New-Jersey-Donkey2-940x540-937x540So, I’m going to end with something cheery besides those marvelous Donkey Statues.  Hillary has promised us a very different convention from the HATERPALOOZA we saw last week.

Hillary Clinton pledged that Democrats would offer the country “a very different kind of convention” than Republicans as she campaigned Monday in this battleground state a few hours before the start of her party’s gathering in Philadelphia.

“I’m very excited about contrasting our vision and values with what we saw from Donald Trump and the Republicans,” Clinton told supporters packed into a theater here. “He offered a lot of fear, bigotry and smear.”

Here is the link to the live stream from Youtube of the convention.  As I type, I’m hearing Spanish!!!

See you during the speeches tonight!!  We’ll be here!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 


Tuesday Reads: NASA Goes to Jupiter and Other News

Juno spacecraft

Juno spacecraft

Good Afternoon!!

Lots of breaking news this morning. FBI Director James Comey just held a press conference to announce that the FBI will not be recommending criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of State Department emails. NBC News reports:

“No reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey told reporters.

Federal investigators did not find evidence of intentional wrongdoing, he said — but there is evidence the former secretary of state and her staff were “extremely careless.”

Comey said 110 emails sent or received on the Clinton server contained classified information. He also said it’s possible “hostile actors” gained access to the server.

So there’s still plenty of fodder for the Clinton haters and conspiracy theorists to scream out. Meanwhile, Wikileaks released a more than 1,200 of Clinton’s emails. The Independent:

The website tweeted a link to 1,258 emails on Monday that Clinton sent during her time as secretary of state. According to the release, the emails were obtained from the US State Department after they issued a Freedom of Information Act request. The emails stem from a State Department release back in February, The Hill reports.

And from NY Magazine:

If you have some hours to kill, you could do worse than a deep dive into the Clinton emails released by WikiLeaks yesterday. The site went through the emails released earlier in the year by the State Department looking for any mentions of the Iraq War. The 1,258 emails show mostly that people at the State Department are just like us, namely in that they spend their days sending their colleagues links to things they read online.

It doesn’t sound all that exciting, but Julian Assange thinks Clinton should be prosecuted. This from the guy who ran from a rape charge.

Watch Comey’s press conference:

 

There’s been another terrorist attack, this time in Saudi Arabia. Reuters: U.N. rights boss calls bombing near Saudi holy mosque an attack on Islam.

The U.N. human rights chief on Tuesday called a suicide bombing outside the Prophet Mohammad’s Mosque in the Saudi city of Medina an attack on Islam itself and many Muslims expressed shock that their second-holiest site had been targeted.

Three apparently coordinated suicide attacks on Monday targeted Medina, the U.S. consulate in Jeddah and the largely Shi’ite Muslim city of Qatif on Monday. At least four security officers were killed.

No group has claimed responsibility but Islamic State has carried out similar bombings in the U.S.-allied kingdom in the past year, targeting Shi’ites and Saudi security forces.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and a member of the Jordanian royal family, delivered his remarks via a spokesman in Geneva.

“This is one of the holiest sites in Islam, and for such an attack to take place there, during Ramadan, can be considered a direct attack on Muslims all across the world,” he said, referring to the Islamic holy month.

“It is an attack on the religion itself.”

Militant attacks on Medina are unprecedented. The city is home to the second-holiest site in Islam, a mosque built by the Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam, which also houses his tomb.

NBC News: ISIS Fulfills Promise of Deadly Ramadan as Holy Month Comes to an End.

With Ramadan drawing to a close on Tuesday, ISIS has fulfilled its promise of staining the Muslim holy month with bloodshed around the globe—taking credit for some of the deadly attacks that have killed hundreds in several countries, including in Iraq, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Turkey, Saudi Arabia.

The terrorist group vowed in May, just before Ramadan began, to make it “with God’s permission, a month of pain for infidels everywhere.” And that it was, with many countries remaining on high alert following the attacks.

The past few days have been particularly violent. Suicide bombs rocked two Saudi Arabian cities on Monday, killing at least four security officers, wounding five other people — and coming just hours after authorities in a third city stopped a bomber just feet from the U.S. Consulate.

On the attacks in Saudi Arabia:

In Saudi Arabia, the attacks began Sunday night, when a suicide bomber was stopped by security personnel in a hospital parking lot about 30 feet from the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah.

The bomber detonated an explosive belt, killing himself and “slightly” injuring two officers, the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement. No Americans were hurt and all State Department personnel were accounted for.

Hours later, on the other side of the country, a pair of suicide bombers attacked the Persian Gulf city of Qatif, a Ministry of Interior source confirmed to NBC News. Details of casualties in the largely minority Shi’ite city were not immediately available.

Shortly after that, four security officers were killed — as well as a suicide bomber — near the security headquarters of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, a site considered to be the second holiest in Islam.

The attack occurred in a parking lot outside the mosque, during Maghreb prayers, when the bomber pretended to break the Ramadan fast with a group of security personnel, al Arabiya reported.

 

Now for some positive–even thrilling–news. NASA’s Juno spacecraft is now orbiting Jupiter! CNN:

Jet Propulsion Lab, California (CNN)NASA says it has received a signal from 540 million miles across the solar system, confirming its Juno spacecraft has successfully started orbiting Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

Welcome to Jupiter!” flashed on screens at mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California.

The Juno team cheered and hugged. “This is phenomenal,” said Geoff Yoder, acting administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate….

The probe had to conduct a tricky maneuver to slow down enough to allow it to be pulled into orbit: It fired its main engine for 35 minutes, effectively hitting the brakes to slow the spacecraft by about 1,212 miles per hour (542 meters per second).

Juno was launched nearly five years ago on a mission to study Jupiter’s composition and evolution. It’s the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter since Galileo. Galileo was deliberately crashed into Jupiter on September 21, 2003, to protect one of its discoveries — a possible ocean beneath Jupiter’s moon Europa.

More from Spaceflight Now:

A 1/5th size scale model of NASA's Juno spacecraft is displayed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, July 4, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK

A 1/5th size scale model of NASA’s Juno spacecraft is displayed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, July 4, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK

Setting up post at the king of planets, NASA’s Juno spacecraft fired its main engine for 35 minutes Monday, steering into orbit around Jupiter to peer inside the gas giant and give scientists a better idea of how the solar system took shape 4.6 billion years ago.

Spinning on its axis once every 12 seconds, the probe’s British-built rocket thruster ignited and slowed down Juno just enough to be snared by Jupiter’s strong gravity field into a looping, 53-day-long orbit.

Confirmation of the burn’s successful conclusion reached Earth at 11:53 p.m. EDT (0353 GMT) via a radio tone broadcast by Juno, prompting applause and smiles inside the control room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“All stations… we have the tone for burn cutoff on delta-v,” a ground controller said over a radio loop. “Welcome to Jupiter.”

Powered by three solar panels arranged in a propeller-like pattern around Juno’s main body, the Jupiter orbiter wrapped up a five-year, 1.7-billion-mile (2.8-billion-kilometer) trip with Monday’s automated rendezvous with the solar system’s biggest planet.

“Tonight, through tones, Juno sang to us, and it was a song of perfection,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno’s project manager at JPL. “After a 1.7-billion-mile journey, we hit our burn target within one second.”

The record-setting journey made Juno the farthest spacecraft from the sun to ever rely on solar power, and Monday’s maneuver made the $1.1 billion mission the second to ever orbit Jupiter.

Read more about it at the link.

Hillary will be campaigning with President Obama this afternoon–that should also be exciting. Politico: Obama and Clinton rally against Trump.

When Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama publicly reconciled eight years ago at a celebrated summer rally in Unity, New Hampshire, the two recent rivals were still closer to being opponents than friends.

While both candidates were set on healing the Democratic Party after a divisive primary, the lead-up to the event was fraught. Did their show of warmth — a kiss on the tarmac in Washington, D.C., as they boarded a chartered plane together — appear genuine? Would their praise for each other — “she rocks,” gushed Obama, seeking to win over her supporters — seem too forced?

When President Obama takes the stage at the Charlotte Convention Center with Clinton on Tuesday afternoon for their first joint rally of the 2016 campaign, it will be most notable for how far the two leaders of the Democratic Party have come in the eight intervening years.

“It is as far from fraught as can be,” said Obama’s former chief strategist, David Axelrod, of Obama’s long-anticipated campaign trail debut. “He’s been chomping at the bit to get out there. There’s so many reasons why he feels strongly about this — part of it is his genuine respect for her, part of it is his feelings about the alternative. There’s no half-hearted warrior here.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton confidant, said of Tuesday’s rally that unlike eight years ago, “they have such a great relationship that there’s nothing to psychoanalyze. He wants to do everything he can for her.”

ClintonObama_c0-10-3087-1809_s885x516

I can’t wait to watch them together on stage. On Friday Hillary will campaign with Joe Biden in his birthplace, Scranton, PA.

Here’s something else to look forward to. Buzzfeed is going to be working “a new beat” that will involve countering fake news and viral lies. First Draft News: How BuzzFeed wants to use its social media acumen to take on the hoaxers.

BuzzFeed Canada editor and First Draft Coalition member Craig Silverman will be leading the charge from Toronto, “bringing his deep expertise at debunking hoaxes to our reporting arsenal,” said Scott Lamb, BuzzFeed’s head of international growth, “and acting as a resource for all BuzzFeed editions, as well as a watchdog on behalf of our readers worldwide.”

“We’re in a really early phase of testing” Silverman told First Draft, “and seeing what’s going to work in terms of content produced and what works for the BuzzFeed audience.”

Almost every other story in the last month from Silverman, who founded the (currently dormant) rumour-tracking project Emergent, has been a debunk of one kind or another.Quick stories which set the record straight, in-depth investigations into the phenomenon of misinformation and weekly quizzes of the latest fake news to go viral have all been testing grounds to see what resonates with readers.

The biggest challenge for BuzzFeed – and for fact-checkers and debunkers the world over – will be in figuring out a way to make debunks travel as far and fast as the false rumours they address.

Read more at the link.

I haven’t heard anything about Bernie Sanders for days. I’ve been ignoring him, but he also seems to have dropped out of the news. But he’s still getting Secret Service protection. CNN: Sanders’ campaign is over, yet Secret Service motorcade roars on.

Bernie Sanders is back to his old day job, trading the booming applause of his campaign rallies to the far more tedious work of the Senate….But just off the Senate floor and across the Capitol, one vestige of his presidential campaign remains: his Secret Service detail. And taxpayers are footing the bill.

Protecting a presidential candidate costs about $40,000 a day, a federal official familiar with the Homeland Security budget told CNN. For Sanders, that’s more than a half-million dollars since the last primary on June 14. The cost could grow by nearly $2 million if he stays in the race through the Democratic convention in Philadelphia later.

The federal official said it’s difficult to tally exact costs, since some agents are working on other projects simultaneously, but the overall amount spent on Sanders is far higher when calculating the weeks of protection he received after the nomination was effectively out of his reach, as Hillary Clinton surpassed him in the delegate count.

Sanders waved off questions on the matter.

Maybe he’ll keep right on campaigning through November 8. Nothing would surprise me at this point.
What else is happening? What stories are you following today?

Lazy Saturday Reads

Paul Newman at the beach, 1963

Paul Newman at the beach, 1963

Good Afternoon!!

I’m illustrating this post with some beautiful people, mostly engaged in outdoor activities–just because I feel like it.

The news continues to be mostly ugly, unfortunately. There’s the latest terrorist attack in Bangladesh, the endless saga of Bernie Sanders’ refusal to accept reality, and of course the very real danger that racist misogynist xenophobe Donald Trump could somehow gain the presidency.

Before I get started on the bad news, here’s a bit of exciting news for Hillary supporters. The Clinton campaign announced yesterday that it raised nearly $70 million in June. Politico reports:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign reported Friday that it had raised more than $68.5 million for Hillary for America, the Democratic National Committee and state parties in the month of June.

Of that total, $40.5 million went to the campaign, while the remaining $28 million went to the DNC and state parties through the Hillary Victory Fund and the Hillary Action Fund, putting Clinton’s total cumulative fundraising at $288 million for the campaign and $90 million for the joint fundraising agreements. Clinton begins July with more than $44 million on hand, with an average donation of $48 to the campaign itself.

Now for the awful news. There’s been another horrible terrorist attack in Bangladesh, just a short time after the massacre in Turkey.

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen

CNN: Dhaka cafe attack ends with 20 hostages dead, 13 rescued.

Bangladeshi troops stormed an upscale bakery in Dhaka’s diplomatic enclave Saturday morning, ending an 11-hour siege by militants who killed 20 hostages and two police officers, officials said.

It was the deadliest and boldest act of terror in a country that has become increasingly numb to ever-escalating violence by Islamist militants.

The victims — most of them foreigners — were among roughly three dozen people taken hostage when attackers stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery on Friday evening with guns, explosives and other, sharp weapons Friday evening, authorities said.
Some guests and workers managed to escape, jumping from the bakery’s roof. Others crouched under chairs and tables as the gunmen fired indiscriminately, witnesses said.

Early Saturday morning, military commandos moved in. By the end, 13 people had been rescued and 20 were dead at the restaurant, officials said. Two police officers had been killed in a gunfire exchange earlier in the standoff, authorities said.

Six terrorists were killed and one was captured alive, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed said.

Exactly who was behind the attack is unclear.

Clint Eastwood skateboarding

Clint Eastwood skateboarding

Update to the story:

At least 12 of the 20 hostages who were killed in an hours-long attack at a cafe in Bangladesh’s capital over the weekend have been publicly identified, including three people who attended college in the United States.

Two of the students attended Georgia’s Emory University. That included Abinta Kabir of Miami, who was a sophomore at Emory’s campus in Oxford, Georgia. She was in Dhaka visiting family and friends, the school said.

The other was Faraaz Hossain, of Dhaka, a junior at Emory’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta….

The third student was Indian citizen Tarushi Jain, 19, who was studying at the University of California at Berkeley, according to India’s minister of external affairs, Sushma Swaraj.

At least nine of the dead were Italian nationals, Italy’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Saturday.

According to the Italian foreign ministry, they were: Adele Puglisi; Marco Tondat; Claudia Maria D’Antona; Nadia Benedetti; Vincenzo D’Allestro; Maria Rivoli; Cristian Rossi; Claudio Cappelli; and Simona Monti.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed on Saturday declared two days of mourning for the victims.

It’s all so senseless. What can I say?

Elvis with his bike

Elvis with his bike

CNN has news on the attack in Turkey: Istanbul airport attack: Planner, 2 bombers identified, report says.

Two of the three assailants in the terror attack that killed 44 people at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport have been identified as Rakim Bulgarov and Vadim Osmanov, according to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu, citing an anonymous prosecution source.

The Friday report did not identify the third attacker.

The report did not reveal their nationalities. But officials have said they believe the three attackers are from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and entered Turkey a month ago from Syria’s ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.

The report came a day after U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said the man who directed the attackers is Akhmed Chatayev, a terrorist from Russia’s North Caucasus region.

Bernie Sanders is never going to go away. I’m convinced that he agrees with Susan Sarandon that if Trump is elected president, Bernie’s long wished-for “political revolution” will magically take place. As I’ve said before, I don’t even want him to endorse Hillary, and I certainly don’t want him out campaigning for her. He would only be his passive aggressive self–seeking new ways to undercut her while pretending he doesn’t want Trump to win.

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman

From Politico: Sanders is itching for a convention fight.

Bernie Sanders is still spoiling for a convention fight.

It seemed like Democrats could finally claim unity when no member of the Democratic National Committee’s 15-person convention drafting committee voted against the draft of the policy platform draft during a meeting in St. Louis this past weekend: 13 members of the panel voted for the draft, one abstained and one missed the vote. But since then, Sanders-aligned members have teed off on the draft for not going far enough in key areas.

While both neutral national Democrats and Hillary Clinton-aligned Democrats on the DNC standing committees have hailed the draft document — which is headed to a full vote before the 187-member platform committee on July 8 and 9 in Orlando, Florida — as both satisfactory and historically progressive, Sanders supporters insist the draft remains unpalatable. Among the issues they’ve identified: the platform draft’s treatment of Medicare expansion, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a carbon tax, and a ban on fracking. Sanders and his allies are vowing to fight for changes in Orlando — and all the way to the convention in Philadelphia, if necessary.

Nothing is ever enough for Bernie and his bros.

Bogie and Bacall

Bogie and Bacall

So far, Sanders and his team have locked up draft policy wins on language for abolishing the death penalty, expanding Social Security through raising the cap on how much Americans earning $250,000 or more pay to expand benefits, and breaking up the country’s largest banks. But that’s not everything on Sanders’ lengthy priority list, so the senator and his allies are vowing to keep pushing hard.

While he admits that some gains are better than none at all, Sanders himself has already begun voicing his dissatisfaction. In an email to supporters on Thursday (titled “We’re going to the convention”) Sanders wrote that “we are going to take our political revolution into the halls of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia where we will fight to place a $15 minimum wage, opposition to TPP, and a ban on fracking directly into the Democratic Platform.”

That email came one day after the campaign asked its supporters to sign a petition demanding language against TPP be included in the platform — a top Sanders priority.

“The most significant issue for us is the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Clinton team has said there’s absolutely no daylight between their position on TPP and ours,” Sanders policy director Warren Gunnels said. “We want to make that clear in the Democratic Party platform. That the TPP should not receive a vote in the lame-duck session and beyond.

Bernie is a horrible excuse for a human being. He’s nothing but a swollen-headed narcissist with delusions of grandeur. At least we haven’t heard much from Jane lately. Maybe she’s disgusted with him too.

Katharine Hepburn skateboarding

Katharine Hepburn skateboarding

Huffington Post’s Sam Stein: Bernie Sanders’ Endgame Is Increasingly Bewildering To Team Clinton.

Democrats have for weeks treated the still-operational presidential campaign ofSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with a mix of deference and caution, worrying about too strongly pushing the occasionally irascible senator and his legion of devoted followers.

But as time has passed and the party’s convention nears, supporters of Hillary Clinton really want to know what Sanders’ endgame actually is.

The question has been prompted by some recent muddled messaging from Sanders himself. The senator has said he’ll vote for Clinton, but is declining to actually endorse her candidacy. On Tuesday, he raised the specter of convention disorder over the nuts and bolts of the party platform, all while insisting he will do everything in his power to ensure that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump loses.

The problem is, Sanders is actually doing everything in his power to help Trump win.

“So far [Sanders] has been riding a wave of good feelings in the sense he ran an incredible campaign,” said former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who served with Sanders and Clinton but has endorsed the latter.

“But that has a pretty short shelf life and then people start looking at you through a different lens, and that lens is: Are you a team player and do you have the larger picture in mind or are you just focused on yourself?” Conrad said. “At some point, pretty soon, he crosses the threshold. He may have already crossed it.”

He crossed it long ago, in my opinion.

Marilyn Monroe and James Dean

Marilyn Monroe and James Dean

With weeks to go before the party convenes in Philadelphia, Sanders’ role in that coronation of Clinton remains a mystery. He said Tuesday on MSNBC that he was taking his campaign to the convention floor in an effort to affect the platform.

“Politics is not a baseball game with winners or losers,” Sanders said at the time. “What politics is about is whether we protect the needs of millions of people in this country who are hurting.”

But changing the platform with the dramatic stripes that would satisfy the senator and his supporters seems unlikely. The party, for example, will be hard-pressed to formally disavow trade deals that its leader (President Barack Obama, not Clinton) still supports.

“You can’t have a platform that will embarrass the president,” said one prominent Democratic National Committee official.

But that’s what Bernie wants. And frankly, he has already embarrassed President Obama. He has also made a fool of himself. But I don’t think he’ll quit–maybe not even after the convention.

I’ll end with a silly story about Clinton Derangement Syndrome from The Washington Post: Watch people attack Hillary Clinton for dishonesty — while lying through their teeth.

Jimmy Kimmel’s “Lie Witness News” took to the streets to ask people about the approximately 160 previously unreleased Clinton emails this week. The show, of course, totally made up what was actually in the rather bland emails — saying Clinton was responding to spam from Nigerian princes and asking Vladimir Putin for shirtless pictures, for instance. But that didn’t stop these people from describing how they had read about these non-existent emails and berating Clinton over them.

The best part? The interviewer gets almost all of these liars to attack Clinton for her lack of honesty.

Here’s the video. It’s maddening but funny.

Have a fabulous Fourth of July Weekend Sky Dancers!!


Tuesday Reads

 hillary-clinton-and-elizabeth-warren-700x460

Good Morning!!

My mom just called me to find out why MSNBC is hyping the Republicans’ Benghazi! report. I’m not watching; but I guess we can just assume that the so-called “liberal” cable channel is going to continue rooting against Hillary even if it means electing a completely unqualified, ignorant racist who hates the media and wants to take away press freedoms. Ugh.

Even The New York Times admits the report contains nothing new, even though they fail to note until way down in the story that the “committee report” released today comes only from the Republican members. They didn’t even let their Democratic colleagues read it. The Democrats on the committee released their report yesterday. Here’s a quick read on what’s in the report.

Vice News: Two years and $7 million later, the Benghazi report is finally out.

After two years and $7 million, Republicans on the House Benghazi Committee have released their long-awaited report on the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi — a report that concludes then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not directly at fault for the events that led to the death of four American citizens.

The report did slam the Obama administration for its handling of the aftermath of the attacks, citing a combination of bureaucratic inefficiency, personal error and willful ignorance of intelligence for the bungled response. But the committee’s findings do not directly indict Clinton for the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, or found that she willfully ignored calls for security, charges that Republicans have continuously leveled at her.

In fact, the report barely focuses on Clinton at all, but rather reveals a more comprehensive timeline of events based on interviews with eyewitnesses and senior intelligence officials.

Among the revelations in the Committee’s 800-page report is that the CIA missed real-time intelligence about the situation on the ground that led the agency to bungle its response to the violent protests that led to the deaths of Americans at the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi. The government then misled the public about what had happened in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

“It is not clear what additional intelligence would have satisfied either [State Department aide Patrick] Kennedy or the Secretary in understanding the Benghazi mission compound was at risk — short of an attack,” the report says.

There’s not much new in that article either, but you can check it out for yourself.

 

Protesters wave Mexican flags and signs on the road leading into Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland, June 25, 2016. (Reuters Photo)

Protesters wave Mexican flags and signs on the road leading into Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland, June 25, 2016. (Reuters Photo)

Some pundits have assumed that terrorist attacks would help Donald Trump in his sad run for the presidency. It doesn’t look that way so far. The Washington Post reports: Donald Trump’s big, bold response to terrorism is a big bust with Americans.

Hillary Clinton has reestablished her advantage over Donald Trump on dealing with terrorism following the candidates’ very different reactions to the nation’s largest-ever mass shooting in Orlando, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

By a 50-to-39 percent margin, more say they trust Clinton than Trump to handle terrorism — similar to her 54-40 edge in March but wider than her narrow three-point edge in May after Trump became the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee….

The latest shift stands in stark contrast to political impact of the last major terrorist attacks that colored U.S. politics. After the Paris and San Bernardino attacks in late 2015, Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims entering the U.S. received wide support among fellow Republicans, and it helped bolster his support heading into the GOP nomination contest.

The latest poll numbers, of course, show how the larger electorate feels about Trump’s handling of foreign policy and terrorism — not just GOP voters. And it’s yet another bad sign for Trump’s presidential aspirations come November.

Clinton isn’t the only Democrat to get a boost. President Obama’s approval for handling terrorism went from 45 percent in June to 50 percent this month, ending a stretch of underwater ratings (more disapproval than approval) since early 2015. After the Paris attacks, Obama’s approval mark on the issue dropped to a record-low 40 percent.

Read the details and check out the charts at the WaPo.

Trump has finally started sending out fundraising emails, and apparently he isn’t aware that he can’t accept donations from foreign nationals. He sent emails to Scottish MP’s last week asking them to donate. One recipient wrote a response.

The Scotsman: Natalie McGarry publicly rebuffs Donald Trump fundraising plea.

Independent Scottish MP Natalie McGarry

Independent Scottish MP Natalie McGarry

McGarry, who is the MP for Glasgow East, wrote a sharp reply to the Presidential hopeful’s son, and shared her response with her 15,000 Twitter followers.

In her letter she wrote: “Quite why you think it appropriate to write emails to UK parliamentarians with a begging bowl for your father’s repugnant campaign is completely beyond me.

“Given his rhetoric on migrants, refugees and immigration, it seems quite extraordinary that he would be asking foreign nationals for money; especially people who view his dangerous divisiveness with horror.

“The US elections are a matter for the American people, but I do send my warm hope that they reject your father fundamentally at the ballot box.”

She added: “The thought of his reactionary type of politics and apparent ignorance of world affairs having access to a seat at the world table is both surreal, and terrifying.

“The above is a long way to say No, and do not contact me again.”

ROFLOL!

Josh Marshall on the way things are going for Trump: “How Does It Feel To Be Losing So Badly?”

In the Trumpian world of pure alpha dominance no failure or state of existence is more total, hopeless, unmanning or unbearable. He is now living there, in public, each day, for all to see, even helpfully enumerated on most days in new poll numbers. A brittle narcissistic ego, coddled for decades by armies of yes men and a generally fawning business and tabloid press, won’t hold up well under that kind of strain.

Losing is always hard. Few of us have ever been candidates for public office. But we all know this from our own lives. But it is uniquely hard for Trump’s campaign because the campaign’s entire premise is “winning” and on a slightly less literal level on what I’ve called dominance politics. Losing is hard for any campaign both emotionally for all involved but also because losing is demoralizing and can trigger a self-perpetuating cycle. But most campaign’s have issue agendas, goals that provide an emotional and aspirational ballast to the effort. You may be losing but that doesn’t invalidate what you believe or the substance of your proposed policies. That’s not true for Trump because “winning” isn’t just the goal it’s the raison d’etre and premise of the whole effort. A candidacy based on “winning” which is in fact losing and perhaps losing badly isn’t just on the ropes; it begins to look ridiculous.

Read the rest at the link.

BernieSanders_c0-256-4896-3110_s885x516

From New York Magazine, a sad story about another sad sack: The Sanders Campaign Tried to Rig Caucus Tiebreakers With Double-Sided Coins.

The Democratic primary wasn’t rigged — despite the best efforts of Bernie Sanders’s staffers in Nevada. On Monday, CBS News published a postmortem on the Vermont senator’s campaign, which includes this anecdote about how Sanders’s Silver State director Joan Kato prepared her team for caucus day:

At one point shortly before the caucuses, she instructed staff to buy double-sided coins — in case coin-flips were needed to decide any of the caucuses in the event of a tie, according to staffers.

All that yelling about Hillary being “corrupt” was just projection.

And how are things going for Hillary? Great! Here’s Ruby Cramer on Clinton’s joint appearance with Elizabeth Warren in Cincinnati yesterday: Elizabeth Warren Finally Opens Her Arms To Hillary Clinton. Cramer notes that two years ago when these two famous women campaigned on the same stage in Massachusetts for then candidate for Governor Martha Coakley, Warren “barely mentioned Clinton.” But now it’s different between them.

Two years later, the 2016 election has forged a vastly different Clinton–Warren alliance.

Here on Monday, beneath the painted dome of the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, they emerged for their first joint appearance, unveiling a powerful new partnership aimed at Donald Trump, with none of the old distance and unease.

The pair arrived together, Clinton leading the way onto a circular platform in the middle of the hall. Around the stage, 2,600 crowded into the historic atrium. Warren threw out both hands, palms to the ceiling, as if in awe of the scene around her.

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Clinton motioned Warren toward the podium, then stood near the back of the stage and took a breath. “Woo!” she mouthed. Over the sound of the crowd, Warren leaned into the microphone with the same surprised look: “Whoa!” she said. Thank you!”

“I’m here today because I’m with her. Yes, her!”

Later, as Clinton spoke, Warren stood to the side and listened intently, reacting to each line along with the voters below. To a mention of infrastructure investment, Warren nodded fiercely and let out a “yes!” To a promise of student loan relief, she jumped up and down on her toes. To a dig at corporations, she pumped her fist in the air. And when the candidate led the crowd into one of her favorite lines — about playing the “woman’s card” — Warren chanted along on cue: “Deal me in!”

More than most of the campaign’s surrogates on the trail, Warren took the stage for Clinton with a distinct mission, taking a high-energy and unapologetic approach to the job of attack dog, with a speech that complemented Clinton’s, not simply introduced it.

Well you probably saw the speech–if you didn’t please be sure to watch it. And read much more about it at the Buzzfeed link.

Bernie Sanders could have done what Warren has done. He probably could have been another good attack dog against Trump. But he chose a different path, and now it’s too late. I really hope he doesn’t campaign for Hillary, and I couldn’t care less if he endorses her. His followers have mostly jumped on her bandwagon, and those who are still wallowing in self-pity won’t be needed. I dread the thought of Bernie campaigning at this point, because I’m convinced he would only find underhanded ways to damage her. I just hope he continues to fade from public view.

What stories are you following today? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a terrific Tuesday!


Lazy Saturday Reads

Lazy Way, Stephen LaPierre

Lazy Way, Stephen LaPierre

Good Afternoon!!

I’m feeling particularly lazy today–mostly I just don’t want to read any news. I’d rather be reading a novel, a true crime book, or maybe a biography. But I’ve been forcing myself to surf around to see what’s going on, and here’s what I’ve come up with.

The primaries are over, but Bernie Sanders is still hanging around like party guest who won’t leave even after everyone else has gone home and the party-givers have done the dishes and are dying to get some sleep.

Tommy Christopher on Bernie’s Thursday podcast to his supporters: Bernie Sanders Flips Off Black Voters On His Way Out the Door.

Bernie Sanders is going to delay getting into the fight against Donald Trump so that he can get a few good ideas, a few iffy ideas, and a few bad ideas into the Democratic Party platform, a document that is about as useful as a roll of Charmin, but considerably less soothing to the skin. Just for good measure, he wants to get rid of Superdelegates and open up the primaries, which will work out great for Bernie Sanders from a year ago, but which will suck the first time Democrats have to run a primary against an incumbent Republican president, and Republican voters decide to vote in Democratic primaries just to mess with us. Brilliant, but none of which required him to continue to slight Hillary Clinton, except he might make Susan Sarandon and her purse dog mad.

Those Lazy Days of Summer, Jan Matson

Those Lazy Days of Summer, Jan Matson

Instead, Bernie will wait until he’s good and ready to make a half-assed endorsement of Hillary Clinton that will succeed only in winning a news cycle or two for Donald Trump, as he and the media rehash every attack he’s made against her, and every painstaking yank of the pliers it took to extract said half-assed endorsement.

But there’s something even more revealing about Bernie’s speech to supporters, because wrapped around those relevant 107 seconds was about 22 other minutes of Bernie boilerplate that neatly laid out his priorities. Throughout this campaign, Bernie and his supporters have continually insisted that if black voters would only stop and listen and give him a chance, they’d be dazzled by his down-ness and abandon their habitual support for Hillary….

Black people got tacked onto a few lists of other things, and some lines about failing schools and criminal justice reform. Or to put it another way, what black voters could expect from a Rand Paul speech. Not a syllable about ending police brutality or racial profiling, nothing about the Voting Rights Act or any other Republican schemes to disenfranchise black voters, and those are just the easy ones. Fifty-six seconds out of 23 minutes, and none of the bullet points he rushed up onto his website when #BlackLivesMatter protesters hassled him almost a year ago. Yeah, black voters had Bernie all wrong, didn’t they?

Watch Sanders’ almost-nonexistent thoughts on the Black vote at Mediaite.

1

More commentary on Bernie’s remarks from Matthew Yglesias: One sentence from Bernie Sanders’s speech last night that really enrages Democratic leaders.

As you can probably guess, most Democratic Party insiders were really hoping Bernie Sanders would formally drop out of the race this week and offer Hillary Clinton a fulsome endorsement. But they also recognize that he’s stopped attacking her, is promising to work against Donald Trump, and has basically accepted that the race is over — so if he wants to fade away slowly, they are happy to live with that.

The aspect of Sanders’s speech that really set them off last night was something entirely different. Not the fact that Sanders said he wanted his supporters to continue to influence the direction of the party but the specific way he characterized this direction:

I also look forward to working with Secretary Clinton to transform the Democratic Party so that it becomes a party of working people and young people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors: a party that has the courage to take on Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the fossil fuel industry and the other powerful special interests that dominate our political and economic life.

It’s incredibly frustrating for people who’ve been working in mainstream Democratic Party politics to hear their party described as something other than a party for “working people.” Clinton won the votes of millions of working-class Americans, primarily people of color, throughout the 2016 primaries; and in the 2012, 2008, 2004, and 2000 election cycles there’s been a pronounced tendency for lower-income voters to back the Democratic candidate and higher-income ones to back the Republican.

Similarly, it comes as a shock to people who participated in the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill (or the White House’s series of later anti-bank regulatory actions) or who’ve worked to uphold the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plant rule that they apparently lack the courage to stand up to Wall Street and fossil fuel interests.

It’s one thing to disagree with people about policy substance or political tactics. But something Sanders has done throughout his campaign and very pointedly did here is straightforwardly challenge the good faith of the vast majority of his colleagues in Democratic Party politics. It’s worked pretty well for him on the stump, but it doesn’t win you a lot of friends. And to be honest, it’s simply wrong — you can raise a lot of objections to Obama’s approach to Wall Street or climate change, but the fact is that the financial services industry and the fossil fuel industries have been fighting him every step of the way.

Barney Frank was right. Bernie Sanders alienates his natural allies, whether deliberately or because he’s simply a terrible politician.

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer, Claire Beadon Carnell

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer, Claire Beadon Carnell

From Slate: Bernie Sanders Officially Announces He Will Run for President Forever.

on Thursday, the Vermont senator announced he had an announcement to make. It’s been a long campaign, and Hillary Clinton bested him on every conceivable metric—albeit narrowly in some—other than the party-liquefying convention nuclear option to which Sanders doesn’t have the codes anyway. So, on Thursday night, the Vermont senator gathered friends, loved ones, and supporters around the country to huddle around a live video feed to humbly announce: He’s still running for president.

To be fair, Sanders hinted that soon he will be done and his “role” will change in a “very short period of time,” but he notably stopped well short of even remotely ending his campaign or endorsing Hillary Clinton.

Frankly, I doubt if he’ll ever endorse her, and I just don’t care. I don’t want him to campaign for her; I just want him to disappear.

One more by Sahil Kapur at Bloomberg: Sanders’ Long Refusal to Endorse Clinton Hurts His Leverage.

Even with his path to the Democratic presidential nomination rapidly disappearing, Bernie Sanders couldn’t bring himself to publicly accept defeat. Along the way, he overplayed his hand and squandered the political capital he’ll need to force policy and procedural reforms on the Democratic Party, according to allies and party strategists.

“We’re already way past the maximum point of leverage that he and his movement built up. It’s definitely dissipating every day,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist and veteran of presidential campaigns.

Trippi put the high point of Sanders’ clout at April 9, after he won seven straight contests ending with Wyoming. But he lost seven of the last nine contests, walloped by 58 points in the District of Columbia, which held the final primary of the season on Tuesday. Hillary Clinton already had locked up the nomination with a decisive victory in California a week earlier, and some of the highest-profile Sanders supporters—including Senator Jeff Merkley, Representative Raul Grijalva, and the liberal activist group MoveOn—are now lining up behind her.

Read the rest at the link.

While Bernie continues to wallow in sour grapes, Hillary Clinton has been very busy defining Donald Trump for the folks who are just beginning to pay attention.

Lazy Summer, Mitch Caster

Lazy Summer, Mitch Caster

FirstPost.com: Hillary Clinton brings out ads to give Donald Trump “rude awakening.”

Hillary Clinton and her Democratic allies have invested at least $41 million in commercials in crucial states such as Ohio, Florida and Nevada over the next six weeks, a series of summer broadsides against her Republican opponent. Those messages will be echoed by hundreds of Clinton workers in those same states and amplified by President Barack Obama and other top Democrats.

Trump has made few preparations for contending with that sort of well-oiled political machine. His campaign has no advertising plans and is just now hiring employees in important states. Republican leaders are far from agreement on how best to talk to voters about the polarising billionaire, or if they will at all. And Trump is running out of time: Early voting starts in Iowa in just three and a half months.

“It’s political malpractice,” said Mitch Stewart, Obama’s 2012 battleground states director and a Clinton backer. “He’s in for a rude awakening. This isn’t a national vote contest where you can be on cable news every day and dominate coverage. This is literally going state by state and coming up with a plan in each.”

Clinton’s large June and July ad buy comes as a reward for her near-constant fundraising. In May, she raised $27 million in primary election money that must be used before she accepts her party’s nomination at the convention in late July.

Trump is playing catch up. He did not begin raising money in earnest until 25 May, having largely financed his primary bid through personal loans to his campaign.

Clinton’s latest spots, highlighting her past advocacy for children, are an attempt to reintroduce the returning presidential candidate — she lost the 2008 Democratic primary to Obama — to general election voters. Her campaign is spending about $23 million on ads by the convention, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media’s CMAG.

But those voters are also hearing from Priorities USA, a super political action committee financed by millions of dollars from Clinton’s staunchest supporters. The goal of those that $18.7 million batch of ads: cast Trump as a con-man and bully unprepared to be commander in chief.

Key West, Thomas Kinkade

Key West, Thomas Kinkade

As I wrote on Thursday, it’s beginning to look like Trump isn’t making even a halfhearted attempt to run for president. He seems to be focusing on deep red and deep blue states and ignoring the swing states he would have to win in order to have any hope of beating Hillary. He spent yesterday in Texas.

Yesterday the AP learned that the Trump campaign has only 30 paid staffers on the ground nationwide.

His campaign roiled by infighting and Republican revolt, Donald Trump is working to address a battleground state staffing shortage that highlights his reliance on a skeptical GOP establishment.

The New York billionaire has slowly begun to add paid staff in a handful of swing states — Wisconsin and Iowa, among them — even as campaign officials concede the presumptive presidential nominee has little desire or capacity to construct the kind of massive national operation that has come to define modern-day White House campaigns. Trump plans instead to depend upon the national Republican Party to lead state-based efforts on his behalf, while Democrat Hillary Clinton has had an army of staff dedicated specifically to her campaign in general election battlegrounds for months.

“It would be disingenuous and wrongheaded to take a playbook that has been used over and over again,” said Trump senior aide Karen Giorno, in charge of an 11-state Southeastern bloc including battlegrounds Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. “We are creating the playbook.

The unconventional approach reflects Trump’s disdain for traditional Republican campaign practices and inclination to implement businesslike decision-making. It also carries substantial risk.If, for instance, Trump is lagging Clinton badly in polls come early fall, there is nothing to stop the RNC from cutting its losses and focusing instead on saving Republican control of the Senate or other competitive contests also on the ballot this November. Beth Myers, who managed 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign, said White House candidates have unique needs that a broader-brush approach cannot always meet.

“We are creating the playbook.” Unbelievable.

What stories are you following today?