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Monday, October 24, 2016


If I wrote for The Onion

by Tom Sullivan

If I wrote for The Onion:

Hillary Clinton strategists engaged in strategy
House Republicans launch investigation

The Onion has yet to call with a job offer, but the Wall Street Journal might be in the running:

The political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an influential Democrat with longstanding ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, gave nearly $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who later helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email use.
Matt Yglesias tweeted:

Dave Weigel piles on:

We are going to see a lot of this "Six Degrees of Hillary Clinton" in the nest few years. Tina DuPuy predicted this years ago:

Here's how to play: Find a horrible tragedy anywhere in the world and in six degrees or fewer—blame Hillary Clinton.

Several hundred Nigerian schoolgirls are kidnapped by the terrorist cult, Boko Haram. The media pays absolutely no attention to it. Weeks later after a social media campaign to highlight this appalling act of violence, the world finally notices: #BringBackOurGirls

Even Fox News picks up the story! Steve Doocy on Fox and Friends offers, "And who exactly made sure that they [Boko Haram] were not placed on the terror list? Hillary Clinton."
Of course, you can play it with other politicians too.

Let's see. The Pacific Coast Borax Company sponsored future president Ronald Reagan in Death Valley Days. His sponsor was later bought out by the Dial Corporation, a division of the German Henkel Corporation that paid reparations for using slave labor during WWII. As president, Reagan named a William Henkel as Special Assistant to the President and made a controversial trip to German military cemetery to honor the German war dead. Anyone can do it.

(Yes, that's all snark.)

And so it goes:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The other side of the story

by digby

This election has been all about how everyone in the whole country hates everyone else and thinks the country is going to hell in a hand basket. It has struck me as a little bit simplistic from the beginning. Nothing's that clear cut even when it comes to the hand basket of deplorables.

James Fallows has been following that story and has a different view:
Over the past year-plus my wife Deb and I have been arguing that the “build a wall!”-style anti-immigration furor in Republican party politics does not match the lived reality of the parts of the United States where immigration is having the biggest and most obvious effect.

That’s part of the case I made in a cover story in March; that I wrote about in Dodge City, Kansas, in July; and that Deb chronicled in a visit with a Syrian refugee family in Erie, Pennsylvania, in August. Through American history, immigration has always been disruptive—at many periods, much more disruptive than it is now. At nearly every point in its history, people already present have viewed whatever group is most recently arrived as “different” and “worse” than the groups that had previously assimilated and generally succeeded. But compared with most other societies, the process of assimilation has continued to grind on in the United States, and overall (as I argue elsewhere) has been to the country’s enormous benefit.

Now the Atlantic’s video team has put out a great video treatment of this theme. It’s produced by Nic Pollock and was shot this summer in Dodge City, Erie, and also the San Joaquin Valley of California around Fresno.

Basically, it takes leaders and institutions to make anti-immigrant fervor happen. That's what Trump and the GOP have done.

Sunday Funnies

by digby

Via DKos

h/t to @JonRiley7
A hall of mirrors

by digby

This quote from a former Wikileaks employee from a couple of years back struck me. He quit the organization over ethical concerns and they fought him back. He writes:
Seeing yourself portrayed by WikiLeaks is like walking through a circus hall of mirrors: there’s just enough resemblance for you to recognize yourself, but you’re seriously distorted—and usually in a way that makes you look grotesque.
I have no idea what's going on with them at the moment, but they are openly taking a partisan position in the election on behalf of Donald Trump even though Trump is an authoritarian opposed to everything they used to stand for. No one who works for Trump in the name of civil liberties can be trusted.

I will treat them the same way I treat Breitbart and the Daily Caller going forward: as a propaganda outfit. I don't know on whose behalf they are propagandizing but their support for Trump makes it clear that it's not an entity that shares my values.

*And for the record, I do not conflate Edward Snowden with Wikileaks. Snowden is a whistleblower not a partisan. I've seen no evidence that he's interested in playing the kind of games Wikileaks is playing.  I doubt he's much enamored of either candidate since Trump is a monster and Clinton is an establishment politician who is unlikely to be any more sympathetic to his situation than President Obama. One might hope that the media's obsession with her correspondence and the hacking of her campaign emails would open up her perceptions a bit on the necessity to protect privacy from both hackers and the government but it will be surprising. Government officials are almost unanimously oriented toward protecting the intelligence communities' prerogatives.

Buzzfeed has an updated version of this story by the same person. yikes.


Politics and Reality Radio with Joshua Holland: A Debate With Kshama Sawant: Is a Vote for Jill Stein Wasted?

by Joshua Holland

This week, we start off with a debate between Joshua Holland and Seattle City Councillor Kshama Sawant about whether a vote for Jill Stein is an investment in breaking the two-party system in the future (Sawant) or a waste of time for ad ineffective and self-marginalizing third party (Holland). The debate was produced by KUOW public radio in Seattle, which was kind enough to offer us permission to include it in this week's show.

Central to Sawant's argument is that efforts to push Dems to the left have been fruitless. So our second guest gives this week's show a theme of sorts.

We're joined by Kaitlin Sweeney, press secretary for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group that's dedicated to promoting the idea of the Warren/Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. And Sweeney gives us a recap of the third and final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

A-Punk: "Vampire Weekend"
U2: "In a Little While"
Eric Clapton: "Wonderful Tonight"
Waterboarded by the issues

by digby

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) said early Sunday that Donald Trump has been "waterboarded" in this presidential campaign.

"He's been waterboarded by these issues," Brewer, a top Trump surrogate, told Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union."

"It's seems like it's really been kind of somewhat of a put-up oppression of Donald Trump from all of these people lining up. It's just unbelievable."

I don't know what she was saying since it's gibberish. But I do know that Donald Trump says he loves waterboarding and thinks it's great:

Now Donald Trump is probably going to fade away and people are going to want to forget that he was a GOP nominee for president. But NEVER FORGET how many millions of people voted for that sadistic fascist --- listen to their cheers when he said he loves torture. These people live among us.

When she heard

by digby

The moment lifelong Cubs fan Hillary Clinton heard they're going to the World Series for the first time since 1945:


Turnout, turnout, turnout

by Tom Sullivan

Democrats prospects for winning the Senate improved markedly in recent days, according to Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight:

Thanks to big shifts in several key races, Democrats now have a 73 percent chance of winning the Senate, according to the FiveThirtyEight polls-plus forecast, and a 72 percent chance according to polls-only. Both those numbers are up by more than 15 percentage points from last week, when the polls-plus model gave them a 56 percent chance and the polls-only model 54 percent.
That report is a couple of days old. That has slipped to 69 percent since then.

Real Clear Politics predicts Democrats will pick up Indiana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Illinois for a 50-50 tie. In Pennsylvania, Democrat Katie McGinty holds a narrow lead in FiveThirtyEight's rankings.

Eric Levitz has a rundown on the current state of competitive seats at New York magazine. Regarding North Carolina, he writes,"incumbent Republican Richard Burr retains an advantage over Democratic challenger Deborah Ross. But Ross is gaining ground. And early voting in the Tarheel State suggests Republican turnout may be down significantly from where it was in 2012."

More about North Carolina in a minute. Levitz concludes, unsurprisingly:
Ultimately, turnout could be the decisive factor in all of these races. The central hope of every anxious GOP operative is that, eventually, Trump’s collapse will actually redound to the benefit of down-ballot Republicans. The idea being that Americans will vote for a check on President Clinton, out of a misguided belief that divided government would produce compromise, instead of dysfunctional gridlock.
Early voting commenced in North Carolina on Thursday. Early numbers indicate no "enthusiasm gap." There were long lines at voting stations across the state:
Dr. Michael Bitzer at Old North State blog summarizes the first two days of voting:

Demographic and party shifts are changing how the state votes. A majority of registered voters indicate they were born outside the state. Bitzer writes:

In comparison to four years ago, the total number of absentee ballots (both mail-in and in-person) is down about 3 percent (501,651 compared to 2012's cumulative total of 513,188 on the same day out from Election Day), but there are significant shifts in party registration numbers within those totals.
A reporter from Die Welt asked me yesterday about Trump's field game. He asked me why I laughed. Here's why:
The Democrats have 27 field offices in North Carolina compared with 11 for the Republicans, according to the FiveThirtyEight political blog and by my own count. (Nationally, the Democrats have 489 field offices while the Republicans have 207 offices.)


The Democrats also seem to have far more staff operatives in the state, with staff even working in such small but Democratic-leaning areas as Bertie County in the northeast. Democrats say there are more than 150 staffers in the state with some 40,000 volunteers.

“This is a ground game that is as robust as we have seen since 2008,” said Brad Crone, a veteran Democratic consultant. “There is no comparison between what the Democrats have done with their field plan and what the Republicans have done.”
Deborah Ross, down 2.8 points to incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr in the RCP Average, will need that turnout advantage to pull out a win in North Carolina on Election Day. No matter how favorable the early voting numbers look for Democrats, no matter how it appears they have run up the score, one always has to remember Republicans bat last.

Anecdotally, the GOP here is in disarray. One of the drivers who resupplies Democratic poll greeters here throughout the day reported speaking briefly with a GOP volunteer outside an early voting site on Saturday. The man said he was there for a couple of hours and that was all for this cycle. It was his only shift. Our driver told him he was scheduled for four hours, and then for several other days during early voting.

"That sounds like a lot of work," the Republican volunteer said.

As Yoda might say, "That is why you fail."

Saturday, October 22, 2016

He's always been a jerk

by digby

You remember this from the last debate, when he angrily tore up his notes at the end ....

He's prone to such tantrums:
If you’ve seen Home Alone 2 or The Little Rascals, you already know that Donald Trump used to get a kick out of playing himself in movies. According to a new Newsmax report, producers in the entertainment industry described him as someone who “wasn’t a hard get” because he would be in any movie as long as he could highlight his fame and wealth. To that end, they also described him as “incredibly pompous.”

One of the most interesting parts of the Newsmax report is the story of Trump’s appearance alongside then-wife Marla Maples on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The article says this:

According to a member of the crew—who spoke on condition of anonymity because she fears jeopardizing her current job—Trump threw a small tantrum backstage. He was holding a paper-clipped stack of pages with his lines when he became annoyed about something. He motioned as if to hand them off to Maples and, when she reached for them, threw them all over the floor so the pages went flying.

Maples was reportedly extremely apologetic for her husband’s behavior and told Fresh Prince production staff not to worry about helping her clean the mess. No one could remember exactly what set Trump off, but executive producer Gary H. Miller was able to recall that Trump was worried his lines weren’t funny enough.

“I would never think of giving you any advice about real estate, because I don’t know about real estate,” he said he told the mogul. “But I do know comedy—and trust me, you’ll get a laugh.”
A real email scandal

by digby

This is a Newsweek story from a month or so ago that you might want to keep handy when some rightwinger starts screaming about emails:

For 18 months, Republican strategists, political pundits, reporters and Americans who follow them have been pursuing Hillary Clinton’s personal email habits, and no evidence of a crime has been found. But now they at least have the skills and interest to focus on a much larger and deeper email conspiracy, one involving war, lies, a private server run by the Republican Party and contempt of Congress citations—all of it still unsolved and unpunished.

Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.

Like Clinton, the Bush White House used a private email server—its was owned by the Republican National Committee. And the Bush administration failed to store its emails, as required by law, and then refused to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking some of those emails. “It’s about as amazing a double standard as you can get,” says Eric Boehlert, who works with the pro-Clinton group Media Matters. “If you look at the Bush emails, he was a sitting president, and 95 percent of his chief advisers’ emails were on a private email system set up by the RNC. Imagine if for the last year and a half we had been talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails set up on a private DNC server?”

President Bush and Former American Vice President Dick Cheney in the Presidential Limousine. Smith Collection/Gado/Getty

Most troubling, researchers found a suspicious pattern in the White House email system blackouts, including periods when there were no emails available from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. “That the vice president’s office, widely characterized as the most powerful vice president in history, should have no archived emails in its accounts for scores of days—especially days when there was discussion of whether to invade Iraq—beggared the imagination,” says Thomas Blanton, director of the Washington-based National Security Archive. The NSA (not to be confused with the National Security Agency, the federal surveillance organization) is a nonprofit devoted to obtaining and declassifying national security documents and is one of the key players in the effort to recover the supposedly lost Bush White House emails.

The media paid some attention to the Bush email chicanery but spent considerably less ink and airtime than has been devoted to Clinton’s digital communications in the past 18 months. According to the Boston social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon, which ran a study for Newsweek, there have been 560,397 articles mentioning Clinton’s emails between March 2015 and September 1, 2016.

In 1978, Congress passed the Presidential Records Act (PRA), which mandated that all presidential and vice presidential records created after January 20, 1981, be preserved and that the public, not the president, owned the records. The following year, the Reagan administration installed the White House’s rudimentary first email system.

Despite the PRA, neither the Reagan nor the George H.W. Bush administration maintained email records, even as the number of White House emails began growing exponentially. (The Bush administration would produce around 200 million.) In 1989, a federal lawsuit to force the White House to comply with the PRA was filed by several groups, including the National Security Archive, which at the time was mostly interested in unearthing the secret history of the Cold War. The suit sparked a last-minute court order, issued in the waning hours of the first Bush presidency, that prevented 6,000 White House email backup tapes from being erased.

When Bill Clinton moved into the White House, his lawyers supported the elder Bush in his effort to uphold a side deal he’d cut with the National Archives and Records Administration to allow him to treat his White House emails as personal. At the time, George Stephanopoulos—then the White House communications director—defended the resistance, saying his boss, like Bush, didn't want subsequent, and potentially unfriendly, administrations rooting around in old emails.

The Clinton White House eventually settled the suit, and White House aide John Podesta—now Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman—even invited members of the National Security Archive into the White House to demonstrate how the new system worked. If anyone tried to delete an email, a message would pop up on screen indicating that to do so would be in violation of the PRA.

“We were happy with that,” recalls Blanton, who edited a book on the Reagan-Bush email evasion, White House E-Mail: The Top Secret Messages the Reagan/Bush White House Tried to Destroy.

Eight years later, in 2003, a whistleblower told the National Security Archive that the George W. Bush White House was no longer saving its emails. The Archive and another watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (which had represented outed CIA agent Valerie Plame in her case against the Bush administration), refiled their original lawsuit.

The plaintiffs soon discovered that Bush aides had simply shut down the Clinton automatic email archive, and they identified the start date of the lost emails as January 1, 2003. The White House claimed it had switched to a new server and in the process was unable to maintain an archive—a claim that many found dubious.

Bush administration emails could have aided a special prosecutor’s investigation into a White House effort to discredit a diplomat who disagreed with the administration’s fabricated Iraq WMD evidence by outing his CIA agent wife, Plame. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who was brought in to investigate that case, said in 2006 that he believed some potentially relevant emails sent by aides in Cheney's office were in the administration's system but he couldn’t get them.

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney listens as former President George W. Bush makes remarks about the U.S. defense budget after meeting with military leaders at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., November 29, 2007. Larry Downing/Reuters

The supposedly lost emails also prevented Congress from fully investigating, in 2007, the politically motivated firing of nine U.S. attorneys. When the Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed related emails, Bush’s attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez, said many were inaccessible or lost on a nongovernmental private server run by the RNC and called gwb43.com. The White House, meanwhile, officially refused to comply with the congressional subpoena.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called the president’s actions “Nixonian stonewalling” and at one point took to the floor in exasperation and shouted, “They say they have not been preserved. I don't believe that!” His House counterpart, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), said Bush's assertion of executive privilege was unprecedented and displayed “an appalling disregard for the right of the people to know what is going on in their government.”

In court in May 2008, administration lawyers contended that the White House had lost three months’ worth of email backups from the initial days of the Iraq War. Bush aides thus evaded a court-ordered deadline to describe the contents of digital backup believed to contain emailsdeleted in 2003 between March—when the U.S. invaded Iraq—and September. They also refused to give the NSA nonprofit any emails relating to the Iraq War, despite the PRA, blaming a system upgrade that had deleted up to 5 million emails. The plaintiffs eventually contended that the Bush administration knew about the problem in 2005 but did nothing to fix it.

Eventually, the Bush White House admitted it had lost 22 million emails, not 5 million. Then, in December 2009—well into Barack Obama’s administration—the White House said it found 22 million emails, dated between 2003 and 2005, that it claimed had been mislabeled. That cache was given to the National Archives, and it and other plaintiffs agreed, on December 14, 2009, to settle theirlawsuit. But the emails have not yet been made available to the public.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was operating on a different track but having no more luck. In a bipartisan vote in 2008, the committee found White House aides Karl Rove and Joshua Bolten in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas in the investigation of the fired U.S. attorneys. The penalties for contempt are fines and possible jail time, but no punishment was ever handed down because a D.C. federal appeals court stayed the Senate’s ruling in October 2008, while the White House appealed. Rove’s lawyer claimed Rove did not “intentionally delete” any emails but was only conducting “the type of routine deletions people make to keep their inboxes orderly,” according to the Associated Press.

By then, Obama was weeks away from winning the election, so the Bush administration basically ran out the clock. And neither the Obama administration nor the Senate committee pursued the matter.

The committee’s final report on the matter was blunt: “[T]his subversion of the justice system has included lying, misleading, stonewalling and ignoring the Congress in our attempts to find out precisely what happened. The reasons given for these firings were contrived as part of a cover-up, and the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort.”

At the time, some journalists and editorialists complained about a lack of transparency on the White House’s part, butThe Washington Post, in an editorial, accepted the White House explanation that the emails could have been lost due to flawed IT systems.

The mystery of what was in the missing Bush emails and why they went missing is still years away from being solved—if ever. The National Archives now has 220 million emails from the Bush White House, and there is a long backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests already. But not all of the emails will be available to the public until 2021, when the presidential security restrictions elapse. Even then, with currently available archiving and sorting methods, researchers still have years of work to figure out whether Cheney deleted days’ worth of emails around the time of the WMD propaganda campaign that led to war, Blanton says.

“To your question of what’s in there—we don't know,” he says. “There was not a commitment at the top for saving it all. Now was that resistance motivated by political reasons? Or was it ‘We gotta save money’?”

Former U.S. President George W. Bush winks to a member of the audience before he delivers the final State of the Union address of his presidency at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 28, 2008. Tim Sloan/Reuters

Like Leahy, Blanton has doubts that the emails were ever truly “lost,” given that every email exists in two places, with the sender and with the recipient. But unlike watchdog group Judicial Watch, which has been relentless about forcing the State Department to publicly release Hillary Clinton’s emails, Blanton and his fellow researchers have decided not to press their fight for the release of the Bush emails.

Blanton says he has no idea whether the Bush email record will be found intact after 2021, when his group will be allowed to do a systematic search and recovery process in the National Archives. “Did they find all of them? We don't know,” he says. “Our hope is that by that time, the government and the National Archives will have much better technology and tools with which to sift and sort that kind of volume.”

Blanton says he’s not expecting that kind of upgrade, though. “Their entire budget is less than the cost of a single Marine One helicopter,” he says. “It’s an underfunded orphan.”

Meanwhile, the episode has been nearly forgotten by almost everyone but the litigants. A source involved with the stymied congressional investigation recalled the period as “an intense time,” but the Obama administration didn’t encourage any follow-up, devoting its political capital to dealing with the crashing economy rather than investigating the murky doings that took place under his predecessor. Since then, no major media outlet has devoted significant—or, really, any—resources to obtaining the emails, or to finding out what was in them, or what, exactly, the Bush administration was hiding (or losing).


Trump's Gettysburg disaster

by digby

It was bad, very bad. This lede from the Washington Post says it all:

Donald Trump traveled Saturday to the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, where he suggested that the United States is nearly as divided now as it was then. But instead of laying out his vision for uniting the country, as President Abraham Lincoln once did here, Trump declared that the system is rigged against him, that election results cannot be trusted, that Hillary Clinton should have been barred from running for president, that the media is “corrupt” and that he will sue all of the women who have accused him of sexual assault.

He actually called it "hollowed ground."

Bannon-Ryan cage match

by digby

I've been posting right wing emails excoriating Paul Ryan for well over a year now. They hate him. For reasons of their own, the Village refuses to see this and they believe dreamboat Ryan is a "unifier" who can bring everyone together. Nah guh happen:

A right-wing website closely tied to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is taking its war against House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to new levels.

Breitbart News on Saturday published as its lead story an article written by Julia Hahn, headlined: “He’s with her: Inside Paul Ryan’s months-long campaign to elect Hillary Clinton president.”

Accompanying the story is an image of a grinning Ryan beside the Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign slogan, “I’m with her.”

The piece is brutal even by the standards of Breitbart’s proudly scorched-earth approach to journalism, asserting that Ryan “leads the pro-Islamic migration wing of the Republican party.”

The 2,800-word attack on Ryan comes amid a concerted strategy by the pro-Trump nationalist wing of the GOP to ensure Ryan isn’t re-elected Speaker in January.

Influential Fox News host Sean Hannity — a major Trump booster — is leading the charge against Ryan, calling him a “saboteur.” Members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus held a conference call last week in which they discussed challenging Ryan’s leadership role.

The Breitbart piece, which claims that the Speaker has been conspiring for months to “sabotage” Trump, is straight from the playbook of Stephen Bannon, the Breitbart chairman who last month became CEO of Trump’s presidential campaign.

As The Hill revealed earlier this month, Bannon has given private orders to Breitbart’s editorial staff to destroy Ryan. An internal email obtained by The Hill showed Bannon telling senior staff in December 2015 that the “long game” for the news site was for the Speaker to be “gone” by the spring.

This latest anti-Ryan story gives further insight into the Bannon-Trump worldview.

It accuses Ryan and Clinton of being essentially the same person, and of both wanting to destroy the very concept of America as a nation state. This argument neatly dovetails with the language Trump is using in his stump speeches and media interviews.

In an extraordinary situation, the GOP presidential nominee is now using his campaign megaphone to attack not only Clinton, but the highest-ranking elected official in his own party. He's ignored the counsel of GOP establishment figures and is advancing the
view that a cabal of “globalist” elitists — which includes Ryan, Clinton and international bankers — are undermining American sovereignty by pushing for open borders in trade and immigration.

This war within the GOP is already very, very ugly. And my bet is that rather than a Trump trouncing calming the waters, it's going to get uglier. When you have 40 million or so people voting for a proto-fascist it's not likely to simply fade away. They want the party.

Trumpie's don't give a damn about Ayn Rand. They have other fish to fry.

Highlights of the roast

by digby

I'd guess some of you didn't catch the Al Smith dinner --- or only caught the Trump "jokes" that crash landed.  Here are a few of Clinton's jokes:

My personal favorite:

Gotta get that money up front.

The tradition at the dinner is to give an inspiring closing. Trump didn't bother. This is Clinton's:


True Grit

by digby

This is a nice piece by Michael Tomasky about Clinton's toughness:

People ask why she’s winning, and the usual answer is that Trump is such a catastrophe. And he is, obviously. But I say she’s winning mainly because she’s one tough dame. She’s made of steel. And not Trumpian Chinese steel. And even though she’s going to face a wall of total resistance from Congress if she’s president, I say history tells us not to sell this woman short.

I’ve seen it for years. I’ve covered her on and off for 17 years, when she first went up to New York to run for Senate. All these alpha males were supposed to bury her. First, the tabloid New York media (a metaphorical alpha male) was supposed to eat her alive. And it took some bites out of her, no doubt about that. Especially Murdoch’s Post, and especially in those early months of the race, in 1999, when she kissed Suha Arafat. But in time, she neutralized them. The Post never warmed to her during that campaign, God knows, but the Daily News did (it endorsed her), and she learned how to anticipate the tabs’ rhythms and return their best serves.

Then Rudy Giuliani was supposed to crush this carpetbagger. He left the race in the spring of 2000 for reasons that didn’t have anything to do with her. It was about his prostate cancer diagnosis. But by the time he dropped out, she’d been running a better campaign than he had (he could hardly be bothered to go upstate) and she was a couple points up in most polls. You might think he’d have beaten her in the end, but I can tell you he didn’t think so: He might deny this now, but he told me himself December 2000 that he didn’t think he’d have won, mainly because Al Gore beat George W. Bush by 1.7 million votes in the state, and Rudy didn’t believe he could have wooed enough ticket-splitters to overcome that. Clinton 2, alpha males 0.
Rick Lazio wasn’t exactly an alpha male, but after he got in the race, Clinton was in an important sense running against the whole vast right-wing conspiracy she had so famously named on the Today show two years before. Tons of national right-wing money was thrown at stopping her, heavyweights came in to campaign against her, and the New York State Republican Party made robocalls linking Clinton to the terrorists who’d just bombed the USS Cole in Yemen (yes, they did; don’t ask). They all thought they could bully her. But in the end it was she who conquered them. They went too far, got hysterical (imagine if she, a woman, had done that). She stayed steady as a rock.

Next up was Trent Lott, Mississippian, consorter, shall we say, with white supremacist groups, and at the time the Senate majority leader. After Clinton won, he—the leader of the United States Senate, a body that fetishizes decorum, far more so in those days—said: “I tell you one thing, when this Hillary gets to the Senate, if she does—maybe lightning will strike and she won’t—she will be one of 100, and we won’t let her forget it.”

And she? In the face of the boss at her new workplace wishing that she’d be struck by lightning, she said nothing and got to work. Within two years, most Republican senators were working with her and marveling that she was a pretty decent human being after all—Sam Brownback once publicly admitted he had hated her and asked for her apology to her face, which she of course graciously accepted. And into the bargain, she was someone who could really hold her liquor. Three-nil.

Oh, there were plenty others, before and since. Back in her first lady days, Ken Starr, and Bill Safire of the Times, and Fred Thompson, and Al D’Amato, and Michael Chertoff—every one of them was going to bring her down. They’re now deceased (Safire), disgraced (Starr), retired from public service (D’Amato and Thompson), or endorsing her (Chertoff). She’s the one who’s standing.

And now, she’s two-plus weeks away from becoming the first woman president of the United States. Imagine what she’s been through. Some of it, yes, she brought on herself; the email server, the speeches, some aspects of the foundation story. But most of it has been a cabal of ideologues who’ve been trying and failing for 25 years to put her in jail. And in two months and 28 days, unless something goes really kablooey, she’ll be standing up there becoming president.

I would guess that one reason so many women admire her is because of that toughness. We've all experienced at least some of the misogyny and sexism if not the bizarre, inexplicable hatred and mind-boggling distortion of her personality and record. And we simply cannot believe that she just keeps going. That's grit. I have to wonder if many women will want to follow in her footsteps once they see the amount of abuse you are required to take, though. It's inspiring but also frightening.

Please tell me the upside

by digby

The latest in the New York Times' investigative series on gun violence is really depressing. In a country that fetishizes guns and has a large patchwork of laws and jurisdictions, this problem seems to be beyond solutions.
The New York Times examined all 130 shootings last year in which four or more people were shot, at least one fatally, and investigators identified at least one attacker. The cases range from drug-related shootouts to domestic killings that wiped out entire families to chance encounters that took harrowing wrong turns.

They afford a panoramic view of some of the gun control debate’s fundamental issues: whether background checks and curbs on assault weapons limit violence; whether the proliferation of open-carry practices and rules allowing guns on college campuses is a spark to violence; whether it is too easy for dangerously mentally ill or violent people to get guns.

The findings are dispiriting to anyone hoping for simple legislative fixes to gun violence. In more than half the 130 cases, at least one assailant was already barred by federal law from having a weapon, usually because of a felony conviction, but nonetheless acquired a gun. Including those who lacked the required state or local permits, 64 percent of the shootings involved at least one attacker who violated an existing gun law.

Of the remaining assailants, 40 percent had never had a serious run-in with the law and probably could have bought a gun even in states with the strictest firearm controls. Typically those were men who killed their families and then themselves.

Only 14 shootings involved assault rifles, illustrating their outsize role in the gun debate. Nearly every other assailant used a handgun. That is in line with a federal study that concluded that reviving a 1994 ban on assault weapons and ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds would have a minimal impact, at best, on gun violence.

But there were also cases in which victims arguably would have lived had they been in a state with tighter firearms restrictions, because it would have been harder for their attackers either to get guns or to carry them in those circumstances. That includes several of nine attackers who were dangerously mentally ill but still met the federal standard for gun possession.

Ever since Newtown I've wondered if anything could change this in any serious way. After all, that horror was met with the NRA doubling down on any restrictions.

We've had gun culture go even more crazy since then. I honestly don't know what it would take to end this nightmare here. So many yahoos, so many guns.

Read the whole article. It's important.


The website you have dialed is not in service at this time

by Tom Sullivan

Photo by Marcin Wichary via Wikimedia Commons.

PLEASE STAND BY. The Internet is experiencing technical difficulties.

According to reports, a number of popular sites went down Friday, victims of a massive cyberattack. Reuters reports:

Hackers unleashed a complex attack on the internet through common devices like webcams and digital recorders and cut access to some of the world's best known websites on Friday, a stunning breach of global internet stability.

The attacks struck Twitter, Paypal, Spotify and other customers of an infrastructure company in New Hampshire called Dyn, which acts as a switchboard for internet traffic.

The attackers used hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices that had previously been infected with a malicious code that allowed them to cause outages that began in the Eastern United States and then spread to other parts of the country and Europe.
The FBI is investigating:
Obama administration officials have determined the outages were the result of a malicious attack, according to a federal law enforcement official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal assessments. Investigators have come to a preliminary conclusion as to who carried them out, but are not planning to make that public for now, the official said.
Atlantic has more:
If it seems like there have been more of these sorts of outages lately, it’s because there have. “Recently, some of the major companies that provide the basic infrastructure that makes the Internet work have seen an increase in DDoS attacks against them,” the security technologist Bruce Schneier wrote in a blog post in September. “Moreover, they have seen a certain profile of attacks. These attacks are significantly larger than the ones they're used to seeing. They last longer. They're more sophisticated. And they look like probing.”

“Probing” refers to a specially calibrated kind of attack, one that’s designed to take advantage of an individual website’s precise security weaknesses. “We don't know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses,” Schneier wrote.
Why not aliens? Probing used to have another connotation that involved alien attackers. In the Star Trek universe, unexpected probing usually provoked "Shields up!" and "Red Alert!" To date, the response in the meatspace seems less decisive. (Does Patrick Stewart need another project?)

Your brain may no longer be in control

It seems our little techie devices are easily assimilated and turned against us. Security researcher Brian Krebs has had his blog taken down before. On Friday, he wrote:
The size of these DDoS attacks has increased so much lately thanks largely to the broad availability of tools for compromising and leveraging the collective firepower of so-called Internet of Things devices — poorly secured Internet-based security cameras, digital video recorders (DVRs) and Internet routers. Last month, a hacker by the name of Anna_Senpai released the source code for Mirai, a crime machine that enslaves IoT devices for use in large DDoS attacks. The 620 Gbps attack that hit my site last month was launched by a botnet built on Mirai, for example.

Is there a BorgWarner in your hybrid vehicle?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Night Soother

by digby

In honor of the Chicago Cubs!

Red panda cubs at Lincoln Park Zoo are named in honor of the other Cubs who call Chicago home. The cubs are named Sheffield and Waveland, the streets on each side of Wrigley Field.

Clowns are scary

by digby

From Vox:
In 2016, we’ve seen hundreds of mass shootings. We’ve watched the gap between rich and poor Americans widen. We’ve witnessed the fulminant rise of Donald Trump, whose nomination left Vox editor in chief Ezra Klein “truly afraid” for the first time in American politics.
But in the eyes of our citizens, there is a graver threat at hand: clowns.
In a poll we conducted with Morning Consult last week, 42 percent of Americans said they were, in some capacity, afraid of clowns. Among voters ages 18 to 29, nearly one in three admitted to at least a minor case of coulrophobia — fear of clowns.
Apparently people are more  scared of clowns than they are of terrorism. I can understand that. But not because of the silly clown sightings around the country.


A normal reaction to Trump

by digby

His terrible performance at the Al Smith dinner is legendary. So is this reaction:

Meanwhile, America's mayor pouted:

The other member of the Bad Hombres, Chris Christie, didn't show up. But then he's got big, big problems of his own...

What could go wrong?

by digby

Via the Guardian:

Donald Trump loyalists will attempt to conduct their own crowd-funded exit polling on election day, ostensibly due to fears that electronic voting machines in certain areas may have been “rigged”, the Guardian has learned.

But the effort, led by Trump’s notorious informal adviser Roger Stone, will focus on 600 different precincts in nine Democrat-leaning cities with large minority populations, a tactic branded highly irregular by experts, who suggested that organizers could potentially use the polling as a way to intimidate voters.

Stone told the Guardian that around 1,300 volunteers from the controversial Citizens for Trump grassroots coalition would conduct exit polling in Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte, Richmond and Fayetteville – all locations in pivotal swing states.

I'm actually skeptical that this will amount to much. Stone likes to promise stuff like this and it never amounts to much.

But that doesn't mean some nut isn't going to take things into his own hands and decide he needs to protect the integrity of the election using his second amendment remedy. Trump's certainly ginning up his craziest crazies with all this talk of a rigged election.

I think most Trumpies are more mouthy than dangerous. But there are so many guns in this country and at least a few of them are in the hands of fanatics. It's worrying.


Powerful messaging FTW

by digby

I know it's conventional wisdom that Clinton's campaign has been so terrible that it's only the miracle of Trump that's keeping the Republicans from decimating her. But the truth is that her campaign has been exceptionally good in a polarized electorate running against an alien from outer space who is unpredictable and dangerous. That's not easy. Just ask Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

Anyway, the latest ads are really good. They've all been really good:

Update: I just saw Krugman's column today. He writes about the Villager conventional wisdom that Clinton is a terrible candidate who's squeaking into office on a fluke. And he rips it to shreds.

I have no problem with people being suspicious of her positions on issues. We should be suspicious of all politicians. But I'm increasingly irked by the Villager CW that she's a shitty politician. It's just not true. She won the NY Senate seat twice, she almost tied Barack Obama, one of the most gifted politicians of this era, and she won the primary handily despite a strong challenge from the left. Her convention was very well executed and her debate performances were nearly flawless. In fact, considering the cretinous freak she's been up against, her GE campaign has been terrific. Credit where credit is due.

If she gets in we'll all be watching her like a hawk as we did with Obama and every other president. But it's time to put to rest this ridiculous notion that she's a terrible candidate.

Oh, and if it were easy for a woman to do this surely someone would have done it before.



Trump's taking the brand down with him

by digby

I wrote about it for Salon this morning:

If the polls hold up and Donald Trump loses the election next month, America will have dodged many bullets. One of them will be the prospect of having a president who thinks he can avoid conflict of interest by turning his privately owned international brand and real estate business over to his children while he’s in office. With the exception of one big story in Newsweek that issue was never seriously pursued by the news media, even though it would have literally been impossible for Trump to properly carry out the duties of the office had he won, given the nature of his business and the legal problems that would have ensued if he tried to extricate himself from it. Trump would have had to unwind his businesses years before running for president to avoid being paralyzed by conflicts.

He may come to regret not having done so, even though he’s probably going to be back to full-time “deal-making” in about three weeks. We don’t know how much he was worth when he started this campaign but reports suggesting it’s a lot less today. The Trump brand has a problem and it’s spreading beyond his consumer goods to his real estate holdings.

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that regular customers for his consumer goods are throwing out their Trump merchandise in small acts of rebellion against his baleful candidacy. And some of Trump’s well-heeled customers are now boycotting his hotels and golf courses and refusing to dine in restaurants on his properties. One retired doctor interviewed for that story cancelled an $18,000 vacation at Trump’s Doral golf club with 11 of his buddies, saying, “For me, it’s an ethical statement.”

Ivanka Trump’s clothing line has been similarly impacted. Her customers are younger working women — few of whom are voting for her father. And she is obviously concerned, although in typical Trump fashion the woman everyone sees as the classy face of the Trump empire reacted very much like her father earlier this week, when quizzed about his “rigged election” talk at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Conference in California. She said this:

I will tell you that the media has been vicious and, look, there’s a lot of business people in the room. We’ve all had articles written about us by the business press that we say, “Hmm, you know, that wasn’t exactly fair,” or, you know, the fact-check — there’s a few things off. But you know, this has been, this has been a different level. And look, we take it personally. Obviously, there are some things said that are deeply personal, but just on a less emotional example, this week or in the last couple of days, I saw on the front cover of the New York Times a story talking about how the Trump brand was being decimated due to the campaign.

She further complained that the Trump Organization had provided all kinds of statistics challenging the Times’ conclusions, but the paper refused to listen. She said, “I think that the bias is very, very real. And I don’t think I would have said this to you even a year ago. I don’t. But I’ve just — I’ve seen it too many times. It’s tremendous.” Since the question was about the campaign and she immediately launched into a diatribe about the media being unfair to the business, it’s logical to assume that she is feeling the pressure in that regard.

From various other reports, Ivanka and her family have good reason to worry. The Los Angeles Times has reportedthat some of Trump’s wealthy tenants are embarrassed to live in properties with his name on them and would like it to be removed. The paper quoted one saying, “I used to tell people I lived in Trump Place. Now I say I live at 66th and Riverside Boulevard. He has a mouth like a sewer.” These are mostly licensing deals, so it may not be possible to change the names until the contracts expire, but it doesn’t bode well for new ventures.

As hard as it is to believe considering New York’s overheated real estate market, properties with the Trump name are losing value, including those he owns. Broadcaster Keith Olbermann sold his Trump condo last summer. tweeting “I got out with 90% of my money and 100% of my soul,” and told the L.A. Times that his neighbors also wanted to sell but couldn’t afford to lose the money.

Trump’s hotels are suffering too. Los Angeles Dodgers starAdrian Gonzalez famously refused to stay with the team at the Trump hotel in Chicago during the National League playoffs, in protest against Trump’s bigotry. According toNew York magazine, the new Trump hotel in Washington, which the candidate has often used his abundant free TV time to advertise, is not doing well. It’s had to reduce rates during peak season, and is facing protests and boycotts, along with lawsuits stemming from broken contracts with restaurateurs who want nothing to do with Trump’s name. (According to the article, many people predicted that the D.C. hotel would be another Trump failure, so this may be less about his toxic campaign than his usual terrible business sense.)

The folks who go to Trump rallies and buy red MAGA hats and “Monica sucks but not like Hillary” T-shirts may buy a Trump tie for Dad’s birthday or pick up a pair of Ivanka high heels for their cousin’s wedding. But most of Trump’s fortune is tied up in luxury properties and licensing deals for people who play golf at his golf clubs, stay in his expensive hotels and buy multi-million-dollar condos in buildings with his name on them. They live in big cities and wealthy suburbs, and many of them are appalled by Trump’s crude campaign. They can vote with their pocketbooks too.

It certainly sounds as if Keith Olbermann could be right when he said, “In Russia, there was quite a spree of pulling down statues of Stalin and erasing his likeness from buildings. That’s how the real estate market will treat Trump.” When your name is your brand and your brand is your business, people running away from it is a problem. Donald stands to lose a lot more than the election.



Turning "wooden" into a plus

by Tom Sullivan

Hillary Clinton's critics from the beginning of her campaign have panned her for being wonky and wooden in public. People who know and have worked with her insist she's warm and engaging in small groups. Public speaking is not one of her strong suits, Clinton admits. Plus, Barack Obama and husband Bill are two hard acts to follow.

A Republican Travis County, Texas County Commission candidate has found a way to turn wonky and wooden into selling points.

It doesn't hurt that this ads runs in progressive Austin, Texas. Ashley Lopez of NPR station KUT writes:

There’s a lot to like here. For one, throughout the ad Daugherty is nerding-out pretty hard about local transportation issues and the county jail -- and he can’t seem to notice that no one else cares that much about what he’s talking about, which is pretty endearing.

But the real star is Daugherty’s wife, Charlyn Daugherty. Her dead-pan “get me out of here” looks into the camera are a thing of beauty. She’s the Jim Halpert of political ads, and it doesn’t get any better than that.
Hillary Clinton could use a self-effacing ad like this to break the ice with enough Hillary haters to turn a win over Donald Trump into a rout. At this point in a long, nasty campaign, we could all use the relief. But Clinton would need a spouse less wonky than she is to pull it off. And deadpanning as the long-suffering husband would be as much a stretch for Bill Clinton to pull off as it would be for audiences to believe it.

Clinton did not give an Obama-level speech last night at the Al Smith dinner. But with her polling lead over Donald Trump widening and prospects of Democrats winning the Senate climbing too, she was looser than ever and even in a mood to laugh at a few of Donald Trump's jokes, however woodenly delivered through a chorus of boos.

(h/t SBS)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

When Trump tried to fraudulently vote they wouldn't let him

by digby

And yes, he was with that Billy Bush. They have quite the relationship:

Has there ever been a bigger whiner than Donald Trump?

by digby

This article about Trump acting like an ass about losing the Emmy says it all:
A refrain of this election season has been the necessity to fact check the comments made at the presidential debates. And so here we are to settle one controversial claim: Should The Apprentice have won an Emmy?

At Wednesday night’s final showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Clinton dutifully listed all the instances in which Trump had argued that something was “rigged” against him, including the Emmys, which has never rewarded Trump’s reality TV competition series The Apprentice.

“There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him,” Clinton said, to which Trump interjected: “Should have gotten it.”

Indeed, Trump has, as is his wont, taken to grieving in 140 characters over various Apprentice Emmys slights.

“The Emmys are all politics, that’s why, despite nominations, The Apprentice never won—even though it should have many times over,” he tweeted in 2012. “I should have many Emmys for The Apprentice if the process were fair,” he tweeted in 2013, “in any event, it’s not my day job.” And, never one to let go of a grudge, in 2014 after another year of zero nominations for his show: “Which is worse and which is more dishonest—the Oscars or the Emmys?”

He reprised it in 2014:

I mean --- this:

According to awards website GoldDerby.com, in a 2015 episode of Celebrity Apprentice Trump complained about the Emmy slight for the first season of The Apprentice over a decade earlier, in 2004.

“Everybody thought I was gonna win it,” he said. “In fact, when they announced the winner, I stood up before the winner was announced. And I started walking for the Emmy. And then they announced the most boring show on television, The Amazing Race. Piece of crap.”

Read the whole thing to see how ludicrous it was that he thought he should win.

I suppose it's possible that he might be a gracious loser in November. But I wouldn't count on it.


Clinton's most important moment

by digby

Clinton mopped the floor with Trump last night. But something else important happened too. Hillary Clinton made the most impassioned defense of Roe vs Wade any candidate has ever made in a debate. Pro-choice women really shouldn't think twice about voting for Clinton because of this alone:

CLINTON: Well, I strongly support Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a constitutional right to a woman to make the most intimate, most difficult, in many cases, decisions about her health care that one can imagine. And in this case, it's not only about Roe v. Wade. It is about what's happening right now in America.

So many states are putting very stringent regulations on women that block them from exercising that choice to the extent that they are defunding Planned Parenthood, which, of course, provides all kinds of cancer screenings and other benefits for women in our country.

Donald has said he's in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. He even supported shutting the government down to defund Planned Parenthood. I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v. Wade, and I will defend women's rights to make their own health care decisions.

WALLACE: Secretary Clinton... CLINTON: And we have come too far to have that turned back now. And, indeed, he said women should be punished, that there should be some form of punishment for women who obtain abortions. And I could just not be more opposed to that kind of thinking.

WALLACE: I'm going to give you a chance to respond, but I want to ask you, Secretary Clinton, I want to explore how far you believe the right to abortion goes. You have been quoted as saying that the fetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term, partial-birth abortions. Why?

CLINTON: Because Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case.

The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who toward the end of their pregnancy get the worst news one could get, that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. So you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and the health of the mother taken into account.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, your reaction? And particularly on this issue of late-term, partial-birth abortions.

TRUMP: Well, I think it's terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.

Now, you can say that that's OK and Hillary can say that that's OK. But it's not OK with me, because based on what she's saying, and based on where she's going, and where she's been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that's not acceptable.

CLINTON: Well, that is not what happens in these cases. And using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate. You should meet with some of the women that I have met with, women I have known over the course of my life. This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. And I do not believe the government should be making it.

You know, I've had the great honor of traveling across the world on behalf of our country. I've been to countries where governments either forced women to have abortions, like they used to do in China, or forced women to bear children, like they used to do in Romania. And I can tell you: The government has no business in the decisions that women make with their families in accordance with their faith, with medical advice. And I will stand up for that right.

So, this happened

by digby

I'm hearing a lot of people say that last night was Trump's best debate and that if he hadn't said he might not accept the results of the election and called Hillary "such a nasty woman" he would have been the winner.

Uhm, no. He made a total fool of himself the entire time.  Here's just one example:

A window into his soul

by digby

Here's Trump at the end of last night's debate, tearing up his  notes:

This is not the guy you can trust with nuclear weapons. He can't control himself.