Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Last Men and OverMen is Moving to Wordpress

They say all good things must come to an end. But they never read Last Men and OverMen, a good thing that will never end. Never, Never ever. Never, ever, ever, Ok I think I've made my point.

No, this blog is not ending, though, perhaps it's not a blog anymore. There is a rule of thumb where blogs are on blogger but websites are on Wordpress, which is where we now are.

So please join me folks. The water is warm. Not only is this good thing going to continue, it's going to be much better as Wordpress's formatting simply blows Blogger out of the water.

No matter how hard you work on Blogger it always seems to give you a certain amateurish look. WP on the other hand just has this wonderful polish.

See you on the flip side. I think you will like it better as I do.

Florida Voters not Buying Trump's Birther Con

We've heard so much lately about how much trouble Hillary is in. Just recently a lot of prognosticators like Larry Sabato have updated their forecasts for a closer race.

The irony is, that this might all be in the rearview mirror already. The Trump momentum may well have ended in early September. But last week with her health scare imputed a lot of short term noise into the polls.

FiveThirtyEight gives Trump the edge in Florida currently. But a new Monmouth poll shows her with a 5 point lead among likely voters-the same margin Survey Monkey gives her nationally.


"Florida HRC 46 (was 48 in Aug) DJT 41 (was 39) "

"#FLSen Rubio 47 (was 48) Murphy 45 (was 43"

So according to Monmouth, Rubio is no shoo in either.

The best news? Floridians are not as stupid as Trump needs them to be, needs us all to be:

"Hillary Clinton holds a 5 point lead over Donald Trump in the crucial swing state of Florida. This is slightly less than the 9 point lead she held in a Monmouth University Pollof Sunshine State voters taken last month. Sen. Marco Rubio is currently locked in a tight race with his Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, ahead by a statistically insignificant 2 points after leading by 5 in August. The poll also found that voters are skeptical of Trump's recent attempt to draw a line under the Pres. Obama birther controversy."

Part of what has enabled Trump to get closer is since he brought in Kellyann Conway, he's had more message discipline. He was perhaps able to reassure some suburban whites that maybe he's not a racist after all. But the reopening of the birther furor may well set back that effort.

"Most Florida voters (75%) have heard about Trump's recent admission that Barack Obama was born in the United States, but they doubt the GOP nominee's sincerity. Only 24% think that Trump actually believes Obama is a natural born citizen, while the majority (54%) say Trump only made the statement for political reasons."

"Trump also implicated Hillary Clinton in starting the birther controversy back in 2008. More Florida voters do not believe she had a role in it (47%) than say she did (35%). While most voters (76%) say this recent flap will have no impact on their vote, 18% say Trump's statement makes them less likely to vote for him and just 4% say it makes them more likely."

"If Trump wanted to put an end to his role in the birther controversy with his statement on Friday, it does not seem to have had the intended effect," said Murray.

As other polls have show, her favorables inched up in Monmouth too.

"Florida voters' opinion of the two candidates has remained stable over the past month. Only 32% have a favorable opinion of Trump and 56% hold an unfavorable view of him. This is similar to his August rating of 33% favorable and 54% unfavorable. Nearly 4-in-10 voters (38%) have a favorable opinion of Clinton and 49% hold an unfavorable view of her. Her rating stood at 36% favorable and 50% unfavorable last month."

No one is buying his absurd birther spins. We looked at Stephen Colbert's epic takedown in an earlier piece.

Believe it or not, I think this could have a real negative impact for Trump. Colbert is a comedian not a political operative-though he played one on his old show.

As far as normalizing him-or the opposite of normalizing him-shows like Colbert's can have a bigger impact on undecideds, middle of the readers, indies, etc, aa a lot of people watching this are not political animals like me and quite possibly you.

For people who haven't made up their minds yet or who are on the fence, this may well push them away from Trump. It's very hard for a candidate for POTUS to be fodder like this for late night comics.

I certainly appreciate Colbert compared with Jimmy Kimmel's playing with Trump's hair.

The Republican Party's Hitlerian Disregard for the Truth

Morning Joe is Back in Bed With Trump Again

Guess he only objects to Nazism if he doesn't think it can win. Now that the media is ripe with 'Trump can win' testimonials Joe Scarborough is cool with Nazism.

Meanwhile, Morning Joe is back in bed with Trump again.

A National Review article warns that if you don't vote for Donald Trump it's Republican suicide.

The NR who got panned by the RNC earlier for an edition full of  #NeverTrump columns is now #NeverNeverTrump. Not voting for Trump is Republican suicide.

So Republican suicide is on the ballot. The other choice is national suicide. GOP partisan hacks like Morning Joe would rather take national suicide.

Great piece by Richard Cohen who talks about Donald Trump's 'Hitlerian disregard for the truth.'

We've never seen such a congenital liar in recent history. Not at this scale. Maybe the worse since Hitler. Certainly the worse we've seen in modern US history.

"The Economist, a fine British newsmagazine, is rarely wrong, but it was recently in strongly suggesting that the casual disregard for truth that is the very soul of Donald Trump's campaign is something new under the sun. The technology -- tweets and such -- certainly is, but his cascade of immense lies certainly is not. I'd like to familiarize The Economist with Adolf Hitler."

"I realize that the name Hitler has the distractive quality of pornography and so I cite it only with reluctance. Hitler, however, was not a fictional creation, but a real man who was legally chosen to be Germany's chancellor, and while Trump is neither an anti-Semite nor does he have designs on neighboring countries, he is Hitlerian in his thinking. He thinks the truth is what he says it is."

One rule with Trump so you don't get burned is try to give him as little credit as possible. Even his not being an anti Semite is highly dubious. Here is the real author of 'The Art of the Deal.'

"Fascinating on Trump & Jews. Stereotypes as smart lawyers, accountants (& ghostwriters) he can use to his advantage."

And you could argue that Trump's version of HItler's anti Semitism, is his own Islamophobia. And he may not have any particular plan to innvade other countreis now, but he has asked his advisers repeatedly about what's wrong wtih using nuclear weapons.

"Soon after becoming chancellor, Hitler announced that the Jews had declared war on Germany. It was a preposterous statement since Jews were less than 1 percent of Germany's population and had neither the numbers nor the power to make war on anything. In fact, in sheer preposterousness, it compares to Trump's insistence that Barack Obama was not born in America -- a position he tenaciously held even after Obama released his Hawaiian birth certificate."

"At the time, people tried to make sense of Hitler's statements by saying he was seeking a scapegoat and had settled on the Jews. Not so. From my readings, I know of no instance where Hitler confided to an intimate that, of course, his statements about Jews were, as we might now say, over the top. In fact, he remained consistently deranged on the topic. He was not lying. For him, it was the truth."

"Trump's fixation on Obama's birthplace is similar. It was not, as far as he's concerned, a lie. It was a strongly felt truth that he abandoned only last week and then only under intense pressure -- not out of conviction. To Trump, the lie was not what he had been saying about Obama's birthplace; it was the one he had told when he finally was compelled to say that Obama was born in the USA. The reason he did not apologize for having so long insisted otherwise, is that an apology would have crossed his personal red line. Like a child, his fingers were crossed."

"Just as Hitler's remarks about Jews were deeply rooted in German anti-Semitism, so was Trump's birtherism rooted in American racism -- with some anti-Muslim sentiment thrown in. Trump's adamant insistence on it raised issues not, as some have so delicately put it, about his demeanor, but instead about his rationality. It made a joke out of the entire furor over revealing his medical records. I'm sure that Trump is fine physically. Mentally, it's a different story."

Interesting point about Trump. Does he know it's a lie? I always go back to Josh Greenan's fascinating piece on Trump. There are two kinds of Trump supporters.

1. Those who believe stuff like the Birther nonsense.

2. Those who assume Trump is just kidding about this.

As Greenan predicted, Trump's mendaciousness gives cover to both groups.

Butt in this post's title, I don't say Donald Trump's Hitlerian disregard for truth but that of the Republican party.

Because after their shameless defense of Trump's birtherism over the weekend, the GOP has embraced birtherism formallly. Truth is Trump didn't invent birhterism anyway, it was present in the GOP before him but he was shrewd enough to see the benefit in embracing it more fully in the primary.

Have no doubt about it. The GOP has sullied itself. Those who are putting the party ahead of the country right now-Morning Joe, Paul Ryan, Reince Preibus, the National Review, will have a lot to answer for as the moderate-former-Republican Jennifer Rubin says.

Back to Trump's ghost writer:

Trump's Rogues gallery: Chris Christie, Roger Ailes, Rudy Giuliani, Paul Manafort, Steve Bannon. Judge a man by the company he keeps

Trump's Rogues gallery continued: Roger Stone, Corey Lewandowski, Newt Gingrich, Mark Foley, Judge a man by the company he keeps."

This entire party has now sullied itself on Trump's Hitlerian lies.

Donald Trump was Born With an Inheritance but He Lost His Daddy's Money

Guess who these are the immortal words of? Yup, you guessed it, my main man Harry Reid. I'm going to miss him in the Senate.

Chris Cillizza recently wrote another post complaining about what Harry said about Romney's taxes in 2012.

Few politicians, though, are as willing as Reid to speak publicly about their disregard for the truth in pursuit of victory. His view on how to win in politics is both remarkable and remarkably depressing."

How often does Cillizza believe Harry Reid has lied compared to Donald Trump who Cillizza doesn't find depressing at all?

For the record, it's not so clear that Reid did lie. When he said it, Romney hadn't released the two years he'd release in October.

And if Romney paid-pretty low-taxes in a couple of years, this didn't mean he didn't pay zero other years. We still don't know as Romney never released it.

Meanwhile. Cillizza is not 'depressed' at all by Trump's pathological lying. Indeed, in his email interview with Norm Ornstein last week he claimed that there has been too much 'elitist' criticism of Trump.

Anyway, Harry Reid was on fire in the Senate today. Besides the line about Trump losing his Daddy's money, he had a number of three baggers:

"Seeking to shake up a tight presidential race, Harry Reid declared Tuesday on the Senate floor that Donald Trump is a “swindler” who is “not as rich as he would have us believe" — as the Nevada Democrat moved to reprise the 2012 strategy that saw him hammer Mitt Romney repeatedly over his tax returns."

"The Senate minority leader called out Trump for declining to release his tax returns several times on Tuesday, suggesting that it’s because those documents would show that Trump has far less wealth than he’s claimed. Trump has said his net worth is $10 billion."

Read more:

Politico is so cute: 'Trump has said' as if he ever should receive the benefit of the doubt. They should include the numbers from the fact checkers which show 70% of what he says is a bald faced lie.

“He was born with an inheritance but lost his daddy’s wealth … that’s why Donald Trump won’t release his tax returns. That’s certainly one of the reasons, of course: He is not worth nearly as much as he claims to be. That’s a secret he doesn’t want anyone to know,” Reid said in a scathing speech. “He wants everyone to think he’s this big, rich, rich man.”

"With just a handful of congressional days in session before the election, Reid is unleashing increasingly heated attacks on Trump and Senate Republicans supporting him. Last week he called Trump a "human leach" and suggested the business mogul is overweight, dropping the kinds of political bombs that most pro-Hillary Clinton Democrats wouldn't touch."

"Quoting Trump, Reid said that the GOP presidential nominee’s personal wealth fluctuates with the financial markets — which Reid said is cover for a man he said will be “scammer-in-chief.”

“Simply put, Trump is faking his net worth because he doesn’t want us to know that he’s not a good businessman,” Reid said. “Since 2008, Trump has not donated a single penny to his own charity … does he have money to donate? He says he does, but he doesn’t.”

Read more:

Frank Thorp has a list of Harry dingers:

Reid: "If elected, Donald Trump would be the scammer-in-chief. Trump is a fraud..."

Reid on Trump University: "He's done some doozies, but that's one of the best, the best scams."

Reid calls Trump a 'flim-flammer,' saying he "cheats charities."

This may be my favorite line other than the one that made the title:

"Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid calls the Trump Foundation "Donald Trump's personal ATM machine."

Yet, Cillizza that both sides do it hack, is seriously claiming that Harry Reid and not Donald Trump is the one who has a serious problem telling the truth.

P.S. Great piece by Daily News' Richard Cohen on 'Trump's Hitlerian Disregard for the Truth.'

I give Steve Colbert credit for calling Trump a liar, again, and again, and again.

Cohen also deserves credit for using the H word: Hitler as Trump is the American Hitler. As Obama says democracy is on the ballot. Against Hitler 2.0.

Stephen Colbert Could Never be a Journalist

Why? Because he tells the truth: Donald Trump is a liar. He's' a pathological liar. He lies at superhuman levels. His lies are able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

I have to quote LL Cool J: 'You are the largest liar that was ever created. You and Pinocchio are probably related, you're a liar.'

Someone should ask LL if that song was inspired by Donald Trump

Journalists usually prefer 'He said She said' journalism. Democrats say 2+2=4, Republicans say 2+2=9, opinions differ on what 2+2 really =.

There has been some signs since Trump fleeced cable tv again with that absurd birther infomercial.

Although the jury is still out.

Last night, though, Stephen Colbert showed how its' done.

"Stephen Colbert may have offered the definitive takedown Monday night of Donald Trump's effort to rewrite history on the whole birther saga."

"Over the course of a 10-minute segment, Colbert repeatedly called Trump a liar without directly saying so, using clips of Trump himself saying "liar" and "world-class liar" and talking in exasperated tones about Trump's bogus birtherism claims in a Friday news conference."

"After playing video of Trump saying he "finished" the birther controversy, Colbert went off."

“No you didn’t. No, you didn’t," Colbert said. "And I know you didn't because I was alive and on TV."

He added: "But you know what? Maybe memory is a tricky thing. Maybe I remember it one way ... and Donald Trump is a liar.”

Colbert then played a montage of Trump raising questions about Obama's birth certificate — even after 2011. While it's airing, he carves a wooden statuette of Rodin's "The Thinker." Afterward, he talked to the statue.

“What are you thinking about?" Colbert asked. "I’m thinking he’s a liar," Colbert-as-the-statuette responded.

Colbert concluded: "You don’t get to flog this issue for five years and then act like you’re correcting everybody else. We’re not crazy. We were there. We all saw you do it. Even the people who support you saw you do it. It’s why they support you.”

Uh oh. Be careful with what you say about his racist supporters. It is bad manners to call them deplorable.

Racism may be an unfortunate thing. But what is unforgivable is criticizing racists. The correct term for mixed company is 'economic anxiety.'

Those Already Dancing on Hillary's Grave Might Just Want to Hold Off

As usual, the expectations for Hillary as the first woman to be a major party nominee are just absurd. She's never allowed to miss dotting a single 'i' or crossing a single 't' or the media starts talking in terms that would make you think it's Watergate or something.

Ignoring that with a Trump Presidency it would be Watergate on steroids every single day.

Hillary has led this race basically wire to wire. A few times it's been tied or close to it. But if you were to average the polls over the entire election so far, she has been up by about 5 points on average.

This is about twice the average lead of Obama in 2012 and it's even above his average lead in 2008. And even if the race tightened she is ahead of where Obama was even now in either year.

"This story gets written every four years."

" On 9/18/12, Romney was +1.5 in RCP avg."

" On 9/18/2008, McCain was +4.5."

But as Hillary always gets a much tougher standard she has to lead by 10 points in every single poll or the Hillary haters get to come out of the woodwork and declare: 'Aha! I warned you she is a bad candidate.'

A bad candidate. My answer to this is always-compared to what? Compared to who? Generic Democrat doesn't exist. The media says nice things about Biden now because he's: not running.

You're always more popular when you're not running than when you're running. Hillary was at 64% favorability when she was Obama's' Secretary of State.

As for Republicans throwing shade about how 'bad a candidate' Hillary is, they are the last ones with any room to talk. She has certainly done expotentially better than their allegedly good candidates: Jeb/Marco/Kasich.

So she's ahead of Obama's pace in both years that he went onto win handily, and is blowing out the GOP candidates vs. Trump in the primary. But she's the bad candidate. Not Jeb who got beat by Trump 41-3. Not Scott Walker who flamed out. Not Little Marco-sorry but that name really fits him going by character-who lost to Trump by almost 20 points in his own state.

Now I actually started arguing over the weekend that Trump-may have-peaked.

I agree with my Twitter friend, The Skeptic:

"I'm thinking he reached his high watermark during that post Labor Day period but we can't take anything for granted."

My thoughts exactly. Meanwhile the conventional wisdom-which is usually wrong-has been awash with stories of the Trump Momentum.

But I agree with Skeptic. Last week's numbers were very noisy.

Meanwhile many people couldn't contain their glee. Howard Fineman can't even wait to write her post election obituary so he did it yesterday.

I had a very sharp response to that one. The word 'shameful' came up a lot.

Then you have the Bernier or Busters like Billmon who love tightening polls so he can gloat, 'You should have voted for Bernie.'

Anyone who is doing this is objectively helping Donald Trump. If you do everything you can to get her elected now and she still loses, then maybe after we can debate the pros and cons of her candidacy. Not now.

Anyway, the Hillary haters might want to hold off the premature obits-as Fineman literally wrote.
"#National NBCNews/SurveyMonkey tracking poll: Clinton 45 (+5) Trump 40 Johnson 10 Stein 4 H2H: Clinton 50 Trump 45."

These are likely voters, by the way.

"Hillary Clinton Regains Momentum Against Donald Trump: Poll."

That's impossible, Dilbert writer, Scott Adams, says Trump is a Master Persuader and Scott Adams is never wrong.

"Back on the campaign trail after being diagnosed with pneumonia and a subsequent break from campaigning, Hillary Clinton plugged her leaking lead against Donald Trump, according to this week's NBC News|SurveyMonkeyWeekly Election Tracking Poll."

"She now enjoys 50 percent support among likely voters and Trump has 45 percent support."

Even in the notoriously pro Trump USC/LA poll we see a small move in HRC"s favor today.

In my argument that maybe the Trump momentum is over I also cited favorability polls. In the Survey Monkey tracking poll, we see a big move her way in a week of 6 points.

She went from 39% favorable and 59% unfavorable to 43-57 respectively.

Obviously this is preliminary and we don't want to get ahead of ourselves yet. But the Survey Monkey poll also backs up what a pollster on Twitter said yesterday.

In field with multiple polls. Prelim suggests not quite as bad for HRC as last week. Also, underlines volatility

Monday, September 19, 2016

This is Donald Trump's Republican Party

Pop quiz. Who is less popular than Hillary Clinton, less popular even than Donald Trump? You guessed it. The Republican party.

Let's be clear here. Donald Trump's nomination was no mistake. To paraphrase Little Marco: Don't say the Republican party didn't know what it was doing when it nominated Donald Trump. It knew exactly what it was doing. 

Birtherism, for its part, was not invented by Trump though he was its bullhorn. Yesterday the Republican truly shamed and sullied itself in institutionalizing birtherism. 

"Trump Surrogates Have No Good Answers for the Birther story."

"That's our conclusion after watching the Sunday shows. Here was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on CNN: "It's not true that he kept it up for five years [after President Obama released his birth certificate in 2011]." In fact, we've listed these post-2011 tweets and statements that Trump made questioning Obama's citizenship. Here was Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway when asked on"Meet the Press" what led Trump to conclude that Obama was indeed born in the USA: "You'll have to ask him that. That's a personal decision." (The problem: Trump hasn't held a news conference in weeks.)"

"And here was VP running mate Mike Pence on ABC on what proof he had that Hillary Clinton was responsible for promoting the Birther story: "I understand the desire of many in the national media to change the subject from Hillary Clinton's disastrous record and her dishonesty, we're just not going to play that game. Donald Trump and I are going to continue to focus right where the American people are focused, and that's not on the debates of the past, it's on their future." So you see why this Birther story isn't a good one for the Trump campaign: The campaign and surrogates have no good answers."

Christie, the man who also knew exactly what he was doing with Bridgegate.

Then there is the shameful birther, Alex Castellanos.

"Alex Castellanos, who infamously called Hillary Clinton a "bitch" during a CNN broadcast in 2008, was at it again on NBC's Meet The Press when he described President Obama as not being normal.

During a moronic debate being fermented by Trump surrogates who are claiming Hillary Clinton created the Birther movement, Castellanos said, "There is an otherness to this president."

Conservatives have been trying to delegitimatize Obama's presidency since he ran for the oval office, but that is pure racism.

If he's not a secret Muslim, or born in Kenya, then he's an alien or "otherworldly."

Castellanos said, "I think the big question about Obama is not where he was born or his faith. The big question about Obama has been-- has he considered himself more of a globalist than an American? There is an otherness to this president."

There is NOT an otherness to President Obama. He's a normal, air breathing human being, living on planet earth.

Trump surrogates have taken this presidential campaign and crapped all over it and the American people.

Alex continued, "And people have tried to exploit that politically in different ways. The Clinton campaign tried to exploit it this way, the way their strategists said, by saying his lack of American roots is an issue."

This is a big, fat fu**ing lie.

Castellanos' entire segment was one of deception and bold faced lies Claiming that the Clinton campaign exploited the birther movement is as ridiculous as it is untrue. That may be why reporters have been scratching their heads ever since Trump made thos specious claim.

Cornell Belcher did a decent job in trying to smash that notion, but he's not as experienced as Castellanos.

Castellanos continued with his charade and said, "Before you answer, I have it here, from his memo, which Mark called "lack of American roots," in which Mark Penn says, quote, "I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not, at his center, fundamentally American in his thinking and values." Now, if Donald Trump had said that in 2008, we would all be sitting here saying, "Well, that was the start of Birtherism."

Yes. I saw the segment and truly felt like throwing up it was so vile. Belcher's problem is that he just doesn't come in ready to take on someone this mendacious a liar.

These are truly shameless people. Shameless is my word of the day.

Voting for Trump, much less being his surrogate is shameful and sullies you. If you are not voting for Hillary you are shameful as you are not doing your part to avoid the American Hitler.

Gary Johnson is the opposite of a progressive. He wants to gut regulations and the government and take it back to a Gilded Age economic model.

A nonvote for Hillary is a half vote for Donald Trump.

As for the Trumpsters, if you don't' see they are the modern Nazis, you haven't been paying attention. And they have not eschewed birtherism which had deep roots in the Republican party prior to Trump; he opportunistically realized how much mileage it would give him in the GOP primary.

The GOP is now officially the party of birtherism.

"Now, the claims that Clinton started birtherism, and that Trump stopped pushing it after he forced Obama to show his papers in 2011, are both lies. And all the moderators of these shows did a good job in pinning down their interviewees on these points."

"But in a way, to chase after those assertions is to get lost in a rabbit warren."

Exactly. The very discussion is a rabbit hole-or rabbit warren as Sargent puts it. The way the media is set up where they hate to call anyone a liar even if they are pathological liars like Trump and his campaign-we haven't even talked about Kellylann Conway's level of mendacity; she even had the gall to lecture Chuck Todd about reporters tweeting Trump criticism-there is some real benefit about a willingness to like shamelessly.

After all, even in debunking a lie you give it a certain privilege of place in the conversation. It is in some way legitimized even then.

Take the Hillary health conspiracies. Most of the media righty repudiated them. But then when she stumbled on 9/11, the media reaction was much more alarmist-because of the previous conspiracies.

What we need is the end of both sides journalism. This is how Chuck Todd failed. He allowed Castellanos and Conway to continue to lie. Todd evidently knows they are lies as he pointed that out in the First Read piece.

But let's face it, did more people read the FR piece or what the Sunday morning tv program? To call them out as liars in real time would have sent a powerful signal. I guess they're afraid Castellanos, Christie, and Conway won't' return if they are called out.

In other words, it's a win-win. 

The press must give up both sides did it journalism and simply report the truth.

But let's not kid ourselves. The GOP and Trump are no longer in any way separate entities. Trump is now the heart and soul of the Republican party.

Chris Christie's Bridge Too Far

This will be another interesting comparison of the media standard for Hilary vs. Trump. We know that Trump has the lowest bar in electoral history in the media where she can't neglect to cross a single t or dot a single i or the media starts howling as if it's Watergate.

Remember a few weeks ago when the media tried to hype Anthony Weiners latest sexting fiasco as somehow reflecting badly on Hillary's campaign? After all, Weiner has no connection to the campaign but her husband does and Hillary is responsible for who someone who works for her marries.

Just as Huma herself of course per the misogynistic press, is responsible for her husband's behavior even if she's a victim of it herself. This was the same thought process when some pundits like Ruth Marcus declared Bill's 90s infidelities 'fair game' regarding Hillary's campaign 20 years ago. She has to pay for being the victim of infidelity. It's fair game.

Now we hear that, yeah, just as many of us always suspected, Chris Christie did know about Bridgegate all along. The idea that he was totally ignorant was never very plausible and by Hillary standards would never work: after all, if you don't know this level of corruption is going on among high ranking staffers in your own office that's almost as bad.

"Wow. Chris Christie knew about Bridgegate plan as it was happening, prosecutors say. "

"Gov. Chris Christie was told of the George Washington Bridge lane closures as they were occurring in 2013, a federal prosecutor told jurors on Monday in U.S. District Court."

"David Wildstein, who has already pleaded guilty to playing a role in the incident, and Bill Baroni, who is now on trial for his alleged role in the scheme, “bragged” about the traffic gridlock that lane closures were causing when they spoke with the Republican governor at a Sept. 11 memorial in Lower Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna said."

"The two Christie-appointed former Port Authority officials mentioned the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, whom they are accused to trying to punish after he refused to endorse Christie’s reelection campaign, the prosecutor said."

“The evidence will show that Baroni and Wildstein were so committed to their plan that, during the precious moments they had alone with the governor, they bragged about the fact that there were traffic problems in Fort Lee and that Mayor Sokolich was not getting his calls returned,” Khanna told jurors during his opening remarks on Monday morning.

Read more:

Remember Christie is a very high ranking surrogate in Trump World. While Weiner had nothing to do with Hillary's campaign, Christie was one of just three finalists for Trump's VP.

He is expected to get a plum cabinet post in any Trump Administration.

Yet Trump hires only the best people. Christie is a corrupt, power mad hack, sort of like Trump.

Meanwhile, Christie was so mendacious in lying about Trump's birtherism that it truly disgusted no less than Glenn Kessler.

Christie wanted to be Trump's AG. Uh...

Glenn Kessler:

"The confirmation hearings for Trump's Attorney General might be interesting."

Meanwhile, another high ranking Trump surrogate Alex Castellanos' attempt to claim Hillary is the real birther is beyond shameful. He himself, again went Birther by again repeating the slur that Obama is a 'globalist' and that there is something 'other' about him.

So the GOP is now institutionalizing birtherism.

But then, you know who is less popular than even Donald Trump? The Republican party itself.

Gary Johnson Doesn't Know Much and His Young Supporters Don't Know Much About Him

This is something that drives me nuts. The young millennials who supported Bernie were supposedly so earnest, so interested in nothing but policy substance.

Bernie himself always says it's not about personalities. But for the Bernie or Busters, this is all about personality. How else do you explain them not throwing their support behind Hillary after the concessions she gave Bernie on the MW-$15 was in the Dem platform-and on student loans(she has agreed  to the goal of making tuition free for those under a certain level of income)?

Still a large swatch of millennials are supporting Gary Johnson which makes zero sense if policy substance is what they care about.

(Happily, Jill Stein is not doing so hot).

Paul Krugman looks at this strange state of affairs:

"Does it make sense to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president? Sure, as long as you believe two things. First, you have to believe that it makes no difference at all whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump moves into the White House — because one of them will. Second, you have to believe that America will be better off in the long run if we eliminate environmental regulation, abolish the income tax, do away with public schools, and dismantle Social Security and Medicare — which is what theLibertarian platform calls for."

Evidently, many millennials think there's no difference between Hillary and Trump on environmental regulation!

Back to Krugman:

"But do 29 percent of Americans between 18 and 34 believe these things? I doubt it. Yet that, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll, is the share of millennial voters who say that they would vote for Mr. Johnson if the election took place now. And the preponderance of young Americans who say they’ll back Mr. Johnson or Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, appear to be citizens who would support Mrs. Clinton in a two-way race; including the minor party candidates cuts her margin among young voters from 21 points to just 5."

So I’d like to make a plea to young Americans: your vote matters, so please take it seriously.

"Why are minor candidates seemingly drawing so much support this year? Very little of it, I suspect, reflects support for their policy positions. How many people have actually read the Libertarian platform? But if you’re thinking of voting Johnson, you really should. It’s a remarkable document."

"As I said, it calls for abolition of the income tax and the privatization of almost everything the government does, including education. “We would restore authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government.” And if parents don’t want their children educated, or want them indoctrinated in a cult, or put them to work in a sweatshop instead of learning to read? Not our problem."

"What really struck me, however, was what the platform says about the environment. It opposes any kind of regulation; instead, it argues that we can rely on the courts. Is a giant corporation poisoning the air you breathe or the water you drink? Just sue: “Where damages can be proven and quantified in a court of law, restitution to the injured parties must be required.” Ordinary citizens against teams of high-priced corporate lawyers — what could go wrong?"

"It’s really hard to believe that young voters who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary think any of this is a good idea. But Mr. Johnson and Ms. Stein have received essentially no media scrutiny, so that voters have no idea what they stand for. And their parties’ names sound nice: who among us is against liberty? The truth, that the Libertarian Party essentially stands for a return to all the worst abuses of the Gilded Age, is not out there."

What motivates these voters is personalities not issues like they claimed. Some just hate Hillary.

Bernie himself warns against protest voting.

Note, he didn't vote for Nader either. But to vote protest-ie, not even realize you are voting for a candidate that wants to return us to the Gilded Age is truly shameful. 

This  is my new big word for those who fail to truly grapple with what a threat a President Trump is.

Remember what Jason Hahn, formerly of RedState says:

"Remember.... a non-vote for is a half vote for ."

Many of the anti Trump conservatives understand this best like Jennifer Rubin also does. 

If Donald Trump Wins, I Will Never Forgive America, Especially White Folks

Again, as I went through in my last post, I'm not anti white-in truth I'm about 80% white in my own ethinicity and 20% black.

But let's face it: if Trump only has a prayer because a lot of white voters support him. Are they all racist? I wouldn't be so quick to say no.

This is how I put it in my last post:

"Good job white voters. Just think: if the electorate was as white as it was in 1984, Trump would win in a landslide. Does this mean that most white voters are racist? Well, that question takes us back to the whole flack over 'deplorables.' "

"The media got very indignant over the idea that you are assuming that everyone who votes for Trump is a racist. So should we divide Trump supporters into following two groups?"

1. Those who are voting for him because he's a racist.

2. Those who are voting for him despite him being a racist?

So, you know, number 2 voters aren't voting for Trump because he's a racist but despite it. So in other words, they're cool with him being a racist though that's allegedly not what attracts them to him.

Then there is the media that is so white and privileged they act like this is just a battle over 'Taste's Great' and 'Less Fillin'

Howard Finneman who can never stop talking about the fact that Trump can win as if it's some brilliant personal discovery of his can't even wait until November 9 to gloat about Hilary's loss-assuming she loses. He already has an obituary piece on her in today's Huffington Post.

Let's just say I went on an epic rant at Huffpo. I will paste my comments for you here.

"Last I will say about this. This is such a repugnant post, I could be here all day expressing my utter contempt for these three writers."

"If you are gloating about Hillary losing or predicting she's going to lose you are shameful. You ought to be ashamed. That you feel no shame shows how shameful you really are."

"We are close to electing the American Hitler. But the mostly white journalists like Finneman are cool with this. They talk about it in this detached way like a parlor game."

"We have ignorant Bernie or Busters voting for Gary Johnson who wants to eliminate SS and Medicare, the income tax, and gut all environmental regulation."

"Yet we always hear how much these millennials care about environmental regulation. I guess they don't. They don't care about student loans, or raising the MW-Johsons wants to end the MW- or any of the things they claimed are so important to them."

"No, they are all about personalities-which Benrie always warns about. "

"They just want to frustrate 'That Woman's' untoward ambitions. We know how ugly it is for a woman to be so ambitious. "

"For this, electing the American Caesar is a small price to pay. Assuming you're white."

"If you think Trump has a good chance to win you should be out volunteering, phone banking, donating what you can."

"I don't care if you're an elite Beltway journalist or a college student. If you aren't doing everything in your power, right now, today, to make sure we defeat the fascist scourge of Trumpianism, you are shameful."

"I don't care how you justify your motivations in not doing so. I don't care if you're 'uninspired. This is the very future of our country. If making a strong vote of now against Trumpism-racism, authoritarianism, birtherism-is not enough motivation for you, then there is something very warped in your thought process. "

Again, you are truly shameful. Have you no sense of shame?

It's like Obama tells us: don't boo, vote.

Also: don't panic, volunteer, If you're a Berner don't gloat that this vindicates you. Instead, try working as hard as you can to get elected. If you work as hard as you can to get her elected and she still loses, then after the election, we can do a post mortem. That's the time to figure out why.

But if that's your song now, then let's face it: in truth you hope she loses so you can claim that we Dems should have voted for Bernie.

For gloating to be more important to you than repudiating the scourge that is Trumpism is shameful.

You are shameful. But do you feel shame? Just think about what you are not too worried seeing come to power.

Did you see what Trump's surrogate Alex Castellanos said on Meet the Press yesterday?

"Thank goodness the Trump campaign has put that whole “birther” thing behind it with Donald Trump’s 30-second disavowal of the whole thing, which was Hillary Clinton’s fault anyway. But you know, the fact remains that this Barack HUSSEIN Obama sure is a lot different from real Americans, even though Trump has now acknowledged he was born in Hawaii. Trump surrogate Alex Castellanos went on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday to clear matters up, pointing out that while Donald Trump completely ended birtherism, Hillary Clinton started it because even though she never said anything about Obama’s birthplace in 2008, Clinton strategist Mark Penn certainly mentioned it, which makes her far more culpable than Trump, who merely launched his political career with repeated questions (for years, including this year) about where the mystery man Barack Obama really came from. Besides, the real issue isn’t whether Barack Obama is American. It’s whether he seems American, which he definitely doesn’t."

"I think the big question about Obama is not where he was born or his faith. The big question about Obama has been, has he been — has he considered himself more of a globalist than an American? There is an otherness to this president. And people have tried to exploit that politically in different ways. The Clinton campaign tried to exploit it this way. The way their strategist said, by saying his lack of American roots is an issue."


Castellanos had the gall to say this in the middle of trying to smear Hillary as the true birther. Bear in mind that most of us Hillary supporters voted for President Obama twice. So Trump is essentially trying to have it not just both ways but every conceivable way.

1. Hillary is the real birther, though he's the one who forced the President to release his papers.

2. Trump still takes credit for this.

3. But now those os us who voted for Obama twice are being smeared as the real birthers with Trump the hero that put our smearing of the President we have supported to rest.

4. Chuck Todd looked wholly unperturbed by all this.

As Greg Sargent says, the Republican party is now institutionalizing birtherism.

"So it’s come to this: The institutional position of the Republican Party in the great birther controversy roiling the 2016 campaign — a consequential chapter in our political history — is now essentially that Donald Trump did the nation a service by forcing the first African American president to finally show his papers."

Yet, these Bernie or Busters are ok with this coming to power.
If you have a better word from this than shameful, I'd like to hear it.

White Folks Should be Ashamed of Themselves

Saying this is a little strong but I mean it.

Let me first say that I am not anti-white, in fact I'm half white myself; what used to be called a 'Mulatto' and today is called biracial. In truth, I'm actually more than half white as my mother herself is biracial.

And though some have argued I should I have never self identified as 'black'-I don't identify as white either. I'm happy the surveys now seem to be accommodating those of us of mixed race finally.

But let's be honest: politically speaking white people are the problem. They voted for Brexit in Britain; if only there were more voters of color it wouldn't have happened.

Brexit was first and foremost about white grievance-though many try to apologize for them by claiming it's about economic anxiety. So no people of color are economically anxious?

In the US, POC make up a bigger portion of the electorate so we have a very good chance of defeating Trumpism here.

Today's Upshot poll has it neck and neck in Florida.

"Donald J. Trump has almost no plausible path to the White House unless he wins Florida, a rapidly changing state where Hispanic voters could deal a decisive blow to his chances."

"But a new poll, by The New York Times Upshot/Siena College, suggests that Mr. Trump is keeping his hopes alive in Florida, the largest and most diverse of the crucial battleground states. The reason: White voters favor him by a large margin."

"Mrs. Clinton leads by a single point, 41 to 40 percent, among likely voters in a four-way race that includes Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. The race is tied in the head-to-head race, 43-43."

Good job white voters. Just think: if the electorate was as white as it was in 1984, Trump would win in a landslide. Does this mean that most white voters are racist? Well, that question takes us back to the whole flack over 'deplorables.'

The media got very indignant over the idea that you are assuming that everyone who votes for Trump is a racist. So should we divide Trump supporters into following two groups?

1. Those who are voting for him because he's a racist.

2. Those who are voting for him despite him being a racist?

If you are voting for Trump despite him being a racist there is still something very wrong with you. Sorry, but you don't get a pass.

Anyone who is at all ok with President Trump-including the Beltway media and some spiteful Bernie or Busters ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Assuming they have any sense of shame.

I honestly don't understand how anyone is complacent about the possibility of a Trump Presidency as Beltway insider Howard Finneman is. He's already writing HIllary's obituary 50 days before the election.

Finneman is always talking about how 'Trump can win, He can he really can win. Trump really can win.'

So why aren't you out volunteering phone banking, donating to stop that from happening? Now doubt his answer would be: 'I'm a journalist not a partisan.'

But being neutral here whether you call yourself pretty names like 'journalist' or 'reporter' is shameful. It shows you're ok with a crypto fascist racist in the Oval Office. Full stop.

If you aren't motivated to vote I don't get it. Your very life depends on it. If that's not motivation enough for you, then there's something deeply wrong.

It's just too bad that I and many other POC am at your perverse mercy and you just 'aren't inspired enough.'

What about aspiring to reject Trumpism and everything it represents? Think about what Trumpianism represents.

As Krugman says, vote as if your vote matters, because it does.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

More Polls Suggest Tightening May be Over

Josh Marshall has an interesting analysis of the new Pennsylvania poll. 

"A new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll is out last night shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 9 points in a head to head match up and 8 points when third party candidates are added."

"A few points of context about this poll are worth noting."

"First, this is a highly respected in-state pollster. And the margin is significantly above what was the PollTracker Average (a 4.3 percentage point margin for Clinton) prior to this poll. Needless to say, if polls didn't show Clinton with a lead in Pennsylvania that would signal fairly dire election scenario. But this poll shows a margin higher than the current trendline. Indeed, the last time the average was in this territory was in early August. (With the addition of this poll, the PollTracker Average moved to Clinton +6.3."

"Now, what does this tell us?"

"It may just tell us that Clinton likely still has a lead in Pennsylvania, which is nice to know but something we assume. I believe it suggests something more though. The last polls recorded for Pennsylvania were from the first week of this month. The final date on which the most recent poll was in the field was September 9th - in other words, entirely before but just before "deplorables" and Clinton's health scare. This poll was taken from Monday to Friday of last week, 9-16th. If the rapid contraction of Clinton's lead that began that weekend were persisting, or if Trump's upward momentum were continuing and propelling him into a clear lead nationwide, we would expect to see some further tightening of the margin in Pennsylvania too. But we don't. We actually have a Clinton lead about twice as large as average before the poll was released. That's significant."

"Now, a few obvious caveats. This is one poll in one state. Muhlenberg is a highly-rated in-state poll - they know Pennsylvania. But I believe this is their first poll of the race this year. So we have no earlier Muhlenberg poll to compare it to. Like any poll, this one has a margin of error which, from a statistical point of view, could place the race near a tie. With all that said, though, this poll is significant because it's one possible piece of evidence for what we discussed as a possibility Friday: that the shift in the numbers we saw last week wasn't a decisive turn in the race but an ephemeral response to two fairly high intensity news events that demoralized Clinton's supporters and energized Trump's."

"We'll need more state and national polls to know whether what I call the 'Clinton Wall' remains intact. But this poll is more consistent with that hypothesis than a true shift in the dynamics of the race."

There is more data to back up Marshall's theory.

1. As I've discussed her approval rating has been on the rise lately. While it's still not high, it's better than it has been. In an Economist/YouGov poll that came out last week she's now upside down onlyl 46-53; again, not great but better than it has been and the best she's had in YouGov since last December.

In addition, Gallup showed her rally 4 points on the week to 40-55. She was at 37-58 in early September which might suggest the tightening we've been seeing is i the rearview window.

A Fox News poll has her at 45-54. So her favorability is o the upswing-though clearly there's plenty of room for improvement.

2. A Morning Consult poll that shows her up 3 points in a head to head the last week.

"Clinton Maintains Lead Over Trump Despite Health Scare."

Don't get me wrong. It was never clear to me even if God forbid she wasn't ok-which she is-this would make anyone want to vote for Donald Trump. A choice between Trump and Tim Kaine is a no-brainer. 

In the four way with Morning Consult, Gary Johnson is down a couple of points. With him not making the debate and people realizing the best kept secret about him post Aleppe that he doesn't know anything, hopefully his numbers continues to slip

Politico Fails to Call out Kellyann Conway's Lie that Clinton is the Real Birther

Kellyann Conway's True Lies. After watching her appearance on Chuck Todd that's the best description of her performance.

That she repeated Trump's new birther lie-that Hilary Clinton invented birtherism-is no surprise as Ms Conway is presumably well compensated for telling Trump's many mendacious lies.

What is truly sad to see is that Politico is back to their old tricks:

"Conway: Birther theory started with Clinton campaign."

"The theory that President Barack Obama was actually not born in the Untied States started in Hillary Clinton's campaign for president in 2008, Donald Trump's campaign manager argued in an interview that aired Sunday, two days after Trump himself conceded that Obama was born in the United States."

Read more:

We had seen some better reporting in the immediate aftermath of Trump's birther infomercial on Friday, where the media took it personally that he again rolled them. We saw some of the print media actually calling out Trump's' lies in real time.

Even Politico had been doing better when it at least called Trump out in a Politico post title for 'distorting' Hillary's immigration record.

However, this Politico writer, Daniel Strauss, is back to 'Opinions differ on the shape of the earth.'

It's depressing to always having to criticize journalists and public servants. But if the shoe fits...

However, while I chided Kasich for not ruling out voting for Trump in his Chuck Todd interview and for ruling out voting for Hillary

give him credit for the following. In the same interview he did say Trump owes Obama an apology.

"Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he thinks Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump should apologize to President Obama for questioning his citizenship.

"You know, yeah," the Ohio governor told NBC's "Meet the Press" when asked if Trump owes the president an apology.

"Kasich, who ended his own presidential bid in May and has not endorsed the Republican nominee, said he doesn't agree with questioning Obama's birthplace."

This is pretty big. This is the GOP Governor of Ohio that Trump needs and for him to rebuke him this way is a positive.

Not saying it's everything but it's something. 

I Had Zero Borrowings From My Dad's Estate... I Give You My Word

Which kind of shows you what his word is worth.

"Who among us hasn’t needed a $9 million loan from dad every once in a while?"

By way of comparison, my Dad loves to tell me his belief that leaving your money to your kids shouldn't be automatic.

In other news, the NY Times is back in the journalism. Here's the proof:

"My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting."

That is when you know you're doing your job properly. What set Trump off is the Times actually vetting him. They are doing investigative journalism rather than simply saying 'We asked, Trump won't release his tax returns, by the way Hillary's email server sure was an outrage.'

"A Trump Empire Built on Inside Connections and $885 Million in Tax Breaks."

"The way Donald J. Trump tells it, his first solo project as a real estate developer, the conversion of a faded railroad hotel on 42nd Street into the sleek, 30-story Grand Hyatt, was a triumph from the very beginning."

The hotel, Mr. Trump bragged in “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” his 1987 best seller, “was a hit from the first day. Gross operating profits now exceed $30 million a year.”

"But that book, and numerous interviews over the years, make little mention of a crucial factor in getting the hotel built: an extraordinary 40-year tax break that has cost New York City $360 million to date in forgiven, or uncollected, taxes, with four years still to run, on a property that cost only $120 million to build in 1980."

"The project set the pattern for Mr. Trump’s New York career: He used his father’s, and, later, his own, extensive political connections, and relied on a huge amount of assistance from the government and taxpayers in the form of tax breaks, grants and incentives to benefit the 15 buildings at the core of his Manhattan real estate empire."

"Since then, Mr. Trump has reaped at least $885 million in tax breaks, grants and other subsidies for luxury apartments, hotels and office buildings in New York, according to city tax, housing and finance records. The subsidies helped him lower his own costs and sell apartments at higher prices because of their reduced taxes."

He also wrongly took all sorts of 9/11 tax breaks

"NBC is also taking a deeper dive into Trump's myriad conflicts of interest post Kurt Eichenwald's big Newsweek piece. "

"If Donald Trump wins the election in November, he'll be the most conflict-of-interest-prone president in modern history thanks to the sprawling business empire he's built over the last several decades. He controls more than 500 companies across many industries."

"The Republican has said if he's elected to the nation's highest office, he'll hand the reins of his businesses to his children and not "discuss it with them." And in the wake of a new Newsweek report raising questions of potential conflicts of interests with international dealings, Trump declared he would "absolutely get out in some form" if there were sanctions placed on countries where the Trump Organization operates."

"Hillary Clinton's campaign has called on Trump to go further and divest from the entire Trump Organization should he become commander in chief. Mitt Romney had vowed to place his massive fortune in a blind trust were he elected. But it's different for Trump — there's nothing "blind" about the vast business empire Trump has built. He's seen it all."

Off topic. Regarding the explosion in NYC, Trump predictably got ahead of himself immediately.

"Explosions are not the same thing as bombs. At the time Trump made his claim, no confirmation of a bomb."

By the way, the issue is not whether or not this proves to be true. The issue is that a President can't get ahead of the facts and offer his own speculations whether or not these later prove accurate.

We expect nothing more from Trump, of course.
But the media needs to do better.

"You know this election needs to end when a bomb explodes in NYC, little is known & all @cnn talking about is how the candidates responded."

This is one of the true bane of postmodern reporting; I use the word postmodern quite deliberately and aware of how pejorative it is in connection with journalism.

What i'm referring to is  second order reporting where the media goes right from what just happened, the truth or falseness-to 'So how will it help/hurt Hillary/Trump?'

When a tragedy like last night in NYC-close to home for me; I live on Long Island-the media should hold off on, before even all the facts are in and verified, putting on the campaign hat and offering their own-totally uniformed-speculations on how it will help/hurt Hillary/Trump.

Then the only story becomes what the media's preferred narrative on how the tragedy effects the horse race.

How to Put Judicial Watch out of Business

There is some reason for very cautious optimism that the media is finally waking up a little bit after being rolled again with Trump's birther infomercial.

Beyond that, Norm Ornstein has a pretty good rule for the media to observe.

"I wish you and the Times, as examples, would announce that any anonymous source who gives you false or misleading information will be outed -- the privilege of anonymity extends only to provision of accurate information. "

Unfortunately, I can't find the link to Norm's tweet but it would take us a long way. It would finally disincentivize lying and getting your lies as part of the national conversation.

To be sure, Norm has a number of good rules.

(I'm calling him Norm as he did actually speak to me on Twitter this morning! LOL I've heard it said that you should only refer to someone with their first name if you know them).

For cable news: get rid of campaign apologists, spinners, 9 person panels, coverage of empty podium."

Indeed. Those panels are unwatchable. CNN seems to always want their to be equal sides. So you have equal amounts of people on both sides.

"Lord et al were brought on because CNN wanted Trump defenders, not conservatives. Now they must defend Trump no matter what he does."

"CNN both presented a distorted view of the landscape, and created a cohort of pundits whose employability is contingent on praising Trump."

This is where false balance gets you. For instance, if the debate is climate change, CNN wants to have both those who believe it's real and those who don't.

The problem is that within the scientific community, climate change deniers are entirely marginalized.

Same thing with trying to give both sides with Trump:

"CNN had a regular stable of conservative talking heads it used to contextualize news events. They thought Trump was bad."

"But instead of showing that story -- Trump is unusually marginalized -- they hired new pro-Trump voices like Lord & Lewandowski."

Exactly. If Trump is in reality marginalized, covering over that is not 'fair and balanced' but the opposite. But CNN wrongly feels this is somehow 'piling on' to show the truth about this.

Interestingly from what Simon Wren-Lewis and other British observers say, this was how Brexit was handled on BBC.

While most economists agree Brexit was a terrible thing for the economy, the economists BBC had on were 50-50 giving false equivalence.

I agree with Yglesias here wholeheartedly on both counts:

"I like @brianstelter a lot but I actually think CNN is ground zero for the media's institutional failure re Trump."

My Name May not be on the Ballot but Democracy is on the Ballot

Very powerful speech from President Obama last night. Many are arguing that this was his most powerful speech ever.

He was very clear about the stakes. Hope is on the ballot and so is fear. He will take it as a personal affront he warned his base if they don't turn out.

"President, shouting, says he'll consider it "an insult to my legacy" if you (blacks) don't vote; "Hope is on the is fear"

The idea that people aren't motivated enough to vote this time of all times, is something I just can't understand.

Would you have been inspired in 1932 to vote against Hitler?

"President giving a fire & brimstone speech tonight - promises full-throated campaign effort for Clinton; denounces GOP fear-mongering."

It's quite something to hear a sitting president say "democracy is on the ballot."

I would recommend very much you watch that video. Here is what the President said.

It was part mockery, part shock-to-the-system wake-up call.

"Donald Trump is a nasty, hateful charlatan selling a false message to African-Americans and the rest of the country that puts everything he’s done in office and stood for at risk, President Barack Obama said Saturday night, in a rip-roaring speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner in Washington."

"Declaring he would consider it “a personal insult, an insult to my legacy” if black turnout falters for Hillary Clinton, Obama did what he got reamed for doing almost exactly two years ago, in the heat of midterm elections where disdain for him was the defining force: Yes, he said, he is pretty much on the ballot in November."

“My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot,” Obama said, his voice rising to a shout as he went well beyond what sources familiar with the speech say was a tamer version of the riff in the prepared remarks. “Tolerance is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Good schools are on the ballot. Ending mass incarceration, that’s on the ballot right now.”

Read more:

If you want to be complacent about an election maybe wait for one in the future. This is not that time.

Like Hillary says 'Friends don't let friends vote for Trump.'

Obama last night was: 'Friends don't let friends not vote.'

Print Media Starting to Ditch Both Sides Do it Journalism

With all the apologetics some in the Beltway went into in the face of criticism of false equivalence, the print media seems to be catching on.

A lot of time, it's just about tweaking headlines a little-just adding a single word. The Washington Post, the NY Times, even the AP have been doing it since Trump's birther infomercial.

This piece by Politico shows how the media is trying actual journalism on for size-rather than simply being a court stenographer"

"Trump distorts Clinton's immigration position in pitch to grieving families."

Read more: 

Now Lawrence O'Donnell still thinks Politico should have used the word 'lie' as the Washington Post and NY Times have started doing. 

".@politico Distorts? If you aren't comfortable calling a lie a lie, I don't know how you can cover @realDonaldTrump campaign."

Indeed. But I'll take distort. I mean compared to before where Trump would lie and the headline would simply repeat the lie without comment.

'Hillary calls Trump a birther and he responds she's the birther.'

That isn't journalism it's stenography and it leaves the reader free to believe whatever he or she wants to believe. 'Hillary and Trump disagree on the shape of the earth.'

Meanwhile, the NY Times is back in the journalism business in a big way.

In the past when the Beltway answered media critics it was always like Chris Cillizza does here.

But Cillizza, just like the NY Times editor Liz Spayd and I saw in a conversation I had with USA Today's Paul Singer on Twitter, completely misses the point on Trump's coverage. They don't get the difference between reporting on a particular fact and investigating it.

"And, again, when it comes to your references to Bannon and others: We wrote all about Bannon’s background and his controversial statements. That it didn’t change people’s minds about Trump isn’t really the media’s responsibility. We just don’t have that power."

Reporting something he says is different than doing an investigative piece that looks more deeply into it. It's the difference between stenography and journalism.

Like this NY Times piece out on all the tax credits Trump has taken over the years. This is what journalism looks like as Cillizza appears not to know.

"A Trump Empire Built on Inside Connections and $885 Million in Tax Breaks"

Now the proof is whether this continues. There is so much for investigative journalists to chew on, learn, and reveal to the public. There should be many more pieces like this about Trump's business interests, financial ties, his taxes-as he won't show us the returns.

Keep hitting him on releasing them. Start now, and don't stop.

Do lots of pieces speculating on the possible reasons why he won't.

Good start but let's see if the media keeps its eye on the ball.

Trump Doesn't Like Critics

He is furious at Robert Gates who called him 'beyond repair.'

Neither presidential candidate has offered a compelling vision on national security, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates writes in a scathing Wall Street Journal op-ed -- but Donald Trump is “beyond repair.”

Read more: 

Surprisingly, Trump reveals he actually doesn't like critics.

Trump on Robert Gates: "I don’t like critics. I like the people that get it done and get it done right."

He also speculates that Robert Gates has a problem we don't know about.

Trump's level of projection is just an amazing thing.

But when he says he doesn't like critics, he means it. He really, really, really means it.

It's amazing, but he's now furious with Maureen Dowd. I mean Dowd is his friend as he's running against the hated Hillary Clinton. But Trump is angry about some revelations about him in her new book-or cut and paste job.

"Wacky @NYTimesDowd, who hardly knows me, makes up things that I never said for her boring interviews and column. A neurotic dope!"

It just shows how easy it is to set the guy off. He got mad at Judge Curiel in the Trump U case even though Curiel had if anything been too 'fair' to him by postponing his case until after Trump U case.

Now a reporter was arrested outside a Trump event. This reporter, Alex Thompson, just happens to be Maureen Dowd's former assistant.

Meanwhile, the NY Times is finally doing its job. We know this by another wild tweet from Donald Trump:

My lawyers want to sue the failing @nytimes so badly for irresponsible intent. I said no (for now), but they are watching. Really disgusting

This is after very good NY Times piece that looks at all the tax credits Trump has taken over the years.

"A Trump Empire Built on Inside Connections and $885 Million in Tax Breaks."

The Times is back in the journalism business again.

I'm sure Trump will take it easier on the media once he has the most powerful executive office in the world.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

'Chances are Miniscule I'll Vote for Trump'

These are the words of John Kasich in a preview of tomorrow morning's Meet the Press.

"In an interview with NBC News’ “Meet the Press” set to air Sunday, former Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that “it’s very, very likely I will not” vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump."

In other words he might vote for Donald Trump, the man who Charles Blow rightly calls the Grand Wizard of Birttherism.

"So, on Friday the Grand Wizard of Birtherism against President Obama admitted that birtherism was bunk, not by apologizing for his prominent role in the racist campaign — no, that would have been too right — but by suggesting that he deserved credit for dousing the flames he’d fanned."

"This man is so low that he’s subterranean."

Donald Trump said Friday: “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy.”

"That was a lie. There is no evidence Hillary Clinton and her campaign either started or took part in the efforts to question the location of Barack Obama’s birth."

He continued: “I finished it.”

"That was also a lie. Well after it had been established that the president was born in this country, Trump continued to traffic in speculation to the contrary, all the way up to and including this year."

Then Trump said, without elaboration or allowing questions: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”

"Trump has a long history of elevating the idiocy of conspiracy theories and normalizing the nonsensical."

It's not too nonsensical or shameful for John Kasich, necessarily. Party before country. Chuck Todd asked him of he puts party before country. Kasich had no real answer to it.

In a preview of the interview published by NBC News, Kasich said he will not vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton but also that “I’m no closer” to voting for Trump.

“I mean, there’s too much water under the bridge,” he said.

Host Chuck Todd asked Kasich, “Why do you leave the door unlocked?”

“Because it’s just too early to make, you know, a statement like that,” Kasich replied. “But I’m just not doing it today on ‘Meet the Press.’ I’ll do it when I want to do it.”

“But why shut the door on Hillary Clinton already and not shut the door on Donald Trump?” Todd pressed.

“Well, because I’m a Republican,” Kasich said, adding, “Look, it is country first. And I am unlikely to cast that vote. The chances are miniscule.”

What would have been the chances of Kasich voting for Hitler in 1933? Is Trump somehow not as bad? Why? What if Adolph were a Republican?

This is the Grand Wizard of Birtherism who didn't take it back yesterday but added another big lie about Clinton. As the Congressional Black Caucus says, Trump is a disgusting fraud.
But he's a Republican so Kasich may vote for him. 
P.S. I appreciate what Bernie said about this not being the time for a protest vote.
If you read me during the primary, you know I had some real differences with him, but you have to give Bernie credit: even in 2000 he was for Al Gore not Ralph Nader. 

'We Got Played Again'

So CNN's John King admitted as did Jake Tapper. As Greg Sargent says, they're's a choice involved here.

As I argued in my last post, there are some signs the media might finally be catching on a little bit.

Or as Krugman puts it, maybe Trump has finally gone a lie to far:

"I suspect Donald Trump is feeling a bit sandbagged right now, or will be when he wakes up. All along he has treated the news media with contempt, and been rewarded with obsequious deference — his lies sugar-coated, described as “disputed” or “stretching the truth,” while every aspect of his opponent’s life is described as “raising questions” and “casting shadows”, despite lack of evidence that she did anything wrong."

"If Greg Sargent and Norm Ornstein are to be believed (and they are!), the cable networks at least initially followed the same pattern in their response to DJT’s latest."

"But the print media appear to have finally found their voice (which may shape cable coverage over time). The Times and the AP, in particular, have put out hard-hitting stories that present the essence in the lede, not in paragraph 25."

Krugman's got it right, but I have to point out one blinder of his: he said the Times and AP in particular but he must know that the Times in particular along with the AP has been among the worst offenders and because of the importance of the Times this is even more glaring.

Even yesterday, initially, the Times screwed up unlike the Washington Post.

The Times did afterwords correct it and had some very good front page headlines that adequately described what what Trump actually said.

What’s so good about these stories? The fact that they are simple straightforward reporting.

"First, confronted with obvious lies, they don’t pretend that the candidate said something less blatant, or do views differ on shape of planet — they simply say that what Trump said is untrue, and that his repetition of these falsehoods makes it clear that he was deliberately lying."

Basically when WaPo and the Times later say rather than 'Trump Bames Clinton for Birtherism' that 'Trump Falsely Blames Clinton for Birtherism' it makes a big difference, it makes a huge difference.

If you omit 'falsely' then the reader is stuck in a world of 'opinions differ on the shape of planet' or 'Democrats say Global Warming a Fact; Republicans Say it's not Been Proven.'

Calling a clear lie a lie goes a long way to correcting false equivalence.'

"Second, the stories for today’s paper are notable for the absence of what I call second-order political reporting: they’re about what Trump said and did, not speculations about how it will play with voters."

"Doing these things doesn’t sound very hard — but we’ve seen very little of this kind of thing until now. Why the change?"

It really isn't very hard, so you wonder why it's been so hard to get the media to see it.

"You could say that the lies were so blatant that doing the right thing became unavoidable. But there were plenty of earlier lies — Trump lying about his opposition to the Iraq War, about his donations to charity, and much more. There was already the unprecedented contempt for the press he showed by refusing to release his tax returns. And all of these were soft-pedaled, with the media spending its main energy doing neener-neener on Clinton emails and the Clinton Foundation. Why did the press hit its limit?"

"One answer might be the storm of criticism over election coverage, with, for example, the Washington Post editorial page essentially taking its own reporting to task. The Matt Lauer debacle may have helped bring things into focus. And tightening polls probably matter too, not because journalists are being partisan, but because they are now faced with the enormity of what their fact-free jeering of HRC and fawning over DJT might produce."

"There are now two questions: will this last, and if it does, has the turn come soon enough? In both cases, nobody knows. But just imagine how different this election would look if we’d had this kind of simple, factual, truly balanced (as opposed to both-sides-do-it) reporting all along."

Notice that simply calling out a blatant lie-and saving the usual second order reporting-was all it took to get away from 'both sides do it.'

I think there's time. It's never too late and there is plenty of time if this is a sea change.

I mean it would have been better a month ago, but better now than in a month; better in a month till after Trump wins the election. But history will judge each and every journalist.

"There is no reasonable explanation or salable excuse for the media’s behavior this presidential cycle. History will look back at this period and it will not be kind to the Fourth Estate. We will all have to one day ask ourselves, “Where was I on Trump and the truth?” Far too many of us will be found wanting."