Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Vincente Fox: Trump is not Welcome in Mexico

The former Mexican President is apologizing for Trump's visit.

"Former Mexican President Vicente Fox told CNN’s “New Day” early Wednesday that Peña Nieto "is taking an enormous political risk" by hosting Trump. If Peña Nieto is seen as "going soft" on the businessman, Fox warned, "it will hurt him greatly."

"It's possible Peña Nieto issued the invitations thinking neither candidate would ever show up. But it’s also possible that Peña Nieto could use the opportunity to upbraid Trump and defend his country, something many Mexicans may appreciate after being treated like a punching bag for months on the Republican campaign trail. The pair are due to host a press conference after their meeting Wednesday, giving both a stage to air grievances."

Read more:

As for Trump's motivation, this is Steve Bannon's idea. Enough said.

So Trump and Pena Nieto may both be using this visit to look tough and upbraid the other.

Meanwhile Fox is apologizing for Trump's visit.

"Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto "is taking an enormous political risk" by hosting Donald Trump in Mexico City on Wednesday, former President Vicente Fox said, decrying the Republican nominee's visit as "opportunistic" and a "political stunt" while apologizing on behalf of the country for the president's invitation."

Read more:

Meanwhile, there are huge political protests in lieu of Trump's visit.

"Mexico rages against Trump visit."

"Reaction from Mexico against the Republican nominee's visit is swift and brutal."

"Donald Trump may have accepted the invitation of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto for a Wednesday meeting in Mexico City, but the Republican presidential nominee is getting the cold shoulder in a country where public views of its own president are already abysmally low.

"Reaction was fast and furious among those in the Mexican political cognoscenti."

Read more:

"Former Mexican President Vicente Fox apologized on behalf of the country during an interview Wednesday on CNN, accusing both Trump and Peña Nieto for using the occasion to exploit their own political opportunities."

"It's a very opportunistic move, and I hope U.S. public opinion, U.S. citizens can see this and finally, and finally see what is behind Trump, this false prophet that is just cheating everybody," Fox said during a Skype chat on "New Day," adding that it is "a desperate move, and I don't see how it can work at all."

"The only way that inviting Trump makes sense for Mexico would be if Peña Nieto gets the Republican nominee to apologize for his past statements about Mexicans, Fox said, saying he did not understand the thinking of the Mexican president, while pronouncing Trump's decision to visit "very smart."

"Fox had reacted fiercely to the news Tuesday night, telling Trump that "[t]here is no turning back" from his offensive remarks about Mexicans, Muslims and others that, he said, "have led you to the pit where you are today."

"Added Fox, who previously apologized to the candidate after declaring that Mexico was not going to pay for "that f---ing wall": "¡Adiós, Trump!"

"Trump responded to Wednesday's CNN interview with a tweet, reminding Fox that Fox had extended an invitation to visit Mexico along with his apology for using the "f-bomb."

"Trump is "not welcome" in her country, former Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala de Calderón tweeted Wednesday morning, after news broke of the Republican nominee's impending visit and meeting with Nieto."

"Mexicans have dignity and repudiate his hate speech," she wrote.

"Zavala, who has previously expressed a desire to run for the presidency in 2018, served in the Mexican Congress in the 1990s."

"Her husband, former President Felipe Calderón, has vowed that Mexico would not "pay a single cent for such a stupid wall," telling CNBC in February that Trump is a "not a very well-informed man."

"The first loser of such a policy would be the United States," Calderón said at the time. "If this guy pretends that closing the borders to anywhere, either for trade [or] for people, is going to provide prosperity to the United States, he is completely crazy."

Calderón retweeted the message from his wife, as well as the Hillary Clinton campaign's statement denouncing Trump anew in light of his meeting with the current Mexican president.

"Mexican Senate President Roberto Gil Zuarth tweeted that the invitation to Trump only served to legitimize his "proposal of demagogy and hate."

"We are threatened with war and walls, but we open the National Palace," he wrote, referring to the building housing the country's executive branch.

"Former Mexican diplomat Jorge Guajardo, who served as the Mexican consul in Austin and later as the Mexican ambassador to China, also slammed Peña Nieto for Trump's visit."

"I am taking suggestions on the best place to hide in Washington. I feel embarrassed as a Mexican thanks to my president. I want to hide," he tweeted.

Read more:

Meanwhile, Pena Nieto is the one high ranking politician with worse numbers than Trump.

"Public approval of Peña Nieto fell to 23 percent in the latest public poll, released earlier in August, with approximately three-quarters of Mexicans holding an unfavorable view of the job he is doing as president."

"Although, in Mexico, Trump is even less popular than their own President."

"In another poll, conducted in June, Trump's approval rating in the country he has used as a political punching bag was far lower: 2 percent."

Read more:

So how do you if you're Pena Nieto improve your 23% approval rating by having a high profile meeting with a guy who's approval is 2%?

This is why you wonder if Nieto is going to act confrontational. Nothing else makes sense politically for him.


Nate Silver:

"Amused by divide between reporters who assume Mexico visit will be a diplomatic coup for Trump!!! & those who assume it will be a shitshow."

"I'm #TeamShitshow, because come the fuck on, this is Donald Trump visiting Mexico with Rudy & Sessions on 2 days notice. But, we'll see."

Chris Hayes:

@NateSilver538 could also be neither. "It was a productive meeting, yada yada yada"

But I agree with Will Wheaton:

"@chrislhayes @NateSilver538 it *could*, but Trump's Razor.

Deport Everyone but Add Flowery Rhetoric to Make Moderates Feel Better

This is what I've been arguing for the last 12 days since Trump's private meeting with Hispanic Republicans led to this feeding frenzy over Trump's alleged 'softening.'

Benjy Sarlin put it perfectly:

"This, from Kellyanne Conway on MSNBC, sounds like deporting everyone + flowery talk to make moderates feel better."

In other words, he's trying to have it both ways. 

"According to that source, there is “broad agreement” among the inner circle that winning the election will require Trump to put a more humane gloss on his immigration proposals without significantly watering them down."

Read more:

In other words, old wine, new bottles. This won't fool Hispanics but the target is more to reassure suburban whites.

As for his trip to Mexico, what's going on there? Greg Sargent:

"So Donald Trump is visiting Mexico today, before delivering a big speech on immigration in Arizona. Perhaps Trump is looking to create a visual of reconciliation, to prove he is statesmanlike, and isn’t the hot-headed, divisive, impulsive, reckless figure who kicked off his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants and has since repeatedly vowed to grab that country’s leaders by the collar and shake them until they cough up the money for a wall to keep out that country’s dregs and lowlifes."

"Or perhaps Trump is looking for a confrontational moment that will remind blue collar whites how tough he is. What’s unclear is whether Trump’s own advisers know what the purpose of this visit is supposed to be."

I think it's more door number two as this Mexico trip is the brainchild of Steve Bannon.

Here is what Trump said about Mexico back in March:

Mexico's court system corrupt.I want nothing to do with Mexico other than to build an impenetrable WALL and stop them from ripping off U.S."

What else is new, he has some past grievance:

Trump long angry about being fleeced by Mexican businessmen for $12 million dispute over 2007 Miss Universe pageant

What You Have to Remember About Kellyann Conway

If you have any doubt that Trump is not pivoting, just bear in mind that Steve Bannon set up his big Mexico meeting today.

Trump's visit to Mexico is Steve Bannon's idea. Enough said.

Some have wondered where Ms. Conway is. I mean, she's the voice of reason. Right? Why hasn't she talked Trump out of this?

Well, here's what you have to remember about Kellyann Conway. She was the campaign manager for Todd Akin. True, she came in to put out the fire after his 'legitimate rape' mess.

But, then again, she was willing to be associated with a candidate who had made such a candidate, and wanted to help him achieve victory. She wanted a Congressman who believed that only some kinds of rape is 'real rape.'

And now we see that her running his campaign was not an accident. She herself has made some Akin like utterances.

Another day, another profoundly objectionable comment about women from the Team Trump. This time, it’s care of his newly named campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who said if only women were as physically strong as men, there would be no more rape."

"The Democratic Coalition Against Trump unearthed video of a January 2013 PBS panel, featuring a number of women from across the political spectrum discussing the issue of women in the military. Conway, expressing concern that women aren’t as strong as men, said: “If we were physiologically as strong as men, rape would not exist. You would be able to defend yourself and fight him off.”

"I cannot – and will not – soft-pedal this: What Conway said is utterly horrendous. It is an utter fallacy that “rape would not exist” if women were as strong as men, because rape is not exclusively a physical struggle between a man and a physically weaker woman."

"Women who are incapacitated are raped. Women who are physically disabled are raped. Women who are physically stronger than their rapists are raped, through coercion or a number of other means, including having a gun held at their heads. There are women who are scared to try to defend themselves for fear that it will escalate the rape into something deadly. There are women who are virtually paralyzed by the shock of the assault."

"There are also men who are raped – and not always by men who are physically weaker than they are."

"This is, unfortunately, not a comprehensive list of the many ways in rape is more than just a sheer battle of physical force."

"Conway is espousing an absurdly and harmfully reductive definition of rape, which frames rape as a power struggle between a stronger man and a weaker woman – which suggests that if only women were somehow better, bigger, tougher, mightier, we should be able to prevent rape."

"Tasking victims with rape prevention is a key tenet of the rape culture. Rape prevention lies exclusively with predators, who have the responsibility to not rape people."

"As you might imagine, I am not the only woman who is decidedly unhappy with Conway’s contemptible comment. A number of women’s groups have released statements expressing their disappointment with yet more sexist swill emanating from the Trump campaign."

P.S. I'm happy to see CNN has picked up this story.

Ms. Conway is the one who will allegedly improve Trump's image with women. Not if they learn who she is. 

What You Need to Know About Trump's Visit to Mexico Today

First of all, there is still a decent chance it never happens. The Mexican President who is very unpopular in his own right-in fact his numbers are Donald Trump like-may well face such a backlash that he reconsiders.

Indeed, it will be very interesting to see if Trump really does both the Mexico visit and the Arizona speech: I'm still not certain he goes through with that. He cancelled his immigration speech in Colorado last week and has already cancelled Arizona once.

Anything can happen today and probably will. He still doesn't know what he wants to say about immigration exactly. However, those in the media who believe he may be softening need to think again.

He has said nothing that suggests that. But here's what you need to know about today's trip that takes away any shadow of a doubt that Trump is softening. Steve Bannon set this Mexico trip up. It's his baby.

Nope. There is no softening.

"Bannon made the case that Trump must underscore his populist immigration views, perhaps with an audacious gesture.."

I think Benjy Sarlin accurately gets Trump's real position on immigration now.

"This, from Kellyanne Conway on MSNBC, sounds like deporting everyone + flowery talk to make moderates feel better."

This has been what the pivot has really been about despite gullible media pretending otherwise. They've made it sound like his policy has in any way changed. It hasn't. Not an iota.

His website plan on immigration hasn't changed. His policy has always been and still is: deport the entire 12 million now. Maybe-and so, logically, maybe not-the 'good ones' can come back later.

Later not being defined. But could be in a few months or 12 years.

The other part of this is something Chris Hayes observed last night in his 11 PM show. Any day that the news is all about Donald Trump, both he and Hillary Clinton are very happy.

TPP Hysteria: a Paper Tiger?

That's certainly one interpretation of last night's Dem primary results. All the pro TPP Democrats won. 

"Pro-trade Democrats call Labor’s bluff."

"Dem lawmakers who gave Obama fast-track sail through labor-challenged primaries."

Read more:

I've wondered this entire race if the media wasn't giving anti trade hysteria more credit than it warranted. It was never proven that TPP is this lighting rod beyond the noisy Bernie base-and Donald Trump.

No doubt my favorite race last night was Debbie Wasserman-Schultz easily beating Tim Canova. In the last week Canova has been complaining that Bernie never materialized on the campaign trail for him.

However, he did then suggest the truth: that might not have helped so much in a district that had voted 70% for Hillary Clinton in the primary anyway.

Although Canova sounded like Bernie after he lost last night:

Tim Canova "not quite ready to concede anything yet."

Organized labor made a lot of political threats on trade. So far, they’ve flaked on them all.

"Just ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who Tuesday clocked an easy win in Florida over the most Bernie Sanders-identified primary challenger in the country — even after her booting as Democratic National Committee chair. She voted to give the president fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals as a precursor to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and despite all the noise in Washington, every union in her district still endorsed her."

Read more:

Every union still endorsed her.

"Cutting against what has quickly become the political conventional wisdom that Sanders and Donald Trump were propelled by widespread opposition to new trade deals, of the 28 House Democrats who were targeted by organized labor and the progressive base for supporting fast-track, Wasserman Schultz is now the 28th who either skated through a primary challenge or didn’t get one at all."

"Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), the man the AFL-CIO promised to make an example of for supporting fast-track last spring? He did better in this year’s primary than he’s ever done before, in a race happening as his father pleaded guilty to illegally funneling money to his campaigns. (Two weeks ago, though, the anti-TPP group Fight for the Future did show up with what it called “a 25-foot inflatable protest blimp” outside his office in Sacramento.)"

"And Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, the leader of the New Democrats who made up most of the trade votes, drew a single-issue trade primary challenge from retired teacher Myron Buchholz. Kind eviscerated Buchholz in the Aug. 9 primary with 81.25 percent of the vote."

So what happened?

“They’re liars,” Buchholz said of the labor leaders who promised to support him. “The Communication Workers of America sent me a letter and no money. The AFL-CIO shut me out completely.”

"Buchholz said he begged. After receiving a mailer from the state AFL-CIO addressed to his late wife, an AFSCME member, with an attached postcard to send to Kind’s office to protest his fast-track vote, he says he told the union’s state director, “’I’m in this race because of that.’ And I got no support: Not an email, not a tweet, not a thing.”

“Other than the uncomfortable instances, people protesting, getting in my face — at the electoral box, it had very little impact,” Kind added. “There is a very strong vocal minority that knows how to get attention, but I think the impact on the general electorate has been pretty minimal.”

Read more:

This is something I've suspected all along: labor makes a lot of noise about trade deals, but in truth they know the rhetoric is overblown. The anti trade hysteria was always a noisy minority that punched way above its weight in coverage. Shockingly: the media has been had.

The second best result last night? Alan Grayson losing in a landslide.

He whines he won't endorse Patrick Murphy because he's a Republican.

Brilliant. Little Marco doesn't believe in climate science and thinks rape victims should be forced to carry the rapists' baby.

Sure, there's no difference between Murphy and Little Marco.

Harry Reid told Grayson to his face he hoped he lost. Mission accomplished.

When you look at someone like Canova, you realize that there was never any strategy in supporting him. It was just revenge against Debbie Wasserman-Schutlz, who while the Berners try to blame her, had nothing to do with Hillary's primary victory.

Rick Tyler made an important observation last night on  Chuck Todd's Meet the Press: the Trumpsters-who also have done nothing in this year's primaries-are not organized and savvy about electoral politics like the Tea Party was. I say was as the Tea Party also has not done well this primary cycle.

The Berners don't seem to have any clue either and the Bernie Sanders group to elect Berners has already split apart. When Chuck Todd asked Nina Turner about the failure of the Berners so far her answer was: revolutions take time.

That's what we pragmatic Democrats have been saying all along. That Obama's win in 2008 was a revolution and is taking time; Hillary's win will consolidate his accomplishments.

But in 2010 and 2011 the Emoprogs were already out of patience declaring Obama a failure, and demanding that someone primary him.

Finally, I take TPP hysteria turning out to be a paper tiger as more proof of the reality that the media has gotten things completely wrong this election cycle.

They have focused so much on Bernie supporters and Trump supporters. You know who you never hear about: Hillary supporters.

Jeff Jarvis has a great piece on this.

Yes, we are the silent majority, the Hillary supporters.

But Sahil Kapur stumbles kicks a hornet's nest by touting the fact that Trump leads Hillary ins pressers  17-0 this year.

The hyperventilating over this banal observation is enough to dispel the notion that HRC fans aren't enthusiastic.

We may not demand that political opponents and those we disagree with are locked up or call everything rigged but we pay attention, we're engaged, and we vote. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hillary up by 8 in Pennsylvania; Katie McGinty up by 4

So good news all around in the Monmouth poll of likely voters:


Clinton (D) 48% 

Trump (R) 40%

 Johnson (L) 6% 

Stein (G) 1% 

(Monmouth U. Poll, LV, 8/26-29)

It's also very gratifying to see Jill Stein at just 1%. It shows you most Berners are listening to Bernie who is campaigning for her by himself the day before labor day. 

"Poll: Clinton tightens grip on Pennsylvania base."

"Hillary Clinton holds an 8 percentage point lead over Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, according to the results of the latest Monmouth University poll of likely voters out Tuesday, which also shows Democratic Senate candidate Katie McGinty eking out a narrow advantage over Republican incumbent Pat Toomey."

"Buoyed by strong support from non-whites and voters in the Philadelphia area, Clinton is shown leading the Republican nominee 48 percent to 40 percent in a four-way race including Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, who received 6 percent, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who earned 1 percent. Four 4 percent said they are undecided among those candidates."

"Clinton’s level of support in the four-way matchup is roughly the same as the 9-point lead she had in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll conducted in early August. Overall, Clinton holds a 10-point advantage of 48.8 percent to 38.8 percent in the POLITICO Battleground States Polling Average of tracking polls in the field back to late July."

"Independents are generally split in the latest Monmouth survey, with 39 percent going for Trump and 36 percent for Clinton. Seventeen percent of independents in Pennsylvania said they would vote for Johnson, while 2 percent backed Stein."

"Among black, Hispanic and Asian voters, Clinton leads Trump by 85 points — 90 percent to 5 percent. Trump leads by a margin of 9 points — 48 percent to 39 percent — among white voters. President Barack Obama won the non-white vote by 71 points in 2012, while Mitt Romney prevailed by 15 points among white voters."

"Trump holds a substantial 18-point lead among white men (50 percent to 32 percent) but ties with Clinton among white women, taking 45 percent to her 46 percent. The Manhattan businessman is behind by 10 points among college-educated white voters, a voting bloc that Romney won by 15 points in 2012. Trump leads by 25 points (57 percent to 32 percent) among whites without a college degree, a group Romney won by 13 points in 2012."
"And while Trump leads Clinton by 30 points in the less populous northeast and central areas of the state, the Democratic nominee leads by 33 points in the seven congressional districts in and around Philadelphia, the state’s largest metropolitan area."


Yes, speaking of the burbs, Harry Enten:

"Monmouth echoes Marist in SE PA. Marist had Clinton up ~35 in Philly + burbs."

 "Monmouth has her up 33. Obama won it by 25. #lotsofvotesthere"
This is also very good news about McGinty leading Pat Toomey, 45-41. Yesterday's Emerson poll had Toomey up 46-39.

So which one is the truth? Good news there as well. Nate Cohn:

"Choose yer PA SEN news: Monmouth has Katie McGinty up 45-41."

Emerson has Pat Toomey up 46-39

"I'll choose the one calling cell phones."

That would be Monmouth.

Yesterday's Monmouth's general election poll had Hillary up by 7. This is pretty consistent with the trend we've seen in Monmouth over the last three months.

"Clinton+7, 46-39 in 4-way and 49-42 in the 2-way in new Monmouth poll."

"She was up 13/14 last time, 2/3 in July, 7/7 in June."

Nate Silver now says those claiming her bounce is over may have jumped too soon.

Clinton national polling average 

Aug. 9: 45.2

 Aug. 16: 43.8 

Aug. 23: 43.4 

Aug. 30: 42.9

Trump national polling average 

Aug. 9: 37.8

 Aug. 16: 36.7

 Aug. 23: 37.3 

Aug. 30: 37.7

In other words Hillary might have dropped a couple of points in her peak but Trump is not gaining any ground: he's actually a tenth a point beneath where he was just after the Dem convention.

"So, not clear that Trump is improving, so much as Clinton is declining. People maybe jumped the gun in declaring her convention bounce over."

At the end of the day, this has been a very predictable, consistent race-as was the Democratic primary.

Trouble is the media doesn't like that frame. They need to create this sense of suspense. So we hear absurd things like this race will all come down to the debates. But the demographics is destiny theory of the race is holding up very well so far. 

Hillary has led from wire to wire, and according to Monmouth her average has been 7 points. 

 Obama won by 7 over McCain in 2008, but his average lead in the polls from wire to wire was just 4.2.

A lot of times you hear Hillary is a bad candidate. The pundits saying that don't have a clue about what a good candidate looks like anyway.

In truth-and this is an unsexy truth. The candidate matters much less than is conventionally believed, even in 2016.

Bernie and Trump certainly suggested that the party no longer matters and it's all about the candidate.

But I think in retrospect the lesson about 2016 is very simple: The GOP is a dysfunctional, divided, mess while the Dems are very healthy and the most unified they've ever been; the 2016 Dems will go down as one of the most unified parties in US history in a long time.

Why did Trump win? Is it that he's such a transcendent candidate that he swept all the laws of physics aside? No. Trump's win is about the 2016 GOP and what a mess it is. Full stop.

Trump is a joke which begs the question of how he won? The answer is the 2016 Republican party is an even bigger joke.

P.S. What it takes to win a campaign is not glamorous. It's not about giving some speech that shakes the heavens. What Hillary does is not appreciated because this is not understood.

What Sasha Issenberg talks about is how to win a campaign without anyone noticing.

Trump is the opposite. He's about making everyone notice. But that has a big downside:

"For Roger Ailes, there was no cost to reminding someone who prefers MSNBC or CNN that Fox existed. There’s a huge cost for Donald Trump to remind Hillary Clinton’s supports that Election Day exists. I think that everything that he does is so ridiculously untargeted that even if it were to have a mobilizing effect, even if it were to be so emotionally resonant that it shocked or nudged nonvoters out of their complacency, it is likely to do so in such a broad-based way that I’m not sure Trump would benefit from it."

The Tired Old Democratic Plantation Trope

Trump's fake black outreach has been all about this: black folks have been taken for granted for the Democrats and have nothing to show for it.

We saw how his one black friend, Mark Burns, very clumsily tried to use this trope and got himself into a whole heap of trouble.

Trump is still scheduled to meet with the Pastor this weekend, but you wonder if at this point it does even more harm than has already been done.

But this trope is not new. Trump is simply reinventing a tired GOP talking point that never has much success: Blacks should vote for the GOP because the Dems take them for granted.

The argument is basically blacks should seek compeittion for their votes. But the trouble is the GOP hasn't even been trying to compete. It's been playing dog whistle politics for 52 years.

Al Sharpton had the perfect answer to this dubious argument at the 2004 Democratic convention.

"Mr. President, as I close, Mr. President, I heard you say Friday that you had questions for voters, particularly African- American voters. And you asked the question: Did the Democratic Party take us for granted? Well, I have raised questions. But let me answer your question."

See? So Trump didn't invent this Planation Theory of the Democratic party.

"You said the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It is true that Mr. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, after which there was a commitment to give 40 acres and a mule."

"That's where the argument, to this day, of reparations starts. We never got the 40 acres. We went all the way to Herbert Hoover, and we never got the 40 acres."

"We didn't get the mule. So we decided we'd ride this donkey as far as it would take us."

"Mr. President, you said would we have more leverage if both parties got our votes, but we didn't come this far playing political games. It was those that earned our vote that got our vote. We got the Civil Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the Voting Rights Act under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under Democrats."

"Mr. President, the reason we are fighting so hard, the reason we took Florida so seriously, is our right to vote wasn't gained because of our age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner, soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred to us."

"This vote can't be bargained away."

"This vote can't be given away."

"Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read my lips: Our vote is not for sale."

Here is an Ebony list of 10 things Black folks like more than Trump.

One item that made the list? #AllLIvesMatter. 

That is preferred by black folks to Donald Trump. 

Certainly Trump 0% approval rating with blacks is another great reason to love blacks.

Pastor Mark Burns: First Defend and Then Delete

It's a fascinating empirical question. Is is a mathematical possibility to get less than 0% of the African-American vote?

As a matter of arithmetic, I'm guessing not. But Donald Trump is trying, He's really trying. Black folks already don't like him, they really don' t like him. I mean they really, really, really do no like him.

Joy Reid:

"Dang. 97% of African-Americans have an unfavorable view of Trump in the new @ppppolls, 3% aren't sure, and --% (not a typo) feel favorably."

The Beltway Trump optimistic spin-a la Bloomberg's Mark Halperin-would be: so you mean he has nowhere to go but up?

"But if it's not possible to get less than 0% of the black vote, Donald Trump is trying, he's really trying. I don't know if his talk about 'What do you have to lose?' is winning over any of the suburban white voters that are the true target of this fake black outreach. "

But it is only disgusting black folks. Honestly, he'd be better off not doing any such outreach-like using the death of Dwayne Wade's cousin to declare 'Now blacks get it. They're going to vote Trump.'

Of course all this outreach has been done in front of white audiences. Now the news this week has been: Trump is going to meet with actual black people!

He's going to meet with Pastor Mark Burns. But right away, this particular black Trump supporter is violating the hippocratic oath and doing a lot more harm than good:

"Official Trump surrogate tweets cartoon* of Hillary Clinton in blackface."

Uh. This is the brother who's job it is to prove that Donald Trump is not a racist?

"Pastor Mark Burns, a black pastor part of Donald Trump's outreach effort to African Americans, tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton in blackface on Monday. "Black Americans, THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTES and letting me use you again..See you again in 4 years," the tweet read with the accompanying image."

"Black Americans, THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTES and letting me use you again..See you again in 4 years.— Pastor Mark Burns (@pastormarkburns) August 29, 2016"

Burns later was on MSNBC to defend this tweet. You see it was a great idea because he wanted attention. It sure got him a lot of attention.

"Pastor Mark Burns, a high-profile African-American supporter of Donald Trump, appeared on "Meet the Press Daily" Monday to discuss a controversial image he sent out on Twitter (deleted) earlier in the day. The tweet featured a cartoon of Hillary Clinton in blackface with the caption: "Black Americans, THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTES and letting me use you again..See you again in four years."

"Burns later deleted the tweet and put up a video post with the caption, "I want to Apologize for my Twit (sic) that many found to be offensive."

Sure. If it did. In other words, you're silly if you found it offensive. But I'm sorry that you're silly.

"More offensive than black face meme, is that you seem to see us as stooges who've been duped + don't vote on policy."

This is an old GOP trope: Hey, black folks, stop being suckers on the 'Democratic plantation.'

This is not a new line of attack. George W. Bush tried this in 2004. Al Sharpton had a great rejoinder to it then that applies today all the more.

What the GOP doesn't get is that if they get 1% of the black vote it might just not be that black folks are suckers. Maybe the GOP has earned it.

Along with Trump's 'black outreach' we read this:

"David Duke Robocall Urges Voters To Vote For Him And Donald Trump"

“We’re losing our country. Look at the Super Bowl salute to the Black Panther cop killers. It’s time to stand up and vote for Donald Trump for president and vote for me, David Duke for the U.S. Senate.”

So the Trump base is going to include both black voters and David Duke and his supporters?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Huma Abedin and the Latest Media Adventures in False Equivalence

I've been curious about the media feeding frenzy over the news that Anthony Weiner may have done more sexting on his phone last Summer.

Who cares? He's out of politics right? Isn't this just cruel at this point to laugh at him assuming he's done anything wrong? I still don't know who you hurt if you send naked pictures of yourself via social media-as long as it's to a consenting adult.

Weiner is actually a very interesting guy who I wish were still in politics. But in the age we live in, what can you do? If his voters think sending pictures to a consenting adult is an unforgivable offense, there's nothing you can do.

I question it in a way as there are many things that are far worse on my own scale of morality than 'sexting' but again, his district had spoken.

This latest outrage though, really bothers me as it just seems gratuitously cruel. Why kick a guy who's as down as Weiner?

Either Weiner doesn't have issues and so who cares, or he does and people shouldn't make fun of him.

But it soon began to emerge why the Beltway pundits consider this news.

CNN's Brian Stelter:

"AP photo of Clinton leaving a fundraiser last night. Wonder what she was looking at on her phone"

That's it. It's all about Hillary. Somehow, because Huma Abedin is on Hillary's team then in Beltway logic: Weiner's problem=Huma's problem=Hillary's problem.

Hillary needs to apologize for having someone on her staff with a husband who may or may not have a sexting addiction.

I did everything I could to get Stelter to answer my question on Twitter finally promising to watch his show every day for a month if he explains why Weiner's texts from last year are Hillary's problem.

"steve bannon's personal relationships are news. roger ailes' relationships are news. huma abedin's relationships are also news."

See folks? When we talk about false equivalence, this is what is meant. This is exactly how the press thinks. Because Bannon and Ailes have been attacked, you have to get someone on Hillary's team to make it fair.

And not how asymmetric Stelter's standard is here. Bannon and Ailes were not in hot water due to their relationships but their own personal conduct.

But this shows the point Peter Daou got a lot of criticism by the elite mostly white male pundits the last two days for telling the truth: a big part of the double standard Hillary harbors under is about gender.

But is not this false equivalence between Bannon and Ailes on the one hand, and Huma and Hillary on the other all about sexism?

Men at best are judged harshly for their actions. Women for their relations. For the actions of their spouse and even the spouses of those who work for them.

P.S. By the way, Brian Stelter, as mainstream pundits go, is a pretty good guy. He's better than a lot of them. 

What I mean is that he at least tries, and understands that false equivalence can be a problem. But this is simply the coin of the realm. 

You want to see bad? Check out Andrea Mitchell's performance at 12 this afternoon. She laid it on really thick about how important Huma is to everything Hillary has ever done, and her entire State department tenure with the punchline obviously that Hillary should have known what her Huma's husband was texting before having Huma get her a cup of coffee. 

I'm telling you. Could God one day make me the new President of MSNBC, and I'd love to have a chat with Ms. Mitchell. 

#AmnestyDon and the Annoying Singing Teddy Bear

Morning Joe Scarborough is on a roll after Trump called for Milo to be fired. First he baptized Trump a new name: #AmnestyDon as he keeps shifting-or in reality pretending to shift-his immigration position.

"The hashtag #AmnestyDon became the number one trending topic on Twitter Monday morning after MSNBCMorning Joe host Joe Scarborough liberally sprinkled the moniker into an anti-Donald Trump rant."

“Think about this: for 14 months, Amnesty Don– and a lot of people are calling him Amnesty Don. People are saying it, they’re calling him Amnesty Don. Amnesty Don, that’s what people are calling him.. I’m not calling him that, Amnesty Don. Hashtag #AmnestyDon,” he said

“Think about this: for 14 months, Amnesty Don– and a lot of people are calling him Amnesty Don. People are saying it, they’re calling him Amnesty Don. Amnesty Don, that’s what people are calling him.. I’m not calling him that, Amnesty Don. Hashtag #AmnestyDon,” he said.

"Scarborough managed to use the term “Amnesty Don” twenty times in the next minute and a half, during which he argued that Trump had flip-flopped on his position on illegal immigration so much that even his own campaign didn’t know his position."

"Sure enough, the hashtag blew up on social media."

"#AmnestyDon is the #1 trending topic on Twitter right now."

Ana Navarro wants in on the fun:

@Morning_Joe, I have no idea what this is about, but I want to keep it trending. #AmnestyDon #AmnestyDon #AmnestyDon

Speaking of Trump and immigration, it seems that all the king's horses and all the king's men in his campaign are unable to explain what it is:

"Donald Trump still has to "refine and decide" certain aspects of his immigration proposal, including specifics on deportation, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani remarked Monday as he tried to clarify the Republican nominee's remarks."

"But," Giuliani quickly added during a discussion on "Fox & Friends," "it's pretty much decided."

Read more:

Leave it to Giuliani to bring clarity to the situation. Trump still has to 'refine and decide' but it's also already pretty much decided.

Remember the former NY Mayor's peak moment at the RNC when he mixed up the directions up and down he was so deranged in his hatred of Obama and Hillary?

Morning Joe also ended his show with the Annoying Teddy Bear. The TB keeps signing "Happy Birthday to You' forever. It is pretty annoying.

But it's an allusion to Trump's quack doctor, Harold Bornstein, who wrote that North Korea like peon to Trump having the best health in all human history, not even close.

"On December 4, 2015 as Donald Trump was ratcheting up his attacks against his Republican rivals to win the party nomination, the candidate turned to his longtime doctor — a gastroenterologist namedDr. Harold Bornstein — for a letter verifying Trump’s personal health."

"What followed was one of the most bizarre single-page letters ever written, with the questionably quack doc noting that Trump’s lab results were “astonishingly excellent.” The doctor — an actual doctor, in the medical field, with real degrees on his wall and everything — proceeded to declare in the letter — “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

"The letter raised some eyebrows at the time, but has come until a stark magnifying glass again in recent weeks the more that Trump has tried to deflect, painting Hillary Clinton‘s personal health in murky ways. NBC News caught up with Bornstein for a brief exclusive, where the Manhattan-based doctor admitted that he wrote the letter in five minutes while Trump waited outside in the limo."

“I think I picked up his kind of language and then just interpreted it to my own,” he said. He continued, “I like Donald Trump because I think he likes me.”

"One of the more bizarre elements of the Bornstein letter was the URL at the top —"

"That is, until now."

"Someone commandeered the URL and has it redirecting to a site for a product called the Annoying Teddy, a teddy bear that will obnoxiously sing a pitchy rendition of “Happy Birthday” for THREE. DAMN. HOURS."

The website says. “[T]he teddy bear is real and it’s very annoying! We spent more than two years crafting the perfect annoying teddy bear that would piss off someone you dislike or like.”

Speaking of Trump's quack doctor he has now been caught trying to be paid off.

"The Huffington Post tried to get an interview with Dr. Bornstein by writing to the email address which he had listed on the original letter he wrote in which he vouched for Donald Trump’s health. The doctor sent back a reply demanding to be paid $325 per hour (in advance) for the interview. When the reporter wrote back and tried to get a clarification, the doctor – who came off as eccentric at best in the television interview he has done – began replying with Italian phrases in an apparent attempt to be funny."

I will hire the best people.

With Trump's Policy Details, the Check is Always in the Mail

We know his record on business, how often he would stiff vendors, workers, and business partners. But the media still trusts Donald Trump.

They don't hold him accountable for anything beyond what he says he wants to do today, or even this minute.

In the campaign, the related version of the check is in the mail is that the policy details are coming in two weeks.

Donald Trump has a couple of go-to ways of pushing off questions from voters and the press.

"The most obviously dismissive is his tendency to say that his campaign is"looking into" something, like when he promised a voter in North Dakota in May that his campaign was looking into whether or not the Renewable Fuel Standard should be continued. No word on his current position on the ideal ethanol/gasoline blend, suggesting that the campaign's exhaustive review is still underway."

Technically he's still looking into Birtherism, still has people in Hawaii.

"The other, slightly-more-concrete way of putting off a questioner is to say that the campaign would be taking action within a few weeks. We're not talking about his vague pledges like "I will release my taxes when they are no longer under audit." We're talking about a commitment: This is coming in a few weeks."

"Earlier this month, Trump gave a speech revamping his proposals on tax policy. He promised during that speech that "in the coming weeks, we will be offering more detail on all of these policies, and the ones we have already rolled out can be viewed on my campaign website." He also said that he would unveil his proposal on giving tax breaks for childcare "in the coming weeks" after discussion with his daughter Ivanka and "an incredible team of experts."

"That was on August 9, two weeks ago today. There has, so far, been no additional detail offered on the policies or the childcare tax breaks. There has also not been any additional information about a particular loophole in his proposal which he also pledged to address within two weeks."

So I'd look at the Arizona speech-healthy skepticism of whether there even is an Arizona speech is in order-pretty skeptically in terms of offering any new policy details.

Obviously, to square the circle he needs to remain vague so as to both keep his xenophobic base happy and reassure some suburban white voters at the same time.

Will the media let him get away with it?

For the record, his views on immigration have not changed. It's always been about touchback amnesty with the question of whether there is even touchback amnesty vague.

'We have to send those who broke the law home. We have to do it. Then maybe the good ones can come back.'

It's always 'maybe' the good ones come back. Or maybe not.

But even with touchback amnesty, they will first be deported. So that's his view. The only suspense is media coverage. Do they hold him accountable or let him keep it vague?

Assuming he gives the speech at all.

Stay tuned.

Trump is Going to Give a Big Immigration Speech Or is He?

I honestly don't get how you take anything Donald Trump says at face value. I mean how does he get any benefit of the doubt?

Of course, the Hillary Rules mean she gets none.

As for Trump if he says it's Monday, I want a second opinion and won't trust his notarized word as he'd probably just have Harold Bornstein do it.

Lately Trump has been trying to make his stance on immigration ambiguous although at this point he hasn't changed a thing. He was always for 'touchback amnesty' if he was for amnesty at all; that's always been spotty.

'We have to send them back and after, maybe the good ones can come back. We'll have to see.'

But now he has been able to convince the media that he's pivoted by using the word 'softening.' So etch that sketch. Everything that he's now said for 14 months is gone. We can only believe what Donald Trump says to us today.

If he contradicts what he's said in the past then we have no grounds to wonder which is the real Trump position. Nope. We just brightly declare that Trump has 'pivoted.'

Donald Trump on Sunday announced he would make a "major speech" on immigration in Arizona Wednesday.

"The announcement, which was made on Twitter, comes after a week of differing statements about immigration, Trump's signature campaign policy, and whether he would deport all of the nation's estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants."

"Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said on Sunday's "Meet the Press" that Trump would be clarifying is position on immigration soon, but did not name a date."

Sure sometime he's going to give a big immigration speech. We've heard this before. Last week he was supposed to give one in Colorado, then abruptly cancelled it.

As for Wednesday's alleged immigration speech, he's already cancelled that once. Trump claiming he will clarify his position on immigration or anything else is worth as much as Donald Trump telling a vendor his check is in the mail.

DailyNewsBin points out

1. His campaign schedule still doesn't have Arizona scheduled.

2. He still has no venue.

3. He had cancelled initially because he couldn't find a big enough venue and is basically saying it's back on to save face.

"Even as Donald Trump has canceled one upcoming public appearance after another and almost completely emptied out his campaign schedule in the process, all while offering no explanation for his virtual vanishing act and stirring up confused speculation from all corners, one mystery had stood above the rest. Why is Donald Trump still insisting that his upcoming Arizona rally, which his own staff had admitted was canceled, is still happening? Finally, he let slip this evening what really happened – and as always, it appears to have been a matter of ego."

"This evening we published an article which pointed out that there is still no Arizona rally on Donald Trump’s schedule. Not twenty minutes later, in what is likely a coincidence but was delicious nonetheless, Trump defensively tweeted that he will be holding a rally on Wednesday in Arizona after all and that he’s still “looking for a larger venue.” Oops, there it is."

"That little slip explains the entire saga. Less than seventy-two hours before he plans to give what he’s calling a “major speech” in Arizona, he’s still looking for a venue. In other words, he doesn’t have a one. He did have a smaller venue, until he had his staff cancel it. And so now the whole thing makes sense. Even as he was canceling a number of other rallies, in a fit of ego, he ditched his Arizona venue because he wanted a larger one – without even giving his staff a chance to find out first whether a larger one was available."

So it remains a very open question whether he actually does this speech at all.

NBC's Mark Murray:

"Good thing Trump has planned his big immig speech b/c we know less about his position than we did a week ago"
1. My wager is that he is not going illuminate further whether he gives the speech or not which is a real open question. 
2. Even if he does I doubt that 'We will know more' when it's done. 
3. But this is a false meme. Trump is going to be as vague as he can and let the media try to fill in the blanks. 
His real immigration views haven't changed, but he knows they are politically toxic. 
Greg Sargent has more about the fact that they have not changed here.

The Media is Really bad When the Topic is Racism

The media headlines from Thursday and Friday last week are basically: Clinton and Trump exchange accusations of racism.

At best they sniff, 'It sure is a shame that this is where our public debate has descended to. Presidential candidates calling each other racists.'

But as to the charge of racism itself, the media feels like it has no room to try to disentangle fact from fiction. An extreme version of such false equivalence was shown by the AP.

"The AP's top editor, Kathleen Carroll, says the newswire's much-scrutinized Clinton Foundation investigation was "rock solid," but the inaccurate promotional tweet about it was "sloppy."

"We're a lot better at breaking stories and covering news and gathering video and taking photographs than we are on tweets," she told me on this morning's show. However, Carroll stood by the AP's decision not to delete the tweet. "Maybe, going forward, we need to work more on our precision on the tweets." Alex Koppelman has a full summary of the interview here... And you can watch it here...

-- Another recent tweet from the AP, saying "Dwyane Wade and Donald Trump speak out on Twitter in wake of the NBA star's cousin's fatal shooting," was "clumsy," Carroll acknowledged. She said execs will be talking with the social media team about the recent misfires..."

It was perhaps the most grotesque example of false equivalence yet, where the AP refuses to differentiate even between a man grieving for the death of his cousin and a racist huckster like Trump clumsily trying to exploit a tragedy for political gain. To the AP, though, 'both Dwayne Wade and Donald Trump spoke out.'

As for the debate between Hillary and Trump we have someone who is a racist carnival barker, who won the primary based on a purely racist appeal to crackdown on Hispanics powered by a deportation force, an unconstitutional ban of Muslims, the Chinese, and to bring back 'law and order to our inner cities'-a clear racist appeal.

Trump got his start in politics via birtherism against the first Black President. You contrast Hillary's long history fighting racism and inequality, her long ties in the Black community and her strong platform in 2016 which calls for the end of voter suppression, fighting structural racism, and strong criminal justice reform.

Yet all the media could say was: 'Both called each other racists.' Even that wasn't true as only Trump did that explicitly.

The press may act like a passive stenographer on racism, but imagine if the subject if giving press conferences. Imagine if Hillary answered this criticism by saying 'Donald Trump doesn't give press conferences, He should give press conferences.'

Would the media say, 'Both candidates accuse the other of not giving pressers. Isn't it terrible how degraded our public debates are?'

Ed Kilgore talks about how false equivalence is Trump's best friend in the debate over racism:

Media False Equivalence Is Trump’s Best Friend in the Debate Over Racism

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton offered a reasonably detailed indictment of Donald Trump’s racially offensive utterances and associations. You don’t have to agree with every characterization she made, or with the underlying innuendo that Trump is himself a racist, to acknowledge she made a decent prosecutor’s prima facie case.

In response, Trump repeated his latest claim, offered with zero supporting evidence (unless you call assertions that she knows her policies will hurt African-Americans “evidence”), that Clinton is herself “a bigot.”

Here’s how the two candidates’ comments were covered at the WashingtonPost by John Wagner and Jenna Johnson:

“Clinton, Trump exchange racially charged accusations”

Was the treatment of Clinton’s and Trump’s comments as an “exchange” just a headline convenience? No. Here’s the lede:
A series of racially charged accusations dominated the presidential campaign Thursday, with Democrat Hillary Clinton accusing Donald Trump of “taking hate groups mainstream,” while the Republican nominee repeatedly claimed that Clinton is a “bigot” toward African Americans.

And on and on it went, with she said, he said, she said, he said. The only breaks from the scrupulously even-handed treatment were (1) an aside suggesting that Clinton’s talk about racism was an effort to distract attention from her email and Clinton Foundation problems, and (2) an account of Anderson Cooper’s efforts to get Trump to explain exactly how and why Clinton is a bigot. But if you were assessing the day on the campaign trail based strictly on the Post account, you’d judge it as a draw.

But the Post wasn’t alone. Here’s the headline for Politico’s “racism” story:

“Trump and Clinton throw more blows in bigotry fight”

In my own piece about Clinton’s Reno speech yesterday, I suggested one of the risks she ran was the perception that she was getting down in the gutter with Trump in a negative slug fest, a meme that could overwhelm the actual substance of what she is saying. But if major media organizations treat everything Trump says as equivalent in gravity and proximity to the truth as everything Clinton says, it could get even worse. After all, Trump throws out insults all the time, at nearly everybody. If insults equal fact-based attacks, the sheer volume of insults could win in the end.

Again proving you never go broke underestimating the Beltway pundits.

AP's Kathleen Carroll Still Doesn't Get it

In a revealing interview with CNN's Brian Stelter on Inside Sources, she says that:

1. Yes, the twitter headline about the AP's big expose on the Clinton Foundation was 'sloppy'

2. But, no, she has no plans to take it down.

My guess is: she worries that would erode the AP's papal infallibility. Her logic would do an old Jesuit proud.

She seems to think that having a slopping Twitter headline is not important enough to worry about. In this she willfully misunderstands the point. In this day of social media, what you put in the Twitter headline can be more important than what's in the body of the story as more people by far will read the headline than read the entire article.

"The AP's top editor, Kathleen Carroll, says the newswire's much-scrutinized Clinton Foundation investigation was "rock solid," but the inaccurate promotional tweet about it was "sloppy."

"We're a lot better at breaking stories and covering news and gathering video and taking photographs than we are on tweets," she told me on this morning's show. However, Carroll stood by the AP's decision not to delete the tweet. "Maybe, going forward, we need to work more on our precision on the tweets." Alex Koppelman has a full summary of the interview here... And you can watch it here...

-- Another recent tweet from the AP, saying "Dwyane Wade and Donald Trump speak out on Twitter in wake of the NBA star's cousin's fatal shooting," was "clumsy," Carroll acknowledged. She said execs will be talking with the social media team about the recent misfires...

-- Worth reading: A rebuttal by ThinkProgress EIC Judd Legum: "It is likely that far more people would read a 'sloppy' 140-character tweet than a lengthy story about Clinton’s schedule. Dismissing the tweet as a side issue fails to recognize the importance of social media in the AP’s own reporting and distribution strategies..."

-- An emailer adds: the AP is "fighting against Clinton and State stonewalling them, both on the records and the questions they’d want to ask. IMHO they at least deserve credit for that despite the screw ups..."
The idea that this tweet was legitimate because Clinton and the State Department weren't talking to them hardly dignifies a response it is so odd.

Some are determined to to push this 'It's just a tweet' illusion.
All of a sudden tweets must precisely tell full complete story ... too bad that rule didn't apply for HRC media in primaries.

Jay Rosen knocks that down:

"Incorrect. Tweets don't have to tell the full story. They can't. Point is they should not tell a misleading story."

Is this really so hard to grasp? It's just like a traditional headline in a newspaper on an online article. Even if the article is accurate that still doesn't justify a false or misleading headline.

On Face the Nation: 27 to 0 and 3 to 1 are the Relevant Numbers

Yesterday we looked at a study that confirmed what Hillary fans like us have long known. Hillary has gotten the worse coverage of anyone who ran in 2016. Her coverage is so bad it's worse than that of Donald Trump-who is a racist authoritarian totally unqualified for the job trying to become the American Caesar after years 228 years of being a Republic.

Despite the existential threat of Trump the media has still found more time to quibble about silly non scandals like emails, pressers, and demonized a fine philanthropic organization like the Clinton Foundation. With the important work the CF does worldwide, that's particularly despicable by the media.

We have Hitler 2.0 running for President and the media still manages to give Hillary worse treatment.

Yesterday on Face the Nation we again saw this crystallized by the numbers 27 to 0 and 3 to 1.

27 was the number of times her emails got mentioned on John Dickerson's Face the Nation and 0 is the time his tax returns were.

"number of times "emails" mentioned on @FaceTheNation today? 27."

"number of times Trump's tax returns were mentioned? 0"

Dickerson demanded to know 'Why isn't she winning by more?' Sure she has to win by 50 points. If she wins by 49 points she's not legitimate.

The other relevant numbers were 3 to 1: The number of Trump surrogates to the number of Hillary surrogates, though I agree Donna Brazile alone had them all beat.

"In other words, would it surprise me if the media held the Clintons to a different standard?"

Brazile on the nasty attempt to slander the Clinton Foundation:

"Brazile on Clinton Foundation: 'I don’t see what the smoke is'

Read more:

True. That AP story not only had no fire but when you looked at the story-rather than the AP's misleading tweet-there was not even any smoke. The woman who runs AP seemed not to get why having a misleading tweet is a problem yesterday when she was on Brian Stelter's Reliable Sources.

"AP's Kathleen Carroll defends Clinton investigation but admits 'sloppy' tweet

She admits it's sloppy but won't take it down because-best I can tell, she believes in an AP version of Papal Infallibility.

Once the AP tweets it can never change the tweet, even if it wants to.

Back to Brazile:

"Donna Brazile, interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, on Sunday said recently released emails showing government access for donors to the Clinton Foundation don't indicate any wrongdoing."

"This notion that, somehow or another, someone who is a supporter, someone who is a donor, somebody who's an activist, saying I want access, I want to come into a room and I want to meet people, we often criminalize behavior that is normal," she said in an interview with Martha Raddatz on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." "I don’t see what the smoke is."

Read more:

By the way, correlation is not causation; except for with the Clintons of course. The fact that someone was a donor and met with Hilary at the State does not prove she wouldn't have met with them if they hadn't donated. As Brazile says, access is not a crime.

Next you'll hear, it doesn't matter if it''s not a crime, it's 'bad optics.' Of course, what I noticed in talking to a lot of Hillary haters on Twitter who are obsessed with the CF, is that they easily confound different things. They confound a campaign donor and a Clinton Foundation donor which is just about charity, full stop.

Brazile said she supports the work of the Clinton Foundation and that the organization has been transparent, law-abiding and careful to avoid conflicts of interest.

Asked about dueling charges of racism between the campaigns, Brazile said Hillary Clinton didn't call Donald Trump's supporters racist but said he should do more to disavow supporters who are.

Read more:

Again, Josh Marshall's point is vindicated. You can never go broke underestimating the media. In its mind there are 'Dueling charges of racism' which for the press is impossible to distinguish.

Trump has a record of saying extremely racist things-and long record of discriminating against people of color. Hillary has a long history of public service and anti racist work going back to the Children Defense Fund.

But for the media, they can just record what both sides say. They can't scrutinize it in anyway. One candidate is poling at 0 while the other at 92 among African Americans.

But for the media it's 'Both sides call the other side a racist'-though only Trump actually did this-laughably enough.

For more on this, see Ed Kilgore.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Peter Daou Kicks the Hornets Nest By Mentioning Sexism

He commits the Beltway Faux Pas of suggesting that a decent part of the disparate treatment Hillary Clinton receives from the press is sexism.

What interests me is not just what Daou said-which is spot on-but the amazingly outraged reaction from Beltway insiders.

"Make no mistake: the media's obsession with forcing a #Hillary press conference is ALL ABOUT HER GENDER."

It was amazing to see the immediate outpouring of outrage from white make Beltway insiders.

Now the key is as I read it is not that he's saying that the issue of her pressers is not a problem but more how intense the media gets about it. If there is even the slightest hint of an issue with Hillary the media just goes raving insane.

I can't imagine you haven't been told this before, but your whole schtick is an enormous disservice to feminism.

This is very curious. What Daou is saying here may or may not be accurate. But even if he's dead wrong how would that hurt the case of feminism?

And what makes Sam Adler an expert on what is acceptable feminist dialogue?

Daou responded:

"Yes, many times. By white males. Who fashion themselves the authorities on feminism and on my motivations."

Issac Chotiner in particular reacted with disdain.

Make no mistake: you will not see a dumber tweet today."

Please. Donald Trump tweets something much dumber every 20 seconds.

Yes when you imply we are misogynist it tends to spark a reaction

See this suggests he has a guilty conscience. Daou talked about 'the media' not Daou. When you are defensive like this it usually shows you know you've been called out.

For example. When I hear women criticize men for sexism I don't take it personally too often. No one is saying that 'All men are guilty of X' just that a number of men may be.

Now if someone says I'm guilty of something I know I'm not guilty of, it's different. But why did Chotiner read 'we' into Daou's comment about the media?

"Is the media's obsession with the stupidity of your tweet about your gender?"

No, but it's partly about the gender of the candidate Daou represents. Maybe it is about gender in another way-Chotiner's gender. All I know is not a single one of the outraged comments Daou got came from a woman which tells me Chotiner and friends protest too much.

Peter Daou:

"The initial tweet met with instant criticism from a number of male reporters at prominent outlets, including the Washington Post, Slate, Vox, and BuzzFeed, among others."

"Apparently, identifying the double standard against Hillary as gender-based is frowned upon in the elite (male) press."

"That’s not surprising. Institutional gender bias is an accepted way of doing business, a prism through which the establishment sees the world. “Of course there’s no institutional gender bias against Hillary” say the denizens of an institution (the media) that has helped block a woman from the White House for 227 years."

"I’m not accusing individual reporters of sexism or misogyny. Far from it. Many of them are my friends and they are well-meaning and hard-working people. I’m talking about the national media’s collective behavior, the mindset that allows for lopsided reporting like nothing we’ve ever seen."

Yes. The bias against Hillary in the press is something to behold. Those like Issac Chotiner so quick to scoff that it's sexism should have their own counter theory for this bias. If they don't have one they should maybe be a little less confident that gender 'Of course' has nothing to do with it.

What you get with Hillary is a coverage that always presumes she's guilty till prove innocent. She gets zero benefit of the doubt.

Trump can like and slander for 14 months. He says he's 'regretful' without saying about what and wants to be 'softer' and the press says, ok then. Hillary apologizes for her emails, and the press grades the apology minutely.

Yes, the press has discussed Trump's tax returns or Trump U. But every day like her emails and these damn pressers? Not even close.

When Hillary announced changes in the Clinton Foundation management structure, there's no "Ok then. At least she is taking this seriously.'

It's 'Oh, so you admit you were wrong. Why didn't you do it sooner?'

So yes, Daou is right about this. The media bias is like nothing we've seen. Those who want to dismiss gender have the obligation to explain why the media is so biased against her if it's not about gender.

Best of all are the many in the press who believe this is a 'post gender' age.

Anyone who believes the coverage of Hillary can't possibly be sexist as sexism is over shouldn't even be covering the news.

Trump's Task: Turning a Tanker Around in 73 Days

Upshot now gives Hillary a 90% chance at being our next President. As Upshot says, that's about the chances an NFL level kicker makes a chip shot field goal of 20 yards.

As his pollster and chief surrogate Kellyann Conway admits, Trump's chances are about as good as turning around a tanker in 73 days. 

"The Republican nominee — three months after clinching the nomination — has begun frantically trying to reposition himself in the last week, installing a new campaign manager and controversial CEO to help him escape the straitjacket that his 14 months of incendiary comments and hard-edged policy positions have him in."

Read more:

Ok, this is a pet peeve. He has not changed his immigration position though he's tried to spin it this way. Just yesterday he promised deportations within one hour of being inaugurated.

The media is letting itself get roiled. In truth he still is for deportations. What's missed is that 'touchback amnesty' is consistent with deportations. Logically if even 'the good ones' aren't deported first, how is it touchback?

"ICYMI: Immigration experts are going insane trying to figure out Trump's policy. That's because there isn't one yet."

This is where you see how right Josh Marshall is in arguing that the thing to remember is most Beltway pundits just aren't very bright.

There is one and it's the same as it ever was. The beat goes on, same as it ever was.

1. Deport the 12 million.

2. Maybe bring the good ones back after.

In other words, touchback amnesty. Maybe. Or maybe they don't come back. Either way Trump at that point would have total power.

But I digress.

In truth Trump has less than 73 days as early voting is starting soon.

"Trump may not have that kind of time. Early voting begins in 28 days in Minnesota and in 32 other states soon after that. And already as summer inches to its end, 90 percent of Americans say they’ve decided. For all the televised daily drama this race has provided, the final outcome itself is shaping up to be less dramatic than any presidential election since 1984."

Read more:

I believe roughly 25% of the vote will happen in early voting. What is not appreciated is that for the Hillary campaign is that election day itself is not the be all and end all.

Less dramatic than any election since 1984. Let's hope so. Mondale had 41%. Does Trump get that much?

Mondale like Trump had huge crowds.

If you look at this race from the bird's eye view, it's even clearer that this is the least dramatic election since 1984.

She has led on average by about 6 points since May. He never led, though he did tie briefly after winning the primary in early May and after July RNC convention but before the DNC.

There is no precedence for a candidate trailing from wire to wire and by this margin coming back. What's more in both 2012 and 2008, Obama won by at least 40% larger margins on election day than his average polling lead.

UPDATE: Bruce Bartlett:

"I think there will be a tidal wave of people in the Republican establishment attacking Trump after Labor Day. Off the sinking ship."

Is the Debate Commission Already Stacking the Deck in Favor of Trump?

His first salvo was that fake letter from the NFL that happened in the same parallel universe where there were NJ Muslims cheering 9/11, climate change is a hoax, he can't release his tax returns because he's being audited, his budget adds up, he is the friend of LGBT people as he hates Muslims, and Hillary Clinton is the bigot.

Yet, there is concern that the debate commission is already letting itself get roiled.

"There's something I want to flag. There's always been some debate over whether the national debate 'commission', which no one picked to be in charge of debates but simply created itself, should control the presidential debate regime. That said, they've actually done quite a good job of it over the generation they've run the process. As political debates go, the debates are pretty substantive. And they've made it much more difficult for the frontrunner to set the terms of debating or in theory choose not to debate at all. Aside from minor negotiations at the margins, they've never budged from any of their decisions over format, moderators, timing, etc. But ... this year we still haven't heard who the moderators are going to be because the Commission is trying to be sure they pick people who Donald Trump or his supporters won't view as biased against him."

The idea that they have to handpick people he and his supporters won't see as biased is a disaster. That leaves who exactly? Sean Hannity, Rudy Giuliani or Hugh Hewitt?

"That is a huge, huge problem. Obviously this should always be a top priority. The moderators shouldn't have a bias against either candidate. But Trump of course sees everybody who is not obsequious and toady-ish as biased against him. Over recent weeks he's made Sean Hannity his official interviewer, like a doofus Boswell to Trump's clownshow Dr. Johnson."

"He tried to set the tone with those silly complaints about conflicts with NFL games. And the only reason to be especially solicitous of these concerns is that Trump has a history of complaining. This is no more than recapitulating his strategy through life, business and this political race: start with aggressive over-the-top demands, try to assert dominance at the outset so as to engage solely on his own terms and with his dominance already an accepted fact."

"In any case, they're not going to find anybody Trump won't claim is biased. No one. Literally, no one unless it's someone like Hannity or Hugh Hewitt. My concern is he's gotten inside their heads with his antics and they'll find someone who is a known softballer or someone who actually is biased in favor of Trump. More likely they will create a situation where the moderator is given a brief which makes them fall over themselves to prove they are not biased against Trump."

"Perhaps we'll find out that they're just doing an extra level of vetting to make sure the people they pick didn't say something mean about Trump six months ago or something - though frankly, how many sentient people haven't made some critical comment about Trump in the last year?"

"We'll have to see what happens. But the unique solicitousness and effort to avoid predictable and disingenuous criticism is a bad, bad sign."

So only people who have never criticized Trump can moderate? Imagine if this rule applied to Hillary. There'd literally be no one in all mainstream journalism.

Jay Rosen puts Jake Tapper's chances at moderating the debates at 90%.

Here a libertarian wants Gary Johnson in the debate:

"A month from now, the Commission on Presidential Debates will let us know which candidates get a golden ticket to that national forum."

"Will America get to hear from anyone besides Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the twomost distrusted and reviled candidates in modern political history?"

"Two recent news reports stoked hopes that we might: Earlier this month, CNBC reported that the Commission “might consider giving an inch to a third-party candidate” like Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson. “It’s happening: The presidential debate commission is planning for three-way debates,” gushed.

Again, they are equally reviled. Except their not. Trump is 18 points behind Hillary pace RCP.

Anyway, Gary Johnson is not going to be our next President. Putting him in just makes him a spoiler. And in a three way, there's a case this helps Trump as a two person debate is clearly not his format, especially with a knowledgeable woman like Hilary.

I'm not ruling out him calling her the 'c-word' on stage.

Thankfully maybe the commission is not going to give us Gary Johnson in the debate.

Don’t get too excited, libertarian friends: It's probably not happening—the fix is still in."

Thank goodness. I love when the fix is in.

"Current CPD co-chair Mike McCurry downplays the significance of the “third-podium” story in the Politico article itself: “Some of our production people may have said, ‘Just in case, you need to plan out what that might look like.’” When the Pentagon war-games worst-case scenarios against hypothetical adversaries like North Korea—or zombies—that doesn’t mean it’s about to happen."

It seems that those Bernie or Busters who are still not voting for Hillary are going for Gary Johnson more than Jill Stein whose numbers lately have been quite abysmal.

But that they support GJ just shows their supposed liberal principles were so much baby breath.

GJ didn't even know who Harriet Tubman is and wants to block grant Medicare. Yet they're down with that? Proves it's not issues that separate them from Hilary but something aesthetic in nature.