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Compulsory Work Reception Centers and the What’s Wrong With the FBI??

The reason why Trump voters are not our favorite people is because we have to listen to stupid shit Sean Spicer says:

 

Holocaust Centers? He makes it sounds like the reception area of a compulsory agritourism resort. This isn’t right. It isn’t even wrong. It’s just bad.

We probably don’t need to cater to the Trump voter anymore. It’s not a hate thing. It’s just pointless to try to talk to people who think that just about anything is acceptable anymore because reasons.

They are not special.

**************************************************************

Meanwhile, back at the FBI, The Washington Post reports this afternoon:

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.

So, let’s recap.

The Trump campaign was under investigation and Trump advisor Carter Page’s communications were being monitored, last summer.

Not a peep from the FBI.

Hillary’s email turned out to be a nothing burger and the Comey letter 11 days before the election likely did her in among voters who for some reason can’t evaluate candidates based on their merits.

For this we are saddled with Trump and a slew of Republicans for four years and we have just had a Supreme Court justice stolen from us to be replaced with a guy who believes in Natural Law. He’s to the right of Scalia.

And Obama said… nothing.

 

 

 

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Morning Music 

It’s beautiful today in Pittsburgh. Going for a hike in the cold air. Will have a post up later about news sources. In the meantime, welcome new readers. We don’t care how you voted. We have to get over that. We need each other now. Our motto here is hold hands, stick together, watch out for one another.

Be back later…


More…

Michael Cohen at the Boston Globe writes that the calm before the storm is already disorienting in America Is Off The Tracks. 

Adam Gopnik writes in The New Yorker that it is essential that we find allies in the conservative side who see beyond party and are determined to protect the Constitution in The Music Donald Trump Cannot Hear. Adam gives us some direction: 

There’s no point in studying history if we do not take some lesson from it. The best way to be sure that 2017 is not 1934 is to act as though it were. We must learn and relearn that age’s necessary lessons: that meek submission is the most short-sighted of policies; that waiting for the other, more vulnerable group to protest first will only increase the isolation of us all. We must refuse to think that if we play nice and don’t make trouble, our group won’t be harmed. Calm but consistent opposition shared by a broad front of committed and constitutionally-minded protesters—it’s easy to say, fiendishly hard to do, and necessary to accomplish if we are to save the beautiful music of American democracy.

I’m not going to lie and say there is nothing to fear. Our fear is very rational. But we can’t let it overwhelm us. 

The Guardian writes about Trump’s attacks on John Lewis, a genuine hero of the civil rights movement, on Martin Luther King Weekend. It’s a well known political ploy to attack your opponent’s strength. Our nation’s strength for several decades has been its determination to overcome racism. This is not the time to be conciliatory towards the man who would be president. We shouldn’t yield a millimeter on civil rights. 

Esquire writes The Trump Administration May Remove the Press from the White House. I have to bite my tongue here because I can’t think of an entity that deserves punishment more than our “extremely careless” media. But this seems like an effective way to begin to undermine the First Amendment. So as much as I blame it for giving us Trump in the first place, this is where I have to take a stand and demand constitutional protection of the press. 

Trump in the Garden of Beasts

gty_kristallnacht_kb_131108_33x16_1600I have a hypothesis about why Donald Trump is saying outrageous, indefensible things. I think he’s worried about looking bad in the debates to come and that worry, combined with Hillary’s growing lead over him, makes it look very likely that he will lose in November. This is a guy who is used to winning. He wins and he wins and he wins. Losing is bad for his image.

Why would a rich, famous guy with a hot Eastern European wife put himself through all  of this if he can’t win? But bailing at this point would look weak. So, he’s going to have his own party pull the plug on him.

There are other possibilities of course. He could really mean what he says and he wants to fire up his base, who have guns. Lots of guns.

What concerns me is the tepid response from the media. The New York Times Editorial was the equivalent of the naughty step. Heidi Li Feldman, formerly of Heidi Li’s Potpourri, pointed me to a criticism in The Guardian of pre-WWII coverage of Germany by British newspapers that also was tepid about what was starting to become an alarming and unusual political movement complete with assassination attempts and thuggish behavior from the leader and his followers.

The danger here is that unless there is a strong public condemnation of this rhetoric and behavior, it’s only going to get worse because we will have acclimated ourselves to it. It will be, “Well, they’re always saying stupid things like that” or, “you should know what you’re getting into if you go to a Trump Rally” or, “Sure they sound like they’re going to aggressively patrol polling stations this fall but what are they going to do to stop people from voting?”. Before you know it, you have another Kristallnacht on your hands.

Now, I’m not saying that this will happen this year to this candidate and his enraged and armed followers. But we need to walk this back- now- because there is no brake on how many people can buy guns in this country. One or a couple or a posse could decide they’ve had enough of commie Hillary and her libtard voters. We know what happens next because we have a lot of history on film.

As much as I’d like to see Donald lose to Hillary by a YUGE margin, it’s safer for all of us if he’s forced out and some “reasonable” Republican got his followers to calm their tits already.

 

Will Trump drop out?

Has a major party candidate ever dropped out before?

What would it take to make him drop out?

How long will it take?

Who would be his replacement?

Would it doom the GOP this fall or improve their chances?

Enquiring minds want to know because with the media now training their laser like intensity on every word he utters or tweets, he’s not going to last the rest of the week (though an implosion caught on tape would be fascinating in that slow motion car crash kinda way).

“The humpbacks have reached their feeding grounds.”

Discuss.

 

The Candidate Index

I’m sure they will feign innocence but how much time and space are our media sources devoting to all of the candidates running for president of the United States.

To refresh your memory, there are currently 3 major candidates still remaining. We aren’t counting Martin O’Malley.

The *three* major candidates are (in alphabetical order):

Hillary Clinton (D)

Bernie Sanders (D)

Donald Trump (R)

Sanders and Clinton? Who are they, you might ask? Indeed. What have they been doing in the last week? Judging by our nation’s sources of truth, we would have no idea. We wouldn’t know if they have any policy ideas, or struggles with campaign financing (seems inevitable with so much attention focused on the other guy), or anything really.

So, how are we going to show how much free publicity has been gifted to each candidate? I’m thinking I need a table of three rows for the candidates and multiple columns for media outlets’ front pages. Media outlets would be: NY Times, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC and Fox. I’ll count the number of times the candidate’s name shows up in a headline on the front page at 6am. Wait, does anyone have any insight on morning deadlines?

Also, what kind of metric should we be going for here?

Gotta go to work but I’ll be back later so if you have any ideas, put them in the comments.

For today, so far I see 3 headlines featuring Trump’s name, 0 featuring Clinton’s name, 0 featuring Sanders. 2 op/ed featuring Trump’s name (Krugman), 1 op/ed featuring Clinton’s name. Elsewhere on the front page of the NY Times, Trump’s name appears 6 times, Clinton’s appears 0, Sanders appears 0.

I can’t wait for Ezra Klein to tell me how surprised he was by this.

 

She did it again… and again

If we lose in November, we have people like Digby to thank.

Two times today, she posted about what she imagines to be the typical Trump voter. Naturally, racism played heavily into this image. I’m not linking to them. To be fair, she’s not the only one who does this. Paul Krugman and many, many others do it too.

I’m not going to deny that there are certain Trump supporters who are definitely racists. But she is completely missing the point. Or is she reinforcing it?

Whatever it is she and other lefties think they’re doing, I would advise them to STOP. DOING. IT.

I will spell it out: There are many people on the left and right who are very unhappy with the way government has been run since the financial crisis hit in 2008. But as soon as they open their mouths to lodge a protest or complaint, the left rolls out this meme that they MUST be racists.

That makes people who are already angry even angrier. Because what if their complaints are legitimate? You are giving them no where to complain and making them feel like they can’t get their point across.

That’s why they are turning to people like Trump. He’s promising to not shush them up. He’s going to give them a voice. And the thing that Fox News has been pounding into its viewers’ heads is that political correctness is wrong. That doesn’t mean racism isn’t wrong. What is wrong is for one group of people to use race as a tool to stifle dissenting voices.

I don’t happen to agree with Fox News that it’s Ok to be a racist ignoramus but it is certainly more than ok to make your grievances known without having to feel like you’ve become an instant bigot overnight when you celebrated the Civil Rights movement in your youth.

This is what the talking points arm of the Democratic party has been doing. They are turning a lot of people into instant bigots. It’s guilt by association. It’s not going to work. In fact, it is going to make the typical Trump supporter even more determined to shove it up your ass. Not all of Trump’s supporters are going to the rallies for the policies. They’re going for the empowerment. They’re going because it confounds and pisses off liberals. The more you lose your shit over them going and pointing out the racism, the more pumped they get about their candidate because the goal is to make you angry and it is working.

No, it is not rational, but it is very human.

Now, there are a lot more women in this country than there are african americans or hispanic people or any other group you can name. Women are NOT a minority and they shouldn’t be a “special interest” group. They are the majority of citizens in this country and the fact that so many of us are underpaid compared to men and that our issues and concerns are so downplayed on Op/Ed pages and in Congress should be a cause for general alarm. Because when the majority of people in our country are treated like second class citizens, that means it holds down all of the people who are dependent on them. Sexism is definitely a huge problem. But if the left keeps accusing everyone on the other side of the aisle as racists, then that means that they in turn will accuse everyone on our side of using a <fill in the blank> card whenever we want to shut down debate.

It will backfire on Hillary Clinton.

The typical Trump supporter is not as insecure as the typical lefty about being called names. We’ve been calling them stupid, uneducated, low-information, hicks and bigots for a long time. And some of that is definitely true. But they have Fox in their corner where typical Clintonistas have, well, absolutely nobody in the media. It’s a very lopsided situation. If you go after the typical Trump guy, he won’t give a shit. His cheering section will just keep going.

On the other hand, if even one little thing Trump says has even a tenth of a nanoparticle of credibility with respect to Hillary and her supporters, the New York Times is going to be all over it. She has no cheering section. That is no exaggeration. We’re it. Well, us, a few other blogs and some very determined people on Twitter.

Ok, nevermind. Just do it your way. The jini’s already out of the bottle. Keep it up. Force them to turn the card business around on us.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

 

Charlotte Speaks

charlottes-webIf you aren’t a current listener of Slate’s Political Gabfest podcast, this latest edition, “Corey’s Gory Story” may not make you a faithful subscriber but it is very revealing.

The three panelists are David Plotz, John Dickerson and Emily Bazelon. I hesitate to call them friends because I suspect that David Plotz, the “host”, is secretly hated (or not so secretly) by the other two. He has an odd habit of saying inappropriate things, insulting Emily, pissing off Dickerson and revealing himself to be one of those third wayers that doesn’t really have a defined set of beliefs. He just wants everyone to get along in a way that inconveniences him the least.

So, anyway, after going over the Trump crap on abortion and other recent news, they dive into Hillary vs Bernie and Bazelon says that Bernie is the wrong opponent for Hillary this year because all the “faux” revolutionary fervor is residing with Bernie and not with Hillary. They all agree that Hillary is just not exciting. She’ll never be revolutionary (someday we should discuss slow evolution vs punctuated evolution. I’ll take the latter). Right, like the first female president wouldn’t be a lot more revolutionary than all of the previous male candidates that came before. That’s as far as I’m going to go with the “historical precedent” argument for Hillary’s nomination and election. She’s simply the best candidate on either side of the aisle, she laps her opponents and if you can’t bring yourself to vote for her, you will necessarily have to vote for someone who is significanly less well qualified to be president, Bernie notwithstanding. These are facts. You might not like them but there they are.

But the Gabfest trio laments that she is not exciting. {{sigh}}.

And then, a rare moment of truth.

David Plotz moves on to some recent speech Obama gave where he criticized the press for giving Trump too much airtime and boosting his numbers unfairly. Well, get the smelling salts. Plotz was enraged. Why? Because, he says, Obama owes his nomination and presidency to them, the very same journalists that he is now criticizing. We were totally in the tank for him, Plotz says. In other words, he owes them. He has no right to criticize them. They MADE Obama.

Go to the 40 minute mark and you will be gob smacked by the angry truth. Plotz says that the worst example of presidential campaign coverage is not 2016. It was 2008 specifically because of what the media intentionally did to benefit Obama.  It’s refreshing to finally hear it but it’s also cold because we will never know how much of a difference it would have made if they had just done their jobs critically and honestly.

I think we can all agree that this is what we witnessed in 2008. Obama could do no wrong. Everything he did or didn’t do was covered favorably. Anything Hillary did was picked to pieces, made to look sinister and calculating, and was portrayed in the most negative light possible. So, thank you David Plotz for laying it all out so clearly.

Now, put this together with the podcast of Jill Abramson with Glenn Thrush at Politico last week. Glenn asks Jill, have you ever gotten the feeling that journalists aren’t allowed to say or write nice things about Hillary? Glenn says people who write about Hillary without being negative are criticized by their peers.

Ok, so here’s the scenario we are now facing: Donald Trump may have damaged himself this week because he blurted out what the right wing religious and proud penis wavers have been thinking all along. But there’s still a good chance that he can win the nomination. And if he wins the nomination, he’s probably going to go up against a candidate that the media has spent years flogging for no discernably good reason other than “everyone else is doing it”.

Couple that with the frenzy of feel good, overly emotional, “terrific”, “some pig!” coverage that Obama got in 2008 by a posse of upper middle class, ivy league, “journalists” who will never have to go on Obamacare or worry about whether they have enough money to retire on or whether they can pay for their kids’ educations. They pushed Obama on us with relentless pressure, called his supporters “creative class”, by which they intend to include themselves in the typical over estimation of their own abilities, and deliberately, and to this day, mischaracterize Hillary’s supporters as not just older but downright OLD, less well educated, less energetic, less technologically able.

Is it any wonder, Emily Bazelon, that Hillary’s campaign looks and feels post coital?*

You guys had better do something fast. Now that you freely admit that you have the power to make just about anyone look good, including the moderate, right of center, lackluster Democrat with very little practical experience that you got elected and, more importantly, protected for the last eight years, you know what you have to do. Start doing it. Quit the “Oh, woe is us, what can we do?” moaning about Trump.

*********************************************************************

On another note:

Richard Gannon of Spartan Life Coach did a video hypothesizing “what if Donald Trump is a psychopathic narcissist?” It’s just a bit of exploration and I’m sure he’s not the only one who’s tried to figure out if The Donald has Cluster B Anti-social personality traits.

Pay particular attention to what he says about narcissists projecting their fury on people who they perceive as weak. You might be living your life, minding your own business, have a nice career and nest egg, and think everything is fine and dandy. But if you have the bad luck to fall out of that for any reason, watch out. Narcissists will be the first ones to kick you when you’re down.

Is this Trump?

Do you really want to find out?

*********************************************************************

* To me, Hillary’s 2008 campaign was exciting. It had plenty of ups and downs and she started to really hit her stride and gave her best speeches when the Obots told her to drop out after she kept winning primaries in big states that I guess they felt Obama was entitled to.

This year, I get the feeling that she is playing it very safe and hewing so closely to Obama that she is turning off the people who supported her in 2008 and the people who did not benefit from the Obama years at. all.  They’ve had 8 long years of having Obama shoved down their throats and got nothing for it. They’re sick of it.

It seems to be the same journalists who perhaps feeling a bit like they bought the most expensive house in a bad neighborhood in 2008, that are forcing her to reassure them that they are still creative and amazing and young and beautiful. They want her to tell them that promoting Obama, not reporting on the skullduggery in the Democratic primary and convention process with any vigor, and gently lifting him over the threshold to the nomination in 2008 was the right thing to do.

This is forcing her to really crimp her style because she never was the kind of moderate, Reagan loving, “can’t we all get along?” guy that Obama was. If they want excitement, they’re going to have to stop applying the brake to her message and try to report on her honestly. Just because it’s truthy to portray her as a scheming, dishonest, collection of everything that is wrong with lady politicians (which means everything, from her hair to her pantsuits to her laugh to her wrinkles), doesn’t make you journalists. And I think we all see that now pretty clearly. We can’t lay the blame for this all on Rush Limbaugh, may he meet his own Charlotte someday.

I keep saying it over and over. What we are seeing today is a legacy of what happened in 2008 when the first party to implode was the Democrats who jettisoned their “old coalition” for a shiny new model. Big Mistake. YUGE.