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Virginia Republicans in chaos. What a shame.

The message quoted below is currently causing a LOT of discussion among Virginia Republicans and Tea Partiers.  Note the parts highlighted in red.

The "compromise plan" was a decision by the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) to (1) select their 2016 Presidential candidate by primary election, and, (2) select their 2017 governor, lt governor, and attorney general candidates by convention. 

The debate between convention versus primary is important to the RPV because conservatives, Tea Partiers, and other RPV wackadoodles want a convention because they can pack the convention, shriek, shout, demonstrate, and generally act like hoodlums, thereby driving way normal people.  On the other hand, if they select their candidates by means of a primary election, normal people will participate, thereby diluting to power of the RPV dingbats who would control a convention.

Now it appears that some in the RPV may be backing away from the idea of selecting their 2017 state candidates by convention.  The RPV State Central Committee will meet soon and already the long knives are being sharpened.  Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of jackasses.

Integrity First:  Keep the Compromise

Author - Dan Webb (SCC), Young Republican of Virginia Federation Chairman

This Saturday the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee will be voting on a call for the 2017 Nominating Convention for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General. In June 2015, after months of intense public and private debate, and thousands of emails and phone calls from concerned Republicans, the Virginia State Central Committee passed the following substitute motion on the Compromise Plan that Chip Muir and I proposed:
“In accordance with the state Party Plan, and the rules of the Republican National Committee, I move that Virginia’s Delegates and Alternates to the 2016 National Convention shall be elected by the respective District and State Conventions, and that their votes be bound by the results of the Republican Presidential Primary, to be held on March 1, 2016.

The votes of Virginia’s delegates, district, at-large Delegates, and Alternates, shall be bound on the first ballot, proportionally to candidates according to the votes received in the Statewide Presidential Primary vote. For the purpose of this allocation of votes, the State Chairman, National Committeewoman, and National Committeeman shall be considered unbound delegates. 

In addition, it is recommended that RPV holds a 2017 nominating convention for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General. RPV shall establish a restricted account to be used for convention expenses. Money can be donated or transferred to the account, if it’s expressly designated, and can only be drawn for use to pay expenses related to the 2017 convention.”
Why was the Compromise Plan necessary? As Chip Muir laid out in multiple op-eds (Here) the Republican Party of Virginia has been tearing itself apart over nomination process for nearly a decade. Where you stand on the method of nomination has, unfortunately, become a litmus test for conservatism in Virginia Republican politics. 

Our fear was that a rushed and compact Presidential Convention process to allocate Republican National Convention delegates would have brought to bear so much pressure and outside influences upon the party structure that we would have devolved into chaos. Contested Mass Meetings would have been more insane than they usually are, District conventions would have been rife with disputes, and if you attended the State Convention in Harrisonburg this year and thought that the fights there were intense, can you imagine what it would have been like if the actual binding of delegates to the national convention would have been involved?

The purpose of offering the Compromise Plan was to accomplish three goals: 1) Reduce the intra-party fighting 2) Allow RPV and local GOP units to focus their attention on preparing for elections, and 3) Allow RPV to raise significant funds by showing the public that we are able to work together and govern ourselves through prioritizing electoral success rather than party control.

To a large degree I believe that the passage of the Compromise Plan was able to create an environment to allow us to accomplish these goals. The subsequent relative intra-party calm (compared to previous cycles) over the last year is certainly one piece of evidence. Electorally, over the course of the year Republicans successfully held on to the Virginia Senate. RPV is now not only out of debt, but we’re in the black. At a time when we were in a financial hole, not spending money on a gigantic convention allowed RPV to use its resources to regain solvency, and now we once again have the financial capability to host a top-notch convention. Chairman Whitbeck and his team's fundraising success should be applauded.

More than just hitting these three strategic goals for the Republican Party of Virginia, Chip and I believed that if RPV passed the Compromise Plan, it just might set RPV leadership on a path towards much needed long term reconciliation.

When I spoke on the motion for the Compromise Plan I said that “ As a party, we have been so completely engrossed in fights about the process that we have lost sight of how to work together and thereby, win together. Both sides are at fault in this regard. It is my hope that if we can have two years of peace in regards to process, that we can begin to work together, and to win together. Because we simply cannot win without each faction of the party coming together...Everyone of us has an opportunity for real leadership. I hope that you will show it by voting for the Compromise Plan.”

Many SCC members who are traditionally pro-convention stood up that day and showed real leadership by speaking in favor of the Compromise Plan knowing that they would receive intense pressure for “crossing over.” Many of these same members subsequently lost their SCC seats for that very reason. They showed sacrificial leadership and I greatly admire those good conservative Virginians because of the way they conducted themselves that day. They proved the doubters wrong who said the plan would never gain enough support or that those in the Conservative Fellowship are not independent minded enough to break away and support such an idea.

A significant number of traditionally pro-primary members that still serve on SCC also stood up that day and spoke in favor of the Compromise Plan and I appreciate their efforts as well. But for them, that was the easy vote, this Saturday will be a more difficult vote. During debate on the method of nomination a number of SCC members spoke against the Compromise Plan by saying that pro-primary members would not keep their word, that they would not follow through, in short, that they lacked integrity. I don’t believe that’s the case, and I hope that on Saturday those predictions will be proven wrong.

It’s time to put the integrity of our party first, to bring the Compromise Plan to fruition, and prove to ourselves that we can work together and begin trusting each other once again.

Author - Dan Webb (SCC), Young Republican of Virginia Federation Chairman

Here's some advice to the RPV:  The Republican Party is where it is today because you pulled together a Coalition of The Crazy -- biblethumpers, "militia" nuts, gunnuts, Klansmen, xenophobes, Tea Partiers, and the like.  Now you are surprised that these people will not listen to reason and are not willing to compromise.  Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

Conspiracies, baseless accusations, and lunacy is the new normal for Republicans

From fringe to mainstream: Conspiracies, baseless accusations, and lunacy is the new normal for Republicans


It is equally likely that the Republican Party will stay intact after November, that it will still have enough of a power base in the House of Representatives and in the states to convince itself to limp along and rebuild. But it likely can’t be viable until it purges itself of all the racism and toxic waste it has spent the last 40-plus years cultivating. And as the confluence of several stories this week reminds us, disentangling a functional political party from the rot that has infected it at all levels is likely an impossible task.


There is no longer any place in the Republican Party for decent, honorable men

William “Bill” Milliken was the Republican governor of Michigan from 1969 to 1983.  He was a sane, rational, compassionate, intelligent and reasonable pragmatist who always put the best interests of the people of Michigan ahead of partisan ideology.

Bill Milliken was the epitome of a respectable, decent Republican from a bygone age.
A few days ago, Milliken formally endorsed Hillary Clinton for President of the United Statesstating:
“This nation has long prided itself on its abiding commitments to tolerance, civility and equality. We face a critically important choice in this year's presidential election that will define whether we maintain our commitment to those ideals or embark on a path that has doomed other governments and nations throughout history,” Milliken said in a statement.
“I am saddened and dismayed that the Republican Party this year has nominated a candidate who has repeatedly demonstrated that he does not embrace those ideals.
"Because I feel so strongly about our nation's future, I will be joining the growing list of former and present government officials in casting my vote for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.”
You can guess where I’m going with this already.
Grand Traverse (Michigan) GOP denounces Governor Milliken
Grand Traverse County Republicans have voted to no longer recognize Gov. William Milliken as a Republican. Party delegates passed the resolution at a convention in Grand Traverse County on Thursday night.
Milliken, a longtime Traverse City resident who is the longest serving governor in Michigan history, announced that he was endorsing Democrat Hillary Clinton for president last week
“It’s just the final straw,” says Jason Gillman, a county delegate and former Grand Traverse County Commissioner who wrote the resolution.
...“It’s time that Republicans start behaving like Republicans,” Gillman says. “It’s nothing personal against Bill Milliken himself. He’s an honorable man. He’s served his country. He’s served his state.”
Yup. He’s an honorable man, and there’s no longer any room for that sort of thing in today’s Republican Party, so he’s gotta go.

Pulitzer winner David C. Johnson's interview about his latest book: "The Making of Donald Trump"

David Cay Johnston began covering Donald Trump in the 1980s when he was working as the Atlantic City reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Johnston’s new book, "The Making of Donald Trump," looks at a side of Trump seldom covered in the press: his ties to the mob, drug traffickers and felons.


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about Donald Trump, we’re joined now by David Cay Johnston, who’s followed Trump’s career for decades. His biography of Trump has just been published. It’s titled The Making of Donald Trump and examines Trump’s rise to prominence. David Cay Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, previously with The New York Times, now a columnist for The Daily Beast.
Welcome back to Democracy Now! It’s nice to have you in studio. Why don’t we start off with your response to what Trump said yesterday?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, I’ve been listening to right-wing radio about this, and all sorts of people are saying, "There goes the liberal media again. He never said that." He certainly said it to people who are zealots, people who are deranged, people who are dangerous. And without question, this was way beyond the pale. But, you know, this will happen again. This is who Donald Trump is. He is a bully. He is someone who believes that whatever he thinks is in his interest in the moment is in the national interest.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, David, you’ve been following Trump now for decades, going back to—even back when you were, what, a bureau chief for the Philadelphia Inquirer in Atlantic City—
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —when he was beginning to get his casinos going there in Atlantic City. What’s been the main thread that you’ve taken away from your years of studying his operations.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Donald doesn’t know anything. And if you listen carefully to what he says, it becomes apparent. He was asked by a Hugh Hewitt during one of the debates, the right-wing radio talk show host, about the nuclear triad. That’s the capacity of the U.S. to deliver a nuclear bomb from a submarine missile, a land-based missile or an airplane. His answer indicated he had no idea. Well, it turned out Hugh Hewitt had asked the same question months earlier on his radio show, and Trump didn’t learn in between. Trump talks as if the president’s a dictator. When he ran casinos, he didn’t know the games, he didn’t know the odds, he didn’t know how to handle customers. All he knew how to do was take money out of the organization, which weakened it, and that’s why his casinos were among the first to fold.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to the clip that you reference also in The Making of Donald Trump. During the Republican debate last December, he was questioned, as you said, by Hugh Hewitt, who then asked Senator Marco Rubio for his response.
DONALD TRUMP: First of all, I think we need somebody absolutely that we can trust, who’s totally responsible, who really knows what he or she is doing. That is so powerful and so important. And one of the things that I’m, frankly, most proud of is that in 2003, 2004, I was totally against going into Iraq, because you’re going to destabilize the Middle East. I called it. I called it very strongly, and it was very important. But we have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ballgame.
HUGH HEWITT: The three legs of the triad, though, do you have a priority? Because I want to go to Senator Rubio after that and ask him—
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think—I think, to me, nuclear is just—the power, the devastation is very important to me.
HUGH HEWITT: Senator Rubio, do you have a response?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO: I do. Well, first, let’s explain to people at home who the triad—what the triad is. Maybe a lot of people haven’t heard that terminology before. The triad is our ability of the United States to conduct nuclear attacks using airplanes, using missiles launched from silos or from the ground, and also from our nuclear subs, ability to attack. And it’s important. All three of them are critical.
AMY GOODMAN: So, that was Senator Rubio and, before him, Donald Trump. And, of course, then there recently Joe Scarborough, the talk show host who’s a former Republican conservative congressmember, saying he heard from an international diplomat who was advising Donald Trump—Trump said to the person three times, "If we have nuclear weapons, why don’t we use them?"
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, this is indicative of Donald doesn’t know anything. I mean, if Marco Rubio, who is pretty much an empty suit, has to school you on something this basic, that should have screamed to people back in December, "This man has no qualifications!" He doesn’t qualify to be in Congress, much less be president of the United States. On the other hand, in his own mind, of course, Donald is the greatest living person. And, Amy, if you don’t appreciate that, Donald has a word for you: "Loser!"
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: David, I wanted to ask you about this issue which we discussed previously with Wayne Barrett, as well, on the issue of Donald Trump’s relationship to the mob and his connections over the years to mobsters. And you’ve also looked into that, as well.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Yes, and it’s not just the traditional Mafia families in New York. First of all, Donald Trump’s father had a business partner who was a mob guy. I’m sure Wayne talked about that. But Donald has done business with people with the Russian mob. He’s done business with con artists. The guy who supplied his helicopters and managed his personal helicopter, called the Ivana, from his first wife back then, was a major cocaine trafficker, who actually handled the drugs. And after he went to prison, Donald wrote a letter pleading for mercy for him, so he got 18 months as the head of the ring. The little fish who delivered the drugs, they got 20 years. Donald continued to do business with him after he was indicted. Donald has done business all his life with mobsters and criminals, because it’s a way to make money.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about Joseph Weichselbaum?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Yes, that’s the guy. Joseph Weichselbaum is this mob associate. He once—he used to do Cigarette boat racing in Miami, and he once was—came in third, right behind Charles Keating, the infamous financier who ripped off people for a billion dollars. And Weichselbaum provided helicopters to the Trump Organization, even though there were better-capitalized, better-run companies. Donald rented an apartment to Weichselbaum and his brother under very unusual circumstances.
When Weichselbaum was indicted, it was for a drug operation that went from Miami to Ohio. When he agreed to plead guilty, the case was mysteriously moved to New Jersey. And who did it come before? Federal Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, Donald’s older sister. No one knows how this happened. Now, she removed herself from the case, but imagine, Amy, that you, or one of the listeners, you’re the chief judge, and the judge comes to you and says, "Oh, I can’t handle this case, because I fly in this drug trafficker’s helicopters. My husband flies in them every week. My children have flown in this drug trafficker’s helicopters." You know, it helps explain how this guy got a light sentence.
And the question we have to ask is: Why did Donald Trump need to write that letter, which could have cost him his casino license? Because he needed this guy to be his friend and not his enemy. What was going on that Donald Trump needed a drug trafficker to be his friend and not his enemy? And that’s a question no one in the news media has been asking.
AMY GOODMAN: You got a call—
AMY GOODMAN: You got a call from Donald Trump over this?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: I got a call related to this, yes. I wrote a piece for Politico magazine back in April about all of Donald Trump’s connections. And Donald finally called me. He’s had my home number for years. He’s called me at home in the past. And he said to me, "Well, you know, you’ve written a lot of things I like. But if I don’t like what you’re writing, I’m going to sue you." I said, "Well, Donald, you’re a public figure." In America, that means that he would have to prove that I deliberately, knowingly told a lie about him. And he said, "I know I’m a public figure, but I’ll sue you anyway." And it’s one of the reasons the news coverage of him has been so soft. He has threatened to sue everybody. That Politico piece that I wrote, I’ve been an investigative reporter for almost 50 years; I’ve never been lawyered like I was for that piece. And it didn’t have anything that hadn’t been published before. He has intimidated the news organizations, and they’re not willing to talk about that.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, in your book, you go into a story, not about his father, who’s been well known and covered previously by other publications, but about his grandfather. Talk about Donald Trump’s grandfather.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Donald Trump’s grandfather, Frederick, when he turned 16 in 1885, was subject to mandatory military service in Germany, so he fled the country and came to America. And then he followed Horace Greeley’s advice: "Go West, young man." And he went into the whorehouse business. And he ran bordellos in Seattle, in Everett, Washington, and in the Yukon Territory, until the Royal Canadian Mounted Police showed up. He then took his fortune, went back to Germany, married a young woman his mother didn’t approve of, came back to America. His wife didn’t like it. They went back to Germany. He figured, with all his money, he could buy his way in. And they said, "You’re a draft dodger. Get out," and sent him back to America.
AMY GOODMAN: And then, talk about his father, Fred Trump.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, Fred Trump, whose father died when he was 12 or 13 years old, was a very industrious guy. When he was 15 years old, he started a business—technically owned by his mother, because he couldn’t sign contracts—building garages in the outer boroughs of New York for these newfangled thing called automobiles. When the market collapsed because of the Great Depression, he invented one of the first grocery stores. People used to have clerks give them their canned goods and stuff. He opened one where you did your own, and then sold it for a profit.
He built housing during World War II for shipyard workers and is said to be the first person in line to get federal money to build worker housing. He was a profiteer. Dwight D. Eisenhower personally went into a rage over what he had done, how he’d ripped stuff off, and he had a creative explanation when he was called before the U.S. Senate to justify what he did. He said, "I didn’t profiteer. I didn’t take the money. It’s in the bank account." Strange way to think about things. And, of course, they discriminated against everybody who wasn’t white, and were proven to have done this in the ’50s and in the ’70s. And Woody Guthrie, the folk singer, "This Land is Your Land," he wrote a song, which is in the book thanks to the generosity of the Guthrie family, about one of the all-white outer suburb projects owned by Fred Trump.
AMY GOODMAN: That he had an apartment in.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Yes, that’s right, that he lived in.
AMY GOODMAN: You tell a story about Fred Trump’s son, his older son, Donald Trump’s brother, and what happened to his family, and particularly his grandchild—
AMY GOODMAN: —after the father, Fred Trump, died, and what Donald Trump did to him.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: So, keep in mind he sought mercy for a drug trafficker. So, Freddy Trump Jr. died of alcoholism early. And when Old Man Trump died, he had a new grandson—a great-grandson, who was born a few days later—very sickly child, nearly died several times, huge medical bills. Everyone in the Trump family gets medical insurance from the Trump Organization. Donald is a big believer in healthcare. It’s one of the positive things you can say about him. And the line of Freddy Trump Jr., when they realized they’d been effectively cut out of the will, filed a lawsuit. "Hey, you know, you guys are dividing the money up four ways instead of five." Donald immediately cut off the healthcare for this sickly child.
AMY GOODMAN: This is his grandnephew.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: His grandnephew. And he’s asked about this. And he says, "Well, I don’t like people who sue my father." And he was told, "Well, don’t you think this will look cold-hearted? You’re putting the life of this child in jeopardy." "Well, what else am I to do?" And that’s an essential element to understanding Donald Trump. You don’t exist, Amy, I don’t exist, as a person. That’s why he talks about women the way he does, in these degrading terms. Donald doesn’t see other people as people. He sees them as things to be used. And put the life of a child in jeopardy for more money? Donald thinks nothing is wrong with that. That’s—of course you would do that, if you’re Donald. If you wouldn’t do it, what’s wrong with you? That would be Donald’s attitude.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the issue of Donald Trump’s tax forms, that’s—this has continually come up over this campaign.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: "Why haven’t you released your tax returns?" You’ve looked into this whole issue of why he’s so reluctant to show what his real returns are.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Right, and tax has been my big area of specialty. I’m actually writing a whole new federal tax code for the United States.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In your spare time.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Yeah. Donald Trump, we know, paid no federal income taxes in 1978, 1979—he and I had lunch and talked about it once—in 1984 and in the 1990s. The 1984 tax return is very revealing. There are special laws in America for full-time real estate people that allow them to live tax-free if they own a lot of property. So, if Donald gave us his tax returns, I could tell you what his property is really worth as opposed to what he tells people it’s worth. That’s one reason he’s not going to give it out. I don’t think he’s anywhere near as wealthy as he claims. Not even close.
But in 1984, he was audited by the state of New York and the City of New York, which both have income taxes. He filed a tax form, not the whole return, that showed zero income for this category of income and over $600,000 of deductions. Surprise, surprise, the auditors said, "Please justify these deductions." He couldn’t do it. But he ordered his law guy—his tax guy to make an appeal. And under oath, his longtime tax guy is shown the return that was filed, and he goes, "Um, that’s my signature, but I didn’t prepare that document." That’s very good evidence of tax fraud.
And Donald has engaged in other tax frauds we know about. He was involved in what’s called the empty box scandal here in New York. That’s where you claim to not live in the city—in the state, and you have an empty box mailed to you out of state to avoid sales tax. In that case, when Donald found out there was an investigation, he did what he often does to not be investigated: He ran to law enforcement and ratted out other people.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But in the ’84 case—
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —if there was evidence of fraud, what happened with that case?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: We only know what happened in the city and the state case, all right? The state imposed penalties on him, civil penalties, not criminal. That’s how almost all tax matters are settled. The city, because no one could find the original—all they had was the photocopy—with the signature on it, the judge didn’t impose the penalties, because of the uncertainty about it. But he made it very clear that he thought this is a very fishy case. What the IRS did, I don’t know. In all likelihood, Donald, who says he’s audited all the time, arranges to settle these cases, but, through threats of litigation, when they do the legal algebra, they say, "All right, we’ll take pennies on the dollar. Get out of here," because they don’t have the staff to pursue it.
AMY GOODMAN: You write a lot about the DGE.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, which oversees the Atlantic City casinos.
AMY GOODMAN: What can we learn from their dealings with Donald Trump?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, this shows how masterful Donald Trump is at manipulating law enforcement. He told the attorney general of New Jersey, when he wanted a casino license, "I’m not going to go through the 18 months that all these other people have gone through," and demanded he be investigated in just 90 days. Everybody else, year and a half. The attorney general agreed to six months if Donald cooperated.
Then Donald hid things, including four grand jury investigations that Wayne Barrett found. Four of them. In New Jersey, a woman applying for a blackjack dealer license—that’s a very low-level license—was found morally unfit and denied a license because, as a teenager, she gave friends of hers discounts at the cash register. That’s the legal standard. Donald withheld these grand jury investigations. He withheld associations with mobsters and criminals. And yet he got licensed anyway. Well, once he was licensed, the bureaucracy at the Division of Gaming Enforcement made sure that Donald was never asked a question that would put his license in jeopardy, because that would force them to admit that they hadn’t done their job.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, given this history of lying, of fraud, of all of these other skirtings of the law, have you been surprised at all about this—the enormous support that Trump has gotten among—
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —the Republican faithful?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Juan, I’ll tell you why I’m not surprised. As you two know, I’ve spent more than 20 years of my life being on the forefront in the mainstream press of documenting inequality. When nobody else was writing about it, I was showing how government policies are taking from the many and giving to the few. So, the people in this country living in economic terror, the bottom 50 percent, I’ve been their advocate. But they’re not the people who read my books. What they know is: "I’m working harder, I’m making less. If I lose my job, I don’t know how I’ll pay my rent or keep a roof over my kids’ heads." And Donald comes along, like all demagogues do: "I have a solution. It’s the Mexicans. It’s the Muslims. It’s the Chinese." And people gravitate to him—not the only ones, but that’s a big part of his support.
AMY GOODMAN: You write about how many of his restaurants, his golf courses have Five and Six Diamond Awards.
AMY GOODMAN: What are these?
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, you go to—at least 19 Trump properties have these big plaques: Six Diamond Award, Five Diamond Awards. They’re awards Donald gave to himself. Donald and his family were the majority of the board of something called the Academy of American Hospitality Sciences, or something like that, which is the invention of a mob guy, a convicted art thief named "Joey No Socks," who lives on Central Park South. And Donald has gone to ceremonies to receive these awards and these big plaques, and his signature is on them. This is a man who gives awards to himself. How juvenile.
AMY GOODMAN: What were you most surprised by, as we wrap up this interview, in writing The Making of Donald Trump? You have covered him for many years.
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: I did not appreciate, until I worked on the book, that while Donald holds himself out as a devout Christian—"No one reads the Bible more than me"—while he has all these pastors embracing him as a good Christian man, Donald aggressively, thoroughly and at great length, in many forums, denounces Christianity. His personal motto is "always get revenge," whereas the message of Jesus Christ was "turn the other cheek." And these ministers, some of whom I’ve written to and haven’t—they haven’t responded at all—continue to embrace him. And I find it very troubling. Donald has beguiled them with flattery. If they continue, now that my book is out, if they know about it, to do this, they are then deceiving their flocks, and that’s evil. But Donald himself doesn’t care about these things. He will tell you any lie. He can’t quote a single line from the Bible. Not one. And yet he says, "No one reads the Bible more than Donald Trump." If you ask him, "Well, what do you like in the Bible?" "Oh, there’s so many. There’s so many. I just—there are so many, I can’t choose."
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much, David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, previously with The New York Times, now a columnist with The Daily Beast. His biography of Donald Trump is called The Making of Donald Trump. It’s just out.

No one who loves this country can ignore what Donald Trump said today.

"No trying-to-be objective and fair journalist, no citizen who cares about the country and its future can ignore what Donald Trump said today.

When he suggested that "The Second Amendment People" can stop Hillary Clinton he crossed a line with dangerous potential. By any objective analysis, this is a new low and unprecedented in the history of American presidential politics. This is no longer about policy, civility, decency or even temperament. This is a direct threat of violence against a political rival. It is not just against the norms of American politics, it raises a serious question of whether it is against the law. If any other citizen had said this about a Presidential candidate, would the Secret Service be investigating?

Candidate Trump will undoubtably issue an explanation; some of his surrogates are already engaged in trying to gloss it over, but once the words are out there they cannot be taken back. That is what inciting violence means.

To anyone who still pretends this is a normal election of Republican against Democrat, history is watching. And I suspect its verdict will be harsh. Many have tried to do a side-shuffle and issue statements saying they strongly disagree with his rhetoric but still support the candidate. That is becoming woefully insufficient. The rhetoric is the candidate.

This cannot be treated as just another outrageous moment in the campaign. We will see whether major newscasts explain how grave and unprecedented this is and whether the headlines in tomorrow's newspapers do it justice. We will soon know whether anyone who has publicly supported Trump explains how they can continue to do.

We are a democratic republic governed by the rule of law. We are an honest, fair and decent people. In trying to come to terms with today's discouraging development the best I can do is to summon our greatest political poet Abraham Lincoln for perspective:

'We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.'

Lincoln used these stirring words to end his First Inaugural Address. It was the eve of the Civil War and sadly his call for sanity, cohesion and peace was met with horrific violence that almost left our precious Union asunder. We cannot let that happen again."

For the Republican Party, Donald Trump is NOT an aberration. He is the norm.

This was the week that some Republicans finally responded to their wake up call about Donald Trump. Or perhaps more accurately, found themselves like the married man at 3 AM who to his horror discovers himself naked in a seedy hotel room bed, with his face covered in cocaine and a hooker asleep by his side, only to pick up the ringing phone and ask his wife, "Honey, is that you?"

Yes, in the several days after the Democratic convention in Philadelphia made a mockery of the GOP hatefest in Cleveland and Donald Trump slandered a Gold Star family, sucked up to Vladimir Putin, sabotaged the NATO alliance, and so much more, Republicans experienced an anxiety attack of epic proportions. While House Speaker and Trump endorser Paul Ryan continued to beclown himself, a growing stream of GOP strategists, Congressmen, and business leaders declared "enough is enough" and announced their support for Hillary Clinton. Longtime conservative national security adviser Max Boot lamented that "the 'stupid party' created Donald Trump." Meanwhile, a distraught Ross Douthat took to Twitter to plead with Democrats for understanding, asking them to imagine the "level of ideological horror" that "many conservatives feel about idea of a Hillary vote." It's no wonder Greg Sargent so aptly summed up the talk of a GOP "intervention" (or replacement) of Donald Trump with, "Republicans nominate dangerously insane person to lead America, then panic when he proves he's dangerously insane."

But for all the Republicans' panicked pre-mortems and the mild media muttering about the madness of The Donald, for the most part Americans are still missing the forest for the trees. For starters, Donald Trump isn't an aberration for the GOP, but the inevitable culmination of the Republican Party's decades-long descent into the political gutter. Second, the Republican embrace of "stupidity" as a virtue was a necessary—but not sufficient—condition for the rise of Trumpism. That required the 50-year choice to make white racial resentment the centerpiece of Republican electoral strategy. Last, it is simply inconceivable that today's Democratic Party would nominate a Trump-like candidate. To put it another way, Donald Trump is a living refutation of the tried and untrue sound bite that "both sides do it."
Here, then, are three lessons from the rise of Donald Trump
Lesson #1: Trump is a culmination, not an aberration, for the GOP

In his screed trying to identify "exactly when the Republican Party assumed the mantle of the stupid party," former McCain, Romney and Rubio adviser Max Boot gives his party—and himself—too much credit. After all, Boot in May 2004 criticized Americans' growing concern over the course of the Iraq War with happy talk about the body count. "Recent low-casualty conflicts have spoiled the U.S." he lectured. "In fact, the Iraq loss rate is among our smallest ever." But in his New York Times op-ed, the Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow regretted that the GOP's proud tradition of anti-elitism and anti-intellectualism from Eisenhower and Nixon through Reagan and Dubya had somehow run off the rails:
In recent years, however, the Republicans' relationship to the realm of ideas has become more and more attenuated as talk-radio hosts and television personalities have taken over the role of defining the conservative movement that once belonged to thinkers like Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz and George F. Will. The Tea Party represented a populist revolt against what its activists saw as out-of-touch Republican elites in Washington... The trend has now culminated in the nomination of Donald J. Trump, a presidential candidate who truly is the know-nothing his Republican predecessors only pretended to be.
But despite his departures from party orthodoxy on trade and immigration, Donald Trump is largely using the same four-step formula Republican presidential candidates and GOP leaders in Congress have been turning to for years. With his largely policy-free campaign, Trump has merely refined the GOP's "post-truth politics" in which in which morality tales and stories of good and evil replaced facts and science as the basis for winning elections and setting public policy. Part two of the recipe is the veneration of the free market, the elevation of the private sector, and the canonization of the businessman as an economic leader and even a moral beacon for the nation, a tactic Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Mitt Romney embraced long before The Donald oozed his way out of Trump Tower. As we'll see below, with his casual race baiting, religious bigotry, and shameless xenophobia, Trump is writing just the latest episode in the GOP tale of white racial resentment now over five decades in the making. And to that incendiary rhetoric Trump adds that uniquely Republican accelerant, toughness for toughness’ sake. For the GOP base, promising to "take out" families of terrorists, "bombing the shit" out of ISIS-controlled towns, and engaging in torture techniques "a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding" are not means to an end, but ends in themselves.

To his credit, Max Boot does a laudable job of cataloguing the almost endless inanities Donald Trump has spewed over the course of his campaign. But when Trump calls global warming a hoax "created by and for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing uncompetitive," he's far from alone in his party. As of June 2013, 58 percent of Congressional Republicans and 90 percent of House and Senate GOP leaders were climate science deniers. One of them, Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe, is now the chairman of the Senate Environment Committee.

But that's just one example of the pattern of dissembling and denial Republicans made routine during the Obama years. By the summer of 2008, right-wing pundits like Lawrence Kudlow and Rush Limbaugh were issuing red alerts about the "Obama Bear Market" supposedly already underway. And when that “socialist” was sworn in as President Barack Hussein Obama in January 2009, the growing right-wing rage was repackaged as the tea party. And in a sign of media failures to come, virtually everything this manufactured movement claimed to believe was simply untrue.

The tea party, after all, took its name after the rantings of CNBC regular Rick Santelli. In what he later called “the best five minutes of my life,” Santelli on February 8, 2009 “decried government bailouts, called struggling homeowners ‘losers’ and speculated aloud that a new Tea Party might be needed.” But there was no “cram-down” for the banks and no mortgage bailout for homeowners.
But there were also no “death panels.” Barack Obama wasn’t born in Kenya and he isn’t a Muslim.  You can’t demand to “keep government out of Medicare” because it is a government program.  Republicans holding “Taxed Enough Already” signs were doubly deluded. By 2010, federal tax revenue as a percentage of the U.S. economy dropped to its lowest level since 1950. (Tax cuts, it turns out, don’t pay for themselves.)  And with his 2009 stimulus program, President Obama didn’t just deliver tax relief to 95 percent of working households: His was the largest two-year tax cut in American history. As a CBS poll found in February 2010:
Of people who support the grassroots, "Tea Party" movement, only 2 percent think taxes have been decreased, 46 percent say taxes are the same, and a whopping 44 percent say they believe taxes have gone up.
The story of the 2010 midterms that swept away the Democratic House majority was the triumph of delusion. It wasn’t simply, as the New York Times asked in advance of the vote, “What if a president cut Americans' income taxes by $116 billion and nobody noticed?” Indeed, what if the House GOP budget plan used the same $760 billion in Medicare savings from Obamacare to give tax breaks to the rich and the Republicans, then campaigned by saying Democrats would kill the Medicare program the GOP itself intended to privatize? What if everything Republican voters said they knew about the Affordable Care Act was wrong? As NBC reported in August 2009:
In our poll, 72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly.
The answer to all of those “what if” scenarios was the biggest midterm rout since Republicans whited out LBJ’s Great Society majority in 1966. And after seizing the House majority in 2012, the GOP wanted the Senate and the White House, too.

The new GOP plan of conquest was much like the old one. Once again, the Republicans would combine far-right fury with another wave of tried and untrue talking points. No matter that Obamacare reduces the national debt and was not a “government takeover of health care.” So what if decades of data showed that higher taxes on “job creators” do not hurt the economy and that the estate tax has little impact on small businesses and family farms. Big deal if the nonpartisan CBO and the overwhelming consensus of economists concluded the stimulus resulted in millions of additional jobs and a significant boost to American GDP? For that matter, who gives a hoot if the record shows that the U.S. economy almost always does better when a Democrat is in the White House? And who cares if Mitt Romney’s shameless lie that Obama “made the economy worse” was thoroughly debunked throughout the campaign?

For Republicans, this platform of deceit was a feature, not a bug.

All of which means Donald Trump is just the newest version of the Republicans' fraudware.

2. Trump's appeal? It's the hate, (not just the) stupid

Max Boot's Stupidity Theory of Republican Devolution is not sufficient to account for Trump's popularity among the GOP base. As Brendan Nyhan documented in the New York Times, "Don't assume Donald Trump's supporters believe all his words." Their steadfast devotion in the face of a mountain of facts stems from something else.

Here's a hint. As Philip Klinkner of Hamilton College recently summed up his recent research: "The easiest way to guess if someone supports Trump [over Clinton]? Ask if Obama is a Muslim."
[M]oving from the least to the most resentful view of African Americans increases support for Trump by 44 points, those who think Obama is a Muslim (54 percent of all Republicans) are 24 points more favorable to Trump, and those who think the word "violent" describes Muslims extremely well are about 13 points more pro-Trump than those who think it doesn't describe them well at all.
That something else, of course, is the backlash politics of racial animus. The centerpiece of Republican political strategy since the moment President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it's been an arrow in the quiver of GOP candidates ever since.

At his rallies, his lines about a ban on Muslims entering the United States, building a wall on the Mexican border, and rounding up and deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants draw the biggest applause. For his most ardent backers, Trump's toxic blend of racism and xenophobia is his best selling point.
Trump is just the latest chapter in the GOP’s playbook on the “southern strategy.”
If this all sounds vaguely familiar, it should. In its basic contours, the GOP has been capitalizing on the same politics of racial backlash and white resentment for more than 50 years. That's when the great exodus of virulently racist southern conservatives from the Democratic Party and into the open arms of the Republican Party began in earnest.

As I've documented elsewhere, Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy certainly didn't end with his landslide victory in 1972. When Donald Trump Jr. journeyed to Philadelphia, Mississippi, last month, he was only following in Ronald Reagan's footsteps. As it turns out, The Gipper also went there to kick off his 1980 general election campaign. And there, where civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were slaughtered in 1964, Reagan declared "I believe in states' rights." Reagan, who had denounced the so-called "welfare queen" and the "strapping young buck" and declared the 1965 Voting Rights Act "humiliated the South," soon had more company among Southern conservatives in Republican ranks. In 1983, Texan Phil Gramm joined the GOP. Eleven years later, Alabama's Richard Shelby followed suit. It's no wonder that casual race baiting  and long-discredited notions like states' rights, secession, and nullification are now standard fare on today's Republican menu.

The GOP's dog whistle playlist has only gotten longer in the age of Obama. As I've documented at great length elsewhere (see, for example, "The Neo-Confederate Sin" and "It's a Conservative Thing: You Wouldn't Understand"), Republicans have been playing the slavery card against gun control, the national debt, Obamacare, taxing the wealthy, marriage equality, and just about every other public policy and societal trend they currently detest. Equally disturbing, GOP talking points routinely included recycled antebellum paeans to states' rights, nullification, and secession.

And it began before Barack Obama even won the election of 2008. Throughout that summer and fall, Rush Limbaugh repeatedly described "this little boy" Sen. Obama as a "Halfrican-American" and a "man-child."

Even before the first vote was cast that November, today's tea party types were calling Sen. Obama a socialist Muslim and demanding his birth certificate at McCain-Palin rallies across America. As CNN reported in an October 2008 article titled "Rage Rising on the McCain Campaign Trail," one nascent Tea Partier announced at a town hall:
"I'm mad. I'm really mad. It's not the economy. It's the socialist taking over our country."
For more proof, look no further than the Washington Post's October 9, 2008 article, titled "Anger Is Crowd's Overarching Emotion at McCain Rally:"
There were shouts of "Nobama" and "Socialist" at the mention of the Democratic presidential nominee. There were boos, middle fingers turned up and thumbs turned down as a media caravan moved through the crowd Thursday for a midday town hall gathering featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin.
Or just take a look back at Alexandra Pelosi's documentary of the 2008 campaign, Right America: Feeling Wronged. Clips from Right America look no different from YouTube videos like the "McCain-Palin Mob" or "Tea Baggers 2009." As one McCain supporter put it before the November 2008 election:
"We all hate the same things."
This week, the New York Times offered a collection of unfiltered reactions and remarks from attendees at Trump rallies over the past year. As their routine use of the n-word and chants of "kill her" and "Trump the bitch" and "build the wall—kill them all" show, this year's GOP hate mongering is nothing new under the Republican sun. That's why Martin Longman of the Washington Monthly fittingly countered Max Boot with his own conclusion, "How the 'Racist Party' created Donald Trump."
The conservative movement has determined that they can hold onto power a little longer despite demographic changes and the browning of America if they can sharply increase their share of the white vote. And the way to do that is not to figure out what these people need and offer ways to give it to them, but to get them to think more in terms of their whiteness. Whites go over here in the right column and everyone else goes over there in the left column. 
This is the rationale. It has the potential to work, and it's already working on the state and congressional district level, helping Republicans control legislatures throughout the country and in Washington DC.
It's a transparent effort to ramp up racial animosity as a way, probably the only way, to avoid softening their positions on their conservative ideology. If they don't do this, then they'll have to recraft their appeal, which means that conservatives will lose control of the Republican Party- one of only two viable parties in the country.
One certain indicator that Trump's gambit is working?  The thrice-married moral black hole who probably believes two Corinthians walked into a bar is a capturing a staggering 79 percent of the white evangelical vote, a number surpassing Mitt Romney, John McCain, and George W. Bush. Apparently, their hatred of Hillary and her supporters trumps their love of God.
Lesson #3: Democrats won't nominate for a Trump-like candidate

One vitally important point is being overlooked amidst the Republican panic and garment rending over Donald Trump. You're supposed to never say never, but I will say this. For the foreseeable future, Democrats will never nominate someone like Donald Trump.

Nevertheless, that hypothetical is at the heart of Ross Douthat's recent tweet torrent.
2/ There is a growing sense among liberals now that it's simply obvious that anti-Trump conservatives should and indeed must support HRC. 3/ There are plausible arguments that they're right. BUT: I think liberals could profit from imagining how they themselves would react ...
4/ ... were the shoe on the other foot. That is, imagine a "Trump of the left" as the Democratic nominee.
5/ Some amalgam of Sharpton, Jeffrey Epstein, Jill Stein? Yes, hard to come up w/analogue, but try: Imagine a clearly unfit Dem nominee.
But Douthat's straw man requires that painful act of imagination precisely because an actual Democratic analog to Trump is almost an impossibility. The endless seating capacity of the Republican clown car can produce a Ben Carson, a Michele Bachmann, a Herman Cain, a Rick Perry, or any number of other Trump stand-ins on a moment's notice. But there's no sign of a Democratic Trump in the party of FDR, JFK, LBJ, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

The reasons why are pretty clear. In a nutshell, for Democratic voters public policy and basic facts matter.

For starters, when it comes to scorched-earth opposition, both sides don't do it. Republican obstructionism during the Obama presidency is simply unprecedented. Second, as the Pew Research Center found in 2014, conservatives unlike liberals tend to get their political news from a single source: Fox News. Aggravating matters, conservatives suffer from (or depending on your viewpoint, benefit from) the "Hack Gap."
Conservatives depend on Fox News and distrust almost every other media source.
For much of the past decade, Jonathan Chait, Matthew Yglesias, Kevin Drum, Ed Kilgore, and others have discussed the importance of the "Hack Gap." As Drum explained it after the first Romney-Obama debate in 2012:
Put simply, we liberals don't have enough hacks. Conservatives outscore us considerably in the number of bloggers/pundits/columnists/talking heads who are willing to cheerfully say whatever it takes to advance the party line, no matter how ridiculous it is.
This past September, Brad Delong offered this elegant summary of liberal virtue and conservative vice. The Hack Gap, he wrote, is:
[T]he willingness of conservative intellectuals to sacrifice their credibility by making transparently-false arguments to advance the interests of their political masters, and the lack of willingness of liberal intellectuals to do the same.
That's why the battle between Clinton and Sanders supporters over his single-payer, "Medicare for All" replacement for Obamacare became so heated. It wasn't simply a question of governing philosophy, but of math. Liberal wonks (for example, herehere and here) contested assumptions about economic growth, potential savings, and more to claim that Bernie's numbers did or didn't add up.

The contrast with the Republican field in general and Donald Trump in particular couldn't be starker. As Ezra Klein put it in March:
This week, it became clear that the Democratic Party will nominate Hillary Clinton -- a politician about as mainstream in her beliefs and methods as you will find in American politics. It also became clear that the Republican Party is overwhelmingly likely to nominate Donald Trump -- a man who is, by any measure, "ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of [his] political opposition."
That difference makes all the difference when trying to identify his supporters, as Klinker’s “Is Obama a Muslim?” test confirms.  That Barack Obama is a Muslim born outside the United States is a double lie. Yet they have been Donald Trump's go-to talking points for years. (It should be noted that Mitt Romney had not only accepted Donald Trump’s endorsement in 2012, but mimicked his tactics by referring to President Obama as “extraordinarily foreign” and telling voters, “No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate.”) His claims about Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers, eliminating the national debt "over a period of eight years," denying he assumed another identity to act as his own spokesman, that his tax cut windfall for the wealthy will "cost me a fortune," self-funding his campaign, and so much more are laughable on their face,  As it turns out, of the 209 Trump statements evaluated by Politifact, 146 (or 70 percent) were rated Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire. Nevertheless, the sheer number and audacity of his lies, slanders, and deceptions only deepen the ardor of his supporters, who see his refusal to correct the record as a sign of "strength."

It's a sign of something, alright. It's a sign that the GOP is very sick and has been for a long time. Donald Trump isn't the disease, but just the latest and most dangerous symptom of the illness. While Democrats mercifully seem to have an immunity to the degenerative condition of Trumpism now afflicting the conservative movement, the prognosis for Republicans is almost Seinfeldian.
It's isn't him—it's you.

Regardless, many Republicans still have that wake-up call to answer. The only question is whether they'll listen to it before Election Day, or after. Or at all.

RIP: Pete Fountain

(CNN)  Legendary Louisiana clarinetist Pete Fountain died Saturday morning in New Orleans, his son-in-law Benny Harrell said. He was 86.

Democratic Candidate Matt Rowe demands Rob Wittman drop his support for Donald Trump

From the Matt Rowe for Congress campaign in Virginia’s 1st CD, currently (mis)represented by Rep. Rob Wittman (R).

Congressional candidate Matt Rowe is calling on Rob Wittman to withdraw his unconditional support for Donald Trump. In an open letter to Congressman Wittman, Mr. Rowe is highlighting the discomfort that voters in Virginia’s First District are feeling. Mr. Rowe is personally delivering a copy of this letter to Congressman Wittman’s Stafford office (95 Dunn Drive, Stafford, VA 22556) this Friday at 11:30am. The letter reads as follows:

Dear Congressman Wittman,

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, you have a duty to understand the threats our nation faces and how we can best address those threats. I want you to please reconsider your stated support for the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. A Trump presidency is a direct threat to our national security and Donald Trump will be unable to properly fulfill his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief.

Trump’s relentless attacks on the family of fallen soldier Capt. Humayun Khan reveal that he does not have the temperament to be president.

Trump’s acceptance of a veteran’s Purple Heart and following statement that he, “always wanted to get the Purple Heart” and that, “This was much easier” reveal that he does not have the courage to be president.

Trump’s hesitation to support our allies in NATO – an organization that has been the bedrock of defense of the Western world for nearly 70 years – reveals that he does not have the common-sense to be president.

Trump’s flippant attitude regarding nuclear proliferation and the use of nuclear weapons in a first-strike capacity reveals that he does not have the sanity to be president.

I invite you to join the many voices across the First District that are denouncing this dangerous and foolish man. It is your responsibility to fulfill your duties as a statesman before your duties as a loyal Republican supporting his party’s nominee.


Matt Rowe

Voters are encouraged to find out more about Matt’s campaign by visiting

This is the REAL face of Donald Trump . . . and it's ugly, violent, hate-filled

Anyone who supports Trump is evil, violent, and ignorant.  Want proof?  Here's your proof.

New York Times reporters are at every Trump rally.  Here is what they catch on video.  These are unedited videos from Trump rallies nationwide.  WARNING:  This video is ugly, not safe for work, not safe for children -- after all, these are the people who support Trump.

Trump supporters at Trump rallies

Now, let's hear from The Great Man Himself . . . Donald Trump speaks.  This is a DIRECT quote from Trump.

"Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I'm one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you're a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what's going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what's going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it's all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don't, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us."

 Did you read that?  Read it again.  Trump's comments are all about Trump . . . he's one of the smartest people in the world . . . very good genes . . . graduate of the Wharton School of Finance . . . all about me, me, me . . .

Latest McClatchy poll is BRUTAL to Trump. He is going DOWN.

  • Obama approval at +13 (it was +0 a year ago)
  • Country going in the wrong direction at +25 (it was +43 a month ago)
  • 90% of Democrats say they will support their party's ticket vs. 79% of Republicans
  • Independents break for Clinton by 6 points (37/31)
  • Clinton leads households making less than $50K by 15 points, and > $50K by 19 points
  • Clinton leads every age group except 60+ by double digits, and 60+ she leads by 8
  • Clinton leads men by 12 points, women by 20
  • Trump takes white voters 41/39 (much worse than Romney did with whites)
  • Clinton leads among African Americans by 91 points (yes, really: not 91 to something: 93 to 2) and among Latinos by 29 points
  • Also, Clinton leads landline interviewees by 4, and cell phone interviewees by 24
  • The only crosstab Trump won was military veterans

Interestingly, the July poll had Clinton up by just 3 points, 42 to 39. Clinton's support has risen 6 points, and Trump's has fallen 6 points ("other" and "neither" are basically unchanged)

Let's see if I understand this

John Kerry served in Vietnam and legitimately was awarded Purple Hearts.  At the 2004 Republican National Convenstion, Tea Partiers wore "purple heart band aids" in a mocking reference to his service and war wounds.

Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs in Iraq and was awarded the Purple Heart, is accused by her Republican opponent of using her war wound disability as sympathy to garner votes.

Donald Trump, who was a child of privilege and who skirted military service altogether, is given a Purple Heart which he has no fucking business whatsoever accepting, gets ohhs and ahhs from his supporters -- and now the Montross Tea Party has pledged their support to him.  This is the same Montross Tea Party that just loves to hold "patriotic events" that "honor" veterans.

Republicans and Tea Partiers:  TRASH.  IGNORANT, DECEITFUL TRASH.

The Republican Party: Standing in front of the door to the voting booths, denying Americans the right to vote. That's their strategy for winning.

In the past two weeks, judges have ruled against voter-ID laws and other limits on voting in five states.

As Donald Trump enmeshed himself in a bitter fight with the parents of an American Muslim military hero — and Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and John McCain looked to put distance between themselves and their party’s presidential nominee — there’s actually worse news for Republicans.
Several important court victories for voting rights since Friday could dramatically remake the campaign for Congress and the White House, and this time, GOP leadership may have a harder time distancing themselves from un-American tactics.

When an outraged 4th Circuit Court struck down several North Carolina voting restrictions on Friday — including a stringent voter-ID provision, tough limits on early voting and an end to same-day registration — the panel of federal judges wrote that these “new provisions target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” The judges stopped just short of calling the Republican legislators who crafted the laws racist, but condemned the racist result in unusually direct language. “We cannot ignore the record evidence that, because of race, the legislature enacted one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.”

Meanwhile in Wisconsin, a federal judge issued a similar ruling Friday and struck a similarly appalled tone as he invalidated several recent efforts by the state legislature to tighten voter-ID requirements, limit absentee voting and shorten the windows for early voting. Judge James Peterson called the provisions a “wretched failure,” and ruled, “A preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement.”

These judges — as well as those who knocked down similarly restrictive provisions in Kansas and Texas in recent days — might well have been ruling on the GOP’s very electoral strategy this decade. It is a concerted effort to grab control of state legislatures and the House of Representatives by the minority party — and it has been staggeringly effective.

First, Republicans used their big win in 2010 to radically gerrymander the House of Representatives and state legislatures nationwide during the decennial redistricting, using dark money and cutting-edge mapmaking technology to create a majority of districts that were whiter and more conservative, even as America as a whole becomes less white and less conservative.

Then these gerrymandered legislatures — unearned supermajorities in states like North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, for example, where Republicans drew such effective and unbeatable lines that they took veto-proof control of chambers despite winning fewer overall votes — pushed for new laws designed to make it even harder for minorities to vote and, ultimately, for Democrats to win.

In states like Wisconsin, maps were drawn by strategists like Tad Ottman, who sent top-secret emails to fellow partisans outlining how “we have an opportunity and an obligation to draw these maps that Republicans haven’t had in decades.” When districts are drawn with partisan intent and the desire to suppress competition, they naturally elect legislators who might then favor voter-ID laws. There is a direct line between districts drawn to minimize the effectiveness of the minority vote around Milwaukee. Judge Peterson’s finding last week that the partisan intent in drawing districts, which led to a Republican-majority legislature that enacted the voter-ID rules and other restrictive measures, had the “immediate goal” of achieving a “partisan objective, but the means of achieving that objective was to suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African-Americans.”

It is no coincidence that 17 states have enacted new voting restrictions just in time for the 2016 presidential election — or that 22 states have toughened access to the ballot box since 2010. Here are those 17 states: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

It’s also no coincidence that 16 of these 17 states (save only Rhode Island) have legislatures that are dominated entirely by Republicans. NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice calls this “part of a broader movement to curtail voting rights, which began after the 2010 election, when state lawmakers nationwide started introducing hundreds of harsh measures making it harder to vote.”

In North Carolina — home to perhaps the most gerrymandered legislature in America — the judges were even more emphatic as they connected the dots between the GOP-implemented voter-ID laws and the desire on behalf of Republicans to tamp down the turnout of minority voters unlikely to cast ballots for conservatives. Their ruling painstakingly dismisses any problem with voter fraud in North Carolina, and compiles voluminous evidence that “the ‘problem’ the majority in the General Assembly sought to remedy was emerging support for the minority party.” The legislature, according to the ruling, “unmistakably” sought to “entrench itself” by “targeting voters who, based on race, were unlikely to vote for the majority party.”

It did not have to be this way. Republicans did consider another road: Dialogue and persuasion. After Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney in 2012 — the fifth presidential election in the last six in which the Republicans were swamped in the popular vote — GOP chairman Reince Preibus commissioned an unusually frank analysis of his party’s ailments. The prognosis looked grim, according to the Growth and Opportunity Project report — more popularly known as the “GOP autopsy” — but there was a path forward: Republicans had to start listening to minority voters if they wanted a base broader than aging white men.

African-Americans and other minorities, the autopsy concluded, feared that “Republicans do not like them or want them in the country.” That wasn’t the only bitter news. The report also noted that public perception of the GOP was at “record lows,” that the party was “marginalizing itself” and that young voters were “increasingly rolling their eyes” at so-called Republican values.

Unfortunately for Republicans, this autopsy was dead on arrival. Its very sensible conclusions — champion comprehensive immigration reform, listen to and embrace the pocketbook concerns of low-income voters and ethnic minorities — found no constituency within the party. Indeed, Republican leaders had already settled on a very different plan which involved doubling down on the aging white base: Draw lines ensuring bright-red districts, then make it as hard as possible for Democrats and minorities to vote.

Now, in the last two weeks, the GOP’s crafty and cynical strategy of both remapping America’s legislative districts and suppressing minority votes officially imploded. Republicans remain overwhelming favorites to retain the House for the rest of the decade. But suppressing the minority vote in 2020 — a presidential election year when more Democrats turn out, and also the next key year for redistricting — was essential to the GOP strategy of holding on to these gerrymandered gains for another decade.

Democrats still have to win, state by state, a majority of seats in districts algorithmically determined to ensure their defeat. That already uphill task, however, seems slightly less Herculean when these voter-ID bills are systematically thrown out by courts and seen for what they are: One party standing in front of the polls and trying to block minorities from exercising their most basic and essential American right to vote.

Meanwhile, in Kansas, the Tea Party Reign of Terror is ending

It’s taken six years, but it looks like Kansas voters have finally seen enough of Gov. Sam Brownback’s “real live experiment” in supply-side economics.

Under Brownback’s tenure, Kansas has lurched from one government funding crisis to another, mostly thanks to budget-busting tax cuts that are the governor’s signature policies.

However, as The Wichita Eagle reports, several Brownback allies were soundly defeated in primary races on Tuesday.

In all, anti-Brownback Republicans won 10 out of 16 Senate primary contests against pro-Brownback incumbents, while Brownback allies lost seven primary contests against more moderate Republicans in the House.

Rep. Dan Hawkins, a pro-Brownback Republican who actually won his primary, declared the election to be “brutal, brutal, brutal” for Kansas conservatives. The state’s Democratic Party, meanwhile was happy just to have voters elect Republicans that are willing to properly fund the state’s schools.

“The earthquake you’re feeling isn’t fracking, it’s Brownback’s house of cards falling,” said Democratic staffer Tim Graham.

Republican Ed Berger defeated former Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce by running against Brownback’s cuts to higher education, and also slammed conservatives for swiping money from the state highway fund to fill budget gaps.

None of this ensures that Kansas will be able to reverse the damage that Brownback has done, of course, but The Kansas City Star notes that it puts “GOP moderates and Democrats tantalizingly close to effective control of the state’s legislative agenda next year.”

In other words, Brownback’s days of getting a free pass are over.