Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #894 Physicians, Heal Thyselves: Hypocrisy and the Trump Campaign

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This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Rein­hard Gehlen: Nazi head of post­war Ger­man intel­li­gence

Allen Dulles

Intro­duc­tion: Much press ink and broad­cast time have been devot­ed to decry­ing the Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign of Don­ald Trump. Wring­ing their hands over the sub­stan­tive­ly accu­rate view that Trump is a fas­cist and his can­di­da­cy is a major turn toward the Dark Side, the insti­tu­tions and the indi­vid­u­als decry­ing the Trump phe­nom­e­non are hyp­o­crit­i­cal. Far from being an aber­ra­tion, Trump’s can­di­da­cy is a direct out­growth of pow­er­ful forces that have been at work for the bet­ter part of a cen­tu­ry and that are the embod­i­ment of fun­da­men­tal ele­ments of Amer­i­can and West­ern soci­ety.

The pro­gram begins with two op-ed columns from The New York Times. Tim­o­thy Egan high­lights the aware­ness on the part of Trump sup­port­ers that race hatred, sup­port for slav­ery and the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment, xeno­pho­bia and reac­tion are the sub­stance of what he is about and what they want. Egan notes, cor­rect­ly, that “beast is us.”  Richard Cohen sets forth the appre­hen­sion that Euro­peans feel about the Trump can­di­da­cy, under­scor­ing their expe­ri­ence with the descent of a soci­ety into fas­cism.

Euro­peans are con­sum­mate­ly hyp­o­crit­i­cal in their con­dem­na­tion of Trump, although the insights that Cohen has not­ed are accu­rate. They are hard­ly in a posi­tion to look down on Trump–European pol­i­tics are expe­ri­enc­ing the same “Per­fect Sturm.” Not only are fas­cist par­ties rid­ing a crest of pop­u­lar­i­ty in Europe over the “anti-immi­grant” gam­bit, but fas­cism was nev­er expunged from Europe, due to Cold War pol­i­tics which will be high­light­ed below. We note that Slo­va­kia is among the coun­tries wit­ness­ing the ascent of fas­cist par­ties.

The “Troi­ka” (read “Ger­many”) man­dat­ed the instal­la­tion of the fas­cist LAOS Par­ty as part of the pro­vi­sion­al Greek gov­ern­ment in the late fall of 2011. The Greek cit­i­zen­ry had NO say in this, what­so­ev­er.

Per­haps even more hyp­o­crit­i­cal than Europe’s bemoan­ing of the “Trumpfver­bande” is the so-called “pro­gres­sive sec­tor” in the U.S., whose misty-eyed embrace of Snow­den, Green­wald, Assange et al con­sti­tutes an align­ment with PRECISELY the same polit­i­cal forces that are embod­ied in the Trump can­di­da­cy. The so-called “pro­gres­sives” have allied them­selves with the milieu of Wik­iLeaksEddie the Friend­ly Spook and Glenn Green­wald, who are part and par­cel to the pol­i­tics of David Duke, the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment and apol­o­gists for slav­ery. The polit­i­cal forces that Tim Egan cor­rect­ly iden­ti­fies as being “Trumpers” are pre­cise­ly the forces that are behind the Snow­denistas and Assange­holes.

Lon­don Call­ing [David Duke

Mar­tin Bor­mann (right) with Himm­ler

Much of the pro­gram con­sists of excerpts from an impor­tant new book: The Dev­il’s Chess­board: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of Amer­i­ca’s Secret Gov­ern­ment by David Tal­bot. Although vir­tu­al­ly none of the mate­r­i­al will be new to vet­er­an listeners–we’ve been cov­er­ing the rel­e­vant sub­ject mate­r­i­al exhaus­tive­ly and for decades–it is impor­tant and refresh­ing to have a cur­rent book of this mag­ni­tude and rel­a­tive­ly high pro­file avail­able.

Some of the points dis­cussed in the book:

  • The Dulles broth­ers, Sul­li­van and Cromwell and their roles in the cap­i­tal­iza­tion of Ger­many and the rise of Hitler’s car­tels: ” . . . Fos­ter Dulles became so deeply enmeshed in the lucra­tive revi­tal­iza­tion of Ger­many that he found it dif­fi­cult to sep­a­rate his fir­m’s inter­ests from those of the ris­ing eco­nom­ic and mil­i­tary power–even after Hitler con­sol­i­dat­ed con­trol over the coun­try in the 1930s. Fos­ter con­tin­ued to rep­re­sent Ger­man car­tels like IG Far­ben as they were inte­grat­ed into the Nazis’ grow­ing war machine, help­ing the indus­tri­al giants secure access to key war mate­ri­als. . . . . Fos­ter refused to shut down the Berlin office of Sul­li­van and Cromwell . . . .”
  • The Dulles broth­ers active and trea­so­nous role in block­ing Safe­haven, the Roo­sevelt admin­is­tra­tion’s effort at block­ing the Nazi flight cap­i­tal pro­gram that was to coa­lesce into the Bor­mann net­work: ” . . . . Dulles and [Thomas] McKit­trick [of the Bank of Inter­na­tion­al Set­tlem­nts] con­tin­ued to work close­ly togeth­er for the rest of the war. In the final months of the con­flict, the two men col­lab­o­rat­ed against a Roo­sevelt oper­a­tion called Project Safe­haven that sought to track down and con­fis­cate Nazi assets that were stashed in neu­tral coun­tries. . . . . Dulles and McKit­trick were more inclined to pro­tect their clients’ inter­ests. More­over, like many in the upper ech­e­lons of U.S. finance and nation­al secu­ri­ty, Dulles believed that a good num­ber of these pow­er­ful Ger­man fig­ures should be returned to pow­er, to ensure that Ger­many would be a strong bul­wark against the Sovi­et Union. And dur­ing the Cold War, he would be more intent on using Nazi loot to finance covert anti-Sovi­et oper­a­tions than on return­ing it to the fam­i­lies of Hitler’s vic­tims. . . . While Allen Dulles was using his OSS post in Switzer­land to pro­tect the inter­ests of Sul­li­van and Cromwell’s Ger­man clients, his broth­er was doing the same in New York. By play­ing an intri­cate cor­po­rate shell game, Fos­ter was able to hide the U.S. assets of major Ger­man car­tels like IG Far­ben and Mer­ck KGaA, the chem­i­cal and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal giant, and pro­tect these sub­sidiaries from being con­fis­cat­ed by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment as alien prop­er­ty. . . . By the end of the war, many of Fos­ter’s clients were under inves­ti­ga­tion by the Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s antitrust divi­sion. And Fos­ter him­self was under scruti­ny for col­lab­o­ra­tion with the ene­my. . . . But Fos­ter’s broth­er was guard­ing his back. From his front­line posi­tion in Europe, Allen was well-placed to destroy incrim­i­nat­ing evi­dence and to block any inves­ti­ga­tions that threat­ened the two broth­ers and their law firm. “Shred­ding of cap­tured Nazi records was the favorite tac­tic of Dulles and his [asso­ciates] who stayed behind to help run the occu­pa­tion of post­war Ger­many,” observed Nazi hunter John Lof­tus . . . .”
  • Dulles col­lab­o­rat­ed close­ly with Nazi gen­er­al Rein­hard Gehlen, whose work for CIA (and lat­er BND) con­sti­tut­ed a con­tin­u­a­tion of the Third Reich’s war against the Sovi­et Union–a war in which he col­lab­o­rat­ed with Dulles: “. . . . The Gehlen Orga­ni­za­tion saw the Cold War as the final act of the Reich’s inter­rupt­ed offen­sive against the Sovi­et Union. . . . The covert Cold War in the West was, to an unset­tling extent, a joint oper­a­tion between the Dulles regime and that of Rein­hard Gehlen. The Ger­man spy chief’s patho­log­i­cal fear and hatred of Rus­sia, which had its roots in Hitler’s Third Reich, meshed smooth­ly with the Dulles broth­ers’ anti-Sovi­et abso­lutism. In fact, the Dulles pol­i­cy of mas­sive nuclear retal­i­a­tion bore a dis­turb­ing resem­blance to the Nazis’ eter­mi­na­tion­ist phi­los­o­phy. . . . We live “in an age in which war is a para­mount activ­i­ty of man,” Gehlen announced in his mem­oir [pref­aced by Holo­caust-denier David Irving–D.E.], “with the total anni­hi­la­tion of the ene­my as its pri­ma­ry aim.” There could be no more suc­cinct a state­ment of the fas­cist ethos. . . .”
  • Dulles and Gehlen’s col­lab­o­ra­tion on the “Stay Behind/Gladio” project:. . . . He [Gehlen] was pre­pared to take dras­tic action to pre­vent such a polit­i­cal sce­nario from unfold­ing in Bonn–going so far as to over­throw democ­ra­cy in West Ger­many if nec­es­sary. . . . It is unlike­ly that Dulles was shocked by Gehlen’s pro­pos­al to rein­sti­tute fas­cism in Ger­many, since CIA offi­cials had long ben dis­cussing such author­i­tar­i­an con­tin­gency plans with the Gehlen Orga­ni­za­tion oth­er right-wing ele­ments in Ger­many. In 1952, West Ger­man police dis­cov­ered that the CIA was sup­port­ing a two-thou­sand-mem­ber fas­cist youth group led by ex-Nazi offi­cers who had their own alarm­ing plans for ter­mi­nat­ing democ­ra­cy. . . . These author­i­tar­i­an plans were part of a sweep­ing covert strat­e­gy devel­oped in the ear­li­est days of the Cold War by U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials, includ­ing Dulles, to counter a pos­si­ble Sovi­et inva­sion of West­ern Europe by cre­at­ing a “stay-behind net­work” of armed resisters to fight the Red Army. Code-named Oper­a­tion Glad­io, these secret CIA-fund­ed net­works attract­ed fas­cist and crim­i­nal ele­ments, some of which lat­er played sub­ver­sive roles in West Ger­many, France, and Italy, dis­rupt­ing demo­c­ra­t­ic rule in those coun­tries by stag­ing ter­ror­ist acts and plot­ting coups and assas­si­na­tions. . . .”
  • Dulles’s liai­son with the Sen­ate was Prescott Bush, Sr.: “. . . . Dulles’s CIA oper­at­ed with vir­tu­al­ly no con­gres­sion­al over­sight. In the Sen­ate, Dulles relied on Wall Street friends like Prescott Bush of Connecticut–the father and grand­fa­ther of two future presidents–to pro­tect the CIA’s inter­ests. Accord­ing to CIA vet­er­an Robert Crow­ley, who rose to become sec­ond-in-com­mand of the CIA’s action arm, Bush ‘was the day-to-day con­tact man for the CIA.’ . . .”

Ronald Rea­gan and William Casey

Nixon and Kissinger

The pro­gram con­cludes with review of the role of Allen Dulles in ham­mer­ing togeth­er the Cru­sade For Free­dom, a covert oper­a­tion that had its cul­mi­na­tionwith the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion:

  • . . . . Frus­tra­tion over Truman’s 1948 elec­tion vic­to­ry over Dewey (which they blamed on the “Jew­ish vote”) impelled Dulles and his pro­tégé Richard Nixon to work toward the real­iza­tion of the fas­cist free­dom fight­er pres­ence in the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion. As a young con­gress­man, Nixon had been Allen Dulles’s con­fi­dant. They both blamed Gov­er­nor Dewey’s razor-thin loss to Tru­man in the 1948 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on the Jew­ish vote. When he became Eisenhower’s vice pres­i­dent in 1952, Nixon was deter­mined to build his own eth­nic base. . . .
  • . . . . Vice Pres­i­dent Nixon’s secret polit­i­cal war of Nazis against Jews in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics was nev­er inves­ti­gat­ed at the time. The for­eign lan­guage-speak­ing Croa­t­ians and oth­er Fas­cist émi­gré groups had a ready-made net­work for con­tact­ing and mobi­liz­ing the East­ern Euro­pean eth­nic bloc. There is a very high cor­re­la­tion between CIA domes­tic sub­si­dies to Fas­cist ‘free­dom fight­ers’ dur­ing the 1950’s and the lead­er­ship of the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic cam­paign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financ­ing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to off­set the Jew­ish vote for the Democ­rats. . . . In 1952, Nixon had formed an Eth­nic Divi­sion with­in the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee. Dis­placed fas­cists, hop­ing to be returned to pow­er by an Eisen­how­er-Nixon ‘lib­er­a­tion’ pol­i­cy signed on with the com­mit­tee. In 1953, when Repub­li­cans were in office, the immi­gra­tion laws were changed to admit Nazis, even mem­bers of the SS. They flood­ed into the coun­try. Nixon him­self over­saw the new immi­gra­tion pro­gram. As Vice Pres­i­dent, he even received East­ern Euro­pean Fas­cists in the White House. . . . .
  • . . . . As a young movie actor in the ear­ly 1950s, Rea­gan was employed as the pub­lic spokesper­son for an OPC front named the ‘Cru­sade for Free­dom.’ Rea­gan may not have known it, but 99 per­cent for the Crusade’s funds came from clan­des­tine accounts, which were then laun­dered through the Cru­sade to var­i­ous orga­ni­za­tions such as Radio Lib­er­ty, which employed Dulles’s Fas­cists. Bill Casey, who lat­er became CIA direc­tor under Ronald Rea­gan, also worked in Ger­many after World War II on Dulles’ Nazi ‘free­dom fight­ers’ pro­gram. When he returned to New York, Casey head­ed up anoth­er OPC front, the Inter­na­tion­al Res­cue Com­mit­tee, which spon­sored the immi­gra­tion of these Fas­cists to the Unit­ed States. Casey’s com­mit­tee replaced the Inter­na­tion­al Red Cross as the spon­sor for Dulles’s recruits. . . . .
  • . . .  It was [George H.W.] Bush who ful­filled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘eth­nic emi­gres’ a per­ma­nent part of Repub­li­can pol­i­tics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Depart­ment spokesman con­firmed to his Aus­tralian coun­ter­part that the eth­nic groups were very use­ful to get out the vote in sev­er­al key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee exact­ly coin­cid­ed with Las­z­lo Pasztor’s 1972 dri­ve to trans­form the Her­itage Groups Coun­cil into the party’s offi­cial eth­nic arm. The groups Pasz­tor chose as Bush’s cam­paign allies were the émi­gré Fas­cists whom Dulles had brought to the Unit­ed States. . . .  

Pro­gram High­lights Include: 

  • Review of the Bush fam­i­ly’s links to the Thyssens.
  • Review of the Thyssen par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal net­work.
  • Review of the Bor­mann group’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with the CIA.
  • Col­lab­o­ra­tion of the New York Times with Dulles’s CIA, includ­ing the paper’s own incor­po­ra­tion of Nazis. Like the GOP, they are “shocked, shocked” at the Trump can­di­da­cy.
1. We begin with the first of two New York Times op-ed columns bemoan­ing the Trump ascen­dan­cy, high­light­ing the GOP estab­lish­men­t’s laments over “the Don­ald,” and the vicious aware­ness that Trump’s sup­port­ers man­i­fest.

“The Beast Is Us” by Tim­o­thy Egan; The New York Times; 3/04/2016.

You heard the word “scary” used a lot this week, that and much more. Not from the usu­al scolds. Or Democ­rats. The loud­est alarms came from des­per­ate, pan­icked Repub­li­cans, warn­ing of the man who is destroy­ing the Par­ty of Lin­coln before our eyes.

“The man is evil,” said Stu­art Stevens, a chief strate­gist for Mitt Rom­ney in 2012. Rom­ney him­self called Don­ald Trump a fraud on Thurs­day.

But as much as these “too lit­tle, too late” wake-up calls are appre­ci­at­ed, it’s time to place the blame for the ele­va­tion of a tyrant as the pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee where it belongs — with the peo­ple. Yes, you. Don­ald Trump’s sup­port­ers know exact­ly what he stands for: hatred of immi­grants, racial supe­ri­or­i­ty, a sneer­ing dis­re­gard of the basic civil­i­ty that binds a soci­ety. Edu­cat­ed and poor­ly edu­cat­ed alike, men and women — they know what they’re get­ting from him.

This idea that peo­ple are fol­low­ing Trump only for the celebri­ty joy ride, that if they just under­stood the kind of rad­i­cal, anti-Amer­i­can ideas he advo­cates they would drop him, is garbage. If the pope couldn’t dent Trump, Rom­ney sure­ly will not.

For Trump’s vot­ers were not sur­prised at his hes­i­tan­cy to dis­avow the hearty approval of a for­mer grand wiz­ard of the Ku Klux Klan. They cer­tain­ly weren’t shocked when neo-Nazis hailed Trump a sav­ior months ago, so a lit­tle added back­ing from hood­ed haters was not going to throw them.

They aren’t upset that he’s attacked one of the foun­da­tions of an open soci­ety — free speech — with his recent call to “open up” the libel laws. Nor does it both­er them in the least that he wants to apply a reli­gious test for entry into a coun­try whose founders were against any such thing. A major­i­ty of his Super Tues­day back­ers, in fact, sup­port just that.

And recent kudos from a pro-slav­ery radio host will cer­tain­ly not damp­en his legions. That sup­port came from James Edwards. “For blacks in Amer­i­ca,” he has said, “slav­ery is the best thing that ever hap­pened to them.”

Yes, Trump can­not choose his allies. But it’s cer­tain­ly no coin­ci­dence that the race haters, immi­grant bash­ers and reli­gious huck­sters who’ve been at the fringe for some time are all in for Don­ald Trump.

With media com­plic­i­ty, Trump has unleashed the beast that has long resided not far from the Amer­i­can hearth, from those who start­ed a Civ­il War to pre­serve the right to enslave a fel­low human to the Know-Noth­ing mobs who burned Irish-Catholic church­es out of fear of immi­grants.

When high school kids waved a pic­ture of Trump while shout­ing “Build a wall” at stu­dents from a heav­i­ly His­pan­ic school dur­ing a bas­ket­ball game in Indi­ana last week, they were exhal­ing Trump’s sul­furous vapors. They know exact­ly what he stands for.

Grant­ed, a huge por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion is woe­ful­ly igno­rant; near­ly a third of Amer­i­cans didn’t know who Supreme Court Jus­tice Antonin Scalia was in a Gallup poll last year. But igno­rance is not the prob­lem with Trump’s peo­ple. They’re sick and tired of tol­er­ance. In Super Tues­day exit polls, Trump dom­i­nat­ed among those who want some­one to “tell it like it is.” And that trans­lates to an explic­it “play to our worst fears,” as Meg Whit­man, the promi­nent Repub­li­can busi­ness leader, said.

“He’s say­ing how the peo­ple real­ly feel,” one Trump sup­port­er from Mass­a­chu­setts, Janet Aguilar, told The Times. “We’re all afraid to say it.”

They’re say­ing it now. So more than a third of Trump sup­port­ers in South Car­oli­na wish the South had won the Civ­il War, and 70 per­cent think the Con­fed­er­ate flag should be fly­ing over the state cap­i­tal. And 32 per­cent believe intern­ment of Japan­ese-Amer­i­can cit­i­zens was a good thing — some­thing that the saint­ed Ronald Rea­gan apol­o­gized for.

Judge him by his fol­low­ers, who’ve thrown away the dog whis­tle. “Vot­ing against Don­ald Trump at this point is real­ly trea­son to your her­itage,” said David Duke, the for­mer Klans­man. And judge him by those who enabled his rise, out of cow­ardice or oppor­tunism, two words that will fol­low Chris Christie to his grave.

“To sup­port Trump is to sup­port a big­ot,” wrote Stevens, the for­mer Rom­ney strate­gist. “It’s real­ly that sim­ple.”

Now that the nom­i­na­tion is near­ly his, Trump will start to tone it down and take it back. Just kid­ding, he’s going to imply. “I hate to say it, but I’m becom­ing main­stream,” he said.

But it’s not main­stream to toss aside long­stand­ing Amer­i­can pol­i­cy against war crimes, advo­cat­ing tor­ture “even if it doesn’t work.” It’s not main­stream to approv­ing­ly pass on quotes from the Fas­cist Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni. It’s not main­stream to be “every­thing we teach our kids not to do in kinder­garten,” as Gov. Nik­ki Haley, the Repub­li­can gov­er­nor of South Car­oli­na, said.

The Ger­man mag­a­zine Der Spiegel called Trump “the world’s most dan­ger­ous man.” The Ger­mans know a thing or two about the top­ic.

I would like to think our bet­ter angels always pre­vail. But there are also dark episodes, when the beast is loose, and what stares back at us from the mir­ror is some­thing ugly and fright­ful. Now is one of those times.

2. The sec­ond Times op-ed piece dis­cuss­es Europe’s fears of a Trump pres­i­den­cy as the com­ing of fas­cism to Amer­i­ca.

“Trump’s Il Duce Rou­tine” by Richard Cohen; The New York Times; 2/29/2016.

Europe, the soil on which Fas­cism took root, is watch­ing the rise of Don­ald Trump with dis­may. Con­tempt for the excess­es of Amer­i­ca is a Euro­pean reflex, but when the Unit­ed States seems tempt­ed by a lat­ter-day Mus­soli­ni, smug­ness in Lon­don, Paris and Berlin gives way to alarm. Europe knows that democ­ra­cies can col­lapse.

It’s not just that Trump retweets to his six mil­lion fol­low­ers a quote attrib­uted to Mus­soli­ni: “It is bet­ter to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” It’s not just that Trump refus­es to con­demn David Duke, the for­mer grand wiz­ard of the Ku Klux Klan, who has expressed sup­port for him. It’s not just that vio­lence is woven into Trump’s lan­guage as indeli­bly as the snarl woven into his fea­tures — the talk of shoot­ing some­body or punch­ing a pro­test­er in the face, the insult­ing of the dis­abled, the macho mock­ery of women, the anti-Mus­lim and anti-Mex­i­can tirades. It’s not just that he could become Sil­vio Berlus­coni with nukes.

It’s the echoes, now unmis­tak­able, of times when the skies dark­ened. Europe knows how democ­ra­cies col­lapse, after lost wars, in times of fear and anger and eco­nom­ic hard­ship, when the pout­ing dem­a­gogue appears with his pageantry and promis­es. America’s Weimar-lite demo­c­ra­t­ic dys­func­tion is plain to see. A cor­rupt­ed poli­ty tends toward col­lapse.

Trump is telling peo­ple some­thing is rot­ten in the state of Amer­i­ca. The mes­sage res­onates because the rot is there.

He has emerged from a polit­i­cal sys­tem cor­rupt­ed by mon­ey, locked in an echo cham­ber of insults, reduced to the show busi­ness of an end­less cam­paign, blocked by a kind of par­ti­san­ship run amok that leads Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress to declare they will not meet with Pres­i­dent Obama’s even­tu­al nom­i­nee for the Supreme Court, let alone lis­ten to him or her. This is an out­rage! The pub­lic inter­est has become less than an after­thought. Trump is telling peo­ple some­thing is rot­ten in the state of Amer­i­ca. The mes­sage res­onates because the rot is there.

Enter the smart, savvy, scowl­ing show­man. He is self-financed and promis­es restored great­ness. He has a bully’s instinct for the jugu­lar and a sense of how sick an angry Amer­i­ca is of pol­i­tics as usu­al and polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. He hijacks a Repub­li­can Par­ty that has paved the way for him with years of rant­i­ng, big­otry, bel­li­cos­i­ty and what Robert Kagan, in The Wash­ing­ton Post, has right­ly called “racial­ly tinged derange­ment syn­drome” with respect to Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. Trump is a man repeat­ed­ly under­es­ti­mat­ed by the very elites who made Trump­ism pos­si­ble. He’s smarter than most of his belit­tlers, and quick­er on his feet, which makes him only more dan­ger­ous.

He’s the anti-Oba­ma, all the­ater where the pres­i­dent is all pru­dence, the mouth-that-spews to the pres­i­den­tial teleprompter, rage against rea­son, the back­slap­per against the mae­stro of aloof­ness, the rab­ble-rouser to the cere­bral law pro­fes­sor, the deal mak­er to the dili­gent observ­er. If Oba­ma in anoth­er life could have been a suc­cess­ful Euro­pean social demo­c­rat, Trump is only and absolute­ly of Amer­i­ca.

Part of the Trump dan­ger is that he’s cap­tured an Amer­i­can irre­den­tism, a desire to reclaim some­thing — pow­er, con­fi­dence, ris­ing incomes — that many peo­ple feel is lost. Trump is a late har­vest of 9/11 and the fears that took hold that day. He’s the focus of vague hopes and dim resent­ments that have turned him into a sav­ior in wait­ing. As with Ronald Rea­gan, it’s not the specifics with Trump, it’s a feel­ing, a vibra­tion — and no mat­ter how much he dis­sem­bles, reveals him­self as a thug, traf­fics in con­tra­dic­tions, the rapt­ness per­sists. Europe is trans­fixed. The Ger­man newsweek­ly “Der Spiegel” has called Trump “the world’s most dan­ger­ous man” and even waxed nos­tal­gic for Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, which for a Euro­pean pub­li­ca­tion is like sud­den­ly dis­cov­er­ing a soft spot for Drac­u­la. The French prime min­is­ter, Manuel Valls, has tweet­ed that Trump “fuels hatred.” In Britain, Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron has attacked Trump’s pro­posed ban on non-Amer­i­can Mus­lims enter­ing the Unit­ed States, and more than half a mil­lion peo­ple have signed a peti­tion urg­ing that he be kept out of Britain. This week­end Britain’s Sun­day Times ran a page-size pho­to of Trump in Lord Kitch­en­er pose with a blar­ing head­line: “Amer­i­ca Wants Me.”

So do a few Euro­peans, among them the French right­ist Jean-Marie Le Pen. Vladimir Putin, the Russ­ian pres­i­dent, is a fan, as are some Russ­ian oli­garchs. Judge a man by the com­pa­ny he keeps.

This dis­ori­ent­ed Amer­i­ca just might want Trump — and that pos­si­bil­i­ty should be tak­en very seri­ous­ly, before it is too late, by every believ­er in Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment of the peo­ple, by the peo­ple, for the peo­ple. The pow­er of the Oval Office and the tem­pera­ment of a bul­ly make for an explo­sive com­bi­na­tion, espe­cial­ly when he has shown con­tempt for the press, a taste for vio­lence, a con­sis­tent inhu­man­i­ty, a devour­ing ego and an above-the-law swag­ger.

As Europe knows, democ­ra­cies do die. Often, they are the mid­wives of their own demise. Once lost, the cost of recov­ery is high.

3. Euro­peans are hard­ly in a posi­tion to look down on Trump–European pol­i­tics are expe­ri­enc­ing the same “Per­fect Sturm.” Not only are fas­cist par­ties rid­ing a crest of pop­u­lar­i­ty in Europe over the “anti-immi­grant” gam­bit, but fas­cism was nev­er expunged from Europe, due to Cold War pol­i­tics which will be high­light­ed below. We note that Slo­va­kia is among the coun­tries wit­ness­ing the ascent of fas­cist par­ties.

The “Troi­ka” (read “Ger­many”) man­dat­ed the instal­la­tion of the fas­cist LAOS Par­ty as part of the pro­vi­sion­al Greek gov­ern­ment in the late fall of 2011. The Greek cit­i­zen­ry had NO say in this, what­so­ev­er.

“In Slo­va­kia, A ‘Fascist’-Led Par­ty Gains Seats” by Ben Thomp­son; The Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor; 3/6/2016.

. . . . The extreme-right People’s Par­ty took in 8 per­cent of the votes and 14 seats in par­lia­ment. Despite the elec­toral split, Fico said he would work to rebuild a coali­tion that could take con­trol going for­ward, pos­si­bly with the Slo­vak Nation­al Par­ty, which took in 8.6 per­cent of the votes cast.

“As the par­ty that won the elec­tion we have the oblig­a­tion to try build a mean­ing­ful and sta­ble gov­ern­ment,” Fico said, per The Guardian. “It will not be easy, I am say­ing that very clear­ly.”

In order to win back the major­i­ty gov­ern­ment, Fico’s par­ty could need to form an alliance with mul­ti­ple groups, which the prime min­is­ter had hoped to avoid. Fico’s par­ty entered the elec­tion with a plat­form that includ­ed strong anti-migrant and anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ments, despite Slovakia’s absence from the main migrant routes through Europe and rel­a­tive dis­con­nect from the ongo­ing cri­sis relat­ed to that issue.

As oth­er coun­tries in the Balkan region and Cen­tral Europe are caught in the midst of a migra­tion surge, Fico’s oppo­si­tion to allow­ing refugee quo­tas backed by the EU and his resis­tance to the “fic­tion” of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism makes Slo­va­kia one of the Euro­pean nations not open to the migrant flow.

Despite that Smer-Social Democ­ra­cy posi­tion, issues in Slo­va­kia includ­ing teacher strikes, unem­ploy­ment, and cor­rup­tion in the health­care sys­tem may have divert­ed votes from Fico’s migrant-heavy plat­form to the oth­er par­ties’ greater focus on domes­tic issues, includ­ing the People’s Par­ty, chaired by Mar­i­an Kotle­ba.

Mr. Kotle­ba, a for­mer leader of a now-banned neo-Nazi par­ty, gained noto­ri­ety in 2013 dur­ing a suc­cess­ful cam­paign for region­al gov­er­nor in which he praised the Slo­vak Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tionist gov­ern­ment dur­ing World War II. The Econ­o­mist describes him as “once fond of wear­ing uni­forms in the 1930s and 40s fas­cist style.” . . . .

4. The so-called “pro­gres­sive sec­tor” is in no posi­tion to intel­li­gent­ly crit­i­cize Trump, because they have allied them­selves with the milieu of Wik­iLeaks, Eddie the Friend­ly Spook and Glenn Green­wald, who are part and par­cel to the pol­i­tics of David Duke, the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment and apol­o­gists for slav­ery. The polit­i­cal forces that Tim Egan cor­rect­ly iden­ti­fies as being “Trumpers” are pre­cise­ly the forces that are behind the Snow­denistas and Assange­holes.

5.The Dulles broth­ers, as we have seen so often, were part and par­cel to the estab­lish­ment of the Ger­man cor­po­rate and car­tel struc­ture that spawned Hitler. For back­ground on this, we recommend–among oth­er sources–the old anti-fas­cist books avail­able for down­load on this web­site. We have done numer­ous shows on the sub­ject, begin­ning with Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M11.

The Dev­il’s Chess­board: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of Amer­i­ca’s Secret Gov­ern­ment by David Tal­bot; Harp­er [HC]; 2015; Copy­right 2015 by The Tal­bot Play­ers LLC; ISBN 978–0‑06–227616‑2; pp. 18–19.

. . . . Sul­li­van and Cromwell, the Dulles broth­ers’ Wall Street law firm, was at the cen­ter of an intri­cate inter­na­tion­al net­work of banks, invest­ment firms, and indus­tri­al con­glom­er­ates that rebuilt Ger­many after World War 1. Fos­ter, the law fir­m’s top exec­u­tive, grew skilled at struc­tur­ing the com­plex mer­ry-go-round of trans­ac­tions that fun­neled mas­sive U.S. invest­ments into Ger­man indus­tri­al giants like the IG Far­ben chem­i­cal con­glom­er­ate and Krupp Steel. The prof­its gen­er­at­ed by these invest­ments then flowed to France and Britain in the form of war repa­ra­tions, and then back to the Unit­ed States to pay off war loans.

Fos­ter Dulles became so deeply enmeshed in the lucra­tive revi­tal­iza­tion of Ger­many that he found it dif­fi­cult to sep­a­rate his fir­m’s inter­ests from those of the ris­ing eco­nom­ic and mil­i­tary power–even after Hitler con­sol­i­dat­ed con­trol over the coun­try in the 1930s. Fos­ter con­tin­ued to rep­re­sent Ger­man car­tels like IG Far­ben as they were inte­grat­ed into the Nazis’ grow­ing war machine, help­ing the indus­tri­al giants secure access to key war mate­ri­als. He donat­ed mon­ey to Amer­i­ca First, the cam­paign to keep the Unit­ed States out of the gath­er­ing tem­pest in Europe, and helped spon­sor a ral­ly hon­or­ing Charles Lind­bergh, the fair-haired avi­a­tion hero who had become enchant­ed by Hitler’s mirac­u­lous revival of Ger­many. Fos­ter refused to shut down the Berlin office of Sul­li­van and Cromwell–whose attor­neys were [alleged­ly] forced to sign their cor­re­spon­dence “Heil Hitler”–until his part­ners (includ­ing Allen), fear­ful of a pub­lic rela­tions dis­as­ter, insist­ed he do so. When Fos­ter final­ly gave in–at an extreme­ly tense 1935 part­ners’ meet­ing in the fir­m’s lav­ish offices at 48 Wall Street–he broke down in tears. . . .

6. Both Dulles broth­ers con­spired to shut down Oper­a­tion Safe­haven, safe­guard­ing their cor­po­rate rela­tion­ships with Third Reich indus­try and paving the way for the rise of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work. “. . . . More­over, like many in the upper ech­e­lons of U.S. finance and nation­al secu­ri­ty, Dulles believed that a good num­ber of these pow­er­ful Ger­man fig­ures should be returned to pow­er, to ensure that Ger­many would be a strong bul­wark against the Sovi­et Union. And dur­ing the Cold War, he would be more intent on using Nazi loot to finance covert anti-Sovi­et oper­a­tions than on return­ing it to the fam­i­lies of Hitler’s vic­tims. .  . .”

The Dev­il’s Chess­board: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of Amer­i­ca’s Secret Gov­ern­ment by David Tal­bot; Harp­er [HC]; 2015; Copy­right 2015 by The Tal­bot Play­ers LLC; ISBN 978–0‑06–227616‑2; pp. 27–29.

. . . . Dulles and [Thomas] McKit­trick [of the Bank of Inter­na­tion­al Set­tlem­nts] con­tin­ued to work close­ly togeth­er for the rest of the war. In the final months of the con­flict, the two men col­lab­o­rat­ed against a Roo­sevelt oper­a­tion called Project Safe­haven that sought to track down and con­fis­cate Nazi assets that were stashed in neu­tral coun­tries. Admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials feared that, by hid­ing their ill-got­ten wealth, mem­bers of the Ger­man elite planned to bide their time after the war and would then try to regain pow­er. Mor­gen­thau’s Trea­sury Depart­ment team, which spear­head­ed Project Safe­haven, reached out to the OSS and BIS for assis­tance. But Dulles and McKit­trick were more inclined to pro­tect their clients’ inter­ests. More­over, like many in the upper ech­e­lons of U.S. finance and nation­al secu­ri­ty, Dulles believed that a good num­ber of these pow­er­ful Ger­man fig­ures should be returned to pow­er, to ensure that Ger­many would be a strong bul­wark against the Sovi­et Union. And dur­ing the Cold War, he would be more intent on using Nazi loot to finance covert anti-Sovi­et oper­a­tions than on return­ing it to the fam­i­lies of Hitler’s vic­tims.

Dulles real­ized that none of his argu­ments against Project Safe­haven would be well received by Mor­gen­thau. So he resort­ed to time-hon­ored meth­ods of bureau­crat­ic stalling and sab­o­tage to help sink the oper­a­tion, explain­ing in a Decem­ber 1944 memo to his OSS supe­ri­ors that his Bern office lacked “ade­quate per­son­nel to do [an] effec­tive job in this field and meet oth­er demands.” . . . .

. . . . While Allen Dulles was using his OSS post in Switzer­land to pro­tect the inter­ests of Sul­li­van and Cromwell’s Ger­man clients, his broth­er was doing the same in New York. By play­ing an intri­cate cor­po­rate shell game, Fos­ter was able to hide the U.S. assets of major Ger­man car­tels like IG Far­ben and Mer­ck KGaA, the chem­i­cal and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal giant, and pro­tect these sub­sidiaries from being con­fis­cat­ed by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment as alien prop­er­ty. Some of Fos­ter’s legal origa­mi allowed the Nazi regime to cre­ate bot­tle­necks in the pro­duc­tion of essen­tial war materials–such as diesel-fuel injec­tion motors that the U.S. mil­i­tary need­ed for trucks, sub­marines, and air­planes. By the end of the war, many of Fos­ter’s clients were under inves­ti­ga­tion by the Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s antitrust divi­sion. And Fos­ter him­self was under scruti­ny for col­lab­o­ra­tion with the ene­my.

But Fos­ter’s broth­er was guard­ing his back. From his front­line posi­tion in Europe, Allen was well-placed to destroy incrim­i­nat­ing evi­dence and to block any inves­ti­ga­tions that threat­ened the two broth­ers and their law firm. “Shred­ding of cap­tured Nazi records was the favorite tac­tic of Dulles and his [asso­ciates] who stayed behind to help run the occu­pa­tion of post­war Ger­many,” observed Nazi hunter John Lof­tus, who pored through numer­ous war doc­u­ments relat­ed to the Dulles broth­ers when he served as a U.S. pros­e­cu­tor in the Jus­tice Depart­ment under Pres­i­dent Jim­my Carter.

If their pow­er­ful ene­my in the White House had sur­vived the war, the Dulles broth­ers would like­ly have faced seri­ous crim­i­nal charges for their wartime activ­i­ties. Supreme Court Jus­tice Arthur Gold­berg, who as a young man served with Allen in the OSS, lat­er declared that both Dulle­ses were guilty of trea­son. . . .

7a. In FTR #‘s 278, 370, 435 and 475, we dis­cussed the Bush fam­i­ly, their links to Nazi indus­try and Mr. Emory’s belief that the Bush fam­i­ly is the point ele­ment of the Bor­mann net­work in the U.S. FTR #370, in par­tic­u­lar, high­lights the vio­lent cov­er-up of the Bush family/Thyssen link. Note that Bor­mann saw Fritz Thyssen as a pipeline to Allen Dulles.

Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; p. 254.

. . . . Also, Bor­mann felt [Fritz] Thyssen was his ace in the hole if he ever need­ed a pipeline to Allen W. Dulles. . . .

7b. Much of the dis­cus­sion that fol­lows con­cerns Dulles’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Rein­hard Gehlen. Note that Gehlen cleared his actions with Admi­ral Doenitz (Hitler’s suc­ces­sor) and Gen­er­al Franz Halder, indi­cat­ing that the Ger­man chain of com­mand was still in effect even after Gehlen began work­ing with the U.S.

“The Secret Treaty of Fort Hunt” by Carl Ogles­by; Covert Action Infor­ma­tion Bul­letin;  #35 (Fall of 1990.)

Gehlen met with Admi­ral Karl Doenitz, who had been appoint­ed by Hitler as his suc­ces­sor dur­ing the last days of the Third Reich. Gehlen and the Admi­ral were now in a U.S. Army VIP prison camp in Wies­baden; Gehlen sought and received approval from Doenitz too! . . .44 

. . . . As Gehlen was about to leave for the Unit­ed States, he left a mes­sage for Baun with anoth­er of his top aides, Ger­hard Wes­sel: “I am to tell you from Gehlen that he has dis­cussed with [Hitler’s suc­ces­sor Admi­ral Karl] Doenitz and [Gehlen’s supe­rior and chief of staff Gen­eral Franz] Halder the ques­tion of con­tin­u­ing his work with the Amer­i­cans. Both were in agree­ment.”

In oth­er words, the Ger­man chain of com­mand was still in effect, and it approved of what Gehlen was doing with the Amer­i­cans.

7c. Bor­man­n’s FBI file revealed that he had been bank­ing under his own name in New York for some time. As we have seen in FTR #305, the CIA active­ly col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Bor­mann net­work. Note that, in the pas­sage below, Bor­mann wrote three checks drawn from demand accounts in three U.S. com­mer­cial banks in August of 1967. In April and June of the fol­low­ing year, Mar­tin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assas­si­nat­ed.

Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; p. 205.

. . . . The file revealed that he had been bank­ing under his own name from his office in Ger­many in Deutsche Bank of Buenos Aires since 1941; that he held one joint account with the Argen­tin­ian dic­ta­tor Juan Per­on, and on August 4, 5 and 14, 1967, had writ­ten checks on demand accounts in first Nation­al City Bank (Over­seas Divi­sion) of New York, The Chase Man­hat­tan Bank, and Man­u­fac­tur­ers Hanover Trust Co., all cleared through Deutsche Bank of Buenos Aires. . . .

8. Prescott Bush, Sr. was the Sen­ate’s liai­son with Dulles’s CIA.

The Dev­il’s Chess­board: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of Amer­i­ca’s Secret Gov­ern­ment by David Tal­bot; Harp­er [HC]; 2015; Copy­right 2015 by The Tal­bot Play­ers LLC; ISBN 978–0‑06–227616‑2; pp. 249–250.

 . . . . Dulles’s CIA oper­at­ed with vir­tu­al­ly no con­gres­sion­al over­sight. In the Sen­ate, Dulles relied on Wall Street friends like Prescott Bush of Connecticut–the father and grand­fa­ther of two future presidents–to pro­tect the CIA’s inter­ests. Accord­ing to CIA vet­er­an Robert Crow­ley, who rose to become sec­ond-in-com­mand of the CIA’s action arm, Bush “was the day-to-day con­tact man for the CIA. It was very bipar­ti­san and friend­ly. Dulles felt that he had the Sen­ate just where he want­ed them.” . . . .

9a. With the con­nivance of Dules’s CIA, Gehlen pur­sued the Cold War as an exten­sion of the Third Reich’s war against the Sovi­et Union.

The Dev­il’s Chess­board: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of Amer­i­ca’s Secret Gov­ern­ment by David Tal­bot; Harp­er [HC]; 2015; Copy­right 2015 by The Tal­bot Play­ers LLC; ISBN 978–0‑06–227616‑2; pp. 277–278.

. . . . The Gehlen Orga­ni­za­tion saw the Cold War as the final act of the Reich’s inter­rupt­ed offen­sive against the Sovi­et Union. . . .

The covert Cold War in the West was, to an unset­tling extent, a joint oper­a­tion between the Dulles regime and that of Rein­hard Gehlen. The Ger­man spy chief’s patho­log­i­cal fear and hatred of Rus­sia, which had its roots in Hitler’s Third Reich, meshed smooth­ly with the Dulles broth­ers’ anti-Sovi­et abso­lutism. In fact, the Dulles pol­i­cy of mas­sive nuclear retal­i­a­tion bore a dis­turb­ing resem­blance to the Nazis’ eter­mi­na­tion­ist phi­los­o­phy. . . . We live “in an age in which war is a para­mount activ­i­ty of man,” Gehlen announced in his mem­oir [pref­aced by Holo­caust-denier David Irving–D.E.], “with the total anni­hi­la­tion of the ene­my as its pri­ma­ry aim.” There could be no more suc­cinct a state­ment of the fas­cist ethos. . . .

9b. Next, the pro­gram details the Gehlen/Dulles author­ship of the “Stay Behind/Gladio” net­works. “. . . . He [Gehlen] was pre­pared to take dras­tic action to pre­vent such a polit­i­cal sce­nario from unfold­ing in Bonn–going so far as to over­throw democ­ra­cy in West Ger­many if nec­es­sary. . . . It is unlike­ly that Dulles was shocked by Gehlen’s pro­pos­al to rein­sti­tute fas­cism in Ger­many, since CIA offi­cials had long ben dis­cussing such author­i­tar­i­an con­tin­gency plans with the Gehlen Orga­ni­za­tion oth­er right-wing ele­ments in Ger­many. . . .”

The Dev­il’s Chess­board: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of Amer­i­ca’s Secret Gov­ern­ment by David Tal­bot; Harp­er [HC]; 2015; Copy­right 2015 by The Tal­bot Play­ers LLC; ISBN 978–0‑06–227616‑2; pp. 281–283.

. . . . He [Gehlen] was pre­pared to take dras­tic action to pre­vent such a polit­i­cal sce­nario from unfold­ing in Bonn–going so far as to over­throw democ­ra­cy in West Ger­many if nec­es­sary. . . . It is unlike­ly that Dulles was shocked by Gehlen’s pro­pos­al to rein­sti­tute fas­cism in Ger­many, since CIA offi­cials had long ben dis­cussing such author­i­tar­i­an con­tin­gency plans with the Gehlen Orga­ni­za­tion oth­er right-wing ele­ments in Ger­many. In 1952, West Ger­man police dis­cov­ered that the CIA was sup­port­ing a two-thou­sand-mem­ber fas­cist youth group led by ex-Nazi offi­cers who had their own alarm­ing plans for ter­mi­nat­ing democ­ra­cy. Police inves­ti­ga­tors revealed that the CIA-backed group had com­piled a black­list of peo­ple to be “liq­ui­dat­ed” as “unre­li­able” in case of a con­flict with the Sovi­et Union. Includ­ed on the list were not just West Ger­man Com­mu­nists but lead­ers of the Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty serv­ing in the Bun­destag, as well as oth­er left-lean­ing gov­ern­ment offi­cials. There were cries of out­rage in the Ger­man par­lia­ment over the rev­e­la­tions, but the State Depart­ment worked stren­u­ous­ly behind the scenes to sup­press the sto­ry, and sim­i­lar alarm­ing mea­sures con­tin­ued to be qui­et­ly con­tem­plat­ed through­out the Cold War.

These author­i­tar­i­an plans were part of a sweep­ing covert strat­e­gy devel­oped in the ear­li­est days of the Cold War by U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials, includ­ing Dulles, to counter a pos­si­ble Sovi­et inva­sion of West­ern Europe by cre­at­ing a “stay-behind net­work” of armed resisters to fight the Red Army. Code-named Oper­a­tion Glad­io, these secret CIA-fund­ed net­works attract­ed fas­cist and crim­i­nal ele­ments, some of which lat­er played sub­ver­sive roles in West Ger­many, France, and Italy, dis­rupt­ing demo­c­ra­t­ic rule in those coun­tries by stag­ing ter­ror­ist acts and plot­ting coups and assas­si­na­tions.

In the end, Gehlen did­n’t feel the need to over­throw democ­ra­cy in Bonn, but his orga­ni­za­tion did under­take a vari­ety of secret activ­i­ties over the years that seri­ous­ly under­mined demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions in Ger­many. Backed by U.S. intel­li­gence, Hitler’s for­mer spy­mas­ter imple­ment­ed wide-rang­ing sur­veil­lance of West Ger­man offi­cials and cit­i­zens, includ­ing open­ing pri­vate mail and tap­ping phones. Gehlen defend­ed the snoop­ing as an inter­nal secu­ri­ty mea­sure aimed at fer­ret­ing out Sovi­et and East Ger­man spies, but his net grew wider and wider until it was cast across an increas­ing­ly broad spec­trum of pop­u­la­tion, includ­ing oppo­si­tion par­ty lead­ers, labor union offi­cials, jour­nal­ists and school­teach­ers. Gehlen even used his spy appa­ra­tus to inves­ti­gate sur­vivors of the Valkyrie plot against Hitler . . . .

. . . . Gehlen was act­ing not just on behalf of his U.S. patrons, but his clients in Bonn. Even some CIA offi­cials wor­ried that Gehlen was being improp­er­ly used by Hans Globke to gath­er infor­ma­tion on polit­i­cal oppo­nents and for­ti­fy the Ade­nauer admin­is­tra­tion’s pow­er. . . . On one occa­sion in the 1950s, the savvy Globke paid a vis­it to Gehlen’s Pul­lach head­quar­ters, por­ing over the dossiers of var­i­ous Ger­man polit­i­cal figures–and tak­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to remove his own file. . . .

9c. As we have seen, Hans Globke was Ade­nauer’s emi­nence grise and the archi­tect of the Nurem­burg laws.

The Dev­il’s Chess­board: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of Amer­i­ca’s Secret Gov­ern­ment by David Tal­bot; Harp­er [HC]; 2015; Copy­right 2015 by The Tal­bot Play­ers LLC; ISBN 978–0‑06–227616‑2; p. 279.

. . . . High among those [for­mer Third Reich] offi­cials was Chan­cel­lor Ade­nauer’s right-hand man Hans Globke, who had helped draft the noto­ri­ous Nurem­berg Laws, the racial iden­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem that served as the basis for the exter­mi­na­tion of Ger­man Jews. . . .

10a. We review analy­sis of the Cru­sade For Freedom–the covert oper­a­tion that brought Third Reich alum­ni into the coun­try and also sup­port­ed their gueril­la war­fare in East­ern Europe, con­duct­ed up until the ear­ly 1950’s. Con­ceived by Allen Dulles, over­seen by Richard Nixon, pub­licly rep­re­sent­ed by Ronald Rea­gan and real­ized in con­sid­er­able mea­sure by William Casey, the CFF ulti­mate­ly evolved into a Nazi wing of the GOP.

The Secret War Against the Jews; by John Lof­tus and Mark Aarons; Copy­right 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0–312-11057‑X; pp. 122–123.

. . . . Frus­tra­tion over Truman’s 1948 elec­tion vic­to­ry over Dewey (which they blamed on the “Jew­ish vote”) impelled Dulles and his pro­tégé Richard Nixon to work toward the real­iza­tion of the fas­cist free­dom fight­er pres­ence in the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion. As a young con­gress­man, Nixon had been Allen Dulles’s con­fi­dant. They both blamed Gov­er­nor Dewey’s razor-thin loss to Tru­man in the 1948 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion on the Jew­ish vote. When he became Eisenhower’s vice pres­i­dent in 1952, Nixon was deter­mined to build his own eth­nic base. . . .

. . . . Vice Pres­i­dent Nixon’s secret polit­i­cal war of Nazis against Jews in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics was nev­er inves­ti­gat­ed at the time. The for­eign lan­guage-speak­ing Croa­t­ians and oth­er Fas­cist émi­gré groups had a ready-made net­work for con­tact­ing and mobi­liz­ing the East­ern Euro­pean eth­nic bloc. There is a very high cor­re­la­tion between CIA domes­tic sub­si­dies to Fas­cist ‘free­dom fight­ers’ dur­ing the 1950’s and the lead­er­ship of the Repub­li­can Party’s eth­nic cam­paign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financ­ing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to off­set the Jew­ish vote for the Democ­rats. . . .

. . . . In 1952, Nixon had formed an Eth­nic Divi­sion with­in the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee. Dis­placed fas­cists, hop­ing to be returned to pow­er by an Eisen­how­er-Nixon ‘lib­er­a­tion’ pol­i­cy signed on with the com­mit­tee. In 1953, when Repub­li­cans were in office, the immi­gra­tion laws were changed to admit Nazis, even mem­bers of the SS. They flood­ed into the coun­try. Nixon him­self over­saw the new immi­gra­tion pro­gram. As Vice Pres­i­dent, he even received East­ern Euro­pean Fas­cists in the White House. . .

10b. More about the com­po­si­tion of the cast of the CFF: Note that the ascen­sion of the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion was essen­tial­ly the ascen­sion of the Naz­i­fied GOP, embod­ied in the CFF milieu. Rea­gan (spokesman for CFF) was Pres­i­dent; George H.W. Bush (for whom CIA head­quar­ters is named) was the Vice Pres­i­dent; William Casey (who han­dled the State Depart­ment machi­na­tions to bring these peo­ple into the Unit­ed States) was Rea­gan’s cam­paign man­ag­er and lat­er his CIA direc­tor.

The Secret War Against the Jews; by John Lof­tus and Mark Aarons; Copy­right 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0–312-11057‑X; p. 605.

. . . . As a young movie actor in the ear­ly 1950s, Rea­gan was employed as the pub­lic spokesper­son for an OPC front named the ‘Cru­sade for Free­dom.’ Rea­gan may not have known it, but 99 per­cent for the Crusade’s funds came from clan­des­tine accounts, which were then laun­dered through the Cru­sade to var­i­ous orga­ni­za­tions such as Radio Lib­er­ty, which employed Dulles’s Fas­cists. Bill Casey, who lat­er became CIA direc­tor under Ronald Rea­gan, also worked in Ger­many after World War II on Dulles’ Nazi ‘free­dom fight­ers’ pro­gram. When he returned to New York, Casey head­ed up anoth­er OPC front, the Inter­na­tion­al Res­cue Com­mit­tee, which spon­sored the immi­gra­tion of these Fas­cists to the Unit­ed States. Casey’s com­mit­tee replaced the Inter­na­tion­al Red Cross as the spon­sor for Dulles’s recruits. Con­fi­den­tial inter­views, for­mer mem­bers, OPC; for­mer mem­bers, British for­eign and Com­mon­wealth Office. . . .

10c. While serv­ing as chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, the elder George Bush shep­herd­ed the Nazi émi­gré com­mu­ni­ty into posi­tion as a per­ma­nent branch of the Repub­li­can Par­ty.
. . . . .It was Bush who ful­filled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘eth­nic emi­gres’ a per­ma­nent part of Repub­li­can pol­i­tics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Depart­ment spokesman con­firmed to his Aus­tralian coun­ter­part that the eth­nic groups were very use­ful to get out the vote in sev­er­al key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee exact­ly coin­cid­ed with Las­z­lo Pasztor’s 1972 dri­ve to trans­form the Her­itage Groups Coun­cil into the party’s offi­cial eth­nic arm. The groups Pasz­tor chose as Bush’s cam­paign allies were the émi­gré Fas­cists whom Dulles had brought to the Unit­ed States. . . . 

12. We con­clude with a look at The New York Times’ use of a Third Reich alum­nus named Paul Hof­mann as a for­eign cor­re­spon­dent, begin­ning with the Gray Lady’s cov­er­age of the CIA’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the over­throw of Patrice Lumum­ba.

The Dev­il’s Chess­board: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of Amer­i­ca’s Secret Gov­ern­ment by David Tal­bot; Harp­er [HC]; 2015; Copy­right 2015 by The Tal­bot Play­ers LLC; ISBN 978–0‑06–227616‑2; pp. 383–384.

 . . . . As the Con­go cri­sis reached its cli­max, a new cor­re­spon­dent for The New York Times showed up in Leopoldville with a dis­tinct­ly anti-Lumum­ba bias. Paul Hof­mann was a diminu­tive, sophis­ti­cat­ed Aus­tri­an with a col­or­ful past. Dur­ing the war, he served in Rome as a top aide to the noto­ri­ous Nazi gen­er­al Kurt Malz­er, who was lat­er con­vict­ed of the mass mur­der of Ital­ian par­ti­sans. At some point, Hof­mann became an informer for the Allies, and after the war he became close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Jim Angle­ton. The Angle­ton fam­i­ly helped place Hof­mann in the Rome bureau of The New York Times, where he con­tin­ued to be of use to his friends in U.S. intel­li­gence, trans­lat­ing reports from con­fi­den­tial sources inside the Vat­i­can and pass­ing them along to Angle­ton. Hof­mann became one of the Times’s lead­ing for­eign cor­re­spon­dents, even­tu­al­ly tak­ing over the news­pa­per’s Rome bureau and para­chut­ing from time to time into inter­na­tion­al hot spots like the Con­go. . . .

Discussion

53 comments for “FTR #894 Physicians, Heal Thyselves: Hypocrisy and the Trump Campaign”

  1. Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters about a con­ver­sa­tion he had with Don­ald Trump this morn­ing. The top­ic of the con­ver­sa­tion? “I took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to rec­om­mend to him that no mat­ter who may be trig­ger­ing these vio­lent, uh, expres­sions or con­flict that we’ve seen at some of these ral­lies, it might be a good idea to con­demn that and dis­cour­age it, no mat­ter what the source of it is.” So we’re at the point where the GOP’s lead­ing Sen­a­tor just had to warn the guy that’s on course to win his par­ty’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion not to incite vio­lence at polit­i­cal ral­lies. And these words of cau­tion were passed along to Trump on the same day that he appears to be poised to essen­tial­ly secure that nom­i­na­tion.

    It’s all part of why a cer­tain very unpleas­ant ques­tion is becom­ing increas­ing­ly rel­e­vant. It a ques­tion that should nev­er need to be asked, but here we are so we might as well ask it:
    Giv­en the state of US pol­i­tics, is the ghost of Roy Cohn more pleased? Or more proud?

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Trump’s Mobbed Up, McCarthyite Men­tor Roy Cohn

    Don­ald Trump’s brash and bul­ly­ing style was learned at the heel of Roy Cohn, one of America’s most infa­mous lawyers.

    Olivia Nuzzi
    07.23.15 4:07 AM ET

    They met at Le Club, a pri­vate dis­co on the Upper East Side fre­quent­ed by Jack­ie Kennedy, Al Paci­no, and Diana Ross, accord­ing to Trump: The Saga of America’s Most Pow­er­ful Real Estate Baron. Don­ald Trump, the young devel­op­er, quick­ly amass­ing a for­tune in New York real estate and Roy Cohn, America’s most loathed yet social­ly suc­cess­ful defense attor­ney who had vault­ed to infamy in the 1950s while serv­ing as legal coun­sel to Sen­a­tor Joseph McCarthy.

    The friend­ship they forged would pro­vide the foun­da­tion for Trump’s even­tu­al pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. And in hind­sight, it serves as a tool for under­stand­ing Don­ald Trump the Can­di­date, whose bumper stick­er-averse declarations—undocumented Mex­i­can immi­grants are “crim­i­nals” and “rapists”; Sen­a­tor John McCain is “not a war hero”—have both led him to the top of the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry polls and mis­tak­en­ly con­vinced many that he is a puz­zle unwor­thy of solv­ing. It may appear that way, but Trump isn’t just spout­ing off insults like a mal­func­tion­ing sprin­kler system—he’s mim­ic­k­ing what he learned some 40 years ago.

    A long­time friend of Trump’s who was intro­duced to the can­di­date by Cohn told me it’s a shame that Cohn’s not alive to see the chaos his pro­tégé has wrought.

    “He would have just loved what’s going on right now,” the friend said. “Roy liked upset­ting the estab­lish­ment.”

    Roy Mar­cus Cohn, born in the Bronx in 1927, was the son of Albert Cohn, a judge and promi­nent Demo­c­rat. He grad­u­at­ed from Colum­bia Law School in 1947, and the day he was admit­ted to the bar, accord­ing to a New York Times obit­u­ary, he got a job in the office of the Man­hat­tan Unit­ed States Attor­ney thanks to his father’s con­nec­tions.

    He became known for his arro­gant court­room style, notably in the case of Julius and Ethel Rosen­berg, Amer­i­can cit­i­zens con­vict­ed of con­spir­ing to give infor­ma­tion about the atom­ic bomb to the Sovi­et Union. They were exe­cut­ed, and Cohn was pro­mot­ed to assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney.

    He moved to Wash­ing­ton, where his first assign­ment was to pre­pare the indict­ment of Owen Lat­ti­more, an expert on Chi­na and pro­fes­sor at Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty who had been accused of being “the top Russ­ian espi­onage agent in the Unit­ed States” by Sen­a­tor Joe McCarthy.

    The charges were ulti­mate­ly dis­missed, but Cohn’s aggres­sive per­for­mance left a last­ing impact on McCarthy, who named him chief coun­sel to the Sen­ate Per­ma­nent Sub­com­mit­tee on Inves­ti­ga­tions. (Robert F. Kennedy was assis­tant coun­sel.)

    McCarthy and Cohn, who was gay and would lat­er die of AIDS, claimed that for­eign com­mu­nists had black­mailed clos­et­ed homo­sex­u­al U.S. gov­ern­ment employ­ees into giv­ing them secrets. The charge result­ed in Pres­i­dent Eisenhower’s Exec­u­tive Order 10450, which allowed the gov­ern­ment to deny homo­sex­u­als employ­ment.

    Cohn helped McCarthy wage sim­i­lar witch-hunts on the State Depart­ment, Voice of Amer­i­ca, and the Army.

    When McCarthy was final­ly cen­sured, in 1954, Cohn was thought to be fin­ished, too.

    He moved back to New York City and joined the law firm Saxe, Bacon & Bolan. But instead of fad­ing into obscu­ri­ty, Cohn became a socialite with a ros­ter of high-pow­ered, famous, pious, and alleged­ly mur­der­ous clients.

    He rep­re­sent­ed Andy Warhol, Stu­dio 54, Roman Catholic Car­di­nals Fran­cis Spell­man and Ter­ence Cooke, and mafia lead­ers Carmine “Cig­ar” Galante and Antho­ny “Fat Tony” Saler­no.

    Cohn’s tac­tics were thought to be so uneth­i­cal and dis­hon­est by the legal estab­lish­ment (he was even­tu­al­ly dis­barred) that Esquire dubbed him “a legal exe­cu­tion­er.”

    The rep­u­ta­tion didn’t hurt his dance card, how­ev­er.

    Cohn was known for his par­ties, thrown at his Green­wich estate and attend­ed by politi­cians, design­ers, artists, and celebri­ties. He liked to pre­tend that Bar­bara Wal­ters, a friend, was his girl­friend. “He was a very com­pli­cat­ed man,” she told SFGate in 2008. “He was very smart and fun­ny. And, at the time, seemed to know every­one in New York. He was very friend­ly with the car­di­nal, he was very friend­ly with the most famous colum­nist in New York, Wal­ter Winchell. He had a lot of extreme­ly pow­er­ful friends.”

    Accord­ing to The New York Times’ obit­u­ary for Cohn, those friends includ­ed “dozens of politi­cians, Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans alike, at every lev­el, from Cab­i­net mem­bers to coun­ty judges,” includ­ing Pres­i­dent Rea­gan.

    Although, Trump’s friend told me, Cohn saw in Trump “front page stuff, and Roy was always attract­ed to celebri­ty,” he clear­ly wasn’t lack­ing for celebri­ty in his life. For Cohn, more impor­tant than Trump’s sta­tus was his atti­tude.

    “I think he saw in Trump a kin­dred spir­it,” the friend said. “He saw a cer­tain tough­ness that he also saw in him­self.”

    ...

    Cohn became Trump’s lawyer. And Trump thought high­ly of his con­tro­ver­sial tac­tics.

    “If you need some­one to get vicious toward an oppo­nent, you get Roy,” he was quot­ed as say­ing by the Asso­ci­at­ed Press. “Peo­ple will drop a suit just by get­ting a let­ter with Roy’s name at the bot­tom.”

    In 1973, at Cohn’s urg­ing, Trump sued the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment for $100 mil­lion in dam­ages, after the gov­ern­ment sued the Trump Man­age­ment Corp. for alleged­ly dis­crim­i­nat­ing against blacks in its leas­ing of 16,000 apart­ment units through­out New York.

    Trump accused the gov­ern­ment of mak­ing “irre­spon­si­ble and base­less” charges. “I have nev­er, nor has any­one in our orga­ni­za­tion ever, to the best of my knowl­edge, dis­crim­i­nat­ed or shown bias in rent­ing our apart­ments,” Trump said at a press con­fer­ence, held at the New York Hilton Hotel, accord­ing to a Decem­ber 13, 1973 New York Times report. Trump said, in true Trump fash­ion, that the gov­ern­ment had sin­gled out his busi­ness because it was big. Cohn, for his part, crit­i­cized the gov­ern­ment for not pro­vid­ing specifics about the peo­ple Trump alleged­ly dis­crim­i­nat­ed against.

    The judge dis­missed Trump and Cohn’s suit, say­ing they were “wast­ing time and paper.”

    And when Trump was accused of using his polit­i­cal con­nec­tions to man­u­fac­ture unfair deals for him­self, Cohn jumped to his defense. “Don­ald wish­es he didn’t have to give mon­ey to politi­cians, but he knows it’s part of the game,” he told the Times in 1980. “He doesn’t try to get any­thing for it; he’s just doing what a lot of peo­ple in the real estate busi­ness try to do.”

    But the depth of their rela­tion­ship didn’t end with Cohn’s attack-dog defens­es of his client. Cohn, in his own words to the Times, was “not only Donald’s lawyer, but also one of his close friends.”

    When Cohn first got ahold of him, accord­ing to his friend, “Don­ald was a bit of a polit­i­cal neo­phyte.”

    It was Cohn who helped trans­form him. “His ear­ly polit­i­cal train­ing came from Roy,” the friend told me.

    Cohn, a reg­is­tered Demo­c­rat, was a Rea­gan­phile. On the grand piano in his law office rest­ed a framed pho­to of the for­mer pres­i­dent and a let­ter of thanks he sent to Cohn. He and his law part­ner, Thomas Bolan, who could not be reached for com­ment, fundraised tire­less­ly for his 1980 cam­paign.

    Accord­ing to Trump’s friend, Cohn act­ed to “recruit Don­ald and Donald’s father for Reagan’s finance com­mit­tee.” In an 1983 Times report, Trump was char­ac­ter­ized as a Rea­gan sup­port­er and was said to have vis­it­ed the White House “sev­er­al times.” There’s a pic­ture of the two togeth­er, shak­ing hands. Trump, his hair dark­er and fuller, in a pin­stripe suit and shiny, light pink tie; and Rea­gan, look­ing duller by com­par­i­son.

    Today, Trump’s cam­paign slo­gan is “Make Amer­i­ca Great Again!” Which was Reagan’s slo­gan in 1980. Trump has claimed he invent­ed the slo­gan and trade­marked it in order to pre­vent oth­er can­di­dates from using it in speech­es. “I mean, I get tremen­dous raves for that line,” Trump told The Dai­ly Mail. “You would think they would come up with their own. That is my whole theme.”

    In 1983, accord­ing to Trump: The Deals and the Down­fall, Trump met with Cohn client Antho­ny “Fat Tony” Saler­no, the boss of the Gen­ovese crime fam­i­ly, in Cohn’s New York apart­ment. Trump had employed S&A Con­crete, owned by Saler­no and Paul “Big Paul” Castel­lano, head of the Gam­bi­no crime fam­i­ly, to build Trump Tow­er. (In response to the alle­ga­tions made in the book, in 1993, Trump said its author, Wayne Bar­nett, was “a sec­ond-rate writer who has had numer­ous lit­er­ary fail­ures, who has been writ­ing neg­a­tive sto­ries about me for the past 15 years. The book is anoth­er exam­ple of Mr. Barrett’s per­son­al prej­u­dice and ani­mos­i­ty towards me. The book is bor­ing, non-fac­tu­al, and high­ly inac­cu­rate.”)

    A year after the alleged meet­ing, Trump was doing an inter­view with The Wash­ing­ton Post. He told the reporter, Lois Romano, that he knew how the Unit­ed States should nego­ti­ate nuclear pol­i­cy with the Sovi­ets, and Cohn, Trump told her, advised him that it was a good idea to use the inter­view as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk about the issue.

    “Some peo­ple have an abil­i­ty to nego­ti­ate,” Trump said. “It’s an art you’re basi­cal­ly born with. You either have it or you don’t.”

    I won­der where he learned that.

    “The friend­ship they forged would pro­vide the foun­da­tion for Trump’s even­tu­al pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. And in hind­sight, it serves as a tool for under­stand­ing Don­ald Trump the Can­di­date, whose bumper stick­er-averse declarations—undocumented Mex­i­can immi­grants are “crim­i­nals” and “rapists”; Sen­a­tor John McCain is “not a war hero”—have both led him to the top of the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry polls and mis­tak­en­ly con­vinced many that he is a puz­zle unwor­thy of solv­ing. It may appear that way, but Trump isn’t just spout­ing off insults like a mal­func­tion­ing sprin­kler system—he’s mim­ic­k­ing what he learned some 40 years ago.”

    As we can see, while Cohn nev­er had kids, he was sort of a sec­ond father fig­ure to one up and com­ing fel­low:

    ...

    A long­time friend of Trump’s who was intro­duced to the can­di­date by Cohn told me it’s a shame that Cohn’s not alive to see the chaos his pro­tégé has wrought

    “He would have just loved what’s going on right now,” the friend said. “Roy liked upset­ting the estab­lish­ment.”

    ...

    Although, Trump’s friend told me, Cohn saw in Trump “front page stuff, and Roy was always attract­ed to celebri­ty,” he clear­ly wasn’t lack­ing for celebri­ty in his life. For Cohn, more impor­tant than Trump’s sta­tus was his atti­tude.

    “I think he saw in Trump a kin­dred spir­it,” the friend said. “He saw a cer­tain tough­ness that he also saw in him­self.”

    ...

    But the depth of their rela­tion­ship didn’t end with Cohn’s attack-dog defens­es of his client. Cohn, in his own words to the Times, was “not only Donald’s lawyer, but also one of his close friends.”

    When Cohn first got ahold of him, accord­ing to his friend, “Don­ald was a bit of a polit­i­cal neo­phyte.”

    It was Cohn who helped trans­form him. “His ear­ly polit­i­cal train­ing came from Roy,” the friend told me.

    ...

    Yes, it’s sort of a shame Cohn could­n’t live to see the day. Sort of. But at least the ghost of Roy Cohn is pre­sum­ably smil­ing some­where.

    The ghost of Cohn’s old boss is prob­a­bly pret­ty hap­py too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 15, 2016, 2:53 pm
  2. Last night, PBS New­sHour had a spe­cial about first-time vot­ers, includ­ing a pro­file of a Fayet­teville, NC, fam­i­ly vol­un­teer­ing to make calls for the Trump cam­paign. And the moth­er work­ing just hap­pened to have big Celtic Cross tat­too on her right and an “88” on her left hand. It was kind of hard to miss.

    Now, the fact that some­one with overt white suprema­cist sym­bol­ism is vol­un­teer­ing for Don­ald Trump isn’t exact­ly news at this point. At least not break­ing news. But it is kind of news­wor­thy that the racist tat­toos weren’t even men­tioned in the report. They were def­i­nite­ly vis­i­ble, but not actu­al­ly men­tioned:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire
    PBS New­sHour Fea­tures Trump Vol­un­teer With White Suprema­cist Tat­toos

    By Kather­ine Krueger
    Pub­lished March 16, 2016, 5:50 PM EDT

    In a Tues­day night spe­cial about Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump invig­o­rat­ing first-time vot­ers, PBS New­sHour pro­filed a woman vol­un­teer­ing for the cam­paign who had promi­nent­ly vis­i­ble tat­toos of wide­ly rec­og­nized white pow­er sym­bols.

    In the seg­ment, which was first flagged by Gawk­er, PBS pro­files Grace Tilly, who is shown mak­ing calls at a Trump cam­paign phone bank in North Car­oli­na.

    “This is my first time vot­ing,” Tilly tells the cam­era. “Being 33, that’s kind of crazy, but it says a lot.”

    While Tilly makes a call, her tat­too of a sym­bol that Gawk­er iden­ti­fied as a Celtic Cross is eas­i­ly vis­i­ble on her right hand.

    Accord­ing to the Anti-Defama­tion League, the Celtic Cross is used by neo-Nazis, mem­bers of the Ku Klux Klan, and “vir­tu­al­ly every oth­er type of white suprema­cist.” The sym­bol is also used in the logo for Storm­front, an online hub for white suprema­cists.

    Gawk­er also iden­ti­fied the tat­too on Tilly’s oth­er hand as the num­ber 88 which, accord­ing to the ADL, is white suprema­cist short­hand for “Heil Hitler.”

    PBS made no men­tion of the sym­bols in the sto­ry, Gawk­er said.

    ...

    You can watch a clip of the seg­ment over at Gawk­er.

    “PBS made no men­tion of the sym­bols in the sto­ry, Gawk­er said.”
    Weird. It seems like big, vis­i­ble white suprema­cists tat­toos would be part of this sto­ry.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 16, 2016, 3:04 pm
  3. We’re prob­a­bly going to see a lot more arti­cles like this as Amer­i­ca con­tin­ues tip­toe­ing up to the Rubi­con:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    How The Trump Cam­paign Could Evolve Into Orga­nized Vio­lence, In 6 Steps

    State-spon­sored thug­gery doesn’t hap­pen overnight.

    Daniel Marans, Reporter, Huff­in­g­ton Post
    Ryan Grim, Wash­ing­ton bureau chief for The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    03/17/2016 06:31 pm ET

    Repub­li­can front-run­ner Don­ald Trump on Sun­day float­ed the idea of pay­ing the legal fees of a white sup­port­er who suck­er-punched a black man leav­ing a ral­ly. Lat­er that day, he claimed “no respon­si­bil­i­ty” for polit­i­cal vio­lence, sug­gest­ing instead that pro­test­ers are dan­ger­ous and that his sup­port­ers are right to “hit back.” He even blamed Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date Sen. Bernie Sanders (I‑Vt.) for send­ing pro­test­ers to dis­rupt his ral­lies, and threat­ened to sic his sup­port­ers on Sanders in retal­i­a­tion.

    Extreme polit­i­cal move­ments like Trump’s often go hand-in-hand with street vio­lence. But orga­nized mili­tias like Adolf Hitler’s brown shirts and Ben­i­to Mussolini’s black shirts don’t spring up overnight. They evolve. Here’s how the process works.

    Phase One: Anger

    The elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma in 2008 imme­di­ate­ly sparked a spike in anti-black hate crimes. The sus­pi­cion and resent­ment toward Oba­ma began dur­ing his cam­paign, most notably with the birther move­ment that ques­tioned whether he was born in the Unit­ed States. (He was.) Some Amer­i­cans con­sid­ered Oba­ma not mere­ly a polit­i­cal oppo­nent but a for­eign “oth­er,” unwor­thy of the respect cit­i­zens typ­i­cal­ly accord to pres­i­dents.

    Trump, who helped ele­vate birtherism to nation­al promi­nence, has fanned the flames of white Amer­i­cans’ rage, appeal­ing to their most base nation­al­is­tic instincts.

    The data show that Trump sup­port­ers are more like­ly to be eco­nom­i­cal­ly inse­cure. But that doesn’t explain the tim­ing of Trump’s rise, since the for­tunes of work­ing-class whites, like work­ing-class peo­ple of col­or, have been declin­ing for decades. As Jamelle Bouie argues per­sua­sive­ly in Slate, Trump’s fol­low­ers appar­ent­ly view Obama’s pow­er as a sign that they have lost the polit­i­cal priv­i­lege they once enjoyed just because they were white. Six­ty-one per­cent of Trump’s sup­port­ers have con­tin­ued to believe Oba­ma is a for­eign-born Mus­lim, accord­ing to a Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling sur­vey released in Sep­tem­ber.

    Beliefs like that aren’t uncom­mon among sup­port­ers of tyrants and dem­a­gogues.

    “What illib­er­al lead­ers across the world share is a very deep ide­o­log­i­cal or nation­al­is­tic moti­va­tion and sense of being in an in-group where peo­ple do not see their oppo­nents just as oppo­nents but as ene­mies in an exis­ten­tial sense,” said Sha­di Hamid, a senior fel­low at the Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion who authored the book Temp­ta­tions of Pow­er: Islamists and Illib­er­al Democ­ra­cy in the Mid­dle East.

    “That con­tributes to para­noia, con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and over­all it strength­ens the exis­ten­tial tenor of pol­i­tics, which is some­thing we are not used to,” he added.

    But pri­or to Trump’s pres­i­den­tial run, many main­stream Repub­li­can lead­ers con­demned the most exces­sive racist attacks on Oba­ma. While run­ning for pres­i­dent on the GOP tick­et in 2008, Sen. John McCain famous­ly chas­tised a woman who called Oba­ma “an Arab.”

    Repub­li­can lead­ers also stood in sol­i­dar­i­ty with black Amer­i­cans in the wake of heinous hate crimes. After a white suprema­cist mas­sa­cred black church­go­ers in Charleston, South Car­oli­na, in June, the state’s con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can gov­er­nor, Nik­ki Haley, pushed for the Con­fed­er­ate flag to be removed from the state Capi­tol grounds.

    Phase Two: Excus­ing Vio­lence

    The next phase in the evo­lu­tion of orga­nized vio­lent groups comes when lead­ers stop con­demn­ing vio­lence and start excus­ing it. That’s what Trump’s doing now — and main­stream Repub­li­can lead­ers have been slow to rebuke him for it.

    With­out con­dem­na­tion from main­stream Repub­li­can lead­ers, Trump-asso­ci­at­ed vio­lence has spread.

    In August, two Boston broth­ers who beat up a home­less Lati­no man cit­ed Trump as inspi­ra­tion. Trump said he had not heard of the inci­dent, and that it would “be a shame” if it had hap­pened. But he also sug­gest­ed the inci­dent was a prod­uct of his sup­port­ers’ pas­sion. “I will say, the peo­ple that are fol­low­ing me are very pas­sion­ate,” he said. “They love this coun­try, they want this coun­try to be great again.”

    At a Novem­ber ral­ly, he said of a black pro­test­er who’d been beat­en, “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolute­ly dis­gust­ing what he was doing.”

    In Feb­ru­ary, he told his sup­port­ers at a ral­ly, “If you see some­body who’s get­ting ready to throw a toma­to, knock the crap out of him, would you?” He then promised to cov­er their legal fees. At anoth­er ral­ly that month, Trump talked about a pro­test­er being tak­en out “on a stretch­er,” adding, “I’d like to punch him in the face.”

    When evi­dence first sur­faced ear­li­er this month that Trump’s top aide assault­ed a reporter at an event, Trump accused the reporter of mak­ing the sto­ry up.

    The oth­er GOP can­di­dates have seemed reluc­tant to renounce Trump. At a Repub­li­can debate on March 3, his three oppo­nents at the time com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing him if he were to become the party’s nom­i­nee.

    Mitt Rom­ney, the party’s nom­i­nee in the 2012 elec­tion, had attacked Trump in a speech ear­li­er that day — refus­es to enter­tain the idea of vot­ing for Hillary Clin­ton, who is like­ly to be the only viable alter­na­tive.

    Just this month, as a pro­test­er was being tak­en out of an event, Trump said, “Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court, don’t wor­ry.”

    Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham (R‑S.C.) sum­ma­rized the GOP response to the can­di­date on Tues­day.

    “I think our par­ty leadership’s been light on Trump,” he told The Huff­in­g­ton Post.

    That may be because the Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment — like elite class­es else­where — foment­ed the rage of the mass­es for polit­i­cal con­ve­nience, but couldn’t fore­see, let alone con­tain, what would hap­pen when it spi­raled out of con­trol.

    “The dan­ger is that if you indulge the worst instincts too much, you can no longer con­trol what you have cre­at­ed,” Hamid said.

    Phase Three: Legal Impuni­ty

    The Trump sup­port­er who suck­er-punched a black pro­test­er in Fayet­teville, North Car­oli­na, did so in full view of mul­ti­ple police offi­cers, yet he wasn’t arrest­ed until video of the assault pro­voked an out­cry the next day. Huff­Post has doc­u­ment­ed that the num­ber of vio­lent inci­dents at Trump ral­lies is high­er than the num­bers of arrests for assault.

    The lack of response from law enforce­ment and the Repub­li­can Par­ty, when com­bined with the sup­port of Trump him­self, like­ly leads some of his fol­low­ers to con­clude that vio­lence is accept­able, even desir­able, and can be car­ried out with impuni­ty.

    Incen­di­ary, cod­ed rhetoric is key. Even in Vladimir Putin’s Rus­sia, rhetoric does most of the work. Putin and his sub­or­di­nates rou­tine­ly describe polit­i­cal dis­putes as us-ver­sus-them strug­gles. Imply­ing that the regime’s polit­i­cal oppo­nents are on the U.S. State Depart­ment pay­roll is a com­mon tac­tic.

    “You will prob­a­bly have a very dif­fi­cult time find­ing Putin mak­ing state­ments insti­gat­ing vio­lence against oppo­nents,” said Sean Guil­lo­ry, a schol­ar who ana­lyzes Russ­ian pol­i­tics. “The way that vio­lence occurs in Rus­sia is that there is a dele­git­imiza­tion of oppo­nents and crit­i­cism.”

    This dele­git­imiza­tion cre­ates an envi­ron­ment in which indi­vid­u­als, oli­garchs or region­al rulers feel empow­ered to com­mit acts of vio­lence against dis­senters.

    Some­times, Putin or his spokesman Dmitri Peskov will offer a luke­warm con­dem­na­tion of a jour­nal­ist or activist being beat­ing or killed.

    “The press will ask Dmitri Peskov, or [Putin] will be asked direct­ly about it,” Guil­lo­ry said. “You will not get an explic­it con­dem­na­tion, but instead get a blan­ket state­ment like, ‘Peo­ple should fol­low the law.’”

    Trump has not even gone that far, how­ev­er. Dur­ing last week’s GOP debate, CNN’S Jake Tap­per cit­ed sev­er­al exam­ples of the can­di­date encour­ag­ing crowds to get phys­i­cal with pro­test­ers. Trump again attrib­uted the attacks to his sup­port­ers’ anger and pas­sion — and insist­ed that the pro­test­ers were real­ly the vio­lent ones.

    The ground-up, spon­ta­neous nature of Trump’s sup­port may make it even eas­i­er for him to take advan­tage of mob vio­lence than it was for Putin, said Mark Ames, a founder of The Exile, an Eng­lish-lan­guage news­pa­per in Rus­sia that Putin shut down in 2008.

    “It prob­a­bly almost works bet­ter if it is not more orga­nized,” Ames, now a reporter for Pan­do, said. “It is all so much more ad hoc, real­i­ty TV.”

    Phase Four: The Oppo­si­tion Fights Back

    Demon­stra­tors have been a fre­quent pres­ence at Trump ral­lies from the start of his cam­paign, but were typ­i­cal­ly iso­lat­ed indi­vid­u­als until recent­ly. Now, with the help of large lib­er­al groups like MoveOn, activists are work­ing in a more orga­nized fash­ion to dis­rupt Trump. On Fri­day, for exam­ple, thou­sands of pro­test­ers con­verged on a ral­ly in Chica­go, lead­ing to the event get­ting can­celed.

    The pres­ence of large, orga­nized protests has fur­ther rad­i­cal­ized Trump’s sup­port­ers. Some have already begun dis­cussing bring­ing guns to ral­lies and vot­ing booths in order to “pro­tect” them­selves from lib­er­al pro­test­ers.

    The prospect of the GOP’s estab­lish­ment wing thwart­ing Trump’s nom­i­na­tion in a bro­kered par­ty con­ven­tion holds the poten­tial for even greater back­lash. Trump sug­gest­ed on Wednes­day that allow­ing a con­test­ed con­ven­tion — even if he failed to win a major­i­ty of del­e­gates and out­right earn the nom­i­na­tion — would result in riots.

    “What does that mean for our norms as a coun­try, and the idea of respect­ing demo­c­ra­t­ic out­comes even if you dis­agree with them?” asked Hamid, who has stud­ied the effects of the mil­i­tary coup in Egypt. “If mil­lions of Trump sup­port­ers felt that the demo­c­ra­t­ic will wasn’t respect­ed, that’s where you could see real polar­iza­tion that could spill into even more vio­lence.”

    Phase Five: Going On Offense

    Right now most of the Trump ral­ly vio­lence, even against pro­test­ers, has been dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly direct­ed at peo­ple of col­or.

    Glob­al­ly, the pat­tern is often the same: Immi­grants are tar­get­ed first, then oth­er minori­ties. Final­ly, the vio­lence turns direct­ly against what­ev­er com­mu­nist, social­ist, con­ser­v­a­tive, lib­er­al or pro­gres­sive oppo­si­tion exists.

    Trump pre­viewed this approach in a Twit­ter threat direct­ed at Sanders — who he has tak­en to call­ing “our Com­mu­nist friend” — on Sun­day.

    The more Trump suc­ceeds polit­i­cal­ly, the more brazen he and his sup­port­ers are like­ly to become, said Jef­frey Herf, a his­to­ri­an of fas­cism at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land.

    “If Trump suc­ceeds against all expec­ta­tions in get­ting the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion, and against even greater expec­ta­tions, wins the pres­i­den­cy, he will not become a more rea­son­able man,” Herf said. “It is the kind of thing that feeds his ego and his sense of being absolute­ly right. It is the kind of thing that could lead to mid­night raids to deport Mex­i­cans en masse.”

    Herf, like many experts, does not believe Trump is a fas­cist. But he notes that Ital­ian and Ger­man elites’ “under­es­ti­ma­tion” of fas­cists was a hall­mark of their rise in the 20th cen­tu­ry in those coun­tries. Sim­i­lar­ly, he said, elites in the U.S. failed to fore­see Trump’s ascen­dan­cy.

    Now that the vio­lence is esca­lat­ing, mem­bers of the estab­lish­ment are call­ing for calm.

    “Don­ald Trump called this morn­ing, and we had a good con­ver­sa­tion,” Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑Ky.) told reporters Tues­day on Capi­tol Hill. “I took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to rec­om­mend to him that no mat­ter who may be trig­ger­ing these vio­lent, uh, expres­sions or con­flict that we’ve seen at some of these ral­lies, it might be a good idea to con­demn that and dis­cour­age it, no mat­ter what the source of it is.”

    McCain, who tamped down xeno­pho­bia eight years ago, is left with lit­tle pow­er, par­tic­u­lar­ly after Trump den­i­grat­ed his pris­on­er-of-war expe­ri­ence and was only reward­ed in the polls.

    Huff­Post told McCain that Trump sup­port­ers are now talk­ing about arm­ing them­selves. “I hope that’s not a seri­ous com­ment,” McCain replied. “I just think that that would be very unfor­tu­nate and I hope that nobody is seri­ous­ly think­ing about that.”

    ...

    Polls and report­ing indi­cate that Trump’s sup­port­ers have actu­al­ly become more deeply enam­ored with the can­di­date, even as vio­lence has esca­lat­ed. There are no insti­tu­tions that can pre­vent peo­ple from vot­ing for a man who incites vio­lence — only norms. And Trump is reveal­ing just how weak those norms are.

    “I was nev­er taught in school that coups, for exam­ple, are unac­cept­able, but it was some­thing I absorbed as an Amer­i­can,” Hamid said. “What hap­pens when those norms erode?”

    Phase Six: Pick­ing A Shirt (Or Hat) Col­or

    Once vio­lence is nor­mal­ized, it’s only a short jump to it becom­ing orga­nized.

    Trump’s thugs might end up look­ing more like those of Putin (who he open­ly admires) or the “colec­tivos” who back the gov­ern­ment of Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent Nico­las Maduro, and less like Hitler’s brown shirts or Mussolini’s black shirts. Turkey, India, Israel and Hun­gary have all seen a steep rise in and a main­stream­ing of eth­no-nation­al­ism in recent years, and along with it has come both orga­nized and ran­dom street vio­lence.

    Pro-gov­ern­ment thugs have been a fea­ture of Caribbean and Latin Amer­i­can polit­i­cal life, for exam­ple, for decades, said Peter Hakim, a senior fel­low at the Inter-Amer­i­can Dia­logue, a net­work of pol­i­cy experts across the West­ern Hemi­sphere.

    He sees Trump sup­port­ers who have vowed to retal­i­ate against lib­er­al pro­test­ers as a sim­i­lar threat.

    “This is often how these groups start. With young kids, this is the kind of brava­do they like to use or act on,” he said. “You get peo­ple who have not com­mu­ni­cat­ed with the cam­paign who begin to defend their turf. Maybe there is some­one on the staff that’s close to them. Maybe they hire a turf pro­tec­tor onto the staff. These are unof­fi­cial body­guards and some­times they can adopt a lit­tle more aggres­sive posi­tion.”

    And some­times a lot more.

    Editor’s note: Don­ald Trump is a ser­i­al liar, ram­pant xeno­phobe, racist, misog­y­nist, birther and bul­ly who has repeat­ed­ly pledged to ban all Mus­lims — 1.6 bil­lion mem­bers of an entire reli­gion — from enter­ing the U.S.

    “There are no insti­tu­tions that can pre­vent peo­ple from vot­ing for a man who incites vio­lence — only norms. And Trump is reveal­ing just how weak those norms are.”
    Yep, those norms are look­ing a lit­tle shaky. But they could always get shaki­er:

    ...
    “This is often how these groups start. With young kids, this is the kind of brava­do they like to use or act on,” he said. “You get peo­ple who have not com­mu­ni­cat­ed with the cam­paign who begin to defend their turf. Maybe there is some­one on the staff that’s close to them. Maybe they hire a turf pro­tec­tor onto the staff. These are unof­fi­cial body­guards and some­times they can adopt a lit­tle more aggres­sive posi­tion.”

    And some­times a lot more.

    So let’s hope we don’t see infor­mal Trump “pro­tec­tion” groups start pop­ping up. Espe­cial­ly groups with names inspired by a Mus­soli­ni quote:

    Salon

    “Expos­ing plots to attack Mr. Trump”: The Lion Guard, a pro-Trump group, is track­ing pro­test­ers online

    Lion Guard pro­motes the “safe­ty and secu­ri­ty of #Trump sup­port­ers by expos­ing Far-Left infil­tra­tors and sabo­teurs”
    Michael Garo­fa­lo

    Fri­day, Mar 18, 2016 9:36 PM UTC

    A pro-Don­ald Trump group call­ing itself the “Lion Guard” (not to be con­fused with Disney’s “Lion King” spin­off of the same name) is using social media to “iden­ti­fy and expose plots to attack Mr. Trump, Trump Sup­port­ers, and their ral­lies before they even can hap­pen.”

    Lion Guard’s Twit­ter bio describes it as “an infor­mal civil­ian group ded­i­cat­ed to the safe­ty and secu­ri­ty of #Trump sup­port­ers by expos­ing Far-Left infil­tra­tors and sabo­teurs.” The group’s name is derived from a vari­a­tion on the Ben­i­to Mus­soli­ni quote Trump retweet­ed in Feb­ru­ary that appears on the Lion Guard web­site: “Bet­ter to be a lion for a day, than a lamb for eter­ni­ty.”


    A March 15, post titled “Lion Guard is Born” explains that the group was formed after clash­es between pro­test­ers and Trump sup­port­ers forced the can­cel­la­tion of a Trump ral­ly in Chica­go on March 11. The post explains that the group’s main objec­tive is “to search out for any Anti‑M.A.G.A. [Make Amer­i­ca Great Again] social media account that is plan­ning to infil­trate, dis­rupt, attack, or oth­er­wise do harm to Mr. Trump, any Trump ral­ly, or any Trump sup­port­er.”

    To that end, the Lion Guard has been trawl­ing social media for posts from would-be pro­test­ers who plan to attend a Trump ral­ly in Phoenix on Sat­ur­day, then post­ing the pro­test­ers’ pho­tos to the Lion Guard Twit­ter account and instruct­ing fol­low­ers to inform secu­ri­ty if they spot the “sabo­teurs” at the ral­ly.

    ...

    The Lion Guard man­i­festo is care­ful to avoid any pro­mo­tion of vio­lence against pro­test­ers. While not­ing that the idea of a pro-Trump para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion is “not a bad idea,” the Lion Guard says such vio­lence would feed into main­stream media’s anti-Trump nar­ra­tive. The group sees its mis­sion as “prin­ci­pal­ly to observe and report these van­dals to the prop­er author­i­ties, not con­front them with force.”

    “While not­ing that the idea of a pro-Trump para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion is “not a bad idea,” the Lion Guard says such vio­lence would feed into main­stream media’s anti-Trump nar­ra­tive.”
    That’s reas­sur­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 19, 2016, 4:51 pm
  4. Don­ald Trump reit­er­at­ed his calls for tor­tur­ing ter­ror sus­pects fol­low­ing an ISIS-affil­i­at­ed attack in Brus­sels, explic­it­ly call­ing for water­board­ing but also strong­ly hint­ing at sig­nif­i­cant­ly more tor­tur­ous tech­niques. When asked about the fact that the mil­i­tary does­n’t agree that tor­ture is use­ful, Trump found two gen­er­als that would agree with him. Or, at least, two gen­er­als that Trump is pret­ty sure would agree with him if they had­n’t died decades ago:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trump All For Tor­tur­ing Ter­ror Sus­pects: ‘He’ll Talk Faster With The Tor­ture’

    By Tier­ney Sneed
    Pub­lished March 22, 2016, 6:41 PM EDT

    Don­ald Trump amped up his already heat­ed rhetoric about the use of tor­ture to extract infor­ma­tion from ter­ror­ism sus­pects, speak­ing via tele­phone inter­view to CNN after Tues­day’s ter­ror­ist attack in Brus­sels.

    “Look, I think we have to change our law on the water­board­ing thing, where they can chop off heads and drown peo­ple in cages, in heavy steel cages and we can’t water board,” Trump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We have to change our laws and we have to be able to fight at least on almost equal basis. We have laws that we have to obey in terms of tor­ture. They have no laws what­so­ev­er that they have to obey.”

    Blitzer brought up Salah Abdeslam — a chief sus­pect in the Paris attack who was detained last week and who it has been spec­u­lat­ed might have con­nec­tions to the Brus­sels attack­ers — and asked Trump whether he would begin “tor­tur­ing him right away,” since Bel­gian author­i­ties have said Abdeslam was already talk­ing to inves­ti­ga­tors.

    “He may be talk­ing, but he’ll talk faster with the tor­ture,” Trump said, sug­gest­ing tor­ture could have pre­vent­ed Tues­day attacks which have left at least 30 peo­ple dead.

    “I would be will­ing to bet that he knew about this bomb­ing that took place today,” Trump said. “We have to be smart. It’s hard to believe we can’t water­board which is — look, noth­ing’s nice about it but, it’s your min­i­mal form of tor­ture. We can’t water­board and they can chop off heads. ”

    Trump said he would “go fur­ther” than water­board­ing and would lis­ten to the “mil­i­tary peo­ple” about how to do it. Blitzer brought up that mil­i­tary lead­ers don’t sup­port tor­ture and that it is not a part of the U.S. mil­i­tary code of con­duct.

    “I think they believe in it 100 per­cent. You talk to Gen­er­al Pat­ton from years ago. You talk to Gen­er­al Dou­glas MacArthur,” Trump said. “I will guar­an­tee, these were real gen­er­als, and I guar­an­tee you, they would be laugh­ing. Right now they’re cry­ing and right now they’re spin­ning in their graves as they watch the stu­pid­i­ty go on.”

    Trump added that it was a “polit­i­cal deci­sion” to oppose tor­ture. Blitzer also point­ed out that tor­ture vio­lates inter­na­tion­al agree­ments that the Unit­ed States has signed.

    “I would say that the eggheads that came up with this inter­na­tion­al law should turn on their tele­vi­sion and watch CNN right now, because I’m look at scenes on CNN right now as I’m speak­ing to you that are absolute­ly atro­cious,” Trump said. “And I would be will­ing to bet, when I am see­ing all of the bod­ies lay­ing all over the floor, includ­ing young, beau­ti­ful chil­dren lay­ing dead on the floor, I would say if they watched that, maybe, just maybe they’ll approve of water­board­ing and oth­er things.”

    ...

    “I think they believe in it 100 per­cent. You talk to Gen­er­al Pat­ton from years ago. You talk to Gen­er­al Dou­glas MacArthur...I will guar­an­tee, these were real gen­er­als, and I guar­an­tee you, they would be laugh­ing. Right now they’re cry­ing and right now they’re spin­ning in their graves as they watch the stu­pid­i­ty go on.”
    Well, Dou­glas MacArthur would indeed prob­a­bly be spin­ning in his grave today. Not for the rea­sons Trump cit­ed, but relat­ed rea­son:

    Salon

    When Rudy goes water­board­ing

    The for­mer may­or says “lib­er­al news­pa­pers” have exag­ger­at­ed the tech­nique’s bru­tal­i­ty. Per­haps he should try it him­self.

    Joe Cona­son
    Fri­day, Oct 26, 2007 05:28 AM CST

    Echo­ing Michael Mukasey, his friend and asso­ciate who like­ly will soon be the next attor­ney gen­er­al, Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial front-run­ner Rudolph Giu­liani claimed Wednes­day that he doesn’t know whether water­board­ing is tor­ture. Hav­ing become accus­tomed long ago to mak­ing the most absurd dec­la­ra­tions with­out fear of chal­lenge, Giu­liani went fur­ther than Mukasey’s hes­i­tant demur­ral.

    “I don’t know what is involved in the tech­nique,” Mukasey replied dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing before the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee, when Shel­don White­house, D‑R.I., a for­mer pros­e­cu­tor, asked whether Mukasey thinks water­board­ing con­sti­tutes tor­ture and is there­fore ille­gal as well as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. Per­haps Mukasey (and Giu­liani) should be sub­ject­ed to the tech­nique for strict­ly edu­ca­tion­al pur­pos­es so that they will become aware that it involves reclin­ing the vic­tim on a bench or table, cov­er­ing his face with a cloth and then pour­ing water over his nose and mouth to make him feel as if he is drown­ing.

    Peo­ple who have suf­fered this kind of treat­ment — at the hands of Japan­ese mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cers, for instance — have described it as hor­rif­ic. Experts have deter­mined that it can result in per­ma­nent phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal dam­age and can even result in death.

    ...

    If tough Rudy does go water­board­ing, how­ev­er, he should have no illu­sions about its sta­tus under Amer­i­can law and tra­di­tion. As a for­mer fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor, he should know that the Unit­ed States has indict­ed, con­vict­ed and pun­ished a sub­stan­tial num­ber of tor­tur­ers whose offens­es includ­ed water­board­ing or, as it used to be known, “the water cure.” Amer­i­can pro­hi­bi­tions on the mis­treat­ment of pris­on­ers date back to George Wash­ing­ton, but the ear­li­est pros­e­cu­tion of an Amer­i­can mil­i­tary offi­cer for using that par­tic­u­lar tech­nique occurred in 1902, dur­ing the U.S. occu­pa­tion of the Philip­pines under the pres­i­den­cy of Theodore Roo­sevelt.

    Fol­low­ing a series of Sen­ate hear­ings led by Mass­a­chu­setts Repub­li­can Hen­ry Cabot Lodge, the Army tried Maj. Edwin Glenn in a court-mar­tial in the Philip­pine province of Samar for mis­con­duct and breach of dis­ci­pline, includ­ing “inflic­tion of the water cure” on sus­pect­ed Fil­ipino insur­gents. The Army’s judge advo­cate gen­er­al reject­ed Glenn’s defense of “mil­i­tary neces­si­ty,” and he was sus­pend­ed from his post for a month and fined $50 (not an insignif­i­cant sum in 1902). Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt affirmed the major’s con­vic­tion.

    More severe pun­ish­ments were met­ed out to the Japan­ese impe­r­i­al offi­cers who inflict­ed the water cure on Allied mil­i­tary offi­cers and civil­ians dur­ing World War II in such places as Korea, the Philip­pines and Chi­na. In war crimes tri­als over­seen by Gen. Dou­glas MacArthur, the supreme com­man­der in the Pacif­ic and a great Repub­li­can hero, tes­ti­mo­ny about water tor­ture led to numer­ous con­vic­tions — and sen­tences that ranged from years of impris­on­ment at hard labor to death by hang­ing. As head of the Inter­na­tion­al Mil­i­tary Tri­bunal for the Far East, MacArthur vot­ed to uphold those con­vic­tions and sen­tences.

    Just so there can be no mis­take about what the Japan­ese perps were con­vict­ed of doing, here is a sliv­er of the copi­ous tes­ti­mo­ny that can be found at Law of War, where an excel­lent essay on water­board­ing and Amer­i­can law can be found. It comes from the tri­al in Mani­la of Sgt. Maj. Chin­saku Yuki, a Japan­ese mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer. The wit­ness is Ramon Lavar­ro, a Fil­ipino lawyer sus­pect­ed by the Japan­ese of pro­vid­ing assis­tance to resis­tance forces. “I was ordered to lay on a bench and Yuki tied my feet, hands and neck to that bench lying with my face upward,” Lavar­ro tes­ti­fied. “After I was tied to the bench Yuki placed some cloth on my face and then with water from the faucet they poured on me until I became uncon­scious. He repeat­ed that four or five times.”

    Such tes­ti­monies all sound very much the same because water­board­ing is a sim­ple prac­tice that even Giu­liani should be able to com­pre­hend. When he argues that it is an act whose sig­nif­i­cance depends on who does it and under what cir­cum­stances, does he mean to sug­gest that the Japan­ese war crim­i­nals were wrong, but the CIA is right? Does he think that laws and treaties apply only to for­eign­ers and not to Amer­i­cans? Or that the pres­i­dent can abro­gate those laws and treaties at will? That is a for­mu­la for tyran­ny — and it was reject­ed by Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats alike, all much bet­ter men than he.

    In war crimes tri­als over­seen by Gen. Dou­glas MacArthur, the supreme com­man­der in the Pacif­ic and a great Repub­li­can hero, tes­ti­mo­ny about water tor­ture led to numer­ous con­vic­tions — and sen­tences that ranged from years of impris­on­ment at hard labor to death by hang­ing. As head of the Inter­na­tion­al Mil­i­tary Tri­bunal for the Far East, MacArthur vot­ed to uphold those con­vic­tions and sen­tences.”
    So, unless Dou­glas MacArthur is spin­ning in his grave over regrets that he used water board­ing as a rea­son to con­vict peo­ple of war crimes, it seems like Don­ald Trump is going to need to find anoth­er dead gen­er­al to jus­ti­fy his tor­ture poli­cies.

    Then again, when you con­sid­er polls like the Decem­ber 2014 Pew poll show­ing Amer­i­cans over­whelm­ing approve of water­board­ing, it’s not like Don­ald Trump real­ly needs mil­i­tary approval to help sell his tor­ture poli­cies. A major­i­ty of the Amer­i­can pub­lic is appar­ent­ly already sold on the idea. And giv­en Trump’s near inevitabil­i­ty as the GOP, it would appear that the Repub­li­can par­ty is already sold on “a hell of a lot worse than water­board­ing”. It’s a pret­ty dis­turb­ing state of affairs. Except, per­haps, for Dick Cheney. And, of course, ISIS.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 22, 2016, 6:02 pm
  5. The rise of Don­ald Trump is rais­ing a num­ber of dis­turb­ing ques­tions for the US polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment, with “how did we con­tribute to this?” being one of the key ques­tions final­ly get­ting asked by many of those in main­stream media. And giv­en the calami­tous impact on the nation and world when one of the two major US par­ties goes insane, there’s no doubt plen­ty of blame to go around, so let’s hope such ques­tions con­tin­ue to get asked. For­tu­nate­ly, Thomas Mann and Nor­man Orn­stein, two very main­stream polit­i­cal ana­lysts, are about to pub­lish a revised ver­sion of their book, “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the Amer­i­can Con­sti­tu­tion­al Sys­tem Col­lid­ed with the New Pol­i­tics of Extrem­ism”, that exam­ines the polit­i­cal dys­func­tion­al in Wash­ing­ton DC and comes to the star­tling con­clu­sion: DC’s dys­func­tion is pri­mar­i­ly due to the GOP’s extrem­ism and isn’t sim­ply a “both par­ties are at basi­cal­ly equal­ly at fault” phe­nom­e­na. *Gasp* What a shock­ing con­clu­sion.

    So with all the Trump-relat­ed hand wring­ing these days, we’ll see if the revised ver­sion of Orn­stein’s and Man­n’s makes more waves than it did in 2012. And hope­ful­ly the new addi­tion includes much more on the role of the media plays in these dys­func­tion­al dynam­ics. After all, fol­low­ing the 2012 roll­out of their book, Orn­stein and Mann were almost imme­di­ate­ly shunned by a media estab­lish­ment that had, until that point, been very friend­ly. No more TV appear­ance, no more Sun­day morn­ing talk shows. The dynam­ic duo of the belt­way pun­di­toc­ra­cy sud­den­ly became unper­sons. All because they wrote a book point­ing out that the GOP’s grow­ing extrem­ism is dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly to blame for the dys­func­tion in DC. That seems like the kind of mass media col­lu­sion of delu­sion should also share quite a bit of the blame:

    Media Mat­ters

    Sev­en Years Late, Media Elites Final­ly Acknowl­edge GOP’s Rad­i­cal Ways

    Blog ››› 3/29/2016 ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Now they tell us the Repub­li­can Par­ty is to blame? That the Oba­ma years haven’t been gummed up by Both Sides Are To Blame obstruc­tion?

    The truth is, any­one with clear vision rec­og­nized a long time ago that the GOP has trans­formed itself since 2009 into an increas­ing­ly rad­i­cal polit­i­cal par­ty, one built on com­plete and total obstruc­tion. It’s a par­ty designed to make gov­ern­ing dif­fi­cult, if not impos­si­ble, and one that plot­ted sev­en years ago to shred decades of Belt­way pro­to­col and oppose every inch of Oba­ma’s two terms. (“If he was for it, we had to be against it,” for­mer Repub­li­can Ohio Sen. George Voinovich once explained.)

    And for some of us, it did­n’t take Don­ald Trump’s careen­ing cam­paign to con­firm the destruc­tive state of the GOP. But if it’s the Trump cir­cus that final­ly opens some pun­dits’ eyes, so be it.

    Recent­ly, Dan Balz, the senior polit­i­cal writer for the Wash­ing­ton Post, seemed to do just that while sur­vey­ing the unfold­ing GOP wreck­age as the par­ty splin­ters over Trump’s rise. Balz specif­i­cal­ly not­ed that four years ago polit­i­cal schol­ars Thomas Mann and Nor­man Orn­stein exam­ined the break­down in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics and zeroed in their blame square­ly on Repub­li­cans.

    “They were ahead of oth­ers in describ­ing the under­ly­ing caus­es of polar­iza­tion as asym­met­ri­cal, with the Repub­li­can Par­ty — in par­tic­u­lar its most hard-line fac­tion — as deserv­ing of far more of the blame for the break­down in gov­ern­ing,” Balz acknowl­edged.

    “We have been study­ing Wash­ing­ton pol­i­tics and Con­gress for more than 40 years, and nev­er have we seen them this dys­func­tion­al,” Mann and Orn­stein wrote in The Wash­ing­ton Post in 2012. “In our past writ­ings, we have crit­i­cized both par­ties when we believed it was war­rant­ed. Today, how­ev­er, we have no choice but to acknowl­edge that the core of the prob­lem lies with the Repub­li­can Par­ty.”

    They con­tin­ued:

    The GOP has become an insur­gent out­lier in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. It is ide­o­log­i­cal­ly extreme; scorn­ful of com­pro­mise; unmoved by con­ven­tion­al under­stand­ing of facts, evi­dence and sci­ence; and dis­mis­sive of the legit­i­ma­cy of its polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion.

    Tough stuff.

    And what was the Belt­way medi­a’s response when Orn­stein and Mann square­ly blamed Repub­li­cans dur­ing an elec­tion year for pur­pose­ful­ly mak­ing gov­ern­ing impos­si­ble? Media elites sud­den­ly lost Mann and Orn­stein’s num­ber, as the duo’s tele­vi­sion appear­ances and calls for quotes quick­ly dried up. So did much of the medi­a’s inter­est in Mann and Orn­stein’s pre­scient book.

    “This was far too much for the main­stream press,” not­ed New York Uni­ver­si­ty jour­nal­ism pro­fes­sor Jay Rosen. “They could­n’t assim­i­late what Mann and Orn­stein said AND main­tain rou­tines and assump­tions that posit­ed a rough sym­me­try between the two par­ties. (‘Both sides do it.’) It was too much dis­so­nance. Too much wreck­age. So they pushed it away.”

    For any­one who still har­bors the naïve notion that the polit­i­cal debates staged by the Belt­way press rep­re­sent free­wheel­ing dis­cus­sions where any­thing goes, the Mann/Ornstein episode helped shed some light on the fact that cer­tain top­ics and analy­sis remain off lim­its for pub­lic debate for years — even top­ics that are accu­rate, fair and essen­tial to under­stand­ing our gov­ern­men­t’s cur­rent dys­func­tion.

    Mann and Orn­stein stepped for­ward to accu­rate­ly describe what was hap­pen­ing to the Repub­li­can Par­ty and detailed the calami­tous effect it had on our democ­ra­cy, and the main­stream media turned away.

    So com­mit­ted was the pun­dit class to main­tain­ing its safe nar­ra­tive about “bipar­ti­san grid­lock” and Oba­ma’s puz­zling inabil­i­ty to find “mid­dle ground” with Repub­li­cans (i.e. why does­n’t he just schmooze more?), the press was will­ing to ignore Mann and Orn­stein’s sol­id, schol­ar­ly research in order to wish the prob­lem away.

    Quite pre­dictably, that prob­lem has only wors­ened since 2012, which is what Mann and Orn­stein address in their lat­est offer­ing, “It’s Even Worse Than It Was.

    “It is the rad­i­cal­iza­tion of the Repub­li­can par­ty,” they recent­ly wrote, “that has been the most sig­nif­i­cant and con­se­quen­tial change in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics in recent decades.”

    “The rad­i­cal­iza­tion of the Repub­li­can par­ty” — talk about the top­ic the Belt­way press sim­ply does­n’t want to dwell on, let alone acknowl­edge. Instead, the press has clung to its pre­ferred nar­ra­tive about how the GOP is filled with hon­est bro­kers who are wait­ing to work in good faith with the White House. Eager to main­tain a polit­i­cal sym­me­try in which both sides are respon­si­ble for spark­ing con­flict (i.e. cen­ter-right Repub­li­cans vs. cen­ter-left Democ­rats), the press effec­tive­ly gave Repub­li­cans a pass and pre­tend­ed their rad­i­cal, obstruc­tion­ist ways rep­re­sent­ed nor­mal par­ti­san pur­suits. (They did­n’t.)

    Today’s Repub­li­can Par­ty is act­ing in a way that defies all his­toric norms. We saw it with the GOP’s gun law obstruc­tion, the Vio­lence Against Women Act obstruc­tion, the sequester obstruc­tion, Supreme Court obstruc­tion, min­i­mum wage obstruc­tion, 9/11 first respon­der obstruc­tion, gov­ern­ment shut­down obstruc­tion, immi­gra­tion reform obstruc­tion, Chuck Hagel’s con­fir­ma­tion obstruc­tion, Susan Rice sec­re­tary of state obstruc­tion, paid leave obstruc­tion, Hur­ri­cane Sandy emer­gency relief obstruc­tion, the Clay Hunt Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion for Amer­i­can Vet­er­ans Act obstruc­tion, and the con­sis­tent obstruc­tion of judi­cial nom­i­nees.

    The 2014 obstruc­tion of the Clay Hunt Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion for Amer­i­can Vet­er­ans Act was espe­cial­ly galling, as a sin­gle Repub­li­can sen­a­tor blocked a vote on the cru­cial vet­er­ans bill.

    At the time of the bil­l’s block­ade, Media Mat­ters not­ed that there was vir­tu­al­ly no cov­er­age of the rad­i­cal obstruc­tion­ism on CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC or PBS, as well as news black­outs in the nation’s six largest news­pa­pers: The Wall Street Jour­nal, The New York Times, USA Today, Los Ange­les Times, New York Post, The Wash­ing­ton Post, Chica­go Sun-Times, The Den­ver Post, and Chica­go Tri­bune

    In oth­er words, the GOP’s rad­i­cal brand of obstruc­tion­ism not only does­n’t get high­light­ed as some­thing notable, rad­i­cal, and dan­ger­ous; it’s often met with a col­lec­tive shrug as the press pre­tends these kind of non­stop imped­i­ments are com­mon­place.

    As Oba­ma works his way through his final year in office, at least pun­dits like Balz are high­light­ing that Mann and Orn­stein (and yes, Media Mat­ters) were right about the GOP and the asym­met­ri­cal blame the par­ty deserves for try­ing to wreck our func­tion­ing gov­ern­ment.

    ...

    “And what was the Belt­way medi­a’s response when Orn­stein and Mann square­ly blamed Repub­li­cans dur­ing an elec­tion year for pur­pose­ful­ly mak­ing gov­ern­ing impos­si­ble? Media elites sud­den­ly lost Mann and Orn­stein’s num­ber, as the duo’s tele­vi­sion appear­ances and calls for quotes quick­ly dried up. So did much of the medi­a’s inter­est in Mann and Orn­stein’s pre­scient book.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 29, 2016, 3:17 pm
  6. (CNN)Is Don­ald Trump a fas­cist?
    http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/09/opinions/bergen-is-trump-fascist/

    Note the fol­low­ing points not cov­ered in the arti­cle about Don­ald Trump:
    1. He is tac­it­ly sup­port­ing vio­lence against heck­lers at his ral­lies.

    2. He is being sup­port­ed by White Suprema­cists and does not clear­ly dis­avow their sup­port.

    3. He, like Hitler has a huge ego and believed that he is the solu­tion to the nation’s prob­lems.

    Here is the arti­cle:

    Peter Bergen is CNN’s nation­al secu­ri­ty ana­lyst, a vice pres­i­dent at New Amer­i­ca and a pro­fes­sor of prac­tice at Ari­zona State Uni­ver­si­ty. He is the author of the forth­com­ing book “Unit­ed States of Jihad: Inves­ti­gat­ing Amer­i­ca’s Home­grown Ter­ror­ists.”

    (CNN)Is Don­ald Trump a fas­cist?

    To answer that ques­tion it is help­ful to exam­ine three inter­re­lat­ed phe­nom­e­na: the his­to­ry of Euro­pean fas­cism, the rise of far-right nation­al­ist par­ties around the West today and what his­to­ri­an Richard Hof­s­tadter famous­ly termed “the para­noid style in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics.”

    Let’s start with the clas­sic 2004 study “The Anato­my of Fas­cism” by Amer­i­can his­to­ri­an Robert Pax­ton, who exam­ined the fas­cist move­ments of 20th-cen­tu­ry Europe and found some com­mon­al­i­ties among them. They played on:
    • “A sense of over­whelm­ing cri­sis beyond the reach of tra­di­tion­al solu­tions.” Trump’s ascen­dan­cy out­side the struc­tures of the tra­di­tion­al Repub­li­can Par­ty and his clar­i­on calls about Amer­i­ca’s sup­pos­ed­ly pre­cip­i­tous­ly declin­ing role in the world cap­ture this trait well.
    • “The supe­ri­or­i­ty of the lead­er’s instincts over abstract and uni­ver­sal rea­son.” Trump’s care­less regard for the truth — such as his claims that thou­sands of Mus­lims in New Jer­sey cheered the 9/11 attacks, or that Mex­i­can immi­grants are rapists and mur­ders — and the trust he places in his own gut cap­ture this well.
    What else can besieged Amer­i­can Mus­lims do?
    What else can besieged Amer­i­can Mus­lims do?
    • The belief of one group that it is the vic­tim, jus­ti­fy­ing any action. Many in Trump’s base of white, work­ing-class vot­ers feel threat­ed by immi­grants, so Trump’s solu­tion to that, whether with Mex­i­co (build a wall) or the Islam­ic world (keep them out), speaks to them.
    • “The need for author­i­ty by nat­ur­al lead­ers (always male) cul­mi­nat­ing in a nation­al chief who alone is capa­ble of incar­nat­ing the group’s des­tiny.” This seems like quite a good descrip­tion of Trump’s appeal.
    In Pax­ton’s check­list of the foun­da­tion­al traits of fas­cism there is a big one that Trump does not share, which is “the beau­ty of vio­lence and the effi­ca­cy of will when they are devot­ed to the group’s suc­cess.”
    From Amer­i­ca to France, extreme pol­i­tics reign

    From Amer­i­ca to France, extreme pol­i­tics reign 11:18
    There is no hint that Trump wish­es to engage in or to foment vio­lence against the ene­mies, such as immi­grants, he has iden­ti­fied as under­min­ing the
    Amer­i­can way of life.

    One is there­fore left with the con­clu­sion that Trump is a pro­to-fas­cist, rather than an actu­al fas­cist. In oth­er words, he has many ideas that are fascis­tic in nature, but he is not propos­ing vio­lence as a way of imple­ment­ing those ideas.

    Don’t col­lec­tive­ly pun­ish Mus­lims
    Don’t pun­ish all Mus­lims after San Bernardi­no (Opin­ion)
    So how else might we frame the Trump phe­nom­e­non? It’s use­ful to view in the con­text of the wave of the far-right nation­al­ist move­ments that have swept Europe in recent years and that are defined by hos­til­i­ty to immi­grants and minori­ties.

    On Sun­day, Marine Le Pen’s Nation­al Front far-right par­ty fin­ished first in the ini­tial round of region­al elec­tions in France, trans­form­ing her par­ty, in the words The New York Times, from “a fringe move­ment into a cred­i­ble par­ty of gov­ern­ment.”

    The Nation­al Front obtained more than a quar­ter of the votes and is lead­ing races in just under half of France’s 13 regions.

    The Nation­al Front was doubt­less giv­en a boost last month by the Paris mas­sacres that killed 130 and were car­ried out, in part, by sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion French immi­grants.

    A sim­i­lar phe­nom­e­non to Trump can be found in Hun­gary, where the pop­u­lar Prime Min­is­ter, Vik­tor Orban, has ordered the con­struc­tion of fences to pre­vent Mid­dle East­ern refugees from reach­ing his coun­try and has said it will only offer asy­lum to Chris­t­ian refugees.
    Trump’s pro­nounced anti-immi­grant stance is rem­i­nis­cent of both Le Pen in France and Orban in Hun­gary, although he is far from alone in tak­ing such posi­tions in much of today’s Repub­li­can Par­ty.
    Final­ly, it’s help­ful to posi­tion Trump in the long tra­di­tion of what Hof­s­tadter had termed in 1964 “the para­noid style in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics,” his well-known analy­sis of an Amer­i­can far-right that believed vast con­spir­a­cies were under­min­ing the Unit­ed States.
    Trump par­tic­i­pates in the Repub­li­can debate in Cleve­land

    Trump has updat­ed the para­noid right for the post‑9/11 era: Instead of a com­mu­nist plot to take over Amer­i­ca, the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry favored in the 1950s, the threat is now immi­grants, whether they are Mex­i­cans or Mus­lims. (Ear­li­er waves of Amer­i­can jin­go­is­tic para­noia in the 19th cen­tu­ry were direct­ed at Masons and then Catholics.)
    Trump dis­plays many of the traits of a pro­to-fas­cist, and he is also part of a wave of right-wing nation­al­ist move­ments that is sweep­ing the West. He can also be posi­tioned in the long, Amer­i­can right-wing tra­di­tion of fear­ing “the Oth­er,” whether they are Catholics or Jews or, now, Mus­lims.

    If the par­ty of Lin­coln wish­es to become the par­ty of intol­er­ance, select­ing Trump to be its pres­i­den­tial can­di­date is a good way for­ward.

    Posted by Anonymous | April 1, 2016, 2:03 am
  7. Don­ald Trump is once again hav­ing to dis­tance itself from pro-Trump robo­calls by the open­ly white nation­al­ist Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty, this time in Wis­con­sin. And while the the Trump cam­paign has dis­avowed its enthu­si­as­tic white nation­al­ist sup­port­ers in the past, those dis­avowals haven’t exact­ly worked, as evi­denced by the lat­est round of robo­calls. And then there’s the fact that the David Duke has already pub­licly told Trump to “do what­ev­er you need to do to get elect­ed,” so it’s not like Trump can real­ly make his white nation­al­ist sup­port dimin­ish sim­ply through dis­avowals. You’d need poli­cies the white nation­al­ists can’t stom­ach, and it’s very unclear what Trump could come up with that fits that cat­e­go­ry. Although his recent refusal to rule out nuk­ing Europe might be a start:

    Moth­er Jones

    Don­ald Trump Won’t Rule Out Using Nuclear Weapons in Europe

    —By Tim Mur­phy
    | Wed Mar. 30, 2016 9:15 PM EDT

    Don­ald Trump refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in Europe dur­ing a town hall in Wis­con­sin on Wednes­day. The Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial front-run­ner was asked about his recent con­tra­dic­to­ry state­ments about nuclear proliferation—in which he said he was con­cerned about the spread of nukes while also sug­gest­ing that more coun­tries, includ­ing Japan, South Korea, and Sau­di Ara­bia, should be allowed to acquire them.

    MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the host of the town hall, tried to pin Trump down on what cir­cum­stances might com­pel Pres­i­dent Trump to deploy the Unit­ed States’ nuclear arse­nal.

    “Look, nuclear should be off the table, but would there a time when it could be used? Pos­si­bly,” Trump said.

    Matthews asked Trump to tell the Mid­dle East and Europe that he would nev­er use nuclear weapons, but Trump con­tin­ued to evade. Asked again if he’d use nuclear weapons in Europe, Trump held firm. “I am not—I am not tak­ing cards off the table,” Trump respond­ed.

    ...

    “Matthews asked Trump to tell the Mid­dle East and Europe that he would nev­er use nuclear weapons, but Trump con­tin­ued to evade. Asked again if he’d use nuclear weapons in Europe, Trump held firm. “I am not—I am not tak­ing cards off the table,” Trump respond­ed.
    Well, at least a few of Trump’s white nation­al­ist sup­port­ers prob­a­bly weren’t super thrilled to hear that.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 4, 2016, 5:42 pm
  8. With a GOP con­test­ed con­ven­tion look­ing more and more like­ly late­ly, it’s worth keep­ing in mind that Don­ald Trump still has a not-so-secret weapon: the threat of implod­ing the par­ty via giant riot if he does­n’t get the nom­i­na­tion. It’s a threat Trump has already dab­bled with, hav­ing pre­vi­ous­ly sug­gest­ed that there would be riots at the GOP con­ven­tion if he does­n’t get the nom­i­na­tion, and then, just yes­ter­day, Trump tweet­ed a video fea­tur­ing clips of anti-Trump protests, vio­lence, and a blood­ied police offi­cer with the nar­ra­tion “We’re at war”. So the threat of vio­lence, whether direct­ed towards anti-Trump forces on the right or left, is already a part of the Trumpian zeit­geist.

    But it’s also worth noth­ing that the threat of vio­lence is a threat Trump does­n’t need to per­son­al­ly issue through vague state­ments or tweets. Roger Stone is already doing it for him:

    Buzz Feed

    Trump Ally Roger Stone Says He’s Plan­ning “Days Of Rage” At The Con­ven­tion

    The for­mer Trump advis­er says he’s plan­ning protests and ral­lies in Cleve­land — and street the­ater.

    Rosie Gray
    Buz­zFeed News Reporter
    post­ed on Apr. 1, 2016, at 9:34 p.m.

    Roger Stone, the long­time Repub­li­can polit­i­cal oper­a­tive and cur­rent ally of Don­ald Trump, says he’s try­ing to orga­nize protests at the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion in Cleve­land this sum­mer to dis­rupt any effort by the par­ty to “steal” the nom­i­na­tion from the fron­trun­ner.

    Stone tweet­ed sev­er­al times on Fri­day evening about his plans, announc­ing a “Stop the Steal March on Cleve­land” and call­ing on sup­port­ers to get to Cleve­land for the con­ven­tion in July.

    Stone told Buz­zFeed News over email that he is plan­ning “#DaysofRage,” a seem­ing ref­er­ence to the Weath­er­man-orga­nized Days of Rage protests that took place in Chica­go in 1969. Asked to elab­o­rate, Stone said he was talk­ing about “ral­ly-protests ‑at del­e­gate hotels street the­ater.”

    Stone said the cam­paign was not involved in orga­niz­ing this, instead say­ing the protests will be “orga­nized by Trump nation,” but said that “we did inform them.” He said he had “issued the call to action” on Infowars, the Alex Jones-run con­spir­a­cy show, on March 30, that they “will stage protests at hotels of state del­e­gates of states sup­port­ing the BIG STEAL,” and that he and Jones would be speak­ing (Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul are both invit­ed).

    ...

    In the same GQ inter­view, Stone hint­ed at unrest at the con­ven­tion, say­ing “I think there’d be extreme anger by the Trump sup­port­ers. I don’t know that it would boil over into vio­lence. Trump is cer­tain­ly not advo­cat­ing vio­lence.”

    There have been a spate of vio­lent inci­dents at Trump ral­lies, and the cam­paign appears to con­done vio­lence from the top down — Trump has stood by his cam­paign man­ag­er who has been charged with sim­ple bat­tery after grab­bing a reporter, and has promised to pay legal fees for sup­port­ers who phys­i­cal­ly con­front pro­test­ers. This has led to con­cerns that a con­test­ed con­ven­tion this year could boil over into vio­lence in Cleve­land fueled by dis­grun­tled Trump sup­port­ers; Trump him­self has pre­dict­ed “riots” if the con­ven­tion doesn’t lead to him as the nom­i­nee.

    It’s unclear how seri­ous Stone is about his protest plans, but he is cer­tain­ly stok­ing the flames of the idea that Trump is about to get the nom­i­na­tion stolen out from under him. “The Bush, Cruz, Rubio, Rom­ney, Ryan, McConnell fac­tion has unit­ed and is mov­ing into high gear to steal the nom­i­na­tion from Trump,” Stone wrote in a col­umn for Infowars ear­li­er this week.

    “Stone said the cam­paign was not involved in orga­niz­ing this, instead say­ing the protests will be “orga­nized by Trump nation,” but said that “we did inform them.” He said he had “issued the call to action” on Infowars, the Alex Jones-run con­spir­a­cy show, on March 30, that they “will stage protests at hotels of state del­e­gates of states sup­port­ing the BIG STEAL,” and that he and Jones would be speak­ing (Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul are both invit­ed).”
    Roger Stone and Alex Jones to the res­cue!

    So is Stone seri­ous, or is this just talk? Well, if it is seri­ous, there’s going to be a lot more talk­ing from Roger Stone, since he’s promis­ing to tell all of his pro­tes­tors which hotels and room num­bers house the GOP del­e­gates:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Roger Stone Threat­ens To Sic Trump Vot­ers On Del­e­gates Who ‘Steal’ Nom (VIDEO)

    By Sara Jerde
    Pub­lished April 5, 2016, 1:20 PM EDT

    Roger Stone, an infor­mal advis­er to Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump, said Mon­day that in the event of a con­test­ed GOP con­ven­tion he planned to dis­close where del­e­gates are stay­ing in Cleve­land so that Trump sup­port­ers could give them a piece of their mind.

    Stone issued a scathing con­dem­na­tion of the GOP nom­i­na­tion process in an inter­view on Free­do­main Radio, and urged Trump’s sup­port­ers to “march on Cleve­land” if del­e­gates were to “steal” the nom­i­na­tion from the real estate mogul.

    “Join us in the For­est City. We’re going to have protests, demon­stra­tions,” Stone said. “We will dis­close the hotels and the room num­bers of those del­e­gates who are direct­ly involved in the steal. If you’re from Penn­syl­va­nia, we’ll tell you who the cul­prits are. We urge you to vis­it their hotel and find them.”

    Stone’s com­ments fol­low weeks of vio­lence at Trump cam­paign events, which are often dis­rupt­ed by pro­test­ers and there have been mul­ti­ple phys­i­cal alter­ca­tions between his sup­port­ers and pro­test­ers. Trump him­self has gone so far as to sug­gest he would pay the legal fees of peo­ple who attack the pro­test­ers.

    Trump has also said he believes there would be “riots” if he lost the nom­i­na­tion.

    ...

    “Join us in the For­est City. We’re going to have protests, demonstrations...We will dis­close the hotels and the room num­bers of those del­e­gates who are direct­ly involved in the steal. If you’re from Penn­syl­va­nia, we’ll tell you who the cul­prits are. We urge you to vis­it their hotel and find them.”
    Well, it’s prob­a­bly for the best the peti­tion for the open-car­ry of weapons at the con­ven­tion was a joke and did­n’t pass, because it’s very unclear that Stone is jok­ing. Trump’s sup­port­ers sure aren’t. So, who knows, we might very well see Roger Stone and Alex Jones lead some sort of pro-Trump mili­tia in Cleve­land, ded­i­cat­ed to find­ing where the del­e­gates sleep and giv­ing them ‘a piece of their mind’.

    Of course, if Stone is real­ly seri­ous about mak­ing this threat the kind of threat that the GOP might take seri­ous­ly, why wait until the con­ven­tion to ‘rage’? After all, the biggest super-duper del­e­gate of them all, Charles Koch, appears to be lean­ing towards not just ‘steal­ing’ the nom­i­na­tion from Trump, but steal­ing it from all the oth­er can­di­dates who stuffed them­selves into the clown car and giv­ing the nom­i­na­tion to Paul Ryan. Grant­ed, they’re deny­ing the sto­ry. But it’s kind of hard to ignore the fact that the GOP “estab­lish­ment” (which is basi­cal­ly the Koch broth­ers these days) appears to be seri­ous­ly gear­ing up for at least the pos­si­bil­i­ty of con­test­ed con­ven­tion. So it’s not at all an improb­a­bly sto­ry, which rais­es the ques­tion: if Stone and Alex Jones are actu­al­ly seri­ous, why not send the Trump mili­tia to start ‘rag­ing’ at Charles’s house now?

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Charles Koch Is Pri­vate­ly Com­mit­ted To Get­ting Paul Ryan Nom­i­nat­ed In Cleve­land: Source

    A major investor in the Repub­li­can Par­ty sees a chance to snatch back the nom­i­na­tion.
    04/04/2016 02:27 pm ET | Updat­ed 1 day ago

    Ryan Grim, Wash­ing­ton bureau chief for The Huff­in­g­ton Post
    Sam Stein, Senior Pol­i­tics Edi­tor, The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Charles Koch is con­fi­dent House Speak­er Paul Ryan could emerge from the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion as the party’s nom­i­nee if Don­ald Trump comes up at least 100 del­e­gates shy, he has told friends pri­vate­ly.

    Koch believes Ryan would be a “shoo-in” at a con­test­ed con­ven­tion, should the cam­paign get to that point. Though Koch’s wealth gives him sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence with­in the Repub­li­can Par­ty, it does not nec­es­sar­i­ly trans­late into skill in polit­i­cal prog­nos­ti­ca­tion. Still, he and his broth­er David are fond of Ryan. As a source close to the broth­ers told The Huff­in­g­ton Post, they appre­ci­ate the agen­da he has pur­sued as speak­er, includ­ing oppo­si­tion to tax exten­ders and height­ened warn­ings against cor­po­rate wel­fare — posi­tions that con­trast with the admit­ted­ly vague port­fo­lio pushed by Don­ald Trump.

    One source close to Ryan said he would only be inter­est­ed in it if the par­ty could unite behind him, a sce­nario he can’t envi­sion. “I don’t know what to tell you? He doesn’t want the nom­i­na­tion. And can you imag­ine the back­lash from the Trump forces if some­one who didn’t run for pres­i­dent wins the nom­i­na­tion? It would be com­plete chaos,” he said.

    A sec­ond source close to the Koch broth­ers said he wasn’t aware of a con­ver­sa­tion about Ryan, but it didn’t sur­prise him.

    Emails to Charles and David Koch were not returned.

    Mark Hold­en, gen­er­al coun­sel for Koch Indus­tries, told Huff­Post the claim was “com­plete­ly false.”

    “Let me be clear, we nev­er have advo­cat­ed for a spe­cif­ic can­di­date in a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, and we have no plans to do so now,” Hold­en said.

    Peo­ple close to Ryan con­tin­ue to insist pub­licly that he has no inter­est in the nom­i­na­tion. And one asso­ciate of the speak­er said he “guar­an­tees” there has been no con­ver­sa­tion with Charles Koch about the pos­si­bil­i­ty, “because Paul has not had any con­ver­sa­tion about it. He won’t engage any con­ver­sa­tion about it.”

    Despite the repeat­ed denials of inter­est, spec­u­la­tion about an 11th hour Ryan nom­i­na­tion has only grown loud­er. Part of it is ner­vous chat­ter from Repub­li­cans over the prospect of Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑Texas) being the par­ty nom­i­nee.

    ...

    On Mon­day morn­ing, Mike Allen, writ­ing in Politico’s Play­book, quot­ed unnamed estab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans talk­ing up Ryan’s chance of claim­ing the nom­i­na­tion. And in a col­umn Sun­day, Repub­li­can strate­gist Alex Castel­lanos backed off his ear­li­er pre­dic­tion that Trump had the thing locked down, and used the same fig­ure of 100 votes that Koch has used pri­vate­ly.

    [I]f Mr. Trump is one hun­dred or more votes away from the nom­i­na­tion, it is unlike­ly he can find the del­e­gates to get the ball in the end zone on the first bal­lot. He will turn the ball over on downs though near­ly at the goal line. (OK, no more sports metaphors.) On the sec­ond bal­lot, he drops 200 or 300 votes or more and starts bleed­ing. Ulti­mate­ly, he bleeds to death on the con­ven­tion floor — which you think would be good news for the can­di­date in sec­ond place, Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz, unless, of course, you’ve met Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz.

    Cruz, Castel­lanos argues, is only attrac­tive as an alter­na­tive to Trump, and as Trump fades, so does Cruz’s ratio­nale. As atten­tion moves to John Kasich, he adds, the ques­tion changes:

    If GOP del­e­gates start look­ing for an alter­na­tive to both Trump and Sen­a­tor Cruz, why set­tle for Miss Ohio when you could mar­ry Miss Amer­i­ca? Why not wipe the slate clean and go for what del­e­gates real­ly want, the Repub­li­can Speak­er? For­mer Vice-Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Paul Ryan is a larg­er polit­i­cal fig­ure. He has nation­al expe­ri­ence and appeal. The Speak­er has also man­aged to bring togeth­er unruly Repub­li­cans in the House, the Capitol’s hotbed of insur­rec­tion. Most impor­tant­ly, he is a fresh­er face, a new and more promis­ing gen­er­a­tion of Repub­li­can. He would have a bet­ter shot at unit­ing the Repub­li­can Par­ty.

    A Ryan asso­ciate dis­missed the con­ven­tion sce­nar­ios as con­spir­a­to­r­i­al fol­ly spread by peo­ple who’ve watched too much TV dra­ma. “This is where ‘House of Cards’ has total­ly changed things,” said the asso­ciate. Ryan “views him­self as a check on the mad­ness. As this Rock of Gibral­tar dur­ing the chaos. And if he sud­den­ly becomes part of the cir­cus, it is hard for him to play that role.” (It’s unclear whether Charles Koch watch­es “House of Cards.”)

    To that point, there are many seri­ous hur­dles that would need to be cleared in order for Ryan to even be in the realm of con­sid­er­a­tion for the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion. First and fore­most, Trump would have to end up with rough­ly 1,137 del­e­gates — or 100 short of the nec­es­sary 1,237.

    The sec­ond hur­dle is the rules. Under cur­rent bylaws, for a can­di­date to be nom­i­nat­ed, he or she must have a major­i­ty of the del­e­gate votes in each of at least eight states. That rule, 40(b), can be changed: The Rules Com­mit­tee would have to sug­gest an alter­ation or amend­ment and then a major­i­ty of the del­e­gates who vote at the con­ven­tion would have to affirm it. But Cruz’s cam­paign has moved deft­ly to put allies on the Rules Com­mit­tee. And it is hard to imag­ine that both he and Trump would not instruct their del­e­gates (which will very like­ly con­sti­tute a major­i­ty when com­bined) to defeat any effort to undo Rule 40(b), since main­tain­ing the eight-state thresh­old would lim­it the poten­tial nom­i­nees to just them­selves.

    “The eas­i­est way for some­one like a Paul Ryan is you have to change the rules to allow nom­i­na­tions from the floor, which means you have to elim­i­nate 40(b), and put in a line in there that nom­i­na­tions would be accept­ed from the floor,” said a Repub­li­can source involved in man­ag­ing the con­ven­tion process for the par­ty.

    The source went on to acknowl­edged that Rule 40(b) could be chal­lenged after the first bal­lot — as in, if no one wins in the first round of vot­ing, an argu­ment would be made that the eight-state thresh­old no longer applied. But even doing that would risk tremen­dous back­lash from the very fer­vent sup­port­ers of Trump and Cruz.

    “It’s an extreme­ly dif­fi­cult propo­si­tion. Not impos­si­ble. But extreme­ly dif­fi­cult,” the source said. Asked what would hap­pen if it suc­ceed­ed, the source replied: “Days of rage.”

    Con­ser­v­a­tive radio per­son­al­i­ty Hugh Hewitt asked Ryan about the con­ven­tion rules dur­ing an inter­view in Israel on Mon­day. “You are going to be chair­man, and there is quite a lot of talk about Rule 40(b). Do you think the rules of the 2012 Con­ven­tion ought to bind this con­ven­tion, Mr. Speak­er?”

    “You know, I don’t know, that’s not my deci­sion,” Ryan said. “That is going to be up to the del­e­gates. I’m going to be an hon­est bro­ker, and make sure that the con­ven­tion fol­lows the rules as the del­e­gates make the rules. As you prob­a­bly know, the Rules Com­mit­tee meets the week before the con­ven­tion. I believe it’s two del­e­gates from each state and ter­ri­to­ry, about 112 peo­ple who’ll set the rules, and I’m not going to make an opin­ion or a judg­ment one way or the oth­er, because it’s their deci­sion, the del­e­gates’ deci­sion, who are the grass­roots of the par­ty, by the way. It should not be our deci­sion as lead­ers. It is the del­e­gates’ deci­sion. So I’m not going to com­ment on what these rules look like or not. But I do believe peo­ple put my name in this thing, and I say get my name out of that. This is — if you want to be pres­i­dent, you should go run for pres­i­dent. And that’s just the way I see it.”

    UPDATE: An astute read­er notes that the Koch broth­ers have a his­to­ry of push­ing Ryan for the White House. As the New Yorker’s Jane May­er report­ed in her book, Dark Mon­ey, Sean Noble, a Repub­li­can con­sul­tant often referred to as a “Koch oper­a­tive,” tried “for months” to per­suade Ryan to run for pres­i­dent in 2012. And he did so with the assent of the Kochs.

    “The bil­lion­aire back­ers were eager for him to apply his ‘sharp knives’ to the fed­er­al bud­get,” May­er wrote. “But Ryan had demurred. Nei­ther he nor his wife rel­ished a pres­i­den­tial marathon. ‘Wouldn’t it be eas­i­er just to be picked as vice pres­i­dent?’ he asked an emis­sary from the Kochs, in a meet­ing in the congressman’s Wash­ing­ton office. ‘Because then it’s only, like, two months.’”

    Ryan end­ed up get­ting his wish: He was select­ed by Rom­ney to be the vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, only to be stuck on a los­ing tick­et.

    “If GOP del­e­gates start look­ing for an alter­na­tive to both Trump and Sen­a­tor Cruz, why set­tle for Miss Ohio when you could mar­ry Miss Amer­i­ca?”
    Could Paul Ryan, the GOP’s Miss Amer­i­ca, become the GOP’s peace-mak­er? If that report is accu­rate, the Kochs appear to think so. But that does­n’t mean the Trumpian legions agree. So, in the spir­it of being pro-active, should­n’t the ‘Days of Rage’ Stone has planned for Cleve­land start in Wichi­ta?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 5, 2016, 2:46 pm
  9. One of the big ques­tions that arose when Roger Stone announced his ‘Days of Rage’ plan to stalk GOP del­e­gates at their hotel rooms in the event of a con­test­ed con­ven­tion was how on earth the Trump cam­paign was going to keep the taint of Stone’s dirty tricks from becom­ing part of the nar­ra­tive for why the par­ty should choose some­one else. After all, there are some pret­ty per­sua­sive argu­ments the Trump cam­paign could use for why it should ulti­mate­ly get the nom­i­na­tion even if he falls short of the major­i­ty of del­e­gates he needs, but “if you don’t nom­i­nate me, Roger Stone’s mob will find you and make sure you nom­i­nate me” prob­a­bly isn’t one of them.

    So how exact­ly the Trump cam­paign was going to main­tain a dis­tance from Stone’s dirty tricks machine dur­ing a chaot­ic con­ven­tion was always going to be one of the more inter­est­ing things to see play out once Stone made his ‘Days of Rage’ call to arms. And, because this is the Trump cam­paign we’re talk­ing about, it just got more inter­est­ing:

    Media Mat­ters

    Long­time Roger Stone Ally Paul Man­afort Gets Larg­er Role In Trump’s Cam­paign

    Blog ››› 4/8/2016 ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Don­ald Trump has ele­vat­ed strate­gist Paul Man­afort with­in his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. The increased role is a win for Roger Stone, a dirty trick­ster who report­ed­ly rec­om­mend­ed Man­afort to Trump and has been Manafort’s long­time friend and for­mer busi­ness part­ner.

    Stone has long been a friend and advis­er to Trump, and he now heads a pro-Trump super PAC. He formed the anti-Hillary Clin­ton group C.U.N.T. in 2008 and has spent much of the 2016 cycle push­ing smears about the Clin­tons. He has a his­to­ry of lob­bing racist and sex­ist attacks against media fig­ures, and was recent­ly banned by CNN and MSNBC. Stone has been under fire this week for his stat­ed plan to “dis­close the hotels and the room num­bers of those del­e­gates who are direct­ly involved in” alleged­ly steal­ing the nom­i­na­tion from Trump at the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion.

    The New York Times report­ed on April 7 that Trump is “reboot[ing]” his cam­paign by giv­ing a “stepped-up role” to Man­afort. Media out­lets have report­ed that cam­paign man­ag­er Corey Lewandows­ki sees Man­afort as a “threat” to his pow­er. Stone, who left the Trump cam­paign last year after report­ed­ly clash­ing with Lewandows­ki, has crit­i­cized Trump’s cam­paign man­ag­er in the media.

    Man­afort and Stone co-found­ed the lob­by­ing and con­sult­ing firm Black, Man­afort, Stone and Kel­ly (BMS&K). The Wash­ing­ton Post not­ed that BMS&K “gar­nered con­sid­er­able scruti­ny for their tac­tics and clients”:

    Man­afort is the co-founder of two lob­by and con­sult­ing firms, Black, Man­afort, Stone and Kel­ly (BMS&K) and, lat­er, Davis Man­afort. Even in the lob­by­ing indus­try, where the buy­ing and sell­ing of influ­ence can blur eth­i­cal lines, both busi­ness­es gar­nered con­sid­er­able scruti­ny for their tac­tics and clients.

    BMS&K, found­ed in 1980, was inves­ti­gat­ed by a con­gres­sion­al pan­el in 1989 for its role in obtain­ing mil­lions of dol­lars in fed­er­al grants from the Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment to reha­bil­i­tate a low-income hous­ing com­plex in New Jer­sey.

    In exchange, Man­afort and his part­ners received con­sult­ing fees from devel­op­ers. Dur­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion, Man­afort acknowl­edged that the work he per­formed in return for con­sult­ing fees could be termed “influ­ence ped­dling,” The Post report­ed in 1991. The firm was sold to pub­lic rela­tions giant Bur­son-Marsteller in 1991 for an undis­closed price.

    BMS&K also appears to be the ear­ly link that con­nect­ed Man­afort and Trump decades ago. The firm lob­bied on behalf of the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion on gam­ing, tax­es and oth­er issues relat­ed to Trump’s hotels, at both the fed­er­al and state lev­els in New York and Flori­da, said lob­by­ist and GOP strate­gist Char­lie Black, Manafort’s for­mer busi­ness part­ner.

    Stone has fre­quent­ly talked up Manafort’s cre­den­tials in media appear­ances.

    “[Man­afort is] the sin­gle best vote counter and con­ven­tion strate­gist in the Repub­li­can Par­ty,” Stone said dur­ing a March 29 appear­ance on Fox Busi­ness.

    “My part­ner Paul Man­afort, part­ner of 15 years, a friend of mine of almost 50 years, some­one I’ve known since child­hood, is with­out any ques­tion the sin­gle best con­ven­tion orga­niz­er and strate­gist in the coun­try,” Stone said on an April 6 appear­ance on The Alex Jones Show. “Whether the Trump cam­paign gives him the author­i­ty and the resources he needs to score a win for Don­ald Trump remains to be seen.”

    After news of Manafort’s increased role broke, Stone tweet­ed an old pic­ture of him­self with Man­afort and wrote, “I have every con­fi­dence @realDonaldTrump will be nom­i­nat­ed with the expe­ri­enced lead­er­ship of Paul Man­afort.”

    ...

    “After news of Manafort’s increased role broke, Stone tweet­ed an old pic­ture of him­self with Man­afort and wrote, “I have every con­fi­dence @realDonaldTrump will be nom­i­nat­ed with the expe­ri­enced lead­er­ship of Paul Man­afort.””
    It’s hard to see how tweets like that are going to fall down the mem­o­ry hole if things get crazy in Cleve­land. Oh well, it could­n’t have hap­pened to a nicer par­ty.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 8, 2016, 2:50 pm
  10. It looks like Roger Stone’s “Days of Rage” scheme is get­ting start­ed a few months ear­ly:

    Politi­co

    Col­orado GOP chair­man con­sid­ers bring­ing sher­iff to con­ven­tion over Trump sup­port­er threats

    By Eliza Collins

    04/13/16 02:08 PM EDT

    The chair­man of the Col­orado Repub­li­can Par­ty has got­ten such a vio­lent reac­tion to the results of his state’s cau­cus last week­end that he says he is con­sid­er­ing bring­ing a local sher­iff as one of his guests to the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Cleve­land this sum­mer.

    “I’ve made the deci­sion that I would not take my wife along. I am cer­tain­ly at the very least going to use my per­son­al guest pass to bring along a Repub­li­can sher­iff,” Steve House told POLITICO in an inter­view. “Peo­ple might think that’s crazy, but not after what we’re grow­ing through right now.”

    What House is “going through” is 50 to 60 calls an hour, emails, text mes­sages and online death threats from angry Don­ald Trump sup­port­ers since Sun­day night when his con­tact infor­ma­tion was released (it is not clear who orig­i­nal­ly sent out the infor­ma­tion).

    “Some of them are absolute­ly not repeat­able, I wouldn’t even read them to my wife, let alone my chil­dren,” House said about the mes­sages. He added lat­er that he was thank­ful because out of his six kids, only one lives at home, and the one who does is in his 20s, though he added his fam­i­ly is “con­cerned.”

    House told POLITICO he was for­ward­ed one email that was orig­i­nal­ly sent to the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee that said “He will not make it to Cleve­land [for the con­ven­tion] he and his fam­i­ly will be six feet under before that hap­pens.”

    He has heard there will be a protest out­side of his office and anoth­er out­side his house on Fri­day, adding that he is work­ing with local law enforce­ment to make sure his house and street are mon­i­tored.

    The anger from Trump sup­port­ers came after the bil­lion­aire didn’t receive a sin­gle del­e­gate in Col­orado on Sat­ur­day. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz scooped all 34 del­e­gates (30 are pledged to him, four have expressed pub­licly that they’ll vote for him) and Trump has accused the state par­ty of sti­fling the will of the peo­ple. His del­e­gate advis­er Paul Man­afort on Sun­day accused the Cruz cam­paign of employ­ing “Gestapo tac­tics” to gain del­e­gates.

    Col­orado did not hold a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry pref­er­ence cau­cus or pri­ma­ry for the pub­lic vote for a can­di­date (the deci­sion to do with­out it came last sum­mer), mean­ing Cruz’s win Sat­ur­day means both Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will not receive any del­e­gates from the state.

    House said that peo­ple incor­rect­ly believe the sys­tem was rigged and that “we’re some­how against Don­ald Trump and we’re not, it just isn’t true.”

    “It’s not com­pli­cat­ed, it’s sim­ple math,” House said.

    ...

    On Tues­day in an inter­view with Sean Han­ni­ty’s radio show, Cruz accused Trump and his cam­paign of behav­ing like a “mob­ster and thug” cit­ing the threats House has received. Cruz made sim­i­lar remarks on Glenn Beck­’s radio show Tues­day.

    “I am very trou­bled at the Trump cam­paign’s con­sis­tent pat­tern of incit­ing vio­lence and threat­en­ing vio­lence,” Cruz said to Han­ni­ty.

    He said he believes that part of the anger comes from the fact that Trump did not win any del­e­gates but oth­ers hap­pened because of a tweet that was sent from the state’s Repub­li­can par­ty account Sat­ur­day night, read­ing “We did it. #Nev­erTrump.”

    The tweet was delet­ed, and almost imme­di­ate­ly the par­ty tweet­ed out that it was­n’t them and came from an unau­tho­rized user.

    House told POLITICO it was still under inves­ti­ga­tion but his par­ty had noth­ing to do with it.

    “That didn’t come from us, we don’t know who it came from,” he said Wednes­day.

    The RNC did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to request for infor­ma­tion about the guest badges House was dis­cussing.

    “What House is “going through” is 50 to 60 calls an hour, emails, text mes­sages and online death threats from angry Don­ald Trump sup­port­ers since Sun­day night when his con­tact infor­ma­tion was released (it is not clear who orig­i­nal­ly sent out the infor­ma­tion).”
    Keep in mind that we’re liv­ing in the age of anony­mous dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools, so assum­ing these Trump sup­port­ers are up to date with their cypher­punk tech­nolo­gies of choice we could end up see­ing a wave of dig­i­tal threats with lit­tle recourse. It’s all rather omi­nous see­ing a major par­ty issue death threats against itself, although it would be even more omi­nous if it involved a par­ty that was­n’t, itself, sort of a giant death threat against life on earth. Still, even unciv­il par­ties like the GOP should be able to select their nom­i­nees in a civ­il man­ner. That’s how democ­ra­cy is sup­posed to work, even for par­ties that are basi­cal­ly ene­mies of the demo­c­ra­t­ic process.

    So let’s hope this isn’t a sign of things to come, although it’s worth not­ing that it’s a sign of things already hap­pen­ing:

    Talk­ing Points Memo DC

    GOP­ers Face Wave Of Threats From Trump Fans Incensed By Del­e­gate Counts

    By Tier­ney Sneed
    Pub­lished April 13, 2016, 6:00 AM EDT

    Death threats — includ­ing threats that describe death by hang­ing.

    Ref­er­ences to where you live.

    Not-so-sub­tle allu­sions to your fam­i­ly.

    Warn­ings that your per­son­al infor­ma­tion will soon become pub­lic — or per­haps it has already.

    These are just some of the reports com­ing in from low-lev­el GOP offi­cials around the coun­try about the threats they claim to have received from pro-Trump forces. As Trump accus­es oth­er politi­cians and the par­ty at large of deny­ing him del­e­gates, omi­nous mes­sages believed to be com­ing from free­lance Trump back­ers — usu­al­ly hid­ing behind anonymi­ty — have inject­ed fear and anx­i­ety into the usu­al­ly low-stakes del­e­gate selec­tion process at the local and state lev­el.

    It will like­ly be some­time before we know whether the GOP con­fab in Cleve­land will be a full-blown con­test­ed con­ven­tion, but the cur­rent back­lash from Trumpites por­tends some dark days ahead if Trump is denied the nom­i­na­tion.

    From Indi­ana to Col­orado to Ten­nessee, those involved in the del­e­gate selec­tion process are receiv­ing harass­ment and even death threats from Trump fans who believe that the sys­tem has been “rigged” against the real estate mogul. The nor­mal­ly hum­drum process of pick­ing the par­ty rank-and-file who will attend the sum­mer con­ven­tion has attract­ed intense scruti­ny with the prospect that Trump might arrive in Cleve­land with less than the 1,237 del­e­gates required to earn the nom­i­na­tion auto­mat­i­cal­ly. His chief rival, Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑TX), has cap­i­tal­ized on the com­pli­cat­ed state-by-state machin­ery that selects who could be choos­ing the nom­i­nee if Trump does­n’t meet the thresh­old. The low-lev­el state and local offi­cials are already bear­ing the brunt of Trump fans’ dis­gust that might not win the nom­i­na­tion.

    “There has def­i­nite­ly been some activ­i­ty that’s ranged from prop­er First Amend­ment, if not prop­er Eng­lish, respons­es to pub­lic com­ments to things that are a lit­tle bit more spooky or prob­lem­at­ic,” Tom John, a GOP dis­trict chair in Indi­ana, told TPM, adding that most of the back­lash he has received has been in emails or on Twit­ter.

    “There have been a few [mes­sages] for myself and oth­ers that have ref­er­enced per­son­al things, things you’ve said on social media, ref­er­ences to our fam­i­lies, ref­er­ences to our hous­es, things like that that feel a lit­tle bit more omi­nous,” he said.

    Indi­ana hasn’t even host­ed its Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry yet. But due to the quirks in the tim­ing, its del­e­gate selec­tion process is already under­way and an April 9 Politi­co sto­ry, where some local par­ty mem­bers doubt­ed that Trump had much sup­port among the del­e­ga­tion, have attract­ed the scorn of his fol­low­ers.

    John and Indi­ana Repub­li­cans quot­ed in the Politi­co sto­ry have been receiv­ing threat­en­ing mes­sages, accord­ing to the Indy Star, in which they were warned their per­son­al infor­ma­tion and their fam­i­lies’ would be released to the pub­lic.

    “Think before you take a step down the wrong path, the Amer­i­can peo­ple want to have faith in your but it looks like a future in hid­ing is more appeal­ing,” one mes­sage said, accord­ing to the Star. The state police have even begun review­ing the mes­sages, the Star report­ed Tues­day In Col­orado — where the Cruz campaign’s suc­cess in secur­ing loy­al del­e­gates earned inflam­ma­to­ry head­lines on the Drudge Report — the state GOP chair said he has been receiv­ing death threats after an anony­mous Trump fan tweet­ed his per­son­al infor­ma­tion and the per­son­al infor­ma­tion of oth­er par­ty offi­cials.

    ...

    In Ten­nessee, local police mon­i­tored the state GOP con­ven­tion to choose its 14 del­e­gates ear­li­er this month, accord­ing to a report by the Times Free Press. Par­ty offi­cials con­firmed to the out­let that there were death threats ahead of the con­test includ­ing one that “involved try­ing to hang peo­ple.”

    Trump’s cam­paign oper­a­tion in Indi­ana con­demned the threats made towards offi­cials there. Trump him­self has con­tin­ued to beat the drum that his sup­port­ers are some­how being “dis­en­fran­chised” by the Repub­li­can Par­ty. A spokesper­son for Trump’s nation­al cam­paign did not return TPM’s request for com­ment.

    Roger Stone, a for­mer advis­er to Trump, sug­gest­ed he would send Trump vot­ers to the hotel rooms of del­e­gates in Cleve­land if they tried to “steal” the nom­i­na­tion from him. Trump’s con­ven­tion man­ag­er brushed off the rhetoric by say­ing Stone was not “an offi­cial part of the cam­paign.”

    The threats that del­e­gates and oth­er Repub­li­cans have been receiv­ing reflect the grow­ing anx­i­ety that things could get ugly at Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion, whether or not Trump is ulti­mate­ly placed at the top of the 2016 tick­et. The Cleve­land police has sought addi­tion­al riot gear antic­i­pat­ing protests, and some Repub­li­can law­mak­ers are con­sid­er­ing skip­ping the con­ven­tion, report­ed­ly for fear of being asso­ci­at­ed with what could be a messy floor fight.

    John, the Indi­ana offi­cial, mean­while, said he was plan­ning on hav­ing a dis­cus­sion with his wife about whether she should join him in Cleve­land.

    “I hope it calms down, but it’s giv­en me pause,” he said. “If it doesn’t calm down I may not be com­fort­able with her com­ing with me.”

    “There have been a few [mes­sages] for myself and oth­ers that have ref­er­enced per­son­al things, things you’ve said on social media, ref­er­ences to our fam­i­lies, ref­er­ences to our hous­es, things like that that feel a lit­tle bit more omi­nous,”
    Yikes. It would appear that Roger Stone’s del­e­gate intim­i­da­tion plan isn’t going to be lim­it­ed to stalk­ing hotel rooms. And that means there isn’t real­ly a stalk­ing “off” switch for the plan either, unless the del­e­gates change their names and move. So the Trumpian fac­tion of the GOP is on the cusp of send­ing the GOP “estab­lish­ment” into a wit­ness pro­tec­tion pro­gram if Trump isn’t the nom­i­nee.

    There’s no short­age of rea­sons for how the GOP got to this point, but poor role mod­els def­i­nite­ly played a YUUUUGE role.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 13, 2016, 3:16 pm
  11. The Trump cam­paign issued a reas­sur­ing pre­dic­tion for Trump sup­port­ers: The cam­paign forsees that it will eas­i­ly reach 1,265 del­e­gates by the time all the states have vot­ed, well over the required 1,237. Of course, that’s also an opti­mistic assess­ment and there are plen­ty of sce­nar­ios where Trump does­n’t reach the mag­ic 1,237 num­ber and the con­test­ed con­ven­tion night­mare sce­nario ensues. But it turns out there’s a new devel­op­ment that could shake things up, pos­si­bly to the Trump cam­paigns big advan­tage:
    34 of Mar­co Rubio’s pledged del­e­gates aren’t actu­al­ly pledged any­more and up for grabs:

    NBC News

    Lapsed Rubio Del­e­gates Are Up for Grabs on Con­ven­tion’s First Bal­lot

    by Ari Mel­ber
    Apr 14 2016, 12:15 am ET

    When he sus­pend­ed his cam­paign, Mar­co Rubio said he was­n’t run­ning for pres­i­dent but urged local GOP offi­cials to let him keep his del­e­gates.

    A month lat­er, Rubio is still third in the Repub­li­can hunt, ahead of John Kasich, with an impres­sive 10 per­cent of all del­e­gates award­ed so far. It’s a poten­tial­ly piv­otal mar­gin for an open con­ven­tion.

    It turns out, how­ev­er, that Rubio won’t get to keep them all.

    The Flori­da sen­a­tor’s strat­e­gy is hit­ting some tur­bu­lence, NBC News has learned, because sev­er­al state par­ties have deter­mined Rubio does not get to hold onto all his del­e­gates.

    Only 34 of the 172 del­e­gates Rubio won in the pri­maries will be imme­di­ate­ly up for grabs on the first bal­lot in Cleve­land. That devel­op­ment is open­ing up a fierce com­pe­ti­tion to win these lapsed Rubio del­e­gates, which are locat­ed in Okla­homa, Min­neso­ta and Louisiana.

    “Our state rules say if some­one is not on the bal­lot, they are free to vote for whomev­er they choose,” said Okla­homa GOP chair Pam Pol­lard, “and I sup­port that.”

    “We have 12 bound del­e­gates for Rubio,” she told NBC News, “so if he is not on the bal­lot — those 12 del­e­gates are free to vote what­ev­er way they want.”

    Del­e­gates are lib­er­at­ed to switch teams, under Okla­homa law, when their can­di­date “is for any rea­son no longer a can­di­date.”

    Min­neso­ta, where Rubio won his sec­ond largest haul with 17 del­e­gates, applies a sim­i­lar rule. The state par­ty ruled that del­e­gates may “vote for any can­di­date” if the one they sup­port is not on the first bal­lot at the con­ven­tion.

    The icing on the cake for Rubio’s rivals is that most of his lapsed del­e­gates have not even been select­ed yet, mak­ing them eas­i­er to pick off.

    Next month, Min­neso­ta and Okla­homa choose del­e­gates at state con­ven­tions. Okla­homa’s appli­ca­tion for del­e­gates even includes an excerpt of the state law that autho­rizes them to switch their selec­tion.

    While Don­ald Trump is blast­ing the del­e­gate sys­tem on the cam­paign trail, includ­ing crit­i­ciz­ing the RNC for allo­ca­tions made most­ly by state par­ties, MSNBC has learned the Cruz cam­paign is con­tin­u­ing a laser focus on pick­ing up del­e­gates.

    Cruz sup­port­ers are cur­rent­ly run­ning for Rubio spots in Min­neso­ta, and last week­end, Cruz won new del­e­gates at local con­ven­tions in Okla­homa. Dur­ing that effort, the Texas sen­a­tor’s allies filled a Rubio slot with Robert Carter, a min­is­ter from Grove, Okla­homa who backs Cruz.

    Carter said if the GOP advis­es him the rules allow it, “I will pledge a vote for Cruz on the first bal­lot,” and the sen­a­tor’s aides tell MSNBC they are find­ing a warm recep­tion at the grass­roots lev­el.

    “We are pleased at the response that the Rubio con­tin­gents at state con­ven­tions and con­gres­sion­al del­e­gate selec­tion events are show­ing our cam­paign,” a senior Cruz advis­er said.

    Anoth­er Repub­li­can source close to the Cruz cam­paign said the team has been lay­ing ground work to grow their del­e­gate sup­port from “day one.” Now, they are orga­niz­ing to fill Rubio slots or win over Rubio back­ers, argu­ing, “Ted could move the coun­try more in the direc­tion Mar­co want­ed to go than Trump wants to go,” the source told NBC News.

    The lapsed Rubio del­e­gates are espe­cial­ly cru­cial for Trump, based on his best path to the nom­i­na­tion, as they are part of a small pool of unbound del­e­gates that, unlike most, are total­ly up for grabs on the first bal­lot.

    If Trump fin­ish­es the pri­maries fair­ly close to the 1,237 major­i­ty, he would only need a few of those del­e­gates to put him over the top. (Every­thing changes on sub­se­quent bal­lots, when all del­e­gates are unbound from their can­di­date pref­er­ence.) So Trump’s best bet is to win on the first bal­lot, when all his del­e­gates are required to sup­port him under the rules. A few of the extra unbound del­e­gates could close the deal in that instance.

    The Cruz Cam­paign has been steadi­ly blunt­ing that option for Trump, how­ev­er, by gob­bling up the bulk of unbound del­e­gates to date. Cruz excelled at recent con­ven­tions in Col­orado and North Dako­ta, which make up 45 per­cent of all the unbound del­e­gates under state rules. (The oth­er unbound del­e­gates remain in places like Penn­syl­va­nia and Guam.)

    If Cruz also locks down most of the 34 lapsed Rubio del­e­gates, there will be very few left for Trump to woo if he does­n’t achieve a major­i­ty in the remain­ing pri­maries.

    The maneu­ver­ing reveals Cruz’s two-step strat­e­gy for a con­ven­tion: first, deny­ing Trump the nom­i­na­tion on the first bal­lot by block­ing him from unbound del­e­gates; then con­sol­i­dat­ing the anti-Trump vote on lat­er bal­lots.

    It is the polit­i­cal equiv­a­lent of Owen Wilson’s plea in the final scene of the 2005 film “Wed­ding Crash­ers.” Wilson’s char­ac­ter barges into a wed­ding, qui­ets the room, and tells his crush, “I’m not stand­ing here ask­ing you to mar­ry me — I’m just ask­ing you not to mar­ry him!”

    Cruz is not play­ing to win on the first bal­lot, he’s ask­ing the del­e­gates to hold off on Trump.

    Frank Donatel­li, a Repub­li­can oper­a­tive who worked for Rea­gan at the 1976 con­test­ed con­ven­tion, says the strat­e­gy makes sense because “if Trump does­n’t win on the first bal­lot, he’s in trou­ble.”

    “If Trump is short and has to go into the uncom­mit­ted pool, these are the peo­ple you have to appeal to,” he told MSNBC.

    ...

    “Only 34 of the 172 del­e­gates Rubio won in the pri­maries will be imme­di­ate­ly up for grabs on the first bal­lot in Cleve­land. That devel­op­ment is open­ing up a fierce com­pe­ti­tion to win these lapsed Rubio del­e­gates, which are locat­ed in Okla­homa, Min­neso­ta and Louisiana.”
    Boy, 34 del­e­gates sure would be use­ful for a cam­paign that’s on track to almost but not quite hit that mag­ic 1,237 num­ber, only to see every­thing slip through Trump’s well-pro­por­tioned hands in the sub­se­quent rounds of con­ven­tion vot­ing. And yet it’s very obvi­ous that Ted Cruz is the one with the cam­paign best posi­tion to woo those sud­den­ly unbound del­e­gates. And that’s part of why, while it’s cer­tain­ly pos­si­ble that Trump could get all the 1,237 he needs before the con­ven­tion, it’s prob­a­bly a lot more like­ly that he almost gets there, but not quite. And the longer this goes, the more it looks like a GOP con­ven­tion that does­n’t resolve itself in the first found is going to turn into a total fias­co.

    Boy oh boy, it sure would help if the Trump cam­paign had some means to win over a nice chunk of those 34 del­e­gates because every del­e­gate counts at this point. Oh, that’s right, it does have those means: Roger Stone can unleash the “Days of Rage” hounds and gang-stalk them into sub­mis­sion! Now, before they suc­cumb to Cruz’s sweet siren’s song. Grant­ed, it’s obscene that we even have to think about such pos­si­bil­i­ties, but it’s not like the gang-stalk­ing and death threats haven’t already begun. Gang-stalk­ing is already the real­i­ty of con­tem­po­rary GOP pri­ma­ry pol­i­tics.

    Might the Trump cam­paign be con­sid­er­ing such strate­gies? They’d nev­er admit it, but they haven’t real­ly done much of any­thing to stop Stone’s cur­rent gang-stalk­ing pro­mo­tion after the death-threats have already start­ed by Trump sup­port­ers so it’s not like there’s a com­pelling rea­son to think the cam­paign isn’t at least con­sid­er­ing it.

    Beyond that, you almost have to won­der if the broad­er GOP would dis­ap­prove if Trump did it at this point? After all, there won’t be any need for a super-high pro­file gang-stalk­ing dis­as­ter to hit the con­ven­tion in Cleve­land if Trump secures the del­e­gates he needs before get­ting to the con­ven­tion. In oth­er words, should the GOP hier­ar­chy, or at least a big chunk of it, con­clude that oppos­ing Trump is now more dam­ag­ing than sup­port­er him, there’s no rea­son not to sac­ri­fice those 34 del­e­gates to Stone’s Trumpian army to ensure they give Trump the del­e­gates he needs. Sure, there are eth­i­cal rea­sons not to do so, but this is the GOP we’re talk­ing about, so there’s basi­cal­ly rea­son not to do it except for the bad press asso­ci­at­ed with get­ting caught. But it’s not like the Trump cam­paign is weak­ened by bad press. If any­thing it’s the oppo­site. Bad Boy Trump sells. And don’t for­get, the GOP estab­lish­ment still real­ly hates Cruz too.

    So now that 34 del­e­gates are sud­den­ly free to be intim­i­dat­ed, upend­ing any exist­ing con­ven­tion strate­gies on all side, who knows why kind of gang-stalk­ing shenani­gans might be under con­sid­er­a­tion. And not just by the Trump cam­paign.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 14, 2016, 3:15 pm
  12. Part of what make pri­ma­ry sea­son in the US democ­ra­cy so inter­est­ing is that the non-par­lia­men­tary win­ner-take-all nature the Amer­i­can elec­toral sys­tem does­n’t quite work, mech­a­nis­ti­cal­ly, when there’s more than two par­ties run­ning. And that basi­cal­ly means the two major par­ties are sort of umbrel­la par­ties for vot­ers and ide­olo­gies that might oth­er­wise be in sep­a­rate par­ties under a par­lia­men­tary sys­tem. And that makes US pri­maries poten­tial­ly the clos­est the US to a more-than-two par­ty vote of major con­se­quence. And when you have a ‘clown car’ pri­ma­ry sea­son like the GOP has had this year, it’s also the clos­est thing to an elec­tion where you have a large num­ber of dif­fer­ent “par­ties” all com­pet­ing against each oth­er and each of those par­ties has a chance to gain a sig­nif­i­cant chunk of the vote. Con­tests like that almost nev­er hap­pen in the gen­er­al elec­tion, but they aren’t at all unheard of for the pri­maries.

    And that’s all why, while GOP pri­maries are gen­er­al­ly an end­less fount of bad ideas if zom­bie lies, there is one real­ly great idea that the GOP pri­ma­ry is sort of indi­rect­ly pro­mot­ing this year: Instant runoff vot­ing, where vot­ers don’t vote for a sin­gle can­di­date but instead cre­ate an ordered list of who they would pre­fer. If applied in the gen­er­al elec­tion, instant runoff vot­ing would allow for, say, a Green Par­ty on the left and Amer­i­ca First par­ty on the right, gar­ner­ing votes on elec­tion day with­out the risk of them act­ing as “spoil­ers” that inevitably arise in a win­ner-take-all major­i­ty rules sys­tem. Democ­ra­cy could basi­cal­ly work bet­ter because peo­ple could have greater choic­es with­out effec­tive­ly being pun­ished for it. Would­n’t that be fun.

    So why is this year’s GOP pri­ma­ry a fab­u­lous argu­ment for instant runoff vot­ing? Well, because just about all the can­di­dates would have prob­a­bly pre­ferred it in a 17 per­son race, espe­cial­ly in a “win­ner to all” state pri­ma­ry. Ted Cruz and Mar­co Rubio could have poten­tial­ly gar­nered a much larg­er chunk of the “no Trump” vote that was get­ting divid­ed up in the ear­li­er pri­ma­ry races. And Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign has often made the argu­ment that it would have prob­a­bly cinched the nom­i­na­tion by now if he was­n’t run­ning against a ful­ly loaded Clown Car. And Don­ald Trump may be right. But as the arti­cle below points out, maybe not. And that’s part of the fun of instant runoff vot­ing: we’d still get all the excite­ment that comes from watch­ing a Clown Car go off the rails, but it would be a dif­fer­ent kind of excit­ing:

    Fair­Vote

    Sim­u­lat­ing Instant Runoff Flips Most Don­ald Trump Pri­ma­ry Vic­to­ries
    Post­ed by Andrew Dou­glas, Rob Richie, Elliot Louthen on March 04, 2016

    Super Tues­day has come and gone, but head­lines about Don­ald Trump’s dom­i­nance would have been very dif­fer­ent if the elec­tions had been con­duct­ed under instant runoff vot­ing, the sin­gle win­ner form of ranked choice vot­ing. In fact, in head-to-head matchups with his strongest com­peti­tor, it is quite pos­si­ble that Trump would have lost nine of eleven Super Tues­day states, along with the crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant Feb. 20th South Car­oli­na pri­ma­ry. Instead, Trump has tak­en a com­mand­ing lead in the race for the nom­i­na­tion by win­ning plu­ral­i­ties in sev­en Super Tues­day states and a clean sweep of South Carolina’s 50 del­e­gates with less than a third of the vote.

    By only allow­ing vot­ers to select their first choice can­di­date, typ­i­cal Amer­i­can elec­tions do not accu­rate­ly cap­ture the com­plex­i­ty of vot­er opin­ion in a mul­ti-can­di­date race. This short­com­ing is par­tic­u­lar­ly salient in this year’s Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial con­test, as sup­port from the major­i­ty of GOP vot­ers that oppose Trump is divid­ed among sev­er­al chal­lengers led by Sen­a­tors Ted Cruz and Mar­co Rubio and Gov­er­nor John Kasich.

    If Super Tues­day con­tests had been con­duct­ed with ranked choice vot­ing — a proven sys­tem that empow­ers vot­ers to rank can­di­dates by pref­er­ence in order to elect the can­di­date with the strongest sup­port and the one most like­ly to gar­ner the sup­port of a major­i­ty — the results would look very dif­fer­ent. Our mod­els sug­gest that Trump would have won Alaba­ma and Mass­a­chu­setts, com­pet­ed in toss-up races in Ten­nessee and Ver­mont, and lost the remain­ing sev­en states.

    To mod­el RCV elec­tions based on the Super Tues­day results, we aver­aged two Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling (PPP) poll datasets from North Car­oli­na and South Car­oli­na that ask respon­dents about hypo­thet­i­cal matchups between can­di­dates. These ques­tions specif­i­cal­ly includ­ed can­di­date pref­er­ence among the entire field, among the fron­trun­ner three-way race (Cruz, Rubio, and Trump), and respec­tive head to head matchups. By mea­sur­ing the aver­age change in vot­er pref­er­ence for each can­di­date when oth­er spe­cif­ic can­di­dates are elim­i­nat­ed (and ignor­ing unde­cid­ed vot­ers, although evi­dence sug­gests that most would have bro­ken against Trump), we were able to esti­mate the sec­ond and third pref­er­ences for each candidate’s sup­port­ers. This dis­tri­b­u­tion is then applied to the actu­al Super Tues­day results in each state, using the elec­tion results as the first round start­ing point for each sim­u­la­tion. Our data and mod­el can be reviewed at this spread­sheet.

    To pro­vide a con­crete exam­ple, the fol­low­ing inter­ac­tive graph­ic illus­trates our sim­u­lat­ed RCV elec­tion in Geor­gia:
    [see graph­ic]

    Though Trump led the GOP field in Geor­gia with 38.8% of the vote on Super Tues­day, his sup­port increas­es only incre­men­tal­ly in sub­se­quent rounds of our sim­u­lat­ed RCV elec­tion because large majori­ties of the sup­port­ers of oth­er can­di­dates like­ly would have pref­ered Cruz and Rubio. Ulti­mate­ly, Rubio edges Trump 51% to 49% in the final instant runoff round of our sim­u­la­tion, despite Trump’s four­teen point advan­tage in the ini­tial round — echo­ing our find­ings last week about Trump typ­i­cal­ly trail­ing in head-to-head polls and our YouGov/College of William and Mary poll.

    Sim­i­lar out­comes are mod­eled in the oth­er Super Tues­day south­ern states, with each elec­tion becom­ing sig­nif­i­cant­ly clos­er when using RCV. Vir­ginia, sim­i­lar to Geor­gia, goes to a head to head matchup between Trump and Rubio, where the lat­ter eas­i­ly wins by more than 10 per­cent­age points. Cruz deci­sive­ly beats Trump in Arkansas by near­ly 10 per­cent­age points under RCV, despite trail­ing in the first round.

    In the case of Alaba­ma, Trump’s vote share of 22% in the first round lead cre­ates enough of a cush­ion to still win with RCV. In Ten­nessee, how­ev­er, it would have been a toss-up, with Rubio and Cruz in a dead heat for sec­ond place once the field goes down to three, and then Rubio defeat­ing Trump one-on-one and Cruz poten­tial­ly doing so if unde­cid­ed vot­ers had bro­ken his way. Out­side the South, Trump would have eas­i­ly car­ried Mass­a­chu­setts, but Kasich would have seri­ous­ly con­tend­ed in Ver­mont where Trump led by mere­ly 3 per­cent­age points, 33% to 30%, in the actu­al vote.

    Notably, there is no con­sis­tent ben­e­fi­cia­ry under RCV; rather, the Repub­li­can Par­ty clear­ly has yet to set­tle on and coa­lesce around an alter­na­tive can­di­date. Our hypo­thet­i­cal for Super Tues­day shows Trump win­ning two states (Alaba­ma and Mass­a­chu­setts), Cruz win­ning four state (Alas­ka, Arkansas, Okla­homa and Texas), and Rubio win­ning three states (Geor­gia, Min­neso­ta and Vir­ginia) — with Kasich hav­ing a real chance in Ver­mont and Ten­nessee too close to call.

    These divid­ed results pro­vide fur­ther evi­dence that Repub­li­cans are fac­ing a com­pli­cat­ed and chal­leng­ing nom­i­na­tion process no mat­ter the vot­ing sys­tem. Nonethe­less, RCV would encour­age can­di­dates to find com­mon ground with oth­er can­di­dates’ sup­port­ers instead of wag­ing scorched-earth, over­ly-neg­a­tive cam­paigns that define pol­i­tics today. As FairVote’s pri­ma­ry focus series point­ed out last week, RCV would almost cer­tain­ly result in cam­paigns that are more civ­il and sub­stan­tive based on find­ings from Rut­gers-Eagle­ton Poll sur­vey­ing sev­en cities using RCV in 2013–2014.

    All of the Super Tues­day states uti­lize a form of pro­por­tion­al del­e­gate allo­ca­tion, where deter­min­ing the sin­gu­lar win­ner is less impor­tant for del­e­gate counts and more impor­tant for com­mand­ing media atten­tion and pro­vid­ing cam­paign momen­tum. But all one has to do is watch Trump’s Super Tues­day speech from to observe these phe­nom­e­na in action, as his Super Tues­day vic­to­ries were seen as a strong affir­ma­tion of his sta­tus as the fron­trun­ner. For these pro­por­tion­al states, Fair­Vote rec­om­mends elim­i­nat­ing can­di­dates from the bot­tom up until all remain­ing can­di­dates are above the thresh­old to win del­e­gates, a change that would have put Rubio over the 20% thresh­old in Texas this past week.

    ...

    In our cur­rent pri­ma­ry sys­tem, atten­tion and momen­tum is often mis­di­rect­ed. Ranked choice vot­ing would accu­rate­ly mea­sure the sec­ond and third choice sup­port of GOP vot­ers to tru­ly reveal the ener­gy behind each can­di­date and ulti­mate­ly nom­i­nate the can­di­date who best reflects major­i­ty opin­ion with­in the par­ty.

    “These divid­ed results pro­vide fur­ther evi­dence that Repub­li­cans are fac­ing a com­pli­cat­ed and chal­leng­ing nom­i­na­tion process no mat­ter the vot­ing sys­tem. Nonethe­less, RCV would encour­age can­di­dates to find com­mon ground with oth­er can­di­dates’ sup­port­ers instead of wag­ing scorched-earth, over­ly-neg­a­tive cam­paigns that define pol­i­tics today. As FairVote’s pri­ma­ry focus series point­ed out last week, RCV would almost cer­tain­ly result in cam­paigns that are more civ­il and sub­stan­tive based on find­ings from Rut­gers-Eagle­ton Poll sur­vey­ing sev­en cities using RCV in 2013–2014.”
    Just imag­ine: Trump would be los­ing and the whole pri­ma­ry process would be more civ­il. At least in the­o­ry! All the GOP need­ed to do was adopt instant runoff vot­ing. But it’s too late for that this year. Bet­ter luck next time. Or per­haps, bet­ter luck in Cleve­land.

    We now return to our reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled GOP pri­ma­ry cov­er­age.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 19, 2016, 5:36 pm
  13. When Don­ald Trump gave his vic­to­ry speech fol­low­ing his over­whelm­ing win in New York last night, per­haps what stood out most was how lit­tle the speech stood out from the stan­dard speech­es politi­cians give. The name call­ing like “Lyin’ Ted” or “Crooked Hillary” was gone, and Trump mere­ly com­plained a bit about the pri­ma­ry sys­tem being rigged which, again, was a rather sub­dued for Trump. So sub­dued that Trump’s vic­to­ry speech raised the ques­tion of whether or not we might be see­ing a new ‘Pres­i­den­tial’ phase of the Trump cam­paign that he’s shak­en up his cam­paign staff and look­ing more and more like the over­whelm­ing nom­i­nee.

    Who knows if any­one believed that was the case, but if the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee found itself wish­ing it was true, you could­n’t real­ly blame them. After all, it’s only been a few days since Trump pro­fessed how he real­ly hoped no vio­lence would take place at the GOP’s con­ven­tion if he did­n’t get the nom­i­na­tion due to the rigged sys­tem. If you’re at the RNC, and you’ve just received the “that’s a nice con­ven­tion you have there. It sure would be a shame if some­thing hap­pened to it” treat­ment from some­one with Don­ald Trump’s pedi­gree, it’s only nat­ur­al to hope that your par­ty’s extor­tion­ist just turned over a new leaf.

    And per­haps he had actu­al­ly had turned over a new leaf imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing his big win. We’ll see *snick­er*. But the winds of change are always blow­ing in that space between The Don­ald’s ears, and there’s noth­ing stop­ping that leaf from turn­ing right back over again which is some­thing that must be wor­ry­ing even the opti­mists at the RNC. Espe­cial­ly since, just an hour before his ‘respectable’ vic­to­ry speech, Don­ald Trump retweet­ed a White Suprema­cist again:

    Amer­i­can Prospect

    As GOP Recon­sid­ers Trump as Stan­dard-Bear­er, Can­di­date Retweets White Suprema­cist

    Adele M. Stan

    April 20, 2016

    Remem­ber that plan to broad­en the party’s appeal to non-whites?

    On the night that he swept the New York Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry, show­man Don­ald Trump retweet­ed good wish­es sent his way from a white suprema­cist.

    You could toss it off as a small thing; per­haps he just hasti­ly hit the RT but­ton with­out real­iz­ing who @keksec_org was. The tweet was gener­ic enough: “Your poli­cies will make this state and coun­try great again! #MakeAm­er­ica­GreatA­gain.” No time to click on a well-wisher’s Twit­ter han­dle on the night you’re win­ning a major state pri­ma­ry with a cam­paign based on white male rage—you know, to make sure they don’t iden­ti­fy as a mem­ber of the #RWDS crowd (the hash­tag stand­ing for “right-wing death squad”). Or as a “neo-Boer,” which rough­ly trans­lates as being an admir­er of South Africa’s abol­ished apartheid regime. Or have a feed filled with images of very pale, scant­i­ly clad women fea­tured under the hash­tag #White­Girl­sAreMag­ic.

    This, after all, was the night of the pol­ished Trump, accord­ing to the tele­vi­sion. One com­men­ta­tor even described the tri­umphant candidate’s vic­to­ry speech as “gra­cious,” pre­sum­ably because he didn’t call any­body names, or call for Mex­i­co to pay for a wall. The new Trump is said to be the prod­uct of Paul Man­afort, the new, grown-up man­ag­er the show­man hired to fix things around the time the papers were report­ing his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to be in dis­ar­ray.

    Com­men­ta­tors remarked on Trump’s new­found “mes­sage dis­ci­pline,” the mes­sage appar­ent­ly being that the Repub­li­can del­e­gate sys­tem is “rigged” against him. Of his win in New York, Trump said, “It’s real­ly nice to win the del­e­gates with the votes.”

    It was a swipe at Ted Cruz—whom Trump ele­vat­ed from the moniker of “Lyin’ Ted” to that of “Sen­a­tor Cruz” in his Tues­day night speech—in ref­er­ence to Cruz’s suc­cess at win­ning del­e­gates at state and local par­ty con­ven­tions that name some del­e­gates out­side of the pri­ma­ry or cau­cus sys­tem. Cruz, with his supe­ri­or net­work of local right-wing activists, also proved adept at win­ning del­e­gates in cau­cus states. Trump is far ahead of Cruz in terms of share of pop­u­lar votes cast so far in the GOP nom­i­nat­ing con­tests, but Cruz has been nip­ping at the showman’s heels in terms of the del­e­gate count. Before Trump’s big win in New York, where he won 89 del­e­gates, Cruz had racked up 559 to Trump’s 756. (With his New York win, Trump now has 845; Cruz did not win any del­e­gates in the Empire State.)

    While Mex­i­co did earn a men­tion in Trump’s remarks, it was in the con­text of his eco­nom­ic mes­sage, in which he claimed that our neigh­bor to the south was tak­ing Amer­i­can jobs. He promised that in a Trump pres­i­den­cy, “great busi­ness lead­ers” such as cor­po­rate raider Carl Icahn—who bought TWA in the 1980s, fold­ed it, and then sold off its parts—would be nego­ti­at­ing U.S. trade deals, and the jobs would come back.
    And yet, just an hour before that exer­cise of pur­port­ed self-discipline—in the Trump uni­verse, such def­i­n­i­tions are relative—Trump retweet­ed a white suprema­cist.

    And yet, just an hour before that exer­cise of pur­port­ed self-discipline—in the Trump uni­verse, such def­i­n­i­tions are relative—Trump retweet­ed a white suprema­cist. It seems that Manafort’s enforce­ment port­fo­lio extends not to the candidate’s use of Twit­ter. Or maybe it does. After all, it’s not the first time that Trump has ampli­fied the tweets of racist far-right activists.

    If the mes­sage dis­ci­pline required of Trump to keep accu­mu­lat­ing del­e­gates through the elec­toral process demands that he back away from his more racial­ly incen­di­ary rhetoric, a seem­ing­ly acci­den­tal retweet of a white supremacist’s bless­ing could help keep the haters in the Trump fold. After all, Cruz isn’t exact­ly a softy on Mus­lims, Mex­i­cans, or mem­bers of oth­er minor­i­ty groups. His rhetoric is sim­ply more fine­ly cod­ed, as in one of his favorite phras­es, “rad­i­cal Islam­ic extrem­ists,” which is at times cou­pled with stok­ing fears that the imple­men­ta­tion of Shari­ah law is immi­nent in the Unit­ed States. It’s a phrase that leaves it to the lis­ten­er to apply to all Mus­lims. Trump’s rhetor­i­cal weapons are more blunt; he’s called for bar­ring the entrance of Mus­lims into the U.S., which makes estab­lish­ment types squirm in their seats.

    Over the course of pri­ma­ry sea­son, as Cruz accu­mu­lat­ed del­e­gates in greater num­bers than his vote tal­lies would seem to sup­port, alle­ga­tions of cheat­ing emerged. Bre­it­bart News, which leans so hard toward Trump you have to cock your head side­ways to read it, report­ed that sev­er­al pro-Cruz del­e­gates man­aged to scut­tle a plan to switch Colorado’s nom­i­nat­ing sys­tem to a pri­ma­ry, which would have been much hard­er for Cruz to win. The Mis­souri Times described the Show Me State’s Repub­li­can Par­ty as schis­mat­ic after Cruz worked the state con­ven­tion sys­tem to win a slate of del­e­gates. In Geor­gia, Trump sur­ro­gates walked out of a dis­trict con­ven­tion in protest after a Trump del­e­gate was not seat­ed.

    So as Trump now turns his atten­tion to win­ning over those del­e­gates described as “unbound” (mean­ing that they haven’t been pledged to a par­tic­u­lar can­di­date), it seems he’s not above a lit­tle vote-buy­ing him­self. Accord­ing to Politi­co’s Eli Stokols, the plan is to woo del­e­gates to Trump by fly­ing them to Cleve­land for the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion, maybe with a lit­tle win­ing and din­ing, or pos­si­ble an expense-paid vis­it to Trump’s lux­u­ry Flori­da resort, Mar-a-Lago.

    ...

    He’s joined in that thought by mem­bers of the Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment, who, accord­ing to Stokols, are begin­ning to get com­fort­able with the idea of a Trump nom­i­na­tion, see­ing as how, in the quest for par­ty preser­va­tion, it might be prefer­able to a riot in the streets of Ohio, which is an open-car­ry state. The poten­tial riot has been sug­gest­ed by Trump on sev­er­al occa­sions, so now there’s talk of the “real num­ber” of del­e­gates the show­man would need to win to clinch the nomination—a num­ber low­er than 1,237 but far high­er than any tal­ly Cruz is like­ly to put togeth­er.

    RNC mem­ber and for­mer Jeb Bush sup­port­er Ron Kauf­man, described by Stokols as being close to Mitt Rom­ney, sig­naled the new think­ing by par­ty reg­u­lars that it would be a mis­take to deny Trump the nom­i­na­tion if he has the vast major­i­ty of del­e­gates.

    “In the end, we want to make sure all those mil­lions of peo­ple who vot­ed in a Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry under­stand their votes were worth­while,” Kauf­man told Stokols. “You just can’t kick all those voters—more than have ever vot­ed in our pri­ma­ry before—to the curb. We want to make sure they’re with us in Novem­ber.”

    After all, it’s Trump who has brought all those new vot­ers into the par­ty.

    The morn­ing after The Hill report­ed Trump’s retweet of a mes­sage from a white suprema­cist, the tweet remained in the @realDonaldTrump Twit­ter feed. That’s one way to lock in the GOP’s new Aryan con­stituen­cy, one imagines—with a lit­tle sub­lim­i­nal mes­sage dis­ci­pline.

    If the mes­sage dis­ci­pline required of Trump to keep accu­mu­lat­ing del­e­gates through the elec­toral process demands that he back away from his more racial­ly incen­di­ary rhetoric, a seem­ing­ly acci­den­tal retweet of a white supremacist’s bless­ing could help keep the haters in the Trump fold. After all, Cruz isn’t exact­ly a softy on Mus­lims, Mex­i­cans, or mem­bers of oth­er minor­i­ty groups. His rhetoric is sim­ply more fine­ly cod­ed, as in one of his favorite phras­es, “rad­i­cal Islam­ic extrem­ists,” which is at times cou­pled with stok­ing fears that the imple­men­ta­tion of Shari­ah law is immi­nent in the Unit­ed States. It’s a phrase that leaves it to the lis­ten­er to apply to all Mus­lims. Trump’s rhetor­i­cal weapons are more blunt; he’s called for bar­ring the entrance of Mus­lims into the U.S., which makes estab­lish­ment types squirm in their seats.”
    Ted Cruz’s dog-whis­tles are too qui­et so if Trump is going to risk being “respectable” he needs to “acci­den­tal­ly” retweet a “neo-Boer” (and then leave it on his twit­ter feed even after it’s report­ed) so he does­n’t lose the pro-#RWDS (right-wing death squad) vote. Aren’t GOP pri­maries fun?

    And you have to hand it to Trump, cater­ing the right-wing death squad vote does have a lot of syn­er­gy. Not only is he secur­ing the the heav­i­ly-armed right-wing lunatic vot­ing block from Ted Cruz, but in doing so he makes the threats of vio­lence in Cleve­land that mush more threat­en­ing:

    ...

    So as Trump now turns his atten­tion to win­ning over those del­e­gates described as “unbound” (mean­ing that they haven’t been pledged to a par­tic­u­lar can­di­date), it seems he’s not above a lit­tle vote-buy­ing him­self. Accord­ing to Politi­co’s Eli Stokols, the plan is to woo del­e­gates to Trump by fly­ing them to Cleve­land for the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion, maybe with a lit­tle win­ing and din­ing, or pos­si­ble an expense-paid vis­it to Trump’s lux­u­ry Flori­da resort, Mar-a-Lago.

    While many experts doubt that Trump can accu­mu­late the 1,237 del­e­gates he would need to walk into the July con­ven­tion as the party’s nom­i­nee, all agree that there is now no way in which Cruz can make that cut. “We’ll be going to the con­ven­tion no mat­ter what hap­pens, and I think we’re going to go in strong,” Trump said.

    He’s joined in that thought by mem­bers of the Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment, who, accord­ing to Stokols, are begin­ning to get com­fort­able with the idea of a Trump nom­i­na­tion, see­ing as how, in the quest for par­ty preser­va­tion, it might be prefer­able to a riot in the streets of Ohio, which is an open-car­ry state. The poten­tial riot has been sug­gest­ed by Trump on sev­er­al occa­sions, so now there’s talk of the “real num­ber” of del­e­gates the show­man would need to win to clinch the nomination—a num­ber low­er than 1,237 but far high­er than any tal­ly Cruz is like­ly to put togeth­er.

    RNC mem­ber and for­mer Jeb Bush sup­port­er Ron Kauf­man, described by Stokols as being close to Mitt Rom­ney, sig­naled the new think­ing by par­ty reg­u­lars that it would be a mis­take to deny Trump the nom­i­na­tion if he has the vast major­i­ty of del­e­gates.

    “In the end, we want to make sure all those mil­lions of peo­ple who vot­ed in a Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry under­stand their votes were worth­while,” Kauf­man told Stokols. “You just can’t kick all those voters—more than have ever vot­ed in our pri­ma­ry before—to the curb. We want to make sure they’re with us in Novem­ber.”

    ...

    “He’s joined in that thought by mem­bers of the Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment, who, accord­ing to Stokols, are begin­ning to get com­fort­able with the idea of a Trump nom­i­na­tion, see­ing as how, in the quest for par­ty preser­va­tion, it might be prefer­able to a riot in the streets of Ohio, which is an open-car­ry state.
    Boy, that sure sounds like GOP lead­ers are active­ly ratio­nal­iz­ing embrac­ing Trump specif­i­cal­ly because if his threats of riots and vio­lence...and the fact that Ohio is an open-car­ry state. It’s kind of hard to do much about right-wing death squads roam­ing the streets of Cleve­land with open-car­ry laws. Good thing for the GOP that you won’t be able to car­ry guns at the actu­al con­ven­tion, but with Roger Stone already threat­en­ing to pub­licly give you the hotel rooms of GOP del­e­gates it’s hard to see why Trump’s threats and inno­cent­ly threat­en­ing tweets aren’t some­thing the GOP has to take seri­ous­ly. And the RNC appears to see that too and is basi­cal­ly com­ing around to idea that the par­ty is going to be suc­cess­ful­ly and pub­licly threat­ened into sub­mis­sion by the par­ty’s like­ly nom­i­nee.

    We’ve come a long way from the GOP’s 2012 autop­sy. And with the way things are going, you just have to hope the 2016 autop­sy does­n’t involve actu­al autop­sies.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 20, 2016, 2:48 pm
  14. The Trump cam­paign took anoth­er turn for the weird Thurs­day: First, we get the news that Trump actu­al­ly took an unex­pect­ed­ly human­iz­ing stance towards the trans­gen­dered com­mu­ni­ty. It was a lit­tle odd con­sid­er­ing he’s lead­ing the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial race. After all, demo­niz­ing the trans­gen­dered com­mu­ni­ty was look­ing like the kind of polit­i­cal weapon the par­ty was going to be using more and more going for­ward. It’s exact­ly the kind of wedge social issue the par­ty loves.

    And then, lat­er in the day, we curi­ous­ly get fol­low­ing reports out of a meet­ing between the Trump cam­paign and Repub­li­can Par­ty lead­ers in Hol­ly­wood, Flori­da, where Trump’s senior advis­er appeared be push­ing the mes­sage the Don­ald Trump was mere­ly “pro­ject­ing an image” to vot­ers and that image was about to change to make him more palat­able to gen­er­al elec­tion vot­ers.

    Now, the fact that the Trump cam­paign would acknowl­edg­ing to senior GOP lead­ers that he’s basi­cal­ly act­ing isn’t real­ly sur­prise. What’s sur­pris­ing is that news reports about this admis­sion that the Trump cam­paign is all an act even got report­ed at all. Was this an unin­ten­tion­al leak, because the report below does­n’t real­ly indi­cate that this was was some­thing the Trump want­ed to keep under wraps. After all, it does­n’t real­ly help with a can­di­dates per­ceived authen­tic­i­ty if his cam­paign acknowl­edges it’s all an act.

    Unless, of course, the can­di­date has such high neg­a­tives with that pro­claim­ing “it was all an act! Don’t wor­ry. I’ll be way less crazy once you elect me,” is an image boost­er. And con­sid­er­ing Trump’s unprece­dent­ed high neg­a­tives for a lead­ing can­di­date, who knows, maybe the new image his cam­paign is try­ing to project is that it’s a cam­paign that mere­ly projects images, with the impli­ca­tion being that vot­ers should­n’t take too seri­ous­ly all the things Trump has said thus far to gen­er­ate those high neg­a­tives. Sure, that’s kind of a risky stance, but don’t dis­count the poten­tial upside here, because that same mes­sage will also be heard by all of his exist­ing sup­port­ers who might be won­der­ing what the hell hap­pened to the ‘old Trump’ should the the gen­er­al elec­tion ush­er in a ‘kinder, gen­tler Trump’.

    In oth­er words, if the Trump cam­paign can pull this off and project itself as a cam­paign of pro­jec­tions, he’s basi­cal­ly the Rorschach can­di­date and that’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly the worst approach for a can­di­date with Trump’s neg­a­tives. He could go from being the can­di­date most vot­ers hate to the can­di­date that’s what­ev­er you believe he might be beneath the pro­jec­tions. He would become the ulti­mate Hol­ly­wood can­di­date with polit­i­cal shape-shift­ing spe­cial effects, which is why Hol­ly­wood, Flori­da was such a great loca­tion for this meet­ing.
    And, in an odd way, he would become a can­di­date of hope: if he takes enough posi­tions on enough dif­fer­ent issues, you can just pick and choose Trump’s posi­tions you like the most and hope that’s the real Trump. For instance, if you fear the trans­gen­dered and view his recent stance with dis­gust, don’t wor­ry, he walked back that posi­tion the next day and basi­cal­ly states should be able to set up what­ev­er anti-trans laws they want. So which Trump is the real Trump? Well, for elec­tion pur­pos­es, it’s what­ev­er Trump you believe is the Trump for you:

    Reuters

    Trump has been play­ing a part, will become more pres­i­den­tial: advis­er
    HOLLYWOOD, Fla./WASHINGTON | By Steve Hol­land and Aman­da Beck­er

    Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:57pm EDT

    Top advis­ers to Don­ald Trump assured Repub­li­can Par­ty lead­ers on Thurs­day that the New York bil­lion­aire would adopt a more pres­i­den­tial demeanor soon, to tem­per the image pro­ject­ed dur­ing his cam­paign so far.

    Trump’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives, includ­ing new­ly recruit­ed senior advis­ers Paul Man­afort and Rick Wiley, met pri­vate­ly with lead­ers of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee at an ocean­side resort hotel where the par­ty is hold­ing a three-day meet­ing.

    “The part that he’s been play­ing is now evolv­ing into the part that you’ve been expect­ing. The neg­a­tives will come down, the image is going to change,” Trump senior advis­er Paul Man­afort assured the par­ty lead­ers, accord­ing to an audio­tape of the ses­sion heard by Reuters.

    Trump has been “pro­ject­ing an image” to ener­gize vot­ers, Man­afort said, adding that he will soon con­cen­trate on “crooked Hillary,” the nick­name that Trump has giv­en to Demo­c­ra­t­ic favorite Hillary Clin­ton.

    “You’ll see a dif­fer­ent guy,” said Man­afort.

    But in Har­ris­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia, Trump sug­gest­ed he was not ready to change from the style that has brought him close to the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

    “I just don’t know if I want to do it yet,” he said.

    In recent weeks, Trump has railed against the par­ty for devel­op­ing what he said was a “rigged” sys­tem in which Cruz was able to amass del­e­gates in Col­orado with­out Repub­li­cans actu­al­ly vot­ing.

    Chat­ting over shrimp, crab legs and an open bar, Trump’s advis­ers expressed con­fi­dence that their can­di­date would win the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion with­out the par­ty hav­ing to resort to a con­test­ed con­ven­tion in Cleve­land in July, accord­ing to three atten­dees.

    Trump, 69, needs 1,237 del­e­gates to win the nom­i­na­tion out­right for the Nov. 8 elec­tion. Rivals Ted Cruz, 45, and John Kasich, 63, are try­ing to stop him from get­ting a major­i­ty of del­e­gates, so they can force a con­test­ed con­ven­tion in which one of them could emerge as the nom­i­nee.

    Cruz told a con­ser­v­a­tive talk radio host, Mark Levin, that Man­afort’s com­ments show that Trump’s cam­paign style “is just an act.”

    Par­ty lead­ers told reporters after the ses­sion that Trump’s envoys said Trump, as the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee, would be able to expand the par­ty’s elec­toral map to include sev­er­al states Repub­li­cans have not won in a gen­er­al elec­tion in a gen­er­a­tion.

    One attendee, South Car­oli­na Repub­li­can Par­ty Chair­man Matt Moore, said the Trump team told the group it expect­ed Trump to adopt a “more pres­i­den­tial demeanor” over the next few weeks.Moore said he was tak­ing a wait-and-see atti­tude on whether Trump would change. “The proof is in the pud­ding,” he said.

    Man­afort told reporters after the meet­ing that “we talked about how we’re going to expand the map.”

    As for how to change the neg­a­tive image some vot­ers had of Trump, Man­afort said: “We just have to present him in a way that shows all sides of Don­ald Trump.”

    ...

    Trump, who has alarmed some estab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans with his com­ments on immi­gra­tion, Mus­lims and trade, has begun to mod­er­ate his mes­sage in recent days.

    Trump’s cam­paign has hired staff versed in the ways of Wash­ing­ton and has begun hold­ing reg­u­lar meet­ings on Capi­tol Hill with cur­rent and poten­tial sup­port­ers.

    Trump clashed again on Thurs­day with Cruz, a U.S. sen­a­tor from Texas, this time over a North Car­oli­na law passed last month requir­ing trans­gen­der peo­ple to use gov­ern­ment and school bath­rooms that cor­re­spond with the sex on their birth cer­tifi­cates.

    Dur­ing an appear­ance at an NBC “Today” show town hall, Trump sided with crit­ics of the law, passed by a Repub­li­can-con­trolled leg­is­la­ture, say­ing it was unnec­es­sary and that North Car­oli­na was “pay­ing a big price” because of neg­a­tive busi­ness reac­tion.

    His com­ments drew imme­di­ate crit­i­cism from Cruz, a staunch social and fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive who sup­ports the law and said Trump had caved to polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness as he seeks to broad­en his appeal.

    “The part that he’s been play­ing is now evolv­ing into the part that you’ve been expect­ing. The neg­a­tives will come down, the image is going to change.”
    Wel­come to the next phase of the 2016 cam­paign: try­ing to guess which Trump is the real Trump while Trump, him­self, push­es this meme too:

    ...

    But in Har­ris­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia, Trump sug­gest­ed he was not ready to change from the style that has brought him close to the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

    “I just don’t know if I want to do it yet,” he said.

    ...

    It’s a pret­ty clever, if unortho­dox, cam­paign strat­e­gy. You have to won­der what inspired the idea. Hmmm....

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 22, 2016, 3:05 pm
  15. For­mer Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty head bas­ket­ball coach Bob­by Knight just gave a his­tor­i­cal­ly inter­est­ing defense of Don­ald Trump’s ‘pres­i­den­tial’ qual­i­ties in the lead up to next week’s Indi­ana pri­ma­ry. What did Knight find most pres­i­den­tial about Don­ald Trump? Knight’s con­fi­dence in Trump’s will­ing­ness to use nuclear weapons:

    ABC News

    Bob­by Knight on Trump: ‘That Son of a B—- Could Play for Me!’

    By Can­dace Smith

    Apr 28, 2016, 6:57 PM ET

    Repub­li­can front-run­ner Don­ald Trump seems to have found a kin­dred spir­it in famed, for­mer Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty head coach Bob­by Knight.

    Knight has appeared with the busi­ness­man at two events in Indi­ana, prais­ing Trump’s “pre­pared­ness.” Both have rep­u­ta­tions for pur­su­ing the win — Knight boast­ing 900 career wins and Trump on a pri­ma­ry win­ning streak.

    But both also have their share of con­tro­ver­sies. Trump has come under fire for appear­ing to be xeno­pho­bic, anti-Mus­lim, anti-immi­grant, and for his com­ments on abor­tion. Knight was infa­mous­ly fired from his coach­ing posi­tion after alle­ga­tions of phys­i­cal assault. He faced added scruti­ny when he made a com­par­i­son between han­dling stress and rape dur­ing an NBC News inter­view, say­ing, ”I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.”

    ...

    While speak­ing to an Evans­ville, Indi­ana crowd, Knight defend­ed Trump against claims that the can­di­date was not pres­i­den­tial enough, com­par­ing him to Har­ry Tru­man, who Knight said was accused of the same thing.

    They told him that he wasn’t pres­i­den­tial, and Har­ry Tru­man, with what he did in drop­ping and hav­ing the guts to drop the bomb in 1944, saved, saved bil­lions of Amer­i­can lives,” Knight said. “That’s what Har­ry Tru­man did and he became one of the three great pres­i­dents of the Unit­ed States. And here’s a man who would do the same thing because he’s going to become one of the four great pres­i­dents of the Unit­ed States.”

    Knight also said dur­ing Trump’s Indi­ana vis­it that the can­di­date isn’t behold­en to any par­ty. “This man is not a Repub­li­can. He’s not a Demo­c­rat at heart. He’s just a great Amer­i­can.”

    In Knight’s speech before intro­duc­ing Trump he exclaimed, “Let me first tell you that I was very, very selec­tive with play­ers dur­ing the time I was here. And I’ll tell you one thing that man that was just up here a moment ago, I will tell you, that son of a b— could play for me!”

    While intro­duc­ing Knight, Trump returned the favor, prais­ing the coach as “the best.” “You don’t get any bet­ter, tough, tough. Would you say he was tough enough, would you say?” he asked the audi­ence.

    They told him that he wasn’t pres­i­den­tial, and Har­ry Tru­man, with what he did in drop­ping and hav­ing the guts to drop the bomb in 1944, saved, saved bil­lions of Amer­i­can lives...That’s what Har­ry Tru­man did and he became one of the three great pres­i­dents of the Unit­ed States. And here’s a man who would do the same thing because he’s going to become one of the four great pres­i­dents of the Unit­ed States.”
    Bil­lions of Amer­i­can lives were saved? Wow. They don’t cov­er that in the his­to­ry books. And keep in mind that Trump also reit­er­at­ed his pledge to not take off the table the use of nuclear weapons against ISIS while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly assert­ing that nuclear weapons, and not cli­mate change, is the sin­gle great­est prob­lem the world faces.

    And in Trump’s defense, he’s sort of correct...assuming he becomes pres­i­dent. Because if pres­i­dent Trump starts drop­ping nukes, cli­mate change won’t be the biggest prob­lem any more. Nuclear exchanges will eas­i­ly take that slot. Although it’s also worth keep­ing in mind that one of the biggest threats asso­ci­at­ed with nuclear weapons is actu­al­ly cli­mate change.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 28, 2016, 6:54 pm
  16. Josh Mar­shall had a piece on Don­ald Trump’s recent for­eign pol­i­cy speech that makes a point that’s prob­a­bly going to be more and more impor­tant to under­stand as Trump inevitably piv­ots to the cen­ter after the pri­maries to make a broad­er to the US elec­torate: Part the Trumpian strat­e­gy we can see emerg­ing is an attempt to sell Trump’s poli­cies as “real­ism” that defies tra­di­tion­al poli­cies from the US left or right estab­lish­ment. And as Mar­shall notes, yes, Don­ald Trump is actu­al­ly pre­sent­ing a coher­ent “real­ist” for­eign pol­i­cy vision...but only if you inco­her­ent­ly assume the US is a has-been mil­i­tary pow­er that’s been sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly abused by its allies and had much of its past wealth and glo­ry mali­cious­ly stolen from it. In oth­er words, it’s a “real­ist” pol­i­cy for some par­al­lel uni­verse Amer­i­ca. So if you assume the US is no longer the unri­valed glob­al mil­i­tary and econ­o­my super­pow­er that it actu­al­ly is, Trump’s vision is actu­al­ly pret­ty com­pelling. Because pop­u­lar revan­chism makes for great pol­i­tics, even when you’re already on top:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Edi­tor’s Blog

    Putting Amer­i­ca First

    By Josh Mar­shall

    Pub­lished April 30, 2016, 2:48 PM EDT

    This after­noon I was read­ing one of Newt Gin­grich’s mass emails (I know), in which he argues the case for Don­ald Trump’s recent for­eign pol­i­cy speech. Trump is nei­ther a “dove” nor a “hawk”, Gin­grich explains, but an “owl” who wants vast Amer­i­can mil­i­tary supe­ri­or­i­ty but with a hard-nosed empha­sis on diplo­ma­cy rather than inter­ven­tion, which — wait for it! — is what Newt has been argu­ing for all along. What­ev­er, that’s stan­dard Gin­grich. But in argu­ing that Trump­ist for­eign pol­i­cy is actu­al­ly a species of Real­ism and a new empha­sis on ‘putting Amer­i­ca first’, Gin­grich is part of a line of argu­ment which a num­ber non-ridicu­lous peo­ple are now push­ing.

    The argu­ment can, I think, best be sum­ma­rized as this. Don’t be dis­tract­ed by Trump’s mala­propisms and igno­rance of par­tic­u­lars. The for­eign pol­i­cy he’s advo­cat­ing is a coher­ent for­eign pol­i­cy vision. It’s basi­cal­ly for­eign pol­i­cy Real­ism and it’s a debate we should be hav­ing since so much recent US for­eign pol­i­cy has been dom­i­nat­ed by left and right vari­ants of inter­ven­tion­ist inter­na­tion­al­ism which has embroiled us in numer­ous for­eign adven­tures with great loss of life and mon­ey.

    I’m gen­er­al­ly sym­pa­thet­ic to the idea that we need more of a Real­ist ori­en­ta­tion if not a total embrace of it and cer­tain­ly that we should gen­uine­ly see mil­i­tary force as a last resort which of course is what every­one always says but isn’t remote­ly our post-Cold War nation­al pol­i­cy. But in response to the pret­ty preva­lent ‘we need to take Trump’s Real­ism seri­ous­ly’ cho­rus, let me jump ahead to ‘Let’s not be so naive or obliv­i­ous as to think that what Trump is propos­ing is for­eign pol­i­cy Real­ism.’

    While there are some super­fi­cial sim­i­lar­i­ties, Trump’s for­eign pol­i­cy sees a Unit­ed States that has been abused and cheat­ed by ene­mies and allies alike. The goal is to set mat­ters right and reclaim what is right­ful­ly ours — in terms of the glob­al econ­o­my and trade, our unmatched mil­i­tary pow­er and the costs of the pro­tec­tion we extend to allies with that unmatched mil­i­tary pow­er. By any rea­son­able his­tor­i­cal or for­eign pol­i­cy big-think stan­dard, this isn’t Real­ism but Revan­chism — a pol­i­cy of revenge and reclaim­ing right­ful own­er­ship. Such a vision is almost always desta­bi­liz­ing and dan­ger­ous. Revan­chism may be under­stand­able and per­haps even salu­tary when the revan­chist pow­er has actu­al­ly lost some­thing. But when the revan­chist pow­er already has all the stuff and is the strongest mil­i­tary pow­er in the world, it’s almost cer­tain­ly a recipe for dis­as­ter.

    We might add to this that some­one who talks casu­al­ly about using nuclear weapons in what amounts to urban war­fare sit­u­a­tions or shak­ing down long­time allies for pro­tec­tion mon­ey prob­a­bly isn’t a good bet for bring­ing about a more peace­ful or order­ly world. It is also worth not­ing that Trump’s for­eign pol­i­cy maps almost per­fect­ly to his domes­tic pol­i­cy — the same mix of griev­ance and promis­es of aggres­sion with bad actors trans­posed from domes­tic out­siders and ris­ing groups to abu­sive for­eign states.

    The whole rhetoric of “Amer­i­ca First” is frankly stu­pid and dan­ger­ous. There’s no for­eign pol­i­cy that has ever got­ten a real air­ing in the US, cer­tain­ly no appli­ca­tion, that does­n’t put ‘Amer­i­ca First’. Per­haps not ‘Amer­i­ca only’ but cer­tain­ly ‘Amer­i­ca first.’ It is no acci­dent that “Amer­i­ca First’s” actu­al his­tor­i­cal prog­en­i­tor is a 30s-era Nativist, anti-Semit­ic qua­si-iso­la­tion­ism which was effec­tive­ly allied with Nazi Ger­many. The real mean­ing of ‘Amer­i­ca First’ has always been that Amer­i­ca is being tak­en advan­tage of, being exploit­ed and exposed. If Bolivia says ‘Bolivia First’ that’s one thing. They have been exploit­ed and abused, at least arguably. In any case, they lack the pow­er to make much trou­ble for any­one else. Nei­ther applies to the Unit­ed States.

    ...

    “While there are some super­fi­cial sim­i­lar­i­ties, Trump’s for­eign pol­i­cy sees a Unit­ed States that has been abused and cheat­ed by ene­mies and allies alike. The goal is to set mat­ters right and reclaim what is right­ful­ly ours — in terms of the glob­al econ­o­my and trade, our unmatched mil­i­tary pow­er and the costs of the pro­tec­tion we extend to allies with that unmatched mil­i­tary pow­er. By any rea­son­able his­tor­i­cal or for­eign pol­i­cy big-think stan­dard, this isn’t Real­ism but Revan­chism — a pol­i­cy of revenge and reclaim­ing right­ful own­er­ship. Such a vision is almost always desta­bi­liz­ing and dan­ger­ous. Revan­chism may be under­stand­able and per­haps even salu­tary when the revan­chist pow­er has actu­al­ly lost some­thing. But when the revan­chist pow­er already has all the stuff and is the strongest mil­i­tary pow­er in the world, it’s almost cer­tain­ly a recipe for dis­as­ter.”
    Will Don­ald Trump lead the Unit­ed States to reclaim all its lost glo­ry? We’ll find out in Novem­ber. There’s got to be all sorts of past tro­phies the US could go around the globe hunt­ing down. Maybe he could recon­quer Pana­ma? Who knows what he’ll come up with!

    But it’s also worth point­ing out that the revan­chist nature to Trump’s domes­tic poli­cies real­ly could have some real real­ism behind. Not the xeno­pho­bic hate mon­ger­ing, but all of the talk of trade and tar­iffs and the job loss­es in the US man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor. Because at least in that case we real­ly have seen some sig­nif­i­cant loss­es incurred by Amer­i­can work­ers over the past sev­er­al decades that one could rea­son­ably hope to regain through some com­bi­na­tion of pol­i­cy mea­sures. And while Trump’s domes­tic poli­cies which are cen­tered around mega-tax cuts for the rich would do lit­tle to regain that past eco­nom­ic glo­ry for all those work­ers who real­ly have lost out with the hol­low­ing out of the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, at least there was some­thing real­ly lost for vot­ers to hope to regain. In oth­er words, as opposed to his for­eign pol­i­cy revan­chism mask­ing as “real­ism”, Trump’s domes­tic revan­chism at least has a real­is­tic basis even if his pro­posed solu­tions will end up doing more harm than good. High­er tar­iffs will undoubt­ed­ly help some sec­tors, but that help has to be more than out­weighed by the incred­i­ble dam­age a Trump pres­i­den­cy would do to all the oth­er pro­grams that help those same work­ers too to make a Trump pres­i­den­cy net-help­ful for work­ing class Amer­i­cans.

    It’s also worth not­ing that the suc­cess Don­ald Trump has had in sell­ing an unre­al­is­tic revan­chist plat­form prob­a­bly had a lot to do with the suc­cess past US oli­garchs have had in achiev­ing their revan­chist plat­forms. After all, if all the social and eco­nom­ic gains of the New Deal era up through the social rev­o­lu­tions of the 1960’s had­n’t trig­gered the giant revan­chist freak­out by the US elites that led to the Rea­gan rev­o­lu­tion, South Strat­e­gy dog-whis­tle tac­tics, and the rest of the con­tem­po­rary con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment over the past forty years, a large num­ber of those eco­nom­i­cal­ly dev­as­tat­ed Trump sup­port­ers who are hop­ing for a Trumpian mir­a­cle in their own lives prob­a­bly would­n’t be near­ly as sus­cep­ti­ble to his revan­chist appeal. So, in a sense, Trump’s fan­ta­sy revan­chist future for the mass­es is the pre­dictable response the very real revan­chist past and present of eco­nom­ic con­tem­po­rary elites:

    BillMoyers.com

    The Pow­ell Memo: A Call-to-Arms for Cor­po­ra­tions

    Sep­tem­ber 14, 2012

    In this excerpt from Win­ner-Take-All Pol­i­tics: How Wash­ing­ton Made the Rich Rich­er — and Turned Its Back on the Mid­dle Class, authors Jacob S. Hack­er and Paul Pier­son explain the sig­nif­i­cance of the Pow­ell Mem­o­ran­dum, a call-to-arms for Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions writ­ten by Vir­ginia lawyer (and future U.S. Supreme Court jus­tice) Lewis Pow­ell to a neigh­bor work­ing with the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce.

    In the fall of 1972, the ven­er­a­ble Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tur­ers (NAM) made a sur­pris­ing announce­ment: It planned to move its main offices from New York to Wash­ing­ton, D.C. As its chief, Burt Raynes, observed:

    We have been in New York since before the turn of the cen­tu­ry, because
    we regard­ed this city as the cen­ter of busi­ness and indus­try.
    But the thing that affects busi­ness most today is gov­ern­ment. The
    inter­re­la­tion­ship of busi­ness with busi­ness is no longer so impor­tant
    as the inter­re­la­tion­ship of busi­ness with gov­ern­ment. In the last sev­er­al
    years, that has become very appar­ent to us.[1]

    To be more pre­cise, what had become very appar­ent to the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty was that it was get­ting its clock cleaned. Used to hav­ing broad sway, employ­ers faced a series of sur­pris­ing defeats in the 1960s and ear­ly 1970s. As we have seen, these defeats con­tin­ued unabat­ed when Richard Nixon won the White House. Despite elec­toral set­backs, the lib­er­al­ism of the Great Soci­ety had sur­pris­ing polit­i­cal momen­tum. “From 1969 to 1972,” as the polit­i­cal sci­en­tist David Vogel sum­ma­rizes in one of the best books on the polit­i­cal role of busi­ness, “vir­tu­al­ly the entire Amer­i­can busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty expe­ri­enced a series of polit­i­cal set­backs with­out par­al­lel in the post­war peri­od.” In par­tic­u­lar, Wash­ing­ton under­took a vast expan­sion of its reg­u­la­to­ry pow­er, intro­duc­ing tough and exten­sive restric­tions and require­ments on busi­ness in areas from the envi­ron­ment to occu­pa­tion­al safe­ty to con­sumer pro­tec­tion.[2]

    In cor­po­rate cir­cles, this pro­nounced and sus­tained shift was met with dis­be­lief and then alarm. By 1971, future Supreme Court jus­tice Lewis Pow­ell felt com­pelled to assert, in a memo that was to help gal­va­nize busi­ness cir­cles, that the “Amer­i­can eco­nom­ic sys­tem is under broad attack.” This attack, Pow­ell main­tained, required mobi­liza­tion for polit­i­cal com­bat: “Busi­ness must learn the les­son . . . that polit­i­cal pow­er is nec­es­sary; that such pow­er must be assid­u­ous­ly cul­ti­vat­ed; and that when nec­es­sary, it must be used aggres­sive­ly and with determination—without embar­rass­ment and with­out the reluc­tance which has been so char­ac­ter­is­tic of Amer­i­can busi­ness.” More­over, Pow­ell stressed, the crit­i­cal ingre­di­ent for suc­cess would be orga­ni­za­tion: “Strength lies in orga­ni­za­tion, in care­ful long-range plan­ning and imple­men­ta­tion, in con­sis­ten­cy of action over an indef­i­nite peri­od of years, in the scale of financ­ing avail­able only through joint effort, and in the polit­i­cal pow­er avail­able only through unit­ed action and nation­al orga­ni­za­tions.”[3]

    Pow­ell was just one of many who pushed to rein­vig­o­rate the polit­i­cal clout of employ­ers. Before the pol­i­cy winds shift­ed in the ’60s, busi­ness had seen lit­tle need to mobi­lize any­thing more than a net­work of trade asso­ci­a­tions. It relied most­ly on per­son­al con­tacts, and the main role of lob­by­ists in Wash­ing­ton was to troll for gov­ern­ment con­tracts and tax breaks. The explo­sion of pol­i­cy activism, and rise of pub­lic inter­est groups like those affil­i­at­ed with Ralph Nad­er, cre­at­ed a fun­da­men­tal chal­lenge. And as the 1970s pro­gressed, the prob­lems seemed to be get­ting worse. Pow­ell wrote in 1971, but even after Nixon swept to a land­slide reelec­tion the fol­low­ing year, the leg­isla­tive tide con­tin­ued to come in. With Water­gate lead­ing to Nixon’s humil­i­at­ing res­ig­na­tion and a spec­tac­u­lar Demo­c­ra­t­ic vic­to­ry in 1974, the sit­u­a­tion grew even more dire. “The dan­ger had sud­den­ly esca­lat­ed,” Bryce Har­low, senior Wash­ing­ton rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Proc­ter & Gam­ble and one of the engi­neers of the cor­po­rate polit­i­cal revival was to say lat­er. “We had to pre­vent busi­ness from being rolled up and put in the trash can by that Con­gress.”[4]

    Pow­ell, Har­low, and oth­ers sought to replace the old boys’ club with a more mod­ern, sophis­ti­cat­ed, and diver­si­fied appa­ra­tus — one capa­ble of advanc­ing employ­ers’ inter­ests even under the most dif­fi­cult polit­i­cal cir­cum­stances. They rec­og­nized that busi­ness had hard­ly begun to tap its poten­tial for wield­ing polit­i­cal pow­er. Not only were the finan­cial resources at the dis­pos­al of busi­ness lead­ers unri­valed. The hier­ar­chi­cal struc­tures of cor­po­ra­tions made it pos­si­ble for a hand­ful of deci­sion-mak­ers to deploy those resources and com­bine them with the mas­sive but under­uti­lized capac­i­ties of their far-flung orga­ni­za­tions. These were the pre­con­di­tions for an orga­ni­za­tion­al rev­o­lu­tion that was to remake Wash­ing­ton in less than a decade — and, in the process, lay the crit­i­cal ground­work for win­ner-take-all pol­i­tics.

    Busi­ness­men of the World, Unite!

    The orga­ni­za­tion­al coun­ter­at­tack of busi­ness in the 1970s was swift and sweep­ing — a domes­tic ver­sion of Shock and Awe. The num­ber of cor­po­ra­tions with pub­lic affairs offices in Wash­ing­ton grew from 100 in 1968 to over 500 in 1978. In 1971, only 175 firms had reg­is­tered lob­by­ists in Wash­ing­ton, but by 1982, near­ly 2,500 did. The num­ber of cor­po­rate PACs increased from under 300 in 1976 to over 1,200 by the mid­dle of 1980.[5] On every dimen­sion of cor­po­rate polit­i­cal activ­i­ty, the num­bers reveal a dra­mat­ic, rapid mobi­liza­tion of busi­ness resources in the mid-1970s.

    What the num­bers alone can­not show is some­thing of poten­tial­ly even greater sig­nif­i­cance: Employ­ers learned how to work togeth­er to achieve shared polit­i­cal goals. As mem­bers of coali­tions, firms could mobi­lize more proac­tive­ly and on a much broad­er front. Cor­po­rate lead­ers became advo­cates not just for the nar­row inter­ests of their firms but also for the shared inter­ests of busi­ness as a whole.

    Iron­i­cal­ly, this new capac­i­ty was in part an unex­pect­ed gift of Great Soci­ety lib­er­al­ism. One of the dis­tinc­tive fea­tures of the big expan­sion of gov­ern­ment author­i­ty in the ’60s and ear­ly ’70s was that it cre­at­ed new forms of reg­u­la­tion that simul­ta­ne­ous­ly affect­ed many indus­tries. Pre­vi­ous­ly, the air­lines might have lob­bied the Civ­il Aero­nau­tics Board, the steel com­pa­nies might have focused on restrict­ing for­eign com­peti­tors, the ener­gy pro­duc­ers might have gained spe­cial tax breaks from a favorite con­gress­man. Now com­pa­nies across a wide range of sec­tors faced a com­mon threat: increas­ing­ly pow­er­ful reg­u­la­to­ry agen­cies over­see­ing their treat­ment of the envi­ron­ment, work­ers, and con­sumers. Indi­vid­ual firms had lit­tle chance of fend­ing off such broad ini­tia­tives on their own; to craft an appro­pri­ate­ly broad polit­i­cal defense, they need­ed orga­ni­za­tion.

    Busi­ness was gal­va­nized by more than per­ceived gov­ern­ment over­reach. It was also respond­ing to the grow­ing eco­nom­ic chal­lenges it faced. Orga­ni­za­tion-build­ing began even before the econ­o­my soured in the ear­ly 1970s, but the tumul­tuous econ­o­my of that decade — bat­tered by two major oil shocks, which pushed up infla­tion and dragged down growth — cre­at­ed pan­ic in cor­po­rate sec­tors as well as grow­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion among vot­ers. The 1970s was not the eco­nom­ic waste­land that ret­ro­spec­tive accounts often sug­gest. The econ­o­my actu­al­ly grew more quick­ly over­all (after adjust­ing for infla­tion) dur­ing the 1970s than dur­ing the 1980s.[6] But against the back­drop of the roar­ing 1960s, the eco­nom­ic tur­bu­lence was a rude jolt that strength­ened the case of busi­ness lead­ers that a new gov­ern­ing approach was need­ed.

    When he penned his influ­en­tial memo, Lewis Pow­ell was chair of the Edu­ca­tion Com­mit­tee of the Cham­ber of Com­merce. The Cham­ber was one of a num­ber of busi­ness groups that respond­ed to the emerg­ing threat by becom­ing much more orga­nized. The Cham­ber dou­bled in mem­ber­ship between 1974 and 1980. Its bud­get tripled. The Nation­al Fed­er­a­tion of Inde­pen­dent Busi­ness (NFIB) dou­bled its mem­ber­ship between 1970 and 1979.[7]

    ...

    Keep­ing Up With the Naders

    The role of the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty not only grew but expand­ed, shift­ing into new modes of orga­ni­za­tion that had pre­vi­ous­ly been con­fined to its crit­ics. Rec­og­niz­ing that law­mak­ing in Wash­ing­ton had become more open and dynam­ic, busi­ness groups remade them­selves to fit the times. The expand­ing net­work of busi­ness groups would soon be capa­ble of hoist­ing the pub­lic inter­est groups on their own petards. Using rapid­ly emerg­ing tools of mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, they learned how to gen­er­ate mass cam­paigns. Build­ing net­works of employ­ees, share­hold­ers, local com­pa­nies, and firms with shared inter­ests (for exam­ple, retail­ers and sup­pli­ers), they could soon flood Wash­ing­ton with let­ters and phone calls. With­in a few years, these clas­si­cal­ly top-down orga­ni­za­tions were to thrive at gen­er­at­ing “bot­tom up”–style cam­paigns that not only matched the efforts of their rivals but sur­passed them.

    These emerg­ing “out­side” strate­gies were mar­ried to “inside” ones. Busi­ness orga­ni­za­tions devel­oped lists of promi­nent exec­u­tives capa­ble of mak­ing per­son­al con­tacts with key leg­isla­tive fig­ures. In pri­vate meet­ings orga­nized by the Con­fer­ence Board, CEOs com­pared notes and dis­cussed how to learn from and out­ma­neu­ver orga­nized labor. In the words of one exec­u­tive, “If you don’t know your sen­a­tors on a first-name basis, you are not doing an ade­quate job for your stock­hold­ers.”[10]

    Busi­ness also mas­sive­ly increased its polit­i­cal giv­ing — at pre­cise­ly the time when the cost of cam­paigns began to sky­rock­et (in part because of the ascen­dance of tele­vi­sion). The insa­tiable need for cash gave politi­cians good rea­son to be atten­tive to those with deep pock­ets. Busi­ness had by far the deep­est pock­ets, and was hap­py to make con­tri­bu­tions to mem­bers of both par­ties. Clifton Garvin, chair­man of both Exxon and the Busi­ness Round­table in the ear­ly 1980s, sum­ma­rized the atti­tude toward par­ti­san­ship this way: “The Round­table tries to work with whichev­er polit­i­cal par­ty is in pow­er. We may each indi­vid­u­al­ly have our own polit­i­cal alliances, but as a group the Round­table works with every admin­is­tra­tion to the degree they let us.”[11]

    The new­ly mobi­lized busi­ness groups under­stood that Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans could play dis­tinct but com­ple­men­tary roles. As the par­ty with a seem­ing­ly per­ma­nent lock on Con­gress, Democ­rats need­ed to be pried away from their tra­di­tion­al alliance with orga­nized labor. Mon­ey was key here: From the late 1970s to the late 1980s, cor­po­rate PACs increased their expen­di­tures in con­gres­sion­al races near­ly five­fold. Labor PAC spend­ing only rose about half as fast. In the ear­ly 1970s, busi­ness PACs con­tributed less to con­gres­sion­al races over­all than labor PACs did. By the mid-1970s, the two were at rough par­i­ty, and by the end of the decade, busi­ness PACs were way ahead. By 1980, unions account­ed for less than a quar­ter of all PAC con­tri­bu­tions — down from half six years ear­li­er. The shift was largest among Democ­rats, who were of course the most reliant on labor mon­ey: Near­ly half of Sen­ate incum­bents’ cam­paign funds came from labor PACs in the mid-1970s. A decade lat­er, the share was below one-fifth.[12]

    By this time, how­ev­er, busi­ness PACs were shift­ing away from their tra­di­tion­al focus on but­ter­ing up (most­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic) incum­bents toward a strat­e­gy that mixed dona­tions to those in pow­er with sup­port for con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal chal­lengers. Such a pat­tern was evi­dent in the crit­i­cal elec­tion year of 1978. Through Sep­tem­ber of the elec­tion sea­son, near­ly half of cor­po­rate cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions flowed into Democ­rats’ cof­fers. In the cru­cial weeks before the 1978 elec­tion, how­ev­er, only 29 per­cent did. By the end of the 1978 cam­paign, more than 60 per­cent of cor­po­rate con­tri­bu­tions had gone to Repub­li­cans, both GOP chal­lengers and Repub­li­can incum­bents fight­ing off lib­er­al Democ­rats.[13] A new era of cam­paign finance was born: Not only were cor­po­rate con­tri­bu­tions grow­ing ever big­ger, Democ­rats had to work hard­er for them. More and more, to receive busi­ness largesse, they had to do more than hold pow­er; they had to wield it in ways that busi­ness liked.

    Read the Pow­ell Memo. (Down­load the PDF.)

    ...

    “Pow­ell, Har­low, and oth­ers sought to replace the old boys’ club with a more mod­ern, sophis­ti­cat­ed, and diver­si­fied appa­ra­tus — one capa­ble of advanc­ing employ­ers’ inter­ests even under the most dif­fi­cult polit­i­cal cir­cum­stances. They rec­og­nized that busi­ness had hard­ly begun to tap its poten­tial for wield­ing polit­i­cal pow­er. Not only were the finan­cial resources at the dis­pos­al of busi­ness lead­ers unri­valed. The hier­ar­chi­cal struc­tures of cor­po­ra­tions made it pos­si­ble for a hand­ful of deci­sion-mak­ers to deploy those resources and com­bine them with the mas­sive but under­uti­lized capac­i­ties of their far-flung orga­ni­za­tions. These were the pre­con­di­tions for an orga­ni­za­tion­al rev­o­lu­tion that was to remake Wash­ing­ton in less than a decade — and, in the process, lay the crit­i­cal ground­work for win­ner-take-all pol­i­tics.
    Now that’s how you do revan­chism. And with­out the wild suc­cess of the elites’ socioe­con­ic revan­chism of the past gen­er­a­tion (which no doubt helped Don­ald Trump) and the grow­ing num­ber of socioe­co­nom­i­cal­ly screwed work­ers still wait­ing for the revan­chist “trick­le-down” scam to work its mag­ic, Trump’s revan­chism for the mass­es would prob­a­bly have lit­tle pop­u­lar appeal.

    So whether or not Don­ald Trump’s unre­al­is­tic revan­chism is going to trans­late into polit­i­cal suc­cess, it’s going to be worth keep­ing in mind that the pop­u­lar appeal of the revan­chism he’s ped­dling is part­ly root­ed in the pop­u­lar dis­con­tent gen­er­at­ing by the ongo­ing suc­cess of one of the most suc­cess­ful revan­chist move­ments in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. It’s reac­tionary fan­ta­sy revan­chism in response to real revan­chism. Could it work at the bal­lot box? Well, why not? Stranger things have hap­pened.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 2, 2016, 6:05 pm
  17. If you’ve been pin­ing for a joint Trump/Cruz dream tick­et this Novem­ber, nev­er give up that cheery opti­mism. But you might want to give up that par­tic­u­lar dream:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trump Floats Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ry That Ted Cruz’s Dad Linked To Lee Har­vey Oswald (VIDEO)

    By Kather­ine Krueger
    Pub­lished May 3, 2016, 9:48 AM EDT

    Repub­li­can fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump on Tues­day aired a tabloid sto­ry that said Rafael Cruz, Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R‑TX) father, was seen with Lee Har­vey Oswald short­ly before the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy.

    Asked by the “Fox and Friends” crew about the elder Cruz say­ing not vot­ing for his son could mean “the destruc­tion of Amer­i­ca,” Trump veered with­out warn­ing into con­spir­a­cies sur­round­ing Kennedy’s death, with­out ever men­tion­ing the late Pres­i­dent by name.

    “It’s dis­grace­ful that his father can go out and do that. And just – so many peo­ple are angry about it. And the Evan­gel­i­cals are angry about it the way he does that. There’s a whole thing,” he said. “You know, his father was with Lee Har­vey Oswald pri­or to Oswald’s being, you know, shot.”

    Trump con­tin­ued: “What is this, right pri­or to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was report­ed and nobody talks about it. But I think it’s hor­ri­ble. I think it’s absolute­ly hor­ri­ble that a man can go and do that. What he’s say­ing there.”

    Fox News host Bri­an Kilmeade inter­ject­ed at that point to explain the Nation­al Enquir­er pub­lished what the tabloid claims is a pho­to of Rafael Cruz dis­trib­ut­ing pro-Cas­tro leaflets with Oswald in August 1963.

    But the GOP fron­trun­ner inter­rupt­ed to ask, “What was he doing with Lee Har­vey Oswald short­ly before the death, before the shoot­ing? It’s hor­ri­ble.”

    Aside from experts who spoke to The Enquir­er, the authen­tic­i­ty of the pho­to and the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Rafael Cruz have not been con­firmed.

    The Cruz cam­paign stren­u­ous­ly con­demned the sto­ry as “anoth­er garbage sto­ry in a tabloid full of garbage” after it was pub­lished in April. In a Tues­day state­ment to MSNBC after Trump’s remarks, the cam­paign said, “It is fur­ther evi­dence of how detached from real­i­ty Don­ald Trump is. He will say any­thing to make news regard­less of whether or not it’s fac­tu­al.”

    ...

    “What was he doing with Lee Har­vey Oswald short­ly before the death, before the shoot­ing? It’s hor­ri­ble.”
    Trump/Cruz 2016! It can still hap­pen. Give it time. At least a cou­ple months. Although if the evi­dence starts pil­ing up that Ted Cruz’s dad real­ly was work­ing with Oswald in New Orleans in the peri­od before JFK’s assas­si­na­tion that would cer­tain­ly com­pli­cate select­ing Cruz for Veep. What if Rafael gets frisky again?

    So was there any­thing behind the Nation­al Enquir­er’s claims? Well accord­ing to the arti­cle below, maybe, maybe not, it depends on who you ask:

    Mia­mi Her­ald

    Trump links Cruz’s father to JFK assas­sin, chan­nel­ing Nation­al Enquir­er

    By Maria Recio
    April 22, 2016 8:06 PM

    WASHINGTON

    Don­ald Trump on Tues­day accused Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael B. Cruz, of being along­side John F. Kennedy’s assas­sin sev­er­al months before he shot the pres­i­dent, chan­nel­ing a Nation­al Enquir­er sto­ry that the Cruz cam­paign has denounced as false.

    Speak­ing to Fox News Tues­day morn­ing by phone, Trump said Cruz’s father “was with Lee Har­vey Oswald” pri­or to Kennedy being shot.

    “The whole thing is ridicu­lous,” Trump said. “What is this? Right pri­or to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was report­ed, and nobody talks about it.”

    ...

    At a cam­paign event in Indi­ana, Cruz told the press, “Yes, my dad killed JFK, he is secret­ly Elvis, and Jim­my Hof­fa is buried in his back­yard.”

    Trump respond­ed in kind. “Ted Cruz is a des­per­ate can­di­date try­ing to save his fail­ing cam­paign. It is no sur­prise he has resort­ed to his usu­al tac­tics of over-the-top rhetoric that nobody believes,” he said in a state­ment.

    The explo­sive sug­ges­tion that Cruz’s father would have had any affil­i­a­tion with Oswald is not cor­rob­o­rat­ed in any oth­er way. Cuban-born Rafael Cruz is now a fer­vent anti-com­mu­nist, but there was a time he sup­port­ed then-rebel leader Fidel Cas­tro. His son, Sen. Ted Cruz, R‑Texas, fre­quent­ly relates his father’s arrest and tor­ture by gov­ern­ment offi­cials and sub­se­quent escape to the Unit­ed States.

    The elder Cruz end­ed up at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Austin and still sup­port­ed Cas­tro, who led the rev­o­lu­tion that over­threw the Batista regime in 1959. Cas­tro for­mal­ly declared him­self Marx­ist in 1961.

    “The U.S. gov­ern­ment was duped. The Amer­i­can peo­ple were duped. I was duped,” Rafael Cruz wrote in his book, “A Time for Action,” released in Jan­u­ary. “When peo­ple ask me why I sup­port­ed Cas­tro in over-throw­ing the Cuban gov­ern­ment, I read­i­ly admit that I didn’t real­ize he was a com­mu­nist.”

    There are pho­tos of Rafael Cruz par­tic­i­pat­ing in a pro-Cas­tro ral­ly in 1959 and an arti­cle in the stu­dent news­pa­per where he describes his sup­port for Cas­tro. And one report ques­tions the extent of the elder Cruz’s con­nec­tions to Cas­tro before flee­ing Cuba.

    The pho­tos of Oswald dis­trib­ut­ing pro-Cas­tro lit­er­a­ture are from August 1963, just a few months before the JFK assas­si­na­tion in Dal­las, which the War­ren Com­mis­sion Report on the Assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy said was car­ried out by Oswald.

    The tabloid hired pho­to experts who com­pared the elder Cruz’s pho­tos from the late 1950s and ear­ly 1960s with the ones released by the War­ren Com­mis­sion. The man in the white shirt next to Oswald was nev­er iden­ti­fied by the com­mis­sion, and the Enquir­er is now say­ing it was Cruz and blast­ed on its May 2 cov­er that “Ted Cruz Father Now Linked to JFK Assas­si­na­tion!”

    The Enquir­er has a tes­ti­mo­ni­al from Mitch Gold­stone, pres­i­dent and CEO of Scan­MyPho­tos, a Cal­i­for­nia-based dig­i­tiz­ing pho­to ser­vice, who told the tabloid, “There’s more sim­i­lar­i­ty than dis­sim­i­lar­i­ty. . . . it looks to be the same per­son and I can say as much with a high degree of con­fi­dence.”

    And Car­ole Lieber­man, a Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia — Los Ange­les foren­sic psy­chi­a­trist and expert wit­ness based in Bev­er­ly Hills, Cal­i­for­nia, com­pared the pho­tos and told the Enquir­er “they seem to match.” Nei­ther Gold­stone nor Lieber­man returned phone calls from McClatchy.

    But Gus Rus­so, an author and jour­nal­ist who has writ­ten exten­sive­ly about the JFK assas­si­na­tion and Oswald, is dubi­ous. Rus­so told McClatchy in an inter­view that Oswald, who was liv­ing in New Orleans in 1963, was not con­nect­ed to the Cuban com­mu­ni­ty there and would not have had a Cuban sup­port­er help­ing him. “He was the ulti­mate lon­er,” said Rus­so. Anoth­er man seen in the video hand­ing out leaflets had been hired by Oswald to do so at an unem­ploy­ment office, accord­ing to the War­ren Com­mis­sion. Rafael Cruz also lived in New Orleans, but it was lat­er in the 1960s.

    As for the pho­to “evi­dence,” Rus­so said, “It’s very sub­jec­tive. It’s not proof. It’s just an opin­ion. To charge some­thing this big, you’d bet­ter have bet­ter proof than that ‘it looks like him.’”

    The FBI would not com­ment about its pho­to recog­ni­tion and aging iden­ti­fi­ca­tion tech­niques but referred McClatchy to a web page about its Inves­tiga­tive and Pros­ec­u­tive Graph­ic Unit.

    The Enquir­er has focused on Ted Cruz dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign with sen­sa­tion­al sto­ries about his alleged mis­tress­es and sup­posed con­nec­tion to the DC Madam. The tabloid, which has endorsed pres­i­den­tial fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump, said in a “dec­la­ra­tion” pub­lished on a page of the sto­ry that the paper had been approached by some­one it does not iden­ti­fy dur­ing the New York pri­ma­ry with the pho­tos. “In this instance, we believe Amer­i­can vot­ers have a right to know the truth about the Cruz fam­i­ly,” it says.

    This sto­ry was last updat­ed May 3, 2016.

    “The tabloid hired pho­to experts who com­pared the elder Cruz’s pho­tos from the late 1950s and ear­ly 1960s with the ones released by the War­ren Com­mis­sion. The man in the white shirt next to Oswald was nev­er iden­ti­fied by the com­mis­sion, and the Enquir­er is now say­ing it was Cruz and blast­ed on its May 2 cov­er that “Ted Cruz Father Now Linked to JFK Assas­si­na­tion!””
    So, at a min­i­mum, the Rafael Cruz is being named as a guy the War­ren Com­mis­sion knew of, but was nev­er able to iden­ti­fy, which would sug­gest quite a few peo­ple have looked over that pho­to over the years and that pho­to was­n’t just doc­tored by some­one. But Rafael Cruz pre­sum­ably was­n’t one of the pos­si­ble sus­pects peo­ple were look­ing into all those years so it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see what, if any, addi­tion­al evi­dence comes out now that pho­to­graph­ic evi­dence of some­one who appears to be Rafael Cruz is part of the nation­al dis­course.

    It’s also going to be rather inter­est­ing to see what addi­tion­al nuggets of this nature emerge from the Nation­al Enquir­er over the rest of the cam­paign sea­son. After all, for the first time ever, the Nation­al Enquir­er endorsed a can­di­date this year. Guess which one:

    Talk­ing Points Memo News
    Enquir­ing Minds Want To Know: Just How Cozy Are Trump And Nation­al Enquir­er?

    By Kather­ine Krueger
    Pub­lished May 3, 2016, 3:02 PM EDT

    Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump’s air­ing the tabloid con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R‑TX) father asso­ci­at­ed with JFK assas­sin Lee Har­vey Oswald put his cozy rela­tion­ship with the Nation­al Enquir­er, which has paid div­i­dends in 2016, in the spot­light yet again.

    Cruz fired back Tues­day at the Oswald “scoop,” which the New York City-based super­mar­ket tabloid pub­lished as its cov­er sto­ry, accus­ing Trump of using the noto­ri­ous tabloid as his per­son­al “hit piece to smear any­body and every­body” in the 2016 race. He not­ed that the paper, which is run by Trump’s friend David Peck­er, has also attacked his fam­i­ly: in late March, an off-the-wall Enquir­er sto­ry made unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims that Cruz had extra­mar­i­tal affairs with five women, includ­ing a for­mer staffer.

    It’s wide­ly known that Peck­er, the Enquir­er CEO, is a per­son­al friend of Trump’s, a rela­tion­ship an anony­mous Enquir­er source told New York mag­a­zine is “very close.” The tabloid endorsed Trump’s cam­paign for Pres­i­dent in March, which appeared to be the first time it had ever endorsed a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

    Sources echoed those sen­ti­ments to the New York Dai­ly News, with one unnamed per­son say­ing because “Trump is a big friend of Peck­er” there wouldn’t be any “John Edwards-type inves­ti­ga­tions,” refer­ring to the Enquirer’s break­ing news of the for­mer Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial candidate’s affair, which effec­tive­ly end­ed Edwards’ polit­i­cal career.

    Trump also tweet­ed Peck­er would be a “bril­liant choice” to ser­vice as CEO of Time mag­a­zine in 2013.

    When the Enquir­er’s Cruz sex scan­dal sto­ry hit, Trump denied any involve­ment but didn’t go as far as to tor­pe­do the sto­ry about his rival “Lyin’ Ted.”

    “I have no idea whether or not the cov­er sto­ry about Ted Cruz in this week’s issue of the Nation­al Enquir­er is true or not, but I had absolute­ly noth­ing to do with it,” he wrote in a since-delet­ed Face­book post. “I have noth­ing to do with the Nation­al Enquir­er.”

    He went to say while the tabloid was “right about O.J. Simp­son, John Edwards and many oth­ers, I cer­tain­ly hope they are not right about Lyin’ Ted Cruz.”

    While the Enquir­er has repeat­ed­ly ham­mered Trump’s GOP opponents—and claimed Demo­c­rat Hillary Clin­ton is on her deathbed—Trump has been spared the tabloid’s scorn.

    ...

    By con­trast, The Enquir­er has for years cel­e­brat­ed the real estate mogul on its pages. In 2015, the paper ran a three-part series penned by Trump as a chum­my look at “The Man Behind The Leg­end!” Ear­li­er this year, the tabloid heaped praise on “the man who has ener­gized mil­lions of vot­ers with his no-non­sense and busi­nesslike run for the White House” and claimed Trump has “qui­et­ly donat­ed a huge chunk of his for­tune to char­i­ty.”

    “It’s wide­ly known that Peck­er, the Enquir­er CEO, is a per­son­al friend of Trump’s, a rela­tion­ship an anony­mous Enquir­er source told New York mag­a­zine is “very close.” The tabloid endorsed Trump’s cam­paign for Pres­i­dent in March, which appeared to be the first time it had ever endorsed a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.”
    That’s a pret­ty big endorse­ment. And not just for what it says about Don­ald Trump but also what it mean the Nation­al Enquir­er won’t say about Don­ald Trump but could. The silence huu­uge.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 3, 2016, 3:19 pm
  18. This is one of those Trumpian moments that’s got to give Roger Stone heart­burn: When asked if Don­ald Trump real­ly believes that Ted Cruz’s father was con­nect­ed to Lee Har­vey Oswald, Trump replied that of course he did­n’t believe that. He just said it because he was­n’t the pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee at the moment he said it and appar­ent­ly felt jus­ti­fied say­ing some­thing he did­n’t believe. And, yes, he actu­al­ly said that:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trump: ‘Of Course’ I Don’t Think Cruz’s Dad Was Linked To JFK’s Assas­si­na­tor

    By Sara Jerde Pub­lished May 4, 2016, 6:23 PM EDT

    Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump said Wednes­day that “of course” he does­n’t believe the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry that the father of his for­mer oppo­nent, Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑TX), was con­nect­ed to Lee Har­vey Oswald, the man who assas­si­nat­ed Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy.

    ...

    CNN host Wolf Blitzer said to Trump on Wednes­day that he want­ed him to clar­i­fy his pre­vi­ous claim.

    “You don’t real­ly believe that Ted Cruz’s father had any­thing to do with the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy,” Blitzer said to Trump.

    “No I don’t,” Trump replied. “Of course I don’t think that.”

    Cruz dropped out of the race after Trump won in the Indi­ana pri­ma­ry on Tues­day. Blitzer told Trump that he is now the pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee and Trump argued back that he was­n’t when he cir­cu­lat­ed the Enquir­er’s sto­ry.

    Trump said that Cruz’s father said “hor­ri­ble” things about him and that it’s not a “one-way street” when he does some­thing.

    “So I was not a pre­sump­tive win­ner at that time. I was going against them, they were going against me,” Trump said.

    “But — bot­tom line you don’t believe in that con­spir­a­cy,” Blitzer coun­tered.

    “Of course I don’t believe that. I would­n’t believe it, but I did say ‘let peo­ple read it,’ ” Trump replied.

    “So I was not a pre­sump­tive win­ner at that time. I was going against them, they were going against me.”
    Well, there goes the inevitable “the Clin­ton’s killed JFK Jr.” meme. Well, ok, the meme will no doubt be aggres­sive­ly pushed in com­ing months since Roger Stone is writ­ing a book mak­ing that asser­tion, but so will the “Trump will say any­thing when he’s in a cam­paign and he admits it” meme. And that’s a meme that does­n’t just apply to Trump’s for­ays into con­spir­a­to­r­i­al spec­u­la­tion. He basi­cal­ly admit­ted that he feels per­fect­ly fine just throw­ing ran­dom stuff out there as long as he’s fac­ing a polit­i­cal oppo­nent.

    So now, when­ev­er Trump says any­thing that sounds out­landish, the default response is “oh yeah, and Rafael Cruz killed Kennedy, right?” That seems like Trump poten­tial­ly com­mit­ted a big polit­i­cal “oops” right there. Unless, of course, Rafael Cruz real­ly was involved with Oswald and that sub­se­quent­ly gets con­firmed, in which case Trump may have actu­al­ly sort of helped expose the connection...and then cov­ered it up by casu­al­ly dis­miss­ing it as a crass polit­i­cal ploy. Oops.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 4, 2016, 3:02 pm
  19. The Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­i­al Com­mit­tee told lob­by­ist and donors on Thurs­day that can­di­dates should feel free to skip the GOP con­ven­tion in GOP. It was a rather notable dec­la­ra­tion by a major Repub­li­can orga­ni­za­tion soon after Don­ald Trump become the par­ty’s uncon­test­ed pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee, but not as notable as the dec­la­ra­tion by the par­ty’s high­est elect­ed offi­cial: Paul Ryan, the Speak­er of the House and the high­est elect­ed GOP offi­cial in the coun­try, just refused to endorse Don­ald Trump. At least, he refused to endorse Trump “at this point”. He’s appar­ent­ly wait­ing for Trump to uni­fy “all wings of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment” before he gives his endorse­ment. And as the arti­cle below also points out, this is on the same day fresh­man Nebras­ka Sen­a­tor Ben Sasse called for a third-par­ty run this fall as part of a last ditch attempt to main­tain some sort of ‘puri­ty’ with­in the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. So after Don­ald Trump’s his­toric surge to become the GOP’s most con­tro­ver­sial nom­i­nee in decades, due in large part to the GOP base’s extreme loathing of the GOP “estab­lish­ment” types like Paul Ryan, it looks like Trump won’t get the back­ing of the much loathed “estab­lish­ment” unless he spend the next cou­ple of months try­ing to pla­cate it:

    CNN

    Paul Ryan: ‘I’m just not ready’ to back Don­ald Trump

    Eric Brad­ner

    By Eric Brad­ner, CNN

    Updat­ed 5:51 PM ET, Thu May 5, 2016

    Wash­ing­ton (CNN) — House Speak­er Paul Ryan said Thurs­day he can­not yet sup­port pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

    “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” the Wis­con­sin Repub­li­can told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tap­per” in an inter­view.

    Ryan’s posi­tion makes him the high­est-lev­el GOP offi­cial to reject Trump since the real estate mogul became the last can­di­date stand­ing in the par­ty’s nom­i­nat­ing con­test. His move gives down-bal­lot Repub­li­cans cov­er to hold off on sup­port­ing Trump. It could also keep his agen­da in the House from being over­tak­en by Trump’s pol­i­cy posi­tions.

    Ryan said he hopes to even­tu­al­ly back Trump and “to be a part of this uni­fy­ing process.” The first moves, though, must come from Trump, he said.

    Ryan said he wants Trump to uni­fy “all wings of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment” and then run a cam­paign that will allow Amer­i­cans to “have some­thing that they’re proud to sup­port and proud to be a part of.”

    “And we’ve got a ways to go from here to there,” Ryan said.

    Asked whether Trump’s pro­posed Mus­lim ban, his oppo­si­tion to free trade and his call to deport 12 mil­lion undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants would pre­clude him from ever sup­port­ing Trump, Ryan said: “We got work to do.”

    Ryan’s com­ments were strik­ing because Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednes­day night that he’d back Trump.

    Nei­ther of the last two Repub­li­can pres­i­dents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — will attend the GOP con­ven­tion in Cleve­land. Nor will the 2008 nom­i­nee, John McCain, or the 2012 nom­i­nee, Mitt Rom­ney.

    The House speak­er said he’d only start­ed con­sid­er­ing whether he’d sup­port Trump after the real estate mogul won Indi­ana’s pri­ma­ry Tues­day — knock­ing both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of the race and end­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a con­test­ed con­ven­tion.

    “I thought about this two days ago. I thought, actu­al­ly, this thing was going to go to June 7 at the very least — prob­a­bly to a con­ven­tion — and so this is all pret­ty new for us,” he said.

    “The bulk of the bur­den on uni­fy­ing the par­ty will have to come from our pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee,” Ryan said. “I don’t want to under­play what he accom­plished. ... But he also inher­its some­thing very spe­cial, that’s very spe­cial to a lot of us. This is the par­ty of Lin­coln and Rea­gan and Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nom­i­nate a Lin­coln or a Rea­gan every four years, but we hope that our nom­i­nee aspires to be Lin­coln- or Rea­gan-esque — that that per­son advances the prin­ci­ples of our par­ty and appeals to a wide, vast major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans.”

    He con­tin­ued: “And so, I think what is nec­es­sary to make this work, for this to uni­fy, is to actu­al­ly take our prin­ci­ples and advance them. And that’s what we want to see. Say­ing we’re uni­fied does­n’t in and of itself uni­fy us, but actu­al­ly tak­ing the prin­ci­ples that we all believe in, show­ing that there’s a ded­i­ca­tion to those, and run­ning a prin­ci­pled cam­paign that Repub­li­cans can be proud about and that can actu­al­ly appeal to a major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans — that, to me, is what it takes to uni­fy this par­ty.”

    Deci­sion came ‘very fast’
    Ryan’s deci­sion to oppose Trump, at least for now, came “very fast,” a source famil­iar with Ryan’s think­ing told CNN, adding that the speak­er “tru­ly was not pre­pared for this. He real­ly did not expect Cruz to drop out. He was pre­pared for a con­test­ed con­ven­tion. And when this hap­pened, he just decid­ed to go with his gut — which was to hold off.”

    His com­ments about Trump quick­ly became a polit­i­cal foot­ball, with Hillary Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign high­light­ing the speak­er as part of a “grow­ing list of con­ser­v­a­tives rebuk­ing Trump” in an email.

    A Repub­li­can strate­gist involved in Sen­ate races told CNN that he’s wor­ried Ryan has set up a sit­u­a­tion that will be dif­fi­cult for him to even­tu­al­ly get out of.

    “What are the con­di­tions by which Ryan will ever endorse? I don’t know how this ends,” the strate­gist said. “What would make him get to a yes on Trump? I’m not sure what Trump can do, oth­er than change his posi­tions.”

    The strate­gist added, “It helps peo­ple by giv­ing them cov­er. On the oth­er hand, if you think of all the peo­ple who have already gone out of their way to endorse Trump, they’re ask­ing them­selves, ‘I have already jumped into the pool, where is Ryan?’ ”

    Ryan has expressed mis­giv­ings about Trump’s cam­paign for months.

    When Trump pro­posed indef­i­nite­ly ban­ning Mus­lims from the Unit­ed States in Decem­ber, Ryan respond­ed that such a move is “not who we are as a par­ty” and in vio­la­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    “This is not con­ser­vatism,” he said then, adding, “Some of our best and biggest allies in this strug­gle and fight against rad­i­cal Islam ter­ror are Mus­lims.”

    In March, Ryan slammed Trump’s refusal to dis­avow the sup­port of for­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in an inter­view with Tap­per on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    “If a per­son wants to be the nom­i­nee of the Repub­li­can Par­ty, there can be no eva­sion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on big­otry. This par­ty does not prey on peo­ple’s prej­u­dices,” Ryan told reporters on Capi­tol Hill.

    ...

    But as recent­ly as last week, Ryan was down­play­ing his rift with Trump. He’d encour­aged Repub­li­cans to attend the par­ty’s con­ven­tion in Cleve­land, and said he’d had a “very pleas­ant con­ver­sa­tion” with Trump.

    “I feel like we will be able to uni­fy Repub­li­cans and con­ser­v­a­tives to offer the coun­try this fall,” Ryan told CNN, “a very clear and com­pelling choice so that the peo­ple of this nation get to decide where we go as a coun­try.”

    Con­ser­v­a­tive blog­ger and #Nev­erTrump move­ment leader Erick Erick­son told CNN he and oth­er Trump oppo­nents are search­ing for a can­di­date who could mount a third-par­ty bid against Trump and Clin­ton.

    “Don­ald Trump can­not con­sol­i­date the Repub­li­can base and many Repub­li­cans can­not accept a Hillary Clin­ton donor as the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee,” Erick­son said. “If the del­e­gates rat­i­fy this mad­ness in Cleve­land, many of us will look else­where for a cred­i­ble can­di­date to oppose both Trump and Clin­ton.”

    Fresh­man Nebras­ka Sen. Ben Sasse has emerged as a cen­tral fig­ure in the move­ment to oppose Trump. He argued for a third-par­ty can­di­date in a Face­book post ear­ly Thurs­day morn­ing.

    “Why should­n’t Amer­i­ca draft an hon­est leader who will focus on 70% solu­tions for the next four years?” Sasse wrote. “You know ... an adult?”

    “A Repub­li­can strate­gist involved in Sen­ate races told CNN that he’s wor­ried Ryan has set up a sit­u­a­tion that will be dif­fi­cult for him to even­tu­al­ly get out of.”
    Uh, yeah, that’s cer­tain­ly some­thing for Ryan to be wor­ried about. Espe­cial­ly since Trump pre­dictably respond­ed lat­er in the day with I am not ready to sup­port Speak­er Ryan’s agen­da.” If the ball is in Trump’s court, as Ryan sees it, it looks like Trump’s response is going to be take the ball and writ­ing nasty words about GOP­ers like Paul Ryan on it.

    So the ques­tion of whether or not Trump has earned Paul Ryan’s sup­port is now staged to be one of the biggest open ques­tions between now and GOP and con­ven­tion in July. What could Trump do meet Ryan’s “uni­fy­ing the par­ty” cri­te­ria? Well, it’s worth point­ing out that one of the main sources to GOP estab­lish­ment con­cerns over Trump as the nom­i­nee dou­bles as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to “uni­fy the party”...assuming uni­fy­ing the par­ty entails Trump dis­avow­ing the var­i­ous­ly polit­i­cal­ly tox­ic ele­ments of the par­ty that have ral­lied around Trump and fueled his rise. For instance, the next time David Duke comes out in sup­port of Trump, will anoth­er dis­avow­al do the trick? It’s an open ques­tion:

    The New York Times
    First Draft

    Don­ald Trump ‘Dis­avows’ David Duke’s Remarks on ‘Jew­ish Extrem­ists’

    May 7, 2016 12:48 pm ET
    By Mag­gie Haber­man

    In response to calls from the Anti-Defama­tion League, Don­ald J. Trump on Thurs­day said he “dis­avows” com­ments by David Duke, the for­mer Ku Klux Klan leader, about “Jew­ish extrem­ists” who opposed his can­di­da­cy.

    It is the lat­est instance of Mr. Duke prais­ing Mr. Trump, who was con­demned by politi­cians across the spec­trum months ago for refus­ing to explic­it­ly dis­avow Mr. Duke, a white suprema­cist who has exalt­ed the the Man­hat­tan businessman’s polit­i­cal rise. Mr. Trump has pre­vi­ous­ly rebutted the crit­i­cisms by say­ing he had dis­avowed Mr. Duke on oth­er occa­sions.

    “Jew­ish chutz­pah knows no bounds,” Mr. Duke said on his radio pro­gram, exco­ri­at­ing some of the donors involved in the “Stop Trump” move­ment. Those donors include the bil­lion­aire financier Paul Singer, a Jew for whom Israel’s secu­ri­ty is a pri­ma­ry focus in deter­min­ing the can­di­dates he backs.

    “I think these Jew­ish extrem­ists have made a ter­ri­bly crazy mis­cal­cu­la­tion because all they’re real­ly going to be doing by doing the ‘Nev­er Trump’ move­ment is expos­ing their alien, their anti-Amer­i­can-major­i­ty posi­tion to all the Repub­li­cans,” Mr. Duke said. “And they’re going to push peo­ple more into aware­ness that the neo-cons are the prob­lem, that these Jew­ish suprema­cists who con­trol our coun­try are the real prob­lem and the rea­son why Amer­i­ca is not great.”

    Jonathan Green­blatt, the chief exec­u­tive of the Anti-Defama­tion League, said in a state­ment that “David Duke’s lat­est remarks – smear­ing Jews and Jew­ish Repub­li­cans specif­i­cal­ly – are as unsur­pris­ing as they are hate­ful.”

    “The onus is now on Don­ald Trump to make unequiv­o­cal­ly clear he rejects those sen­ti­ments and that there is no room for Duke and anti-Semi­tism in his cam­paign and in soci­ety,” he said. “Mr. Trump can and should speak up now. If not, his silence will speak vol­umes.”

    Lat­er Thurs­day, Mr. Trump said in a state­ment that he “total­ly dis­avows” Mr. Duke’s remarks.

    “Anti­semitism has no place our soci­ety, which needs to be unit­ed, not divid­ed,” said Mr. Trump, who has been accused of using overt­ly racial appeals to moti­vate his large­ly white, work­ing-class polit­i­cal base.

    The Anti-Defama­tion League has crit­i­cized Mr. Trump before, and has redi­rect­ed his pre­vi­ous dona­tions to the group because of his remarks about Mus­lims and oth­ers. Mr. Trump has often cit­ed his ties to the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty, not­ing, for instance, that his son-in-law, Jared Kush­n­er, is an Ortho­dox Jew, and that his daugh­ter, Ivan­ka, con­vert­ed to Judaism.

    ““Anti­semitism has no place our soci­ety, which needs to be unit­ed, not divid­ed,” said Mr. Trump, who has been accused of using overt­ly racial appeals to moti­vate his large­ly white, work­ing-class polit­i­cal base.”
    Well, at least Trump isn’t uni­fy­ing the GOP with white suprema­cists quite as much as before. That sounds like the kind of ‘step for­ward’ the GOP estab­lish­ment is try­ing to extract from Trump as the price to pay for the par­ty’s full back­ing. At least, it seems like the kind of ‘step for­ward’ that could put Trump on the path towards gain­ing that full par­ty back­ing...assum­ing he does­n’t take two steps back just before he makes that step for­ward:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trump Won’t Con­demn Anti-Semit­ic Threats On Journo Who Pro­filed His Wife (VIDEO)

    By Kather­ine Krueger
    Pub­lished May 5, 2016, 11:46 AM EDT

    After a jour­nal­ist was met with a tor­rent of anti-Semit­ic abuse and threats over her GQ mag­a­zine pro­file of Mela­nia Trump, pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump refused to con­demn the attacks from his sup­port­ers.

    Dur­ing a sit-down inter­view Wednes­day night on CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked what Trump’s mes­sage is to the hoards who have “vicious­ly attacked” reporter Julia Ioffe. The pro­file revealed Mela­nia Trump had a secret half-broth­er still liv­ing in her native Slove­nia and cov­ered a legal dis­pute over the for­mer mod­el’s caviar skin­care line.

    Trump said while he hadn’t read the arti­cle, he heard it was “very inac­cu­rate” and “nasty.”

    “I’m mar­ried to a woman who is a very fine woman. She does­n’t need this, believe me,” he said, recount­ing how Mela­nia Trump was “tremen­dous­ly” suc­cess­ful as a mod­el and “made a lot of mon­ey.”

    He also described his wife as a “very high-qual­i­ty woman who loves peo­ple and has a big heart,” say­ing, “they shouldn’t be doing that with wives.”

    Blitzer inter­rupt­ed: “But the anti-Semit­ic death threats that have fol­lowed –”

    “Oh, I don’t know about that. I don’t know any­thing about that. You mean fans of mine?” Trump replied.

    “Sup­posed fans of post­ing these very angry – but your mes­sage to these fans is?” Blitzer con­tin­ued.

    “I don’t have a mes­sage to the fans,” the bil­lion­aire said. “A woman wrote an arti­cle that’s inac­cu­rate.”

    He went on to rail against the “dis­hon­est” media, say­ing he’s used to their treat­ment.

    After Ioffe’s pro­file was pub­lished in GQ, she was met with an onslaught of images of her face edit­ed onto Holo­caust pho­tos and car­i­ca­tures of Jews being exe­cut­ed. She also told the Guardian US she had received mul­ti­ple threat­en­ing phone calls.

    ...

    “I don’t have a mes­sage to the fans...A woman wrote an arti­cle that’s inac­cu­rate.”
    Of course he has no mes­sage to his fans. Except, appar­ent­ly, that that they were doing the right thing in sub­ject­ing Julia Ioffe to an onslaught of images of her face edit­ed onto Holo­caust pho­tos and car­i­ca­tures of Jews being exe­cut­ed. That def­i­nite­ly appears to be part of his mes­sage to his fans. But it was also a mes­sage to folks like Paul Ryan that aren’t quite sure if they’re ready to climb aboard the Trump Train. So will Paul Ryan and the rest of the GOP that has­n’t yet pur­chased tick­ets for the Trump Train express be ready to pur­chase those tick­ets soon? It’ll be a train­wreck either way, but we’ll see.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 7, 2016, 3:56 pm
  20. Guess which Sil­i­con Val­ley bil­lion­aire just end­ed up on the list released by Cal­i­for­ni­a’s sec­re­tary of state of the Trump cam­paign’s list of select­ed GOP con­ven­tion del­e­gates. Hint: He real­ly, real­ly likes Ted Cruz. And called Trump “symp­to­matic of every­thing that is wrong with New York City,” back in 2014. But is appar­ent­ly total­ly fine with Trump now:

    Van­i­ty Fair

    Which Bil­lion­aire Sil­i­con Val­ley V.C. Is a Don­ald Trump Del­e­gate?

    The Face­book board mem­ber is break­ing ranks with the tech world by pub­licly back­ing the pre­sump­tive G.O.P. nom­i­nee.

    by Tina Nguyen

    May 10, 2016 9:08 am

    Most of Sil­i­con Valley’s Repub­li­can elite may hate Don­ald Trump, but at least one major tech-indus­try ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist is throw­ing his sup­port behind the G.O.P.’s pre­sump­tive pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

    Peter Thiel, the bil­lion­aire Pay­Pal co-founder, hedge-fund man­ag­er, and L.G.B.T.-rights advo­cate, is list­ed on the Cal­i­for­nia bal­lot as a del­e­gate for Trump at the upcom­ing Repub­li­can con­ven­tion, accord­ing to a list of del­e­gates sub­mit­ted to California’s sec­re­tary of state by the front-runner’s cam­paign. He is list­ed as one of three rep­re­sen­ta­tives from California’s 12th con­gres­sion­al dis­trict. State elec­tion law dic­tates that del­e­gates are select­ed by the can­di­dates them­selves, not the par­ty, and the Trump cam­paign has been vet­ting poten­tial del­e­gates for sev­er­al weeks.

    Thiel’s pol­i­tics are com­pli­cat­ed. The Sil­i­con Val­ley power­bro­ker donat­ed heav­i­ly to both Ted Cruz and his lat­er run­ning mate, for­mer H.P. exec Car­ly Fio­r­i­na, despite both can­di­dates not sup­port­ing gay mar­riage. (Thiel’s name did not appear on a list of Cruz del­e­gates the Texas sen­a­tor sub­mit­ted before drop­ping out last week.) The out­spo­ken lib­er­tar­i­an has also been a close ally and advis­er to Ken­tucky sen­a­tor and for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Rand Paul, and pre­vi­ous­ly donat­ed mil­lions to his father, for­mer con­gress­man Ron Paul, who ran for pres­i­dent in 2012. Thiel may be more close­ly aligned with Trump on the social-issues front: Thiel, who is gay, is an ardent sup­port­er of L.G.B.T. caus­es (Trump, while echo­ing some social con­ser­v­a­tive rhetoric, recent­ly opposed North Carolina’s anti-trans­gen­der “bath­room bill,” say­ing some­one like Cait­lyn Jen­ner could use what­ev­er restroom she saw fit). More impor­tant­ly, how­ev­er, he is an avowed anti-elit­ist, despite his per­son­al wealth, telling the New York­er in 2011 that the world­view of America’s elites was “skewed in an opti­mistic direc­tion” due to luck and priv­i­lege. “[Their] sto­ry has been one of incred­i­ble, unre­lent­ing progress for 61 years,” he said at the time. “Most peo­ple who are 61 years old in the U.S.? Not their sto­ry at all.” Thiel is well-known for the fel­low­ship he set up in 2010 to encour­age entre­pre­neur­ial teenagers to drop out of col­lege to start their own com­pa­nies instead of pur­su­ing a tra­di­tion­al edu­ca­tion.

    ...

    “Peter Thiel, the bil­lion­aire Pay­Pal co-founder, hedge-fund man­ag­er, and L.G.B.T.-rights advo­cate, is list­ed on the Cal­i­for­nia bal­lot as a del­e­gate for Trump at the upcom­ing Repub­li­can con­ven­tion, accord­ing to a list of del­e­gates sub­mit­ted to California’s sec­re­tary of state by the front-runner’s cam­paign. He is list­ed as one of three rep­re­sen­ta­tives from California’s 12th con­gres­sion­al dis­trict. State elec­tion law dic­tates that del­e­gates are select­ed by the can­di­dates them­selves, not the par­ty, and the Trump cam­paign has been vet­ting poten­tial del­e­gates for sev­er­al weeks.
    Yes, the guy who once penned a piece for Cato Unbound explain­ing why democ­ra­cy and cap­i­tal­ism are incom­pat­i­ble now that women can vote is now a Trump del­e­gate. Well, ok, that kind of fits. If Thiel was­n’t a right-wing nut job who always sup­ports right-wing nut jobs this would almost be sur­pris­ing, if only because of Thiel’s pre­vi­ous back­ing for Ted Cruz. And while this announce­ment prob­a­bly had to sting Cruz a bit, at least Thiel’s check­book will prob­a­bly be there for Ted’s next pres­i­den­tial run.

    So were there any oth­er not-so-sur­pris­ing sur­pris­es in the Trump cam­paigns list of Cal­i­for­nia del­e­gates? Yep, and for the next not-so-sur­pris­ing sur­prise it’s worth keep­ing in mind what the above arti­cle point­ed out: The Trump cam­paign is vet­ting these del­e­gate lists:

    Moth­er Jones

    Trump Selects a White Nation­al­ist Leader as a Del­e­gate in Cal­i­for­nia
    Meet William John­son, head of the Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty.

    —By Josh Harkin­son
    | Tue May 10, 2016 3:56 PM EDT

    On Mon­day evening, Cal­i­for­ni­a’s sec­re­tary of state pub­lished a list of del­e­gates cho­sen by the Trump cam­paign for the upcom­ing Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry in the state. Trump’s slate includes William John­son, one of the coun­try’s most promi­nent white nation­al­ists.

    John­son applied to the Trump cam­paign to be a del­e­gate. He was accept­ed on Mon­day. In order to be approved he had to sign this pledge sent to him by the cam­paign: “I, William John­son, endorse Don­ald J. Trump for the office of Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. I pledge to cast ALL of my bal­lots to elect Don­ald J. Trump on every round of bal­lot­ing at the 2016 Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion so that we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” After he signed, the Trump cam­paign added his name to the list of 169 del­e­gates it for­ward­ed to the sec­re­tary of state.

    John­son leads the Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty, a group that “exists to rep­re­sent the polit­i­cal inter­ests of White Amer­i­cans” and aims to pre­serve “the cus­toms and her­itage of the Euro­pean Amer­i­can peo­ple.” The AFP has nev­er elect­ed a can­di­date of its own and pos­sess­es at most a few thou­sand mem­bers, but it is “arguably the most impor­tant white nation­al­ist group in the coun­try,” accord­ing to Mark Potok, a senior fel­low for the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter (SPLC), which tracks hate groups.

    John­son got the news that he had been select­ed by Trump in a con­grat­u­la­to­ry email sent to him by the cam­paign’s Cal­i­for­nia del­e­gate coor­di­na­tor, Katie Lago­marsi­no. “I just hope to show how I can be main­stream and have these views,” John­son tells Moth­er Jones. “I can be a white nation­al­ist and be a strong sup­port­er of Don­ald Trump and be a good exam­ple to every­body.”

    John­son says that in his appli­ca­tion to be a del­e­gate for Trump he dis­closed mul­ti­ple details about his back­ground and activism, though he did not specif­i­cal­ly use the term “white nation­al­ist.” The Trump cam­paign and Lago­marsi­no did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to requests for com­ment. Whether or not John­son was vet­ted by the Trump cam­paign, the GOP front-run­ner would have a hard time claim­ing igno­rance of John­son’s extreme views: John­son has gained notice dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry for fund­ing pro-Trump robo­calls that con­vey a white nation­al­ist mes­sage. “The white race is dying out in Amer­i­ca and Europe because we are afraid to be called ‘racist,’ ” John­son says in one robo­call pushed out to res­i­den­tial land­lines in Ver­mont and Min­neso­ta. “Don­ald Trump is not racist, but Don­ald Trump is not afraid. Don’t vote for a Cuban. Vote for Don­ald Trump.”.

    Armed with cash from afflu­ent donors and staffed by what the move­ment con­sid­ers to be its top thinkers, the AFP now ded­i­cates most of its resources to sup­port­ing Trump. John­son claims that the AFP’s pro-Trump robo­calls, which have deliv­ered John­son’s per­son­al cell­phone num­ber to vot­ers in sev­en states, have helped the par­ty find hun­dreds of new mem­bers. “[Trump] is allow­ing us to talk about things we’ve not been able to talk about,” John­son says. “So even if he is not elect­ed, he has achieved great things.”

    On mul­ti­ple occa­sions, Trump has failed to force­ful­ly repu­di­ate this sort of sup­port. After being endorsed by for­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in August last year, Trump told Bloomberg News, “I don’t need his endorse­ment; I cer­tain­ly would­n’t want his endorse­ment. I don’t need any­body’s endorse­ment.”

    Asked in Feb­ru­ary about the robo­calls, which are fund­ed by John­son through a super-PAC, a Trump spokes­woman would only tell CNN that the can­di­date had “dis­avowed all super-PACs offer­ing their sup­port.” In April, the Huff­in­g­ton Post report­ed that Trump returned a $250 dona­tion to his cam­paign from John­son.

    The SPLC’s Potok says Trump has “legit­imized and main­streamed hate” in ways we haven’t seen since the days of George Wal­lace. Though nobody can say for sure how many peo­ple belong to Amer­i­ca’s largest hate groups, the SPLC has found that the num­ber of such groups grew by 14 per­cent in 2015, revers­ing years of declines. Potok wor­ries that Trump could fuel the spread of the AFP’s ideas for years to come.

    ...

    Short, gray­ing, and 61 years old, John­son favors pressed white shirts and book­ish black-framed glass­es. He grew up in pre­dom­i­nant­ly white neigh­bor­hoods in Ari­zona and Ore­gon before mov­ing to Japan in 1974 to study the lan­guage. It was there that locals engaged him in “open” dis­cus­sions about dif­fer­ences between the races, and he came to see Amer­i­ca’s Euro­pean her­itage as its biggest—and most vulnerable—asset. (This tra­jec­to­ry is not uncom­mon: Jared Tay­lor, head of the white nation­al­ist group Amer­i­can Renais­sance, also speaks flu­ent Japan­ese, and Aryan Nations founder Richard But­ler became a white suprema­cist while immersed in the caste sys­tem in India.) In 1985, John­son pub­lished, under a pseu­do­nym, Amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion: Avert­ing the Decline and Fall of Amer­i­ca, a book call­ing for the abo­li­tion of the 14th and 15th Amend­ments and the depor­ta­tion of all non­whites. He tried to sound a prac­ti­cal tone, allow­ing, for instance, that African Amer­i­cans should receive “a rich dowry to enable them to pros­per in their home­land.”

    The book was a hit on the talk show cir­cuit, and John­son sud­den­ly found him­self appear­ing on tele­vi­sion along­side neo-Nazi skin­heads and Klans­men. By 1989, his noto­ri­ety and clean-cut appeal con­vinced a group of white nation­al­ists in Wyoming to tap him to run for Dick Cheney’s vacant con­gres­sion­al seat. He gar­nered a flur­ry of press cov­er­age when he earned enough sig­na­tures to qual­i­fy for the bal­lot; around the same time, the build­ing hous­ing his Cal­i­for­nia law office was bombed. John­son says the FBI accused him of det­o­nat­ing it him­self in a bid for more press. (The bureau declined to com­ment.)

    Twen­ty years lat­er, after unsuc­cess­ful­ly run­ning for var­i­ous oth­er offices, John­son became the head of the Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty (then known as Amer­i­can Third Posi­tion), at the request of a group of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia skin­heads. John­son’s post was sup­posed to be tem­po­rary: “The skin­heads thought I was too extreme to run the orga­ni­za­tion,” he explained. But they were the ones who end­ed up drop­ping out, replaced by what has become a sort of white nation­al­ist brain trust: Par­ty lead­ers now include a for­mer Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion appointee and a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty-Long Beach.

    After our Kore­an lunch, John­son rushed back up to his office to host the lat­est episode of For God and Coun­try, a Chris­t­ian AM talk show cur­rent­ly broad­cast in Cal­i­for­nia, Louisiana, and Texas. His Fil­ipino Amer­i­can co-host, the Rev. Ronald Tan, nod­ded approv­ing­ly as John­son praised Trump on the air for “bust­ing up the con­cept of polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness.”

    The show allows John­son to push a Trump-cen­tric ver­sion of white nation­al­ism to a poten­tial­ly recep­tive audience—up to a point. Sev­er­al radio sta­tions in Iowa recent­ly can­celed the pro­gram out of objec­tion to its con­tent. Dur­ing a com­mer­cial break, John­son fid­get­ed. “Are you going to quote any more Scrip­tures?” he asked Tan ner­vous­ly. “Has the sta­tion said that we’re not Chris­t­ian enough?” Back on the air, Tan piv­ot­ed to 1 Samuel 16, com­par­ing Trump to King David.

    In addi­tion to pro­mot­ing Trump on the radio and over the phone, the AFP streams a pod­cast called the Dai­ly Trump Phe­nom­e­non Hour. It has set up a “polit­i­cal harass­ment hot­line” for Trump sup­port­ers who wish to con­sult with an attor­ney about being attacked or ver­bal­ly abused by anti-Trump pro­test­ers. John­son has per­son­al­ly spent $30,000 on the Trump pro­mo­tions, includ­ing $18,000 for the robo­calls.

    The robo­calls, the radio show, and the “harass­ment hot­line” were all things that John­son men­tioned in his appli­ca­tion to become a Trump del­e­gate. He specif­i­cal­ly cit­ed an anti-Rom­ney robo­call com­mis­sioned in Utah this past March, which begins, in part, “My name is William John­son. I am a farmer and a white nation­al­ist.”

    After wrap­ping up the radio show, John­son led me through his office, where a brush-paint­ed screen hangs along­side shelves stacked with Japan­ese books and dic­tio­nar­ies. Many of his legal clients, it turns out, are for­eign­ers who speak Eng­lish as a sec­ond lan­guage. Yet John­son says he sees no prob­lem with Trump’s iso­la­tion­ist for­eign pol­i­cy, even if it hurts his business—ideally, he’d like to give up his prac­tice and serve as Trump’s sec­re­tary of agri­cul­ture.

    We end­ed up in a mir­rored con­fer­ence room to meet with three AFP sym­pa­thiz­ers, two mid­dle-aged women and a young man. They talked about how Trump had enabled a new kind of “hon­est dis­course,” how he was­n’t a racist but a “racial­ist,” and how he had left them feel­ing “eman­ci­pat­ed.” John­son also now finds it eas­i­er to be him­self: “For many, many years, when I would say these things, oth­er white peo­ple would call me names: ‘Oh, you’re a hate­mon­ger, you’re a Nazi, you’re like Hitler,’ ” he con­fessed. “Now they come in and say, ‘Oh, you’re like Don­ald Trump.’ ”

    “For many, many years, when I would say these things, oth­er white peo­ple would call me names: ‘Oh, you’re a hate­mon­ger, you’re a Nazi, you’re like Hitler,’...Now they come in and say, ‘Oh, you’re like Don­ald Trump.’ ”
    Yep!
    And now that John­son claims he was very open about his White Nation­al­ist pro-Trump activ­i­ties on the appli­ca­tion:

    ...
    The robo­calls, the radio show, and the “harass­ment hot­line” were all things that John­son men­tioned in his appli­ca­tion to become a Trump del­e­gate. He specif­i­cal­ly cit­ed an anti-Rom­ney robo­call com­mis­sioned in Utah this past March, which begins, in part, “My name is William John­son. I am a farmer and a white nation­al­ist.”
    ...

    So was this just an inno­cent mis­take, or this for real? Well, accord­ing to the Trump cam­paign, it’s all an inno­cent “data­base error”:

    NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

    White suprema­cist leader cho­sen as a Cal­i­for­nia del­e­gate for Don­ald Trump, but cam­paign blames it on ‘data­base error’

    BY Cameron Joseph, Adam Edel­man
    Updat­ed: Tues­day, May 10, 2016, 6:24 PM

    he appar­ent inep­ti­tude of the Don­ald Trump cam­paign has result­ed in the selec­tion as one of the hate-spew­ing huck­ster’s del­e­gates in Cal­i­for­nia a noto­ri­ous white suprema­cist leader.

    William John­son, the leader of the Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty — a group that pro­motes white nation­al­ism — was cho­sen as one of the pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee’s Gold­en State del­e­gates, accord­ing to a list of Repub­li­can del­e­gates for the par­ty’s upcom­ing pri­ma­ry obtained by Moth­er Jones mag­a­zine.

    John­son had report­ed­ly applied direct­ly to the Trump cam­paign to be a del­e­gate and was appar­ent­ly accept­ed ear­li­er this week.

    In a series of emails to the Dai­ly News, how­ev­er, the Trump cam­paign first flat­ly denied the report alto­geth­er, then lat­er said John­son’s name was only includ­ed as the result of a “data­base error.”

    Ini­tial­ly, Trump spokes­woman Hope Hicks told The New that the Moth­er Jones “report is total­ly false.”

    “He has not, nor will he be, select­ed as a del­e­gate,” Hicks said of John­son.

    But when the Dai­ly News point­ed out that John­son was indeed list­ed on the Cal­i­for­nia Sec­re­tary of State’s web­site as a del­e­gate, Hicks said he had been includ­ed because of a “data­base error,” though she did not imme­di­ate­ly clar­i­fy whether she was blam­ing an inter­nal cam­paign error or the Cal­i­for­nia Sec­re­tary of State’s office.

    “Yes­ter­day the Trump cam­paign sub­mit­ted its list of Cal­i­for­nia del­e­gates to be cer­ti­fied by the Sec­re­tary of State of Cal­i­for­nia. A data­base error led to the inclu­sion of a poten­tial del­e­gate that had been reject­ed and removed from the cam­paign’s list in Feb­ru­ary 2016,” she respond­ed.

    When once again asked whether that meant, even with the ini­tial error, John­son was still a Cal­i­for­nia Trump del­e­gate, Hicks respond­ed: “No he was reject­ed in Feb­ru­ary.”

    But if that is true, John­son has yet to get the memo.

    He told Moth­er Jones that he had been noti­fied of his selec­tion by the Trump camp in a con­grat­u­la­to­ry email from Katie Lago­marsi­no, the can­di­date’s Cal­i­for­nia del­e­gate coor­di­na­tor.

    ...

    White Trump has­n’t spo­ken of John­son in par­tic­u­lar, the mogul has appeared on many occa­sions to embrace oth­er ele­ments of the white nation­al­ist move­ment.

    Ear­li­er this year, he repeat­ed­ly refused to dis­avow the sup­port of for­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke (although he even­tu­al­ly did so after grow­ing pub­lic pres­sure), sug­gest­ed Black Lives Mat­ters activists deserved to be “roughed up,” tweet­ed inac­cu­rate crime sta­tis­tics used by var­i­ous KKK sym­pa­thiz­ers and cit­ed polls con­duct­ed by known Islam­o­phobes.

    “But when the Dai­ly News point­ed out that John­son was indeed list­ed on the Cal­i­for­nia Sec­re­tary of State’s web­site as a del­e­gate, Hicks said he had been includ­ed because of a “data­base error,” though she did not imme­di­ate­ly clar­i­fy whether she was blam­ing an inter­nal cam­paign error or the Cal­i­for­nia Sec­re­tary of State’s office.”
    While this could obvi­ous­ly be the lat­est iter­a­tion of the Trump cam­paign’s pat­tern of embrac­ing, and then dis­avow­ing (and then reem­brac­ing) White Nation­al­ist sup­port­ers, who knows, maybe all the polit­i­cal foot­sie has result­ed in the Trump cam­paign’s staff get­ting infil­trat­ed by white suprema­cists who are oper­at­ing on their own. Either sce­nario seems very pos­si­ble since they’re almost the same sce­nar­ios at this point. What a fun mys­tery.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 10, 2016, 3:29 pm
  21. Don­ald Trump had an unex­pect­ed prompt dis­avow­al of one of his sup­port­ers who post­ed a desire to see Pres­i­dent Oba­ma exe­cut­ed for trea­son, as opposed to the dis­tressed, delayed dis­avowals he’s issued over the vocal sup­port from fig­ures like David Duke. Per­haps this recent prompt dis­avow­al had to do with the fact that the man call­ing for Oba­ma’s exe­cu­tion is Trump’s long-time but­ler. It is a bit awk­ward. But if Trump’s rule for prompt dis­avowals is that he only has to dis­avow the sup­port of those who have a long his­to­ry with him, there’s some more belat­ed prompt dis­avow­ing still to do:

    Media Mat­ters

    Trump Dis­avowed Racist But­ler, But Works With Ally Who Said Clin­ton Should Be “Exe­cut­ed For Mur­der”

    Blog ››› 5/13/2016 ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Don­ald Trump pub­licly dis­avowed his for­mer but­ler after vio­lent, racist com­ments from him emerged, but as recent­ly as last week Trump spoke with Roger Stone, who said Hillary Clin­ton should be “exe­cut­ed” and called an African-Amer­i­can com­men­ta­tor a “stu­pid negro.”

    Moth­er Jones report­ed that Don­ald Trump’s for­mer but­ler, Antho­ny Senecal, who also served as the in-house his­to­ri­an for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Flori­da, had post­ed a series of racist Face­book posts filled with vio­lent imagery direct­ed at Pres­i­dent Oba­ma.

    Senecal said “our pus head­ed ‘pres­i­dent’” should “have been tak­en out by our mil­i­tary and shot as an ene­my agent in his first term.” He also referred to Oba­ma as a “prick” who “needs to be hung for trea­son.”

    After the sto­ry was pub­lished, the Secret Ser­vice indi­cat­ed it would be inves­ti­gat­ing Senecal’s alleged threats.

    The Trump cam­paign told CNN that they “total­ly and com­plete­ly dis­avow the hor­ri­ble state­ments made by him regard­ing the Pres­i­dent.”

    But Trump is still close­ly con­nect­ed to dirty trick­ster Roger Stone even after Stone’s his­to­ry of vio­lent and racist rhetoric had been exposed.

    Stone worked for Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign until August of last year, and since then has pro­mot­ed Trump’s can­di­da­cy and runs a super PAC sup­port­ing Trump. Stone said he speaks with Trump “on a semi-reg­u­lar basis” to dis­cuss pol­i­tics and the cam­paign.

    On the May 6 edi­tion of con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones’ radio show, Stone said he had spo­ken with Trump ear­li­er that day.

    Stone has used rhetoric very sim­i­lar to the but­ler that Trump has now con­demned.

    On his Twit­ter feed, Stone claimed that Hillary Clin­ton “must be brought to jus­tice — arrest­ed , tried , and exe­cut­ed for mur­der,” and called Bernie Sanders a “Sovi­et agent” who “should be arrest­ed for trea­son and shot.” Stone also said phil­an­thropist George Soros should be “detained, charged, tried, con­vict­ed and exe­cut­ed” and called for Con­necti­cut gov­er­nor Dan Mal­loy to be hanged.

    Stone also fan­ta­sized about the deaths of sev­er­al media fig­ures. He told jour­nal­ist Jill Abram­son to “DIE BITCH,” wrote about CNN com­men­ta­tor Ana Navar­ro “killing her­self,” and said of Fox com­men­ta­tor Ed Rollins: “If he isn’t dead he should be.”

    Stone used racist lan­guage online as well. He said that com­men­ta­tor Roland Mar­tin is a “stu­pid negro” and a “fat negro,” called radio host Her­man Cain “mandin­go,” and described for­mer Rep. Allen West as an “arro­gant, know-it-all negro.” Stone also said Al Sharp­ton is a “pro­fes­sion­al negro” who likes fried chick­en.

    He also referred to Roland Mar­tin (who is African-Amer­i­can) and Ana Navar­ro (who is Lati­na) as “quo­ta hires” because they are “so dumb and unqual­i­fied that one can reach no oth­er con­clu­sion.”

    ...

    Alex Jones, who has emerged as a lead­ing Trump sup­port­er, called for colum­nist George Will to “blow what lit­tle is left of your brains out” in response to his oppo­si­tion to Trump’s can­di­da­cy.

    “On his Twit­ter feed, Stone claimed that Hillary Clin­ton “must be brought to jus­tice — arrest­ed , tried , and exe­cut­ed for mur­der,” and called Bernie Sanders a “Sovi­et agent” who “should be arrest­ed for trea­son and shot.” Stone also said phil­an­thropist George Soros should be “detained, charged, tried, con­vict­ed and exe­cut­ed” and called for Con­necti­cut gov­er­nor Dan Mal­loy to be hanged.”
    Ok, well at least we sort of know where the line is that gets a Trump dis­avow­al if you cross it: if you’re close to Trump, and call for the exe­cu­tion of elect­ed offi­cials, you might get a prompt dis­avow­al. It’s a fuzzy line.

    No word yet on whether or not Trump has turned down Duke’s recent request to be Trump’s run­ning mate. His even­tu­al ear­li­er dis­avowals of Duke pre­sum­ably pre­clude a Trump/Duke tick­et, but you nev­er know!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 13, 2016, 1:46 pm
  22. Back in August, when Don­ald Trump was a rel­a­tive­ly new occu­pant of the GOP’s still-full 2016 Clown Car and not yet its dri­ver, Paul Krug­man asked a ques­tion that simul­ta­ne­ous­ly has many answers and yet no sin­gle answer: why is it that all of the GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date take such a deeply unpop­u­lar stances on things like “enti­tle­ment reform”, which every­one knows means gut­ting Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare? Why is that such a uni­form stance when so many peo­ple are com­pet­ing for the nom­i­na­tion? It’s a ques­tion that comes up elec­tion after elec­tion and the par­tial answers can range from ide­o­log­i­cal mad­ness to a deep con­fi­dence in GOP vote-rig­ging. But for this elec­tion, thanks to Don­ald Trump’s can­di­da­cy, there was a slight mod­i­fi­ca­tion to the ques­tion: why is it that every GOP can­di­date, except Don­ald Trump, is pledg­ing to do some­thing so unpop­u­lar despite the polit­i­cal costs?

    The New York Times
    The Opin­ion Page

    Repub­li­cans Against Retire­ment

    Paul Krug­man
    AUG. 17, 2015

    Some­thing strange is hap­pen­ing in the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry — some­thing strange, that is, besides the Trump phe­nom­e­non. For some rea­son, just about all the lead­ing can­di­dates oth­er than The Don­ald have tak­en a deeply unpop­u­lar posi­tion, a known polit­i­cal los­er, on a major domes­tic pol­i­cy issue. And it’s inter­est­ing to ask why.

    The issue in ques­tion is the future of Social Secu­ri­ty, which turned 80 last week. The retire­ment pro­gram is, of course, both extreme­ly pop­u­lar and a long-term tar­get of con­ser­v­a­tives, who want to kill it pre­cise­ly because its pop­u­lar­i­ty helps legit­imize gov­ern­ment action in gen­er­al. As the right-wing activist Stephen Moore (now chief econ­o­mist of the Her­itage Foun­da­tion) once declared, Social Secu­ri­ty is “the soft under­bel­ly of the wel­fare state”; “jab your spear through that” and you can under­mine the whole thing.

    But that was a decade ago, dur­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent George W. Bush’s attempt to pri­va­tize the pro­gram — and what Mr. Bush learned was that the under­bel­ly wasn’t that soft after all. Despite the polit­i­cal momen­tum com­ing from the G.O.P.’s vic­to­ry in the 2004 elec­tion, despite sup­port from much of the media estab­lish­ment, the assault on Social Secu­ri­ty quick­ly crashed and burned. Vot­ers, it turns out, like Social Secu­ri­ty as it is, and don’t want it cut.

    It’s remark­able, then, that most of the Repub­li­cans who would be pres­i­dent seem to be lin­ing up for anoth­er round of pun­ish­ment. In par­tic­u­lar, they’ve been declar­ing that the retire­ment age — which has already been pushed up from 65 to 66, and is sched­uled to rise to 67 — should go up even fur­ther.

    Thus, Jeb Bush says that the retire­ment age should be pushed back to “68 or 70”. Scott Walk­er has echoed that posi­tion. Mar­co Rubio wants both to raise the retire­ment age and to cut ben­e­fits for high­er-income seniors. Rand Paul wants to raise the retire­ment age to 70 and means-test ben­e­fits. Ted Cruz wants to revive the Bush pri­va­ti­za­tion plan.

    ...

    And no, Social Secu­ri­ty does not face a finan­cial cri­sis; its long-term fund­ing short­fall could eas­i­ly be closed with mod­est increas­es in rev­enue.

    Still, nobody should be sur­prised at the spec­ta­cle of politi­cians enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly endors­ing destruc­tive poli­cies. What’s puz­zling about the renewed Repub­li­can assault on Social Secu­ri­ty is that it looks like bad pol­i­tics as well as bad pol­i­cy. Amer­i­cans love Social Secu­ri­ty, so why aren’t the can­di­dates at least pre­tend­ing to share that sen­ti­ment?

    The answer, I’d sug­gest, is that it’s all about the big mon­ey.

    Wealthy indi­vid­u­als have long played a dis­pro­por­tion­ate role in pol­i­tics, but we’ve nev­er seen any­thing like what’s hap­pen­ing now: dom­i­na­tion of cam­paign finance, espe­cial­ly on the Repub­li­can side, by a tiny group of immense­ly wealthy donors. Indeed, more than half the funds raised by Repub­li­can can­di­dates through June came from just 130 fam­i­lies.

    And while most Amer­i­cans love Social Secu­ri­ty, the wealthy don’t. Two years ago a pio­neer­ing study of the pol­i­cy pref­er­ences of the very wealthy found many con­trasts with the views of the gen­er­al pub­lic; as you might expect, the rich are polit­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent from you and me. But nowhere are they as dif­fer­ent as they are on the mat­ter of Social Secu­ri­ty. By a very wide mar­gin, ordi­nary Amer­i­cans want to see Social Secu­ri­ty expand­ed. But by an even wider mar­gin, Amer­i­cans in the top 1 per­cent want to see it cut. And guess whose pref­er­ences are pre­vail­ing among Repub­li­can can­di­dates.

    You often see polit­i­cal analy­ses point­ing out, right­ly, that vot­ing in actu­al pri­maries is pre­ced­ed by an “invis­i­ble pri­ma­ry” in which can­di­dates com­pete for the sup­port of cru­cial elites. But who are these elites? In the past, it might have been mem­bers of the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment and oth­er opin­ion lead­ers. But what the new attack on Social Secu­ri­ty tells us is that the rules have changed. Nowa­days, at least on the Repub­li­can side, the invis­i­ble pri­ma­ry has been reduced to a stark com­pe­ti­tion for the affec­tions and, of course, the mon­ey of a few dozen plu­to­crats.

    What this means, in turn, is that the even­tu­al Repub­li­can nom­i­nee — assum­ing that it’s not Mr. Trump —will be com­mit­ted not just to a renewed attack on Social Secu­ri­ty but to a broad­er plu­to­crat­ic agen­da. What­ev­er the rhetoric, the GOP is on track to nom­i­nate some­one who has won over the big mon­ey by promis­ing gov­ern­ment by the 1 per­cent, for the 1 per­cent.

    “What this means, in turn, is that the even­tu­al Repub­li­can nom­i­nee — assum­ing that it’s not Mr. Trump —will be com­mit­ted not just to a renewed attack on Social Secu­ri­ty but to a broad­er plu­to­crat­ic agen­da. What­ev­er the rhetoric, the GOP is on track to nom­i­nate some­one who has won over the big mon­ey by promis­ing gov­ern­ment by the 1 per­cent, for the 1 per­cent.”
    Well, the nom­i­nee is indeed Mr. Trump, so does that mean we’re going to see the first GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date in decades who isn’t going to have gut­ting enti­tle­ments one their agen­da? After all, he has been pret­ty adamant about not want­i­ng to touch Social Secu­ri­ty.

    Well, this is Don­ald Trump we’re talk­ing about here, and if Trump, the politi­cian, is adamant about any­thing, it’s being adamant about being adamant about everything...and yet simul­ta­ne­ous­ly vague. And that’s part of why he can be adamant about any­thing at all, includ­ing being adamant about the stuff that’s the oppo­site of what he was already adamant about:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Trump Was For Cut­ting Social Secu­ri­ty Before He Was Against It
    He just thinks can­di­dates don’t win elec­tions if they admit they sup­port cuts.
    03/11/2016 12:53 pm ET | Updat­ed Mar 11, 2016

    Daniel Marans
    Reporter, Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Since the start of his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Don­ald Trump has dis­tin­guished him­self from his Repub­li­can rivals by pledg­ing not to cut Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare. It’s a pledge he repeat­ed at the GOP debate in Mia­mi Thurs­day night.

    “I will do every­thing with­in my pow­er not to touch Social Secu­ri­ty, to leave it the way it is; to make this coun­try rich again,” he said Thurs­day.

    “It’s my absolute inten­tion to leave Social Secu­ri­ty the way it is,” he added. “Not increase the age and to leave it as is.”

    Trump repeat­ed that he would accom­plish this by mak­ing “Amer­i­ca rich again,” most­ly by nego­ti­at­ing bet­ter trade deals.

    Like his hos­til­i­ty toward free-trade agree­ments, Trump’s promise to pro­tect Social Secu­ri­ty shows he has ben­e­fit­ted polit­i­cal­ly from jet­ti­son­ing Repub­li­can eco­nom­ic ortho­doxy in favor of a pop­ulist plat­form. But Trump’s past state­ments sug­gest that his oppo­si­tion to cut­ting Social Secu­ri­ty is mere­ly polit­i­cal pos­tur­ing that he would dis­pense with once elect­ed.

    In 2011, when Trump was open­ly con­sid­er­ing a pres­i­den­tial run, he expressed approval of bipar­ti­san talks on a bud­get deal that would cut Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare and raise rev­enues as part of a debt ceil­ing increase.

    “But how do we get this debt under con­trol? Do you think, do we have to look at every­thing, is there any­thing you don’t cut?” radio host Dave Price asked Trump in March of that year.

    “You real­ly have to look at every­thing,” Trump affirmed. “I must tell you, the Repub­li­cans and the Democ­rats are start­ing to say — and it’s very inter­est­ing ‘cause the enti­tle­ments, and you have all the oth­er things that peo­ple are say­ing have to be cut and nobody wants to bring it up. But they’re real­ly start­ing to say now that they’re going to have to look at that whether they like it or not.”

    He admit­ted to Price that demand­ing greater con­ces­sions from oth­er coun­tries in trade deals — the heart of his cur­rent plan to “make the coun­try rich again” — was like­ly not enough to put Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare on sol­id finan­cial foot­ing.

    Cut­ting the pop­u­lar social insur­ance pro­grams would “prob­a­bly” be nec­es­sary, Trump said, “unless I’m real­ly 100 per­cent right about the ripoff of our coun­try by oth­er coun­tries.”

    A month lat­er, Trump reit­er­at­ed his belief that Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare should be cut in an inter­view with Fox News’ Sean Han­ni­ty.

    But Trump said that it was too polit­i­cal­ly cost­ly for Repub­li­cans to pro­pose it first, with­out Demo­c­ra­t­ic buy-in.

    “The real mon­ey... the tril­lions are in Social Secu­ri­ty, Medicare, Med­ic­aid, there’s got to be some adjust­ment,” Han­ni­ty sug­gest­ed.

    “Things have to be done, but it has to be done with both par­ties togeth­er,” Trump respond­ed. “You can’t have the Repub­li­cans get too far ahead of this issue.”

    “They are going to lose elec­tions,” he added.

    Trump sin­gled out now-Speak­er Paul Ryan (R‑Wis.), who was then the chair of the House Bud­get Com­mit­tee Chair, for polit­i­cal crit­i­cism. Trump said Ryan’s bud­get, which pro­posed trans­form­ing Medicare into a vouch­er pro­gram, endan­gered the par­ty polit­i­cal­ly.

    “I have a lot of respect for Paul Ryan,” Trump said. “I do wor­ry that he’s a lit­tle bit far out in front because the Democ­rats are going to take that Medicare word, that lit­tle word called Medicare which to a lot of peo­ple mean seniors cit­i­zens. And they are going to take that word, and they’re going to say, ‘oh, senior, senior.’ And the Repub­li­cans have to be care­ful not to fall into a Demo­c­ra­t­ic trap.”

    Trump reit­er­at­ed his neg­a­tive assess­ment of the Ryan bud­get in an inter­view that July with con­ser­v­a­tive writer Erick Erick­son, call­ing it “polit­i­cal sui­cide for the Repub­li­can par­ty.”

    That can­dor is all but gone in the cur­rent pres­i­den­tial run. Trump has only on rare occa­sions allowed his pre­vi­ous views on Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare to sur­face.

    Asked by ABC’s George Stephanopou­los on Oct. 25 whether he agreed with Ben Car­son that Medicare would need to be phased out, Trump said, “It’s pos­si­ble. You’re going to have to look at that.”

    Per­haps remem­ber­ing his own polit­i­cal advice, Trump walked back the state­ment two days lat­er.

    “Abol­ish­ing Medicare, I don’t think you’ll get away with that one,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morn­ing Joe.” “It’s actu­al­ly a pro­gram that’s worked. It’s a pro­gram that some peo­ple love, actu­al­ly.”

    ...

    “Cut­ting the pop­u­lar social insur­ance pro­grams would “prob­a­bly” be nec­es­sary, Trump said, “unless I’m real­ly 100 per­cent right about the ripoff of our coun­try by oth­er coun­tries.”.”
    Huh. So it turns out that Trump isn’t sim­ply demand­ing that Mex­i­co pay for his planned bor­der wall. Mex­i­co is effec­tive­ly going to have to start help­ing pay­ing our Medicare bills. Or else Medicare gets the axe. Yikes. He’s going to have to eat A LOT of taco bowls for that kind of diplo­mat­ic push.

    But assum­ing Pres­i­dent Trump can’t some­how use tar­iffs and mass depor­ta­tions to close any holes in the long-term enti­tle­ment pro­grams, does that mean grand­ma is def­i­nite­ly going on the cat food diet? Well, when you fac­tor in that most of the hys­te­ria about a loom­ing enti­tle­ment pro­gram cri­sis is divorced from real­i­ty and it would­n’t actu­al­ly be that dif­fi­cult a fix, then there is hope for grand­ma.

    Although, when you also fac­tor in that Don­ald’s Trump’s pro­claimed tax plan would cost the tril­lions of dol­lars in rev­enues and prob­a­bly induce a gen­er­al bud­get cri­sis, than per­haps we should­n’t be so hope­ful. Espe­cial­ly after Don­ald Trump’s pol­i­cy advis­er, Sam Clo­vis, sig­naled to the pro-aus­ter­i­ty Peter g. Per­son Foun­da­tion that, con­trary to Trump’s repeat­ed asser­tions oth­er­wise, a Trump admin­is­tra­tion would indeed be open to mod­i­fy­ing the programs...but only after Trump’s tax plan gets passed. His tax plan that’s pro­ject­ed to cut tax rev­enues by $10 tril­lion over the next decade:

    Reuters

    Trump open to Social Secu­ri­ty changes if elect­ed: advis­er

    WASHINGTON | By Emi­ly Stephen­son
    Wed May 11, 2016 7:04pm EDT

    Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump would con­sid­er changes to Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare if he is elect­ed U.S. pres­i­dent, a top advis­er to the New York busi­ness­man said on Wednes­day, sig­nal­ing a shift from Trump’s ear­li­er stance that he would not touch so-called enti­tle­ment pro­grams.

    Pol­i­cy advis­er Sam Clo­vis said at a Wash­ing­ton con­fer­ence that Trump would be open to a bipar­ti­san look at enti­tle­ment spend­ing once he imple­ment­ed his oth­er poli­cies, such as his tax plan.

    “I think after the admin­is­tra­tion’s been in place, then we will start to take a look at all of the pro­grams, includ­ing enti­tle­ment pro­grams like Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare,” Clo­vis said at an event host­ed by the Peter G. Peter­son Foun­da­tion.

    The foun­da­tion is known for its attacks on deficit spend­ing, and it sup­ports revamp­ing Social Secu­ri­ty and Medicare.

    “We’ll take a hard look at those to start see­ing what we can do in a bipar­ti­san way,” Clo­vis said, adding Trump was not propos­ing any enti­tle­ment changes now.

    ...

    On the cam­paign trail in Wis­con­sin last month, he attacked Repub­li­cans who he said would cut Social Secu­ri­ty ben­e­fits.

    “It’s my absolute inten­tion to leave Social Secu­ri­ty the way it is,” Trump said dur­ing a Repub­li­can debate in March. “I want to make our coun­try rich again so we can afford it.”

    Clo­vis said Trump’s eco­nom­ic poli­cies would spur growth, and he esti­mat­ed a $4.5 tril­lion to $7 tril­lion sur­plus over 10 years. The con­ser­v­a­tive Tax Foun­da­tion has esti­mat­ed Trump’s tax plan, which calls for sim­pli­fy­ing the tax code and slash­ing cor­po­rate rates, would cut U.S. tax rev­enues by about $10 tril­lion.

    Trump may retool that tax pro­pos­al to bring down the price tag, said Stephen Moore, a con­ser­v­a­tive econ­o­mist with the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. He said he and Lar­ry Kud­low, who hosts a pro­gram on CNBC, have pro­posed changes to the tax plan.

    “What we were work­ing with the cam­paign a lit­tle bit on is how can we get that cost down, cut it by half or more, with­out dis­rupt­ing the main growth ele­ments of the plan,” Moore told Reuters.

    Hope Hicks, a spokesman for the Trump cam­paign, said the tax plan was not being re-writ­ten. Moore said Trump had not yet signed off on any pro­posed tweaks.

    “Clo­vis said Trump’s eco­nom­ic poli­cies would spur growth, and he esti­mat­ed a $4.5 tril­lion to $7 tril­lion sur­plus over 10 years. The con­ser­v­a­tive Tax Foun­da­tion has esti­mat­ed Trump’s tax plan, which calls for sim­pli­fy­ing the tax code and slash­ing cor­po­rate rates, would cut U.S. tax rev­enues by about $10 tril­lion.”
    So Trump’s $10 tril­lion tax cut is pro­ject­ed by the Trump advis­ers to stim­u­late growth so much that it actu­al leads to a $5–7 tril­lion sur­plus over the next decade. Which, of course, means that those enti­tle­ments pro­grams are going to be look­ing awful­ly unaf­ford­able should this lat­est iter­a­tion of sup­ply-side tax cut mania does­n’t actu­al­ly result in some sort of mir­a­cle econ­o­my. Sor­ry grand­ma.

    And note the new advi­sors he’s brought in to help flesh out his plans:

    ...
    Trump may retool that tax pro­pos­al to bring down the price tag, said Stephen Moore, a con­ser­v­a­tive econ­o­mist with the Her­itage Foun­da­tion. He said he and Lar­ry Kud­low, who hosts a pro­gram on CNBC, have pro­posed changes to the tax plan.
    ...

    That’s right, in order to address the $10 tril­lion price tag for Trumps tax pack­age, he’s enlist­ed Stephen Moore and Lar­ry Kud­low to “retool” the plan. So long grand­ma. It’s a reminder that when Don­ald Trump takes over as the dri­ver of the GOP’s 2016 Clown Car, the car isn’t oth­er­wise emp­ty now that he had no more oppo­nents. It just gets filled with new min­ion clowns.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 16, 2016, 6:07 pm
  23. Fox News host Meg­yn Kel­ly inter­viewed Don­ald Trump for her new inter­view show on the Fox broad­cast net­work. It was unclear what to expect from the inter­view giv­en the past spar­ring between the two, but it turns out we actu­al­ly learned some­thing about Trump and what makes him tick. Or at least we learned what he would like us to believe makes him tick. And based on his com­ments, it would appear that Don­ald Trump would like us to believe that Don­ald Trump behaves like Don­ald Trump because he’s wound­ed and in need of heal­ing...and that’s why he wounds oth­ers:

    The Wash­ing­ton Exam­in­er

    Trump: I wound peo­ple to ‘unwound myself’

    By Gab­by Mor­rongiel­lo • 5/17/16 8:40 PM

    Pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump said Tues­day that his pen­chant for insult­ing oth­ers stems from a desire to heal his own wounds.

    “When I’m wound­ed, I go after peo­ple hard and I try to unwound myself,” Trump said in a much-antic­i­pat­ed inter­view with Fox News’ Meg­yn Kel­ly that aired Tues­day night on FOX.

    The Fox News anchor was the sub­ject of Trump’s vit­ri­ol for near­ly 10 months after she con­front­ed the bil­lion­aire about his treat­ment of women dur­ing the first GOP pri­ma­ry debate last sum­mer. On more than one occa­sion, Trump retweet­ed Twit­ter users who called Kel­ly a “bim­bo” and encour­aged his sup­port­ers to boy­cott Fox News.

    ...

    On Tues­day, Trump said he was raised to “fight back” and does­n’t have many regrets about his feud with Kel­ly or the insults he’s hurled at oth­ers.

    “To look back and say, “Gee, I wish I did­n’t do that’ – I don’t think that’s good. I don’t even think in a cer­tain way that’s healthy,” he told Kel­ly.

    Trump also sug­gest­ed that every neg­a­tive com­ments he’s made about one of his Repub­li­can oppo­nents or a mem­ber of the media was “in response to some­thing they did.”

    “I view myself as a per­son and like every­body else, I’m fight­ing for sur­vival,” he said.

    “To look back and say, “Gee, I wish I did­n’t do that’ – I don’t think that’s good. I don’t even think in a cer­tain way that’s healthy
    Remorse is unhealthy, where­as hurt­ing oth­ers to heal your­self is just some­thing one does. You have to won­der what oth­er eth­i­cal gems are hid­ing in that psy­che.

    But also keep in mind that, while com­ments like this might make him come off as kind of a psy­cho, it also makes him a human­ized, wound­ed psy­cho that only does what he does because of all the pain he’s suf­fer­ing. He hurts because he’s been hurt. Very deeply appar­ent­ly. And fight­ing for sur­vival.

    So remem­ber, the next time you see an adver­tise­ment that’s basi­cal­ly a mon­tage of hurt­ful, degrad­ing Trump com­ments, that’s just Don­ald try­ing to process all the hurt he’s feel­ing so he can sur­vive anoth­er day. He’s actu­al­ly quite deep and feels deeply. Except for remorse. He does­n’t feel that. But he feels lots of oth­er emo­tions, hence all the hurt and sub­se­quent hurt­ing of oth­ers.

    You have to hand it to him: No one sells sociopa­thy quite like The Don­ald. It’s pret­ty bril­liant.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 17, 2016, 6:01 pm
  24. The Trump cam­paign had anoth­er pair of “oops” moment this week regard­ing its del­e­gates when one of its Mary­land del­e­gates was indict­ed for the unlaw­ful trans­port of explo­sive mate­ri­als, the ille­gal pos­ses­sion of a machine gun, and using a minor to pro­duce pornog­ra­phy. And then there’s the cam­paign’s lat­est “white pride” del­e­gate who was just pro­file in the Chica­go Tri­bune. Oops. And this is all, of course, in the wake of the rev­e­la­tion that William John­son, leader of the white nation­al­ist Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty was select­ed as one of the cam­paign’s Cal­i­for­nia del­e­gates due to a “data­base error”. So what’s next? Well, if William John­son’s pre­dic­tions in a recent inter­view are accu­rate, what’s next is that Trump will win the elec­tion in Novem­ber at which point we’ll learn that there were more “data­base errors” who will be a lot more will­ing to self-iden­ti­fy them­selves as “proud” data­base errors:

    Moth­er Jones

    White Nation­al­ist Par­ty Claims More of Its Mem­bers Are Now Trump Del­e­gates
    Is Trump their tick­et into the GOP con­ven­tion and the main­stream?

    Josh Harkin­son
    May 19, 2016 6:00 AM

    On May 10, Los Ange­les attor­ney William John­son resigned as a del­e­gate for Don­ald Trump to the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion after Moth­er Jones report­ed that John­son is the leader of the white nation­al­ist Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty. The Trump cam­paign, which select­ed John­son as one of its Cal­i­for­nia del­e­gates, blamed his inclu­sion on a “data­base error.” But white nation­al­ist lead­ers, includ­ing one who has con­tributed to an online hate forum, are now claim­ing that oth­er mem­bers of their move­ment have become del­e­gates for Trump.

    “[H]ere is what they don’t know: we have more del­e­gates!” the Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty wrote on its Face­book page last week, in response to the Moth­er Jones report.

    John­son said in an inter­view that he is not direct­ly involved with the AFP’s Face­book page, but he con­firmed that the page is run by Robert H. DePasquale, whose covert activism as a white suprema­cist is well doc­u­ment­ed. Accord­ing to the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, DePasquale is a web design­er in New York City who has built sites for white suprema­cist groups and has pseu­do­ny­mous­ly post­ed more than 20,000 racist and anti-Semit­ic mes­sages on Storm­front, a lead­ing online hate forum. (The forum’s mot­to is “White Pride World Wide.”) DePasquale did not respond to requests for com­ment. The AFP’s Face­book post, cap­tured by Moth­er Jones in this screen shot, was soon delet­ed:
    [see screen­shot]

    The AFP has come to see the Trump cam­paign as its path to tak­ing white nation­al­ism into the main­stream. In recent months the group and a relat­ed super-PAC have pro­duced and fund­ed pro-Trump robo­calls, set up a “polit­i­cal harass­ment hot­line” for Trump sup­port­ers, and pro­mot­ed Trump on a talk radio show.

    But move­ment lead­ers appear torn about how much to shout from atop the Trump band­wag­on ver­sus stay­ing in the shad­ows. John­son told Moth­er Jones that he knows of at least one oth­er AFP mem­ber who has been select­ed by a state par­ty to attend the GOP con­ven­tion this July. John­son declined to iden­ti­fy the per­son for fear of com­pro­mis­ing the per­son­’s involve­ment with the GOP, but he dis­closed that he is an “hon­orary” del­e­gate for Trump from an East­ern state. So-called hon­orary del­e­gates do not have vot­ing pow­er, but typ­i­cal­ly are select­ed by state par­ties to attend the con­ven­tion, often as a perk in exchange for polit­i­cal dona­tions.

    At John­son’s request, the AFP del­e­gate for Trump agreed to be inter­viewed by Moth­er Jones, but lat­er backed out. John­son said there are addi­tion­al white nation­al­ist Trump del­e­gates who have been in touch with move­ment lead­ers, though “I don’t actu­al­ly know who they are. There are peo­ple who are sur­rep­ti­tious,” he said.

    “Right now peo­ple are still a lit­tle bit afraid because they will have the same reac­tion that hap­pened to me,” John­son explained. “We just have to give it a few more months before peo­ple feel com­fort­able.”

    The Trump cam­paign did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    ...

    John­son believes that Trump’s rise will moti­vate oth­er white nation­al­ists to express their views pub­licly. “You’ve got to real­ize that I’m out in the open and upfront, but a lot of peo­ple aren’t there yet,” he said. “Talk to me in eight months and more peo­ple will be out. Par­tic­u­lar­ly if Don­ald Trump gets elect­ed.”

    “At John­son’s request, the AFP del­e­gate for Trump agreed to be inter­viewed by Moth­er Jones, but lat­er backed out. John­son said there are addi­tion­al white nation­al­ist Trump del­e­gates who have been in touch with move­ment lead­ers, though “I don’t actu­al­ly know who they are. There are peo­ple who are sur­rep­ti­tious,” he said.
    It sure sounds like the open white nation­al­ists are hav­ing suc­cess at infil­trat­ing the almost open white nation­al­ist Trump cam­paign which, itself, is sort of an insur­gency with­in the not quite but almost as open­ly white nation­al­ist Repub­lic Par­ty. It’s been a good year for white nation­al­ism (on top of a pret­ty good few decades).

    So if the white nation­al­ists have been join­ing the Trump cam­paign with such ease, you have to won­der what else is hid­ing in that cam­paign? And what pos­si­ble impact could the Trump unortho­dox del­e­gate selec­tions have in the actu­al elec­tion? That’s hard to say, although if this trick­le of trou­ble remains steady through­out the next few months it seems like it could have at least some sort of effect on the pub­lic’s per­cep­tion of Trump’s char­ac­ter and judge­ment. Don’t for­get that William John­son was­n’t hid­ing his views at all when that “data­base error” hap­pened and the guy had been run­ning pro-Trump white nation­al­ist robo­calls for months. But what­ev­er impact the Trumpian del­e­gate selec­tion process has on how the pub­lic per­ceives Trump’s agen­da, it’s prob­a­bly not going to have as big an impact as the Trump cam­paign’s deci­sion to not even vet itself:

    Moth­er Jones

    Trump’s Polit­i­cal Advis­ers Want­ed to Vet Him. He Said No.
    The appar­ent GOP nom­i­nee declined to go through the stan­dard cam­paign prac­tice.

    David Corn
    May 19, 2016 6:00 AM

    For most major pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns, it is a rou­tine act: You con­duct oppo­si­tion research on your own can­di­date. The rea­son is obvi­ous; cam­paign offi­cials and can­di­dates want to know what they might have to con­tend with once the you-know-what starts fly­ing. But not Don­ald Trump. At least not at the start of the cam­paign that would lead to him becom­ing the pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee. Accord­ing to a source with direct knowl­edge, when Trump was con­sid­er­ing enter­ing the pres­i­den­tial race ear­ly last year, his polit­i­cal advis­ers, includ­ing Corey Lewandows­ki, who would become his cam­paign man­ag­er, sug­gest­ed that he hire a pro­fes­sion­al to inves­ti­gate his past. But the celebri­ty mogul said no and refused to pay for it.

    Mar­i­tal infi­deli­ty, con­nec­tions to mob-relat­ed per­sons, bank­rupt­cies, the hir­ing of undoc­u­ment­ed work­ers, pol­i­cy flip-flops, deals gone bad, legal trou­blesTrump’s life is an oppo­si­tion researcher’s dream. That was no secret to his polit­i­cal lieu­tenants, who pri­or to his announce­ment dis­cussed the need to con­duct a deep dive into the tycoon’s back­ground. The point was to do more than Google search­es and perus­ing of the many books writ­ten on Trump—and to instead mount a full foren­sic exam­i­na­tion of every­thing Don­ald. Espe­cial­ly before any­one else did. (Trump’s aides had heard a rumor that wealthy con­ser­v­a­tive donors, per­haps includ­ing the Koch broth­ers, were under­writ­ing a pri­vate oppo­si­tion research effort aimed at the for­mer real­i­ty TV star.)

    “Every­one does this,” says a for­mer Mitt Rom­ney aide. “I don’t know a cam­paign that did­n’t. It’s a stan­dard pro­ce­dure.” Polit­i­cal research firms spe­cial­ize in this sort of work. “It’s an off-the-shelf ser­vice they pro­vide,” this aide notes. “For X dol­lars, you get a dif­fer­ent lev­el of dig­ging. I’ve nev­er known a cam­paign that did­n’t do this. After all, you’re expect­ed to know your own record. Any respon­si­ble cam­paign would do that.”

    The Trump cam­paign did not respond to a request for com­ment.

    One sub­ject on the mind of Trump’s advis­ers was Jef­frey Epstein, the finance mogul who was arrest­ed in 2006 and sub­se­quent­ly plead­ed guilty to hav­ing solicit­ed paid sex with a minor. He ulti­mate­ly served 13 months in prison and had to reg­is­ter as a sex offend­er. (Sev­er­al years ago, alleged Epstein vic­tims filed a law­suit against the US gov­ern­ment claim­ing Epstein received too sweet a plea bar­gain.) Trump’s advis­ers did­n’t know of any­thing in par­tic­u­lar to wor­ry about. But they knew Trump had been linked to his fel­low Palm Beach res­i­dent. In 2002, Trump had said of Epstein, “I’ve known Jeff for fif­teen years. Ter­rif­ic guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beau­ti­ful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it—Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” Epstein had occa­sion­al­ly vis­it­ed Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s estate and club down the road from Epstein’s man­sion. Trump also had flown on Epstein’s plane and had dined at his house. And Vir­ginia Roberts, an alleged Epstein vic­tim who tried to join the civ­il law­suit, main­tain­ing that Epstein kept her as a sex slave for sev­er­al years when she was a teenag­er, was work­ing at Mar-a-Lago as a chang­ing room assis­tant when she was recruit­ed, at age 15, to be a masseuse for Epstein. (A judge recent­ly denied Roberts’ bid to become a plain­tiff in the case.)

    Trump has down­played his asso­ci­a­tion with Epstein. But these con­nec­tions would be enough to cause any senior cam­paign staffer to want a full exam­i­na­tion. “This vet­ting process was not for the pur­pose of look­ing at Epstein specif­i­cal­ly,” a Trump insid­er says. “It was to be an audit to see what could be found on any­thing.” (Con­ser­v­a­tives have point­ed to Bill Clin­ton’s friend­ship with Epstein—he often was a pas­sen­ger on Epstein’s pri­vate plane—as pos­si­ble ammu­ni­tion to be used in the 2016 cam­paign against Hillary Clin­ton.)

    Though Trump would not autho­rize an exten­sive research effort to iden­ti­fy what oppo might be most harm­ful to his can­di­da­cy, his cam­paign did pre­pare respons­es to obvi­ous lines of attack against the bil­lion­aire. Moth­er Jones reviewed one cam­paign memo out­lin­ing pos­si­ble replies to expect­ed assaults, but most of these top­ics were pol­i­cy and polit­i­cal mat­ters already in the pub­lic realm. What about Trump’s 1999 pro­pos­al to raise tax­es on the well-to-do? Trump mere­ly had pro­posed a one-time fix designed to erase the nation­al debt, a move that showed that Trump pos­sessed the fore­sight to see that deficits would become a major prob­lem. What about his past dona­tions to Democ­rats? Trump was sup­port­ing incum­bents of both par­ties as an act of civic par­tic­i­pa­tion, and since 2011 he has only con­tributed to Repub­li­cans. What about Trump man­u­fac­tur­ing his cloth­ing line in Chi­na? He had played no role in the deci­sion to out­source, and Chi­na was picked because US reg­u­la­tion and red tape made it too expen­sive to man­u­fac­ture goods in the Unit­ed States. What about his fail­ure to serve in the mil­i­tary? Trump had received stu­dent defer­ments, and as a grad­u­ate of a mil­i­tary acad­e­my he has been a strong pro­po­nent of the US mil­i­tary and vet­er­ans.

    ...

    These were talk­ing points designed to deal with the exist­ing pub­lic record—not respons­es craft­ed to address new rev­e­la­tions. At the begin­ning of his pres­i­den­tial cru­sade, Trump would not allow his aides to pre­pare for that. The can­di­date, who now refus­es to release his income tax­es, did not want his own cam­paign scru­ti­niz­ing his past. He was not will­ing to be transparent—not even for his own team.

    “Mar­i­tal infi­deli­ty, con­nec­tions to mob-relat­ed per­sons, bank­rupt­cies, the hir­ing of undoc­u­ment­ed work­ers, pol­i­cy flip-flops, deals gone bad, legal trou­blesTrump’s life is an oppo­si­tion researcher’s dream. That was no secret to his polit­i­cal lieu­tenants, who pri­or to his announce­ment dis­cussed the need to con­duct a deep dive into the tycoon’s back­ground. The point was to do more than Google search­es and perus­ing of the many books writ­ten on Trump—and to instead mount a full foren­sic exam­i­na­tion of every­thing Don­ald. Espe­cial­ly before any­one else did. (Trump’s aides had heard a rumor that wealthy con­ser­v­a­tive donors, per­haps includ­ing the Koch broth­ers, were under­writ­ing a pri­vate oppo­si­tion research effort aimed at the for­mer real­i­ty TV star.)”
    Yep, it’s not just the Trump del­e­ga­tion that’s filled with yet to be dis­closed secrets. Trump’s own life is filled with yet to be dis­closed secrets. And that’s no secret.

    And that’s all part of why the Trump cam­paign’s lack of vet­ting Trump him­self could be such a fas­ci­nat­ing elec­tion issue: When you con­sid­er that the cam­paign sea­sons in the lead up to an actu­al vote is the peri­od when democ­ra­cies are sup­posed to vet their poten­tial lead­ers, the Trump cam­paign’s obvi­ous vet­ting issues, com­bined with the con­stant flip-flop­ping and secre­cy of Trump’s pol­i­cy stances, are a great reminder that a vote for Trump at this point is a vote against vet­ting. It’s a vote against a lot of oth­er things too, but also vet­ting.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 21, 2016, 3:53 pm
  25. One of the big ques­tions of the day that’s prob­a­bly going to be a ques­tion his­to­ri­ans are prob­a­bly going to ask for cen­turies to come about the char­ac­ter of human­i­ty’s 21st cen­tu­ry lead­er­ship is whether or not the glob­al elites basi­cal­ly believed that man-made cli­mate change was a real phe­nom­e­na and just chose to play dumb and do what it takes to ensure noth­ing mean­ing­ful is done to pre­vent it or reduce the impact. Because if it turns out that folks like, say, Don­ald Trump real­ly do believe that man-made cli­mate change sci­ence is point­ing towards poten­tial­ly cat­a­stroph­ic sce­nar­ios but chose for what­ev­er rea­son to tell the pub­lic that it was all a giant hoax, well, that would basi­cal­ly be super-vil­lain behav­ior.

    And if it turns out that a whole bunch of the peo­ple in Trump’s social stra­ta are engaged in the same mali­cious nihilism, well, then we have a league of super-vil­lains try­ing to destroy the plan­et. And the greater the oncom­ing envi­ron­men­tal cat­a­stro­phe, the greater the incen­tives future his­to­ri­ans will have to ask the ques­tion of whether or not human­i­ty’s 21st cen­tu­ry elites inten­tion­al­ly set the plan­et on an col­li­sion course with doom. It’s going to be a pret­ty com­pelling future ques­tion. Espe­cial­ly if it also turns out that those same elites who were telling us it’s all hoax were qui­et­ly prepar­ing their per­son­al empires to deal with cat­a­stroph­ic cli­mate change:

    Politi­co

    Trump acknowl­edges cli­mate change — at his golf course

    The bil­lion­aire, who called glob­al warm­ing a hoax, warns of its dire effects in his com­pa­ny’s appli­ca­tion to build a sea wall.

    By Ben Schreckinger

    05/23/16 05:35 AM EDT

    Don­ald Trump says he is “not a big believ­er in glob­al warm­ing.” He has called it “a total hoax,” “bull­shit” and “pseu­do­science.”

    But he is also try­ing to build a sea wall designed to pro­tect one of his golf cours­es from “glob­al warm­ing and its effects.”

    The New York bil­lion­aire is apply­ing for per­mis­sion to erect a coastal pro­tec­tion works to pre­vent ero­sion at his sea­side golf resort, Trump Inter­na­tion­al Golf Links & Hotel Ire­land, in Coun­ty Clare.
    A per­mit appli­ca­tion for the wall, filed by Trump Inter­na­tion­al Golf Links Ire­land and reviewed by POLITICO, explic­it­ly cites glob­al warm­ing and its con­se­quences — increased ero­sion due to ris­ing sea lev­els and extreme weath­er this cen­tu­ry — as a chief jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for build­ing the struc­ture.

    The zon­ing appli­ca­tion rais­es fur­ther ques­tions about how the bil­lion­aire devel­op­er would con­front a risk he has pub­licly min­i­mized but that has been iden­ti­fied as a defin­ing chal­lenge of this era by world lead­ers, glob­al indus­try and the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary. His pub­lic dis­avow­al of cli­mate sci­ence at the same time he moves to secure his own hold­ings against the effects of cli­mate change also illus­trates the con­flict between his polit­i­cal rhetoric and the real­i­ties of run­ning a busi­ness with sea­side assets in the 21st cen­tu­ry.

    “It’s dia­bol­i­cal,” said for­mer South Car­oli­na Repub­li­can Rep. Bob Inglis, an advo­cate of con­ser­v­a­tive solu­tions to cli­mate change. “Don­ald Trump is work­ing to ensure his at-risk prop­er­ties and his com­pa­ny is try­ing to fig­ure out how to deal with sea lev­el rise. Mean­while, he’s say­ing things to audi­ences that he must know are not true. … You have a soft place in your heart for peo­ple who are hon­est­ly igno­rant, but peo­ple who are deceit­ful, that’s a dif­fer­ent thing.”

    Nei­ther Trump’s spokes­woman, Hope Hicks, nor Alan Garten, the gen­er­al coun­sel of the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion, the umbrel­la com­pa­ny for Trump’s busi­ness ven­tures, respond­ed to requests for com­ment.

    For years, own­ers of sea­side assets, investors, and indus­tries like rein­sur­ance have been busi­ly adapt­ing to and hedg­ing against cli­mate change – a real­i­ty wide­ly acknowl­edged by the world’s top busi­ness lead­ers.

    “If you’re being respon­si­ble you are pro­tect­ing your prop­er­ty and invest­ing in these things,” said Cyn­thia McHale, direc­tor of the insur­ance pro­gram at Ceres, a non­prof­it that works with busi­ness­es and insti­tu­tion­al investors to pro­mote sus­tain­abil­i­ty. “It’s cer­tain­ly best prac­tice.” But McHale added that many com­mer­cial devel­op­ers of sea­side prop­er­ties fail to account for cli­mate change in their deci­sions because they are focused on short time hori­zons.

    Trump snatched up the golf resort from a dis­tressed buy­er in Feb­ru­ary 2014, after a win­ter in which an unusu­al num­ber of severe storms hit the west coast of Ire­land. The busi­ness­man imme­di­ate­ly took an active hand in advanc­ing and pro­mot­ing his Irish invest­ment.

    In April of 2014, Tony Lowes, direc­tor of Friends of the Irish Envi­ron­ment, said Trump called him to offer the group help in oppos­ing a pro­posed off­shore wind project in a near­by, envi­ron­men­tal­ly sen­si­tive area. The group, which has since come out against Trump’s pro­posed wall, declined the businessman’s offer.

    The next month, Trump gave an inter­view about the golf resort, also known as Trump Doon­beg, on Irish radio, vow­ing to invest up to €45m in the prop­er­ty. “If I didn’t have con­fi­dence in Ire­land I would nev­er have made this big invest­ment,” he said. He also promised to “reshape it and make it one of the great­est golf cours­es in the world.”

    But Trump has encoun­tered obsta­cles to that vision. Days before he con­clud­ed his pur­chase, a sin­gle storm erod­ed as much as eight meters of frontage in some parts of the golf course. Since acquir­ing the prop­er­ty, Trump has been try­ing to build coastal pro­tec­tion works to pre­vent fur­ther ero­sion.

    Ear­li­er this month, after fail­ing to win spe­cial approval from the nation­al gov­ern­ment for the struc­ture, Trump re-sub­mit­ted a plan­ning appli­ca­tion with the Clare Coun­ty Coun­cil seek­ing per­mis­sion to build the wall, which would con­sist of 200,000 tons of rock dis­trib­uted along two miles of beach. As part of the appli­ca­tion, Trump Inter­na­tion­al Golf Links sub­mit­ted an envi­ron­men­tal impact state­ment — pre­pared by an Irish envi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tan­cy — which argues that ero­sion is like­ly to accel­er­ate as sea lev­els rise more quick­ly.

    The state­ment acknowl­edges one Irish gov­ern­ment study that assumes a steady rate of ero­sion through 2050, but argues that the study fails to account for the effects of cli­mate change: “If the pre­dic­tions of an increase in sea lev­el rise as a result of glob­al warm­ing prove cor­rect, how­ev­er, it is like­ly that there will be a cor­re­spond­ing increase in coastal ero­sion rates not just in Dough­more Bay but around much of the coast­line of Ire­land. In our view, it could rea­son­ably be expect­ed that the rate of sea lev­el rise might become twice of that present­ly occur­ring. … As a result, we would expect the rate of dune reces­sion to increase.”

    The big­ger prob­lem, though, accord­ing to the impact state­ment, will be the ero­sion caused by larg­er, more fre­quent storms. “As with oth­er pre­dic­tions of glob­al warm­ing and its effects, there is no uni­ver­sal con­sen­sus regard­ing changes in these events,” it states. “Our advice is to assume that the recent aver­age rate of dune reces­sion will not alter great­ly in the next few decades, per­haps as far into the future as 2050 as assumed in the [gov­ern­ment study] but that sub­se­quent­ly an increase in this rate is more like­ly than not.”

    Lat­er, the state­ment argues that ris­ing sea lev­els make tak­ing action unavoid­able. “A Do nothing/Do min­i­mum option will have the least impact on [nat­ur­al] process­es but the exist­ing ero­sion rate will con­tin­ue and wors­en, due to sea lev­el rise, in the next com­ing years, pos­ing a real and imme­di­ate risk to most of the golf course frontage and assets,” states the con­clu­sion of an analy­sis of var­i­ous options for respond­ing to the ero­sion.

    Trump’s com­pa­ny has warned not only the coun­ty coun­cil of the per­ils of cli­mate change, but also local res­i­dents. An appen­dix to TIGL’s plan­ning appli­ca­tion includes a scan of a brochure that the com­pa­ny has dis­trib­uted to res­i­dents to make the case for build­ing the pro­posed coastal pro­tec­tion works. The head­ing of one page — embla­zoned with a “Trump Doon­beg” logo — is “Need for Coastal Pro­tec­tion.” The page lists four bul­let points, the last of which is, “Pre­dict­ed sea lev­el rise and more fre­quent storm events will increase the rate of ero­sion through­out the 21st cen­tu­ry.”

    The state­ments in the fil­ings con­tra­dict posi­tions pub­licly held by Trump, who has weighed in repeat­ed­ly on cli­mate change in recent years – most­ly to dis­miss it out­right. In 2012, he tweet­ed, “The con­cept of glob­al warm­ing was cre­at­ed by and for the Chi­nese in order to make U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing non-com­pet­i­tive,” though he has since insist­ed the tweet was a joke. In 2013, he tweet­ed, “We should be focused on clean and beau­ti­ful air-not expen­sive and busi­ness clos­ing GLOBAL WARMING‑a total hoax!” In Jan­u­ary 2014, he tweet­ed, “This very expen­sive GLOBAL WARMING bull­shit has got to stop. Our plan­et is freez­ing, record low temps, and our GW sci­en­tists are stuck in ice.”

    In some recent com­ments, Trump has con­tin­ued to defy the wide­ly held sci­en­tif­ic con­sen­sus about man-made cli­mate change, but his state­ments have become more com­pli­cat­ed, if not entire­ly clear.

    “I’m not a believ­er in glob­al warm­ing. And I’m not a believ­er in man-made glob­al warm­ing,” Trump told con­ser­v­a­tive radio host Hugh Hewitt in Sep­tem­ber. “It could be warm­ing, and it’s going to start to cool at some point. And you know, in the ear­ly, in the 1920s, peo­ple talked about glob­al cool­ing.”

    That same month, Trump appeared on MSNBC’s “Morn­ing Joe” and said, “I con­sid­er cli­mate change to be not one of our big prob­lems. I con­sid­er it to be not a big prob­lem at all. I think it’s weath­er. I think it’s weath­er changes. It could be some man-made some­thing, but you know, if you look at Chi­na, they’re doing noth­ing about it. Oth­er coun­tries, they’re doing noth­ing about it. It’s a big plan­et.”

    Asked by a Wash­ing­ton Post edi­to­r­i­al writer in March, “Don’t good busi­ness­men hedge against risks, not ignore them?” Trump respond­ed, “I just think we have much big­ger risks. I mean I think we have mil­i­tar­i­ly tremen­dous risks. I think we’re in tremen­dous per­il. I think our biggest form of cli­mate change we should wor­ry about is nuclear weapons.”

    The Pen­ta­gon, how­ev­er, describes cli­mate change as “an urgent and grow­ing threat to our nation­al secu­ri­ty.”.

    ...

    “It’s con­ceiv­able that he might swing around on this,” Inglis said. “Of course it would be a smart polit­i­cal move for him or for any­one because that’s where the public’s already going. That’s where mil­len­ni­als are going. That’s where the future is.”

    “The state­ments in the fil­ings con­tra­dict posi­tions pub­licly held by Trump, who has weighed in repeat­ed­ly on cli­mate change in recent years – most­ly to dis­miss it out­right. In 2012, he tweet­ed, “The con­cept of glob­al warm­ing was cre­at­ed by and for the Chi­nese in order to make U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing non-com­pet­i­tive,” though he has since insist­ed the tweet was a joke. In 2013, he tweet­ed, “We should be focused on clean and beau­ti­ful air-not expen­sive and busi­ness clos­ing GLOBAL WARMING‑a total hoax!” In Jan­u­ary 2014, he tweet­ed, “This very expen­sive GLOBAL WARMING bull­shit has got to stop. Our plan­et is freez­ing, record low temps, and our GW sci­en­tists are stuck in ice.””
    Huh. So at the same time Don­ald Trump is advo­cat­ing poli­cies that will destroy coastal real estate around the world, he’s try­ing to make his own golf cours­es cli­mate-change proof. Well, at least future his­to­ri­ans will be able to give him plen­ty of cred­it for super-vil­lain league ambi­tions. Less cred­it for super-vil­lain league orig­i­nal­i­ty.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 23, 2016, 2:23 pm
  26. Buf­fa­lo New York Con­gress­man Chris Collins, one of the Trump cam­paign’s allies in con­gress who has emerged as a sur­ro­gate or sorts, dropped a bit of a bomb­shell last week when he sug­gest­ed that Trump’s pro­posed wall with Mex­i­co was real­ly just rhetoric. Well, not quite rhetoric. There will be a wall, accord­ing to Collins, but it will be a “vir­tu­al wall” and undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants will be vir­tu­al­ly deport­ed through the vir­tu­al wall:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Top Trump Sur­ro­gate Says Bor­der Wall and Mass Depor­ta­tion Will Be “Vir­tu­al”

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished May 18, 2016, 11:04 PM EDT

    Buf­fa­lo New York Con­gress­man Chris Collins (R‑NY) was the first mem­ber of Con­gress to endorse pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump and he’s become a key cam­paign sur­ro­gate for the reput­ed bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man. But in a Tues­day inter­view with The Buf­fa­lo News, Collins said he believed two of Trump’s sig­na­ture cam­paign pro­pos­als would nev­er be car­ried out.

    Collins said he believed the wall Trump promised to build along the US-Mex­i­co bor­der would be more an idea than a phys­i­cal wall. “I have called it a vir­tu­al wall. Maybe we will be build­ing a wall over some aspects of it; I don’t know.”

    Collins also said that Trump’s con­tro­ver­sial plan to deport rough­ly 3% of the cur­rent US pop­u­la­tion would be a “rhetor­i­cal” exer­cise rather than a phys­i­cal depor­ta­tion.

    From The Buf­fa­lo News ...

    “I call it a rhetor­i­cal depor­ta­tion of 12 mil­lion peo­ple,” Collins said.

    He then ges­tured toward a door in his Capi­tol Hill office.

    “They go out that door, they go in that room, they get their work papers, Social Secu­ri­ty num­ber, then they come in that door, and they’ve got legal work sta­tus but are not cit­i­zens of the Unit­ed States,” Collins said. “So there was a vir­tu­al depor­ta­tion as they left that door for pro­cess­ing and came in this door.”

    Collins added: “We’re not going to put them on a bus, and we’re not going to dri­ve them across the bor­der.”

    Collins went on to say that he was sure Trump would deny these plans. But he was nonethe­less con­fi­dent that Trump’s bold asser­tions were mere­ly open­ing gam­bits in a long nego­ti­a­tion.

    “They go out that door, they go in that room, they get their work papers, Social Secu­ri­ty num­ber, then they come in that door, and they’ve got legal work sta­tus but are not cit­i­zens of the Unit­ed States...So there was a vir­tu­al depor­ta­tion as they left that door for pro­cess­ing and came in this door.”
    Wow. That’s quite a twist. And the best part is that Mex­i­co will prob­a­bly be more than hap­py to pay vir­tu­al mon­ey for this vir­tu­al wall. It’s win, win, win!

    Except it’s not a win for the anti-Lati­no seg­ment of the Trumpian hordes that’s been sali­vat­ing over the prospect of round­ing up and deport­ing 11 mil­lion undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants for years, and that’s a pret­ty big seg­ment. So how will they react if Pres­i­dent Trump makes vir­tu­al mass depor­ta­tions across the vir­tu­al wall his method for mak­ing good on his cam­paign pledge? It seems like they would be non-vir­tu­al­ly livid.

    But, of course, the real dis­ap­point with that kind of vir­tu­al betray­al of his sup­port­ers will be tak­ing place with­in the broad­er con­text of every­thing else that’s going on dur­ing a puta­tive Trump pres­i­den­cy. And there’s noth­ing stop­ping Trump from doing an array of oth­er anti-Lati­no/an­ti-immi­grant actions to sort of make up for the fact that his key cam­paign pledge that pro­pelled him to vic­to­ry was a sham all along. For instance, what if, instead of build­ing a wall to keep Mex­i­cans out of the US, Trump chose a VP that could ded­i­cate his pres­i­den­cy to build­ing a wall between Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers and the vot­ing booth. Would that be enough “red meat” to keep a dis­ap­point­ed base from feel­ing like they were just bam­boo­zled by anoth­er bil­lion­aire? Based on the Trump sup­port­ers in the fol­low­ing arti­cle, choos­ing a VP who would build that wall between vot­ers and the vot­ing booth would prob­a­bly go a long way. Espe­cial­ly if the VP is Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach:

    MSNBC

    Far-right nativists eye Kris Kobach for Don­ald Trump’s vice pres­i­dent
    05/23/16 06:15 PM

    By Zachary Roth

    Far-right Don­ald Trump sup­port­ers are eye­ing Kris Kobach, an immi­gra­tion hard­lin­er and a lead­ing fig­ure in the Repub­li­can assault on vot­ing rights, as a poten­tial run­ning mate for the pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee.

    The two appear to have sim­i­lar world­views. For decades, most mod­ern Repub­li­cans have talked about the need to shrink gov­ern­ment in order to pro­tect lib­er­ty. By con­trast, Trump and Kobach are more like­ly to empha­size “secu­ri­ty” – both on the bor­der and at the polls. Call it big-gov­ern­ment con­ser­vatism.

    Kobach, the Kansas sec­re­tary of state, endorsed Trump in late Feb­ru­ary. And last month Kobach said Trump’s idea for get­ting Mex­i­co to pay for a bor­der wall came from him. The plan involves cut­ting off remit­tances from the U.S. to Mex­i­co, which inject about $20 bil­lion a year into the Mex­i­can econ­o­my. In response, goes the think­ing, Mex­i­co would agree to fund the wall, which is pro­ject­ed to cost about $10 bil­lion, as the cheap­er option.

    “Mr. Trump was recep­tive to that idea. And I think he’s an excel­lent nego­tia­tor, and he looks for oppor­tu­ni­ties to put pres­sure on oppos­ing par­ties in nego­ti­a­tions, and this fits the bill,” Kobach told the Tope­ka Capi­tol-Jour­nal.

    Experts have said the idea would only dri­ve remit­tances onto the black mar­ket and could need­less­ly alien­ate an impor­tant region­al part­ner.

    The nativist web­site VDARE.com has pro­mot­ed Kobach as a veep selec­tion for Trump. Peter Brimelow, the site’s founder, called Kobach’s endorse­ment of Trump “a very brave move,” adding: “Kobach for veep.” The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter describes VDARE, which has reg­u­lar­ly pub­lished writ­ing by white nation­al­ists and anti-Semi­tes, as a hate group. It’s named for Vir­ginia Dare, said to be the first Eng­lish child born in the New World.

    In March, Kobach served as a de fac­to sur­ro­gate for Trump in an inter­view with PBS, in which he appeared along­side Mar­co Rubio sup­port­er Hen­ry Bar­bour. Kobach praised Trump for “tak­ing the strongest posi­tion that we’ve ever heard a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date take on ille­gal immi­gra­tion” and attacked Rubio as a sup­port­er of “amnesty.”

    The per­for­mance drew raves from VDARE. “In a GOP par­ty that was liv­ing up to its pro­fessed prin­ci­ples, peo­ple like Kobach, and not Bar­bour, would be run­ning things,” a writer for the site enthused, describ­ing Kobach as “a stal­wart war­rior against the ille­gal immi­grant inva­sion.” The post also appeared at the neo-Nazi site The Dai­ly Stormer, whose founder has endorsed Trump.

    Last week, the vice pres­i­den­tial spec­u­la­tion went more main­stream with a tweet from Mick­ey Kaus, a for­mer writer for The New Repub­lic and Slate who has adopt­ed an increas­ing­ly hard line on immi­gra­tion.

    ...

    Kobach, a for­mer aide to then-Attor­ney-Gen­er­al John Ashcroft, was the lead author of immi­gra­tion laws passed by Ari­zona and Alaba­ma in recent years, which are seen as the strictest immi­gra­tion mea­sures in the nation. The laws require law enforce­ment to try to deter­mine a person’s legal sta­tus dur­ing any legal stop if the offi­cer has a rea­son­able sus­pi­cion that the per­son is undoc­u­ment­ed.

    As Kansas’ top elec­tions offi­cial, Kobach has been equal­ly well-known for mak­ing it hard­er to vote. He cham­pi­oned a 2011 state law that requires peo­ple to show proof of cit­i­zen­ship when they reg­is­ter to vote. In Novem­ber 2014, Kobach kept around 24,000 vot­er reg­is­tra­tion appli­ca­tions in lim­bo because they didn’t include doc­u­men­tary proof of cit­i­zen­ship. Last week, a fed­er­al judge ordered Kobach’s office to begin pro­cess­ing sus­pend­ed appli­ca­tions sub­mit­ted through the Depart­ment of Motor Vehi­cles, sig­nif­i­cant­ly weak­en­ing the law. Kobach’s office is appeal­ing the rul­ing. And in Jan­u­ary he con­vinced the direc­tor of the fed­er­al agency that helps states over­see elec­tions to make a high­ly con­tro­ver­sial change to the fed­er­al vot­er reg­is­tra­tion form that allows his state, as well as Geor­gia and Alaba­ma, to ask for proof of cit­i­zen­ship. Both of those states have passed sim­i­lar laws to Kansas’. That move, too, has drawn a law­suit. Kobach claims non-cit­i­zen vot­ing threat­ens the integri­ty of elec­tions but has been able to point to only a tiny num­ber of cas­es.

    Kobach’s record as a sup­port­er of vot­ing restric­tions and espe­cial­ly of proof of cit­i­zen­ship require­ments may well appeal to Trump, who has sev­er­al times voiced sup­port for tight vot­ing laws and sug­gest­ed, with­out evi­dence, that ille­gal vot­ing is a seri­ous prob­lem. “I want to see vot­ing laws so that peo­ple that are cit­i­zens can vote,” Trump said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this month. “Not so peo­ple that can walk off the street and can vote, or so that ille­gal immi­grants can vote.”

    “You’ve got to have real secu­ri­ty with the vot­ing sys­tem,” Trump said on the cam­paign trail in Jan­u­ary. “This vot­ing sys­tem is out of con­trol. You have peo­ple, in my opin­ion, that are vot­ing many, many times.”

    ...

    Ear­li­er this month, Kobach told The Wichi­ta Eagle that he intends “to be avail­able to Mr. Trump to con­tin­ue to pro­vide any advice he needs on immi­gra­tion issues” but that he has no expec­ta­tion of a post in a Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

    “Kobach, a for­mer aide to then-Attor­ney-Gen­er­al John Ashcroft, was the lead author of immi­gra­tion laws passed by Ari­zona and Alaba­ma in recent years, which are seen as the strictest immi­gra­tion mea­sures in the nation. The laws require law enforce­ment to try to deter­mine a person’s legal sta­tus dur­ing any legal stop if the offi­cer has a rea­son­able sus­pi­cion that the per­son is undoc­u­ment­ed.”
    That’s right, Kansas’s sec­re­tary of state is not only a one-man vot­ing rights wreck­ing crew. He was also the archi­tect of Ari­zon­a’s noto­ri­ous SB-20170 “papers please” law which was spon­sored by neo-Nazi fel­low trav­el­er Rus­sell Pearce and would have basi­cal­ly forced lati­nos to car­ry around proof of cit­i­zen­ship wher­ev­er they go or face poten­tial arrest and jail­ing. You can see why the white nation­al­ists describe above would LOVE Kobach for VP. But he also seems like a pret­ty good gen­er­al fit for the Trump cam­paign in gen­er­al. Kobach cer­tain­ly aligns well with the Trumpian com­po­nent of the nation­al zeit­geist.

    Of course, this all assumes that Rep Collins was cor­rect and Don­ald Trump real­ly does have no plans for any­thing oth­er than a vir­tu­al wall with vir­tu­al mass depor­ta­tions. But giv­en the absur­di­ty of Trumps pro­pos­als, it’s hard to rule Rep Collins’s sug­ges­tion out. And while we pro­les may not get to know Trumps real inten­tions before the elec­tion, Trump him­self pre­sum­ably knows if his wall pledge was a real or vir­tu­al pledge. And if Trump does know it’s a vir­tu­al pledge, he also knows he’s going to have to real­ly do some­thing dra­mat­ic and real­ly mean to Lati­nos in order to please the Trumpian hordes once they find out they’ve been fooled. So, while Kobach as VP might be a lit­tle too risky for the gen­er­al elec­tion, Kobach for attor­ney gen­er­al or some­thing along those lines could be the kind of post-elec­tion deci­sion a pres­i­dent-elect Trump could make this Fall in antic­i­pa­tion of the big “vir­tu­al” dis­ap­point­ments he’d even­tu­al­ly have to admit.

    It’s all one of those unpleas­ant thoughts that makes the prospect of a Trump pres­i­den­cy that much more unpleas­ant, although it would be kind of nice if his mass deportation/wall plans real­ly are vir­tu­al plans. And should we end up with a Trump pres­i­dent, keep in mind that there is still hope. Grant­ed, it’s vir­tu­al hope, but that’s pret­ty good.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 24, 2016, 3:10 pm
  27. While Don­ald Trump may be brand­ing him­self as an anti-politi­cian who cuts through the polit­i­cal blus­ter to get things done it’s easy to forge that he’s actu­al­ly a high­ly skilled politi­cian. For instance, when you can con­vince both neo-Nazis call­ing for the death of Jew­ish reporters crit­i­cal of Trump and Jew­ish con­ser­v­a­tives that you’re secret­ly on their side you’re obvi­ous­ly high­ly adept at strate­gic blus­ter. And, in this case, strate­gic silence:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Trump’s Neo-Nazi And Jew­ish Back­ers Are Both Con­vinced He’s Secret­ly On Their Side

    Which works out great for him.

    Jes­si­ca Schul­berg
    For­eign Affairs Reporter, The Huff­in­g­ton Post
    05/26/2016 03:54 pm ET | Updat­ed 11 min­utes ago

    WASHINGTON — “He’s not Hitler,” Mela­nia Trump said ear­li­er this month in defense of her hus­band.

    It’s a dis­claimer not typ­i­cal­ly offered about the pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee of a mod­ern polit­i­cal par­ty. But white nation­al­ists and neo-Nazis have embraced Don­ald Trump — send­ing robo­calls on his behalf, call­ing him their “Glo­ri­ous Leader” on hate web­sites, and send­ing threat­en­ing mes­sages to Jew­ish jour­nal­ists cov­er­ing him — and the pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can stan­dard-bear­er has repeat­ed­ly declined oppor­tu­ni­ties to denounce them.

    Trump stalled before dis­avow­ing the endorse­ment of David Duke, a for­mer KKK leader, and missed a dead­line to take white nation­al­ist hon­cho William John­son off his del­e­gate list. “I don’t have a mes­sage to the fans,” Trump said when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked if he had any­thing to say to his sup­port­ers who sent Holo­caust-themed memes and offered overnight cas­ket deliv­ery and homi­cide cleanup ser­vices to Julia Ioffe, a Huff­Post High­line con­trib­u­tor who wrote a GQ pro­file of Mela­nia.

    Trump still hasn’t spo­ken out against his anti-Semit­ic sup­port­ers, who also threat­ened New York Times reporter Jonathan Weis­man, called for the death of con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor Ben Shapiro and his chil­dren, and told con­ser­v­a­tive writer Bethany Man­del she deserved “the oven.”

    That silence has both Trump’s neo-Nazi fans and his Jew­ish sup­port­ers con­vinced the can­di­date is secret­ly on their side.

    “We inter­pret that as an endorse­ment,” Andrew Anglin, the founder of the neo-Nazi web­site the Dai­ly Stormer, named for the Hitler-era tabloid Der Stürmer, told The Huff­in­g­ton Post in an email.

    “Glo­ri­ous Leader Don­ald Trump Refus­es to Denounce Stormer Troll Army,” Anglin, who describes him­self and his read­ers as “vir­u­lent” Trump sup­port­ers, post­ed on his web­site after the CNN inter­view. “We sup­port Trump because he is the sav­ior of the White race, sent by God to free us from the shack­les of the Jew occu­pa­tion and estab­lish a 1000 Reich,” Anglin told Huff­Post.

    Anglin and Trump’s oth­er neo-Nazi sup­port­ers love that he called Mex­i­can immi­grants rapists, and back his plan to ban all of the planet’s 1.6 bil­lion Mus­lims from enter­ing the U.S. But they’re also con­vinced he’ll take on Jews.

    And although many Jew­ish con­ser­v­a­tives are dis­gust­ed that Trump’s cam­paign has invig­o­rat­ed and delight­ed fringe neo-Nazi groups, some top Jew­ish Repub­li­cans have decid­ed to sim­ply look the oth­er way.

    Repub­li­can mega-donor Shel­don Adel­son, for whom sup­port of Israel is the key issue in select­ing a can­di­date to back, endorsed Trump short­ly after Ioffe filed a police report over the death threats she’d received from his sup­port­ers.

    Ari Fleis­ch­er, who was a spokesman for Pres­i­dent George W. Bush and who now sits on the board of the Repub­li­can Jew­ish Coali­tion, announced on Twit­ter that he pre­ferred Trump to like­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Hillary Clin­ton.

    The anti-Semit­ic attacks on Ioffe won’t stop Fleis­ch­er from sup­port­ing Trump, he told Huff­Post.

    “The fact that the Black Pan­thers came out for Barack Oba­ma doesn’t make Barack Oba­ma a Black Pan­ther sym­pa­thiz­er,” Fleis­ch­er, who not­ed that Trump was his “17th choice” as the Repub­li­can can­di­date, told Huff­Post. “You can­not ascribe to a can­di­date the views of the worst rad­i­cal fringes that may sup­port them. ... These argu­ments about how Don­ald Trump shouldn’t be sup­port­ed because fringe rad­i­cal groups have said good things about him — I reject entire­ly.

    “I’m sure you’ll find Com­mu­nists and social­ists sup­port­ing Clin­ton,” Fleis­ch­er said.

    Ortho­dox Rab­bi Shmu­ley Boteach, a con­tro­ver­sial media per­son­al­i­ty, wrote in praise of Trump’s sup­port of Israel and “long friend­ship with the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty.” (Boteach has said he dis­agrees with Trump’s call to ban Mus­lims from vis­it­ing the U.S.)

    The Repub­li­can Jew­ish Coali­tion, a group that says it “works to sen­si­tize Repub­li­can lead­er­ship in gov­ern­ment and the par­ty to the con­cerns and issues of the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty,” issued a state­ment on Tues­day sug­gest­ing that anti-Semi­tism is just as much of a prob­lem among Hillary Clin­ton sup­port­ers and Bernie Sanders sup­port­ers as it is among Trump’s.

    “We abhor any abuse of jour­nal­ists, com­men­ta­tors and writ­ers,” the RJC said, “whether it be from Sanders, Clin­ton or Trump sup­port­ers.”

    But the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, which mon­i­tors the activ­i­ty of hate groups, sin­gles out the Trump cam­paign for fuel­ing the white nation­al­ist move­ment.

    “The per­son who was pri­vate­ly read­ing a hate site before is now com­ment­ing on a hate site or post­ing on Twit­ter,” said Hei­di Beirich, who heads the SPLC’s intel­li­gence project. “This is the first time they’ve had a main­stream can­di­date.”

    Anglin and his fol­low­ers are “mak­ing a scene to force an audi­ence, wit­ting­ly or not, to con­sid­er an extreme polit­i­cal posi­tion,” Kee­gan Han­kes, one of Beirich’s SPLC col­leagues, wrote ear­li­er this year. “What used to dwell in the dark­est cor­ners of the web, has now crept into the main­stream.”

    There are oth­er indi­ca­tions that Trump’s can­di­da­cy, which a KKK spokes­woman told The Wash­ing­ton Post has opened “a door to con­ver­sa­tion” about white nation­al­ism, is help­ing hate groups.

    A record num­ber of peo­ple attend­ed the annu­al con­fer­ence for The Amer­i­can Renais­sance, a white suprema­cist pub­li­ca­tion. Jared Tay­lor, its founder, attrib­ut­es the atten­dance spike, in part, to Trump — although he sus­pects Michael Brown and Fred­die Gray “con­tributed even more,” he wrote in an email.

    The Dai­ly Stormer’s traf­fic has steadi­ly increased since Anglin start­ed it in 2013, and has more than dou­bled over the past six months, reach­ing 120,000 vis­i­tors a day, said Anglin, who mon­i­tors the traf­fic using Cloud­fare ana­lyt­ics.

    Some reporters, includ­ing The Atlantic’s Jef­frey Gold­berg, have ques­tioned whether the army of pro-Trump Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers who attack the candidate’s crit­ics on Twit­ter are real peo­ple or just bots oper­at­ed by a hand­ful of peo­ple with mul­ti­ple accounts. (There are “six mil­lion,” sev­er­al of the Twit­ter trolls told Gold­berg, ref­er­enc­ing the num­ber of Jews slaugh­tered in the Holo­caust.) Neo-Nazi tweet­ers rarely use real names or pho­tographs, which could be a sign of a bogus account, but could also mean the user wants anony­mous pro­tec­tion to hate-tweet.

    Twit­ter would not say whether there has been an increase in anti-Semit­ic behav­ior on its plat­form, or whether the harass­ment is com­ing from real Twit­ter users. But Huff­Post ran 53 pro-Trump neo-Nazi accounts through “Bot or Not,” an algo­rithm that ana­lyzes Twit­ter users’ tweets, fol­low­ers and meta­da­ta and pro­duces a score indi­cat­ing how like­ly it is the account is a bot. The low­er the score, the more like­ly the account is to be oper­at­ed by a real per­son. Of the 53 accounts, 47 received a score below 40 per­cent — the thresh­old that Fil­ip­po Mencz­er, who worked on the Bot or Not tool, said is a fair­ly good indi­ca­tor that an account is con­trolled by a real per­son. The aver­age score of the 53 troll accounts was 30 per­cent — slight­ly high­er than my own score of 22 per­cent.

    Anglin, whose own Twit­ter account was shut down, says he is “cer­tain” that the accounts of the peo­ple who tar­get­ed Ioffe and Weis­man are real, because he knows them per­son­al­ly. On his web­site, com­menters bragged about their harass­ment with links to their tweets; shared anti-Semit­ic memes and hash­tags they used on Twit­ter; and post­ed the con­tact infor­ma­tion of their tar­gets.

    ...

    Trump’s con­tin­ued silence on these sorts of attacks serves a polit­i­cal func­tion: It allows both his Jew­ish and his neo-Nazi back­ers to believe he’s with them. Maybe that’s the point.

    Rab­bi Bern­hard Rosen­berg, the founder of the Face­book group Rab­bis for Trump, argues that Trump’s daughter’s con­ver­sion to Ortho­dox Judaism is proof enough that he har­bors no ill-will toward Jews. “You’ve got two Trumps — The Trump that’s try­ing to get the vote, and the Trump in real life,” said Rosen­berg, who renamed his group “Rab­bi for Trump” after fail­ing to attract sup­port from oth­er Jew­ish cler­gy mem­bers.

    Anglin agrees that there are two Trumps, and he isn’t wor­ried that Trump has Jew­ish sup­port­ers and fam­i­ly mem­bers. Trump, he said, is too savvy to open­ly announce his views on Jews, and only allowed his daugh­ter to con­vert to Judaism to trick Jews into sup­port­ing him. “He couldn’t sim­ply say it straight,” Anglin wrote. “That just wouldn’t fly in Amer­i­ca.”

    But Rosen­berg, who, like Anglin, is attract­ed to Trump’s plan to deal with “extrem­ist Mus­lims,” is con­vinced the neo-Nazis have Trump wrong. “I don’t think he’s going to go out and hurt Jews — between Ivan­ka, and the grand­chil­dren ... that’s not going to hap­pen,” Rosen­berg said. “He’s not Hitler.”

    “I don’t think he’s going to go out and hurt Jews — between Ivan­ka, and the grand­chil­dren ... that’s not going to happen...He’s not Hitler.”
    Wow. Not Hitler. That’s a high bar. Still, Trump does seem to have a mag­ic touch. At least with stal­wart GOP­er Jews. Maybe not so much with the rest of the GOP-lean­ing Jew­ish elec­torate but we’ll see.

    Either way, giv­en the real­i­ty that one of the last­ing impacts of some­one like Hitler is a his­tor­i­cal low­er­ing of the bar for all lead­ers (“hey, at least [insert hor­ri­bly destruc­tive leader X] isn’t Hitler!”), it’s worth keep­ing in mind that by break­ing the con­tem­po­rary GOP mold and open­ly embrac­ing or at least qui­et­ly tol­er­at­ing the neo-Nazi fac­tion of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, Don­ald Trump has basi­cal­ly low­ered the con­tem­po­rary bar for the fore­see­able future for the GOP. Going for­ward, any Repub­li­can politi­cian who sim­ply says, “I don’t agree with the KKK and I won’t hes­i­tate to make that clear,” is now a mod­er­ate Repub­li­can who you appar­ent­ly should­n’t be scared to elect. Because, hey, [insert hor­ri­bly destruc­tive GOP can­di­date X] is no Don­ald Trump, but just a tra­di­tion­al, respectable Repub­li­can. There’s noth­ing to fear. In oth­er words, if Don­ald Trump wins, the GOP gets one more chance to destroy the nation from the exec­u­tive branch. But if he los­es, and los­es big, the entire GOP going for­ward can claim to be ‘mod­er­ate’, or at least more mod­er­ate than Trump, sim­ply by con­demn­ing neo-Nazis.

    Don­ald Trump is prov­ing to be quite a politi­cian. And at least he’s not Hitler!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 27, 2016, 11:42 am
  28. William John­son, the leader of the white nation­al­ist “Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty” par­ty which has been robo­call­ing for Trump, is report­ed­ly beg­ging the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee to allow him to vol­un­teer for the Trump cam­paign at the par­ty’s con­ven­tion, promis­ing to be respect­ful and not make a scene now that he’s no longer an offi­cial Trump del­e­gate.

    Along with the robo­call­ing, it’s a some­what puz­zling tac­tic to keep­ing pub­licly clam­or­ing for an offi­cial posi­tion in the Trump cam­paign for some­one like John­son who claims to be one of Trump’s biggest fans. One the one hand, it should be obvi­ous to some­one like John­son that the open embrace by Trump of an overt white nation­al­ist like John­son might not actu­al­ly help John­son’s favorite can­di­date to get elect­ed (did­n’t he get the memo?). But on the oth­er hand, per­haps John­son has already come to the con­clu­sion that an open Trumpian embrace of a white nation­al­ist like John­son real­ly does­n’t make that much of a dif­fer­ence at this point. It would­n’t be an unrea­son­able con­clu­sion at this point:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Edi­tor’s Blog

    Over the Water­fall Into Trump’s Racist Abyss

    By Josh Mar­shall Pub­lished May 31, 2016, 12:49 PM EDT

    Some events are impor­tant to take note of. One of them hap­pened on Fri­day when the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, Don­ald J. Trump, again used a cam­paign ral­ly to launch into a racist tirade against the fed­er­al judge pre­sid­ing over two of the three fraud law­suits against Trump’s now defunct “Trump Uni­ver­si­ty.” Fed­er­al Judge Gon­za­lo P. Curiel was born in 1953 in East Chica­go, Indi­ana. He was a fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor from 1989 to 2006, pri­mar­i­ly work­ing in nar­cotics enforce­ment. He was a state judge from 2006 until 2012 when Pres­i­dent Oba­ma nom­i­nat­ed him to serve as a Fed­er­al Dis­trict Court Judge in the South­ern Dis­trict of Cal­i­for­nia. While serv­ing as US Attor­ney in 1997, Curiel was report­ed­ly the tar­get­ed for assas­si­na­tion by mem­bers of the Arel­lano Felix drug car­tel dur­ing his ulti­mate­ly suc­cess­ful pros­e­cu­tion of the car­tel.

    Nor is this the first time Trump has gone after Curiel as a “Mex­i­can” who is attack­ing Trump because of his eth­nic her­itage.

    Trump’s first attack on Curiel came in late Feb­ru­ary just after Mar­co Rubio, Mitt Rom­ney and oth­ers start­ed call­ing atten­tion to claims of fraud against “Trump Uni­ver­si­ty,” what I called at the time a “clown­ish­ly crooked scam that exploit­ed peo­ple who did­n’t have a lot of mon­ey but bet it all on Trump’s razzmatazz.” In that now noto­ri­ous Feb­ru­ary 25th debate where Rubio went all in with often antic attacks on Trump, the one that real­ly hit home was the one on what Rubio called Trump’s ‘fake school’.

    Two days lat­er at a ral­ly in Ben­tonville, Arkansas, Trump sought to min­i­mize the on-going fraud suits as the prod­uct of a per­son­al vendet­ta by Judge Curiel who Trump sug­gest­ed had a “tremen­dous hos­til­i­ty” toward him because he was “Span­ish”. (There is an entire­ly sep­a­rate state suit in New York State.)

    The judge should have thrown the case out on sum­ma­ry judg­ment. But because it was me and because there’s a hos­til­i­ty toward me by the judge, tremen­dous hos­til­i­ty, beyond belief––I believe he hap­pens to be Span­ish, which is fine, he’s His­pan­ic, which is fine, and we haven’t asked for a recusal, which we may do, but we have a judge who’s very hos­tile.

    The next day on Fox News Sun­day, Trump told Chris Wal­lace ...

    I think the judge has been extreme­ly hos­tile to me. I think it has to do with the fact I’m very, very strong on the bor­der, and he hap­pens to be extreme­ly hos­tile to me. We have a very hos­tile judge. He is His­pan­ic, and he is very hos­tile to me.

    Then on Fri­day Trump devot­ed rough­ly twelve min­utes of a cam­paign speech in San Diego to an even more barbed racist tirade against Curiel.

    “Here’s what hap­pens. We’re in front of a very hos­tile judge. The Judge was appoint­ed by Barack Oba­ma ... Frankly he should recuse him­self ... This should have been dis­missed on sum­ma­ry judg­ment eas­i­ly. Every­body says it, but I have a judge who is a hater of Don­ald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gon­za­lo Curiel ... The judge, who hap­pens to be, we believe, Mex­i­can, which is great, I think that’s fine ... You know what? I think the Mex­i­cans are going to end up lov­ing Don­ald Trump when I give all these jobs, OK? ... I’m telling you, this court sys­tem, judges in this court sys­tem, fed­er­al court, they ought to look into Judge Curiel. Because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total dis­grace, OK?”

    ...

    It is unprece­dent­ed for a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date to per­son­al­ly attack and even threat­en a fed­er­al judge. (To be fair, I’m not sure there’s been a nom­i­nee being sued for fraud dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.) But here we have Trump mak­ing an open­ly racist argu­ment against a fed­er­al judge, argu­ing that Curiel is pur­su­ing a vendet­ta against him because Trump is, he says, “I’m very, very strong on the bor­der.”

    Today while tak­ing ques­tions after announc­ing belat­ed dona­tions to vet­er­ans groups, CNN’s Jim Acos­ta pressed Trump on his crit­i­cisms of Judge Curiel. Toward the end of the exchange, in which Trump repeat­ed his claims about bias and unfair­ness, Acos­ta asked Trump: “Why men­tion that the judge is Mex­i­can?” Trump answered: “Because I’m a man of prin­ci­ple. Most of the peo­ple who took those cours­es have let­ters say­ing they thought it was great, essen­tial­ly.”

    In oth­er words, Trump did­n’t answer the ques­tion and Acos­ta seemed not to have a chance to fol­low up or chose not to.

    As we’ve not­ed, quite apart from the poli­cies he’s embraced, Trump has shown him­self over the course of the cam­paign to be an emo­tion­al­ly needy, patho­log­i­cal liar. Here we see that he also not only hap­pi­ly launch­es defam­a­to­ry racist attacks on a fed­er­al judge but impugns the patri­o­tism of an entire eth­nic com­mu­ni­ty in the Unit­ed States.

    As I write, the issue is being dis­cussed on the cable nets in terms of why Trump thinks it’s a good idea to attack a judge hear­ing his case, whether there’s any evi­dence that Curiel is “biased” or “unfair.” (It’s worth not­ing that Curiel did Trump the ines­timably valu­able favor of acced­ing to his lawyers’ request to push the tri­al back until after the Novem­ber elec­tion — this despite the fact that ‘elder abuse’ infrac­tions put a pre­mi­um on con­duct­ing an expe­di­tious tri­al.) But hand­i­cap­ping the wis­dom of Trump’s attack or ana­lyz­ing them in sub­stan­tive terms is an immense dere­lic­tion of jour­nal­is­tic duty.

    The press rou­tine­ly goes into parox­ysms — often right­ly so — about innu­en­dos or phras­ings that might in some way be racist or sug­gest racial ani­mus. Here we have it in the open, repeat­ed and show­ing itself as basi­cal­ly Trump’s first line of attack when he is in any­way threat­ened. That’s infi­nite­ly more dan­ger­ous than most things that rou­tine­ly focus all the medi­a’s atten­tion. Any reporter who gets a chance to ask Trump to jus­ti­fy his actions and does­n’t is not doing his or her job. Few cas­es show more vivid­ly how dan­ger­ous a per­son Trump is.

    “Here’s what hap­pens. We’re in front of a very hos­tile judge. The Judge was appoint­ed by Barack Oba­ma ... Frankly he should recuse him­self ... This should have been dis­missed on sum­ma­ry judg­ment eas­i­ly. Every­body says it, but I have a judge who is a hater of Don­ald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater. His name is Gon­za­lo Curiel ... The judge, who hap­pens to be, we believe, Mex­i­can, which is great, I think that’s fine ... You know what? I think the Mex­i­cans are going to end up lov­ing Don­ald Trump when I give all these jobs, OK? ... I’m telling you, this court sys­tem, judges in this court sys­tem, fed­er­al court, they ought to look into Judge Curiel. Because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total dis­grace, OK?”

    So that’s one more lit­tle pre­view of what a Trump Pres­i­den­cy would be like: If you’re His­pan­ic, any crit­i­cisms of Pres­i­dent Trump can be inval­i­dat­ed sim­ply by point­ing out that you’re His­pan­ic. And if you’re a His­pan­ic judge, you should prob­a­bly recuse your­self of any cas­es involv­ing the Trump admin­is­tra­tion for nev­er quite artic­u­lat­ed rea­sons hav­ing to do with you being His­pan­ic. But still please under­stand that Pres­i­dent Trump loves His­pan­ics and they love him back. It’s just you that does­n’t love him...because you’re His­pan­ic.

    And if you’re His­pan­ic and can’t still quite make sense of all that, don’t strain your­self too much. It’ll be crys­tal clear to the tar­get audi­ences.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 31, 2016, 6:20 pm
  29. One of the more inter­est­ing and fright­en­ing behav­ioral pat­terns of today’s GOP is that when the par­ty has a bad pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year, a meme begins to take hold in the right-wing media and base that the par­ty lost because it was­n’t ‘con­ser­v­a­tive’ enough. Sure, the par­ty itself might engage in some­thing like the “GOP autop­sy” of 2013 that con­clud­ed that the par­ty was­n’t inclu­sive enough to reach out to minor­i­ty groups. But the mes­sage that takes hold with­in the care right-wing media and vot­er base is that the can­di­dates were too wishy-washy and did­n’t por­tray bold, pure vision that could attract new vot­ers. In oth­er words, the can­di­dates weren’t bat sh#t crazy enough.

    So with the 2016 race shap­ing into one where a num­ber of the top elect­ed GOP offi­cials, most notably House Speak­er Paul Ryan, have only bare­ly endorsed Don­ald Trump, it’s going to be very inter­est­ing to see what sort of meme might emerge assum­ing Trump does­n’t become Pres­i­dent elect Trump this Novem­ber. Will a loss be because Don­ald Trump’s loud­mouthed big­ot shtick did­n’t actu­al­ly sell that well? Or will a loss be framed as the of the par­ty lead­er­ship’s tepid embrace of the GOP’s bold, coura­geous new leader? We’ll have to wait and see. But as the arti­cle below makes clear, if Trump does lose, there’s prob­a­bly going to be no short­age of excus­es and rage for that loss direct­ed at Paul Ryan less than enthu­si­as­tic Trumpian sup­port:

    Talk­ing Points Memo DC

    What Endorse­ment? Ryan Is About To Roll Out His Counter Mes­sage To Trump

    By Lau­ren Fox
    Pub­lished June 3, 2016, 11:26 AM EDT

    Just a day after House Speak­er Paul Ryan endorsed Don­ald Trump for pres­i­dent, he began his effort to define his par­ty’s pol­i­cy agen­da in the elec­tion cycle, a job usu­al­ly reserved for the par­ty’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

    On Fri­day, Ryan gave a sneak peak of “a bet­ter way,” his six-part pol­i­cy ini­tia­tive to show the Amer­i­can peo­ple what Repub­li­cans stand for. Begin­ning next week, Ryan will roll out pol­i­cy plans to tar­get issues from pover­ty to tax reform. The plans are not intend­ed to be leg­is­la­tion that the GOP-con­trolled Con­gress actu­al­ly votes on. Instead, they are sup­posed to give vot­ers a sense of what Repub­li­cans stand for (again some­thing that usu­al­ly becomes very clear with the top of the tick­et mes­sage.)

    Even before Trump was declared the pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee, Ryan planned to release the aggres­sive pol­i­cy agen­da. Yet, the project seems to have tak­en on greater sig­nif­i­cance now that the pol­i­cy dis­agree­ments between Trump and Ryan on every­thing from trade to enti­tle­ment reform have illu­mi­nat­ed them­selves. Ryan is about to intro­duce specifics at a time that the GOP’s nom­i­nee speaks in vague, catchy one-lin­ers.

    In a video Ryan released Fri­day, the speak­er promis­es that now the Repub­li­can Par­ty is going to give the Amer­i­can peo­ple a plan that lets them know what the GOP stands for instead of just talk­ing about what the par­ty is against.

    “We can get angry and we can stay angry or we can chan­nel that anger into action,” Ryan said in his video.

    “We don’t give into divi­sion,” Ryan said in the video. “We find a bet­ter way.”

    Ryan it seems is begin­ning his fight to pre­serve the con­ser­vatism he believes should be at the cen­ter of the par­ty’s iden­ti­ty just as Trump is redefin­ing what it means to be a Repub­li­can.This week Ryan and Trump offi­cial­ly came togeth­er to unite the par­ty, but these pol­i­cy papers will like­ly reveal their visions to be very dif­fer­ent still.

    Ryan it seems is begin­ning his fight to pre­serve the con­ser­vatism he believes should be at the cen­ter of the par­ty’s iden­ti­ty just as Trump is redefin­ing what it means to be a Repub­li­can.This week Ryan and Trump offi­cial­ly came togeth­er to unite the par­ty, but these pol­i­cy papers will like­ly reveal their visions to be very dif­fer­ent still.”
    That’s right, Paul Ryan is try­ing to retain and rein­vig­o­rate the con­tem­po­rary GOP’s facade of ‘con­ser­vatism’ that masks the par­ty’s oli­garchi­cal agen­da right at the same time Don­ald Trump is try­ing to cre­ate a whole new facade to mask the par­ty’s oli­garchi­cal agen­da.

    It’s quite a conun­drum for the par­ty’s top elect­ed offi­cial. Espe­cial­ly when you con­sid­er that Paul Ryan is obvi­ous­ly sali­vat­ing at the prospect of his own 2020 bid for the White House. If Trump, Ryan is the obvi­ous leader of the par­ty and front run­ner for 2020. But if Trump los­es and trash­es the GOP’s nation­al image in the process, Ryan’s 2020 bid is going to be a lot hard­er. And while Ryan could scuf­fle with Trump as a sort of back up plan to sal­vage the par­ty’s tra­di­tion­al image in the wake of a big Trump defeat, that also sets Paul Ryan up to be the big scape­goat who cost Trump the elec­tion if Trump los­es but just bare­ly los­es. There just aren’t any great options for some­one in Paul Ryan’s posi­tion.

    And that’s all part of why it’s going to be very inter­est­ing to see how Paul Ryan han­dles the task of simul­ta­ne­ous­ly back Trump while keep­ing his dis­tance with an eye on 2020. For instance, when Don­ald Trump attacks the judge in his Trump Uni­ver­si­ty law­suit for bias because the judge’s par­ents were Mex­i­can, it’s not real­ly clear what Paul Ryan should do. Sure, eth­i­cal­ly it’s pret­ty clear. But for some­one in Paul Ryan’s posi­tion, it’s not real­ly clear, which is why we prob­a­bly should­n’t be sur­prised that Ryan just con­demned Trump’s com­ments about the judge in an inter­view as being a form of log­ic Ryan just can’t under­stand and then talked about he still endors­es him:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Live Wire

    Paul Ryan Scolds Trump For Judge Attacks: ‘Total­ly Out Of Left Field’

    By Kather­ine Krueger
    Pub­lished June 3, 2016, 1:19 PM EDT

    One day after endors­ing pre­sump­tive nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, House Speak­er Paul Ryan (R‑WI) said the businessman’s attacks on a fed­er­al judge for his eth­nic­i­ty have been “total­ly out of left field” and he “com­plete­ly” degrees with Trump’s rea­son­ing.

    In a Fri­day inter­view with Mil­wau­kee talk radio host Vic­ki McKen­na, Ryan brought up the real estate mogul’s repeat­ed attacks on Judge Gon­za­lo Curiel, who is pre­sid­ing over two law­suits over Trump uni­ver­si­ty, while talk­ing about the party’s pol­i­cy agen­da.

    “The com­ment about the judge the oth­er day was total­ly out of left field,” the Wis­con­sin con­gress­man said. “I com­plete­ly dis­agree with the think­ing behind that,” he con­tin­ued, call­ing the attacks “rea­son­ing I don’t relate to.”

    Ryan went on to say Trump “clear­ly says and does things I don’t agree with” and said he would con­tin­ue to speak up if nec­es­sary.

    Speak­ing about his Thurs­day endorse­ment of Trump in his home­town news­pa­per, Ryan said at the end of the day, Repub­li­cans need a “will­ing part­ner” in the White House to help advance their poli­cies.

    ...

    “Ryan went on to say Trump “clear­ly says and does things I don’t agree with” and said he would con­tin­ue to speak up if nec­es­sary.”
    Yep, Paul Ryan com­plete­ly dis­agrees with Don­ald Trump’s racist attacks against a judge, call­ing it “rea­son­ing I don’t relate to.” But that has­n’t changed his Trump endorse­ment because Repub­li­cans need a “will­ing part­ner” in the White House to help advance their poli­cies. And if that “will­ing part­ner” is an open big­ot, well, so be it! At the same time, Ryan pledges to con­tin­ue to speak up if nec­es­sary. It’s pre­sum­ably the kind of bold lead­er­ship that should do won­ders in the 2020 pri­maries.

    And when it comes to con­demn­ing Don­ald Trump’s open big­otry while still endors­ing him, it appears that Paul Ryan will have plen­ty of more options to demon­strate that kind of bold lead­er­ship this year:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trump Spells Out Judge Attacks: ‘We’re Build­ing A Wall. He’s A Mex­i­can’

    By Kather­ine Krueger
    Pub­lished June 3, 2016, 5:19 PM EDT

    Pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump dou­bled down Fri­day on attack­ing a fed­er­al judge for his eth­nic­i­ty and argued that U.S. Dis­trict Judge Gon­za­lo Curiel should recuse him­self from cas­es involv­ing scan­dal-plagued Trump Uni­ver­si­ty.

    In an inter­view with CNN’s Jake Tap­per, Trump insist­ed Curiel’s eth­nic­i­ty means he can’t be an impar­tial judge in mat­ters involv­ing him because of his immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy.

    “I’ve had ter­ri­ble rul­ings, I’ve been treat­ed very unfair­ly. Now, this judge is of Mex­i­can her­itage,” Trump began. “I’m build­ing a wall. I’m build­ing a wall.”

    “So no Mex­i­can judge could ever be involved in a case that involves you?” Tap­per asked.

    Trump replied that Curiel is a mem­ber of a very “pro-Mex­i­co” group, say­ing “that’s all fine” but he should recuse him­self from the cas­es.

    Tap­per again pressed Trump on his per­son­al attacks. “You’re invok­ing his race talk­ing about whether or not he can do his job,” he said.

    “Jake, I’m build­ing a wall. OK? I’m build­ing a wall. I’m try­ing to keep busi­ness out of Mex­i­co. Mex­i­co’s fine!” he said.

    Tap­per remind­ed Trump that Curiel, who was born in Indi­ana, is Amer­i­can.

    “He’s of Mex­i­can her­itage and he’s very proud of it, as I am,” Trump replied.

    ...

    “I’ve had ter­ri­ble rul­ings, I’ve been treat­ed very unfair­ly. Now, this judge is of Mex­i­can heritage...I’m build­ing a wall. I’m build­ing a wall.”
    Say hel­lo to the new Trumpian GOP facade: If you oppose or crit­i­cize the GOP, it’s because you’re just angry about some­thing the GOP did or wants to do to your par­tic­u­lar demo­graph­ic, and there­fore you’re a big­ot. Or, rather, an anti-big­ot big­ot and that anti-big­ot big­otry inval­i­dates your crit­i­cism of the GOP.

    And while House Speak­er Paul Ryan claims to vehe­ment­ly dis­agree with above rea­son­ing, he still endors­es the guy push­ing it. It’s com­pli­cat­ed rea­son­ing. At least, he still endorsed Trump before Trump dou­bled down on the “you can’t judge me if you’re eth­ni­cal­ly Mex­i­can” argu­ment. But now that it appears this is going to be a cen­tral theme to the Trump cam­paign we get to see if Ryan sticks to his pledge to con­tin­ue to speak up if nec­es­sary.

    So is it once again nec­es­sary accord­ing to Ryan? We’ll find out. But as Ryan cer­tain­ly knows, the more he trash­es Trump, jus­ti­fi­ably or not, the more like­ly it is that Paul Ryan ends up being the scape­goat in 2017. At least if Trump los­es a close race.

    But if Ryan makes crit­i­ciz­ing Trump a reg­u­lar thing and Trump los­es BIG, Ryan gets to claim the “I told you so” man­tel and can walk away from a 2016 elec­toral dis­as­ter even more like­ly to be the 2020 GOP nom­i­nee. Will he do so? It’s pos­si­ble, but there’s going to be a lot more com­pli­cat­ed rea­son­ing involved in that lead­er­ship deci­sion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 3, 2016, 6:41 pm
  30. With Don­ald Trump mak­ing the Mex­i­can her­itage of the judge over­see­ing law­suit over the charges that Trump Uni­ver­si­ty was a scam, it’s easy to for­get that there have been mul­ti­ple Trump Uni­ver­si­ty scam inves­ti­ga­tions. We already knew about the 2013 inves­ti­ga­tion where Flori­da’s GOP attor­ney gen­er­al dropped the inves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing a $25,000 Trump dona­tion to her super PAC. But now we’re learn­ing about anoth­er state inves­ti­ga­tion that was dropped in 2010 for rea­sons a for­mer Texas state reg­u­la­tor is say­ing could have only been polit­i­cal giv­en the strength of the evi­dence he had acquired. And the per­son who ordered this state reg­u­la­tor to drop the inves­ti­ga­tion is Tex­as­’s then-Attor­ney Gen­er­al and cur­rent gov­er­nor Greg Abbott. But we may not learn too much more about this case of appar­ent polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion since Tex­as­’s cur­rent Attor­ney Gen­er­al put a gag order on the for­mer state reg­u­la­tor:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Ex-Texas Offi­cial Says He Was Ordered To Drop Trump U Probe Due To Pol­i­tics

    By MICHAEL BIESECKER
    Pub­lished June 4, 2016, 9:42 AM EDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Repub­li­can Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al Ken Pax­ton moved Fri­day to muz­zle a for­mer state reg­u­la­tor who says he was ordered in 2010 to drop a fraud inves­ti­ga­tion into Trump Uni­ver­si­ty for polit­i­cal rea­sons.

    Pax­ton’s office issued a cease and desist let­ter to for­mer Deputy Chief of Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion John Owens after he made pub­lic copies of a 14-page inter­nal sum­ma­ry of the state’s case against Don­ald Trump for scam­ming mil­lions from stu­dents of his now-defunct real estate sem­i­nar.

    Owens, now retired, said his team had built a sol­id case against the now-pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, but was told to drop it after Trump’s com­pa­ny agreed to cease oper­a­tions in Texas.

    The for­mer state reg­u­la­tor told The Asso­ci­at­ed Press on Fri­day that deci­sion was high­ly unusu­al and left the bilked stu­dents on their own to attempt to recov­er their tuition mon­ey from the celebri­ty busi­ness­man.

    Accord­ing to the doc­u­ments pro­vid­ed by Owens, his team sought to sue Trump, his com­pa­ny and sev­er­al busi­ness asso­ciates to help recov­er more than $2.6 mil­lion stu­dents spent on sem­i­nars and mate­ri­als, plus anoth­er $2.8 mil­lion in penal­ties and fees.

    Owens said he was so sur­prised at the order to stand down he made a copy of the case file and took it home.

    “It had to be polit­i­cal in my mind because Don­ald Trump was treat­ed dif­fer­ent­ly than any oth­er sim­i­lar­ly sit­u­at­ed scam artist in the 16 years I was at the con­sumer pro­tec­tion office,” said Owens, who lives in Hous­ton.

    Owens’ boss at the time was then-Attor­ney Gen­er­al Greg Abbott, who is now the state’s GOP gov­er­nor.

    The Asso­ci­at­ed Press first report­ed Thurs­day that Trump gave dona­tions total­ing $35,000 to Abbot­t’s guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign three years after his office closed the Trump U case. Sev­er­al Texas media out­lets then report­ed Owens’ accu­sa­tion that the probe was dropped for polit­i­cal rea­sons.

    Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch said Fri­day that the gov­er­nor had played no role in end­ing the case against Trump, a deci­sion he said was made far­ther down the chain of com­mand.

    “The Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s office inves­ti­gat­ed Trump U, and its demands were met — Trump U was forced out of Texas and con­sumers were pro­tect­ed,” Hirsch said. “It’s absurd to sug­gest any con­nec­tion between a case that has been closed and a dona­tion to Gov­er­nor Abbott three years lat­er.”

    Pax­ton issued a media release about the cease and desist lat­er Fri­day, say­ing Owens had divulged “con­fi­den­tial and priv­i­leged infor­ma­tion.”

    Owens first learned about the state’s action against him on Fri­day after­noon when con­tact­ed by the AP for response.

    “I have done noth­ing ille­gal or uneth­i­cal,” said Owens, a lawyer. “I think the infor­ma­tion I pro­vid­ed to the press was impor­tant and need­ed to be shared with the pub­lic.”

    Pax­ton faces his own legal trou­ble. He was indict­ed last year on three felony fraud charges alleg­ing that he per­suad­ed peo­ple to invest in a North Texas tech start­up while fail­ing to dis­close that he had­n’t invest­ed him­self but was being paid by the com­pa­ny in stock. Pax­ton has remained in office while appeal­ing the charges.

    Texas was not the only GOP-led state to shy away from suing Trump.

    Flori­da Attor­ney Gen­er­al Pam Bon­di briefly con­sid­ered join­ing a mul­ti-state suit against Trump U. Three days after Bondi’s spokes­woman was quot­ed in local media reports as say­ing her office was inves­ti­gat­ing, Trump’s fam­i­ly foun­da­tion made a $25,000 con­tri­bu­tion to a polit­i­cal fundrais­ing com­mit­tee sup­port­ing Bondi’s re-elec­tion cam­paign.

    Bon­di, a Repub­li­can, soon dropped her inves­ti­ga­tion, cit­ing insuf­fi­cient grounds to pro­ceed.

    In New York, mean­while, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Attor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Schnei­der­man sued Trump over what he called a “straight-up fraud.” That case, along with sev­er­al class-action law­suits filed by for­mer Trump stu­dents, is still ongo­ing.

    ...

    “It had to be polit­i­cal in my mind because Don­ald Trump was treat­ed dif­fer­ent­ly than any oth­er sim­i­lar­ly sit­u­at­ed scam artist in the 16 years I was at the con­sumer pro­tec­tion office.”
    While this lat­est Trump Uni­ver­si­ty rev­e­la­tion will no doubt con­tin­ue to feed into the grow­ing image prob­lem Trump has a giant scam artist, part of what makes this par­tic­u­lar charge of polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion pos­si­bly more inter­est­ing than the case involv­ing Pam Bon­di in Flori­da is that Bon­di dropped those charges in 2013, a cou­ple years after Don­ald Trump had already estab­lished him­self as the King of the Oba­ma ‘Birther’ move­ment in 2011. But the case in Texas was dropped in 2010.

    So you have to won­der, giv­en the fact that Trump was undoubt­ed­ly aware by 2011 that he was poten­tial­ly fac­ing all sorts of law­suits in a vari­ety of states, was Trump’s sud­den polit­i­cal realigned into a hard core GOP­er in recent years dri­ven large­ly by a desire to make him polit­i­cal­ly indis­pens­able to at least one polit­i­cal par­ty in order to avoid at least some of the poten­tial­ly embar­rass­ing law­suits? Because when you look at the struc­ture of Trump’s busi­ness empire, sell­ing the Trump “brand” is a pret­ty big part of that empire and a series of law­suits and inves­ti­ga­tions that label Trump Uni­ver­si­ty a scam could have seri­ous­ly dam­aged the val­ue of the “Trump” brand­ing com­po­nent of his web of busi­ness­es.

    In oth­er words, could it be that when Trump called Pres­i­dent Oba­ma pos­si­bly the “great­est scam in the his­to­ry of our coun­try” in 2011 over the ‘Birther’ claims, that Trump just engaged in a giant scam in order to cre­ate polit­i­cal val­ue for him­self so he could get polit­i­cal pro­tec­tion from the var­i­ous inves­ti­ga­tions into his scams? That’s prob­a­bly worth inves­ti­gat­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 4, 2016, 5:38 pm
  31. Uh oh. House Speak­er Paul Ryan’s cold feet about his Don­ald Trump endorse­ment are get­ting cold­er now that Trump is mak­ing his attacks against the Mex­i­can Amer­i­can judge over­see­ing some of the Trump Uni­ver­si­ty law­suits a cen­tral emerg­ing theme of the Trump cam­paign. And with Trump’s rhetoric only heat­ing up, Ryan and the rest of the GOP had bet­ter find polit­i­cal shel­ter soon because that heat­ed up rhetoric is only going to make their feet cold­er and it’ll be a lot hard for Dr. Franken­Gop­er to run from his Trump Mon­ster cre­ation with frost­bit­ten feet:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Ryan: Trump’s Judge Attacks ‘The Text­book Def­i­n­i­tion Of A Racist Com­ment’

    By Sara Jerde
    Pub­lished June 7, 2016, 10:20 AM EDT

    House Speak­er Paul Ryan said Tues­day that he would­n’t defend pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump’s attacks on a fed­er­al judge’s eth­nic­i­ty because they were “inde­fen­si­ble.”

    “Claim­ing a per­son can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the text­book def­i­n­i­tion of a racist com­ment,” Ryan said at a news con­fer­ence. “I think that should be absolute­ly dis­avowed.”

    But, Ryan said that Repub­li­cans would still be bet­ter off with Trump in the White House than Hillary Clin­ton.

    “I’m not going to defend these kinds of com­ments because they’re inde­fen­si­ble,” Ryan said. “I’m going to defend our ideas. I’m going to defend our major­i­ty.”

    Trump had said that U.S. Dis­trict Judge Gon­za­lo Curiel, who is pre­sid­ing over cas­es against Trump Uni­ver­si­ty in Cal­i­for­nia, has a con­flict of inter­est because of his “Mex­i­can her­itage.” The busi­ness­man has railed against His­pan­ics since he launched his cam­paign, when he infa­mous­ly stat­ed that some undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants were “rapists” and “crim­i­nals.”

    ...

    Ryan’s com­ments on Tues­day are much stronger than they were last week. A day after Ryan endorsed Trump, the House Speak­er said the real estate mogul’s com­ments were “total­ly out of left field.”

    “But, Ryan said that Repub­li­cans would still be bet­ter off with Trump in the White House than Hillary Clin­ton.”
    Oh no, he’s still endors­ing Trump after repeat­ed­ly rail­ing against him as a racist! Are his cold feet going numb? Per­haps. Or per­haps some­one needs to inform Speak­er Ryan that hav­ing a heart of ice does­n’t make his feet immune to frost­bite. Espe­cial­ly when Trump is report­ed­ly instruct­ing his cam­paign to turn his racial­ly inflam­ing rhetoric into a full fledged racist cam­paign brush fire:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trump Report­ed­ly Sics Allies On ‘Racist’ Reporters Cov­er­ing Judge Attacks

    By Sara Jerde
    Pub­lished June 6, 2016, 4:50 PM EDT

    Pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump report­ed­ly instruct­ed his sur­ro­gates Mon­day to fol­low his lead in attack­ing a judge pre­sid­ing over a law­suit against Trump Uni­ver­si­ty, accord­ing to reports from CNN and Bloomberg News. Trump also report­ed­ly encour­aged them to inten­si­fy their come­backs to reporters cov­er­ing the both the law­suit and his attacks on the judge.

    An anony­mous Repub­li­can source told CNN that Trump and a cam­paign offi­cial who was also on the call told sur­ro­gates to raise the issue of judi­cial activism when talk­ing about Curiel. Bloomberg report­ed that Trump not­ed Curiel is a “mem­ber of La Raza”; Curiel is asso­ci­at­ed with La Raza Lawyers of Cal­i­for­nia, a bar asso­ci­a­tion.

    Bloomberg talked with two peo­ple on the call who spoke on anonymi­ty and said Trump instruct­ed his sur­ro­gates to let what he por­trayed as hyp­o­crit­i­cal TV reporters “have it.”

    “The peo­ple ask­ing the questions—those are the racists,” Trump report­ed­ly said, seem­ing irri­tat­ed. “I would go at ’em.”

    Trump had said that U.S. Dis­trict Judge Gon­za­lo Curiel, who is pre­sid­ing over cas­es against Trump Uni­ver­si­ty in Cal­i­for­nia, has a con­flict of inter­est because of his “Mex­i­can her­itage.” The busi­ness­man has railed against His­pan­ics since he launched his cam­paign, when he infa­mous­ly stat­ed that some undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants were “rapists” and “crim­i­nals.”

    ...

    On the call with his sur­ro­gates, the real estate mogul also report­ed­ly con­tra­dict­ed instruc­tions dis­trib­uted to sur­ro­gates by his own staff mem­ber. A memo sent Sun­day by a staff mem­ber and obtained by Bloomberg told sur­ro­gates that they were not at lib­er­ty to dis­cuss the Trump Uni­ver­si­ty law­suit pub­licly.

    “Are there any oth­er stu­pid let­ters that were sent to you folks?” Trump said, as quot­ed by Bloomberg. “That’s one of the rea­sons I want to have this call, because you guys are get­ting some­times stu­pid infor­ma­tion from peo­ple that aren’t so smart.”

    The memo was dis­trib­uted to some of Trump’s cam­paign staffers, includ­ing Hicks, cam­paign man­ag­er Corey Lewandows­ki and a top aide to Paul Man­afort, who is Trump’s top strate­gist.

    “Take that order and throw it the hell out,” Trump said, as quot­ed by Bloomberg.

    ““The peo­ple ask­ing the questions—those are the racists,” Trump report­ed­ly said, seem­ing irri­tat­ed. “I would go at ’em.””
    Yes, it appears that Trump him­self is now over­rid­ing his cam­paign strate­gists and instruct­ing his staff to aggres­sive­ly label as the REAL racists any reporters who raise ques­tions about the racist nature of his attacks on Judge Curiel. So “I know you are, but what am I?” is now appar­ent­ly the offi­cial response to charges of racism by the GOP’s new stan­dard bear­er. Some­how it does­n’t seem like that’s going to warm Paul Ryan’s poor frigid feet.

    Let’s hope no ampu­ta­tions end up being required once this is all over. It’ll be hard for the GOP­ers to walk the pop­ulist oli­garch tightrope with­out all their toes. But it’s hard to see how some sort of surgery won’t even­tu­al­ly be nec­es­sary if those cold feet don’t warm up soon­er or lat­er.

    And prefer­ably soon­er, because as the arti­cle below sug­gests, it would appear that Trump’s staff is already tak­ing his orders to heart and the Trumpian rhetoric is only heat­ing up and expand­ing beyond mere racism. And that means the GOP­ers’ ice cold feet have an arc­tic blast head­ing their way:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trump Spox Sug­gests Trump’s Sis­ter Could Be ‘Biased’ As A Female Judge

    By Alle­gra Kirk­land
    Pub­lished June 7, 2016, 9:42 AM EDT

    Don­ald Trump’s nation­al spokes­woman on Mon­day sug­gest­ed that Trump’s own sis­ter, a judge on the 3rd U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Appeals, could be biased as a result of her gen­der.

    “If some­body were to say to her she was biased in regard to some case because she’s a woman, that would be awful, would­n’t it?” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Kat­ri­na Pier­son of Trump’s sis­ter, Maryanne Trump Bar­ry.

    “Well, it would depend on her past and deci­sions she made as a judge,” Pier­son replied. “There is no ques­tion that there are activist judges in this coun­try.”

    Trump has pushed this stance heav­i­ly in the last few weeks, argu­ing that U.S. Dis­trict Judge Gon­za­lo Curiel, who is over­see­ing a fraud case involv­ing the now-defunct Trump Uni­ver­si­ty, is “biased” against him because of his “Mex­i­can” her­itage. The pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee took this iden­ti­ty-based argu­ment for unfair treat­ment fur­ther on Mon­day, argu­ing that a Mus­lim judge could “absolute­ly” be biased against him, too, because of his pro­pos­al to tem­porar­i­ly ban Mus­lim immi­gra­tion to the Unit­ed States.

    ...

    Pier­son said Trump had no plan to “start say­ing and doing what every­body else says to say and do.”

    “He is not back­ing down because the media wants to pres­sure, call him names, call him racist,” Pier­son said. “Does­n’t mat­ter which GOP indi­vid­ual comes out, they’re not there and they don’t have the facts. That’s why Mr. Trump is the nom­i­nee.”

    “He is not back­ing down because the media wants to pres­sure, call him names, call him racist...Doesn’t mat­ter which GOP indi­vid­ual comes out, they’re not there and they don’t have the facts. That’s why Mr. Trump is the nom­i­nee.”
    Kat­ri­na Pier­son does have a point: Mr. Trump is the nom­i­nee, which would sug­gest that the cold feet GOP­ers like Paul Ryan are feel­ing isn’t actu­al­ly shared by the GOP elec­torate.

    So if any­thing can warm Paul Ryan’s cold feet up, per­haps the best method is for Ryan and the rest of the GOP lead­er­ship to keep in mind that their fears of Don­ald Trump destroy­ing the GOP by rebrand­ing it as a haven for racist misog­y­nists who have fall­en under the racist and misog­y­nis­tic siren’s song of a bil­lion­aire are prob­a­bly large­ly unfound­ed fears because that’s what the par­ty was already viewed as by the pub­lic at large long before Trump threw his hat in the ring. So there’s a good chance Don­ald Trump won’t make the GOP’s pub­lic image sig­nif­i­cant­ly worse than it already was. Maybe it will just be a slight­ly dif­fer­ent fla­vor of a now famil­iar kind of bad taste.

    In oth­er words, it’s hard for the GOP’s gen­er­al pub­lic image to get much worse so there isn’t real­ly a lot for the GOP to lose here. . So, in a way, because the pub­lic image that Paul Ryan and the rest of the GOP lead­er­ship can’t real­ly get much worse, the GOP lead­er­ship’s cur­rent Trumpian conun­drums could be worse. Hope­ful­ly increased aware­ness of the GOP already tox­ic image will warm Paul Ryan’s poor cold feet.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 7, 2016, 11:13 am
  32. Check out Don­ald Trump’s bank of choice: Deutsche Bank! As the arti­cle below points out, it’s a long rela­tion­ship going back to the ear­ly 90’s, with at least $2.5 bil­lion lent. But there have been past dif­fer­ences too, espe­cial­ly fol­low­ing the crash of 2008 when Trump tried to wrig­gle out of his debt by claim­ing the crash was an act of god. And as a con­se­quence of all the the com­mer­cial lend­ing arm of Deutsche Bank basi­cal­ly wants noth­ing to do with Trump. But that’s ok, since the Pri­vate Bank branch has decid­ed Trump is an ok cus­tomer. Or at least a good enough cus­tomer to lend Trump $300 mil­lion in recent years:

    The Wall Street Jour­nal

    When Don­ald Trump Needs a Loan, He Choos­es Deutsche Bank

    Despite some clash­es, the Repub­li­can front-run­ner has been a reg­u­lar client of the Ger­man lender

    By Anupree­ta Das
    Updat­ed March 20, 2016 1:35 p.m. ET

    One of Don­ald Trump’s clos­est allies on Wall Street is a now-strug­gling Ger­man bank.

    While many big banks have shunned him, Deutsche Bank AG has been a stead­fast finan­cial backer of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial candidate’s busi­ness inter­ests. Since 1998, the bank has led or par­tic­i­pat­ed in loans of at least $2.5 bil­lion to com­pa­nies affil­i­at­ed with Mr. Trump, accord­ing to a Wall Street Jour­nal analy­sis of pub­lic records and peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    That doesn’t include at least anoth­er $1 bil­lion in loan com­mit­ments that Deutsche Bank made to Trump-affil­i­at­ed enti­ties.

    The long-stand­ing con­nec­tion makes Frank­furt-based Deutsche Bank, which has a large U.S. oper­a­tion and has been grap­pling with rep­u­ta­tion­al prob­lems and an almost 50% stock-price decline, the finan­cial insti­tu­tion with prob­a­bly the strongest ties to the con­tro­ver­sial New York busi­ness­man.

    But the rela­tions at times have been rocky. Deutsche Bank’s giant invest­ment-bank­ing unit stopped work­ing with Mr. Trump after an acri­mo­nious legal spat, even as anoth­er arm of the com­pa­ny con­tin­ued to loan him mon­ey.

    Oth­er Wall Street banks, after doing exten­sive busi­ness with Mr. Trump in the 1980s and 1990s, pulled back in part due to frus­tra­tion with his busi­ness prac­tices but also because he moved away from real-estate projects that required financ­ing, accord­ing to bank offi­cials. Cit­i­group Inc., J.P. Mor­gan Chase & Co. and Mor­gan Stan­ley are among the banks that don’t cur­rent­ly work with him.

    At Gold­man Sachs Group Inc., bankers “know bet­ter than to pitch” a Trump-relat­ed deal, said a for­mer Gold­man exec­u­tive. Gold­man offi­cials say there is lit­tle over­lap between its core invest­ment-bank­ing group and Mr. Trump’s busi­ness­es.

    ...

    Deutsche Bank’s rela­tion­ship with Mr. Trump dates to the 1990s. The bank, eager to expand in the U.S. via com­mer­cial-real-estate lend­ing, set out to woo big New York devel­op­ers such as Mr. Trump and Har­ry Mack­lowe.

    One of the bank’s first loans to Mr. Trump, in 1998, was $125 mil­lion to ren­o­vate the office build­ing at 40 Wall Street. More deals soon fol­lowed, with the bank agree­ing over the next few years to loan or help under­write bonds worth a total of more than $1.3 bil­lion for Trump enti­ties.

    By 2005, Deutsche Bank had emerged as one of Mr. Trump’s lead­ing bankers. That year, the Ger­man bank and oth­ers lent a Trump enti­ty $640 mil­lion to build the 92-sto­ry Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel and Tow­er in Chica­go. Deutsche Bank offi­cials bad­ly want­ed the deal because it came with a $12.5 mil­lion fee attached, said a per­son famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    Mr. Trump charmed the bankers, fly­ing them on his pri­vate Boe­ing 727 jet, accord­ing to peo­ple who trav­eled with him.

    But when the hous­ing bub­ble burst, the rela­tion­ship frayed.

    In 2008, Mr. Trump failed to pay $334 mil­lion he owed on the Chica­go loan because of lack­lus­ter sales of the building’s units. He then sued Deutsche Bank. His argu­ment was that the eco­nom­ic cri­sis con­sti­tut­ed a “force majeure”—an unfore­seen event such as war or nat­ur­al disaster—that should excuse the repay­ment until con­di­tions improved.

    His lawyers were inspired to invoke the clause after hear­ing for­mer Fed­er­al Reserve chair­man Alan Greenspan describe the cri­sis as a “once-in-a-cen­tu­ry cred­it tsuna­mi,” accord­ing to a per­son who worked on the case for Mr. Trump.

    Mr. Trump also attacked Deutsche Bank’s lend­ing prac­tices and said that as a big bank, it was par­tial­ly respon­si­ble for caus­ing the finan­cial cri­sis. He sought $3 bil­lion in dam­ages.

    Deutsche Bank in turn sued Mr. Trump, say­ing it was owed $40 mil­lion that the busi­ness­man had per­son­al­ly guar­an­teed in case his com­pa­ny was unable to repay the loan.

    Deutsche Bank argued that Mr. Trump had a cav­a­lier his­to­ry toward banks, quot­ing from his 2007 book, “Think Big And Kick Ass In Busi­ness And Life.”

    “I fig­ured it was the bank’s prob­lem, not mine,” Mr. Trump wrote, accord­ing to the law­suit. “What the hell did I care? I actu­al­ly told one bank, ‘I told you you shouldn’t have loaned me that mon­ey. I told you that god­damn deal was no good.’”

    The court reject­ed Mr. Trump’s argu­ments but the suit forced Deutsche Bank to the nego­ti­at­ing table. The two sides agreed to set­tle their suits out of court in 2009. The fol­low­ing year, they extend­ed the orig­i­nal loan by five years. It was paid off in 2012—with the help of a loan from the Ger­man firm’s pri­vate bank.

    While Deutsche Bank didn’t lose mon­ey on the deal, the fra­cas soured its invest­ment bankers on work­ing with Mr. Trump. “He was per­sona non gra­ta after that,” said a banker who worked on the deal.

    But not every­one with­in Deutsche Bank want­ed to sev­er the rela­tion­ship. The company’s pri­vate-bank­ing arm, which caters to ultra­rich fam­i­lies and indi­vid­u­als, picked up the slack, lend­ing well over $300 mil­lion to Trump enti­ties in the fol­low­ing years.

    ...

    “But not every­one with­in Deutsche Bank want­ed to sev­er the rela­tion­ship. The company’s pri­vate-bank­ing arm, which caters to ultra­rich fam­i­lies and indi­vid­u­als, picked up the slack, lend­ing well over $300 mil­lion to Trump enti­ties in the fol­low­ing years.”
    It’s nice now they were able to find a way to kiss and make up. And con­tin­ue lend­ing Trump hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars. Pre­sum­ably there’s a lead­er­ship qual­i­ty on dis­play there. But the fact that Don­ald Trump recent­ly bor­rowed a large sum a mon­ey to one of the finan­cial world’s biggest ser­i­al reg­u­la­to­ry vio­la­tors does seem like the kind of thing that could become an issue in the 2016? At least it’s seems very pos­si­ble. Espe­cial­ly since Deutsche Bank still faces mul­ti­ple inves­ti­ga­tions, still real­ly, real­ly wants to see the post-cri­sis reg­u­la­tions go away, and Trump still has at least $100 mil­lion that it’s wait­ing for Trump to pay back:

    Moth­er Jones

    Trump Has a Con­flict-of-Inter­est Prob­lem No Oth­er White House Can­di­date Ever Had
    He owes at least $100 mil­lion to a for­eign bank that’s bat­tled with US reg­u­la­tors.

    Russ Choma and David Corn
    Jun. 1, 2016 6:00 AM

    In his most recent finan­cial dis­clo­sure state­ment, Don­ald Trump notes he has bil­lions of dol­lars in assets. But the pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee also has a tremen­dous load of debt that includes five loans each over $50 mil­lion. (The dis­clo­sure form, which pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates must sub­mit, does not com­pel can­di­dates to reveal the spe­cif­ic amount of any loans that exceed $50 mil­lion, and Trump has cho­sen not to pro­vide details.) Two of those mega­loans are held by Deutsche Bank, which is based in Ger­many but has US sub­sidiaries. And this prompts a ques­tion that no oth­er major Amer­i­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date has had to face: What are the impli­ca­tions of the chief exec­u­tive of the US gov­ern­ment being in hock for $100 mil­lion (or more) to a for­eign enti­ty that has tried to evade laws aimed at cur­tail­ing risky finan­cial shenani­gans, that was recent­ly caught manip­u­lat­ing mar­kets around the world, and that attempts to influ­ence the US gov­ern­ment?

    Trump’s dis­clo­sure form lists 16 loans from 11 dif­fer­ent lenders, total­ing at least $335 mil­lion, and the aggre­gate amount is like­ly much more. Deutsche Bank is clear­ly his favorite lender, and Trump’s finan­cial empire has become large­ly depen­dent on his rela­tion­ship with this major play­er on Wall Street and the glob­al mar­kets. The Ger­man bank has lent him at least $295 mil­lion for two of his sig­na­ture projects. In 2012, Deutsche pro­vid­ed Trump with $125 mil­lion to help him buy Trump Nation­al Doral golf course. Last year, it hand­ed Trump a $170 mil­lion line of cred­it for his new hotel project on Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue in Wash­ing­ton, DC.

    Should Trump move into the White House, four blocks away from his under-con­struc­tion hotel, he would be its first inhab­i­tant to owe so much to any bank. And in recent years, Deutsche Bank has repeat­ed­ly clashed with US reg­u­la­tors. So might it be awkward—if not pose a con­flict of interest—for Trump to have to deal with pol­i­cy mat­ters that could affect this finan­cial behe­moth?

    Richard Painter, an attor­ney who teach­es at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta and who was the chief ethics lawyer for Pres­i­dent George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, says a sit­u­a­tion in which a sit­ting pres­i­dent owes hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to any enti­ty, espe­cial­ly a bank that jousts with reg­u­la­tors, is dis­turb­ing. There have been wealthy pres­i­dents and vice pres­i­dents, Painter notes, point­ing to John Kennedy, Franklin Roo­sevelt, and Nel­son Rock­e­feller, but none were as heav­i­ly lever­aged as Trump. “They had large assets and usu­al­ly diver­si­fied assets. They weren’t in a sit­u­a­tion where some­one could put pres­sure on them to do what they want,” Painter remarks. “Where­as hav­ing a pres­i­dent who owes a lot of mon­ey to banks, par­tic­u­lar­ly when it’s on nego­tiable terms—it puts them at the mer­cy of the banks and the banks are at the mer­cy of reg­u­la­tors. Painter adds: “In real estate, the pre­vail­ing busi­ness mod­el is to own a lot but also owe a lot, and that is a poten­tial­ly very trou­ble­some busi­ness mod­el for some­one in pub­lic office.”

    Mem­bers of a Trump cab­i­net would have to recuse them­selves from any gov­ern­ment busi­ness that would have a direct impact on their per­son­al finan­cial inter­ests. If a Trea­sury sec­re­tary held this sort of loans, he or she could not par­tic­i­pate in pol­i­cy delib­er­a­tions and actions that might have an impact on Deutsche Bank—and that would like­ly be many. But the pres­i­dent and vice pres­i­dent are exclud­ed from this require­ment. As pres­i­dent, Trump would have no oblig­a­tion to divest his vast busi­ness hold­ings, though recent pres­i­dents and pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have tak­en steps to avoid any con­cern. Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma has even put off refi­nanc­ing his Chica­go home to save mon­ey because it would mean estab­lish­ing a finan­cial rela­tion­ship with a bank, and that could prompt ques­tions. In 2011, Mitt Rom­ney promised to use a blind trust for his sub­stan­tial per­son­al busi­ness inter­ests, though there were con­cerns regard­ing how “blind” the trust was.

    Trump’s rela­tion­ship with Deutsche Bank means he is in league with a finan­cial giant that has been at odds with US gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tors and has attempt­ed to skirt reforms designed to pre­vent Wall Street firms from wreck­ing the US econ­o­my once again. Last year, around the same time Trump secured the $170 mil­lion for the Wash­ing­ton project, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay a $2.5 bil­lion fine to reg­u­la­tors here and abroad for its role in rig­ging inter­est rates. This includ­ed $600 mil­lion to the New York State Depart­ment of Finan­cial Ser­vices, $800 mil­lion to the Com­modi­ties Futures Trad­ing Com­mis­sion, and $775 mil­lion to the Depart­ment of Jus­tice. As Reuters report­ed, “Slam­ming Ger­many’s largest lender for ‘cul­tur­al fail­ings,’ reg­u­la­tors square­ly blamed senior staff for mis­lead­ing them, fail­ing to be open and coop­er­a­tive, and pro­long­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion.” From rough­ly 2003 to 2010, as the news ser­vice put it, the bank ran a scam to “fix rates…used to price hun­dreds of tril­lions of dol­lars of loans and con­tracts world­wide.” The bank also recent­ly reached set­tle­ments in law­suits alleg­ing it had manip­u­lat­ed prices for pre­cious met­als and their deriv­a­tives.

    Like most big banks, Deutsche Bank has been at odds with reg­u­la­tors over the 2010 Dodd-Frank finan­cial reform mea­sure. But it went to unusu­al lengths to dodge some of the law’s require­ments. For years, the bank oper­at­ed in the Unit­ed States through two sub­sidiaries that were legal­ly con­sid­ered to be Amer­i­can enti­ties. Yet in 2012—after Dodd-Frank was enacted—the bank tried to rewrite its own cor­po­rate struc­ture to make it less Amer­i­can. Under the new law, a for­eign-based bank’s sub­sidiaries were required to main­tain cer­tain min­i­mum lev­els of capital—as much as $20 bil­lion worth of reserves in Deutsche Bank’s case—so that the bank could weath­er anoth­er finan­cial cat­a­stro­phe like the one that occurred in 2008. The con­se­quence of the rule also restrict­ed how freely an Amer­i­can sub­sidiary of a for­eign bank could invest and how much risk it could assume. This was the point of the law: to pre­vent gar­gan­tu­an finan­cial firms from behav­ing reck­less­ly, col­laps­ing, and, once more, requir­ing a tax­pay­er-fund­ed bailout.

    Rather than accept these lim­i­ta­tions, Deutsche Bank reor­ga­nized itself, mov­ing its com­mer­cial bank­ing sub­sidiary out of the hold­ing com­pa­ny for its Amer­i­can oper­a­tions, which also con­tained its invest­ment arm. Deutsche Bank then claimed this bank­ing sub­sidiary was not sub­ject to the new Dodd-Frank reg­u­la­tions. The Fed­er­al Reserve did­n’t fall for this stunt.. The bank even­tu­al­ly was forced to com­ply with Dodd-Frank require­ments.

    That was only the begin­ning of Deutsche Bank’s prob­lems with Dodd-Frank. Last Sep­tem­ber, in its first enforce­ment action on new Dodd-Frank pro­vi­sions, the Com­mod­i­ty Futures Trad­ing Com­mis­sion fined Deutsche Bank $2.5 mil­lion for fail­ing to report prop­er­ly on its trad­ing of swaps, which are com­plex finan­cial deriv­a­tives.

    And like most big banks, Deutsche Bank lob­bies heav­i­ly in Wash­ing­ton. Last year it spent $600,000 on a sta­ble of lob­by­ists. In 2010, the year Dodd-Frank was enact­ed, the bank spent near­ly $2.6 mil­lion on influ­ence-ped­dlers in the nation’s cap­i­tal.

    So how might Trump, should he become pres­i­dent, han­dle the con­flict of inter­est posed by his rela­tion­ship with Deutsche Bank?

    ...

    “There would be enor­mous tax con­se­quences from just giv­ing it all to the chil­dren,” Painter says. “But just mere­ly let­ting his [chil­dren] run the busi­ness does­n’t solve the prob­lem. You real­ly have got to fig­ure out a way to sell your inter­est in the busi­ness and sell off the risk.” Oth­er wealthy pres­i­dents have tend­ed to own assets that could eas­i­ly be unwound or sold off. But for Trump, dis­pos­ing of his real estate hold­ings would be a spe­cial chal­lenge. “I think what you need to do is wind down or sell off the real estate port­fo­lio, and that prob­a­bly takes time,” Painter says. “It’s not like liq­uid secu­ri­ties that are easy to sell. Or he’d need to start to focus on pay­ing off this debt.”

    Sell­ing the parts of the busi­ness­es that he has mort­gaged might be par­tic­u­lar­ly dif­fi­cult, because some of the debt may be tied to him per­son­al­ly. In the past that has led to prob­lems, even with Deutsche Bank. In 2005, Trump bor­rowed $640 mil­lion from Deutsche Bank and sev­er­al oth­er lenders for the con­struc­tion of a Chica­go hotel tow­er. When he failed to pay back the mon­ey on time in 2008, the banks, includ­ing Deutsche Bank, demand­ed he pay up the $40 mil­lion he had per­son­al­ly guar­an­teed. In response, Trump sued Deutsche Bank for $3 bil­lion, say­ing the pro­jec­t’s finan­cial trou­bles were the fault of the eco­nom­ic reces­sion, essen­tial­ly an act of God, and accus­ing the bank of under­min­ing the project and his rep­u­ta­tion.

    Trump and Deutsche Bank patched things up, and hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in cred­it sub­se­quent­ly flowed from the Ger­man behe­moth to Trump. But with all his debt to Deutsche Bank com­ing due before the end of what would be Trump’s sec­ond term as pres­i­dent, there’s more to this rela­tion­ship than what’s on the finan­cial ledger. The Amer­i­can pub­lic, too, has much at stake when it’s pos­si­ble that the next pres­i­dent will be deeply in debt to a glob­al finan­cial play­er that has been caught try­ing to use its influ­ence to rig the finan­cial sys­tem.

    “Trump and Deutsche Bank patched things up, and hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in cred­it sub­se­quent­ly flowed from the Ger­man behe­moth to Trump. But with all his debt to Deutsche Bank com­ing due before the end of what would be Trump’s sec­ond term as pres­i­dent, there’s more to this rela­tion­ship than what’s on the finan­cial ledger. The Amer­i­can pub­lic, too, has much at stake when it’s pos­si­ble that the next pres­i­dent will be deeply in debt to a glob­al finan­cial play­er that has been caught try­ing to use its influ­ence to rig the finan­cial sys­tem”
    That would indeed appear to be a notable con­flict of inter­est. Espe­cial­ly since it could lead to deci­sions that aren’t just super help­ful to Deutsche Bank but all of Wall Street. That’s not very pop­ulist.

    Still, since Trump is a bil­lion­aire, he’ll pre­sum­ably just argue that there’s no need for the pub­lic to be con­cerned about that poten­tial con­flict of inter­est because why should he care about $100 mil­lion when he has bil­lions? We’ll see how that argu­ment goes if it comes to that. It might not go well.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 9, 2016, 2:11 pm
  33. With the US once again look­ing into the caus­es of act of home-grown ISIS-inspired ter­ror­ism fol­low­ing the slaugh­ter in Orlan­do, it prob­a­bly isn’t going to come as a sur­prise that that some sort of tox­ic mix of men­tal ill­ness and poi­so­nous reli­gious fun­da­men­tal­ism once again appear to be the twin forces dri­ving this attack since any­one that did what Omar Mateen did would have to be either com­plete­ly insane and/or have a real­ly skewed notion of what con­sti­tutes a pious life. So the fact that the Mateen’s ex-wife describes him as a vio­lent and unsta­ble indi­vid­u­als is prob­a­bly the least sur­pris­ing aspect of this whole tragedy. And while some sort of deeply reli­gious home life would also be expect­ed for a case like this, the par­tic­u­lar reli­gious back­ground of this shoot­er is indeed pret­ty unusu­al:

    CBS News

    Orlan­do gun­man’s dad walks back con­dem­na­tion of gays

    June 13, 2016, 2:05 PM

    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The father of the shoot­er in the Orlan­do night­club mas­sacre told CBS News he wants the world to know one impor­tant thing: there is no excuse for what his son did.

    Sed­dique Mir Mateen said he asked CBS News cor­re­spon­dent David Beg­naud to his home in Port St. Lucie to clar­i­fy any ambi­gu­i­ty that may have been left after aa video sur­faced show­ing him say­ing “God will pun­ish those involved in homo­sex­u­al­i­ty,” adding it’s, “not an issue that humans should deal with.”

    The elder Mateen said his son Omar Mateen was wrong to not just tar­get gays, but to inflict suf­fer­ing on any oth­er human being, most espe­cial­ly dur­ing the Islam­ic holy month of Ramadan.

    “He does­n’t have the right, nobody has the right to harm any­thing, any­body,” Mateen told CBS News. “What a per­son­’s lifestyle is, is up to him. It’s a free coun­try. Every­body has their own choice to live the way they want to live.”

    Mateen said he did not raise his son in Amer­i­ca to become a ter­ror­ist, and that he nev­er sus­pect­ed a turn to the dark side of extrem­ism.

    ...

    In the wake of the shoot­ing, the state­ments and ear­li­er videos by Sed­dique Mateen lend some insight into the envi­ron­ment in which his U.S.-born son was raised.

    Sed­dique Mateen hosts a pro­gram on a Cal­i­for­nia-based satel­lite Afghan TV sta­tion, aimed at the Afghan dias­po­ra in the in the U.S., called the “Durand Jir­ga Show.”

    A senior Afghan intel­li­gence source tells CBS News cor­re­spon­dent Lara Logan that the show is watched by some in peo­ple in Afghanistan but the pri­ma­ry audi­ence is eth­nic Pash­tun Afghans liv­ing in the U.S. and Europe.

    The Tal­iban Islam­ic extrem­ist move­ment is com­prised almost entire­ly of Pash­tuns, and Mateen’s show takes a decid­ed­ly Pash­tun nation­al­is­tic, pro-Tal­iban slant; full of anti‑U.S. rhetoric and inflam­ma­to­ry lan­guage aimed at non-Pash­tuns and at Pak­istan, the source told Logan.

    The name of the show ref­er­ences the Durand line, the dis­put­ed bor­der between Afghanistan and Pak­istan that was estab­lished in the 19th cen­tu­ry by Britain. It has long been at the heart of deep-seat­ed mis­trust between Afghans and Pak­ista­nis.

    Sed­dique Mateen once cam­paigned in the Unit­ed States for cur­rent Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani — seen as a mod­er­ate leader — who appeared on his pro­gram in 2014. But since then Sed­dique has turned against Ghani in both his broad­casts and numer­ous videos post­ed to a Face­book account.

    In his Face­book videos, the alleged gun­man’s father has often appeared wear­ing a mil­i­tary uni­form and declar­ing him­self the leader of a “tran­si­tion­al rev­o­lu­tion­ary gov­ern­ment” of Afghanistan. He claims to have his own intel­li­gence agency and close ties to the U.S. Con­gress — assets he says he will use to sub­vert Pak­istani influ­ence and take con­trol of Afghanistan.

    After watch­ing his videos — none of which were record­ed in Eng­lish — CBS News’ Ahmad Mukhtar said it seemed pos­si­ble that Sed­dique Mateen is delu­sion­al. “He thinks he runs a gov­ern­ment in exile and will soon take the pow­er in Kab­ul in a rev­o­lu­tion,” notes Mukhtar.

    “After watch­ing his videos — none of which were record­ed in Eng­lish — CBS News’ Ahmad Mukhtar said it seemed pos­si­ble that Sed­dique Mateen is delu­sion­al. “He thinks he runs a gov­ern­ment in exile and will soon take the pow­er in Kab­ul in a rev­o­lu­tion,” notes Mukhtar.’ ”
    Ok, so it looks like the father of the gun­man has his own pro-Tal­iban Afghan polit­i­cal TV show that and is either lead­ing a secret “tran­si­tion­al rev­o­lu­tion­ary gov­ern­ment” of Afghanistan with US con­gres­sion­al sup­port, or he’s total­ly delu­sion­al. Keep in mind that the shoot­er praised the Tsar­naeve broth­ers in his 911 phone call dur­ing the attack and report­ed­ly told co-work­ers pre­viosly that he knew the Tsar­naev broth­ers, although the FBI lat­er con­clud­ed that no direct rela­tion­ship exist­ed. Still, it’s worth noth­ing the strange ‘spooky’ echos between the US intel­li­gence con­nec­tions Tsar­naev fam­i­ly and the bizarre “tran­si­tion­al Afghan gov­ern­ment with US intel­li­gence help” claims of Mateen’s father.

    So try­ing to make sense out of insan­i­ty is basi­cal­ly unavoid­able with an event like this and while Omar Mateen was clear­ly a homi­ci­dal mad man, whether or not his father is also delu­sion­al or run­ning some sort of strange scam/propaganda oper­a­tion is an open ques­tion at this point. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that’s not the only open ques­tion of an indi­vid­u­al’s san­i­ty raised by these events. Yes, Don­ald Trump shared some thoughts on the Orlan­do mas­sacre:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trump Sug­gests Oba­ma May Secret­ly Be Work­ing with Mus­lim Ter­ror­ists (VIDEO)

    By Kather­ine Krueger
    Pub­lished June 13, 2016, 10:01 AM EDT

    Pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump hint­ed Mon­day that Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma is either naive about the threat of ter­ror or active­ly work­ing with extrem­ists in a Fox News inter­view after the dead­liest mass shoot­ing in U.S. his­to­ry.

    After tweet­ing that he was get­ting “con­grats for being right” about Sun­day’s attack in Orlan­do, Flori­da, Trump told the “Fox and Friends” crew he was still get­ting “thou­sands of let­ters and tweets” prais­ing his judge­ment.

    “I mean, I’ve been right about a lot of things, frankly, I was right about ‘take the oil,’ I was right about many, many things,” he said, “Our gov­ern­ment, we’re led by a man – look, guys, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got some­thing else in mind, peo­ple can’t believe it.”

    “They can­not believe that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is act­ing the way he acts and can’t even men­tion the words rad­i­cal Islam­ic ter­ror­ism,” he con­tin­ued. “There’s some­thing going on. It’s incon­ceiv­able. There’s some­thing going on.”

    Trump also said Oba­ma either “does­n’t get it or he gets it bet­ter than any­body under­stands – it’s one of the oth­er, and either one is unac­cept­able.”

    The New York busi­ness­man also tweet­ed Sun­day that Oba­ma should imme­di­ate­ly resign for refus­ing to use the ter­ror ter­mi­nol­o­gy favored by con­ser­v­a­tives.

    Amid peak birther fer­vor over Obama’s birth cer­tifi­cate in 2011, Trump told Fox News that per­haps the Pres­i­dent want­ed to sup­press the doc­u­ment because “maybe it says he is a Mus­lim.”

    ...

    ““They can­not believe that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is act­ing the way he acts and can’t even men­tion the words rad­i­cal Islam­ic ter­ror­ism,” he con­tin­ued. “There’s some­thing going on. It’s incon­ceiv­able. There’s some­thing going on.”
    That’s right: because Pres­i­dent Oba­ma does­n’t breath­less­ly repeat the phrase “rad­i­cal Islam­ic ter­ror­ism” in the wake of an act of rad­i­cal Islam­ic ter­ror­ist, it must mean he’s on the rad­i­cal Islam­ic ter­ror­ists’ side! It’s the only expla­na­tion! This is com­ing from the guy with a near­ly 50/50 chance of becom­ing the most pow­er­ful per­son on the plan­et in Novem­ber.

    So it looks like the GOP’s gen­er­al response to the Orlan­do attack is going to be to use the oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage of one more round of “Oba­ma is a secret Mus­lim” bash­ing. Real help­ful.

    But since Hillary Clin­ton is already using the term “rad­i­cal Islam­ic ter­ror­ist” (while mock­ing the Right’s fix­a­tion with it), the ques­tion is raised of what the Trump cam­paign is going to use to ascribe guilt for the attack to Hillary. And when­ev­er there’s a ques­tion about what kind of sleazy attack Don­ald Trump might use to fur­ther debase our nation­al dis­course
    Roger Stone has the answer:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trump Ally Sug­gests Clin­ton Aide Huma Abe­din Could Be ‘Ter­ror­ist Agent’

    By Alle­gra Kirk­land
    Pub­lished June 13, 2016, 1:40 PM EDT

    Long­time Don­ald Trump con­fi­dante Roger Stone said Mon­day that the Orlan­do ter­ror­ist attack was a good oppor­tu­ni­ty for his can­di­date to ques­tion whether top Hillary Clin­ton aide Huma Abe­din could be a “ter­ror­ist agent.”

    “I also think that now that Islam­ic ter­ror­ism is going to be front and cen­ter, there’s going to be a new focus on whether this admin­is­tra­tion, the admin­is­tra­tion of Hillary Clin­ton at State, was per­me­at­ed at the high­est lev­els by Sau­di intel­li­gence and oth­ers who are not loy­al Amer­i­cans,” Stone said on Sir­ius XM’s “Bre­it­bart News Dai­ly.” “I speak specif­i­cal­ly of Huma Abe­din, the right-hand woman, now vice-chair­man or co-chair­man of vice—of Hillary Clinton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.”

    Stone also pub­lished a lengthy post on Breitbart’s site lay­ing out sim­i­lar base­less alle­ga­tions.

    For years, far-right pun­dits have cir­cu­lat­ed unsub­stan­ti­at­ed rumors about Abedin’s alleged fam­i­ly ties to pro­po­nents of Sharia law and to Sau­di offi­cials. In 2012, then-Rep. Michele Bach­mann (R‑MN) earned rebukes from the State Depart­ment and some in her own par­ty for claim­ing that sev­er­al of Abedin’s rel­a­tives were “con­nect­ed to Mus­lim Broth­er­hood oper­a­tives and/or orga­ni­za­tions.”

    Stone cast sus­pi­cion on Abedin’s ties to the Insti­tute of Mus­lim Minor­i­ty Affairs, a think tank found­ed by her father that stud­ies minor­i­ty Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties around the globe in the ser­vice of secur­ing their rights.

    “She has a very trou­bling past,” Stone said. “She comes out of nowhere. She seems to have an enor­mous amount of cash, even pri­or to the time that she goes to work for Hillary. So we have to ask: Do we have a Sau­di spy in our midst? Do we have a ter­ror­ist agent?”

    Stone said peo­ple would only focus on Abedin’s back­sto­ry “if Trump him­self rais­es the ques­tion.”

    ...

    ” “I also think that now that Islam­ic ter­ror­ism is going to be front and cen­ter, there’s going to be a new focus on whether this admin­is­tra­tion, the admin­is­tra­tion of Hillary Clin­ton at State, was per­me­at­ed at the high­est lev­els by Sau­di intel­li­gence and oth­ers who are not loy­al Amer­i­cans,” Stone said on Sir­ius XM’s “Bre­it­bart News Dai­ly.” “I speak specif­i­cal­ly of Huma Abe­din, the right-hand woman, now vice-chair­man or co-chair­man of vice—of Hillary Clinton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.””
    Hillary’s top aide is a secret Sau­di agent! It’s no won­der Oba­ma, a secret ISIS sym­pa­thiz­er, hired her. And now you know.

    Of course, using that same log­ic, what does that say about Trump’s loy­al­ties? After all, Bill Clin­ton report­ed­ly had a phone call with Don­ald Trump last year just weeks before Trump announced he was run­ning when Bill may have encour­aged Don­ald Trump to run for pres­i­dent. So, accord­ing to Trump/­S­tone-style spec­u­la­tion, isn’t it rea­son­able for us to assume that Don­ald Trump is also a secret ISIS/Saudi agent, per­haps work­ing to destroy the GOP’s rep­u­ta­tion for­ev­er so that Oba­ma and Hillary can ush­er in Sharia Law over a then-dis­cred­it­ed oppo­si­tion par­ty? And might Trump’s calls for a ban on Mus­lims, com­bined with his gen­er­al insan­i­ty, also be an attempt to actu­al­ly weak­en the inter­na­tion­al “soft pow­er” of the Unit­ed States and lend cred­i­bil­i­ty and sta­tus to groups like ISIS and Wah­habist theoc­ra­cy?

    In oth­er words, are the Amer­i­can peo­ple real­ly sup­posed to believe that Don­ald Trump is act­ing the way he acts and can’t stop try­ing to debase Amer­i­ca’s high­est office? There’s some­thing going on. It’s incon­ceiv­able. There’s some­thing going on.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 13, 2016, 3:05 pm
  34. @Pterrafractyl–

    I have many more ques­tions than answers about this inci­dent, but a num­ber of things come to mind as points of inquiry:

    a)–Tamerlan Tsar­naev’s friend, Mr.Todashev, spent time in Flori­da, whether or not Mateen actu­al­ly knew the Tsar­naev broth­ers.

    b)–The Nus­ra Front (the cadre with which an asso­ciate of Mateen enlist­ed) is part of a loose coali­tion of jihadist groups backed by ele­ments of U.S.intel.

    c)–In FTR #392 (http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-392-desert-flowers-the-bushes-of-arabia/), we not­ed Sau­di mon­ey and jiha­di ele­ments present in Orlan­do. Remem­ber, also, in this con­text, that Dis­ney’s resorts divi­sion received much finan­cial sup­port from Prince Alwaleed. Short­ly after being cit­ed as an alleged Al-Qae­da financier by Zac­cha­rias Mous­saoui, the so-called “20th hijack­er,” Al-Waleed got out of “the busi­ness busi­ness” and donat­ed his wealth to char­i­ty.

    d)–The inves­ti­ga­tion into Sami al-Ari­an, the key George W. Bush sup­port­er who claimed he won Flori­da for Dubya in 2000, pre­cip­i­tat­ed the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002. See: http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-538-bushs-buddy%e2%80%94the-acquittal-of-sammy-the-aryan/

    e)–The imam of the mosque at which Mateen wor­shipped is, take a deep breath, pro-Trump! http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/283218-orlando-shooters-imam-is-pro-trump

    Keep up the great work!

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | June 13, 2016, 8:58 pm
  35. @Dave: And the twists keep com­ing with this case. Now we’re learn­ing that Omar Mateen appar­ent­ly admit­ted he was gay to ex-wife, or at least had a his­to­ry of going to gay clubs, before they were mar­ried. In addi­tion, a for­mer class­mate used to go to gay bars with Mateen and at one point Mateen tried to pick him up. Mateen was also known to use a gay dat­ing app was seen as a patron at the club he attacked, Pulse, at least a dozen times before. So it’s look­ing like Omar Mateen was either engaged in some very in depth and long term ‘scout­ing’ to plan an attack on the gay com­mu­ni­ty or he was a con­fused young gay man that some­how mor­phed into an extreme­ly self-loathing sui­ci­dal anti-gay gay jihadist.

    Adding to all this is that Mateen’s sec­ond wife, Noor Salman, who he was still mar­ried to when he did this attack, claims that she knew about Mateen’s plans and even drove him to Pulse and a gun store at one point. She also claims she tried to talk him out of it, but it’s look­ing like she’s prob­a­bly going to be fac­ing charges for not turn­ing him in.

    And as the arti­cle indi­cat­ed by the below, Salman appears to come from a deeply reli­gious fam­i­ly, with one anec­dote her moth­er refus­ing to dine at the house of fam­i­ly friends due to the fact they owned dogs. At the same time, it sounds like Mateen would­n’t actu­al­ly allow Salman’s moth­er vis­it her in Flori­da.

    So in addi­tion to Mateen’s father’s pol­i­tics, which appear to be less jihadist and more along the lines of “the ene­my of Pak­istan is my friend [includ­ing the Tal­iban]”, Mateen’s cur­rent wife Noor, who appears to be a co-con­spir­a­tor of sorts in his plans, came from a deeply reli­gious house­hold. Whether or not she turns out to a ful­ly rad­i­cal­ized wife like Tash­feen Malik in the San Bernardi­no shoot­ing or more of a pas­sive assis­tant remains to be seen. But now we know that Omar Mateen’s increas­ing­ly bizarre attack on Orlan­do’s gay com­mu­ni­ty, a com­mu­ni­ty he may have been try­ing to join for years, was­n’t con­coct­ed and exe­cut­ed com­plete­ly on his own:

    NBC News

    Por­trait Emerges of Noor Zahi Salman of Rodeo, Cal­i­for­nia, Wife of Orlan­do Shoot­er

    By Riya Bhat­tachar­jee, Raquel Marie Dil­lon and Lisa Fer­nan­dez
    6/14/2016

    A por­trait of the Orlan­do gunman’s wife began emerg­ing on Tues­day, the day the FBI said she knew about the attack at the gay night­club and tried to stop it.

    Noor Zahi Salman, 30, grew up in Rodeo, Cal­i­for­nia, about 45 min­utes away from San Fran­cis­co, is coop­er­at­ing with the FBI but could still face crim­i­nal charges, NBC News first report­ed..

    That’s because she told the FBI she was with her hus­band, Omar Mateen, when he bought ammu­ni­tion and a hol­ster, sev­er­al offi­cials famil­iar with the case told NBC News. She also told the FBI that she once drove him to Pulse night­club, because he want­ed to check it out. And even though she told the FBI she tried to talk him out of it, NBC News report­ed that author­i­ties are now con­sid­er­ing whether Salman failed to tell them what she knew before the attack.

    Salman had four list­ed email accounts in a pub­lic records data­base, includ­ing one to the now-defunct Heald Col­lege in Con­cord. She did not respond to any of the four emails sent to her Tues­day by NBC Bay Area, though two bounced back. One of the emails had Mateen’s name in the pre­fix: MissesMateen86@hotmail.com. Calls to her phone num­ber did not work.

    Neigh­bors on the qui­et street in Rodeo where she grew up told NBC Bay Area on Mon­day that Salman was the daugh­ter of Ekbal Zahi and Bas­sam Abdal­lah Salman, who died of a heart attack sev­er­al years ago. The cou­ple has three oth­er daugh­ters — the youngest is 14. Salman’s moth­er still lives at the home but did not come out to speak. Accord­ing to neigh­bors, she attend­ed John Swett High School in near­by Crock­ett, Cal­i­for­nia.

    Salman mar­ried Mateen, neigh­bors said, and moved to Flori­da about five years ago, despite the fact that there is no known mar­riage license on record. All the neigh­bors described her as kind and nor­mal, and a young woman who came from a nice Mus­lim fam­i­ly. Neigh­bors told NBC Bay Area they thought Salman looked beau­ti­ful in her dress on the lawn of the home before she head­ed off to her rit­u­al Mus­lim wed­ding.

    In fact, Salman’s moth­er was so devout, neigh­bors said, she did­n’t eat at the home of her Pun­jabi neigh­bors because they had a dog. In strict Mus­lim inter­pre­ta­tion, dogs can be seen as impure.

    A Mia­mi news sta­tion reporter tweet­ed that Salman left Port St. Lucie, Flori­da after mid­night on Tues­day, and low­ered her head before the media fren­zy camped out there. She delet­ed her social media accounts, minus one pho­to of her and Mateen with their 3‑year-old son. It appears as though the cou­ple has been togeth­er since 2013 based on mort­gage records.

    Face­book accounts for her rel­a­tives show they are Pales­tin­ian, the Dai­ly Beast report­ed. The Dai­ly Mail obtained pho­tos from inside Mateen’s apart­ment, and also report­ed that Salman is a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Amer­i­can, born to a well-heeled Pales­tin­ian fam­i­ly who emi­grat­ed to Cal­i­for­nia from the West Bank in the 1970s.

    And it appears as though Salman had been mar­ried pre­vi­ous­ly in Pales­tine and then moved to Illi­nois with Ahmed Abu­rah­ma from 2005 to 2009, NBC News report­ed. Abu­rah­ma moved to Tuc­son and has since remar­ried.

    “She’s a nice per­son,” he told NBC News. “She liked to go out. She liked to eat out. She was nice.”

    He added he had­n’t heard from her in a while.

    ...

    Mateen also had been mar­ried before. That ex-wife, Sito­ria Yusu­fiy, told reporters this week that she left Mateen because of pos­si­ble men­tal ill­ness and abuse.

    Back in Cal­i­for­nia, Rodeo neigh­bor Sar­wan Kaur said Mateen appar­ent­ly would­n’t let Noor Salman’s moth­er vis­it her in Flori­da.

    “Like, even when she was in the hos­pi­tal, her hus­band would­n’t let her come see her own moth­er,” Sim­rat Cha­hal said on behalf of his grand­moth­er.

    “That’s because she told the FBI she was with her hus­band, Omar Mateen, when he bought ammu­ni­tion and a hol­ster, sev­er­al offi­cials famil­iar with the case told NBC News. She also told the FBI that she once drove him to Pulse night­club, because he want­ed to check it out. And even though she told the FBI she tried to talk him out of it, NBC News report­ed that author­i­ties are now con­sid­er­ing whether Salman failed to tell them what she knew before the attack.
    So whether or not it turns out that Omar Mateen was being direct­ly influ­enced and rad­i­cal­ized by some­one else close to him, it’s look­ing increas­ing­ly like Mateen was a self-loathing gay Mus­lim and, for rea­sons yet to be deter­mined, he decid­ed to basi­cal­ly com­mit sui­cide by attack­ing the very same gay com­mu­ni­ty that could have been a safe-haven from exact­ly the kind of hate-filled, and often self-hate-filled, peo­ple Mateen turned into.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 14, 2016, 5:49 pm
  36. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee shared some unpleas­ant IT news yes­ter­day: two sep­a­rate groups of Russ­ian hack­ers hacked the DNC’s serv­er. Both groups appear to be work­ing sep­a­rate­ly. One group had access for a year, while a sec­ond group only recent­ly joined in on the fun. And what did that sec­ond group seem most inter­est­ed in? The DNC’s oppo­si­tion research on Don­ald Trump:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Russ­ian gov­ern­ment hack­ers pen­e­trat­ed DNC, stole oppo­si­tion research on Trump

    By Ellen Nakashima June 14 at 3:09 PM

    Russ­ian gov­ern­ment hack­ers pen­e­trat­ed the com­put­er net­work of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee and gained access to the entire data­base of oppo­si­tion research on GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump, accord­ing to com­mit­tee offi­cials and secu­ri­ty experts who respond­ed to the breach.

    The intrud­ers so thor­ough­ly com­pro­mised the DNC’s sys­tem that they also were able to read all email and chat traf­fic, said DNC offi­cials and the secu­ri­ty experts.

    The intru­sion into the DNC was one of sev­er­al tar­get­ing Amer­i­can polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions. The net­works of pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates Hillary Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump were also tar­get­ed by Russ­ian spies, as were the com­put­ers of some Repub­li­can polit­i­cal action com­mit­tees, U.S. offi­cials said. But details on those cas­es were not avail­able.

    “I com­plete­ly rule out a pos­si­bil­i­ty that the [Russ­ian] gov­ern­ment or the gov­ern­ment bod­ies have been involved in this,” Dmit­ry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, told the Reuters news agency in Moscow.

    Some of the hack­ers had access to the DNC net­work for about a year, but all were expelled over the past week­end in a major com­put­er cleanup cam­paign, the com­mit­tee offi­cials and experts said.

    The DNC said that no finan­cial, donor or per­son­al infor­ma­tion appears to have been accessed or tak­en, sug­gest­ing that the breach was tra­di­tion­al espi­onage, not the work of crim­i­nal hack­ers.

    The intru­sions are an exam­ple of Russia’s inter­est in the U.S. polit­i­cal sys­tem and its desire to under­stand the poli­cies, strengths and weak­ness­es of a poten­tial future pres­i­dent — much as Amer­i­can spies gath­er sim­i­lar infor­ma­tion on for­eign can­di­dates and lead­ers.

    The depth of the pen­e­tra­tion reflects the skill and deter­mi­na­tion of the Unit­ed States’ top cyber-adver­sary as Rus­sia goes after strate­gic tar­gets, from the White House and State Depart­ment to polit­i­cal cam­paign orga­ni­za­tions.

    “It’s the job of every for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vice to col­lect intel­li­gence against their adver­saries,” said Shawn Hen­ry, pres­i­dent of Crowd­Strike, the cyber firm called in to han­dle the DNC breach and a for­mer head of the FBI’s cyber divi­sion. He not­ed that it is extreme­ly dif­fi­cult for a civil­ian orga­ni­za­tion to pro­tect itself from a skilled and deter­mined state such as Rus­sia.

    “We’re per­ceived as an adver­sary of Rus­sia,” he said. “Their job when they wake up every day is to gath­er intel­li­gence against the poli­cies, prac­tices and strate­gies of the U.S. gov­ern­ment. There are a vari­ety of ways. [Hack­ing] is one of the more valu­able because it gives you a trea­sure trove of infor­ma­tion.”

    Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin has spo­ken favor­ably about Trump, who has called for bet­ter rela­tions with Rus­sia and expressed skep­ti­cism about NATO. But unlike Clin­ton, whom the Rus­sians prob­a­bly have long had in their spy sights, Trump has not been a politi­cian for very long, so for­eign agen­cies are play­ing catch-up, ana­lysts say.

    “The pur­pose of such intel­li­gence gath­er­ing is to under­stand the target’s pro­cliv­i­ties,” said Robert Deitz, for­mer senior coun­cil­lor to the CIA direc­tor and
    a for­mer gen­er­al coun­sel at the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency. “Trump’s for­eign invest­ments, for exam­ple, would be rel­e­vant to under­stand­ing how he would deal with coun­tries where he has those invest­ments” should he be elect­ed, Deitz said. “They may pro­vide tips for under­stand­ing his style of nego­ti­at­ing. In short, this sort of intel­li­gence could be used by Rus­sia, for exam­ple, to indi­cate where it can get away with for­eign adven­tur­ism.”

    Oth­er ana­lysts not­ed that any dirt dug up in oppo­si­tion research is like­ly to be made pub­lic any­way. Nonethe­less, DNC lead­er­ship act­ed quick­ly after the intrusion’s dis­cov­ery to con­tain the dam­age.

    “The secu­ri­ty of our sys­tem is crit­i­cal to our oper­a­tion and to the con­fi­dence of the cam­paigns and state par­ties we work with,” said Rep. Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz (Fla.), the DNC chair­woman. “When we dis­cov­ered the intru­sion, we treat­ed this like the seri­ous inci­dent it is and reached out to Crowd­Strike imme­di­ate­ly. Our team moved as quick­ly as pos­si­ble to kick out the intrud­ers and secure our net­work.”

    Clin­ton called the intru­sion “trou­bling” in an inter­view with Tele­mu­n­do. She also said, “So far as we know, my cam­paign has not been hacked into,” and added that cyber­se­cu­ri­ty is an issue that she “will be absolute­ly focused on” if she becomes pres­i­dent. “Because whether it’s Rus­sia, or Chi­na, Iran or North Korea, more and more coun­tries are using hack­ing to steal our infor­ma­tion, to use it to their advan­tage,” she said.

    A spokes­woman for the Trump cam­paign referred ques­tions to the Secret Ser­vice.

    DNC lead­ers were tipped to the hack in late April. Chief exec­u­tive Amy Dacey got a call from her oper­a­tions chief say­ing that their infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy team had noticed some unusu­al net­work activ­i­ty.

    “It’s nev­er a call any exec­u­tive wants to get, but the IT team knew some­thing was awry,” ­Dacey said. And they knew it was seri­ous enough that they want­ed experts to inves­ti­gate.

    That evening, she spoke with Michael Suss­mann, a DNC lawyer who is a part­ner with Perkins Coie in Wash­ing­ton. Soon after, Suss­mann, a for­mer fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor who han­dled com­put­er crime cas­es, called Hen­ry, whom he has known for many years.

    With­in 24 hours, Crowd­Strike had installed soft­ware on the DNC’s com­put­ers so that it could ana­lyze data that could indi­cate who had gained access, when and how.

    The firm iden­ti­fied two sep­a­rate hack­er groups, both work­ing for the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment, that had infil­trat­ed the net­work, said Dmitri Alper­ovitch, Crowd­Strike co-founder and chief tech­nol­o­gy offi­cer. The firm had ana­lyzed oth­er breach­es by both groups over the past two years.

    One group, which Crowd­Strike had dubbed Cozy Bear, had gained access last sum­mer and was mon­i­tor­ing the DNC’s email and chat com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Alper­ovitch said.

    The oth­er, which the firm had named Fan­cy Bear, broke into the net­work in late April and tar­get­ed the oppo­si­tion research files. It was this breach that set off the alarm. The hack­ers stole two files, Hen­ry said. And they had access to the com­put­ers of the entire research staff — an aver­age of about sev­er­al dozen on any giv­en day.

    The com­put­ers con­tained research going back years on Trump. “It’s a huge job” to dig into the deal­ings of some­body who has nev­er run for office before, Dacey said.

    Crowd­Strike is not sure how the hack­ers got in. The firm sus­pects they may have tar­get­ed DNC employ­ees with “spearphish­ing” emails. These are com­mu­ni­ca­tions that appear legit­i­mate — often made to look like they came from a col­league or some­one trust­ed — but that con­tain links or attach­ments that when clicked on deploy mali­cious soft­ware that enables a hack­er to gain access to a com­put­er. “But we don’t have hard evi­dence,” Alper­ovitch said.

    The two groups did not appear to be work­ing togeth­er, Alper­ovitch said. Fan­cy Bear is believed to work for the GRU, or Russia’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ser­vice, he said. Crowd­Strike is less sure of whom Cozy Bear works for but thinks it might be the Fed­er­al Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice, or FSB, the country’s pow­er­ful secu­ri­ty agency, which was once head­ed by Putin.

    The lack of coor­di­na­tion is not unusu­al, he said. “There’s an amaz­ing adver­sar­i­al rela­tion­ship” among the Russ­ian intel­li­gence agen­cies, Alper­ovitch said. “We have seen them steal assets from one anoth­er, refuse to col­lab­o­rate. They’re all vying for pow­er, to sell Putin on how good they are.”

    The two crews have “superb oper­a­tional trade­craft,” he said. They often use pre­vi­ous­ly unknown soft­ware bugs — known as “zero-day” vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties — to com­pro­mise appli­ca­tions. In the DNC’s case, the hack­ers con­stant­ly switched tac­tics to main­tain a stealthy pres­ence inside the net­work and used built-in Win­dows tools so that they didn’t have to resort to mali­cious code that might trig­ger alerts. “They flew under the radar,” Alper­ovitch said.

    The two groups have hacked gov­ern­ment agen­cies, tech com­pa­nies, defense con­trac­tors, ener­gy and man­u­fac­tur­ing firms, and uni­ver­si­ties in the Unit­ed States, Cana­da and Europe as well as in Asia, he said.

    Cozy Bear, for instance, com­pro­mised the unclas­si­fied email sys­tems of the White House, State Depart­ment and Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2014, Alper­ovitch said.

    “This is a sophis­ti­cat­ed for­eign intel­li­gence ser­vice with a lot of time, a lot of resources, and is inter­est­ed in tar­get­ing the U.S. polit­i­cal sys­tem,” Hen­ry said. He said the DNC was not engaged in a fair fight. “You’ve got ordi­nary cit­i­zens who are doing hand-to-hand com­bat with trained mil­i­tary offi­cers,” he said. “And that’s an unten­able sit­u­a­tion.”

    ...

    The firm has installed spe­cial soft­ware on every com­put­er and serv­er in the net­work to detect any efforts by the Russ­ian cyber­spies to break in again. “When they get kicked out of the sys­tem,” Hen­ry pre­dict­ed, “they’re going to try to come back in.”

    “The oth­er, which the firm had named Fan­cy Bear, broke into the net­work in late April and tar­get­ed the oppo­si­tion research files. It was this breach that set off the alarm. The hack­ers stole two files, Hen­ry said. And they had access to the com­put­ers of the entire research staff — an aver­age of about sev­er­al dozen on any giv­en day.”
    Huh. That’s an inter­est­ing tar­get. Espe­cial­ly giv­en the Putin-Trump bro­mance. But also keep in mind that the report indi­cat­ed that the Clin­ton, Trump, and var­i­ous GOP cam­paigns were also tar­get­ed. There just has­n’t been any info on those hack­ing attempts or out­right hacks pub­licly released yet. So it seems unlike­ly that this was part of some pro-Trump Krem­lin Water­gate oper­a­tion.

    At the same time, it’s also worth keep­ing in mind that there is one very big rea­son why the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment might actu­al­ly be VERY inter­est­ed in the Democ­ra­t’s oppo­si­tion research on Don­ald Trump: Don­ald Trumps real estate empire has done a lot of busi­ness with Russ­ian oli­garchs. And it’s the kind of busi­ness that typ­i­cal­ly rais­es the eye­brows of mon­ey-laun­der­ing inves­ti­ga­tors:

    The Nation

    Mia­mi: Where Lux­u­ry Real Estate Meets Dirty Mon­ey

    The buy­ers come from all over the globe, bear­ing cash and com­pli­cat­ed pasts.

    By Ken Sil­ver­stein
    Octo­ber 2, 2013

    If you fly into Mia­mi Inter­na­tion­al Air­port and dri­ve east toward the city and north on Inter­state 95, you bypass South Beach and mid­town and in about thir­ty min­utes reach the 163rd Street exit. Head­ing east toward the ocean leads you past sev­er­al miles of strip malls filled with con­ve­nience stores, pawn shops, bode­gas, gas sta­tions, chain restau­rants, nail salons and an occa­sion­al yoga cen­ter. Then ris­ing unex­pect­ed­ly in the dis­tance is a row of con­do­mini­um sky­scrap­ers so baroque and unat­trac­tive that they con­jure up the name of only one man: Don­ald Trump.

    You have arrived in the city of Sun­ny Isles Beach, or “Florida’s Riv­iera,” as its polit­i­cal and busi­ness lead­ers have dubbed it. Mas­sive sky­scrap­ers along beach­front Collins Avenue include three Trump Tow­ers and three oth­er Trump-brand­ed prop­er­ties, includ­ing the Trump Inter­na­tion­al Beach Resort, where I stayed—very com­fort­ably, I confess—for eleven days in June.

    Oth­er lux­u­ry prop­er­ties on the stretch include the gaudy Acquali­na Resort & Spa, where the pent­house recent­ly went on sale for $55 mil­lion, and the Jade Ocean, which offers “beach ameni­ties thought­ful­ly con­ceived to con­tin­ue atten­tive ser­vice and lav­ish appoint­ments all the way to the water’s edge” and a Children’s Room fea­tur­ing Philippe Star­ck fur­nish­ings and a baby grand piano. Mean­while, ground was recent­ly bro­ken on the Porsche Design Tow­er, which its devel­op­ers describe as “the world’s first con­do­mini­um com­plex with ele­va­tors that will take res­i­dents direct­ly to their units while they are sit­ting in their cars.”

    Until the late 1990s, this Mia­mi neigh­bor­hood was pop­u­lat­ed by retirees and tourists and was dot­ted with dozens of theme motels, many of them named after Las Vegas prop­er­ties: the Dunes, the Sands, the Desert Inn and the Aztec. Between the 1920s and ’50s, Sun­ny Isles catered to vis­i­tors like Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, Grace Kel­ly, Burt Lan­cast­er and Guy Lom­bar­do, but lat­er became a des­ti­na­tion for tourists of mod­est means.

    Every­thing changed in 1997, when real estate devel­op­ers and oth­er busi­ness groups suc­ceed­ed in pass­ing a ref­er­en­dum to incor­po­rate Sun­ny Isles as a town. From that point on, build­ing, plan­ning and zon­ing deci­sions were stripped from the Mia­mi-Dade Coun­ty Com­mis­sion and put in the hands of the indus­try-dom­i­nat­ed Sun­ny Isles City Com­mis­sion, whose cur­rent mem­bers con­sist of a real estate exec­u­tive, a prop­er­ty lawyer and a for­mer adver­tis­ing exec­u­tive. What hap­pened next was the most spec­tac­u­lar neigh­bor­hood trans­for­ma­tion seen in Mia­mi since cocaine mon­ey rebuilt the city’s down­town area begin­ning in the late 1970s.

    The first may­or was David Sam­son, a park­ing garage mag­nate from Chica­go who retired to Sun­ny Isles and helped “remake a sleepy area of low-rise motels built along Collins Avenue in the 1950s into a spark­ing city of con­do­mini­um tow­ers,” accord­ing to his 2003 obit­u­ary. Nor­man Edel­cup, a for­mer banker and real estate exec­u­tive, suc­ceed­ed Sam­son upon the latter’s death, and the city has been a prop­er­ty developer’s wet dream ever since.

    For all of its wealth, Sun­ny Isles, which spans just one square mile and has a pop­u­la­tion of 20,832, is as bland and bor­ing as its polit­i­cal lead­er­ship. “Res­i­dents are as pam­pered as hotel guests,” says the glossy offi­cial guide­book, which fea­tures pho­tos of the beach, shop­ping bou­tiques and, most­ly, lux­u­ry con­dos. “World- class spas, unpar­al­leled concierge ser­vice, beach­side wait staff ready to serve, free city trans­porta­tion, and dozens of cul­tur­al oppor­tu­ni­ties is why Sun­ny Isles Beach stands out amongst the rest.”

    I inter­viewed a Siber­ian-born real­tor in the lob­by of Beach Club, a lux­u­ry con­do­mini­um on South Ocean Dri­ve in Hal­lan­dale, just north of Sun­ny Isles. “Mia­mi is a brand,” she told me as we sat on a sofa in the building’s huge foy­er. “Peo­ple from all over the world want prop­er­ty here.” Devel­op­ers were only putting up lux­u­ry prop­er­ties because they “know that the cri­sis has not affect­ed peo­ple with mon­ey,” she added. By way of exam­ple she point­ed to the Regalia, a new Sun­ny Isles con­do with only thir­ty-nine units, one per floor, with prices start­ing at $6 mil­lion.

    Most of her clients are Russian—there are now three direct flights per week between Moscow and Miami—and increas­ing num­bers are mov­ing to Flori­da after spend­ing a few years in Lon­don first. “It’s a mon­ey cen­ter, and it’s a lot eas­i­er to get your mon­ey there than direct­ly to the US, because of laws and tax issues,” she said. “But after your mon­ey has been in Lon­don for a while, you can move it to oth­er places more eas­i­ly.”

    * * *

    Flori­da was at the epi­cen­ter of the hous­ing bub­ble that col­lapsed the country’s econ­o­my, and the state’s over­all fore­clo­sure rate remained the high­est in the coun­try through the first half of 2013. But the lux­u­ry real estate mar­ket in Mia­mi is flour­ish­ing. A March sto­ry in Prop­er­ty Week said the “dark age” of the 2009 crash was over: “Few­er than ten per­cent of down­town Mia­mi units are left and they’re going fast. Mean­while, super-lux­u­ry pent­hous­es at the exclu­sive south­ern tip of South Beach…are sell­ing for $25 mil­lion.”

    This remark­able boom in high-end real estate has been dri­ven by for­eign mon­ey, with “buy­ers com­ing from all over the world but with the high­est con­cen­tra­tion from Venezuela, Argenti­na, Brazil and Rus­sia,” accord­ing to the web­site for Mia­mi Con­do Invest­ments, which offers high-end prop­er­ties for sale. Twen­ty-six per­cent of real estate sales to for­eign­ers in the Unit­ed States occur in Flori­da, more than any­where else in the coun­try and twice as high as sec­ond-place Cal­i­for­nia, accord­ing to the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Real­tors. Sev­en­ty-six per­cent of con­do buy­ers in Mia­mi don’t take out mort­gages but pay cash, ver­sus a nation­al aver­age of 32 per­cent for cash sales for all prop­er­ties.

    Jorge Pérez, a devel­op­er known as the “Con­do King,” told a local real estate con­fer­ence ear­li­er this year that all these for­eign buy­ers make Mia­mi the only city in Amer­i­ca where the cash mod­el works. “It’s a very local mar­ket,” he said. “It’s for peo­ple who are used to pay­ing cash for most of their sec­ond homes.”

    Born in Argenti­na to Cuban par­ents, Pérez faced finan­cial ruin dur­ing the last hous­ing bub­ble. By 2010, his Relat­ed Group had lost four of its sev­en Flori­da devel­op­ments to fore­clo­sure and was des­per­ate­ly try­ing to resched­ule $1.5 bil­lion in debt. Now he is hawk­ing a new slate of lux­u­ry projects, includ­ing One Ocean at the tip of South Beach and the SLS Hotel, a brand whose flag­ship prop­er­ty is in Bev­er­ly Hills.

    Entic­ing for­eign buy­ers may have saved the finan­cial skins of Mia­mi real estate investors like Pérez, but all that off­shore mon­ey entails risks as well. Obvi­ous­ly not all of the mon­ey flow­ing into Mia­mi from abroad is ille­git­i­mate. Yet there are abun­dant signs—beyond the city’s tra­di­tion­al role as a repos­i­to­ry for dirty cash and the fact that much of the inflow is from coun­tries par­tic­u­lar­ly rife with corruption—that sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of for­eign con­do buy­ers are polit­i­cal fig­ures and busi­ness­peo­ple seek­ing to ille­gal­ly export cap­i­tal abroad, laun­der prof­its or evade tax­es.

    Cor­rup­tion and bribery cost devel­op­ing coun­tries up to $1 tril­lion per year—lost rev­enues they are increas­ing­ly seri­ous about attempt­ing to recap­ture. Some of the mon­ey ends up in tra­di­tion­al off­shore havens like Nevis, Bermu­da and the British Vir­gin Islands, and huge amounts also flow to West­ern finan­cial cen­ters like Gene­va, Lon­don and New York. But Mia­mi, and its real estate mar­ket in par­tic­u­lar, is an espe­cial­ly pop­u­lar haven for ill-got­ten cash. “South Flori­da has always been a favorite des­ti­na­tion for inter­na­tion­al vis­i­tors and polit­i­cal fig­ures, whether it is for vaca­tion or to pur­chase prop­er­ty along its sandy and sun­ny beach­es,” said a May 2011 Trea­sury Depart­ment report. “As such, Mia­mi finds itself in the dis­tinct posi­tion of being a reoc­cur­ring hot spot for funds pil­fered by polit­i­cal­ly exposed per­sons (PEPs) and oth­er crim­i­nal pro­ceeds.”

    * * *

    The com­bi­na­tion of tax haven acces­si­bil­i­ty and weak bank­ing secre­cy and cor­po­rate reg­istry rules—as in Wilm­ing­ton, Delaware, where near­ly 300,000 busi­ness­es are reg­is­tered at a sin­gle address—has cre­at­ed a huge glob­al prob­lem. For the past year, the Inter­na­tion­al Con­sor­tium of Inves­tiga­tive Jour­nal­ists has been mak­ing pub­lic a vast trove of leaked off­shore records that have revealed tax eva­sion by bil­lion­aires, oli­garchs, emirs, princes and multi­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions around the globe. A recent report by the Tax Jus­tice Net­work described tax havens as “the eco­nom­ic equiv­a­lent of an astro­phys­i­cal black hole” and esti­mat­ed that they col­lec­tive­ly held as much as $32 trillion—roughly dou­ble the annu­al GDP of the Unit­ed States.

    In Feb­ru­ary, a mem­ber of Russia’s rul­ing par­ty, Vladimir Pekhtin, was forced to resign from the Duma when a blog­ger pub­lished doc­u­ments show­ing that he owned three Mia­mi prop­er­ties worth more than a com­bined $2 mil­lion. Pekhtin’s hold­ings were espe­cial­ly embar­rass­ing because he had not dis­closed his over­seas prop­er­ties in his annu­al finan­cial dis­clo­sure fil­ing, as is legal­ly required under a bill he had writ­ten as chair­man of the Duma’s ethics com­mit­tee. In Rus­sia, which saw ille­gal cap­i­tal out­flows of more than $200 bil­lion from 1994 to 2011, charges of cor­rup­tion and lav­ish spend­ing over­seas have become major polit­i­cal issues.

    In Sep­tem­ber of 2012, The New York Times report­ed that wealthy Argen­tines had been pour­ing mon­ey into Mia­mi real estate “by expen­sive and some­times ille­gal means.” Hugo Chávez’s pres­i­den­cy prompt­ed mas­sive ille­gal cap­i­tal flight by wealthy Venezue­lans, with vast sums pour­ing into Mia­mi. His re-elec­tion in Octo­ber 2012, five months before his death, prompt­ed some local real­tors to joke that Chávez should have been named con­do “Sales­man of the Year.” Alvaro Lopez Tar­don, the alleged leader of a Span­ish drug gang, is cur­rent­ly fac­ing tri­al in Mia­mi on charges that he bought four­teen con­dos and a fleet of lux­u­ry vehi­cles to laun­der $26.4 mil­lion in cocaine prof­its.

    It’s dif­fi­cult to dis­cov­er who specif­i­cal­ly has been snap­ping up high-end prop­er­ties, because many buy­ers are not indi­vid­u­als but Flori­da lim­it­ed lia­bil­i­ty com­pa­nies (LLCs). In August 2012, a 30,000-square-foot house on Indi­an Creek Island with thir­teen bed­rooms and four­teen bath­rooms sold for $47 mil­lion, the most expen­sive home sale in Miami’s his­to­ry. Media accounts iden­ti­fied the anony­mous buy­er as a Russ­ian but the list­ed own­er is AVK Land Hold­ing, a Flori­da LLC, whose busi­ness address is a pay-by-the-day busi­ness cen­ter in mid­town Man­hat­tan and which was reg­is­tered a few months before the sale by a Tal­la­has­see com­pa­ny called Incor­po­rat­ing Ser­vices Ltd. AVK’s annu­al report is signed by Andrey M. Kay­din, an attor­ney based in Coney Island who has also served as a beard for buy­ers of lux­u­ry prop­er­ties in New York City.

    Buy­ing prop­er­ty through busi­ness enti­ties set up in Delaware or off­shore havens is also com­mon. Con­do own­ers at prop­er­ties in Sun­ny Isles include com­pa­nies that were estab­lished or have legal rep­re­sen­ta­tives in a mul­ti­tude of loca­tions, includ­ing Argenti­na, Belize, the Bahamas, the British Vir­gin Islands, Chile, Guatemala and Trinidad.

    Trump’s part­ner in Sun­ny Isles is Dez­er Devel­op­ment, which began buy­ing up prop­er­ty in 1995 and now owns twen­ty-sev­en acres of ocean­front. Accord­ing to com­pa­ny pres­i­dent Gil Dez­er, his firm han­dles the due dili­gence on con­do buy­ers. “We do make sure we know our cus­tomer by ask­ing for per­son­al infor­ma­tion at the time of sign­ing the con­tract,” Dez­er wrote in an e‑mail. “We also make sure that any­one buy­ing with an LLC proves to us that they are the right­ful own­er of that LLC and we check again at clos­ing to make sure that we are still deal­ing with the same per­son at the time of deliv­er­ing title.”

    Off­shore enti­ties are an espe­cial­ly bright red flag, but domes­tic LLCs offer a sim­ple means of obscur­ing prop­er­ty own­er­ship from tax and law enforce­ment agen­cies or an aggriev­ed busi­ness part­ner or spouse. Peter Zalews­ki, a con­sul­tant to real estate devel­op­ers, told me that Pekhtin “was either naïve or cheap. If he’d just hired a local attor­ney, he could have struc­tured things in a way that he nev­er would have been caught.”

    Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Carl Levin of Michi­gan has long tried to address ram­pant mon­ey laun­der­ing by pass­ing a bill that would require com­pa­nies reg­is­tered in the Unit­ed States to reveal their true own­ers, but it has been blocked by the US Cham­ber of Com­merce, the Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion, and lob­by­ists for states includ­ing Delaware and, notably, Flori­da. Mean­while, Florida’s polit­i­cal lead­ers have been spear­head­ing the fight against a new Trea­sury Depart­ment rule man­dat­ing that for­eign banks tell the IRS about accounts held by US taxpayers—and which would, rec­i­p­ro­cal­ly, require US banks to share the same infor­ma­tion with for­eign gov­ern­ments. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, Flori­da banks and real­tors don’t like the idea of more sun­light on their lucra­tive deal­ings with for­eign­ers. “There is a huge amount of dirty mon­ey flow­ing into Mia­mi that’s dis­guised as invest­ment,” said Jack Blum, a for­mer con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tor and Wash­ing­ton attor­ney spe­cial­iz­ing in mon­ey-laun­der­ing cas­es. “The local busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty sees any threat to that as a threat to the city’s lifeblood.”

    I uncov­ered more than a score of notable for­eign prop­er­ty hold­ers in Mia­mi, from a for­mer senior Angolan offi­cial to var­i­ous oli­garchs, polit­i­cal cronies and con­tro­ver­sial fig­ures from East­ern Europe and Latin Amer­i­ca (for sum­maries of their back­grounds and Mia­mi hold­ings, see side­bars). That small win­dow came after more than six months of research; dozens of inter­views with mon­ey-laun­der­ing, bank­ing and real estate experts; a vis­it to the city; and count­less hours por­ing over Flori­da real estate and cor­po­rate records by myself and sev­er­al research assis­tants.

    I was espe­cial­ly inter­est­ed in the grow­ing pres­ence of Rus­sians and oth­er East­ern Euro­peans, who began pur­chas­ing prop­er­ties in Mia­mi soon after the col­lapse of com­mu­nism. Ear­ly arrivals includ­ed var­i­ous Russ­ian pop stars, among them Igor Niko­laev and Alla Pugache­va, but more than a few bad apples as well. Mia­mi soon became a boom­town for for­mer gov­ern­ment offi­cials and post-per­e­stroi­ka busi­ness­men who loot­ed the state dur­ing pri­va­ti­za­tion and for mob­sters who traf­ficked cocaine, bought strip clubs and set up off­shore banks around the Caribbean. In his book Red Mafiya, Robert Fried­man wrote that “Ver­sace-clad” Russ­ian gang lead­ers found Mia­mi to be an ide­al base for mon­ey laun­der­ing, “where each new day brought the poten­tial for a mul­ti­mil­lion- dol­lar score.” By 1996, accord­ing to a Mia­mi Her­ald sto­ry that year, some 300 for­mer Sovi­et cit­i­zens had bought prop­er­ties in South Flori­da.

    Isaac Feld­man, who came to Mia­mi after first emi­grat­ing to Israel, found­ed a real estate agency and became rich sell­ing con­dos, most­ly to Rus­sians. Feld­man didn’t seem over­ly con­cerned about the source of his clients’ mon­ey. “That some peo­ple [in the for­mer East­ern bloc] oper­ate by not pay­ing tax­es and duties and pay­ing some bribes, yes, that could be,” he was quot­ed as say­ing in the Her­ald sto­ry.

    May­or Edel­cup lat­er appoint­ed Feld­man as a com­mu­ni­ty advis­er, and in 2010 he received 26 per­cent of the vote in a run for the Sun­ny Isles City Com­mis­sion. Feld­man vowed to mount anoth­er cam­paign, but his polit­i­cal career was cut short when he and two oth­er Rus­sians were indict­ed last Decem­ber for con­spir­a­cy, wire fraud and mon­ey laun­der­ing. The trio had employed young East­ern Euro­pean women to lure rich tourists to bars that bilked them—to the tune of $43,000 in the case of one customer—for over­priced caviar, vod­ka and cham­pagne.

    Thanks to its heavy Russ­ian pres­ence, Sun­ny Isles has acquired the nick­name “Lit­tle Moscow.” Shops at a mall across the street from the Trump Inter­na­tion­al Resort include a del­i­catessen offer­ing blintzes and beef stroganoff, a fur­ni­ture store with white leather sofas in the dis­play win­dow and restau­rants serv­ing an East­ern Euro­pean clien­tele.

    One night I had din­ner at Lula Kebab House, where I felt like I’d been trans­port­ed into a Russ­ian ver­sion of Good­fel­las. A Russ­ian singer per­formed on a small stage with dis­co lights while cus­tomers ordered skew­ered stur­geon, egg­plant sal­ad and pier­o­gis, and clinked forks on glass­es to announce toasts before down­ing shots of vod­ka. At the table behind me, a man who looked to be almost 70 spoke in Russ­ian to his wife, who appeared to be at least 40 years younger. At a table out front, a man of about the same age was seat­ed with a young woman dressed in blue jean shorts, a hal­ter top and cow­boy boots.

    Sun­ny Isles also has numer­ous real estate agen­cies owned by Rus­sians that cater heav­i­ly to East­ern Euro­pean clients, among them Exclu­sive­ly Bara­noff Real­ty, which oper­ates from an office in the lob­by of the Trump Inter­na­tion­al Beach Resort and, accord­ing to an adver­tise­ment hang­ing near the ele­va­tor bank, rep­re­sents “the most exclu­sive res­i­dences in Sun­ny Isles Beach, from $250,000 to more than $20 mil­lion.” A pur­ple-and-gold adver­tis­ing fli­er on a table out front of the agency that list­ed numer­ous prop­er­ties for sale was in Eng­lish on one side and Russ­ian on the oth­er.

    I approached sev­er­al real­tors as a poten­tial buy­er. One agent I met with, a beau­ti­ful dark-haired East­ern Euro­pean woman, told me that lux­u­ry prop­er­ties in Sun­ny Isles were sell­ing fast, most­ly to for­eign­ers and New York hedge funds. There were about 300 units in each of the Trump prop­er­ties in Sun­ny Isles, but only ten were avail­able in the $2‑mil­lion-and-up range (which I had said I was look­ing for). If I was seri­ous about buy­ing, I’d have to move quick­ly and pay cash.

    She took me to see a three-bed­room, three-bath­room unit on the thir­ty-eighth floor of Trump Palace, which looked out on the turquoise waters of the Atlantic and was on the mar­ket for $2.3 mil­lion. Build­ing ameni­ties includ­ed a bar, busi­ness cen­ter, cabanas, exer­cise room, indoor and out­door pools, a spa and sauna, and ten­nis courts. “Liv­ing in a Trump prop­er­ty is like liv­ing in a hotel,” she told me, echo­ing the sales pitch in Sun­ny Isles’ offi­cial guide­book, as we stood on a bal­cony and gazed out on the ocean. The unit was attrac­tive­ly priced, she said cheer­ful­ly, and all the more so as the own­er, a Russ­ian look­ing to buy a big­ger con­do else­where in the area, had spent at least $350,000 on improve­ments.

    Lat­er that day, I obtained the prop­er­ty records for the con­do. The legal own­er is a com­pa­ny reg­is­tered in Belize, an off­shore haven where, accord­ing to a gov­ern­ment web­site, there “is no require­ment to file annu­al returns or pub­lic dis­clo­sure of direc­tors, share­hold­ers, charges, loans or agree­ments.”

    In oth­er words, the true own­er of the Trump Palace unit is untrace­able. He may be a per­fect­ly respectable busi­ness­man, but the arrange­ment was a typ­i­cal­ly murky Mia­mi affair.

    ...

    Ram­pant Cor­rup­tion, Lax Reg­u­la­tion

    Through boom and bust, one con­stant in Mia­mi has been the polit­i­cal and busi­ness establishment’s embrace of off­shore cash. Pre­dictably, this has led to an assort­ment of for­eign rogues reg­u­lar­ly wash­ing up in the city.

    In 2003, US Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE) set up what became known as the For­eign Cor­rup­tion Inves­ti­ga­tions Group in Mia­mi to track down assets held by for­eign offi­cials and busi­ness exec­u­tives in the Unit­ed States. With­in months, the group—which was based in Mia­mi due to the large num­ber of requests for assis­tance that the local office received from for­eign governments—seized a $3.5 mil­lion Key Bis­cayne con­do owned by Byron Jerez, for­mer head of Nicaragua’s tax office. The fol­low­ing year, the Unit­ed States returned to Nicaragua $2.7 mil­lion worth of assets that had been stolen by for­mer Pres­i­dent Arnol­do Alemán, who was sen­tenced in his home coun­try to twen­ty years under house deten­tion for embez­zling $100 mil­lion from the state trea­sury. The assets includ­ed var­i­ous Mia­mi bank accounts, a cabana at the Key Bis­cayne Ocean Club, and a $150,000 deposit for the pur­chase of anoth­er Key Bis­cayne con­do­mini­um.

    In 2008, after Uruguayan author­i­ties alert­ed ICE, the feds agreed to extra­dite Juan Peira­no Bas­so, an inter­na­tion­al fugi­tive want­ed for embez­zling more than $800 mil­lion from finan­cial insti­tu­tions in Uruguay, Paraguay and Argenti­na, and who had been liv­ing com­fort­ably in Mia­mi. Basso’s actions “are believed to have caused the col­lapse of the Uruguayan econ­o­my and to have caused the South Amer­i­can finan­cial cri­sis of 2002,” said an ICE press release announc­ing his extra­di­tion. Since its incep­tion, the For­eign Cor­rup­tion Inves­ti­ga­tions Group has made eighty crim­i­nal arrests, secured 148 indict­ments and seized more than $131 mil­lion in assets, accord­ing to ICE.

    Drug lords and oth­er crim­i­nals and swindlers have no doubt been drawn to Mia­mi for some of the same rea­sons that tourists and retirees flock there—the ocean, sun and nat­ur­al beauty—but Florida’s rep­u­ta­tion for cor­rup­tion and sleaze has sure­ly been a lure as well. This is, after all, a city that is noto­ri­ous for bizarre polit­i­cal and busi­ness scan­dals. Ear­li­er this year, Mia­mi-Dade Assis­tant State Attor­ney Ari Pre­gen was fired after he flashed his work badge to gain free admis­sion to a strip club and pulled out his cre­den­tials again when the bill came, to avoid pay­ing a 15 per­cent cred­it card sur­charge.

    Over­all, Flori­da led the Unit­ed States in fed­er­al con­vic­tions of pub­lic officials—781—between 2000 and 2010. Just this sum­mer, three sub­ur­ban Mia­mi may­ors were arrest­ed on cor­rup­tion charges with­in a month. “This is a place where it’s easy to lose your moral com­pass,” says Zalews­ki, the real estate con­sul­tant. “Every­one who moves to Mia­mi wants to live in South Beach, which is fun, but the rule should always be to not renew your lease after the first year. If you do, it’s pret­ty much guar­an­teed that you’ll end up in rehab.”

    Adding to the area’s deca­dent appeal is that banks and real estate devel­op­ers have fre­quent­ly played fast and loose with the rules as well. Allen Stan­ford, now serv­ing a 110-year prison sen­tence for run­ning a mas­sive Ponzi scheme, set up his bank in Flori­da in 1998 after the state’s bank­ing direc­tor autho­rized it to move huge amounts of mon­ey off­shore with­out inform­ing reg­u­la­tors.

    Florida’s rate of mort­gage fraud was high­er than any­where else in the coun­try between 2000 and 2008. In the lat­ter year, Don Sax­on, Florida’s top mort­gage indus­try reg­u­la­tor, was forced to resign after a Mia­mi Her­ald inves­ti­ga­tion found that 10,000 criminals—including bur­glars, cocaine traf­fick­ers and iden­ti­ty thieves—had been approved to bro­ker home loans in Flori­da and had com­mit­ted at least $85 mil­lion in mort­gage fraud.

    Some fla­grant abus­es have been addressed, part­ly due to tighter rules imposed under the Patri­ot Act fol­low­ing the 9/11 attacks, but Flori­da banks still have a lot of room for improve­ment. In 2011, Mia­mi-based Ocean Bank for­feit­ed $11 mil­lion to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment for will­ful­ly fail­ing to estab­lish an anti–money laun­der­ing pro­gram for sev­en years. Dur­ing that time, Ocean Bank took in large sums of cash from Colombia’s Bernal-Pala­cios drug traf­fick­ing orga­ni­za­tion. Among the group’s lead­ers was Ricar­do Mauri­cio Bernal Pala­cios, whom the DEA once described as “one of the most want­ed mon­ey laun­der­ing fugi­tives in the world.”

    The real estate indus­try is more light­ly reg­u­lat­ed than finan­cial insti­tu­tions. Banks are required to file a Sus­pi­cious Activ­i­ties Report (SAR) with the Trea­sury Depart­ment if they sus­pect a client is deposit­ing or trans­fer­ring cor­rupt mon­ey. Real estate agents and title insur­ers are exempt from that requirement—as are busi­ness­es that pri­mar­i­ly sell lux­u­ry goods such as jew­el­ry, yachts and pri­vate planes—which makes prop­er­ty an espe­cial­ly attrac­tive vehi­cle to mon­ey laun­der­ers. Fur­ther­more, bank tellers don’t receive a com­mis­sion on the deposits they accept, so they are more like­ly to ask ques­tions of a dubi­ous cus­tomer than a real estate agent, who stands to make a huge com­mis­sion on a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar lux­u­ry con­do deal. “SARs are huge­ly impor­tant and often lead to expo­sure of major cas­es,” Ste­fan Cas­sel­la, an assis­tant US attor­ney based in Bal­ti­more and the for­mer deputy chief of the Jus­tice Department’s Asset For­fei­ture and Mon­ey Laun­der­ing Sec­tion, told me. “Requir­ing a broad­er range of play­ers to file them would be a big help to law enforce­ment in terms of keep­ing cor­rupt mon­ey out of the Unit­ed States.”

    A Law to “Smoke Out” Own­ers

    In 2007, Bradley Birken­feld, an Amer­i­can direc­tor of UBS’s wealth man­age­ment divi­sion in Gene­va, approached the Jus­tice Depart­ment and revealed dis­turb­ing infor­ma­tion about his employer’s busi­ness prac­tices. In addi­tion to dis­clos­ing that he had smug­gled dia­monds (in a tooth­paste tube) across bor­ders for a client, he told US author­i­ties that UBS was help­ing thou­sands of rich Amer­i­cans hide their assets off­shore to avoid pay­ing tax­es.

    The US gov­ern­ment went after UBS, and in 2009 the bank set­tled the case and avoid­ed crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion by pay­ing a $780 mil­lion fine. More impor­tant, UBS turned over to the US gov­ern­ment the names of more than 4,500 Amer­i­can account hold­ers, and the case “put the first big cracks in Switzerland’s vaunt­ed bank secre­cy,” in the words of The Econ­o­mist. At home, the IRS intro­duced amnesty pro­grams that allowed Amer­i­cans to pay a small penal­ty to repa­tri­ate unde­clared off­shore accounts, a move that has brought the Trea­sury an esti­mat­ed $5 bil­lion in back tax­es and penal­ties.

    Anoth­er result of the UBS affair was that in 2010 Con­gress enact­ed the For­eign Account Tax Com­pli­ance Act (FATCA), which requires for­eign banks to noti­fy the IRS about accounts held by US tax­pay­ers or face stiff penal­ties.

    One sec­tion of FATCA that has elicit­ed par­tic­u­lar­ly intense hos­til­i­ty is its pro­vi­sions for reci­procity, mean­ing that Amer­i­can banks would have to pro­vide for­eign gov­ern­ments with the same infor­ma­tion about their nation­als who hold US accounts. FATCA was opposed by invest­ment banks like JPMor­gan and Bank of Amer­i­ca and for­eign finan­cial insti­tu­tions like the Zurich Insur­ance Group and the Hong Kong Secu­ri­ties Asso­ci­a­tion. But no one fought hard­er against the rule than Flori­da bankers, real estate devel­op­ers, politi­cians and reg­u­la­tors, who feared it would slow the flow of for­eign mon­ey into the state’s econ­o­my, espe­cial­ly in Mia­mi.

    ...

    And so it goes in Mia­mi, where the wel­come mat for the globe’s most pam­pered peo­ple is always out. Today, even as much of Flori­da has yet to pull out of the last real estate quag­mire, at least 170 new con­do tow­ers are planned for Mia­mi, many by the same devel­op­ers behind projects that went bust dur­ing the last bub­ble. The Real Deal, a South Flori­da real estate pub­li­ca­tion, recent­ly report­ed that a new influx of mon­ey from the Far East was fur­ther buoy­ing the mar­ket and that the Ritz-Carl­ton Res­i­dences Palm Beach had already com­plet­ed sev­er­al deals with Chi­nese buy­ers.

    Ear­li­er this year, Flag­stone Devel­op­ment announced it would build a mega-yacht resort called Island Gar­den that will fea­ture high-rise tow­ers, a hotel, shop­ping and a mari­na. The project was orig­i­nal­ly planned five years ago but fell apart when the real estate bub­ble brought down the glob­al econ­o­my. Flag­stone promis­es it will be open for busi­ness in 2019.

    Jack Blum, the mon­ey-laun­der­ing inves­ti­ga­tor, recount­ed to me a work trip to Mia­mi two years ago, when he was stunned to see con­do­mini­ums going up in the poor Lib­er­ty City neigh­bor­hood. “I was in a cab and asked the dri­ver what was going on,” he said. “He didn’t miss a beat—he said, ‘That’s from mon­ey laun­der­ing.’ When it’s that obvi­ous to cab­drivers, you know the sit­u­a­tion is bad. But that’s what the city’s econ­o­my is built on, and it is a mon­u­men­tal chal­lenge to fix it.”

    “In Feb­ru­ary, a mem­ber of Russia’s rul­ing par­ty, Vladimir Pekhtin, was forced to resign from the Duma when a blog­ger pub­lished doc­u­ments show­ing that he owned three Mia­mi prop­er­ties worth more than a com­bined $2 mil­lion. Pekhtin’s hold­ings were espe­cial­ly embar­rass­ing because he had not dis­closed his over­seas prop­er­ties in his annu­al finan­cial dis­clo­sure fil­ing, as is legal­ly required under a bill he had writ­ten as chair­man of the Duma’s ethics com­mit­tee. In Rus­sia, which saw ille­gal cap­i­tal out­flows of more than $200 bil­lion from 1994 to 2011, charges of cor­rup­tion and lav­ish spend­ing over­seas have become major polit­i­cal issues.
    Well, while there are plen­ty of oth­er pos­si­ble rea­sons why oppo­si­tion research on Trump was specif­i­cal­ly tar­get­ed in the most recent hack, the fact that the Krem­lin is crack­ing down on ille­gal cap­i­tal out­flows and Don­ald Trump is appar­ent­ly the king of for­eign high-end real estate in the Mia­mi mar­ket which is know for being a mon­ey-laun­der­ing haven and has a heavy Russ­ian pres­ence seems like a pret­ty big rea­son why the Krem­lin, or any Russ­ian oli­garch who has done busi­ness with Trump, might be real­ly inter­est­ed in learn­ing about what the Democ­rats have learned about the Repub­li­cans nom­i­nee. Dirt on Trump is sort of dirt on Russ­ian pow­er struc­ture too and most of that dirt is pre­sum­ably going to be pub­lic by Novem­ber.

    Giv­en all that, you have to won­der what oth­er groups might be try­ing to get an ear­ly look at all that Trumpian dirt.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 15, 2016, 9:35 am
  37. @Dave: Here’s anoth­er wrin­kle to the Orlan­do shooter’s back­ground: when the FBI inves­ti­gat­ed him pre­vi­ous­ly, they dis­patched an infor­mant who unsuc­cess­ful­ly attempt­ed to lure him into a plot:

    Alter­net
    The Gray­zone Project

    Before Omar Mateen Com­mit­ted Mass Mur­der, The FBI Tried To ‘Lure’ Him Into A Ter­ror Plot
    New rev­e­la­tions raise ques­tions about the FBI’s role in shap­ing Mateen’s lethal mind­set.
    By Max Blu­men­thal, Sarah Lazare

    June 19, 2016

    Before Omar Mateen gunned down 49 patrons at the LGBTQ Pulse Night­club in Orlan­do, the FBI attempt­ed to induce his par­tic­i­pa­tion in a ter­ror plot. Sher­iff Ken Mas­cara of Florida’s St. Lucie Coun­ty told the Vero Beach Press Jour­nal that after Mateen threat­ened a cour­t­house deputy in 2013 by claim­ing he could order Al Qae­da oper­a­tives to kill his fam­i­ly, the FBI dis­patched an infor­mant to “lure Omar into some kind of act and Omar did not bite.”

    While self-styled ter­ror experts and for­mer counter-ter­ror offi­cials have crit­i­cized the FBI for fail­ing to stop Mateen before he com­mit­ted a mas­sacre, the new rev­e­la­tion rais­es the ques­tion of whether the FBI played a role in push­ing Mateen towards an act of lethal vio­lence.

    Since 9/11, the FBI has relied heav­i­ly on infor­mants to entrap scores of young, often men­tal­ly trou­bled Mus­lim men and send them to prison for as long as 25 years. As Avi­va Stahl report­ed for AlterNet’s Gray­zone Project, the FBI recent­ly encour­aged an appar­ent­ly men­tal­ly dis­turbed recent con­vert to Islam named James Med­i­na to bomb a South Flori­da syn­a­gogue and pledge alle­giance to ISIS, a mil­i­tant group with which he had no pri­or affil­i­a­tion. On tri­al for plan­ning to com­mit an act of ter­ror with a weapon of mass destruc­tion, Med­i­na has insist­ed through his lawyer that he is men­tal­ly ill.

    ...

    The rev­e­la­tions of FBI manip­u­la­tion have cast Mateen’s case in a unique­ly trou­bling light. Though he refused to “bite” when an FBI asset attempt­ed to push him into a man­u­fac­tured plot, he wound up car­ry­ing out a real act of spec­tac­u­lar bru­tal­i­ty years and, and alleged­ly swore loy­al­ty to ISIS in the midst of it.

    “It looks like it’s pret­ty much stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure for pre­lim­i­nary inquiries to inter­view the sub­ject or pitch the per­son to become an infor­mant and/or plant an under­cov­er or infor­mant close by to see if the per­son bites on the sug­ges­tion,” Coleen Row­ley, a for­mer FBI agent and divi­sion coun­sel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Direc­tor exposed some of the FBI’s pre‑9/11 fail­ures, told Alter­Net. “In the case of Mateen, since he already worked for a secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor [G4S], he was either too savvy to bite on the pitch or he may have even become indig­nant that he was tar­get­ed in that fash­ion. These pitch­es and use of peo­ple can back­fire.”

    To high­light the prob­lem­at­ic nature of infor­mants, Row­ley point­ed to the case of Humam Khalil al-Bal­awi, a Jor­dan­ian physi­cian whom the CIA used to gath­er intel­li­gence on Al Qae­da,. The CIA ignored obvi­ous warn­ing signs like Balawi’s extrem­ist online man­i­festos and nev­er sub­ject­ed him to a vet­ting process. While Bal­awi claimed to have pen­e­trat­ed Al Qaeda’s inner cir­cle, he was actu­al­ly exploit­ing his CIA secu­ri­ty clear­ance to plan a major attack. On Decem­ber 30, 2009, Bal­awi strode into Camp Chap­man in Khost, Afghanistan, and det­o­nat­ed an explo­sive vest that killed sev­en CIA agents and wound­ed six more — the dead­liest attack on CIA per­son­nel in 25 years.

    Mateen, for his part, dis­played many of the psy­cho­log­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics that typ­i­fy both FBI infor­mants and those they attempt to ensnare in bogus ter­ror plots. Raised in a trou­bled home by an abu­sive moth­er and an appar­ent­ly eccen­tric father, Mateen exhib­it­ed signs of errat­ic, vio­lent behav­ior through­out his life. His ex-wife told reporters that he phys­i­cal­ly abused her and was “unsta­ble and men­tal­ly ill.” He trans­formed from a chub­by ado­les­cent to a burly young man with the help of steroids, yearn­ing all along for a career in law enforce­ment.

    Sev­en months into a job as a prison guard in 2007, Mateen was fired for threat­en­ing to bring a gun to class. He set­tled on a career as a low lev­el secu­ri­ty guard for G4S Secu­ri­ty Solu­tions, a glob­al secu­ri­ty firm that employed him for nine years. Though Mateen’s appli­ca­tions to two police depart­ments were reject­ed, he was able to pass a G4S back­ground check and receive sev­er­al guard assign­ments. (The world’s third largest pri­vate employ­er, G4S has accu­mu­lat­ed a stag­ger­ing record of human rights abus­es, includ­ing accu­sa­tions of child tor­ture.)

    While the full extent of Mateen’s con­tact with the FBI is unknown, the fact that an infor­mant encour­aged Mateen to agree to car­ry out a ter­ror attack should pro­voke seri­ous ques­tions and fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion. Whether or not manip­u­la­tion by a FBI infor­mant had any impact on Mateen’s dead­ly deci­sion, there is no deny­ing that the attempt to entrap him did noth­ing to pro­tect the pub­lic.

    “The FBI should scru­ti­nize the oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure where they use under­cov­ers and infor­mants and pitch peo­ple to become infor­mants,” said Row­ley. “They must rec­og­nize that, in this case [with Mateen], it had hor­ri­ble con­se­quences if it did, in fact, back­fire.”

    ““It looks like it’s pret­ty much stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure for pre­lim­i­nary inquiries to inter­view the sub­ject or pitch the per­son to become an infor­mant and/or plant an under­cov­er or infor­mant close by to see if the per­son bites on the sug­ges­tion,” Coleen Row­ley, a for­mer FBI agent and divi­sion coun­sel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Direc­tor exposed some of the FBI’s pre‑9/11 fail­ures, told Alter­Net. “In the case of Mateen, since he already worked for a secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor [G4S], he was either too savvy to bite on the pitch or he may have even become indig­nant that he was tar­get­ed in that fash­ion. These pitch­es and use of peo­ple can back­fire.””
    Well, while we don’t know if this attack was the result of the FBI’s pri­or entrap­ment attempts belat­ed­ly back­fir­ing, the FBI still might want to review the pos­si­ble costs of its ‘plant ter­ror seeds and see what blos­soms’ counter-ter­ror­ism meth­ods.

    In addi­tion, the FBI might want to look into Mateen’s con­tacts with orga­ni­za­tions beyond Islamist ter­ror groups. Orga­ni­za­tions his father was asso­ci­at­ed with. Orga­ni­za­tions like the CIA:

    Mad Cow Prod

    ORLANDO SHOOTING DAD A LONGTIME CIA ASSET

    Post­ed on June 13, 2016 by Daniel Hop­sick­er

    The father of the man who slaugh­tered 50 peo­ple in the Orlan­do night­club shoot­ing Sat­ur­day night is a long­time CIA asset, whose TV show receives fund­ing from the Voice of Amer­i­ca ‑Dari. Pic­tured below is Sed­dique Mateen with Cal­i­for­nia Repub­li­can Con­gress­man Dana Rohrabach­er

    [see pic]

    Rohrabach­er was ini­tial­ly elect­ed to Con­gress in 1988, with the fundrais­ing help of friend Oliv­er North. Rohrabacher’s decades-long involve­ment in “all things Afghan” even­tu­al­ly earned him the nick­name “Gun­ga Dana.” Today he chairs the Unit­ed States House For­eign Affairs Sub­com­mit­tee on Europe, Eura­sia and Emerg­ing Threats.

    ...

    “It’s like call­ing Black­wa­ter XE”

    Orlan­do shoot­er Omar Mateen’s father said his son was not moti­vat­ed by Islamist rad­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy, but in a Face­book video post­ed ear­ly Mon­day he said, “God him­self will pun­ish those involved in homo­sex­u­al­i­ty.”

    My own sus­pi­cion was first awak­ened on Mon­day morn­ing when U.S. news out­lets uni­form­ly report­ed that the father’s TV show aired on “a U.S.-based Afghan satel­lite chan­nel.”

    That sort of cir­cum­lo­cu­tion is typ­i­cal when some­thing is being hid­den which the cor­po­rate media prefers we not ask ques­tions about.

    The name of the name­less Afghan satel­lite chan­nel, Payam Afghan, is said to be wide­ly-known in South­west Asia as a CIA-Pak­istani ISI con­struct, as this pic­ture from Flick­er shows.

    The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of shoot­er Omar Mateen also involved decep­tion. He was said to work for a secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny called G4S, which few have ever heard of. How­ev­er, “G4S” is mere­ly a re-brand­ed “Wack­en­hut Cor­po­ra­tion,” a name with a sto­ried rep­u­ta­tion for scan­dal in the U.S. and around the world.

    Rohrabach­er has stat­ed that he sees rad­i­cal Islam as the source of a major ter­ror­ist threat to the U.S. Calls to his office today to request com­ment on whether he views CIA assets relo­cat­ed in the U.S. as a ter­ror­ist threat have not been returned.

    The name of the name­less Afghan satel­lite chan­nel, Payam Afghan, is said to be wide­ly-known in South­west Asia as a CIA-Pak­istani ISI con­struct, as this pic­ture from Flick­er shows.”
    Note that Con­gress­men Rohrabach­er, Ed Royce ®, and Char­lie Ran­gle (D) have all con­firm meet­ing with the senior Mateen to dis­cuss Afghan/Pakistan rela­tions. Also note that Mateen’s father’s Afghan nation­al­ist tv show is vocif­er­ous­ly opposed to all things Pak­istan, which would pre­sumaly include the ISI. And yet Payam Afghan, the sat­telite tv sta­tion run­ning this chan­nel, a char­ac­ter­ized as a wide­ly-known CIA-ISI con­struct.

    So while it’s cer­tain­ly pos­si­ble that Omar Mateen ‘self-rad­i­cal­ized’ over the inter­net, espe­cial­ly giv­en the num­ber of per­son­al­i­ty “red flags” he was gen­er­at­ing over the course of his life, let’s hope inves­ti­ga­tors still keep in mind that there’s going to be no short­age of ‘blow­back’ cat­a­lysts in the lives of indi­vid­u­als whose fathers are on the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty’s inter­na­tion­al pro­pa­gan­da pay­roll pro­duc­ing anti-Pak­istani tv shows on a CIA-ISI fund­ed satel­lite tv net­work.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 20, 2016, 12:42 pm
  38. Don­ald Trump had an inter­est­ing cam­paign fundrais­ing pitch yes­ter­day: he’d real­ly like more GOP fundrais­ing sup­port, but if he does­n’t get that’s fine because he’s got lots of cash and can just do it all on his own. While the “I’m so rich I don’t need any­one’s mon­ey” might help when sell­ing your­self to the pub­lic, it’s rather counter-intu­itive fundrais­ing strat­e­gy. We’ll see how it goes.

    In relat­ed news, Don­ald Trump announced a big speech for Wednes­day that set off rumors that it would include his VP selec­tion, although Trump lat­er tweet­ed that it would most­ly be a cri­tique of ‘crooked Hillary’. Either way, it will be inter­est­ing to see if the speech includes any sort of gener­ic fundrais­ing pitch because, unless Trump real­ly is plan­ning on spend­ing a bil­lion of his own dol­lars this year, he real­ly does need to start rais­ing some mon­ey. And, some­what iron­i­cal­ly, based on the Trump cam­paign’s recent FEC fundrais­ing num­bers and the tepid rela­tion­ship Trump has had with the GOP’s mega-donors thus far, if the speech does hap­pen to include a VP selec­tion, the GOP had bet­ter hope his VP is an actu­al bil­lion­aire:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Edi­tor’s Blog

    Yep, Trump’s Stone Broke

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished June 21, 2016, 9:59 AM EDT

    I con­fess even I’m sur­prised at what the overnight FEC fil­ings revealed about the Trump cam­paign. Post­ing the ‘Trump is Broke’ col­umn yes­ter­day made me feel at least a touch exposed since I fig­ured he’d add (either from his own mon­ey or fundrais­ing) at least some addi­tion­al funds to the pal­try $2.4 mil­lion cash on hand in his pre­vi­ous fil­ing. Appears not. Now on top of that it’s revealed that he’s been using his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to fun­nel mil­lions of dol­lars back into his own busi­ness­es. The new fil­ing shows the cam­paign had only $1.3 mil­lion in cash on hand at the begin­ning of this month, in com­par­i­son to $42 mil­lion on hand for the Hillary cam­paign.

    ...

    Yes, Clin­ton has mas­sive­ly more mon­ey than Trump. But that’s about the amount of mon­ey she should have. This isn’t to take away from the accom­plish­ment. It’s a lot of mon­ey and it came while she was still hav­ing to spend mon­ey on the on-going pri­maries. But it’s in the range of what you would expect from a well-oiled team of pro­fes­sion­als draw­ing on a robust fundrais­ing appa­ra­tus. Trump’s amount of cash would­n’t be ter­ri­bly impres­sive for a com­pet­i­tive House race. His cam­paign is essen­tial­ly broke. Which, as I not­ed yes­ter­day, means Trump must be broke, too, or so cash poor as to amount to the same thing for the pur­pos­es of this cam­paign.

    Even more reveal­ing is the fact that Trump has been using a huge amount of cam­paign expen­di­tures to cycle mon­ey back through his own busi­ness­es. Accord­ing to an analy­sis by the AP, through the end of May Trump had plowed $6.2 mil­lion into var­i­ous Trump com­pa­nies, which is to say, back into his own pock­et. That’s rough­ly 10% of his cam­paign spend­ing so far, which is almost entire­ly from the loan (which he can still repay to him­self out of future fundrais­ing) he made to his cam­paign. He kept up the pace in May, spend­ing $6.7 mil­lion on his cam­paign and more than a mil­lion of that to var­i­ous Trump enter­pris­es.

    What’s notable about that rough­ly 10% of mon­ey back into his own pock­et is that Trump only has busi­ness­es in so many sec­tors. He does­n’t appear to have a com­pa­ny to make red truck­er hats and he does­n’t own radio and TV sta­tions to run ads. So that 10% is basi­cal­ly as much as he could pos­si­bly run to own com­pa­nies.

    Per­haps the most reveal­ing detail about the May fil­ing is that Trump actu­al­ly did loan his cam­paign addi­tion­al funds — a bit over $2 mil­lion. But this shows more just how hard up Trump is. His cam­paign is in des­per­ate need of funds. Like I said, $1.3 mil­lion cash on hand is stone broke for a sum­mer pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. He clear­ly has no prin­ci­pled resis­tance to loan­ing his cam­paign more mon­ey. And he’s in des­per­ate need of a few tens of mil­lions of dol­lars. Put this togeth­er with hav­ing to be shamed into cough­ing up the $1 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion to a vets orga­ni­za­tion and the impli­ca­tion is clear: Trump is very hard pressed to come up with even a few mil­lion dol­lars. And this from a man pur­port­ed­ly worth $10 bil­lion.

    Trump’s promis­es of vast rich­es got the GOP into a bind rely­ing on him to fund a gen­er­al elec­tion on his own. But that was all a lie. He’s broke or near broke. And the GOP is now fac­ing mid-sum­mer with a cam­paign that is broke, has no fundrais­ing appa­ra­tus, no can­di­date with big bucks and no field oper­a­tion. He’s done the GOP worse than the most screwed over cred­i­tor he ever sharked.

    “Per­haps the most reveal­ing detail about the May fil­ing is that Trump actu­al­ly did loan his cam­paign addi­tion­al funds — a bit over $2 mil­lion. But this shows more just how hard up Trump is. His cam­paign is in des­per­ate need of funds. Like I said, $1.3 mil­lion cash on hand is stone broke for a sum­mer pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. He clear­ly has no prin­ci­pled resis­tance to loan­ing his cam­paign more mon­ey. And he’s in des­per­ate need of a few tens of mil­lions of dol­lars. Put this togeth­er with hav­ing to be shamed into cough­ing up the $1 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion to a vets orga­ni­za­tion and the impli­ca­tion is clear: Trump is very hard pressed to come up with even a few mil­lion dol­lars. And this from a man pur­port­ed­ly worth $10 bil­lion.”
    Stingy bil­lion­aire or broke bil­lion­aire? That’s not a great selec­tion of pub­lic images but it appears to be the options the Trump cam­paign has at this point unless he sud­den­ly frees up a lot of cash very soon and starts spend­ing it. And it’s only going to get more and more expen­sive the close we get to Novem­ber.
    Keep in that that Trump is already promis­ing that his June fundrais­ing num­bers are going to be “incred­i­ble”, and maybe that will be the case. Maybe the Trumpian hordes will flood his cam­paign with small dol­lar dona­tions and he’ll be able to claim the ‘pop­ulist’ man­tel. But if those hordes rea­son­ably con­clude that Trump’s fre­quent tout­ing about how he won’t owe any­one any­thing because of his abil­i­ty to self-fund indi­cate that he does­n’t actu­al­ly need dona­tions, it’s look­ing like the GOP mega-donors are going to have to start shelling out bil­ion­aire-league dona­tions if they want their orange anti­hero to win the day. And then what would that do to Trump’s “I’m uncor­rupt­ibly rich” shtick?

    It all the kind of news that makes Trump’s recent joke about drop­ping out of the race for $5 bil­lion a lot more fun­ny. Still, this is Trump we’re talk­ing about and we can’t for­get how much free pub­lic­i­ty the guy is able to gen­er­ate just by being Trump. So maybe he’ll be able to get the pub­lic­i­ty, and con­tri­bu­tions, he needs sim­ply by stand­ing in front of the cam­eras and going off on a Trumpian rant like he always does. Just turn on the raz­zle daz­zle, add a few pitch­es for con­tri­bu­tions, and watch­ing the mon­ey come pour­ing in. Heh.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 21, 2016, 9:22 am
  39. The Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty’s spokesman has a mes­sage for Amer­i­ca fol­low­ing the mul­ti­ple stab­bings at their neo-Nazi in Sacra­men­to: You haven’t seen the last of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty. Espe­cial­ly if you’re plan­ning on attend­ing the GOP con­ven­tion:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    White Nation­al­ists Involved In Bloody Calif. Ral­ly Will Be At GOP Con­ven­tion

    By Alle­gra Kirk­land
    Pub­lished June 28, 2016, 8:50 AM EDT

    Mem­bers of a promi­nent white nation­al­ist group have pledged to pro­vide some unso­licit­ed pro­tec­tion to sup­port­ers of Don­ald Trump at next month’s Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Cleve­land, Ohio.

    Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty spokesman Matt Par­rott told McClatchy on Mon­day that about 30 mem­bers of his group, which held a ral­ly at the Cal­i­for­nia state capi­tol over the week­end where at least five peo­ple were stabbed, will head to the con­ven­tion to “make sure that the Don­ald Trump sup­port­ers are defend­ed from the left­ist thugs.”

    That was the think­ing behind Sun­day’s ral­ly in Sacra­men­to, which was orga­nized along with the Gold­en State Skin­heads: to pub­li­cize what they see as acts of aggres­sion against Trump sup­port­ers. The ral­ly dis­solved into chaos, with anti-fas­cist and anar­chist pro­test­ers phys­i­cal­ly clash­ing with the approx­i­mate­ly 30 skin­heads who showed up at the event. At least 10 peo­ple were injured.

    ...

    The alter­ca­tion height­ened con­cern about the poten­tial for vio­lence at the July con­ven­tion, where oth­er groups includ­ing Bik­ers for Trump, Truck­ers for Trump and the Cleve­land Tea Par­ty have promised to hold pro-Trump events. Thou­sands of oppo­nents of the divi­sive GOP nom­i­nee will also con­verge on Cleve­land.

    City offi­cials claim that they’ve thor­ough­ly pre­pared a plan for the con­ven­tion. This secu­ri­ty prepa­ra­tion so far has involved order­ing Cuya­hoga Coun­ty to clear the dock­ets for arrests made dur­ing the event, reserv­ing 200 beds for arrestees, and order­ing new gear includ­ing 100 body cam­eras and 2,000 riot con­trol suits.

    Par­rott told McClatchy that the heavy police pres­ence would pre­vent any large-scale acts of vio­lence, although “there might be a cou­ple of iso­lat­ed skir­mish­es.”

    Still, the brawls that have bro­ken out at dozens of Trump cam­paign events are already cast­ing a shad­ow over the upcom­ing con­ven­tion. Matthew Heim­bach, head of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty, was one of sev­er­al white Trump sup­port­ers who forcibly eject­ed a black pro­test­er from a Louisville, Ken­tucky ral­ly in March.

    The South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter, which tracks hate groups, has described Heim­bach as “the face of a new gen­er­a­tion of white nation­al­ists.”

    “Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty spokesman Matt Par­rott told McClatchy on Mon­day that about 30 mem­bers of his group, which held a ral­ly at the Cal­i­for­nia state capi­tol over the week­end where at least five peo­ple were stabbed, will head to the con­ven­tion to “make sure that the Don­ald Trump sup­port­ers are defend­ed from the left­ist thugs.”

    That was the think­ing behind Sun­day’s ral­ly in Sacra­men­to, which was orga­nized along with the Gold­en State Skin­heads: to pub­li­cize what they see as acts of aggres­sion against Trump sup­port­ers. The ral­ly dis­solved into chaos, with anti-fas­cist and anar­chist pro­test­ers phys­i­cal­ly clash­ing with the approx­i­mate­ly 30 skin­heads who showed up at the event. At least 10 peo­ple were injured.”

    So the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­er Par­ty, led by Math­ew Heim­bach, who has already been caught on video rough­ing up a pro­tes­tor at a Trump ral­ly, viewed their march as a kind of Trump ral­ly and want­ed Amer­i­cans to asso­ciate the street brawls between anti-fas­cists and neo-Nazis with “acts of aggres­sion against Trump sup­port­ers”. And they appar­ent­ly held this ral­ly in the hopes of vio­lence break­ing out so they could make that asso­ci­a­tion between neo-Nazis and Trump sup­port­ers.

    Ok. That seems like a rea­son­able asso­ci­a­tion to make. Thanks for the reminder.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 28, 2016, 9:35 am
  40. For Amer­i­cans con­cerned about the pos­si­ble role for­eign mon­ey is play­ing in influ­enc­ing US elec­tion fol­low­ing the Supreme Court’s Cit­i­zens Unit­ed rul­ing, it’s worth not­ing that the lob­by­ing that pushed for a recent­ly passed House bill which would for­mal­ly allowed for com­plete­ly anony­mous dona­tions to tax-exempt groups, like polit­i­cal super PACs, was­n’t paid for with for­eign mon­ey. It was paid for with nice whole­some domes­tic Koch broth­ers mon­ey. Phew! Noth­ing to wor­ry about:

    USA Today

    House pan­el approves Koch-backed bill to shield donors’ names from the IRS

    Fre­dreka Schouten, USA TODAY 1:13 p.m. EDT April 30, 2016

    The House’s pow­er­ful tax-writ­ing com­mit­tee approved a bill Thurs­day that would ban the IRS from col­lect­ing the names of donors to tax-exempt groups, enrag­ing cam­paign-finance watch­dogs who say the move could open the door to secret, for­eign mon­ey in U.S. elec­tions.

    The mea­sure, how­ev­er, has the sup­port of the Koch broth­ers’ com­pa­ny and its main polit­i­cal arm, Free­dom Part­ners. The group, which oper­ates as a tax-exempt trade orga­ni­za­tion, has direct­ed hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to an array of groups that help sup­port can­di­dates and caus­es aligned with the Kochs’ lib­er­tar­i­an views.

    In an inter­view with USA TODAY, Free­dom Part­ners chair­man and Koch Indus­tries exec­u­tive Mark Hold­en said Amer­i­cans have the right to “anony­mous free speech.”

    Infor­ma­tion about donors “is not used for any real, legit­i­mate pur­pose” he said, “but, by and large, seems to be used by peo­ple or activists groups to get lists togeth­er to tar­get and intim­i­date peo­ple, and that’s com­plete­ly inap­pro­pri­ate.”

    The Ways and Means Committee’s approval of the bill, by a 23–15 par­ty-line vote, comes a week after a fed­er­al judge in Cal­i­for­nia shot down efforts by state offi­cials to learn the iden­ti­ties of donors to anoth­er Koch-aligned group, Amer­i­cans for Pros­per­i­ty Foun­da­tion. The state’s Attor­ney Gen­er­al Kamala Har­ris, a Demo­c­rat, plans to appeal the rul­ing.

    Details on who donates to tax-exempt groups are not pub­licly dis­closed, but the orga­ni­za­tions must tell the IRS who pro­vides their fund­ing.

    Rep. Peter Roskam, R‑Ill., the bill’s spon­sor, said the IRS doesn’t need donors’ iden­ti­ties to do its work. “Tax-exempt groups should not be forced to expend pre­cious resources on unnec­es­sary doc­u­men­ta­tion and tax admin­is­tra­tion rather than focus­ing on their char­i­ta­ble mis­sions,” he said.

    ...

    Tax-exempt groups have become increas­ing­ly active in pol­i­tics, pump­ing $500 mil­lion in fed­er­al elec­tions since 2011, accord­ing to Fred Wertheimer, pres­i­dent of the watch­dog group, Democ­ra­cy 21.“What the House Repub­li­cans on the com­mit­tee are doing is tak­ing a major cam­paign-finance prob­lem and mak­ing it worse,” he said.

    Wertheimer’s group joined sev­er­al oth­ers in pub­licly oppos­ing the mea­sure.

    IRS review, he argued, helps ensure that for­eign con­tri­bu­tions, which are ille­gal in U.S. elec­tions, don’t enter pol­i­tics by secret means. “You are elim­i­nat­ing any abil­i­ty to hold non­prof­its account­able,” he said.

    “Infor­ma­tion about donors “is not used for any real, legit­i­mate pur­pose” he said, “but, by and large, seems to be used by peo­ple or activists groups to get lists togeth­er to tar­get and intim­i­date peo­ple, and that’s com­plete­ly inap­pro­pri­ate.””

    That’s the view of Koch’s Free­dom Part­ners: if you force polit­i­cal non­prof­its to dis­close their donors to the IRS, there’s no legit­i­mate use for that infor­ma­tion and the IRS will just harass Repub­li­cans. And it’s a view appar­ent­ly shared by every GOP mem­ber of the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee and the view House GOP cau­cus as a whole since the House passed the bill ear­li­er this month. Of course, the bill would have to pass in the Sen­ate and be signed into law by Pres­i­dent Oba­ma if this bill was to become law, but it’s still pret­ty notable that a bill that makes for­eign polit­i­cal dona­tions basi­cal­ly untrace­able just passed the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

    So, since this bill isn’t actu­al­ly a law yet, we’ll just have to wait for Pres­i­dent Trump to sign it into law. Some­one should prob­a­bly inform the Trump cam­paign about that last part:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Edi­tor’s Blog

    Trump For­eign Contributor/Derp Update

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished June 29, 2016, 11:20 AM EDT

    Yes­ter­day, Caitlin Mac­Neal report­ed that Don­ald Trump had been bom­bard­ing MPs from the Unit­ed King­dom with fundrais­ing emails ask­ing for mon­ey to fund his cam­paign against “Crooked Hillary.” Then last night I report­ed that Trump and his sons have been upping the ante and send­ing emails to every mem­ber of the par­lia­ment of Ice­land also ask­ing for mon­ey.

    “I have no idea why he emailed me the let­ter,” said MP Guðlau­gur Þór Þórðar­son, a mem­ber of Inde­pen­dence Par­ty. “This whole mat­ter is very per­plex­ing. The let­ter left me speech­less,” said MP Katrín Jakob­s­dót­tir, head of the Left Green Par­ty. If you’re won­der­ing if this is as bizarre as it sounds, Yes, it total­ly is. Trump and his wastrel sons appear to be devel­op­ing a new com­pos­ite lit­er­ary form — the hybrid cam­paign mon­ey ask/Nigerian email scam email. ‘Dear­ly Beloved in Christ, I am for­mer bil­lion­aire Don­ald Trump, now fight­ing to regain my for­tune from Crooked Hillary ...” But once I post­ed about Ice­land, the flood­gates tru­ly opened. Those weren’t the only coun­tries.

    I’ve now con­firmed that Trump and sons have also been send­ing emails to all the MPs in Aus­tralia and Den­mark. I have uncon­firmed reports that MPs in Cana­da also received them. Indeed, Labor MP Tim Watts of Aus­tralia tells me he’s got­ten a flood of emails from the Trump’s ask­ing for mon­ey to defeat Crooked Hillary.

    Now, you’re like­ly ask­ing: what on Earth is going on here? Obvi­ous­ly, it is strict­ly against US elec­tion law to receive cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions from for­eign nation­als. I sus­pect know­ing­ly solic­it­ing them is like­ly also ille­gal. And when you’re solic­it­ing mon­ey from for­eign par­lia­men­tar­i­ans it’s prob­a­bly a pret­ty good bet they’re not US cit­i­zens. But obvi­ous­ly, as big as a buf­foon as Trump is, and as crooked as he is, there’s no pos­si­ble way his cam­paign is inten­tion­al­ly solic­it­ing small donor con­tri­bu­tions from mem­bers of for­eign par­lia­ments. Some­how this must be incom­pe­tence in how they bought their email solic­i­ta­tion lists. But how?

    Can­did­ly I did­n’t know you could eas­i­ly buy the email list of all mem­bers of the Ice­landic par­lia­ment. But it seems like you can.

    Now a few peo­ple sug­gest­ed that maybe some­one was just prank­ing Trump — going to the web­site and sign­ing up var­i­ous for­eign par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and dig­ni­taries. But this seems far too sys­tem­at­ic for that. It does appear to be every mem­ber of each par­lia­ment. You’d need to col­lect each email and then man­u­al­ly add them in on the Trump web­site, some­how get them to con­firm the opt-in con­fir­ma­tion email. It’s too com­pli­cat­ed. These are lists that were almost cer­tain­ly added from with­in the cam­paign.

    The only plau­si­ble answer seems to be that the Trump cam­paign either dealt with a slop­py or dis­rep­utable list bro­ker or was so des­per­ate after its hor­ri­ble May FEC report was released that it went to a bro­ker and just said they want­ed every list and they’d sort it all out lat­er. I con­fess that both sce­nar­ios seem a lit­tle far­fetched. But some ver­sion of one of them basi­cal­ly had to hap­pen, unless there’s a prankster actu­al­ly inside the cam­paign.

    To give anoth­er exam­ple, I heard this morn­ing from a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­ate Chief of Staff who also got the emails. Folks like that get fundrais­ing emails from every­one under the sun. No sur­prise. But he told me he nev­er gets them at his senate.gov email. And it’s obvi­ous why. You’re not allowed to do that and it’s the eas­i­est thing in the world to scrub a list of all the .gov address­es.

    For right now, we’re scour­ing the world to find all the oth­er par­lia­ments the Trumps are cur­rent­ly spam­ming. And they do seem to be hit­ting these peo­ple with mul­ti­ple emails. Like a lot.

    So again, how can they be this incom­pe­tent, rain­ing shame down on Amer­i­ca by bom­bard­ing the descen­dants of Vikings with per­plex­ing emails about his bat­tle with Crooked Hillary?

    As one of my col­leagues not­ed, they need to be rais­ing a ton of mon­ey right now, like before mid­night tomor­row. Why? Because the June fundrais­ing report will drop in late July, right dur­ing the GOP con­ven­tion. If it looks as ridicu­lous as the last one, that will be a big prob­lem. So basi­cal­ly, Ice­land, Den­mark, Aus­tralia, blast out the rafters. They appear to be des­per­ate and incom­pe­tent and, because they’re des­per­ate and incom­pe­tent, trau­ma­tiz­ing mem­bers of par­lia­ment in coun­tries around the world because of it.

    ...

    As one of my col­leagues not­ed, they need to be rais­ing a ton of mon­ey right now, like before mid­night tomor­row. Why? Because the June fundrais­ing report will drop in late July, right dur­ing the GOP con­ven­tion. If it looks as ridicu­lous as the last one, that will be a big prob­lem. So basi­cal­ly, Ice­land, Den­mark, Aus­tralia, blast out the rafters. They appear to be des­per­ate and incom­pe­tent and, because they’re des­per­ate and incom­pe­tent, trau­ma­tiz­ing mem­bers of par­lia­ment in coun­tries around the world because of it.”

    Keep in mind that even if the House bill became law, it still would­n’t allow for direct cam­paign dona­tions like what the Trump cam­paign is solic­it­ing from for­eign MPs. But it would facil­i­tate a pret­ty hefty injec­tion of for­eign mon­ey into non­prof­it super PACs, which is appar­ent­ly what the House GOP­ers think is of no con­cern. Still, it’s pret­ty hilar­i­ous that just a cou­ple weeks after the House pass­es the anony­mous super PAC donor bill, we get reports that the Trump cam­paign is harass­ing every sin­gle MP in UK, Cana­da, Aus­tralia, Ice­land, and Den­mark for cam­paign dona­tions. Oh, and Fin­land too.

    So it it pos­si­ble that this was done inten­tion­al­ly avoid embar­rass­ing fundrais­ing fig­ure right in the mid­dle of the GOP con­ven­tion? It seems total­ly implau­si­ble even for the Trump cam­paign and some sort of email list screw up seems like the Occam’s Razor answer here.

    But if this was­n’t just a screw up, the July fundrais­ing num­ber the­o­ry is the best motive we have in part because it’s the only plau­si­ble motive we have. Unless, of course, the Trump cam­paign does­n’t under­stand how a bill becomes law, like a bill recent­ly passed by the House that anonymizes for­eign dona­tions, and also does­n’t under­stand the dif­fer­ences between super PAC dona­tions and cam­paign dona­tions. Sure, that’s a pret­ty implau­si­ble expla­na­tion too and if the Trump cam­paign real­ly was try­ing to solic­it for­eign dona­tions it’s unclear why it would have sent the solic­i­ta­tions to every MP in mul­ti­ple Euro­pean coun­tries. It’s hard to keep that a secret.

    But the mere pos­si­bil­i­ty that this was done inten­tion­al­ly does raise a use­ful ques­tion when con­sid­er­ing the poten­tial impact of the Koch’s anony­mous mon­ey bill: let’s say that bill was already law. Does any­one think the Trump cam­paign would­n’t be active­ly solic­it­ing secret for­eign dona­tions? Just how con­fi­dent are we that the Trump cam­paign would­n’t be qui­et­ly hit­ting up MPs and wealthy peo­ple around the world right now if it could get away with it? Don’t for­get, this is the alleged bil­lion­aire with exten­sive mob ties, for­eign oli­garch ties, and who once cashed a 13 cent check. Would some­one like that be like­ly to turn down for­eign dona­tions if laws are in place to make it the per­fect crime.

    How about the rest of the House GOP mem­bers who vot­ed for bill? Why would­n’t they be con­stant­ly offered secret for­eign super PAC dona­tions and why should­n’t we believe they would be more than hap­py to accept those dona­tions when they pass laws like this? Per­haps we’re to assume that, in post-Cit­i­zens Unit­ed world, they won’t need the mon­ey.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 29, 2016, 6:05 pm
  41. We already knew that Don­ald Trump was a stu­dent of Hitler’s speech­es, accord­ing to a 1990 inter­view of Ivana Trump. And it’s long been clear that flirt­ing with neo-Nazis and is going to be a key com­po­nent of his cam­paign mes­sag­ing strat­e­gy, with a par­tic­u­lar empha­sis on “acci­den­tal­ly” retweet­ing the tweets of his white suprema­cist sup­port­ers.

    Well, it looks like we’re see­ing the next phase of Trump’s vot­er out­reach strat­e­gy: tweet­ing anti-semit­ic tweets that appear to be cre­at­ed by the Trump cam­paign itself:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Don­ald Trump Launch­es Bla­tant­ly Anti-Semit­ic Attack Against Hillary Clin­ton
    This is not a dog whis­tle. It’s not sub­tle.

    Sam Levine Asso­ciate Pol­i­tics Edi­tor, The Huff­in­g­ton Post
    Sam Stein Senior Pol­i­tics Edi­tor, The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    07/02/2016 12:33 pm ET | Updat­ed 1 hour ago

    Don­ald Trump tweet­ed a bla­tant­ly anti-Semit­ic image Sat­ur­day morn­ing, caus­ing an imme­di­ate back­lash online and fur­ther con­firm­ing the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee is will­ing to sink to depths well beyond usu­al, accept­able bounds of pol­i­tics.

    The tweet, post­ed at rough­ly 8:30 a.m., fea­tured a pic­ture of Hillary Clin­ton past­ed over a back­drop of $100 bills with a six-point­ed star — the Jew­ish Star of David — next to her face.

    “Most Cor­rupt Can­di­date Ever!” the star read.

    [see tweet]

    This is not a dog whis­tle. It’s not sub­tle. It is anti-Semit­ic imagery aimed at a can­di­date who isn’t even Jew­ish.

    ...

    The irony, of course, is that Trump has Jew­ish rel­a­tives. His daugh­ter Ivan­ka con­vert­ed to Judaism when she mar­ried Jared Kush­n­er, who is Jew­ish him­self. Their kids are Jew­ish too. Trump even has a num­ber of Jew­ish back­ers.

    This hasn’t exact­ly mel­lowed his instinct to give telling winks to peo­ple who hate Jews. Trump has retweet­ed sup­port from white suprema­cists and neo-Nazis in the past and he’s notably refrained from con­demn­ing the anti-Semit­ic mob of his sup­port­ers that has attacked Jew­ish reporters online.

    Usu­al­ly, he’s respond­ed to crit­i­cism in the past by play­ing dumb, as if he’s unaware of what he’s doing. And that same pat­tern held true — some­what — on Sat­ur­day morn­ing. Moments after tweet­ing out the Star of David image, he put out a sec­ond image with the same lan­guage, but with a red cir­cle instead of a star. The first tweet remained up for some time, how­ev­er, before even­tu­al­ly being tak­en down.

    Ari Fleis­ch­er, a Jew­ish Repub­li­can who served as press sec­re­tary to for­mer Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, crit­i­cized the Trump cam­paign for the tweet.

    “I sus­pect this was a case of stu­pid­i­ty and not mal­ice, but no mat­ter what, his cam­paign keeps mak­ing fool­ish mis­takes,” he said. “It would be nice to make it through a 3‑day week­end with­out his cam­paign hurt­ing itself.”

    As for Clinton’s faith, she’s a Methodist. Trump has attacked her for that in the past too. At a meet­ing of evan­gel­i­cal con­ser­v­a­tives last month, he sug­gest­ed there was lit­tle in the pub­lic record about her reli­gion and that she might not actu­al­ly be Chris­t­ian: a bla­tant­ly false mis­sive that was offen­sive in its own right but one that seems some­what quaint in light of Saturday’s tweet.

    Trump advis­er Roger Stone sent an email to Huff­Post sev­er­al hours after this arti­cle was post­ed, with the sub­ject line: Total Horse­shit.

    “A sher­iff badge is the same shape as the Star of David,” Stone wrote. “You should be ashamed to pub­lish crap like this — but then you don’t work for a real news orga­ni­za­tion.”

    “Usu­al­ly, he’s respond­ed to crit­i­cism in the past by play­ing dumb, as if he’s unaware of what he’s doing. And that same pat­tern held true — some­what — on Sat­ur­day morn­ing. Moments after tweet­ing out the Star of David image, he put out a sec­ond image with the same lan­guage, but with a red cir­cle instead of a star. The first tweet remained up for some time, how­ev­er, before even­tu­al­ly being tak­en down.”

    But, insists Roger Stone, it was just a sher­if­f’s badge! Heh. As many Jew­ish GOP­ers like Ari Fleis­ch­er must be think­ing these days, “It would be nice to make it through a 3‑day week­end with­out his cam­paign hurt­ing itself.” Let’s hope he’s actu­al­ly hurt­ing him­self.

    So that’s how Don­ald Trump decid­ed to start off the 4th of July hol­i­day week­end: with a home­made anti-semit­ic tweet direct­ed at Hillary. And in a way might clear up one of the mys­ter­ies cre­at­ed when Trump recent­ly ques­tioned whether or not Hillary was tru­ly a Methodist. While it would be rea­son­able to assume that he was imply­ing that she’s a secret Mus­lim, this lat­est tweet sug­gests that maybe he was imply­ing that she’s secret­ly Jew­ish? And that Oba­ma and Hillary are part of a Muslim/Jewish cabal to destroy Amer­i­ca?

    Who knows if that’s the direc­tion Trump is tak­ing is allu­sions or it’s just a ran­dom mish­mash at this point. Maybe he’s just try­ing to cov­er his bases.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 2, 2016, 2:32 pm
  42. Uh oh. It looks like the Trump cam­paign was­n’t the orig­i­nal source of the Hillary Clin­ton-Star of David tweet. It orig­i­nat­ed as an alt right neo-Nazi meme a week ear­li­er on the /pol/ forum. Of course:

    News.Mic

    Don­ald Trump’s “Star of David” Hillary Clin­ton Meme Was Cre­at­ed by White Suprema­cists

    By Antho­ny Smith July 03, 2016

    Don­ald Trump tweet­ed a meme Sat­ur­day that used dog-whis­tle anti-Semi­tism to announce that his polit­i­cal rival, “Crooked Hillary,” had “made his­to­ry.” The meme Trump tweet­ed promi­nent­ly fea­tured the Star of David — a holy sym­bol of the Jew­ish reli­gion that Nazis attempt­ed to per­vert by forc­ing Jews over the age of 6 to sew it onto their cloth­ing dur­ing Hitler’s reign.

    Embla­zoned onto the Star of David in Trump’s meme are the words “Most Cor­rupt Can­di­date Ever!”

    The star lies atop a giant pile of mon­ey.
    [see tweet]
    Mic dis­cov­ered Sun­day that Don­ald Trump’s Twit­ter account was­n’t the first place the meme appeared. The image was pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured on /pol/ — an Inter­net mes­sage board for the alt-right, a dig­i­tal move­ment of neo-Nazis, anti-Semi­tes and white suprema­cists new­ly embold­ened by the suc­cess of Trump’s rhetoric — as ear­ly as June 22, over a week before Trump’s team tweet­ed it.
    [see alt-right forum image]

    Though the thread where the meme was fea­tured no longer exists, you can find it by search­ing the URL in Archive.is, a “time cap­sule of the inter­net” that saves unal­ter­able text and graph­ic of web­pages. Doing so allows you to see the thread on /pol/ as it orig­i­nal­ly exist­ed.

    Of note is the file name of the pho­to, HillHistory.jpg, poten­tial­ly a nod to the Neo-Nazi code for “HH,” or “Heil Hitler,” which the alt-right is fond of hid­ing in plain sight.

    The water­mark on the low­er-left cor­ner of the image leads to a Twit­ter account that reg­u­lar­ly tweets vio­lent, racist memes com­ment­ing on the state of geopo­lit­i­cal pol­i­tics.
    [see image]
    Oth­er exam­ples of images tweet­ed by this account include vio­lent pro­pa­gan­da about Mus­lims and refugees and racist images of Clin­ton:
    [see tweet]
    [see image]
    [see image]
    Mic pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed white suprema­cists ral­ly on the inter­net to expose what they believe to be a vast anti-white con­spir­a­cy, cen­turies old, in which Jews have paid off politi­cians and infil­trat­ed the media to under­mine West­ern soci­ety from the top down. The Clin­ton meme Trump tweet­ed — which first appeared on per­haps the biggest bas­tion of the anti-Semit­ic alt-right — has brought that same hate­ful para­noia into the main­stream.

    One rela­tion­ship of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance to their “anti-White con­spir­a­cy” is that between Jew­ish reporters and Hillary Clin­ton, whom they believe to be work­ing in tan­dem to under­mine the West­ern world, pre­vent­ing nations like the U.S. from becom­ing more like their vision of utopia — a nation with racial puri­ty among its core val­ues.
    [see image]
    On Sat­ur­day, Trump delet­ed his orig­i­nal tweet of the meme and in its place uploaded an alter­ation that replaces the Star of David with a cir­cle.
    [see tweet]
    In Novem­ber, Trump retweet­ed a meme per­pet­u­at­ing the racist lie explic­it­ly that black peo­ple com­mit­ted more vio­lent crimes against white peo­ple than any oth­er race. That was found to have orig­i­nat­ed from the alt-right inter­net as well.

    ...

    Mic dis­cov­ered Sun­day that Don­ald Trump’s Twit­ter account was­n’t the first place the meme appeared. The image was pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured on /pol/ — an Inter­net mes­sage board for the alt-right, a dig­i­tal move­ment of neo-Nazis, anti-Semi­tes and white suprema­cists new­ly embold­ened by the suc­cess of Trump’s rhetoric — as ear­ly as June 22, over a week before Trump’s team tweet­ed it.”

    Yes, two days before Inde­pen­dence Day and two weeks before the GOP con­ven­tion, the GOP’s nom­i­nee retweet­ed neo-Nazi meme. Once again.

    It’s going to be alright. Or rather, it’s going to be alt right. That’s the overt face of the GOP this year. And alt right face. No more dog whistling. We’re on the verge of elect­ing a smirk­ing neo-Nazi troll to the most pow­er­ful office on the plan­et and he’s skat­ing by with min­i­mal push back and the bulk of the GOP estab­lish­ment ful­ly on board.

    Ok, so it’s not going to be alright. But if there’s one good thing about sit­u­a­tions that aren’t alright it’s they make one appre­ci­ate just how pre­cious alright sit­u­a­tions tru­ly are and how poten­tial­ly rare they are if we don’t work on keep­ing things alright and might prompt pon­der­ing on to make things alright. The future isn’t usu­al­ly par­tic­u­lar­ly bright when things aren’t already alright. Iner­tia works that way. But they can always be made bet­ter. Unless you’re doomed. so watch­ing one of the two major US par­ties casu­al­ly nom­i­nate an open alt right troll is the kind of sit­u­a­tion that should prompt one to take some time and pon­der how much worse things can get, and remain, if alt right neo-Nazi trolling becomes nor­mal­ized as a form of anti-PC protest.

    How can things be made bet­ter? Is the GOP doomed? Does that mean the rest of us are too? These are the kinds of ques­tions we unfor­tu­nate­ly need to be ask­ing now that a neo-Nazi troll is one unfor­tu­nate elec­tion away from trash­ing the world. Trash­ing the world is not alright. How do we avoid trash­ing the world? That’s a ques­tion we actu­al­ly have to urgent­ly ask. And answer. Soon.

    Hap­py Inde­pen­dence Day Eve.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 3, 2016, 9:35 am
  43. Here’s one more rea­son why we should prob­a­bly expect more neo-Nazi ‘oops’ tweets from the Trump cam­paign: Trump can’t lose. At least he can’t lose with the neo-Nazis. For instance, here we have a tweet from David Duke cel­e­brat­ing the orig­i­nal Trump tweet with the Star of David as a ‘red pill’ for soci­ety. And what’s Duke’s response after Trump replaces the Star of David with a plain ‘ol cir­cle? He wel­comes the expo­sure of “the hid­den hand”:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Ex-KKK Leader David Duke Loved Trump’s Star Of David Tweet

    By Kather­ine Krueger
    Pub­lished July 5, 2016, 8:38 AM EDTs

    Avid Don­ald Trump sup­port­er and for­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was a big fan of the pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee’s con­tro­ver­sial tweet over the week­end, which was wide­ly read as anti-Semit­ic.

    After the Trump camp pulled an anti-Hillary Clin­ton tweet that includ­ed a six-point star and post­ed an edit­ed ver­sion, Duke tweet­ed Sat­ur­day that he wel­comes the expo­sure of “the hid­den hand.”

    ...

    Trump’s orig­i­nal tweet fea­tured a meme, appar­ent­ly plumbed from a cor­ner of the white suprema­cist inter­net, label­ing Clin­ton the “most cor­rupt can­di­date ever,” inside a six-point star and over­laid on a bed of mon­ey.

    Trump lat­er claimed the image was a “sher­if­f’s star” and blamed the “dis­hon­est media” for label­ing the image a Star of David.

    “After the Trump camp pulled an anti-Hillary Clin­ton tweet that includ­ed a six-point star and post­ed an edit­ed ver­sion, Duke tweet­ed Sat­ur­day that he wel­comes the expo­sure of “the hid­den hand.””

    Well, ok, so it’s pret­ty clear that there’s basi­cal­ly noth­ing Trump can do to piss off the neo-Nazis...except maybe ignore them. But the same does­n’t apply fore the rest of soci­ety which is why so many are ques­tion­ing whether or not Trump is a full blown anti-Semi­te or just crass­ly court­ing them.

    Well, as Josh Mar­shall sug­gests below, it’s almost unam­bigu­ous that Trump is indeed a racist if you exam­ine his per­son his­to­ry. But while he does appear to hold stereo­typ­i­cal views of dif­fer­ent groups, like Jews, he does­n’t appear to hold any per­son­al ani­mus towards Jew­ish peo­ple. Instead, the non-stop flir­ta­tion with neo-Nazis and the Alt Right appears to be more dri­ven by a per­son­al desire for adu­la­tion and a recog­ni­tion that when he push­es those kinds of memes he gets reward­ed by an increas­ing­ly ded­i­cat­ed fan base. Also, he just seems to be more at home with peo­ple of a racist, big­ot­ed per­sua­sion. His tribe is the hyper-trib­al­ist ‘Alt Right’, even if he isn’t per­son­al­ly attached to all its themes, and that’s why he keeps doing things like this. It’s what he knows.

    So if Josh Mar­shall is cor­rect in his Trumpian analy­sis, Trump is not, in his heart, an anti-Semit­ic neo-Nazi. There’s not enough overt hate in his heart for that. But he does appear to share many of their views and also has a deep need for author­i­ty and praise. And, lo and behold, dis­cov­ered that by embrac­ing neo-Nazi memes he can ful­fill those deep author­i­tar­i­an need. In oth­er words, while the neo-Nazis might be using a Trump cam­paign to main­stream their ideas, he’s using them too, and not just for vote. For the seem­ing­ly uncon­di­tion­al love. They com­plete him:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Edi­tor’s Blog

    Under­stand­ing the Trump/Star of David Blow Up

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished July 5, 2016, 1:38 PM EDT

    We now know that Don­ald Trump tweet­ed an anti-Semit­ic image which in fact came from a noto­ri­ous white suprema­cist/an­ti-Semit­ic Twit­ter account. The most notable fact about this inci­dent is that while it would like­ly destroy most pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns, in Trump’s case it will like­ly be no more than a two or three day sto­ry. This is in part because, at this point, it’s just not ter­ri­bly sur­pris­ing (dog bites man, as journos say) but also because Trump is sure to embrace or broad­cast some oth­er racist or anti-Semit­ic meme with­in a day or two. The next blow up will push this off the front pages. The sec­ond most notable thing is that the Trump cam­paign can’t seem to decide what its sto­ry is: unfor­tu­nate but incon­se­quen­tial mis­take the cam­paign quick­ly cor­rect­ed? exam­ple of polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness run amok? or it’s a Sheriff’s badge just like these nine oth­er Trump sup­port­er accounts are point­ing out? Trump has thus far man­aged the gen­uine feat of simul­ta­ne­ous­ly hold­ing the sup­port of a sig­nif­i­cant chunk of the right-wing Zion­ist com­mu­ni­ty and vir­tu­al­ly all online anti-Semi­tes and neo-Nazis, an accom­plish­ment we should not over­look.

    It all rais­es the ques­tion: is Don­ald Trump real­ly an anti-Semi­te?

    If the ques­tion is: is Don­ald Trump a racist, the answer is straight­for­ward: Yes.

    Run­ning a bla­tant­ly racist cam­paign should prob­a­bly be enough to answer this ques­tion. But if it’s not, even a cur­so­ry look at Trump’s pub­lic career going back decades shows racism (albeit not always this bla­tant) and racial griev­ance are strik­ing­ly con­sis­tent themes. But is he an anti-Semi­te?

    Here the ques­tion gets a bit more com­pli­cat­ed. And the nature of that com­plex­i­ty is worth explor­ing a bit to under­stand Trump and the nature of the cam­paign he’s run­ning. I don’t see any evi­dence that Trump is anti-Semit­ic in the sense of hold­ing a par­tic­u­lar ani­mus toward Jews, though he does seem anti-Semit­ic in a way that some­times presents itself as phi­lo-semi­tism: hold­ing stereo­typ­i­cal views that Jews are high achiev­ers, good with mon­ey, etc.

    ...

    One of the most telling things Trump has said dur­ing this cam­paign is that he doesn’t go into ral­lies with any script or even ter­ri­bly pre­pared sense of what he’s going to say. He starts talk­ing and then waits to get a feel for what the audi­ence responds to. In oth­er words, he homes in on affir­ma­tion.

    This is large­ly because Trump is a nar­cis­sist. But it’s also a trait of a sales­per­son. You intu­it and under­stand what the client wants or needs (not the same thing) and then get about sell­ing it to them. For these rea­sons and on both these fronts, I doubt Trump believes 3/4 of what he says on the cam­paign trail in the sense most of us under­stand the word. That is to say, things we believe in or believe to be true and would large­ly con­tin­ue to believe even if it became less help­ful to do so.

    Racism and author­i­tar­i­an­ism are core Trump val­ues that pre­date and are sep­a­rate from this cam­paign. The oth­er thing that’s very appar­ent about Trump is that he’s shock­ing­ly, almost total­ly igno­rant of the details of almost every pub­lic pol­i­cy issue — much, much more than even your typ­i­cal­ly car­i­ca­tured politi­cian who knows lit­tle about the issues of pub­lic life with­out their advi­sors feed­ing them lines. This makes him more porous to the views and desires of his sup­port­ers because he has lit­tle to no matrix of pre-exist­ing knowl­edge or core beliefs to ref­er­ence them against or chal­lenge them with.

    Because of this — intu­it­ing his audi­ence and almost total igno­rance and indif­fer­ence to pol­i­cy ques­tions — Trump’s core racism and author­i­tar­i­an­ism have been ampli­fied and accen­tu­at­ed, even rad­i­cal­ized to an almost unprece­dent­ed, per­haps unique degree by his inter­ac­tion with his sup­port­ers. This is not to exon­er­ate Trump in any way. But it’s impor­tant to see that ‘beliefs’ isn’t real­ly a met­ric that is very use­ful with Trump. If you see a chameleon who is orange, it does­n’t tell you much about the chameleon. It just means he’s stand­ing in front of an orange back­ground. Trump may him­self be intrin­si­cal­ly orange. But the anal­o­gy def­i­nite­ly applies.

    Trump start­ed with a racist, author­i­tar­i­an mes­sage, drew around him a sup­port­er base of racists and author­i­tar­i­ans and has been in a feed­back loop of mutu­al rad­i­cal­iza­tion and open­ness ever since. In this arti­cle For­tune did a com­pre­hen­sive analy­sis of Trump’s twit­ter feed and retweets. While Trump has almost 10 mil­lion fol­low­ers, his retweets were heav­i­ly weight­ed toward peo­ple who either are or fol­low high­ly promi­nent accounts (so-called ‘influ­encers’) in the ‘White Geno­cide” com­mu­ni­ty. (Yes, there is a “white geno­cide” com­mu­ni­ty.) Even weird­er, Kat­ri­na Pier­son, a Trump spokesper­son who’s black, also fol­lows a lot of Trump-sup­port­ing ‘White Geno­cide’ lead­ers on twit­ter. (Just so we’re clear, these folks don’t like black peo­ple.) Trump turns out to be the embod­i­ment of that immor­tal Onion arti­cle: “Why Do All These Homo­sex­u­als Keep Suck­ing My Cock?” (Read it when you have a moment. It’ll be a rev­e­la­tion.)

    Neo-Nazis and White Nation­al­ists believe that Trump is send­ing them sig­nals by RT’ing them, giv­ing a wink-wink that he’s their guy. Dave Weigel quotes a guy named Andrew Anglin, who writes for the major neo-Nazi web­site Dai­ly Stormer, who says, “The evan­gel­i­cals will lis­ten to his pro-Israel state­ments, while we will lis­ten to his sig­nals. By push­ing this into the media, the Jews bring to the pub­lic the fact that yes, the major­i­ty of Hilary’s [sic] donors are filthy Jew ter­ror­ists.”

    I don’t think this is actu­al­ly how this works. I don’t think Trump is send­ing sig­nals by fre­quent­ly retweet­ing white nation­al­ists and alt-right racists or bring­ing their ideas into his speech­es. I think these are the cir­cles he and his key advi­sors are cir­cu­lat­ing in — online and off. Their ideas res­onate with them and they adopt them; at least they pass them along. Does he know they’re “alt-right” or “white nation­al­ist” as opposed to anoth­er Trump diehard keep­ing it real? Maybe. But I doubt it.

    In the case of Jews, I think Trump is an anti-Semi­te in the sense of believ­ing in stereo­types of Jews — there’s quite a bit of evi­dence of this. But I don’t think he has a stand­ing hos­til­i­ty for Jews. It just hap­pens to be that the white nation­al­ists and alt-right racists he’s bond­ed with so deeply are vir­tu­al­ly all also anti-Semi­tes. So that’s just anoth­er part of the milieu, the pool of hate filth he’s swim­ming in. It’s almost akin to the way adap­tive genet­ic muta­tions can some­times drag along unre­lat­ed genet­ic traits sim­ply because they’re prox­i­mate to each oth­er on the DNA strand.

    Per­haps I’m naive and Trump is very tac­ti­cal about all of this. But I very much doubt it. That would be incon­sis­tent with every­thing I’ve observed about the man. One might say, with tongue very much in cheek, “Jews have noth­ing to wor­ry about. Trump’s not an anti-Semi­te. He’s just very deeply steeped in the neo-Nazi sub­cul­ture. So these things slip in some time.”

    For Jews, I think this is kind of true, in an imme­di­ate sense. He has no beef with them, at least not yet. But the whole bizarre sto­ry — the neo-Nazi Star of David inci­dent, the count­less retweets of white suprema­cist memes and twit­ter accounts — tells us one thing clear: Trump repeat­ed­ly repeats, broad­casts, embraces racist memes because he and his cam­paign are racist. It’s not in the artic­u­late and often sys­tem­at­ic way you’ll find with many ‘pro­fes­sion­al’ white nation­al­ists. But he’s run­ning in that crowd and he fre­quent­ly hears stuff he likes and agrees with. The fact that it’s hard­core, often bla­tant racism rather than the sort of pret­tied-up ver­sion that pass­es as ‘extreme’ but accept­able in the main­stream polit­i­cal dia­log is sim­ply irrel­e­vant — both because Trump does­n’t real­ly know the dif­fer­ence and because he does­n’t or would­n’t care if he did. Again, that’s the crowd he’s run­ning in. He feels right at home. The Star of David brouha­ha is in a sense the excep­tion that proves the rule. Trump keeps ‘acci­den­tal­ly’ retweet­ing and embrac­ing author­i­tar­i­an racism because he’s an author­i­tar­i­an racist.

    In the case of Jews, I think Trump is an anti-Semi­te in the sense of believ­ing in stereo­types of Jews — there’s quite a bit of evi­dence of this. But I don’t think he has a stand­ing hos­til­i­ty for Jews. It just hap­pens to be that the white nation­al­ists and alt-right racists he’s bond­ed with so deeply are vir­tu­al­ly all also anti-Semi­tes. So that’s just anoth­er part of the milieu, the pool of hate filth he’s swim­ming in. It’s almost akin to the way adap­tive genet­ic muta­tions can some­times drag along unre­lat­ed genet­ic traits sim­ply because they’re prox­i­mate to each oth­er on the DNA strand.”

    Yes, if you’re a Jew­ish Amer­i­can con­cerned about the grow­ing bonds between the GOP and overt neo-Nazis, at least it appears that Don­ald Trump’s neo-Nazi love might not be reflec­tive of per­son­al hos­til­i­ty towards Jew­ish peo­ple. He just real­ly, real­ly, real­ly craves the approval of neo-Nazis. In part this is because the white nation­al­ist fac­tion of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics appears to be the group he’s most at home with and sur­rounds him­self with, but also because that’s the group that’s been giv­ing him near­ly uncon­di­tion­al love at this point. So you should be wor­ried less about the US elect­ing a Hiter­lian fig­ure and more about the US elect­ing a fig­ure who is will­ing to do what it takes to get the adu­la­tion of the kinds of vot­ers that would love a Hiter­lian fig­ure. It’s a wor­ri­some sit­u­a­tion.

    But per­haps that analy­sis of Don­ald Trump’s needs and emo­tion­al moti­va­tions can give us a path out of this nation­al predica­ment: Is there a way we could send a sig­nal to Trump that he would be deeply, pro­found­ly loved by many, many peo­ple if he renounced his cam­paign and declared it all a mas­sive hoax? Just imag­ine him hold­ing a press con­fer­ence and being like “Sur­prise, this was all a joke. I’m not real­ly going to ban Mus­lims or build a wall. This was all intend­ed to be an exer­cise to see how far Amer­i­ca would go in elect­ing an author­i­tar­i­an nut job and Amer­i­ca failed. Shame on us.” And then he renounced his plat­form, dropped out of the race, and threw a giant glob­al sol­i­dar­i­ty rave at mul­ti­ple Trump hotels around the world.

    Would­n’t lots of Amer­i­cans LOVE Trump at that point? Sure, not the neo-Nazis, but for every neo-Nazi he los­es just imag­ine how many Trump sup­port­ers he would imme­di­ate­ly pick up. Don­ald Trump: Mas­ter of the Con-con. He could become a beloved his­toric fig­ure! If the guy is will­ing to do any­thing to find a crowd who love him, there’s no rea­son it has to be some­thing foul. And the more over-the-top the Trump cam­paign’s antics get the eas­i­er it will be to even­tu­al­ly reverse course and yell, “Sur­prise! You’ve been Trumped!”

    He could even make a TV spin­off involv­ing appren­tices he men­tors in hoax­es that help human­i­ty all get along. There’s undoubt­ed­ly a net­work some­where that would pick it up.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 5, 2016, 3:11 pm
  44. Don­ald Trump gave a speech yes­ter­day where he said he wish his staffers had nev­er delet­ed the now noto­ri­ous Star of David tweet. And it includ­ed quite a VP teas­er: “Newt has been my friend for a long time. And I’m not say­ing any­thing, and I’m not telling even Newt any­thing, but I can tell you, in one form or anoth­er, Newt Gin­grich is going to be involved with our government...That I can tell you.”:

    ABC News

    Trump Says Newt Gin­grich ‘Is Going to Be Involved in Our Gov­ern­ment’

    By Meghan Keneal­ly
    Can­dace Smith

    Jul 6, 2016, 7:52 PM ET

    Don­ald Trump stoked spec­u­la­tion about his poten­tial vice pres­i­den­tial pick once again by giv­ing Newt Gin­grich a big shout out at a cam­paign event in Cincin­nati tonight.

    “Newt has been my friend for a long time. And I’m not say­ing any­thing, and I’m not telling even Newt any­thing, but I can tell you, in one form or anoth­er, Newt Gin­grich is going to be involved with our gov­ern­ment,” he said. “That I can tell you.”

    Trump said Gin­grich, the for­mer Speak­er of the House is “smart” and “tough.”

    “He gets it. And he says I’m the biggest thing he’s ever seen in the his­to­ry of pol­i­tics,” Trump said. “Now, Newt is going to be involved, if I can get approval from his wife. That may be tough, but that’s okay.”

    The for­mer Speak­er of the House was on hand to intro­duce Trump at tonight’s event, and the pair host­ed a brief Face­book Live video short­ly before the start of the event.

    Dur­ing his intro­duc­tion, Gin­grich said that Trump “is going to kick over the table” in Wash­ing­ton, should he be elect­ed. The for­mer Speak­er, known for his con­tentious rela­tion­ship with then-Pres­i­dent Clin­ton, seemed to rel­ish attack­ing his old foes.

    ...

    Trump also touched on the scan­dal sur­round­ing a Tweet that his social media direc­tor shared that fea­tured a six-point­ed star that some inter­pret­ed as a Star of David, prompt­ing accu­sa­tions of anti-Semi­tism.

    “When I looked at it I did­n’t think any­thing,” Trump said.

    “My boy comes home from school, Bar­ron, he draws stars all over the place. I nev­er said ‘That’s the Star of David, Bar­ron, don’t!’ ” he said. Trump said that he wish­es he staff nev­er delet­ed the con­tro­ver­sial tweet.

    He was also staunch in his defense of anoth­er of his con­tro­ver­sial remarks, defend­ing his praise of dic­ta­tor Sad­dam Hus­sein.

    “I don’t love Sad­dam Hus­sein. I hate Sad­dam Hus­sein, but he was damn good at killing ter­ror­ists,” Trump said.

    “I said last night it’s the Har­vard. It’s the Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty. It’s the Har­vard of ter­ror­ism. That’s where you want to learn to be a ter­ror­ist, you go into Iraq. Boom, you’re a ter­ror­ist. Boom!”

    “He gets it. And he says I’m the biggest thing he’s ever seen in the his­to­ry of pol­i­tics.”

    Newt Gin­rich: Fas­cist Ego Fluffer Veep of Doom. It would be a fit­ting final chap­ter for Newt’s polit­i­cal career. But let’s face it, Newt has always want­ed to be Pres­i­dent. He has to be rel­ish­ing these rumors.

    But whether Newt gets tapped for that posi­tion or not, it’s worth not­ing that while the VP selec­tion is always at least some­what impor­tant for a pres­i­dent can­di­date, in the case of Don­ald Trump his choice for Vice Pres­i­dent is quite pos­si­bly going to be one of the most sub­stan­tive deci­sions he’s going to make dur­ing the cam­paign. Why? Because, thus far, one of the key fea­tures of Trump’s can­di­da­cy has been the flu­id nature of his views and posi­tions. The guy took 5 dif­fer­ent posi­tions on the abor­tion issue in three days. He’s against cut­ting Social Secu­ri­ty and for cut­ting it. He’s going to build a wall with Mex­i­co. But maybe it will be a vir­tu­al wall. Is he inten­tion­al­ly retweet­ing neo-Nazi dog-whis­tles or just repeat­ed­ly mak­ing an inno­cent mis­take? With the Trump cam­paign, the ambi­gu­i­ty of what he stands for isn’t a bug. It’s a fea­ture.

    But while Trump has been run­ning as a Rorschach Can­di­date so far, once some­one like Newt Gin­grich gets tapped as the choice for VP, there’s no chang­ing that. And who­ev­er Trump choos­es almost instant­ly becomes the most mean­ing­ful vot­er guide to Trump’s real val­ues. Unlike pol­i­cy posi­tions, Trump can’t choose mul­ti­ple VP can­di­dates simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. There can be only one.

    So who­ev­er Trump taps to become VP, the Amer­i­can elec­torate might final­ly see what a Trumpian admin­is­tra­tion is going to look like. And if one of the lat­est rumors sweep­ing DC has any truth to it, Trump’s VP pick might also give us a much bet­ter idea of who would actu­al­ly be pres­i­dent if Trump wins the elec­tion:

    The New York Times

    Would Don­ald Trump Quit if He Wins the Elec­tion? He Doesn’t Rule It Out

    By JASON HOROWITZ
    JULY 7, 2016

    The tra­di­tion­al goal of a pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee is to win the pres­i­den­cy and then serve as pres­i­dent.

    Don­ald J. Trump is not a tra­di­tion­al can­di­date for pres­i­dent.

    Pre­sent­ed in a recent inter­view with a sce­nario, float­ing around the polit­i­cal ether, in which the pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can nom­i­nee proves all the naysay­ers wrong, beats Hillary Clin­ton and wins the pres­i­den­cy, only to for­go the office as the ulti­mate walk-off win­ner, Mr. Trump flashed a mis­chie­vous smile.

    “I’ll let you know how I feel about it after it hap­pens,” he said, min­utes before leav­ing his Trump Tow­er office to fly to a cam­paign ral­ly in New Hamp­shire.

    It is, of course, entire­ly pos­si­ble that Mr. Trump is play­ing coy to earn more news cov­er­age. But the notion of the intense­ly com­pet­i­tive Mr. Trump’s being more inter­est­ed in win­ning the pres­i­den­cy than serv­ing as pres­i­dent is not exact­ly a for­eign con­cept to close observers of this pres­i­den­tial race.

    Ear­ly in the con­test, his rivals, Repub­li­can oper­a­tives and many reporters ques­tioned the seri­ous­ness of his can­di­da­cy. His knack for cre­at­ing con­tro­ver­sy out of thin air (this week’s edi­tion: the Star of David Twit­ter post) and his incli­na­tion toward self-destruc­tive com­ments did not instill con­fi­dence in a polit­i­cal cul­ture that val­ues on-mes­sage dis­ci­pline in its can­di­dates.

    Those doubts dis­si­pat­ed after Mr. Trump van­quished his Repub­li­can oppo­nents and locked up the nom­i­na­tion.

    “I’ve actu­al­ly done very well,” Mr. Trump said. “We beat 18 peo­ple, right?”

    But as the race has turned toward the gen­er­al elec­tion and a major­i­ty of polls have shown Mr. Trump trail­ing Mrs. Clin­ton, spec­u­la­tion has again crept into polit­i­cal con­ver­sa­tions in Wash­ing­ton, New York and else­where that Mr. Trump will seek an exit strat­e­gy before the elec­tion to avoid a humil­i­at­ing loss.

    Now he is refus­ing to rule out an even more dra­mat­ic depar­ture, one that would let him avoid the gru­el­ing job of gov­ern­ing, return to his busi­ness and enjoy his now-per­ma­nent sta­tus as a media celebri­ty.

    Told of Mr. Trump’s non­com­mit­tal com­ment, Stu­art Stevens, a senior advis­er to Mitt Rom­ney in 2012 who has become one of Mr. Trump’s most vocal crit­ics, said that Mr. Trump was “a con man who is shocked his con hasn’t been called” and that he was look­ing for an emer­gency exit.

    “He has no sense of how to gov­ern,” Mr. Stevens said. “He can’t even put togeth­er a cam­paign.”

    Even Mr. Trump’s sup­port­ers acknowl­edge that his past cam­paigns had the air of a van­i­ty tour. That impres­sion lingers. A recent Trump news release promis­ing “a speech regard­ing the elec­tion” prompt­ed many reporters and polit­i­cal for­tunetellers to pre­dict a dec­la­ra­tion of his depar­ture. But just the fact that a rou­tine news release prompt­ed parox­ysms of con­jec­ture through­out the polit­i­cal uni­verse sug­gest­ed that, as Mr. Trump might say, “there’s some­thing going on.”

    ...

    In Mr. Trump’s case, the dis­rup­tion is every­where. Last fall, he said in tele­vi­sion inter­views that if his stand­ing col­lapsed in the Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry polls, he could very well return to his busi­ness. In mid-June, amid an onslaught of neg­a­tive news cov­er­age, he joked to a crowd that he would con­sid­er leav­ing the race for $5 bil­lion.

    On the off chance he actu­al­ly is plan­ning to back out, what would hap­pen?

    Alexan­der Keyssar, a his­to­ri­an at Har­vard who is work­ing on a book about the Elec­toral Col­lege, said the process of suc­ces­sion would depend on “the pre­cise moment at which he said, ‘Nah, nev­er mind.’ ”

    The par­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tives who make up the Elec­toral Col­lege would sud­den­ly have real pow­er rather than a rub­ber stamp. If Mr. Trump bowed out after win­ning on Nov. 8 but before the elec­tors met in each state to cast their bal­lots on Dec. 19, then the elec­tors could have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to vote for anoth­er can­di­date, Pro­fes­sor Keyssar said.

    A major­i­ty of the 538 elec­tors would be Repub­li­cans, but they might not agree on the best alter­na­tive can­di­date. If no one won a major­i­ty of the elec­tors, the con­test between the top three vote-get­ters — one of whom would pre­sum­ably be Mrs. Clin­ton — would go to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, where each state would be giv­en one vote, while the Sen­ate would select the vice pres­i­dent. House Repub­li­cans hold 33 states to the Democ­rats’ 14, with three even­ly split. It is unclear whether the vote would take place before or after new­ly elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives were seat­ed.

    It is also unclear what would hap­pen, Pro­fes­sor Keyssar said, if Mr. Trump bid adieu after the elec­toral votes were cast but before they were offi­cial­ly count­ed, per the 12th Amend­ment, by the pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate before a joint ses­sion of Con­gress in Jan­u­ary. And if Mr. Trump left after the votes were count­ed in Con­gress but before he was sworn in on Jan. 20, Pro­fes­sor Keyssar said the clos­est guid­ance would prob­a­bly come from Sec­tion Three of the 20th Amend­ment: “If, at the time fixed for the begin­ning of the term of the pres­i­dent, the pres­i­dent-elect shall have died, the vice pres­i­dent-elect shall become pres­i­dent.”

    “Noth­ing like this has ever hap­pened,” Mr. Keyssar said.

    And noth­ing like it will this year, Mr. Trump’s sup­port­ers say.

    “It’s going to be too late by then,” Roger Stone, Mr. Trump’s long­time polit­i­cal advis­er, said of the go-out-on-top the­o­ry. “If he got elect­ed pres­i­dent, he’d cer­tain­ly serve. I’m fair­ly cer­tain about that. You think he’d resign? I don’t see that hap­pen­ing. There is only one star in the Don­ald Trump show, and that’s Don­ald Trump.”

    ...

    “This is sil­ly,” said Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, which has tried hard to make the Trump cam­paign more pro­fes­sion­al. “He’s in it to win it.”

    But the only per­son who could tru­ly put any doubts to rest seemed instead to rel­ish the idea of keep­ing every­one guess­ing, con­clud­ing the recent con­ver­sa­tion with a you’re-on-to-something grin and hand­shake across his clut­tered desk.

    “We’ll do plen­ty of sto­ries,” Mr. Trump promised enig­mat­i­cal­ly. “O.K.?”

    “Pre­sent­ed in a recent inter­view with a sce­nario, float­ing around the polit­i­cal ether, in which the pre­sump­tive Repub­li­can nom­i­nee proves all the naysay­ers wrong, beats Hillary Clin­ton and wins the pres­i­den­cy, only to for­go the office as the ulti­mate walk-off win­ner, Mr. Trump flashed a mis­chie­vous smile.

    “I’ll let you know how I feel about it after it hap­pens,” he said, min­utes before leav­ing his Trump Tow­er office to fly to a cam­paign ral­ly in New Hamp­shire.”

    That’s a bit omi­nous. So is a vote for Trump real­ly going to be a vote for Trumps VP? That appears to be a ques­tion of tim­ing:

    ...

    Alexan­der Keyssar, a his­to­ri­an at Har­vard who is work­ing on a book about the Elec­toral Col­lege, said the process of suc­ces­sion would depend on “the pre­cise moment at which he said, ‘Nah, nev­er mind.’ ”

    The par­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tives who make up the Elec­toral Col­lege would sud­den­ly have real pow­er rather than a rub­ber stamp. If Mr. Trump bowed out after win­ning on Nov. 8 but before the elec­tors met in each state to cast their bal­lots on Dec. 19, then the elec­tors could have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to vote for anoth­er can­di­date, Pro­fes­sor Keyssar said.

    A major­i­ty of the 538 elec­tors would be Repub­li­cans, but they might not agree on the best alter­na­tive can­di­date. If no one won a major­i­ty of the elec­tors, the con­test between the top three vote-get­ters — one of whom would pre­sum­ably be Mrs. Clin­ton — would go to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, where each state would be giv­en one vote, while the Sen­ate would select the vice pres­i­dent. House Repub­li­cans hold 33 states to the Democ­rats’ 14, with three even­ly split. It is unclear whether the vote would take place before or after new­ly elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives were seat­ed.

    It is also unclear what would hap­pen, Pro­fes­sor Keyssar said, if Mr. Trump bid adieu after the elec­toral votes were cast but before they were offi­cial­ly count­ed, per the 12th Amend­ment, by the pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate before a joint ses­sion of Con­gress in Jan­u­ary. And if Mr. Trump left after the votes were count­ed in Con­gress but before he was sworn in on Jan. 20, Pro­fes­sor Keyssar said the clos­est guid­ance would prob­a­bly come from Sec­tion Three of the 20th Amend­ment: “If, at the time fixed for the begin­ning of the term of the pres­i­dent, the pres­i­dent-elect shall have died, the vice pres­i­dent-elect shall become pres­i­dent.”

    ...

    So if Trump wins on Novem­ber 8, but then drops out before Dec 19, the Elec­toral Col­lege could just elect who­ev­er they want. If he drops out after Dec 19 and before Jan 20, it’s prob­a­bly going to be the vice pres­i­dent-elect that’s sworn in. And, of course, if he leaves office after Jan 20 he would replaced by the vice pres­i­dent.

    In oth­er words, Newt Gin­grich is quite pos­si­bly a lot clos­er to becom­ing Pres­i­dent than almost any­one is assum­ing right now. At least that assum­ing Trump’s mis­chie­vous smile and cryp­tic com­ments real­ly are indica­tive of what he has in mind. So is installing Pres­i­dent Gin­grich going to be Don­ald Trump’s career-defin­ing ‘I’m The Best, F#%$ You World!’ mega-grift? Con­sid­er­ing he’s the Rorschach Can­di­date, it’s rather dif­fi­cult to inter­pret the mis­chie­vous smiles and cryp­tic com­ments and it is a rather out­landish sce­nario. But giv­en the sur­re­al­ist hoax-like nature of the Trump cam­paign thus far, it’s hard to rule the pos­si­bil­i­ty out.

    That’s all some­thing to keep in mind, espe­cial­ly if Newt real­ly does end up being Trump’s pick(he’s got com­pe­ti­tion). Because if you’re the Pres­i­dent, and Newt Gin­grich is your Vice Pres­i­dent, that means your pulse is the only thing stand­ing between Newt Gin­grich and the Pres­i­den­cy. Isn’t it a lot safer to get out of the way in advance?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 7, 2016, 4:01 pm
  45. It sounds like Don­ald Trump might need to for­get who David Duke is and belat­ed sort of denounce him again. House Major­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise prob­a­bly isn’t going to be super thrilled either. Yes, David Duke appears to rec­og­nize that, with Trump as the GOP nom­i­nee, this just might be the right year for anoth­er Duke run:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    David Duke Plans to Run for Con­gress
    The for­mer KKK grand wiz­ard said he wants to defeat Steve Scalise, who report­ed­ly once called him­self “David Duke with­out the bag­gage.”

    Gideon Resnick
    07.12.16 3:55 PM ET

    David Duke says he is get­ting ready to run for Con­gress.

    The for­mer grand wiz­ard of the Ku Klux Klan and ex-can­di­date for Louisiana gov­er­nor told The Dai­ly Beast he is heav­i­ly lean­ing towards chal­leng­ing Rep. Steve Scalise. Scalise is the No. 3 Repub­li­can in the House who report­ed­ly once called him­self “David Duke with­out the bag­gage” and spoke at a white nation­al­ist group that Duke found­ed (two event atten­dees lat­er said Scalise nev­er attend­ed the con­fer­ence).

    “I’ve very seri­ous­ly set up an explorato­ry com­mit­tee to run for the Unit­ed States Con­gress against Steve Scalise,” Duke said. “I expect to make a deci­sion in a few days” ahead of the July 22 bal­lot dead­line.

    Duke said the killing of five white police offi­cers in Dal­las by a black mil­i­tant pushed him to the brink of run­ning.

    “I don’t take any sat­is­fac­tion in the fact that I was right, but I have been right,” he said. “Unless Euro­pean Amer­i­cans stand up, they are going to lose every­thing they care about in this coun­try.”

    Duke sees 2016 as his year to win against “sell­out Steve Scalise” because of new racial ten­sions.

    “There are mil­lions of peo­ple across the coun­try who would like to have me in the Con­gress. I’d be the only per­son in Con­gress open­ly defend­ing the rights and the her­itage of Euro­pean Amer­i­cans,” he said. “We are on the offen­sive today. There’s no more defens­es.”

    Duke found­ed a KKK chap­ter in 1974, and won elec­tion to the state leg­is­la­ture in 1989 by cam­paign­ing on drug test­ing wel­fare recip­i­ents. After an unsuc­cess­ful run for U.S. Sen­ate in 1990, Duke made the runoff for gov­er­nor in 1991 against oppo­si­tion from the par­ty all the way up to Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush. Duke lost to Demo­c­rat, for­mer gov­er­nor, and ex-con­vict Edwin Edwards.

    For the past 25 years, Duke has been busy as an occa­sion­al can­di­date and out­spo­ken “racial real­ist.” In 2000, he found­ed the Euro­pean-Amer­i­can Uni­ty and Rights Orga­ni­za­tion. That’s the group, Duke claims Scalise addressed in 2002 when he was a state law­mak­er. (Duke lat­er called Scalise a “fine fam­i­ly man.”)

    When the alleged address was revealed in 2014, Scalise feigned igno­rance of the Duke group’s mes­sage.

    “I didn’t know who all of these groups were and I detest any kind of hate group,” he said. “For any­one to sug­gest that I was involved with a group like that is insult­ing and ludi­crous.”

    Scalise’s denounce­ment and his vote to ban Con­fed­er­ate flags in Vet­er­ans Admin­is­tra­tion ceme­ter­ies has earned him Duke’s ire.

    “He crawled on his hands and his knees to the black cau­cus. This should not stand,” Duke said.

    The Dai­ly Beast has reached out to Scalise’s office for com­ment about Duke’s cur­rent polit­i­cal aspi­ra­tions.

    Should Duke make it to the House, he said one of his first goals would be to repeal the 1965 Immi­gra­tion and Nat­u­ral­iza­tion Act, which lib­er­al­ized immi­gra­tion laws by elim­i­nat­ing race-based quo­tas.

    Duke com­pared him­self to Don­ald Trump, who he endorsed for pres­i­dent.

    “I’ve said every­thing that Don­ald Trump is say­ing and more,” he said. “I think Trump is rid­ing a wave of anti-estab­lish­ment feel­ing that I’ve been nur­tur­ing for 25 years.”

    On the same day that Newt Gin­grich rose in Trump’s veep­stakes, Duke blast­ed the for­mer speak­er of the House as a “total sell­out cuck.” Duke was angry that Gin­grich recent­ly said white peo­ple don’t under­stand what it’s like for blacks who rou­tine­ly face dis­crim­i­na­tion.

    “I would be a bet­ter pick,” Duke said. “I had a per­fect Repub­li­can vot­ing record. If he had me as a VP he would have a life insur­ance pol­i­cy. But again, I don’t see him doing that. That’s just a fan­ta­sy.”

    Trump won’t reach out to him because the can­di­date fears “offend­ing the oli­garchs,” a term Duke uses for the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment he said is con­trolled by Jew­ish, His­pan­ic and African Amer­i­can inter­ests.

    ...

    “I’ve said every­thing that Don­ald Trump is say­ing and more...I think Trump is rid­ing a wave of anti-estab­lish­ment feel­ing that I’ve been nur­tur­ing for 25 years.”

    Well, he does have a point.

    At least if Duke does run we’ll final­ly be able answer an unfor­tu­nate, yet, com­pelling ques­tion con­tem­po­rary pol­i­tics unfor­tu­nate­ly begs: who wins in a race between David Duke with­out the bag­gage and David Duke with the bag­gage? Of course, the answer is that David Duke wins in either sce­nario, but it will still be grim­ly inter­est­ing to see how the vote goes.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 12, 2016, 6:46 pm
  46. With recent polls show­ing an alarm­ing close race between Hillary Clin­ton and Don­ald Trump in the key swing states of Flori­da, Penn­syl­va­nia, and Ohio, it’s unfor­tu­nate­ly the case that every utter­ances that come out of Trump’s mouth over the com­ing months has to be tak­en at least some­what seri­ous­ly. For instance, when Don­ald Trump con­demns the calls for moments of silence to com­mem­o­rate the Dal­las shoot­er Mic­ah John­son, we unfor­tu­nate­ly have to point out that, no, there were no calls for moments of silence. It was dan­ger­ous­ly unse­ri­ous state­ment. But as Josh Mar­shall notes, it was a dan­ger­ous­ly unse­ri­ous state­ment made by a man with an appar­ent author­i­tar­i­an per­son­al­i­ty who is on the verge of becom­ing the next pres­i­dent which is why we have to take it so seri­ous­ly:

    Talk­ing Point Memo Edi­tor’s Blog

    A Prop­a­ga­tor of Race Hatred and Vio­lence

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished July 13, 2016, 2:26 PM EDT

    This isn’t get­ting a lot of atten­tion. But it should/. Every­body took note when Don­ald Trump repeat­ed­ly claimed that Amer­i­can Mus­lims across the riv­er in New Jer­sey cel­e­brat­ed and cheered as the Twin Tow­ers fell on 9/11 — an entire­ly fab­ri­cat­ed claim. Last night on Bill O’Reil­ly’s show and then sep­a­rate­ly at a ral­ly in West­field, Indi­ana he did some­thing very sim­i­lar and in so doing cement­ed his sta­tus an impul­sive prop­a­ga­tor of race-hatred and vio­lence.

    The details of a the rapid-fire ful­mi­na­tion are impor­tant. So let’s look at them close­ly.

    Trump claimed that peo­ple — “some­body” — called for a moment of silence for mass killer Mic­ah John­son, the now deceased mass shoot­er who killed five police offi­cers in Dal­las on Thurs­day night. There is no evi­dence this ever hap­pened. Search­es of the web and social media showed no evi­dence. Even Trump’s cam­paign co-chair said today that he can’t come up with any evi­dence. As in the case of the cel­e­bra­tions over the fall of the twin tow­ers, even to say there’s ‘no evi­dence’ under­states the mat­ter. This did­n’t hap­pen. Trump made it up.

    The lan­guage is impor­tant: “When some­body called for a moment of silence to this mani­ac that shot the five police, you just see what’s going on. It’s a very, very sad sit­u­a­tion.”

    Then lat­er at the Indi­ana ral­ly: “The oth­er night you had 11 cities poten­tial­ly in a blow-up stage. March­es all over the Unit­ed States—and tough march­es. Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Start­ed by a mani­ac! And some peo­ple ask for a moment of silence for him. For the killer!”

    A would-be strong man, an author­i­tar­i­an per­son­al­i­ty, isn’t just against dis­or­der and vio­lence. They need dis­or­der and vio­lence. That is their rai­son d’e­tre, it is the prob­lem that they are pur­port­ed­ly there to solve. The point bears repeat­ing: author­i­tar­i­an fig­ures require vio­lence and dis­or­der. Look at the lan­guage. “11 cities poten­tial­ly in a blow up stage” .. “Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Start­ed by a mani­ac!” ... “And some peo­ple ask for a moment of silence for him. For the killer.”

    At the risk of invok­ing God­win’s Law, if you trans­late the Ger­man, the febrile and agi­tat­ed lan­guage of ‘hatred’, ‘anger’, ‘mani­ac’ ... this is the kind of florid and incen­di­ary lan­guage Adolf Hitler used in many of his speech­es. Note too the actu­al pro­gres­sion of what Trump said: “March­es all over the Unit­ed States — and tough march­es. Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Start­ed by a mani­ac!” (empha­sis added).

    The clear import of this fusil­lade of words is that the coun­try is awash in mil­i­tant protests that were inspired by Mic­ah John­son. “Start­ed by ...”

    We’re used to so much non­sense and so many com­bustible tirades from Trump that we become part­ly inured to them. We also don’t slow down and look at pre­cise­ly what he’s say­ing. What he’s say­ing here is that mil­lions of African-Amer­i­cans are on the streets inspired by and protest­ing on behalf of a mass mur­der­er of white cops.

    This is not sim­ply false. It is the kind of wild racist incite­ment that puts whole soci­eties in dan­ger. And this man wants to be pres­i­dent.

    ...

    There have con­tin­ued to be protests. There’s no rea­son why there should not be. But every Black Lives Mat­ter leader of any note has spo­ken clear­ly denounc­ing John­son’s atroc­i­ty. Indeed, if any­thing the con­tin­u­ing protests have been tem­pered calls for an end to vio­lence on all sides. For all the hor­ror, the out­rage has spawned moments of bridge-build­ing, uni­ty. So these are com­bustible times. But they’re not the times Trump is describ­ing. Indeed, what Trump said in the pas­sage above is some­thing verg­ing on the noto­ri­ous “big lie”. Mic­ah John­son did­n’t inspire any march­es. No one is march­ing on his behalf. Even the tru­ly rad­i­cal and poten­tial­ly vio­lent black nation­al­ist fringe groups had appar­ent­ly shunned him even before the shoot­ing. No one called for a moment of silence on John­son’s behalf or hon­ored him in any way. This is just an up is down straight up lie served up for the pur­pose of stok­ing fear, men­ace and race hate.

    These are the words, the big lies rum­bling the ground for some sort of apoc­a­lyp­tic race war, of a dan­ger­ous author­i­tar­i­an per­son­al­i­ty who is either per­son­al­ly deeply imbued with racist rage or will­ing­ly to use that ani­mus and race hatred to achieve polit­i­cal ends. In either case, they words of a deeply dan­ger­ous indi­vid­ual the likes of whom has sel­dom been so close to achiev­ing exec­u­tive pow­er.

    “...Indeed, if any­thing the con­tin­u­ing protests have been tem­pered calls for an end to vio­lence on all sides. For all the hor­ror, the out­rage has spawned moments of bridge-build­ing, uni­ty. So these are com­bustible times. But they’re not the times Trump is describ­ing. Indeed, what Trump said in the pas­sage above is some­thing verg­ing on the noto­ri­ous “big lie”....”

    Keep in mind that Trump made the claim that he saw these calls for moments of silence twice in one day: at a ral­ly and dur­ing an inter­view on Fox News. So this was­n’t a stan­dard “some peo­ple say...” kind of innu­en­do. He real­ly want­ed to push that meme.

    Giv­en that this behav­ior is part of a well estab­lished Trumpian pat­tern of spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion that pro­motes his agen­da, and giv­en that the Trump agen­da appears to be an agen­da of ramp­ing up racial ten­sions and con­stant­ly push­ing ‘race war’ memes, it’s worth not­ing that we might actu­al­ly be on the verge of see­ing a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive Repub­li­can pres­i­dent that lies the US into a com­plete­ly avoid­able and dis­as­trous war. But unlike Pres­i­dent Bush lying the US into a war in Iraq, a Trump admin­is­tra­tion would clear­ly do every­thing it can to lie the US into a war with itself. The mad­ness is com­ing full cir­cle. Imag­ine that.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 13, 2016, 2:43 pm
  47. With all the atten­tion giv­en to Mela­nia Trump’s bewil­der­ing Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tions speech, which was pla­gia­rized almost word for word from Michelle Oba­ma’s 2008 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion speech, there’s been no short­age of con­cern that all the focus on Mela­ni­a’s speech crib­bing end­ed up over­shad­ow­ing an open­ing con­ven­tion night that bore a stun­ning resem­blance to a CPAC con­ven­tion, filled with vio­lent under­tones, fear-mon­ger­ing and dis­turb­ing attempts at incite­ment. It’s also worth not­ing that Mela­ni­a’s pla­gia­rism also dis­tract­ed from the fact that she Rick­rolled the nation, although there’s under­stand­ably very lit­tle con­cern over the lack of focus on that part.

    So that hap­pened. Along with all the dis­trac­tions. But in an odd way, Mela­ni­a’s pla­gia­rism ker­fuf­fle and asso­ci­at­ed dis­trac­tion con­cerns does actu­al­ly have the poten­tial to remind us of one of the key aspects of the Trump can­di­da­cy: Don­ald Trump’s par­tic­u­lar strain of celebri­ty author­i­tar­i­an­ism that is being treat­ed as a kind of reimag­in­ing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty is, itself, a giant dis­trac­tion from the fact that the only thing chang­ing with the larg­er GOP plat­form is that it’s get­ting cra­zier with each elec­tion. And that kind of change is noth­ing new:

    The New Repub­lic

    The Repub­li­can Par­ty Blew It

    Trump’s rise was an oppor­tu­ni­ty to broad­en the GOP’s appeal. Instead, par­ty insid­ers draft­ed a tox­ic plat­form designed to lose the White House—again.

    By Lau­ra Reston and Alex Shep­hard
    July 18, 2016

    If there was a sil­ver lin­ing to Don­ald Trump’s vic­to­ry in the GOP pri­ma­ry, it was that part of his appeal lay in real mod­er­a­tion. Trump is racist and dem­a­gog­ic, but he’s also sec­u­lar and focused on work­ers, not the Wall Street tycoons and reli­gious right that have dri­ven Repub­li­can pol­i­cy for the past three decades. In that spir­it, Trump dialed back on Repub­li­can nos­trums like the oppo­si­tion to abor­tion and gay mar­riage, and struck a cau­tious tone on mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion. That he won the pri­ma­ry by oppos­ing par­ty ortho­doxy essen­tial­ly oblit­er­at­ed the assump­tion that ide­o­log­i­cal con­ser­v­a­tives were a major­i­ty fac­tion with­in the GOP.

    In doing so, Trump alien­at­ed many who had count­ed them­selves among the par­ty faith­ful, the activists and insid­ers who waged the “cul­ture wars” of the 1980s and ’90s. Back then, Repub­li­cans believed they were fight­ing a “war for the soul of Amer­i­ca,” as Pat Buchanan called it in his 1992 con­ven­tion speech—a strug­gle that pit­ted con­ser­v­a­tives against the sec­u­lar, pro­gres­sive fac­tions in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics who advo­cat­ed for abor­tion, gun con­trol, affir­ma­tive action, and the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state. Most of the Repub­li­can nom­i­nees in the last two decades played up the cul­ture wars, too—until Trump. His past sup­port for abor­tion, his­to­ry of phi­lan­der­ing, and bla­tant lack of inter­est in going to church has turned off many par­ty insid­ers.

    Still, Trump’s rise should have been a reck­on­ing for the polit­i­cal insid­ers and activists who were draft­ing the Repub­li­can plat­form in Cleve­land last week. But there was no such soul-search­ing. They dou­bled-down on the cul­ture wars while also adopt­ing Trump’s most extreme posi­tions. The plat­form that will be pre­sent­ed on Mon­day calls for erect­ing a wall along the Mex­i­can bor­der, the demand that the gov­ern­ment “destroy ISIS.” But it also calls for block­ing women from serv­ing in com­bat roles in the mil­i­tary, abol­ish­ing fed­er­al fund­ing for abor­tion, and rolling back the spread of pornog­ra­phy, which Repub­li­cans lament as a “pub­lic health cri­sis.”

    The plat­form, in oth­er words, is caught between two poles, both of which are tox­ic to much of the coun­try. This was a missed oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Repub­li­cans. Had they adopt­ed the soft­er social posi­tions cham­pi­oned by Trump, and retained their tra­di­tion­al devo­tion to free trade, mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion, and trick­le-down eco­nom­ics, their par­ty might have become more palat­able to the broad­er pub­lic. Instead, Repub­li­can insid­ers draft­ing the plat­form redou­bled their efforts to pull the par­ty fur­ther to the right.

    This might seem insignif­i­cant. After all, who cares about a Repub­li­can plat­form that will hold lit­tle sway over what Trump would do in the White House? But it’s actu­al­ly a glar­ing indi­ca­tion of the party’s iden­ti­ty crisis—one that will make it even tougher for the next Repub­li­can nom­i­nee to broad­en his (or her) appeal four years from now. In short, the plat­form is the per­fect blue­print for not win­ning the White House.

    It’s pos­si­ble that Repub­li­cans have sim­ply had enough soul-search­ing. In 2013, reflect­ing on hav­ing lost the pop­u­lar vote in five of the last six pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, the RNC released its now infa­mous post-mortem—the “Growth and Oppor­tu­ni­ty Project”—which inves­ti­gat­ed the party’s dif­fi­cul­ty win­ning nation­al elec­tions. Here’s a par­tic­u­lar­ly rel­e­vant seg­ment:

    Pub­lic per­cep­tion of the Par­ty is at record lows. Young vot­ers are increas­ing­ly rolling their eyes at what the Par­ty rep­re­sents, and many minori­ties wrong­ly think that Repub­li­cans do not like them or want them in the coun­try. When some­one rolls their eyes at us, they are not like­ly to open their ears to us…

    If His­pan­ic Amer­i­cans per­ceive that a GOP nom­i­nee or can­di­date does not want them in the Unit­ed States (i.e. self-depor­ta­tion), they will not pay atten­tion to our next sen­tence. It does not mat­ter what we say about edu­ca­tion, jobs or the econ­o­my; if His­pan­ics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our poli­cies…. Oth­er minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties, includ­ing Asian and Pacif­ic Islander Amer­i­cans, also view the Par­ty as unwel­com­ing.

    The 2016 Repub­li­can plat­form does absolute­ly noth­ing to reach out to those groups, or to reach out at all. It’s a phe­nom­e­nal­ly inward-look­ing doc­u­ment, a kind of patch­work quilt of Repub­li­can and con­ser­v­a­tive pre­oc­cu­pa­tions rather than a cohe­sive gov­ern­ing man­i­festo. What hap­pened to all that good­will in the 2013 autopsy—the idea that the Repub­li­cans could embrace all sort of new demo­graph­ic groups?

    For one thing, the Repub­li­can Par­ty did very lit­tle in prac­tice to con­vince vot­ers that it was inter­est­ed in chang­ing, or in accom­mo­dat­ing new ideas or prin­ci­ples. But more recent­ly, Trump hap­pened. His can­di­da­cy has dam­aged the Repub­li­can Party’s abil­i­ty to remod­el itself for a more diverse Amer­i­ca and ensured that the plat­form would adopt harsh anti-immi­grant lan­guage and alien­ate many non-white vot­ers, par­tic­u­lar­ly His­pan­ics.

    Once Trump had ruled out the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the par­ty could bring new con­stituen­cies into the Repub­li­can fold, the plat­form com­mit­tee had two choic­es: Either main­tain the sta­tus quo and play up the cul­ture wars, as the par­ty has been doing for decades, or move away from social issues alto­geth­er to look more like Trump him­self. Torn between these two choic­es, the Repub­li­can insid­ers draft­ing the plat­form this year decid­ed on the former—and in the process, passed up on an ide­al oppor­tu­ni­ty to rework their poli­cies for the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry.

    ...

    Trump, buck­ing the social con­ser­v­a­tives in his par­ty, has voiced more mod­er­ate views on some of these issues, bring­ing his par­ty more in line with pre­vail­ing pub­lic opin­ion. Some com­mit­tee mem­bers have tried to do the same. On Mon­day, Rachel Hoff, the first open­ly gay mem­ber of a Repub­li­can plat­form com­mit­tee, intro­duced an amend­ment acknowl­edg­ing that Repub­li­cans have a “diver­si­ty of opin­ion” on gay mar­riage, accord­ing to Time. But social con­ser­v­a­tives squashed her pro­pos­als, cling­ing to planks that have stayed large­ly the same in the last 50 years even as they seem less and less in line with pre­vail­ing pub­lic opin­ion. The debate under­scored how hard­line con­ser­v­a­tives are the ones call­ing the shots in Cleve­land, to the detri­ment of the party’s elec­toral hopes.

    “If Repub­li­cans are very lucky,” MSNBC’s Steve Benen wrote last week, “the vast major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans will have no idea what’s in the party’s new plat­form.” He has a point. Par­ty plat­forms almost always cre­ate turf wars at the con­ven­tions, with cer­tain fac­tions in a par­ty vying to leave their stamp. But in the end, very few peo­ple pay close atten­tion them—sometimes not even the can­di­dates. In 1996, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee, Bob Dole, miffed the par­ty had reject­ed a plank he want­ed includ­ed in the abor­tion sec­tion of the Repub­li­can plat­form, said he didn’t even read it.

    Still, some research sug­gests that par­ty plat­forms do mat­ter: Peo­ple form their opin­ions about the par­ty based on what the plat­form includes. Polit­i­cal sci­en­tists Eliz­a­beth Simas at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hous­ton and Kevin Evans at Flori­da Inter­na­tion­al Uni­ver­si­ty have found that in years that par­ties adopt par­tic­u­lar­ly con­ser­v­a­tive plat­forms, vot­ers tend to see the nom­i­nee as more con­ser­v­a­tive too. “Vot­ers are in fact pick­ing up on the par­ties’ objec­tive pol­i­cy posi­tions,” they wrote in a 2011 paper. That means that a plat­form like this one could have last­ing impacts on how the Repub­li­can Par­ty is per­ceived.

    If so, the per­cep­tion of the Repub­li­can Par­ty gleaned from its plat­form is one of a par­ty in an ongo­ing exis­ten­tial cri­sis, torn not only between var­i­ous con­tra­dic­to­ry con­stituen­cies, but between the past and the future. Trump, for all his reac­tionary posi­tions on immi­gra­tion and trade, would have brought the Repub­li­can Par­ty a lit­tle clos­er to the future, at least on social issues. A plat­form that incor­po­rat­ed tra­di­tion­al Repub­li­can planks like tax cuts and mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion with Trump’s mod­er­ate posi­tions on social issues would still be far from what the aver­age Amer­i­can believes, but much clos­er to what the 2013 autop­sy called for.

    But rather than leap­ing at this chance to broad­en its appeal, the par­ty decid­ed to bow to its tra­di­tion­al base of old­er, white vot­ers. There­in lies the prob­lem for Repub­li­can elites inter­est­ed in con­vinc­ing the rank-and-file that they need to accom­mo­date new con­stituen­cies and ideas. The base is get­ting old­er. Con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can vot­ers believe that their tra­di­tion­al val­ues, despite hav­ing grown increas­ing­ly unpop­u­lar in the last eight years, are Amer­i­can val­ues. Unless some­one else comes along after Trump who can con­vince the Repub­li­can base that they need to shake up their posi­tions on social issues, the par­ty will appear increas­ing­ly out of touch with the main­stream. For now, how­ev­er, the par­ty will con­tin­ue to exist in a state of exis­ten­tial con­fu­sion, their plat­form work­ing like a series of walls between the Grand Old Par­ty and the very vot­ers it needs to sur­vive.

    “But rather than leap­ing at this chance to broad­en its appeal, the par­ty decid­ed to bow to its tra­di­tion­al base of old­er, white vot­ers. There­in lies the prob­lem for Repub­li­can elites inter­est­ed in con­vinc­ing the rank-and-file that they need to accom­mo­date new con­stituen­cies and ideas. The base is get­ting old­er. Con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can vot­ers believe that their tra­di­tion­al val­ues, despite hav­ing grown increas­ing­ly unpop­u­lar in the last eight years, are Amer­i­can val­ues. Unless some­one else comes along after Trump who can con­vince the Repub­li­can base that they need to shake up their posi­tions on social issues, the par­ty will appear increas­ing­ly out of touch with the main­stream. For now, how­ev­er, the par­ty will con­tin­ue to exist in a state of exis­ten­tial con­fu­sion, their plat­form work­ing like a series of walls between the Grand Old Par­ty and the very vot­ers it needs to sur­vive.”

    Yep, Trump came along, offered the GOP a gold­en oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage in some cru­cial soul search­ing and reform. And instead of guid­ing the GOP into a more inclu­sive future with broad­er appeal, Trump skipped the soul search­ing, com­plete­ly caved to the far-right social con­ser­v­a­tives, and acqui­esced to a plat­form that’s like the worst of all worlds: overt nativism and the same far-right social con­ser­vatism that’s made the GOP an aging, dying par­ty. Now that’s bold lead­er­ship!

    So now, thanks to the GOP’s grand missed oppor­tu­ni­ty, not only does the par­ty still find itself in need of some­one to ride in on a white horse to save the par­ty from its tra­di­tion­al demons, that mys­tery per­son is going to have to purge the GOP of all the addi­tion­al Trumpian demons unleashed over the last year too. Who could that be?

    Well, there’s always Mitt Rom­ney. Believe it or not he’s report­ed­ly eying a 2020 run and he loves the idea of rid­ing in on a white horse to save the day. That’s con­ve­nient. But, of course, he’s Mitt Rom­ney, which is pret­ty incon­ve­nient. And it’s def­i­nite­ly not going to be Paul Ryan.

    So who could that mys­tery per­son be who is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly capa­ble of speak­ing to the GOP id as it exists today and guide it towards a san­er tomor­row? Hmmm....

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 19, 2016, 6:30 pm
  48. A recent poll out of Ohio showed Don­ald Trump garnering...wait for it...a whole zero per­cent of the African Amer­i­can vote. Now, keep in mind that the poll had a mar­gin of error of 3.4 per­cent, so maybe Trump’s sup­port in Ohio’s black com­mu­ni­ty is clos­er to three per­cent than zero per­cent. Per­haps. But if so, it might be get­ting a lot clos­er to zero if the peo­ple who have known Trump for decades help the rest of Amer­i­ca get to know the Trump they’ve known for years:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Trump’s courtship of black vot­ers ham­pered by decades of race con­tro­ver­sies

    By Michael Kran­ish
    July 20

    CLEVELAND — Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign has tried to use this week’s Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion to court African Amer­i­cans by argu­ing that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has failed them on jobs and crime. But when the GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee deliv­ers his accep­tance speech here Thurs­day, he will address an esti­mat­ed 18 blacks out of 2,472 del­e­gates.

    Although that hand­ful includes some of Trump’s most vocif­er­ous back­ers, the over­all lack of eth­nic diver­si­ty at the con­ven­tion illus­trates one of his great­est chal­lenges: how to court black vot­ers after four decades of con­tro­ver­sy over his racial views, includ­ing cam­paign-trail rhetoric that has alien­at­ed many minori­ties.

    Twelve years ago, the GOP seemed on its way toward broad­en­ing its base, boast­ing 167 black del­e­gates at its con­ven­tion. That year, Pres­i­dent George W. Bush drew 16 per­cent of the black vote here in Ohio, unusu­al­ly high for a Repub­li­can, to help secure his reelec­tion, as well as 11 per­cent nation­al­ly, and par­ty lead­ers had hoped to increase minor­i­ty engage­ment in 2016.

    But as Trump heads to the gen­er­al elec­tion, a Wash­ing­ton Post-ABC News poll found Demo­c­rat Hillary Clin­ton lead­ing Trump among blacks by 89 per­cent to 4 per­cent, and a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll said Trump has zero sup­port among African Amer­i­cans in Ohio.

    That is frus­trat­ing to the black del­e­gates here, sev­er­al of whom said in inter­views that Trump has a com­pelling case to make to African Amer­i­cans.

    “The rest of Amer­i­ca has to see the per­son I sat down with,” said James Evans, the chair­man of the Utah Repub­li­can Par­ty, who last month met pri­vate­ly with Trump after unsuc­cess­ful­ly try­ing to draft Mitt Rom­ney to seek the nom­i­na­tion. “The Demo­c­ra­t­ic play­book is that if you are a white Repub­li­can can­di­date, you are a racial­ly insen­si­tive can­di­date. Let’s look at the poli­cies of the polit­i­cal left and how they dev­as­tat­ed the black com­mu­ni­ty, and you tell me who is more racist.”

    Bruce LeV­ell, a del­e­gate who heads Trump’s Nation­al Diver­si­ty Coali­tion, said he faces dis­crim­i­na­tion as a Trump sup­port­er. “To be a black Amer­i­can in Geor­gia, and to be a Repub­li­can and to be for Trump, I can’t even tell you all the things I’ve been called,” he said.

    Trump’s out­look on race has come under new scruti­ny in recent days as he has stepped up his crit­i­cism of the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment, say­ing it is “very divi­sive.” He assert­ed that after a black man shot five white police offi­cers in Dal­las before being killed, adding, “I have seen, you know, moments of silence called for ... this hor­ri­ble human being.” The asser­tion came despite the fact that lead­ers of Black Lives Mat­ter con­demned the killing of police offi­cers.

    Trump has vowed that he would uni­fy the races as pres­i­dent.

    “I am not a racist,” he told The Wash­ing­ton Post in an inter­view ear­li­er this year. “I’m the least racist per­son that you’ve ever inter­viewed.”

    Trump, how­ev­er, faces many chal­lenges in win­ning over black vot­ers, in part because he has been at the cen­ter of con­tro­ver­sies regard­ing his racial views for decades.

    The first front-page news sto­ry about Trump was a 1973 report about the fed­er­al government’s law­suit against him and his father in a racial bias case. Trump denied dis­crim­i­nat­ing against black hous­ing appli­cants and set­tled the case with­out admit­ting guilt.

    Sev­er­al years lat­er, after Trump had expand­ed his real estate empire by build­ing casi­nos in Atlantic City, a for­mer exec­u­tive from his busi­ness accused him of mak­ing racist state­ments. John O’Donnell, who was pres­i­dent of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casi­no and lat­er wrote a mem­oir about his expe­ri­ence, said Trump blamed finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties part­ly on African Amer­i­can accoun­tants.

    “I’ve got black accoun­tants at Trump Cas­tle and at Trump Plaza — black guys count­ing my mon­ey!” O’Donnell’s book quot­ed Trump as say­ing. “I hate it. The only kind of peo­ple I want count­ing my mon­ey are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. Those are the kind of peo­ple I want count­ing my mon­ey. Nobody else. ... Besides that, I’ve got to tell you some­thing else. I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s prob­a­bly not his fault because lazi­ness is a trait in blacks. It real­ly is; I believe that. It’s not any­thing they can con­trol.”

    O’Donnell said in an inter­view that he admon­ished Trump not to talk that way.

    “You’re sit­ting there lis­ten­ing to him talk in stereo­types about black peo­ple being lazy and that it was a trait in his mind. And you just go, ‘Oh my God,’ ” O’Donnell said.

    Trump told Play­boy mag­a­zine that O’Donnell’s mem­oir was “prob­a­bly true.” He told The Post ear­li­er this year that the book was “fic­tion,” although he hadn’t read it. Trump said he fired O’Donnell, but O’Donnell said he quit.

    In 1989, Trump insert­ed him­self into a racial­ly charged case in New York City. Five boys, four black and one His­pan­ic, ages 14 to 16, had been arrest­ed for the bru­tal attack and rape of a woman who had been jog­ging in Cen­tral Park. Two weeks lat­er, Trump paid for a full-page ad in four New York news­pa­pers urg­ing the return of the death penal­ty and warn­ing of “rov­ing bands of wild crim­i­nals.”

    The jog­ger suf­fered per­ma­nent dam­age. The boys were con­vict­ed and served six to 13 years in prison. But years lat­er, a career crim­i­nal con­fessed to the rape, pro­vid­ing a DNA match. The con­vic­tions were over­turned, and the city paid $41 mil­lion to set­tle a wrong­ful-impris­on­ment suit that the men had filed. Trump called the set­tle­ment “a dis­grace,” refused to apol­o­gize, and said, “These young men do not exact­ly have the pasts of angels.”

    A few months after the Cen­tral Park inci­dent, Trump appeared on an NBC-TV spe­cial called “Racial Atti­tudes and Con­scious­ness Exam,” host­ed by Bryant Gum­bel. He appeared to crit­i­cize affir­ma­tive action.

    “A well-edu­cat­ed black has a tremen­dous advan­tage over a well-edu­cat­ed white in terms of the job mar­ket,” Trump said on the pro­gram. “I think some­times a black may think they don’t have an advan­tage or this and that. I’ve said on one occa­sion, even about myself, if I were start­ing off today, I would love to be a well-edu­cat­ed black, because I believe they do have an actu­al advan­tage.”

    Dur­ing Trump’s time as the star of his real­i­ty show, “The Appren­tice,” he worked with a num­ber of African Amer­i­can con­tes­tants.

    Kwame Jack­son, a Har­vard Busi­ness School grad­u­ate who was on the first sea­son of the show, said he saw the “Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde” nature of Trump. Dur­ing the tap­ing of the show, Jack­son said, Trump was respect­ful and Jack­son didn’t think of him as racist. But when Trump became a lead­ing voice of the “birther” move­ment and ques­tioned whether Oba­ma was born in the Unit­ed States, and then spoke crit­i­cal­ly of Mex­i­cans and Mus­lims, Jack­son said he sad­ly came to a dif­fer­ent con­clu­sion.

    “Peo­ple thought he is flirt­ing with racism, or manip­u­lat­ing Amer­i­can anger, then it became pure racism,” he said. “My dis­tance [with Trump] grew to true dis­dain.”

    In Novem­ber, Trump drew crit­i­cism when he retweet­ed a tweet that said blacks killed 81 per­cent of white homi­cide vic­tims. The claim quick­ly was shown to be false. The actu­al num­ber was 15 per­cent; 82 per­cent of whites were killed by whites.

    The num­ber of black del­e­gates was dis­closed last month in a Repub­li­can Par­ty email report­ed by Post colum­nist Jonathan Cape­hart. A par­ty offi­cial did not respond this week to a request for com­ment.

    Trump declined an invi­ta­tion to speak to the NAACP’s annu­al con­ven­tion, which was held in Cincin­nati this week. The civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tion said Trump’s cam­paign cit­ed a sched­ul­ing con­flict with the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion.

    ...

    Trump, mean­while, said in the inter­view ear­li­er this year that his can­di­da­cy would be best for African Amer­i­cans.

    “Some­body said Make Amer­i­ca Great Again is a very neg­a­tive theme,” he said. “I said, ‘No, it’s a very pos­i­tive theme because peo­ple have been dis­en­fran­chised.’ Look at African Amer­i­cans. I mean, I’m going to be so great. I think I’m going to do great with African Amer­i­cans.”

    “I’ve got black accoun­tants at Trump Cas­tle and at Trump Plaza — black guys count­ing my mon­ey!” O’Donnell’s book quot­ed Trump as say­ing. “I hate it. The only kind of peo­ple I want count­ing my mon­ey are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. Those are the kind of peo­ple I want count­ing my mon­ey. Nobody else. ... Besides that, I’ve got to tell you some­thing else. I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s prob­a­bly not his fault because lazi­ness is a trait in blacks. It real­ly is; I believe that. It’s not any­thing they can con­trol.”

    Keep in mind that the exchange dis­cussed there is sup­posed to have tak­en place in the 70’s. So who knows, per­haps he’s changed. For instance, when this hap­pened last Novem­ber...

    ...
    In Novem­ber, Trump drew crit­i­cism when he retweet­ed a tweet that said blacks killed 81 per­cent of white homi­cide vic­tims. The claim quick­ly was shown to be false. The actu­al num­ber was 15 per­cent; 82 per­cent of whites were killed by whites.
    ...

    ...maybe it was a com­plete­ly inno­cent mis­take that he retweet­ed false sta­tis­tics from a white suprema­cist twit­ter account named WhiteGeno­cideTM. Maybe.

    In oth­er news, the co-author of Trump’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy The Art of the Deal, Tony Schwarz, is warn­ing the world that Trump exhib­it­ed the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a sociopath when he observed him and that civ­i­liza­tion would be at risk if he ever got his hands on the nuclear codes. So who knows, maybe Trump was act­ing like a sociopath back when he was writ­ing the book but is a total­ly changed per­son now. Maybe.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 23, 2016, 6:22 pm
  49. This is rather amus­ing, or would be amus­ing if it was­n’t a symp­tom of a bro­ken soci­ety: Don­ald Trump bragged on the cam­paign trail yes­ter­day about how well he was doing with women. He actu­al­ly has a record high 24 point gen­der gap with women, but he bragged about how well he was doing any­way. Sort of:

    The Huff­in­g­ton Post

    Don­ald Trump Thinks He’s Doing Well With Women Vot­ers
    The real estate mogul, who has a doc­u­ment­ed his­to­ry of sex­ism and misog­y­ny, added: “Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know.”

    Mari­na Fang Asso­ciate Pol­i­tics Edi­tor,

    07/25/2016 09:53 pm ET | Updat­ed

    Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, who has a doc­u­ment­ed his­to­ry of sex­ism and misog­y­ny, bragged to vot­ers at a North Car­oli­na ral­ly that his cam­paign “is doing well with the women.”

    In his usu­al rou­tine of inform­ing his sup­port­ers of his lat­est polling num­bers, Trump on Mon­day claimed that in spite of polls show­ing a sig­nif­i­cant gen­der gap among his sup­port base, “I think I’m doing well with the women.”

    He lat­er added: “Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know.”

    “Fifty per­cent of our coun­try is men, where I am doing very, very well, record-set­ting num­bers, folks,” he said. “That’s the good news. Let me give you the bad news. The women, I don’t know what is going on with the women here, but I think, I think I’m doing well with the women.”

    ...

    For the record, Trump’s favor­a­bil­i­ty rat­ings and polling num­bers among female vot­ers are abysmal­ly low, which makes sense, giv­en that he has a his­to­ry of call­ing women “fat pigs,” “dogs” and “dis­gust­ing ani­mals.” Ear­li­er this month, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Virginia’s Cen­ter for Pol­i­tics aggre­gat­ed 22 nation­al polls and found that the gen­der gap between Trump and pre­sump­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Hillary Clin­ton is a record 24 points.

    Trump’s cam­paign chair­man, Paul Man­afort, did not help mat­ters when last week he claimed that women would sup­port Trump because the real estate mogul would make sure their hus­bands could “pay for the fam­i­ly bills.”

    But Trump, in typ­i­cal Trumpian fash­ion, con­tin­ued to brag about his female sup­port­ers.

    “Every­where we go, we have mas­sive crowds like this and so many women signs all over the place,” he said Mon­day. “Women for Trump.”

    “Fifty per­cent of our coun­try is men, where I am doing very, very well, record-set­ting num­bers, folks...That’s the good news. Let me give you the bad news. The women, I don’t know what is going on with the women here, but I think, I think I’m doing well with the women.”

    Ok, so Don­ald Trump isn’t sure, but he may or may not be doing well with women vot­ers. Still, he’s appar­ent­ly feel­ing pret­ty con­fi­dent that he’ll even­tu­al­ly get their sup­port. And who knows, with his “law and order” cam­paign theme, maybe he’ll be able to close that record high gen­der gap by scar­ing the bejeesus out of every­one vot­ers. Are you more scared of ISIS or Trump? That’s the cam­paign pitch he’s almost cer­tain­ly going to make. Espe­cial­ly to the ladies.

    Inter­est­ing­ly, and appalling­ly iron­i­cal­ly, with Roger Ailes out as the CEO of Fox News over charges that he is a ser­i­al sex­u­al preda­tor (and appar­ent­ly cre­at­ed a cul­ture there that encour­ages sim­i­lar behav­ior by oth­ers in man­age­ment), it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble that Ailes could be Trump’s secret weapon to get women vot­ers by becom­ing the new mas­ter­mind of the Trump’s “Law and Order” pitch just like Ailes did for Richard Nixon in 1968:

    Reuters

    Com­men­tary: Can Roger Ailes help Trump win as he did with Nixon in 1968?

    By Michael W. Flamm

    Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:11am EDT

    Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald J. Trump is the self-pro­claimed mas­ter of the “art of the deal.” But if he wants to increase his like­li­hood of win­ning in Novem­ber, he needs to per­suade Roger Ailes, the oust­ed chair­man of Fox News, to run his cam­paign.

    Whether the 76-year-old con­ser­v­a­tive king­mak­er would accept Trump’s offer is an open ques­tion. But if he did, Ailes could return to his roots as a Repub­li­can strate­gist and oper­a­tive, thumb his nose at for­mer Fox employ­ees who has­tened his exit (includ­ing anchor Meg­yn Kel­ly) and per­haps achieve a last hur­rah in a sto­ried career.

    For Trump, the can­di­date of law and order, the ben­e­fits are also obvi­ous. No one knows bet­ter than Ailes how to ener­gize and mobi­lize con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers. He was the mas­ter­mind behind Richard M. Nixon’s inno­v­a­tive 1968 tele­vi­sion cam­paign, which was also based on law and order. So Ailes could help Trump ful­ly exploit the issue and per­haps ride it into the White House.

    Ailes was a tele­vi­sion pro­duc­er when he first met Nixon, who appeared as a guest on the The Mike Dou­glas Show. The two joust­ed over the impor­tance of tele­vi­sion in pol­i­tics. But the one-time adver­tis­ing exec­u­tive lat­er joined the for­mer vice-pres­i­den­t’s cam­paign and cre­at­ed a dev­as­tat­ing series of polit­i­cal com­mer­cials.

    The vivid and lurid ads bril­liant­ly evoked the fear and anx­i­ety then felt by mid­dle-class, mid­dle-aged white vot­ers in Mid­dle Amer­i­ca, a con­stituen­cy Trump views as his own path to pow­er. They were, as Nixon mem­o­rably described them, the “silent major­i­ty,” a phrase Trump recent­ly appro­pri­at­ed.

    For these vot­ers, Ailes care­ful­ly cre­at­ed and show­cased the image of a “New Nixon” who was calm, cool and col­lect­ed. Yet, he was also tough enough to con­front the cri­sis of author­i­ty and secu­ri­ty in Amer­i­ca in 1968, where vio­lent crime had jumped by 50 per­cent since 1964.

    Order was the title of one of Ailes’ most effec­tive cam­paign com­mer­cials. The path-break­ing ad fea­tured a pho­tomon­tage of police and pro­test­ers, dis­so­nant music, jump cuts and a voice-over from Nixon him­self, who repeat­ed a pop­u­lar line from his GOP con­ven­tion speech: “Let us rec­og­nize that the first civ­il right of every Amer­i­can is to be free from domes­tic vio­lence.”

    The ad res­onat­ed across the nation because tele­vi­sion had brought images of anti-war demon­stra­tions and urban riots into America’s liv­ing rooms. For many in the silent major­i­ty, the coun­try seemed on the brink of wide­spread chaos and anar­chy. Fear of crime was ram­pant, and protests on col­lege cam­pus­es were com­mon­place. Riots erupt­ed in more than 100 cities after the assas­si­na­tion of Mar­tin Luther King Jr. The mur­der of Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Robert F. Kennedy fur­ther dam­aged pop­u­lar faith in peace­ful progress. Vio­lence tore through the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion in Chica­go, inside and out­side the con­ven­tion hall.

    ...

    In 1968, law and order was the deci­sive fac­tor in Nixon’s nar­row vic­to­ry over Demo­c­rat Hubert Humphrey. The issue was far more imme­di­ate and vis­cer­al to most Amer­i­cans than the dis­tant Viet­nam War. As Humphrey’s poll­ster pri­vate­ly con­fid­ed, “[He] is soft in the area of law and order, and this soft­ness is hurt­ing him more than any­thing else.”

    Of course, 2016 is not 1968 — at least not yet. There is lit­tle data to sup­port a wide­spread and acute fear of crime, despite a series of mass shoot­ings. Urban unrest is far from the upheavals of the 1960s. The Unit­ed States is not wag­ing a war on the scale of its effort in Viet­nam.

    But con­di­tions are ripe and the “fear fac­tor” looms large in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. The shoot­ings of police offi­cers in Dal­las, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have put law enforce­ment on high alert. In red states, the cul­ture wars over trans­gen­der bath­rooms and gay mar­riage con­tin­ue to rage. And after mass killings at a San Bernardi­no, Cal­i­for­nia, office par­ty and an Orlan­do, Flori­da, night­club, the wild card is the real pos­si­bil­i­ty that inter­na­tion­al ter­ror­ism might lead to even more domes­tic vio­lence in com­ing months.

    If that is the hand dealt to Trump, who bet­ter to help him play it than Ailes?

    “For Trump, the can­di­date of law and order, the ben­e­fits are also obvi­ous. No one knows bet­ter than Ailes how to ener­gize and mobi­lize con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers. He was the mas­ter­mind behind Richard M. Nixon’s inno­v­a­tive 1968 tele­vi­sion cam­paign, which was also based on law and order. So Ailes could help Trump ful­ly exploit the issue and per­haps ride it into the White House.”

    It is unfor­tu­nate look­ing like a year made for Ailes’s tal­ents. Might it hap­pen? Well, as the arti­cle below points out, Trump him­self has been teas­ing reporters that many “are think­ing he’s going to run my cam­paign.” So that does sound like a real pos­si­bil­i­ty. And if it hap­pens, we should­n’t be shocked if Trump actu­al­ly ends up clos­ing that gen­der gap, assum­ing the hir­ing of Ailes does­n’t, itself, widen the gap. But if that back­lash does­n’t hap­pen, it’s not like Ailes isn’t a pro at psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly manip­u­lat­ing the mass­es. This is what he does.

    So don’t be super shocked if Roger Ailes climbs aboard the Trump Train. As Trump made clear, he real­ly likes Roger and can’t under­stand how any­one could accuse him of any­thing:

    USA TODAY

    Trump lauds Roger Ailes after Fox depar­ture

    Saman­tha Nel­son,
    2:17 p.m. EDT July 25, 2016

    Over the week­end, Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump defend­ed Roger Ailes, the for­mer chair­man and CEO of Fox News who resigned from his posi­tion Thurs­day amid alle­ga­tions of sex­u­al harass­ment.

    On Showtime’s The Cir­cus, Trump called Ailes a “great guy” and laud­ed him for his achieve­ments in media. “Roger is – I mean, what he’s done on tele­vi­sion, in the his­to­ry of tele­vi­sion, he’s got­ta be placed in the top three or four or five,” Trump said, adding that his res­ig­na­tion is “too bad.”

    Dur­ing his appear­ance on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sun­day, Trump not­ed that many of the women who have accused Ailes were also helped by the for­mer Fox News leader in the past.

    “Some of the women that are com­plain­ing, I know how much he’s helped them,” he said. “Now all of a sud­den, they are say­ing these hor­ri­ble things about him; it’s very sad because he’s a very good per­son.”

    Trump said that the media mogul had been a friend of his “for a long time.” When asked if Ailes was help­ing Trump’s cam­paign, Trump declined to com­ment but not­ed that many “are think­ing he’s going to run my cam­paign.”

    On July 6, Ailes was sued by Gretchen Carl­son, a for­mer Fox & Friends co-host, over claims of sex­u­al harass­ment. New York mag­a­zine report­ed that more than a dozen women have con­tact­ed Carlson’s attor­ney with detailed sex­u­al alle­ga­tions against Ailes over a 25-year peri­od.

    While sev­er­al female broad­cast­ers spoke out in sup­port of Ailes dur­ing the con­tro­ver­sy, Fox News broad­cast­er Meg­yn Kel­ly stayed silent until she also told inves­ti­ga­tors that Ailes had harassed her too.

    ...

    “Some of the women that are com­plain­ing, I know how much he’s helped them...Now all of a sud­den, they are say­ing these hor­ri­ble things about him; it’s very sad because he’s a very good per­son.”

    Get ready for cam­paign mas­ter­mind Roger Ailes. And quite pos­si­bly Pres­i­dent Trump.

    You have to won­der what posi­tion Ailes will get in Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion. Chief of Staff?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 26, 2016, 12:55 pm
  50. Check out the Trump cam­paign’s lat­est cam­paign shake­up: There’s a new cam­paign chief exec­u­tive: Bre­it­bart chief Steve Ban­non, patron media saint of the Alt-Right! What a huge change! Might this be part of the long-await­ed “piv­ot” towards the gen­er­al elec­tion? Well, it’s not a piv­ot in direc­tion since the cam­paign is still almost exclu­sive­ly focused on push­ing far-right/Alt-right memes. But it is a piv­ot if you imag­ine Trump piv­ot­ing down­ward at the waist while his feet remain­ing firm­ly plant­ed towards his far-right/Alt-right base, which is oth­er­wise known as a bow:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Alt Right Rejoic­es at Don­ald Trump’s Steve Ban­non Hire
    As Breitbart’s chief, Steve Ban­non did a lot to nor­mal­ize the racist, anti-Semit­ic world of the alt right. Now they rejoice as he joins the cam­paign of their king.

    By Best­sy Woodruff and Gideon Resnick
    8.17.16 3:10 PM ET

    Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign is under new man­age­ment—and his white nation­al­ist fan­boys love it.

    The campaign’s new chief exec­u­tive, Stephen Ban­non, joins from Bre­it­bart Newswhere he helped main­stream the ideas of white nation­al­ists and resus­ci­tate the rep­u­ta­tions of anti-immi­grant fear-mon­gers.

    White nation­al­ists today invest a lot of ener­gy wor­ry­ing about grow­ing His­pan­ic and Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions in the U.S. Turns out, Bre­it­bart News spends a lot of time wor­ry­ing about those things, too. And in Ban­non, they see a media-friend­ly, eth­no-nation­al­ist fel­low trav­el­er.

    “Lat­ter­ly, Bre­it­bart emerged as a nation­al­ist site and done great stuff on immi­gra­tion in par­tic­u­lar,” VDARE.com edi­tor Peter Brimelow told The Dai­ly Beast.

    VDare is a white suprema­cist site. It’s named after Vir­ginia Dare, the first white child born to British colonists in North Amer­i­ca. Brimelow said he and Ban­non met briefly last month and exchanged pleas­antries about each other’s work.

    “It’s irri­tat­ing because VDARE.com is not used to com­pe­ti­tion,” Brimelow added. “I pre­sume that is due to Ban­non, so his appoint­ment is great news.”

    Brimelow isn’t the only promi­nent white nation­al­ist to praise the Ban­non hire. Richard Spencer, who heads the white suprema­cist think tank Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute, said he was also pleased. Under Bannon’s lead­er­ship, Bre­it­bart has giv­en favor­able cov­er­age to the white suprema­cist Alt Right move­ment. And Spencer loves it.

    “Bre­it­bart has elec­tive affini­ties with the Alt Right, and the Alt Right has clear­ly influ­enced Bre­it­bart,” he said. “In this way, Bre­it­bart has act­ed as a ‘gate­way’ to Alt Right ideas and writ­ers. I don’t think it has done this delib­er­ate­ly; again, it’s a mat­ter of elec­tive affini­ties.”

    Spencer said Bre­it­bart and Ban­non have helped Alt Right ideas gain legitimacy—and, more impor­tant­ly, expo­nen­tial­ly expand their audi­ences. He cit­ed the work of Milo Yiannopou­los as evi­dence of this.

    “As is evi­dent with Milo’s piece on the Alt Right, Bre­it­bart has peo­ple on board who take us seri­ous­ly, even if they are not Alt Right them­selves.”

    Yiannopou­los wrote a piece on March 29, 2016, about the Alt Right, prais­ing its mem­bers as “dan­ger­ous­ly bright,” and cheer­ing the VDARE and Amer­i­can Renais­sance sites as an “eclec­tic mix of rene­gades.” Amer­i­can Renais­sance is helmed by Jared Tay­lor, who advo­cates for vol­un­tary racial seg­re­ga­tion and says African Amer­i­cans are genet­i­cal­ly pre­dis­posed to be crim­i­nals.

    Yiannopou­los defend­ed Brimelow and Tay­lor by say­ing they “don’t want to com­mit any pogroms,” which is… not a very com­fort­ing sen­ti­ment.

    Reached for com­ment, Yiannopou­los referred The Dai­ly Beast to Bre­it­bart edi­tor-in-chief Alexan­der Mar­low. He has not returned a request for com­ment.

    The Clin­ton cam­paign imme­di­ate­ly pounced on the announce­ment in a con­fer­ence call on Wednes­day after­noon, not­ing Bannon’s Alt Right ties. “After sev­er­al failed attempts to piv­ot into a more seri­ous and pres­i­den­tial mode, Don­ald Trump has decid­ed to dou­ble down on his most small, nasty and divi­sive instincts by turn­ing his cam­paign over to some­one who’s best known for run­ning a so-called news site that ped­dles divi­sive, at times racist, anti-Mus­lim, anti-Semit­ic con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries,” Clin­ton cam­paign man­ag­er Rob­by Mook told reporters.

    The Clin­ton cam­paign did not respond to a fol­low-up email ask­ing if they will con­tin­ue to pro­vide press cre­den­tials to Bre­it­bart reporters.

    Ban­non didn’t just make Bre­it­bart a safe space for white suprema­cists; he’s also wel­comed a schol­ar black­list­ed from the main­stream con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment for argu­ing there’s a con­nec­tion between race and IQ. Bre­it­bart fre­quent­ly high­lights the work of Jason Rich­wine, resigned from the con­ser­v­a­tive Her­itage Foun­da­tion when news broke that his Har­vard dis­ser­ta­tion argued in part that His­pan­ics have low­er IQs than non-His­pan­ic whites.

    Ban­non loves Rich­wine. On Jan. 6 of this year, when Rich­wine was a guest on the radio show, Ban­non called him “one of the smartest brains out there in demo­graph­ics, demog­ra­phy, this whole issue of immi­gra­tion, what it means to this coun­try.”

    ...

    One for­mer Bre­it­bart work­er puts it a lit­tle dif­fer­ent­ly. Kurt Bardel­la, who had the site as a client until quit­ting this year, said Ban­non reg­u­lar­ly made racist com­ments dur­ing inter­nal meet­ings.

    “I woke up and the world came to an end,” he told The Dai­ly Beast. “They have put in place some­one who is a dictator-bully—a fig­ure whose form of man­age­ment is ver­bal abuse and intim­i­da­tion.

    “He made more off-col­or com­ments about minori­ties and homo­sex­u­als than I can recount,” he added.

    Bardel­la, who lives in Vir­ginia and was for­mer­ly a Repub­li­can Hill staffer, said this Novem­ber, for the first time in his life, he will vote for a Demo­c­rat: Hillary Clin­ton.

    “The campaign’s new chief exec­u­tive, Stephen Ban­non, joins from Bre­it­bart News—where he helped main­stream the ideas of white nation­al­ists and resus­ci­tate the rep­u­ta­tions of anti-immi­grant fear-mon­gers.”

    Well, it always helps when new lead­er­ship under­stands the cul­ture of the orga­ni­za­tion. He should fit right in.

    So, OK, that prob­a­bly does­n’t qual­i­fy as a piv­ot. But that does­n’t mean there isn’t a piv­ot still com­ing. Specif­i­cal­ly, the piv­ot in the rea­son­ing employed by rest the estab­lish­ment for explain­ing why exact­ly the GOP isn’t basi­cal­ly a far-right, and increas­ing­ly sedi­tious, white nation­al­ist par­ty run by and for big­ots and the bil­lion­aires who find them use­ful. There’s prob­a­bly going to be all sort of those kinds of piv­ots over the next few months. And prob­a­bly years. Per­haps even decades.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 18, 2016, 2:45 pm

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