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

For The Record  

FTR #927 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 6: Locker Room Eclipse

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thinkbignkickass

NB: This descrip­tion con­tains mate­r­i­al not includ­ed in the orig­i­nal broad­cast

Intro­duc­tion: In the sec­ond week of Octo­ber, the Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign has been dom­i­nat­ed by dis­cus­sion of, and reac­tion to, Don­ald Trump’s vul­gar com­ments about women, some­thing he dis­missed as “lock­er room ban­ter.” This dynam­ic has eclipsed far more impor­tant issues about Trump, his asso­ci­a­tions, his her­itage (past and future), his finan­cial deal­ings, his eco­nom­ic poli­cies (or lack there­of) and the future of the polit­i­cal forces he has con­jured. This pro­gram attempts to deal with those con­sid­er­a­tions.

Among those con­sid­er­a­tions are:

  • Trump’s belief in eugen­ics, some­thing he appar­ent­ly inher­it­ed from his father Fred: ” . . . . In an inter­view for US TV chan­nel PBS, the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nominee’s biog­ra­ph­er Michael D’Antonio claimed the candidate’s father, Fred Trump, had taught him that the family’s suc­cess was genet­ic. He said: ‘The fam­i­ly sub­scribes to a race­horse the­o­ry of human devel­op­ment. ‘They believe that there are supe­ri­or peo­ple and that if you put togeth­er the genes of a supe­ri­or woman and a supe­ri­or man, you get a supe­ri­or off­spring.’ The the­o­ry, known as eugen­ics, first emerged dur­ing the 19th cen­tu­ry and was used as a pre­text for the ster­il­iza­tion of dis­abled peo­ple until the prac­tice was dis­cred­it­ed after the Sec­ond World War. Adolf Hitler’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the Holo­caust – in which 11 mil­lion peo­ple were killed, 6 mil­lion of them Jew­ish – was based on a sim­i­lar the­o­ry of racial hier­ar­chy. . . .”
  • Trump’s belief in eugen­ics and the impor­tance of hered­i­ty may man­i­fest in the future of the move­ment over which he pre­sides. His son Don­ald, Jr. is a bird of the same fas­cist feath­er. ” . . . . Don­ald Trump Jr. drew wide­spread con­dem­na­tion for com­par­ing Syr­i­an refugees to poi­soned can­dy — but his anal­o­gy isn’t a new one, and it’s based on two sep­a­rate white suprema­cist memes with roots in Nazi pro­pa­gan­da. Trump — the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial candidate’s eldest son and a top cam­paign sur­ro­gate — tweet­ed the image Mon­day evening in an appar­ent response to the dump­ster bomb­ing over the week­end in New York City, which his dad inapt­ly linked to the refugee cri­sis. ‘This image says it all,’ reads the text. ‘Let’s end the polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect agen­da that doesn’t put Amer­i­ca first. #trump2016,’ accom­pa­nied by the offi­cial Don­ald Trump/Mike Pence cam­paign logo and slo­gan. The anal­o­gy isn’t new, and has been used for years by white suprema­cists to over­gen­er­al­ize about var­i­ous minor­i­ty groups. ‘It is often deployed as a way to prop up inde­fen­si­ble stereo­types by tak­ing advan­tage of human igno­rance about base rates, risk assess­ment and crim­i­nol­o­gy,’ wrote Emil Karls­son on the blog Debunk­ing Denial­ism. . . . . . The anal­o­gy, which has been used on mes­sage boards and shared as social media memes, orig­i­nal­ly used M&Ms as the can­dy in ques­tion — but that changed after George Zim­mer­man gunned down Trayvon Mar­tin while the unarmed black teen was walk­ing home from buy­ing a drink and some Skit­tles. . . . . A Google image search of “skit­tles trayvon meme” reveals a hor­ri­ble boun­ty of cap­tioned images mock­ing the slain teenag­er, whose killer was acquit­ted after claim­ing self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. . . . But the poi­soned can­dy anal­o­gy goes back even fur­ther, to an anti-Semit­ic children’s book pub­lished by Julius Stre­ich­er, the pub­lish­er of the Nazi news­pa­per Der Stürmer who was exe­cut­ed in 1946 as a war crim­i­nal. . . .”
  • Don­ald Jr.‘s oper­a­tional famil­iar­i­ty with “Alt-Right” memes and the tweet­ing and re-tweet­ing of those memes is not occa­sion­al. ” . . . . Riff­ing off of Hillary Clinton’s remark that some of Trump’s sup­port­ers are racists, misog­y­nists, and xeno­phobes who belong in a “bas­ket of deplorables,” the meme shared by Don­ald Trump Jr. and Trump ally Roger Stone showed key Trump allies pho­to­shopped onto a poster from the move ‘The Expend­ables.’ In the edit­ed poster for ‘The Deplorables,’ those armed staffers and Trump boost­ers are shown along­side Pepe the Frog, a car­toon fig­ure that first cropped up on the 4chan web­site and has since become asso­ci­at­ed with the white suprema­cist move­ment online. . . .” 
  • ku klux klanDon­ald, Jr. is indeed bred from the same line of race­hors­es as his father: “ . . . . When Don­ald Jr spoke to a white suprema­cist radio host in March it set off a few alarm bells sim­ply because his father’s extreme immi­gra­tion poli­cies had been so ecsta­t­i­cal­ly received by white nation­al­ist groups. But most chalked it up to inex­pe­ri­ence and let it go. Sure­ly Junior wasn’t as crude­ly racist as the old man who was report­ed to keep a book of Hitler speech­es next to the bed. But just a few days lat­er he retweet­ed a racist sci­ence fic­tion writer named Theodore Beale who goes by the han­dle of ‘Vox Day’ claim­ing that a famous pic­ture of a Trump sup­port­er giv­ing a Nazi salute was actu­al­ly a fol­low­er of Bernie Sanders. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree after all. . . . Right after the con­ven­tion, how­ev­er, he let out a deaf­en­ing dog­whis­tle that left no doubt as to his per­son­al affil­i­a­tion with the far right. He went to the Nesho­ba Coun­ty Fair in Philadel­phia Mis­sis­sip­pi, best remem­bered as the place where three civ­il rights work­ers were mur­dered in 1964. But it has spe­cial polit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance as the site of Ronald Reagan’s famous ‘states’ rights’ speech in 1980 where he sig­naled his sym­pa­thy for white suprema­cy by deliv­er­ing it at the scene of that hor­ren­dous racist crime. (The man who coined the term ‘wel­fare queen’ was always a cham­pi­on dog­whistler.) Trump Jr went there to rep­re­sent and rep­re­sent he did. When asked what he thought about the con­fed­er­ate flag he said, ‘I believe in tra­di­tion. I don’t see a lot of the non­sense that’s been cre­at­ed about that.’ Since then it’s been revealed that he fol­lows a num­ber of white nation­al­ists on twit­ter and he’s retweet­ed sev­er­al includ­ing a a psy­chol­o­gist who believes Jews manip­u­late soci­ety. And in the last cou­ple of weeks Junior has let his alt-right freak flag fly. . . .”
  • Don­ald, Jr. is poised to run for office, per­haps to per­pet­u­ate what his father has engen­dered.  The fun­da­men­tal point to be under­stood here is this: As dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 920, 921 and 922, the Trumpenkampfver­bande is the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the Under­ground Reich meta­mor­phos­ing into an above-ground, mass-based polit­i­cal move­ment. It will not go away. Whether it is led by Don­ald Trump, Jr. (who does not appear to share his father’s incli­na­tion to sex­u­al vul­gar­i­ty and aggres­sion) or some­one else, it will not go away. “ . . . . After his ques­tion­able speech to the RNC, Trump Jr. said he “would con­sid­er” run­ning once his kids fin­ish school. Call­ing it ‘one of the most thrilling moments of my life,’ Don­ald Trump Jr. brushed aside bur­geon­ing con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing the sec­ond Trump fam­i­ly speech at the RNC in as many days while speak­ing with the Wall Street Jour­nal Wednes­day morn­ing. The old­est son of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee said that while he still has ‘a lot to do in my own career,’ he would seri­ous­ly con­sid­er fol­low­ing in his father’s foot­steps out of real estate and into polit­i­cal life. The 38-year-old New York­er said that ‘maybe when the kids get out of school I would con­sid­er it.’ The father of five explained that he’d ‘love to be able to do it, as a patri­ot.’ . . .”
  • DeutscheBankIn past pro­grams, we have not­ed that Don­ald Trump’s “go-to” lender of choice for his real estate projects has been Deutsche Bank, pro­found­ly linked to the remark­able and dead­ly Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work. This places him in debt to a “too big to fail” insti­tu­tion that was deeply involved with the finan­cial melt­down of 2008, has flout­ed U.S. reg­u­la­tors and has been impli­cat­ed with crim­i­nal inter­na­tion­al oper­a­tions. ” . . . . 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? . . . .”
  • While every­one is focus­ing on Don­ald Trump’s T & A com­ments, the world’s equi­ties mar­kets have expe­ri­enced volatil­i­ty, in part because of fears about Deutsche Bank’s finan­cial health. “ . . . . Germany’s largest bank appears in dan­ger, send­ing stock mar­kets world­wide on a wild ride. Yet the biggest source of wor­ry is less about its finances than a vast tan­gle of unknowns — not least, whether Europe can muster the will to mount a res­cue in the event of an emer­gency. In short, fears that Europe lacks the cohe­sion to avoid a finan­cial cri­sis may be enhanc­ing the threat of one. The imme­di­ate source of alarm is the health of Deutsche Bank, whose vast and sprawl­ing oper­a­tions are entan­gled with the fates of invest­ment hous­es from Tokyo to Lon­don to New York. Deutsche is star­ing at a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar fine from the Jus­tice Depart­ment for its enthu­si­as­tic par­tic­i­pa­tion in Wall Street’s fes­ti­val of tox­ic mort­gage prod­ucts in the years lead­ing up to finan­cial cri­sis of 2008. . . . . . . . The Euro­pean Union has become a focus of pop­ulist anger, fur­ther con­strain­ing options. And Ger­many has opposed bailouts for lenders in oth­er lands, mak­ing a Deutsche res­cue polit­i­cal­ly radioac­tive. All of which adds to wor­ries that Deutsche amounts to a fire burn­ing, one that might yet become an infer­no, while the fire depart­ment is con­sumed with exis­ten­tial argu­ments over its pur­pose. If the alarm sounds, no one can be sure what, if any­thing, will hap­pen. . . . . . . . The biggest form of insur­ance against pan­ic is con­fi­dence that larg­er play­ers — in this case, Euro­pean author­i­ties — stand at the ready to mount a res­cue, should one be required. But con­fi­dence is not some­thing Europe has proved ter­ri­bly skilled at instill­ing. Its abil­i­ties to mar­shal a bailout are dubi­ous. New rules intro­duced to dis­cour­age reck­less invest­ments by large finan­cial insti­tu­tions bar tax­pay­er-financed bailouts. Ger­many has been adamant that these stric­tures be applied, rebuff­ing a recent attempt by the Ital­ian prime min­is­ter, Mat­teo Ren­zi, to secure an exemp­tion allow­ing him to inject tax­pay­er mon­ey into the Ital­ian bank­ing sys­tem. The optics of Ger­many seek­ing a way around the rules for its largest lender would be espe­cial­ly prob­lem­at­ic. . . .”
  • The dimen­sions of Deutsche Bank’s expo­sure to the kinds of deriv­a­tives that brought down the glob­al econ­o­my in 2008 is mind-bog­gling. “ . . . . It has €220 bil­lion, or $247 bil­lion, in ready liq­uid­i­ty, com­pared with $45 bil­lion for Lehman in 2007, and the bank can also tap cen­tral banks in the Unit­ed States and in Europe for a finan­cial life­line if need be. That does not mean, how­ev­er, that traders and reg­u­la­tors will stop fret­ting about, among oth­er things, the €42 tril­lion worth of deriv­a­tives that sit on its books, an amount about 11 times the size of the Ger­man econ­o­my. . . .”
  • Investor con­fi­dence in Deutsche Bank can­not have been helped by news that the ECB had fudged the stress test on the Ger­man lender. “ . . . . Deutsche Bank was giv­en spe­cial treat­ment in the sum­mer EU stress tests that promised to restore faith in Europe’s banks by assess­ing all of their finances in the same way. Germany’s biggest lender, which has seen its share price fall as much as 22 per cent in recent weeks on fears that it could face a US fine of up to $14bn, has been using the results of the July stress tests as evi­dence of its healthy finances. But the Finan­cial Times has learnt that Deutsche’s result was boost­ed by a spe­cial con­ces­sion agreed by its super­vi­sor, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank. . . . . . . . ‘This [Deutsche’s treat­ment] is per­plex­ing,’ said Chris Wheel­er, an ana­lyst at Atlantic Equi­ties. ‘The cir­cum­stances mean that it is inevitable the mar­ket watch­ers will be sus­pi­cious and have some con­cern about the verac­i­ty of the results.’ . . . .’
  •  The enor­mous uncer­tain­ties about Deutsche Bank, the [im?]possibility of an EU bailout, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of the Fed­er­al Reserve and oth­er cen­tral banks help­ing to res­cue Deutsche Bank are to be seen against the back­ground of Don­ald Trump’s alarm­ing flip-flops about Janet Yellen and the Fed and his advi­sors’ pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with a return to the Gold Stan­dard. After speak­ing gen­tly about Yellen and low inter­est rates, he flip-flopped, attack­ing her, promis­ing to replace her and advo­cat­ing rate increas­es. Note that the “Alt-right” milieu embod­ied in the Trumpenkampfver­bande is not con­cerned with eco­nom­ic pros­per­i­ty, nor are they knowl­edge­able about how to bring it about.   ” . . . . Trump’s eco­nom­ic advis­ers can for the most part be placed in one of three groups. In the first are Lar­ry Kud­low and Judy Shel­ton, the intel­lec­tu­als of the bunch, and both advo­cates of a return to the gold stan­dard. While it has become pop­u­lar among some Repub­li­cans in the past few years, return­ing to the gold stan­dard is dis­missed as a dis­cred­it­ed, fringe idea by near­ly all econ­o­mists and mar­ket par­tic­i­pants. And, for their part, gold-stan­dard sup­port­ers typ­i­cal­ly reject the very idea of a Fed­er­al Reserve, so if Trump were to appoint Kud­low, Shel­ton, or anoth­er gold-stan­dard sup­port­er to the Fed, it would be the most rad­i­cal and poten­tial­ly dam­ag­ing eco­nom­ic move since the dawn of our mod­ern eco­nom­ic sys­tem, after the Great Depres­sion. . . . Final­ly, there’s the group rep­re­sent­ed by Stephen Ban­non, the for­mer Gold­man Sachs banker and Bre­it­bart News chief now head­ing Trump’s cam­paign. Ban­non has not talked much pub­licly about his views of the Fed. But his deep asso­ci­a­tion with the alt-right is worth exam­in­ing: some on the alt-right have expressed con­tempt for the very idea of a healthy econ­o­my. . . . In read­ing sto­ries on Bre­it­bart and oth­er sites con­nect­ed to the awful alt-right move­ment that Trump has embraced, I found it impos­si­ble to iden­ti­fy any over­ar­ch­ing view of how the econ­o­my should work. There were slop­py and occa­sion­al pot­shots at Oba­ma or Yellen, and a gen­er­al con­tempt for the many insti­tu­tions of mod­ern lib­er­al soci­ety. But there were no coher­ent eco­nom­ics. Which brings us back to Trump’s own views. He has no coher­ent plan, no view that can be mapped onto the com­mon range of estab­lished dis­cus­sion, whether left, right, or cen­ter. On Thurs­day, Trump’s cam­paign released his “eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy.” Amid the asser­tions that a dra­mat­ic cut in tax­es and reg­u­la­tion will lead to more eco­nom­ic growth and high­er employ­ment, there is no men­tion of the Fed­er­al Reserve. Instead, Trump has offered the pub­lic a gen­er­al, instinc­tive con­tempt for the Fed and its poli­cies. . . .”

We will explore key points high­light­ed in this pro­gram at greater length in pro­grams to come.

Pro­gram and Descrip­tion High­lights Include: 

  • The Trumpenkampfver­ban­de’s dis­cred­it­ing in advance of the elec­toral process, set­ting the stage for Trump’s sup­port­ers to man­i­fest vio­lence, either at the polls and/or after elec­tion day: ” . . . Quite sim­ply, every­body needs to be pay­ing close atten­tion to what hap­pens on Novem­ber 9th. [The Ger­man “Day of Destiny”–D.E.] It now seems quite like­ly that Hillary Clin­ton will win the Novem­ber elec­tion and become the next Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. But Don­ald Trump has been for months push­ing the idea that the elec­tion may be stolen from him by some mix of vot­er fraud (by racial and eth­nic minori­ties) or more sys­temic elec­tion rig­ging by per­sons unknown. Polls show that large num­bers of his sup­port­ers believe this. Now, here at TPM we’ve been writ­ing and report­ing about the GOP’s ‘vote fraud’ scam going back almost 15 years. It’s a huge­ly impor­tant issue. But to date it has main­ly been used to heat up Repub­li­can vot­ers and dri­ve state-based vot­er sup­pres­sion mea­sures. After a decade-plus push­ing the idea, Repub­li­cans passed var­i­ous vot­er sup­pres­sion mea­sures in numer­ous states after the 2010 midterm elec­tion. But to date, the ‘vot­er fraud’ scam has nev­er been ful­ly weaponized as a way to dele­git­imize and even resist a spe­cif­ic elec­tion, cer­tain­ly not a nation­al elec­tion. As Rick Hasen explains here, Don­ald Trump is doing that now. And he is suc­ceed­ing in as much as he’s con­vinced sub­stan­tial num­bers of his sup­port­ers that if he los­es it will be because the elec­tion was stolen. . . .”
  • Review of Trump’s keep­ing of a book of Hitler’s speech­es by his bed­side.
  • Review of the dis­tinct pos­si­bil­i­ty that Trump’s father Fred may have been in the Ku Klux Klan. Trump’s father is cred­it­ed with giv­ing “The Don­ald” his belief in eugen­ics.
  • Trump was the grand mar­shal for the 1999 Ger­man-Amer­i­can Steuben parade: “. . . . Trump has said that he is proud of his Ger­man her­itage; he served as grand mar­shal of the 1999 Ger­man-Amer­i­can Steuben Parade in New York City.[12][nb 1]. . . . .

1. No one should be sur­prised to learn that Trump is a believ­er in eugen­ics, appar­ent­ly part of his her­itage from his father Fred.

“Don­ald Trump Believes He Has Supe­ri­or Genes, Biog­ra­ph­er Claims” by Car­o­line Mor­timer; The Inde­pen­dent; 9/30/2016.

Repub­li­can nom­i­nee fol­lows ‘race­horse the­o­ry’ of genet­ics

Don­ald Trump has been accused of believ­ing in the “race­horse the­o­ry” of genet­ics, which claims some peo­ple are genet­i­cal­ly supe­ri­or to oth­ers.

In an inter­view for US TV chan­nel PBS, the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nominee’s biog­ra­ph­er Michael D’Antonio claimed the candidate’s father, Fred Trump, had taught him that the family’s suc­cess was genet­ic.

He said: “The fam­i­ly sub­scribes to a race­horse the­o­ry of human devel­op­ment.

“They believe that there are supe­ri­or peo­ple and that if you put togeth­er the genes of a supe­ri­or woman and a supe­ri­or man, you get a supe­ri­or off­spring.”

The the­o­ry, known as eugen­ics, first emerged dur­ing the 19th cen­tu­ry and was used as a pre­text for the ster­il­i­sa­tion of dis­abled peo­ple until the prac­tice was dis­cred­it­ed after the Sec­ond World War.

Adolf Hitler’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the Holo­caust – in which 11 mil­lion peo­ple were killed, 6 mil­lion of them Jew­ish – was based on a sim­i­lar the­o­ry of racial hier­ar­chy.

The PBS doc­u­men­tary fea­tured clips of Mr Trump on the cam­paign tri­al claim­ing that he “believes in the gene thing” and say­ing he had a “very high apti­tude”.

It also ran footage of pre­vi­ous inter­views from the real estate magnate’s time as a real­i­ty TV star in which he shared his thoughts on the sub­ject, includ­ing a 2010 inter­view with CNN..

He said: “Well I think I was born with the dri­ve for suc­cess because I have a cer­tain gene.

“I’m a gene believ­er… Hey, when you con­nect two race hors­es, you usu­al­ly end up with a fast horse.

“I had a good gene pool from the stand­point of that, so I was pret­ty much dri­ven.”

Mr Trump has become noto­ri­ous for his brava­do on the cam­paign trail and claimed he could solve prob­lems that have plagued pol­i­cy­mak­ers for decades with ease because he is a “smart guy”.

At a ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. in Sep­tem­ber 2015, Mr Trump claimed that, if he became pres­i­dent, “we’ll win so much, you’ll get bored with win­ning”.

2a. In FTR #‘s 918 and 919, we explored the Buerg­er Zeitung’s “Open Let­ter to Stal­in,” a gam­bit that we feel cor­re­sponds well to Don­ald Trump’s rel­a­tive­ly benign com­ments bout Putin/Ukraine/Crimea etc. In addi­tion to the “all things Steuben” ori­en­ta­tion of Trump advi­sor Joseph E. Schmitz, we note Don­ald Trump’s links to the Steuben Soci­ety milieu.

“Don­ald Trump;”  wikipedia.

. . . . Trump has said that he is proud of his Ger­man her­itage; he served as grand mar­shal of the 1999 Ger­man-Amer­i­can Steuben Parade in New York City.[12][nb 1]. . . . .

2b. Trump has, in fact, digest­ed Hitler’s rhetor­i­cal style, hav­ing acquired and read a book of Hitler’s speech­es.

“After the Gold Rush” by Marie Bren­ner; Van­i­ty Fair; 9/1990.

. . . . Don­ald Trump appears to take aspects of his Ger­man back­ground seri­ous­ly. John Wal­ter works for the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion, and when he vis­its Don­ald in his office, Ivana told a friend, he clicks his heels and says, “Heil Hitler,” pos­si­bly as a fam­i­ly joke.

. . . . Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her hus­band reads a book of Hitler’s col­lect­ed speech­es, My New Order, which he keeps in a cab­i­net by his bed. . . . Hitler’s speech­es, from his ear­li­est days up through the Pho­ny War of 1939, reveal his extra­or­di­nary abil­i­ty as a mas­ter pro­pa­gan­dist. . . .

2c. Ear­li­er this year, a con­tro­ver­sy emerged when old news­pa­per arti­cles about arrests at a 1927 Klan ral­ly in Queens (New York City) men­tioned a “Fred Trump” as among the “ber­obed marchers” arrest­ed at the event.Although the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Trump’s father as one of the Klan par­tic­i­pants has not been defin­i­tive­ly estab­lished, The Don­ald lied when con­front­ed with the address of the arrest­ed Fred Trump.

” . . . . asked if his father had lived at 175–24 Devon­shire Road—the address list­ed for the Fred Trump arrest­ed at the 1927 Klan rally—Donald dis­missed the claim as “total­ly false.”

“We lived on Ware­ham,” he told Horowitz. “The Devonshire—I know there is a road ‘Devon­shire,’ but I don’t think my father ever lived on Devon­shire.” Trump went on to deny every­thing else in the Times’ account of the 1927 ral­ly: “It shouldn’t be writ­ten because it nev­er hap­pened, num­ber one. And num­ber two, there was nobody charged.”

Bio­graph­i­cal records con­firm that the Trump fam­i­ly did live on Ware­ham Place in Queens in the 1940s, when Don­ald was a kid. But accord­ing to at least one archived news­pa­per clip, Fred Trump also lived at 175–24 Devon­shire Road: A wed­ding announce­ment in the Jan­u­ary 22, 1936 issue of the Long Island Dai­ly Press, places Fred Trump at that address, and refers to his wife as “Mary MacLeod,” which is Don­ald Trump’s mother’s maid­en name. . . .”

It seems alto­geth­er prob­a­ble that The Don­ald’s father was the “Fred Trump” arrest­ed at the ral­ly for “fail­ing to dis­perse,” but Fred Trump’s spe­cif­ic activ­i­ties at the Klan Ral­ly have not been estab­lished.

In the con­text of assess­ing the deep pol­i­tics sur­round­ing Trump, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of Klan par­tic­i­pa­tion by his father is inter­est­ing and pos­si­bly rel­e­vant. In Under Cov­er (avail­able for down­load for free on this web­site), the exten­sive net­work­ing between dom­i­nant ele­ments of the KKK and var­i­ous Fifth Col­umn orga­ni­za­tions in this coun­try is cov­ered at length.

One of those Fifth Col­umn orga­ni­za­tions was Amer­i­ca First–again, Trump has appro­pri­at­ed that name.

Also of inter­est in the con­text of the “Fred Trump” arrest­ed at the Klan Ral­ly is the fact that David Duke has been an enthu­si­as­tic sup­port­er of Trump, who was alto­geth­er hes­i­tant about dis­avow­ing Duke’s sup­port.

All the Evi­dence We Could Find About Fred Trump’s Alleged Involve­ment with the KKK” by Mike Pearl; Vice News; 3/9/2016.

Late last month, in an inter­view with Repub­li­can fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump, CNN host Jake Tap­per asked the can­di­date whether he would dis­avow an endorse­ment from long­time Ku Klux Klan leader and white nation­al­ist celebri­ty David Duke. Trump declined. “I don’t know any­thing about David Duke,” he said. Moments lat­er, he added, “I know noth­ing about white suprema­cists.”

Trump has since walked back his com­ments, blam­ing his hes­i­tance to con­demn the Klan on a “bad ear­piece.” The mat­ter has now been filed away into the ever-grow­ing archives of volatile state­ments Trump has made about race and eth­nic­i­ty dur­ing the cur­rent elec­tion cycle—a list that includes kick­ing off his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign by call­ing Mex­i­cans rapists, call­ing for the “‘total and com­plete shut­down of Mus­lims enter­ing the Unit­ed States,” and com­ment­ing that per­haps a Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­er at one of his ral­lies “should have been roughed up.”

But the par­tic­u­lars of the David Duke inci­dent call to mind yet anoth­er news sto­ry, one that sug­gests that Trump’s father, the late New York real estate titan Fred Trump, once wore the robe and hood of a Klans­man.

Ver­sions of this sto­ry emerged last Sep­tem­ber when Boing Boing dug up an old New York Times arti­cle from May of 1927 that list­ed a Fred Trump among those arrest­ed at a Klan ral­ly in Jamaica, Queens, when “1,000 Klans­men and 100 police­men staged a free-for-all,” in the streets. Don­ald Trump’s father would have been 21 in 1927 and had spent most of his life in Queens.

As Boing Boing point­ed out, the Times account sim­ply names Fred Trump as one of the sev­en indi­vid­u­als arrest­ed at the ral­ly, and it states that he was released with­out charges, leav­ing room for the pos­si­bil­i­ty that he “may have been an inno­cent bystander, false­ly named, or oth­er­wise the vic­tim of mis­tak­en iden­ti­ty dur­ing or fol­low­ing a chaot­ic event.”

A few weeks after Boing Boing unearthed that 88-year-old scoop, the New York Times asked Don­ald Trump about the pos­si­bil­i­ty that his father had been arrest­ed at a Klan event. The younger Trump denied it all, telling inter­view­er Jason Horowitz that “it nev­er hap­pened” four times. When Horowitz asked if his father had lived at 175–24 Devon­shire Road—the address list­ed for the Fred Trump arrest­ed at the 1927 Klan rally—Donald dis­missed the claim as “total­ly false.”

“We lived on Ware­ham,” he told Horowitz. “The Devonshire—I know there is a road ‘Devon­shire,’ but I don’t think my father ever lived on Devon­shire.” Trump went on to deny every­thing else in the Times’ account of the 1927 ral­ly: “It shouldn’t be writ­ten because it nev­er hap­pened, num­ber one. And num­ber two, there was nobody charged.”

Bio­graph­i­cal records con­firm that the Trump fam­i­ly did live on Ware­ham Place in Queens in the 1940s, when Don­ald was a kid. But accord­ing to at least one archived news­pa­per clip, Fred Trump also lived at 175–24 Devon­shire Road: A wed­ding announce­ment in the Jan­u­ary 22, 1936 issue of the Long Island Dai­ly Press, places Fred Trump at that address, and refers to his wife as “Mary MacLeod,” which is Don­ald Trump’s mother’s maid­en name.

More­over, three addi­tion­al news­pa­per clips unearthed by VICE con­tain sep­a­rate accounts of Fred Trump’s arrest at the May 1927 KKK ral­ly in Queens, each of which seems to con­firm the Times account of the events that day. While the clips don’t con­firm whether Fred Trump was actu­al­ly a mem­ber of the Klan, they do sug­gest that the rally—and the sub­se­quent arrests—did hap­pen, and did involve Don­ald Trump’s father, con­trary to the candidate’s denials. A fifth arti­cle men­tions the sev­en arrestees with­out giv­ing names, and claims that all of the indi­vid­u­als arrested—presumably includ­ing Trump—were wearing Klan attire.

The June 1, 1927, account of the May 31 Klan ral­ly print­ed in a defunct Brook­lyn paper called the Dai­ly Star spec­i­fies that a Fred Trump “was dis­missed on a charge of refus­ing to dis­perse.” That arti­cle lists sev­en total arrests, and states that four of those arrest­ed were expect­ed to go to court, and two were paroled. Fred Trump was the only one not held on charges.

The Klan’s reac­tion to the alleged police bru­tal­i­ty at the ral­ly was the sub­ject of anoth­er arti­cle, pub­lished in the Queens Coun­ty Evening News on June 2, 1927, and titled “Klan Plac­ards Assail Police, As War Vets Seek Parade Con­trol.” The piece is main­ly about the Klan dis­trib­ut­ing leaflets about being “assault­ed” by the “Roman Catholic police of New York City” at that same ral­ly. The arti­cle men­tions Fred Trump as hav­ing been “dis­charged” and gives the Devon­shire Road address, along with the names and address­es of the oth­er six men who faced charges.

Yet anoth­er account in anoth­er defunct local news­pa­per, the Rich­mond Hill Record, pub­lished on June 3, 1927, lists Fred Trump as one of the “Klan Arrests,” and also lists the Devon­shire Road address.

Anoth­er arti­cle about the ral­ly, pub­lished by the Long Island Dai­ly Press on June 2, 1927, men­tions that there were sev­en arrestees with­out list­ing names, and claims that all of the indi­vid­u­als arrest­ed were wear­ing Klan attire. The sto­ry, titled “Meet­ing on Parade Is Called Off,” focus­es on the police actions at the ral­ly, not­ing crit­i­cism of the cops for bru­tal­ly lash­ing out at the Klan sup­port­ers, who had assem­bled dur­ing a Memo­r­i­al Day parade.

While the Long Island Dai­ly Press doesn’t men­tion Fred Trump specif­i­cal­ly, the num­ber of arrestees cit­ed in the report is con­sis­tent with the oth­er accounts of the ral­ly. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, the arti­cle refers to all of the arrestees as “ber­obed marchers.” If Fred Trump, or anoth­er one of the atten­dees, wasn’t dressed in a robe at the time, that may have been a report­ing error worth cor­rect­ing.

Accord­ing to Rory McVeigh, chair­man of the soci­ol­o­gy depart­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Notre Dame, the ver­sion of the Klan that would have been active in Queens dur­ing the 1920s may not have nec­es­sar­i­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in stereo­typ­i­cal KKK activ­i­ties like fiery cross­es and lynch mobs.

“The Klan that became very pop­u­lar in the ear­ly 1920s did advo­cate white suprema­cy like the orig­i­nal Klan,” McVeigh told VICE in an email. “But in that respect, [its views were] not too much dif­fer­ent from a lot of oth­er white Amer­i­cans of that time peri­od.” In New York, McVeigh added, “the organization’s oppo­si­tion to immi­gra­tion and Catholics prob­a­bly held the biggest appeal for most of the peo­ple who joined.”

None of the arti­cles prove that Fred Trump was a mem­ber of the Klan, and it’s pos­si­ble that he was, as Boing Boing sug­gest­ed, just a bystander at the ral­ly. But while Don­ald Trump is absolute­ly right to say that his father was not charged in the 1927 inci­dent, the candidate’s oth­er claims—that Fred Trump nev­er lived at 175–24 Devon­shire Road, and more impor­tant­ly, that his involve­ment in a Klan ral­ly “nev­er happened”—appear to be untrue.

The Trump cam­paign did not respond to mul­ti­ple requests for com­ment. . . .

3. Appar­ent­ly, Trump’s “supe­ri­or” genes may be fram­ing polit­i­cal debate for some time. We review dis­cus­sion of Don­ald Trump, Jr.‘s role in tweet­ing and re-tweet­ing Nazi dog-whis­tles.

“Trump Jr’s ‘Skit­tles’ Tweet Is Based on Two Dif­fer­ent White Suprema­cist Memes — and Nazi Pro­pa­gan­da” by Travis Get­tys; Raw Sto­ry ; 9/20/2016.

Don­ald Trump Jr. drew wide­spread con­dem­na­tion for com­par­ing Syr­i­an refugees to poi­soned can­dy — but his anal­o­gy isn’t a new one, and it’s based on two sep­a­rate white suprema­cist memes with roots in Nazi pro­pa­gan­da.

Trump — the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial candidate’s eldest son and a top cam­paign sur­ro­gate — tweet­ed the image Mon­day evening in an appar­ent response to the dump­ster bomb­ing over the week­end in New York City, which his dad inapt­ly linked to the refugee cri­sis.

“This image says it all,” reads the text. “Let’s end the polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect agen­da that doesn’t put Amer­i­ca first. #trump2016,” accom­pa­nied by the offi­cial Don­ald Trump/Mike Pence cam­paign logo and slo­gan. The anal­o­gy isn’t new, and has been used for years by white suprema­cists to over­gen­er­al­ize about var­i­ous minor­i­ty groups. “It is often deployed as a way to prop up inde­fen­si­ble stereo­types by tak­ing advan­tage of human igno­rance about base rates, risk assess­ment and crim­i­nol­o­gy,” wrote Emil Karls­son on the blog Debunk­ing Denial­ism. “In the end, it tries to divert atten­tion from the inher­ent big­otry in mak­ing flawed gen­er­al­iza­tions.” A spokes­woman for Wrigley Amer­i­c­as, which makes Skit­tles, whacked Trump’s dehu­man­iz­ing com­par­i­son. “Skit­tles are can­dy. Refugees are peo­ple. We don’t feel it’s an appro­pri­ate anal­o­gy,” said Denise Young, vice pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate affairs. “We will respect­ful­ly refrain from fur­ther com­men­tary as any­thing we say could be mis­in­ter­pret­ed as mar­ket­ing.”

Joe Walsh, a sin­gle-term con­gress­man from Illi­nois and now a right-wing talk radio host who’s been boot­ed from the air­waves for using racial slurs, bragged that Trump’s meme was near­ly iden­ti­cal to one he had tweet­ed a month ear­li­er.

The anal­o­gy, which has been used on mes­sage boards and shared as social media memes, orig­i­nal­ly used M&Ms as the can­dy in ques­tion — but that changed after George Zim­mer­man gunned down Trayvon Mar­tin while the unarmed black teen was walk­ing home from buy­ing a drink and some Skit­tles.

A Google image search of “skit­tles trayvon meme”reveals a hor­ri­ble boun­ty of cap­tioned images mock­ing the slain teenag­er, whose killer was acquit­ted after claim­ing self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

But the poi­soned can­dy anal­o­gy goes back even fur­ther, to an anti-Semit­ic children’s book pub­lished by Julius Stre­ich­er, the pub­lish­er of the Nazi news­pa­per Der Stürmer who was exe­cut­ed in 1946 as a war crim­i­nal.

The book tells the tale of “the poi­so­nous mush­room,” and was used to indoc­tri­nate chil­dren in hate.

“Just as poi­so­nous mush­rooms spring up every­where, so the Jew is found in every coun­try in the world,” the story’s moth­er explains to her son. “Just as poi­so­nous mush­rooms often lead to the most dread­ful calami­ty, so the Jew is the cause of mis­ery and dis­tress, ill­ness and death.”

So Trump’s appalling anal­o­gy isn’t just uno­rig­i­nal and demean­ing — it’s actu­al­ly racist in four dif­fer­ent ways.

4. Roger Stone and Trump, Jr. were por­trayed in an Alt.right tweet endorsed by the Trumpenkampfver­bande. Do not lose sight of the fact that Stone is now net­work­ing with Julian Assange and Wik­iLeaks.

“Trump Ally, Son Share Meme Fea­tur­ing Sym­bol Of White Nation­al­ist Alt-Right” by Alle­gra Kirk­land; Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire; 9/12/2016.

Two mem­bers of Don­ald Trump’s inner cir­cle shared memes on social media over the week­end fea­tur­ing a sym­bol pop­u­lar with the white nation­al­ist alt-right.

Riff­ing off of Hillary Clinton’s remark that some of Trump’s sup­port­ers are racists, misog­y­nists, and xeno­phobes who belong in a “bas­ket of deplorables,” the meme shared by Don­ald Trump Jr. and Trump ally Roger Stone showed key Trump allies pho­to­shopped onto a poster from the move “The Expend­ables.” In the edit­ed poster for “The Deplorables,” those armed staffers and Trump boost­ers are shown along­side Pepe the Frog, a car­toon fig­ure that first cropped up on the 4chan web­site and has since become asso­ci­at­ed with the white suprema­cist move­ment online.

Trump, Indi­ana Gov. Mike Pence ®, New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie ®, Ben Car­son, con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones, and alt-right fig­ure­head Milo Yiannopou­los were among those in includ­ed in the image.

“Appar­ent­ly I made the cut as one of the Deplorables,” Trump Jr. wrote on Insta­gram in a cap­tion accom­pa­ny­ing the meme, say­ing he was “hon­ored” to be grouped among Trump’s sup­port­ers.

Infor­mal Trump advi­sor Roger Stone shared the same image on Twit­ter, say­ing he was “so proud to be one of the Deplorables.”

Pepe the Frog has emerged as an unof­fi­cial mas­cotof the alt-right, a loose­ly defined group of white nation­al­ists who con­gre­gate online to debate IQ dif­fer­ences between the races and joke about burn­ing Jew­ish jour­nal­ists in ovens.

Last fall, Trump him­self shared a meme fea­tur­ing him­self as pres­i­dent Pepe. He has retweet­ed users with han­dles like @WhiteGenocideTM on mul­ti­ple occa­sions.

@codyave: @drudgereport@BreitbartNews@Writeintrump “You Can’t Stump the Trump“https://t.co/0xITB7XeJVpic.twitter.com/iF6S05se2w”— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Octo­ber 13, 2015

Trump has dis­avowed sup­port from the alt-right and white suprema­cists like for­mer KKK Grand Wiz­ard David Duke, though he hired Steve Ban­non, chair­man of the alt-right pro­mot­ing Bre­it­bart News, as his cam­paign CEO in August.

5. Trump, Jr. has polit­i­cal aspi­ra­tions. The grav­i­tas that Snow­den and Wik­iLeaks have with young Amer­i­cans may bear very bit­ter fruit, indeed.

“A Chip off the Old Block” by Dig­by; Hul­la­baloo; 9/21/2016.

I wrote about Trump Jr for Salon this morning:In the begin­ning of the 2016 cam­paign the only one of Don­ald Trump’s five chil­dren with a high pub­lic pro­file was his daugh­ter Ivan­ka who has her own celebri­ty brand just like her father’s. The two old­er sons were unknown to the gen­er­al pub­lic but they made quite a good first impres­sion when the whole fam­i­ly appeared on a CNN fam­i­ly spe­cial. They are all so attrac­tive and glam­orous that many peo­ple came to believe they were Don­ald Trump’s best fea­ture. Indeed, it was said that the fact he’d raised such an admirable fam­i­ly spoke so well of him that it smoothed some of the rough edges of his own per­son­al­i­ty. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, as peo­ple have got­ten to know them bet­ter, they’ve revealed them­selves to be as rough edged as dear old Dad, par­tic­u­lar­ly his name­sake, Don­ald Jr.

For most of the pri­maries Trump proud­ly evoke his two old­er sons when he talked about the 2nd amend­ment, tout­ing their NRA mem­ber­ship and love of guns. It was a lit­tle bit shock­ing to see the ghast­ly pic­tures of their African big game kills includ­ing a hor­rif­ic shot of Trump Jr hold­ing a sev­ered ele­phant tail, but they seemed to oth­er­wise be pret­ty ordi­nary hard-work­ing busi­ness­men devot­ed to their fam­i­ly. For the most part they kept a low pro­file, serv­ing as the usu­al fam­i­ly props in a polit­i­cal cam­paign.

When Don­ald Jr spoke to a white suprema­cist radio host in March it set off a few alarm bells sim­ply because his father’s extreme immi­gra­tion poli­cies had been so ecsta­t­i­cal­ly received by white nation­al­ist groups. But most chalked it up to inex­pe­ri­ence and let it go. Sure­ly Junior wasn’t as crude­ly racist as the old man who was report­ed to keep a book of Hitler speech­es next to the bed. But just a few days lat­er he retweet­ed a racist sci­ence fic­tion writer named Theodore Beale who goes by the han­dle of “Vox Day” claim­ing that a famous pic­ture of a Trump sup­port­er giv­ing a Nazi salute was actu­al­ly a fol­low­er of Bernie Sanders. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree after all.

At the GOP con­ven­tion in July, all four of the grown kids gave heart­felt speech­es about their Dad, even as they made clear through their child­hood anec­dotes that the only time they ever spent with him was at the office and it seemed that Junior in par­tic­u­lar had tak­en a more active role and was seen in a more seri­ous light. peo­ple were talk­ing about him as a mod­er­at­ing voice in the cam­paign.

Right after the con­ven­tion, how­ev­er, he let out a deaf­en­ing dog­whis­tle that left no doubt as to his per­son­al affil­i­a­tion with the far right. He went to the Nesho­ba Coun­ty Fair in Philadel­phia Mis­sis­sip­pi, best remem­bered as the place where three civ­il rights work­ers were mur­dered in 1964. But it has spe­cial polit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance as the site of Ronald Reagan’s famous “states’ rights” speech in 1980 where he sig­naled his sym­pa­thy for white suprema­cy by deliv­er­ing it at the scene of that hor­ren­dous racist crime. (The man who coined the term “wel­fare queen” was always a cham­pi­on dog­whistler.) Trump Jr went there to rep­re­sent and rep­re­sent he did. When asked what he thought about the con­fed­er­ate flag he said, “I believe in tra­di­tion. I don’t see a lot of the non­sense that’s been cre­at­ed about that.”

Since then it’s been revealed that he fol­lows a num­ber of white nation­al­ists on twit­ter and he’s retweet­ed sev­er­al includ­ing a a psy­chol­o­gist who believes Jews manip­u­late soci­ety. And in the last cou­ple of weeks Junior has let his alt-right freak flag fly. First he got excit­ed about Hillary Clinton’s “deplorable” com­ment and proud­ly retweet­ed a pic­ture with the title “The Deplorables” that had been mak­ing the rounds fea­tur­ing Trump, Mike Pence, Rudy Giu­liani, Chris Christie, Ben Car­son, Eric Trump and Don­ald Jr along with con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones, right wing hit man Roger Stone, alt-right leader Milo Yia­nop­o­lis and white suprema­cist sym­bol Pepe the Frog. There’s no indi­ca­tion that any of them had a prob­lem with that but a lot of oth­er peo­ple found it to be reveal­ing, to say the least.

A cou­ple of days lat­er Trump Jr stepped in it again, say­ing the media would be “warm­ing up the gas cham­ber” for Repub­li­cans if they lied and cheat­ed the way Hillary Clin­ton does. He claimed he was talk­ing about cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment but his asso­ci­a­tion with vir­u­lent anti-Semi­tes makes that claim ring a lit­tle bit hol­low.

And then there was the Skit­tles inci­dent. Don­ald Jr tweet­ed out a deeply offen­sive image of a bowl of skit­tles with the words “If I had a bowl of Skit­tles and I told you three would kill you would you take a hand­ful? That’s our Syr­i­an refugee prob­lem.” It’s a ter­ri­ble metaphor, wrong in every way and Don­ald Jr took some heat for it. But it’s yet anoth­er win­dow into his asso­ci­a­tion with alt-right white nation­al­ism. That bad metaphor has been around in var­i­ous forms for a long time. In this coun­try it was usu­al­ly a bowl of M&Ms rep­re­sent­ing black peo­ple.. The peo­ple who traf­fic in this garbage fair­ly recent­ly changed it to Skit­tles because that was the can­dy Trayvon Mar­tin had bought on the night he was mur­dered by vig­i­lante George Zim­mer­man. Yes, it’s that sick.

You hear pun­dits and com­men­ta­tors say­ing that Don­ald Trump is sui gener­is and his phe­nom­e­non won’t be recre­at­ed. They’re prob­a­bly right. But per­haps they are not aware that his son also has polit­i­cal ambi­tions and he is sim­ply a younger, bet­ter look­ing ver­sion of his father with much more hair. If alt-right white nation­al­ism is going to be an ongo­ing fea­ture of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal life, they have their leader. He is one of them.

6. More about Trump, Jr. and his polit­i­cal aspi­ra­tions, is in the arti­cle below.

The fun­da­men­tal point to be under­stood here is this: As dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 920, 921 and 922, the Trumpenkampfver­bande is the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the Under­ground Reich meta­mor­phos­ing into an above-ground, mass-based polit­i­cal move­ment. It will not go away. Whether it is led by Don­ald Trump, Jr. (who does not appear to share his father’s incli­na­tion to sex­u­al vul­gar­i­ty and aggres­sion) or some­one else, it will not go away.

“Yikes! Now Don­ald Trump Jr. Says He Would “Love” to Run for Office ‘as a Patri­ot’ ” by Sophia Tes­faye; Salon; 7/20/2016.

After his ques­tion­able speech to the RNC, Trump Jr. said he “would con­sid­er” run­ning once his kids fin­ish school

Call­ing it “one of the most thrilling moments of my life,” Don­ald Trump Jr. brushed aside bur­geon­ing con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing the sec­ond Trump fam­i­ly speech at the RNC in as many days while speak­ing with the Wall Street Jour­nal Wednes­day morn­ing.

The old­est son of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee said that while he still has “a lot to do in my own career,” he would seri­ous­ly con­sid­er fol­low­ing in his father’s foot­steps out of real estate and into polit­i­cal life.

The 38-year-old New York­er said that “maybe when the kids get out of school I would con­sid­er it.” The father of five explained that he’d “love to be able to do it, as a patri­ot.”

His seem­ing­ly pre­ma­ture flir­ta­tion with polit­i­cal office comes hours after he deliv­ered a major address to the RNC Tues­day evening — a speech that has already been flagged as a poten­tial sec­ond case of Trump fam­i­ly pla­gia­rism.

https://twitter.com/TheDailyShow/status/755601024908300288

While Trump Jr. told Fox News’ Sean Han­ni­ty that “We [the Trump kids] all took a lot of pride. We all wrote the speech­es our­selves,” Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive colum­nist told Vox News that the appar­ent­ly lift­ed por­tions can’t be con­sid­ered pla­gia­rism because he wrote both the orig­i­nal col­umn and the Trump’s speech.

So while he may not be a pla­gia­riz­er in the new con­ser­v­a­tive def­i­n­i­tion of the word (my col­lege pro­fes­sors always warned against recy­cling my own work for new cours­es) it looks like we may have anoth­er Don­ald Trump pop­ping up on the polit­i­cal land­scape very soon.

 

7. 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. Even when the 2008 crash strained Trump’s rela­tion­ship with Deutsche Bank, the com­pa­ny’s pri­vate bank­ing arm con­tin­ued to back “The Don­ald.”

“When Don­ald Trump Needs a Loan, He Choos­es Deutsche Bank” by Anupree­ta Das; The Wall Street Jour­nal; 3/20/2016.

Despite some clash­es, the Repub­li­can front-run­ner has been a reg­u­lar client of the Ger­man lender

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. . . .

8. The fact that Don­ald Trump recent­ly bor­rowed a large sum a mon­ey to one of the finan­cial world’s biggest ser­i­al reg­u­la­to­ry vio­la­tors should become an issue in the 2016. So far, it has­n’t.

“Trump Has a Con­flict-of-Inter­est Prob­lem No Oth­er White House Can­di­date Ever Had” by Russ Choma and David Corn; Moth­er Jones; 6/01/2016.

He owes at least $100 mil­lion to a for­eign bank that’s bat­tled with US reg­u­la­tors.

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?

9. Equi­ties mar­kets have been waver­ing late­ly, in part because of wor­ries about Deutsche Bank. It is inter­est­ing and sig­nif­i­cant that cam­paign analy­sis and dis­cus­sion (with the excep­tion of the Moth­er Jones arti­cle above) have not fac­tored the Trump/Deutsche rela­tion­ship into their eval­u­a­tion.

“Deutsche Bank Trou­bles Raise Fears of Glob­al Shock” by Peter S. Good­man; The New York Times; 9/30/2016.

Germany’s largest bank appears in dan­ger, send­ing stock mar­kets world­wide on a wild ride. Yet the biggest source of wor­ry is less about its finances than a vast tan­gle of unknowns — not least, whether Europe can muster the will to mount a res­cue in the event of an emer­gency.

In short, fears that Europe lacks the cohe­sion to avoid a finan­cial cri­sis may be enhanc­ing the threat of one.

The imme­di­ate source of alarm is the health of Deutsche Bank, whose vast and sprawl­ing oper­a­tions are entan­gled with the fates of invest­ment hous­es from Tokyo to Lon­don to New York.

Deutsche is star­ing at a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar fine from the Jus­tice Depart­ment for its enthu­si­as­tic par­tic­i­pa­tion in Wall Street’s fes­ti­val of tox­ic mort­gage prod­ucts in the years lead­ing up to finan­cial cri­sis of 2008. Giv­en Deutsche’s myr­i­ad oth­er trou­bles — a role in the manip­u­la­tion of a finan­cial bench­mark, claims of trades that vio­lat­ed Russ­ian sanc­tions and a gen­er­al­ized sense of con­fu­sion about its mis­sion — the Amer­i­can pur­suit of a stiff penal­ty comes at an inop­por­tune time. . . .

. . . . The Euro­pean Union has become a focus of pop­ulist anger, fur­ther con­strain­ing options. And Ger­many has opposed bailouts for lenders in oth­er lands, mak­ing a Deutsche res­cue polit­i­cal­ly radioac­tive.

All of which adds to wor­ries that Deutsche amounts to a fire burn­ing, one that might yet become an infer­no, while the fire depart­ment is con­sumed with exis­ten­tial argu­ments over its pur­pose. If the alarm sounds, no one can be sure what, if any­thing, will hap­pen.

In the worst case — now high­ly unlike­ly — the bank could col­lapse, incit­ing a scram­ble to pull mon­ey from mar­kets around the globe. Insti­tu­tions that trade with Deutsche would feel an urge to col­lect their cash imme­di­ate­ly. Giv­en the scale of the bank’s bal­ance sheet — 1.8 tril­lion euros, or more than $2 tril­lion — that incli­na­tion is like­ly to spread to every crevice of finance. Economies would grind to a halt. Jobs and for­tunes would dis­ap­pear. . . .

. . . . The biggest form of insur­ance against pan­ic is con­fi­dence that larg­er play­ers — in this case, Euro­pean author­i­ties — stand at the ready to mount a res­cue, should one be required.

But con­fi­dence is not some­thing Europe has proved ter­ri­bly skilled at instill­ing. Its abil­i­ties to mar­shal a bailout are dubi­ous. New rules intro­duced to dis­cour­age reck­less invest­ments by large finan­cial insti­tu­tions bar tax­pay­er-financed bailouts.

Ger­many has been adamant that these stric­tures be applied, rebuff­ing a recent attempt by the Ital­ian prime min­is­ter, Mat­teo Ren­zi, to secure an exemp­tion allow­ing him to inject tax­pay­er mon­ey into the Ital­ian bank­ing sys­tem. The optics of Ger­many seek­ing a way around the rules for its largest lender would be espe­cial­ly prob­lem­at­ic.

The Deutsche chief and the Ger­man gov­ern­ment both shot down a report that the bank had asked that a bailout be pre­pared.

More broad­ly, Ger­many has been the most fer­vent voice that reck­less eco­nom­ic pur­suits should be pun­ished, no mat­ter the human toll.

As Athens has nego­ti­at­ed with Euro­pean author­i­ties and the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund for a series of bailouts, Ger­many has demand­ed deep cuts to Greek pub­lic spend­ing, sharply cut­ting pen­sion pay­ments to retirees. The Greek gov­ern­ment used much of the bailout mon­ey to pay back debts to Ger­man banks.

Against this back­drop, a Ger­man bailout of its largest bank would rein­vig­o­rate accu­sa­tions that it uses the Euro­pean Union as a cov­er to pur­sue its own nation­al inter­ests.

10. Amid reas­sur­ances that Deutsche Bank will weath­er the storm, we note: ” . . . . the €42 tril­lion worth of deriv­a­tives that sit on its books, an amount about 11 times the size of the Ger­man econ­o­my. . . .”

“Deutsche Bank’s Appetite for Risk Throws Off Its Bal­ance” by Lan­don Thomas, Jr.; The New York Times; 10/02/2016.

The glob­al bank­ing giants — think of JPMor­gan Chase or HSBC — make a nice return by cap­tur­ing their share of the tril­lions of dol­lars that course through finan­cial mar­kets each day.

But few are as reliant on this busi­ness — be it swap­ping cur­ren­cies, sell­ing bonds or struc­tur­ing deriv­a­tives — as Deutsche Bank, the giant lender that has made its name not as a home for Ger­man savers but as a place for hedge funds and oth­er risk-lov­ing investors to put on some of their bold­est finan­cial bets.

And that is why its swoon­ing stock price last week set off alarm bells in finance min­istries, cen­tral bank suites and trad­ing floors from Hong Kong to New York.

More than eight years after the col­lapse of Lehman Broth­ers sent shock waves around the world, the fear is whether Deutsche Bank and its high­ly lever­aged bal­ance sheet of 1.6 tril­lion euros might teeter and set off anoth­er bout of finan­cial con­ta­gion.

Those wor­ries calmed down some­what late last week as Deutsche Bank’s shares rose after reports that the bank may be close to cut­ting a deal with the Unit­ed States Jus­tice Depart­ment regard­ing the fine it must pay for sell­ing tox­ic mort­gages dur­ing the finan­cial cri­sis.

There has also been a grow­ing real­iza­tion that Deutsche Bank, even with its thin cush­ion of cash, is in much bet­ter finan­cial shape than Lehman Broth­ers was. In a let­ter to employ­ees on Fri­day, Deutsche’s chief exec­u­tive, John Cryan, high­light­ed the “strong fun­da­men­tals” of the bank.

It has €220 bil­lion, or $247 bil­lion, in ready liq­uid­i­ty, com­pared with $45 bil­lion for Lehman in 2007, and the bank can also tap cen­tral banks in the Unit­ed States and in Europe for a finan­cial life­line if need be.

That does not mean, how­ev­er, that traders and reg­u­la­tors will stop fret­ting about, among oth­er things, the €42 tril­lion worth of deriv­a­tives that sit on its books, an amount about 11 times the size of the Ger­man econ­o­my. . . .

11. It is also worth not­ing that pre­cise­ly how healthy Deutsche Bank is or isn’t is, past a point, a mat­ter of con­jec­ture. The Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank skewed Deutsche Bank’s stress test.

“Deutsche Received Spe­cial Treat­ment in EU Stress Tests Via ECB Con­ces­sion” by Lau­ra Noo­nan and Car­o­line Bin­ham and James Shot­ter; Finan­cial Times ; 10/11/2016; p. 1.

Deutsche Bank was giv­en spe­cial treat­ment in the sum­mer EU stress tests that promised to restore faith in Europe’s banks by assess­ing all of their finances in the same way.

Germany’s biggest lender, which has seen its share price fall as much as 22 per cent in recent weeks on fears that it could face a US fine of up to $14bn, has been using the results of the July stress tests as evi­dence of its healthy finances.

But the Finan­cial Times has learnt that Deutsche’s result was boost­ed by a spe­cial con­ces­sion agreed by its super­vi­sor, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank.

Deutsche’s results includ­ed the $4bn pro­ceeds from sell­ing its stake in Chi­nese lender Hua Xia even though the deal had not been done by the end of 2015, the offi­cial cut-off point for trans­ac­tions to be includ­ed.

The Hua Xia sale was agreed in Decem­ber 2015. It has still not been com­plet­ed and now faces a delay after miss­ing a reg­u­la­to­ry dead­line last month, though the bank is still con­fi­dent of com­ple­tion this year. . . .

. . . . “This [Deutsche’s treat­ment] is per­plex­ing,” said Chris Wheel­er, an ana­lyst at Atlantic Equi­ties. “The cir­cum­stances mean that it is inevitable the mar­ket watch­ers will be sus­pi­cious and have some con­cern about the verac­i­ty of the results.” . . . .

12. Don­ald Trump has flip-flopped about the Fed­er­al Reserve and Janet Yellen. After say­ing benign things about her, and appear­ing to endorse low inter­est rates, Trump has flip flopped, promis­ing to replace her and exert pres­sure to raise inter­est rates. Note that Trump’s advis­ers advo­cate a return to the gold stan­dard and are con­temp­tu­ous of the Fed­er­al Reserve Bank, rather like Eddie the Friend­ly Spook (Snow­den.) We will cov­er this at greater length next week.

” . . . . Trump’s eco­nom­ic advis­ers can for the most part be placed in one of three groups. In the first are Lar­ry Kud­low and Judy Shel­ton, the intel­lec­tu­als of the bunch, and both advo­cates of a return to the gold stan­dard. While it has become pop­u­lar among some Repub­li­cans in the past few years, return­ing to the gold stan­dard is dis­missed as a dis­cred­it­ed, fringe idea by near­ly all econ­o­mists and mar­ket par­tic­i­pants. And, for their part, gold-stan­dard sup­port­ers typ­i­cal­ly reject the very idea of a Fed­er­al Reserve, so if Trump were to appoint Kud­low, Shel­ton, or anoth­er gold-stan­dard sup­port­er to the Fed, it would be the most rad­i­cal and poten­tial­ly dam­ag­ing eco­nom­ic move since the dawn of our mod­ern eco­nom­ic sys­tem, after the Great Depres­sion. . . . Final­ly, there’s the group rep­re­sent­ed by Stephen Ban­non, the for­mer Gold­man Sachs banker and Bre­it­bart News chief now head­ing Trump’s cam­paign. Ban­non has not talked much pub­licly about his views of the Fed. But his deep asso­ci­a­tion with the alt-right is worth exam­in­ing: some on the alt-right have expressed con­tempt for the very idea of a healthy econ­o­my. . . . In read­ing sto­ries on Bre­it­bart and oth­er sites con­nect­ed to the awful alt-right move­ment that Trump has embraced, I found it impos­si­ble to iden­ti­fy any over­ar­ch­ing view of how the econ­o­my should work. There were slop­py and occa­sion­al pot­shots at Oba­ma or Yellen, and a gen­er­al con­tempt for the many insti­tu­tions of mod­ern lib­er­al soci­ety. But there were no coher­ent eco­nom­ics. Which brings us back to Trump’s own views. He has no coher­ent plan, no view that can be mapped onto the com­mon range of estab­lished dis­cus­sion, whether left, right, or cen­ter. On Thurs­day, Trump’s cam­paign released his “eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy.” Amid the asser­tions that a dra­mat­ic cut in tax­es and reg­u­la­tion will lead to more eco­nom­ic growth and high­er employ­ment, there is no men­tion of the Fed­er­al Reserve. Instead, Trump has offered the pub­lic a gen­er­al, instinc­tive con­tempt for the Fed and its poli­cies. . . .”

“Trump and the Truth: The Inter­est-Rate Flip-Flop” by Adam David­son; The New York­er; 9/15/2016.

This essay is part of a series The New York­er will be run­ning through the elec­tion titled “Trump and the Truth.”

Over the past year, Don­ald Trump, who famous­ly nev­er backs down, has attacked, backed down, and then again attacked Janet Yellen, the chair of the Fed­er­al Reserve. He has done it in his way, nev­er acknowl­edg­ing when he says pre­cise­ly the oppo­site of what he has pre­vi­ous­ly said. (Yellen, for her part, has ignored the whole thing.)

Trump’s Yellen cycle began in Octo­ber, when, in an inter­view with The Hill, he accused Yellen of keep­ing down the Fed’s key inter­est rate, known as the Fed funds rate, because Pres­i­dent Oba­ma “doesn’t want to have a reces­sion-slash-depres­sion dur­ing his admin­is­tra­tion.” (This raised the ques­tion, of course, Who expects a Pres­i­dent to want a reces­sion-slash-depres­sion?) By the spring of this year, Trump had revised his think­ing about Yellen. “I have noth­ing against Janet Yellen what­so­ev­er,” he told CNBC, on May 5th. “She’s a very capa­ble per­son. Peo­ple that I know have a very high regard for her.” Trump explained his new­ly rosy view by endors­ing the very pol­i­cy he had mocked a few months ear­li­er. “She’s a low-inter­est-rate per­son; she’s always been a low-inter­est-rate per­son. And I must be hon­est, I’m a low-inter­est-rate per­son.” A cou­ple of weeks lat­er, Trump reit­er­at­ed his hap­py view of the Fed chair. In an inter­view with Reuters, he said, “I’m not a per­son that thinks Janet Yellen is doing a bad job.”

This week, Trump was back on the attack. On Mon­day, he told CNBC that Yellen should be “ashamed” of the low-inter­est-rate pol­i­cy that Trump him­self endorsed so ful­ly in May. “She is obvi­ous­ly polit­i­cal, and she’s doing what Oba­ma wants her to do,” he said. Once again, Trump made the claim that there was a secret Oba­ma-Yellen pact to keep rates low, root­ed in their nefar­i­ous desire to pre­vent an eco­nom­ic cri­sis. They both knew, he said, that “as soon as [rates] go up, the stock mar­ket is going to go way down.” On Thurs­day, after giv­ing a speech at the Eco­nom­ic Club of New York, Trump again took aim at the Fed. “The Fed has become very polit­i­cal,” he said. “Beyond any­thing I would have ever thought pos­si­ble.”

It’s impos­si­ble to rec­on­cile Trump’s con­flict­ing state­ments on Yellen and the Fed’s inter­est-rate lev­el. Low inter­est rates can’t be both smart pol­i­cy and evi­dence of cor­rup­tion, just like Yellen can’t be both “very capa­ble” and a shame­ful Oba­ma stooge. But beyond the con­tra­dic­tions, Trump has betrayed a basic mis­un­der­stand­ing of how cen­tral banks work. Take his state­ment that he and Yellen are both “low-inter­est-rate” peo­ple. Yellen, he said, has “always been a low-inter­est-rate per­son.” Cen­tral bankers like to say that the entire point of the Fed­er­al Reserve is to “lean against the wind,” mean­ing that, when the econ­o­my is grow­ing so fast that it risks infla­tion, the Fed rais­es its inter­est rate, and, when eco­nom­ic growth is slug­gish, the Fed low­ers it. In the con­text of cen­tral bank­ing, Yellen is often iden­ti­fied as a “dove,” which means that she is gen­er­al­ly a bit more con­cerned about low­er­ing unem­ploy­ment than about the risks of infla­tion. But call­ing Yellen a “low-inter­est-rate per­son” is like call­ing a doc­tor con­cerned about a patient’s high fever a “low-tem­per­a­ture per­son.” Yellen, like all cen­tral bankers, is not a low-inter­est or high-inter­est per­son. She’s a per­son for what­ev­er inter­est rate is appro­pri­ate, giv­en eco­nom­ic con­di­tions. In her two decades of votes as a senior Fed offi­cial, she has vot­ed for high­er rates plen­ty of times.

Where Trump is most clear­ly and dan­ger­ous­ly wrong is in his accu­sa­tion of polit­i­cal inter­fer­ence by the White House. Yellen doesn’t make deci­sions about the inter­est rate on her own. As chair, she has one vote on the Fed­er­al Reserve’s twelve-mem­ber Open Mar­ket Com­mit­tee, which is cur­rent­ly made up of five mem­bers appoint­ed by Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and sev­en mem­bers who come from region­al Fed­er­al Reserve banks and who are cho­sen by their own boards, made up of bankers, busi­ness­peo­ple, and, in some cas­es, com­mu­ni­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tives. It’s a diverse lot—several mem­bers of the com­mit­tee have shown no par­tic­u­lar loy­al­ty to the Pres­i­dent. What’s more, the board’s deci­sion-mak­ing process about the inter­est rate is pub­lic. We know how each of the twelve mem­bers vote at each meet­ing of the com­mit­tee. The Fed even releas­es a “dot plot,” which shows how the dif­fer­ent mem­bers expect to vote over the com­ing years.

This pub­lic­ness has been designed for good rea­son. The Fed funds rate is the inter­est rate at which banks lend mon­ey to one anoth­er for overnight loans. In prac­tice, this rate sets the tem­po of the entire glob­al econ­o­my, and changes to it rip­ple through every aspect of our eco­nom­ic lives. Sud­den and unex­plained moves would cre­ate pan­ic. That the Fed hasn’t raised its rate since Decem­ber can­not be explained as some nefar­i­ous plot joint­ly con­coct­ed by Oba­ma and Yellen. It is ful­ly explained by a board of tech­nocrats study­ing the data and com­ing to pret­ty much the same con­clu­sion that near­ly every­body else who looks at the data reach­es: our econ­o­my is still in a peri­od of slug­gish growth and, despite Tuesday’s cheery eco­nom­ic news, a Fed-induced tight­en­ing could send mil­lions of Amer­i­cans back into unem­ploy­ment and gen­er­al­ly wreak hav­oc on the economy—a point Trump him­self endorsed in his brief pro-Yellen phase a few months back.

The Fed is far from per­fect and has earned its share of fair crit­i­cism. But what makes Trump’s views on cen­tral-bank pol­i­cy par­tic­u­lar­ly trou­bling is that it is impos­si­ble to know where they are com­ing from. The next Pres­i­dent will be able to select a Fed chair and sev­er­al Fed­er­al Reserve gov­er­nors. By this point in a Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, the major-par­ty can­di­dates’ eco­nom­ic pref­er­ences are typ­i­cal­ly well estab­lished, and usu­al­ly embod­ied by their eco­nom­ic advis­ers. Whether you embraced them or despised them as can­di­dates, since the nine­teen-sev­en­ties, the major-par­ty can­di­dates have made it rel­a­tive­ly easy to know how they would approach the Fed if elect­ed. Notably, can­di­dates in recent decades have all shown enor­mous def­er­ence to the Fed as an inde­pen­dent, non­par­ti­san insti­tu­tion. Rea­gan, Clin­ton, George W. Bush, and Oba­ma all reap­point­ed the Fed chair of their cross-par­ty pre­de­ces­sor. Trump has said he will not reap­point Yellen to a sec­ond term. So how would he pick her suc­ces­sor? What frame­work would he use?

Trump’s eco­nom­ic advis­ers can for the most part be placed in one of three groups. In the first are Lar­ry Kud­low and Judy Shel­ton, the intel­lec­tu­als of the bunch, and both advo­cates of a return to the gold stan­dard. While it has become pop­u­lar among some Repub­li­cans in the past few years, return­ing to the gold stan­dard is dis­missed as a dis­cred­it­ed, fringe idea by near­ly all econ­o­mists and mar­ket par­tic­i­pants. And, for their part, gold-stan­dard sup­port­ers typ­i­cal­ly reject the very idea of a Fed­er­al Reserve, so if Trump were to appoint Kud­low, Shel­ton, or anoth­er gold-stan­dard sup­port­er to the Fed, it would be the most rad­i­cal and poten­tial­ly dam­ag­ing eco­nom­ic move since the dawn of our mod­ern eco­nom­ic sys­tem, after the Great Depres­sion. (Just how awful an idea return­ing to the gold stan­dard would be is dif­fi­cult to con­vey in a short space, but it’s worth point­ing out that, under the gold stan­dard, reces­sions and deep depres­sions were fre­quent, and the cen­tral bank and gov­ern­ment offi­cials had no abil­i­ty to respond.)

The sec­ond group of Trump advis­ers is, famous­ly, made up of busi­ness­peo­ple: all those Steves—Feinberg, Mnuchin, Roth, Calk, and the oth­ers who come from real estate and finance. As a group, they, like Trump, have not expressed great knowl­edge of or inter­est in mon­e­tary pol­i­cy.

Final­ly, there’s the group rep­re­sent­ed by Stephen Ban­non, the for­mer Gold­man Sachs banker and Bre­it­bart News chief now head­ing Trump’s cam­paign. Ban­non has not talked much pub­licly about his views of the Fed. But his deep asso­ci­a­tion with the alt-right is worth exam­in­ing: some on the alt-right have expressed con­tempt for the very idea of a healthy econ­o­my. A guide to the alt-right, pub­lished by Bre­it­bart in March, iden­ti­fied a sub­set of the move­ment, known as “nat­ur­al con­ser­v­a­tives.” For these peo­ple, the authors explained, a strong econ­o­my isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly some­thing to wish for. “Cul­ture, not eco­nom­ic effi­cien­cy, is the para­mount val­ue,” the guide states. “More specif­i­cal­ly, [nat­ur­al con­ser­v­a­tives] val­ue the great­est cul­tur­al expres­sions of their tribe. Their per­fect soci­ety does not nec­es­sar­i­ly pro­duce a soar­ing GDP, but it does pro­duce sym­phonies, basil­i­cas and Old Mas­ters.” This out­look was con­trast­ed with the views of “an estab­lish­ment Repub­li­can,” who has an “over­rid­ing belief in the glo­ry of the free mar­ket, [who] might be moved to tear down a cathe­dral and replace it with a strip mall if it made eco­nom­ic sense.”

Read­ing these pas­sages helped me under­stand some­thing that I had found con­fus­ing. In read­ing sto­ries on Bre­it­bart and oth­er sites con­nect­ed to the awful alt-right move­ment that Trump has embraced, I found it impos­si­ble to iden­ti­fy any over­ar­ch­ing view of how the econ­o­my should work. There were slop­py and occa­sion­al pot­shots at Oba­ma or Yellen, and a gen­er­al con­tempt for the many insti­tu­tions of mod­ern lib­er­al soci­ety. But there were no coher­ent eco­nom­ics. Which brings us back to Trump’s own views. He has no coher­ent plan, no view that can be mapped onto the com­mon range of estab­lished dis­cus­sion, whether left, right, or cen­ter. On Thurs­day, Trump’s cam­paign released his “eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy.” Amid the asser­tions that a dra­mat­ic cut in tax­es and reg­u­la­tion will lead to more eco­nom­ic growth and high­er employ­ment, there is no men­tion of the Fed­er­al Reserve. Instead, Trump has offered the pub­lic a gen­er­al, instinc­tive con­tempt for the Fed and its poli­cies. . . .

13. The nature of Trump’s fol­low­ers is to be gleaned from the fol­low­ing:

” ‘Vir­tu­al­ly Every Alt-Right Nazi Is Vol­un­teer­ing for the Trump Cam­paign’ ” by Ed Maz­za; Huff­in­g­ton Post; 9/30/2016.

It seems Don­ald Trump has unit­ed one group of vot­ers: Neo-Nazis.

“Trump had me at ‘build a wall,’” Andrew Anglin, edi­tor of the white suprema­cist web­site Dai­ly Stormer, told the Los Ange­les Times. “Vir­tu­al­ly every alt-right Nazi I know is vol­un­teer­ing for the Trump cam­paign.”

The com­ments con­firm reports from through­out the cam­paign sea­son that white suprema­cists were mobi­liz­ing for the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and excit­ed by his plat­form. Trump has picked up endorse­ments from lead­ers and pub­li­ca­tions in the neo-Nazi move­ment since ear­ly in his can­di­da­cy. Some mem­bers of the move­ment have even made robo­calls on his behalf. . . .

14. There has been a con­sid­er­able amount of cov­er­age of Don­ald Trump’s thin­ly veiled exhor­ta­tion for his pro-12nd Amend­ment fol­low­ers to shoot Hillary Clin­ton. Trump is also encour­ag­ing his fol­low­ers to show up at polling places to guard against the [fraud­u­lent] prospect of vot­er fraud. Many see this as an exhor­ta­tion to vio­lent­ly intim­i­date minor­i­ty vot­ers. If Trump los­es, it will be inter­est­ing to see how those fol­low­ers who have been regaled that the elec­tion is “rigged,” will act.

The bet­ting mon­ey, here, is that we will see a sig­nif­i­cant uptick in rightwing ter­ror and mur­der, much of it the “lone-wolf/lead­er­less resis­tance” vari­ety for which Glenn Green­wald ran legal inter­fer­ence.

Again, the point is that the Trumpenkampfver­bande is not going away. Whether led by a Don­ald Trump, Jr., who eschews his father’s lock­er-room ban­ter, or some­one else, the Under­ground Reich is mov­ing above ground.

“Dan­ger on Novem­ber 9th” by Josh Mar­shall; Talk­ing Points Memo Editor’s Blog; 10/12/2016.

I’ve been want­i­ng to dis­cuss this. But so much has been hap­pen­ing it keeps get­ting pushed back to the next day or the next post. Quite sim­ply, every­body needs to be pay­ing close atten­tion to what hap­pens on Novem­ber 9th.

It now seems quite like­ly that Hillary Clin­ton will win the Novem­ber elec­tion and become the next Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. But Don­ald Trump has been for months push­ing the idea that the elec­tion may be stolen from him by some mix of vot­er fraud (by racial and eth­nic minori­ties) or more sys­temic elec­tion rig­ging by per­sons unknown. Polls show that large num­bers of his sup­port­ers believe this.

Now, here at TPM we’ve been writ­ing and report­ing about the GOP’s ‘vote fraud’ scam going back almost 15 years. It’s a huge­ly impor­tant issue. But to date it has main­ly been used to heat up Repub­li­can vot­ers and dri­ve state-based vot­er sup­pres­sion mea­sures. After a decade-plus push­ing the idea, Repub­li­cans passed var­i­ous vot­er sup­pres­sion mea­sures in numer­ous states after the 2010 midterm elec­tion. But to date, the ‘vot­er fraud’ scam has nev­er been ful­ly weaponized as a way to dele­git­imize and even resist a spe­cif­ic elec­tion, cer­tain­ly not a nation­al elec­tion. As Rick Hasen explains here, Don­ald Trump is doing that now. And he is suc­ceed­ing in as much as he’s con­vinced sub­stan­tial num­bers of his sup­port­ers that if he los­es it will be because the elec­tion was stolen.

It is a very, very dan­ger­ous step when a pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee open­ly threat­ens to jail his oppo­nent if he wins. It’s no less dan­ger­ous when a can­di­date push­es the idea that an elec­tion will be stolen and lays the ground­work for resist­ing the result. That’s hap­pen­ing. It is dif­fi­cult to over­state the soci­etal ben­e­fit of being able to take it almost as an absolute giv­en and assump­tion that no mat­ter how intense and close-fought an elec­tion gets, vir­tu­al­ly every­one will accept the result the day after. Under­min­ing that assump­tion is of a piece with intro­duc­ing into the polit­i­cal are­na the idea that peo­ple who lose elec­tion might lose more than the elec­tion: loss of mon­ey, free­dom, or worse etc.

I’ll put a pin in the dis­cus­sion for now. But this is some­thing to watch very close­ly as the next thir­ty days unfold. It is a very, very big deal. Trump has been mak­ing this argu­ment explic­it­ly for weeks. As I said, we’re had the vot­er fraud rack­et for years. It’s nev­er been weaponized like this As the pres­sure on him grows and his own anger mounts there’s every rea­son to think he’ll keep upping the ante.

 

 

Discussion

10 comments for “FTR #927 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 6: Locker Room Eclipse”

  1. Here’s an arti­cle about Trump’s “inter­na­tion­al bankers” speech that makes an impor­tant note giv­en Trump’s propen­si­ty to do a lot of his neo-Nazi dog-whistling in the midst of some sort of stream-of-Trumpian-con­scious­ness rant: The speech was read from a teleprompter:

    Alter­Net

    In Nazi-Like Speech, Trump Responds to Sex­u­al Assault Claims With Broad Con­spir­a­cy The­o­ry Designed to Foment May­hem
    Telegraph­ing anti-Semi­tism and dis­parag­ing the women who say he assault­ed them, Trump deliv­ered a piece of craft­ed pro­pa­gan­da via teleprompter.

    By Adele M. Stan / Alter­Net
    Octo­ber 13, 2016

    It would be tempt­ing to label as “unhinged” the speech Don­ald Trump deliv­ered in West Palm Beach on Thursday—a speech in which he dog-whis­tled a world­wide con­spir­a­cy against him (with­out actu­al­ly utter­ing the word “Jews”) and dis­par­aged the appear­ance of women who have accused him of sex­u­al assault and trans­gres­sions.

    But it was not unhinged. The speech was hinged to the orig­i­nal pur­pose of his cam­paign: to trade on the resent­ments of a restive rem­nant of white America—angry white men and the women who love them—and set the stage for may­hem in the wake of his like­ly elec­toral defeat.

    This was not your stan­dard, off-the-cuff Trump rant. This was a script­ed speech, deliv­ered with a teleprompter. It was craft­ed. It fea­tured the key words of right-wing com­plaints: “sov­er­eign,” “glob­al bankers” and “slan­der.” Real­ly, it came right out of a Nazi pro­pa­gan­da play­book. And when one con­sid­ers the themes com­mon between Nazi pro­pa­gan­da films and the films made by top Trump cam­paign staffers Stephen K. Ban­non and David Bossie (as ana­lyzed by Alter­Net), we should hard­ly be sur­prised.

    Trump began with an attack on the New York Times (whose major­i­ty own­ers are a Jew­ish fam­i­ly), which he said was engaged in a con­spir­a­cy of glob­al pro­por­tions with the Clin­tons, inter­na­tion­al bankers and major cor­po­ra­tions, all to stop him from win­ning the pres­i­den­cy.

    “For those who con­trol the levers of pow­er in Wash­ing­ton and for the glob­al spe­cial inter­ests, they part­ner with these peo­ple that don’t have your good in mind. Our cam­paign rep­re­sents a true exis­ten­tial threat, like they haven’t seen before. This is not sim­ply anoth­er four-year elec­tion. This is a cross­roads in the his­to­ry of our civ­i­liza­tion that will deter­mine whether or not we, the peo­ple, reclaim con­trol over our gov­ern­ment,” Trump told a cheer­ing crowd. A few beats lat­er, he said, “We’ve seen this first­hand in the Wik­iLeaks doc­u­ments in which Hillary Clin­ton meets in secret with inter­na­tion­al banks to plot the destruc­tion of U.S. sov­er­eign­ty in order to enrich these glob­al finan­cial pow­ers, her spe­cial inter­est friends and her donors.”

    He then went on, at great length, describ­ing what he alleged was coor­di­na­tion between the New York Times and the Clin­ton cam­paign, not­ing the newspaper’s Wednes­day night report detail­ing alle­ga­tions by two women who said Trump had sex­u­al­ly accost­ed them. Of course, he con­tend­ed the women were liars. He also offered a dis­qui­si­tion on pre­vi­ous New York Times pieces about his behav­ior with women. It was all a grand con­spir­a­cy, he said, not just against him, but against the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca.

    The agen­da of the “media estab­lish­ment,” Trump said, was to elect “crooked” Hillary Clin­ton, in the ser­vice of “spe­cial glob­al inter­ests rig­ging the sys­tem.” There are a lot of ways in the land of Wingnut­tia to tele­graph that your tar­get is Jews, and these are two of them. Remem­ber them: You’ll be hear­ing a lot in com­ing days about the “media estab­lish­ment,” “glob­al spe­cial inter­ests,” oh, and “bankers.”

    “Any­one who chal­lenges their con­trol,” Trump con­tin­ued, “is deemed a sex­ist, rapist, xeno­phobe and moral­ly deformed. They will attack you. They will slan­der you. They will seek to destroy your career and your fam­i­ly. They will seek to destroy every­thing about you, includ­ing your rep­u­ta­tion. They will lie, lie, lie, and then again they will do worse than that. They will do what­ev­er is nec­es­sary. The Clin­tons are crim­i­nals. Remem­ber that, they’re crim­i­nals.”

    When the crowd began chant­i­ng, “Lock her up!” Trump chimed in, “So true. Hon­est­ly, she should be locked up. She should be. Should be locked up.”

    Of his accusers, Trump told his audi­ence to have a good look at them, imply­ing they weren’t good-look­ing enough to have attract­ed his atten­tion. Of the women inter­viewed by the New York Times, Trump said, “You take a look at these peo­ple. You study these peo­ple and you’ll under­stand also. The claims are pre­pos­ter­ous, ludi­crous, and defy truth, com­mon sense and log­ic.”

    Speak­ing of Natasha Stoynoff, the Peo­ple mag­a­zine writer who Wednes­day night pub­lished an arti­cle detail­ing what she said was an assault by Trump against her at his Mar-a-Lago home, Trump said, “Take a look. You look at her. Look at her words,” he said. “You tell me what you think. I don’t think so. I don’t think so.”

    Trump went on to say he has evi­dence to refute the claims made against him in the New York Times report, evi­dence he would reveal “at an appro­pri­ate time.” He also promised to take down the Times—put it out of business—with a law­suit he is prepar­ing against the news­pa­per. It is telling that one of his big sup­port­ers is Peter Thiel, who took down Gawk­er by back­ing Hulk Hogan’s pri­va­cy-vio­la­tion law­suit against the web­site.

    Per­haps most chill­ing in all of the hate-stok­ing and con­spir­a­cy-mon­ger­ing Trump demon­strat­ed Thurs­day is his asser­tion that “this is war”—that the “media estab­lish­ment” and the Clin­tons are engaged in a con­spir­a­cy that is mak­ing war on the Amer­i­can peo­ple “no mat­ter how many lives they destroy.”

    “For them, it’s a war,” Trump said. “And for them, noth­ing at all is out of bounds. This is a strug­gle for the sur­vival of our nation.”

    Trump has learned well from his white nation­al­ist friends. After all, the guy who like­ly wrote Thursday’s script—Trump cam­paign CEO Stephen K. Bannon—is the one who boast­ed of pro­vid­ing “the plat­form for the alt-right,” that anti-Semit­ic, misog­y­nist move­ment from which Trump has derived such suc­cor.

    With Thurs­day’s speech, Trump has bald­ly laid out his true agen­da: a post-elec­tion insur­rec­tion.

    “With Thurs­day’s speech, Trump has bald­ly laid out his true agen­da: a post-elec­tion insur­rec­tion.”

    Yeah, Trumps speech on Thurs­day that was a pre­pared and care­ful­ly craft­ed ‘Protocols’-style dog-whis­tle prob­a­bly isn’t the best sign for what we can expect from Trump post-elec­tion. Espe­cial­ly after his speech on Fri­day:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Don­ald Trump is set­ting the stage to nev­er con­cede the 2016 elec­tion

    By Chris Cil­liz­za
    Octo­ber 14, 2016

    Don­ald Trump nev­er accept­ed los­ing in his busi­ness life. Even when he very clear­ly lost. He sim­ply declared vic­to­ry and moved on. (If you don’t believe me, watch PBS’s ter­rif­ic “The Choice 2016.”)

    His rhetoric over the last 10 days sug­gests he is prepar­ing to fol­low that very blue­print in Novem­ber. Over and over again of late, Trump has indulged in the idea of a broad-scale glob­al con­spir­a­cy being orga­nized to keep him from being elect­ed. And he has repeat­ed­ly used lan­guage describ­ing the elec­tion as “rigged” by a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and com­plic­it media play­ing dirty pool.

    At a ral­ly on Fri­day in Greens­boro, N.C., Trump leaned into his “rigged” premise.

    “This whole elec­tion is being rigged,” Trump told the roar­ing crowd. “The whole thing is one big fix. One big ugly lie. It’s one big fix.”

    Giv­en that rhetoric, it’s dif­fi­cult for me to imag­ine that in 25 days time, if he comes up short to Hillary Clin­ton, Trump will sim­ply con­cede the elec­tion. He is active­ly foment­ing the idea that the results on Nov. 8 will be invalid no mat­ter what they say because of the “rigged” nature of the whole process. He is prim­ing the pump among his sup­port­ers to nev­er accept that he actu­al­ly lost but instead had it stolen from him by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic-media com­plex, which could­n’t deal with the truths he was telling.

    Trump, despite the hopes of many Repub­li­cans, isn’t going to sim­ply dis­ap­pear on Nov. 9. This is some­one whose entire life has been in pur­suit of an ever-big­ger spot­light. Trump now has the biggest spot­light in the world on him. He isn’t the sort to will­ing­ly walk off the stage at the moment he has achieved what he’s always want­ed. And so, whether or not Trump actu­al­ly believes the elec­tion is rigged against him (it’s not!), he has sev­er­al self-serv­ing rea­sons to con­tin­ue to push the idea to and through Elec­tion Day.

    Trump, I think, has two options for his future in pol­i­tics, assum­ing he los­es this fall. The first is that he works to keep his bloc of vot­ers togeth­er post-elec­tion and forms some sort of con­ser­v­a­tive alter­na­tive third par­ty that aims to bash Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats in rough­ly equal mea­sure. The oth­er is that he starts a con­ser­v­a­tive media/broadcasting com­pa­ny in an attempt to mon­e­tize the loy­al­ty his sup­port­ers have for him and the anti-elites, anti-par­ty mes­sage he has been push­ing through­out the cam­paign.

    Nei­ther of those options is served by acknowl­edg­ing defeat at the hands of Clin­ton and shuf­fling off. Both are made more appeal­ing — from a com­mer­cial per­spec­tive — by nev­er con­ced­ing, by insist­ing that the race was­n’t lost, it was tak­en.

    Trump has shown that he is a mas­ter of griev­ance pol­i­tics in this race. He now seems to be set­ting up the great­est griev­ance of all for the vot­ers who sup­port him: that their votes don’t mat­ter because Hillary Clin­ton and all of her media enablers have already deter­mined the out­come of this elec­tion.

    ...

    “This whole elec­tion is being rigged...The whole thing is one big fix. One big ugly lie. It’s one big fix.”

    As we can see, in the days fol­low­ing the tidal wave of sex­u­al harass­ment alle­ga­tions against Trump, he’s pri­ma­ry response has been to issues neo-Nazi dog-whis­tles about a glob­al con­spir­a­cy against him and the Amer­i­can peo­ple and open­ly declar­ing the elec­tion total­ly rigged. So he’s con­scious­ly back­ing him­self into a rhetor­i­cal cor­ner where con­ced­ing defeat would be to viewed as allow­ing allow­ing the Amer­i­can sov­er­eign­ty to be destroyed by a glob­al con­spir­a­cy. This is where we are. And where Don­ald Trump want­ed us to be just about four years ago:

    Yahoo! News

    Trump’s Twit­ter rant after Oba­ma win: ‘We should march on Wash­ing­ton and stop this’

    Dylan Sta­ble­ford
    Novem­ber 6, 2012

    Don­ald Trump, the impos­si­bly coiffed real estate mogul and de fac­to leader of the “birther” move­ment, had some­thing of a Twit­ter melt­down in the wake of Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma’s pro­ject­ed vic­to­ry in Tues­day’s elec­tion.

    “Well, back to the draw­ing board!” Trump tweet­ed short­ly after sev­er­al net­works, includ­ing Fox News, called Ohio in the pres­i­den­t’s favor, seal­ing the win. “We can’t let this hap­pen. We should march on Wash­ing­ton and stop this trav­es­ty. Our nation is total­ly divid­ed!”

    Trump—who last month offered $5 mil­lion to a char­i­ty of Oba­ma’s choice in exchange for the release of the com­man­der in chief’s col­lege records and pass­port application—continued his post-elec­tion rant in 140-char­ac­ter chunks:

    Let’s fight like hell and stop this great and dis­gust­ing injus­tice! The world is laugh­ing at us.

    This elec­tion is a total sham and a trav­es­ty. We are not a democ­ra­cy!

    Our nation is a once great nation divid­ed!

    Our coun­try is now in seri­ous and unprece­dent­ed trouble...like nev­er before.

    The elec­toral col­lege is a dis­as­ter for a democ­ra­cy.

    “Barack Oba­ma is the least trans­par­ent pres­i­dent in the his­to­ry of this coun­try,” Trump said in a wide­ly mocked Octo­ber video shot from his New York office and uploaded to YouTube. “I’m very hon­ored to have got­ten him to release his long-form birth cer­tifi­cate or what­ev­er it may be.”

    ““Well, back to the draw­ing board!” Trump tweet­ed short­ly after sev­er­al net­works, includ­ing Fox News, called Ohio in the pres­i­den­t’s favor, seal­ing the win.”

    That was four years ago. “Back to the draw­ing board,” indeed.

    And in hor­ri­bly relat­ed news, a Kansas mili­tia was caught plan­ning attacks on a local Soma­li com­mu­ni­ty, and any­one sup­port­ive of that com­mu­ni­ty, the attack for the day after elec­tion day:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Feds: Right Wing Mili­tia Plot­ted Nov. 9 Attack On Soma­li Immi­grants In Kansas

    By Tier­ney Sneed
    Pub­lished Octo­ber 14, 2016, 4:50 PM EDT

    The feds arrest­ed three mem­bers of a right wing mili­tia for alleged­ly plan­ning to det­o­nate explo­sives at an apart­ment com­plex in Gar­den City, Kansas, with Soma­li Mus­lims specif­i­cal­ly the tar­get, law enforce­ment announced at Fri­day.

    The men were Cur­tis Allen and Gavin Wright, both 49, and of Lib­er­al, Kansas, and Patrick Eugene Stein, 47, of Wright, Kansas, accord­ing to a Depart­ment of Jus­tice press release. Their arrests Fri­day morn­ing were first report­ed by CBS News.

    The attack was alleged­ly planned for the day after Elec­tion Day, law enforce­ment said at a press con­fer­ence.

    They are fac­ing domes­tic ter­ror­ism charges, which, if they are con­vict­ed, could result in a max­i­mum sen­tence of life in fed­er­al prison, law enforce­ment said.

    “These charges are based on eight months of inves­ti­ga­tion by the FBI that is alleged to have tak­en the inves­ti­ga­tors deep into a hid­den cul­ture of hatred and vio­lence,” Tom Beall, the act­ing U.S. Attor­ney for Kansas, said. “Many Kansans may find it as star­tling as I have that such things could hap­pen here.”

    The inves­ti­ga­tion uncov­ered stock­piles of firearms and explo­sive mate­ri­als, as well as a man­i­festo, Beall said.

    “One of them said, ‘The bomb­ing would wake peo­ple up,’ ” Beall said.

    The sus­pects alleged­ly planned to attack the hous­ing com­plex, where approx­i­mate­ly 120 peo­ple live and where one of the apart­ments was used as a mosque, the offi­cials said. They were part of a mili­tia group that called itself The Cru­saders, accord­ing to law enforce­ment.

    They also con­sid­ered tar­get­ing church­es and pub­lic offi­cials who sup­port­ed the Soma­li com­mu­ni­ty, as well as the land­lords that rent­ed to the immi­grants, the offi­cials said.

    ...

    ““These charges are based on eight months of inves­ti­ga­tion by the FBI that is alleged to have tak­en the inves­ti­ga­tors deep into a hid­den cul­ture of hatred and vio­lence,” Tom Beall, the act­ing U.S. Attor­ney for Kansas, said. “Many Kansans may find it as star­tling as I have that such things could hap­pen here.””

    Yes, many Kansans may find it star­tling that a group was plan­ning on mass mur­der­ing one a local Soma­li com­mu­ni­ty, along with any­one friend­ly with this com­mu­ni­ty, the day after elec­tion day. It’s the kind of news that should star­tle.

    Just as many Amer­i­cans might find it star­tling that the GOP’s nom­i­nee is an Alt-Right icon who is one ver­bal out­burst away from call­ing for some sort of mass move­ment to get him installed as Pres­i­dent because oth­er­wise an inter­na­tion­al banker con­spir­a­cy will destroy Amer­i­can sov­er­eign­ty. And only he can save us. A flir­ta­tion with shred­ding the social con­tract that keeps democ­ra­cy oper­at­ing (accept­ing the out­come of elec­tions) is ‘on the draw­ing board’ right now.

    It’s a star­tling, yet still some­what famil­iar sit­u­a­tion. Like the remake of a hor­ror movie you’ve seen before.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 15, 2016, 1:48 pm
  2. Here’s how Trump and his sur­ro­gates spent their Sun­day: In case we did­n’t already get the memo, the Trump cam­paign went on to all the var­i­ous Sun­day morn­ing polit­i­cal shows and across the media to inform audi­ences that the media is rig­ging the elec­tion against Trump. Trump’s sur­ro­gates like Mike Pence and Rudy Giu­liani took pains to point out that they were just talk­ing about the media team­ing up on Trump and not assert­ing that polling places were get­ting rigged. Trump him­self begged to dif­fer. On Twit­ter, of course:

    Media­Mat­ters

    Trump And His Sur­ro­gates Spent Sun­day Claim­ing That The Media Are Rig­ging The Elec­tion

    Research ››› Octo­ber 16, 2016 4:06 PM EDT ››› KATIE SULLIVAN

    Sur­ro­gates for Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump dou­bled down on Trump’s claim that the media is biased against him and that the “elec­tion is being rigged by the nation­al media” in favor of Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Hillary Clin­ton in a series of inter­views on the Sun­day morn­ing polit­i­cal talk shows.

    Don­ald Trump Claims The Media Is Rig­ging The Elec­tion

    Don­ald Trump Says The “Dis­hon­est And Dis­tort­ed Media” Are “Rig­ging The Elec­tion.” Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump tweet­ed on Octo­ber 16 that the “elec­tion is being rigged by the media, in a coor­di­nat­ed effort with the Clin­ton cam­paign” and that the “dis­hon­est and dis­tort­ed media” is “push­ing Crooked Hillary”:

    Polls close, but can you believe I lost large num­bers of women vot­ers based on made up events THAT NEVER HAPPENED. Media rig­ging elec­tion!— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Octo­ber 16, 2016

    Elec­tion is being rigged by the media, in a coor­di­nat­ed effort with the Clin­ton cam­paign, by putting sto­ries that nev­er hap­pened into news!— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Octo­ber 16, 2016

    The elec­tion is absolute­ly being rigged by the dis­hon­est and dis­tort­ed media push­ing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places — SAD— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Octo­ber 16, 2016

    [Twit­ter, 10/16/16, 10/16/16, 10/16/16]

    On Sun­day Polit­i­cal Shows, Mike Pence, Newt Gin­grich, And Rudy Giu­liani Push Trump’s Claim That The Elec­tion Is Being Rigged By The Media

    On Meet The Press, Mike Pence Said “The Obvi­ous Bias In The Nation­al Media” Against Trump Is “Where The Sense Of A Rigged Elec­tion” Comes From. Repub­li­can vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Indi­ana Gov. Mike Pence claimed mul­ti­ple times on NBC’s Meet the Press that “the nation­al media” are cov­er­ing “unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims” that his run­ning mate, pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, sex­u­al­ly assault­ed sev­er­al women instead of “cor­rup­tion and pay to play in the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion years.” Pence said that “the obvi­ous bias in the nation­al media” is “where the sense of a rigged elec­tion” comes from and that he and Trump will “work our hearts out against all odds, against most of you in the nation­al media.” [NBC, Meet the Press, 10/16/16]

    On Face The Nation, Pence Claimed The Elec­tion Is A “Two-On-One Fight” With Many “In The Nation­al Media Doing Half Of Hillary Clinton’s Work For Her.” On CBS’ Face the Nation, Pence argued that when Trump talks about a “rigged elec­tion,” he’s refer­ring to “the mono­lith­ic sup­port of the nation­al media for Hillary Clinton’s cam­paign.” Pence went on to call the elec­tion a “two-on-one fight with many of you in the nation­al media doing half of Hillary Clin­ton’s work for her every day”:

    JOHN DICKERSON (HOST): Anoth­er thing [Trump] is say­ing is that the elec­tion is rigged. My ques­tion is: Is that a respon­si­ble thing for a can­di­date to say?

    MIKE PENCE: Well, I think what Don­ald Trump is talk­ing about is, frankly, what appears to be the mono­lith­ic sup­port of the nation­al media for Hillary Clin­ton’s cam­paign. Their will­ful igno­rance about the avalanche of hard evi­dence, not alle­ga­tions, John, but hard evi­dence now com­ing out in these emails of col­lu­sion and pay-for-play pol­i­tics. And the Amer­i­can peo­ple are just tired of it. Look, we’ll respect the out­come of this elec­tion, John. Let me be very clear, Don­ald Trump said in the first debate that we’ll respect the will of the Amer­i­can peo­ple in this elec­tion, the peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er is a hall­mark of Amer­i­can his­to­ry, and elec­tions get real­ly tough. But the Amer­i­can peo­ple are get­ting awful tired of this two-on-one fight with many of you in the nation­al media doing half of Hillary Clin­ton’s work for her every day. All we’re ask­ing for is what­ev­er you want to report about our cam­paign, let’s get out there, let’s let the facts speak for them­selves. But let’s get before the Amer­i­can peo­ple this avalanche of emails that is con­firm­ing pay-to-play pol­i­tics and out­right cor­rup­tion dur­ing the Clin­ton years. [CBS, Face the Nation, 10/16/16]

    ...

    On This Week, Newt Gin­grich Claimed “This Elec­tion Is Being Rigged By The Nation­al Media.” On ABC’s This Week, Fox News con­trib­u­tor Newt Gin­grich claimed that “it’s amaz­ing that Trump is as close as he is right now con­sid­er­ing the one-sid­ed­ness of the news media bar­rage,” and that “This elec­tion is being rigged by the nation­al media who are doing every­thing they can to sup­press bad news about Hillary, and every­thing they can to max­i­mize bad news about Trump.” Gin­grich also cit­ed a blog to say that “this is a coup d’etat. … Four­teen mil­lion cit­i­zens in pri­vate bal­lots Don­ald Trump, 20 TV exec­u­tives have decid­ed to destroy him.” [ABC, This Week with George Stephanopou­los, 10/16/16]

    On State Of The Union, Rudy Giu­liani Said The Elec­tion Is Rigged Because “80 To 85 Per­cent Of The Media Is Against” Trump. On CNN’s State of the Union, Trump sur­ro­gate and for­mer New York may­or Rudy Giu­liani said that when Trump “talks about a rigged elec­tion, he’s not talk­ing about the fact that it’s going to be rigged at the polls. What he’s talk­ing about is that 80 to 85 per­cent of the media is against him.” Giu­liani added that news­pa­pers pub­lish sto­ries about Trump that are “total­ly base­less” and “sil­ly,” specif­i­cal­ly nam­ing The New York Times, The Wash­ing­ton Post, and The New York Dai­ly News:

    RUDY GIULIANI: When [Trump] talks about a rigged elec­tion, he’s not talk­ing about the fact that it’s going to be rigged at the polls. What he’s talk­ing about is that 80 to 85 per­cent of the media is against him. That when you look at The New York Times and you pick it up every morn­ing, on the top of the paper, there are three sto­ries that are anti-Trump — some of them total­ly base­less, some of them sil­ly — and then at the bot­tom you get a lit­tle some­thing about Wik­iLeaks. Or same thing with The Wash­ing­ton Post, I mean they’re way out of con­trol. The [New York] Dai­ly News. [CNN, State of the Union, 10/16/16]

    “The elec­tion is absolute­ly being rigged by the dis­hon­est and dis­tort­ed media push­ing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places — SAD— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Octo­ber 16, 2016

    Huh, when Rudy Giu­liani said, “When [Trump] talks about a rigged elec­tion, he’s not talk­ing about the fact that it’s going to be rigged at the polls. What he’s talk­ing about is that 80 to 85 per­cent of the media is against him,” and when Mike Pence argued that when Trump talks about a “rigged elec­tion,” he’s refer­ring to “the mono­lith­ic sup­port of the nation­al media for Hillary Clinton’s cam­paign,” it appears these two key sur­ro­gates were push­ing a very dif­fer­ent mes­sage in the media from the one Trump him­self was push­ing. It sounds like the Trump cam­paign could use a lit­tle media con­spir­a­cy of its own oth­er­wise known as mes­sage coor­di­na­tion.

    So the media is lying and the votes are going to be a lie. That’s Trump’s mes­sage to the pub­lic. And while the rest of his cam­paign may not be push­ing the “votes are going to be rigged”-meme as aggres­sive­ly as Trump, that does­n’t that mes­sage isn’t get­ting through to the intend­ed audi­ence:

    US News & World Report

    Poll: Vot­ers Think Elec­tion Could Be ‘Stolen’

    A new sur­vey shows 4 in 10 vot­ers think the GOP nom­i­nee could have the elec­tion ‘stolen’ from him, even as par­ty mem­bers work to walk back that claim.

    By Gabrielle Levy | Polit­i­cal Reporter
    Oct. 17, 2016, at 11:38 a.m.

    A wide swath of vot­ers believes Don­ald Trump’s asser­tions that the elec­tion will be rigged against him, even as Repub­li­cans are push­ing back against the claims.

    A new Politico/Morning Con­sult poll released Mon­day found 41 per­cent of reg­is­tered vot­ers say they agree that wide­spread vot­er fraud could be used to steal the elec­tion from the GOP nom­i­nee, includ­ing 19 per­cent who say they “strong­ly agree.”

    And while just 17 per­cent of Democ­rats and 39 per­cent of inde­pen­dents say they believe the elec­tion is at risk of being stolen from Trump, a whop­ping 73 per­cent of Repub­li­cans say they hold such a fear.

    The same poll finds Trump would lose the elec­tion to Demo­c­rat Hillary Clin­ton, 41 per­cent to 46 per­cent.

    “The elec­tion is absolute­ly being rigged by the dis­hon­est and dis­tort­ed media push­ing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD,” Trump tweet­ed Sun­day.

    As Trump’s stand­ing in nation­al and swing state polls has sunk over recent weeks, many ana­lysts and even some par­ty offi­cials say a vic­to­ry is all but out of reach for him.

    Per­haps in antic­i­pa­tion of a loss on Nov. 8, Trump has increas­ing­ly worked to under­mine his sup­port­ers’ trust in the out­come, blam­ing Clin­ton, the media and the polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment for con­spir­ing to cheat him out of the pres­i­den­cy.

    Trump sug­gest­ed the gen­er­al elec­tion would be “rigged” against him for the first time in ear­ly August as his poll num­bers tanked fol­low­ing some major blun­ders, includ­ing his extend­ed attacks on a Gold Star fam­i­ly. He dialed back those accu­sa­tions as his cam­paign sta­bi­lized in Sep­tem­ber, at one point near­ly draw­ing even with Clin­ton.

    ...

    As the pre­dic­tion of a stolen elec­tion has tak­en root among Trump’s sup­port­ers, lead­ers in his par­ty have tried to coun­ter­act his efforts to sow doubt in the integri­ty of the demo­c­ra­t­ic process.

    Trump’s own run­ning mate, Indi­ana Gov. Mike Pence, attempt­ed to clar­i­fy Trump’s com­plaint as one direct­ed at “the obvi­ous bias in the nation­al media.”

    “We will absolute­ly accept the results of the elec­tion,” he said Sun­day on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The Amer­i­can peo­ple will speak, but [they] are tired of the obvi­ous bias in the nation­al media. That’s where the sense of a rigged elec­tion goes here.”

    More­over, a num­ber of the crit­i­cal states like­ly to deter­mine the elec­tion out­come – includ­ing Ohio, Flori­da, North Car­oli­na, Ari­zona, Neva­da, Geor­gia, Wis­con­sin and Michi­gan – have GOP gov­er­nors, and offi­cials in charge of count­ing bal­lots in such states have strong­ly denied alle­ga­tions they would tip the elec­tion for any­one.

    “We have made it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Jon Husted, the Repub­li­can sec­re­tary of state of Ohio, where Trump has had an uneasy rela­tion­ship with the GOP, told The New York Times. “We are going to run a good, clean elec­tion in Ohio, like we always do.”

    House Speak­er Paul Ryan, who has fre­quent­ly found him­self on the receiv­ing end of Trump’s ire even as he has not with­drawn his endorse­ment of the can­di­date, said he was “ful­ly con­fi­dent” the elec­tion would be car­ried out fair­ly after Trump spoke of a con­spir­a­cy of “glob­al­ist elites” who have “rigged” the elec­tion against him at a Sat­ur­day ral­ly in Maine.

    “Our democ­ra­cy relies on con­fi­dence in elec­tion results, and the speak­er is ful­ly con­fi­dent the states will car­ry out this elec­tion with integri­ty,” Ryan spokes­woman Ash­Lee Strong said in a state­ment.

    On Mon­day, Trump called Repub­li­cans speak­ing out against him “naive.”

    “Of course there is large scale vot­er fraud hap­pen­ing on and before elec­tion day,” he wrote on Twit­ter. “Why do Repub­li­can lead­ers deny what is going on? So naive!”

    “And while just 17 per­cent of Democ­rats and 39 per­cent of inde­pen­dents say they believe the elec­tion is at risk of being stolen from Trump, a whop­ping 73 per­cent of Repub­li­cans say they hold such a fear.

    Ok, so almost 3/4 of GOP vot­ers feared the vote was going to be rigged against Trump. Now where did they get that idea? Of course, as the arti­cle noticed, the vast major­i­ty of the swing-states where vote-rig­ging might take place are states con­trolled by Repub­li­cans:

    ...
    More­over, a num­ber of the crit­i­cal states like­ly to deter­mine the elec­tion out­come – includ­ing Ohio, Flori­da, North Car­oli­na, Ari­zona, Neva­da, Geor­gia, Wis­con­sin and Michi­gan – have GOP gov­er­nors, and offi­cials in charge of count­ing bal­lots in such states have strong­ly denied alle­ga­tions they would tip the elec­tion for any­one.
    ...

    So hope­ful­ly some­one fol­lows up with Trump as to whether or not he’s con­cerned about, say, Scott Walk­er, rig­ging the elec­tion against him in Wis­con­sin. After all, when Roger Stone was push­ing the “all the polls are going to be rigged against Trump”-meme back in August, it was Scott Walk­er’s Wis­con­sin that Stone cit­ed as the most prone to rig­ging, with RNC chair­man Reince Priebus help­ing out:

    Wis­con­sin Pub­lic Radio

    For­mer Trump Advi­sor: Scott Walk­er Has ‘Rigged’ 5 Elec­tions
    Roger Stone Accus­es Gov. Walk­er, GOP Chair Priebus Of Elec­tion Fraud

    Tues­day, August 16, 2016, 4:40pm
    By Lau­rel White

    A for­mer advi­sor to Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign accused Gov. Scott Walk­er and Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee Chair Reince Priebus of rig­ging mul­ti­ple elec­tions in Wis­con­sin.

    The Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based polit­i­cal news­pa­per The Hill pub­lished a col­umn Tues­day writ­ten by for­mer Trump advi­sor Roger Stone.

    “As some­one with great sen­ti­men­tal attach­ment to the Repub­li­can Par­ty, as I joined as the par­ty of Gold­wa­ter, both par­ties have engaged in vot­ing machine manip­u­la­tion,” Stone wrote. Nowhere in the coun­try has this been more true than Wis­con­sin, where there are strong indi­ca­tions that Scott Walk­er and the Reince Priebus machine rigged as many as five elec­tions includ­ing the defeat of a Walk­er recall elec­tion.

    Mike Wag­n­er, pro­fes­sor of polit­i­cal sci­ence at Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin-Madi­son, said most cam­paigns would like­ly denounce such remarks, but Trump’s might not.

    “Don­ald Trump him­self has already said, if I don’t win, it may be that this elec­tion was rigged,” Wag­n­er said. “And so the col­umn from Roger Stone, a for­mer Trump asso­ciate, sure makes it sound like this is at least con­sis­tent with the Trump mes­sage, if not coor­di­nat­ed with the Trump mes­sage.”

    ...

    “As some­one with great sen­ti­men­tal attach­ment to the Repub­li­can Par­ty, as I joined as the par­ty of Gold­wa­ter, both par­ties have engaged in vot­ing machine manip­u­la­tion...Nowhere in the coun­try has this been more true than Wis­con­sin, where there are strong indi­ca­tions that Scott Walk­er and the Reince Priebus machine rigged as many as five elec­tions includ­ing the defeat of a Walk­er recall elec­tion.

    So, is the media going to start ask­ing the Trump cam­paign, or at least Roger Stone, if they’re still con­vinced that Repub­li­can gov­er­nors are going to be rig­ging the vote in all those key swing states con­trolled by Repub­li­can gov­er­nors? Espe­cial­ly Wis­con­sin, the home state of RNC-chair­man Reince Priebus. Is Wis­con­sin going to rig the vote too? If so, who are they rig­ging it for? Are Scott Walk­er and Reince Priebus going to fix the polling sta­tions for Hillary? Is that what Trump is sug­gest­ing? Would it be naive to believe oth­er­wise? How about states like Ohio or Flori­da? These are the kinds of ques­tions Trump is beg­ging the media to ask. Of course, he’s also threat­en­ing to charge the media with being in on a giant con­spir­a­cy against him if they ask ques­tions that make him look unhinged. Of course.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 17, 2016, 2:13 pm
  3. Big shock­er: Large num­bers of top Repub­li­can offi­cials agree with some­thing hor­ri­bly irre­spon­si­ble Don­ald Trump said:

    Politi­co

    RNC mem­bers agree with Trump: It’s rigged

    Many top GOP offi­cials believe the fix is in.

    By Kyle Cheney

    10/18/16 01:09 PM EDT

    Don­ald Trump is spend­ing the final weeks of his pres­i­den­tial bid declar­ing he’s the vic­tim of an unprece­dent­ed vote-rig­ging con­spir­a­cy meant to elect Hillary Clin­ton.

    Many top Repub­li­can Par­ty offi­cials agree.

    Inter­views with more than two dozen mem­bers of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee reveal abid­ing fears of Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ing fraud and wide­spread belief that at least part of the process or out­come is rigged.

    “I do believe that there are ele­ments that will try to rig the elec­tion on vary­ing degrees of scale and this will cer­tain­ly affect the out­come in vary­ing degrees,” said Peter Gold­berg, an RNC com­mit­tee­man from Alas­ka.

    “Should Hillary get ‘elect­ed’ she is imme­di­ate­ly dele­git­imized,” said Cal­i­for­nia RNC Com­mit­tee­man Shawn Steel in an email. “The 1% of Wall Street Bankers, Clin­ton Machine and [main­stream media] includ­ing your employ­er, Politi­co, is part of a mas­sive Left Wing Con­spir­a­cy to rig this elec­tion.”

    Not all of the RNC mem­bers who spoke with POLITICO believe the elec­tion is rigged. Some con­tend he’s wrong about the scale of the con­spir­a­cy he describes and oth­ers believe he should be tar­get­ing his ire at media, which they believe is indeed con­spir­ing against him.

    But rather than knock down Trump’s claims, most laud­ed his focus on bal­lot integri­ty and point­ed to instances of what they say is fraud­u­lent vot­er reg­is­tra­tion as proof that he may be onto some­thing.

    “It is a grave con­cern on a num­ber of fronts,” said Ari­zona RNC Com­mit­tee­woman Lori Klein Corbin. “When you have Democ­rats using Oba­ma’s fed­er­al forms to reg­is­ter vot­ers who do not have to declare if they are cit­i­zens or not and often show no ID.”

    Par­ty chair­man Reince Priebus has not refut­ed the notion that the elec­tion is rigged; the RNC declined requests for com­ment.

    In some cas­es, RNC mem­bers defend­ing Trump are at odds with Repub­li­can sec­re­taries of state – sev­er­al of whom pub­licly insist­ed this week that there’s no cause for con­cern. These GOP elec­tion admin­is­tra­tors expressed vary­ing degrees of con­cern that Trump’s so-far-unsub­stan­ti­at­ed charges could cast doubt on the integri­ty of the Novem­ber elec­tion results. (Recent nation­al polls show him trail­ing Clin­ton by a sig­nif­i­cant mar­gin).

    “First of all, I can reas­sure Don­ald Trump: I am in charge of elec­tions in Ohio, and they’re not going to be rigged. I’ll make sure of that,” Ohio Sec­re­tary of State Jon Husted told CNN Mon­day. “Our insti­tu­tions, like our elec­tion sys­tem, is one of the bedrocks of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy. We should not ques­tion it or the legit­i­ma­cy of it. It works very well. In places like Ohio, we make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

    Husted, who has called Trump’s claim “irre­spon­si­ble,” has been joined by GOP sec­re­taries of state in Iowa and Geor­gia in push­ing back against the alle­ga­tions. In recent days House Speak­er Paul Ryan has insist­ed he is “ful­ly con­fi­dent” in the integri­ty of the elec­tion – prompt­ing a back­lash from Trump. And for­mer RNC lawyers said Trump is way off base.

    “A nation­al con­spir­a­cy to rig the elec­tion I find is ludi­crous,” said Mark Braden, an RNC lawyer from 1979 to 1989. “There is no nation­wide con­spir­a­cy because there’s no way of doing it.”

    “I believe in vot­er ID laws to ensure fair and free elec­tions. Hav­ing said that, there is not and has not been any indi­ca­tion of sys­temic rig­ging of elec­tions in Amer­i­ca, and it’s extreme­ly dan­ger­ous to make those unfound­ed claims,” said Char­lie Spies, one of Braden’s suc­ces­sors as RNC coun­sel. “Don­ald Trump should be focused on run­ning an effec­tive cam­paign rather than mak­ing false excus­es for los­ing.”

    But Corbin, the Ari­zona com­mit­tee­woman, said she agreed with Trump’s warn­ing ear­li­er this month that Democ­rats may be inten­tion­al­ly allow­ing undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants into the coun­try to vote in the elec­tion – though they are no sub­stan­ti­at­ed claims that this is occur­ring. “This is hap­pen­ing all over the U.S. and we don’t even know how many ille­gals are here present­ly that will take advan­tage of these loop­holes,” she said.

    Close to 20 RNC mem­bers point­ed to oth­er forms of vot­er fraud or fraud­u­lent vot­er reg­is­tra­tion – con­cerns that have helped fuel a dri­ve by Repub­li­cans to imple­ment vot­er iden­ti­fi­ca­tion require­ments, mea­sures they say will ensure the integri­ty of elec­tions. Democ­rats reject those efforts as vot­er sup­pres­sion tools, argu­ing that they pre­dom­i­nant­ly dis­en­fran­chise poor and minor­i­ty vot­ers.

    When pressed for evi­dence of fraud occur­ring on a mass scale, RNC mem­bers point­ed to small­er-scale issues that have erupt­ed over the years. Some ques­tioned why a large num­ber of precincts in Philadel­phia vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly for Barack Oba­ma in 2012. Oth­ers described dead peo­ple get­ting absen­tee bal­lot request forms in the mail or peo­ple reg­is­tered to vote in mul­ti­ple loca­tions. Oth­ers still wor­ried that hack­ers might attempt to manip­u­late elec­tron­ic vot­ing data.

    Mon­tana GOP chair Jeff Ess­man point­ed to a recent Billings Gazette sto­ry in which some vot­ers in Mis­soula com­plained of peo­ple vis­it­ing their hous­es and offer­ing to mail in bal­lots for them.

    “Here’s your vot­er fraud,” Ess­man said, though the sec­re­tary of state’s office indi­cat­ed in the arti­cle that bal­lot drop-offs are legal.

    Oth­er Repub­li­cans raised sim­i­lar anec­do­tal con­cerns.

    “Yes­ter­day, I saw a mem­ber of the Assem­bly post that one of their neigh­bors had received a bal­lot in the mail for her hus­band that was dead,” said Cal­i­for­nia RNC com­mit­tee­woman Harmeet Dhillon. “What we have here is a very poor – and behind the times – sec­re­tary of state’s depart­ment which does not purge the vot­er rolls, which does not do any­thing to police the integri­ty of the vot­ing.”

    Dhillon, a lawyer who has been a poll mon­i­tor and plans to over­see a local elec­tion this year, empha­sized that Repub­li­can elec­tion attor­neys intend to fan out all over the coun­try to mon­i­tor polling places to min­i­mize instances of fraud. She added that she isn’t sug­gest­ing there’s “an orga­nized effort by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty to com­mit mas­sive vot­er fraud” and she said she’s con­fi­dent the results of the elec­tion will be “fair.”

    Char­lie Copeland, chair­man of Delaware’s Repub­li­can Par­ty said Democ­rats lack incen­tive to com­mit fraud in his state because they vast­ly out­num­ber Repub­li­cans – but he point­ed to reports show­ing tens of thou­sands of dead rel­a­tives remain­ing on vot­er rolls.

    “So, what is the true reg­is­tra­tion, and who is mak­ing sure that only ‘real’ vot­ers are vot­ing? This is the sit­u­a­tion in Delaware and it is an envi­ron­ment that is ripe with the poten­tial for fraud,” he said. “In oth­er words, with vot­er rolls this bad and with­out enough Repub­li­cans to over­see the vote, cit­i­zen doubt about the valid­i­ty of the vote of a close elec­tion is log­i­cal.”

    Only a hand­ful of RNC mem­bers expressed con­fi­dence in their own states’ abil­i­ty to police vot­er fraud or not­ed that over­whelm­ing evi­dence sug­gests such fraud is rare and incon­se­quen­tial.

    Okla­homa RNC Com­mit­tee­man Steve Cur­ry said he’s ful­ly con­fi­dent in Oklahoma’s polic­ing of elec­tions because of a robust vot­er ID law, but added he’s con­cerned about elec­tion integri­ty in states with­out such restric­tions. Ten­nessee RNC Com­mit­tee­man Oscar Brock, said he has “com­plete faith in the elec­toral process here in this state.” And a spokes­woman for Michi­gan state par­ty chair­woman Ron­na Rom­ney McDaniel told POLITICO she, too, was uncon­cerned.

    “We have very strong elec­tion day oper­a­tions efforts to safe­guard against any attempts to defraud our elec­tion results. We are con­fi­dent that these efforts will help pro­tect our state from vot­er fraud,” said the spokes­woman, Sarah Ander­son.

    State par­ty chair­men in a num­ber of states have also expressed con­fi­dence in the over­sight of their elec­tions. Ohio GOP Chair­man Matt Borges tweet­ed his sup­port for his state’s elec­tion over­sight.

    “The vast major­i­ty of bat­tle­ground states have Repub­li­cans over­see­ing their elec­tion sys­tems,” said South Car­oli­na GOP chair­man Matt Moore. “I think it’s safe to assume they’re not rig­ging the process either against Don­ald Trump or for any­one else.”

    One thing most RNC mem­bers could agree on was their belief that the nation­al media are in league with Democ­rats in attempt­ing to manip­u­late vot­ers.

    “It depends on what you mean by ‘rigged.’ Our nom­i­nee is expe­ri­enc­ing an unprece­dent­ed onslaught by most of the media in the coun­try,” said Miri­am Hell­re­ich, an RNC com­mit­tee­woman from Hawaii. “Fox News seems to be the only news out­let report­ing on the cloud of decep­tion, dis­trac­tion and dis­re­gard for the truth when it comes to Hillary Clin­ton’s record and her fit­ness for the Pres­i­den­cy.”

    ...

    “Only a hand­ful of RNC mem­bers expressed con­fi­dence in their own states’ abil­i­ty to police vot­er fraud or not­ed that over­whelm­ing evi­dence sug­gests such fraud is rare and incon­se­quen­tial.”

    That sure sounds like the RNC large­ly agrees with Trump’s “It’s all rigged!” strat­e­gy. Yes, plen­ty of GOP sec­re­taries are state in key swing states might refute Trump’s asser­tion that they per­son­al­ly are going to rig the elec­tion in favor of Hillary Clin­ton, but it’s pret­ty clear that Trump’s “It’s all rigged!” meme is real­ly lit­tle more than a slight readap­ta­tion of the same old fear-mon­ger­ing about dead vot­ers and undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants that the GOP has been using for years.

    It’s some­thing to keep in mind because, should Trump lose and refuse to con­cede because “It’s all rigged!”, we prob­a­bly should­n’t assume that the rest of the GOP will play of the role of the adult. Espe­cial­ly after Mike Roman, Trump’s new head of “elec­tion pro­tec­tion” and the guy known for hyp­ing the “New Black Pan­thers” hys­te­ria back in 2008, finds some new fake out­rages to get the GOP out­rage-machine into high-gear. There are new reports that Roman has actu­al­ly come up with a new fake scan­dal, but giv­en his back­ground he’s prob­a­bly going to ‘find’ some­thing:

    The Guardian

    Con­tro­ver­sial Repub­li­can Mike Roman to run Don­ald Trump’s ‘elec­tion pro­tec­tion’

    Oper­a­tive best known for pro­mot­ing video of appar­ent vot­er intim­i­da­tion by New Black Pan­thers will over­see poll-watch­ing efforts

    Ben Jacobs in Wash­ing­ton
    Tues­day 18 Octo­ber 2016 00.55 EDT

    Don­ald Trump’s “elec­tion pro­tec­tion” effort will be run by Mike Roman, a Repub­li­can oper­a­tive best known for pro­mot­ing a video of appar­ent vot­er intim­i­da­tion by the New Black Pan­thers out­side a polling place in 2008.

    Roman is to over­see poll-watch­ing efforts as Trump under­takes an unprece­dent­ed effort by a major par­ty nom­i­nee by call­ing into ques­tion the legit­i­ma­cy of the pop­u­lar vote weeks before elec­tion day.

    The Repub­li­can nom­i­nee has insist­ed, with­out evi­dence, that dead peo­ple and undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants are vot­ing in the Unit­ed States.

    Trump has long claimed that the 2016 elec­tion is rigged but has ampli­fied his claims of vot­er fraud in recent days. On Mon­day he tweet­ed: “Of course there is large scale vot­er fraud hap­pen­ing on and before elec­tion day. Why do Repub­li­can lead­ers deny what is going on? So naive!” In par­tic­u­lar Trump claimed in an inter­view with Fox News that vot­er fraud was ram­pant in cities includ­ing Philadel­phia, St Louis and Chica­go after long warn­ing vague­ly about fraud in “cer­tain com­mu­ni­ties”.

    Mul­ti­ple sources have con­firmed to the Guardian that Roman, who also pre­vi­ous­ly ran the Koch network’s now defunct inter­nal intel­li­gence agency, will over­see the Trump campaign’s efforts to mon­i­tor polling places for any signs of vot­er fraud.

    Roman is best known for his role in pro­mot­ing a video that showed two mem­bers of the New Black Pan­thers – a fringe group that claims descent from the 1960s rad­i­cals – stand­ing out­side a Philadel­phia polling place dressed in uni­forms, with one car­ry­ing a night­stick. Police are called and the two men leave.

    A jus­tice depart­ment inves­ti­ga­tion into the inci­dent – filed in the weeks before George W Bush left office – became a polit­i­cal foot­ball that divid­ed career lawyers with­in the jus­tice depart­ment. The inci­dent was repeat­ed­ly cit­ed as evi­dence of Democ­rats set­ting out to harm the elec­tion process.

    The case was even­tu­al­ly dropped but not before it became a con­ser­v­a­tive cause célèbre. As Rick Hasen, a elec­tion law pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Irvine, said: “It was one of the most retold sto­ries on Fox News and the right for years and took on almost myth­i­cal sta­tus as evi­dence of thug­gery by Democ­rats to harm the vot­ing process.”

    Hasen, who viewed the case as a “com­plete tem­pest in teapot”, said of Roman that he was “some­body who has been more will­ing to put forth more out­ra­geous state­ments about vot­er fraud and elec­tion process”. Hasen added: “I don’t con­sid­er him a very respon­si­ble voice among Repub­li­cans on this ques­tion and I’m not sur­prised that Trump would be using him for polling relat­ed efforts.”

    ...

    “Hasen, who viewed the case as a “com­plete tem­pest in teapot”, said of Roman that he was “some­body who has been more will­ing to put forth more out­ra­geous state­ments about vot­er fraud and elec­tion process”. Hasen added: “I don’t con­sid­er him a very respon­si­ble voice among Repub­li­cans on this ques­tion and I’m not sur­prised that Trump would be using him for polling relat­ed efforts.””

    With Mike Roman hired to find (or ‘find’) instanced of vot­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties, should we expect lots of reports about armed men intim­i­dat­ing the vot­ing polls to be one of the main sto­ries com­ing out of the Trump cam­paign on elec­tion day? That’s entire­ly pos­si­ble, espe­cial­ly if you con­sid­er the high like­li­hood of armed Trump sup­port­ers watch­ing out for threats to the integri­ty of the vote (non-iron­i­cal­ly):

    Talk­ing Points Memo DC

    Is Trump Urg­ing His Gun-Tot­ing Sup­port­ers To Break Vot­er Intim­i­da­tion Laws?

    By Tier­ney Sneed
    Pub­lishe­dO­c­to­ber 18, 2016, 6:00 AM EDT

    Don­ald Trump is engag­ing in an unprece­dent­ed cam­paign of vot­er fraud fear-mon­ger­ing. Not only is he putting Amer­i­cans’ trust in the bedrock of U.S. democ­ra­cy at risk, but what he has urged his sup­port­ers to do — in stump speech­es across the coun­try — would, if car­ried out, like­ly be a form of ille­gal vot­er intim­i­da­tion.

    Civ­il rights groups are already gear­ing up for an espe­cial­ly tense Elec­tion Day. Mean­while, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has been hob­bled by a 2013 Supreme Court rul­ing in its abil­i­ty to mon­i­tor elec­tions in places with his­to­ries of vot­er intim­i­da­tion. Of par­tic­u­lar con­cern are states with loose open car­ry laws, where already, some armed Trump sup­port­ers have shown an inter­est in mak­ing their pres­ence known at vot­ing sites.

    “The idea that peo­ple would be stand­ing out­side the polls with guns, or even inside the polls with guns, clear­ly has the poten­tial to turn peo­ple away. There’s a long his­to­ry of this,” said Deuel Ross, an attor­ney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which is very active in vot­ing rights lit­i­ga­tion.

    His group plans to be observ­ing elec­tions in Geor­gia, Texas, Alaba­ma, Louisiana and South Car­oli­na.

    “These are places with a his­to­ry of vot­er intim­i­da­tion and also very lib­er­al gun laws,” Ross said.

    Trump has for months com­plained about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an elec­tion some­how “rigged” against him, but recent­ly, the rhetoric has tak­en on a more omi­nous, and even racial­ly-tinged tone, that specif­i­cal­ly men­tions vot­er fraud at the bal­lot box. Last week, he told a most­ly white crowd in Ambridge, Penn­syl­va­nia, to “watch oth­er com­mu­ni­ties, because we don’t want this elec­tion stolen from us.” He said at ral­ly in Michi­gan late last month that his sup­port­ers, after they vote, should “pick some oth­er place ... and go sit there with your friends and make sure it’s on the up and up.”

    It appears that some of his sup­port­ers are pre­pared to heed his call. Steve Webb, a 61-year-old Trump sup­port­er from Ohio, told the Boston Globe he planned to go “watch” from his precinct “for sure.”

    “I’ll look for . . . well, it’s called racial pro­fil­ing. Mex­i­cans. Syr­i­ans. Peo­ple who can’t speak Amer­i­can,” he said. “I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do every­thing legal­ly. I want to see if they are account­able. I’m not going to do any­thing ille­gal. I’m going to make them a lit­tle bit ner­vous.”

    Two Trump sup­port­ers in Vir­ginia last week staged a 12-hour open car­ry “protest” out­side a Demo­c­ra­t­ic cam­paign office, though they denied they posed any kind of threat. If that sort of the activ­i­ty is the har­bin­ger of things to come at polling places on Elec­tion Day, it could be a vio­la­tion of fed­er­al law.

    The Vot­ing Rights Act includes a pro­vi­sion that pro­hibits any attempt to “intim­i­date, threat­en, or coerce” a per­son try­ing to vote, and there’s a sec­tion of the fed­er­al crim­i­nal code ban­ning vot­er intim­i­da­tion as well. In the­o­ry, that could set up a con­fronta­tion between fed­er­al vot­er intim­i­da­tion laws and state open-car­ry laws (fed­er­al law would gen­er­al­ly trump state law). How­ev­er, accord­ing to Kris­ten Clarke, the pres­i­dent and exec­u­tive direc­tor of Lawyers’ Com­mit­tee for Civ­il Rights Under Law, fed­er­al laws are rarely ever used to address vot­er intim­i­da­tion claims.

    “There’s not just much of a his­to­ry of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment using them,” Clarke said, adding that her group, which mon­i­tors elec­tions to ensure all eli­gi­ble vot­ers can cast a bal­lot, is more reliant on state and local sys­tems to address instances of vot­er intim­i­da­tion.

    Even though the legal lan­guage sur­round­ing vot­er intim­i­da­tion does­n’t specif­i­cal­ly men­tion weapons, cer­tain actions with firearms could cer­tain­ly be inter­pret­ed as such, depend­ing on the con­text, legal experts and vot­ing rights advo­cates told TPM.

    “Peo­ple going to the polls, and just bring­ing their guns with them, even it that’s not wav­ing around threat­en­ing­ly, going to a polling place where you have a gun clear­ly can be intim­i­dat­ing for both black and white vot­ers, because of the his­to­ry of vio­lence that we’ve seen,” the NAACP’s Ross said.

    An Alaba­ma gun rights activist was pros­e­cut­ed on state vot­er obstruc­tion charges for bring­ing a hol­stered gun to a polling place in the 2014 elec­tion, though else­where in the state, open-car­ry has been allowed at elec­tion sites.

    Some states have rules specif­i­cal­ly ban­ning guns in and around polling places. In Geor­gia, for instance, gun own­ers are pro­hib­it­ed from car­ry­ing their firearms with­in 150 feet of a polling place. There are oth­er states, how­ev­er, with no such laws on the books, though guns might be banned in some polling sites by proxy, such as when the polling site is in a weapons-free zone like a school or cour­t­house.

    In many places, how­ev­er, the law is murky, and it’s a mat­ter, to a degree, of dis­cre­tion whether some­one bran­dish­ing a weapon cross­es the line into intim­i­da­tion.

    “For most states, the law doesn’t cre­ate a lot of speci­fici­ty about what counts exact­ly as intim­i­da­tion in the way that would allow you to know about when car­ry­ing a gun cross­es the line. It will often depend on the behav­ior and what the result is,” said Adam Gitlin, a coun­sel for the Democ­ra­cy Pro­gram at the Bren­nan Cen­ter, a non­par­ti­san pub­lic pol­i­cy and law insti­tute.

    Accord­ing to Adam Win­kler, a UCLA School of Law pro­fes­sor and author of “Gun­fight: The Bat­tle Over the Right to Bear Arms in Amer­i­ca,” such a deter­mi­na­tion would be a “a fact-sen­si­tive, con­text-based deci­sion.”

    “Some­one open­ly car­ry­ing a firearm into a polling place in rur­al Mon­tana, where a lot of peo­ple may open­ly car­ry, might not be viewed as the same intim­i­da­tion as an open-car­ry advo­cate in an urban area, where open­ly car­ried guns are rare, stand­ing around the polling places,” Win­kler said.

    The first line of defense is the poll work­ers at sites them­selves who have the author­i­ty in most states to do what it takes to ensure an order­ly elec­tion, vot­ing right advo­cates told TPM.

    “If oth­er­wise legal car­ry­ing of firearms and oth­er weapons actu­al­ly dis­rupts the order of the elec­tion or intim­i­dates vot­ers, then elec­tion offi­cials have the pow­er to stop that,” Gitlin said. “I am not aware of any state where a right-to-car­ry law explic­it­ly trumps the pow­er of elec­tion offi­cial to keep order.”

    But if they refuse to act, Ross sug­gest­ed a vot­er who feels threat­ened should con­tact their state elec­tions office or even the local U.S. attor­ney’s office.

    How­ev­er, the Jus­tice Depart­men­t’s pro­gram to keep an eye on such activ­i­ty has been ham­strung by the 2013 Supreme Court deci­sion in Shel­by Coun­ty v. Hold­er, which gut­ted a pro­vi­sion of the Vot­ing Rights Act that deter­mined which states need­ed to “pre­clear” any changes to their elec­tions pro­to­cols based on their his­to­ry of racial­ly dis­crim­i­na­to­ry vot­ing prac­tices. The DOJ inter­pret­ed the rul­ing to have also cur­tailed its abil­i­ty deploy elec­tion observers to the 11 states pre­vi­ous­ly cov­ered by pre­clear­ance. This elec­tion, the DOJ will only have its elec­tions mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram set up in five states — Alaba­ma, Alas­ka, Cal­i­for­nia, Louisiana, and New York — where fed­er­al court deci­sions have autho­rized it do so, Reuters report­ed this sum­mer.

    “That safe­guard of hav­ing spe­cial­ly-trained indi­vid­u­als on behalf of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment inside the polls won’t be in place in many com­mu­ni­ties this Novem­ber, cre­at­ing a poten­tial­ly tox­ic and vul­ner­a­ble sit­u­a­tion for some vot­ers,” Clarke said.

    It’s worth not­ing that the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee has been under a three-decade-old con­sent decree — that the Supreme Court in 2013 refused to lift — bar­ring it from engag­ing in any sort of “bal­lot secu­ri­ty” efforts tar­get­ing minori­ties. The decree is the result of RNC activ­i­ty decades ago — includ­ing the hir­ing of off-duty cops to patrol around elec­tion sites — that Democ­rats alleged amount­ed to vot­er intim­i­da­tion.

    At least one elec­tion law expert, UC-Irvine School of Law’s Rick Hasen, has argued that Trump may have vio­lat­ed the decree in his calls for vig­i­lante poll watch­ers if one inter­pret­ed him to be an agent of the RNC. Clarke, mean­while, called for the RNC case to serve as a guide for what can and can­not be done at the polls in Novem­ber.

    “The spir­it of that agree­ment should be guid­ing what hap­pens now and the court there was very clear about intim­i­dat­ing impact these efforts to pro­tect the so-called integri­ty of the process might have on vot­ers, and minor­i­ty vot­ers in par­tic­u­lar,” Clarke said.

    ...

    ““For most states, the law doesn’t cre­ate a lot of speci­fici­ty about what counts exact­ly as intim­i­da­tion in the way that would allow you to know about when car­ry­ing a gun cross­es the line. It will often depend on the behav­ior and what the result is,” said Adam Gitlin, a coun­sel for the Democ­ra­cy Pro­gram at the Bren­nan Cen­ter, a non­par­ti­san pub­lic pol­i­cy and law insti­tute.”

    That’s right, Trump is encour­ag­ing his sup­port­ers to “watch oth­er com­mu­ni­ties, because we don’t want this elec­tion stolen from us,” and there’s noth­ing stop­ping these sup­port­ers from bring­ing their guns along to assist in their ‘watch­ing’ efforts. And deter­min­ing whether or not this behav­ior con­sti­tutes a form of vot­er intim­i­da­tion is a sub­jec­tive call for most states. Great. Watch out for those ‘New Black Pan­thers’ on elec­tion day. Plus actu­al threats to the integri­ty of the vote.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 18, 2016, 3:10 pm
  4. Of all the ques­tions raised by the wave of sex­u­al harassment/assault alle­ga­tions against Don­ald Trump, one of the more dark­ly fas­ci­nat­ing ques­tions is what on earth has for­mer Fox News CEO Roger Ailes been advis­ing Trump on this mat­ter. Because it’s what only been a few months since Ailes was oust­ed for a very sim­i­lar sound­ing wave of alle­ga­tions and infor­mal­ly start­ed advis­ing the Trump cam­paign. So it seems impos­si­ble that Trump and Ailes haven’t dis­cussed this top­ic as it’s explod­ed in recent weeks. Although maybe it’s pos­si­ble if they’re no longer speak­ing:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Trou­ble In Par­adise? Ailes And Trump Report­ed­ly No Longer Speak­ing

    By Esme Cribb
    Pub­lished Octo­ber 19, 2016, 2:11 PM EDT

    Don­ald Trump has report­ed­ly lost a key ally in for­mer Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who decid­ed that advis­ing the GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee was “a waste of time,” accord­ing to a Wednes­day report.

    Ailes and Trump fell out after the for­mer Fox boss learned “that Trump couldn’t focus—surprise, sur­prise,” New York Mag­a­zine edi­tor Gabriel Sher­man told atten­dees at the Van­i­ty Fair New Estab­lish­ment Sum­mit, accord­ing to a report by Van­i­ty Fair. “These debate prep ses­sions weren’t going any­where.”

    Van­i­ty Fair con­tribut­ing edi­tor Sarah Elli­son report­ed­ly offered an alter­nate expla­na­tion from the per­spec­tive of Trump’s cam­paign, say­ing that Ailes “kept going off on tan­gents and talk­ing about his war sto­ries” instead of help­ing Trump pre­pare.

    In August, the New York Times report­ed that Ailes was help­ing Trump with debate prep. Cam­paign spokes­woman Hope Hicks denied that Ailes was play­ing any “for­mal or infor­mal role” in the Trump cam­paign, say­ing that Ailes was “not advis­ing Mr. Trump or help­ing with debate prep.”

    Accord­ing to a report by the Wash­ing­ton Post, Ailes was not involved in prepar­ing Trump for the sec­ond debate.

    ...

    “Van­i­ty Fair con­tribut­ing edi­tor Sarah Elli­son report­ed­ly offered an alter­nate expla­na­tion from the per­spec­tive of Trump’s cam­paign, say­ing that Ailes “kept going off on tan­gents and talk­ing about his war sto­ries” instead of help­ing Trump pre­pare.”

    It sounds like we have a “he said/he said” sto­ry going on here. At least no one got groped.

    So that’s a pret­ty big if this report is accu­rate, less so for what it means for the Trump cam­paign and most for what it might mean for Trump’s post-elec­tion schemes assum­ing he los­es. Who’s going to run “Trump TV”? Was­n’t Ailes the Trump TV dream CEO? Is Trump no longer talk­ing about Trump TV too?

    Talk­ing Points Memo Edi­tor’s Blog

    Will There Real­ly Be a Trump TV?

    By Josh Mar­shall
    Pub­lished Octo­ber 17, 2016, 4:31 PM EDT

    The New York­er’s Ryan Liz­za has a short piece out today throw­ing cold water on the idea that there’s real­ly going to be a ‘Trump TV’ after the 2016 elec­tion. My take is that I large­ly agree with Ryan.

    Trump TV has always been a sort of Trump’s Razor test case or ulti­mate exam­ple. Could it real­ly be so ridicu­lous as the whole cam­paign was just a vehi­cle to launch a low-infor­ma­tion TV news and pro­pa­gan­da chan­nel? Every­thing is ulti­mate­ly a grift for Trump. So it’s total­ly plau­si­ble. Trump’s Razor sug­gests that Trump TV is not only pos­si­ble but prob­a­ble. Indeed, the news out today sug­gests that Trump’s mini-me and cam­paign gen­er­al Jared Kush­er (Ivanka’s hus­band) has been talk­ing to pos­si­ble finan­cial back­ers.

    But here’s why it’s prob­a­bly a dubi­ous propo­si­tion.

    Nation­al cable news TV is mind-bog­gling­ly cap­i­tal inten­sive. You need to put hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars against it to have any shot in what is already in many ways a sat­u­rat­ed mar­ket. Yes, the bloom may be off Fox to the extent that they’re los­ing key tal­ent, have already lost their founder and guru Roger Ailes and may lack the full crazy poten­tial of the emerg­ing Trump/Breitbart right. But they still have a stran­gle­hold on not just rightwing cable news junkies but a dom­i­nant posi­tion in cable news gen­er­al­ly. What’s more they have the vast cap­i­tal invest­ment poten­tial of News Corp. They’re like­ly more vul­ner­a­ble to com­pe­ti­tion on the right than they have been in years. But unseat­ing them will still be very, very hard.

    How have com­peti­tors done?

    Not well. Glenn Beck­’s The Blaze has been dying. That’s the best ana­logue for a per­son­al­i­ty dri­ven right wing media com­pa­ny with TV or video at its cen­ter. And it was a pret­ty big fail­ure. Beyond The Blaze, the entire­ty media invest­ment sec­tor is in retreat. Big out­fits like Buz­zfeed and Huff­po aren’t going any­where. But they’ve bee under­per­form­ing recent­ly in finan­cial terms. And that’s chilled poten­tial VC and pri­vate equi­ty investors on whether the big pay­offs investors are look­ing for are real­ly pos­si­ble.

    But the biggest lia­bil­i­ty is like­ly Trump him­self. As I said above, stand­ing up a nation­al cable news chan­nel involves huge, huge amounts of cap­i­tal. You need to hire a big work force, build the stu­dio and report­ing infra­struc­ture of a cable news net­work and then you need car­riage rights. You have to get a chan­nel that actu­al­ly ends up in a lot of house­holds. What­ev­er Trump’s net worth in terms of assets, it is extreme­ly clear that he does­n’t have any­where near the amount of liq­uid assets to fund some­thing like that. He also has a pret­ty bad record with his busi­ness ven­tures out­side of core work in build­ings, golf cours­es, hotels etc. If all that’s not enough, the cam­paign itself has shined a pret­ty bright and dev­as­tat­ing light on his busi­ness prac­tices in gen­er­al and how many pre­vi­ous busi­ness part­ners have been left in the lurch.

    In oth­er words, it seems ques­tion­able whether he’ll be able to find some­one to fund the effort at the scale that makes the whole prospect fea­si­ble for a true nation­al cable news or even cable talk net­work.

    ...

    But there’s anoth­er aspect of Trump and his man­age­r­i­al and busi­ness prac­tices that may be an even big­ger prob­lem. It’s been strik­ing, hav­ing watched Trump’s cam­paign oper­a­tion and his busi­ness work over recent months, how thread­bare and ama­teur­ish so much of it is. Trump has been sur­pris­ing­ly stingy with his own mon­ey thrtugh the final crit­i­cal months of the fall. His dig­i­tal ads main­ly have the look of pump and dump con artist type out­fits. Do you see them on Face­book? They’re com­i­cal. The pro­duc­tion val­ues of some of his TV spots have been sig­nif­i­cant­ly bet­ter. But only a few of them. Through­out the whole oper­a­tion, we’ve seen the recur­ring pat­terns of oper­a­tions on the cheap and just low-end pro­duc­tion val­ues that would make it very, very hard to get a news net­work off the ground with.

    For all of these rea­sons, I think if there’s a post-cam­paign Trump media vehi­cle it’s far more like­ly to be a bar­gain-base­ment but per­haps high traf­fic web­site on the mod­el of Bre­it­bart: gar­ish, crazy but with a ready mar­ket of deplorables who come to TrumpNews.com for their news.

    “For all of these rea­sons, I think if there’s a post-cam­paign Trump media vehi­cle it’s far more like­ly to be a bar­gain-base­ment but per­haps high traf­fic web­site on the mod­el of Bre­it­bart: gar­ish, crazy but with a ready mar­ket of deplorables who come to TrumpNews.com for their news.”

    TrumpNews.com?! Anoth­er crap­py far-right ‘news’ out­let? Is that the big right-wing media scheme that Trump’s post-elec­tion plans have been reduced to? We’ll see. Maybe Trum­np is still think­ing about Trump TV and is hop­ing to gen­er­ate enough enthu­si­asm with con­ser­v­a­tive audi­ence in the final weeks of the cam­paign to get the investors he’ll need. Maybe. But as Josh Mar­shall notes, if Trump’s cam­paign is any indi­ca­tion of what we can expect from a Trump TV effort, that effort is going to be cheap and half-assed. And it’s not going to be easy to make some­thing as cap­i­tal inten­sive as a tv news net­work func­tion with cheap, half-assed man­age­ment. Unless that becomes Trump TV’s theme: You’ll know it’s real and grit­ty because of the low pro­duc­tion val­ue. The cable news equiv­a­lent of right-wing chain mail. Peo­ple seem to like that stuff so maybe low end Trump TV is a win­ning strat­e­gy.

    But if not, there’s going to be quite a few hur­dles for Trump TV which makes the prospects of a TrumpNews.com crap­py web­site all the more like­ly. Which rais­es the ques­tion: what do Steven Ban­non and the rest of the Bri­et­bart crowd thing about Trump mak­ing anoth­er crap­py far-right ‘news’ out­let that’s com­pet­ing for exact­ly the same mar­ket as Bri­et­bart? Fus­ing with the Trump cam­paign was a great busi­ness move for Ban­non and Bri­et­bart, but not if Trump spends the elec­tion cater­ing to the Bri­et­bart audi­ence only to wind up try­ing to steal that audi­ence away for TrumpNews.com. Peo­ple only have so much time in the day for right-wing ‘news’ and that’s already a sat­u­rat­ed mar­ket. Would­n’t it be some­thing of Trump ends up can­ni­bal­iz­ing Bri­et­bart.

    Of course, it’s also pos­si­ble that Trump ditch­es all his plans for a new media ven­ture and sim­ply spends the bulk of his post-elec­tion time fum­ing and tweet­ing about how the whole elec­tion was rigged and he should be pres­i­dent. It’s a pos­si­bil­i­ty we can’t rule out, which rais­es anoth­er ques­tion: can some­one run an entire news out­let exclu­sive­ly from Twit­ter? Because that might be the new media solu­tion Trump needs. And the best part of a TrumpTwit­terNews is that almost no employ­ees would be need­ed so Trump could feel safe hir­ing Roger Ailes (assum­ing they’re still talk­ing) with­out hav­ing to wor­ry about him bank­rupt­ing the com­pa­ny with future sex­u­al harass­ment law­suits. Sad! But prac­ti­cal.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 19, 2016, 6:36 pm
  5. Oh how cute: Don­ald Trump just gave a ‘first 100 days’ speech dur­ing which he pledged to be a Lin­coln-like leader who would heal and unite a nation almost as divid­ed as it was dur­ing the Civ­il War. He also fur­ther charged that the elec­tion is being rigged against him and promised to sue the 10 women 11 women charg­ing him with sex­u­al assault. It’s going to be a par­tic­u­lar­ly busy first 100 days for Pres­i­dent Trump. And where was the loca­tion of Trump’s “I’ll be a mod­ern-day Lin­coln” speech? Get­tys­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    In his­toric Get­tys­burg, Lin­coln spoke of uni­ty; Trump com­plained of a ‘total­ly rigged’ sys­tem

    By Jen­na John­son and Jose A. Del­Re­al
    Octo­ber 22 at 1:18 PM

    GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Don­ald Trump trav­eled Sat­ur­day to the site of the blood­i­est bat­tle of the Civ­il War, where he sug­gest­ed that the Unit­ed States is near­ly as divid­ed now as it was then. But instead of lay­ing out his vision for unit­ing the coun­try, as Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln once did here, Trump declared that the sys­tem is rigged against him, that elec­tion results can­not be trust­ed, that Hillary Clin­ton should have been barred from run­ning for pres­i­dent, that the media is “cor­rupt” and that he will sue all of the women who have accused him of sex­u­al assault.

    “It is my priv­i­lege to be here in Get­tys­burg, hal­lowed ground where so many lives were giv­en in ser­vice to free­dom — amaz­ing place,” Trump said, soon after tak­ing the stage more than an hour lat­er than expect­ed in a ball­room at the Eisen­how­er Hotel and Con­fer­ence Cen­ter. “Pres­i­dent Lin­coln served in a time of divi­sion like we’ve nev­er seen before. It is my hope that we can look at his exam­ple to heal the divi­sions we are liv­ing through right now. We are a very divid­ed nation.”

    Trump told the crowd of about 500 locals who are active in the Repub­li­can Par­ty that he did­n’t have to run for pres­i­dent, but he did so because the coun­try is in trou­ble, and he can fix things because he’s an out­sider who knows how the “very bro­ken sys­tem” works. He described him­self as being able to deliv­er “the kind of change that only arrives once in a life­time.”

    Trump said the sys­tem is “total­ly rigged and bro­ken” because Clin­ton has been allowed to run for pres­i­dent, even though he says that she broke “so many laws on so many dif­fer­ent occa­sions.” Trump also implied that what he called ram­pant vot­er fraud could cost him the elec­tion and said the media was “dis­hon­est.”

    “They’re cor­rupt. They lie and fab­ri­cate sto­ries to make a can­di­date that is not their pre­ferred choice look as bad, and even dan­ger­ous, as pos­si­ble,” Trump said. “At my ral­lies, they nev­er show or talk about the mas­sive crowd size and try to dimin­ish all of our events. On the oth­er hand, they don’t show the small size of Hillary’s crowds but, in fact, talk about how peo­ple are there — very small crowds, you know it, they know it, every­body knows it.”

    Media out­lets often pro­vide crowd esti­mates for cam­paign events by both Clin­ton and Trump.

    Trump also accused media out­lets of giv­ing voice to women accus­ing him of improp­er behav­ior or sex­u­al assault with­out fact-check­ing their claims, even though in many cas­es the women have pro­vid­ed the pub­li­ca­tions with the names of wit­nesse and oth­ers who have sup­port­ed their accounts.

    “Every woman lied when they came for­ward to hurt my cam­paign,” Trump said, as the crowd cheered. “Total fab­ri­ca­tion. The events nev­er hap­pened. Nev­er. All of these liars will be sued after the elec­tion is over.”.

    After spend­ing more than 13 min­utes list­ing his griev­ances, Trump read sev­er­al num­bered lists of things that he would do on his first day in office or dur­ing his first 100 days. Near­ly all of the items were things that he has repeat­ed­ly promised to do, but this was the first time that he list­ed them in a speech.

    ...

    Late Fri­day night, a hand­ful of cam­paign aides had a con­fer­ence call with reporters to pre­view Trump’s speech. Though the call last­ed more than 30 min­utes, the aides — who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty — pro­vid­ed lit­tle infor­ma­tion about what Trump would actu­al­ly pro­pose in the speech.

    When asked why Trump select­ed Get­tys­burg as the set­ting for his address, an aide said that Trump “has spo­ken before about Abra­ham Lin­coln” and that “Abra­ham Lin­coln is going to be an impor­tant fig­ure in terms of Mr. Trump’s vision for the Repub­li­can Par­ty.” But also: uni­ty, mil­i­tary vet­er­ans and African Amer­i­can vot­ers.

    “Get­tys­burg was the moment where the war turned,” the aide said. “It was a sym­bol of sac­ri­fice. It’s obvi­ous­ly a very fit­ting loca­tion.”

    Trump was joined in Get­tys­burg by his top two cam­paign aides, Steve Ban­non and Kellyanne Con­way, along with for­mer New York City may­or Rudolph W. Giu­liani and retired Lt. Gen. Kei­th Kel­logg. As Trump spoke, Con­way and Giu­liani stood to the side of the stage and watched.

    After his speech, Trump vis­it­ed the Get­tys­burg Nation­al Mil­i­tary Park, where a small crowd of onlook­ers had gath­ered to see him.

    ““Get­tys­burg was the moment where the war turned,” the aide said. “It was a sym­bol of sac­ri­fice. It’s obvi­ous­ly a very fit­ting loca­tion.””

    Well, see­ing as how Trump has now cast him­self as some sort of Obverse Abra­ham Lin­coln, it is kind of fit­ting, in a Bizarro World way, that Obverse Lin­coln would give a speech intend­ed to dele­git­imize an upcom­ing elec­tion at a place like Get­tys­burg. Divi­sive diver­sions for uni­ty! How Lin­col­nesque.

    It was also a extra fit­ting loca­tion for such a speech after the Penn­syl­va­nia GOP just filed a law­suit to allow for out-of-coun­ty GOP poll watch­ers who specif­i­cal­ly want to watch the polls in coun­ties with large minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tions:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire

    Penn­syl­va­nia GOP Files Fed­er­al Law­suit To Allow Out-Of-Coun­ty Poll Watch­ers

    By Alle­gra Kirk­land
    Pub­lished Octo­ber 22, 2016, 11:14 AM EDT

    The Penn­syl­va­nia Repub­li­can Par­ty filed a com­plaint late Fri­day night ask­ing a fed­er­al court to allow out-of-coun­ty poll watch­ers to mon­i­tor vot­ing sta­tions on Elec­tion Day.

    Filed on behalf of eight Key­stone State vot­ers, the suit alleges that state law restrict­ing poll watch­ers to the coun­ty in which they’re reg­is­tered vio­lates the First Amend­ment and denies them their right to equal pro­tec­tion under the law.

    Don­ald Trump has raised unfound­ed fears that the Nov. 8 elec­tion will be “rigged” by ille­git­i­mate bal­lots cast by undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants, peo­ple vot­ing mul­ti­ple times, and “dead peo­ple.” All of them, he claims, will vote for Hillary Clin­ton.

    He has called on his sup­port­ers to go “watch” vot­ers in “cer­tain areas” to ensure no fraud is com­mit­ted, direct­ing them to com­mu­ni­ties with large black pop­u­la­tions like Philadel­phia and Chica­go.

    Elec­tions experts and sec­re­taries of state have con­demned his com­ments as dan­ger­ous and untrue, not­ing that vot­er fraud is extra­or­di­nar­i­ly rare. Invalid vot­er reg­is­tra­tions are typ­i­cal­ly the result of out­dat­ed record-keep­ing rather than will­ful fraud.

    Still, Repub­li­can Par­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia GOP Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor Megan Sweeney told the Morn­ing Call that the state party’s fed­er­al suit was sim­ple “a com­mon­sense rem­e­dy to ensure the fairest elec­tion pos­si­ble.”

    Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia law pro­fes­sor Rick Hasen, who runs the Elec­tion Law Blog, not­ed the “awful­ly late” date of the suit in a Fri­day post and said the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion­al issues at hand seem “excep­tion­al­ly weak.”

    “The argu­ment is that the fail­ure to allow some vot­ers with­in the state to serve as poll watch­ers vio­lates equal pro­tec­tion, due process and First Amend­ment speech rights,” Hasen wrote. “I have nev­er seen such an argu­ment not extend­ed to the act of vot­ing, but to the act of watch­ing at the polls.”

    “I can­not see how this severe­ly bur­dens vot­ers’ rights,” Hasen con­tin­ued, say­ing he doesn’t think the fed­er­al argu­ments “have much of a chance of going any­where.”

    ...

    “”“The argu­ment is that the fail­ure to allow some vot­ers with­in the state to serve as poll watch­ers vio­lates equal pro­tec­tion, due process and First Amend­ment speech rights,” Hasen wrote. “I have nev­er seen such an argu­ment not extend­ed to the act of vot­ing, but to the act of watch­ing at the polls.”””

    As you can imag­ine, elec­tion law expert Rick Hasen is hav­ing a busy year. And that’s not going to end with this elec­tion if GOP calls for vig­i­lante hyper-par­ti­san “poll watch­ing” tar­get­ing minori­ties become the new norm.

    But note that even if the Penn­syl­va­nia GOP does­n’t win their out-of-coun­ty poll watch­ing law­suit, that does­n’t mean there won’t be an army of GOP poll watch­ers descend­ing on inner city polling loca­tions across the coun­try on elec­tion day. Except they won’t be part of the GOP’s offi­cial efforts. Or the Trump cam­paign efforts. It will be Roger Stone’s army, so it’s total­ly inde­pen­dent and not at all asso­ci­at­ed with Trump or the GOP *wink*:

    The Guardian

    Trump loy­al­ists plan own exit poll amid claims of ‘rigged’ elec­tion

    Effort led by Trump con­fi­dante and con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Roger Stone tar­gets cities with large minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tions, a tac­tic experts say could intim­i­date vot­ers

    Oliv­er Laugh­land and Sam Thiel­man in New York

    Thurs­day 20 Octo­ber 2016 17.40 EDT

    Don­ald Trump loy­al­ists will attempt to con­duct their own crowd-fund­ed exit polling on elec­tion day, osten­si­bly due to fears that elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines in cer­tain areas may have been “rigged”, the Guardian has learned.

    But the effort, led by Trump’s noto­ri­ous infor­mal advis­er Roger Stone, will focus on 600 dif­fer­ent precincts in nine Demo­c­rat-lean­ing cities with large minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tions, a tac­tic brand­ed high­ly irreg­u­lar by experts, who sug­gest­ed that orga­niz­ers could poten­tial­ly use the polling as a way to intim­i­date vot­ers.

    Stone told the Guardian that around 1,300 vol­un­teers from the con­tro­ver­sial Cit­i­zens for Trump grass­roots coali­tion would con­duct exit polling in Cleve­land, Detroit, Philadel­phia, Las Vegas, Mil­wau­kee, Fort Laud­erdale, Char­lotte, Rich­mond and Fayet­teville – all loca­tions in piv­otal swing states.

    Media orga­ni­za­tions and polit­i­cal cam­paigns con­duct exit polling for all major elec­tions, but David Pale­ol­o­gos – a polling expert and direc­tor of the Suf­folk Uni­ver­si­ty Polit­i­cal Research Cen­ter – said effec­tive exit polling was done in bell­wether precincts, not in areas like­ly to be dom­i­nat­ed by a par­tic­u­lar polit­i­cal par­ty.

    “It doesn’t sound like that’s a tra­di­tion­al exit poll,” Pale­ol­o­gos said of Stone’s planned efforts. “It sounds like that’s just gath­er­ing data, in heav­i­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic areas for some pur­pose. It doesn’t sound like exit polling.”

    The Repub­li­can nom­i­nee said dur­ing Wednesday’s debate he would keep Amer­i­ca “in sus­pense” over whether he would accept the out­come of the vote on 8 Novem­ber, and on Thurs­day he said he would accept only “if I win” or if it is a “clear” result. He has fre­quent­ly told his sup­port­ers that the elec­tion is being “rigged” against him, and since August his cam­paign has been recruit­ing elec­tion observers in antic­i­pa­tion of what he claims could be wide­spread vot­er fraud.

    On Thurs­day, Stone, a not­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist, argued that the cam­paign had focused their efforts to com­bat the so-called “rigged elec­tion” in the wrong area and should instead con­cen­trate on “elec­tion theft” via hacked or com­pro­mised vot­ing machines.

    “To those who say that it would be un-Amer­i­can to chal­lenge the elec­tion on the basis that it was rigged, I would argue it would be un-Amer­i­can to have evi­dence of that rig­ging and not chal­lenge the elec­tion,” Stone said.

    Experts have tak­en sev­er­al steps to rem­e­dy the dig­i­tal vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties in vot­ing machines in recent years. Last year at least one vot­ing machine sys­tem was found to be sub­stan­tial­ly inse­cure. Prince­ton researcher Jere­my Epstein, now of tech­nol­o­gy firm SRI, dis­cov­ered that Win­Vote machines used in Vir­ginia could be accessed com­par­a­tive­ly eas­i­ly over a Wi-Fi con­nec­tion through sim­ple pass­words. Epstein suc­cess­ful­ly pushed to have the machines decer­ti­fied.

    Epstein told the Guardian that exit polls in par­tic­u­lar were a dan­ger­ous­ly inac­cu­rate way to gauge the legit­i­ma­cy of an elec­tion. “There’s a lot of evi­dence that exit polls are not very accu­rate,” Epstein said. “Peo­ple don’t tell the poll­sters what they actu­al­ly did. In this elec­tion, depend­ing on the neigh­bor­hood, peo­ple might not want to admit that they vot­ed for Clin­ton or that they vot­ed for Trump.”

    ...

    The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty is already tak­ing pre­cau­tions to make sure elec­tion results are not inter­fered with elec­tron­i­cal­ly. “To date, 33 state and 11 coun­ty or local elec­tion agen­cies have approached the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty about our cyber­se­cu­ri­ty ser­vices,” the depart­ment said in a press release issued 10 Octo­ber. DHS con­tin­ues to offer “cyber-hygiene” ser­vices to oth­er state or local boards look­ing for pro­tec­tion against hack­ing.

    Rick Hasen, an elec­tion law expert at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, shared Epstein’s con­cerns over using exit polls as way of mea­sur­ing the legit­i­ma­cy of an elec­tion and warned: “It doesn’t sound like a sci­en­tif­ic way to do things, nor do I think it’s a sound way to fer­ret out machine prob­lems, it sounds much more like a Roger Stone dirty trick.”.

    Stone, who did not iden­ti­fy the par­tic­u­lar precincts vol­un­teers would be tar­get­ing, argued that the polling method­ol­o­gy, was “designed by pro­fes­sion­als”, but was unable to iden­ti­fy who these pro­fes­sion­als were. The for­mer Richard Nixon advis­er added that the effort was being run by the “Stop the Steal” orga­ni­za­tion, a group found­ed by Stone in the lead up to the Repub­li­can nation­al con­ven­tion in July, which orga­nized protests aimed at pre­vent­ing par­ty del­e­gates from tak­ing the nom­i­na­tion away from Trump.

    The Cit­i­zens for Trump coali­tion, which will sup­ply vol­un­teers for the polling, was also present at the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion and orga­nized a large ral­ly in Cleve­land along­side a host of fringe orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing armed vig­i­lantes group Bik­ers for Trump and the con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist web­site Infowars.

    “It sounds like he’s orga­niz­ing a goon squad that could poten­tial­ly be intim­i­dat­ing vot­ers in minor­i­ty areas,” said Hasen. “It does raise the threat of vio­lence on elec­tion day at polling places. Peo­ple are going to have to be vig­i­lant.”

    “Rick Hasen, an elec­tion law expert at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, shared Epstein’s con­cerns over using exit polls as way of mea­sur­ing the legit­i­ma­cy of an elec­tion and warned: “It doesn’t sound like a sci­en­tif­ic way to do things, nor do I think it’s a sound way to fer­ret out machine prob­lems, it sounds much more like a Roger Stone dirty trick.”

    Might Roger Stone have a dirty trick in mind? No way. How could a plan like this be a dirty trick:

    ...

    Stone told the Guardian that around 1,300 vol­un­teers from the con­tro­ver­sial Cit­i­zens for Trump grass­roots coali­tion would con­duct exit polling in Cleve­land, Detroit, Philadel­phia, Las Vegas, Mil­wau­kee, Fort Laud­erdale, Char­lotte, Rich­mond and Fayet­teville – all loca­tions in piv­otal swing states.

    ...

    Stone, who did not iden­ti­fy the par­tic­u­lar precincts vol­un­teers would be tar­get­ing, argued that the polling method­ol­o­gy, was “designed by pro­fes­sion­als”, but was unable to iden­ti­fy who these pro­fes­sion­als were. The for­mer Richard Nixon advis­er added that the effort was being run by the “Stop the Steal” orga­ni­za­tion, a group found­ed by Stone in the lead up to the Repub­li­can nation­al con­ven­tion in July, which orga­nized protests aimed at pre­vent­ing par­ty del­e­gates from tak­ing the nom­i­na­tion away from Trump.

    The Cit­i­zens for Trump coali­tion, which will sup­ply vol­un­teers for the polling, was also present at the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion and orga­nized a large ral­ly in Cleve­land along­side a host of fringe orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing armed vig­i­lantes group Bik­ers for Trump and the con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist web­site Infowars.

    “It sounds like he’s orga­niz­ing a goon squad that could poten­tial­ly be intim­i­dat­ing vot­ers in minor­i­ty areas,” said Hasen. “It does raise the threat of vio­lence on elec­tion day at polling places. Peo­ple are going to have to be vig­i­lant.”

    Yes, an army of 1,300 “Cit­i­zens for Trump” vol­un­teers, includ­ing “Bik­ers for Trump and Infowars is going to con­duct exit polls in Stone’s cho­sen cities (with high minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tions) using polling method­olo­gies designed by pro­fes­sion­als Stone refused to iden­ti­fy, and we’re all expect­ed to com­pare the Stone/Infowars exit polls with the actu­al report­ed results as means of deter­min­ing whether or not mas­sive elec­tron­ic vot­er fraud was tak­ing place. That could­n’t be a Roger Stone dirty trick, could it?

    So here we are: Trump just assumed the role of Obverse Lin­coln in Get­tys­burg, PA, and expand­ed on his argu­ments for why the whole elec­tion rigged while Roger Stone and Alex Jones plan on unleash­ing an army of poll watch­ers tar­get­ing minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties as part of a plot con­vince the pub­lic after the elec­tion that the rea­son there’s going to be appalling low sup­port for Trump in minor­i­ty com­mu­ni­ties is due to mas­sive elec­tron­ic vot­ing machine fraud and not because Trump is an Obverse Lin­coln. That’s the plan to heal a divid­ed nation, which total­ly makes sense but only because its Obverse Lin­col­n’s Bizarro plan.

    There’s no word yet on whether or not Pres­i­dent Trump will declare the world is flat dur­ing is first 100 days, but based on what we’ve seen so far we def­i­nite­ly can’t rule it out.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 22, 2016, 2:52 pm
  6. Here’s an inter­est­ing con­se­quence of Don­ald Trump’s “ene­mies list”, a list that includes all the Repub­li­can “Nev­er-Trumpers” who are either still refus­ing to work for a Trump admin­is­tra­tion or, by virtue of being on Trump’s ene­mies list, aren’t going to be wel­come in a TRump admin­is­tra­tion: The Trump tran­si­tion team can’t actu­al­ly find enough peo­ple in the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment will­ing to work for him:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Team Trump Strug­gling to Fill Nation­al-Secu­ri­ty Jobs
    Turned down by top tal­ent, Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion-in-wait­ing is try­ing to find some­one to oper­ate the agen­cies tasked with stop­ping hack­ers and ter­ror­ists.

    Kim­ber­ly Dozi­er
    Shane Har­ris
    11.09.16 3:24 PM ET

    Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump is scram­bling to line up senior offi­cials to run the government’s sprawl­ing intel­li­gence and home­land secu­ri­ty bureau­cra­cy.

    Team Trump is strug­gling to fill numer­ous key slots or even attract many can­di­dates because hun­dreds have either sworn they’d nev­er work in a Trump admin­is­tra­tion or have direct­ly turned down requests to join, mul­ti­ple cur­rent and for­mer U.S. offi­cials with direct knowl­edge of the tran­si­tion efforts told The Dai­ly Beast.

    Team Trump didn’t expect to win until the campaign’s inter­nal polling a month before the elec­tion sig­naled a pos­si­ble vic­to­ry. That’s when senior Trump offi­cials went into over­drive, try­ing to build a bench of expe­ri­enced nation­al secu­ri­ty can­di­dates with top secret clear­ances will­ing to work for a Trump presidency—and they met resis­tance across the land­scape of expe­ri­enced GOP nation­al secu­ri­ty pro­fes­sion­als.

    One per­son who met last month with Trump’s nation­al secu­ri­ty and home­land secu­ri­ty tran­si­tion team leader said that she con­fessed that many can­di­dates had flat­ly reject­ed attempts to recruit them, believ­ing that Trump was unfit to hold the office of com­man­der in chief.

    “She said that it was going to be very dif­fi­cult to fill posi­tions in that space because every­body that had expe­ri­ence was a nev­er-Trumper,” this per­son said, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to dis­cuss pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

    “She wasn’t even sure that she was going to be able to fill a tran­si­tion team,” much less find peo­ple to serve in gov­ern­ment posi­tions, this per­son said.

    “In the­o­ry, 20 peo­ple are sup­posed to para­chute into the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty [dur­ing the tran­si­tion between admin­is­tra­tions]. And I don’t think they have any­body to do it.”

    A sec­ond indi­vid­ual, also speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty, con­firmed this person’s account that there are a large num­ber of vacan­cies to fill with­out a clear plan of how that will hap­pen. Since Trump’s improb­a­ble win, Team Trump has been aggres­sive­ly reach­ing out to pos­si­ble can­di­dates with a flur­ry of meet­ings in New York and Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

    Two career U.S. offi­cials, cur­rent­ly serv­ing in the gov­ern­ment, also said they were unsure whether they would con­tin­ue in their posi­tions, which are slat­ed to last into the next admin­is­tra­tion.

    On Mon­day morn­ing, a group of offi­cials work­ing on a range of nation­al secu­ri­ty issues includ­ing the reset­tle­ment of refugees and meth­ods for coun­ter­ing ter­ror­ists’ vio­lent rhetoric met to dis­cuss their progress. But it wasn’t at all clear whether a Pres­i­dent Trump would even con­tin­ue those ini­tia­tives, one par­tic­i­pant said. Trump has promised to ban Mus­lims from cer­tain coun­tries from enter­ing the Unit­ed States and has claimed he knows bet­ter how to com­bat ter­ror­ists than mil­i­tary gen­er­als and intel­li­gence offi­cials.

    But before he can take the axe to Oba­ma-era pro­grams, Trump has to staff up his own admin­is­tra­tion. It won’t be easy.

    It was clear the Trump team would have trou­ble staffing their nation­al secu­ri­ty bench nine months ago, when more than 100 Repub­li­can nation­al secu­ri­ty lead­ers signed an open let­ter vow­ing not to sup­port him as the GOP nom­i­nee and “work­ing ener­get­i­cal­ly to pre­vent the elec­tion of some­one so utter­ly unfit­ted to the office.”

    “Every­body who has signed a nev­er-Trump let­ter or indi­cat­ed an anti-Trump atti­tude is not going to get a job. And that’s most of the Repub­li­can for­eign pol­i­cy, nation­al secu­ri­ty, intel­li­gence, home­land secu­ri­ty, and Depart­ment of Jus­tice expe­ri­ence,” Paul Rosen­zweig, who held a senior posi­tion at the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty in the George W. Bush admin­is­tra­tion, told The Dai­ly Beast. (Bush told reporters on Tues­day that nei­ther he nor his wife, Lau­ra, cast a vote for pres­i­dent.)

    Rosen­zweig pre­dict­ed that Trump would be able to fill posi­tions at the Cab­i­net lev­el, the sec­re­taries and admin­is­tra­tors who lead agen­cies and depart­ments. But the peo­ple below them, from the deputy lev­el on down, are the ones who actu­al­ly run the gov­ern­ment day-to-day, and there are few tak­ers for those jobs, he said.

    “The prob­lem is going to be find­ing the deputy sec­re­tary, and the head of cus­toms, and the gen­er­al coun­sel, which are the jobs that fun­da­men­tal­ly mat­ter,” Rosen­zweig said.

    Since the pub­lic let­ter in March, more peo­ple who served in key posi­tions in Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tions have stepped for­ward to dis­avow Trump and take them­selves out of the run­ning for jobs in his admin­is­tra­tion.

    Last week, for­mer CIA and NSA Direc­tor Michael Hay­den went so far as to accuse Trump of being a tool of the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment.

    Trump had con­sis­tent­ly refused to agree with the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty’s unan­i­mous assess­ment that Rus­sia was respon­si­ble for a cam­paign of cyber attacks and leaks against the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, which offi­cials said was intend­ed to “inter­fere” with Tuesday’s elec­tion.

    “Reject­ing a fact-based intel­li­gence assessment—not because of com­pelling con­trar­i­an data, but because it is incon­sis­tent with a pre­ex­ist­ing worldview—that’s the stuff of ide­o­log­i­cal author­i­tar­i­an­ism, not prag­mat­ic democ­ra­cy. And it is fright­en­ing,” Hay­den wrote.

    The like­ly pool of Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials now will come from a sec­ond-tier of younger and less expe­ri­enced peo­ple, Stew­art Bak­er, the for­mer gen­er­al coun­sel of the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency, told The Dai­ly Beast.

    Bak­er, who also served in a senior posi­tion in the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty dur­ing the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, said these less-expe­ri­enced can­di­dates weren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly with­out tal­ent, but he acknowl­edged that more sea­soned peo­ple like him­self were not like­ly to be join­ing the new admin­is­tra­tion.

    Trump will take over an intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty that is already in his cross-hairs, after he said in the third pres­i­den­tial debate that he doubt­ed its assess­ment on the Russ­ian hacks. Trump has also talked open­ly about infor­ma­tion that was relayed to him in clas­si­fied brief­in­gs giv­en to him and Clin­ton, and cur­rent and for­mer offi­cials have said they wor­ried that Trump wouldn’t be able to keep con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion secret.

    “The intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty has had pres­i­dents before who were deeply skep­ti­cal about their role, their prod­uct, and their val­ue,” Bak­er said. “The intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, I pre­dict, will work very hard to demon­strate its val­ue to the new pres­i­dent. Because if they don’t have sup­port from the White House, they don’t real­ly have much influ­ence in the inter­a­gency debate.”

    ...

    ““Every­body who has signed a nev­er-Trump let­ter or indi­cat­ed an anti-Trump atti­tude is not going to get a job. And that’s most of the Repub­li­can for­eign pol­i­cy, nation­al secu­ri­ty, intel­li­gence, home­land secu­ri­ty, and Depart­ment of Jus­tice expe­ri­ence,” Paul Rosen­zweig, who held a senior posi­tion at the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty in the George W. Bush admin­is­tra­tion, told The Dai­ly Beast. (Bush told reporters on Tues­day that nei­ther he nor his wife, Lau­ra, cast a vote for pres­i­dent.)”

    Ok, so the bulk of the GOP-lean­ing indi­vid­u­als that would nor­mal­ly be man­ning a new Repub­li­can admin­is­tra­tion’s nation­al secu­ri­ty team basi­cal­ly can’t (because they were Nev­er-Trumpers and Trump “has a long mem­o­ry”) or refuse to do so. Does this qual­i­fy as a nation­al secu­ri­ty threat? It’s hard to say since we’re talk­ing about Repub­li­can nation­al secu­ri­ty experts here, which is not a great sign if we’re talk­ing about war­mon­ger­ing neo­cons. But this could actu­al­ly be a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem if we’re talk­ing about career nation­al secu­ri­ty pro­fes­sion­als with­out a par­tic­u­lar war­mon­ger agen­da but instead those who under­stand the byzan­tine nuances of run­ning the nation­al secu­ri­ty agen­cies, which is prob­a­bly the case for the kinds of jobs the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is find­ing par­tic­u­lar­ly hard to fill:

    ...
    Rosen­zweig pre­dict­ed that Trump would be able to fill posi­tions at the Cab­i­net lev­el, the sec­re­taries and admin­is­tra­tors who lead agen­cies and depart­ments. But the peo­ple below them, from the deputy lev­el on down, are the ones who actu­al­ly run the gov­ern­ment day-to-day, and there are few tak­ers for those jobs, he said.
    ...

    That sure sounds like there could be an abun­dance of open slots in the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus. Any tak­ers? Any­one? Any­one who isn’t a neo-Nazi? Please?:

    Talk­ing Points Memo Muck­rak­er

    Trump’s White Nation­al­ist Back­ers Train Their Eyes On Elect­ed Office, Admin Posts

    By Alle­gra Kirk­land
    Pub­lished Novem­ber 10, 2016, 3:31 PM EDT

    In the wake of Don­ald Trump’s upset pres­i­den­tial win, the small yet vocal cohort of white nation­al­ists who sup­port­ed his cam­paign are refo­cus­ing their efforts from trolling lib­er­als online to run­ning for elect­ed office.

    Their rea­son­ing: If a can­di­date who appealed to the tide of anti-immi­grant, anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment surg­ing on the country’s right could win over vot­ers, why not one who is open­ly “pro-white”?

    “I have been very sur­prised that we have not seen attrac­tive, well-spo­ken, racial­ly aware can­di­dates run­ning for local office,” Jared Tay­lor, head of the white nation­al­ist Amer­i­can Renais­sance pub­li­ca­tion and annu­al con­fer­ence, told TPM in a Wednes­day phone call. “I think this will be inevitable, and I think that Trump will have encour­aged this. That our peo­ple will run for school board, city coun­cil, may­or, all that I antic­i­pate cer­tain­ly.”

    Oth­ers are think­ing in the short-term and train­ing their eyes, per­haps more quixot­i­cal­ly, on pos­si­ble posi­tions in a Trump admin­is­tra­tion.

    William John­son arguably did the most to advo­cate for the real estate mogul’s cam­paign through tra­di­tion­al polit­i­cal chan­nels. The Los Ange­les-based lawyer and chair of the white nation­al­ist Amer­i­can Free­dom Par­ty found­ed the pro-Trump Amer­i­can Nation­al super PAC, bankrolled robo­calls on his behalf, and was list­ed to serve as a Trump del­e­gate at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion until media out­cry forced the Trump cam­paign to remove his name and attribute his inclu­sion to a “data error.”

    John­son told TPM his plan now is to “whee­dle my way into a Trump admin­is­tra­tion.” He said he’d love a posi­tion as ambas­sador to Japan or the Philip­pines, coun­tries home to many of his legal clients, or under sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture, as he runs a small per­sim­mon farm. These like­ly remain pipe dreams, giv­en that the Trump cam­paign has said in the past that it “strong­ly con­demns” John­son’s rhetoric.

    “Right now because the elec­tion is over and there’s going to be no elec­tion for anoth­er two years, we’re not focused on peo­ple run­ning for office,” John­son said. “We’re focused on get­ting peo­ple into the admin­is­tra­tion and work­ing with­in the sys­tem. But in anoth­er year or so when elec­tions start gear­ing up, we will put our can­di­dates into place.”

    Mean­while, civ­il rights groups are keep­ing a wary eye on the slow creep of white nation­al­ists and the alt-right from mar­gin­al­ized con­fer­ences and online mes­sage boards into walk­ing, wak­ing polit­i­cal life. Oren Segal, direc­tor of the ADL’s Cen­ter on Extrem­ism, believes that the “big­otry and anti-Semi­tism and hatred” that vot­ers saw come out dur­ing the cam­paign was just the begin­ning. Trump’s extrem­ist sup­port­ers, he told TPM, “feel reward­ed for their bad behav­ior.”

    “The alt-right in par­tic­u­lar which was this very loose­ly orga­nized online move­ment, we’re going to see if it tries to become more of a real world move­ment,” he added.

    This nor­mal­iza­tion effort is already under­way. The alt-right held what amount­ed to a press con­fer­ence at the Willard Hotel in down­town Wash­ing­ton, D.C. in Sep­tem­ber, and Segal men­tioned an upcom­ing Nation­al Pol­i­cy Insti­tute event with “known anti-Semi­tes” like Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor Kevin Mac­Don­ald.

    These in-per­son meet-ups in con­ven­tion­al set­tings, Segal said, “speak to a devel­op­ment from an online phe­nom­e­non to a real-world one.”

    White nation­al­ists aspired to office even before Trump launched his cam­paign. For­mer Ku Klux Klan grand wiz­ard David Duke served one term in the Louisiana House in the late 1980s and made sev­er­al stabs at elect­ed office in the fol­low­ing years. This year, he launched a failed bid for a Louisiana Sen­ate seat and direct­ly tied him­self to a Trump tick­et.

    The younger gen­er­a­tion has been known to take the same tack. A recent Wash­ing­ton Post pro­file of Derek Black, son of the founder of the white nation­al­ist Storm­front web­site and a dar­ling of the move­ment until he pub­licly broke away from it, explained the strat­e­gy Black employed when he was still part of that inner cir­cle.

    “The way ahead is through pol­i­tics,” Black told atten­dees at a 2008 white nation­al­ist con­fer­ence, accord­ing to the Post. “We can infil­trate. We can take the coun­try back.”

    He was 19 years old at the time and had already won a GOP com­mit­tee seat in Palm Beach Coun­ty, Flori­da.

    Peter Brimelow, the edi­tor of anti-immi­gra­tion site Vir­ginia Dare, said Trump’s win would make main­stream politi­cians “see that these are win­ning issues.” Although Brimelow doubts that any self-described white nation­al­ists will “be allowed into pub­lic life,” he point­ed to politi­cians like Rep. David Brat (R‑VA) as “break­throughs” who he said share very sim­i­lar views to those of the white nation­al­ist com­mu­ni­ty.

    Tay­lor, of Amer­i­can Renais­sance, point­ed to Sen. Jeff Ses­sions (R‑AL), Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach and for­mer New York City May­or Giuliani—all of whom are already work­ing close­ly with the Trump team—as the kind of offi­cials white nation­al­ists would like to see in the next admin­is­tra­tion.

    Civ­il rights groups are close­ly mon­i­tor­ing which offi­cials Trump names to key admin­is­tra­tion posts, and these are the kinds of names that give them pause.

    “When [Bre­it­bart Chair­man Steve] Ban­non is the CEO of your cam­paign and also some­one who has made a place for the alt-right, the prospects are scary,” said Richard Cohen, legal direc­tor for the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter. “On the immi­gra­tion front you’ve got peo­ple like Kobach, the archi­tect of the coun­try’s harsh­est immi­gra­tion laws, SB1070 in Ari­zona and HB56 in Alaba­ma, on his tran­si­tion team for immi­gra­tion. You have peo­ple con­nect­ed to the Fam­i­ly Research Coun­cil, a hard-line anti-gay group, who are play­ing a role in his tran­si­tion team.”

    “So far we haven’t seen any effort on his part to dis­tance him­self from the peo­ple who brought him to the par­ty,” Cohen added. “He’s still danc­ing with them.”

    ...

    John­son told TPM his plan now is to “whee­dle my way into a Trump admin­is­tra­tion.” He said he’d love a posi­tion as ambas­sador to Japan or the Philip­pines, coun­tries home to many of his legal clients, or under sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture, as he runs a small per­sim­mon farm. These like­ly remain pipe dreams, giv­en that the Trump cam­paign has said in the past that it “strong­ly con­demns” John­son’s rhetoric.”

    Awww...William John­son would love to be part of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, but it’s prob­a­bly just a pipe dream since the Trump cam­paign strong­ly con­demned his rhetoric. Except, of course, the con­dem­na­tion only came after if was dis­cov­ered by the media that John­son was set to be a Trump del­e­gate at the GOP con­ven­tion. So while it might be a lit­tle dif­fi­cult for John­son him­self to join the Trump admin­is­tra­tion at this point giv­en his noto­ri­ety, maybe it’s not such a pipe dream for all the less­er known neo-Nazis try­ing to climb aboard the Trump train. After all...

    ...
    “When [Bre­it­bart Chair­man Steve] Ban­non is the CEO of your cam­paign and also some­one who has made a place for the alt-right, the prospects are scary,” said Richard Cohen, legal direc­tor for the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter. “On the immi­gra­tion front you’ve got peo­ple like Kobach, the archi­tect of the coun­try’s harsh­est immi­gra­tion laws, SB1070 in Ari­zona and HB56 in Alaba­ma, on his tran­si­tion team for immi­gra­tion. You have peo­ple con­nect­ed to the Fam­i­ly Research Coun­cil, a hard-line anti-gay group, who are play­ing a role in his tran­si­tion team.”
    ...

    When Steve Ban­non is your cam­paign man­ag­er, it’s hard to see why exact­ly your admin­is­tra­tion would have any oppo­si­tion to fill­ing key roles with neo-Nazis. At least not eas­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able neo-Nazis who can qui­et­ly whee­dle their way into a posi­tion.

    And if that does­n’t hap­pen and we’re lucky enough to not end up with cryp­to-Nazis fill­ing up the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s low­er-lev­el posts, the neo-Nazis will prob­a­bly still be pret­ty sat­is­fied:

    ...
    Tay­lor, of Amer­i­can Renais­sance, point­ed to Sen. Jeff Ses­sions (R‑AL), Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach and for­mer New York City May­or Giuliani—all of whom are already work­ing close­ly with the Trump teamas the kind of offi­cials white nation­al­ists would like to see in the next admin­is­tra­tion.
    ...

    So there we go...the neo-Nazis might not actu­al­ly need to both­er try­ing to whee­dle their way into the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. It would be redun­dant.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 10, 2016, 10:35 pm
  7. Oh boy, well, it looks like Don­ald Trump isn’t even going to both­er try­ing to shed his Alt-Right/­neo-Nazi image: Guess who Trump is report­ed­ly strong­ly con­sid­er­ing choos­ing to be his chief of staff. Steve Ban­non! So the cam­paign that made its Alt-Right/­neo-Nazi pedi­gree com­plete­ly clear by choos­ing Steve Ban­non to take over as the cam­paign COO is now going to make that very same point very clear about the actu­al admin­is­tra­tion (not that it was­n’t already obvi­ous):

    CNN

    Trump strong­ly con­sid­er­ing Steve Ban­non for chief of staff

    By Jere­my Dia­mond, Dana Bash and Evan Perez, CNN

    Updat­ed 8:41 AM ET, Fri Novem­ber 11, 2016

    Wash­ing­ton (CNN)President-elect Don­ald Trump is strong­ly con­sid­er­ing nam­ing his cam­paign CEO Steve Ban­non to serve as his White House chief of staff, a source with knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion told CNN on Thurs­day.

    The White House chief of staff is typ­i­cal­ly tasked in large part with ensur­ing that all wheels are spin­ning in the com­plex White House orga­ni­za­tion, and the source said that some peo­ple in Trump’s orbit do not think Ban­non, the exec­u­tive chair­man of Bre­it­bart News who joined Trump’s cam­paign in August, is the best fit for that posi­tion.

    Trump’s con­tem­pla­tion of Ban­non as chief of staff comes as his pres­i­den­tial tran­si­tion team is fever­ish­ly ramp­ing up its efforts to build out an admin­is­tra­tion after his sur­pris­ing win Tues­day.

    It also high­lights how Trump is con­tend­ing with com­pet­ing impuls­es as to whether he should fill the ranks of his White House with the right-wing fig­ures who ener­gized his cam­paign or more estab­lish­ment fig­ures expe­ri­enced in the ways of Wash­ing­ton.

    Reince Priebus, the RNC chair­man who has become a close con­fi­dante of Trump’s in the final months of the cam­paign, is also report­ed­ly in the run­ning for the top White House post.

    Priebus is an expe­ri­enced Wash­ing­ton politi­co with estab­lish­ment cre­do who has also earned Trump’s trust as he put the weight of the RNC’s ground and data oper­a­tion behind Trump’s can­di­da­cy, and stuck by Trump’s side through the con­tro­ver­sies that dogged his cam­paign.

    Priebus and Trump have talked about the chief of staff posi­tion, accord­ing to a source with knowl­edge of the tran­si­tion process who added that “I think he (Priebus) real­ly wants it.”

    The New York Times first report­ed Thurs­day that Ban­non was being con­sid­ered for the post, though the has pre­vi­ous­ly said he was not inter­est­ed in join­ing the admin­is­tra­tion should Trump be elect­ed.

    Both Priebus and Ban­non have trav­eled with Trump in the final months of his cam­paign. Ban­non in the final week of the cam­paign was fre­quent­ly spot­ted in the wings at Trump ral­lies at the side of Jared Kush­n­er, Trump’s son-in-law who has helped man­age the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

    Ban­non has also been a major force behind some of Trump’s more con­tro­ver­sial stunts, includ­ing when Trump held an impromp­tu press event with women who had accused for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton of sex­u­al assault and mis­con­duct. Ban­non was spot­ted in the back of the room smil­ing as reporters were led in for the debate night sur­prise.

    Scram­bling to fill jobs; Trump to meet with tran­si­tion team

    The Pres­i­dent-elec­t’s tran­si­tion team is rush­ing to fill top cab­i­net posi­tions as well as the hun­dreds of posts that require a secu­ri­ty clear­ance.

    A tran­si­tion source told CNN on Thurs­day that Trump’s tran­si­tion team will brief the new­ly-elect­ed pres­i­dent on their plan­ning for the tran­si­tion to a new admin­is­tra­tion.

    As those staffers work to vet the indi­vid­u­als who will serve in the 15 exec­u­tive depart­ments, they are also find­ing them­selves com­pet­ing with lob­by­ing firms, which are scram­bling to hire Repub­li­cans in Wash­ing­ton who can do busi­ness with the new admin­is­tra­tion.

    Many of those K Street firms have spent months hir­ing more Democ­rats with the assump­tion in mind that Clin­ton would win the elec­tion.

    That adds to the Trump tran­si­tion team’s already more lim­it­ed pool of qual­i­fied con­tenders as they face a long list of Repub­li­cans who have rebuked Trump.

    A GOP offi­cial who is help­ing to find can­di­dates for some of the 4,000 gov­ern­ment jobs the tran­si­tion will even­tu­al­ly have to fill said the work is made hard­er by the com­pe­ti­tion from K Street, which is also work­ing to scoop up 30-some­thing staffers on Capi­tol Hill who are a prime tar­get for tran­si­tion efforts.

    Adding to that, there are still some young staffers who appear to be resist­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to work in a Trump admin­is­tra­tion for fear it will hurt their careers.

    ...

    “Ban­non has also been a major force behind some of Trump’s more con­tro­ver­sial stunts, includ­ing when Trump held an impromp­tu press event with women who had accused for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton of sex­u­al assault and mis­con­duct. Ban­non was spot­ted in the back of the room smil­ing as reporters were led in for the debate night sur­prise.”

    Con­sid­er­ing that Amer­i­ca’s polit­i­cal sys­tem basi­cal­ly oper­ates in a kind of “per­ma­nent cam­paign” mode where the pol­i­tics nev­er, just take a moment to rec­ol­lect Don­ald Trump’s over-the-top tox­ic Alt-Right cam­paign. Now imag­ine that that very same tox­ic Alt-Right cam­paign went on for four years. It’s com­ing.

    In oth­er news, look who joined the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s tran­si­tion team. Here’s a hint: He has open­ly said he does­n’t think women should have got­ten the right to vote. While that might not be a big enough clue giv­en the Alt-Right nature of Trump’s cir­cle of advi­sors, here’s anoth­er clue: He’s a fas­cist. Ok, that’s prob­a­bly not a good enough clue either. Oh well, the answer is Peter Thiel

    For­tune

    Sil­i­con Val­ley Investor Peter Thiel Will Join Trump’s Tran­si­tion Team

    by Kia Kokalitche­va
    Novem­ber 11, 2016, 4:10 PM EST

    The billionaire’s bet on Trump starts pay­ing off.

    Sil­i­con Val­ley bil­lion­aire investor Peter Thiel is join­ing Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s team tran­si­tion team.

    Trump’s camp con­firmed the deci­sion on Fri­day after news had leaked out the day before in a report by for­mer For­tune edi­tor Dan Pri­mack.

    Thiel was a rare voice in Sil­i­con Val­ley who pub­licly sup­port­ed Trump dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial race, includ­ing speak­ing at the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion and donat­ing $1.25 mil­lion to Trump’s cam­paign. Many fel­low tech­nol­o­gists attacked Thiel for his Trump endorse­ment, which he lat­er defend­ed by say­ing he dis­agreed with Trump on some of his most inflam­ma­to­ry com­ments but agreed with his over­all vision.

    Thiel, who will serve on the Trump tran­si­tion exec­u­tive com­mit­tee along­side Trump’s chil­dren, Ivan­ka, Eric, and Don­ald Jr., stands to gain from pos­si­ble pol­i­cy deci­sions by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. For exam­ple, he’s an investor in ride-hail­ing com­pa­ny Lyft, which is sub­ject to reg­u­la­to­ry scruti­ny for its chal­lenge to the taxi indus­try, and co-founder of data crunch­ing com­pa­ny Palan­tir, which is a gov­ern­ment con­trac­tor.

    Thiel orig­i­nal­ly made his mark in the tech­nol­o­gy indus­try by co-found­ing online pay­ment giant Pay­Pal and as an ear­ly investor in Face­book.

    ...

    In addi­tion to Thiel, Trump also named sev­er­al oth­ers to his tran­si­tion team. Vice chairs of its exec­u­tive com­mit­tee include for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Dr. Ben Car­son, New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie, for­mer Speak­er of the House Newt Gin­grich, and for­mer New York City May­or Rudy Giu­liani and U.S. Sen­a­tor Jeff Ses­sions will join the team’s Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee as Vice Chairs.

    “Thiel, who will serve on the Trump tran­si­tion exec­u­tive com­mit­tee along­side Trump’s chil­dren, Ivan­ka, Eric, and Don­ald Jr., stands to gain from pos­si­ble pol­i­cy deci­sions by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. For exam­ple, he’s an investor in ride-hail­ing com­pa­ny Lyft, which is sub­ject to reg­u­la­to­ry scruti­ny for its chal­lenge to the taxi indus­try, and co-founder of data crunch­ing com­pa­ny Palan­tir, which is a gov­ern­ment con­trac­tor.”

    It sounds like the ‘gig econ­o­my’ is about to get com­plete­ly dereg­u­lat­ed. And while it’s unclear what kinds of reg­u­la­tions Palan­tir, a pri­vate NSA, is deal­ing with, you can bet that they are going out the win­dow too.

    But let’s not for­get one of Thiel’s oth­er pet projects: Seast­eading. So it will be inter­est­ing to see if the Seast­eading move­ment expe­ri­ences a sud­den resur­gence (there’s already plans for a float­ing city off the coast of French Poly­ne­sia) because if there was any the US gov­ern­ment was doing to thwart Thiel’s Seast­eading ambi­tions, you can bet that’s going to end. Iron­i­cal­ly, despite all the dereg­u­la­tion Trump is promis­ing — and it was reg­u­la­tions that Theil fre­quent­ly cit­ed as what he want­ed to escape via a pri­vate float­ing city — Thiel might not actu­al­ly have that much incen­tive to cre­ate his off­shore pri­vate king­dom:

    Think Progress

    Trump’s poten­tial SCOTUS appointee thinks Amer­i­ca took a wrong turn when women got the vote
    But let’s keep talk­ing about Hillary’s pneu­mo­nia instead.

    Ian Mill­his­er
    Jus­tice Edi­tor, ThinkProgress. Skep­tic of the Supreme Court, hater of Samuel Ali­to, con­sti­tu­tion­al lawyer of ill repute.
    Sep 15, 2016

    Peter Thiel, a lib­er­tar­i­an bil­lion­aire known for fund­ing a law­suit seek­ing to destroy the media com­pa­ny behind the web­site Gawk­er, is a lead­ing can­di­date for the Supreme Court in a Trump admin­is­tra­tion, accord­ing to report­ing by the Huff­in­g­ton Post’s Ben Walsh and Ryan Grim.

    Thiel, accord­ing to a source con­sult­ed by Walsh and Grim, told friends that Trump will nom­i­nate him to the Court if the GOP nom­i­nee is elect­ed pres­i­dent. Anoth­er source con­firms that mem­bers of Trump’s “inner cir­cle” con­sid­er Thiel a poten­tial jus­tice. Spokes­peo­ple for both Trump and Thiel deny these claims.

    Though Thiel’s ear­ly career resem­bles that of a poten­tial future justice—he grad­u­at­ed by Stan­ford Law School and clerked for a fed­er­al appeals court judge—Thiel aban­doned the prac­tice of law very ear­ly to pur­sue a career in busi­ness. Accord­ing­ly, he has very few of the qual­i­fi­ca­tions typ­i­cal­ly held by a judi­cial nom­i­nee and is unlike­ly to have the same grasp on legal doc­trine as a pro­fes­sion­al lawyer or judge.

    Indeed, in 2012, the con­ser­v­a­tive Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety asked Thiel to deliv­er its annu­al Bar­bara K. Olson Memo­r­i­al Lec­ture. It is one of the most pres­ti­gious and high-pro­file plat­forms offered by the influ­en­tial legal group—past speak­ers include for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney, Chief Jus­tice John Roberts, and the late Jus­tice Antonin Scalia. And yet, speak­ing before a audi­ence of many of the nation’s lead­ing con­ser­v­a­tive lawyers and judges, Thiel bare­ly dis­cussed legal mat­ters at all, and what he did say betrayed only a pass­ing knowl­edge of the under­ly­ing doc­trines.

    The bulk of Thiel’s speech out­lined his pes­simistic belief that eco­nom­ic and tech­no­log­i­cal growth is slow­ing. He men­tioned the law and the Supreme Court only a few times in the speech, and then only briefly. Those brief men­tions, how­ev­er, did sug­gest that Thiel would make rad­i­cal changes if he had the pow­er to rein­ter­pret the Con­sti­tu­tion.

    Thiel blames the alleged slow­down, at least in part, on “mis­chief that has hap­pened on the leg­isla­tive, left-wing legal side” which has per­mit­ted the rise of “environmentalism”—a state­ment which sug­gests that, as a jus­tice, he would be very sym­pa­thet­ic to argu­ments raised by lawyers active with­in the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety, which seek to hob­ble the fed­er­al government’s abil­i­ty to pro­tect the envi­ron­ment. In an even more dras­tic depar­ture from wide­ly accept­ed legal and eco­nom­ic doc­trine, Thiel attacked a series of deci­sions which enabled Amer­i­ca to aban­don the gold stan­dard, claim­ing they destroyed money’s “link to some­thing real.”

    Thiel’s belief that the gold stan­dard was a good idea is not shared by, well, pret­ty much any­one who knows any­thing at all. As Matthew O’Brien explained in the Atlantic,

    Eco­nom­ics is often a con­tentious sub­ject, but econ­o­mists agree about the gold standard?—?it is a bar­barous rel­ic that belongs in the dust­bin of his­to­ry. As Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go pro­fes­sor Richard Thaler points out, exact­ly zero econ­o­mists endorsed the idea in a recent poll. What makes it such an idea non gra­ta? It pre­vents the cen­tral bank from fight­ing reces­sions by out­sourc­ing mon­e­tary pol­i­cy deci­sions to how much gold we have?—?which, in turn, depends on our trade bal­ance and on how much of the shiny rock we can dig up. When we peg the dol­lar to gold we have to raise inter­est rates when gold is scarce, regard­less of the state of the econ­o­my. This pol­i­cy inflex­i­bil­i­ty was the major cause of the Great Depres­sion, as gov­ern­ments were forced to tight­en pol­i­cy at the worst pos­si­ble moment.

    Indeed, as econ­o­mist Brad DeLong notes, nations began to emerge from the Great Depres­sion at about the same time that they aban­doned the gold stan­dard.

    So, while Thiel’s views on the law do not appear to be espe­cial­ly well devel­oped, he also appears eager to upend fun­da­men­tal assump­tions that are wide­ly shared by near­ly every­one in the fields of law and eco­nom­ics, even though the con­sen­sus view is that over­turn­ing those assump­tions would be cat­a­stroph­ic.

    Oh, and there’s one oth­er thing.

    In an essay pub­lished by the Cato Insti­tute, an influ­en­tial lib­er­tar­i­an think tank, Thiel ques­tioned the very idea that the right to gov­ern flows from the will of the gov­erned. “I no longer believe that free­dom and democ­ra­cy are com­pat­i­ble,” Thiel claimed. He added that he thinks Amer­i­ca made a seri­ous wrong turn when it began extend­ing basic human rights to women and poor peo­ple.

    “The 1920s were the last decade in Amer­i­can his­to­ry dur­ing which one could be gen­uine­ly opti­mistic about pol­i­tics,” Thiel claims about the decade that cul­mi­nat­ed in the sin­gle worst eco­nom­ic calami­ty in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. “Since 1920,” he adds, “the vast increase in wel­fare ben­e­fi­cia­ries and the exten­sion of the fran­chise to women?—?two con­stituen­cies that are noto­ri­ous­ly tough for libertarians?—?have ren­dered the notion of ‘cap­i­tal­ist democ­ra­cy’ into an oxy­moron.”

    In fair­ness, Thiel lat­er attached addi­tion­al remarks to his Cato essay, where he walked back his attack on women’s suf­frage some­what. “While I don’t think any class of peo­ple should be dis­en­fran­chised,” Thiel said, “I have lit­tle hope that vot­ing will make things bet­ter.”

    So what are we to make of Trump’s report­ed flir­ta­tion with a Jus­tice Peter Thiel? After the Huff­in­g­ton Post’s piece went live, sev­er­al jour­nal­ists dis­missed the risk of a Thiel appoint­ment, sug­gest­ing that he would face wide­spread oppo­si­tion.

    Cau­tion: It’s a one-source sto­ry. But right would go insane if this hap­pened. https://t.co/vf13jL5nr2— Ben­jy Sar­lin (@BenjySarlin) Sep­tem­ber 15, 2016

    @BenjySarlin @mlcalderone I don’t think he’d get more than 5 votes in the sen­ate— Christo­pher Hayes (@chrislhayes) Sep­tem­ber 15, 2016

    Maybe Sar­lin and Hayes are right. But here’s the thing, Thiel is hard­ly treat­ed as an uncon­firmable pari­ah by the Amer­i­can right. To the con­trary, the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety and the Cato Insti­tute are two of the nation’s pre­em­i­nent con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions. The Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety, in par­tic­u­lar, played a major role in help­ing select Pres­i­dent George W. Bush’s judi­cial appoint­ments. And Trump has said that he will defer to the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety when he names judges in the past. (Though, in fair­ness, he’s also said that he would pick Supreme Court nom­i­nees from a much more con­ven­tion­al list of judges in the past as well.) If Cato and the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety are will­ing to vouch for Thiel, it is far from clear that Repub­li­can sen­a­tors will rebel.

    More­over, Thiel’s views, while out of place among main­stream thinkers, are increas­ing­ly com­mon among right intel­lec­tu­als. Con­sid­er his Cato essay, for exam­ple. The main thrust of that piece is not that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote, but that demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues are the ene­my of the lib­er­tar­i­an soci­ety Thiel would pre­fer to live in. “The great task for lib­er­tar­i­ans,” accord­ing to Thiel, “is to find an escape from pol­i­tics in all its forms—from the total­i­tar­i­an and fun­da­men­tal­ist cat­a­stro­phes to the unthink­ing demos that guides so-called ‘social democ­ra­cy.’”

    Thiel claims that tech­nol­o­gy will effec­tive­ly enable priv­i­leged lib­er­tar­i­ans such as him­self to go Galt—among his more spec­u­la­tive ideas is “because the vast reach­es of out­er space rep­re­sent a lim­it­less fron­tier, they also rep­re­sent a lim­it­less pos­si­bil­i­ty for escape from world pol­i­tics.” But his gen­er­al idea that democ­ra­cy is the ene­my is not lim­it­ed to lib­er­tar­i­ans who believe they must shoot them­selves into space in order to build their bil­lion­aires’ par­adise.

    ...

    “In an essay pub­lished by the Cato Insti­tute, an influ­en­tial lib­er­tar­i­an think tank, Thiel ques­tioned the very idea that the right to gov­ern flows from the will of the gov­erned. “I no longer believe that free­dom and democ­ra­cy are com­pat­i­ble,” Thiel claimed. He added that he thinks Amer­i­ca made a seri­ous wrong turn when it began extend­ing basic human rights to women and poor peo­ple.”

    Yep, Peter “democ­ra­cy and cap­i­tal­ism are incom­pat­i­ble and every­thing went wrong because women and the poor get to vote” Thiel was report­ed­ly under the impres­sion that if Trump won he would nom­i­nate Thiel for the Supreme Court jus­tice. And now Thiel is on Trumps tran­si­tion team exec­u­tive board. That’s a pret­ty big sign that Trump has some­thing for Thiel in mind.

    Also keep in mind that should Thiel end up on the Supreme Court, he could be the for a long time. A VERY long time.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 11, 2016, 4:20 pm
  8. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016–12-08/deutsche-bank-may-have-rigged-index-in-paschi-deal-audit-shows

    Deutsche Bank May Have Rigged Index in Paschi Deal, Audit Shows
    Bloomberg News by Ver­non Silver•December 8, 2016 — 12:00 AM EST

    Deutsche Bank AG employ­ees may have manip­u­lat­ed inter­nal index­es as part of an alleged­ly fraud­u­lent scheme to help Ban­ca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA con­ceal loss­es, accord­ing to an audit com­mis­sioned by Ger­man reg­u­la­tors.

    The study, request­ed by watch­dog Bafin and seen by Bloomberg, says an inter­nal Deutsche Bank review described “abnor­mal­i­ties” in the val­ues of pro­pri­etary index­es used to set the price for the Monte Paschi deal in Decem­ber 2008. While inves­ti­ga­tors at the Frank­furt-based bank couldn’t “unequiv­o­cal­ly” link that to manip­u­la­tion or the deal’s out­come, Deutsche Bank didn’t have any guide­lines for mon­i­tor­ing the index­es for poten­tial rig­ging, accord­ing to the audit.

    The inter­nal Deutsche Bank report has nev­er been made pub­lic. Its find­ings are also cit­ed in Ital­ian court doc­u­ments seen by Bloomberg.

    The audit shows banker abuse of bench­marks may have gone beyond the rig­ging of indus­try mea­sures such as the Lon­don inter­bank offered rate, or Libor, that has already trig­gered probes and fines for glob­al lenders. Deutsche Bank last year paid $2.5 bil­lion to set­tle claims of inter­est-rate manip­u­la­tion — more than any oth­er lender — amid accu­sa­tions of a wide­spread effort to rig rates for finan­cial gain.

    “The Paschi deal is depen­dent on index­es, and then the index­es may have been manip­u­lat­ed to be more in favor of Deutsche Bank,” said Michael Demp­ster, founder of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cambridge’s Cen­tre for Finan­cial Research, who has con­sult­ed for clients suing banks over deriv­a­tives deals. “It is a sub­tle part of the struc­ture that could be used to load it to the bank’s advan­tage.”

    Milan Tri­al

    The index trades also show the lay­ers of com­plex­i­ty under­pin­ning a deal Ital­ian pros­e­cu­tors say was an illic­it scheme to mask loss­es at Monte Paschi, which is fight­ing for sur­vival eight years after the ill-fat­ed trans­ac­tions. Deutsche Bank and six cur­rent and for­mer man­agers were indict­ed in a Milan court Oct. 1 for alleged­ly help­ing fal­si­fy the Siena-based lender’s accounts through the deal, known as San­tori­ni. The tri­al is sched­uled to begin Dec. 15.

    Michele Fais­so­la, who over­saw glob­al rates for Deutsche Bank at the time, and Ivor Dun­bar, for­mer co-head of glob­al cap­i­tal mar­kets, are among those fac­ing tri­al. Both were top deputies to for­mer co-Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer Anshu Jain, and both have left the com­pa­ny. Fais­so­la declined to com­ment, and Dun­bar didn’t respond to mes­sages. The audit doesn’t link any indi­vid­u­als to the trad­ing that may have influ­enced the index­es.

    Char­lie Olivi­er, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank in Lon­don, declined to com­ment beyond an Octo­ber state­ment that said the lender intend­ed to “put for­ward our defense in court.” Oliv­er Struck, a spokesman for Bafin in Bonn, said the reg­u­la­tor doesn’t dis­cuss indi­vid­ual firms.

    Deutsche Bank in Feb­ru­ary said Bafin com­plet­ed inquiries into mul­ti­ple cas­es includ­ing Monte Paschi, cred­it­ing the firm for imple­ment­ing changes and plan­ning to take fur­ther mea­sures. An over­haul of the man­age­ment board and the depar­ture of some senior exec­u­tives con­tributed to the regulator’s assess­ment that the reme­di­al actions tak­en by the com­pa­ny were suf­fi­cient, a per­son with knowl­edge of the mat­ter said at the time.

    Mask­ing Loss­es

    The Monte Paschi deal came to light in 2013, when Bloomberg revealed how the trades enabled the lender, the world’s old­est, to obscure hun­dreds of mil­lions of euros of loss­es on a pre­vi­ous trans­ac­tion with Deutsche Bank. The Ger­man firm reaped about 60 mil­lion euros ($64 mil­lion) in prof­it from the San­tori­ni deal in the first two weeks of Decem­ber 2008, accord­ing to doc­u­ments out­lin­ing the trans­ac­tion.

    Deutsche Bank con­duct­ed its inter­nal probe from Novem­ber 2013 to April 2014. Bafin com­mis­sioned account­ing firm Peters Schoen­berg­er & Part­ner in Jan­u­ary 2014 to con­duct the sep­a­rate audit, which was com­plet­ed that Decem­ber. That probe exam­ined Deutsche Bank’s role in the trans­ac­tion and its sub­se­quent inter­nal inquiry. The out­side audi­tors said they had noth­ing sub­stan­tial to add to the bank’s find­ings regard­ing the index move­ments. Ital­ian pros­e­cu­tors sub­mit­ted both doc­u­ments to the judge in the Milan court case in August.

    Banks use bench­marks such as Libor to set bor­row­ing costs for trans­ac­tions. Some deriv­a­tives are linked to for­mu­las devel­oped inter­nal­ly known as pro­pri­etary index­es. For Deutsche Bank’s deal with Monte Paschi to have worked as planned, index­es tied to inter­est rates need­ed to hit cer­tain lev­els at the transaction’s incep­tion, accord­ing to the audit.

    They did. Deutsche Bank employ­ees “appear to have trad­ed in the futures con­tracts that deter­mined the devel­op­ment of the indices,” the audit found, cit­ing the bank’s own probe. The traders may have “delib­er­ate­ly” influ­enced the index­es and the out­come of the inter­est-rate bets, accord­ing to the inter­nal probe. Milan pros­e­cu­tors also men­tioned the audit’s find­ings in an Aug. 30 fil­ing, a copy of which was seen by Bloomberg.

    Pro­pri­etary Index­es

    The Monte Paschi deal involved two Deutsche Bank pro­pri­etary index­es, the DB FRB EUR (2) Index and the DB Trends EUR Index. Both were tied to the val­ue of deriv­a­tive prod­ucts wager­ing on the Euro inter­bank offered rate, or Euri­bor.

    The two-pronged San­tori­ni trade had to be care­ful­ly cal­i­brat­ed so that at the out­set one leg would be a win­ner and the oth­er a los­er, accord­ing to the audit. Monte Paschi used the win­ning leg to off­set the old loss, and then retained the new, los­ing arm with­out imme­di­ate­ly dis­clos­ing that it was car­ry­ing a grow­ing loss of hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars.

    The audit also rais­es the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Deutsche Bank employ­ees may have cre­at­ed a smoke­screen for manip­u­la­tion. Bank exec­u­tives involved in the deal told audi­tors that one index cho­sen for the trans­ac­tion was going to have heavy trad­ing on the San­tori­ni pric­ing day because it was the index’s roll date, when trad­ing books are rebal­anced.

    “A tar­get­ed impact on the indices due to an increased lev­el of trad­ing activ­i­ty could be ‘con­cealed,’’’ the audit found, with­out con­clud­ing whether that was the case.

    Desired Tar­get

    The trad­ing that aroused sus­pi­cions had enough vol­ume to move mar­ket prices and took place in a short peri­od of time, accord­ing to the sep­a­rate Ital­ian court doc­u­ments that sum­ma­rized Deutsche Bank’s inter­nal probe into the deal.

    The trans­ac­tions led to an esti­mat­ed jump of 7 basis points, or 0.07 per­cent­age point, in the price of the secu­ri­ties that deter­mined the index­es, the doc­u­ments show. That move on Dec. 5, 2008, helped ensure that the inter­est-rate bets hit the desired tar­get.

    Glob­al banks use pro­pri­etary index­es for some com­plex finan­cial prod­ucts they sell to clients includ­ing hedge funds, cor­po­ra­tions and retail cus­tomers. Deutsche Bank runs about 3,500 of them through a group called DB Index Quant, or DBIQ, accord­ing to its web­site. The index­es are linked to every­thing from cor­po­rate debt to the price of wheat.

    While reg­u­la­tors have fined the biggest banks about $9 bil­lion since 2012 for their abuse of pub­lic index­es, watch­dogs have just begun to pay atten­tion to ones that banks devel­op in pri­vate. In Europe, law­mak­ers includ­ed pro­pri­etary index­es in a reg­u­la­tion approved this year mon­i­tor­ing the use of “bench­marks in finan­cial instru­ments.”

    ‘Some­times Obscene’

    The U.S. Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion last year warned of the com­plex­i­ty and lack of trans­paren­cy of some finan­cial prod­ucts sold by banks that use inter­nal index­es. Bank of Amer­i­ca Corp. paid $10 mil­lion in June to set­tle SEC claims it masked costs and mis­led retail investors when sell­ing $150 mil­lion of secu­ri­ties tied to a pro­pri­etary index in 2010 and 2011, accord­ing to an agency state­ment. The Finan­cial Indus­try Reg­u­la­to­ry Author­i­ty fined Bar­clays Plc $1 mil­lion last year for using “mate­ri­al­ly inac­cu­rate” infor­ma­tion when pub­lish­ing an in-house index.

    Your cheat sheet on life, in one week­ly email.
    Get our week­ly Game Plan newslet­ter.
    UBS Group AG, the world’s biggest wealth man­ag­er, paid the SEC almost $20 mil­lion last year to set­tle claims the firm mis­led investors who bought $190 mil­lion of secu­ri­ties linked to a pro­pri­etary cur­ren­cy index in 2009 and 2010. UBS employ­ees, some using “col­or­ful and some­times obscene lan­guage,” added unjus­ti­fied costs to the deal while mak­ing their own trades in advance of trans­ac­tions relat­ed to the index, accord­ing to an SEC state­ment. The Zurich-based lender lacked “mean­ing­ful con­trols” over such trad­ing, the agency said.
    UBS, Bank of Amer­i­ca and Bar­clays didn’t admit to wrong­do­ing as part of the set­tle­ments.

    “Those investors can’t under­stand the invest­ments them­selves, let alone the index­es,” said Craig McCann, an econ­o­mist at Secu­ri­ties Lit­i­ga­tion & Con­sult­ing Group who pub­lished a paper on pro­pri­etary index­es in Octo­ber. “Fun­da­men­tal­ly, such a prod­uct is great for invest­ment bankers. Not investors.”

    Posted by RM | December 8, 2016, 6:20 pm
  9. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016–12-08/deutsche-bank-records-alleged-to-show-banks-rigged-silver-prices

    Deutsche Bank Records Said to Show Sil­ver Rig­ging at Oth­er Banks
    Bloomberg News by David Glovin and Edvard Pet­ters­son
    Decem­ber 7, 2016 — 10:26 PM EST Decem­ber 7, 2016 — 11:31 PM EST

    After Ger­man bank set­tled, it gave doc­u­ments to plain­tiffs

    UBS, Bar­clays, Bank of Amer­i­ca joined scheme, suit says

    Deutsche Bank Records Said to Show Sil­ver Rig­ging Scheme

    Deutsche Bank Records Said to Show Sil­ver Rig­ging Scheme

    Eight months after Deutsche Bank AG set­tled a law­suit claim­ing it manip­u­lat­ed gold and sil­ver prices, doc­u­ments it dis­closed as part of the accord pro­vide “smok­ing gun” proof that UBS Group AG, HSBC Hold­ings Plc, Bank of Nova Sco­tia and oth­er firms rigged the sil­ver mar­ket, plain­tiffs claim.

    The alle­ga­tion came in a fil­ing Wednes­day in a Man­hat­tan fed­er­al court law­suit filed in 2014 by indi­vid­u­als and enti­ties that bought or sold futures con­tracts.

    Accord­ing to the plain­tiffs, records sur­ren­dered by Deutsche Bank show traders and sub­mit­ters coor­di­nat­ing trades in advance of a dai­ly phone call, manip­u­lat­ing the spot mar­ket for sil­ver, con­spir­ing to fix the spread on sil­ver offered to cus­tomers and using ille­gal strate­gies to rig prices.

    “Plain­tiffs are now able to plead with direct, ‘smok­ing gun’ evi­dence,’ includ­ing secret elec­tron­ic chats involv­ing sil­ver traders and sub­mit­ters across a num­ber of finan­cial insti­tu­tions, a mul­ti-year, well-coor­di­nat­ed and wide-rang­ing con­spir­a­cy to rig the prices,” the plain­tiffs said in their fil­ing. The new scheme “far sur­pass­es the con­spir­a­cy alleged ear­li­er.”

    New Com­plaint

    The plain­tiffs are seek­ing per­mis­sion to file a new com­plaint with the addi­tion­al alle­ga­tions. Their pro­posed com­plaint broad­ens the case beyond the four banks ini­tial­ly sued to include claims against units of Bar­clays Plc, BNP Paribas For­tis SA, Stan­dard Char­tered Plc and Bank of Amer­i­ca Corp.

    Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of UBS, BNP Paribas For­tis, HSBC, Stan­dard Char­tered and Sco­tia­bank didn’t imme­di­ate­ly respond to e‑mails out­side reg­u­lar busi­ness hours seek­ing com­ment on the alle­ga­tions. Bar­clays and Bank of Amer­i­ca declined to imme­di­ate­ly com­ment.

    A judge dis­missed the law­suit against UBS this year but allowed the plain­tiffs to file a new com­plaint against the bank.

    The most impor­tant busi­ness sto­ries of the day.
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    The Deutsche Bank doc­u­ments show two UBS traders com­mu­ni­cat­ed direct­ly with two Deutsche Bank traders and dis­cussed ways to rig the mar­ket, the plain­tiffs said. Among oth­er things, the traders shared cus­tomer order-flow infor­ma­tion, improp­er­ly trig­gered cus­tomer stop-loss orders, and engaged in prac­tices such as spoof­ing. Spoof­ing entails sub­mit­ting bids or offers with the inten­tion of can­cel­ing them before they’re exe­cut­ed as a way to dri­ve prices.

    “UBS was the third-largest mar­ket mak­er in the sil­ver spot mar­ket and could direct­ly influ­ence the prices of sil­ver finan­cial instru­ments based on the sheer vol­ume of sil­ver it trad­ed,” the plain­tiffs allege. “Con­spir­ing with oth­er large mar­ket mak­ers, like Deutsche Bank and HSBC, only increased UBS’s abil­i­ty to influ­ence the mar­ket.”

    The case is In re: Lon­don Sil­ver Fix­ing Ltd. Antitrust Lit­i­ga­tion, 1:14-md-02573 U.S. Dis­trict Court, South­ern Dis­trict of New York (Man­hat­tan).

    Posted by RM | December 8, 2016, 6:21 pm
  10. It sounds like Don­ald Trump found some­one who shares his appar­ent­ly very strong beliefs in genet­ic deter­min­ism: Trump’s Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin also has a strong belief in ‘supe­ri­or genes’. More specif­i­cal­ly, ‘per­fect genes’. Even more specif­i­cal­ly, Don­ald Trump’s ‘per­fect genes’:

    Think Progress

    Sec­re­tary Mnuchin’s praise of Trump’s ‘per­fect genes’ is an extrem­ist dog­whis­tle
    Right out of the Storm­front play­book.

    Aaron Rupar
    Mar 24, 2017

    Dur­ing an inter­view with Axios’ Mike Allen on Fri­day, Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin went above and beyond in prais­ing his boss.

    “This guy’s got more sta­mi­na than any­body I’ve ever met,” Mnuchin said of Trump. “I mean, I thought I was in good shape. I trav­eled with him all the time… I mean, it’s unbe­liev­able. He’ s con­stant­ly doing things.”

    Allen asked Mnuchin how that’s pos­si­ble, giv­en that the 70-year-old Trump is known to enjoy fast food and admits he doesn’t exer­cise.

    “He’s got per­fect genes,” Mnuchin said of Trump. “He has incred­i­ble ener­gy, and he’s unbe­liev­ably healthy.”

    Mnuchin doesn’t seem to have been jok­ing. Watch for your­self.

    Steve Mnuchin: Trump has per­fect genes pic.twitter.com/tMSvcxsjNZ— Axios (@axios) March 24, 2017

    Mnuchin’s over-the-top com­ments about Trump “per­fect genes” echoes what Trump has repeat­ed­ly said about him­self. Dur­ing a CNN inter­view in 2010, for instance, Trump attrib­uted his suc­cess to hav­ing “a cer­tain gene.”

    “I’m a gene believ­er,” Trump said. “Hey, when you con­nect two race­hors­es, you usu­al­ly end up with a fast horse, and I real­ly had a good gene pool from the stand­point of that.”

    A 2016 New York­er piece detailed some of Trump’s many ref­er­ences to his genet­ics on the cam­paign trail:

    In South Car­oli­na, ear­li­er this year, he not­ed, “Dr. John Trump at M.I.T.; good genes, very good genes, O.K., very smart, the Whar­ton School of Finance, very good, very smart.” (Don­ald Trump was at Whar­ton as an under­grad­u­ate, after trans­fer­ring from Ford­ham.) To the Boston Globe: “My father’s broth­er was a bril­liant man . . . We have very good genet­ics.” And then on NBC, after telling Lester Holt that his uncle was a pro­fes­sor at M.I.T.: “I mean it’s a good gene pool right there”?—?he point­ed to his head?—?“I have to do what I have to do.”

    This might seem like idle chat­ter. But as we cov­ered last sum­mer, the link Trump makes between his good genet­ics and his fit­ness to lead comes out of the white suprema­cist play­book. For instance, Stormfront’s mis­sion state­ment claims that “a great deal (pos­si­bly 90% or more) of a person’s intel­li­gence and char­ac­ter is deter­mined by their DNA, which deter­mines the struc­ture of their brain before they are born. This is why Blacks, as a group, do the things they do.”

    Media Mat­ters for Amer­i­ca Pres­i­dent Ange­lo Caru­sone told ThinkProgress that Trump’s com­ments fit with­in that fringe world­view.

    “He con­stant­ly cites his own genet­ic back­ground and argued that his brain is bio­log­i­cal­ly bet­ter because of his genes,” Caru­sone said. “That could be Trump just being brag­gado­cious, but it rein­forces the idea that genet­ics are a legit­i­mate qual­i­fi­ca­tion for lead­er­ship.”

    ...

    “If elect­ed, Mr. Trump, I can state unequiv­o­cal­ly, will be the health­i­est indi­vid­ual ever elect­ed to the pres­i­den­cy,” Dr. Harold Born­stein, Trump’s physi­cian of 25 years, said in a signed state­ment that was released to the media in late 2015.

    As CNN report­ed at the time, Born­stein made that state­ment despite hav­ing no record of ever treat­ing anoth­er pres­i­dent.

    ““He’s got per­fect genes,” Mnuchin said of Trump. “He has incred­i­ble ener­gy, and he’s unbe­liev­ably healthy.””

    Yes, yes, that Trumpian ener­gy with lit­tle need for sleep is per­fec­tion! And putting aside the actu­al prob­lems with the sci­ence behind eugen­ics thought — like how genes tend to involve bio­log­i­cal trade offs and the notion of genet­ic ‘per­fec­tion’ does­n’t real­ly make sense — it’s cer­tain­ly pos­si­ble that there’s a genet­ic fac­tor dri­ving Trump’s sleep habits and ener­gy lev­els since there have been genet­ic vari­ants iden­ti­fied with that trait. Still, if Trump and his team are seri­ous­ly going to be pro­mot­ing his alleged­ly awe­some genes as some sort of lead­er­ship qual­i­ty, it’s worth not­ing that there’s more than just genet­ics that could be behind Trump’s ener­gy lev­els and if Trump isn’t actu­al­ly a short-sleep­er but instead is just accli­mat­ed to being real­ly, real­ly sleep deprived the sto­ry about Trump’s ‘per­fect genes’ might be mask­ing a per­fect storm of bad deci­sion-mak­ing. And while that make pub­lic calls for Trump to release his DNA sequence so he can prove he’s a genet­i­cal­ly dri­ven short-sleep­er tempt­ing, we prob­a­bly don’t want to encour­age him in this area.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 27, 2017, 7:38 pm

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