The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, September 26, 2016.

New York Times: "Arnold Palmer, the champion golfer whose full-bore style of play, thrilling tournament victories and magnetic personality inspired an American golf boom, attracted a following known as Arnie’s Army and made him one of the most popular athletes in the world, died on Sunday, according to a spokesman for his business enterprises. Palmer was 87." -- CW 

Miami Herald: "Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández, who fled Cuba on a speedboat eight years ago to become one of baseball’s dominant players and a hometown hero to fans well beyond the stadium walls, died early Sunday in a violent boat crash off South Beach. He was 24. Two friends were also killed in the accident, which remains under investigation and led Major League Baseball to promptly cancel Sunday’s home game against the Atlanta Braves." -- CW 


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/mlb/miami-marlins/article104073926.html#storylink=cpy

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: (August 2): "Federal health authorities on Monday urged pregnant women not to visit a South Florida neighborhood where new cases of the Zika virus have emerged, the first time officials have warned against travel to part of the continental United States due to the outbreak of an infectious disease.” -- CW

New York Times: "The veteran television personality Jane Pauley will replace Charles Osgood as the anchor of the highly rated CBS show 'Sunday Morning.' Mr. Osgood, who is retiring, announced the news on his last show on Sunday. Ms. Pauley’s first day in the role will be Oct. 9, and she will become only the third anchor of the show, which started in 1979." -- CW 

New York Times: "Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe?.... In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer. In the journal Nature, three separate teams of geneticists survey DNA collected from cultures around the globe, many for the first time, and conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.... All non-Africans are closely related to one another, geneticists found, and they all branch from a family tree rooted in Africa.... There are also clues that at least some modern humans may have departed Africa well before 50,000 years ago, perhaps part of an earlier wave of migration." -- CW ...

... CW Note to White Racists: You, too, are black. It's way past time to give up your quest for "racial purity"; it's genetically impossible. This, BTW, is something non-ignoramuses have known for a couple of decades. No wonder you hate science.

 

The Los Angeles Times has extensive coverage of the Emmy Awards here.

The video below will most likely be taken down for copyright infringement, so watch it while you can. It's pretty funny. Here's a WashPo report on Jeb!'s cameo on the opening bit for the Emmy Awards. Also, ABC may put up a video of it here, but they have nothing at all up on the awards ceremony as of 8:30 am ET, Monday, Sept. 19.

Chris Welch of the Verge: "Twitter is about to make a big change to the way that tweets work.... Beginning September 19th, the company will cut down on exactly which types of content count toward the platform's 140-character limit. Media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce the count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility in composing their messages."

You'll want to supersize this one:

 

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, unsuccessful in his bid to become Donald Trump's running mate, has reimagined himself as a celebrity, instead. He'll appear this season on "Dancing with the 'Stars,'" competing against other fabulous celebrities like Ryan Lochte, unless Lochte is unavoidably detained in a Brazilian jail. (Here's a link to Perry's veepstakes proffer. Of course Trump ultimately rejected Perry, but promised to make him head of some agency or department Perry probably can't remember.) CW: As always, we concentrate on the serious, important news because politics ain't funny.

...Washington Post: Charles Osgood, who is 83 years old, announced Sunday, August 28, that he was retiring as host of the long-running CBS show "Sunday Morning." "He will stay on through Sept. 25. Osgood has been the face of the weekly program since 1994, when he took it over from its first host, Charles Kuralt." -- CW 

... Guardian: "The search for life outside our solar system has been brought to our cosmic doorstep with the discovery of an apparently rocky planet orbiting the nearest star to our sun. Thought to be at least 1.3 times the mass of the Earth, the planet lies within the so-called 'habitable zone' of the star Proxima Centauri, meaning that liquid water could potentially exist on the newly discovered world." -- CW 

Guardian: "A fisherman in the Philippines has kept what might be the largest natural pearl ever found hidden in his home for more than 10 years. The enormous pearl is 30cm wide (1ft), 67cm long (2.2ft) and weighs 34kg (75lb). If it is confirmed to have formed within a giant clam, as has been reported, it would likely be valued in excess of US$100m." CW: Looks like there will be a fight on this: when he moved house, the fisherman entrusted it to his aunt for safekeeping. "With his permission, she offered the pearl to the mayor, Lucilo R Bayon, to serve as new tourist attraction of city." -- CW 

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Friday
Sep232016

The Commentariat -- Sept. 24, 2016

Afternoonish Update:

Elise Viebeck of the Washington Post: "Republican lawmakers are under increasing fire for racially insensitive comments after the fatal police shootings of black men sparked unrest in two states.Remarks by Reps. Robert Pittenger (N.C.), Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Steve King (Iowa) and ex-Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee, underscored to some observers Republicans’ tone-deafness on issues of race in a year of unprecedented attention to police bias against African-Americans.... [Pence said] that it is offensive to police to talk about 'institutional racism and institutional bias' after fatal shootings. Donald Trump and I believe there’s been far too much of this talk,' Pence said while campaigning in Colorado. Trump’s campaign has become increasingly identified with racially divisive comments." -- CW 

Paige Cornwell, et al., of the Seattle Times: "The search continued Saturday morning for the gunman who fatally shot five people Friday night in the Cascade Mall in Burlington.... The victims[four of them female,] identities have not been released, but authorities say they ranged from a teen to seniors. The suspect was described as a Hispanic male in his late teens to mid-20s with a close-shaved haircut. He used a long gun similar to a hunting rifle.... This marks Washington’s seventh mass shooting with at least four people shot this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Most recently, three people were shot dead at a house party in Mukilteo in July." -- CW  

*****

Presidential Race

Annie Karni of Politico: Ahead of Monday's debate, the candidates poke at each other's weak spots. CW: We know Clinton will come prepared with e-mail answers, none of which so far has been either convincing or smoothly delivered. (Maybe Bernie Sanders should have pressed her on that matter. We know Trump will respond to questions about what he called "my facts" with other deranged TrumpFacts. The biggest question is how Lester Holt will handle the candidates. Unless Trump pulls a Trumpertantrum, & he is being coached not to do that, or challenges Clinton to reveal her testosterone level (his is "good," according to Dr. Oz), it seems quite likely that the press will judge him the winner. ... 

... Patrick Healy, et al., of the New York Times on how the candidates are preparing. The Trump dry-runs are pretty funny. -- CW ...

... Tina Nguyen of Vanity Fair: "Judging from virtually every story that has been published about Donald Trump’s presidential-debate prep, the Republican nominee is basically just going to wing the entire thing.... Loose-lipped Trump sources are whispering to the media that Trump’s unstructured debate practice time includes the candidate sitting in a circle of top advisors who 'throw questions at him,' and failed attempts to get Trump to learn from his past mistakes.... With the momentum seemingly behind Trump, who polls have shown closing in on Clinton in recent weeks, the press is primed to declare him the winner if he manages to turn in a serviceable performance." -- CW ...

... ** Lisa Barrett, in a New York Times op-ed: "When Hillary Clinton participated in a televised forum on national security and military issues this month... , [RNC chair] Reince Priebus tweeted that she was 'angry and defensive the entire time — no smile and uncomfortable.' Mrs. Clinton, evidently undaunted by Mr. Priebus’s opinion on when she should and shouldn’t smile, tweeted back, 'Actually, that’s just what taking the office of president seriously looks like.'... This is a classic example of a psychological phenomenon that my lab has studied: how people perceive emotion differently in men’s and women’s faces. It’s something for Americans to consider as they watch the first debate between Mrs. Clinton and Donald J. Trump on Monday.” Read on.

Nolan McCaskill & Cristiano Lima of Politico: "Hillary Clinton's campaign announced late Friday that it was postponing a trip by the Democratic nominee to Charlotte scheduled for Sunday. 'After further discussion with community leaders, we have decided to postpone Sunday's trip as not to impact the City's resources,' Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri wrote in a statement. 'She will plan to visit Charlotte next Sunday, provided circumstances allow.' The rescheduling comes after Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts made a public plea to Clinton and Donald Trump to delay any campaign trips to the city in light of their "very stressed resources." Clinton's campaign had announced the trip earlier Friday.... Donald Trump ... accus[ed] his opponent of trying to 'grandstand' and call[ed] her initial decision to go to Charlotte 'dumb.'" -- CW 

Eric Levitz of New York: "Clinton Reveals Plan to Reduce the Trump Children’s Inheritance.... Taken together..., [Clinton's] proposals would generate $260 billion over the next decade, which Clinton would use to finance some tax cuts on small businesses and an expansion of the child tax credit. (The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan entity that urges fiscal restraint, says that her math checks out). Donald Trump, by contrast, has proposed repealing the estate tax entirely — a policy that would ostensibly provide Trump’s kids with an extra $4 billion in inheritance (assuming he is worth what he claims to be)." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Drip, Drip. Your Friday Afternoon Docudump. Rosalind Helderman, et al., of the Washington Post: "A computer specialist who maintained Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of state told the FBI that fellow State Department officials had expressed concerns to him about whether the system was properly retaining public records, according to newly released documents from the now-completed [FBI] inquiry. Bryan Pagliano, a former Clinton campaign aide who set up and maintained the server..., said that some agency officials had asked him in late 2009 or early 2010 to convey to Clinton’s 'inner circle' that her use of a private server could pose a 'federal records retention issue,' the documents show. In response, Pagliano said, chief of staff Cheryl Mills told him that other secretaries of state, notably Clinton’s predecessor Colin Powell, had also used private email, according to the documents.... Trump spokesman Jason Miller said the immunity agreements [the FBI granted Pagliano & Mills] showed that Clinton’s email use was 'without a doubt a criminal scheme.'” -- CW ...

... Josh Gerstein & Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "President Barack Obama used a pseudonym in email communications with Hillary Clinton and others, according to FBI records made public Friday.... The interviews [revealed in the FBI docudump] provide more insight into Clinton's lack of technical acumen. According to the FBI's [Huma] Abedin writeup, she 'could not use a computer'; [Monica] Hanley[, a long-time Clinton aide] said Clinton had no idea what her own email password was, and had to rely on aides." -- CW ...

... Rachel Bade of Politico: "The revelation that several Hillary Clinton staffers received partial immunity in the FBI email probe set off another round of partisan fireworks on Friday: Republicans said they're increasingly convinced the Justice Department mishandled the investigation and Democrats accused the GOP of stoking the issue for maximum political damage in the heat of the presidential campaign.... Republicans were also incensed that the immunity deals, which now cover five Clinton staffers at the heart of the controversy, did not require witnesses to cooperate with Congress.... [House Republicans] only learned on Friday of the arrangements with [Clinton aides] ... and almost immediately disclosed them to the AP, which first reported the story.... Democrats also blasted [the House] Oversight [Committee] for failing to make clear earlier Friday that [aides Cheryl] Mills’ and [Heather] Sameuelson’s [sic.] immunity was only 'partial,' meaning it only protected them from any criminal charges that might have arisen from scopes of their laptops — not their statements to the FBI." -- CW 

... Drippitty, Drip, Drip. Mark Landler of the New York Times: "A federal judge on Friday ordered the State Department to finish preparing roughly 1,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails for release by Nov. 4, a more protracted timetable that means the bulk of Mrs. Clinton’s emails that were uncovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation will not be released until after the election.... Under the order issued on Friday, in a lawsuit brought by the conservative group, Judicial Watch, the State Department will release 350 pages of emails by Oct. 7, 350 pages by Oct. 21, and another 350 by Nov. 4." -- CW

Cincinnati Enquirer Editors: "The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century – a tradition this editorial board doesn’t take lightly. But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times. Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst. That’s why there is only one choice when we elect a president in November: Hillary Clinton." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

** Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News: "U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether [Carter Page,] an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers, has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue." -- CW ...

... Molly O'Toole & Elias Groll of Foreign Policy: Isikoff's "report is only the latest in a series to suggest that the Trump campaign, and especially his aides, have some bottom-line interest in boosting chummy ties with Moscow. But now, with an ongoing federal investigation, the Page revelations provide the strongest hint yet at negotiations with Russian officials, and drop a bombshell into the 2016 campaign just days ahead of the first presidential debate on Monday." The report compiles a list of Trump & his campaign's known pro-Russia comments & ties. -- CW ...

... CW: So what's worse? -- A sloppy secretary of state who uses what was supposed to be a private e-mail account for public business, as a recent predecessor had done? Or a greedy presidential candidate who hopes to use the presidency to bend U.S. foreign policy toward an anti-American country for the purpose of making gobs of money for himself & his cohort?

Jonathan Chait: Two surveys, taken together, show "that Donald Trump has not been 'normalized.' Most Americans see him as a racist would-be authoritarian who is highly likely to start a nuclear war. The trouble is, some voters apparently like that in a president." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Dana Milbank: "In the days since I wrote that Hillary Clinton wasn’t necessarily wrong to say that half of Trump’s supporters are racists and other 'deplorables,' the response has been, well, deplorable. Milbank provides "a sampling of the thousands of emails and social media replies.... I reprint this small sample of the nastygrams not to ruin your next meal but because the half of Trump supporters who aren’t motivated by prejudice, and the few voters who remain genuinely undecided, should be aware of the bigotry that Trump has brought into the open — and that those who vote for Trump are condoning." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Adam Serwer of the Atlantic: Donald Trump’s "rhetoric about black communities reinforces stereotypes about black people, and little else. Like much of what comes out of Trump’s mouth, his 'outreach' to black voters is full of lies and exaggerations.... His speeches do not characterize white communities in the same way. On the contrary, he consistently tells white voters that their problems are the result of a 'rigged system' and the machinations of corrupt elites.... Trump has taken racist beliefs about black Americans – the idea that blacks are violent, uneducated, unemployed criminals – and repackaged them as expressions of concern about the problems of crime, poverty, and education." -- CW 

** Everything You Need to Know about Donald Trump in One Anecdote. Gail Collins: In the 1980s, Trump "acquired a promising 2-year-old racehorse named Alibi." He immediately changed toe colt's name to D.J. Trump. "John O’Donnell, a former Trump casino president, wrote that the colt fell apart when Trump insisted, despite the trainer’s objections, that Alibi be worked out even though a virus was going through his barn. O’Donnell claimed Alibi got very sick as a result — so ill he eventually had to have some of his hooves amputated and was retired. Then, O’Donnell said, Trump announced that he was not buying a defective animal and backed out of the sale." ...

... CW: Reportedly, Gail Collins' long-running meme about Mitt Romney's dog Seamus -- forced to ride on long trips on the roof of the car -- changed votes. A Dogs Against Romney online group formed. I recall seeing a photo of a policeman stopping an anti-Romney motorist with a fake Seamus-on-the-roof because the officer thought the car really did have a dog on the roof. Compared to the Trump, Romney seems like a candidate for a PETA award. The New York Times & other news outlets should dedicate reporters to verifying O'Donnell's story. I'm not kidding. Donald Trump, in his flagrant arrogance & ignorance, would run this country to ruin, just as he did Alibi. And he wouldn't pay a dime for it.

Well, what happened was, after the show, he came out and was just standing there. So I said, 'Mr. Trump, a picture?' And he said, 'You betcha. Just give me a minute.' Then he turns and walks down the hall, all the way to the other end, and gets on the elevator. 'Just give me a minute,' and then he leaves the building. It was hilarious, like a Buster Keaton movie or something. -- Norm MacDonald, on meeting Donald Trump after they both did the Jimmy Fallon show last week

Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "Frustration is growing within Donald Trump’s campaign over the Republican nominee’s yawning money gap with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton -- just as the presidential race heads into its final fall stretch. Trump’s top advisers have held a series of tense conversations in recent days about how to close a fundraising hole that’s grown to over $200 million – a deficit that’s led Trump to essentially cede the TV airwaves to his Democratic rival.... The shortfall is putting Trump at a substantial disadvantage during the remaining few weeks of the campaign, as focus shifts to the clinical – and costly -- process of bringing voters out to the polls." -- CW 

Ed Kilgore: Ted Cruz is reportedly mulling an endorsement of Donald Trump, because he thinks it would be good for the country Ted Cruz. -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Update. "I'm Voting for a Pathological Liar." -- Ted Cruz. Matt Flegenheimer of the New York Times: "Senator Ted Cruz said on Friday that he would vote for Donald J. Trump for president, two months after Mr. Cruz pointedly declined to endorse his former rival in a speech at the Republican National Convention. 'After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump,' Mr. Cruz wrote in a statement on Facebook.... Mr. Cruz said he had based his decision on two factors: a prior pledge to support the Republican nominee — which Mr. Cruz said in July had been 'abrogated' by Mr. Trump’s personal attacks on him — and his desire to defeat Hillary Clinton.... Mr. Cruz’s statement went beyond the perfunctory, praising the policy aims and recent campaign promises of a man he once called a 'pathological liar.'... On Friday, Mr. Trump said he was 'greatly honored' to have the backing of a 'tough and brilliant opponent.'” CW: As Kilgore predicted, Cruz made his non-endorsement endorsement as obscure as possible: on Facebook, on Friday afternoon. ...

... That Was Then; This Is Now. Today, Cruz argues that he's voting for Trump because Hillary Clinton is 'manifestly unfit' to be president. "If Clinton wins, we know — with 100% certainty — that she would deliver on her left-wing promises, with devastating results for our country," he wrote in his announcement. Seems like only yesterday when Cruz tweeted: 'Flexibility is a good thing, but you shouldn’t be flexible on core principles.'" -- CW ...

... Steve M.: "... does this mean that Trumpism is now the undisputed ideology of the Republican Party? Not really. The Republican Party has the same ideology it's had for years, one that can be summed up in one sentence: Democrats are the Antichrist. Foolish pundits, and even politicians like Cruz, think there's more to Republicanism than that, but there isn't. Trumpism is dominant right now because Trump seems like the person who can most effectively cause pain to Democrats, and to the right's other enemies (non-whites, non-conservative women, gay people, climate scientists, etc.).... I think he really thought there'd be a post-November ideological battle, when, really, all there'll be is a contest for who can be nastiest to Democrats." -- CW ...

... Aaron Blake lists "9 truly awful things Ted Cruz & Donald Trump said about each other." One of the reasons Ted gave for not endorsing Trump -- even after the GOP convention -- was this: "I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.... "That pledge [to support the nominee] was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander my wife that I am going to come like a servile puppy dog for maligning my wife and maligning my father.'" So now that Ted has broken his "principled habit," here's hoping Heidi & Rafael are finding it right comfy under that bus. ...

The Anointed One. Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe. -- Omarosa Manigault, Trump's African-American outreach director

(... CW: Must be true. Even Ted Not-a-Servile-Puppy-Dog Cruz has at last bowed down to the Emperor Trump. ...)

** of the Washington Post: "Corey Lewandowski is set to be paid nearly half a million dollars by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by the end of the year, with almost a quarter of his compensation coming after the controversial political operative was ousted in June as campaign manager. Lewandowski, who is now a paid commentator on CNN, collected at least $415,000 in salary, bonuses and severance from the Trump campaign between April 2015 and August of this year, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal campaign finance filings. Campaign officials said he will continue receiving his $20,000 monthly pay as severance until the end of the year, which would give him a total of $495,000 over two years." -- CW

 

Other News & Views

Julie Davis of the New York Times: "President Obama vetoed legislation on Friday that would allow families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot, setting up an extraordinary confrontation with a Congress that unanimously backed the bill and has vowed to uphold it. Mr. Obama’s long-anticipated veto of the measure ... is the 12th of his presidency. But [for the first time in his presidency, Congress is likely to] ...override [his] veto ... — a familiar experience for presidents in the waning months of their terms. In his veto message to Congress, Mr. Obama said the legislation 'undermines core U.S. interests,' upending the normal means by which the government singles out foreign nations as state sponsors of terrorism and opening American officials and military personnel to legal jeopardy." -- CW 

** Liz Sly of the Washington Post: "Syrian and Russian warplanes launched a ferocious assault against rebel-held Aleppo on Friday, burying any hopes that a U.S.-backed cease-fire could be salvaged and calling into question whether the deal would ever have worked.... 'It is a horrific situation now in Aleppo, [said ... Ammar al-Selmo, head of the Aleppo branch of the White Helmets civil defense group.... 'There are dead people in the streets, and fires are burning without control.... It is like the end of the world.'... A meeting in New York between Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ended swiftly....” -- CW 

Michael Shear & Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times: "Hackers on Thursday posted hundreds of emails from a young Democratic operative that contained documents detailing the minute-by-minute schedules and precise movements of the vice president, the first lady and Hillary Clinton during recent campaign fund-raisers and official political events. The emails included names and cellphone numbers of numerous Secret Service agents, spreadsheets with the names and Social Security numbers of campaign donors, and PowerPoint presentations showing step-by-step directions for where officials like Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. should walk when they arrived at events.... The emails were stolen from the personal Gmail account of the Democratic operative, Ian Mellul. They reveal how widely White House officials, Clinton campaign operatives and Secret Service agents have exchanged detailed and sensitive information with people using personal email accounts." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Let No Good Deed Go Unpunished. Ginia Bellafante of the New York Times: Two friends, Lee Parker & Ivan White, were on a beer run Sunday night in Elizabeth, N.J., when they found a backpack on top of a waste bin at the train station. "... the two men opened the backpack and found what appeared to be explosive devices. Undeterred, they carried the backpack to an unpopulated area, so that if it did explode, no one would be harmed. Then they walked to the local police station ... to report what they had discovered." On Monday, Giuliano Farina started a GoFundMe campaign to be split three ways among the two men & the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. (Mr. Parker is currently homeless.) "A backlash developed just as quickly." People questioned Mr. Farina's motives -- he is a founder of another Elizabeth charity. Others didn't think the Elizabeth Coalition, with which Farina is not involved, should be included in the GoFundMe distribution. -- CW 

Richard Fausset & Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "A cellphone camera video made by the wife of Keith Lamont Scott as he was fatally shot by the police here shows the moments before and after the incident, including the wife’s pleas to her husband to get out of his truck and her pleas to the officers not to shoot him. But the video, which was given to The New York Times by lawyers for the family Friday, does not include a view of the shooting itself. Nor does it answer the crucial question of whether Mr. Scott had a gun, as the police have maintained.... At a news conference on Friday, Charlotte officials repeatedly said that the police videos should not be released without a full report.... [Police] Chief [Kerr] Putney said officers had arrested Rayquan Borum and charged him in the death of Justin Carr, who was fatally shot near the Omni Hotel as demonstrators marched through the streets." Includes video. -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Manny Fernandez & Michael Wines of the New York Times report on the history of race relations in Tulsa, Oklahoma. CW: I lived in Tulsa in the 1980s, and I promise you it was chockful of outspoken white racists, and that included the city's leaders, as the reporters' anecdote about former police chief Drew Diamond suggests. The heirs of the Sooners maintained a bastion of the Confederacy. I don't doubt that  Tulsa is still a backwards place in this & other ways.

Beyond the Beltway

How Chris Christie's Criminal Enterprise Worked. Kate Zernike of the New York Times: "The admitted mastermind of the mysterious George Washington Bridge lane closings broke a three-year silence on Friday, testifying in federal court here that everything he did in his job was at the direction and for the benefit of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. David Wildstein ... described the governor and his aides as scheming for creative ways to use government resources to help Mr. Christie’s re-election and, ultimately, his ambitions to run for president.... They saw the Port Authority ...  as a particularly sweet 'goody bag,' as an email revealed in court described it." -- CW ...

... Ted Sherman & Matt Arco of NJ.com: "... Wildstein said his focus while serving as a top political appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was to serve the governor." -- CW ...

... Ted Sherman & Matt Arco: "... the administration's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, or IGA, had the names and details of elected officials. Matt Mowers, a former IGA staffer, told jurors about the details of the list, lifting the curtain on the Christie administration's efforts to systematically curry favor with local leaders in exchange for support [for Christie]. Each person on the list was given a number, which would designate that person's likelihood whether to back Christie in an election that was still years off.... The ['Dem Target] List kept track of the perks given to local elected officials..., Mowers testified. IGA also kept tabs on the amount of money local municipalities received from government entities, including the Port Authority." -- CW 

Ben Guarino of the Washington Post: "The plan was simple: Order a pizza, rob whoever showed up to deliver the pie. But the caper did not go as the four men expected. That was because Napoleon Harris III, arrived with the pizza in hand.... The narrative ... unfolded like the recap of a superhero comic." Read on." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Friday
Sep232016

The Commentariat -- Sept. 23, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Richard Fausset & Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "A cellphone camera video made by the wife of Keith Lamont Scott as he was fatally shot by the police here shows the moments before and after the incident, including the wife's pleas to her husband to get out of his truck and her pleas to the officers not to shoot him. But the video, which was given to The New York Times by lawyers for the family Friday, does not include a view of the shooting itself. Nor does it answer the crucial question of whether Mr. Scott had a gun, as the police have maintained.... At a news conference on Friday, Charlotte officials repeatedly said that the police videos should not be released without a full report.... [Police] Chief [Kerr] Putney said officers had arrested Rayquan Borum and charged him in the death of Justin Carr, who was fatally shot near the Omni Hotel as demonstrators marched through the streets." Includes video. -- CW

Michael Shear & Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times: "Hackers on Thursday posted hundreds of emails from a young Democratic operative that contained documents detailing the minute-by-minute schedules and precise movements of the vice president, the first lady and Hillary Clinton during recent campaign fund-raisers and official political events. The emails included names and cellphone numbers of numerous Secret Service agents, spreadsheets with the names and Social Security numbers of campaign donors, and PowerPoint presentations showing step-by-step directions for where officials like Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. should walk when they arrived at events.... The emails were stolen from the personal Gmail account of the Democratic operative, Ian Mellul. They reveal how widely White House officials, Clinton campaign operatives and Secret Service agents have exchanged detailed and sensitive information with people using personal email accounts." -- CW

Eric Levitz of New York: "Clinton Reveals Plan to Reduce the Trump Children's Inheritance.... Taken together..., [Clinton's] proposals would generate $260 billion over the next decade, which Clinton would use to finance some tax cuts on small businesses and an expansion of the child tax credit. (The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan entity that urges fiscal restraint, says that her math checks out). Donald Trump, by contrast, has proposed repealing the estate tax entirely -- a policy that would ostensibly provide Trump's kids with an extra $4 billion in inheritance (assuming he is worth what he claims to be)." -- CW

Cincinnati Enquirer Editors: "The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century -- a tradition this editorial board doesn't take lightly. But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times. Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst. That's why there is only one choice when we elect a president in November: Hillary Clinton." -- CW

Jonathan Chait: Two surveys, taken together, show "that Donald Trump has not been 'normalized.' Most Americans see him as a racist would-be authoritarian who is highly likely to start a nuclear war. The trouble is, some voters apparently like that in a president." -- CW ...

... Dana Milbank: "In the days since I wrote that Hillary Clinton wasn't necessarily wrong to say that half of Trump's supporters are racists and other 'deplorables,' the response has been, well, deplorable. Milbank provides "a sampling of the thousands of emails and social media replies.... I reprint this small sample of the nastygrams not to ruin your next meal but because the half of Trump supporters who aren't motivated by prejudice, and the few voters who remain genuinely undecided, should be aware of the bigotry that Trump has brought into the open -- and that those who vote for Trump are condoning." -- CW

Ed Kilgore: Ted Cruz is reportedly mulling an endorsement of Donald Trump, because he thinks it would be good for the country Ted Cruz. -- CW

Ben Guarino of the Washington Post: "The plan was simple: Order a pizza, rob whoever showed up to deliver the pie. But the caper did not go as the four men expected. That was because Napoleon Harris III, arrived with the pizza in hand.... The narrative ... unfolded like the recap of a superhero comic." Read on." -- CW

*****

Nicole Perlroth of the New York Times: "Yahoo announced on Thursday that the account information of at least 500 million users was stolen by hackers two years ago, in the biggest known intrusion of one company's computer network. In a statement, Yahoo said user information -- including names, email addresses, telephone numbers, birth dates, encrypted passwords and, in some cases, security questions -- was compromised in 2014 by what it believed was a 'state-sponsored actor.'... Changing Yahoo passwords will be just the start for many users. They'll also have to comb through other services to make sure passwords used on those sites aren't too similar to what they were using on Yahoo." -- CW

Presidential Race

Greg Miller of the Washington Post: "Two senior Democratic lawmakers with access to classified intelligence on Thursday accused Russia of 'making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election,' a charge that appeared aimed at putting pressure on the Obama administration to confront Moscow. The jointly issued statement from Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam B. Schiff -- Californians who are the ranking Democrats on the Senate and House intelligence committees, respectively -- described recent cyber penetrations of the Democratic National Committee and other U.S. political entities as intrusions that were likely directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin." -- CW

Los Angeles Times Editors endorse Hillary Clinton: "American voters have a clear choice on Nov. 8. We can elect an experienced, thoughtful and deeply knowledgeable public servant or a thin-skinned demagogue who is unqualified and unsuited to be president.... Electing Trump could be catastrophic for the nation. By contrast, Hillary Clinton is one of the best prepared candidates to seek the presidency in many years." -- CW

Peter Stevenson of the Washington Post: "Professor Allan Lichtman, who has correctly predicted every presidential election since 1984," based on a series of "key factors" he weighs, predicts that Donald Trump will win the election. -- CW

Ed Kilgore of New York: "When we think of external events that might affect the presidential election, it&'s generally something national: good or bad economic news, or maybe a terror incident that instantly becomes national news. But sometimes local events can have a disproportionately national impact. And sure enough, there is a growing sentiment that the anti-police protests in Charlotte could shake up elections in the very close battleground state of North Carolina. This being a state with a long history of backlash politics, the natural suspicion is that images of violent protests will help reinforce Donald Trump's law-and-order message in the Tar Heel State." --safari... (See also Nolan McCaskill's report, linked below, on Trump's reaction to the Charlotte protests.)

David Kay Johnston in the Daily Beast: "This means that, relative to wealth, the Clintons have given at a rate a thousand times Trump's verifiable charitable giving. Even accepting Trump's claim that his giving is much larger than the public record shows, the Clintons gave at more than 37 times Trump's rate." -- CW

Paul Krugman: "I am not calling on the news media to take a side; I'm just calling on it to report what is actually happening, without regard for party. In fact, any reporting that doesn't accurately reflect the huge honesty gap between the candidates amounts to misleading readers, giving them a distorted picture that favors the biggest liar. Yet there are, of course, intense pressures on the news media to engage in that distortion. Point out a Trump lie and you will get some pretty amazing mail -- and if we set aside the attacks on your race or ethnic group, accusations that you are a traitor, etc., most of it will declare that you are being a bad journalist because you don't criticize both candidates equally." -- CW ...

... Drew Harwell & Mary Jordan of the Washington Post: Teevee exposure has made a star of Donald Trump & his long experience as a TV showman will give him an advantage in debates with Hillary Clinton. Trump is also a big TV watcher. "Many people, though, find it frightening that the man who wants to be commander in chief spends more time watching TV than reading." -- CW

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "'Why aren't I 50 points ahead?' Hillary Clinton asked rhetorically on Wednesday, echoing a question she surely gets all the time -- and perhaps legitimately wonders herself.... A few reasons:... If you're a major-party presidential nominee in this day and age in American politics, you've frankly got to work pretty hard to get less than 40 or even 45 percent of the vote. Because we're just that partisan.... There's the matter of turnout.... And when it comes to doing that, it helps to have enthusiasm. Right now, Trump may have more of it.... The big reason this election isn't a blowout right now may be Hillary Clinton herself. Trump's image numbers are bad enough that a candidate with even middling numbers of his or her own would probably be leading him by a substantial margin. But Clinton's numbers are also bad, and it makes the race close." -- CW

Spencer Ackerman of the Guardian: "A key priority of Hillary Clinton's proposed intelligence surge will be to kill or capture Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, her campaign has told the Guardian. During the past year, Clinton, the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential nominee, has placed bolstering the vast US intelligence apparatus at the center of her national security agenda. Days before the first presidential debate -- and after the New York area escaped without mass casualties from multiple bombings -- her campaign has for the first time expanded on how her policies would work." -- CW

Arlette Saenz of ABC News: President Obama offers Hillary Clinton debate advice: "Be yourself & explain what motivates you." With video. -- CW

Jonathan Chait: "The news media's obsession with the emails has, without necessarily intending to do so, conveyed the impression that Clinton committed not just run-of-the-mill political scandals but extraordinary offenses of a historic scale.... The funny thing about the scandal surrounding Clinton's private email account is that there was a similar scandal in the Bush administration.... They ... deleted some 22 million emails, thus systematically flouting the same public-records principle that Clinton evaded. If you forgot about this episode, it is because it was merely a secondary scandal within a larger one, involving a Bush administration scheme to politicize the Department of Justice.... If you don't remember that scandal, it's because it was subsumed beneath a torrent of other scandals." The list goes on. --safari

CW: If you're worried about the right-wing meme, now oozing onto the Hill, that Hillary Clinton has serious brain damage that has caused "sleepy-eye" or something & she is about to go nuts or die or both, you might want to read Steve M. on that, although, as he points out, 'I'm not an ophthalmologist or neurologist" -- and neither are the wingers who are making the claim.

By Driftglass.Natasha Geiling of ThinkProgress: "On Thursday, Donald Trump spoke before an audience full of natural gas and energy industry leaders --  and the message was exactly the same as his economic policy proposal from last week: fewer environmental regulations and more land available to fossil fuel companies.' We need an America-First energy plan,' Trump said. 'This means opening federal lands for oil and gas production; opening offshore areas; and revoking policies that are imposing unnecessary restrictions on innovative new exploration technologies.'... If elected president, Trump has pledged to revoke both the Clean Power Plan and President Obama's Climate Action Plan, the cornerstones of Obama's domestic climate agenda." --safari ...

... It's All Obama's Fault! Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Donald Trump on Thursday pinned the blame for the turmoil in Charlotte, North Carolina, on President Barack Obama, suggesting that the violent protests there show a 'wounded country' that 'looks bad to the world.' Pausing for roughly 10 minutes during an energy speech in Pittsburgh at the Shale Insight Conference to address the Charlotte unrest, Trump also presented himself as the man to heal America's racial divides. Akhilleus: I can see it now, President KKK will be the guy to fix all those racial problems caused by that divisive creep Obama. Whadda guy. Will "Stop and Frisk" be a big part of the fix? (Also linked yesterday.)

** Isaac Arnsdorf & Kenneth Vogel ofPolitico: "Donald Trump's presidential campaign has paid his family's businesses more than $8.2 million, according to a Politico analysis of campaign finance filings, which reveals an integrated business and political operation without precedent in national politics.... In all, the Trump campaign's payments to Trump-owned businesses account for about 7 percent of its $119 million spending total, the analysis found. That's an unprecedented amount of self-dealing in federal politics." --safari ...

... ** Isaac Arnsdorf & Kenneth Vogel: "Donald Trump's campaign isn't alone in patronizing his own businesses: taxpayers are indirectly doing so, too. Federal Election Commission records show that the U.S. Secret Service has paid the Trump campaign about $1.6 million to cover the cost of flying its agents with the candidate on a plane owned and operated by one of his companies.... It's standard practice for the agency to reimburse presidential campaigns for the cost of traveling with the candidates. In fact, the Secret Service has reimbursed the Clinton campaign, too: $2.6 million so far this cycle. The difference with Trump is that one of his companies, TAG Air, Inc., owns the plane, so the government is effectively paying him." --safari

"Trump's English-Only Campaign." Shane Goldmacher of Politico: "With 46 days until the November elections, and as early voting begins in a handful of states, Trump is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition." -- CW

Will Work for Racists. Paul Lewis & Tom Silverstone of the Guardian: "Donald Trump's campaign has replaced an Ohio official who was forced to resign over a racism controversy with a woman who has previously said she was 'offended as an African American' by the Republican candidate and confessed she had 'bashed the crap out' of him in the past. Tracey Winbush is also on record stating Trump had 'denigrated the Republican party'. The Trump campaign announced it had appointed Winbush as its new chair in Mahoning, a crucial Ohio county, on Thursday, shortly after the previous chair resigned over comments she made about racism in a Guardian interview." --safari ...

** Andrew Rosenthal of the New York Times: "The more Donald Trump presses his supposed effort to appeal to black voters, the more bizarre it gets.... Trump isn't actually speaking to minority voters. He is offering excuses for white Americans who might otherwise hesitate to support a racist candidate.... He declared that his 'movement' already embraces 'everybody.' And one of his county campaign chairs announced that there was no racism before Obama was elected. Not convinced that this is going to make black Americans vote for Trump? On Earth, people know that racism has poisoned America since it was founded. All that changed when Obama was elected in 2008 was that some bigots began to speak more openly.... Trump[' 'outreach to black Americans'] has given [racists] permission to shout their hatred from the rooftops. That's the truth behind his campaign, and no phony town-hall meeting staged by Fox News is going to change it." -- CW ...

... Meet Your Trump Supporters, Ctd. It's All Obama's Fault. Philip Bump of the Washington Post, in a not so surprising interview with a Trump campaign chair in an Ohio county, Kathy Miller, "... she doesn't think 'there was any racism until [Barack] Obama got elected' and that black Americans 'have an advantage' over whites because they 'got into schools without the same grades as white kids.' If black Americans haven't been successful in the last 50 years, she said, 'it's [their] own fault.'" Akhilleus: Well, whadaya know? I never realized that there was NO racism until Obama came along. Damn that Kenyan guy! He ruined it for all of us....so what does the boss say? (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

... Meet Your Trump Supporters, Ctd. Gideon Resnick & Ben Collins of the Daily Beast: "A Silicon Valley titan is putting money behind an unofficial Donald Trump group dedicated to 'shitposting' and circulating internet memes maligning Hillary Clinton. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey financially backed a pro-Trump political organization called Nimble America, a self-described 'social welfare 501(c)4 non-profit' in support of the Republican nominee.... According to Paul Ryan ... of the The Campaign Legal Center, Nimble America can still exist as a 501(c)(4) so long as it does other things besides supporting Trump.... 'The group knows that it can do some candidate election work, but that such work can't be its primary activity -- i.e., it has to spend more than half of its budget on non-candidate-election work,' Ryan told The Daily Beast...." -- CW

Other News & Views

A Tale of Two Cities

Samantha Vicent & Corey Jones of the Tulsa World: "The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office filed a first-degree manslaughter charge Thursday against Officer Betty Shelby in the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher six days earlier. District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said during a brief news conference that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Shelby, 42, who is expected to turn herself in to authorities." -- CW ...

... The New York Times story, by Manny Fernandez, is here. ...

... CW: For those of us old enough to remember the "good old days" (that is, the not-so-distant past that Republicans revere, though they want to drag us much further back in time), this is a remarkable story. First, Betty Shelby would not have been a police officer at all; there was no such thing as a policewoman. Second, there were no such things as bodycams & dashcams, & not necessarily for want of technology; rather, law enforcement had the unique prerogative -- and presumption of truthfulness -- to describe any police action on their own terms. That the Tulsa police department installed the means to review its officers' actions is surprising. Third, Tulsa has a long history as a deeply racist city; anyone even suggesting that an on-duty police officer should be charged in the killing of a black citizen would have been ridiculed. The arc of the moral universe has indeed bent toward justice in, of all places, Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Jordyn Phelps
of ABC News: "In his first public reaction to the violent protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, during an exclusive interview with ABC News' 'Good Morning America,' President Obama called for protesters to seek out peaceful means to address concerns of racial inequalities in the American policing system. 'The way we change the system requires to be able to reach out and engage the broader American community and that requires being peaceful, that requires being thoughtful about what are the specific reforms you're looking for,' Obama told 'GMA' co-anchor Robin Roberts in an interview Thursday] at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture." With video. -- CW ...

... Cleve Wootson, et al., of the Washington Post: "Protesters chanting 'What curfew?' marched Friday in defiance of orders by Charlotte's mayor to clear the streets after midnight, as anger spilled onto the streets for a third night following a deadly police shooting that has become the latest showdown over questions on law enforcement and race.Despite the mayor’s curfew decree, Charlotte Police Capt. Mike Campagna said protests could continue as long they remained peaceful. The split appeared to underscore the careful calculations by authorities in a city now under a state of emergency and patrolled by National Guard troops." -- CW ...

... Gavin Off, et al., of the Charlotte Observer: "After two nights of furious street violence, demonstrators took to the streets of uptown Charlotte again Thursday night and early Friday with passionate but mostly peaceful protests. Only one notable confrontation with police occurred after hundreds of marchers briefly blocked the John Belk Freeway." -- CW ...

... Alex Johnson of NBC News: "A man shot during Wednesday night's protests over the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott died Thursday in a Charlotte, N.C., hospital, police and emergency officials said. Police said the man, identified as Justin Carr, 26, was wounded on the second night of protests following the death of Scott, 43, who was shot this week as police were searching for a different person with an outstanding warrant, police said." -- CW ...

... Alan Blinder, et al., of the New York Times: "The grieving relatives of [Keith Scott,] a man who was killed by the police [in Charlotte, North Carolina,] watched videos on Thursday of the fatal shooting, a wrenching experience that they said revealed no hint of aggression in him and left the family members convinced that the videos should be made public. But the city's police chief, who had arranged for the private viewing, held fast to his decision not to release the recordings." -- CW ...

... New York Times Editors: "... the Police Department in Charlotte, N.C., has responded in exactly the wrong way to a police officer's killing on Tuesday of another black man, Keith Scott. It has opted for stonewalling. The department -- which has said that Mr. Scott brandished a gun when he was shot dead -- has refused to make public the video that might show how the shooting occurred.... There is no legal reason to withhold the video from the public, and in this fraught situation.... The North Carolina legislature, however, made that far more difficult when it passed an ill-advised measure this year that allows police departments to withhold camera footage from the public unless a court orders the release. That law takes effect on Oct 1. But until then, the Charlotte Police Department is free to release the video.... Unfortunately, the city's mayor, Jennifer Roberts, seems largely at sea and distressingly out of touch with how lack of an open governmental response led to demonstrations in places like Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland and Baltimore. She said Thursday morning that she had not even viewed the video." -- CW

... Richard Fausset & Alan Blinder of the New York Times: Charlotte has "gained a reputation for racial amity, from its nationally recognized commitment to busing and integrated schools in the 1970s and '80s, to the election of Harvey Gantt in 1983 as one of the South's first prominent black mayors. But the fatal police shooting on Tuesday of a black resident, Keith Lamont Scott, and the protests that have followed are among numerous bumps and jolts that have shaken Charlotte's sense of itself recently as it emerged from a successful small city to a more complicated larger one." -- CW ...

** Gene Robinson: "If you are a black man in America, exercising your constitutional right to keep and bear arms can be fatal. You might think the National Rifle Association and its amen chorus would be outraged, but apparently they believe Second Amendment rights are for whites only. In reaching that conclusion I am accepting, for the sake of argument, the account given by the Charlotte police of how they came to fatally shoot Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday.... Scott's relatives claim he was unarmed as well. But let's assume that police are telling the truth and he had a handgun.... North Carolina, after all, is an open-carry state. A citizen has the right to walk around armed if he or she chooses to do so. The mere fact that someone has a firearm is no reason for police to take action.... Our gun laws should be changed. Until then, however, they must be enforced equally." -- CW ...

... Freedom of Speech in Trump's Amerika: Protesters piss you off? Kill them. Elizabeth Preza ofAlternet: "What should peace-loving citizens do if they encounter protesters blocking a highway in Charlotte, NC? Well, if you're USA Today columnist and University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, you should 'run them down.' Reynolds, who produces a website called 'Instapundit' and whose Twitter account presumably doesn't constitute legal advice, quickly deleted the tweet but this is the internet, and there's nothing like Instashaming to remind a person that advocating for the death of innocent people is really never a good idea." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... **Akhilleus: Only in an Amerika where millions of morons are lining up to vote for a racist demagogue could you find a professor of law from a major university suggesting the cold-blooded murder of citizens for daring to exercise their first amendment rights. Trump must be sending this guy a lot of love. ...

     ... CW Update. Reynolds, who also has a column in USA Today (thanks, USA Today!), now says he's very, very sorry that his tweet was misconstrued & taken out of context: "I retweeted a report of mobs 'stopping traffic and surrounding vehicles' with the comment, 'Run them down.' Those words can easily be taken to advocate drivers going out of their way to run down protesters. I meant no such thing, and I'm sorry it seemed I did. What I meant is that drivers who feel their lives are in danger from a violent mob should not stop their vehicles." He regrets he was "not clearer." CW: Note that in his non-apology apology, Reynolds defends himself by writing that he's written a whole lot of tweets where he didn't condone mass murder. Guess that's context, too. ...

     ... No Wonder Reynolds is very, very sorry. Judd Legum of Think Progress: "Twitter suspended Reynolds' account, on the grounds that his tweet was an incitement of violence. After being suspended, however, Reynolds defended his tweet. He allowed that 'run them down' didn't capture his intent 'fully'  -- but he blamed Twitter's character count, not his own judgment.... Reynolds' tweet was just 14 characters.... [In his apparently forced USA Today 'apology,'] Reynolds is still encouraging violence because he's saying there are still situations in which drivers should run over protesters in a roadway.... On his blog, Reynolds links to his so-called 'apology' and says, 'I don't apologize for saying that you shouldn't stop for angry mobs, even if they're blocking your way. But I could have said it better.' USA Today, however, is apparently satisfied with this. The publication said that Reynolds 'has apologized' and decided to suspend his column for one month." -- CW ...

     ... Oh, And This. Megan Boehnke of the Tennessean: "The University of Tennessee is investigating a tweet by one of its law professors [Glenn Reynolds] after the faculty member and contributing columnist for USA TODAY and the Knoxville News Sentinel urged motorists to run over demonstrators blocking traffic in Charlotte, N.C." CW: How long till Reynolds starts screaming about academic freedom & his free-speech rights? ...

... Trumpbots. John Bresnahan of Politico: "North Carolina GOP Rep. Robert Pittenger said protesters in Charlotte are motivated by racism rather than anger over the fatal police shooting of Keith Scott, an African-American man. 'The grievance in their mind is the animus, the anger,' Pittenger said during an interview with the BBC. 'They hate white people because white people are successful and they're not.'.... Pittenger -- who is under investigation by the FBI and IRS over his ties to his former real-estate firm -- insisted that the 'welfare state' has turned American citizens into slaves." --safari ...

     ... Update. Another Very, Very Sorry Winger Crank. Alice Ollstein of Think Progress: "After receiving wide condemnation for his comments, Pittenger apologized, insisted he has black friends, and accused [BBC News] of taking the remark out of context  -- though both the question and his full answer were aired in full. This is somewhat of a pattern for Pittenger." -- CW ...

Jessica Glenza of the Guardian: "Prison officials have sentenced Chelsea Manning to 14 days in solitary confinement following an attempt to kill herself in July. Manning is serving 35 years in Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas for leaking a vast collection of secret US government documents about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan." CW: Great idea. Put someone who is suicidal in a situation that invariably causes or exacerbates depression. Federal prison officials are more heartless & dumb than you already thought they were.

***

Marc Santora, et al., of the New York Times: "The father of the man accused of carrying out bombings last weekend in New York and New Jersey said that, two years ago, he warned federal agents explicitly about his son's interest in terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and his fascination with jihadist music, poetry and videos. In a series of interviews with The New York Times on Wednesday and Thursday, Mohammad Rahami, whose son Ahmad Khan Rahami has been charged with using weapons of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use, recounted his interactions with the Federal Bureau of Investigation after he raised his concerns about his son.... His description of that contact differs starkly from the one given by law enforcement officials, who on Thursday challenged the father's account.... [Ahmad] Rahami is accused of building 10 bombs. One exploded in Lower Manhattan, injuring 31 people; another exploded in Seaside Park, N.J., but no one was injured. Five were discovered on Sunday night outside a train station in Elizabeth, N.J." -- CW

... Max Bearak of the Washington Post: President "Obama was so moved by Alex's letter that he read it aloud at the United Nations summit on refugees earlier this week. The president also shared a video of Alex reading the letter on his Facebook page on Wednesday, where it has been shared more than 150,000 times and watched by 8 million people (and counting)." (Akhilleus linked a CNN story about Alex in yesterday's Comments.) -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

This Is Quaint. William Rashbaum, et al., of the New York Times: "Federal corruption charges were announced on Thursday against two former close aides to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a senior state official and six other people, in a devastating blow to the governor's innermost circle and a repudiation of how his prized upstate economic development programs were managed.... The charges against the former aides, Joseph Percoco and Todd R. Howe, and the state official, Alain Kaloyeros..., stemmed from 'two overlapping criminal schemes involving bribery, corruption and fraud in the award of hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts and other official state benefits,' federal prosecutors said in the complaint." CW: Maybe not up to par with bundles of cash in the freezer, but good, old-fashioned, Supreme Court-approved bribery: "In emails and other correspondence, Mr. Percoco and Mr. Howe referred to the bribes as 'ziti,' according to the complaint." (Also linked yesterday.)

Matt Zapotosky of the Washington Post: "The New York Police Department and a U.S. attorney in North Carolina have begun examining former congressman Anthony Weiner's alleged sexually suggestive online messages with a teenage girl that were reported by a British media outlet, authorities said Thursday. The exact parameters of the investigation remain unclear, but officials said that investigators are interested in a report from DailyMail.com that Weiner chatted with a 15-year-old girl for some months last year. The website reported that the girl had told Weiner she was in high school, and he once commented on her youth." -- CW

Wednesday
Sep212016

The Commentariat -- Sept. 22, 2016

... Natasha Geiling of Think Progress on how climate change is ruining fall. -- CW

Afternoonish Update:

This Is Quaint. William Rashbaum, et al., of the New York Times: "Federal corruption charges were announced on Thursday against two former close aides to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a senior state official and six other people, in a devastating blow to the governor's innermost circle and a repudiation of how his prized upstate economic development programs were managed.... The charges against the former aides, Joseph Percoco and Todd R. Howe, and the state official Alain Kaloyeros..., stemmed from 'two overlapping criminal schemes involving bribery, corruption and fraud in the award of hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts and other official state benefits,' federal prosecutors said in the complaint." CW: Maybe not up to par with bundles of cash in the freezer, but good, old-fashioned, Supreme Court-approved bribery: "In emails and other correspondence, Mr. Percoco and Mr. Howe referred to the bribes as 'ziti,' according to the complaint."

It's All Obama's Fault. Philip Bump of the Washington Post reports that, in a not so surprising interview with a Trump campaign chair in an Ohio county, Kathy Miller, "... she doesn't think 'there was any racism until [Barack] Obama got elected' and that black Americans 'have an advantage' over whites because they 'got into schools without the same grades as white kids.' If black Americans haven't been successful in the last 50 years, she said, 'it's [their] own fault.'" Akhilleus: Well, whadaya know? I never realized that there was NO racism until Obama came along. Damn that Kenyan guy! He ruined it for all of us....so what does the boss say?...

It IS Obama's Fault! Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Donald Trump on Thursday pinned the blame for the turmoil in Charlotte, North Carolina, on President Barack Obama, suggesting that the violent protests there show a 'wounded country' that 'looks bad to the world.' Pausing for roughly 10 minutes during an energy speech in Pittsburgh at the Shale Insight Conference to address the Charlotte unrest, Trump also presented himself as the man to heal America's racial divides. Akhilleus: I can see it now, President KKK will be the guy to fix all those racial problems caused by that divisive creep Obama. Whadda guy. Will "Stop and Frisk" be a big part of the fix?

Freedom of Speech in Trump's Amerika: Protesters piss you off? Kill them. Elizabeth Preza of Alternet: "What should peace-loving citizens do if they encounter protesters blocking a highway in Charlotte, NC? Well, if you're USA Today columnist and University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, you should 'run them down.' Reynolds, who produces a website called 'Instapundit' and whose Twitter account presumably doesn't constitute legal advice, quickly deleted the tweet -- but this is the internet, and there's nothing like Instashaming to remind a person that advocating for the death of innocent people is really never a good idea." Akhilleus: Only in an Amerika where millions of morons are lining up to vote for a racist demagogue could you find a professor of law from a major university suggesting the cold-blooded murder of citizens for daring to exercise their first amendment rights. Trump must be sending this guy a lot of love.

*****

Richard Fausset & Alan Blinder of the New York Times: "A second night of protests sparked by the police killing of a black man spiraled into chaos and violence after nightfall on Wednesday when a demonstration was interrupted by gunfire that killed a man in the crowd and law enforcement authorities fired tear gas in a desperate bid to restore order. Within an hour, officials used the city's Twitter account to confirm the death of the unidentified man, which they attributed to a 'civilian on civilian' confrontation." -- CW ...

... The Charlotte Observer story by Ely Portillo & others, is here. The Observer is updating developments here.

Presidential Race

Matt Flegenheimer & Amy Chozick of the New York Times: "Of all the attacks that Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democrats have tried against Donald J. Trump..., one has stood out...: No one, it seems, can abide Mr. Trump's mockery last year of a reporter's physical disability. And as Mrs. Clinton strains to make a more forceful case for her own candidacy..., her campaign believes that a focus on an often-overlooked constituency -- voters with disabilities -- can accomplish both goals at once. On Wednesday, without mentioning the Trump episode, Mrs. Clinton discussed her vision for an 'inclusive economy' with expanded job opportunities for what she called 'a group of Americans who are, too often, invisible, overlooked and undervalued -- who have so much to offer, but are given far too few chances to prove it.'" -- CW

Hillary Clinton, in a New York Times op-ed, outlines her plans to help the poor: "The best way to help families lift themselves out of poverty is to make it easier to find good-paying jobs.... I will work with Democrats and Republicans to make a historic investment in good-paying jobs.... And we need to make sure that hard work is rewarded by raising the minimum wage and finally guaranteeing equal pay for women.... We also need a national commitment to create more affordable housing.... My plan would expand Low Income Housing Tax Credits in high-cost areas.... Tim Kaine and I will model our anti-poverty strategy on Congressman Jim Clyburn's 10-20-30 plan.... Donald J. Trump has a different approach. He divides America into winners and losers.... His economic plans would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Americans, and would include an estimated $4 billion tax cut for his own family just by eliminating the estate tax.... One independent economic analysis revealed that with Mr. Trump's proposals in place, our economy would fall back into recession and inevitably push more families into poverty." -- CW

John Wagner of the Washington Post: "Hillary Clinton gave voice Wednesday to a question on the minds of many of her fiercest advocates in her race against the controversy-prone Donald Trump: Why isn't she way, way ahead? The Democratic nominee raised the issue here during an address via video conference to a gathering in Las Vegas of the Laborers' International Union of North America.... [Clinton] The former secretary of state ticked off her pro-union positions, including investing in infrastructure, raising the minimum wage and supporting collective bargaining. 'Having said all this, "Why aren't I 50 points ahead?" you might ask?' Clinton said.... 'If you do know somebody who might be voting for Trump, stage an intervention.... Try to talk some sense into them. Lay out the facts. The facts are on our side, about what I've done versus what he's done. Remember, friends don't let friends vote for Trump.'" -- CW

Ed Kilgore: "[O]ne aspect of [Clinton's] debate prep is much more of a crapshoot: anticipating what Donald Trump might do and how she can parry it. Therein lies the mystery: Trump is unpredictable and unconventional enough that counting on any one approach from him might be an unfortunate gamble. He has no history of general-election debates to consult...Only he and perhaps his handlers know what he's going to do. And so, methodical to a fault, it seems Team Clinton is planning for every contingency." --safari

Eric Levitz of New York: "Donald Trump "is making high-income voters Democrats again. A new poll from Bloomberg Politics shows Hillary Clinton besting Trump among voters with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more by a margin of 46 to 42 percent. If Clinton maintains that advantage through Election Day, it would mark a new milestone on the Democratic Party's long path to conquering the upscale electorate ... no Democratic nominee has won that demographic since Bill Clinton's reelection in 1996." --safari

Issie Lapowsky of Wired: "As the Clintons move to disentangle themselves from their philanthropic group ahead of Hillary Clinton potentially clinching the presidency, the Clinton Foundation is winding down the [Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting] that has served as a victory lap for global do-gooders.... Just last week, Guidestar, an independent organization that keeps records on non-profit work, released a report comparing the Trump Foundation with Clinton's, and while Guidestar didn't come out and say it outright, there was no comparison. For starters, it found that the Clinton family has done the majority of its charitable giving through its foundation.... And while the Clinton Foundation has provided Guidestar with enough data to receive the organization’s top transparency seal, the report shows, 'the Trump Foundation provides no such metrics,' and thus, has not received a seal." -- CW

Do the Wrong Thing. Daily Beast Editors: "During a pre-taped 'core black issues' town-hall interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News..., Donald Trump revealed Wednesday that he would like to see 'stop-and-frisk' policing enacted nationwide as a way to end violence in black communities. 'I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to,' he reportedly said in response to an audience member's question about stopping 'black-on-black' crime." --safari ...

... The New York Times story, by Michael Barbaro & others, is here. Trump's "support for the polarizing crime-fighting policy -- which involves officers' questioning and searching pedestrians -- collides with his highly visible courtship of African-Americans, who have been disproportionately singled out by the tactic, data show. It also came as police shootings were once again drawing scrutiny and protest. For Mr. Trump, the timing was especially inauspicious.... As [Don] King, the retired boxing promoter, sought to explain how society unfairly categorizes African-Americans, he referred to a 'dancing and sliding and gliding nigger,' before quickly correcting himself. 'I mean Negro,' he said as Mr. Trump looked on a few feet behind him, grinning." -- CW ...

... Louis Nelson of Politico: "In a pre-taped interview on Fox News scheduled to air Wednesday night, Trump was asked by an audience member what he would do to address 'violence in the black community' and 'black-on-black crime.' Trump responded by proposing that 'stop-and-frisk' policing, in which an officer is empowered to stop an individual and frisk them for weapons or any other illegal contraband, be adopted nationwide. 'We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically,' Trump told the questioner. '... In New York City it was so incredible, the way it worked.'" ...

... CW: It's incredible, all right. It makes a crime of walking while black or Hispanic. And the manner in which police forces employ it is unconstitutional. And, yeah, it "really helps people sort of change their minds automatically." Imagine you were walking down the street minding your own business & an aggressive cop thought you needed some frisking. If you thought stop-and-frisk was a good idea before, you would "automatically" change your mind. ...

... White Man's World. Eric Levitz points out numerous reasons stop-and-frisk is bad policy. "Beyond the weak substantive case for Trump's proposal, there's the audacity of a candidate who rails against moderate gun-safety reforms as civil-liberties violations -- but suggests that racially discriminatory police searches are an acceptable means of promoting public safety." -- CW ...

Ben Jacobs & Sabrina Siddiqui of the Guardian: At the event, Trump "also addressed the police shooting of Terrence Crutcher, an unarmed African American, on Friday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 'I don't know if she choked,' Trump said of the policewoman who allegedly killed Crutcher. 'He was walking, his hands were high, he was walking to the car, he put the hands on the car -- now maybe she choked, something really bad happened.'" CW: Of course she choked. She's a girl trying to do a "man's job." She doesn't even look like a police officer.

David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: Using American Express points, Univision's late-nite anchor Enrique Acevedo, tipped off by WashPo readers, checked into the Trump National Doral hotel & resort in Miami, then snooped around, talking to cleaning staff, till he found one of Donald Trump's "philanthropic" portraits. "In 2014, the painting had been auctioned off during a charity gala at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump himself was the winning bidder, buying the painting for $10,000. Then, later, Trump actually paid for the painting with a check from his charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation.... A portrait paid for by a charity [funded by other people's money] was decorating the wall of Trump's for-profit business." -- CW ...

... "Trump's Slimy, Shameless Approach to Philanthropy." Washington Post Editors: "Sometimes charities associated with wealthy families or businesses tiptoe near ethical lines -- but charity experts say Mr. Trump's activity appears to be brazen.... Though the campaign insisted that The Post's reporting 'is peppered with inaccuracies and omissions,' it pointed to none and has offered no evidence telling a different story. In fact, Mr. Trump has a secret trove of documents that could help to clarify how much he has really given to charity in recent years, what his business dealings look like and potential conflicts of interest should he be elected president. These documents are his tax returns.... Mr. Trump is the least transparent major-party presidential nominee in recent memory -- and the one who Americans have the most reason to fear is hiding something." -- CW ...

... CW: If you are wondering how Donald Trump will perform in next week's debate, Judd Legum of Think Progress has a preview, not that we haven't seen this kind of evasion before: "Trump has not held a press conference since July. But he was finally asked about the misuse of his foundation's cash by a local reporter in Columbus, Ohio.... Trump was asked to 'explain to people why you may have used some charitable donations for personal uses.' 'The foundation is really rare. It gives money to vets. It's really been doing a good job, Trump replied. He added that 'we put that to sleep just by putting out the last report.' It's unclear what 'report' Trump is referencing and how it put the controversy 'to sleep.'" -- CW

No, Donald, Immigrants Don't Take Americans' Jobs. Julia Preston of the New York Times: "... according to a report published on Wednesday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine..., immigrants do not take American jobs -- but with some caveats.... Donald J. Trump ... has called for a crackdown on illegal immigrants, saying they 'compete directly against vulnerable American workers.'... Do immigrants burden government budgets? That answer is 'more mixed,' Professor [Francine] Blau[, who led the study,] said.... The report called immigration 'integral to the nation's economic growth.'" -- CW: Yeah, but the study is just another scam propagated by left-wing elite eggheads who have no common sense & even if they have very good brains & have said a lot of things, they don't speak with themselves, number one.

Jelani Cobb of the New Yorker: "The Model for Donald Trump's Media Relations Is Joseph McCarthy." -- CW

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. CNN's Puppet Boy. Erik Wemple of the Washington Post contends that, by its hefty monthly "severage" payments -- and a possible balloon payment -- to former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, the Trump campaign is "controlling every word" Lewandowsky utters in his other paid job: CNN "contributor." -- CW

** Meet Your Trump Supporters. David Neiwert & Sarah Posner, in Mother Jones: "According to an investigation by Mother Jones and the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, since Trump officially announced his bid in June 2015 he has drawn effusive praise and formal backing from some of the country's most virulent neo-Nazis, white supremacists, militia supporters, and other extremist leaders. They include the head of the American Nazi Party, three former Ku Klux Klansmen, four people involved in a recent armed standoff against federal authorities at an Oregon wildlife refuge, and at least 15 individuals affiliated with organizations described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups. Trump has disavowed none of them." -- CW ...

... Then There's Alan. McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed: "Evan McMullin's presidential campaign has taken a racist tirade recently left in a staffer's voicemail inbox and turned it into a political ad highlighting the dangers of 'Donald Trump's America.' The ad, which will air online in select markets, features a recording of a personal cell phone message campaign spokeswoman Rina Shah received after appearing on Fox News last Friday. 'You frothing, libtard piece of shit Islamic dog,' the caller, identified only as 'Alan,' is heard saying in the ad.... 'Vote for the pathological lying criminal you fucking piece of shit ... and get out of our country ... while you're at it, got back and get fucked by your dirtbag Islamic terror scum friends. Slut.'... Shah was born in West Virginia. She is also not a Muslim. But in an interview with BuzzFeed News, she said Alan's voicemail was just a small sample of the abuse she has endured from Trump supporters.... Alan, who is Alan Pryce, told BuzzFeed he was a Trump supporter. "He claimed he had been disabled by an undocumented immigrant, and said he was supporting Trump as a consequence...." -- CW

Senate Races

Manu Raju of CNN: "Sen. Mark Kirk's campaign falsely asserted on its website that the Illinois Republican was a veteran of the Iraq war, a misstatement that comes six years after exaggerations over his military record nearly cost him his state's Senate seat.... Moreover, Kirk is now running for reelection against Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a military veteran who lost both of her legs during combat in Iraq.... Kirk campaign officials said the webpage was not meant to be made public, saying that it was supposed to be a private site while edits were being made to the page." -- CW

MEANWHILE in Missouri. Guns of November. Gail Collins: "Jason Kander, who served a tour of duty in Afghanistan, assembles an assault rifle blindfolded while saying that he believes 'in background checks so the terrorists can't get their hands on one of these.' His opponent, Senator Roy Blunt, had been lambasting Kander for his failure to toe the straight National Rifle Association line.... The race is close and Kander cites polls that show most voters are fine with background checks. (The people he talks to, he added, are more worried about college debt, which Blunt once blamed on the students' 'personal living standard.') Still, it would be amazing if Missouri elected a candidate who's middle-of-the-road on guns, right after the State Legislature just set a record in the extremely competitive category of Loopiest N.R.A. Cave-In.... The N.R.A. went much, much further, and wiped out the permits entirely.... The new law also includes one of those 'stand your ground' provisions. Now people walking around after dark could reasonably presume that anybody they ran into might have a concealed weapon, and would have a right to fire first if they felt physically threatened." -- CW ...

Other News & Views

Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post: "President Obama signed a presidential memorandum Wednesday establishing that climate-change impacts must be factored into the development of all national security-related doctrine, policies and plans. The move signals Obama's determination to exercise his executive authority during his final months in office to elevate the issue of climate in federal decision-making, even though it remains unclear whether his successor will embrace this approach....John Holdren, the president's top science and technology adviser, said changing weather patterns and other climate impacts -- including drought, more-intense storms and rising sea levels -- are already exacerbating regional conflicts and 'straining the capacity of the United States and allied armed forces to deliver humanitarian and disaster relief.'" -- CW

Vanity Fair: "... Barack Obama recently invited the presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to the White House for a long, personal, open-ended conversation. The meeting, arranged by Vanity Fair, took place in the president's private dining room, just off the Oval Office." A transcript of their conversation follows. -- CW


Binyamin Appelbaum of the New York Times: "A divided Federal Reserve, struggling to decide how soon to prune its economic stimulus campaign, said on Wednesday that it would wait at least a little longer. The Fed left its benchmark interest rate unchanged after a two-day meeting of its policy-making committee, although most of its officials said they expected to raise rates by the end of the year. Janet L. Yellen, the Fed's chairwoman, said she saw no reason to rush.... Even the decision to wait, however, exposes the Fed to continued attack by Donald J. Trump..., who has repeatedly charged that Ms. Yellen is delaying necessary action to help Democrats." -- CW

** Dana Milbank: "Impeachment is among the most severe and solemn powers Congress has, right up there with declaring war. Not since 1876 has an executive-branch appointee been impeached, and not in the history of the republic has Congress impeached an executive-branch official below the Cabinet level. Now, Republicans in Congress would change that. On Wednesday, they wheeled out the sacred tool of impeachment -- weeks before an election -- for the purpose of smearing an honorable public servant, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, in service of a lie.... To say this impeachment inquiry is a kangaroo court would be an insult to marsupials." Read on. -- CW ...

... Jackie Calmes of the New York Times: "Senate Republicans have said they will not take up a House impeachment resolution. It would be up to the Senate to try Mr. Koskinen on any charges leveled by the House. But senators have instead praised him for his varied government career going back decades." -- CW

Carolyn Johnson of the Washington Post: "Lawmakers chastised Mylan's chief executive [Heather Bresch] for amassing an $18 million salary at a contentious congressional hearing Wednesday afternoon, as she evaded questions about how much profit the pharmaceutical company made off the lifesaving allergy drug EpiPen. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held up an EpiPen to punctuate his point that epinephrine - 'the juice' inside the device - costs about $1. The list price for a two-pack of the pens is $608, up about 500 percent in a decade. The hearing was the latest drug-pricing outrage to unite politicians from both sides of the aisle." -- CW ...

... New York Times Editors: "Meanwhile, Mylan has been lobbying to have the EpiPen included on a federal list of preventive medical services, which would require employers and insurers to pay the cost, without a patient share. Mylan, which controls nearly 90 percent of the market for epinephrine injectors, can raise the price so readily because it faces little competition.... Mylan's price gouging is only the latest example of a disturbing trend.... To have a real impact on drug prices, Congress will need to do a lot more than browbeat pharmaceutical executives in the hopes of shaming them into reducing their prices." -- CW ...

... Capitalism is Awesome, Ctd. Rupert Neate of the Guardian: "A US drug company has increased the price of an acne cream by more than 3,900% to $9,561 in less than 18 months in the latest example of drug 'price gouging', which has enraged the American public and become a central topic of debate in the presidential election campaign. Novum Pharma, a recently formed privately held Chicago-based company, bought the rights to drug Aloquin in May 2015. The 60g cream, which contains two cheap ingredients, was sold by its previous owner, Primus Pharmaceuticals, for $241.50." --safari

Tim Berners-Lee & Daniel Weitzner in a Washington Post op-ed explain to Ted Cruz that he does not own the internet. "Sen. Ted Cruz wants to engineer a United States takeover of a key Internet organization, ICANN, in the name of protecting freedom of expression. Cruz's proposal is one of the key sticking points in finalizing the government spending bill necessary to avert a government shutdown on Sept. 30.... ICANN, in fact, has no power whatsoever over individual speech online. ICANN -- the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers -- supervises domain names on the Internet. The actual flow of traffic, and therefore speech, is up to individual network and platform operators." (Also linked yesterday.) ...

... Akhilleus: Cruz's contention comes from the mistaken, not to say ignorant, belief that somehow the US owns the internet. It does not. In fact, Tim Berners-Lee, widely credited with inventing the modern internet, is an Englishman who was working in Geneva when he came up with the original programming for internet protocols. Once again, Cruz is trying to shut down the government based on lies. Lying has become the most essential item in the Confederate tool box. Oh, and by the way, since when has Ted Cruz been a proponent of free speech for anyone who isn't a far right Confederate asshole?

Marc Santora, et al., of the New York Times: "When Ahmad Khan Rahami returned in March 2014 from a nearly yearlong trip to Pakistan, he was flagged by customs officials, who pulled him out for a secondary screening. Still concerned about his travel, they notified the National Targeting Center, a federal agency that assesses potential threats, two law enforcement officials said. It was one of thousands of such notifications every year, and a report on Mr. Rahami was passed along to the F.B.I. and other intelligence agencies, according to the law enforcement officials. Five months later, when Mr. Rahami's father told the police that he was concerned about his son having terrorist sympathies, federal agents again examined his travel history. And again..., the concerns were not found to warrant a deeper inquiry. Ahmad Rahami was not interviewed by federal agents." -- CW

Frank Rich on the recent terrorist attacks & coverage of them, the presidential race, & NBC Entertainment's Trump toadying.

Benjamin Wallace-Wells of the New Yorker: "Arlie Russell Hochschild, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley, has just published a book, 'Strangers in their Own Land,' that tries to understand the emotional roots of the Tea Party movement and the Trump phenomenon.... Hochschild noticed that Tea Party enthusiasts and traditional conservatives gave her accounts of American society that boiled down to a single 'deep story.' This story was that America, which was once characterized by hard work, was now characterized by cheating; the image that Hochschild chose was that of people cutting in line." An interesting sociological study of rural America's decay. --safari

Cafeteria Catholics. Emma Green of The Atlantic: "There are lots of ways to be a Catholic public leader in the United States. But the only path that's impossible, it seems, is to advocate policies that fully follow the Church's teachings on Jesus. Politicians of both parties have to pick and choose their theology, sticking to party lines that defy the United States Conference on Catholic Bishops' guide to faithful citizenship.... Far from taking positions that are distinctive to their faith, many hold views that reflect their partisan allegiances." --safari

Natasha Geiling of ThinkProgress: "On Wednesday morning, 31 countries officially ratified the Paris climate agreement, pushing it over one of the required thresholds needed for the agreement to enter into force. Sixty parties, representing 48 percent of the world's emissions, have now officially joined. For the Paris agreement to enter into force, at least 55 nations, representing at least 55 percent of global emissions, must formally ratify. That means that the agreement needs just 7 percent more greenhouse gas emissions before the agreement can enter into force." --safari...

... BUT Capitalism is Too Awesome, Ctd. Arthur Nelson of the Guardian, "A far-reaching global trade deal being negotiated in secret could threaten the goals of the Paris climate deal by making it harder for governments to favour clean energy over fossil fuels, a leak of the latest negotiating text shows. The controversial Trade in Services Agreement (Tisa) aims to liberalise trade between the EU and 22 countries across the global services sector, which employs tens of millions in Europe alone...But a new EU text seen by the Guardian would oblige signatories to work towards 'energy neutrality' between renewable energy and fossil fuel power...but governments would first have to prove the necessity for regulations that legally constrain multinationals. The same clause was used in the World Trade Organisation's Gatt and Gats treaties which entered into force in 1995, and led to 44 complaints by multinationals via their governments. Of these, 43 were upheld." --safari

If this [whistleblower] was supposed to be at the branch at 8:30 a.m. and they showed up at 8:32 a.m, they would fire them. -- Former Wells Fargo human resources official ...

... Capitalism Is Awesome, Ctd. Adam Raymond of New York: "On Tuesday, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf told the Senate Banking Committee that bank employees are 'encouraged to raise their hands' if they see illegal activity taking place. Turns out, that's so they can be fired. That's allegedly what happened to a handful of employees, who told CNN that they were let go after blowing the whistle on the fraudulent practices that resulted in $185 million in fines for the bank.... In addition to the fired employees, CNN spoke to someone who used to work in Wells Fargo HR. This official confirmed that the bank's strategy for dealing with whistle-blowers was to find ways to fire them 'in retaliation for shining light.'" -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

Kate Zernike & Noah Remnick of the New York Times: "On the morning that Patrick J. Foye ordered the reversal of the mysterious lane closings near the George Washington Bridge in September 2013, Bill Baroni, [now on trial] appeared in his office, visibly on edge. Mr. Baroni, Gov. Chris Christie's top appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge, beseeched Mr. Foye, the agency's executive director [appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York], to reclose the lanes. He kept pressing even after Mr. Foye reminded him that ambulances had been caught in the gridlock caused by the lane closings.... 'He said the issue was important to Trenton,' Mr. Foye recalled on Wednesday during testimony in United States District Court. 'I took that to be the governor's office.'" -- CW

Republicans demand hands off by big government and reduced spending. Oops...unless they're the ones who want it. Rich Perry of Saint Peter's Blog: Florida governor Rick Scott is incensed that President Obama won't open the door to the money room for him to mooch off. 'But in a letter directed to the President on Tuesday, the governor lays out the case that it's beyond time for the feds to help out the nation's third-biggest state, following the damages incurred from Hurricane Hermine.... The governor states there has been more than $36 million in damages due to the hurricane. A presidential disaster declaration would provide federal resources to support recovery efforts in Florida." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Akhilleus: Funny that wingers in Florida are demanding help from the government for events caused largely by climate change, something they claim doesn't exist. Then they want government money for the Pulse nightclub slayings, this in a state that celebrates gun ownership to the point of rampant idiocy. The reporter suggests that denial of assistance is due to Scott's repeated attempts to undermine the president's programs such as the ACA but offers no proof. Typical.

From Lovely Farm-to-Table Dinner to "Bloody Brawl." Nick Miller of the (Sacramento) East Bay Express: "Multiple sources have confirmed that Sacramento Mayor, former NBA star, and UC Berkeley standout Kevin Johnson was hit in the face with a pie [Wednesday] night at a farm-to-table dinner event -- then he tackled and assaulted the protester in a 'bloody' brawl.... After [throwing the pie], the protester reportedly said something to Johnson. This prompted the mayor to allegedly tackle the protester and punch him in the face "repeatedly," more than half a dozen times, landing 'five to 10' blows.... witnesses say that the pie-thrower was hit multiple times in the face and will definitely need stitches, and that there was visible blood.... Police said that the there was a cut above the suspect's eye, but that he did not know the size. However, Thompson was transported to a local hospital after the incident, police confirmed.... [The pie-thrower' Sean Thompson was arrested for felony assault of a public official." Apparently Johnson was not. ...

... CW: Mayor Johnson, who attended the high school where the event was held, is married to education wingnut Michelle Rhee, who also was at the dinner. Johnson turned the school into a charter school. I'd say a pie-in-the-face was warranted. Note the difference in tone & content of the SacBee's coverage, linked here, & the Express's report. ...

... Last year Dave McKenna of Deadspin wrote an extremely negative account of Kevin Johnson's "civic" career. -- CW

Way Beyond

Barbara Starr of CNN: "ISIS is suspected of firing a shell with mustard agent that landed at the Qayyara air base in Iraq Tuesday where US and Iraqi troops are operating, according to several US officials. The shell was categorized by officials as either a rocket or artillery shell. After it landed on the base, just south of Mosul, US troops tested it and received an initial reading for a chemical agent they believe is mustard.No US troops were hurt or have displayed symptoms of exposure to mustard agent." -- CW

Tuesday
Sep202016

The Commentariat -- Sept. 21, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Republicans demand hands off by big government and reduced spending. Oops...unless they're the ones who want it. Rich Perry of Saint Peter's Blog: Florida governor Rick Scott is incensed that President Obama won't open the door to the money room for him to mooch off. 'But in a letter directed to the President on Tuesday, the governor lays out the case that it's beyond time for the feds to help out the nation's third-biggest state, following the damages incurred from Hurricane Hermine.... The governor states there has been more than $36 million in damages due to the hurricane. A presidential disaster declaration would provide federal resources to support recovery efforts in Florida."...

... Akhilleus: Funny that wingers in Florida are demanding help from the government for events caused largely by climate change, something they claim doesn't exist. Then they want government money for the Pulse nightclub slayings, this in a state that celebrates gun ownership to the point of rampant idiocy. The reporter suggests that denial of assistance is due to Scott's repeated attempts to undermine the president's programs such as the ACA but offers no proof. Typical.

Tim Berners-Lee & Daniel Weitzner in a Washinton Post op-ed explain to Ted Cruz that he does not own the internet. "Sen. Ted Cruz wants to engineer a United States takeover of a key Internet organization, ICANN, in the name of protecting freedom of expression. Cruz's proposal is one of the key sticking points in finalizing the government spending bill necessary to avert a government shutdown on Sept. 30.... ICANN, in fact, has no power whatsoever over individual speech online. ICANN -- the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers -- supervises domain names on the Internet. The actual flow of traffic, and therefore speech, is up to individual network and platform operators." ...

... Akhilleus: Cruz's contention comes from the mistaken, not to say ignorant, belief that somehow the US owns the internet. It does not. In fact, Tim Berners-Lee, widely credited with inventing the modern internet, is an Englishman who was working in Geneva when he came up with the original programming for internet protocols. Once again, Cruz is trying to shut down the government based on lies. Lying has become the most essential item in the Confederate tool box. Oh, and by the way, since when has Ted Cruz been a proponent of free speech for anyone who isn't a far right Confederate asshole?

*****

Mark Landler of the New York Times: "President Obama on Tuesday called for a 'course correction' in the march to an integrated world, saying the gains made in recent decades were threatened by 'uncertainty and unease and strife.' Mr. Obama, making his valedictory address before the United Nations General Assembly in New York, painted a picture of nations struggling with economic inequality, sectarian conflict and rising nationalism. 'We cannot dismiss these visions,' he said. 'They are powerful. They reflect dissatisfaction among too many of our citizens.'" -- CW ...

Eric Schmitt, et al., of the New York Times: "The Obama administration thinks there is a high probability that Russian airstrikes were responsible for the deadly bombing of a United Nations humanitarian aid convoy, United States officials said Tuesday. The officials said that the administration wanted to allow Moscow the time and space to investigate and announce its own conclusions about the bombing on Monday, which destroyed much of a 31-truck convoy that had been authorized to travel to a rebel-held area in northern Syria. Aghast at the attack, United Nations officials on Tuesday suspended all aid convoys in the war-ravaged country, describing the bombing as a possible war crime and calling the bombers cowards. The attack threatened to completely unravel a fragile agreement between Russia and the United States...." -- CW

Michael Corkery of the New York Times: "The chief executive of Wells Fargo where bankers opened secret and unauthorized credit card and deposit accounts for customers for at least five years in an attempt to meet sales goals -- told a Senate panel Tuesday morning that the illegal activity might have gone on even longer and that no senior executives had been fired as a result. Senators on both sides of the aisle expressed anger and indignation at the chief executive, John G. Stumpf, with several lawmakers calling for him to give back some of his rich compensation.... The executive who oversaw the retail bank, Carrie Tolstedt, was permitted to retire in July rather than be held accountable for the problems, Mr. Stumpf acknowledged.... Senator Elizabeth Warren ... called on Mr. Stumpf to resign and for him to be criminally investigated." -- CW ...

... CW: Warren has never been a prosecutor, but she tried & convicted Stumpf on Tuesday in less than 10 minutes. ...

... David Dayen in the New Republic: "Yesterday's Senate Banking Committee hearing on Wells Fargo should have ended with CEO John Stumpf hauled off in handcuffs. In a little over two hours, Stumpf revealed enough information, combined with what was already known in public records and filings, to make a powerful case for securities fraud. Specifically, that he touted fraudulent sales figures to investors as evidence of the bank's growth, boosting the stock price and personally benefiting by $200 million. Worst of all, Stumpf used low-paid workers as the raw materials for this scheme, and as the scapegoats when it unraveled.... Will President Barack Obama's administration end its tenure as it began, by refusing to prosecute systemic fraud in the financial markets? That's the unavoidable conclusion so far." -- CW ...

... Dana Milbank: "When Wells Fargo chairman and chief executive John Stumpf sat before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, he represented a bank too big to fail, too sprawling to manage and too arrogant to own up to its failures.... If high-level bankers didn't go to prison for the subprime hijinks that caused the 2008 crash, it's a safe bet that none will in the Wells Fargo scandal, either. But if arrogance were a criminal offense, Stumpf would be looking at a life sentence. The bank's fraud, and the executive's insolence, may have one salutary result: It takes off the agenda any plan to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau...." -- CW

Lee Fang of the Intercept: "Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of the 2010 Citizens United decision that unraveled almost a century of campaign finance law, doesn't seem to care that the central premise of his historic decision has quickly unraveled. I spoke briefly to Kennedy during his visit to the U.S. Courthouse in Sacramento, before his security detail escorted me out of the room.... Kennedy, after listening to my question about the false crux of his decision, waved his hand and shrugged off the issue:... 'Well, I don't comment ... on my cases.... That's for the bar and the lower bench to figure out.'... Despite his claim that he does not comment on cases, Kennedy often discusses his decisions." Kennedy's security people would only let Fang back into the room if they could screen his questions, an offer he declined. -- CW

Guardian: "Federal prosecutors have charged Ahmad Khan Rahami with planting a series of bombs in New York and New Jersey, including one that injured 31 people when it blew up on a busy street. Rahami is charged with using weapons of mass destruction, and several other charges related to the use of explosives in 'furtherance of a crime of violence'. The criminal complaint was unsealed Tuesday at a federal court in Manhattan." -- CW ...

... Marc Santora, et al., of the New York Times: "Two years before the bombings that Ahmad Khan Rahami is suspected of carrying out in New York and New Jersey, his father told the police that he suspected his son might be involved in terrorism, prompting a review by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency said on Tuesday. The father, Mohammad Rahami, in a brief interview, said that at the time he told agents from the F.B.I. about his concern, his son had just had a fight with another of his sons and stabbed the man, leading to a criminal investigation.... 'In August 2014, the F.B.I. initiated an assessment of Ahmad Rahami based upon comments made by his father after a domestic dispute that were subsequently reported to authorities,' the agency said in a statement. 'The F.B.I. conducted internal database reviews, interagency checks, and multiple interviews, none of which revealed ties to terrorism.'" -- CW

Olivia Solon of the Guardian: "The FBI paid more than $1.3m to unlock the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone 5C, but one computer scientist from Cambridge University has shown that the passcodes can be hacked using a store-bought kit worth less than $100. Sergei Skorobogatov demonstrated a technique known as NAND mirroring -- dismissed by the FBI director, James Comey, as being unworkable -- to break into any model of iPhone up to the iPhone 6, including the iPhone 5C. He outlined the attack in a paper published last week as well as a YouTube video." -- CW

We don't know where these people come from. We don't know if they have love or hate in their heart, and there's no way to tell. -- Donald Trump, on displaced Syrians, speaking at a campaign rally in Canton, Ohio ...

... Louisa Loveluck of the Washington Post outlines for Trump the rigorous vetting process Syrian refugees go through before the are admitted to the U.S.

Yet Another Charity Scammer. Spencer Hsu of the Washington Post: "Federal prosecutors announced an eight-count indictment Tuesday against Patricia P. Driscoll, charging her with a fraud and tax-evasion scheme as president of the Armed Forces Foundation, a Washington-based charity that assists veterans. Driscoll resigned July 12 after 12 years at the military charity following an ESPN 'Outside the Lines' report on her alleged mishandling of funds. In a December tax filing, the foundation reported it had 'become aware of suspected misappropriations' by Driscoll totaling about $600,000 from 2006 to 2014." -- CW ...

... CW: Also, too, Driscoll might be a "trained assassin"! If Driscoll is looking for one of those work-from-home/prison jobs, she should send her resume' to Donald Trump. She's a perfect fit right for the Trump Org.

Presidential Race

Paul Waldman contrasts Hillary Clinton's approach to terrorism -- keep calm, be vigilant -- and Donald Trump's -- be petrified, vote for a big-mouthed jerk. CW: I know there are millions of Americans who see a terrorist lurking around every corner, but it seems to me that "normal" people would intuitively find Clinton's realistic approach much more sensible & comforting. Moreover, Clinton's approach implies that individual citizens have the power to be part of the solution, whereas Trump is arguing -- without having any workable, Constitutional plan -- that when he's in charge terrorists will turn to pixie dust. That is, Trump is pitching a non-plan that would reduce people to helpless babies. Clinton's response to terrorism is the right one -- and, I think, a winner. (See also Skittles Math! linked below) ...

... John Wagner of the Washington Post: "... Hillary Clinton sought Tuesday to present herself as a model of 'steady leadership' in the face of terrorist attacks and took a shot at Republican Donald Trump's temperament and preparation for handling such moments. 'We know what it takes,' Clinton said at the outset of a call with a team of national security and counterterrorism advisers. 'We can't lose our cool and start ranting and waving our arms. We shouldn't toss around extreme proposals that won't be effective and lose sight of who we are. That's what the terrorists are aiming for.'" -- CW

Burgess Everett of Politico: "... Sen. Harry Reid declared Tuesday on the Senate floor that Donald Trump is a 'swindler' who is 'not as rich as he would have us believe.... Simply put, Trump is faking his net worth because he doesn't want us to know that he's not a good businessman,' Reid said. 'Since 2008, Trump has not donated a single penny to his own charity ... does he have money to donate? He says he does, but he doesn't.'... With just a handful of congressional days in session before the election, Reid is unleashing increasingly heated attacks on Trump and Senate Republicans supporting him. Last week, he called Trump a 'human leech' and suggested the business mogul is overweight.... And Republicans aren't exactly rushing to shield Trump from Reid's attacks; many, in fact, have said that Trump should release his tax returns in accordance with presidential tradition." -- CW

Deportation Don. Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "With less than a week until the first general election debate, Donald J. Trump has used his recent rallies to sharpen the nationalist message he has embraced throughout the campaign.... In a typical campaign, nominees of both parties modulate positions to appeal to independent voters.... Mr. Trump, on the other hand.... ha heightened his incendiary comments in recent days, striking notes of nationalism as he continues to call for drastic changes to the immigration system.... Mr. Trump's calls for large-scale deportations are opposed by a majority of national voters. And his comments are more familiar to a brand of nationalism seen in France, by figures like Marine Le Pen." -- CW ...

... I do think one reason Trump says outrageous things is to try to hide substantive stories about his shady escapades & (allegedly) criminal acts, like these:

** David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved [his] ... for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents. Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump's charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against 'self-dealing' -- which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.... More broadly, these cases­ [which Fahrenthold lists, including Trump's using his foundation to buy yet another portrait of himself] also provide new evidence that Trump ran his charity in a way that may have violated U.S. tax law and gone against the moral conventions of philanthropy.... The four new cases of possible self-dealing were discovered in the Trump Foundation's tax filings. While Trump has refused to release his personal tax returns, the foundation's filings are required to be public." CW: So just imagine what-all the tax returns would reveal. ...

... Charles Pierce figures out the gist of the second case ["Pulitzer vacuuum"] Fahrenthold cites: "Call me cynical, but doesn't this sound very much like Trump's people arranged a million-dollar hole-in-one contest that they knew nobody could win because they knew the hole was short? And then, when they got caught, El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago tapped the foundation to cover his ass. Please, by all means, hand this guy the federal treasury to play with." -- CW ...

... CW: When Trump boasts that he "I don't settle," he means, "I settle, but with other people's money." ...

... Jeremy Diamond of CNN: "Donald Trump bragged Tuesday there's 'nothing like' using other people's money, hours after a report said he used more than $250,000 from his charitable organization to litigate lawsuits against his business interests. Trump, while calling for building safe zones in Syria financed by Gulf states, vaunted the benefits of doing business with 'OPM.' 'It's called OPM. I do it all the time in business. It's called other people's money,' Trump said. 'There's nothing like doing things with other people's money because it takes the risk -- you get a good chunk out of it and it takes the risk.'" -- CW ...

... CW: Now, let's imagine if the news was that Hillary Clinton had used the Clinton Foundation to pay off her personal legal debts. Would it be a one-day story, after which Republicans & the media would move on to her latest hair-do or forensic examinations of photos of her earpiece cheat?

     ... Update: Or something funny about Clinton's eyes?

By the way, Lester is a Democrat. It's a phony system. They are all Democrats. It's a very unfair system. -- Donald Trump, complaining to Bill O'Reilly about NBC News anchor Lester Holt, who will moderate the first presidential debate ...

... Zeke Miller of Time: "New York State voter registration documents show that Holt has been a registered Republican in the state since 2003." -- CW ...

... Paul Waldman: "Perhaps Trump was confused by the fact that Holt is black, and ignored the fact that he's also really rich." -- CW

Matea Gold & Anu Narayanswamy of the Washington Post: "A late infusion of big money is allowing congressional super PACs to ratchet up their spending in the final weeks before Election Day, financing an air war that will inundate voters in key states, according to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday. On the right, Las Vegas Sands chief executive Sheldon Adelson and other wealthy Republican contributors swelled the coffers of the Senate Leadership Fund, a GOP-allied super PAC that raised more in August than it had in the entire 2016 election cycle.... On the left, the pro-Democratic Senate Majority PAC raised $11.6 million in August, the group's largest monthly take this cycle. The biggest donor was Alexander Soros, a son of investor George Soros, who contributed $1.25 million." -- CW ...

... Nicholas Confessor & Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: "The Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon G. Adelson is shifting tens of millions of dollars into groups backing congressional Republicans despite months of entreaties from allies of Donald J. Trump, according to several Republicans with knowledge of Mr. Adelson's giving, dealing a major setback to Mr. Trump's efforts to rally deep-pocketed Republican givers." -- CW ...

... Andrew Sorkin of the New York Times: "In conversations over the last several months with chief executives and other business leaders..., with few exceptions, at some point, most of the executives say something critical, even derogatory, about Donald Trump -- but it is quickly followed by, 'I could never say that on the record.' Almost as quickly, I ask why. The answer is almost universal: fear." This includes fear of retaliation from Trump and fear of losing pro-Trump customers. -- CW

David Graham of the Atlantic: "Donald Trump Jr. isn't just his father's namesake or dark-haired doppelgänger. He is increasingly emerging as his father's id -- or perhaps simply his father's emissary to the alt-right. Over the last few weeks, Trump has made an effort to tone down his rhetoric and try to avoid the most outrageous comments, the ones that endeared him to the racists, misogynists, and xenophobes who gather in darker corners of the internet.... But it's still important to maintain the base, and that role seems to have fallen to Donald Trump Jr. Trump fils has been increasingly catering to the fringe right in his social-media statements and interviews.... Even as the Skittles controversy bubbled Tuesday morning, Trump Jr. tweeted a link to a [race-baiting] Breitbart story.... The outstanding question now is whether Trump Jr. is a true believer in white genocide or is simply playing one for cynical political purposes...." -- CW ...

... Patrick Evans of BBC News: "Donald Trump Jr's tweet comparing Skittles to refugees has caused a furore on social media. In a new development, the man who took the photo of the Skittles has revealed himself to be a former refugee. David Kittos, 48, from Guildford, UK, [told the BBC], 'This was not done with my permission, I don't support Trump's politics and I would never take his money to use it..... In 1974, when I was six-years old, I was a refugee from the Turkish occupation of Cyprus so I would never approve the use of this image against refugees.'" ...

... How is Donald Trump's Skittles tweet flawed? Judd Legum of Think Progress counts the ways. ...

Yes, my child! Just as a single poisonous mushrooms can kill a whole family, so a solitary Jew can destroy a whole village, a whole city, even an entire Volk. -- Nazi Julius Streicher, in his "children's book" Der Giftpilz, 1938 ...

... Naomi LaChance of the Intercept: "Donald Trump Jr.'s tweet comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles has deep roots. The concept dates back at least to 1938 and a children's book called Der Giftpilz, or The Toadstool, in which a mother explains to her son that it only takes one Jew to destroy an entire people.... The book's author, Julius Streicher, also published a newspaper that Adolf Hitler loved to read, Der Stürmer. The newspaper published anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, anti-communist, and anti-capitalist propaganda. In 1933, soon after Hitler took power, Streicher used his newspaper to call for the extermination of the Jews.... Streicher was hanged at Nuremburg in 1946 for crimes against humanity." -- CW: Not surprising at all that another of Junior Drumpf's "ideas" has its roots in Nazi propaganda. ...

... Skittles Math! Philip Bump of the Washington Post: "The libertarian (and Koch brothers-backed) think tank Cato Institute published a report last week assessing the risk posed by refugees. That report stated that, each year, the risk to an American of being killed by a refugee in a terror attack is 1 in 3.64 billion.... We're talking about one-and-a-half Olympic swimming pools of Skittles[, not a little bowlful].... There's another layer of complexity. The 200 million Skittles a day that end up in the pool have all passed through Wrigley's stringent quality control system. To continue the analogy in an increasingly awkward way, the United States already screens refugees that arrive in the United States through a multilevel process.... Americans born in America commit hundreds of murders a year. In 2014, there were 4.5 murders for every 100,000 Americans. That's a rate thousands of times higher than what's under consideration here." ...

     ... Trump's Ark. CW: Marvin S. has a great idea in today's Comments, but I'll one-up him: looks like the only sure cure for domestic terrorism is to (a) vote for Trump; (b) he'll deport every person living in the U.S.A. (to someplace), except himself & his family. (No exceptions, Sean Hannity!) Trump is kinda like God & Noah rolled into one.

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Paul Farhi of the Washington Post: "CNN commentator and former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was paid $20,000 in August by the campaign for what it described as 'strategy consulting,' raising anew the conflict of interest issue that has dogged the cable network's hiring of Lewandowski. CNN has said previously that Trump's payments to Lewandowski and his consulting firm were 'severance' for his employment by Trump. It began introducing his appearances on the air last month by mentioning that he receives severance from Trump.... [The 'strategy consulting'] would put CNN in the position of employing a person who is also compensated by the campaign and the candidate he comments on -- conflict that most journalistic organizations prohibit.... CNN chairman Jeff Zucker has repeatedly defended the hiring of Lewandowski...." -- CW ...

... MEANWHILE... Erik Wemple of the Washington Post: Sean Hannity is endorsing Donald Trump in a video by Trump's campaign. And today "Hannity will host Trump for a town-hall discussion in Cleveland focusing on 'African-American concerns.'... 'We had no knowledge that Sean Hannity was participating in this [ad],' says a Fox News spokesperson, 'and he will not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election.'" CW: I had no knowledge that either Trump or Hannity had "African-American concerns."

Dave Itzkoff of the New York Times: On her Monday night show, Samantha Bee wentfull frontal on Jimmy Fallon for cuddling up with Donald Trump -- on the same day Trump refused to tell WashPo reporter Robert Costa whether or not he believe President Obama was an American. "'If [Fallon] thinks that a race-baiting demagogue is O.K., that gives permission to millions of Americans to also think that,' she continued." Read the whole post; Itzkoff reminds us of NBC's culpability in promoting Trump. CW: Does Fallon's chummy performance put any pressure on NBC News star Lester Holt not to grin & ruffle Trump's hair? Or does he have his marching orders from NBC suits who are planning to add "Political Apprentice" to next fall's schedule? ...

Aww, Trump can be a total sweetheart with someone who has no reason to be terrified of him. I notice there were no cutaway shots to The Roots. I wonder why. -- Samantha Bee, on Fallon's "interview" of Donald Trump ...

... Speaking of late-nite comedy hosts, contributor unwashed links Stephen Colbert's assessment of Donald Trump's birther announcement & Trump's history of charitable giving (profanity bleeped):

... AND here's Seth Meyers -- NBC's late-late-nite anti-Fallon -- on Birther Trump & Bridgegate Christie, also via unwashed:

... AND I thought Trump ended Hillary Clinton's birther obsession long ago. Period. Richard Ruelas of the Arizona Republic in USA Today: "Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio [CW: and Trump backer] on Tuesday vowed to the Surprise Tea Party Patriots, the group that five years ago petitioned him to investigate President Obama's birth certificate, that he was continuing the inquiry. 'I don't care where he's from,' Arpaio [said].... 'We are looking at a forged document. Period.'" ...

... CW: Um, exactly how long does it take to examine "a forged document"? It took researchers less than a year to determine the age of the Shroud of Turin (although, admittedly, the faithful have spent years questioning the findings).

Beyond the Beltway

Joe Marusak & Ely Portillo of the Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer: "A dozen police officers were injured Tuesday night in clashes with several hundred people protesting an officer-involved fatal shooting in the University City area.... In Charlotte, a crowd of several hundred shouting protesters continued to block streets well after midnight, despite the use of tear gas by police in riot gear.... By shortly before 3 a.m., the demonstrators had shut down all lanes of Interstate 85 northbound and started a fire on the highway, before being dispersed by police with nightsticks.... The man who died was identified late Tuesday as Keith Lamont Scott, 43, and the officer who fired the fatal shot was CMPD Officer Brentley Vinson, a police statement said. Both men were African-American, a police source confirmed." -- CW

Peter Holley, et al., of the Washington Post: "A day after police in Oklahoma released video that shows a white Tulsa police officer fatally shooting an unarmed black man, attorneys representing the slain man's family released photos that they said contradict a key claim in authorities' version of events. At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Benjamin Crump -- a civil rights lawyer who has represented many families of those killed in high-profile police shootings -- said Terence Crutcher never reached his hands into the driver's side window of his stalled sport-utility vehicle [as the police have claimed] before he was shot by police. Crutcher couldn't have reached into the vehicle, Crump said, because enhanced photos of the vehicle taken from police video show that the window was rolled up." -- CW