The Wires

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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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

Monday
Sep192016

The Commentariat -- Sept. 20, 2016

Edgar Sandoval & Jason Silverstein of the New York Daily News: "Authorities nabbed the man wanted in connection with the weekend bombings in New York City and New Jersey after he shot a police officer Monday morning, according to reports. Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was the first person identified in connection with the bombings. NBC New York and CNN reported that Rahami was in custody after shooting an officer in Linden, N.J. around 11 a.m. Details about the shooting were not immediately released." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Marc Santora, et al., of the New York Times: "The man believed to be responsible for the explosion in Manhattan on Saturday night and an earlier bombing in New Jersey, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was taken into custody on Monday after he was wounded by gunfire in an encounter with the police, according to law enforcement officials. The dramatic episode on a rain-soaked street in Linden, N.J., came after the police issued a cellphone alert to millions of residents in the area telling them to be on the lookout for the suspect, who was described as 'armed and dangerous.'... Mr. Rahami, 28, was identified on surveillance video planting the bombs in Chelsea, both the device that exploded and another that did not detonate a few blocks away. He was described as a naturalized citizen of Afghan descent who had been living with his family in Elizabeth, N.J.... Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who said on Sunday that the attack did not appear to have a link to international terrorism, said new evidence might change that thinking." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... The story has been updated several times. "The showdown [in Linden, N.J.,] started around 10:30 a.m. when a resident spotted a man sleeping in the doorway of a bar, officials said.... The officer ordered Mr. Rahami to show hands, [Capt. James Sarnicki of the Linden Police Department] said, but instead, he pulled out a handgun. He shot the officer in the abdomen..., but the bullet struck his vest.... 'The officer returned fire,' he said. Mr. Rahami fled, 'indiscriminantly firing his weapon at passing vehicles.' By sundown, Mr. Rahami had been charged with seven counts, including five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, with bail set at $5.2 million." ...

President Obama spoke Monday morning about the attacks in New York, New Jersey & Minnesota:

... Tom Haydon of NJ.com: "Two homeless men found the backpack with the five pipe bombs in the city Sunday and saved lives by reporting it to police, Mayor Christian Bollwage said." -- CW

Presidential Race

Alexander Burns & Amy Chozick of the New York Times: "Hillary Clinton accused Donald J. Trump on Monday of imperiling American national security with his campaign messages as Mr. Trump called for a crackdown on immigration and for unrestrained police profiling of people from the Muslim world after bombings in New York and New Jersey.... Both candidates reached for the mantle of toughness, in starkly different ways. Mrs. Clinton stressed her national security credentials, measuring her words carefully and charging Mr. Trump with recklessness.... At a morning news conference inside an airport hangar in rainy Westchester County, [Clinton] urged Americans to show 'courage and vigilance,' and not to demonize Muslims or Americans of foreign origin. And describing herself as the only candidate in the race with experience fighting terrorism, Mrs. Clinton charged that Mr. Trump had helped the Islamic State and other terror groups with his campaign oratory broadly denouncing Muslims." -- CW ...

... CW: This is a unique New York Times story in that it focuses on Clinton's accurate &/or reasonable accusations against Trump, but relegates Trump's bluster to the latter part of a story (Para. 13, in the story's current [8:30 pm ET Monday] configuration). Most of the Times' stories focus on Trump's saying something nutty, then way down the page mention whatever normal thing Clinton said about the matter. Here's a good part of the reason for the reversal of coverage: Clinton got out on front on this one. Clinton's remarks about the bombings were measured, forceful, and, you know, "presidential." And, no, Reince, you misogynist prick, she wasn't smiling while discussing terrorism. ...

By Driftglass.... MEANWHILE, at the Washington Post, the front-page headline puts Trump before Clinton, but the headline on the story page puts Clinton before Trump. The WashPo story, by Anne Gearan & others, gives more prominence than does the Times to Trump, who says the usual alpha-boy, unconstitutional stuff: "... the United States is too tentative in its efforts against terrorism overseas. The better approach would be to 'knock the hell out of them' and possibly introduce profiling as a counterterrorism tactic, he added. 'Our local police, they know who a lot of these people are,' Trump said in the Fox interview. 'They are afraid to do anything about it, because they don't want to be accused of profiling. And they don't want to be accused of all sorts of things.' He concluded: 'Do we have a choice? Look what's going on. Do we really have a choice? We're trying to be so politically correct in our country.'" -- CW ...

... Ben Jacobs of the Guardian: At a rally in Estero, Florida, "Trump also bemoaned what he said was the plush treatment that would be accorded to Rahami. 'The bad part,' he said, 'now we will give him amazing hospitalization. He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world. He will be given a fully modern and updated hospital room. And he'll probably even have room service, knowing the way our country is. And, on top of that, he will be represented by an outstanding lawyer. Trump concluded by noting 'and his punishment will not be what it once would have been. What a sad situation.'" -- CW

Jonah Bromwich of the New York Times: "Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the eldest child of Robert F. Kennedy, said in a Facebook post on Monday that the elder President George Bush told her that he planned to vote for Hillary Clinton. The former president, however, is not talking." CW: Hillary's husband, of course, made Bush I a one-term president. But the old man has some integrity: he's one of the few GOP leaders to put principle before party.

CW: So somebody found a two-year-old Reddit post that might imply that somebody who might be connected to Hillary Clinton might have been asking how to scrub Clinton's e-mail account, so naturally the House of Representatives is INVESTIGATING! They just can't stop.

Donald Trump: Newscaster. Also, Something New -- Media Unfair to Trump. Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Donald Trump on Monday morning claimed credit for accurately calling the weekend's explosion in Manhattan a bombing, even before full details were in, as the Republican presidential nominee attempts to exploit the latest terror threats to boost his campaign. Trump slammed the media for attacking him over his early use of the bomb term and accused them of editing out clips of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton using a similar term.... The real estate mogul suggested the media were attacking him not because he cited the explosion as a bombing before it was confirmed but because polls are tightening." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Akhilleus: Trump seems to think that the term newscaster is the same as earliest guesser. Another example of how little factual information penetrates, or matters inside the cramped quarters of  the orange dome. ...

... Washington Post Editors: "In commending law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, President Obama on Monday stressed the importance of letting them do their jobs so as to prevent false reports or incomplete information. The obvious need for such prudence sadly -- but not surprisingly -- did not seem to matter to ... Donald Trump. Before there was any determination of the Chelsea explosion's source, Mr. Trump nonetheless proclaimed at a campaign stop in Colorado that a bomb had gone off. He may have guessed right, but that would be a reckless way to do business in the Oval Office. Equally disturbing was Mr. Trump's bombast about how he would approach terrorism -- 'knock the hell out of 'em' -- and maybe use racial profiling. By contrast, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wanted to know the facts, and called for the support of first responders and prayers for the injured. It was the kind of calm and caution one naturally expects from a leader." -- CW

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: Despite the news that the Bridgegate trial will produce evidence, possibly from both the prosecutor & the defense, that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the unlawful closing of George Washington Bridge traffic lanes during the period the lanes were closed (see links under Beyond the Beltway), Donald "Trump, in a statement made to The New York Times through an adviser, said he was sticking with Mr. Christie.... When ... Trump campaigned in South Carolina in December..., he [told supporters]..., He totally knew about it....They're with him all the time, the people that did it.'" ...

... CW: How surprising is Trump's "loyalty"? As long as Christie remains a useful idiot -- he's running Trump's transition team & lying on the teevee for the Trumpster -- Trump will fake-BFF him. Haberman points out that Trump did the same for serial sexual abuser Roger Ailes, who continues to work on the Trump campaign. Besides, Trump seems far more comfortable with crooks, liars & other shady characters than with uppity elites. But don't, worry, just as he whacked his friend of 15 years during the primary campaign, he won't give it a second thought to throwing Christie under the bridge against if it benefits Trump.

Peter Eavis of the New York Times: When Donald Trump boycotted a primary debate in January, he held a competing charity event for veterans in Iowa, soliciting donations from across the U.S. But the Trump Foundation, the organization through which many of the donations were made, did not bother to register itself as a charity in most of the 40 states that require such registration. Hope Hicks, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign but not for the foundation, claimed the foundation was in compliance with the law because "'a one-time online donation option for the event ... does not require advance registration.' Charity law specialists said they were not aware of any such sweeping exemption.... The Clinton Foundation ... appears to be registered in nearly all the states, according to a search of state charity records. And the failure of ... the Trump Foundation to register could raise questions about the efficiency of its operations." CW: Thanks, Hope, for making up some crazy shit. As for questions about "the efficiency of the foundation," we all know it's pretty efficient at making illegal political contributions, then hiding them by pretending the money went to charities.

Gene Robinson: "Anyone who takes climate change seriously had better do everything possible to keep Donald Trump out of the White House.... Trump ... is a bald-faced denier. 'Obama's talking about all of this with the global warming and ... a lot of it's a hoax,' he said at a December rally in South Carolina. 'It's a hoax. I mean, it's a moneymaking industry, okay? It's a hoax, a lot of it.' He tweeted in 2012 that 'the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.' He later said this was a joke, but during the campaign he has again said he does not believe in climate change and claimed that action to limit carbon emissions 'is done for the benefit of China.'" ...

... CW: That's fine as far as Robinson goes, but commentators need to bring home the point that when it comes to climate policy, Gary Johnson is nearly as bad. He's not a climate-change denier, but he believes that U.S. efforts to try to abate climate change do not justify the cost. So, in effect, there's a difference without a distinction. A vote for Johnson instead of Clinton is a vote for environmental catastrophe.

Brian Beutler: "Trump used birtherism and other forms of racist agitation to build a political base for himself, and now that these defining crusades are impeding his pursuit of political power, he is trying to discard them in the most contemptuous and brazen possible way. Rather than disavow and apologize for his birtherism, he fabricated a new history in which Clinton had given life to the birther movement and he had merely settled the issue by forcing Obama to produce his birth certificate.... Even if the effort fails as it should, it has shown us just how widespread this abusive and contemptuous form of misinformation and racism apologetics has become in Republican politics." -- CW

Dana Milbank: "There was a time when fantasizing aloud about the murder of your opponent would have been beyond the pale -- but not anymore.... If Trump's 'let's see what happens to her' [if her Secret Service detail were disarmed] suggestion were a one-off, there might be an argument for giving Trump the benefit of the doubt. The tendency to regard each Trump outrage in isolation is what allows him to become normalized. But look at the comprehensive output of Trump -- who freely admitted to the Post that 'I bring rage out' in people -- there's no escaping the conclusion that he winks, and sometimes smiles, at political violence.... What's more troubling than what his backers do is how Trump backs them when they do it. He said of protesters: 'maybe he should have been roughed up' and 'I'd like to punch him in the face.'" -- CW

Academics David Dagan, Harold Pollack & Steven Teles in a Washington Post op-ed: "In the past decade, two major movements for criminal justice reform have arisen: the push against mass incarceration and Black Lives Matter's mobilization against police brutality.... Donald Trump has attacked both, arguing that the movements would touch off a new crime epidemic. He's wrong. The research we have shows that we know how to fight crime without using more handcuffs and prison cells.... Trump wants us to ignore all we have learned since the 1990s and to turn our backs on the political progress that both liberals and conservatives have made in the past few years." -- CW ...

... CW: I think we should stipulate that at least since Richard Nixon exploited crime as a campaign issue, many GOP politicians have actually favored high crime, especially as it could be presented as a race-specific problem. Donald Trump likes it so much that he repeatedly lies about the crime rate -- in general, it's been falling for decades, not rising, as Trump claims -- and he loves to drag victims of heinous crimes up on stage as anecdotal "proof" that there's an "illegal" Mexican lurking at every corner with murder in mind.

Junior StormTrumper, still entirely informed by the Racist Daily News:

... CW: Junior retweeted the punctuation-challenged graphic on the right. Winger-racist Joe Walsh retweeted it next to a tweet he sent last month. Meanwhile, the Mars Corp., which makes Skittles, tweeted, "Skittles are candy; refugees are people. It's an inappropriate analogy. We respectfully refrain from further comment, as that could be misinterpreted as marketing" Thanks to MAG for the link. Junior, BTW, who loves to shoot animals for the fun of it, would not apply the same analogy to gun owners. I don't know what percentage of gun owners use their firearms in perpetration of crimes, but Junior sure isn't urging the government to confiscate all guns so as to quash the "bad ones."

Katie Rogers of the New York Times: "Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential candidate, who has struggled in recent weeks to recover from a gaffe in which he was unable to identify Aleppo, in war-torn Syria, appeared to fumble once more on Sunday when he said no one had been injured in two violent events in New York City and Minnesota over the weekend. 'Well, first of all, just grateful that nobody got hurt,' Mr. Johnson told CNN's Brian Stelter in an appearance on the network's 'Reliable Sources.' In fact, 29 people were injured in an explosion in New York's Chelsea neighborhood on Saturday, and nine people were stabbed in St. Cloud, Minn." -- CW

Other News & Views

Cecilia Kang of the New York Times: "In long-awaited guidelines for the booming industry of automated vehicles, the Obama administration promised strong safety oversight, but sent a clear signal to automakers that the door was wide open for driverless cars. 'We envision in the future, you can take your hands off the wheel, and your commute becomes restful or productive instead of frustrating and exhausting,' said Jeffrey Zients, director of the National Economic Council, adding that highly automated vehicles 'will save time, money and lives.' The statements were the most aggressive signal yet by federal regulators that they see automated car technology as a win for auto safety." -- CW

Meetings in Jesus Land, D.C. Francine Kiefer of the Christian Science Monitor on the growing influence of congressional prayer meetings: "The Senate breakfast and its companion in the House are invisible to the public. Yet that is exactly what makes them so beneficial, say attendees. The confidentiality of the breakfasts allows lawmakers to get to know each other as human beings. They hear about each other's personal struggles and joys, about concern for family members, friends, and staff. That builds trust and friendship. It can even lead to bipartisan legislation. One participant says that it's the only time when a senator is speaking and others are really listening.... The meetings have their share of critics, who see them as too clubby, too secretive, and too much religious talk under the rotunda." Akhilleus: Because religion and religious nutjobs in congress, not to mention secret meetings, have been so helpful in solving the problems of the republic. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Stumpf Very, Very Sorry He Got Caught Running Massive Criminal Enterprise. Michael Corkery of the New York Times: "The chief executive of Wells Fargo, John G. Stumpf, will say in testimony Tuesday morning that he is 'deeply sorry' for selling customers unauthorized bank accounts and credit cards and that he takes 'full responsibility' for the unethical activity, according to a copy of the remarks prepared for a Senate Banking Committee hearing." -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

Christie and the Bridge of Damocles: David Porter of the Washington Post. "A federal prosecutor told jurors Monday that a witness will testify that Republican Gov. Chris Christie was told about a plan to close traffic lanes near the George Washington Bridge as the shutdown was happening, a claim he has contested for years.... Prosecutors said Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly, two former Christie allies, had sought political revenge against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. Baroni was a top Christie appointee to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Kelly was Christie's former chief of staff. Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna told jurors that David Wildstein, another Port Authority official, will testify he and Baroni made Christie aware of the plan during a 9/11 memorial in New York City in 2013, three days after the gridlock started. 'The evidence will show that ... they bragged about the fact that there were traffic problems in Fort Lee and that Mayor Sokolich was not getting his calls returned,' Khanna said." -- Akhilleus (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Kate Zernike of the New York Times: "It was the first time Mr. Christie, a Republican, has been accused of knowing about the scheme as it unfolded.... Mr. Christie has insisted that he had no knowledge of the plot to close the lanes, and said that he did not recall being told about the closings while they were happening. Defense lawyers have also said that Mr. Christie knew. But the statement on Monday was striking in that it was prosecutors confirming that assertion." -- CW ...

... Ted Sherman & Matt Arco of NJ.com provide many details of Monday's opening statements.

Peter Holley, et al., of the Washington Post: "Tulsa, Okla., police released video footage Monday that shows a white police officer fatally shooting an unarmed black man -- footage that the city's police chief [Chuck Jordan] called 'very disturbing.'... Video shows [Terence Crutcher] walking toward his vehicle with his hands above his head while several officers follow closely behind him with weapons raised. He lingers at his vehicle's driver's side window, his body facing the SUV, before slumping to the ground a second later. 'Shots fired!' a female voice can be heard yelling.... Jordan said investigators never found a weapon on Terence Crutcher or in his vehicle after the 40-year-old was shot and killed Friday as he stood beside his stalled SUV.... U.S. Attorney Danny Williams has announced that the Justice Department has opened an independent investigation into the shooting." Includes video. -- CW ...

... The Tulsa World story is here.

Way Beyond

Meanwhile, in Putin Land. Sarah Rainsford of the BBC Considers the Russian "Elections": "The party founded by Vladimir Putin now controls over three quarters of the seats in parliament, giving it the power to change any law or the constitution.... As [Vladimir Putin's] 'party of power', United Russia is a constant presence on state television - and not just in the run up to elections. That has a huge influence on voters. But a change to the electoral system has also been key. Single-mandate constituencies were reintroduced for half of the seats in parliament and United Russia had a major 'systemic' advantage there." Nonetheless "... significant figures [were] barred from the democratic process. They include Alexei Navalny, seen by many as Mr Putin's most formidable opponent, who is denied access to the main TV channels." Akhilleus: Wouldn't Trump love being able to bar people he hated and feared from the electoral process? One more reason he loves Putin. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Sunday
Sep182016

The Commentariat -- Sept. 19, 2016

Afternoonish Update:

Edgar Sandoval & Jason Silverstein of the New York Daily News: "Authorities nabbed the man wanted in connection with the weekend bombings in New York City and New Jersey after he shot a police officer Monday morning, according to reports. Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, was the first person identified in connection with the bombings. NBC New York and CNN reported that Rahami was in custody after shooting an officer in Linden, N.J. around 11 a.m. Details about the shooting were not immediately released." -- CW ...

... Marc Santora, et al., of the New York Times: "The man believed to be responsible for the explosion in Manhattan on Saturday night and an earlier bombing in New Jersey, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was taken into custody on Monday after he was wounded by gunfire in an encounter with the police, according to law enforcement officials. The dramatic episode on a rain-soaked street in Linden, N.J., came after the police issued a cellphone alert to millions of residents in the area telling them to be on the lookout for the suspect, who was described as 'armed and dangerous.'... Mr. Rahami, 28, was identified on surveillance video planting the bombs in Chelsea, both the device that exploded and another that did not detonate a few blocks away. He was described as a naturalized citizen of Afghan descent who had been living with his family in Elizabeth, N.J.... Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who said on Sunday that the attack did not appear to have a link to international terrorism, said new evidence might change that thinking." -- CW

Donald Trump: Newscaster Also, something new, media unfair to Trump. Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Donald Trump on Monday morning claimed credit for accurately calling the weekend's explosion in Manhattan a bombing, even before full details were in, as the Republican presidential nominee attempts to exploit the latest terror threats to boost his campaign. Trump slammed the media for attacking him over his early use of the bomb term and accused them of editing out clips of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton using a similar term...The real estate mogul suggested the media were attacking him ... because polls are tightening." Akhilleus: Trump seems to think that the term newscaster is the same as earliest guesser. Another example of how little factual information penetrates, or matters inside the cramped quarters of the orange dome.

Meanwhile in Putin Land. Sarah Rainsford of the BBC considers the Russian "elections": "This result was a resounding victory for United Russia. The party founded by Vladimir Putin now controls over three quarters of the seats in parliament, giving it the power to change any law or the constitution...As [Vladimir Putin's] 'party of power', United Russia is a constant presence on state television - and not just in the run up to elections. That has a huge influence on voters. But a change to the electoral system has also been key. Single-mandate constituencies were reintroduced for half of the seats in parliament and United Russia had a major "systemic" advantage there." Nonetheless "...significant figures[were] barred from the democratic process. They include Alexei Navalny, seen by many as Mr Putin's most formidable opponent, who is denied access to the main TV channels." Akhilleus: Wouldn't Trump love being able to bar people he hated and feared from the electoral process? One more reason he loves Putin.

Meetings in Jesus Land, D.C. Francine Kiefer of the Christian Science Monitor reports on the growing influence of congressional prayer meetings: "The Senate breakfast and its companion in the House are invisible to the public. Yet that is exactly what makes them so beneficial, say attendees. The confidentiality of the breakfasts allows lawmakers to get to know each other as human beings. They hear about each other's personal struggles and joys, about concern for family members, friends, and staff. That builds trust and friendship. It can even lead to bipartisan legislation. One participant says that it's the only time when a senator is speaking and others are really listening...The meetings have their share of critics, who see them as too clubby, too secretive, and too much religious talk under the rotunda." Akhilleus: Because religion and religious nutjobs in congress, not to mention secret meetings, have been so helpful in solving the problems of the republic.

Christie and the Bridge of Damocles: David Porter of the Washington Post. "A federal prosecutor told jurors Monday that a witness will testify that Republican Gov. Chris Christie was told about a plan to close traffic lanes near the George Washington Bridge as the shutdown was happening, a claim he has contested for years.... Prosecutors said Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly, two former Christie allies, had sought political revenge against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. Baroni was a top Christie appointee to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Kelly was Christie's former chief of staff. Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna told jurors that David Wildstein, another Port Authority official, will testify he and Baroni made Christie aware of the plan during a 9/11 memorial in New York City in 2013, three days after the gridlock started. 'The evidence will show that ... they bragged about the fact that there were traffic problems in Fort Lee and that Mayor Sokolich was not getting his calls returned,' Khanna said" -- Akhilleus

*****

Matt Zapotosky, et al., of the Washington Post: "The New York Police Department announced Monday that it is seeking 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami in connection with Saturday's bombing in Manhattan, though the man's role in the incident remains unclear.... Court records show the Rahami family has ties to Afghanistan. New York Police Department spokesman J. Peter Donald announced the development on Twitter. It came after authorities took 'a number of people' into custody in connection with the bombing, and their counterparts in New Jersey worked to render safe 'multiple improvised explosive devices' discovered at a train station in Elizabeth just across from Staten Island." -- CW ...

... Rocco Parascandola, et al., of the New York Daily News: "The FBI took five people with possible links to the Chelsea explosion into custody Sunday night in Brooklyn as authorities shut down a busy New Jersey rail station after finding multiple pipe bombs in a garbage can, police and New Jersey officials said. The weekend trail of terror continued along the Belt Parkway where federal agents nabbed several people of interest with a weapons stash inside an SUV, according to law enforcement sources." -- CW ...

... Jessica Remo of NJ.com: "An improvised explosive device in a backpack detonated near the Elizabeth train station early Monday as authorities were using a bomb robot to examine the item, officials said. The blast occurred around 12:40 a.m. near Morris Avenue and Julian Place. The explosion was not a controlled blast, but happened unintentionally as the robot was cutting the device, according to Mayor Christian Bollwage. No one was injured in the blast, Bollwage said." -- CW ...

... Marc Santora of the New York Times: "Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that a powerful explosion that rocked the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan on Saturday night, injuring 29 people, did not appear to be linked to international terrorism, but that it was a powerful bomb designed to kill. 'This is one of the nightmare scenarios,' he said at a news conference on Sunday.... He said all of the injured had been released from the hospital. A few hours after the explosion, the authorities found and removed what they described as a second device four blocks away, raising the possibility that two bombs had been planted in the heart of the city. Mr. Cuomo said the devices appeared to be similar in design." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... New Lede: (With more reporters added to byline): "A bomb that injured 29 people on Saturday in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, and another that failed to detonate, were filled with shrapnel and made with pressure cookers, flip phones and Christmas lights that set off a powerful explosive compound, law enforcement officials said on Sunday. Both bombs appeared designed to create maximum chaos and fatalities -- they also provided a trove of clues even as any suspects remained unnervingly at large."

Presidential Race

Dr. Lawrence Altman, in two articles in the New York Times, evaluates what little is known about the states of Hillary Clinton's and Donald Trump's health. -- CW

John Wagner of the Washington Post: "... Hillary Clinton issued a statement Sunday saying she strongly condemns what she characterized as 'apparent terrorist attacks' in Minnesota, New Jersey and New York. 'Law enforcement officials are working to identify who was behind the attacks in New York and New Jersey, and we should give them the support they need to finish the job and bring those responsible to justice,' Clinton said, adding: 'We will not rest until that happens.'... Clinton's statement Sunday followed remarks to reporters on her campaign plane Saturday night in which she cautioned against rushing to conclusions about the attacks and criticized ... Donald Trump for quickly telling an audience that an explosion in New York was a bomb that served as a reminder for the United States to'get very tough.'" -- CW

If all you're doing is watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh and reading some of the blogs that are churning out a lot of misinformation on a regular basis, then it's very hard for you to think that you're going to vote for somebody who you've been told is taking the country in the wrong direction.And so, structurally, we already have these divisions and it's going to be hard to overcome those. -- President Obama, at a fundraiser in New York City

Donald Trump has repeatedly invited his followers to commit a terrible act of violence on his opponents.... What kind of a man does that? What kind of a man tries to hurt someone else, or get someone else to hurt someone else? I'll tell you: It's a nasty little bully who can't win a fair fight.... Donald Trump has more support from the Aryan Nation and the Ku Klux Klan than he does from the leadership of the Republican Party. -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, at a campaign stop in Cleveland, Ohio&

CW Note: As Dave Weigel of the Washington Post laid out, Warren began her speech by talking about economics. It wasn't until Jill Stein supporters interrupted her that she began berating Trump: "For the first time, there were hoots and ovations, and Warren was rolling," Weigel writes. This is what I mean when I say that most voters don't know or care much about policy. Republicans understand that too well; that's why they can say they're lowering taxes when in fact they're lowering taxes only for the wealthy. Democrats need to learn that the average voter needs raw-meat "issues" to sink his teeth into and bumper-sticker slogans to rouse him. It's H.L. Mencken all over again.

Tommy Christopher of Mediaite: "One of the lies being promoted by Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and by Trump himself, is that Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign started the 'Birther' conspiracy, a claim which they now try and back up with another lie, that then-campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle has 'admitted' as much.... While Solis Doyle did say the campaign fired a volunteer who forwarded an offensive email, that email wasn't actually about then-Senator Obama's birthplace at all, and even more to the point, the first time an actual Clinton campaign staffer saw the email, his reaction was this: '... I've gotten this forward before. It's racist and ignorant. I can't believe that people believe this stuff.'... The Trump campaign also likes to point to an internal memo from strategist Mark Penn, one which was never acted upon, that suggested Obama's worldly and diverse image could be used against him.... What hasn't been reported much is that the memo in question actually says this: 'We are never going to say anything about his background.'" -- CW

Samantha Allen of The Daily Beast: "Last Thursday, the Trump campaign issued -- and then quickly deleted -- a rant against the FDA food police, listing it as one of several 'specific regulations to be eliminated' in his new economic plan. Among other things, the campaign whined about the Food and Drug Administration's standards for 'farm and food production hygiene,' safe cooking temperatures, and even 'dog food....' In fact, the Trump business empire has a long and illustrious history of food poisoning cases and safety violations.... In 1992, the AP reported that 'Donald Trump's properties have the worst track record for food-related health problems among Atlantic City's 12 casinos,' citing statements made by city health officials." --safari

D.R. Tucker in the Washington Monthly: "... GQ ha[s] hired Keith Olbermann to discuss the demented dynamics of the 2016 presidential election." Thanks to contributor Nancy for the link. You might want to send the video to your right-wing relatives:

... ** BUT, as Paul Waldman lays out, it likely won't make any difference: "For a while it was reasonable to believe that once people really understood who Trump is, Clinton would win in a landslide. We know now that won't happen. In fact, as we've learned more about Trump and he's been out campaigning longer, it has turned out that he's a thousand times worse than anyone imagined when this all began -- not just a buffoon, not just an ignoramus, not just shallow and cruel and stupid, but a figure as sinister as anyone in contemporary public life.... Yet here we are, seven weeks from election day with the race essentially tied.... Trump's supporters ... cackle in glee and revel in their part in the greatest scam of all. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's supporters toss and turn at night wondering if she's trustworthy enough because she doesn't rush to inform reporters every time she's feeling sick." -- CW ...

... Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump has yet to take questions from reporters about why he finally decided Friday that President Obama was, in fact, born in the United States, forcing some of his top surrogates to answer for him during Sunday morning news shows." CW: The responses of mike pence, Kellyanne Conway & Chris Christie were, not surprisingly, farcical. Maybe Trump figured his minions could come up with something better than he could, but they didn't. Christie at least gave us a preview of what to expect if debate moderators refute Trump when he spouts "his facts." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... On CNN's "State of the Union," Jake Tapper said to Gov. Chris Christie "... Donald Trump did not accept when Barack Obama released his birth certificate in 2011. He kept up this whole birther thing until Friday. That's five years....," hereupon Christie replied, "No, but, Jake, that's just not true. It's not true that he kept it up for five years."

Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: "A sitting governor goes on national television and when he is called out for an obvious falsehood, he simply repeats the inaccurate talking points over and over.... This is such bogus spin that we have to wonder how Christie manages to say it with a straight face. Regular readers know we shy away from using the word 'lie,' but clearly Christie is either lying or he is so misinformed that he has no business appearing on television. Kudos to Tapper for refusing to let Christie get away with it." (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Update: Kevin Drum: "Donald Trump lies practically every time he opens his mouth. That's hardly even notable anymore. What is still notable is the corrosive effect he has on nearly everyone who enters his orbit. His kids lie without compunction. His spokespeople lie without compunction. His campaign manager -- until recently a fairly normal conservative -- lies without compunction.... Everyone who spends any time around him seems to inhale the lesson that in the modern media environment, there's simply no penalty for lying, no matter how obvious the lies are. [Sunday], Chris Christie casually peddled the obvious lie that Donald Trump gave up on birtherism after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate in 2011." -- CW

Okay, Maybe Obama Was Born in the U.S.A, BUT. Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post: "A top strategist for a super PAC supporting ... Donald Trump said Sunday that there is an 'otherness' to President Obama, two days after Trump acknowledged for the first time that Obama was born in the United States.... Alex Castellanos, a top strategist for the pro-Trump super PAC Rebuilding America..., said on NBC's 'Meet the Press, 'The big question about Obama has been: Has he been -- has he considered himself more of a globalist than an American? There's an otherness to the president, and people have tried to exploit that politically in different ways.'" -- CW

** Worse Than Trump??? Paul Krugman: "Does it make sense to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president? Sure, as long as you believe two things. First, you have to believe that it makes no difference at all whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump moves into the White House -- because one of them will. Second, you have to believe that America will be better off in the long run if we eliminate environmental regulation, abolish the income tax, do away with public schools, and dismantle Social Security and Medicare -- which is what the Libertarian platform calls for. Yet..., according to a recent Quinnipiac poll..., [29 percent] of millennial voters ... say that they would vote for Mr. Johnson if the election took place now." CW: Read on. Krugman's column will give you talking points if you know or meet up with any ditzy Johnson voters.

Other News & Views

Adam Liptak of the New York Times: The Supreme Court will hear the appeal of Colorado builder Miguel Angel Peña Rodriguez, who was convicted of three misdemeanors related to sexual assault case. One of the jurors, a former law enforcement officer, allegedly said things during deliberations like, 'I think he did it because he's Mexican, and Mexican men take whatever they want.' The "Court will consider whether Mr. Peña Rodriguez can challenge his conviction based on [juror] H. C's statements. That will require the justices to choose between keeping jury deliberations secret and sustaining the Sixth Amendment's promise of an impartial jury.... The Colorado Supreme Court resolved that tension in favor of secrecy. By a 4-to-3 vote, it said that 'protecting the secrecy of jury deliberations is of paramount importance in our justice system.'" -- CW

Lois Beckett of the Guardian: "Americans own an estimated 265m guns, more than one gun for every American adult, according to the most definitive portrait of US gun ownership in two decades. But the new survey estimates that 130m of these guns are concentrated in the hands of just 3% of American adults -- a group of super-owners who have amassed an average of 17 guns each.... The unpublished Harvard/Northeastern survey result summary ... estimates that America's gun stock has increased by 70m guns since 1994. At the same time, the percentage of Americans who own guns decreased slightly from 25% to 22%." -- CW ...

... AND Count on Those "Super-owners" to Be (at Least) a Little Bit Nuts. Terrence McCoy of the Washington Post tells the eerie story of Jim Cooley, a Georgia man who carries guns everywhere he goes, including the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle he thinks is necessary protection for trips to places like the local WalMart, which he believes is a target for terrorists. McCoy relates that Cooley became fearful & obsessed with carrying guns after he lost his job and went into debt because of serious medical problems.

Kristine Guerra of the Washington Post: "A man who was killed after stabbing nine people Saturday night inside a Minnesota mall was 'a soldier of the Islamic State,' an ISIS-linked news agency said Sunday morning.... In a statement Sunday, Amaq News Agency said the suspect 'carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition.'" -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Jared Goyette of the Guardian: "The Somali American community in St Cloud, Minnesota, condemned on Sunday the mass stabbing attack at a mall the night before, as the immigrant population confronted longstanding tensions and unconfirmed reports emerged of the suspect's identity. Police have not yet named the suspect, who wounded nine people on Saturday night at the Crossroads Center mall, and whose attack is being investigated as 'a potential act of terrorism'. But Ahhmed Adan, a Somali immigrant, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday that police had told him the night before that his son, Dahir Adan, had died the night before." -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

New York Times Editors: "Anyone looking for more evidence that politicians pay no attention to campaign contribution limits will find it in an astonishing trove of documents leaked to The Guardian, which published a report last week about the secret money that has recently flooded Wisconsin state politics. The roughly 1,500 pages of emails, financial records and court filings -- most of which have not been made public until now -- were collected during an investigation of possible campaign-finance violations by Gov. Scott Walker's campaign to beat back a 2012 recall effort.... Memos on checks written to the [ha-ha 'independent,' dark-money] Club for Growth and other groups said 'because Scott Walker asked,' or 'to fight the Walker recall.' Mr. Walker wrote personal thank-you notes to the donors.... Versions of this sad story are playing out across the country, thanks in large part to the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision...." ...

     (... CW PS: If you're wondering why I didn't link to the Guardian story [and some others I read last week & thought were important], it's because I didn't have time to write synopses & nobody is helping me.)

Derek Hawkins of the Washington Post: "A 40-year-old black man who was fatally shot by a Tulsa police officer had his hands up and appeared unarmed when one officer Tasered him and another fired at him, according to a local pastor who reviewed footage of the incident Sunday. The department hasn't commented publicly on the video or said whether police recovered a weapon from the scene. Terence Crutcher died in the hospital Friday evening after being shot once, Tulsa police told the Associated Press." CW: Pastor Rodney Goss's account makes the killing of Crutcher sound like cold-blooded murder. ...

... The Tulsa World story is here.

Saturday
Sep172016

The Commentariat -- Sept. 18, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Marc Santora of the New York Times: "Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that a powerful explosion that rocked the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan on Saturday night, injuring 29 people, did not appear to be linked to international terrorism, but that it was a powerful bomb designed to kill. 'This is one of the nightmare scenarios,' he said at a news conference on Sunday.... He said all of the injured had been released from the hospital. A few hours after the explosion, the authorities found and removed what they described as a second device four blocks away, raising the possibility that two bombs had been planted in the heart of the city. Mr. Cuomo said the devices appeared to be similar in design." -- CW

Kristine Guerra of the Washington Post: "A man who was killed after stabbing nine people Saturday night inside a Minnesota mall was 'a soldier of the Islamic State,' an ISIS-linked news agency said Sunday morning.... In a statement Sunday, Amaq News Agency said the suspect 'carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition.'" -- CW

Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump has yet to take questions from reporters about why he finally decided Friday that President Obama was, in fact, born in the United States, forcing some of his top surrogates to answer for him during Sunday morning news shows." CW: The responses of mike pence, Kellyanne Conway & Chris Christie were, not surpringly, farcical. Maybe Trump figured his minions could come up with something better than he could, but they didn't. Christie at least gave us a preview of what to expect if debate moderators refute Trump when he spouts "his facts." ...

... On CNN's "State of the Union," Jake Tapper said to Gov. Chris Christie "... Donald Trump did not accept when Barack Obama released his birth certificate in 2011. He kept up this whole birther thing until Friday. That's five years....," hereupon Christie replied, "No, but, Jake, that's just not true. It's not true that he kept it up for five years."

Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post: "A sitting governor goes on national television and when he is called out for an obvious falsehood, he simply repeats the inaccurate talking points over and over.... This is such bogus spin that we have to wonder how Christie manages to say it with a straight face. Regular readers know we shy away from using the word 'lie,' but clearly Christie is either lying or he is so misinformed that he has no business appearing on television. Kudos to Tapper for refusing to let Christie get away with it."

*****

Christopher Mele, et al., of the New York Times: "A powerful explosion caused by what the authorities believe was a homemade bomb injured at least 29 people on a crowded sidewalk in the bustling Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan on Saturday night, according to the police. A few hours later, the authorities found and removed what they described as a second explosive device four blocks away, raising the possibility that two bombs had been planted in the heart of the city. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the explosion -- which occurred about 8:30 p.m. on West 23rd Street -- 'an intentional act' but initially said there was no connection to terrorism and no immediate claim of responsibility." -- CW ...

     ... CW: "No connection to terrorism"? What does that mean? No connection to Muslims? Detonating a bomb on a busy city street is an act of terrorism, whatever the political leanings of the terrorist(s). Update: According to the Daily News story, linked below, de Blasio's exact words were, "There is no evidence at this point of a terror connection." ...

... The New York Daily News story, by Edgar Sandoval & others, is here. The harrowing incident thrust NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill into the spotlight on his first full day on the job." The story includes CCTV video of the moment of explosion. -- CW

Spencer Kent of NJ.com: "An explosive device went off in a garbage pail Saturday morning [in Seaside Park, N.J.,] along the route of a 5K run and walk to benefit military soldiers. Multiple devices were also found 'wired together' in the same garbage pail, but they did not detonate, according to Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office." -- CW

Presidential Race

Philip Rucker & Dan Balz of the Washington Post: "Public polls over the past week show Trump leading Clinton in Ohio, Florida and Iowa; moving into a virtual tie with her in Nevada and North Carolina; and cutting into what had been comfortable Clinton leads in New Hampshire as well as in Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia." -- CW

Natasha Geiling of Think Progress: "Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates is not a big fan of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton's ideas about foreign policy. But when it comes to national security, he only thinks one candidate --  Trump --  is 'beyond repair.' In a scathing op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, Gates --  who served under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama --  takes both candidates to task for their ideas about dealing with potentially hostile relations in China, Russia, the Middle East, and beyond.... Gates ... says [Trump] is 'in a league of his own' when it comes to credibility issues. He brings up Trump's support of autocrats like Vladimir Putin and dictators like Saddam Hussein, Trump's calls for torture and the killing of terrorist's families, and Trump's willingness to allow Japan and South Korea to develop their own nuclear weapons." -- CW

** Blond Ambition. Clare Foran of the Atlantic looks to the responses of a focus group conducted by right-wing pollster Frank Luntz (but one that included Democrats, Republicans & independents), to highlight the double standard that voters apply to Clinton & Trump. "A number of participants in the focus group rated Donald Trump as more trustworthy than Clinton. Trump also leads Clinton on the question of trust in some national polls. That's remarkable considering that ... evidence suggest that Clinton is in fact more trustworthy.... [One] man explicitly applied different standards to Trump and Clinton in evaluating honesty. 'Clinton has a responsibility to be honest because she was an elected official,' he said, 'whereas Trump just had his organization.'... It seems odd, however, to suggest that simply because Trump doesn't have experience in politics he does not have a responsibility to be truthful...." -- CW

Bill Bradley of the Huffington Post: "Many criticized Jimmy Fallon's recent Donald Trump interview for being too soft on the Republican presidential nominee. Now, as a follow up, the comedian is wearing a surgical mask to interview ... Hillary Clinton. In retrospect, maybe this wasn't the best idea." CW: No kidding. Fallon might as well put a Trump for President sticker on the front of his desk.

It's not about golf course promotions or birth certificates. It comes down to who will fight for the forgotten. Who will invest in your children and who will really have your back in the White House. We need ideas, not insults, real plans to help struggling Americans, to help communities that have been left out and left behind. Not prejudice and paranoia. We can't let Barack Obama's legacy fall into the hands of someone who doesn't understand that. Whose dangerous and divisive vision for our country will drag us backwards. -- Hillary Clinton, at a Congressional Black Caucus event ...

... Darren Samuelsohn of Politico: "Hillary Clinton took aim at Donald Trump on Saturday for his involvement in the birther movement, working to keep Trump's role in the conspiracy theory on voters' minds.... Speaking to more than a thousand attendees Saturday night at the Congressional Black Caucus's annual gala in Washington..., [Clinton] lit into her Republican rival for a Friday event in which the GOP nominee conceded -- after years of falsely suggesting otherwise -- that Barack Obama is a naturally-born U.S. citizen and eligible to serve as president." -- CW ...

... John Wagner of the Washington Post: "In a fiery speech Saturday night, President Obama said he would consider it 'a personal insult' if the African American community does not turn out to vote in great numbers in November and help carry on his legacy by supporting ... Hillary Clinton. 'If you care about our legacy, realize everything we stand for is at stake,' Obama ... said in an address to an annual dinner of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. 'My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot.'... 'And to think with just 124 days to go, under the wire, we got that [birther] thing resolved,' Obama said to laughter from the predominantly African American audience. 'In other breaking news, the world is round, not flat.'" -- CW

Trumpelthinskin, Ctd. Rebecca Morin of Politico: "Donald Trump returned fire at former Defense Secretary Bob Gates at a Colorado rally Saturday, calling him a 'nasty guy' who 'probably has a problem we don't know about.' The GOP nominee's comments come after Gates' scathing Wall Street Journal op-ed published online Friday, where he attacks Trump as 'cavalier about the use of nuclear weapons,' with 'a record of insults to servicemen, their families and the military.'" -- CW ...

... Rebecca Morin: "Donald Trump turned his attention back to cable network guests in a Saturday tweetstorm, slamming New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd as a 'neurotic dope' and a CNN panel as 'losers.'... [Trump], who has spoken to [Dowd] ... several times throughout the election cycle, tweeted that Dowd 'makes up things that I never said for her boring interviews and columns.' Trump's tweets come after Dowd was interviewed on CNN by Michael Smerconish on her new book 'The Year of Voting Dangerously,' a collection of her columns on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump released this week." -- CW ...

By Driftglass.... Tom Dart of the Guardian: At a closed-door luncheon in Houston, Texas, Donald Trump described "Hillary Clinton's plan for comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship, as an 'amnesty' that would mean 'a virtual end to immigration enforcement in the United States of America'. Trump claimed his Democratic rival was 'effectively proposing to abolish the borders around the country that she is supposed to be representing.'... After initially inviting applications from members of the media to attend, the Project said on Friday that it was now a private event. It was livestreamed on YouTube.... [A Vice News reporter was arrested] for alleged trespassing at the hotel 'while inquiring about press access'." ...

... CW: Given Trump's comments about Maureen Dowd, it might not be mere coincidence that the reporter, Alex Thompson, was once an editorial assistant to Dowd, though the Trump campaign claims it had nothing to do with Thompson's arrest.

Harper Neidig of the Hill: "Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband Mark Kelly lashed out at Donald Trump on Friday for saying that Hillary Clinton's bodyguards should be 'disarmed.' 'Tonight we have even more evidence of just how dangerously unfit Donald Trump is to be president of this great country,' Giffords and Kelly, both Clinton supporters, said in a statement. 'He is reckless, irresponsible and unworthy of the office he seeks.... We call on him to immediately renounce these comments, apologize to Hillary Clinton, and acknowledge that once again he has gone dangerously too far.'" -- CW ...

... Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: Donald "Trump has floated the idea of Clinton disarming her guards on many occasions before.... But ... what Trump said Friday night went beyond what he'd said previously.... When Trump said, 'Let's see what happens to her,' and 'It would be very dangerous,' he's taking things to a new level and talking about the actual result...." That is, the assassination of Hillary Clinton. -- CW

Donald Trump, Welfare King. Charles Bagli of the New York Times: Donald Trump "used his father's, and, later, his own, extensive political connections, and relied on a huge amount of assistance from the government and taxpayers in the form of tax breaks, grants and incentives to benefit the 15 buildings at the core of his Manhattan real estate empire. Since then, Mr. Trump has reaped at least $885 million in tax breaks, grants and other subsidies for luxury apartments, hotels and office buildings in New York, according to city tax, housing and finance records. The subsidies helped him lower his own costs and sell apartments at higher prices because of their reduced taxes.... No possible subsidy was left untapped.... The level of subsidies he has received along with his doggedness in claiming them seem at odds with his rhetoric as an outsider candidate who boasts of his single-handed success and who has denounced what he calls the pay-to-play culture of politics and a 'rigged' system of government." -- CW

Worst Candidate in the World. Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "... this past week offered a vivid illustration of how little regard Mr. Trump has for the long-held expectations of America's leaders. He is not only breaking the country's political norms, he and his campaign aides are now all but mocking them. Besides using his campaign as a platform to make money on a new hotel, Mr. Trump leveled an untrue assertion that Hillary Clinton had been the first to claim Mr. Obama was born abroad. He also boasted about his health on the show of a daytime television celebrity while releasing just his testosterone levels and a few other details.... Mr. Trump also continued to flout 40 years of tradition by refusing to release his tax returns, a decision that his eldest son admitted this week was not based on an audit, as Mr. Trump has repeatedly claimed.... [Trump Senior] also casually accused the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve of corruption, claimed that the bipartisan national debate commission was rigged against him, and stated that Mrs. Clinton had not proposed a child care plan. (She has, and did so a year before he did.) He also mocked an African-American pastor..., and again referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who once said she had Native American roots, as 'Pocahontas.' And that was all before Friday night, when Mr. Trump hinted at violence against Mrs. Clinton by inviting her Secret Service detail to disarm 'and see what happens to her.'" -- CW

... OR in the Philippines, or France, or England, or, or, or.

CW: I'm really sorry I missed this commentary on Donald Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel, which he introduced in his INFOMERCIAL/birther announcement and a tour that followed. Many thanks to Jackalizer for the link:

Jen Hayden of Daily Kos (Sept. 16): "... the folks from American Bridge did get a look around [the hotel] and what they found was a hotel filled with goods made overseas, mostly in China." CW: Hayden posts American Bridge's photographic evidence of how Trump is going to bring back American jobs -- I guess as dockworkers at ports of entry for foreign-made goods, though I suppose he'll bust the International Longshore & Warehouse Union "on Day One."

Dana Milbank (Sept. 16) spent a night at the Trump hotel on Jeff Bezos' dime. "Examining my posh surroundings -- Italian bed linens, French table linens, Chinese duvet, Korean TV and, yes, Mexican tequila ($14 for a shot of Patrón Silver) in the minibar, er, 'private bar,' I came across the Gideon Bible in the nightstand with a note on 'TRUMP HOTELS ™' stationery: 'If you would like to continue your spiritual journey, we also offer the followings [sic]: Talmud. Quran. Gita. Avesta. Tripitaka (Pali Canon). Shri Guru Granth Sahib. Book of Mormon....'... [Trump] portrays himself as a populist friend of the little guy, yet he makes money renting out a presidential suite for $18,000 a night (a sign informed me that the maximum nightly rate for my room was $5,600). He derides the 'establishment' but makes his living catering to it." Milbank was wearing his "made-in-China 'Trump Hotels' bathrobe and Trump slippers" when he accepted a copy of the Koran from housekeeping.

BTW, didja notice the not-American accent of the clerk who answered Milbanks' room-service call? Of course the guy could be a naturalized American citizen like my husband who never lost his Italian accent. But the odds are he's one of those foreign guest-workers like like the construction crew that helped build Trump's Washington, D.C. hotel.

Barbara Ross & Stephen Brown of the New York Daily News: "Explosive court papers containing embarrassing details about Ivana Trump's divorce from Donald have been abruptly concealed after a Daily News inquiry.... The dusty documents stored in a box in the clerk's office of Manhattan Supreme Court contain allegations that Trump 'verbally abused and demeaned' his ex-wife. Ivana alleged that he 'lied' and that his treatment of her was 'cruel and inhuman.' In the end, it was 'unsafe or improper for them to be married,' the papers charge.... Over 100 pages of documents in the case filed in 1990 -- including key portions of a sworn deposition from Ivana -- are missing.... The documents are no longer publicly available. They are now part of the trove of paperwork relating to the Ivana-Donald divorce that The New York Times and Gannet newspaper chain have sued to unseal." -- CW

Aaron Blake: "A lot of Donald Trump Jr.'s trail missteps seem to involve white nationalists and Nazis. Blake provides a list. CW: This, of course, is no accident: it's because, like father, like son, the Junior Grand Wizard gets all his "news" from the White Supremacists Daily.

Other News & Views

Thanks, Paul Ryan! Max Ehrenfreund of the Washington Post: "The House Republicans' proposal for tax relief could force the government to borrow trillions of dollars to continue operating and might even weaken the economy, according to a new analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. By 2025, when the reductions would be fully implemented, 99.6 percent of the tax cuts would benefit the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, according to the analysis. This group would enjoy the greatest relief as a share of their income ... and in terms of dollars.... (Emphasis added.) CW: Ryan, of course, will get his horrifying tax plan implemented if Trump becomes president. The Wasteland commeth.

Beyond the Beltway

St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times: "Eight people were injured and the suspect died at Crossroads Center [shopping mall] on Saturday after an attack reported about 8:15 p.m. St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson said the victims were stabbed by a man dressed in a private security uniform. An off-duty police officer from another jurisdiction shot and killed the attacker, Anderson said. Anderson did not say where that officer serves during the news conference that started after midnight. According to St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis, the shooting happened inside Macy's.... The stabbings occurred in several places within the mall: corridors, businesses and common areas." -- CW

Robert Moran, et al., of Philly.com: "A gunman ambushed a Philadelphia police sergeant late Friday night in West Philadelphia, firing more than a dozen rounds before taking off, and then shot four civilians, killing one young woman, and wounded a University of Pennsylvania police officer during his flight before he was finally cornered and killed by police.... [The shooter Nicholas] Glenn was carrying a white, sealed envelope that read 'Doomed People' on it, [Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard] Ross said. The commissioner said police found a 'rambling' letter allegedly written by the gunman in which he expressed hatred toward police and probation officers. He said there was no reason to believe at this point that the gunman had any religious beliefs that drove him to the shootings." -- CW

Marc Ramirez of the Dallas Morning News: "A Dallas police sergeant has filed a federal lawsuit against Black Lives Matter leaders and others, blaming the movement for race riots and violence against police officers. Sgt. Demetrick Pennie, president of the Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation..., filed the amended complaint in federal court Friday.... The listed defendants include ... public figures such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Louis Farrahkan, George Soros, the New Black Panthers Party and even President Barack Obama and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.... Pennie is being represented by [right-wing attack dog] Larry Klayman of lobbying organization FreedomWatch." -- CW

Y R R Kidz So Dum? Marisa Gerber of the Los Angeles Times: A suburban Dallas high school builds a $60-million football stadium; a rival high school in a nearby town one-ups the school by building a $70-million stadium. CW: Now let's see what percentage of the students can name the three branches of government and explain Darwin's theory of evolution.