White House: "The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of Florida and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Matthew beginning on October 3, 2016, and continuing." -- CW: We're already getting hurricane-related rain & wind in Fort Myers, on the Southwest Coast, which is nowhere near the projected point on landfall.
Rebecca Lai & Jasmine Lee of the New York Times: "One of every 40 American adults cannot vote in November's election because of state laws that bar people with past felony convictions from casting ballots. Experts say racial disparities in sentencing have had a disproportionate effect on the voting rights of blacks and Hispanics.... State laws that bar voting vary widely. Three swing states -- Florida, Iowa and Virginia -- have some of the harshest laws; they impose a lifetime voting ban on felons, although their voting rights can be restored on a case-by-case basis by a governor or a court. On the other end of the spectrum, Maine and Vermont place no restrictions on people with felony convictions, allowing them to vote while incarcerated.... The margin of victory in Florida in the 2000 presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush, for example, was 537 votes. An estimated 600,000 people in the state had completed their prison sentences but were not allowed to vote." -- CW
Jonathan Easley of the Hill: "A group of 30 former GOP lawmakers signed a blistering open letter to Republicans on Thursday, warning that Donald Trump lacks the 'intelligence' and temperament to be president and urging the party to reject the Republican presidential nominee at the polls on Nov. 8." -- CW
Jesse Byrnes & Rebecca Savransky of the Hill: "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt. hammered Donald Trump over his business record Thursday in a pitch to blue collar voters on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Sanders argued during a rally for Clinton in Dearborn, Mich., that the GOP nominee 'is manufacturing his ties in China, his clothing in Mexico, his furniture in Turkey.'... Sanders went after Trump for using 'manufacturing plants in Bangladesh' and accused the New York businessman of "exploiting poor people" by using cheap labor overseas. The independent Vermont senator is campaigning for Clinton on Thursday in Michigan, where he pulled out an upset win over her in the Democratic presidential primary in March." -- CW
CW Note: I've been posting right up till noon, so there are quite a few new links below, too.
CW: I'm back. Perhaps because of Hurricane Matthew, I have very sl-o-o-ow Internet service, & I may lose power tonight or tomorrow. So make that sorta back.
We all owe many thanks to safari for keeping the USS Reality Chex afloat.
Mark Berman of the Washington Post: "A powerful hurricane expected to grow stronger marched toward the Southeastern United States on Wednesday, as authorities in states readying for the storm's devastating combination of winds and rain declared emergencies, ordered evacuations and shuttered schools. Hurricane Matthew pummeled Haiti on Tuesday and was blamed for at least 11 deaths there and in the Dominican Republic.... From Washington to Florida to the Carolinas, officials urged residents to take the storm seriously, warning of the extreme danger posed by Matthew, which forecasters say could create 'life-threatening' flooding along Florida's eastern coast." --safari ...
... The New York Times is running a Hurricane Matthew storm watch here. The latest at 10:15 am ET: " Gov. Rick Scott of Florida told the 1.5 million residents in evacuation zones: 'You need to leave. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.' The hurricane's center is about 215 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, Fla., and it is moving northwest at 12 miles per hour over the Bahamas. The storm's maximum sustained winds rose overnight to 125 m.p.h. from 115 m.p.h. It is expected to intensify to become a Category 4 hurricane with winds of at least 130 m.p.h." -- CW
Jo Becker, et al., of The New York Times: "The F.B.I. secretly arrested a National Security Agency contractor in recent weeks and is investigating whether he stole and disclosed highly classified computer code developed to hack into the networks of foreign governments, according to several senior law enforcement and intelligence officials. The theft raises the embarrassing prospect that for the second time in three years, an insider has managed to steal highly damaging secret information from the N.S.A. " --safari
"A President Trump Could Destroy the World's Economy." Washington Post Editors: "Donald Trump speaks of 'bringing back' American jobs by repudiating international trade agreements and resorting instead to pressure tactics, such as threatening tariffs against China and other trading partners.... Mr. Trump's policies, however, could trigger a trade war, or wars, thus threatening the achievements of the past three decades without helping Americans who need it most. And he would have considerable uncheckable power, as president, to keep his dangerous promises." -- CW
** Perennial Failure, Sucking on Daddy's Teat. Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek: "Five years of tax information from the 1970s that Donald Trump provided to the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety show mismanagement and losses that could have pushed him into personal bankruptcy -- but for the largesse of his Dad.... Trump flopped long before his casino bankruptcies, causing huge losses that wiped out his tax obligations. And the primary way he avoided bankruptcy those times was not through any personal skill, but because of an accident of birth -- his wealthy father, who set him up in business, bailed Trump out.... [T]he headline numbers for the eight years of financial returns that have now been disclosed demonstrate that Trump's self-celebrated business genius is a pose.... His father, a major New York developer named Fred Trump, had personally guaranteed [a] construction loan from his banker at Chase Manhattan so that his son could do the project. Through that same banker, Fred Trump also arranged for Donald Trump to obtain a personal line of credit of $35 million at Chase Manhattan. In one more bit of evidence that the wealthy are not like you and me, the bank gave Trump the loan without even requiring a written agreement.... In 1978, the same year that Fred Trump set up the credit line for his son at Chase Manhattan, Trump's personal finances collapsed. By then, he had borrowed $38 million from his line of credit -- the bank adjusted the available amount up by $3 million when Trump exceeded his credit limit. Losses came across the board. " Read on. --safari
Trump Scam No. 1040. Maybe There Is No Audit. Arden Farhi of CBS News: "Trump's refusal to release his [tax] returns may buck precedent, but his non-disclosure goes even further. Trump won't provide proof he's actually under audit.... The IRS notification letter ... would not likely do any political damage to Trump's candidacy.... 'There's no restriction by the IRS, [IRS Commissioner John] Koskinen testified [before Congress last month], after being asked if there is any law that prevents a person from publicly disclosing an IRS audit notification.'" Via Greg Sargent. -- CW ...
... Not Such a "Genius." Caitlin MacNeal of TPM: "Donald Trump has claimed that the 1995 tax documents reported by the New York Times show he's understands 'the tax laws better than almost anyone,' but the accountant who prepared Trump's taxes that year threw cold water on Trump's claim in an interview published Tuesday. 'I did all the tax preparation. He never saw the product until it was presented to him for signature,' the Trump family's former tax accountant Jack Mitnick told Inside Edition. 'I'm the one who did all the work.'" And Mitnick told the New York Times "that Trump's first wife, Ivana, was more engaged in the tax preparation than Trump was." -- CW
Trashing Women Is "Entertaining." Louis Nelson of Politico: "Donald Trump said Wednesday that derogatory statements he has made toward women were all for the sake of 'entertainment' and did not reflect his true feelings. 'A lot of that was done for the purpose of entertainment; there's nobody that has more respect for women than I do,' the real estate mogul told Las Vegas' KSNV-TV in an interview taped Wednesday ahead of a rally in Henderson, Nevada.... Trump's attacks on women have not been limited to his pre-political career. Trump lashed out at Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly after the first Republican primary debate, saying that 'you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.' Most recently, the GOP nominee renewed his attacks against former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, whose story resurfaced at the first presidential debate last week." CW: Good for Nelson for fact-checking Trump in a straight-news story.
It's All about Me. Mike Pence did an incredible job, and I'm getting a lot of credit because that's really my first so-called choice, that's really my first hire, as we would say in Las Vegas. -- Donald Trump, at a campaign rally in Henderson, Nevada, Wednesday ...
... Jonathan Chait: "Among political professionals and media, it is a settled fact that, in televised debates, appearance matters more than substance.... It was a version of this belief that led conventional wisdom to the immediate conclusion that Mike Pence won his debate against Tim Kaine...[T]he fact remains that the rules are the rules, and as they exist, there is usually little penalty for lying incessantly as long as you do it with proper body language and a reassuringly manly baritone. There is, however, an exception to that rule: You should not lie about things that can be easily disproven with short video clips.... Pence claimed over and over again that his running mate had never said the things that Tim Kaine was quoting verbatim. It was all too easy for the Hillary Clinton campaign to respond with this devastating video.... Whatever small gains Pence made are likely to be canceled out by days of him looking ridiculous. Lying: It usually works! But not always." Pretty devastating for fact-checking for viewers with short attention spans.--safari
Greg Sargent: "Mike Pence put on a reasonably strong debate performance last night -- stronger, in key ways, than that of Tim Kaine. But in so doing, Pence inadvertently revealed the fundamental weakness of his running mate's whole candidacy.... Top Democratic strategists have concluded that at this point, there are very few undecided voters left, based on both public polls and on private polling that attempts to push undecided voters to make a choice. This is the prism through which they are viewing last night's performance.... As Nate Cohn explains, Clinton's lead right now is partly due to a surge in enthusiasm among core Dem voters, as well as her strength among well educated white voters, which is enabling her to move ahead in more diverse states like Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and North Carolina...But as Cohn notes, if the current state of affairs holds, there just won't be 'much room for him to fight back with additional gains among white working-class voters." --safari...
...And you can forget about those Mexican things. Tara Golshan of Vox: "Sen. Tim Kaine made a point during the vice presidential debate of reminding the American public of that time Donald Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers.... At first, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence responded with a laugh and a shrug -- a seemingly implicit defense of Trump implying Kaine's attack was unfounded (despite the fact that Trump really has said these things)...'Senator, you whipped out that Mexican thing again,' Pence retorted... 'That Mexican thing' was an unusually inarticulate moment for Pence that night, and Twitter noticed." With examples. --safari...
... Ben Mathis-Lilley of Slate: "The emerging consensus about Tuesday's vice presidential debate is that Mike Pence did well in the sense of seeming significantly more prepared and less insane than his running mate, Donald Trump, seemed during the Sept. 26 presidential debate. Word emerged pretty much immediately after Tuesday's debate ended that Trump might not be happy about that comparison." ...
...safari note: This reminds me of one of Donald Drumpf's greatest insights: "Always be around unsuccessful people because everybody will respect you." As contributor Patrick hinted in yesterday's comments, could this be the coup de grâce for Pence in the eyes of the Trump clan? Pence might have to pick up some extra McDonalds delivery orders to get back into favor with the führer...
Annals of "Journalism," Ha Ha Ha, Ctd. Fox Feud. Charley Lanyon of New York: Fox "News" star Megyn "Kelly complained on her show: 'Donald Trump -- with all due respect to my friend at 10 o'clock -- will go on Hannity and pretty much only Hannity and will not venture out to the unsafe spaces these days, which doesn't exactly expand the tent for either one of them.'... Hannity responded to Kelly by ... sen[ding] out a tweet accusing Kelly of -- quelle horreur -- being a secret Clinton supporter.... Hannity followed up his first tweet by going on a low-key reply-tantrum.... The beef comes at a time of tightening ratings between the two hosts." -- CW
E.J. Dionne: "Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) has tried for months to walk a high wire on the vexing subject of Donald Trump. This week, she fell off. Her tumble, on what most of us would see as an easy question about whether Trump should be regarded as a 'role model,' came during a debate Monday night with Gov. Maggie Hassan, her Democratic opponent.... 'I think that, certainly, there are many role models that we have. And I believe he can serve as president and so absolutely I would do that.'... Ayotte's campaign, quickly realizing she had blundered badly, executed a role-model flip-flop. It issued a statement declaring she 'misspoke,' and on Tuesday, she told reporters that 'neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton have set a good example.'... Gov. Mike Pence's ... staying smooth [in the veep debate] meant ignoring or denying most of what Trump has said and inventing a statesmanlike Trump who doesn't actually exist. So to Trump's many ill effects on our politics, add another: the intellectual and moral corruption of the Republican Party." -- CW
Other News & Views
Join the Club. Eric Levitz of New York: "Humanity is $152 trillion in debt, putting us deeper in the red than we've ever been, according to the International Monetary Fund's Fiscal Monitor. Gross debt in the nonfinancial sector has more than doubled (in nominal terms) since the dawn of this century, with borrowing outpacing global growth. In 2002, gross debt amounted to 200 percent of gross domestic product -- in 2015, that figure was 225 percent. Two-thirds of that $152 trillion is held by households and nonfinancial firms. The rest resides on government balance sheets." --safari note: Maybe Wells Fargo can help us beef up these numbers a bit...?
Jennifer Agiesta of CNN: "President Barack Obama's approval rating stands at 55% in a new CNN/ORC poll, the highest mark of his second term, and matching his best at any time since his first year in office.... Obama's approval rating is well above President George W. Bush's numbers at this point in his term in office, and about on par with Ronald Reagan's numbers at this time in 1988." -- CW
Beyond the Beltway
American "Justice", Ctd. Post-Racial America edition. Brad Scharade of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "A white Georgia sheriff's deputy has been terminated and another white officer abruptly resigned following an internal affairs investigation that uncovered racist and sexist messages they sent each other on Facebook, including one that described what appeared to be an effort to target black motorists.... The disclosures in sparsely populated McIntosh, a county of about 14,000 residents on the Georgia coast, follow two other high profile allegations of racism in Georgia that have recently made news. A Forsysth County elementary school teacher's aide was fired Monday after posting messages on Facebook that described first lady Michelle Obama as a gorilla. A Douglas County commissioner apologized last month after a tape of him surfaced making disparaging comments about black leaders and their fitness for office." --safari
Samantha Schmidt of the New York Times: "In an effort to reduce congestion, tollbooths will be eliminated at all Metropolitan Transportation Authority bridges and tunnels next year, and replaced with automatic tolling, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Wednesday. Instead of charging drivers who are stopped at toll plazas, the authority will use sensors and cameras to automatically charge cars that have been equipped with E-ZPass; those without it will have their license plates recorded by camera, and a bill will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle." -- CW
Sibylla Brodzinsky of the Guardian: "Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, has said that a ceasefire with leftist Farc rebels will end on 31 October, putting guerrillas on alert and adding pressure to salvage a peace deal with the rebels scrapped by voters at the weekend. On Wednesday, Santos will meet with former president Álvaro Uribe, who led a successful campaign for voters to reject a peace deal more than four years in the making with Farc guerrillas. The meeting -- the first between the arch-rivals in more than five years -- will seek to find a way forward in the search for peace in this country racked by 52 years of war...The announcement of the ceasefire deadline took the Farc leadership, which has been meeting with government negotiators in Havana since Monday, by surprise.... But analysts said that Santos's announcement about the ceasefire was necessary because the bilateral ceasefire that went into effect 29 August -- which had been labeled 'definitive' -- was contingent on approval of the peace deal. Announcing an extension to 31 October gives all sides time to take stock of the new political panorama." --safari