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Published: Wed, 26 Oct 2016 04:23:52 +0000

Last Build Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2016 04:23:52 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want

Open thread for night owls. Lehmann: CNN's Jeff Zucker explains how he became Trump's useful idiot

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 03:01:31 +0000

Chris Lehman is editor in chief of The Baffler and author of Rich People Things. His latest book, The Money Cult, is out now from Melville House. He writes—Trump TV? CNN’s Jeff Zucker explains how he became Donald’s useful idiot: Until very recently, it seemed self-evident that Donald Trump was the biggest raging moron in American public life. But that was before CNN president Jeff Zucker’s star turn before the guardians of establishment wisdom at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. A full year and a half after Zucker’s network began cheerfully airing hour upon hour of unedited footage of Trump rallies in all their blood-and-soil rancor, the cable honcho wanted his audience of serious policy intellectuals to know he now has misgivings about the decision. “If we made any mistake last year,” Zucker announced, “it’s probably that we did put on too many of his campaign rallies in those early months and let them run.” You don’t say, Mr. Asshole Corporate Executive. The ability to assess what is genuinely worthy of sustained news coverage versus what is merely titillation or breathless sensationalism is one of those things that media professionals are supposed to master as a first-order condition of the public trust they hold. How far away is Jeff Zucker from meeting this elementary job requirement? Why, just listen as he proceeds, in his very next breath, to rationalize his ethically bankrupt choice: “Listen, because you never knew what he would say, there was an attraction to put those on the air.” In that instant swerve out of mea culpa mode, Zucker demonstrated that he has no business deciding what is and isn’t news—and what should engage the public’s long-term interest. After all, there are all sorts of figures in America’s cultural-political Guignol who regularly spew unpredictable bile and nonsense—from David Duke to Jill Stein, Milo Yiannopoulos to Jon Voight, Susan Sarandon to Curt Schilling. That is zero justification for sticking a mic in their faces and having them free-associate, in self-dramatizing fashion, for hours on end. No, what Zucker displayed before his Harvard audience wasn’t a chastened commitment to news values in the wake of the ongoing media debacle of Trumpism; rather, he summoned a half-hearted argument for the Trump campaign’s entertainment value—the chance that he’ll bellow a new round of bigoted slurs, or float new authoritarian immigration strictures, or hit upon some new way to debauch constitutional government and/or the female sex, or cruelly mimic a reporter’s disability. The idiot logic of Zucker’s proclamation doesn’t pivot on anything so high-minded as imparting valuable background on the issues of the day to CNN viewers. It promises, rather, only to produce a passing jolt of befuddlement, righteous agreement, or outrage—states of mind better suited to the passive and infantile distractions of reality TV than to deliberating over who should be entrusted with the maximum powers of the American state. And small wonder, because reality TV has produced the unsightly specter of Jeffrey Zucker, arbiter of civic good, just as assuredly as it’s given us Donald Trump, prospective handler of the nuclear codes. Zucker was head of NBC when the network launched Trump’s Apprentice franchise, and delivered exactly the same ratings-besotted appreciation of Trump-the-reality-host as he did for Trump-the-bread-and-circuses-demagogue: “Trump delivered on PR, he delivered big on ratings.” [...] Fourteen days remain until the election. Click here to make sure you're registered to vote. In the majority of states, if you haven’t yet registered, you’ve missed the deadline. Below is a list of deadlines in the 19 states where there is still time to register, including the 13 where you can register on Election Day or don’t need to register.  Colorado: Nov. 8 in person, Oct. 31 on line and by mail; Connecticut: Nov. 8 in person, Nov. 1 on line and by mail;  Idaho: Nov. 8 in person; [...]

Donald Trump IS NOT a fascist. Yet.

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:32:52 +0000

Over at Raw Story, the editors reprinted an essay written by John Broich, an associate professor of history at Case Western Reserve University, first published by the History News Network. Broich asked “sixteen historians of fascist-era Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain” if they would define Donald Trump as a fascist. Broich allowed the historians to either broadly or narrowly define fascism as they saw fit. The majority of them did not consider Trump to be a fascist for a couple of reasons:

Trump does not lead a coherent movement with a specific ethos. “He has no normal political organization as distinct from a publicity team,” responded Stanley Payne, a noted authority on fascism history. “The major fascist movements certainly did, almost by definition.”

- Trump is not undergirded by a paramilitary or that he does not advocate more political violence, granting his comments about “Second Amendment people.”

Although the majority said Trump was not fascist, they did however find some striking similarities:

Most of the historians I asked named many similarities between Trump and Hitler, as [Michiko] Kakutani seemed to do, but almost all qualified them as particulars or matters of rhetorical style rather than sufficient proof of fascism.

About half thought a comparison with Mussolini was more apt. They cited Trump’s “I and I alone” demagoguery, his “exaggerated masculinity,” his attempt to synthesize notions of the left and right, his stress on leading a movement instead of a party, and his claim to be uniquely outside the system.  

Add your name: I am ready to make phone calls from home with MoveOn to defeat Donald Trump and the Republican Senate Majority.


Former Pennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:27:45 +0000

Former Attorney General Kathleen Kane was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison Monday. The sentencing followed a jury trial in August where Kane was found guilty of perjury, obstruction, and other charges.

Kane has been the villain (or tragic hero, depending who you ask) of the daytime soap opera that is Pennsylvania state politics for a few years now. She was elected attorney general in 2012, vowed to fight the old boys club, and then ended up being accused of misconduct herself. From our article last year covering her charges:

Kane, the state’s highest-ranked law enforcement officer, is accused of surreptitiously leaking grand jury testimony to the media to embarrass another prosecutor whom she considered a rival, lying under oath about the leak to the media, and forcing aides to illegally access computer files about the investigation against her.

Such egregious behavior is actually unsurprising. Kane has a history of using her office to intimidate critics and adversaries, and has allegedly both opened investigations out of revenge and dropped serious charges when politically beneficial.

This latest Machiavellian misconduct resulted in nine criminal charges, including perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and abuse of office, among others. 

Kane's antics as attorney general caught many in their net—from Philadelphia DA Seth Williams to multiple Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices, and even her twin sister. She lost her bar license earlier this year but still refused to resign.

Kane faced 12 to 24 years in prison, the New York Times reports, but "her lawyers argued that the loss of her career and reputation was punishment enough."


Memo to Curt Schilling: Here’s why Jewish Americans overwhelmingly vote for Democrats

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 19:33:45 +0000

Former Boston Red Sox pitching great Curt Schilling announced this week that he might run against Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2018. Schilling, previously best known as a bankrupt businessman and collector of Nazi memorabilia who was fired by ESPN despite famously bleeding from wherever in the 2004 American League playoffs, took to the cable news shows to ask why Jews vote for Democrats. As he phrased the question to Jake Tapper of CNN:

“I would like to ask you something as a person who is practicing the Jewish faith and have since you were young, I don't understand, maybe this is the amateur, non-politician in me, I don't understand how people of Jewish faith can back the Democratic Party, which over the last 50 years have been so clearly anti Israel, so clearly anti-Jewish Israel that I don’t know what else need to be done, said or happen — the Democratic Party is aligned with Israel only because we have agreements in place that make them have to be.”

Leaving aside Schilling’s complete ignorance of the past 50 years, his offensive question deserves a response. The long answer to the question of why Jewish voters overwhelmingly prefer Democrats, as I explained back in February, is because the party closely aligns with their views across almost all issues domestic and foreign, including Israel. The short answer? Jews vote Democratic because people like Curt Schilling are Republicans.

For the background, here’s “Why Jewish Voters Still Won't Support Republicans in 2016.”


Coalition troops now reported within a just few miles of Mosul

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 01:51:38 +0000

Unlike other violent extremists, which either hold no real estate or exist solely in small patches under the protection of a sponsor like Iran, ISIS takes and holds territory. They run their domains like ancient city-states, appointing the equivalent of nobles. They collect taxes and run civil functions like trash pick up. Because of energy and other resources, Mosul is the most profitable city-state in that system. It is also one of the most diverse, ethnically and spiritually. There are over one-million citizens in the region comprised of Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Iraqi, Christians, Turks, etc.

Taking Mosul in 2014 was a huge win for ISIS. It demonstrated domination of their ideology over competing beliefs and the NATO-backed central government in Baghdad. That’s when and where ISIS announced a Caliphate—an Islamic State which plays a key role in their version of apocalyptic End Times—from the city’s historic Grand Mosque. And that’s why driving them out is considered so crucial. Reports are that some Kurdish units are now within just a few miles of the city itself:

Kurdish Peshmerga forces are within 5 miles (8 kilometers) of Mosul, commanders said Sunday, after days of fighting and sweeping territorial gains in the operation to free the key Iraqi city … A coalition of 100,000 troops have been closing in on Mosul since Monday, liberating surrounding communities village by village and making quicker-than-expected gains. Officials and analysts say that entering Mosul is likely to kick off intense street fighting as coalition forces try to retake what has become the cultural capital of ISIS' envisaged caliphate, or Islamic state.

US/NATO airpower and special ops are working with Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish Peshmerga, and homegrown organized militias to take Mosul. There have been stories of massacres and tragic mistakes carried out by some units in these groups in the past. The militias are considered the least reliable being predominately Shiite, so their role has reportedly been restricted.

Allied forces will almost certainly win the battle for Mosul, but only after a deadly, protracted fight, and analysts are anxious about what happens then. ISIS fighters can blend in easily with the local population in the vast, open lawless stretches shown in darker pink above. They are viewed with sympathy by many locals, much like we see Robin Hood and his merry men vs. the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham.

In the meantime, there’s an election on here in the states. And Republican candidate Donald Trump appears determined to moan and whine about Mosul to the last drop of US blood lost.


Recreational marijuana could be legal in a quarter of the country following this year's elections

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:01:18 +0000

This year could be a watershed year in the fight against marijuana prohibition, following the successful effort to legalize recreational use of the drug in Colorado and Washington four years ago and Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia in 2014. Activists have placed measures on the ballot to allow for non-medical usage in five more states next month: Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, and the biggest prize of all, California.

This raft of legalization measures comes as the tide of national opinion has turned against prohibition. As the graph below illustrates, there’s been a sharp increase in support in recent years compared to even just a decade ago, when only 36 percent of Americans were in favor. But now, Gallup’s most recent poll found a record 60 percent of the public in favor of making marijuana legal.


Should these measures pass in all five states, recreational marijuana could become legal for almost one quarter of the country’s population. These measures could even give Hillary Clinton and downballot Democrats a boost by drawing in droves of young, left-leaning voters who otherwise wouldn’t turn out.


Tuesday Trump Dump: Trump receives an in-kind insanity contribution from Sean Hannity

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 01:11:37 +0000

Welcome to your daily roundup of news from the Donald J. Trump campaign trail. We begin today with yesterday's top-notch performance by the Trump campaign's top Fox News surrogate, an irascible little scamp named Sean Hannity. Mr. Hannity is a Very Important Voice in modern conservatism, as one presumes you would have to be to retain a top serious host gig at the most important serious conservative news network. He devoted his serious program last night to a very special guest.

In what was touted as a major “exclusive” interview, Fox News’ Sean Hannity revealed the identity of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s alleged “fixer,” who told the National Enquirer he worked to keep embarrassing stories about the former first family out of the press while helping set up their extramarital affairs, including “a lesbian romp for bisexual Hillary with a prominent Hollywood identity!”

That does sound like a bombshell. All right, who is this noble man who has come forward to tell America of Clinton's lesbianism and/or affair with Vince Foster and/or dozens of corpses buried under the White House bowling alley?

Novelist Jeff Rovin, former editor of the Weekly World News — a now-defunct supermarket tabloid credited with publishing such scoops as “BAT CHILD FOUND IN CAVE!” and “BAT CHILD ESCAPES!” as well as breaking political stories including “BILL CATCHES HILLARY WITH SPACE ALIEN!” and “HILLARY ADOPTS ALIEN BABY.”

Yes. The former editor of the Weekly World News now says he is the super-secret operative Bill and Hillary Clinton hired to make sure nobody started any wacky rumors about them. It checks out.

Though I would have led with "Hillary Adopts Alien Baby", myself. Way to bury the lede, Hannity.

There was actual news on the campaign trail today as well. None of it quite rivaled Bat Child Escapes, mind you, but Trump gave it the ol' Trump University try.


Lawsuit alleges lax supervision at private prison led to man's death

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 19:27:13 +0000

The family of Kyle Tiffee, an inmate at the Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Oklahoma, has filed a lawsuit against Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) over Tiffee’s death and what it calls the facility’s “lax supervision.” Tiffee and three other men were killed in September 2015 in what has been called the “deadliest incident in the history of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.” Tiffee’s family alleges that members of the Aryan Brotherhood—a notorious, nationally known white supremacist prison gang—and a group calling itself the Irish Mob (of which Tiffee was a part) engaged in a fight that the CCA knew about and did nothing to stop, even though officials knew the inmates had weapons:

The two gangs were armed with weapons fashioned from light fixtures inside the prison. CCA knew inmates were using the fixtures to make weapons, according to the lawsuit, but didn’t remove the fixtures “for financial reasons.” Even after the deadly battle, CCA left the fixtures in place.

The fight between the Irish Mob and the Aryan Brotherhood lasted no more than two minutes—but that was long enough for Tiffee to be stabbed. He bled to death after being maced by the riot squad that entered the area of the fight:

The lawsuit names Terrance Lockett as the guard who stood idly by, but Lockette disagrees with the description. [...] Lockett, when he did decide to warn his superiors that the gangs were gathering in a menacing manner, was told to “call back when (the fight) happens.”

Eventually Lockett and a nurse entered the fray to attend to a badly wounded inmate. Not long after that, the riot squad arrived and maced Tiffee—stabbed likely by the rival Aryans—while trying to break up the brief and bloody battle.

Tiffee and another member of the Irish Mob lay dead or dying; two members of the United Aryan Brotherhood were also suffering from mortal wounds.


Several states are voting on ballot measures to raise the minimum wage and mandate paid sick leave

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:01:29 +0000

Republicans currently have greater control over state legislatures than at any point since the Civil War. However, thanks to the ability to pass laws via ballot initiatives, that isn’t stopping progressives from trying to raise the minimum wage and pass paid sick leave across the nation, and activists are putting several such measures before voters this year. These battles come amid national Democratic efforts to secure a federal minimum wage increase and the Fight for $15 movement galvanizing workers in many major cities. Hillary Clinton has also made paid medical leave a centerpiece of her 2016 campaign platform.

Increasing the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to over $10 polls extremely well, with surveys in practically every state finding majorities in favor of the idea. And many polls, sometimes even in conservative states like Arizona, often demonstrate significant support for a higher threshold, like $12 or even $15 an hour. Likewise, paid leave is overwhelmingly popular with voters. That includes major backing from Republican voters, despite their party’s legislators almost uniformly refusing to even hold a vote on either measure.

The soaring popularity of these pro-worker policies is why ballot initiatives are so critical to overcoming Republican opposition. Despite historic low turnout in 2014, minimum wage increases succeeded in every state where they were on the ballot—even in red states like Arkansas. With Democrats poised for a decisive victory in this year’s higher-turnout presidential election, the time is ripe for several states to secure further wage increases and mandate paid leave via the ballot box in 2016.


Oh sh*t, and other advice on voting for the first time

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 22:53:25 +0000

I sat next to Marty in advanced chemistry my senior year of high school. That’s how I knew her father was running for selectman in my small Massachusetts town’s May election, the first in which I was old enough to vote. I liked Marty. She threw nice parties and almost always got the lead in the school play. Why wouldn’t I vote for her father? 

Back in 1979, election booths weren’t very sophisticated—no butterfly ballots  (or hanging chads), no buttons or lights that brightened when pushed. In my memory, they were Just large, green, clunky boxes with rows of little levers that rattled like a subway car when you pulled the bar to register your vote, reset the levers for the next person, and open the privacy curtain. They were perfect—well, almost. My only complaint (and I’m sure it had nothing to do with why they were eliminated in 2010), was the following: 

It was never clear what to do if you pushed the wrong little lever. Which is to say, what if a new, 18-year-old voter pushed the wrong lever and voted for the wrong selectman? Which is to say, someone other than Marty’s father?

Which is to say, me.

It’s true, I voted for her father’s opponent. I didn't know how to fix it, and was too embarrassed to stick my head out of the curtain and ask for help. So I shrugged, and pulled the lever—the one that registers the vote, resets the levers for the next person, and opens the privacy curtain—because I didn’t figure it would matter much in the long run. I mean, it was only one vote.

I should hasten to add that I lived in a small New England town (is there any other kind?), with an even smaller voting population.

The next day I learned Marty’s dad lost the election by exactly one vote. My vote. I saw her in chemistry that day and told her about my mistake and laughed. I don’t remember her response, but I don’t believe it mirrored mine. In subsequent visits to the voting booth I looked and found there is actually a lever you can push to reset a vote to the neutral position while you are inside the booth. Today, it’s the first thing I look for when I go vote.

When we lived in Indiana my husband tried to tell me that my vote (as a Democrat) didn’t count because the state was so overwhelmingly Republican. He made me crazy and every time he said it I’d trot out my “first-time-I-ever-voted” story and he’d smile and kiss me and walk away. We’re still married, but it was stressful around election time until we left Indiana for New Jersey.

Every vote counts. In every way. Which brings me to the 2016 election.


Does Donald Trump know anything about his business?

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:52:46 +0000

At Donald Trump's latest hotel ad masquerading as a campaign event, he flubbed what should have been a simple thing, attacking Obamacare from the standpoint of an employer. But it's Trump. He neither understands his business nor how health insurance works.

"And I can say all of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare. You folks, this is another group. Is that a correct statement?" he said, gesturing to the crowd. "You look at what they're going through with their health care is horrible because of Obamacare. So we'll repeal it and replace it. But this is about jobs. And we have thousands of employees in Florida."

Moments later, Trump appeared to contradict himself, stating that his employees don't have to deal with Obamacare exchanges because his corporation provides them with healthcare coverage. "These are just amazing people," Trump said. "This is what jobs do. Jobs just make lives and they make people and they make families and they’re not worried about their health care because we take great care of people." […]

Following just behind Trump, David Feder, the general manager for Trump National Doral Miami resort, further clarified to reporters that "very few" employees would have reason to buy Obamacare policies because "95 percent" are provided healthcare, which is a large portion of their operating costs.

Because Trump doesn't need one more bad headline about how he doesn't even provide healthcare coverage to his employees. But he had a little time to recover, appearing on Fox News shortly after the appearance and claiming, in his usual engaged and policy-deft manner, "I don't use much Obamacare, I must be honest with you, because it is so bad for the people and they can't afford it."

"I don't use much Obamacare." I guess he has people to figure out this kind of stuff for him, but shouldn't he have made just a little bit of an effort to figure out how stuff works since he's, like, running for president?

Can you chip in $3 to help Hillary Clinton demolish this monster?

Conservatives want to stop people from voting on Election Day. Fight back against voter suppression by clicking here and signing up as a volunteer for Protect the Vote. Help make sure all Americans have the chance to cast their ballot.


Mississippi students place noose around black student's neck

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:50:06 +0000

Some white high school students put a noose around a black student’s neck and then yanked it, according to a Mississippi NAACP chapter. Now, we could just say, “Its Mississippi, what do you expect?” and wash our hands of it—but not so fast. First, the details:

The black student, a sophomore football player at Stone High School in Wiggins, Miss., was in a locker room on Oct. 13 when as many as four white students tossed a rope around his neck and pulled it tight, Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a news conference Monday.

“No child should be walking down the hall or in a locker room and be accosted with a noose around their neck,” Johnson said. “This is 2016, not 1916. This is America. This is a place where children should go to school and feel safe in their environment.”

Actually, this is America, and the fact that it’s 2016 has no bearing whatsoever. As the Washington Post article states:

The incident is the latest in a series of racially charged attacks — many verbal, some physical — that have grabbed national attention at a time when racial tensions in the United States have reached a boiling point.

Mississippi, a state with a long history of racial segregation and violence against African Americans, has been the site of multiple controversies recently.


Supreme Court vacancy watch Day 254: Mitch McConnell tosses his oath of office onto the ash heap

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:39:01 +0000

It's Monday, October 25, and Day 254 since Justice Antonin Scalia died and Mitch McConnell decided no nominee would get any Senate attention: No meetings, no hearings, no votes. It's also Day 223 since Merrick Garland was nominated by President Obama to fill that vacancy. 

So where's Mitch McConnell these days? Has anybody heard from him? What does he think about Donald Trump dragging down the Senate with him? Apparently not much.

On the few occasions when the Republican leader has appeared publicly in his home state of Kentucky this month, he’s either avoided answering reporters’ questions, or explicitly refused to address the topic he acknowledged was on everyone’s mind: His party’s presidential nominee.

At a local Chamber of Commerce event in Danville, McConnell twice instructed the crowd not to ask him about the presidential race “even though that’s what I know you all wanted me to talk about.”

At an earlier event in Pikeville, McConnell refused to answer a reporter’s question about Trump not paying any taxes.

Most recently, on Friday, McConnell said nothing about Trump as he introduced fellow GOP Sen. Joni Ernst for a speech at the University of Louisville. Then McConnell evaded reporters’ questions as he left the event.

McConnell’s silence is especially notable in light of Trump’s recent complaints that the election is rigged and he might not ultimately accept the results. Despite a lifetime in public service, McConnell has offered no reaction, passing up the opportunity to defend the nation’s democratic institutions.

Apparently, McConnell has just decided to sit this one out, maybe figuring that he can make up this year's losses in 2018, when the Senate map favors Republicans. Maybe he's taking the advice of other Republicans who say that his "neutrality gives his caucus maximum flexibility to adopt whatever position on Trump best reflects their own states and their own political situations."

That's what passes for leadership in the GOP, apparently: stand by while your party is trashed. While your country is trashed. While the whole foundation upon which the institution he supposedly leads was built is trashed. 

Not that anyone should be surprised about that—not if they've been paying attention to McConnell's actions. This is a man who has no qualms about crippling the Supreme Court. If he's content to do that, he's content to see all the rest of our institutions burn down around him.


Koch brothers having a hard time finding Obamacare haters in Nevada

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:43:36 +0000

The Kochs have a number of organizations on the ground this election, trying to save their Republican-controlled Senate and drum up some Koch love—and Obamacare hate—while they're at it. That's not working so great in Nevada.

I went door knocking with field staffers from Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-funded group, last Friday afternoon on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Over two hours, knocking on almost 50 doors, not a single person said that they oppose Obamacare or are negatively impacted by it. In fact, everyone who engaged with the door-knockers said they view the law positively. […]

[A staffer] approached a modest, stucco, two-story house—painted in pastels—and a middle-aged woman with children inside answered. He opened by asking what she thinks of the law. “Obamacare is not Obamacare,” she replied sternly. “It is the health care reform program. And it is actually a good thing. I didn’t qualify for Medicaid but couldn’t afford to pay the $400 a month that an employer offered me health care coverage from. So I used the exchange and got health care for my family at half the price!” […]

A similar scene repeated itself four other times before the end of their walk packet. At another house a few minutes later, Daniel asked another woman what she thought of the law. “I like it,” she said. He told her 240,000 Nevadans have seen their insurance premiums rise by an average of 15 percent and asked if she has friends who have been adversely effected. “My family actually got insurance from Obamacare that we couldn’t afford before,” the woman replied.

So, maybe the vaunted Koch research machine isn’t so hot? "The iPads the field reps carry say which doors to knock on—and the names and ages of who lives inside. In this case, Daniel and Erinn were approaching households with people who the data scientists believe are with them on the issues and less likely to vote. But they still kept striking out." There's your Republican ground game in the battleground states, since Donald Trump's is all but nonexistent.

Might this be enough to convince the Kochs—and the Republicans—that the nation is really, really over fighting Obamacare? Yeah, no. It's going to go on forever, or as long as Charles and David are drawing breath.

Want to end the incessant attacks on Obamacare and crush the Kochs? Help elect more Democrats to Congress.

History is calling for volunteers: No matter where you live, sign up with MoveOn to make calls to swing state voters from home and help make Hillary Clinton the first woman elected President of the United States.


Sorry, Donald, but 'the system' is working perfectly

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:35:01 +0000

Donald Trump told a roundtable of supporters in Florida Monday, "I actually think we're winning." To borrow a phrase: No, Donald, you're not. 

Trump has recently taken to blathering on incessantly about "dark polls" and the "phony media," always topping off his special brand of paranoia with this clarion call to his aggrieved supporters: "The system is rigged!"

In some ways, it's a positive step. Reality is creeping in—Trump knows he's losing. In essence, he's finally cluing in to a basic tenet of American democracy: You can't ridicule, demean, belittle, abuse, and dismiss wide swaths of the electorate and emerge victorious on Election Day. Clearly, he misunderstood—or perhaps misunderestimated—this concept from the outset of his presidential bid. But it's pretty hard to ignore now.

It turns out every woman Trump offended when he mocked his sexual assault accusers for being just too hideous to grope has a vote. Who could have known?

In three crucial battlegrounds — North Carolina, Florida and Georgia — women are casting early ballots in disproportionate numbers.

And not casting them for Trump. Also, after running a campaign rife with racist lies about Mexicans and Latino immigrants, they're pretty eager to vote too, in historic numbers, actually, in pretty significant states like, oh, say Florida:

Frustrated you don't live in a swing state? Now you can call swing state voters no matter where we live. Click here to sign up for a phone banking shift with MoveOn.


Cartoon: Best costume

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 21:51:30 +0000

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How did Trump win the white nationalist right? By being their megaphone

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 21:05:11 +0000

J.M. Berger has written a semi-comprehensive piece on how white nationalists went from thinking Donald Trump was "secretly Jewish" to their Great White Hope. It's worth a read, but the short version is because 1.) being anti-immigrant is just that important and 2.) Trump has been very consistent in providing those white nationalists continued hints that he was on their side.

[A]s white-nationalists began to rally around Trump as its closest political ally in a generation, they began to detect what members called “wink-wink-wink” communications from the candidate. There was his retweet of bogus murder statistics that exaggerated black crime; two separate retweets of a racist Twitter feed called @WhiteGenocideTM; and the interview that sealed the deal: the moment on CNN when—just days before the Louisiana primary—Trump dodged the question of whether to repudiate the endorsement of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, which one commenter on the white nationalist site Stormfront called “the best political thing I have seen in my life.”

The rest is worth a read as well. We still don't know the answer to the most obvious questions, though: Were Trump's retweets of overt white nationalists intentional, or the result of Donald Trump not giving a damn who he's retweeting so long as it contains nice words about him? Did Donald Trump sincerely believe that when he was retweeting a picture of Hillary Clinton surrounded by money and a Jewish star it was meant to be a "sheriff's" star? And did Donald Trump Jr. give interviews to white nationalists and retweet white nationalist imagery out of similar self-absorbed gullibility, or is he supporting those forces more intentionally?


DCCC slams Darrell Issa with yet another ad linking him to Trump

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 21:10:55 +0000

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee isn't fooling around about unseating GOP Rep. Darrell Issa in CA-49. Here comes the latest from the DCCC's $3 million commitment to the race—yet another ad unequivocally tying Issa to Donald Trump.

"Even though Donald Trump called women pigs," the narrator says over video of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, "Darrell Issa endorsed him." The ad continues in the same vein, reminding voters that Issa stayed a Trump loyalist even after he "demeaned veterans struggling with PTSD" and "bragged about a history of sexual assault."

As video shows an animated Darrell Issa springing forward to grab Trump's hand and literally slap him on the back, the narrator charges, "Time and again, Darrell Issa has put politics before country."

But really, it's all about showing those two rich guys slapping each other on the back. It just never gets old. Or at least, not for the DCCC. As our Daily Kos Elections digest observed:

Trump is anathema to this affluent and well-educated district in suburban San Diego, which voted for Mitt Romney four years ago but will almost certainly go for Hillary Clinton this time.

Watch it below.

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Harvard and its dining hall workers reach tentative deal to end strike

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:54:56 +0000

Some good news: dining hall workers at Harvard University could end their strike this week after reaching a tentative deal with the university.

Brian Lang, the president of Unite Here Local 26, which represents about 750 cafeteria workers, confirmed that terms had been reached early Tuesday morning that satisfied the workers’ demands.

Mediators helped work out the agreement between a union subcommittee and the university. On Tuesday, it would be reviewed and voted on by the full bargaining committee. It would then be brought before the entire union membership on Wednesday, and those on strike could return to work as soon as Thursday.

Solidarity is powerful:

The settlement announcement came after a nearly 12-hour bargaining session Monday that was punctuated by a student sit-in at the Cambridge office building where negotiations were taking place. More than 200 participants pressed administrators to meet the demands of the workers and settle the contract. The sit-in was part of a larger action by more than 300 students who walked out [of] classes Monday in support of the striking workers.

On Monday, a worker detailed in the New York Times how her pay wasn't keeping pace with her medical costs and rent. It’s not clear why Harvard administrators didn’t avert the strike by realizing in advance that “workers at university with $35.7 billion endowment can’t pay to have possible cancer checked out” was not going to be a narrative that got the university good publicity, or that students would support the workers. Maybe a lesson for next time, guys?


Trump, a man of patterns, was sued twice for housing discrimination against blacks

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:08:38 +0000

The one thing you can count on with Donald Trump is that he always repeats himself, and not in a good way. Remember the time that the Justice Department sued the Trump family real estate business in 1973 for discrimination against blacks? Hillary Clinton mentioned it at the first presidential debate in September, much to the chagrin of Trump.

"Donald started his career back in 1973 being sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination because he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African-Americans," she said.

Trump dismissed Clinton and the suit, noting his company wasn’t alone in being sued and that it had settled the matter with no admission of guilt.

That was the first time Trump was sued for housing discrimination. The second time, in 1982, didn’t come up in the debates and he hasn’t mentioned it. Small wonder.

In April 1982, the Open Housing Center, a fair housing advocacy outfit, filed class action lawsuits against several landlords and real estate brokers on behalf of nine African Americans who had been denied apartments in Queens. (The Open Housing Center had years earlier provided the Justice Department with information used in the 1973 housing discrimination case against Fred and Donald Trump.) The defendants in these suits included Fred Trump and Coronet Hall Inc., a Trump company that owned an apartment building in Queens. Donald Trump was not named in the lawsuits, but at that point, he was an owner of Coronet Hall and a senior officer of Trump Management Inc., which controlled various Trump companies, including Coronet Hall.

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Houston DA covered up the destruction of 21,000 pieces of evidence—and now she wants your vote

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 12:14:53 +0000

The district attorney of Harris County is currently mired in a scandal that once again indicates she is not fit to lead. District Attorney Devon Anderson knew in February that Harris County Deputy Chris Hess had destroyed 21,000 pieces of evidence, including evidence in pending cases. But she didn't say a word until August, when she realized that the story was about to become public. Instead, she sat quietly as her prosecutors tried cases where critical evidence had been compromised or destroyed completely.

We’ve seen plenty of ethical violations by Anderson, a Republican, before— but this one is bad even for her. From the Houston Press:

This problem only became public after Morgan and attorney Emily Detoto discovered in August that drug evidence in their own client's case had been destroyed — just as a prosecutor was offering their client, David Bellamy, a 25-year plea deal for meth possession, Morgan said. It was among the first cases to be dismissed because of the Precinct 4 missing-evidence fiasco.

But as more details have surfaced of the hundreds more affected cases, what has bothered Morgan and Detoto the most is the complete lack of action the district attorney's office had taken on the issue, they say — even though District Attorney Devon Anderson admitted to knowing about the destroyed evidence since February. It was only directly after KTRK aired a story about Bellamy's case on August 17 that Anderson blasted out an email to all her prosecutors, ordering them to stop offering plea deals or taking to trial any cases involving Precinct 4.

Once Anderson was caught, she decided to finally be honest about the thousands of pieces of destroyed evidence. She announced early last month that 142 cases would be thrown out and over 1,000 could be compromised. That number could easily increase. At least one report stated that, in Hess's January dump alone, 861 pieces of the destroyed evidence were connected to 470 open cases. And the Houston Press reports that her office “has sent letters to about 600 defendants who were convicted or took plea deals in cases where evidence has been lost—raising the possibility that more suspects could be freed.”


Militias, Trump, and the romance of violent racism

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:19:35 +0000

There’s a moment in Shane Bauer’s excellent article on his time with a so-called “border militia” in which his “patrol” simply savors the day.

It's windy and the sun is blazing in the cloudless sky. At the top of a small hill, Iceman takes a knee and Sandstone and I do the same. For several minutes, we look out over the valley, mottled with creosote bushes, sotol, and grass. I sense that for them, there is a romance to this—the open land, the distant mountains, the belief that they are defending the frontier in service of the nation.

That idea of finding something worthy is there also in writer Joe Lansdale’s fantastic essay on the reasoning of his Trump-voting neighbors.

It’s a chance for the bored and disappointed to play army, a way to justify having tons of guns and ammunition. They feel that if not for their vigilance, dead-eye aim, and concealment due to camouflaged pants and a Duck Dynasty cap, we would be standing on the edge of a precipice looking into the bowels of hell.

In both cases, the quixotic search for something to give rudderless lives a direction might be amusing, if not for the unifying theme: violence and bigotry.

The guys just can't believe how many Muslims there are in the country today. "Saudi fucking Aurora is what it is," Captain Pain says of his hometown in Colorado. "We need to kill more of those motherfuckers. I never seen so many fucking towelheads stateside."

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Green Bay email shows clear intent to suppress student vote because they likely will vote Democratic

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:54:20 +0000

Ari Berman has for years been doing yeoman’s work getting out the message about voter suppression. That work includes an entire book on the subject, titled Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America. At The Nation today, he takes note of yet another example: students at the Green Bay campus of the University of Wisconsin. Back to that in a moment. Efforts to suppress the student vote have been a thing ever since 18-year-olds got the vote in 1971 with the ratification of the 26th Amendment. The methods have been many, from outright denial of their right to vote where they go to college based on long-term residency—which the Supreme Court shot down in Dunn v. Blumstein—to sneakier methods, like scaring students into believing they will lose their student financial assistance. Legally, there remains much ambiguity in what is and is not okay for a state to do regarding restrictions on the student vote. (Here’s the Brennan Center for Justice’s excellent state-by-state Student Voting Guide for 2016.) In Green Bay during the primary, there was a long queue at the campus polling station. So long, in fact, that some students gave up trying to cast a ballot. When the polls closed, 150 were still in line. Student political groups across the spectrum asked that an early voting station be established on campus to alleviate those lines on Election Day. No such luck. Instead, municipal authorities only set up one early voting station for the whole city, Wisconsin’s third largest, at the city clerk’s office. It’s a 15-minute drive from the campus and only open for voting during business hours. The city clerk, Kris Teske, appointed by Republican Mayor Jim Schmitt and allied with Republican Gov. Scott Walker, claimed the reason for this was that Green Bay didn’t have the money, time, or security to open an early voting station on campus or anywhere else.  But privately Teske gave a different reason for opposing an early-voting site at UW–Green Bay, writing that student voting would benefit the Democratic Party. “UWGB is a polling location for students and residents on Election Day but I feel by asking for this to be the site for early voting is encouraging the students to vote more than benefiting the city as a whole,” she wrote on August 26 in an e-mail to David Buerger, counsel at the Wisconsin Ethics Commission. “I have heard it said that students lean more toward the democrats…. I have spoken with our Chief of Staff and others at City Hall and they agree that budget wise this isn’t going to happen. Do I have an argument about it being more of a benefit to the democrats?” Berman got that email as a result of an open records request from One Wisconsin Institute.  Join Daily Kos and Vote Riders in volunteering to give people in Wisconsin (and Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona) rides to the polls. [...]

Losing the election is just the start of Trump's inevitable wave of future failures

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:31:10 +0000

In two weeks, Donald Trump will lose. He’ll lose big. He’ll lose in historic fashion. He’ll lose so big, in fact, that the only drama left is whether he can eke out a victory in Texas and Utah. That’s how big he’ll lose, going down in history among the nation’s yuuugest losers. 

He’ll lose so big, that Republicans down-ballot will go down with him, including some never considered endangered. And he’ll motivate so many hard to turn-out voters, engaging so many of the formerly apathetic, that he will have endangered GOP chances well into the future. 

That’ll be fun! But really, that’ll be just the beginning. Because Trump’s entire world is about to crash down on him, and the only question is how he handles things when even a tiny shred of this new reality enters the narcissistic bubble around his head. 


Midday open thread: Renewables overtake coal; ABA nixes own report calling Trump a 'libel bully'

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:11:23 +0000

Today’s comic by Jen Sorensen is No comparison:  Fourteen days remain until the election. Click here to make sure you're registered to vote. In the majority of states, if you haven’t yet registered, you’ve missed the deadline. Below is a list of deadlines in the 19 states where there is still time to register, including the 13 where you can register on Election Day or don’t need to register.  Today is the final day you can register by mail in Wyoming. But you can still register in person until Nov. 8 Colorado: Nov. 8 in person, Oct. 31 on line and by mail; Connecticut: Nov. 8 in person, Nov. 1 on line and by mail;  Idaho: Nov. 8 in person; Illinois: Nov. 8 in person; Iowa: Nov. 8 in person, Oct. 29 on line; Maine: Nov. 8 in person; Maryland: Nov. 3 in person; Minnesota: Nov. 8 in person; Montana: Nov. 8 in person; Nebraska: Oct. 28 in person; New Hampshire: Nov. 8 in person, Oct. 29 by mail; North Carolina: Nov. 5 in person; North Dakota: No registration required; Utah: Nov. 1 on line and in person; Vermont: Nov. 2 on line, by mail, and in person; Washington: Oct. 31 in person; Washington, DC: Nov. 8 in person; Wisconsin: Nov. 8 in person.  • Shan Bauer bought a rifle and joined a border militia. And then wrote about it for Mother Jones: Becoming a militia member began with opening a new Facebook account. I used my real name, but the only personal information I divulged on my profile was that I was married and that I had held jobs as a welder and a prison guard for the Corrections Corporation of America. A "Don't Tread on Me" flag was my avatar. I found and "liked" militia pages: Three Percenter Nation, Patriotic Warriors, Arizona State Militia. Then Facebook generated endless suggestions of other militia pages, and I "liked" those too. To keep my page active, I shared other people's posts: blogs about President Barack Obama trying to declare martial law, and threats of Syrians crossing the border. I posted memes about American flags and police lives mattering. Then I sent dozens of friend requests to people who belonged to militia-related Facebook groups. Some were suspicious of me: "Kinda have a veg profile, so I got to ask why you want to be my friend????" one messaged. Many, however, accepted my friend requests automatically. Within a couple of days, I had more than 100 friends, and virtually any militia member who looked at my page would likely find that we had at least one friend in common. Sara Solow, a domestic policy adviser to Hillary Clinton, will appear at Daily Kos Thursday to answer questions Thursday. Solow, who was also a member of Clinton’s debate preparation team, will join us at 11 AM PT/2 PM ET October 27 to discuss the candidate’s addiction and mental health proposals. Solow served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer and worked on President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign as part of his debate preparation team. In 2008, she served as an economic policy staffer for President Obama’s campaign and presidential transition team. • Former Pennsylvania AG Kathleen Kane sentenced to 10-23 months in prison: The Democrat, who was elected in 2012, had faced as many as 24 years in prison for committing multiple felonies as part of a politically motivated act of retribution. She resigned after being convicted of perjury and obstructio[...]

Bill Clinton explains the whole Obamacare story you're not getting from the traditional media

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:44:29 +0000

Why is Obamacare still so hard to understand, traditional media? Look at this from the Washington Post:

The Obama administration’s quiet acknowledgement last night that premiums for popular Obamacare health plans will rise by an average of 25 percent next year is another October surprise.

Is it just because it has two things you love to repeat without understanding or explaining—Obamacare premium increases and October surprises? Having a chance to use them together is just too tempting? Because it's kind of bullshit. Let's let President Bill Clinton explain.


If you can't read that fine print, here's what Clinton said:

All the headlines are full of the stories that average premiums are going up 22 percent. But the subheadline is, if you're in the healthcare program, your subsidies are going up too so the increase won't be as much.

And guess what? The government also says that about 70 percent of people buying Obamacare plans will be able to get one for less than $75 a month. 

So hey, traditional media, maybe could we have a little less horserace in our policy discussions. Maybe?

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Florida Latinos boo Marco Rubio off the stage: He's a 'freaking sellout'

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:58:40 +0000


You'd think a Latino politician might understand that his fellow Latinos aren't stupid. Apparently, though, Marco Rubio thinks his last name is enough to make other Latinos forget that he's backing Donald Trump in this election. It's not, as he found out when he "got booed off a stage in Orlando on Sunday, by a crowd that was overwhelmingly Latino."

[W]hen he took the stage, there was spattering of boos from the crowd.

And when the emcee introduced the senator, they grew louder.

"I'm going to introduce a man who represents Latinos, no matter where you're from," the emcee boomed in Spanish. The boos grew louder still. "Ladies and gentlemen, the senator for the state of Florida, a Latino like you and me ... his name is Marco Rubio! Applaud!"

Instead, the boos rained down on the senator, drowning out what appeared to be a handful of supporters in the crowd.

"Thank you for having me today," Rubio said, also in Spanish. "I want you to enjoy this day. We're not going to talk about politics today. Thank God for this beautiful day, and for our freedom, our democracy, our vote, and our country. God bless you all, thank you very much."

Then he left the stage, to more boos.

Good choice not to talk about politics, there, Marco. Because that crowd was not having it. Or you. You know what they're calling you? A sellout: "And when we have someone like Trump, who hits our Mexican brothers, our Latino brothers, then you jump on that bandwagon after all that stuff he says not only about you personally ... as a Latino, you're a freaking sellout. I would not vote for him if they paid me." That's what Angel Marin, a retired Army sergeant, had to say about Rubio. 

We couldn't have said it better, Sgt. Marin.

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New Hampshire GOP mailer: 'Donald Trump needs senators like Kelly Ayotte in the U.S. Senate'

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:36:15 +0000

The New Hampshire Republican Party has a clear message: Donald Trump needs his bestie Sen. Kelly Ayotte in the Senate to help him appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court. Wait, we thought Ayotte had backed away from Trump. She was for him before she was against him, which must have been even before he needed her in the Senate.


 Just for sanity’s sake, let's send Kelly Ayotte and her tortured indecision packing.

Can you pitch in $3 to help elect Gov. Maggie Hassan so sanity can prevail again in the Senate?

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Donald Trump says he's been endorsed 'conceptually' by the military

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:51:30 +0000

Let's just savor this one: Donald Trump, inventing a whole new type of "endorsement."

"We had a fantastic meeting with the folks, (a) pretty large group of folks, and they’re very upset about the way they’re being treated, and I understand that fully," Trump said. "And they’ve endorsed me, endorsed me fully. I’ve been endorsed by virtually every police department and police group. And I’ve been endorsed largely, at least conceptually, by the military. We’ve had tremendous veteran endorsements because the veterans have been treated so unfairly."

That's right, says the man with the largest ego in America. His campaign has been "conceptually" endorsed by the American military. It would be illegal for the military to "endorse" anyone in a presidential campaign, but conceptually? Conceptually, Donald Trump has been endorsed by the military, by America's doors and doorknobs, and by the various inhabitants of the forest moon Endor.


If a slim GOP majority survives in the House, will Democrats capitalize on Paul Ryan's disaster?

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:42:53 +0000


It's been obvious for a while now that Republicans have gerrymandered their way out of the presidency—creating such hot pockets of conservatism that their presidential hopefuls must tack fatally right in order to win the nomination. But what if they have actually gerrymandered their way out of the speakership? In other words, what if a trimmed-down GOP majority yields several distinct cohorts with so little in common that they can't agree on a speaker? This is essentially the scenario that congressional observer and scholar Norm Ornstein is toying with

He notes, as Markos did, that the balance of the GOP base is now more aligned with Donald Trump (51 percent) than with Paul Ryan (33 percent) in a recent Bloomberg poll.

Of course, best case for Democrats (and perhaps Paul Ryan himself) is that they eke out a House majority. But in the likely event that Republicans are left with a severely hobbled majority, Democrats may be able to play kingmakers if Republicans are too fragmented to do so themselves. Ornstein theorizes three scenarios, the first being that Democrats offer to support a moderate Republican in the mold of Pennsylvania's Rep. Charlie Dent ... return for a package of reforms to return to the regular order—a guarantee that core bills will get up-or-down votes on the House floor, that minority amendments will be allowed, that there will be real conference committees with the Senate to reconcile bills, and maybe the institutionalization of the McConnell Rule to avoid confrontations over the debt ceiling.

Can you pitch $1 to each of our slate of House candidates to help retire Paul Ryan and turn the House blue?

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Daily Kos Elections early voting roundup: Democrats erase GOP advantage in Florida

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 16:21:04 +0000

Early voting has grown increasingly popular in the United States: Four years ago, 36 percent of all ballots were cast early, and that proportion is likely to grow this time around. While you always need to be careful when trying to read the early voting tea leaves, they still offer an interesting set of data that’s worth analyzing as we approach Election Day. With that in mind, we’ll be providing an update on the progress of early voting around the country every weekday during the last two weeks of the 2016 election cycle.

Monday marked the opening of early voting in Florida, the king of swing states, and Texas, which, remarkably, is threatening to become a battleground state. Meanwhile, early voting continued onward in other key states from coast to coast, and we have reports from Nevada, North Carolina, Utah, and Virgina. On balance, the news continues look better than expected for Democrats.


The Sunshine State began in-person early voting on Monday, but Team Clinton was already crowing about a huge uptick in Latino votes cast via mail-in absentee ballots, claiming an increase of 99 percent over the same point in time in 2012. The overall absentee tally also represented a net gain for the Democrats, as the GOP’s traditionally sizable edge in vote-by-mail was all but erased this year, leaving Republicans with just a 1.7 percent edge over Democrats in ballots returned. In 2012, by contrast, Republicans had a 5.3 percent lead.

The first day of early voting brought reports of steady and smooth turnout in South Florida, a key corner of the state for Clinton. The reports flowing in on Monday evening (culled from the indispensable Twitter feed of Democratic operative Steve Schale) seemed, on balance, quite positive for Team Blue:


National Republicans move to bail out Richard Burr in North Carolina, again

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:47:54 +0000

Sen. Richard Burr, the Republican incumbent in North Carolina, is taking a low-key approach to this campaign. He's always won before, he seems to be postulating, even though he admits the dangers: “I’m in the race of my life,” he tells hundreds of party activists gathered for a fish fry here at the home of stock-car racing legend Richard Petty. “I’ve got the toughest race I’ve been in, and it’s primarily because North Carolina is a battleground state.” […]  Burr said he’s not worried. He recalled his first Senate campaign, in 2004, when he ran against former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles in a race that Bowles appeared to lead until its final weeks. A well-known Washington campaign forecaster met with him about a month before the election, Burr recalled: “He said, ‘What’s your plan?’ I said, ‘I got one.’ He said, ‘What is it?’ … I said, ‘Two days before the election, I’m going to go ahead, and I’m going to win.'” “He went back, and he wrote this scathing article about how I had no campaign plan, and I ended up beating the president’s chief of staff,” he continued. “That’s how I look at elections.” So he's in the race of his life, but he's not worried. So not worried that he's totally, completely embraced Donald Trump. "There's no separation between me and Donald Trump," he says. Because, hey, it's North Carolina and he wins there. Without a strategy, without campaigning until October. And by aligning himself totally with the worst presidential nominee in anyone's lifetime. Sure, that'll work. That lackadaisical attitude has national Republicans freaking out, and has also forced them to divert $2 million worth of ad money into this state that wasn't supposed to have been a challenge. That's on top of the $8.1 million Mitch McConnell's Senate Leadership Fund rushed in last month. Deborah Ross has made this a must-watch race and has been doing so for months. Let's get her over the top, and keep Republicans busy defending this seat while we're at it. Can you chip in $3 to help Deborah Ross close the deal? VoteRiders and Daily Kos are teaming up to find local volunteers to take eligible voters to the DMV to get their ID to vote in the states with voter ID laws including North Carolina, which has been ground-zero for voter suppression. Sign up here if you can help.  [...]

Let's cry a river for the Republican women pundits suddenly discovering their party is sexist

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:16:59 +0000

The  cries of “Don’t blame us for Trump” are growing ever louder among Republicans, and Tuesday the Washington Post brings a one-two punch from the Republican women of CNN. Or, make that, the Republican women who’ve been somewhat sidelined at CNN as the network has highlighted devoted Trump supporters like Kayleigh McEnany and Scottie Nell Hughes. It’s just terrible for them. Take poor Amanda Carpenter: 

As a former communications aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and former senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), I can personally testify that Republican women have, for years, fended off accusations from the Democrats of the party’s allegedly anti-woman beliefs. What did we get for it? The nomination — by way of a largely older, male voting base — of a brazen and unapologetic misogynist.

I want to ask the men leading the GOP some questions. Why didn’t you defend women from this raging sexist especially after so many Republican women — for so many years — eagerly defended the party from charges of sexism? You must make us out for fools.

“We defended the party from charges of sexism when it came to opposing equal pay and denying women control over their own bodies, and now for some reason the party won’t defend us from misogyny. What could possibly have happened here?” Carpenter’s not the only one:

For conservative women like Cupp, this election has become a nightmare. Their opinions on typical Republican grist like tax plans and health care are no longer of interest (though that’s the case for the male commentators, too). These women say they would rather be explaining why Hillary Clinton is a bad choice for president — but Trump is like a massive asteroid blocking out all of the sun that might shine in a normal election.

Instead, they are asked to weigh in nightly on whether grabbing a woman’s genitals or groping someone on an airplane classifies as assault — and opine on whether these things actually occurred.

“Why can’t I fulfill my dream of talking about denying health care to poor people and cutting taxes on the wealthy?”

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Women to Watch: Christina Hartman, surging in Pennsylvania's 16th District

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 22:28:17 +0000

Continuing with our “Focus on the House” series, we bring you the story of Democrat Christina Hartman, running in Pennsylvania’s 16th District. Her latest internal poll has her within three points of her opponent and President Obama endorsed her Monday. Raised in Lancaster County, I am proud of my family’s Pennsylvania roots. My mother, Julia Hartman, is a first grade teacher at Sacred Heart School, and my dad, Bob Hartman, worked as a store manager. My grandparents were small business owners who taught me the value of hard work, volunteering, and the benefit that entrepreneurship brings to a community. I credit the Manheim Township public schools and St. John Neumann Catholic Church for showing me firsthand the importance of helping neighbors, organizing fundraisers for those in need, and giving back to the community. These lessons about community took hold, and I knew I wanted to make a career of sharing them around the world. Here at home, I have continued to focus on community development initiatives. I worked with the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national organization pursuing justice for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. Today, I bring my expertise to organizations in Lancaster such as Church World Service, the Non-Profit Resource Network at Millersville University, and the Parish Resource Center, providing leadership in strategic planning, fundraising, and communications to enhance the services that these organizations provide to the county and beyond. Kerry Eleveld: What about your biography makes you uniquely suited to represent your district?  Christina Hartman: I have built a career negotiating and advocating for human rights around the globe often in politically toxic environments and across the table from people who often disagreed with me. I believe that experience makes me uniquely qualified to tackle the partisanship in Congress and to work with people from different perspectives to strengthen Social Security for future generations, expand access to affordable higher education and job training, and create tax breaks that help small businesses add local jobs. Will you pitch in $3 to help Christina Hartman win this swing district and help turn the House blue? Do you live in a swing state? Get involved this weekend in door-to-door canvassing with MoveOn. Click here to find the event nearest you. [...]

Trump is using campaign funds to make royalties from sales of book he didn't write

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:29:38 +0000

For years, the alien geniuses at the Church of Scientology poured money into keeping L. Ron Hubbard’s books at the top of best seller lists by shipping freight car loads to Scientology headquarters. Similar things have happened with books by conservative political figures like Newt Gingrich, whose sales were boosted by political organizations buying up wholesale lots. The practice forced most lists of best-selling books to adjust their methodology so rankings better reflect what real people are really buying.

Now it’s Donald Trump’s turn. Small donors to Donald Trump have been driving up sales of a book Trump didn't write—even if they don’t know it.

The Republican nominee directed $300,000 of small donors’ money to the publisher of his bestselling business book “The Art of the Deal” in the past month, according to a Monday Huffington Post review of the Trump Make America Great Again Committee’s most recent FEC report.

Trump is then turning around and using the robo-signed books to make a pitch for more money.

“I’ve signed an out-of-print, hardcover copy of ‘The Art of the Deal’ just for you, because I want you on board with Team Trump!” Trump wrote in an August 2 fundraising email that offered the book for a minimum donation of $184. 

The book is not out of print. It’s available for less than $12 on Amazon … in fact, if you were so inclined you could get a first edition, signed version for about one-third the price of Trump’s very special offer to his supporters. But hey, if you buy one of those old ones, it doesn’t pay royalties to Trump. The purchases the campaign is making are directly turning contributions from donors into dollars for Donnie’s pocket.

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Washington Post fuzzy on the difference between campaigning and undermining democracy

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:10:51 +0000

Oh, come on. The latest entry in the media’s increasingly strained “both sides do it” genre comes from the Washington Post, which apparently required three reporters to come up with this:

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump each launched fresh attacks against the other on Monday, signaling that harshly negative closing arguments may dominate the final two weeks of the campaign.

Clinton’s campaign tried to build on its case that Trump doesn’t respect women, while Trump again questioned the integrity of the election process — this time asserting that polls showing Clinton ahead across the country are “phony” and “rigged.”

Translation: Elizabeth Warren, appearing at a Clinton rally, quoted Donald Trump himself on the subject of sexual assault and said “Nasty women are tough, nasty women are smart, and nasty women vote.” Meanwhile, Trump himself continued to encourage his supporters to see the election and an ensuing Clinton presidency as stolen and illegitimate. 

Turning your opponent’s words back on him vs. attempting to undermine democracy. Potayto, potahto. It’s all “harshly negative closing arguments,” according to the traditional media.

History is calling for volunteers: No matter where you live, sign up with MoveOn to make calls to swing state voters from home and help make Hillary Clinton the first woman elected President of the United States.


Pat Toomey doesn't think voters deserve to know if he's voting for Trump

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:01:28 +0000

When we last checked in on Sen. Pat Toomey, the Pennsylvania Republican was uncomfortably perched on the Donald Trump fence—with him or against him? It’s 12 days and one debate later, and Toomey's still teetering up there to the point of looking pretty damned ridiculous. Here he is in Monday's debate: [6abc Action News anchor Jim Gardner] turned his attention to Senator Toomey and his stance on Donald Trump. "I know you have been waiting for this debate. In fact, I know you have been waiting for this moment to say whether or not you would be voting for the nominee of your party. So it is yea or nay?" Jim asked. Toomey responded, "Jim, unlike Katie McGinty, I am not a hyper-partisan, reflexive ideologue who thinks he has to give blind obedience to his party's nominee. Katie McGinty does that. I don't. There's a lot of things that concern me a great deal about Donald Trump and I've been very public about it. I have criticized him repeatedly, publicly, because I think he's said some terrible things, I think he's taken some very badly flawed position. I acknowledge that the nominee of party is flawed. Katie McGinty is just blindly obedient to Hillary Clinton." […] Continuing on the topic, Jim told Senator Toomey, "I'm not going to badger you to say something you're not going to say," but asked if his constituents deserve to know if he will support the nominee of his party. "I don't think my constituents care that much how one person is going to vote. They are going to make their own decision all across the commonwealth about whom they are going to support and whom they're not going to support. I think they care much more about whether I have policies that are going to help grow this economy, whether I have policies that are going to help keep us safe, and that's the contrast on which they'll make their decision," Toomey said. Your constituents might disagree there, Pat. They might actually care whether you're willing to take a stand on something. Anything—like whether you'd have enough backbone to actually stand up to a president you disagreed with, when you can't even decide which way the wind is blowing when it comes to voting for one. Can you chip in $3 to Katie McGinty to send Pat Toomey packing? We generate an average of 3.5 votes for Democrats from every volunteer who signs up with MoveOn to make phone calls to voters key states. So if you want to make a difference no matter where you live, sign up here to start making phone calls. [...]

Republicans are running away from Trump, which means Democratic candidates need us more than ever

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:28:50 +0000

With Donald Trump looking increasingly disastrous at the top of the Republican ticket, downballot Republicans are employing a last-ditch strategy that the party last used in 1996. Basically: “Hillary Clinton will be president, so vote for me.” 

The message is taking different forms in different parts of the country. In Minnesota’s Iron Range, Republican Stewart Mills has begun airing a TV commercial that says his opponent, Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan, is “standing with Hillary Clinton, not Minnesota families.” Nolan, the ad says, “would give Hillary a blank check to run up trillions in new debt and job-destroying taxes.”

In upstate New York, the National Republican Congressional Committee has been running a TV ad that says a Democratic candidate, Kim Myers, would “fast-track” Clinton’s agenda in the House. It urges voters to support Republican Claudia Tenney – who will “stand up to Hillary Clinton.” Another spot warns that Myers and an independent candidate, Martin Babinec, would “rubber-stamp Hillary Clinton’s agenda in Congress.”

Say the people standing with Donald Trump, hoping to give him a blank check and rubber stamp.

The lopsided presidential race gives Democrats a chance to take back the Senate and maybe even the House, if everything goes exactly right. And part of everything going right is all of us doubling down right now. The Democrats who would make the majority need our help now.

Can you chip in $1 to each of our Senate candidates? The future of the Supreme Court is at stake. And how about $1 to each of our House candidates? Think about Speaker Pelosi … and dig deep. 


What's good news at Fox News? Fewer black people voting

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:18:41 +0000

According to Fox News, Republicans have “Good news in Ohio.” What is that good news? White share of the vote is up 3 points from four years ago, black share is down 7. There’s no pretense about determining the party of these voters, just their race. And how did Ohio come to be such a sunny spot for Republicans in early voting? It was helped by a massive voter purge. A recent Reuters report found that across Ohio's biggest cities -- Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati -- a total of 144,000 had been removed from voter registration rolls, and that voters from Democratic-leaning neighborhoods were removed at roughly twice the rate as Republican-leaning neighborhoods. How easy is it to get purged in Ohio? Very easy. Voters who turned out in 2008, but missed the 2012 election found they were already off the rolls when they showed up for elections last year. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office is also looking to throw out more votes over technical errors, like someone signing their name in cursive. x.@FoxNews: "Good news in Ohio, the white share of the vote is up 3 points from 4 years ago, the black share of the vote is down 7." #wow— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) October 25, 2016 Do you live in a swing state? Get involved this weekend in door-to-door canvassing with MoveOn. Click here to find the event nearest you. [...]

Republican candidates threaten to sue over commercials connecting them to Trump

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:01:08 +0000

You’ve seen them a thousand times—commercials saying that “candidate X may look like a fresh face, but he’s really just like ...” Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reid, or President Obama. Or, this season, Hillary Clinton. The implication being that the would-be Congressman or Senator would be a rubber-stamp to the “Washington agenda.” It’s a type of ad so standard, that they are literally cranked out by the national committees in bulk, with one candidate after another slipped into the same thirty second spot.  But this time around, some candidates are so upset over being compared to the Republican nominee that they're threatening to sue. Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump. Just two weeks before Election Day, five Republicans ― Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican running for an open seat that’s currently occupied by his brother ― contend that certain commercials paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provide false or misleading information by connecting them to the GOP nominee. In some of these ads, the connection is as weak as saying “imagine Donald Trump as president” with the candidate supporting him in the House. That’s still too much for the candidates, whose suits include claims that being connected to Trump can cause “substantial and immediate harm” to their campaigns. But the funniest thing about this is that, by launching frivolous lawsuits, all the candidates are showing just how much like Trump they really are. Save these guys some embarrassment by pitching in $1 to each of our slate of House endorsees to help turn the House blue. No matter where you live, sign up with MoveOn to call voters in swing states from the comfort of your home. Get out the vote and take nothing for granted! [...]

Cartoon: No comparison

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 13:51:30 +0000

Ever since the first debate between Hillary and Trump, many have remarked on the “ugliness” of this election season. It sounds so nice and bipartisan to call them both clowns and loftily pronounce yourself to be above the fray, but this is flagrant false equivalence. While I haven’t always agreed with Hillary on everything, relative to Trump she’s been a model candidate. 

It’s worth noting that throughout history, people have said women can’t be president because they are too emotional, but Hillary has admirably demonstrated how a female candidate can have much greater self-control than her male opponent.

Follow Jen on Twitter at @JenSorensen


Morning Digest: The NRCC makes a surprising move to defend a red House seat in Indiana

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 12:01:24 +0000

Leading Off:

IN-09: Over the last few weeks, Democratic groups released two polls showing a tight race between Democrat Shelli Yoder and Republican Trey Hollingsworth in this 57-41 Romney seat. Yoder herself is now out with a Garin-Hart-Yang survey showing the two tied 43-43, while Donald Trump posts a 48-38 lead. Republicans have not released any contradictory polls for Indiana's 9th Congressional District, but the NRCC's response speaks louder than any survey could: The group has now committed at least $650,000 to an ad buy. 

This is first time that national Republicans have gotten involved in this southern Indiana seat. It's not only notable that the GOP is investing in a district this red, but that they're not trusting Hollingsworth to pull his own weight. Hollingsworth is wealthy, and his father has also funded a super PAC to help him. But apparently, the NRCC doesn't feel that the Hollingsworth clan is doing enough to keep this district red without some help. 

The NRCC is already out with their first ad, which argues that Yoder is weak on national security, with the narrator insisting that Yoder will "slash funding for Homeland Security and national defense, making us vulnerable to attacks by Islamic terrorists." National Democrats also recently began airing ads here as well, with House Majority PAC launching a $685,000 buy last week.

It's going to take a lot to turn this district blue: As we've noted before, even disastrous 2012 GOP Senate nominee Richard Mourdock narrowly took it while he was losing 50-44 statewide. But Hollingsworth, who only moved to Indiana from Tennessee just before he launched his congressional campaign last year, may just be weak enough to lose it, and Yoder has the resources to take advantage of the situation.


Women to Watch: Jane DittMar, working to thread the needle in Virginia's 5th District

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 00:36:44 +0000

Continuing with our “Focus on the House” series, we bring you Jane Dittmar, running for Virginia’s 5th District. Dittmar is working to win a district that voted 53-46 for Romney. She has consistently outraised her opponent, more than doubling his haul for the entirety of the race, and she picked up an endorsement from President Obama on Monday. I became a Virginian when I was six years old, attending Arlington County Public Schools after my family moved from rural Illinois.  I  graduated from the University of Virginia where I received a degree in Economics. Since then, I’ve attended the UVa Darden School’s Executive Program and Virginia Tech’s Center for Public Administration and Policy.  I am a certified mediator for both General District and Circuit Courts and have served as court coordinator for the General District, Juvenile and Domestic Relations, and Circuit courts of the City of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene and Louisa.  I’m also a principal in Positive Solutions Group and a business consultant specializing in strategic planning. My background is business and I have owned and worked with many businesses in the Commonwealth, particularly when I served as President of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce from 1992-2000. My husband, Frank Squillace, and I reside in Albemarle County, Virginia. We have raised six children (Will, Mary, Virginia, Leia, Jed, and Joe), four of whom are in college. I will bring my experience and action-oriented approach to Congress, to make sure it is accountable, transparent, and responsive to our needs in the 5th District.  Kerry Eleveld: What about your biography makes you uniquely suited to represent your district? Jane Dittmar: My background as a certified mediator is a unique qualification—not just for solving the problems in our district but in helping to bring my colleagues on the Hill together to discuss positive solutions for the challenges we face as a nation. I’ve spent the last sixteen years studying the science of conflict resolution and helping people move from conflict to solution. Voters from all across our district tell me that’s the kind of leadership we need more of in Washington. Can you pitch in $3 to elect Jane Dittmar to this Virginia district and help turn the House blue? Do you live in a swing state? Get involved this weekend in door-to-door canvassing with MoveOn. Click here to find the event nearest you. [...]

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 12:31:40 +0000

Many goings on to discuss today. There’s more on the Trump models & beauty pageants front, for one thing. And another fundraising scandal. And… another fundraising scandal. Plus, some general scumbaggery, with a little hypocrisy thrown in for good measure. It’s almost like… every other day so far in this election. Listen LIVE right here at 9:00 AM ET! Oh, right! It’s probably time to craft a new shtick for this middle part, here. This is the bit where I remind you that we need your help in order to make a living at this. If the show is something you enjoy, or just want people to think it is, why not pitch in and keep alive our hopes of one day fully justifying to our families the time we spend on it?* You can make a one-time donation, or subscribe via PayPal or Patreon to provide ongoing, monthly support! Not sold yet? How about a FREE SAMPLE of our show, in convenient YouTube format? Like what you see? Why? It’s just a logo! How about what you hear? Well, then, consider subscribing to our YouTube channel! Our goal is to have so many of you listen to the show each day via YouTube, that we’ll then punish you by running ads at the beginning, in exchange for even more money, but from other people’s wallets! x YouTube Video YouTube | iTunes | LibSyn | Support the show: Patreon; PayPal; PayPal Subscription There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re taking it one day at a time. The race remains, as Greg Dworkin reminds us, stable as always. The latest polls are rolling in. If the election were held today, you’d be able to vote today. You should look into it. This year has produced another right wing King of Crazy. Clinton opponents remain convinced that Wikileaks will reveal the true banality of evil. And “oversampling” is the new “deem & pass.” Don’t miss out on your chance to lay the conspiracy bare! It’s said that Donald Trump cheats at golf. And we know he’s at least a bit of a braggart about it. Thanks to his latest accuser, as well as a related story from last week, we now have some real data against which to judge his claims. No, golf isn’t important. But then, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone cheating quite like The Donald. With the possible exception of Kim Jong Il. After a little more chatter about the antics of the deplorables, Armando visited to raise the issue of third parties and alternative voting methods. No experts, we. But here are some people who know the mechanics of how it would work. Though we still have our doubts about how much changes in terms of policy-making. Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold. [...]

Cheers and Jeers: Tuesday

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 12:16:03 +0000

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE… The Deed is Done Yesterday, at 1:20pm, I straightened my white tie, laced up my tap shoes, and performed a little Astaire-esque clicky-clacky dance number up the steps to Portland City Hall. Then I went inside, attached Swiffer sheets to my shoes, and took a running slide down the marble floor to Room 203, entering the absentee voting room with Jazz Hands!!! Billeh the mystical Maine manchild with the candy corn addiction came to early vote and he would not be denied. Nasty ballot!   Not signed in First I confirmed my name and address (they're written down on the tag inside my mittens) with the clerk and got my ballot. Then I held my paperwork in the air and started shouting "Rigged! [Sniff!] Rigged! [Sniff!] It's all rigged by the global banking system and Sidney Blumenthal!" Everyone glared at me so I retreated to my little kiosk to vote and mourn the death of frivolity among the unwashed masses. Given the historic nature of this election, I was hoping I'd be able to mark my ballot with a bolt of lightning. Instead I had to settle for a Bic. As I did when I voted "Kenyan Colonialist and Uncle Joe" in 2008 (and again in 2012), I got a familiar lump in my throat as I marked my ballot for "Nasty Woman and World's Greatest Dad." Amazing to think that I haven't voted for a white dude for president since 2004. More perfect union indeed. As for the referendums---a slate of really consequential ones this year---I voted for the legalization of marijuana, ranked-choice voting at the state level, increasing the minimum wage to $12 statewide, additional school funding, stricter background checks on gun purchases, and an increase in tin and tires drives because Mr. Roosevelt says that's how we're going to defeat Hitler. After slipping my marked-up ballot into the giant throbbing Bin-O-Democracy and slapping a dozen "I VOTED” stickers on my tuchus, I completed my civic duty the usual way, by stealing the mayor's stapler. (Once again, sir, your little chain was no match for my bolt cutters.) In the immortal words of our Keyboard Kingpin: Vote early. Seriously. Just do it. Now. Today. Vote. Voting makes you awesome. So vote. Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!] [...]

Abbreviated pundit roundup: Clinton's plan to win big, Trump's silly Facebook show and more

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 11:39:25 +0000

Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post reminds us that Hillary Clinton “is blazing a momentous trail”: Not enough has been made of two obvious facts: Hillary Clinton, if she wins, will be the first woman elected to the White House. And it will have been the votes of women who put her there. [...] The historic nature of Clinton’s candidacy has been all but lost amid the clamorous sound and fury of the Donald Trump eruption. The campaign has seen many unforgettable moments, but one that I believe will prove truly indelible came during the third and final debate, when Clinton was speaking and Trump interrupted her by snarling, “Such a nasty woman.” [...] President Obama’s election meant that African American parents were no longer lying when they told their children they could grow up to be president. Likewise, if Clinton wins on Nov. 8, all parents will be truthful when they tell their daughters that there is nothing they cannot achieve. Damon Linker at The Week writes about a Clinton mandate and provides historical context: The wider Clinton's margin of victory and the closer she comes to winning an outright majority of the votes cast, the more persuasive her claim of a mandate will be. And if she actually crosses the 50 percent threshold, she'll have one of the strongest claims to a mandate in nearly a century.  The Real Clear Politics polling average has Clinton pulling 45 percent of the vote and prevailing over Trump by 5.8 percentage points. Viewed in historical context, a 45 percent showing would be quite strong for a multi-person contest, especially one that is actually an unprecedented five-candidate race. [...] When it comes to the margin of victory in multi-person races, 5.8 points would place Clinton far ahead of Nixon's narrow 0.7 percentage point victory in 1968, ahead of Harry Truman, who prevailed over Thomas Dewey by 4.5 points in 1948, slightly ahead of Bill Clinton's margin of 5.6 points in 1992, and quite a bit behind both Bill Clinton's 1996 spread (8.5 percentage points) and Ronald Reagan's in 1980 (9.7 percentage points). That's a solid mandate, if not a massive one. [...]

Open thread for night owls: Tom Hayden knew we could overcome the politics of division

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 03:01:28 +0000

R.I.P. Tom Hayden. ¡Presente! John Nichols at The Nation writes— Tom Hayden Taught Us How to Get Beyond Trump and Trumpism: Hayden’s lifetime was devoted to challenging the dogmas of the right, and the false populism of conservative politicians who would exploit global uncertainty for domestic gain. As the primary author of the Port Huron Statement, Hayden reflected on how “discontented, super-patriotic groups would emerge through political channels and explain their ultra-conservatism as the best means of Victory over Communism.” And he explained how this politics “becomes an umbrella by which to protest liberalism, internationalism, welfarism, the active civil rights and labor movements.” Tom Hayden never lost faith. He believed to the end in great awakenings Hayden was offended not just by the rhetoric of right-wing politicians and parties but by the political exploitation of human beings he believed to be “infinitely precious and possessed of unfulfilled capacities for reason, freedom, and love.” “We oppose the depersonalization that reduces human beings to the status of things—if anything, the brutalities of the twentieth century teach that means and ends are intimately related, that vague appeals to ‘posterity’ cannot justify the mutilations of the present,” Hayden and his comrades declared in 1962. “We oppose, too, the doctrine of human incompetence because it rests essentially on the modern fact that men have been ‘competently’ manipulated into incompetence—we see little reason why men cannot meet with increasing skill the complexities and responsibilities of their situation, if society is organized not for minority, but for majority, participation in decision-making.” What I loved most about Tom Hayden, and I loved a lot about him, was his faith that the politics of division could be overcome, that coalitions could be bigger and bolder, more inclusive and more powerful.  The Nation editors also publish Though an irreplaceable voice for peace has been silenced, his vision will live on from some of Hayden’s articles in the publication over the years. Fifteen days remain until the election. Click here to make sure you're registered to vote. And while you're at it, make sure your family and friends are registered, too. HIGH IMPACT STORIES • TOP COMMENTS TWEET OF THE DAY xAs the late Johnnie Cochran might have said about Donald Trump: "If he's a rectum, you must not elect 'im."— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 24, 2016  BLAST FROM THE PAST At Daily Kos on this date in 2002—Politicizing intelligence gathering: So you're a Bush Administration official looking for a reason -- any reason -- to invade Iraq (say, Donald Rumsfeld). You ask your intelligence agencies (CIA, DIA, NSA, etc.) f[...]

Technology is a malevolent tool for dehumanization in 'Black Mirror'

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 02:41:37 +0000

Throughout history, there’s been an interesting dichotomy about how people approach technology and progress. People like their smartphones which have apps for everything between shopping and porn, their smart TVs with 500 channels, and things like air conditioning and refrigeration and modern plumbing and MRIs. All of it, from the most superfluous crap to our greatest achievements, are built upon 6,000 years of advancements. And yet, there is a gnawing suspicion and paranoia which surrounds technology. Whether it be fears of losing one’s job to a machine, the feeling that what we’ve gained has been payed for by melting ice caps and poisoned rivers, or that one day the supercomputers, robots and drones will rise up and kill us all, a certain amount of technophobia is pervasive in worries about how changes might affect what it means to be human. And the idea that discovery is a destructive force is something which is pervasive in most of myth, legend, and literature. For example, both the Greek and Abrahamic creation stories have the temptation of forbidden knowledge, a female figure—Eve and Pandora—does something which she was told not to do, and the journey beyond ignorance destroys innocence and paradise while letting evil into the world. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has a subtext of a fear that science and technology are encroaching on the territory of the gods, hence the novel's subtitle: The Modern Prometheus. But even in this division, we hold hope that our technology, just like the butterfly that flies out of Pandora's box, may save us in the end. Within Star Trek, the development of Warp Drive becomes a seminal moment for humanity, leading to an Earth where the former things of war, poverty, famine, and discrimination are washed away. Created by Charlie Brooker and heavily inspired by Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, most episodes of Black Mirror are set in a not-so-distant future. They vary greatly in subject matter and tone, but all the stories share a theme of the interaction between technology and humanity. The title references the reflection given by a television, smartphone, or any electronic device with a screen. The result is something that is both shocking and very thought-provoking. The third season of the series began streaming on Netflix this weekend, and the six new episodes where technology allows people to indulge in their worst tendencies. [...]

Election Roundup: Florida Senate, Virginia, school boards, and down ticket data

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 19:01:13 +0000

The following stories are examples of this week's Election Roundup of 91 down ticket stories covering Sunday 10/16 through Saturday 10/22 (MD-Sen) MD Elections: Chris Van Hollen By Suggestion For A New National Anthem (Sample ballots arrived and I wanted to try and break down some of the non presidential candidates on the ballot to help myself, and you, understand.) After the big one, first up is the second choice on the ballot, which is for the Senate. The senate race is  between 7-term Democrat Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD-8), the not-so-obviously-crazy Republican Kathy Szeliga (current Delegate) and Green party long-shot Margaret Flowers all vying for Barbara Mikulski's Senate seat. (NC-02) NC02 John McNeil (D) and the #OddDuck By mojo11     I was aware that John McNeil had obviously had to reschedule his Family Fun Day Event in Zebulon when Hurricane Matthew decided to schedule a conflicting event for the same day.  But I missed out on NC02 incumbent George Holding (R) applying the label "An Odd Duck Who Raises Chickens" to John in his latest attack ad. (All States-SchBd) Why I care about school board candidates (although I have no children in school) and so should you. By Besame Voters and media enjoy noisy campaigns. We scrutinize large issues and trivialize small local offices. Yet a candidate selection close to home has consequences that reverberate through our communities, across our nation, and into the future — school boards. Whether you are a parent or not, school age children are part of your world. They will be the teens who attend college or train in vocations. They will be the adults who teach, run businesses, provide your medical care, and take on all the roles in society, including addicts, homeless, and criminals. Sunday 10/16 through Saturday 10/22 Stories: (91) Senate: (20) posts, (10) states House: (36) posts, (20) states, (22) districts State and more: (25) General: (5) Tools: (5) Total Rescues since 2006 (12,816) [...]

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams: Elect Trump, and I'll 'help kill him' if he turns out 'Hitler-ish'

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:11:07 +0000

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams is a Trump supporter. Like most Trump supporters, he's quite certain Trump has been getting an unfair rap, what with people reacting negatively to all those things he keeps saying out loud.

So Adams would like to put your mind at ease about Trump in the most Trump Supporter way ever. Fine, let's hear him out on this one:

To me, those illusions about Trump are ridiculous on face value. I can’t change anyone’s mind if they see Trump as a monster. So instead I will make you a promise.

My promise: If Trump gets elected, and he does anything that looks even slightly Hitler-ish in office, I will join the resistance movement and help kill him. That’s an easy promise to make, and I hope my fellow citizens would use their Second Amendment rights to rise up and help me kill any Hitler-type person who rose to the top job in this country, no matter who it is.

So we can take a chance and elect Trump, and if Trump's white ultra-conservative supporters agree later on that he's gone out of control and is doing bad things According To Them? Why, they'll just rise up in armed revolution and topple the American government and everything will be fine again, you Trump-hating babies.

Yeah, let’s just leave that there. Not gonna touch that one. We’re out.

It certainly does give Trump's What have you got to lose? motto a bit of extra zing, though.

No matter where you live, sign up with MoveOn to call voters in swing states from the comfort of your home. Get out the vote and take nothing for granted!