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Joe Half-Rack



. . . because a six-pack just isn't enough in these turbulent times.



Last Build Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2017 15:05:27 +0000

 



Roy Moore Prediction

Sun, 12 Nov 2017 03:19:00 +0000

I know that I haven't been predictin' all that well of late, but I think I know how Roy Moore will deal with his child molestation problem.

He's going to admit he liked to date 16 and 17 year old girls when he was in his 30s. In fact, he will say it was common knowledge at the time. [There is some reporting to that effect]. But he will swear up and down he never dated any girl under 16, and that the woman who came out the other day is lying at the behest of the Democrats, the GOP Establishment, and the Fake News Media.

He'll say his enemies caught wind of the fact he liked to date 16-17 year old girls when he was younger -- "after all," he'll say, it was "common knowledge" -- and they are now using this fact to catapult a false accusation that he diddled a 14 year old. He may even praise his enemies for coming up with such a devious plot to derail his candidacy.

I think this will play well in Alabama.



Prediction for Virginia Governor's Race

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 19:18:00 +0000

It'll be close all evening in tonight's race for governor in Virginia -- and I know the polls show the Democrat currently ahead by a few points -- but I predict Republican Ed Gillespie will pull away near the end and squeak out a win, beating Ralph Northam by a little over one percentage point.

And I am not posting this merely to complain about all of the recent Democratic political malpractice. Low turnout will hurt the Dems just like it always does in these off-year elections, but -- as anyone who followed last year's General Election knows -- additional factors are at work here. Although national polling was solid in 2016, state polls underestimate the white racist turnout, which caused the numbers to be off by a few points in some of the blue and purple states.

I think that same factor will apply in the Virginia election, and hatred for Trump isn't enough to overcome this. The average person doesn't follow the disastrous Trump presidency like some of us do, at least not yet.



Are We Looking At "The End Times" For The Republican Party?

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 21:23:00 +0000

[I originally published this post over five years ago, and it seems appropriate to repost it now in the wake of Jeff Flake's historic speech today. At the time I wrote it, I believed that the 2016 Election would signal the beginning of the end of the GOP because of how badly Republicans would lose. It never occurred to me that Republican presidential and congressional wins in 2016 would cause the end of the GOP, but that's what appears to be happening right now.]How did Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) -- a "former CIA officer, Air Force pilot, 14 years elected office in the state, and * * * a genuine conservative who once advocated executing juveniles" --  how did this guy not only lose the Texas GOP Senate Primary but lose it by big numbers? Well, that's easy -- the Baggers ran someone who was actually to the right of Dewhurst (as impossible as that might sound) and were therefore able to brand Dewhurst as ... wait for it ... a moderate:When Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) launched his U.S. Senate campaign, he immediately became the man to beat. Indeed, it really wasn't supposed to be close. * * *  The deep-pocketed Dewhurst also enjoyed the backing of three-term Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and the state GOP establishment.When the primary was held in May, Dewhurst won by double digits, but came short of the 50% threshold, leading to a runoff against former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz. And last night, after the dust settled, Dewhurst had lost to Cruz by nearly 14 points.How'd this happen? The short answer is that the race pitted the Republican establishment against the GOP's Tea Party base, and in a runoff election, highly-motivated ideologues are the ones who turn out in greater numbers. Though Cruz lacked Dewhurst's flush bank account, he also thrived thanks to outside investments from right-wing groups like the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks.But a closer look shows a dynamic that's arguably more important. Just as in Indiana, where Sen. Dick Lugar lost a Republican primary, despite a very conservative voting record, because he demonstrated a willingness to compromise, Cruz labeled Dewhurst as a "moderate" because the lieutenant governor was willing to talk to those he disagrees with.The phrase death throes is defined as "the final stages of something before it comes to an end or fails completely" or "uncontrolled shaking and twisting movements of someone who is dying in pain." I think that is what we are witnessing here -- the death throes of the Republican Party.Think about it -- in 2008, the GOP was trounced in the General Election, mostly because its fucked-up policies caused the Great Recession. Many expected that the party would moderate in response to this defeat and move away from espousing the far right policies of the Bush/Cheney era.  After all, that is how a political party survives a crushing defeat.But not this time. Instead, the party decided that death was preferable to moderation and chose instead to become even more radicalized than it was during Bush II, so much so that it oftentimes became a race to the right for many of its "moderate" members.  A good example of this was when Mitt Romney -- who at one time in his political career supported gay rights and a woman's right to choose -- adopted a position on immigration that was clearly to the right of Rick Freaking Santorum's position.I think the GOP as a whole knows that its days are numbered demographically and is doing its best to delay the inevitable.  That is why you are seeing stuff like the Citizens United case and the voter suppression tactics being employed on a massive scale across the country by Republican lawmakers.  It's all designed to keep this dying party on life support as long as possible.  In the meantime, we get to watch the GOP throw off its moderates as it spasms to hang on to life for just a little while longer.  Of course, this death process was clearly helped[...]



The Idiot Trump Keeps Stepping On His Own Narratives

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:28:00 +0000

There is definitely something seriously wrong with Donald Trump. He settles on a story that he fired Comey because Rosenstein said he should, then abandons it during the interview with Lester Holt by saying he fired Comey to stop the Russia investigation, probably because he knew no one would believe he fired Comey over how "Poor Hillary" was treated during the email investigation (incredibly, he later tells Russian operatives the same thing when he met with them in the Oval Office). Now Trump claims that his threat to Comey about "tapes" was merely an effort to make Comey testify truthfully about their conversations; and he now claims that this strategy worked, meaning that Donald has effectively verified all of Comey's testimony, much of which was profoundly damaging to Trump.Trump actually had a beer party in the Rose Garden to celebrate the mere act of the House passing a health care bill, then turns around and calls that very same bill "mean" (then criticized Obama for stealing his "mean" branding!). And more recently, he reverses himself on Russian election interference being a hoax perpetrated by some 400-pound dude laying on a bed and now claims it is true and is all Obama's fault so there is nothing he can do about it (that would be akin to FDR saying in 1933 that the Great Depression is all Hoover's fault so he [FDR] has no responsibility to do anything about it). I do have some "20-20 hindsight" criticism over how Obama handled the Russia election interference deal, but the bottom line is that people were made aware of what was going on (we forget that HRC actually accused Trump of being a "Russian Puppet" during one of the debates, so the issue of Russian interference to favor Trump was out there for all to see, although not all the details of the attack had been released at that point). I liked this point from Steve Benen: "If Trump is going to blame Obama and his team for not responding aggressively enough, he might also want to have a chat with congressional Republican leaders – who were notified and who refused to take the matter seriously." But it was more than merely the GOP not taking it seriously. The Washington Post reported last December that Obama wanted to put out a bipartisan warning to the American people as to what was going on, but McConnell flat out refused to participate in that and then threatened Obama that if he put out a more forceful statement unilaterally, then McConnell would treat such an announcement as a purely partisan political maneuver. That's why you don't see any Republican House or Senate members coming out and blaming Obama for not doing enough about Russia -- such a position would be too hypocritical even for the GOP. Trump is the only Republican in office criticizing Obama this way because he doesn't care that it completely defecates upon his previous statement that the Russia hack is fake news. But I think that Obama's main reason for not putting out a more forceful warning to the American people was because he (and everyone else except for Michael Moore and Bill Maher) was certain that HRC was going to win anyway, so why fuel Trump's inevitable claim that the election was rigged. Even Trump and his campaign were sure Donald would lose, as were the Russians (Putin reportedly gave up all hope of Trump winning when Donald went after the Gold Star Family in August). As I said, hindsight is 20/20.  But if I was in Obama's shoes, I still would have put something more forceful about Russian interference out there in mid-October despite McConnell's threat. In fact, I would have mentioned that I wanted it to be a bipartisan announcement, but that McConnell wouldn't go along with that and I would detail to the American people the threat McConnell made and perhaps even suggest that McConnell may be aiding and abetting Russia (innocently or perhaps not-so innocently) by refusing to challenge Putin more forcefully. That's how Democrats need to deal with Republic[...]



Will Trump's Attempt To Extort Democrats Actually Work?

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 17:21:00 +0000

In case you missed it, Donald Trump is threatening to cut off Affordable Care Act subsidies unless Democrats agree to fund his Border Wall. The concern, of course, is that Donald's attempt at extortion might result in the federal government shutting down this Friday.

I am actually hoping the government shuts down.  Yeah, I know -- none of the other shutdowns (or threats of shutdown) had much of a negative effect politically on the GOP. After all, Republicans still won everything in 2016 despite all their shutdown fuckery during the Obama years. 

But as Josh Marshall pointed out yesterday, a shutdown in the current political climate would be different from any other: "[I]t simply never occurred to anyone before now that there would be a shutdown crisis when one party had unified control of the entire government still less that a President whose party controlled Congress would threaten to shut the government down to extort policy concessions from a party that controls nothing."

If I had to bet, I'd wager there would not be a shutdown.  First of all, allowing one to occur would demonstrate beyond all doubt that the Republican Party is unable to govern even when it controls everything. Second, this whole border wall idea is unpopular, and I think even the GOP understands that going to the mat in support of an unpopular president's unpopular idea is bad politics. But whether Congressional GOP leaders will be able to convince Trump that it is a bad idea to shut down government over the issue of the border wall -- well, that's another story. 

Trump seems to think the promise of a border wall was a big reason he won the election.  But he promised more than a border wall.  He also promised the Mexicans would pay for it, mainly because he knew it would be hard to convince American taxpayers -- even those who support him -- that they should pay for the wall. Granted, most Republicans are racists, but they are cheap racists who don't want to spend money on anything, even something that might hurt minorities.

So I guess whether the shutdown occurs depends almost entirely on how much Donald Trump bought into his own racist anti-Mexican bullshit.  We'll have an answer to that question in about five days.




Tapping In To The Border Wall

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 23:54:00 +0000


Rep. Steve King: This looks actually perfect. I mean it's, uh, the right proportions. It'll be the same color right?

Wall Guy:  Yeah. Yeah.

Rep. King: When we build the actual Wall, it'll follow exactly these specifications. I mean the razor wire and everything?

Wall Guy:  Um, I'm not understanding it. What do you mean "the actual Wall?"

Rep. King: Well I mean...I mean when you build the actual Wall.

Wall Guy:  But Congressman King – this is the actual Wall.




Some Major Shit Is Going Down Right Now

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:54:00 +0000

Harold here, back from exile to report that something significant is happening concerning the traitor Donald Trump, his relationship with Russia, and Putin's hack of the American Election.

Yesterday morning, House Democrats heard something during a briefing from FBI Director Comey that made them very angry. Given that the hearing was top secret, they couldn't give details as to why they were mad, but it reportedly had something to do with Comey's refusal to clarify whether the FBI is investigating Trump’s ties to Russia.

On top of all that, the GOP senator heading up the Intelligence Committee announced his committee "will investigate possible contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, reversing himself one day after telling reporters that the issue would be outside of his panel’s ongoing probe into Moscow’s election-disruption efforts." I can't stress the importance of this development enough -- a Republican would never allow something like this to happen unless he was worried that not investigating it would cause him and the GOP profound political difficulty in the future.

Add to all this yesterday's revelation that the former MI6 agent who was investigating Trump was so concerned with what he was finding regarding Donald and Russia that he turned it all over to the FBI last July.  And today, the Independent is reporting this:
Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who investigated Donald Trump’s alleged Kremlin links, was so worried by what he was discovering that at the end he was working without pay, The Independent has learned.

Mr Steele also decided to pass on information to both British and American intelligence officials after concluding that such material should not just be in the hands of political opponents of Mr Trump, who had hired his services, but was a matter of national security for both countries.

However, say security sources, Mr. Steele became increasingly frustrated that the FBI was failing to take action on the intelligence from others as well as him. He came to believe there was a cover-up, that a cabal within the Bureau blocked a thorough inquiry into Mr. Trump, focusing instead on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Additionally, the AP reported yesterday that Michael Flynn, Trump's incoming national security adviser, has met frequently in recent weeks with Russia's ambassador to the U.S, including "on the day the Obama administration hit Moscow with sanctions in retaliation for election-related hacking, a senior U.S. official said Friday."

So what's going on?  I believe the investigation will reveal collusion between the Trump Campaign, elements within the FBI, and the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton's Campaign in order to destroy it.




Two Of The More Interesting (And Under-Reported) Stories From The Campaign (with updates)

Fri, 04 Nov 2016 17:42:00 +0000

The first one is what folks are calling the "Trumpland" story.  Spencer Ackerman at The Guardian has the goods:Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election. Current and former FBI officials, none of whom were willing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over director James Comey’s July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton’s maintenance of a private email server on which classified information transited.“The FBI is Trumpland,” said one current agent.Ackerman further notes: "The Daily Beast reported on Thursday on ties between Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, and the FBI’s New York field office, which reportedly pressed the FBI to revisit the Clinton server investigation after beginning an inquiry into Weiner’s alleged sexual texting with a minor." The Daily Beast reported that "a former New York field office chief, highly critical of the non-indictment, runs a military charity that has received significant financial donations from Trump." But the most interesting parts of this story is that (1) this rogue, anti-HRC New York FBI field office actually based a Hillary investigation on a book written by a Breitbart/Alt-Right operative, and (2) Rudy Giuliani appears to have gotten advanced notice that Comey was going to release his bullshit letter last week.  If I was Barack Obama, I would fire FBI Director Comey on November 9 -- the day after the election -- and then appoint an independent prosecutor to look into that rogue New York field office to find out exactly what the fuck is going on there.  I'm hoping that such an investigation will lead to -- among other things -- Rudy Giuliani being indicted for conspiracy to violate the Hatch Act.The second story I believe is under-reported is the Trump-Russia Connection, and Newsweek published a piece on that today.  Here is one of the more fascinating paragraphs in that article:Trump’s behavior *** has at times concerned the Russians, leading them to revise their hacking and disinformation strategy. For example, when Trump launched into an inexplicable attack on the parents of a Muslim-American soldier who died in combat, the Kremlin assumed the Republican nominee was showing himself psychologically unfit to be president and would be forced by his party to withdraw from the race. As a result, Moscow put its hacking campaign temporarily on hold, ending the distribution of documents until Trump stabilized, both personally and in the polls, according to reports provided to Western intelligence.The fact that Russia believed Trump's attack on the Gold Star Family would end Donald's campaign speaks volumes as to how fucked up the GOP is at this moment.  With a few exceptions, Republicans are rallying behind Trump even though he is an unqualified, racist piece of shit.  The GOP owns him now.Indeed, the Comey letter from last week may actually help to hasten the end of the GOP.  When the letter came out, Republicans flocked to Trump because they believed he had a real shot at winning.  They couldn't care less that Trump was wholly unfit to be President.  But now that Comey's partisan effort to hand Trump the White House has back-fired in a big way, folks like Mitch McConnell -- who recently got onboard the Trump bandwagon -- are stuck with Donald, and it is too late for them to back away now.UPDATE:  Steve Benen has additional information on Rudy Giuliani and his involvement in the corruption scandal now engulfing the FBI field office in New York.UPDATE II:  In one of the big "Holy Shit!" moments of this election, Ru[...]



Trump's People Need To Stop Whining About Donald's So-Called "Disadvantages"

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 07:30:00 +0000

An interesting exchange occurred yesterday on MSNBC between Steve Kornacki and Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway:
CONWAY:  "[Hillary] spent $66 million in negative ads just in September.  She's got tremendous advantages -- a former president who just happens to be her husband, a sitting President, a sitting first lady, both of whom are much more popular that Hillary Clinton will ever hope to be. ***  I want to give you the full context of why we are behind, but guess what . . ."

KORNACKI:  "I'm curious about this: You mention as a disadvantage the money Hillary Clinton was able to put into the campaign. ***  We've been tracking the ad spending. *** I guess what I am curious about is:  If that is such an advantage to Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump is sitting on this personal fortune, why hasn't he spent more money?"

CONWAY:  "That's a question for Donald Trump."
Conway then went on and on about all of Trump's "disadvantages," but the monetary disadvantages are all self-imposed, and he created them on purpose. Trump, in an interesting combination of stinginess and arrogance, decided that he was going to win without spending money on a ground game or on political ads. 

That strategy has blown up in his face, so Trump has his people out there whining about all of his so-called "disadvantages."  Fuck them.  These are the same motherfuckers who were boasting six weeks ago about how Donald is winning despite his failure to do all the normal shit candidates usually do in a presidential campaign.

I'll tell you who is happy about Trump's imminent electoral failure -- Democratic and Republican campaign operatives.  Had Trump succeeded in winning without a ground game or ads spending, those folks might have been out of a job insofar as future elections are concerned.  But Trump's plan is failing miserably despite the fact that he is running against the most unpopular Democratic presidential candidate in history.  I think their jobs are probably safe.




My Favorite Finding From the New ABC Tracker Poll?

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:52:00 +0000

That's easy -- it's not the finding that gives HRC a 12-point national lead, but this one: "The share of registered Republicans who are likely to vote is down 7 points since mid-October."

I expect this number will continue to fall for the GOP, particularly if Trump continues to do and say stupid shit.  Needless to say, a low GOP turnout will make it easier for the Democrats to retake the Senate and perhaps give them a real shot at winning back the House.

One of Trump's problems is that he doesn't generate much love for the Republican Party given that he attacks the GOP on a regular basis.  Bob Dole lost to Bill Clinton in 1996 by a lot, but his candidacy did not hurt the Party. In fact, I think the GOP improved its standing in Congress that year. Trump, however, is both losing his own voters by acting like a dick and further turning off a lot of those same voters by constantly bad-mouthing the Republican Party. He may turn out to be the most destructive political virus in history.

Add to the GOP's problems the fact that Barack Obama has a 57% approval rating, and this has the makings of a wave election. McCain was hurt in 2008 by the fact that his candidacy followed one of the most unpopular Republican Presidents ever. HRC is following a popular two-term Democrat who is actively (and aggressively) campaigning for her.  This is enormously helpful to the Democrats, particularly given that Obama will probably have a 60% approval rating by Election Day.

It's fun to observe how some Republicans are rationalizing the impending political bloodbath. Peggy Noonan published a piece recently about how a "sane" Trump would have won in a landslide:
Sane Donald Trump, just to start, would look normal and happy, not grim and glowering. He would be able to hear and act on good advice. He would explain his positions with clarity and depth, not with the impatient half-grasping of a notion that marks real Donald Trump’s public persona.
Noonan then went on at great length to explain all the wonderful things a "sane" Donald Trump would have been able to achieve, but in doing so profoundly underestimated just how much Trump's insanity made him appealing to a certain type of voter in the first place. A sane Trump might have been lost in all the noise of a primary season that started with seventeen GOP candidates who were all basically saying the same shit. The insane Donald just put a little more oomph into his rhetoric, and that is why he won the nomination.




I Did Not Know This

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:18:00 +0000

From TPM:
Donald Trump’s calls for vigilante poll watchers prompts all sorts of concerns -- for voters, for election workers and for other lawmakers on the ballot getting dragged into the mess. But for the Republican National Committee in particular the rhetoric brings up a very delicate but significant issue that has its roots in a 1981 court case that has had lasting implications for its Election Day activities.

Trump’s comments urging elections monitoring has drawn attention to the consent decree the RNC signed in 1982 that banned the very sort of “ballot security” measures Trump has encouraged from his supporters. If there’s reason to believe the RNC was participating, it could be found in violation of the decree, which could keep the committee under its restrictions for another eight years. That would be a major set back for the RNC, given the decree is set to expire in 2017.
This consent decree stems from a 1981 lawsuit filed against the RNC by Democrats for actions related to a New Jersey gubernatorial race. The RNC and its state counterpart "engaged in a number of practices in the name of 'ballot security' that intimidated, threatened or coerced minority voters." The alleged activities "included the hiring of off-duty cops to patrol near polling places in minority communities, as well as a shady mailer campaign the RNC used to cobble together a list to challenge otherwise eligible voters from casting ballots at polling places."

Anyway, fascinating stuff.  Trump and his Brownshirts definitely want to engage in this type of activity.  In order to avoid an extension of the consent decree, the RNC will have to go out of its way to demonstrate it had nothing to do with Donald's inevitable intimidation efforts at the polls.  Good luck with that.




Quote of the Week

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 18:20:00 +0000

“It doesn’t really show the kind of leadership and toughness you want in a president. You start whining before the game is even over? If whenever things are going badly for you, and you lose, you start blaming somebody else? Then you don’t have what it takes to be in this job.”
-- President Barack Obama, responding to Trump's claim that the election is rigged.

By the way, if you were able to give Donald Trump one piece of advice for tomorrow's debate, what would it be?  I would simply tell him to calm the hell down.  If he could stay calm, I think that would help him focus and thus be a more effective debater. 




Nobody Saw Ths Coming . . .

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 02:38:00 +0000

. . . and by nobody, I mean everybody.  From the Financial Times:
Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has informally approached one of the media industry’s top dealmakers about the prospect of setting up a Trump television network after the presidential election in November.

Mr Kushner — an increasingly influential figure in the billionaire’s presidential campaign — contacted Aryeh Bourkoff, the founder and chief executive of LionTree, a boutique investment bank, within the past couple of months, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.  Their conversation was brief and has not progressed since, the people said. Mr Bourkoff and Mr Kushner both declined to comment.

However, the approach suggests Mr Kushner and the Republican candidate himself are thinking about how to capitalise on the populist movement that has sprung up around their campaign in the event of an election defeat to Democrat Hillary Clinton next month. Mr Trump has in recent days ramped up his criticism of the “dishonest and distorted” mainstream media, which he accuses of being biased against him in collusion with the Clinton campaign.
How about this for a debate question on Wednesday night: "Mr. Trump, the Financial Times reported this week that your son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has approached one of the media industry’s top dealmakers about the prospect of setting up a Trump television network after the election -- how much personal involvement do you expect to have with this new network?"

I think this will be a good move for Trump.  He loves to lie, and the folks most likely to watch his network love to be lied to. It's a match made in heaven.

UPDATE:  Ryan Lizza at The New Yorker thinks that a Trump Television Network probably will not happen.




The Obama Speech I've Been Waiting For . . .

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 17:04:00 +0000

It took way too much time for Obama to do this, but he finally did deliver the speech I have been waiting for, namely, the one where he blames the Republican Party for creating the conditions which allowed Donald Trump to rise. As I pointed out previously, Obama and Hillary have avoided blaming the GOP for Trump, favoring instead to call him a mere anomaly within the Republican Party. That changed last night in Ohio, where the President finally gave blame where blame was due.  The entire "Swamp of Crazy" Speech is worth watching, but my favorite part started at the point where Obama was talking about Ted Strickland, the Democrat who is trying to unseat GOP Senator Rob Portman.  Obama directly blamed Portman -- and the rest of the GOP -- for the rise of Trump:People like Ted’s opponent — they stood by while this happened. And Donald Trump, as he’s prone to do, he didn’t build the building himself, but he just slapped his name on it and took credit for it. And that’s what’s happened in their party. All that bile, all the exaggeration, all the stuff that was not grounded in fact just kind of bubbled up, started surfacing. They know better, a lot of these folks who ran, and they didn’t say anything. And so they don’t get credit for, at the very last minute, when finally the guy that they nominated and they endorsed and they supported is caught on tape saying things that no decent person would even think, much less say, much less brag about, much less laugh about or joke about, much less act on — you can’t wait until that finally happens and then say, oh, that’s too much, that’s enough. And think that somehow you are showing any kind of leadership and deserve to be elected to the United States Senate. You don’t get points for that. In fact, I’m more forgiving of the people who actually believe it than the people who know better and stood silently by, out of political expediency, because it was politically convenient.But Obama did not stop there. Instead, he openly questioned the GOP as to why it eventually nominated a candidate who rejected long-standing Republican principles:[Y]ou claim the mantle of the party of family values, and this is the guy you nominate? And stand by, and endorse, and campaign with until, finally, at the 11th hour you withdraw your nomination? You don’t get credit for that. You’re the party that is tough on foreign policy and opposes Russia — and then you nominate this guy, whose role model is Vladimir Putin, the former head of the KGB? I’m sorry, what happened? It’s disappointing. It really is. Because, yes, I’m a Democrat, but I’m an American first.  And I actually believe in a strong two-party system. And I think that the marketplace of ideas should have a reasonable, common-sense Republican Party debating a reasonable, common-sense Democratic Party. But that is not what we have right now. And the reason is because people like Ted’s opponent who know better have stood silently by. They’ve been trying to block everything we’ve tried to do to help working folks for years now. Even here in the state of Ohio, they opposed us trying to save the auto industry upon which hundreds of thousands of jobs depend. And then when it works out pretty good you’re taking credit for it. Man, look at this economy, it’s gone great. Yeah. But you sure didn’t help. It wasn’t because of your policies. That’s not why Ohio grew. That’s not why folks got back to work. So the point is, if your only agenda is either negative — negative is a euphemism — crazy — based on lies, based on hoaxes, this is the nominee you get. You make him possible. Now they’re shocked. It’s like re[...]



Quote of the Week

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 18:59:00 +0000

"The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one's reputation. Mr. Trump has bragged about his non-consentual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio host's request to discuss Mr. Trump's own daughter as a "piece of ass." Multiple women not mentioned in our article have publicly come forward to report on Mr. Trump's unwanted advances. Nothing in our article has had the slightest affect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself. ***

"[T]here is a larger and much more important point here. The women quoted in our story spoke out on an issue of national importance—indeed, an issue that Mr. Trump himself discussed with the whole nation watching during Sunday night’s presidential debate. Our reporters diligently worked to confirm the women’s accounts. They provided readers with Mr. Trump’s response, including his forceful denial of the women’s reports. It would have been a disservice not just to our readers but to democracy itself to silence their voices. We did what the law allows: We published newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern. ***

"If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight."
-- New York Times lawyer David McCraw, responding to Trump's demand that the paper retract -- and apologize for -- the story profiling two women who say that Donald touched them inappropriately.




Odds and Ends Wednesday

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 17:23:00 +0000

Well, it's been quite a week so far in the world of politics. In fact, some of Trump's campaign donors have seen enough and are currently experiencing buyer's remorse:Two big-money donors who have given or raised tens of thousands of dollars for Donald Trump are livid at the Republican presidential nominee and are asking for their money back, according to a bundler who raised money for Trump. "I cannot express my disappointment enough regarding the recent events surrounding Mr. Trump," one donor wrote to a Trump fundraiser in an email with the subject line "Trump support withdrawal." Disgust with Trump is really starting to show up in the polling. Nate Silver's 538 site now has Arizona in Hillary's column and a tightening race in Georgia. Plus, a new poll has Hillary tied with Trump in Utah, and another poll gives HRC a nine-point lead in Ohio.But some members of the GOP are still having difficulty breaking away from Donald.  James Hohmann of the Washington Post has a great piece today on Republicans who just can't quit Trump despite efforts to do so:It has truly been a surreal cycle to watch. Many Republican elected officials are personally outraged and ashamed by something their party’s nominee says or does. So they distance themselves. But as soon as they face a whiff of blowback from some in the party, they cave and fall back in line. Then they offer up excuses and rationalizations, twisting themselves into pretzels to justify voting for a guy who some will tell you privately is a danger to the Republic. It’s happened over and over again now, and it validates what Trump himself said during the primaries: Many politicians are indeed craven and interested mainly in maintaining power for themselves, principles be damned.Obama responded yesterday to Republicans who are trying to distance themselves from The Donald.  “You can’t have it both ways here," the President said.  "You can’t repeatedly denounce what is said by someone and then say, ‘But I’m still gonna endorse them to be the most powerful person on the planet’ and to put them in charge.”How is TrumpCo responding to all of this?  Well, one of Donald's surrogates -- conspiracy-monger Alex Jones -- will give $1000 to anyone who appears on local or national television wearing a Bill Clinton Rape Tee-Shirt and $5000 to anyone who can be vocally heard saying “Bill Clinton is a rapist” on television while wearing the shirt or displaying similar imagery.  It is just a matter of time, I think, before we start seeing some pretty intense violence break out at a campaign event this cycle. Thanks a lot, Donald.Finally, I'm trying to come up with some names for the political party Trump and Breitbart are certain to form after losing the election.  Here's what I have so far: the Deploricans, the Pussy Rioters, the TNP (Trump Nationalist Party), the KKK (why not?), the PGD (Pussy-Grabbing Deplorables), the Lurkers, the TPC (Trump-Putin Coalition), the Pussy-Footers, and the Hay Pissers. Feel free to chime in on this.[...]



Rush Limbaugh Blames The Rise Of Trump On . . .

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 19:39:00 +0000

. . . Barack Obama of course!  Here's what Rush said this morning on this:
Here's my recycled explanation again for the theory that the GOP paved the way for Donald Trump. And so did Obama by the way. And Obama's actually the starting point. It's Obama's radicalism that actually begins the process which creates a scenario where somebody like Donald Trump charges in to fill an absolutely, impossibly huge vacuum.
I just can't get enough of this stuff.  Fuck you, Republican Party.  You deserve all the shit you are going through right now.




Debate Reaction

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 05:51:00 +0000

After we watched tonight's debate, we tuned to MSNBC to see how its commentators judged it, and it quickly became apparent that the folks there thought it was at least a tie and at most a narrow Trump win.  Chuck Todd said he thought Trump won the debate (but will not win the post-debate). Chris Matthews appeared to think that Trump was the big winner. All of them really harped on Hillary's missed opportunity to attack Trump for lying about this issue or that, like it would actually be possible for someone to respond to all of Trump's lies. When I heard these comments, I asked my wife, "Wow, did they watch the same debate we watched?"

I thought Hillary clearly won the debate. After the last one, I heard a lot of criticism about how she spent all her time going after Trump and no time talking about her policies. This time she talked more about her policies and spent less time responding to and/or attacking Trump, and she was criticized for it by the MSNBC folks. But that was exactly what she needed to do, and I thought she pulled it off very well and looked poised throughout despite vicious attacks from Trump.

Donald, on the other hand, looked terrible given all his weird lurking and sniffing. He positioned his body in such a way as to come off as threatening, even at one point standing directly behind HRC while she was answering a question. Al Gore was crucified by the media for doing a lot less at one of his debates. Donald also said he would arrest Hillary if he was elected, and thus helped to catapult the phrase "Banana Republican." But although the commentators all agreed that Trump pivoted a lot better this time than he did at the last debate -- and in the process had far fewer meltdowns -- is that how we are judging these things now? Can someone win a debate merely because he appears less unhinged than he did at the last one? 

I have to admit I was curious as to what the post-debate polling would show.  Could I have been that wrong about one of these things?  I usually try to judge them as fairly as I can.  I did think Trump was better than he was at the last debate.  I especially liked his last answer on what he respects about Hillary -- he said he respected that she never gives up -- but his previous debate performance was perhaps the worst in history.  How could he not do better. When looked at as objectively as possible, I thought Hillary won.

Well, the post-debate polls are in and Hillary won.  A CNN poll found 57% felt HRC won the debate, compared to 34% who thought Donald won.  A YouGov poll gave Hillary the win by 47% to Trump's 42%.  I think the folks at MSNBC were trying to convince viewers that this election was not over.  But the recent revelations concerning what Donald has said about women put victory out of his reach.  That's why so many Republicans left the Trump Ship just in the last couple of days.  The only issue now is how the disintegration of Trump's presidential run affects down-ballot Republicans.




Quote of the Week -- "Post-Truth Era" Edition

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 17:46:00 +0000

“I think he can hold his own.  He just needs to be — to ignore, as everybody here has said — ignore the bait. He should just dismiss all the quotations that he hears, the way that Pence did. Deny it ever happened and then ignore the fact checkers the next day.”
-- Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer, advising Trump to lie about his past statements if they come up during this Sunday's debate.

It now appears the GOP has fully embraced not only the Post-Truth Era generally, but Donald Trump's candidacy specifically. In other words, the time has come for Hillary, Obama, and the Democrats to come to their senses and fully blame the Republican Party for the rise of Donald Trump, something HRC and Obama have been reluctant to do for reasons I do not fully understand.




Losing Through Winning: The Mike Pence Story

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 16:02:00 +0000

I almost feel sorry for Mike Pence. Although I did not watch the VP Debate last night, I did take in some post-debate coverage on cable news, and the consensus appears to be that Pence narrowly won. But by winning last night's debate battle, Pence may have lost the debate war.

Pence had an impossible job. He had to do well enough not to embarrass the ticket, but not too well, lest he would piss off Trump - which is what reportedly happened:
The emerging consensus about Tuesday’s vice presidential debate is that Mike Pence did well in the sense of seeming significantly more prepared and less insane than his running mate, Donald Trump, seemed during the Sept. 26 presidential debate. Word emerged pretty much immediately after Tuesday’s debate ended that Trump might not be happy about that comparison.
The Slate article then refers to a couple of sources within the Trump Camp, one of which quoted a Donald adviser who said: "Pence won overall, but lost with Trump."  The article then concludes: "CNN’s snap poll has Pence winning the debate overall 48-42, but Kaine winning 58-35 on the question of who better defended their running mate."

It's not hard to figure out where that 58-35 number came from. When Pence did defend Trump from Kaine's attacks over the stupid and disgusting shit Trump has said, he did so by simply claiming that Donald never said it when in fact he did.  Indeed, the Dems are already running an ad showing Pence at the debate repeatedly denying Trump said something and then showing footage of Trump saying exactly what he was accused of saying.

But then again, what the hell was Pence supposed to do, admit that Donald said those things and then attack him for it?  The problem was not Pence's debate performance -- from what I've heard, he did about as good of a job as he could do.  The problem is that the GOP nominated someone so unfit to serve as president that even his own running mate could not defend him.




Deplorables Are Leaving Trump's Basket in Droves Over False Sex Tape Promise

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 18:39:00 +0000

The moral of this story?  Never piss off your base.

Pundits have been predicting the demise of Donald Trump's candidacy for over a year now. Most expected he would eventually say or do something so outrageous that he would lose any chance of securing undecided voters. Few, however, thought that Trump could ever lose his diehard supporters, especially Donald himself, who once stated that he could shoot someone in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue and not lose any of his core support.

And then Donald did the inexcusable -- he promised that a certain non-existent sex tape actually existed.  Last Friday, Trump continued his attack on Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado by tweeting:  "Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?"

Unfortunately for Donald, most if not all of his supporters did attempt to check out the Alicia Machado sex tape, but it was nowhere to be found. "I spent most of Friday morning scouring the internets for the sex tape Donald promised was out there," said an exasperated William "Shanker" McClusky, a former college placekicker currently awaiting trial for Sewage Fraud.  "When my thorough search yielded nothing, I repeatedly visited the Trump website to see if the campaign had posted a link, and even called Trump Campaign headquarters on Friday afternoon. They promised to get back to me -- they never did." 

That was it for McClusky, who said he will now vote for Jill Stein, assuming he is not convicted before Election Day.  "Look, I was fine with everything Trump said or did these last 14 months," he insisted. "After all, I was a Trump supporter not because of his great ideas or good temperament, but because he had neither. I wanted him to destroy America -- a country I no longer recognize or love -- and his election would've certainly done that.  But his sex tape lie was the first -- and last -- straw for me."

McClusky is not alone in feeling that way. An on-line poll from Pornhub.com -- taken between 2 am and 4:30 am this morning -- tells the story. Of those Trump supporters who responded to the poll, 68% say that they will no longer vote for Donald over his false sex tape promise.

Trump's campaign has taken this on-line non-scientific poll very seriously, and has responded by putting up porn links on the campaign website. But only time will tell if this gesture will bring back Donald's core supporters.




Anyone See A Pattern Here?

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:43:00 +0000

"I opened a club, and really got great credit for it. No discrimination against African-Americans, against Muslims, against anybody. And it's a tremendously successful club. And I'm so glad I did it. And I have been given great credit for what I did. And I'm very, very proud of it. And that's the way I feel. That is the true way I feel."-- Donald Trump, patting himself on the back during Monday's debate for not discriminating against people at a Palm Beach club he opened. ************************************************************************* "You want to know the truth, I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family and I said to myself, I can't do it. I just can't do it." -- Donald Trump, near the end of the debate, praising himself for not bringing up Bill Clinton's PenisGate Scandal. *************************************************************************"He’s gotten very little credit for how gracious he was at the beginning and end of the debate. At the very beginning ― and nobody is covering this ― he actually said, ‘Secretary Clinton,’ and then he looked over and he said, ‘May ... should I call you Secretary Clinton? I want you to be happy -- this is very important to me.’”-- Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway, noting that Trump did not call his opponent "Crooked Hillary" during the debate and instead decided to merely patronize her.*************************************************************************"I'm really proud of him for doing that and I think a lot of people recognize that. I mean, a lot of people came up to me, including many of the media, saying, 'Listen, he could've just crushed her on that last question and he probably would've hurt a family if he did.' That was a big moment for me ... and probably something I'll always remember and he really took the high ground when he had the opportunity to go very, very low, and I'm proud of him for doing that."-- Eric Trump, praising his father for not bringing up Bill Clinton's marital infidelities during a debate with Bill Clinton's wife.UPDATE:  As an aside, I really do think that Trump not bringing up Bill Clinton's infidelities during the debate was the result of a compromise within the Trump Campaign.  I think Donald probably wanted to bring it up, but Kellyanne Conway and others within the campaign did not want him to do so, given the fact that Trump famously cheated on one of his former wives.  A compromise was apparently reached in that Trump agreed not to directly mention it so long as he could indirectly refer to it during the debate and his campaign would subsequently praise him for not directly mentioning it during the debate.[...]



A Fair And Balanced Look At Trump's Disastrous Debate Performance

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:27:00 +0000

I must admit I was surprised by Trump's debate performance last night.  I was certain he would come out acting presidential and such.  After all, as Trump has previously noted, he could shoot someone in broad daylight and not lose any of his core support.  The folks he needed to court last night were the moderate Republican voters who question his fitness to be Commander-in-Chief; and by Trumpian standards, he initially appeared to be toning things down a bit in order to appear more presidential.  But then things quickly started to go off the rails for Donald. He was so bad at times that he appeared to be performing a spoof on how not to appear during a debate.One of the more interesting reactions to all this belonged to NBC's Chuck Todd.  He complained that neither candidate actually talked much about substance and instead focused on themselves.  But like it or not, presidential debates are not remembered for their substance, at least not since they started televising them.  Just look at the things we remember from previous debates.  Have you ever heard anybody say something like, "you know, I'll never forget the excellent point Al Gore made about Social Security in one of the 2000 debates."?  Of course not.  What folks remember about the 2000 debates was that Al Gore sighed.  Nobody remembers a thing George H.W. Bush said during any of the 1992 debates -- all anyone remembers is that Poppy Bush looked at his watch.  Any points Richard Nixon made during the 1960 Debate against Kennedy were overshadowed by how much Nixon was sweating.When judged on the appearance standard alone, Trump's performance last night was an unmitigated catastrophe, especially when you consider that Trump is an established television personality who should  be aware that appearance is everything. Indeed, he conducted a clinic on how not to appear during a debate.  Forget about all the times he rudely interrupted Hillary.  That was just a small part of the big, ugly portrait Trump was painting of himself.  As Howard Dean noted, it looked like Donald had just done a line or two of cocaine moments before walking onto the stage, given all the sniffling, snorting, and water drinking he did last night.  I thought that when Trump wasn't speaking, he was making motions and facial expressions that looked a lot like South Park's version of Saddam Hussein.  And when he was speaking, he was profoundly incoherent, particularly during the second half of the debate.But let's not allow Trump's crappiness to overshadow Hillary's strong performance, particularly given that she was largely responsible for Donald's meltdown.  HRC had a toughest job of all.  The only thing Trump had to do is appear minimally presidential.  Hillary, on the other hand, had to needle Trump just enough to set him off but at the same time not appear too overbearing.  Well, Mission Fucking Accomplished.  And her response to Trump's answer on Birtherism was one for the ages.How much will all this affect poll numbers? Well, 70 to 80 million people watched Hillary kick Trump's ass last night, so my feeling is that the polls will respond by not fluctuating like they've been doing of late and instead settle down to where Hillary maintains a five-point lead nationally and a comfortable[...]



Trump Apparently Wants Credit For ENDING Birtherism

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 21:38:00 +0000

Well, Trump is back saying and tweeting stupid shit again.  His big problem now appears to be that either he or someone in his campaign thought they had a great idea on how to deal with Donald's Birther history before he is questioned on it during the debates. 

I have a feeling it was Donald himself who came up with this great idea on how to handle his Birther problem -- but in any event, thanks to the deployment of this new strategy, Trump actually made himself look worse on the Birther issue, something I didn't think was possible. 

His new take on the matter is that Hillary started Birtherism in 2008 -- a lie that every one of his surrogates seems willing to perpetuate -- and that Donald actually came to Obama's defense by looking into the matter.  His apparently position now is: "Evil Hillary's allegation against Obama, thanks to me, has now been thoroughly debunked and that I, The Donald, should actually be praised because I was the one who put the issue to bed once and for all when I forced Obama to release his long-form birth certificate."

That's why Trump's surrogates have been saying for weeks that Hillary started the Birther movement -- they were laying the groundwork for this strategy.  Now they are saying stuff like, "well, this issue was resolved years ago" -- i.e., they are trying to re-write history by saying that Birtherism was an issue during Obama's first term, but thanks to Donald's leadership, that issue was resolved five years ago and we can now move on to the matter of Making America Great Again.

The problem with this new strategy is there is no evidence Hillary started Birtherism or that anyone in her 2008 Campaign was even questioning Obama's birth records.  That "story" has been debunked by more than one news organization.  An even bigger problem is that by not apologizing to Obama for Birtherism, Trump is basically stating that it was a legitimate issue to spend a metric fuck-ton of time on and not the fringe conspiracy theory that it actually was.  In other words, he basically doubled down on Birtherism. 

I have a feeling the Media isn't going to let him get away with this. From what I've seen lately, media and press folks are starting to get fed up with Trump and all his bullshit.



TrumpCo's Non-Apology On Birtherism Backfires

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 16:45:00 +0000

Earlier this month, I expressed some surprise when Trump surrogates started commenting on Birtherism. It made no sense to me that they decided to do so at this late hour. I thought the best move for Trump was to simply continue to say he doesn't talk about Birtherism anymore. Such a response would make for some pretty tough moments for Donald -- especially if the issue came up during one of the debates -- but that is the price a major presidential candidate pays when he has a history of not only taking such an overtly racist position but assuming a leadership role in pushing the racial hatred.But Trump's people apparently decided that Donald needed to come clean on this issue and admit that Obama was in fact born in the United States. So last Friday, Trump made a short statement wherein he admitted that Obama was born here, but did not answer any questions on his change of heart -- despite the fact that his campaign called this event a "press conference" -- and did not apologize to Obama for all the lies. Indeed, Trump blamed Hillary for the rise of Birtherism, an outright lie that many Republicans are more than happy to repeat, including Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.But the GOP's "Hillary Started It!" Fuckery is not the only lie the GOP is telling now that we have entered the Post-Birther Era. Trump surrogate Chris Christie had this exchange yesterday with CNN's Jake Tapper:TAPPER: “Well, just as a point of fact, again, Donald Trump did not accept when Barack Obama released his birth certificate in 2011. He kept up this whole birther thing until Friday. That’s five years. But we only have a little time left. So, I want to ask you…”CHRISTIE: “No, but, Jake, that’s just not true. It’s not true that he kept it up for five years.”TAPPER: “Sure, he did.”CHRISTIE: “It’s simply not true.”TAPPER: “It is true.”Jake Tapper is right -- Trump did push his Birther Horseshit for many years after Obama released his long-form birth certificate.  In fact, Christie's statement that Trump dropped Birthersim after 2011 rated Four Pinocchios from the Washington Post's fact checker.  The Post added:This is such bogus spin that we have to wonder how Christie manages to say it with a straight face. Regular readers know we shy away from using the word “lie,” but clearly Christie is either lying or he is so misinformed that he has no business appearing on television.As Steve Benen noted this morning: "In a way, Trump put his friends in an impossible position, sending them out to defend the indefensible, urging them to lie on his behalf. It’s not surprising that this didn’t go well." [...]