Thursday, May 26, 2016


There's a certain amount of pooh-poohing over the new Clinton email story. I can't go with that. It's not fatal, but it's pretty bad -- because it puts fresh kindling on this fire and it reinforces a narrative about her that is getting hardened in people's minds
What the new inspector general report on Hillary Clinton's emails actually says
This report doesn’t reveal anything new. Clinton already said that using a private email server instead of the State Department’s system was a mistake, and she apologized for it. But there’s no evidence that national security was actually compromised, none of her emails contained information that was classified at the time she sent or received it, and even if she violated departmental policy, she certainly didn’t do anything criminal. . . .
[T]he report says the issues with the management of the Secretary of State's emails are of longstanding and go back with the last five Secretaries of State. The report also singles out Colin Powell, who had a similar set up. The criticism is there. It definitely wasn't a good arrangement.
Lost in the hyperbole is the fact that the OIG report was meticulous and thorough, but also dispassionate, just like any other OIG report I've read. There was no direct criticism of Clinton, sharp or otherwise. The OIG was examining the State Department's practices, not specifically investigating Clinton's actions. . . .
Clinton has argued that she was in compliance with the law because all emails related to official business were sent to other employees with State Department addresses. But the audit maintains that "sending emails from a personal account to other employees at their Department accounts is not an appropriate method of preserving any such emails that would constitute a federal record."  Finally, Clinton has said that the decision to use a private server was motivated by a desire for “convenience.” But the audit indicates that privacy may have been the most significant motivator: The report cites an email exchange from November 2010 in which Clinton aide Huma Abedin suggested that they "talk about putting you on state email," since some of the secretary’s messages to staff were winding up in spam folders.  “Let's get a separate address or device but I don't want any risk of the personal being accessible,” Clinton replied.
OIG identified more than 90 Department employees who periodically used personal email accounts to conduct official business. . . . .A former Director of Policy Planning wrote: “State’s technology is so antiquated that NO ONE uses a State-issued laptop and even high officials routinely end up using their home email accounts to be able to get their work done quickly and effectively.”

This must be the first time we've quoted Bill Kristol (favorably) here
“Isn’t it clear Trump is a pathological narcissist and liar?”

And petulant too. I've never seen a major political figure who is so quick to lash out at minor perceived slights (and I remember Nixon). Here he nastily attacks a Hispanic governor, the head of the Republican Governors Association, and . . . a one-time VP prospect
Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, accused Martinez of not doing her job when he showed up in her back yard Tuesday night for a rally that Martinez declined to attend.  “She’s got to do a better job. Okay? Your governor has got to do a better job," Trump said. "She’s not doing the job. Hey! Maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going. She’s not doing the job. We’ve got to get her moving. Come on: Let’s go, governor.”

Trump’s attacks on the GOP’s most prominent Latina, Susana Martinez, should alarm Republicans

How's that outreach to Hispanics going there, Donald?\
How's that outreach to women going there, Donald?
Trump works to alienate every woman in America

How's that outreach to vets going there, Donald?


How's that attempt to unify the party going there, Donald?
Donald Trump keeps attacking fellow Republicans
Trump staffer accidentally reveals secret Trump plan to dig up . . . wait for it . . . Whitewater 

If we're going to be forced to revisit the Clinton Scandals of the 90's, the real and the illusory, it's good to have a primer. Here it is 

Theocracy watch, Trump edition
At Trump rally that started a few moments ago in California Trump kicked off the rally with a women who thanked God for sending Trump to earth to be our President. . . 

How Trump's crude lack of civility is infecting his followers, like VP prospect Tom Cotton. Remember the Senate is supposed to be the dignified half of Congress
"I'm forced to listen to the bitter, vulgar, incoherent ramblings of the minority leader. Normally like other Americans I ignore them, I can't ignore them today," Cotton said of Reid's complaints. "When was the last time the minority leader read a bill? It was probably an electricity bill."  

Then responding to Reid's protestations over the Senate GOP's schedule, which appears headed toward working the least days in session in 60 years, Cotton said there is a silver lining. "Whatever you think about that, the happy by-product of fewer days in session in the Senate is that this institution will be cursed less with his cancerous leadership," Cotton said.  

Primary fights are good for a party. Convention fights? Not so much

A lot of people don't like her, but Debbie Wasserman Schultz may keep her job
In other news . . .
11 states sue the Obama administration over transgender people in school bathrooms
The Most Important Legacy of Barack and Michelle Obama

Bonus item: Donald's hair

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I'm feeling like this election is a test to find out just how stupid a segment of the US electorate is
When asked in an interview last week about the [Vince] Foster case, [Donald Trump] dealt with it as he has with many edgy topics – raising doubts about the official version of events even as he says he does not plan to talk about it on the campaign trail.   He called theories of possible foul play “very serious” and the circumstances of Foster’s death “very fishy.”
Trump Revives the Crazy Clinton Conspiracies

Who was Vince Foster? 

How wantonly cruel is this?  

When Trump was defending Bill Clinton 

Then and now: 

The term "gender gap" isn't enough here
This is the ultimate gendered election. As Frank Foer explained in March, denigrating attacks on women are the one consistent theme throughout Trump's entire public life. They're not tactical or opportunistic. They're part of his essence. What makes the general election contest more volatile and febrile is that not only is Trump basically the embodiment of 'dominance politics' and assertive violence. But Clinton, for all the toll the last two years has taken on her public popularity, is still seen as strong and a strong leader by a majority of the public. As I've written in similar contexts, when we look at the messaging of a national political campaign we should be listening to the score, not the libretto, which is, like in opera, often no more than a superficial gloss on the real story, mere wave action on the surface of a deep sea. You're missing the point in trying to make out the logic of Trump's attacks on Clinton. The attacks are the logic. He is trying to beat her by dominating her in the public sphere, brutalizing her, demonstrating that he can hurt her with impunity. 

And another one: Trump's fundraiser for vets
One night in January, Donald Trump skipped a GOP debate and instead held his own televised fundraiser for veterans. At the end of the night, Trump proclaimed it a huge success: “We just cracked $6 million, right? Six million.”  Now, Trump’s campaign says that number is incorrect.  Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said the fundraiser actually netted about $4.5 million, or 75 percent of the total that Trump announced. . . . Even with the lower total, Trump’s fundraiser brought in millions of dollars for veterans’ charities. The Washington Post’s accounting, based on interviews with charities, has found at least $3.1 million in donations to veterans groups.
Trump, now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, organized a nationally televised fundraiser for veterans’ causes in Des Moines on Jan. 28. That night, Trump said he had raised $6 million, including the gift from his own pocket. “Donald Trump gave $1 million,” he said then. 

As recently as last week, Trump’s campaign manager had insisted that the mogul had already given that money away. But that was false: Trump had not. In recent days, The Washington Post and other media outlets had pressed Trump and his campaign for details about how much the fundraiser had actually raised and whether Trump had given his portion. The candidate refused to provide details. 

On Monday, a Post reporter used Twitter — Trump’s preferred social-media platform — to search publicly for any veterans groups that had received Trump’s money. By Monday afternoon, The Post had found none. But it seems to have caught the candidate’s attention. Later Monday evening, Trump called the home of James K. Kallstrom, a former FBI official who is chairman of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. The charity aids families of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers. Trump told Kallstrom that he would give the entire $1 million to the group, according to Kallstrom’s wife. Sue Kallstrom said she was not sure whether the money had been transferred yet. . . .

When asked if he'd only given the money after being pressed by reporters, a stung Trump told the Post's David Fahrenthold: "You know, you’re a nasty guy. You’re really a nasty guy." 

The new line from Trump's proxies is, Why should Trump release his taxes? You're just going to comb through them and find embarrassing details in there  


Everyone got all worked up about a poll saying Trump was ahead in the general election race. Then someone actually looked at the numbers 


The problem with "likeability"measures 

Clinton blasts Trump for something he actually DID do
Democrat Hillary Clinton, seeking to dampen Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's growing appeal with working-class voters, on Tuesday accused him of having cheered on the 2008 housing market crash.  Clinton's campaign released an ad with audio the presumptive Republican nominee had recorded in 2006 for his now-defunct Trump University venture. Trump, a billionaire real estate developer, said of a "bubble burst" that "I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy" property and "make a lot of money." 

Will Bernie get what he wants?
 Democrats on Capitol Hill are discussing whether Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz should step down as Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman before the party’s national convention in July. Democrats backing likely presidential nominee Hillary Clinton worry Wasserman Schultz has become too divisive a figure to unify the party in 2016, which they say is crucial to defeating presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump in November. “There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s head on,” said one pro-Clinton Democratic senator. . . .

Clinton and the DNC are making important concessions to Sanders. His response?
Sanders: This Isn't A 'Monarchy!' We Can't Assume Clinton Will Be Nominee
Sanders: It's 'Insulting' For Clinton To Decline Fox News Debate

Sanders is Just Trolling Now

Reality check
Creating ‘Medicare for All’ Isn’t As Easy As It Sounds

In other news . . .
House Republicans are carrying on with one of their stupidest, most vindictive moves yet, attempting to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen even though he wasn’t working at the IRS when the IRS supposedly targeted tea party groups for extra scrutiny. . . .

CNN tries to do responsible journalism about Trump. Too late!

Meanwhile, Fox World has given up trying
Fox News completely belongs to Donald Trump now
Bonus item: Samantha Bee on the pro-life movement

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016


We're going to be hearing a lot more about this
But Trump was not clean as a whistle. Beginning three years earlier, he’d hired mobbed-up firms to erect Trump Tower and his Trump Plaza apartment building in Manhattan, including buying ostensibly overpriced concrete from a company controlled by mafia chieftains Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and Paul Castellano. That story eventually came out in a federal investigation, which also concluded that in a construction industry saturated with mob influence, the Trump Plaza apartment building most likely benefited from connections to racketeering. Trump also failed to disclose that he was under investigation by a grand jury directed by the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, who wanted to learn how Trump obtained an option to buy the Penn Central railroad yards on the West Side of Manhattan.  Why did Trump get his casino license anyway? Why didn’t investigators look any harder? And how deep did his connections to criminals really go? . . . 

Trump is not organized to run a national election. Nowhere near
Donald Trump’s primary success may have convinced him to make a critical error
Donald Trump’s ground game problem

Will Trump Cede the West to Clinton?  

The GOP continues its degradation
The party of Lincoln is now officially the party of Trump
"Never Trump!" Is Becoming "Go Trump!" in the Blink of an Eye

Conservatives Aren’t Sure Trump Is Qualified to Be President — But They’re Still Planning to Vote for Him

Trump's "positions"
Noted policy expert Donald Trump claims Clinton 'knows nothing about national security'
Talking out of both sides of his mouth is his default position
On Climate Change, Trump Has Soundbites 

Trump’s climate concerns are limited to his golf courses
John Amato caught this doozy from Trump mouthpiece Jeffrey Lord. When asked about how Trump planned to sell his immigration policies, he replied . . .
Donald Trump woos Muslim Republicans, and yep—it's working 

My god, this is going to get ugly


Sanders gains more concessions from the DNC 

Sanders wins greater say in Democratic platform; names pro-Palestinian activist
Sanders has appointed Keith Ellison, Cornel West, James Zogby, Bill McKibben, and native American activist Deborah Parker as his representatives to the committee.
Sanders: Democratic convention could be 'messy' 

Debunking the myths of the Sanders campaign

Bernie Sanders Does Better vs. Trump?
There’s one simple reason Sanders polls better against Trump than Clinton does, which is that no one (yet) knows anything negative about him. He’s gotten the freest ride a top-tier presidential candidate has ever gotten. The freest, bar none. [read on]
2 theories for why Donald Trump is now neck and neck with Hillary Clinton in polls
The Great Debate About Polls

The end game
Bernie Sanders knows the writing is on the wall. Here’s the proof.


In other news. . .

Supreme Court Finds Racial Bias in Jury Selection for Death Penalty Case


Depends how you look at, I guess
Single-payer health care is more popular than ever
Universal Health Care Is Probably No More Popular Now Than It's Ever Been

Changing the face of US foreign policy
Obama Lifts Vietnam Arms Embargo 

This Just In: The Vietnam War Is Still Over

Theocracy watch
“She’s a Jezebel!”: Conservatives flood Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s Facebook after she vetoes GOP bill to jail abortion providers
Democrats vow to take on GOP House members who switched votes to target LGBT workers 

Bonus item: Trevor on Trump

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL:

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***