Wednesday, October 31, 2018


We had "alternative facts" (Conway). We had "truth isn't truth" (Giuliani). Now we have "my form of telling the truth" (Trump). These are all ways of playing the lying game

Colonel Sanders lets loose another howler
SANDERS: Look, the president’s health care plan that he’s laid out covers pre-existing conditions.. . .

We’ve come to expect a fair amount of dissembling from the president’s press secretary, but this was bizarre. For example, Sanders referenced “the president’s health care plan,” which Trump has “laid out.” In reality, such a plan does not exist. If you’re concerned that you missed the president’s presentation “laying out” his health care plan, don’t worry, you didn’t. There was no such presentation.

The caravan is weeks away from reaching the border. It's shrinking in size and it's not the first or the last group of asylum seekers to come to our borders. We have procedures for dealing with all that. But for Trump it's a "National Emergy"!
He told a crowd in Arizona that the caravan is an “assault on our country . . .” 

[NB: The "National Emergy" is that he's scared to death of the midterms.]

Shep Smith, Fox News anchor, calls B.S. on Trump's immigration fearmongering  [watch!] 

Trump's sudden, impromptu threat to end birthright citizenship by executive order is nonsense, designed to sow fear among immigrants and glee among his supporters
Trump’s birthright citizenship plan is a stunt, but it’s not meaningless 
Trump's Murky Plan
‘You Can’t End It’
Birthright citizenship is based on the clear wording of the 14th Amendment. It’s literally the first clause: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”


Bad press coverage
Donald Trump is setting new standards for presidential dishonesty. But nearly two years into his term in office, major media outlets are still failing to fact-check him. Not only that, but as coverage of a new Trump interview with Axios indicates, they sometimes actively misinform by spreading Trump’s false claims without even attempting to point out that they’re false . . .

A small recovery:
After Blowback, AP Deletes Tweet Quoting Trump’s False Claim

Trump has many shortcomings, to say the least. But he has a kind of genius for gaining attention and manipulating media coverage to get his messages out there . . . . even when they are demonstrably false 

Maybe we should just take him at his word
After a week of political and religious violence, there’s a near-desperation among the political press to hear Trump apologize for whipping up crowds and feeding online hate. . . .

Trump visits Pittsburgh, despite pleas from the Jewish community and political leaders to stay away. He is greeted with protests and conspicuous absences -- including all the leaders of both parties who wouldn't travel with him EVEN AFTER HE LIED TO THEM
Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Worshippers Tell Trump to Denounce Nationalism or Don’t Bother Coming
Stepping off the plane, Trump was trailed by his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who are Jewish, and members of the first lady’s staff carrying white flowers. As his motorcade wound through downtown Pittsburgh, some onlookers saluted the president with upraised middle fingers and others with downturned thumbs. The White House invited the top four congressional leaders to join Trump in Pennsylvania, but none accompanied him. . . .
WH called the top #PA and #Pittsburgh officials one at a time and lied to each that the others had agreed. WH did the same to #Schumer and #Pelosi. No one bit. WH also trying to push #Trump into hospital rooms of victims but most want no part of him...

Nicely done, Kellyanne:
Conway Criticizes Pittsburghers ‘Politically Protesting’ Trump’s Visit

In Russia news . . .

A Republican plot to slander Robert Mueller
The FBI has been asked to investigate claims that women have been offered money to fabricate sexual-harassment allegations against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. . .
"When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the special counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation," said Peter Carr, spokesperson for the special counsel.
[NB: Who was in on this plot? Who's paying for it? Somebody is in big, big trouble.]

The incredibly shoddy plot to smear Robert Mueller
The very weird company behind it all

What happens if Robert Mueller is fired?

Here it comes
“The special counsel investigation into President Trump’s longtime ally Roger Stone is pressing witnesses about Stone’s private interactions with senior campaign officials and whether he had knowledge of politically explosive Democratic emails that were released in October 2016 . . . As part of his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign, special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be intently focused on the question of whether WikiLeaks coordinated its activities with Stone and the campaign, including the group’s timing.” “On Friday, Mueller’s team questioned Stephen Bannon, Trump’s former chief campaign strategist, about alleged claims Stone made privately about WikiLeaks before the group released emails allegedly hacked by Russian operatives.”
A timeline of the Roger Stone-WikiLeaks question
Roger Stone Lawyers Up

Trump's lawyers are STILL WORKING on their written answers to Mueller's questions -- but it's not clear if they will ever send them in 

In other news . . . 

On violent rhetoric -- no, both sides don't do it

Trump mentions the stock market collapse -- but lies about it in order to turn it into one more piece of good news for him
President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed that the stock market was taking a “little pause” amid anticipation for next week’s midterm elections . . . “The Stock Market is up massively since the Election, but is now taking a little pause - people want to see what happens with the Midterms,” Trump wrote online. “If you want your Stocks to go down, I strongly suggest voting Democrat. They like the Venezuela financial model, High Taxes & Open Borders!”

[NB: I wouldn't describe an 8% drop as a "pause."]

Uh, wasn't there going to be a big middle class tax cut announced this week?

Interior Department’s watchdog refers Zinke investigation to Justice Department

A great week to roll out a "Jews for Jesus" rabbi. Thanks Mike!

Republicans tout a Christian-only America

A brilliant proposal
Fox News' Rachel Campos-Duffy, wife of Rep.Sean Duffy and a supposed conservative who shills for the NRA wants the feds to pay for churches and synagogues to be armed if they can't afford them. . . .

[NB: Let's see -- arm churches, arm schools, arm teachers in schools, arm university professors. . . . Americans own 400 million guns (30% of the population own half of them). But here is a great advertisement for selling even more. The NRA isn't a gun rights organization -- it's a marketing arm of the gun industry.]

Yeah, gee, why wouldn't people be feeling GREAT about voting Republican right now?
Republicans Fear Some Voters Are Losing Enthusiasm
“Trump’s sharpened tone creates potential complications for some Republican candidates, particularly those in centrist suburban House districts where many GOP voters have grown uneasy about the president, as Trump embarks on a final week of nearly nonstop rallies where immigration is likely to be a frequent topic. . . There were signs Tuesday that some Trump allies were nervous about sparking a deeper cultural debate in the campaign’s final stretch, particularly with some critics alleging that hostile political rhetoric has played a role in encouraging violence.” 

Trump Made It Harder for Republicans In Tight Races

The women's vote

Trump calls Andrew Gillum, candidate for Florida governor, a "thief." He should know, I guess
New federal lawsuit claims Trump family raked in millions by duping vulnerable investors
A federal court approved a $25 million settlement on Tuesday with students who said they were duped by Donald Trump and his now-defunct Trump University . . .

How the Dems can fight GOP voter suppression

Did Fox World intentionally sabotage Megyn Kelly's career, out of revenge?

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018


There is no other way to read this
"The Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country. Actually, it is their Fake & Dishonest reporting which is causing problems far greater than they understand!"
"There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony. Fake News Must End!"


[NB: A few comments on this. Obviously Trump has taken no lessons on lowering his tone. Another attack against the press is inevitable (remember that two of the MAGAbombs were addressed to CNN -- now three). It is outrageous to suggest that news coverage is inciting violence and division -- unless you mean that critical press AGAINST TRUMP needs to stop. And, of course, that is the point behind it all.]

Another bomb sent to CNN:
The suspect in the string of attempted mail bombings of CNN and many prominent Democrats and liberals, Cesar Sayoc, “had a list of people in the hundreds, containing politicians, entertainers and news people, and was going down that list to mail out packages” . . .

Colonel Sanders makes the WH relationship with the press even more toxic
"Is there any tragedy the Washington Post won’t exploit to attack President @realDonaldTrump?" Sanders wrote . . . New York Times reporter Peter Baker pointed out, however, that the Post's reporting wasn't an "attack" on the president. It was journalism. . . "To be clear, the Washington Post is not attacking the president," Baker said. "The president's critics are and the Post is writing about the conflict. That's what newspapers do. We don't just quote the people in power but the people who disagree with the people in power." . . . Maggie Haberman, also with the Times, added: "Additional point - the alleged bomber had a truck covered with Trump/MAGA photos. Covering reality-based events isn’t an 'attack.'"

WH Defends ‘Enemy Of The People’ Label For Media 

Her credibility is at rock bottom. How long before they just start laughing at her?
Sanders said that President Donald Trump won the votes of an “overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans” in 2016. In reality, Hillary Clinton won 65.8 million votes to Trump’s 63 million, winning the popular vote by about 2.8 million ballots. . . .

Trump plans to go to Pittsburgh: Jewish leaders tell him he is not welcome (think about it!). The mayor doesn't want him there either  

"A massive surge in far-right violence"

The Republicans are getting desperate. Desperate and evil
Cornyn Tweets Pelosi Comment Without Context After Shooting, Prompting Anger . . . Pelosi: If There Is ‘Collateral Damage’ for Those Who Don’t Share Our View, ‘So Be It’
Republicans lash out, desperately trying to blame Democrats for mail bombs 

Every now and then the NYT publishes a piece that is truly inexplicable. In this one, it hints that the critics of Trump who received mail bombs had it coming

[NB: Would they have published this story if the NYT was one of the recipients?] 


In other news . . . 

This is an encouraging sign. Trump's approval drops to 40%. I think this means his efforts to deny any responsibility for the current climate of hate and violence are not working
His average approval had ticked up to the range where Republicans thought it would give them a fighting chance to hold the House, but now it’s dropped.

President Trump’s campaign announced that it would spend $6 million to air a new television ad in the run-up to next week’s midterm congressional elections . . . “But Mr. Trump is not the one making this particular sale. Neither he, his likeness nor his voice appears in the spot.” “That’s because Mr. Trump is unpopular with the group of voters his campaign is apparently trying to target at this critical stage in the race: white, college-educated women, who recent polls have shown disproportionately view him negatively, and are also disinclined to vote for Republicans.”

Trump whines that Obama wasn't blamed for hate crimes under his administration. That's right, he wasn't -- because he didn't govern through division and hatred
Ingraham did not follow-up on Trump’s remarks to ask why Obama could have been blamed for a mass shooting that was carried out by a white supremacist. . . .

[NB: Digby is pretty smart but doesn't think this through. In Trump's "mind" Obama had the audacity to be the first black president -- so of course it was his fault when racists went wild.]
"Racist" -- we need to use that word
Trump posts racist tweet about Andrew Gillum

[NB: And what is it with Trump and this Harvard/Yale obsession?]

The Hate at the Heart of Power

Gillum responds:
“On Twitter there is a choice between having the courage to @ the person you are trash talking, or not. @realDonaldTrump is howling because he’s weak. Florida, go vote today.”
Steve King says Austrian neo-Nazis 'would be Republicans' if they were in America

We increasingly see a foreign policy driven by John Bolton and Stephen Miller. Soon the main countervailing influences (Mattis and Kelly) will be gone. Then what?

The end to birthright citizenship:
President Trump plans to sign an executive order that would remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil . . .

[NB: It's not clear that he can do that legally just by executive order.]
Military to send 5000 troops to the border to deal with the "caravan." It's a stunt

Trump issues his typical hyper-macho tough guy talk -- which is, as usual, empty
President Donald Trump has ordered an additional 5,200 troops to “harden” the US-Mexico border . . . “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” 
Here’s a short guide on what the military can — and can’t — do at the border. . . .
Politico noted some troops already at the border “are actually feeding and shoveling out manure from the stalls of the Border Patrol’s horses.” Gil Kerlikowske, former Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) commissioner, told the Washington Post that Trump’s action is “a misuse of active duty military,” adding, “To say this isn’t a political stunt is misleading the public.” The caravan is several weeks from reaching the U.S. border. It is legal to claim asylum at a port of entry. The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham noted the number of U.S. troops at the border will exceed the number of members of the caravan, which continues to shrink . . .

Crazy paranoid nonsense
And David Ward, described as a former ICE agent, appeared on Fox News on Monday and said the caravan is a public health threat. “We have these individuals coming in from all over the world that have some of the most extreme medical care in the world,” Ward said. “And they're coming in with diseases such as smallpox and leprosy and TB [tuberculosis] that are going to infect our people in the United States.” . . .

It's next to impossible for the migrants to have smallpox, the last known case of which was seen in Somalia in 1977. . . . The World Health Organization declared leprosy “eliminated as a public health problem” in 2000 . . . Tuberculosis is a worldwide public health issue, but already exists in the U.S. and is treatable by antibiotics . . .

More proof that the census change was all about redrawing congressional districts to favor the Repubs -- and the WH lied about it

Trump's "Executive Time" -- his excuse to talk on the phone, tweet, and watch TV -- continues to spread. Now up to nine hours a day
President Donald Trump had about three times as much free time planned for last Tuesday as work time, according to his private schedule. The president was slated for more than nine hours of “Executive Time” . . . [read on]

Trump spent only two hours on policy last week. He received the Presidential Daily briefing just twice in five days. In contrast, Obama averaged about six to seven hours of policy meetings per day, according to his deputy policy chief of staff Nancy-Ann DeParle. . . .
“Trump has been written about a thousand ways from Sunday, but this fundamental aspect of who he is doesn’t seem to be fully understood,” Schwartz told me. “It’s implicit in a lot of what people write, but it’s never explicit—or, at least, I haven’t seen it. And that is that it’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes. . . ” 

Matt Drudge (!) trashes Fox World

"A segment on Fox News this morning where hosts laughed and joked their way through a discussion on political impact of terror was bizarre. Not even 48 hours since blood flowed at synagogue? Check your soul in the makeup chair!"

Bill Kristol, who used to be on Fox News, calls for serious journalists to quit the network

Oh god
Conway Implies Comedians Making Fun Of Religion To Blame For Violence At Worship Centers 

[NB: Yes, in the never-ending struggle to deflect blame away from Trump, the new line is that late-night comedians are to blame for the synagogue shooting.] 

One poll, but . . .  wow
A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll finds Democrats leading Republicans in the generic congressional ballot by a stunning 17-points, 57% to 40% among likely voters. . . .

[NB: One of the best predictors of voting is the right track/wrong track metric. How can anybody watch the events of the last week and think the country is on the right track?]

Voter intimidation in Texas
“I’ve been here for 30 years, and this harassment that’s going on, I haven’t ever seen the likes of this,” said Toni Pippins-Poole, the county’s election director. “I’ve seen some other things, props being used and whatnot, but nothing like this type of mentality or aggressiveness or demeaning type of actions.”

***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 sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

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.***