Sunday, September 25, 2016

Will Trump's Handlers Successfully Persuade Him Not To Throw His Spaghetti On The Wall Before The Debate Ends?

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Trump likes to reassure his dumbell fans that he's in the fraternity of top business leaders. But he's a joke in the business world and, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out Friday, not a single Fortune 100 CEO is backing him, or at least not contributing to his campaign. Nearly a third of them gave to Romney's campaign and during the primary quite a few gave to Bush and Rubio to try to save America from Trump. So far 11 have contributed to Hillary's campaign.

I suspect that the endorsement Trump got from Cruz Friday isn't going to sway any CEOs. (Remember when Trump brayed that he wouldn't accept a Cruz endorsement? Today he says he's honored to have it. Maybe he promised Cruz's crackpot father a pardon for the JFK assassination in return for the endorsement.)

The latest polls aren't going his way. The national Marist poll McClatchy sponsored shows Clinton continuing to build a lead against him. She's leads him 48-41% in a head-on contest and 45-39% in a 4-way race including Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. The AP's poll by GfK showed a similar lead for Clinton-- 41-35% of likely voters in a 4-way match-up. Shouldn't she be ahead of him 70-30%? She's not my idea of a good candidate but he really is the worst thing ever-- unthinkable. Newsweek's Kurt Eichenwald gave a more serious demonstration of Trump's disengagement with truth and objective reality. He wrote that Trump either committed perjury (in court, under oath) or blatantly lied in one of the most dramatic moments of the primary debates. "There are two records," he wrote, "one, a previously undisclosed deposition of the Republican nominee testifying under oath, and the second a transcript/video of a Republican presidential debate. In them, Trump tells contradictory versions of the same story with the clashing accounts tailored to provide what he wanted people to believe when he was speaking."
In the lie we are examining here, Trump either committed a felony or proved himself willing to deceive his followers whenever it suits him.

Trump told the public version of this story last year, during the second Republican presidential debate.

Trump had been boasting for weeks at his rallies that he knew the political system better than anyone, because he had essentially bought off politicians for decades by giving them campaign contributions when he wanted something. He also proclaimed that only he—as an outsider who had participated in such corruption of American democracy at a high level-- could clean it up. During the September 2015 debate, one of Trump’s rivals, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, verified Trump’s claim, saying the billionaire had tried to buy him off with favors and contributions when he was Florida’s governor.

"The one guy that had some special interests that I know of that tried to get me to change my views on something-- that was generous and gave me money—was Donald Trump,” Bush said. “He wanted casino gambling in Florida."

Trump interrupted Bush:

Trump: I didn’t...

Bush: Yes, you did.

Trump: Totally false.

Bush: You wanted it, and you didn’t get it, because I was opposed to...

Trump: I would have gotten it.

Bush: Casino gambling before...

Trump: I promise, I would have gotten it.

Bush: During and after. I’m not going to be bought by anybody.

Trump: I promise, if I wanted it, I would have gotten it.

Bush: No way. Believe me.

Trump: I know my people.

Bush: Not even possible.

Trump: I know my people.


If Trump was telling the truth that night, so be it. But if he was lying, what was his purpose? His “If I wanted it, I would have gotten it,” line may be a hint. Contrary to his many vague stories on the campaign trail about being a cash-doling political puppet master, this story has a name, a specific goal and ends in failure. If Bush was telling the truth, then Trump would have had to admit he lost a round and, as he assured the audience, that would not have happened. When he wants something, he gets it.

But that wasn’t the point he needed to make in 2007. The deposition was part of a lawsuit he’d filed against Richard Fields, who Trump had hired to manage the expansion of his casino business into Florida. In the suit, Trump claimed that Fields had quit and taken all of the information he obtained while working for Trump to another company. Under oath, Trump said he did want to get into casino gambling in Florida but didn’t because he had been cheated by Fields.

A lawyer asked Trump, “Did you yourself do anything to obtain any of the details with respect to the Florida gaming environment, what approvals were needed and so forth?”

Trump: A little bit.

Lawyer: What did you do?

Trump: I actually spoke with Governor-Elect Bush; I had a big fundraiser for Governor-Elect Bush…and I think it was his most successful fundraiser, the most successful that he had had up until that point, that was in Trump Tower in New York on Fifth Avenue.

Lawyer: When was that?

Trump: Sometime prior to his election.

Lawyer: You knew that Governor Bush, Jeb Bush at that time, was opposed to expansion of gaming in Florida, didn't you?

Trump: I thought that he could be convinced otherwise.

Lawyer: But you didn't change his mind about his anti-gaming stance, did you?

Trump: Well, I never really had that much of an opportunity because Fields resigned, telling me you could never get what we wanted done, only to do it for another company.

One of these stories is a lie-- a detailed, self-serving fabrication. But unlike the mountain of other lies he has told, this time the character trait that leads to Trump’s mendacity is on full display: He makes things up when he doesn’t want to admit he lost.

Assume the story he told at the debate is the lie. Even though Bush’s story reinforced what Trump was saying at rallies-- he had played the “cash for outcomes” political game for years-- he could not admit he had tried to do the same in Florida because he could not bring himself to say that he had lost. Instead, he looked America in the eye and lied. And then he felt compelled to stack on another boast: His people are so wonderful that they would have gotten casino gambling in Florida, regardless of Bush’s opposition-- if Trump had wanted it.

Now consider the other option, that Trump committed perjury in the 2007 testimony. There, he admitted pushing for casino gambling in Florida, but said he would have gotten what he wanted if he hadn’t been tricked by Fields. The rationale for the perjurious testimony is simple-- Trump wants money from a man who stopped working for him and, once again, the story lets him deny he is anything less than perfect.
"Is the Republican nominee," Eichenwald concluded, "a perjurer or just a liar? Obviously both-- and serially. Tony Schwartz, the Art of the Deal ghostwriter who now regrets he made Trump nationally famous, explained to the NY Times' Michael Barbaro how Hillary can beat Trump Monday in the debate.

Trump has a tiny little attention span, smaller than his hands. "He couldn’t tolerate doing interviews. He just couldn’t stay focused for more than a few minutes at a time. And think about this... it was when he was talking about himself, which is his favorite subject."
“What I would hope is that she doesn’t go the same route she did with Matt Lauer when he started coming at her relentlessly, which was to revert to her knowledge, to revert to her ability to produce a hundred facts in a short period of time,” he says. “Because this debate is going to turn not a bit on the issues. It’s going to turn on emotion, it’s going to turn on which candidate makes all of us feel safer and which candidate makes us feel less safe. And the one who wins that contest wins the debate-- and probably wins the election.”

...“I think of Trump as a toddler sitting in a high chair,” [columnist Frank] Bruni says. “And his advisers are saying ‘Donald, you must get through the meal without throwing your spaghetti on the wall.’ So the question is, will they successfully persuade him not to throw his spaghetti on the wall before the debate ends?”



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The splendid piece on John le Carré is part of an embarrassment of riches in the new NYRB

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The new NYRB has a terrific review-essay by Neal Ascherson on John le Carré, described by his new biographer, Adam Sisman, as "one of the most important English writers of the post-war period." To me this kind of understates le Carré's importance as a writer, but hey, that's me.

by Ken

The new (October 13) issue of The New York Review of Books was in the mailbox yesterday, and such free time as I've had since then has been heavily absorbed by an issue overflowing with "must read"s. There are half a dozen or more pieces that we should probably talk about, and may yet, but for now let me rattle off some of the high points on the contents page --

In the leadoff position:
an eye-opening piece by Freeman Dyson (but then, doesn't Freeman Dyson usually open eyes?) on the theoretical, cultural, and economic differences -- and their practical consequences -- in the divide on space exploration, which has existed as long as there's been space exploration, between "Big Space" (as practiced by NASA, running a program that is legitimately "too big to fail") and "Little Space" ("The Green Universe: A Vision," reviewing books by Julian Guthrie, Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix, and Jon Willis)
On the political front:
Michael Tomasky with some striking thoughts on the question increasingly in a lot of our heads now, "Can the Unthinkable Happen?"
Nicholas Lemann on what appears to be some sort of right-to-leftward movement in U.S. politics for the first time since well before the left-ro-right shift that set in in the mid-'60s and changed the political landscape (reviewing books by Daniel Oppenheimer, Steve Fraser, and Thomas Frank in "Can We Have a 'Party of the People'?," free to subscribers only)
Geoffrey Wheatcraft on "Tony Blair's Eternal Shame: The Report" (reviewing the Chilcot Report itself and books by Peter Oborne and Tom Bower, free to subscribers only)
On the scientific front, in addition to Freeman Dyson's space odyssey:
Laurence C. Smith on "Greenhouse Warming: Prepare for the Worst" (reviewing Tim Flannery's Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis, free to subscribers only)
On the pop-cultural front:
novelist-translator-essayist Tim Parks on "The Pleasures of Reading Stephen King" (free to subscribers only)
Nathaniel Rich on "The George Plimpton Story" (free to subscribers only), reviewing the serial-form reissue, with added commentaries, of Plimpton's books of what he dubbed, probably intentionally misleadingly, "participatory journalism"
And on and on and on . . .

. . . including Orlando Figes on 2015 Nobel Literature Prize-winner Svetlana Alexeivich's Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets, Nicolas Pelham's "In Saudi Arabia: Can It Really Change?," David Miliband on "The Best Ways to Deal with the Refugee Crisis," Rana Foroohar on "How the Financing of Colleges May Lead to Disaster!," and pieces on art, architecture, and poetry, and actual poetry.


OF COURSE (AT LEAST FOR READERS FAMILIAR MY
PREDILECTIONS) THE FIRST PIECE I WENT TO WAS:

Neal Ascherson's "Which le Carré Do You Want?" (free to subscribers only), reviewing Adam Sisman's exhaustive biograhy of John le Carré, written with four years' worth of cooperation from the subject, and the subject's own new memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life
-- drawing by David Levine
Clearly, given the amount of cooperation le Carré had given Adam Sisman over the years the biographer was working on his biography, the subject was aware that the book was in the works. At some point during that time, the biographee decided to produce a memoir of his own -- not "as some sort of angry riposte," Ascherson assures us ("[Sisman's] book seems very fair and often close to affectionate"), but more likely for "professional" reasons, as "the pang of a writer who lends out his or her best anecdotes to be written up by somebody else."

Ascherson likes both books, but thinks the autobiographer has been shrewder than the biographer in one key area: keeping their shared subject's father, Ronnie Cornwell ("an exuberant con man whose excesses and betrayals shaped the characters and lives of his children"; in his son David's writing, he's most conspicuously present in A Perfect Spy) mostly confined to one section of the book. It doesn't seem to have occurred to Sisman that he needed to be kept under tight control:
Ronnie, although he died in 1975, keeps stealing the scene in this biography that is supposed to be about his son. Readers and critics have long ago grasped the idea that the le Carré novels—and not just the early “spy” fiction—can be understood as a mordant allegory of British decline; or, more accurately, of the British elite’s persistent refusal to recognize that decline. Sisman handles that element deftly. But the fact is that Ronnie’s real life is an even more lurid allegory of the same thing.
Ascherson recounts getting to know David Cornwell in 1963 when Ascherson was a Bonn-based journalist and Cornwell a functionary in the British embassy in Bonn (cover, of course, for his activities as a secret intelligence officer). The journalist, knowing nothing about his new friend's "real trade," or about his gathering-toward-explosion personal woes, found him "restless, irreverent, and very funny."

During Cornwell's time with MI6 he had published his second novel, Call for the Dead, which is loaded with spies, including one George Smiley (who had in fact appeared in the earlier book, A Murder of Quality), and which MI6 had cleared for publication -- as it did, perhaps surprisingly, with his next book, the game-changing Spy Who Came in from the Cold (whose central character is strangely referred to here as "Alan" rather than Alec Leamas). Ascherson has vivid memories of its publication.
One autumn day in 1963, David and I sat on a bench outside Hamburg’s main station, waiting for the Sunday papers to arrive from London with reviews of books we had written. The ecstatic reception of The Spy changed his life forever. Its triumph in Britain and America made him instantly wealthy; his pseudonym was penetrated within a few months; his days were overrun by importunate agents, publishers, film directors, and tax accountants. He described the impact as “like being in a car crash.”
Ascherson adds parenthetically: "Ronnie, delighted, was to be found in Berlin posing as David’s agent and selling imaginary movie rights to film studios."
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Progressive Veterans Running For Congress

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Unless you live in his district, you probably never heard of Ohio teabagger Warren Davidson, the Trumpist nut who won Boehner's seat when he was forced out of office. Last week Butler County's Journal-News reported that Davidson told a room full of veterans that one way to clean up the Department of Veterans Affairs’ health care system is to get the "moochers" out of it. "Part of the problem," he said, "is there are some vets that are moochers and they’re clogging up the system. And we do as taxpayers want to make sure the VA filters out these folks that are pretenders." A spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars responded that "Honorably discharged veterans with service-connected wounds, illnesses and injuries, or who are indigent due to circumstances beyond their control, are not moochers."

If you feel, like we do, that the real moochers we have to worry about are careerist conservatives in Congress, please check out a new Blue America ActBlue page we just started to support progressive military veterans. Recently Veterans For Bernie founder and National Director, Tyson Manker, announced their endorsement of U.S. Marine Colonel Doug Applegate, the Blue America-backed progressive running for the CA-49 seat (Orange and San Diego counties) that Darrell Issa operates out of.

"Colonel Applegate deployed to Ramadi, Iraq in 2006," said Manker. "He shouldered the burden with the 2.5 million Americans who laced up their boots and headed down range after September 11th. I know the Colonel will ask the right questions and ensure we are only sending our forces overseas when it is the last choice, not our first option. Veterans swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic... We must elect Representatives with proven leadership. We must elect those that have the skills to reach across the aisle to end the paralysis that has brought our Congress to a stand-still. Colonel Applegate’s opponent, Darrell Issa (U.S. Army veteran), voted to authorize the Iraq war, voted to cut an increase to military benefits, and dismissed 9/11 as 'just a plane crash'. That is why we endorse our brother, retired Marine Colonel Doug Applegate to be the next Representative of California’s 49th Congressional District."

I came away from my long interview with Doug Applegate with a feeling that part of why he's running for Congress is because he felt that 95% of Congress who never served in a combat zone, has sent our sons and daughters to endless wars without any real strategy since 9/11. He told me clearly that he knows we "can't kill our way out of the world’s problems." He has experienced the realities and trials of war and learned firsthand how decisions to use  our military impacts our all-volunteer force and everyday Americans. An infantry officer and a military lawyer since 1980, Doug already understands and stands ready to provide the type of leadership Congress so sorely lacks. I asked him in which areas specifically he felt he could make a difference in Congress. He talked about Congress' being lacking in what he identified as "4 critical areas:

1- sexual assaults in the military;
2- defense contracting that wastes trillions of American taxpayer dollars,
3- restructuring of the Veteran Administration that is inadequate, underfunded, overcrowded, and ill-prepared; and
4- renewable energy program repeatedly needed and requested by the Defense Department."

Doug doesn't sound anything like Warren Davidson. Neither does Tom Wakely, a Blue America-backed candidate in the Austin-San Antonio area of Texas (TX-21, a seat held by Trump-fanatic Lamar Smith). "Simply put," he told us this week, "I've always put my country before politics. It's not hard to do. Though I was a noncombatant, I signed up with the Air Force right after I graduated high school. I understood that when your country needs you, it's important to answer that call. Our country's in dire need of elected officials who understand the most basic concepts of duty and compassion. I'm ready to answer the call again in District 21." He got right into the issue that separates him immediately from Davidson, Smith and the other Trumpists-- support for the V.A.

As a veteran, I receive all my healthcare through the VA. I've seen the lines. I've experienced the service (or lack thereof). We've come a long way in reforming the VA but we must go much further. Our veterans deserve so much better. I've met with many veterans across the district who are ready to see real change. The media is happy to cover the return of our troops from overseas but oftentimes once those same troops become veterans, they become afterthoughts. We must keep them in our hearts and minds if we're going to progress as a nation. It must be all of us, together. That's why I'll be urging Congress to provide for the VA to cover full vision and dental. What good are we as a nation to our veterans if they can't see or incur serious periodontal disease?  It's why I want to work with various veterans and medical policy institutes to develop a new comprehensive mental health program at the VA which focuses on behavioral therapy and counseling as the true first line of defense. I'm personally a believer that healthcare is a human right and as this country moves toward that direction, we can learn a lot from what we are able to do in the VA. All too often our veterans become over-prescribed and misunderstood.

Lamar Smith is always ready to send our troops into harm's way, but votes against raising combat pay and properly insulating our barracks abroad. Being pro-war doesn't grant you the mantle of being pro-vets, pro-troops, or even pro-country. That hasn't stopped Smith from claiming a right to all of the above despite a record that proves otherwise. I'm ready to tackle the issues veterans face because I live it. I'm ready to listen. I'm ready to answer that call.
Our candidate on the South Shore of Long Island (NY-02), DuWayne Gregory, is the Presiding Officer of the Suffolk County Legislature. A native Long Islander from a military family, DuWayne enlisted in the Army right out of college. He served as a lieutenant in the field artillery and he told us that his time in the Army taught him the importance of working together and refusing to back down in the face of any challenge-- lessons he brings to politics.

"My service in the military," he said, "was the greatest honor of my life. I saw great acts of bravery; I saw displays of courage and conviction. But I also saw firsthand issues that need to be addressed, such as men and women working over forty hours a week living in poverty.

I learned many important life lessons while serving in the military, the most important of which is the importance of leadership. Peter King's leadership has fallen short when it comes to important issues pertaining to our veterans. He and Congress have failed those in our military who are living on public assistance. They have failed when it comes to reforms in the VA. They have failed when it comes to the high unemployment rate for returning war veterans. I will use my military experience to lead on these issues and to demonstrate the commitment our veterans deserve. When there is a job to do, partisan politics shouldn't get in the way. I will provide the leadership that Congress needs to get the job done."

Please consider helping us make sure that when Congress considers military matters, not all the voices come from the far right, like Issa's and Davidson's. Let's make sure there are more progressives with military experience, like Ted Lieu, in Congress.
Goal Thermometer

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Trump Should Suspend His Campaign And Fly Herr Force One To Afghanistan For A Week Or Two

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Tuesday I'm having dinner with a friend of mine, Sonia, a Berlin-born novelist and Holocaust survivor. She's written over 40 books and is working on a new novel about a family of refugees who have resettled in the U.S. from Afghanistan. Two of her early books, The Journey to America and Silver Days, are about German Jewish refugees who flee the horrors of the Holocaust and resettle in America. I've been giving her pointers, from my two lengthy stays in Afghanistan about what the family she's inventing were likely to have gone through-- and what kind of mindset they will be bringing with them-- before they arrived in the U.S. Tuesday's dinner is going to be about Pashtunwalli, the code that predates Islam Afghans live by. I sent her the post related to the mass shooting in Orlando by the son of Afghan refugees, hyper-linked above.

In their list of 31 lies that Trump spouted last week, Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns in included one that's been driving me crazy-- and that I've seen Trump repeat at rallies all week-- namely that "We have cities that are far more dangerous than Afghanistan." That's not even remotely close to true.



The first time I got to Afghanistan was in 1969, a relatively peaceful time, when Mohammad Zahir Shah was still the king and gradually introducing western ways into the country. I left just before he was deposed in a coup and the country slowly but steadily descended into chaos, coups and civil war. At the end of December, 1979, the Russians invaded. The country I loved so much has experienced almost 4 decades of non-stop mega-violence. No American whop hasn't been in a war zone-- and that includes Herr Trumpf, a draft dodger-- has ever seen anything like it. No American city-- not even Rahm Emanuel's Chicago-- is anything like Afghanistan.

Even when I was there, in relatively peaceful times, Afghanistan was more dangerous than any city in America. Other than in Kabul, the capital city, an Afghan male would no sooner walk out of his house without a gun than he would walk out of his house without pants. And the aforementioned Pashtunwalli is so punitive and retaliatory that a minor misunderstanding could easily-- and often did-- result in deadly violence. Afghanistan was-- and is-- an extreme patriarchal society. Women and children are routinely and universally treated as property by men. Economic disparity between the very rich and everyone else is so enormous and plays such an immense role in power and status assignations that danger was everywhere at all times. Violence between ethnic groups, religious sects, clans, tribes, regions was pervasive. In many parts of the country, there was no law and no order. Most people outside of Kabul didn't even recognize the authority of a country called Afghanistan. I was shocked in the second biggest city, Kandahar, 4-5 hours away from Kabul by car, to find that people referred to the king as the king of Kabul.

As with most things he talks about on the campaign trail, Trump doesn't have any idea what's he's talking about. He says whatever pops into his primitive skull. And if it "works," he keeps repeating it, which doesn't make it any truer. Some say he's severely addicted to prescription drugs. That could be. But that he's afflicted with narcissistic personality disorder is beyond a doubt, as anyone who has ever been in contact with him will tell you. Trump's insane. No matter how abhorrent voting for Clinton appears to be, it's a tradeoff worth taking to prevent him from ever getting into the White House. He should be dropped off in Afghanistan's Hindu Kush for a winter-- as I once was-- and see if he survives. He'd be a different person, which would be much welcomed by the entire world.


Trump's vision of American inner cities? Which ones?

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Yeah, If You Live In A State Where Trump Has A Chance, Just Hold Your Nose And Vote For Hillary... You'll Live

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This week The Nation features dueling perspectives on voting for Jill Stein, Kshama Sawant's Don't Waste Your Vote On The Corporate Agenda-- Vote For Jill Stein And The Greens and Joshua Holland's Your Vote For Jill Stein Is A Wasted Vote. Unless Trump suddenly looks like he's going to have any chance of winning in California-- Clinton is up by an average of just over 19 points here-- I plan to, once again, vote for Jill Stein. Obviously, I don't expect her to win. It's simply a protest vote to send the Democrats a message that their dishonest corporate candidate is not acceptable to me. Yes, she's much, much, much preferable to Trump. So would a steaming pile of dog poop, but, unlike Divine, I'll respectfully pass on eating it. Unless you want the Democratic Party to just keep on nominating candidates like Clinton (up and down the ballot) you won't vote for her in any state that is safe from the Trumpist contagion. I have now switched my position enough to say that if I lived in Ohio or Florida or North Carolina or any state that could be a firewall against Trump, I would unhesitatingly vote for Hillary. That said, I don't represent Holland's assurance that between 75 and 90% of those who say that they’re planning to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein in November won’t follow through and that the her support "is an expression of contempt for the Democrats that evaporates in the voting booth." If I voted for her instead of Obama last time, you can count on me not voting for Clinton this time. I'm not a typical voter though. Holland makes a pointless effort to bash the Green Party, pointless to me at least, since I see them-- at this point at least-- as nothing other than a vehicle to protest unbearable Democratic Party corporatism and corruption.

"Many Greens," he concludes, "think that their vote isn’t wasted because it sends a powerful 'message' to Washington. But why would anyone in power pay attention to the 0.36 percent of the popular vote that Jill Stein won in 2012, when 42 percent of eligible voters just stayed home? Political parties are merely vessels. The Green Party provides a forum to demonstrate ideological purity and contempt for 'the system.' But the Democratic Party is a center of real power in this country. For all its flaws, and for all the work still to be done, it offers a viable means of advancing progressive goals. One can’t say the same of the perpetually dysfunctional and often self-marginalizing Greens."

Voting for Stein in safe blue states (or even profoundly backward deep red ones where Trump will win by landslides-- say Wyoming, Idaho or Alabama) is a smart move for progressives who can then busy themselves trying to perfect the Democratic Party or the Green Party or any other party... and trying to make sure the Democratic Party reforms itself;f so that it doesn't steal the nomination from the next Bernie Sanders. Sawant sees the Green Party as a legitimate alternative to the Democrats. Good luck with that. "Most progressives," she writes, "will vote for Clinton to keep Trump out of the White House. That’s understandable, but even more important is building an alternative to pro-capitalist parties... [O]rdinary people feel disenchanted and disempowered. Donald Trump is an abomination, and consistently over 60 percent of people polled disapprove of him and his bigotry. Trump is the single-most-unpopular major-party candidate ever, and he deserves to be trounced. But, incredibly, the Democrats have managed to nominate the second-most-unpopular candidate in history: Hillary Clinton, whose disapproval rating stands at 56 percent. Make no mistake: I want Trump to lose this election. But progressives should not support Clinton. Her close ties to corporate America and its brutal neoliberal agenda will serve to increase the appeal of right-wing populism even if she wins."
Clinton’s billionaire backers, who wined and dined her throughout August, want her to promise as little as possible to ordinary people for fear of a mass movement developing under her administration. They know that working people, and young people especially, are fired up in a way that we haven’t seen in decades. E-mails recently leaked from Nancy Pelosi’s office contain explicit instructions not to agree to any specific demands from Black Lives Matter.

The Democratic Party has a special talent for enabling the right. President Obama was first elected in 2008 on a wave of opposition to eight years of George W. Bush’s wars and tax cuts for the rich. But he and the Democrats continued the bailout of Wall Street and stood by as millions lost their homes-- and the leadership of the labor movement and most progressive organizations gave him a pass. This created space for the Tea Party to exploit the legitimate anger of large sections of the working and middle class. It wasn’t until 2011 that Occupy Wall Street gave a genuine left-wing expression to the widespread outrage at corporate politics.

Change comes from mass movements, not from on high, as Bernie Sanders has said. His campaign proved decisively that ordinary people can build a powerful electoral movement representing their interests without taking a penny from corporate America. Polls consistently showed that Sanders would crush Trump in the election. But his campaign was trapped inside a party whose leadership was prepared to do almost anything to stop him.

We need to build a new political party, one completely free from corporate cash and influence... Many progressives will vote for Clinton in spite of their opposition to her politics, simply to prevent Trump from setting foot in the White House. I understand their desire to see him defeated, but even more important is beginning the process-- too long delayed-- of building an alternative to the pro-capitalist parties monopolizing US politics.

Not radical enough for you? Paul Street, writing yesterday for TruthDig also urged his readers to vote for Stein. "Every four years," he writes, "liberal-left politicos scream wolf about how the Republicans are going to wreak plutocratic, racist, ecocidal, sexist, repressive and war-mongering hell if they win “this, the most important election in American history.” The politicos conveniently ignore the plutocratic, racist, ecocidal, sexist, repressive and military-imperial havoc that Democrats inflict at home and abroad in dark, co-dependent alliance with the ever more radically reactionary Republicans. Democrats fail to acknowledge their preferred party’s responsibility for sustaining the Republicans’ continuing power, which feeds on the “dismal” Dems’ neoliberal abandonment of the nation’s working-class majority in service to transnational Wall Street and corporate America. They commonly exaggerate the danger posed by the right-most major party and (especially) the progressivism of the not-so-left-most one." he points to journalist Mark Leibovich's observation that DC has "become a determinedly bipartisan team when there is money to be made. … 'No Democrats and Republicans in Washington anymore,' goes the maxim, 'only millionaires.'" 
So why might a serious left progressive living in a contested state (someone like this writer) consider following the venerable left political scientist Adolph Reed Jr.’s advice this year to “vote for the lying neoliberal warmonger” Hillary Clinton? Part of it could be that lefty’s sense that it is better for “the U.S. Left” (insofar as it exists) and the development of the dedicated, day-to-day, grass-roots social movement we desperately need in place beneath and beyond the election cycle when a corporate Democrat occupies the White House. The presence of a Democrat in the nominal top U.S. job is usefully instructive. It helps demonstrate the richly bipartisan nature of the American plutocracy and empire. Young workers and students especially need to see and experience how the misery and oppression imposed by capitalism and its evil twin imperialism live on when Democrats hold the Oval Office.

At the same time, the presence of a Republican in the White House tends to fuel the sense among progressives and liberals that the main problem in the country is that the “wrong party” holds executive power and that all energy and activism must be directed at fixing that by putting the “right party” back in. Everything progressive gets sucked into a giant “Get Out the Vote” project for the next faux-progressive Democratic savior, brandishing the promises of “hope” and “change” (campaign keywords for the neoliberal imperialist Bill Clinton in 1992 and the neoliberal imperialist Barack Obama in 2008).

Hillary will be much less capable than the more charismatic Obama (under whom there has been more popular organizing and protest than some lefties like to acknowledge) of bamboozling progressives into thinking they’ve got a friend in the White House. Unlike Obama in 2008, she’s got a long corporatist and imperialist track record that connects her to the establishment and is hard to deny.

It is an urban myth that Republican presidents spark and energize progressive and left activism. True, they’ve done outrageous things that can put lots of folks in the streets for a bit. One thinks of Richard Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia and Bush Jr.’s invasion of Iraq. But the waves of protest recede, followed by repression, and everything tends to get channeled into the holy electoral quest to put Democrats back in executive-branch power. The second George W. Bush term was no activist heyday, thanks in significant measure to the great co-optive and demobilizing impact of Democratic Party electoral politics and the deceptive, not-so “antiwar” Obama phenomenon.

But the main reason it is easy to understand why many intelligent lefties stuck behind contested state lines might follow Reed’s advice is that Trump is no ordinary Republican wolf. By some dire portside reckonings (including Reed’s), “the Donald” is something like a real fascist threat worthy of mention in the same breath as Hitler and Mussolini. He’s a really bad version of the wolf who finally appears to devour the sheep in the ancient [Boy who cried wolf] fable.

...In warning about Trump and instructing lefties not to vote third-party this time, Reed reminds us of the German Community Party’s fateful error: choosing not to ally with the German Social Democrats against the Nazi Party during the early 1930s. The moral of the story is clear: All sane left progressives need to report to duty to protect the flock under the banner of the admittedly horrid (good of Reed to admit that) Hillary.

...[There is] enough to scare lots of left progressives into voting for “the arch-corporatist and Wall Street-sponsored neoliberal imperialist Hillary Clinton (a candidate whom Gupta has described as “right-wing fanatic” and “enemy of workers”) as the proverbial “lesser evil” in a contested state? Sure. For many lefties (this writer included), however, the Trump threat level does not rise that high. The wolf cry still falls on deaf ears. This is for at least six reasons.

First, ominous warnings from smart people notwithstanding, the American corporate, financial and imperial ruling class doesn’t yet need or want real or quasi-fascism through Herr Trump or anyone else at this historical moment. The U.S. model of corporate-managed and “inverted totalitarianism” (Sheldon Wolin) sold as “democracy” is not about strongmen and brown shirts. The notion that the nation’s “deep state” power elite-- the actual rulers who run the nation’s commanding-heights affairs behind the marionette theater of electoral politics-- would (a) let an uber-narcissistic man-child like Donald Trump into the Oval Office and (b) permit him to do the crazy things he talks about is far-fetched.

Neofascism is simply not where the American ruling class is right now. When it is, we will know. If and when it gets there, it will put forward a far more serious and capable frontman than the preposterous Donald-- a man so uninterested in the actual work of ruling that he offered the “moderate” Republican John Kasich control over “domestic and foreign policy” in a Trump White House if Kasich would be his running mate. Trump’s ascendency to the White House could well portend a further chaotic delegitimization of “homeland” authority and a pervasive sense of societal absurdity (I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that my anarchist streetfighter side would relish the installation of a commander in chief as completely absurd as Trump). Along with the humiliating black eye that a Trump White House would be for Uncle Sam on the global stage, this is something the American power elite has reason not to want. It would be bad for business-- and for American-style business rule as usual.

Second, it is frankly comical to think of the ludicrous, soft-fleshed, silver-spooned draft-dodger and pampered television personality Donald Trump as some kind of neo-Fuhrer. He is seen as “unfit for command” by most top military commanders and is far too monumentally unpopular with the majority of citizens to ever rally enough masses to overcome the hostility he faces with the corporate and imperial establishment.

Third, the populace would not be as pathetically supine and powerless as Gupta imagines in response to the election and policies of a vicious clown like Trump. His selection and installment as U.S. president would be understood by tens of millions of Americans as an incredibly provocative development-- provocative and dangerous enough to spark protests and mass mobilizations on a scale like nothing ever seen in American history. That, too, is part of what makes Trump a different kind of Republican wolf. I suggested above that ultra-left backlash theorists (folks who think “things have to get worse before they get better”) are wrong to assume that it’s better to have Republicans in the White House when it comes to sparking popular protest. Trump would be an exception to that rule. The “deep state” has zero interest in the riotous instability that would result from Trump’s election and inauguration.

Fourth, Trump’s not going to win. For all Hillary Clinton’s obvious terrible flaws as a candidate, the big insider cash, the national electoral demographics, and the Electoral College map (just ask Nate Silver and his team of multivariate election predictors at FiveThirtyEight.com) strongly favor her. Her health stumbles and some recent homeland terror attacks have, yes, boosted Trump in the polls recently. That will fade as cold campaign finance realities and corporate media bring the bipartisan ruling class’s long-chosen candidate Hillary to the moment she has literally craved for so long. The big and smart money is still on “the lying neoliberal warmonger.”

Fifth, the Green Party’s Party’s Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka are combining genuine social movement activism with an electoral campaign for a Green New Deal-- a many-sided program that is much more than just another bit of progressive policy wonkery. It’s an existential necessity for a decent future, one that combines a giant livable ecology-saving program of national and energy and economic reconversion with a giant jobs program and universal health insurance paid for by genuinely progressive taxation (long overdue in “New Gilded Age” America) and massive reductions in the nation’s giant Pentagon System (which accounts for half the world’s military spending). How does any environmentally sentient and peace-advocating lefty not vote for all of that in the current age of savage inequality, rampant militarism, and ever-more imminent eco-catastrophe?

Sixth, “lesser-evil voting” (LEV) has a “terrible track record,” as Stein reminded me last spring. The more American liberals and progressives do it, the more the Republican right wing is emboldened, the further the Democrats move into ideological and policy territory formerly held by Republicans, and the more dire the American and global situation becomes. LEV is a viciously circular, self-fulfilling prophecy that itself holds no small responsibility for the ascendancy of horrible Republican presidents and other terrible things like the tea party and Donald Trump phenomena. And one does not seriously challenge LEV only in so-called safe states. You have to draw some lines in the sand and exit left at some point: Protect the flock.

I am not so inured to the quasi-neofascistic evil of the Trump phenomenon and the ugly prospects of a Trump presidency-- especially on the ecological level-- that I cannot understand why many fellow leftists would mark a ballot for the hideous imperial corporatist Hillary Clinton to block Herr Trump. The intra-left bloodletting that takes place on a regular quadrennial schedule over the difficult question of how best to respond to the United States’ plutocratic electoral and party system certainly does not serve the progressive left cause. Let us join together after the latest quadrennial extravaganza to build and expand a great popular movement with a list of demands and the introduction of an election and party system that deserves passionate citizen engagement.
It's a point of view.I hope you're glad to have read it. You can contribute to stopping Trump here if you want to:
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Corbyn Wins Challenge From The U.K.'s Version Of The Blue Dogs And New Dems-- The Conservative Wing Of The Labour Party

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Today, Jeremy Corbyn's 62% win was bigger than his original victory as leader of Britain's Labour Party-- 313,209 to 193,229 votes-- much to the chagrin of the establishment conservatives (and their media allies) who hold the progressive Corbyn in contempt and view him with disdain and hatred. They are England's version of the New Dems and Blue Dogs and they got their asses kicked by Labour's grassroots. As the BBC pointed out, "It is Mr Corbyn's second defeat of the Labour establishment, who many of his supporters believe have tried to undermine the leader consistently over the last 12 months."

Friday we saw what happens when a purported "party of the people"-- the Democratic Party of West Virginia in this case-- gets taken over by selfish and established special interests. In England "Labour HQ deliberately threw Corbyn supporters off the voting lists to reduce the size of his victory. Corbyn supporters believe many MPs have done nothing in the past year other than try to damage his leadership and today they will be shown to have failed badly in their attempt to oust him." What was happening to Corbyn wasn't unlike what happened in the U.S. to progressives-- from Bernie, who had the nomination stolen from him by the Establishment, to candidates up and down the ballot, who have been and are being subverted and sabotaged by the Democratic Party establishment. At least they won the battle in the U.K., even if the resistance here in the U.S. has been puny and largely unsuccessful.
Addressing supporters, Mr Corbyn said he and his opponents were part of the "same Labour family" and everyone needed to focus their energy "on exposing and defeating the Tories."

"We have much more in common than divides us," he said. "Let us wipe that slate clean from today and get on with the work that we have to do as a party," he said.

...[The jackass who challenged him, Owen] Smith, who had previously ruled out returning to the front bench, said he respected the result and the onus was on Mr Corbyn to "heal divisions and unite our movement."

"Jeremy has won the contest," he said. "He now has to win the country and he will have my support in trying to do so."

Mr Corbyn was first elected Labour leader in September 2015, when he beat three other candidates and got 59.5% of the vote.

Turnout was higher this time around, with 77.6% of the 654,006 eligible party members, trade union members and registered supporters-- 506,438 in total-- confirmed as taking part.

Mr Corbyn won comfortably in each of the three categories - winning the support of 59% of party members, 70% of registered supporters and 60% of affiliated supporters.
Party members-- Jeremy Corbyn (168,216); Owen Smith (116,960)
Registered supporters-- Corbyn (84,918); Smith (36,599)
Affiliated supporters-- Corbyn (60,075); Smith (39,670)
Despite winning the leadership in a vote of the wider membership and registered supporters last year Mr Corbyn, who spent three decades as part of a marginalised leftwing group of Labour MPs in Parliament, has never had the support of more than about 20% of Labour's MPs.

And the contest came about after more than 170 MPs supported a motion of no confidence in their leader-- that confidence vote came after dozens quit his shadow cabinet and other frontbench roles.

There has been speculation that a number of critical Labour MPs, including some who resigned from Mr Corbyn's shadow cabinet in June over his leadership in the wake of the EU referendum, could return in an attempt to heal the divisions over the party's future direction.

The result was welcomed by leading trade unions while Momentum - the campaign group spawned by Mr Corbyn's victory last year - hailed it as a "fantastic win."

Shadow health secretary Diane Abbott, a key ally of the leader, said opponents of Mr Corbyn had "thrown everything but the kitchen sink" at him.



"It was a hard campaign but the membership came out for Jeremy because they realised he had not been given a chance and had been treated unfairly," she said.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said it was up to Mr Corbyn's critics to decide whether they wanted to serve under him, insisting he wanted "unity and stability" and there was a "way we can accommodate everybody."

Labour MP Chuku Umunna said the "leadership issue was settled" and Mr Corbyn, through his re-election, was the party's "candidate to be prime minister."

Former leader Ed Miliband said it was "time to unite and focus on the country."

But Labour MP Louise Ellman said Mr Corbyn must appeal to more than his "cheering fans" and the public at large weren't "impressed with him and that needs to change."

"It no good being surrounded by people who already agree with you. That is not enough."

The conservatives within the party-- freaked out by Labour's younger and more progressive membership-- are now trying to rejigger the rules to prevent members-- or Corbyn-- from selecting the shadow cabinet and to keep him from deselecting treacherous MPs and party staffers. It's ironic that the Labour Party has grown three times bigger under Corbyn and is now the biggest political party in Western Europe but that the establishment wing of the party can't celebrate this instead of trying to undermine it, much the way the corrupt Beltway career politicians like Chuck Schumer, Ed Rendell, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the corrupt and reeking garbage of that ilk fretted about Bernie expanding the base of the Democratic Party in this country. The next national parliamentary election will, in all likelihood, be in the spring of 2020. The conservatives within Labour seem more than prepared to "teach the Left a lesson" by working to defeat their own party, much the way the DCCC and the DSCC in the U.S. seeks to defeat progressives who have won the primaries.

By the way, you can support the progressive candidates for Congress who are being blackballed by the DCCC by tapping on the thermometer below. Let's fight back, the way progressives did in the U.K. and not give in to the Schumers and Wasserman Schultzes and Hoyers and Pelosis.
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Why GOP Voters Should Listen Very Carefully To What Ted Cruz Said About Trump When He Spoke From The Heart

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The man in the video above, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, endorsed Herr Trumpf for president Friday. The clip was shot during a press gathering in Indiana where Trump was in the process of winning every single Indiana delegate and closing down Cruz's narrow path to victory. (The final score was Trump 590,460 to Cruz 406,380 and next door neighbor John Kasich 83,913.) Cruz eked out wins in 5 northeast counties to Trump's 87. While Indianans were still casting their ballots, Cruz said "I'm going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump" for the very first time since the campaign began. I wonder if he studied psychology in college. "This man is a pathological liar. He doesn't know the difference between truth and lies. He lies... practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And he hit a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology text book: his response is to accuse everybody else of lying. He accuses everybody on that debate stage of lying and it's simply a mindless yell. Whatever he does, he accuses everyone else of doing. The man cannot tell the truth-- but he combines it with being a narcissist, a narcissist at a level I don't think this country has ever seen... Everything in Donald's world is about Donald... The man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him... Donald is a bully... Every one of us knew bullies in elementary school. Bullies don't come from strength; bullies come from weakness. Bullies come from a deep, yawning cavern of insecurity. There is a reason Donald builds giant buildings and puts his name on them everywhere he goes... He is lying to his supporters." And yesterday he urged his fellow Texans and fellow Americans to vote for that man for president of the United States. OK, then.



But there was another endorsement Friday that was more telling than Cruz's sad surrender. The last time the militantly conservative Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed a Democrat was in 1916 when Supreme Court Justice Charles Hughes was the Republican candidate and they backed incumbent Woodrow Wilson. Arguably, Wilson would have lost without the endorsement, since he lost every upper Midwestern state-- Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa-- but Ohio and the 24 electoral votes that gave him his 277-254 electoral college margin of victory. Had Hughes won Ohio the count would have been 278 (Hughes) to 253 (Wilson). Wilson won Ohio with 51.86% of the state's vote.

The Enquirer endorsement yesterday makes it clear they're not big Hillary enthusiasts, but are afraid of what a Trump presidency would mean for America. They accused him of having "exploited and expanded our internal divisions" and of bringing out the worst in people.
Trump is a clear and present danger to our country. He has no history of governance that should engender any confidence from voters. Trump has no foreign policy experience, and the fact that he doesn't recognize it-- instead insisting that, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do"-- is even more troubling. His wild threats to blow Iranian ships out of the water if they make rude gestures at U.S. ships is just the type of reckless, cowboy diplomacy Americans should fear from a Trump presidency. Clinton has been criticized as being hawkish but has shown a measured approach to the world's problems. Do we really want someone in charge of our military and nuclear codes who has an impulse control problem? The fact that so many top military and national security officials are not supporting Trump speaks volumes.

...[O]ur reservations about Clinton pale in comparison to our fears about Trump.

This editorial board has been consistent in its criticism of his policies and temperament beginning with the Republican primary. We've condemned his childish insults; offensive remarks to women, Hispanics and African-Americans; and the way he has played on many Americans' fears and prejudices to further himself politically. Trump brands himself as an outsider untainted by special interests, but we see a man utterly corrupted by self-interest. His narcissistic bid for the presidency is more about making himself great than America. Trump tears our country and many of its people down with his words so that he can build himself up. What else are we left to believe about a man who tells the American public that he alone can fix what ails us?

While Clinton has been relentlessly challenged about her honesty, Trump was the primary propagator of arguably the biggest lie of the past eight years: that Obama wasn't born in the United States. Trump has played fast and loose with the support of white supremacist groups. He has praised some of our country's most dangerous enemies-- see Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and Saddam Hussein-- while insulting a sitting president, our military generals, a Gold Star family and prisoners of war like Sen. John McCain. Of late, Trump has toned down his divisive rhetoric, sticking to carefully constructed scripts and teleprompters. But going two weeks without saying something misogynistic, racist or xenophobic is hardly a qualification for the most important job in the world. Why should anyone believe that a Trump presidency would look markedly different from his offensive, erratic, stance-shifting presidential campaign?

Some believe Trump's business acumen would make him the better choice to move America's slow recovery into a full stride. It’s true that he has created jobs, but he also has sent many overseas and left a trail of unpaid contractors in his wake. His refusal to release his tax returns draws into question both Trump’s true income and whether he is paying his fair share of taxes. Even if you consider Trump a successful businessman, running a government is not the same as being the CEO of a company. The United States cannot file bankruptcy to avoid paying its debts.

Trump’s rise through a crowded Republican primary field as well as Sanders' impressive challenge on the Democratic side make clear that the American people yearn for a change in our current state of politics. However, our country needs to seek thoughtful change, not just change for the sake of change. Four years is plenty of time to do enough damage that it could take America years to recover from, if at all.

In these uncertain times, America needs a brave leader, not bravado. Real solutions, not paper-thin promises. A clear eye toward the future, not a cynical appeal to the good old days.

Hillary Clinton has her faults, certainly, but she has spent a lifetime working to improve the lives of Americans both inside and outside of Washington. It's time to elect the first female U.S. president-- not because she's a woman, but because she's hands-down the most qualified choice.
Last night another major Ohio newspaper, the Akron Beacon Journal, a reliably Democratic newspaper, founded in 1839, also came out swinging against Trump and, unabashedly for Hillary. Blue collar northeast Ohio is exactly where Trump thinks he can appeal to working class white voters. Kasich beat him in the 5 counties where the Beacon Journal is most read: Summit, Portage, Stark, Wayne and Medina. Trump averaged around 35% in those 5 counties, similar to how he fared statewide. Trump did best in the poorest Appalachian part of the state in the east and south, his best Ohio counties being Trumbull, Mahoning, Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont and Monroe, all bordering on western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. The Beacon Journal editors offered Trump no quarter: "[I]n assessing the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump," they wrote, "it is essential, especially in this swing state of Ohio, to weigh the accumulation, all the outrages, lies and revelations that have gathered since he jumped into the race. They form the portrait of a Republican nominee unfit to serve as president. This editorial page has examined many candidacies at all levels over the years. None is quite like Trump in its disqualifying traits, from his ill-suited temperament to his aggressive lack of knowledge and preparation. With so much at stake, the debates approaching and Election Day just six weeks away, it is important to discuss how his candidacy falls severely short."
Start at the beginning of his political rise, when he noisily took the lead in the “birther” movement, making the outlandish claim that President Obama may not have been born in this country. That cannot be dismissed as easily as Trump aimed to do last week, not when he waged a five-year campaign, seeking to portray the first black president as somehow illegitimate or undeserving.

This was racially tinged, and it has echoed elsewhere in his candidacy, spreading divisiveness, whether in sweeping comments about Muslims or denigrating a federal judge because of his “Mexican heritage.”

Many politicians exaggerate, fudge the truth, even tell whoppers. Few do so in such a serial and brazen fashion, as the independent fact-checkers have confirmed. Recall Trump seeking to link Ted Cruz’s father to the assassination of John Kennedy. Or insisting that he opposed the war in Iraq and the Libyan intervention when the record clearly shows otherwise. Or that he watched “thousands” of Muslims cheer when the World Trade Center collapsed.

This unrestrained neglect of the truth surfaces in the myth about the businessman. If Trump has made big money, he also has left a trail of wreckage, most notably, exploiting bankruptcies and stiffing contractors, often small businesses. No wonder Michael Bloomberg declared: “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us!”

Trump University carries the stench of fraud. The Washington Post has exposed the shady doings of the Trump Foundation, its violation of campaign finance law, phantom donations and self-dealing, using, for instance, foundation money to settle lawsuits involving for-profit businesses of Trump.

The candidate easily could address questions about his finances by releasing his tax returns (as other presidential candidates have going back to 1980) and detailing his extensive business relationships. This lack of transparency, or disdain for voters, alone disqualifies him from the presidency.

Yet even more disturbing are the repeated indications of how little Trump knows about conducting the presidency and the complex terrain he would have to navigate. Take just one emblematic moment, his claim, often made, that in Iraq, the smart move would have been to “take the oil.” Imagine the backlash, in the expense of lives and dollars, carrying out the mission, or the reaction in Iraq and the rest of the Arab world, all of it confirming the darkest suspicions about American intent.

Add that in repeating this view Trump shows an intellectual laziness, confirmed by how little he has done to get up to speed in policymaking, or what a president does. If he has proved rash, demagogic, self-aggrandizing and thin-skinned, he also celebrates the value of being unpredictable. What happened to the Republican priority of “certainty”?

Trump has appeared the dupe of Vladimir Putin and an unwitting recruiter for the Islamic State.

All of this helps explain why 50 former national security officials in Republican administrations stated that Trump “would be the most reckless president in American history.” The Wall Street Journal reports that no living member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Democratic or Republican, supports Trump.

Many in Akron, Ohio and across the country have been battered by a changing economy and feel they have been pushed aside by the political class. They have a case, and many see Donald Trump sending a powerful message. He does talk tough. He boasts and blusters. He is a skilled pitchman who has built a global brand. Yet begin to look closely and fully, and his candidacy unravels, revealing a man unworthy of the office he seeks.
The most recent poll in Ohio, by Democratic-leaning Democracy Corps shows Trump ahead, 41-39% and with momentum. If only Schumer hadn't interfered in the Senate primary and torpedoed P.G. Sittenfeld in favor of a walking corpse who not even the DSCC is bothering to support! Sittenfeld would be making Ohio's Senate race at least competitive and would be helping gin up excitement for Clinton in the state. If Hillary loses in Ohio, Florida and Iowa, much of the blame should fall on Schumer for his sick ideology that he-- and only he-- knows better than local Democratic primary voters.


UPDATE: NY Times Weighs In

This morning the NYTimes endorsed Hillary, respectfully if not enthusiastically. They saved their enthusiasm for a short, effective bashing of Trump. They pointed out that a comparison of the positions and platforms of the two candidates would be pointless this year because Hillary "has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway."

They titillate their readers by promising a subsequent editorial that will explain how they came to the conclusion that Trump is "the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history" while asserting that "the best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump."

The Times' review of it's endorsements from 1860 on is interesting. It starts with Abraham Lincoln-- "we shall have honesty and manliness instead of meanness and corruption in the Executive departments, and a decent regard for the opinions of mankind in the tone and talk of the Government on the subject of Slavery"-- and meanders through a bipartisan list of presidents including Grant (R), Hayes (R), Garfield (R), and Cleveland (D)-- three times-- to serial party switcher John Palmer (ended his career a Blue Dog) who opposed both populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan and establishment Republican William McKinley and ended up, despite the Times endorsement with barely 1% of the vote. His top 3 states were New Hampshire (4.21%), Florida (3.82%) and Alabama (3.28%) and had no impact on the ultimate results of any state. In New York he drew 1.33% compared to McKinley's 57.58% and Bryan's 38.72%. That wasn't the last time The Times made a weird choice. They picked Alton Parker over Teddy Roosevelt in 1904 and Wendell Wilkie over FDR in 1940. Starting in 1960 with JFK, they've always endorsed Democrats, including McGovern in 1972.



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Saturday Afternoon With Little Chucky Schmucky-- Wall Street's Cat's Paw In The U.S. Senate

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You can't imagine how hard Chuck Schumer pushed to win the Florida Senate nomination for not-Grayson. It helped that the hapless boob he put up has rich, ruthlessly corrupt parents willing to spend whatever, and that he had already proven himself an unquestioningly devoted Wall Street shill, voting with the GOP on the House Financial Services Committee to do whatever it took to disarm Wall Street oversight and reform. But Schumer shepherded $1,930,542 in Financial Sector cash into Murphy's coffers, more than any other House member other than Speaker Paul Ryan (even more than House Majority Leader/bribe vacuum cleaner Kevin McCarthy and even more than Financial Services Committee go-to-whores chairman Jeb Hensarling, vice chairman Patrick McHenry and 2016 stooge of the year Ed Royce. In fact, Murphy got more from the banksters than any non-incumbent from either party running for the Senate. And considerably more than endangered Wall Street allies like Ron Johnson (R-WI), John McCain (R-AZ), Richard Burr (R-NC), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). All 5 have been setting their hair on fire in banksters' offices and begging for more money to stave off defeats in November. But for the last 12 months, Wall Street only had eyes for a hapless little worm from West Palm Beach, Patrick Murphy or-- more to the point-- Congressman Not-Grayson.

Schumer promised Obama a flood of cash for his presidential library from Wall Street and from "others" to get Obama to help defeat Grayson, probably the smartest and most committed progressive in the House of Representatives. Obama did what he was asked to do and that was the end of whatever chance Grayson had to get the nomination. He won his part of the state-- central Florida around Orlando where he is well-known-- and 5 or 6 counties in the northern part of the state where he managed to out-spend the cash-laden Murphy. But Grayson got wiped out by the $7,770,908 Murphy had spent by August 10, by $1,461,426 spent by a SuperPAC run by Schumer and Reid, $441,350 spent by Murphy's family's PAC and by immense sums of Saudi money, much of it illegally funneled into the political system through shadow donors and the kinds of donor swaps that put Ami Bera's father in prison and forced Steve Israel to announce his retirement from Congress.


Schumer was the brains behind the operation. Murphy doesn't have a brain. But now, Wall Street-- and their boy Schumer-- don't care all that much who wins in Florida. Oh, of course, Schumer would like to see an easy-to-control puppet in a blue tee-shirt in there, but it doesn't matter to him which candidates in blue tee-shirts win in November-- as long as there are 4 of them. Schumer sees Murphy as-- at best-- a long shot against Rubio and the DSCC has backed away from supporting their candidate. It doesn't matter to Wall Street because Rubio is at least as much of an unquestioning robot for them as Murphy is. For them Florida, post-Grayson, is a win-win. Grayson would have been another Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders-- on steroids. Murphy and Rubio... order-takers. In fact, of any Senate incumbent running for reelection this cycle, Wall Street has been most generous to Rubio, primarily because of all the money they spent on his aborted presidential race-- $6,607,150. But since ending his presidential race, so just for his Senate campaign, Wall Street has given Rubio $1,941,011, almost the exact same amount they gave Murphy.

The banksters are more interested in keeping their own Pennsylvania and Ohio pets, Pat Toomey ($2,777,384) and Rob Portman ($2,601,630), in their seats, than caring which Florida puppet-- now that threat of Grayson is out of the way-- wins. The Schumer-Wall Street connection has been a major theme at DWT for several years. We never get tired of reminding everyone that Schumer has taken more-- far more-- in Wall Street bribes than anyone who hasn't run for the presidency... and more than many who have. As of the last FEC reporting deadline Schumer had been lavished with $25,985,466 from the Finance Sector, more than the two next highest non-presidential candidates combined, Republicans Mitch McConnell ($11,810,276) and John Boehner ($12,218,198)!

Last week, Michael Sainato, jumped in on this as well. Reporting for the New York Observer, he went where no Beltway publications have ever or would ever dare-- right to the heart of Schumer's blatant corruption of our government. Sainato points to how Schumer has consolidated power for himself inside the Democratic Party with Wall Street's money, spreading it around and directing it, the way he did for Murphy this year in the primary. "In order to secure this lofty position [Democratic Leader]," Sainato wrote, "Schumer is busy spreading the wealth from years of dubious campaign contributions as a means to buy support from fellow Democrats who have the means to grant Schumer the power he desires. Politico reported on September 20 that Schumer has transferred $6.2 million from his campaign cash on hand to various Democrats in order to assist their upcoming election bids."
Given Schumer’s record advocating for Wall Street and tax breaks for the top one percent, working and middle class Americans should be alarmed. Further, the country should be wary of how much further into oligarchy Schumer’s leadership-- coupled with Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine in the White House-- will take the Democratic Party.

In July 2015, Schumer teamed up with Sen. Rob Portman to propose giving multinational corporations a massive hand-out in tax breaks. The current standard corporate tax rate is 35 percent, which multinational corporations have avoided paying by claiming profits are earned in overseas tax havens. Schumer and Portman advocate imposing a tax earned outside of the country at a much lower rate-- at least lower than President Obama’s proposed 14 percent.

“The obvious consequence if the Schumer-Portman scheme becomes law is that businesses based solely within the U.S. would be at a permanent disadvantage,” wrote Jon Schwarz for the Intercept. “Multinationals could earn profits in the U.S., get their armies of lawyers and accountants to make these profits appear to have been ‘earned’ in the Cayman Islands, and get taxed at the overseas profit rate. Meanwhile, purely domestic companies would either have to pay the higher domestic rate, or turn into multinationals themselves.” Essentially, Schumer wants to grant multinational corporations a permanent tax holiday.


Schumer’s modus operandi in the Senate has been to favor Wall Street over his constituents. In the wake of the 2008 economic recession, Schumer attended fundraisers with finance executives, pushing against efforts to regulate the industry. This included helping kill a progressive bill, with some bipartisan support, to break up big banks.

Wall Street rewarded Schumer, with 15 percent of their Senate donations in 2009 going directly to him-- nearly twice as much as any other senator received. Under Schumer’s leadership of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, donations from Wall Street to Democrats increased by 50 percent as he led his party’s efforts to deregulate the financial industry. While progressives like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were building a coalition to rein in Wall Street over the past decade, Schumer served as one of its biggest congressional allies.

“Wall Street welcomes expected Chuck Schumer promotion,” read a CNN headline from 2015 immediately following Reid’s announced retirement.
The Republicans, happy to cooperate, aren't running anyone against Schumer. The GOP candidate, Wendy Long, a silly Trump supporter, ran in 2012 against dull centrist Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand who beat her the largest margin for any statewide candidate in New York history, 4,822,330 votes (72.22%) to 1,758,702 votes (26.34%). She spent raised $784,778 to Gillibrand's $15,735,457. No Republican challenged her for the nomination this cycle. So far she's raised $160,195 and as of the June 30 FEC reporting deadline she had $53,525 cash on hand compared to Schumer's $27,517,363, the most, thanks to Wall Street, of any member of Congress (even though he has no contest at all).

Help good Democrats, who aren't part of Schumer's garbage heap world, make their care to the public this year:
Goal Thermometer

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