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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Roy Moore and Teenage Girls: Do the Math


At AL.com Kyle Whitmire on accused child molester Roy Moore:
First, read his book. In it, Moore describes how he met his wife at a Christmas party hosted by friends. He would have been 37. She was 23.
"Many years before, I had attended a dance recital at Gadsden State Junior College,"
Moore wrote. "I remembered one of the special dances performed by a young woman whose first and last names began with the letter 'K.' It was something I had never forgotten. Could that young woman have been Kayla Kisor?"
Moore later determined that it was.
"Long afterward, I would learn that Kayla had, in fact, performed a special dance routine at Gadsden State years before," he wrote.
Take a second to think about what's being said here. Moore first took notice of Kayla at a dance recital?
Perhaps you're wondering what "many years" means, and I wondered that too. Luckily, Moore again has cleared that up for us.
In an interview Moore gave earlier this year, he gave a similar account, but for one detail.
"It was, oh gosh, eight years later, or something, I met her," Moore said. "And when she told me her name, I remembered 'K. K.,' and I said, 'Haven't I met you before?'"
It's a simple matter of subtraction. When Roy Moore first took notice of Kayla she would have been as young as 15.
 There's a little fuzziness, to be sure, in the timeline. There's the "or something" Moore fudges with in the interview. Eight years before could have been slightly too early to put Moore in Gadsden, he started work as an deputy district attorney there in 1977.
So maybe she was 15, or maybe she was 16. But still, here is a grown man at about 30 years old attending a girls' dance recital, and doing what exactly?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Russian Winter Is Coming

In Defying the Oddswe discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign.

Ashley Parker and Carol D. Leonnig at WP:
One Republican operative in frequent contact with the White House described Mueller’s team “working through the staff like Pac-Man.”
“Of course they are worried,” said the Republican, who insisted on anonymity to offer a candid assessment. “Anybody that ever had the words ‘Russia’ come out of their lips or in an email, they’re going to get talked to. These things are thorough and deep. It’s going to be a long winter.”
...
“The president says, ‘This is all just an annoyance. I did nothing,’ ” said one person close to the administration. “He is somewhat arrogant about it. But this investigation is a classic Gambino-style roll-up. You have to anticipate this roll-up will reach everyone in this administration.”
A senior Russian official who claimed to be acting at the behest of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia tried in May 2016 to arrange a meeting between Mr. Putin and Donald J. Trump, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The news of this reached the Trump campaign in a very circuitous way. An advocate for Christian causes emailed campaign aides saying that Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of the Russian central bank who has been linked both to Russia’s security services and organized crime, had proposed a meeting between Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump. The subject line of the email, turned over to Senate investigators, read, “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite,” according to one person who has seen the message.
The proposal made its way to the senior levels of the Trump campaign before Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a top campaign aide, sent a message to top campaign officials rejecting it, according to two people who have seen Mr. Kushner’s message.
Though the meeting never happened, Mr. Torshin’s request is the latest example of how the Russian government intensified its effort to contact and influence the Trump campaign last year as Mr. Trump was closing in on the Republican presidential nomination. It came just weeks after a self-described intermediary for the Russian government told a Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, that the Russians had “dirt” on Mr. Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton, in the form of “thousands of emails.”
In The Art of the Deal, Trump writes: “In January 1987, I got a letter from Yuri Dubinin, the Soviet ambassador to the United States, that began: ‘It is a pleasure for me to relay some good news from Moscow.’ It went on to say that the leading Soviet state agency for international tourism, Goscomintourist, had expressed interest in pursuing a joint venture to construct and manage a hotel in Moscow.”

There were many ambitious real estate developers in the United States—why had Moscow picked Trump?

According to Viktor Suvorov—a former GRU military spy—and others, the KGB ran Intourist, the agency to which Trump referred. It functioned as a subsidiary KGB branch. Initiated in 1929 by Stalin, Intourist was the Soviet Union’s official state travel agency. Its job was to vet and monitor all foreigners coming into the Soviet Union. “In my time it was KGB,” Suvorov said. “They gave permission for people to visit.” The KGB’s first and second directorates routinely received lists of prospective visitors to the country based on their visa applications.

As a GRU operative, Suvorov was personally involved in recruitment, albeit for a rival service to the KGB. Soviet spy agencies were always interested in cultivating “young ambitious people,” he said—an upwardly mobile businessman, a scientist, a “guy with a future.”

Sunday, November 19, 2017

R Is for Rot

In  Defying the Oddswe discuss Trump's character.

Michael Gerson on the Russia investigation:
In all of this, there is a spectacular accumulation of lies. Lies on disclosure forms. Lies at confirmation hearings. Lies on Twitter. Lies in the White House briefing room. Lies to the FBI. Self-protective lies by the attorney general. Blocking and tackling lies by Vice President Pence. This is, with a few exceptions, a group of people for whom truth, political honor, ethics and integrity mean nothing.




Jennifer Rubin:
Republicans will tell your they support Moore and Trump as vehicles to policy goals. That assumes (falsely) that their policy goals are noble when they are actually unrealistic, unpopular, inconsistent and unconservative. Run up the debt, say the fiscal hawks. Take away health-care coverage, say the GOP “reformers.” Ban Muslims, round up Dreamers and slash legal immigration say the “Constitutional conservatives” and “market capitalists.” Worst of all: Vote for “values,” say the charlatans who backed Trump.
In truth, the goals these Republicans care about, if they ever did, have long ago been sublimated (they certainly changed them entirely) to the goal of holding power, of winning. When that is the highest calling they’ll vote for alleged child predators, racists and just about anyone else with an “R” next to his or her name. The result is moral haos, political malfeasance and gross incompetence. And a President Trump.
Mark Joseph Stern at Slate:
Brett Talley, the Alabama lawyer Donald Trump has nominated to be a federal district judge, is a 36-year-old ghosthunter who has never tried a case and who failed to disclose to the Senate that he is married to the chief of staff to the White House counsel. He also seems to have written 16,381 posts—more than 3½ per day—on the University of Alabama fan message board TideFans.com. As BuzzFeed has reported, a user who is almost certainly Talley posted for years under the handle BamainBoston. (BuzzFeed managed to identify him because BamainBoston wrote a message headlined “Washington Post Did A Feature On Me,” linking to a 2014 Ben Terris profile of Talley. BuzzFeedreported that a “Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on Talley's behalf.”)

A search of TideFans.com reveals that BamainBoston often opined on controversial issues, including race, abortion, perceived federal overreach, and Southern heritage. In one post from February 2011, he defended the honor of the early Ku Klux Klan.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Using Fake Tocqueville to Defend Accused Child Molester

In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race.





At a rally for accused child molester Roy Moore, homeschooler Jennifer Case (at about 12:40 in the video) said: "He is the closest thing that any of us have observed to a founding father in our times. DeTocqueville said: `America is great because she is good.  If she ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.'"

Tocqueville said no such thing. This quotation is fake. As I have been pointing out for 22 years, Tocqueville never wrote any such thing. Many politicians -- including Bill Clinton and Ben Carson -- have used the fake quotation. Hillary Clinton alluded to it in her acceptance speech.

h/t Carl

Friday, November 17, 2017

Trump's Vulnerability

In  Defying the Oddswe discuss Trump's character..


Trump is sidestepping the Roy Moore story. He has good reason, given photos, videos, and stories involving Trump and minors.





German Lopez at CBS:
Donald Trump has said a lot of horrific things about adult women in the past year. But in a video unearthed by CBS News, Trump is seen targeting a different kind of victim: a young child.
In the 1992 video, Trump, who was 46 at the time, can be heard talking to a little girl, asking her if she’s going to go up an escalator. After she says she is, Trump turns to the camera and says, "I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?"
 Kendall Taggart, Jessica Garrison, Jessica Testa at Buzzfeed:
Four women who competed in the 1997 Miss Teen USA beauty pageant said Donald Trump walked into the dressing room while contestants — some as young as 15 — were changing.
“I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here,’” said Mariah Billado, the former Miss Vermont Teen USA.
Trump, she recalled, said something like, “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.”
Tina Nguyen at Vanity Fair:
In a normal Republican administration, an allegation that Senator Al Franken, a Democrat, had groped a woman as she slept, accompanied by a damning photo, would be a political gift to the White House. When its occupant is Donald Trump, however, the story is altogether different—late in his presidential campaign, Trump was faced with accusations of sexual misconduct and assault from more than 16 women, which many believed would spell his political doom.
Trump and his ilk have vigorously denied the allegations, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently declaring from the podium that all of the president’s accusers are liars. But they’ve resurfaced in the wake of the Roy Moore scandal, which has left both Trump and the Republican Party metaphorically handcuffed to a Senate candidate accused of child molestation. Neither measure of hypocrisy seems to weigh on Trump, however, who gleefully ripped Franken Thursday night on Twitter.

 


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Tax Trouble

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the tax issue in the 2016 campaign. 

CNBC:
Most American voters — 52 percent — disapprove of the GOP proposals to overhaul the tax system, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Only 25 percent of respondents approve of the Republican effort.
The GOP says its push to chop taxes on businesses and individuals by year-end is designed to trim the burden on middle-class taxpayers while boosting job creation and wage growth.
  • Voters largely have not bought into the message, the Quinnipiac poll found.
  • Sixty-one percent of voters said the plan would mainly help the wealthy. Twenty-four percent responded that it would primarily benefit the middle class, while only 6 percent said the same about low-income people.
  • The proposals favor the rich at the expense of the middle class, 59 percent of respondents said. Only 33 percent disagreed with that statement.
  • Only 36 percent of respondents said the GOP effort will lead to more jobs and better economic growth. A majority, 52 percent, disagreed.
  • Thirty-six percent of voters said the proposals would not have much of an effect on their taxes. Thirty-five percent said the plan would increase what they pay, while 16 percent said it would reduce their tax burden.
NYT:
In a national survey of 9,504 adults conducted for The New York Times by the online polling firm SurveyMonkey, 78 percent of respondents said they did not believe they would receive a raise if their employer received a tax cut. Even many Republicans doubted they would benefit directly from a corporate tax cut: Roughly 70 percent of self-identified Republicans — and roughly 65 percent of people who said they strongly approved of President Trump’s performance in office — said they didn’t think they would get a pay increase.
LAT editorial:
But the bill’s cuts in personal tax rates, its increase in the standard deduction and other benefits for individual taxpayers are partially offset by reductions in some popular tax deductions — including those for state and local taxes and mortgage interest payments, many of whose beneficiaries live in states with high income or sales taxes and high property values. As a result, according to a new analysis by the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the House bill would force taxpayers in California, New York, New Jersey and Maryland to pay $16.7 billion more in personal income taxes in 2027 than they would under current law, while taxpayers in the other 46 states would pay $101.5 billion less. More than one-third of the cuts would flow to Texas and Florida.

California would be the hardest hit of all, with its taxpayers kicking a cumulative $12.1 billion in additional taxes into the federal kitty in 2027, the institute’s analysis found. But it’s not just the higher taxes that will hurt — the lower caps on the deductions for property taxes and mortgage interest likely would have an immediate, chilling effect on property values across the state. That’s good news for first-time homebuyers, bad news for millions of others who already own homes in this costly market.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Uranium One

 In Defying the Oddswe discuss the conservative media and attacks on Clinton:

 Alana Horowitz Satlin reports at The Huffington Post:
Fox News anchor Shep Smith broke from his network’s hyperventilating coverage of the “Uranium One” pseudoscandal to debunk allegations of wrongdoings by Hillary Clinton.

Smith, never one to blindly toe the party line, took to task President Donald Trump ― and, implicitly, his cable news network of choice ― over the “inaccurate” portrayal of the sale of a Canadian mining company with major U.S. holdings to a Russian company.

“Here’s the accusation,” Smith explained Tuesday. “Nine people involved in the deal made donations to the Clinton Foundation totaling more than $140 million. In exchange, Secretary of State Clinton approved the sale to the Russians — a quid pro quo.”

It’s a claim that has dominated Fox News in recent weeks after The Hill published a deeply flawed report about a “Russian bribery plot” involving the sale. Following pressure from the president and several Republican members of Congress, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced earlier this week that the Justice Department would consider appointing a special counsel to review the deal as well as other matters involving Clinton and other Democrats.



Rep. Louis Gohmert has his version of a conspiracy chart: