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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Clinton is Sounding a Lot More Like Reagan Than Trump Is

At her first rally with running mate Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton said:
Remember though, when someone shows you who he is, believe him. So part of our challenge, my friends, is to keep this campaign about the future. Keep it about what we want to do together. Recognize we are stronger together. We will be better united than divided. That we are going to work to make sure that America has its best days ahead of us. We're going to make sure every child has a chance at the American dream. And we're going forward, not only strongly, but with pride, confidence, optimism. And we're going to win in November. Thank you, all.”
In his 1984 State of the Union, Reagan said:
Carl Sandburg said, "I see America not in the setting sun of a black night of despair • . . I see America in the crimson light of a rising sun fresh from the burning, creative hand of God... I see great days ahead for men and women of will and vision."

I've never felt more strongly that America's best days and democracy's best days lie ahead. We're a powerful force for good. With faith and courage, we can perform great deeds and take freedom's next step. And we will. We will carry on the tradition of a good and worthy people who have brought light where there was darkness, warmth where there was cold, medicine where there was disease, food where there was hunger, and peace where there was only bloodshed.

Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.

Thank you very much. God bless you, and God bless America.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Trump and Nixon

At The Washington Post, Dan Balz writes:
There were no echoes of Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America,” George H.W. Bush’s “kinder and gentler nation” or even George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism in Donald Trump’s speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination here Thursday night. Instead, in both theme and target audience, Trump offered a powerful echo of Richard Nixon almost 50 years ago.

Trump’s speech proved once again that he would continue to throw out the traditional campaign rulebook that might dictate softer language and broader appeals. Instead, he offered his grim portrait of the country and a law-and-order message in the hope of summoning an army of disaffected and forgotten voters large enough to topple the political status quo in November.
No accident. At The New York Times, Michael Barbaro and Alexander Burns write:
In a startling disclosure on the first day of the convention, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, declared that the candidate was using, as the template for his own prime-time speech accepting the Republican nomination, Nixon’s convention address 48 years ago in Miami Beach. “If you go back and read,” Mr. Manafort said at a Bloomberg News breakfast, “that speech is pretty much on line with a lot of the issues that are going on today.”

Mr. Trump himself, in an interview, drew explicit comparisons between his candidacy and Nixon’s, and between the current political climate and that of the United States in 1968.

“I think what Nixon understood is that when the world is falling apart, people want a strong leader whose highest priority is protecting America first,” Mr. Trump said recently. “The ’60s were bad, really bad. And it’s really bad now. Americans feel like it’s chaos again. 
Danielle Kurtzleben at NPR:
However, in many ways, the America Trump will address differs vastly from Nixon's America. By the time of 1968's Republican convention, both Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated, and destructive riots had torn through major U.S. cities. Meanwhile, thousands of young soldiers were dying overseas — that year, casualties in Vietnam would reach their peak — and the Cold War was the backdrop to U.S. foreign relations.
And yet: Amid the horrors and divisions of 1968, Americans weren't as polarized as they are today; the major-party presidential candidates weren't nearly as disliked; and Washington wasn't as distrusted. Nixon was appealing to a nation still hoping for a solution to its ongoing catastrophes — a nation in which an overwhelming majority of Americans believed he was of "high integrity." Trump, meanwhile, is addressing a nation in which a majority of voters view him unfavorably, and where even more have seemingly little expectation that government can solve its problems.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thought for the Night

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles." -- Thomas Jefferson, June 4, 1798

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Another Trump Day

Andrew Kaczynski reports at Buzzfeed:
An adviser to Donald Trump on veterans issues said on Tuesday that Hillary Clinton should be put in a firing line and shot for treason.
New Hampshire state representative Al Baldasaro, who is also a Trump delegate from the state and has appeared with Trump at campaign events, made the comments on the Jeff Kuhner Show.
“I’m a veteran that went to Desert Shield, Desert Storm. I’m also a father who sent a son to war, to Iraq, as a Marine Corps helicopter avionics technician. Hillary Clinton to me is the Jane Fonda of the Vietnam,” he said. “She is a disgrace for the lies that she told those mothers about their children that got killed over there in Benghazi. She dropped the ball on over 400 emails requesting back up security. Something’s wrong there.”
“This whole thing disgusts me, Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason,” he added.
By the way, threatening a presidential nominee or a former First Lady is a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 879

The Washington Post reports:
The refrain of this Republican convention hasn’t been “Make America Great Again.” It’s been “Lock her up!”

Over the first two nights of the GOP convention, at least three speakers have called for Hillary Clinton — the presumptive Democratic nominee — to be imprisoned. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recited a series of Clinton’s misdeeds and led the crowd in shouts of “guilty” after each.

“Lock her up!” the convention crowd shouted repeatedly on both nights. The chant — not heard before at Donald Trump’s rallies — has quickly become the theme of the GOP’s gathering in Cleveland.

Months ago, Trump — who calls his opponent “Crooked Hillary” — was among the first prominent Republicans to suggest that Clinton should be imprisoned for her use of the private server. That was before the Justice Department decided not to prosecute Clinton, although FBI Director James Comey said she had been “extremely careless.”
“I will say this: Hillary Clinton has got to go to jail,” Trump said at a June rally in San Jose. “Folks, honestly, she’s guilty as hell,” Trump said then. He indicated that, if elected, he would have his attorney general revisit the case against Clinton.
The Washington Post reports:
After a tortured 24 hours in which Donald Trump’s campaign struggled to come up with a coherent explanation for how portions of a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama had reappeared in remarks delivered by Melania Trump at the Republican National Convention, a Trump staff writer said Wednesday that she was responsible and apologized for the “confusion.”

In a statement, Meredith McIver said she was an “in-house staff writer” who had worked with Melania Trump on the speech. McIver took responsibility for including the passages from the first lady’s speech — though she said she had not revisited the earlier speech herself, only listened as Trump read parts of it that she liked to McIver over the phone.
 The statement, and Trump’s cheeky messages, capped a dizzying, more than day-long attempt by his campaign to explain — but primarily dismiss — evidence that Melania Trump’s speech on Monday night had repurposed multiple lines from Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008. The attempt was made all the more difficult by Melania’ Trump’s own statement on Monday that she had written the speech herself.
Tina Nguyen reports at Vanity Fair:
Dr. Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon-turned-presidential candidate-turned-perpetually confused Trump surrogate, returned to the political arena Tuesday night with a bizarre six-minute speech at the Republican National Convention in which he first railed against the dangers of political correctness, and then, as if to prove his point, linked Hillary Clinton to Lucifer himself.
“Now, one of the things that I have learned about Hillary Clinton is that one of her heroes, her mentors wasSaul Alinsky,” said Carson, departing from his prepared remarks that were sent to the press ahead of time. “And her senior thesis was about Saul Alinsky. This was someone she greatly admired. And let me tell you something about Saul Alinsky. So he wrote a book called Rules for Radicals. It acknowledges Lucifer, the original radical who gained his own kingdom.”
Carson, a prominent figure in the evangelical community, went on: “Now think about that,” he said. “This is our nation where our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, talks about certain inalienable rights that come from our creator; a nation where our Pledge of Allegiance says we are one nation under God. This is a nation where every coin in our pockets and every bill in our wallet says ‘In God We Trust.’ So are we willing to elect someone as president who has as their role model somebody who acknowledges Lucifer?”
Carson, whose anti-Lucifer position cannot be denied, won a rapturous response from what remained of the Republican crowd in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. “Think about that,” he admonished, once again.
The Des Moines Register reports:
U.S. Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who has a penchant for controversy, created an uproar on social media Monday by questioning the contributions of non-white people during a cable television appearance at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
"This 'old white people' business does get a little tired, Charlie," King said. "I'd ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you're talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?"

[Chris] Hayes asked: "Than white people?"

"Than, than Western civilization itself," King said. "It's rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That's all of Western civilization." 
The Daily Beast reports:
Legendary retired Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz said Tuesday that immigrants coming into the U.S. made up “an invasion” and that they need to do a better job of assimilating, according to published reports.

Holtz, who supports Donald Trump, was speaking at a luncheon during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
“I don’t want to become you,” Holtz said of immigrants, according to the Daily Beast. “I don’t want to speak your language, I don’t want to celebrate your holidays, I sure as hell don’t want to cheer for your soccer team!”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bad First Day for GOP Convention

In drafting Melania Trump's convention speech, the Trump campaign plagiarized Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech.Robert Costa, Dan Balz and Philip Rucker report at The Washington Post that the first day brought other problems, too:
Who had vetted the long and rambling speech by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, which prompted so many delegates to walk out that the closing act by Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa — a rare next-generation star willing to address Trump’s convention — came close to midnight in a mostly empty Quicken Loans Arena?

Why had Donald Trump called into Bill O’Reilly’s program on Fox News, resulting in the network cutting away from the emotionally resonant remarks by Patricia Smith, whose son Sean was killed in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya?

Then there were the day’s earlier developments: the brief revolt on the convention floor from rebellious anti-Trump delegates over a procedural dispute, as well as Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s decision to begin a week-long push for party unity by publicly chastising Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the Bush family over their refusal to support Trump.

The first 24 hours of Trump’s convention left Republican strategists — some of whom have long been at odds with Trump and his team — befuddled and concerned about the capacity of the Trump campaign to run a serious and effective general-election operation against the machinery of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
 Manafort and campaign spokesman Jason Miller worked to craft the campaign’s initial statement, which landed in reporters’ inboxes at 1:48 a.m.
“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” read the statement, which was attributed to Miller. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
The statement conflicted with what Melania Trump told NBC News before her appearance Monday night. Asked by Matt Lauer whether she had practiced her speech, she said, “I read it once over, and that’s all because I wrote it with as little help as possible.”

Monday, July 18, 2016

Trump Does Not Read or Write

As he has prepared to be named the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump has not read any biographies of presidents. He said he would like to someday.

He has no time to read, he said: “I never have. I’m always busy doing a lot. Now I’m more busy, I guess, than ever before.”

Trump’s desk is piled high with magazines, nearly all of them with himself on their covers, and each morning, he reviews a pile of printouts of news articles about himself that his secretary delivers to his desk. But there are no shelves of books in his office, no computer on his desk.

Presidents have different ways of preparing to make decisions. Some read deeply, some prefer to review short memos that condense difficult issues into bite-size summaries, ideally with check-boxes at the bottom of the page. But Trump, poised to become the first major-party presidential nominee since Dwight Eisenhower who had not previously held elected office, appears to have an unusually light appetite for reading.

He said in a series of interviews that he does not need to read extensively because he reaches the right decisions “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.”
Jane Mayer reports at The New Yorker about Tony Schwartz, who ghosted The Art of the Deal.
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, and even then . . . ” Schwartz trailed off, shaking his head in amazement. He regards Trump’s inability to concentrate as alarming in a Presidential candidate. “If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,” he said.
But Schwartz believes that Trump’s short attention span has left him with “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.” He said, “That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source—information comes in easily digestible sound bites.” He added, “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.” During the eighteen months that he observed Trump, Schwartz said, he never saw a book on Trump’s desk, or elsewhere in his office, or in his apartment.
In my phone interview with Trump, he initially said of Schwartz, “Tony was very good. He was the co-author.” But he dismissed Schwartz’s account of the writing process. “He didn’t write the book,” Trump told me. “I wrote the book. I wrote the book. It was my book. And it was a No. 1 best-seller, and one of the best-selling business books of all time. Some say it was the best-selling business book ever.” (It is not.) Howard Kaminsky, the former Random House head, laughed and said, “Trump didn’t write a postcard for us!”

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Trump Solicits Illegal Foreign Contributions

Donald Trump's campaign is still soliciting illegal donations from foreign individuals — including members of foreign governments at their official email addresses — weeks after the campaign was put on notice by watchdog groups.
Foreign members of parliament from the United Kingdom and Australia confirmed to The Hill that they received fundraising solicitations from the Trump campaign as recently as July 12 — two weeks after a widely publicized Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint issued on June 29 by nonpartisan watchdogs Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center.

These latest campaign finance violations were first reported by the investigative websiteWhoWhatWhy and have been confirmed by The Hill.
The Trump campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.