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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dear California Democrats: This Is Not a Good Look on You

In Defying the Odds, we discuss problems facing the Democratic Party.  The just-concluded state convention in California is a good example.

Dan Walters at The Sacramento Bee:
One might think that a political party wielding virtually total control of the nation’s most populous state – i.e. Democrats in California – would be satisfied.

One would be wrong because of a dependable political axiom – by eliminating competition with the rival party, hegemony breeds internal conflict.
That axiom was on display Saturday at a state Democratic convention in Sacramento as the party’s very liberal professional leadership was buffeted by insurgents with even more leftish agendas, such as universal health insurance, free college educations, a ban on fracking, and more aggressive action on climate change.
Also at The Bee, Christopher Cadelago and Angela Hart:
State Democrats’ three-day convention had a raucous start Friday, as liberal activists booed and heckled Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez after marching from the state Capitol to promote a universal heath care program.
The leader of the nurses’ union that opposed Perez’s recent election had just warned California Democrats that they would put up primary election challengers against lawmakers if they don’t support a bill to create public-funded, universal healthcare.
“They cannot be in denial anymore that this is a movement that can primary them,”
RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, told hundreds of nurses and health care advocates gathered for a rally at the Capitol.
...
As Perez launched into a riff about shared party values, California Democratic Party John Burton told activists he backed universal healthcare before many of them were born, in 1998. He jabbed at a protester: “Put your (expletive) sign down...We’re all for it.”
Cathleen Decker at The Los Angeles Times:
Burton regained his typically cantankerous posture when he closed his farewell by addressing President Trump — bluntly, directly and defiantly.
“Now, all together,” he told the delegates, preparing to hurl an F-bomb. “[Expletive] Donald Trump.”
He raised both middle fingers toward the crowd.
For a moment, protests were forgotten, and the audience roared.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Security-Risk-In-Chief

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.
The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.
Aaron Blake writes at The Washington Post:
President Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey on May 9. And then he basically spent the next two days doing whatever he could to make it look like he had just committed obstruction of justice.
First came that infamous NBC News interview on May 11. After two days of the White House claiming the Justice Department had initiated Comey's firing and that it was because of the Hillary Clinton investigation, Trump said to hell with it; he blurted out that he was determined to fire Comey all along and that the Russia investigation was on his mind when he decided to do it.
Now the New York Times is reporting that, in a meeting with top Russian officials on the day in-between — you know, the same meeting in which he gave highly classified information to those same Russians — Trump expressed relief at having taken Comey off his tail.
“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Trump said, according to a document summarizing the meeting that a U.S. official read to the Times. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
Firing Comey in the first place was a highly suspect move. That's because Comey, as FBI director, was leading the Russia investigation and had recently announced the probe was targeting alleged Russian ties to Trump's campaign. So the White House set about saying this was Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein's decision and issued a memo from him focused solely on the Clinton investigation. Vice President Pence even said repeatedly that Russia was “not what this is about.”

I am often astonished at the President's tweets, and how he calls media in his own country as "fake news." But there's something else /1
I was a Sovietologist back in the day. I was constantly trying to unpack what I thought was happening behind the Kremlin's walls. /2
I would have given anything for Andropov or Gorbachev to give me a running narrative of their mood and inner thoughts in real time. /3
As an analyst, including my time years ago as a CIA consultant doing research in the 80s, I'd have considered that a gold mine. /4
And I wonder if, and or how, anyone is considering the fact that this is basically a raw feed of POTUS thoughts to foreign analysts. /5
Because while none of the matters are classified - at least AFAIK - tweets are pieces of the president's moods and thoughts that day. /6
This only occurred to me today as I realized how easily POTUS tweets were giving me a minute by minute image of his reactions to Yates. /7
Because while none of the matters are classified - at least AFAIK - tweets are pieces of the president's moods and thoughts that day. /6
This only occurred to me today as I realized how easily POTUS tweets were giving me a minute by minute image of his reactions to Yates. /7
This only occurred to me today as I realized how easily POTUS tweets were giving me a minute by minute image of his reactions to Yates. /7
This is the kind of instant leadership portrait that I wouldn't want a foreign nation to have when gaming out a crisis with us. /8
Americans might well appreciate the candor. But I thought Obama did too much thinking out loud in front of cameras. This is far more. /9
It is, from a foreign intel analyst's viewpoint, in some ways probably more valuable than classified memos. It's real and instant. /10
It is, from a foreign intel analyst's viewpoint, in some ways probably more valuable than classified memos. It's real and instant. /10
It shows how the President reacts under stress. It's something you never want the enemy to know. And yet it's all out there, every day. /11
It's also a window into how the President processes information - or how he doesn't process info he doesn't like. Solid gold info. /12

It's also a window into how the President processes information - or how he doesn't process info he doesn't like. Solid gold info. /12
These are all things I would have given anything to know, even just a fraction of this, in an analysis of any Soviet or Russia leader. /13