ON THE RECORD. . .

"Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That’ll be next." -- Donald Trump 7/27/16

"If you really like Donald Trump, that's great, but if you don't, you have to vote for me anyway. You know why? Supreme Court judges, Supreme Court judges. Have no choice, sorry, sorry, sorry. You have no choice. ... if Hillary Clinton appoints judges: "You're going to end up with another Venezuela. You're going to be Venezuela." -- Trump. 7/28/16

"I don't think name calling has any place in public life, and I thought that was unfortunate that the President of the United States would use a term like that, let alone laced into a sentence like that." -- Mike Pence defending the man whose only notable domestic policy achievement has been coming up with insulting nicknames for his opponents. 7/29/16.

The Democratic convention was "about loving America. The Republican convention was about loving Trump. If you didn't love Trump, it offered nothing." -- Prominent conservative writer Jonah Goldberg. 7/29/16

“He’s a predator.” -- Laurie Luhn, the Fox cable network’s former director of booking ,whose job required her to do many things she is now horrified by, including luring young female Fox employees into one-on-one situations with Roger Ailes.

“There used to be some things that were sacred in American politics, that you don’t do, like criticizing the parents of a fallen soldier, even if they criticize you. If you’re going to be leader of the free world, you have to be able to accept criticism, and Mr. Trump can’t.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), adding that “unacceptable” doesn’t even begin to describe Donald Trump’s behavior.” 7/31/16

“Donald Trump said that maybe I wasn’t allowed to say anything. That is not true. My husband asked me if I wanted to speak, but I told him I could not. My religion teaches me that all human beings are equal in God’s eyes. Husband and wife are part of each other; you should love and respect each other so you can take care of the family. When Donald Trump is talking about Islam, he is ignorant. If he studied the real Islam and Koran, all the ideas he gets from terrorists would change, because terrorism is a different religion.” -- Ghazala Khan 7/31/16

“You know, the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that.” — Donald Trump, on whether he would recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

“He is a black soul, and this is totally unfit for the leadership of this country. The love and affection that we have received affirms that our grief — that our experience in this country has been correct and positive. The world is receiving us like we have never seen. They have seen the blackness of his character, of his soul.” -- Khizer Kahnresponding to Trump’s attack on his wife, Khan said the Republican nominee’s words were “typical of a person without a soul.”

“Leadership is not yelling and screaming and intimidating. People like that in Pittsburgh are called a jagoff—Is there any bigger jagoff in the world than Donald Trump?” -- Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and “Shark Tank” star 7/31/16

In a way, the joke’s on the Republican Party: After decades of masquerading as the “stupid party,” that’s what it has become. But if an unapologetic ignoramus wins the presidency, the consequences will be no laughing matter. --Max Boot 7/31/16

“I cannot emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump’s statement. I hope Americans understand that the remarks do not represent the views of our Republican Party, its officers, or candidates….I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation — and he will never be forgotten.” -- John McCain

“Your recent comments regarding the Khan family were repugnant and personally offensive to us. We feel we must speak out and demand you apologize to the Khans, to all Gold Star families, and to all Americans for your offensive, and frankly anti-American comments.”…”Ours is a sacrifice you will never know. Ours is a sacrifice we would never want you to know,”-- A group of 11 “Gold Star” families in a letter to Trump. 8/01/16

“ I can’t look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump. I can’t tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won’t do it.” -- Jeb Bush’s top adviser, Sally Bradshaw, saying she’ll vote for Hillary Clinton.

“Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression. There are certain sacrosanct subjects that no amount of wordsmithing can repair once crossed. Giving one’s life to nation is the greatest sacrifice, followed closely by all Gold Star families, who have a right to make their voices heard.” -- VFW leader Brian Duffy on Donald Trump's comments about Ghazala Khan, the mother of a fallen Muslim Army captain.

“I think the Republican nominee is unfit to be president.” -- President Obama, urging the leaders of the Republican Party to withdraw their backing for his candidacy. 8/02/16

"I’m telling you, November 8th, we’d better be careful because that election is going to be rigged. And I hope the Republicans are watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us." --- Donald Trump insinuating that Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in a fixed election, that Clinton beat Bernie Sanders in a "rigged" primary, and that if he loses it will be because the Democrats rigged the 2016 election for Clinton. 8/02/16

"Take the bitch down" -- A child, who looked no more than 10, after Trump mentioned Hillary Clinton. The mother later defended the child's right to speak and blamed his language on "Democratic schools." 8/02/16 

“We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.” — -- FBI Director James Comey on Hillary’s truthfulness about her State Department emails.

“And the question was 'Did he get in as a U.S. citizen, or was he brought in to Harvard University as a citizen who wasn't from this country?' I don’t know the answer." -- CNN contributor and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski suggesting that President Obama did not release his Harvard transcripts in order to hide that he was not born in the United States.


IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. The DAILY GRILL
2. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
3. From the Late Shows
4. Political Ads/Statements
5. Trump Seeks More Foreign Guest Workers For His Companies
6. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The Kremlin convention
7. Democracy Handbook 
8. Late Night Jokes for Dems
9. The GOP’s war against voting (cont.): The ‘smoking gun’ proving North Carolina Republicans tried to disenfranchise black voters 
10. Polls
11. The Simpsons: 3 a.m.
12. The Borowitz Report: Trump Bolsters Foreign-policy Team By Adding Carson And Palin 
13. Trump refuses to back Paul Ryan and John McCain in their primaries 

OPINION

1. NY TImes Editorial Board: What Was Mr. Trump Thinking?
2. David Leonhardt: The Clear and Present Danger of Donald Trump
3. Kathleen Parker: The GOP is becoming the party of exclusion. Who wants to be a part of that?
4. Michael Vickers: Why Trump Fails—and Clinton Passes—the Commander-in-Chief Test
5. Nicholas Kristof: Did Putin Try to Steal an American Election?
6. David Brooks: The Democrats Win the Summer
7. NY Times Editorial: Hillary Clinton Makes History
8. Trudy Rubin: Worldview: America's safety rests with Clinton 
9. George F. Will: How entangled with Russia is Trump?
10. Jonathan Capehart: There’s no stopping a thin-skinned President Trump from going nuclear
11. Greg Sargent : The Khan fight highlights a huge GOP problem: No one knows how low Trump can go
12. Joy-Ann Reid: All Right, GOP, It’s Time to Dump Donald Trump
13. Paul Krugman: Worthy of Our Contempt
14. Harold Pollack: Joe McCarthy was brought down by attacks on his decency. Trump will lose the same way
15. David Weigel: For Trump, a new ‘rigged’ system: The election itself

FYI  

1. The DAILY GRILL

“I have nothing to with Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia — for anything.” -- Donald Trump 7/27/16

VERSUS

The evidence is clear, from his own words and those of his associates, that he has been eager to business in Russia. One of his sons traveled six times in 18 months trying to do deals — and said “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” The Trump Organization’s general counsel also confirmed that the company has looked at deals in Russia. Without access to Trump’s tax returns — which he has refused to disclose — it may be impossible to tell whether he currently has Russian assets. But he shouldn’t be so quick to suggest he has never had an interest into doing business in Russia. Four Pinocchios-- Washington Post Fact Checker 7/27/16

 

":Sen. Tim Kaine wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag. Shameful." -- North CarolinaRepublican Party 7/28/16

VERSUS

That's a Blue Star Service pin for his son, who's a deployed Marine.  … Ben Amey @BenAmeyTV

 

“Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s script writers write it? I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard, I've employed thousands and thousand's of people, ....” -- Trump questioning whether Khan’s words, and going on to say that he had in fact sacrificed by employing “thousands and thousands of people.” -- Donald Trump 7/30/16

VERSUS

" Khan delivered his broadside without using the teleprompter. There was nothing to put on it, because he had written nothing down.” -- Politico 7/29/15

 

"With her as our commander in chief, our international relations will not be reduced to a business transaction. I also know that our armed forces will not become an instrument of torture, and they will not be engaged in murder or carry out other illegal activities." -- Retired Marine Corps Four-star General John Allen, who served as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. He was President Obama’s top choice to oversee U.S. and NATO operations in Europe, but instead he retired to assist his wife with chronic health issues.

VERSUS

“They had a general named John Allen, and he — I never met him. And he got up and he started talking about Trump, Trump, Trump. Never met him. And you know who he is? He's a failed general." -- Donald Trump 7/29/16

 

“There’s nothing to learn from them.” — Donald Trump, explaining why he won’t release his tax returns. 5/11/16

VERSUS

"Trump falsely claims that voters would learn nothing from his tax returns. To the contrary, voters would learn a lot of information that Trump has long tried to hide from the public. Tax returns would help lift a veil of secrecy about Trump’s finances — and let voters know whether his claims about his wealth and charitable giving are true, or if he’s just a bombastic man behind the curtain akin to the Wizard of Oz. Four Pinocchios." -- Glenn Kessler, Washington Post fact checker. 5/13/16

 

“I hear that baby crying, I like it. I like it. What a baby. What a beautiful baby. Don’t worry.” --Donald Trump 8/02/16

VERSUS

"Actually I was only kidding, you can get that baby out of here." -- Donald Trump 8/02/16

2. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)

Trump Draws Media Criticism For His Connections To Russia After His “Downright Frightening” Statements On NATO http://mediamatters.org/research/2016/07/25/trump-draws-media-criticism-his-connections-russia-after-his-downright-frightening-statements-nato/211871

Rush Limbaugh: In Convention Speech, Hillary Clinton Will Have To "Go Almost Monotone" To Avoid Her "Shrieking Second-Wife Persona" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/07/28/rush-limbaugh-convention-speech-hillary-clinton-will-have-go-almost-monotone-avoid-her-shrieking/211994

Conservative Legal Experts: Trump Is “A Menace,” A “Lunatic,” “A Fascist Thug,” A “‘Useful Idiot’ For Putin,” And A Danger To “Our National Security” http://mediamatters.org/research/2016/07/28/conservative-legal-experts-trump-menace-lunatic-fascist-thug-useful-idiot-putin-and-danger-our/211990

Rush Limbaugh On Hillary Clinton's Nomination: "Doesn't Matter To Me That She's Got A Vagina" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/07/29/rush-limbaugh-hillary-clintons-nomination-doesnt-matter-me-shes-got-vagina/212032

“The Real Hillary Clinton Is ... Clearly A Dictator. She Clearly Despises The Military And Law Enforcement" -- Discredited Anti-Clinton Smear Merchant Gary Byrne:” http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/07/29/discredited-anti-clinton-smear-merchant-gary-byrne-real-hillary-clinton-clearly-dictator/212037

Report: Fox Executives Knew, Covered Up Roger Ailes’ Predatory Sexual Harassment For Over 20 Years. Former Fox Booker Laurie Luhn: Ailes Required “Luring Young Female Fox Employees Into One-On-One Situations" http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/07/29/report-fox-executives-knew-covered-roger-ailes-predatory-sexual-harassment-over-20-years/212038

CNN's Corey Lewandowski Defends Trump’s Attacks On The Khan Family By Claiming Trump Would Not Have Gone To War With Iraq http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/08/01/cnns-corey-lewandowski-defends-trump-s-attacks-khan-family-claiming-trump-would-not-have-gone-war/212054

CNN 's Corey Lewandowski on CNN Tonight defended former boss Donald Trump’s obsession with President Obama’s birth certificate and college transcripts, asking: “Did he get in as a U.S. citizen, or was he brought into Harvard University as a citizen who wasn't from this country?” http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/08/03/after-he-made-birther-remarks-cnns-corey-lewandowski-nightmare-now-national-embarrassment/212139

Right-Wing Media Distort WSJ Article To Claim Obama Administration Made Secret Payment To Iran. The Obama Administration Announced Fund Transfer For Settlement Over Abandoned Arms Deal In January http://mediamatters.org/research/2016/08/03/right-wing-media-distort-wsj-article-claim-obama-administration-made-secret-payment-iran/212156

Alex Jones Suggests Crying Baby At Trump Rally Was “Probably A Plant”  http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/08/03/alex-jones-suggests-crying-baby-trump-rally-was-probably-plant/212160

3. From the Late Shows

John Oliver Mocks Hillary VP Tim Kaine on ‘Colbert’: He Is ‘America’s Stepdad’

http://content.jwplatform.com/previews/pini4Lg6-j24WUgGQ

Trevor Noah on the 2016 presidential race: “It’s embarrassing that this is even a contest.”

https://twitter.com/TheDailyShow/status/758468936585273344

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: WERD: The Lesser of Two Evils

https://youtu.be/LvkFkzpVYJ4

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Charlamagne Tha God: "Donald Trump Is An Insult To America's Intelligence"

https://youtu.be/6sXZfaYl434

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | Turn On, Tune In, Feel Good

https://youtu.be/pPJHdfzZ5rU

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: WERD: What The F?

https://youtu.be/UcSV2MkFENk

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Donald Trump Eats KFC With a Fork and Knife

https://youtu.be/hsVzVlLdqfo

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Seth Knows Why Donald Trump Won’t Release His Tax Returns

https://youtu.be/MyMtQfHjWcA

4. Political Ads/Statements

Democratic National Convention: Solemn Responsibility

https://youtu.be/qznPnKG9zko

5. Trump Seeks More Foreign Guest Workers For His Companies

The presidential candidate is seeking to bring in 78 more servers, housekeepers, and cooks for his Mar-a-Lago resort and nearby golf course. The controversial guest worker program allows employers to import foreign workers, but only when there are no Americans who want the jobs.

Meanwhile, in an email Wednesday, Tom Veenstra, a senior director at Palm Beach’s career services center, said his agency, which is chartered by the state of Florida, has a database of 1,327 Palm Beach County residents interested in server, cook, and chef positions. 7/27/16 Read more at https://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicagarrison/trump-seeks-more-foreign-guestworkers-for-his-companies?utm_term=.aoL1ZO1kP#.pdBaVYaj6

6. Mark Fiore Cartoon: The Kremlin convention

https://vimeo.com/176535466

7. Democracy Handbook

Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef, popularly referred to as the Jon Stewart of the Middle East, travels across 50 states, exploring the ins and outs of our society. http://fusion.net/series/democracy-handbook/

8. Late Night Jokes for Dems

"Bill Clinton said the first two times he proposed to Hillary, she said no. Clinton then said, "So let’s stop all this talk about Hillary’s bad judgement." –Conan O'Brien

"After Michelle Obama’s speech where she said the White House was built by slaves, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said the slaves who built the White House were "well fed" and had "decent lodging." Leave it to Fox News to provide a fair and balanced view of slavery." –Conan O'Brien

"Bernie Sanders said that he knows people are disappointed in the results of the primaries, saying, 'I think it's fair to say nobody is more disappointed than I am.' At which point, Jeb Bush threw his empty Hagen Daazs container at the TV." –Jimmy Fallon

"Donald Trump is now leading Hillary Clinton by 28 points with white voters without a college degree. However, Hillary is ahead by 98 points with voters who went to Trump University." –Conan O'Brien

"Experts are saying that the highlight of the Democratic Convention was Michelle Obama's speech. Melania Trump said she already knows it by heart." –Conan O'Brien

"Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential nominee of a major party. So now little girls everywhere can say, 'One day I'm gonna grow up and run against an insane reality TV star.'" –Conan O'Brien

"Michelle Obama, in her second convention speech of the week, made a very powerful point. She noted that she and her husband wake up every day in a house built by slaves. To which Donald Trump replied, 'Really? Can I get the name of your contractor?'" –Jimmy Kimmel

9. The GOP’s war against voting (cont.): The ‘smoking gun’ proving North Carolina Republicans tried to disenfranchise black voters

The federal court in Richmond found that the primary purpose of North Carolina's voter-ID law wasn't to stop voter fraud, but rather to disenfranchise minority voters. The judges found that the provisions "target African Americans with almost surgical precision."

In particular, the court found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state. "This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)," the judges wrote.

So the legislators made it so that the only acceptable forms of voter identification were the ones disproportionately used by white people. "With race data in hand, the legislature amended the bill to exclude many of the alternative photo IDs used by African Americans," the judges wrote. "The bill retained only the kinds of IDs that white North Carolinians were more likely to possess."  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/29/the-smoking-gun-proving-north-carolina-republicans-tried-to-disenfranchise-black-voters/

10. Polls

Clinton Image Improves Following Conventions: PPP's new national poll, taken completely after both party's conventions, finds that Hillary Clinton emerged with a much more positive image than she had a month ago. Donald Trump meanwhile is just as unpopular as he was before the conventions. Clinton's net favorability improved by 9 points over the last month. She's still not popular, with a -6 net favorability at 45/51, but it's a good deal better than the -15 spread she had at 39/54 a month ago. The gains are particularly attributable to Democrats increasing in their enthusiasm for her, going from giving her a 76/15 rating to an 83/12 one. Trump, on the other hand, is at a -22 net favorability with 36% of voters seeing him favorably to 58% with a negative one. That's barely changed at all from the 35/58 standing we found for him in late June. 7/31/16 Read more at http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2016/07/clinton-image-improves-following-conventions-leads-trump-by-5.html

Landslide for Clinton that some expected is unlikely: Trump voters just hate Clinton too much for a landslide to ever happen. For instance:

• 74% of Trump voters think Clinton should be in prison, to only 12% who disagree.
• By a 66/22 margin they say Clinton is a bigger threat to the United States than Russia. And
• 33% think Clinton even has ties to Lucifer, to 36% say they don’t think so, and 31% are unsure.7/31/16 Read more at http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2015/PPP_Release_National_7302016.pdf

Post-convention bump? Now 46% of voters nationwide say they'll vote for Clinton in November, while 39% say they'll back Trump. The race was tied last week after the Republican convention. Clinton led by a similar margin in June. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/campaign-2016-did-hillary-clinton-get-a-post-convention-bump/

Clinton Widens Her National Lead: A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds Hillary Clinton has extended her lead over Donald Trump to eight points, 43% to 35%. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-poll-idUSKCN10D2GD

11. The Simpsons: 3 a.m.

https://youtu.be/tLSy8Tl2bjs

12. The Borowitz Report: Trump Bolsters Foreign-policy Team By Adding Carson And Palin

After stumbling badly on an interview question about Ukraine, the Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump attempted on Tuesday to reassure voters about his geopolitical expertise by adding the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and the former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to his team of foreign-policy advisers.

“Donald Trump always said that, as President, he would surround himself with the best people,” Trump’s spokesperson, Hope Hicks, said. “In Governor Palin and Dr. Carson, Mr. Trump now has the Dream Team.”

Trump’s spokesperson said that the additions to his foreign-policy brain trust should give voters “great confidence” that a Trump White House would be equal to the challenge of an international crisis. “When that 3 a.m. call comes in, and Mr. Trump is busy on Twitter, Dr. Carson and Governor Palin will be there to take the call,” she said. Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/trump-bolsters-foreign-policy-team-by-adding-carson-and-palin

13. Trump refuses to back Paul Ryan and John McCain in their primaries

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is refusing to back House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in his upcoming primary election, saying in an interview Tuesday that he is “not quite there yet” in endorsing his party’s top-ranking elected official.

Trump also said he was not supporting Sen. John McCain in his primary in Arizona, and he singled out Sen. Kelly Ayotte as a weak and disloyal leader in New Hampshire, a state whose presidential primary Trump won handily.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-refuses-to-endorse-paul-ryan-in-gop-primary-im-just-not-quite-there-yet/2016/08/02/1449f028-58e9-11e6-831d-0324760ca856_story.html

OPINION  

1. NY TImes Editorial Board: What Was Mr. Trump Thinking?

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump crossed a new line by practically inviting Russia, an increasingly aggressive American adversary, to interfere in the presidential election by cyberspying on Hillary Clinton’s email correspondence when she was secretary of state. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump told a news conference. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” And this came just days after fingers started pointing at Russia as the possible culprit in the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers holding emails that became public.

What Mr. Trump should have done was to warn President Vladimir Putin of Russia that if he interfered in the election, American political leaders would be united in imposing consequences of some kind on his nation, as the Republican candidate’s vice-presidential running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, has suggested.

That Mr. Trump has not done so reinforces the growing perception that he is ready and willing to pursue policies favored by Mr. Putin, who has made clear his preference for Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton. News reports have questioned Mr. Trump’s financial dealings with Russian companies, providing another reason he should release his tax returns, like all recent major party presidential candidates.

The bizarre affinity for Mr. Putin is just one reason to question Mr. Trump’s judgment. He has endorsed waterboarding, even though it is illegal; he has argued for retaliating against political enemies and journalists; and he has proposed excluding people from America based on their religion. It grows ever harder to imagine that he could honor the high office to which he aspires. 7/28/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/28/opinion/what-was-mr-trump-thinking.html?emc=edit_ty_20160728&nl=opinion&nlid=74243604

2. David Leonhardt: The Clear and Present Danger of Donald Trump

Trump represents a political threat to the country that is unmatched in our lifetime. He traffics in the language of white supremacy with a wink, a nod and no apologies. He threatens to throw out decades’ old alliances that are the bedrock of American interests. He invites a foreign strongman to intrude in our elections on his behalf.

Every living person who has held the office of the presidency – three Democrats and two Republicans, spanning 32 years in the White House – views Trump as unfit to hold it. Were he to win, the country could enter a period of instability few of us have known.

Will the bracing honesty about Trump work? My instinct is that it will make a difference. Yet after all of 2016’s surprises, I’m deeply humble about anyone’s ability to forecast matters pertaining to Trump.

I do know this: If October rolls around and Trump appears to have a serious chance of winning, many people will wonder if they had done enough to halt his rise. On Wednesday, Obama and the Democrats decided to err on the side of aggressiveness. On principle, it was the right decision.

And it raises a question many Americans should begin to ask themselves: Am I doing enough?http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/07/28/opinion/campaign-stops/Hillary-Clinton-Convention-Day-4.html

3. Kathleen Parker: The GOP is becoming the party of exclusion. Who wants to be a part of that?

A longtime Republican friend texted just as the Democratic National Convention was burying itself in balloons: “I’m sorry,” she said, “I’m a Democrat.”

Another Republican friend called after President Obama spoke Wednesday night: “I’m sorry,” he said, “I’m a Democrat.”

No apologies necessary. But thanks surely go to Donald Trump and his spineless Republican enablers. The party of Lincoln, a sometimes laughable bragging point for diehards whose racial attitudes survived the Civil War intact, is long gone. Its dissolution began at least with Richard Nixon, who embraced a Southern strategy that pandered to racists and set the course for today’s GOP.

With its acceptance of Trump, the party has implicitly embraced the most un-American of litmus tests for citizens and immigrants based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Republicans are becoming ideologues of exclusion and marginalization, with hints of oppression to come.

Who’d want to be a party to that?

Not I. 7/29/16 Read more at  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/conservative-but-not-republican/2016/07/29/a8941a8c-55cf-11e6-b7de-dfe509430c39_story.html

4. Michael Vickers: Why Trump Fails—and Clinton Passes—the Commander-in-Chief Test

Trump talks tough about destroying the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but his strategy for dealing with global jihadist groups is a poor one, focused almost exclusively on banning Muslims from traveling or immigrating to the United States. This would not only do little to diminish the threat posed by radical Islamists, it would feed the global jihadi narrative that we are at war with Islam. His alienation of Muslims at home and abroad, moreover, would make it extremely difficult to gain the intelligence and security cooperation we need to disrupt threats.

Trump’s bluster about ordering our national security professionals to waterboard detainees and “more” is deeply troubling on multiple levels. Suffice it to say, were such an order to be carried out, it would end up only weakening American power and placing our professionals in grave legal jeopardy.

Trump’s ideas for handling the great powers are equally unsound. His Russia strategy seems to be little more than appeasement. He is doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding by rejecting lethal support for Ukraine and questioning the U.S. commitment to NATO. He has yet to utter a peep about the Russian hybrid warfare threat—Putin’s use of proxy war and conventional military power to subvert and invade his neighbors. Trump is likewise silent on Russian covert political influence operations and cyberthreats.

Just as we needed an experienced and steady hand to guide us safely through the early years of the Cold War, we need an experienced and steady hand to guide us through the current challenges to American leadership and world order. Secretary Clinton has the temperament, national security experience and strategic judgment to be an outstanding commander in chief. Donald Trump does not. I’m with her. 7/27/16 Read more at http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/07/2016-national-security-military-defense-commander-in-chief-test-trump-clinton-214104

5. Nicholas Kristof: Did Putin Try to Steal an American Election?

Some foreign leaders settle for stealing billions of dollars. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, may have wanted to steal something even more valuable: an American presidential election.

The reason Moscow favors Trump isn’t some conspiracy. It’s simply that Putin dislikes Clinton, while Trump’s combination of international ignorance and catastrophic policies would benefit Putin. In particular, Trump’s public doubts about NATO renounce more than half a century of bipartisan orthodoxy on how to deal with Russia, and undermine the Western alliance that checks Putin.

One nightmare of security specialists is Russia provoking unrest among ethnic Russians in Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania and then using rioting as an excuse to intervene. NATO members would be obliged to respond, but frankly it’s not clear that they would — and Trump’s loose rhetoric increases the risk of paralysis and a collapse of the alliance.

In that sense, Trump poses a national security risk to the West, and that’s reason enough Putin would be thrilled to see him elected president.7/28/16 Read more at  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/28/opinion/did-putin-try-to-steal-an-american-election.html

6. David Brooks: The Democrats Win the Summer

Trump has abandoned the Judeo-Christian aspirations that have always represented America’s highest moral ideals: toward love, charity, humility, goodness, faith, temperance and gentleness.

He left the ground open for Joe Biden to remind us that decent people don’t enjoy firing other human beings.

Trump has abandoned the basic modesty code that has always ennobled the American middle class: Don’t brag, don’t let your life be defined by gilded luxuries.

He left the ground open for the Democrats to seize middle-class values with one quick passage in a Tim Kaine video — about a guy who goes to the same church where he was married, who taught carpentry as a Christian missionary in Honduras, who has lived in the same house for the last 24 years.

He left the ground open for Barack Obama to remind us that our founders wanted active engaged citizens, not a government run by a solipsistic and self-appointed savior who wants everything his way. 7/29/16 Read more at http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/07/29/opinion/the-democrats-win-the-summer.html

7. NY Times Editorial: Hillary Clinton Makes History

When Barack Obama was inaugurated as the nation’s first African-American president, historians wondered what combination of qualifications, experience and personality made him, of all black leaders, the one to break through that barrier. Such questions are, if anything, even sharper for Mrs. Clinton. Is she the nominee because she has more relevant experience than just about any candidate for the presidency, or because she is the wife of a former president? Skeptical voters have scrutinized her age, voice, tone, even clothing as qualifiers for the White House. Small wonder women make up less than one-fifth of Congress, and only six are governors.

Mrs. Clinton’s rise has not been smooth or particularly graceful. Some of her positions seem born more of political expediency than conviction. She can be secretive and defensive. Her failure to hold an open news conference for months shows a reluctance to submit to legitimate questions. Her candidacy itself is an act of courage; greater transparency would demonstrate that she does not intend to govern from a position of fear. Her challenge now is to persuade voters to judge her on her merits and ideas, rather than her gender or her husband’s record.

What is already clear is that Mrs. Clinton has had to work fiercely hard, under a withering scrutiny no male candidate would face, and that that hard work has now resulted in a profound service to the nation: A short time ago, the idea that a woman would attain her party’s presidential nomination was beyond audacious; it no longer is. 7/29/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/29/opinion/hillary-clinton-makes-history.html

8. Trudy Rubin: Worldview: America's safety rests with Clinton

The most urgent reason is the need to prevent a mercurial, ill-informed hothead from ever having his hand on the nuclear button. The second reason is that Clinton has a particular skill set that suits these unstable times.

Donald Trump has shown over and over that he doesn't have the temperament to be commander-in-chief. He flies off the handle at criticism and shoots off his mouth with reckless abandon (like his call for Russia to hack and release Clinton's emails).

Many Trump supporters appear to believe he can compensate for his flaws by surrounding himself with foreign-policy heavy hitters. But he's failed to do so. Whereas Ronald Reagan, to whom Trump compares himself, had a vast array of foreign-policy advisers and a clear ideology when he ran for president, Trump has neither.

Trump has already terrified America's allies and thrilled our adversaries with his talk of dismantling our key alliances with NATO, Japan, and South Korea, and his praise for authoritarian leaders in Russia and China. He has suggested ditching an array of treaties that would undercut important international institutions. 7/31/16 Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/trudy_rubin/20160731_Worldview__America_s_safety_rests_with_Clinton.html

9. George F. Will: How entangled with Russia is Trump?

To gauge the opportunism and hypocrisy that define Donald Trump’s Republican Party, consider this: Imagine the scalding rhetoric that would have boiled from the likes of Newt Gingrich, that Metternich of many green rooms, if Hillary Clinton had offhandedly undermined the collective security architecture of U.S. foreign policy since NATO was created in 1949.

Vladimir Putin’s regime is saturating Europe with anti-Americanism, buying print and broadcast media, pliable journalists and other opinion leaders, and funding fringe political parties, think tanks and cultural institutions. (Putin is again following Hitler’s playbook; read Alan Furst’s historical novel “Mission to Paris,” set in prewar France.) Putin is etching with acid a picture of America as ignorant, narcissistic and, especially, unreliable. Trump validates every component of this indictment, even saying that the U.S. commitment to NATO’s foundational principle — an attack on one member is an attack on all — is not categorical.

It is unclear whether any political idea leavens the avarice of Trump and some of his accomplices regarding today’s tormented and dangerous Russia. Speculation about the nature and scale of Trump’s financial entanglements with Putin and his associates is justified by Trump’s refusal to release his personal and business tax information. Obviously he is hiding something, and probably more than merely embarrassing evidence that he has vastly exaggerated his net worth and charitableness.

In Wednesday’s news conference, Trump said, “I have nothing to do with Russia.”Donald Trump Jr. says, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Trump Sr. can end the speculation by providing information. If, however, he continues his tax information stonewall, it will be clear that he finds the speculation less damaging than the truth would be, which itself is important information.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-entangled-with-russia-is-trump/2016/07/29/d5255d10-54e7-11e6-b7de-dfe509430c39_story.html

10. Jonathan Capehart: There’s no stopping a thin-skinned President Trump from going nuclear

If the startling lapses in judgment and deficiencies of temperament on display by Donald Trump over the past few days haven’t sufficiently freaked you out, then the prospect of the Republican presidential nominee becoming president of the United States with control of the nuclear codes most certainly will. And if it doesn’t, I hope you’ll be reasonably panicked after reading this.

Trump’s fingers on the nuclear button is such a frightening prospect that it is coming up with greater frequency. “Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can’t make snap decisions,” said first lady Michelle Obama last Monday. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said last Thursday, “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.” Even Trump’s “Art of the Deal” ghostwriter Tony Schwartz told Jane Mayer of the New Yorker magazine, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

That might sound a bit hyperbolic or even laughable. But I’m taking Schwartz’s assertion seriously after talking to Malcolm Nance, a counterterrorism and intelligence consultant who runs the Terror Asymmetrics Project and is author of the New York Times bestseller “Defeating ISIS: Who they are, how they fight, what they believe.”

“The president has almost 100 percent control over the launch of nuclear weapons in any circumstance and under any condition he so chooses,” Nance told me in Philadelphia last week. “He needs to consult no one and can, if mad with power, personal vendetta or feeling national rage, launch an attack that the Constitution and his staffers cannot control.” 8/01/16 Read more at  https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/08/01/theres-no-stopping-a-thin-skinned-president-trump-from-going-nuclear/

11. Greg Sargent: The Khan fight highlights a huge GOP problem: No one knows how low Trump can go

As Peter Wehner, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush,put it: “Trump is a man of sadistic cruelty. With him there’s no bottom.” If this is right, and Trump sinks even lower, leaving no alternative but to cut him loose, Republicans such as Ryan will have done so not in defense of their own principles, but because events forced them to.

Now, it is always possible that Trump will not sink any lower and will suddenly improve. But that is now looking like a much bigger gamble than it did before Trump’s war with the Khans began.

One last point: This ongoing battle with the Khan family tests one of the core assumptions Trump has made about this race, which is that he can win the presidency largely through sheer media dominance. As I’ve reported, the Clinton campaign questions this assumption, arguing that even if Trump is very good at sucking up all the media oxygen, the antics he’s resorted to in order to do so will only drive up his negatives further and prevent him from broadening his appeal among key voter groups that will help decide this national election. Trump’s war with the Khans is certainly allowing him to dominate the media. Soon we’ll see whether it’s helping him or doing even more damage 8//01/16. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/08/01/the-khan-family-highlights-a-huge-gop-problem-no-one-knows-how-low-trump-can-go/

12. Joy-Ann Reid: All Right, GOP, It’s Time to Dump Donald Trump

For the Grand Old Party Men, it’s the Republican bunker or bust.

It seems that no fact pattern, no matter how alarming or damaging, can shake the support of politicians who despite bitter criticism of Trump’s serial outrages, are loath to abandon him, for fear of jeopardizing their own political futures, which they clearly believe depend on the furious, terrified voters still hoisting the Midnight Authoritarian on their shoulders, waving their pitchforks at the future.

It’s left to a handful of Republicans—mostly women, with no elections to lose: anadviser to Jeb Bush, and most notably CEO and former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who says she will both vote and raise money for Hillary Clinton; plus retiring Congressman Richard Hanna of New York—to lead the parade away from the nominee. The only Republican with a race on the line in November who stands firmly against Trump is Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, whose re-election is probably doomed anyway.

For the rest, so long as Trump is not Hillary Clinton, they are with him, come what may (or “hoping to be persuaded” to his cause by some sudden change in the septuagenarian’s fundamental character).

History will, and should, remember. 8.02.16 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/08/03/all-right-gop-it-s-time-to-dump-donald-trump.html

13. Paul Krugman: Worthy of Our Contempt

Even if you don’t like Mrs. Clinton or what she stands for, it’s hard to see how you could view her possible victory with horror. And it’s hard to see how you could view Mr. Trump’s possible victory any other way.

How, then, can rational Republicans justify supporting Mr. Trump, or even remaining neutral, which is in effect giving him half a vote?

For rank-and-file Republicans, it’s presumably about feelings. Having spent so many years denouncing Democrats in general and Mrs. Clinton in particular, they have a hard time admitting that someone else could be much, much worse. But democracy isn’t about making a statement, it’s about exercising responsibility. And indulging your feelings at a time like this amounts to dereliction of your duty as a citizen.

And whatever one may say about ordinary voters, the real sinners here are Republican leaders — people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell — who are actively supporting a candidate they know poses a danger to the nation.

It’s not hard to see why they’re doing this. Opposing their party’s nominee, no matter how awful he is, would probably end up being a career killer.

But there are times when you’re supposed to put such considerations aside. The willingness of some people who know better to support Donald Trump is understandable; it’s also despicable. 8/01/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/01/opinion/worthy-of-our-contempt.html

14. Harold Pollack: Joe McCarthy was brought down by attacks on his decency. Trump will lose the same way.

Sixty-five years ago, America faced the challenge of a snarling demagogue, who captured the imagination of millions by fusing legitimate fears of an external enemy with the cultural, regional and demographic resentments of people who disliked the changing nature of our postwar country. Then, as now, a demagogue could draw upon widespread weariness with imperfect and occasionally complacent liberal leaders, important or petty security scandals, the grind of military stalemate in an inconclusive long war.

Then, as now, the demagogue benefited from apologists and enablers who privately wanted him defeated, but who would not take risks or bear political costs to openly confront him. Then, as now, his political adversaries were divided and hesitant in their efforts to formulate an effective response. Then, as now, parts of the Republican Party gave a vicious demagogue a congenial political home.

Like McCarthy, Trump derives political advantage from sheer shamelessness, his willingness to wildly attack others. Yet shamelessness creates vulnerabilities and blind spots, too. Trump’s words betray a strange, indecency toward two Gold Star parents grieving the loss of their son.

Millions of voters are tempted to embrace sweeping rhetoric directed against Muslim Americans and other minorities. That’s a reality of American life. But these attacks lose their potency when they’re directed not against abstraction but particular, sympathetic human beings. Americans saw for themselves that Khizr Khan is the better man, the better American, than Donald Trump ever will be. 8/01/16 Read more at Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/08/01/joe-mccarthy-was-brought-down-by-attacks-on-his-decency-trump-will-lose-the-same-way/

15. David Weigel: For Trump, a new ‘rigged’ system: The election itself

Donald Trump, trailing narrowly in presidential polls, has issued a warning to worried Republican voters: The election will be “rigged” against him — and he could lose as a result.

Trump pointed to several court cases nationwide in which restrictive laws requiring voters to show identification have been thrown out. He said those decisions open the door to fraud in November.

“If the election is rigged, I would not be surprised,” he told The Washington Post in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “The voter ID situation has turned out to be a very unfair development. We may have people vote 10 times.”

Those comments followed a claim Trump made Monday, to an audience in Ohio, that “the election is going to be rigged.” That same day, in an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, he beseeched Republicans to start “watching closely” or the election will be “taken away from us” through fraud.

Like much of what Trump says, the “rigged” riff defies the recent norms of politics. And it taps into fears that long predate his campaign. One is a growing and unsubstantiated worry that elections are being stolen. The other is a broader unease that regular Americans are being cheated by Wall Street, by Washington and by a duplicitous media.

Those worries have found voice in both parties this year, with Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) both rallying their supporters during the Republican and Democratic primaries with the assessment that the system is rigged. Now, Trump is reviving the theme to highlight the possibility of voter fraud in November.

“The idea that the person who won the presidency did so illegitimately is not new,” said Jesse Walker, the author of “The United States of Paranoia,” a history of conspiracy theories. “What’s new is the possibility of a possible loser in the presidential contest making an issue out of it. I can’t think of another example in the last century.” 8/02/16 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/for-trump-a-new-rigged-system-the-election-itself/2016/08/02/d9fb33b0-58c4-11e6-9aee-8075993d73a2_story.html