ON THE RECORD. . .
"The death penalty, as administered in our state, fails to serve any legitimate penological goal.” -- Washington State’s Supreme Court finding that the death penalty, as currently practiced violates Washington’s Constitution.
“Kelly is ‘ineffective’ and suffers from ‘personal insecurity, Priebus is a rat; and Bannon is a hypocrite and a weirdo.” -- Short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci escalates multiple long-running battles with his Washington colleagues while chiseling a heroic Trump, the in the “Blue-Collar President,” to be published on 23 October.
“Governor Wolf, let me tell you, between now and November 6th you’d better put a catcher’s mask on your face, because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes. I’m going to win this for the state of Pennsylvania, and we’re throwing you out of office.” -- Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner (R) threatening his opponent, incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf (D).
“I’m not supposed to speak ill of David Hogg because he is a ‘survivor.’ Apparently if you survive horrific events, that makes the stupidity spewing out of your mouth above reproach. I disagree. Hogg can burn in hell, I don’t care what he survived. Survivors who wage war on my country are my enemies.” -- Steven Baleshiski (R), a legislative candidate in Connecticut who quit his race after losing town committee backing.
“He was a strange dude. I remember he would take a bottle of glue — we didn’t have glue sticks in those days — and he would pour the glue on his arm, let it dry, peel it off and then eat it… he had such strange personal habits. He was a loner and isolated and off by himself all the time.” — Teacher Nikki Fiske, recounting having White House adviser Stephen Miller in her third grade class.
“So, there’s theories that — there’s infinite amounts of universe and there’s alternate universe, so it’s very important for me to get Hoover out, because in an alternate universe, I am him. And I have to go and get him free.” -- Rapper Kanye West, pleading to Donald Trump for clemency for Larry Hoover, a convicted murderer and gang kingpin.
“There’s a lot of things affecting our mental health that makes us do crazy things that puts us back into that trap door called the 13th Amendment. I did say abolish, with the hat on, because why would you keep something around that’s a trap door? If you’re building a floor, the Constitution is the base of our industry, of our country, of our company. Would you build a trap door that if you mess up, that if accidentally something happens, then you fall and you end up next to the Unabomber? You gotta remove all that trap door out of the relationship. The four gentleman that wrote the 13th Amendment — and I think the way the universe works it’s perfect, we don’t have 13 floors, do we? The four gentlemen that wrote the 13th Amendment, they didn’t look like the people they were amending. Also at that point it was illegal for blacks to read, or African-Americans to read, so that meant if you actually read the amendment you’d get locked up and turned into a slave. So what I think is we don’t need sentences, we need pardons, we need to talk to people.” - -Kanye West on the 13th amendment during his bizarre meeting with Donald Trump
"What they're doing is systematically dismantling every aspect of government that works for the benefit of the population. This goes from workers' rights to pollution of the environment, rules for protecting consumers, anything you can think of is being dismantled.” -- Noam Chomsky. Watch th video HERE.
“I took this test and released the results for anyone who cares to see because I’ve got nothing to hide. What are YOU hiding, Donald Trump? Release your tax returns – or the Democratic-led House will do it for you soon enough. Tick-tock, Mr President.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, on Twitter,
“You are a disgusting misogynist and an embarrassment to the United States. Bring everything you have, because we are going to demonstrate to the world what a complete shyster and liar you are,” Avenatti wrote in his tweet. “How many other women did you cheat on your wife with while you had a baby at home?” -- Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti firing back at Donald Trump after Trump took to Twitter to call him a “3rd rate lawyer” and his client a “Horseface.”
“My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years. Dr. John Trump. And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject (climate change), but I have a natural instinct for science ...." -- Trump, whose claim to scientific competence rests on his belief that science is a matter of instinct, and this instinct is passed on genetically, as evidenced by his uncle.
“I think we have to find out what happened first. Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.” -- Trump comparing the case of Khashoggi, who Turkish officials have said was murdered in the Saudis’ Istanbul consulate, to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Satire by Andy Borowitz: Sympathetic Voters Hope to End Melania’s Suffering in 2020
One day after Melania Trump pronounced herself “the most bullied person in the world,” millions of American voters vowed to put an end to her suffering in 2020.
In interviews across the country, sympathetic voters promised to do everything in their power to insure that, as of November, 2020, Melania would no longer be the target of the vicious bullying that has made her the most persecuted human on the planet.
“I never realized just how much she was suffering as First Lady,” Carol Foyler, a voter in Lansing, Michigan, said. “It’s up to us as voters to rescue her.”
“It was devastating to learn about the torment Melania has been subjected to,” Harland Dorrinson, a voter in Scottsdale, Arizona, said. “I wanted to reach out to her and say, ‘Hang in there, Melania—in two years, no one will ever bully you again.’ ”
But Tracy Klugian, of Akron, Ohio, echoed the views of many voters by saying that she wished Melania’s ordeal could end “much sooner” than 2020.
“If only this nightmare could be over tomorrow,” she said. “As Melania would say, that would be best.” https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/
2. Budget Deficit Jumps Nearly 17% in 2018
The federal budget deficit swelled to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, the Treasury Department said on Monday, driven in large part by a sharp decline in corporate tax revenues after the Trump tax cuts took effect.
The deficit rose nearly 17 percent year over year, from $666 billion in 2017. It is now on pace to top $1 trillion a year before the next presidential election. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/us/politics/federal-deficit-2018-trump-tax-cuts.html
3. McConnell Blames Entitlements, Not GOP, for Rising s
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blamed rising federal s and debt on a bipartisan unwillingness to contain spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and said he sees little chance of a major deficit reduction deal while Republicans control Congress and the White House. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-16/mcconnell-blames-entitlements-not-gop-for-rising-deficits
4. Gender gap helps keep Democrats in front — CBS News poll
A new CBS News poll in key battleground districts finds Democrats maintain an edge in the battle for control of the House of Representatives, 47% to 44%.
Democrats are being helped by a gender gap in the race for the House in these key districts: Men are backing Republican candidates by 7 percentage points, while women are supporting Democrats by 12 points. The gender gap has widened somewhat since last month. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gender-gap-helps-keep-democrats-in-front-cbs-news-poll/
5. In Departure From Past Elections, Seniors Lean Toward Democrats
Republicans about losing their status as advocates for older Americans: an Oct. 11-14 Morning Consult/Politico survey finds Democrats hold a 19-point advantage over Republicans among the group of voters who prioritize seniors’ issues such as Medicare and Social Security. https://morningconsult.com/2018/10/17/in-departure-from-past-elections-seniors-lean-toward-democrats/
6. Pew Research: Little Partisan Agreement on the Pressing Problems Facing the U.S
Majorities of registered voters who support Democratic candidates for Congress rate 13 of 18 issues as ‘very big’ problems facing the country. Among voters who favor the Republican candidates in their districts, majorities rate only five issues as very big problems.
More striking, several of the issues that rank among the most serious problems among Democratic voters – including how minorities are treated by the criminal justice system, climate change, the rich-poor gap, gun violence and racism – are viewed as very big problems by fewer than a third of Republican voters. http://www.people-press.org/2018/10/15/little-partisan-agreement-on-the-pressing-problems-facing-the-u-s/
7. More Americans disapprove of Kavanaugh’s confirmation than support it, new poll shows
More Americans disapprove of Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court than approve, and a narrow majority says congressional investigation of the new justice should not end with his elevation to the court, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/politics/washington-post-abc-news-poll-oct-8-11-2018/2340/
8. Ryan Zinke Has Fired the DOI Inspector General
At last count, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was the subject of 14 separate government investigations. (A new record!) But that number could soon be zero. That’s because Zinke just fired the Department of the Interior’s acting inspector general.
The news doesn’t stop there. Not only did Mary Kendall, the acting inspector general, not learn she was being replaced until The Hill broke the news this morning, but her replacement will likely be able to fill the role without needing to go through Senate confirmation. https://www.outsideonline.com/2355936/zinke-fires-inspector-general
9. Sarah Huckabee Sanders says it's 'biblical to enforce the law' when asked about separating families at the border
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions cited the Bible on Thursday in defense of the Trump administration's criminal prosecution of adults who cross the border illegally, effectively separating them from their migrant children.
“Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order," he said.
When CNN’s Jim Acosta asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to elaborate on the attorney general’s comments, the conversation turned tense.
“Where does it say in the Bible that it’s moral to take children away from their mothers?” Acosta asked.
Sanders said she wasn’t aware of Sessions’ comments, but said, “I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law.” http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-sanders-says-it-s-biblical-to-enforce-1529012498-htmlstory.html
10. Trump has made more than 5,000 false or misleading claims
Trump’s tsunami of untruths helped push the count in The Fact Checker’s database past 5,000 on the 601st day of his presidency. That’s an average of 8.3 Trumpian claims a day, but in the past nine days — since our last update — the president has averaged 32 claims a day. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/13/president-trump-has-made-more-than-false-or-misleading-claims/
11. Trump Tells Cabinet Departments to Propose 5% Cuts in Spending
Trump “said he will ask all cabinet departments to cut their budgets by 5 percent next year, after the federal budget deficit swelled to its highest level since 2012 during the first full fiscal year of his presidency.
The U.S. budget deficit grew to $779 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, the highest since 2012 amid a Trump-backed tax-cut package and spending increases. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-17/trump-says-all-cabinet-departments-should-make-5-budget-cuts
12. The DAILY GRILL
“What an impolite arrogant woman. She immediately began insulting our people accusing them of not following the court order, insulting and abusive behavior towards those covered by the pause, blah blah blah,” -- Kelly reportedly wrote to an aide, according to emails obtained by BuzzFeed.
“‘Blah blah blah.’ That’s all he had to say when he was called out for breaking the law and destroying lives. And I don’t know about John Kelly – but there are some men who can only hear ‘blah blah blah’ whenever a woman’s talking. -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
“I don’t like stopping massive amounts of money coming into our country” and “I don’t like stopping an investment of $110 billion in the United States.” -- Donald Trump, explaining to reporters why he does not want to respond to the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Saudi Arabia — and I get along great with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.” -- Trump in 2015
"There was collusion between Hillary, the Democrats and Russia. There was a lot of collusion with them and Russia and lots of other people." -- Donald Trump accusing Hillary Clinton of engaging in a conspiracy with Russia to affect the 2016 election during a campaign at Erie, Pennsylvania.
Seriously, you asked Russia to hack me on national television. -- Hillary Clinton responding to Trump on Twitter
"Sears Holdings Corp. had been mismanaged for years before it declared bankruptcy." -- Donald Trump
Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin was a member of Sears’s board from 2005 until December 2016, and before that was a director for K-Mart Corp., which was acquired by Sears in 2005. -- Bloomberg
“I like the Saudis; they are very nice. I make a lot of money with them. They buy all sorts of my stuff — all kinds of toys from Trump. They pay me millions and hundreds of millions.” — Donald Trump, quoted by CNN at a July 2015 campaign rally.
“For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter). Any suggestion that I have is just more fake news (of which there is plenty)!” — Trump, on Twitter
13. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
Hannity radio guest Bill O'Reilly compares Kavanaugh protesters to Nazis. O'Reilly: "If you look back into 1930, to 1936, this is very similar to what happened in Germany." https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/10/11/hannity-radio-guest-bill-oreilly-compares-kavanaugh-protesters-nazis/221657
Tucker Carlson: Planned Parenthood conducts "human sacrifice rituals." https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/10/12/tucker-carlson-planned-parenthood-conducts-human-sacrifice-rituals/221674
Fox Business guest host calls Democrats a “lynch mob,” says “lynching was not just reserved for one race.” https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/10/12/fox-business-guest-host-calls-democrats-lynch-mob-says-lynching-was-not-just-reserved-one-race/221673
Sean Hannity blames Democrats for violence committed by pro-Trump group, the Proud Boys. Hannity blames Kyrsten Sinema, Alec Baldwin, Bernie Sanders, Maxine Waters, Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton. https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/10/15/sean-hannity-blames-democrats-violence-committed-pro-trump-group-proud-boys/221691
Fox host worries that investigating Saudi Arabia's role in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi could raise the price of oil. https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/10/15/fox-host-worries-investigating-saudi-arabias-role-disappearance-jamal-khashoggi-could-raise-price/221690
Moderator’s question in Minnesota governor debate draws out candidates’ starkly different views on climate change. Democrat Tim Walz: Climate action "makes good economic sense." Republican Jeff Johnson: Climate action "just won’t make a difference." https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/10/15/Moderators-question-in-Minnesota-governor-debate-draws-out-candidates-starkly-different-vi/221671
Tucker Carlson laughs at the mention of babies in cages as part of Trump's family separation policy on the Mexican border. Carlson: "What are you talking about? Babies are being put in cages? ... I missed that part, OK." https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/10/15/tucker-carlson-laughs-mention-babies-cages-part-trumps-family-separation-policy-mexican-border/221694
Fox Business host baffled by rising federal budget deficit after massive GOP tax cuts for the rich. Stuart Varney: "With the economy doing so well ... why is the deficit going up? It's not supposed to be like that, is it?" https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/10/17/fox-business-host-baffled-rising-federal-budget- -after-massive-gop-tax-cuts/221717
Fox host defends Trump's pattern of degrading women by calling Mika Brzezinski "the definition of stupid.” Greg Gutfeld: "Mika is really, God love her, but she's the definition of stupidity." https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2018/10/17/fox-host-defends-trumps-pattern-degrading-women-calling-mika-brzezinski-definition-stupid/221725
Rep. Duncan Hunter ad features conspiracy theorist who claimed immigrants are diseased and Muslims are trying to secretly conquer America. https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/10/17/rep-duncan-hunter-ad-features-conspiracy-theorist-who-claimed-immigrants-are-diseased-and-muslims/221721
14. From the Late Shows
Kanye West Donald Trump Cold Open - SNL: https://youtu.be/4sO5-t3iEYY
15. GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s family benefited from U.S. program for minorities based on disputed ancestry
A company owned by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s in-laws won more than $7 million in no-bid and other federal contracts at U.S. military installations and other government properties in California based on a dubious claim of Native American identity by McCarthy’s brother-in-law, a Times investigation has found.
The Bakersfield company is co-owned by McCarthy’s mother-in-law and employs his father-in-law and sister-in-law, Wages said. McCarthy’s wife was a partner in Vortex in the early 1990s.
Wages says he is one-eighth Cherokee. An examination of government and tribal records by The Times and a leading Cherokee genealogist casts doubt on that claim, however. He is a member of a group called the Northern Cherokee Nation, which has no federal or state recognition as a legitimate tribe. It is considered a fraud by leaders of tribes that have federal recognition. http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-na-pol-mccarthy-contracts-20181014-story.html
16. Democratic lead continues to grow in race for House — CBS News Battleground Tracker
Democrats' position in the contest for the House of Representatives is the best it's been since June, but they remain dependent on turnout of less frequent voters, as well as winning over Trump voters from 2016.
If the elections were held today, Democrats would stand to win 226 seats (more than the 218 needed for a majority) with Republicans winning the remaining 209. The margin of error on each of these estimates is plus or minus 14 seats, which means that there's still the prospect of Republicans retaining control. This range of possible outcomes in the model is wider than it was this summer. Many key races are extremely close, and it wouldn't take much movement from where things stand now to swing many seats in either direction. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/democratic-lead-continues-to-grow-in-race-for-house-cbs-news-poll-battleground-tracker/
17. The Democrats Have a Latino Problem
If the Democratic Party is to regain control of Congress or win back the White House, it will need the support of women and minorities. Almost 7 out of 10 women who are registered to vote disapprove of Donald Trump’s performance in office. The black vote will surely favor the Democratic Party as well. Only 10 percent of black voters support Trump.
Then, there is the Hispanic vote. It would seem reasonable to assume that after three uninterrupted years of demonizing, ostracizing, and persecuting the country’s Hispanic immigrants, Trump and his nativist enablers would have hell to pay with Latinos at the ballot box, come November and beyond. Trouble is, they might not. Hispanic voters have become a maddening puzzle for the Democratic Party. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/10/hispanic-voters-trump-democrats-2018-midterms.html
18. A record number of women are running for office. This election cycle, they didn't wait for an invite
Emily’s List — the leading nonprofit to help and recruit progressive Democratic women to run for office since 1985 — has played witness to that rise in interest. (Emily stands for “Early Money Is Like Yeast — it makes the dough rise.”)
“Recruiting means just that — going out to find women to run,” said Emily Cain, the group’s executive director. “But in our history — the first 30-some years — we were not inundated with women coming to us to run for office.”
That changed in 2016. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-women-office-20181010-story.html
19. Trump administration weighs new family-separation effort at border
The White House is actively considering plans that could again separate parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, hoping to reverse soaring numbers of families attempting to cross illegally into the United States.
“One option under consideration is for the government to detain asylum-seeking families together for up to 20 days, then give parents a choice: Stay in family detention with your child for months or years as your immigration case proceeds, or allow children to be taken to a government shelter so other relatives or guardians can seek custody. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/trump-administration-weighs-new-family-separation-effort-at-border/2018/10/12/45895cce-cd7b-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html
20. Half of College Students Insist They’ll Vote This Year
A new College Reaction survey finds that 50% of college students say they’ll “definitely” vote this year. That includes 57% of Democrats and 40% of Republicans.
If true, that kind of turnout could help Democrats, since Republican students are more lukewarm about whether they’ll vote. But in reality, young voters aren’t exactly known for rushing to the polls in midterm elections. It would take a sharp break with recent history for that to become a reality. https://www.axios.com/college-students-say-theyll-vote-in-2018-66c0e1a3-3416-446d-92c9-6f5cefc8562d.html
21. CNN Poll: Trust in government at all time low
A new CNN/ORC International Poll finds that only 15% of Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what’s right just about always or most of the time.
Said pollster Keating Holland: “The previous all-time low was 17 percent, set in the summer of 1994. Before the Watergate scandal, a majority of Americans said they trusted the government always or most of the time, but since 1974 that has happened only during a brief period in 2001 immediately after the 9/11 terrorism attacks.” http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/28/cnn-poll-trust-in-government-at-all-time-low/
22. Attack Ads Against Some Democrats Try to Portray Them as Terrorists
In California Congressional District 50, just east of San Diego, a Christian Democrat, Ammar Campa-Najjar, has been portrayed by his Republican opponent as an Islamic terrorist sympathizer.
The same allegation has been tossed at Democratic candidates in Ohio and New Jersey, and a challenger to an embattled Republican incumbent in the suburbs of Richmond, Va., has been attacked for her part-time teaching gig at a Muslim high school.
It has been 17 years since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But in an era when President Trump has made fear of immigrants central to his political reign, Republican ad makers have seized on terrorism as a new weapon to wield against Democrats in the midterm races.
The ads — largely produced by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC associated with Speaker Paul D. Ryan — have frequently been criticized by fact checkers and national security groups as truth-stretching digital irruptions designed to rattle residents in districts where normally safe Republicans feel the hooves of disenchanted voters stomping toward them. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/us/politics/terrorism-midterms-advertising.html
23. Trump May Not Be Crazy, But the Rest of Us Are Getting There Fast
During normal times, therapists say, their sessions deal with familiar themes: relationships, self-esteem, everyday coping. Current events don’t usually invade. But numerous counselors said Trump and his convulsive effect on America’s national conversation is giving politics a prominence on the psychologist’s couch not seen since the months after 9/11—another moment in which events were frightening in a way that had widespread emotional consequences.”
Empirical data bolsters the anecdotal reports from practitioners. The American Psychiatric Association in a May survey found that 39% of people said their anxiety level had risen over the previous year—and 56 percent were either ‘extremely anxious’ or ‘somewhat anxious’ about the impact of politics on daily life. A 2017 study found two-thirds of Americans’ see the nation’s future as a ‘very or somewhat significant source of stress.' https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/10/12/donald-trump-anxiety-disorder-pscyhologists-221305
24. Audio Offers Gruesome Details of Jamal Khashoggi Killing, Turkish Official Says
Saudi agents were waiting when Jamal Khashoggi walked into their country’s consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. Mr. Khashoggi was dead within minutes, beheaded, dismembered, his fingers severed, and within two hours the killers were gone, according to details from audio recordings described by a senior Turkish official on Wednesday.
The government of Turkey let out these and other leaks about the recordings on Wednesday, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Ankara, in an escalation of pressure on both Saudi Arabia and the United States for answers about Mr. Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi dissident journalist who lived in Virginia and wrote for The Washington Post. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/17/world/europe/turkey-saudi-khashoggi-dismember.html
1. Paul Waldman: The GOP has successfully liberated itself from shame
As much as people believe that all politicians are liars, the truth is that most of them don’t lie all that often, and except for the occasional high-profile “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” they’re much more likely to mislead voters with claims that are intended to deceive but are still technically accurate in some sense.
Most politicians, that is, other than Donald Trump.
From the moment he became a candidate, it was apparent that he put no effort into finding that tether to the truth — he’d just lie outright, and not care whether he was called on it. I suspect that for most Republicans, the undeniable fact that Trump is by far the most dishonest politician in American history is a source of some discomfort, though they manage to explain it away by telling themselves that he’s a showman, or that even when he’s lying he reveals some deeper and more significant truth.
But as we approach the election that is less than a month away, significant portions of the Republican Party have taken their own dishonesty to a new level.
I don’t mean that candidates and parties haven’t lied about their opponents before, because they have. What’s different now is a level of brazenness, of shamelessness in lying that is absolutely, well, Trumpian. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/10/11/the-gop-has-successfully-liberated-itself-from-shame/
2. Jamil Smith: Watch the Georgia Minority Vote Disappear Before Your Eyes
Brian Kemp, the Republican running against Democrat Stacey Abrams, is blocking more than 53,000 people from the polls over a technicality, continuing his history of voter suppression
Kemp is Georgia Secretary of State, the state’s top elections official. He has decreased the overall number of voters in Georgia since 2012 by more than 1 million — all while purging the rolls in a way that has predominantly affected black residents. Kemp is also the Republican nominee for governor. Democrat Stacey Abrams, the first African American woman nominated by a major party for that job anywhere in the country, is competing against a rival who is also the referee.
This past Tuesday, the deadline for Georgia residents to register to vote, the AP reported that at Kemp’s insistence, more than 53,000 voter applications have been suspended indefinitely. More than two-thirds of those applications were filed by black people. As the AP report makes clear, a lot of people in Georgia don’t even know that this has happened to them. One woman, while trying to demonstrate to her college students how Georgians can verify their registration, discovered that she had been removed from the rolls, herself. She and tens of thousands may have to submit a provisional ballot if their issues are not rectified in the next three weeks and change.
Abrams is within half a percentage point of Kemp in the RealClear Politics average as of this week. Already implicated in a failed effort to close seven of nine polling places in a sparsely populated but majority-black county, it is clear that Kemp and his allies understand how close this race will be. Those 53,000 voters could make all the difference in this race, which he surely realizes. Even if this was a blowout, his move would be suspect. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/georgia-voter-suppression-736362/
3. Paul Waldman: Trump owns the Republican Party, and there's no going back
Republicans, who complain all the time about the stifling hand of big government, use their power to weaponize bureaucracy against people they don’t like. They impose “work requirements” on programs such as Medicaid, forcing recipients to navigate a bureaucratic maze in order to maintain their benefits — and if you make a mistake on a form, you can lose your health insurance. Did someone input an “i” in your name when it’s actually an “l”? Sorry, we’re suspending your registration. Haven’t voted in a couple of elections? We’re purging you from the rolls.
The final and perhaps cruelest piece of this puzzle is that Republicans have closed off the legal avenues for voters to challenge these discriminatory policies. In 2013, the Republican majority on the Supreme Court eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, in a case involving Shelby County, Ala. In a bit of head-spinning illogic, Chief Justice G. Roberts Jr. wrote that “largely because of the Voting Rights Act,” racial discrimination in voting had been greatly reduced, and therefore it was time to gut the Voting Rights Act. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted in her dissent, destroying the Voting Rights Act because it had succeeded in limiting discrimination was “like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.” Because of the Shelby County v. Holder decision, legal challenges to Kemp’s actions are unlikely to succeed.
So we may wind up in Georgia with the same situation we’ve seen over and over again. Republicans gain power, then enact a series of policies and laws to make it harder for Democrats to vote. Democrats undertake a herculean effort to register and turn out voters, but when subsequent elections are extremely close, it turns out that the Republican vote suppression efforts were enough to make the difference.
If Kemp wins, Republicans around the country will celebrate it as further proof of the efficacy of their vote suppression strategy. And knowing that the Supreme Court is likely to endorse whatever new suppression tactics they come up with, they’ll move even more aggressively to restrict access to the ballot. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/10/11/republicans-may-be-about-to-steal-an-election-in-georgia/
4. Paul Krugman: Goodbye, Political Spin, Hello Blatant Lies
Black is white, up is down, and Republicans are defenders of Medicare.
And they aren’t just lying about their own position. They’re also lying about their opponents’. Incredibly, Republicans have spent the years since passage of the A.C.A. accusing Democrats of wanting to destroy Medicare.
All of which brings me to a remarkable op-ed article on health care in USA Today, which was published under Donald Trump’s name this week. (If he actually wrote it, I’ll eat my hairpiece — although, to be fair, it was rambling and incoherent, suggesting he may have played some role in its composition.)
Part of the article claimed that the Trump administration is defending health insurance for Americans with pre-existing conditions, when the reality is that it has tried to destroy that coverage. But mostly it was an attack on proposals for “Medicare for all,” a slogan that refers to a variety of proposals, from universal single-payer to some form of public option.
And what did “Trump” say Democrats would do? Why, that they would “eviscerate” the current Medicare program. Oh, and that they would turn America into Venezuela. Because that’s what has happened to countries that really do have single-payer, like Canada and Denmark.
Why do Republicans think they can get away with such blatant lies? Partly it’s because they expect their Fox-watching followers to believe anything they’re told.
But it’s also because they can still count on enablers in the mainstream news media. After all, why did USA Today approve this piece? Letting Trump express his opinion is one thing; giving him a platform for blatant lies is another. And as fact-checker Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post put it, “Almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.” Even the president of the United States isn’t entitled to his own facts.
So will the G.O.P.’s Big Lie on health care work? We’ll find out in a few weeks. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/11/opinion/republicans-lies-medicare-pre-existing-conditions.html
5. Gabriel Pogrund: Trump calls on blacks to ‘honor’ Republicans with votes, then praises Confederate general Robert E. Lee
LEBANON, Ohio — President Trump praised the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee while asking African American voters to “honor us” by voting Republican at an Ohio rally that featured an unexpected and provocative monologue on America’s Civil War history.
Addressing an open-air rally of around 4,000 supporters, Trump appeared buoyant as he declared that Lee was a “true great fighter” and “great general.” He also said President Abraham Lincoln once had a “phobia” of the Southern general, whose support of slavery has made his legacy a heavily contested and divisive issue.
The comments came during an anecdote about Ohio-born President Ulysses S. Grant’s alleged drinking problems. “So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee,” Trump said. “Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle.”
“And Abraham Lincoln came home, he said, ‘I can’t beat Robert E. Lee,’ ” Trump said. “They said to Lincoln, ‘You can’t use him anymore, he’s an alcoholic.’ And Lincoln said, ‘I don’t care if he’s an alcoholic, frankly, give me six or seven more just like him.’ He started to win.”
Minutes earlier, Trump had hailed African American unemployment numbers and asked black voters to “honor us” by voting Republican in November. “Get away from the Democrats,” he told them. “Think of it: We have the best numbers in history. . . . I think we’re going to get the African American vote, and it’s true.” He also celebrated hip-hop artist Kanye West’s visit to the Oval Office on Thursday, adding: “What he did was pretty amazing.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-calls-on-blacks-to-honor-him-with-votes-then-praises-confederate-general-robert-e-lee/2018/10/12/ab819a9c-ce33-11e8-a360-85875bac0b1f_story.html
6. Jonathan Chait: Calling Democrats the ‘Angry Mob’ is Trump’s Biggest Lie Yet
Donald Trump during a Bikers for Trump event at the Trump National Golf Club on August 11, 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
In the closing weeks of last year’s special election in Georgia, Republicans used footage of a riot by Antifa — a fringe sect that views the Democratic party with contempt — to characterize the moderate Democratic nominee Jon Ossoff as a dangerous loon. In the closing weeks of the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans have taken this message national. Democrats are an “angry mob,” charges President Trump. “You don’t hand matches to an arsonist, and you don’t give power to an angry, left-wing mob. And that’s what the Democrats have become.”
Conservatives have begun repeating Trump’s message. “Yes, Democrats, It’s a Mob,” writes David Harsanyi. “Sorry, Democrats, Progressive Mob Action Is a Real Problem,” declares an almost–identically headlined David French column. Neither Harsanyi nor French is prepared to fully defend all of President Trump’s behavior in this department. What they argue, instead, is that Trump’s sins have been exaggerated and are minor in comparison with those of his opponents. Harsanyi clucks that reporters have been “hypersensitive” about Trump’s “metaphorical overindulgence.” Trump’s just an excitable kid who gets carried away sometimes. French insists “there is no comparison between a ‘lock her up’ chant at a controlled-entry rally and the kinds of direct, in-your-face actions we’ve seen from #Resistance protesters or the Antifa street takeovers we’ve seen in Portland and elsewhere.”
I agree that there’s no comparison between the excesses of a tiny handful of revolutionary cosplayers and the president of the United States calling for the imprisonment of his political opponents. But French, incredibly, means just the opposite: The demonstrators in his mind are far worse.
The threat Trump poses does not excuse the left from upholding democratic standards. (I have made this case repeatedly, in fact.) That said, Trump’s illiberalism only works because respectable conservatives cooperate with his fiction that he is more victim than aggressor. French writes, “It’s time to stop excusing, rationalizing, and minimizing behavior that is dangerous, menacing, and threatening.” Indeed it is. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/calling-democrats-the-angry-mob-is-trumps-biggest-lie-yet.html
7. Joel Mathis: Trump and the end of American ideals
If you watched President Trump's interview with Lesley Stahl on Sunday night's 60 Minutes, you may have noticed that he gave two answers to the question of what America would do if it's proven — as widely believed — that the Saudis murdered Jamal hoggi, a dissident and frequent contributor to The Washington Post.
Trump's first answer was the same answer just about any president would've given: "We would be very upset and angry if that were the case."
The second answer — and probably the more honest one — was also the same answer most presidents would've given, but almost never in public: He talked about military contracts. "I tell you what I don't want to do," Trump told Stahl. "Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, all these com — I don't want to hurt jobs. I don't want to lose an order like that."
In other words: America is making too much money off of Saudi Arabia to let something so trifling as the murder of a journalist upend the relationship. There's nothing new about that — the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia and its royal rulers has always been transactional. What is new is this American president, who can barely be bothered to espouse his country's traditional humanitarian and democratic ideals.
Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. Trump might be a prolific liar, but he's not actually much of a hypocrite. He wears his vice — and now America's — squarely on his sleeve. http://theweek.com/articles/801888/trump-end-american-ideals
8. Ryan Cooper: Unleash the IRS
Staffing up the IRS with aggressive analysts and auditors and siccing them specifically on the top 1 percent is likely to cut income inequality substantially and rake in a tidy sum for Uncle Sam.
A good indicator of the level of tax-dodging in this county can be found in the gargantuan New York Times story about how Trump built his initial wealth. It's a spectacular piece of reporting, worth reading carefully and in full. But in essence, Trump reportedly received at least $413 million from his father through a huge number of questionably-legal acts and several "instances of outright fraud," as the Times writes.
This story got little attention, because fresh Trump scandals (and other disasters) are constantly flushing the old scandals off the front page, providing a sort of protective effect. Whether it's his constant flagrant violation of the Emoluments Clause, his alleged hush money payments for adulterous affairs, his grotesque failure to rebuild Puerto Rico, his staggeringly corrupt Cabinet, or any of a dozen others stories, another scandal has reliably come along to distract the public from the last one.
So it's worth taking a step back to really internalize the Trump tax scandal, because it goes to the heart of how American government has been gradually undermined by corruption. Starting in the mid-20th century, the president's father, Fred Trump, built up a gigantic real estate empire, and being such a skinflint, spent almost none of the proceeds on himself. Instead, from nearly the moment they were born, Fred reportedly transferred huge sums of money to his children, by fair means and foul. He established trusts for his children and hired them directly in some instances. Some taxes were reportedly just straight-up not paid at all. In one particularly egregious case outlined by the Times, he reportedly set up his kids with a fake independent contractor service, which did nothing but pad existing service prices by 20-50 percent.
But probably the key tactic was real estate appraisals that reportedly drastically undervalued Fred's properties. When he was near death, the Trumps reportedly got bunk value estimates that meant they only had to pay gift or estate taxes on a fraction of the properties' worth. Ownership transferred, the children could reportedly then sell the properties at their real value and rake in massive free profits. Overall, the Times reporters estimate that the Trump parents transferred well over $1 billion to their children, which by rights should have incurred a roughly $550 million estate tax bill. Instead, they reportedly paid $52.2 million.
The remarkable thing about this was that the IRS reportedly cottoned onto many of the various alleged scams and forced the Trumps to pay up — but only a tiny fraction of the actual amount owed. In the case of a $17.1 million property claimed at just $2.9 million, an IRS auditor reportedly made them increase the value by ... $100,000. Even back when America was dramatically less corrupt than it is today, entitled rich jerks were constantly skating on egregious tax scams. http://theweek.com/articles/801580/unleash-irs
9. Elizabeth Kolbert: What Is Donald Trump’s Response to the U.N.’s Dire Climate Report?
But, if a smoke alarm rings in the kitchen and everyone’s watching “Fox & Friends” in the den, does it make a sound? Asked about the report last week, Donald Trump said, “I want to look at who drew it—you know, which group drew it.” The answer seemed to indicate that the President had never heard of the I.P.C.C., a level of cluelessness that, while hardly a surprise, was nevertheless dismaying. The next day, as a devastating hurricane hit Florida—one made that much more destructive by the warming that’s already occurred—the President flew to Pennsylvania to campaign for Lou Barletta, a climate-change-denying Republican congressman running for the Senate.
Though the Administration often seems incapable of systematic action, it has spent the past eighteen months systematically targeting rules aimed at curbing greenhouse-gas emissions. One of these rules, which required greater fuel efficiency for cars and trucks, would have reduced CO2 emissions by an estimated six billion tons over the lifetime of the affected vehicles. In a recent filing intended to justify the rollback, the Administration predicted that, by the end of this century, global temperatures will have risen by almost four degrees Celsius (nearly seven degrees Fahrenheit). In this context, the Administration argued, why would anyone care about a mere six billion tons? Come the apocalypse, it seems, we’ll all want to be driving S.U.V.s.
The Supreme Court, for its part, appears unlikely to challenge the Administration’s baleful reasoning. Last week, it declined to hear an appeal to a lower-court ruling on hydrofluorocarbons, chemicals that are among the most potent greenhouse gases known. The lower court had struck down an Obama-era rule phasing out HFCs, which are used mostly as refrigerants. The author of the lower-court decision was, by the dystopian logic of our times, Brett Kavanaugh. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/22/what-is-donald-trumps-response-to-the-uns-dire-climate-report
10. Eric Levitz: Millennials Need to Start Voting Before the Gerontocracy Kills Us All
As “once in a lifetime” storms crash over our coasts five times a year — and the White House’s own climate research suggests that human civilization is on pace to perish before Barron Trump — our government is subsidizing carbon emissions like there’s no tomorrow. Meanwhile, America’s infrastructure is already “below standard,” and set to further deteriorate, absent hundreds of billions of dollars in new investment. Many of our public schools can’t afford to stock their classrooms with basic supplies, pay their teachers a living wage, or keep their doors open five days a week. Child-care costs are skyrocketing, the birth rate is plunging, and the baby-boomers, retiring. And, amid it all, our congressional representatives recently decided that the best thing they could possibly do with $1.5 trillion of borrowed money was to give large tax breaks to people like themselves.
There are many plausible explanations for why America has embraced “carpe diem” as its governing philosophy. Our ruling political party is dominated by geriatric billionaires and millenarian Christians; our electoral system gives politicians little incentive to prioritize the nation’s long-term well-being over their constituents’ immediate gratification; and the conservative movement’s decades-long assault on “big government” has constrained the public sector’s capacity to invest in the future. But all these causes of American misrule are informed and exacerbated by this overriding fact: Young people vote much less than those who aren’t long for this Earth.
Although America’s voting-age population includes a roughly equal number of millennials and baby-boomers, the 2016 electorate featured 14 million more of the latter. Voters under 30 backed Hillary Clinton by 18 points — but their verdict drowned out by those over 65, who favored her opponent by eight.
The consequences of that election have not persuaded America’s (predominantly left-leaning) millennial nonvoters of the importance of political participation. A new survey from PRRI and The Atlantic suggests that only one-third of 18-to-29-year-old voters are certain to cast ballots next month. Among Donald Trump’s cohort, that figure is 81 percent. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/10/millennial-voters-2018-midterms-climate-change-gerontocracy-survey-polls-turnout.html
11. Jennifer Rubin: Trump is brutal authoritarians’ best advocate
President Trump is the best advocate the world’s worst human rights offenders and state-backed murderers could ever hope for. When it comes to international thugs, who include the United States’ enemies, they have no better friend than Trump.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has routinely received aid and assistance from Trump. During the campaign, Trump defended Putin’s alleged involvement in deaths of journalists. “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” he told Bill O’Reilly. Since the election, Trump has been Putin’s go-to guy for casting doubt on Putin’s interference in U.S. elections. In Helsinki, Trump declared: “My people came to me. Dan Coats came to me, and some others. They said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.” (He later claimed he meant to say “why it would not be,” which makes absolutely no sense.) He told Lesley Stahl on Sunday, “They [the Russians] meddled. But I think China meddled, too.” (Stahl pointed out: “This is amazing. You are diverting the whole Russia thing.”)
No one has received more enthusiastic advocacy from Trump than the world’s most infamous human rights abuser, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. “Great personality and very smart — good combination,” Trump said after the Singapore meeting. “I learned that he’s a very talented man. I also learned that he loves his country very much.” Last month at a rally in West Virginia, he gushed that “We fell in love, okay? No, really — he wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters.”
Thus, Trump’s willingness this week to echo the Saudis’ denials of responsibility in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is hardly unprecedented. He is well practiced in echoing the moral equivalence and out-and-out lies of brutal autocrats. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/opinions/wp/2018/10/16/trump-is-brutal-authoritarians-best-advocate/
12. Jamal Khashoggi: What the Arab world needs most is free expression
The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power. During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe, which grew over the years into a critical institution, played an important role in fostering and sustaining the hope of freedom. Arabs need something similar. In 1967, the New York Times and The Post took joint ownership of the International Herald Tribune newspaper, which went on to become a platform for voices from around the world.
My publication, The Post, has taken the initiative to translate many of my pieces and publish them in Arabic. For that, I am grateful. Arabs need to read in their own language so they can understand and discuss the various aspects and complications of democracy in the United States and the West. If an Egyptian reads an article exposing the actual cost of a construction project in Washington, then he or she would be able to better understand the implications of similar projects in his or her community.
The Arab world needs a modern version of the old transnational media so citizens can be informed about global events. More important, we need to provide a platform for Arab voices. We suffer from poverty, mismanagement and poor education. Through the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/jamal-khashoggi-what-the-arab-world-needs-most-is-free-expression/2018/10/17/adfc8c44-d21d-11e8-8c22-fa2ef74bd6d6_story.html
13. Max Boot: Trump has given every despot on the planet a license to kill
Trump gives every indication that, far from fighting for freedom, he would rather fight against it. This is the president who said it’s “great” that Xi is declaring himself ruler for life, praised Duterte for the “unbelievable job” he was doing “on the drug problem,” congratulated Recep Tayyip Erdogan for winning a rigged referendum that spelled the death of Turkish democracy and declared his “love” for Kim Jong Un of North Korea. When confronted by Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” about Kim’s catalogue of crime — “repression, gulags, starvation” — Trump was dismissive. “I get along with him really well,” Trump said. “I have a good energy with him.” He was equally blasé when Stahl asked him about reports that Putin is involved in “assassinations” and “poisonings.” He probably is, Trump conceded — but “it’s not in our country,” so who cares? Britain can deal with Russian hit teams on its own.
The only thing that matters to this intensely solipsistic president is how other rulers treat him; how they treat their own people or even their neighbors is irrelevant.
Thus, it is hardly surprising that Trump has shown so little outrage about the fate of Khashoggi, an American resident and a columnist for an American newspaper who was reportedly murdered in a NATO country. Trump’s threat of “severe punishment” is undercut by his willingness to accept at face value Saudi denials of complicity — just as he accepted Putin’s denial of hacking the Democratic Party. Trump even speculates, echoing a possible Saudi cover story designed to protect the crown prince, that “rogue killers” could be responsible. How long before he claims that Khashoggi could have been killed by a 400-pound couch potatowho somehow waddled into the heavily guarded Saudi Consulate? https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trump-has-given-every-despot-on-the-planet-a-license-to-kill/2018/10/17/cf3d6ea2-d211-11e8-8c22-fa2ef74bd6d6_story.html