Tag: campaign 2024
Does Trump Belong In Prison -- Or A Mental Institution?

Does Trump Belong In Prison -- Or A Mental Institution?

I remember when a politician who expressed an easily debunked, crackpot conspiracy theory would be through in public life. Indeed, it took a whole lot less than that.

Just 20 years ago, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean was more or less hounded out of the race after emitting what TV news producers deemed an inappropriately loud cheer at an Iowa campaign event.

Dubbed “The Scream,” the event was broadcast on network and cable TV a reported 653 times over the next four days. Late-night comic Jay Leno joked “the cows in Iowa are afraid of getting mad Dean disease,” and that was pretty much it for the Vermont governor’s campaign. (Reporters on the scene found nothing odd about it; TV monitors had greatly amplified the sound.)

But times have changed. Only last week, a presidential candidate accused a political rival of conspiring to have him murdered, and the general response was “So what else is new?”

Needless to say, that candidate was Donald Trump, who delivered a screed on his Truth Social network claiming that “Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ, in their Illegal and UnConstitutional Raid of Mar-a-Lago, AUTHORIZED THE FBI TO USE DEADLY (LETHAL) FORCE.”

The Trump campaign followed up in a fundraising email with the all-caps headline: “BIDEN’S DOJ WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHOOT ME!” The message claimed Biden was “locked & loaded ready to take me out.”

Trump loyalists everywhere echoed the claim — and they will continue to do even after their hero was found guilty on all counts in his “hush money” case. The candidate’s willing propagandists on Fox News gave the story big play. Sean Hannity and the rest feigned shock and outrage. Never one to miss a chance to fly her own freak flag, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., posted on X (formerly Twitter) “The Biden DOJ and FBI were planning to assassinate Pres Trump and gave the green light.”

In real life, of course, making public such delusional allegations could lead to a person being confined to a psychiatric hospital for their own protection. In Trump World, however, pretty much anything goes. Hardly anybody thinks the candidate himself actually believes half the crazy things he says — not for more than a few hours anyway, before he’s on to the next damned thing. The only constant is that everybody’s out to get him, the Universal Genius and the Greatest Man in the World.

You do have to wonder, however, about the deluded followers who send him money. Are they in their right minds?

Search warrants have boilerplate language about force

In reality, of course, the FBI agents who searched Mar-a-Lago for the thousands of pages of classified documents Trump had illegally taken from the White House, refused to return and repeatedly lied about having in his possession did everything possible to avoid encountering him.

They deliberately scheduled the action for a day when the great man was 1,000 miles away in New York, notified the Secret Service in advance and were escorted onto the property by Trump’s protectors. They carried a search warrant duly authorized by a federal magistrate. Everything was done scrupulously by the book.

The simple, easily verified fact is that all FBI search warrants, every single one, everywhere in the United States, include boilerplate language empowering agents to respond with force if physically attacked while doing their jobs.

The idea that the FBI and the Biden White House were scheming to execute Trump is simply preposterous. Indeed, it’s already old news. The candidate himself has already dropped the idea and moved on. Fox News quit talking about it after 24 hours.

Indeed, Trump attended a NASCAR event in Charlotte, North Carolina, last Sunday — an odd thing to do for a man claiming the president of the United States meant to have him whacked. There he reverently saluted the playing of “Amazing Grace” as if it were the national anthem. It’s tempting to wonder if he knows the difference.

Of course, if President Joe Biden did something so peculiar as to salute a hymn, we’d never hear the end of it. The great paradox of Biden as depicted by Trumpers is that he’s a doddering old man who can barely speak coherently.

“Why isn’t Joe Biden here speaking to you tonight?” Trump asked a crowd of Libertarians he addressed recently. “You know why? Why isn’t he? Because he can’t put two sentences together.”

In the next breath, Trump depicted his rival as the ruthless boss of the “Biden Crime Family” scheming to have him assassinated and masterminding “a toxic fusion of the Marxist left, the deep state, the military-industrial complex, the government security and surveillance services and their partners all merging together into a hideous perversion of the American system.”

Oh, and Biden, the feeble old-timer, is also a “fascist” who, if reelected, means to “put Christians in prison for 11 years for the crime of singing hymns.”

Why 11 years, I really can’t say.

Reprinted with permission from Chicago SunTimes.

Billionaire Offers Trump $100M To Permit Illegal Israeli Annexation Of West Bank

Billionaire Offers Trump $100M To Permit Illegal Israeli Annexation Of West Bank

A billionaire heiress who frequently ranks among the top donors to GOP candidates and causes has remained relatively quiet in the 2024 race, but she recently suggested former President Donald Trump could win her over with an even more hawkish pro-Israel foreign policy agenda.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Miriam Adelson — the widow of billionaire Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson — is likely to top the list of GOP donors in 2024, based on her past donations in previous campaign cycles. With a net worth in excess of $30 billion, Adelson is continuing her husband's tradition of being a kingmaker in Republican politics, and she recently signaled to Trump that the campaign cash spigot could be unleashed if he comes out in favor of allowing Israel to annex the Palestinian-controlled West Bank territory, and if his administration recognizes it as Israeli territory.

Haaretz heavily cited a New York magazine profile of Adelson for its late May issue by Elizabeth Weil. Author Nettanel Slyomovics wrote that Adelson likely spoke off the record with Weil in order for the New York journalist to get an inside view on the far-right billionaire's 2024 plans. Weil noted in her story that the Adelsons praised Trump for moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (a slight to Palestinians, who consider Jerusalem their capital as well) and for official U.S. recognition of Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights territory — which the United Nations has condemned as illegal under international law.

Annexing the West Bank (which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority as opposed to Hamas-controlled Gaza) is Adelson's ultimate goal, according to Slyomovics' article. He reported that during a meeting with Adelson, Trump made a "tactical error" of saying Israel has "got to get to peace," and "finish up" its war with Hamas. Adelson hoped to get Trump on board with the far more radical plan of backing an Israeli takeover of the West Bank.

"Adelson, a resident of Herzliya and a megadonor for settlement development in the West Bank, did not wish to hear Trump yearning for peace," Slyomovics wrote. "Under these conditions, there's no room for the Palestinian Authority, and nobody to sign a peace accord with."

The blowback from the international community would be severe in the event of a West Bank takeover. According to Amnesty International, if Israel were to officially annex Palestinian-controlled territory and resettle it with tacit U.S. support, it would amount to a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

"The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,” Article 49 reads, while also emphasizing that any occupying power is forbidden from conducting “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory."

While radical, Adelson's proposal may still become a plank of Trump's platform given the benefit of her largesse. On May 30, Adelson announced that her Preserve America super PAC would spend $100 million to elect Trump to a second term. This is a staggering sum: To date, Adelson has given $284 million to political causes, and 2024 would mark her largest financial commitment in a single election year.

Trump hasn't yet publicly announced support for Israeli annexation of the West Bank. But in a May meeting with Jewish donors in New York, the former president promised to set back the pro-Palestine movement by "25 or 30 years." He also pledged to deport any foreign-born college students for any pro-Palestinian demonstrations on college campuses.

"Any student that protests, I throw them out of the country," Trump said. "You know, there are a lot of foreign students. As soon as they hear that, they're going to behave."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Angela Stanton King

RFK Jr. Campaign Director Reveals Her True Allegiance Is To Trump

Angela Stanton King, a far-right commentator working as a director for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s presidential campaign, said on a conspiratorial podcast last month that she loves Trump and that Kennedy is “another option” because her “fear is that they're going to stop at nothing to keep Trump from winning.”

She also said that she's working to take away votes from President Joe Biden and “if Trump or Kennedy gets it, I don't lose either way.”

Stanton King’s remarks resemble those of then-Kennedy official Rita Palma, who argued that the independent candidate’s presence on the New York ballot would help Trump defeat Biden, which she said was her “No. 1 priority.” (Palma was later fired.)

Kennedy has frequently attempted to appeal to right-wing audiences. He has also promoted numerous conspiracy theories as a commentator and has populated his campaign with conspiracy theorists.

Stanton King fits the Kennedy campaign's attempts to cater to right-wing media audiences. She is a far-right speaker, author, and guest on right-wing programming. She has claimed that the election was stolen from Trump, promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory, and made bigoted remarks about LGBTQ people.

She works as the Black voter engagement director for Kennedy and has participated in events and door knocking with him. He also recorded a song with her. This past weekend, Stanton King appeared at a campaign event with Kennedy’s running mate Nicole Shanahan.

Stanton King has been a strong supporter of Trump, who pardoned her in 2020 for a 2004 car theft sentence. In 2021, for instance, she said: “Trump can’t be President forever and I know that. But he’s the only one bold enough to fight these evil Demonic Satanic forces from the pits of HELL and I’m standing with him.”

Stanton King is still praising the former president, including while doing surrogate work for Kennedy on the April 20, 2024, edition of Nino’s Corner. That show is hosted by David “Niño” Rodriguez, a far-right podcaster who has said that Biden “stole the election”; 9/11 “was an inside job”; and COVID-19 “was a hoax and vaccines would kill u.” He has frequently promoted QAnon, including offering programming that analyzes “Q drops” and “Q posts.”

During the start of his interview with Stanton King, Rodriguez said: “I will say, I'm one foot in, one foot out with RFK. I'm a Trump supporter. Everybody knows that.” Stanton King replied: “Me too.” She later said that she’s “in a pickle here because I love” Trump and Kennedy and said:

ANGELA STANTON KING: RFK is liked by a lot of people. Like, we love Trump, but we know that RFK is not afraid to stand up to the establishment either. And I think that's what many of us respect about RFK. And for me personally, I made this decision because I was tired of being on one side where all we're doing is constantly fighting, and I was tired of not being able to work with certain people in my community because I was being labeled as a Trump supporter. And I just honestly believe that in order for us to come together that we do have to stop fighting.

She later stated that part of her efforts is to take away votes from Biden:

DAVID RODRIGUEZ: Throughout history, right, it's shown that third-party candidates kind of siphon votes from one or the other. And it looks like in this instance with RFK, he's going to probably take a lot of the votes away from Biden. Correct? I mean, that's what you're looking [inaudible]--?

STANTON KING: Well, yeah, that's true because he, and not to cut you off, but for my community — and you know how it is, you know how the media has created this stereotype that Trump and the Republicans are all racists — so for people in my community that aren't necessarily comfortable with coming over to the Republican Party, this provides a space for them. And to me, I'm like, listen, we've got to get away from the Democrats. So you guys have two options, right? If you don't want to vote for Trump, then Kennedy is a much better option than Joe Biden. And for me, shifting my community is very important. And I think that the independent space provides a safety net for those that are just not comfortable with the Republican Party but want to step away from the Democrats.

Stanton King continued offering Trump-friendly rhetoric during the interview (“I love Trump”), including stating that she loves Trump and views RFK Jr. as “another option” because she fears that “they're going to stop at nothing to keep Trump from winning”:

STANTON KING: My fear is that they're going to stop at nothing to keep Trump from winning. And I don't want to just give it over to Joe Biden. If for some reason we see another 2020, we need to have another option. And I think that RFK may be that. So that's kind of like where I'm at. I love Trump, my Republican friends that have supported me so much, I love them too. But even sometimes when it comes to the Republican Party, we've seen where the Republican Party didn't even stand behind Trump. Like, they let them get indicted four times. We saw what Mike Pence did with the vote. You know what I'm saying? So, I think it's time for us all to put people over party.

She later said that while campaigning with Trump she saw him draw vastly bigger crowds than Biden, asking, “How in the world was Joe Biden able to win or steal or whatever an election from Trump?”

She also suggested that she'd be happy if either Trump or Kennedy wins the election, stating: “If Trump or Kennedy gets it, I don't lose either way.”

STANTON KING: I love them both very dearly. A Trump-Kennedy ticket would mean the world to me because they're both guys that have shown me that not only do they care for me, but they care for my community. So for me, it's the winning ticket. Like I don't lose either way, right? If Trump or Kennedy gets it, I don't lose either way. But for both of them to get in, to me that would be a dream come true. And I don't know what those guys are doing. Trump hasn't picked a VP yet, and I'm thinking like Trump still may want to — if Trump got in and Kennedy didn’t, Trump still may want to pull Kennedy and make him, you know, the director of health administration. There are just so many options here. But I don't think that the Kennedy campaign and the Trump campaign are enemies.

Stanton King later portrayed the 2024 election as “us against the Democrats, either way it goes. It's the Republicans and independents against the Democrat Party. And we've gotta all unite.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Joe Biden

Polls: The More Voters Know, The More They Like Biden

New York Times political analyst Nate Cohn made an astute observation about a new Times/Siena poll, which showed President Joe Biden trailing Donald Trump in most battleground states.

"If there's any consolation [for Biden], it's that the poll is also littered with evidence that folks aren't super tuned in, and disengaged voters remain Biden's weakness," Cohn tweeted.

It's an insight that will likely define the presidential contest moving forward.

In the survey, for example, just 29 percent of registered voters said they are closely following the legal cases against Donald Trump. That means that less than one-third of voters are paying "a lot of attention" to the ongoing trial of a former president who will almost assuredly be the Republican nominee in the 2024 election.

The ancillary to Cohn's observation is that Biden performs better among high information, high propensity voters—or likely voters—a point veteran Democratic strategistSimon Rosenberg has been making for weeks now. A pattern has begun to emerge where Biden performs increasingly better as polling models move from "adults" to "registered voters" to "likely voters."

Rosenberg cites a recent Ipsos poll for ABC News, where Biden trails Trump among adults, 44 to 46 percent, but bests him by a point among registered voters, 46 to 45 percent. And Biden takes a four-point lead among likely voters, 49 to 45 percent. A Marist poll for NPR and PBS NewsHour made a similar finding, with Biden running just two points ahead of Trump with registered voters, 50 to 48 percent, but opening up a five-point lead among likely voters, 51 to 46 percent.

John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, made the same observation about voters ages 18 to 29 in the Siena battleground poll. Among registered youth voters, Biden trails Trump by three points, but among likely youth voters, Biden leads by seven points—a net turnaround of 10 points in the direction of Biden.

"Takeaway: the more you know; the more you vote; the better Biden does. It’s not complicated," he tweeted.

In an interview with Greg Sargent on "The Daily Blast" podcast, Biden pollster Jefrey Pollock said undecided voters make up anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the electorate depending on the state, "which is actually rather large." Those voters are disproportionately young, Black, and Latino.

The Siena poll also included about 20 percent of respondents who either didn't vote in 2020 or who did vote in 2020 but skipped the 2022 midterms.

Both sets of voters—the undecided and the lower propensity voters—are voting blocs that the Biden campaign will be targeting to make up ground in the final months of the election.

Pollock cited Nevada where, every two years, about 25 percent of the electorate consists of voters who have never before cast a ballot in an election.

"That's what makes Nevada so interesting and challenging but also as movable as it is," Pollock explained. "You've got these voters who don't really pay attention to politics, who are just getting into the political scene."

They are going to pay attention to the election much later, Pollock said. "You have to force your way into their lives," he explained, because they are more concerned with their kids’ activities, making sure they have health care, and simply paying their bills.

"We have to force them to pay attention to politics. It's why advertising and campaigns mean so much, particularly in those closing months, because we really do have to find ways to get into those houses," he said.

Biden certainly has the resources and the campaign to help address that information deficit, but whether or not his campaign manages to reach and persuade those voters remains to be seen.

As former Obama White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote in his "Message Box" substack: "My main takeaway from the [Siena] poll is that the more voters know about Biden and Trump, the better it will be for Biden."

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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