#EndorseThis: ‘The Daily Show’ Shows Trump Voters What ‘Extreme Vetting’ Looks Like

#EndorseThis: ‘The Daily Show’ Shows Trump Voters What ‘Extreme Vetting’ Looks Like

On Monday, Donald Trump proposed a system of “extreme vetting” to screen immigrants hoping to enter the United States. “We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people,” he said, proposing an ideological screening test inspired by Cold War measures designed to block the entry of communists and anarchists.

But a special report by The Daily Show illustrated that some Trump supporters would fail the test their candidate laid out.

Currently, Trump’s criteria for blocking immigration is pretty vague. However, he did specifically call out “extreme views about religion such as its oppression of women, gays, and non-believers.” That’s where The Daily Show‘s Jordan Klepper started out. You can probably see where this is going.

Standing outside of a Trump rally in Wisconsin, Klepper found one supporter who called same-sex marriage “disgusting.” Another said that women are not qualified to be president because “a female has more hormones.” Not exactly what you’d hope for among voters who purport to be against the oppression of women, gays, and non-believers.

This man-on-the-street style is not an accurate representation of the average Trump supporter. However, it does point to an inherent contradiction in the GOP candidate’s rhetoric: though he purports to defend these groups which he alleges are under attack, he has also made and encouraged disparaging remarks about many of those same groups.

Trump’s description of “extreme vetting” does sound eerily similar to his proposed bans on immigration. As liberal Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent puts it:

It’s pretty obvious what this “new” plan is really about. Trump wants to basically repackage his proposed Muslim ban — which has been widely denounced as fundamentally at odds with American values — by somehow making it seem in sync with American values such as pluralism and tolerance.

But the United States does have experience with ideologically screening prospective immigrants, beginning in the 18th century and continuing through the Cold War. Even today, immigration applications include several ideology-related questions: for instance, current applicants are asked whether they are affiliated with Communist or totalitarian parties. While the ethics of these measures can be up for debate, it has historical — and maybelegal — precedent.

Photo: Comedy Central/The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

#EndorseThis: Paul Begala Says The Problem Isn’t The Trump Campaign, It’s Trump

#EndorseThis: Paul Begala Says The Problem Isn’t The Trump Campaign, It’s Trump

Today, The Wall Street Journalbroke the news that Donald Trump is adding two new names to lead his campaign. Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, will become the campaign’s CEO, and Kellyanne Conway, a GOP pollster and strategist, will assume the role of campaign manager. On CNN this morning, former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski praised the move, but his counterpart Paul Begala, a veteran Democratic strategist, said that the staff additions would not heal what’s ailing the Trump campaign: the candidate himself.

The addition of Bannon and Conway will minimize the role played by Paul Manafort, who has led the campaign since Lewandowski was fired. Manafort has failed to prevent the Donald from making a series of self-inflicted wounds — from his feud with Gold Star families to his suggestion that “Second Amendment people” deal with Hillary Clinton if she wins — and he has been the subject of increased scrutiny over his ties to pro-Russian political parties in Ukraine.

Three days ago, the New York Times revealed that a secret dossier from the headquarters of ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych included a $12.7 payment intended for Manafort, and earlier today an AP report showed that he had helped steer $2.2 million from Yanukovych’s party to two Washington lobbying firms in a manner that masked the money’s origin.

Lewandowski took a dig at Manafort during the CNN discussion, saying that Conlee’s presence “is something I think has been lacking which is that senior leadership on the plane for the last two months.”

But hiring the Breitbart chair is unusual. Bannon has helped the conservative outlet become one of the most effective conservative publications — and one of the most vocal Trump backers — in online media, but he has no experience in campaigns. And Bannon is controversial even among other conservatives, including The Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, who said, “I hate the fact that it’s called Breitbart News. If they changed the name and called it Right Wing Intolerant Mean-Spirited News, that would be fine.”

But Begala, who was a strategist and advisor for Bill Clinton and is now advising the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA, said that he doubted the staffing change would make much of an impact on the race. “The problem is Donald Trump,” he told anchor Chris Cuomo. “It was never Corey, it’s not Mr. Manafort, and it’s not these new people. It’s the candidate, stupid.”

Photo: Mediaite/CNN

#EndorseThis: ‘The Daily Show’ Takes On Trump’s Relations With Workers

#EndorseThis: ‘The Daily Show’ Takes On Trump’s Relations With Workers

A central narrative of the presidential campaign thus far been that Trump’s populist message is resonating with working-class white voters. He’s been dubbed a “blue-collar billionaire” and makes appeals to trade grievances and protections that appeal to many blue-collar voters. His best bet at the White House increasingly lies in winning a large swath of the Rust Belt. But as The Daily Show‘s Ronny Chieng showed in a segment last night, his support among working class voters is far from universal — and for good reason.

The Daily Show focused on two stories involving Trump and workers. The first had to do with one of Trump’s stump speech talking points: the outsourcing of 1,400 Carrier jobs to a plant in Mexico. As Adam Wren reported in POLITICO Magazine in May, the laid-off workers in the Indiana plant actually don’t like Trump very much: they saw him as an “opportunist” and a “fraud”, and their union endorsed Bernie Sanders.

When Chieng asked a focus group of workers from the plant if they loved Trump, they laughed in his face.

Chieng then turned to the battle for unionization between workers and management at Trump International Las Vegas, jointly owned by the Republican nominee’s company and businessman Phil Ruffin. Although Trump has spoken and written in support of unions in the past, management spent more than $550,000 on  consultants who attempted to discourage workers from unionizing. Even after the vote to unionize went through, the company took the dispute to the National Labor Relations Board, and a few weeks ago it reached a settlement with workers who alleged they were punished for their involvement in the effort to unionize.

But, as Chieng’s interviewees implied, there are still lots of grievances at the hotel.

Photo: Comedy Central

#EndorseThis: Fox Host Presses Katrina Pierson On Trump’s Tax Returns

#EndorseThis: Fox Host Presses Katrina Pierson On Trump’s Tax Returns

Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson made headlines this weekend for a real whopper, claiming that Barack Obama had invaded Iraq, not George W. Bush. But the chronological flubs that spawned the creation of the #KatrinaPiersonHistory hashtag began weeks ago, when she suggested that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were responsible for the death of Army Capt. Humayun Khan in 2004.

Yesterday, Pierson appeared to be on friendlier ground, giving an interview to Fox News. But then, host Arthel Neville pressed her on whether Trump should release his tax returns. Pierson responded that the practice of presidential candidates releasing their tax returns was a “novelty.”

Neville replied, “It’s been going on since the 1970s. It’s a tradition, not a novelty. The voters want to know.”

Pierson responded, “It’s a novelty tradition.”

The Trump campaign has repeatedly refused to release the candidate’s tax returns, citing an ongoing IRS audit. However, although the law prohibits the agency itself from releasing tax returns, Trump is not legally barred in any way from doing so. As Jeffrey Toobin writes in The New Yorker,

“The main risk of disclosure is political rather than legal. Trump’s returns may show that he pays a very low effective tax rate. They may also show that he gives very little to charity, or show foreign financial entanglements.”

Last week, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine released their own tax returns, revealing that in 2015 the Clintons made a combined $10.6 million and had an effective tax rate of more than 30 percent. During the same year Kaine and his wife made $313,441 and had an effective tax rate of 20 percent.

Photo: YouTube/Raw Story


#EndorseThis: Trump Surrogate Has A Tough Time Defending ‘Sarcasm’

#EndorseThis: Trump Surrogate Has A Tough Time Defending ‘Sarcasm’

Outside of Rio de Janeiro, this week’s top story has been Donald Trump repeatedly calling President Obama and Hillary Clinton the “co-founders” of ISIS. The comment sparked a quick backlash from Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans, with Clinton senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan saying that he was “echoing the talking points of Putin.” And this morning, Trump responded:

This was a clear, cogent argument that we definitely have never heard before. And yes, the sentence that you just read was an example of actual “sarcasm.”

Trump cable TV surrogates are going to love defending this tweet. That’s another example of sarcasm.

First up, Michael Cohen, the candidate’s special counsel and Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization not to be confused with the anti-Trump Boston Globe columnist of the same name. Appearing on “New Day” in an interview with Chris Cuomo, he explained, “I think the best thing would be if Mr. Trump called in (and) had the conversation with you himself.” Then Cuomo asked if people could trust Trump’s statements, and Cohen replied, ““I think you do take him at his word for everything.”

Presumably he was not being sarcastic, though at this point who can know for sure?

Photo: Twitter/CNN


#EndorseThis: Campaign Surrogates Explode Over Guests At Speeches

#EndorseThis: Campaign Surrogates Explode Over Guests At Speeches

This has not been a good week for the staffers charged with filling the arenas of the Trump and Clinton campaigns. On Monday, the father of the Pulse nightclub shooter, Seddique Mateen, appeared behind Hillary Clinton at her rally in Kissimmee, Florida. Two days later, Donald Trump held his own rally in Florida and chastised Clinton for allowing Mateen into her rally, saying, “When you get those seats, you sort of know the campaign. You sort of know the campaign.” (Clinton’s rally was open to the public.) But immediately behind Trump sat former congressman Mark Foley, who resigned in 2006 following allegations that he had sent sexually explicit emails and instant messages to teenage congressional pages.

A bad week all around.

But that did not stop CNN panelists on Anderson Cooper 360 from exploding over the rally guests. Last night, Trump supporter Kayleigh McEnany smiled as she attacked the Clinton camp’s faux pas and used it to imply that the Democratic candidate was too soft on terrorism. In response, Christine Quinn — who has emerged as CNN’s most impassioned Clinton surrogate (check out her spats with Corey Lewandowski) — called McEnany’s suggestions “beyond offensive.”

The argument escalated. Quinn attacked Trump for appearing with Sen. Marco Rubio at an event for an anti-gay group in Florida. McEnany tripped Quinn up into appearing to say that Hillary Clinton supporters were mentally ill. Quinn told McEnany to “stop smirking.” And so forth.

In an interview on local news after the Clinton rally, Mateen defended his appearance, saying that he supported Clinton, that he loved the United States, and that he wished that his son, Pulse shooter Omar Mateen, had “joined the Army and fought ISIS.”

The Clinton campaign, for its part, released a statement explaining “[t]his individual wasn’t invited as a guest and the campaign was unaware of his attendance until after the event.”


Photo: CNN

#EndorseThis: Trump Surrogate Calls For Banning Abortions For Mothers With Zika

#EndorseThis: Trump Surrogate Calls For Banning Abortions For Mothers With Zika

Remember Ivanka Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention? In it, she proposed policies that lined up more with the Democratic platform than the Republican one: equal pay for equal work, affordable child care, and workplace equality for mothers. As proof that her father would support these measures, she pointed to his business record and his personal ability to “see potential in others.” But, despite her efforts to shore up support for her dad, his campaign has had a tough time appealing to women. Today was no exception.

Surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes appeared on CNN Monday morning to discuss the spread of Zika in Florida and Sen. Marco Rubio’s opposition to abortions for pregnant women infected with the mosquito-borne virus, which can cause microcephaly.

“This is a very, very devastating disease,” Hughes said, “But this is nothing new. We don’t have the research. We don’t know what Zika is going to do. And Senator Rubio is doing the correct thing.”

It is unclear what she means by “nothing new,” since the virus has only recently appeared on American soil, and although treatments are still in development, its effects are welldocumented.

Hughes’ comment will only further hurt Trump’s popularity with the fairly consistent majority of Americans who support the legality of abortion in all or most cases (including 54 percent of moderate conservatives). It also compounds Trump’s previous problems with abortion and gender-related comments. On March 30, he called for “some form of punishment” for women who have abortions — a measure opposed even by the National Right to Life Committee. He rolled back his statement soon afterwards.

The businessman’s previous remarks about women have also hurt his popularity. According to a recent ABC/Washington Post poll, Hillary Clinton leads among female voters by 23 percentage points.

The CNN interview soon devolved into a shouting match with Democratic commentator Maria Cardona over the merits and faults of Obamacare. But it is worth noting that despite his long-held opposition to abortion, Rubio was one of a handful senators spearheading the stalled effort to pass a bill for combating Zika. However, the bill on the table in the Senate, which is currently on recess, blocks funds for Planned Parenthood.

Photo: YouTube/Raw Story

#EndorseThis: Ex-CIA Director Calls Trump An “Unwitting Agent” Of Russia, Pence Shrugs

#EndorseThis: Ex-CIA Director Calls Trump An “Unwitting Agent” Of Russia, Pence Shrugs

Listening to Donald Trump talk about Vladimir Putin can bring to mind that kid in your sixth-grade class who wanted to be a tough guy and therefore hung around the eighth-grade bully, trying desperately to ingratiate himself, while the older boy took his lunch box. The Republican candidate has repeatedly praised the Russian leader in the past, calling him “a leader, unlike what we have in this country,” standing by his praise even when MSNBC host Joe Scarborough replied that Putin kills dissident journalists, and predicting that the two would “get along very well.”

Now, the former director of the CIA says that the real estate mogul could well be “an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

In a New York Times op-ed published today, Michael Morell, who was deputy director of the intelligence agency from 2010 to 2013 and served as acting director twice during that period, endorsed Hillary Clinton, citing Trump’s relentless self-promotion, seeming disregard for facts, and apparent hypersensitivity. The core of his condemnation–and the key detail picked up by several news agencies–is that the Republican nominee has repeatedly praised Putin, seemingly without concern for Russia’s history of human rights violations, invasion of Ukraine, and clear support for Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.

All Putin had to do, Morell wrote, was compliment Trump. Doing so flattered the tycoon enough to bring him in the Kremlin’s camp. And it doesn’t hurt that Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has worked as an advisor on the campaigns of pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians, including ousted president Viktor Yanukovych.

Trump’s VP pick Mike Pence took to the morning talk shows to respond. Sitting affably in front of the Indiana State Fair and wearing a collared shirt somewhat redundantly labeled “Governor Pence,” he shooed away Morell’s condemnation on NBC’s Today, saying that Trump would be a strong leader and that “standing up to Russian aggression is going to be really different under a Trump-Pence administration.”

“I supposes this is the same CIA that told the president that ISIS was the JV team,” he added before pivoting to talking about crowds on the campaign trail.

That’s not exactly the kind of statement that is going to silence critics of Trump’s stance towards Russia. But if Morell is right, it’s the kind of statement that Vladimir Putin wanted to hear.

Photo and video via YouTube/TODAY

#EndorseThis: Morning Joe: Trump Will ‘Never Win A Fight With A Gold Star Family’

#EndorseThis: Morning Joe: Trump Will ‘Never Win A Fight With A Gold Star Family’

Today on MSNBC’s MorningJoe, panelists and host Joe Scarborough excoriated Donald Trump for his remarks against Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed by a suicide bomber in 2004 in Iraq.

“When you’re in a hole, stop digging,” said panelist Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “And this is not just digging with a small shovel. This is digging with one of those big earth movers.”

While other commentators and politicians have criticized Trump’s comments as highly disrespectful, the Morning Joe panelists added that what he was doing was just plain dumb.

The two bereaved parents first appeared publicly at the Democratic National Convention last Thursday, where Khizr held up a pocket copy of the Constitution as his wife stood next to him. “Let me ask you: Have you even read the US Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” he said. “In this document, look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.”

Trump responded by pointing to Ghazala Khan’s silence in interviews with the New York Times’s Maureen Dowd and ABC News’ George Stephanopolous, suggesting that she was not allowed to speak because of her Muslim faith. Ghazala Khan quickly responded by appearing on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on Friday, explaining that she had been unable to speak because the sight of her son’s photograph made her too emotional.

Ghazala Khan then published an op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Post. Referencing Trump’s ABC interview, where he claimed that his business and construction experience had involved him making many sacrifices, she wrote, “Donald Trump said he has made a lot of sacrifices. He doesn’t know what the word sacrifice means.”

A queue of veterans’ families, Democrats, and Republicans have criticized Trump since his remarks. This morning, Sen. John McCain released a harshly-worded statement condemning Trump’s remarks. Other groups, like the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the left-leaning VoteVets.org have published statements rebuking Trump. And Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, has been rushing to clean up the mess.

But the Morning Joe crew is right. Apart from the issues of morality and respect for American troops and their families regardless of religion, Trump’s bizarre determination to continue responding to the Khan storyline is an asinine campaign strategy. There is no winning battle against Gold Star families, because the sacrifices that they have made are unimaginable, and because of the respect that they have (and deserve) from Americans (just look at the high-profile speaking slots given to veterans who do not hold political office in both parties’ conventions). And Trump’s actions over the past few days only fortify the Clinton campaign’s narrative that he is temperamentally unfit to be president.

Photo: YouTube/CNN

#EndorseThis: Trump Campaign Defends Melania’s Speech

#EndorseThis: Trump Campaign Defends Melania’s Speech

This morning, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort defended last night’s speech by Melania Trump against claims that she plagiarized it from Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. But, as countless news outlets have pointed out, the evidence is pretty overwhelming that at least a portion of Trump’s speech is essentially identical to Obama’s remarks.

Even former Trump campaign manager and current CNN commentator Corey Lewandowski acknowledged the similarities, saying that whoever was responsible for the wording of the speech should be “held accountable” and that if it was Manafort, he should resign.

But Manafort, who was famously at odds with Lewandowski when they were both on the campaign, pushed back on the ridicule and criticism today, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo, “To think that she would do something like that knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd.”

Admittedly, before she delivered the speech, Melania herself implied that she was largely responsible for the wording. But that’s likely a significant exaggeration, as her speech was almost surely looked over and likely written by members of the Trump campaign.

Today at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast, RNC chair Reince Priebus said that he would “probably” sack the speechwriter responsible.


In the meantime, Twitter has exploded with famous quotes being sarcastically attributed to Melania. And to add insult to injury, former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau pointed out that the speechwriter who worked with Michelle Obama on the copied remarks used to work for Hillary Clinton.

Some are speculating that the plagiarism was purposeful, an attempt to undermine the Trump campaign. Further proof that this might be the case: Melania “Rickrolled” the entire country right in the middle of her speech.

Photo: CNN. 

#EndorseThis: Colbert Brings The ‘Hungry For Power Games’ To The RNC

#EndorseThis: Colbert Brings The ‘Hungry For Power Games’ To The RNC

Today marks the start of the Republican National Convention, but yesterday Stephen Colbert stormed to the stage in Cleveland, in full makeup, to gavel in the beginning of another brutal ritual: the Hungry for Power Games.

Chances are that if you’ve watched late-night television or visited YouTube any time during the past six months, you’ve seen the Late Show host’s ongoing series on the presidential race — a parody of The Hunger Games‘ violet-haired master of ceremonies, Caesar Flickerman.

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Since February, Colbert has commemorated each White House hopeful as they have dropped out of the race with champagne toasts, backhanded compliments, and faux eulogies. Just last week, he bid farewell to Bernie Sanders by eating a plate of caviar that spelled his name.

For the next two weeks, The Late Show will broadcast live during both the Republican and the Democratic conventions, featuring a variety of guests including Jon Stewart, Elizabeth Warren, and documentary star Anthony Weiner. And although Colbert will broadcast from the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, he still managed to visit Cleveland in full Flickerman garb.

At the end of his appearance on the Cleveland stage, a security guard rushed to usher him away. Colbert stood his ground: “Look, I know I’m not supposed to be up here. But to be honest, neither is Donald Trump!”

Photo: Twitter/Brad Mielke

LEAKED: The REAL Republican National Convention Schedule

LEAKED: The REAL Republican National Convention Schedule

Lots of rumors have been going around about the Republican National Convention, which begins on June 18. The National Memo has obtained an exclusive list of the planned highlights.


5pm: Donald Trump sits down in a pleather armchair on stage and remains there the entire night, smiling toothlessly as the parade of well-wishers gives their condolences to the Republican Party.

6:30pm: Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski gazes with emotion at current campaign manager Paul Manafort. Then he will trudge back to the CNN booth, hanging his head forlornly.

7pm: A Monday-night swimsuit competition held among all pledged delegates. The winner will be crowned “Miss Convention.”


6:30pm: UFC president Dana White presents a bloody cage match on the convention floor. The winner will extract a molar from the unconscious loser and present it to Donald Trump as a gift in honor of his future victory.

7:30: Reince Priebus appears, looks extremely uncomfortable, and mumbles a few words.

9pm: Chris Christie faints and is woken up by the sound of his career crashing down around him.


4pm: A simultaneous convention organized by Jeb Bush begins in the nearby city of Akron, Ohio, taking place in a T.G.I. Friday’s and featuring both bottomless Buffalo wings and bottomless Romney tears.

6pm: Some guy named Andy Wist takes the stage.

8pm: The year’s TrumPence Campaign Flag unfurls, but will be censored by the FCC.


5pm: Two-dozen Donald Trump body doubles deploy, meant to distract protesters from the real Donald Trump. All the body doubles will speak in Trump’s patter, and they will do a tremendous job, really fantastic.

6pm: A confused Tim Tebow is dumped unceremoniously from a burlap sack onto the convention stage, days after telling fans that he would not be speaking at the convention. Unable to see anything due to the bright lights focused on the podium, he will think that he is dead. But he is not dead. No. This is what his life is now.

6:30pm: The few hours during which no speakers have been scheduled will be filled with Season 3 of The Apprentice.

11pm: The disembodied voice of Clint Eastwood, who was not allowed to appear in person this year, echoes over the loudspeakers. He sounds rugged and American, but it is unclear what he is talking about. As the crowd gazes upward, balloons fall down. Thousands, millions of balloons. It is a balloon avalanche, and it buries half the crowd. The only visible part left of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a lone hand, reaching out above the patriotic latex.


Photo: A worker walks across the stage of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland July 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking

#EndorseThis: Gingrich Calls To ‘Test Every Person Here Who Is Of A Muslim Background’

#EndorseThis: Gingrich Calls To ‘Test Every Person Here Who Is Of A Muslim Background’

In the wake of the horrific attack in Nice yesterday, Newt Gingrich appeared on Fox News to assert that “Western civilization is in a war” with Islam and that individuals “of a Muslim background” in America should be tested for their adherence to sharia: “If they believe in sharia, they should be deported.”

As David A. Graham of The Atlantic has pointed out, though, this is impracticable, unconstitutional, and incredibly intolerant. Although it is often used in American political parlance to signify extremism, “sharia” refers to the Muslim code of conduct, not an official set of laws or a declaration of war.

Deporting individuals based on their religious beliefs seems about as explicit an example of a violation of the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion as you can find… aside from most of the rest of Trump’s ideas.

The man who is not Donald Trump’s VP pick also has a pretty extensive history of comments targeting Muslims, even though prior to the mid-2000s he had relationships with conservative Muslim groups and even helped create a Muslim prayer space on Capitol Hill.

Taking to Twitter today to defend his remarks, Gingrich derided what he called the media’s “amazing distortions” of his remarks, announcing that he would host a Facebook Live conversation at noon. Check it out here.

But the fact remains: Prosecuting a religion is un-American. There’s no way around it.

Would Gingrich use the same logic to prosecute visitors to white supremacist websites like StormFront, or anyone who uses the hashtag #whitegenocide? Right wing extremists commit terrorism, too — just as much as any radical cult. Does Gingrich want thought police?

Photo: YouTube/Fox News

#EndorseThis: Angus King Endorses Clinton Due To Threat Of Trumpian Nuclear Catastrophe

#EndorseThis: Angus King Endorses Clinton Due To Threat Of Trumpian Nuclear Catastrophe

After recalling a sobering trip on the government plane intended to protect the president during a nuclear catastrophe, Senator Angus King (I-Maine) endorsed Hillary Clinton this morning, describing to CNN’s Chris Cuomo his terror at imagining Donald Trumps itty bitty fingers on the nuclear trigger.

King said Donald Trump simply doesn’t have the “judgment and temperament” necessary to deal with a national disaster.

As King related on CNN’s “New Day” this morning, he visited a training exercise on a so-called “Doomsday plane” — part of the four-aircraft National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) — meant to serve as a base for the president, secretary of defense, and Joint Chiefs of Staff during a catastrophe. King explained to Cuomo that as he saw the Air Force Officers on the plane respond to a simulated nuclear attack, he was struck by the fact that in such a scenario, “there’s one person making a decision about the future of civilization” — the president.

“And then I thought about Donald Trump,” he continued. “And it’s a question of judgment and temperament, and this guy has not demonstrated to me the kind of coolness that you need in that situation.”

King is one of two independent senators, and he is the last senator who caucuses with Democrats to endorse Hillary Clinton. The other independent is Bernie Sanders, who endorsed Clinton on Tuesday, albeit awkwardly. The other senator from Maine, Republican Susan Collins, remains undecided about whether to endorse Trump, although she has criticized his campaign in the past and has mentioned the possibility of supporting Hillary Clinton instead. On the other hand, Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, has supported Trump for several months and appeared with him on the campaign trail.

Check out King’s interview here, where he tells the NAOC story and contrasts Trump’s statements with Clinton’s calmer testimony in the 2015 Benghazi hearings:

And if you’re curious about the NAOC, check out this clip, courtesy of a National Geographic Channel show aptly titled “American Doomsday.”

Photo: Twitter/New Day

#EndorseThis: Bernie Sanders Impersonator Hilariously Ends Campaign

#EndorseThis: Bernie Sanders Impersonator Hilariously Ends Campaign

Although Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign ended yesterday, when the Vermont senator endorsed Hillary Clinton, it can still point to a range of accomplishments which will have a concrete political impact in 2016 and beyond.

It mobilized an enormous number of new voters, creating legions of “Bernie Bros” and leading to an unprecedented bump in “Feel the Bern” laptop sticker sales. It brought Larry David out of the shadowy corners of the subscription-only HBO universe, his misanthropic eyes blinking against the bright lights of the NBC late-night studios.

And Sanders managed to push parts of the official Democratic Party’s platform significantly to the left, leading to newly progressive stances in favor of measures like a $15 minimum wage and increased government involvement in health care and education.

Due in large part to these successes, Sanders intimated recently that at the Democratic National Convention he would not file a “minority report” — which is either a public dissent from the party platform or a little-understood prediction about an alternate future which government agents can use in their decisions about whether to prosecute PreCrimes. Either way, it points to a greater effort towards party unity in the weeks leading up to the convention.

But as Sanders slinks away from the role of progressive gadfly to that of Clinton surrogate, he leaves a trail of jobless impersonators and wig salesmen in his wake. And so, it is now time for them, as well, to end their campaigns. Perhaps the most stirring farewell address comes from the Fusion series Trump vs. Bernie.

Watch James Adomian, who has a knack for Sanders’ unique cadence, discuss his alliance with Clinton and his hopes for the future of American politics:


Photo: YouTube/Fusion


#EndorseThis: David Cameron’s Swan Song

#EndorseThis: David Cameron’s Swan Song

Much as aluminium tends to oxidise into rust, so too has British Prime Minister David Cameron’s time come to be replaced by a newer, shinier premier — in this case, Home Secretary Theresa May, who was named the next Tory premier faster than you could say, “Bob’s your uncle.”

The news came out at 10 Downing Street yesterday as Cameron spoke in front of the press. But as he turned around and returned to his erstwhile residence and the soft purrs of the cat that his government acquired in 2011 to deal with a rat problem, he hummed a mysterious little tune.

Internet commentators suspected that the Prime Minister was rather happy — singing, though it is something British people have been known to do, was not normally associated with Cameron. However, Cameron might well be relieved. He promised a referendum on whether to stay in or leave the European Union as part of his previous general election campaign, yet despite his efforts as part of the “Remain” campaign, the country narrowly voted to leave (although Scotland, Northern Ireland, and London overwhelming voted to stay in the union). Now, the new PM must manage the exit from the European Union while mitigating any economic shocks and attempting to reunite the country.

Musicians around the British internet took advantage of the rare opportunity to transcribe the haunting melody, create remixes, and analyze the song. But Cameron is only one of a chain of musical ministers — who can forget Gordon Brown’s rendition of a folk song about an old Scottish farmer?


Photo: Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Number 10 Downing Street to attend Prime Minister’s Questions at parliament in London, Britain June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

#EndorseThis: Rudy Giuliani Says “I Saved A Lot More Black Lives Than Black Lives Matter”

#EndorseThis: Rudy Giuliani Says “I Saved A Lot More Black Lives Than Black Lives Matter”

This morning, Rudy Giuliani returned to a cable talk show to defend his allegation, on another talk show, that the Black Lives Matter movement was “inherently racist.”

In case you missed Giuliani’s Sunday comments on Face the Nation: The former New York City mayor appeared on the CBS show and criticized the phrase “black lives matter” as “anti-American and […] racist,” since he said it was divisive, ignored deaths of individuals of other races, and underplayed the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of other African-Americans.

As the show’s host, John Dickerson, and CBS This Morning host Gayle King mentioned earlier today, though, Giuliani’s argument rests on a tenuous perception that the Black Lives Matter movement is promulgating a view of black lives as more important than the lives of others.

“Anybody in the Black Lives Matter movement has never said that ‘black lives matter more than yours.’ No one’s ever said that,” King said. “They’re just trying to bring attention to the cause that a lot of black unarmed men are being shot by white police officers.”

This morning, Giuliani took to Fox & Friends to defend his remarks, repeating his statements and saying that in his term as mayor he helped protect African-Americans by decreasing the murder rate. “I believe I saved a lot more black lives than Black Lives Matter,” he added, reiterating his oft-repeated claim that 90 percent of black homicide victims are killed by other black people.

As the Washington Post “Fact Checker” column has already shown, though, this claim is misleading. While the approximately 90-percent figure is accurate, it ignores that 84 percent of white homicide victims are killed by whites. The figure basically implies that homicide victims are most often killed by people they know, and that most Americans’ social worlds are mostly made up of people of similar racial backgrounds.

And while Giuliani is correct that homicides did decrease during his mayoral tenure, from 1994 to 2001, he said that he left office with “500 plus murders” — the real figure is actually 649, according to the New York Police Department. In fact, the drop in New York City murders parallels the nationwide drop in the homicide rate from seven per 100,000 people in 1993 to around four per 100,000 in 2001.

Photo: YouTube/Face the Nation on CBS