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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

#EndorseThis: Don Lemon Pins Lewandowski On Trump’s African American ‘Outreach’

Donald Trump thinks African American communities are in the worse shape they’ve ever been in, “ever, ever, ever.” Corey Lewandowski, his erstwhile campaign manager who, it was revealed last night, was paid $20,000 in August for “strategy consulting” rather than as part of a severance package, agrees.

Luckily, CNN anchor Don Lemon and Atlantic contributor Peter Beirnart remember that slavery existed not long ago, and even more recently, that Trump and his father were investigated by the Nixon Justice Department for discriminating against black potential tenants.

“Ever, ever, ever”? No. As Lemon pointed out last night, that’s not appeal to black voters — that’s talking at black voters, a thinly-veiled attempt to convince otherwise decent people that they’re not really voting for an outright racist.

#EndorseThis: Chris Cuomo Grills ‘Extreme Vetter’ Congressman

After the bombing Saturday night of New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood and subsequent discovery of many more bombs around New York and New Jersey, Donald Trump and his klan have been out in force, calling again for shutting down immigration from entire religions and regions of the world.

Donald Trump Jr., for example, who is openly buddies with a white supremacist, recently Tweeted a picture of a bowl of skittles, with the caption, “If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you. [sic] Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

It’s wrong on its face: many more terrorist acts are committed by Americans than refugees or immigrants, and the bowl of Skittles, as reported by the Washington Post (and mentioned by Chris Cuomo this morning) would have to be one and a half olympic swimming pools large to accurately represent the risk of an attack. Also, though a poisonous Skittle may kill you, personally, there is no terrorist attack large enough to kill all of America, and deaths from terror attacks are a minuscule threat relative to things like heart disease or unstable living room furniture.

But when Chris Cuomo interviewed Trump surrogate Rep. Sean Duffy this morning, it was a bizarre display of just how irrelevant these facts have become.

No matter how frequently and accurately Cuomo insisted that our vetting system for refugees has been thoroughly effective (no Syrian refugees have attacked the United States), Duffy changed the conversation.

Ultimately, without the facts on his side, Duffy tuned to public opinion about “hot regions,” which we can assume from his description means any country with brown people in it. “America wants you to keep them safe,” he said, abdicating responsibility for his policy decisions to reflect reality.

It sure would be helpful if politicians like Duffy stopped letting the blind, politically-potent fear of their constituents drive America’s immigration policy.

#EndorseThis: Corey Lewandowski Tries To Blame All Immigrants For New York Bomber

Responding to news of the identity of the man behind the bombing of the Chelsea neighborhood in New York City, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski tried to use the event to justify tightening controls on immigrants coming in to the United States, even though the suspected bomber was a legal U.S. citizen.

“It rehighlights the problems we have with our immigration system. What we know is that 40 percent of the people who are in the country illegally have overstayed their visas,” Lewandowski said.

When CNN New Day hosts Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo told Lewandowski that the suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, is a naturalized citizen of the United States, a legal immigrant from Afghanistan, the commentator brought up the two gunmen in the San Bernardino attacks, who had overstayed visas.

“What Donald Trump is saying, and what he has said from the beginning, is we want to make sure that our immigration policy is such that we don’t have potential terrorists coming here,?” Lewandowski continued, undeterred.

It’s not the first time the Trump campaign has used attacks like this to target all immigrants.

After the Orlando gay nightclub shooting, Trump said that “the only reason the killer was in America in the first place was because we allowed his parents to come here.”

In a speech advocating for “extreme vetting” of immigrants and refugees trying to come to America in August, Trump said “the common thread linking the major Islamic terrorist attacks that have recently occurred on our soil … is that they have involved immigrants or the children of immigrants.”

Trump Promised To Release His Tax Returns With Obama’s Birth Certificate — So Where Are They?

A few months ago, The National Memo compiled every single instance, from April 2011 to June 2016, when Donald Trump pledged to release his tax returns as a presidential candidate.

Over the years, Trump used his taxes as leverage for his own political purposes: On October 24, 2015, Trump said he would release his taxes “when we find out the true story on Hillary’s emails.” On February 25, 2016, the story changed: “Nobody would ever put out their returns that’s under an audit.” (Trump has been under continuous IRS audit since 2002, according to his lawyers. That does not and should not stop him from releasing returns, a practice every president since Nixon has observed.)

Ahead of the 2012 elections, when Trump was flirting with a bid at the presidency, he told George Stephanopoulos “I’m going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate.”

A week later, Obama released his birth certificate. Still, no tax returns from Trump. “So, Donald Trump, Now That Obama Has Released His Birth Certificate, Are You Going To Release Your Tax Returns (As You Said You Would)?” Business Insider asked at the time. “Will Donald Trump Now Release His Tax Returns?” wondered ThinkProgress.

Three weeks later, Trump dropped out.

Now that Trump, after five years, finally takes the president at his word that his birth certificate is legitimate (he did not at the time, calling the document “his long form birth certificate — or whatever it may be), will he finally release his tax returns, as he promised he would?

Donald Trump Jr. said Thursday of his father’s taxes, “there’s nothing there, but if there is, they’re going to try to create a story,” referring to “every want-to-be auditor in the country.”

“We don’t need a story with everyone questioning everything,” he said.

Photo: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump walks throughthe  atrium of his new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar

#EndorseThis: ‘We Got Played, Again’ — Media Furious After Trump’s Birther Press Conference

The immediate media reaction to Donald Trump’s advertised press conference on birtherism today can be described in three words: “We got played.”

After Trump and his surrogates repeatedly dodged questions all week about whether or not the Republican candidate for president was still a birther, building up to this very event, the media was instead tricked into broadcasting a different scene: For 20 minutes, from Trump’s own recently renovated hotel in Washington, D.C., a series of military veterans including multiple medal of honor recipients endorsed and praised Trump.

After that, for about 30 seconds, Trump turned his attention to his birther history, blaming Hillary Clinton for “starting” it (not true), and then congratulating himself for forcing the president to release his birth certificate.

Of course, such a release would not have been news at all if Trump had not hammered the question into the news cycle for years and years — he, more than anyone, used his public prominence to indulge what would otherwise have been one of many ramblings of the internet’s fringe.


Then, he left. Members of the media, who had been promised a press conference — time to ask the candidate questions about his years and years of bogus “investigation,” which he has avoided this whole election — yelled angrily at Trump as they realized they had been tricked.

Jake Tapper called it “A political Rick Roll” — Trump promised a speech on birtherism, but instead we got 20 minutes of endorsements.

John King said it plainly: “We got played, again, by the Trump campaign, which is what they do.”

What do military endorsements have to do with Trump’s 5-year advocacy of the birther conspiracy theory? Nothing. But the Trump campaign had been building up to this press conference all week, with no mention of anything except a statement on the president’s birth.

In an interview with the Washington Post the day before his birther press conference, Trump said of his support of the conspiracy theory, “I’ll answer that question at the right time… I just don’t want to answer it yet.”

That same day, Megyn Kelly accused Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson of dodging the question of Obama’s birth after she said “he has said that he does not talk about that anymore.”

So it goes. The media continues, for some reason, to believe that Trump will eventually tell the truth. Today, he used them to bury the political story of the year (his birtherism and subsequent racial dog-whistling) after 20 minutes of a campaign advertisement that would otherwise have not been aired on live TV.

At least one person did the right thing (or was told to): After the press conference, and after producers and journalists were physically stopped from joining him, the pool videographer for the event stopped his tour of Trump’s new hotel and deleted the tape, in protest.

Jay-Z Narrates Video About Decades-Long ‘Epic Fail’ Drug War

The New York Times released a collaboration Thursday between hip-hop icon Jay-Z and illustrator Molly Crabapple about the effects of decades of a failed drug war on black and brown youth in cities.

In the video, which was produced by activist Dream Hampton, Jay Z traces the history of Richard Nixon’s oiginal “War on Drugs,” through its evolution during the Reagan years, the explosion of the American prison population in the 90s, and the present day discrimination by the legal marijuana industry against entrepreneurs with prior drug felonies.

That last point increasingly appears to be one of the great ironies of the movement to legalize marijuana: America may be changing its mind about drugs, but it hasn’t changed its mind about criminals. In Colorado, for example, those with drug-related felonies cannot own marijuana-related businesses. In California, a licensing agency has for a year had the ability to reject applicants on the basis of past felonies, including those for drug possession and intent to sell — precisely the tasks for which such a licenses would apply.

California may fully legalize weed this November, instantly creating potentially the largest market in the world for the plant. In the meantime, such a piecemeal approach to licensing may conform to the same racist trends of drug laws past: discriminating against a group of people not on the basis of criminality, but rather on the rates at which they are ticketed, fined, arrested, and convicted of crimes that are committed roughly equally across race.

#EndorseThis: Flint Pastor Stops Trump When He Goes Off Script

Want to be featured in our daily #EndorseThis column? Here’s an idea: Invite Donald Trump to your hometown to deliver an explicitly apolitical address to your parishioners, then discipline him when he (predictably) strays from the script.

That’s what Rev. Faith Green Timmons of Flint, MI did Wednesday, and boy was it about time.

One video clip of Trump’s speech at Bethel United Methodist Church begins during Trump’s criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and then of Hillary Clinton. In no time, Timmons enters stage left, interrupting Trump’s speech to remind him to stay away from politics.

“Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done in Flint, not give a political speech,” she said to Trump, who, interrupted in the middle of another pre-written speech, wrapped up quickly after that.

“Oh, oh, OK, OK, OK. That’s good,” Trump said. “Then I’m going to go back onto Flint, OK.”

“I thought he wanted to see that we gave out food and water, and when his statement went beyond what he originally said, I asked him to stick to what he was originally going to say,” Timmons told the Detroit Free Press afterwards. “He’s welcome to come and see what we’re doing in Flint. We’re doing well. We’re helping those in need. And I wanted him to see the best of Flint.”

Timmons also admonished congregants who heckled Trump.

Donald Trump is not the kind of presidential candidate to let a pastor go unanswered. So this morning, he launched into a Trumpian damage control routine, saying Timmons had planned the interruption and that she was “a nervous mess.”

“Something was up because I noticed she was so nervous when she introduced me,” he told Fox & Friends on Thursday morning. “Everyone plays their games, it doesn’t bother me.”

In a now-deleted Facebook post before the event, Timmons had written, “HE WILL NOT USE US, WE will EDUCATE HIM!!!” After the event, she followed up: “Had he stuck to what his camp claimed he came to do we would not have had a problem! – Good night.”

Why the heckling from attendees of Trump’s speech? According to NPR’s Scott Detrow, they were asking Trump about a lawsuit filed by the Nixon Justice Department (and later settled in secret) alleging that Trump discriminated against black applicants to his apartment buildings in the ’70s.

Photo: MSNBC/ Talking Points Memo

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Says America Has Gone Back To The Days Of ‘Gringo Feo’ — The Ugly American

In an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Wednesday, former Mexican President Vicente Fox said that America was in the midst of a demagogic, populist presidential campaign, recalling the old days of “Gringo Feo” — the Ugly American.

Relations between the two nations have fluctuated slightly during Obama’s two terms in office — especially in 2010, after Arizona passed a “show me your papers” law giving police the authority to check anyone’s immigration status — though on the whole Mexican citizens have reacted favorably when asked about the United States in recent years: surveys in 2013, 2014, and 2015 all found that more than 60 percent of Mexicans approve of their northern neighbor, according to the Pew Research Center’s Global Indicators Database.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is viewed favorably by just 2 percent of Mexicans, according to a recent poll by the daily El Financiero as reported in the Miami Herald this week.

Writing for the Herald, Andreés Oppenheimer examined the possibility that Trump’s recent visit to Mexico, the final nail in the political coffin of unpopular Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, “may resurrect Mexico’s anti-American revolutionary nationalism and hurt the United States for years to come”:

Mexico’ leftist populist opposition candidate for the 2018 elections, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is already telling his cheering audiences that, if he wins, Mexico will no longer be a U.S. “colony” — much like what the Venezuelan and Cuban regimes tell their people every day.

Eduardo R. Huchim, a columnist with the daily Reforma, suggested that Peña Nieto could tell Trump that, if he wins, Mexico “will end its anti-drug cooperation” and “immediately revise the state of U.S. investments and transactions in this country.”

Peña Nieto “has unleashed a wave of nationalist fervor” in Mexico, wrote political scientist Jose Antonio Aguilar Rivera in Nexos magazine. He added that “the symbolic implications” of Trump’s visit with its “images of surrender, of blindness, are enormous.”

Fox’s “ugly American” reference recalls the days of Dwight Eisenhower, who forced more than a million of Mexican-Americans, including some citizens, out of the country as part of his anti-immigration “Operation Wetback,” which Trump cites favorably often.

For Mexicans, a Trump presidency would not only upset the good feelings between the two nations during the Obama years — it would also mean a reversion to the United States as bully superpower, and a possible political re-alignment under a new wave of populist and nationalist politics.

Photo: Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox attends a religious service of the late Lorenzo Zambrano in San Pedro Garza Garcia, on the outskirts of Monterrey in this May 14, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril 

#EndorseThis: Bill O’Reilly Dismisses Concerns About Voter Suppression: ‘Every African American I Know Has An ID’

On Wednesday, Bill O’Reilly spoke about the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear a case on Ohio’s “Golden Week,” which was previously struck down by a lower court. Golden Week would have allowed Ohioans to register to vote and cast their ballots beginning on October 5, rather than October 12.

Though O’Reilly celebrated the court’s decision against to prevent extra voting days, it wouldn’t be The O’Reilly Factor without some additional misinformation thrown in.

Let’s break down O’Reilly’s claims:

“There’s all kinds of stuff about people wanting to vote at the last minute, they want to vote after the election, they want to vote at 3am.”

Perhaps O’Reilly is referring to pro-Bernie Sanders Democratic primary voters here, it’s unclear. In many states during the primaries, Sanders supporters who felt they were being disenfranchised advocated for the use of affidavit ballots in cases of disputed party affiliation and the like.

As far as 3am voting? That doesn’t exist. In fact, so far this year, the problem has been the opposite: In Arizona, primary voters waited 5 hours to vote in some locations because the (Republican) state legislature reduced the number of open polling places from 200 in 2012 to just 60 in 2016. Many waiting in line were forced to go to multiple polling places, or not vote at all.

After the Supreme Court gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, such changes could be made without federal pre-assurances that it would not lead to voter suppression. Without such oversight, it’s clear that Arizona did suppress the primary vote.

“You can’t just have the week-of sign-up.”

First, Ohio’s “Golden Week” took place from October 5-12, hardly “the week of” the election. But many states do allow voters to register and vote the same week as the election. Here are the states which allow same day registration and voting, according to the Brennan Center: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, MaineMaryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming — plus the District of Columbia.

“You can’t check these people that fast, so somebody could come in with fraudulent documentation the day of, the week of, and the state can’t check it.”

See above. This isn’t true. Plenty of states allow voters to register immediately prior to voting, and there isn’t any evidence that these states have higher instances of voter fraud than others. Overall, voter fraud is an almost impossibly minuscule problem in American politics. Writing in The Washington Post in 2014, Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt claimed to have found just 31 allegations — not prosecutions — of the type of fraud that can be prevented with voter ID laws, over roughly a billion votes cast. He also found over the same period that 3,000 people had been turned away from the polls due to a lack of ID. And no doubt countless others stayed home due to a lack of ID.

“Every African American I know has an ID.”

Thankfully, knowing Bill O’Reilly is not a requirement to vote. In fact, according to the ACLU, “more than 21 million Americans do not have government-issued photo identification; a disproportionate number of these Americans are low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, and elderly.”

“All the states that say, ‘You have to show an ID,’ and then its, ‘Oh no! You can’t do that! Then African Americans won’t vote!'”

In fact, O’Reilly’s impression of a stereotypically pro-voting rights liberal is telling the truth. In North Carolina, the Republican state legislature decided to place all sorts of limits on voting specifically because they had confirmed (with tax-payer funded research) that it would suppress African American (and thus, Democratic) turn-out. In fact, when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals finally got around to striking down North Carolina’s racist voting laws earlier this year, they mentioned this Daily Show segment, which clearly implies a racial and partisan motivations, recorded when the law was first passed.

“The states that want that will send you an ID. They’ll come to your house with the ID.”

Nope. In fact, one of the reasons voter ID laws are discriminatory in the first place is that, sometimes, obtaining a valid ID takes lots of time and access to a vehicle. When the Department of Justice struck down a voter ID law in Texas in 2012 (before the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the Court), according to Color Lines‘ Brentin Mock:

Texas has no driver’s license offices in almost a third of the state’s counties. Meanwhile, close to 15 percent of Hispanic Texans living in counties without driver’s license offices don’t have ID. A little less than a quarter of driver’s license offices have extended hours, which would make it tough for many working voters to find a place and time to acquire the IDs. Despite this, the Texas legislature struck an amendment that would have reimbursed low-income voters for travel expenses when going to apply for a voter ID, and killed another that would have required offices to remain open until 7:00 p.m. or later on just one weekday, and four or more hours at least two weekends.

Voter ID laws are not common sense regulations whose benefits outweigh their costs. For the miniscule handful of voting violations that may prevent, they make it harder — much harder, in the many states where access to IDs has been limited by state legislatures — to vote for hundreds of thousands of people, most of whom, coincidentally, are Democrats.

#EndorseThis: “Are You Calling Him A Liar?” Kellyanne Conway Defends Trump Against Questions About Taxes And Charity

It started with a simple question: Would the Trump campaign, as the candidate continues to refuse to release his tax returns, release any form of proof that he is actually under audit from the IRS?

“Why? Are you calling him a liar?” campaign manager Kellyanne Conway retorted, seeming to forget that she was in an interview with a journalist.

And so it went, for nine excruciating minutes. CNN’s Alisyn Camerota posed questions about Trump’s missing tax returns and his alleged, yet completely unproven, donations to charity, and Kellyanne Conway dodged every one of them.

Conway, heralded by pundits as the “political professional” Trump needed to level his staggering campaign, has found herself again and again in a situation that so-called political professionals despise — reacting to their candidates’ constant flip-flopping. For Trump, that means lying about his personal finances.

For nearly as long as he prepared to enter the 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump used his tax returns to apply pressure to his political enemies. He would release his returns, he said, once Barack Obama released his birth certificate. Well, the birth certificate is out, the taxes aren’t. Then he called for Hillary Clinton’s emails. Then he said he would wait for the IRS’s audit to end. Here’s every time Donald Trump said he would release his tax returns. It’s a long list, and it’s fascinating to watch the lie evolve.

And his charitable foundation, the Donald J. Trump foundation, spent exclusively other people’s money (not Trump’s!).

The Washington Post‘s David Fahrenthold has been digging into Trump’s charitable giving for months. And what he’s found is astonishing:

[T]ax records show Trump has not given any money to his namesake foundation since 2008. Instead, Trump retooled his foundation to give away other people’s money: Since 2008, Trump has taken in millions from donors and given it away under his foundation’s name.

And those millions of other people’s money didn’t just go to charity: Trump paid an illegal campaign donation to Florida attorney general Pam Bondi with that money, immediately before she chose not to join a lawsuit against the Trump University wealth seminars. He also used the money in charity auctions, purchasing a signed Tim Tebow helmet and a life-sized, $20,000 portrait of Trump.

So, yes, these questions deserve not only to be asked, but to be answered. Don’t hold your breath.

Why Did Donald Trump Jr. Post A Nazi Frog On Instagram?

On Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. posted a meme on his Instagram account in response to Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” gaffe. Trump Sr. has repeatedly said his kids are some of his closest political advisors, and as with his own posts on social media, this one deserves some attention.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-4-21-53-pm

If the elder Donald has turned racial dog whistles into dog… megaphones, this is Donald Jr.’s version of a white supremacist shofar, sounded to awaken America’s slumbering bigots and draw them to his Instagram presence.

Why? Look over Donald Trump’s left shoulder. Images of that green frog first appeared on the internet years ago, as a harmless drawing on off-color message board sites like 4chan. This year, “Pepe the Frog” symbolizes something much more sinister.

Olivia Nuzzi explained the meme’s transformation in The Daily Beast in May:

It began in late 2015 on /r9k/, a controversial 4chan board where, as on any message board, it can be difficult to discern how serious commenters are being or if they’re just fucking around entirely. Nevertheless, /r9k/ has been tied to Elliot Rodger—the UC Santa Barbara shooter who killed six people in 2014—who found fans there, and GamerGate. There, Pepe transformed from harmless cartoon to big green monster.

“We basically mixed Pepe in with Nazi propaganda, etc. We built that association,” @JaredTSwift said.

He sent me a “rare Pepe,” an ironic categorization for certain versions of the meme: Pepe, his eyes red and irises swastika-shaped, against a trippy rainbow backdrop. “Do with it what you will,” he said.

Building the Trump association came next, after which @JaredTSwift said the images got crossover appeal. They began to move from 4chan to Twitter, which is when “journalists were exposed to it via Trump memes.”

On Jan. 7, Cheri Jacobus, a Republican consultant and pundit who is suing Trump for defamation and has been harassed by Trump supporters, tweeted, “The green frog symbol is what white supremacists use in their propaganda. U don’t want to go there.”

R/pepethefrog (NSFW) is a Reddit community devoted to variations on the image where Pepe has been drawn as various Europeans, one Finnish and one Hungarian, “protecting” their home countries from Syrian refugees; a Jewish stereotype; and of course, President Trump with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

Images of Pepe make frequent reference to “normies” and “kill all normies” — normies being anyone outside the alt right, white supremacist political ecosystem, as The Daily Stormer, the world’s largest white supremacist message board, explained recently in a post called “A Normie’s Guide to the Alt Right.” In the post, the site’s founder and editor, Andrew Anglin, explains that “Pepe became the mascot (he wasn’t ‘chosen’ by anyone, except the meme-mob, which is everyone) because he embodies the goal of couching idealism within irony.”

So when Donald Trump Jr. — and Roger Stone and David Duke — re-publishes this image, to borrow a Trumpian turn of phrase: He gets it better than anybody understands.

It’s not the first time Donald Jr. has gotten mixed up in the white supremacist crowd.

In March, after it was revealed that the Trump campaign gave press credentials to white supremacist radio show host James Edwards, Donald Jr. gave a brief interview to Edwards. He insisted afterwards that he hadn’t known at the time to whom he was speaking.

He then retweeted a well-known white supremacist, Theodore Beale, falsely claiming that a viral photo of a woman giving a Nazi salute outside of a Trump rally was really a Bernie Sanders supporter.

In July, when the Republican National Convention came to Cleveland, James Edwards was mysteriously granted press credentials for the event.

In August, Donald Jr. re-tweeted well-known white supremacist Kevin MacDonald, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center called “the neo-Nazi movement’s favorite academic.”

Given the sheer number of white supremacists Donald Jr. follows on Twitter, he could hardly be blamed for being such a successful mouthpiece for their hate speech — if his father wasn’t running for president.

Alas, the Republican nominee hasn’t presented much of a higher bar, hiring perhaps the most influential businessman on the alt right, Stephen Bannon, to be the CEO of his campaign. Since then, white supremacists say, Trump is the greatest hope they’ve ever had for creating a white entho-state in which racial and religious lines are openly marked as a matter of law and culture.

Photo: Instagram user donaldjtrumpjr.

#EndorseThis: CBS’s Jamelle Bouie Says ‘Basket Of Deplorables’ Comment Is Statistically Accurate

Appearing on Face The Nation Sunday morning, Jamelle Bouie, CBS political analyst and Slate’s chief political correspondent, broke down the numbers behind Hillary Clinton’s semi-gaffe at a private fundraiser on Friday, where she said half of Trump’s supporters belonged in a “basket of deplorables” — that is, the “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic” elements of his base.

Clinton followed that remark by telling the room about the “other basket of people,” “who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change.”

Though the Democratic nominee has since walked back the “half” part of her original statement, Bouie explained Sunday that Clinton wasn’t far off: 65-75 percent of registered Republican voters believe President Obama is either a Muslim or was not born in America. More than 40 percent of Republicans agree with statements like “blacks are more violent,” and an even greater share of Trump supporters specifically would say that.

To whichever “half” of Trump’s supporters — around 30 million people — Clinton was referring, she has accurately included a great many millions of people who hold explicitly prejudiced and bigoted beliefs.

Whether or not these voters “are not America,” as Clinton claimed, is another story. Donald Trump’s continued success seems to say otherwise.

Video: CBS

What Are Thousands Of Inmates Around The Country Protesting On Friday?

Friday, September 9th marks the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison riot New York state, and inmates and inmates rights groups across the country have planned demonstrations to highlight the deplorable conditions in prisons today.

On Thursday, according to the Miami Herald, more than 400 inmates “smashed their surroundings and barricaded themselves in four dormitories at Holmes Correctional Institution,” in Florida’s panhandle.

Florida’s prisons are notoriously understaffed and have faced several high-profile scandals in recent years of very serious abuse, including four years ago when Darren Rainey, 50, who was mentally ill, was locked in an extremely hot shower until he died from injuries related to his burns. That case turned out to be the tip of an enormous iceberg of sadistic violence against mentally ill prisoners across the state.

“In recent weeks, the department has quelled disturbances at Jackson Correctional, Gulf Correctional, Franklin Correctional and Oskaloosa CI. All of them are located in Region 1, in the Panhandle,” the Herald reports.

The Nation Wednesday predicted that “potentially thousands” of inmates in as many as 24 states could engage in strikes and protests to commemorate Attica and call attention to their own inhumane living conditions and pennies-on-the-dollar wages from multinational corporations like Microsoft and McDonalds, which both employ prison labor.

In May, hundreds of inmates across Alabama prisons went on strike for similar reasons, refusing to show up to jobs for which they are paid a maximum of 30 cents an hour.

“We will no longer voluntarily participate in this slave system where economics are placed over our humanity,” read a text message from inmate-organizer Melvin Ray, sent to fellow protestors, according to Vice. “All [that] is required is for industry workers, kitchen workers, and hall runners to sit down.”

The website prisonstrike.com lists events across the country scheduled for Friday, including hunger strikes, letter-writing initiatives, sit-ins, and other rallies and signs of solidarity.

A June investigation from Mother Jones reporter Shane Bauer, who went undercover as a private prison guard in Louisiana for four months, revealed some of the conditions Friday’s protest will address: Inadequate staffing of prisons, which in turn cannot prevent violence between inmates; crowded living conditions; denial of medical care; and lack of oversight (or empathy, for that matter) from state governments seemingly obsessed with cutting costs at the expense of an otherwise nearly invisible, marginalized group.

The Black Lives Matter movement has also shone a spotlight on human rights violations in prisons, and on America’s carceral state as an extension of the racial hierarchies enforced by slavery and Jim Crow. The Movement for Black Lives, which released an extensive policy platform earlier this year, called for everything from ending the death penalty to re-investing in social services at the local level, in order to break the school to prison pipeline.

These issues have been gaining steam for decades, and the resurgence of activism around prisons this year — a response, perhaps, to the “tough on crime” attitude popularized by Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan and re-emphasized by Donald Trump — shows no signs of slowing: the Justice Department announced in August that it would end its use of private prisons. And President Obama doubled the total number of sentences shortened by his administration in August alone, to a total of 673 sentences, though that is still far from his one-time goal of 10,000.

Photo: itsgoingdown.org

#EndorseThis: Gary Johnson Doesn’t Know WHAT Aleppo Is

Today’s #EndorseThis column might be a bit thinner than usual, as I could only watch the subject of this article one time before physically turning away from the television, muting the sound, and burying my head in my heads.

That’s because Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s pitch at mainstream legitimacy in an election year with historically unpopular major party candidates, asked what Aleppo was.

That’s right: What. Not where it is, not what’s happened to it. Johnson’s brain fart on Morning Joe implied that not only does the Libertarian nominee not know that Aleppo was at one point Syria’s largest city before a half decade of civil war made it a theater for some of the most gruesome battle of the 21st century — including, recently, an alleged chlorine gas attack on civilians by president Bashar al-Assad’s forces — but also that he doesn’t even know it’s a city in the first place.

It’s even more shocking because the disaster in Syria ought to be the primary talking point of the former New Mexico governor’s campaign against foreign intervention, a central tenet of Libertarianism: The United States has funded rebel groups on all sides of the conflict, including ISIS’ new top field commander Gulmurod Khalimov, whom we trained when he was police commissioner of Tajikistan, and the toxic stew of ideological proxy warring in Syria should be a softball topic for any Libertarian, let alone the leader of the entire party.

I hope the gaffe doesn’t distract from the facts on the ground: The world has failed Syrian civilians, refugees and not, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and still more imprisoned, tortured, or displaced. If anything, Johnson’s blank stare stands in for millions of Americans who could care less about what’s happening in Syria. But the rest of us aren’t running to command thousands of troops and billions of dollars directly related to that conflict.

Philippine President Calls President Obama ‘Son Of A Whore’

For the most part, when American journalists and commentators described Rodrigo Duterte as the “Filipino Trump” when he won office in May, it was a rare instance in which Trump’s bombast and threatening remarks were overstated: As much as Trump threatens the possibility of fascistic rule and a new era of lethal “Law and Order” and “America First” brutality at home and abroad, Duterte explicitly articulated his violent plans from the start of his campaign last year, promising in November that Filipinos “better put up more funeral parlors” if he was elected.

He has kept that promise: 2,400 have been killed in the Philippines since July 1, Al Jazeera reports, the vast majority executed by vigilantes and other non-governmental groups for their suspected (and invented) ties to the drug trade.

We can only hope a president Trump would seek to discourage our own vigilantes: Not long ago, “Minutemen” were watching the Mexican border in shifts, armed with assault weapons and itchy trigger fingers.

But there is one ominous trait Duterte and Trump share: The endless demagogic requirement to shore up support at home among nationalists.

Yesterday, President Duterte called President Obama — the leader of the most powerful nation in history and a crucial military ally to his country in the face of an aggressive Chinese government — “son of a whore.” Obama canceled his planned meeting with Duterte shortly after. Whoever is elected president in November will surely take a much harsher stand against such an insult, especially early in their administration. Why would Duterte shoot himself in the foot?

And yet, Donald Trump showed a similar lack of tact last week, when he lied to the world about not discussing payment for a border wall with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, a statement that was immediately rebutted by representatives of the Mexican government. That sent a message worldwide: Don’t trust a President Trump, he’s too busy appealing to his base.

But that’s where the Duterte/Trump comparisons mostly end. Duterte is a murderous madman. Trump is a madman without a military.


Video: France 24 English

What Are Sanctuary Cities, Anyway?

At Donald Trump’s immigration-themed rally Wednesday night, after he pledged to assemble a deportation force to eject two million people from the country within the first hour of his presidency, the Republican nominee said that in a Trump administration, he administration would move to “block funding for sanctuary cities… We will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths.”

So what is a sanctuary city, and are sanctuary cities less safe because of how they treat undocumented immigrants?

“Sanctuary city” generally refers to any locality which does not honor — or provides leeway to local law enforcement not to cooperate with — I-247s, or “requests for notification,” which notify the feds that there is an undocumented person in custody. Before that, sanctuary cities ignored federal detention orders, or “detainers,” to hand undocumented immigrants targeted for detention or deportation over to the federal government. There are other definitions of the term, and there are considerations of prior felonies and other things on a city-by-city basis, but this generally covers how Trump is using it.

There are around 200 towns, cities, and counties around the country that, if they arrest an undocumented immigrant, either do not investigate their immigration status, or do not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement efforts to deport an individual they know to be here without proper documentation.

Advocates for allowing localities this leeway say that it makes cities safer. They reason that undocumented immigrants are valuable members of their community, and to threaten them with deportation every time they are in contract with local police would have a harmful overall impact on crime, if people are discouraged from calling the police to report crimes and tips. They also say federal procedures regarding undocumented immigrants implicitly encourage racial profiling and restricted access to due process protections.

“A detainer is not a legal instrument,” then-San Francisco Police Chief Ross Mirkarimi said in an interview, soon after the shooting death of Kate Steinle by an undocumented immigrant in July 2015. “From a law enforcement perspective, we want to build trust with that population, and our sanctuary city and other attendant laws have allowed us to do that.”

Yesterday, responding to Donald Trump’s speech, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine said much the same. “I trust police chiefs in terms of knowing what should be done to keep their communities safer and police departments and mayors a lot more than I trust Donald Trump,” he told CNN’s New Day Thursday morning.

Are sanctuary cities more dangerous? There’s no proof of that — though there’s no proof of the opposite, either. As a Mother Jones‘ Josh Harkinson wrote last year, in the state of California, in which the state legislature and all but a few counties have enacted sanctuary city laws, 2014 homicide numbers were in line with decades-low crime numbers across the country. And first-generation immigrants in general are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

The term itself is a bit misleading, as well: Undocumented immigrants still serve time in custody in localities deemed sanctuary cities. They just aren’t handed over to the feds to be deported afterwards. And given the relatively small portion of the U.S. living here illegally — one third of one percent of the total population — and the fact that immigrants are less criminal on average, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that stories on sanctuary cities focus more on the outrage that term provokes than on crime statistics themselves.

Photo: A worker labors on a housing project on Mission Street in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California April 29, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith  

#EndorseThis: Corey Lewandowski Says Trump’s Arizona Speech Clearly Meant For White Men

The charge against Donald Trump’s immigration so-called proposals is that they’re nonsensical word salad meant to appeal to white people.

Deport 2 million people, in the first hour of your presidency? Yes, Donald Trump did promise that last night, along with an ideological test on immigrants and a plan to begin forcing the rest of the 11 million undocumented people out of the country… after the inaugural ball, I suppose.

Word salad. Nonsense. Impossible. These are not real proposals, or if they are, then Donald Trump also plans on bankrupting the Department of Homeland Security, creating another recession by taking millions of people out of the work force, and deporting the citizen children of undocumented immigrants, because, as Trump has said: We won’t split up the families (that would be cruel) they are all leaving.

So it may have been a bit shocking to hear Corey Lewandowski say that Trump’s red meat speech last night was aimed at white men specifically, but it wasn’t a surprise at all. That has been the aim of Trump’s whole campaign, and watching him gaslight his supporters last week with an alleged “softening,” on immigration, by briefly proposing that “the good ones” be allowed to stay, turned out to be one of the media’s vague, Trumpian fever dreams: It happened, but not really.

Thankfully, Lewandowski, who is at once a paid commentator for CNN and an informal advisor to the Trump campaign, from whom he is also receiving severance pay, set the record straight last night. The “America First” theme, and Trump’s rabid immigration speech, he said, were meant for a specific demographic.

Then again, given Trump’s shocking change in tone over the few hours it took for him to cross the border, perhaps this whole campaign is built to please whomever he happens to be speaking to at the time.

Video: CNN, The Guardian