July 28th, 2016

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ON THE RECORD.....

“Corey Lewandowski is like Bob Haldeman without the charm. … He’s a pimple on the ass of history.” — Ex-Trump adviser Roger Stone

“Hillary Clinton can lose Florida, Ohio and Virginia — and I think she’ll win all 3 — and still be president.” — David Plouffe. 7/20/16

“I think she should stand trial for her many, many crimes, yes. There are six billion dollars missing from the time she was secretary of state. How about that for an opener? Because she has bullied and intimidated and threatened the women who are her husband’s sexual assault victims. … How do you feel about rape, you know?” Bill and Hillary Clinton are habitual, career criminals,” -- Former Trump adviser Roger Stone, a 1972 Nixon campaign veteran.

“The Party of Lincoln’s convention has been reduced to an extended advertisement for theTrump Family brand and their odd entourage of D‑list celebrities, children and assorted sycophants acting as character witnesses for the candidate, while responsible Republicans do everything they can to flee the Cleve. -- John Avlon 7.21.16

 

“Did you see what Ted Cruz did tonight? About a half-hour ago? He told the delegates to vote their conscience. Now, when Trump is your candidate, there’s nothing lower than that!” -- Bill Maher 7/21/16

“He sounded like some two-bit dictator of some country you couldn’t find on a map.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), on Donald Trump’s RNC acceptance speech.

“He convinced a lot of people that he could look like a president—for the Hair Club for Men. If you were watching this speech, this was pretty remarkable how bleak this speech was. It was just really about death. Crime is going to kill you, immigrants are going to kill you, terrorists are going to kill you. ... It was so depressing, Melania started plagiarizing a suicide note.” --Bill Maher 7/22/16

Trump: “I alone can fix this.”
Is this guy running for president or dictator? #RNCwithBernie Bernie Sanders @BernieSanders

“Trump is the most dangerous major candidate for president in memory. He pairs terrible ideas with an alarming temperament; he's a racist, a sexist, and a demagogue, but he's also a narcissist, a bully, and a dilettante. He lies so constantly and so fluently that it's hard to know if he even realizes he's lying. He delights in schoolyard taunts and luxuriates in backlash.” --Ezra Klein 7/22/16

“Wasserman Schultz and the DNC are not the reasons Sanders will not be accepting the Democratic nomination for president this week. He and his campaign are. Primaries, like all elections, have consequences. That Sanders’s supporters refuse to accept them says more about them than it does about a system they swear is rigged against them.” -- Jonathan Capehart 7/25/16

“Experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, took all these emails, and now are leaking them out through these websites. It’s troubling that some experts are now telling us that this was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump. ... It was concerning last week that Donald Trump changed the Republican platform to become what some experts would regard as pro-Russian," -- Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook. 7/24/16

“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.” — Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention.

“It is the sort of thing we might learn if we saw the candidate’s tax returns - perhaps that is one more reason we are not seeing his (Donald Trump’s) tax returns because he is deeply involved in dealing with Russian oligarchs and others. Whether that is good bad or indifferent it is a reasonable surmise.” -- Fox News contributor George Will 7/26/16

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That will be next. Yes, sir.” -- Donald Trump, encouraging an adversarial foreign power’s cyberspying on the former secretary of state’s correspondence,”

"Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election." -- Paul Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck in response to Donald Trump's call for Russian hackers to "find" and release the deleted emails from Hillary Clinton's private server. 7/27/16

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. Borowitz Report: Trump Succeeds In Delivering Speech No One Will Want To Plagiarize
2. MarkFiore: Make America Crazy Again
3. The DAILY GRILL
4. Fact Checking the GOP Convention: Lies, lies and more lies
5. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
6. Late Night Jokes for Dems
7. ‘DNC Hacker’ Unmasked: He Really Works for Russia, Researchers Say
8. From the Late Shows
9. Political Ads/Statements

OPINION

1. Joe Klein: An Unhinged Republican Convention and the Nation’s Greatest Test
2. David E. Sanger and Maggie Haberman: Donald Trump Sets Conditions for Defending NATO Allies
3. Franklin Foer: Putin’s Puppet
4. E.J. Dionne: The Long Capitulation to Trumpism
5. John R. Schindler: Wikileaks Dismantling of DNC Is Clear Attack by Putin on Clinton
6. Damon Linker: How Donald Trump liberated the lunatics
7. Fareed Zakaria: America would be Trump’s banana republic
8. Chris Lehmann: Ted Cruz’s Speech Was the Final Sign of the GOPocalypse
9. WA Post Editorial Board: Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy
10. John Cassidy: Donald Trump’s Dark, Dark Convention Speech
11. Timothy Egan: Make America Hate Again
12. David Brooks: The Dark Knight
13. NY Times Editorial: Donald Trump’s Campaign of Fear
14. Josh Marshall: Trump & Putin. Yes, It's Really a Thing
15. Kathleen Parker: Trump is following in the path of despots
16. LA Times Editorial: Donald Trump plays the fear card at the Republican convention
17. Maureen Dowd: Donald Trump’s Disturbia
18. Roger Cohen: Trump and the End of Truth
19. Dana Milbank: A Trump-style speculation on the GOP and Putin
20. Jeffrey Toobin: Why The D.N.C. Emails Aren’t Scandalous

FYI

1. Borowitz Report: Trump Succeeds In Delivering Speech No One Will Want To Plagiarize

According to his staff, Trump and his speechwriters had been working overtime during the week to create a tirade that was sufficiently bloated, unhinged, and terrifying to discourage potential plagiarists from reusing excerpts in the future.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, said that, right until the hour the candidate took the stage, the billionaire’s writing team was scrubbing the speech of any marginally coherent passages that might prove tempting to plagiarists.

“There was one sentence toward the beginning that had traces of humanity and rational thought,” Manafort said. “Fortunately, we caught it in time.”

Harland Dorrinson, a leading plagiarism expert, shared the campaign’s assessment that the final draft of Trump’s seventy-minute rant was too repellent to entice even the least discerning plagiarist.

“I can’t see anyone lifting anything from that speech unless he wanted to sound totally batshit crazy,” he said.

ELSEWHERE: In an unorthodox departure from tradition, the Democratic National Convention will kick off its prime-time schedule on Monday night with what a D.N.C. spokesman called “three hours straight of booing.”

While the D.N.C. hailed the three-hour booing session as a compromise that was acceptable to both sides, many Sanders delegates reacted angrily to the agreement, arguing that the negotiations had been rigged against them.

“Once again, we’ve been screwed,” Carol Foyler, a Sanders delegate from New Hampshire, said. “Three hours is barely enough time to boo Debbie Wasserman Schultz.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

2. MarkFiore: Make America Crazy Again

https://vimeo.com/175642339

3. The DAILY GRILL

• "It was Hillary Clinton who left Americans in harm's way in Benghazi and after four Americans fell, said: What difference, at this point, does it make?" --Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

• "Theirs is the party that ... responds to the death of Americans at Benghazi by asking, What difference does it make?" -- Sen. Ted cruz

VERSUS

At no point has Clinton said — or even implied — that it makes no difference whether Americans died in the Benghazi attacks. -- Calvin Woodward, AP fact checker

 

"We've allowed our military to decay, and we project weakness on the international stage." -- FL Gov. Rick Scott

VERSUS

The U.S. continues to have the most powerful military in the world. Although defense spending has declined with the end of the war in Iraq and the drawdown of NATO forces in Afghanistan, in 2015 the United States still spent nearly $600 billion on its armed forces — more than the spending by the next seven biggest-spending nations combined. China, the second-biggest spender, has a defense budget less than a third of the Pentagon's. -- Calvin Woodward, AP fact checker

 

"Bob McDonnell took a fraction of what (Tim) Kaine took." -- Donald Trump assailing the presumptive vice presidential nominee’s ethics. 7/24/16

VERSUS

"Kaine accepted $162,083 in gifts as lieutenant governor and governor, all of which was disclosed as required by state law. McDonnell disclosed accepting $275,707 in gifts as attorney general and governor. And there was another $177,000 that he didn’t disclose. That comes to a total of $452,707 in gifts - almost three times Kaine’s total. Trump has got this one dead wrong. We rate his statement Pants on Fire." -- Politifact 7/24/16

 

• "I got to know him (Putin) very well because we were both on '60 Minutes,' we were stablemates, and we did very well that night," -- Donald Trump on 60 Minutes11/11/15

• In 2014 I was in Moscow and spoke "directly and indirectly with President Putin who could not have been nicer." -- Trump during a National Press Club luncheon

VERSUS

“I never met Putin." -- Donald Trump 7/27/16/

4. Fact Checking the GOP Convention - lies, lies and more lies

Day 2: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/gop-convention-day-2/

Day 3: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/factchecking-day-3-of-the-gop-convention/

FactChecking Trump’s Big Speech: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/factchecking-trumps-big-speech/

AP Fact Check: Donald Trump’s RNC acceptance speech: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/ap-fact-check-donald-trumps-rnc-speech/

For a rundown of 25 of Trump’s key claims: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/07/22/fact-checking-donald-trumps-acceptance-speech-at-the-2016-rnc/?wpisrc=nl_most-draw5&wpmm=1

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

VIDEO: Inside The RNC Conspiracy Theorist Rally That Explains The Trump Campaign http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/07/21/video-inside-rnc-conspiracy-theorist-rally-explains-trump-campaign/211779

An “Invitation To War”: Media Call Out Trump’s “Dangerous” NATO Comments http://mediamatters.org/research/2016/07/21/invitation-war-media-call-out-trump-s-dangerous-nato-comments/211788

Roger Stone Said He Previously Advised Trump That “There’s A Lot Of Questions” About Obama’s Birth Certificate http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/07/21/roger-stone-said-he-previously-advised-trump-there-s-lot-questions-about-obama-s-birth-certificate/211785

Fox News' John Roberts: Trump Has "Become A Champion" For The LGBTQ Community http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/07/22/fox-news-john-roberts-trump-has-become-champion-lgbtq-community/211825

Alex Jones: Trump Was “Totally Synced” With Conspiracy Movement In Convention Speech, “Epic Time To Be Alive” http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/07/22/alex-jones-trump-was-totally-synced-conspiracy-movement-convention-speech-epic-time-be-alive/211838

Former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke Lists Trump As “Factor” For Senate Run, Says He’s “Very Thankful” For Trump's Campaign http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/07/22/david-duke-lists-trump-factor-senate-run-says-he-s-very-thankful-trumps-campaign/211837

Listen To Sean Hannity’s Unhinged And Obscenity Laden Tirade In Response To Jon Stewart’s Criticism -- Hannity Lashes Out At Critics Of Donald Trump’s Convention Speech http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/07/22/listen-sean-hannity-s-unhinged-and-obscenity-laden-tirade-response-jon-stewart-s-criticism/211842

David Gregory: Trump Suggestion That Russia Hack Clinton's Email Server Is Like “A Child Playing With Matches” - Gregory: “I've Run Out Of Words To Express My Shock And How Completely Beyond The Pale That Donald Trump Is As A Potential Leader Of The Free World” http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/07/27/david-gregory-trump-suggestion-russia-hack-clintons-email-server-child-playing-matches/211938

Fox’s Bolton Downplays Trump’s Russia Comments, Floats Conspiracy That Sanders Supporters Hacked DNC - John Bolton: "If I Were A Bernie Sanders Supporter ... Maybe I'd Do That ... It's Called Disinformation"http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/07/27/fox-s-bolton-downplays-trump-s-russia-comments-floats-conspiracy-sanders-supporters-hacked-dnc/211954

6. Late Night Jokes for Dems

"A number of college professors are saying that Melania Trump's convention speech earlier this week would classify as plagiarism in some academic settings. While in other academic settings [displays logo of Trump University], it would earn you a Ph.D. in 'Speechinating.'" –Seth Meyers

"Donald Trump Jr. spoke at the Republican Convention and said his dad was his best friend, which is sweet and a little sad." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Of course, the RNC convention was going all week. And I saw that it actually has a different theme each night. That's right, the themes are 'Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"Melania Trump is being accused of plagiarism because paragraphs of her speech last night closely mirror Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic convention. Said Melania, 'That's ridiculous. I worked on that speech for four score and seven years.'" –Seth Meyers

"Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, said today that whoever wrote Melania Trump's speech should be fired. 'Fine, I'll pack up my desk,' said Michelle." –Seth Meyers

"The moment Donald Trump secured the nomination [at the Republican convention] — got the number of delegates that sent him over the top — the celebration kicked off in style with a giant gold screen that declared 'Over the Top,' which was either declaring victory or indicating the direction Trump combs his hair.

No one has lost their jobs [over the Melania speech incident]. If only there was someone in the Trump campaign who enjoyed firing people …" –Stephen Colbert

The Republican National Convention started today and Donald Trump spent the past several days preparing his acceptance speech, while Chris Christie spent the past two weeks blowing up balloons." –Jimmy Fallon

"A number of key Republicans skipped the convention. Jeb Bush, instead of traveling to Cleveland, spent the night home crying." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Yesterday members of Congress left Washington for a seven-week vacation. Even the Kardashians are like, 'From what?'" –Jimmy Fallon

7. ‘DNC Hacker’ Unmasked: He Really Works for Russia, Researchers Say

The hacker who claims to have stolen emails from the Democratic National Committeeand provided them to WikiLeaks is actually an agent of the Russian government and part of an orchestrated attempt to influence U.S. media coverage surrounding the presidential election, a security research group concluded on Tuesday.

The researchers, at Arlington, Va.-based ThreatConnect, traced the self-described Romanian hacker Guccifer 2.0 back to an Internet server in Russia and to a digital address that has been linked in the past to Russian online scams. Far from being a singly, sophisticated hacker, Guccifer 2.0 is more likely a collection of people from the propaganda arm of the Russian government meant to deflect attention away from Moscow as the force behind the DNC hacks and leaks of emails, the researchers found. 7.26.16 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/26/dnc-hacker-unmasked-he-really-works-for-russia-researchers-say.html

8. From the Late Shows

The Late Late Show with James Corden: First Lady Michelle Obama Carpool Karaoke

https://youtu.be/ln3wAdRAim4

SNL Weekend Update: Trumpémon GO - SNL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_7uw0LoZqs&feature=youtu.be

SNL: Weekend Update at the RNC

https://youtu.be/zdagdK0O0GM

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Jon Stewart Slams Donald Trump

https://youtu.be/mNiqpBNE9ik

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Donald Trump Accepts The Republican Nomination

https://youtu.be/VJfLCc8zN30

The Daily Show - Donald Trump Accepts the GOP Nomination & Ted Cruz Gets Booed at the RNC

https://youtu.be/RGKcIIm_VeU

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Republican National Convention

https://youtu.be/zNdkrtfZP8I

Hungry For Power Games: Democratic National Convention Edition

https://youtu.be/gH4iSF96tFY

9. Political Ads/Statements

The truth about Hillary | The Briefing

https://youtu.be/UeGJ7TKRHIs

The Media's Years Of Sexist Attacks On Hillary Clinton

https://youtu.be/i_7GrRw6S64

OPINION

1. Joe Klein: An Unhinged Republican Convention and the Nation’s Greatest Test

The Republican Convention opened with a distraught mother, tears in her eyes, saying something palpably outrageous: “I blame Hillary Clinton. I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son–personally.” The woman was Patricia Smith, the mother of the American hero Sean Smith, who was killed during the attack on the temporary U.S. consulate (and CIA station) in Benghazi. Grief can do terrible things to the mind and soul. I can’t imagine why Smith has fixed on Clinton, who was an extremely peripheral figure in the failure to secure the Benghazi station: matters of consular security never reach her level of seniority–and, more to the point, the significant operation in Benghazi was run by the CIA, which should have been responsible for the security. David Petraeus was director of Central Intelligence at that point, and no one blames him for the ambush, nor should they. But Clinton has Republicans frothing, despite a raft of investigations that showed no culpability on her part. And yet the Republican Party, to its everlasting shame, decided to exploit a slander promulgated by a distraught mother as one of the opening salvos in its convention.

This is nothing new. It has been going on since Clinton first appeared on the scene, caricatured as the personification of 1960s radical feminism, a pretentious First Lady who thought she was empowered to reform America’s health care system. Her very existence drove a certain brand of Republican crazy–and 25 years later, the way we view Clinton, even those who try to view her rationally, has been tainted by the unprecedented onslaught. http://time.com/4416684/unhinged-republican-convention/?xid=homepage&pcd=hp-magmod

2. David E. Sanger and Maggie Haberman: Donald Trump Sets Conditions for Defending NATO Allies

Donald J. Trump, on the eve of accepting the Republican nomination for president, explicitly raised new questions on Wednesday about his commitment to automatically defending NATO allies if they are attacked, saying he would first look at their contributions to the alliance.

Asked about Russia’s threatening activities, which have unnerved the small Baltic States that are among the more recent entrants into NATO, Mr. Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing if those nations have “fulfilled their obligations to us.”

“If they fulfill their obligations to us,” he added, “the answer is yes.”

Mr. Trump’s statement appeared to be the first time that a major candidate for president had suggested conditioning the United States’ defense of its major allies. It was consistent, however, with his previous threat to withdraw American forces from Europe and Asia if those allies fail to pay more for American protection.

Mr. Trump also said he would not pressure Turkey or other authoritarian allies about conducting purges of their political adversaries or cracking down on civil liberties. The United States, he said, has to “fix our own mess” before trying to alter the behavior of other nations.

“I don’t think we have a right to lecture,” Mr. Trump said in a wide-ranging interview in his suite in a downtown hotel here, while keeping an eye on television broadcasts from the Republican National Convention. “Look at what is happening in our country,” he said. “How are we going to lecture when people are shooting policemen in cold blood?” 7/20/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/21/us/politics/donald-trump-issues.html?_r=0

3. Franklin Foer: Putin’s Puppet

On Wednesday, Donald Trump told the New York Times that he would not necessarily come to the aid of NATO states threatened by Russia and would make his decision to defend them from an attack after reviewing whether they “have fulfilled their obligations to us.” It was the latest statement from Trump that was likely greeted with delight in the Kremlin.

Donald Trump is like the Kremlin’s favored candidates, only more so. He celebrated the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. He denounces NATO with feeling. He is also a great admirer of Vladimir Putin. Trump’s devotion to the Russian president has been portrayed as buffoonish enthusiasm for a fellow macho strongman. But Trump’s statements of praise amount to something closer to slavish devotion. In 2007, hepraised Putin for “rebuilding Russia.” A year later he added, “He does his work well. Much better than our Bush.” When Putin ripped American exceptionalism in a New York Times op-ed in 2013, Trump called it “a masterpiece.” Despite ample evidence, Trump denies that Putin has assassinated his opponents: “In all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t seen that.” In the event that such killings have transpired, they can be forgiven: “At least he’s a leader.” And not just any old head of state: “I will tell you that, in terms of leadership, he’s getting an A.”

If Putin wanted to concoct the ideal candidate to serve his purposes, his laboratory creation would look like Donald Trump. The Republican nominee wants to shatter our military alliances in Europe; he cheers the destruction of the European Union; he favors ratcheting down tensions with Russia over Ukraine and Syria, both as a matter of foreign policy and in service of his own pecuniary interests. A Trump presidency would weaken Putin’s greatest geo-strategic competitor. By stoking racial hatred, Trump will shred the fabric of American society. He advertises his willingness to dismantle constitutional limits on executive power. In his desire to renegotiate debt payments, he would ruin the full faith and credit of the United States. 7/20/16 Read more at http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/07/vladimir_putin_has_a_plan_for
_destroying_the_west_and_it_looks_a_lot_like.html

4. E.J. Dionne: The Long Capitulation to Trumpism

The Donald Trump Family Reunion, formerly known as the Republican National Convention, illustrates how a once great political party now sees its main purpose as harnessing the opposition to the devil.

 There were chuckles and dismissals when Ben Carson, the brilliant neurosurgeon turned right-wing crank, used his convention speech Tuesday night to tie Hillary Clinton to the left-wing organizer Saul Alinsky, and then Alinsky to Lucifer. Presto: In the apotheosis of guilt by association by association, Carson concluded that Clinton "has, as their role model, somebody who acknowledges Lucifer." Using the plural "their" presumably makes Clinton an even bigger threat. She contains multitudes.

     In fact, Carson's turn toward the Satanic was entirely in keeping with the one and only argument being advanced here consistently this week: That Clinton is someone who should be locked up. Or worse. A New Hampshire delegate who advises Trump on veterans issues said in a radio interview that "Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason." Go forth, Republicans, and tell the world that this devout Methodist is actually a worshiper of The Evil One.

 The journey into what once would have been written off as the land of the lunatic fringe explains how Trump has seized control of the GOP and forced traditional Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to bend to his will. Far from being an intermeddling alien force, Trump represents the true center of gravity in a party that has spent a quarter-century defining itself through extravagant shows of opposition first to the Clinton family and then to Barack Obama.

Trumpism is an ideological wasteland where anger is the only point and winning is the only objective. Here in Cleveland, we have seen what the wasteland looks like. 7/21/16 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/07/21/the_long_capitulation_to_trumpism_131256.html

5. John R. Schindler: Wikileaks Dismantling of DNC Is Clear Attack by Putin on Clinton

It’s no secret that the DNC was recently subject to a major hack, one which independent cybersecurity experts easily assessed as being the work of Russian intelligence through previously known cut-outs. One of them, called COZY BEAR or APT 29, has used spear-phishing to gain illegal access to many private networks in the West, as well as the White House, the State Department, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year. Another hacking group involved in the attack on the DNC, called FANCY BEAR or APT 28, is a well-known Russian front, as I’ve previously profiled.

The answer then is simple: Russian hackers working for the Kremlin cyber-pilfered the DNC then passed the purloined data, including thousands of unflattering emails, to Wikileaks, which has shown them to the world.

This, of course, means that Wikileaks is doing Moscow’s bidding and has placed itself in bed with Vladimir Putin. In response to the data-dump, the DNC has said as much and the Clinton campaign has endorsed the view that Moscow prefers Donald Trump in this election, and it’s using Wikileaks to harm Hillary. This view, considered bizarre by most people as late as last week, is being taken seriously by the White House—as it should be. 7/25/16 Read more at http://observer.com/2016/07/wikileaks-dismantling-of-dnc-is-clear-attack-by-putin-on-clinton/

6. Damon Linker: How Donald Trump liberated the lunatics

Had Donald Trump chosen not to run for president, the party's angry faction would have once again settled unhappily on one of the other options, suspecting (and not without reason) that all the ranting, raving, and shrieking was mainly rhetoric intended to keep the same three ideological factions in ultimate control of the party.

But Trump did run — and for the first time in the party's modern history, the GOP's angriest, most resentful, most fearful voters had a genuine tribune, someone who spoke their language and channeled their unbridled rage without any hesitation. Trump wasn't a member of any of the three ideological factions that have run the show since 1980, and so he didn't use angry rhetoric merely to advance a policy agenda tied to the same old ideological program.

As for the rest of us, we can only watch stunned and appalled as the lunatics consolidate their rule over the asylum. 7/20/16 Read more at http://theweek.com/articles/636921/how-donald-trump-liberated-lunatics

7. Fareed Zakaria: America would be Trump’s banana republic

Over the years, I have watched campaigns in third world countries in which one candidate accuses the other of being a criminal, sometimes even threatening to jail his opponent once elected. But I cannot recall this happening in any Western democracy until this week. The Republican convention has been colorful and chaotic, but above all, it has been consumed by a vigilante rage, complete with mock prosecutors, show trials and chanting mobs. The picture presented to the world has been of America as a banana republic.

We have descended so far so fast that it is sometimes difficult to remember that this is not normal. It was only eight years ago that the Republican nominee, John McCain, interrupted one of his supporters who claimed that Barack Obama was an Arab and thus suspicious to explain that his opponent was in fact “a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”

Contrast that with the tenor of this campaign, which has been set from the top by Donald Trump, who has repeatedly insisted that Hillary Clinton deserves to be in jail. He even promised that were he elected, his attorney general would reopen the books and “take a very good look” at possibly indicting her, himself having concluded that she is “guilty as hell.” That might have happened in a Latin American country — 30 years ago. 7/21/16 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/america-would-be-trumps-banana-republic/2016/07/21/f652820a-4f57-11e6-a422-83ab49ed5e6a_story.html?wpisrc=nl_popns&wpmm=1

8. Chris Lehmann: Ted Cruz’s Speech Was the Final Sign of the GOPocalypse

Until the great Ted Cruz schism opened up on Wednesday night, it was hard to distinguish Donald Trump’s weeklong coronation at Cleveland’s oh-so-aptly named Quicken Loans Arena from a late-night infomercial.

And for all the speakers’ ritual callouts to the economic squalor of the Obama years, none furthered any coherent remedy—beyond, that is, to frack for oil, dig for coal and elect Donald Trump. The theme of the convention’s second night, “Making America Work Again,” clearly triggered a massive brain freeze in the Republican brain trust. The proceedings rapidly descended into the familiar, reassuring threnodies of Salem-style Hillary hating. Repeated “Lock Her Up” chants from the crowd built through the night and culminated in Ben Carson’s demented suggestion that the Democratic nominee was an actual Satan worshipper (by way, of course, of her undergraduate infatuation with Saul Alinsky). No religion is complete, after all, without a thoroughly worked-out demonology. This point was driven home in no uncertain terms on the convention’s second day, when Trump campaign adviser Al Baldasaro blurted out the subconscious collective wish of the “Lock Her Up” crowd: that Hillary Clinton should in fact be executed for treason, even after a Republican-appointed FBI director found nothing in her email abuses to warrant prosecution.

So, just to review: The GOP’s most revered conservative ideologue was all but booed off the stage—and far worse in the Republican cosmology, reportedly evicted from a donor suite—for the thoughtcrime of withholding an endorsement (or an act of worship, if you prefer) from Maximum Leader Trump. And the candidate of the loyal opposition has been threatened with incarceration and execution, when she’s not alleged to be consorting with the actual devil. Oh, and I nearly forgot: Right-wing radio hatemonger Laura Ingraham and a televised Trump shared a Sieg Heil salute, just to keep the general vibe going. Where, exactly, does this leave the genuinely perplexed and aggrieved members of the American electorate who find themselves on the outside looking in on the stylized, bigoted rituals of Trump worship, and taking in the whole sick scene in a mounting mood of alarm? Let us pray. Read more at http://inthesetimes.com/article/19312/trumps-snub-of-cruz-was-the-definitive-sign-of-the-gopocalypse

9. WA Post Editorial Board: Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

Any one of these characteristics would be disqualifying; together, they make Mr. Trump a peril. We recognize that this is not the usual moment to make such a statement. In an ordinary election year, we would acknowledge the Republican nominee, move on to the Democratic convention and spend the following months, like other voters, evaluating the candidates’ performance in debates, on the stump and in position papers. This year we will follow the campaign as always, offering honest views on all the candidates. But we cannot salute the Republican nominee or pretend that we might endorse him this fall. A Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world. 7/22/16 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/donald-trump-is-a-unique-threat-to-american-democracy/2016/07/22/a6d823cc-4f4f-11e6-aa14-e0c1087f7583_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

10. John Cassidy: Donald Trump’s Dark, Dark Convention Speech

Has there ever been such an alarmist presentation from a Presidential nominee at a Convention? Actually, there has. In 1968, Richard Nixon told the Republicans gathered in Miami Beach, “As we look at America, we see cities enveloped in smoke and flame. We hear sirens in the night. We see Americans dying on distant battlefields abroad. We see Americans hating each other, fighting each other, killing each other at home. And, as we see and hear these things, millions of Americans cry out in anguish: Did we come all this way for this?”

It has been widely reported that the Trump campaign is now using Nixon’s 1968 campaign as its template, and last night’s speech confirmed this, down to some of the same framing. Where Nixon said, “The first requisite of progress is order,” Trump said, “There can be no prosperity without law and order.” Where Nixon promised a new Attorney General, who would lead a war against the “filth peddlers and the narcotics peddlers who are corrupting the lives of the children of this country,” Trump promised that he would “appoint the best and brightest prosecutors and law-enforcement officials to get the job properly done.” Where Nixon pledged to heed the “voice of the great majority of Americans, the forgotten Americans—the non-shouters, the non-demonstrators,” Trump said that he would work to “deliver a better life for the people all across this nation that have been ignored, neglected, and abandoned.”

But where Trump went beyond Nixon was in his vilification of his opponent, and his emphasis on his personal role as the national savior. Not only was Clinton responsible for many of the world’s ills, she was the “puppet” of corporate interests. In setting up a private e-mail server while she was Secretary of State, she had committed “terrible, terrible crimes,” and, in seeking to deal with the country’s estimated eleven million undocumented workers, whom he says he would deport en masse, she was “proposing mass amnesty, mass immigration, and mass lawlessness.”

As all would-be authoritarians do, Trump sought to portray himself as the defender of the little guy. “I have visited the laid-off factory workers and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals,” he said. “These are people who work hard but no longer have a voice. I am your voice.” And again, toward the end, he used the same phrase after a riff on Clinton’s “I’m with her” slogan. “My pledge reads, ‘I’m with you, the American people. I am your voice,’ ” he said. 7/22/16 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/donald-trumps-dark-dark-convention-speech

11. Timothy Egan: Make America Hate Again

They didn’t riot in the streets of Cleveland, as Donald Trump said his supporters would do had things not gone his way. But you saw the raw essence of a riot, the madness and loss of reason, on display in four days of chaos at the Republican National Convention.

For a campaign now devoted to “law and order,” the launch was mob rule: in spirit, in tone, in words. Long after we’ve forgotten Trump’s closing speech — that paean to self, that nightmare portrait of an America where the lights have gone out — we will remember the savagery just below the surface.

Starting on night one, when Republicans chose to manipulate the grief-deranged mother of a terrorist victim, the build-up to the hanging of Hillary Clinton was never subtle. Imagine if one party had exploited a widow of one of the 241 service members killed in the 1983 suicide bombing of Americans in Beirut — the deadliest single attack on marines since World War II — as a stick against Ronald Reagan, whose administrative negligence was much to blame.

You can’t imagine. Because nothing about this Republican Party, whose leader now stands ready to repudiate nearly 70 years of security for our European allies under an “America First” banner, even remotely resembles the Grand Old Party of before. You could not find a City on a Hill, a single Point of Light, no Morning in America. Only doom, dystopia, dread, darkness — and a bumper-sticker solution to restoring greatness.

The man who couldn’t manage his own convention, the creator of a “university” built on fraud, bet his shot at the top job in the world on a panicked public and collective amnesia of his serial misdeeds. “I will restore law and order to our country, believe me, believe me,” he said.

And the instigator of four corporate bankruptcies, the man who stiffed plumbers and carpenters, the failed casino owner, promised to use his dark arts to “make our country rich again.” 7/22/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/opinion/make-america-hate-again.html?emc=edit_ty_20160722&nl=opinion&nlid=74243604&_r=0 or http://nyti.ms/29PPN70

12. David Brooks: The Dark Knight

Welcome to a world without rules. (I want you to read this paragraph in your super-scary movie trailer voice.) Welcome to a world in which families are mowed down by illegal immigrants, in which cops die in the streets, in which Muslims rampage the innocents and threaten our very way of life, in which the fear of violent death lurks in every human heart.

Sometimes in that blood-drenched world a dark knight arises. You don’t have to admire or like this knight. But you need this knight. He is your muscle and your voice in a dark, corrupt and malevolent world.

Such has been the argument of nearly every demagogue since the dawn of time. Aaron Burr claimed Spain threatened the U.S in 1806. A. Mitchell Palmer exaggerated the Red Scare in 1919 and Joe McCarthy did it in 1950.

And such was Donald Trump’s law-and-order argument in Cleveland on Thursday night. This was a compelling text that turned into more than an hour of humorless shouting. It was a dystopian message that found an audience and then pummeled them to exhaustion. 7/22/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/opinion/campaign-stops/the-dark-knight.html?emc=edit_ty_20160722&nl=opinion&nlid=74243604 or http://nyti.ms/29Ss3uK

13. NY Times Editorial: Donald Trump’s Campaign of Fear

Donald Trump ascended the dais on Thursday night as the most improbable of Republican presidential nominees.

What historical shift, what tremors in American culture, yielded up Mr. Trump’s moment from the depths of the national id? How did a braggadocious Manhattan billionaire with a history of dodgy business deals convince 13 million people feeling battered by a changing world that he is their solution? Chutzpah, reality TV and a hyperactive Twitter account are part of the answer. But Mr. Trump’s nomination is also a referendum on the Republican Party, delivered by working people fed up with leaders who want their votes but don’t address their struggles.

Given a chance to replace the empty sloganeering and self-aggrandizement of his primary campaign with solid proposals worthy of Americans’ trust, Mr. Trump made clear that he instead intends to terrify voters into supporting him, who will protect them from violence, a word that occurs over and over in his remarks.

Asserting that his nomination comes at a moment of national crisis, of “poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad,” Mr. Trump offered no solutions beyond his messianic portrayal of himself. “Every day I wake up determined to deliver a better life for the people all across this nation that have been neglected, ignored, and abandoned,” he says in advance excerpts from his speech.

The dark vision of America advanced by Mr. Trump is one in which immigrants, including immigrant families, are prime sources of “violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities.” Abroad, America is a disrespected, humiliated nation. 7/22/16 Read more at http://nyti.ms/29PBxev or http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/opinion/donald-trumps-campaign-of-fear.html?emc=edit_ty_20160722&nl=opinion&nlid=74243604

14. Josh Marshall: Trump & Putin. Yes, It's Really a Thing

Over the last year there has been a recurrent refrain about the seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. More seriously, but relatedly, many believe Trump is an admirer and would-be emulator of Putin's increasingly autocratic and illiberal rule. But there's quite a bit more to the story. At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.

To put this all into perspective, if Vladimir Putin were simply the CEO of a major American corporation and there was this much money flowing in Trump's direction, combined with this much solicitousness of Putin's policy agenda, it would set off alarm bells galore. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. And yet Putin is not the CEO of an American corporation. He's the autocrat who rules a foreign state, with an increasingly hostile posture towards the United States and a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons. The stakes involved in finding out 'what's going on' as Trump might put it are quite a bit higher.

There is something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence for a financial relationship between Trump and Putin or a non-tacit alliance between the two men. Even if you draw no adverse conclusions, Trump's financial empire is heavily leveraged and has a deep reliance on capital infusions from oligarchs and other sources of wealth aligned with Putin. That's simply not something that can be waved off or ignored. 7/25/16 Read more at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-putin-russia-connections

15. Kathleen Parker: Trump is following in the path of despots

Donald Trump was a man in full Thursday night as he accepted the Republican nomination: Full-throated, full of fury and full of himself: “I am your voice”; “I alone can fix it [the system]”; “I am the law-and-order candidate.”

The grandest of marketeers, Trump has cast a spell over a swath of the United States, inspiring Americans not with soaring rhetoric but with dark harbingers of worse to come. In the familiar way of despots, tyrants and kings, he has made the many feel better by singling out the few to fault.

It is not for nothing that many have compared Trump’s brand of rhetoric to the words of some of humankind’s worst, including, unavoidably, Adolf Hitler.

Observing the convention, I was taken back to my uncommon childhood, when I was exposed to Hitler’s speeches. My father, a World War II Army Air Corps pilot, was also a kitchen historian who, postwar, studied Hitler in an effort to better understand him. This involved listening to his recorded speeches, which, in the dark, B.A. (Before Apple) era, meant we all listened to them. They made a lasting impression.

Without understanding a word of German, it wasn’t difficult to translate Hitler’s message. The ferocious shouts of thousands of citizens, inflamed by and enamored of this strange little man, merged into a solid note — a deafening roar freighted with the fears and furies of mankind’s primeval past.

“Lock her up” sounds a lot like “To the stockades.”

But imagine you’re the person about whom thousands are chanting with the cadence of a lynch mob, “Lock her up!” How frightening that would be, even to a tough pro like Hillary Clinton. How horrifying it should be to all of us that the next president of the United States could be the man who inspired it. 7/22/16 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/following-the-path-of-despots/2016/07/22/c41b2896-5047-11e6-a7d8-13d06b37f256_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

16. LA Times Editorial: Donald Trump plays the fear card at the Republican convention

Donald J. Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination Thursday evening with a speech that was frightening in more ways than one. 

Trump’s overarching intention was to sow fear in America’s voters: Fear of uncontrolled crime and terrorism that “threaten our very way of life.” Fear of immigrants, including refugees from the civil war in Syria. Fear of Muslims, although instead of the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” he proposed last year, Trump said he would suspend immigration from countries that have been “compromised by terrorism.”  Fear of foreign trading partners that, thanks to “disastrous trade deals supported by Bill and Hillary Clinton,” have destroyed American manufacturing.

Finally, Trump warned that Americans should fear Hillary Clinton, whom he described as a corrupt politician whose legacy as secretary of State amounted to “death, destruction and weakness.”

But Trump’s speech was frightening in a second sense: By softening his strident rhetoric, by (selectively) citing statistics, by couching cruel policies in the language of compassion, Trump managed to make an extreme agenda sound not only plausible but necessary.

The challenge for Hillary Clinton is to rescue reality from the illusion Trump created in this perversely powerful speech. 7/21/16 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-trump-convention-speech-20160721-snap-story.html

17. Maureen Dowd: Donald Trump’s Disturbia

There is a brutality and harshness about Trump’s two worlds: feral insults that “kill” opponents and a convention so feral that Politico’s Glenn Thrush said he expected to see wild cats wandering through it.

On Thursday night, the nominee painted a crepuscular “Midnight in America” picture of the “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness” that he claimed President Obama and Hillary had wrought. “Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” he said. “Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.”

America is a disaster but Trump will descend from his gilded skyscraper and sacrifice himself and move to a mere six-story white home to save us.

Trump told the crowd that he was presenting the facts “plainly and honestly.” But his dystopia is fueled by diss-information and diss-tortion, insulting rivals with disturbing exaggerated and cherry-picked facts and unsubstantiated assertions and conspiracies.

Nothing should be remarkable with Trump anymore. But it was still remarkable to see him the morning after his balloon-drop coronation as head of the Republican Party return to trolling Ted Cruz. There’s a dissonance in his bleak dystopia and his brash diss-topia as he switches from Dr. Strangelove to Don Rickles. 7/23/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/24/opinion/sunday/donald-trumps-disturbia.html

18. Roger Cohen: Trump and the End of Truth

As George Orwell observed, “From the totalitarian point of view history is something to be created rather than learned.”

Enter Putin’s pal, Donald Trump, who declares that “there will be no lies” as a prelude to shrieking unvarnished untruth for 76 minutes from a gold-limned podium. Where was Leni Riefenstahl when she was needed last week in Cleveland?

Facts are now a quaint hangover from a time of rational discourse, little annoyances easily upended. Volume trumps reality, as Roger Ailes understood at Fox News, before a downfall that coincided with the apotheosis of his post-factual world.

It is inevitable, given what he represents, that Trump looks to Putin. Orwell again: “Totalitarianism demands, in fact, the continuous alteration of the past, and in the long run probably demands a disbelief in the very existence of objective truth.”

Trump’s strongest argument is that he represents change and Hillary Clinton does not. He will see Clinton’s charges of mendacity with accusations that she is untrustworthy. He may well win. Anyone denying this has not grasped that “epidemic suggestion” tends to be unstoppable.

Brexit illustrated a thirst for disruption at any cost. It was the supporting act for a possible American leap in the dark that would place Trump’s portrait in United States embassies around the world. Perhaps that’s the least of it. Still. That face so displayed would signal the end of an era and imminent danger to the Republic and the world. 7/25/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/26/opinion/trump-and-the-end-of-truth.html?emc=edit_ty_20160726&nl=opinion&nlid=74243604

19. Dana Milbank: A Trump-style speculation on the GOP and Putin

Donald Trump never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like — until now.

He has dabbled in, among other things, the notion that President Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya, that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered and that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination.

But on one topic, Trump is conspicuously incurious: the suggestion that he is complicit in a plan by Vladimir Putin to influence the U.S. election. Consider how Trump might react to the following fact pattern if the candidate involved weren’t “Donald Trump” but — let’s pick a name at random here — “Hillary Clinton”:

The candidate’s real estate empire, unable to borrow from most U.S. banks, gets capital from Russian sources. Such transfers couldn’t occur without Putin’s blessing.

The candidate’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, has worked extensively for pro-Putin oligarchs.

One of the candidate’s foreign policy advisers, Michael Flynn, was filmed sitting with Putin at a Moscow banquet celebrating a Russian propaganda network.

Another adviser, Carter Page, has close ties to Gazprom, the Russian energy company under Putin’s thumb.

One of the only interferences the campaign made in the Republican platform was to remove language calling for “providing lethal defensive weapons” to Ukraine in its fight against Russian-backed separatists.

The candidate cast doubt on the utility of NATO and said he might not come to the aid of Baltic members of the alliance attacked by Russia.

Putin has aimed to destabilize rival powers by supporting extremist parties in several European countries. His state news outlets have been heavily supportive of the candidate. 7/26/16 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-lot-of-people-are-saying-trump-is-a-putin-puppet/2016/07/26/9978569c-536f-11e6-b7de-dfe509430c39_story.html?wpisrc=nl_draw2&wpmm=1

20. Jeffrey Toobin: Why The D.N.C. Emails Aren’t Scandalous

The great e-mail-leak crisis of the Democratic National Convention may soon become yesterday’s news, but the story offers a useful window into what’s likely to be an increasingly common scenario.

To review: shortly before the Democratic Convention opened in Philadelphia this week, Wikileaks released a collection of almost twenty thousand e-mails by and to staff members of the Democratic National Committee. In the resulting brouhaha, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman, was forced to step down as the chair of the committee. (No one mourned her departure, apparently, because she was universally unpopular.)
Why did D.W.S., as she is known, have to leave the D.N.C.? Well, the gist is that

Bernie Sanders and his supporters took offense at what appeared in several e-mails to be bias in favor of Hillary Clinton at Democratic Party headquarters, which is supposed to be neutral territory in a nomination fight. (The Washington Post has helpfully laid out “the most damaging things” <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/24/here-are-the-latest-most-damaging-things-in-the-dncs-leaked-emails/>contained in the e-mails.)

What was so terrible about the e-mails? In one, a D.N.C. staffer raised the possibility of Sanders being asked about his religious views, though it appears nothing came of the suggestion. In another, D.W.S. referred to a Sanders campaign official who had criticized her as a “damn liar.” A third showed her explicitly criticizing Sanders himself, saying he had “no understanding” of the Democratic Party. (This might be because Sanders has never been elected as a Democrat but, rather, always as an independent who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate.)

Do these e-mails strike anyone as appalling and outrageous? Not me. They strike me as . . . e-mails. The idea that people might speak casually or caustically via e-mail has been portrayed as a shocking breach of civilized discourse. Imagine! People bullshitting on e-mail! 7/26/16 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/why-the-d-n-c-e-mails-arent-scandalous

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