May 19th, 2016

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ON THE RECORD ....

“Every hour we’re getting calls from reporters from The Washington Post asking ridiculous questions and I will tell you, this is owned as a toy by Jeff Bezos, who controls Amazon… He’s using theWashington Post for power so that the politicians in Washington don’t tax Amazon like they should be taxed.” -- Donald Trump 5/13/16

The debate over bathrooms "is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public schools." -- Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) 5/13/16

"Yeah. It was a suggestion. Look, anything I say right now, I'm not the president. Everything is a suggestion, no matter what you say, it's a suggestion." -- Donald Trump when asked about his plan to ban all Muslims temporarily from the U.S.

No, @realDonaldTrump - your racism, sexism & xenophobia doesn't drive me nuts. It makes me sick. And I'm not alone. -- Elizabeth Warren@elizabethforma

“I feel confident that Hillary will be the nominee, and I feel confident she’ll be the next president.” — Joe Biden. 5/10/16

“Don’t you think my daughter’s hot? She’s hot, right?” — Donald Trump, speaking to 1997 Miss Universe Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee about his then 16-year old daughter Ivanka.

Clinton is getting the kind of traditional coverage that most general election candidates would get , while Trump’s is unlike anything we’ve ever seen with a nominee before. That’s because he zooms from outrageous story to outrageous story so fast that his latest controversy always consumes, normalizes and erases the previous one.” -- The Lid 5/13 2016

“I mean, there’s one thing to say you want to take it all the way to the end, but telling supporters that you can win is factually incorrect,” -- MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts response to the Sanders’ campaign manager’s claim that Sanders could still win the Democratic nomination.

“Unfortunately, for seven and a half years this animal we call president, because he’s an animal, OK — seven and a half years, has surgically and with thought and very smart, intelligent manner, destroyed this country and dismantled the military under not one, not two, but three secretary of defenses. And they’ve all written books about it.” -- Carlos Beruff (VIDEO) a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Florida.

"Class of 2016, let me be as clear as I can be," he said. "In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It's not cool to not know what you're talking about. -- President Barack Obama at Rutgers University 5/14/16

“It’s become a candidacy about nothing, the ‘Seinfeld’ candidacy and that’s a problem.” — Mark Cuban, about Donald Trump.

"It’s like eating a watermelon and saying ‘I love African-Americans,'” -- Jeb Bush about Trump’s tweet, which featured a photo of the presumptive GOP nominee chowing down on a taco bowl in Trump Tower as proof of his “love” of “Hispanics.” 5/17/16

JFK wanted to send a man to the moon. Obama wants to send a man to the women's restroom. We must get our country back on track. #tcot -- TX Governor Greg Abbott ✔‎@GregAbbott_TX

"America may still be reeling from Trump’s victory as the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, but many Chinese, watching from the other side of the world, view his ascent as natural: the rise of another strongman whose politics of exclusion and rhetoric of hate both reprise and reflect China’s past and present anxieties." -- Jiayang Fan 5/13/16 http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-maoism-of-donald-trump

“Tighter than a Speedo on Chris Christie.” — Paul Begala on the results of the Kentucky Democratic primary.

“The kindling had been lit long before they arrived at that ballroom – by Sanders and his team. They sued the state party over meaningless and baseless nonsense, quickly thrown out by a judge. And even after Reid persuaded Sanders to put out a unity statement on the eve of the convention, his supporters – or a core of them – didn’t care. They had one goal in mind: disruption.” -- Jon Ralston, a well-regarded Las Vegas reporter.

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. Don’t Worry About The Electoral College Math
2. Some say Sanders Is Now Hurting Democrats - and Himself
3. The Borowitz Report: Trump Promises Paul Ryan That He’ll Sound Slightly Less Like Hitler
4. The world according to Trump’s Butler
5. The DAILY GRILL
6. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
7. Late Night Jokes for Dems
8. From the Late Shows
9. Trump Campaign Could Use New Donations to Pay Donald Trump $36M for Loan
10. Mark Fiore cartoon: ExTrumpAganza!
11. Earth’s relentless streak of record-warm months expands to seven
12. HRC Briefing: Trump’s economic plans
13. DNC ad: Trump's hypocritical evolution on tax returns
14. GunFAIL CLXXXI
15. Donald Trump’s ‘John Miller’ interview is even crazier than you think
16. Sacramento Bee Editorial: Bernie Sanders can’t afford to stay silent any longer

OPINION

1. Evelyn Leopold: How Trump Made Bigotry Fashionable
2. John Avlon:The Republican Resistance to Trump—and the Rise of Republicans for Clinton
3. Dana Milbank: Sarah Palin, the political mother of Trump
4. Paul Krugman: Trump and Taxes
5. Richard Cohen: Reince Priebus, fool
6. Greg Ip: Donald Trump’s Plans Don’t Add Up. Do Voters Care?
7. Johathan Chiat: Here’s the Real Reason Everybody Thought Trump Would Lose
8. Michael Tomasky: Real Americans Don’t Want to ‘Defend’ Toilets. The GOP Doesn’t Care About Real Americans.
9. Kos: Ralph Nader isn't content with just giving us G.W. Bush, now he wants to give Trump a boost
10. Michael Gerson: Conservatives make a deal with the devil
11. Catherine Rampell: For Donald Trump, every vice is a virtue
12. Jo-Ann Reid: Come on, Bernie, Time to Level With Your Dreamers

FYI

1. Don’t Worry About The Electoral College Math

Yet.

It’s been an unpredictable year so far. But the general election is off to a predictable start. Three Quinnipiac polls released on Tuesday, showing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton neck and neck in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, got far more attention than they deserved. That’s not because Trump can’t win those states, or the election. Rather, we’re still six months from Election Day and no single poll should receive much attention. Moreover, I would caution against getting bogged down in state polls — even of swing states. The truth is — with some notable exceptions — winning the national popular vote typically means winning the presidency; the Electoral College matters only in very close elections, and most of the time not even then. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/dont-worry-about-the-electoral-college-math/

2. Some Say Sanders Is Now Hurting Democrats - And Himself

“Sanders is telling his supporters that he can still win, which he can’t. He’s suggesting that the win is being stolen by a corrupt establishment, an impression which will be validated when his phony prediction turns out not to be true. Lying like this sets you up for stuff like happened over the weekend in Nevada.” -- TPM’s Josh Marshall

“It is Sanders’s prerogative to remain in the race. But exercising that prerogative makes it easier for mega-wealthy conservatives to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to lethally bludgeon both Clinton’s candidacy and the progressive agenda to which Sanders has devoted his career. This is not solely about combating the grave threat of a Trump presidency. It is also about the potential of a Democratic landslide and the progressive achievements that could follow, which is an opportunity too rare and precious to squander.… The best way for Sanders to advance the progressive cause is to end his campaign and unabashedly ask his supporters to join him in helping to elect Clinton.” -- The New Republic’s Dana Houle

“As the Sanders campaign presses forward, it must carefully consider whether the senator’s ambition for a political revolution is a goal best achieved by actively stoking the anger of his supporters — and, in a sense, encouraging them to tear it all down.” -- The Atlantic’s Clare Foran

“Sanders needed to win Kentucky to maintain an increasingly far-fetched path to the Democratic nomination. The fact that he lost — albeit by what appears to have been a very small margin — will only dramatically increase the calls for him to exit the race.” -- Vox’s Jeff Stein

3. The Borowitz Report: Trump Promises Paul Ryan That He’ll Sound Slightly Less Like Hitler

In what is being hailed as a productive closed-door meeting between two leaders of the Republican Party, Donald J. Trump promised House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday that he would try to sound slightly less like the former German Chancellor Adolf Hitler.

As an example, Trump said, “Instead of saying I am going to round up people based on their religion, I’ll say that’s just a suggestion. Just like that, I’m fifty per cent less Hitlerish.”

Trump acknowledged that the challenge for him will be to sound somewhat less like Hitler to please congressional Republicans while still sounding enough like Hitler to avoid alienating his key constituencies of Nazis and white supremacists.

“Figuring out just how much like Hitler I’m going to be at any given time is the kind of thing I’ve always been fantastic at,” he said. http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

4. The world according to Trump’s Butler

“Looks like that sleezey bastard zero (O) is trying to out maneuver Congress again, if the truth be known this prick needs to be hung for treason!!!”

Obama was “castrating our Military !!!!!!!” and that it was “time for our Military to drag that fraud out of the white mosque and hang his ass for treason and other high crimes against AMERICA !!!!!!! Trial to follow !!!!!!!” Last Year

“Hey negroes---you keep listening to idiots like al sharpless, ezekial cummings and zero and you folks ain't never gonna get nowhere !!!!!” he stated. “How about you folks start to listen to Ben Carson and Thomas Sowell---you might get out of Baltimore !!!!!   

“This shows killery clinton to be a LYING DECEIVING C**T !!!!!!! I would NEVER cast my ballot for this BITCH in any election !!!!!!” he commented on Sept. 14.

“killery started life as a conniving bitch and I'm happy to report she is still a bit of a slut at it !!!!!!!!” he wrote on June 27.  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/05/12/trump-s-butler-hates-negroes-wanted-to-carpet-bomb-ferguson-called-killery-clinton-a-c-t.html

More at http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/05/trump-butler-anthony-senecal-facebook-kill-obama#testb

5. The DAILY GRILL

"Now, I hope it (the IRS audit) gets finished soon. And if it gets finished soon, I put it out immediately because there's nothing there. But until you get finished, you won't." -- Trump on why he is unable to release his tax records at this time.

VERSUS

"There is only one logical explanation for Mr. Trump's refusal to release his returns: there is a bombshell in them. Given Mr. Trump's equanimity with other flaws in his history, we can only assume it's a bombshell of unusual size," -- Mitt Romney Politician

“There’s nothing to learn from them.” — Donald Trump, explaining why he won’t release his tax returns. 5/11/16

VERSUS

Trump falsely claims that voters would learn nothing from his tax returns. To the contrary, voters would learn a lot of information that Trump has long tried to hide from the public. Tax returns would help lift a veil of secrecy about Trump’s finances — and let voters know whether his claims about his wealth and charitable giving are true, or if he’s just a bombastic man behind the curtain akin to the Wizard of Oz. -- Glenn Kessler, the WA Post Fact Checker 5/12/16

 

"Within the last few days there have been a number of criticisms made against my campaign organization. Party leaders in Nevada, for example, claim that the Sanders campaign has a ‘penchant for violence.’ That is nonsense. Our campaign has held giant rallies all across this country, including in high-crime areas, and there have been zero reports of violence. Our campaign of course believes in non-violent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals." -- Bernie Sanders response to NV Democrats' complaint.

VERSUS

"We respect and admire Senator Sanders for his values and leadership in the United States Senate, but the Sanders campaign is continuing to be dishonest about what happened Saturday and is failing to adequately denounce the threats of violence of his supporters." -- Nevada Democratic Party

"Unfortunately, the senator’s response was anything but acceptable. It certainly did not condemn his supporters for acting violently or engaging in intimidation tactics and instead added more fuel to the fire," -- Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), on Bernie Sanders' response to reports of violence at the NV Democratic Convention.

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

Herman Cain Is Worried That "A Pedophile Person" Could "Abuse" Transgender Bathroom Protections They Could Wake Up One Morning And Say, 'I'm Going To Dress Up Like A Woman, And I'm Going To Go Into A Woman's Bathroom'" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/05/13/herman-cain-worried-pedophile-person-could-abuse-transgender-bathroom-protections/210416

Fox Reporter Lies That Transgender Equality Means "A Biologically Male Student Can Use The Female Locker Room All They Want" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/05/13/fox-reporter-lies-transgender-equality-means-biologically-male-student-can-use-female-locker-room/210415

Trump Disavowed Racist Butler, But Works With Ally Who Said Clinton Should Be “Executed For Murder” http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/05/13/trump-disavowed-racist-butler-works-ally-who-said-clinton-should-be-executed-murder/210407

The Daily Beast: Trump’s Anti-Clinton Playbook Was Written By His Discredited, Conspiracy Theorist Friends http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/05/13/daily-beast-trump-s-anti-clinton-playbook-was-written-his-discredited-conspiracy-theorist-friends/210409

On Hannity, Trump Attacks Jeff Bezos And Floats Conspiracy About Washington Post's Reporting http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/05/12/hannity-trump-attacks-jeff-bezos-and-floats-conspiracy-about-washington-posts-reporting/210404

NBC's Today Falsely Claims Clinton’s Foundation “Doled Out” Money To Private Firm http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/05/13/nbcs-today-falsely-claims-clinton-s-foundation-doled-out-money-private-firm/210406

Rush Limbaugh: LGBT Rights Are “Leading To The Erosion Of Private Property” Limbaugh: "The Federal Government Is Going To Have To Come In And Take Over Everything In Order To Guarantee Civil Rights"http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/05/18/rush-limbaugh-lgbt-rights-are-leading-erosion-private-property/210480

7. Late Night Jokes for Dems

"NASA scientists have discovered over 1,200 planets that are possibly habitable — where humans could live. In other words, if Donald Trump does become president, Canada's not your only option."" –Conan O'Brien

"Hillary Clinton could lose all the remaining primaries and she'll still get the nomination, but at this point Bernie has a better chance of being drafted by an NBA team than being the nominee." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Donald Trump also dominated the West Virginia Republican primary with 76% of the vote. Trump told the press that he did really well with black voters, but it turned out they were just coal miners." –Seth Meyers

"A new poll shows Hillary Clinton just one point ahead of Donald Trump nationally. And now Canada is thinking about building a wall." –Seth Meyers

"According to a new survey, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are tied in Florida. Hillary is winning with Jews and Hispanics, and Trump is winning with meth and bath-salt dealers." –Conan O'Brien

"In an upcoming interview with Fox News' Megyn Kelly, Donald Trump tells her that although they've reconciled their feud, 'this could happen again.' Especially if Megyn Kelly continues to stubbornly insist on being a woman." –Jimmy Fallon

"Donald Trump said that Hillary was nasty and mean to the women who slept with her husband. Trump's wives did not treat his mistresses like that at all. They had the courtesy to let him marry them." –Stephen Colbert

"Donald Trump has been married three times. Attacking Hillary Clinton for having marital problems is like the pot calling the kettle black, or in Trump's case, calling the kettles 'the blacks.' By the way, the kettles love him." –Stephen Colbert

"Apparently, Facebook censored popular stories about conservative topics from appearing on the trending news section. Folks, I think this is wrong. If Facebook is going to censor things, why not get rid of the stuff people really don't want to see, like your ex's tropical honeymoon? Or invitations to coworkers' improv shows? 'Mike, I'm glad you're getting out after the divorce, but I'm not going out at midnight on a Tuesday to see your improvised episode of 'Dawson's Creek.''" –Stephen Colbert

"In honor of Cinco de Mayo, Donald Trump tweeted a picture of himself eating a taco bowl. Then, Trump tried to get Mexico to pay for it." –Conan O'Brien

8. From the Late Shows

SNL Cold Open: Donald Trump and Chris Christie

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/donald-trumpchris-christie-cold-open/3036116

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver: Destroy Donald Trump Again

https://youtu.be/Ql-LW6FsQVw

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Trump's Chief Nickname Strategist Makes Stephen Cry

https://youtu.be/Cra47Pdok2g

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: The Religious Right

https://youtu.be/Yz4AmUaLbUQ

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Canada’s refugee invasion

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/skmxbz/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-canada-s-refugee-invasion

9. Trump Campaign Could Use New Donations to Pay Donald Trump $36M for Loan

After railing against a ‘corrupt’ fundraising system in the Republican primaries, Donald Trump now says he will raise hundreds of millions of dollars to compete in the general election.

But the new money Trump raises is available not only for future campaigning — it can also go directly into Trump’s pocket, reimbursing him for his personal spending in the primaries… Trump aides say that option is not currently under discussion…but they also decline to rule out the possibility entirely. 5/13, 2016 http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-campaign-may-use-new-donations-pay-donald-trump-36-n573291

10. Mark Fiore cartoon: ExTrumpAganza!

https://vimeo.com/166314836

11. Earth’s relentless streak of record-warm months expands to seven

Earth has been dealt a hot hand, one that it cannot seem to break. At least, not yet.

The planet’s torrid streak of record-warm months ballooned to seven in April, NASA data released over the weekend reveals.

The average temperature of the planet was 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.11 degrees Celsius) above the long-term average in April, shattering the old record from 2010 by 0.4 degrees (0.24 degrees Celsius).

NASA data now indicates Earth has set record highs in every month since October 2015 and, in each instance, by a substantial margin. 5/16/16 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/05/16/earths-relentless-streak-of-record-warm-months-expands-to-seven/

12. HRC Briefing: Trump’s economic plans

https://amp.twimg.com/v/b12be0ac-efce-454e-8539-5e45fbf5bd68

13. DNC ad: Trump's hypocritical evolution on tax returns

https://youtu.be/jCcO2hQ-g10

14. GunFAIL CLXXXI

People keep making the same basic mistakes over and over again, almost predictably and at a nearly constant rate. So it shouldn’t surprise you that although this week’s compilation does not cover the week immediately past, during which Patrice Price was shot and killed by her son in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it nonetheless includes a report of a toddler getting hold of an unsecured gun in the family car, and shooting his mother with it. Because that’s actually the kind of thing that happens every few weeks. Keep in mind that we’retalking about February 20, a full two months ago, and two and a half weeks before Jamie Gilt was shot by her son in Putnam County, Florida.

In other repeating news, we also have an incident in which a 20-year-old man accidentally discharged a gun during a FaceTime video call, killing his 17-year-old friend on February 19. That came just two months since the December death of a Miami man who accidentally shot and killed himself under similar circumstances. And there are just too many incidents to list that fit the pattern of this week’s bathroom GunFAIL. Read more at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/04/30/1485289/-The-only-thing-that-stops-a-Good-Guy-with-a-gun-is-a-hole-in-that-guy-s-pocket-GunFAIL-CLXXXI

15. Donald Trump’s ‘John Miller’ interview is even crazier than you think

Read the whole interview at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/05/16/donald-trumps-john-miller-interview-is-even-crazier-than-you-think/ or http://wpo.st/eTs_1

16. Bernie Sanders can’t afford to stay silent any longer

`A lot of Democrats don’t want to admit it, but Donald Trump isn’t the only presidential candidate playing with fire and recklessly courting an angry mob.

Over the weekend, dozens of Sanders devotees lost their minds after the Nevada Democratic Party, meeting for its convention in Las Vegas, awarded a majority of delegates to front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Convinced that the establishment had rigged the rules and that Sanders delegates had been excluded for unfair reasons, they booed and traded barbs with people on stage, including Clinton surrogate and keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Death threats and vandalism followed, prompting Nevada Democratic Party offices to close on Monday and its chairwoman, Roberta Lange, to release some downright disgusting voicemails and text messages she had received from Sanders supporters. She also reported threats against her grandchildren. Sacramento Bee Editorial http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article78199247.html

OPINION

1. Evelyn Leopold: How Trump Made Bigotry Fashionable

Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, wants to build a wall at Mexico’s expense, which will probably never happen. And then he highlighted Hispanic felons, another example of unabashed racism.

And the Muslims? They need to be kept out of the country, penalized and scorned. And let’s not forget his attempt to prove President Obama was born in Kenya and is probably a Muslim, an outright lie with a good dose of racism.

To this day, some 59 percent of Trump’s followers believe the birther story and also think Obama is a Muslim, according to Roll Call. Now he continues the falsehood by claiming Hillary Clinton first raised the issue.

What Trump has done is to bring prejudice into the mainstream and concoct conspiracy theories to justify it. Whereas there is enough bigotry in America anyway, his statements have made it legitimate to voice racism publicly. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/evelyn-leopold/how-trump-made-bigotry-fa_b_9892128.html

2. John Avlon:The Republican Resistance to Trump—and the Rise of Republicans for Clinton

The Republican establishment is dividing into the Trump Resistance and the Trump Rationalizers.

Members of the Trump resistance look at his demagoguery and see disaster. For them, as Stuart Stevens has argued in The Daily Beast, refusing to support Trump is a moral decision more than a political one. Most of the leading figures on the center-right have chosen this path: both Presidents Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney along with blue state Republican governors like Charlie Baker, Bruce Rauner and Larry Hogan.  They don’t want to be tainted with support for Trump and his policies and vicious rhetoric when the reckoning and rebuilding comes.

The Trump Rationalizers are making a calculation that the famously authentic candidate has been lying to the base during most of the campaign to date.  The Donald they know was just trying to seal the deal with the conservative populists by saying things that no New York billionaire could really believe. So they believe that he’ll break out a yuge etch-a-sketch and pivot to the center for the general election and, if it comes to that, governing.

This shouldn’t be a jump ball. The Republican Party has nominated someone who appeals to authoritarian impulses, not conservative ideas.  If you can't take a strong stand against someone with a demonstrated record of ignorance, division and demagoguery, then what's your deeper purpose for being in politics?  Choosing between surrogates Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan really shouldn't be that tough a call in 2016. 

Now is a good time for those invested in America’s future to remember a basic bit of wisdom that most Americans never forget:  Vote for the person, not the party. 5.12.16 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/05/12/the-republican-resistance-to-trump-and-the-rise-of-republicans-for-clinton.html

3. Dana Milbank: Sarah Palin, the political mother of Trump

“I know Russia well. I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago, Miss Universe contest.” — Donald Trump

“You can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.” — Sarah Palin

Mark Salter, the longtime John McCain consigliere, was just asked by Politico’s Glenn Thrush whether he believed McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his 2008 running mate “opened the door a crack for a Trump-style candidate.”

“Maybe a little,” Salter said after a pause.

Stuff and nonsense. Salter was being modest. Palin’s nomination didn’t crack the door for Trump. It birthed him. Palin is, politically, the Mother of Trump.

Well before Trump built his national political reputation by questioning the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate, there was Palin. In December 2009, she called it a “fair question” and “fair game” and said “the public rightfully is still making it an issue.” In 2011, after Trump said he was sending investigators to Hawaii to probe Obama’s birth, Palin responded, “More power to him.”

Soon after Palin was named McCain’s running mate in 2008, I went to see her campaign in Florida in front of 8,000 people — and as I reread my column from then it sounds much like the Trump events I’ve seen this year. She justified her accusation that Obama “pals around with terrorists” by saying that Obama isn’t “a man who sees America the way you and I see America” and that he “sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country.” 5/11/16 https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/sarah-palin-the-political-mother-of-trump/2016/05/11/bdbedc32-17bb-11e6-aa55-670cabef46e0_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_most-draw5

4. Paul Krugman: Trump and Taxes

This seems to be the week for Trump tax mysteries. One mystery is why Donald Trump, unlike every other major party nominee in modern times, is refusing to release his tax returns. The other is why, having decided that he needs experts to clean up his ludicrous tax-cut proposals, he chose to call on the services of the gang that couldn’t think straight.

On the first mystery: Mr. Trump’s excuse, that he can’t release his returns while they’re being audited, is an obvious lie. On the contrary, the fact that he’s being audited (or at least that he says he’s being audited) should make it easier for him to go public — after all, he needn’t fear triggering an audit! Clearly, he must be hiding something. What?

It could be how little he pays in taxes, a revelation that hurt Mitt Romney in 2012. But I doubt it; given how Mr. Trump rolls, he’d probably boast that his ability to game the tax system shows how smart he is compared to all the losers out there.

So my guess, shared by a number of observers, is that the dirty secret hidden in those returns is that he isn’t as rich as he claims to be. In Trumpworld, the revelation that he’s only worth a couple of billion — maybe even less than a billion — would be utterly humiliating. So he’ll try to tough it out. Of course, if he does, we’ll never know.

Meanwhile, however, we can look at the candidate’s policy proposals. And what has been going on there is just as revealing, in its own way, as his attempt to dodge scrutiny of his personal finances. 5/13/16 http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/13/opinion/trump-and-taxes.html

5. Richard Cohen: Reince Priebus, fool

I don’t know Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican Party (such as it is). He may be a very nice guy, what with a wife and kids and probably a car or two. Still, after watching him on the Sunday interview shows, I have concluded that the man has no pride, no shame and, almost certainly, no future. After Donald Trump loses the presidential election, the name Priebus will, like Quisling or even Boycott, take on a separate meaning: fool.

Priebus went from TV studio to TV studio, four in all, on a trudge of abasement, a ride of shame. He was asked about Trump’s womanizing, his attempts in the past to pass himself off as someone else (“John Miller,” “John Barron”), his misogyny and his plan to bar all Muslims from the country (details to follow). The Mexican wall, did that come up? His belittling of John McCain, was that mentioned? His mockery of a physically handicapped reporter, did someone mention that?

There is so much to offend, so much to defend: the king’s ransom of insults and moronic plans, the childish take on torture, the misunderstanding of the Constitution, the veritable conviction of all Mexicans on the charge of rape, the distrust of NATO, the off-the-cuff suggestion that Japan and South Korea get their own nuclear weapons, and, for a moment or two, the notion that women who seek abortions should be somehow punished.

And so poor Priebus bobbed and weaved. Sometimes he said none of this mattered. Sometimes he said the people didn’t care (he could be right about that) and often he said Hillary Clinton was worse — worse about women, worse about honesty and worse in ways that Priebus didn’t mention but that Trump has. Clinton, it turns out, is a woman, and so during a break at one debate, she used the time to go to the bathroom and returned to the stage a trifle late. “I know where she went — it’s disgusting,” Trump said some days later. “I don’t want to talk about it. No, it’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting.”

Will they get a glance of themselves in the mirror and wonder out loud what they stand for and if they have any pride left? I doubt it. Donald Trump has blanched the Republican Party of its honor and has played his most fervent supporters for suckers. It’s as if he was put on Earth to make fools out of his fellow Republicans — and give Reince Priebus something to do on Sundays. get a glance of themselves in the mirror and wonder out loud what they stand for and if they have any pride left? I doubt it. Donald Trump has blanched the Republican Party of its honor and has played his most fervent supporters for suckers. It’s as if he was put on Earth to make fools out of his fellow Republicans — and give Reince Priebus something to do on Sundays. 5/16/16 https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reince-priebus-fool/2016/05/16/decae58a-1b88-11e6-9c81-4be1c14fb8c8_story.html

6. Greg Ip: Donald Trump’s Plans Don’t Add Up. Do Voters Care?

Donald Trump would slash taxes by trillions of dollars, leave entitlements alone, boost spending on infrastructure and defense, and, claims an advisor, deliver a budget surplus of $4.5 trillion to $7 trillion.

There is no credible way to reconcile these claims. Mr. Trump’s proposals will, if enacted, dramatically raise the debt, not decrease it, much less produce a surplus.

Politically, though, it doesn’t appear to matter. As Mr. Trump understands well, voters care a lot less than wonks and journalists do about policy details. Mr. Trump and Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s competitor for the Democratic nomination, are riding high not because of their policies but because they aren’t the establishment.

This affords both men extraordinary freedom to make more extravagant promises than their more arithmetically deferential rivals. It also enables Mr. Trump to change those positions at will to neutralize his rivals’ lines of attack. In others, this would be called flip-flopping or prevarication. To Mr. Trump’s supporters, it’s candor. “He talks before he thinks,” one supporter said, “so he doesn’t have time to think up something and lie to you.” 5/13/16 http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2016/05/13/donald-trumps-plans-dont-add-up-do-voters-care/

7. Johathan Chiat: Here’s the Real Reason Everybody Thought Trump Would Lose

The 2006 movie Idiocracy depicts a future in which Americans have grown progressively dumber, and eventually elect as president of the United States a professional wrestler, who caters demagogically to their nationalistic impulses and ignorance of science. Only because the film took place in an imaginary world was it possible to straightforwardly equate a political choice with a lack of intelligence. In the actual world, the bounds of taste and deference to (small-d) democratic outcomes make it gauche to do so. But the dynamic imagined in Idiocracy has obviously transpired, down to the election of a figure from pro wrestling:

Most voters don’t follow politics and policy for a living, and it’s understandable that they would often fall for arguments based on faulty numbers or a misreading of history. But a figure like Trump is of a completely different cast than the usual political slickster. He is several orders of magnitude more clownish and uninformed than the dumbest major-party nominee I’ve ever seen before. (That would be George W. Bush.) As low as my estimation of the intelligence of the Republican electorate may be, I did not think enough of them would be dumb enough to buy his act. And, yes, I do believe that to watch Donald Trump and see a qualified and plausible president, you probably have some kind of mental shortcoming. As many fellow Republicans have pointed out, Donald Trump is a con man. What I failed to realize — and, I believe, what so many others failed to realize, though they have reasons not to say so — is just how easily so many Republicans are duped. 5/11/16 http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/05/heres-the-real-reason-we-all-underrated-trump.html

8. Michael Tomasky: Real Americans Don’t Want to ‘Defend’ Toilets. The GOP Doesn’t Care About Real Americans.

Following the coverage from North Carolina, you might think that Americans are about evenly split on which restroom transgender people ought to use. You might even think, given the rage on the anti side, that most people support the restrictive bill. After all, More: Fully 75 percent of Americans support laws guaranteeing “equal protection for transgender people in jobs, housing and public accommodations.” And 80 percent support such laws for people based on sexual preference, laws that we don’t yet have on the federal level.

So America’s mind is made up on the question. Even Republicans in the survey were evenly split on the bathroom question, 48-48.

And yet the Republicans who matter, the official ones, the legislators and the governor, are 100 percent for the bill and 0 percent against. I mean literally zero—one ex-Democrat-turned-independent who caucuses with the Republicans voted against HB2, but other than that, every Republican who was present and voting backed the bill.

let’s face it, for a lot of people out there, the whole idea of transgender people probably comes with a certain ick factor, as was the case for gay people 20 years ago.

You might think all these things, but it turns out that you would be selling your fellow Americans rather short. A heartening poll out from CNN this week shows that a substantial majority of Americans opposes HB2. It’s 57 percent against and just 38 percent in favor. Indeed, “strongly oppose” outpointed the combined “strongly” and “somewhat” favor by 39-38.

And yet the Republicans who matter, the official ones, the legislators and the governor, are 100 percent for the bill and 0 percent against. I mean literally zero—one ex-Democrat-turned-independent who caucuses with the Republicans voted against HB2, but other than that, every Republican who was present and voting backed the bill. 5/13/16 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/05/13/real-americans-don-t-want-to-defend-toilets-the-gop-doesn-t-care-about-real-americans.html

9. Kos: Ralph Nader isn't content with just giving us G.W. Bush, now he wants to give Trump a boost

But in an interview with U.S. News, Nader expressed more positive thoughts about Trump's candidacy than Clinton's [...] “He's questioned the trade agreements. He's done some challenging of Wall Street – I don't know how authentic that is. He said he's against the carried interest racket, for hedge funds. He's funded himself and therefore attacked special interest money, which is very important”

Remember, even Donald Trump himself says not to take anything he says seriously. Nader pretends that he shares some sort of ideology with Trump, when Trump is explicitly making shit up as he goes along, exhibiting no ideology beyond self-worship. And of course, it’s telling he completely ignores Trump’s racism, bigotry, and misogyny. 

When asked what positive contributions Clinton has made to the 2016 campaign, Nader called her a "corporatist, militarist Democrat" who would have been defeated by Sanders if every state held an open primary.

To date, Clinton has captured 3 million more total votes than Sanders, but Nader argues the results would be different if independents were allowed to participate in each state

The actual vote results prove otherwise. But even if true, it’s irrelevant. This is a Democratic primary. It costs nothing to be a Democrat. So if you want a say in the Democratic primary, then become a Democrat. Otherwise, you don’t get a say. You can vote in the Green Party primary, or the Independent Party primary, or take your sanctimonious “I’m too good to be a member of any party” self and let others make the decision for you. But to whine that non-Democrats don’t have a say in a Democratic decision making process is ridiculous.

Ultimately, Nader wouldn’t say who he’d vote for in November. The answer seems easy, right? Shouldn’t he be a Jill Stein supporter? Man, he can’t even be loyal to the Greens in the end. A complete asshole. 5/13/16  http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/5/13/1526205/-Ralph-Nader-isn-t-content-with-just-giving-us-George-W-Bush-now-he-wants-to-give-Trump-a-boost

10. Michael Gerson: Conservatives make a deal with the devil

In the category of credit where credit is due, Donald Trump has been exactly right in one important respect. He attacked the Republican establishment as low-energy, cowering weaklings. Now Republican leaders are lining up to surrender to him — like low-energy, cowering weaklings. The capitulation has justified the accusation.

It would be impolite to name names. So I should not mention that former Texas governor Rick Perry, who now angles for Trump’s vice presidential nod, once said: “He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued. Let no one be mistaken — Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.” I should resist the temptation to recall how Rep. Peter King (N.Y.), who now (reluctantly) backs Trump, once asserted he is “not fit to be president, morally or intellectually.”

Singling out individuals is unfair in so great a company. One by one, Republican senators have made their peace with a Trump nomination. Many in the House GOP leadership and caucus have urged Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) to get it over with and endorse the presumptive Republican nominee. It is humorous — in a sad, bitter, tragic sort of way — to see Republican leaders, and some conservative commentators, try to forget or minimize Trump’s history of odious proposals and statements. The argument seems to be: “I say tomato. You say Mexican immigrants are rapists. What’s the big difference?” 5/16/16 https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/conservatives-cave-to-the-cave-man/2016/05/16/314bbf6e-1b89-11e6-9c81-4be1c14fb8c8_story.html

11. Catherine Rampell: For Donald Trump, every vice is a virtue

To Trump and his many supporters, paying little in taxes is not an effort to shunt more of the federal tax burden onto less wealthy Americans, as was the perception for Romney. For Trump, and perhaps only Trump, this is instead a sign of business smarts, the same kind of smarts Trump would bring to the White House.

He has similarly transformed potentially stigmatizing experiences with the bankruptcy courts into evidence of his legal and fiscal acumen. He has “taken advantage of the laws of this country,” he says, a talent he promises to soon put to work for down-and-out Americans. And more broadly, he portrays his outsize greed — one of the seven deadly sins, mind you — as one of his greatest virtues, which he plans to channel in service of the American public.

Likewise, inconstancy and willingness to cede ground on supposedly core policy positions would be, in any other candidate, huge flaws. But Trump flaunts his flip-flops with style. With Trump, and in basically no other political context, unpredictability is considered desirable, by his own designation.

Even his incivility and insults are not somehow liabilities, but rather proof that he “tells it like it is” (despite all countervailing evidence from his pandering, overpromises and policy reversals).

Maybe Trump is right: He’s not a politician. He’s an alchemist. 5/16/16 https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/for-donald-trump-every-vice-is-a-virtue/2016/05/16/4ace3e64-1b9b-11e6-8c7b-6931e66333e7_story.html

12. Jo-Ann Reid: Come on, Bernie, Time to Level With Your Dreamers

Soon and very soon, Bernie Sanders is going to have to help his most ardent fans confront the fact of his defeat. How he does so will help to determine his legacy.

That is not meant to disparage the campaign or the candidate, despite the vitriol that’s sure to start flooding into my Twitter timeline right now. It’s a statement of mathematical fact. As of today, no matter what happens in Kentucky (or Oregon, or Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington D.C. or even mighty California), Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee.

Clinton is 94 percent of the way to the 2,383 required delegates, having won 54 percent of the total pledged delegates so far, to Sanders’ 46 percent. She needs only 35 percent of what’s left, while Sanders needs 65 percent, and a literal miracle. If you throw in superdelegates, as they stand today, Clinton needs just 14 percent of the remainder to win, versus an astounding 86 percent haul Sanders needs.

Everyone covering this race knows these facts, and the only question is how to manage the communication of them in a way that respects the ongoing democratic process.

Sanders has proven to be an effective attacker when he sets his mind to it. If, as he says, he wants to do everything in his power to prevent a Trump presidency, nothing is preventing him from using his capital now, to try and prevent those voters in his camp from bolting to Trumpville by training his fire on the Republican nominee.

Of course, Sanders could refuse to do that; perhaps concluding that he would lose too much credibility with the rather angry movement he’s built; and go right on hitting Hillary Clinton instead. But he risks winding up an isolated figure in Philadelphia, surrounded by his diehards but scorned by Democrats who blame him for weakening the nominee, tolerated by Camp Clinton only because they have to, and unable to win meaningful platform concessions from a party that could well view him as an enemy invader, rather than a bluntly critical, but ultimately valuable friend.

Only time will tell how Sanders chooses to play out the end of his campaign. 5/18/16 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/05/18/come-on-bernie-time-to-level-with-your-dreamers.html

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