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Is Evan Bayh “Collapsing?”

[ 44 ] October 24, 2016 |


Despite what looks like a pending Electoral College landslide, the Senate is looking very close. So if Bayh is indeed collapsing, this is a serious problem. As of now, I don’t really see any evidence of a “collapse” as opposed to a “decline” — the RCP average has him up by four points, 538’s polls-only has him north of 80%. I’d like him to be up more but the Democrats have worse problems in swing states.

Still, there is a real dilemma here. On the one hand, Bayh is the best viable Senate candidate from Indiana, and while he was a wet for a red-state senator he was OK — he did less damage to the ACA than Lieberman or Nelson, for example. It’s important that he win. On the other hand, Republican depictions of him as a money-drubbing hack Washington insider are…perfectly accurate. Not only is he a greasy lobbyist but he was really pompous about it. As is so often the case Bayh is the best that can be done in Indiana right now but it would be desirable for conditions to change such as that the best is better.


Today in the Party of Calhoun

[ 22 ] October 24, 2016 |


Seems about right:

Holy cow. The state of Kansas has a lawyer citing Dred Scott in support of its position. In defense of a law aimed at limiting a woman’s right to choose. What in the fck is the matter with Kansas?

Dred Freaking Scott!

I am not a lawyer, nor am I a legal scholar, although I do function as one here in the shebeen. But there’s a nice shiny nickel for anyone who can tell me the last time anyone cited that monstrous ruling in support of anything.

Well, I can’t give you an example of a judge explicitly citing Dred Scott. But I can give you an example of the Chief Justice of the United States joined by four of his brethren using Dred Scott‘s theory of equal state sovereignty, in order to place an extratextual limitation on the powers explicitly granted to Congress by Section 2 of the 15th Amendment to address racial discrimination by states in their regulation of voting. The four surviving members of that coalition also think that the willful and explicit suppression of the votes of racial minorities by state governments should be allowed to proceed.

In a way, then, the candor of the Kansas Solicitor General’s office is refreshing!

The man who invented the 60s

[ 133 ] October 24, 2016 |


RIP Tom Hayden.

Thomas Emmet Hayden was born in Royal Oak, Mich., on Dec. 11, 1939, the only child of John Hayden, an accountant, and the former Genevieve Garity, both Irish Catholics. His parents divorced, and Tom was raised by his mother, a film librarian.

He attended a parish school. The pastor was the Rev. Charles Coughlin, the anti-Semitic radio priest of the 1930s and a right-wing foe of the New Deal. . . .

In 1961, Mr. Hayden joined the Freedom Riders on interstate buses in the South, challenging authorities who refused to enforce the Supreme Court’s rulings banning segregation on public buses. His jailhouse draft of what became the 25,000-word S.D.S. manifesto was debated, revised and formally adopted at the organization’s first convention, in Port Huron, Mich., in 1962.

“We are people of this generation,” it began, “bred in at least modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.” It did not recommend specific programs but attacked the arms race, racial discrimination, bureaucracy and apathy in the face of poverty, and it called for “participatory democracy” and a society based on “fraternity,” “honesty” and “brotherhood.” . . .

In 1968, Mr. Hayden helped plan antiwar protests in Chicago to coincide with the Democratic National Convention. Club-swinging police officers clashed with thousands of demonstrators, injuring hundreds in a televised spectacle that a national commission later called a police riot. But Mr. Hayden and others were charged by federal officials with inciting to riot and conspiracy. The Chicago Seven trial became a classic confrontation between radicals and Judge Julius Hoffman, marked by insults, angry judicial outbursts and contempt citations. . .

His personal papers, 120 boxes covering his life since the 1960s, were given in 2014 to the University of Michigan. Besides troves on civil rights and antiwar activities, they included 22,000 pages of F.B.I. files amassed in a 16-year surveillance of Mr. Hayden.

“One of your prime objectives,” J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime F.B.I. director, said in one memo, “should be to neutralize him in the New Left movement.”

In April, Hayden explained why he was switching his vote from Bernie Sanders to Hillary Clinton in the California Democratic primary.

There are two Hillary Clintons. First, the early feminist, champion of children’s rights, and chair of the Children’s Defense Fund; and second, the Hillary who has grown more hawkish and prone to seeking “win-win” solutions with corporate America. When she seems to tack back towards her roots, it is usually in response to Bernie and new social movements. She hasn’t changed as much as the Democratic Party has, responding to new and resurgent movements demanding Wall Street reform, police and prison reform, immigrant rights and a $15-an-hour minimum wage, fair trade, action on climate change, LGBT rights, and more. . .

Voting on June 7 is a personal responsibility for myself and other Californians, just as it is for my friends and colleagues in New York on April 19. What is to be done in this agonizing situation? I still believe a united front against the Republicans is the best and most necessary strategy. But I can’t vote for a united front on June 7.

I intend to vote for Hillary Clinton in the California primary for one fundamental reason. It has to do with race. My life since 1960 has been committed to the causes of African Americans, the Chicano movement, the labor movement, and freedom struggles in Vietnam, Cuba and Latin America. In the environmental movement I start from the premise of environmental justice for the poor and communities of color. My wife is a descendant of the Oglala Sioux, and my whole family is inter-racial.

What would cause me to turn my back on all those people who have shaped who I am? That would be a transgression on my personal code. I have been on too many freedom rides, too many marches, too many jail cells, and far too many gravesites to breach that trust. And I have been so tied to the women’s movement that I cannot imagine scoffing at the chance to vote for a woman president. When I understood that the overwhelming consensus from those communities was for Hillary—for instance the Congressional Black Caucus and Sacramento’s Latino caucus—that was the decisive factor for me. I am gratified with Bernie’s increasing support from these communities of color, though it has appeared to be too little and too late. Bernie’s campaign has had all the money in the world to invest in inner city organizing, starting 18 months ago. He chose to invest resources instead in white-majority regions at the expense of the Deep South and urban North.

Bernie comes from a place that is familiar to me, the New York culture of democratic socialism. From the Port Huron Statement forward, I have believed in the democratic public control of resources and protecting the rights of labor. My intellectual hero is C. Wright Mills, a Marxist who broke with what he condemned as the stale “labor metaphysic” of the communist and socialist parties, embracing instead an international New Left led by young middle-class students around the world. Mills was fresh, honest, and always searching. The 1962 Port Huron Statement declared that we needed liberals for their relevance in achieving reforms, and socialists for their deeper critique of underlying systems. We did not declare ourselves for socialism but for a massive expansion of the New Deal, combined with an attack on the Cold War arms race. We called for a basic realignment of the Democratic Party through the force of social movements, but not through a third party. We even went “part of the way with LBJ” in the face of the 1964 Goldwater threat. From there the Democrats divided over race and Vietnam, eventually leading to Nixon. Even in the ’80s and ’9os, our campaign for “economic democracy” chose not to identify as a socialist movement. With the coming of the 2008 Wall Street crash and Bernie’s campaign, our political culture has changed profoundly in its tolerance of socialist ideas. But is it enough after this truly divisive primary season?

I wish our primary could focus more on ending wars and ending regime change too, issues where Bernie is more dovish and Hillary still harbors an inner hawk. Both Bernie and Hillary call for “destroying” ISIS, whatever that might mean—but it certainly means we are moving into yet another “war presidency.” At least there is strong bipartisan opposition to the open-ended deployment of troops on the ground. But Hillary’s penchant for intervention and regime change can only be thwarted by enough progressive Democrats in Congress and massive protests in the streets and online. Neither candidate so far is calling for the creation of a new peace movement, but that’s the only way to check the drift into another war.

So here we are, at the end of one generation on the left and the rise of another. Both camps in the party will need each other in November—more than either side needs to emerge triumphant in the primary. We still need the organizing of a united front of equals to prevail against the Republicans. It will take a thorough process of conflict resolution to get there, not a unilateral power wielding by the usual operatives. It’s up to all of us.

Hayden was subsequently a delegate at the Democratic national convention this summer. He fell ill there and never recovered.

Curt Schilling Finds Powerful Media Platform To Launch Sure-to-be-Successful Senate Run

[ 71 ] October 23, 2016 |


This seems over-over-overdetermined:

With it looking increasingly unlikely Donald Trump will be heading to the White House, the prospect that he will partner with his campaign CEO, Breitbart executive chair Steve Bannon, to launch a Trump TV network seems more and more probable. In the meantime, the right-wing website is staffing up with potential on-air talent.

On Monday, Breitbart plans to announce that former Red Sox pitcher and Trump supporter Curt Schilling will begin hosting a daily online radio show featuring political commentary and calls from listeners. The broadcast will eventually include a video livestream. The show marks Schilling’s return to media six months after ESPN fired him for sharing an anti-transgender Facebook post with a message that read: “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”

“He got kicked off ESPN for his conservative views. He’s a really talented broadcaster,” Breitbart editor-in-chief Alex Marlow said.

Well, when your takes — and your memes* — are too hot for the network that is currently signing paychecks for Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd, and Jason Whitlock, it was either than or put videos on Sarah Palin’s Facebook wall. I assume Brietbart is also getting a nice check from the taxpayers of Rhode Island out of the deal.

*I have to say I’m finding the weekly mock Schilling memes in this year’s Jamboroo to be pretty amusing. For example:


To reiterate, however, I must disagree with fake Schilling in this case. It is apparent — and I must be clear that my consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of pass interference generally presents many complexities — that calling DPI on Sherman would have violated the equal sovereign dignitude of the states. The extraordinary remedy of pass interference might have been necessary in 1965, but when Julio Jones can get 175 yards a week it is no longer justified.

Priebus on the 2012 GOPost-mortem: we’ll get to it

[ 208 ] October 23, 2016 |

For some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, people keep mentioning the RNC’s Growth & Opportunity Project Report. For example, a reporter put it in the lede of a front page Boston Globe article that commenterion efgoldman shared this morning.

The Republican Party commissioned an autopsy on the 2012 presidential election, trying to figure out why Mitt Romney lost. One of the verdicts, already glaringly obvious to many: The party needed to make itself more attractive to women.

The 2016 race isn’t even over, and fed-up conservative women, saying the party failed to heed the lesson, are angrily conducting a vivisection of the campaign of Donald Trump and, pointedly, the party leaders who refused to disown him.

The GrOPR was a report the RNC commissioned after America passed on the GOP’s shiny white businessdroid and stuck with President Obama. It contains a detailed and sometimes not inaccurate analysis of why this happened, and contains such action items as:

Republicans should develop a more aggressive response to Democrat rhetoric regarding a so-called “war on women.” In 2012, the Republican response to this attack was muddled, and too often the attack went undefended altogether. We need to actively combat this, better prepare our surrogates, and not stand idly by while the Democrats pigeonhole us using false attacks. There are plenty of liberal policies that negatively impact women, and it is incumbent upon the party to expose those and relentlessly attack Democrats using that framework.

Reproductive freedom or President Short-fingered Assailant. How ever is a girl to decide?

The report also came up during RNC PR BS’s appearance on Face the Nation today:

As for concerns that Trump is going against the main tenets of the Growth and Opportunity Report, the famous post-2012 autopsy the RNC commissioned, Priebus said it’s a “prescription for the long term, not the short term.”

“The Growth and Opportunity Report is a message to the entire party as a whole and I stand behind it 100 percent,” Priebus said.

The message to the party as a whole being ignore this until the next time. And when the GOP nominates another bigoted jackass in 2020, ignore it then, too.

More on Preibus and the postmortem via Mediaite:

Dickerson said it sure sounds like Donald Trump is doing the complete opposite of what the GOP wanted. Priebus dismissed that and said Trump deserves credit for going into black communities in the past few months.

He also insisted that the Republican party has worked tirelessly to do way more minority outrage this time around.

Thinking that one’s pick for president deserves credit for going to Cleveland and speaking to Americans who aren’t white explains many things, including the rest of the exchange. (Outrage might be a typo, might be the writer can read Priebus’ mind.)

“It’s not because of the effort that had not been put in. First of all, I contend he’s gonna do better in black communities than we have done four and eight years ago.”

He then repeats the magic mantra “We are the party of Lincoln,” so I guess they’ll be running the ad again this year.

I won’t bother asking how Trump is supposed to out perform McMaverick or Rombot, or why he talks about black communities (which don’t vote) instead of black voters.  But I do wonder who the hell he is trying to convince.

Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 54

[ 46 ] October 23, 2016 |

This is the future grave of Nicolas Cage.


You are saying, what, Nicolas Cage is still alive. Indeed, or so it seems. But he isn’t messing around. Let me just link here.

Cage has a history with the city of New Orleans, having purchased both the infamously haunted LaLaurie Mansion and the historic Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel. Both properties were foreclosed on in 2009 after a tax debacle. Subsequently, Cage purchased his unnamed tomb in the city’s beloved St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, home to the grave of another of New Orleans’ supernatural heavies, Marie Laveau.

The empty grave is a stark, nine-foot-tall stone pyramid that stands in obvious contrast to the blockier, above-ground burial sites that have been crumbling away in the cemetery for over two centuries. There is no name on the pyramid yet, but it is emblazoned with the Latin maxim, “Omni Ab Uno,” which translates to “Everything From One.”

The actor himself has chosen to remain silent about his reasoning for the flamboyant tomb. Some speculate it’s an homage to the “National Treasure” movie franchise, though given that many cemeteries host pyramid grave markers, it may have simply been a stylistic choice. Others think the pyramid is evidence of the strange actor’s ties to the probably-fictitious secret Illuminati society. Because of antique portraits bearing an uncanny resemblance to Cage that have surfaced online, the more paranormally-minded suggest that the pyramid is where Cage will regenerate his immortal self. The rumor around town is that Cage has considered himself cursed since owning LaLaurie’s mansion (his box office record does reflect this) and he feels being next to Marie Laveau will un-curse him.

Whatever his reasons, the Cage pyramid has already become an iconic part of the cemetery, much to the chagrin of many locals who are furious that he was able to obtain a plot in the cramped graveyard. Many have even accused the tomb of damaging or removing other centuries-old burials to make room. Yet despite public outcry, the pyramid stands.

In other words, CAGE!!!!

Nicolas Cage may or may not someday be buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, New Orleans, Louisiana.

NFL Open Thread

[ 211 ] October 23, 2016 |


I guess we should get this up early for the Giants fans out there?


[ 100 ] October 23, 2016 |

A funny thing happened at a Tangerine Nightmare rally in N.C.

The NYDN has more.

Presidential Campaigning Involves Politics

[ 311 ] October 22, 2016 |


So the latest appallingly stupid NothingBurger to come out of the Wikileaks dump appears courtesy of Lee Fang:

Shadowproof connects the dots:

The campaign pushed out content with the #ImSoEstablishment hashtag through Clinton, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and a “diverse array of bloggers and progressive people out in the world.” Shonda Rhimes, Ricky Martin, and Julianne Moore, each considered “non-political surrogates,” were enlisted to respond.

More remarkably, the campaign coordinated with bloggers and columnists to create the perception that Sanders’s comments were racist or detrimental to women. As Peterson put it, they were asked to “write about this from a racial justice and reproductive rights perspective, including a few people who joined us on a call to talk about the “Bernie Backlash” that was unfolding even before his remarks last night.”

Peterson named Sady Doyle, Gabe Ortiz, Elianne Ramos, Jamil Smith, and Aminatou Sow, as writers who were urged to publish pieces that would be helpful to the campaign. Jessica Valenti, according to Peterson, already was in the process of writing a column on the matter.

As several of the bloggers mentioned above are party to one or more of the endless, dreary, pointless twitter feuds that emerged around the 2016 Democratic primary campaign, the remnants of the Bernie Brigade went predictably ballistic:

So, a story.

As I have noted a couple of times, earlier this year I briefly served in an informal capacity as a foreign policy advisor to the Sanders campaign.  My role was extraordinarily small, largely because of mutual disinterest, but in the context of the above “news” it’s worth relating one anecdote.

In the process of agreeing to advise the campaign, I was asked about my willingness to be identified as a public advocate, or whether I would prefer an informal role.  I was happy to go public, but it turned out (I was told) that abolishing the Air Force was too spicy of an enchilada for Bernie to publicly associate himself with (revolutions ain’t what they used to be).

Not long after this (in late February), I received the following e-mail from an individual associated with the Sanders campaign (happy to release name if I receive permission, otherwise no):



I accepted the suggestion for the following reasons:

  1. I write two weekly columns, and always welcome new ideas.
  2. Although I often find myself on the more hawkish side of the left blogosphere, I had serious reservations about the role that Clinton played in the decision to intervene in Libya.
  3. I have long believed that the US political conversation needs sophisticated, robust voices on the left; not “liberals who like blowing stuff up,” but rather leftists who are knowledgeable of and engaged with the major debates on US national security. Working with Sanders generally, and writing the article specifically, supported this desire.

The person I worked with forwarded along several talking points to emphasize. I wrote the article, which I submitted to the National Interest (not generally regarded as a pro-Clinton outlet).  They never published; it’s possible that the article simply wasn’t very good, but NatInt was undergoing a bit of editorial turmoil at the time, and it’s possible the piece simply got lost in the shuffle.  I didn’t feel strongly, and so I didn’t push it.  I thought about publishing here at LGM, but had qualms about posting what amounted to an attack on the likely Democratic nominee. The “likely” was key here; if I had believed that Bernie Sanders had any chance at all of winning the nomination, I might well have pursued it further. I have no idea whether anyone else received similar e-mails.

Let me be utterly clear: THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH ANY OF THIS. It violated no meaningful norms or ethical standards, and invoke no specific moral qualms.  My reticence to engage came wholly and purely from concern that something I wrote would become a hit piece against the likely Democratic nominee. The Sanders campaign noted what it believed to be a key vulnerability of Hillary Clinton.  It reached out to writers who also believed that Clinton had made problematic decisions.  It suggested that these writers take advantage of a notable news story on the topic in question. In short, the Sanders campaign attempted to win an election by making an active effort to publicly highlight a difference between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. It took active steps to develop a narrative, and to push that narrative forward in the media.

This is called politics.  I do wish that folks weren’t so committed to pretending that Hillary Clinton invented politics, or that the practice of politics is somehow dirty.

Candidate Fukov Andeye wins by a landslide

[ 114 ] October 22, 2016 |

Roger Stone is very concerned about election theft. In certain areas. Occupied by certain kinds of voters.

Donald Trump loyalists will attempt to conduct their own crowd-funded exit polling on election day, ostensibly due to fears that electronic voting machines in certain areas may have been “rigged”, the Guardian has learned.

But the effort, led by Trump’s notorious informal adviser Roger Stone, will focus on 600 different precincts in nine Democrat-leaning cities with large minority populations, a tactic branded highly irregular by experts, who suggested that organizers could potentially use the polling as a way to intimidate voters.

Stone told the Guardian that around 1,300 volunteers from the controversial Citizens for Trump grassroots coalition would conduct exit polling in Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte, Richmond and Fayetteville – all locations in pivotal swing states.


On Thursday, Stone, a noted conspiracy theorist, argued that the campaign had focused their efforts to combat the so-called “rigged election” in the wrong area and should instead concentrate on “election theft” via hacked or compromised voting machines.

Electronic voting machines in heavily Republican areas can’t be hacked because they’re protected by LawnOrder.

Stone, who did not identify the particular precincts volunteers would be targeting, argued that the polling methodology, was “designed by professionals”, but was unable to identify who these professionals were.

The old established firm of Seamus Corvus, Est. 1890.

The orange peel in the Tar Heel state [Now with Down in Gettysburg update]

[ 129 ] October 22, 2016 |

Based on headlines alone, it might appear that Trump swapped the right wing’s Oooo, First Lady Obama did lay a sick burn upon Clinton Plymouth Rock he was abusing for a First Lady Obama is a hypocrite for campaigning for Clinton after said sick burn Orphington.

But if you listen to the crowd’s response during the clip, it becomes clear that he’s still working away at the poor old Shout the enemy’s name to rile up the masses Leghorn. (Not to be confused with the Express sympathy for economic hardship Rhode Island Red or the the Commiserate over fears raised by rapid social change Blue Hen of Delaware.)

You can, if you have the heart and stomach of a concrete elephant, watch the entire speech.

Update – Meanwhile in Gettysburg, the Party of Lincoln’s nominee yelled about the forces of evil arrayed against him. Also, today ended in D-A-Y:

Donald Trump is threatening to sue all of the women who have come forward in recent days accusing him of groping and sexual assault.

Trump says in a speech intended to make his closing argument to voters that the women are “liars” attempting to undermine his campaign. And he says all will be sued once the election is over.

Trump spoke in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on Saturday to lay out his earliest priorities should he become president.

He’s continuing to make the case that the election is rigged against him, and complains that “corrupt” media are fabricating stories to make him look “as bad and dangerous as possible.”

Dear kindly judge your honor, this campaign’s been so rough

[ 103 ] October 21, 2016 |

With reporters all reportin’ whenever I say stuff!

Donald Trump targeted federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel in an an extended series of bigoted rants this summer, asserting that Curiel couldn’t rule fairly in cases alleging fraud by Trump University because of the judge’s Mexican heritage. “I’m building a wall,” Trump explained at one point to CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Now that the case is heading toward trial, Trump is asking the same judge to exclude those comments from evidence in the case. In a motion filed Thursday in San Diego federal court, his attorneys maintain that his own comments are “extraneous” and would be “irrelevant, and prejudicial.” Remarkably, they say that the plaintiffs in the case, who include students claiming they were ripped off by the so-called university, will use those statements “in an attempt to inflame and prejudice the jury.” Judge Curiel has set a hearing on the motion for Nov. 10, two days after election day. Trial is set to begin Nov. 28.

Trump’s lawyers say that Trump has been disadvantaged by the “perhaps unprecedented media coverage and public interest” in his campaign. “His politics, policies, opinions, and views have been reported virtually every day in every form of media over the past year.” They glide over the fact that he provoked this interest himself, and commented about Judge Curiel of his own volition, typically unprompted.

There’s also little matter of wanting to be the President of the United States of America which, as anyone who isn’t dumb enough to still think working for Trump will result in full reimbursement for services rendered knows, tends to spark more than a little interest in such matters as the politics, policies, opinions and views of the applicants for the job. However, that doesn’t make Trump’s comments about Curiel relevant to this case.

But assuming plaintiffs were planning to introduce any of Trump’s oral diarrhea I don’t see how a motion to exclude comments about Curiel or the following will prove an insurmountable hurdle:

  • Campaign speeches
  • Statements at political rallies, including statements about this case
  • Statements at debates
  • Statements about individuals or entities unrelated to this litigation
  • Campaign advertisements
  • Tweets
  • Statements by campaign surrogates
  • Audio and video recordings made or publicized during the campaign
  • Tax issues
  • Comments about this case or the Court
  • Donald J. Trump Foundation or other businesses owned or managed by Mr.
    Trump not part of this litigation, including Trump Organization
  • Personal conduct accusations
  • Other politicians, state attorneys general, or public servants
  • Beauty pageants, casinos, and corporate bankruptcies
  • Other litigation

To make Trump look like a dickhead, all plaintiffs need is Trump, in a witness box and an attorney who is capable of annoying him, i.e. doesn’t kiss his ass exactly how Trump likes it to be kissed.

As an aside, what fun it must have been, making up the list of all the instances where Trump has done or been accused of doing something that would reflect badly on him if it were introduced as evidence. Too bad they’re unlikely to get paid for all of that work.

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