Trump enters the stage

Elevate form over function to get at less easily articulable truths.

Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:45 am

Dark Knight, Westworld) to paint a very grim picture of the dangers of development, reliance upon, application of and usage of Artificial Intelligence in our society today.

According to a previously released statement about the film, Paine says, “I hope we inspire people to keep technological tools working on behalf of the greater good and stay aware of what’s happening in the meantime.” Yet the tone of the film seems to somewhat override such a noble goal to which the former part of the sentence aspires.


While there is some quick reference to the benefit that AI can provide mankind such as more accurate disease diagnosis and lessening of fatal car crashes via self-driving cars (which one would have the clear hope that the data relating to the number of self-driving car crashes changes fast in order to support such a statement), the majority of the film leans heavily toward doom and gloom with such terms as “Faustian bargain” used through the documentary to describe our interaction with advanced technology.


SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk speaks after announcing Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk is also adamant regarding a conservative approach to Artificial Intelligence. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The view that machines will dominate us because they will become “smarter” or simply teach themselves to pick their own targets and release missiles that will annihilate at will via autonomous weapons is reinforced throughout Do You Trust This Computer. Google is alluded to as being the dark, secretive seat of which personal data will be used for harm. And basically, anyone who has a job, no matter what their profession, will become unemployed.

And that’s the lighter side.

The issue with this documentary is, not that it gets any of the above completely wrong but that it offers no counter-views nor calls-to-action in an era of empowerment of individual voice, cultural paradigm shifts and growing enthusiastic movements pertaining to social good that could be harnessed to drive a better way in AI. It seems the filmmakers’ objective is paralysis by fear instead.

There are no directives about, for example, the importance of contacting policymakers to encourage proper regulation. There is no probing into why most of the life-like robots injected with AI always seem to take the shape of one’s (read: the male creator’s) ideal human you can finally get to do what you want. And the film misses a real opportunity for depth by not exploring how bias and subconscious make-up of engineers creating such algorithms impact the applications of them, how that can be combatted and the psycho-social reasons behind our need for and desire to control and replicate intelligence in the first place. That is the foundation for any discussion within artificial intelligence because it is the root cause for all that springs forth in terms the drive for continued expansion and application.

Ben Goertzel, chief scientist of Hanson Robotics Inc., left, interacts with the company’s humanoid robot “Sophia” during the Rise conference in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The conference runs through July 12.


Where such other tech-docs succeed at creating connection is where Do You Trust Your Computer falls a bit short in that it seems to have no more cards to play than that of generalized fear. In an era of racial tension and identity politics, perhaps tie-ing the concerns around the technology in terms of how it relates specifically to that such particular emotionally-charged area could do more to elicit the concern the film seems so desperate to provoke rather than spreading around overall terror. One cannot reach people today just based on general mayhem because, unfortunately, this is the now the everyday occurrence (see: record-breaking hurricanes, bombs sent to media and much, much more). Such social movements that the film seems to be trying to spark typically need to be tied to a specific cultural narrative in order to take hold, and it does not.

This documentary is more a look at what, primarily, Caucasian males in prime positions (mixed with a sprinkling of a couple of Caucasian females) fear about Artificial Intelligence with no infusion of other minds, values and concerns about the technology from both inside and outside of the United States. Thus, the homogeneity also makes for a pacing that is, at times, monotonous.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker who has expressed concern about the links of algorithms with prison sentencing and profiling. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

While the interview subjects are noteworthy and the direction is solid, somehow this piece comes off as just a bit self-aggrandizing like a cold parent who glumly says, “I told you so” after a misbehaved child touches a stove to really see if it’s hot or not even after the parent says not to touch it. There is no real empathy here or deeper explanations around concerns and insights that are needed to help truly create change and understanding within the massively problematic area of AI that is so very much fraught with issues.


As viewers might sit and ponder after viewing such a film, perhaps that greater questions we should all be asking ourselves is not only how to do more than just worry about the potential ending of society by machines but also what to do, simultaneously, to make society patently better each day so that even makes it worth preserving anyway.

The achievement to synthesize by appearently inconsistent functional -utilitarian informational derivatives and pragmatic common sense notions, presenting a processed time testing of increasing rates of change of technical development, may present a continuous applied format, and get rid of increasing senses of uncertainty and fear. It is imperative to bypass missed variables which still present aggregates of overly wide assumptions.


' forecasting power trends and public sentiment .'

In reference to the basic elevated mistrust of the intrusion of technology into political processes. (As in the basic charge leveled against Ms. Clinton's negligence with her telephone.) - starting the expansion into the collusive efforts between suppression and analysis.
the truth versus fake contest between the center and the periphery; the liberal and conservative, and the nationalistic vs. the global signifiers.



Clinton reference is mine.
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Re: Trump ein uber complex karacter

Postby Meno_ » Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:06 am

As there are already fear related opinions that express the likelihood of continuing tech intrusion into the upcoming Congressional election, the question is bound to arise of how the effect of uncertainty of this may bear on the outcome of the election, regardless of the relative truth or falsity of such a possibility.

There may come other opinions which again produce convincing arguments regarding the probable reality behind such possible conflation between various levels of probability/improbability: causing a reductio absurdum.



Artifizielintelligenz existiert schon. Es gibt es zwitschen den Bezeichnungen und Nuetzhaftlichkeiten. Werthe ohne Bekanntheit oder Dastellung, oder nie schlafend... Sie schaffen sich einen Neunen Realitaet aus unserer Nichtshaftlichkeit.


That's good. But when I am having insomnia, it is when everyone can pretend to be unconcerned, and unconnected. A reversal can/may take place on a Universal transformative metamorphosis, and that is maybe the missing transcendental link sought for .
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Fixed Cross » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:26 pm

Artifizielintelligenz existiert schon. Es gibt es zwitschen den Bezeichnungen und Nuetzhaftlichkeiten. Werthe ohne Bekanntheit oder Dastellung, oder nie schlafend... Sie schaffen sich einen Neunen Realitaet aus unserer Nichtshaftlichkeit.
The strong do what they can, the weak accept what they must.
- Thucydides
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Before the Light - Tree of Life Academy - Thought of a Rune (film by Pezer)
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:50 am

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating plunged 4 percentage points last week amid a wave of violence, the latest troubling signal for Republican chances in upcoming midterm elections.


White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders held her first briefing in 26 days on Monday, following the murder of 11 people at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh over the weekend. Not surprisingly, things went off the rails almost immediately after she began taking questions.

“This atrocity was a chilling act of mass murder, it was an act of hatred, and above all it was an act of evil,” Sanders said, at times choking up. “We all have a duty to confront anti-Semitism in all its forms...our nation mourns the loss of these extraordinary Americans.”

The nice sentiment lasted approximately 4.1 seconds, and the rest of the briefing was full of exchanges like this one, in which Sanders exploded at the suggestion that President Donald Trump isn’t “unifying” the country and proceeded to spit out the same drivel (90 percent of what the media says about Trump is negative! No one blames Bernie Sanders for Steve Scalise’s shooting!!!) that you could have found on MAGA Twitter since we found out suspected mailbomber Cesar Sayoc was a Trump superfan.

And so it goes on.
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Re: Trump enters the stage-psychic realism

Postby Meno_ » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:26 pm

There is no way this problem can be solved long term .

Short term yes, by invictivrs, political cowering, simulated guesses and approximations, even now, the puzzling anxiety ridden atmosphere blown up to unrecognizable dimensions, philosophy become life become a zoo filled with dead end zones of unphilosophical enigma.

No, the dialogue must produce more then an assumed theme based on technical manpower shifting zombies living in insecurity depending on whims of broken down signs of derelict monuments to fallen denied heroes, the huge gamble of wait and see if they can live with it may turn the triangle up side down, the absurd will come back to haunt.

And if they can live in a secured thought out world without poaching vainly from their brother next door they do and can produce measured and controlled in a non wasteful market where 1 or 2 children will suffice.

Otherwise there be a chain down from controllers to the controlled , and at the very top big brother.

Or: The whole thing will collapse from greed and avarice.

It has to come from inside, substantial lack of covered inequality will not work because the soul of man will be stolen orbit will look like.

Can psychic realism tale center stage?

Like the Shadow, haunting by the hunted, it the race to find the rattiest , no longer human but living in a lonely convergence , bare sunlight illusive chains of spiraling grey vapor , the haunt is all about us, living as if,
as if the auto, Mata matters, Abstract
Mata is Stata’s matrix language. In the Mata Matters column, we show how Mata can be used interactively to solve problems and as a programming language to add new features to Stata. In this quarter’s column, we look at the programming implications of the floating-point, base-2 encoding that modern computers at ya Matt's tarts data, infusion.

Of pleasing delight here and there, the signified not looking drastically but withering away from basic rot. No no no the new means absolute lobotomy of the past in abstraction, linger though the scent and the faint glow of undertow.

Philosophy
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:33 pm

Primary secondary process
Universalization = opposites
Inervening variable shortcut
Boundaries - melting boundaries
Only top down trickle done
Short circuit - -memory - lost or stored in different file for upload
Shift to wider signifiers,
Older signifiers wider- more presumptive acceptance.
Changes in space time upon more
Shared presumption -hypothetical
Its on ok

Intellectual bonding or enclosing of
Mutually exclusive content
Alphaville scenario old hat

Carl Solomon

Brilliantly founded by Trump by contradiction brining the level down to where people get in touch with the widest possible logical foundation of denial and projection

Alteration or variation between storages short and long term forgotten and remembered with as many found fill ins makes and breaks space time

Different storages universal or regional~leads to Ayer/Russel reductio.
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Re: Trump enters the stage 3

Postby Meno_ » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:40 pm

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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:37 pm

..
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:53 am

.
Yet from an aesthetic point of view, its binding to differentiate object from the overall subject, and is it that the focus of the feminine defines what the object is, the male objective of carefully calibrating what is, what it is?

Or uncovering it disassociating it from the predisposing one background, causing all kinds of trouble trump disassociating the transsexual being from their opposites have any bearing on representation. As art form?

It deprives the formal realization of intentional pre envisaged boundaries of the era of enlightenment enlightenment at least in art, the ideal testing in the phenomenal congruence.

That leaves parties to the aesthetic presumed vulnerability .

But can a focus be had to either when the edges are not blended?

That's why excursions into real expression and impression, causing strange abstractions of what they really intended.

An existential failure .

Art for its sake turning into a misnomer.

Does that verify the preponderemce and place the signal which signifies the preferred objective?

Can distance and time emuliate finer contours again? To be great again or not to be, that is the question. But what's so great about being (grate).




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Trump shocks with racist new ad days before midterms
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
Updated 1:58 AM EDT, Thu November 01, 2018


(CNN) In the most racially charged national political ad in 30 years, President Donald Trump and the Republican Party accuse Democrats of plotting to help people they depict as Central American invaders overrun the nation with cop killers.

The new spot, tweeted by the President five days before the midterm elections, is the most extreme step yet in the most inflammatory closing argument of any campaign in recent memory.

The Trump campaign ad is the latest example of the President's willingness to lie and fear-monger in order to tear at racial and societal divides; to embrace demagoguery to bolster his own political power and the cause of the Republican midterm campaign.


The ad -- produced for the Trump campaign -- features Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican man who had previously been deported but returned to the United States and was convicted in February in the slaying to two California deputies.

"I'm going to kill more cops soon," a grinning Bracamontes is shown saying in court as captions flash across the screen reading "Democrats let him into our country. Democrats let him stay."

The ad recalls the notorious "Willie Horton" campaign ad financed by supporters of the George H.W. Bush campaign in the 1988 presidential election. Horton was a man and convicted murderer who committed rape while furloughed under a program in Massachusetts where Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis was governor.

The ad has since come to be seen as one of the most racially problematic in modern political history since it played into white fear and African-American stereotypes. It was regarded at the time as devastating to the Dukakis campaign.

Trump's ad, while just as shocking as the Horton spot, carries added weight since, unlike its 1988 predecessor, it bears the official endorsement of the leader of the Republican Party -- Trump -- and is not an outside effort. Given that Trump distributed it from his Twitter account, It also comes with all the symbolic significance of the presidency itself.

In a first reaction, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said the ad was a sign of desperation and suggested that Trump was losing the argument over health care that is at the center of the Democratic campaign.

"This is distracting, divisive Donald at his worst," Perez said on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time."

"This is fear mongering. ... They have to fear monger and his dog whistle of all dog whistles is immigration. This has been Donald Trump's playbook for so long."

"Family unification to invasion"
The Trump ad also flashes to footage of the migrant caravan of Central American asylum seekers that is currently in Mexico, which Trump says is preparing an invasion of the United States, implying that everyone in the column of people fleeing repression, poverty and economic blight is bent on murder and serious crime on US soil.

"Who else would Democrats let in?" a caption asks.

A source close to the White House told CNN's Jim Acosta that the web ad was produced by Jamestown Associates for the Trump campaign for the midterms and was designed to fit into Trump's broader immigration push and to change the argument from "family unification to invasion."

"It's clearly working. We are all talking about it and not health care," the source said.

Trump has repeatedly warned that the caravan is laden with criminals or also includes Middle Eastern terrorists. He has offered no evidence for such claims, however, and even admitted last week there is no proof to support them.

Trump fills final days of midterms with false promises and divisive rhetoric
The President has also often used racially suggestive rhetoric in his tweets and launched his presidential campaign in 2015 with a tirade against Mexicans. But he accuses the media, which points out his frequent falsehoods and flaming rhetoric, of being to blame for national divides.

Controversy over the new ad is certain to explode across the final days of the election in which polls suggest Democrats could take back the House of Representatives but Republicans could keep or even expand their Senate majority.

The new campaign ad was the culmination of a day on which the President staked out ever more extreme positions.

He took advantage of his role as commander-in-chief to promise to triple the number of troops to 15,000 that he has pledged to send to the southern border to repel the caravan -- which is still hundreds of miles away.

He also made a dubious claim of presidential power to reinforce his vow to change the Constitution on his own to end birthright citizenship that is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

A sign of weakness?
Trump's combustible strategy is coinciding with an energetic final campaign swing featuring 11 rallies that opened in Florida on Wednesday night.

His increasingly inflammatory tactics are allowing him to refocus next Tuesday's election on his chosen issues, after a week of serial bombings and shootings that drowned out his closing argument.

Still, Democrats are increasingly confident five days out that they will take back the House, which they lost in the 2010 midterms.

"Up until today, I would have said, 'if the election were held today, we would win," former and possibly future speaker Nancy Pelosi said on "The Late Show" on CBS Tuesday.

"What now I'm saying is, we will win."

Nancy Pelosi is right. Democrats should win the House on Tuesday.
One way of looking at Trump's increasingly frantic approach is that it is a sign of political weakness, because it seems to be a bid to drive up turnout in red state Senate races but might imply that tight House elections, that could be affected by such rhetoric, are out of reach.

However, everyone wrote Trump off in 2016, and it's possible his combative approach could defy pollsters again.

In another extraordinary development on Wednesday, the sitting President lashed out at the House speaker of his own party five days before an election, in a possible preview of a post-voting blame game.

Paul Ryan had had dismissed the President's birthright gambit, but Trump told him in a tweet to do more to save the House.

"This is a great way to screw up the message a week before the election," a senior GOP aide told CNN's Acosta.

"First the birthright comment itself and now attacking the top Republican in Congress who is trying to save our majority."

The President insisted he would not blame Ryan if Democrats won the House, though sounded less confident about Republican prospects in that chamber than in the Senate.

"I know we're doing well in the Senate and it looks like we're doing OK in the House. We're going to have to see," Trump told reporters.

Critics have accused Trump of abusing his power by sending troops to the southern border as part of a campaign stunt on a mission that has yet to be defined and he has implied will feature combat troops, but will in fact be made up of support forces.

But Defense Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday "we don't do stunts" and said the troops were being sent to offer "practical support" at the request of the Department of Homeland Security.

However, Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California accused Trump of squandering taxpayer funds in a desperate bid to buy votes, and predicted the American people would see through the plan.

"We are sending 10 to 15,000 troops, which means we are going to spend between $100 (million) and $150 million so he can have, I guess his surprise, his October surprise," she said on CNN's "The Situation Room."

Trump will Thursday press on with his pre-election blitz in Missouri, where he is trying to take out Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the first of two rallies in the state in the next few days. Before Tuesday he will also visit West Virginia, Indiana twice, Montana, Florida again, Georgia, Tennessee and Ohio.

But two senior GOP sources told CNN's Jeff Zeleny that the President had been asked to steer clear of Arizona and Nevada amid concern he could hurt rather than help Republicans locked in tight Senate races.



Trump : as the playboy.
Of the western world.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:37 pm

Rehearsal for Playboy of the Western World

The riotous history of The Playboy of the Western World
When first staged in Dublin in 1907 JM Synge's play caused a riot. Two years later its author was dead but his play was soon to go global
Declan Kiberd

Fri 23 Sep 2011 17.55 EDT First published on Fri 23 Sep 2011 17.55 EDT
'Whenever a country produces a man of genius," said WB Yeats of his friend John Millington Synge, "that man is never like the country's idea of itself."

Ireland in 1907 saw itself as ready for self-rule and it expected its artists to promote the image of a steady, sober, self-reliant people. Instead, with The Playboy of the Western World, Synge gave them a play in which a village loon splits his father's head open with a spade, runs away, tells people he "killed his da" and is promptly installed as a hero by excitable women and drunken men. Worse still, this drama was staged not in some backstreet art-house, but at the Abbey, Ireland's national theatre, one of whose mission statements was to show that Ireland was not the home of buffoonery but of an ancient idealism.


Even before the opening night of Saturday 26 January 1907, trouble was brewing. Synge's relation with nationalists had always been uneasy. They didn't like the frenchified themes of his earlier plays such as The Shadow of the Glen, in which a frustrated young wife in the Wicklow mountains walks away from her home and marriage into the arms of a tramp whose name she doesn't even know.

Nationalists also resented the implication behind the Abbey project that there could ever be an Irish national literature in English, the language of the coloniser. Synge believed that there could, albeit in an English as Irish as it is possible for that language to be. So he created sentences in which standard English was reconfigured by peasants who were thinking still in Irish: "Is it you that's going to town tomorrow?" "Is it tomorrow that you're going to town?" Emphasis is achieved not by tonal underlining but by bringing the key word forward to the start of the sentence.

His labours to appease Irish Ireland were in vain. Protesters against his new play uttered "vociferations in Gaelic", according to newspaper reports. They insisted that the Irish were not by nature a violent people – and on the second night they stormed the stage and rushed the actors to prove their point. Some of the actors were in silent agreement with them. The Abbey had, after all, recruited many stalwarts from the ranks of advanced nationalism, who had joined in the belief that it was one of the few liberated zones in an occupied country. No wonder that members of the cast felt conflicted. One Abbey hand had warned that the bad temper and violence on stage (the Playboy tries to repeat his murder before being burned by a lighted sod) would inevitably spill over into the pit.

Throughout Ireland, in the aftermath of the Playboy riots, local councils passed motions condemning the Abbey. Catholics took particular offence at the way in which a writer of Protestant Ascendancy background causes the Playboy, Christy Mahon, to utter such imprecations as: "With the help of God, I killed him surely, and may the holy immaculate mother intercede for his soul." But others were outraged too. Some writers who had admired Synge's earlier work felt that now he had gone too far. "It is not against a nation that he blasphemes," wrote Patrick Pearse in a journal of the Gaelic League, "so much as against the moral order of the universe." The Irish Times's critic identified one cause of the trouble: "It is as if a mirror were held up to our faces and we found ourselves hideous. We fear to face the thing. We scream."

Synge had some idea of what might happen. "My next play will make them hop," he promised a friend. The role of Christy Mahon, father-slayer, was played by an actor who was the Woody Allen of the theatre, no more than five feet three inches in height and one normally cast in comic roles. It is a mark of the mediocrity of life in the Mayo village that peasant girls can turn such an unpromising figure into a celebrity. Christy provides a blank space which they can fill with their dreams.

At the centre of the play is a clear implication that the besetting vice of the Irish is not pugnacity but paralysis – a point made in the same period by the young James Joyce, in those short stories which would be published (after delays) as Dubliners in 1914.

It was predictable that ancient Gaelic hero-cults would flourish against a backdrop of social poverty and colonial torpor. The most notable of these surrounded the epic warrior Cuchulain, who fought and beheaded enemies in single combat, before dying strapped to a pillar while a raven drank his blood. That blend of pagan energy and Christlike suffering must have struck Synge as ridiculous. It was as if the Irish were being allowed to find only in the remote past a disguised version of the "muscular Christians" of the imperial present, a Celtic hero who was really just a public schoolboy in drag.

The audience at the Abbey on the opening night was predominantly male. Its members were already committed to the fabrication of male heroism through the Cuchulain texts of Yeats and Lady Gregory, which they saw as offering an antidote to the triumphalist militarism of the British imperial army.

Yeats was away in Scotland at the outset and Synge laid low with flu. Thinking all well, a relieved Lady Gregory (who didn't like it at all) wired Yeats: "Play a great success." Her next telegraph was different: "Audience broke up in disorder at the word shift."

What offended were lines in which Synge had remodelled a scene in the life of Cuchulain. In the epic the hero underwent a "battle rage" after fighting, which so terrified his comrades that they would not permit him to reenter the city of Emain Macha. Eventually, they solved the problem in high style: 30 virgins were sent naked across the plain of Macha, walking towards the hero. Being a bashful lad, he blushed, bowed low, and, so the manuscripts say, "with that his battle rage left him".

Rage turned to riot when Christy voiced his love for the publican's daughter in a reprise of that scene: "It's Pegeen I'm seeking only and what'd I care if you brought me a drift of chosen females, standing in their shifts itself maybe, from this place to the Eastern World?" Synge had clad his maidens in shifts, presumably to mollify strict moralists among his Abbey audience. But perhaps he half-suspected a truth which Hugh Hefner would later turn into a different Playboy business: that a scantily clad woman can be even more inflammatory to the jaded imagination of male puritans than one who is wholly naked.

The Russian writer Maxim Gorky found in the play "a subtle irony on the cult of the hero". So did, in all fairness, many of the rioters. They were not fools or knaves, but proud, clever people, some of them leading public intellectuals who knew that their deepest convictions were being thrown into question.

Some may have felt that their very virility was being mocked. Synge's play, like earlier dramas of Shaw and Wilde, is filled with gender-bending, based on the theory that womanly men are attracted and attractive to manly women. Christy's delicate feet are fetishised by women who seem far more muscular than any man in the village. When some women catch Christy preening himself in a mirror, it is as if Synge is inverting that ancient pictorial tradition whereby a male artist placed a mirror in the hand of a female (who held it up to her face in a painting titled Vanity). Now, it is Christy who is tokenised as sex object and toyboy by village girls. As he holds the mirror shyly against his back (effectively holding it up to his own bottom), the women giggle: "Them that kills their fathers is a vain lot surely."

If psychologists are right to say that the sense of masculinity is less strongly rooted in males than that of femininity in women, then it's not surprising that members of the audience tried to vindicate their manhood by throwing punches or emitting howls. On Monday 28 January 1907 the play was mostly inaudible amid shouts of "kill the author". On Tuesday a returned Yeats not only called in the Dublin Metropolitan Police ("Know I would accounted be / True brother of the DMP") but identified for arrest those intellectuals whose names he knew. Outside, the young Sean O'Casey, who couldn't afford the shilling admission fee, was pushed back and forth by what he called "Gaelic Leaguers foaming at the mouth".

Synge insisted that his plot was not to be taken as social realism. Rather it was an "extravaganza", a semi-abstract account of what he called "the psychic state of the locality". The word "shift", he pointed out, had been used without offence in Love Songs of Connacht, a best-selling collection edited by – of all people – the president of the Gaelic League. But then perhaps, he waspishly added, you could get away with things in Irish that you couldn't smuggle through in English. In similar mode, he once delighted a hospital doctor by saying as he emerged from an anaesthetic: "May God damn the bloody Anglo-Saxon language in which a man can't swear without being vulgar."

Certain contemporaries thought that Synge was hurt more by the controversy than he pretended. That seems unlikely – he gave as good as he got, and then some. His own family turned a blind eye to the row. A nephew recalled that the morning after the riots, when papers were filled with reports, Synge's mother disdained even to mention the topic. She never recognised his career or his genius.

Two years later, he was dead – but The Playboy was soon to go global. Abbey actors who brought it to the US were arrested. Back in Ireland, that same Patrick Pearse who had called for a boycott of the Abbey now began to identify with Synge, as he rehearsed his own martyr's role as leader of the Easter rising. By 1913 Pearse had revised utterly his image of the playwright, describing him as a patriot who baffled his people by using images which they could not understand.

In the wider world, The Playboy was soon recognised as a masterpiece. A play about parricide, appearing just after Freud defined the Oedipus complex, was destined to fascinate. Antonin Artaud saw it as the true origin of the theatre of cruelty. The young Jean-Paul Sartre insisted on taking Simone de Beauvoir to repeated viewings, so that she might understand the existential values of a protagonist without filial obligation who "wished to derive only from himself". Among socialists such as Bertold Brecht Christy was treated as a proletarian insurgent against a corrupt order, though Synge's irony at the making and unmaking of celebrities may also inform one of Brecht's most cited exchanges: "Unhappy the land that has no hero. No; unhappy the land that needs a hero. "

In Trinidad in the 1980s, Mustafa Matura rewrote the text as The Playboy of the West Indies. More recently, back in the Abbey, a Nigerian Christy from the pens of Bisi Adigun and Roddy Doyle is a new, urban, multicultural take on the old story. But the real author, like the true playboy, was Synge. As Bernard Shaw said: "His libel on Ireland was really the truth about the world."

Not that everyone has loved it. When it was finally staged in the west of Ireland, audiences were bored rather than annoyed, saying that "You could see the like of that carry-on any day in the pub." The dismissive view has had some distinguished overseas supporters. The poet Philip Larkin downed a second gin-and-tonic during the interval of a performance in the Oxford Playhouse, decided that it was "all balls" and didn't go back for the second half. But then he didn't need a Synge to tell him what your dad can do to you.

The Playboy of the Western World is at the Old Vic, London SE1, until 26 November. http://www.oldvictheatre.com
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:49 pm

Democracy Dies in Darkness

Politics



National Security

With new indictment, U.S. launches aggressive campaign to thwart China’s economic attacks
By Ellen Nakashima

November 1, 2018 at 5:31 PM


Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new initiative to combat what he says is mounting criminal economic activity by China. (The Washington Post)
The Justice Department on Thursday unveiled a broad new initiative to combat what it says is mounting criminal economic activity by China, announcing the plan as U.S. officials unsealed charges against several individuals and Chinese and Taiwanese companies for trade-secret theft.

Thursday’s actions follow a series of moves meant to put Beijing on notice. The Trump administration has prioritized countering threats to U.S. national and economic security as China seeks to supplant the United States as the world’s dominant economic power. The administration already has imposed tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, and since September federal prosecutors have brought charges in three intellectual property theft cases allegedly involving Chinese spies and hackers.

“Chinese economic espionage against the United States has been increasing — and it has been increasing rapidly,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Enough is enough. We’re not going to take it anymore.”

Related: [Read the indictment against agents of the Chinese government]

The initiative is significant in that it fuses ongoing efforts within the FBI, Justice Department and other federal agencies into a single coordinated initiative, and sends a clear message to Beijing that Chinese economic espionage — whether by cyber or human means — will not be tolerated, officials said.

As both countries place greater emphasis on competition and security, the big question, analysts say, is whether the two governments can maintain commercial engagement despite increasing tensions over the quest for technological supremacy. In the meantime, Washington is signaling that the gloves are off.


Under the initiative, Sessions said, the department will aggressively pursue trade-secret theft cases, and develop a strategy to identify researchers and defense industry employees who’ve been “co-opted” by Chinese agents to transfer technology to China.

“China wants the fruits of America’s brainpower to harvest the seeds of its planned economic dominance,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said. With this new initiative, he said, “we will confront China’s malign behaviors and encourage them to conduct themselves as they aspire to be one of the world’s leading nations.”

The indictment alleges the defendants conspired to steal trade secrets from Micron, an Idaho-based semiconductor company with a subsidiary in Taiwan. Micron is worth an estimated $100 billion and is the only company in the United States that makes “dynamic random-access memory,” or DRAM, high-capacity data storage used in computers, mobile devices and other electronics. The company has a 20- to-25 percent share of the world’s supply of DRAM, prosecutors said.

According to the indictment, the Chinese government set up a state-owned company, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. Ltd., for the express purpose of developing DRAM technology and sought to learn trade secrets through the criminal acts of former employees of Micron’s Taiwan branch.

In July 2015, the president of Micron’s Taiwan subsidiary, Chen Zhengkun, also known as Stephen Chen, left to join United Microelectronics Corp., a semiconductor foundry headquartered in Taiwan. Some months later, in early 2016, Jinhua, the Chinese company, began discussions with United Microelectronics to forge a technology cooperation agreemen, according to the indictment. Chen helped negotiate the agreement, and in early 2017 became president of Jinhua in charge of its DRAM factory, prosecutors said.

It was Chen, Sessions alleged, who orchestrated the theft of trade secrets from Micron worth up to $8.75 billion.

Chen is said to have recruited former colleagues, including defendant He Jianting, or J.T. Ho, a Taiwanese national, who before leaving Micron allegedly stole confidential DRAM materials, U.S. officials say. Chen also brought on defendant Kenny Wang, a Micron manager and Taiwanese national who allegedly stole more than 900 files, some containing confidential DRAM designs, the indictment says. Wang allegedly downloaded secrets from Micron’s servers in the United States and stored them on his Google Drive account, the indictment said.

“This was,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Alex Tse, “some of the most advanced semiconductor technology in the world.”

If convicted, the defendants face up to 14 years in prison and $5 million in fines. The two companies, United Microelectronics and Jinhua, could face fines worth more than $20 billion. The three men charged Thursday are in China, U.S. officials said.

This week, the Commerce Department added Jinhua to its “entity list” to prevent it from buying goods and services in the United States, effectively cutting it off from the U.S. market. Without equipment sold only in the United States, Jinhua cannot build the DRAM chips.

The Justice Department on Thursday also filed a civil suit in San Francisco seeking to stop the further transfer of these stolen trade secrets and to prevent the defendants from exporting to the United States any products resulting from the alleged theft.

“We are not just reacting to crimes — we are acting to block the defendants from doing any more harm to Micron,” Sessions said.


The attorney general outlined a number of laws that prosecutors would use, including the Foreign Agents Registration Act, to identify unregistered agents seeking to advance China’s political agenda.

Congress in August passed the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act to expand the government’s power to review investments from foreign countries — a response to China’s efforts to obtain U.S. technology through mergers, acquisitions and takeovers. Last month, the Treasury Department released interim rules to implement the new law. Sessions said the Justice Department will work with Treasury on further developing those regulations.

The Justice Department also will target Chinese threats to U.S. companies that provide components for sensitive technologies, especially those in the telecommunications sector as it readies for the transition to 5G networks.

“This is consistent with the state of confrontational actions over the last couple of weeks taken by the administration to tackle everything China’s trying to do,” said Samm Sacks, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s bigger than intellectual property theft. It’s supply chain risk. It’s China’s efforts to be global leaders in 5G. It’s traditional espionage. It’s influence operations. This is part of a much broader whole-of-government approach to countering China’s efforts to gain strategic advantage, particularly in emerging technology.”

Sessions noted that earlier this year U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer found that Chinese sponsorship of hacking into American businesses has gone on for more than a decade. By some estimates, the cost to the U.S. economy is $30 billion annually. In September 2015 Chinese President Xi Jin Ping pledged that China would not target U.S. companies for the economic benefit of nonmilitary Chinese companies.

“Obviously that commitment has not been met,” Sessions said.

Dmitri Alperovitch, a cyber expert and chief technology officer at the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, said the Chinese military curtailed its commercialhacking in 2016, but that over the last year operatives affiliated with China’s Ministry of State Security have increasingly taken up the slack, stealing military, medical, agricultural, high-tech and other secrets.

For months, the Trump administration has been considering ways to decouple the U.S. and Chinese tech sectors: restricting visas for Chinese students in the scientific, engineering and math fields, banning Chinese telecommunications equipment companies from U.S. 5G networks, expanding export controls on U.S. tech firms, and increasing official scrutiny of Chinese investments and joint U.S.-Chinese research, said Sacks.

“This initiative is an important set of hammer blows against China’s efforts to disadvantage American companies, steal their intellectual property, and exercise unwanted influence in our universities and political system,” said James Mulvenon, a China expert and general manager of SOS International LLC’s Special Programs Division, which provides consulting services to intelligence and defense agencies.

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Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She covers cybersecurity, surveillance, counterterrorism and intelligence issues. She has also served as a Southeast Asia correspondent and covered the White House and Virginia state politics. She joined The Post in 1995.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:53 pm

It seems as if a delicate balance is put up, in terms of probability of discerned opinions regarding I eternal and external issues.

That said, the calibrations are very carefully evaluated by experts who are using very sensitive weights to move them either left or right.

I suspect the scene will enhance the middle , albeit hidden, but come useful when the next big litmus test comes around.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:24 pm

brief sub analysis as to underlying structural motives:

Religion successfully covered the object: carried up the hill by Sysyphus, even to the brink of faith: and then the final break, and angst and despair set in.

People were unable to carry willfully an object, that lost its value, because they started to remember it, and fear its total loss, intuiting that they can never really reach the goal of setting foot on that plateau, by the time the goal appeared within sight, it has lost a lot of that value, it somehow diminished.

Now the cover was no longer necessary, because there was so little left; to cover.

So now the clincher. The angst developed into the fear, the specific fear of mortality with no returns, and it was based on perception of the futility of the goal related to the value of being, as an existential crisis, foremost as apart in alienation.

More and more got alienated, and the more it got uncovered from families , particularly the heads of families : the Father.

So they needed support. Social support. They needed it more as the ideal families started to fall apart, in proportion to it.

It has slowly resulted in a crisis, where the father started to leave the family, and the mother had to take over.

The mother had to become self sufficient, and increasingly sought help from agencies that could give a hand to increase her perception of security.

What resulted is a willingness to trade ideal values for security. The need to become somebody that could face life and death with more and more like people, which added to the feeling that if they were to become more alike, then the fear of will be perpetually diminished, since they did not fear lookin. through an ideal state as the father did , but envisioned a perpetuum of alike and liked , by familiarity, their own families disintegrating and becoming dysfunctional , they pine for familiarity, of resembling qualities in people.

And most of it done in remembrance of the Son, their son.

How is this significant?

This is hard to understand , but in developing countries qualities and characteristics are more valued as racial characteristic then cross national-political Alliances.

The mortal fear is allayed somewhat by global identifocation of power motives, and the prior colonisation does bode for trouble when reactions start to pop up , as they are now, in many parts of the world.

The fear of eruption and subsequent suppression of them, create the overall con flirting tableau, to those, who think that short term band aid affects will fool such large cover ups, by clever oratory based on contradictory subterfuge.

However given the extremely ideological machines on both sides, of is yet a matter of conjecture which set of advertised program will be more credible overall.. The enormous power of the U.S. military empire , holding together by the threat of unlimited war, caused pop ups all over the world. Angela of Germany resigned, under tremensous pressure May of Britain is under constant pressure by a male dominated international syndicate.

That is the real name of the game, and both sides do have warranted gripes not at all in conjunction with internationally cohesive sane dialogue, and all fear the oncoming insanity of a probable real war.

To avoid it , it is imperative that a cohesive and stable multi leveled political standard be set, regardless of those few power mad , who would see it as an opportunity to radically reduce population as a.solution, and profit qualitatively, at least.

Imagine some very uncompromised men sitting with members of their tribe conjoined , relishing the thought of survival on their misinformed retro-looking terms into the manna loaded haven of qualifying a new life with a new oncoming visions of nature's retributive solutions.

Impossible? Think again.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:36 am

The New York Times

|


Why Aren’t Democrats Walking Away With the Midterms?
Democrats miss Trump’s political gifts and the immigration at a campaign rally









Nov. 2, 2018
The night Donald Trump was elected was supposed to be, for most liberals and a few conservatives, the beginning of the end of the world. The economy would surely implode. The U.S. would probably blunder into a catastrophic war. The new American president would be blackmailed into conducting foreign policy as Putin’s poodle.

None of that has happened — not yet, at any rate. On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported the fastest rate of annual wage hikes in almost a decade, depriving Democrats of one of their few strong arguments about the true state of the economy. Unemployment is at its lowest rate since Vince Lombardi coached his last game in December 1969. The North American Free Trade Agreement has been saved with minor modifications and a new name.

Oh, and: The Islamic State is largely defeated. Tehran has not restarted its nuclear programs despite America’s withdrawal from the Iran deal. U.S. sanctions on Russia are still in place. Democrats badly damaged their chances of taking the Senate with their over-reaching and polarizing crusade to stop Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. What more could Trump ask for?

In normal presidencies, good news, along with your opponents’ mistakes, is good politics. It’s your Topic A. In normal presidencies, the politics of cultural anxiety, social division or ethnic scaremongering — that is, of proposing the end of birthright citizenship and demonizing elite media and militarizing the U.S. border — is Plan B. It’s what you turn to first when you don’t have enough to say for yourself otherwise.

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But that’s not how the Trump presidency rolls. In this campaign, fear is what’s on the Republican menu. Peace and prosperity? Mere side dishes.

The mystery of Donald Trump is what impels him to overturn the usual rules. Is it a dark sort of cunning or simple defects of character? Because the president’s critics tend to be educated and educated people tend to think that the only kind of smarts worth having is the kind they possess — superior powers of articulation combined with deep stores of knowledge — those critics generally assume the latter. He’s a bigot. He’s a con artist. His followers are dumb. They got lucky last time. They won’t be so lucky again.

Maybe this is even right. But as Trump’s presidency moves forward, it’s no longer smart to think it’s right. There’s more than one type of intelligence. Trump’s is feral. It strikes fast. It knows where to sink the fang into the vein.

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This has been Trump’s consistent strength from the moment he entered the Republican race until the second he got wind of the migrant caravan. Yes, his administration doesn’t even have an ambassador in Honduras, and if the U.S. has any kind of coherent Central American policy it would be news to me. Also, the idea of deploying thousands of U.S. troops to repel and even fire on the caravan is repellent, fascistic and probably unlawful.

Image
image
Central American migrants crossing the Suchiate River on Friday to enter Mexico from Guatemala.CreditCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Still, several thousand people are pushing their way to the U.S. border with the idea that they will find a way to push their way through it. If they do, tens or even hundreds of thousands more will surely follow. It’s perfectly reasonable for fair-minded voters to wonder how the U.S. will vet and then absorb even a fraction of them (though I think we easily can), and what doing so will mean for our wider immigration system.

To which the Democratic response is — what, exactly?

If it’s “compassion,” it’s a non-answer. If it’s to abolish ICE, it’s a dereliction of responsibility for governance. If it’s to open the border, it is an honest form of political suicide. If it’s more trade and foreign aid for Central America, that’s a solution for the too-long term.

The truth is that there is no easy fix to the challenge of the caravan, which is why Trump was so clever to make the issue his own and Democrats have been so remiss in letting him have it. The secret of Trump’s politics is to mix fear and confidence — the threat of disaster and the promise of protection — like salt and sugar, simultaneously stimulating and satisfying an insatiable appetite. It’s how all demagogues work.

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I have written previously that the real threat of the Trump presidency isn’t economic or political catastrophe. It’s moral and institutional corrosion — the debasement of our discourse and the fracturing of our civic bonds. Democrats should be walking away with the midterms. That they are not is because they have consistently underestimated the president’s political gifts, while missing the deeper threat his presidency represents.

There’s a lesson here worth heeding. Our economic GDP may be booming, but our moral GDP is in recession. The tragedy of Pittsburgh illustrates, among other things, that the president cannot unite us, even in our grief. Whatever happens on Tuesday, Democrats will only win in 2020 if they find a candidate who can.

(An opinion piece on Tuesday's elections )

And this an revealing anticipitation of what may be forth coming: is this another of Trump's successful twist'traps? :











Robert Mueller
Alex Wong/Getty Images

SWAMP DIARY

Week 76: Is Mueller About to Roll Out the Barrels?
Now that the special prosecutor’s quiet period is nearly over, many Russia-scandal observers expect dramatic news from the long-silent investigation.




Robert S. Mueller III did it. He really did it. He honored to the letter the Department of Justice guidelines that direct prosecutors and other to avoid actions that might influence the outcome of an election.

Doing his work at Quiet Car levels for the past six weeks, the most raucous news to radiate from his investigation into collaboration between the Trump campaign and the Russians has been about its relative noiselessness. Without opening a tab to Google it, tell me the last time something big broke. Manafort’s guilty plea feels like it happened last year. I’ll bet you can’t even remember who got indicted last. Not that the special prosecutor went into hibernation, as CNN noted. His office did its sleuthing on padded feet, conducting at least nine sit-downs with convicted felon Paul Manafort in recent weeks; conversing with President Donald Trump’s legal team; and scrutinizing the connections between Trump devotee Roger Stone and WikiLeaks, which dumped the stolen Democratic emails late in the campaign. Did self-avowed dirty trickster Stone (more on him, later) and WikiLeaks coordinate an October surprise in the release of the hacked Podesta emails?




The press has filled the quiet period with speculations of what will come next. With the baffles taken off his investigation, how high will Mueller turn up the volume? Will he complete and file his report on Russian meddling to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein? Will Rosenstein still have a job by the time the report is complete, or will he have been swept out by the president along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Will Trump have Mueller sacked, too? Or will Mueller issue new indictments in the case? Will he taper off his investigation? Will he go to court in an attempt to force the president to testify? Has the president already been subpoenaed? Will he amp his investigation up with an excursion into previously unexplored realms of corruption illuminated by the insights of Manafort and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has so completely turned on his former boss he is encouraging people to vote Democratic? Finally, if Mueller finds no evidence of collusion, might he instead allege obstruction of justice by the president? No criminal indictment has ever been leveled at a sitting president, and many legal scholars say he can’t be charged. But such an indictment could rally Democrats to impeachment.

This week, at the request of legal scholars and activists, the National Archive unsealed the “Watergate Road Map,” the report independent prosecutor Leon Jaworski sent to Congress detailing the evidence collected against President Richard Nixon. The facts-only road map didn’t recommend prosecution or claim that Nixon had committed an impeachable offense. The petition for its release asserted that the road map could provide “a key precedent for assessing the appropriate framework for Special Counsel Mueller to report to Congress any findings of potentially unlawful conduct by President Trump.”



Given all the variables at work, we’ll need more than an ancient road map to make a precise prognostication of which way Mueller will go. Complicating the divination is the likelihood the Democratic Party will take the House of Representatives and ignite new investigations of its own. As my Politico colleague Darren Samuelsohn wrote this week, the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have a list of 70 people, organizations and companies they say the Republican-led committee ignored during its investigation and a 98-page document on outstanding lines of inquiry.





“One of the issues that is of great concern to me is: Were the Russians laundering money through the Trump Organization,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a favorite to head the Intelligence Committee in a Democratic Congress. “That to me would be far more powerful kompromat than any video.”



If Schiff pilots that committee, Trump might start waxing nostalgic about the treatment he got from Mueller’s allegedly angry, allegedly Democratic investigators compared to the genuinely angry committee Democrats working him over. As the Republican inquiry into Benghazi attests, congressional investigations are often conducted as politics by other means, especially in times of divided government. The procedural niceties and Department of Justice guidelines that steer an investigation like Mueller’s hardly exist on Capitol Hill. The point of most Hill investigations is not to determine guilt or innocence but to score political touchdowns. Unlike legal investigations, where professionalism deters prosecutors from leaking to the press, congressional investigations gush like a garden hose sprinkler to reporters eager to amplify the findings and accusations to the voting public.

Lord knows the Democrats have enough kindling to start an investigative bonfire. In addition to suspected Russian efforts to help the Trump campaign, evidence points to assistance from Middle Eastern figures. As Chris Geidner writes in BuzzFeed, top Trump stalwarts, including Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon and Erik Prince all made curious political contacts in the Middle East worth investigating. “Longtime Trump friend and billionaire investor Tom Barrack also has met with the special counsel’s office, although it is not clear whether those conversations led to any further lines of inquiry for the office,” Geidner continues.




David Axelrod: Democrats Are Walking Into Trump’s Trap
By TIM ALBERTA
POLITICO Illustration
2018


The only safe bet to make for the post-quiet period would be Mueller’s indictment of Roger Stone, something Stone himself has been predicting since at least August. He has claimed that he was probably the unnamed Donald Trump associate who was described in an earlier Mueller indictment as communicating with Russian hacker “Guccifer 2.0.” Stone, who once famously predicted on Twitter on August 21, 2016, that “it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel,” has denied any wrongdoing.



This week, Stone’s long-running denial that he had ever discussed WikiLeaks with Trump campaign officials unraveled as the New York Times reported on an email exchange between Stone and Steve Bannon in which Stone “presented himself to Trump campaign officials ... as a conduit of inside information from WikiLeaks, Russia’s chosen repository for documents hacked from Democratic computers.”

Story Continued Below

Stone took petulant umbrage in the pages of the Daily Caller, denying any advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans. “What I am guilty of is using publicly available information and a solid tip to bluff, posture, hype and punk Democrats on Twitter. This is called ‘politics.’ It’s not illegal,” Stone wrote.

Good luck, Roger, but it looks like it will soon be your time in the barrel

******






This article tagged under:
Donald Trump Swamp Diary

SWAMP DIARY

Week 76: Is Mueller About to Roll Out the Barrels?
By JACK SHAFER
People cast their ballots ahead of the Nov. 6, general election at Jim Miller Park, in Marietta, Ga.
LETTER FROM GEORGIA

Democrats Say Republicans Are Stealing the Midterms. Are They Right?
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Re: Trump enters the stage hardball

Postby Meno_ » Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:23 pm

All the good economic news may undercut all the political polemics, and its very feasable that the republicans cannot be stopped at this point. Even of the dems win, its inconceivable that they would be able to reset a contrary course.


And this:


The election-eve NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows Democrats leading by seven percentage points, 50 percent to 43 percent, among likely voters. That's down from a nine-percentage point lead last month.
Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducts the NBC/WSJ survey with his Democratic counterpart Peter Hart, said "the base is coming home."
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:59 pm

MIDTERMS 2018
Record turnout upends midterm predictions
On Meet the Press, Tom Brokaw, Savannah Guthrie, Kasie Hunt, Cornell Belcher and Hugh Hewitt explore why polling can't keep up with record turnout

Voters wait in a line to cast their ballots on the last day of early voting at the Green Hills Library in Nashville, Tennessee on Nov. 1, 2018.Rick Musacchio / EPA
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Nov. 4, 2018 / 11:22 AM ET
By Ben Kamisar
With Election Day just two days away, both the candidates and major party committees are gearing up for a historic midterm that will provide the first major referendum on President Donald Trump's first two years in office.

Democrats appear to poised to make big gains in the House, challenging in many GOP-held seats. But it's unclear whether they will be able to win the 23 seats they need to take control of the House.


Republicans are hoping a favorable map in the Senate can help weather the storm and give their party something to crow about when the dust settles.

And both sides are competing furiously in governors races, where more than half are up for grabs.

Historic levels of enthusiasm on both sides of the aisle, confirmed by a brand new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, are complicating the forecasting, leaving both sides anxiously awaiting Tuesday's results.

In the final "Meet the Press" before Tuesday, anchor Chuck Todd peppered politicians and analysts about how they see the election shaking out.


Here's a glimpse at their thoughts on the three major battlefields.

THE HOUSE
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report's list of competitive races paints the picture of a historically large battlefield in the House, with dozens of Republican incumbents playing serious defense.

The new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Democrats heading into the final weekend with a clear edge among likely voters, but what's unclear is how that edge will play out in individual races.

Democrats have a 7-point edge in the generic ballot, as 50 percent of likely voters said they'd prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress. Forty-three percent of those voters said they'd prefer a Republican majority in Congress.


Democrats are performing best with minorities, young voters, college-educated voters and women. Republicans score best with white voters without a college degree, men and white voters.

The stark differences among voting blocs underscores the importance of the mobilization efforts done by the parties to bring their most reliable voters to the polls.

Democrats have spent tens of millions of dollars looking to boost minority turnout, while President Donald Trump and his allies have crisscrossed the country to juice enthusiasm among the voters that helped him win the White House in 2016.

Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher, a guest on the "Meet the Press" panel, said that while Republicans have historically been better at turning out their base during midterm elections, that the president's calculus may not ultimately pay off thanks to how voters view him.


Belcher pointed to the NBC/Wall Street Journal's finding that more voters want to send a message that Trump and the GOP need a "check and balance" in Congress, than those who want to give Trump more allies in Congress.

"The president's job disapproval right now really means something," Belcher added.

But to Hugh Hewitt, the GOP conservative pundit and Salem Radio Network host, the new polling shows a bright spot for Republicans — the economy.

"Seventy four percent of people think their own personal economics are good. That is a remarkable thing," Hewitt said. "Do you vote to keep the economy humming or do you vote against President Trump?"

THE SENATE
Unlike the House, where Republicans are playing defense in districts where Trump isn't too popular, the Senate map runs right through states Trump won easily, and sometimes overwhelmingly, in 2016.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, admitted on "Meet the Press" that "it's a very different sort of political battlefield in Senate races than House races."

But he praised his candidates for building their own personal brands in their home states and said there's still a "narrow path" for a Democratic Senate majority.

Even as polls show North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp trailing Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer in the wake of her decision to vote against Justice Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation, Van Hollen cautioned that "no one should ever count Heidi Heitkamp out." He also called Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, locked in a tight race against Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley, as a "fighter."

The weakness of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, whose bribery charges ended with a hung jury, has inserted uncertainty into the Democrats already difficult map. But Van Hollen said he's "confident Bob Menendez will win," criticizing Republican Bob Hugin's past as a pharmaceutical company head.

One surprising battleground has been Tennessee, where popular former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen remains better-liked than Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn but still trails at the polls.

Van Hollen said Bredesen is "pragmatic" and willing to work with Trump to help Tennessee. But Tennessee Republican Gov. Phil Haslam, the head of the Republican Governors Association, espoused confidence about Blackburn's campaign and argued that Tennessee voters have been mobilized to vote for Republicans after the Kavanaugh confirmation.

"Marsha Blackburn has run a really good race," he said. "The color of the jersey you're wearing up there is really important. And I don't know exactly. But I think the Kavanaugh hearings had a 5 or 6-point swing in Tennessee. I personally think Marsha will by at least that much."

GOVERNORS
The gubernatorial races could prove to be true wildcards.

Republican incumbents are poised to cruise in blue states like Vermont, Maryland and Massachusetts. But Democrats are giving conservative Republicans tough challenges in red states like Oklahoma, Georgia and Kansas.

Haslam credited that uncertainty to an electorate that looks at these elections through a less partisan lens than through which they view federal elections.

"People look at the practical aspects of electing a governor," he said.

"Who's going to create jobs here? Who's going to produce the best schools? And who's going to run our state's budget in a way that works? And so it's a lot different decision voting for your governor than it is for your senator, and definitely than it is for your House member."

Along those lines, Georgia Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams argued that her background will help her become the first Democratic governor since 2003.

Pushing back against Trump's recent criticism of her qualifications, Abrams said she is the "most qualified candidate" in her race against Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

"I am a business owner, a tax attorney who trained at Yale Law School. I am a civic leader who helped register more than 200,000 Georgians. I am a very accomplished political leader who worked across the aisle to improve access to education, transportation, and I blocked the single largest tax increase in Georgia history," she said.

"There is no one more qualified standing for this office in Georgia."

Ben Kamisar
Ben Kamisar is a political writer for NBC
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Nov 05, 2018 3:56 am

Democrats closing gap in key Senate races as late polls defy forecasts
by Kelly Cohen
| November 04, 2018 05:04 PM

An Emerson battleground poll found incumbent GOP Sen. Ted Cruz holding a slim advantage with 50 percent support. His Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O’Rourke, above, has 47 percent, and 2 percent said they undecided.
(AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)
As the electrifying, no-holds-barred battle for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections campaign comes to a close, Democrats appear poised to win back the House of Representatives.

Ramping up the drama, a slew of tightening polls indicate that the Senate might also drift away from Republicans if all the dominoes fall towards the opposition party on Tuesday.

While polling analysts still forecast the Senate to remain in GOP control, some surveys indicate nail-biting contests in key states in the final days before Nov. 6. In wave elections, close races often end up tilting the same way - that is what Democrats hope for this year.

Ahead of the Trend: A look at youth civic engagement ahead of the midterms
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In the Senate battle in recent weeks, Republicans have been confident of winning North Dakota but concede that Nevada and Arizona could go to the Democrats, making the chamber evenly balanced on 50 seats each but still in GOP control because of the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence.

That, however, was before new polls in Tennessee - the "firewall" state for Republicans - dead level. If Democrats cling on in Florida, Missouri and Indiana, where their incumbents have faced tough fights and an energized Republican base loyal to President Trump, then it could all come down to the Volunteer State.

Here are what some crucial polls say ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections:

Blue wave warning for the House

Though Democrats face some hurdles in the House, the majority of pollsters believe the odds are in favor of a "blue wave." Democrats need to flip 23 seats to take control of the lower chamber. Last week, Dave Wasserman, who is House editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said their forecast was being updated, predicting that Democrats gain 30-40 seats, up from 25-35 seats.

On Sunday, CBS News said it ran three scenarios for the House and shared its findings. The best scenario for Democrats showed 225 Democratic seats to 210 Republican seats. However, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 13 seats on each side, even in the best-case scenario, Democrats winning the House isn't a sure thing.

Another survey, the final ABC News/Washington Post pre-election poll, shows Democratic House candidates leading Republicans 52 percent to 44 percent among likely voters. But the Democratic lead has closed from 14 percentage points in August and 13 points in October to now just eight points.

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Senate likely to remain red, but...

Some individual races are looking tighter than ever in the waning days of the 2018 election cycle - and they are mostly moving towards the Democrats.

Among the tightest Senate races to watch are:
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Florida: Gov. Rick Scott, R, is leading incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, D, in a new poll released Saturday. The results from St. Pete Polls give Scott a lead of 49.1 percent to 47.5 percent. But that is within the margin of error, with 3.4 percent undecided. That latest poll was the first for some time to put Scott ahead.
Tennessee: Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R, is in a dead heat with Democrat Phil Bredesen. On Friday, East Tennessee State University and Targoz Strategic Marketing released two separate polls that showed Blackburn and Bredesen tied. The ETSU poll found 44 percent of likely voters saying they supported each candidate, and in the Targoz poll, 48 percent of likely and early voters supported both Blackburn and Bredesen. Republicans had previously thought that Tennessee was moving out of Bredesen's reach.
Texas: An Emerson battleground poll found incumbent GOP Sen. Ted Cruz holding a slim advantage with 50 percent support. His Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O’Rourke has 47 percent, and 2 percent said they undecided. The GOP is still favored but O'Rourke appears to be closing the gap in a state where he shouldn't have a. prayer.
Missouri: In a shock poll from Saturday, incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and Republican challenger state Attorney General Josh Hawley are tied at 47 percent among likely voters. Until that poll, Republicans had been increasingly confident of picking up Missouri - an outcome that almost certainly would have ensured they held the Senate.
While picking apart specific polls indicates the Democrats moving towards what once seemed an elusive victory, forecaster FiveThirtyEight remains unconvinced the opposition party will pull it off, stating Sunday that Democrats have only a one-in-seven or 15.3 percent chance to take control of the Senate. Republicans have a six-in-seven chance, or an 84.7 percent chance to retain Senate control. But everyone remembers how wrong such forecasts turned out to be in 2016.

Tennessee in particular will be one to watch. Republicans view Tennessee as a "firewall" state protecting them from the loss of the chamber. With the current balance of power 51 to 49 and Democrats looking highly likely to lose North Dakota, the GOP could afford to lose Arizona and Nevada while failing to pick up Florida, Missouri or Indiana and still survive with 50 seats and Vice President Mike Pence's casting vote. That calculation would be swept away by losing Tennessee.

[READ MORE: Yes, Trump is huge factor in midterms. But which Trump?]

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Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate and 26 Democratic senators are up for re-election on Tuesday, compared to just nine Republicans. Of the 26 Democrats, 10 are running in states President Trump won during the election in 2016.

Here is RealClearPolitics' roundup of Senate polls.

A wide-lens look at Congress

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Overall, Democrats hold a seven-point advantage over Republicans in the final national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Fifty percent of likely voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, while 43 percent want Republicans in charge. It's a slight drop for Democrats, who in October had a nine-point advantage. Among the wider pool of registered voters who were polled, Democrats lead Republicans by six points, 49 percent to 43 percent.

FiveThirtyEight puts Democrats ahead in its overall generic poll, which is based on polls that ask people which party they would support in an election. Democrats lead Republicans, 50.5 percent to 42.4 percent.

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[READ MORE: Twitter fatigue in Minnesota: Republican Erik Paulsen says Trump's tweets a source of 'anxiety' with voters]

Morning Consult and POLITICO also surveyed registered voters to ask if they want Congress to be controlled by Republicans or Democrats. In that poll, Democrats are up eight points on Republicans, 46 percent to 38 percent.

RealClearPolitics has a comprehensive list of all overall Congressional polls here.

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What top politicians are saying

Vice President Mike Pence told The Hill last week that he believes Republicans will keep control of the House. President Trump told reporters Sunday that Republicans will "likely" do well in the House, while his "primary focus" has been on the Senate - sentiments that some Republicans viewed as the party accepting the House would slip from its grasp.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who is chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told "Fox News Sunday" that the Democrats have a “very narrow path” to retaking the majority in the Senate, but offered a downbeat assessment of their chances of pulling it off.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:07 pm

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What We Have to Fear
Before the midterms, a trip to Hungary shows the dangers facing the United States.

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David Leonhardt
By David Leonhardt
Opinion Columnist

Nov. 4, 2018
BUDAPEST — The technology conference held here last week could have taken place in almost any other big city in Europe or the United States. It featured executives from Google, Slack, LinkedIn, Airbnb and more. I came to talk about The New York Times’s digital strategy, and I stayed for three days to explore Budapest and interview people here.

Like many other first-time visitors, I was charmed. The city is full of 19th-century architectural triumphs that loom over the Danube River and sparkle at night. In the old Jewish Quarter, bars and cafes bustle. There is a growing tech industry, with companies like Prezi, which makes a non-boring version of PowerPoint.

By now, you’ve probably heard that Budapest is also home to one of the world’s newly autocratic governments, led by Viktor Orbán and his far-right Hungarian nationalist party, Fidesz. These days, Hungary is often mentioned alongside Russia and China.

[Listen to “The Argument” podcast every Thursday morning with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt.]

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And yet life in Budapest doesn’t feel authoritarian. It feels Western. It feels familiar.

Which, as I reflected on my trip — and on the midterm campaign that I returned home to — left me deeply unnerved.

Orbán is no Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping. He doesn’t put opponents in jail or brutalize them. “There aren’t secret police listening to us,” one Orbán critic told me over dinner. Zselyke Csaky of Freedom House, the democracy watchdog, told me, “There is no violence, not any kind of political violence.”

What Orbán has done is to squash political competition. He has gerrymandered and changed election rules, so that he doesn’t need a majority of votes to control the government. He has rushed bills through Parliament with little debate. He has relied on friendly media to echo his message and smear opponents. He has stocked the courts with allies. He has overseen rampant corruption. He has cozied up to Putin. To justify his rule, Orbán has cited external threats — especially Muslim immigrants and George Soros, the Jewish Hungarian-born investor — and said that his party is the only one that represents the real people.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I cannot imagine the United States or a Western European country turning into Russia or China. But I can see how a major democracy could slide toward Hungarian autocracy. Orbán clearly has such ambitions, and the far right across much of Europe views him as its model. Steve Bannon has praised him as the world’s most significant politician.

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Most alarming, the Republican Party has shown multiple signs of early Orbánism. No, the party is not as bad as Fidesz, and, yes, American democracy remains much healthier than the Hungarian version. But the parallels are there for anyone willing to see them: Like Orbán, Republican leaders have repeatedly been willing to change the rules and customs of democracy for the sake of raw power.

The list includes: rushing unpopular bills through Congress with little debate; telling bald lies about those bills; stealing a Supreme Court seat to maintain a Republican majority; trying to keep American citizens from voting; gerrymandering; campaigning on racism and xenophobia; refusing to investigate President Trump’s corruption and Russian ties.

Usually, Trump is not even the main force behind these tactics. Other Republicans are. In North Carolina, after Republicans lost the governorship in 2016, they went so far as to strip the office of some of its authority. Of course it’s true that Democrats sometimes play rough too, but there is no list remotely like the one above for them.

That’s why the midterms are so important. The Republicans will almost certainly lose the nationwide popular vote in the House elections. Yet if they still hold on to their majority — thanks to partly to voter suppression — party leaders will take it as an endorsement of their strategy. They will have paid no political price for their power grab. They will be tempted to go further — to suppress more votes, use more racism, cover up more scandals and violate more democratic rules and customs.

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The United States won’t suddenly become Hungary. We start from a much stronger place. But our democracy will suffer. And democracies can deteriorate more quickly than people often realize.

Not so long ago, Hungary was a shining example of post-Soviet success. Power alternated between the center-right and center-left. Orbán — a pro-democracy activist during the end of Soviet rule in Hungary, who co-founded Fidesz as a center-right party — originally became prime minister in 1998. After only one term, and to his shock, he lost the job.

He responded with a plan to recapture power for “15 to 20 years,” as he said at the time. “We have only to win once, but then properly,” he explained. Fidesz did win in 2010, with help from a bungling socialist government and widespread income stagnation. Orbán went to work.

His strategy has had three main pillars. One, he sought to control the media. Two, he launched a Christian-themed culture war that discredits his opponents. Three, he changed the rules of democracy. In each of these ways — just as Bannon understands — Fidesz is a turbocharged version of the Republican Party.

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Orbán has made sure his allies run most major media companies. If you imagine that Rupert Murdoch, Sinclair Broadcasting Group and conservative talk radio controlled most of American media, you’d have a good sense for today’s Hungarian media. (And many Americans indeed get much of their information from Murdoch, Sinclair or talk radio.)

Just like Fox News, the Hungarian media ignores inconvenient stories, like anti-Orbán protests. Instead, it pumps conspiracies, especially anti-immigrant, anti-Roma and anti-Semitic ones, as the writer Paul Lendvai has noted. During my stay, newspapers ran Soros-related stories for little apparent reason, and there was talk of “the Soros caravan” — the same made-up story making the rounds on the American right.

I found it chilling to return home to a Republican closing message in the midterms that echoed Orbán’s so closely. In both, fictitious invading hordes — and those who supposedly support them — are the enemy of the people.

More on Hungary from Opinion:
Opinion | Pamela Druckerman
The News Is Bad in HungaryNov. 1, 2018
Opinion | Alexander Soros
Alexander Soros: The Hate That Is Consuming UsOct. 24, 2018
Opinion | Agnes Heller
What Happened to Hungary?Sept. 16, 2018
Orbán’s culture war also involves a lot of machismo. He has tried to eliminate gender studies from Hungary’s universities. In the senior leadership of Fidesz, not a single minister is a woman. The role of women, the speaker of the National Assembly has said, is “to give birth to as many grandchildren as possible for us.”

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As I kept seeing photos of male politicians in Hungary, I was reminded of the all-male group of Republicans who tried to rewrite health care law in the United States. Or the all-male group of Republicans who designed Trump’s tax cut. Or the all-male group of Republicans who handle Supreme Court nominations on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But no parallel is stronger or more worrisome than the subverting of public opinion, through changes to election laws and other steps. István Bibó, a 20th-century Hungarian politician and writer, once wrote that democracy was threatened when the cause of the nation became separated from the cause of liberty. That has already happened in Hungary, and there are alarming signs — signs that I never expected to see — in the United States.

Conservative parties, wherever they are, should by all means push for the political changes they favor, be it less immigration, more public religion, lower taxes on the rich or almost anything else. But win or lose, those conservative parties also need to accept the basic rules of democracy.

When they instead subvert those rules, I hope that citizens — including conservatives — have the courage to resist. In Hungary, it is no longer easy to do so. In the United States, this week will help determine the health of our democracy.



I was also in Hungary this summer, and people do have a very positive opinion of Mr. Orban.

All borders are guarded and immigrants undocumented can not enter. I was on a train from Budapest to Zagreb and back, and even though my passport states my Hungarian birth, my wife and I were asked many questions which heretofore were unprecedented. The debates in Parliament were very much slanted in favor of Mr. Orban.
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:12 pm

Live TV
NBC and Fox finally stop running Trump's racist ad after it was viewed by millions
By Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
Updated 2:48 PM EST, Mon November 05, 2018


(CNN) NBC and Fox News said in separate statements on Monday that their networks will no longer air the Trump campaign's racist anti-immigrant advertisement.

NBC was first to announce the change, doing so after a backlash over its decision to show the 30-second spot during "Sunday Night Football," one of the highest-rated programs on television.

"After further review," NBC said, "we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible."


Fox soon followed suit.

"Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad yesterday and it will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network," ad sales president Marianne Gambelli told CNN in a statement.

The ad ran about a dozen times on Fox News and Fox Business, combined, before being pulled.

Facebook also came under scrutiny for letting the Trump campaign run the ad on its platform. On Monday afternoon the company said "this ad violates Facebook's advertising policy against sensational content so we are rejecting it. While the video is allowed to be posted on Facebook, it cannot receive paid distribution."

The ad was released by the Trump campaign late last week. It vilified the thousands of migrants walking toward the US southern border, wrongly portraying them as invaders and criminals. It seemed designed to stoke fear ahead of the midterm elections and increase Republican turnout.

CNN determined that the ad was racist and declined to sell airtime for it. But other networks agreed to sell the time.

Many viewers were stunned when it aired during "Sunday Night Football," which raked in 21 million viewers this week.

This week's game had a particularly big audience as it featured a highly-anticipated matchup between two of the league's premier quarterbacks, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

A spokesperson for the NFL did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

Along with the NBC broadcast network, NBCUniversal allowed the ad to air multiple times on MSNBC before Monday's decision was made.

An NBC source said the ad was cleared by the broadcast network's standards and practices team. "We regret the decision that the ad ran at all," the source said, "and it will not air on any NBCUniversal property, locally or nationally."

Fox News did not explain why it pulled the ad. The 30-second spot was not only racist, it also contained factual inaccuracies, and it is not uncommon for networks to reject advertisements on such grounds.

Fox's decision was particularly surprising given the network's close proximity and friendly relationship with the White House.

Critics of the network say its hosts and commentators employ some of the same racist rhetoric and scare tactics that were used in the ad.

"How does Fox News square this with offering hours of the same racial fear-mongering in primetime to promote Trump (at no cost) on a nightly basis?" asked Jesse Lehrich, communications director for the progressive group Organizing for America and a former Hillary Clinton spokesman.

On Twitter, Brad Parscale, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, ignored the decision by Fox to pull the ad.

Instead, Parscale lambasted NBC, CNN, and Facebook and said the "#FakeNewsMedia" was "trying to control what you see and how you think."

A little while later, the president was asked about the controversy by a reporter. He said "I don't know about it. I mean, you're telling me something I don't know about." He added: "We have a lot of ads, and they certainly are effective based on the numbers we are seeing."

When asked about the offensive nature of the ad, Trump said, "Well, a lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive a lot of the times."

People familiar with the matter told CNN that the advertisement was not submitted to either CBS or ABC, so those networks didn't have to decide whether to sell the airtime or not.

CNN had to make the decision on Friday when the ad was submitted there.

The next day, Donald Trump Jr. complained on Twitter that CNN "refused to run" the advertisement.

A CNN spokesperson responded in a tweet, saying, "CNN has made it abundantly clear in its editorial coverage that this ad is racist. When presented with an opportunity to be paid to take a version of this ad, we declined. Those are the facts."
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:19 am

This Election Day, one thought again dominates my thinking. “America, prove me right.”

It is a plea to my country to follow through on what I think it is going to do: Rebuke President Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress and restore some semblance of checks and balances by at least returning the House of Representatives to Democratic control.


Opinion from the Washington Post







Trump Gambles He Can Shatter Political Norms — and Keep Winning
Most presidents face a midterm thumping. But rarely do they make it so much about themselves.

By JOHN F. HARRIS and ELIANA JOHNSON November 06, 2018
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One constant of Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency and his two years in power is how behavior that would be not just risky but downright stupid for any normal politician ends up working smartly for him.

This is the essence of the Trump Mystique—a three-year record in which he regularly demonstrated that many of the normal precedents, patterns and truisms of American politics simply do not apply to him. This mystique—Is it real or illusion? Is his patented sorcery still working?—is among the big questions being tested in Tuesday’s elections.

Story Continued Below


Trump’s own decisions over the past month have put the issue—whether Trump has defied political gravity or merely delayed its impact—in even sharper relief than it would have been anyway.

It would be smart, viewed through a conventional prism, for a president who has never commanded majority support to try to float above the midterms and allow politicians of his own party to keep their elections locally focused. It seems stupid to unite and energize the opposition in their loathing by insisting that congressional elections are a national referendum on himself.

It would be smart, if playing by normal rules, for a leader presiding over the best employment numbers in decades to make an economic argument his main push against the headwind that the incumbent president’s party historically faces in midterm elections. It seems stupid to reduce this to secondary status in favor of picking scabs over immigration and societal violence in the days before voting.

Story Continued Below

In the disoriented state of contemporary politics, however, it seems stupid for anyone to pretend to be smart in predicting the results of Trump’s decision to turn the volume up to 11 on Trumpism.
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As Trump himself cast the implications for Tuesday in a weekend stop in Georgia: “I wouldn’t say it’s as important as ’16, but it’s right up there.”

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Some dynamics seem inescapably true. One is that at nearly every important turn when traditional political logic would have pointed toward softening the tone and broadening support—from his 2016 acceptance speech to the 2017 inaugural address and countless other occasions since—Trump took the opposite path and along the way tightened his connection to his most devoted supporters.

Story Continued Below

A vivid recent example was over the sexual assault allegations against his Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh. For a few days Trump deferred to prevailing wisdom that he needed to treat accuser Christine Blasey Ford respectfully and project an open mind on the merits. Before long he returned to his customary instincts and attacked Ford, Democrats and the media, while cheering on Kavanaugh’s own attacks on Democrats.

For every Republican operative who thinks Trump’s midterm strategy is nuts—one senior GOP strategist running competitive statewide races said the president’s image took a 15-point hit in internal campaign polling over the past 10 days—there is a Democratic operative who worries that Trump’s polarizing approach just might allow him to beat the odds as he did in 2016.

Story Continued Below

But that same approach raises the cost of GOP setbacks for Trump, who has often made clear his own view that power is partly a matter of perception, and preserving an aura of strength and success. A narrow House loss, for instance, would surely be explained as the result of normal historical patterns. In the case of a national blowout, no matter if Trump blamed others, the result would be like a baby with a paunch and comb-over: No way to deny paternity.

“I do think it’s a little unfair to put it all on him, because you start behind the eight-ball,” said a senior GOP Senate strategist, pointing to the usual historical pattern with a president’s first midterm election. “What I think is different [in 2018] is that while the president always has the ability to define the agenda, he takes all of the oxygen out of the air. The reality is, these races are completely national. And while there’s always a national bent to congressional races, there’s really no escaping it this time.”

Story Continued Below

A senior White House official said political advisers applied a three-prong test this fall in deciding where to send Trump. One was whether they could find good rally venues. Two was data suggesting which districts were especially promising if Trump could manage to ignite GOP-leaning voters who might normally vote in presidential elections but not midterms. Third was protectiveness, trying to avoid races where Trump would risk being blamed for a race that was a likely loser anyway.

Story Continued Below

The president’s vituperative attacks on Democrats and race-baiting immigration rhetoric broke new ground on divisiveness, but in one sense he was making a calculation—can a president influence the midterms to advantage?—familiar to three of his recent predecessors.

In 1994, Bill Clinton’s advisers urged him to take it easy and mostly stay off the campaign trail in favor of the White House and overseas trips. He didn’t buy it—convinced he could persuade voters to back him and Democrats if he could just get in front of enough of them. Polling suggested otherwise, and political aides later concluded that an unseasoned president’s own efforts helped fuel the GOP's historic congressional takeover that year.

Story Continued Below

In 2002, the backdrop of 9/11 one year earlier changed the landscape for George W. Bush. Stressing national security themes, he helped Republicans make historically unusual congressional gains.

In 2010, Barack Obama saw a conservative backlash over spending to combat recession and the financial crash, as well as the Affordable Care Act. He campaigned in some districts where he was welcome, but he knew it wasn’t doing much good. “There’s no doubt this is a difficult election,” he said at a Cleveland rally. He was right: November brought a “shellacking,” as he called it, that lost the House and reached deep into statehouses around the country.

READ MORE
President Donald Trump arrives to Capitol Hill.
POLITICS

Wonder How Trump Will Handle Defeat? Don’t Bother with History.
By JEFF GREENFIELD
Donald Trump
ELECTIONS

Do Democrats Need a White Man to Beat Trump in 2020?
By BILL SCHER
Rep. Beto O'Rourke
2018

Did Beto Blow It?
By TIM ALBERTA
Similar results in the opposite direction against Republicans on Tuesday will not only put subpoena power in the hands of the president’s political foes—it could lead the handful of prominent Trump dissenters in the national GOP to urge others to join their cause.

Story Continued Below

“Yeah, he’s going to lose the House,” said Bill Kristol, editor at large of the Weekly Standard and a leading Trump critic. “They’re gonna lose eight to 10 governorships probably. So, where is the brilliance? Where is the political magic? ... He got 46 percent of the vote in 2016. It looks like Republicans are going to get, if they’re lucky, 46 percent of the vote [or lower]. … So what has Trump done for the party?”

Not that Trump will admit as much. Terry Sullivan, who managed Marco Rubio’s 2016 campaign, suggested that one key aspect of Trump’s mystique is that he will argue that his mystique is undimmed no matter the result. “Don’t take my word for it. Ask him tomorrow,” Sullivan said Monday. “Don’t take my word for it, ask his supporters. He will say that candidates that he campaigned with won and the ones who didn’t want to campaign with him lost. And the ones that lost that he campaigned with did better than they would have if they hadn’t campaigned with him—he made the race closer, so much closer.”

Story Continued Below

For all Sullivan’s evident sarcasm, Michael Strain, director of economic policy at the American Enterprise Institute, effectively agreed that Trump’s activities in the closing days of the campaign might help in some districts but won’t be the decisive factor if the evening ends in a big GOP defeat. “I think that the cake on the president is kind of baked—that people have a view of the Republican Party under Donald Trump” that won’t swing widely based on any day’s headlines, he said. “That suggests to me that if the president were talking about the economy and not talking about the caravan, that wouldn’t necessarily be a better strategy to get Republicans to win.”

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2018

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Trump Gambles He Can Shatter Political Norms — and Keep Winning





Probable election results today : CNN analysis



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The (Final) Forecast: A Democratic House and a Republican Senate, but still some uncertainty
Analysis by Harry Enten, CNN
Updated 7:55 PM EST, Tue November 06, 2018


(CNN) (Note from Harry: Follow me along live on Election Night here.)

The 2018 campaign (mostly) comes to an end today. If the polls and our forecasts are right, the Democrats and Republicans will each have something to be happy about.

Democrats are favored to take back the House, while Republicans are favored to maintain control of the Senate.


Our final House forecast has Democrats earning 227 seats to the Republicans 208. That's a net gain of 32 seats from the 195 they hold right now. Democrats only need a net gain of 23 to win the 218 seats necessary for a majority.

But as we have noted all along, our forecasts come with a margin of error. Specifically, our 95% confidence interval finds that Democrats could win as few as 207 seats (11 short of a majority) to 259, according to our latest estimate.

There are two things you should note about the range. The first is that it's wide because there are so many close races.

View this interactive content on CNN.com
There are, for example, 32 races that we think will have a margin of 4 points or less. There are 97 races in which the margin of error (95% confidence interval) is wider than the margin by which one of the candidates is projected to win.

Of those 32 races that are within 4 points, 19 are forecasted to be won by the Democratic candidate. If only about half of these 19 go the other way, Republicans could conceivably maintain control.

The second thing you should note is that the margin of error is asymmetric. That is, the difference between our median estimate (227) and the bottom range of our margin of error (207) is only 20 seats, while the difference between our median and the top range of our margin of error (259) is 32 seats.

There are an astounding 61 races where the Republicans are favored, but where we think the Democratic candidate is within the margin of error of winning. If there is a small, but systematic, error in the polling, it's not inconceivable that Democrats could do far better than we have forecasted them to do.

The asymmetric range of our results is why if we were projecting our midpoint using an average instead of a median that would forecast a net gain of 34 seats for the Democrats.

Make no mistake though, the House race is still close enough that Republicans could win. The closeness of the result is such that the seven races within 4 points in California, Maine and Washington could be determinative. It may take some time to count the ballot for various reasons (e.g. mail-in ballots and ranked choice voting) in these contests. That means we may not know the winner for days.

Our final Senate forecast is something else altogether. It has Republicans controlling 52 seats and Democrats (and Independents who caucus with them) holding 48 seats in the next Congress. If this forecast were exactly right, it would mean that Republicans would have a net gain of a seat since the last Congress.

This overall forecast takes into account each state's forecast, the margin of error of each state's forecast and the correlation between the different state results. In cases where one side is expected to win many close victories, the overall forecast thinks there's a good chance they will lose a few of these contests.

That's exactly what's going on this year. Right now, our forecast has Democratic candidates winning by 2 points or less in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri and Nevada. No Republican is forecasted to win by less than 6 points. Based upon past history, the model expects that two of these close forecasted Democratic victories will turn into Democratic defeats. If all these states end up going to the Republicans, they will win 55 seats.

Indeed, we shouldn't underrate the possibility of Democrats winning the House and Republicans doing very well in the Senate tomorrow night.

If each of our state forecasts is right, however, Democrats will end up 50 seats to the Republicans 50 seats. Vice President Mike Pence would break the tie and give Republicans the barest of majorities in the Senate in this case.

Is it possible that Democrats win control of the Senate? Yes. Our forecasted margin of error gives Democrats the possibility of controlling up to 52 Senate seats in the next Congress.

Right now, the two most likely ways Democrats win the majority in Senate elections held tomorrow involve either Democrat Phil Bredesen winning in Tennessee or Democrat Beto O'Rourke winning in Texas. Both of those races are within 6 points, which means they are within the margin of error.

Perhaps the most intriguing scenario for election night is that if neither party wins a Senate majority tomorrow. There is little doubt at this point that the Mississippi Special Senate jungle primary will require a runoff in late November between the two top vote getters on Tuesday. In the jungle primary, all Democrats and Republicans run against each other. If no one receives a majority, there will be a runoff.

There are two Republicans (Chris McDaniel and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith) who will split the Republican vote in this very red state. The question is who advances to the runoff.

For most of the campaign, the polls pointed towards Hyde-Smith making the runoff against Democrat Mike Espy. In such a scenario, Republicans would be heavily favored to hold onto the seat.

There has been some late polling though that has Hyde-Smith and McDaniel neck-and-neck. If McDaniel beats out Hyde-Smith, this seat becomes very winnable for Democrats.

And keep in mind that if we project every other state correctly and it's a Espy-McDaniel runoff, said runoff will be for control of the Senate.

This story has been updated to reflect the most recent forecast figures.


As of 10:20 p.m. ET, NBC News projected that Democrats will win the House.




Now what?


Midterms: Trump threatens Democrats over investigations after they take House –

Don't be fooled. The midterms were not a bad night for Trump
Cas Mudde
Republicans lost many races, but they still held on to most of their positions. And Trump will see that as a victory





But Democrats need a new strategy outside of metropolitan areas. They’re getting hammered there.
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David Leonhardt
David Leonhardt
Op-Ed Columnist
If you look at the national results, last night was a smashing win for Democrats. They retook control of the House of Representatives, putting an end to President Trump’s legislative agenda and giving them the power to investigate his corruption. Democrats did so with a runaway win in the national popular vote — likely by about seven percentage points.
“This is what happens to a party when it controls the White House and the president is unpopular,” Bloomberg’s Jonathan Bernstein writes. Trump’s “disdain for those who didn’t vote for him has turned out to be a disastrous strategy.” Anyone who finds Trumpism to be abhorrent should be very pleased with the judgment the country just delivered: On his current path, Trump is a clear underdog to win re-election in 2020.
And yet last night did not feel like a thorough rejection of Trumpism. In one statewide race after another, Democrats suffered disappointing losses. It happened with the exciting progressive candidates in Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Texas (pending recounts). It happened with the centrist candidates in Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota and elsewhere.
Why? Above all, because Democrats are getting trounced outside of metropolitan areas. “The consistent pattern you’re seeing is that Republicans are consolidating control of rural white America faster than Democrats are making inroads into educated suburbia,” the progressive writer David Klion tweeted.
I think Democrats need to take this problem more seriously than they have so far. They need a new approach to nonmetropolitan America, one that asks in an open-minded way which issues are damaging the party there. Is it about moving to the center on immigration, abortion or other issues? Or rather than specific policies, is the problem the party’s lack of a compelling story about the country’s future?
Progressives can’t simply write off these parts of the country. Last night’s results have given the Republicans a strong majority in the Senate. Until Democrats figure out a strategy for retaking it, they won’t be able to pass ambitious laws or control the confirmation process for federal judges. There is no progressive future without a better performance outside of metropolitan America.
Economic populism keeps winning. One clue may be in the continued success of the Democrats’ economic agenda. Obamacare, in particular, had a very good night.
Voters in Nebraska, Idaho and Utah all appear to have approved ballot measures to expand Medicaid. If the results stand, they would extend coverage to more than 300,000 low-income Americans, as Vox’s Sarah Kliff explains. Democrats also won the governorships of both Maine and Kansas, whose Republican governors had held up Medicaid expansions passed last year.
“Turns out people like Obamacare minus Obama,” tweeted HuffPost’s Lydia Polgreen.
Voter enfranchisement. Voting rights also had a mostly good night. Florida voters approved a ballot initiative that would restore the voting rights of nearly 1.5 million people convicted of felonies. Amazingly, this initiative gives the vote back to 40 percent of all black men in the state, according to Samuel Sinyangwe. Michigan and Maryland voters also passed measures making it easier to cast a ballot, including same-day registration.
On the flip side, North Carolina and Arkansas both passed ballot measures requiring voters to present an ID at the polls. These are laws designed to reduce voter turnout.
A year of the woman. Whether as a repudiation of Trump (as Jill Filipovic argues in The Times) or as “the aftershock from Hillary Clinton’s defeat” (as The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty writes), more than 100 women will likely win their congressional races — a high-water mark in women’s representation in Congress.
Finally, if you’re a liberal feeling down about last night, consider the possibility that your expectations were set too high, writes Slate’s Jim Newell. “If you could’ve asked Democrats to take this night at the beginning of 2017, they would have eagerly accepted it,” Newell writes. “As bleh as it all might feel, it’s a start.”
The full Opinion report from The Times follows, including Ross Douthat, Frank Bruni, Mimi Swartz and The Editorial Board on the midterms.
The Democrats Won the House. Now What?
Journalists outside the Capitol reported Tuesday night on the midterm elections.
Journalists outside the Capitol reported Tuesday night on the midterm elections. Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
For starters, pick policy battles wisely.
The Results Are (Mostly) In
OP-ED COLUMNIST

For Democrats — and America — a Sigh of Relief
By FRANK BRUNI
The party didn’t get everything it wanted. But it got what it and the country need.

OP-ED COLUMNIST

Midterms Deliver an American Stalemate
By ROSS DOUTHAT
A rebuke to President Trump in the overall returns, but not a presidency-ending repudiation. Two years of chaos and hysteria ending in a return to standoff.

CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER

The Success in Beto’s Failure
By MIMI SWARTZ
O’Rourke gave Texans who have long felt disenfranchised a glimpse of what could be.

CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER

The Thrill of a Women’s Wave
By JILL FILIPOVIC
Watching anti-Trump female candidates win is exciting, but I’m worried about all they’re being asked to do.


How the Midterms Made Us Feel: Afraid, Then Upset
By THE NEW YORK TIMES OPINION
The midterm election has been divisive and difficult for many Americans. Now that it’s coming to an end, how do we feel? This live map shows reactions from readers across the country through Election Day.


A To-Do List for Democrats in Albany
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
With control of the State Senate, they can reform the electoral system.

Winning the House Is Not Nothing
President Trump at Andrews Air Force Base early on Tuesday.
President Trump at Andrews Air Force Base early on Tuesday. Doug Mills/The New York Times

By KEVIN BAKER
The bumbling, exasperating Democratic Party claws back one branch of government.



























...
Last edited by Meno_ on Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Meno_
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Re: Trump enters the stage-next phase 3

Postby Meno_ » Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:40 pm

No mandate no laundry for the shakedown the swamp what to uncover, other than exposure to gain , re-presenting their usual: gain personal, power sharing behind the door handshakes and squinted eye contacts, payoffs the hood's crazy foxes their wagging tales , doggies as usual fornicating hid'n tales of fame and Fortuna smiles alongside Minerva, Them is & Dike.


Follow dear children the symbiotic need to react the logical synthesis, by debuting the hidden Heglelian undemonsratible functional utility by fiat nor ex-machines, only through spotty flashes and intermittent storms of presuming receptions of naive receptivity.

The lawyers know how reasoning and exposure a tale can go on untouched, even if, the out-world, the outside have the price to pay. That never ever changing, business as usual.


All the chess pieces a neat but stale mate,

Mate, and stale, mate, the king cornered, he is weak from the beginning spatially bounded by his reluctance and overcautive fear of moving too fast, oh his flights of fancy, only to impress by clever wagging of tongue & cheek, but its a game that minimal aristocrats of power holding , of shining reflectors inflaming the mirrors through the doors of presumption by sheets magic, but a vain magic more power ridden then that holding to gather, the stories of infamy behind the emperor's clothes can.

That's the measure and the texture up on which civilization's bargains are negotiated , forever the most illustative being faust of whom said the terms unfair, for find not one man who would not set store for his own,

Even those who have been deprived, the Tzar, and Antoniette, become recipients of romance and drama, the evocation of sympathy for those their class, so that heritage and will of power's application elevated to a form now thrice guaranteed to the nuevo riche.

The minima is always reduced to the lowest possibility, to sustain the bottom of its very lowest deconstruction, to construct the grand cathedrals of faithful obedience.
Meno_
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:38 pm

https://hellopoetry.com/poem/274366

Mid-term elections 2018: Trump hails 'tremendous success.
Trump hopes for "beautiful bi-partisan situation"
Video caption Trump hopes for "beautiful bi-partisan situation"
US President Donald Trump has hailed "tremendous success" in the mid-term elections after a night of mixed results for his Republican party.

Democrats won the House of Representatives, which will enable them to thwart the president's agenda.

But Republicans consolidated their grip on the Senate, ensuring the president can still make key appointments.

Mr Trump said the outcome "defied history" as the ruling party does not usually gain seats in the mid-terms.

Results in maps and charts
Five key things we learned
Live reaction
At a feisty news conference on Wednesday, Mr Trump offered an olive branch to Democrats, proposing both parties work together on joint legislative priorities.

But he said that if Democratic-controlled congressional committees started serving legal writs against his administration, Republicans would do likewise and gridlock would ensue.

In ill-tempered exchanges, Mr Trump called a CNN correspondent "a rude, terrible person" and told an NBC reporter: "I'm not a big fan of yours either."

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has promised her party will serve as a counterweight to the White House.

Ms Pelosi - who is favourite to become speaker, a position she held from 2007-11 - told supporters: "Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans. It's about restoring the Constitution's checks and balances to the Trump administration."

Meanwhile the Florida Senate race is heading for a recount after Republican Rick Scott got 50.21% and incumbent Bill Nelson 49.79% of the vote. A margin of less than half a percentage point automatically triggers a recount.

Video caption The story of election night in two minutes
What difference will the new Congress make?
The Democrats gained more than the 23 seats they needed for a majority in the 435-seat lower chamber.

They could now launch investigations into Mr Trump's administration and business affairs, from tax returns to potential conflicts of interest.

The Democrats could also more effectively block his legislative plans, notably his signature promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.

In the Senate, Democrats were facing an uphill battle because they were defending 26 races, while just nine Republican seats were up for grabs.

The Republicans are on course to increase their representation from 51 to 54 in the 100-seat Senate upper chamber.

Mr Trump has threatened to retaliate for any Democratic investigations with his own probes in the Senate into alleged "leaks of classified information".

Silver linings
By Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

Even handing over power to Democrats in the House may have a bit of a silver lining for the president.

Now he will have someone to blame if the economy takes a turn for the worse (and, given business cycle realities, it might). He's got a ready-made explanation for why he can't get anything done in the next two years - and a pitch for what needs to change in the next election.

Day in and day out, he'll have a set of clear political opponents to contrast himself with.

Video caption The BBC's Anthony Zurcher explains what losing the House means for Donald Trump's presidency.
Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama lost control of the House in their first term in office and went on to win re-election. History, serving as a guide, predicted this would probably be a bad night for the president.

History also indicates that while the road may be rocky, better days could be ahead.

What this all means for Trump
More on the mid-terms:
Young votes stamp their mark on politics
What else did Americans vote for?
Why US mid-term elections matter
Who are the new faces in Congress?
Female candidates fared particularly well in an election cycle that had been billed as the Year of the Woman.

ImaAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez (C) is the youngest woman ever elected to the US House
Two 29-year-old Democrats - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Abby Finkenauer - are due to be the youngest women ever to win House seats.

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are the first Muslim women and Sharice Davids and Debra Haaland the first Native American women to be elected to Congress. All are Democrats.

Ayanna Pressley was elected as Massachusetts' first black congresswoman.

How the mid-term elections broke records
The mid-terms seen from abroad
Video caption The women who made history in the mid-terms
What's happening in governors' races?
Governors - who head the executive branch in state governments - have been chosen in 36 out of 50 states.

In Florida, a progressive Democrat conceded after an ugly battle against Trumpist conservative Ron DeSantis.

But in Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams - who was hoping to become the first black female governor in the US - refused to concede as her Republican opponent Brian Kemp took a commanding lead after a bitter campaign.

Democrats also captured governorships in Michigan, Illinois, Kansas and Wisconsin, where former Republican presidential contender Scott Walker was beaten.

New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo - sometimes spoken of as a 2020 presidential contender - cruised to a third term.


Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.-lowest-common-denominator/



JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
President Trump has replaced Sessions. Here's what that means for the Mueller probe.
"If he was selected because he doesn't think it's an appropriate investigation, then I'm deeply concerned," said a former U.S. attorney.

Robert Mueller testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee in 2013.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call,Inc. file
SHARE THIS —
Nov. 7, 2018 / 5:03 PM ET
By Julia Ainsley
With Jeff Sessions now out as attorney general, President Donald Trump's choice to fill his shoes, at least temporarily, is in the position to have a significant impact on the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Matthew Whitaker, who has served as Session's chief of staff since late 2017, has been tapped to become acting attorney general and will therefore take over the role of overseeing Mueller's probe from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.


Sessions had recused himself from overseeing the probe because of his involvement with the campaign, but Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Flores said on Wednesday, "The acting attorney general is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice."

For months, Trump publicly attacked Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the probe, and blamed his decision for allowing Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel. Now, with Whitaker at the helm, Trump has someone leading the Justice Department who has already suggested that Mueller's probe should be reined in.

"If he was selected because he doesn't think it's an appropriate investigation, then I'm deeply concerned," said Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney and general counsel at the FBI.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a round table discussion at the Justice Department on Aug. 29, 2018.Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP file
Before Whitaker came to the Justice Department in 2017, he wrote an op-ed for CNN that said Mueller's investigation was "going too far." He supported Trump's claim that the probe would be crossing a red line if it branched into the finances of Trump and his family.


As a legal commentator on CNN, Whitaker also said that Sessions could be replaced with someone who would reduce Mueller's budget.

"That attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces his budget to so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt," Whitaker said in July 2017.

Now Whitaker will be in the position to do just that. Previously, whenever Mueller has needed permission to expand his scope or add more resources, he went to Rosenstein. That responsibility will now fall to Whitaker.

Rosenstein has also stood up to Republicans in Congress who have sought to publicly disclose documents related to the Russia investigation — a battle Whitaker may not be willing to fight.


Trump's decision to replace Sessions with Whitaker rather than Rosenstein, the No. 2 at the Justice Department, has led to questions about the president's motives and whether the move strengthens Mueller's hand in pursuing an obstruction of justice case.

"I think we're watching obstruction of justice play out in plain sight," Frank Figliuzzi, the former assistant director of counterintelligence at the FBI, said on MSNBC.

Whitaker, 49, served as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004-09. Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, he does not need to be sworn in or approved.





And now this:




TheHill
SENATE
November 07, 2018 - 05:45 PM EST
Collins: Mueller 'must be allowed' to continue Russia probe
Collins: Mueller 'must be allowed' to continue Russia probe
GETTY IMAGES

BY JORDAIN CARNEY
TWEET SHARE EMAIL
GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) on Wednesday warned the Trump administration against interfering with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, saying he "must be allowed" to finish it.

"It is imperative that the Administration not impede the Mueller investigation. I'm concerned Rod Rosenstein will no longer be overseeing the probe," Collins said in a string of tweets.



Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also said that Mueller "must be allowed to complete his work without interference" regardless of who is the attorney general.




Collins's remarks are among the first signs of concern from the Senate Republican Conference, which has largely met the news of Attorney General Jeff Sessions's ouster earlier in the day with a collective shrug.





Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was put in charge of the investigation after Sessions recused himself last year.





Several GOP senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have lauded Sessions but skirted what impact his dismissal might have.



Collins's concerns were echoed by Sen.-elect Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who also weighed in, saying it was "imperative" that Mueller be able to continue his probe.





"I want to thank Jeff Sessions for his service to our country as Attorney General. Under Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, it is imperative that the important work of the Justice Department continues, and that the Mueller investigation proceeds to its conclusion unimpeded," he said in a tweet.

Romney has gained attention both nationally and within the Senate GOP caucus as a someone who could push back against Trump once he comes to Washington next year.



Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), two of the biggest Trump critics, are retiring at the end of the year, while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) died in August following a battle with brain cancer.



Romney and Collins's pushback on Wednesday comes after Trump announced that he was ousting Sessions from the top Justice Department spot and that Whitaker, his chief of staff, will take over in an acting role including overseeing the Russia probe.



Whitaker's ascendence immediately set off alarm bells among congressional Democrats. He's previously criticized the Mueller investigation, including warning in a 2017 op-ed that Mueller was "dangerously close to crossing" a line if he looked into the Trump family's finances.



More in Senate
McConnell riding high after 'very good day'
Schumer: 2020 'doesn't bode well' for GOP
Feinstein: Acting AG must pledge to Senate he won't interfere with Mueller
Sanders warns Trump: Interfering with Mueller probe an 'impeachable offense'
Grassley to make chairmanship decision after meeting with colleagues next week

The Hill 1625 K Street, NW Suite 900 Washington DC 20006 | 202-628-8500 tel | 202-628-8503 fax





Wonder of wonders if the investigation comes to a climactic power struggle. ?
Or some yet hidden compromise is yet to be invented.




Why dems didn't win Senate



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Gerrymandering and voter suppression might have cost Democrats an even larger House majority, experts said.

Democrats got millions more votes – so how did Republicans win the Senate?
Senate electoral process means although Democrats received more overall votes for the Senate than Republicans, that does not translate to more seats

Follow live updates on US politics
Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington

@SabrinaSiddiqui
Thu 8 Nov 2018 09.54 EST First published on Thu 8 Nov 2018 07.00 EST
The 2018 midterm elections brought significant gains for Democrats, who retook the House of Representatives and snatched several governorships from the grip of Republicans.

But some were left questioning why Democrats suffered a series of setbacks that prevented the party from picking up even more seats and, perhaps most consequentially, left the US Senate in Republican hands.

Among the most eye-catching was a statistic showing Democrats led Republicans by more than 12 million votes in Senate races, and yet still suffered losses on the night and failed to win a majority of seats in the chamber.

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Constitutional experts said the discrepancy between votes cast and seats won was the result of misplaced ire that ignored the Senate electoral process.

Because each state gets two senators, irrespective of population, states such as Wyoming have as many seats as California, despite the latter having more than 60 times the population. The smaller states also tend to be the more rural, and rural areas traditionally favor Republicans.

This year, because Democrats were defending more seats, including California, they received more overall votes for the Senate than Republicans, but that does not translate to more seats.

However, some expressed frustration with a system they suggest gives an advantage to conservative-leaning states.

The rise of minority rule in America is now unmistakable

Laurence Tribe, Harvard professor
The real concerns for Democrats, they said, could be found in a combination of gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics that might have prevented them from winning an even larger majority in the House and some key statewide elections.

“The rise of minority rule in America is now unmistakable,” said Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University.

“Especially with a sitting president who won a majority in the electoral college [in 2016] while receiving roughly 3m fewer votes than his opponent, and a supreme court five of whose nine justices were nominated by Republican presidents who collectively received fewer popular votes than their Democratic opponents and were confirmed by Senates similarly skewed.”

According to the latest data, Democrats won the House popular vote by about seven percentage points in Tuesday night’s midterms.

Blue wave or blue ripple? A visual guide to the Democrats’ gains in the midterms

They picked up 29 Republican-held seats in the House, while losing two of their own incumbents, resulting in a net gain of 27 seats. Republicans meanwhile won a larger majority in the Senate, picking up at least two seats as a handful of vulnerable Democrats faced defeat.

The mixed result undermined Democratic hopes of a blue wave in an election billed as a referendum on Donald Trump and his presidency. In the 2010 midterms, by contrast, Republicans stormed into control of the House with a haul of 63 seats.

But the latter was the result of partisan gerrymandering, which saw Republican-controlled state legislatures redraw congressional districts to favor the party in what conservative architects dubbed as Redmap, short for the Redistricting Majority Project.

It was for this very reason that Tuesday night’s governor’s contests were deemed by Democrats as equally, if not more, important. With the next redrawing of district lines set to take place in 2020, it was regarded as vital for Democrats to win back seats in state legislatures across the country.

Democrats made gains in some must-win states, including Michigan, but fell short in other battlegrounds, such as Florida and Ohio. David Daley, author of a 2016 book about how Republicans built a firewall against Democrats through redistricting, said he was not sure Democrats had done enough on Tuesday “to ensure that they have a reasonable voice in the process”.

Elsewhere, progressives lamented the results in the Senate, where some commentators were quick to note that Democrats led the overall tally by double-digit percentage points. The most recent figures had Republicans holding 51 seats and Democrats with just 46, with a handful of races still too close to call.

But the 2018 Senate map was unfavorable for Democrats going into the midterms – the party was defending 26 seats compared with Republicans’ nine – and the outcome had more to do with which states were up for grabs.

Each of America’s 50 states elects two senators, regardless of population, and only a third of the country’s Senate seats are voted on each election cycle.

What that means is that California, which has a population of just under 40 million, holds the same representation in the Senate as Wyoming, which at roughly 579,000 is the least populous state in the country.

Voter suppression tactics may have played a part in the failure of the North Dakota senator Heidi Heitkamp’s re-election bid. Photograph: Ann Arbor Miller/AP
“That’s a radically undemocratic principle, and it gives rise to what we see,” said David Golove, a professor at the New York University School of Law, “which is that the minority populations are going to have a disproportionate impact in the United States. That tends to mean conservatives have a disproportionate influence over the Senate.”

Because the Senate map changes every two years, experts said, it was also difficult to tabulate what a national vote might look like. Since more Democratic seats were up for re-election in 2018, some argued, it was not unexpected that the party secured more votes.

“The Senate is inherently anti-majoritarian,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of Berkeley Law at the University of California. “So it is not about the total vote, but votes in each state.”

Any notion of change would require a constitutional amendment, he added, which is unlikely to occur in the foreseeable future.

Arguably more tangible than the historic construct of America’s electoral process was the role voter suppression might have played in some big Democratic losses.

In North Dakota, voter ID rules pushed by Republicans and upheld by the supreme court may have barred thousands of Native Americans from voting in Tuesday’s general election. The restrictions required that voters show their current residential address in order to vote. But many Native Americans who live on reservations do not have street names and instead use PO boxes.

In 2012, the state’s incumbent Democrat, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, was elected in part due to the support of Native American voters. She lost on Tuesday to her Republican challenger, Kevin Cramer, although the margin was large enough to suggest voter suppression tactics alone did not cost Heitkamp the race.

Loading video
Stacey Abrams v Brian Kemp: inside the bitter battle for Georgia's soul - video
The closely watched governor’s race in Georgia, however, told a more contentious story, as the Democrat Stacey Abrams vied to become the first black woman elected governor in US history. Abrams was running against the Republican Brian Kemp, who as Georgia’s sitting secretary of state remained at the helm of the office tasked with overseeing its elections.

Leading up to the election, Kemp’s office put at least 53,000 voter registrations on hold – the majority of which applied to black voters – citing Georgia’s so-called “exact match” law. The restrictions could have prevented thousands of eligible voters from casting ballots due to minor discrepancies with other identification documents that included missing hyphens, middle initials or accent marks in a name.

Abrams, who narrowly trailed Kemp as returns poured in on Tuesday, refused to concede.

“We are going to make sure that every vote is counted, every single vote,” she said. “In a civilized nation, the machinery of democracy should work for everyone, everywhere.”
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Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:05 am

Protesters gathered in major cities around the U.S. on Thursday over President Trump's firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, rallying in support of Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of the investigation into Russian election meddling.

The hashtag "#ProtectMueller" was the top trending term on Twitter in the U.S. Thursday night as demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C., New York and Boston, as well as other cities around the country.



This is not over until it's over.





POLITICO

Judges order Mueller to explain impact of Sessions-Whitaker DOJ shakeup
By DARREN SAMUELSOHN 11/09/2018 10:33 AM EST
Robert Mueller
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had previously been special counsel Robert Mueller’s boss because of Jeff Sessions’ recusal. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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A federal appellate court panel on Friday ordered Robert Mueller as well as attorneys trying to knock the special counsel out of his job to file new legal briefs that explain how this week’s shake-up atop the Justice Department could influence their case.

In a one-paragraph order, the three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit told Mueller and lawyers for a former aide to Roger Stone that they have until Nov. 19 to turn in briefs that sift through Wednesday’s firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the legal reaction it may have created.

Story Continued Below


President Donald Trump’s decision to oust Sessions, who recused himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation, opened the door for Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to take over the job of supervising the Mueller probe into alleged collusion between the Republican’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had previously been Mueller’s boss because of Sessions’ recusal.

The new DOJ arrangement for Mueller has prompted calls for Whitaker’s recusal because of conflicts of interest tied to past statements he’s made about the investigation and his own connections to a former Trump adviser who has been called as a witness before the Mueller grand jury.

Whitaker has given no sign he’s going to recuse himself. “We don’t discuss recusals but there is no reason to think that is the case,” a DOJ spokeswoman said Wednesday soon after word of Sessions’ resignation was made public.

The Whitaker-Sessions shake-up came up briefly Thursday during oral arguments in the D.C. Circuit courtroom as it considered the case between Mueller and Andrew Miller, the former Stone aide who is challenging the special counsel’s appointment on constitutional grounds.

There, Judge Karen Henderson said the judges would set aside Sessions’ departure for the hearing but likely would ask for supplemental briefing to address the legal issues tied to the handover from Rosenstein to Whitaker.

“Argue this case as if it was being argued yesterday morning,” said Henderson, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush.

The court’s order came less than 24 hours later and instructed Mueller and Miller’s attorney to turn in briefs limited to 10 pages that address “what, if any, effect the November 7, 2018 designation of an acting Attorney General different from the official who appointed Special Counsel Mueller has on this case.”



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‹ HOMEPAGE


SDNY VS. POTUS
Feds Now Have Evidence Trump Broke the Law to Become President. Will Whitaker Bury It?
Mimi Rocah,
Elie Honig
11.10.18 12:27 PM ET
OPINION

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast
Friday’s in-depth Wall Street Journal report suggests the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York and the FBI appear to possess evidence of Donald Trump’s involvement in a criminal scheme that helped get him elected president. This raises serious questions about what comes next, particularly in light of Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker, a political loyalist, as acting attorney general.

Trump played a central role in hush-money payments made to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Journal reports, adding more detail to the case of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer-lawyer who pled guilty to federal campaign finance violations in the Southern District in August.



Recall that when Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court, he stated under oath that he had made the payments “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office”—many assumed that that candidate was Trump, of course. We now know from the Journal that the person who directed Cohen in this criminal scheme was, indeed, Donald Trump. The charging document to which Cohen pled guilty states that he “coordinated with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments.” The Journal reports that “[t]he unnamed campaign member or members referred to Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the document.”

“SDNY had evidence of Trump’s involvement even before Cohen pled guilty and began cooperating.”
In addition, we now know that the evidence of Trump’s involvement in this criminal scheme is not limited to Cohen. Even accounting for the likelihood that the piece relies in some part on information provided by Cohen himself, there are plenty of other sources weighing in; the reporters note they obtained information from “interviews with three dozen people who have direct knowledge of the events or who have been briefed on them, as well as court papers, corporate records and other documents.”

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Of course there is an important caveat here that what can be reported in the Wall Street Journal doesn’t always translate into usable evidence in the grand jury—in other words, people who are willing to talk to the press may not be as willing or as thorough when it comes to giving testimony to federal prosecutors or a grand jury. But, the Journal article contains an important nugget along these lines: “In August, [prosecutors] outlined Mr. Trump’s role—without specifically naming him—in a roughly 80-page draft federal indictment they had been preparing to file against Mr. Cohen.” As former federal prosecutors, that tells us that the SDNY had evidence of Trump’s involvement even before Cohen pled guilty and began cooperating.


CONFIDENTIAL SOURCES
Prosecutors May Not Be Done With Trump's Men Yet
Elie Honig,
Mimi Rocah

All of this, taken together, indicates that evidence of Trump’s involvement in the hush-money scheme would be a combination of witnesses and other evidence not limited to Cohen, which makes it much more difficult for Trump to brush this off as lies concocted by Cohen to save himself, which Trump’s team have already begun arguing.

And, we know more about Trump’s role in this scheme from the article. For example, the story opens with a detailed recounting of a crucial and previously unreported August 2015 meeting between Trump and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker (who reportedly has been granted immunity to testify by the SDNY) during which Trump asked Pecker how he could help the campaign. Pecker reportedly offered to use his tabloid newspaper to purchase and squash the stories of women alleging affairs with Trump (which he did months later with McDougal).

This conversation, on its own, establishes Trump’s direct involvement with and direction of the hush money payment: precisely as Cohen stated when he pled guilty and goes to the heart of the question of Trump’s intent, namely, did he know and intend that these hush money payments would benefit his campaign for president?

So, can President Trump be charged by the SDNY with a crime of violating the federal campaign finance laws? Probably not. First, even assuming that the quality of the evidence is to the level that prosecutors demand, it is currently DOJ policy not to indict a sitting president, and SDNY, fiercely independent as it is, is still part of DOJ.

If the feds have evidence of criminality but do not believe they can indict, then what becomes of the information?

If the SDNY charges other people or entities involved in the campaign finance scheme, Trump’s involvement as an unindicted co-conspirator could be laid out in those documents for the public to see. Short of that, it will be challenging for the SDNY to share its evidence and information with other authorities. Rule 6e of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure strictly governs disclosure of grand jury materials. We do not know how much, if any, of the SDNY’s evidence falls into this category. Even if it does, there is precedent in an opinion by Judge John Sirica in the Watergate case from 1974 that the SDNY grand jury could provide evidence to Congress in the form of a report. A third option is that the SDNY could share the evidence it has, pursuant to a court order, with a state prosecuting authority, such as the New York Attorney General’s Office which is not necessarily limited in its ability to charge a sitting president, assuming there are parallel state crimes.

Further complicating matters is the DOJ’s new boss, who has taken the view that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s finances would cross a “red line.” In 2017, Whitaker wrote an opinion piece for CNN that if Mueller’s office “were to continue to investigate the financial relationships without a broadened scope in his appointment, then this would raise serious concerns that the special counsel's investigation was a mere witch hunt.” Will the fact that this investigation is now in the hands of the SDNY and not Mueller change that conclusion for Whitaker? It should.

But, given Whitaker’s unusually partisan past and his statements hostile to any criminal investigation of Trump, the American public and Congress need to ensure that any evidence that the SDNY possesses of Trump’s participation in an illegal campaign finance scheme to help get him elected does not get buried by political forces looking to protect him.

NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
‘He’s a F*cking Fool’: Justice Dept Officials Trash Whitaker
Erin Banco

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NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
‘He’s a F*cking Fool’: Justice Department Officials Trash Matt Whitaker, Their New Boss
Erin Banco
11.09.18 2:47 PM ET
The appointment this week of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general has sparked sharp concerns among lawmakers over the possibility that he may bottle up Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

Inside the Department of Justice, however, the fears are more expansive. Whitaker is seen as a rogue and under-qualified new leader whose impact won’t just be felt on the Mueller probe but throughout the federal government.

“He’s a fucking fool,” one trial attorney inside the department said of the new AG. “He’s spent so much time trying to suck up to the president to get here. But this is a big job. It comes with many responsibilities. He just simply doesn’t have the wherewithal.”

RIGHT-WING MEDIA PRESIDENCY
Mueller’s New Boss: There Was ‘No Collusion’ With Russia
Maxwell Tani,
Will Sommer,
Betsy Woodruff

Whitaker’s ascension to the rank of top law enforcement officer in the country has been as swift as it's been controversial. A former U.S. attorney-turned-conservative media pundit, he served for months as former AG Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff before being appointed to fill his old boss’s post. That résumé hasn’t instilled confidence.

“We’ve seen this over and over again with the Trump administration. They never vet these people,” said one former official from the department. “It shows that they don’t really have a strategy when it comes to these things and then they end up having to backtrack.”

But there are some in the department who are willing to give him a chance. One attorney who knew and worked with Whitaker said that when he entered his job as U.S. attorney for the southern district of Iowa in 2004, he faced a “steep learning curve.” But another attorney who encountered Whitaker said he was “humble enough to recognize that he didn’t know everything.”

“When I first encountered Matt I thought he was a bright guy who struck me as someone packaged in a very sort of good old farm boy football player package,” one of the attorneys said. “He was not a know-it-all. He asked a lot of questions. He really wanted to carry out the job effectively.”

But Whitaker is no longer occupying a post where he has time to learn and adjust. He now is running a department with more than 100,000 employees, a budget of roughly $30 billion, and with oversight of and input into every federal law enforcement matter in the country. Already, Whitaker has signed off on a controversial new regulation that will allow President Trump to prohibit certain immigrants from seeking asylum. The department is currently prepping for December hearings in the AT&T-Time Warner case, in which DoJ has appealed the $85 billion merger. It is also also knee-deep in its lawsuit to block California’s new net neutrality law from going into place.

“We’ve seen this over and over again with the Trump administration. They never vet these people. It shows that they don’t really have a strategy when it comes to these things and then they end up having to backtrack.”
— A former official from the department.
Kerri Kupec, acting principal deputy director at the DoJ, defended Whitaker from his critics, saying that he is a "respected former U.S. Attorney and well-regarded at the Department of Justice. As Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said today, he is a superb choice.”

But the vast powers that Whitaker has not been given have left officials and trial attorneys at DoJ fearful that, in an effort to impress President Trump, he will try to make up for his inexperience by making rash decisions about the direction of the department, including implementing policy changes in the Division of Civil Rights.

“This guy has spent his whole life trying to climb the rungs of power to get to a federal appointment,” one DOJ official said. “Now that he is here, and who knows for how long, he’s going to try and make a name for himself. And that could make things harder for us.”

Originally from Iowa, Whitaker started his career as an attorney in Des Moines before running unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 2002. In 2004, President George W. Bush appointed him as the U.S. attorney. After leaving that office in 2009, he sought to build up his political connections, often meeting with influential lawmakers and think-tank leaders, two individuals who worked alongside him in the Department of Justice said.

Whitaker headed Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign in Iowa in 2012 before moving on to work in a similar capacity for Texas Gov. Rick Perry during his short-lived bid that same year. In 2014, he ran for a U.S. Senate seat in Iowa but lost in the GOP primary to eventual winner Joni Ernst. That same year, he worked as chairman for then-Republican candidate for State Treasurer Sam Clovis. Clovis, a former Trump campaign official, has been questioned by the Special Counsel’s office.

During the first year of the Trump presidency, Whitaker shuttled back and forth between Washington, D.C. and New York, making numerous media appearances in an attempt to catch the president’s attention. In those appearances, Whitaker blasted the Mueller investigation, claiming there was “no collusion” between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

It worked. Though there are constitutional questions surrounding the appointing, Whitaker was named acting AG this Wednesday after Sessions’ forced resignation. On Friday, President Trump claimed he did not know Whitaker. But three people inside DOJ said that after stepping into his role of DoJ chief of staff in September 2017, Whitaker frequented the White House with Sessions and developed a working relationship with the president and his advisers.

It’s not just Whitaker’s efforts to appease the president that have people inside the Department of Justice on edge. His past business dealings and connection to FACT, a partisan watchdog group, have raised concerns that, as attorney general, he will make rash decisions about how to revamp department policies, including those that deal with immigration, criminal justice reform, gun rights, and antitrust.

Inside DOJ, Whitaker’s political views are known to be similar to Sessions’. But officials there said that his unpredictability, and lack of institutional experience, could lead the department in a more conservative direction. Whitaker has written several opinion pieces in the national media and spoken publicly about about his conservative take on the law.

“I have a Christian worldview,” Whitaker said in a 2014 interview while campaigning in Iowa. “Our rights come from our Creator and they are guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Whitaker has also said he thought Marbury vs. Madison—a landmark decision that gives courts the power to declare legislative and executive acts unconstitutional—was a “bad ruling.” It’s those comments that have trial attorneys inside the civil rights division of the Department of Justice worried.

“The civil rights division is always more political than the other divisions,” said one trial attorney. “But the feeling is this guy is going to come in and take a tougher stance on policy matters like immigration.”

A previous version of this story said that a spokesperson at DoJ did not comment. The reason they did not, however, was because of a technological mishap. Their comment has since been added to the sto
Meno_
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3772
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
Location: Mysterium Tremendum

Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:10 pm

[quote="Meno_"]Protesters gathered in major cities around the U.S. on Thursday over President Trump's firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, rallying in support of Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of the investigation into Russian election meddling.

The hashtag "#ProtectMueller" was the top trending term on Twitter in the U.S. Thursday night as demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C., New York and Boston, as well as other cities around the country.



This is not over until it's over.





POLITICO

Judges order Mueller to explain impact of Sessions-Whitaker DOJ shakeup
By DARREN SAMUELSOHN 11/09/2018 10:33 AM EST
Robert Mueller
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had previously been special counsel Robert Mueller’s boss because of Jeff Sessions’ recusal. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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A federal appellate court panel on Friday ordered Robert Mueller as well as attorneys trying to knock the special counsel out of his job to file new legal briefs that explain how this week’s shake-up atop the Justice Department could influence their case.

In a one-paragraph order, the three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit told Mueller and lawyers for a former aide to Roger Stone that they have until Nov. 19 to turn in briefs that sift through Wednesday’s firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the legal reaction it may have created.

Story Continued Below


President Donald Trump’s decision to oust Sessions, who recused himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation, opened the door for Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to take over the job of supervising the Mueller probe into alleged collusion between the Republican’s 2016 campaign and Russia.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had previously been Mueller’s boss because of Sessions’ recusal.

The new DOJ arrangement for Mueller has prompted calls for Whitaker’s recusal because of conflicts of interest tied to past statements he’s made about the investigation and his own connections to a former Trump adviser who has been called as a witness before the Mueller grand jury.

Whitaker has given no sign he’s going to recuse himself. “We don’t discuss recusals but there is no reason to think that is the case,” a DOJ spokeswoman said Wednesday soon after word of Sessions’ resignation was made public.

The Whitaker-Sessions shake-up came up briefly Thursday during oral arguments in the D.C. Circuit courtroom as it considered the case between Mueller and Andrew Miller, the former Stone aide who is challenging the special counsel’s appointment on constitutional grounds.

There, Judge Karen Henderson said the judges would set aside Sessions’ departure for the hearing but likely would ask for supplemental briefing to address the legal issues tied to the handover from Rosenstein to Whitaker.

“Argue this case as if it was being argued yesterday morning,” said Henderson, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush.

The court’s order came less than 24 hours later and instructed Mueller and Miller’s attorney to turn in briefs limited to 10 pages that address “what, if any, effect the November 7, 2018 designation of an acting Attorney General different from the official who appointed Special Counsel Mueller has on this case.”



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‹ HOMEPAGE


SDNY VS. POTUS
Feds Now Have Evidence Trump Broke the Law to Become President. Will Whitaker Bury It?
Mimi Rocah,
Elie Honig
11.10.18 12:27 PM ET
OPINION

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast
Friday’s in-depth Wall Street Journal report suggests the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York and the FBI appear to possess evidence of Donald Trump’s involvement in a criminal scheme that helped get him elected president. This raises serious questions about what comes next, particularly in light of Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker, a political loyalist, as acting attorney general.

Trump played a central role in hush-money payments made to Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Journal reports, adding more detail to the case of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer-lawyer who pled guilty to federal campaign finance violations in the Southern District in August.



Recall that when Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court, he stated under oath that he had made the payments “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office”—many assumed that that candidate was Trump, of course. We now know from the Journal that the person who directed Cohen in this criminal scheme was, indeed, Donald Trump. The charging document to which Cohen pled guilty states that he “coordinated with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments.” The Journal reports that “[t]he unnamed campaign member or members referred to Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the document.”

“SDNY had evidence of Trump’s involvement even before Cohen pled guilty and began cooperating.”
In addition, we now know that the evidence of Trump’s involvement in this criminal scheme is not limited to Cohen. Even accounting for the likelihood that the piece relies in some part on information provided by Cohen himself, there are plenty of other sources weighing in; the reporters note they obtained information from “interviews with three dozen people who have direct knowledge of the events or who have been briefed on them, as well as court papers, corporate records and other documents.”

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Of course there is an important caveat here that what can be reported in the Wall Street Journal doesn’t always translate into usable evidence in the grand jury—in other words, people who are willing to talk to the press may not be as willing or as thorough when it comes to giving testimony to federal prosecutors or a grand jury. But, the Journal article contains an important nugget along these lines: “In August, [prosecutors] outlined Mr. Trump’s role—without specifically naming him—in a roughly 80-page draft federal indictment they had been preparing to file against Mr. Cohen.” As former federal prosecutors, that tells us that the SDNY had evidence of Trump’s involvement even before Cohen pled guilty and began cooperating.


CONFIDENTIAL SOURCES
Prosecutors May Not Be Done With Trump's Men Yet
Elie Honig,
Mimi Rocah

All of this, taken together, indicates that evidence of Trump’s involvement in the hush-money scheme would be a combination of witnesses and other evidence not limited to Cohen, which makes it much more difficult for Trump to brush this off as lies concocted by Cohen to save himself, which Trump’s team have already begun arguing.

And, we know more about Trump’s role in this scheme from the article. For example, the story opens with a detailed recounting of a crucial and previously unreported August 2015 meeting between Trump and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker (who reportedly has been granted immunity to testify by the SDNY) during which Trump asked Pecker how he could help the campaign. Pecker reportedly offered to use his tabloid newspaper to purchase and squash the stories of women alleging affairs with Trump (which he did months later with McDougal).

This conversation, on its own, establishes Trump’s direct involvement with and direction of the hush money payment: precisely as Cohen stated when he pled guilty and goes to the heart of the question of Trump’s intent, namely, did he know and intend that these hush money payments would benefit his campaign for president?

So, can President Trump be charged by the SDNY with a crime of violating the federal campaign finance laws? Probably not. First, even assuming that the quality of the evidence is to the level that prosecutors demand, it is currently DOJ policy not to indict a sitting president, and SDNY, fiercely independent as it is, is still part of DOJ.

If the feds have evidence of criminality but do not believe they can indict, then what becomes of the information?

If the SDNY charges other people or entities involved in the campaign finance scheme, Trump’s involvement as an unindicted co-conspirator could be laid out in those documents for the public to see. Short of that, it will be challenging for the SDNY to share its evidence and information with other authorities. Rule 6e of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure strictly governs disclosure of grand jury materials. We do not know how much, if any, of the SDNY’s evidence falls into this category. Even if it does, there is precedent in an opinion by Judge John Sirica in the Watergate case from 1974 that the SDNY grand jury could provide evidence to Congress in the form of a report. A third option is that the SDNY could share the evidence it has, pursuant to a court order, with a state prosecuting authority, such as the New York Attorney General’s Office which is not necessarily limited in its ability to charge a sitting president, assuming there are parallel state crimes.

Further complicating matters is the DOJ’s new boss, who has taken the view that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s finances would cross a “red line.” In 2017, Whitaker wrote an opinion piece for CNN that if Mueller’s office “were to continue to investigate the financial relationships without a broadened scope in his appointment, then this would raise serious concerns that the special counsel's investigation was a mere witch hunt.” Will the fact that this investigation is now in the hands of the SDNY and not Mueller change that conclusion for Whitaker? It should.

But, given Whitaker’s unusually partisan past and his statements hostile to any criminal investigation of Trump, the American public and Congress need to ensure that any evidence that the SDNY possesses of Trump’s participation in an illegal campaign finance scheme to help get him elected does not get buried by political forces looking to protect him.

NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
‘He’s a F*cking Fool’: Justice Dept Officials Trash Whitaker
Erin Banco

Sponsored Stories
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NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
‘He’s a F*cking Fool’: Justice Department Officials Trash Matt Whitaker, Their New Boss
Erin Banco
11.09.18 2:47 PM ET
The appointment this week of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general has sparked sharp concerns among lawmakers over the possibility that he may bottle up Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

Inside the Department of Justice, however, the fears are more expansive. Whitaker is seen as a rogue and under-qualified new leader whose impact won’t just be felt on the Mueller probe but throughout the federal government.

“He’s a fucking fool,” one trial attorney inside the department said of the new AG. “He’s spent so much time trying to suck up to the president to get here. But this is a big job. It comes with many responsibilities. He just simply doesn’t have the wherewithal.”

RIGHT-WING MEDIA PRESIDENCY
Mueller’s New Boss: There Was ‘No Collusion’ With Russia
Maxwell Tani,
Will Sommer,
Betsy Woodruff

Whitaker’s ascension to the rank of top law enforcement officer in the country has been as swift as it's been controversial. A former U.S. attorney-turned-conservative media pundit, he served for months as former AG Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff before being appointed to fill his old boss’s post. That résumé hasn’t instilled confidence.

“We’ve seen this over and over again with the Trump administration. They never vet these people,” said one former official from the department. “It shows that they don’t really have a strategy when it comes to these things and then they end up having to backtrack.”

But there are some in the department who are willing to give him a chance. One attorney who knew and worked with Whitaker said that when he entered his job as U.S. attorney for the southern district of Iowa in 2004, he faced a “steep learning curve.” But another attorney who encountered Whitaker said he was “humble enough to recognize that he didn’t know everything.”

“When I first encountered Matt I thought he was a bright guy who struck me as someone packaged in a very sort of good old farm boy football player package,” one of the attorneys said. “He was not a know-it-all. He asked a lot of questions. He really wanted to carry out the job effectively.”

But Whitaker is no longer occupying a post where he has time to learn and adjust. He now is running a department with more than 100,000 employees, a budget of roughly $30 billion, and with oversight of and input into every federal law enforcement matter in the country. Already, Whitaker has signed off on a controversial new regulation that will allow President Trump to prohibit certain immigrants from seeking asylum. The department is currently prepping for December hearings in the AT&T-Time Warner case, in which DoJ has appealed the $85 billion merger. It is also also knee-deep in its lawsuit to block California’s new net neutrality law from going into place.

“We’ve seen this over and over again with the Trump administration. They never vet these people. It shows that they don’t really have a strategy when it comes to these things and then they end up having to backtrack.”
— A former official from the department.
Kerri Kupec, acting principal deputy director at the DoJ, defended Whitaker from his critics, saying that he is a "respected former U.S. Attorney and well-regarded at the Department of Justice. As Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said today, he is a superb choice.”

But the vast powers that Whitaker has not been given have left officials and trial attorneys at DoJ fearful that, in an effort to impress President Trump, he will try to make up for his inexperience by making rash decisions about the direction of the department, including implementing policy changes in the Division of Civil Rights.

“This guy has spent his whole life trying to climb the rungs of power to get to a federal appointment,” one DOJ official said. “Now that he is here, and who knows for how long, he’s going to try and make a name for himself. And that could make things harder for us.”

Originally from Iowa, Whitaker started his career as an attorney in Des Moines before running unsuccessfully for state treasurer in 2002. In 2004, President George W. Bush appointed him as the U.S. attorney. After leaving that office in 2009, he sought to build up his political connections, often meeting with influential lawmakers and think-tank leaders, two individuals who worked alongside him in the Department of Justice said.

Whitaker headed Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign in Iowa in 2012 before moving on to work in a similar capacity for Texas Gov. Rick Perry during his short-lived bid that same year. In 2014, he ran for a U.S. Senate seat in Iowa but lost in the GOP primary to eventual winner Joni Ernst. That same year, he worked as chairman for then-Republican candidate for State Treasurer Sam Clovis. Clovis, a former Trump campaign official, has been questioned by the Special Counsel’s office.

During the first year of the Trump presidency, Whitaker shuttled back and forth between Washington, D.C. and New York, making numerous media appearances in an attempt to catch the president’s attention. In those appearances, Whitaker blasted the Mueller investigation, claiming there was “no collusion” between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

It worked. Though there are constitutional questions surrounding the appointing, Whitaker was named acting AG this Wednesday after Sessions’ forced resignation. On Friday, President Trump claimed he did not know Whitaker. But three people inside DOJ said that after stepping into his role of DoJ chief of staff in September 2017, Whitaker frequented the White House with Sessions and developed a working relationship with the president and his advisers.

It’s not just Whitaker’s efforts to appease the president that have people inside the Department of Justice on edge. His past business dealings and connection to FACT, a partisan watchdog group, have raised concerns that, as attorney general, he will make rash decisions about how to revamp department policies, including those that deal with immigration, criminal justice reform, gun rights, and antitrust.

Inside DOJ, Whitaker’s political views are known to be similar to Sessions’. But officials there said that his unpredictability, and lack of institutional experience, could lead the department in a more conservative direction. Whitaker has written several opinion pieces in the national media and spoken publicly about about his conservative take on the law.

“I have a Christian worldview,” Whitaker said in a 2014 interview while campaigning in Iowa. “Our rights come from our Creator and they are guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Whitaker has also said he thought Marbury vs. Madison—a landmark decision that gives courts the power to declare legislative and executive acts unconstitutional—was a “bad ruling.” It’s those comments that have trial attorneys inside the civil rights division of the Department of Justice worried.

“The civil rights division is always more political than the other divisions,” said one trial attorney. “But the feeling is this guy is going to come in and take a tougher stance on policy matters like immigration.”

A previous version of this story said that a spokesperson at DoJ did not comment. The reason they did not, however, was because of a technological mishap. Their comment has since been added to the sto[/quote






American Stalemate
By ROSS DOUTHAT
A rebuke to President Trump in the overall returns, but not a presidency-ending repudiation. Two years of chaos and hysteria ending in a return to standoff.

CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER

The Success in Beto’s Failure
By MIMI SWARTZ
O’Rourke gave Texans who have long felt disenfranchised a glimpse of what could be.

CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER

The Thrill of a Women’s Wave
By JILL FILIPOVIC
Watching anti-Trump female candidates win is exciting, but I’m worried about all they’re being asked to do.


How the Midterms Made Us Feel: Afraid, Then Upset
By THE NEW YORK TIMES OPINION
The midterm election has been divisive and difficult for many Americans. Now that it’s coming to an end, how do we feel? This live map shows reactions from readers across the country through Election Day.
Meno_
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3772
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:39 am
Location: Mysterium Tremendum

Re: Trump enters the stage

Postby Meno_ » Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:16 pm

POLITICS
Nancy Pelosi: Mueller Doesn’t Have to Indict Trump for Congress to Impeach Him
But the congresswoman says she isn’t planning to go down that road—yet.

EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE
7:00 AM ET

Nancy Pelosi says she's the only one who can navigate impeachment and Donald Trump for House Democrats.ERIN SCHAFF / THE NEW YORK TIMES / REDUX
Nancy pelosi really does not want to impeach Donald Trump—and she’s prepared to take all the heat from her party and from the new House Democratic majority she’s hoping to lead, unless she sees something wildly different emerge.


But she said she won’t let Robert Mueller define the decision.

“Recognize one point,” Pelosi told me during an interview in the conference room of her minority-leader suite in the Capitol late Friday: “What Mueller might not think is indictable could be impeachable.”

Pelosi said people should pray for the country as long as Trump is in charge. She’s not sure of his mental condition. She thinks he’s degraded the Constitution and American values. She says the intelligence assessments are indisputable in showing that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. She thinks the firing of Jeff Sessions and the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general in a clear move against the Mueller probe “is perilously close to a constitutional crisis.”

That’s not enough, she said.

“You have to have evidence, evidence of the connection. Everything’s about the connection,” Pelosi explained.


In other words, it comes down to a topic the president has notably refrained from tweeting about for weeks: collusion.

Read: Trump is about to get a rude awakening.

Maybe there’s something else in his tax returns. Maybe there’s something that’s beyond the special counsel’s scope. Maybe there’s something Trump has yet to do. “That’s why we want to see the documents,” Pelosi said. “Because we’re seeking truth. We’re seeking truth for the American people about the integrity of our elections, and honoring the Constitution

Her opponents are working overtime to block her from getting enough votes on the floor to be speaker, counting on all the new members who said during their campaign that they wouldn’t vote for her not to flake.

“Any member that pledged to vote against Pelosi or for a change in leadership during their campaign and then flips will be a political dead man or woman walking within an hour of being sworn in,” one of the House Democrats involved in the opposition effort told me Saturday. “And if they think Nancy Pelosi cares about them, they should go talk to the dozens of members she made walk the plank during the cap-and-trade bill [in 2009] that the Senate didn’t even take up for a vote. This is all about her, and not them.”



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That all sounds nice, Pelosi’s allies point out, but Republicans across the country tried to make her a killer issue in House campaigns, and they lost anyway.

Read: The harsh truth exposed by the midterm elections

To Pelosi and her allies, navigating Trump is the strongest argument for another term as speaker, despite all the veteran and new members who say they don’t want to vote for her, and all their colleagues who privately share that dislike but aren’t ready to act on it. She has the experience and the staff, sure, but that’s only part of it. The caucus will be divided and antsy, and she’s the only one who won’t have to care that people in the Capitol, those in the White House, and the public will hate her for the decisions she makes. As far as she sees it, anyone who’s going to hate her for that hates her already, and she’s at the stage of her career—she’s taken to using the word transitional as she campaigns for what will probably be just one more term at the helm—when it doesn’t matter to her.


So on impeachment, Pelosi says she’s looking for whatever evidence to be so irrefutable that Republicans would join the effort. She says that’s about protecting the integrity of the country, not letting impeachment become just another politicized process—but it’s also a deliberate poison pill that would almost stop impeachment from ever happening. She knows what it would take for Republicans to come along. She wants the bar set that high.

Impeachment wasn’t a big topic during any of the midterm campaigns, but it is a big worry among Democratic operatives and politicians in Washington. The fever among the base to take down Trump is so high, they worry, and the president’s eagerness to overreach and pick fights is so core to who he is, that it can seem like they’ll go right from reading Mueller’s expected report to filing articles of impeachment.

Read: The Nancy Pelosi problem

To most democrats anxiously analyzing the political landscape, there couldn’t be a dumber way to throw the 2020 election to Trump. Look what brought them all the House wins that are still piling up day by day, they say, plus all the governors races that went their way and what’s seeming like an at-worst two-seat net loss in the Senate. It wasn’t playing into Trump’s talking points, but stressing health care, infrastructure, and the way the Trump tax cuts were tilted to the wealthy.


No new leader, no matter who, could absorb what is about to explode, they say. “I just don’t see anyone else being able to serve in that role and push back against Tom Steyer, push back against the two or three or 10 articles of impeachment that get filed,” a House Democrat told me a few days ago. “She’s the only one who can do that. She needs to do that long enough, until the Mueller report comes out … at which point that will determine what happens next.” This House Democrat was not eager to talk publicly about Pelosi or impeachment, but acknowledged that both are going to be issues moving forward.

I asked Pelosi why she thought she could stop the newly emboldened Democrats from chasing impeachment or from tacking left over the next two years.

“Because I’m a liberal. I’m a San Francisco liberal,” she said. Later, she proudly pointed out that she was reelected to her own seat with 87 percent of the vote on Tuesday, and said, “I am such a target of the left, it’s almost funny.”

So that gives you the credibility to say no? I asked her.

“Yes,” she said.

Pelosi does not buy the argument, voiced most prominently by Steyer, that Trump has already clearly committed impeachable offenses through obstruction of justice and violation of the emoluments clause, among other things.

“What you have is a president who has declared war on the Constitution publicly this week. If that’s not obstruction of justice, what is obstruction of justice?” Steyer said, when told Saturday of Pelosi’s comments. Despite pointing out that he has deep respect for her, he said, “My blood just popped out the top out of my head.”

He also noted that his online impeachment petition now has more than 6.2 million signers, with 5,000 more who joined it over Friday night alone. With the incumbent party racking up as many losses as it did on Tuesday, even with a low 3.7 percent unemployment rate, Steyer argued, that’s a referendum on Trump that Democrats should act on.

“There’s always a short-term reason to do the wrong thing,” he said. He said the thinking on waiting any longer is like saying “‘The bully said he’s going to beat us up, but if we give him 50 bucks, he’ll leave us alone. Let’s just give him the 50 bucks.’ He’s going to be back for 100 bucks tomorrow.”

Pelosi argued that Bill Clinton’s impeachment was “so bad, it was so wrong, and they had no right to do it, and it disrupted the public confidence in what we do,” and often likes to point out that she had evidence that George W. Bush had lied in the run-up to the Iraq War that she chose not to impeach him on. Her model is Watergate, when eventually the Republicans joined in. Bring it up, and she even does a little impression of Richard Nixon making the “V” sign, with her head down.

The lesson Pelosi draws from the past two years isn’t that she needs to get in the trenches against Trump, but that she has to turn the country against him, talk about results, how to be unifying. “They care about the Mueller investigation and they want us to take care of it, but they want to see what we’re doing for them. And just to come here to do that as our primary purpose, I just don’t think is the right thing to do,” she said.

The next two years in Washington will be all about spinning a stalemate. With the Democrats and the Republicans splitting the House and the Senate, and with Trump clearly believing that his best political strategy is to reach into the depths of his base rather than reach out, nothing is going to get done. Trump will argue that he was trying to make things happen but that Democrats stood in his way, and the Democrats will argue that the president never did anything but big talk and tweets.

“He’s going to make a decision about whether he’s going to support bipartisan legislation, whether it’s comprehensive immigration reform, whether it’s Dreamers, whether it’s gun safety,” Pelosi said, laying out some of the issues she’s expecting to put forward to dare the president not to move on. “We feel like there is support in the House.”

Since election day, Pelosi has been in touch with Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and Elijah Cummings, the incoming chairs of the Intelligence, Judiciary, and Oversight Committees, respectively, which will be the core of the House Democrats’ aggressive investigation of the administration. She’s also brought in the chairs of other committees, like Financial Services to track potential money laundering and Homeland Security to look into election integrity. Staffers have been meeting weekly since early last year, coordinating strategy and communications in the minority, and those meetings will now be amped up as they try to find connections between oversight and proactive policy moves on climate and other legislation.

In recent months, a separate group has been convening with its counterpart among the Democratic Senate committee staff, running scenarios on Trump and preparing contingency plans to activate if and when he makes a move. They had planned around the assumption that Trump would fire Sessions on Thursday, so were ready when the news came on Wednesday. They have a rough plan of action if Trump fires Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, with statements and actions and moves lined up from former United States attorneys general, current state attorneys general, and academics.

All the while, Pelosi is counting votes. Two years ago, when the last big challenge to her leadership arose, she predicted that she’d get two-thirds of the caucus against Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio, and she got exactly that. This time around, given how many new members will be arriving in Washington and the general sense of exhaustion with having to be attacked for having her around, her margin looks tighter.

Except that it’s not at all clear that there’s anyone to actually challenge her. Ryan is looking at running for president, but has not ruled out taking another swing at her. Seth Moulton, a congressman from Massachusetts who is eager with his criticism of her, told me in the spring that he thinks he’d be bad at the job. Others tend to grumble to one another in private strategy sessions, but then duck talking openly about taking on Pelosi.

Most assume she will be speaker. But two retrenched possibilities have started to circulate.

Some see the chance that Pelosi will work the caucus for the next couple of weeks, see that the votes aren’t materializing in the way she’s confident they will, and decide to pull out. Then the race wouldn’t be against her, and would immediately open up. Among the names that get thrown around as replacements then are Cummings, the congressman from Maryland who is the chair of the Oversight Committee; Schiff, the TV-proficient chair of the Intelligence Committee, who’d be able to call on the support of his fellow Californians; and Hakeem Jeffries, the 48-year old African American congressman from New York, who’s currently running for the caucus-chair position being vacated by his fellow New Yorker, defeated Congressman Joe Crowley. Cheri Bustos, a congresswoman from Illinois who spent the year training candidates all over the country and who is currently running for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, is also seen as someone who might slot in.

Pelosi dismisses the possibility of pulling the plug as flatly as she does the other idea going around: Some say she’d serve only about a year of a term as speaker and then step down ahead of the 2020 elections—and they would hope she’d convince her rivals and fellow leaders Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn to go with her. That way, they say, she wouldn’t be around to star in GOP campaign commercials like she did all last year, and whoever had a problem from voting for her as speaker could point to a more recent vote for someone else.

“I’ll be a full term. I’m not here for a year. If I were here for a year, I’d go home right now,” Pelosi said.

So I asked her what “transitional” means, since she’s been saying that’s how she now sees herself.

“I’m not going to declare myself a lame duck over a glass of water,” she said.

It’s been more than a year since Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had dinner at the White House with the president, and all three walked out saying they’d struck a deal on protecting the Dreamers, people brought illegally to America as minors who’d then grown up their whole life here. There was a lot of coverage. Aides made sure to feed reporters the colorful factoid that it had been over Chinese food, famously Schumer’s favorite. They all made excited comments.

Nothing happened. The deal never came to be. The deadline came and went. Trump started blasting the Dreamers again. The bigger immigration bill that Republicans said they’d make happen over the summer fell apart, too.

I asked Pelosi what insight that had given her into dealing with Trump. She made what seemed like a subtle dig at Schumer, who’s approached Trump as the deal maker. “We have to talk to him through the public rather than over Chinese food,” she said.

That’s the other part of Pelosi’s pitch to be leader again: With Trump getting bolder and with the 2020 presidential race starting any minute now, there isn’t any time for a new person to build relationships, and she would be the one who could best marshal forces within the caucus and outside allies. She talked about her skills at communication and harnessing new powers like social media. Frustrated younger members and staffers argue that she has not been as good for them on television as she needs to be, and that a younger leader would be better in connecting with the younger voters who are powering Democratic victories. As for the experience argument, they say, what that has added up to is the leadership overseeing Democrats being in the minority in the House for 21 of the past 25 years.

She says her attention is on Trump.

“Anybody who saw his press conference the other day would know that we have to pray for our country very deeply. Pray for him, too, but for our country,” she said.

So does she think Trump is stable?

“I don’t know,” she said. “You can’t make a diagnosis over TV, they tell me.”

EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He was previously chief Washington correspondent at Politico.
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