“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. ”

Trump is quite correct. Tlaib, Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez do come from countries with a corrupt and inept government.

They were born in the USA.

As a wimp myself, I have to say that Paul Ryan has really been an inspiration to me and my fellow spineless cowards everywhere.

The book does have a few good anecdotes:

” Trump finally gave in to signing a 2018 spending bill that didn’t include border wall funding only after Ryan agreed to give him time to build suspense on Twitter.”

As far as the “escape hatch” quote, a spokesperson for Ryan said those are the words of the author, not the former representative. “He’s been very clear that he retired because he wanted to spend more time being a father and a husband.” (Followed by suppressed laughter and muffled coughing.)

Wow! Talk about the ultimate “man bites dog” story.

Le Grand Orange on Thursday abandoned his quest to place a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.

He was really backed into a corner because his own people pressed the courts for a hasty decision based on the need to start printing immediately, then had to hem and haw for more time when the decision went against them and Trump tweeted that he would keep the case alive. The Supreme Court basically ruled that the administration’s reason for adding the question was, in the legalistic words of one justice, “one whoppin’ motherfucker of a lie.” OK, they actually said it was “contrived,” but whoppin’, pants-on-fire mofo is what they obviously meant. They would have said that, but Supreme Court justices just aren’t allowed to talk like Samuel L Jackson.

OK, except for Ginsberg.

But, man, would the Supreme Court be more fun if Samuel L Jackson really were the next nominee! Talk about some colorful opinions!

Anyway, the courts thus basically told Trump’s lawyers, “Look, we know you’re lyin’, but we’re gonna cut you some slack and just say you need to refine your argument. But don’t come back here with any more bullshit, or else.” The other federal judges kinda chimed in with “If you come back again, you also better be ready to explain why you lied to us about that deadline last time.”

Now Trump never backs down from a lie. His instinct is to double down and tell a bigger one. Trump’s infamous tweet showed that he wanted to pursue the case, but several of the DoJ lawyers then saw the writing on the wall and wanted out before the judges could hold them in contempt. If the lawyers continued to drag it out, it would prove that they had lied about the deadline. If the lawyers offered a new justification, it would prove that they lied about the original reasons they offered. Lying before the Supreme Court will not do wonders for a lawyer’s credibility, so the government lawyers saw that they were fucked, no matter what they did.

The administration tried one more dodge. If those lawyers were backed into a corner, how about asking the courts to add a completely new legal team? The courts saw that for the obvious scam that it was.

I have to admit that I am surprised by today’s twist. I figured Trump, being advised there was no path through the judiciary, would still refuse to lose the battle, and therefore would probably defy the courts with an executive order. After all, common sense is not normally his strong suit

In this case he fooled me and did use common sense. He showed the Supreme Court some respect. Perhaps he decided that discretion was the better part of valor in this case, since he doesn’t want the Supreme Court hostile to him. He’s going to need them on his side in the future, especially Roberts, who would preside over an impeachment trial in the Senate.

Le Grand Orange is ten points behind Uncle Joe, but is either tied or within the margin of error against the rest of the Fab Five.

Dem and Dem-leaning respondents agree that Biden has the best chance to win. When asked that question directly, they say:

  • Biden 45
  • Sanders 18
  • Harris 9
  • Warren 7
  • Buttigieg 1

The great and wonderful Hickenlooper is below 1%, but not at absolute zero. The group at absolute zero consists of Bennet, Gillibrand, Inslee, Moulton, Swalwell, Yang and that hippie chick. This is definitely not the company Gillibrand wants to be in, so her campaign seems dead in the water. When you are less popular than Bill de Blasio, it’s definitely time to reassess the viability of your candidacy.

Not to mention your life.

The list above does not precisely mirror whom voters personally prefer. Among Dem and Dem-leaning registered voters, the count is:

  • Uncle Joe 30
  • Bernie 19
  • Harris 13
  • Pocahontas 12
  • Mayor Pete 4

Things look very bad for Cory Booker, who has fallen into a tie for 9th with my man Hickenlooper.

Trump said Friday that a teleprompter was to blame for his claim that Revolutionary War soldiers “took over airports” in 1775.

Man, that Washington was an idiot. He could have just flown over the Delaware in comfort! I’ll bet the flight attendants would even have brought him a Diet Coke if he pressed the special button and played the Future Presidential card.

Many people have misinterpreted this. He did not get incorrect info from the teleprompter. What happened is that the teleprompter conked out and he ad-libbed from his recollection of the speech, which he had rehearsed. The errors came from the ad-libbed portion.

(I’m guessing that the original speech said “ports,” and he didn’t realize it was about seaports, but I’m just guessing there.)

Not only was he too dumb to know that there were no planes in the 18th century, but the real beauty of it is that he was so dumb that he didn’t realize his excuse actually made things worse by revealing that he was lost without a teleprompter and left with nothing but his own ignorance.

From the comments:

“Russia, if you are listening, I have a really great election meddling idea for you … teleprompter hacking. (Watch “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” for inspiration.) “

The polls seem to have widely divergent numbers at the time, but RCP takes an average of all the trusted polls. When viewed that way, Biden is in first with about 27%, and there is approximately a three-way tie for second, with all three between 13.5% and 14.8%. Mayor Pete runs a distant fifth at 5%.

At 0.2%, my main man Hickenlooper ties for last with that hippie chick.

The Economist poll is kind of an outlier in that it shows that Bernie has dropped to a weak fourth, only one point ahead of Mayor Pete. In the highly respected ABC/WaPo poll (538 gives them the rare A+ rating), Bernie beats Pete 19-4! That is quite a range of disagreement. (538 gives The Economist a solid B rating, so the discrepancy is not caused by their total incompetence.)

The other polls in the rating are rated as follows: Quinnipiac A-, CNN A-, Morning Consult B-, Harris C+)

If you average only the three polls rated A- or higher, the results are not that different:

Uncle Joe 25
Bernie 15
Harris 17
Pocahontas 14
Mayor Pete 4

“The latest Quinnipiac University poll of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters showed Biden with 22 percent support and Harris with 20 percent — a double-digit jump for her since the university’s previous poll last month.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont were in third and fourth place in the poll, with 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, was in fifth, with 4 percent support.

No other candidate got more than 3 percent in the poll.”

 

Thoughts:

  • Barring some complete surprise, it now looks to be a four-horse race. As much as everyone is impressed by Mayor Pete, the gap between fourth and fifth is extremely wide.
  • Bernie and Warren are splitting the leftward vote. One might have a chance at the nomination if the other dropped out and endorsed the one remaining. I don’t see Bernie being willing to drop out to campaign for Warren, although he probably should if he really believes in their ideas.

Morning Consult publishes a poll every Monday. Their last two were taken just before and just after the debates.

It’s interesting to see how the polls change, as compared to how the results were interpreted by “experts.” The experts were correct about Kamala Harris having made a good showing. She jumped from 6% to 12%. She took pretty much all of her new support away from Biden, who was the debates’ big loser. That seemed to be her exact strategy, so chalk up a win for her.

Except for Biden, the only other candidate to gain or lose more than 1 point was Beto, who dropped from 4 to an even less significant 2.

I consider Hickenlooper to have finished second in the debates, because Harris was the only candidate to gain ground, so Hickenlooper, by remaining unchanged, therefore finished in a five-way tie for the second-best result. You might argue that he simply went from zero to zero, but that’s just nitpicking.

There was one thing that surprised me. Elizabeth Warren was essentially unchanged. In fact she actually dropped a point, from 13 to 12, but that change could not be statistically significant. That has to be disappointing for her. She and the experts all felt she did well.

Here the are candidates ranked by their change from the previous poll:

Candidate Post-Debate Score (Change)

Kamala Harris 12 (+6)
========================
John Hickenlooper 0 (NC)
Bernie Sanders 19 (NC)
Cory Booker 3 (NC)
Andrew Yang 2 (NC)
Steve Bullock 1 (NC)
=========================
Elizabeth Warren 12 (-1)
Pete Buttigieg 6 (-1)
Beto O’Rourke 2 (-2)
Joe Biden 33 (-5)

Despite being in 9th place in this poll out of the 24 current candidates, Gov. Bullock was not even invited to the two debates. He did get a special opportunity from Stephen Colbert, who gave Bullock a ton of exposure – his own personal debate! Colbert gave him a chance to discuss policy as well as an opportunity to show that he is a good sport.

The fact-check.

The only candidate who really screwed up his facts significantly was Tim Ryan. He rarely spoke, and when he did he was wrong.

CNN’s analysis of the winners and losers

They think Ryan didn’t know his facts.

They think Beto was very weak. Others, like Trevor Noah, thought Beto made a good attempt to break through the “noise.”

They think DeBlasio was obnoxious, which is to be expected. It’s about like saying Yoko was off key.

CNN took no notice of Tulsi Gabbard, but she picked up the most internet buzz, and others concluded she “won” the debate by a mile when the schooled the perpetually misinformed Tim Ryan. Despite relatively little screen time, she received the most internet searches – including from me – so I’d conclude she was the big winner in that she moved the needle from “Who?” to “Know her now; impressed.”

You have to admire Tim Ryan’s chutzpah in thinking he was presidential material. He was mocked by the nation, and even by the people who voted him into Congress. (“Tim Ryan could have actually fallen directly on his face into a pit of cream pies and whoopie cushions and it would have been better.”)

They identify a host of ‘red flags’ about officials who went on to get some of the most powerful jobs in the U.S. government.

Some revelations are unsurprising.

* One report basically used her own quotes to show that Laura Ingraham was nutty as a fruitcake (People Should Wear Diapers Instead Of Sharing Bathrooms With Transgender People).

* Another report said Kris Kobach was aligned with white supremacists.

The most interesting part of the leaked docs involves their opinions of a certain Donald Trump:

Nikki Haley, who became Trump’s U.N. ambassador, had said Trump is everything “we teach our kids not to do in kindergarten.”

Rick Perry, Energy Secretary, had voluminous vetting concerns: “Perry described Trumpism as a ‘toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness, and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition,'”

Mick Mulvaney, now acting chief of staff, has a striking assortment of “red flags,” including his assessment that Trump “is not a very good person.”

This is brought up from another thread.

The Siena Scholars Poll put together their 2018 results, and they rank Trump ahead of Andrew Johnson and Buchanan, but behind Harding and Pierce.

One other commenter noted that they rank Trump the dumbest, the crookedest and with the worst appointees.

I guess that could be, but I just don’t know enough about all those 19th century presidents to offer an opinion. Who the hell knows about all the nominees of Franklin Pierce except scholars who specialize in the Presidency? Perhaps not even them. Maybe it would have to be scholars who specialize specifically in Franklin Pierce.

Frankly, I have some problems with these scholars not knowing as much as they should. The first thing that catches my eye in this table is their rating of the Presidents by intellect. This is something I have studied in some depth, although I am just an amateur historian. The most obvious glaring error is their ranking of John F Kennedy at #11 and James A Garfield as #20.

Kennedy was a very witty man who could think well on his feet, and was above average in intelligence compared to the general population, but was probably below average in Presidential intelligence, very likely near the bottom. We have a very good grasp on his IQ and George W. Bush’s, for example. Although Kennedy could be eloquent as well as witty in public, while Bush had a poor presentation style that made him appear to be perpetually befuddled, Dubya actually had a significantly higher IQ than JFK.

Garfield, on the other hand, may have had the most powerful intellect of any man ever to hold the office. He was certainly in the same league as Jefferson, the Adamses, Madison, Wilson or anyone else. The most famous story about him is that he knew both Latin and ancient Greek, and could write them simultaneously, holding one pen in each hand. That story is probably apocryphal. Although Garfield was ambidextrous and did know both ancient languages, there’s no evidence that he ever really performed that feat. But it wasn’t a parlor trick that revealed his intelligence. He was just freakishly brilliant at everything he tried, and succeeded in an astounding number of unrelated fields, even though he was born into dire poverty and had no father that he could remember.

As far as Trump’s intelligence goes, I don’t know how they determined that he was the dumbest. I don’t know how to compare him to James Buchanan or Tippecanoe, for example, so he may not deserve last place, but he’s no genius. He was a C+ to B student at Fordham, and earned no honors at Wharton, where one of his teachers called him “the dumbest goddam student I ever had.” He never attended grad school, so there’s nothing to offset his mediocre undergrad record. As for high school, I think you can assume there is a good reason why he had Cohen write letters threatening legal action against any institution revealing his grades and SAT scores. Coincidentally enough, The Donald and I were both at Fordham in 1966, he in the spring, I in the fall of that year. Same university; same calendar year. I will be happy to share and compare our 1966 report cards, but you can bet with 100% certainly that he would never take up that challenge for any amount under any circumstances!

Maybe the “process to remove illegal immigrants” would state his case more clearly.

And what is up with the capitalization of random nouns?

My theory: Herr Drumpf is thinking in German. Well, at least he didn’t modify “solution” with “final.”

Trevor Noah’s theme was that Trump’s speech was exactly identical to his 2016 speeches

Colbert noted the same thing, but his most hilarious take was when he made fun of Trump’s brags about crowd size. (Contrary to what you might have heard, there was zero overflow, there were empty seats inside, and Colbert’s staffers were able to buy tickets at the last minute after their press credentials were denied.)

President Trump made two points on Twitter:

1. The Times is guilty of virtual treason for betraying our secrets.

2. Their story is not true.

He doesn’t seem to grasp that those two points are contradictory. If the Times gave Russia (and us) nothing more than false information, it can’t be guilty of betraying any secrets.

Trump is obviously wrong about point one, for two reasons: (1) Trump has demonstrated many times that he has no clue what treason actually is; (2) NY Times responded that the paper had described the content of the article to administration officials before the story’s publication, and the officials had no concerns.

I think Trump is probably right about point two. (Yes, I just typed “I think Trump is probably right.” Even a blind pig can scent truffles if he gets somewhere near them. Moreover, if one presents two contradictory arguments, there’s a decent chance that one of them will be correct.) I have a feeling that the pentagon may have gamed the NY Times into printing that story, and that there is no such cyber-plant.

  • If it was a true story, the military would have nothing to gain and everything to lose by revealing it and allowing Russia to seek it out and develop a counter-strategy. In the intel game they say “publicity burns capability.”
  • But if it was “disinformation” that the Pentagon wanted Russia to worry about, they knew the perfect way to get the Times to print it as a major story – by claiming that they had to keep it a secret from Trump. Hanging that idea in front of the Times is like hanging honey-soaked marshmallows near a cave in a bear preserve. This also explains exactly why Trump’s NSC said they had no problem with the story – they wanted Russia to read it.

Warfare capability, and especially warfare deterrence, can be physical or psychological. Countries may prevent an attack either by actually developing a new and terrifying capability, or by getting their rivals to think they have developed such a capability. I think this is the latter – a case of “Don’t screw with Ukraine or our elections, Vlad, or we’ll turn off your electricity and internet.” I think it’s probably a bluff.

Three of his pollsters are fired. Just call him Trump the Impaler

Trump has derided as “Fake News” the report than his internal polls showed him losing to Joe Biden in most battleground states. Trump said that those alleged leaked polls did not exist, and further claimed that his polls showed him winning everywhere.

When that was contradicted by a report showing the actual numbers from his polls, step two of the defense was for his spokespeople to say that the cited numbers were dated, were taken out of context, and represented a worst case scenario.

Finally, step three was to fire the pollsters for assembling the polls which did not exist, but if they had existed would only have shown a worst case scenario.

It looks to me like they’re trying to take away her right of free speech, and that’s just not fair.”

That is ignorant, as usual. The Hatch Act exists for the very purpose of noting a necessary limitation on free speech as it relates to certain executive branch officials and their ability to influence elections. It provides that persons below the policy-making level in the executive branch of the federal government must abstain from “any active part” in political campaigns. Although that might seem in conflict with the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has upheld its constitutionality on more than one occasion, and has specifically rejected Trump’s “free speech” argument. The court ruled in 1973 that the Hatch Act had achieved “a delicate balance between fair and effective government and the First Amendment rights of individual employees.”

Those FBI people, Page and Strzok, who got in trouble for making anti-Trump comments during an election process, were also exercising their free speech, but free speech has to be given practical limitations in certain circumstances, and a political campaign seems to be one of those. Kellyanne can, however, quit her current job, go to work for Trump’s campaign, and then say anything she wants with impunity. The problem is not what she said, but her specific position.

Hickenlooper mania is on the march!

I’m already working on my Hickenlooper costume for Halloween.

The match-ups were determined by the luck of the draw:

Booker, Pocahontas, Beto and Klobuchar will go on Wednesday. Like any good sporting season, the ceremony will begin with the National Anthem and Klobuchar throwing out the first binder.

The second night will feature Hickenlooper …

… and some lesser, almost insignificant figures like Biden, Sanders, Harris and Mayor Pete. (Have you guessed that I can’t spell his last name? I know it begins with “Butt.”)

This night will also include a ringer, which could be a lot of fun. Do you recall the episode of Veep when Jonah only qualified for the second tier of candidates and therefore had to debate against Dumbledore? Well, Biden and Sanders will have to contend with their own Dumbledore – new age guru Marianne Williamson, who somehow made the cut into the final 20, even though the governor of Montana (a Democrat who won a red state) was eliminated. She will present a fascinating and possibly strange contrast to the mainstream pols.

Turns out that he loves collusion even more than he loves the poorly educated!

Yeah, why did the special counsel spend all that time investigating? All Mueller needed to do was to ask Trump the dreaded direct question, as George Stephanopoulos did: If Russia offered you dirt on a political opponent, would you take it? And he would have said, as he did to Snuffleupagus in these exact words: “They have information – I think I’d take it.”

Today’s inept effort to spin his way out of it actually made it worse:

“President Donald Trump on Friday tried again to rectify the mess he made by saying he would likely accept dirt on a political opponent from a foreign entity, going on ‘Fox & Friends’ to clean up the comments. Trump insisted during a meandering 50-minute interview that ‘of course’ he would alert the FBI in such a case, but only after reviewing it first, ‘because if you don’t look at it, you won’t know it’s bad.'”

The more he tries to worm out of it, the worse he makes it, because he doesn’t seem to know what is actually wrong with what he said. He doesn’t seem to grasp that the bad part is not what’s in the info, but the source itself, and the thing he needs to report is the contact, not the content.

Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Fla., did not qualify, whoever they are.

The good news – my man Hickenlooper is in! I truly believe this is the year of Hickenloopermania!

The bad news – this crap goes on for two days, ten candidates each day. They have not yet decided which candidates will appear which days. Gee, I was really hoping to watch, but I think those are the days when I need to binge-watch every episode of “Dads,” but I’ll record Hickenlooper and watch him later.

“The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which is unrelated to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, said in a letter to Trump that Conway has been a ‘repeat offender’ of the Hatch Act by disparaging Democratic presidential candidates while speaking in her official capacity during television interviews and on social media.”

——-

“Allowing Ms. Conway to continue her position of trust at the White House would demonstrate that the president is not interested in following the law or requiring his closest aides to do so.”

Hey, brilliant thinking, Poindexter! Do ya’ think the president is not interested in following the law or requiring his closest aides to do so? Gee, what tipped you off? Was it yesterday’s comment when he said that election laws do not apply to him?