Monthly Archives: May 2016

RT @jeneps: Trump holds 2 pressers in 2 business days.
Sanders takes no Qs at event billed as presser.
Clinton hasn’t held a formal presser…

RT @MEPFuller: Reminder about the disgusting media: Trump hadn’t made his veterans donation until last week, when the media figured out he…

RT @LarrySabato: In decades of following politics I have never watched a spectacle like the Trump press conference.

RT @HeerJeet: Some people confuse being an asshole with being honest. Those are the people Trump appeals to.

RT @LOLGOP: One good sign you’re not an honest guy is you have to hold a press conference to announce you’re doing something you already sa…

Testy Trump Gets Testy When Press Holds Him Accountable

Not long ago, in late January, Trump skipped a GOP debate in Wisconsin.  Instead, he held an event in Des Moines which, he claimed, raised $6 million for military veterans.

Trump, not used to being called out on his lies, had a bit of a problem.  The press, as time went on, started reporting that the $6 million was untrue, and it all came to a head yesterday, Memorial Day.

So today Trump held a press conference to clear up what happened to the “over $6 million” he claimed to have raised when he skipped the GOP debate. Not unexpectedly, the presser became contentious as Trump blamed the media for actually following up on his claim.

Via Politico:

Donald Trump railed against the media on Tuesday morning as he released details of the money he’s raised and distributed to veterans organizations, even calling out one journalist as a “sleaze” during a combative news conference.

Trump has faced pressure to release information on where the money went after he held a fundraiser for veterans in January in lieu of a Fox News debate.

Speaking with veterans behind him at Trump Tower on Tuesday morning, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said his campaign has sent off $5.6 million to veterans organizations, which he named one by one after railing against the media for coverage over the disbursements.

“I raised close to $6 million,” Trump said. “It’ll probably be over that amount when it’s all said and done, but as of this moment it’s $5.6 million.”

He also blasted the Fourth Estate, telling reporters that the media should be ashamed.

“Instead of being like, ‘Thank you very much, Mr. Trump,’ or ‘Trump did a good job,’ everyone said: ‘Who got it? Who got it? Who got it?’” Trump said. “And you make me look very bad. I have never received such bad publicity for doing a good job.”

Minutes later, he called out Tom Llamas, a journalist with ABC News.

“I could have asked all these groups to come here and I didn’t want to do that. I’m not looking for credit,” Trump said. “But what I don’t want is when I raise millions of dollars, have people say, like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC. He’s a sleaze in my book. You’re a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well.”

He’s not looking for credit? Really? Then why does he mention it constantly?

As the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza points out, the only reason that veterans got what Donald Trump promised them was because the media followed up on his promises:

1. Trump said, on the night of the event, that he had raised $6 million for veterans groups. This from a CNN report of the speech:

He did it Thursday night, dazzling a crowd of hundreds of enthusiastic supporters by announcing that he had raised more than $6 million for veterans in one day — $1 million of it from his own checkbook. “We love our vets,” he said.

2. Trump made the $1 million personal donation to veterans groups a week ago and only after WaPo’s David Fahrenthold did a deep dive into where the promised money went. That was four months after the speech/fundraiser where Trump trumpeted that he had donated the money.

What you saw this morning at Trump Tower was the press at its best, not at its worst, as Trump said over and over again.

Good for the press in keeping on him.  Now if they can only do this regarding his tax returns.

Not ALL the press is giving Trump a hard time.  . In fact, the official North Korean newspaper has all but endorsed Trump:

An editorial published Tuesday heaps praise on Trump as a “wise politician” and a “far-sighted presidential candidate,” according to a report by NKNews.org, which noted that the article referred to many of the presumptive Republican nominee’s statements on foreign policy with respect to North Korea in particular.

“Trump said ‘he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North,’ isn’t this fortunate from North Koreans’ perspective?” the writer of the piece, identified as Chinese North Korean scholar Han Yong Mook, who also referenced Trump’s comments in March saying that he would consider withdrawing United States troops from the Korean peninsula if South Korea does not pay more for its defense.

“Yes do it, now … Who knew that the slogan ‘Yankee Go Home’ would come true like this?” Han wrote, according to the report. “The day when the ‘Yankee Go Home’ slogan becomes real would be the day of Korean Unification.”

Well done.

Trump And The Hispanic Judge

Last week, Trump held a press conference on the day that he achieved (unofficially) the number of delegates to become the presumptive GOP nominee for President.  With all the news networks tuned in to his very word because — well, because they can’t help themselves — what did Trump say?  Rather than talk about what he would do as President, Trump unloaded an extraordinarily blistering public attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing the class-action lawsuit against Trump University:

“The judge was appointed by Barack Obama, federal judge. Frankly, he should recuse himself because he’s given us ruling after ruling after ruling, negative, negative, negative.” Mr. Trump also told the audience, which had previously chanted the Republican standard-bearer’s signature “build that wall” mantra in reference to Mr. Trump’s proposed wall along the Mexican border, that Judge Curiel is “Mexican.”

What happens is the judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that’s fine,” Mr. Trump said.

….“I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself,” Mr. Trump said. “I’m telling you, this court system, judges in this court system, federal court, they ought to look into Judge Curiel. Because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace, OK? But we’ll come back in November. Wouldn’t that be wild if I’m president and I come back to do a civil case? Where everybody likes it. OK. This is called life, folks.”

As it happens, Curiel was born in East Chicago, Indiana, but hey, what’s a little race-baiting between Trump and a few thousand close friends and a few million TV viewers?

For his part, the judge did not respond, citing the Judicial Code of Conduct.

But why would Trump do such a thing?  I suspect he had found out what was coming down the pike.  You see, the Washington Post had filed a motion to unseal some documents in the trial, and one of their arguments was that since Trump was now the presumptive Republican nominee for president, that increased the public interest in these documents. And the judge agreed:

As an initial matter, the court must strongly presume the public interest in access. But “the interest in access to court proceedings in general may be asserted more forcefully when the litigation involves matters of significant public concern.” As the Post points out, the Ninth Circuit found that [Trump University] was a public figure for purposes of defamation.

….Subsequently, Defendant became the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and has placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue. The Ninth Circuit has directed courts considering the public disclosure of litigation materials to take into account “whether a party benefiting from the order of confidentiality is a public entity or official; and…whether the case involves issues important to the public.”

It will be an interesting read when it is released.  Trump may not have realized that you can’t screw with the judiciary.

Imprisoned Bundy Brothers Are Upset Their Second Amendment Rights Have Been Taken Away

Ryan Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, was one of several participants in the month-long standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge back in January, which ended up with one dead.  Ryan and his co-horts, which include his brother Ammon, all surrendered to federal authorities and are now in prison awaiting trial.

And apparently, they are not happy in prison.  According to a report (PDF), Bundy writes:

My rights are being violated. My right to life is being violated. All of my First Amendment rights are being violated. My right to freedom of religion is being violated. I cannot participate in religious activities and temple covenants, and wear religious garments. I could wear them at Henderson, but MCDC is depriving me of the right to wear them. My right to freedom of speech is being hampered by monitoring and recording. My right to freedom of assembly is being violated; I am not allowed to see my brother and move about.

Yesterday, I attempted to discuss these issues with the U.S. Marshals, and they said that these were simply the jail rules. I asked them specifically about if there was any reason for the ‘keep separate’ orders. In Henderson, my brothers and father were housed together. Up here, they make efforts to keep us separate. This violates my right to freedom of assembly. My Second Amendment rights are being violated. I never waived that right.

Yyyyeah.  They don’t let you keep guns in prison, Ryan.  You probably should have thought of that before you decided to seize federal property and claim it as your own.

Khaleesi smack talk #GameofThrones

Kind of conflicted about Cersai and Jaime getting revenge. Wish they wouldn’t kiss because that just makes it worse #GameofThrones

Yay! More Game of Thrones Theatre!! #GameofThrones

Time for a little patricide, Samwell? #GameofThrones

Unless she’s playing the long con. #GameofThrones

Margaery’s gone cultish and is going to drag in Tommen. #GameofThrones

Trump, the candidate who thinks our POWs are “losers” because they got captured, to speak at Lincoln Memorial on Memorial Day.

This guy is an ass and probably headed for prison.

RT @JournalNow: Dog exposed to rabies in Winston-Salem still at large #wsnc https://t.co/AptLNevt2U

Figures.

RT @emorwee: So this just happened- Trump said wind turbines kill too many birds, then slammed the Endangered Species Act for limiting gas…

Trump says ISIS controls the oil in Libya. They don’t.

RT @digby56: This is the most incoherent speech he’s ever given. And that’s saying something.

RT @drvox: Trump is having obvious difficulty staying focused on reading his speech. He so badly wants to just do his freestyle-nonsense th…

RT @drvox: This is amazing. He is literally reading oil & gas talking points, reacting to them in real time. We’re all discovering this tog…

RT @Bencjacobs: Wait, Donald Trump just endorsed off-shore drilling on the Atlantic coast

RT @Bencjacobs: Donald Trump just became the first presidential candidate in American political history to take credit for high oil prices

Trump doing the “Pocahontas” Elizabeth Warren riff in North Dakota. Native American population in state is 5.4% compared to 1.2% nationally

RT @mmurraypolitics: Fascinating from NBC/WSJ poll: Trump’s fav/unfav started at 26%-56% in July ’15

It’s now 29%-58% – almost no change h…
rt-mmurraypolitics-fascinating-from-nbcwsj-poll-trumps-favunfav-started-at-26-56-in-july-15its-now-29-58-almost-no-change-h 

Two Million Pregnant Women At Risk For Zika Virus

So far, the GOP-controlled House has offered a mere $622 million in Zika funding — far less than what will be needed to meaningfully combat the virus. It’s unclear when Congress may reach an agreement on this issue before its long summer recess. And according to an analysis by the Center For American Progress, this delay could be putting about 2 million pregnant American women at risk.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here’s the think tank’s prediction for the number of pregnant women who might be affected by Zika this summer and fall, broken down by state:

Zika-webtable-620x804

We’ve known for months that Zika, which has been ravaging our neighbors to the south, was headed for the United States as warmer weather approached. In fact, it’s already here — there are currently 472 confirmed cases of Zika in the continental US, though so far they are all travel-related. Including U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico, which is already being overwhelmed by the virus, so far 279 pregnant women have tested positive for the virus.

These new numbers, however, show just how great the risk is if the United States hits mosquito season unprepared. Preparation takes funding — which is necessary for basic research on the virus, to help develop a vaccine, and take preventative measures like providing mosquito nets and education campaigns about how to avoid getting bitten. Yet despite the clear and present danger, conservatives on Capitol Hill have dragged their feet, haggling over the finances.

Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, said, “The House of Representatives is three months late and more than a billion short of doing what’s necessary to protect the American people.”

This is typical of a Republican-led Congress.  They fail to do enough until it is too late, and then things get really expensive.

Yawn Of The Week: IG Report On Clinton Emails Tells Us Nothing

The State Department’s inspector general has finally issued his report on email preservation and retention practices within the department, and he has little to say.  Let’s start with the fact that it is not unusual practice.

OIG identified multiple email and other electronic records management issues during the course of this evaluation….Insufficient Oversight of the Recordkeeping Process….Print and File Requirements Not Enforced….Limited Ability To Retrieve Email Records….No Inventory of Archived Electronic Files….Unavailable or Inaccessible Electronic Files….Failure ToTransfer Email Records to IPS….Failure To Follow Department Separation Processes….Failure To Notify NARA of Loss of Records

OIG discovered anecdotal examples suggesting that Department staff have used personal email accounts to conduct official business….OIG identified more than 90 Department employees who periodically used personal email accounts to conduct official business.…OIG also reviewed an S/ES-IRM report prepared in 2010 showing that more than 9,200 emails were sent within one week from S/ES servers to 16 web-based email domains, including gmail.com, hotmail.com, and att.net….A former Director of Policy Planning wrote: “State’s technology is so antiquated that NO ONE uses a State-issued laptop and even high officials routinely end up using their home email accounts to be able to get their work done quickly and effectively.”

Emphasis mine.

Okay.  I hear what you’re saying.  91 wrongs don’t make it right in Clinton’s case.

So let’s widen the lens on Hillary Clinton and focus on what she did and didn’t do:

Sending emails from a personal account to other employees at their Department accounts is not an appropriate method of preserving any such emails that would constitute a Federal record. Therefore, Secretary Clinton should have preserved any Federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the Office of the Secretary. At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.

NARA agrees with the foregoing assessment but told OIG that Secretary Clinton’s production of 55,000 pages of emails mitigated her failure to properly preserve emails that qualified as Federal records during her tenure and to surrender such records upon her departure. OIG concurs with NARA but also notes that Secretary Clinton’s production was incomplete. For example, the Department and OIG both determined that the production included no email covering the first few months of Secretary Clinton’s tenure.

….With regard to Secretary Clinton’s immediate staff…OIG learned of extensive use of personal email accounts by four immediate staff members (none of whom responded to the questionnaire). During the summer of 2015, their representatives produced Federal records in response to a request from the Department, portions of which included material sent and received via their personal email accounts. The material consists of nearly 72,000 pages in hard copy and more than 7.5 gigabytes of electronic data.

….During Secretary Clinton’s tenure, the FAM also instructed employees that they were expected to use approved, secure methods to transmit SBU [Sensitive But Unclassified] information and that, if they needed to transmit SBU information outside the Department’s OpenNet network on a regular basis to non-Departmental addresses, they should request a solution from IRM. However, OIG found no evidence that Secretary Clinton ever contacted IRM to request such a solution,despite the fact that emails exchanged on her personal account regularly contained information marked as SBU.

So…. nothing new. The Department of State apparently has espically bad email systems. Nonetheless, Hillary Clinton should have consulted with State’s IT staff about her personal email account. She didn’t. She should have turned over her work emails sooner. She didn’t. Ditto for her staff.  Bad bad Hillary. But seriously, if this is what disqualifies her from being president, then the bar is too high for Trump too.

Quote Of The Week

“Donald Trump cares about exactly one thing: Donald Trump,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said, opening up with both barrels in a speech on Tuesday:

“Donald Trump was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown because it meant he could buy up a bunch more property on the cheap,” Warren said at a Washington, D.C. gala for the Center for Popular Democracy Tuesday night.

“What kind of a man does that?” an incredulous Warren asked. “Root for people to get thrown out on the street? Root for people to lose their jobs? Root for people to lose their pensions? Root for two little girls in Clark County, Nevada, to end up living in a van?”

“What kind of a man does that?”

“I’ll tell you exactly what kind,” Warren continued. “A man who cares about no one but himself. A small, insecure money-grubber who doesn’t care who gets hurt, so long as he makes some money off it. What kind of man does that? A man who will never be president of the United States.”

I would love to hear more from her this campaign season.  Veep?  Would be nice but I doubt it will happen.  We’ll lose the Massachusetts Senate seat.

Spot-On Review of Maria Bamford

Forget Amy Schumer.  Yes Amy is funny, but she’s becoming a bit of a Johnny One-Note. (Yes, we get it, Amy — you are beautiful even if you’re not a size 4, but how many times do we have to applaud your body and being “brave” about it?).

But for my money, the real edge-y woman of comedy is Mario Bamford.

Which is why I am pleased she is finally getting some credit with her new show:

There’s a great song in the musical “[title of show]” that asserts, “I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing / Than a hundred people’s ninth favorite thing.” For two decades, that’s been Maria Bamford’s brand. She’s played small roles on sitcoms; she was the spokeswoman for Target. But the purest Bamford essence could always be found in her dreamy, destabilizing standup routines, which dealt head on with time spent in mental institutions, struggling with a bipolar II diagnosis and an assortment of crippling O.C.D.-ish compulsions. In her YouTube series “The Maria Bamford Show,” which was set in Duluth, Minnesota, where she’d retreated after a breakdown, Bamford played not only herself but various family members, frenemies, and dates—while crooning to her psychiatrist, “If I keep the ice-cube trays filled, then no one will dieeeeeeeee.” In her self-distributed show, “Special Special Special,” she performed in her living room, with only her parents as an audience.

When I first heard about “Lady Dynamite,” Bamford’s new Netflix series, I felt apprehensive, having been burned, in recent months, by too many floppy, over-extended dramedies produced by streaming neworks, such as “Love” and “Casual.” These shows, like “Lady Dynamite,” often dealt with dysfunctional, single Los Angelenos, often on the fringes of the entertainment world, unable to commit to love. But then I watched the first “Lady Dynamite,” and the second, and the third, and soon the weekend was gone and I had to start watching the show all over again, from scratch. Like “Arrested Development,” whose creator, Mitch Hurwitz, co-produced “Lady Dynamite” with Pam Brady (a longtime collaborator with Matt Stone and Trey Parker), the series is not a dramedy but a true comedy. Despite (or because of) the show’s serious themes, it’s stuffed with jokes, visual and verbal, to the point that it’s like a tottery Jenga game. The pilot leans a bit heavily on the meta-comedy—it features a debate between Bamford and Patton Oswalt about how to structure the series—but after that it becomes a real joyride. In certain ways, “Lady Dynamite” shares ground with the terrific “BoJack Horseman,” another comedy about the difficulty of distinguishing ordinary Hollywood misery from genuine mental illness. But it has a distinct vibe, somehow at once celebratory and melancholic, with a hallucinogenic edge. It performs a small miracle by expanding Bamford’s story just enough to make it feel sitcom-like while still maintaining her voice.

The central plot of “Lady Dynamite” tracks Bamford’s Pilgrim’s Progress toward a balanced life in Hollywood, braiding together three separate timelines, each filmed in a slightly different style. There’s “Past,” a bright-neon era from before her nervous breakdown, when Bamford was doing that high-paying gig for Target (satirized, scathingly, as the union-busting Checkmark) but was also careening through bad friendships and awful relationships, ascending toward full-blown hypomania. There’s the gray-blue “Duluth,” set after Bamford moved back in with her Midwestern parents, having been institutionalized for suicidal depression. And there is “Present,” in which Bamford is medicated, gamely trying to restart her Hollywood career, and dating again, while struggling not to repeat the choices she’s made in the past. Each episode ends with a plaintive strain of Dean Martin, with the resonant lyrics, “I don’t know what I’m doing / More than half of the tiiiime.” As with H.B.O.’s “Enlightened,” “Lady Dynamite” is a show that frequently satirizes New Age and therapy speak but that nonetheless has faith in their bedrock ideals.

None of this complicated blend would work without Bamford’s fascinating, hard-to-describe, explosively brittle performance style. A tiny, tense figure in her forties, Bamford has scared-looking eyes and a pointy nose and straw-like (or, sometimes, crazily permed) blond hair, and she holds her shoulders hunched as if in eternal apology; she’s a bit like a comedic Cindy Sherman, using her unthreatening Hollywood-blonde blankness as a screen to project something that’s far stranger and more out of control. She’s fragile, but her jokes are hard. She’s also a skilled shape-shifter who can perform multiple voices—a sexy rich lady, a shrieking cartoon character—who nonetheless seems trapped in her own spasming physicality. In the tradition of performers like Andy Kaufman and Paul Reubens, she’s constantly wincing and screaming and contorting her face, yet she’s also quite sweet, almost deceptively so. One of the smartest things about “Lady Dynamite” is that it doesn’t rely on a self-pitying portrait of Bamford as a pure victim of those around her. Yes, she is a people-pleaser who gets bullied by false friends and crazy agents. Sure, she gets engaged to a newly divorced stuntman with bad credit. But she is also pathologically passive-aggressive in response to any sign of conflict—during one relationship, she hides in the shower and stuffs a sponge into her mouth so that she can scream after every phony, awful interaction. As the episodes elapse, the show builds a fascinating and nuanced portrait of a woman whose magical gifts aren’t all that inseparable from what makes her a little bit impossible.

Maria simply is a pleasure to watch, simply because of her shape-shifting face.  And while she is upfront and honest about her bipolar disorder (bipolar two, she would stress), she doesn’t beat it over the head with the audience.  It is a thing she has; it is a thing she deals with.  Every day.  And she does it with humor and grace and, uh, stress.

Looking forward to season two.

And if you don’t know Maria and her style of comedy, here’s a 2 minute sample:

RT @BoobsRadley: Lady Dynamite is a delicious gift.

Loving @BryanCranston in “All The Way” on @HBO. Just as good as when I saw it on Bway. @WhitfordBradley is great as H Humphrey. #AllTheWay

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—A federal judge has ruled that a law trimming early voting in swing-state Ohio is unconstitutional & cannot be enforced.

You’re Going To Hear A Lot About Gary Johnson Soon

US Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson (Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

US Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson (Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

He’s the former governor of New Mexico, likely Libertarian candidate for president, and he’s polling at 10 percent in two recently released national polls against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

He’s Gary Johnson.

A Morning Consult survey published today has Clinton getting 38 percent of the vote, Trump 35 and Johnson 10, with 17 percent undecided. A Fox News poll conducted from May 14-17 showed Trump leading over Clinton, 42 percent to 39 percent, but Johnson at 10 percent as well. Lest you think this is some fluky May development, a Monmouth University survey conducted in mid-March — while the political universe was still busy wringing its hands over the Republican nomination — found that in a three-way race, Clinton would get 42 percent, Trump 34 percent and Johnson 11 percent.

If we assume that Johnson gets 10 to 15% of the vote in every state, that’s enough to tip the election.  And probably in Clinton’s favor.

Johnson ran as the Libertarian candidate in 2012, and won about 1 percent of the national vote, becoming the most successful Libertarian candidate ever; in polls done in May and June of 2012, he was polling at 2 percent. Bob Barr, the Libertarian nominee in 2008, also polled at 2 percent in the late spring of that year.

It must be noted that Johnson is not yet the Libertarian nominee. The party will be holding its nominating convention this weekend in Orlando, where he will face Austin Petersen, a young party operative, as well as former fugitive millionaire businessman John McAfee, who was once called “extremely paranoid, even bonkers” by the prime minister of Belize.

Sam Bee On The Sanders Kerfuffle

I have largely stayed out of the whole Sanders debacle, largely because I think it will be old news in a month or two when Sanders concedes and throw the full weight of his support behind Hillary Clinton (or at least, against Donald Trump).

That said, his supporters are really acting like dicks and yes, I think the fish is rotting from the head.  The term “sore loser” comes to mind.  Many (certainly not all, but many) of Sanders’ supporters openly take the position that anyone who supports Hillary Clinton is either an idiot or an innocent waif duped by the establishment machine or a shill merely repeating talking points.

The truth is that many of the Bernie supporters are themselves being duped by their own naivete about how to bring about change (not to mention parroting talking points that don’t even make sense).

There are rules to a democracy.  They may be bad ones, and they may need to be changed, but you just can’t ignore them and then complain the game is rigged.

Sam?  Explain it….

It’s very sad, but there is a section of the left that is just as uninformed and argle-bargly as the Tea Party.

Are We At The Mercy Of Stupid People?

David Harsanyi, senior editor at the Federalist, opens his op-ed at the Washington Post:

Never have so many people with so little knowledge made so many consequential decisions for the rest of us.A person need only survey the inanity of the ongoing presidential race to comprehend that the most pressing problem facing the nation isn’t Big Business, Big Labor, Big Media or even Big Money in politics.

It’s you, the American voter. And by weeding out millions of irresponsible voters who can’t be bothered to learn the rudimentary workings of the Constitution, or their preferred candidate’s proposals or even their history, we may be able to mitigate the recklessness of the electorate.

No, we shouldn’t erect physical barriers to ballot access. Let’s purchase more voting machines, hire additional poll workers, streamline the registration process, mail out more ballots for seniors and produce more “Rock the Vote” ads imploring apathetic millennials to embrace their civic duty.

At the same time, let’s also remember that checking a box for the candidate whose campaign ads you like best is one of the most overrated obligations of the self-governed. If you have no clue what the hell is going on, you also have a civic duty to avoid subjecting the rest of us to your ignorance.

Unfortunately, we can’t trust you.

Harsanyi then goes on to suggest that the way to weed out ignorant voters is to have everyone take the citizenship civics test. After all, if prospective citizens are required to know about our nation’s history, the Constitution, and the government, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the people actually deciding the fate of our nation also be equally well informed? And obviously, with the internet, all the necessary information is readily available to study up on. In other words, there is little excuse to remain uninformed.

And in light of some awful statistics he cites, it’s clear that at the very least, brushing up wouldn’t be a bad thing:

When Newsweek asked a thousand voters to take the official citizenship test a few years back, nearly 30 percent couldn’t name the vice president. More than 60 percent did not know the length of U.S. senators’ terms in office. And 43 percent couldn’t say that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.

Only 30 percent knew that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

Further, only one-third could name all three branches of the U.S. government!

Harsanyi also addresses the inevitable accusations of elitism and unfairness to minorities and the poor:

Unlike the many who depend on ignorant voters to wield and secure their power, I refuse to believe that working-class or underprivileged citizens are any less capable of understanding the meaning of the Constitution or the contours of governance than the supercilious 1-percenters. I believe this despite the widespread failure of public schools to teach children basic civics. It’s still our responsibility as voters.Of course, we also must remember the ugly history of poll taxes and other prejudicial methods that Americans used to deny black citizens their equal right to vote. Any effort to improve the quality of the voting public should ensure that all races, creeds, genders and sexual orientations and people of every socioeconomic background are similarly inhibited from voting when ignorant. For the good of our democratic institutions.

Amusingly, an incredulous Jake Tapper asked if this was serious, and Harsanyi answered:

@jaketapper well, actually: yes-ish.

A sampling of questions on the test, which Harsanyi describes as running from the “very easy to the preposterous”:

“If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?”

“There were 13 original states. Name three.”

“What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?”

“What is freedom of religion?”

The idea of a test for voters is frightening, and invokes the dark days of civil rights violations when blacks in the south were denied voting because of tests.  Obviously, I don’t support them, and they would be constitutional.  But I suspect that Harsanyi, writing for the conservative The Federalist, thinks that if we had more educated voters, we would have a more conservative government (because all those uneducated blacks would not vote for Obama and Hillary).  But I don’t think so.  Over and over again, the polls show that a higher education leads one to vote liberal.  Heck, even Trump knows that his bread-and-butter supporters are uneducated.

It’s unconstitutional and abhorrent to the idea of a democracy, but it would be nice if only people with a basic knowledge of civics were allowed to vote.

Trump DoubleSpeak

A classic example of Donald Trump’s relentless double-speak.

First he denies he ever advocated having guns in classrooms, then, within seconds, says “teachers should have guns.”

Then, incredibly, he backs up, does another denial about advocating guns in the classroom, and then adds that some teachers should have guns.

I don’t care what your politics are on guns… can’t we all agree this guy is talking out of both sides of his mouth?

Love @mariabamfoo Netflix show. Funny, incisive, personal, smart #bipolar #LadyDynamite

Nicely done, #GameofThrones

Another Red Woman? I wonder if this one can keep clothed. #GameofThrones

SNL comes to #GameofThrones

Angry Sansa is the best Sansa. I like her much more this way. #GameofThrones

Donald Trump: ‘I’m not advocating guns in classrooms’ but ‘teachers should have guns in classrooms’.

I’m going kill myself now.

RT @BenjySarlin: Polls suggest Sanders is helping Trump. Which ironically will raise D tensions as Clinton fans are about to go ballistic o…

RT @HamiltonMusical: Last night’s clue for Final @Jeopardy. #Hamilton #RiseUp https://t.co/mLpUCMaYHh
rt-hamiltonmusical-last-nights-clue-for-final-jeopardy-hamilton-riseup-httpst-comlpucmayhh 

Secret Service Shoots Man With Gun Near White House Checkpoint https://t.co/BF5YweSqyE via @nbcnews

RT @ABC: JUST IN: White House is on lockdown; reason not yet clear. Pres. Obama is not on the property – @jparkABC

RT @usparkpolicepio: Shooting on W. Executive Dr. PIO en route to 17th and Pennsylvania

RT @JoshuaHoyos: White House is on lockdown – @jparkABC

RT @sahilkapur: Obama called for action to curb gun violence in the Newtown speech Trump praised in December 2012. https://t.co/me9xIn0krt
rt-sahilkapur-obama-called-for-action-to-curb-gun-violence-in-the-newtown-speech-trump-praised-in-december-2012-httpst-come9xin0krt 

RT @samsteinhp: Just called up Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. Receptionist tells me it’s a gun-free club.

RT @SopanDeb: Trump to NRA: “The only way to save our Second Amendment is to vote for a person that you all know named Donald Trump.”

RT @DomenicoNPR: Trump making the case that @HillaryClinton is anti-woman bc she wants to abolish the 2nd Amdt and they can’t defend themse…

Meet Another Trump Delegate

…. with a perfectly innocent Twitter handle.

Lori Gayne

.She is Chicago mortgage banker Lori Gayne:

“With all the racism going on today, I’m very proud to be white. Just like black people are proud to be black and now, as white people, whenever we say something critical we’re punished as if we’re racists. I’m tired of it. I’m very proud,” Gayne said.

“I’m so angry I don’t even feel like I live in America. You can call me a racist. Black Lives Matter? Those people are out of control,” she said.

Gayne isn’t the first Trump delegate to embrace white power. William Johnson, a Trump delegate in California, resigned last week after Mother Jones revealed that he was the leader of the white nationalist American Freedom Party. And the anti-Muslim pastor Guy St-Onge resigned as a Trump delegate after being questioned about his views by the Guardian. The AFP now claims that it has other members who are Trump delegates but has declined to release their names.

Disenchanted With Bernie

I’ve always been in the Hillary camp, but I always liked Bernie Sanders as well.  I liked what he was saying, I liked the direction he wants to take the country.  I just didn’t think he was the man, and I thought he harped on one or two issues too much, while neglecting others.

I have been reading many reports lately about people who have been firmly pro-Bernie becoming disillusioned with him.  This may be the most poignant.  It is an extraordinary piece by a former fervent Bernie Sanders supporter, whose attempts to reach out to his campaign on disability rights and policy were met with indifference and condescension, and whose experience with the Team Hillary were very different.

The feeling of devastating disappointment and betrayal sank in. The thought of considering Clinton felt hypocritical of me. I told myself, “How can I support someone who probably cares more about Wall Street than me?” But I certainly couldn’t consider Donald Trump, who mocks disabled people and assumes we’re stupid enough to think that’s not what he was doing. So, begrudgingly, I told a Hillary supporter with a disability that I was now considering supporting Hillary. He immediately introduced me via email to a blind Clinton staffer. Within literally minutes, she emailed me at 9 p.m. saying she would like to speak to me about the campaign. I was so encouraged by how quickly they responded, after the months I was ignored by Bernie.

She didn’t treat me like a nuisance like the Bernie campaign did but rather an asset. She wanted to know my legal and advocacy opinion on disability policy. She explained in detail how Hillary planned to initiate change for us with sophisticated, legal political strategy. And, then she asked me to come on board and help the campaign best meet the needs of the disability community through, inter alia, writing for the campaign after they were able to officially vet my credentials. I soon realized that the Clinton campaign didn’t just care about the disability community; they hired us and treated us like the intelligent people we are.

My conversation with the Clinton campaign regained my hopefulness but also made me incensed that Bernie is maliciously lying to democrats about Clinton’s uncaring regard for the 99%, while destroying the party from within. Bernie is adamant that Hillary only cares about corporate interests and not the typical marginalized American. But, in fact, the opposite is true.

…Coming to terms with these realizations was very difficult for me. I literally grieved and cried when I discovered that I had been so maliciously misled by someone I believed to possess such a high moral compass.

I feel so badly, and such great sympathy, that she was so terribly disillusioned by a candidate in whom she believed, and also I’m really glad, for her and for us all, that Hillary Clinton’s team was so responsive, took her concerns seriously, and recognized she had something important to contribute.

I know there are still many enthusiastic Sanders supporters.  Many of them are young, and simply wrong — very wrong — about Hillary.  I hope when Sanders loses — and of course he will — they will open there ears and eyes and learn more about the candidate they summarily have rejected.