The Best People

There is this guy.  He’s running for president.  He himself is not particularly experienced at most (all) of what a president does, but we’re not to worry.

Why not?

Because he’s not the detail guy.  He’s the big picture guy, the boss.  He hires the folks who lift and tote.

But that’s OK.



“My motto is ‘Hire the best people…”  (Donald Trump: Think Big, 2007).

And now, let us savor:

Donald Trump’s new presidential campaign chief is registered to vote in a key swing state at an empty house where he does not live, in an apparent breach of election laws.

Stephen Bannon, the chief executive of Trump’s election campaign, has an active voter registration at the house in Miami-Dade County, Florida, which is vacant and due to be demolished to make way for a new development….


Election officials in Miami-Dade make clear to prospective voters that they are required to actually live in the county and to use their home address in election paperwork. “You must reside in Miami-Dade County,” their website states. It adds: “When you register to vote, an actual residence address is required by law.” A county spokeswoman did not respond to questions relating to Bannon’s situation.

Three neighbors said the house where Bannon is currently registered to vote had been abandoned for three months. When the Guardian visited the property on Thursday a large window in the front aspect was missing. A soiled curtain was blowing through it. The driveway was a mess of tree branches and mud.

Bannon never appeared at the house, according to the neighbors.

What’s most striking is that this apparent prima facie  voter fraud — while the more likely to get Bannon into actual legal difficulties — is in a moral sense the lesser of two scandals that have dropped over the last twenty four hours.  Because we’ve also learned this:

Stephen K. Bannon, the new CEO of the Donald Trump campaign, was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness following an incident in early January 1996, though the case was ultimately dismissed, according to a police report and court documents.

That witness:

The Santa Monica, Calif., police report says that Bannon’s then-wife claimed he pulled at her neck and wrist during an altercation over their finances, and an officer reported witnessing red marks on her neck and wrist to bolster her account. Bannon also reportedly smashed the phone when she tried to call the police.

The details get uglier:

Bannon then got his lawyer on the case, who allegedly “threatened” Piccard and told her she “would have no money [and] no way to support the children” if the case went to trial.

Bannon then told Piccard to skip town.

He said “that if I wasn’t in town they couldn’t serve me and I wouldn’t have to go to court,” she claimed in the document.

Piccard left for two weeks before Bannon’s attorney said she could return, according to the declaration.

“Because I was not present at the trial, the case was dismissed,” she said in the documents.

That second quote is from The New York Post. That would be the Rupert Murdoch-owned Post, which is an added twist to this tale.  What is the true state of Trump-Murdoch relations?

But leave aside that kind of political inside baseball.  The most compelling element to the story of Bannon’s thuggery is that it is an unexpected, deep look into his character.  Through it we can discover what kind of person Donald Trump — a major party nominee for President, with a genuine, non-zero chance of achieving that office — thinks is one of  “the best people.”

It ain’t pretty.  The Post‘s coverage continues:

Bannon had allegedly also earlier told Picccard, who was then his girlfriend and the expectant mother of their twin girls, that he would only agree to marry her if the kids were “normal.”

He married her on April 14, 1995, three days before the twins were born.


Worst of all — at least it seems to me — Bannon is a man who would do this:

Piccard alleged in another document that Bannon believed in corporal punishment for the girls, even though he rarely saw them.

She cited as one example that Bannon allegedly spanked one of his toddler daughters to try to stop her from hitting her head against the crib.

Piccard claimed that when she intervened, he exploded, calling her “f—ing crazy” and saying if he hadn’t been interrupted, “she wouldn’t be banging her head anymore.”

Beating any adult is reprehensible.  Whacking on a child, a toddler? (And no, I don’t think “spanking” in this context is likely to have been a gentle swat on the bum.)  There are special circles of hell for those folks.

I left out the last half of the Trump quote at top.  In full, it reads “My motto is ‘Hire the best people, and don’t trust them.’”

As none should him.

Images:  John Sell Cotman, Ruined House betw. 1807 and 1810.

George Romney, Mother and Childundated, before 1802.

Not Even an Orkin Army…

Donald Trump’s Twitter meltdown in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s scorching speech continues into day #2:

The greengrocer’s apostrophe lets us know it’s really Trump. It’s also heartening to see that Clinton’s speech didn’t drive Trump’s army of pallid meme-froggies and white genocide kooks underground:

Is that person using Dylann Roof’s photo as an avatar, or is he just another ugly-ass white boy with a bad haircut? No matter: Keep showing us who you — and your idol — are, malignant creeps!

Meanwhile, Trump claims not to know what the “alt-right” is, denies that it exists and disavows knowledge of his campaign chief’s involvement in it. Check him out at the 5:10 mark:

He’s lying, of course. It’s usually safe to attribute Trump’s actions to stupidity, but here we’ve hit upon the one area of expertise he actually possesses: an ability to rile up the rubes.

There’s just no chance Trump didn’t know exactly what Bannon was. Trump might fire Bannon tomorrow if the association with the Breitbart hate site proves untenable (which would happen TODAY if the Beltway press devoted 1/1000th of the attention they’ve lavished on Clinton’s innocuous emails to perusing that site).

But it won’t change that Trump knew exactly what he was inviting to take center stage in the GOP tent. Good luck with that fumigation, craven Republican assholes.

A Timely Demonstration That There Isn’t Much Difference Between Nazis, the Klan, the “Alt- Right,” and Good Old Fashioned Conservative Hate Groups

This is a skosh embarassing for WV’s Attorney General:

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey fired a spokeswoman Thursday, after it was revealed that she took part in a video called “The Stop White Genocide Video” that recites slogans of white supremacists.

Carrie Bowe, who was Morrisey’s assistant communications director, appears throughout the video, speaking about white genocide, a white nationalist conspiracy theory that alleges immigration and integration will cause whites to become extinct.

The YouTube video, first uploaded in December 2012 by someone with the screen name of “Johnny Mantraseed,” boasts that it was banned in 18 countries and was once removed from YouTube. It was re-posted to YouTube in 2013 and has been viewed more than 260,000 times.

Throughout the video, Bowe, who started working for Morrisey in January 2015, repeatedly states, “Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white,” a phrase coined by well-known white supremacist Bob Whitaker, who lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

She has since taken to facebook (of course) to say she had no idea what the final video would look like, as if that somehow excuses her for saying the following on video:

“If I tell you the ongoing truth about genocide against my race, the white race, liberals and ‘respectable conservatives’ agree that I’m a Nazi that wants to kill 6 million Jews,” Bowe says.

Bowe also says white children in schools are being misled.

“Throughout elementary school, junior high, high school and college, I was told that my race, the white race, was the cause of all the world’s problems,” Bowe says in the video. “Now, many of you have jobs where minorities say things that would get you as a white person instantly fired.”

The four women ask viewers to “recite The Mantra,” a series of phrases embraced by segregationists.

“Asia for the Asians, Africa for the Africans, white countries for everybody,” another women in the video says, the first phrase of “The Mantra.”

Here’s my favorite part:

Bowe, who made $40,000 as a Morrisey aide, served as his acting press secretary in September 2015. She also helped manage his field office staff members.

Before Morrisey hired her, she was member relations director with the conservative Family Policy Council of West Virginia.

That’s the state level version of the Family Research Council, who just recently have been up this bullshit a few miles down the road from me:

The conservative Family Policy Council of West Virginia is asking Wheeling leaders to release any and all documentation of the proposed protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents with a Freedom of Information Act request.

The request states that any such ordinance would elevate “changeable” sexual behavior to a special level of legal protection. The Charleston-based council’s president, Allen Whitt, said this ordinance has already likely been drafted under residents’ noses, despite Mayor Glenn Elliott assuring no such legislation is anywhere near a draft, let alone fully realized.

“That is misinformation. It is untruth,” Whitt said. “Their position is to pass a city ordinance. We’ve seen this multiple times. That’s a straight up lie.”

The council describes itself as a “leading conservative policy group championing social issues,” such as religious freedom.

You ask me, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between alt-right, the klan, and good old fashioned “family values” conservatism.

The “Alt-Right” Is… Neither an Alternative, Nor Correct

From the Washington Post, company paper in the town whose monopoly industry is national politics:

On the eve of a planned speech here on Donald Trump’s ties to the “alt-right,” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday accused her Republican opponent of “taking a hate movement mainstream.”

Clinton is scheduled to deliver remarks Thursday about a conservative movement often associated with white nationalism and fervent anti-immigration views that has cheered Trump’s candidacy, including his campaign’s recent hiring of the chairman of a website that caters to the alt-right.

“Donald Trump has shown us who he is, and we ought to believe him,” Clinton told host Anderson Cooper Wednesday night on CNN. “He is taking a hate movement mainstream. He’s brought it into his campaign. He’s bringing it to our communities and our country.”…

The alt-right began with a speech conservative writer Paul Gottfried delivered in 2008, after the Republican Party’s electoral wipeout. Gottfried called for an “alternative right” that could defeat “the neoconservative-controlled conservative establishment.” That idea was soon adopted by the “identitarian” nationalist Richard Spencer, who founded an Alternative Right website, but it was also claimed by supporters of Ron Paul and conservatives who opposed multiculturalism…

And “misogynist neo-Nazi xenophobes” just didn’t seem mainstream-friendly.

But it was Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that brought the movement into the mainstream. From the moment he told a national audience that Mexico was sending rapists and drug-dealers across the border, Trump surged in the polls….
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Immigration was always the explosive wedge that will destroy the GOP

I wrote this in 2007. If you want to know what happened with Trump, skim through.

I don’t have much passion one way or the other. Having to speak Spanish to get a decent wet burrito doesn’t bother me, I like cinco de Mayo and it strikes me as vaguely fair that our policy should help families stay together. America survived the Irish invasion, the Italian invasion, the Nordic/Germanic invasion, the slavic invasion, the (involuntary) African invasion and the Chinese invasion so it seems ludicrously insecure to think that one more will kill us. Whichever way they went on the issue the worst heat most Democrats are likely to face will come from David Broder.

But lord, what a tough spot for Republicans. At its heart the GOP has two basic camps* – business conservatives who bankroll the party and the social conservatives/theocons who staff it. In that light one could say the towering achievement of Bush’s term as POTUS was that he defied the centrifugal forces of majority power and held the GOP’s unlikely coalition together as firmly and as long as he did. If so, his towering failure will undoubtedly be his adamant support of this immigration bill.

I have tried for days to think of something that could wedge the social cons apart from the business cons [better] than immigration but I just can’t do it. The Chamber of Commerce loves our current system because one can pay illegals practically nothing and they will thank you for it. In their view any fix to the current system has to keep bringing in large numbers of people with poor language skills (can’t have them reading those OSHA flyers on the wall) and a weak bargaining position, e.g. guest workers. Otherwise Americans had better get ready to start paying more for hotel beds, restaurant meals and packed meats.

The key problem is that the thing that the business cons need more than anything is exactly what the social cons desperately want to end. This issue has no conceivable middle ground because the social cons want less of precisely the same thing that business cons need more of. The historical calm between these two camps lasted and could only last as long as party leaders had the good sense to keep the issue off the front burner altogether. Any move to change the status quo would necessarily set off contrary demands that could easily spiral into open warfare.

Pushing immigration now was a dumb move by Bush, but it was far dumber than I think most people realize. Hilzoy has argued that the immigration is really a convenient outlet for Republicans to vent their deeper disappointment over issues J through Z, and I’m sure that there is plenty of that, but I think that the president’s screwup is more profound than Hilzoy lets on. The president’s party is reeling from Iraq, rudderless and lacking in leadership at any level, facing political losses as bad or worse than 2006, and now his own mulish push on immigration has lit the fuse on a wedge-shaped charge** that could split the party in two.

Running hard on immigration is a brilliant way to win the primary. Nativist bigots make up the bigger half of the Republican party. The problem is that the same strategy becomes catastrophically stupid if you want to do anything other than win a GOP Presidential primary. It alienates everyone who is not a nativist bigot. It makes life especially hard for the Chamber of Commerce wing who need unregulated immigrants just as badly as the nativist bigots hate them. The funny thing is that the party exists and has always existed to serve the Chamber, more specifically the very wealthy people who own the businesses that keep the CoC funded. Since Lincoln died the one through line of GOP policy has and one expects always will be eliminating the inheritance tax, and then lower taxes for the very top, and then weaker regulations on financial transactions. After that comes less regulations on monopolies, polluting, whatever. Plutocrats only grabbed on to the bigot vote after Lyndon Johnson freed it up by embracing civil rights.

Maybe the bigots would some day figure out the scam, but right now we got to beat that Jimmy Carter guy. The tea party had all the pieces in place, but then the tea party turned out to be just another grift to squeeze money and votes from poor, desperate chumps terrified by bugbears on FOX. But the exploit was always there. You just needed someone desperate, stupid or crazy enough to use it. You needed someone who maybe stumbled on the exploit by accident, and had enough independent money to survive the Chamber folks desperately trying to shut him down.


With thanks to Jeffro in the comments, this think piece at NBC strikes me as too optimistic by half.

“The party of Reagan was the party that had coalitions that worked seamlessly together,” GOP strategist John Feehery said. “What Donald Trump has identified is a party that is literally splitting apart between the donor class and the working class parts of the party.”

Whether or not Trump prevails in November, the GOP is set for a rebuilding process like none in recent memory.

The GOP is set for debuilding in 2017. The bigots figured out the exploit. Pandora is not going to un-open that box.

Open Thread: Killed by Their Own Superbug

The Repubs created the Trump virus, a hardened iteration of every ugly racist misogynist xenophobic trope they’ve been doing their best to mainstream since at least 1965. And now the superbug might actually manage to destroy — or at least seriously weaken — its host incubator.

Could not happen to a more deserving bunch of scheming thugs.

Apart from our daily dose of schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Late-Night “Yeah, We Knew It Was Coming” Open Thread: PIVOT!


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