Early Morning Open Thread: Bad Houseguests & Generally Shifty Fellas

It’s natural human decency to offer the spare room to a bare acquaintance escaping (he tells you) a dangerous stalker, but after months of bearing with his deficiencies as a house guest — not to mention the extremely noisy and often unsavory ‘friends’ he invites over without so much as a by-your-leave — one might grow tired of the disruptions…

There were other rumors, but Buzzfeed has a good report debunking the most lurid.

The kerfuffle gave the social-media snarkers a happy interlude, though…

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A Prediction for the SCOTUS and the next GOP trifecta

Let’s assume that Hillary Clinton appoints at least one new net liberal to the Supreme Court during her term in office. In that scenario, the minimal composition would be five center left jurists, one idiosyncratic moderate conservative, one corporate conservative who has a fascination with “sovereign dignitude” and a pair of justices who think Lochner should be good law. The following scenario also works if any of the last four is replaced by another center left judge.

Let us assume that to get to that point it is fairly like that the Senate will go nuclear and abolish the filibuster as McCain indicated (and since walked back) that the Republicans consider a left of center Supreme Court majority to be fundamentally illegitimate even if it resulted from Democrats winning a lot of presidential elections in a generation or more.

Let us assume that at some point in the future there is a GOP trifecta. Let us also assume that a significant chunk of the future GOP’s base will be made up of people who strongly desire either an economically or culturally reactionary court.

With those assumptions, the following prediction is very easy to make.

When there is a GOP trifecta in Washington and a liberal leaning Supreme Court, the Supreme Court will see an increased number of justices equal to the difference between liberal and reactionary justices plus one.

A President Trump’s Foreign Policy Preview: For Sale, To the Highest Bidder

This is just a quick pointer to the essential read of the day.  If Kurt Eichenwald’s brutal, beautiful story on the Trump Organization’s seemingly limitless overseas conflicts of interest with US policy doesn’t become the dominant campaign story for the day and much longer, then, again, we’ll know who and what our media are.

One of the best minor pleasures of this deeply important piece is the way Eichenwald brutally dismisses the false equivalence crap that so many in the press promise us doesn’t exist.  A sample:

The Trump Organization is not like the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the charitable enterprise that has been the subject of intense scrutiny about possible conflicts for the Democratic presidential nominee. There are allegations that Hillary Clinton bestowed benefits on contributors to the foundation in some sort of “pay to play” scandal when she was secretary of state, but that makes no sense because there was no “pay.” Money contributed to the foundation was publicly disclosed and went to charitable efforts, such as fighting neglected tropical diseases that infect as many as a billion people. The financials audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global independent accounting company, and the foundation’s tax filings show that about 90 percent of the money it raised went to its charitable programs. (Trump surrogates have falsely claimed that it was only 10 percent and that the rest was used as a Clinton “slush fund.”) No member of the Clinton family received any cash from the foundation, nor did it finance any political campaigns. In fact, like the Clintons, almost the entire board of directors works for free.

On the other hand, the Trump family rakes in untold millions of dollars from the Trump Organization every year.


Much of that comes from deals with international financiers and developers, many of whom have been tied to controversial and even illegal activities. None of Trump’s overseas contractual business relationships examined by Newsweek were revealed in his campaign’s financial filings with the Federal Election Commission, nor was the amount paid to him by his foreign partners.

That should (but probably won’t) leave a mark in a certain building on 8th Ave between 40th and 41st st.

One more sample, just to get a sense of how utterly at odds with US national interest a Trump presidency would be:

With Middle Eastern business partners and American allies turning on him, Trump lashed out. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal—the billionaire who aided Trump during his corporate bankruptcies in the 1990s by purchasing his yacht, which provided him with desperately needed cash—sent out a tweet amid the outcry in Dubai, calling the Republican candidate a “disgrace.” (Alwaleed is a prodigious tweeter and Twitter’s second largest shareholder.) Trump responded with an attack on the prince—a member of the ruling Saudi royal family—with a childish tweet, saying, “Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected. #Trump2016.”

Once again, Trump’s personal and financial interests are in conflict with critical national security issues for the United States. During the Bush administration, Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, and Washington reached a bilateral agreement to improve international standards for nuclear nonproliferation. Cooperation is particularly important for the United States because Iran—whose potential development of nuclear weapons has been a significant security issue, leading to an international agreement designed to place controls on its nuclear energy efforts—is one of the UAE’s largest trading partners, and Dubai has been a transit point for sensitive technology bound for Iran.

Given Trump’s name-calling when faced with a critical tweet from a member of the royal family in Saudi Arabia, an important ally, how would he react as president if his company’s business in the UAE collapsed? Would his decisions in the White House be based on what is best for America or on what would keep the cash from Dubai flowing to him and his family?

There’s tons more at the link — and yet Eichenwald says, correctly, that this article only scratches the surface. This is (truly) disqualifying stuff, folks. That it almost surely won’t drive Trump from the race is an indictment of him, his party, and a political process, shaped in part by a flawed media culture.  That just leaves us as a last line of defense.

You know, voters.

The common clay…

[Had to leave that hanging curve out for the Balloon Juice Jackals, right?]

Seriously. Eichenwald has done really important work here.  Go read what he’s found, then get it out to everyone you can.

Image: Marius Granet, A Peasant Girl Buying an Indulgence 1825

Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: All the Worst People Seek Each Other Out

I’m sure they’re getting paid plenty (assuming Trump’s not the one writing the checks), but it’s amazing how for a campaign like this all the worst people can find time to help out. From the Washington Post article:

“He’s a battle-tested warrior and a brilliant strategist,” Conway said. “He’s a nuts-and-bolts tactician as well, who’s going to help us fully integrate our ground game and data operations, and help with overall strategy as my deputy.”

Bossie will also work on crafting attacks against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, mining past controversies involving her and former president Bill Clinton, and cultivating Trump’s bond with conservative activists.

The addition of Bossie, who first gained notice in the 1990s as the Republican congressional staffer who aggressively delved into the Clintons’ finances and dealings, is the latest sign that the Trump campaign’s new leadership team is embracing right-wing figures whose ties to the party’s elected leadership have been tenuous or even hostile…

Bossie brings long-standing ties with Trump and his inner circle. He is a friend of Bannon and Conway whose political projects have often overlapped with his own. He is close to the secretive Mercer family, who have funded his organizations and been major backers of Trump’s candidacy.

That leaves three Mercer allies — Bannon, Conway and Bossie — atop the Trump campaign. Hedge-fund investor Robert L. Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, were key players in urging Trump to reshuffle his campaign this summer…
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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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Early Hours Open Thread: The GOP Realizes Its Trump Problem May Be Worse Than Expected

trump intervention ohman

(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)

Not only are the rubes voters no longer buying TRUMP PIVOTS, even the folks inside the Repub compound are getting restive…


Could not happen to a more deserving crew.

Donald “Racially Divisive” Trump: Oh Look There Is An Elephant in the Room!

The Grey Lady goes… as close to there as its recurrent fulminating BothSides fever will permit (and no sooner than time):

[A]mid gloom about Republican prospects in November, Mr. Trump may have endangered the party in a more lasting way: by forging a coalition of white voters driven primarily by themes of hard-right nationalism and cultural identity.

Republicans have wrestled for years with the push and pull of seeking to win over new groups of voters while tending to their overwhelmingly white and conservative base. Now, Mr. Trump’s candidacy may force them into making a fateful choice: whether to fully embrace the Trump model and become, effectively, a party of white identity politics, or to pursue a broader political coalition by repudiating Mr. Trump’s ideas — and many of the voters he has gathered behind his campaign.

In order to build a winning party again, some Republican leaders say, the party will have to disavow Mr. Trump’s exclusionary message, even at the price of driving away voters at the core of the Republican base — perhaps a third or more of the party.

This approach would amount to a highly risky lurch away from the faction that made Mr. Trump the Republican nominee, and toward a community of female, Latino and Asian voters who have never been reliable Republicans. Should the effort falter, and Republicans fail to win a second look from these Democratic-leaning groups, they could find themselves stranded with virtually no base at all.

If they are divided over the proper course forward, Republican leaders agree that a wrenching struggle is coming.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan predicted that the aftermath of the election would bring “a fight for the soul of our party,” and said Republicans would have to reject the politics of racial resentment, which he called “a loser.”

“Our job is not to preach to a shrinking choir; it’s to win converts,” said Mr. Ryan, who has endorsed Mr. Trump but criticizes his pronouncements with regularity…

The appeal of a Trump-like message may go beyond even the share of primary voters that Mr. Trump captured: Exit polls found solid majorities of Republican primary voters supportive of his pledge to block Muslims from entering the country. In the general election, polls show most voters oppose that plan…

Mr. Trump’s approach is an alluring path to prominence on the right: Already, a handful of up-and-coming Republicans from the party’s conservative wing have moved to court his core voters. Some have argued his message could be more potent in the hands of a less flawed messenger.

Mr. Pence, who sharply criticized some of Mr. Trump’s proposals in the Republican primary race, campaigned hard to join his ticket in the general election.

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a first-term lawmaker who has taken steps toward a future presidential race, argued that the party should be prepared to go further than Mr. Trump and propose new restrictions on even legal immigration…

Speaking of Speaker Ryan: