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More people tuning in to DNC convention, because it's better than Trump's crap-show (July 26, 2016, 07:35 PM)

Who knew that competence, diversity, love and tolerance would draw a bigger audience than the Trump shitshow? 

That said, the preliminary broadcast ratings for night one of the DNC are a little higher than those of the RNC: The DNC clocked in with 10.54 million total viewers and a 2.5 demo rating. The RNC weighed in with 10.1 million total and a 2.3 demo rating. Cable ratings released later this afternoon will give a fuller picture.

? and those preliminary numbers don?t even include expected increase in viewership during Bernie Sanders? speech, since that ran past the 11 pm ET time that ratings trackers stop tracking. 

And how much do you want to bet that Clinton?s speech outdraws Trump?s


Alan Grayson accused of abuse by ex-wife, explodes at reporter, loses two endorsements (July 26, 2016, 04:46 PM)

According to a new piece in Politico, Florida Rep. Alan Grayson's ex-wife filed multiple police reports against him over a two-decade period alleging that he had physically abused her. Lolita Grayson provided Politico with copies of those reports, which recount incidents ranging from 1994 through 2014 in both Virginia and Florida. Alan Grayson, who was never arrested or charged, denied the accusations, calling his former spouse "disturbed." The Graysons' eldest daughter, Skye, also issued a statement defending her father claiming her mother had "physically lashed out" at her family.

But despite his attempt at pushback, Grayson made things much worse on Tuesday when he showed up at Politico's lounge at the Democratic National Convention and blew up at reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere, who tried to question him about his ex-wife's charges. In an extremely tense encounter captured on video, Grayson bodily shoved Dovere out of his way while loudly claiming that Dovere had in fact pushed him. The video, however, indisputably shows that the much larger Grayson, who menacingly pressed himself against Dovere and pointed a finger in his face, is full of shit.

Grayson then declared that Dovere was "assaulting a member of Congress," said he'd turn over copy of the video to the capitol police, and as he walked into an elevator to leave, finished by saying, "I'm hoping somebody comes here and arrests you." To Dovere's tremendous credit, he continued to question Grayson throughout his outburst, asking him whether it was hypocritical for him to act so dismissively toward his ex-wife's accusations after having berated the media for supposedly ignoring similar allegations about his Republican opponent in 2012, attorney Todd Long.

Grayson, of course, did not answer, but at some point, he'll have to address the matter. Lolita Grayson's allegations would have been troubling enough on their own, but Grayson's explosion at Dovere only ensures that this story will get even more attention.

And whatever Grayson might say next, two progressive groups that had endorsed his bid for Senate have already heard enough. Both Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee withdrew their backing from the congressman, specifically citing Lolita Grayson?s accusations of abuse, and they called on Grayson to donate contributions from DFA and PCCC members to a charity for victims of domestic violence. Grayson faces Rep. Patrick Murphy, who has the backing of President Obama and other members of the Democratic leadership, in the Aug. 30 primary.


Trump still having trouble knowing how to respond when asked about white supremacist David Duke (July 26, 2016, 04:25 PM)

Donald Trump has a history with former KKK leader David Duke, and now his campaign is getting a little defensive over Duke's assertion that Trump left the door open to backing his senate candidacy during a Meet The Press appearance Sunday. Maggie Haberman writes:

Mr. Duke said on Monday that Mr. Trump did ?as much as he could? in a weekend interview to suggest that he could back Mr. Duke, the white nationalist, who is seeking a Louisiana Senate seat.

Asked about Mr. Duke?s remarks, Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump, emailed, ?Again, Mr. Trump has disavowed David Duke and will continue to do so.?

She went on: ?If you want to continue to waste our time with these questions, we will happily address them and allocate our resources for real stories pertaining to Mr. Trump?s candidacy for president of the United States and his message to the American people elsewhere.?

Touchy, touchy. A bit of a sore spot, perhaps, after Trump entirely failed to denounce Duke the first time he was asked about him earlier this year.

Here's what Trump said Sunday after being asked if he would support a Democrat over Duke for the Louisiana seat:

?I guess depending on who the Democrat is, but the answer would be yes. Look, the answer is as quick as you can say it ? in fact, I want to answer you before you ? because last time with another person in your position, I did it very quickly and they said he didn?t do it fast enough. Rebuked.?

I guess ... depending ... rebuked! Now isn't that just a vision of clarity. 


Republicans bring out big foreign policy guns: 'game show personality' Omarosa (July 26, 2016, 04:04 PM)

The Republican Party is pulling out all the stops in their attempt to elect fascist manchild Donald Trump. You want star power? You want top policy experts? Well tough, because you're not getting those. What's on offer instead, Republican National Committee Communications Director Sean Spicer?

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 Let's go to Wikipedia for the quick rundown of Omarosa's foreign policy credentials.

Omarosa (born Omarose Onee Manigault; February 5, 1974) is an American reality game show and reality show personality. She was a contestant on the first season of Donald Trump's original American version of The Apprentice. She later returned for the TV series sequel, Celebrity Apprentice, and the All-Stars edition of the show. TV Guide included her in their 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time. She currently teaches in the Executive Education Program and in the Executive MBA Program at Howard University School of Business, and is a regular political commentator on CNN.

Given how the rest of Trump's campaign has been shaping up, she might indeed land a spot on a President Trump?s national security team.


Why the DNC hack is like Watergate, only way worse (July 26, 2016, 03:51 PM)

Several days after Wikileaks released an unflattering trail of Democratic emails that led to the ouster of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, we are starting to get a scary picture of what the hacked emails might really represent: A Watergate-esque foreign interference in an American election. Franklin Foer writes:

What?s galling about the WikiLeaks dump is the way in which the organization has blurred the distinction between leaks and hacks. Leaks are an important tool of journalism and accountability. When an insider uncovers malfeasance, he brings information to the public in order to stop the wrongdoing. That?s not what happened here. The better analogy for these hacks is Watergate. To help win an election, the Russians broke into the virtual headquarters of the Democratic Party. The hackers installed the cyber-version of the bugging equipment that Nixon?s goons used?sitting on the DNC computers for a year, eavesdropping on everything, collecting as many scraps as possible. This is trespassing, it?s thievery, it?s a breathtaking transgression of privacy. It falls into that classic genre, the dirty trick. Yet that term feels too innocent to describe the offense. Nixon?s dirty tricksters didn?t mindlessly expose the private data of low-level staff.

Watergate is smart and seemingly apt framing: Everyone knows Richard Nixon's attempt to undermine the democratic process on the way to securing an election was an illegal act that led to his downfall. But some striking similarities between Watergate and an ostensible attempt by Vladimir Putin to benefit one party over the other should be downright frightening to every American.

As Foer concludes, "This document dump wasn?t a high-minded act of transparency." Instead, it appears to be Russia tinkering with American democracy.


Sanders shuts down third party talk and booers in his ranks: Our choice is either Clinton or Trump (July 26, 2016, 02:58 PM)

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has been pulling out the stops in her unlikely attempt to Ralph Nader the next election. Now, she's offering to cede the party's nomination to Bernie Sanders if Sanders will jump ship and join her. But Sanders isn't buying what she's selling.

"I don't know the leadership of the Green Party, but I respect what they're trying to do," Sanders said, at a breakfast sponsored by Bloomberg Politics. "They're focusing on very, very important issues. But I think right now ? what is it, three, four months before an election ? you're going to end up having a choice. Either Hillary Clinton is going to become president, or Donald Trump."

This is factually true: There is no chance a third party candidate will rally to beat both major party nominees short of those nominees, their backups, and their backups' backups all being eaten by bears in the next eight weeks or so. And a third party candidate premised on stripping Sanders supporters away from the Democrats will have the definitional effect of swinging the election toward Trump, a man who seeks to deport millions, close the borders, reduce press freedoms, and pursue specifically nationalist policies abroad. There is a name for this, and expectations on either side of the aisle that the worst instincts of a President Trump would be reined in by the "more responsible" people he would theoretically surround himself with are continuing to ignore the plain fact, as illustrated most recently by the goings-on of the Republican Convention, that Trump has absolutely no interest in surrounding himself with "more responsible" people.

Sanders was also characteristically blunt in his assessment of those still booing mention of his once-opponent's name.

"It is easy to boo, but it?s harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under Donald Trump," he said.

Short of grabbing individual booers by their nonexistent lapels, there's not much else he can do to make his position clear.


Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb takes Mike Pence's place in competitive Indiana gubernatorial race (July 26, 2016, 02:19 PM)

On Tuesday, the Indiana Republican Party?s 22-member central committee met and selected Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb as the GOP?s new gubernatorial nominee. Holcomb had the support of Gov. Mike Pence, who dropped his re-election campaign in order to become Donald Trump?s running mate, as well as Sen. Dan Coats and state Senate President David Long. Holcomb defeated Reps. Susan Brooks and Todd Rokita, as well as state Sen. Jim Tomes; according to Brian Howey, the first ballot was a close fight between Holcomb and Brooks, with Rokita taking very little support and Tomes none.

Holcomb will now face Democrat John Gregg, the former speaker of the Indiana state House. Gregg had been running against Pence for over a year, and he had $5.8 million in his campaign war chest at the end of June. Holcomb starts out the race with little money, but that may change quickly: Pence is permitted to transfer his $7 million warchest to Holcomb, and Holcomb has hinted the governor will end up doing just that.

Update: However, Politico?s Kevin Robillard reports that Pence may not be able to transfer much of his warchest to Holcomb. According to legal experts, Pence is subject to new FEC regulations now that he?s a federal candidate. Robillard writes that ?[f]ederal campaign finance laws impose limits on political giving by federal candidates and officeholders, and FEC opinions from 2003 and 2007 made clear to two state-turned-federal candidates that they could not make unlimited campaign contributions from their old state accounts, even though it was usually permitted under state law.?

Pence could send up to $2,700 per donor (the federal donation limit) to Holcomb, and the new GOP nominee likely can inherit the $1.5 million donation the Republican Governors Association gave Pence. (The RGA can also send even more money to Holcomb to help him hit the ground running.) However, much of Pence?s campaign account may be out of reach for him.


Warren vs. Trump: The anatomy of a thumb (July 26, 2016, 01:10 PM)

Once again, last night set the stage for a familiar dance between Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump: She annihilated any notion that he's done an honest day's work in his life, and he responded via Twitter. It's not the first round we've seen from these two prizefighters, and it got us thinking about what they come by naturally in the way of advantages. More specifically, what do their thumbs say about their genetic gifts, their lot in life, and what they can bring to the American people?

Donnie, we have to say, has proven himself an avid tweeter?and who wouldn't be with those stubby little thumbs, amiright?! It's a genetic advantage, hands down! When the going gets tough and Trump's rifling through his many complex thoughts, once he hits on something brillz?he can pounce!

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Booyah! What a gift, those crooked little thumbs! Damn him.

Warren on the other hand, appears to have a rather straight, upright thumb. That thing is sturdy as all get out and perhaps not all that suited to Twitter dominance (sorry senator, but we had to call a spade a spade). But it does look like the steadfast thumb of a champion: strong, determined, not prone to veering off course. It's like the North Star of thumbs?follow it and it will guide you home!

No, we're not geneticists. But sometimes it's just impossible to ignore what's right before your very eyes. So take your pick America: the North Star of thumbs, or the crooked little tweeter?


Bill Clinton to campaign in Utah. No, seriously: Utah. (July 26, 2016, 12:52 PM)

There?s expanding the map, and then there?s this: Bill Clinton is going to Utah to campaign for Hillary Clinton. 

Utah is one of nine states to have voted Republican in the past 12 presidential elections, but GOP nominee Donald Trump is unpopular in the state, scrambling the race.  

Polling averages give Trump a shockingly small 5-point lead in Utah, ordinarily one of the reddest states in the nation. A lead of this size is more like Clinton?s edge in traditional battleground states like Virginia and New Hampshire. As this week?s national polls remind us, Democrats still need to fight for every inch, every millimeter, of ground?and to repudiate Trump's dangerous positions as fully as possible But if we?re fighting for Utah ? I?d really rather be standing where Democrats are than where Republicans are. (Electorally. Morally, I?d always rather be standing where Democrats are.)


Trump has put us at DEFCON 1. We cannot shrug at 'Never Again' (July 26, 2016, 12:32 PM)

This is an alarmist post because the situation we face today is so alarming. Donald Trump is a genuine fascist who has no regard whatsoever for democratic governance. He has taken savage pleasure in fomenting violence at his own rallies, lamenting that ?nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.? He has heaped praise on the world?s most ruthless tyrants, like Vladimir Putin, Saddam Hussein, and Kim Jong Un. And he has the full-throated backing of modern-day Nazis whose support he has not only refused to disavow, but instead proactively cultivated. The threat he poses to the future of this republic and the safety of the world is unknowable and may be without limit.

These are not conclusions I draw lightly. I have always resisted facile comparisons to Hitler and his Nazi Party precisely because they are often so unwarranted and overwrought that they threaten to dilute the true horror of the Holocaust. And it?s a horror I understand all too well: My father was a Holocaust survivor who spent his entire life sharing his story on an almost daily basis so that the rest of us could understand the incomprehensible, so that we would not forget what had happened.

So that we could uphold the credo of ?Never Again.?

I never imagined we?d find ourselves standing on the brink, but my father taught me?taught many people?how to recognize the warning signs. He faced down the very same things Trump is threatening: a state that denied the basic humanity of its most vulnerable members, that set its citizens to war against one another, that did away with those it considered undesirable.

Now, the klaxons are blaring. We are at DEFCON 1. Everything is at risk. And this means one and only one thing: We must?absolutely must?do everything in our power to elect Hillary Clinton president in November.

I myself am excited to support and vote for Clinton, but if you are not, I implore you, please find a source of motivation that will propel you to the highest energy level possible this fall. Perhaps there is something you like about Tim Kaine. If not, there is definitely something you hate about Donald Trump.

Whatever inspiration you take, just please take some. Like Ezra Klein, who explained his fears about the danger of a Trump presidency so articulately, for the first time in my life I am scared of what our political future might hold in store. Trump is a dangerous man who will hurt many people if he is elected. My relationship with my father was always a distant one, in large part because his experience?his childhood disrupted by an empire of murderers who hunted him for years?was so alien. But now, even though he is gone, I feel closer than ever to him. And that is absolutely terrifying.

Too many times since the Shoah has humanity only honored ?Never Again? in the breach. We must not let this become another such occasion. But it?s not too late: We still have a chance to stop Trump if we unite behind Hillary Clinton. We can and we must honor the past by fighting for the future. Please let us link arms and combat this menace, because the alternative is too terrible to contemplate.


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