By Doug Porter
Republican Donald Trump gave a speech on economic policy before the Detroit Economic Club on Monday. The appearance was supposed to constitute a reboot of his flagging campaign, recently beset by blunders, bluster, and bullshit.
The candidate mostly stayed on script, reading on despite fourteen interruptions by protesters at pre-planned intervals. There was little actual news in the content of the address unless you want to call out revising his tax cuts to match the ones House Speaker Paul Ryan has been proposing.
Trumpian economics consists of triggering a trade war, drastically increasing the deficit and a massive transfer of wealth to the to already rich, while the rest of us wait for tax deductions we can’t use, along with the same old promises about deregulation/trickle-down as the road to prosperity.
“I want to jump-start America,” Trump said, “and it won’t even be that hard.”
From Raw Story:
Economist Robert Reich said Donald Trump’s economic policy speech in Detroit on Monday represented a policy shift — albeit a dubious one.
“What this represents is a walk-back from sheer lunacy — the sheer economic lunacy of the original Donald Trump plan — to the normal garden-variety nonsense of Republican supply-side economics,” the former labor secretary told MSNBC host Chris Hayes.
While Trump promised that his plan — which involved cutting the estate tax, among other proposals — would “those who have the very least,” Reich argued that it actually followed through on the conservative tradition of hiding benefits for the rich inside ostensibly populist rhetoric.
Trump’s plan makes sense in light of the billionaires, hedge-fund managers, CEOs, and financiers who make up the majority of his all-white-male economic advisory team.
“If this is any indication of the kind of people Trump would rely on in his presidency, he’ll create an American oligarchy to rival Putin’s,” Reich wrote on Facebook. “Maybe that’s the point.”
Trust me, many people are saying his plans don’t add up.
“Many people are saying” was trending as a hashtag earlier this week. Here’s the reason, via Talking Points Memo:
Donald Trump’s latest unsubstantiated allegation against Hillary Clinton is that her use of a private email server as secretary of state resulted in the death of an Iranian scientist who provided intel to the U.S. As Twitter users were quick to point out, the tweeted accusation came couched in one of the GOP nominee’s favorite phrases: “Many people are saying.”
Trump frequently relies on this vague construction both to promote his own products and to air far-fetched conspiracies while distancing himself from the source. He claimed in 2013 that “many people have claimed” his cologne “Success” was “the best scent,” and in early 2015 that “so many people” have told him he should replace Chuck Todd as the host of NBC’s “Meet the Press.” In May, he used the wording to suggest that there was something “very fishy” about the suicide of former Clinton administration counsel Vince Foster.
Like his other frequently-used phrase “There’s something going on,” it suggests an ominous association between two subjects but isn’t clearly sourced enough to be discounted for lack of evidence.
How Much Do You Love Democracy?
Lack of voter interest in non-presidential elections has led to a seriously bloated ballot this fall. In addition to the 17 (or 18, depending) statewide measures, San Diego City voters will have an additional dozen to consider.
Some of those local measures are simple updates to the City Charter. Others are updates to the charter complete with a hidden agenda. And then there are the two measures concerning the future of downtown.
They’re long. Like 200 pages long, taken together. Ain’t nobody but a lawyer on Red Bull gonna read them. The City Council is looking for ways to not have to print these tomes in the voter guides traditionally mailed to all registered voters. It’s expensive, and, like I said, most people won’t read it.
City officials are looking for ways to cut the projected costs of November’s general election, which could reach $5.5 million — well over what was budgeted for this year.
A dozen city propositions will appear on the ballot, including the two citizens initiatives, which could run past 200 pages if the text has to be printed and mailed to voters, City Clerk Elizabeth Maland said.
One of the initiatives would fund construction of a Chargers stadium and convention center annex. The other would prohibit a waterfront expansion of the current convention center and encourage educational and park uses of the Qualcomm Stadium site if the local National Football League franchise vacates the premises.
Possibilities being considered include letting voters know where they can read the texts of the initiatives online or mailing a single copy to each household with registered voters. The council will hold a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss these options.
Fear not, SDFreePress readers. Our General Election Progressive Voter Guide, published at about the time mail-in ballots are delivered, will boil all these ballot measures down and give you the resources to further research issues that are of interest. The newsroom gnomes at the Freep are already hard at work.
Nothing to See Here, Move Along
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis isn’t on the witness list for the trial of Mexican tycoon Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, even though his illegal contributions to her failed 2012 mayoral campaign are at the heart of the prosecution’s case.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars were funneled to the Dumanis campaign and nobody in any position of authority knew anything about it. Or soi we’re told.
Take the website redesign for the Dumanis campaign, for example. It was handled by a DC firm the FBI says accepted “approximately” $190,000 in October 2012 from a company based in Mexico in support of the DA’s campaign.
From the Union-Tribune:
During that time Ron Nehring, the former head of the county and state Republican Party who was working on the Dumanis campaign, exchanged emails about the website redesign with ElectionMall workers.
Nehring also testified Thursday and said he always thought that Singh and his company were being paid by the campaign. He said he had “no reason to believe” that Singh was volunteering and assumed the company was being paid.
The apparently murky knowledge among Dumanis campaigners about the ElectionMall work was in stark contrast to what was understood in the company. Aaron Ronsheim, a former director of web strategy for the company, testified Singh told him flat out the campaign was not paying — but “Mr. A. paid for some of the work on the Bonnie Dumanis campaign.”
In an email from March 2012, another ElectionMall employee referred an attached invoice for the “betty boo” project — the code name Singh used for the Dumanis campaign, prosecutors contend. The invoice was for $100,000 — an amount the email said was $25,000 more than previously billed a month earlier, but that “Mr. A verbally agreed” to the increase.
Then there’s the conference call between Azano, his co-conspirators, and the District Attorney.
Again, from the Union-Tribune, which has been providing coverage of this case that would have been unimaginable just a few years back:
[Defense attorney Michael] Wynne asked him several questions about an email Dumanis had written on Dec. 25, 2011, to Nehring, campaign consultant Jennifer Tierney and other top campaign staff. It described a conference call she had with Singh, Azano and Ernie Encinas, a retired San Diego detective who worked for Azano, supported Dumanis and brought the campaign in contact with Azano.
In the email Dumanis refers to Azano as “Mr. A” says he is “very wealthy,” had a relationship with Singh and wanted the campaign services guru to meet with her campaign. Wynne peppered Nehring with questions about who “he” or “him” in the emails could be. Azano? Encinas?
Nehring responded what he thought the email meant, leading Wynne to observe, “The best person to explain it would be Bonnie Dumanis?”
“Perhaps,” Nehring said.
Republican Creeps: America Rising
Environmentalist Bill McKibben took to the New York Times on Sunday with an op-ed about the stalking campaign targeting himself and other climate activists. Camera crews, hired by a group called America Rising Squared, are following environmentalists as they going through their daily personal routines, looking for ‘gotcha’ moments.
Heaven forbid that one of these activists should forget to bring reusable bags to the grocery store because there will soon be a video of this slip up posted on a website called CoreNews.org.
From Common Dreams:
DeSmog first covered this new “creepy” campaign back in May, and since then, the harrassment has only gotten worse, as Bill McKibben writes in Sunday’s New York Times. In his op-ed, “My Right Wing Stalkers” (the web headline is: “Embarrassing Photos of Me, Thanks to My Right-Wing Stalkers”), McKibben describes what it’s like to live under surveillance, and the psychological toll that it takes on him and his family. (One particularly infuriating detail: McKibben’s daughter believes that she, too, is being filmed in public.)
To be watched so much is a kind of never-ending nightmare. And sometimes it’s just infuriating. I skipped the funeral this summer of Patrick Sorrento, an important mentor to me at my college newspaper, because I didn’t want my minder to follow me and cause a distracting spectacle. When my daughter reports someone taking pictures of her at the airport, it drives me nuts. I have no idea if it’s actually this outfit; common decency would suggest otherwise, but that seems an increasingly rare commodity.
Almost as startling as the tactics of the campaign is how closely it is tied to the mainstream Republican establishment. Core News (and by extension, America Rising Squared) might have the look and feel of a Right Wing lunatic fringe campaign funded by the darkest of oil and gas money. But in actuality it’s a foundational block of a prominent GOP opposition research firm, the heads of which have collectively spent decades working for big name Republicans like Mitt Romney, Marco Rubio, John McCain, and even the National Republican Congressional Commitee and the Republican National Committee itself.
Republican Creeps: Roger Ailes
The fall of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes from grace has led to an outpouring of horror stories. The man was/is, to put it bluntly, a misogynist pig.
Vanity Fair reports today that parent corporation 21st Century Fox is in negotiations with Gretchen Carlson to settle sexual harassment claims for a number north of $10 million dollars.
More women have come forth to testify against Ailes, with stories adding to the depth of his depravity. Perhaps the most egregious account was published in New York Magazine, by a woman who agreed to his advances and was subsequently entrapped for 20 years before taking a $3.15 million severance agreement in 2011.
New York Magazine also published a report–now confirmed elsewhere–that Ailes used corporate monies to fund a Black Room, where operatives were tasked with surveillance and negative public relations efforts aimed at journalists and others disliked by the Fox CEO.
Targets of the campaigns included journalists John Cook and Hamilton Nolan, who have aggressively covered Ailes for Gawker. According to one source, private detectives followed Cook around his Brooklyn neighborhood, and Fox operatives prepared a report on him with information they intended to leak to blogs. (According to the source, one proposed line of attack claimed that Cook — whose wife, Slate news director Allison Benedikt, is Jewish — was anti-Semitic.) “I’m honored to be among Roger Ailes’s enemies,” Cook said.
Meanwhile, the culture of fear instilled by Ailes at Fox News, where many believed their phones were tapped, continues on.
From Vanity Fair:
Ailes’s second-floor office now stands empty. Floors below it, in Fox News’s subterranean newsroom, a former Sam Goody retail outlet, staffers are still coming to terms with the rollicking events of the past month. During periods of crisis, reporters and producers tend to bury their heads in their stories, rallying around one another in their commitment to their work. But there is only one topic on people’s minds at Fox News these days: Ailes.
Sentiment in the newsroom is generally split between those who proclaim surprise (particularly regarding the sheer number of women who have alleged that Ailes harassed them) and those who feel professional relief—not all of them women. Ailes was gender-blind when it came to relentlessly pushing his talking points and admonishing those who did not follow along. Still, others said they remain fearful that even discussing Ailes at all could result in some form of punishment.
It’s important to remember that Ailes wasn’t just some miscreant executive. The news network he ran with an iron fist has profoundly affected American political culture. These latest revelations merely expose the fundamental immorality underlying contemporary right-wing activism.
On This Day: 1927 – Nine men and one woman met in Oakland, Calif., to form what was to become the 230,000-member California School Employees Association, representing school support staff throughout the state. 1945 – The first network television broadcast occurred in Washington, DC. The program announced the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. 1974 – President Richard Nixon formally resigned. Gerald R. Ford took his place, and became the 38th president.
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