November 2, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 7:08 PM


A Disgraceful Evangelical Meeting with Mohammed bin Salman (DANIEL LARISON, November 2, 2018, American Conservative)

The American evangelicals that participated in this farce should be ashamed:

A group of prominent U.S. evangelical figures, including several of President Trump's evangelical advisers, met Thursday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose role in the killing of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi remains unclear. In a statement that included smiling photos, the group said "it is our desire to lift up the name of Jesus whenever we are asked and wherever we go."

In addition to its horrific policy in Yemen and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by agents of the government, Saudi Arabia has one of the worst records for religious freedom in the world. It is one of the most dangerous places to be Christian. Meeting with the architect of the Saudi government's atrocious war in Yemen at a time when half of the people in that country are on the verge of starving to death reflects truly appalling judgment on the part of the Americans that attended. It's a disgrace...

Posted by orrinj at 6:51 PM


Pentagon rejected request for troops to act as emergency law enforcement at border (Ryan Browne and Nicole Gaouette,  November 2, 2018, CNN)

When the Trump administration first asked the Pentagon to send troops to the southern border, they wanted them to perform emergency law enforcement functions, CNN has learned.

The Pentagon said no.

According to two defense official familiar with the request, the Department of Homeland Security asked that the Pentagon provide a reserve force that could be called upon to provide "crowd and traffic control" and safeguard Customs and 

The Pentagon rejected the request on October 26, according to one of the officials, even as it signed off on providing DHS with air and logistics support, medical personnel and engineers.

The request was turned down because the Department of Defense felt that active duty troops do not have the authority to conduct that type of mission unless they are granted additional authorities by the President.

Defense officials have repeatedly emphasized the troops at the border are there to support civil authorities and that they are not expected to come into any contact with migrants.

Posted by orrinj at 6:25 PM


Judge denies Trump's request for stay in emoluments case (Jonathan O'Connell and David A. Fahrenthold November 2, 2018, Washington Post)

A federal judge on Friday denied President Trump's request to stay a lawsuit alleging he is violating the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments, a decision that paves the way for plaintiffs to seek information about customers at his D.C. hotel.

U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte in Greenbelt, Md., denied the Justice Department's request that he pause the case to allow a higher court to intervene. And Messitte sharply questioned the president's position that his business does not improperly accept gifts or payments -- called emoluments -- as defined by the Constitution.

By Trump's analysis, Messitte wrote, the term emoluments is the subject of such "substantial grounds of disagreement" that payments his business received from foreign governments could not qualify. The judge did not agree: "The Court finds this a dubious proposition."

If Donald can't cash in on this gig he'll quit.

Posted by orrinj at 6:07 PM


Nigerian Army Uses Trump's Remark About Migrants and Rock-Throwing to Justify Shooting Shiite Protesters (MATTHEW ZEITLIN, NOV 02, 2018, Slate)

Earlier this week, the Nigerian Army fired on a group of Shiite Muslim protesters in Abuja, the New York Times reported, killing as many as 40 and wounding 100. The army later posted a video on Twitter (now deleted) pointing to Trump's words about the military's potential response to migrants who throw rocks but are otherwise unarmed. The video stated, "Please Watch and Make Your Deductions," the New York Times reported, and showed Trump saying, "We're not going to put up with that. ... They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back."

The video was a response to Amnesty International, which criticized the Nigerian government and said the army had killed at least 45 protesters, an army spokesman told the Times.

"We released that video to say if President Trump can say that rocks are as good as a rifle, who is Amnesty International?" the army spokesman said. 

Posted by orrinj at 5:55 PM

NO ONE HATES JUST MEXICANS (profanity alert):

MICHAEL COHEN SAYS TRUMP REPEATEDLY USED RACIST LANGUAGE BEFORE HIS PRESIDENCY:  As he awaits sentencing, Trump's former lawyer says that he wants to clear his conscience and warn voters about what he sees as the president's true nature in advance of the midterm elections. (EMILY JANE FOX, NOVEMBER 2, 2018, Vanity Fair)

During our conversation, Cohen recalled a discussion at Trump Tower, following the then-candidate's return from a campaign rally during the 2016 election cycle. Cohen had watched the rally on TV and noticed that the crowd was largely Caucasian. He offered this observation to his boss. "I told Trump that the rally looked vanilla on television. Trump responded, 'That's because black people are too stupid to vote for me.'" (The White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

This conversation, he noted, was reminiscent of an exchange that the two men had engaged in years earlier, after Nelson Mandela's death. "[Trump] said to me, 'Name one country run by a black person that's not a s[***]hole,' and then he added, 'Name one city,'" Cohen recalled, a statement that echoed the president's alleged comments about African nations earlier this year. (White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied those comments at the time. She added that "no one here is going to pretend like the president is always politically correct--he isn't." She subsequently noted that it was "one of the reasons the American people love him.")

Cohen also recounted a conversation he had with Trump in the late 2000s, while they were traveling to Chicago for a Trump International Hotel board meeting. "We were going from the airport to the hotel, and we drove through what looked like a rougher neighborhood. Trump made a comment to me, saying that only the blacks could live like this." After the first few seasons of The Apprentice, Cohen recalled how he and Trump were discussing the reality show and past season winners. The conversation wended its way back to the show's first season, which ended in a head-to-head between two contestants, Bill Rancic and Kwame Jackson. "Trump was explaining his back-and-forth about not picking Jackson," an African-American investment manager who had graduated from Harvard Business School. "He said, 'There's no way I can let this black f-g win.'" (Jackson told me that he had heard that the president made such a comment. "My response to President Trump is simple and Wakandan," he said, referring to the fictional African country where Black Panther hails from. "'Not today, colonizer!'")

In retrospect, Cohen told me that he wishes he had quit the Trump Organization when he heard these offensive remarks. "I should have been a bigger person, and I should have left," he said. He didn't, he said, because he grew numb to the language and, in awe of the job, forgave his boss's sins. Cohen, in fact, even defended the president publicly against charges of racism. Last year, he explicitly tweeted as much. Cohen explained that he defended the president because he thought the magnitude of the office would eventually force him to be more judicious with his words. "I truly thought the office would change him," he said. But it hasn't, Cohen continued. In fact, he said, it has exacerbated his rhetoric.

Posted by orrinj at 5:39 PM

OLD SOUL (profanity alert):

Is Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram the Future of the Blues? (BRIAN HIATT, 11/02/18, Rolling Stone)

Blues prodigy Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, 19, grew up in Clarksdale, Mississippi, 10 minutes away from the crossroads where Robert Johnson supposedly did some business with Beelzebub. Ingram swears he hasn't done the same  ("Nah, I didn't do any of that") but he's one of the only young people he knows of in 21st-century Clarksdale with any interest in the city's musical legacy: "The only people who care are pretty much the elderly people," Ingram says. "I do think I have an old soul, that I've been here before."

When his dad showed him a Muddy Waters documentary in fourth grade, Ingram was entranced. He started taking classes at the Delta Blues Museum in town, and absorbed a century's worth of guitar styles, building a sound that encompasses B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and even Prince.

Posted by orrinj at 5:37 PM


Obama Asks Hecklers at Miami Rally Why They're "So Mad" (KARA VOGHT, NOVEMBER 2, 2018, Mother Jones)

At a campaign rally in Florida on Friday, Barack Obama cautioned a fired-up crowd about the dangers of divisive political rhetoric as hecklers interrupted his remarks. The repeated taunts--at times, curse words directed at the former president--prompted Obama to wonder aloud why his political opponents, who currently hold both houses of Congress and the White House, exhibit so much anger.

"Why is it that the folks who won the last election are so mad all the time?" he said. "When I won the presidency, at least my side felt pretty good."

Posted by orrinj at 2:53 PM


The CIA's communications suffered a catastrophic compromise. It started in Iran. (Zach Dorfman and Jenna McLaughlin, 11/02/18, Yahoo News)

U.S. authorities believe Iran probably unwound the CIA's asset network analytically -- meaning they deduced what Washington knew about Tehran's own operations, then identified Iranians who held that information, and eventually zeroed in on possible sources. This hunt for CIA sources eventually bore fruit -- including the identification of the covert communications system.

A 2011 Iranian television broadcast that touted the government's destruction of the CIA network said U.S. intelligence operatives had created websites for fake companies to recruit agents in Iran by promising them jobs, visas and education abroad. Iranians who initially thought they were responding to legitimate opportunities would end up meeting with CIA officers in places like Dubai or Istanbul for recruitment, according to the broadcast.

Though the Iranians didn't say precisely how they infiltrated the network, two former U.S. intelligence officials said that the Iranians cultivated a double agent who led them to the secret CIA communications system. This online system allowed CIA officers and their sources to communicate remotely in difficult operational environments like China and Iran, where in-person meetings are often dangerous.

A lack of proper vetting of sources may have led to the CIA inadvertently running a double agent, said one former senior official -- a consequence of the CIA's pressing need at the time to develop highly placed agents inside the Islamic Republic. After this betrayal, Israeli intelligence tipped off the CIA that Iran had likely identified some of its assets, said the same former official.

The losses could have stopped there. But U.S. officials believe Iranian intelligence was then able to compromise the covert communications system. At the CIA, there was "shock and awe" about the simplicity of the technique the Iranians used to successfully compromise the system, said one former official.

In fact, the Iranians used Google to identify the website the CIA was were using to communicate with agents. Because Google is continuously scraping the internet for information about all the world's websites, it can function as a tremendous investigative tool -- even for counter-espionage purposes. And Google's search functions allow users to employ advanced operators -- like "AND," "OR," and other, much more sophisticated ones -- that weed out and isolate websites and online data with extreme specificity.

According to the former intelligence official, once the Iranian double agent showed Iranian intelligence the website used to communicate with his or her CIA handlers, they began to scour the internet for websites with similar digital signifiers or components -- eventually hitting on the right string of advanced search terms to locate other secret CIA websites. From there, Iranian intelligence tracked who was visiting these sites, and from where, and began to unravel the wider CIA network.

Posted by orrinj at 12:34 PM


The appalling toll of children shot in the US (Jeff Glorfeld, 11/02/18, Cosmos)

Almost 112,000 US children were admitted to hospital suffering gunshot wounds between 2009 and 2013, prompting paediatricians to describe the situation as "a national public health crisis".

The term was used more than a year ago, in a June 2017 article in the journal Hospital Pediatrics, discussing the role of paediatricians in reducing gun-related carnage in the United States.

One of the co-authors of the piece, Shilpa Patel, part of the Children's National Health System, this week is presenting her latest research at the 2018 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition, in Orlando, Florida, from November 2 to 6.

"Firearm-related injuries are leading causes of unintentional injury deaths in children and adolescents," she and her colleagues concluded in their 2017 report.

"Children are more likely to be victims of unintentional injuries, the majority of which occur in the home, and adolescents are more likely to suffer from intentional injuries due to either assault or suicide attempts.

Since then, the crisis has, if anything deepened. Presenting the latest analysis, Patel is set to tell conference attendees that figures from the US national hospital emergency-room database, known as the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, reveal 111,839 emergency department visits for paediatric firearm-related injuries in the four years starting 2009.

Posted by orrinj at 12:27 PM


'Are You Actually an M.D.?': A Black Doctor Is Questioned as She Intervenes on a Delta Flight  (Christine Hauser, Nov. 2, 2018, NY Times)

Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford was on a Delta flight from Indianapolis to Boston on Tuesday when she noticed the woman next to her showing signs of distress. So Dr. Stanford did what she was trained to do in more than a decade of experience as a doctor -- she began to assist her.

But Dr. Stanford, who is black, said she had just started to help the passenger when a flight attendant approached and asked if she was a doctor. Dr. Stanford said yes and, without being asked, she took out her medical license, which says she is a physician registered in Massachusetts and has the letters "M.D." after her name.

"I know I don't look the part," Dr. Stanford, 39, said in an interview on Thursday. "So I just carry it with my driver's license at all times."

The flight attendant glanced at it and walked away, she said. As Dr. Stanford continued to try to calm the passenger, another flight attendant approached and asked to see the license. She, too, looked at it and walked away. Then the two flight attendants returned together and began another series of questions.

Posted by orrinj at 12:19 PM


A Conspiracy So Vastly Inept (John Middlebrook, November 2, 2018, Weekly Standard)

[E]ven in the absence of the alleged victim, Wohl and Burkman persisted with their press conference. The date given in the Wohl documents--"on or about August 2, 2010"--was also problematic. As the Washington Post reported on August 3, 2010: 

Robert Mueller [was spotted] dutifully doing his jury duty in D.C. Superior Court on Monday. The FBI director (with an ear-pieced security guy in tow) made it all the way into the jury box for voir dire on a gun-possession case and got a warm smile from the judge . . . but he was quickly excused (the "work in law enforcement?" question seemed to do it).

"Was [Mueller] only at jury duty?" Wohl asked at the press conference. "Sometimes people go to jury duty, but they're also somewhere else." Wohl and Burkman pointed out that Mueller, according to an August 6, 2010, press release on the FBI's website, had spoken at a cybersecurity conference in New York, which lasted from August 2 to August 5. The press release didn't specify the date of Mueller's speech. He delivered it on August 5.

Burkman and Wohl's story gave every appearance of being a farce--a sick one, to be sure--in the days leading up to the press conference. On October 30, the Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand reported that journalists had received an email from a "Lorraine Parsons" alleging she had been offered money to say Mueller had assaulted her.

No one has been able to confirm whether Parsons is a real person. But a woman named Jennifer Taub, a Vermont law professor, had received an email, apparently from a firm calling itself "Surefire Intelligence," offering money to Taub to discuss her "encounters" with Mueller. The Atlantic's Bertrand reported: "Taub told me she has never had any encounters with Mueller, though she does appear on CNN at times as an expert commentator on the Mueller probe."'s an article of faith on the Right that you can fake credible sexual assault allegations.

Posted by orrinj at 12:13 PM


Iranians hail Houthi 'resistance' for bringing potential end to Yemen war (Al-Monitor,  November 1, 2018)

In other Iranian papers, the Khashoggi crisis played central to a reading between the lines of the US cease-fire call. It is a "policy reversal," According to daily Khorasan, "It is a policy reversal [that] came after pressure mounted on Washington and its allies in the wake of revelations on the Saudi complicity in the journalist's murder." The paper criticized the United States for fanning the flames of the war with its "nonstop flow of arms to the Saudis."

"This war of attrition is further eroding the Saudis and their allies," wrote Reformist paper Ebtekar, which praised the Houthis for preventing a Saudi-Emirati takeover of the strategic port of Hodeidah. "The West is now at a crossroads to decide, as it finds Saudis stuck in the Yemen quagmire." The paper claimed that following the Khashoggi scandal, the Saudi allies are trying to pull the kingdom out of one of the multiple crises it is facing. 

Kayhan, a staunch supporter of Yemen's Houthi fighters, called the development a "retreat" by Washington under public pressure and "another defeat" for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. "But let's not forget that the US move is [mere] publicity and deception ahead of the upcoming midterm elections," Kayhan wrote. The paper noted that if the administration was sincere, "it would not have rejected calls to stop selling arms to the Saudis.

The entirety of the WoT is helping Shi'a and Islamists achieve self-governance at the expense of Salafi Islamicists. 

Turkey lifts sanctions on U.S. officials, matching Washington's move  (Reuters, 11/02/18) 

Turkey lifted sanctions on Friday on the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General, the foreign ministry said, minutes after Washington removed two Turkish ministers from its sanctions list.

Posted by orrinj at 4:30 AM


'If They Do Not Yield -- Kill All Males': State Rep Defends Christian 'Manifesto' as FBI Investigates (Ronn Blitzer, November 2nd, 2018, Law & Crime)

Washington State Rep. Matt Shea (R-District 4a) has drawn the attention of the public, media, and law enforcement after a document associated with him was leaked, titled "Biblical Basis for War." The four-page outline, being described by local press as a "manifesto," cites sources from the Old and New Testament to show why and how to go to war, according to the Bible. The local sheriff saw a copy about six weeks ago and took immediate action.

"I gave it straight to the FBI," Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told the local Spokesman-Review. NBC affiliate KHQ reported that the FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force said they are investigating it.

The document gives details such as when to go to war ("When God says its [sic] time"), and what is needed to have a "Holy Army." It also describes "terms of justice and righteousness" for accepting surrender. Those include: no abortion, same-sex marriage, communism, no idolatry or occultism, and those surrendering have to follow the Bible. As for enemies who don't agree to these terms? "If they do not yield - kill all males," it says.


Posted by orrinj at 4:22 AM

THAT'S NOT CRICKET (profanity alert):

Hotdogs, hot data & home runs: What MLB's World Series is really like: 'There's the game you see, and there's the game you don't.' Jonathan Liew crossed the pond for a taste of Major League Baseball - and here's what he found (Jonathan Liew, 11/01/18, Independent)

To those steeped in the game, of course, this sort of thing is second nature. "If you've grown up with baseball, then it's not a complicated sport," one local journalist explains. Then again, as he admits, he's been watching it for 28 years. I make a quick calculation based on my current age and realise with alarm that even with a fair wind, I'll be 60 before I fully understand baseball. Even with the generous deadlines at The Independent, there's no way they're giving me that long to write this piece.

So in desperate need of a shortcut, I head down to the organised chaos of batting practice, where exceptionally bulky men thwack baseballs around in the midst of what can only be described as an utter circus: a phalanx of television crews all filming pieces to camera, journalists and VIPs milling around and catching up with old friends, the umpires solemnly striding past to inspect the boundaries, a team from the Ellen DeGeneres show conducting an interview with an earnest-looking eight-year-old boy in an umpire's outfit.

A man named Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations at the Red Sox, very charitably offers to give a beleaguered British journalist a few pointers. "It's kind of like when I watch cricket or rugby," he laughs. "I'd say a couple of things. Keep an eye on the starting pitcher. He's the key to the game. And the second thing is getting guys on base. If one team is consistently getting guys on base, that's a pretty good indicator of which way things are going."

The game begins, after the sort of chintzy opening festivities that America has turned into a fine art. A fiesta of fireworks. Some soft-rock monstrosity masquerading as the Stars and Stripes. Fighter jets in formation. Enough soldiers to annexe a small island nation. Literally the biggest flag I've ever seen in my life. The camera wastes no time in zooming in on some of the prominent celebrities perched in the posh seats, just behind home plate: Larry King, Jason Bateman, Rob Lowe, Kobe Bryant. 

But I've gone in the other direction, right up to the top deck on the ninth floor, where you find the cheapest tickets and the best atmosphere. Here, partisan home fans wildly celebrate every hit, every strike and every marginal call by high-fiving anyone within range. Some even bring mitts in the hope of catching foul balls. During the break between innings, they queue up to wash the whole experience down with industrial quantities of food: hot dogs, garlic fries, pizza slices the size of a ringbinder, baseball helmets filled with nachos and guacamole.

There are 81 games in a regular baseball season, but as I chat to fans on the top deck, it turns out that virtually nobody goes to all of them. For the majority, following a baseball team is a mixed-media experience, a collage of boozy evenings in front of the telly, radio commentaries in the car or truck, workplace fantasy pools, and arguing with strangers online about who screwed up on a particular play. Baseball fans love nothing better than arguing about who screwed up. In a way, it's an inversion of the customary proverb: in baseball failure has many parents, success is an orphan.

"The game will tell you something," says Alex Cora, manager of the Red Sox. "You just have to pay attention to it." And as a glorious red sunset settles on Dodger Stadium, slowly and by degrees the game begins to draw me in. It's only when studying closely that you begin to grasp the epic, gladiatorial quality of the duel: the way pitcher and batter eye each other up with a grudging respect, sanctifying their respective spaces in preparation for battle. Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello tugging on virtually every loose appendage before he delivers the ball: his earlobes, his collar, his shirt front, both shoulders. The enormous Cuban Yasiel Puig, who'll hit a three-run homer in game four, thrashing himself all over with his bat, as if flagellating himself with a birch. Like any well-established sport, baseball strikes me first and foremost as a game of rituals.

It's a taut, tight game. The Dodgers take the lead with a home run at the bottom of the third. The Red Sox level in the eighth, go 2-1 up in the 13th, and then as night falls, surrender their advantage almost immediately through an error by pinch runner Ian Kinsler. Then, with the stadium clock showing 12.30am, Muncy strikes. A feral roar of relief washes over the ballpark, accompanied by a stampede of spectators rushing back from the toilets and the smoking areas. "You want baseball explained to you, my media friend?" exclaims one ecstatic Dodgers fan, recognising me from earlier. "Explain this: how come every time they hit a home run, I'm not in my f[***]ing seat?"

There's the game you see, and there's the game you don't. The following night, as Puig's enormous three-run homer puts the Dodgers into a commanding 4-0 lead in Game Four, the analytics website FanGraphs puts the Dodgers' win probability at 95.4 per cent. It's the 55th time the Dodgers have been four runs ahead this season, and they're yet to lose. But youneverknow. In the seventh inning, the Red Sox claw them back to 4-3. In the eighth, they level. In the ninth, as the Dodgers go to pieces, relief pitcher Dylan Floro is taken for five runs. The game finishes 9-6, the Red Sox 3-1 up, the World Series all but over.

Posted by orrinj at 4:12 AM


The first US official to be arrested for leaking is a Trump supporter (Max de Haldevang, October 25, 2018, Quartz)

Donald Trump has consistently claimed that a "deep state" of liberal civil servants are criminally leaking against him. However, the first official to be arrested for alleged leaks under his presidency appears to be a Trump supporter, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior adviser at the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), is accused of leaking information about private citizens' bank transactions, called Suspicious Activity Reports. Edwards provided a reporter with data that was used in 12 articles, the Department of Justice alleges.

Posted by orrinj at 4:11 AM


As Midterm Vote Nears, Trump Reprises a Favorite Message: Fear Immigrants (Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Nov. 1, 2018, NY Times)

In his remarks on Thursday afternoon, Mr. Trump appeared to promise a lethal response from the military if migrants threw rocks at soldiers. At Northern Command, the military headquarters overseeing the newly announced deployments to the border, military officials were shocked upon hearing the president's comments.

A Defense Department official said the American military's rules of engagement allowed deadly force to be used if a service member was faced with an imminent threat of death or injury. But the official said the military units headed to the border with weapons, such as the military police, would keep them stored unless told otherwise. The official could not say if they would be issued ammunition, but did not expect them to be in a position to use their weapons.

...our military isn't.

Posted by orrinj at 4:10 AM


Ron DeSantis, a Trump Ally, Struggles in Florida as Racial Flare-Ups Come to Fore (Patricia Mazzei and Stephanie Saul, Nov. 1, 2018, NY Times)

What seemed a winnable race for Republicans against Mr. Gillum, an outspoken progressive who supports impeaching Mr. Trump, has instead become neck-and-neck, with the charismatic Democrat drawing far larger crowds than Mr. DeSantis, a telegenic Fox News regular who has proved uneven on the trail.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, what has separated the two candidates most is how each has dealt with issues of race and identity. Mr. Gillum, who would become Florida's first African-American governor, has talked about both matters at length; Mr. DeSantis, who is white, has struggled to address questions about his past political associations with racists and xenophobes. [...]

One reason Mr. DeSantis may have stumbled is where he had come from: the conservative cocoon of the political right, where his rise to national prominence -- lifted by stoking fears of terrorism -- went little noticed because Mr. DeSantis was only a congressman in a reliably Republican seat. (He resigned after winning the August primary.)

Over nearly three terms in office, Mr. DeSantis, a 40-year-old Yale and Harvard graduate and former Navy prosecutor, became a familiar face on Fox, doing hits from Capitol Hill and flying to New York to appear from the network's flagship studio. He attended conferences billed as conservative gatherings where he made his name known in political circles that mattered.

Thrust into a marquee race in a purple state, however, Mr. DeSantis floundered.

In a Fox interview the day after the Aug. 28 primary, he said electing Mr. Gillum, 39, could "monkey this up," which Democrats denounced as a racist dog whistle. (Mr. DeSantis denied that.) News reports exposed how far-right extremists were among the organizers and attendees of some of the conferences he frequented. A white supremacist group targeted Mr. Gillum with offensive robocalls. A campaign contributor apologized for referring to former President Barack Obama with a racist slur, but Mr. DeSantis declined to return his donation.

Mr. DeSantis managed to regroup from that rough start. But the controversies have cast a shadow over his campaign.

During the candidates' last debate, Mr. DeSantis angrily rejected a question about his ties to a conservative author, David Horowitz, who has made incendiary statements.

"Are you going to play the McCarthy-ite game?" Mr. DeSantis asked, suggesting he was being found guilty by association. "How the hell am I supposed to know every single statement someone makes?"

Mr. Gillum spied his opening and pounced.

"I'm not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I'm simply saying the racists believe he's a racist," he said. 

Posted by orrinj at 4:04 AM


Fed's Powell Says Reduced Immigration Could Slow U.S. Economy (Craig Torres, November 1, 2018, Bloomberg)

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, in written responses to a Democratic senator, said reducing immigration could slow the economy over the longer run by limiting growth in the U.S. labor force.

The comments came in a written response to Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada Democrat who asked Powell if he agreed with pro-immigration comments by Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari. Kashkari, whose parents came from India and wife is from the Philippines, called immigration "as close to a free lunch as there is" for the American economy, according to a Wall Street Journal opinion column in January.

The Fed chairman's remarks in the August letter to the senator underscore some of the contradictions of the administration's economic policies. While its fiscal measures could stimulate growth and investment, trade and immigration policies could work against the economy. Powell told Cortez Masto that immigration accounts for about one-half of population growth annually, and that it directly affects gains in the labor force and thus economic increases.

The point of Trumpism is to shrink the economy so that we are not attractive to immigrants and minority fertility declines.

Posted by orrinj at 4:03 AM


Profile in civility: Teen who said he'd kill Rep. Curbelo joins him in call for unity (MARTIN VASSOLO, November 01, 2018, Miami Herald)

As politicians everywhere have called for tolerance amid a wave of violence ahead of the midterm elections, Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo took political civility to new heights on Thursday by standing beside the man who just last week threatened to kill him.

A week after the FBI arrested a teenager from Homestead for saying he would kill Curbelo, the lawmaker and his 19-year-old constituent held a joint press conference during which Curbelo publicly forgave the man, saying he had fallen "into the trap of violent political speech and hateful expression" festering in the country's political landscape and had no intention of carrying out his threat.

Curbelo, who is running for reelection in Florida's 26th Congressional district, said the man, Pierre Alejandro Verges-Castro, had apologized for threatening him on Twitter and that he didn't want the incident to "ruin" Verges-Castro's life.

"I'm pretty sure he had no idea how serious what he had done was," Curbelo said. "He does now. I'm grateful to him for being willing to not just learn a lesson himself, but to stand with me here today and to share what has been a difficult experience."

We are the adults in the room, not the worst delinquents.

Posted by orrinj at 4:01 AM


Trump's Nationalism Is Breaking Point for Some Suburban Voters, Risking G.O.P. Coalition (Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, Nov. 1, 2018, NY Times)

Two years ago, the presidential election hinged in large part on a rightward shift among working-class whites who deserted Democrats.

Tuesday's House election may turn on an equally significant and opposite force: a generational break with the Republican Party among educated, wealthier whites -- especially women -- who like the party's pro-business policies but recoil from President Trump's divisive language on race and gender.

Rather than seeking to coax voters like these back into the Republican coalition, Mr. Trump appears to have all but written them off, spending the final days of the campaign delivering a scorching message about preoccupations like birthright citizenship and a migrant "invasion" from Mexico that these voters see through as alarmist.

In Republican-leaning districts that include diverse populations or abut cities that do -- from bulwarks of Sunbelt conservatism like Houston and Orange County, Calif., to the well-manicured bedroom communities outside Philadelphia and Minneapolis -- the party is in danger of losing its House majority next week because Mr. Trump's racially-tinged nationalism has alienated these voters who once made up a dependable constituency.

Opposition to racism is the founding principle of the Party.

Posted by orrinj at 4:00 AM


Saudi crown prince described journalist as a dangerous Islamist in call with White House, officials say (John Hudson, Souad Mekhennet and Carol D. Leonnig November 1, 2018, Washington Post)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist days after his disappearance in a phone call with President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton, according to people familiar with the discussion.

In the call, which occurred before the kingdom publicly acknowledged Khashoggi's death, the crown prince urged Kushner and Bolton to preserve the U.S.-Saudi alliance and said the journalist was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group long opposed by Bolton and other senior Trump officials.

...than Muslim democracy.

Posted by orrinj at 3:56 AM


Roger Stone Sold Himself to Trump's Campaign as a WikiLeaks Pipeline. Was He? (Sharon LaFraniere, Michael S. Schmidt, Maggie Haberman and Danny Hakim, Nov. 1, 2018, NY Times)

When the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, appeared on a video link from Europe a month before the 2016 presidential election and vaguely promised to release a flood of purloined documents related to the race, the head of Donald J. Trump's campaign, Stephen K. Bannon, was interested.

He emailed the political operative Roger J. Stone Jr., who had been trying to reach him for days about what Mr. Assange might have in store. "What was that this morning???" Mr. Bannon asked on Oct. 4.

"A load every week going forward," Mr. Stone replied, echoing Mr. Assange's public vow to publish documents on a weekly basis until the Nov. 8 election.

The email exchange, not previously reported, underscores how Mr. Stone presented himself to Trump campaign officials: as a conduit of inside information from WikiLeaks, Russia's chosen repository for documents hacked from Democratic computers.