Sunday, July 31, 2016

No Jail For -Trump- Chump — Make It A "Personal Safety Room" Instead

Today, you lucky reader (if you're still here at this point), are in for a another generous double-helping of commentary about (wait for it) Donald T. (for "The") Chump. First, Chump attacks the parents of Captain (US Army) Humayun Khan because they are Muslims and had the audacity to criticize him. Recently it was a judge of Mexican descent that Chump attacked for his ethnicity and now it is a pair of grieving parents who are Muslim. If Chump is elected POTUS 45, the transition team will need to pad the walls of the Oval Office. However, with all of the guns in the hands of nutsw, there might be a solution. If this is a (fair & balanced) wish that an Arthur Bremer clone might attend one of Chump's "rallies."

Vannevar Bush HyperlinkBracketed numericsDirectory]
[1] The Ultimate Insult — (Turner Cowles)
[2] The 2016 Manchurian Candidate — (Timothy "Eags" Egan)

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[x] NY Fishwrap
Donald Trump Draws Ire For Criticism Of Parents Of Slain US Soldier
By Turner Cowles

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Donald J. Trump belittled the parents of a slain Muslim soldier who had strongly denounced Mr. Trump during the Democratic National Convention, saying that the soldier’s father had delivered the entire speech because his mother was not “allowed” to speak.

Mr. Trump’s comments, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that will air on Sunday, drew quick and widespread condemnation and amplified calls for Republican leaders to distance themselves from their presidential nominee. With his implication that the soldier’s mother had not spoken because of female subservience expected in some traditional strains of Islam, his comments also inflamed his hostilities with American Muslims.

Khizr Khan, the soldier’s father, lashed out at Mr. Trump in an interview on Saturday, saying his wife had not spoken at the convention because it was too painful for her to talk about her son’s death.

Mr. Trump, he said, “is devoid of feeling the pain of a mother who has sacrificed her son.”

Governor John Kasich of Ohio, a rival of Mr. Trump’s in the Republican primaries who has refused to endorse him, castigated him on Twitter. “There’s only one way to talk about Gold Star parents: with honor and respect,” he wrote, using the term for surviving family members of those who died in war.

And Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent, said he “was not a normal presidential candidate.”

“Someone who attacks everybody has something missing,” she told a crowd at a campaign stop in Youngstown, Ohio. “I don’t know what it is. I’m not going to get into that.”

Mr. Khan’s speech at the convention in Philadelphia was one of the most powerful given there. It was effectively the Democratic response to comments Mr. Trump has made implying many American Muslims have terrorist sympathies or stay silent when they know ones who do. Mr. Trump has called to ban Muslim immigration as a way to combat terrorism.

At the convention, Mr. Khan spoke about how his 27-year-old son, Humayun Khan, an Army captain, died in a car bombing in 2004 in Iraq as he tried to save other troops.

He criticized Mr. Trump, saying he “consistently smears the character of Muslims,” and pointedly challenged what sacrifices Mr. Trump had made. Holding a pocket-size copy of the Constitution, he asked if Mr. Trump had read it. Mr. Khan’s wife stood silently by his side.

Mr. Trump told Mr. Stephanopoulos that Mr. Khan seemed like a “nice guy” and that he wished him “the best of luck.” But, he added, “If you look at his wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me.”

Mr. Trump also told Maureen Dowd of The New York Times on Friday night, “I’d like to hear his wife say something.”

In a statement late Saturday, Mr. Trump called Captain Khan a “hero,” and reiterated his belief that the United States should bar Muslims from entering the country.

“While I feel deeply for the loss of his son,” he added, “Mr. Khan, who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, (which is false) and say many other inaccurate things.”

Even given Mr. Trump’s reputation for retaliating when attacked, his remarks about the Khans were startling. They called to mind one of his earliest counterpunches of the campaign, when he responded to criticism from Senator John McCain of Arizona, once a prisoner of war in Vietnam, by saying at a forum in Iowa, “I like people that weren’t captured.”

But Mr. McCain has a long history in the public eye. The Khans, before their convention appearance, had none.

“Trump is totally void of any decency because he is unaware of how to talk to a Gold Star family and how to speak to a Gold Star mother,” Mr. Khan said on Saturday.

Ms. Khan did speak on Friday to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, saying she “cannot even come in the room where his pictures are.”

When she saw her son’s photograph on the screen behind her on the stage in Philadelphia, she said, “I couldn’t take it.”

“I controlled myself at that time,” she said, while choking back tears. “It is very hard.”

In his interview with The Times, Mr. Khan said his wife had helped him craft his convention speech, and told him to remove certain attacks he had wanted to make against Mr. Trump.

But on Saturday, he unmuzzled himself. “Unlike Donald Trump’s wife, I didn’t plagiarize my speech,” Mr. Khan said, referring to how several lines from a Michelle Obama speech found their way into Melania Trump’s address at the Republican National Convention.

“I also wanted to talk about how he’s had three wives, and yet he talks about others’ ethics and their religion,” Mr. Khan said. “She said, ‘Don’t go to his level. We are paying tribute to our son.’”

Mr. Trump’s comments provoked another avalanche of criticism on social media, and again put Republican leaders in a difficult position, facing new demands that they repudiate their presidential nominee.

Even before Mr. Trump’s remarks to ABC News, Mr. Khan had asked that Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, denounce Mr. Trump.

On Saturday, neither directly addressed Mr. Trump’s new comments. Don Stewart, a spokesman for Mr. McConnell, referred to Mr. McConnell’s response last year that a ban on Muslims entering the United States would be unacceptable.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Mr. Ryan, delivered a similar response: “The speaker has made clear many times that he rejects this idea, and himself has talked about how Muslim Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.”

In the same ABC News interview, when Mr. Stephanopoulos said that Mr. Khan had pointed out that his family would not have been allowed into the United States under Mr. Trump’s proposed ban, the candidate replied, “He doesn’t know that.”

And when asked what he would say to the grieving father, Mr. Trump replied, “I’d say, ‘We’ve had a lot of problems with radical Islamic terrorism.’”

Mr. Stephanopoulos also noted that Mr. Khan said that Mr. Trump had “sacrificed nothing,” and had lost no one.

“I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices,” Mr. Trump replied. “I’ve worked very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs.”

Some of the fiercest condemnations on Saturday came from Republicans who have argued — unsuccessfully to date — that Mr. Trump is unfit to be president.

Tim Miller, a former communications director for Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, called Mr. Trump’s comments “inhuman.”

“Memo to Trump supporters,” Peter Wehner, a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, wrote on Twitter. “He’s a man of sadistic cruelty. With him there’s no bottom. Now go ahead & defend him.”

Reihan Salam, a conservative writer for National Review and a frequent Trump critic, said that Mr. Trump had an opportunity to declare remorse for the Khans while still holding to his own views as a candidate.

“He might have asked why Humayun Khan had died in the first place — because of a war that many, if not most, Americans regard as a tragic blunder,” he said.

“There was really no benefit for Trump in suggesting that Ghazala Khan had been muzzled,” he added, “because she could easily come out and say that she had been too grief-stricken to speak, which she did.”

Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said on Saturday, “It’s really despicable that anyone, let alone a presidential candidate, would choose to dishonor the service of an American who gave his life for this nation.”

Ms. Khan, he said, “was obviously there to support her husband, who was offering what many people believe was the most impactful speech of the entire convention.”

As is often the case, Mr. Trump, who has had no campaign events this weekend, managed with a few words to overshadow Mrs. Clinton, who was making several stops in Ohio and Pennsylvania with her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.

In the ABC News interview, Mr. Trump also hedged over whether he would participate in the three scheduled debates with Mrs. Clinton. He insinuated that she had worked to schedule two during football games so viewership would be lower, and said that the National Football League had sent him a letter complaining about the timing.

The debates were scheduled in September of last year by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. And while Joe Lockhart, a spokesman for the National Football League, said the league was not thrilled about the scheduling, “we did not send a letter to Trump.” Ω

[Turner Cowles is a video journalist at The New York Times. Before that he a video producer for Money magazine. Cowles received a BA (writing & media) from Florida State University as well as an MS (journalism) from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Additional reporting was supplied by Ken Belson, Matt Flegenheimer, Emmarie Huetteman and Tas Tobey.]

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[x NY FIshwrap]
The Real Plot Against America
By Eags (Timothy Egan)

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In retrospect, it worked out much better than planned. Who’d have thought a pariah nation, run by an authoritarian who makes his political opponents disappear, could so easily hijack a great democracy? It didn’t take much. A talented nerd can bring down a minnow of a nation. But this level of political crime requires more refined mechanics — you need everyone to play their assigned roles.

You start with a stooge, a fugitive holed up in London, releasing stolen emails on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, in the name of “transparency.” Cyberburglars rely on a partner in crime to pick up stolen goods. And WikiLeaks has always been there for Russia, a nation with no transparency.

The emails show office gossip — catty, sometimes crude back-and-forth by party operatives, and a bias for one candidate. Ho-hum. To make the plot work, reporters have to take the bait. On cue, they decry the fact that politics is going on inside a major political party. The horror — Democratic hacks saying nasty things about Senator Bernie Sanders.

Next, lefty extremists have to act like lefty extremists — that is, myopic to the greater good, guided by a Trumpian sense that they alone know how to solve the world’s problems, and everyone else is a sellout. Angered at the contents of the cybertheft, they boo any mention of their party’s nominee. And told by Senator Sanders, the man who brought them there, that booing is too easy, they boo his call to unite to save their country from a monster.

But Russia still has to seal the deal. Some work remains. If enough angered lefties won’t go for the Democratic nominee, a longtime foe of Vladimir Putin, it will be just enough to put a Putin puppet in the White House. And it would also usher in the term that drove the right wing crazy when George H.W. Bush used it — a New World Order.

What’s in it for Russia? Well, everything. Territory. Hegemony. Its takeover of the Crimean Peninsula has brought sanctions and condemnation from the West. What stands between Putin and further aggression in, say, the Baltic States, is a NATO pact that has kept Europe safe for nearly 70 years. And if you thought Trump stiffed the poor suckers who signed up for his “university,” wait till you see how he treats some of our oldest allies.

Plus, Putin despises Hillary Clinton. Like Trump, his skin is rice-paper-thin, albeit a paler shade of orange; and, like Trump, he never forgets a slight. He still hasn’t gotten over Clinton’s comment on George W. Bush’s infamous look into Putin’s soul. As a former KGB agent, said Clinton, “he doesn’t have a soul.”

What’s in it for Trump? Help at winning the ultimate throne of his gilded dreams. And maybe some investment money from Russian oligarchs close to Putin, one of many things Trump may be hiding in his tax returns. The two narcissists share a love of torture, authoritarian rule, and women on runways in bathing suits.

But then, a wild card, something unplanned. Putin didn’t expect Trump to be so all-in with his collusion. He knows Trump is a fool, world class in only one thing — ignorance. He doesn’t need spies for that. He knows Trump is a man who will say anything, and deny in the same breath that he ever said it. The Talented Mr. Trump.

Last November, before a national television audience, Trump said of Putin, “I got to know him very well.” And Wednesday, Trump said, “I never met Putin.” That was a standard Trump lie, on one end or the other. But even Putin couldn’t fathom that Trump really will say anything.

So there was the Republican Party nominee for president inviting an American adversary to wage cyberwar against the country he wants to lead. If that wasn’t Trump’s shoot-somebody-on-Fifth-Avenue moment, nothing will be. What’s more, he was way too obvious about the role of the other pawns in the scheme. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said to Mother Russia.

Also, he’s getting carried away with his dictator-philia. On Thursday, he said Putin was a better leader than President Obama. D’oh! In public, at least, you’re supposed to root for the home team.

Trump misses the old days, back when you could “knock the crap out of” a demonstrator. Yeah, the old days. Back when it was disqualifying for an American politician to flirt with treason.

This all seems too preposterous to be planned. Where are the conspiracy nut jobs when you really need them? Even fiction, Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America (2004), about a fascist-lite president during World War II, does not have this level of absurdity.

But it unfolds, still, if not according to Russia’s design, then according to Russia’s will. Trump is now a national security risk, actively rooting for a foreign adversary to tamper with an American election. And very soon, he will start receiving classified briefings on that adversary. Ehhhhhcellent! Ω

[Timothy Egan writes "Outposts," a column at the NY Fishwrap online. Egan — winner of both a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as a member of a team of reporters who wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America" and a National Book Award (The Worst Hard Time in 2006) — graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by Whitman College in 2000 for his environmental writings. Egan's most recent book is The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America (2009).]

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