early and often

Bill Clinton Versus Jeremiah Wright: Which Loose Cannon is Louder?

This campaign season has seen more than its fair share of surrogate flubs and staffer gaffes, but no two men have continuously embarrassed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama more than Bill Clinton and Reverend Jeremiah Wright (respectively). Both seem unable, or perhaps unwilling, to simply avoid saying things that damage the campaigns they ostensibly support. So in light of the renewed scrutiny of Bill Clinton and Reverend Wright’s unwelcome reemergence, we compare the two presidential headaches below.

William Jefferson Clinton

Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr.

Bill Clinton Versus Jeremiah Wright: Which Loose Cannon is Louder?
THE FEED

Where discrediting foreign journalists is a budget item

[Clarissa Ward’s CNN report] about Russian involvement in gold mining and other activities in the [Central African Republic] touched upon the role of Wagner, a private Russian military contractor believed to be backed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to the Kremlin. Prigozhin was sanctioned by the U.S. for investing in organizations that tried to influence the 2016 American presidential election.


Ward’s first reporting visit to the Central African Republic went smoothly, but troubles emerged when she returned. She and her team had problems getting accreditation, were accused of smuggling and of having fake documents.


During a visit to a gold mine, Ward said she noticed a vehicle with four white men following them. She approached the car and the men swiveled their heads to avoid being seen on camera and drove away. She saw the same vehicle later near her hotel. …


Four days before Ward’s report was scheduled to run, a “teaser” video asking “what is the dirty secret behind CNN’s trip to Africa?” appeared on RIA FAN, or Federal News Agency, a news portal believed to be linked to Prigozhin. Days later, the site posted a 15-minute video charging that Ward offered people in Africa $100 to say something bad about Russia. Ward denies offering any bribes.

No innocent migrant child left un-targeted

Some top aides to President Donald Trump sought for months for a way to give states the power to block undocumented immigrant children from enrolling in public schools – all part of the administration’s efforts to stem illegal crossings at the southern U.S. border.


Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller had been a driving force behind the effort as early as 2017, pressing cabinet officials and members of the White House Domestic Policy Council repeatedly to devise a way to limit enrollment, according to several people familiar with the matter. The push was part of a menu of ideas on immigration that could be carried out without congressional approval.


Ultimately, they abandoned the idea after being told repeatedly that any such effort ran afoul of a 1982 Supreme Court case guaranteeing access to public schools. But the consideration of denying hundreds of thousands of children access to education illustrates the breadth of the White House’s push to crack down on undocumented immigrants.

just asking questions
just asking questions
Obama’s Deputy Interior Secretary on the Gutting of the Endangered Species Act
Former deputy Interior secretary David J. Hayes discusses how rollbacks to the law fit with the administration’s disdain for environmental regulation.
intelligencer chats
intelligencer chats
Should We Be Rooting for a Recession?
Intelligencer staffers dicuss whether an increased chance of President Trump’s removal is worth the pain of an economic downturn.
vision 2020
vision 2020
How Would An Economic Downturn Affect the 2020 Democratic Contest?
Democrats might look for an inspiring or reassuring figure–or might have to reason to worry less about electability.
vision 2020
vision 2020
If This Fox News Poll Is Right, Trump Is a Goner
In 2016, Trump drew an unpopular opponent and dominated among voters who disliked both candidates. A new poll says he won’t be so lucky in 2020.

A fun wrinkle to weekend travel

DEVELOPING: JFK airport in NYC says Customs process “is experiencing a system shutdown nationwide.”

US Customs and Border Patrol official says there is an issue with computer system; working to determine the cause.
@NBCNews

Official ruling on Epstein’s cause of death is in

BREAKING: Medical examiner rules Jeffrey Epstein’s death a suicide, says he hanged himself in his jail cell
@AP
guns
guns
The NRA Is in Trouble, But Don’t Count It Out Yet
The organization is choking on its own decadence, but the ideas that sustained it will survive.
vision 2020
vision 2020
Warren Unveils Plan to Help Native Americans
Even as Trump revives his racist “Pocahontas” taunts, Warren focuses on making things right with Native Americans.
the national circus
the national circus
Frank Rich: Trump Is Panicked That His Trade War Will Start a Recession
If the economy tanks, his supporters will sour on him and his already precarious election prospects will tank, too. And he knows it.

The Mooch would like some attention

I think the guy is losing it, mentally. He has declining mental faculties; he’s becoming more petulant; he’s becoming more impetuous. Okay, you see just by the way he’s sweating, his body’s not doing well. It’s obviously not a guy that takes care of himself, right? 

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci

Is America’s seemingly endless war in Afghanistan about to end?

President Trump plans to meet Friday with Cabinet officials and other senior national security advisers to begin making arrangements for a step-by-step U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a person familiar with the president’s plan said.


A second U.S. official said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is among Cabinet officials who will meet with Trump and Vice President Pence at Trump’s New Jersey golf resort.


The session will review results of months of diplomatic outreach by Trump’s special envoy, former U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and military plans to begin a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces and end the longest U.S. war.

books
books
‘I Don’t Really Believe In Bubbles:’ Lyz Lenz On Her Book, God Land
In her new book on religion in rural America, writer Lyz Lenz makes the case for nuance.
interesting times
interesting times
Andrew Sullivan: The Limits of My Conservatism
In a healthy society, conservatives accept social change. Faced with bullying radicalism, they become reactionaries.
greenland
greenland
Report: Trump, Who Is the President, Wants to Buy Greenland
Unfortunately for him, the autonomous Danish territory isn’t for sale.
rashida tlaib
rashida tlaib
Rashida Tlaib: I Won’t Visit Grandmother Under Israel’s ‘Oppressive’ Conditions
The congresswoman understandably chooses defiance over political humiliation.
fitness
fitness
Donald Trump, a Very Fit Man of the People, Fat Shames Own Supporter
At a rally in New Hampshire, our populist president told an overweight supporter to “go home” and “start excercising.”

Discarded rice cookers severely impaired subway service this morning

10:17 am: NYPD is reporting that all three suspicious packages were empty rice cookers — two at the Fulton St station, and one on 16th and 7th. Unclear if the incidents are related, but both areas deemed safe. Expect residual subway delays for a bit.

Grateful everyone is safe!
@NYCSpeakerCoJo

Recession is just a state of mind, man

Mounting signs of global economic distress this week have alarmed President Trump, who is worried that a downturn could imperil his reelection, even as administration officials acknowledge that they have not planned for a possible recession.


Trump is banking on a strong economy to win a second term in 2020, and in recent weeks he has impulsively lashed out at the Federal Reserve, pressured Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to label China a “currency manipulator,” and unexpectedly delayed tariffs on Chinese imports out of fear they could depress holiday retail sales.


Yet despite gyrations in the U.S. stock market and economic slowdowns in other countries, officials in the White House, at the Treasury Department and throughout the administration are planning no new steps to attempt to stave off a recession. Rather, Trump’s economic advisers have been delivering the president upbeat assessments in which they argue that the domestic economy is stronger than many forecasters are making it out to be.

jeffrey epstein
jeffrey epstein
What We Know About Jeffrey Epstein’s Autopsy
Epstein reportedly had breaks in neck bones that are common in strangulation, but can also occur with hanging, especially in older people.

If you’re looking for a president who’s going to fight McConnell tooth and nail, Biden might not be it

Mr. Biden’s relationship with Mr. McConnell would come with its own complications. In late 2012, Mr. Obama tapped his vice president to negotiate one-on-one with Mr. McConnell what was known as the “fiscal cliff,” a budget-cutting deal.


It produced one previously unreported incident that left White House and Senate staff scratching their heads: During a follow-up meeting in the Oval Office in early 2013, Mr. McConnell ruled out a big deal before the 2014 midterms, when he would be running for re-election in Kentucky. Mr. Biden responded by saying, “Mitch, we want to see you come back,” an off-the-cuff endorsement of one of their biggest adversaries.


“That was Joe Biden being Joe Biden,” said Harry Reid, then the Senate Democratic leader, who was in the room, adding that it was an attempt to put Mr. McConnell at ease.

racism
racism
Steve King’s Views on Rape Are Inseparable From His Racism
King’s understanding of what gives women and people of color worth rests on how useful they are to his vision of civilization.
vision 2020
vision 2020
It’s Filibuster Reform — or Bust — for Democrats in the Near Future
The odds of Democrats being able to get anything done even if they win in 2020 are low without the filibuster reform that some senators still resist.
for fc's sake
for fc's sake
Amazon’s ‘Ambassador’ Program Is Hilariously Misconceived
The program is meant to be damage control, but it feels like a hostage situation.
california
california
California Is Headed Toward a Titanic Battle Over Raising Property Taxes
Billions of dollars in tax revenue at stake in the first major effort to modify California’s Prop 13, which limits property taxes.
israel
israel
By Barring Omar and Tlaib, Netanyahu Did BDS a Huge Favor
Calling attention to Israel’s illiberalism and the congresswomen’s advocacy for Palestinian rights will increase support for BDS.
Relationship to Candidate Uncontrollable husband who frequently alienates black voters. Uncontrollable ex-pastor who frequently alienates white voters. Embarrassing Quote “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ‘84 and ‘88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.” “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people.” Candidate’s Response After Bill’s wholly inaccurate defense of Hillary’s wholly inaccurate Bosnia recollections, Hillary told him, bluntly, to stop. “‘You don’t remember this, you weren’t there. Let me handle it,’” she told Bill, as he recounted. His reply: “Yes ma’am.”
Last month Obama condemned Wright’s more offensive statements without distancing himself from the man entirely. “As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me,” Obama said. Tuesday afternoon, a day after Wright spoke to the National Press Club, Obama got a lot tougher: “I gave him the benefit of the doubt before my speech in Philadelphia [but] … the person I saw yesterday is not the person I met twenty years ago.” Key Shared Experience Married Hillary Clinton, fathered her kid. Married Barack and Michelle Obama, baptized their kids. Personal Project to Promote Circumventing those pesky constitutional limits on holding a third term as president by getting his wife into the White House and becoming a “roving ambassador” as Hillary has suggested.
A book to be released “later this year.” Biggest Critic
Recently, Representative James Clyburn, who said Bill’s behavior was “bizarre” and “incensed” black people. Rush Limbaugh: “This is a man who hates the country. Jeremiah Wright is a hatemonger. He hates America. It is patently obvious.” Future Liability No telling what could happen if he roves White House hallways once again. Bizarrely, has pledged to “come after” Obama if Barack manages to overcome the obstacles Wright is creating for him and makes it to the White House. Approval Ratings 47 percent favorable. 8 percent favorable. Hidden Upside Driven to make more campaign appearances than either Hillary or Obama. Helps to inform the frighteningly sizable number of voters still unclear about Obama’s religion that the senator is, in fact, Christian.