VIDEOS

Keith Olbermann erupts over Trump's 'stupid and dull' debate -- 'oxygen of his rise to power was gone'

On his new political show on YouTube, commentator Keith Olbermann ripped into President Donald Trump for his performance during the final presidential debate. Olbermann said that Trump "ran out of bullsh*t" as he tried to attack his rival Joe Biden.

"I don't mean to say that he was honest," he clarified. "It seems he was lying and manipulating reality at an even higher rate than usual. But with a few momentary exceptions, the salesmanship, the oxygen of his rise to power, was gone."

Olbermann said Trump needed "a debate knockout." Instead, the incumbent president just appeared "stupid and dull."

"Even the crazy pills-grade performance of Trump's first debate would have served him better in his bid for the proverbial 'Hail Mary' than did 90 minutes where it sounded like his only function was as a big weight holding his podium down," he said.

"It doesn't matter if Trump now returns to abnormal. That was his chance. He blew it."

Watch:

https://twitter.com/KeithOlbermann/status/1319832232689885184

news & politics

Trump's negative impact is ripping through the GOP and eroding their chances of maintaining Senate control

As Election Day approaches, President Donald Trump's poll standings have signaled trouble ahead not only for him but also his Republican lawmakers.

While Trump has expressed confidence in Republicans' ability to take back the House of Representatives, well-documented polls suggest otherwise. Not only has Trump jeopardized his own chances of re-election but also Republican lawmakers' possibility of retaining control of the Senate.

According to a report published by CNN, Trump is trailing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in every critical battleground state including: Arizona (by 7 points), Colorado (by 9 points), Maine (by 5 points), Iowa (by 2 points) and North Carolina (by 3 points). In 2016, Trump carried three out of five of the critical states—which were Arizona, Iowa, and North Carolina. However, it does not look that will be the case for the upcoming election. In fact, not only is Biden leading in key states but there is only a 3-point difference in his polling margin compared to that of Democratic lawmakers.

The chances of Republican lawmakers taking the House of Representatives is even lower than the possibility of the maintaining control of the Senate. The report also laid out an explanation to explain the downward trajectory of Republican presence in the chambers.

"The chance of Republicans recovering in the race for the House is much lower. They lost their majority in 2018, when Republicans lost almost every single seat in districts carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016.This year, Republicans' chances at a House majority have been all but squashed because they're doing poorly in what should be red territory."

Based on all that has transpired over the last several months, Republicans also appear to be suffering from the reality that Trump is not as popular among voters as he once was.

Here is one of the main explanation of the difference in Trump's current polling compared to his stance in 2016 that led to a campaign victory.

"Look at Maine's 2nd district, New Jersey's 2nd district and New York's 22nd district. Trump won them by margins ranging from 5 points (New Jersey's 2nd) to 16 points (New York's 22nd). Today, polls have Trump doing 9 points to 17 points worse than he did in 2016. He is ahead in none of these districts. Not surprisingly, the Republican House candidate faces a deficit in all these districts."

Although Election Day is still more than a week away, it may be too late for Republicans to change the trajectory of the election since more than 50 million Americans have already cast early votes for the 2020 election.

election '20

Election officials prepare for voter intimidation threat

Election officials across the country have begun reviewing security plans at early and Election Day voting sites, strengthening ties with local law enforcement and training poll workers to prepare for voter intimidation tactics.Even before the presidential debate, when President Donald Trump urged his supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully,” Michelle Wilcox, the director of elections in Auglaize County, Ohio, was concerned about disruptions at the polls this year.The rural county near the Indiana border seems like an unlikely candidate for trouble. It has about 32,500 voters...

economy

Pennsylvania small business owners have a drastically different take on Trump than they did 4 years ago

Small business owners in Pennsylvania are sharing their reaction to life after four years under President Donald Trump, the only Republican president to win the state since 1988.

With all that has occurred over the last several months, many voters are having reservations about the possibility of Trump winning a second term. It is no secret that small businesses have been hit particularly hard amid the ongoing pandemic.

Joshua Mast, who owns a small business venue and restaurant in Scranton, Penn., happens to be one of them. He expressed concern about Trump's presidency as he admitted that his business is not better off than it was four years ago. He also shared his concerns about health care.

"I would have to say over the past four years we have not been better off," Mast said. "It would definitely take one level of stress away if [health] insurance was paid for or even reasonable. For any small business, that's a huge burden."

Mast also noted some of the characteristics he expects the president to have. Not only does he expect the president to have extensive knowledge of Washington, he also wants a president who will be proactive in the advancement of small businesses.

"I feel right now we need somebody who knows Washington, who is going to do something for the small-business owner and who's going to get something done."

Mast admitted that while he can manage to keep the doors of his business open, he knows that it will not be able to grow with Trump in office another four years.

"I will continue to have side hustles, as they say, to be able to keep my business open," he said. "But I will not be able to grow if we have another four years of this president."

Like Mast, many other Pennsylvania business owners are also facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic. In fact, according to PennLive, requests for COVID relief funds for small businesses in Pennsylvania are reportedly outpacing the state's funds available by more than $600 million. The staggering deficit signals are major problem that could lead to long-term, and possibility permanent impacts, on small businesses in the state.

In addition to business owners like Mast, the Post-Gazette also reports that at least 33 mayors in Pennsylvania cities have also announced their support of Biden.

culture

Production firm in Paris attack involved in Charlie Hebdo documentary

The Paris-based production company, whose employees were injured in a knife attack, had helped produce a documentary about the attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo editorial team."Three Days Of Terror: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks" is the name of the documentary that was produced for the US broadcaster HBO, the BBC and French broadcaster France 2.Witnesses, police officers and survivors speak in the film about the series of terrorist attacks in January 2015, in which a total of 17 people were killed over several days, according to the website of the company Premieres Lignes.The ...

science

Psychology study indicates that narcissists are more involved in politics than the rest of us

Those higher in narcissism are disproportionately taking part in the democratic process, according to new research published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.The study found a positive correlation between narcissism and political participation. In other words: The more narcissistic someone is, the more likely they are to contact politicians, sign petitions, donate money, and vote in midterm elections.“We have entered into an ‘Age of Entitlement’ and a ‘post-truth’ world that combine to form an unprecedented cultural movement where large portions of the public pursue self-interest ...

belief

Faith and spirituality run deep in Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matters (BLM) has been portrayed by its detractors as many things: Marxist, radical, anti-American. Added to this growing list of charges is that it is either irreligious or doing religion wrong.

In late July, for instance, conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan tweeted that BLM was “incompatible" with Christianity.

He isn't alone in that belief. Despite receiving the backing of diverse faith leaders and groups, BLM has been attacked by sections of the religious right. One evangelical institution felt compelled to issue a statement warning Christians about the movement's “Godless agenda." Other evangelicals have gone further, accusing BLM founders of being “witches" and “operating in the demonic realm."

Joining conservative Christians are some self-proclaimed liberals and atheists who have also denounced BLM as a social movement that functions like a “cult" or “pseudo" religion.

As scholars of religion, we believe such views fail to acknowledge – let alone engage with – the rich spiritual and religious pluralism of Black Lives Matter. For the past few years, we have been observing the way the movement and affiliated organizations express faith and spirituality.

Since 2015 we have interviewed BLM leaders and organizers as well as Buddhist leaders inspired by the movement. What we found was that BLM was not only a movement seeking radical political reform, but a spiritual movement seeking to heal and empower while inspiring other religious allies seeking inclusivity.

A love letter

Black Lives Matter was born from a love letter.

On July 13, 2013 – the day of the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who had killed an unarmed black teenage named Trayvon Martin – soon-to-be BLM co-founder Alicia Garza, posted “A Love Letter to Black People" on Facebook. She declared:

“We don't deserve to be killed with impunity. We need to love ourselves and fight for a world where black lives matter. Black people, I love you. I love us. We matter. Our lives matter."

Since its inception, BLM organizers have expressed their founding spirit of love through an emphasis on spiritual healing, principles, and practices in their racial justice work.

BLM leaders, such as co-founder Patrisse Cullors, are deeply committed to incorporating spiritual leadership. Cullors grew up as a Jehovah's Witness, and later became ordained in Ifà, a west African Yoruba religion. Drawing on Native American, Buddhist and mindfulness traditions, her syncretic spiritual practice is fundamental to her work. As Cullors explained to us, “The fight to save your life is a spiritual fight."

Theologian Tricia Hersey, known as the “Nap Bishop," a nod to her Divinity degree and her work advocating for rest as a form of resistance, founded the BLM affiliated organization, The Nap Ministry in 2016.

In an interview with Cullors, Hersey said she considers human bodies as “sites of liberation" that connect Black Americans to the “creator, ancestors, and universe." She describes rest as a spiritual practice for community healing and resistance and naps as “healing portals." Hersey connects this belief to her upbringing in the Black Pentecostal Church of God in Christ, where, she explained, “I was able to see the body being a vehicle for spirit."

The movement is committed to spiritual principles, such as “healing justice" – which uses a range of holistic approaches to address trauma and oppression by centering emotional and spiritual well-being – and “transformative justice" which assists with creating processes to repair harm without violence.

Black Lives Matter protesters pray near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Transformative justice, central to the beliefs of many in the BLM movement, is a philosophic approach to peacemaking. With roots in the Quaker tradition, it approaches harms committed as an opportunity for education. Crime is taken to be a community problem to be solved through mutual understanding, as often seen in work to decriminalize sex work and drug addiction.

BLM affiliated organizer Cara Page, who coined the term “healing justice," did so in response to watching decades of activists commit themselves completely to social justice causes to the detriment of their physical and mental health. She advocates that “movements themselves have to be healing, or there's no point to them."

'Without healing, no justice'

BLM-affiliated organizations utilize spiritual tools such as meditation, reiki, acupuncture, plant medicine, chanting, and prayer, along with other African and Indigenous spiritualities to connect and care for those directly impacted by state violence and white supremacy.

For instance, Dignity and Power Now or DPN, an organization founded by Cullors in Los Angeles in 2012, hosts almost weekly wellness clinics on Sundays, often referred to as “church" by attendees.

On July 26, 2020, they held a virtual event called Calm-Unity, to remind people that “without healing there is no justice." Classes included yoga, meditation, African dance, Chinese medicine, and altar making.

In interviews, movement leaders described honoring their body, mind and soul as an act of resilience. They see themselves as inheritors of the spiritual duty to fight for racial justice, following in the footsteps of freedom fighters like abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

BLM leaders often invoke the names of abolitionist ancestors in a ceremony used at the beginning of protests. In fact, protests often contain many spiritual purification, protection and healing practices including the burning of sage, the practice of wearing white and the creation of sacred sites and altars at locations of mourning.

'More religion, not less'

BLM's rich spiritual expressions have also inspired and transformed many American faith leaders. Black evangelical leader Barbara Salter McNeil credits BLM activists in Ferguson as changing the Christian church by showing racism must be tackled structurally and not just as individual sin.

U.S. Buddhist leaders presented a statement on racial justice to the White House in which they shared they were “inspired by the courage and leadership" of Black Lives Matter. Jewish, Muslim and many other religious organizations, have incorporated BLM principles to make their communities more inclusive and justice oriented.

As University of Arizona scholar Erika Gault observes, “The Black church is not the only religious well from which Black movements have historically drawn," and with Black Lives Matter, “We are actually seeing more religion, not less."

Religious pluralism

Attempts to erase the rich religious landscape of Black Lives Matter by both conservative and liberal voices continues a long history of denouncing Black spirituality as inauthentic and threatening.

[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation's newsletter.]

The history of white supremacy, often enacted within institutional Christianity, has often vilified and criminalized Indigenous and African beliefs, promoted the idea that Black people are divinely destined to servitude, and subjected communities to forced conversions.

As Cullors said to us in response to current attacks against BLM as demonic, “For centuries, the way we are allowed to commune with the divine has been policed; in the movement for Black lives, we believe that all connections to the creator are sacred and essential."The Conversation

Hebah H. Farrag, Assistant Director of Research, Center for Religion and Civic Culture, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and Ann Gleig, Associate Professor of Religion, University of Central Florida

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

human rights

Election holds future of young, undocumented immigrants in the balance

SAN DIEGO — Among the many policies that will be on the ballot Nov. 3 is what will happen to the lives of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.The Trump administration has tried to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, which began under the Obama administration. For the past four years, Trump officials have argued that the program is illegal and should be stopped.DACA has so far survived only through court intervention. Even after the Supreme Court issued a decision in June that it should be fully restored because it wa...

more news

Trump walked into a trap on Obamacare — and the Lincoln Project pounced

The Lincoln Project quickly fired back at President Donald Trump when he revealed his true intentions regarding the Affordable Care Act, known commonly as Obamacare.

During the president's debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, he admitted that the goal is to "terminate" Obamacare. As Trump offered multiple baseless excuses to justify his administration's reason for wanting to terminate healthcare for more than 20 million Americans, he walked into another debacle. When asked how he would replace Obamacare, the president failed to provide any serious answer to that question.

Instead, he pivoted and promised to deliver a "beautiful healthcare plan." But once again, Trump offered no substance to detail what that means. His remarks influenced The Lincoln Project's response.

The anti-Trump Republican group took to Twitter with highlights of the president's so-called healthcare plan. With a video compilation of the president's previous remarks about healthcare, The Lincoln Project shed light on what Trump really meant during the debate.

The tweet read, "JUST LEAKED: President Trump's healthcare plan."

Since January 2017, Trump has volleyed on healthcare often spewing lies about forthcoming release dates for his plan. On multiple occasions, Trump has claimed his full healthcare plan would be released in "two weeks," "one month," "soon," and so on, the truth is that it has been three and a half years and Trump still has not released a plan. The president's failed war on healthcare also sheds light on how reckless his decision would be to terminate healthcare for millions of Americans. The Lincoln Project's clip made that very clear.

The group's latest video is one of several clips that have been released to highlight the inconsistencies in Trump's promise to voters and his ability to execute. Over the last two weeks, The Lincoln Project's support on Twitter has surpassed that of the Republican National Committee which suggests there are many Republicans that may be jumping ship as Election Day approaches.

Why one neurology expert says Trump’s ‘forward-leaning posture’ and ‘body tics’ are cause for serious concern

A professor of Neurology at George Washington University says he believes there may be legitimate concerns over President Donald J. Trump's "forward-listing posture" that goes beyond the comical memes and gif responses normally shared on social media.

"I know something about political figures and observable signs of illness from afar," Richard E. Cytowic M.D. wrote in Psychology Today. "… The American public deserves an accurate account of our president's health."

"While most frequently observed in Parkinson's Disease, the bent posture so evident in Trump may also be seen in Alzheimer's Dementia, movement disorders of the basal ganglia, and as the side effect of certain medications," Cytowic continued. "Also noted are the sudden, jerking movements of Trump's right arm. Since they occur only on one side, the prefix "hemi" is applied, while "ballistic" means sudden or flinging in the manner of a projectile. Trump's hemiballistic arm movements are evident in news clips from Memorial Day (also here via C-Span) at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as are his uncontrolled swaying and forward tilt. He is seen to grab his wayward arm with the left one in an effort to keep it under control."


President Trump at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day. youtu.be

While Trump "aced" a 10-minute mental status screening in August, Cytowic said "the test is one an average adult should easily pass. To a neurologist, his way of walking, posture, and jerky movements are concerning and in want of explanation."


According to Cytowic, "It is true that individuals who have balance and gait issues similar to those observed in Trump can have degenerative brain disease in the frontal lobes, such as fronto-temporal dementia or Pick's Disease. Other possibilities are normal pressure hydrocephalus, sensory ataxia, peripheral neuropathy, small lacunar strokes in the basal ganglia, supranuclear palsy, the effects of too many medications, and Parkinson's Disease, which can begin on one side and also show early cognitive impairment."

Regardless, "The president is a public figure whose judgment we must trust," Cytowic said. "The American public is entitled to know about his neurological health given the enormous responsibilities placed on our Commander in Chief."

Paul Krugman explains why Ayn Rand's libertarianism is absolutely deadly

During the coronavirus crisis, President Donald Trump and many of his Republican allies have not only downplayed the severity of the pandemic — they have also vehemently opposed social distancing restrictions, mask wearing and other measures meant to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Liberal economist Paul Krugman discusses that mindset this week in his New York Times column, slamming it as "libertarianism gone bad" and the toxic influence of the late right-wing author Ayn Rand.

"If you look at what Republican politicians are saying as the pandemic rips through their states," Krugman explains, "you see a lot of science denial. Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota has gone full Trump — questioning the usefulness of masks and encouraging potential superspreader events…. But you also see a lot of libertarian rhetoric — a lot of talk about 'freedom' and 'personal responsibility.'"

Noting the autumn surge in COVID-19 infections that is occurring across the U.S., Krugman writes, "Donald Trump's disastrous leadership is, of course, an important factor. But I also blame Ayn Rand — or, more generally, libertarianism gone bad, a misunderstanding of what freedom is all about."

Krugman agrees with libertarians that there are many times when the government needs to butt out and mind its own business. But when a pandemic poses so great a threat to public health, Krugman argues, it isn't government overreach to encourage social distancing or ask someone to wear a mask in public.

"Many things should be matters of individual choice," Krugman argues. "The government has no business dictating your cultural tastes, your faith or what you decide to do with other consenting adults. But refusing to wear a face covering during a pandemic, or insisting on mingling indoors with large groups, isn't like following the church of your choice. It's more like dumping raw sewage into a reservoir that supplies other people's drinking water."

According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide and over 223,600 in the United States — and some health officials fear that the worst is yet to come if the pandemic follows a path similar to that of the 1918/1919 Spanish flu pandemic, which went from bad to worse during its second wave. Whatever happens this winter, COVID-19 has already killed a staggering number of people. And in light of all the misery the novel coronavirus has inflicted, Krugman stresses, it is hardly unreasonable to ask Americans to take precautions.

"Many prominent figures still don't seem to understand, or aren't willing to understand, why we should be practicing social distancing," Krugman explains. "It's not primarily about protecting ourselves — if it were, it would indeed be a personal choice. Instead, it's about not endangering others. Wearing a mask may provide some protection to the wearer, but mostly, it limits the chance that you'll infect other people…. Trump may complain that 'all you hear is COVID, COVID, COVID.' The fact, however, is that the current path of the pandemic is terrifying — and we desperately need leadership from politicians who will take it seriously."

Expert details the secretive ‘shadow network’ behind America's radical right for the past 40 years

ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Moyers on Democracy. What is the shadow network behind the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court? Who selected and groomed her for this moment? Who's financing the campaign to get her confirmed? Who's counting on her to side with President Trump if he's losing the election and wants the Supreme Court to declare him the winner? For the answers, Bill Moyers talks to journalist and investigator Anne Nelson about her book: SHADOW NETWORK: MEDIA, MONEY, AND THE SECRET HUB OF THE RADICAL RIGHT. In it, she exposes the powerful and little-known Council for National Policy, the organization behind the conservative movement of the past 40 years – from Ronald Reagan's secret war in Central America to their success in turning the Supreme Court into the Trump Court. Ms. Nelson has received the Livingston Award for her journalism and a Guggenheim Fellowship for historical research. Here to talk with her is Bill Moyers.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. It's a pleasure to talk to you.

ANNE NELSON: My pleasure.

BILL MOYERS: Let me begin with the most current part of the story, which comes just a little bit after your book is published when the conservative movement is facing a very decisive encounter with the very forces it's been trying to defeat now for 40 years. How do you think the shadow network reads the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court? What are they making of it?

ANNE NELSON: Well, I think that they consider it a great triumph and a kind of culmination of 40 years of effort. And I demure a bit at the term conservative because this is, for me, the radical right. It is so far to the right of mainstream American public opinion that I feel that it's in a different category both in terms of its ideology and its tactics. But they decided way back in the day of Paul Weyrich, one of the architects of the movement that they–

BILL MOYERS: In the early 1970s, right?

Read an excerpt

ANNE NELSON: We're going back to the '70s and even earlier, because he was active on the Barry Goldwater campaign. And he was frustrated time and again by moderates in the Republican Party and people who were willing to work with Democrats to advance policy and solutions to public problems. And he created organizations and tactics that he openly declared should destroy the regime, as he called it, which would be the U.S. government as we've known it for the last century.

BILL MOYERS: Paul Weyrich is the man I remember saying–

PAUL WEYRICH: I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populous goes down.

BILL MOYERS: He was essentially saying, as a newly anointed leader of the religious right, what their philosophy was. The fewer people vote, the better their chance.

ANNE NELSON: That's right. And from the beginning, in terms of their electoral tactics, it has been a matter of weaponizing certain churches and pastors and really exerting tremendous pressure on them to use churches as instruments of a radical right ideology. And then using similar tactics to suppress votes for Democrats, especially in key battleground states.

BILL MOYERS: So that's why you conclude in your book they were to the right of the Republican Party. They were not just an offshoot of the Republican Party. They were not just fundraisers for the Republican Party, but they were ideologically and organizationally taking the Republican Party far to the right.

ANNE NELSON: Absolutely, and somewhat to my surprise, I found that their prototype was the Southern Baptist Convention, where they decided that in order to move it to the right, they had to use questionable tactics to elevate their supporters to key positions of influence and purge the Southern Baptist Convention of moderates in the seminaries and in the colleges and among the pastors. And it was a fairly ruthless process, and once these tactics were developed, they applied it to the Republican Party. And you had the same kind of tactics going on of purging moderates, some of whom had been in office for years.

BILL MOYERS: I should point out to some of our younger listeners and readers that the Southern Baptist Convention at the time and still today was the largest Protestant denomination in America. You know, something like it eventually reached 16 and a half million members scattered throughout the South and the West. We'll come back to them in a moment. What do you think about the NEW YORK TIMES' assessment that Amy Coney Barrett represents a new conservativism rooted in faith. That's how their headline described a three-page portrait of her life and career. Does that make sense to you?

ANNE NELSON: Not entirely, because as a conservative Catholic, she follows in the footsteps of others such as Brett Kavanaugh and Antonin Scalia. So that's not very new. And what I look at in my book SHADOW NETWORK is how these interlocking organizations support each other. The book is about the Council for National Policy– a radical right-wing organization that is very secretive, and it brings together big donors like the DeVos family and oil interests from Texas and Oklahoma and political operatives. And, for example, members include the leadership of the Federalist Society. Well, Amy Coney Barrett was a member of the Federalist Society for a number of years and is still a speaker at their events. It includes the head of Hillsdale College, which is one of their campus partners. Amy Coney Barrett was commencement speaker for Hillsdale College this year. So, there are all of these organizations that have been turning their wheels to promote her really for several years going back. She appeared on previous lists of potential nominees for the Supreme Court, and I don't believe she would have been included in those lists had she not confirmed to their traditional idea of an activist judge.

BILL MOYERS: They knew what they were looking for.

ANNE NELSON: And I should add that one of the most powerful components in the Council for National Policy is the anti-abortion movement. Organizations such as the Susan B. Anthony List and Concerned Women for America and other interests, which are anti-environmentalist interests from the fossil fuels industry. So, I think that we've seen a roadmap of what to expect moving forward.

BILL MOYERS: Tell me, who does make up the Council for National Policy?

ANNE NELSON: So, the Council for National Policy has traditionally been around 400 members. From the beginning, it's included people with big money, a lot of them from the Texas and Oklahoma oil industries, but also the DeVos family of Michigan from the Amway fortune, and Betsy DeVos, of course. So, it has the big money to pay for things. It's got the leaders of so-called grassroots organizations. Now, I say so-called, because they do not spring from the grassroots the way that you would expect from the name. They are organized with a great deal of money from the top down. So, for example, the National Rifle Association– their leadership is part of the CNP. They get money from the donors, they organize their millions of members, and you combine these with the strategists and the media owners. And I spend a lot of time in my book talking about the power of fundamentalist and conservative radio in swing states. Things that people on the East Coast overlook to a terrible degree. And the same thing with fundamentalist broadcasting, which has really several of these broadcasters — the Christian Broadcasting Network, the Trinity Broadcasting Network have really turned into outlets replicating the messaging from this organization. So, you have them interlocking and interacting and each supporting each other's function. And I should explain something here, which is that they represent historically a white, Protestant, I'm sorry, but male-dominated patriarchy–

BILL MOYERS: No, that's okay.

ANNE NELSON: And I have to say that demographically its time has passed. The United States has become more diverse religiously, ethnically, and racially. And they recognize that their core positions are not supported by the majority of Americans. So, they went to the limit, pulled out all the stops to get Trump elected by a tiny margin, but they doubt that they can do that again. The signs are not good. What they can do is make their hold on the federal courts concrete through the Supreme Court, and therefore, get majorities in cases like gerrymandering, voter suppression, and their political activation of the churches with tax-exempt status. And further their hold on power through the courts.

BILL MOYERS: So which part of the shadow network do you think chose, mentored, and groomed Amy Coney Barrett for this moment?

ANNE NELSON: Well, I have to speculate here. But I would see a fairly straight line from her position to Leonard Leo's. Now, Leonard Leo is a very conservative Catholic. He was the operational figure of the Federalist Society for a number of years, and recently he shifted from that position to an even more activist position. Amy Coney Barrett was already a member of the Federalist Society. The Federalist Society has a pipeline through the lower federal courts, which she benefited from. So, in terms of this Catholic interaction they would be quite close to each other. Another key figure is Carrie Severino, who is from the Judicial Crisis Network, which was co-founded by Leonard Leo. And again, very right-wing Catholics who have tended to be overlooked while people focus on the fundamentalist Protestants. But Ralph Reed, who has been somebody who's been active with the fundamentalist politicization for decades declared openly years ago that the next step to their campaign was to enlist the Catholic vote. And they've been aggressively doing that in recent years.

BILL MOYERS: And then there's Don McGahn who was for three years Donald Trump's chief White House counsel, graduate of Notre Dame, admirer of Amy Coney Barrett, who was scouting himself for recruits to bring up, train, groom, and put into the mix for potential Supreme Court justices. And I read that he was highly enthusiastic about her, had talked to Leo and that they had you had both these White House and legal forces behind her, knowing that she was one of them.

ANNE NELSON: Yes. And I would guess that they suffered enough embarrassment over the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and the discussion of possible sexual harassment that was involved, that it was a convenient moment to bring a female to the top of the list to avoid that. So, there were a number of elements in her favor. I should add that in the process of these nominations Trump cut a deal in 2016 with this movement, and it was publicly reported that he was going to accept lists of nominees from three organizations run by Council for National Policy members: the Heritage Foundation, the Federalist Society, and the National Rifle Association, believe it or not. And he has actually followed suit with that. The Federalist Society has taken the lead on this, but you will find the Heritage Foundation in the background of all of these proceedings, as well as the NRA.

BILL MOYERS: Did you see anybody from the shadow network at the White House when President Trump announced her nomination? Could you identify any there as members of the Council for National Policy?

ANNE NELSON: Why, as a matter of fact, I could. I've got the September 2020 membership list. So, I went through U.S.A. Today's publication of who was present at that event, which has been called the COVID superspreader event on September 29th. And what I found was that they had six members of the White House staff, nine members of congress, and 14 current members of the Council for National Policy.

BILL MOYERS: Fourteen?

The moment of truth in those hearings came when she [Amy Coney Barrett] was asked if it was against the law to interfere with the vote in a federal election. And she couldn't answer that. Which to me demonstrated either an ignorance of the law or a disregard for the law that is truly alarming on the eve of an election.

ANNE NELSON: Fourteen, and 12 of them were from the leadership bodies, the board of governors, and the gold circle elite members. So, they were there in force. They were having a victory dance this was a culmination of plans that had been in the works for decades.

BILL MOYERS: But if she is willing to put people at risk that way, to go along with the president in ignoring guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, are we okay in asking questions about her judgment? I mean, could she not have said, “Mr. President, I'm honored by this nomination, but can you wait until there's better days for us to do this?"

ANNE NELSON: I think that statement would have required someone who could restrain their ambition. And for me, the moment of truth in those hearings came when she was asked if it was against the law to interfere with the vote in a federal election. And she couldn't answer that either. Which to me demonstrated either an ignorance of the law or a disregard for the law that is truly alarming on the eve of an election.

BILL MOYERS: I was noticing in a story in THE WASHINGTON POST that the Council for National Policy had a three-day meeting in Southern California. And one member — a woman named Rachel Bovard — described Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Thomas as a crucial link to the White House. “She is one of the most powerful and fierce women in Washington. She is really the tip of the spear in these efforts." Did you come across Ginni Thomas in your book?

ANNE NELSON: I came across her repeatedly, and she has risen to the rank of the executive committee of CNP Action, which is their lobbying arm. She also is very active with another CNP member named Charlie Kirk who runs something called Turning Point U.S.A. She's also a so-called correspondent for a right-wing media platform called The Daily Caller, which is owned by members of the Council for National Policy. So, Ginni Thomas, who is from Omaha is married to a Supreme Court justice and is both a public and behind-the-scenes radical right-wing activist across the country. I don't know what the protocol is for spouses of Supreme Court justices, but I find it difficult to believe that people think this is appropriate.

BILL MOYERS: But what struck me about that is that so many of the characters that are now on stage in the third and fourth year of Trump's administration are clearly linked by the Council for National Policy, something few Americans have heard of. How did you come upon it?

ANNE NELSON: In my early 20s, I was a reporter in El Salvador. And from there, I joined the staff of Human Rights Watch. And so, I knew a lot about death squads in El Salvador, and learned in writing this book that the Council for National Policy and its partners had hosted death squad leader, Roberto d'Aubuisson, in Washington. An idea that was just shocking to me. They were heavily involved in the Contras during the Reagan administration. The support for the extreme right wing in El Salvador. I didn't know that at the time. I circled back to them decades later. I was in my hometown of Stillwater, Oklahoma, driving to Walmart and had the radio on. And started hearing some radio accusations against John Kerry who was running for president at the time, that shocked me, because the local preacher was claiming that John Kerry would make heterosexual marriages unsanctified by promoting marriage equality. And it was a very strange statement. So later I started tracking who owned that radio station, and then I found out it belonged to a group of radio stations owned by members of the Council for National Policy. And then I said, “Well, what's that?" And, as you know, an investigative reporter just keeps pulling at the thread until something emerges. They were incredibly secretive, and I think it's only thanks to the internet and things that they've inadvertently published online that's made this research even possible.

BILL MOYERS: Let me summarize what I take away from your book the SHADOW NETWORK. You say that, for these past four decades, it's been a strategic nerve center for channeling money and mobilizing votes out of sight, correct?

ANNE NELSON: Yeah.

BILL MOYERS: How did they get away with that?

ANNE NELSON: Well, I say a few times in the book that I think the Democrats have been asleep at the wheel. But part of the problem is rooted in our crisis in journalism. Because when I was growing up, you had lots of vibrant local newspapers that published AP and New York Times syndicate stories on international and national news, as well as the local news and the basketball scores. And you had a population across the country that was working from the same page, as it were. These newspapers have been dying off. They have lost their business model due to the digital revolution and the economic crises. And nature abhors a vacuum. In their place, these fundamentalist radio stations and this engine for misinformation has taken their place. And it makes me angry. When you lose the local professional news organizations, the substitutes can lead people down a terribly damaging path.

BILL MOYERS: How do you connect that to the growth of the Council for National Policy.

ANNE NELSON: They use a lot of stalking horses in terms of their organizations. So, I think most people wouldn't think of the National Rifle Association as primarily a political organization. Certainly, they didn't in the 1970s. It was kind of a shooting club. It's been converted into a political organization. And that has happened with tens of thousands of churches. And I grew up in those communities. I don't think my friends and neighbors and family members went to church thinking, “We're going to go get told how to vote." That's not what they went for. But now that's what they get. And they are given voting guides in the sanctuaries inserted into the church bulletin, right? You turn the page from the hymn, and there you get the voting guide basically telling you to vote for a Republican. But it doesn't have the signature of the Council for National Policy. It just says, iVoterGuide produced by the Family Research Council, whose president has been the president of the Council for National Policy. So, you've got t0 connect the dots, but the dots are all there and highly connectable. You have people who are identifying with organizations, and they're looking at news media such as The Daily Caller, such as the Christian Broadcasting Network, such as Salem Media, which are tied into this system. And it's not about journalism. It's about messaging: we're going to tell you what to think.

BILL MOYERS: But this organization started, with a handful of people. How did they multiply their effect so thoroughly throughout our political system that they now dominate. How did that happen?

ANNE NELSON: Well, I think that what you had is this odd element of our electoral system where the electoral college carries this weight. And a lot of candidates for national office focus on the popular vote, but the strategists like Paul Weyrich and others realize that the popular vote is actually irrelevant. The electoral college is what elects our president. So, what they figured out how to do was identify critical bands of voters who were corresponding to these mostly religious organizations in critical states. If you could reach these millions of voters, many of whom were not engaged, and convince them that it was a sin to vote for a Democrat, then you could win the state. And if you won the right states, you'd win the electoral college. And they worked on this approach over various decades. And they kept going to various Republican candidates and bringing their voters to them and trying to cut a deal where they would deliver the response in terms of power. And I have to say that, a number of presidents including Reagan and the first President Bush had those conversations and reneged on the deal, right? They did not deliver the cabinet appointments. They did not deliver the reactionary social policies. And what they found with Trump was a transactional president who didn't really care about abortion or gay marriage or any of the rest of it. He just wanted the office. So, he cut a deal and he honored it. And he gave the former president of the Council for National Policy, Tony Perkins, carte blanche to write elements of the Republican Party platform in 2016, which have been just renewed for 2020 without amendment. So, they worked behind the scenes. It's been influence peddling, and it's been big, big money. The book traces hundreds of millions of dollars that have sloshed around in this circular way where the DeVoses fund the Koch brothers' operations. And the Koch brothers fund the DeVoses and Foster Friess funds The Daily Caller. And when you have the Democrats not paying sufficient attention to the swing states, when you have the local media in a state of collapse, that is the window of opportunity.

Strategists like Paul Weyrich and others realize that the popular vote is actually irrelevant. The electoral college is what elects our president. So, what they figured out how to do was identify critical bands of voters.

BILL MOYERS: So, we have the pastors on one side and the plutocrats on the other side. You have this alliance between very dogmatic, religious zealots and men of huge wealth whose interest is not in piety. What joins them?

ANNE NELSON: Well, I think that, in religious terms, it's all about mammon.

BILL MOYERS: Mammon being the biblical term for money.

ANNE NELSON: That's right.

BILL MOYERS: The biblical metaphor for money.

ANNE NELSON: Yes. I keep looking at their so-called positions of principle. And, you know, you scratch at them and they don't go very deep. But what you do have with the Kochs' and the DeVoses and the various fossil fuel interests are people who've made immense fortunes and are terrified of losing their economic power. But also, these people don't want to pay taxes, and so pushing through a tax bill that favored the fraction of a 1% was a priority. And Donald Trump and the Republican Senate delivered it.

BILL MOYERS: The Washington Post last week released some video of the August meeting of the Council for National Policy. Let me just read a few things that were said at that meeting. Videos provided to the Post covering dozens of hours of CNP meetings over three days in February and three in August offer an inside view of participants' obsessions. Here are some of the things that were said:

BILL WALTON: This is a spiritual battle we're in. This is good versus evil. We have to do everything we can to win.

BILL MOYERS: –said the Council for National Policy's executive committee president, Bill Walton. Ralph Reed, chairman of the nonprofit, Faith and Freedom Coalition told the CNP audience that conservatives are going to be harvesting ballots in churches. “We're going to be specifically going in, not only to white evangelical churches, but into Hispanic and Asian churches and collecting those ballots.'" And then, here's the one that really stands out. At that meeting, J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official and the president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a charity, described mail-in voting as the number one left-wing agenda. He urged the activists not to worry about the criticism that might come their way. Quote, “Be not afraid of the accusations that you're a voter suppressor." Any of that surprise you?

ANNE NELSON: Not in the least. On the contrary, you'll find the footprints of those statements in my book. One of the techniques that this movement has used is using data profiles and directing information to voters to either get them to vote for Republicans or to suppress the vote if they're not likely to. The Koch brothers brought state-of-the-art political data operations to the table with an organization called i360. And that was harnessed to organizations that were run by CNP members. So, for example, one of them was the Susan B. Anthony List, which is anti-abortion. One of them was the NRA. They also combined data from churches and from political data and consumer data. So that allowed canvassers for these organizations to do their door-to-door canvassing having a huge amount of information about each individual voter, and a tailored individual script for them. So, for example, if you are canvassing in Springfield, Missouri, and you're working for the Susan B. Anthony List, you know that at such-and-such an address, there's a Catholic housewife with six kids there who watched an anti-abortion film on Netflix and ordered LIVES OF THE SAINTS from Amazon. You have all of that in your cell phone, and you also have a script that's been prepared and tailored for that voter, right? But you're going to have a totally different script based on the data for the next-door neighbor who's a gun owner who's all about the second amendment. And the Democrats have lagged behind, not in terms of the data they have, but the way they've networked data across state lines and to organizations that are doing their political groundwork. So that's been a factor. The use of data has been very important in the last few campaigns, and not always well-understood. But there's also a really important matter of how data is used to suppress votes. And that's where I would direct people to a news story done by Channel Four in Britain. The Council for National Policy partners and the Koch brothers' data platform i360 used data from Cambridge Analytica with several hundred million voters, with some 2,000 data points for every voter. So that includes you and me, Bill, okay? They know a lot about us, and so what they did in this story documenting what happened with African Americans in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was find that if voters were not likely to vote for Republicans. If they leaned Democratic, they would target them with misinformation that would disincline them to vote at all. And in other cases, such as what's been documented in Michigan, some 90,000 African American voters were persuaded not to vote for the top of the ticket for Hillary Clinton by these methods. So, in these states, they always go by very, very narrow margins. So, I would argue that a lot of these data operations, some of them of questionable legality, have actually changed the course of electoral history.

BILL MOYERS: What do you think they're doing for this election in two weeks?

ANNE NELSON: Well, we know that the Trump 2020 app has highly questionable practices, in terms of its privacy and the way it accesses people's cell phone directories, all of their contacts, friends and family, and then sends messages out to them, often without the user knowing that they're doing it. They also combine that with consumer data. So, for example, if you downloaded their app on one phone that was a different account, they could trace your credit card records back to your own account. They also use geolocation, so once you download the app, they figure out where you are and what kind of messaging would appeal to you and leverage you to attract other voters. And they use this through beacons that are placed around areas like political rallies and churches, right, to locate the people with the apps and then engage them for political purpose. It has been recently revealed that these beacons had even been implanted in Trump yard signs. So, they're really, I would say, on the cutting edge of political technology. And it's in this very murky area of law where there are abusive practices involving privacy, but there's no clear legal framework to govern it.

BILL MOYERS: And what stuns me is their ability to connect this very sophisticated information gained by very up-to-date, modern technology to a lot of poor pastors in East Texas and Southern Alabama who are concerned about the state of the world. And here, they've been led into, one of the most sophisticated political campaigns that really has not their interest at heart. And they become soldiers in the crusade–

ANNE NELSON: Absolutely. And again, these are the people I grew up with, and I see a lot of cases where the pastors have been bullied into it. And they say, “Wait a minute, I want people to come to church and reflect on spirituality. We're not here to run a political campaign."

BILL MOYERS: Yet the fact remains, as you make clear in the book, that they have a very acute grasp of electoral college politics. How do you win the 270 votes of the electoral college, even if you lost the popular vote? How did they get there?

ANNE NELSON: Well, they work harder at it. I think they worked harder at it than the Democrats have. They've got a pollster named George Barna.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah.

ANNE NELSON: And he has paid a lot of attention to these voters. He has identified characteristics to them, and one of them is that older white evangelicals from largely rural areas have a 91% turnout at the polling places. That is powerful. And that's something where it's not exactly fashionable in Democratic circles to talk about that. And why we should have a dialogue with these voters. So, when you get that information, and when you work over and over again to refine messaging that will touch a nerve with these groups, some of it's misinformation, and some of it's just hard work and smart strategy.

BILL MOYERS: And they have enlisted these fundamentalist white churches to serve as their political proxies by doing smart things, like inviting them on junkets that the CNP pays for, writing sermons for them to download, producing their church bulletins for them, and delivering voter guides to them for distribution to their congregations. That's down at the very grassroots. And they do it.

ANNE NELSON: They've even constructed a multi-million-dollar Museum of the Bible, steps from Capitol Hill. And it's really a kind of monument to conservative fundamentalist political ideology.

BILL MOYERS: It's really a remarkable turn of American politics in the last 40 years, and you have written a very smart, detailed, informative, and narratively-driven book on it. You say, in your epilogue, in the beginning, there were the Southern Baptists, and there were two of them in particular, Pastor Paige Patterson — who became president of the Baptist seminary I had attended long before him — and a state judge named Paul Pressler. In effect, you say, they started it all. The Southern Baptists were the core.

ANNE NELSON: They were kind of the godfathers, I would say, yeah.

BILL MOYERS: Southern Baptists had long believed in the inerrancy of the Bible, that the Bible is literally God's word. But my generation of Baptists were discovering historical criticism of the Bible and began to change the denomination. And what Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler did was to alarm the Baptists who still believed in the literal meaning of the Bible and said, “They're going to take it away from you if you're not careful." And so they were able to drive the moderate leaders out of the Southern Baptist Convention and replace them with literalist, fundamentalist pastors from churches around the country, including some very large churches. And before we knew it, the Southern Baptist Convention had become a radically conservative Republican denomination.

ANNE NELSON: Yeah, and I see that as tragic, because it divides families, it divides communities. It changes the nature of spirituality in these communities. But then you see those tactics, which are all about power, right? And they're replicated in the Republican Party. Same thing happens. You drive out the moderates, you defeat the moderates, and you replace them with ideologues or card-carrying members of the movement. And I think we can look at Amy Coney Barrett as another iteration of the same thing. What you're doing is weeding out the moderate and liberal judges and replacing them with people who will march to this beat. And traditionally, that's not been the principle for our court. People could say, “The courts need to have some kind of standard that's open to all Americans," not something that's driving a particular minority ideology. So, for me, that's the glaring danger that's facing our democracy.

BILL MOYERS: And you sum up the Council for National Policy as, “An elite club of high-powered fundamentalists, oligarchs, and their allies, deploying a media empire to flood the country with propaganda, bankrolling handpicked colleges to promote extremist Libertarian ideas, and to groom up and coming politicians," and I would say judges, “to advance its cause." And you say this is all aimed at the very heart of democracy.

ANNE NELSON: Well, democracy is the blind man and the elephant, because my democracy is an America where people from diverse religions and national backgrounds came together and chose to live together under the rule of law. It aspired to give everyone equal opportunity and rights as citizens. And I don't want another religion imposing its practice on me, that's not my idea of being an American or respecting my fellow Americans. If their idea of the American ideal is so different, I would think they'd have to show some evidence that the majority of Americans saw it their way. And the evidence is all to the contrary and moving in the opposite direction. So that's why we're seeing so many manifestations of questionable maneuvers for securing power, as opposed to winning it through the ballot box. We've got two weeks before the elections. Then we've got another period which is the interregnum until the inauguration. But then we're going to have this entire cohort in the judiciary which is going to be defining our public life for years, perhaps decades to come. So I'm afraid it's going to be no rest for the weary. The cliche is, “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom." And I think that eternal vigilance is going to be very important for everyone who wants to defend other people's rights.

BILL MOYERS: Anne Nelson, thank you so much for SHADOW NETWORK: MEDIA, MONEY, AND THE SECRET HUB OF THE RADICAL RIGHT. And thank you for your time today.

ANNE NELSON: Thank you so much, Bill.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for listening to Moyers on Democracy. On our website, you can read an excerpt from Anne Nelson's book. Until next time, you'll find all this and more at Billmoyers.com.

Here are the questions that caused Trump to walk out of his ‘60 Minutes’ interview with Lesley Stahl

The reason President Donald Trump stormed out of a "60 Minutes" interview with Lesley Stahl was that she asked about the Michigan rally in which his supporters began chanting "lock her up" about Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Trump held the rally over the weekend attacking her for not opening up the state back up when he wanted it.

"So you don't want to lock her up?" Stahl asked.

"That's such a vicious thing you just said," Trump claimed. "When did I say lock her up?"

Trump laughed when his audience chanted it and repeated the phrase. He then said that he hopes they "send her packing soon."

"I never said lock up the governor of Michigan," Trump disputed. "I would never say that. Why would I say that? Because she's doing lockdowns."

"You want to lock up the Bidens?" Stahl asked Trump.

"No, but they certainly should be looked at," Trump said. Over the past several days he's encouraged "lock him up" chants at rallies talking about the Biden family.

"You want to lock up Obama?" Stahl asked.

"No, I don't want to lock him up but he spied on my campaign," Trump falsely claimed. "You know what that is? Do you know what they did? Do you know how horrible it is what they did? You don't get it."

Trump never told Stahl what the FBI proved was done by Obama or Biden, but he did bring in a special counsel to investigate it and Trump's own Department of Justice hasn't been able to find anything.

Trump said that Biden likely will because he's "dishonest" and that Barr has been "very nice" and that he's ignored the "evidence." He didn't clarify what the evidence was.

"You know, I didn't want to have this kind of interview," Stahl then said.

"Yes, you did. Yes you did," Trump said. "Well, you brought up a bunch of subjects that were inappropriately brought up. They were inappropriately brought up. Right from the beginning. No your first question was, 'This is going to be tough questions.' Well–"

"You're president. Don't you think you think you should be accountable to the American people?" she asked.

"No, no, listen, your first statement to me, 'This is going to be tough questions,'" Trump said. "Well, I don't mind that. But when you set up the interview you didn't say that."

A staffer ultimately interviewed and said that they only had about five more minutes, but Trump said that they were finished and walked out.

See the video below – about the last five minutes.


Democrats are missing a big chance to increase turnout and take down the Trump machine

The anxiety over changes and irregularities with the United States Postal Service (USPS) in August finally spilled over. A functioning postal service undergirds many of our society’s most basic functions, so there was no shortage of reasons to be alarmed. However, one concern—the threat to November’s election—overwhelmingly rose to the top. And the public outcry over that threat pushed a normally lethargic House majority into action, winning some mild but incomplete reversals from USPS.

Keep reading... Show less

New filings reveal Kellyanne Conway is still raking in cash on the GOP payroll — but for what?

Citing a need to devote time to her family, Kellyanne Conway announced her departure from the Trump administration only one month ago. Nonetheless, the Republican National Committee is paying the former White House counselor $15,000 a month, according to new federal filings.

Conway left the White House in late August amid a publicly unfolding family drama after her daughter declared her intention to seek emancipation over alleged "trauma and abuse" in multiple social media posts. In an exit statement, Conway said she would be stepping down "gratefully" and "humbly."

Her husband, the attorney George Conway, simultaneously announced that he would withdraw from his role as chief agitator at The Lincoln Project, a big-money group of conservative Trump critics, to "devote more time to family matters."

"We disagree about plenty, but we are united on what matters most: the kids," Kellyanne Conway said of her husband in her statement, adding: "For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama."

Kellyanne Conway, who carried Trump's 2016 campaign over the finish line before assuming a role as the administration's most facile TV sophist, would bring a range of experience and insight in national politics. But the scope of her Republican National Committee responsibilities is unclear. The veteran pollster was paid for "political strategy services," according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings released on Friday.

The monthly amount — $15,000 — is the equivalent of a top White House salary. Indeed, Kellyanne Conway previously earned almost the same amount during her time at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. It's also a common monthly salary handed out by the GOP to former officials who exit through the Trump administration's revolving door.

Filings show the RNC still pays $15,000 a month to former presidential security chief and Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller — originally for "security services" connected to the 2020 Republican National Convention, which has since come and gone. The new records also show a $20,000 Oct. 13 expenditure to Pinkerton, the famed private investigation and protection agency, also for "security services."

The GOP paid that same $15,000 monthly stipend to Ric Grennell after he left the Trump administration, but the latest round of filings reveal the chief Republican LGBTQ+ adviser got an unexplained October bump to nearly $22,000.

Former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault-Newman was reportedly offered $15,000 for RNC work when she left the administration. ABC News also reported that the committee paid former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale in monthly installments of the same amount for strategic development.

The Conways own a New Jersey beach home, as well as an $8 million mansion in the posh Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, which their teenage daughter, Claudia, often features in social media videos.

Former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault-Newman was reportedly offered $15,000 for RNC work when she left the administration. ABC News also reported that the committee paid former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale in monthly installments of the same amount for strategic development.

The Conways own a New Jersey beach home, as well as an $8 million mansion in the posh Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, which their teenage daughter, Claudia, often features in social media videos.

"It's a violation of basic decency, certainly, if not marital vows," she told the outlet, before trying to strike the conversation from the record.

In August, Kellyanne Conway said that she anticipated taking on a "significant role" in Trump's 2020 campaign, according to The Washington Post.

The Republican National Committee awarded Kellyanne Conway a top speaking slot this August at its convention in Washington, which stirred controversy for numerous likely violations of the Hatch Act, a law prohibiting federal employees from engaging in political activity. Conway was accused of violating the Hatch Act more than 50 times before 2019 — on Twitter alone. In 2018, the Office of Special Counsel ruled that she had violated the law on two occasions, but the White House let her off the hook.

McConnell gets evasive when pressed on mysterious markings and bruises on his hands and face

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) avoided answering health-related questions after he appeared in public with what appeared to be significant bruises, discoloration, and markings on his hands and face.

On Tuesday, McConnell, 78, came in contact with reporters after attending the Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill. At the time, he was pressed by reporters on whether or not he had health issues. To that question, he simply said, "Of course not," according to CNN.

The top-ranking Republican was also asked if he was being treated by a doctor. That was another question he also dodged. A CNN correspondent even went a step further and opted to ask McConnell a more direct question about the bruises and markings on his hands. In response to that question, he only said, there were "no concerns." McConnell's aide also declined to answer questions about the senator's health.


The questions about McConnell's health come as photos are also circulating from the luncheon on Capitol Hill. The photos show what appears to be bruises on McConnell's face and hands. The bruises on his right hand are distinctively dark. Twitter users have raised questions about McConnell's health although he has remained particularly silent. Despite the speculation, McConnell been conducting business as usual this week as he focuses on trying to push for the confirmation of President Donald Trump's Supreme Court Justice nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. No further details have been released regarding McConnell's health.

The debate wasn't 'civil' — Trump showed himself to be a cold-blooded psychopath

The word on the media reviews for Thursday night's second — and blessedly last — debate of the presidential campaign is that it was civil.

"It was civil, calm, sedate, substantive (at times) and, almost, even normal," Shane Goldmacher at the New York Times writes.

"It came down to muting the president," Robin Givhan of the Washington Post writes. "That's what it took to stage a reasonably civil debate between President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden."

Deirdre Walsh at NPR declared the Nashville debate " a much different — and far more civil — night than the last encounter."

I don't know what debate these analysts were watching. Because the one I saw was between a normal politician, Joe Biden, and a man whose utter lack of empathy for any other human being is only matched by his baseless self-regard. The mute button only allowed Trump to speak at greater length, showcasing for all of America to see a textbook illustration of what sociopathy looks like. Afterwards, I wondered if Christian Bale had been watching, and if so, if he was worried that his star turn in "American Psycho" was too understated.

I know we've all grown numb to Trump's casual cruelty and his obvious inability to imagine that other people are fully real, but hot damn, it is incumbent on us who carry the dubious title of "journalist" not to let that numbness cloud our vision. There is something deeply wrong with that man. Anyone who listened — really listened — to him on Thursday night could see it.

Trump's sociopathic responses to human suffering started straightaway, when moderator Kristen Welker asked about future responses to the coronavirus, which has infected more than 8 million Americans and killed 223,000 as of Friday morning. Trump talked about the pandemic as if he were cheating at golf or trying to bully some hapless tenant into agreeing that there's nothing wrong with brown water coming out of the faucet.

"So as you know, 2.2 million people modeled out, were expected to die," Trump started, in a tone so casual one would think he was talking about the weather. He went on to claim the U.S. is doing better than most of the world with controlling the pandemic.

All of this is a lie, which is no surprise. That number of 2.2 fatalities was the absolute worst-case scenario, with no mitigation practices at all. It's much lower than that, no thanks to Trump — who proceeded to hype the no-mitigation strategy for the rest of the debate, even scoffing at the idea of plexiglass barriers — but because state and local officials and the American people stepped up to save ourselves.

Trump then proceeded to downplay the seriousness of the virus, bragging "I got better very fast" when he got COVID-19 and claiming that "99% of people recover." In fact, the death rate right now is 2.6% of diagnosed cases, and an unknown number of those who survive will have long-term health effects. He then proceeded to whine like a fourth-grader, literally proclaiming, it's "not my fault."

Imagine how this felt for people who have had someone close to them die, or who have themselves survived a near-death experience with COVID-19. I've personally had multiple people in my life become ill with this virus, and was wracked with worry about losing one of them. Trump's entire soulless diatribe, especially when he mentioned that his "young son" had the disease and "was fine," was profoundly disturbing. The man has no empathy, not even for his own family.

It went on like that all night. On every issue touching human suffering, Trump sounded like a callous jerk.

On the subject of family separations and the 545 immigrant children who are still separated from their parents after Trump instituted the policy that ripped thousands of families apart?

"They are so well taken care of. They're in facilities that were so clean," Trump said dismissively, as if forcibly orphaned children should be grateful to be allowed to take a shower.

He also took time to smear people who apply for legal immigration status, saying that only "those with the lowest IQ" show up to their mandatory court appointments.

In Trump's world, only idiots and fools obey the law. In a 2016 debate with Hillary Clinton, he famously made a similar claim, saying that his long history of tax evasion makes him "smart". This time around, there was more racism, along with the president's bizarre and fascistic obsession with eugenics.

When Welker asked the candidates to talk about the struggles of Black parents faced with the need to tell their kids that encounters with police can threat to their personal safety or their lives, Biden spoke empathetically about the difficulties of raising kids in a racist system. Trump just whined that he doesn't get enough praise for his generosity to Black people.

"I am the least racist person in this room," Trump whined, adding that he "took care of Black colleges and universities," in the same tone he probably uses when listing all the jewelry he's purchased for wives irate about yet another infidelity.

Biden was a welcome contrast all night, even when Trump was turning that sociopathic viciousness towards sneering at the former veep's well-documented famil struggles. Much has been said about Biden's empathy and personal decency, but honestly, any human being without a severe personality disorder would come across as a mensch next to that sneering creep.

It may be that the loud, chaotic and disruptive aspects of Trump's personality are so annoying that they drown out what is actually most disturbing about the man, which is that he has no human feeling for other people. Or perhaps it's because the ideology of American conservatism at this point is so cruel and unfeeling that Trump seems like a natural fit with the 21st-century Republican Party. Possibly it's because the political culture of mandatory cynicism doesn't allow people to admit that they're weirded out by someone whose empathetic capacity is so busted.

Whatever the reason, it's remarkable how so many people have grown accustomed to sitting through that man's cold-blooded rants and callous affect and don't seem disturbed by it, as long as the volume is kept at a reasonable level.

But the truth is, without the yelling and headache-inducing interruptions, Trump's ruthless attitude towards any human being besides himself came through with crystalline clarity. There's nothing "civil" about a man who doesn't care about human suffering and death, and is only upset by the fact that he's not receiving the constant praise and flattery he believes is his due.

Jared and Ivanka will be ‘shunned’ by Manhattan social circles after taking part in Trump’s ‘national atrocities’: report

According to a report from the Daily Beast’s Hannah Seligson, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner can expect a rocky road when it comes to social acceptance if they decide to return to Manhattan after serving as chief advisers to the highly unpopular Donald Trump.

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Trump’s push for voter intimidation is working as armed Florida men claim to have been hired by his campaign

During his first debate with former Vice President Joe Biden on September 29, President Donald Trump urged his supporters to serve as poll watchers. Trump's critics have been arguing that Trump was promoting voter intimidation and encouraging would-be vigilantes, and according to reporting from Vanity Fair and Florida's WFLA News 8, it appears to be working.

WFLA (an NBC affiliate in Tampa) reports that in St. Petersburg, Florida, two armed men dressed as security guards in a tent they set up outside an early voting site "were not hired by" Trump's campaign, even though they claimed to be.

Julie Marcus, supervisor of elections in Pinellas County, Florida, told WFLA that Sheriff Bob Gualtieri "told me the persons that were dressed in these security uniforms had indicated to sheriff's deputies that they belonged to a licensed security company, and they indicated — and this has not been confirmed yet — that they were hired by the Trump campaign."

Marcus, a Republican who was appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, also told WFLA, "The sheriff and I take this very seriously. Voter intimidation, deterring voters from voting, impeding a voter's ability to cast a ballot in this election is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in any way, shape or form."

During his debate with Biden, Trump said, "I'm urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully." And Trump's critics have been arguing that he wasn't talking about official poll watchers, but rather, was encouraging his supporters to become vigilantes.

In Vanity Fair, journalist Eric Lutz reports that "at several sites across the country, including California and New Mexico, Trump supporters have gathered near polling sites — in some cases, worrying those waiting to vote."

In Florida, Lutz notes, an armed police officer named Daniel Ubeda "was seen near a poll wearing a face mask that read 'TRUMP 2020' and 'NO MORE BULLSHIT' on the front of it."

Attorney Steve Simeonidis, who chairs the Dade County Democratic Party, saw Ubeda near that polling place and told the Miami Herald, "He may have been going to vote. But he was in full uniform with the mask and a gun. That's voter intimidation."

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, in response to that incident, said, "It's a violation of departmental orders. A police officer is supposed to be impartial."

On October 21, the Washington Post's Joshua Partlow reported, "A wide array of complaints have been reported around the country, many involving Trump supporters, according to tips reviewed by ProPublica's Electionland project and shared with other news organizations, including the Washington Post."

Trump is creating a huge problem for one of his key Senate allies

Poll after poll on Arizona's 2020 U.S. Senate race has showed incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally losing to her Democratic challenger, Mark Kelly. And according to Washington Post columnist David Byler, President Donald Trump will bear some of the responsibility if McSally loses.

"The suburbs represent McSally's biggest Trump-induced struggle," Byler explains in his column this week. "The vast majority of Arizona's votes come from Maricopa and Pima counties, which roughly correspond to Phoenix and Tucson."

The possibility that Arizona could end up with two Democratic U.S. senators — Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and, if he wins, Kelly — is downright shocking in light of how deeply Republican Arizona was for many years. Arizona is closely identified with the conservative politics of Sen. Barry Goldwater and Sen. John McCain, and McSally is fighting to hold onto the Senate seat once held by, at different points, both men.

But in recent years, Arizona has evolved into a swing state.

In the past, Goldwater and McCain had no problem performing well in Maricopa County or Pima County. But McSally, Byler notes, is struggling in those counties, where Trumpism is hurting her campaign.

"For years, these counties weren't problems for Republicans," Byler notes. "Maricopa used to be staunchly Republican, with older voters, immigration hardliners and well-educated suburbanites coming together to vote for GOP politicians who ranged from immigration restrictionists such as former Gov. Jan Brewer to relative moderates such as the famously bipartisan Sen. John McCain. Democrats won Tucson, but not by margins large enough to overcome Phoenix and GOP-friendly rural areas. But in 2016, Trump gave up suburban votes, losing ground in both counties."

In 2018, Byler adds, Sinema "won Maricopa County by four points and notched a two-point statewide victory over McSally, giving the seat to the blue team for the first time since 1988."

McSally has never won a U.S. Senate race in Arizona, but Gov. Doug Ducey appointed her to the seat that McCain, who died in 2018, held for many years. Sen. McCain detested Trump, and his widow, Republican Cindy McCain, has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

"The suburbs aren't McSally's only problem," Byler observes. "Trump has also closed off many of her most plausible avenues for pushing back on the suburban blue wave. Americans above age 65 have turned sharply toward Joe Biden; so, she can't easily appeal to the state's solid senior population. Trump has turned off many Mormons, which probably isn't helping McSally rally the state's small but notable LDS population. And Trump's relative resilience with Hispanic voters will help only so much in Arizona, where 90% of the fast-growing Hispanic population is Mexican-American and Republican-leaning Cuban-Americans are scarce."

McSally, Byler stresses, finds herself in an "unenviable position" because she "has to stay somewhat close to the president to cater to the state's Trumpian base" but must also "find ways to distance herself from Trump to appeal to voters who backed McCain" in 2008's presidential election" and Mitt Romney in 2012 but don't support Trump in 2020.

Polls released during the second half of October have found McSally trailing Kelly by 11% (CBS News/YouGov and CNBC/Change Research), 4% (Morning Consult), 8% (Ipsos) or 7% (RMG Research).

"If Trump manages to push back against these demographic forces and win Arizona, McSally might have a chance," Byler writes. "But if McSally loses, at least part of the blame will rest on Trump."

Trump Jr. says dad’s ‘next move’ is to ‘break up’ the FBI: ‘He has to get rid of these things’

Donald Trump Jr. on Sunday called on his father to "break up" the FBI if he wins a second term.

During an interview on Fox News, host Maria Bartiromo asked the president's son what his father would do if the FBI does not do his bidding by smearing the son of Democratic nominee Joe Biden and by preventing Democrats from increasing the use of mail-in ballots.

"We have to keep fighting," Trump replied. "We're fighting with one leg and two arms tied behind our back. You know, we don't have the mainstream media that's willing to at this point, not even just boost the other side, but literally run cover for what would arguably be the biggest corruption scheme in American political history. This is the stuff that makes Watergate look like kindergarten."

According to the younger Trump, the FBI tried to "knowingly peddle" information about his father's connections to Russia.

"They refuse to acknowledge their own corruption," he explained. "And the reality is, I think, when Donald Trump wins, he has to break up the highest level of the FBI. He has to get rid of these things. And more importantly, maybe break up the swamp in general."

"You know, why is the Department of the Interior headed out of Washington?" Trump asked. "Why don't we spread all of those things up throughout America?"

"That's Donald Trump's next move," he predicted, "if I'm him and if he wins, which I think he will. Because what's going on is disgusting. This is the stuff of communist China!"

Watch the video below from Fox News.


Donald Trump Jr.: Dad's 'next move' is to 'break up' FBI youtu.be

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