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The Washington Report – July 29, 2016
29 Jul 2016

The Washington Report – July 29, 2016

The Democratic Convention wrapped (and wrap-up) …. the race is officially on.

It’s 102 days until Election Day … and other news of the week.
A word to loyal readers, the Washington Report will be back after Labor Day — with its political insights and intelligence. Until then …



 “When there are no ceilings, the sky is the limit.”
–  HRC
No matter what party you’re in or how you feel about Clinton, it was a historical moment …“Tonight, we’ve reached a milestone in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union: the first time that a major party has nominated a woman for president,” Clinton said as she accepted the nomination. “Standing here as my mother’s daughter, and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come.”
The Atlantic “It wasn’t the theme of her speech. But it was the unspoken subtext that ran through it. And Clinton took pains to frame the achievement not as the triumph of some subset of Americans, but as a victory for all Americans. She proclaimed herself both “happy for grandmothers and little girls,” but also “happy for boys and men—because when any barrier falls in America, it clears the way for everyone. It’s a barrier that proved surprisingly enduring.

Women constitute 51% of the American population, cast 53% of the votes in the last presidential election, and earn 57% of the bachelor’s degrees. It’s easy to look at those numbers, and believe the election of a woman to the highest office in the land an inevitability. And for a long time, people have. In 1888, the prominent suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker confidently predicted that, “we shall have a women president of the United States before the ballot is given to women.” In 1905, Supreme Court Justice David Brewer told an audience that “before gray hair shall cover the heads of the women here tonight” America would send a woman to the White House. But the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920; Brewer’s listeners greyed, and then passed. A century later, the election of a woman remains perennially inevitable, perhaps even imminent, and yet somehow unachieved.”

INTERESTING BIT OF HISTORY NYTs “The first female candidate for the nation’s highest office was Victoria Woodhull in 1872, a half-century before Americcan women won the right to vote. Woodhull was nominated by the Equal rights Party (which is why Hillary is 1st of a major political party) at a convention that she bankrolled.  The abolitionist and former slave, Frederick Douglass, was nominated to be her running mate. She was born in Homer, Ohio is 1838, grew up poor, working as a fortune teller with her younger sister, Tennessee. In 1868 she moved to NY and met one of the world’s richest men, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Tennessee was his lover; Victoria provided him with stock tips. Vanderbilt gave the sisters money for what became Wall Street’s first female-owned brokerage house. It did so well that they started a newspaper. Woodhull used her wealth and status to promote the suffrage movement. Days before the election, her newspaper exposed the extramarital affair of the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, one of the country’s most famous preachers. Woodhull spent Election Day in jail, charged with sending obscene materials. Her candidacy was only a blip in the voting. Beecher’s sensational six-month trial ended in a hung jury, but the scandal ruined Woodhull. She later moved to England, where she lived most of her last 50 years until her death in 1927.”


THE NARRATIVE —  ROLE REVERSAL Politico: “For the first time, perhaps, since Vietnam, the Democratic Party is now the party of national security expertise-not just in its own rhetoric, but in the eyes of national-security specialists on both sides. One of the most striking facts about the election of 2016 is that a sizeable majority of Republican foreign-policy professionals appear to agree with Obama and Biden. They believe that Trump is a far greater danger to U.S. national security than Clinton is-and many of them say they will even vote for her.”  WashPost “The country’s two major political parties … are speaking to America in voices that sound like a political and ideological role reversal. For Republicans, the country is a place of near-apocalyptic gloom whose best days are fast receding … The nation of the Democrats who met here this week to nominate former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is a vibrant and diverse place.”

Trump has abandoned the deep and pervasive optimism that has always energized the American nation,” David Brooks NYTs. “For decades the Republican Party has embraced America’s open, future-oriented nationalism. But when you nominate a Silvio Berlusconi you give up a piece of that. When you nominate a blood-and-soil nationalist you’re no longer speaking in the voice of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and every Republican nominee from Reagan to McCain to Romney. … It could be that in this moment of fear, cynicism, anxiety and extreme pessimism, many voters may have decided that civility is a surrender to a rigged system, that optimism is the opiate of the idiots … If that’s true it’s not just politics that has changed, but the country.”


GENERAL ALLEN BACKS CLINTON IN HAWKISH REBUKE OF TRUMP (he wasn’t screaming, that’s how he talks!)  “Marching out on stage with dozens of military brass behind him, retired four-star Marine Gen. John Allen delivered a fiery speech Thursday night in support of Hillary Clinton, saying she is ‘exactly’ the commander in chief the country needs. “Allen, who commanded troops in Afghanistan and worked with Clinton when she was secretary of state, gave an impassioned defense of Clinton’s record and, without mentioning him by name, strongly criticized Trump’s remarks on national security.”

FALLEN MUSLIM SOLDIER’S DAD TO TRUMP:  “Have you read the constitution?” and “You have sacrificed nothing.” Politico “The father of a deceased Muslim American Army captain hailed his son Thursday as a true military hero who gave up his dream to save the lives of his comrades but rebuked Donald Trump as not worthy commander in chief. “… In his address to the Democratic National Convention, Khan contrasted two vastly different presidential candidates – one who shares characteristics of his late son and one who is nothing like him.”

NOW THAT THE CONVENTIONS ARE DONE, CLINTON AND TRUMP WILL GET INTEL BRIEFINGS: WashPost “National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper Jr. indicated that Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton are eligible to receive intelligence briefings within days of the conclusion of the [DNC]. … Amid reports that some intelligence officials have deep reservations about sharing sensitive information with Trump, Clapper said that ‘it is not up to the administration and not up to me personally to decide on the suitability of presidential candidates. The American electorate is deciding on the suitability of the next commander in chief.'” According to Michael Morell, who led the CIA at various points in the Obama administration and has participated in briefing candidates. ‘There’s not a tremendous amount of extremely sensitive stuff here. These are analytic judgments.'”


“YES, WE STILL CAN” President Obama urged voters to transfer their trust in him to the Democrat he wants to succeed him: “Tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me,” he said.

Politico: “President Obama sent a simple message Wednesday night: Yes, we still can. Obama’s convention speech in Philadelphia framed the 2016 election in a very Obama way: The audacity of hope over the politics of fear, optimism over darkness, solutions over slogans, togetherness over division, a supremely qualified public servant in Hillary Clinton over an amateur-hour con artist in Donald Trump. America, he declared, is already great, and Clinton will make it greater … ‘She’s made mistakes, just like I have, just like we all do,’ he said [of Clinton]. ‘That’s what happens when you try.'”

OBAMA on Trump: “He’s selling the American people short,” Obama said. “We are not a fragile or frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order.”

UNCLE JOE (BIDEN): “His speech included a litany of Biden-isms – ‘literally,’ ‘never, never, ever,’ ‘I mean this sincerely,’ ‘I’m deadly serious’ – that have become a kind of running soundtrack in the White House. He called Michelle Obama ‘kid’ and the president of the United States ‘Barack.’ … But he also brought tears to many eyes with his emotional reminiscence of his late son Beau, ‘an incredibly fine man,’ and with his recognition that so many families have endured heartbreak like his. “He delivered an efficiently brutal takedown of Trump as a cynical, empathy-deprived egomaniac who ‘doesn’t have a clue about the middle class,’ which is the ultimate insult in Bidenworld, and inspired chants of ‘Not a Clue’ from the delighted crowd. Biden also pointed out that the catchphrase Trump delivers with such glee, ‘You’re fired,’ is not the kind of thing that nice people enjoy saying. He scoffed that Trump is now running as a champion of ordinary people, prompting a classic Biden putdown: ‘That’s a bunch of malarkey!”

SPEECH OF A LIFETIME Daily Beast “Michelle Obama gave what almost surely had to be the greatest convention speech ever by a first lady. [making] about as strong a case for Clinton as anyone could possibly make. … Her smackdown of Trump was cleverly disguised as advice the Obamas have given their daughters about how to deal with surly classmates: “When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.”  And then there was that line about waking up every morning “in a house built by slaves.” A stunning sentence in a convention speech.”

THE BERN CNN “Bernie Sanders on Monday led an orchestrated attempt by Democratic leaders to pull their party together.” WashPost “After a day full of tensions between Sanders supporters and the Democratic Party, Sarah Silverman (a Bernie supporter who endorsed Hillary) delivered one of the most memorable lines in her career.  “Can I just say, to the Bernie-or-bust people: You’re being ridiculous.”


“I know a con when I see one. … We must unite around the candidate who can defeat a dangerous demagogue.”
– Michael Bloomberg on Trump … a fellow New York billionaire. And from that place, Bloomberg eviscerated Trump’s business record. “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s running his business,” he said, noting Trump’s history of bankruptcies and bilking contractors. “God help us!”

@MaggieNYT : “Unless I am missing something, Bloomberg is the first major public figure to openly question Trump’s sanity. It was not in the [embargoed remarks] …


“Russia, if you are listening,” he told reporters, “I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
(Russian hackers are believed to have sneaked into the Democratic National Committee’s email system and given thousands of embarrassing missives to WikiLeaks, which dumped the information in order to embarrass Clinton before the convention. Clinton handed over 30,000 work-related emails from her private server to the State Department. But another 30,000 were deleted because she claimed they had no relation to her public duties as secretary of state.)
“This has to be the first time a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent.” And, Trump “is now openly inviting Russian to engage in cyberattacks against the U.S. .
.. Julian Sanchez(@normative): “Disappointed to see Trump outsourcing work American hackers could do.”
AND THEN ... The other remarkable thing Trump said – on that day (The Fix)
QUESTION: I would like to know if you became president, would you recognize (inaudible) Crimea as Russian territory? And also if the U.S. would lift sanctions that are (inaudible)?
TRUMP: We’ll be looking at that. Yeah, we’ll be looking.
To Trump, “We’ll be looking at that” is his go-to, throwaway answer when he’s asked about something he hasn’t thought about, as our own Philip Bump so ably catalogued earlier this month. He does this a lot. But recognizing Crimea as Russian territory is not something that basically anybody inside the American foreign policy mainstream is “looking at.” And were Trump to actually consider it, you can bet it would make Russia very happy indeed. BACK HISTORY In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, an autonomous region of Ukraine. After the ouster of the Ukrainian president, Russian troops moved in and held an unauthorized referendum in which Crimeans voted to rejoin Russia, of which it had previously been a part. As The Post reported back then, it was “the first time that one European nation has seized territory from another since the end of World War II.” As such, U.S. and European allies roundly rejected the annexation. Since then, Vice President Biden has declared it an “illegal” occupation. So the official position of the U.S. government is that the Russian annexation of Crimea is illegal and dangerous. Trump, though, left open the possibility Wednesday of simply recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and even perhaps lifting related sanctions. And not only that, but a top Trump foreign policy adviser has previously said, in an interview with Bloomberg, that Russian business interests have expressed excitement to him about the prospect of a President Trump easing sanctions.”
PART 2 (The Fix) – A POST REPORTER WAS BANNED FROM A TRUMP-PENCE RALLY  “Jose DelReal is one of a small team of people who cover Donald Trump’s presidential campaign for The Washington Post. On Wednesday, he was in Milwaukee to cover an appearance by Trump running mate Mike Pence. DelReal was barred from covering the event as a reporter, in keeping with Trump’s six-week-old ban on The Washington Post. DelReal then tried to enter the event as a citizen. He was told he could not enter with a cell phone despite the fact that other people were not held to that same standard. He put his phone and computer in the car and again tried to enter. He was refused — again — and patted down. “I don’t want you here. You have to go,” the security official told him. THAT SHOULD SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOU. It’s easy to let this whole episode fall into a partisan trap. “He deserved it!” Trump allies will argue. “Reporters at mainstream outlets are biased against Trump! Maybe if you told the truth sometimes, he would let you in!” … Righto.
HERE’S THE THING: If we start banning citizens — like Jose or me … or anyone else — from attending public events for one of the two people who will be our next president, we are sliding down a slippery slope to a future reality that is a very, very bad thing for our country. TO BE CLEAR Jose was trying to cover the event for an established news organization. Although I think it is beyond ridiculous that The Post is banned from covering Trump, I suppose he retains the ability to decide who will be granted special access to his events. (The news media typically have to wait in a much smaller line to get into the event and don’t have to compete for seating.) But Jose then went and waited in line like everyone else. No special treatment. Yet he was clearly treated differently from other people seeking to attend the rally. A pat-down? Really?”


MOSCOW HACK ATTACK PART II WashPost Russian government hackers have apparently also breached the computers of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The intrusion appeared to be carried out by the same Russian intelligence service that hacked the DNC earlier this year. Hackers working for Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU, were traced to the DCCC intrusion, sources said. Also known as APT 28 or Fancy Bear, they are the group the FBI believes took a cache of DNC emails. The bureau is trying to determine whether those emails are the ones that appeared on the website of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks on Friday. “It’s definitely part of a much, much broader campaign that is yet to fully be publicly revealed,” a cybersecurity expert familiar with the matter.”


NEXT TRULY BIG MOMENT in the race is the first debate on Sept 28th.



NORTH CAROLINA VOTER ID LAW STRUCK DOWN WashPost ” A federal appeals court struck down North Carolina’s requirement that voters show identification before casting ballots and reinstated an additional week of early voting. The decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit was an overwhelming victory for civil rights groups and the Justice Department that argued the voting law was designed to dampen the growing political clout of African American voters, who participated in record numbers in elections in 2008 and 2012.”


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