Imprecision of speech may be annoying, but it’s commonplace. In Donald Trump’s case, it’s practically currency. He trades in imprecision, invests in it, profits from it. It is both a weapon and a shield. And it makes everyone else get into impossible arguments. Arguments like “In your face, Trump was wiretapped just like he said” vs “Nuh uh, dummy, Manafort being tapped doesn’t mean Trump was. And what wire?”
Trump’s tweet that shook the wires of the world, if you will recall, says this:
Two days ago, a new story broke. Paul Manfort was “wiretapped,” reported CNN, which included the news that the surveillance occurred before and during the campaign and when he worked for Trump, and that then-candidate Trump was probably recorded in conversations with Manafort.
Now the battle is on between pundits, analysts, talking heads, social media mavens, bloggers, activists and, presumably, watercooler debaters across the country. This proves Trump was right vs. This doesn’t prove anything.
A useless argument.
If we know that Trump says things carelessly and inaccurately, which we do, then you know it’s perfectly reasonable for him to say he was wiretapped if he knew conversations he took part in were recorded. He’s not legally defining it. He’s stating he was recorded by surveillance. Which he probably was.
So he was right?
If we know the investigation began and the first warrant was issued before his campaign, which we do, and that this was justified for such a shady, mob-owned bad guy, which it was, then it’s perfectly unreasonable to say that this was the object of a political assassination. Or even to say Trump was wiretapped directly.
So he was wrong?
But wait, a second FISA warrant was issued, and it was directly related to the Trump campaign and collusion.
The FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year.
Sources say the second warrant was part of the FBI’s efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives. Such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials, and the FBI must provide the court with information showing suspicion that the subject of the warrant may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.
To be clear, the wiretap warrants are the only new part of the story. We already knew about the long investigation into the campaign and Trump associates and Russia. I was right in March when I said that the parties involved are all untrustworthy, and that hasn’t changed. I was also right when I said the official denial from Obama’s spox was “laughable.” There’s also this, from the same article:
It’s pretty clear, given that it’s a matter of public record and we’ve all been talking about it for months, that at the very least people in the Trump solar system have been in the lens of government telescopes for some time in relation to their contact with Russians. Was it “wiretapping”? Was it at Trump tower? Were they in his closet with a stenographer and a caricaturist? Who knows?
We know now that it was actual surveillance, actual wiretapping, that it targeted someone whom we know was having direct conversations with the President about the campaign. If the person they were investigating had conversations about the campaign they were investigating, with the person who was the subject of the campaign, do you really think those conversations were excluded from surveillance? Come on.
But this is all parsing, isn’t it? We’re sifting through the language for particular accuracy, but that’s not Trump’s currency. His is imprecision, and his allegation was imprecise. You can easily say he was incorrect, that they were in fact tapping Manafort and not Trump. You can also say that he was correct that he was being recorded. And the people who say those two things can have an infinite Twitter argument over which statement is more true.
But the most true things you can say are:
1) Paul Manafort is in hot water and Mueller’s team is coming down on him with relentless and ruthless persistence.
2) Trump showed exceptionally bad judgment in getting in bed with Manafort, and worse in staying there.
3) The Trump media will play this revelation as a huge victory for him, despite that obvious negative implications.
4) We don’t know yet how Trump will react if an indictment materializes.
There could be more from Mueller’s investigation. Or they could be pressing so hard on Manafort in order to justify the existence of the investigation in the first place. We just (still) don’t really know yet.
What we do know, and this is absolutely certain, is that people are going to keep on arguing about the meaning of “is” for the next few forevers.
Here we go again. So soon after Harvey and Irma, another massive and powerful storm is headed to destruction as Hurricane Maria bears down on Puerto Rico. Reports vary as to whether it is a Category 4 or 5, as the wind speed is right at the break (about 155 to 157 mph sustained winds reported, which is the line.)
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is preparing the island for what he says they are expecting to be the “worst hurricane in modern history in Puerto Rico.” At the time of this posting, winds, rain, and storm surge are battering the island as it prepares to make landfall on the southeast side of the island.
This is borderline perfidious. A growing sentiment promoted by the Trump-friendly or MAGA- sympathetic pundit and reporter class that Trump’s loyal immigration base don’t actually care about amnesty for DREAMers is sweeping across social media.
This is absolutely something Trump’s voters cared and care about. This morning, when President Trump tweeted philosophically and incredulously about this supposedly surprising notion that people might want to deport illegal immigrants who are productive and law-abiding, he was met with immediate resistance. And rightly so.
Look, it doesn’t matter if you think deporting DREAMers is bad, or ending DACA isn’t feasible, or whatever you may think. The question boils down to two things: What did Trump promise to do about it, and what did Trump’s immigration base vote for?
In both cases, the answer is “no amnesty, even for those covered under DACA.” This is simply indisputable. Let us revisit a key quote:
We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties in which he defied federal law and the Constitution to give amnesty to approximately five million illegal immigrants, five million.
<a href="http://“>There is so much more here. That he was specific about DACA, that he said it would be immediate and uncompromised, there is zero doubt. This was something he repeated many times, always to roars and cheers.
Yet today, even good reporters are buying into and repeating the romantic notion that, well gosh, no decent, real, hard-working Trump voters actually wanted these promises they cheered for to come to fruition.
If we’re going to compare anecdotes (for some reason), I too have met many dozens of Trump supporters. I live in southern North Carolina. I travel in conservative and evangelical circles. I went to many rallies as part of RedState’s coverage of the election. I can’t think of a Trump voter that I met who would not reject Trump’s reasoning. Not one who would be indifferent to cutting a deal on DACA with Pelosi and Schumer. Zero.
But it’s not mere anecdote. The premise for a lot of “from the heartland” coverage was that there was a natural, grassroots, organic and genuine movement that elected Donald Trump. In evidence of that inevitably is offered the many rallies he held to over-capacity crowds, the MAGA hats that one saw in public, even the signs in people’s yards. Yes, those were all cited as legitimate proof. But it was those very rallies and public shows of support where Trump spoke the most frequently and vehemently about illegal immigration and amnesty. It was that very populist, native political force endlessly described to us which cheered the loudest when he did. It was they who held the signs. They who wore the hats and buttons. They cheered it. They believed it.
And besides that proof, there is the evidence of one’s own eyes today. Sites that have long been in the tank for Trump, mainly on immigration grounds, sites like Breitbart.com, for example, are calling him Amnesty Don today. His supporters are tweeting their frustration and anger at him for trusting the Democrats, for making no progress on the promised wall, and yes, absolutely, for DACA amnesty
Not to mention this doesn’t even get into the issue of the wall.
They care. And moreover, they should care. As I have repeated a dozen times today, his argument this morning in support of his deal cut directly to the heart of the philosophical positions for and against amnesty, and he came in on the same side as amnesty. There is no question about it. Whether the deal is changed in a hasty course correction, the reality is now apparent with regard to his belief and understanding. And that belief and understanding are in direct contradiction of all that he promised, and all that his fervent supporters believed.
MAGA cares about this. They may not act on it, they may rationalize it, but don’t pretend it’s utterly trivial to them. It’s not.
They are betrayed. There is no interview from Peoria that will change that.
I’ll have more in about 30 minutes on the topic of disillusionment, but let me just say in brief that the pundits who are trying to sell the idea that Trump’s loyal base aren’t upset and don’t feel betrayed just aren’t being honest .. or at least aren’t being realistic. Anyone can see the shockwaves that went through MAGA land today.
The student body at the UC Berkeley has a message to America, and that message is “shut up we hate your face.”
Conservative talk host, columnist, and website owner Ben Shapiro is speaking at the University of California, Berkeley, tonight, and as has been well examined and documented, the students and various protest groups are, to use the scientific phrase, wigging out. We already know this.
But today there is a protest sign on campus that’s even dumber than their usual brainless regurgitation of bland leftist tropes. It’s hanging in the hall where Ben will speak tonight.
Brilliant. Shapiro is Jewish, and a frequent target of attacks from white supremacists. Especially in light of his Trump skepticism and his reactions to the Charlottesville terror. In fact, he’s one of the biggest targets of white supremacist hate in the country.
Um ADL said I was the #1 journalistic target of white supremacist anti-Semitism on the internet in 2016, guys https://t.co/Ll26smMi1f
Yep. Here’s what the Anti-Defamation League’s report said of Ben.
A very small number of journalists (10), all of whom are Jewish, received 83 percent of the 19,253 anti-Semitic Tweets. Notably, Ben Shapiro, the former Breitbart reporter at the forefront of the so-called #NeverTrump movement, was targeted by more than 7,400 anti-Semitic Tweets.
You see, Berkeley (ha ha get it?) what you are doing is thoughtlessly grouping all opinions that differ from your own into a single – let’s call it a “basket” – a single basket which you can safely and comfortably condemn. That feeling you have, that you are standing up for some greater purpose, is an illusion. Like a drunk guy who thinks he can beat up Liam Neeson.
It is not serious intellectual discernment, it is not practiced and careful rejection of specific moral positions against which your conscience compels you to stand. No, it’s just you putting up a useless sign, ignorant of facts, so that you can feel good.
But I don’t blame you. I blame the educators and parents who have failed to educate and raise you. Your failures are theirs. And really, a failure (ongoing) on the part of our country as a whole.
And to those on the right, I say that while it is tempting to call this “political correctness”, don’t fall into that trap, either. This is a failure of imagination, tolerance, and intellect. It is a rejection of diversity in the marketplace of ideas and an abandonment of subtlety. A rejection on the whole of the very idea of education.
They don’t want to know who you are, what you think, what you’ve endured, where you are coming from, why you feel the way you do, or any of the context of life and circumstance that liberals claim to strive to understand. Instead, they want to call you a white supremacist and carry on wallowing in the praise and pandering of their useless professors.
In case you can’t see the tweet, here is what it says:
Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!…..
The entire premise of this argument is diametrically opposed to every ounce of rhetoric and fervor from the immigration wing of the Republican party. The answer is “yes” of course. Yes, people really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people. Yes. Really.
Why don't you just actually go bitch slap all the people waiting in lines and doing things by the book to move here legally
Trump’s tweet is the very essence of an amnesty argument. It is the very philosophy upon which the amnesty argument rests. It is exactly the thing his fervent supporters have been arguing against and yelling about for years. Yes, Donald. Yes, people really want to send every illegal home regardless of how they came here.
The relative feasibility of doing so, or indeed the wisdom of it, are not the point here. The point is that he has been the champion and figurehead for a movement that wants to do the EXACT thing he is tweeting incredulously about this morning as if it’s the first he’s ever heard of it.
His tweets this a.m. undermine the very premise of opposition and reinforce and reiterate the position of Obama and Pelosi.
The Trump administration has broken the internet again, and possibly the spirit of some of Donald’s most ardent supporters, as word is out that his cozy dinner with new best friends Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer included the President’s insistence that amnesty for 800,000 or so people covered under Barack Obama’s DACA come swiftly and cleanly.
Illegal immigration and the wall were the two cornerstones of the Trump candidacy. Time and time again he has walked back from his promises, including some walkbacks during the campaign, but then turned around and amped up the rhetoric to appease the base that voted for him on those grounds. Along with “lock her up” and “repeal”, “build the wall” and “deport” were among the most critical vows he made to voters in order to get elected. It was his first big immigration speech, in fact, that sealed the deal for many devoted Trump voters. Voters who remained devoted to him through thick and thin thereafter.
Trump’s comments about Mexican rapists were one of the defining moments of his campaign, cementing the “he fights” image, the picture of the fearless truth-teller who refused to bend to political correctness.
When, in August of 2016, folks started doubting his commitment to his hard immigration stance after his meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, he gave a fiery speech in Phoenix reiterating his rehearsed rhetoric, winning back the fierce loyalty of any who began to doubt. That speech is quoted twice above, first on immigration broadly, second on “criminal illegal aliens” specifically. He also said this:
“For those here illegally today who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only. To return home and apply for re-entry like everybody else under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined today.” – Donald Trump in Phoenix, Arizona, August, 2016
Because of Trump’s immigration hard line, pundit and loudmouth Ann Coulter professed her undying affection for him, wrote a book about him, and even said she would die for him.
All of which is to illustrate how deeply important his promises on immigration were, both to his success and to the hearts of his fiercest supporters.
Then this happened.
“We had a very productive meeting at the White House with the President. The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.” – Statement from Pelosi and Schumer, Wednesday, September 13, 2017
“President Donald Trump had a constructive working dinner with Senate and House Minority Leaders, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi as well as Administration officials to discuss policy and legislative priorities. These topics included tax reform, border security, DACA, infrastructure and trade. This is a positive step toward the President’s strong commitment to bipartisan solutions for the issues most important to all Americans. The Administration looks forward to continuing these conversations with leadership on both sides of the aisle.” – Statement from the White House, Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Short says WH is not committed to including border wall $ in DACA legislation if they feel "confident" it will be included in another bill.
Indeed, said Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), the president is already getting impatient.
“He says, ‘Oh, DACA, we want to move on this quick, we don’t want to wait six months,’” Cuellar said after the meeting. “He said, ‘It’s already been six days and nothing’s happened.’”
Cuellar said Trump didn’t propose a timeline, but voiced concerns that waiting until the March 5 deadline grows closer would only put a spotlight on the issue and make it more difficult for Congress to act. The president, Cuellar said, wants to move “when people are not expecting it.”
Democratic leaders have warned that they’ll opposed any new funding for Trump’s border wall. In response, the president told the lawmakers Wednesday that he’ll divorce the issue from a DACA bill.
“He said, ‘We don’t have to tie a wall to this. We can put a wall [in another bill],’” Cuellar said, emphasizing that other border enforcement measures would likely be included.
NOT an anonymous source. Trump can hardly wait, he says, to get this amnesty done.
By the way, it could be more than that estimate. You can see in the opening quote of this article that Trump himself put the number higher. So does Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz:
Per migration policy institute, Dream Act is 3.3 million. That will trigger an immediate drive for "DAPA" parents making it 5 million.
All this is reportedly in exchange for money for border enforcement. Drones? Agents? There’s some dispute about whether that money is for a wall. Even if that money were promised, Trump’s base supporters and pundit class types won’t believe Schumer’s and Pelosi’s promises to come through. Which won’t matter because they won’t consider it a fair trade in the first place. The deal is intolerable for this base, and moreover is simply not what was promised. He vowed a wall AND no amnesty.
Today we find out if he stands by this plan, or if he plans a Phoenix rally to regurgitate his old and popular talking points from last year. You know the ones, they’re the things he hasn’t acted on in any meaningful way. But whether he re-ups old rhetoric or not, one would have to be incredibly dense not to see what all this means.
Even if Trump flinches at the backlash, it doesn’t change that we now know he isn’t committed to his promises on immigration anymore, if ever he was. He has been swayed, he will be swayed again. Let us not forget it was only a week ago when he cut a deal with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling, taking their first offer and negotiating for nothing and no wins for the GOP.
In short, it’s not so much showing bipartisan wizardry as it is showing that he’s not wedded to the ideas that his base believed he was. He’s not the true believer. And what he’s inspiring in those voters now is not fervor or confidence. Not this week. Quite the opposite, actually.
Regret is the word I would use to describe the mood among that group Wednesday night. Or perhaps “panic.”
Of course, some of the disillusioned aren’t ready to put the blame on the leader who can’t be swayed and maker of deals. Trump once said “I alone can fix it”, referring to … well, everything. (Actually, he’s said he “alone” can fix things dozens of times.) Trump was the solution, the panacea, the man with a plan, the visionary, the leader, according to people like Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity. But that was then. NOW he’s a hapless bystander, incapable of stopping the evil Republican, elite, establishment, deep state, more-buzz-words-here conspirators.
Those are his words. We’ve quoted him from the August speech in Phoenix several times, but he repeated this vow over and over and over. It would be eliminated, there would be no amnesty, this would take place immediately. That was the promise, deep state or no, elites be damned. That was the sell. Clearly this is not the sell now.
It should be noted that there are, we all know by now, some who will never give up, or even doubt him. Not ever. They’ve sworn allegiance, drunk the flavor-aid, been baptized to the faith. He is theirs and, more importantly, they are his.
Exactly. He hasn't let us down. And he won't. Patience. Loyalty. We owe him that.
Scary. You can’t disillusion them, but they are not the whole or even the majority. The majority, you can see on social media and on blogs and even on Breitbart.com, are pretty well flipping out. The word betrayal is in the air.
They could have seen this coming, though. Even with all of the promises and pleasing rhetoric, you could have seen the signs. In that meeting with Mexico’s president, right before his bombastic Phoenix rally, the two reportedly discussed the wall and the fact that Mexico told him flat out they would not be paying for it.
Are they paying for it?
He said in that Phoenix speech that amnesty would go away immediately, that DACA would go away on day one. “We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the constitution to give amnesty to approximately 5 million illegal immigrants,” he said.
Again, it’s certainly possible that Trump and his surrogates will try to turn things around today following the backlash. He may trot out his old rhetoric. He might make assurances. He could have a big rally. Who knows? But we know one thing.
The cat is out of the bag. We know he is movable. He can be courted. In fact he has been courted. He may sway back, but his lack of dedication is exposed and on display. This core issue is not a core issue. It can be traded away, and perhaps it has already been.
Incidentally, some people, especially in the pundit class, will be loathe to agree with what they perceive as “nevertrump” people. They are utterly repelled by the idea and will probably lament that this proves nothing right, that the Trump doubters were wrong to doubt before now because it was for the wrong reason. They are wrong, though. It is exactly this type of quavering and pandering to Democrats that so many warned of so many times. You want to say “nevertrump” wasn’t right because they only disliked Trump for silly reasons” but you are wrong. Check the record. It shows warning after warning about moments just like this.
His supporters in the pundit class are absurd about a great many things, and defend him beyond the point of reason, but they are actually right about one thing. The GOP at large has similarly talked big and failed to act on illegal immigration. Erick “told you so” on that point way back in 2014. In that respect, perhaps he’s not a RINO at all. Maybe betraying the voter base is just what Republicans do.
It’s not political news, but it is news, and the big kind. Florida is taking a beating overnight (at the time of this writing it is 3 a.m.) as Hurricane Irma, now a Cat 4 storm again, has finally made it’s northerly turn and the outer bands are bringing wind, rain, and ocean ashore in South Florida.
Hurricane Irma, now a Category 4 hurricane, is spreading tropical storm conditions and gusts near hurricane force across the Florida Keys, is less than 6 hours from a potentially catastrophic hurricane strike on Florida – the state’s strongest hurricane strike since Charley, 13 years ago.
“Nobody in Florida is going to escape its wrath,” said one Weather Channel anchor in the last hour.
Sustained winds at this time are at 140 mph. Gusts are even higher. Waves off the coast of Miami and Key West are over 40 feet.
The Keys are already without electricity entirely, and some mainland counties, leaving (at 3 a.m.) an estimated 300,000+ customers without power. The storms around this storm’s edges have already spawned a tornado and dozens of tornado watches are in effect.
The eye and eyewall are still well out at sea right now, but will be much closer to the shore by the time you read this. Even so, the force of the storm is already apparent.
Note the time stamps. Irma was still far away when these videos were shot.
The entire state of Florida, every county, is currently under a hurricane warning. The storm, 500 miles across, much larger than Florida. The strong westward tack means it may go back offshore after hitting the keys Sunday morning and make landfall again near Tampa later Sunday night. Tropical storm warnings are up into Georgia and a Tropical Storm Watch extends north of Atlanta. Hurricane force winds are expected to go deep inland and far north.
Don’t get me wrong, there will be politics attached to this. Money, government aid, climate change. We see it already. But right now the news is the massive, deadly storm moving into and over Florida, leaving destruction in its wake. The storm that ravaged the Caribbean. It’s rolling in right now. I hope you and your loved ones are safe.
CNN meteorologist just now: "This is an incredible system. It's almost beyond words right now." #HurricaneIrma
And whether you’re reading this at three in the morning or nine a.m., say a prayer for my birth state. There’s a lot of crazy in and from Florida, but it’s our crazy. I’m kind of attached to the place.
It is of dreadful significance that he died on the same day that Fox announced the cancellation of his show. Already the links are being inferred and expounded upon on Twitter, though details on the awful situation remain scarce.
I find it in poor taste, usually, upon the moment of a tragedy to add “no matter what you thought of so-and-so”. The clear implication is that you didn’t think very much of them, and it hardly seems necessary if you are truly expressing condolences, and in that regard I offer my own. I can think of no greater pain or sorrow than the loss of a child, except that the loss be that they took their own life.
However, when Andrew Kaczynski remarked on Twitter today “This is very very sad on a human level, regardless on what you thought of Eric” I thought the addendum appropriate. The news of Bolling’s career was too fresh to be ignored, and the circumstances too significant. Yesterday a great many of us applauded his job loss. It was only correct for Kaczynski and others to note that they separately and genuinely mourn today the passing of a young man, a child. His son.
And there, too, I can only echo what others said better before me, that I separately ache for the pain he must be feeling. Like everyone in the field of political commentary there are times to pull punches and times not to. Yesterday was the time not to pull them, and I did not. Today is the time to be quiet. I hope, for once, everyone will. When a polarizing figure suffers, social media becomes rife with mockery of their pain, or crass opportunism springing from it. But if Joy Reid, Yashar Ali, Andrew Kaczynski and others are any indication, perhaps not this time.
It is better to say what a tragic and terrible ordeal they must be going through. It is better to pray for them. It is better to be genuinely sad for the unfathomable loss and sorrow.
It is infinitely better not to make it about you, or your politics, or a particular also polarizing politician. That was for yesterday. Not for today.
Fox News Channel will part ways with host Eric Bolling, a host and contributor whose on-air presence at the 21st Century Fox-owned network had been growing in recent months, after allegations surfaced that he had harassed colleagues there, the network confirmed Friday.
“Fox News Channel is canceling ‘The Specialists,’ and Eric Bolling and Fox have agreed to part ways amicably,” the network said in a statement.” We thank Eric for his ten years of service to our loyal viewers and wish him the best of luck.” A Huffington Post report had disclosed allegations that Bolling had sent lewd messages to colleagues via smartphone.
Bolling’s “presence” was growing due to his willingness to be a shameless and unadulterated cheerleader for Donald Trump, a sure way to get ahead on the network. He was accused, among other things, of sending lewd text messages to female colleagues (think Carlos Danger. But paunchier) leading to his suspension from the network in early August.
The former worst part of “The Five” and sometime commie host has vowed to clear his name over the sexual harassment charges.
Variety reports that contributors to his cancelled show Eboni Williams and Kat Timpf will remain with the network.
The oil slick in his “hair” could not be reached for comment.