A Tale of Two Spies

67733d36eec86afae4b215c780fb74d2Editor’s Note: The National Security Advisor does not require confirmation, so Gen. Flynn will not have to pass muster with the U.S. Senate.

Nearly all of Donald Trump’s early picks for positions within his administration have infuriated Democrats. One of the most worrisome for the blue team is Michael Flynn, a hawkish sort who is overtly Islamophobic, for National Security Adviser. Most of The Donald’s selections will sail through the appointment process, regardless of Democratic objections, but Flynn could prove to be the exception. As an article from The New Yorker‘s Dana Priest reminds us, he’s got some serious black marks on his record.

To start with, there are some pretty significant personality issues. Although generally well-liked by his colleagues, Flynn has a very bad temper, tends to change priorities on a whim, and has a habit of inventing “facts” out of whole cloth. That may sound familiar, but there’s a difference between winning an election and passing muster with the U.S. Senate. Most significantly, Flynn makes a point of ignoring rules that he finds “stupid.” So, for example, he set up a private computer and Internet connection in his Pentagon office, even when he was told it was against the rules. He also shared classified information with NATO allies that he thought that they should have, even though he was explicitly ordered not to do so. If those two offenses ring a bell, they should, because those are almost exactly the same crimes that Hillary Clinton was accused of committing. Well, except that she may have allowed classified information to fall into the hands of those who should not have it, while Flynn definitely and knowingly gave out such information. As we and others have pointed out ad infinitum this election season, intent is the bright, red line between breaking the law and not breaking the law, and Flynn definitely had intent. Right now, for example, Jonathan Pollard is serving a life sentence for sharing classified information with Israel, a country that—while not a member of NATO—is one of America’s closest allies. Flynn, by contrast, was given only a warning.

Ultimately, some GOP Senators may object to Flynn’s actual record. Or, they may decide they don’t like the optics of calling for Hillary Clinton’s head, and then turning around and approving a National Security Adviser who was guilty of the same (and worse). Then again, they may see no incongruity there—after all, one of the loudest voices calling for Clinton to be indicted was… Michael Flynn. We are currently living in a world where it’s impossible to predict what might happen next. Still, if you had to bet on any one of Trump’s appointees being rejected, bet on Flynn.

Racist Supporters of Trump: “Deplorable” or “Hard-working”?

On Friday, Hillary Clinton said that half of Donald Trump’s supporters belong to a “basket of deplorables,” by which she meant “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” “xenophobic,” and “Islamophobic,” among other categories. (See below for transcript.)

Trump strongly objected, and she apologized for saying it was half.

Now, the question arises: “How many of Trump’s supporters belong in this ‘basket’?”
[Read more…]

Trump’s Black Outreach is to Make Whites More Comfortable

Trump’s Pitch To Black Voters Is Really to White Voters

Recently, Donald Trump has been making a pitch to black voters by saying essentially: “Your communities are in ruins, your schools don’t function, your kids are unemployed. The Democrats really screwed you. What do you have to lose voting for me?” Black leaders, such as Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, are not thrilled to hear what a mess they are in and how nothing works for them. [Read more…]

How To Pay For A Convention

Political conventions are expensive. Very expensive. The Democratic National Convention is expected to cost $37 million, and this excludes the $50 million the government pays each party for security at its convention. Republicans raise most of their convention costs from a small number of big donors who then get the V.I.P treatment on expensive yachts where they can meet party bigwigs. The Democrats used to do the same thing, but this year are trying an experiment by limiting donations to a paltry $100,000 each. The consequence is that the Democratic convention has a big money problem that the Republican convention did not have.

Pictured on the right are photos courtesy of ABC News’ Investigative Unit of Gov. Mitt Romney’s 150-foot yacht “Cracker Bay” docked at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina where Romney held a party during the Republican National Convention for supporters who raised over $1,000,000 for Romney’s campaign.

As the boat’s flag indicates, the “Cracker Bay” is registered in the Cayman Islands, a practice sometimes employed to avoid American taxes and regulations.

The Case of the Senator Who Did Not Bark

As the controversy over Mitt Romney’s tax returns continues, the one person other than Romney himself who could settle this has been completely silent. That would be Sen. John McCain, who inspected 23 years of Romney’s tax returns in 2008 when he was considering Romney as a possible running mate. All he would have to do is hold a press conference and say: “Harry Reid is wrong. I personally saw Romney’s tax returns going back over two decades and he paid federal income tax every year.” But McCain has said nothing at all at a moment he could help Romney and hurt Reid. Why? It seems very strange. Maybe Reid is right and McCain knows this.

It is also interesting the precise language the Romney campaign uses when he denies Reid’s charges. “I have paid taxes every year, and a lot of taxes, so Harry is wrong.”

Is Romney perhaps splitting hairs and relying on the fact that he pays state sales tax, local property tax, and state income tax to obfuscate the question of whether or not he pays federal income tax?

Until we see Romney’s tax returns we have no way of telling whether Bain Capital arranged things so that Romney was able to deduct business losses to offset the already-low taxes on those gains. If true, that wouldn’t be a federal crime, but it would be unseemly, and make Romney the poster child for what is wrong in our current tax system.