10 September 2016

How would the candidates navigate high-stakes ties with Russia? & Trump’s nonstop lies are only getting more brazen. Here’s why it works for him. 8&9SEP16

drumpf's (trump's) lies, over and over, and the old adage 'if you repeat a lie often enough people start to believe it' is proving true. So many people are voluntarily ignorant they take drumpf at his word. george w bush and his neocons used this tactic to take the nation to war in Iraq and just look at how well that turned out. Many of drumpf's supporters believe him because they hate Hillary Clinton. Many are too lazy to research drumpf's "facts", many don't want to know the truth. What is disturbing is how many Christians are supporting the sexist, racist, narcissistic, xenophobic, hateful greed based campaign rhetoric. Where in the Old or New Testaments of the Christian Bible are these traits encouraged? What teachings of Jesus Christ can they quote to justify their tolerance of and support for his campaign for the presidency? But back to drumpf's lies and his and his minions ability to manipulate the media by plain old fashioned rudeness. They constantly interrupt, talk over and ignore reporters attempts to ask questions and challenge known lies being spouted so by the time the "interview" is over they have been able to spread more of their lies, further deceiving and manipulating the electorate to the drumpf's campaign's benefit. matt lauer didn't even try to control drumpf during the CIC Town Hall he was supposed to be moderating. One reporter I have seen fight like hell to control one of drumpf's talking heads is Judy Woodruff of the +PBS NewsHour ... Check out this interview and watch how Ms Woodruff fights to keep control of the interview and get answers to questions from drumpf adviser boris epshteyn compared to the civility of Clinton adviser Philip Gordon. This is followed by a piece from the +Washington Post on drumpf's campaign of lies.....
How would the candidates navigate high-stakes ties with Russia?

What kind of relations should the U.S. have with Russia and President Vladimir Putin? It’s a question that could affect the future of the Syrian conflict and European security, and the two candidates have strikingly different takes. Judy Woodruff speaks with former Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon, an advisor to the Clinton campaign, and Trump campaign advisor Boris Epshteyn.

How would the candidates navigate high-stakes ties with Russia?

JUDY WOODRUFF: A major topic throughout this election year surfaced again last night at the presidential candidate forum on national security, Russia, and what kind of relations the U.S. should have with Vladimir Putin.
Here’s some of what Donald Trump had to say, followed by Hillary Clinton’s response today.
DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee: I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin, and I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Russia.
MATT LAUER, NBC News: Let me ask you about some of things you have said about Vladimir Putin. You said, “I will tell you, in terms of leadership, he’s getting an A. Our president is not doing so well.”
DONALD TRUMP: Well, he does have an 82 percent approval rating, according to the different pollsters.
MATT LAUER: He’s also a guy who annexed Crimea and, according to our intelligence community, probably is the main suspect for the hacking of the DNC computers.
DONALD TRUMP: Well, nobody knows that for a fact. But do you want me to start naming some of the things that President Obama does?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee: Once again, he praised Russia’s strong man, Vladimir Putin, even taking the astonishing step of suggesting that he prefers the Russian president to our American president.
I was just thinking about all of the presidents that would just be looking at one another in total astonishment. What would Ronald Reagan say about a Republican nominee who attacks America’s generals and heaps praise on Russia’s president? I think we know the answer.
JUDY WOODRUFF: For more on how the candidates view U.S.-Russia relations, we turn to representatives of both campaigns.
Philip Gordon advises Hillary Clinton. He was assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. And Boris Epshteyn, he advises the Trump campaign. He emigrated to the United States from Russia in the early 1990s. He’s a lawyer specializing in investment banking and finance and he worked for John McCain’s campaign for president.
And we welcome both of you to the “NewsHour.”
Boris Epshteyn, let me start with you.
So, when Donald Trump says that Vladimir Putin has been very much of a leader, a great leader, he says he has got high poll ratings, is he endorsing what Putin’s action have been, annexing Crimea, backing the Assad regime in Syria, cracking down on the press?
BORIS EPSHTEYN, Advisor, Trump Campaign: Absolutely not.
What Donald Trump said and what he is saying is that he will make sure that America leads and doesn’t lead from behind. And he will make sure that he works with Vladimir Putin, but does it in a way that’s in the best interests of the United States.
And if he does disagree with Vladimir Putin — let’s look at the history of Soviet-U.S. relations, U.S.-Russia relations. Here’s some other presidents who worked with the Soviet Union and Russia, FDR, JFK, Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush. Hillary Clinton herself attempted a failed reset with Russia.
The Obama White House right now is trying to work with Russia on Syria. It’s failing at doing so, but it’s trying. So, just because Hillary Clinton failed doesn’t mean that Donald Trump won’t succeed. He will succeed.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me turn to Philip Gordon.
Is it possible to praise Mr. Putin as a leader, but to disagree with his policy?
PHILIP GORDON, Former Assistant Secretary of State: I don’t know.
I personally found Mr. Trump’s praise for Mr. Putin troubling or even chilling, frankly. In a room full of military veterans, to be effusing about his great leadership and how strong he is and how popular he is, while disrespecting the American president and American generals, I don’t know. That was, I think, not just troubling to me, but to a lot of listeners and I think, frankly, to a lot of Republican listeners as well.
Mr. Trump said that he thinks he can get along very, very well with Mr. Putin and have very, very good relations with Russia. I’m sure he can, if he is willing to turn away from our NATO allies and reconsider whether Eastern Ukraine is really part of the country, and do whatever he can to accommodate Mr. Putin’s views.
I’m sure that would lead to good relations with Mr. Putin. But I think that’s not what the American people expect from our foreign policy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Boris Epshteyn, is that what would be involved under a Trump administration, closer ties with Russia, but likely at the expense of relationships, long relationships with Europe, with Eastern Europe?
BORIS EPSHTEYN: Absolutely not.
And, again, let’s look at some facts here. Bill Clinton received half-a-million dollars for a 90-minute speech in Moscow. He then received a personal call from Vladimir Putin thanking him. There is also a very famous photograph of the two of them grinning and being very happy, Mr. Putin and President Clinton.
So let’s not act as if the Clintons don’t have a long history of palling around with Russia and Vladimir Putin. It’s also on Hillary Clinton’s watch as the secretary of state that Russia gained control of one-fifth of the uranium produced in the United States of America. So it’s actually the Clintons who have been way too cozy with the Russians.
BORIS EPSHTEYN: Donald Trump will work with Russia and will of course continue the close relationship we have with NATO, as we well as countries in Eastern Europe.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Philip Gordon, what about the point Mr. Epshteyn makes, that other presidents, including — and secretaries of state, including Hillary Clinton, have talked about a reset with Russia, for example, tried to mend relations?
No, look, the debate is not whether we should work with Russia. It’s in our interest to do so. Secretary Clinton for four years was part of a policy of resetting Russian relations with Russia in our interests.
BORIS EPSHTEYN: And she failed.
PHILIP GORDON: And we got a lot of things done under — in that context.
We got the Iran sanctions done. We got an agreement by Russia to allow us to use Afghanistan to transit supplies for our forces. We got a Security Council resolution on Libya. We got Russia into the WTO to bring in to it a rules-based trading system.
All of those things were in our interest. The point is not whether we should work with Russia. The point is whether we should sacrifice other important interests to do so. And while we…
PHILIP GORDON: Let me finish, if I could.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Let him finish his point, and I will come back.
PHILIP GORDON: While pursuing those relations with Russia, which are important — Russia is an important country — it is also important to stand by your friends and allies in Europe, defend your treaty commitment to NATO allies, stand by the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
And that seems to be the difference. It’s not whether we pursue relations with Russia when we need to, but what we’re willing to give them in order to have that very, very good relationship that Mr. Trump seems to be talking about.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Boris Epshteyn, what is it that Donald Trump would be prepared to give, to trade Russia, to concede to Russia?
BORIS EPSHTEYN: Mr. Gordon sounds a lot more reasonable than his candidate.
But let’s go again to the things he mentioned. The Iran sanctions, the Iran deal has been a disaster for the United States of America. We now know there are secret causes that are allowing Iran to keep uranium.
As far as Russia being in the WTO, again, a negative for the United States of America and a positive for Russia. So, some of the examples that you gave there are actually again ways in which Hillary Clinton was too cozy to Russia, and did things that are in Russia’s favor, not the favor of the U.S.
Donald Trump has said that he will be absolutely steadfast in his support for our NATO allies, as long as they keep to their agreements of paying 2 percent of their GDP to the mutual defense, which is exactly what is in the original NATO agreements.
PHILIP GORDON: It’s actually not. What’s in the agreement is a treaty that says we would come to their defense if they are attacked.
BORIS EPSHTEYN: And every country is supposed to spend 2 percent of their GDP.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s let Mr. Gordon respond. Let’s let Mr. Gordon respond.
PHILIP GORDON: No, I was going to the heart of this matter, which is, the issue of whether Europeans should contribute more to NATO, I think, is a matter of consensus.
I think Secretary Clinton believes that, and a series of U.S. presidents and secretaries of defense and state have urged our European partners.
BORIS EPSHTEYN: So, what is wrong with Mr. Trump saying that?
PHILIP GORDON: None, not a single one, Republican or Democrat, candidate or official, has ever said that, unless they do, our solemn treaty commitment to defend them is open to question, which is an invitation to aggression in Europe.
That’s what’s so astonishing about Mr. Trump’s position.
BORIS EPSHTEYN: You’re completely incorrect. And here’s why.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Boris Epshteyn, let me just come back to you.
When Donald Trump clearly says he admires Vladimir Putin, he thinks he’s a great leader, what is it about him that he admires?
BORIS EPSHTEYN: There are specific things about Vladimir Putin that Donald Trump has said are strong in terms of leadership, in terms of beating back radical Islamic jihadism, radical Islamic terrorism, which Vladimir Putin has done throughout greater Russia, and, again, the fact that Russia does want to work with the United States in defeating ISIS.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But let me just stop you there, because, in Syria, haven’t the Russian forces gone after the opponents of the Assad regime, rather than going after ISIS?
BORIS EPSHTEYN: Actually, Russia has been going after ISIS.
And if you look at the history of the United States in Syria, we have absolutely no policy in Syria. We had that red line that was crossed. Hillary Clinton didn’t have a policy for Syria, also didn’t have a policy for Libya, which was another thing that Mr. Gordon mentioned working with Russia on.
Our policy in Libya was cause for an American ambassador to be murdered and for Libya to be a failed state run by ISIS, again, another place where we could be working together with together Russia.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, let me stop you there, because we only have about 30 seconds, and I want to give Mr. Gordon a final chance to respond.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Philip Gordon.
PHILIP GORDON: Well, we’re mostly talking about foreign policy, but I would come back, Judy, to your question about Mr. Trump’s admiration of Putin and his system.
BORIS EPSHTEYN: He never said that.
PHILIP GORDON: And that, as I said at the beginning, was so troubling to — and one even tries to figure out why he’s so admiring of a leader who has cracked down on journalists and is suspected of using even violence, cracked down on civil society, ruling with an iron fist within Russia.
To look with admiration on that sort of domestic leadership, I think is just really inconsistent with American values.
BORIS EPSHTEYN: But Mr. Trump never made those comments. You are putting those words in his mouth, Mr. Gordon. And it’s unfair to do so. Hillary Clinton tried to worked with Russia. She failed.
PHILIP GORDON: … flattery that leads him to say these things. It’s hard to understand.
BORIS EPSHTEYN: You’re incorrect, my friend.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We are going to leave it there.
Gentlemen, we want to thank both of you for joining us, Boris Epshteyn, Philip Gordon. Thank you.
Donald Trump’s claim at this week’s national security Forum that he opposed the Iraq War — which proved once again that he can lie in the face of a reporter and not get called out for it — produced a remarkable moment on CBS this morning. Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway attempted to back up his assertion this way:
QUESTION: Was Donald Trump for the Iraq War, or against it?
CONWAY: He was a private citizen who was against the Iraq War. You heard him with Howard Stern say, “Yeah, I guess so.” Had he been in the United States Senate, he would have cast a vote against the Iraq War.
QUESTION: How do we know that?
CONWAY: Because he said so. Senator Obama said he would have done that in 2008, and everybody just took him at his word.
In the 2002 exchange between Trump and Howard Stern that CBS played literally seconds before this exchange with Conway, Trump was asked whether he was for invading Iraq, and he said, “yeah, I guess so.” Conway simply converted that into evidence that he had opposed the war, perhaps meaning that the slightly hesitant nature of his declaration of support for the invasion somehow shows that he would have voted against it. Pressed further on what Trump actually said, Conway brushed off the significance of it and changed the subject to Hillary Clinton.
What’s more, note the rhetorical chicanery Conway employed in claiming that everybody just took Obama “at his word” that he would have voted against the war if he’d been in the Senate at the time. This is literally a true statement, in the sense that we cannot know for certain how he would have behaved in this theoretical scenario. But Obama did give a big speech in 2002 against the warjust before the Senate vote giving George W. Bush authority to invade. Perhaps you remember that speech. It has been widely discussed for years as one of the reasons he went on to defeat Clinton in the 2008 primaries (which Conway referenced) and win the presidency. So we aren’t taking Obama’s opposition to the war at the time “at his word.” There is a record of it. There is also a record of Trump’s support for it, and as the Post fact checking team has documented, no evidence of opposition to it.
All of this has stirred a new set of concerns about whether the press is even institutionally capable of dealing with the depth, breadth and audacity of the Trump campaign’s lying, and whether this institutional failure could end up allowing Trump to win the presidency in spite of it. For instance, Paul Krugman suggests that holding Trump accountable is especially challenging because “journalists are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of outrageous material.”
I’d go further: Trump and his campaign mostly don’t even deign to engage with the basic institutional role that the news media is supposed to play in our democracy. It isn’t just that Trump lies far more often and more audaciously than Clinton does, though that is the case. It’s also that Clinton’s team regularly responds to fact-checking inquiries, while Trump’s team rarely if ever does the same, even as Trump just goes on repeating the same debunked lies with ever more resolve. In other words, the Clinton campaign mostly recognizes, however grudgingly, that it should at least try to back up her claims amid a dialog of sorts with the news media. Trump’s does not. Clinton’s relationship with the media is deeply flawed: She is overly paranoid about their intentions; she refused to hold pressers for far too long; and yes, she lies, as most politicians do. But Clinton recognizes that the press has a legitimate institutional role to play, while Trump has a fundamental level of contempt for that role. Conway’s above refusal to even engage with the basic facts — something she is very good at, to be sure — neatly captures this.
There may be more method to this than meets the eye. As two political scientists write at The Monkey Cage, Trump may be tapping into a profound difference between the ways Republicans and Democrats approach the media:
Much more than Republicans, Democrats treat mainstream journalists as legitimate arbiters of disputes over political facts — such as a candidate’s place of birth. Today, Republican voters report that they trust only Fox News and other explicitly conservative news outlets. Democratic voters, in contrast, say they trust and consume a wide variety of mainstream news outlets.
As they put it, Republicans view the mainstream media as “disproportionately populated by liberals,” and conclude that they “cannot be respected as objective authorities.” And so, when Trump brushes past pointy-headed media weenies who call him out — in the process telegraphing his underlying contempt for the mainstream media’s role — it may only help him consolidate Republican support, which he really has to do right now.
The big question is whether this will work at the coming televised debates, when a much broader general election audience is paying close attention. You may recall that when CNN’s Candy Crowley called out Mitt Romney for lyingabout President Obama’s reaction to the Benghazi attacks, it was arguably a damaging moment. The same could happen in Trump’s case. Of course, we don’t know if the debate moderates will even try to do something similar this time around.
* REPUBLICANS WORRY ABOUT TRUMP’S SEXISM: Matea Gold and Jenna Johnson report that Republicans are increasingly worried about Trump’s questioning of Clinton’s stamina, health, and presidential “look”:
The escalating attacks … are providing new fodder for critics who say the real estate developer is trafficking in sexist stereotypes andfueling false Internet rumors in attempts to undermine her image with voters. Many Republican strategists warn that the approach is perilous for a GOP nominee who already has low standing among women across the political spectrum, saying his jabs could resonate in a negative way for those who have encountered similar put-downs from men in their own lives.
As this blog keeps tediously repeating, keep an eye on the college-educated white women.
 * THE RACE IS TIGHTENING IN THE STATES: Nate Silver looks at the latest batch of swing state polling and concludes that they show the race is clearly tightening a good deal, just as the national polls have been showing. Silver’s overall conclusion: The latest polls are consistent with a Clinton national lead of around three or four points, and also suggest that her edge in the states that are likely to decide the election is around three points.
Keep focused on the polling averages, people.
* HILLARY CAMP TO ROLL OUT MORE GENERALS: The Clinton campaign will announce today that another 15 retired generals and admirals have endorsed her, in the wake of the national security forum earlier this week. This comes after 95 other retired military officers announced their support for her, bringing the total to 110.
The drumbeat of officers is key to the Clinton camp’s hopes of sowing doubts about Trump’s temperamental unfitness to handle national security, which in turn is key to one of her main goals, i.e., winning among college educated whites, particularly women.
They regard Trump as the symptom of a disease that afflicts the GOP and fear that emergency restructuring is needed to prevent massive losses among racial minorities that are a growing share of the electorate and have generally accelerated every presidential election cycle since 1992.
If Republicans do attempt such a restructuring, it could get complicated by Trump’s apparent plan to set up a media empire designed to continue enthralling millions of GOP voters with the magic of Trumpism, should he lose.
* REPUBLICANS MORE WORRIED ABOUT TERROR: A new CNN poll finds that half of Americans think a terrorist attack around the anniversary of September 11th is at least somewhat likely, and this is far more pronounced among Republicans:

We’ll all be a lot safer if we elected Donald Trump, who will effortlessly SMASH ENEMY with zero in the way of messy foreign entanglements.
Worries about new attacks around the 9/11 anniversary this year are sharper among Republicans than Democrats … 65% of Republicans and 50% of independents say attacks are very or somewhat likely around the anniversary, just 36% of Democrats say the same.
Ms. Clinton is hardly blameless. She treated the public’s interest in sound record-keeping cavalierly. A small amount of classified material also moved across her private server. But it was not obviously marked as such, and there is still no evidence that national security was harmed … The story has vastly exceeded the boundaries of the facts. Imagine how history would judge today’s Americans if, looking back at this election, the record showed that voters empowered a dangerous man because of . . . a minor email scandal. There is no equivalence between Ms. Clinton’s wrongs and Mr. Trump’s manifest unfitness for office.
Imagine, indeed.