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Okay, so today at a rally in suburban Detroit…

“By the way, I’m spending a lot of money on my campaign. And why isn’t she spending some money on hers? I’m spending a hundred million dollars,” Trump said, after criticizing Clinton for accepting donations from Wall Street bankers and special interest groups. “… I think I’ll be over a hundred million dollars.”

Trump tells Obama not to pardon Clinton, even though she hasn’t been charged or convicted of anything, Jenna Johnson, Washington Post, today

Look, folks.  It’s way, way, way past time that Clinton shout from the rooftops that there are three billionaires who are writing extremely large checks to Trump’s super PAC, two—father-daughter hedge-fund duo Rebekah and Robert Mercer, and oil and gas billionaire Harold Hamm—who are determining Trump’s fiscal and regulatory policy proposals and prospective court and agency-head appointees.

No. One. Knows. This.

She also needs to say, and say again, and again, that the aggregate amounts of “Citizens United money” that will have gone respectively to support her, and Trump’s, campaigns by November 8 is far less important than the amounts one or two or three billionaires are donating to each campaign, and the percentages of the total donations to the respective campaign that these billionaires’ donations comprise.

Earlier today, in the Comments thread to my post from earlier this week titled “What Clinton and her surrogates need to get across to millennials, racial minorities and union members,” I exchanged these comments with reader Eric377:

Eric377 / October 1, 2016 8:57 am

Well it seems to me that Trump got and used a lot less “Citizens United” type money than his Republican opponents and Clinton. The deep suspicion – conviction for many, really – is that voting for Clinton is voting to leave the current elite structure completely unchanged.

Me / October 1, 2016 9:57 am

Here’s the problem with looking only at the aggregate amount each candidate has received in Citizens United money: As I’ve written in AB posts here seemingly ad nauseam since early Aug. when I learned of it, sometime late in the primary season two hedge fund father-daughter billionaires, Robert and Rebekah Mercer, who had been funding Cruz, began instead funding Trump to the tune of many millions of dollars. They live in the Hamptons and began meeting with him and effectively controlling his fiscal and regulatory policy proposals as well as his selections of nominees for the Supreme Court and for agency chiefs. These people are the main funders of Breitbart–thus, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway–and of the Heritage Foundation, thus Stephen Moore and other ostensible economics experts.

The other billionaire who’s been funding Trump–some oil-and-gas billionaire named Harold Hamm–to the tune of many, many millions of dollars is–surprise–recommending appointments as Interior and EPA chiefs.

If Clinton actually wants to energize millennial progressives, all she has to do, I think, is tell them this. She doesn’t–for fear of, y’know, alienating all those moderate suburban Republicans who would be thrilled to see the oil-and-gas industry control Interior and the EPA, and extreme rightwing hedge fund billionaires and the Heritage Foundation make fiscal and regulatory policy.

Meanwhile, today CNN Politics is reporting, in a story reported by Theodore Schleiffer titled “Trump finally hits the big-money jackpot,” that Trump is now also funded by Republican billionaires Sheldon and Marion Trump and the Ricketts family—two of the uber-funders of far-right Republican campaigns, and of Republican candidates who are far-right mainly because Adelson, the Rickets and the Kochs are. About the Adelsons, Schleiffer writes:

Despite only publicly committed $5 million to what is likely to be the de facto Trump super PAC, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are pledging at least $25 million to pro-Trump presidential efforts, according to multiple people briefed on their donations. That sum includes giving to nonprofit group that will never be required to disclose his donations.

As for the Ricketts, their wealth comes from TD Ameritrade, which the current Mr. Ricketts, Thomas, joined at age 30.  His father founded the company, but it was entirely a merit hire.  In any event, Trump apparently doesn’t know that it is a financial institution.  (It’s a large one, Donald.)

Which brings me to a post that was in follow-up to my earlier post, in which I mentioned that there really, truly, honestly is a difference between Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Anyone know who Gary Johnson would name to the Supreme Court?  It doesn’t matter, cuz he won’t be naming anyone to the Court.  Trump or Clinton will.

So, so much about Clinton’s campaign has just completely missed the mood of a huge swath of voters in this election cycle.  Not least is that moderate Republican suburbanites—to whom she’s directed her campaign almost exclusively—would be less likely rather than more likely to vote for Trump if they knew that he indeed has billionaire puppeteers, who they are, what they want, and the extraordinary influence they’re having on his policy proposals and will have on his court and agency-head appointments.   It’s way, way, wayyy past time for Clinton to tell the public about this.

Also at that rally today, Trump suggested that he be indicted for his serial criminal fraud, bribery, and tax and other laws related to his charity.  Wire fraud, for sure.  Johnson reports in that article:

NOVI, Mich. — Donald Trump called on President Obama on Friday to refuse to pardon Hillary Clinton and her associates, even though they have not been charged with any crimes, let alone convicted of any crimes.

“Mr. President, will you pledge not to issue a pardon to Hillary Clinton and her co-conspirators for their many crimes against our country and against society itself?” Trump said to a cheering audience in this Detroit suburb on Friday evening.

He added: “No one is above the law.”

One of the very many thoroughly disorienting characteristics of Trump’s in this campaign is his routine tactic of accusing others of what he is accused, with supporting evidence, of doing.  I do think, though, that on this he’s playing with fire.  That quote of his will support demands for criminal investigations and civil fines.

Although, I suppose he could assert the defense that he is no one, and therefore is above the law.

I’m guessing that the starkness of Trump’s manic conduct in the last two days—and, really, you don’t need any formal knowledge about severe bipolar illness to recognize that, apart from other obvious mental illness, he is severely manic—will, finally, finish off this candidacy.  But the answer to why Clinton isn’t far ahead in the polls is not just the malpractice nature of so much high-profile journalistic coverage of these two candidates—the obscenely overblown emails-and-related-matters obsession, to cited the most obvious news media indulgence.  It’s also that Clinton has run as an outdated moderate Republican, almost throughout her campaign dating back to its inception.

There’s really no time like the present for her to start campaigning like it’s 2016.  Since, after all, that’s what it is.

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Jeb Bush Accuses Sheldon Adelson of Lacking Moral Fiber. Or of Being a Closet Christian. (Not sure which, but it’s one or the other.) — [UPDATED]

Jeb Bush’s graduation address last Saturday at Liberty University is absolutely breathtaking, and I’m betting that it will backfire significantly.  Whatever the religious views of the likes of the Koch brothers, those folks surely will recognize that a candidate who throws down the Christian-moral-superiority gauntlet and accuses non-Christians of lacking a moral compass, or of borrowing one from Christians, is unlikely to appeal to a majority of voters in a presidential election.  And that anyone so brazenly craven as to invite religious strife in this country in an attempt to garner his party’s nomination for president will trigger revulsion in a substantial percentage of the public.

So beyond the pale are his comments that they disqualify him as a potential commander in chief. This guy’s dangerously lacking in the judgment and temperament required for the job.

Anyway, Marco Rubio must be smiling about it all.  Bush just lost the Jewish Republican vote, in Florida and elsewhere.

What a vile candidate.


UPDATE: Reader Jack and I exchanged the following comments in the comments thread to this post today:

  Jack

May 13, 2015 12:25 pm

“No place where the message reaches, no heart that it touches, is ever the same again. And across our own civilization, what a radically different story history would tell without it. Consider a whole alternative universe of power without restraint, conflict without reconciliation, oppression without deliverance, corruption without reformation, tragedy without renewal, achievement without grace, and it’s all just a glimpse of human experience without the Christian influence.”

I’m curious to ask where exactly is it that this “whole alternative universe” is located? Has Jeb not noticed that the past two thousand years or so have seen a persistent and constant series of the worst examples of man’s inhumanity to man in spite of the existence of organized religion, both Christian and otherwise? And does the name Torquemada ring a bell from the past? What part of human history demonstrates that organized religion of any form serves to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

  Beverly Mann

May 13, 2015 1:38 pm

What part of human history demonstrates that organized religion of any form serves to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Modern political history, Jack! Notably, the part about obsessively trying to keep many millions of Americans who have or had no access to medical care from having, or now that they final do have it, keeping it. And the part about barring people (including kids) on public aid from paying for admission to a swimming pool or movie theater, and people on food stamps from using the program to buy seafood or steak.

Then, of course, there’s that matter of police officers arresting people for being black, and maybe giving some of them “rough rides” in the backs of police vans while shackled and leg-ironed. And arresting kids, shackling and leg-ironing them, and sentencing them to prison for school fights or petty shoplifting. And of course there’s also that little matter of funding your town’s and county’s government with obscene fines and court fees for minor traffic violations.

And then there are those state and local government contacts with private prison companies in which the government agrees to keep each of the prisons full or mostly full and to pay the company as though operating the prisons at full capacity even if, heaven forbid (pun intended), a prison here or there is not quite at full capacity. (THIS is something that I didn’t know about until I read a jaw-dropping article about it a few days ago.)

So, obviously, Jack, you’re just unaware of modern American history and the role that Christian values play in it.

In the speech, Bush attempts a remarkably obvious sleight of hand, conflating Christianity’s precepts of compassion—e.g., “The last shall be first, and the first last”; “‘unalloyed compassion, such genuine love, such thorough altruism,’ as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described Christianity.”—with actions that are unrelated to compassion and are claimed as the free exercise of religion.  Such as—and Bush does make clear that he has these specifically in mind—the claimed right of people who own secular businesses to discriminate at will by invoking some supposed dictate in the bible, or invoking religious dogma as an excuse by a secular corporation’s shareholders to exempt itself from a mandate of law.

I have not read or listened to the speech, and took those quotes in that preceding paragraph from a column by Kathleen Parker in today’s Washington Post, which is titled “Jeb Bush’s eloquent defense of Christianity.”  Presumably, then, Parker knows of instances in which Christianity is being attacked by liberals as too compassionate—as just going toofar with that “the last shall be first, and the first last” thing. In which event I respectfully ask that she specify what, exactly, she has in mind.

Bush doesn’t defend Christianity, much less does he do so eloquently. He erects an elaborate strawman.  He accuses non-Christians and non-religious Christians of attacking Christian tenets of compassion, in the service of advancing both his own political ambitions and an obscenely uncompassionate political ideology; an aggressive lack of compassion is its very hallmark.  There is indeed an attack an attack underway by a segment of America against unalloyed compassion, and altruism, and in fact any semblance of human decency.  But it’s not non-Christians and non-practicing Christians, nor liberals, who are at its vanguard.  And, seriously, there probably aren’t very many people who will be fooled about that.

Bush is currently in the speedy process of exposing himself for the ridiculous idiot that he is, and the so-called establishment Republican kingmakers (billionaire donors, of course) soon will be on the hunt once again for a new hope.  The Kochs will prop up some new puppet and hope that New Hampshire cooperates.  Maybe it will.  And maybe the candidate will avoid insulting the character of many Americans and the intelligence of most Americans.

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