Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Team of Awfuls

Once again, a study "finds no evidence of widespread voter fraud" as reported by NBC.--in particular the kind that has so alarmed his Trumped-upness that he wants vigilantes patrolling certain polling places. " A study of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases in 50 states between 2000 and 2012 found the level of fraud was infinitesimal compared with the 146 million voters registered over the 12-year period. The analysis found only 10 cases of voter impersonation, the only kind of fraud that could be prevented by voter ID at the polls."

In fact the only fraud that was found on Friday was the Guardian's revelation of voting fraud currently being committed by Steve Bannon, head of the Trump campaign.  He registered in Florida giving a phony home address: a completely empty house.  Once caught by the Guardian, he changed his registration to the occupied single family home of a Brietbart writer where he also does not live.  He is liable to a felony charge.

It wasn't Bannon's only problem Friday.  Evidence surfaced of a police report documenting a domestic violence incident, and his ex-wife is on record that he threatened her in order to force her not to press charges.

Then on Saturday, a potent example of his anti-Semitism emerged.

This is only exhibit one of the attention the Trumpettes are getting lately.  In a WPost piece entitled Trump's repellent inner circle, former R speechwriter Michael Gerson writes:
Trump’s campaign has been a roiling, noxious, dysfunctional mess from the start, characterized by public feuds, subject to sudden leadership changes and unable to fulfill key functions (like actually having a campaign apparatus in key states). 

And Trump’s personnel selections have been both instructive and disastrous. Consider this list of Trump’s chosen: Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski had a brutal and demeaning style that resulted in a staff revolt, and his manhandling of a female reporter overshadowed the Trump campaign for weeks. Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was paid lucrative consulting fees by foreign interests and resigned after reports that Ukraine anti-corruption investigators were scrutinizing millions in alleged payments there.

Longtime adviser Roger Stone is a crackpot conspiracy theorist who asserts that Bill and Hillary Clinton are “plausibly responsible” for the deaths of roughly 40 people and that Hillary Clinton should be “executed for murder.” Confidant Roger Ailes recently stepped down from his job at Fox News under a cloud of sexual harassment claims. And Steve Bannon, Trump’s new campaign chief executive, is known for his bullying tactics and for running a website (Breitbart News) that flirts with white nationalism.

To this team of awfuls, Trump just added the former aide to Chris Christie who was fired for being implicated in the Bridgegate scandal.  Welcome aboard, you'll fit right in here!

Then there's the question of what these folks actually do--in particular, Trump's supposed campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.  In an incisive piece, Josh Marshall maintains that what is known about what Conway does (travels with the Trump, gives lots of interviews including one with Rachel Maddow that got a lot of attention but not necessarily in a good way) isn't consistent with the actual job of campaign manager.  (And nobody, he says, seems to know what Bannon actually does.)  Marshall's conclusion: the Republican nominee for President has no campaign manager.  (His suggestion that these folks basically have their eye on their next career move is exactly my impression from the Conway/Maddow interview transcript.)

Sunday update: Josh Marshall makes another persuasive case, this time that the real "dominant force" in the Trump campaign is currently Roger Ailes, the deposed power of Fox News, driven out for serial sexual harassment.

In the more interesting recent Trumpania, Managing Editor Robert Schlesinger of U.S. News explains Trump's crazed meanderings on immigration last week: I've got a theory to explain Donald Trump's adoption of word salad as his proposed policy on deportation of people in this country without legal permission: Maybe Donald Trump is incoherent on immigration because Donald Trump is incoherent. Maybe what he says doesn't make a lot of sense because he doesn't know what he's talking about."  The piece wraps around some good cartoons, too.

In fact-checking a Hillary ad, the WPost tracks down where in the world Trump products are made, and concludes, yeah, she's right--in at least 12 different countries.  And occasionally in the US.

On the media response to Clinton's speech calling out Trump and the Trumpettes, Ed Kilgore said it best: "Media False Equivalence Is Trump’s Best Friend in the Debate Over Racism: Clinton offered a detailed indictment. Trump replied with an insult. How’s that a draw?"

With the unchanging trend line so far for the presidential election, eyes turn to the future.  The NYTimes explains why Trump may be crippling the R party for a long time in the American West.  And Politico suggests that Rs are already plotting to hobble a Clinton presidency.

That Politico piece presupposes that Rs maintain control of both houses of Congress.  There seems to be a range of opinion these days on whether that's likely.  Some polls suggest that ticket-splitting will favor R candidates, and Dems didn't field their best candidates (not realizing the opportunities Trump presents, not a very complimentary argument.)  But others--like the Times and Josh Marshall--see the trend moving towards a slight Dem majority in the Senate.  The House is less likely but also at this point less readable.

Friday, August 26, 2016

National Visions

Thanks mostly to the Federal Arts Project in the 1930s (part of FDR's New Deal initiatives to fight the Great Depression), we have some iconic posters that celebrate aspects of American public life.

In celebration of American National Parks, the British-based Guardian has reproduced poster images about the parks, most from the 1930s. Such as the ones I've showcased here.

 The Federal Arts Project, like the Theatre and Writers projects, was designed primarily to employ people, but they left an astonishing legacy, even though none was permitted to last very long.  For one thing, they helped start careers (or kept those careers from foundering) in American arts and letters that lasted for decades. Many famous names worked in these projects.

  The Federal Theatre Project is remembered for innovation, daring and diminishing the distance between theatre and a popular audience.  Professional theatre was almost all in New York until FTP, which seeded the regional theatres of today across America.   It was America's only attempt at subsidized theatre that most civilized countries now find essential, and it worked.  The Writers' Project produced guides to American states that were prized for decades afterwards.

From the Arts Project we have posters such as these, bold designs that are still vibrant.  This was one federal program serving another, and both essential to our national well-being.

Also on this centennial, Grist has a series on National Parks.  This article is an interview with the current National Parks Service director, focused primarily on the challenges presented by the climate crisis, which Jarvis calls "Fundamentally, it’s the biggest challenge the National Park Service has ever faced. I put it there because it fundamentally changes the way we are going to manage our national parks into the future. It’s making us rethink the whole paradigm under which we manage. That makes it really complicated."

But he's been thinking about climate change since the 1980s, and the National Park Service has been seriously planning on ways to deal with its effects for a decade.  That's part of being true public servants and stewards--deal with the realities despite the politics.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Your Climate Crisis, Effective Immediately

U.S. National Parks--and the National Park Service--turn 100 years old today.  The most widely reprinted and excerpted article marking this occasion earlier this week was from the Guardian: Climate change will mean the end of national parks as we know them.

wildfire in a parched Yosemite
If the causes of the climate crisis aren't adequately addressed soon, there may be no glaciers in Glacier National Park, no Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park, as President Obama pointed out in June in a visit to Yosemite, where its famous mile-wide glacier is nearly gone.  Rising tides could soon threaten the Statue of Liberty. "That’s not the America I want to pass on to the next generation,” he said.

But as this article points out, thanks to cascading effects of heating and sea rise already underway, parks are already seeing severe damage, and more is on the way. "Change, however, is inevitable no matter how quickly greenhouse gas emissions are cut. An NPS study from 2014 found four in five of America’s national parks are now at the “extreme end” of temperature variables charted since 1901.

“We are starting to see things spiral away now,” said Gregor Schuurman, an ecologist at the NPS climate change response program. “We are going to look back at this time and actually think it was a calm period. And then people will start asking questions about what we were doing about the situation.”

This article details some of the damage, to ecosystems, species and historical monuments and features.  Global heating is attacking our cultural memory, our natural context, and ultimately may well challenge our ability to survive as a civilization and perhaps as a species.

Because the emphasis is understandably on addressing causes so global heating may not become utterly catastrophic, there's less attention to the effects that will need to be addressed---beginning now and into coming decades.  For example, the New York Times' eye-opening maps showing the increasing number of 100 degree plus days across the US bases its estimates on greenhouse gases pollution continuing at current rates.  However, some significant rise is built-in for the next couple of decades at least, and cities have to prepare to deal with them.

Under any scenario--from continued increasing carbon pollution to declining emissions towards Paris agreement goals, to even a sudden total carbon-neutral world--the nature of some problems can be predicted, if not the severity or extent.

Some ongoing crises, exacerbated and accelerated by the climate crisis, include species extinction.  Climate crisis-assisted drought in California is killing millions of old trees.  Climate crisis-assisted flooding and sea-level rise will cause the shape of cities and communities to be changed.   Relocation of entire settlements now underway in Alaska are the harbinger in some places.  Even a study that premises unabated carbon pollution and forecasts that some 2 million homes in America could be underwater by 2100, can suggest where the most vulnerable areas are in any scenario before then.

Also in the Guardian last week was an article about an anthrax epidemic in Russia that was the direct result of climate crisis thawing releasing old pathogens, and other such possibilities.  This is only a more exotic reason why a founding member of Doctors Without Borders said this week that the climate crisis is "the greatest global health threat of the 21st century."

Public health is a front line in addressing climate crisis effects.  Here as elsewhere, leadership on the national level is severely lacking.  We don't have to look any further than the US Congress failing to appropriate funds to deal with Zika virus outbreaks, the most fundamental responsibility that national legislators have.  Only by moving money from other vital programs has President Obama and public health officials at every level been able to address Zika as much as they have.

Whatever national leaders do or don't do, we must look to those skilled and dedicated people on levels below--regional, state, metropolitan area, community--to patiently and steadfastly address these problems.

Thanks to the new regime at FEMA instituted by President Obama, effective federal help was immediate in Louisiana for their flood, unlike Katrina almost exactly 11 years before.  "You are not alone," President Obama said in Louisiana. "The whole country is going to support you and help you until we get folks back in their homes, and lives are rebuilt," Obama vowed.

This is what federal response to emergencies should look like, and must be, non-political. "I guarantee you nobody on this block, none of those first responders, nobody gives a hoot whether you’re Democrat or Republican," the President of the United States said. “What they care about is making sure they’re getting the drywall out, getting the carpet out, there’s not any mold building, they got some contractors in here and they start rebuilding as soon as possible. That’s what they care about, and that’s what I care about.”

But it doesn't always happen that way--and multiple climate crisis effects simultaneously, less dramatically present than a flood, pose other challenges.  Response often depends on members of local communities--as we've seen in Louisiana and in other recent disasters.  Places where community ties as well as empathy and personal character--where "you'd do the same for me"--are the guiding lights.

It is on the spot also that dedicated public servants such as first responders, medical and public health workers are the crucial interface. They have the skills and dedication as well as the will. Which brings us back to the National Park Service.

As USA Today writesToday, more than 20,000 men and women employed with the National Park Service, alongside 221,000 volunteers, continue the charge and share “a passion for caring for the nation's special places and sharing their stories” - all 412 national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.

Some 307 million people visited these places last year, and they physically experienced elements of cultural heritage in their natural context, as well as special examples of our greater context of nature.  All of this is what's at stake in our response to the climate crisis, both the causes and effects.

The National Park Service is already on the front line of the climate crisis, as the Guardian article illustrates. Such focused, dedicated public service is a template for what that response might look like elsewhere, for a long time to come. Effective immediately.

The Donald Chronicles: Make America Hate

On Thursday Hillary Clinton made an impressive speech, outlining the extremist threat of our Homegrown Hitler, introducing those few people that haven't read about it here to "alt.right."

Here's the transcript (annotated at the WPost, though footnoted is more accurate--the factual assertions are accurate.) Also impressive in the few seconds of the speech I heard on NPR is that Clinton didn't shout it, as she too often does.  It sounds like a news report.

Since it hits many points previously noted here, I won't repeat them, but this point from the speech can't be made too often:

Parents and teachers are already worried about what they’re calling the “Trump Effect.” They report that bullying and harassment are on the rise in our schools, especially targeting students of color, Muslims, and immigrants. At a recent high school basketball game in Indiana, white students held up Trump signs and taunted Latino players on the opposing team with chants of “Build the wall!” and “Speak English.” After a similar incident in Iowa, one frustrated school principal said, “They see it in a presidential campaign and now it's OK for everyone to say this.”

Polls: A new national poll of likely voters from Quinnipiac University gives Hillary a ten point lead, 51-41.  A WPost article goes into the specific numbers to show how damaging to the Donald it is, as Clinton's numbers increased since the Q poll in June.  A national poll of registered voters by PRRI has Hillary ahead by 13 points.

In the NY Times, Michiko Kakutani reviews  books about Trump and observes:

"To read a stack of new and reissued books about Mr. Trump, as well as a bunch of his own works, is to be plunged into a kind of Bizarro World version of Dante’s “Inferno,” where arrogance, acquisitiveness and the sowing of discord are not sins, but attributes of leadership; a place where lies, contradictions and outrageous remarks spring up in such thickets that the sort of moral exhaustion associated with bad soap operas quickly threatens to ensue.

That the subject of these books is not a fictional character but the Republican nominee for president can only remind the reader of Philip Roth’s observation, made more than 50 years ago, that American reality is so stupefying, “so weird and astonishing,” that it poses an embarrassment to the novelist’s “meager imagination.”

I've thought of that Roth essay (which was basically about Nixon) over the years.  It's been proven so many times that today it seems quaint.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Willed Ignorance

Dept. of He Who Lives By the Liar Sword:  T. Goddard reports that independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin told Business Insider that Donald Trump is a "fragile man and a fragile campaign," that “I’m hearing from people inside his campaign that there are times now when he hides in his apartment and doesn’t meet with any people. When he campaigns he goes out to a place he has to fly back home to New York... I’m not sure the RNC can continue to support him given his weakness as a man and as a politician and as a candidate for the presidency.”

Notice that McMullin uses the same kind of vague attribution that Trump does, although Trump is usually even vaguer (i.e. "some people say," "a lot of people are saying," and even "everybody says.")  Now somebody has to circulate videos of Trump appearing to fall, appearing to have a seizure (probably not difficult) etc. and see how he takes it.

On the rabid right Donald-enabled campaign to question Hillary's health, there's a powerful piece in Newsweek on the damage fostered by these ignoramuses like Sean Hannity to understanding real epileptic seizures, and the harm such expressions of ignorance do to those suffering from epilepsy (including the author of the article, and Chief Justice Roberts.)  Such prejudice is consistent with racism and other suspicion of the alien, the Other, as defined by those who consider themselves the standard for the acceptable, or in this case, real Americans.  It starts with willed ignorance.

In addition to not seeing Trump's tax returns, college grades, medical records or birth certificate, we also haven't seen tens of thousands of his emails.  The Clinton campaign pushed back at accusations of influence peddling, but the real eye-opener might be the emails of say, Mitch McConnell, or really any member of Congress to see how many of their big contributors get access.  Clinton made her own case on CNN.

The pros and cons of the Clinton case are reasonably discussed by Eric Levitz.  Experts polled by USA Today state the obvious: no evidence has proven or journalist even stated that Clinton gave favors to foundation donors--at worst it was access.  But even that isn't proven.  Vox exposes more flaws in the sensationalistic AP story that started it all: "I wouldn’t be surprised if there is someone, somewhere whom Clinton met with whom she wouldn’t have met with had that person not been a Clinton donor of some kind. But what we know is that despite very intensive media scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation, we don’t have hard evidence of any kind of corrupt activity. That’s the story."

The Donald and the Book Biz: In addition to the other documented spending of campaign funds on his businesses, family and associates, Trump bought lots of copies of his own book, at full retail, thus paying himself royalties with campaign funds.  Which might be illegal and is certainly unnecessary, even if he gave the books away.  Through their publishers, authors get discounts on their books, so there was no reason to pay retail unless he wanted the royalties.  Or the more typical reason--to inflate book sales and make it look more popular than it is.

Dana Milbank at WPost illustrates just how deep a sleaze Trump's new campaign chief is, the #1 member of Homegrown Hitler Youth, Breitbart's brightest Stephen Bannon.

On Trump's confused and confusing attempts to mollify minorities, Jonathan Chiat notes:The main difficulty Trump faces in dispelling the impression that he is a racist is that Trump is, in fact, a gigantic racist.  At best, these attempts are another example of willed ignorance--Trump never lets reality stand in the way of his trollish assertions.

On the brighter side, Ed Kilgore suggests the Supreme Court is on the cusp of a liberal revolution, and the NY Times' Upshot concludes that at this moment Dems have a 60% chance of winning the Senate.  Every electoral map I've seen continues to show Clinton comfortably over the 270 needed to win the presidency. The conservative (and anti-Trump) National Review concludes that the Donald now has no "credible path to the presidency."

Polls:  Two new polls show Clinton a couple of points ahead in North Carolina--and one poll shows Trump ahead by only two points in South Carolina.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: The Troll Candidate

Trump as troll was referenced in the Guardian piece I previously cited.  Here's an excerpt from Bruce Sterling's annual state of the world posts at The Well in 1/16, which links Putin and Trump (months before this became a thing) while defining the essence and practice of trolling (the bolding and stuff in red are my only contribution):

"Putin knows there's no way to justify Crimea, so he's got a two-fold strategy. A, just hang on until the adversaries get tired of complaining and sanctioning, and B, undermine political will with just an amazing tidal wave of Kremlin-troll bullshit. Just use
cheap digital media to lie, distort, deny, dismiss, around the clock, methodically, endlessly. The point to trolling is not to win the argument. It's to muddy the waters so much that nobody can drink.

*With previous forms of media, if you blatantly lied all the time
you'd be shamed out of it by the gatekeepers, but if there are no
media gatekeepers, then you can troll. [Hence Trump's war on the media, at least partly.  They're calling him on lies, as gatekeepers.]It's information warfare under conditions of modern Internet Counterrevolution.

*You try to keep as much order in your local media as you can, and
then you recruit network foot soldiers to hand-throw dirt-bombs into
everybody else's media. You won't convince them that your course is
just and right (because it's not), but maybe you can paralyze their
political will. Get inside the ol' OODA Loop there; disrupt the
adversary's ability to observe, orient, decide and act.

*I think that describes what Putin is doing, and it's not stunningly
weird or a failure on our part to sympathize with him. The guy's
from the intelligence services. Spooks by their nature are very
keen on media dirty-tricks, every spook apparatus does at least some
of it. He's got plenty of ardent neo-nationalist Russians to help
him troll; he doesn't have to fling the mud personally.

*What's different nowadays derives from the current structure of
media. This isn't 1955, you can't jam Radio Free Europe. But maybe
you can just fill up the airwaves with gaudy noise, lots of
meme-style chaff and smoke-bombs. Just throw troll-spaghetti in all
directions, see if anything sticks. You're not seeking tender
understanding from Americans, it's not a charm-offensive. It's the
new "Troll-State" approach. [On a macro level it's like the trolls that discourage actual discussion in comments sections, and ultimately, discourage participation.  I used to participate, in a few places, but now, never.]

*I never saw it done quite like this before, but I guess some
nation had to try it. It's like climate-denialism, basically.
However, instead of being run out of K-Street by Exxon-Mobil and the
coal interests to deter legislation, it's run from the Kremlin to
consolidate gains and deter the spread of a shooting-war.

*It's very contemporary. Donald Trump gets it. Trump and Putin
quite admire one another: they both think they know what it takes
nowadays, and that they've got plenty of it. Trump is the Troll

In this context it's significant that Trump's campaign is now a subsidiary of, where he was praised as "king of trolling his critics." 

Later in the day addenda: NBC  weekly tracking poll of registered voters has Clinton at 50% Trump 42%. Her lead drops to 5 pts. with the other two candidates, although third partiers usually poll far better than they finish.

Florida: Clinton 52%, Trump 38% (Saint Leo University)

The WPost Morning Plum (after an interesting analysis of Trump's latest meanderings on immigration) :A new Roanoke College poll finds that Clinton now leads Trump by 55-36 in Virginia, and leads 48-32 in the four-way contest. Note this: Clinton was preferred by likely voters to Trump on a variety of issues, including the economy (50-43), terrorism (55-38), health care (57-33), race relations (66-21), immigration (56-36), foreign policy (64-28), and firearms policy (47-43)….Clinton was also seen as a having a temperament that is fitting for president (72) compared to 28 percent for Trump. Remarkable to see Clinton leading on guns in Virginia."

The Post also reports that: Through July, Trump's campaign has spent just shy of $7.7 million on Trump-branded products, including reimbursements to Trump-named surrogates."  This includes rent of offices in Trump Tower paid back to Trump--a rent that he quintupled in July, once campaign donations started coming in.  

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Follow the Money

The Trumpettes seized the media initiative Monday with a cascade of extreme reactions to the Clinton Foundation and recent email releases.  A counter-charge issued by Clinton campaign chair John Podesta did not get the same play.

"The Foundation has already laid out the unprecedented steps the charity will take if Hillary Clinton becomes president,” campaign chairman John Podesta said in a statement. “Donald Trump needs to come clean with voters about his complex network of for-profit businesses that are hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to big banks, including the state-owned Bank of China, and other business groups with ties to the Kremlin.”

Some of the potentially much greater problems with Trump enterprises were suggested in an investigative piece released Sunday by the New York Times:

But an investigation by The New York Times into the financial maze of Mr. Trump’s real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt — twice the amount than can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House. The Times’s inquiry also found that Mr. Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign.

For example, an office building on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, of which Mr. Trump is part owner, carries a $950 million loan. Among the lenders: the Bank of China, one of the largest banks in a country that Mr. Trump has railed against as an economic foe of the United States, and Goldman Sachs, a financial institution he has said controls Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, after it paid her $675,000 in speaking fees.

Beyond finding that companies owned by Mr. Trump had debts of at least $650 million, The Times discovered that a substantial portion of his wealth is tied up in three passive partnerships that owe an additional $2 billion to a string of lenders, including those that hold the loan on the Avenue of the Americas building."

The Times emphasized that the nature and extent of Trump's financial entanglements are not fully known, but that they present economic and foreign policy implications for a presidential candidate.  From what just this article reveals, Trump has a far greater problem that Clinton in matters of serious if not critical conflict of interest and potential criminality.

Perhaps it is partly as I feared, that the media needs to swing the narrative back to Clinton, because there was little follow-up to the Times piece, or prominence given to increasing calls for Trump to do what all other presidential candidates since 1976 have done, and release his tax returns.  In Trump's case this is more than financial disclosure--it is disclosure of potentially grave conflicts of interest regarding Russia and China, for example.

Trump's known indebtedness moreover raises potentially more conflicts, as do the many unknowns about his business dealings.  For example, the Times:"And in some cases, the identities of his business partners are obscured behind limited liability companies — raising the prospect of a president with unknown business ties."

While Trump brazenly demands that the Clinton charitable organization be shut down, he offers no information about his own entanglements, nor any plan for what he would do if elected to ensure he would have no financial conflicts of interest.  Trump must be held accountable for this, and quickly.

In other Trumped-Up matters, the Guardian presents a guide on dealing with Trump's rhetoric derived from techniques developed to deal with Internet trolls.

As just another indication of the nature of the Homegrown Hitler Youth, from the Associated Press:

Donald Trump's paid campaign staffers have declared on their personal social media accounts that Muslims are unfit to be U.S. citizens, mocked how Mexicans talk, called for Secretary of State John Kerry to be hanged and stated their readiness for a possible civil war, according to a review by The Associated Press of their postings.

The AP examined the social media feeds of more than 50 current and former campaign employees who helped propel Trump through the primary elections. The campaign has employed a mix of veteran political operatives and outsiders. Most come across as dedicated, enthusiastic partisans, but at least seven expressed views that were overtly racially charged, supportive of violent actions or broadly hostile to Muslims."

Since foreign policy experts of both parties--including the most dubious--are staying away from Trump while warning that he's dangerous, where might the Donald look for foreign policy advice?  One place apparently is from the rabid right crazy Michelle Bachmann.  Which, given Trump's recent pronouncements, figures.

But foreign policy experts and political operatives aren't the only professionals shunning Trump. A survey by National Association for Business Economics find 55% believe Hillary Clinton would do the best job managing the economy as President, while Trump didn't even come in second place.  Libertarian Gary Johnson got 15% of their votes, while Trump got 14%.

On a Monday night talk show, Hillary brushed off the Trumped-Up health charges as whacky, while CNN tells the story of the "healther" sequel to the birther conspiracy.

Meanwhile, an Oklahoma perspective on the GOP-backed laws all over the country designed to thwart minority voting, which includes Native Americans.  Who, by the way, aren't even immigrants.

 And Trump's continuing scaremongering about voter fraud and calls for his supporters to watch for it (which he repeated on Monday night, while calling American cities run by Democrats more dangerous than Iraq and Afghanistan), and with fewer federal observers of possible voter intimidation, a civil rights group is calling for expanded international election monitoring in the U.S.

A confluence of factors," the civil rights group said, has made racial discrimination in voting a greater threat than at any time in recent history.

"The unprecedented weakening of the Voting Rights Act has led to a tidal wave of voter discrimination efforts nationwide and has required the United States to drastically scale back its own election monitoring program," wrote Wade Henderson and Nancy Zirkin, president and vice president respectively of the Washington, D.C.-based Leadership Conference [on Civil and Human Rights]."