Another stodgy conservative newspaper just endorsed Hillary Clinton — their first Dem since Woodrow Wilson in 1916


The last Democrat endorsed by the Cincinnati ENQUIRER

❝ The last time the Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed a Democrat for president, the paper picked Woodrow Wilson as its choice in the 1916 presidential election. It’s been a long time.

Now Donald Trump has broken the streak. The Enquirer is joining other very conservative editorial pages in endorsing Hillary Clinton, calling Trump “a clear and present danger to our country.”

❝ While other typically conservative editorial boards have made clear that they’re holding their noses in endorsing Clinton as the only realistic alternative to Trump, the Enquirer’s endorsement is slightly more positive, describing her as a clearheaded pragmatist who can build coalitions and govern effectively. The board’s views on Trump are scathing:

Trump brands himself as an outsider untainted by special interests, but we see a man utterly corrupted by self-interest. His narcissistic bid for the presidency is more about making himself great than America. Trump tears our country and many of its people down with his words so that he can build himself up. What else are we left to believe about a man who tells the American public that he alone can fix what ails us?

❝ Even more surprising than the Enquirer breaking its streak, though, is that it actually might make a difference. Research has found that when newspapers break with tradition, readers take it seriously. And unlike the other two solidly Republican newspapers that have refused to endorse Trump so far — the Dallas Morning News and the New Hampshire Union Leader — the Enquirer is in a swing state.

❝ …Unusual endorsements like this might matter precisely because it’s not what readers expected to hear. Newspaper endorsements change the most minds when they break with the usual pattern to endorse a candidate of the other party.

So far, not a single major daily newspaper has endorsed Trump – and that’s especially important in conservative bailiwicks. Newspapers have a tough enough time staying alive in the age of digital media. Conservative newspapers stay alive only because of support from conservative readers.

That means my average peer – some old fart in East Overshoe, Ohio – still cares enough for old media and old-fashioned means of acquiring news to read and relate to a conservative newspaper like the Enquirer. He or she is also more likely to regard that editorial opinion as something of value.

3% of Americans own half the guns in the country


AP Photo/Danny Johnston

In the past two decades, Americans have added approximately 70 million firearms to their private arsenals. There are more gun owners, but they make up a slightly smaller share of the population. Handguns have surged in popularity, and the era of the super-owner is here: roughly half of all guns are concentrated in the hands of just three percent of American adults.

These are among the key findings of a sweeping new survey of gun ownership, provided in advance of publication to The Trace and The Guardian by researchers at Harvard and Northeastern universities. Our two news organizations are partnering to present a series of stories this week based on the survey.

There have been other evaluations of American gun ownership in recent years, but academics who study gun-owning patterns and behavior say the new survey is the most authoritative and statistically sound since one conducted in 1994 by Philip Cook, a researcher at Duke University.

Roughly 100,000 Americans are injured by a gun every year, with a third of those incidents resulting in death. But research into the causes of the violence, methods of prevention, and its toll on families and communities is almost entirely conducted by academics and other private groups.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government entity that studies other public health issues, virtually ignores gun violence, owing to legislation widely interpreted as preventing such research.

Otherwise known as chickenshit Congress.

The responses reveal a fundamental shift in gun-owning attitudes. Whereas most owners once considered their firearm primarily a hunting or sports shooting tool, a majority now say they keep guns to protect themselves, their families, and communities.

Accurate reporting on what these people believe. Whether evidence-based facts provoke those beliefs is another question.

A list of the excuses Trump offers for why he won’t release his tax returns

❝ Republican presidential nominee and self-described billionaire Donald Trump says he makes a lot of money, gives millions of dollars to charity and has no investments in Russia. But when it comes time to give evidence, he refuses to release the independently verified documents that could support (or refute) all of those claims: his tax returns.

All major presidential nominees over the past 40 years, including Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, have released their tax returns. They are important documents reviewed by accountants and federal auditors, and they must be accurate under penalty of law.

But instead of sharing his returns, Trump and his supporters have relied on a growing list of excuses to defend keeping them hidden. Those excuses are listed below, along with reasons to question them.

❝ Trump: “I’m being audited … so I can’t.” (See next section.) (Repeatedly since February)
Trump: “There’s nothing to learn from them.” (Fact checkers say this is false.) (February, February, May, May)
Trump: “Mitt Romney looked like a fool when he delayed and delayed and delayed and … didn’t file until a month and a half before the election and it cost him big league.” (February, July)
Trump: His tax rate is “none of your business.” (May)
Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman: American people “wouldn’t understand them.” (May)
Manafort: The only people who want them “are the people who want to defeat him.” (May)
Trump: “I don’t think anybody cares,” which is false. (May, September)
Eric Trump, son: Would be “foolish” to release; “you would have a bunch of people who know nothing about taxes trying to look through and trying to come up with assumptions on things that they know nothing about.” (August)
Mike Pence, vice-presidential nominee who released his tax returns: They’re a “distraction.” (September)
Donald Trump Jr.: “Would detract from (his dad’s) main message” (September)
Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager: “I just can’t find where this is a burning issue to most of the Americans.” (September)
Jeffrey Lord, commentator: Tax returns are “a political gimmick, a gotcha … Political opponents are going to go through there and look to make issues out of things.” (September)

What we would learn from Trump’s tax returns

❝ How much (or how little) money he makes
How much (or how little) he gives to charity
How much (or how little) he pays in taxes
How much (or how little) money he keeps in foreign accounts (including in Russia)

RTFA for many more reasons why voters need this kind of information. And for more excuses from Trump, of course.

Paul Ryan’s tax plan ends up giving 100% of Its benefits to the top 1%

File this one under “too good to check.” Max Ehrenfreund passes along the latest analysis of Paul Ryan’s tax proposal from the Tax Policy Center and notes that by 2025 it gets a wee bit lopsided:

blog_republican_tax_plan_one_decade

This is like a parody of Republican tax proposals. In its first year, the top 1 percent start off getting a mere 76 percent of the benefit….Within ten years they get nearly 100 percent of the benefit. Ryan and the congressional Republicans manage this by giving the poor and middle class nothing and actually taking money away from the upper middle class. The only people who benefit are the rich and the really rich.

As for the really, really rich, the top 0.1 percent get an average tax break of $1.4 million, while the rest of us get about $3 trillion in extra federal debt and no long-term change in economic growth. What a deal.

More craptastic politics from the least productive hacks in Washington, DC. I honestly think Ryan trots his spreadsheet out with a new set of lies every couple of years just so Congressional Republlicans can say, “look, we have a proposal!” – even though it’s about as useful as a new crutch to someone who just had his legs amputated.

Trump says he hates lies — and can’t figure out how to tell the truth


Trump with Michael Flynn – who thinks the TPP agreement includes China

❝ Donald Trump went on CNBC this morning, and, over the course of a wide-ranging interview, once again reminded the world of the most fundamental fact about his candidacy — he doesn’t really seem to understand any aspect of American public policy.

…He was allowed to ramble and dissemble across a variety of topics — including who sets interest rates, how monetary policy impacts the economy, and how his own money is invested, finding time for a racist personal attack against a rival politician.

“I believe it’s a false market,” Trump said of the current state of American stocks. “I don’t even invest in the stock market.”

❝ Trump’s personal financial disclosures to the Federal Election Commission have been fairly skimpy given the complicated nature of his finances, but they clearly show that he does in fact own millions of dollars in stock…

❝ Then for good measure, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.”

❝ In a normal election cycle, a candidate making an offhand racist remark about a sitting US senator would be a big news story…

In a normal election cycle, a candidate making an offhanded lie about the state of his personal finances would be a big news story.

Seriously. Stop. Take a breath. Now imagine if Mitt Romney had run exactly Mitt Romney’s campaign but then suddenly in mid-September went on television and called Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas for no reason. It would have been huge.

❝ This year, basically nothing. Trump being kinda racist is a dog-bites-man story…Trump lies all the time, so that’s not a big deal…His business dealings pose such obvious and flagrant conflicts of interest and ethics problems that lying about his stock holdings doesn’t seem like a big deal.

❝ Separately, one of Trump’s top policy advisers went on CNN this morning to denounce “this whole, you know, Trans-Pacific trade agreement with China.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not a trade agreement with China. It includes 12 countries and none of them is China…

“All this was inspired by the principle — which is quite true within itself — that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.” —  Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X

Federal court to consider state bans on selfies in voting booths

voting-selfie
Click to enlarge

❝ An federal appeals court will consider whether the government can bar people from taking pictures of their ballots in voting booths. The First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston will hear arguments Tuesday whether it is a violation of free expression or a way to prevent fraud.

❝ New Hampshire became the first state to prohibit ballot selfies in 2014. The law makes it a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, for voters to take pictures of their ballots and post them on social media. The law was blocked a year ago by a federal judge, and the state appealed. This law was amended from one in 1979 that makes it illegal for a voter to show a ballot to someone else with the intention of disclosing how the person plans to vote.

Twenty-six states ban taking photos of ballots through various laws, including prohibitions on bringing cameras into polling places…

❝ Three New Hampshire residents, who are challenging the law, took selfies as they voted, including writing in the name of his dog who had died a few days earlier for the U.S. Senate.

❝ Snapchat is among the groups seeking to end the bans, writing in an April brief, “The ballot selfie captures the very essence of that process as it happens — the pulled lever, the filled-in bubble, the punched-out chad — and thus dramatizes the power that one person has to influence our government.”

New technology, namely the smartphone, is in conflict with concerns about vote buying that date to the 1800s…

❝ One year ago, enforcement of a similar ban in Indiana was blocked by a federal court. Federal District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker called the law “a blunt instrument designed to remedy a so-far undetected problem” in reference to vote buying.

Today’s idjit version of the Republican Party is in love with the whole 19th Century legend of illegal voting. Our “moderate” Republican Governor here in New Mexico let the Secretary of State waste over $200,000 investigating undocumentados registering and voting in state elections.

She came up with 12 people who registered – all of whom apparently thought they were required to register. Only 2 ever actually tried to vote and when the mistake was explained to them – they left the polling place peacefully. Not exactly a great use of taxpayer dollar$.

Thanks, David Gura