Didn’t I tell you there would be a big fuss over claims that Trump is a Democratic mole?

On July 26, just 11 days ago, I wrote a blog post that said this about Donald Trump: I think we will soon hear a major outcry that he’s just a troublemaker planted by the Democrats to make the Republicans look like fools. There has already been talk of this kind in certain quarters, but it hasn’t been very loud and hasn’t attracted much attention from the mainstream media. I think it soon will. The theory goes like this: Trump is a long-time friend and financial benefactor of the Clintons, and he’s supported the political candidacies of various other Democrats over the years. He’s also supported more than a few liberal social causes over the years — gay marriage, for one. Well, guess what. Republican media are in a tizzy today over THIS REPORT from The Washington Post: Former president Bill Clinton had a private telephone conversation in late spring with Donald Trump at the same time that the billionaire investor and reality-television star was nearing a decision to run for the White House, according to associates of both men. Four Trump allies and one Clinton associate familiar with the exchange said that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape. (Snip) One person with knowledge of Clinton’s end of the call said the former president was upbeat and encouraging during the conversation, which occurred as Trump was speaking out about GOP politics and his prescriptions for the nation. Clinton aides declined to speak on the record about the call, saying the conversation was personal. So far, reaction among conservative media has ranged from outrage to confusion to bemusement. HERE’s a comment from one guy at the right-wing website Hot Air:  I know why Clinton’s aides would be eager to plant this story in the media the day before the GOP debate but I can’t imagine why four(!) Trump allies would be willing to confirm it. Why’d they do that, knowing the suspicions it would arouse among Republicans? Is this all part of some master trolling effort to gaslight conservatives or could Trump aides simply not resist the free publicity involved with a story about him yakking to Bill Clinton about the presidential race?          ...

read more

The worst correction of a news story ever

It pains me to admit it, but I’ve had to write an occasional correction during my years of work in the news media. After all, mistakes will happen. But I’ve never written or, until today, even read a correction that can match the one published the other day by a major component of the right-wing noise machine. The Breitbart News Network, which is named for its late founder, Andrew Breitbart, had come up with a purported scoop calculated to call into question the impartiality and perhaps the integrity of U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch. The story said Lynch had been “a member of Bill Clinton’s defense team during the 1992 Whitewater corruption probe.” But when it turned out that the Loretta Lynch who had worked for Clinton was some other woman, Breitbart’s “correction” of its story was calculated to be only barely noticeable, lest it undo the impressions the errant report had left among right-wing ideologues. At the end of 11 paragraphs about Lynch’s supposed connection with the Whitewater case, the Breitbart story offered this sentence in italics: “The Loretta Lynch identified earlier as the Whitewater attorney was, in fact, a different attorney.” There’s more about all of this HERE and HERE.  ...

read more

Bill Clinton remains popular mainly because he loves politics, which most presidents don’t

In their abiding affection for William Jefferson Clinton, most Americans seem to forget that he was impeached by a Republican Congress a mere 16 years ago. You would think that such formal disapprobriation would leave a lasting political scar of disgrace. But you would be wrong. I’ve always considered it one of our nation’s great political ironies that Clinton’s approval rating, as measured by the Gallup poll, hit a high of 73 percent on the very day he was impeached. That was a higher rating than Ronald Reagan ever achieved. And Clinton’s approval rating in January, 2001, was the highest of any U.S. president upon leaving office. Even today, Clinton’s approval rating among Americans equals that of Pope Francis. What makes this man so immune from what Shakespeare called the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? The answer, it says HERE, is his love of politics: Even when he’s not running, he’s running — exuberantly, indefatigably, for just causes, for lost causes, because he hopes to move the needle, because he loves the sound of his own voice and because he doesn’t know any other way to be. Politics is his calling. The arena is his home. And that’s the real reason that he’s so popular in his post-presidency, so beloved in both retrospect and the moment… Nothing stops him or slows him or sours him, at least not for long. Nothing is beneath him, because he’s as unabashedly messy and slick as the operators all around him. He doesn’t recoil at the rough and tumble, or feel belittled and diminished by it. He relishes it. Throw a punch at him and he throws one at you. Impeach him and he bounces...

read more

Wall Street Journal says Bill Clinton is most admired president since Reagan

THIS REPORT is from the Wall Street Journal, no less, which makes one wonder how Rupert Murdoch feels about one of his papers coming up with  such stuff: Bill Clinton is by far the most admired president of the past quarter century, a new poll shows, underscoring how much he has done to burnish his profile since leaving the White House in 2000. Asked which president of the past 25 years they admired most, some 42% of respondents named Mr. Clinton in the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg Survey. That was more than twice the share that named any other president. The other three presidents of the quarter century all polled about the same: 18% said they most admired President Barack Obama; 17% named George W. Bush; and 16% named his father, George H. W....

read more

Right-wingers falsely blame Bill Clinton for Navy Yard massacre

The wingnut website Breitbart. com offers THIS SLANT on Monday’s shooting spree at the Washington Navy Yard: It hasn’t always been the case that only MPs can carry firearms on U.S. military bases. A mere twenty years ago, “gun free zones” made their way to these facilities under the watch of President Bill Clinton. According to a Washington Times editorial written days after the Nov. 5, 2009 attack on soldiers at Fort Hood, one of Clinton’s “first acts upon taking office… was to disarm U.S. soldiers on military bases.” Clinton’s actions birthed Army regulations “forbidding military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and making it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the U.S. for personal protection.” In other words, thanks to Clinton, citizens who join the military to use guns to defend liberty abroad cannot practice their constitutional right to keep and bear arms while on active duty at home. As the Times editorial board put it: “Because of Mr. Clinton, terrorists would face more return fire if they attacked a Texas Wal-Mart than the gunman faced at Fort Hood.” The same theme ran true at the Navy Yard in DC on September 16. Police were called after the shooter opened fired, and reports indicate it took approximately three to seven minutes for them to arrive. Each minute is an eternity when a lunatic with a weapon decides the “gun free zone” rules do not apply to him. ——– Several other righty pundits have said much the same thing in the past day or so. Ah, but there are several problems with this theory. For one thing, as we see HERE, the regulation at issue was promulgated under a directive issued during the administration of George H.W. Bush — a year before Clinton became president. For another thing, the characterization of the Navy Yard as a gun-free zone is false, as we see HERE: Speaking to reporters yesterday [Monday], Washington, D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier detailed how local police officers arrived at the Navy Yard within two or three minutes of the first shots ringing out, and that even before that, “internal security” at the Navy Yard was firing at the gunman. Does that sound like gun-free facility to you? Does that sound like the gunman didn’t have to worry about anybody shooting...

read more