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A tiny bit of hope

A tiny bit of hope

by digby



I don't know what to make of this, but perhaps it will give you something to hope for:

Just 36 percent of voters say they would vote for Trump over a generic Democratic candidate in 2020, compared with 44 percent who would pick the Democrat, the poll shows. One in five voters, 20 percent, are undecided.

Trump has trouble on the homefront, too. Despite the conventional wisdom that the president is wildly popular with the GOP base, the poll also shows a desire among a healthy slice of Republicans — though a distinct minority — for a challenger to run against Trump for the nomination.


Sounds good, right? Well....

While the poll suggests Trump is being buffeted on all sides, he may be stronger than the data suggest. On Election Day 2016, only 38 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of the then-GOP candidate, according to exit polls. More than three in five voters, 61 percent, said he wasn’t qualified to be president.

Obviously, it's way to early to judge anything about 2020. And the Democrat who runs against him will get such a full Trump going-over that he or she will be unrecognizable by the time it's all over. Still, there's a slight glimmer of hope that despite a roaring economy only 36 percent of Americans say they would vote for this lunatic again.

That 36 percent, though. They seem to be in charge at the moment for reasons that don't really make much sense.

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Stats on women leaders in America

Stats on women leaders in America

by digby


.. are not as encouraging as we might hope:


The number of women leading the largest companies has always been small. This year, it got 25 percent smaller.

The reversal is leading to a search beyond the usual explanations for why women don’t become chief executives — things like not being competitive enough, failing to chase opportunities for promotion and choosing work-life balance over high-powered jobs.

That’s because evidence shows that the obstacles for female executives aren’t just because of their individual choices. There are larger forces at work, experts say, rooted in biases against women in power, mothers who work or leaders who don’t fit the mold of the people who led before them.

For many years, it seemed like the share of women at the top of corporate America would slowly increase over time. The number of women leading companies in the Fortune 500 had grown to 6.4 percent last year, an all-time high, from 2.6 percent a decade earlier.


But this year, the number of female chief executives declined 25 percent, according toFortune’s 2018 list, which was published Monday. There are now 24 women, down from 32. Twelve left their jobs — most recently, Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup Company, who abruptly announced her retirement Friday — and four joined the list.

Women in business start out equal to men in terms of jobs and pay. But at each level, they disappear. Only 22 percent of women are senior vice presidents, according to the annual Women in the Workplace study by Lean In and McKinsey. The drop-off starts with the first promotion to management: Women are 18 percent less likely to be promoted to manager than their male peers.[...]

here don’t appear to be gender differences in leadership ability, either. A recent analysis of 2,600 executives found that men and women did not differ on multiple areas that were assessed, including interpersonal, analytical and managerial skills and general ability. Yet comparing women and men with similar skills and talents, women were much less likely to become chief executives.

One reason, other studies have shown, is that we unconsciously assume good leaders are male, and we have mixed feelings about women who have successful careers.

The typical chief executive is six feet tall with a deep voice — a typical woman doesn’t match the image. In an experiment, respondents said someone named Eric who offered new ideas was a natural leader, while someone named Erica who offered the same ideas was not.

Female business school students who were single reported that they wanted lower salaries and shorter work hours when they expected classmates, particularly single men, to see their answers, according to a study last fall in the American Economic Review.
These biases against ambitious women affect how managers treat women at work.

Men are seen as having leadership qualities like gravitas, while women are seen as having supporting-role qualities like dependability. When women ask for promotions or raises, they’re more likely to be called bossy or aggressive, found Lean In and McKinsey. Men are more likely to get them without asking.


“It’s all about the culture of organizations and the broader cultural attitudes toward women, and the difficulty all of us have, research would suggest, really respecting a woman in a position of authority,” Ms. Ely said.


It also notes that #MeToo is likely having a backlash effect of making the men who still run things less likely to want to hire and mentor younger women which is undoubtedly an effect, at least in the short term, until they realize that if they don't act like assholes, it will all be fine.

I have had the discussion many times int he past year and a half about whether this country is going to elect a woman president any time soon. Virtually everyone I know insists that it's not just possible it's a shoe-in, probably in 2020.

I always think of these statistics about female CEOs and wonder if that's actually true. I think I'm more pessimistic than most, although I sincerely hope I'm wrong. I confess I didn't see a reduction in their numbers coming, though.

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The making of Spyghazi

The making of Spyghazi

by digby



GQ unraveled how the latest stupid BizarroWorld "scandal" unfolded:


The plot goes like this: During the summer of 2016, on the clandestine orders of then-President Obama, the FBI and CIA hatched an ambitious plan to topple the Trump campaign from the inside. In a scandal of unprecedented scope, Democratic politicians commandeered American counterintelligence resources to spy on their primary political opponent and boost Hillary Clinton's chances at winning the election. The Russia investigation that has dominated headlines for nearly two years is, in fact, a desperate smokescreen conjured up by terrified Deep State actors to conceal evidence of their own wrongdoing, and to frame the president for heinous crimes he didn't commit.


On May 8, the Washington Post reported on the White House's decision to back the Justice Department's withholding of information from House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, on the grounds that disclosure would expose the identity of "a U.S. citizen who has provided information to the FBI and CIA." The authors added, though, that the individual had been a source of information used by the special counsel's office—and that it was unclear whether Trump knew this "key fact" when his administration chose to side with law enforcement.


It didn't take long for him to find out. Almost immediately, the right-wing media ecosystem began laundering and repackaging this news item, weaving its constituent elements together with Trumpian talking points until a full-blown conspiracy theory worthy of the president's tweets emerged on the other side. This metamorphosis is what would happen if a word cloud sourced from a Trump rally were used in a giant game of telephone—but one in which the gibberish end result were then broadcast as news to hundreds of millions of recipients.


How did this happen?

May 10


Two days after the initial report, citing to "the Washington Post's unnamed law-enforcement leakers," the Wall Street Journal publishes an analysis by conservative commentator Kim Strassel. "[W]e might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign." Such a development, she writes, "would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting." Strassel continues (all emphasis mine):

[W]hen precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that in turn would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.
This is at once cautious and bold, introducing the salacious vocabulary of espionage to a detail about an intelligence source—but only, she clarifies, if the allegations are true. Strassel does not offer a reason for entertaining her hypothetical, other than her characterization of the players' accounts of the investigation as "suspiciously vague." She is, in the classic style of well-compensated public intellectuals filling up column inches, just asking questions.

That night, other journalists are happy to offer answers. On Sean Hannity's Fox News show, conservative journalist Sara Carter, citing Strassel, tells listeners of “concern that the FBI actually had a spy within the Trump campaign.” Hannity is dumbfounded: “What? What?” he splutters. "Yes," says Carter. Blogs like Gateway Pundit kick off the breathless hyperbole category. "Now we know why the Deep State has been working so hard to take down President Trump and the republic," said the post, linking to and block-quoting Strassel. "OBAMA DEEP STATE HAD A SPY INSIDE THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN!"

May 11

The baton is passed to Fox News, which syndicates Strassel's article and changes the headline from “About that FBI ‘Source’” to “Did the FBI place a mole inside the 2016 Trump campaign?” On Fox & Friends, the president's morning program of choice, Peter Hegseth weighs in, hesitantly at first. "Did the FBI have a spy in the Trump campaign? Just asking the question. There’s an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about it." Ainsley Earhart quotes at length from the column before positing that it means the FBI and DOJ had someone "paid to go and spy on President Trump."

On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh picks up the thread, encouraging the conflation of the FBI and President Obama. Strassel's article mentions Obama only once, and only in passing. But this is Rush Limbaugh, not a major newspaper; he can say things like this without fear of repercussions.

When I say “the FBI,” I mean the Obama administration. They infiltrated the Trump campaign with a spy, and while they had that spy implanted, they were unmasking and leaking and obtaining FISA spying warrants and conducting criminal investigations of Trump advisers. This is a big deal...For our purposes, folks, the important thing is that the Obama administration infiltrated the Trump campaign with a spy.

The buzz grows louder online. "Did the FBI have a spy in the Trump campaign?" asksAndrew McCarthy, praising Strassel's column as "essential reporting," in a National Review article that published early the next morning. Right-wing blog ZeroHedgemakes an affirmative statement—“WSJ: The FBI Hid A Mole In The Trump Campaign”—out of his question. Also citing Strassel, Tucker Carlson refers to a "government spy" and a "mole" sent by "the Obama administration." His guest, NRATV personality Dan Bongino, reveals that he believes there to have been more than one spy, referring to "reporting." He does not elaborate on-air.


May 14

The week begins with lawmakers joining the fray. On Fox & Friends, GOP congressman Ron DeSantis calls for a follow-up investigation into the matter. "I know that we’re actively trying to get the underlying documents that would tell us: Did they spy on the Trump campaign or not?” he asks, implicitly treating the premises of that query as if they were beyond dispute. To Lou Dobbs on Fox Business Network, Matt Gaetz expresses unease with "reports" he'd heard "about potential human intelligence being collected on a rival presidential campaign."

These men are egged on by, among others, Rush Limbaugh, who asserts he knows the identity of the spy that the FBI "put in the Trump campaign," and Hannity, whose radio guest David Limbaugh—Rush's younger brother—opines that "an official policy inserting a confidential source into a presidential campaign" would be "unprecedented" and "worse than Watergate." Like DeSantis, he includes a soft qualifier, though: "If it happened! We have to get to the bottom of it."

May 15

Nunes appears on the Fox & Friends set, hinting that the campaign might have been "set up" by the FBI. “I believe they never should have opened a counterintelligence investigation into a political party,” he explains. And although he at first avoids using the word "spy," his hosts are happy to put it in his mouth. Steve Doocey suggests that Nunes' narrative implies that Trump was "framed," while Earhart adds that "it makes it sound like there was a spy."


There's more at the link, leading to this crazy bullshit from the president himself:




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Trumpworld on acid

Trumpworld on acid

by digby

It must be in the diet cokes.

This post by Gabriel Sherman in Vanity Fair is mind blowing:

Trump’s scorched-earth strategy has been in place since Rudy Giuliani replaced Trump’s long-suffering lawyers John Dowd and Ty Cobb. At first, it looked as if it were careening off course, as Giuliani gave off a series of erratic and combative interviews. Some speculated that Trump might be unhappy with his performance, but sources I spoke to say Trump is pleased. This is the plan. “Rudy doesn’t do anything without Trump’s permission,” said one Republican close to the White House. The strategy grew out of conversations Trump has held in recent weeks with a group of outside advisers that include Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows, House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes, Sean Hannity, Dave Bossieand Corey Lewandowski, among others. “People think Trump is angry, but he likes the direction this is going,” an outside White House adviser said.

According to people familiar with Trump’s thinking, his team is attempting to build the case that anti-Trump forces in the F.B.I. entrapped his advisers using informants to plant evidence about Russian collusion. The theory goes that the F.B.I. later used these contacts with the Russians to delegitimize his presidency. Trump’s advisers say the intelligence community believed Hillary Clinton would win the presidency, but in case she didn’t, they concocted this elaborate plot to remove Trump from office. 

“Just when you think it can’t get stranger, it does,” a Trump adviser told me. Stone claims the anti-Trump conspiracy includes senior intelligence officials from the Barack Obama administration. “The guy who will end up burning in all this is [former C.I.A. director] John Brennan,” Stone told me. “If I were him I’d break the capsule and swallow it now. That psychopath is going down.”

(Nick Shapiro, who served as Brennan’s deputy chief of staff at the C.I.A., described Stone’s comment as “contemptible” and said his words should be condemned. “We’re seeing a growing chorus of former national security leaders speaking out to warn us about Trump,” he added. “Instead of attacking these dedicated patriots, we should be concerned about why they all feel the need to speak out.”)

As loopy as this theory can sound, the notion that there’s been a conspiracy among the Obama administration and the so-called Deep State to bring Trump down is more than a legal stalking horse—it’s now a dominant narrative in Trumpworld. The president himself is convinced that the secret F.B.I. informant who reportedly met with several Trump campaign advisers in 2016 was not merely an informant, but an Obama political operative. One administration official told me the theory has become so widely accepted that people in the West Wing are paranoid that the F.B.I. has multiple informants working to take down Trump. “There’s a paranoia about who else is one,” the official said.
[...]
Trumpworld’s current mind-set makes continued extra-legal conflict with Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein inevitable, and the well-dissected dangers of firing one or both have not served to take this nuclear option off the table. Trump has been bonding over how corrupt Mueller's investigation is. “Rudy is telling him what he wants to hear,” said a Trump ally. But “it would be catastrophic if he fires Mueller.” In the past, many Republicans shared this view. Now, they might not be so opposed.

Nixon was paranoid but he wasn't a fucking moron. I don't know if that makes Trump better or worse.
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How about that corrupt Trump associate with ties to Stormy Daniels?

How about that sleazy Trump associate with ties to Stormy Daniels?

by digby



On Tuesday the Democrats announced that their message for the fall campaign would be "It's the corruption, stupid." Well, not those words exactly, but that's what it adds up to. And it's a smart move. As Adam Serwer pointed out in this widely circulated piece in The Atlantic, corruption is what ties all the Trump scandals together. It's something that even people who don't follow the details can understand accounts for how terribly everything has gone off the rails under President Trump.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put it this way, “The swamp has never been more foul and more fetid than it is under this president.” Indeed, corruption and conflict of interest define him as an elected official, just as dishonest hucksterism and bankruptcy defined him as a businessman.

Frankly, it's a tried and true agenda for the Democrats, who last had a winning midterm when they ran against the "culture of corruption" in 2006. In those days, the Jack Abramoff pay-to-play scheme was considered shocking. In the Trump era's volcanic eruption of scandals, that would be a one-day story sharing space with porn stars, Russian agents and billion-dollar deals with shadowy Middle Eastern sheiks. It was a more innocent time.

So far this week we have the president yammering incoherentlyabout spies in his campaign in the middle of delicate Korean nuclear negotiations and tweeting mindlessly about "following the money" after watching his favorite science fiction program, the one hosted by Sean Hannity. That hasn't stopped the flow of new and shocking corruption scandals from TrumpWorld.

The most intriguing so far (and it's only Wednesday) is the report from the AP called "The princes, the president and the fortune seekers," about Elliott Broidy, the former Republican National Committee deputy finance chair and Michael Cohen client. We learn that Broidy and George Nader, another shadowy character who turns up in the Trump scandal circle, parlayed their association with the new president into gigantic consulting contracts with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in exchange for using their influence to isolate Qatar, an American ally.

You may recall that on Monday I wrote about a differentinfluence-peddling scandal involving some of the same people and the same countries: Nader and Erik Prince met with Donald Trump Jr. in August of 2016, along with an Israeli social media expert, to offer to "help" the campaign. Believe it or not, this one is different. Whereas that first story features some suspicious ties to the Russian investigation, this one has suspicious ties to the Stormy Daniels case. I'm not making this up.

The AP reported that Nader and Broidy had "a two-track mission: to carry out a campaign against Qatar that would curry favor with the princes, and to then turn that success into millions of dollars in defense deals, documents show." In fact, the reported worth of the whole deal added up to nearly a billion dollars.

The story is very complicated: In a nutshell, those two put together a lobbying campaign with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of campaign donations, aimed at persuading members of Congress and the president himself to support the UAE and Saudi Arabia against Qatar, their regional rival. In fact, Trump ended up backing the blockade against Qatar, a move nobody much understood at the time. Indeed, there is still no full understanding of what happened with all this, because there are so many sleazy operators involved with these players -- including Jared Kushner, for example, who had financial motives for pushing the anti-Qatar line.

The two schemers had only received a down payment of $36 million on their billion dollars worth of contracts before Nader was stopped by the FBI at the airport and ended up as a cooperating witness in the Mueller investigation, reportedly meeting with the investigators and testifying before the grand jury more than once. So the rest of the big payoff never happened.

Broidy's company, Circinus LLC, did make a bundle in 2017 off federal government contracts, however. The Daily Beast reports:

Prior to 2017, Circinus had been paid a total of just $7,501 for its work on various defense contracts. Then, in August 2017 it finally received $3.9 million for a contract it had begun bidding on in 2013 with the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). The INSCOM contract — which is for unidentified intelligence services — nearly doubled the company’s income for the year. The following month, Circinus received $242,011 from the Defense Security Service for a separate contract.
Maybe that was a coincidence, but Broidy was on a major roll at least partly because he was considered a Trump insider. He had several personal meetings with Trump, and that's where the Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels story comes in.

I have previously mentioned a bit of compelling speculation from Paul Campos at New York Magazine, proposing the theory that Broidy had provided a cover story for another Trump payment to another Trump mistress, something Broidy has been known to do for other politicians in the past. That looks even more compelling in light of this new reporting about the billion-dollar lobbying blitz.

Broidy had an important meeting with the president at Mar-a-Lago on Dec. 2, 2017, at which this Qatar business was apparently discussed. Just two days before that, Broidy had wired the first of what were to be eight payments of $200,000 apiece to an attorney representing Shera Bechard, the onetime Playboy Playmate with whom Broidy supposedly had an affair. But the contract for these payoffs was in the name of "David Dennison," the same pseudonym that Donald Trump had used in his hush-money contract with Stormy Daniels. A few days after the Mar-a-Lago meeting, Broidy got word that $600 million in "consulting" contracts had come through.

In his latest article for New York Magazine, Campos writes:

If it’s difficult to imagine Broidy being willing to take the fall for Trump’s affair with Bechard and then paying her a seven-figure sum, it’s much simpler to imagine it simply as a perfectly timed and fantastically profitable bribe.
Or, if you prefer, the Trump term for such deals would be "favors." Yuuuge favors. Whether there was anything illegal going on in all this mess is hard to say. But that toxic, fetid swamp stinks to high heaven.
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About that other spy in the Trump campaign…

About that other spy in the Trump campaign...

by digby


Yesterday I wrote about the Freedom Caucus' cheerleader Matt Gaetz going all over TV saying that there had been another "spy" implanted in the Trump campaign but it was all hush-hush classified and they couldn't say who it was.

This explains what he was talking about:

Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo suggested on Monday during an interview on Fox News that there may have been a second informant that approached the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. In light of these claims, The Daily Wire interviewed Caputo and the man that he claimed may have been another government informant sent to target the Trump campaign.

"Let me tell you something that I know for a fact," Caputo said on "The Ingraham Angle," with host Laura Ingraham. "This informant, this person they tried to plant into the campaign ... he’s not the only person that came at the campaign. And the FBI is not the only Obama agency that came at the campaign. I know because they came at me."

Caputo's comments were in response to the recent revelation that the FBI allegedly used a secret FBI informant to meet with Trump campaign associates and for the purpose of gathering information about any interactions they may have had with Russian officials.

On Tuesday, The Daily Wire interviewed Caputo, the alleged second informant who does contracting work with the U.S. government, and one of Caputo's friends who was an intermediary between the two men.

On May 7, 2016, Caputo's friend, Kirk Bell, attended a DC-area Kentucky Derby event at the house of his friend Nick Ikeda, a military staffer for US Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

At the event, Bell spoke with a government contractor, who asked not to be named in this report; this is the person Caputo told The Daily Wire he thought may have been another informant in light of the recent revelations about the FBI's alleged secret informant. At the event, the government contractor mentioned to Bell that he had heard about some of Hillary Clinton's missing emails and said that the campaign should see if they could obtain them.

The government contractor told The Daily Wire that the information he had heard about some of Clinton's missing emails came from a business meeting that he had while he was trying to drum up business for a private sector tech company. The missing emails came up in casual conversation with another man, in which the subject of the 2016 election was briefly mentioned. The man that the contractor met with suggested that Clinton's missing emails could contain more damaging information in them than people realized.

It was that conversation that inspired the government contractor to mention Clinton's emails to Bell.

Two days later, on May 9, 2016, Bell texted Caputo about the information the government contractor relayed to him about Clinton's missing emails.

Caputo told The Daily Wire that he never spoke to the government contractor. The government contractor also said he does not remember explicitly speaking with Caputo, although he does say that someone reached out to him but he doesn't remember who it was.

Caputo says that he did not reach out to the government contractor because he was fearful of possibly taking possession of any material that he might have which could have contained classified information.

The government contractor reached back out to Bell on July 31, 2016, and informed Bell of a Breitbart report that claimed that NSA had Clinton's emails, and suggested that the Trump campaign should look into it.

By this time Bell was reportedly a part of the Trump campaign in North Carolina and Caputo says he had departed the Trump campaign.

When asked by The Daily Wire if he was working for anyone to gather information about the Trump campaign or if anyone had approached him about gathering information on the Trump campaign, the government contractor responded: "No, absolutely not."

"I have done no work with the [Independent Special Counsel], none," the government contractor continued. "I have no contracts, not even ancillary contracts with the intelligence community. I am not connected there at all. Zero."

When asked about who the third party was that contacted him, the government contractor responded, "I don't remember who it was because it just wasn't that important to me," saying that he told whomever called him "good luck because this isn't what I do for a living."

After the interview with the government contractor, The Daily Wire interviewed Caputo and informed him of the interview with the government contractor. In discussing what the government contractor said, Caputo said, "This also could be a great big misunderstanding."

Caputo also clarified the comments that he made on Ingraham's show last night, saying that it was not his intention to suggest that the government contractor was involved in some sort of government spying like the alleged FBI source outed last week.

Caputo said that he did not understand the approach that he thought the government contractor made towards him so he informed different government committees that are conducting investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 elections of his contacts with the government contractor.

"[The committees] didn't check on it," Caputo said. "So I gave it to the media."

Caputo asked The Daily Wire to review text messages between Bell and the government contractor and between Bell and himself.

All three men agreed that the core details in the timeline of events were correct. The government contractor and Caputo also agreed on most of the major details in each other's stories and it appears as though there was a misunderstanding between the two men.

Caputo thought that the government contractor was coming to him with an offer but messages reviewed by The Daily Wire appear to show that the government contractor was making suggestions for the campaign rather than offering the campaign anything specific.


Jesus H. Christ. They're all as dumb as Trump.

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Blue woman group by @BloggersRUs

Blue woman group

by Tom Sullivan


Stacey Abrams

What jumps off the page from Amy McGrath's win last night Kentucky’s Sixth District is the rural vote. MSNBC's Steve Kornacki noticed:

Those results will bolster Democrats looking for evidence of a fall blue wave. McGrath is "cleaning up where Dems usually get buried," Kornacki observed.

McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot, won everywhere except Lexington where her opponent is mayor. Her viral video helped her campaign catch fire and raise money, but in a year when women are running and winning, her moxey and compelling biography blasted her past Mayor Jim Gray, the national party's Rolodex candidate.

McGrath faces Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) in November.

Stacey Abrams did more than win her Georgia primary for governor. She made history as the first black woman to be the nominee of a major party for governor. The former state House minority leader handily defeated Stacey Evans, another former legislator who put nearly $2 million in her own money behind her campaign.

Abrams drew compliments from even conservative commentator Eric Erickson of Macon, GA after an interview in February (from The New Yorker):

“I’d been strongly critical of her in the past, and she was still willing to come on air with me,” Erickson said of Abrams on Monday. “We actually found a lot of common ground, even though we disagreed on stuff,” he added. “I came away really liking her.” Abrams, Erickson told me, “gave a better answer on keeping the income tax than Casey Cagle,” the state’s lieutenant governor, who won the Republican primary on Tuesday—but who received less than fifty per cent of the vote, meaning that he now faces a runoff in July. “It was an easy to understand answer,” Erickson said. “Everyone in the crowd, including the Republicans, nodded along with it.” After the interview, Erickson wrote on Twitter that he found Abrams to be, “Super sharp, very witty, and self-deprecating. She’ll be formidable as a candidate.”
That did not endear him to conservative readers, but might indicate where she might make inroads in rural Georgia where Republicans dominate.

Indeed, Abrams's powerful "fight for the future" victory speech had reach. To struggling Georgians, Abrams even alluded to her own financial problems, saying, "I'm with you because I've been there. I'm still there."

Still looking for analysis, but it will be interesting to see whether Abrams's rural vote numbers compare to McGrath's.

A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows Democrats with a 9-point lead among female voters on the generic congressional ballot, compared to a 1-point advantage among male voters.

* * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.

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Use Elementor to Design Every Part of a WP Website, Without Writing a Line of Code

Have you ever thought you might someday succeed in designing an entire website, element by element, without having to write a line of code?

The ability to do so would be a dream come true, and Elementor had this web designer’s dream in mind when they set out to build the ultimate website building solution for WordPress.

Instead of writing code to create dynamic visual content, you can do so with a few clicks.

It’s little wonder then that over 800,000 users have flocked to Elementor in just a little under 2 years. When its group of specialists set out to create highly specific features with web professionals in mind, features that beginners can work with as well, Elementor’s ability to establish a large user base in a relatively short time makes sense.

1. Elementor and Elementor 2.0

Elementor was designed to enable web designers to avoid the perplexing problem of feeling constrained by a theme’s design. The Elementor team’s goal was to create a WordPress website builder that would allow website design professionals to create websites the way they wanted, instead of having to design everything from scratch.

The result was the first theme builder where design can be done on the front end, the results viewed in real time, and the designer has complete control over layout customization.

Not completely satisfied that the website designers’ dream had been completely addressed, the team is releasing Elementor 2.0. While this new release will be done incrementally during 2018, those features that have already made an appearance have been joyfully embraced.

2. New Elementor Features

Design Your Own Header and Footer – No Coding Required

Elementor’s intuitive visual editor gives you all the flexibility you need to customize the header and footer areas on a page to your liking. Doing so is as easy as putting together blocs to build a toy house -; your header and footer areas will be much more attractive however!

If you plan on using more than a single header, one for a blog page and a different one for your About page, that’s not a problem either. It takes but a few minutes to create a different header. No coding required of course.

Want to build a sticky header that will help visitors find their way through your website? Creating one that will follow along as they scroll down the page is ridiculously easy.

Recently Elementor added Role Manager, allowing you to restrict access for certain user roles and never worry about a client ruining your design.

The Freedom to Create Dynamic Content is Yours

This one’s for blog users who want to “escape” the theme and build a flexible, creative blog without having to write code to do so. New releases like Single Post & Page let you create a template that you can use repeatedly for your blog pages and posts.

Another new feature, Blog Archive, helps you visually design your blog bit by bit.

Need a template for a 404 page, or want to customize your Search results page? No problem doing either one, plus you have dynamic widgets like Post Title, Author Box, and Featured Image to help you create a post template.

You’ll Never Need to Reinvent the Wheel

The nicest thing about dynamic content is that you can use and reuse it to your heart’s content. It’s simply a matter of creating a framework for your content and applying it across your website; and if you want to reuse content that’s already on your WordPress website, a single click is all it takes.

It used to be that coding would be necessary to make even the slightest change to a static template. No more!

3. How Elementor Became the #1 WordPress Theme Builder

When the Elementor team embarked upon the task of designing Elementor 2.0, they retained the features that made Elementor #1 and the favorite of 800,000+ users.

Total Layout Customization

“Customizable” layouts can mean different things to different theme providers. Total customization was rarely the case until Elementor premium website builder gave its users extensive control and extended flexibility over the various sections of their layouts including width and height settings and column and contents size position and padding, margins, and column gap settings.

A Comprehensive Template Library

You’ll be impressed by the Elementor template library’s size and scope. It features beautiful templates for a wide range of industries and website styles; and for specific needs as well.

You can select a pre-designed template, or should you not find precisely what you need, it’s easy to design a page yourself. If you do so, you can save if for later use. Your templates can also be imported and exported for sharing or use in other websites.

40+ Elements Come with the Package

This free group of elements includes advanced widgets like Google Maps and Carousel. You’ll also have access to customizable widgets that were specially designed for use in the live page builder. These widgets and other elements enable you to create virtually any layout you can imagine; right down to the tiniest of details. If you’ve ever had to write code to adjust the spacing inside a progress bar, you’ll see how helpful these elements will be.

Elementor’s Designs will be Totally Responsive

In today’s world, anything short of a 100% responsive design can break a website. With Elementor you have at your fingertips device preview screens and device visibility control settings to ensure users will view your website just as you designed it.

Why You Should Try Elementor Now

One good reason -; Blocks. This star feature of Elementor allows you to build your websites crazy-fast from top to bottom without any need for a single line of code.

Another good reason. You won’t ever have to worry about experiencing “theme restraints”.

And then, there’s the Elementor 2.0 features that will be released throughout 2018. As you will discover, some will be game-changers.

You can start using Elementor right out of the box too. It doesn’t matter if you’re a grizzled veteran or a newbie. Install Elementor, give it a whirl, experiment with its building blocks, and start building – like, crazy fast.

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With friends like these…

With friends like these...

by digby


Trump, last night:


“Your vote in 2018 is every bit as important as your vote in 2016. I don't know if I believe that. Who the hell wrote that line?"

And yet they love him and support him and can't wait to walk over the cliff behind him.
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Trey and Devin’s private peep show

Trey and Devin's private peep show

by digby


I don't honestly understand how this can be happening but I guess that's just the way it is:

Just two Republican lawmakers will be allowed to review classified information about a confidential FBI source who aided the investigation into the Trump campaign at a meeting Thursday with Justice Department and intelligence officials, the White House said Tuesday.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced at a White House press briefing that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) would be the only two lawmakers at the meeting, which would also include FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O’Callaghan.

Sanders said no White House officials would attend, even though Chief of Staff John F. Kelly brokered the gathering. She said Democrats were cut out because they had not requested the same materials that their Republican colleagues had.

“To my knowledge, the Democrats have not requested that information, so I would refer you back to them on why they would consider themselves randomly invited to see something they’ve never asked to,” Sanders said.

The move stoked some consternation in Congress. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said previously that he expected to be invited and said Democrats being shut out was “another serious abuse of power.”


Democrats aren't even part of the government anymore apparently. Good to know.

By the way, this is just round one:

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said that the White House is “not yet fully informed” on the extent of intelligence collection on the Trump campaign on Fox News Monday.

“I will say, Harris, The White House is not yet fully informed regarding the extent to which intelligence was collected on the Trump campaign,” he said.

“There is additional information that House investigators have collected, and we need to make sure the White House gets appropriately informed about that, because it will not be enough to have Rod Rosenstein and others at the Department of Justice investigate themselves. We got enough investigations where the Justice Department is investigating themselves.”

Gaetz has previously blasted the Mueller investigation for its “tremendous bias.”


That smug little twit was on Jake Tapper's show this afternoon saying there were more informants involved hinting broadly that the Intelligence Committee has some information that a different "spy" was implanted in the campaign. I guess they forgot to mention that in their report that closed out the investigation.

This is BS, of course. But it's part of their "I know you are but what am I" strategy.

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