POLITICS

HUFFPOST HILL - Donald Trump/Katie Ledecky Fight Really A Matter Of When, Not If

 The U.S. took an early lead in the Olympic medal count, while China and Italy vied for the top spot in the establishment lane. Donald Trump gave a major "policy speech," and we realized he reads off a teleprompter with the same cadence we use to order takeout from people who don’t speak English well. And a Republican House staffer will run for president. His campaign will presumably center on his consensus building in his shared Massachusetts Avenue apartment and his able stewardship of the sunroom he converted into a bedroom. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 8th, 2016:

TRUMP DELIVERS 'POLICY' SPEECH - Because it's a policy speech, it means he'll never backtrack on anything he says. Nick Timiraos and Beth Reinhard: "He called for aggressive sanctions against U.S. trading partners, a rollback of environmental regulations and large tax cuts for individuals and businesses... the speech showed areas of overlap with Mrs. Clinton. He promised to unveil a big infrastructure-spending plan, embracing a signature goal of Democrats, as well as a new proposal to help families facing rising child-care costs by allowing households to deduct those expenses from their income taxes. It wasn’t clear how such a tax break might be structured and whether it would be available to tens of millions of families that don’t pay income taxes because they have lower incomes." [WSJ]

Trump said "titties" instead of "cities" at one point during the speech.

Mood music boos:  "Protesters disrupted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s speech at the Detroit Economic Club 14 times on Monday, a startling number, even for Trump.  The speech was billed by Trump’s campaign as a formal economic policy address, and it was not open to the public. Still, there were more than 1,000 attendees. The protesters, however, were all women and part of a group organized by the Michigan People’s Campaign." [HuffPost's Christina Wilkie]

EVERYBODY HATES DONALD - Christina Wilkie: "Dozens of the Republican Party’s most experienced national security officials will not vote for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, they wrote in an open letter released Monday. 'We are convinced that [Trump] would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being,' said the former officials, many of whom held top positions in the George W. Bush administration. 'Most fundamentally, Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President,' they added. 'He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.' Signers include some of the best known intelligence, defense and security experts of the past two decades: Michael V. Hayden, the former director of both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency; Michael Chertoff and Tom Ridge, both of whom served as secretaries of Homeland Security during the Bush administration; Dov Zakheim, a former under secretary of defense; John D. Negroponte, a deputy secretary of state and a former director of national intelligence; Eric Edelman, a top national security adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney; and Robert Zoellick, a former deputy secretary of state, United States trade rep and president of the World Bank." [HuffPost]

THINK TANKS ARE CESSPOOLS OF CORRUPTION - Especially the Brookings Institution. One of those stories you intuitively know already, like how your sink or your toothbrush holder are hotbeds of bacteria. Eric Lipton, Nicholas Confessore and Brooke Williams: "An examination of 75 think tanks found an array of researchers who had simultaneously worked as registered lobbyists, members of corporate boards or outside consultants in litigation and regulatory disputes, with only intermittent disclosure of their dual roles. With their expertise and authority, think tank scholars offer themselves as independent arbiters, playing a vital role in Washington’s political economy. Their imprimatur helps shape government decisions that can be lucrative to corporations. But the examination identified dozens of examples of scholars conducting research at think tanks while corporations were paying them to help shape government policy." [NYT]

DELANEY DOWNER - Donald Trump repeated one of his favorite lies in his economic policy speech today, which was intended to make it seem like Trump has policy positions, which he does not. "One in five American households do not have a single member in the labor force," he said. "These are the real unemployment numbers -- the five percent figure is one of the biggest hoaxes in modern politics." Trump makes no attempt to justify this allegation of a hoax -- one that would require a conspiracy involving thousands of bureaucrats. Here is what you need to know about Trump's policies: he is a birther who says vaccines cause autism.

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THE GREEN PARTY, BOY, I DUNNO - Nice people, decent mission, totally incapable of governance: "[T]he disorganization, borderline paranoia and participation-ribbon mentality ... on display [at this weekend's Green Party convention] left little hope that the Green Party will be little more than an unproductive nuisance through November. Even when one calibrates one’s expectations ― it’s a given that the Green Party convention will more closely resemble a gathering of nursery school music teachers than hardened political operators ― what transpired was dismaying... During one of the first gatherings of party officials Saturday morning, delegates spent nearly an hour on breathing exercises and aimless discussion about their “anti-oppression skills.' Participants came away knowing how to locate the 'deep blue indigo tunnel' at the 'throat center,' but not how to write an effective fundraising email." [HuffPost]

#NEVERTRUMP GETS ITS WRITE-IN CANDIDATE - But will David French diehards drink the kool aid? McKay Coppins: "Evan McMullin, a CIA veteran and chief policy director of the House Republican conference, announced Monday that he’s launching an independent presidential bid…. McMullin’s campaign will have the support of key players in the GOP’s anti-Trump movement, including veteran Republican strategist Rick Wilson, who has been an outspoken Trump critic. Sources said McMullin is also being backed by a group called Better for America, which has been working to gain ballot access for an independent candidate...But sources close to McMullin — a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and alum of Brigham Young University — said he planned to aggressively contest Utah and other Mormon-heavy states. Polls have shown reliably Republican Mormon voters are deeply averse to Trump’s candidacy, and some of the nominee’s most high-profile Republican antagonists are Mormon, like Mitt Romney." [BuzzFeed]

Hispanics love him:  "In another sign that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is damaging his party’s standing with Latinos, the communications director of the Florida Republican Party announced Monday that he’s stepping down because he cannot defend Trump’s racism. 'I’m thankful for my almost two years with the Florida GOP, however, moving on gives me a great, new opportunity to continue promoting free market solutions while avoiding efforts that support Donald Trump,' Wadi Gaitan, a strategist for Latino voter outreach, said in a statement." [HuffPost's Marina Fang]

Our standing abroad, etc: "A local authority in Iraqi Kurdistan wants Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to apologize for his ill-informed remarks about Iraq’s history. The Halabja Governorate made its demand on Monday in a strongly worded letter mailed to Trump Tower, according to the Kurdish outlet NRT TV. The report said the message specifically asks for an apology to the victims of a 1988 chemical weapons attack in Halabja that claimed 5,000 lives and continues to kill Kurds with its residual effects." [HuffPost's Akbar Ahmed]

 

FAR RIGHT QUESTIONING HILLARY'S HEALTH . . . AGAIN - But, but, her fall! Dave Weigel: "the Drudge Report, WorldNetDaily and a small army of would-be Twitter sleuths tried to build the case that the Democratic nominee for president has serious health issues and only they had noticed. Clinton's age and health had been subject to parody by some conservative media, but the new speculation was completely serious. None of the evidence, often shared (or sent to reporters) with the hashtag #HillarysHealth, held up. In every case, a Clinton moment that had been captured by the media was reinterpreted and wrenched out of context. The highest-profile #HillarysHealth discovery came at the American Mirror, an obscure conservative news site with what it packaged as a scoop — 'SHOCK PHOTO' — but had been aggregated from Twitter." [WaPo]

 

ROGER AILES IS A COMIC BOOK VILLAIN - The guy apparently used company funds to have private detectives tail reporters. Gabriel Sherman: "As Rupert Murdoch seeks to stabilize Fox News in the wake of Roger Ailes’s ouster, a crucial question remains unanswered: How was Ailes able to spend millions of dollars to settle sexual-harassment claims without setting off alarm bells?...One former News Corp executive explained that because Fox made more than $1 billion in annual profits, the funds that were used for settlements amounted to little more than 'a roundingerror.' But with Ailes gone, Fox executives are now looking closely at how Ailes spent Fox money. And what they are discovering is that, beyond the sexual-harassment claims, Ailes was also able to use portions of the Fox budget to hire consultants, political operatives, and private detectives who reported only to him, according to a senior Fox source." [NYMag]

AMERICA NOT ACTUALLY A CRIME-RIDDEN WASTELAND - Shocking, we know. Ryan Reilly and Ariel Edwards-Levy: "Most Americans, 61 percent, falsely believe that the level of crime in the United States has increased over the past decade, according to a poll conducted by The Huffington Post and YouGov. Just 15 percent of Americans said they believed ― correctly ― that crime rates in the United States had decreased over the past decade. The statistics indicate that false beliefs about crime rates are shaped not by lived experience or by an analysis of government crime statistics, but by people’s perceptions typically influenced by news coverage and social media in an era in which people may be more aware of individual crimes than they may have been in the past. While just 13 percent of Americans believe crime is a very serious problem in their own community, 53 percent believe crime is a very serious problem in the nation overall." [HuffPost]

The Curt Schilling / Guy Fieri 2024 GOP primary will be something to behold: "Former Major League Baseball player Curt Schilling is apparently ready to bring his racism and homophobia to the White House in eight years.  The outspoken conservative, who was fired from his job as an ESPN analyst in April after going on an anti-transgender rant, laid out his political plans in the comments section of a Facebook post on Sunday. 'I am going to run, soon,' the former All-Star pitcher wrote, '...state office first, white house in 8 years ... or 4 if by some amazing illegal event this country elects another clinton.'" [HuffPost's Marina Fang]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Here's a rhythmic dog.

ICYMI: THE POKEMON LOBBY COMES TO D.C. - Megan Wilson: "The Pokémon Company has hired Washington lobbyists for the first time amid the explosive growth of Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game that has become a global sensation. The disclosure forms do not specifically mention the game, stating only that lobbyists will be talking with congressional offices and monitoring executive branch and Capitol Hill actions on 'technology and intellectual property.' But it’s clear the company has reason to be prepared for controversies about the game, which involves players roaming around, cellphones raised, looking for virtual Pokémon...Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also raised questions about the game, including how it is affecting data usage on mobile phones and whether there are safeguards in place to protect privacy." [The Hill]

DMV REPRESENTING QUITE WELL IN RIO - Washington makes America great. Sarah Stodder: "Washington-area athletes are crushing it in Rio de Janeiro right now, thanks to suburban Maryland’s uncanny knack for producing human sharks, and the surprise victory of a 19-year-old shooter from Virginia. As of the end of Day 2, all three gold medals the United States has won belong to athletes from DC and the surrounding area. Fairfax County’s Ginny Thrasher lived up to her aggressive name on Day 1, claiming the first gold medal awarded at the Olympics in the 10 meter air rifle competition, upsetting a favored two-time gold medalist from China." [Washingtonian]

COMFORT FOOD

- Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart are getting their own show.

- John Oliver's take on journalism

TWITTERAMA

@morninggloria: When Trump reads a prewritten speech it reminds me of a political bar mitzvah. He doesn't understand it but now little Donny is a man.

@SeanMcElwee: "why im voting for clinton," is the "why im leaving new york," for obscure republican bureaucrats@JustinWolfers:

Steve: What about the kids?
Steve: My kids say the estate tax is the problem
Steve: Ban it
Steve: Kids will be rich!
Steve: Moar rich kids

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