Trump's Ties to Organized Crime

I've had my quibbles with Politico but a recent report by Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston should be required reading for every voter. Johnston quotes presidential historian Douglas Brinkley comparing Trump's candidacy to Warren G. Harding. The Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s during the Harding administration resulted in a cabinet official going to prison, and is regarded as a paradigm of government corruption.

Trump's mob associations began shortly after he graduated from Wharton in 1968, when he approached Roy Cohn (of McCarthy Hearing infamy) to be his lawyer. At the time Cohn's clients included noted mob figures "Fat Tony" Salerno, boss of the Genovese crime family, and Paul Castellano, head of the Gambino family. According to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett, Trump reportedly met Salerno at Cohn's townhouse. A federal indictment of Salerno later concluded that Trump paid inflated prices to a firm Salerno and Castellano owned through front corporations, for ready-mix concrete used in building Trump Tower.

Uncle Bernie's Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad Month

To some it may have seemed at first like an April Fool's joke. Bernie Sanders, who traveled from relative obscurity to mount an attention-grabbing challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton based largely on the issue of "breaking up" large financial institutions seemed not to have an actual plan to do so when questioned by the editorial board of the New York Daily News.

Sanders Campaign Bogus Momentum Claims

Despite the Sanders campaign's desperate claims of momentum, as former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe blogged recently, "Hillary Clinton has strengthened her hold on the nomination in the most recent contests. Because for every state that holds a contest, more delegates come off the board, and the percentage of remaining delegates Sanders has to win grows larger."

Clinton Adds More Delegates Despite Sanders Narrow Michigan Win

As the USA Today headline correctly stated, For the Record: Sanders wins headlines, Clinton wins delegates. Pre-vote polling in Michigan had Clinton winning by between 5 and 20 percentage points, so Sanders' win, even though it was by less than 2 percentage points, has to be considered an upset. However, Clinton's massive 66 point win in Mississippi means that overall on March 9 she picked up more delegates than Sanders.

The Sanders Campaign

Although the PredictWise betting aggregator gives him a 16% chance of receiving the Democratic presidential nomination, grumpy grandpa Bernie Sanders ran away with the New Hampshire primary and finished a close second to Clinton in Iowa.

Mainstream media did not choose to pursue the question of whether the Sanders campaign's breach of Clinton data in December played any role in these contests.

Not to be outdone by the data wonks on the campaign, Sanders ground teams apparently got into the act. With the Nevada caucus coming up later this month, in late January Sanders operatives disguised themselves as union members so as to gain access to employee areas in Las Vegas hotels while trying to gather votes. (The union has been very particular about not endorsing Clinton or Sanders.)

Trump the Loser

As the LA Times noted in it's recent article titled Trump's Iowa loss reveals campaign vulnerabilities,

Trump's second-place finish in Iowa exposed an array of weaknesses in his campaign: His flashiness has started to grate on supporters.... He's proved vulnerable to attacks on his ideological purity. And he failed to put together an effective ground operation.... In the end, the celebrity candidate was more susceptible to the normal rules of politics than many expected.

Hillary Maintains Lead By Almost Any Measure

As Eric Boehlert of Media Matters noted recently, as of January 22, Hillary Clinton has led in the last ten polls taken in Iowa. Although some media has focused on polls showing Sanders leading, Clinton leads the average of Iowa polls by more than 7 percentage points.

Polls aside, as of this writing the NY Times Upshot shows Clinton leading in every non-poll measure.

Warnings to Bush Administration About 9/11 More Extensive Than Previously Acknowledged

I usually take stories at, founded by Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Reagan Libraray, Fred Ryan, with a liberal dose of salt. But the November 12 article titled "The Attacks Will Be Spectacular" caught my attention.

The article, a summary and teaser for the Showtime documentary The Spymasters, chronicles the extensive and detailed warnings the Bush administration received from the intelligence community regarding imminent attacks on American soil.

The first warning noted in the article came in spring 2001, when then counterterrorism chief Cofer Black and CIA Director George Tenet presented the Bush administration with a specific proposal to "end the Al Qaeda threat" that included covert and military operations. The administrations response, according to Tenet, was "We don't want the clock to start ticking." The meaning of this seemingly innocuous phrase, according to the article, was that the administration did not want there to be evidence that they had been warned of the pending danger.


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