Why Donald Trump brought up Sidney Blumenthal at the second debate

A consequence of the increased power of campaign consultants was a blurring of the line between campaigning and governing, creating the titular “permanent campaign” dynamic. The decline of industrial-era bosses and rise of poll-driven consultants, Blumenthal argued, mirrored the broader transition in the economy from manufacturing to computing and information technology, “where white-collar workers outnumber blue-collar, computers are the archetypal machines, knowledge is a vital form of capital, much heavy industry is exported to the more dynamic Third World countries, and America becomes the home office of the world.”

.. The basic argument of Rise of the Counter-Establishment is that the conservative movement emulated what it perceived as a loose but effective conspiracy of elite institutions — the Brookings Institution, the Ford Foundation, the New York Times editorial page — and so created a much more cohesive and effective counter-establishment — the American Enterprise Institute, the Olin Foundation, the Wall Street Journal editorial page — to combat it. “They imitated something they had imagined,” Blumenthal wrote, “but what they created was not imaginary.”

.. The book, the conservative writer Tevi Troy notes, “provided a blueprint for what would be called the vast right-wing conspiracy”

.. It laid out who, exactly, the enemy was that a new generation of Democratic politicians had to defeat.

.. Clinton, Blumenthal writes, was part of a group of Democrats interested in “rethinking … the future of liberalism and the Democratic Party”

Blumenthal testified that Hillary had told him that “the President was being attacked, in her view, for political motives, for his ministry of a troubled person.”

.. [President Clinton] said, “Monica Lewinsky came at me and made a sexual demand on me.” He rebuffed her. He said, “I’ve gone down that road before. I’ve caused pain for a lot of people and I’m not going to do that again.” She threatened him. She said that she would tell people they’d had an affair, that she was known as the stalker among her peers, and that she hated it and if she had an affair or said she had an affair then she wouldn’t be the stalker any more.

.. the crux came when Blumenthal was questioned about whether he had been tasked by the White House with spreading rumors about Lewinsky being a “stalker.” He had already told the grand jury that Clinton told him Lewinsky was known as a stalker among her peers and resented the label. The question was whether Blumenthal spread this further in the press.

.. Christopher Hitchens, signed a sworn affidavit saying that Blumenthal had called Lewinsky a stalker repeatedly in a March 19, 1998, lunch with Hitchens and his wife, seemingly contradicting the claim that he’d never called her a stalker in conversations with reporters.
..  a motion from Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), who would vote against Clinton’s conviction, to have the Senate investigate “possible fraud on the Senate by alleged perjury in the deposition testimony of Mr. Sidney Blumenthal.” Nothing came of the matter, and Hitchens eventually promised to withdraw his affidavit if Blumenthal were ever put on trial. The two remained distant for years, but reportedly reestablished contact shortly before Hitchens’s death from cancer in 2011.
.. Blumenthal was also a central figure in recruiting the unlikeliest Clinton loyalist to date: David Brock, the former American Spectator reporter and anti-Clinton muckraker who has since become a liberal stalwart, founding the media watchdog group Media Matters and the Democratic Super PAC American Bridge.
.. learned how Drudge had been prompted by a small group of right-wingers to post the libel about me on his website.” They became friends, and Blumenthal became a counselor to Brock as he broke from the right, a move announced in a 1997 Esquire article titled “Confessions of a Right-Wing Hit Man.”Politico’s Thrush calls Brock’s conversion “Blumenthal’s greatest coup — and the one that cemented his standing as a Clinton loyalist.” Blumenthal
.. Blumenthal had helped flip a key member of the counter-establishment he had chronicled a decade prior. He was putting his analysis of the right into practice, and getting major results.
..  he was caught driving 70 miles an hour, drunk, in a 30 mph zone in Nashua, New Hampshire. The serious charge — “aggravated drunken driving” — was pleaded down after the arresting officer was called up for service in Iraq, rendering a trial impossible.
.. he was involved in spreading some of the most vicious, race-baiting attacks of the primaries.
.. a hoax originated by ex-CIA officer and ardent Hillary supporter Larry Johnson claiming there was a videotape of Michelle Obama railing against “whitey”
.. Blumenthal and Hillary alike were convinced the tape was real.
..  reports surfaced that she was planning to bring him on as a counselor, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, “Hell no. If she hires him, I’m out of here.” Senior adviser David Axelrod added, “Me too.” Emanuel was left to deliver the bad news to Clinton, who accepted the verdict.

Nikki Haley says Trump Mideast peace plan is nearly finished

The Trump administration is nearly finished drafting its Mideast peace proposal and will release it soon, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Thursday.

.. Haley added that U.S. negotiators Jared Kushner and Jason D. Greenblatt are “still going back and forth,”

.. Haley added that U.S. negotiators Jared Kushner and Jason D. Greenblatt are “still going back and forth,”

.. Palestinian leaders have said the Jerusalem decision means the United States can no longer be an honest broker.

.. David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, pressed Haley on whether the United States would propose an independent Palestinian stat

.. “It’s for them to decide,” Haley said

.. Axelrod asked Haley about proposals to cut legal migration “by 40 percent,”

.. She advises Trump directly and is among the most hawkish voices on issues including Iran and Israel, sometimes putting her at odds with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

.. Kissinger, she said, had advised her that negotiations go better when one tries to understand an adversary’s goals and motives. That applies in international affairs and in politics, she told the students.

“You don’t have to agree with them – most times you won’t. But you have to understand where they’re coming from,” Haley said.

“This is a skill that I am afraid is being lost in America today,” along with perspective on political differences, she said.