There is a scene in the film The Producers (1968), where the character Leo Bloom…played marvelously by Gene Wilder, has a “nervous attack” when Broadway Producer Max Bialystock, the one and only Zero Mostel, touches his “blue blanket”…click the link below to see the video of the scene at TCM:
Nervous accountant Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder) and desperate producer Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) discuss financial chicanery and psychological nuances in an early scene from Mel Brooks’The Producers, 1967.
The line in particular I want to point out is this one…
After Leo has his hysterical fit in Max’s office and he calms down, Max says to him soothingly, “Yes, Prince Myshkin.” It’s an oblique insult, since Prince Myshkin is the title character of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.
It was an obscure comment that many would have missed, had they not known who Prince Myshkin was…but if I could use it as an example of the subtle nature of Gene Wilder’s way of portraying his neurotic characters as crazy yes…but with that bit of humanity underneath.
Y’all know what I am talking about right? Maybe it is in the way he stared with those eyes, adding the sadness behind some of Hollywood’s most outrageous and hysterical characters.
There was no mistaking Mr. Wilder, even when it seemed like putting him in certain roles was a mistake. That’s why they put him there. Mopey gunslinger in “Blazing Saddles” or mad scientist in “Young Frankenstein” (both from 1974)? A 1977 parody of Rudolph Valentino’s silent-movie erotics in “The World’s Greatest Lover” (which he wrote and directed)? All miscast, all the funnier for it. All thestranger.
Mr. Wilder’s eyes were famous. They glimmered even when — in, say, “The Producers” (1968), “Blazing Saddles” or “The Woman in Red” (1984) — he looked sad, even in the black and white of “Young Frankenstein.” (Although, acting next to Marty Feldman or Zero Mostel he didn’t seem to have eyes at all.) But when he spoofed Valentino, he telegraphed the gag by enhancing the diameter of his eyes so that he looked more lunatic than lusty. And his Willy Wonka spent that chocolate factory tour quietly on the verge of a nervous breakdown. For one thing, he never seemed to blink.
Mr. Wilder also had amazing diction. It was as crisp as a potato chip, as precise as some professors and as neat as the curls in his hair were a mess. It all came together when his characters fell apart. His performance in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971) was a master class of gradually shattering aplomb. Toward the end of the movie, when Wonka’s obsessive-compulsiveness overtakes him and he erupts at Charlie and his grandpa, who’ve inquired about why Charlie doesn’t win a lifetime of candy after all, Mr. Wilder’s rage struck a very young me the way “The Rite of Spring” shocked those Parisian ballet-goers in 1913. What kind of monster does this to people?
Some of that shock came from Mr. Wilder’s punching every word in Wonka’s tirade. “Wrong, sir! Wrong!” he shouts, and continues, “You stole Fizzy-Lifting Drinks! You bumped into the ceiling, which now has to be washed and sterilized, so you get … nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!”
Then, just like that, he changes his mind. Mr. Hyde goes back to being Dr. Jekyll. And Charlie wins. Mr. Wilder made the character as unstable as he could make the protagonist of a supposed kiddie movie. But that was him in a nutshell: funny at both extremes. In “Young Frankenstein,” Mr. Wilder lies atop the monster his character has created, peeved that the creature beneath him has been aroused, not subdued as he requested. “Sedagive?” he barks, referring both to an earlier joke about a sedative and the current situation, and turning each syllable into a note of aggravated disbelief.
There are many great comic movie actors, and all of them have that thing called timing, but while many of them make it look easy, few of them make it look as natural as Wilder did. True, his characters were often outsized and manic, but they were grounded maniacs — you always knew each of them had a very good reason for his fits. When Leo Bloom in The Producers does that weird gibberish over the loss of his blue blanky — “ungh nuhngnuhngnuhng, ungh nuhngnuhngnuhng” — it’s not just crazy nutso shtick; you really feel the loss of that blue blanky and want him to get it back. (How awful Max Bialystock would have seemed if he didn’t give it back!) I love Jack Lemmon, but great as he is I think he wouldn’t have elicited the same feeling in that role; Lemmon, when manic, was clearly operating somewhere above the normal spectrum of human behavior (“Security!“). Wilder, on the other hand, made even his most outre behavior look perfectly normal. He was perfect for the post-psychedelic era; he made you comfortable with psychological wreckage.
Yet he could also surprise you with the unexpectedness of his readings. I’m not just talking about oddities like “Stop, don’t, come back,” but his offbeat way of realizing classic comic builds. Look at the “do not open that door” scene, rendered below: the payoff would probably be funny no matter what, but the absurdly inappropriate mildness of “let me out, let me out of here, get me the hell out of here” just kills me every time. He constantly gave you something fresh, yet after the initial shock it usually made perfect sense. For a performer, that’s not too bad a definition of genius.
The sad news that Gene Wilder passed a few days ago from complications from Alzheimer disease was very upsetting to me, his films and performances have peppered happy moments of my life.
Wilder’s work with Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Woody Allen and more made him one of the comedy titans of his generation.
Gene Wilder was the Mad Hatter of American screen comedy. He could make you laugh without even moving, his beatific half-smile always shading into a sinister smirk, his soft-spoken manner a flimsy mask for the whirling maelstrom of mischief beneath. With his radiant blue eyes, explosion of frizzy hair and otherworldly demeanor, Wilder was an unsettling clown and an unlikely leading man. But his offbeat energy helped create some of the greatest screen comedies, and biggest box-office hits, of his generation.
Born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee in 1933 to a Russian-Jewish immigrant father and a sickly mother who sometimes mistreated him, the young Wilder was bullied for being Jewish by other kids. As a young man, he did two years of military service in the psychiatry department of a U.S. army hospital, later spending many years in analysis working on his deep-seated feelings of guilt, shame and sexual repression. For a Jewish-American comedian, of course, there is no finer apprenticeship; Wilder certainly always laced his finest comic performances with an undercurrent of anguish. Tellingly, he cited Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights as a key inspiration because “it was funny, then sad, then both at the same time.”
Initially making his mark on Broadway, Wilder first registered on Hollywood’s radar with his small but scene-stealing appearance in Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde (1967), all nervy intensity and deadpan mirth. His big break came a year later when Mel Brooks cast him in The Producers (1968) as Leo Bloom, the seethingly neurotic accountant recruited by Irenas bookkeeping services employed by Zero Mostel’s crooked Broadway operator Max Bialystock for a money-making scam reliant on the surefire failure of a tasteless stage musical about Hitler. Where Mostel is a wrecking ball of crazed energy on screen, Wilder balances him with Zen-like minimalism, despite the mounting panic in his eyes. The film earned him his first Academy Award nomination and cemented his star status.
Wilder’s fruitful creative partnership with Brooks led to two further collaborations. In the bawdy western spoof Blazing Saddles (1972), he provides the zany plot’s calm emotional center as The Waco Kid, a legendary gunslinger with a surprisingly philosophical manner: “I must have killed more men than Cecil B. DeMille,” he sighs ruefully. Two years later, in the affectionate monochrome vintage-horror pastiche Young Frankenstein (1974), Wilder stars as a hapless descendant of cinema’s most infamous mad scientist, wittily blending vaudevillian shtick with stylized Expressionist mannerisms. It was conceived by Wilder, and Young Frankenstein earned him a second Oscar nod, this time as co-writer with Brooks.
Wilder and Brooks brought out the best in each other, and each of their filmographies would be unthinkable without the other. But the eccentric star’s most memorable screen incarnation was in a non-Brooks project as the eponymous confectionery tycoon in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971). Director Mel Stuart’s musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s deliciously nasty children’s book was a box-office flop, but it is now firmly established as a beloved cult classic.
Wilder’s multilayered performance as Wonka — by turns menacing and playful, stern and tender, creepy and compassionate — is a master class in darkly surreal humor that set a new bar for generations of Batman and James Bond villains. Even today, it continues to resonate through remakes, musical tributes and an ever-evolving social-media meme featuring Wilder grinning manically in full mad-hatter mode.
The obituary continues, talking about his roles with Richard Pryor, and his wife Gilda Radner…
After undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the turn of the millennium, Wilder mostly stayed away from acting in his autumn years. With his fourth wife, Karen Boyer, he preferred to busy himself with charity work, painting and writing comic novels. More recently, as he succumbed to the Alzheimer’s that would eventually hasten his death, he preferred to keep his illness hidden from the public. This was because, as his nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman explains, “he simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.”
As the news of his death spreads, everyone will think of his or her favorite insane-slow-burn Gene Wilder moment. The late Pauline Kael mentioned a quintessential one, the bit in Start the Revolution Without Me (1970) in which Wilder (as a haughty aristocrat) is informed that the noble bird on his shoulder is, in fact, dead. Wilder fixes the upstart with his laser-blue stare and says, with that eerie calm-that’s-being-slowly-strangled-to-death-by-escalating rage, “Repeat that.”
My own favorite is in Young Frankenstein (1974), which Wilder conceived and co-wrote with Mel Brooks. Here, with elaborate patience, Wilder’s Dr. Frankenstein poses the question to Marty Feldman’s Igor: What brain did the hunchback steal for the inexplicably brutal creature? “You won’t be mad?” asks Igor. “I. Will. Not. Be Mad.” By the time we hear, “Abby someone,” and the gentle but quivering, “Abby — who?” we are ready — eager — for the murderous explosion to come. No one built as exquisitely as Wilder from the genial, the gentle, the hopeful, to violent, no-holds-barred hysteria. At those moments, Wilder was unique — a genius.
From whence did this persona come? Born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee in 1933, Wilder spent much of his childhood as the object of anti-Semitic bullying, which was likely how he learned to keep his feelings under wraps while nursing an imagination of disaster. Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio compelled (coerced, bullied) him to tap into his dark side, but — unlike many Studio grads — Wilder used that newfound ability carefully, almost warily. In repose, he could be mistaken for a mild, Stan Laurel sidekick — and he was just that, in outline, opposite Zero Mostel’s Oliver Hardy in Brooks’s The Producers (1968). But there was always something seething underneath. As Willy Wonka in the clunky but fondly remembered Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Wilder made Roald Dahl’s sadism more family-friendly. But he still suggested — in the immortal phrase of “J.J. Hunsecker” — “a cookie full of arsenic.”
With his sympathy for the freaky outcast (nurtured by psychoanalysis), Wilder created Young Frankenstein, the rare parody that was also an act of celebration — of both the work being parodied and the originalFrankenstein myth. It was the apex of Wilder’s and Brooks’s series of collaborations, a succession of highs with almost no lows. When the two parted ways, both lost something. Wilder had a sentimental streak and a longing to be a “straight” romantic lead that led to vehicles like the weirdly flat The World’s Greatest Lover and the dire The Woman in Red. (Poor directing did in his attempt to do a Brooks-like parody with Feldman inThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’s Smarter Brother.) Brooks, who liked to cut the foreplay and jump right to hysteria, needed Wilder’s discipline and the grounding in psychological reality that came from Wilder’s Method training.
Wilder’s financial windfall came from his screen partnership with Richard Pryor, beginning with the blockbuster Silver Streak (1976), in which he was a passable romantic lead and, for a few moments, had something wonderfully jazzy going with Pryor. As a stereotypical ungainly white man, Wilder was a great foil for his edgy, African-American co-star. But in subsequent vehicles, Pryor lost that edge, and cocaine abuse addled his timing. And then there was Gilda Radner, Wilder’s third wife and the second woman in his life (the other was his mother) to die of ovarian cancer at a tragically young age. It was a love story offscreen, but onscreen with Radner he was perhaps too gentle. The madness had receded.
Rather than fight a business he no longer enjoyed, Wilder left the field — another tragedy, since he might have shifted into character parts the way other clowns with acting chops (Robin Williams, Albert Brooks) did. But he never abased himself, never betrayed his gifts, never sold his profession short. From his home in Connecticut, where he lived with his fourth wife, he wrote an upbeat memoir and several novels before Alzheimer’s took him.
His death will have the effect of sending us back to his work. You can savor his brief turn in Bonnie and Clyde, in which his high-strung conviviality exists astride a grave, and he freaks out Faye Dunaway’s Bonnie Parker. His scenes with Mostel in The Producers are classics, although the two didn’t rekindle the magic in the little-remembered American Film Theater production of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. (It’s still worth a look to see Mostel transform into a rhinoceros in one of the roles that made him, onstage, a legend.) Blazing Saddles looms large, although as good as Cleavon Little is, the movie would have taken off into the stratosphere if Brooks had succeeded in casting Pryor in his prime. (The studio was too frightened of Pryor back then.)
Above all, re-watch Young Frankenstein, and learn. Watch Wilder be convulsively funny while serving as the straight man. Watch him lovingly yield the spotlight to the boisterous Feldman, the soulful Peter Boyle, the exquisitely tremulous Teri Garr, and the incomparably insouciant Madeline Kahn, among many others. With its emphasis on self-plumbing, the Method could produce actors too much in their own heads, but Wilder could go deep into himself and still be the greatest audience imaginable for his fellow clowns. That’s what lingers today. To be able to court madness in oneself while giving others a safe space to let their own creative spirits rip — that’s akin in comedy to saintliness.
There are many links I have for you that you may like to read about Gene Wilder:
Hullabaloo – Surely, he’s joking: R.I.P. Gene Wilder By Dennis Hartley
I guess I must have been in shock.
When I received a text from Digby asking if I’d heard about Gene Wilder, I steeled myself and immediately queried Mr. Google. There it was. But I refused to believe it. This just couldn’t be. That’s when I began a one-sided argument with my, erm…laptop:
“Wait a minute. Gene Wilder is no longer with us? Are you saying, he is no longer with us? Is that what you’re telling me, that Gene Wilder…is no longer here? No longer here. He was here, but now, he is not? IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO TELL ME?!”
Sorry, but people that talented, that funny, are simply not allowed to just up and leave us.
No, they do not just up and leave us, Wilder has left us a treasure trove of film to remember him…Where You Can Watch Gene Wilder Movies on Demand — Vulture
While discussing the sad news of Gene Wilder’s passing today it became abundantly clear that everyone has their own treasured connection to the legendary comedic actor, so we asked some of our writers to share what it is about Wilder’s roles that stood out for them.
Leachman remembers how he kept cracking up during one scene in the iconic film in which she played Frau Blücher. Wilder said Young Frankenstein was his favorite film, and you can see from the blooper reel below how much fun they all had on set. Brooks has said in the past that Blücher translates to a horse going to a factory and being turned to glue, hence the horses neighing loudly every time her character’s name was mentioned.
“I remember when we were shooting Young Frankenstein there was a scene where I had to get the group up the stairs immediately. I had to say, ‘Shtay close to zee candles’ and turn toward him. As I turned around I could see his face was in two pieces. We had to do our scene 14 times over because he’d be laughing so hard. Alas, alas. So dear Gene, I vill say, ‘Goodnight.’”
Comedy legend Mel Brooks paid tribute to the late Gene Wilder Tuesday on The Tonight Show. “He was sick, and I knew it,” Brooks said. “And he was such a dear friend. I expected that he would go, but when it happens, it’s still tremendous. It’s a big shock. I’m still reeling from … no more Gene. I can’t call him. He was such a wonderful part of my life.”
“I met him when my late wife Anne Bancroft was doingMother Courage, a Bertolt Brecht play, and Gene was in it,” he said. “He was the chaplain. He came backstage, and I got to know him a little bit. The chaplain is a great part – it’s sad and funny. It’s touching, and it can be amusing. So he said, ‘Why are they always laughing at me?’ I said, ‘Look in the mirror – blame it on God.’
“We became very good friends, and I told him about Leo Bloom in the thing I was writing called The Producers,” he continued. “And I said, ‘Look, I’m promising you: When we get the money, you are gonna be Leo Bloom.’ He said, ‘Oh yeah, when you get the money. You’re doing a play about two Jews who are producing a flop instead of a hit, knowing they can make more money with a flop. And the big number in it is ‘Springtime for Hitler.’ Yeah, you’re gonna get the money!”
Brooks said, after securing the funding, he surprised Wilder backstage after another play and told the emotional actor the news. “He was taking off his make-up in his dressing room,” he said. “I took the script, and I said, ‘Gene, we got the money. We’re gonna make the movie. You are Leo Bloom.’ And I threw it on his make-up table. And he burst into tears and held his face and cried. And then I hugged him. It was a wonderful moment.”
Be sure to click on those photo galleries…
This is an open thread.
Last night Lawrence O’Donnell had a psychologist named Bill Doherty as a guest on his program “The Last Word” to talk about Donald Trump. Here’s an excerpt from Doherty’s bio at Psychology Today:
William J. Doherty, Ph.D., is Professor of Family Social Science and Director of the Citizen Professional Center at the University of Minnesota. He is also a practicing marriage and family therapist and co-founder of The Doherty Relationship Institute, LLC, a new venture designed to help engaged couples through couples on the brink. See DohertyRelationshipinstitute.com
Bill is a past-President of the National Council on Family Relations, the oldest interdisciplinary family studies organization in North America. He has received the Significant Contribution to the Field of Marriage and Family Therapy Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
You can read his cv at the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development. Doherty has established a website, “Citizen Therapists Against Trumpism” where he posted a manifesto that has so far been signed by 2,400 mental health professionals. From the manifesto:
As psychotherapists practicing in the United States, we are alarmed by the rise of the ideology of Trumpism, which we see as a threat to the well-being of the people we care for and to American democracy itself. We cannot remain silent as we witness the rise of an American form of fascism. We can leverage this time of crisis to deepen our commitment to American democracy.
What is Trumpism?
Trumpism is an ideology, not an individual, and it may well endure and grow after the Presidential election even if Donald Trump is defeated. (Variants can be seen all over Europe.) Trumpism is a set of ideas about public life and a set of public practices characterized by:
- Scapegoating and banishing groups of people who are seen as threats, including immigrants and religious minorities.
- Degrading, ridiculing, and demeaning rivals and critics.
- Fostering a cult of the Strong Man who:
- Appeals to fear and anger
- Promises to solve our problems if we just trust in him
- Reinvents history and has little concern for truth
- Never apologizes or admits mistakes of consequence
- Sees no need for rational persuasion
- Subordinates women while claiming to idealize them
- Disdains public institutions like the courts when they are not subservient
- Champions national power over international law and respect for other nations
- Incites and excuses public violence by supporters
At the political level, Trumpism is an emerging form of American fascism, a point being made by social critics across the political spectrum, including Robert Reich, Robert Kagan, and Andrew Sullivan. As journalist Adam Gopnik points out, whether or not the term “fascism” fully fits, it’s clear that the American republic faces a clear and present danger when the candidate of a major political party embraces an anti-democratic ideology. At the cultural level, the Urban Dictionary has defined Trumpism as “the belief system that encourages pretentious, narcissistic behavior as a way to achieve money, fame, and power.”
Go to the link to read about the effects of Trumpism and the reasons why therapists are so concerned. One thing that Doherty said last night really struck me. He said that therapists around the country are seeing clients who are very stressed and anxious about Trump’s campaign.
I’ve been writing for some time that I go through a struggle with myself every time I write a post because it’s so difficult for me emotionally to deal with the Trump phenomenon. I always knew that the attacks on Hillary would be vicious and that we’d have to deal with ugly and escalating sexism and misogyny; but I wasn’t prepared for the Trumpism to be piled on top of the Hillary hate. I guess I’m suffering from Trump stress.
Months ago there were a few articles about this topic. The Washington Post in March: Psychologists and massage therapists are reporting ‘Trump anxiety’ among clients.
To the catalogue of anxieties her patients explore during therapy — marriage, children and careers — psychologist Alison Howard is now listening to a new source of stress: the political rise of Donald Trump….
“He has stirred people up,” Howard said. “We’ve been told our whole lives not to say bad things about people, to not be bullies, to not ostracize people based on their skin color. We have these social mores, and he breaks all of them and he’s successful. And people are wondering how he gets away with it.”
Hand-wringing over Trump’s rapid climb, once confined to Washington’s political establishment, is now palpable among everyday Americans who are growing ever more anxious over the prospect of the billionaire reaching the White House.
With each Trump victory in the GOP primaries and caucuses, Democrats and Republicans alike are sharing their alarm with friends over dinner, with strangers over social media and, in some cases, with their therapists. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that 69 percent of Americans said the idea of “President Trump” made them anxious….
Type “Trump” and phrases such as “scaring me” or “freaking me out” into Twitter’s search engine, and a litany of tweets unfurl, including one posted two weeks ago by Emma Taylor as she lay in bed in Los Angeles: “I literally can’t sleep because I just thought about how Trump may actually win the Presidency and now I’m having a panic attack.”
“It’s like a hurricane is coming at us, and I don’t have any way of knowing which way to go or how to combat it,” Taylor, 27, a Democrat, said in a phone interview. “He’s extremely reactionary, and that’s what scares me the most. I feel totally powerless, and it’s horrible.”
Read much more at the link.
The Guardian, also from March: How to cope with anxiety caused by Donald Trump: experts lend advice. I’ll let you read the suggestions for yourself. I didn’t find them all that helpful, because I don’t think the article takes seriously the nature of the Trump threat to our country.
A couple of days ago, JJ posted a link to a piece by linguist George Lakoff: Understanding Trump’s Use of Language. Lakeoff suggests that you first read his earlier article, Understanding Trump. Lakoff has long studied the differences between conservatives and liberals as a function of their uses of language.
In the 1900’s, as part of my research in the cognitive and brain sciences, I undertook to answer a question in my field: How do the various policy positions of conservatives and progressives hang together? Take conservatism: What does being against abortion have to do with being for owning guns? What does owning guns have to do with denying the reality of global warming? How does being anti-government fit with wanting a stronger military? How can you be pro-life and for the death penalty? Progressives have the opposite views. How do their views hang together?
The answer came from a realization that we tend to understand the nation metaphorically in family terms: We have founding fathers. We send our sons and daughters to war. We have homeland security. The conservative and progressive worldviews dividing our country can most readily be understood in terms of moral worldviews that are encapsulated in two very different common forms of family life: The Nurturant Parent family (progressive) and the Strict Father family (conservative).
What do social issues and the politics have to do with the family? We are first governed in our families, and so we grow up understanding governing institutions in terms of the governing systems of families.
In the strict father family, father knows best. He knows right from wrong and has the ultimate authority to make sure his children and his spouse do what he says, which is taken to be what is right. Many conservative spouses accept this worldview, uphold the father’s authority, and are strict in those realms of family life that they are in charge of. When his children disobey, it is his moral duty to punish them painfully enough so that, to avoid punishment, they will obey him (do what is right) and not just do what feels good. Through physical discipline they are supposed to become disciplined, internally strong, and able to prosper in the external world. What if they don’t prosper? That means they are not disciplined, and therefore cannot be moral, and so deserve their poverty. This reasoning shows up in conservative politics in which the poor are seen as lazy and undeserving, and the rich as deserving their wealth. Responsibility is thus taken to be personal responsibility not social responsibility. What you become is only up to you; society has nothing to do with it. You are responsible for yourself, not for others — who are responsible for themselves.
Of course Republicans are believers in the “strict father family,” and Trumpism is an extreme example of that world view.
The strict father logic extends further. The basic idea is that authority is justified by morality (the strict father version), and that, in a well-ordered world, there should be (and traditionally has been) a moral hierarchy in which those who have traditionally dominated should dominate. The hierarchy is: God above Man, Man above Nature, The Disciplined (Strong) above the Undisciplined (Weak), The Rich above the Poor, Employers above Employees, Adults above Children, Western culture above other cultures, America above other countries. The hierarchy extends to: Men above women, Whites above Nonwhites, Christians above nonChristians, Straights above Gays.
We see these tendencies in most of the Republican presidential candidates, as well as in Trump, and on the whole, conservative policies flow from the strict father worldview and this hierarchy
Family-based moral worldviews run deep. Since people want to see themselves as doing right not wrong, moral worldviews tend to be part of self-definition — who you most deeply are. And thus your moral worldview defines for you what the world should be like. When it isn’t that way, one can become frustrated and angry.
I hope you’ll go read the entire piece as well as the follow-up article on Trump and language.
Right now it looks like Trump will not win the presidency, but he has already done immense damage to our foreign policy, out national security, and to political discourse. If Trump loses, he isn’t going to go away. He’ll still get plenty of attention from the press and his comments on a Clinton administration will get heavy play. I find this very frightening.
Trump’s “strict father” attitudes have certainly triggered deep feelings from my own childhood in an authoritarian family with an angry and violent father. I would guess the effect is quite widespread. Combined with the media’s irrational hatred of Hillary Clinton and their lies about her, we are becoming a traumatized nation. You can even see this in Republicans. I don’t know what the answer is, but this is something that is really happening.
The Peter Max paintings and posters are there to cheer me up. I hope they work for you too.
What stories are you following today?
Eleven years ago, Honey, Karma, Miles and I were sharing a small pink futon on the floor of a Lake Charles motel between the beds of a Chinese and Japanese Graduate student from UNO. I had told all of our foreign grad students in our doctorate program to get hotel rooms and get the heck out of Dodge about 5 days before. I was going to stick it out but didn’t and wound up be very thankful to join them. There’s was nothing to do but to watch CNN and hook up the internet.
It was a day that changed many lives including mine. Honey and Karma, my French Quarter Dogs, have since crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Miles and I are a little worse for the wear and frankly, so is the Kat House. My insurance company never really did pony up enough money to cover the damages and I never took the Road Home Funds because I had–and still have–survivor guilt. My house didn’t flood. But, one of the residuals is that I have a $10,000 deductible for named storms and live in constant fear of anything with a name on it now. Then, of course, we’re still reeling from the post-hurricane damage of 8 years of Bobby Jindal and the continued encroachment on the wetlands by oil companies and housing developers. The last set of floods is just the most recent display of what happens when you really don’t take care of your Mother Earth.
At least this year, I don’t have to hear the word resilient.
Here’s some linky goodness and badness from me, the dakini of the swamps. I’m in wrathful form today so enjoy some pictures of Naginis.
Here’s a wonderful and ominous post recommended by General Russell Honore about the issues with our Louisiana Wetlands. I hope you can take some time to read it all.
We need a massive reforestation of Louisiana. Mature, native, water-loving trees like Live Oaks and Bald Cypress drink up to 1,000 gallons of water per day and should be as common and beloved a site in our urban and rural landscapes as Saints bumper stickers. One huge impetus behind founding SOUL is the very large goal of replanting New Orleans, the most deforested city in the U.S.! But rural Louisiana suffers from deforestation as well, largely due to short-sighted development of subdivisions and commercial areas that raze the forest and level the land before construction. Trees are essential to our resilience as they absorb stormwater into their root systems and transpire it back into the air. A mature tree produces enough oxygen for ten people, and can lower our air temperatures by up to two degrees. The benefits of trees are endless, and our futures rely on them.
It’s time to respect the gravity of gravity. It there’s one thing we can always count on, it’s that water will always travel downhill. Thus, it is vital that water has an unobstructed path to its nearest floodplain or basin. Rural Louisiana has many flood plains and small water bodies like creeks that are bisected by roads. During heavy rains these spots turn into dams and cause massive flooding as water seeks a lower point of gravity.
New construction should be raised to a level accommodating a 2,000-year storm.Considering how quickly our disasters are growing in intensity and frequency, it only makes sense that we should build new homes and businesses according to future storm levels. We’re recovering from a 1,000-year flood, so let’s rebuild to a 2,000-year disaster this time. Many of the structures that were damaged were built at grade on slab. Cities must stop allowing development that ignores our hydrology and natural history, for the sake of developers maximizing their profits.
We need to integrate “green infrastructure” into every aspect of our lives. If you’re not already familiar with this term, it refers to infrastructure that mimics natural systems and harnesses stormwater at its source. Essentially its goal is to get water back into the ground and into the water table.
There’s a developing tropical storm that’s due to enter the Gulf. It’s supposed to turn back on Florida at this point. However, you never know and we would be on the wet side if it gets too close for comfort. People south of us already have a lot on their plate and any kind of drenching of the area would be really bad. Thankfully, the winds aloft are not particularly friendly atm. I just hope it doesn’t get a name if it pours on the Kat House and that it misses the folks in the flooded area completely.
So, onward with today’s theme of snaky people.
A white male radical christianist was plotting a ” mass shooting to protect 2nd Amendment from ‘f*ggots’.” This guy sounds like a good Trump supporter, doesn’t he?
Bryce Cuellar, 24, was arrested by Las Vegas police after they were notified by Interpol in July about Cuellar’s video. In the video, Cuellar stated that he is tired of the government trying to take away his First and Second Amendment rights and planned to go on a killing spree.
Calling himself a “Christian warrior,” Cuellar bragged that he would use his weapons as the Founding Fathers intended, killing,” gays, faggots, lesbians and satanists.”
According to Las Vegas police, Cuellar reportedly beat his wife hours after posting the video on YouTube, where he displayed his weapons while wearing a Kevlar vest and sporting night-vision goggles.
A review of Cuellar’s YouTube page reveal a collection of conspiracy-minded videos including ones that question what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, support for the Bundy family’s war on the government, the threat of the Illuminati and proof that angels and demons are real. Investigators say the timeline of his videos suggest that he has sunk deeper in the world of conspiracy mongering over the past three years.
This is pretty scary. Foreign hackers have gotten into the state election databases according to the FBI.
The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems, according to federal and state law enforcement officials.
The FBI warning, contained in a “flash” alert from the FBI’s Cyber Division, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, comes amid heightened concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about the possibility of cyberintrusions, potentially by Russian state-sponsored hackers, aimed at disrupting the November elections.
Those concerns prompted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to convene a conference call with state election officials on Aug. 15, in which he offered his department’s help to make state voting systems more secure, including providing federal cyber security experts to scan for vulnerabilities, according to a “readout” of the call released by the department.
Johnson emphasized in the call that Homeland Security was not aware of “specific or credible cybersecurity threats” to the election, officials said. But three days after that call, the FBI Cyber Division issued a potentially more disturbing warning, entitled “Targeting Activity Against State Board of Election Systems.” The alert, labeled as restricted for “NEED TO KNOW recipients,” disclosed that the bureau was investigating cyberintrusions against two state election websites this summer, including one that resulted in the “exfiltration,” or theft, of voter registration data. “It was an eye opener,” one senior law enforcement official said of the bureau’s discovery of the intrusions. “We believe it’s kind of serious, and we’re investigating.”
The bulletin does not identify the states in question, but sources familiar with the document say it refers to the targeting by suspected foreign hackers of voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois. In the Illinois case, officials were forced to shut down the state’s voter registration system for ten days in late July, after the hackers managed to download personal data on up to 200,000 state voters, Ken Menzel, the general counsel of the Illinois Board of Elections, said in an interview. The Arizona attack was more limited, involving malicious software that was introduced into its voter registration system but no successful exfiltration of data, a state official said.
A huge amount of hoopla has surrounded the 49ers Quarterback who has refused to stand for the pre-game playing of our national anthem. My 10 year old self would actually have a crush on this guy. I refused to say the pledge in classroom at that ripe old age, was nearly kicked out of Girl Scouts and was asked why by the Principal who couldn’t understand why mass symbolic recitations of anti-communist loyalty shows would disturb me. I basically said it was pretty meaningless and why didn’t we just read the preamble to the Constitution instead. Actually, the District wound up taking this activity out of the daily classroom and never said another word to me. I think it was because the Constitution was behind me and the District Lawyer figured it out. I never heard back why but was relieved to not have to go through a rote, meaningless exercise every day to prove I wasn’t a communist. I am not nor have I ever been a communist or a member of the communist party. Now, can I quit the loyalty oath shit?
But, Colin Kaepernick has stated his reason as a protest of national oppression of racial minorities. The NFL is actually giving him quiet consent. I say more power to him.
San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Sunday defended his decision not to stand for the national anthem at a game two days earlier, saying he is protesting on behalf of people oppressed because of their race.
“This country stands for freedom, liberty, justice for all — and it’s not happening for all right now,” Kaepernick said.
Kaepernick did not stand as the national anthem played before a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. The move sparked criticism, and some fans posted videos of themselves burning Kaepernick jerseys and other apparel.
Actually, if you read the real history of this anthem and the racist who wrote it and an abhorrent additional verse that is totally racist, you’d be asking them to switch our anthem to something like America the Beautiful where I could substitute something creative for the current head nod to the angry sky fairy.
The story, as most of us are told, is that Francis Scott Key was a prisoner on a British ship during the War of 1812 and wrote this poem while watching the American troops battle back the invading British in Baltimore. That—as is the case with 99 percent of history that is taught in public schools and regurgitated by the mainstream press—is less than half the story.
To understand the full “Star-Spangled Banner” story, you have to understand the author. Key was an aristocrat and city prosecutor in Washington, D.C. He was, like most enlightened men at the time, not against slavery; he just thought that since blacks were mentally inferior, masters should treat them with more Christian kindness. He supported sending free blacks (not slaves) back to Africa and, with a few exceptions, was about as pro-slavery, anti-black and anti-abolitionist as you could get at the time.
Of particular note was Key’s opposition to the idea of the Colonial Marines. The Marines were a battalion of runaway slaves who joined with the British Royal Army in exchange for their freedom. The Marines were not only a terrifying example of what slaves would do if given the chance, but also a repudiation of the white superiority that men like Key were so invested in.
All of these ideas and concepts came together around Aug. 24, 1815, at the Battle of Bladensburg, where Key, who was serving as a lieutenant at the time, ran into a battalion of Colonial Marines. His troops were taken to the woodshed by the very black folks he disdained, and he fled back to his home in Georgetown to lick his wounds. The British troops, emboldened by their victory in Bladensburg, then marched into Washington, D.C., burning the Library of Congress, the Capitol Building and the White House. You can imagine that Key was very much in his feelings seeing black soldiers trampling on the city he so desperately loved.
A few weeks later, in September of 1815, far from being a captive, Key was on a British boat begging for the release of one of his friends, a doctor named William Beanes. Key was on the boat waiting to see if the British would release his friend when he observed the bloody battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Sept. 13, 1815. America lost the battle but managed to inflict heavy casualties on the British in the process. This inspired Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” right then and there, but no one remembers that he wrote a full third stanza decrying the former slaves who were now working for the British army:
Read the comments there to fully embrace the number of white folks that want the revisionist version of history and their comments. It’s pretty revealing of a few nasty natures. Speaking of which, RUN HUMA RUN. Anthony Weiner has done it again. Huma actually has decided to separate from the man now so evidently, he’s worked her last nerve.
Just two weeks ago, when he was asked if his sexting days were behind him, he seemed to deflect. And now we know why: On Sunday night, the New York Post reported that Weiner had recently been sexting with a woman who is not his wife. Making the story even more cringe-worthy, the New York Post reports that Weiner sent a suggestive photo of himself while his toddler son was in the bed next to him.
Weiner didn’t deny any of this. He told the New York Post that he and the woman “have been friends for some time.”
“She has asked me not to comment except to say that our conversations were private, often included pictures of her nieces and nephews and my son and were always appropriate,” he said. By Monday morning, Weiner had deleted his Twitter account. By Monday afternoon, his wife, Huma Abedin, announced the two were separating.
At least he’s not shooting up malls of innocents but wow, the dude has major issues. He had so much going for him. What accounts for such self-destructive behavior?
Is it just me or is the entire national discourse today turning into some display of things that require medication and the help of a a good psychiatrist/psychologist? One more story about the nation’s top pathological liar and I’m going to make more coffee and listen to some nice music. Trump has turned into a whirling dervish on the immigration issue.
The real reason Trump is now shifting away from mass deportations is almost too obvious to restate: It is probably alienating the college educated whites and white women — swing constituencies — that he simply must improve among if he is to have a chance at winning. And so, Trump is now downplaying this goal, by saying that his priority is to remove “criminal” illegal immigrants. The game here is to sound more reasonable to swing voters who are horrified by mass deportations and generally support mass assimilation, by projecting a recognition that not all of them are full blown criminals. He compassionately understands that many of them are “good ones,” believe me! But in so doing, Trump is still preserving his underlying stance that all the 11 million generally remain targets for removal. He eventold CNN that there’s a “very good chance” that all the rest would be deported later. This isn’t as crazy as vowing proactive, immediate mass deportations. But it still is not an actual solution. At best, it is tantamount to leaving them all in the shadows for an indefinite period, or a reversion to Mitt Romney’s absurd “self deportation” stance. In reality it probably means they’ll all have to go.
And this leads to the ultimate point: Donald Trump’s deportation problem is the GOP’s deportation problem. Many Republican lawmakers — including GOP leaders — generally support the goal of legalization. They recognize that the most realistic solution for the 11 million — the one that would best serve the national interest — is some kind of path to assimilation, combined with penalties and increased border security. They also recognize that long term demographic and political realities compel this stance.
But the party has refrained from embracing that solution, because the base won’t allow it. For years, that forced many Republicans to continue saying the 11 million should be subject to removal, but when pressed, they tended to fudge on whether this means they all should be deported right way, since that’s politically and substantively untenable. Instead they took refuge in the platitude that we should merely “enforce the law,” without saying exactly what that should mean. What it really means is, leave most of them in the shadows indefinitely.
Trump is now being forced to sever himself from his explicit mass deportations pledge. And this is forcing him to adopt the GOP’s platitudinous “enforce the law” position. We’ve come full circle: On deportations, the GOP nominee is now pretty much where most Republicans have publicly been. Thus, in his speech, he will probably revert to a vow to target criminals first while more generally promising to “enforce the law” to deal with the rest. But Trump — as the GOP nominee and as someone whose entire campaign is built on the idea that illegal immigrants are nothing more than criminal invaders — is facing a much higher level of media scrutiny on this issue than GOP lawmakers have to date, rendering that long-held GOP position untenable for him in a way it wasn’t for other Republicans.
Serpent Cults have been a part of human history for some time. Many religious myths embrace the serpent concept as symbolic of a number of things. As I look at the many stories I’ve gathered today, I can only think of our folksy renderings of calling a man a ‘snake in the grass’. We also have the imagine of woman as a siren or mermaid or woman turned temptress by snakes and apples. It strikes me that we never really truly forget our ancient mythos and their identification of the many aspects of our human nature.
In mythology, the serpent symbolises fertility and procreation, wisdom, death, and resurrection (due to the shedding of its skin, which is not akin to rebirth), and in the earliest schools of mysticism, the symbol of ‘The Word’ was the serpent. The ‘light’ that appeared was metaphorically defined as a serpent called ‘Kundalini’, coiled at the base of the spine to remain dormant in an unawakened person. Divinity or awakening one’s Godhood and latent abilities came with the rituals and teachings brought by the serpent people.
To understand them, we must look at the original ‘serpents’. In China, it was a male and female pair with human heads and serpent bodies named Fu Xi and Nu Wa who created humans. In Sumer, it was the Annunaki Nin-Khursag and her husband Enki who were given the task of creating workers. Enki is known to us as the serpent in Genesis—the one who gave us the ability to think and reason and so was cursed by his brother Enlil for it. To the Hindus, it was the cosmic serpent Ananta who created us. So, if, at the dawn of man’s creation we have a pair of serpent-like beings who created us, then those of the serpent cult must have been their direct descendants, either by blood or by spirit.
Government has been designed with the idea that you can punish or circumvent aspects of human nature with the rule of law and the force of the will of the many. Still, we get Snake Oil Salesmen like Donald Trump and guys that can’t get past their basic anatomy and their urge to think with their littlest head or use other phallic symbols like missiles and killing projectiles to take out the creative and intelligent forces that stymie them which, mostly tend to be women and small children when you think about it. The Trump CEO–Steven Bannon–is like the walking symbol of all things snaky. Here’s the latest op research his life of evil doing.
Donald Trump’s campaign CEO fired a new mother suffering from multiple sclerosis while she was on maternity leave, according to a lawsuit obtained exclusively by The Post.
“Julia Panely-Pacetti, a new mother who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was terminated by defendants from her position as head of public relations and corporate marketing because of her sex and her disability,” states the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court in September 2005.
I wish there was a better tradition of snake handling in this country. Maybe we could learn something from the ancients. Maybe that medieval guy with the bow has the right idea.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Sunday is usually regarded as a day of rest, the end of a busy tired week…that last day of the weekend. When I was younger, the sound of the ticking stop watch that was used as the opening credits for 60 minutes always solidified the fact that the countdown was on, Sunday was coming to a close. The time had come, get your things ready for Monday morning…another beginning, another week of school (or work) ahead.
For almost a year now, Sunday has come to mean…for me at least, a day to recover from a week of drowning in my disgust at what this country is presenting to the world as it’s presidential election.
It is that feeling when you swallow something the wrong way, and it is painful as it tries to go down your throat. You cough and feel as though you can’t breathe. There is a sense of panic as you try and take in some oxygen, but for those first seconds nothing can get in…even though you know it should work its way out shortly and you will be able to breathe normally after several moments of coughing and clearing your throat of what was so difficult to swallow.
This reoccurring simulated choking on not being able to swallow the daily offerings from Trump, the media, political pundits, politicians, surrogates, idiot supporters, white supremacist hate groups that are becoming legitimately recognized as a mainstream political party voice…that is too much to handle. It gets to the point where there is no recovery, you can’t catch your breath. I feel as though I am drowning in the hate and honestly, where in hell can Love Trump Hate?
(I really do not think that slogan does it for me…it never seemed to have enough umph. Maybe it is because I’ve always seen Trump and his supporters for what they really are: white supremacist. And that is something I’ve realized since day one, especially living here in Banjoville. )
I am not surprised at how bad things have gotten or how outrageous Trump’s statements and comments can be…I think we haven’t seen the worst yet. It just has reached a point where I can no longer take that Trump news bite, for fear it will be the fatal one.
That is why I’m so obviously absent from discussion on the blog. I can’t talk or write about this Trump asshole anymore. The events surrounding the election is more than I can handle.
I know that Boston Boomer and Dakinikat will write far better on the subject than I ever could…but I am unable to cover this hateful shitty election any longer.
Going forward my post will be focused on worldwide news, the usual suspects (women issues), human interest and of course…political cartoons. I must avoid fuck face and his cross burning hood wearing fan base.
As always the threads are open, so please discuss whatever and whoever you want to in the comments below…that includes Trump and his ultra right wing of destruction.
I will start off with a few links:
Take a moment and assess your hobbies. Unless your idea of a good time is bungee jumping or scaling Mt. Everest, your favorite pastimes are likely pretty safe … right? Think again. Experts are calling upon doctors to consider the risks posed by patients’ hobbies after a British man died of a lung infection likely caused by his daily sessions on the bagpipe. They reported their findings in the journal Thorax.
New evidence suggests people with autism can recognize feelings and other traits of humanness in voices as well as—or even better than—neurotypical people do
UPDATE: The woman was later identified by outlets as Facebook user Zaida Pugh, who says she’s an actress and that the incident was a prank. “I did this to show how people react to situations with homeless people and people with mental health [issues],” Pugh told Fusion. “How they’re more likely to pull out their phone than help.” A police source told the New York Post that Pugh could be charged for the disturbance.
A woman selling crickets and worms on a New York City subway Wednesday threw them into a packed train and flew into a rage, causing chaos, the New York Post reported.
The woman entered the train and made overtures to passengers to buy her insects. A group of teens pushed the woman, causing her to “freak out” and release the bugs, the Post wrote. As she ranted and the bugs spread, commuters dispersed.
Go to the link to read the rest of the story and see video and comments…someone actually pulled the emergency break and the train was stuck for a while.
Today’s post is going to be mostly a link dump, because I have a busy day ahead; and besides, I’m still so overwhelmed with what’s happening in the news that I don’t think I can write anything much.
I’ll begin with Donald Trump’s latest inhuman tweet:
Apparently, Dwyane Wade (whose first name Trump misspelled) is a professional basketball player, and that may be what called Trump’s attention to the story. The Chicago Sun-Times: Woman pushing stroller fatally shot; was cousin of NBA star Wade.
“My cousin was killed today in Chicago,” Wade tweeted Friday night. “Another act of senseless gun violence. 4 kids lost their mom for NO REASON. Unreal. #EnoughIsEnough.”
Nykea Aldridge, of the 6400 block of South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, was taken to Stroger Hospital with gunshot wounds to the head and arm and was pronounced dead at 4:15 p.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
About 3:30 p.m., Aldridge, 32, was walking with a baby in a stroller and a man in the 6300 block of South Calumet when two male suspects walked up and fired shots at a third man, according to Chicago Police.
“As she was walking down the street some type of altercation occurred which didn’t involve her,” Deputy Chief of Detectives James Jones told reporters at Chicago Police headquarters Friday night.
Aldridge’s baby survived and is with relatives.
As with Trump’s reactions to the shootings in San Diego and Orlando, he sees this tragic death only as an opportunity for him. He doesn’t offer condolences; he apparently feels no empathy whatsoever for the woman who died so senselessly or for her family. He doesn’t even bother to use her name in his heartless tweet.
This is a man that much of the media spent yesterday defending against a serious speech by Hillary Clinton on how the Trump campaign is bringing vile white supremacist philosophies into the mainstream of the Republican Party. The “both-sidesism” in the media has been absolutely breathtaking, with multiple press and TV outlets pretending that Clinton’s serious policy speech is equivalent to Trump screaming “Hillary Clinton is a bigot” in a speech on the same day. Here’s prime example from The Washington Post: Clinton, Trump exchange racially charged accusations.
RENO, Nev. — A series of racially charged accusations dominated the presidential campaign Thursday, with Democrat Hillary Clinton accusing Donald Trump of “taking hate groups mainstream,” while the Republican nominee repeatedly claimed that Clinton is a “bigot” toward African Americans.
Clinton started the day by releasing a video that featured Ku Klux Klan members and white supremacists touting Trump’s candidacy — then gave an afternoon speech condemning Trump’s racially inflammatory remarks and support within the “alt-right,” which she described as an “emerging racist ideology.”
“Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters,” she said in the speech in Reno. “It’s a disturbing preview of what kind of president he’d be.”
Trump, meanwhile, declared in an interview on CNN that Clinton is a bigot — an accusation that he first made at a rally in Mississippi Wednesday night, but that he repeated several times under questioning from CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“She is a bigot,” Trump said in the interview, which was broadcast Thursday. “If you look at what’s happening to the inner cities, you look at what’s happening to African Americans and Hispanics in this country, where she talks all the time.”
The blisteringly direct accusations brought the subjects of race and bigotry, previously undercurrents, to the surface of this year’s presidential election. And the exchanges hinted at just how nasty the verbal battle between Clinton and Trump could become in the roughly 10 weeks until the general election.
This false equivalency is maddening. How are racism and giving voice to white supremacist groups not serious issues in this campaign? Is the problem that the national media is overwhelmingly white? I just don’t get it.
A day after the Post published that ridiculous article, the editorial board denounced Trump’s racism: Republicans can’t pretend not to know what fuels the Trump campaign.
IN A major speech Thursday, Hillary Clinton linked Donald Trump to bigoted elements on the fringe of American politics. But she got it wrong when she said, “Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.”
It’s not a “dog whistle” if everyone can hear the bigotry.
Republicans supporting Mr. Trump, explicitly or tacitly, cannot reasonably claim that they do not know who he is and what he has been doing.
Before running for president, Mr. Trump was the king of the “birthers” who questioned President Obama’s place of birth. He started his campaign by calling Mexican migrants rapists, then spoke approvingly of the inhumane 1950s deportation program known as “Operation Wetback” and delivered a convention speech that described a country overrun by violent foreigners. As Ms. Clinton recounted, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) called Mr. Trump’s attack on a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Add in the Republican nominee’s proposed Muslim travel ban, his false aspersions on the U.S. Muslim community, his long history of belittling women, his dissemination of an anti-Semitic graphic, and a clear picture was visible long before Ms. Clinton approached the lectern.
In more recent days, Mr. Trump has attempted to salvage his image with appeals nominally aimed at African Americans. Instead, he only dug himself deeper, depicting African Americans as desperate people living in abject squalor with nothing to lose. He hired a new campaign chief executive, Stephen Bannon, a man who has called the Civil War the “war of Southern Independence” and who ran a website that warned the Obama administration is “importing more hating Muslims.”
Unsurprisingly, polling shows that a majority of Americans believe Mr. Trump is biased against women and minorities. Whether Mr. Trump is a genuine bigot or just cynically appealing to bigoted sentiment is not a question we can answer. Certainly not everyone who supports Mr. Trump is a bigot. But Mr. Trump has attracted the support of assorted American bigots, once thought ejected from mainstream U.S. politics. The candidate has courted this support with plainly visible winks and nods, retweeting their messages and hesitating to disavow them when asked. At any point — such as last August, when the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos pointed out that white nationalists were rallying to Mr. Trump’s cause — Mr. Trump could have offered the loud, full and unequivocal condemnation of the bigoted fringe that the situation required.
So which is it, WaPo? Did Hillary give a “major speech” or did she simply participate in an ugly racial back and forth, as your writers suggested? It’s time for those in big media to make up their minds whether they are going to continue to push the false equivalency doctrine or if they are going to stand up to real bigotry and demagoguery. At least the the majority of the American people seem to have taken Trump’s measure and rejected him.
One media figure who has been mostly even-handed and who has even defended Clinton at times, Joy Reid of MSNBC, published a mystifying and depressing piece at The Daily Beast late last night: Can President Hillary Survive the Media’s Fake Scandals? Though Reid obviously is not completely unsympathetic, she certainly sounds very negative about a possible Clinton presidency. I’ll let you judge this article for yourself, because I’m just too disgusted to excerpt from it.
More stories to check out:
Massimo Calabrisi at Time: What Donald Trump Knew About Undocumented Workers at His Signature Tower.
The Daily Beast: Donald Trump’s ‘Apprentices’ Had to Agree to Go Nude.
Michael Gerson at the WaPo: Trump’s repellent inner circle
Jeremy Peters at the NYT: As Donald Trump Repels Minority Voters, GOP Fears Its Future in the West.
Politico: Teamsters endorse Hillary Clinton.
Portland Press Herald: LePage effectively endorses racial profiling in Maine’s battle against drug addiction.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great weekend.
Good Afternoon Skydancers of all shapes, sizes, sex and such!
As we continue forward with the election of the first woman president, we also continue backward with the number of outrageous lies, misogyny, CDS, and downright paranoia that some folks seem to get every time they see or hear Hilary Clinton. This week I realized that I could no longer listen to Donald Trump read from his teleprompter without wanting to hurl a few things. (Yes, you can read all the double entrendre you want into that comment.)
I’ve really had it with any one that could possibly demonize one of the most tightly and ethically run global charities in the world that basically saves lives let alone any one that thinks a bunch of emails that show absolutely nothing are deserving of more inspection that say, some one who hides their tax information and owes tremendous amounts of money to the governments of China and Russia. Why does racism and misogyny seem to have so many working class folks enthralled? Are that many people really that stupid, evil, or gullible?
So today’s pictures and snark are due to the misogyny of some gun fetishists/death vendors from Maine who are well known for posting some of the worst Alt-Right shit in the world on their store sign. Observe the original nastiness there on the sign and then enjoy how feminists are taking it back. Remember, these jerks are most likely tuned in to the wonderful world of Steven Bannon who is known for the website that asked if parents would rather see their children get feminism or cancer. No more to do lists for me! Now I have a Vagenda that includes Manocide!!!
A picture of the sign in front of the Raymond, Maine shop made its way to Twitter and inspired women everywhere to start tweeting their own vagendas. In these satirical to-do lists, women casually list “manocide” in between tasks like meetings, laundry and fitness classes. Others swap out the term for phrases like “oppress men” and “crush a man’s soul.” Many next-level trolls are including other tasks everyone assumes feminists prioritize day to day, such as “eat kale” and “queer stuff.”
One expert troll deserves true internet praise for rigging it so the web address The Daily Dot, whoever registered the domain did so privately, “so there’s no way of knowing who they are or what their real vagenda is.”/ redirects to Clinton’s official campaign donation page. According to
And in case you were wondering more about the sign that inspired all of this, it turns out this isn’t out of the blue for Gulf of Maine Gunsmithing. In fact, hateful slogans seem to be the arms dealer’s choice of words for its sign. Locals has posted photos of different variations of the sign to shop’s Facebook page.
So, here’s my daily Vagenda. Hope you all realize that I lead a very boring life now. I’ve already been chided for bumping manocide to spot 3 on the list but hey, Temple has to eat and I have to earn a paycheck. Manociding is an expensive hobby, you know. Anyway, seriously, empower yourself with a VAGENDA!
6:00 am. Arise. Wrap your cardigan-sheathed hands around a mug of hot cardamom lemon water; squint into the distance from your craftsman veranda. Breathe authentically. Pick off a passing man with your bespoke porch rifle.
A good start is to visit www.vagendaofmanocide.com.
So, yesterday, Hillary Clinton connected the dots between the Alt-Right and the crazy Trump Campaign themes like sending an ultra right wing nationalist from the UK to give a speech on Brexit in a very confused Mississippi. Oh, BTW, if you didn’t watch Rachel connect the dots between Campaign Mommy, Der Fuhrer Trump, and Steven Bannon and Hedge Fund Billionaire and right wing asshole Robert Mercer, please go watch now. How poor white people can get taken down the river by these snakes is beyond me.
RACHEL MADDOW (HOST): Before becoming Donald Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway ran a Super PAC she ran one of the SuperPACs that supported Ted Cruz in the primary. You might remember in the Republican primary this year there were a whole bunch of different SuperPACs that supported Ted Cruz. They were all called some variation of Keep The Promise. She ran the group that was called Keep The Promise 1. They ran millions of dollars in anti-Donald Trump ads, incidentally, which is kind of ironic given what her job is now.
But more important than that, she ran this Keep The Promise PAC. She ran the iteration of all the Ted Cruz supporting PACs, she ran the one that was almost entirely funded by a single donor. All the money in that PAC basically came from one source. It came from New York City hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. He gave the money, Kellyanne Conway ran that PAC. Robert Mercer and Kellyanne Conway, they supported Ted Cruz in the primary, not Donald Trump, but once Trump won, once Cruz dropped out, that mega-donor Robert Mercer and Kellyanne Conway, they decided to switch horses, they decided to keep working together. She stayed in charge of the PAC. They changed its name. They started running anti-Clinton ads to help Trump instead of anti-Trump ads to help Cruz. But as a multi-million dollar donor to that effort — we’ve talked about here on this show, Robert Mercer, this hedge fund billionaire appears to have become the single largest funder now of the effort to elect Donald Trump for president.
Robert Mercer is also reportedly the single largest funder of Breitbart.com. And so this one guy, Robert Mercer, the money man, right? He ends up being sort of the missing link. He ends up being the thing that explains, I think, in a lot of ways, why the Trump campaign is this strange thing that it is now. When the Trump campaign decided to fire the last guy in charge, Paul Manafort, and put these new folks in charge, it was an interesting and sort of inexplicable thing that they simultaneously — they didn’t fire Paul Manafort and then pick a new person to replace him. They fired Paul Manafort, but then they brought in two people. They came up with two new job titles. Campaign Manager and Campaign CEO, okay. They brought in two people at once. Kellyanne Conway, who ran Robert Mercer’s Super PAC, she’s a very familiar figure in Republican politics.
But she didn’t come onto the campaign alone, right? She came on as campaign manager, Donald Trump’s top funder apparently installed her at the top of the Trump campaign, but he also simultaneously, on the same day, at the same time installed this other guy. This guy from Breitbart as the Campaign CEO. Robert Mercer is the money man behind both of these folks, behind Kellyanne Conway and her PAC which started as a Ted Cruz thing and then became a Donald Trump thing. Robert Mercer was the money behind that, Robert Mercer is also the money behind Breitbart.com. He funded them both to the tune of millions of dollars. He is the thing explains why those two otherwise unconnected individuals both came on at the same time, on the same day, to take over the Trump campaign.
Here’s the event. Hillary’s speech starts at about 7:30 into the video.
The Alt-Right and their allies are either denying it really exists or blaming Hillary Clinton for it.
“Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He is taking hate groups mainstream, and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party,” Clinton said at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada. (A video ad released Thursday covers much of the same ground.) She said Trump’s rhetoric was “like nothing we’ve heard before from a nominee for president of the United States from one of our two major parties.”
Over more than a half-hour of sustained attack, Clinton added little new material to the record. Instead, she methodically plotted Trump’s known ties, in what appeared to be an effort to energize her own voters and, in particular, to give pause to Republicans who have grudgingly opted to make their peace with a candidate they don’t love. As she had in June, Clinton again labeled Trump “temperamentally unfit to be president of the United States.”
Vile Breitbart hell realm being Milo Yiannopolous–the devildude thrown off twitter for the racist trolling of black comedienne and actress Leslie Jones–said it was all Hillary’s fault. Now, I am going to attribute his quote to its source but go to the Breithbart site at the risk of needing eyebleach and a stomach transplant.
WTF is wrong with a huge number of working class white people? I mean seriously, is clinging to your guns, your religious delusions, and your overt racism so important that you don’t realize you’re basically ruining your life and any chance your children for good jobs? And you’re voting for the very same folk who keep you down?
We are now living in a decade with such gross levels of income disparity that the 99% believe that the 1% that has been left to them is something literal, as if it were a sliver of an apple pie, for example. Therefore, if a group — such as Black Lives Matter — comes along at this moment and says that it wants access to the pie, rather than welcoming allies who will help challenge everyone’s ability to access what the top 1% has, it becomes seen as one more group that is going to need to share the scraps that are left. Further, because working class Republicans have been convinced that “no new taxes” and “no big government” — policies that best serve the interests of the super wealthy — are the way to go, again, that panic about how little that’s left gets stoked even higher. The resentment pyres are fanned. The irony, of course, is that if the working class could unite as a political bloc, they could perhaps change the structure so that some of the income disparity that separates us from the super-rich would be re-released back into the economy, which would benefit us all. White working class racism hinders the progress of white working class economic progress.
Meanwhile, reality should set in some where as more Republicans who have served Republican presidents endorse Hillary Clinton. Carlos Guittierez is the latest outspoken endorsement. The one that happened today is one we could skip completely because it’s icky Paul Wolfowitz. Not one living former White House economic adviser is voting Trump and only one of the Republicans is toying with gadfly libertarian airhead Gary Johnson.
Served Under Republicans
“I have known personally every Republican president since Richard Nixon. They all showed a real understanding of economics and international affairs. The same was true of Mitt Romney. Donald Trump does not have that understanding and does not seem to be concerned about it. That alone disqualifies him in my judgement.” —Martin Feldstein, chairman under President Ronald Reagan, opposes Donald Trump
“Mr. Trump has not laid out a coherent economic worldview, but one recurrent theme is hostility to a free and open system of international trade. From my perspective as an economics policy wonk, that by itself is disqualifying. And then there are issues of temperament.” —Gregory Mankiw, chairman under President George W. Bush, opposes Donald Trump
“He would have to change both many of his positions and his character.” —Richard Schmalensee, member under President George H.W. Bush, opposes Donald Trump and will vote for Hillary Clinton
“It seems highly improbable that [Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson] will win but I cannot bring myself to vote for either Trump or Clinton. A large enough Johnson vote may constrain the next president to some degree.” —William Poole, member under President Ronald Reagan, opposes both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
“On the trade issue alone, I wouldn’t support either one. As an economist, free trade is not something that’s a partisan kind of issue and to have both parties being protectionist is unacceptable.” —Jerry Jordan, member under President Ronald Reagan, opposes both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump’s “views on international economic policy…are fundamentally flawed in so many ways.” Also, “there are a number of things he had stated, implied that collectively present a fear-based, xenophobic, judgemental personality.” —Matthew Slaughter, member under President George W. Bush, opposes Donald Trump and will vote for Hillary Clinton
The writing may already be on the wall if this Quinnipiac poll is right. Notice the Strump never mentions polls any more?
In the battle of the unloved presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton tops the magical 50 percent mark among American likely voters, leading Republican Donald Trump 51 – 41 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today.
When third party candidates are added to the mix, Clinton gets 45 percent with Trump at 38 percent, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson at 10 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 4 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. This survey of likely voters can not be compared with results of earlier surveys of registered voters.
Women and non-white voters propel Clinton in the head-to-head matchup. Women back her 60 – 36 percent. Men back Trump 48 – 42 percent. White voters back Trump 52 – 41 percent. Non-white voters back Clinton 77 – 15 percent.
A total of 44 percent of American likely voters like Clinton “a lot” or “a little,” while 47 percent dislike her “a little” or “a lot,” and 8 percent hate her.
A total of 35 percent of voters like Trump “a lot” or “a little,” while 53 percent dislike him “a little” or a lot,” and 10 percent hate him.
“We are starting to hear the faint rumblings of a Hillary Clinton landslide as her 10-point lead is further proof that Donald Trump is in a downward spiral as the clock ticks,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
“Trump’s missteps, stumbles and gaffes seem to outweigh Clinton’s shaky trust status and perceived shady dealings. Wow, is there any light at the end of this dark and depressing chapter in American politics?”
American likely voters give both candidates negative favorability ratings, 41 – 53 percent for Clinton and 33 – 61 percent for Trump. In fact, 37 percent of likely voters say they would consider voting for a third party candidate.
In this very negative race, 64 percent of Trump supporters say they are voting mainly anti-Clinton, while 25 percent say they are voting pro-Trump.
If you actually go to that survey link and read some of the questions they asked, you’ll start thinking that all national polls are push polls these days. I can’t take any more of this untrustworthy/likability shit. It’s like a freaking self-fulfilling prophecy. It does seem, however, that she is safely on her way to the U.S. Presidency. Hang on and get ready for more misogyny and CDS.
What’s on your reading, blogging and VAGENDA list today? (Yes, male allies, your “woman card” from the Clinton Campaign makes you an honorary Vagina holder too!!!
Once again I’m struggling with a feeling of shock as I look at today’s headlines and listen to the useless TV talkers. I wonder if this sense of unreality will ever pass?
Donald Trump, a blatant racist, nativist, and pathological liar with literally no qualifications to hold any public office is actually running for President of the United States, and he’s getting very little real pushback from the mainstream media. He refuses to release his tax returns, provides only a ludicrous doctor’s letter, and says he’ll let his children take over his business dealing rather than divest himself of financial conflicts of interest. Can this really be happening here? Unfortunately, it is.
Meanwhile the press spends most of its energy running a witch hunt against Hillary Clinton, an eminently qualified candidate with a long history of public service. We’ve heard about her emails every single day for more than a year, and now we’re weathering a storm of attacks on the Clinton Global Initiative and charges that Clinton may have had contact with some donors to the charity while she was Secretary of State, although there’s no evidence of any wrongdoing on her part.
What is going on here? Once again, the only answer I can come up with is that a women is on the verge of becoming POTUS. Once again, Peter Daou has a great explanation: IT’S HAPPENING: The Fury Crashing Down on Hillary Is the Glass Ceiling Starting to Shatter.
America has never heard this crashing noise before. It’s the sound of the gender barrier breaking, of the highest glass ceiling shattering, of institutional gender bias resisting conquest — and losing.
November 8th will be the culminating moment, but the process is happening now: With each passing day, Hillary is powering forward in the face of a furious assault on her lifesaving foundation, her private email communications, her health, her family, her integrity. She is wrestling the monumental forces of misogyny and gaining the upper hand.
America has never been here before. We’ve never heard these thunderous noises. We’ve never navigated this terrain.
And we’ve never witnessed a candidate endure such a vicious double standard, such unrestrained attacks by the establishment media.
This is the process of smashing the ultimate gender barrier, this intense grind forward, this fury raining down on Hillary, this uncontrolled maligning of a powerful, dignified woman.
The conquest of institutional bias doesn’t happen in one day. Election Day is the climactic moment, but now is the time the glass is beginning to shatter and the shards are crashing down.
He’s right. Although the gender bias is often unconscious to those in media who are expressing it, we women can see it. We can hear the dog-whistles and the overt sexism followed by denials. It’s ugly and despicable, but we have to get through it. Hillary has been fighting for us for most of her life, and now we need to be strong for her.
At the Democratic Convention, President Obama said, “Carry her the same way you carried me.” That is what we will do. We will carry her across the finish line on November 8 and we will stand strong for her for the next four years. We must do this for ourselves, for our daughters and granddaughters and for our foremothers who fought for the vote, for the ERA, for reproductive rights, for protection from rape, incest, and domestic violence.
As we’ve seen with the first black President, the battle won’t be won just because we have a woman President, but it will be huge step toward real gender equality. We can tell how huge it is by the way the media is ignoring the historic nature of Hillary’s candidacy and their ravening attacks on her using anything thing think can be twisted somehow to hurt her in hopes of making her break down. They can’t beat her and they are getting angrier and angrier about their failure to destroy her.
And what of those politicians and media people who are enabling Donald Trump? Jorge Ramos writes at Time Magazine: Judgment Day Is Coming For Those Who Stay Silent on Donald Trump.
It doesn’t matter who you are—a journalist, a politician or a voter—we’ll all be judged by how we responded to Donald Trump. Like it or not, this election is a plebiscite on the most divisive, polarizing and disrupting figure in American politics in decades. And neutrality is not an option.
The day after the election will be too late. It was too late when we realized that there were no weapons of mass destruction after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. That horrible error of judgment by the Bush administration—and the lack of strength by those opposing the war—cost thousands of American and Iraqi lives. And nobody can even say that we won the war. But hopefully we can learn something from it.
Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins or loses, we will be asked on November 9th: What did you do? Did you support him? Were you brave enough, ethical enough, to challenge him when he insulted immigrants, Muslims, women, war heroes and people with disabilities? Are you on the record correcting his lies? Did you discuss with your friends and family that in a democracy like ours there is no room for racism and discrimination? Or did you just seat idly, silently, allowing others to decide the future of the United States?
Because you will be asked.
Trump has forced journalists to revisit rules of objectivity and fairness. Just providing both points of view is not enough in the current presidential campaign. If a candidate is making racist and sexist remarks, we cannot hide in the principle of neutrality. That’s a false equivalence.
Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite were right; sometimes you have to take a stand. They did it against the dangerous persecutions of Senator Joe McCarthy and in denouncing the pernicious official spin during the worst years of the Vietnam War.
Please read the rest at the link.
For the past couple of days, both big media and social media have been obsessed with a disgraceful story by the Associated Press about supposed conflicts of interest between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. (The story has now been updated with reports on yesterday’s reactions.) The AP also sent two completely inaccurate tweets to promote an article that essentially found nothing. Here are some responses to the AP’s claims and their embarrassing refusal to correct their false tweets.
Tuesday afternoon, Stephen Braun and Eileen Sullivan of the Associated Press released the results of a review of State Department appointment data that they used to make some striking claims about Hillary Clinton’s schedule as secretary of state.
According to their reporting, Clinton spent a remarkably large share of her time as America’s chief diplomat talking to people who had donated money to the Clinton Foundation. She went out of her way to help these Clinton Foundation donors, and her decision to do so raises important concerns about the ethics of her conduct as secretary and potentially as president. It’s a striking piece of reporting that made immediate waves in my social media feed, as political journalists of all stripes retweeted the story’s headline conclusions.
Except it turns out not to be true. The nut fact that the AP uses to lead its coverage is wrong, and Braun and Sullivan’s reporting reveals absolutely no unethical conduct. In fact, they found so little unethical conduct that an enormous amount of space is taken up by a detailed recounting of the time Clinton tried to help a former Nobel Peace Prize winner who’s also the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Here’s the bottom line: Serving as secretary of state while your husband raises millions of dollars for a charitable foundation that is also a vehicle for your family’s political ambitions really does create a lot of space for potential conflicts of interest. Journalists have, rightly, scrutinized the situation closely. And however many times they take a run at it, they don’t come up with anything more scandalous than the revelation that maybe billionaire philanthropists have an easier time getting the State Department to look into their visa problems than an ordinary person would.
The AP spent quite a long time attacking Clinton for meeting with Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, whom they failed to note has been close friends with Hillary since 1983.
…the most extensively discussed case the AP could come up with is this:
Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering low-interest “microcredit” for poor business owners, met with Clinton three times and talked with her by phone during a period when Bangladeshi government authorities investigated his oversight of a nonprofit bank and ultimately pressured him to resign from the bank’s board. Throughout the process, he pleaded for help in messages routed to Clinton, and she ordered aides to find ways to assist him.
I have no particular knowledge of Yunus, Grameen Bank, or the general prospects of microcredit as a philanthropic venture. I can tell you, however, that Yunus not only won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize but has also been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Congressional Gold Medal. In 2008 he was No. 2 on Foreign Policy’s list of the “top 100 global thinkers,” and Ted Turner put him on the board of the UN Foundation. He’s received the World Food Prize, the International Simon Bolivar Prize, and thePrince of Asturias Award for Concord.
In other words, he’s a renowned and beloved figure throughout the West, not some moneybags getting help from the State Department in exchange for cash. On the level of pure politics, of course, this is exactly the problem with the Clinton Foundation. Its existence turns the banal into a potential conflict of interest, and shutting it down is the right call. But the fact remains that this is a fantastically banal anecdote.
Read much more at the link.
More negative reactions to the AP reporting:
Matthew Yglesias: The AP’s defense of its bad Clinton Foundation story is also bad.
Washington Monthly: How the AP Spun the Story About the Clinton Foundation.
Inside Philanthropy: Once Again, the Media Gets It Wrong on the Clinton Foundation.
Tommy Christopher: Here’s Why Clinton Foundation Must Restrict Donations if Hillary Is Elected.
This is only going to get worse. Many “journalists” seems to have turned into ravening wolves, hoping for an opportunity to tear Hillary Clinton into bloody bits of flesh. We can’t let them win. We must standing with Hillary. #ImWithHer
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread, and have a nice Thursday.