Tuesday Reads: VP Debate and Other News


Good Morning!!

Tonight at 9, Vice Presidential nominees Tim Kaine and Mike Pence will debate on national TV for the first and only time. We will have a live blog for discussion of the event.

NPR is billing these two as “softening the image” of the Democratic and Republican tickets.

Unlike running mates of the past, Pence and Kaine have not been unleashed as “attack dogs” to chew viciously on their adversaries. This year, the headlines about outrageous charges have come from the top of the ticket — with help from various TV surrogates and the rest of the media chorus.

Kaine and Pence, by contrast, serve to soften the image of the national tickets. They are Tim and Mike, known by the friendlier, shorter versions of their first names. Both have made their way in politics as loyal party men, to be sure, but as warmer and more personable versions of their respective partisan stereotypes. And both have been known for their ability to maneuver and adapt to changing political circumstances.

So far, at least, both have performed admirably in their subordinate roles. It might even be said that both have exceeded expectations in their assistance to the nominees who chose them.

Kaine has been a prolific fundraiser as well as an affable and effective salesman on the stump. Pence has been enormously influential in bringing religious and social conservatives around to accepting and endorsing Trump. Even some who had pleaded for primary voters to pick anyone but Trump have come on board this fall, however reluctantly; and several have done so after meeting with Pence. Former rival and bitter critic Ted Cruz is one example.

How anyone could consider Mike Pence “softer” on anything is beyond me. I can only assume that NPR is ignorant of or choosing to ignore Pence’s record in the House and as Governor of Indiana.


Here’s one mainstream article that calls attention to Pence’s “baggage.” Roll Call (September 19, 2016):

Pence made national headlines in early 2015 when he signed into law the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” which limited the legal actions that could be taken against an individual or business for asserting their religious beliefs.

The law sparked widespread outrage. Opponents contended that it would give license to religious conservatives to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. In response, several major events and corporations — including Salesforce.com, the NCAA, and the gaming convention Gen-Con — threatened to limit business ventures in the state or boycott it altogether.

Pence adamantly defended the RFRA legislation and refused to say whether it allowed for discrimination, which led to extensive questioning of his underlying motives.

What followed was a hemorrhaging of support from moderate Republicans in the state, and intense backlash on social media and in the press. So much so that he quietly signed a subsequent piece of legislation — dubbed the “RFRA Fix” — that clarified that the law did not allow businesses to discriminate based on a customer’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Read about more of Pence’s ugly record at the link. He tried to set up a state “news bureau,” a propaganda organ paid for by taxpayers.


Pence is virulently anti-abortion and did everything he could to get rid of Planned Parenthood in the state. He attempted to prevent Syrian refugees from settling in Indiana. He has helped keep Indiana a “right-to-work” state. More background on Pence’s views:

Planned Parenthood: This Is Mike Pence’s Indiana, and It’s Terrifying.

Mother Jones: Mike Pence Has Led a Crusade Against Abortion Access and LGBT Rights.

Mother Jones: Pence Tells Evangelicals He’ll Help Trump Restrict Abortion Rights.

Bustle: Mike Pence’s Stance On Gay Marriage Is As Harsh As His “Religious Freedom” Views.

In These Times: Mike Pence May Be a Friend to Trump, But He’s No Friend to Workers.

Here’s the Clinton campaign’s take on Pence and his defenses of Trump:

Other News

Republican Trump supporters have been waiting breathlessly for an “October Surprise” from Julian Assange and Wikileaks. A couple of days ago, long-time Trump adviser and conspiracy theorist Roger Stone tweeted this cryptic warning:

Then yesterday he tweeted this:

But so far, Stone and the Trumpettes have been disappointed.

The Washington Post: Trump backers realize they’ve been played as WikiLeaks fails to deliver October surprise.

For weeks, backers of Republican nominee Donald Trump have hyped the tantalizing possibility that the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks was on the verge of publishing a set of documents that would doom Hillary Clinton’s chances in November….

The group’s founder, Julian Assange, did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm, suggesting to Fox News hosts that his scoops could upend the race with documents “associated with the election campaign, some quite unexpected angles, some quite interesting.”

The announcement by WikiLeaks that it would host a major news conference Tuesday only seemed to confirm that the bombshell was ready to burst. The pro-Trump, anti-Clinton media world rippled with fevered speculation.

But the dreamed-of takedown of Clinton was not to be.

The much-vaunted news conference, as it turned out, was little more than an extended infomercial for WikiLeaks on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its founding.

Assange, whose group released a trove of hacked Democratic National Committee documents on the eve of the party’s convention this summer, breezily dismissed the idea that anyone should have expected any news at his news conference.

“If we are going to make a major publication about the U.S., we wouldn’t do it at 3 a.m.,” Assange said at one point, referring to the Eastern daylight start time for the event.That didn’t go over well with Trump backers who had stayed up through the night, thinking they’d be watching live the unveiling of the death blow to the Clinton campaign.

That didn’t go over well with Trump backers who had stayed up through the night, thinking they’d be watching live the unveiling of the death blow to the Clinton campaign.

LOL! Read more hilarious stuff at the link. The Trump campaign is nothing but a “fever swamp” of conspiracy theorists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Just look at the campaign’s leadership and advisers like Alex Jones.


Mother Jones: How Trump Became Our Conspiracy Theorist in Chief.

Consider Trump’s inner circle: Campaign CEO Stephen Bannon is on leave from Breitbart News, the conservative site he helped turn into a one-stop destination for breathlessly reported stories like “Muslim Prayer Rug Found on Arizona Border” (on closer inspection, the “rug” was probably a track jacket). Trump’s deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, a peddler of many of the wildest Clinton conspiracy theories of the 1990s, once made a documentary alleging that Hillary Clinton had murdered a critic’s cat. Trump adviser Roger Stone, a former Nixon campaign aide and political dirty trickster, wrote a book claiming that Chelsea Clinton got four plastic surgeries to mask the identity of her real father.

Populist movements have long flirted with what political theorist Richard Hofstadter, writing about Barry Goldwater in 1964, called the “paranoid style in American politics”—the penchant for framing opponents as the tools of a powerful but shadowy fifth column. But Trump has embraced and normalized the political fringe in unprecedented ways—and that could have far-reaching effects.

That Trump would devote much of the substance of his campaign to wild claims and ominous innuendo is not surprising: This is what first made him a conservative star. Five years ago, Trump embarked on a national press tour to question the legitimacy of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Obama, Trump suggested, was actually a Kenyan-born impostor named “Barry Soweto.” Establishment Republicans may have snickered, but Trump’s strategy was an unmitigated success. A CNN poll showed that his support among likely GOP voters nearly doubled once he started talking about the birth certificate. He became a regular guest on Fox & Friends, a sought-after speaker at conservative dinners, and a campaign prop for Mitt Romney, who flew to Las Vegas to accept Trump’s endorsement. In just a few months, Trump showed how intoxicatingly viral the netherworld of conspiracies could be. (Even when he finally conceded that Obama was born in the United States, he claimed the birther rumors originated with Clinton.)

From the day he kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign, an air of paranoia has infused almost everything Trump has said or done. He demanded a border wall on the grounds that Mexico was sending killers and rapists into the country, boosting his claims with an Infowars video he’d seen on the Drudge Report. He promised to “bomb the shit out of” ISIS, while insinuating that the current commander in chief harbored sympathies for the terrorist group (“There’s something going on”). After Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep, Trump fanned theories of an assassination. He trumpeted a National Enquirer story suggesting that Ted Cruz’s dad was involved in the Kennedy assassination (even though Stone had written a best-selling book fingering Lyndon B. Johnson).

Read the rest at Mother Jones.

Links Only

Time Magazine: Why Tonight’s Vice Presidential Debate is Unusual.

The New Yorker: Why the Vice-Presidential Debate Does and Doesn’t Matter.

Media Matters: .What Media Need To Know About Mike Pence’s Economic Record.

WSOC TV: Michelle Obama to campaign for Hillary Clinton in Charlotte.

Melissa McEwan at Share Blue: I published this photo of Hillary Clinton and the response was overwhelming. (Must Read!)

Deadspin: Trump Supporters Spent The Debate Tweeting At Jon Lester Because They Thought He Was Moderator Lester Holt.

What stories are you following today? Let us know in the comment thread and be sure to check back tonight for the VP Debate live blog!

38 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: VP Debate and Other News”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Real Clear Politics:

    Trump Used Foundation Funds for 2016 Run, Filings Suggest.

    Quite a story. Interesting that other media outlets are suddenly trying to compete with David Fahrenthold and the WaPo.

    • janicen says:

      Yes! They needed someone to prove to them that we want actual journalism rather than the pablum they have been feeding us. Fahrenthold is a national treasure and I can’t wait to congratulate him for his Pulitzer Prize.

    • joanelle says:

      I’m interested to know what the penalty is forabusing the 501 (C3) or stealing from one.

  2. bostonboomer says:


    • Fannie says:

      This morning some young girls were interviewed, and some said they would vote for Hillary Clinton, others not. Then the question: who are your parents voting for? Trump they said.
      This area in Va. is 90% white, and high unemployment.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      WTF is wrong with the 65+? My generation has become what it loathed. SHAME!!!!!!!!

      • joanelle says:

        Agreed, Mouse

        • ANonOMouse says:

          I’m so disappointed, but I haven’t talked to even one person in my age group who is voting for Trump. Of course the group I hang around with are primarily gay so it could be that. 🙂

  3. bostonboomer says:


    Trump’s reaction to the tax bombshell is worse than the story itself


    • janicen says:

      Isn’t that usually the case? lol! Hillary brilliantly tweaks him just to get his over reaction.

  4. dakinikat says:

    Julian Assange and his army of Russian Twitter trolls have just gotten unbelievable. Worse than Trump these days,

    • quixote says:

      Just for the sake of argument, imagine that Assange really did have some kind of crap on Clinton. He’s dependent for everything on the kindness of the Ecuadorian President, including not spending the rest of his (Assange’s) life in solitary in a US supermax prison. It’s not too hard to imagine the Ecuadorian opinion of the Dumpsterfire.

      So even if Assange did have something — which is unlikely given how astronomically honest Clinton has been her whole life — but even if he did, I could easily see word trickling down from Quito saying STFU.

    • janicen says:

      Assange’s credibility has become so questionable that I wonder if anyone will believe anything he dumps.

      • Fannie says:

        Nobody believes him.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        He’s becoming a bit desperate and he surely knows that when/if he steps out of that embassy that he’ll either stand trial for rape charges or be extradited to the U.S. Neither is a good prospect for him, but trying to put your thumb on the scales of a U.S. Election could get him in much more trouble than even he is willing to take on.

  5. dakinikat says:

    The Daily 202: Want to know why Trump’s winning Ohio? Drink a beer with ‘the deplorables’ in Boehner’s old district.


    oy.just .oy.

    Vance writes poignantly and personally about the many problems afflicting the white working class, including the decaying social structure: divorce, domestic violence, declining church attendance and so on. He writes in one passage about mothers – including his own – putting Mountain Dew in their infants’ bottles because they don’t know any better, which leads to decaying teeth. In another, his mom makes him give her a urine sample so she can pass it off as her own. He’s certainly not alone: more people died in this county of drug overdoses last year than natural causes.

    • dakinikat says:

      and contrast that with this:
      Trump Is Losing Educated GOP Women—and Splitting Up Families Along the Way
      College-educated Republican women could cost Trump the election. What does it cost them?
      By Carey Purcell
      October 04, 2016

      Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/10/gop-women-donald-trump-2016-214318#ixzz4M8zOH5Rc
      Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

      Educated women, it appears, are defecting in droves from the GOP, and the numbers are stark. White men without a college degree prefer Trump over Clinton by a 31-point margin, and he leads among college-educated white men by 11 points. White women without a college degree? Trump wins them, too—by a margin of 17 points, 49 to 32. None of that is surprising: Those numbers are roughly equivalent to Mitt Romney’s advantages in 2012. But Trump is losing educated white women to Hillary Clinton by a staggering 30 points, 57 to 27 percent, according to Monmouth, and other polls have shown similar numbers.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        It chills me to the bone realizing how many stupid people reside in this country. Good grief!

        • dakinikat says:

          That article on Boehner’s district is pretty damn scary!

        • ANonOMouse says:

          Well Pat, if you spent a couple of months down here in Bumfuckerville where I live or in Banjoville where JJ lives you’d really be terrified. I’ve learned to just do what I want to do in spite of them. It’s beginning to change in the South, especially in the large cities, but until the large urban areas become more heavily populated like the cities in the Northeast and the rural areas become less populated and influential, it’s going to stay really STUPID here.

    • dakinikat says:

      and Ohio is a dead heat right now: http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/ohio/#now

      Big Dawg is headed there … maybe he can work some bubba magic

    • bostonboomer says:

      So much attention in the media to white working class men and so little to people of color and women.

      • bostonboomer says:

        As the self-described independent talked about how he never liked George W. Bush either, a Clinton commercial appeared on the television he was staring at. It showed young women looking at themselves in the mirror as Trump uttered nasty comments about females. Graham pointed it out. “The little stupid sh*t that they’re running ads on, no one cares about it,” he said. “Nobody’s perfect.”

        No one cares. Do these men have daughters? Do they give a shit about them?

        • bostonboomer says:


          A couple of the guys at the bar I hung out at last Friday during happy hour expressed unprovoked disdain for the former Speaker of the House, who resigned last year. “Years ago I really liked him but then he lost his balls,” said Ron Susong, 73, a masonry contractor. “I couldn’t believe he was working with Obama. Where is the man in the Republican Party today? There’s a difference between being a man and a boy. Just because you’re 21 doesn’t mean you’re a man. As Arnold (Schwarzenegger) said, they’re all girlie-men in Washington. When John resigned, I thought, ‘We need somebody with balls to lead the party.’ Then Trump came along. He definitely has the balls to do what’s right for the country.”

          • Fannie says:

            Oh, ain’t that special, Mr. Universe. Mr. Gropegate. Mr. Cheat on my wives! What a half baked ashol he is.

      • Fannie says:

        You nailed it.

    • Fannie says:

      Yep. I’ve had his book on my reading list, and haven’t gotten around to it.

    • Beata says:

      Interesting review of Vance’s book:

      “J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis comes highly recommended: National Review executive editor Reihan Salam, Silicon Valley scion Peter Thiel, and “tiger mother” Amy Chua all wrote glowing jacket blurbs. Positive reviews have since appeared across the conservative press, in Salam’s National Review — where Vance regularly contributes — the American Conservative, and the Weekly Standard. David Brooks hailed Hillbilly Elegy in a New York Times op-ed that calls for a “better form of nationalism.”

      The outpouring of right-wing support shouldn’t be surprising. Vance, after all, is one of them, and Hillbilly Elegy staunchly defends the up-by-your-own-bootstraps fairy tale that capitalism has always used to win support from the underclasses.

      But of course, the book is not aimed at that underclass (few books are), but rather a middle- and upper-class readership more than happy to learn that white American poverty has nothing to do with them or with any structural problems in American economy and society and everything to do with poor folks’ inherent vices.”


      • bostonboomer says:

        That’s the way it sounds to me based on media interviews with Vance.

      • Fannie says:

        Seems like they were promised a lot, and here we are in the 21st century, and nobody teaches them how to live. Is that what they think? I have family in Kentucky. I can tell you they been heavily involved into the Jesus Movement. They like most people in poverty have the worst diets, and yes that White Wonder Bread is killing them. They are not only diseased by diets, but by health centers that stripes away at the causes of lung disease, of alcohol disease, of “hillbillypills”……Not to mention all the fertilizers that have eatin’ their brains and their stomachs. No to mention the air they breath. There are many many things that can be done. Not only physically but mentally. You can have poverty that is out of sight and out of mind, and you can move it to Memphis, or to any other city in this country. It’s one of our oldest problmes. The first thing we need to talk about is getting started. Hillary Clinton believes that together we are stronger, and she is right.

        And thinking of that brings me to how Head Start got started, and how the republicans started slashing that program that helped with us with our young children. The republicans slashed Michelle Obama’s healthy movement of back to mother earth, (organically), and to get moving! Instead the republicans came in and told her they were cutting those programs, and those poor kids would have to eat White Potatoes during lunch. Food is a whole way of life, you do it now, and you forever improve lives, and teach this, because Mother earth is older than the hills in Kentucky.

        Where have the children gone, they walk among the streets, lined with heroin needles, and condoms, and Mountain Dew soda cans. We can go back to the minds of hillbillies, and we can bring them into the fold. I don’t frown on my own back ground of living in the projects, I don’t frown on poor people, and we don’t need to tag them, we can accept them, and they don’t need to be labeled, the earth stands still for them, and they give back. They pay more taxes than Trump ever did. Maybe Trump thinks their taxes don’t add up but they do. These are the young people who need to get out, go to college, and move away from Mom and Dad. They are as real as you and I. There life station is one of a human being! I doubt very seriously that Donald Trump is the answer, or the peace maker. Hillary Clinton counts these sons, these daughters as one of ours, and she would work for housing, for food, for unemployment, and all other. There is hope, and Hillary Clinton will try to give them wings.