Lazy Saturday Reads: The Constitution Protects Us From Trump


Good Morning!!

We’re living in a strange, chaotic world. As usual, I don’t know where to begin with all the craziness, so I’m going to open with the story of a wild car crash in Delaware County, Indiana, where I grew up. Two young guys were racing their souped up cars side by side on a country road near Albany, Indiana when they hit a railroad crossing and suddenly went airborne.

After landing 75 feet from the crossing, one of the cars — a four-door, 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by 18-year-old Grant Christopher of Parker City — veered off the edge of the road, struck a mailbox, returned to the road and sideswiped the other car, a four-door, 2016 Chevrolet Malibu driven by Darrian Lee, 20, of Albany, according to police.

Both cars then skidded into the yard of a residence, one smashing a wooden-barrel flower container, the other knocking over a tree. The cars then skidded into another residential yard, where Christopher struck a parked pickup truck, after which his vehicle and the pickup truck tore down a fence, police say.

Meanwhile, Lee’s vehicle struck a horse trailer parked in a yard, damaging the trailer’s axles and body, before spinning into the side of a van parked in the driveway. The last thing Lee’s car hit was the corner of a pole barn.

No one was hurt.

I guess they must have been wearing seat belts.


Am I nuts, or could that dramatic crash be a metaphor for what’s happening right now in this crazy election campaign? We’re living through a chaotic period in which one of the candidates is an authoritarian populist psychopath and pathological liar who has blatantly encouraged racism, xenophobia, and misogyny among his followers for the past year-and-a-half. The other candidate is the first woman in history with a serious chance to become President of the U.S.–a candidate with 30 years of experience in public service and the brains and talent to be a great world leader who has been forced to spend much of her time educating the electorate about the dangers of a Trump presidency.

There has been lots of talk lately about what will happen if the ignorant, neo-fascist candidate Donald Trump refuses to accept the results of the November 8 election.

Will his followers–who have already demonstrated their willingness to be violent and threatening against anyone who disagrees with them–take to the streets in protest? Will Trump be able to weaponize his large following to delegitimize a President Hillary Clinton as he tried to delegitimize Barack Obama, the first African American president?

Or will the election build to a crescendo and end with a noisy crash that does some serious damage, but leaves our republic essentially unhurt–protected by a metaphorical seat belt, the U.S. Constitution?

I’m hoping for and expecting the second possible outcome. I have to thank Lawrence O’Donnell for that confidence. Last night he said he hopes Trump does not concede because it won’t matter. O’Donnell also predicted that Trump fans won’t violently revolt if he loses, because they know he has lied to them repeatedly; they will realize that he has been using them for his own purposes. Here’s O’Donnell’s argument.

If Trump refuses to accept the outcome of the election, he will only look like a sore loser and a fool. There is no need for him to concede; his lack of concession would only be one more bit of evidence that he has no respect for the norms of our democracy.

McClatchyDC: Whether Trump would concede an election loss doesn’t matter legally.

Though considered an essential act to foster a peaceful post-election political transition of power, concessions by losing candidates are a formality – not a legal requirement.

“Just saying the words ‘I concede’ have no legal effect,” said Richard Hasen, founding co-editor of the Election Journal and author of the Election Law Blog. “What would have a legal effect is if he filed for a recount or do some sort of election contest.”

“In short, we don’t have a constitutional crisis on our hands if we don’t have a gracious concession on election night, even if the result appears a blowout,” Edward “Ned” Foley, author of “Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the United States,” wrote on his blog last Friday.

Still, Trump laying out the possibility of not accepting the results is unnerving, Hasen and other election analysts said, because it threatens a smooth transition and could help delegitimize a Clinton presidency in the eyes of Trump’s ardent followers.


Possibly. But that would happen regardless. We’ve already gone through 8 years of Republicans treating Barack Obama as if he’s not a legitimate president; why should we be surprised if they continue that behavior under our first woman president? That is all the more reason why they need to be soundly defeated so that Hillary Clinton will have a Democratic majority in the Senate–and maybe even in the House.

Politico on October 17: Democrats dream the unthinkable: Speaker Pelosi.

As Donald Trump’s poll numbers tank, dragging the whole GOP down with him, the possibility that Pelosi could return to the speaker’s chair after a six-year absence has suddenly grown very real. No one has done anything like this since the legendary Sam Rayburn did 60 years ago, and it is still unlikely to happen. Yet the House is definitely in play, according to experts on both sides of the aisle, which means the 76-year-old Pelosi could be wielding the speaker’s gavel again come January.

It would be a stunning, almost unthinkable, triumph for Pelosi. Democrats lost 63 seats in 2010, and many thought Pelosi would — or should — retire. But the California lawmaker hung on. Democrats won seats in 2012 as President Barack Obama was reelected, but then were wiped out again in 2014. House Republicans amassed their biggest majority in 80 years, and there was open grumbling from some rank-and-file lawmakers about whether Pelosi should step aside for a younger leader who could bring Democrats back to the promised land.


Pelosi resisted. She saw Republicans oust John Boehner last year and replace him with Paul Ryan, 30 years her junior. Watching the rise of Trump, she started saying months ago that Democrats could take the House. No one really believed her, seeing her comments as just ritualistic posturing by a political leader trying to rally her troops.

Yet now, with less than four weeks to go, Democrats are suddenly hopeful they can pick up the 30 seats they need to recapture the majority.

“It’s no longer, ‘Can we fight to win the House?'” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California. “It’s, ‘Can [Republicans] fight to keep from losing the House?’”

Let’s make it so. We can end the GOP obstruction in Congress and continue down the road toward greater freedom and inclusiveness, toward greater autonomy for women. We can fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court with a qualified candidate. We can stop the GOP war on voting rights. Yes we can! With Hillary at the helm, we can continue the work of the first African American president and move on down the road to even greater horizons for our country.

More news, links only


NYT: Hackers Used New Weapons to Disrupt Major Websites Across U.S.

Defense One: Denying Trump’s Denial, US Intel Chief Says There’s More Evidence of Russian Hacking.

Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek: How I Got Slimed by Russian Propagandist Site Sputnik.

NYT: Hillary Clinton Makes Pitch for Mandate and a Swing-State Sweep.

NPR: At Al Smith Dinner, Donald Trump Turns Friendly Roast Into 3-Alarm Fire.

WaPo: Donald Trump is in a funk: Bitter, hoarse and pondering, ‘If I lose. . .’

WaPo: Antiabortion activists face headwinds with Clinton leading and Trump stumbling on women’s issues.

Bloomberg: Clinton Campaign Ponders ‘What If’ Trump Doesn’t Concede.

Don’t miss this one from The Cut: These Teen Girls Are Giving Donald Trump a Piece of Their Mind.

Raw Story: Damaged brand: New Trump hotels will no longer bear his name.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a terrific weekend!


Friday Reads: Nasty Women and Bad Hombres Unite

Good Morning!

We continue to learn how resilient and fragile our form of democracy can be. Yes, Benjamin Franklin! We have a Republic and most of us are trying to keep it!   However, there is vast anger, ignorance, and hatred coming from the hearts of a segment of our population that is threatening our rule of law and government.  Here’s a great explanation of the situation from retired Justice David Souter who spoke on this very topic several years ago. We’re not seeing a discussion of ideologies. We’re seeing bigots throwing hate bombs. These folks have forgotten both their civics courses and their civility.

nasty-womanThis video and analysis comes from the Rachel Maddow news broadcast.

Here is that amazing clip of former Supreme Court Justice David Souter being frighteningly prescient about the decline of civic knowledge in America and the effect of that decline on the state of our democracy.

It’s hard to see how we can keep our Republic when we’re regaled with the autocratic leanings of extremely stupid, angry, and mean people that are our neighbors.  It’s manifest in what they send to our Congress and it’s manifested in the last eight years of absolute politically-mandated gridlock by one of our major parties who has an entire constituency made up of an ignorant people that are proving they do not want to be free people no matter how much they scream ‘liberty’.  They want white male privilege from years past. They want promises that no one can possibly deliver or keep. They’re losing because they want to stop change.

Republican Rep. Brian Babin on Thursday defended Donald Trump calling Hillary Clinton “a nasty woman” at the final presidential debate, saying “sometimes a lady needs to be told when she’s being nasty.”

Near the end of the debate Wednesday, Trump called Clinton “such a nasty woman” while she was answering a question on Social Security and Medicare. Trump’s comment elicited a strong rebuke online, where the #nastywoman went viral.

Appearing on the “Alan Colmes Show” on Thursday evening, Babin, a Trump supporter, was asked if he thought Trump’s comment was appropriate.

“You know what, she’s saying some nasty things,” the Texas congressman answered.

Colmes asked again if the comment was appropriate, to which Babin responded, “Well, I’m a genteel Southerner, Alan.”

“So that means no?” Colmes asked.

“No, I think sometimes a lady needs to be told when she’s being nasty,” Babin replied. “I do.”

“My assessment is that Mrs. Clinton has got so much baggage–” Babin added. “I think she’s done some nasty things.”

After Colmes repeatedly pressed the Texas congressman, he said he agreed with Trump’s assessment of Clinton as a “nasty woman.”

bad-hombreThis is the mindset of the putrid form of patriarchy held up by the worst forms of American-styled christianity. It’s the one that has totally poisoned the Republican party. This crazy Congressman is the same form of “genteel southerner” that would prefer racial minorities be “put in their place” and any member of the GLBT that tries to live openly and authentically be put to death.

In his long career as an accomplished journalist working across the American South, Steve Crump has come face-to-face with hatred and bigotry.

The Emmy-winning journalist spent time reporting on the Ku Klux Klan in which he, a black man, interviewed members of the organization, people who by their very membership profess to hate him due to the color of his skin.

For all that, though, Crump, 59, told The Washington Post that he’s never felt the blunt hatred he did in Charleston, S.C., on Oct. 8.

Crump, who works for WBTV in Charlotte, was in Charleston working on a story about cleanup following Hurricane Matthew. Along with his camera crew, he was filming near the southern tip of the peninsula when he came across a young white man, he and later police identified as 21-year-old Brian Eybers, holding an iPad, apparently producing some sort of “citizen journalism,” as Crump put it.

The man, watching the WBTV crew, was narrating his story into the tablet when Crump caught wind of what he was saying.

“He basically said, ‘There’s a black guy here. No, wait a minute, he’s a slave. No wait a minute, he’s a ‘n-word,’ ” Crump told The Post.

Added Crump, “I went from 0 to 60 in an instant, just like that. I just turned to [my cameraman] and said, ‘We need to get this guy on tape.’” (The result can be viewed above, with offensive language bleeped.)

We have people that want all their problems solved by the government.  They are not Democrats asking for Social Nets or investments in education.  They are people that think if the government would just get rid of people not like them, they’d have everything. They are authoritiarians. They want people punished for nearly anything they deem offensive. They want women to stay home and be slaves to their husbands. They want nothing of folks who practice religions other than theirs and folks that have any kind of cultural or physical difference unlike theirs.

They believe absolute shit like abortions occur in the ninth month. They are illiterate of science and human physiology. They are part and parcel of the Trump cult. They are extremist Republicans. They are enabled by every Republican that won’t stand up to them or has quit standing up to them.  The Republican party put together the FrankenTrumpers.screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-11-27-14-am

Donald Trump painted a picture of abortion in America in which doctors are “rip(ping) the baby out of the womb” the day before a baby is due to be born. However, medical experts have refuted that claim.

Trump said the following at the debate:

I think it’s terrible if you go with what Hillary is saying in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.

Now, you can say that that’s okay, and Hillary can say that that’s okay, but it’s not okay with me. Because based on what she’s saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day. And that’s not acceptable.

An estimate by the federal government reveals that 91.4% of abortions in the United States occur within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. Only 1.3% of abortions occur later than 21 weeks into pregnancy. Zero occur on “the final day,” which by definition would not be an abortion, it would be classified as an infanticide.

imagesThe right wing’s appalling lack of knowledge about basic human reproduction and physiology continues to assert itself into the lives of woman and their families. It’s a government intrusion in to the decisions of doctors and patients and it stops the use of live saving and pregnancy preventing methodology.  It is all because of a bunch of gullible religious lunatics follow a political and powergrabbing group of evil ministers we have roaming this country. The Farewells are one of many examples. It’s never been about life.  It’s about white men controlling the lives of women and children.  Here’s a great breakdown of what was right and what was wrong about that abortion discussion from the last debate by Dr. Jennifer Gunter.

First of all, we don’t “rip” anything in OB/GYN. In surgery, we use sharp dissection and blunt dissection, but we don’t rip. Some women do tear during a vaginal delivery, but that’s not a doctor ripping the baby out. Even with a forceps delivery, I wouldn’t call it ripping. We also don’t rip tissues during c-sections.

Perhaps we can forgive Donald Trump for not knowing this as it is hard to believe that a man who bragged that he doesn’t change diapers and said he wouldn’t have had a baby if his wife had wanted him to actually physically participate in its care would have attended the birth of his own children. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart as there is, after all, lots of blood coming out the “wherever.”

Trump’s statement, as incorrect as it may be, supports the fallacy of the due-date abortion. It is a common anti-choice narrative that women come in at 39 weeks and have some kind of abortion for fun or out of boredom and that we doctors are only to happy to comply. I’m sure some people think there are Groupons. The more graphic the description of the procedure, the better as it helps to distract from the facts.

Talking about abortion from a medical perspective is challenging when you are not a health care provider. Even someone familiar with the laws can get confused. For example, Mrs. Clinton made an error speaking about late-term abortion when she said it was a health of the mother issue. Typically, it is not (it’s almost always fetal anomalies). However, this error on Clinton’s part only underscores how important it is for politicians to not practice medicine.

To put it in perspective, 1.3 percent of abortions happen at or after 21 weeks and 80 percent are for birth defects. Put another way, 1 percent of abortions that are at or after 21 weeks and are for birth defects and 0.3 percent of abortions are at or after 21 weeks and are not for birth defects (some of these will be health of the mother and a very few will be for other indications)

Trump’s writers for his speech last night continued to show how mean-spirited, lying, and ignorant this section of the Republican Party has become.  The Alt-Right and its minions show no civility in any instance.  They can’t even hold it together for a speech for children’s charities in front of a Cardinal, a roomful of clergy, and plutocrats and politicians.  Trump was booed quite a few times for jokes that were not jokes or funny. Many of his remarks were just outright horrible barbs at one of the nation’s leading public servants. You may not agree with Hillary Clinton on the issues, but you cannot deny her life of public service to this country and to its children without being seriously misled, wrong, ignorant or evil.  Trump actually had a good joke or two but couldn’t restrain himself to just jokes.

Ever the entertainer, Trump was probably responsible for the biggest laugh of the night but also the event’s loudest boos — until this year, booing was unheard of at the dinner.

The high point of Trump’s remarks started as a comment on media bias. Complaining about why the media is so much harder on the Trumps, Trump brought up how the media loved Michelle Obama’s recent speech but then “my wife gives the exact same speech and people get on her case. And I don’t get it. I don’t know why.

cjones10222016-e1476982148865That was a joke.  It was not out of line and it got his point of media bias across to the audience.  Then he degenerated into just calling Clinton corrupt then saying she had no business being here because she’s anti-catholic.  The booing ensued. It would be shocking under normal circumstances.  It is no longer shocking with Trump and the current crop of Alt-Right wing nuts in charge of the Republican Party.

Never before have we seen anything like this since right before the Civil War. Look how that turned out.

Trump’s announced many times now that he’s reserving judgement on the outcome of this national election. Meanwhile, the polls show him losing much ground.  He never held the high ground but even the swamps are turning on him.  Obama has never been more popular. The margins of the polls in many states indicate that the Democrats will take the Senate and are closing in on taking the House. If this happens, we will know our Republic is still working.

But, what will we do with the losers?  It doesn’t appear like they want to wake up to the fact that they are seriously out of step with the majority of the American people.  It’s a relief to know that most of us are not like them in anyway.  But we know one thing. They have guns. They have anger.  They’ve been enabled and babied for too damn long.

Have a great day!  Let us know what’s on your reading and blogging list today!!!

Thursday Reads: Third Debate Aftermath


Good Morning!!

Hillary Clinton walked onstage last night in a gorgeous white pantsuit and then proceeded to crush Donald Trump in the third and final debate of the 2016 election season. It was obvious that someone had informed Donald that the camera would be on him when Hillary was speaking, because he struggled to control his facial expressions in the first part of the debate. But once again, Hillary successfully baited him and he quickly lost control. His handlers can spin his performance however they want. He’s toast.

Of course the top two media hot takes this morning were Trump’s refusal to say that he would accept the outcome of the election and his “such a nasty woman” comment that came while Clinton was discussing the Social Security trust fund. The real story is that Hillary Clinton gave a nearly flawless performance last night and in the previous two debates.

Ezra Klein: Hillary Clinton’s 3 debate performances left the Trump campaign in ruins.

The third and final presidential debate has ended, and it can now be said: Hillary Clinton crushed Donald Trump in the most effective series of debate performances in modern political history.

The polling tells the story. As Nate Silver notes, on the eve of the first presidential debate, Clinton led by 1.5 points. Before the second, she was up by 5.6 points. Before the third, she was winning by 7.1 points. And now, writing after the third debate — a debate in which Trump said he would keep the nation “in suspense” about whether there would be a peaceful transition of power, bragged about not apologizing to his wife, and called Clinton “such a nasty woman” — it’s clear that Trump did himself no favors. Early polls also suggest Clinton won.

And it’s not just the presidential race. Betting markets now predict Democrats will win the Senate. Polls have started showing Democrats in striking distance of the House. The GOP has collapsed into a mid-election civil war, with the party’s presidential nominee openly battling the speaker of the House.


This is not normal. As Andrew Prokop concluded in his review of the political science evidence around presidential debates, “There’s little historical evidence that they’ve ever swung polls by more than a few percentage points.” In this case, they did. And it’s because Clinton executed a risky strategy flawlessly.

 The dominant narrative of this election goes something like this. Hillary Clinton is a weak candidate who is winning because she is facing a yet weaker candidate. Her unfavorables are high, her vulnerabilities are obvious, and if she were running against a Marco Rubio or a Paul Ryan, she would be getting crushed. Lucky for her, she’s running against a hot orange mess with higher unfavorables, clearer vulnerabilities, and a tape where he brags about grabbing women “by the pussy.”

There’s truth to this narrative, but it also reflects our tendency to underestimate Clinton’s political effectiveness. Trump’s meltdown wasn’t an accident. The Clinton campaign coolly analyzed his weaknesses and then sprung trap after trap to take advantage of them.

Clinton’s successful execution of this strategy has been, fittingly, the product of traits that she’s often criticized for: her caution, her overpreparation, her blandness. And her particular ability to goad Trump and blunt the effectiveness of his political style has been inextricable from her gender. The result has been a political achievement of awesome dimensions, but one that Clinton gets scarce credit for because it looks like something Trump is doing, rather than something she is doing — which is, of course, the point.

Read the rest at the Vox link above.


A few responses to Trump’s performance:

Jamie Bouie at Slate: Donald Trump vs. America.

After the first presidential debate, the Republican Party nominee called for monitoring and intimidation at polling places in cities like Philadelphia and Cleveland. During the second, Trump announced his plan to investigate Clinton using the power of the presidency, and promised to put her in jail for unnamed crimes against the state. He later turned that into a bona fide campaign slogan: “Lock her up.” For the last week, he’s decried the entire election process as “rigged”—a shadowy conspiracy meant to deny him a victory at the ballot box. And at the final presidential debate at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas, Donald Trump refused to commit to conceding the election, should he lose on Nov. 8….

Clinton called this “horrifying.” “We’ve been around for 240 years,” she said. “We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election.”

She’s right. In 1800, Federalist president John Adams lost to Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic-Republicans, following a painful and contentious contest. And rather than fight or challenge the results, Adams handed his rival the reins of power, the first peaceful transition of power in a democracy and a milestone in the history of the modern world. The act of conceding, in other words, is vital to the functioning of democracy. It confers legitimacy on the winner of an election, giving him or her a chance to govern. To refuse to concede, to denythat legitimacy, is to undermine our democratic foundations.

Surrogates for Trump have tried to defend his comments, citing then–Vice President Al Gore’s conduct following the 2000 election. But Gore didn’t challenge the process; he let it move forward. As ordered by state law, Florida had to do a recount. That recount was then stopped by the Supreme Court. At that point, Gore conceded the election, gracefully and without public hesitation.

In presidential elections at least, there’s simply no precedent for what Trump is promising. The slave South may have seceded from the Union following the 1860 election, but neither of Abraham Lincoln’s opponents denied his legitimacy as the duly-elected leader for the United States. It is world-historic in the worst possible way.

Bouie’s piece is a must-read.


Amy Davidson at The New Yorker: For Trump, the Election is Rigged if a “Nasty Woman” Can Win. Again, the whole thing is a must-read, but here some excerpts:

She shouldn’t be allowed to run,” Donald Trump said, of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, who was standing next to him on the debate stage in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. “It’s crooked—she’s—she’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run. And just in that respect I say it’s rigged.” Trump’s tone was heated; to make this point, he had talked over the interjections of the moderator, Chris Wallace, and he kept on doing so, making clear how little he cares for decorum or democracy. This person—this woman—shouldn’t be allowed to contend, let alone win. Wallace’s question had been about whether Trump would accept the results of the election; Trump wouldn’t even accept the premise….

Perhaps what Trump is having trouble gauging now is how he might feel when he looks at a television on Election Day and sees the smiling face of Hillary Clinton as she is announced as the President-elect. He might react as he did when, late in the debate, she delivered a strong answer about Social Security that referred to the taxes he’s avoided paying. His features receded into a pool of curdled dust. “Such a nasty woman,” he said. In 2016, a major-party nominee for President seems to have mistaken misogyny for an argument against democratic legitimacy.

Trump’s contempt for women—and the lack of discipline it seemed to induce in him—was a leitmotif of the debate. Chris Wallace’s first question was about the kind of Supreme Court each candidate would nominate into being as President. There will be at least one opening, unless the Senate does its job and acts on the nomination of Merrick Garland, and, Wallace noted, “likely or possibly two or three appointments.” This should have been an easy one for Trump—a warmup question covered in any decent debate prep. There are voters with reservations about his character who might vote for him anyway, just to make sure that there’s no liberal in Antonin Scalia’s seat. But Trump began, and wasted a good part of his time, by rambling on about how Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had insulted him (“very, very inappropriate statements”). On reproductive rights, Clinton talked about the pain of women who, for health reasons, had to contemplate a late abortion; Trump portrayed them as incipient infanticidal brutes who, if not checked, might “rip the baby out of the womb” at the last minute. He also said that he assumed his judicial appointees would overturn Roe v. Wade. When Wallace, who controlled the situation better than any moderator so far, asked why “so many different women from so many different circumstances over so many different years” would say that Trump had groped or kissed them against their will, Trump first claimed that the stories had been “debunked” (they have not), then jumped into theories that “it was her campaign that did it,” and then let the audience know, as if it were exculpatory, that “I didn’t even apologize to my wife, who’s sitting right here, because I didn’t do anything.” And if it wasn’t a campaign plot, he said, then it was just women trying to get “their ten minutes of fame.”

Pretty good summary there. There’s more at The New Yorker link.

Trump clan post debate

Trump clan post debate

And then there was Trump’s defense of Vladimir Putin against the U.S. intelligence community’s clear statement that Russia is trying ot influence the election. The Washington Post: Donald Trump’s confusion and contradictions about Russia.

Trump has never accepted the Clinton campaign’s assertion that hackers controlled by the Kremlin are trying interfere in the 2016 elections, even after the Obama administration officially accused Russia.

Trump didn’t back down in the third presidential debate: “She has no idea whether it’s Russia, China, or anybody else.”

When Clinton interjected that “17 intelligence agencies” had concluded that the Kremlin is behind the cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political institutions, Trump said, “Hillary, you have no idea. Our country has no idea.”

As we all know, Clinton went on to call Trump Putin’s “puppet,” and Trump’s grade-school level response was “no, you’re the puppet, you’re the puppet.”

That’s all I have for you this morning. I’m completely exhausted, because I stayed up watching the talking heads last night until they went off the air. I might have to take a nap.

What do you think were the high and low points of the debate? What are you hearing and reading this morning?

Tuesday Reads: Hillary is Winning and So are Girls and Women


Good Morning!!

I really wish we didn’t have to live through another debate tomorrow night. I just hope her Secret Service detail stay near the stage to protect Hillary. I know she will be dignified and unflappable, but I don’t want her to have to deal Trump’s insults anymore. In a few short weeks, she will be President of the United States and Trump can try and fail to start a Trump news network. He has ruined his own brand, and I’m glad.

At least it’s difficult to understand how Trump could continue attacking Hillary based on Bill’s behavior with women in the ’90s after Melania went on CNN last night and attacked the women who have come forward to accuse her husband of sexual assault.

The New York Times: ‘They’re Lies’: Melania Trump Rejects Women’s Claims That Husband Groped Them.

Ms. Trump, in an extensive interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, said the women who had accused Donald J. Trump of groping and kissing them were lying, and likened her husband to a teenage boy who engages in macho boasting.

She echoed her husband’s complaint that he was the victim of a broad conspiracy between the news media and the Clinton campaign.

“I believe my husband, I believe my husband — it was all organized from the opposition,” Ms. Trump said. “They can never check the background of these women. They don’t have any facts.” ….

Ms. Trump, 46, called the exchange between Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush “boy talk,” and said Mr. Trump had been “egged on” by the host “to say dirty and bad stuff.”

But she stressed that she believed that Mr. Trump was simply being boastful and did not engage in the behavior he described.

“Sometimes I say I have two boys at home: I have my young son, and I have my husband,” she said with a slight laugh. “But I know how some men talk, and that’s how I saw it, yes.”


Hmmm. . . she doesn’t make her husband sound very presidential. She also claims women are constantly trying to attract her husband’s attention

“I see many, many women coming to him and giving the phone numbers and, you know, want to work for him or inappropriate stuff from women,” she said. “And they know he’s married.”

Mrs. Trump told Anderson Cooper that her husband is a “gentleman.”

Melania Trump called her husband “real” and “raw” — and said because of his years as an entertainer, he faced an especially tough challenge transitioning into politics, because he has made decades’ worth of controversial comments.

“It’s very hard, especially for him — when he decided to run for the presidency, because he did so many stuff in his life. He was on so many tapes, so many shows. And we knew that — that, you know, tapes will come out, people won’t want to go against him.

“But my husband is real. He’s raw. He tells it like it is. He’s kind. He’s a gentleman. He supports everybody. He supports women. He encourages them to go to the highest level, to achieve their dreams. He employs many, many women,” she said.

She said she wouldn’t describe what Trump said on the tape as sexual assault, even though in the video Trump appeared to be describing his own actions.

“No, that’s not sexual assault,” she said. “He didn’t say he did it.”


Actually he did though. And even Howard Stern doesn’t buy the “boys will be boys” defense. TPM reports:

Shock jock Howard Stern on Monday refuted his friend Donald Trump’s claim that his leaked comments about grabbing women’s genitals were just “locker room talk.”

“I have never been in the room when someone has said, ‘Grab them by the pussy,” Stern said on his Sirius satellite radio show, quoting Trump’s own words caught on a hot mic during a 2005 “Access Hollywood” appearance. “No one’s ever advocated going that step where you get a little bit, ‘Hey I’m going to invade someone’s space.'”

Though Stern built his own career on jokes about mass shootings and raunchy interviews grilling celebrities about their sex lives, he said there was a line between lewdly describing women’s bodies and boasting about sexual assault.

Fortunately, we won’t have to listen to anyone in the Trump family much longer, because he is not going to be POTUS. Stuart Rothenberg at the Washington Post: Trump’s path to an electoral college victory isn’t narrow. It’s non-existent.

The trajectory of the 2016 presidential race — which will result in a Hillary Clinton victory — remains largely unchanged from May, when Donald Trump and Clinton were in the process of wrapping up their nominations.

But what has changed recently is Clinton’s likely winning margin. For many weeks, even months, I have believed that Clinton would defeat Trump by three to six points. If anything, that range now looks a bit low, with the Democratic nominee apparently headed for a more convincing victory, quite possibly in the four-to-eight point range.

Trump continues to be his own worst enemy, saying or tweeting things that only fuel chatter about his current and past views, values and behavior. His comments about people — from Vladimir Putin and Alicia Machado to some of the women who have accused him of sexual assault — have kept the focus on him at a time when he should be making the election a referendum on Clinton.

No, Trump’s supporters have not turned on him. But he trails badly with only a few weeks to go until Nov. 8, and he must broaden his appeal to have any chance of winning. That is now impossible.

Read the whole thing at the link.


Eric Levitz at New York Magazine: New Polls Show Clinton on Pace for a Landslide.

On Monday, CNN’s new “poll of polls” — an average of the four most recent national surveys that meet the network’s standard — put Clinton ahead of Trump by 8 percent.

One of those surveys was George Washington University’s Battleground Poll, which also found Clinton leading the GOP nominee by eight points. The same poll had Clinton up by only 2 percent in early September. In that earlier survey, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were collectively polling three points higher than they are now, with the Libertarian claiming 8 percent and the Green Party nominee just 2 percent.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll out Monday finds Clinton leading Trump 42 to 36 percent in a four-way race. After the vice-presidential debate, Trump had climbed to 39 percent, but grab’em by the pussy-gate and last week’s wave of sexual-assault allegations have pulled the GOP nominee back to where he stood after he bragged about tax evasion at the first debate. Clinton’s support has hovered around 42 percent in the poll for all of October.

As of this writing, FiveThirtyEight’s Polls Only forecast gives Clinton an 87 percent chance of taking the Oval Office next January.


More polling info at the link. And check this out from Peter Daou at Share Blue: Boys will be boys…and women will be presidents.

Some feel-good stories to check out:

New York Magazine: Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Has More Black Women Than Any Presidential Campaign in History.

CNN: Baby elephant is so concerned about her ‘drowning’ friend.

Raw Story: Ex-homeless mom pays off lunch tabs for poor kids after little boy’s ‘two lunches’ story goes viral.


What else is happening? What stories are you following today?

Lazy Saturday Reads: Dealing With Trump Stress


Good Morning!!

I’m illustrating this post with baby animals and their mothers, because I’m just about to the point that I need to sleep with a teddy bear at night because of the stress of this presidential election. Donald Trump is holding most of the country hostage as he holes up with his misogynistic, racist, xenophobic white supremacist advisers planning for campaign rallies in which he addresses his shrinking band of loud and angry fans with paranoid, insane monologues about how the media, the Republican “establishment,” “the Clintons” and a supposed “global conspiracy” are trying to rob him of the presidency. It’s all getting to be too much, and we still have 23 days to go before election day.

It has gotten so bad that American Psychological Association is offering tips on how to deal with election stress. The Washington Post reports:

Weeks before The Washington Post made that 2005 video of Donald Trump public, before Trump supporters were interrupting Hillary Clinton rallies by screaming that Bill Clinton is a rapist, before Trump told Clinton to her face that she should be in jail, Americans were already seriously stressed out by this election.

In August, the American Psychological Association included a question in its annual Stress in America survey about this election. It released the results of that particular query on Thursday, and it found that more than half of U.S. adults, regardless of party, felt very or somewhat stressed by the election.

One can only imagine that what’s transpired over the past week has intensified the disgust, anxiety and disbelief felt by so many Americans.

The poll found that people older than 71 are the most stressed out and millennials are the next most “angst-ridden” group. They also found that people who use social media are among the most highly stressed groups.


The suggestions for dealing with the situation are about what you’d expect: Turn off the TV and stop reading the news when it feels like too much and get some exercise or spend time with people you care about; avoid talking to others about politics; think about volunteering or joining a local political group; try not to catastrophize about possible results of the election; and be sure to vote.

Unfortunately, if I could tear myself away from the media coverage and social media, I wouldn’t feel like me anymore. But I’m trying to find ways to stay centered. Like Dakinikat, I’m having life worries too, so it’s all so difficult.

Was yesterday the worst day in the campaign so far? If not, it would have to be close. Trump gave two speeches in which he behaved like a madman, screaming about “the Clintons” and the women who have said he abused them, and even tearing apart his teleprompter on stage the second event. Sopan Deb at CBS News:

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — During Donald Trump’s second rally of the day, he announced dramatically to the crowd that his teleprompter – that he had uncharacteristically relied on for months – had stopped working.

“And I notice every time I look up, they’re trying. It’s trying. It’s straining. It’s straining. Hey, get this thing out of here, will you?” Trump explained.

He physically removed the device that had been telling him what to say and proceeded to speak for nearly an hour – veering from topic to topic, in a kind of stream-of-consciousness manner. It was a rally reminiscent of the barn-burning campaign he ran in the fall.

“You know what? I like it better without the teleprompters,” Trump declared.

Trump acknowledged earlier in the day that those around him did not want him to spend a bulk of his speeches responding to the numerous accusations of sexual misconduct that have risen in recent days and weeks.

“Folks, you know my people always say, ‘Oh, don’t talk about it. Talk about jobs. Talk about the economy,’”  Trump said in Greensboro, North Carolina earlier in the day. “But I feel I have to talk about it, because you have to dispute when somebody says something, and fortunately we have the microphone. We’re able to dispute. Some people can’t.”

Trump went on to rail against accuser Jessica Leeds, implying that he couldn’t possibly have sexually assaulted her because she was too unattractive. Read more about this disgusting speech at the link.


Jonathan Martin ticked off the low points of Trump’s day at the New York Times: Donald Trump’s Barrage of Heated Rhetoric Has Little Precedent.

There is a long tradition of presidential candidates ratcheting up their language when they are trailing in the closing weeks of an election.

But in the same fashion Donald J. Trump has broken with other political traditions, he is taking a longstanding rite of fall to new heights — or perhaps new lows.

On Thursday and Friday alone, Mr. Trump unleashed a barrage of near-apocalyptic warnings about the potential destruction of the country, broad accusations about the illegitimacy of American democracy, and crude innuendo about his opponent that is almost without precedent in modern presidential history.

He warned that Hillary Clinton was conspiring with financiers to destroy American sovereignty, claimed the fate of civilization depended on his victory and ridiculed the appearance of the one of the women accusing him of sexual harassment, while also deriding Mrs. Clinton’s looks and saying she ought to be in prison. He also said the presidential election amounted to “a big ugly lie.”

While delighting his partisans, Mr. Trump’s rhetorical shooting spree has enraged Democrats and unnerved many Republicans, who believe he is acting out a political death wish.

Please go read the rest at the NYT.


At Slate, William Saletan has going full Godwin: Let’s just say it: Trump sounds more and more like Hitler.

In Godwin’s honor, let’s stipulate: There will never be another psychopath quite like Hitler. The German dictator preached such overt hatred, murdered so many people, and earned such infamy that every demagogue since, from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to David Duke, has learned to draw at least tactical distinctions between himself and the Führer.

Then there’s Trump. He’s a salesman, not a fanatic. He doesn’t foist his hatreds on others. Instead, he reads and plays to the resentments of his crowds. He tells them that President Obama was born in Kenya, that Ted Cruz is a Canadian-born Cuban, and that Ben Carson is a Seventh-day Adventist. Trump will go after a Mexican American judge, a Muslim Gold Star family—whatever he thinks will work.

Jews aren’t on Trump’s target list. His son-in-law and grandkids are Jewish. His daughter, Ivanka, is a Jewish convert. But Trump’s habit of retweeting alt-right material—Hillary Clinton with a Star of David, for instance—has immersed him in the muck of anti-Semitism. And in the past few days, Trump has turned to an ideology of global conspiracy that resembles the speeches of a certain politician from a century ago.

For Trump, the principal enemy is Muslims. He blames Muslim Americans collectively for domestic terrorism—falsely claiming, for instance, that many of them saw but didn’t report the preparations for last year’s attack in San Bernardino, California—and says we should never have let their parents into the country. For Hitler, the interlopers were Jews. Speaking in Munich on July 28, 1922, he lamented that they had been given German citizenship. Jews “have always formed and will form a state within the state,” said Hitler. That’s uncomfortably close to Trump’s warnings about Sharia in the United States.

Jews may not be “on Trump’s target list,” but they are on Steve Bannon’s; and it’s obvious that he’s in charge of Trump’s speeches now. Let’s not forget that Bannon and other white supremacists have openly said that they think they can influence Trump to do their bidding. Saletan goes on to compare some of Trump’s speeches to Hitler’s. Read about it at Slate.


Now, as an antidote to all this Trump hate, please read this article–also at Slate–by L.V. Anderson: Forget This “Hillary Is Unlikable” Stuff. Hillary Is Downright Inspiring.

Expectations for this election have become so warped that the primary conclusions media commentators took away from the second debate were that it had been an ugly, uninspiring affair and that Trump didn’t lose. Let’s set aside the absurdity that a man who brought up his own tax scandal unbidden, who threatened to jail his opponent, who betrayed his absolute ignorance of the nuances of the war in Syria, and whose best zinger amounted to recalling that Abraham Lincoln’s nickname was “Honest Abe” somehow fought to a draw with his opponent. Trump was as ugly and uninspiring as usual. But here’s what people haven’t been saying in the days since the debate: Hillary was inspiring as all get out….

Put yourself in Hillary’s shoes for a moment. You’re 68 years old. You have spent decades—decades—in the public eye, absorbing criticism from every possible angle. Your opponent is an impulsive, amoral ignoramus with a long history of humiliating women. He has made it his strategy during this debate to dredge up what are probably the darkest moments of your personal life—your husband’s affairs and alleged sexual assaults—as evidence of your failures as a wife and as a woman. He has brought three of these women to sit in the front row during the debate in an attempt to throw you off guard and cow you into submission. He literally tells you to your face that he will imprison you if he wins the election.

What would you do? If I were Hillary, I would blubber incomprehensibly through my rage-tears for the duration of the debate, if I lasted onstage that long. What did Hillary do? She stood tall and looked comfortable. She listened carefully to the voters who were asking her questions and offered them empathetic, intelligent, and articulate answers. She serenely and thoughtfully enumerated the character faults that make Trump unfit for office. She laughed it off when Trump insulted her in the most personal of terms. And at the end, she complimented him on his children. Never mind that his children don’t really deserve that compliment—Hillary responded to undeniably sexist personal attacks that are unprecedented in the history of modern American politics with an inspiring level of grace and poise.

Exactly. And when Hillary is POTUS Americans will again see her positively as they did when she was a Senator and then Secretary of State.


Then check out this humorous column by Alexandra Petri at the WaPo: The hideous, diabolical truth about Hillary Clinton. It’s written in the form of a chronological bio based on the right-wing conspiracies about her. Here are the first few paragraphs:

Before Time, Before the Earth Was Made, Before Matter and Being and History: Hillary Clinton (Lucifer, Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies, Prince of Darkness, Satan, She Whose Many Names the Cats Scream in the Night) is cast out of heaven for overweening hubris. She is condemned to lie in eternal torment in a lake of fire surrounded by her fallen angels, or, alternatively, to run for a major office while female. For thousands of years she lies outside time, smelling of sulfur, before deciding to undertake the second option.

Oct. 26, 1947: Hillary Clinton, a robot, is constructed by Saul Alinsky, then slipped into a bassinet and delivered to the Rodham house, where it stores its Six Human, Relatable Memories of squeegeeing, family life and honest toil.

Fall 1965: The young Hillary Clinton is replaced by a new model, this one with glasses. It retains only one of the memories, the squeegeeing. It attends Wellesley, where it decorates itself with spectacles and what conservative commentators will later describe as ONE VAST AND HIDEOUS EYEBROW LIKE A CATERPILLAR IN WHICH MANY WELSH MINERS COULD BE TRAPPED AND LOST AS IN A HORRID, THORNY FOREST.

Spring 1969: Hillary Clinton graduates from Wellesley, although first she gets in touch with Alinsky and his mentor, Satan. She fails to mention at the first meeting that she, too, is Satan, and then once they know each other it seems too awkward to bring it up. As a consequence, the Devil mentors Herself for many decades, wasting everyone’s time and effort. She also founds the Islamic State. She will toil for many years in secret on this passion project, keeping it even from Bill, whom she is about to meet. Once, during his presidency, he will ask, “Is there anything I should know about, Hills?” and she will shrug and say, “Nah.” A bit confusingly, she also begins to fight the Islamic State, which she will spend her entire adult life doing.

Please read the rest at the link.

So . . . what stories are you following? And how are you dealing with election stress? Be sure to take some for yourself this weekend.


Friday Reads

Good Morning!

I usually enjoy this time of year.  I also usually enjoy the political season even though there are candidates here and there that make me very mad.  Usually, one weird state or another in the great outback sends a Senator or a Congressman to Washington that should be in Bizarro World instead.  I’ve lived in states most of my life that send complete morons and the occasional shining star to DC. I’m used to that.  This isn’t the usual at all.   The President and First Lady pointed that out eloquently yesterday.

They should know.
They’ve been under attack since they won their race. Michelle Obama knows what it’s like to be under attack for physical features you cannot change and others use to define you in unkind ways.  Her speech yesterday as well as her speech at the DNC will be the defining moments of US politics for some time when history gets around to sorting us out.  The lows have been very low and she went high.  She defined what we should be as a society and a country.  Some time during her tenure as FLOTUS, she found a powerful political voice and we are better off for it. She’s had every racist and sexist attack thrown at her for 8 years. She can preach it from a place of knowing.  This is from VOX.

Obama’s speech was emotional, and that makes sense. She knows firsthand that Trump’s infamous remarks, and the underlying views of women they reflect, are all too common.

When she talks about “vulgar words” and “shameful comments” that equate women’s value with their physical appearances, she could just as easily be referring to things that have been said about her, often with a dose of racism mixed in to increase the insults. Just a few examples:

  • In 2010, discussing the first lady’s promotion of breastfeeding, radio host Rush Limbaugh said he wasn’t surprised to see her “encouraging people to get on that teat.”
  • In 2012, a California comedian joked that “Playboy is offering Ann Romney $250,000 to pose in the magazine, and the White House is upset about it because National Geographic only offered Michelle Obama $50 to pose for them.”
  • In 2013, a Richmond, Virginia, school board member’s email captioned a photo of traditionally dressed African women with bare breasts “Michelle Obama’s high school reunion.”
  • In July 2015, Patrick Rushing, the mayor of Airway Heights, Washington, referred to her as “monkey man” and “gorilla face” in a Facebook post.
  • Just in July, a loan officer lost her job after calling the first lady an “ugly black bitch” on Twitter.

Obama didn’t speak out in response to any of these attacks, but it’s not hard to read her speech as partly catharsis about the pain she’s endured and what it says about how women — and black women in particular — are demeaned in this country.

Michelle Obama–like her husband–has grown in office. Her passion is children.  She is the mother of daughters. She wants a bright and happy future for all children.  She has this in common with many women and with Hillary Clinton.  This passion is the root and soul of her heartfelt speeches.

Her legacy at the White House will include this beautiful kitchen garden.

First Lady Michelle Obama announced on Wednesday a $2.5 million donation on behalf of the Burpee Foundation towards her beloved White House kitchen garden long after she leaves the grounds.

At the event that kicked off her final fall harvest, Mrs. Obama spoke emotionally and nostalgically as she recounted the effort and passion of those who helped the White House kitchen garden blossom into what it is today –a “refuge,” “symbol” of healthy living, and a “labor of love” to many.

“This garden has taught us that if we have the courage to plant a seed–to be brave enough to plant it, then take care of it, water it, tend to it, invite friends to help us take care of it, weather the storms that inevitably come… if we have the courage to do that, then we never know what might grow,” she said at a dedication ceremony. “Now, that’s what this garden has taught me, to be fearless in those efforts, to try new things, to not be afraid to mess up–things we tell our kids all the time.”

The White House kitchen garden and the “Let’s Move” initiative, Mrs Obama added, created a cultural movement, inspiring future generations from all industries to transform the American way of life

“After an era of everything being supersized, who would have thought that major companies would be racing to market smaller, lower calorie versions of their snacks and beverages, from half sized candy bars to little mini soda cans? We see it everywhere we go,” she said. “Who would have thought that chain restaurants focused solely on salad would be the hottest new trend, or that those fitness bracelets would become so common that we wouldn’t even notice them any longer?”

I have a few other reads to suggest today. I’m making this short because my struggle continues here.  My car is acting up terribly. My computer is being completely unreliable.  It has the same problem that BB’s Computer has. We’ve both had it since we bought these.  I finally got my third phone to replace the first one that quit charging itself.  It’s working at the moment.  My youngest gets married next Saturday.  I am the proverbial basket case.  I’m tossing down Valerian root like candy and meditating frequently.  I’ve found poverty in old age to be the most challenging thing I’ve ever faced.

There’s an interview with the author–Robert P. Jones–on a new book on the end of White American Christian hegemony. You can watch it at The Atlantic.

The United States is no longer a majority white, Christian country, and that is already beginning to have profound social and political implications. At 45 percent of the population, white Christians are a shrinking demographic—and the backlash from many members of the group against the increasing diversification of America has been swift and bitter. “People fight like that when they are losing a sense of place, a sense of belonging, and a sense of the country that they understand and love,” says Robert P. Jones, the author of The End of White Christian America, in this animated interview. “How do they reengage in public life when they can’t be the majority?”

Many American Lawmakers from major US Cities are joining Elizabeth Warren’s fight against AirBnB.  This is a good feature article from The Guardian.

Airbnb is facing renewed calls for a federal investigation from more than a dozen US cities, boosting senator Elizabeth Warren’s efforts to force the popular home-sharing startup to release data on its affordable housing impact.

A coalition of American lawmakers, including leaders from New York, San Francisco, Seattle, St Louis and Portland, urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday to “help cities to protect consumers” and “study the extent to which the [short-term rental] industry is facilitating commercial operations”.

The joint letter, first reported by the Guardian, marks an escalation of a growing national campaign to force Airbnb to eliminate illegal hotels and large-scale commercial businesses that city leaders say are contributing to affordable housing shortages and urban displacement.

The push comes months after Warren – the progressive senator from Massachusetts and a high-profile Hillary Clinton supporterurged the FTC to examine Airbnb, an unprecedented step in US lawmakers’ scrutiny of the booming “sharing economy”.

The San Francisco-based startup is currently engaged in contentious legal battleswith city governments across the country, and has become one of the most high-profile California tech companies to dramatically disrupt a longstanding industry, raising complex challenges for regulators.

Opponents have increasingly pushed for tighter restrictions on the $30bncompany, which allows hosts to rent their homes to strangers. Although the firm markets itself as a third-party “sharing” platform for “short-term” rentals, reports have suggested that many are using the site for hotel-like businesses and long-term leases – taking much-needed affordable housing off the market

BBC News has a beautiful video up  showing prehistoric Chauvet Cave .  This actually an wp-1476475917497.jpgolder story from April 2015 but I really feel like we all could use some beauty.  (It’s also why I have used pictures of the White House Kitchen Garden with happy kids.)

It’s locked away behind a thick metal door, hidden halfway up a towering limestone cliff-face.

Few people have ever been allowed inside, but BBC Newsnight has been granted rare access by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.

We slide through a metal passageway on our backsides, and then tentatively descend a ladder.

It takes a few moments to adjust to the darkness, but our head torches soon reveal that we’ve entered into a vast cave system of geological beauty.

We weave along the narrow metal walkways; stalactites and stalagmites glimmer in the light, sparkling curtains of calcite hang down from above and the floor is awash with the bones of long-dead animals.

Until recently, the last people to set eyes on this place were our Palaeolithic ancestors, before a rock fall cut it off from the outside world.

This exquisitely preserved time-capsule was sealed shut for more than 20,000 years, until it was discovered by three cavers – Eliette Brunel-Deschamps, Christian Hillaire and Jean-Marie Chauvet, after whom it is now named – on the 18th December 1994.

At first they thought they had uncovered a network of spectacular caverns.

But as they ventured deeper inside, they realised this was the discovery of a lifetime – the cave held some of the oldest art ever found.

It’s breathtaking when we get our first glimpse of it.

The walls are adorned with hundreds of paintings.

Most of them are animals – woolly rhinos, mammoths, lions and bears intermingle with horses, aurochs and ibex.

Some are isolated images: we wander past a small rhino, a single, lonely creature daubed on the rock. But there are also huge, complex compositions, a menagerie of beasts jostling for space on great swathes of the cavern wall.

Take care every one!  Guard what can go into your mind!  Things on TV are very toxic these days. Try to surround yourself with beauty and the love of family and friends.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Thursday Reads: Total Meltdown


Good Morning!

Donald Trump continues to traumatize America. So far, eleven women have come forward to accuse the GOP presidential nominee of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault since he denial of predatory sexual behavior at the second presidential debate. Melissa McEwan at Shakesville provides a very good summary of the allegations so far.

Yesterday morning, I noted that four competitors in the Miss Teen USA pageant had alleged Donald Trump walked in on them while they were in various states of undress, which is also alleged to have done to Miss Universe and/or Miss USA contestants.

By the end of the day, there were at least seven more assault allegations against Trump.

Jessica Leeds says she was groped by Donald Trump on an airplane.

Jessica Leeds says she was groped by Donald Trump on an airplane.

The Trump campaign is denying these claims and questioning the timing of the stories. McEwan:

I will simply note, again, that the only reason these stories became “public decades later” is because the women he assaulted saw him lie during a presidential debate and refused to let him get away with it.

Leeds’ and Crooks’ stories are very much like those of Jill Harth and Temple Taggart, which were already public….

Trump has gotten away with this behavior for a very long time. There are certainly lots of women he has abused over many decades. And every member of the Republican Party who has supported this guy, and continues to support him, is abetting his continued abuse. The last thing he needs is more power.

And our choice is between a woman who used her position as Secretary of State to faciliate the prevention of sexual violence around the globe, or a man who is himself a sexual predator.

After a day filled with shocking stories about Trump’s disgusting behavior, People Magazine published a story by one of their own reporters late last night.

Natasha Stoynoff, People Magazine reporter

Natasha Stoynoff, People Magazine reporter

Physically Attacked by Donald Trump – a PEOPLE Writer’s Own Harrowing Story, by Natasha Stoynoff.

…in December 2005, around the time Trump had his now infamous conversation with Billy Bush, I traveled to Mar-a-Lago to interview the couple for a first-wedding-anniversary feature story.

Our photo team shot the Trumps on the lush grounds of their Florida estate, and I interviewed them about how happy their first year of marriage had been. When we took a break for the then-very-pregnant Melania to go upstairs and change wardrobe for more photos, Donald wanted to show me around the mansion. There was one “tremendous” room in particular, he said, that I just had to see.

We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.

Now, I’m a tall, strapping girl who grew up wrestling two giant brothers. I even once sparred with Mike Tyson. It takes a lot to push me. But Trump is much bigger — a looming figure — and he was fast, taking me by surprise and throwing me off balance. I was stunned. And I was grateful when Trump’s longtime butler burst into the room a minute later, as I tried to unpin myself.

Rachel Crooks says Donald Trump kissed her on the lips without permission.

Rachel Crooks says Donald Trump kissed her on the lips without permission.

Trump then went on to tell Stoynoff:

“You know we’re going to have an affair, don’t you?” he declared, in the same confident tone he uses when he says he’s going to make America great again. “Have you ever been to Peter Luger’s for steaks? I’ll take you. We’re going to have an affair, I’m telling you.” He also referenced the infamous cover of the New York Post during his affair with Marla Maples.

“You remember,” he said. “‘Best Sex I Ever Had.’ ”

Read about Stoynoff’s reactions and the aftermath for her at People.

This morning Time Magazine unveiled its latest cover, an updating of the “meltdown” cover from August 22. (See both versions at the top of this post.) This week’s cover story: Inside Donald Trump’s Total Meltdown. The piece begins with a description of the remarkable decision by evangelical Christians to stick with Trump despite the Access Hollywood tape that came out last Friday, then moved on to how Trump has traumatized most Americans.

As the 2016 campaign moved into its final weeks, Trump had put the whole country on the rack alongside the Christian conservatives, stretching the sinews of American politics to the breaking point. While some voters were tugged toward the wincing sophistry of the conference call, a larger number pulled disgustedly into the ranks of #nevertrump. The candidate himself was consumed by petty grudges. The furor over the leaked recording seemed to liberate him. Free of the “shackles”–his own tweeted word–Trump reduced his campaign to a primal grunt.

It sounded, at times, like the last gasp of the angry white man. Trump threatened to throw his opponent in jail, bragged of avoiding income taxes and peddled an empty conspiracy theory about undocumented immigrants’ being given voter-registration cards. He insisted he was right to stoke the racial tensions of New York City during the Central Park jogger drama in the 1990s, refusing to accept the DNA proof that he had the case wrong. He promoted a fiction that Muslim friends of the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorists knew their plans but failed to alert authorities, and he injected a crude Russian propaganda effort into one of his rallies without a care about its inaccuracy. Another tape (it wasn’t easy keeping track) caught him agreeing as a radio shock jock labeled his daughter Ivanka “a piece of ass.” Having congratulated himself for keeping the first presidential debate slightly above the muck, in Round 2 he plunged into the wallow, deflecting attention from his own vulgarity by saddling Clinton with the alleged sexual sins of her husband and trying to seat Bill Clinton’s accusers in the front row.

Jill Harth accused Donald Trump of attempted rape.

Jill Harth accused Donald Trump of attempted rape.

Trump once said on the campaign trail that he would approve of torture as President, “even if it doesn’t work.” With four weeks left to Election Day, he seemed to be testing the proposition on the public. Unshackled, he flirted with unhinged and erased the emollient line between a campaign aimed at the base and one intended to debase.

Read the rest at the link above.

Naturally, Trump himself has been busy tweeting this morning.

For the record, the New York Times’s May 2016 story about Trump’s repulsive behavior toward women has not been discredited.

For me, one of the most fascinating thing about the information that has been coming out about Trump since last Friday is observing men in the media beginning to understand the extent of the sexual aggression most women experience constantly in the workplace, on the street, and in private. Women have seen who and what Trump is all along. The real question is will men continue to keep their new awareness, or will it just fade away after the election?

Bob Dylan, winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature

Bob Dylan, winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature

In other news, Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. The Washington Post: ‘Poetry for the ear’: Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize in literature.

Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday for work that the Swedish Academy described as “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

He is the first American to win the prize since Toni Morrison in 1993, and a groundbreaking choice by the Nobel committee to select the first literature laureate whose career has primarily been as a musician.

Although long rumored as a contender for the prize, Dylan was far down the list of predicted winners, which included such renown writers as Haruki Murakami and Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

This is the second year in a row that the academy has turned away from fiction writers for the literature prize. And it’s possibly the first year that the prize has gone to someone who is primarily a musician, not a writer.

The next few weeks are going to be awful to watch, but at least we can be pretty confident that in January 2017 Hillary Clinton will be sworn in as the first woman President of the United States.

What stories are you following today?