Lazy Saturday Reads: Children of the Corn and Some Serious Journalism

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Good Morning!!

I spent most of yesterday in a state of extreme anger. As I’ve been writing for a long time now, I’m fed up with the media attacking Hillary and ignoring real questions about Donald Trump’s dishonesty and corruption. I’m hoping when I drive back to Massachusetts next week, I’ll find some peace and quiet all alone in my car. It usually works that way.

Late last night, lots of people on Twitter were having fun photoshopping a new Trump ad that showed three of his children (Where is Tiffany?). For the first time all day I was able to laugh. I’m going to use the best ones to illustrate this post. Here’s the original tweet from Donald Trump Jr. that started it all.

The corporate media spent the last day before Labor Day reveling in the release of the FBI’s notes from their interview with Hillary Clinton. Sadly for the New York Times and the rest of the national media circus, there was once again nothing to support their ravening desire to prove Hillary is a corrupt liar. Too bad, so sad. Oh, they tried their best to make her look bad, but with very little success.

It’s been a very bad couple of weeks for the corporate media. Now that we have twitter and blogs, they can’t escape criticism when they screw up, and they’ve screwed up royally. It must be very difficult for these “journalists” who like to think of themselves as so much smarter and more savvy than the rest of us to see their flawed stories and their own pompous attitudes mocked on Twitter. But why is it so hard for them to just admit when they’re wrong?

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John Stoer at The Washington Monthly tries to understand Why Political Journalists Can’t Take Criticism. Stoer begins by discussing the AP’s claim last week that half of the people who met with Clinton as Secretary of State were Clinton Foundation Donors. It was simply ridiculous, but the AP still refuses to correct their false tweets about the horrible article. Then he offers a more recent example:

On NPR this morning, “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep asked Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake if he shares Clinton’s view on immigration. According to Trump, Inskeep said, his opponent favors “open borders” and “amnesty.”

This is an example of a statement that’s technically accurate, but entirely misleading. And dangerous. Yes, Trump has said, time and again, that Clinton wants “open borders” and “amnesty.” It’s also true that this claim exists only the realm of fantasy. Indeed, in an interview — just yesterday — NPR’s Mara Liasson told Inskeep those claims were false.

Journalists, I believe, are beholden to the truth. If they are unwilling to pay deference to the authority of the truth, even when that deference conflicts with the profession’s other guiding principles, there isn’t much point in being a journalist….

I got in touch with Inskeep on Twitter this morning to make him aware of his mistake. (I do not subscribe to the childish claim, as Glenn Greenwald does, that the American media is in the tank for one or the other candidate). It was an honest mistake. So I asked: Will you be offering a clarification?

I didn’t expect Inskeep to reply. When he did, it was not a good faith exchange between journalists about the concrete facts of the matter. He offered instead a series of bewildering deflections, obfuscations, and, to be frank, playing dumb.

Go over to The Washington Monthly to read the exchange.

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Of course there are some journalists who are doing important investigative work. One is David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post who has spent the past year trying to find evidence of Trump’s charitable giving. He wrote the story that Dakinikat referenced yesterday about Trump’s illegal gift (essentially a bribe) to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi while she was considering joining a lawsuit against Trump University.

Trump pays IRS a penalty for his foundation violating rules with gift to aid Florida attorney general.

Donald Trump paid the IRS a $2,500 penalty this year, an official at Trump’s company said, after it was revealed that Trump’s charitable foundation had violated tax laws by giving a political contribution to a campaign group connected to Florida’s attorney general.

The improper donation, a $25,000 gift from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, was made in 2013. At the time, Attorney General Pam Bondi was considering whether to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University. She decided not to pursue the case.

Earlier this year, The Washington Post and a liberal watchdog group raised new questions about the three-year-old gift. The watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a complaint with the IRS — noting that, as a registered nonprofit, the Trump Foundation was not allowed to make political donations.

The Post reported another error, which had the effect of obscuring the political gift from the IRS.

In that year’s tax filings, The Post reported, the Trump Foundation did not notify the IRS of this political donation. Instead, Trump’s foundation listed a donation — also for $25,000 — to a Kansas charity with a name similar to that of Bondi’s political group. In fact, Trump’s foundation had not given the Kansas group any money.

The prohibited gift was, in effect, replaced with an innocent-sounding but nonexistent donation.

Trump’s business said it was unaware of any of these mistakes until March, when it heard from the watchdog group and The Post.

Anyone who believes that this wasn’t a bribe that was deliberately hidden from the IRS is a hopeless fool. Twitter has been filled with comments on this story and questions about why no one else in the media is covering it, but I’ve seen no serious responses from corporate media reporters.

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Another investigative reporters who has been doing important work is Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine. Sherman is the author of a book on Roger Ailes, and he has spent month investigating the story of Ailes’ sexual abuse of women at Fox News. Sherman’s stories ultimately led to Ailes leaving the right wing network and going to work for Donald Trump. Here’s the latest blockbuster story from Sherman: The Revenge of Roger’s Angels. How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media.

It took 15 days to end the mighty 20-year reign of Roger Ailes at Fox News, one of the most storied runs in media and political history. Ailes built not just a conservative cable news channel but something like a fourth branch of government; a propaganda arm for the GOP; an organization that determined Republican presidential candidates, sold wars, and decided the issues of the day for 2 million viewers. That the place turned out to be rife with grotesque abuses of power has left even its liberal critics stunned. More than two dozen women have come forward to accuse Ailes of sexual harassment, and what they have exposed is both a culture of misogyny and one of corruption and surveillance, smear campaigns and hush money, with implications reaching far wider than one disturbed man at the top.

It began, of course, with a lawsuit. Of all the people who might have brought down Ailes, the former Fox & Friends anchor Gretchen Carlson was among the least likely. A 50-year-old former Miss America, she was the archetypal Fox anchor: blonde, right-wing, proudly anti-intellectual. A memorable Daily Show clip showed Carlson saying she needed to Google the words czar and ignoramus. But television is a deceptive medium. Off-camera, Carlson is a Stanford- and Oxford-educated feminist who chafed at the culture of Fox News. When Ailes made harassing comments to her about her legs and suggested she wear tight-fitting outfits after she joined the network in 2005, she tried to ignore him. But eventually he pushed her too far. When Carlson complained to her supervisor in 2009 about her co-host Steve Doocy, who she said condescended to her on and off the air, Ailes responded that she was “a man hater” and a “killer” who “needed to get along with the boys.” After this conversation, Carlson says, her role on the show diminished. In September 2013, Ailes demoted her from the morning show Fox & Friends to the lower-rated 2 p.m. time slot.

Carlson knew her situation was far from unique: It was common knowledge at Fox that Ailes frequently made inappropriate comments to women in private meetings and asked them to twirl around so he could examine their figures; and there were persistent rumors that Ailes propositioned female employees for sexual favors. The culture of fear at Fox was such that no one would dare come forward. Ailes was notoriously paranoid and secretive — he built a multiroom security bunker under his home and kept a gun in his Fox office, according to Vanity Fair — and he demanded absolute loyalty from those who worked for him. He was known for monitoring employee emails and phone conversations and hiring private investigators. “Watch out for the enemy within,” he told Fox’s staff during one companywide meeting.

Taking on Ailes was dangerous, but Carlson was determined to fight back. She settled on a simple strategy: She would turn the tables on his surveillance. Beginning in 2014, according to a person familiar with the lawsuit, Carlson brought her iPhone to meetings in Ailes’s office and secretly recorded him saying the kinds of things he’d been saying to her all along. “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better. Sometimes problems are easier to solve” that way, he said in one conversation. “I’m sure you can do sweet nothings when you want to,” he said another time.

It’s a long, fascinating story. Read all the gory details at the New York Magazine link.

That’s all I have for you today. What stories are you following?


Lazy Saturday Reads: “Both Sides Do It” — Your National Political Media

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Good Morning!!

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

Daniel Dale: What America’s ‘alt-right’ movement wants and what makes it different.

Massimo Calabrisi at Time: What Donald Trump Knew About Undocumented Workers at His Signature Tower.

NBC News: Trump Doctor Wrote Health Letter in Just 5 Minutes as Limo Waited.

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.

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Politico: Teamsters endorse Hillary Clinton.

CNN: Paul Wolfowitz ‘might have to vote’ for Hillary Clinton.

HuffPo: Hillary Clinton Is Winning The Ad War–And Americans Have Noticed.

NY Daily News: Anti-Semitic Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon not a big fan of ‘whiny brat’ Jews, ex-wife says.

NYT: Breitbart Rises From Outlier to Potent Voice in Campaign.

Portland Press Herald: LePage effectively endorses racial profiling in Maine’s battle against drug addiction.

NY Daily News: EXCLUSIVE: Black 15-year-old was unarmed and surrendering when cops shot at him 16 times in Brooklyn.

NPR: Italy In Mourning: Funerals Underway For Earthquake Victims.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great weekend.


Wednesday Reads: Chairs…Chairs would be nice.

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Oh, I know it is late. I spent last night…or should I say the early morning hours spying images to use for this afternoon’s post. Geez, imagine all that time being sucked into a black hole of Pinterest Far Side pins…and then realizing it is 5am and you have written nothing.

On the plus side, I do have some great cartoons for you, so enjoy those at least. (Most of them are from Gary Lawson, but there are other artist included as well…)

Now a few links,  I’m introducing this article with a clip from Absolutely Fabulous…it is a quick little bit about chairs:

 

Starting at the 14:31 mark, the character Catriona is giving her suggestion for a editorial in the Magazine…and she mentions “chairs”:

And chairs I thought might be interesting.
I’ve got a friend with some lovely chairs in her shop.
– Jocasta? – Yes.
She believes chairs are as important to civilisation as a masterpiece or something.
I wrote it down somewhere.
We could print that up and do some lovely photos.

And now the link:

Sitting Up: A Brief History of Chairs

A brief history of chairs.

Still from Lawrence of Arabia.

Still from Lawrence of Arabia.

There is a pivotal early scene in David Lean’s film Lawrence of Arabia in which T. E. Lawrence and his superior, Colonel Brighton, visit the desert encampment of Prince Faisal, a leader of the Arab Revolt. The royal tent is spartan yet luxurious, patterned woven cloths hang from the low ceiling, a large brass samovar gleams in the candlelight, the ground is covered with a rich carpet. There is no furniture; the men sit on the carpet. Brighton, in his tailored uniform, polished Sam Browne belt, and riding boots, looks distinctly ill at ease with his legs awkwardly stretched out in front of him. Lawrence, a lieutenant and less formally dressed, appears slightly more comfortable, with his legs folded to one side. The prince, attired in a dark robe and a white ghutrah, reclines on a pile of sheepskins, while his colleague Sherif Ali leans casually against a tent pole. The various postures cinematically underline a central point: the relaxed Bedouins are at home in this place—the desert—while the stiff English colonel is an interloper. Lawrence is somewhere in between.

The world is divided into people who sit on the floor and those who sit on chairs. In a classic study of human posture around the world, the anthropologist Gordon W. Hewes identified no fewer than a hundred common sitting positions. “At least a fourth of mankind habitually takes the load off its feet by crouching in a deep squat, both at rest and at work,” he observed. Deep squatting is favored by people in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America, but sitting cross-legged on the floor is almost as common. Many South Asians cook, dine, work, and relax in that position. Certain Native American tribes in the Southwest, as well as Melanesians, customarily sit on the floor with legs stretched straight out or crossed at the ankles. Sitting with the legs folded to one side—Lawrence’s position above—is described by Hewes as a predominantly female posture in many tribal societies.

The diversity of different postures around the world could be caused by differences in climate, dress, or lifestyle. Cold or damp floors would discourage kneeling and squatting and might lead people to seek raised alternatives; tight clothing would tend to inhibit deep squatting and cross-legged sitting; nomadic peoples would be less likely to use furniture than urban societies; and so on. But cause and effect does not explain why folding stools originated in ancient Egypt, a region with a warm, dry climate. Or why the Japanese and Koreans, who have cold winters, both traditionally sat on floor mats. Or why the nomadic Mongols traveled with collapsible furniture, while the equally nomadic Bedouins did not.

imageTake a look at the rest of that, it is interesting.

Sticking with non-Trump articles for now…BBC – Culture – The 21st Century’s 100 greatest films

The best that cinema has had to offer since 2000 as picked by 177 film critics from around the world.

That is the main link, but if you are like me you would rather read a criticism of the thing…

Here is one from TCM’s blog moviemorlocks.com – The Greatest Films of the 21st Century

I suffer from chronic list fatigue, initially eager to scroll through the latest re-ordering of greatest hits, but inevitably collapse into a heap before I ingest the whole thing. Enter the BBC to test my illness. Yesterday they unveiled the results of their mammoth “Greatest Films of the 21st Century” poll, in which 177 critics submitted their top movies of the current century. It confirms that David Lynch’s  fractured, terrifying Hollywood fairy tale Mulholland Drive (2001) is the consensus film of the age. It has been topping lists of this ilk for years now, and I welcome a film so mysterious as our millennium-overlord. My narcolepsy is triggered not by the quality of the works cited, but the recycled nature of the discourse it elicits, which tends to ignore the films entirely for a “this-over-that” essentialism that reduces complicated aesthetic experiences to numbers on a list. Which reminds me, now it is time for me to reduce complicated aesthetic experiences to numbers on a list! Below you’ll find my top ten films of the 21st Century that were not included in the BBC’s top twenty five, in a modest effort to expand the conversation.

Go and check out that list, you may be surprised by what is included.

imageFrom Jezebel: 177 Critics Picked the Best Films of the Century. Guess How Many Were Directed By Women!

The BBC published its long-awaited list of the 21st century’s best films, as selected by 177 film critics from around the world. Lists like these are meant to drum up conversations and controversies, and when appearing online they’re usually the creations of a single author—a single critical mind. But the BBC has provided a decent chunk of data to supplement its numbered list, so we have a pretty good understanding of who those film critics are.

The 177 are from 36 countries, but nearly half (81) are from the US. Going down the list:

“19 from the UK, five each from Canada, Cuba, France, and Germany, and four each from Australia, Colombia, India, Israel and Italy. Lebanon, the UAE, China, Bangladesh, Chile, Namibia, Kazakhstan and many others are represented too.”

OK! Great. So they did a little work attempting to create a truly international pool of people. But what about gender? Of the 177 critics, there were 55 women and 122 are men. That’s roughly 31%, which is depressing until you look at data released earlier this summer that says women make up only 27% of film critics, at which point it becomes ever so slightly less depressing.

Similar feelings may arise when looking at the breakdown of the directors on the list. Of the 102 films (there was a three-way tie for #100), 12 (or roughly 12%) had women as directors, which is just three percentage points higher than the industry as a whole.

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More at that link.

On another issue, yes I must mention the Trump campaign: Yes, CNN and ABC Really Did Live-Stream Mike Pence’s Haircut | Mediaite

It seems like only yesterday the big news in candidate’s hair was that high dollar haircut Edwards treated himself to years ago. Remember? Now, the media is fucking covering the haircuts live!

I think this politician should be running on the GOP presidential ticket…sound like he is pretty successful to me: America’s Only Dog Mayor Gets Elected to Third Term | Mental Floss

Just a few links now that may bring up your blood pressure:

WikiLeaks posted medical files of rape victims and children, investigation finds | Media | The Guardian

Why is WikiLeaks publishing private individuals’ personal information? | PBS NewsHour

imageFrench police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban | World news | The Guardian

‘It’s about freedom’: Ban boosts burkini sales ‘by 200%’ – BBC News

Mylan CEO saw 600% pay increase during EpiPen price raise – NY Daily News

Revealed: Zika’s damage to babies’ brains more extensive than microcephaly

At least one woman finally gets what is owed her: Homeless woman proves Social Security owed her $100,000 | Tampa Bay Times

Last for those who have the cash:

Get ready to strap Aunt Edna to the roof: the Vacation car is apparently on sale · Newswire · The A.V. Club

Everybody knows you can’t take the whole tribe cross-country without the proper chariot. And as fans of the 1980s comedy classic National Lampoon’s Vacation will tell you, there’s no holiday roadster better suited for a jaunt to road trip-purgatory than the Wagon Queen Family Truckster. Now you, too, can know the luxury of gliding across the U.S. in a dinged-up metallic pea tank—“honky lips” graffiti not included—with a Houston-based auto dealership claiming to have theVacation car on sale for a measly 40 grand.

Listed as a “1979 Ford LTD,” the car features a Walley World bumper sticker, a dog leash, and a luggage rack, perfect for transporting any late relatives you might happen to pick up (and then drop off) along the way.

(Image: Carlyle Motors)

Of course, the seller makes no guarantees that this particular extremely ugly vehicle is one of the five Trucksters used in the film, so you’ll just have to take it on faith that this isn’t one of the many replicas people have made in tribute to the movie. (To quote the listing on the collectible car marketplace Hemmings, “Although this particular car is believed to be used in the filming of the movie, there is no documentation that comes with the car.“) We’re sorry if that’s a big disappointment for you, folks. Moose out front should have told ya.

Enjoy the cartoons!

 

This is an open thread.

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Sunday F*ck You Trump and Other Reads

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Good Afternoon

This post is more of a link dump than anything else, we are still working on the move…and it seems like it will go on forever.

The articles will be presented to you in a certain way…

Starting with the deep south…Florida:

Student found biting victim’s face after killings dared police to drug-test him | US news | The Guardian

In Florida, Pregnant Women Cover Up and Stay Inside Amid Zika Fears – The New York Times

Moving westward…Civil suit will cost parents of Ga. teen found dead in gym mat – NY Daily News

Trump has been causing the usual fuck ups at campaign rallies in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan…

Being Donald Trump Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

Trump’s Second Amendment Comment Is Part of an Ongoing and Troubling Trend

Trump To Black Voters: ‘What The Hell Do You Have To Lose?’

Trump Surrogate Snidely Suggests African American Voters Prefer ‘A Backdrop With A Burning Car’ | Crooks and Liars

(Just a couple of more links on Trump that I have to include.)

Jerry Falwell Jr.: Trump is the Churchillian leader we need – The Washington Post

Churchillian? What the fuck is that?

Here is TPM’s take on that op/ed by Jerry Falwell Jr: Jerry Falwell Jr.: Americans Must Elect Trump Or ‘Suffer Dire Consequences’

Jerry Falwell Jr. penned a Washington Post op-ed posted Friday evening that compared Donald Trump to Winston Churchill and warned that Americans will “suffer dire consequences” if they don’t line up behind the GOP nominee.

“We are at a crossroads where our first priority must be saving our nation. We need a leader with qualities that resemble those of Winston Churchill, and I believe that leader is Donald Trump,” Falwell wrote.

 

Westward ho….to a new study out of Colorado: Contraception’s Role In Fighting Poverty

And in Washington State…Interracial Couple Allegedly Stabbed For Kissing by White Supremacist | LawNewz

Next up is a long read from the Grist: This California couple uses more water than all of the homes in Los Angeles | Grist

I don’t know I always find the topic of water rights laws interesting.

The Resnicks are the world’s biggest producers of pistachios and almonds, and they also hold vast groves of lemons, grapefruit, and navel oranges. All told, they claim to own America’s second-largest produce company, worth an estimated$4.2 billion.

The Resnicks have amassed this empire by following a simple agricultural precept: Crops need water. Having shrewdly maneuvered the backroom politics of California’s byzantine water rules, they are now thought to consume more of the state’s water than any other family, farm, or company. They control more of it in some years than what’s used by the residents of Los Angeles and the entire San Francisco Bay Area combined.

Such an incredible stockpiling of the state’s most precious natural resource might have attracted more criticism were it not for the Resnicks’ progressive bona fides. Last year, the couple’s political and charitable donations topped $48 million. They’ve spent $15 million on the 2,500 residents of Lost Hills — roughly 600 of whom work for the couple — funding everything from sidewalks, parks, and playing fields to affordable housing, a preschool, and a health clinic.

Last year, the Resnicks rebranded all their holdings as the Wonderful Company to highlight their focus on healthy products and philanthropy. “Our company has always believed that success means doing well by doing good,” Stewart Resnick said in a press release announcing the name change. “That is why we place such importance on our extensive community outreach programs, education and health initiatives and sustainability efforts. We are deeply committed to doing our part to build a better world and inspiring others to do the same.”

But skeptics note that the Resnicks’ donations to Lost Hills began a few months after Earth Island Journal documented the yawning wealth gap between the couple and their company town, a dusty assemblage of trailer homes, dirt roads, and crumbling infrastructure. They claim the Resnicks’ influence among politicians and liberal celebrities is quietly warping California’s water policies away from the interests of the state’s residents, wildlife, and even most farmers. “I think the Wonderful Company and the Resnicks are truly the top 1 percent wrapped in a green veneer, in a veneer of social justice,” says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla of Restore the Delta, an advocacy group that represents farmers, fishermen, and environmentalists in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, east of San Francisco. “If they truly cared about a sustainable California and farmworkers within their own community, then how things are structured and how they are done by the Wonderful Company would be much different.”

In other California news, Hearst Castle threatened by fast-moving Chimney Fire – LA Times

Keeping with the Go West…theme: vintage everyday: Girls of Western United States in the early 20th Century: The Real Cowgirls of American West

Cowgirl – It’s not just a word it is a way of life! The Beauty of a Cowgirl must be seen from her eyes because that is the doorway to her heart, her true beauty is reflected in her soul.

Here are what images of badass cowgirls in the early 20th century looked like.

And just a few more articles, dealing with worldly news:

Why a 1995 speech proved formative for Clinton | PBS NewsHour -This is a post about that famous speech of Clinton’s given in China in 1995.

Refugees in Greek camps targeted by mafia gangs | World news | The Guardian

Not so jovial after all: how historians misunderstood William the Conqueror | Books | The Guardian

1-click exodus: Online ‘check out’ option sees Norway Church lose 15k parishioners in just 4 days — RT News

That is all the links I have for you today…this is an open thread.


Wednesday: Nothing, it seems, is ever enough…

imageGood Afternoon

By now you have heard and seen the latest terroristic threat from Trump. Actually, Trump’s violent assassination request has a name…There’s a Name for Trump’s Violent Incitement Against Hillary: Stochastic Terrorism | BNR

Donald said at a rally: “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick— [boos from audience] If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although, the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” 


Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.

Donald’s point about Hillary was unambiguous.

What he was doing, as explained by feminist law professor and reproductive rights activist David S. Cohen, was engaging in “stochastic terrorism,” which is “an obscure and non-legal term” meaning to use “language and other forms of communication ‘to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable,’” a sort of incitement well-known among those familiar with anti-choice violence.

Writes Cohen: “Stated differently: Trump puts out the dog-whistle knowing that some dog will hear it, even though he doesn’t know which dog.”

The sort of diffused threats that are a feature of stochastic terrorism are, unfortunately, extremely familiar to me. As a feminist progressive woman with a public profile, these are the kinds of “not really threats – wink!” I get all the time: Hoping someone else will rape and/or kill me.

Or “warning” me that someone might – if I insist on keeping up my work. Being on the receiving end of those words for more than a decade: I know what Donald meant.

It is chillingly familiar.

[…]

This man openly incited violence against a woman, who also happens to be a presidential candidate – which makes his exhortation possibly criminal, too.

imageDoesn’t it make your blood boil? This article is written by Melissa McEwan, she continues focusing on the feminist angle. You can read the rest at the link, but I prefer to focus on the main issue…feminist or not.

What the fuck!!! This is a real presidential candidate, running for the Republican Party, and he called for the assassination of his running mate and “future” president!

I’ve spent months watching and listening to the horrors that spew from Trump’s mouth…as we see, this is yet another time that Trump has, “Gone too far,” only to get away with inciting violence and murder against Hillary and Supreme Court Justices.

 

Trump’s Assassination Dog Whistle Was Scarier Than You Think – Rolling Stone

One day after his widely discussed “reboot” in which he did nothing more than read basicRepublican economic talking points from a teleprompter, Donald Trump uttered perhaps his most outrageous – and dangerous – ad-lib yet. And that’s saying something for a campaign in which he’s criticized John McCain for being a prisoner of war, characterized Mexicans as rapists, called for banning Muslims from coming into the country, picked a fight with a Gold Star family and urged Russia to hack his political opponent.

Speaking to a crowd in Wilmington, North Carolina, Tuesday, Trump expressed concern about Hillary Clinton possibly picking Supreme Court justices and other judges. He then said, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”

Let that soak in for a second. One of the two major-party nominees for president just called for “Second Amendment people” to “do” something about his political opponent’s judges. According to the Trump campaign’s rapid response team, he was talking about those “Second Amendment people” coming together politically – “unification,” as they called it. The Clinton campaign, and pretty much the entire Internet, saw it differently: as a clear suggestion of violence against a political opponent.

It’s hard not to side with the Clinton campaign here. What Trump said was that a particular group – those who are defined by rallying around guns – should do something about Clinton and her judicial nominees. What can people who rally around guns do that’s different than others? Use those guns.

But it’s really irrelevant what Trump actually meant, because enough people will hear Trump’s comments and think he’s calling for people to take up arms against Clinton, her judges or both. Though most of the people hearing that call may claim he was joking, given what we know about people taking up arms in this country, there will undoubtedly be some people who think he was serious and consider the possibility.

In other words, what Trump just did is engage in so-called stochastic terrorism. This is an obscure and non-legal term that has been occasionally discussed in the academic world for the past decade and a half, and it applies with precision here. Stochastic terrorism, as described by a blogger who summarized the concept several years back, means using language and other forms of communication “to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.”

Let’s break that down in the context of what Trump said. Predicting any one particular individual following his call to use violence against Clinton or her judges is statistically impossible. But wecan predict that there could be a presently unknown lone wolf who hears his call and takes action in the future.

Stated differently: Trump puts out the dog whistle knowing that some dog will hear it, even though he doesn’t know which dog.

Those of us who work against anti-abortion violence unfortunately know all about this. Valerie Tarico wrote about this form of terrorism following the Planned Parenthood murders in Colorado Springs last November. The pattern she noted there is 100 percent applicable to Donald Trump and his supporters right now – except that we haven’t yet had the major act of violence at the end of the string. As Tarico wrote:

“1. A public figure with access to the airwaves or pulpit demonizes a person or group of persons.
2. With repetition, the targeted person or group is gradually dehumanized, depicted as loathsome and dangerous—arousing a combustible combination of fear and moral disgust.
3. Violent images and metaphors, jokes about violence, analogies to past ‘purges’ against reviled groups, use of righteous religious language—all of these typically stop just short of an explicit call to arms.
4. When violence erupts, the public figures who have incited the violence condemn it—claiming no one could possibly have foreseen the ‘tragedy.'”

This explains Donald Trump’s campaign against Hillary Clinton to a letter. He has 1) demonized her whenever he can by calling her “Crooked Hillary” and constantly degrading her; 2) organized a convention around which the central theme, repeated over and over, was that Clinton is a criminal who needs to be locked up, clearly using fear and moral disgust as motivators; and 3) is now using violent metaphors (or “jokes,” if that’s what you think his statements were) against her, just short of an explicit call to arms.

Now we just have to hope that #4 doesn’t come about – that violence does not erupt. Though, if it does, we know exactly what Trump and his supporters will say: that they never could have foreseen this tragedy.

Donald Trump Suggests Shooting Hillary Clinton, Her Supreme Court Picks, Or Both

 

 

Donald Trump hints at assassination of Hillary Clinton by gun rights supporters | US news | The Guardian

His extraordinary remark on Tuesday was swiftly condemned by Democrats. Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, said: “This is simple – what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting took place in Newtown in 2012, went further in a tweet: “Don’t treat this as a political misstep. It’s an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.”

British novelist Salman Rushdie then weighed in, tweeting: “Of course the Trump flacks are now trying to confuse the issue, but Senator Murphy is clear about what Trump meant.”

The claim was rejected by Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama and longtime Trump supporter. He responded on CNN: “Totally wrong. I don’t believe that’s true. I don’t believe that’s at all what he meant.”

But Sessions acknowledged: “It may have been awkwardly phrased.”

As the usual line goes, Trump is allowed to explain his “true” meaning behind his words:

Trump said later in reply to Sean Hannity on Fox News that he was referring to the political movement around the Second Amendment.

Hannity asked: “You know, so obviously you’re saying that there’s a strong political movement within the Second Amendment, and if people mobilize and vote, they can stop Hillary from having this impact on the court. But that’s not how the media is spinning it. What’s your reaction to it?”

Trump replied: “Well, I just heard about that, and it was amazing because nobody in that room thought anything other than what you just said. This is a political movement. This is a strong, powerful movement, the Second Amendment … there can be no other interpretation. Even reporters have told me – I mean give me a break.”

Trump has been striving to show more discipline on the campaign trail after astring of gaffes in recent weeks. He remained in control in Detroit on Monday when a speech on the economy was repeatedly interrupted by protesters. But in Wilmington, he apparently could not resist going off-script.

Campaigners for gun control expressed outrage at his off-the-cuff remark. Po Murray, chair of the Newtown Action Alliance, said: “Donald Trump continues to pander to the corporate gun lobby and the gun extremists who thrive on fear and rhetoric.

“Any suggestion that gun violence should be used to stop Hillary Clinton from appointing supreme court justices is dangerous and reckless. It’s no surprise that 50 GOP national security experts have signed a letter making a pledge to not vote for him.”

And this…

The concern was echoed by Paul Begala, a former adviser to Bill Clinton in the White House. “This is not something that should be joked about,” he told CNN. “I hope in the best case you could say he was joking. It didn’t seem like a joke to me. Tony Schwartz, the guy who wrote [Trump’s book] The Art of the Deal, says Trump never jokes.

“I fear that an unbalanced person hears that in this inflamed environment and, God forbid, thinks that was a threat. I certainly take it as a threat, I really do, and Trump needs to apologise.”

Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and National Security Agency, said on the same channel:

“Well, let me say, if someone had have said that outside the hall he’d be in the back of a police wagon now with the secret service questioning him.”

As yet another controversy threatened to engulf him, Trump’s campaign insisted that his words had been misunderstood. Jason Miller, a spokesperson, attempted to explain the candidate’s comments. “It’s called the power of unification,” he said. “Second amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”

National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker called the uproar over Trump’s remarks a “distraction created by the dishonest media.”

JUST IN: Elizabeth Warren Responds To Trump’s Assassination Threat, Wins ENTIRE Internet (TWEET)

Another thought for everyone, Giuliani: Trump supporters would cheer Trump’s call to assassinate Hillary – AMERICAblog News

imageIn perhaps the worst attempt ever at damage control, Donald Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani attempted to defend Trump’s call yesterday for Hillary Clinton to be assassinated.

Giuliani told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that had Trump actually called for Hillary to be assassinated, the crowd would have gone wild.

Wait, what?

Video at the link.

The Real Joke is Paul Ryan – The Bob and Chez Show | News and Politics Podcast and Blog

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump invoked the Second Amendment at a rally yesterday evening and implied that gun owners may need to shoot Hillary Clinton or the Supreme Court judges she nominates as president.

That was not a joke and it isn’t funny, but Speaker of the House Paul Ryan insists that it was.

“I’ve been a little busy today. I heard about this Second Amendment quote. It sounds like just a joke gone bad. I hope he clears it up very quickly. You should never joke about something like that,” Ryan said at a press conference after winning his Republican primary. “I didn’t actually hear the comments, I only heard about those comments.”

A joke gone bad is a toady like Paul Ryan ever being treated like a serious person and being third in line to the presidency. Assassination is not a joke.

Donald Trump once said he could shoot someone and not lose support over it and I think he was right. There’s nothing Trump could say or do that would prompt Speaker Ryan to withdraw his support for Trump.

 

Fox News’ Dana Perino: If Hillary Made Same Trump Remarks: ‘We Would All Be Going Crazy’ | Crooks and Liars

Trump Idiots Can’t Seem To Agree On What He Meant By ‘Second Amendment People’ Comment Either

Trump Spokeswoman Offers A New Explanation For ‘2nd Amendment’ Line

I think that should cover the latest on Trump.

How about a little more outrage, since I am sure you are up for it?

A white homeowner called 911 to report ‘hoodlums’ outside. Then he fatally shot a black man. – The Washington Post

Chad Copley told the 911 operator to send a police car fast — he was “locked and loaded,” he said, and going outside to confront a group of “hoodlums.”

“We got a bunch of hoodlums out here racing,” the 39-year-old Raleigh man told the dispatcher early Sunday morning. “I’m going outside to secure my neighborhood.”

The dispatcher, responding to Copley, asked: “You’re going to do what?”

“I’m going to secure my neighborhood,” Copley said.

He continued: “I’m on neighborhood watch. I am going to have the neighborhood meet these hoodlums out here racing up and down the street. It’s 1 in the morning. There’s some devil in them. They have firearms and we’re going to secure our neighborhood. If I was you, I would send PD out here as quickly as possible.”

A few minutes later, Copley was on the phone with dispatchers again.

This time, haltingly, he explained the aftermath:

“I yelled at them, ‘Please leave the premises,’ ” he said. “They were showing firearms, so I fired a warning shot and uh, we got somebody that got hit. …

“I fired my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law. … They do have firearms, and I’m trying to protect myself and my family.”

The dispatcher pressed for more information: Who’s been shot, how badly are they injured — and where, exactly, is the victim?

“Please just send a car,” Copley responded. “There’s friggin’ black males outside my friggin’ house with firearms. Please, send PD. Thank you.”

He then hung up.

When officers arrived, they found a 20-year-old black man, Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, dying of a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at a hospital a short time later.

Life in a post-Zimmerman world.

Please read more about this murder at the link.

One more article, it is an op/ed, from Huffington Post. I think the headline says it all, and for me…I do not agree with it, 71 Years Ago: When Truman Failed To Pause — And The Nagasaki War Crime Followed

Nagasaki a war crime?

I have one thing to say, war is hell. Sherman meant to destroy the southern audacity so that it would never forget what happened, that was his message behind his march to the sea…

Those bombs showed the world that nuclear war is the ultimate in devastation, the finality that must be realized, justified and acknowledged with the coming of a nuclear age. It was required to end World War 2, and necessary as a warning of what will come if diplomacy is not the main path to peace going forward. I do not believe it was a war crime.

And, I don’t think we should be wiping out our history and revising it…I’m not talking about changing the names of elementary schools that honor KKK founders…but I have a difficult time with some memorials being eliminated completely. They should remain but I feel that other monuments or large prominent historic markers should be added to explain the historical significance. Make it a real teaching moment for people who see these old statues and carvings on a mountain. (Yeah, carve another monument on Stone Mountain…a memorial to Fredrick Douglas, Harriet Tubman etc.)

Last link is a fun one.

Accidental Censorship Of Olympic Divers Makes Them All Look Like Porn Stars

Every four years something really cool happens during men’s Olympic diving competitions: The scores that show up on screen cover the diver’s groin area, accidentally making it look like porn.

Here’s an example of that from the London games:

Here's an example of that from the London games:

BBC / Via fmforums.co.uk

And here are a bunch of examples of it happening in Rio. Let your mind wander because you sure as hell know we won’t judge. After all, we’re the ones who spent hours screenshotting these in the first place.

 

Some of these shots are hilarious.

Dicks out, thumbs up!

Dicks out, thumbs up!
NBC

WYD, CHEN?!

WYD, CHEN?!
NBC

#FREETHESPEEDO.

#FREETHESPEEDO.
NBC

Hmm?

Hmm?
NBC

Ummm?

Ummm?
NBC

He’s like, “Why are you naked, dude?”

He's like, "Why are you naked, dude?"
NBC

Naked friends are the best friends❤

Naked friends are the best friends <3
NBC

Butt.

Butt.
NBC

If you haven’t noticed, his name is Steele Johnson.

If you haven't noticed, his name is Steele Johnson.
NBC
And that is all for me today. See y’all in the comment section below.

Tuesday Reads: Donald Trump, Loser

Woman in blue reading a letter, Johannes Vermeer

Woman in blue reading a letter, Johannes Vermeer

Good Morning!!

Donald Trump is fast becoming that thing he fears most: a loser. At this point it’s difficult to imagine a scenario by which he recovers. Of course that doesn’t mean Democrats should be complacent; and I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that Hillary will let up one bit. Still, it’s fun to watch Trump’s personal nightmare coming true. Losing publicly–and to a woman! Sad.

Last night The Washington Post published an op-ed by Maine Sen. Susan Collins explaining “Why I cannot support Trump.” Here’s the gist:

With the passage of time, I have become increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize. But it was his attacks directed at people who could not respond on an equal footing — either because they do not share his power or stature or because professional responsibility precluded them from engaging at such a level — that revealed Mr. Trump as unworthy of being our president.

My conclusion about Mr. Trump’s unsuitability for office is based on his disregard for the precept of treating others with respect, an idea that should transcend politics. Instead, he opts to mock the vulnerable and inflame prejudices by attacking ethnic and religious minorities. Three incidents in particular have led me to the inescapable conclusion that Mr. Trump lacks the temperament, self-discipline and judgment required to be president.

The first was his mocking of a reporter with disabilities, a shocking display that did not receive the scrutiny it deserved. I kept expecting Mr. Trump to apologize, at least privately, but he did not, instead denying that he had done what seemed undeniable to anyone who watched the video. At the time, I hoped that this was a terrible lapse, not a pattern of abuse.

The second was Mr. Trump’s repeated insistence that Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge born and raised in Indiana, could not rule fairly in a case involving Trump University because of his Mexican heritage. For Mr. Trump to insist that Judge Curiel would be biased because of his ethnicity demonstrated a profound lack of respect not only for the judge but also for our constitutional separation of powers, the very foundation of our form of government. Again, I waited in vain for Mr. Trump to retract his words.

Third was Donald Trump’s criticism of the grieving parents of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq. It is inconceivable that anyone, much less a presidential candidate, would attack two Gold Star parents. Rather than honoring their sacrifice and recognizing their pain, Mr. Trump disparaged the religion of the family of an American hero. And once again, he proved incapable of apologizing, of saying he was wrong.

I am also deeply concerned that Mr. Trump’s lack of self-restraint and his barrage of ill-informed comments would make an already perilous world even more so. It is reckless for a presidential candidate to publicly raise doubts about honoring treaty commitments with our allies. Mr. Trump’s tendency to lash out when challenged further escalates the possibility of disputes spinning dangerously out of control.

I had hoped that we would see a “new” Donald Trump as a general-election candidate — one who would focus on jobs and the economy, tone down his rhetoric, develop more thoughtful policies and, yes, apologize for ill-tempered rants. But the unpleasant reality that I have had to accept is that there will be no “new” Donald Trump, just the same candidate who will slash and burn and trample anything and anyone he perceives as being in his way or an easy scapegoat. Regrettably, his essential character appears to be fixed, and he seems incapable of change or growth.

by Gerrit Alberus Beneker

by Gerrit Alberus Beneker

Also at the WaPo, Stuart Rothenberg writes: Donald Trump needs a miracle to win.

Three months from now, with the 2016 presidential election in the rear-view mirror, we will look back and agree that the presidential election was over on Aug. 9th.

Of course, it is politically incorrect to say that the die is cast.

Journalistic neutrality allegedly forces us to say that the race isn’t over until November, and most media organizations prefer to hype the presidential contest to generate viewers and readers rather than explain why a photo finish is unlikely.

But a dispassionate examination of the data, combined with a cold-blooded look at the candidates, the campaigns and presidential elections, produces only one possible conclusion: Hillary Clinton will defeat Donald Trump in November, and the margin isn’t likely to be as close as Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney.

Rothenberg on the polls:

Pre-convention polls showed the race competitive but with Clinton ahead by at least a few points in most cases. Post-convention polls show Clinton leading the race much more comfortably. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll puts Clinton’s margin at 9 points, while Fox News shows it at 10 and the Washington Post/ABC News survey finds the margin at 8 points.

These numbers could close a few points or jump around depending on the individual survey, but the race is already well-defined.

In four-way ballots, Clinton maintains her solid lead over Trump, while Libertarian Gary Johnson draws in the high single-digits or low double-digits. Green Party nominee Jill Stein generally draws in the low to middle single-digits. Relatively few voters are undecided. (See RealClearPolitics’ poll numbers here.)

State polls confirm the national surveys, with some normally Republican-leaning states up for grabs or leaning toward Clinton.

There’s much more at the link, and it’s all good for Clinton and very bad for Trump.

Girl reading, George Cochran Lambdin

Girl reading, George Cochran Lambdin

Trump supporters are already doing what Romney supporters didn’t do until close to the election–claiming the polls are  “skewed” against their candidate. Ed Kilgore at NY Magazine:

You may recall that, late in the campaign season in 2012, as polls began to show the presidential election slipping away from Mitt Romney, his supporters went into denial. First there was a noisy effort to claim the polls were “skewed” in Obama’s favor (most famously by Dean Chambers, who offered “unskewed polls” showing the Mittster cruising to victory). Then, at the very end, Republicans indulged in public-opinion mysticism, ignoring adverse polls and focusing on crowd sizes, yard-sign visibility, vague “mood of the country” assessments, and their own deeply perceptive guts.

It was easy to make fun of all this wishful thinking, but it was understandable given the timing. That Donald Trump’s supporters are already manifesting the same fingers-in-the-ears la-la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you self-deception three months before Election Day is harder to accept.

But it’s happening. Trump himself has a habit of criticizing individual polls he doesn’t like. Some of his fans are getting more systematic about it. Radio-talk-show host Bill Mitchell offered this Zen-like observation on Twitter: “Imagine polls don’t exist. Show me evidence Hillary is winning?”

How can Trump be getting those huge crowds if he’s losing, huh? All Hillary is doing is going around the country talking to voters about issues. She can’t possibly be beating Donald Trump. But she is.

Harry Enten at FiveThirty Eight: The Polls Aren’t Skewed: Trump Really Is Losing Badly.

…the unskewers are back, again insisting that pollsters are “using” more Democrats than they should, and that the percentage of Democrats and Republicans should be equal, or that there should be more Republicans. They point to surveys like the recent one from ABC News and The Washington Post, in which 33 percent of registered voters identified as Democrats compared to 27 percent as Republicans. That poll found Hillary Clinton ahead by 8 percentage points.

But let’s say this plainly: The polls are not “skewed.” They weren’t in 2012, and they aren’t now.

The basic premise of the unskewers is wrong. Most pollsters don’t weight their results by party self-identification, which polls get by asking a question like “generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a….” Party identification is an attitude, not a demographic. There isn’t some national number from the government that tells us how many Democrats and Republicans there are in the country. Some states collect party registration data, but many states do not. Moreover, party registration is not the same thing as party identification. In a state like Kentucky, for example, there are a lot more registered Democrats than registered Republicans, but more voters identified as Republican in the 2014 election exit polls.

A person’s party identification can shift, and therefore the overall balance between parties does too. Democrats have typically had an advantage in self-identification — a 4 percentage point edge in 2000, a 7-point advantage in 2008 and a 6-point edge in 2012, according to exit polls — but they had no advantage in the 2004 election. Since 1952, however, almost every presidential election has featured a Democratic advantage in party identification.

Woman reading with mother-in-law's tongue

Woman reading with mother-in-law’s tongue

Enten explains much more at the link, but here’s the point:

People…should stick to reality. Right now, Clinton is leading in almost every single national poll. She leads in both our polls-plus and polls-only forecasts. That doesn’t mean she will win. The polls have been off before, but no one knows by how much beforehand, or in which direction they’ll miss. For all their imperfection, the polls are a far better indicator than the conspiracy theories made up to convince people that Trump is ahead.

Hillary Clinton is going to be our next President–the first woman ever to hold the highest office in the land. It’s happening Sky Dancers. All we have to do is get through the next three months of media misogyny. We will overcome!

More stories to check out:

NYT: Donors for Bush, Kasich and Christie Are Turning to Clinton More Than to Trump.

NYT: 50 GOP Officials Warn Donald Trump Would Put Nation’s Security “At Risk.”

Public Policy Polling: Clinton leads in NC for first time since March.

Georgia Poll: Clinton Leads Trump by 7 Points.

WAVY (Virginia Beach): Congressman Scott Rigell resigns from local Republican party “following refusal to endorse Donald Trump.”

Brian Beutler at TNR: Donald Trump is now running Mitt Romney’s campaign plus racism.

San Jose Inside: Poll: Hillary Clinton Dominates Donald Trump in Silicon Valley.

WPTV West Palm Beach: Orlando shooter’s father attends Hillary Clinton rally in Kissimmee.

SevenDaysVt: Bernie Sanders Buys a Summer Home in North Hero

WaPo: Ivanka Trump champions working moms — except the ones who design her clothes.

NY Magazine: Report: ‘Multiple Women’ Taped Conversations With Roger Ailes.

NY Magazine: Fox News Host Andrea Tantaros Says She Was Taken Off the Air After Making Sexual-Harassment Claims Against Roger Ailes.

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


Lazy Saturday Reads: The Media’s Endless Harassment of Hillary Clinton

Woman reading, Jean-Baptiste Emile Corot

Woman reading, Jean-Baptiste Emile Corot

Good Afternoon!!

For the first time since she announced her candidacy for POTUS, the media spend two days noticing that Hillary Clinton is winning in the national and state polls and with many experts–including Republicans–who know what it takes to be President and Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces. That ended yesterday after Hillary answered questions from “journalists” at a meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Two of the “journalists” asked about her emails and about why everyone supposedly hates her.

The reviews were scathing. Here’s one of the hundreds of negative reactions, this one from Slate: Hillary Finally Gave a Press Conference. It Was a Master Class in Obfuscation.

In Friday’s press questioning, the trouble began when she was asked her first question about her private email server and recent statements about that server which independent fact checkers have labeled as categorically untrue. Clinton’s responses here—and her previous responses to questions about the truthfulness of past statements—are so overly legalistic and convoluted that they are difficult to even explain. But here’s a shot.

Last month, Fox News’ Chris Wallace asserted to Clinton that FBI Director James Comey said her public statements about which documents on her private email server were classified and which were not were untrue. In actuality, Comey declined to address the truthfulness or lack of truthfulness of those statements in Congressional testimony on the matter. But in announcing his investigation into her server—which cleared Clinton of any wrongdoing—Comey implied that she had either misled the American public about her poor handling of material she should have known was classified information, or been incompetent in doing so. “Even if information is not marked ‘classified’ in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it,” he said. Clinton had previously claimed: “I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time. I had not sent classified material nor received anything marked classified.”

In response to Wallace’s question claiming that Comey had said she was not telling the truth, Clinton said this: “Director Comey said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails.”

painting by Gerrit Albertus Beneker

painting by Gerrit Albertus Beneker

But the “fact checkers” say she’s lying. And of course this is so much more important than the idea of Donald Trump having access to the nuclear codes or that he is likely being manipulated by Vladimir Putin. It makes no difference to the media that Hillary did nothing criminal, that she will not be indicted, and never was even in danger of being indicted. Her emails are the only “issue” that matters to those in the DC media bubble. Read the rest of the article at the link if you are interested in intense parsing of every word that comes out of Hillary’s mouth.

Here’s Charles Pierce: Somehow Hillary Clinton Made the E-mail Mess Even Worse Today. Trump is imploding. Hillary should be soaring. What’s wrong?

At least Pierce admits that most voters don’t give a flying fuck about her emails. They voted for her by the millions in the primaries and she is way ahead in the polls. This should be a dead issue. But it will never die. Pierce also draws attention to another question that Hillary was forced to answer yesterday–in so many words, “why does everyone hate you?”

…she sat for questions, which is the closest she’s come to an actual press conference in over 200 days, something that’s been the topic of insufferable whining from our elite political press. Said whining was represented ably by Ed O’Keefe of The Washington Post, who prefaced his question by being fairly snotty.

“We encourage you to do this more often with reporters across the country, especially those news organizations that travel the country with you wherever you go.”

Tough guy.

Pierce left out O’Keefe’s actual question which was a demand for her to answer why people think she’s so untrustworthy, and how can she possibly lead the nation when that’s the case. Gee, I wonder why Hillary chooses not to give press conferences?!

But Pierce has no mercy on Clinton for her response the the email question. He quotes part of her answer and then writes:

That is not within an area code of satisfactory.

Hell, it’s barely in the neighborhood of English. It is legalistic gobbledegook. You can turn an ankle trying to get from premise to conclusion in that tangled thicket of weaselspeak. It ought not to matter at this point, and it never has mattered all that much to me, but, Lord above, if HRC and her people ever wonder why her trust numbers are so abysmal, they ought to read back her answer to that question.

That’s the way you talk when the mule you sold somebody died on the way home.

Remember, folks, we are talking about emails after it has become clear that Hillary did nothing different from previous Secretaries of State and thousands of other government officials whose emails have not been examined. Furthermore we’re talking about it after the case has already been decided in Hillary’s favor. Finally, James Comey (a Republican) is not the final arbiter on what is or should be classified, and he went against DOJ rules when he spoke publicly about the case.

painting by Ivan Kramskoi

painting by Ivan Kramskoi

This morning, the New York Times actually attacked Clinton for putting her hand on her heart when she is speaking!

When Hillary Clinton told her audience at a rally in Las Vegas on Thursday “Here’s what I believe,” she punctuated those words with not just a vocal flourish but a physical one. Up went her hand, placed over her heart.

It’s a gesture unfamiliar from her past campaigns, but it’s a favorite this time around. In Columbus, Ohio, and Omaha, Mrs. Clinton spoke of her late father, and up went her hand, placed over her heart.

At the Democratic National Convention, when she took the stage to wild applause, she cued the audience on how grateful, moved and humbled she felt by putting her hand to her heart, once, twice, then a third and fourth time.

It’s a subliminal message of sincerity that some language experts consider contrived.

Bill McGowan, a communications coach and chief executive of Clarity Media Group, calls the hand-on-heart motion “the gesture du jour.” He said he has noticed that other politicians have adopted the habit, and he doesn’t think it’s entirely artless.

“Voters are more and more wise to the fact that speeches are carefully constructed and vetted, yet at the same time there is so much demand for a higher level of authenticity,” Mr. McGowan said. “Candidates are looking for anything that makes them seem like they are speaking genuinely from the heart, and not from a thoroughly vetted key message document.”

Oh my God! Putting her hand on her heart? She’s the Devil! Has anyone ever written an article like this about Donald Trump’s hand gestures?

I wish I could stop caring so much about the media’s treatment of Hillary Clinton, but I can’t. I hate what they are doing to her. Anyway here are some antidotes to the media hatred.

Read more of Melissa’s tweets here.

Peter Daou also posted a stunning and insulting CNN interview with Hillary in 1996 that shows how far back the media harassment of her goes.

In his piece on the video, Daou quotes Melissa McEwan:

The thing we have to understand about these interviews is that they’re not about trying to establish facts about Hillary’s fundamental truthfulness or integrity. They’re about an attempt to hurt her on camera and capture her pain. The persistent exploration of negative feelings toward Hillary is about shaming her, about replicating the visceral responses many people have to women seeking power.

Finally, here’s Peter Daou on the “hand on the heart” story: NYT Chastises Hillary for Putting Her Hand on Her Heart — What’s Next, Breathing?

In the past week, like every week before it, the national media have worked overtime to convince the public that Hillary is a liar, continuing their interminable obsession with her State Dept. emails. Even while she’s leading her unhinged opponent by wide margins, they continue to characterize her as a loser….

Now we get this inane and insulting piece from the New York Times rehashing the stale “Hillary is inauthentic” narrative….

Got it? She’s “contrived.” According to our national media, nothing Hillary says or does is real. She’s just a cold, robotic, scheming, lying ambition machine.

Back in March of 2015, I identified the dominant anti-Hillary frames — see if you recognize them:

• CALCULATING (Scheming, crafty, manipulative)
• SECRETIVE (Suspicious, paranoid, uncommunicative)
• POLARIZING (Divisive, alienating)
• UNTRUSTWORTHY (Corrupt, deceitful, dishonest, unethical)
• OVER-AMBITIOUS (Will do or say anything to win)
• INAUTHENTIC (Disingenuous, fake, unlikable, insincere)
• INHUMAN (Machine-like, robotic, abnormal, cold)
• OVER-CONFIDENT (Inevitable, defiant, imperious, regal)
• OLD (Out of touch, represents the past)

Now think about the profoundly misplaced priorities of the NY Times (and other major media outlets) whose singular mission is to mangle Hillary’s public image even as we face the possibility of a Trump presidency.

It boggles the mind.

Exactly what do there “journalists” want Hillary to do? Would they be satisfied if she got down on her knees on stage and cried for mercy? I doubt it. Do they want her to withdraw from the race for POTUS and cede the presidency to Donald Trump? Do they want her to be flogged in the the public square and then tarred and feathered? I honestly don’t think anything would satisfy them.

Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread and have a great weekend!