Today’s post is going to focus on the few days…and the shooting deaths of two black men by police.
By now I am sure you have heard of #TerenceCrutcher …you may not have yet heard of #KeithLamontScott. The fact that I’ve put their names in #hashtag format should give you a huge clue…these two men are the latest men to be killed by police while being black.
A fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man by a white officer has reopened fresh wounds in this city with a fraught history among African Americans, white residents and police officers.
A graphic police video shows Terence Crutcher, 40, being fatally shot by a police officer Friday night as he walks with his hands up toward his SUV, stalled out in the middle of the road.
Video at that link and more…
The police shooting victim in Charlotte, North Carolina has been identified by friends and family as Keith Lamont Scott, 43. The officer who shot Scott has been identified as Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Brentley Vinson.
UPDATE: 9/20/16, 9:00 p.m. ET — The victim’s daughter, Lyric Scott, has gone live again from a growing protest in response to the police shooting of her father.
***ORIGINAL STORY BELOW***
A disabled black man has died at the hospital after being shot by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Tuesday afternoon on Old Concord Road in University City, a subdivision of Charlotte, NC.
Police said they were searching for someone who had outstanding warrants when they saw a man with what they believed to be a gun leave a vehicle.
According to police reports, the man, who has not been named, returned to his vehicle. When they approached the man, they claim he “posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers” and one of them opened fire. An eyewitness told the victim’s daughter that a Taser was used on her father, then he was shot at least three times.
Medics arrived and the injured man was taken to Carolinas Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.
The victim was not the subject of the initial search, said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney.
I have so much to say, but my internet is acting up or wordpress is doing something wonky…I will give you plenty of links for now…more to be said in the comments.
That statement about her brother was not a bad bad dude…oh wow.
The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the police killing of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday, but his family is demanding that the charges against the involved officer be filed immediately.
Police were originally responding to an unrelated call when they approached Crutcher’s vehicle, which had been stalled in the middle of the street. Shortly after the officers arrived, one officer deployed his taser on Crutcher who stood by his car. Moments later, Officer Betty Shelby, who is white, fatally shot Crutcher, who was black and unarmed, while he had his hands raised in the air, according to this graphic video footage released on Monday. Inone video that was captured by an overhead helicopter, Crutcher is seen standing by his car while a police officer is overheard describing him as a “bad dude.”
“That big ‘bad dude’ ― his life mattered,” Crutcher’s twin sister Tiffany Crutcher told reporters on Monday, according to Tulsa World. She went on to demand an end to police brutality. “The chain breaks here. We’re going to stop it right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This is bigger than us right here. We’re going to stop it right here.”
Tiffany, who just celebrated her 40th birthday with her brother, mentioned a recent text message she received from Terence that she said read, “I’m going to show you. I’m going to make you all proud.”
She expressed her grievance over his loss and how Terence will never get that chance, “because of the negligence and the incompetency and the insensitivity, and because he was a big, ‘bad dude,’” Tiffany said. “And so we’re demanding today, immediately, that charges are pressed against this officer that was incompetent, that took my brother’s life.”
“When Terence was shot, he laid on the ground bleeding out without any assistance,” Dario Solomon-Simmons, an attorney for the family and longtime family friend, said at the conference. “Terence died on that street by himself in his own blood, without any help.”
“This video is extremely disturbing,” he added. “Without a doubt we believe this was an unjustified shooting that should not have happened.”
The anger around Crutcher’s death has been felt from many on social media who have poured out their grievances online over the police killing of yet another unarmed black man with the trending hashtag #TerenceCrutcher. However, as the mourning continues, Crutcher’s sister has asked that people remain peaceful as they demonstrate their anger over his death.
“Just know that our voices will be heard,” she said. “The video will speak for itself. Let’s protest. Let’s do what we have to do, but let’s just make sure that we do it peacefully, to respect the culture of (the Crutcher family).”
This next link is from a comment by a woman who has an adopted black son…she lives in Tulsa.
On the Kaepernick protest:
Here’s How Many Black People Have Been Killed By Police Since Colin Kaepernick Began Protesting | Huffington Post Oh yeah, it has only been one month.
At least 15 black people have died during encounters with the police since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting police violence by kneeling before NFL games, based on numbers compiled by The Guardian.
Kaepernick’s decision to sit or take a knee during the national anthem first drew attention after his team’s Aug. 26 preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, when he told NFL.com that he was “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Since then, Kaepernick’s continued protest has drawn considerable criticism from politicians, police unions, pundits, other professional athletesand many on social media who have opposed both his message and his method of conveying it.
But the problem Kaepernick wants to highlight has continued. And on Monday, it was back in the news again, after police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, released multiple videos that showed the fatal shooting of Terence Crutcher.
The videos show that 40-year-old Crutcher, like so many other black men, was unarmed with his hands in the air when police officers shot and killed him as he returned to his car, which had stalled in the middle of a roadway. The videos run contrary to the department’s initial statements about the shooting, which claimed that Crutcher had ignored officers’ warning to raise his hands.
And lastly a few links that are related to the topic today:
I can’t end this post on a happy note. No way in hell.
This is an open thread of course.
I’m on the road to Boston in Utica, NY. I’ll be home later this afternoon, and I’ll make every effort to post something more then. In the meantime, here’s an open thread.
Is it possible that the media has finally changed its tone toward Donald Trump? Yesterday I heard NPR announcers say several times that Trump’s claim that Hillary Clinton started the birther controversy was “false” or “not true.”
Apparently the media was enraged at the treatment Trump gave them yesterday when he tricked them into thinking he would admit he was wrong to push the horrid birther story for five years at a press conference. It turned out he didn’t answer any questions and didn’t produce anything resembling an apology. Then he refused to allow the media to accompany him on a tour of his new hotel in Washington DC. He had only wanted free media for his business interests.
Just as Donald Trump gained on Hillary Clinton this week, he returned to his old ways of self-sabotage.
As the “birther” controversy swelled around him, he stood before a national television audience seemingly poised to address the issue that launched his political career — and then he spent 30 minutes delivering an infomercial about his new hotel. As the event was about to wrap, he tossed out a near-throwaway line: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.” ….
Black congressional leaders, along with Clinton’s campaign, pilloried Trump’s brief statement on Obama’s birthplace — which was not an apology, an explanation or even an admission that he was the loudest promoter of the birther movement.
At a press conference, member of the Congressional Black Caucus urged voters to register and get out and vote this November.
“We are used to dog whistles, but the thing we are not used to are the howls of wolves. These are howls, not whistles,” said Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina….Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, called Trump’s actions “disgraceful.”“After five years of pushing a racist conspiracy theory into the mainstream, it was appalling to watch Trump appoint himself the judge of whether the President of the United States is American,” Mook said in a statement. “This sickening display shows more than ever why Donald Trump is totally unfit be president.”
To top off his awful day, last night Donald Trump for the second time called for Hillary Clinton to be assassinated. NBC News:
MIAMI — Donald Trump mixed policy with intimations of violence in Miami on Friday, reversing his position on re-engaging with Cuba and pushing for Hillary Clinton’s security to disarm because of her proposed firearm reforms.
Trump represented Clinton’s position on gun rights as wanting to “destroy your Second Amendment” and said that her bodyguards should no longer carry firearms in light of her policy stance, which includes expanded background checks for gun sales.
“She doesn’t want guns, take their — let’s see what happens to her,” Trump said. “Take their guns away, okay? It’ll be very dangerous.”
Trump’s comments were slammed by Clinton’s campaign on Friday night:
“Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President, has a pattern of inciting people to violence. Whether this is done to provoke protesters at a rally or casually or even as a joke, it is an unacceptable quality in anyone seeking the job of Commander in Chief,” Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, wrote in a release.
“This kind of talk should be out of bounds for a presidential candidate, just like it should be out of bounds for a presidential candidate to peddle a conspiracy theory about the President of the United States for five years,” Mook added.
“But we’ve seen again and again that no amount of failed resets can change who Donald Trump is. He is unfit to be President and it is time Republican leaders stand up to denounce this disturbing behavior in their nominee.”
Even the media’s sudden willingness to call Donald Trump out on his lies may not be enough. Trump is actually moving up in the polls. Hillary would still win if the election were held today, but the media’s bias against her is taking its toll. It’s time for the media to stop playing Trump’s game and get serious about reporting on the issues.
More interesting stories to check out this morning:
Dan Gillmor at The Atlantic: Fighting Politicians’ War on Truth.
Margaret Sullivan at The Washington Post: It’s time for TV news to stop playing the stooge for Donald Trump.
Talking Points Memo: Trump Introduced By A Birther At Event Where He Walked Back Birtherism.
Joseph Stiglitz at Medium: Why TPP Is a Bad Deal for America and American Workers.
Now I have to get ready to hit the road. I’ll check in with you later on. What stories are you following today?
A brief personal note: I’m still staying with my mother in Indiana. I was ready to go home last week, but I came down with a virus that seems similar to what Dakinikat had recently. Then my mom had a fainting episode that may have been caused by dehydration (sound familiar?). I called 911, because she collapsed suddenly and I had no idea what happened. Luckily, I was there and was able to lower her to the floor gradually. Her vital signs turned out to be fine, but she hurt her leg because of her position on the floor. She’s better now, but today my cold is the worst it has been. So I’m not sure how coherent this post will be, and it’s obviously very late.
Like other Sky Dancers, I’ve been at my wits end lately with the way the media is attacking Hillary and letting Trump slide on his racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia as well as the actual corruption around his so-called family foundation. The only redeeming factor on MSNBC yesterday was Lawrence O’Donnell’s epic rant about the media “losing it’s collective mind” over Hillary’s health. If you missed it, you must watch it as soon as you can.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that The New York Times and the Associate Press are deplorable and irredeemable. Surprisingly, The Washington Post is currently doing the best job of holding Trump accountable and not “losing its mind” over every single thing Hillary says or does.
I want to begin with two articles I found somewhat calming.
Stuart Rothenberg at The Washington Post: Why Clinton’s narrow lead is bigger than it looks.
Big swings in polls get the big headlines because they imply big changes in a race. But over the past three-and-a-half decades, I’ve grown skeptical of big swings in polls at this late date, and I’ve seen only modest changes in voting behavior in presidential elections.
It isn’t that big swings can’t happen during a campaign. It’s that big swings are rare because there are so few swing voters in the electorate and all swing voters rarely move in the same direction.
A little more than a month ago Gallup found 38 percent of respondents saying they were political Independents, while only 31 percent said they were Democrats and 27 percent said they were Republicans.
But once respondents who “leaned” to one party or the other are allocated, only 11 percent of Americans called themselves true Independents (and some of them probably are closet partisans). This same distribution has been found by the Pew Research Center.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey conducted after the Democratic convention (July 31-Aug. 3) showed 33 percent of respondents were independents, while 13 percent were true independents.
Dramatic events – such as a national party convention or a heavily watched televised debate – can produce significant swings in the polls, and a bad economy, presidential scandal or unpopular war can produce substantial electoral swings, such as when normally Republican Indiana voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
But unless there is dramatic news, you should be very skeptical about any survey showing a dramatic shift in voters’ attitudes over a few weeks. Remember, not only are survey results subject to a margin of error, but 5 percent of surveys produce results outside that margin.
If you look at actual presidential election results, you may be surprised to see how little swing there is when all the votes are counted.
The presidential election map is undergoing a fundamental change, with shifts that will make it easier for Democrats to win not only in 2016 but also for years to come.
Driving the change are two demographic trends: The share of Hispanic and under-30 voters, who favor Democrats in big numbers, is growing significantly in states that in the last decade were decent bets to vote Republican.
“We’re moving in a direction where the demographic map makes it harder and harder for Republican candidates to win the presidency if current conditions continue,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, the director of Hispanic research at the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.
Colorado, Nevada and Pennsylvania illustrate how the demographic changes are giving Hillary Clinton an electoral advantage Democrats are unlikely to lose anytime soon. Clinton leads in Pennsylvania and Colorado, which for years were regarded as swing states, and she has a polling edge in Nevada.
Already moving toward the Democrats in the Obama era, Hispanics and younger voters are trending strongly Democratic in the Trump era.
Read more details the rest at the link.
As Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out last night, people who are already supporting Hillary are unlikely to be swayed by reports about her health, and Trump supporters are unlikely to switch sides because his racism and incompetence. They like him because they are racists too. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who fails to reject Donald Trump after the shocking things he has said over the last year is obviously supporting his racism.
Another bit of positive news from the WaPo: Middle class incomes had their fastest growth on record last year.
The incomes of typical Americans rose in 2015 by 5.2 percent, the first significant boost to middle-class pay since the end of the Great Recession and the fastest increase ever recorded by the federal government, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday.
In addition, the poverty rate fell by 1.2 percentage points, the steepest decline since 1968. There were 43.1 million Americans in poverty on the year, 3.5 million fewer than in 2014.
The share of Americans who lack health insurance continued a years-long decline, falling 1.3 percentage points, to 9.1 percent.
The numbers, from the government’s annual report on income, poverty and health insurance, suggest the recovery from recession is finally beginning to lift the fortunes of large swaths of American workers and families. The Obama administration and its allies immediately hailed them in glowing terms.
“This exceeds the strong expectation that I already had,” Jason Furman, the chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview, in which he called the income report the strongest ever from the Census Bureau. “The news here is the growth rates. I’ve read the last 21 reports, including this one. I have never seen one like this, in terms of, everything you look at is what you’d want to see or better.”
Trump keeps saying that America is in decline and everything about our country is terrible. But he’s just lying like he does about everything under the sun.
More Congresspeople are going on Cable news to defend Hillary. Here’s a great segment with Black Caucus Chairman Rep Gregory Meeks. Keep an eye on the facial expressions of the woman interviewer.
David Fahrenthold has a new piece today that demonstrates the Trump campaign’s confusion about how foundations and charities work: Donald J. Trump Foundation is Trump’s money, his campaign manager says. No.
Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was asked on CNN this morning to provide evidence to prove Trump’s claim that he has given generously to charity.
In the process, Conway also seemed to be unaware of a key fact about Trump’s personal charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
Which is: The Trump Foundation’s money doesn’t actually come from Trump’s own pocket.
“Donald Trump has been incredibly generous over the course of his life,” Conway told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
“With his own money?” Camerota asked.
“With his own money, and his foundation’s money — which is his money,” Conway replied.
Wow. If you’ve been following Fahrenthold’s research, you know how completely wrong that is. Please go read the whole thing.
Here’s a strange suggestion that can’t be ignored because of the person who made it. Again from the WaPo: The man who discovered CTE thinks Hillary Clinton may have been poisoned.
Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who has made the NFL so uncomfortable with his discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the brains of deceased players, suggests that Hillary Clinton’s campaign be checked for possible poisons after her collapse Sunday in New York.
Omalu, whose story was famously told in the movie “Concussion,” made the suggestion on Twitter, writing that he advised campaign officials to “perform toxicologic analysis of Ms. Clinton’s blood.”
Omalu suggests that with the Russian interference in the 2016 election this is something to be concerned about.
I doubt if it’s true, but what’s the harm in checking it out? We’ve seen some unbelievable things happening this year.
That will have to do it for me today. I may add more links in the comment thread.
Well, Hillary’s gone and done it now. And her base is fired up! Last night at the LGBT for Hillary gala in NYC, she told the truth about Trump supporters last night, and the Trump campaign and the white male media are reaching for their smelling salts and swooning onto their fainting couches. Outrage!
Trump supporters have spent months yelling “lock her up” and “hang the bitch” whenever Trump mentions her name in his rallies. When he mentions President Obama, they scream “he’s a Muslim.” But when Hillary talks about their ugly bigotry, they’re suddenly innocent victims and “hard working Americans.”
Guess what? There are millions of hard working Americans who are not white bigots. The simple truth is that anyone who supports Trump at this point is aligning him or herself with racism and xenophobia. That is Trump’s entire platform. He doesn’t have any realistic plans to bring jobs to working people, and he plans to lower taxes on the rich so much that there will be zero federal money to do anything about jobs, infrastructure and the other fake items in his talking points.
Abby Philip of the Washington Post last night: Clinton: Half of Trump’s supporters fit in ‘basket of deplorables.’
Hillary Clinton said Friday that “half” of Donald Trump’s supporters could be grouped in “the basket of deplorables” at a fundraising event in New York City.
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables’. Right?” Clinton said to applause and laughter from the crowd of supporters at an LGBT for Hillary fundraiser where Barbra Streisand performed. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”
“And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up,” she added.
Clinton then noted, as she has several times in the past, that Trump has “given voice” to white supremacist and anti-Semitic voices on the Internet.
“He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric,” Clinton said. “Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
Of course that’s not all she said.
“That other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change,” Clinton said. “It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different.
“They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead end,” Clinton said. “Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”
Oh my God! How dare Hillary call out the racists and white supremacists who not only flock to his rallies, but also inhabit the highest levels of his campaign? Although the media didn’t cover it very well, she gave an entire speech on this topic last month. Some excerpts:
From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia.
He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.
His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.
In just this past week, under the guise of “outreach” to African Americans, Trump has stood up in front of largely white audiences and described black communities in such insulting and ignorant terms:
“Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing. No homes. No ownership. Crime at levels nobody has seen.” Right now,” he said, “you walk down the street and get shot.” [….]
A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far, dark reaches of the internet, should never run our government or command our military.
Ask yourself, if he doesn’t respect all Americans, how can he serve all Americans?
Now, I know some people still want to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.
They hope that he will eventually reinvent himself – that there’s a kinder, gentler, more responsible Donald Trump waiting in the wings somewhere.
Because after all, it’s hard to believe anyone – let alone a nominee for president – could really believe all the things he says.
But the hard truth is, there’s no other Donald Trump. This is it.
Maya Angelou, a great American whom I admire very much, she once said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Were any of the white reporters who are so outraged today paying attention to that speech? Right now Hillary is the only person who can save this country from being taken over by a racist populist demagogue who publicly expresses admiration for strongman leaders like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un.
We’ll see what happens with this, but I hope Hillary doesn’t back down. In fact the percentage of “deplorables” in Trump’s audiences is probably greater than 50 percent.
Here are a couple of article from June about the Trump “coalition.”
You can ask just one simple question to find out whether someone likes Donald Trump more than Hillary Clinton: Is Barack Obama a Muslim? If they are white and the answer is yes, 89 percent of the time that person will have a higher opinion of Trump than Clinton.
That’s more accurate than asking people if it’s harder to move up the income ladder than it was for their parents (54 percent), whether they oppose trade deals (66 percent), or if they think the economy is worse now than last year (81 percent). It’s even more accurate than asking them if they are Republican (87 percent).
Those results come from the 2016 American National Election Study (ANES) pilot survey. My analysis indicates that economic status and attitudes do little to explain support for Donald Trump.
These results might be rather surprising since most political commentators have sought to root Trump’s appeal in the economic anxieties of working-class whites. As George Packer recently wrote in the New Yorker:
The base of the [Republican] Party, the middle-aged white working class, has suffered at least as much as any demographic group because of globalization, low-wage immigrant labor, and free trade. Trump sensed the rage that flared from this pain and made it the fuel of his campaign.
Read more at the link.
The Atlantic: Donald Trump’s Coalition of Restoration.
[A] survey by the non-partisan Public Religion Research Institute, and the center-left Brookings Institution, measures Americans’ attitudes about a broad range of issues relating to immigration and demographic change. Consistently, the poll found that Trump supporters view the changes with greater—often much greater—alarm than not only Democrats or independents, but also Republicans who did not support Trump during the GOP primaries. In all, the survey shows that Trump was lifted by a coalition that largely believes the America it has known is under siege—and that unprecedented measures are required to reverse the threat.
According to figures provided to me by PRRI, Trump supporters (including both Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who backed him during the primary) are more likely than Democrats, independents or other Republicans to say that they worry about being a victim of terrorism or violent crime; that they are bothered when they hear immigrants talking in a language other than English; that discrimination against whites is as great a problem as discrimination against minorities; and that American and Islamic values are inherently at odds. Fully 80 percent of Trump voters say that immigrants are more burden than benefit to America; just 27 percent of Democrats, 41 percent of independents, and 53 percent of other Republicans agree.
Often the contrast between Trump supporters and all other adults widened further when the poll measured those who hold these positions most vehemently. Fully 44 percent of Trump supporters, for instance, said they “completely agree” it bothers them when they hear immigrants speaking a language other than English; less than half as many independents, Democrats, or non-Trump-supporting Republicans agreed. Likewise, while about two-fifths of Trump Republicans “completely” agreed that “because things have gotten so far off track in this country, we need a leader who is willing to break some rules,” less than one-fifth of Democrats, independents, and other Republicans concurred.
That instinct helps explain the broad support in Trump’s coalition for his edgiest proposals; indeed, the poll makes clear that Trump triumphed not in spite of his most polarizing ideas, but largely because of them. Roughly four-fifths of Trump supporters say they back his plans to build a wall with Mexico, to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the country, and to bar Syrian refugees. In each case, between 43 and 47 percent of Trump supporters back those ideas strongly.
Republicans are now trying to claim that this is Hillary Clinton’s “47 percent moment.” Bullshit! From Daniel Politi at Slate: Why It’s Ridiculous To Call Clinton’s “Basket of Deplorables” Her “47 Percent” Moment.
Hillary Clinton has straight out called Donald Trump a racist who is “offering a dog whistle” to the most extremist, hateful portions of American society. But now Republicans are acting very shocked that Clinton would say that around half of Trump’s supporters could be classified under the broad heading “basket of deplorables,” meaning racists, sexists, homophobes or xenophobes. In other words people who would never vote for Clinton.
The Democratic presidential candidate’s use of the word “half,” immediately made Republicans associate it with Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” line from the campaign that was secretly recorded. Except, you know, this event was covered by the press and her statement—read in context—was actually a call to arms for her supporters not to automatically dismiss someone as irredeemable just because he or she happens to support someone like Trump.
As is evident from the remarks, what Clinton was saying is that not all Trump supporters are racists, xenophobes or homophobes, a common thinking in particularly liberal circles. So “if you know anybody who’s even thinking about voting for Trump, stage an intervention,” Clinton said before adding that getting people to stop supporting the Republican candidate “may be one conversion therapy I endorse.” [….]
[In 2012] Romney talked down and dismissed the importance of poor people while Clinton talked down to and dismissed racists, xenophobes, and homophobes. A slight difference. Plus, Romney was talking about people who may have actually chosen to support him whereas Clinton was referring to people who in no way would vote for her. So the risk of alienation really isn’t that great to begin with, although of course it could make the most fervent Trump supporters more fervent.
Please don’t back down, Hillary! You are right, and the media will disparage you no matter what you say or do. Thank you for standing up for Americans who don’t want our country to be led by a disgusting racist, white supremacist, and wannabe dictator.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a wonderful weekend!
Last night’s “Commander-In-Chief Forum” on NBC and MSNBC was way beyond pathetic. Matt Lauer is not a serious journalist, and why he was picked to moderate is a mystery. Even Chuck Todd or Rachel Maddow might have done a better job.
But just imagine if Joy Reid had been chosen to moderate. I have no doubt she would have asked fairer questions and would have been willing and able to fact-check Donald Trump’s lies. She would very likely have asked Hillary Clinton some serious questions about foreign affairs instead of spending 10 minutes cross-examining her on emails and then repeatedly interrupting and bullying the first woman candidate for POTUS as Lauer did.
This morning #LaueringTheBar is trending on Twitter, and Lauer is being skewered everywhere. What an embarrassment for NBC, a once-great network! For anyone who didn’t see Lauer’s disgraceful performance, you can read the entire transcript at Time Magazine.
Some choice tweets:
In a forum devoted to veterans’ affairs, Lauer never asked Trump about his attacks on the Khans, or his multiple draft deferments.
I could go on and on, but I want to share some more substantive reactions to last night’s media debacle (mostly just links).
I had not taken seriously the possibility that Donald Trump could win the presidency until I saw Matt Lauer host an hour-long interview with the two major-party candidates. Lauer’s performance was not merely a failure, it was horrifying and shocking. The shock, for me, was the realization that most Americans inhabit a very different news environment than professional journalists. I not only consume a lot of news, since it’s my job, I also tend to focus on elite print-news sources. Most voters, and all the more so undecided voters, subsist on a news diet supplied by the likes of Matt Lauer. And the reality transmitted to them from Lauer matches the reality of the polls, which is a world in which Clinton and Trump are equivalently flawed.
Lauer focused a third of his questioning time on Clinton’s private email server. Her decision to follow Colin Powell’s advice is a legitimate blot on her record. But Lauer did not move the ball forward on the question in any meaningful way….
The impression an uninformed or even moderately informed viewer would receive from this interview is that the email issue represents a sinister crime, perhaps completely disqualifying from office, rather than an unjustifiable but routine act of government non-transparency.
The email exchange would not by itself be so alarming except when viewed in juxtaposition with Lauer’s hapless interview of Trump. Trump began the interview by boldly insisting, “I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from 2004. You can look at before that.” This is a lie. Trump has been quoted supporting the invasion beforehand and even afterward. Nobody has produced any evidence of Trump contradicting his support for the war before it started. His line to Lauer was transparently ridiculous – how could a 2004 interview supply evidence of having opposed a war that began in 2003? But Lauer did not try even a single follow-up.
Lauer’s attempt to press Trump was the completely ineffectual technique of asking repeatedly if he is ready to serve as commander-in-chief. Lauer probably believes the answer is no, but nothing about this question would drive home Trump’s extraordinary lack of knowledge. Instead it allowed him to performatively demonstrate his confident, alpha-male reality-show character as a prospective chief executive.
More reads on last night’s forum:
Charles Blow: Donald Trump is Lying in Plain Sight.
New York Times: Matt Lauer Fields Store of Criticism Over Clinton-Trump Forum.
Washington Post: Donald Trump’s thoroughly strange claim about his Mexico visit.
Huffington Post: Matt Lauer Failed the Moderator Test.
It’s difficult to choose the most shocking thing Donald Trump said last night, but for me, the absolute worse was when he “revealed” information he supposedly learned in his confidential security briefings with the CIA.
LAUER: You recently — you recently received two intelligence briefings.
TRUMP: Yes, I did.
LAUER: Did anything in that briefing, without going into specifics, shock or alarm you?
TRUMP: Yes. Very much so.
LAUER: Did you learn new things in that briefing?
TRUMP: First of all, I have great respect for the people that gave us the briefings. We — they were terrific people. They were experts on Iraq and Iran and different parts of — and Russia. But, yes, there was one thing that shocked me. And it just seems to me that what they said President Obama and Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, who is another total disaster, did exactly the opposite.
LAUER: Did you learn anything in that briefing — again, not going into specifics — that makes you reconsider some of the things you say you can accomplish, like defeating ISIS quickly?
TRUMP: No, I didn’t learn anything from that standpoint. What I did learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts and our truly — when they call it intelligence, it’s there for a reason — what our experts said to do. LAUER: Hallie?
TRUMP: And I was very, very surprised. In almost every instance. And I could tell you. I have pretty good with the body language. I could tell they were not happy. Our leaders did not follow what they were recommending.
WTF?! In the first place, the candidates are not supposed to talk about anything that happened in those briefings, and in the second place, Trump is claiming that professional CIA officers somehow signaled to him that President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and current Secretary of State John Kerry have ignored their advice and that the CIA is upset about it? Last night Andrea Mitchell said she believed the intelligence community would have to respond to Trump’s bizarre claims.
I heard on MSNBC that the intelligence community is pushing back on this, but I haven’t seen any published articles about that yet.
This morning, Hillary Clinton held a press conference–the third day in a row she has answered questions from the media. Here’s the whole thing.
Hillary was asked about Trump’s remarks about the security briefings and whether she agreed with him about their contents. She replied simply that she would never say anything about what happened in confidential intelligence briefings. I thought she was relaxed and dignified and gave straightforward answers. I guess we’ll find out later how the media participants evaluate the press conference.
I have two more stories I want to highlight that aren’t about last night’s candidate “forum.”
A Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman says a new article in the New York Observerestablishes a “direct link” between the Donald Trump campaign and the hacker or hackers who have recently penetrated the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and other high-profile Democratic officials.
On Tuesday, the Observer published a piece maintaining that the DCCC had coordinated—presumably improperly—with the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2015. The story, written by a freelance contributor named Michael Sainato, cited “an internal DCCC memo” leaked to the Observer from Guccifer 2.0—the handle of the hacker or hackers who have successfully targeted these Democratic committees. The Observer is owned by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who has been a top adviser to the Republican presidential nominee.
Shortly after the post went up, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon tweeted: Russian hackers now leaking directly to Jared Kushner’s paper. Trump campaign not even being subtle anymore https://twitter.com/observer/status/773252856740741120 …
In an email to Mother Jones, Fallon elaborated on his tweet: “Guccifer 2.0 is known to be the Russians. And now that they are leaking materials obtained from their hacking to Trump adviser Jared Kushner’s newspaper, that’s a pretty direct link between Trump and the Russians behind this hack.”
Kushner is married to Ivanka Trump and has become an influential figure within Trump’s political team.
Glen Caplin, another spokesman for the Clinton campaign, issued a more complete statement: “The Russians have become even more brazen in their effort to influence the election by leaking documents to Trump adviser Jared Kushner’s newspaper for publication. Trump’s longtime confidant Roger Stone has already admitted he’s in contact with Julian Assange, who has been exposed for actively aiding the Russians. And both Stone and Assange are promising more leaks targeting Clinton as the election approaches, something Donald Trump actively invited. This is a national security issue and every American deserves answers about potential collusion between Trump campaign associates, WikiLeaks and the Kremlin.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Matt Olsen at Time Magazine: Why ISIS Supports Donald Trump. (Hillary recommended this article last night during the forum and this morning during her press conference.)
In recent months, ISIS has made clear that it’s closely following this election, too—and it has chosen a candidate. Interviews with ISIS members and analysis of social media, including in a recentForeign Affairs article by Mara Revkin and Ahmad Mhidi, make it clear: “ISIS is rooting for Trump.”
This year, ISIS isn’t simply a passive observer of American politics. Since the group’s rapid rise in 2014, ISIS has established a far-reaching, sophisticated propaganda machine. Its members rely on social media to shape public opinion, recruit new members and mobilize followers to carry out attacks. Now, some of them are using those channels to advocate for Trump. In August, one ISIS spokesman wrote: “I ask Allah to deliver America to Trump.” Another supporter declared: “The ‘facilitation’ of Trump’s arrival in the White House must be a priority for jihadists at any cost!!!” ISIS is working to drum up support for the candidate it has called “the perfect enemy.”
That may come as a surprise to some. After all, Trump has spent this election season making a series of combative and bellicose comments on terrorism—from his pledge to kill the families of terrorists, his plans bring back torture of suspected terrorists and his call toban all Muslims from entering the United States. But the truth is, Trump’s statements and extreme policies aren’t just contrary to our values—they play right into the hands of ISIS.
Please read the rest at the link above.
So . . . what else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread and have a terrific Thursday!
The big news yesterday was that Hillary Clinton coughed. I searched several times during the day to find any reporting on the contents of the speeches she gave or her question and answer session with the press on her plane. There was nothing. Articles and tweets by reporters following Clinton focused only on two “coughing fits” and the fact that the press was invited to fly with her on her new campaign plane. By late last night, there were a few reports about the “press conference.”
I’ve finally come to the conclusion that most of members of the DC media only care about their own needs and desires and could not possibly care less about give informing voters. But some of them have apparently decided to call what Hillary did yesterday a “press conference,” even though they still refuse to acknowledge the press conference she gave to African American and Latino news media in August. But others say it wasn’t a real “press conference.”
Callum Borchers at the WaPo: Hillary Clinton’s news conference drought is finally over. Or is it?
Hillary Clinton took questions from reporters aboard her campaign plane Monday, but seemingly more interesting than what she said is what to call the session in which she said it. Was it a news conference or something else — perhaps merely a “gaggle” or an “avail”?
Under different circumstances, this would be a silly, semantic argument, but the Democratic presidential candidate’s lack of news conferences has become a campaign issue, with journalists complaining that she has not held one since last year, and Donald Trump’s team attempting to brand her as “Hiding Hillary.”
Click on the link to find out which “journalists” are still unsatisfied. But what did Clinton talk about? It was not easy to find out. One thing that was reported was that she expressed concern about Russian attempts to hack our presidential election. Reuters (via Newsweek):
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday expressed concern about “credible reports” of Russian interference in the U.S. election and accused Donald Trump of being fixated on dictators including Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Taking questions from reporters for more than 20 minutes on her campaign plane, Clinton said both Democrats and Republicans should be concerned about Russia’s behaviour.
“The fact that our intelligence professionals are now studying this and taking it seriously raises some grave questions about potential Russian interference with our electoral process,” Clinton said.
“We are facing a very serious concern. We’ve never had a foreign adversarial power be already involved in our electoral process…. We’ve never had the nominee of one of our major parties urging the Russians to hack more,” she said.
Here’s the in-depth report from the WaPo that Hillary was referring to: U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections.
U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said.
The aim is to understand the scope and intent of the Russian campaign, which incorporates cyber-tools to hack systems used in the political process, enhancing Russia’s ability to spread disinformation.
The effort to better understand Russia’s covert influence operations is being coordinated by James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence. “This is something of concern for the DNI,” said Charles Allen, a former longtime CIA officer who has been briefed on some of these issues. “It is being addressed.”
A Russian influence operation in the United States “is something we’re looking very closely at,” said one senior intelligence official who, like others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. Officials also are examining potential disruptions to the election process, and the FBI has alerted state and local officials to potential cyberthreats.
The official cautioned that the intelligence community is not saying it has “definitive proof” of such tampering, or any Russian plans to do so. “But even the hint of something impacting the security of our election system would be of significant concern,” the official said. “It’s the key to our democracy, that people have confidence in the election system.”
The Kremlin’s intent may not be to sway the election in one direction or another, officials said, but to cause chaos and provide propaganda fodder to attack U.S. democracy-building policies around the world, particularly in the countries of the former Soviet Union.
There’s much more at the link–an important read.
Time Magazine has a bit more in-depth information on Clinton’s press availability as well as Trump’s.
Donald Trump said for the first time he will attend all three scheduled presidential debates, barring acts of God. He revealed he isn’t holding mock debate sessions—the traditional way nominees prepare for the primetime contests—and that he doesn’t have anyone playing Hillary Clinton to prepare him for the September 26 showdown.
Donald Trump said for the first time he will attend all three scheduled presidential debates, barring acts of God. He revealed he isn’t holding mock debate sessions—the traditional way nominees prepare for the primetime contests—and that he doesn’t have anyone playing Hillary Clinton to prepare him for the September 26 showdown.
Hillary Clinton said she understood classification standards when she entered the State Department, despite comments to the FBI staying she couldn’t identify a standard marking on one message found on her private email server. “The fact that I couldn’t remember certain meetings doesn’t affect the commitment I had to the treatment of classified material,” she said.
Trump wouldn’t call his long “Birtherism” crusade a mistake, and implied he believes Obama may not be born in the U.S., saying the only reason he doesn’t discuss it is that reporters would fixate on it. “Your whole thing will be about that,” he said.
Clinton expressed concern about the growing U.S. government consensus that the Russian government is seeking to influence the U.S. election by promoting the hacking of Democratic targets. “We’ve never had a foreign adversarial power be already involved in our electoral process,” she said.
Trump sidestepped questions about the fact that his foundation paid a penalty to the IRS for an improper political donation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican and now a campaign supporter, who was investigating whether to bring suit against Trump University. “I never even spoke to her about it at all,” he said, contradicting comments by her spokesperson earlier this year. She ultimately did not sue the controversial Trump entity.
Clinton continued to support a no-fly zone in Syria, breaking with the Obama Administration, telling reporters, “I think we need leverage.”
Donald Trump is maintaining ambiguity about what he’d do with the the millions of people in the U.S. illegally who he is not prioritizing for deportation. He ruled out citizenship unless they leave the U.S., but, in a reversal from last week, suggested he’d be open to them remaining illegally or providing a path to legal status. “If they stay, they stay, you know,” Trump said, rejecting the notion that he was following Mitt Romney’s 2012 “self-deportation” plan. “Then were are going to make determination after our border is secure,” he said of legal status. “We are going to make that decision into the future. That decision will be made.”
OK, that was helpful, although the story wasn’t published until this morning. I wonder if there will be any follow-up on that birther question?
I have a bunch of other reads to share today, links only.
Eric Boehlert at Media Matters: Still Waiting For Newspaper Editorials Demanding The Trump Foundation Be Shut Down.
CNN: Poll: Nine weeks out, a near even race (not really)
Greg Sargent at the WaPo: Yes, the race is tightening. But it’s still too soon to panic. Here’s why.
Dan Balz at the WaPo: A new 50-state poll shows exactly why Clinton holds the advantage over Trump.
Daniel Drezner at the WaPo: Why Hillary Clinton’s perceived corruption seems to echo louder than Donald Trump’s actual corruption.
The Hill: Greta Van Susteren to leave Fox News.
Matthew Yglesias at Vox: Against transparency. Government officials’ email should be private, just like their phone calls.
Two long reads:
New York Magazine: The Sandy Hook Hoax. Lenny Pozner used to believe in conspiracy theories. Until his son’s death became one, by Reeves Wiedeman.
New York Daily News: Peas in a pod: The long and twisted relationship between Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, by Wayne Barrett.
What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread below.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?