“I have never been in the room when someone has said, ‘Grab them by the pussy,” Stern said on his Sirius satellite radio show, quoting Trump’s own words caught on a hot mic during a 2005 “Access Hollywood” appearance. “No one’s ever advocated going that step where you get a little bit, ‘Hey I’m going to invade someone’s space.'”
Though Stern built his own career on jokes about mass shootings and raunchy interviews grilling celebrities about their sex lives, he said there was a line between lewdly describing women’s bodies and boasting about sexual assault.
Hillary Clinton walked onstage last night in a gorgeous white pantsuit and then proceeded to crush Donald Trump in the third and final debate of the 2016 election season. It was obvious that someone had informed Donald that the camera would be on him when Hillary was speaking, because he struggled to control his facial expressions in the first part of the debate. But once again, Hillary successfully baited him and he quickly lost control. His handlers can spin his performance however they want. He’s toast.
Of course the top two media hot takes this morning were Trump’s refusal to say that he would accept the outcome of the election and his “such a nasty woman” comment that came while Clinton was discussing the Social Security trust fund. The real story is that Hillary Clinton gave a nearly flawless performance last night and in the previous two debates.
The third and final presidential debate has ended, and it can now be said: Hillary Clinton crushed Donald Trump in the most effective series of debate performances in modern political history.
The polling tells the story. As Nate Silver notes, on the eve of the first presidential debate, Clinton led by 1.5 points. Before the second, she was up by 5.6 points. Before the third, she was winning by 7.1 points. And now, writing after the third debate — a debate in which Trump said he would keep the nation “in suspense” about whether there would be a peaceful transition of power, bragged about not apologizing to his wife, and called Clinton “such a nasty woman” — it’s clear that Trump did himself no favors. Early polls also suggest Clinton won.
And it’s not just the presidential race. Betting markets now predict Democrats will win the Senate. Polls have started showing Democrats in striking distance of the House. The GOP has collapsed into a mid-election civil war, with the party’s presidential nominee openly battling the speaker of the House.
This is not normal. As Andrew Prokop concluded in his review of the political science evidence around presidential debates, “There’s little historical evidence that they’ve ever swung polls by more than a few percentage points.” In this case, they did. And it’s because Clinton executed a risky strategy flawlessly.The dominant narrative of this election goes something like this. Hillary Clinton is a weak candidate who is winning because she is facing a yet weaker candidate. Her unfavorables are high, her vulnerabilities are obvious, and if she were running against a Marco Rubio or a Paul Ryan, she would be getting crushed. Lucky for her, she’s running against a hot orange mess with higher unfavorables, clearer vulnerabilities, and a tape where he brags about grabbing women “by the pussy.”
There’s truth to this narrative, but it also reflects our tendency to underestimate Clinton’s political effectiveness. Trump’s meltdown wasn’t an accident. The Clinton campaign coolly analyzed his weaknesses and then sprung trap after trap to take advantage of them.
Clinton’s successful execution of this strategy has been, fittingly, the product of traits that she’s often criticized for: her caution, her overpreparation, her blandness. And her particular ability to goad Trump and blunt the effectiveness of his political style has been inextricable from her gender. The result has been a political achievement of awesome dimensions, but one that Clinton gets scarce credit for because it looks like something Trump is doing, rather than something she is doing — which is, of course, the point.
Read the rest at the Vox link above.
A few responses to Trump’s performance:
Jamie Bouie at Slate: Donald Trump vs. America.
After the first presidential debate, the Republican Party nominee called for monitoring and intimidation at polling places in cities like Philadelphia and Cleveland. During the second, Trump announced his plan to investigate Clinton using the power of the presidency, and promised to put her in jail for unnamed crimes against the state. He later turned that into a bona fide campaign slogan: “Lock her up.” For the last week, he’s decried the entire election process as “rigged”—a shadowy conspiracy meant to deny him a victory at the ballot box. And at the final presidential debate at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas, Donald Trump refused to commit to conceding the election, should he lose on Nov. 8….
Clinton called this “horrifying.” “We’ve been around for 240 years,” she said. “We’ve had free and fair elections. We’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them. And that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election.”
She’s right. In 1800, Federalist president John Adams lost to Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic-Republicans, following a painful and contentious contest. And rather than fight or challenge the results, Adams handed his rival the reins of power, the first peaceful transition of power in a democracy and a milestone in the history of the modern world. The act of conceding, in other words, is vital to the functioning of democracy. It confers legitimacy on the winner of an election, giving him or her a chance to govern. To refuse to concede, to denythat legitimacy, is to undermine our democratic foundations.
Surrogates for Trump have tried to defend his comments, citing then–Vice President Al Gore’s conduct following the 2000 election. But Gore didn’t challenge the process; he let it move forward. As ordered by state law, Florida had to do a recount. That recount was then stopped by the Supreme Court. At that point, Gore conceded the election, gracefully and without public hesitation.
In presidential elections at least, there’s simply no precedent for what Trump is promising. The slave South may have seceded from the Union following the 1860 election, but neither of Abraham Lincoln’s opponents denied his legitimacy as the duly-elected leader for the United States. It is world-historic in the worst possible way.
Bouie’s piece is a must-read.
Amy Davidson at The New Yorker: For Trump, the Election is Rigged if a “Nasty Woman” Can Win. Again, the whole thing is a must-read, but here some excerpts:
She shouldn’t be allowed to run,” Donald Trump said, of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, who was standing next to him on the debate stage in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. “It’s crooked—she’s—she’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run. And just in that respect I say it’s rigged.” Trump’s tone was heated; to make this point, he had talked over the interjections of the moderator, Chris Wallace, and he kept on doing so, making clear how little he cares for decorum or democracy. This person—this woman—shouldn’t be allowed to contend, let alone win. Wallace’s question had been about whether Trump would accept the results of the election; Trump wouldn’t even accept the premise….
Perhaps what Trump is having trouble gauging now is how he might feel when he looks at a television on Election Day and sees the smiling face of Hillary Clinton as she is announced as the President-elect. He might react as he did when, late in the debate, she delivered a strong answer about Social Security that referred to the taxes he’s avoided paying. His features receded into a pool of curdled dust. “Such a nasty woman,” he said. In 2016, a major-party nominee for President seems to have mistaken misogyny for an argument against democratic legitimacy.
Trump’s contempt for women—and the lack of discipline it seemed to induce in him—was a leitmotif of the debate. Chris Wallace’s first question was about the kind of Supreme Court each candidate would nominate into being as President. There will be at least one opening, unless the Senate does its job and acts on the nomination of Merrick Garland, and, Wallace noted, “likely or possibly two or three appointments.” This should have been an easy one for Trump—a warmup question covered in any decent debate prep. There are voters with reservations about his character who might vote for him anyway, just to make sure that there’s no liberal in Antonin Scalia’s seat. But Trump began, and wasted a good part of his time, by rambling on about how Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had insulted him (“very, very inappropriate statements”). On reproductive rights, Clinton talked about the pain of women who, for health reasons, had to contemplate a late abortion; Trump portrayed them as incipient infanticidal brutes who, if not checked, might “rip the baby out of the womb” at the last minute. He also said that he assumed his judicial appointees would overturn Roe v. Wade. When Wallace, who controlled the situation better than any moderator so far, asked why “so many different women from so many different circumstances over so many different years” would say that Trump had groped or kissed them against their will, Trump first claimed that the stories had been “debunked” (they have not), then jumped into theories that “it was her campaign that did it,” and then let the audience know, as if it were exculpatory, that “I didn’t even apologize to my wife, who’s sitting right here, because I didn’t do anything.” And if it wasn’t a campaign plot, he said, then it was just women trying to get “their ten minutes of fame.”
Pretty good summary there. There’s more at The New Yorker link.
And then there was Trump’s defense of Vladimir Putin against the U.S. intelligence community’s clear statement that Russia is trying ot influence the election. The Washington Post: Donald Trump’s confusion and contradictions about Russia.
Trump has never accepted the Clinton campaign’s assertion that hackers controlled by the Kremlin are trying interfere in the 2016 elections, even after the Obama administration officially accused Russia.
Trump didn’t back down in the third presidential debate: “She has no idea whether it’s Russia, China, or anybody else.”
When Clinton interjected that “17 intelligence agencies” had concluded that the Kremlin is behind the cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and other political institutions, Trump said, “Hillary, you have no idea. Our country has no idea.”
As we all know, Clinton went on to call Trump Putin’s “puppet,” and Trump’s grade-school level response was “no, you’re the puppet, you’re the puppet.”
That’s all I have for you this morning. I’m completely exhausted, because I stayed up watching the talking heads last night until they went off the air. I might have to take a nap.
What do you think were the high and low points of the debate? What are you hearing and reading this morning?
I cannot believe what Trump said about Secretary Clinton. I am speechless about what he thinks about our nationwide elections brought to you by every state and county across this country to include many many many Republican elected official.
He actually said that Secretary Clinton was “such a nasty woman”.
He also just said that he may or may not abide by the results of our elections which he considers ‘rigged’ somehow.
All my children wanted to watch this debate tonight! We wound up at the New Orleans Hillary Watch party!.
I’m now listening to the pundits being flabbergasted by the idea that Trump says he’s going to keep every one in suspense about Hillary’s winning the election.
We know that Pence said no to that. Even daughter Ivanka think it’s nuts.
He’s gone full throttle Conspiracy theorist now and shaken our democracy to it’s root.
The best thing is he couldn’t physically intimate her this time. She may reel in this election in a complete rout!
Hillary is wiping the floor with Donald Trump tonight. She gave a tremendous speech on Russian hacking, and Trump gave a speech defending Putin. And Hillary called him a puppet.
Here’s a new thread, so let’s keep up the discussion.
This is it–the final presidential debate in 2016. I expect Hillary to wipe the floor with Donald Trump tonight, and after that she will never have to share a stage with the “short-fingered vulgarian” again. She can move on to consolidating her voters in blue states and expanding the map to formerly red states like Arizona, Georgia, and Texas.
Hillary has spent the last five days doing debate prep while Donald Trump apparently has decided not to bother. He held rallies yesterday and the day before, and last night he mocked Clinton for taking time to prepare. I can’t find the transcript, but he claimed she was just lying in bed resting. I guess we’ll find out tonight who is ready and who is not.
For some strange reason, the Trump campaign has invited President Obama’s estranged half brother Malik Obama to the debate. Mediaite’s Alex Griswold: Trump’s Newest Debate Guest Appears to Support Terrorist Group Hamas, Abolition of Israel.
In a move apparently intend to troll the president, Donald Trump invited Barack Obama‘s half-brother Malik Obama to attend Wednesday’s night presidential debate. But Trump might have been unaware of Malik’s controversial support for anti-Israel terrorist groups.
In 2014, the Israeli press reported on the fact that Malik Obama was photographed wearing a red and white keffiyeh, which typically signifies support for Hamas rather than the more moderate Fatah. Emblazoned on the scarf were the slogans “Jerusalem is ours, we are coming,” and “From the river to the sea.” Both are popular chants used by the terrorist group.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked about this, and he said he couldn’t figure out what the point of this is.
“I have to admit, I really don’t know exactly what the intent is of this invitation, other than probably to get you guys to ask me about it,” he said. “But even then, I’m not really sure what goal that accomplishes. I guess you can check with the people who offered the invitation.”
Trump has also invited some women whose children were killed by illegal immigrants, Pat Smith, the estranged mother of a man killed in Benghazi, and a woman who was engaged to Ambassador Chris Stevens in for a short time in 1995. Josh Marshall’s reaction:
I was particularly struck when I saw Chris Stevens’ fiance mentioned. I didn’t know Chris Stevens had a fiance. And his family has been consistently and outspokenly opposed to the politicization of his death. Well, it turns out “Amb Chris Stevens’ fiance” is a bit of a stretch. Stevens and now-occasionally working French actress Lydie Denier were briefly engaged in 1995. What insight she has into his death seventeen years later other than self-promotion is a mystery.
I already noted the comedy of the Trump camp’s aggressiveness on this front since Hillary is fairly unflappable and it’s Trump who gets knocked off stride by the slightest provocation. But surveying this debate guest drama, what strikes me more than anything is that I cannot imagine anyone in the Clinton camp giving the slightest rat’s ass about any of this. This is no longer really about Clinton at all. It’s more like a ‘release all the animals from their cages in the menagerie’ freakout, go-for-broke primal scream inside the WND/Breitbart mind bubble. It’s operating entirely within that world. It doesn’t really connect up with anything outside of it. I’m not sure that’s even the intention.
Steve Bannon is warning that there will be other “surprises.” CNN Money reports:
According to Bannon, the news that President Obama’s Trump-supporting half-brother Malik Obama is attending Wednesday’s debate is “just an appetizer.”Trump will be bringing guests who “expose Bill and Hillary’s sordid past,” Bannon told CNN as he arrived in Las Vegas for the debate late Tuesday night.
When asked who comes up with the ideas to invite these guests, Bannon said, “We’re a team.”
Bannon, a longtime conservative media executive, was the chairman of the far-right Breitbart News until August, when he took leave from Breitbart to become the CEO of the Trump campaign….
Bannon said Trump is in good spirits heading into the debate — despite a huge deficit in national polls.
“Right now he really, really thinks he’s going to win,” Bannon said.
Okay. These folks really do live in an alternate reality.
More from Twitter:
Hillary has invited real billionaires Meg Whitman and Mark Cuban to the debate along with some people we saw at the Democratic convention and other Clinton appearances.
I think we all know what to expect from the debate tonight. Trump will be completely out of control because he knows he’s losing, despite what Steve Bannon says. I just hope the Secret Service keeps an eye on him. Still, here’s one of those articles telling us what could happen tonight.
The Washington Post: The presidential debate: Sexual assault claims, emails are expected to come up.
The Republican and Democratic presidential nominees will take the stage with distinct challenges. For Trump, the debate presents a gasping opportunity to stabilize his damaged campaign and to refute claims that he is unfit for office. Clinton, on the other hand, will seek to provide a positive vision of governance amid a deeply unpleasant election season that has often been consumed by Trump’s controversial rhetoric.
Chris Wallace of Fox News will moderate the forum, which is taking place at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. The 90-minute debate is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Eastern time and will be broadcast on most major networks and streamed on numerous websites, including washingtonpost.com.
Six topics will be the focus of the night, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates: immigration, the Supreme Court, the economy, national debt and entitlements, turmoil abroad and fitness for the presidency. But several dominant news stories will almost certainly take central importance.
Since the second presidential debate 10 days ago in St. Louis, a growing list of women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual harassment and assault. Those revelations came after the release of a damaging 2005 “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump bragged about kissing and groping women against their will because of his celebrity status. Many of the women said that they were compelled to speak out after hearing Trump during the St. Louis debate deny that he had ever forced himself on women. He has denied the accusations.
Clinton is likely to face questions about a trove of hacked emails belonging to her campaign chairman, John Podesta, that were leaked by WikiLeaks. She will probably also face renewed questions about the FBI’s decision not to charge her with a crime for using a private email server during her tenure at the State Department.
I thought this piece at Politico was interesting: Republicans undercut Trump ahead of final debate.
With Trump trailing nationally and in a number of battleground state polls — and even Arizona — Clinton’s campaign is expecting Trump to deploy a scorched-earth approach to their Las Vegas bout. But fellow Republicans unexpectedly placed a rhetorical firewall around the real estate mogul.
Indeed, if Newt Gingrich stepped on Trump’s toes by inadvertently highlighting his thin skin as a weakness that “I hope he grows out of,” Marco Rubio and John Kasich then stomped on both of his feet.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a top Trump surrogate, dealt the first blow when he offered a candid assessment of Trump’s shortcomings, including an expansion on his notion of Big Trump, Little Trump.
“There’s a piece of his personality, which is very sensitive, particularly to anything which attacks his own sense of integrity or his own sense of respectability, and he reacts very intensely, almost uncontrollably, to those kinds of situations,” Gingrich acknowledged during an interview conducted Tuesday and published Wednesday with the Washington Examiner’s David Drucker.
“I think that’s a weakness,” he added. “I hope he grows out of it.”
“Grows out of it?” At age 70? I don’t think so.
In addition, Marco Rubio said that no one should be using the hacked emails given to Wikileaks by Russia to attack Clinton and both Kellyanne Conway and John Kasich said that Trump’s claims of a “rigged election” are ridiculous. Of course he won’t listen, but it’s still interesting. Click on the link above to read more.
Let’s support each other through this. I hope it won’t be as nightmarish as the second debate, but we’ll find out soon.
Today all I can muster for you is cartoons….
This is an open thread….
I really wish we didn’t have to live through another debate tomorrow night. I just hope her Secret Service detail stay near the stage to protect Hillary. I know she will be dignified and unflappable, but I don’t want her to have to deal Trump’s insults anymore. In a few short weeks, she will be President of the United States and Trump can try and fail to start a Trump news network. He has ruined his own brand, and I’m glad.
At least it’s difficult to understand how Trump could continue attacking Hillary based on Bill’s behavior with women in the ’90s after Melania went on CNN last night and attacked the women who have come forward to accuse her husband of sexual assault.
The New York Times: ‘They’re Lies’: Melania Trump Rejects Women’s Claims That Husband Groped Them.
Ms. Trump, in an extensive interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, said the women who had accused Donald J. Trump of groping and kissing them were lying, and likened her husband to a teenage boy who engages in macho boasting.
She echoed her husband’s complaint that he was the victim of a broad conspiracy between the news media and the Clinton campaign.
“I believe my husband, I believe my husband — it was all organized from the opposition,” Ms. Trump said. “They can never check the background of these women. They don’t have any facts.” ….
Ms. Trump, 46, called the exchange between Mr. Trump and Mr. Bush “boy talk,” and said Mr. Trump had been “egged on” by the host “to say dirty and bad stuff.”
But she stressed that she believed that Mr. Trump was simply being boastful and did not engage in the behavior he described.
“Sometimes I say I have two boys at home: I have my young son, and I have my husband,” she said with a slight laugh. “But I know how some men talk, and that’s how I saw it, yes.”
Hmmm. . . she doesn’t make her husband sound very presidential. She also claims women are constantly trying to attract her husband’s attention
“I see many, many women coming to him and giving the phone numbers and, you know, want to work for him or inappropriate stuff from women,” she said. “And they know he’s married.http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/17/politics/melania-trump-interview/index.html”
Mrs. Trump told Anderson Cooper that her husband is a “gentleman.”
Melania Trump called her husband “real” and “raw” — and said because of his years as an entertainer, he faced an especially tough challenge transitioning into politics, because he has made decades’ worth of controversial comments.
“It’s very hard, especially for him — when he decided to run for the presidency, because he did so many stuff in his life. He was on so many tapes, so many shows. And we knew that — that, you know, tapes will come out, people won’t want to go against him.
“But my husband is real. He’s raw. He tells it like it is. He’s kind. He’s a gentleman. He supports everybody. He supports women. He encourages them to go to the highest level, to achieve their dreams. He employs many, many women,” she said.
She said she wouldn’t describe what Trump said on the tape as sexual assault, even though in the video Trump appeared to be describing his own actions.
“No, that’s not sexual assault,” she said. “He didn’t say he did it.”
Actually he did though. And even Howard Stern doesn’t buy the “boys will be boys” defense. TPM reports:
Shock jock Howard Stern on Monday refuted his friend Donald Trump’s claim that his leaked comments about grabbing women’s genitals were just “locker room talk.”
Fortunately, we won’t have to listen to anyone in the Trump family much longer, because he is not going to be POTUS. Stuart Rothenberg at the Washington Post: Trump’s path to an electoral college victory isn’t narrow. It’s non-existent.
The trajectory of the 2016 presidential race — which will result in a Hillary Clinton victory — remains largely unchanged from May, when Donald Trump and Clinton were in the process of wrapping up their nominations.
But what has changed recently is Clinton’s likely winning margin. For many weeks, even months, I have believed that Clinton would defeat Trump by three to six points. If anything, that range now looks a bit low, with the Democratic nominee apparently headed for a more convincing victory, quite possibly in the four-to-eight point range.
Trump continues to be his own worst enemy, saying or tweeting things that only fuel chatter about his current and past views, values and behavior. His comments about people — from Vladimir Putin and Alicia Machado to some of the women who have accused him of sexual assault — have kept the focus on him at a time when he should be making the election a referendum on Clinton.
No, Trump’s supporters have not turned on him. But he trails badly with only a few weeks to go until Nov. 8, and he must broaden his appeal to have any chance of winning. That is now impossible.
Read the whole thing at the link.
Eric Levitz at New York Magazine: New Polls Show Clinton on Pace for a Landslide.
On Monday, CNN’s new “poll of polls” — an average of the four most recent national surveys that meet the network’s standard — put Clinton ahead of Trump by 8 percent.
One of those surveys was George Washington University’s Battleground Poll, which also found Clinton leading the GOP nominee by eight points. The same poll had Clinton up by only 2 percent in early September. In that earlier survey, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were collectively polling three points higher than they are now, with the Libertarian claiming 8 percent and the Green Party nominee just 2 percent.
A Politico/Morning Consult poll out Monday finds Clinton leading Trump 42 to 36 percent in a four-way race. After the vice-presidential debate, Trump had climbed to 39 percent, but grab’em by the pussy-gate and last week’s wave of sexual-assault allegations have pulled the GOP nominee back to where he stood after he bragged about tax evasion at the first debate. Clinton’s support has hovered around 42 percent in the poll for all of October.
As of this writing, FiveThirtyEight’s Polls Only forecast gives Clinton an 87 percent chance of taking the Oval Office next January.
More polling info at the link. And check this out from Peter Daou at Share Blue: Boys will be boys…and women will be presidents.
Some feel-good stories to check out:
What else is happening? What stories are you following today?
I’m fighting a horrible, terrible, very awful sinus infection that I really wouldn’t wish on any one. You’re just fortunate you can’t hear my voice right now. I sound truly diabolical. Of course, nothing could be as diabolical as a Trump Rally or Trump surrogate rationalizing Trump’s descent into madness and our descent into yet a lower level of the inferno he’s created for the nation. That’s why I’m going to take yet another day for anything but Trump-related reads.
Remember, we have another debate coming up on Wednesday and a live blog. I’m shuddering with either fever or the thought of another Trump Horror show. I’m supposed to be at a pre-wedding thing for youngest daughter but I really hate to share this illness with any one but the ex. We’ll be here as your usual safe zone. Either way, I will have wine.
The news has been so overtaken with the general election craziness that it distracts from other important things. This is a truly great time of the year and it’s closing in on Halloween. Indulge me while I indulge one of my favorite things. Yup. It’s an ancient grave yard, a classic scary book, and travelling Transylvania armed with only Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” as your guide. What more could you want than to start your day with monsters that come from one’s imagination instead of the Republican Party? I think you’ll delight in the photos and words of Luke Spencer at Atlas Obscura. Go check it out!!!
Nighttime in Transylvania is as atmospherically spooky as you would hope it would be. During the winter, a thick, low-lying mist covers thick forests of pine trees and firs. Above the fog, you can see the silhouetted turrets and spires of ancient castles and fortified churches. Many of the old homes there still burn wood fires, adding to the smoky air, while the towns are filled with gothic and baroque buildings that were once beautiful, but are now marked by peeling paint and crumbling facades.
It is common at night to hear howling in the forests, either from stray dogs or wolves. It’s easy to see why Bram Stoker chose this part of Romania to be a setting for his most chilling creation, Dracula.
The first section of Stoker’s gothic horror masterpiece takes the form of a travel journal, written in shorthand by a young English solicitor, Jonathan Harker, who is traveling across Europe to help conduct a land purchase on behalf of a noble client. Harker keeps a detailed diary of his journey from Munich to Transylvania, where he plans to meet the mysterious Count Dracula in his castle.
My plan was to follow in the footsteps of the fictional Harker, taking the same train routes—where possible staying in the same cities, towns and hotels—and ending my journey at the home of Vlad the Impaler, the real-life inspiration for Dracula. Partly encircled by the Carpathian mountains, Transylvania is still largely unexplored, despite its beauty and wealth of fascinating, centuries-old sites.
Some Brits are worried that we may be terribly distracted by the election. I know that Biden spoke about a possible cyber attack on Russia and that we essentially can’t sustain attacks on both Mosul and Aleppo which is why we’re focusing on the Iraqi attack on Mosul which we’re facilitating. John Kerry is planted in Europe right now trying to get our allies to consider some economic sanctions on Russia. So, there’s a lot in the air right now in foreign affairs which makes me even more glad we will have a President Hillary Clinton smoothly transitioning from the Obama administration.
The assault on the Iraqi city of Mosul that began this week underlines the fact that the next three months will be a perilous period in international politics. Fighting is intensifying in the Middle East. Tensions are rising between Russia and the west. And relations between China and its Asian neighbours are getting edgier. All this is happening while the US is diverted by the Trump-Clinton melodrama and the transition to a new president.
For Russia and China — two countries that are openly unhappy with the US-dominated world order — a distracted America will look like an opportunity. Both Moscow and Beijing regard Hillary Clinton with suspicion and believe that her probable arrival in the Oval Office would herald a more hawkish US foreign policy. They may be tempted to act swiftly, before she has a chance to settle into the White House.
A temporarily preoccupied America might not matter much in normal times. But big and dangerous decisions are looming. In the Middle East, the bombardment of Aleppo by Russian and Syrian government forces has led to a near-breakdown in relations between Moscow and the west. Without a common diplomatic project to hold them together, the two sides may slide into outright confrontation in Syria. Further sanctions on Russia are in the offing and the west’s military options are also being reviewed.
President Vladimir Putin may calculate that a US administration that has refused to take military action against the Assad regime since 2011 is unlikely to reverse course in President Barack Obama’s last few months in office. But if the Russians push too hard, they could miscalculate and provoke an American reaction. That is particularly the case because the Obama administration is angered by Russian cyber warfare, aimed at influencing the US presidential election. Joe Biden, the vice-president, has already signalled that America intends to retaliate in cyber space.
Even without a worsening of the situation in Syria, fighting in the Middle East will intensify in the coming weeks. The Iraqi government, backed by the air power of a US-led coalition, has begun a major push to retake Mosul from Isis. With one eye on his legacy and another on the presidential election, Mr Obama would be delighted to notch up a significant victory against Isis in the coming weeks.
I’d be really interested in seeing more of this on TV news but I’m usually greeted by some unhinged screed of some unhinged Trump surrogate instead. As you may know, I’m trying to make ends meet as a sharecropper University professor right now. Here’s a read at AltNet on a book about the sharing economy and university professors. It’s an interesting read.
My book, The Uberfication of the University, explores what neoliberalism’s further weakening of the social is likely to mean for the future organization of labor by examining data and information companies associated with the emergence of the corporate sharing economy. It focuses on the sharing economy because it is here that the implications for workers of such a shift to a postwelfare capitalist society are most apparent today. This is a society in which we are encouraged to become not just what Michel Foucault calls entrepreneurs of the self but micro-entrepreneurs of the self, acting as if we are our own, precarious, freelance microenterprises in a context in which we are being steadily deprived of employment rights, public services, and welfare support. Witness the description one futurologist gives of how the nature of work will change, given that 30 to 80 percent of all jobs are predicted to disappear in the next twenty years as a result of developments in automation and advanced robotics: “You might be driving Uber part of the day, renting out your spare bedroom on Airbnb a little bit, renting out space in your closet as storage for Amazon or housing the drone that does delivery for Amazon.”
Talk about being careful what you wish for: a recent survey of university vice-chancellors in the United Kingdom identifies a number of areas of innovation with the potential to reshape higher education. Among them are “uses of student data analytics for personalized services” (the number one innovation priority for 90 percent of vice-chancellors); “uses of technology to transform learning experiences” (massive open online courses [MOOCs]; mobile virtual learning environments [VLEs]; “anytime-anywhere learning” (leading to the demise of lectures and timetables); and “student-driven flexible study modes” (“multiple entry points” into programs, bringing about an end to the traditional academic year). Responding to this survey, an editorial in the academic press laments that “the UK has world-leading research universities, but what it doesn’t have is a higher education equivalent of Amazon or Google, with global reach and an aggressive online strategy.” Yet one wonders whether any of those proclaiming the merits of such disruptive innovation have ever stopped to consider what a higher education institution emulating the expansionist ambitions of U.S. companies like Amazon and Google would actually mean for those currently employed in universities.
Science illiteracy in this country is truly reaching epic proportions. Lisa Ryan writes on the STATE OF THE UTERUS and has found a letter to the enditor where a “Pennsylvania Man Wonders What Will Happen to America If Hillary Clinton Has Her Period.”
We have many things to fear in today’s world. There’s terrorism, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and sexual assault, to name a few. Yet one concerned citizen has finally alerted us to the greatest threat of all: a female president who has her period.
In a letter to the editor of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, Carl Unger of Montgomery, Pennsylvania, pointed out that, while the “liberals and Obama are calling for social justice,” everyone is ignoring the bigger problem here. That, of course, is Hillary Clinton’s uterus.
“They call us sexist just because we are critical of Hillary Clinton and her health,” Unger wrote. “What if that time of the month comes and she is sick at the same time?”
And this is the point where I wonder if men understand women’s reproductive cycle and the concept of menopause at all. This article comes with a h/t to Delphyne.It appears that a “state actor” may have cut of Assange’s internet access. Wikileaks has been in the new recently for hacking what is claimed to be Podesta’s email. None have been officially recognized as real.
Wikileaks says an unidentified “state actor” has shut down internet access for its founder Julian Assange.
The transparency activist has been claiming asylum at London’s Ecuadorean embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition over sex assault allegations.
There was no way to immediately verify if he had been knocked offline, and if so, how a state actor was suspected.
Wikileaks has recently been releasing emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The anti-secrecy organisation did not return calls and emails on Monday, though it said in a tweet: “We have activated the appropriate contingency plans.”
A woman who picked up the phone at the Ecuadorean embassy said: “I cannot disclose any information.”
I personally have not found anything to get hysterical about concerning the leaked emails but many of them seemed to be highly edited and coming from Russia. Maybe this is what Biden alluded to this week. The link leads to the MTP interview with Chuck Todd that aired yesterday morning.
Did you know that Bob Dylan is not the only lyricist to have won the Nobel Prize in Lit? I’ve read Tagore, have you? My son-in-law’s Bengali family is quite proud of this really talented and brilliant man. He was not only a poet but a prolific fiction writer and musician.
There’s been a great deal of excitement over Bob Dylan winning the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. It’s rare for artists who have achieved widespread, mainstream popularity to win. And although Nobels often go to Americans, the last literature prize to go to one was Toni Morrison in 1993. Furthermore, according to The New York Times, “It is the first time the honor has gone to a musician.”
But as Bob Dylan might croon, “the Times they are mistaken.”
A Bengali literary giant who probably wrote even more songs preceded Dylan’s win by over a century. Rabindranath Tagore, a wildly talented Indian poet, painter and musician, took the prize in 1913.
The first musician (and first non-European) to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, Tagore possessed an artistry – and lasting influence – that mirrored Dylan’s.
Here’s an interesting read on a medical secretary who wanted to be a muse from The New Yorker. This article indicates that she was anything but a muse.
Mège began her project in 1986, when she was twenty years old. She had just moved to Paris from the province of Auvergne, not far from Lyon, where her father was the manager of an automobile-equipment shop and her mother stayed home. When asked about her childhood and adolescence, she uses words like “fine” and “calm” and “French.” At the time she came to Paris, she had never met an artist, and had been to few museum shows, but she collected record covers and postcards of images that appealed to her. One Saturday in mid-July, she went alone to an exhibition by the portrait photographer Jeanloup Sieff at the Musée d’Art Moderne. Stunned by the images, which depicted anonymous and ordinary, as well as famous, subjects, she wrote to Sieff, telling him that she liked his work. To her surprise, he telephoned her a few days later. She wrote in her diary, which she kept from 1986 until 2008, “He calls me, I’m extremely moved, surprised, I feel drunk.” She asked him if he would consider making a picture of her.
So, this is my humble offering today in the hope we can get our minds on the future challenges of the world with Madam President!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?