Posted: November 18, 2017 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Agnes Smedley, Al Franken, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Dystopian Fiction, Ike Kaveladze, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louise Erdrich, Margaret Atwood, Narco-A-Lago, rampant violence against women ignored by the media, Richard Engel, Rinat Akhmetshin, Russia investigation, sexual assault, Sexual harassment, Trump Ocean Club Panama
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m sick and tired of the media’s coverage of “sexual assault.” I was already tired of hearing about it, but this whole thing with Al Franken using a lot of cerazette is just plain ridiculous. How many days now has it been the top story on cable TV? It feels like a month. What he did was stupid and disgusting, but I’ve heard enough. Franken apologized and wrote a personal letter to the “victim.” She said she accepts his apology.
Should Franken resign? No fucking way! Should we spend interminable days relitigating the charges against Bill Clinton from 20 years ago? No thanks. What Clinton did was disgusting too, but he went through years of investigations and was impeached for Christ’s sake. Enough!
Until Donald Trump resigns, the media needs to lay off Franken. Unless a bunch more women come forward to accuse him, it doesn’t look like he’s predator on the scale of Moore or Trump. We know that numerous other men in the House and Senate are guilty of sexual harassment. How about doing some investigative reporting to find out the names of these men and publish them?
We live in a culture in which women are beaten, raped and murdered on a daily basis. Let the media focus on that for a week. But it won’t happen. They prefer to use the rampant violence against women in this country as entertainment. And this 24/7 coverage of sexual harassment is happening for the same reason–entertainment and ratings. After the past couple of weeks, I’m feeling like I want to resign from the human race.
Meanwhile, the abuser-in-chief is stealing money hand over fist from taxpayers and trying to “reform” the tax code to give himself billions more.
Trump Ocean Club Panama City
Did you watch Richard Engel’s special on Trump’s Panama tower? If not, I highly recommend you check it out. Some interesting reading on just one place where Trump is reaping the rewards of his massive corruption. Some recommended reading on the subject:
Global Witness: Narco-A-Lago: Money Laundering at the Trump Ocean Club Panama. An excerpt:
The warning signs were there from the outset. The Trump Ocean Club, one of Trump’s most lucrative licensing deals to date, was announced in 2006 and launched in 2011, a period when Panama was known as one of the best places in the world to launder money. Whole neighborhoods in Panama City were taken over by organized crime groups, and luxury developments were built with the purpose of serving as money laundering vehicles.
Moreover, investing in luxury properties is a tried and trusted way for criminals to move tainted cash into the legitimate financial system, where they can spend it freely. Once scrubbed clean in this way, vast profits from criminal activities like trafficking people and drugs, organized crime, and terrorism can find their way into the U.S. and elsewhere. In most countries, regulation is notoriously lax in the real estate sector. Cash payments are subject to hardly any scrutiny, giving opportunistic and unprincipled developers free rein to accept dirty money.
In the case of the Trump Ocean Club, accepting easy – and possibly dirty – money early on would have been in Trump’s interest; a certain volume of pre-construction sales was necessary to secure financing for the project, which stood to net him $75.4 million by the end of 2010. Trump received a percentage of the financing he helped secure, and a cut on the sale of every unit at the development.
He and his family have made millions of dollars more from management fees and likely continue to profit from the Trump Ocean Club. Eager for the project’s success, Trump and his children have participated directly in marketing with help from one of the best marketing agencies, management, and even project design. According to broker Ventura Nogueira, Trump’s daughter Ivanka attended at least 10 meetings with him and project developer Roger Khafif.
A large number of those involved with the Trump Ocean Club in its early phase were Russian and Eastern European citizens or diaspora members. In an interview with NBC and Reuters, Ventura Nogueira said that 50 percent of his buyers were Russian, and that some had “questionable backgrounds.” He added that he found out later that some were part of the Russian Mafia.
Two more articles:
NBC News: A Panama tower carries Trump’s name and ties to organized crime.
The Guardian: Trump’s Panama tower used for money-laundering by condo owners, reports say.
Lots of news has been breaking on the Russia investigation. For example, The AP is just out with a new scoop: Moscow meeting in June 2017 under scrutiny in Trump probe.
Earlier this year, a Russian-American lobbyist and another businessman discussed over coffee (checkout this smart coffee cup that was given to me https://www.fastcodesign.com/90150019/the-perfect-smart-coffee-cup-is-here) an extraordinary meeting they had attended 12 months earlier: a gathering at Trump Tower with President Donald Trump’s son, his son-in-law and his then-campaign chairman.
The Moscow meeting in June, which has not been previously disclosed, is now under scrutiny by investigators who want to know why the two men met in the first place and whether there was some effort to get their stories straight about the Trump Tower meeting just weeks before it would become public, The Associated Press has learned.
Congressional investigators have questioned both men — lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin and Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer and former Trump business partner — and obtained their text message communications, people familiar with the investigation told the AP.
Ike Kaveladze and Emin Agalarov meeting with President Donald Trump in Moscow, 2013
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team also has been investigating the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, which occurred weeks after Trump had clinched the Republican presidential nomination and which his son attended with the expectation of receiving damaging information about Democrat Hillary Clinton. A grand jury has already heard testimony about the meeting, which in addition to Donald Trump Jr., also included Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and his then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
The focus of the congressional investigators was confirmed by three people familiar with their probe, including two who demanded anonymity to discuss the sensitive inquiry.
One of those people said Akhmetshin told congressional investigators that he asked for the Moscow meeting with Kaveladze to argue that they should go public with the details of the Trump Tower meeting before they were caught up in a media maelstrom. Akhmetshin also told the investigators that Kaveladze said people in Trump’s orbit were asking about Akhmetshin’s background, the person said.
How much more evidence do we need to know that Russia has basically taken over our goverment?We’re living in a dystopian nightmare, as Dakinikat wrote yesterday. The world is laughing at us because Trump is rapidly turning the U.S. into a tinpot dictatorship. I’d like to just curl up in my apartment and escape into books, and I may just do that this weekend.
One way to escape the present and perhaps put our situation in perspective is to read dystopian novels, which I love. Louise Erdrich has just published one, and Elle has an interview of her by Margaret Atwood: Inside the Dystopian Visions of Margaret Atwood and Louise Erdrich.
Louise Erdrich, member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, author of more than 20 novels, most of them revolving around an Ojibwe community in North Dakota, won the National Book Award for The Round House (2012), a crime thriller, and was a Pulitzer Finalist for The Plague of Doves (2009), a murder mystery. But when a galley of her new novel, Future Home of the Living God (HarperCollins, out now), came across ELLE’s desk, it seemed to us that Erdrich had gone where she’d never quite gone before.
She’s written a novel—a wonderful, creepy, dystopian novel—in which women become prized, and quickly enslaved, for their ability to produce healthy babies. The pregnant protagonist of the novel, Cedar, an Ojibwe adoptee, is on the run, evading the white male evangelical government that wants to sever her from life as she knows it and use her body to produce healthy babies. Click here
Yes, it sounds familiar, doesn’t it—unless you’ve been living under a rock and missed
The Handmaid’s Tale cleaning up at the Emmys, or the fact that the book by the great Margaret Atwood has been on Amazon’s list of its top-20 most-read books for months.
So who better to interview Erdrich about her new novel than Atwood? Lo and behold: They agreed! Over the summer, the two writers—one in Toronto, one in Minnesota—amid jaunts to the Arctic and Winnipeg, engaged in a cross-border digital interview about the novel, their prophetic fears, politics, climate change, and why we idealize Canada.
Click on the link to read the interview. More dystopian fiction suggestions:
Literary Hub: 30 Dystopian Novels by and About Women.
ShortList: The 20 best dystopian novels.
HuffPost: 17 Spine-Tingling New Books For Fans Of Dystopia.
Another way to escape is to read about earlier times. Here’s an interesting book review I came across yesterday at The New Republic: Little House, Small Government. How Laura Ingalls Wilder’s frontier vision of freedom and survival lives on in Trump’s America.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote the “Little House on the Prairie” books, lived a good two decades of her 90 years in a covered wagon going west. Only in late middle age did she become the author of the most successful series for children ever written about the settling of the American frontier. In the stories these books tell, the Ingalls family embodies that extraordinary hunger for pioneering that, through the second half of the nineteenth century, sent a few million men, women, and children out into the prairies and mountains of the mid- and far West to farm, raise cattle, mine for silver, pan for gold. One and all, they went in search of a life free from the restraints of the socialized world, to a place where survival depended on the exercise of one’s own wit and strength and backbreaking labor.
Ultimately, that same drive to be alone with the wilderness got converted to a founding myth of individualism, out of which emerged an ideology that visualized freedom from government as an equivalent of freedom itself. The descendants of that myth are among us still. If Laura Ingalls Wilder were alive today she would be a member of the Tea Party. She would almost certainly have voted for Donald Trump, many of whose followers yet believe that he will restore to them the dubious glory of the frontier America that Wilder so passionately celebrated in her books.
Caroline Fraser’s Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder is an impressive piece of social history that uses the events of Wilder’s life to track, socially and politically, the development of the American continent and its people. The frontier, by definition, has always been a place just beyond the point where land meets sky. In America that longing to move beyond the horizon, which is common to all cultures, became not only synonymous with an idea of the national character, but a vital ingredient in the American brand of democracy. The historian Frederick Jackson Turner ardently believed, in fact, that “that restless, nervous energy, that dominant individualism” attributed to the frontier was the major influence on American democracy’s development.
What the people in the covered wagons did not grasp was that to a large extent they were pawns in the hands of political and business interests—especially those of the railroads—that needed to see ground broken across the entire continent. The pioneers never understood the hucksterism behind the “go west, young man” rhetoric that urged them to go where none had gone before, with no hard knowledge of what actually lay before them. All the pioneers knew—in their fantasies, that is—was that just over the horizon lay adventure, opportunity, possible wealth, and certain freedom.
As a kid, I read every one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series that began with Little House in the Big Woods and ended with These Happy Golden Years. Oh how I’d love to go back that innocent time in my life for one day. But then, maybe it wasn’t as great as I remember it. The reviewer includes another book about the American frontier that isn’t as joyful as Wilder’s nostalgic tales:
Agnes Smedley’s autobiographical novel Daughter of Earth, published in 1929, gave its readers an altogether different look at the same set of experiences. “I write of the joys and sorrows of the lowly,” she begins, “of those who die … exhausted by poverty, victims of wealth and power…. For we are of the earth and our struggle is the struggle of earth.” Smedley’s masterful work of realism concentrates on everything that Laura Ingalls Wilder either ignores, leaves out, or flatly denies. In this book, capitalism makes a mockery of the illusion of freedom-just-ahead—the promise that sent millions traveling west during those same years when the Ingallses were loading and unloading their covered wagon and then loading it once again.
Smedley was born in 1892 in Missouri into a family of farmers who labored long days in the field and never seemed to get ahead. The father, like Charles Ingalls, was handsome and restless. A lover of music and tall tales, he was possessed of “the soul and imagination of a vagabond,” Smedley wrote. The open road called to him. The mother, unlike Caroline Ingalls, desperately did not want to leave the farm but the father wore her down and at last they packed up and headed out. “And from that moment,” Smedley writes, “our roots were torn from the soil and we began a life of wandering, searching for success and happiness and riches that always lay just beyond—where we were not. Only since then have I heard the old saying ‘Where I am not, there is happiness.’”
The father did not want to homestead; rather, he thought to join the army of miners, loggers, and teamsters who were rushing west right alongside the settlers. Missouri, Colorado—on the Smedleys moved, from one mining camp to another, always working like dogs, always being cheated of their wages, always just barely surviving. “Existence meant only working, sleeping, eating … and breeding…. A book was a curiosity … a newspaper was a rarity; to read was a recreation of the rich.”
The family joined the exploited underclass that got the country built. Men like Smedley’s father, with all his brute strength and hunger of spirit, never realized that they were forever up against the exploitation of the owners of the mines and the railroads, who had the government in their pockets. Smedley himself proved an ignorant and frightened man, helpless before a world he could not fathom, much less define himself against. In time he loses his taste for the songs and the stories that sustained him; he becomes a bully, starts to drink, and beats his wife. Of her mother, old at 30, Smedley writes, “her tears … they embittered my life!” It is above all the hardness of the narrator’s voice that makes Daughter of Earth so unlike anything Wilder could have imagined. For Smedley, the ideology of American individualism proved a bitter punishment, for Wilder the fulfillment of what she took to be a God-given promise.
My grandparents and great grandparents helped settle the Dakota territory. I’d love to read those books. I already have a stack of things I want to read though. There’s never enough time.
I know this is a weird post. I think Trump is slowly driving me insane. What stories are you following today? Any book recommendations?
Posted: November 14, 2017 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bill Clinton, Bob Corker, Department of Justice, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr, George Papadopoulos, Hillary Clinton, Jeff Sessions, Juanita Broaddrick, Julian Assange, nuclear weapons, Roy Moore, Vladimir Putin
Morning News, by Francis Luis Mora, 1912
Once again, there is so much news breaking that it’s difficult to decide what to focus on. So I’ll begin with what’s happening right now, and take it from there.
Right now Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. Guess what? He doesn’t remember the meeting where he is pictured with George Papadopoulos and at which Papadopoulos discussed setting up a meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. That’s really strange, because just a short time ago, he claimed to remember objecting to the proposal.
Vanity Fair on Nov. 2: Sessions Suddenly Remembers Russia Conversation He Said Didn’t Happen.
Back in June, there was some cause for concern that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was having memory problems. When questioned from multiple angles during multiple appearances before Congressional investigators about the Trump campaign‘s relationship to Russia, Sessions‘s consistent refrain was: “I don’t recall.”
He gave an equally evasive response when Minnesota Senator Al Franken specifically asked whether surrogates from the Trump campaign had communicated with Russians during the 2016 election in October. “I did not, and I’m not aware of anyone else that did, and I don’t believe it happened,” Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee under oath. (He made similar statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee.)
Now, however, Sessions has reportedly changed his tune. Citing a source familiar with Sessions’s thinking, NBC News reported on Thursday that the attorney general—who served as a top Trump surrogate and headed the then-presidential hopeful’s national security team—does in fact recall rejecting George Papadopoulos’s offer to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin, after the Republican candidate stopped short of ruling out the idea.
“The March 31 comments by this Papadopoulos person did not leave a lasting impression,” the source told NBC News. “As far as Sessions seemed to be concerned, when he shut down this idea of Papadopoulos engaging with Russia, that was the end of it and he moved the meeting along to other issues.” The source added that Papadopoulos was viewed by those in attendance “as someone who didn’t have a lot of credibility.”
The Washington Post, among other news outlets is reporting that Jeff Sessions is thinking about appointing a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and has directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters and report back to him and his top deputy, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.
The revelation came in a response by the Justice Department to an inquiry from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who in July and again in September called for Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate concerns he had related to the 2016 election and its aftermath.
The list of matters he wanted probed was wide ranging but included the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, various dealings of the Clinton Foundation and several matters connected to the purchase of the Canadian mining company Uranium One by Russia’s nuclear energy agency. Goodlatte took particular aim at former FBI director James B. Comey, asking for the second special counsel to evaluate the leaks he directed about his conversations with President Trump, among other things.
In response, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote that Sessions had “directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters,” and that those prosecutors would “report directly to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.”
In today’s hearing, Sessions said he can’t confirm or deny any investigation involving the DOJ. It’s important to note that during his confirmation hearing, Sessions pledged to recuse himself from any matters involving Hillary Clinton.
The New York Times has published some direct quotes from Sessions’ testimony this morning: Jeff Sessions Displays Unsteady Recall on Trump-Russia Matters.
Mr. Sessions denied that he lied in October when he testified that he knew of nobody in the Trump campaign who had contacts with Russians during the presidential campaign. “And I don’t believe it happened,” he said.
Court records later revealed that Mr. Sessions led a March 2016 meeting in which George Papadopoulos, a campaign aide, discussed his Russian ties and suggested setting up a meeting between Mr. Trump. and Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president.
“I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports,” Mr. Sessions said.
Mr. Sessions testified Tuesday that was still hazy on the details about what Mr. Papadopoulos had proposed.
But on one matter, he said his memory is clear: he said he shot down Mr. Papadopoulos’ idea of a Trump-Putin meet-up. And he said he told Mr. Papadopoulos that he was not authorized to represent the campaign in such discussions.
To sum up: Mr. Sessions said he could not remember much about Russian influence on the Trump campaign, except when he could block such influence.
In other news, Don Jr. is in more trouble. You’ve probably read the article by Julia Ioffe in The Atlantic: The Secret Correspondence Between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks.
Just before the stroke of midnight on September 20, 2016, at the height of last year’s presidential election, the WikiLeaks Twitter account sent a private direct message to Donald Trump Jr., the Republican nominee’s oldest son and campaign surrogate. “A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch,” WikiLeaks wrote. “The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is ‘putintrump.’ See ‘About’ for who is behind it. Any comments?” (The site, which has since become a joint project with Mother Jones, was founded by Rob Glaser, a tech entrepreneur, and was funded by Progress for USA Political Action Committee.)
The next morning, about 12 hours later, Trump Jr. responded to WikiLeaks. “Off the record I don’t know who that is, but I’ll ask around,” he wrote on September 21, 2016. “Thanks.”
The messages, obtained by The Atlantic, were also turned over by Trump Jr.’s lawyers to congressional investigators. They are part of a long—and largely one-sided—correspondence between WikiLeaks and the president’s son that continued until at least July 2017.
Read the rest at the link if you haven’t already. Julian Assange, who controls the Wikileaks Twitter account has responded by claiming he was just “Trying to ‘Beguile’ Donald Trump Jr. Into Leaking.”
There’s another hearing going on simultaneously with the Sessions hearing on Trump’s ability to use nuclear weapons. Quartz: Watch live: Should Trump have control of US nuclear weapons?
For the first time since 1976, US lawmakers are re-evaluating who should control America’s nuclear weapons.
Today (Nov. 14), expert witnesses will testify before senators on US national “authority and process” over its nuclear arsenal. The hearing follows a tense few months, in which North Korea has continued nuclear testing, and Donald Trump has responded with belligerent improvisational statements, threatening “fire and fury” and warning that a military response was “locked and loaded.”
Could the US president start a nuclear war with North Korea? That’s what the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing aims to figure out. The hearing will be broadcast on public-service network C-SPAN at 10am US Eastern Time. You can watch it online here.
There’s also the ongoing Roy Moore scandal. Some links to check out if you haven’t already:
CBS News: New accuser steps forward in Roy Moore case.
AL.com: Gadsden locals say Moore’s predatory behavior at mall, restaurants not a secret.
The New Yorker: Locals Were Troubled by Roy Moore’s Interactions with Teen Girls at the Gadsden Mall.
TPM: Alabama GOP Moves Toward Deciding Roy Moore’s Fate Later This Week.
AL.com also posted an editorial yesterday: Our view: Roy Moore grossly unfit for office.
Roy Moore simply cannot be a U.S. Senator. Even if his party and many of its adherents still think it possible, it is unthinkable — for his state, and his country.
Last week, four women described Moore’s unseemly taste for dating high school girls when he was a single man in his 30s. Another described what can only be seen as a sexual assault on her when she was 14. In a radio interview last week, Moore himself suggested that he may have dated teenage women during his 30s, though he vehemently denied the claims made by these women.
Today, even as those women face disgusting attacks on their motives and credibility, a fifth brave Alabama woman stepped forward and described how when she was 16, Moore violently sexually assaulted her in his car. She said she felt it to be an attempted rape, and that it ended with her bruised from either falling from or being pushed from the car, with Moore warning her he was a powerful man and that no one would believe her if she told anyone.
The seriousness of these incidents cannot be overstated. They should not be parsed with talk of statutes of limitations or whether proof exists. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is a consideration for the courtroom, not the ballot box. When choosing our representative before the rest of the world, character matters….
We believe these women.
As a news organization, we have independently investigated as many of these claims as possible and have found no reason to doubt the accounts outlined in the Washington Post. If anything, the stories we’ve heard in Etowah County have only further corroborated them.
In our view, Moore has already revealed himself as grossly unfit to be a U.S. Senator before these revelations.
At The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg suggests that past accusations against Bill Clinton should be reevaluated in the light of recent revelations about powerful men harassing and assaulting women: I Believe Juanita. The title is explosive, but Goldberg’s only reason for believing Juanita Broaddrick’s accusations is that they are similar to recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
Of the Clinton accusers, the one who haunts me is Broaddrick. The story she tells about Clinton recalls those we’ve heard about Weinstein. She claimed they had plans to meet in a hotel coffee shop, but at the last minute he asked to come up to her hotel room instead, where he raped her. Five witnesses said she confided in them about the assault right after it happened. It’s true that she denied the rape in an affidavit to Paula Jones’s lawyers, before changing her story when talking to federal investigators. But her explanation, that she didn’t want to go public but couldn’t lie to the F.B.I., makes sense. Put simply, I believe her.
What to do with that belief? Contemplating this history is excruciating in part because of the way it has been weaponized against Hillary Clinton. Broaddrick sees her as complicit, interpreting something Hillary once said to her at a political event — “I want you to know that we appreciate everything you do for Bill” — as a veiled threat instead of a rote greeting. This seems wildly unlikely; Broaddrick was decades away from going public, and most reporting about the Clinton marriage shows Bill going to great lengths to hide his betrayals. Nevertheless, one of the sick ironies of the 2016 campaign was that it was Hillary who had to pay the political price for Bill’s misdeeds, as they were trotted out to deflect attention from Trump’s well-documented transgressions.
And now they’re being trotted out again. It’s fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society. But we should remember that it’s not simply partisan tribalism that led liberals to doubt her. Discerning what might be true in a blizzard of lies isn’t easy, and the people who spread those lies don’t get to claim the moral high ground. We should err on the side of believing women, but sometimes, that belief will be used against us.
To say that Bill Clinton “no longer has a place in decent society” is a bit much at this point, IMHO. I don’t know much about Broaddrick’s claims; but apparently these old accusations are going to be recycled. Will Jeff Sessions appoint another special prosecutor?
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So much news happening–what will today bring? What stories are you following?
Posted: May 24, 2016 Filed under: Barack Obama, morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, Bill O'Reilly, California primary, Cannonfire, Cornell West, Democratic Convention, DNC, Donald Trump, dumpster fires, Hillary Clinton, James Zogby, Kenneth Starr, platform committee, Rosario Dawson, Susan Sarandon, Tommy Chong
Bernie bros getting ready to burn it all down
Once again, I’ve been sitting here for hours trying to figure out where to begin a post on what’s happening in the news today. So far May has been so terrible for me personally and for my family that I can barely deal with the insanity that is happening in the world of politics. Has it ever been this bad before? I suppose it has, but somehow this election year seems so tawdry, so ugly, so ridiculous, and so horrifying that it’s hard to find a comparison, at least in my lifetime.
Hillary Clinton, one of the most qualified candidates for POTUS ever, is being forced to deal with two insane old white men who are using lies and conspiracy theories to try to bring her down as well as an irresponsible media full of “journalists” who want nothing more than to see her shamed and brought low. If they could get away with burning her at the stake, I believe they would do it without hesitation. I’m not alone. I found this in my Twitter feed:
It is well past time for Bernie Sanders to drop his vicious attacks on Hillary and the Democratic Party, but it has become clear that he is not going to do it. I’m beginning to believe that he actually wants to help elect Donald Trump so that “the revolution” he (Sanders) has dreamed of all of his life will come to fruition.
Bernie is delusional, and I don’t think the Democrats in DC realize the extent to which he has begun to live in his own fantasy world. I don’t think he is going to stop his attacks, and I would not be at all surprised if he tries running third party. I hope and pray that I’m just catastrophizing because of my own stress level.
One of the first things I clicked on this morning was a link on Memeorandum to Cannonfire: A sin against democracy. It’s a rant about what has become of Salon. You need to read the entire post, but here’s an excerpt:
Salon has become something worse than Fox. Comparing the two, I’m reminded of Steve Martin’s great line from Leap of Faith: “Manipulators are sneaky. I’m obvious!” Fox, at least, has the virtue of being obvious.
Here’s the truth: The Clinton Foundation is a charity. Watchdog groups consider it transparent and honest. It does an enormous amount of good. Liars have painted a completely false picture of that Foundation, what it does and how it runs. (They’ve also seeded the internet with utterly bogus stories about how much money actually reaches the needy.)
The attacks on the Clintons Foundation mirror the infamous “swiftboat” attacks on John Kerry’s war record. That, too, was a Republican smear campaign designed to target an opponent’s strength.
If people like Rove, Stone, Atwater — and the writers for Salon — had been around in 1960, they would have found ways to make people believe that JFK had acted abominably in the PT109 affair. I’m not sure how they would have created that impression, but casuistry can achieve miracles.
While you’re at Cannonfire, you can also check out Joseph Cannon’s previous post: 50 reasons why Sanders would lose all 50 states.
Yesterday the DNC let Bernie pick five of his supporters to be on the platform committee at the Democratic Convention in July. I’ll give him this much credit: he didn’t name Susan Sarandon or Rosario Dawson.
Sanders’s slate includes James Zogby, a longtime activist for Palestinian rights as well as a DNC member and official. Zogby currently co-chairs the party’s resolutions committee. His inclusion is a sign of Sanders’s plans to push the party’s policy on Israel toward what he has called a more even-handed approach to the Palestinian cause….
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, who will chair the committee, was named by Wasserman Schultz. Most others named by Wasserman Schultz and Clinton are party stalwarts or Clinton supporters — the establishment Sanders has railed against to great effect. Sanders’s picks include people from outside the usual sphere of party influence, including a Native American activist and author and racial justice activist Cornel West….
Sanders also named Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, among his most prominent elected backers, author and environmental activist Bill McKibben and Native American activist Deborah Parker….
The Clinton campaign’s choices are Wendy Sherman, a former top State Department official and Clinton surrogate; Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a longtime Clinton confidante; Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez of Illinois; Carol Browner, a former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy and former head of the Environmental Protection Agency; Ohio state Rep. Alicia Reece; and Paul Booth of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.
I wonder if Cornell West will ask for inclusion of a plank containing some of his most outrageous attacks on President Obama? Read examples at the links below.
Cornel West: Obama Is First ‘Niggerized’ Black President, by Karoli Kuns.
The Ghost of Cornel West, by Michael Eric Dyson.
Bernie Sanders should be invisible at this point, but he just won’t stop screaming for attention, and neither will his abhorrent surrogates. Rosario Dawson was in fine form in California yesterday. The Daily Mail:
Actress Rosario Dawson told Bernie Sanders supporters this afternoon that winning the White House is only the beginning of the political revolution.
It’s time for a ‘clean sweep,’ she said.
‘It’s time for us to start looking at everyone down the ballot and go, “Are you really representing us?’ Dawson said at this afternoon at a Sanders rally in East LA. ‘Who are these superdelegates? Who are these Congress people and these senators – are they really with you?’
Dawson told the California crowd, ‘We need to reform, not conform.’ ….
At a rally later in the day for Sanders in Santa Monica she said ‘when they’re telling us that your vote doesn’t matter right now, but on the side they’re talking about party unity, what they’re really telling you’ is to conform….
Dawson intimated this afternoon as she campaigned for the U.S. senator in California ahead of the June 7 primary that the rest of the Democratic Party establishment ought to watch its back, too.
‘We need to vote together. They’re gonna do anything and everything in their power to stop you from doing that,’ she said, ‘to say that it doesn’t matter.’
Tommy Christopher at Mediaite: Rosario Dawson Thinks Prince’s Ghost Will Help Bernie Win California or Something.
Rosario Dawson, last seen bringing up Monica Lewinsky at a rally in Delaware [is now] somehow connecting a predicted Bernie Sanders win in the California Democratic primary to the birthday of recently-deceased music legend Prince. To cries of “Down with Hillary!”, Dawson explained that Bernie’s appeal to Republicans, Democrats, and independents meant that they were all going to “vote purple,” so,
So actually, I think it’s quite fitting that on June 7, the day that we’re going to win California, that that would’ve been Prince’s birthday.
Bernie is never going to go away. Never.
Meanwhile Donald Trump is doing his darndest to swiftboat Hillary with tired 1990’s attacks on her husband Bill, who is not running for anything. When will the mainstream media start writing about what Trump’s campaign is really about?
TPM Muckraker: Great White Hope: Trump Unites Generations Of White Nationalists.
BURNS, TENNESSEE—Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has been accused of dog-whistling to white nationalists ever since he kicked off his campaign in the summer of 2015 and warned against “criminal” Mexican immigrants. His retweets of Twitter users with handles like “@WhiteGenocideTM” and his tepid disavowals of David Duke’s support have not gone unnoticed in that fringe community, either.
Tucked away in the woods of middle Tennessee’s Montgomery Bell State Park, 300 “white advocates” gathered over the weekend at the fourteenth annual American Renaissance conference to reflect on just how much fuel Trump has added to their movement this election cycle.
“I’ve never felt this sense of energy in our movement,” the conference host, Jared Taylor, said in his opening remarks. “I’ve never been more optimistic.”
For the conference, American Renaissance, a white nationalist publication, brought advocates for a white ethno-state together with Holocaust deniers, eugenicists and confederate sympathizers. American Renaissance and many of the groups the conference speakers are associated with are designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Posted: May 23, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections, Afternoon Reads | Tags: Bill Clinton, David Brock, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Newt Gingrich, political ads, political attacks, Roger Stone
It’s been a long few days for me culminating with spending the morning at the LASPCA trying to spring my friend’s runaway dog. Did I mention it took three hours while I had to look at about 10 cute kittens that definitely need a home ASAP giving me those big eyes ? So, I’m late with everything, tired, and the last thing I need is to crack a virtual newspaper and read about crazy. However, we still have two crazies in the race, so it’s crazzyyy Monday!!!
We knew the Trump ads against Clinton would be bad but we’re beginning to see exactly how bad they will be. I think most newspaper Tabloids have less sensation and more facts to be perfectly honest. Is this a clickbait headline or what? Alex Jones has taken over candidate Trump’s policies and their oppo research. From TPM: “New Trump Video Mixes Bill Clinton Rape Allegation, Hillary Clinton Laughing.”
Donald Trump released a new Instagram video on Monday featuring audio from interviews with women who’ve accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault. The accompanying text asks if Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton is “really protecting women.”
As a photo of Bill Clinton comes into focus against a black-and-white photo of the White House, a voice can be heard saying “I was very nervous.”
That voice belongs to former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, explaining her concern about divulging her affair with the President to a grand jury.
The next voice says “No woman should be subjected to it. It was an assault.” That’s Kathleen Wiley, a former White House volunteer who alleged that Clinton groped her in the hallway of the White House in 1993, speaking with Fox News’ Sean Hannity in 2007.
The last bit of audio is taken from an infamous 1999 NBC Dateline interview with Juanita Broaddrick, a former nursing home administrator who accused Clinton of raping her in 1978. A tearful Broaddrick can be heard saying that he “started to bite my top lip and I tried to pull away from him.”
Clinton denied the assault on Willey in a 1998 deposition and has also denied Broaddrick’s rape allegation, which surfaced at the time of congressional impeachment proceedings over his affair with Lewinsky.
Trump’s video clip ends with a shot of Hillary and Bill Clinton together. While audio of Hillary Clinton laughing plays, the words “Here we go again” appear on the screen.
It’s the second time in two weeks that Trump has brought up past sexual assault allegations against Bill Clinton. He has called Hillary Clinton a “nasty, mean enabler” of her husband’s alleged affairs.
We’re about to hit through the boundaries of horrific misogyny straight into new, uncharted territory. This is simply on the internet now, but I can only imagine what he’ll eventually try on other forms of media. This is really appalling.
And this on top of crazy Bernie Sanders and his delusional dead-enders!
There are also the usual proxies for the two campaigns. I’m not sure if you’ve had a chance to read this but you might want to look at the NYT’s profiles of Roger Stone (Trump) and David Brock (Clinton). It’s about some of their behind the scene work for the campaigns.
One takes a pint-size dog named Toby almost everywhere, smokes electronic cigarettes and wears his silver hair in a flowing pompadour.
The other has a portrait of Richard M. Nixon tattooed on his back, boasts that he owns more shoes than Imelda Marcos and traffics in conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination.
The 2016 election, filled with ugly insults, whispered innuendo and sordid character attacks, features two central antagonists known for their colorful traits and devotion to the dark arts of politics: David Brock and Roger J. Stone Jr.
Each has a passion for his side — Mr. Brock for Hillary Clinton and Mr. Stone for Donald J. Trump — and a zeal for attacking critics of his candidate. Their intensity and pugnacity make them either perfect villains or misunderstood masterminds, depending on your point of view.
On the wall of Mr. Stone’s office in South Florida, which has an undisclosed address because of the death threats he said he had received, hangs a “Spy vs. Spy” cartoon, which young staff members titled “Brock-Stone” after the two battling operatives.
“The dynamic between the two of them is very interesting,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist who knows both men. “This will be a battle about who’s tougher.”
Politics has always attracted flamboyant characters with a sometimes-reckless devotion to a cause, and both these men seem to enjoy their outsize images.
Mr. Brock, 53, divides his time between Washington and the West Village in Manhattan, throwing lively salons and wooing liberal donors on both coasts, often accompanied by Toby, his schnoodle — a schnauzer-poodle mix.
We frequently read our friend’s at Brock financed pro-Hillary blog Blue Nation Review. The NYT article has some interesting stories on him and the purpose of his pro-Hillary PAC.
Mr. Brock now runs Correct the Record, a “super PAC” that coordinates with the Clinton campaign to defend Mrs. Clinton, and American Bridge, a related group that digs up opposition research to defeat Mr. Trump. (Enough to “knock Trump Tower down to the subbasement,” as Mr. Brock put it in remarks to liberal donors, according to Politico.)
His mission now will largely be to get inside Mr. Stone’s complicated head to anticipate, and stay ahead of, Mr. Trump’s attacks. Mrs. Clinton’s allies have vehemently denied that she was involved in silencing Mr. Clinton’s accusers, but Mr. Trump will continue to push that assertion as the two candidates battle for the support of women voters.
Mr. Stone acknowledged that Mr. Brock’s operation has significantly more resources, but he said the traditional tactic of dismissing these accusations as sordid rumors could backfire. “Brock is calling us conspiracy theorists and trying to make us all sound kooky,” he said. “The only people that scares away are the elites.”
Mr. Brock’s group Media Matters for America has taken direct aim at Mr. Stone, labeling him “the underbelly of the Trump machine” and assembling an encyclopedia on his tactics, including his involvement in a National Enquirer article that accused Senator Ted Cruz’s father of associating with Lee Harvey Oswald before President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Mr. Stone calls Media Matters part of “the Clinton slime machine.”
Both men operate outside the official campaigns, though Mr. Brock directly coordinates with the Clinton campaign through Correct the Record. Mr. Stone said he had “no formal or informal role” within the Trump campaign, but he is close to Mr. Trump and has had a major influence on strategy.
And both have taken risky moves that have created drama and tensions within the campaigns they are ostensibly helping.
We probably are experience some Nixonian election tactics this year. So, I am going to use Media Matters as the go to for this story on the potential of Newt Gingrich showing up as Trump’s VP. I didn’t want to go directly to the National Review but you can if you’d like! It’s amazing to me that what looks like a slate of serial adulterers and cheaters is going after Hillary on her husband. The optics on that alone are so bad as to make your eyeballs peel. It can’t be to attract women. It must be a full throttle all speed ahead to grab white men’s votes.
Fox News figures are praising network contributor Newt Gingrich as a “great choice” for Donald Trump’s running mate. They have touted Gingrich — the first speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives to be punished by the House for ethics violations — as “a genius,” “a conservative with bona fides,” and someone who would “bring tremendous stability, tremendous gravitas, incredible intellect,” and “judgment experience.”
Trump Is Considering Gingrich As His Running Mate
Bloomberg: Trump Has Discussed Gingrich As His VP. Bloomberg reported that “Trump has discussed in recent days the possibility of selecting former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich as his running mate, according to people familiar with the talks.” [Bloomberg, 5/11/16]
Trump: Gingrich Is “Absolutely” On His Short List For VP. The Fox News morning show Fox & Friendsasked Trump if Gingrich was on his short list for vice president. Trump responded: “Absolutely. I’ll say yes, because he’s been such a supporter. I mean, anybody that supports me is on the shortlist as far as I’m concerned.” [The Hill, 5/20/16]
Gingrich Has Suggested He Would Accept The VP Slot. Gingrich stated during a Fox News interview that he would be “very hard-pressed not to say ‘yes’” if offered the spot. [The Huffington Post, 5/16/16]
Trump Aide: Staffers Were Informed Gingrich “Will Have His Hand In Every Major Policy Effort.”National Review reported of “Gingrich’s ascent to Trump’s inner circle”:
Gingrich’s influence within Trump World is widespread. Inside Trump’s newly established campaign offices in Washington, D.C., his fingerprints are everywhere. “Right from the minute I joined we were told that Newt will have his hand in every major policy effort,” says one Trump aide. “So one of the things I do when I’m researching or writing anything, in addition to looking at what Trump has said about anything, I look at what Newt has said.”
Gingrich’s ascent to Trump’s inner circle — and potentially to the vice presidency — marks a reversal of fortune for the speaker, who in recent years has fallen out of favor with party elites over his vocal criticisms of the Iraq War and Paul Ryan’s proposal to reform Medicare. On both issues, the views that irked GOP insiders were squarely in line with the unorthodox positions Trump has espoused on the campaign trail. [National Review, 5/23/16]
So, it will be ugly if it’s the doughboys but it’s an easy take down on the sexcapades at least. I still can’t believe any woman would find Newt’s history with women any more appealing than Trump’s. Still, Trump’s campaign insists they will be aggressive in their ads against Hillary,
A top strategist for the Republican National Committee said Sunday on conservative talk radio that presumptive nominee Donald Trump has made clear he wants to launch “aggressive” attacks on Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“Republicans have been accused in the past, and some degree rightfully so, of not tearing the bark off of our opponents, and this year Donald Trump has made it very clear we are going to be aggressive” to get a Republican in the White House, Sean Spicer RNC chief strategist and spokesman, said.
“We’ve been at it for four years going through her record,” Spicer also said, as quoted by Breitbart. “This idea that people know who she is and that they’ve seen everything is just ridiculous.”
Spicer, speaking with Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM radio, added the party has only “scratched the surface” with Clinton.
I never understand the appeal of these kinds of attacks. They really turn me off. It’s one of the reasons I’m ready to do just about anything within the legal boundaries of the law to see that Bernie Sanders goes back to the Vermont outback, never to be heard from again. Why do all the remaining dudes in this race all represent the angry white male, women-hating prototype? Are there really that many of them left out there?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: March 3, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Elizabeth Warren, wacky politics
It’s another wacky news day in the battles for the major party presidential nominations. In the Republican race, Donald Trump basically has already won; and now that it’s too late, some GOP leaders are trying to stop him. Today it’s 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who plans to denounce Trump today in a speech in Utah.
The Washington Post: Mitt Romney: ‘Trump is a phony, a fraud’ who is ‘playing the American public for suckers.’
In a forceful, top-to-bottom indictment of Trump, Romney will call on fellow Republicans to reject the billionaire businessman’s candidacy in an election “that will have profound consequences for the Republican Party and more importantly, for the country.”
“Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Romney will say, according to a speech prepared for delivery Thursday at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. “His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House, and all we get is a lousy hat.” ….
Several of Romney’s friends, allies and former donors are involved in efforts to stop Trump, launching and funding super PACs airing ads against the businessman, in Florida, Ohio and elsewhere….
According to Romney’s Thursday remarks, Trump’s “domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgement to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.”
Trump, Romney is expected to say, “relishes any poll that reflects what he thinks of himself. But polls are also saying that he will lose to Hillary Clinton.”
Naturally, Trump hit back. From the LA Times:
Trump, in turn, dismissed Romney as “a stiff” who “didn’t know what he was doing” as the party’s candidate in 2012 and blew a chance to beat President Obama. “People are energized by what I’m saying” in the campaign and turning out in remarkable numbers to vote, Trump told NBC’s “Today.”
In ratcheting up the rhetoric, Romney cast his lot with a growing chorus of anxious Republican leaders — people many Trump supporters view as establishment figures — in trying to slow the New York real estate mogul’s momentum.
But it was unclear what effect his words would have with voters deeply frustrated by their party’s leaders. Trump questioned whether the party rank and file would listen to “a failed candidate” for whom “nobody came out to vote.”
Unfortunately for the Republican “establishment,” the Koch brothers aren’t going to help them bring Trump down, according to a Reuters exclusive: Koch brothers will not use funds to try to block Trump nomination.
The Koch brothers, the most powerful conservative mega donors in the United States, will not use their $400 million political arsenal to try to block Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s path to the presidential nomination, a spokesman told Reuters on Wednesday.
The decision by the billionaire industrialists is another setback to Republican establishment efforts to derail the New York real estate mogul’s bid for the White House, and follows speculation the Kochs would soon launch a “Trump Intervention.”
“We have no plans to get involved in the primary,” said James Davis, spokesman for Freedom Partners, the Koch brothers’ political umbrella group. He would not elaborate on what the brothers’ strategy would be for the Nov. 8 election to succeed Democratic President Barack Obama.
Three sources close to the Kochs said the brothers made the decision because they were concerned that spending millions of dollars attacking Trump would be money wasted, since they had not yet seen any attack on Trump stick.
The Koch brothers are also smarting from the millions of dollars they pumped into the failed 2012 Republican presidential bids of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the sources said.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders supporters are attacking Elizabeth Warren and threatening to primary her because she didn’t endorse their candidate before the Massachusetts primary.
TBogg at Raw Story: Elizabeth Warren fails to endorse Bernie and his fans freak the hell out on her Facebook page.
After Sanders of Vermont secured a primary win in the neighboring state of New Hampshire, progressives turned their starstruck eyes to Progressive Goddess Warren figuring she could seal the deal for Bernie in her home state primary with a Bernie endorsement.And then she didn’t. In fact, she stayed silent.
Cue Progressive Rageface
So they expressed their extreme dissatisfaction with Warren on her Facebook page on a perfectly anodyne post celebrating the appearance of the Fisk Jubilee Singers who performed “traditional spiritual and black American religious music” at Boston’s Symphony Hall back on Feb. 21.
Whatever, stupid singers. Facebook is made for ranting.
And rant they did, ripping into the implicit heresy of Warren’s failure to endorse Sanders by letting her know in no uncertain terms that they are really really really REALLY disappointed. And worse.
Your unwillingness to endorse Bernie prior to Super Tuesday indicates to me that your fear of pressure from Hillary friends on Capitol Hill “trumps” your commitment to the progressive cause. I have lost faith in you and the DNC.
Elizabeth – is there ANY reason on God’s green earth that you’re sitting quiet in the corner while Bernie is awaiting your endorsement? Am I missing something here???
Is she really part of the establishment? How can she, as a representative of the people, as a self proclaimed progressive, not publicly endorse Bernie Sanders? Do you think she owes Clinton some political favors? hmmmm.
Read more lovely examples of Bernie-discourse at the Raw Story link.
As if that wasn’t enough, yesterday a Sanders supporter from Chicago posted a petition on Change.org to have former U.S. President Bill Clinton arrested for . . . something. More than 80,000 angry Bernie fans have signed it so far.
The Boston Globe: Did Bill Clinton violate election rules in Mass.?
Bill Clinton’s presence inside a polling location in Boston on Super Tuesday raised concerns about whether the former president violated state rules on election campaigning.
While stumping for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton entered a polling station at the Holy Name Parish School’s gymnasium in West Roxbury early Tuesday.
It was there that he spoke with workers, bought a cup of coffee, and apparently took a photo with one woman, according to press pool reports.
A video clip showing Bill Clinton shaking hands with election clerks at Holy Name, alongside Mayor Martin J. Walsh, had some people on Twitter questioning the former president’s appearance indoors.
“Aren’t there rules about electioneering at the polling location?” one person wrote on Twitter, after seeing the video.
Hmmm . . . should the mayor be arrested too? He endorsed Hillary. Of course Secretary of State Maura Healy did too. Oh the unfairness of it all!
“He can go in, but he can’t approach voters,” Galvin said. “We just took the extra precaution of telling them because this is not a usual occurrence. You don’t usually get a president doing this.”
According to the Election Day Legal Summary on Galvin’s website, certain activities on Election Day are prohibited within polling locations and within 150 feet of polling places, including the “solicitation of votes for or against, or any other form of promotion or opposition of, any person or political party.”
Of course Bill wasn’t actively campaigning. He probably shouldn’t have done this, but he was accompanied by mayors in the places where it happened. Presumably, the mayors are the ones who brought Clinton inside. Maybe Bernie bros should make a citizens’ arrest. Or alternatively, maybe Sanders should just run a better campaign. Just a thought.
There’s another Republican debate tonight in Detroit, and we’ll of course have a live blog for discussion. The event begins at 9PM and will be hosted by Fox News. Moderators will be Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace.
More stories to check out, links only:
The Guardian: Donald Trump releases his healthcare plan in campaign statement.
The Washington Post: Pandemonium in the GOP: Some embrace Trump while others rush to stop him.
The New York Times: Debate Prep: Fact-Checking the GOP Candidates on Health Care.
Peter Beinart at The Atlantic: The Violence to Come: With Donald Trump on the brink of the GOP nomination, America is hurtling toward a schism unlike anything since the 1960s.
This is a great article by David Cay Johnston on Donald Trump’s income, wealth, and what might be in his tax returns: 9 Key Points About Trump’s Income Taxes (And Many More Questions).
Fortune: Why Donald Trump’s Tax Returns May Prove He’s Not That Rich.
Time: White House May Be Vetting Appeals Judge for Supreme Court Vacancy.
Christopher D. Benson at the Chicago Tribune: In ‘Spotlight,’ a lesson on covering race.
Shakesville: Hillary Sexism Watch Part Wev in an Endless Series.
Politico: Sanders campaign: What losses? There’s a unified message from the Vermont senator on down: They’ll fight on until the Democratic convention.
Ugly story out of Boston:
The Boston Globe: US to investigate racial allegations at Boston Latin and Family of student threatened with lynching wants consequences in the case.
What stories are you following today?
Posted: January 2, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: agism, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Sexism
In the past week or two Donald Trump has begun directing his crude and crass public attacks at Hillary Clinton rather than his Republican rivals for the presidential nomination.
Trump claimed that it was “disgusting” that Hillary went to the ladies room during a break the last Democratic debate. He said that Obama “schlonged” Hillary in the 2008 presidential primaries. He announced that it was “fair game” for him to use Bill Clinton’s infidelities in the 1990s against Hillary. Will it work?
From the NYT: Poll Show Attacks on Bill Clinton May Only Help Hillary Clinton.
Survey data from the Pew Research Center show’s [sic] Mrs. Clinton’s favorability rating jumping to 63 percent in August of 1998, four months before Mr. Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives. In December of that year, as controversy about their marriage continued to swirl, her popularity climbed higher, reaching 66 percent.
“In contrast to her husband, Hillary Clinton continues to draw high marks from the public,” Pew found at the time. “Two-thirds of Americans say they admire Hillary Clinton’s decision to stand by her husband and nearly as many have a favorable opinion of the first lady.”
Figures from Gallup also showed Mrs. Clinton’s favorability rating rising as accounts of Mr. Clinton cheating dominated headlines. That rating, which was at 39 percent in 1992, remained high through 1999 before leveling off. It hovered from 40 percent to 50 percent in the 2000s and topped 60 percent again when she joined President Obama’s cabinet.
Shawn J. Parry-Giles, a communications professor at the University of Maryland, explained in her 2014 book about the role of gender in American politics that Mrs. Clinton was seen as more sympathetic and authentic as she endured the fallout from her husband’s affair.
“As she showed a clear sense of marital fortitude by staying with her cheating husband, her poll numbers would rise,” Ms. Parry-Giles wrote. “As the scorned and sad woman attracting sympathy from others, Clinton would more closely resemble the traditional ideals of authentic womanhood.”
Paul Waldman at The Week: Bill Clinton’s sexual history is fair game for Donald Trump. But it’s bad politics.
…since Hillary Clinton often mentions her husband’s presidency as an example of the kind of successful approach she would bring, that presidency — warts and all — is certainly relevant. But if Republicans want to re-litigate the Monica Lewinsky matter, they probably shouldn’t hope that things will turn out differently this time. You may recall that they were unable to remove Clinton from the presidency, and two years after being impeached he left office with approval ratings in the high 60s. In the end, the public decided that though his private behavior was deplorable, they were happy with the job he was doing as president. They also concluded that a bunch of prurient Republicans had become positively obsessed with Clinton’s sexual life and dragged the country through a needless impeachment crisis.
It’s fair game to talk about all that again (which, I must point out, members of the media would absolutely love to do). What’s much harder to figure out is why Bill Clinton’s behavior provides a reason to vote against his wife. That’s the substance of the question, which still awaits an explanation.
Obviously for Trump and the dudebro media, a wife is simply an appendage, not a person in her own right.
One might even ask what relevance Donald Trump’s obvious sexism has for the presidency. Unlike with some of the other large groups he has alienated, it’s less clear what the connection would be between Trump’s sexism and his actual policy positions. Yes, he finds women’s bodily functions “disgusting,” in the word he repeatedly uses (see here or here), and has a history of dumping his wives when they hit their 40s so he can get himself a younger model. But his positions on issues of particular concern to women are little different from those of most Republicans, even those who are perfectly polite and respectful to everyone (you can argue that things like opposing abortion rights are inherently sexist, but that doesn’t tell us anything about Trump specifically).
But it would be “fair game” now, right? Please go read the rest of the piece at the link. It’s good.
Mary Sanchez at the Chicago Tribune: Donald Trump should think twice about taking on Bill Clinton.
Donald Trump might be picking the wrong schoolyard fight. His modus operandi is to bully. And it’s proved to be an ideal strategy for tying his Republican rivals in knots. But now he’s trying it on someone whose powers of political legerdemain are legendary: Bill Clinton.
The 69-year-old former president is wilier than Trump could ever dream of being. This is the man who hung the 1995-1996 government shutdown around the neck of his chief political adversary, House Speaker Newt Gingrich. A formidable huckster in his own right, Gingrich was the It Boy of conservatism and the leader of an ascendant “Republican Revolution,” but after losing his budget showdown with Clinton, his career went into permanent eclipse.
Gingrich’s oafish understudies then mounted an ill-advised impeachment campaign against Clinton, which only burnished the president’s credentials as a victim of partisan fanaticism.
Trump, by contrast, is a cad whose vulgarity and brutishness are given cover by the fact that those very qualities are cheered by a large portion of the Republican base. He’s making the P.T. Barnum bet on the Republican electorate, and so far it’s paying off.
In recent days, Trump has pounced on Hillary Clinton’s husband, in particular his record of cheating, as a new stratagem to upend her campaign. On Twitter, he asserted: “If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women’s card on me, she’s wrong!”
But this only underscores another difference between Bill Clinton and Donald Trump: The former president’s record on so-called women’s issues is stellar. He appointed the first women to become U.S. attorney general and secretary of state, added Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the U.S. Supreme Court and signed the Violence Against Women Act, along with other measures that benefited women.
Most recently Trump has been claiming that Hillary is “weak” and “low energy” and that she “lacks .”
From the Washington Post:
For as long as Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye, she has answered questions — and sometimes volunteered information — about how much and how hard she works to get it all done.
Few, even her political enemies, have questioned her work ethic or staying power — until Donald Trump.
“She’ll do a couple of minutes in Iowa, meaning a short period of time. And then she goes home,” the GOP presidential front-runner said in Davenport, Iowa, a few weeks ago, as his attention turned to those areas. “You don’t see her for five or six days. She goes home, goes to sleep. I’m telling you. She doesn’t have the strength. She doesn’t have the stamina.”
Ever since — and increasingly in recent days — the magnate has lobbed a barrage of insults at Clinton from onstage at his campaign rallies, on television and online. The former secretary of state is “low-energy,” Trump says. She lacks stamina. She’s physically weak.
The attacks — often coded, always personal — seem to be aimed at raising questions in voters’ minds about a factor that has long been whispered in some GOP circles: how Clinton’s age could affect her ability to serve.
Trump is older than Clinton, but I guess he thinks he’s not affected by aging. Or maybe he thinks only women are?
“I think that my words represent toughness and strength. Hillary’s not strong. Hillary’s weak, frankly. She’s got no stamina; she’s got nothing,” the billionaire said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “She couldn’t even get back on the stage last night.”
Her energy level, he has said, should disqualify her from the presidency. “Hillary is a person who doesn’t have the strength or the stamina, in my opinion, to be president,” Trump told ABC’s “This Week.” “She doesn’t have strength or stamina. She’s not a strong enough person to be president.”
Trump, who often takes credit for saddling former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) with a “low-energy” label, has lately used the same line on Clinton.
“She’s even lower-energy than Jeb Bush,” he told a South Carolina crowd on Wednesday.
Trump has looked tired by the end of every GOP debate. I’d love to see him sit through 11 hours of hostile questioning at a Congressional hearing as Hillary did not too long ago. Who know what’s in Trump’s fevered brain, but I think these are all sexist attacks designed to make people believe a woman couldn’t handle the presidency. I don’t think this line of attack is going to work for Trump either.
A few more reactions to Trump’s attacks on Hillary and Bill Clinton:
Joe Conason at The National Memo: Below Par: Donald Trump’s Ardent Courtship Of Bill And Hillary Clinton.
Janelle Ross at the WaPo: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and how sexism is now partisan.
Lanny Davis at The Hill: Thank you, Mr. Trump — keep attacking the Clintons.
What do you think? What stories are you following today?
Posted: August 18, 2015 Filed under: morning reads, Republican politics, U.S. Politics, Women's Rights | Tags: #BlackLivesMatter, abortion, attitudes toward women in biblical times, Bill Clinton, forced pregnancy, Hillary Clinton, Nate Silver, Oliver Willis, rape, religion, Valerie Tarico
I’m getting a slow start again today. We’re having another heat wave here, and its throwing my circadian rhythms off. It’s hard to get to sleep at night because it’s so hot, and then I wake up at around 5AM when it has cooled down some, then fall back into a deep sleep and wake up a few hours later feeling drugged. I’m just drinking my iced coffee now and trying to get myself going. The good news is that at this time of year it does cool down quite a bit at night.
Hillary Clinton is in the news this morning, and as usual, even when she does something positive like requesting the release of all of her State Department emails or hold a meeting with activists and then release the video, the media reports it in a negative light. Here’s the video:
I hope Hillary supporters will watch the videos and not just read the media reports; because she gives intelligent, sensible answers. I linked to a blog post by Oliver Willis a few days ago in which he suggests that the activists are focusing on getting Hillary to say she’s sorry for things her husband did in the 1990s instead of pushing for real changes in policies. He was right.
The Hill reports: Clinton tells Black Lives Matter activists: ‘You’re not going to change every heart.’
“All I’m saying is, your analysis is totally fair, it’s historically fair, it’s psychologically fair, it’s economically fair. But you’re going to have to come together as a movement and say, ‘Here’s what we want done about it,’ ” Clinton says to a few members of the movement in the video posted by GOOD Magazine.
“Because you can get lip service from as many white people as you can pack into Yankee Stadium and a million more like it,” Clinton adds later. “Even for us sinners, find some common ground on agendas that can make a difference right here and now in people’s lives.”
Clinton met with the group of Boston-area Black Lives Matter activists last week after they were shut out of an event in the early voting state of New Hampshire that they planned to protest. A spokesman said they watched from an overflow room and met with Clinton afterward.
“I don’t believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate,” Clinton continues later in the exchange.
Activists who spoke with Clinton appeared on MSNBC last night to criticize her for “ducking responsibility” for policies of Bill Clinton’s administration that led to mass incarceration of black people.
Why is it that no one seems to understand that Bill and Hillary Clinton are two separate people with separate views of the world? Do they really believe that the wife of a president makes the laws of the land?
Still, Hillary did respond to the accusations. CNN:
The activists, led by Daunasia Yancey, founder of Black Lives Matter in Boston, pressed Clinton on her family’s role in promoting “white supremacist violence against communities of color.”
Clinton acknowledged during the conversation that laws put into place by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, did not work out as planned.
“I do think that there was a different set of concerns back in the ’80s and the early ’90s. And now I believe that we have to look at the world as it is today and try and figure out what will work now,” she said. “And that’s what I’m trying to figure out and that’s what I intend to do as president.”
But Clinton also told the protestors that she was “not sure” she agreed with the activists that her husband’s policies were racist.
“I do think that a lot of what was tried and how it was implemented has not produced the kinds of outcomes that any of us would want,” she said. “But I also believe that there are systemic issues of race and justice that go deeper than any particular law.”
But for some reason all the activists wanted was for Hillary to show contrition in some way. Was she supposed to break down sobbing? I’m not sure what they wanted. Read more about it at CNN.
New York Magazine has more:
Julius Jones is the man on the right.
The first video starts with [Julius] Jones spending three minutes going over America’s history of violence toward black people, ending with Clinton’s role in perpetuating mass incarceration. He concluded with a thoughtful question on what that means to Clinton personally — “Now, they may have been unintended consequences, but now that you understand the consequences, what in your heart has changed that’s going to change the direction of the country?” he asked — and a Clinton aide interrupted before she could answer.
Specifically, what was Hillary’s role in this? Do they believe she was actually running the country with Bill as just a figurehead? Continuing,
Clinton started off with a standard politician answer, recapping her lifelong advocacy for minority children, then offered some insight into how she wants to frame the issue on the campaign trail. “Once you say that this country has still not recovered from its original sin, which is true, the next question by people who are on the sidelines, which is the vast majority of Americans, is ‘So, what do you want me to do about it?'” she said. “I’m trying to put together in a way that I can explain it and I can sell it, because in politics if you can’t explain it and you can’t sell it, it stays on the shelf.” ….
Jones objected to Clinton suggesting that Black Lives Matter needs to have clearer policy goals to get the rest of the country onboard. “I say this as respectfully as I can: If you don’t tell black people what we need to do, then we won’t tell you all what you need to do,” Jones said, adding that “this is and has always been a white problem of violence” and there isn’t much black people can do to stop it.
Really? So candidates and activists should not communicate about changes in legislation and policy? As Oliver Willis noted, the activists don’t seem focused on policies for the future. I really hope this analysis is wrong, but it does sound like this movement may go the way of Occupy Wall Street if they don’t start telling candidates what policies they would support.
Hillary and Julius Jones
I know you’ve probably seen the headlines suggesting that Hillary is no longer the most likely candidate to get the Democratic nomination, so I won’t bother posting them. Here’s a response from Nate Silver, based on actual data: Hillary Clinton’s Inevitable Problems.
Clinton’s favorability rating has, in fact, fallen quite a lot, to an average of about 42 percent favorable and 48 percent unfavorable in recent polls.
Numbers like those, when combined with the “emailgate” scandal and Sen. Bernie Sanders’s position in the polls (he’s now running very close to Clinton in New Hampshire, although not in Iowa or nationally), have a lot of commentators saying Clinton’s campaign has had an unexpectedly rough start. “Hillary is probable, but no longer inevitable,” wrote David Horsey of the Los Angeles Times, assessing her chances to win the nomination.
Horsey is right to deal in probabilities rather than certainties. Personally, I give Clinton about an 85 percent chance of becoming the Democratic nominee. (The general election is a whole different story.) That’s a pinch higher than betting markets, which put her chances at 75 to 80 percent.
But those betting markets, unlike some pundits, haven’t changed their assessment of Clinton much. In the markets, her probability of winning the nomination is still close to its all-time high and has barely budged in the past few months, rarely falling much below 75 percent or rising much above 80 percent.
Emailgate? #feelthebern? Clinton’s declining favorables? The betting markets think everything that’s happened to Clinton so far in the campaign is pretty much par for the course. It’s not that these markets are clairvoyant; they presumably didn’t know there would be a scandal involving Clinton and her email server, for instance. But it was a pretty good bet that there would be some scandal involving Clinton. (It’s not as though there is an absence of them to pick from.) Likewise, while you might or might not have identified Sanders as the person to do it, it was a pretty good bet that somechallenger to Clinton would be situated about where Sanders is in the polls. So events like these were “priced in” to her stock. Let’s look at each of them in a bit more depth.
Please go read the rest at the FiveThirtyEight link above.
I’d like to call your attention to an essay by Valerie Tarico published at Raw Story: Republicans want 10-year-old girls to give birth to ‘rape’ babies — here’s what the Bible sas about that. Tarico is a former evangelical christian who is now a psychologist who writes about “the intersection between religious belief, psychology and politics, with a growing focus on women’s issues and contraceptive technologies that she thinks are upstream game changers for a broad range of challenges that humanity faces.”
In her lengthy essay, Tarico demonstrates that in the Bible women have no function except to bear children and serve men. They are not seen as autonomous human beings who should have choices about any aspect of their lives. We all know this, but reading the biblical examples she gives is still highly enlightening.
More interesting reads, links only:
The Intercept: Why Did the FBI Spy on James Baldwin?
Raw Story: ‘Women get equal pay’: Rick Perry doesn’t want a bunch of girly fair wage laws ‘jumbling up our code’
People: Donald Trump Reports for Duty (Jury Duty That Is!) After Five Summonses.
Business Insider: ‘Dilbert’ creator: There’s a ‘clown genius’ behind Donald Trump’s campaign — and it’s why he’s unstoppable.
Washington Post: State Department flags 305 more Clinton e-mails for review. (Go down several paragraphs and you’ll learn that none of the emails were classified at the time and Clinton is not being accused of any wrongdoing. The review of the emails is simply for the purpose of deciding what material should be released under the Freedom of Information Act.)
Reuters, via Raw Story: Scott Walker tries channelling Trump in attempt to kick-start sinking campaign.
Bankok Post: Bangkok blast: the Hindu shrine beloved by Buddhists.
USA Today: Police release footage of suspect in Bangkok bombing.
Matter: I Watched 14 Police Officers Take Down a One-Legged Homeless Black Man Outside Twitter HQ.
NPR: For The First Time, Women Will Graduate From Army’s Rigorous Ranger School.
What stories are you following today?