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

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Good Morning!!

Today’s post is going to be mostly a link dump, because I have a busy day ahead; and besides, I’m still so overwhelmed with what’s happening in the news that I don’t think I can write anything much.

I’ll begin with Donald Trump’s latest inhuman tweet:

Apparently, Dwyane Wade (whose first name Trump misspelled) is a professional basketball player, and that may be what called Trump’s attention to the story. The Chicago Sun-Times: Woman pushing stroller fatally shot; was cousin of NBA star Wade.

“My cousin was killed today in Chicago,” Wade tweeted Friday night. “Another act of senseless gun violence. 4 kids lost their mom for NO REASON. Unreal. #EnoughIsEnough.”

Nykea Aldridge, of the 6400 block of South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, was taken to Stroger Hospital with gunshot wounds to the head and arm and was pronounced dead at 4:15 p.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

About 3:30 p.m., Aldridge, 32, was walking with a baby in a stroller and a man in the 6300 block of South Calumet when two male suspects walked up and fired shots at a third man, according to Chicago Police.

“As she was walking down the street some type of altercation occurred which didn’t involve her,” Deputy Chief of Detectives James Jones told reporters at Chicago Police headquarters Friday night.

Aldridge’s baby survived and is with relatives.

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As with Trump’s reactions to the shootings in San Diego and Orlando, he sees this tragic death only as an opportunity for him. He doesn’t offer condolences; he apparently feels no empathy whatsoever for the woman who died so senselessly or for her family. He doesn’t even bother to use her name in his heartless tweet.

This is a man that much of the media spent yesterday defending against a serious speech by Hillary Clinton on how the Trump campaign is bringing vile white supremacist philosophies into the mainstream of the Republican Party. The “both-sidesism” in the media has been absolutely breathtaking, with multiple press and TV outlets pretending that Clinton’s serious policy speech is equivalent to Trump screaming “Hillary Clinton is a bigot” in a speech on the same day. Here’s prime example from The Washington Post: Clinton, Trump exchange racially charged accusations.

A series of racially charged accusations dominated the presidential campaign Thursday, with Democrat Hillary Clinton accusing Donald Trump of “taking hate groups mainstream,” while the Republican nominee repeatedly claimed that Clinton is a “bigot” toward African Americans.

Clinton started the day by releasing a video that featured Ku Klux Klan members and white supremacists touting Trump’s candidacy — then gave an afternoon speech condemning Trump’s racially inflammatory remarks and support within the “alt-right,” which she described as an “emerging racist ideology.”

“Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters,” she said in the speech in Reno. “It’s a disturbing preview of what kind of president he’d be.”

Trump, meanwhile, declared in an interview on CNN that Clinton is a bigot — an accusation that he first made at a rally in Mississippi Wednesday night, but that he repeated several times under questioning from CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“She is a bigot,” Trump said in the interview, which was broadcast Thursday. “If you look at what’s happening to the inner cities, you look at what’s happening to African Americans and Hispanics in this country, where she talks all the time.”

The blisteringly direct accusations brought the subjects of race and bigotry, previously undercurrents, to the surface of this year’s presidential election. And the exchanges hinted at just how nasty the verbal battle between Clinton and Trump could become in the roughly 10 weeks until the general election.

This false equivalency is maddening. How are racism and giving voice to white supremacist groups not serious issues in this campaign? Is the problem that the national media is overwhelmingly white? I just don’t get it.

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A day after the Post published that ridiculous article, the editorial board denounced Trump’s racism: Republicans can’t pretend not to know what fuels the Trump campaign.

IN A major speech Thursday, Hillary Clinton linked Donald Trump to bigoted elements on the fringe of American politics. But she got it wrong when she said, “Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.”

It’s not a “dog whistle” if everyone can hear the bigotry.

Republicans supporting Mr. Trump, explicitly or tacitly, cannot reasonably claim that they do not know who he is and what he has been doing.

Before running for president, Mr. Trump was the king of the “birthers” who questioned President Obama’s place of birth. He started his campaign by calling Mexican migrants rapists, then spoke approvingly of the inhumane 1950s deportation program known as “Operation Wetback” and delivered a convention speech that described a country overrun by violent foreigners. As Ms. Clinton recounted, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) called Mr. Trump’s attack on a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Add in the Republican nominee’s proposed Muslim travel ban, his false aspersions on the U.S. Muslim community, his long history of belittling women, his dissemination of an anti-Semitic graphic, and a clear picture was visible long before Ms. Clinton approached the lectern.

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In more recent days, Mr. Trump has attempted to salvage his image with appeals nominally aimed at African Americans. Instead, he only dug himself deeper, depicting African Americans as desperate people living in abject squalor with nothing to lose. He hired a new campaign chief executive, Stephen Bannon, a man who has called the Civil War the “war of Southern Independence” and who ran a website that warned the Obama administration is “importing more hating Muslims.”

Unsurprisingly, polling shows that a majority of Americans believe Mr. Trump is biased against women and minorities. Whether Mr. Trump is a genuine bigot or just cynically appealing to bigoted sentiment is not a question we can answer. Certainly not everyone who supports Mr. Trump is a bigot. But Mr. Trump has attracted the support of assorted American bigots, once thought ejected from mainstream U.S. politics. The candidate has courted this support with plainly visible winks and nods, retweeting their messages and hesitating to disavow them when asked. At any point — such as last August, when the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos pointed out that white nationalists were rallying to Mr. Trump’s cause — Mr. Trump could have offered the loud, full and unequivocal condemnation of the bigoted fringe that the situation required.

So which is it, WaPo? Did Hillary give a “major speech” or did she simply participate in an ugly racial back and forth, as your writers suggested? It’s time for those in big media to make up their minds whether they are going to continue to push the false equivalency doctrine or if they are going to stand up to real bigotry and demagoguery. At least the the majority of the American people seem to have taken Trump’s measure and rejected him.

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One media figure who has been mostly even-handed and who has even defended Clinton at times, Joy Reid of MSNBC, published a mystifying and depressing piece at The Daily Beast late last night: Can President Hillary Survive the Media’s Fake Scandals? Though Reid obviously is not completely unsympathetic, she certainly sounds very negative about a possible Clinton presidency. I’ll let you judge this article for yourself, because I’m just too disgusted to excerpt from it.

More stories to check out:

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

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

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

The Daily Beast: Donald Trump’s ‘Apprentices’ Had to Agree to Go Nude.

Michael Gerson at the WaPo: Trump’s repellent inner circle

Jeremy Peters at the NYT: As Donald Trump Repels Minority Voters, GOP Fears Its Future in the West.

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Politico: Teamsters endorse Hillary Clinton.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday Reads: Men and the mass Penistyeria surrounding Hillary Clinton

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Good Afternoon Skydancers of all shapes, sizes, sex and such!

As we continue forward with the election of the first woman president, we also continue backward with the number of outrageous lies, misogyny, CDS, and downright paranoia that some folks seem to get every time they see or hear Hilary Clinton.  This week I realized that I could no longer listen to Donald Trump read from his teleprompter without wanting to hurl a few things. (Yes, you can read all the double entrendre you want into that comment.)

I’ve really had it with any one that could possibly demonize one of the most tightly and ethically run global charities in the world that basically saves lives let alone any one that thinks a bunch of emails that show absolutely nothing are deserving of more inspection that say, some one who hides their tax information and owes tremendous amounts of money to the governments of China and Russia.  Why does racism and misogyny seem to have so many working class folks enthralled? Are that many people really that stupid, evil, or gullible?

So today’s pictures and snark are due to the misogyny of some gun fetishists/death vendors from Maine who are well known for posting hildabeastsome of the worst Alt-Right shit in the world on their store sign.  Observe the original nastiness there on the sign and then enjoy how feminists are taking it back. Remember, these jerks are most likely tuned in to the wonderful world of Steven Bannon who is known for the website that asked if parents would rather see their children get feminism or cancer. No more to do lists for me!  Now I have a Vagenda that includes Manocide!!! 

A picture of the sign in front of the Raymond, Maine shop made its way to Twitter and inspired women everywhere to start tweeting their own vagendas. In these satirical to-do lists, women casually list “manocide” in between tasks like meetings, laundry and fitness classes. Others swap out the term for phrases like “oppress men” and “crush a man’s soul.” Many next-level trolls are including other tasks everyone assumes feminists prioritize day to day, such as “eat kale” and “queer stuff.”

One expert troll deserves true internet praise for rigging it so the web address http://www.vagendaofmanocide.com/ redirects to Clinton’s official campaign donation page. According to The Daily Dot, whoever registered the domain did so privately, “so there’s no way of knowing who they are or what their real vagenda is.”

And in case you were wondering more about the sign that inspired all of this, it turns out this isn’t out of the blue for Gulf of Maine Gunsmithing. In fact, hateful slogans seem to be the arms dealer’s choice of words for its sign. Locals has posted photos of different variations of the sign to shop’s Facebook page.

14034952_10153967510123512_2950858829410499185_nSo, here’s my daily Vagenda.  Hope you all realize that I lead a very boring life now. I’ve already been chided for bumping manocide to spot 3 on the list but hey, Temple has to eat and I have to earn a paycheck. Manociding is an expensive hobby, you know.  Anyway, seriously, empower yourself with a VAGENDA!

6:00 am. Arise. Wrap your cardigan-sheathed hands around a mug of hot cardamom lemon water; squint into the distance from your craftsman veranda. Breathe authentically. Pick off a passing man with your bespoke porch rifle.

A good start is to visit www.vagendaofmanocide.com.

So, yesterday, Hillary Clinton connected the dots between the Alt-Right and the crazy Trump Campaign themes like sending an ultra right wing nationalist from the UK to give a speech on Brexit in a very confused Mississippi. Oh, BTW, if you didn’t watch Rachel connect the dots between Campaign Mommy, Der Fuhrer Trump, and Steven Bannon and Hedge Fund Billionaire and right wing asshole Robert Mercer, please go watch now. How poor white people can get taken down the river by these snakes is beyond me.

RACHEL MADDOW (HOST): Before becoming Donald Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway ran a Super PAC she ran one of the SuperPACs that supported Ted Cruz in the primary. You might remember in the Republican primary this year there were a whole bunch of different SuperPACs that supported Ted Cruz. They were all called some variation of Keep The Promise. She ran the group that was called Keep The Promise 1. They ran millions of dollars in anti-Donald Trump ads, incidentally, which is kind of ironic given what her job is now.

But more important than that, she ran this Keep The Promise PAC. She ran the iteration of all the Ted Cruz supporting PACs, she ran the one that was almost entirely funded by a single donor. All the money in that PAC basically came from one source. It came from New York City hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. He gave the money, Kellyanne Conway ran that PAC. Robert Mercer and Kellyanne Conway, they supported Ted Cruz in the primary, not Donald Trump, but once Trump won, once Cruz dropped out, that mega-donor Robert Mercer and Kellyanne Conway, they decided to switch horses, they decided to keep working together. She stayed in charge of the PAC. They changed its name. They started running anti-Clinton ads to help Trump instead of anti-Trump ads to help Cruz. But as a multi-million dollar donor to that effort — we’ve talked about here on this show, Robert Mercer, this hedge fund billionaire appears to have become the single largest funder now of the effort to elect Donald Trump for president.

Robert Mercer is also reportedly the single largest funder of Breitbart.com. And so this one guy, Robert Mercer, the money man, right? He ends up being sort of the missing link. He ends up being the thing that explains, I think, in a lot of ways, why the Trump campaign is this strange thing that it is now. When the Trump campaign decided to fire the last guy in charge, Paul Manafort, and put these new folks in charge, it was an interesting and sort of inexplicable thing that they simultaneously —  they didn’t fire Paul Manafort and then pick a new person to replace him. They fired Paul Manafort, but then they brought in two people. They came up with two new job titles. Campaign Manager and Campaign CEO, okay. They brought in two people at once. Kellyanne Conway, who ran Robert Mercer’s Super PAC, she’s a very familiar figure in Republican politics.

[…]

But she didn’t come onto the campaign alone, right? She came on as campaign manager, Donald Trump’s top funder apparently installed her at the top of the Trump campaign, but he also simultaneously, on the same day, at the same time installed this other guy. This guy from Breitbart as the Campaign CEO. Robert Mercer is the money man behind both of these folks, behind Kellyanne Conway and her PAC which started as a Ted Cruz thing and then became a Donald Trump thing. Robert Mercer was the money behind that, Robert Mercer is also the money behind Breitbart.com. He funded them both to the tune of millions of dollars. He is the thing explains why those two otherwise unconnected individuals both came on at the same time, on the same day, to take over the Trump campaign.

Here’s the event.  Hillary’s speech starts at about 7:30 into the video.

The Alt-Right and their allies are either denying it really exists or blaming Hillary Clinton for it. 

“Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He is taking hate groups mainstream, and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party,” Clinton said at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada. (A video ad released Thursday covers much of the same ground.) She said Trump’s rhetoric was “like nothing we’ve heard before from a nominee for president of the United States from one of our two major parties.”

Over more than a half-hour of sustained attack, Clinton added little new material to the record. Instead, she methodically plotted Trump’s known ties, in what appeared to be an effort to energize her own voters and, in particular, to give pause to Republicans who have grudgingly opted to make their peace with a candidate they don’t love. As she had in June, Clinton again labeled Trump “temperamentally unfit to be president of the United States.”

Vile Breitbart hell realm being Milo Yiannopolous–the devildude thrown off twitter for the racist trolling of black comedienne and actress Leslie Jones–said it was all Hillary’s fault. Now, I am going to attribute his quote to its source but go to the Breithbart site at the risk of needing eyebleach and a stomach transplant.

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WTF is wrong with a huge number of working class white people?  I mean seriously, is clinging to your guns, your religious delusions, and your overt racism so important that you don’t realize you’re basically ruining your life and any chance your children for good jobs?  And you’re voting for the very same folk who keep you down?

We are now living in a decade with such gross levels of income disparity that the 99% believe that the 1% that has been left to them is something literal, as if it were a sliver of an apple pie, for example. Therefore, if a group — such as Black Lives Matter — comes along at this moment and says that it wants access to the pie, rather than welcoming allies who will help challenge everyone’s ability to access what the top 1% has, it becomes seen as one more group that is going to need to share the scraps that are left. Further, because working class Republicans have been convinced that “no new taxes” and “no big government” — policies that best serve the interests of the super wealthy — are the way to go, again, that panic about how little that’s left gets stoked even higher. The resentment pyres are fanned. The irony, of course, is that if the working class could unite as a political bloc, they could perhaps change the structure so that some of the income disparity that separates us from the super-rich would be re-released back into the economy, which would benefit us all. White working class racism hinders the progress of white working class economic progress. 

Meanwhile, reality should set in some where as more Republicans who have served Republican presidents endorse Hillary 2016_08_25_VagendaOfManocide-3_21574365186Clinton.  Carlos Guittierez is the latest outspoken endorsement.  The one that happened today is one we could skip completely because it’s icky Paul Wolfowitz. Not one living former White House economic adviser is voting Trump and only one of the Republicans is toying with gadfly libertarian airhead Gary Johnson.

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“I have known personally every Republican president since Richard Nixon. They all showed a real understanding of economics and international affairs. The same was true of Mitt Romney. Donald Trump does not have that understanding and does not seem to be concerned about it. That alone disqualifies him in my judgement.” —Martin Feldstein, chairman under President Ronald Reagan, opposes Donald Trump

“Mr. Trump has not laid out a coherent economic worldview, but one recurrent theme is hostility to a free and open system of international trade. From my perspective as an economics policy wonk, that by itself is disqualifying. And then there are issues of temperament.” —Gregory Mankiw, chairman under President George W. Bush, opposes Donald Trump

“He would have to change both many of his positions and his character.” —Richard Schmalensee, member under President George H.W. Bush, opposes Donald Trump and will vote for Hillary Clinton

“It seems highly improbable that [Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson] will win but I cannot bring myself to vote for either Trump or Clinton. A large enough Johnson vote may constrain the next president to some degree.” —William Poole, member under President Ronald Reagan, opposes both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

“On the trade issue alone, I wouldn’t support either one. As an economist, free trade is not something that’s a partisan kind of issue and to have both parties being protectionist is unacceptable.” —Jerry Jordan, member under President Ronald Reagan, opposes both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump’s “views on international economic policy…are fundamentally flawed in so many ways.” Also, “there are a number of things he had stated, implied that collectively present a fear-based, xenophobic, judgemental personality.” —Matthew Slaughter, member under President George W. Bush, opposes Donald Trump and will vote for Hillary Clinton

2c0c849e63c562e6a70c9d18bca7cd03The writing may already be on the wall if this Quinnipiac poll is right.  Notice the Strump never mentions polls any more?

In the battle of the unloved presidential candidates, Democrat Hillary Clinton tops the magical 50 percent mark among American likely voters, leading Republican Donald Trump 51 – 41 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today.

When third party candidates are added to the mix, Clinton gets 45 percent with Trump at 38 percent, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson at 10 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 4 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. This survey of likely voters can not be compared with results of earlier surveys of registered voters.

Women and non-white voters propel Clinton in the head-to-head matchup. Women back her 60 – 36 percent. Men back Trump 48 – 42 percent. White voters back Trump 52 – 41 percent. Non-white voters back Clinton 77 – 15 percent.

A total of 44 percent of American likely voters like Clinton “a lot” or “a little,” while 47 percent dislike her “a little” or “a lot,” and 8 percent hate her.

A total of 35 percent of voters like Trump “a lot” or “a little,” while 53 percent dislike him “a little” or a lot,” and 10 percent hate him.

“We are starting to hear the faint rumblings of a Hillary Clinton landslide as her 10-point lead is further proof that Donald Trump is in a downward spiral as the clock ticks,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

“Trump’s missteps, stumbles and gaffes seem to outweigh Clinton’s shaky trust status and perceived shady dealings. Wow, is there any light at the end of this dark and depressing chapter in American politics?”

American likely voters give both candidates negative favorability ratings, 41 – 53 percent for Clinton and 33 – 61 percent for Trump. In fact, 37 percent of likely voters say they would consider voting for a third party candidate.

In this very negative race, 64 percent of Trump supporters say they are voting mainly anti-Clinton, while 25 percent say they are voting pro-Trump.

If you actually go to that survey link and read some of the questions they asked, you’ll start thinking that all national polls arevag_2885819k push polls these days.  I can’t take any more of this untrustworthy/likability shit.  It’s like a freaking self-fulfilling prophecy.  It does seem, however, that she is safely on her way to the U.S. Presidency. Hang on and get ready for more misogyny and CDS.

What’s on your reading, blogging and VAGENDA list today?  (Yes, male allies, your “woman card” from the Clinton Campaign makes you an honorary Vagina holder too!!!


Thursday Reads: Enraged Media Strives to Prevent Glass Ceiling from Shattering

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Good Afternoon!!

Once again I’m struggling with a feeling of shock as I look at today’s headlines and listen to the useless TV talkers. I wonder if this sense of unreality will ever pass?

Donald Trump, a blatant racist, nativist, and pathological liar with literally no qualifications to hold any public office is actually running for President of the United States, and he’s getting very little real pushback from the mainstream media. He refuses to release his tax returns, provides only a ludicrous doctor’s letter, and says he’ll let his children take over his business dealing rather than divest himself of financial conflicts of interest. Can this really be happening here? Unfortunately, it is.

Meanwhile the press spends most of its energy running a witch hunt against Hillary Clinton, an eminently qualified candidate with a long history of public service. We’ve heard about her emails every single day for more than a year, and now we’re weathering a storm of attacks on the Clinton Global Initiative and charges that Clinton may have had contact with some donors to the charity while she was Secretary of State, although there’s no evidence of any wrongdoing on her part.

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What is going on here? Once again, the only answer I can come up with is that a women is on the verge of becoming POTUS. Once again, Peter Daou has a great explanation: IT’S HAPPENING: The Fury Crashing Down on Hillary Is the Glass Ceiling Starting to Shatter.

America has never heard this crashing noise before. It’s the sound of the gender barrier breaking, of the highest glass ceiling shattering, of institutional gender bias resisting conquest — and losing.

November 8th will be the culminating moment, but the process is happening now: With each passing day, Hillary is powering forward in the face of a furious assault on her lifesaving foundation, her private email communications, her health, her family, her integrity. She is wrestling the monumental forces of misogyny and gaining the upper hand.

America has never been here before. We’ve never heard these thunderous noises. We’ve never navigated this terrain.

And we’ve never witnessed a candidate endure such a vicious double standard, such unrestrained attacks by the establishment media.

This is the process of smashing the ultimate gender barrier, this intense grind forward, this fury raining down on Hillary, this uncontrolled maligning of a powerful, dignified woman.

The conquest of institutional bias doesn’t happen in one day. Election Day is the climactic moment, but now is the time the glass is beginning to shatter and the shards are crashing down.

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He’s right. Although the gender bias is often unconscious to those in media who are expressing it, we women can see it. We can hear the dog-whistles and the overt sexism followed by denials. It’s ugly and despicable, but we have to get through it. Hillary has been fighting for us for most of her life, and now we need to be strong for her.

At the Democratic Convention, President Obama said, “Carry her the same way you carried me.” That is what we will do. We will carry her across the finish line on November 8 and we will stand strong for her for the next four years. We must do this for ourselves, for our daughters and granddaughters and for our foremothers who fought for the vote, for the ERA, for reproductive rights, for protection from rape, incest, and domestic violence.

As we’ve seen with the first black President, the battle won’t be won just because we have a woman President, but it will be huge step toward real gender equality. We can tell how huge it is by the way the media is ignoring the historic nature of Hillary’s candidacy and their ravening attacks on her using anything thing think can be twisted somehow to hurt her in hopes of making her break down. They can’t beat her and they are getting angrier and angrier about their failure to destroy her.

And what of those politicians and media people who are enabling Donald Trump? Jorge Ramos writes at Time Magazine: Judgment Day Is Coming For Those Who Stay Silent on Donald Trump.

It doesn’t matter who you are—a journalist, a politician or a voter—we’ll all be judged by how we responded to Donald Trump. Like it or not, this election is a plebiscite on the most divisive, polarizing and disrupting figure in American politics in decades. And neutrality is not an option.

The day after the election will be too late. It was too late when we realized that there were no weapons of mass destruction after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. That horrible error of judgment by the Bush administration—and the lack of strength by those opposing the war—cost thousands of American and Iraqi lives. And nobody can even say that we won the war. But hopefully we can learn something from it.

Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins or loses, we will be asked on November 9th: What did you do? Did you support him? Were you brave enough, ethical enough, to challenge him when he insulted immigrants, Muslims, women, war heroes and people with disabilities? Are you on the record correcting his lies? Did you discuss with your friends and family that in a democracy like ours there is no room for racism and discrimination? Or did you just seat idly, silently, allowing others to decide the future of the United States?

Because you will be asked.

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Trump has forced journalists to revisit rules of objectivity and fairness. Just providing both points of view is not enough in the current presidential campaign. If a candidate is making racist and sexist remarks, we cannot hide in the principle of neutrality. That’s a false equivalence.

Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite were right; sometimes you have to take a stand. They did it against the dangerous persecutions of Senator Joe McCarthy and in denouncing the pernicious official spin during the worst years of the Vietnam War.

Please read the rest at the link.

For the past couple of days, both big media and social media have been obsessed with a disgraceful story by the Associated Press about supposed conflicts of interest between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. (The story has now been updated with reports on yesterday’s reactions.) The AP also sent two completely inaccurate tweets to promote an article that essentially found nothing. Here are some responses to the AP’s claims and their embarrassing refusal to correct their false tweets.

Matthew Yglesias: The AP’s big exposé on Hillary meeting with Clinton Foundation donors is a mess.

Tuesday afternoon, Stephen Braun and Eileen Sullivan of the Associated Press released the results of a review of State Department appointment data that they used to make some striking claims about Hillary Clinton’s schedule as secretary of state.

According to their reporting, Clinton spent a remarkably large share of her time as America’s chief diplomat talking to people who had donated money to the Clinton Foundation. She went out of her way to help these Clinton Foundation donors, and her decision to do so raises important concerns about the ethics of her conduct as secretary and potentially as president. It’s a striking piece of reporting that made immediate waves in my social media feed, as political journalists of all stripes retweeted the story’s headline conclusions.

Except it turns out not to be true. The nut fact that the AP uses to lead its coverage is wrong, and Braun and Sullivan’s reporting reveals absolutely no unethical conduct. In fact, they found so little unethical conduct that an enormous amount of space is taken up by a detailed recounting of the time Clinton tried to help a former Nobel Peace Prize winner who’s also the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Here’s the bottom line: Serving as secretary of state while your husband raises millions of dollars for a charitable foundation that is also a vehicle for your family’s political ambitions really does create a lot of space for potential conflicts of interest. Journalists have, rightly, scrutinized the situation closely. And however many times they take a run at it, they don’t come up with anything more scandalous than the revelation that maybe billionaire philanthropists have an easier time getting the State Department to look into their visa problems than an ordinary person would.

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The AP spent quite a long time attacking Clinton for meeting with Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, whom they failed to note has been close friends with Hillary since 1983.

…the most extensively discussed case the AP could come up with is this:

Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering low-interest “microcredit” for poor business owners, met with Clinton three times and talked with her by phone during a period when Bangladeshi government authorities investigated his oversight of a nonprofit bank and ultimately pressured him to resign from the bank’s board. Throughout the process, he pleaded for help in messages routed to Clinton, and she ordered aides to find ways to assist him.

I have no particular knowledge of Yunus, Grameen Bank, or the general prospects of microcredit as a philanthropic venture. I can tell you, however, that Yunus not only won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize but has also been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Congressional Gold Medal. In 2008 he was No. 2 on Foreign Policy’s list of the “top 100 global thinkers,” and Ted Turner put him on the board of the UN Foundation. He’s received the World Food Prize, the International Simon Bolivar Prize, and thePrince of Asturias Award for Concord.

In other words, he’s a renowned and beloved figure throughout the West, not some moneybags getting help from the State Department in exchange for cash. On the level of pure politics, of course, this is exactly the problem with the Clinton Foundation. Its existence turns the banal into a potential conflict of interest, and shutting it down is the right call. But the fact remains that this is a fantastically banal anecdote.

Read much more at the link.

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More negative reactions to the AP reporting:

Matthew Yglesias: The AP’s defense of its bad Clinton Foundation story is also bad.

Washington Monthly: How the AP Spun the Story About the Clinton Foundation.

Inside Philanthropy: Once Again, the Media Gets It Wrong on the Clinton Foundation.

Tommy Christopher: Here’s Why Clinton Foundation Must Restrict Donations if Hillary Is Elected.

This is only going to get worse. Many “journalists” seems to have turned into ravening wolves, hoping for an opportunity to tear Hillary Clinton into bloody bits of flesh. We can’t let them win. We must standing with Hillary. #ImWithHer

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread, and have a nice Thursday.


Tuesday Reads: The Insane Campaign

Good Morning!!

Can this presidential campaign get any more ridiculous? I’m guessing it will. I know I’ve written this multiple times, but every morning I feel shocked all over again. On the days when I have to write a post, it’s even worse. I just can’t believe what is going on in the corporate media! As Donald Trump’s behavior gets more and more out-of-control insane, so-called “journalists” search for ways to make Hillary Clinton look equally horrible. It’s not working for them, and that has to be sooo frustrating.

Last night Hillary appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show and joked around about the conspiracy theories that Trump and his supporters are pushing about her health. The Washington Post reports:

It was a funny premise: Hillary Clinton would pick Donald Trump quotes out of a jar and try to read them with a straight face.

But when it came time for the last quote, she said she couldn’t even read it. She handed it to Jimmy Kimmel.

Kimmel read it: “‘I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.'” (Trump actually said this in 2006.) …..

“I do feel sometimes like this campaign has entered into an alternative universe,” she said. “I have to step into the alternative reality and, you know, answer questions about, am I alive, how much longer will I be alive, and the like.”

I know that feeling. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be the person who is dealing with all this right-wing craziness.

At NBC, First Read summarizes Trump’s efforts to get the media to make the campaign a referendum on Hillary Clinton and not on him. But could he ever really stand to have the attention on someone other than himself?

It’s time for a special prosecutor to look in the Clinton Foundation! Hillary Clinton has a health problem! Clinton and the Democrats are bad for minority voters! “Welcome to the Bannon campaign,” the New York Times’ Alex Burns observed, referring to new Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon of Breitbart News. Indeed, the Trump camp has been under new management for an entire week, and you see how it’s doing everything it can to turn this race from a referendum on Donald Trump — which it has been for months now — into a referendum on Hillary Clinton. Of course, there’s a legitimate question as to whether this will all work. After all, there’s no way the Obama administration will appoint a special prosecutor with 77 days before the election. And the allegations about Clinton’s health are unfounded — in fact, Clinton’s letter from her doctors is much more thorough than Trump’s four-paragraph letter (which begins “To Whom My Concern”). But you see what the Trump campaign is trying to do: Down in the polls, it’s trying to change the subject back to Clinton.

As for the Clinton Foundation, here’s what Trump said about it campaigning last night in Akron, OH: “Her foundation took in large payments from major corporations and wealthy individuals, foreign and domestic, and all the while she was Secretary of State. The Clinton Foundation accepted as much as $60 million from Middle Eastern countries that oppress women, gays and people of different faiths.” More Trump: “The amounts involved, the favors done and the significant numbers of times it was done require an expedited investigation by a special prosecutor immediately, immediately, immediately.”

And he continued his pretend pitch to minority voters, delivered to a lily-white audience in Akron, Ohio:

Over the past week, Donald Trump has been making a pitch to minority voters. And it’s easy to see how it’s likely to fall on deaf ears, especially since he’s been making it in front of nearly all-white crowds. “Crime at levels that nobody has seen, you can go to war zones in countries that we’re fighting, and it’s safer than living in some of our inner cities. They’re run by the Democrats,” Trump said in Akron, OH last night. “And I ask you this, I ask you this, crime, all of the problems, to the African Americans, who I employ so many, so many people, to the Hispanics, tremendous people — what the hell do you have to lose? Give me a chance. I’ll straighten it out, I’ll straighten it out. What do you have to lose?”

First read left out a scary ad lib by Trump last night.

“Walk down the street and you get shot.” Wow.

Corey Lewandowski, the CNN “commentator” who is also being paid by the Trump campaign, explained why Trump “reaches out” to African Americans while speaking to all-white audiences. T-Bogg at Raw Story: Trump avoids speaking to black voters because he’s not safe in their communities.

Lewandowski was part of a panel Monday night hosted by Anderson Cooper when he was asked why Trump doesn’t appeal to black voter by actually meeting with them instead of talking about them in front of predominately white audiences.

“You know what’s amazing to me is that no one remembers Donald Trump went to go have a rally in Chicago at the university. And remember what happened?” Lewandowski  began. “It was so chaotic and it was so out-of-control that the Secret Service and the Chicago Police Department told him you cannot get in and out of the facility safely. And that rally was cancelled.”

Several panelists jumped in with the same question: “What does that have to do with communicating with the black community?”

“Look!” Lewandowski shot back. “That is a black community. He went to the heart of Chicago to give a speech to the University of Chicago in a campus that is predominately African-American to make that argument. And you know what happened? The campus was overrun and it was not a safe environment.”

Panelist Angela Rye replied, “Would you acknowledge that not all black communities all over the country are still not monolithic. So if he tried the same thing in Cleveland–”

Lewandowski immediately cut her off, saying “He tried to go to Chicago and wasn’t allowed to make the speech–” as Rye shot back, “What about Dallas? What about Los Angeles?”

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Here’s Jill Lawrence at USA Today on whether any of us should “take a chance” on Donald Trump: Change is not your friend this year.

What do you have to lose? Donald Trump keeps asking African Americans. But really that’s his question to all of us. The core premise of his campaign is that our country is so weak, and our leaders are such losers, that we should put all our money on Trump the wild card, the savior. The restoration to greatness is at hand, but only if we choose him.

Trump made that explicit the other day by christening himself “Mr. Brexit.” He’s the candidate of disruptive change, exciting and unsettling and the ride of your life. What we can expect the day after Hurricane Trump makes landfall at the White House? Hey, don’t harsh the euphoria.

Here’s the thing, though. Trump may be asking “what do you have to lose?” as a rhetorical question, but there’s an answer to it, and that answer is “an enormous amount.”

I’m not even talking about the temperament issues that unnerve so many in both parties as they contemplate a President Trump in charge of nuclear codes, the military and relationships across the globe. Let’s look purely at economics and other indicators of national health.

The stock market continues to set new records during President Obama’s tenure, andonly George H.W. Bush presided over a bull market for more of his time in office. The jobs report for July, released on Aug. 5, was so positive that conservative economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin called it impressive, “strong across the board,” and “the first month in recent memory that doesn’t have some significant downside.” Republican leaders were silent rather than issuing their usual negative responses….

…black Americans, like all Americans, would stand to lose plenty under President Trump. They’d have to put up with his inaccurate stereotyping of African Americans and hostility to the Black Lives Matter movement. From a pocketbook standpoint, his protectionist views could trigger trade wars and higher consumer prices. And he’d revive trickle-down economics, a major contrast to Obama policies that have directed resources to low-income rather than high-income Americans.

Do we really want to trade what gains we’ve made for a guy whose new tax plan is a boon for wealthy Americans, the national debt and lenders like China? As acerbic liberal Jason Sattler (aka @LOLGOP) put it on Twitter, “Trump is offering ‘change’ the way a high-impact collision with a tree offers your car ‘customizing.’ ”

I’ve been reading David Cay Johnston’s new book, The Making of Donald Trump. Whatever horrors you read in the media are just the tip of the iceberg. I can’t believe the dishonesty of this man. Sometimes I have to take breaks from reading just to recover a sense of normalcy. I can’t even imagine what would happen to the global economy if he somehow became POTUS.

Just check out this new story at Huffington Post: Donald Trump Jacked Up His Campaign’s Trump Tower Rent Once Someone Else Was Paying For It. HuffPo doesn’t allow cutting and pasting anymore, so I can’t excerpt from the article; but here are the basics. Trump “quintupled” the rent on his Trump Tower headquarters to $169, 758 beginning last month. Read much more about the Trump campaign’s spending at the link above.

Melania Trump has also run into some dishonesty issues. Raw Story: REVEALED: Melania Trump outright lied under oath about having a college degree.

Melania Trump’s website was yanked offline in July when discrepancies surfaced about her claim that she graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. She, in fact, did not graduate, rather she only attended classes before moving on to a modeling career and coming to the United States under possibly illegal visas.

Now it seems, new evidence shows that Trump may have lied about her degree under oath, which would make her guilty of perjury.

The case involved a now-defunct caviar skincare line, which Racked.com recalls Melania Trump promoted on “Good Morning America,” her husband’s show “The Apprentice” and on CNBC, but ultimately never made it to the market. The contract Trump had with a cosmetic company called New Sunshine LLC imploded when friend Steve Hilbert was fired from the company by another Trump friend, John Menard.

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The case ended up in court, where Melania was required to testify.

“Where were you born, Mrs. Trump?” the attorney asked.

“I was born in Slovenia,” she answered.

“Would you please explain to the Judge your formal education including what schools you attended and from which you graduated?” the attorney requested.

“I attended and graduated from design school, from fashion and Industrial Design School and also attended, graduated from architecture degree, bachelor degree,” she testified under oath.

As was revealed in July after Trump’s plagiarism scandal, that isn’t an accurate account of Trump’s educational background. She does not have an architecture degree, nor did she graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

That’s all I have for you today. What new horrors will Tuesday bring? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread below.


Lazy Saturday Reads: Trump’s Epic Meltdown Continues

Matisse-Woman-Reading-with-Tea1

Good Afternoon!!

Yesterday, Trump fan Chris Matthews devoted much of his 7PM Hardball program to praising Donald Trump’s supposed “modulation” of his “tone.” By the time the rerun of the program aired at 10PM, it was already obsolete. Trump had given a speech in Michigan in which he blatantly lied about the state’s economy and delivered more stunning insults to black voters while speaking to a nearly all-white audience. The Detroit News reports:

DIMONDALE — On his second visit to Michigan in two weeks, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday blasted Democratic policies he said have destroyed Detroit and other urban centers and called for African Americans to support him, saying blacks cannot expect change otherwise….

Trump’s remarks, however, seemed somewhat out of place, given that he was delivering it in a hall outside Lansing, halfway across the state from the Detroit. He also hammered away on a message than Michigan manufacturing is in the dumps, just days after Gov. Rick Snyder — also a Republican — noted that unemployment in the state has dropped to its lowest levels since the early 2000s.

“Your business and plants have been ripped out,” said Trump, who repeated earlier promises to stop manufacturing from leaving Michigan — even though auto jobs are up sharply since the depths of the 2007-9 recession….

Trump said “the Michigan manufacturing sector is a disaster,” and no sector has been hurt more by “Hillary Clinton’s policies than the auto sector,” statements which seemed to ignore that since the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler in 2008-9, auto manufacturing jobs in Michigan have grown from 22,800 to 38,200 and auto parts jobs also have grown, from 73,400 to 162,800.

Artist unknown

Artist unknown

Trump’s message to black voters:

“What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?” he asked of blacks.

Trump noted that Detroit is the most violent city in America — a statistic he didn’t back up but Detroit does show up at or near the top of lists of major cities in terms of violent crime and murders — and said he could work changes on the city if elected. A recent EPIC-MRA poll reported by the Free Press last week showed Trump behind Clinton in Michigan by a margin on 85%-2%, with 10% undecided.

“It’s time to hold Democratic politicians accountable for what they have done to these communities,” Trump said. “At what point do we say enough?”

“I will produce for the African Americans,” he said. “All the Democrats have done is taken advantage of your vote. … You have nothing to lose.”

But that’s not all. Trump went off-script with these lovely remarks (h/t Slate):

“What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?” he said. “What do you have to lose? You’re living in poverty; your schools are no good; you have no jobs; 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

Never mind that Trump—who recently polled at 1 percent among black voters in a nationwide survey—was treating black people as a monolithic group of poor, unemployed people. His ad-libbed “what the hell do you have to lose” line sounded very much like Trump thinks he knows what’s better for black voters than they know for themselves….

There were other moments where Trump veered wildly off-script in a way that seemed absurd. Specifically, Trump said that he would not just win this election, but win re-election in 2020 with 95 percent of black voters supporting him—again, earlier this month Trump’s polling among black voters was somewhere between 1 and 4 percent.

“At the end of four years, I guarantee you that I will get 95 percent of the African-American vote,” he said. “I promise you, because I will produce for the inner cities and I will produce for the African-Americans.”

Darren Thompson

Darren Thompson

Cable news commentators are speculating that these disgusting remarks about black people are probably aimed at college-educated Republican women who have abandoned Trump in droves. I can’t imagine it will work.

Philip Bump responded to some of the charges made by Trump: It’s hard to imagine a much worse pitch Donald Trump could have made for the black vote.

Consider: Black Americans are not “living in poverty” as a general rule. A quarter of the black population is, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, about the same as the percentage of Hispanics. In Michigan, the figure is slightly higher. Most black Americans don’t live in poverty, just as most white Americans don’t.

Consider: The unemployment rate in the black community is higher than that in the white community, as it has been since the Department of Labor started keeping track. Among young blacks, though, the figure is not 59 percent — unless (as Politifact noted) you consider not the labor force butevery young black American, including high school students. Many young black high school students are unemployed. This isn’t a metric that Labor typically uses, for obvious reasons, but calculating the rates for young whites gives you about 50 percent, too.

Consider: Black voters are perfectly able to evaluate candidates on qualities other than their political parties. Black voters began supporting the Democratic Party heavily thanks to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Since then, they have consistently voted for the party — a party that is one-fifth black and which since 1964 has elected the vast majority of the black members of Congress. (This line of argument from Al Sharpton in 2004 is worth a read.) Democrats win the support of black voters consistently because those voters like the work that they do and like the fights that they fight.

When Barack Obama won reelection in 2012, 93 percent of black Americans thought he was doing a good job as president. That’s also the percentage of the vote he received, according to exit polls, beating Mitt Romney by 87 points.

And yet, somehow, Trump is doing worse.

Les Muses, Maurice Denis

Les Muses, Maurice Denis

There’s much more at the Washington Post link above. The gist is that Donald Trump is pathetically ignorant about the lives of African Americans.

Yesterday Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort resigned after being pushed aside in the latest campaign shakeup and after multiple revelations about his involvement with foreign leaders close to Russia. Politico has all the gory details: Inside the fall of Paul Manafort.

According to Politico, Manafort told Trump in early August that the stories coming out about his foreign consulting and lobbying would become a “distraction” and he wanted to come up with a new leadership plan just in case.

Although Manafort told associates that he thought he would be able to weather the controversy, his meeting with Trump nonetheless sparked internal discussions about changes to the campaign’s senior management structure. They included elevating pollster Kellyanne Conway, who had been brought onto the campaign last month, into a more senior role, and also officially bringing on Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon, who had been informally advising people around the campaign for months.

Still, Manafort associates said, he hoped he could ride out the storm and remain with the campaign until the end. That’s despite what the associates characterize as Manafort’s growing frustration with Trump’s unwillingness to embrace advice for a more scripted, measured tone and a greater reliance on more traditional campaign tactics.

But it quickly became clear that Manafort would have to go. More details about the crumbling mess of a campaign at the link.

Cocotte, reading, by Camille Pissarro

Cocotte, reading, by Camille Pissarro

There’s a federal investigation now, and it involves the Podesta Group, which is currently being run by Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s brother. Rosie Gray at Buzzfeed: Top Firms Lawyer Up In Ukraine–Manafort Lobbying Controversy

Two powerful Washington lobbying firms are engaging outside counsel after becoming embroiled in a controversy over undisclosed foreign lobbying by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy.

The situation concerns a period between 2012 and 2014, when the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs worked on behalf the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. The Brussels-based nonprofit is closely linked to the Party of Regions, the political party of Ukraine’s pro-Russian ex-president Viktor Yanukovych.

Manafort and his associate Rick Gates connected the European Centre with the two firms, according to the AP, which also reported that Gates personally gave instructions to Mercury and Podesta Group employees in a lobbying effort on behalf of Ukrainian officials. At the time, Manafort and Gates were consulting for Yanukovych in Ukraine. The AP’s story showed that Manafort and Gates had acted as unregistered foreign agents, never disclosing their work for the Ukrainians to the Department of Justice, as is required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Now, the Podesta Group is acknowledging that the European Centre may have been directed by the Party of Regions and has hired outside lawyers to advise on the situation.

“The firm has retained Caplin & Drysdale as independent, outside legal counsel to determine if we were misled by the Centre for a Modern Ukraine or any other individuals with regard to the Centre’s potential ties to foreign governments or political parties,” Podesta Group CEO Kimberly Fritts said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “When the Centre became a client, it certified in writing that ‘none of the activities of the Centre are directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized in whole or in part by a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party.’ We relied on that certification and advice from counsel in registering and reporting under the Lobbying Disclosure Act rather than the Foreign Agents Registration Act. We will take whatever measures are necessary to address this situation based on Caplin & Drysdale’s review, including possible legal action against the Centre.”

Much more at the link.

John L. Wellington

John L. Wellington

As Trump melts down, the media has tried to get voters outraged about “scandals” involving Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Clinton Global Foundation; but so far it’s not working very well. Trump’s high profile flame-out is getting most of the attention. There’s so much happening that I can’t possibly cover all of it, but here are a few more interesting links to check out.

NYT: In Maze of Trump’s Empire, Unknown Ties and $650 Million in Debt.

Sarah Kenzior at Quartz: Donald Trump’s bromance with Vladimir Putin underscores an unsettling truth about the two leaders.

Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul at the WaPo: Why Putin wants a Trump victory (so much he might even be trying to help him).

Ruth Marcus at the WaPo: Trump’s Sickening attacks on Clinton’s health.

Daily News Bin: Donald Trump goes to Louisiana flooding site, spends a minute handing out Play-Doh, leaves.

Buzzfeed: Trump Campaign Manager On Manafort: “He Was Asked” To Resign.

Politico: Republicans prep ‘break glass’ emergency plan as Trump tumbles.

Christian Science Monitor: Trump hands his campaign to the ‘alt-right’ movement.

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


Thursday Reads: Love Will Trump Hate in November

 2815Good Afternoon!!

Last night Dakinikat and I were talking about how the Donald Trump phenomenon is affecting us, and it dawned on me that it reminds me of what it’s like to live in an alcoholic family with an abusive and completely unpredictable father–only in this case it’s the entire country that is trying to deal with the crazy abuser. You never know what is going to happen next, but you know it will be incredibly stressful and emotionally exhausting.

In the case of Trump’s very public behavior, I never know what shocking news will greet me when I get up in the morning. If it’s a day when I write a post it’s even worse because I get overwhelmed trying to figure out what to write.

It’s not a perfect analogy, but it helps me understand why I feel so disoriented and stressed-out as I follow the news each day. I suppose it’s not as bad for people who aren’t paying as close attention to the campaign as we are; but judging by the polls, just about everyone except angry, racist white men is turned off by Trump’s bizarre behavior.

There have even been reports of bullying by children who have heard and been influenced by Trump’s ugly hate speech.

From The Guardian in June: ‘You were born in a Taco Bell’: Trump’s rhetoric fuels school bullies across US.

Tracey Iglehart, a teacher at Rosa Parks elementary school in Berkeley, California, did not expect Donald Trump to show up on the playground….

“They said things like ‘you’ll get deported’, ‘you weren’t born here’ and ‘you were born in a Taco Bell’,” said Iglehart, 49. “They may not know exactly what it means, but they know it’s powerful language.”

Hearing it in Rosa Parks elementary, of all places, came as a shock. “Berkeley is not an area where there are Trump supporters. This is not the land of Trump.”

Yet the spirit of the GOP presidential candidate has surfaced here and, according to one study, in schools across the country.

An online survey of approximately 2,000 K-12 teachers by the Southern Poverty Law Center found toxic political rhetoric invading elementary, middle and high schools, emboldening children to make racist taunts that leave others bewildered and anxious.

“We mapped it out. There was no state or region that jumped out. It was everywhere,” said Maureen Costello, the study’s author. “Marginalized students are feeling very frightened, especially Muslims and Mexicans. Many teachers use the word terrified.” The children who did the taunting were echoing Trump’s rhetoric, she said. “Bad behavior has been normalized. They think it’s OK.”

So my notion of the Trump campaign as a dysfunctional family that is affecting millions of Americans is not so far-fetched.

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The latest Trump shock came early yesterday when his campaign announced its latest shake-up. The campaign “manager” will now be pollster Kellyanne Conway and the “chairman/CEO” of the campaign will now be Steve Bannon, editor of the far right white supremacist website Breitbart. In essence, there has been a hostile takeover of the Republican Party by the worst lowlifes in the right-wing fever swamp. I wonder how Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell feel about that?

Joshua Green at Bloomberg: Steve Bannon’s Plan to Free Donald Trump and Save His Campaign.

“I am who I am,” Donald Trump declared, shortly after the New York Times ran a story depicting chaos in his presidential campaign. “I don’t want to change.” He wasn’t lying. The next day, on Aug. 17, Trump shoved aside his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and installed Steve Bannon—ex-Naval officer, ex-Goldman Sachs banker, ex-Sarah Palin filmmaker. Until Trump called, he was executive chairman of Breitbart News, the avatar of the so-called alt-right: the nationalist, racially paranoid splinter group of anti-establishment conservatives who have rallied to Trump’s banner.

Since June, Manafort has tried fruitlessly to mold Trump into someone palatable to establishment Republicans and the swing voters he’ll need to win over if he’s to have any chance of beating Hillary Clinton. Bannon, who becomes chief executive of the Trump campaign, represents a sharp turn in the opposite direction—a fireball hurtling toward the 2016 presidential election. (In announcing the hiring, the Trump campaign quoted Bloomberg Businessweek’s description of Bannon from a profile last fall as “the most dangerous political operative in America.”) Along with campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, Bannon will encourage Trump to cast aside political niceties and aggressively go with his gut. “I’ve known Steve for a long time—he is an extraordinary guy, an extraordinary talent, and he, like me, truly loves our country,” Trump said in a statement to Businessweek.

Trump’s own diagnosis of his campaign’s shortcomings led to this unusual prescription—which is the diametric opposite of what most Republicans have been counseling for their embattled nominee. “The campaign has been too lethargic, too reactive,” says a senior Trump official. “They wanted to bring in someone who understood new media, understood digital. It’s not going to be a traditional campaign.” Trump was frustrated by Manafort’s efforts to contain him and angry about his plummeting poll numbers. With Bannon in the fold, the source adds, Trump will feel free to unleash his inner Trump: “It’s very simple. This is a change election. He needs to position himself as anti-establishment, the candidate of change, and the candidate who’s anti-Washington.”

The shake-up is an ominous development for Republican elected officials alarmed at Trump’s collapse and the effect he could have on down-ballot races across the country. In recent years, Breitbart News has bedeviled Republican leaders, helping to drive out former House Speaker John Boehner and, more recently, making life difficult for his successor, Paul Ryan. Last fall, at Bannon’s insistence, Breitbart reporters visited Ryan’s Wisconsin home (which is surrounded by a wall) and published a story shaming him for not endorsing Trump’s proposal to erect a wall along the Mexico border.

Bannon, who’s as eager to attack Republicans as Democrats, is unlikely to worry much about the plight of mainstream GOP incumbents. At a New Year’s party at his Capitol Hill home last year, Bannon gave guests silver flasks stamped with his personal motto: “Honey badger don’t give a shit.”

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The piece ends with this choice quote from Stuart Stevens, who managed Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign:

“This is the bunker scene in Downfall, only the Trump crowd won’t tell Hitler the truth. It’s utter madness,” says Stuart Stevens, who ran Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. “Trump is a nut, and he likes to surround himself with nuts. It’s a disaster for the Republican Party.”

Read the whole thing at the Bloomberg link.

At Vanity Fair, Ken Stern has a longer article about Bannon and Trump, Exclusive: Stephen Bannon, Trump’s New CEO, Hints at His Master Plan. It’s well worth the read.

The night before the big shake-up, Trump gave a “law and order” speech in West Bend, Wisconsin, a lily-white town about 40 miles north of Milwaukee, where protests have been raging after police shot and killed a black man whom they claim had a gun. In the speech, Trump pretended to “reach out” to African Americans, while advocating for more and harsher policing in poor urban areas. During the speech, Trump repeatedly said he was in Milwaukee. It was insulting to black people and to anyone who cares about inequality.

While he was in Wisconsin, Trump gave an interview to The La Cross Tribune. At Huffington Post, Julia Craven called attention to one very “tone deaf” comment in the interview:

Trump, whose campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again!” said he views the 1980s as the time when things were good for the nation, though he also hearkened back to the late 1700s and early 1800s.

“The industrial revolution was certainly — in terms of economically — that was when we started to grow,” Trump said. “I liked the Ronald Reagan years. I thought the country had a wonderful, strong image.”

Craven notes that the Industrial Revolution was built on the backs of slaves and during the Reagan era, black neighborhoods were inundated with crack and “the war on drugs drove the incarceration rate for black people through the roof.”

I’m almost beginning to buy into Peter Daou’s theory that Trump is campaigning not for the presidency but for leadership of a white nationalist movement.  Here’s Daou’s latest at Blue Nation Review: We’re Witnessing History: The Extreme Right Just Seized Control of the GOP. Please go read the whole thing if you haven’t already.

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Now here’s something to help get the bad Trump taste out of our mouths: Wired Endorses Optimism.

Wired has never been neutral. For nearly a quarter of a century, this organization has championed a specific way of thinking about tomorrow. If it’s true, as the writer William Gibson once had it, that the future is already here, just unevenly distributed, then our task has been to locate the places where various futures break through to our present and identify which one we hope for….

We value freedom: open systems, open markets, free people, free information, free inquiry. We’ve become even more dedicated to scientific rigor, good data, and evidence-driven thinking. And we’ve never lost our optimism.

…for all of its opinions and enthu­siasms, WIRED has never made a practice of endorsing candidates for president of the United States. Through five election cycles we’ve written about politics and politicians and held them up against our ideals. But we’ve avoided telling you, our readers, who WIRED viewed as the best choice.

Today we will. WIRED sees only one person running for president who can do the job: Hillary Clinton.

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Why have the magazine’s editors made this decision?

Right now we see two possible futures welling up in the present. In one, society’s every decision is dominated by scarcity. Except for a few oligarchs, nobody has enough of anything. In that future, we build literal and figurative walls to keep out those who hope to acquire our stuff, while through guile or violence we try to acquire theirs.

In the other future, the one WIRED is rooting for, new rounds of innovation allow people to do more with less work—in a way that translates into abundance, broadly enjoyed. Governments and markets and entrepreneurs create the conditions that allow us to take effective collective action against climate change. The flashlight beam of science keeps turning up cool stuff in the corners of the universe. The grand social experiments of the 20th and early 21st centuries—the mass entry of women into the workforce, civil rights, LGBTQ rights—continue and give way to new ones that are just as necessary and unsettling and empowering to people who got left out of previous rounds. And the sustainably manufactured, genetically modified fake meat tastes really good too.

Our sights might not be perfectly aligned, but it’s pretty clear Hillary Clinton has her eye on a similar trajectory. She intends to uphold the Paris Agreement on climate change and reduce carbon emissions by up to 30 percent in 2025. She hopes to produce enough renewable energy to power every American home by the end of her first term. She wants to increase the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, two major drivers of research and innovation via government funding. And she wants to do the same for Darpa, the defense research agency—without which, let’s face it, WIRED probably wouldn’t exist, because no one would have invented the things we cover.

Clinton also has ideas that clear away stumbling blocks for entrepreneurs and strivers. She proposes linking entre­preneurship to forgiveness of student loans, as a way to help young people start businesses. Clinton favors net neutrality—giving every packet of data on the Internet the same priority, regardless of whether they originate from a media corporation or from you and me. She has proposed easier paths to legal immigration for people with science, technology, and engineering degrees. And she has spent my entire adult life trying to work out how to give the maximum number of Americans access to health care; she will con­tinue to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, which among other things has helped people walk away from crappy, dead-end jobs by alleviating the fear that they’ll lose their insurance.

I agree that Hillary is an optimist and she has the competence and intelligence to turn her ideas into real change. I think most Americans will also choose optimism and love over negativity and hate in November.

What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a tremendous Thursday!

 


Tuesday Reads

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton welcomes Vice President Joe Biden as he disembarks from Air Force Two for a joint campaign event in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Good Afternoon!!

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden appeared together in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Atlantic reports:

For Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, their joint campaign stop Monday in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was a play for the swing state’s crucial voters, particularly those from the white working class who Donald Trump has taken pains to attract.

But it was also something of a homecoming: Both the vice president and Clinton’s father, Hugh Rodham, were born in the city, a former coal-mining and manufacturing hub. Biden has long used Scranton as a symbol of the American dream, and often invokes his early years there as evidence he’s a man of the people. During his remarks Monday, he framed Clinton as a fellow child of Scranton: the product of one of its families, yes, but also of its ethos.

The city “is made up of so many people with grit and courage—I mean this sincerely, from the bottom of my heart—with grit, courage, determination, who never, never, ever give up,” Biden said. “They deserve someone who not only understands them, they deserve someone who’s with them. And they deserve someone who’s made of the same stuff. That’s Hillary Clinton. That’s who she is.”

Biden also had plenty to say about Donald Trump, none of it nice. From Politico:

Vice President Joe Biden on Monday ripped into Donald Trump for his overtures to Russian President Vladimir Putin, declaring that the Republican nominee “would have loved Stalin.”

At a rally in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden assailed Trump as unfit to be president and slammed his proposals on foreign policy and the military. With Hillary Clinton at his side, Biden criticized the GOP nominee’s repeated warm statements toward Putin and said “Trump’s ideas are not only profoundly wrong, they’re very dangerous and they’re very un-American.”

“This guy’s shame has no limits. He’s even gone so far as to ask Putin and Russia to conduct cyberattacks against the United States of America,” Biden said, raising his voice for emphasis over the raucous crowd. “Even if he is joking — which he’s not — even if he’s joking, what an outrageous thing to say.”

Pointing out his aide who travels with him and carries the U.S. nuclear codes, Biden said Trump is too unstable and lacks the knowledge to be given control over such weapons. The vice president also spoke warmly of his son Beau, a military veteran who went on to serve as Delaware’s attorney general before losing a battle with cancer in 2015. Biden said he would have tried to stop his son from serving if Trump were commander in chief.

biden-hillary-hug-640x480

As usual Biden went on and on, but he did have some very nice things to say about Hillary. There was also an awkward moment when Biden disembarked from his plane and gave Hillary a hug that seemed as if it would never end. Mediaite:

Vice President Joe Biden and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton shared a tarmac hug Monday that got a little awkward when Biden just kinda refused to let go.

Biden deplaned before a Pennsylvania joint rally and hugged Clinton. But while Clinton broke off the hug after an appropriate amount of time, Biden held onto her. In a move easily recognizable to wrestlers and friend-zoners everywhere, Clinton starting tapping Biden on the arm as he continued the embrace.

All told, the hug lasted about fifteen seconds and three attempted tap-outs.

Donald Trump was in Youngstown, Ohio yesterday to make a supposedly “serious” speech about how he would combat terrorism. Many of the ideas he presented were for policies that the Obama administration is already carrying out. The rest were the usual insane, racist plans that have become his trademark. Tim Mak at The Daily Beast: Donald Trump Cribs His War Plan From the ‘Founder’ of ISIS: Barack Obama.

Trump spent a substantial amount of time in his speech hammering the Obama administration for not doing enough to defeat ISIS.

But in Syria, Libya, and Iraq, the multinational effort to defeat ISIS appears now to be on the upswing. And in the sparse moments when Trump actually proposed ideas to defeat ISIS, it sounded suspiciously like the ideas already being put into practice by his arch-nemesis Obama.

You know: the guy Trump called the “founder” of ISIS….

“They’re trying to make it look much better than it is. It’s bad,” Trump said, referring to the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign’s assessment of ISIS….

But while the Republican nominee’s address in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday was billed as a speech describing new ways to defeat ISIS—in recent weeks ISIS has seen serious setbacks.

Trump denounced the situation in Libya, which he blamed on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But ISIS’s grip there is changing rapidly. ISIS appears to be on the verge of losing its African capital in the city of Sirte to local militia fighters who lately have been bolstered by U.S. airstrikes.

While Trump referred to stopping Syrian refugees from entering the United States, ISIS just suffered a major loss there Monday. After a months-long battle, Arab and Kurdish forces reclaimed a northern city that is on a key route for ISIS fighters, equipment and money traveling from Turkey into Syria. Over the weekend, video emerged showing female residents of this city burning their burkas and men cutting their beards, an outward display of the end of ISIS rule.

Meanwhile, ISIS already has lost territory in several Iraqi cities, including Fallujah, Ramadi, and Tikrit.

I wouldn’t expect Trump to know about what’s actually happening; I don’t think he reads anything in newspapers unless it’s about him. But you have to wonder who is writing his speeches.

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the final session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland

Much of the speech was devoted to his proposed anti-immigrant policies. Trump said that as president he would suspend immigration from countries that have problems with terrorism, although he didn’t specify which countries he was referring to. And how would President Trump keep these potential immigrants out? He would use something he calls “extreme vetting.” NBC News reports:

Donald Trump on Monday promised “extreme vetting” of immigrants, including ideological screening that that will allow only those who “share our values and respect our people” into the United States.

Among the traits that Trump would screen for are those who have “hostile attitudes” toward the U.S., those who believe “Sharia law should supplant American law,” people who “don’t believe in our Constitution or who support bigotry and hatred.”

Those who Trump will allow in are “only those who we expect to flourish in our country.”

The Republican nominee did not disavow his prior proposal to temporarily ban all Muslims from the United States “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” The position, released in December 2015, is still on the nominee’s website. He did, however, call for a temporary suspension “from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism” in order to succeed in the goal of extreme ideological vetting.

It’s unclear whether or not this is in addition to, or in place of, his original temporary ban. In the past, as Trump has proposed a regional and country-based ban, he’s called it an “expansion” on his original ban — not a scaling back.

Trump did not name any countries that would be included in the regional ban, but said that should he be elected, his administration will ask the Department of State to “identify a list of regions where adequate screening cannot take place. There are many such regions,” Trump said. “We will stop processing visas from those areas until such time as it is deemed safe to resume based on new circumstances or new procedures.” One of Trump’s long standing complaints about Syrian, and other, refugees, is that they are not sufficiently vetted and, because of that, could be a “Trojan Horse.”

Here’s a good analysis of the speech by NBC News’ Benjy Sarlin: Making Sense of Donald Trump’s Disjointed Foreign Policy Pitch. Check it out at the link.

Tharid Udin and Imam Maulama Akonjee

Tharid Udin and Imam Maulama Akonjee

In other news, a Brooklyn man has been charged in the shocking murders of Queens Imam Maulama Akonjee and his friend Thara Uddin. Police don’t know the motive yet, but you have to wonder if Donald Trump’s hate speech could have contributed to this crime. From New York Magazine:

Police have charged a Brooklyn man for the brazen murders of a Queens imam and his associate on Saturday. Oscar Morel, 35, was taken into NYPD custody Sunday night after allegedly ramming his car into an unmarked police car around 11 p.m. in the Ozone Park neighborhood — the same community where the killings occurred. Police identified Morel on Monday evening, and said he’d been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, according to the New York Times. He’s also facing two counts of criminal possession of a weapon after police searched his home and found what they believe to be the revolver used in the killing and clothes worn by the gunman in surveillance video.

Police have not yet named a motive in the killing of the 55-year-old imam Maulama Akonjee and his friend and assistant 64-year-old Thara Uddin, both Bangladeshi immigrants and religious leaders in their Queens neighborhood. The men were shot in the head at close range in broad daylight around 2 p.m. on Saturday. The victims were a block away from the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque, where both men, who wore traditional Muslim garb, had just finished afternoon prayers.

NYPD chief of detectives Robert Boyce said it’s still unclear if Morel had any connection to the two victims. “We’re still drilling down on it,” he said, adding that it’s “certainly on the table that it’s a hate crime.

A home-surveillance video of the shooting, released Sunday, shows the killer approaching the two men from behind. He rushes up behind them and lifts his arm and aims at the back of their heads; the two men crumple to the ground. The shooter appears to stuff the gun in his pocket and walk calmly away from the scene.

Read more at the link.

We’ve gone through years of public shootings, and there seems to be a new phenomenon developing–people thinking they hear gunshots and then freaking out mobs of other people. Will this become a regular “thing?” Two examples:

People running out of Crabtree Mall in NC to escape shooting that never happened.

People running out of Crabtree Mall in NC to escape shooting that never happened.

ABC News: Reports of Gunshots in Bustling Mall: Chaos, People Running.

Witness reports of gunshots ringing out inside a busy North Carolina mall caused chaos Saturday afternoon as shoppers ran screaming for the doors or sheltered in stores while dozens of officers arrived.

Police said hours later they were investigating but hadn’t confirmed whether any shots had been fired, adding no one was found wounded by gunfire although there were several minor injuries among people running away. The shopping complex in an affluent area of Raleigh was put on lockdown while helicopters buzzed overhead and numerous law enforcement vehicles swarmed the shopping area….

The police chief said no shell casings had been found by late afternoon. But she noted that witnesses heard what sounded like gunshots, and added that the FBI, sheriff’s office and state investigators were also on scene.

Eight people ranging in age from 10 to 70 were transported to hospitals for treatment of injuries suffered as they rushed to leave the mall, she said. None of those injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

Video posted on social media sites shows dozens of people running toward mall exit doors as numerous screams were heard. Outside the mall, where people gathered afterward, a police officer got on the loudspeaker of a fire truck and said there was no one shot in the mall. Witnesses described chaos after reports of shots.

New York Magazine: Scenes From the Terrifying, Already Forgotten JFK Airport Shooting That Wasn’t.

When the first stampede began, my plane had just landed. It started, apparently, with a group of passengers awaiting departure in John F. Kennedy Airport Terminal 8 cheering Usain Bolt’s superhuman 100-meter dash. The applause sounded like gunfire, somehow, or to someone; really, it only takes one. According to some reports, one woman screamed that she saw a gun. The cascading effect was easier to figure: When people started running, a man I met later on the tarmac said, they plowed through the metal poles strung throughout the terminal to organize lines, and the metal clacking on the tile floors sounded like gunfire. Because the clacking was caused by the crowd, wherever you were and however far you’d run already, it was always right around you.

Passengers huddled near the ground at immigration control while police looked for a possible shooter at JFK airport. It turned out to be a false alarm. PHOTO: BRIGITTE DUSSEAU/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Passengers huddled near the ground at immigration control while police looked for a possible shooter at JFK airport. It turned out to be a false alarm. PHOTO: BRIGITTE DUSSEAU/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

There was a second stampede, I heard some time later, in Terminal 4. I was caught up in two separate ones, genuine stampedes, both in Terminal 1. The first was in the long, narrow, low-ceilinged second-floor hallway approaching customs that was so stuffed with restless passengers that it felt like a cattle call, even before the fire alarm and the screaming and all the contradictory squeals that sent people running and yelling and barreling over each other — as well as the dropped luggage, passports, and crouched panicked women who just wanted to take shelter between their knees and hope for it, or “them,” to pass. The second was later, after security guards had just hustled hundreds of us off of the tarmac directly into passport control, when a woman in a hijab appeared at the top of a flight of stairs, yelling out for a family member, it seemed, who had been separated from her in the chaos. The crowd seemed to rise up, squealing, and rush for the two small sets of double doors.

Probably there were other stampedes, some small and some large, throughout the airport, to judge by the thousands of passengers massed outside on the tarmac by about 11 p.m. — not a peaceful mass, but a panicked one. Some of them had been swept outside by police charging through the terminals with guns drawn, shouting for people to get down, show their hands, and drop their luggage, since nothing was more important than your life. Others had been on lines where TSA agents grabbed their gear and just ran, at least according to reports on Twitter.

More at the link.

So . . . what else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a terrific Tuesday!