There are some interesting reads out there as America head to the polls tomorrow. I’ve got two bits of analysis from our Brit cousins’ media to share. I’m particularly fond of Barbara Kingsolver’s contribution yesterday at The Guardian. Let me share the headline with you. “End this misogynistic horror show. Put Hillary Clinton in the White House”.
I’m horrified to watch the bizarre pageant of my nation pretending these two contenders are equivalent. No one really imagines Donald Trump applying himself to the disciplines of the presidency, staying up late reading reams of legislation, instead of firing off juvenile tweets. It’s even harder to imagine Clinton indulging in the boorish self-aggrandisement, intellectual laziness, racism and vulgar contempt for the opposite gender that characterise her opponent. If anyone still doubts that the inexperienced man gets promoted ahead of the qualified woman, you can wake up now.
This race is close. Polls tell us most Americans believe Trump has sexually assaulted women (to name just one potential disqualifier). A majority also believe Clinton “can’t be trusted”, for unspecified reasons. We’re back to the ancient conundrum: a woman can’t be that smart and commanding, so either her womanliness or her smartness must be counterfeit. To set that hazy discomfort next to a sexual assaulter and call these defects “equivalent” is causing my ears to ring as I write.
Read it. All of it.
Lexington–at The Economist–has an a good explanation for Trump voters. This one makes sense to me. He compares the motives of voters to those folks that love the Stand Your Ground laws. They want to shoot at anything that frightens at them with no consequences to protect them and theirs.
Partisanship explains some of this gigantic folly, as does widespread distrust of the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. But another cause lies in something harder to criticise: the desire of most people to think of themselves as good and useful citizens, capable of providing for and keeping safe those people and values dear to them. After more than a year of meeting Republican voters and Trump supporters at rallies and campaign events and twice interviewing the candidate himself, Lexington is unexpectedly struck on election eve by echoes from America’s stand-your-ground movement. That movement has led dozens of states to pass laws which allow gun-owners to use lethal force when they reasonably believe that their safety is threatened, with no duty to retreat when they are in their home or other lawful place. Vitally, this defence can be invoked even if householders misjudge the perils that they face, in the heat of the moment.
Critics call such laws vigilante justice. They cite horrible mistakes, as when stranded motorists are shot dead for knocking on a door in search of directions or a telephone. Some see racial bias at work when courts absolve white householders of killing black men who alarmed them. But once passed, such laws are difficult to repeal. For that would involve convincing supporters that they are wrong to believe that they are the last and best line of defence for their family and property—a hard task.
Quite a few Republicans, including those who initially backed more mainstream rivals in their party’s presidential primaries, sound strikingly like stand-your-ground advocates when defending a vote for Mr Trump. Even if not every Trump voter takes all his promises literally, they feel heeded and respected when someone of his stature—a very rich man who could be a member of the elite, but instead chooses to side with them—agrees that their home, America, is under assault, whether from foreign governments scheming to “rape” the economy or by Muslim terrorists allowed in as refugees. At rallies in swing states from Arizona to North Carolina, this reporter has heard the cheers when Mr Trump roars that America has every right to fight back, even if that involves rough justice or being “so tough”, as he puts it.
Our first woman Attorney General has died after suffering with Parkinson’s disease. Janet Reno passed at the age of 78.
Janet Reno, the strong-minded Florida prosecutor tapped by Bill Clinton to become the country’s first female U.S. attorney general, and who shaped the U.S. government’s responses to the largest legal crises of the 1990s, died Nov. 7 at her home in Miami. She was 78.
The cause was complications from Parkinson’s disease, her goddaughter, Gabrielle D’Alemberte, told the Associated Press. Ms. Reno was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1995, while she was attorney general.
Ms. Reno brought a fierce independence to her job. From the FBI siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Texas to the investigation into Clinton’s sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky, she was adamant that her prosecutors and agents work outside the influence of politics, media or popular opinion.
Her supporters believed she brought a heightened level of integrity and professionalism to the attorney general’s office. They admired her insistence on legal exactitude from her employees and praised her caution in prosecutions.
Sam Wang of Princeton Consortium has spoken. We’re going to see Madam President.
Three sets of data point in the same direction:
- The state poll-based Meta-Margin is Clinton +2.6%.
- National polls give a median of Clinton +3.0 +/- 0.9% (10 polls with a start date of November 1st or later).
- Early voting patterns approximately match 2012, a year when the popular vote was Obama +3.9%.
Based on this evidence, if Hillary Clinton does not win on Tuesday it will be a giant surprise.
There’s been buzz about the Princeton Election Consortium’s win probability for Clinton, which for some time has been in the 98-99% range. Tonight let me walk everyone through how we arrive at this level of confidence. I will also give a caveat on how it is difficult to estimate win probabilities above 90% – and why fine adjustments at this level do not matter for my goals in running this site.
Here’s Hillary’s Closer.
“I think we can all agree it’s been a long campaign. But tomorrow, you get to pick our next president,” Clinton says, dressed in white, looking into the camera as the ad opens.
The choice on Tuesday, the Democratic nominee says, is a simple one: “Is America dark and divisive, or hopeful and inclusive?”
The ad was billed by a campaign official on Monday morning as a “personal and positive closing message,” following what has been a long slog of an election, some 18 months after two polarizing figures began their rise to the nomination — one a distrusted figure and mainstay of American politics, the other a divisive outsider defined by a campaign of offensive remarks.
Many of us have recent history in our backgrounds where voting has been illegal or close to impossible. Even today, many of us may wait in long lines to exercise our duty and our right as a citizen because a small group of people do not want to hear our voices.
This is our day. It’s the day we vote for all of the folks who couldn’t and we vote for all of the children who can’t vote right now but will in the future.
Let’s vote for hope. Let’s vote for people. Let’s vote for Hillary.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Donald Trump should come with trigger warnings. I believe that every person I know whose experience includes abuse from the archetypal domineering abusive boss, family member or love interest spent last evening into this morning with PTSD anxiety. While a few men believe that Trump held his own during the debate, the supermajority of women saw Hillary Clinton experiencing interaction with every awful man that’s ever crossed their path.
He was the unwanted sexual predator that stalks you and violates your personal space to intimidate you. He was that boss that mansplains and lies on topics he knows nothing about to you while completely ignoring your credentials and experience. He was that teacher, that clerk, that waiter, that person who insists you’re crazy when you correct his lies and errors. He’s the one that wants you institutionalized just because you inconvenience him.
I am still anxious and shaking this morning. Jessica Samikow summed up a series of tweets from women during the debate with this pithy analysis.
Clinton showed up prepared to act how women are taught we need to in order to prove ourselves in male-dominated space: She came armed with facts, kept her composure as to not seem emotional, and forced a smile when there was nothing to smile about. The democratic nominee was met by a man (if you could call him that) who interrupted her constantly to mansplain topics he knows nothing about, lost his temper when his ego was bruised, made light of his own rape-y comments, and lurked behind her intimidatingly as to imply: This is a man’s world, you’re just livin’ in it.
Last night, she was us in our continual struggle to be seen as moral agents, something other than property, and intelligent respect-worthy human beings. Women’s tweets weren’t the only ones crying out for respect to humanity. #MuslimReportStuff was highly enlightening.
Asked about the issue of Islamophobia, Trump said that while it is an issue, he said Muslims who come into the country must “report when they see something going on.”
The FBI says Muslims already do report what they see. This summer, the FBI’s director said “some of our most productive relationships are with people who see things and tell us things who happen to be Muslim,” according to Reuters.
In response to Trump’s suggestion that Muslims report what’s going on, several Muslims began to follow his suggestion. First, the following tweet went viral:
Those of us that watched were horrified. First there was a parade of women that had accused Bill Clinton decades ago of some form of sexual harassment or assault. The three women’s cases had been investigated and dealt with during his presidency. They were used like a human shield at the debate to intimidate and shame Hillary Clinton. It was positively inhumane on all fronts.
There’s an episode of the dystopian TV series Black Mirror in which terrorists force the British prime minister to fuck a pig on live television. As people gather to gawk at the spectacle, rambunctious prurience gives way to funereal sadness; the humiliation soils everyone who watches it. That’s what it felt like going into the second presidential debate on Sunday. Before it even started, Donald Trump had held a press conference with three women who’ve accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault and one woman, Kathy Shelton, who loathes Hillary Clinton because, as a young attorney, Clinton was assigned to defend Shelton’s indigent alleged rapist. Apparently hoping to get under Clinton’s skin, Trump put the women in the debate audience, and his campaign signaled that he intended to go nuclear on the Clintons’ marriage. In the moments before the debate started, the camera panned the members of the two candidates’ families, their faces strained and sad. There was a sense that something unprecedented and unspeakable was about to happen.
Clinton, despite rumors to the contrary, is a human being. She had to speak fluently about policy while being flayed for her husband’s sins before an audience of tens of millions. She had to appear unruffled while Trump, stewing and pacing, loomed behind her, physically menacing her with his bulk. He threatened to have her imprisoned if elected; she betrayed not a hint of rage or shock. She made, I think, a strategic decision not to fully engage with him, even if that meant letting some of his outrageous assertions hang there unchallenged. To me, she seemed a model of grace and poise, smiling through a disgusting ordeal.
Trump’s goal was to publicly humiliate Hillary Clinton. There are those that are saying that he failed including Greg Sargent at the Plum Line (WAPO).
It’s obvious that the Clinton campaign grasped that Trump’s paramount goal here was to drag Hillary down into the pig slop with him. Thus, she declined to respond directly to the claims about the 1990s, and instead immediately pivoted to a discussion of all of the other targets of Trump’s abuse and bigotry (she referenced his birtherism, his ridicule of a disabled reporter, his attacks on the Khan family and the Mexican-American judge, and his affection for belittling women). The message was that this isn’t about Clinton herself; it’s just another piece of evidence in the broader case that someone who is so bigoted, misogynist, hateful, and pathologically abusive is unfit for the presidency.
Perhaps the most ground breaking event was when the autocratic Trump suggested he’d order his AG to arrest Clinton. This was something one sees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, not the United States Of America. While women are focused on all the overt brutal misogyny of last night, the men seem focused on the clear and present threat to the rule of law, the Constitution, and to U.S. Democracy as we know it.
There is no way to sugarcoat this: At Sunday night’s presidential debate, Donald Trump threatened to throw Hillary Clinton in jail if he wins the presidency. This — threatening to jail one’s political opponents — is how democratic norms die.
The exchange happened during a discussion of the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Trump began by decrying Clinton’s conduct — which, according to the FBI, was quite bad but not illegal. He then proposed appointing a special prosecutor to investigate her, and warned Clinton that, if he were president now, “you’d be in jail”:
TRUMP: I’ll tell you what. I didn’t think I’d say this, and I’m going to say it, and hate to say it: If I win, I’m going to instruct the attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there’s never been so many lies, so much deception … A very expensive process, so we’re going to get a special prosecutor because people have been, their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you’ve done. And it’s a disgrace, and honestly, you ought to be ashamed.
CLINTON: Let me just talk about emails, because everything he just said is absolutely false. But I’m not surprised … It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law of our country.
DT: Because you’d be in jail.
This is so far beyond normal that it’s hard to even know where to start.
In democracies, we respect people’s rights to disagree with each other. When one candidate wins a presidential election, the loser returns to private life or another government position. In some cases, former rivals become close friends. George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who defeated Bush in the 1992 election, travel together and have spent decades jointly raising money to aid the victims of natural disasters.
They don’t get sent to jail, because we believe that political disagreement should be legal.
Donald Trump doesn’t seem to care about all that.
In his last line — “you’d be in jail” — he is outright saying that he would imprison Hillary Clinton in office (if he could). This comes despite the fact that there is no evidence Clinton committed a crime in her handling of the email servers, despite lengthy investigations that found evidence of carelessness and dishonesty. That would be a politically motivated prosecution — retribution for daring to run against Trump and attack him during the campaign.
A fact checked transcript is available from WBUR. Trump spewed an avalanche of lies last night. Hillary Clinton noted it seemed beyond his usual 70% rate and fact-checkers assured us it was. He spent an inordinate amount of time last night sniffing and yelling at Martha Radditz about how every one was unfair to him on the time. Yet, at the end of the time count, he came out ahead by almost two minutes.
Still, the interesting thing was that the media appeared reading to declare Trump as having held his own or “winning” the debate until the female correspondents–like Joy Reid–pointed out the appalling visual of Trump stalking and intimidating Clinton around the stage. I’m not sure how that Trump debate performance exceeded any one’s expectations. It was like watching something from the Hunger Games to me it was so dark and dystopian. It included a run on advertisement for a Trump Hotel at the old DC Post office. The content was straight out of Alt-Right fever dreams.
Here’s David Gergen’s take for what it’s worth. It includes one of the few scientific post-debate poll results.
Whatever chance Donald Trump still had of capturing the White House largely evaporated Sunday night in his second debate with Hillary Clinton.
Coming off the worst 10 days of any campaign in recent history, Trump desperately needed a win in order to reverse his slide in the polls. He was indeed better than in the first debate and she was not as commanding. Even so, he blew his opportunity for victory in the first 20 minutes and could never fully recover. CNN’s poll found that by 57-34%, a majority of voters watching them thought she got the best of him.
His loss came through a series of bizarre moments. The first was his surprise pre-debate appearance with four female accusers of Bill Clinton. While a case can be made for re-hearing their claims of long ago, the event seemed like a stunt and Trump never made real use of it in the debate.
But more damning still was the way he handled the disgusting video from 11 years ago in which he made vulgar sexual remarks. Trump could possibly have achieved a measure of forgiveness if he had issued a sincere, thoughtful apology about his past as well as some ugly incidents in this campaign. But his apology was limited in scope, seemed slightly dismissive, and went off track when he mixed ISIS into the conversation.
On behalf of women every where …
and Delete your Damn Life.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Where to begin? Donald Trump appears to be very publicly self-destructing while Hillary Clinton goes about her business, giving speeches about real issues. The Sun-Sentinel:
People in the crowd of more than 2,000 — most of whom stood for hours in a sweltering gymnasium waiting for her arrival and during her speech — loved what they heard.
The article summarizes the high points of Hillary speech and later discusses the latest Florida polls–Hillary is leading now.
Most of the 28-minute speech alternated between citing the lofty policy goals she wants to achieve if elected and criticizing Trump, the Republican nominee. She’d mention a goal, jab at Trump, mention another policy, criticize Trump again, then continue repeating the pattern.
Clinton said she offers a more optimistic view of America than Trump. “I’ve never heard such a dark, fearful image of our country coming from someone who wants to be president of the United States,” she said. “When he talks, sometimes I don’t even recognize the country he’s talking about.”
After she bought up clean energy, she mocked Trump for being afraid to mention his idea of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico when he visited that country. Then she ridiculed Trump for his middle-of the-night Twitter tirades.
“Really, who gets up at 3 o’clock in the morning to engage in a Twitter attack against a former Miss Universe?” she said. “I mean his latest Twitter meltdown is unhinged, even for him. It proves yet again that he is temperamentally unfit to be president of the United States.”
Trump’s early-morning tweets Friday attacked former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. The Clinton-supporting Machado said that when Trump ran the pageant, he called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.”
The LA Times: In Florida, Hillary Clinton pushes new plan for volunteering.
Hillary Clinton on Friday called for a new national focus on volunteer service, drawing a contrast between her vision of communal assistance with Donald Trump‘s claim that “I alone can fix” the country’s problems.
The Democratic candidate said she wants to triple the size of AmeriCorps, a domestic service program created by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in 1993, and double the amount of college scholarships available for people who sign up.
She also suggested a “national service reserve” — sort of like the Army Reserve — for people who don’t want to quit their jobs but are still looking for part-time opportunities to volunteer.
“There is so much work to be done, and so many people who want to help do it,” Clinton said.
Just more “boring” Hillary, proposing programs to engage young people in public service.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has wasted an entire week attacking former Miss Universe Alicia Machado and complaining the debate that he lost so badly was somehow rigged against him.
The Washington Post: Trump’s bad week is a ‘nightmare’ for the GOP.
Republican leaders and strategists are unnerved by Donald Trump’s erratic attacks on a Latina beauty queen and other outbursts this week, increasingly fearful that the GOP nominee is damaging his White House hopes and doing lasting harm to the party in the campaign’s final stretch.
Party officials said they are newly embarrassed by Trump’s impulsive behavior and exasperated by his inability to concentrate on his change message and frame the race as a referendum on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to interviews with more than two dozen of them….
Trump went into the first presidential debate Monday night in Hempstead, N.Y., with swagger, ahead or tied in some national and battleground-state polls and, momentarily at least, relatively disciplined on the stump. But his performance was widely panned and revealed his thin skin. In the days since, he has become distracted by old grudges and picked new fights, often involving female or minority targets.
Trump plunged into a feud with Alicia Machado, a Miss Universe winner he mocked and humiliated for her weight gain two decades ago. He punctuated his campaign to discredit her with a series of tweets around 5 a.m. Friday maligning her and referring his followers to Machado’s “sex tape.” There is no evidence that such a tape exists; he appears to have been referring to racy footage of her from a reality television show.
Also this week, Trump raised former president Bill Clinton’s pastextramarital affairs as a campaign issue, delivered his most direct attack yet on Hillary Clinton’s health and waged war with news organizations over alleged bias.
Ezra Klein at Vox: The last six days proved Donald Trump is dangerously unfit for the presidency.
The problem isn’t that Trump is cruel, though he is. The problem isn’t that Trump is boorish, though he is. The problem isn’t that Trump is undisciplined, though he is.
The problem is that Trump is predictable and controllable.
Through most of this election, those would be the last two words anyone would associate with Donald J. Trump. His brand is impulsivity. The central fact of his political style is that staff can’t control his actions. Who else would launch a presidential campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and murderers? Who else would accuse an opponent’s father of being involved in JFK Jr.’s assassination? Who else would humiliate their running mate before introducing him? Who else would tweet schoolyard insults at his challengers and retweet white supremacists praising his virtues?
Over the past six days, Hillary Clinton’s campaign revealed that this is a misreading of Donald Trump. His behavior, though unusual, is quite predictable — a fact the campaign proved by predicting it. His actions, though beyond the control of his allies, can be controlled by his enemies — a fact they proved by controlling them.
So far, this has played out, within the safe space of a presidential campaign, as farce. If Trump were to win the White House, it would play out as tragedy.
Late last night, Trump gave a disastrous interview to the New York Times. I can’t quote from it, but you can read the whole thing at that link. Klein discusses the article in his Vox post.
On Friday, he told the New York Times that, in response to the Clinton campaign bringing up Machado, he would begin attacking Hillary Clinton for being “married to the single greatest abuser of women in the history of politics” — thus launching the line of assault likeliest to engender sympathy for Hillary Clinton, and opening his checkered marital history to public scrutiny.
“She’s nasty, but I can be nastier than she ever can be,” is a thing Trump actually said, aloud, to reporters, in an interview meant to help his campaign.
To appreciate just how self-destructive this strategy is, read the third paragraph of the Times story:
In an interview with The New York Times, he also contended that infidelity was “never a problem” during his three marriages, though his first ended in an ugly divorce after Mr. Trump began a relationship with the woman who became his second wife.
There is a part of me that believes the entire Alicia Machado trap was a long con to bait Trump into berating Clinton for her husband’s infidelities at the second debate, and making his past marital betrayals fair game for the press.
What is extraordinary in all this is how enthusiastically Trump has taken the Clinton campaign’s bait, and how unconcerned he’s been with the fact that they meticulously planned all this in advance to damage him.
Klein goes on to discuss how Trump’s behavior might play out if he were win the presidency. Read the rest at Vox.
More on that from Paul Waldman at The Washington Post: Why Trump’s tweets matter: They shed light on how he’d behave as president.
This has happened before. Trump went on an extended tear about Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a fraud trial in connection with Trump University, saying that Curiel couldn’t be impartial because “He’s a Mexican” (Curiel is actually an American). Though his comments were roundly condemned by both Democrats and Republicans as racist, Trump kept making them. Later, after he was criticized by Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a soldier who died in Iraq, Trump got in a protracted argument with them, leading to days and days of brutal press coverage, and again, bipartisan condemnation.
On the simplest level, we know why Trump does this: He believes firmly that whenever anyone criticizes him, he simply must attack them back. As he wrote in his 2007 book “Think Big and Kick Ass”:
“When someone crosses you, my advice is ‘Get Even!’…If you’re afraid to fight back people will think of you as a loser, a ‘schmuck!’ They will know they can get away with insulting you, disrespecting you, and taking advantage of you. Don’t let it happen! Always fight back and get even. People will respect you for it.”
But it’s more than that. Trump is right now trying to get even with Machado, even though there’s almost nothing to be gained from it and a tremendous amount to lose. Trump is doing poorly with Latinos and women voters, and one of the biggest risks to his campaign would be anything that not only turns them against him but motivates them to turn out to vote. At the same time, he is very publicly toying with the idea of attacking Clinton because her husband cheated on her.
Given his history and the things he has said, I have no doubt that Trump believes that when a man cheats on a woman it’s her fault for not being attractive enough to keep him faithful; he probably finds Hillary Clinton contemptible for this reason, just as he probably felt the same about his first and second wives when he cheated on and then divorced them. But surely someone has suggested to him that this is not a fruitful strategy to pursue. Yet he just can’t help himself.
What does this have to do with being president? If he were in the Oval Office, Donald Trump would face one crisis after another and situations that demand a kind of delayed emotional gratification. In order to be successful he’d have to regularly set aside whatever impulsive reaction he has to a particular turn of events in favor of a long-term strategy that would be more beneficial to the country.
Last night I watched the Frontline program The Choice, and I highly recommend it. The parts about Trump are fascinating and the parts about Clinton are really wonderful and humanizing. The documentary discusses their early years and compares and contrasts their careers leading up to the presidential race.
Probably the most shocking revelation about the Trump family is that they firmly believe in the “gene theory” of success–that certain people are superior to others because of their genetic heritage. Sound familar?
The Independent: Donald Trump believes he has superior genes, biographer claims.
In an interview for US TV channel PBS, the Republican presidential nominee’s biographer Michael D’Antonio claimed the candidate’s father, Fred Trump, had taught him that the family’s success was genetic.
He said: “The family subscribes to a racehorse theory of human development.
“They believe that there are superior people and that if you put together the genes of a superior woman and a superior man, you get a superior offspring.”
The theory, known as eugenics, first emerged during the 19th century and was used as a pretext for the sterilisation of disabled people until the practice was discredited after the Second World War.
Adolf Hitler’s justification for the Holocaust – in which 11 million people were killed, 6 million of them Jewish – was based on a similar theory of racial hierarchy.
I hope you’ll watch the entire Frontline show if you can find time.
Now what stories are you following today? Let us know in the comment thread and have a great weekend!
I just love that photo taken during Monday’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They are all trying to claim their candidate won, but that’s how they looked while they were watching their candidate self-immolate in front of 80 million viewers.
And how did the Clinton side look? Check it out.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Then there’s this one taken backstage after the debate.
I love that one! Now for the news of the day.
Kurt Eichenwald has another big scoop on Trump’s dirty dealings: How Donald Trump’s Company Violated the United States Embargo against Cuba.
A company controlled by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, secretly conducted business in Communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings.
Documents show that the Trump company spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval. But the company did not spend the money directly. Instead, with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. Once the business consultants traveled to the island and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers with Trump’s company—then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts—how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.
The payment by Trump Hotels came just before the New York business mogul launched his first bid for the White House, seeking the nomination of the Reform Party. On his first day of the campaign, he traveled to Miami, where he spoke to a group of Cuban-Americans, a critical voting bloc in the swing state. Trump vowedto maintain the embargo and never spend his or his companies’ money in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power.
He did not disclose that, seven months earlier, Trump Hotels already had reimbursed its consultants for the money they spent on their secret business trip to Havana.
At the time, Americans traveling to Cuba had to receive specific U.S. government permission, which was granted only for an extremely limited number of purposes, such as humanitarian efforts. Neither an American nor a company based in the United States could spend any cash in Cuba; instead, a foreign charity or similar sponsoring entity needed to pay all expenses, including travel. Without obtaining a license from the federal Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before the consultants went to Cuba, the undertaking by Trump Hotels would have been in violation of federal law, trade experts say.
Read the rest at the Newsweek link above. This story seems to be getting a lot more attention than Eichenwald’s previous ones. I think some reporters are finally waking up to the fact that while they were obsessing on Hillary Clinton’s emails a few real journalists like Eichenwald and David Fahrenthold were doing serious investigative work that is suddenly paying off for them and making others in the mainstream media look like lazy fools.
Yeah, not incredible at all. The media has acted like a pack of ravening wolves trying to tear Hillary apart for the past year while they laughed and joked about a thin-skinned authoritarian nationalist and white supremacist with a realistic chance of winning the U.S. presidency.
Trump’s misogyny and fat-shaming are getting a lot of attention after Hillary brought it up at the debate. I know there are plenty of men who think this is not a serious issue, but for women who have had to deal with men like Trump it certainly is one. Besides, misogyny and sexism obviously have real-life economic effects too.
After the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes opened for play in 2005, its world-famous owner didn’t stop by more than a few times a year to visit the course hugging the coast of the Pacific.
When Trump did visit, the club’s managers went on alert. They scheduled the young, thin, pretty women on staff to work the clubhouse restaurant — because when Trump saw less-attractive women working at his club, according to court records, he wanted them fired.
“I had witnessed Donald Trump tell managers many times while he was visiting the club that restaurant hostesses were ‘not pretty enough’ and that they should be fired and replaced with more attractive women,” Hayley Strozier, who was director of catering at the club until 2008, said in a sworn declaration.
Initially, Trump gave this command “almost every time” he visited, Strozier said. Managers eventually changed employee schedules “so that the most attractive women were scheduled to work when Mr. Trump was scheduled to be at the club,” she said.
Trump’s sexist behavior came out in a “labor relations lawsuit.”
The employees’ declarations in support of the lawsuit, which have not been reported in detail until now, show the extent to which they believed Trump, now the Republican presidential nominee, pressured subordinates at one of his businesses to create and enforce a culture of beauty, where female employees’ appearances were prized over their skills….
Employees said in their declarations that the apparent preference for attractive women came from the top.
“Donald Trump always wanted good looking women working at the club,” said Sue Kwiatkowski, a restaurant manager at the club until 2009, in a declaration. “I know this because one time he took me aside and said, ‘I want you to get some good looking hostesses here. People like to see good looking people when they come in.’ ”
As a result, Kwiatkowski said, “I and the other managers always tried to have our most attractive hostesses working when Mr. Trump was in town and going to be on the premises.”
Read more at the link.
Jennifer Lin, a former reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote at BillyPenn.com about a personal experience she had with Trump in 1988. She had written an article about how Trump tried to cheat shareholders in his casino company by buying them out for $15 per share. Lin wrote about Dale Scutti who realized the shares were worth a lot more than that and starting buying them. Merv Griffin, who wanted to get into the Atlantic City casino business got wind of Scutti’s activities and made a counteroffer.
The situation got ugly and after a month of fighting, the moguls made a deal: Trump would get the unfinished Taj Mahal, Griffin would get everything else, and investors would get $36 a share.
My story that morning made the point that if it wasn’t for this unknown investor from upstate New York, shareholders might not be earning more than twice what Trump originally offered. Scutti had told me he thought Trump was trying to scare shareholders into accepting his offer with threats of bankruptcy in San Diego and warnings that he was the only one capable of completing the over-budget Taj Mahal project.
She had tried and failed to reach Trump for comment, but when the story appeared he suddenly wanted to talk to her.
And now I was holding for Mr. Trump.
There was no hello. But there was yelling, lots of yelling.
The word “shit” was used repeatedly as a noun and adjective.
I had shit for brains.
I worked for a shitty newspaper.
What sort of shit did I write.
Before I could reply, he hung up.
Then he called my editor in Philadelphia, Craig Stock. Now it was Craig’s turn to “Hold for Mr. Trump.”
Craig was treated to the same Trumpian wordplay, but got an added treat. Trump referred to me as “that cunt.”
Craig, a calm Iowan, asked Trump what was wrong with the story. He explained that The Inquirerwould run a correction if the paper had made an error.
Trump snapped that he didn’t read the story.
“No one reads the story,” the 41-year-old blustered. “I read the headline and I didn’t like it.”
Craig suggested that he read the story, then call him back if there were any problems.
He did not hear back from Trump.
If you haven’t read this remarkable review of a new biography of Adolf Hitler by Volker Ullrich: In ‘Hitler,’ an Ascent From ‘Dunderhead’ to Demagogue. New York Time book reviewer Michiko Kakatani seems to have specifically written the piece to highlight resemblances between Hitler and Donald Trump–and she did it without ever mentioning Trump’s name. I’m not able to cut and paste from this amazing piece, but I hope you’ll go read it.
I have quite few links for you today, so I’m going to just post headlines for the rest.
Washington Post: Trump’s method for the big fib: Defend, defend, then grasp at straws.
Vanity Fair: How Hillary Clinton Played Trump for a Fool.
Politico: Trump accuses Google of ‘suppressing’ Clinton info. (Based on a story from a Russian propaganda site)
Gabe Ortiz at Medium: For All The “Miss Housekeepings” — Including My Mom.
Washington Post: Enabler or family defender? How Hillary Clinton responded to husband’s accusers. (Because every wife should respond with kindness and empathy to women who have affairs with her husband, right?)
PBS Frontline: The FRONTLINE Interview: Tony Schwartz. (Trump’s ghostwriter)
Huffington Post: Another Miss Universe Contestant Says She Was Fat-Shamed By Donald Trump.
Huffington Post: Megyn Kelly Goes After Kellyanne Conway On Trump’s Misogyny.
What stories are you following today?
It seems we’re finally getting a few journalists to investigate the appalling human relations history of Donald Trump and his well-documented racism and misogyny. The Republican party is lamenting this because he’s their official standard bearer now. They would love to continue using code words instead of blatant bigotry. The rest of us better hope and pray that a few of the lemmings stop long enough to read up on the man that is prepared to lead them over the precipice. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about him.
I’m going to focus on some fairly long and intense investigations of Trump’s treatment of women as well as the astounding role that white identity politics is playing in this race. None of these links are easy to read but every one should read them and share them.
Donald Trump’s campaign cannot stop attracting white supremacists. Last week, David Duke argued that he would make a great Vice President candidate and “life insurance.” It’s very difficult to ignore that politics of “whiteness” and white resentment is an essential part of the Trump campaign. (H/T to Jslat for this great link.)
But then, there’s the liberal commentator Jonathan Chait’s recent essay at New York Mag, “The Real Reason We All Underrated Trump,” in which he openly wonders whether Republican voters who’ve fallen for Trump are “idiots”:
“Most voters don’t follow politics and policy for a living, and it’s understandable that they would often fall for arguments based on faulty numbers or a misreading of history. … As low as my estimation of the intelligence of the Republican electorate may be, I did not think enough of them would be dumb enough to buy his act. And, yes, I do believe that to watch Donald Trump and see a qualified and plausible president, you probably have some kind of mental shortcoming. As many fellow Republicans have pointed out, Donald Trump is a con man. What I failed to realize — and, I believe, what so many others failed to realize, though they have reasons not to say so — is just how easily so many Republicans are duped.”
It’s telling that Chait finds it easier to imagine that huge swaths of Republican primary voters are childlike and naive, rather than folks who quite rationally dig Trump’s direct appeals to their interests — their racial interests. Among Trump’s most notorious policy proposals is a moratorium on Muslims entering the country. He has called Mexican immigrants “rapists.” Maybe we should concede that these declarations are not incidental to his appeal among his supporters, but central to them. Calling them “idiots” posits that they’ve been duped, when perhaps Trump is saying precisely what they want to hear.
When Trump’s supporters aren’t being written off as intellectually incapable of knowing a huckster when they see one, their motivations are often ascribed to their being “working class.” But the working class today is nearly 40 percent people of color — and among people of color, Trump is profoundly unpopular. His coalition is nearly entirely white. Even the class part of the “working class” narrative is inaccurate; Trump’s supporters are wealthier than most Americans, and have higher incomes than supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The “working class revolt” explanation for Trump’s rise is overstated — and it can be a useful dodge to avoid talking about explanations involving racial grievance.
There have been outlets and pundits this election cycle who’ve shown they’re willing and able to dig into the role that racial grievance plays in How Trump Happened. Others haven’t, and continue not to. And that’s a problem.
The one thing that both the Sanders campaign and the Trump campaign have done for those of us that can see intersectionality of gender identity, sexual preference, religion, and race with justice, jobs, and opportunity is demonstrate that we have a serious problem in this country. White, christian, male grievances are on display in each of those campaigns to the detriment of discussion of actual issues. White straight male privilege shouts, screams, and violates everything that this county built on the idea of a melting pot based on representative democracy, and the idea of liberty and justice for all.
Trump’s treatment and characterizations of women should’ve been an automatic disqualifier for any political candidate. We’ve seen elected officials lose elections for all kinds of incredible comments about rape, women’s reproductive organs, and the role of women in society. Donald Trump’s misogyny is part of his overwhelming appeal to white men who resent women.
Whiteness has always been a central dynamic of American cultural and political life, though we don’t tend to talk about it as such. But this election cycle is making it much harder to avoid discussions of white racial grievance and identity politics when, for instance, Donald Trump’s only viable pathway to the White House is to essentially win all of the white dudes.
This is piggybacking on Trump’s racist and bigoted comments on Mexicans, Muslims. and Black Americans. Trump holds special contempt for women. (The first two cartoons come from the mind and pen of claytoonz.com .)
Republican frontrunner and presumptive nominee for president Donald Trump once said that “smart women” act “feminine and needy” but that on the inside, they’re “real killers.” It is, he advised men, “one of the great acts of all time.”
On Friday, CNN pointed out that the description comes from Trump’s chapter on women from his 1997 book, The Art of the Comeback.
“The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers,” wrote the erstwhile reality TV star. “The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naïve or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.”
Trump has taken heat for his sexist attacks on women over the years from comedian Rosie O’Donnell — who he called “fat,” “disgusting” and “a dog” — to Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who the candidate said was unfairly “aggressive” with him in a televised debate and then accused her of being on her period.
The Boston Globe went after Trump’s behaviors in the Beauty Pageant Business and the resulting stories are horrifying. This is a good summation of the evidence by The Daily Mail.
It begins with the recollections of a pin-up model named Rhonda Noggle.
Noggle joined Trump in his limousine with a group of scantily-clad girls as they left the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room.
Upon hearing the ‘bimbos’ and the ‘gold diggers’ comments, Noggle decided she’d had enough.
‘I told him I would rather be with a trash man who respected me than someone who was a rich, pompous ass,’ she told the Globe.
‘And I got out. And I took a cab ride home.’
Trump, in an interview with the Globe, denied he had ever made the comments and doesn’t recall Noggle getting out of the car.
As the Globe put it, ‘Noggle’s assertion of sexist behavior by Trump foreshadowed allegations of misogyny, racial bias, and sexually aggressive behavior that would roil this brief and fractious deal – Trump’s debut in the pageant business in which he would in time become a major player.’
You can read the Globe’s April 17th expose at this link. It is amazing to me that stories of unwanted fondling and harassment actually were the basis of the only business where he’s had success.
Trump’s involvement in the calendar model competition came at a time when his reputation as an eligible New York ladies’ man was at its peak. He was between his first and second marriages, and his personal life was regular fodder in the New York tabloid gossip pages. Two years earlier, he had been featured on the cover of Playboy magazine.
The case of American Dream Enterprise Inc. v. Donald Trump, et al. — told through hundreds of pages of court records, several sworn depositions, and in nearly two dozen interviews — shows a darker side of Trump’s playboy image.
It foreshadows a reputation for sexism and misogyny that sticks with him nearly 25 years later, in his presidential bid, in which coarse descriptions of women and perceived sexist comments have left him with extraordinarily high unfavorable ratings among women.
The foray into the Calendar Girls pageant, however, also ushered in Trump’s interest in the business of entertainment. He later bought the Miss Universe pageant and gained national renown for his reality show, “The Apprentice.”
“I don’t believe there would have been an ‘Apprentice’ if there wasn’t a pageant first,” said Jim Gibson, a consultant and longtime pageant host who guided Trump into the pageant business and eventually to the Miss Universe event. “That got him in the higher hierarchies of the television business. And it did exactly what Donald wanted to do: It built his name.”
The coverage of Trump’s records of sexual harassment is well-documented in The NYT’s feature article “Crossing the Line.” It will bring back every horrible memory of every woman trying to earn a living and it will bring on every horrible nightmare every parent has of the kind of treatment they never want hoisted on their daughters.
Donald J. Trump had barely met Rowanne Brewer Lane when he asked her to change out of her clothes.
Donald was having a pool party at Mar-a-Lago. There were about 50 models and 30 men. There were girls in the pools, splashing around. For some reason Donald seemed a little smitten with me. He just started talking to me and nobody else.
He suddenly took me by the hand, and he started to show me around the mansion. He asked me if I had a swimsuit with me. I said no. I hadn’t intended to swim. He took me into a room and opened drawers and asked me to put on a swimsuit.
–Rowanne Brewer Lane, former companion
Ms. Brewer Lane, at the time a 26-year-old model, did as Mr. Trump asked. “I went into the bathroom and tried one on,” she recalled. It was a bikini. “I came out, and he said, ‘Wow.’ ”
Mr. Trump, then 44 and in the midst of his first divorce, decided to show her off to the crowd at Mar-a-Lago, his estate in Palm Beach, Fla. “He brought me out to the pool and said, ‘That is a stunning Trump girl, isn’t it?’ ” Ms. Brewer Lane said.
Donald Trump and women: The words evoke a familiar cascade of casual insults, hurled from the safe distance of a Twitter account, a radio show or a campaign podium. This is the public treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president: degrading, impersonal, performed. “That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees,” he told a female contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Rosie O’Donnell, he said, had a “fat, ugly face.” A lawyer who needed to pump milk for a newborn? “Disgusting,” he said.
But the 1990 episode at Mar-a-Lago that Ms. Brewer Lane described was different: a debasing face-to-face encounter between Mr. Trump and a young woman he hardly knew. This is the private treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the up-close and more intimate encounters.
Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey have documented a life long obsession with and oppression of women by Trump. Read it and prepared to be angry.
Documenting all of the horrible things that Trump has said about women on Howard Stern led Chris Hayes to tell Michael Steele that he really would love to read each one and ask each Republican on his show if it represents his beliefs and the beliefs of the Republican Party. The Stern comments are a case study in misogyny.
Donald Trump’s rise toward the Republican nomination has been fueled, in part, by his candid and often crude style — more Howard Stern, say, than Mitt Romney.
And the roots of Donald Trump’s rhetoric come, in fact, in part from The Howard Stern Show. Trump appeared upwards of two dozen times from the late ’90s through the 2000s with the shock jock, and BuzzFeed News has listened to hours of those conversations, which are not publically available. The most popular topic of conversation during these appearances, as is typical of Stern’s program, was sex. In particular, Trump frequently discussed women he had sex with, wanted to have sex with, or wouldn’t have sex with if given the opportunity. He also rated women on a 10-point scale.
“A person who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10,” he told Stern in one typical exchange.
Women make up a majority of the American electorate, and any of dozens of Trump’s remarks would be considered a severe blow to most candidates for public office. Trump has, in the Republican primary, proven largely immune to the backlash that the laws of gravity in politics would predict, but there are also suggestions that he has a deep problem with some women voters: 68% of women voters held an unfavorable view of Trump in a Quinnipiac poll released in December. In a Gallup poll also released in December, Trump had the lowest net favorable rating out of all the candidates among college-educated Republican women. And should he win the nomination, his comments are sure to become ammunition for Democrats against what they have long cast as a Republican “war on women.”
Trump has a history of making crude remarks toward women. He reportedly said of his ex-wife Marla Maples, “Nice tits, no brains,” and more recently, he has called Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” and a “lightweight” and said she had “blood coming out of her wherever” during the first GOP debate.
It’s really hard to believe that one of the two major political parties can elect such an incredibly flawed, hateful, misogynistic, racists, and bigoted candidate. It is said that parts of the Republican Party are still trying to draft an independent candidate. The problem is that it’s not because of Trump’s statements towards women, people of Muslim faith, or people of racial and ethnic minorities. It’s because some of the things he says are seen as too liberal, to dove like, and not really ‘evangelical christian’ enough. This means they’re fine with the misogyny, bigotry and racism.
Two central figures in the draft talks are Kristol, who edits the Weekly Standard, and Erickson, a talk-radio host. While Kristol acts as a lone operator and has huddled privately with Romney and other Republicans, Erickson leads an organized group with former Senate staffer Bill Wichterman and others called Conservatives Against Trump, which has been meeting regularly for months.
Coburn, known for his fiscal conservatism, and Sasse have been atop the group’s recruit list for some time. Wichterman is among those who have reached out to Coburn. Friends of the 68-year-old former senator said he is listening but is unlikely to pull the trigger, in part because of health concerns.
Earlier this spring, Kristol had his eyes on Mattis, who is revered by conservatives for his public break with the Obama administration. The general, now a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, met for several hours in mid-April with Kristol, Wilson and GOP consultant Joel Searby at the Beacon Hotel in Washington to go over how a campaign could work.
But soon after, Mattis backed away from the idea because he wasn’t ready to risk politicizing his reputation with a campaign that had little hope for success, according to two people familiar with his deliberations who requested anonymity to discuss those conversations. Mattis declined through a spokesman to be interviewed.
Kristol then reached out to Romney asking for a meeting to ask for his assistance. The two met May 5 at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Washington where they talked about possible contenders. Kristol detailed their discussion the next day to The Washington Post, which irked some Romney associates.
When asked this week to comment on further developments, Kristol declined.
“These conspiracies for the public good are time and labor intensive!” he wrote in an email. “In any case, things are at a delicate stage now, so I really should keep mum. Suffice it to say that serious discussions and real planning are ongoing.”
Potential candidates include a newbie Senator from Nebraska who is really a horrifying person all in his own right. Sasse is an ideologue with some fairly strange ideas .
So what is a “Ben Sasse,” and how did he arrive at this wrong conclusion?
Sasse was elected to the Senate in 2014. In that cycle of Establishment vs. Tea Party Senate primaries, it was unclear in Nebraska which candidate, Sasse or former state Treasurer Shane Osborn,represented which side. It was such a muddle that FreedomWorks, one of the original national Tea Party organizations, switched its endorsement to Sasse after originally endorsing Osborn, prompting theresignation of one of its vice presidents. Since coming to the Senate, Sasse has amassed an arch-conservative’s voting record. He was recently the lone dissenting vote against a bill to combat opioid abuse, which he believes is a state- and local-government issue.
We’ve talked that the general election will get very ugly because it’s obvious that Trump is not shy about playing all the cards in his deck of hate. I hope this kind of information continues to get out to the public. Given Trump’s disapproval among women, women will be behind Hillary. There is very little chance that his racist comments and ability to attract white nationalists will appeal to any racial minority. This is the deal, however. Whatever are we going to do with those white men and the few hangers on among them? It’s not easy to ignore the privileged class.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
As always, this is an open thread. Please share everything and anything!!!
A note on the illustration above: It is an anti-women’s suffrage cartoon originally publish in the satire magazine Puck, showing the horror that could befall the country if women actually got the vote.
We have a busy few days coming up for presidential politics. Today is the Louisiana primary, and Hillary is expected to win overwhelmingly on the Democratic side. There will also be Democratic and Republican caucuses in Kansas and Nebraska. For Republicans, there will be additional caucuses in Maine and Kentucky. Maine Democrats will caucus tomorrow and there will be a GOP primary in Puerto Rico. Then on Tuesday there will be primaries in Michigan and Mississippi.
Tomorrow night there will be a CNN Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan and on Monday night Fox News will hold a Democratic town hall event. Hillary originally declined the invitation, but yesterday she agreed to go. I think it’s a mistake for her to go, but we’ll see. The next Republican debate will be on March 10 in Miami.
Washington Post: Five more states ready to chip in delegates to campaign 2016.
Hunting for delegates, Trump added a last-minute rally in Wichita, Kansas, to his Saturday morning schedule and Cruz planned to stop in Kansas on caucus day, too, one day after Rubio visited the state.
Trump’s decision to skip an appearance Saturday at a conference sponsored by the American Conservative Union in the Washington area to get in one last Kansas rally rankled members of the group, who tweeted that it “sends a clear message to conservatives.”
The billionaire businessman’s rivals have been increasingly questioning his commitment to conservative policies, painting his promise to be flexible on issues as a giant red flag….
With the GOP race in chaos, establishment figures are frantically looking for any way to stop Trump, perhaps at a contested convention if none of the candidates can roll up the 1,237 delegates needed to snag the nomination. Going into Saturday’s voting, Trump led the field with 329 delegates. Cruz had 231, Rubio 110 and Kasich 25. In all, 155 GOP delegates are at stake in Saturday’s races.
On the Democrats:
Clinton is farther along than Trump on the march to her party’s nomination, outpacing Sanders with 1,066 delegates to his 432, including pledged superdelegates. It takes 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination. There are 109 at stake on Saturday.
In Louisiana, Clinton was hoping that strong support from the state’s sizable black population will give her a boost. Both Democrats have campaigned heavily in Nebraska and saturated the state with ads. In Kansas, Clinton has the backing of its former governor and onetime Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius. Sanders held a pre-caucus rally in Kansas’ liberal bastion of Lawrence hoping to attract voters.
A couple of big stories out of Louisiana:
Think Progress: BREAKING: Supreme Court Reopens Clinics Closed By Anti-Abortion Law.
The Supreme Court handed down a brief order Friday allowing four Louisiana abortion clinics to reopen after they were closed due to a recent decision by a conservative federal appeals court.
Last week, an especially conservative panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit handed down an “emergency” decision permitting an anti-abortion Louisiana law to go into effect. Under this law, physicians cannot perform abortions unless they have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital — an increasingly common requirement masterminded by an anti-abortion group that drafts model bills for state legislatures. A challenge to a similar Texas law is currently pending before the justices.
The Supreme Court’s order temporarily suspends the Louisiana law, effectively preventing the Fifth Circuit’s Wednesday decision from taking effect. Only Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly dissented from the Court’s order.
Could this be a good sign for the Texas case that is currently being considered by SCOTUS?
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Texas case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, this Wednesday. During those arguments, conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy appeared open to striking down the Texas law — although he also seemed concerned with a procedural issue unique to that case. The Court’s decision to halt the Louisiana law is another sign that the conservative-but-not-absolutist justice believes that laws like the ones in Texas and Louisiana may go too far.
I sure hope so. Meanwhile Louisiana’s economy is in desperate shape, thanks mostly to former Governor Bobby Jindal’s horrendous policies.
Already, the state of Louisiana had gutted university spending and depleted its rainy-day funds. It had cut 30,000 employees and furloughed others. It had slashed the number of child services staffers, including those devoted to foster family recruitment, and young abuse victims for the first time were spending nights at government offices.
And then, the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards (D), came on TV and said the worst was yet to come.
Edwards, in a prime-time address on Feb. 11, said he’d learned of “devastating facts” about the extent of the state’s budget shortfall and said that Louisiana was plunging into a “historic fiscal crisis.” Despite all the cuts of the previous years, the nation’s second-poorest state still needed nearly $3 billion — almost $650 per person — just to maintain its regular services over the next 16 months. Edwards gave the state’s lawmakers three weeks to figure out a solution, a period that expires March 9 with no clear answer in reach.
Louisiana stands at the brink of economic disaster. Without sharp and painful tax increases in the coming weeks, the government will cease to offer many of its vital services, including education opportunities and certain programs for the needy. A few universities will shut down and declare bankruptcy. Graduations will be canceled. Students will lose scholarships. Select hospitals will close. Patients will lose funding for treatment of disabilities. Some reports of child abuse will go uninvestigated.
“Doomsday,” said Marketa Garner Walters, the head of Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services. If the state can’t raise any new revenue, her agency’s budget, like several others, will be slashed 60 percent.
“At that level,” she said in an interview, “the agency is unsustainable.”
Read more about the disastrous consequences of Jindal’s embrace of Koch brothers politics at the link.
The Tax Policy Center just released its analysis of Bernie Sanders’ tax plan, and it’s stunning. Here’s the abstract:
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposes significant increases in federal income, payroll, business, and estate taxes, and new excise taxes on financial transactions and carbon. New revenues would pay for universal health care, education, family leave, rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, and more. TPC estimates the tax proposals would raise $15.3 trillion over the next decade. All income groups would pay some additional tax, but most would come from high-income households, particularly those with the very highest income. His proposals would raise taxes on work, saving, and investment, in some cases to rates well beyond recent historical experience in the US.
You can read the entire report in a pdf at the link. From Bloomberg:
Senator Bernie Sanders’s proposals for sweeping tax hikes on businesses and individuals to bankroll universal health care, infrastructure and free college tuition would raise $15.3 trillion over the next decade but “substantially reduce incentives to save and invest in the United States,” according to a new policy study.
Sanders’s plan would “modestly raise” tax rates for average taxpayers and “raise them significantly for high-income taxpayers,” according to the report by the Tax Policy Center, a research group in Washington, D.C. that’s a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. The report is the last of the center’s analyses of leading presidential candidates’ tax plans.
While the plan — which would be sure to face opposition in a Republican-controlled Congress — could generate benefits by increasing “the nation’s investment in productive physical and human capital,” economists are unsettled on the question of just how much increases in tax rates spur or stymie economic growth. Sanders’s proposals “would be a great experiment,” said Len Burman, director of the Tax Policy Center.
Warren Gunnels, Sanders’s policy director, criticized the tax center’s findings. The analysis was conducted “in a vacuum without taking into account the savings the American people would gain” under the candidate’s proposal to replace private health-insurance with a publicly funded “Medicare-for-all” plan, he said. Gunnels cited an earlier study by Citizens for Tax Justice, which found that 95 percent of U.S. households would see their take-home pay increase under Sanders’s health plan.
As before, the Republican plans are all the same: a tiny tax cut for the middle class as a sop to distract them from the enormous payday they give to the rich, and a massive hole in the deficit.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s plan is fairly modest. It leaves the middle class alone and taxes the rich a little more. Once her domestic proposals are paid for, it’s probably deficit neutral. Bernie Sanders is far more extreme. He’s basically the mirror image of the Republicans: he’d tax the middle class moderately more and soak the hell out of the rich. This would raise a tremendous amount of money, which he’d use to pay for his health care plan and his other domestic proposals. It’s impossible to say for sure how this would affect the deficit, but the evidence suggests that it would blow a pretty big hole.
It looks like Sanders is going to continue and even increase his attacks on Hillary Clinton even though she will likely have the nomination in hand by March 15. It doesn’t seem to bother him in the least that he’s hurting the Democratic Party and making it more difficult for their candidate to win the White House in November.
From The Hill: Sanders blames Clinton for Michigan’s declining middle class.
“If the people of Michigan want to make a decision about which candidate stood with workers against corporate America and against these disastrous trade agreements, that candidate is Bernie Sanders,” he said during a rally in Traverse City, according to a campaign statement obtained by NBC News.
Sanders argued that Clinton’s support of legislation like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had helped create the Great Lakes State’s crippling poverty.
“[NAFTA] is one of the reasons that the middle class in this country is disappearing,” the self-described Democratic socialist said.
“[NAFTA and other trade deals are] crafted by the big-money interests and corporations. Hillary Clinton was on the wrong side of many of these trade agreements.”
Hillary did not hold political office when NAFTA passed Congress. I believe she opposed NAFTA as first lady, but to blame her for bill passed by a right wing Republican Congress and signed by her husband is both unfair and sexist. But that’s how Bernie rolls.
Markos laid down the law at Daily Kos yesterday, and the reaction was hilarious. As background, the front pagers have been supporting Hillary in 2016, but the majority of diarists have been pushing for Bernie, attacking Hillary using every right wing meme they can find and the most misogynistic language they can dream up. Read about it here: March 15, and Daily Kos transition to General Election footing.
The gist is that Kossacks have to stop attacking Hillary with right wing memes and ugly sexist language and if they are planning to vote for Donald Trump or Jill Stein if the Democrats nominate Hillary, they have to keep it to themselves. They can criticize Hillary, but only in positive ways that could help the party.
The response was predictable, with people posting “goodbye cruel world” diaries and threats to continue advocating for Bernie in any way they choose if if Kos bans them. It was like watching kids arguing on a playground or like the last GOP debate.
So . . . what are you hearing and reading about today? I’ll post a live blog later for discussion of the primary and caucus results.
It’s the Friday before Mardi Gras and it’s way too cold and way too early this year! The only good news I can pass on about this is the decided lack of AirBnB/BnB tourists invading my hood. I’ve actually started to wonder if the alternative rental leeches have finally saturated the market here because the vacancies are giving me some much needed peace and quiet.
It also means that I don’t have to dread going out for groceries and wondering if the one little spot in front of the kathouse will be taken over by a stationwagon on steroids (e.g. SUV) usually with a Texas license plate. My street is still a bit of a cab stand atm. Taxi cab alarms going off at all hours are enough for me to go all Clint Eastwood on some one. However, the cabbies aren’t happy about the UberDudes here so they’ve filed a suit and I’m taking some mercy on them.
More than two dozen cab drivers will make a plea before a New Orleans judge Friday (Feb. 5) to block UberX drivers from picking up passengers, a decision that could have an impact on the big Mardi Gras weekend and beyond.
The cabbies filed a lawsuit Jan. 26 in Orleans Civil District Court against 10 drivers for UberX — the ride-hailing app’s lower-cost service — who cabbies say are violating state law by taking fares without having a commercial or chauffeur driver’s license, which amounts to unfair competition.
“The majority of UberX drivers do not possess the proper license required by law and … the requirement to hold such a license is not being enforced by the City of New Orleans against UberX drivers,” the lawsuit says.
Taxicab drivers are routinely checked for the appropriate permits and service owners can lose their city operator’s license for violating the requirements, which include background checks, drug testing, and installing cameras inside their cars.
Orleans Civil District Judge Piper Griffin will hold a hearing Friday at 10 .m. on the taxicab drivers’ request for a preliminary injunction keeping their competitors from picking up passengers.
I really can’t blame any one who files suit against these “sharing economies” companies frankly because they completely ignore local health and safety laws. They ignore zoning laws, noise ordinances, and all kinds of things. I understand the need for a side hustle but why do something that hurts other folks’ livelihoods while giving a piece of your action to a third party parasite? I’m still waiting for the city to come down harder on short term rentals. I guess we’ll have to see what Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest vacancies look like around here. I am ground zero for all this damn stuff and it’s nothing but a nuisance.
So, all of us that have been Hillary supporters for some time can tell tales of hair-raising misogyny on line and else where. The press is finally beginning to notice that not all of Bernie Sanders supporters are nice folks. I actually heard Chris Matthews ask John Heilemann if there was anything to it and Heilemann said yes. The national press secretary for Hillary Clinton Brian Fallon discussed the Bernie Bros at a Bloomberg Politics Breakfast this week. Any Hillary supporter active on social media has experienced a Bernie Bro Bash and Dash. Fallon asked the Sanders Campaign to rein in the angst and testosterone of their supporters and to watch the candidate for signs of Bro Creep.
Brian Fallon, national press secretary for the Hillary Clinton campaign, spoke at a Bloomberg Politics breakfast in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday. He addressed social media attacks against Hillary Clinton by the “Bernie Bros,” saying that Senator Bernie Sanders’ shouldn’t let the “crudeness” of some of his supporters seep into his own criticism of Clinton. On the issue of whether some of Sanders’ attacks are sexist, Fallon said, “he knows what he’s doing when he does these little hip checks.”
BernieBro sexism is not imaginary. It’s also not all about the guys who say they’ve never done anything like that. It’s about how every woman spends every day fighting off something related to some guys’s issue with women and his own hyped-up idea of masculinity.
But the live controversy over the alleged bros’ existence and activities didn’t begin until months later, after many women began to notice that when they criticized Sanders online or praised Hillary Clinton, male Sanders supporters would reliably turn up in swarms to tell them they were wrong. And that this swarming occasionally escalated further, intomisogynistic abuse that was upsetting or even frightening for them.
Several women, including some who were themselves Sanders supporters, pointed this out online. A greater number noticed that they’d had the same experience, sighed, and resignedly added “Bernie Sanders” to the category of things women tweet about at their own peril, along with “feminism,” “guns,” “Muslims,” “pop culture,” and “probably everything else.”
The Sanders campaign, to its credit, took swift and sensible steps to try to improve its followers’ behavior. And there is absolutely no reason to believe that this slice of online abusers represents the views of either Sanders or the bulk of his supporters, who have better things to do than fight on social media. But some prominent Sanders supporters perceived the complaints about Bernie Bros as a threat to the Vermont democratic socialist’s candidacy, and decided that they needed to set the record straight.And so, predictably, the “Not All Men” portion of the debate followed. Contributions ranged from measured but only marginally relevant to the issue of abuse (actually, the real divide between Sanders and Clinton supporters isn’t gender but age) to bonkers (Glenn Greenwald going Full Greenwald, claiming that the entire Bernie Bro narrative was a “concoction” by “pro-Clinton journalists,” a “cheap campaign tactic masquerading as journalism and social activism”).
But those efforts weren’t just an unnecessary fight against a perceived media-industry-wide campaign to discredit Bernie Sanders that didn’t actually exist. They were actively counterproductive. The women who complained about their treatment were talking about their own lives, and how the insults and harassment had affected them. And so the debunkers, intentionally or not, sent the message that the really important thing here was not women’s experiences but rather how they might affect a man.
The most maddening thing about this phenomenon is the mansplaining on sexism. It’s a bit like being told by Bill Cosby that you’re being passed out on a roofie makes for better orgasms and has nothing to do with rape.
Some look at these demographic breakdowns and say that Sanders supporters aren’t representative of the diversity of the Democratic base. Others say that many Sanders supporters are motivated, whether they realize it or not, by sexist bias against Clinton. This second critique was expressed perhaps best by a viral “ALL CAPS” critique (worth reading in full) of the “Bernie Bro” phenomenon by Pajiba’s Courtney Enlow.
And, of course, because there are actually women who do support Sanders, the term has come full circle; Sanders supporters sometimes use the term “Bernie Bro” ironically to mock the idea that there aren’t women in their ranks.
But while such responses from Sanders supporters are often straw men, they’re right that the critique is off base.
What people really mean when they talk about “Bernie Bros”
Often, though, when supporters of Clinton or critics of Sanders complain about “Bernie Bros,” they’re not actually talking about Sanders supporters as a whole. They’re talking about a specific subset of Sanders supporters who are particularly active on social media (especially Twitter) and can be particularly aggressive in defending their candidate.
Complaints about the behavior of Sanders supporters on Twitter are by no means new. Here’s how Roderick Morrow, who started the joke hashtag #BernieSoBlack, put it to me in August:
there’s all these people who, I don’t know, they’re just sitting around searching his name on Twitter or something, they just come and get in your mentions and start harassing you, they start saying the same things over and over to you.
There are names for these tactics, many of which are associated with the ongoing online-movement-cum-dumpster-fire known as Gamergate. There’s “sea lioning” — trawling tweets from people they don’t actually know to start demanding answers and debate. There’s “mansplaining” — being condescendingly pedantic to people who may very well know what you’re telling them. There’s “dogpiling” — a disproportionate (and sometimes coordinated) group response to an individual comment. And, of course, there are actual threats.
Tiger Beatdown’s Sady Doyle articulated it this way:
I am now the subject of blog posts labeling me “the most extreme opponent of the Bernie Army” (yes, it’s an army now) and various gross-out pictures of pig testicles. There have been, I’d estimate, a little over 100 messages on Twitter today alone – give or take a paltry few interactions about things I actually wrote at some point.
This — the trope of the mansplain-y, harass-y Sanders supporter who gets all up in the mentions of anyone insufficiently praiseful — is the definition of “Bernie Bro” that journalists tend to use when writing about the phenomenon.
But, the deal is that Bernie does mansplain and play into sexist tropes. One of the very things that irks women of a certain age is remembering how all the early movements in the 1960s and 1970s were their own brand of raging patriarchal malarkey.
In the week leading up to the Iowa caucus, the internet was abuzz with a Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton meme that highlighted the pair’s ideological differences. Although the poster-like graphic was mocked up to look official—from the patriotic blue background to the tagline, “Be informed. Compare them on the issues that matter”—it employed decidedly non-political matters (e.g., wolves, sleeping, caves, jetskis, Pokémon) to demonstrate their opposing viewpoints. The obvious goal was to play up Sanders’ perceived complexity and contrast it with Clinton’s supposed #basic nature, in order to illustrate why the former was a better, hipper candidate.Translated to internet humor: Compared to Sanders, Clinton isn’t as evolved in her tastes and approaches. And so graphics popped up which imagined what the candidates might say about Olive Garden (Sanders: “Only when I’m high.” Clinton: “An authentic Italian restaurant for the whole family”) or lizards (Sanders: “[covered in lizards] ‘Hell yeah! I love these little guys!’” Clinton: “No”). The meme’s absurdity wasn’t quite as successful (or humorous) once it ventured into pop culture territory, however: Clinton was portrayed as being oblivious to the nuances of “Star Wars,” anime and “Harry Potter,” as well as a philistine when it comes to jazz (“It’s not Christmas until I put on Kenny G’s Christmas album”), Iggy Azalea, industrial music(“Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, the list could go on”), Radiohead (“I love ‘Creep’”) and the Grateful Dead (“I like ‘Touch of Grey’”).
Radiohead and the Dead have zero to do with the election or candidate platforms, which of course is the point—it’s all speculative humor meant for social media virality and a Facebook chuckle or two. Still, the meme’s subtext has uncomfortable parallels to the authenticity wars that continue to rage in rock circles, the idea that certain acts and genres are more real because they don’t employ an army of songwriters or laptops. It’s also reminiscent of the indie-vs.-mainstream music dichotomy of the ’80s and ’90s—when the idea of “selling out” and going overground was often anathema—and the negative perceptions around the concept of a “casual fan”: Liking only the big single or a band’s surface output is often considered hopelessly uncool.
These jabs at Clinton’s imagined sonic preferences reinforce the tired idea that the tastes of non-cis-male cultural consumers—from teenagers on through boomers and beyond—are something to be mocked and disrespected. It’s seen in the way the term “fangirl” has become a term of derision directed at supporters of any band with an adolescent fanbase—everyone from My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy to One Direction and 5 Seconds Of Summer—or the way having the musical taste of a “soccer mom” is worthy of an eyeroll. Women of all ages have their favorite artists or genres mansplained to them online every day, when they’re not having their expert opinions or reviews viewed with condescension.
Younger people may want to take a look at the Bernie Sanders “rape fantasy” writing to see just exactly how bad it could be back there trying to be groovy with the primordial DudeBro. It may have been a way to look at gender roles but it was definitely a look steeped in white male privilege. Even in revolutions, women’s positions are described as “being prone” and cooking dinner. The Sanders campaign is making an effort to reel the Bros in but mostly what I’ve seen is dudes mansplaining to me that I’m taking them all wrong.
On Reddit, Sanders’s digital director, Héctor Sigala, told Sanders’s digital army to join the fight against the Bros. The campaign speaks very frankly with its digital cadre, whose volunteer efforts are a huge part of Sanders’s current success and whose political and grassroots sophistication is the envy of most of the candidates running for president this cycle.
Sigala’s message: The Bros are making it tougher for Bernie and they need to stop.
“We love our supporters and we know we wouldn’t be here without you all, but it does add a layer of complexity when we have to track what you all do during some moments when we are shaping our messaging,” he wrote. “Above all: just know you represent our movement and be respectful with those who disagree with you.”
Walsh said she senses the Sanders campaign is aware of what is going on, and urged the campaign to step up its efforts to push back.
“I think they are getting concerned that they have this set of keyboard warriors who revel in insulting women, not just Hillary,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I think they just have to get that message out more aggressively. I don’t blame Sen. Sanders personally, at all. But it is disturbing to see such a misogynist strain in the male left. It’s not a new thing, but it’s tough to experience.”
I myself have written a few pieces about the Vermont senator, varying in perspective. And I’ve found that even coverage that tips toward the positive garners a torrent of strongly worded reader responses, from “Your article is misleading” to “Has Hillary offered you a job in the White House press corps?” (That’s not how the press corps works, if anyone was wondering.) In fact, I receive exponentially more criticism when I write about Sanders than any other candidate. And I’ve essentially called Ted Cruz a sociopath, and straight-up called Donald Trump a fascist.
These interactions have been more irritating than anything else—though I’ve significantly worn out Twitter’s mute function. I don’t feel especially threatened by Bernie Bros, and any large-scale negative attention directed toward my inbox typically lasts a few hours at most.
The women writers who dare question or criticize Sanders have it much worse. A subset of Sanders’s supporters have been known to orchestrate campaigns of relentless, misogynistic harassment against them. The phenomenon is so widespread that Cosmopolitan’s Prachi Gupta put together a comprehensive roundup of the women who’ve been targeted—one of whom, Sarah Jeong, a writer for Vice, temporarily locked her Twitter account to stanch the flow of vitriol.
Funnily enough, Jeong actually considers herself a Sanders supporter. And this highlights a significant inconsistency at the root of the Bernie Bro problem.
A number of vocal Sanders supporters prefer to deny the existence of Bernie Bros altogether. The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, for example, considers the meme a “blatant, manipulative scam” attributed to “Clinton media operatives” who are “campaigning for their candidate under the guise of journalism and social-issue activism.” Others dismiss the Bernie Bros moniker because there’s nothing traditionally “bro-y” about Sanders’s overall support base. But the most common talking point trotted out is also the most nonsensical: Sanders supporters aren’t all men, ipso facto, the Bernie Bro is a myth.
But pointing to the existence of women supporters is hardly a sufficient refutation of misogyny within political movements. Who else enjoys a significant female support base? A slew of anti-choice politicians across America.
BB wrote about this last month before the narrative took hold in the broader media. We’ve all noticed the condescending, superior tone that comes along with being raptured by the Sanders Campaign.
So, it’s getting worse out there and I’m already ready to hit some one. The right wing and Republicans are back in full metal jacket misogyny. It’s been bad. JJ and BB have documented some of it already. Here’s a good round up from Amanda Marcotte with my favorite explanation of the Morning Joke discussion on Hillary Shouting.
And on Wednesday, the pundits on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC could not get over the audacity of a woman raising her voice at a noisy rally, like she was a politician or something. “There is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating,” Bob Woodward complained, all aflutter that a lady is raising her voice above a soft, man-soothing whisper.
Cokie Roberts jumped in, pointing out, “These are rallies, though, and it’s hard to do that at a rally.”
“I’m sorry to dwell on the tone issue,” Bob Woodward, said, before bravely charging ahead, “but there is something here, where Hillary Clinton suggests that she’s almost not comfortable with herself.” Women who are comfortable with themselves, you see, speak in low tones so as not to be heard. To communicate true self-acceptance, a proper lady will not speak at all. He’s just concerned and trying to help, you see.
As writes like Ann Friedman and Amanda Hess, as well as the folks at “The American Life” have shown, policing women’s voices is a time-honored way to make it clear to women the only way they’ll be accepted is if they refrain from talking at all. This is a game Clinton cannot win. If she took this oh-so-concerned advice and started talking in a whisper, she’d immediately be accused of not presenting herself as an authoritative figure. You get to be a bitch or a bimbo, and the promised middle ground between the two is an illusion.
And yes, that’s the media that Sanders calls the establishment supporting the Clinton Machine and the Bernie Bros say are friendly to Hillary.
Yup, 2016 is going to be a bumpy ride.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?