In 2016, we’ve seen hundreds of mass shootings. We’ve watched the gap between rich and poor Americans widen. We’ve witnessed the fulminant rise of Donald Trump, whose nomination left Vox editor in chief Ezra Klein “truly afraid” for the first time in American politics. But in the eyes of our citizens, there is a graver threat at hand: clowns. In a poll we conducted with Morning Consult last week, 42 percent of Americans said they were, in some capacity, afraid of clowns. Among voters ages 18 to 29, nearly one in three admitted to at least a minor case of coulrophobia — fear of clowns.
Apparently people are more scared of clowns than they are of terrorism. I can understand that. But not because of the silly clown sightings around the country.
Donald Trump loyalists will attempt to conduct their own crowd-funded exit polling on election day, ostensibly due to fears that electronic voting machines in certain areas may have been “rigged”, the Guardian has learned.
But the effort, led by Trump’s notorious informal adviser Roger Stone, will focus on 600 different precincts in nine Democrat-leaning cities with large minority populations, a tactic branded highly irregular by experts, who suggested that organizers could potentially use the polling as a way to intimidate voters.
Stone told the Guardian that around 1,300 volunteers from the controversial Citizens for Trump grassroots coalition would conduct exit polling in Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte, Richmond and Fayetteville – all locations in pivotal swing states.
I'm actually skeptical that this will amount to much. Stone likes to promise stuff like this and it never amounts to much.
But that doesn't mean some nut isn't going to take things into his own hands and decide he needs to protect the integrity of the election using his second amendment remedy. Trump's certainly ginning up his craziest crazies with all this talk of a rigged election.
I think most Trumpies are more mouthy than dangerous. But there are so many guns in this country and at least a few of them are in the hands of fanatics. It's worrying.
I know it's conventional wisdom that Clinton's campaign has been so terrible that it's only the miracle of Trump that's keeping the Republicans from decimating her. But the truth is that her campaign has been exceptionally good in a polarized electorate running against an alien from outer space who is unpredictable and dangerous. That's not easy. Just ask Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
Anyway, the latest ads are really good. They've all been really good:
Update:I just saw Krugman's column today. He writes about the Villager conventional wisdom that Clinton is a terrible candidate who's squeaking into office on a fluke. And he rips it to shreds.
I have no problem with people being suspicious of her positions on issues. We should be suspicious of all politicians. But I'm increasingly irked by the Villager CW that she's a shitty politician. It's just not true. She won the NY Senate seat twice, she almost tied Barack Obama, one of the most gifted politicians of this era, and she won the primary handily despite a strong challenge from the left. Her convention was very well executed and her debate performances were nearly flawless. In fact, considering the cretinous freak she's been up against, her GE campaign has been terrific. Credit where credit is due.
If she gets in we'll all be watching her like a hawk as we did with Obama and every other president. But it's time to put to rest this ridiculous notion that she's a terrible candidate.
Oh, and if it were easy for a woman to do this surely someone would have done it before.
If the polls hold up and Donald Trump loses the election next month, America will have dodged many bullets. One of them will be the prospect of having a president who thinks he can avoid conflict of interest by turning his privately owned international brand and real estate business over to his children while he’s in office. With the exception of one big story in Newsweek that issue was never seriously pursued by the news media, even though it would have literally been impossible for Trump to properly carry out the duties of the office had he won, given the nature of his business and the legal problems that would have ensued if he tried to extricate himself from it. Trump would have had to unwind his businesses years before running for president to avoid being paralyzed by conflicts.
He may come to regret not having done so, even though he’s probably going to be back to full-time “deal-making” in about three weeks. We don’t know how much he was worth when he started this campaign but reports suggesting it’s a lot less today. The Trump brand has a problem and it’s spreading beyond his consumer goods to his real estate holdings.
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that regular customers for his consumer goods are throwing out their Trump merchandise in small acts of rebellion against his baleful candidacy. And some of Trump’s well-heeled customers are now boycotting his hotels and golf courses and refusing to dine in restaurants on his properties. One retired doctor interviewed for that story cancelled an $18,000 vacation at Trump’s Doral golf club with 11 of his buddies, saying, “For me, it’s an ethical statement.”
Ivanka Trump’s clothing line has been similarly impacted. Her customers are younger working women — few of whom are voting for her father. And she is obviously concerned, although in typical Trump fashion the woman everyone sees as the classy face of the Trump empire reacted very much like her father earlier this week, when quizzed about his “rigged election” talk at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Conference in California. She said this:
I will tell you that the media has been vicious and, look, there’s a lot of business people in the room. We’ve all had articles written about us by the business press that we say, “Hmm, you know, that wasn’t exactly fair,” or, you know, the fact-check — there’s a few things off. But you know, this has been, this has been a different level. And look, we take it personally. Obviously, there are some things said that are deeply personal, but just on a less emotional example, this week or in the last couple of days, I saw on the front cover of the New York Times a story talking about how the Trump brand was being decimated due to the campaign.
She further complained that the Trump Organization had provided all kinds of statistics challenging the Times’ conclusions, but the paper refused to listen. She said, “I think that the bias is very, very real. And I don’t think I would have said this to you even a year ago. I don’t. But I’ve just — I’ve seen it too many times. It’s tremendous.” Since the question was about the campaign and she immediately launched into a diatribe about the media being unfair to the business, it’s logical to assume that she is feeling the pressure in that regard.
From various other reports, Ivanka and her family have good reason to worry. The Los Angeles Times has reportedthat some of Trump’s wealthy tenants are embarrassed to live in properties with his name on them and would like it to be removed. The paper quoted one saying, “I used to tell people I lived in Trump Place. Now I say I live at 66th and Riverside Boulevard. He has a mouth like a sewer.” These are mostly licensing deals, so it may not be possible to change the names until the contracts expire, but it doesn’t bode well for new ventures.
As hard as it is to believe considering New York’s overheated real estate market, properties with the Trump name are losing value, including those he owns. Broadcaster Keith Olbermann sold his Trump condo last summer. tweeting “I got out with 90% of my money and 100% of my soul,” and told the L.A. Times that his neighbors also wanted to sell but couldn’t afford to lose the money.
Trump’s hotels are suffering too. Los Angeles Dodgers starAdrian Gonzalez famously refused to stay with the team at the Trump hotel in Chicago during the National League playoffs, in protest against Trump’s bigotry. According toNew York magazine, the new Trump hotel in Washington, which the candidate has often used his abundant free TV time to advertise, is not doing well. It’s had to reduce rates during peak season, and is facing protests and boycotts, along with lawsuits stemming from broken contracts with restaurateurs who want nothing to do with Trump’s name. (According to the article, many people predicted that the D.C. hotel would be another Trump failure, so this may be less about his toxic campaign than his usual terrible business sense.)
The folks who go to Trump rallies and buy red MAGA hats and “Monica sucks but not like Hillary” T-shirts may buy a Trump tie for Dad’s birthday or pick up a pair of Ivanka high heels for their cousin’s wedding. But most of Trump’s fortune is tied up in luxury properties and licensing deals for people who play golf at his golf clubs, stay in his expensive hotels and buy multi-million-dollar condos in buildings with his name on them. They live in big cities and wealthy suburbs, and many of them are appalled by Trump’s crude campaign. They can vote with their pocketbooks too.
It certainly sounds as if Keith Olbermann could be right when he said, “In Russia, there was quite a spree of pulling down statues of Stalin and erasing his likeness from buildings. That’s how the real estate market will treat Trump.” When your name is your brand and your brand is your business, people running away from it is a problem. Donald stands to lose a lot more than the election.
Hillary Clinton's critics from the beginning of her campaign have panned her for being wonky and wooden in public. People who know and have worked with her insist she's warm and engaging in small groups. Public speaking is not one of her strong suits, Clinton admits. Plus, Barack Obama and husband Bill are two hard acts to follow.
A Republican Travis County, Texas County Commission candidate has found a way to turn wonky and wooden into selling points.
It doesn't hurt that this ads runs in progressive Austin, Texas. Ashley Lopez of NPR station KUT writes:
There’s a lot to like here. For one, throughout the ad Daugherty is nerding-out pretty hard about local transportation issues and the county jail -- and he can’t seem to notice that no one else cares that much about what he’s talking about, which is pretty endearing.
But the real star is Daugherty’s wife, Charlyn Daugherty. Her dead-pan “get me out of here” looks into the camera are a thing of beauty. She’s the Jim Halpert of political ads, and it doesn’t get any better than that.
Hillary Clinton could use a self-effacing ad like this to break the ice with enough Hillary haters to turn a win over Donald Trump into a rout. At this point in a long, nasty campaign, we could all use the relief. But Clinton would need a spouse less wonky than she is to pull it off. And deadpanning as the long-suffering husband would be as much a stretch for Bill Clinton to pull off as it would be for audiences to believe it.
Clinton did not give an Obama-level speech last night at the Al Smith dinner. But with her polling lead over Donald Trump widening and prospects of Democrats winning the Senate climbing too, she was looser than ever and even in a mood to laugh at a few of Donald Trump's jokes, however woodenly delivered through a chorus of boos.
Has there ever been a bigger whiner than Donald Trump?
by digby This article about Trump acting like an ass about losing the Emmy says it all:
A refrain of this election season has been the necessity to fact check the comments made at the presidential debates. And so here we are to settle one controversial claim: Should The Apprentice have won an Emmy?
At Wednesday night’s final showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Clinton dutifully listed all the instances in which Trump had argued that something was “rigged” against him, including the Emmys, which has never rewarded Trump’s reality TV competition series The Apprentice.
“There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him,” Clinton said, to which Trump interjected: “Should have gotten it.”
Indeed, Trump has, as is his wont, taken to grieving in 140 characters over various Apprentice Emmys slights.
“The Emmys are all politics, that’s why, despite nominations, The Apprentice never won—even though it should have many times over,” he tweeted in 2012. “I should have many Emmys for The Apprentice if the process were fair,” he tweeted in 2013, “in any event, it’s not my day job.” And, never one to let go of a grudge, in 2014 after another year of zero nominations for his show: “Which is worse and which is more dishonest—the Oscars or the Emmys?”
He reprised it in 2014:
I mean --- this:
According to awards website GoldDerby.com, in a 2015 episode of Celebrity Apprentice Trump complained about the Emmy slight for the first season of The Apprentice over a decade earlier, in 2004.
“Everybody thought I was gonna win it,” he said. “In fact, when they announced the winner, I stood up before the winner was announced. And I started walking for the Emmy. And then they announced the most boring show on television, The Amazing Race. Piece of crap.”
Read the whole thing to see how ludicrous it was that he thought he should win.
I suppose it's possible that he might be a gracious loser in November. But I wouldn't count on it.
Clinton mopped the floor with Trump last night. But something else important happened too. Hillary Clinton made the most impassioned defense of Roe vs Wade any candidate has ever made in a debate. Pro-choice women really shouldn't think twice about voting for Clinton because of this alone:
CLINTON: Well, I strongly support Roe v. Wade, which guarantees a constitutional right to a woman to make the most intimate, most difficult, in many cases, decisions about her health care that one can imagine. And in this case, it's not only about Roe v. Wade. It is about what's happening right now in America.
So many states are putting very stringent regulations on women that block them from exercising that choice to the extent that they are defunding Planned Parenthood, which, of course, provides all kinds of cancer screenings and other benefits for women in our country.
Donald has said he's in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood. He even supported shutting the government down to defund Planned Parenthood. I will defend Planned Parenthood. I will defend Roe v. Wade, and I will defend women's rights to make their own health care decisions.
WALLACE: Secretary Clinton... CLINTON: And we have come too far to have that turned back now. And, indeed, he said women should be punished, that there should be some form of punishment for women who obtain abortions. And I could just not be more opposed to that kind of thinking.
WALLACE: I'm going to give you a chance to respond, but I want to ask you, Secretary Clinton, I want to explore how far you believe the right to abortion goes. You have been quoted as saying that the fetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term, partial-birth abortions. Why?
CLINTON: Because Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case.
The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who toward the end of their pregnancy get the worst news one could get, that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. So you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and the health of the mother taken into account.
WALLACE: Mr. Trump, your reaction? And particularly on this issue of late-term, partial-birth abortions.
TRUMP: Well, I think it's terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.
Now, you can say that that's OK and Hillary can say that that's OK. But it's not OK with me, because based on what she's saying, and based on where she's going, and where she's been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that's not acceptable.
CLINTON: Well, that is not what happens in these cases. And using that kind of scare rhetoric is just terribly unfortunate. You should meet with some of the women that I have met with, women I have known over the course of my life. This is one of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. And I do not believe the government should be making it.
You know, I've had the great honor of traveling across the world on behalf of our country. I've been to countries where governments either forced women to have abortions, like they used to do in China, or forced women to bear children, like they used to do in Romania. And I can tell you: The government has no business in the decisions that women make with their families in accordance with their faith, with medical advice. And I will stand up for that right.
I'm hearing a lot of people say that last night was Trump's best debate and that if he hadn't said he might not accept the results of the election and called Hillary "such a nasty woman" he would have been the winner.
Uhm, no. He made a total fool of himself the entire time. Here's just one example:
After Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee last spring, he went before a West Virginia audience and said, “You’ve been hearing me say it’s a rigged system, but now I don’t say it anymore because I won. It’s true. Now I don’t care. I don’t care. And the only way I won was I won by such big margins because it is a rigged system. But the only way you can do it, it’s like a boxer, you got to knock them out then you don’t got to worry about the judges.”
He didn’t win by big margins. He won by grinding it out in primary after primary, winning just enough in a huge field to come in first with far less than a majority. But Trump is a total stranger to the truth and he says whatever he needs to say to get through the moment.
The polls show that Trump is lagging far behind right now, and on Wednesday night in the final presidential debate in Las Vegas, when Chris Wallace asked him if he would accept the results of the upcoming election, Trump said again that the system is rigged, the media has been dishonest and corrupt and has poisoned the minds of the voters. Then he said this, very pointedly:
So let me just give you one other thing. So I talk about the corrupt media. I talk about the millions of people — tell you one other thing: she shouldn’t be allowed to run. It’s crooked — she’s — she’s guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run. And just in that respect, I say it’s rigged, because she should never … Chris, she should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with emails and so many other things.
He refused to say whether he would follow the American tradition of peaceful transfer of power, telling Wallace that he wanted to leave the American people “in suspense.”
This seemed to shock just about everyone, despite the fact that Trump has been saying this at every recent appearance. Apparently people thought that in the formal setting of a nationally televised debate he wouldn’t dare defy the norms of our electoral system, which is silly. That is what he does.
This is the man who challenged the legitimacy of Barack Obama for many years and only a few weeks ago conceded that he was an American citizen and therefore entitled to run for president. If you look at his comment above you will see where he’s heading with Hillary Clinton. Just as he questioned whether Obama should have been “allowed to run” because he had not adequately proven his citizenship, he is saying that Clinton shouldn’t have been “allowed to run” “based on what she did with emails and so many other things.” That’s what will make her victory illegitimate, not the vote count. As Rebecca Traister of New York magazinedescribed it on Twitter, “this is false criminalization as birtherism.”
How all this will play out after the election is unknown, but anyone who thinks he plans to just fade away like his favorite old soldier, Douglas MacArthur, is probably fooling herself. The birther stuff fed directly into the right-wing obstructionism that characterized the last eight years so we can expect this to be even more salient during a Hillary Clinton administration. Trump’s angry army will believe the presidency was usurped by a criminal.
And it may end up somewhere substantially more dangerous. Trump had been coasting along in the debate with snippets of his stump speech and managed to avoid blowing his cool until Clinton challenged him to repudiate the Russian interference in the election. Despite the fact that the consensus of intelligence agencies is that Russia deliberately interfered with the election, Trump refused to concede that it’s happening. Republican strategist Steve Schmidt on MSNBC said that his unwillingness to concede this point is every bit as bad as his unwillingness to commit to accepting the outcome of the election, since Russian interference in western elections on behalf of far-right parties is becoming a serious challenge. He speculated that this relates to what Trump has planned:
I think he plans on being martyred. I think in his martyrdom he’s going to wave the bloody shirt and he’s going to go out and say through a party of grievance and resentment that “we were cheated and this was stolen” and he’ll have a critical mass [for] a UKIP style third party that splits off from the Republican Party. Who knows where the funding for Trump TV will come from, but it will be a media designed to undermine the democratic foundations of the United States and the credibility of our elections processes. Vladimir Putin couldn’t hope for anything better than that.
That’s a startling scenario and perhaps it’s hyperbole. But Trump’s behavior with respect to all the Russian activity around this election is strange. But then, what isn’t strange when it comes to him? Perhaps Trump simply believes that “someone” has good taste in presidential candidates. One thing we do know is that even if he concedes the election in some technical sense, he is not going to concede that Clinton is a legitimate candidate whatever the outcome of the vote. The chants of “lock her up” will fuel whatever he does next.
To those Trump surrogates who are using Al Gore and the 2000 election as their precedent: Please. Gore did not spend the month before the election telling millions of people that George W. Bush was a criminal and shouldn’t have been allowed to run. The state of Florida’s laws kicked in an automatic recount and when the whole process was finished, he graciously accepted the results. Since Donald Trump doesn’t have a gracious bone in his body, it’s highly doubtful we can expect the same, even if he loses in a landslide.
Unfortunately, the right has killed off another important American democratic norm. Soon there won’t be any left, not even for them.
They've exposed themselves for what they are by digby
The Trump campaign has exposed so many of the right's hypocrisies. From conservative evangelicals having no problem with a thrice married libertine groper to heresies on free trade and safety net programs, they have proved they have no principles or morals when it comes to family values or small government.
Now that they have proved they aren't really social conservatives or fiscal conservatives, they are also proving that they aren't national security conservatives either, at least not in the traditional patriotic sense of the word:
Q: Are you completely comfortable with the campaign using.... info stolen from Russian intel services? Conway: I am https://t.co/urndk9olKV
It's going to be important to remember this stuff for the future. These Republicans can't be allowed to go back to pretending that they are morally superior, patriotic fiscal conservatives. They've shown their true colors.
Polls open in North Carolina at 10 a.m. EDT, so there is not a lot of time to comment on last night's third and final presidential debate. Thankfully, the tweet at the top says it all.
It was bad enough yesterday for the Donald. Hillary Clinton is now leading among men in Bloomberg's latest poll of likely voters.
Still, all anyone will be talking about this morning, however, is this:
Trump Won’t Say if He Will Accept Election Results — New York Times
Trump refuses to say whether he’ll accept election results — Washington Post
Trump Won't Say If He Will Accept 2016 Election Results — Newsweek
"It was a shocking and cravenly irresponsible thing to say, the sort of thing that threatens to rend our national fabric, and for that alone, Trump has earned his place in the history of American ignominy." — John Podhoretz, New York Post
"Donald Trump turned, in the third and final presidential debate, from insulting the intelligence of the American voter to insulting American democracy itself." — New York Times Editorial Board
You wouldn't know it from this year's election reporting but there are tens of millions of women who are voting enthusiastically for Hillary Clinton because of her stand on the issues and the fact that she's going to be the first woman president which is a meaningful milestone to them. Very few people have bothered to profile them or look into what they're thinking. (There's so little time for that what with the need to focus, as we do in every election, on the much more important angry white males who are voting Republican.) These women are the invisible people in this election just like they are often the invisible people in this world. But whatever, they are working to get her elected and they will vote and then go back to doing whatever it is they do that nobody gives a shit about.
Meanwhile, it's making the difference in places where Trump is supposed to be the strongest:
Vigo County [Indiana] is as good a bellwether as any place in America. It’s voted for the winning presidential candidate all but two times the past 128 years, and hasn’t missed since 1952, choosing neighboring Illinois’ Adlai Stevenson over Dwight Eisenhower—and even then it missed by a margin of only .07 percent. And signs are, in 2016, Vigo, situated in the home state of his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, is firmly in the Trump column.
But on this day inside Pizza City, as members of a France 2 television crew hovered boom mics over the proceedings, Trump’s Indiana team wasn't playing offense, but defense. A dour mood filled the air. Only days before, video had surfaced of their candidate bragging about his prowess in assaulting women, and the subject had overtaken the matter of early voting as the topic of conversation. Polls weren’t looking as rosy as they once had, either. In August, Trump led Hillary Clinton in Indiana by 11 points. But only a week or so before today’s visit, a WTHR/Howey Politics poll in the field from October 3 through October 5 had Trump up with only a 5-point margin in Pence’s own backyard, 43 percent to 38 percent. Meanwhile, a Monmouth University poll released a few days later would show Clinton trailing Trump here by a margin of 4 points.
All was not well in Importantville, as Trump himself had dubbed the state during Indiana’s decisive primary. As political gossip around Terre Haute had it, Trump’s comments about women had caused a surge of female voters registering in the waning hours before early voting began. Could Trump lose Vigo County? And if he did, that could mean, well, he couldn’t lose here, could he? That was the question that hung in the air, in the background of the political chatter that could be heard on sidewalks and in libraries and the town’s bars during the time I spent in the county last week.
And then there was this bit of data: At a drive-through voter registration event at the Vigo County Courthouse the day before, about 150 voters registered. I spoke to one volunteer who worked the event, and she told me that 90 percent of them were women who planned to vote for Clinton.
The whole piece is interesting, showing how the air has gone out of the Trump Balloon generally. And not all women are coming around. Like this one:
Lisa Reed, 58, a landlord, said she wasn’t bothered by Trump’s comments, especially compared to the specter of a Clinton presidency. “She’s for everybody else but my gender and my race,” she said. But she admitted that if a man said to her what Trump had said about women, she wouldn’t take it sitting down. “I got a gun. I’ll shoot your ass.” Even Trump? “Even Trump,” she said.
“And if Trump is president, you’ll still have your gun,” Jaworowski interjected.
Afterward, Reed told me that she wasn’t against the idea of a female president. “I’d love to see a woman president—I’d just like it to be a real woman,” she said. Did she think Hillary Clinton was not a real woman? “If you can’t satisfy a man enough to keep him home, than you are not a real woman. I always thought the best female president would have been Condi Rice,” she said, apparently unaware that, days earlier, in the wake of the Access Hollywood video leak, the former secretary of state had called for Trump to withdraw. (“Enough! Donald Trump should not be President,” Rice posted on Facebook.)
But this too:
Women for Trump aside, though, rank-and-file female voters with whom I spoke across town seemed generally turned off by Trump.
The night before the gathering at Pizza City, at a League of Women Voters candidate forum, I could find only one female Trump supporter. “I’ve worked with a lot of men, and I realize how men are,” Laura Wilkey, 65, told me. “It’s crude language, but he wasn’t in mixed company.” (At another forum later in the week, the BBC broadcast a debate between Trump’s Indiana team and two Clinton supporters from a local watering hole. Clinton’s side of the room at the forum sat substantially more women than Trump’s side did.)
“This election is insane,” Sue Bentrup, an 80-year-old retired nurse who planned to vote for Clinton, told me. “I feel sorry for the Abraham Lincoln Republicans. I’m nervous.”
Personally, I don't think it's the "pussy" video itself that caused it. It's the accumulation of all of it. And it's always possible that a few of these women, ridiculous as it obviously is, might even think Clinton will make a pretty good president.
In recent days, Donald Trump stood in front of riled-up crowds and argued that both candidates should undergo drug tests before the final presidential debate Wednesday. Why? Because Hillary Clinton, he claimed, is taking performance-enhancing substances.
“I don’t know what’s going on with her, but at the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end it was like take me down,” he said. “She could barely reach her car.”
He provided no evidence for any of this. In fact, he seemed to be purposely mixing up Clinton’s debate performance with her recent bout with pneumonia. (In a much-viewed video, her knees buckled as she departed early from a 9/11 commemoration in New York.)
But here’s how Roger Stone, Trump’s ally and longtime dirty-trickster, described Clinton’s second debate behavior, in a recent interview with Alex Jones, the syndicated radio host and proprietor of InfoWars, a website that thrives on far-right conspiracy theories.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump believes there's a global conspiracy to stop him from becoming president – but it's not the first time he's pushed unfounded theories. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)
“Look, of course she was jacked up on something. I assume some kind of methamphetamine.”
It sounds like a perfect circle of disinformation: Stone provides unfounded allegations to InfoWars, and lately, Trump has been using InfoWars like a news source.
Let’s be clear: If InfoWars is news, the yowling of feral cats is classical music, and Trump University the best place to invest your hard-saved tuition dollars.
InfoWars was founded by Jones, a purveyor of various crackpot notions, including that the Sandy Hook massacre of tiny children in 2012 was a government hoax intended to promote gun control. (It was all done with actors, Jones claims.)
And the California drought? Made up. InfoWars is also a great place to go for 9/11 “truther” rumors; Jones proudly calls himself a founder of those.
But Trump seems to be a fan: He did an interview with Jones last year, telling the host his “reputation is amazing.” Which is indeed true, but not in the complimentary way Trump intended it to be taken.
“InfoWars is poisonous, and its journalistic value is negative,” said Rick Perlstein, the historian who has chronicled the modern conservative movement in books about Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon. He called the circularity of Trump referring to Roger Stone’s interview in InfoWars as “a burlesque version” of Dick Cheney’s planting a story in the New York Times in the run-up to the Iraq War and then citing that story on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Perlstein wrote about the Jones/Trump connection in Salon in the spring, calling Jones “a lunatic,” observing that Trump was citing Jones’s denials of a California drought.
It’s well known, of course, that Trump increasingly is campaigning against what he calls “the corrupt media,” slamming news organizations for “false stories, all made up . . . lies, lies.” He calls reporters “scum” and insists that they are all tools of the Clinton campaign.
Still, he makes a few exceptions. He borrowed his top campaign executive, Stephen Bannon, from Breitbart News, the far-right website which is practically a wing of his campaign, often referred to as Trump Pravda.
Read on. It's a great story and should inform Villagers of some stuff of which they are obviously unaware.
She did miss one piece of the story. Stone didn't make up the drug thing. That came out of the Mercer family "Defeat Crooked Hillary" PAC which formerly employed both Kellyanne Conway and David Bossie. This ad was put online before Trump mentioned it on the stump:
If there is any justice in this world, Wednesday night will be the last time we will ever see Donald Trump on the presidential debate stage. What’s remarkable about typing that sentence is that his presence on that stage and in this race seems just as surreal today as it did a little over 14 months ago when the Republicans held their very first presidential debate of the 2016 cycle in Cleveland. Political junkies gathered excitedly to see if this unlikely frontrunner was going to fall apart or make an irreversible gaffe before the whole country. We’re still doing that. Give the man his due: He’s a high-wire act who has managed to keep up all riveted for more than a year, just waiting for him to fall.
It’s tempting at this late date to be jaded and say that Trump’s unpredictability has always been overhyped. But it really wasn’t. This man has said and done things in presidential debates that nobody else has ever done. He was completely unprepared, crude, arrogant and seemingly without any awareness that he was making a fool of himself. And he just kept going, winning primaries by hook or crook, all the way to the end. To call him a rule-breaker is inadequate. His debates have been train-wrecks from the very beginning. In the primaries, at least, that seemed to thrill a substantial portion of the Republican electorate.
The first primary debate in Cleveland foreshadowed every Trump debate to come. I wrote at the time, “Nobody really knows how Trump did. The normal rules of politics don’t seem to apply to him, so although he didn’t seem as commanding on the stage as his fans may have hoped, you just never know. For what it’s worth, if my local news was any guide, Trump was triumphant: ‘He stood his ground and apologized for nothing.'” And so it has gone ever since.
But looking back, his Achilles heel was evident in that first debate. Megyn Kelly was the moderator and famously confronted him about his treatment of women. His reaction the next day, launching a public feud with Kelly, seems to have been noted by the Clinton campaign. Hillary Clinton skillfully baited Trump when they met in the first general election debate, and he never recovered.
The Republicans held 12 debates during the primary season and they were all roughly the same. Trump crudely insulted his rivals, said many stupid things, showed himself to have bigoted and authoritarian views — and thrilled his voters each and every time. In the early days there were so many candidates that he got less airtime. But he always dominated. Here are some of the highlights:
Standing before Ronald Reagan’s Air Force One at the former president’s library, Trump let fly. He insulted Rand Paul’s looks and Jeb Bush’s wife. He said he thought Carly Fiorina had a beautiful face when the moderator brought up a quote where Trump had — insulted her face.
Trump asked the moderator to stop Carly Fiorina from interrupting him. He dismissed John Kasich as an unworthy opponent who got lucky when Ohio discovered fracking. Dec. 15, Las Vegas:
As I wrote at the time, Trump “reiterated his call to kill the relatives of terrorists, at one point even petulantly bellowing, ‘So they can kill us, but we can’t kill them?’ He also proved that he had no idea what the ‘nuclear triad is and suggested that you can ‘shut down certain areas’ of the internet.”
The bromance between Trump and Ted Cruz finally ended, with Cruz attacking Trump’s “New York values” and Trump responding with his best line in the whole campaign: “The people of New York fought and fought and fought, and we saw more death — the smell of death was with us for months.”
Jan. 28, Des Moines, Iowa:
Trump was still mad at Megyn Kelly so he didn’t show up, holding a veterans fundraising event instead. He had to be publicly prodded, months later, to fulfill his pledge to donate the money.
Trump went full barbarian, saying, “I mean, we studied medieval times — not since medieval times have people seen what’s going on.” Apparently he meant what was going on in Iraq and Syria with ISIS, although it wasn’t entirely clear. “I would bring back waterboarding,” he said, “and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
He called everyone on the stage liars to their faces, and hit Jeb Bush for his brother being asleep at the wheel on 9/11 and wrongly invading Iraq. The pundits all said he’d gone too far, that you couldn’t say that in South Carolina. He won the primary.
This was the night Trump talked about his penis: “Look at those hands, are they small hands? And, he referred to my hands — ‘If they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.” This was also the debate in which he insisted that the military would follow his orders without question, even if those orders were to commit war crimes, which he openly endorsed.
The final debate with the final four: Marco Rubio, Kasich, Cruz and Trump. It was the scariest of all because they were all composed, civil — and completely insane. Trump had triumphed over the Republican Party. It was obvious he was going to win the nomination.
Hillary Clinton easily won the two previous general election debates. At this stage in the campaign people expect the candidates to be knowledgeable and prepared. Donald Trump is capable of neither. It’s always possible he could throw Clinton off-balance with his usual antics, so everyone still has that breathless sense of anticipation wondering if the whole thing is going to turn into even more of a freak show than it’s already been. It’s made for good TV, but it’s been a travesty for our country. Let’s hope this encounter in Vegas is the last debate of its kind.
At Media Matters, though, Andrew Seifter has figured out how climate can enter the debate after all. His piece is longer than just these questions, and worth reading in full, but as debate prep for viewers, consider his list of climate questions under five of the six topics chosen:
Possible Debate Question: Studies show that climate change worsened the extreme drought in Syria that contributed to the Syrian refugee crisis, and that the effects of climate change on crop yields will drive millions of Mexicans to seek entry into the United States in the coming decades. Will you incorporate climate change into your immigration policies, and if so, how?
Possible Debate Question: A 2016 survey of 750 top economists found that climate change is now the single greatest threat to the global economy. What will you do to protect our economy from the effects of climate change?
Topic: Supreme Court
Possible Debate Question: Following a 2007 Supreme Court ruling and a scientific assessment by the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA is legally required to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change under the Clean Air Act. Will you implement the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of the EPA’s emissions reduction strategy, and if not, how will your administration fulfill the Supreme Court’s mandate to cut greenhouse gas pollution?
Topic: Foreign Hot Spots
Possible Debate Question: The Pentagon has determined that climate change will “aggravate existing problems -- such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions -- that threaten domestic stability in a number of countries.” To what extent do you believe climate-related risks should be integrated into military planning?
Topic: Fitness To Be President
Possible Debate Question: The scientific community is nearly unanimous in saying that global warming is happening and caused by burning fossil fuels, yet many politicians refuse to acknowledge this is the case. Will you listen to the scientists on climate change, and do you believe that those who refuse to do so are unfit for our nation’s highest office?
How will you deal with climate refugees from Mexico?
How will you protect our economy from climate-driven devastation? (More on that here.)
How will you implement the Supreme Court's climate mandate?
Will you direct military planners to integrate climate chaos into their scenarios? (Hint: They already do.)
Is a climate denier fit to serve as president?
You can tweet Chris Wallace at @FoxNewsSunday. But that's just five of the six debate categories. I think I can offer one more, and it's no softball.
A "Debt and Entitlements" Question
I have a final question, one for the Debt and Entitlements section, and it's a whopper. Not at all a softball question.
Consider what happens if humans fail to significantly limit atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases through, say, 2060. That is, what if our "leaders" give it a try — enough of a try that none of them is villainized (or thrown out of office) — but sorry, they just couldn't get there because of "constraints" of some kind.
That scenario — halfway sorta getting "there" — is similar to what the IPCC used to call its "A2 scenario," a world that reaches 600 ppm CO2 by the end of the century, but not the almost-1000 ppm CO2 predicted by the IPCC's worst-case scenario, A1FI (the "FI" stands for "fuel intensive)."
Projected changes over the 21st century in the atmospheric concentrations of three greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). These projections by the United States Environmental Protection Agency are based on emissions scenarios contained in the IPCC SRES document. The A2 scenario is near the middle in each chart. Note that the worse case, or "business as usual," scenario, A1FI, reaches nearly 1000 ppm CO2 by end-of-century (source; click to enlarge).
Now consider this evaluation (pdf) of the world-wide cost of all climate impacts, calculated both with and without human adaptation to them, assuming we do little to mitigate those impacts — do little, in other words, to "soften the punch" of global climate change ahead of time and merely try to "absorb the blow" as it comes.
The title of the study referenced above is Assessing the costs of adaptation to climate change: A review of the UNFCCC and other recent estimates, published in August 2009. After looking at all of the ways climate change will cause damage ("impacts"), and assessing the total costs of each of those impacts, they have arrived at a number, or rather a range of numbers.
From Table 8.1 of that study, there is "very high" confidence that the world-wide total cost of the damage (net present value in 2000 dollars) will be in the range of ... ready? ... $270 trillion to $3,290 trillion, with a mean value of $1,240 trillion if we spend no money on adaptation — that is, if we, the species, just let it happen to us and try to roll with it. (That's a distinct possibility, by the way, that we will do not much to adapt until it's too late.)
On the other hand, if we fail to "soften the punch" of climate change (no mitigation) but do succeed at some adaptation to the blow (anticipate and prepare, in other words), those numbers improve ... to a very high confidence range of $170 trillion to $2,340 trillion, and a mean of $890 trillion.
Let's average those means to something like a world-wide cost of climate impacts of about $1,000 trillion.
With that in mind, my suggested "debt and entitlements" climate question is this:
Topic: Debt and Entitlements
Suggested question: The world-wide total cost of the damage from climate change, its world-wide impact, has been credibly estimated by a peer-reviewed study as something like 1,000 trillion dollars. Again, that's one thousand trillion.
Clearly, most of that cost will not fall on the United States, but a good percentage of it will. Let's say conservatively that only 10% of that cost, or $100 trillion, will be borne by the U.S. If we amortize that cost to the U.S. over the rest of this century, the price of not "softening the blow" of those impacts, not mitigating the damage ahead of time, comes to about $1.1 trillion per year.
So my question for each of you is two-fold. First, given those numbers, do you plan to treat climate change as a WWII-style emergency as a way to bring those cost numbers down?And if you don't, how do you propose we pay for our failure to treat it as one? Where will that $1.1 trillion-per-year come from?
I don't know if those numbers got your attention, but they certainly got mine — just as they did in 2009, when they were first reported.
With just 21 days to go before Election Day, Donald Trump has claimed repeatedly on the campaign trail that the election is being "rigged," tweeting on Monday specifically about "large scale voter fraud" being a problem.
Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!
ABC News reached out to the top election official in all 50 states to find out if they agree. Of the 26 state officials who immediately responded, all maintained that the presidential election has not and will not be rigged in their state.
And since Republicans control so many state legislatures, Think Progress observes, "If the election is really rigged, 33 states are rigged by Republicans." (Image at top.)
It will comes as little surprise to those who have paid even the slightest attention to the post-truth campaign of Donald Trump that these claims of voter fraud and ballot rigging are almost entirely fact-free and lacking in evidence. One legal scholar dedicated years to studying the issue and could find only 31 cases of voter fraud out of more than a billion votes cast. As the ThinkProgress thinktank has noted: “Iowa’s Republican secretary of state uncovered zero cases of voter impersonation at the polls during a two-year investigation.” Even the hard right Breitbart website – so close to Trump that its boss, Steve Bannon, is the chief executive of the Trump campaign – had to admit that, “given the sheer variety of jurisdictions that run a typical presidential election, the nationwide effect of voter fraud may be much harder to measure, and probably small”.
Post-truth campaign is right. The party that in the "do your own thing" 1960s started accusing the left of moral relativism now practices factual relativism. Conservatives insist on believing their own thing. Whoo-EEE! Facts are for losers. Winners make up their own. Evidence not required.
Getting especially tired of this BS (as defined by Wikipedia):
Proof by assertion, sometimes informally referred to as proof by repeated assertion, is an informal fallacy in which a proposition is repeatedly restated regardless of contradiction. Sometimes, this may be repeated until challenges dry up, at which point it is asserted as fact due to its not being contradicted (argumentum ad nauseam). In other cases, its repetition may be cited as evidence of its truth, in a variant of the appeal to authority or appeal to belief fallacies.
It is a very simple formal logical fallacy that has the following structure:
X is true.
In practice, arguments by assertion tend to take the "rinse and repeat" approach to logic:
X is true.
No really, X is true.
Actually, X is true.
But X is true.
What's frightening is how much post-truthiness has infected the entire culture. A fairly lengthy article by a 3rd Degree Berner that flashed across Facebook the other day (can't find it now) had a virtually identical structure. "The primary was rigged. No really, it was rigged. You can tell it was rigged because of how rigged it was," etc. No evidence offered. None required.
It's the logic of a cheese shop uncontaminated by cheese.
In a speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Monday night, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump drilled down on his new favorite talking point — warnings that the election may be “rigged” against him.
In the speech, Trump alleged that “it is possible” that illegal votes from undocumented immigrants (who, although they pay taxes, are not allowed to vote) may have won President Obama the state of North Carolina in 2008.
“It could have provided the margin of victory,” Trump said.
There’s no credible evidence backing up Trump’s claim. Nonetheless, his campaign is backing him up — with even more misinformation.
In an interview with local Boston radio, Trump’s campaign co-chair Sam Clovis was asked if Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about North Carolina were “irresponsible.” Clovis said that instead, “it raises an issue.”
“I’ve done a lot of work and study in this area, so here’s what happens: you have the opportunity for illegal immigrants to come to the state, and the state loosens its laws to provide for individuals to get drivers licences in the state, illegal or otherwise,” Clovis said. Then, he alleged, once the undocumented immigrants have the photo ID, “what happens sometimes is that you are able to register to vote because you establish residency.”
Clovis’ defense of Trump’s comments is based on a wholly false premise: North Carolina does not allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licences.
They're just saying anything that comes into their heads now.
Her social media provides, in the progressive parlance her father likely abhors, a safe space. In an election season in which there seems to be no escape from the campaign — where it is difficult, if not impossible, to make it through a 24 hour stretch without reading, thinking, or talking about the election — Ivanka’s pages may well be some of the only internet real estate where November 8th (or 28th, or 35th) is just another day to be a woman who works.
Ivanka's brand is for middle class working women. They are the last people who will want to own anything with the Trump name on it ever again. He messed everyone in the family up with ridiculous run for president but none more than his darling daughter. She's toast.
A group of influential progressive intellectuals are giving Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton their seal of approval ― and urging fellow progressives, including those who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic primaries, to do the same.
In a letter that went public on Tuesday and was provided in advance to The Huffington Post, more than 50 progressive economists and other policy experts endorse Clinton’s candidacy ― not simply as a way to defeat GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, but also as a way to advance a liberal economic agenda.
The letter warns that “drastic increases in income inequality have created a deep malaise among many Americans who are increasingly excluded from the promise of a better future.” Then it offers an overview of Clinton’s proposals ― including a higher minimum wage, big spending on infrastructure and new early childhood education programs ― that are designed to bolster economic fortunes for the poor and middle class.
Many, and probably most voters don’t know about Clinton’s agenda. And those who do may not have faith she’ll pursue those policies in office. This is particularly true for voters who supported Sanders in the primary and know Clinton primarily through her associations with Wall Street and her public statements in favor of her husband’s legislative achievements, including the expansion of free trade and imposition of time limits on welfare.
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The letter does not mention Sanders explicitly. But Martin Carnoy, a Stanford economist who helped draft and gather signatures for the letter, said one of his goals was “to reassure progressives that Clinton is committed to the [progressive] agenda we have listed.”
The figures behind the letter may help with that. Carnoy’s partners in the enterprise were Robert Reich, a former labor secretary who is now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, andDerek Shearer, a former ambassador to Finland who is now a professor at Occidental College.
Reich and Shearer’s ties to the Clintons go back in the 1960s, when they first met Bill Clinton at Oxford. They also have strong progressive bona fides. Reich, in particular, became famous forarguing with more conservative advisers in the Clinton administration ― and, more recently, for endorsing Sanders in the primaries.
I think you would be safe to say that almost all these names are in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.Stanford economist Martin Carnoy
Informed progressive observers will recognize many of the letter’s signatories, starting with Stephanie Kelton, a University of Missouri-Kansas City economist who has been a top adviser to Sanders. Among the other notables are Economic Policy Institute President Larry Mishel, who was beating the drums about wage stagnation before it was fashionable; Harvard economist Dani Rodrik, an early advocate for treating free trade more skeptically; and Berkeley’s Emmanuel Saez, who is among the world’s most influential experts on inequality.
The list also includes a few people with White House experience ― among them, University of Michigan economist Betsey Stevenson, an Obama administration veteran perhaps most famous for her advocacy of generous work-family supports.
“I think you would be safe to say that almost all these names are in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party,” Carnoy said. “They are all deeply concerned with issues of inequality and social justice.”
Of course, vouching for the progressive elements of Clinton’s agenda is one thing. Vouching for her commitment to enacting them is quite another. In Washington, progressives have made clear they plan to apply political pressure, should Clinton become president, to make sure she doesn’t walk away from her policy commitments ― or fill her administration with appointees uninterested in pursuing an aggressively liberal agenda.