Notes and Comment Blog

This is how things start to get out of control

Sep 29th, 2016 1:24 pm | By

Also in terrifying news, not related to Trump for a change – India and Pakistan are playing chicken. That’s bad because of the nukes.

Elite troops have launched “surgical strikes” on Pakistan-based terrorists in the contested territory of Kashmir, India said on Thursday, in a major escalation of a deepening crisis between the nuclear-armed rivals.

The Indian army said troops conducted multiple nighttime raids across the line of control (LOC), the ceasefire line agreed in 1972 that divides the Himalayan region, to attack militants preparing to cross into Indian-controlled territory.

That’s bad.

Zahid Hussain, a Pakistani security analyst, described Thursday’s attacks as a “very serious escalation”. “We have seen firing on the line of control before, but this is much more dangerous in the context of the rising tension between the two sides,” he said. “I am not saying that this could lead to a full state confrontation, but this is how things start to get out of control.”

India last announced it had conducted cross-border strikes in June 2015, when it targeted rebel camps in Myanmar in response to an ambush that killed at least 18 Indian soldiers in the north-eastern state of Manipur. Delhi described the raid as unprecedented at the time and signalled similar tactics could be used along its western border with Pakistan.

On Wednesday, in a sign of deepening Pakistani isolation in the region, India and three other countries announced they would boycot the forthcoming South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit, which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November.

The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, has also raised the possibility of Delhi altering or walking away from a major river-sharing agreement that permits Pakistan to draw water from three rivers that flow downstream from India, providing water to 65% of the country’s landmass.

It doesn’t help that religious zealots are in power in both countries.

Gingrich says there are rumors

Sep 29th, 2016 1:13 pm | By

Newt Gingrich spat some poison on a Fox poison-show yesterday:

I believe, and I’ve said this in my newsletter as you know, and I’ve said it actually with you when we talked around midnight after the debate Monday night. This was the Holt-Clinton vs Trump debate, and you have to see it as tag-team. Holt was on Clinton’s team. This moderator stuff is nonsense, and I predict to you that Anderson Cooper will be ten times worse than Holt because he’s so deeply prejudiced against Trump. I think what you’re going to see is a — and Trump’s just got to prepare for this. Every single debate is going to be a double-team. He’s going to have the moderator who’s a liberal, and he’s going to have Hillary, and they’re both going to be on the same team.

And there are rumors that Hillary was actually given the questions in advance. I don’t know if it’s true but it would not shock me because they all operate in the same circle.

They both knew “the questions” in advance. The topics were announced in advance. It wasn’t an algebra test, it was a debate on broad policy issues. Clinton didn’t “cheat” or steal her neighbor’s answers, she prepared. Trump didn’t prepare because he’s too dim and restless and light-minded.

Also there’s that “there are rumors” bullshit which is just an excuse to plant a lie.

Guest post: Creative Gender-Reveal

Sep 29th, 2016 12:45 pm | By

Guest post by Josh Spokes.

Look at this.

Are you under 40? Let me blow your mind. This never happened in the 70s and 80s. Until recently I had never heard of a “gender reveal party” for baby. This is only possible because of the backwards regression into rigid sex roles that has taken over our discourse since my childhood in the late 70s and early 80s.

This is connected to the complete pink/blue divide enforced in toy stores. It’s connected to the fact that almost all children’s clothing is now soaking in disgusting misogyny and stultifying sex-role stereotypes.

There really was a world, very recently, in which we did these things better. Where we recognized the damage that “gendering” every consumer item, especially children’s wares, did to them and to society.

Does this surprise you? Well, OK. Now you know it’s possible to do the world differently. Now you know that what you think is “normal” is really quite specific to the tiny slice of time that you have been a conscious person in the world.

Now you know you can change it.

Wisconsin to would-be voters: drop dead

Sep 29th, 2016 10:06 am | By

Ari Berman went to Wisconsin to see how badly that state is doing at fulfilling its duty to enable eligible voters to vote.

Zack Moore, a 34-year-old African-American man, moved from Chicago to Madison last year. He worked at a car wash and then a landscaping job before breaking his leg and becoming unemployed. After staying with his brother, he’s now homeless and sleeping on the streets of Madison.

On September 22, he went to the DMV to get a photo ID for voting, as required by Wisconsin’s strict voter-ID law. He brought his Illinois photo ID, Social Security card, and a pay stub for proof of residence. But he didn’t have a copy of his birth certificate, which had been misplaced by his sister in Illinois, so the DMV wouldn’t give him an ID for voting. “I’m trying to get a Wisconsin ID so I can vote,” Moore told the DMV. “I don’t have my birth certificate, but I got everything else.”

He shouldn’t need his god damn birth certificate. The DMV told him to drive to Illinois to get it – as if everyone just automatically can drive long distances to get a piece of paper, as if poor people have no difficulties owning a car or paying for gas. It’s like the evacuation order before Katrina, that simply told everyone to get out of New Orleans, as if people who don’t own cars didn’t exist.

Or, to put it another way, as if they want to exclude poor people especially non-white poor people…which of course they do.

Nine percent of registered voters in Wisconsin don’t have a valid voter-ID and many are still struggling to get the documents they need to vote in November. It appears that Wisconsin is violating multiple court orders by not promptly giving eligible citizens free IDs or certificates for voting. This is particularly concerning since early voting began this week in cities like Madison and Milwaukee and thousands of Wisconsinites are casting ballots.

In an August ruling, federal district court Judge James Peterson said the [ID Petition Process] was “unconstitutional” and “pretty much a disaster. It disenfranchised about 100 qualified electors—the vast majority of whom were African American or Latino—who should have been given IDs to vote in the April 2016 primary. But the problem is deeper than that: even voters who succeed in the IDPP manage to get an ID only after surmounting severe burdens.”

He ordered, “Wisconsin may adopt a strict voter ID system only if that system has a well-functioning safety net.” He said the state must “promptly issue a credential valid as a voting ID to any person who enters the IDPP or who has a petition pending.”

But when people go to the DMV they are still told no.

Legal experts say they’re extremely troubled by the state’s continued failure to fairly enforce the voter-ID law. “Wisconsin has promised the court that voters would be able to get an ID with whatever documents they have,” says Sean Young of the ACLU. “They’ve completely failed to live up to that promise.”

The state keeps frantically changing its procedures to mollify the courts, leading to even more confusion among voters. Last week the Walker Administration proposed issuing “voting purposes only” IDs that could not be used for anything else, like opening a bank account. “The Division of Motor Vehicles also wants the free IDs – born of voter fraud fears – to be cheapened in quality, with some fraud protections removed,” theMilwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

“The more they change the procedures, the clearer it becomes that this has nothing to do with voter impersonation,” Young says. “The whole process has no meaning anymore. It’s just a pointless obstacle to the right to vote.”

And the result is that people – poor people of color mostly – are being disenfranchised.

Graffiti and bullet holes riddle the petroglyphs

Sep 29th, 2016 9:21 am | By

From High Country News a story about Gold Butte, Nevada, two years after Cliven Bundy and his pals pulled guns on the feds.

In June 2015, for the first time since federal officers confronted Cliven Bundy and militia members over Bundy’s illegal grazing in 2014, the Bureau of Land Management sent a survey crew to the Gold Butte area near Bunkerville, Nevada. The three surveyors from the Great Basin Institute were there to inventory springs, cattle troughs and seeps. According to contemporary news reports, they encountered Cliven Bundy and his son, Ryan Bundy, who spoke with them briefly and asked what they were doing. Later that night, as the surveyors were getting into their tents, a vehicle lit up the camp with its headlights as it drove by, and shortly afterward, three gunshots rang out nearby. An hour later, they heard three more shots. The surveyors packed up in the dark, left and did not come back. Cliven Bundy told reporters he had not fired the shots, and the BLM kept out of Gold Butte.

Terrorist thieves stealing and occupying our federal land.

Bundy’s cattle are still there, and he still hasn’t paid the more than $1 million he owes in grazing fees and fines. On the other hand he is in jail, so that’s something.

This past June the feds returned to Gold Butte.

The absence of federal workers did not go unnoticed. Friends of Gold Butte published a report in August detailing the damage inflicted on the area in the last two years, as well as documenting some historic bullet-hole damage. Graffiti and bullet holes riddle the petroglyphs and red sandstone, signs have been removed, and the area is marred by off-road tire tracks and trash. Twenty-two miles of illegal irrigation have been trenched through the desert, and a chopped-down Joshua tree was left to rot. The BLM is continuing to assess the situation, and so far staffers can’t say how much the illegal irrigation trenching and vehicle incursions have affected local wildlife populations. “Once this happens, it persists through time,” Moan says of the graffiti and general disregard for the area by visitors.

They vandalize the petroglyphs. Who else delights in damaging other people’s ancient artworks? Oh yes, Islamic State. Nice company you keep, Bundys et al.

H/t Peter Walker

Known for a bottomless mendacity

Sep 29th, 2016 8:47 am | By

Michiko Kakutani reviews a book about Hitler’s ascent. The review never mentions Trump, but Trump is present in nearly every word. (“Germany” is the main exception.)

How did Adolf Hitler — described by one eminent magazine editor in 1930 as a “half-insane rascal,” a “pathetic dunderhead,” a “nowhere fool,” a “big mouth” — rise to power in the land of Goethe and Beethoven? What persuaded millions of ordinary Germans to embrace him and his doctrine of hatred? How did this “most unlikely pretender to high state office” achieve absolute power in a once democratic country and set it on a course of monstrous horror?

Yes how? And how did Donald Trump rise to the Republican nomination in the land of Lincoln and Sondheim? What persuaded millions of ordinary Americans to embrace him and his doctrine of hatred?

Mr. Ullrich, like other biographers, provides vivid insight into some factors that helped turn a “Munich rabble-rouser” — regarded by many as a self-obsessed “clown” with a strangely “scattershot, impulsive style” — into “the lord and master of the German Reich.”

See what I mean? It’s Hitler but it’s Trump.

• Hitler was often described as an egomaniac who “only loved himself” — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization and what Mr. Ullrich calls a “characteristic fondness for superlatives.” His manic speeches and penchant for taking all-or-nothing risks raised questions about his capacity for self-control, even his sanity. But Mr. Ullrich underscores Hitler’s shrewdness as a politician — with a “keen eye for the strengths and weaknesses of other people” and an ability to “instantaneously analyze and exploit situations.”

• Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a “bottomless mendacity” that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message. A former finance minister wrote that Hitler “was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth” and editors of one edition of “Mein Kampf” described it as a “swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.”

Check, check, check, check.

• Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising “to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness,” though he was typically vague about his actual plans. He often harked back to a golden age for the country, Mr. Ullrich says, the better “to paint the present day in hues that were all the darker. Everywhere you looked now, there was only decline and decay.”

Remember Trump in the debate? Talking about Chicago? “You walk down the street you get shot.”

• Hitler’s repertoire of topics, Mr. Ullrich notes, was limited, and reading his speeches in retrospect, “it seems amazing that he attracted larger and larger audiences” with “repeated mantralike phrases” consisting largely of “accusations, vows of revenge and promises for the future.” But Hitler virtually wrote the modern playbook on demagoguery, arguing in “Mein Kampf” that propaganda must appeal to the emotions — not the reasoning powers — of the crowd. Its “purely intellectual level,” Hitler said, “will have to be that of the lowest mental common denominator among the public it is desired to reach.” Because the understanding of the masses “is feeble,” he went on, effective propaganda needed to be boiled down to a few slogans that should be “persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.”

At the moment it’s looking less likely that he’ll be elected, but even if he’s not, it’s terrifying that he’s gotten this far. This is a massive blot on our record, and it’s not going away any time soon.

Bye world

Sep 28th, 2016 5:49 pm | By

Hey guess what, we’ve passed the carbon tipping point. Permanently.

It’s a banner week for the end of the world, because we’ve officially pushed atmospheric carbon levels past their dreaded 400 parts per million. Permanently.

According to a blog post last Friday from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, “it already seems safe to conclude that we won’t be seeing a monthly value below 400 ppm this year—or ever again for the indefinite future.” Their findings are based on weekly observations of carbon dioxide at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, where climate scientists have been measuring CO2 levels since 1958.

What’s so terrifying about this number? For several years now, scientists have been warning us that if atmospheric carbon were allowed to surpass 400 parts per million, it would mark a serious “tipping point” into some unstoppable climate ramifications. In 2012, the Arctic was the first region on Earth to cross this red line. Three years later, for the first time since scientists had begun to record them, carbon levels remained above 400 parts per million for an entire month.

The unstoppable ramifications aren’t very pleasant.

Extinctions, food chain disruption, rising sea levels…

Ocean acidification

Considered a crucial barometer of environmental health, ocean acidity is already wiping out entire marine ecosystems. The planet’s oceans are constantly absorbing excess CO2, causing their pH to decrease, literally acidifying the water. As a result, vast expanses of life-sustaining coral, such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, are bleaching and dying. While coral polyps could still take hold and regrow into reefs, scientists anticipate that bleaching events will leave long-lasting marks on the face of ocean ecosystems.


A BAD person

Sep 28th, 2016 4:50 pm | By

More on the bad person Donald Trump, by Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic. The title is “Donald Trump’s Cruel Streak.” Not a streak but the whole of him, I would say. It’s not as if he’s nice some of the time. The subtitle is “For decades, the candidate has willfully inflicted pain and humiliation.”

Not someone you want to elect as head of state. This bad man must not win the election.

Donald J. Trump has a cruel streak. He willfully causes pain and distress to others. And he repeats this public behavior so frequently that it’s fair to call it a character trait. Any single example would be off-putting but forgivable. Being shown many examples across many years should make any decent person recoil in disgust.

I think most people probably know that. We can see it in him. He performs it constantly.

Friedersdorf gives examples.

But even in a realm where the harshest critiques are part of the civic process, Trump crossed a line this week when he declared his intention to invite Gennifer Flowers to today’s presidential debate. What kind of man invites a husband’s former mistress to an event to taunt his wife? Trump managed to launch an attack that couldn’t be less relevant to his opponent’s qualifications or more personally cruel. His campaign and his running-mate later said that it was all a big joke. No matter. Whether in earnest or in jest, Trump showed his tendency to humiliate others.

I’d call it his eagerness rather than his tendency. The guy loves humiliating others. Miss Universe, made to go through a workout while being filmed by male cameramen, on Trump’s orders? Yeah.

Trump sent a tweet.

Geddit? That’s the woman Trump owns on the right (for now – he’ll drop her too when she’s a little older).

This is vile behavior.
What kind of person attacks a rival by mocking the appearance of his wife? For the whole of his presidential campaign, Trump has gleefully launched gutter attacks like this. And while a cruel streak directed solely at rivals would hardly be excusable, Trump doesn’t even have that excuse. After Chris Christie endorsed him, Trump attended a fundraiser with the New Jersey governor, and said this to the crowd: “I’m not eating Oreos anymore, you know that—but neither is Chris. You’re not eating Oreos anymore. No more Oreos. For either of us, Chris. Don’t feel bad.”

That’s who Trump is: If he’s in front of a crowd with an ally who has a weight problem, he’ll find an excuse to bring it up, to humiliate the ally, for no apparent reason.

No apparent reason except for the fact that he likes it.

The people closest to Trump have painful experience with this same quality. In September 1990, Marie Brenner wrote at length in Vanity Fair about how the billionaire humiliated Ivana Trump.

Conservative writer Mona Charen reflected on the same era in National Review:

I first became aware of Donald Trump when he chose to make cheating on his first wife front-page news. Donald and Ivana Trump broke up over the course of months. Not that divorce is shocking, mind you. Among the glitterati marriage seems more unusual. Nor is infidelity exactly novel.

But it requires a particular breed of lowlife to advertise the sexual superiority of one’s mistress over the mother of one’s children. That was Trump’s style. He leaked stories to the New York tabloids about Ivana’s breast implants—they didn’t feel right. Marla Maples, by contrast, suited him better. She, proving her suitability for the man she was eager to steal from his family, told the papers that her encounters with the mogul were “the best sex I’ve ever had.” It wasn’t just Donald Trump’s betrayal that caught my eye, nor just the tawdriness—it was the cruelty.

What kind of person treats the mother of his children that way?

The one who wants to be next president of the US.

And then there’s his brother’s son and his child, Trump’s great-nephew. He developed cerebral palsy at birth, and Trump said he would take care of the medical bills. Trump’s brother was an alcoholic and failed to make the big bucks.

Then came the unveiling of Fred Sr.’s will, which Donald had helped draft. It divided the bulk of the inheritance, at least $20 million, among his children and their descendants, “other than my son Fred C. Trump Jr.” Freddy’s children sued, claiming that an earlier version of the will had entitled them to their father’s share of the estate, but that Donald and his siblings had used “undue influence” over their grandfather, who had dementia, to cut them out. A week later, Mr. Trump retaliated by withdrawing the medical benefits critical to his nephew’s infant child.

“I was angry because they sued,” he explained during last week’s interview.

A heart of dung.

There are lots more stories to tell about Trump’s cruel streak. In the present campaign, he mocked John McCain for being captured and tortured while fighting for the United States in Vietnam and attacked the Gold Star Family that spoke at the Democratic National Convention after losing a son in Iraq. Many people know that years before Trump was a politician he feuded with a talk show host. “Well, Rosie O’Donnell is disgusting both inside and out,” he declared. “You look at her, she’s a slob. She talks like a truck driver… If I were running The View I’d look right in that fat ugly face of hers and say, ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’” What few people know is that later, when O’Donnell got engaged, Trump went on Twitter to write this:

What kind of person rekindles a feud with insults on hearing that someone got engaged?

The Donald Trump kind.

Can you imagine four years of watching him carry on that way as head of state?

People disagree about the ideal traits to have in a leader. But almost no one wants a president who has proven himself an addict to being cruel, mean-spirited, and spiteful. For decades, Trump has been deliberately cruel to others, often in the most public ways. He behaves this way flagrantly, showing no sign of shame or reflection.

What kind of person still acts that way at 70? A bad person.

It is that simple.

Giving a cruel man power and expecting that he won’t use it to inflict cruelty is madness. To vote for Trump, knowing all of this, is to knowingly empower cruelty.

So don’t.

Still ruling out that possibility

Sep 28th, 2016 12:00 pm | By

Russia. Trump’s good friend Russia; Russia Russia Russia, as he so eloquently put it in the debate. Russia shot down that plane, just as everyone (except Russia) said.

International prosecutors say Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was downed over eastern Ukraine in 2014 by a Buk missile that had come from Russia.

They also narrowed down the area it was fired from to a field in territory controlled by Russian-backed rebels.

All 298 people on board the Boeing 777 died when it broke apart in mid-air flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Russia says it cannot accept the findings as the final truth, saying no Russian weapons were taken to Ukraine.

Yes and where is Obama’s birth certificate and Clinton’s been fighting ISIS her whole adult life.

In an interview with the BBC, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was “nothing to accept or deny”, as he understood these were preliminary findings.

“We cannot accept as final truth of what they say. I bet you haven’t seen any proof of what they say,” he told the Hardtalk programme, adding: “We know the devil is in the detail, and we are still missing lot of the detail.”

But he appeared to rule out that the missile came from Russia: “We’ve been ruling out the fact that any Russian weapons were shipped to Ukraine, any Russian army members, any Russian troops were inside Ukraine. And we’re still ruling out that possibility.”

That’s how you deal with unpleasant facts. You just “rule them out.”

How to crush a woman

Sep 28th, 2016 11:12 am | By

Via the brilliant Glosswitch on Twitter – buzzfeed and Elle are giving advice on how to rock that binder. Yay, let’s go back to squashing women’s bodies again! And this time let’s pretend there’s something social justicey about it!


For many people, wearing a chest binder is simply part of the daily routine in this thing called life. But it can be a real strain, both mentally and physically.

So can foot binding, or wearing a corset. Here’s a thought: don’t do it.

There are tons of reasons to bind. Many people find that wearing a binder helps ease the discomfort that comes along with gender dysphoria.

Are we sure about that? Are we sure none of those claimed “many” just don’t entirely like parts of their bodies, without having anything severe enough to be called dysphoria? And what about the rest? Are they doing it because being “queer” is trendy and being a horrible titty woman isn’t?

So what are you doing to ease the misery caused by this business of squashing your breasts?

Maybe you make sure you are binding safely — wearing the proper size and taking care not to wear it longer than you need

Maybe the fact that binding can be unsafe, and that there’s an improper size, and that it’s possible to wear it too long – maybe all those facts should hint that wearing a binder is not all that healthy and maybe you just shouldn’t do it.


A few months ago, Kim Kardashian posted an Instagram of herself in the gym wearing a corset by shapewear brand Ann Chery. After I got past the white leggings, I had to know more: What was that corset for? A quick Google search and deep dive into the #waisttraining hashtag gave me my answer: Kim was using this device to attempt to cut down the midsection of her already infamous body-oddy-oddy.

That device is also known as a faja, or a girdle, popular in South America. Ann Chery is known for them. A few years ago, The New York Times reported on the trend of women wearing fajas as a “shortcut to an hourglass figure,” and Jessica Alba credits wearing corsets with helping her shed baby weight.

So of course the Elle reporter Danielle Prescod had to do the same thing, so she did.

About 10 days in of waist training, I start to notice something: Waist training gives me a bad attitude. It makes me irrationally mean. I am irritable, cranky, and short-tempered. I am sending rude e-mails. I am blank-staring at jokes, when I could just give a polite giggle. I am walking away in the middle of conversations when I’ve just had enough. It’s the corset—I realize that it’s controlling me. The other thing is, I’m hungry. Actually, I’m HANGRY. The corset is so tight and constricting that I find myself skipping meals. The bladder issues are out of control. I have to pee every 10 seconds. Still, I persevere. Why? Because I am obsessive and crazy and I want a waist like Kim’s. So I accept it. I ignore it.

My rage prevents me from saying anything coherent about this.

The problem is with the beliefs

Sep 28th, 2016 10:25 am | By

Adam Gopnik at the New Yorker has outstanding commentary on Trump.

For one thing, I appreciate his calling Trump “one of the hyper-nationalist demagogues and autocrats who have emerged throughout Europe and Americas in the last decade” and a sneering loudmouth.

It’s obviously comforting that he lost, Gopnik says, but it’s disturbing to see him normalized. Yes, yes it is – that’s why I keep calling him the very blunt names that fit, like liar thief cheat fraud, and misogynist racist xenophobe. He’s so off the charts terrible on so many criteria, yet there he is, being normalized.

…what was really outside any norm of decency was what he thought even after you had dutifully distilled away the incoherence and the manic improvisations. Talking, again, about President Obama’s birth certificate, he displayed not only the usual pathological inability to admit to an error—any error, ever—but an underlying racism so pervasive that it can’t help express itself even when trying to pass as something else.

The same applies to his misogyny. Trump talks shit about women as easily as breathing.

Yet Trump continued last night his self-congratulations for compelling the President to do this, along with the grotesquely racist notion that it was “good for him” (i.e., for the President). It slowly dawned on the listener that this was all of a piece with the rest of Trump’s racial attitudes: he believes that, as a rich white man, he had a right to stop and frisk the President of the United States and demand that the uppity black man show him his papers. Stop-and-frisk isn’t just a form of policing for Trump; it’s a whole way of life. The idea that he had a right to force a black man to go through what Obama rightly saw as the demeaning business of producing his birth certificate showed his fundamental contempt for any normal idea of racial equality.

Emphasis added.

Pass over quickly, for the moment, Trump’s notion that contracts are to be respected depending only on the wayward autocratic impulse of the richest party to the contract. Think, instead, again, of one of the last subjects of the debate—his misogyny. By sexism, we mean something specific, not the business of appreciating beauty—if Trump wants to host beauty contests, let him—but the habit of conceiving of a woman as being a lesser species, one defined exclusively by appearance. His cruelty to Alicia Machado was unleavened by any apparent respect for her as a human being in any role other than as an envelope of flesh—an attitude he only doubled down on the following morning by complaining that she presented what he saw as an obvious problem as a reigning Miss Universe: she had gained “a massive amount of weight” (by Trump standards, that is). Again, this wasn’t a problem of how he chose to present his beliefs; the problem is with the beliefs. This wasn’t a question of preparation. It was that the things he actually believes are themselves repellent even when coherently presented. This was not a bad performance. This is a bad man.

That’s another thing I’ve been saying. He’s a bad man. He’s bad all the way down; there’s nothing good about him.

When all else fails, just say she’s too good at it

Sep 27th, 2016 4:57 pm | By

From the You just can’t win files, or is it the Balance at all costs files, or the Let’s not get too smartyboots around here files, or the Women who know stuff aren’t feminine files, or the We have to say something bad about her files.

Meet the Press on Twitter:

#debatenight exposed Trump’s lack of preparation, but Clinton seemed over-prepared at times.

Over-prepared. She’s running for a huge complicated job with a lot of moving parts, and she seemed “over-prepared.” What would that even be?

Created by and for the Chinese

Sep 27th, 2016 4:44 pm | By

Jim Wright:

Clinton: Donald Trump says climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese…
Trump: <interrupting> I NEVER SAID THAT

Oh rilly? Jim provided the screenshot:

The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

11/6/12 1:15 PM

He said it.

Trump lies like a rug.


Who should know her place and do as she was told

Sep 27th, 2016 11:56 am | By

The story of how Trump treated Alicia Machado is truly ugly. Janell Ross reported on it today in the Washington Post:

The Clinton campaign viewed Machado’s experience with Trump behavior as so damning that Monday night, the campaign released a new commercial — almost a short documentary — featuring Machado. Speaking in Spanish, Machado described Trump as a man filled with grudges, racism and frightening anger, a man who contributing to her struggle with an eating disorder and, in keeping with another Trump critique Clinton raised on the debate stage, the owner of the pageant which did not pay her what she was due under the terms of her contract.

He defended his non-payment of contractors and others during the debate by shouting that their work wasn’t good enough. I guess he decided that he didn’t have to pay Machado because her body wasn’t thin enough?

Machado went into the pageant hoping it would lead to a career in entertainment.

Trump purchased the Miss Universe pageant just in time to become her boss. All Machado knew was that Trump, a wealthy American businessman, had big plans to boost the pageant’s profile and profits.

In the end, she came to view Trump as an insensitive bigot, a misogynist who seemed to view the pageant and pageant contestants alike as his personal property, Machado told me in an interview earlier this year for the Washington Post’s Trump biography, “Trump Revealed.”

“Now, 20 years later, I can not believe that piece of shit could possibly be president,” said Machado. “It was a nightmare I wouldn’t want my daughter or any other little girl in this country to ever, ever encounter. This man behaved like a tyrant when I was Miss Universe and has behaved like a potential despot during this campaign. He lacks the basic skills to govern and is not a good human being.”

That’s what I keep saying. He’s not a good human being. You can watch him and read up on him forever and not find one good thing about him. He’s a bully, he’s cruel, he steals from people less rich and powerful than he is, he lies, he cheats, he talks shit about women, he’s a racist. He’s not a good human being. I don’t recall ever thinking that about any other candidate – I don’t recall ever thinking Bush Junior or Reagan was terrible to everyone.

Over the course of the year that Machado held the Miss Universe title — and, as Trump often reminded her, worked for him — she would feel intense pressure to shed the weight pounds Trump told many, many television reporters, viewers and magazine readers that Machado had gained. He considered it an outrage, a potential violation of her contract. That in turn prompted officials with the Miss Venezuala pageant system to also comment on Machado’s weight in both the English and Spanish-speaking international press.

The only upside that Trump could see: potential weight-loss related endorsement deals for Machado. Under the terms of her contract, The Miss Universe organization would get the majority cut. To drum up interest and keep the press focused on Machado’s weight, Trump set up a workout with a trainer at a Manhattan gym. When Machado arrived, the trainer, Trump and a bank of mostly male reporters and photographers were waiting. Trump insisted that she follow the trainer though a full workout. As Machado did jumping jacks, sweated her way though the trainer’s routine and rode a stationary bike, the photographers stationed just a few feet way snapped pictures and made comments, she said. Some of the footage of this moment appears in the new Clinton ad.

Dear god.

Some news reports at the time indicated that Machado had already engaged in long hours of exercise and severe food restriction to get in what Venezuelan pageant directors described as ideal shape. And, Machado admits, she became more difficult, less compliant, more willing to stand up for herself in the Miss Universe office, to reject appearances Trump wanted her to do and to demand that her handlers put more charity work on her schedule.

That combination was too much for Trump, Machado said.

It prompted Trump to ask Machado and Miss Universe staff — who Machado said were often aghast — ‘who she thought she was,’ on multiple occasions. In both angry conversations and casual ones, Trump referred to Machado as “Miss Piggy,” “Miss Housekeeper,” and “Miss Housekeeping,” who should know her place and do as she was told. He said it to her face. And he said it to Miss Universe staff.

Who, I wonder, does he think he is?

Machado did get work in the entertainment industry, and is a permanent US resident with a green card; her daughter is a US citizen and also a citizen of Mexico.

When Trump declared that he would compete for the White House and, in the same speech, described illegal Mexican immigrants are “rapists” and “criminals,” Machado says she was alarmed and sickened. As his campaign developed, it became clear that Trump’s thinking, his attitudes and opinions had not really changed, Machado said.

“It became clear to me that hate and ugliness, disrespect for women, for Latinos, for African Americans is part of this man’s political philosophy,” Machado said. “This is the way his mind works.”

If you can call it a mind. It’s more like a set of blurts and urges.

In June, Machado joined Clinton supporter Delores Huerta at a press conference where she explained that her concerns for what effect a President Trump might have on America had prompted her to become a U.S. citizen who can vote in November. Her reasoning is both personal and political.

“He is a danger to this beautiful country,” Machado said, “which I love, and feel an obligation to protect from men like Donald Trump on behalf of my daughter, on behalf of women, mothers, Latinas like me. He is a threat to democracy.”

He’s a blight on this country. He’s the shame of this country.

The bully quantified

Sep 27th, 2016 11:24 am | By

FiveThirtyEight on Twitter:

So we have to get very, very tough on cyber

Sep 27th, 2016 10:20 am | By

Ezra Klein notes the coherence gap between Clinton and Trump, and what it means.

Of course, it’s obvious what it means. You couldn’t miss it. It rose off the debate like steam. Clinton has the skills needed for this job, and Trump does not. Trump does not remotely have those skills – not even a little bit. He doesn’t have truncated versions of those skills, he has their opposites. He doesn’t even know what the fuck he’s talking about.

Trump did his best to be fair. He interrupted Clinton 25 times in the debate’s first 26 minutes. He talked over both her and moderator Lester Holt with ease. But the show of dominance quickly ran into a problem: Trump would shout over his interlocutors only to prove he had nothing to say.

Trump’s riffs were dotted by baldfaced lies of the kind the press will easily check, but, more consequentially, he spoke in a barely coherent stream of consciousness.

He did. It was garble. At times he even interrupted his own self, by interjecting something completely random and then pausing, as if at the end of a sentence.

Klein does some compare and contrast. The “cyber” one was good:

Take Trump’s answer on cybersecurity:

As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said, we should be better than anybody else, and perhaps we’re not. I don’t know if we know it was Russia who broke into the DNC.

She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia. Maybe it was. It could also be China, it could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds. You don’t know who broke into DNC, but what did we learn? We learn that Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of by your people. By Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Look what happened to her. But Bernie Sanders was taken advantage of. Now, whether that was Russia, whether that was China, whether it was another country, we don’t know, because the truth is, under President Obama we’ve lost control of things that we used to have control over. We came in with an internet, we came up with the internet.

And I think Secretary Clinton and myself would agree very much, when you look at what ISIS is doing with the internet, they’re beating us at our own game. ISIS. So we have to get very, very tough on cyber and cyber warfare. It is a, it is a huge problem.

I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly doable. But I will say, we are not doing the job we should be doing, but that’s true throughout our whole governmental society. We have so many things that we have to do better, Lester, and certainly cyber is one of them.

Then he gives Clinton’s response, and it’s not like that.

Trump called her Miss Piggy and Miss Housekeeping

Sep 27th, 2016 9:53 am | By

Then there’s Trump’s attitude to women.

At the end of Monday night’s presidential debate, Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of taunting one of his former Miss Universe contestants about her weight.

Clinton said the Republican nominee’s criticisms of Alicia Machado, a Venezuelan who won the Miss Universe contest in 1996, was “one of the worst things he said” about women. “He called this woman Miss Piggy. Then he called her Miss Housekeeping because she was Latina.”

It’s a wonder he didn’t make her clean his toilets.

While Trump appeared to dispute Clinton’s accusation on the debate stage, he called into Fox and Friends Tuesday morning and once again called Machado fat.

“I know that person. That person was a Miss Universe person,” Trump told the Fox News morning show. “And she was the worst we ever had, the worst, the absolute worst, she was impossible,” he said. “She gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem. Not only that, her attitude.”

Trump had bought the Miss Universe pageant or contest or whatever it is, so he apparently considered Alicia Machado his property too.

With his past statements about Machado playing into critiques Clinton wanted to make at Monday night’s high-profile debate, the Clinton campaign was quick to pounce. An hour after the debate ended, her campaign tweeted a two-minute video about Machado’s experience with Trump.

“He was very overwhelming. I was very scared of him,” she says in Spanish. “He’d yell at me all the time. He’d tell me ‘you look ugly’ or ‘you look fat.’ Sometimes he’d ‘play’ with me and say ‘Hello Miss Piggy, hello Miss Housekeeping.’ “

Something else she says in that video is that she did a lot of commercials as Miss Universe, and her contract said she got ten percent of the revenue. She never got it. So she’s yet another employee stiffed by Trump the billionaire. Yeah, let’s make that guy president.

They put sand in his shoes

Sep 27th, 2016 9:41 am | By

Trump says they tampered with his microphone.

“I had a problem with a microphone that didn’t work,” he said on “Fox and Friends.” “My microphone was terrible. I wonder, was it set up that way on purpose? My microphone, in the room they couldn’t hear me, you know, it was going on and off. Which isn’t exactly great. I wonder if it was set up that way, but it was terrible.”

“It was on and off, and it was much lower than hers. I don’t want to believe in conspiracy theories, of course, but it was much lower than hers and it was crackling, and she didn’t have that problem,” he added. “That to me was a bad problem, you have a bum mic, it’s not exactly good.”

Is that right? I could hear him perfectly well – he was quite loud in fact. I could hear him the many times he interjected and interrupted. I could hear his “That’s called being smart” when Clinton pointed out he hadn’t paid any income tax in the two years for which we have the information. I could hear his “That’s good business” when Clinton pointed out that he rejoiced at the slump because it meant he could buy up properties cheaply. I could hear him clearly when he failed to complete sentence after sentence after sentence.

Trump also insisted that he does not have a cold or allergies when asked whether he was sniffling during the debate.

So it was coke?

Nightmare in session

Sep 26th, 2016 5:40 pm | By

Can I watch this thing? I don’t know. It will be torture.

Here’s one place to watch it: ABC on Facebook Live.

If we don’t see each other again…it was a good ride.


Sep 26th, 2016 3:11 pm | By

Maajid Nawaz on Facebook:

Protecting your right to do something, doesn’t mean I think you’re right to do it. Don’t ban the hijab, but don’t exoticise or glamourise it either. The#RegressiveLeft‘s pandering to conservative Islam has become so entrenched that Playboy magazine just featured a hijabi model, unironically billed as a symbol of an ‘independent woman’, a ‘Renegade’.

Image result for playboy hijab

Wearing the hijab does not make a woman a symbol of an independent woman. On the contrary, it makes her a symbol of a dependent, submissive, obedient woman, owned by men and dressed according to the dictates of clerical men.