Notes and Comment Blog

Oh won’t you stay-ay-ay just a little bit longer?

Oct 10th, 2016 4:32 pm | By

Paul Ryan got everybody on a conference call and said he and Trump are totally not friends any more.

Mr. Ryan informed Republican lawmakers on a morning conference call that he would never again campaign alongside Mr. Trump and would dedicate himself instead to defending the party’s majority in Congress, according to five lawmakers who participated in the call and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Effectively conceding defeat for his party in the presidential race, Mr. Ryan said his most urgent task was ensuring that Hillary Clinton did not enter the White House with Democratic control of the House and Senate, two lawmakers said.

Well there’s always gerrymandering oh right they did that already.

Trump fans were furious.

Mr. Trump’s candidacy was already in a dire condition before Mr. Ryan’s announcement. A poll published Monday by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found him trailing Mrs. Clinton by a wide margin and drawing less than 40 percent of the vote. The survey was taken before Sunday night’s debate.

Representative Scott Rigell of Virginia, a Republican who has long been opposed to Mr. Trump, said there was a general sense in the House that more humiliating disclosures about Mr. Trump were likely to come before Nov. 8, Election Day.

Well, you know, when you base a party on misogyny and racism and homophobia, that’s the kind of people you attract. We did warn you.

Mr. Trump’s campaign had hoped that the debate would halt an exodus of fellow Republicans from his candidacy, and it publicly implored members of the party on Monday morning to hang with him through Election Day.

After all, he’s such a great guy.

The opportunity

Oct 10th, 2016 12:16 pm | By

The Onion has it pretty much right.

Saying he hoped the Republican nominee could clear up the matter for American voters, moderator Anderson Cooper reportedly began the second presidential debate Sunday night by giving Donald Trump the opportunity to explain exactly what the fuck is wrong with him. “I’d like to start tonight’s proceedings by asking you, Mr. Trump, to explicitly lay out to the American people what the hell is fucking wrong with you?” said Cooper, adding that it would be helpful if the business magnate would expound on the specifics of why in God’s fucking name he says what he says and behaves the way he does, and how he could even begin to think that’s okay.

He sort of almost did, by telling Trump that what he described on that tape is sexual assault and then asking “Do you understand that?”

But Trump brushed it off with the lying nonsense about lox room bantz, and that was the end of it. It would have been good to see Anderson (I call him Anderson) pursue it, but he didn’t.

Guest post: Let’s start by not being that “they”

Oct 10th, 2016 11:39 am | By

Guest post by Bruce Gorton.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it”.

This is a man who has bragged about committing sexual assault and getting away with it – because he was famous.

That is infuriating in and of itself, but do you know what is worse?

Trump was right.

People knew Bill Cosby was a date rapist for years before finally the scandal exploded, and you can’t say nobody knew about Jimmy Saville, but “when you’re a star, they let you do it”.

Within atheism there is a tendency by some to defend sleazy actions by big names. There is an urge to forgive things in one that we would condemn in another, to keep this big ol’ tent open to harassers, abusers and other scuzzballs because they’re popular.

Well Trump just pulled the rug right out from under all of that. His words to me resonate beyond him, beyond his campaign.

His words weren’t simply the words of a man who should never be president, they were the words of a man who felt, by virtue of his celebrity, that he could get away with it.

And he was right.

Not being president is no punishment, I’m not president, chances are you’re not president, no, Trump got away with it, he made money as a reality TV star, still gets to claim to be super-rich, because “when you’re a star, they let you do it”.

Something needs to change, let’s start by not being that “they”.

Those who participate in this “banter” are rewarded

Oct 10th, 2016 11:32 am | By

Shaun Harper at the Washington Post says what we all know: that a lot of men do talk the way Trump talked on that tape.

At several moments throughout the campaign, I have felt that something about Trump was disturbingly familiar, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint it. After seeing the video of this presidential candidate and married man talking about kissing women, grabbing their vaginas and using his celebrity to get them to do whatever he wants, I now fully recognize the guy I have known since I was a teenage boy. The Trump on that video is a sexist, misogynistic, womanizing cheater who degrades and sometimes sexually assaults women. I know this man and so many like him. I wish I didn’t, yet I do, and I have for a long time.

Truth is, many men objectify women and say outrageously offensive things about their breasts, butts and other body parts in spaces we occupy with each other.

Of course they do. We know this. If we hadn’t  known it before we would know it now thanks to Reddit and Twitter and 4chan and all the rest of the shitbrew.

In his response to the video’s release, Trump explained that his comments were “locker room banter.”

Which we already knew. We know it’s a thing; the point is that it’s a bad thing. Racist banter around the ol’ burning cross is a bad thing, and sexist banter in the locker room is also a bad thing. “Banter” isn’t a certification of non-toxicity.

And such talk is not confined to gyms and country club showers, but occurs too often in other spaces where men are among other men — in fraternity houses, on golf courses, in barbershops, at bars. I have even seen men stand aside and engage in this kind of talk about moms at kids’ birthday parties. Unfortunately, the kinds of words we heard from Trump are commonly spoken when men are with other men. Those who participate in this “banter” are rewarded. Those who choose not to engage, and especially guys who critique such statements, have their masculinities questioned and risk being placed on the outskirts of social acceptance.

And there’s no magic mechanism that makes that harmless or benign. If men have a lot of practice talking that way about women, they don’t stay magically untouched by it when they’ve left the locker room. Contempt for women is pervasive, and lately we’ve been making negative progress – it’s been getting worse instead of better. This is a bad thing.

I have spent much of my career studying men and their masculinities. My research has put me in conversation with thousands of young men, mostly high school and college students. Many have told me that they learned to be Trumps in middle school, sometimes earlier. Media, parents, family members and peers shape how boys are taught to think and talk about women from a young age. While I am quite [a lot] older than they are, I still understand and relate to what my research participants tell me. The horrifying things Trump said in that video are comments I’ve heard from male friends of mine since I was a teenager. As a young boy, I witnessed older men appraise women’s bodies and heard them say what they would do sexually (for example, “Look at the ass on that one” and “I would bang her all night long”). Truth is, I have known Trumps most of my life.

It’s common, he says. Men encourage it, he says. Men rarely challenge it, he says.

And because bragging of this kind is common, men in my research confess that they don’t always recognize that they and their peers talk about women in deplorable ways. Hiding it behind the guise of “banter” or jokes only makes the problem worse by making it seemingly acceptable. It is unacceptable.

Note the way Trump attempted to do exactly that when Anderson Cooper asked him about it last night – he said no it was just locker room banter. That “no” is meaningless. “Locker room banter” is not a magic passport. We already know it was “banter”‘; we heard the laughter. We heard the loud, knowing, sniggering laughter, and we saw the men get out of the bus seconds later and greet the woman they’d been sniggering about as if she were pretty much human. We saw the transition between dudeworld and the real world, where it wouldn’t quite do for Trump to grab a woman between the legs when she said hello to him. We know what “banter” excuses: not one god damn thing.

Now Harper gets to the difficult part.

When men fail to challenge other men on troubling things they say about and do to women, we contribute to cultures that excuse sexual harassment, assault and other forms of gender violence. I know from my research that confronting male peers is difficult for a 14-year-old high school student-athlete who desperately wants his teammates to like and accept him. He needs his coach to step up and disrupt locker room banter.

But what if the coach is just another Trump, or Billy Bush? And what are the chances that he isn’t?

But too many adult men fall short of this ourselves, especially when we are in “men’s only” spaces with guys whom we need to affirm our masculinities.

I am fairly certain that hearing the vulgar words Trump spoke over a decade ago will compel many more women to vote against him next month. Electing the first female president will not end sexism, though, any more than electing Barack Obama ended racism. To make progress, men need to do more than vote against Trump. We must stand up to him and call out others who say things similar to what we heard him say on the video. We have to stop excusing the disgusting degradation of girls and women as “locker room banter.” Feminists and courageous others have done much to contest exchanges like the one between Trump and Bush. But it takes men like me to hold our friends accountable for things they say and do to objectify women. We must challenge their values, language and actions.

It takes men to do it not because men are better at it or because women are too weak to do it, but because men are the people allowed into men-only spaces.

I have known Trumps far too long — they are my friends, my fraternity brothers and so many other men with whom I routinely interact. I understand now, more than ever before, that letting them talk this way about women makes me just as sexist. By excusing their words and actions, I share some responsibility for rape, marital infidelity and other awful things that men do. I want other men to recognize this, too — not only because they have mothers, wives, sisters, aunts or daughters – but because sexism hurts all women and men in our society.

It’s poisonous. We need it to stop.


Oct 10th, 2016 10:56 am | By

Crude but fitting.

Also? His head, it is empty.

Oct 10th, 2016 9:47 am | By

Matt Yglesias points out the obvious but important fact that Trump is entirely unqualified to do the job he’s campaigning for.

Trump, it turns out, doesn’t really understand anything about how the American government or American public policy works. That the former host of The Apprentice isn’t really up to speed when it comes to the details of managing public affairs is a bit dull and unsurprising. But it deserves to be front and center in a campaign in 2016.

Above and beyond the wilder and more outrageous sides of Donald Trump’s history and persona is the simple fact that he has no idea what he’s talking about. You wouldn’t ask Barack Obama to pilot a submarine — he has no idea how — and Donald Trump has no more business piloting the ship of state.

He doesn’t even know how to do something as basic to the job as talk coherently. He exclaims and interjects and bounces from one thought to the next within a single sentence. He talks like a toddler on a sugar high. He’s a hot mess.

Policy issues were not really central to the second debate any more than they were to the first debate or, really, the entire 2016 campaign. Once again, we sat through an entire 90-minute debate in which nobody was asked about climate change. Once again, Clinton’s main argument was about Trump’s character and temperament and Trump’s main argument was about Clinton’s honesty and insider status.

But the presidency is important largely because the president is an important policymaker. And Trump has no grasp of any policy issues — he can’t describe his own tax plan, and in an answer about judicial nominations he didn’t seem to know the names of any of the people on his own short list.

That’s what servants are for.

Nobody — even the best presidents — is conversant in every policy issue under the sun. But Trump appears not to be conversant in any of them. And he doesn’t care. When his ignorance is revealed, he doesn’t study up and do better next time. He figures it doesn’t matter and he moves on.

But try to picture a man serving as president who has no idea what he’s doing. A man who doesn’t understand why a junior senator can’t unilaterally change the tax code, or that Russia has had nuclear weapons for a long time, or who regulates health care, or what a safe zone is, or where Syrians come from. It’s alarming. And even while people strive to stay shocked by the most outlandish of Trump’s behaviors, it’s also worth stayed focused on his most banal failings — he’s a rich kid and reality television star who seems somewhat talented at bilking people out of money, who for some reason wants to be president.

Wants to be, and is not at all abashed at the fact that he knows nothing whatsoever about it.

Trump’s lies

Oct 10th, 2016 9:09 am | By

David Leonhardt at the Times gives us a long list of Trump’s lies in the debate, each with its corroborating link.

He lied about a sex tape.

He lied about his lies about ‘birtherism.’

He lied about the growth rate of the American economy.

He lied about the state of the job market.

[many more]

He lied about her email deletion.

He lied about Obamacare, more than once.

He lied about the rape of a 12-year-old girl.

He lied about his history of groping women without their consent.

Finally, he broke with basic democratic norms and called on his political opponent to be jailed — because, in large part, of what he described as her dishonesty.

That was a moment that caused a physical jolt of shock in me, and I’m confident I’m not the only one. That snarled, “Because you’d be in jail” – that was a bucket of ice water.

This is the second time I’ve summarized a presidential debate by listing Donald Trump’s untruths, and there’s a reason. The country has never had a presidential candidate who lies the way that he does – relentlessly.

Yes, virtually every politician, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and George W. Bush, strays from the truth at times. To be fair, virtually every human being does. But Trump is fundamentally different.

His gamble is plain enough: He believes he can fool a lot of the American people a lot of the time. He has decided that lying pays.

It was making me squirm with fury, and again I know I’m not the only one. It made me squirm with fury because in the moment he basically gets away with it – Raddatz and Cooper only rarely pointed out the lies, and Clinton was forced to point them out as a group rather than individually – because there were so damn many. He gets away with it because neither the moderators nor Clinton can be saying “That’s not true!” every ten seconds. He gets away with it by doing so much of it. It’s a disgusting spectacle.

He’s going to lose, but the damage he’s done and will continue to do is not going anywhere. He’s our Hitler and we’re stuck with him.

Told you

Oct 10th, 2016 8:16 am | By

Because we have to laugh if we want to avoid putting our fists through windows.

Michael Koh on Twitter:


Monday morning nausea

Oct 10th, 2016 7:58 am | By

This isn’t a political campaign, it’s a Playboy article from the 70s. It’s heads he wins tails she loses. It’s one greedy man’s sexual assaults up against a woman who is blamed for another greedy man’s sexual predations. Two men are greedy sexual predators, yet somehow one of them gets away with blaming a woman for the other one. Trump is a pig, Bill Clinton is a pig, but Trump is attacking Hillary Clinton because Bill Clinton is a pig. How does that work?? How is Hillary Clinton responsible for Bill Clinton’s piggery?

Ok in the bigger picture you can make a case that she helped enable him by not leaving him yadda yadda – but the fact remains that it’s Trump who’s the rapey wife-dumping pig, and it makes me want to resign from the human species to watch all these piggy men using Bill Clinton’s fucking around as a weapon against Hillary Clinton.

Grown men on Trump’s team tried hard to get Bill Clinton’s victims seated in Trump’s family box at the debate. Trump is a rapey pig, so they tried to deflect attention to his opponent’s spouse.

Donald Trump’s campaign sought to intimidate Hillary Clinton and embarrass her husband by seating women who have accused former president Bill Clinton of sexual abuse in the Trump family’s box at the presidential debate here Sunday night, according to four people involved in the discussions.

The campaign’s plan, which was closely held and unknown to several of Trump’s top aides, was thwarted just minutes before it could be executed when officials with the Commission on Presidential Debates intervened. The commission officials warned that, if the Trump campaign tried to seat the accusers in the elevated family box, security officers would remove the women, according to the people involved, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussions were confidential.

Bill Clinton is not the candidate. Hillary Clinton is not the one who abused those women.

“We were going to put the four women in the VIP box,” said former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who represents Trump in debate negotiations. “We had it all set. We wanted to have them shake hands with Bill, to see if Bill would shake hands with them.”

He’s another one of these sexually greedy pig-bros. They’ve got each other’s backs.

Giuliani said [Trump campaign chief executive Stephen] Bannon kept pushing to have the women come out until three minutes before the debate began.

“But we pulled it because we were going to have a big incident on national TV,” Giuliani said. “Frank Fahrenkopf stopped us, and we weren’t going to have a fight on national TV with the commission to start the debate.”

Bannon declined to comment late Sunday, but his role in coming up with the idea was confirmed by multiple Trump campaign advisers.

Men. Men attacking a woman by throwing her husband’s prey at her.

It’s a god damn frat party, not an election.

Their bodies exist for us to look at and do sex to

Oct 9th, 2016 12:10 pm | By

Alexandra Petri has good sarcasm on Trump’s manual dexterity and the claim that it’s “just” locker room bantz.

Ah, yes, just locker room banter. As far as I can tell, the conversations in men’s locker rooms all must go something like this.

First man: Phew! Thank goodness. It was exhausting to have to walk through the world talking to all those women as though they were just people, like us. Clearly, they are not. They are women. Their bodies exist for us to look at and do sex to.

Second Man: I do sex constantly! I obtained a great deal of sex today from the many walking sex dispensers that are to be found drifting through the world! I must obtain as much as possible from the best-looking dispensers so that I can win respect from fellow men like you!

One pictures Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd in the flowery shirts.

It must be nice to have a magical room where you can go, drop your pants and pretend for a few glorious hours that women are not people.

A repellent, but remarkably unexamined, idea that we carry around in society with us is the notion that somehow this is okay. That this is just boys being boys.  where they can stop the exhausting charade of acting as though women contain the same internal worlds that they do themselves.

This is what it gets back to: the idea that men are people, and women are just women.


It’s the idea behind the “man cave,” a phrase that makes me want to scream every time I hear it. Men need to Get Away to nurture their rich inner lives, and women are fine just staying in the public part of the house, because they have no rich inner lives to nurture.

Banter is a ritualised social practice essential to structural sexual inequality.

Oct 9th, 2016 11:26 am | By

Deborah Cameron has written a post that explains everything about Trump and That Tape and banter and structural sexual inequality. Drop everything and read it.

She starts with the first part of the tape.

In this sequence Trump is not boasting about having sex: he’s telling a personal anecdote about an occasion when he didn’t manage to have sex (‘I failed I’ll admit it’). He then returns to what seems to be the original topic, how to assess the woman’s physical attractiveness. The first speaker’s turn suggests that this has diminished over time (‘she used to be great’), but whereas he thinks ‘she’s still very beautiful’, Trump’s reference to her ‘big phony tits’ implies that he no longer finds her as desirable.

What’s going on here is gossip. Like the young men’s gossip I discussed in my earlier post, this is judgmental talk about an absent other which serves to reinforce group norms (in this case, for male heterosexual behaviour and for female attractiveness).

This is what people with PhDs in linguistics are for innit – bringing into focus things we’d sort of seen but only sort of. I’d sort of seen that all this bro talk about which woman is hot and which is below their high standard was an established ritual of some sort, but I hadn’t seen quite that – that it’s judgmental talk about an absent other which serves to reinforce group norms (in this case, for male heterosexual behaviour and for female attractiveness). They bond via judging the hotness of women. Judging strictly is part of it – it wouldn’t do to bounce like a puppy over every eligible (i.e. under 35) woman, because that would be naïf and weak. Real Men will admire only the best.

Then the “just kiss them…grab them by the pussy” section.

Trump’s contribution to this extract looks more like the ‘sex boast’ of the news headlines. But we shouldn’t overlook the fact that this too is an enactment of male bonding. Trump, the alpha male of the group, takes centre stage, but the other men support him throughout with affiliative responses–saying ‘woah’ and ‘yes’, echoing his sentiments (‘Trump: you can do anything’/ ‘Bush: whatever you want’), and above all, greeting his most overtly offensive remarks with laughter. They laugh when he says he doesn’t wait for permission to kiss a woman; they laugh again when he mentions ‘grab[bing] [women] by the pussy’. (You can listen for yourself, but my assessment of this laughter is that it’s appreciative rather than embarrassed, awkward or forced.)

I think it’s a little bit embarrassed as well as appreciative…or not so much embarrassed as…a little startled? There’s a tiny pause before the burst of laughter – it sounds like “Oh no you didn’t!” Not disapproving, but maybe surprised that he would be that disinhibited with them. Shock jock stuff, in short.

What Cameron says about it is brilliant.

The transgressiveness of sexual banter–its tendency to report markedly offensive acts or desires in deliberately offensive (or in the media’s terms, ‘lewd’) language, is not just accidental, a case of men allowing the mask to slip when they think they’re alone. It’s deliberate, and it’s part of the bonding process. Like the sharing of secrets, the sharing of transgressive desires, acts and words is a token of intimacy and trust. It says, ‘I am showing that I trust you by saying things, and using words, that I wouldn’t want the whole world to hear’.

That confirms the way I heard the laughter at “grab her by the pussy” – they were startled that he trusted them, when he’s the alpha and they’re underlings.

Anyway the point is that men [of this type] use contempt for women to bond with each other. No wonder misogyny is so entrenched.

This, Cameron goes on, is why the perps get so indignant that their “banter” is being taken out of context.

Public exposure does literally take this kind of conversation out of its original context (the metaphorical ‘locker room’, a private, all-male setting). And when the talk is removed from that context, critics will focus on its referential content rather than its interpersonal function. They won’t appreciate (or care) that what’s primarily motivating the boasting, the misogyny, the offensive language and the laughter isn’t so much the speakers’ hatred of women as their investment in their fraternal relationship with each other.

Oh, that “click” of recognition. Yeah.

Of course, I’ve had a lot of practice in recognizing this pattern over the past few years – watching a crowd of mostly male people creating a sibling relationship with each other via misogyny and laughter. The internet is a device for making a million locker rooms public space.

As I said before, though, that’s not meant to be an excuse: I’m not suggesting that banter isn’t ‘really’ sexist or damaging to women. On the contrary, I’m trying to suggest that it’s more damaging than most critical discussions acknowledge. Banter is not just what commentators on the Trump tape have mostly treated it as–a window into the mind of an individual sexist or misogynist. It’s a ritualised social practice which contributes to the maintenance of structural sexual inequality.


I want to quote every word of this but it’s Deborah’s, not mine; be sure to read the whole thing. I’m tempted to memorize it.

She points out that all the public men now rebuking Trump and invoking their daughters have very likely done the same thing themselves.

Whatever their actual attitudes to women, as members of the US political elite these men have had to be assiduous in forging fraternal bonds with other powerful men. And wherever there are fraternal bonds there will also be banter.

And this, you know, is one of many reasons it really is necessary to engineer things so that women are present in the workplace. We break that shit up. I’ve seen it happen.

Feminists generally refer to the social system in which men dominate women as ‘patriarchy’, the rule of the fathers, but some theorists have suggested that in its modern (post-feudal) forms it might more aptly be called ‘fratriarchy’, the rule of the brothers, or in Carole Pateman’s term, ‘fraternal patriarchy’. Banter is fraternal patriarchy’s verbal glue. It strengthens the bonds of solidarity among male peers by excluding, Othering and dehumanising women; and in doing those things it also facilitates sexual violence.

Yes yes yes.

I’m just going to stop abruptly there, because there’s nothing I don’t want to quote. Read it.

Sad and rejected on the 66th floor

Oct 9th, 2016 9:50 am | By

Aww. The Times reports that Trump had nowhere to go Saturday afternoon. The mean kids told him he couldn’t come to the party after all, and he had nowhere else to go, so he had to sit home alone while everyone else had fun.

Mr. Trump was asked to stay away from a party gathering Saturday afternoon in Wisconsin, where Speaker Paul D. Ryan and other state luminaries took the stage, a striking rebuke that left the Republican nominee for president with no place to go on a Saturday 31 days before the election.

So he remained inside his enormous penthouse apartment on the 66th floor, and his corporate suite 40 stories below, for almost all of Friday and Saturday.


At times he was joined by his small circle of loyalists, who arrived to prepare him for Sunday night’s debate against Hillary Clinton but instead spent much of the time trying to figure out how to undo the damage wrought by the surfacing of an 11-year-old video recording on which he can be heard gleefully describing pushing himself on women and sexually assaulting them.

There you go. That’s how to report it – gleefully describing pushing himself on women and sexually assaulting them. Finally; thank you.

And there’s no way those fuckers can “undo” the “damage” that wrought, because it shows what Trump is: a callous greedy entitled pig of a man who likes to assault women he considers hot.

At other times, Mr. Trump retreated to Twitter, where he retweeted posts from an account that says it belongs to a woman who had long ago accused Bill Clinton of rape.

Mr. Trump called a few reporters but lacked his usual gusto.

And he kept returning to watching coverage on CNN, the cable outlet he derides as biased against him but still tunes in to most often, and becoming more upset as he saw Republican officials condemn him one by one.

Mr. Trump has been rattled by the release of the 2005 video recording, according to two people with direct knowledge of his mood who were granted anonymity to candidly describe the situation.

Yes, they have direct knowledge in the sense that they were in the room. They had to, to know he was veering between Twitter and CNN.

They urged him to be humble, and he thought he had been. I believe it. He has the self-awareness of a hammer.

To him, the criticism was an affirmation that “nothing he can say or do” would reduce the hostility directed his way, according to one of the people with knowledge of how he feels.

Jesus. One, welcome to politics, dude. Two, the hostility is rooted in Trump’s own behavior. Three, I can actually think of some things he could do to reduce the hostility a little, but he would never ever do them, because he’s a bad man. Four, did he think running for president would lead to universal love for him?

Inside the tower on Saturday, different plans of action were discussed. Mr. Trump and his advisers considered a joint television interview that he and Ms. Trump would give to a major network, an echo of the 1992 appearance by the Clintons on “60 Minutes” after Gennifer Flowers claimed that she had had an affair with Mr. Clinton.

They were talking away about it, despite Trump’s lack of enthusiasm, but then more happened.

Nancy O’Dell, the former “Access Hollywood” host whom Mr. Trump had lewdly described in the recording, issued a statement denouncing his comments. And then more tapes of Mr. Trump speaking crudely about women, this time on “The Howard Stern Show,” turned up on television.

That was the end of the interview idea.

Mr. Christie and Mr. Priebus told Mr. Trump that the situation with other Republicans was becoming dire. Other advisers assured Mr. Trump that attacking Mrs. Clinton over her husband’s behavior with women, and over reports that she had defended his behavior, would help rally Republicans again.

Yeah, go with that – attack the woman for what her husband did. That’s a good look. That will turn the whole thing around, I’m sure.

A long history with Trump

Oct 9th, 2016 9:25 am | By

Margaret Sullivan at the Washington Post wonders why NBC sat on the Trump tape for so long.

Why didn’t NBC News do the basic journalistic work of working through its own company’s archives on Trump months ago?

It may have to do with the split between the entertainment and the news divisions — both “The Apprentice” and “Access Hollywood” are products of NBC’s entertainment side, not its news side. NBC’s news reporters are often excellent — Katy Tur, for example, has covered the Trump campaign with admirable intelligence and assertiveness, and has taken a lot of flak from the campaign for doing so.

NBC’s entertainment division has had a long history with Trump because the network was the home of “The Apprentice,” which made him a reality-TV star. Separately, Trump did hundreds of interviews with NBC for “Access Hollywood.” That means there are two separate caches of Trump-on-tape that could yield news.

Maybe the people in News just don’t talk to the people in Entertainment. Clearly they should have.

One troubling factor is that “Access Hollywood’s” segment on Trump’s horrifyingly lewd RAPEY comments — despite their stunning news value — was not scheduled to appear immediately, a spokeswoman confirmed. That only changed when news of The Post’s imminent article forced producers’ hands; they aired it Friday night, after all.

Why this material was left in the hands of an entertainment show, and not the news division, was something I couldn’t get an answer to on Saturday. And when would it have run? Since the segment wasn’t scheduled for Friday, the earliest possibility on the entertainment magazine show would have been Monday.

After the debate – the only debate moderated by a woman, Sullivan points out.

ay Rosen of New York University told me Saturday that it shouldn’t have taken very long to make the video public.

Because it was NBC’s own recording, there should have been no question about authenticity, and, as he put it, “the tape is the story.” Reaction from the campaign was the only thing left to do. “That’s an hour,” as he put it.

What’s more, NBC’s Billy Bush — a former co-host of “Access Hollywood” and now a co-host of its “Today” show, which is on the news side of NBC — knew about it for 11 years but apparently didn’t see it as newsworthy.

Or didn’t see it as something he wanted to point out to people, given all his sycophantic laughter on that tape, and his nasty “Don’t you want to give him a hug?” when he and Trump left the trailer.

There is significant public interest in knowing the answers to these questions. NBC owes it to the American electorate to answer them clearly.

Without adequate answers from the top, made publicly, it may not be unreasonable to conclude that one of the nation’s largest news companies simply wasn’t doing its job.

Does the tape shed a flattering light on NBC? No it does not.

Drop the L word

Oct 9th, 2016 8:19 am | By

The news media have had enough time now to grasp that the issue is not that Trump’s remarks were “lewd.” It’s that they were contemptuous, hostile, dehumanizing, and that they boasted of sexual assault.

The BBC for instance.

More senior Republicans have withdrawn support for US presidential candidate Donald Trump after his obscene remarks about women became public.

“Obscene” is not the issue. Pee po belly bum drawers.

One of the Republican support-withdrawers says it when the BBC couldn’t manage to:

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte said in a statement: “I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women,” she said.

There. It doesn’t take many words. It’s not that he said “pussy,” it’s that he said “you [meaning men, or rather himself] can grab their pussy.” It’s that he said you can assault them and get away with it. The obscene word isn’t “pussy,” it’s “grab.”

You know what a 10 is?

Oct 8th, 2016 2:41 pm | By

CNN has been looking through Trump’s many appearances on the radio show of “shock jock” (i.e. flaming asshole) Howard Stern.

In more than one interview with Stern, Trump took part in conversations about Ivanka Trump’s appearance, including one about the size of her breasts.

In an October 2006 interview, Stern remarks that Ivanka “looks more voluptuous than ever,” and asked if she had gotten breast implants. Trump is willing to engage in the discussion about his own daughter, telling Stern that she did not get implants.

“She’s actually always been very voluptuous,” Trump responds. “She’s tall, she’s almost 6 feet tall and she’s been, she’s an amazing beauty.”

She’s a fine fine hamburger.

In another interview, from September 2004, Stern asks Trump if he can call Ivanka “a piece of ass,” to which Trump responds in the affirmative.

“My daughter is beautiful, Ivanka,” says Trump.

“By the way, your daughter,” says Stern.

“She’s beautiful,” responds Trump.

“Can I say this? A piece of ass,” Stern responds.

“Yeah,” says Trump.

Fine hamburger.

In his interviews with Stern, Trump discussed leaving women after a certain age and dating younger women.

In a 2002 appearance, Trump calls 30 “a perfect age.”

“Until she’s 35,” a co-host interjects.

“What is it at 35? It’s called check-out time,” Trump responds.

Hamburger overcooked.

They graded women. (I wonder if they ever graded themselves. Hahaha no I don’t; of course they didn’t. The eater grades the hamburger, the hamburger doesn’t grade the eater.)

“She’s hot, she’s hot though right?,” Stern asked Trump of [Elin] Nordegren, after Trump said he’s talked to [Tiger] Woods since his sex scandal broke in the news.

‘Yeah, she’s fine,” said Trump.

“You don’t think she’s that hot?,” Stern asked.

“It depends by what standard,” Trump replied. “What standard are you judging?”

“I have a very high standard,” added Trump. “Howard knows, because he got me in a lot of trouble once, he went over a list of 15 supermodels. You remember the list of supermodels. And he’d ask me, ‘how was she?’ How was she?’ And I was married at the time, you know this was not a good question to be asking.”

“I think she’s good,” Trump added of Nordegren’s attractiveness.

“No, I’d say she’s a solid nine, solid nine yeah,” Trump said, when asked how he’d rate her.

When Stern suggested to him he should do a show where he just rates women, Trump said, “That may be the best idea of all I would say I’m the all-time judge, don’t forget, I own the Miss Universe pageant.”

“Mr. Trump I’m asking you directly, is her ass too big?” Stern asked.

“No,” Trump replied.

“Body perfect?” Stern asked.

“Very nice,” responded Trump.

“She’s very nice, is she a 10, you know what a 10 is?” Trump asked.

It’s whatever you say it is, Mr Trump. You’re the judge. Women are just so much meat.


Oct 8th, 2016 2:27 pm | By

McCain has dumped Trump.

John McCain has withdrawn his endorsement of Donald Trump. Notably, McCain explains his decision not by criticizing the language or tone the Trump used in the Washington Post video, but by citing the conduct Trump was describing. McCain does not shy away from calling that conduct “sexual assault.” Here’s McCain’s full statement, which also mentions Trump’s attacks on Judge Curiel, the Khan family, and the Central Park Five:

Tic Tic repudiates Trump

Oct 8th, 2016 2:18 pm | By

Alice Dreger tweets:

I think this @nytimes reader is right. Same reason GOP guys mention daughters in denunciations; we are valuable cows.

Ron Howard:

Trumps says “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am,” Sorry but I know people who do know him – it is exactly who he is.

Bina Shah:

You can’t even tell Trump, “How would you like it if someone talked about your daughter like that” – because he has already.

Saladin Ahmed:

remember that this is the sack of shit insisting we can’t let immigrant men in because they’ll assault women

Tic Tac:

Tic Tac respects all women. We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable.


Also in Trump

Oct 8th, 2016 12:11 pm | By

Trump is belching out so much evil we can’t keep up. There was also the fact that he made a point of telling CNN that the Central Park 5 were too so guilty.

Wading into a racially-charged case from his past, Donald Trump indicated that the “Central Park Five” were guilty, despite [the fact that they were] officially exonerated by DNA evidence decades after a notorious 1989 rape case.

“They admitted they were guilty,” Trump said to CNN in a statement.

“The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.”

The five men were convicted as teenagers after implicating each other under intense questioning over a brutal sexual assault on a jogger that dominated the tabloids. Defenders said they were coerced into confessing and all five were later cleared by DNA evidence and a separate confession in 2002 from another criminal who took credit for the assault.

New York paid them $41 million in compensation.

Trump took out a full-page ad at the time of the crime calling for New York to reinstate the death penalty in response.

The case was notable for its racial politics: Four of the Central Park Five were black and one was Latino while the victim was a white banker.

He’s a terrible man.


Oct 8th, 2016 11:49 am | By

Jonah Goldberg on Twitter:

Annoying responses: 1) All men talk like this (nope) 2) This is an aberration for Trump (nope) 3) No one could have predicted this (nope).

Matthew Yglesias:

It’s too bad for GOP elected officials that there was literally no way they could have known before today that Trump was a gross misogynist.

Ariel Edwards-Levy:

I’m calling for a total and complete shutdown of Donald Trump interacting with women until we can figure out what is going on.

Jonathan Chait:

I am working on a pet theory that Donald Trump is an extremely bad person.

Will Rahn:

BUSH COMPOUND, DECEMBER 2015 — JEB: We must stop Trump. Any ideas?

GWB: Nope

GHWB: Sorry no

BILLY: Nope, no idea, nothing, zilch, zero


A power structure on which he knowingly capitalizes

Oct 8th, 2016 11:17 am | By

James Hamblin at the Atlantic points out that “graphic” sex talk is a good thing. That’s not what Trump was doing.

The thing about the Republican’s words isn’t that they’re explicit or graphic. It’s that they’re misogynistic, coercive, abusive, and dehumanizing. And as my colleague David Graham notes, illegal: The candidate is describing forcing himself on women, bragging that they’re disinclined to object because of a power structure on which he knowingly capitalizes.

Framing this as lewd, even extremely so, is a reminder of the frequent reluctance to name sexual assault. Explicit conversations are a different thing, a part of life central to mature sexuality.

Precisely. Mutual (in other words consensual) sex talk is a very different thing from what Trump was doing. He was talking about women the way he would talk about a hamburger if he hadn’t eaten in hours. Mutuality had nothing to do with it. The woman is a thing, with legs that make him shout “Whoa! Whoa!” and a mouth he’ll just start kissing and a pussy he can grab. He’s the one who grabs, and she’s the thing who is grabbed.

Like Trump, ever more Americans seem to feel that masculinity (as they understand it, narrowly defined) is threatened. It’s threatened specifically by “PC culture,” often used as a sweeping indictment of any attempt at decency. My colleague Molly Ball spoke to some of these men recently at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania, men with chin-strap beards and novelty t-shirts calling Hillary Clinton a bitch because “it’s funny.”

Some guy on Facebook yesterday posted about Trump’s rapey blurts, but he prefaced what he said with “Sorry, ladies, but this is how men talk.” No it isn’t. It’s how a lot of men talk, but it’s not how men in general talk. We don’t have to normalize it and we certainly don’t have to put up with it.