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Colbert on the debate

Colbert on the debate

by digby

Just so good:


He said people who pay taxes are stupid

He said people who pay taxes are stupid

by digby

The Washington Post reported on a debate focus group:

Trump’s response Monday night when Hillary Clinton accused him of not paying a cent of federal tax left Townley appalled.

“That makes me smart,” Trump said, unapologetic and smiling, during the presidential debate, held in Hempstead, N.Y.

Hillary Clinton suggested a few reasons why Donald Trump is not releasing his tax returns during the first presidential debate, suggesting "maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is" and that he doesn't pay federal income taxes. "That makes me smart," Trump interjected. 

That comment caused a gasp in the hotel conference room where Townley and five other undecided voters in this ­battleground state were watching the debate.

“That’s offensive. I pay taxes,” said Townley, 52, a program ­director for a local council of governments.

“Another person would be in jail for that,” said Jamilla Hawkins, 33, who was sitting beside him in the Crescent conference room at the Embassy Suites in this city of 150,000 near Raleigh.

That focus group of undecided voters mostly seemed to be people who had never seen Donald Trump before.

First a black man, now a woman and it’s just too much

First a black man, now a woman and it's just too much

by digby

I wrote about the problem of the one-two punch for Salon today:

It has always seemed to me that the extremely close presidential primary campaign of 2008 signaled that America was at a pivotal moment in its history. As the vehicle for social progress and the home of most racial minorities and women, the Democratic Party was naturally the institution that would advance two breakthrough leaders in succession. The time had come, the country had changed and I naively thought it would be easy.

As it turned out, there was an immediate, fierce backlash against the ascendancy of Barack Obama to the presidency called the Tea Party. It was portrayed as a revolutionary anti-government movement but when scholars studied these folks, it turned out that they were simply garden-variety conservatives after all — and they were very, very angry. Harvard’s Theda Skocpol, author of “The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism,” with Vanessa Williamson, explained to Salon in 2013 that Tea Party attitudes about taxes and government reflected something deeper:

There’s no question that at the grass roots, approximately half of all Republican-identifiers who think of themselves as Tea Partyers are a very conservative-minded old group of white people, some of whom do go all the way back to [Barry] Goldwater and the [John] Birch Society. They are skeptical of the Republican Party as it has been run in recent years. But they both hate and fear the Democratic Party and Obama. We argued in many ways that anger comes from alarm on the part of these older conservatives that they’re losing their country — that’s what they say. That they’re the true Americans, and they’re losing control of American politics.
Nothing symbolized that “loss of control” more than the African-American president sitting in the White House. Sadly, it turns out that these older, more affluent conservatives weren’t the only ones who felt that way. White working-class Americans, particularly men, were growing more and more angry about losing their place in the hierarchy of privilege. These two groups make up the Republican coalition that is now expressing the right-wing backlash in the form of explicit white nationalism.

After dealing with a black president and his family occupying the White House for eight long years, accepting a woman taking the job immediately thereafter is more than they can bear. As the National Rifle Association’s president, Wayne LaPierre, quipped, “I have to tell you, eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough.”

The right-wing opposition’s response to the “demographically symbolic” female candidate has been to nominate a famously crude misogynist to restore white male authority once and for all. Rebecca Traister memorably explained it in this Hillary Clinton profile in New York magazine a few months back:

There is an Indiana Jones–style, “It had to be snakes” inevitability about the fact that Donald Trump is Clinton’s Republican rival. Of course Hillary Clinton is going to have to run against a man who seems both to embody and have attracted the support of everything male, white and angry about the ascension of women and black people in America. . . . Of course a woman who wants to land in the Oval Office is going to have to get past an aggressive reality-TV star who has literally talked about his penis in a debate.
Because, of course, conservatives on the right was not going to be able to tolerate yet another living symbol of progress that they see as forcing them further back in the line.

This explains to some extent why we don’t see the kind of rapturous excitement at this “first” that we saw in 2008 for Obama. The sense of violence and hostility that was bubbling just under the surface then and that churned throughout the Obama years has now exploded. It’s frightening and disorienting and it forces optimism to the down-low. The atmosphere is more like a war than a movement.

Clinton’s ad campaign shows the terrain on which this war is being fought. There have been plenty of standard issues ads and character studies, but her most effective spots are those that simply use Donald Trump’s own words against him, showing him insulting people and expressing himself in crude, bullying fashion. They’re presented from the point of view of kids, veterans, seniors, individuals with disabilities, people of color and women who can see how this man who tells his voters, “I am your voice” talks about them.

The ads are not about Clinton and they aren’t really about Trump. They are about us and what Trump’s followers really think of us.

This one, called “Mirrors,” is one of the most powerful:

Many fathers who see the ad are appalled that their daughters have to live in a world where someone like Donald Trump is an acceptable leader. That’s why the experience of Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe who has come forward with her story of being humiliated at Trump’s hands, has such resonance with women and Latinos.

It’s why people with disabilities and their families are frightened by Trump’s cruel mockery of a reporter. It’s the reason that African-Americans feel a chill down their spines when they hear Trump say that the way to achieve racial healing is “law and order” and “stop-and-frisk.” It’s why millions of Americans of all races and creeds were stunned at his blithe dismissal of Khan family members and their sacrifice. These are the people on the other side of all that angry white grievance.

It’s not a coincidence that the first African-American president may be followed by the first woman president. Progress requires that you let the momentum carry you when you have it. But it also shouldn’t be a surprise that the first would enter office on a high note of inspiration and the second would face the inevitable backlash. We should have seen it coming. I get the feeling that Hillary Clinton did.


It’s not about her “health”

It's not about her "health"

by digby

Hopefully her debate performance set some minds at ease but I doubt it will have affected many men's point of view on this. It's not about "health" it's a that a woman doesn't have balls and they mean that literally. They just don't think a woman has can do a "man's job."

The "stamina," the "look": A new poll suggests voters are buying in to Donald Trump's insinuations about Hillary Clinton's health. They're ignoring the medical reports.

Voters — especially men — have more confidence that Trump is healthy enough for the presidency than Clinton, according to the Associated Press-GfK poll.

It's a disconnect considering Clinton has released more medical information than Trump, and that outside doctors who've looked at the available data say both candidates seem fine. But it shows the political points Trump scored after the Democratic nominee's much-publicized mild case of pneumonia.

Another gender divide: Nearly half of women but just 4 in 10 men think Clinton's health is getting too much attention, found the poll, which was taken before the presidential candidates' debate on Monday.

"Everybody gets sick," said Sherri Smart, 56, of New York. She said she hasn't decided who to vote for but wishes the candidates would discuss issues instead of sniping about who's most vigorous.

"What's important is, what are you going to do for me?" Smart said.

The AP-GfK poll found 51 percent of voters are very or extremely confident that Trump is healthy enough to be president. In contrast, just over a third of voters — 36 percent — had the same confidence in Clinton's health.

Men are more likely to question Clinton's physical fitness for the job, with 45 percent saying they're only slightly or not at all confident compared to 34 percent of women. Men and women are about equally likely to express confidence in Trump's health. More Democrats are confident of Trump's health than Republicans are of Clinton's.

Health is a legitimate issue as the nation is poised to elect one of its oldest presidents. Trump, 70, for months held off disclosing much about his own fitness while stoking questions about a woman in the White House with his assertion, repeated on national TV Monday, that Clinton lacks the look and stamina for the job. (As for his apparent sniffles during Monday's debate, he blamed a bad microphone.)

"Stamina is a code word for maybe not physically up to the job," said New York University bioethicist Arthur Caplan, who has called for an independent panel to certify the health of presidential candidates. "There's something of a bias about men versus women that subtly Trump has played to, that men are more fit, tough enough to do the job."

Clinton, 68, last year released more detail about her own health history only to buy trouble earlier this month by refusing to take a sick day until a public stumble forced her to reveal the pneumonia diagnosis. But Monday she rebutted Trump's talk of stamina by wondering if he could match her grueling schedule as a secretary of state — traveling to 112 countries, negotiating peace deals, spending 11 hours testifying before a congressional committee.

What exactly do we know about their health? Neither has released their actual medical records, just a summary from their personal physicians with no way to know if anything important was left out.

Yet another disconnect: The AP-GfK poll found nearly 4 in 10 voters don't consider such a release important, and another 2 in 10 say it's only moderately important.

Trump's gastroenterologist in December released a four-paragraph letter saying the GOP nominee would be "the healthiest individual ever elected." Earlier this month, Trump took to "The Dr. Oz Show" to say he felt great, while releasing a bit more detail, such as his cholesterol levels and cancer screenings.

Bottom line: Trump takes a cholesterol-lowering statin medication and a baby aspirin, has some mild plaque in his arteries and is overweight — but was declared generally in good health.

Last summer, Clinton's internist released a two-page letter detailing her family history, prior exams including lab test results, and some prior ailments that have healed — including a 2012 concussion and blood clot Clinton suffered after becoming dehydrated from a stomach virus and fainting. This month, a second letter outlined the mild pneumonia and revealed some updated check-up results.

Bottom line: Clinton takes a blood thinner as a precaution given a history of blood clots, as well as a thyroid medication and allergy relievers — but also was declared generally in good health.

Meanwhile, Trump's obvious mental problems are no big deal and neither is the fact that his primary care "doctor" is a gastro-enterolgist who looks and acts like a character from an R. Crumb comic. This raises no red flags for these people, apparently. But then he has reassured them that he has a huge dick and his testosterone level are through the roof!

This is Drudge's doing all the way.


Using Feces to Identify Species [Life Lines]

According to a press release from Northern Arizona University, Drs. Faith Walker and Carol Chambers at the Bat Ecology & Genetics Lab have developed a system called Species From Feces to identify bat species from guano collected in field locations such as mines, caves, bridges, etc. The system takes advantage of DNA sequencing technology and an assay…

And Trump had the nerve to call women pigs

And Trump had the nerve to call women pigs

by digby

I would call him and his disgusting surrogate Rudy Giuliani pigs but it would be an insult to the animals which actually have a much higher level of intelligence:

The former New York City mayor made the remark, captured on video and posted to Twitter by Elite Daily writer Alexandra Svokos, in response to a question about Clinton’s attack on Trump’s past comments about women. Giuliani defended Trump, labeling him a “feminist” because of how he treats the women he employs, and said he would have responded to Clinton’s attacks much more harshly than the GOP nominee did.

“I sure would’ve talked about what she did to Monica Lewinsky, what that woman standing there did to Monica Lewinsky, trying to paint her as an insane young woman when in fact Monica Lewinsky was an intern,” Giuliani said. “The president of the United States, her husband, disgraced this country with what he did in the Oval Office and she didn’t just stand by him, she attacked Monica Lewinsky. And after being married to Bill Clinton for 20 years, if you didn’t know the moment Monica Lewinsky said that Bill Clinton violated her that she was telling the truth, then you’re too stupid to be president.”

Back when his marriage to Donna Hanover fell apart in 2000, Hanover cited Giuliani's relationship with a staffer just hours after Giuliani suddenly announced their separation. From the Times back then:

Three hours later, Ms. Hanover appeared outside Gracie Mansion and, with a wavering voice and tears in her eyes, said: ''Today's turn of events brings me great sadness. I had hoped to keep this marriage together. For several years, it was difficult to participate in Rudy's public life because of his relationship with one staff member.''

Joannie Danielides, Ms. Hanover's press secretary, said Ms. Hanover was referring to Cristyne Lategano-Nicholas, Mr. Giuliani's former communications director who is now president of NYC and Company, the city's tourism bureau. Friends of Ms. Hanover's said yesterday that she had described the relationship between her husband and Ms. Lategano-Nicholas as intimate while Ms. Lategano-Nicholas worked at City Hall. The mayor has denied having had a romantic relationship with Ms. Lategano-Nicholas, who left City Hall last May and married Nicholas Nicholas, a sports writer, in February.

Apart from the allegation made by Hanover, Giuliani was also having an affair at the time with Judith Nathan, who later become his wife. It was later reported by Politico's Ben Smith, during Giuliani's 2007 presidential run, that Giuliani had been billing "obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons."

This is merely the latest example of top Trump advisers and supporters broaching a topic that Trump himself hasn't yet embraced for a whole host of reasons — not least of which are his own indiscretions.

Giuliani's sex life was the subject of tabloids for years as was Trump's. These old white guys have a lot of nerve making moral judgments.


After Letting Liars Take a Dump in Their Skulls Every Day For 25 Years… can anyone continue to act surprised that the average Trump voter is a proudly and irredeemably ignorant shit-for-brains?

And where do the paid masterminds of this disaster get the fucking nerve to congratulate each other on finally growing a conscience because the fires they deliberately set on my side of town so they could take over my country have now spread to their back yard?

To use a phrase Brad DeLong coined at least 13 years ago to frame his incredulity that any "grownup Republican" could possibly be thinking about voting for George W. Bush given the...
...sheer effrontery of Team Bush's effort to cover up the astounding incompetence that leads to its pattern of miserable failure.
...I too will stop describing the GOP as "Orwellian" when they stop using 1984 as an Operations Manual.

TTIP “trade” agreement talks indefinitely suspended, by @Gaius_Publius

TTIP "trade" agreement talks indefinitely suspended

by Gaius Publius

Count this as a victory. It looks like the Atlantic version of TPP, called TTIP, has failed.

Despite the fervent best wishes of the U.S. corporate class, President Barack Obama, and other aligned politicians, it looks like the people of Europe have killed TTIP. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber; source)

Background: The U.S. corporate world has been aching to pass three "trade" mega-deals — TPP, TTIP and TiSA.

  • The first, TPP, ropes in nations bordering the Pacific, including the U.S. Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile and much of Asia (but deliberately not China). 
  • The second, TTIP is the same kind of treaty on the Altantic side and includes the U.S., the U.K, and the European Union. 
  • TiSA, a more or less global "trade in services" agreement, is the worst of the three and deserves its own, separate treatment. TiSA would radically open local markets to foreign companies that offer "services" — everything from law firms to companies that supply imported contract labor.

    (Think about that — companies that supply imported contract labor. Under TiSA, I think unions are instantly dead. You don't have to export jobs to slave labor, very-low-wage, countries if you can import the slave labor here under treaty-mandated expedited visas.)

The citizens of the U.S., both on the left and the right of the political spectrum, have been opposed to these kinds of agreements for years, ever since the devastation caused by Bill Clinton's NAFTA became apparent. Both the Trump campaign and the Sanders campaign were strongly opposed (or in Trump's case, said they were strongly opposed), which accounts for much of their ascendancy.

Opposition to corporate-written "trade" agreements is a huge part of what makes this election a "change election."

A good, brief Wikileaks-produced video explaining these three "trade" mega-deals

Now, thanks mainly to the frustration of the negotiators in Europe — and strong opposition from European citizens — TTIP talks have not just broken down; they've been indefinitely suspended.

This is not complete victory; they could be revived. But momentum has definitely stalled, and this could well be the death knell for this one. Michelle Chen writing at the The Nation:

Another Free-Trade Deal Bites the Dust

Negotiations surrounding the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership have been indefinitely suspended.

What if a trade deal died and nobody noticed? The presidential campaign trail has been awash in angry backlash against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the latest in a slew of controversial free-trade deals that symbolize to American voters the evils of corporate globalization. But another trade deal collapsed silently on the other side of the globe. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was supposed to be the Atlantic world’s analog to the TPP, but after three years of frustrated negotiations, it was just pronounced dead by key ministers, or at least temporarily moribund, overwhelmed by a phalanx of populist opposition across the continent. How’d that happen?

Chen goes on to explain:
Though smaller in scope than the TPP, TTIP paralleled the Pacific agreement in that it built on trade-agreement proposals that had stalled in previous discussions, ultimately collapsed during the round of World Trade Organization negotiations that began in 2001, and have fizzled out in the years since. EU and US trade ministers had hoped to sell it as a boon to global trade. But an increasingly cynical European public wasn’t buying it, seeing it instead as another pathway to more deregulation and corporate impunity.

Following months of gridlock and protests, and despite a meeting scheduled for next month in New York to continue discussions, negotiations have effectively ground to a halt. (October’s meetings are apparently aimed at redirecting talks toward a smaller-scale, preliminary pact as a substitute to the full TTIP. This is seen as progress, if not outright victory, for campaigns mobilizing against the EU free trade agenda deal by deal.)

It could be that corporate lobbyists and ministers are just hoping for a more opportune political climate, but the demise of this version of TTIP illustrates that, in real-life political terms, trade deals could mostly prove useless at best for trade and devastating at worst for democracy....

"Another pathway to more deregulation and corporate impunity" it certainly is — in fact all of them are that. Makes you wonder why any U.S. president would push so hard to pass them. Isn't that person sworn to "protect and defend the Constitution" and not subvert it? But things are what they are, as are the people doing them. We each have our tasks, I guess.

I would call victory on this one and celebrate. The Europeans brought down TTIP. Can we do the same for TPP? One down and two to go. Onward.

(A version of this piece appeared at Down With Tyranny. GP article archive here.)



A citizen and a voter by @BloggersRUs (the link is safe)

A citizen and a voter

by Tom Sullivan

Digby linked yesterday to a video about Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe whose treatment by Donald Trump became an issue late in Monday's debate. Clinton unnerved Trump when she brought up how he had called Machado "Miss Piggy" after she gained weight after the 1996 pageant, and "Miss Housekeeping" in reference to her being a Latina.

Clinton's mention of Alicia Machado got so under his Trump's skin that on Fox and Friends Tuesday Trump doubled down on the decades-old weight-shaming smears that led to years of anorexia and bulimia for Machado.

The Guardian profiles how Machado and her struggles figure into the presidential campaign:

But it isn’t 1996 any more; Machado, far from being a girl, is a 39-year-old woman, and if body-shaming constituted good press for Trump’s fledgling beauty pageant business then, it seems less of a good look for his presidential campaign today. It’s a similar case with his continued insistence on how right he is to call women out for their weight. Machado understands this, perhaps even more acutely than Clinton, because she’s lived it; and she is willing to relive and keep reliving this painful episode if it means shedding light on a man she feels has no business anywhere near the Oval Office.

On a call organized by the Clinton campaign on Tuesday afternoon billed as a chance to let Machado respond to Trump’s most recent attacks, the former beauty queen was much more interested in talking about his Democratic rival, whose mention of her story in the debate the night before had moved her to tears. She “never imagined it would matter to someone so powerful”, she said.

But as someone who straddles two powerful voting blocs this election cycle, Machado is a double threat to Trump, and she feels that her celebrity means she has a responsibility to speak up about her experiences when they can help people. “If I can be a voice for my Latino community in this moment, I will do it,” she told the Guardian.

For a man so focused on appearances and weight, Trump is in no position to criticize. There are lots of less than good looks to his candidacy:


Trump In Four Seconds


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