So what did Julian Assange drop on Hillary today?
Trump was less Trumpian than usual in last night's debate. For example, he rarely interrupted Hillary, which is modest progress.
And Hillary didn't collapse from the exertion of pacing the stage, so her health seems to have moved to back stage.
As to whether Trump helped himself enough to reverse his slide in the polls, time will tell.
Trump withdrawing from the race because of a coarse, vulgar tape which could have been the play-by-play for any Bill Clinton Saturday night? I totally understand that after his debate effort Mike Pence looks a lot more Presidential and a switcheroo would be tantalizing, but if Republican leaders think they can steer this ship back to Port Sanity at this late date, forget it.
The audio represents an extraordinary level of vulgarity —Democrats quickly condemned Trump for casually joking about sexual assault — even for a candidate who seized the Republican nomination through his proud embrace of political incorrectness.
“This is horrific,” Hillary Clinton said on Twitter. “We cannot allow this man to become president.”
A shortage of Twitter-space undoubtedly prevented her from tweeting her real thought, which must have been "We cannot allow a man like this to become president again".
As to whose mind might be changed by this, who can tell. The undecideds out there probably have guessed by now that this is Trump being Trump.
I'm not saying it's All About Hillary and Trump, but... if Putin wants to nudge the US election, his behavior is not helping Obama or Obama's former Secretary of Reset:
Tension With Russia Rises as U.S. Halts Syria Negotiations
WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday suspended talks with Russia over the protracted conflict in Syria, accusing the Kremlin of joining with the Syrian Air Force in carrying out a brutal bombing campaign against the besieged city of Aleppo.
Anticipating the end of the talks after repeated warnings from American officials, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia responded by withdrawing from a landmark arms control agreement that calls for each side to dispose of 34 tons of plutonium, a material used in nuclear weapons.
The developments signaled the further deterioration of relations between the United States and Russia, which are now bitterly at odds over Syria, Ukraine and other issues.
“Cooperation over Syria was the Obama administration’s last and best shot for arresting the downward spiral in the bilateral relationship with Russia,” said Andrew S. Weiss, a former White House expert on Russia who is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The mistrust and hostility toward the United States by the Russian leadership is real and growing. It is going to be the driving force behind Russian external behavior for many years to come.”
OMG, Pepe-bashing in the NY Times!
Pepe the Frog Meme Listed as a Hate Symbol
By CHRISTOPHER MELE
A cartoon frog tied to anti-Semitism and racism that has become an unofficial mascot of the alt-right has been added to the Anti-Defamation League’s list of hate symbols, joining the ranks of the swastika and the Confederate battle flag, the group said on Tuesday.
OK, has this election finally jumped the shark? And (dare I ask) is the shark in question also a hate symbol?
I probably should not take for granted that "everyone" has followed the politics of this. The short version: Another time waster, but more fun than real estate tax loss rules. The long version:
In mid-September Team Trump tweeted "The Deplorables", whose cast included Pepe. Hillary pounced and denounced the alt-right symbolism. There was a "Wait, what" interlude while folks with one foot (or more!) still in Realityville opined on whether this sort of cultural appropriation and the acceptance thereof made any sense whatsoever.
But with Trump on one side and Hillary on the other the next steps were inevitable. The Anti Defamation League has finally joined in on - wait for it - Hillary's side, declaring Pepe to be a symbol of hate, as described in the Times story above.
But let's have a bit of context. The Times explains that Pepe joins the
ranks of the swastika and the Confederate battle flag.
The Confederate flag still finds supporters but the swastika is unambiguous, at least in the West.
But who else is in those ranks? Well, Pepe has also joined "12", "13", "14" and "100%" on the ADL list. So don't be talking about the twelve apostles or the Twelve Steps and think you can save space by using the numerals. Friday the Thirteenth is fine but using Friday the 13th? You're probably a hater. And if you want to give 110% or talk about the 99% you should be fine - today, anyway - but tread carefully and keep an eye on updates at the ADL.
I would bring the hammer down on this nonsense but -oops! - Thor's Hammer is also a hate symbol. Pro-tip - it was harder to burn my Avenger blu-ray disc than I expected, but the comic books went up nicely.
Let's have a To Be Fair moment here: First, the ADL admits that context counts:
Despite the widespread use of the Thor's Hammer symbol by white supremacists, the fact that it is an important symbol for non-racist Norse pagans means that one should never assume that the Thor's Hammer appearing by itself necessarily denotes racism or white supremacy. Instead, one should carefully judge the symbol in the context in which it appears.
Do tell. The same disclaimer applies to Pepe, obviously, but when there are political points to be scored nuance is an early victim. Here is the ADL on Pepe:
However, because so many Pepe the Frog memes are not bigoted in nature, it is important to examine use of the meme only in context. The mere fact of posting a Pepe meme does not mean that someone is racist or white supremacist. However, if the meme itself is racist or anti-Semitic in nature, or if it appears in a context containing bigoted or offensive language or symbols, then it may have been used for hateful purposes.
So if Pepe is adorned with swastikas or appearing with Trump, it is hate speech. Clear?
I would observe that in other contexts cultural appropriation is something our friends on the left deplore. However, when it suits them it seems that abject surrender is the preferred course. I infer that from this banal entry in (I kid you not) a NY Times roundtable series of essays on Pepe. First, the obvious:
A Meme Can Become a Hate Symbol by Social Consensus
No kidding; see "swastika". But as to Pepe:
An individual might declare that his or her personal use of the swastika or Confederate flag isn’t racist, but individual protestation can’t overturn social consensus, or obviate the experiences of those who read the symbols as synonymous with hate.
Similarly, until Pepe casts off this iteration of his meme — an outcome the cartoonist who created him, for one, is hopeful for — he will remain intertwined with white supremacist ideology. So as the Anti-Defamation League suggests, think before you retweet.
So surrender is definitely the safer option because someone out there might be triggered and we don't want to accidentally erase or invalidate anyone who finds Pepe offensive. As to how Pepe users can "cast off" this appropriation without actually using the symbol and risking opprobrium, well, I never claimed to be smart enough to be a lefty.
If these deep thinkers had any conviction they would have compared Pepe with something well, comparable, not the swastika. But the election is only a month away.
However, Cooper Fleishman stands up for freedom!
The Hate Symbol Designation Gives Too Much Power to Trolls
Alt-right trolls have a history of adopting cultural figures and turning them into white supremacist idols. 4chan's obsession with Taylor Swift and Elsa from "Frozen" is primarily due to their blond hair, blue eyes and other Aryan traits. Swift and Elsa have become Nazi icons for a certain sector of the alt-right. But it'd be ridiculous to call them hate symbols.
The Anti-Defamation League's mission to document modern-day hate speech is noble and practical, especially while chaotic, rebellious right-wing ideologies continue to gain influence. But I believe this designation gives a group of trolls too much power to co-opt harmless imagery.
Taylor Swift can speak (and sing) for herself so she may have a chance, unless she endorses a conservative somewhere someday. But I fear that Elsa, like Melba, is toast.
The Times tries to lighten the mood in these dark days with a bit of humor about Trump's finances:
Donald Trump’s Business Decisions in ’80s Nearly Led Him to Ruin
That year , he would later learn, was the beginning of Mr. Trump’s reckoning with a decade of rapid, debt-fueled expansion. The eclectic empire Mr. Trump had built with leverage from his father’s brick-and-mortar fortune began to fail, generating enormous losses and bringing him to the brink of personal bankruptcy.
The full magnitude of the financial hemorrhaging was a closely held secret until this weekend, when The New York Times published portions of Mr. Trump’s 1995 tax records that showed business losses of $916 million, creating a tax deduction that could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.
Who knew?!? This secret loss of nearly $1 billion was so closely held that Trump wrote about it in "Art of the Comeback", an excerpt of which appeared in, yes, the NY Times. From 1997:
One day, while walking down Fifth Avenue, hand in hand with Marla, I pointed across the street to a man holding a cup and with a Seeing Eye dog. I asked, "Do you know who that is?"
Marla said to me: "Yes, Donald. He's a beggar. Isn't it too bad? He looks so sad!"
I said, "You're right. He's a beggar, but he's worth about $900 million more than me." She looked at me and said, "What do you mean, Donald? How could he possibly be worth $900 million more than you?"
I said, "Let's assume he's worth nothing (only from the standpoint of dollars)--I'm worth minus $900 million."
Shhh - don't tell anyone! Of course, by 1997, the cat was already out of the bag. Here is the NY Times from 1995:
Crowning the Comeback King
Though there are still four years to go in the 90's, business and government leaders in New York honored Donald J. Trump yesterday for pulling off what they called "the comeback of the decade."
After the collapse of the real estate market of the 1980's, Mr. Trump's company was left holding some $8.8 billion in debt, causing his personal net worth to drop to a low of about $1 billion in the red by 1991.
So everyone knew he was down a billion at his nadir. Had it not occurred to people that losses often end up on a tax return? In "Art of the Comeback", Trump touted the benefits of high marginal tax rates as a way to bring in Uncle Sam as a partner:
Second, [in the 1986 tax reform] the upper-income tax rate was lowered from 51 percent to 32 percent. Investing involves risk. With a 51 percent tax, investors might take a chance on a new housing project. If the project went south, the investor could recapture his losses in the form of a tax break. If an investor is taxed only 32 percent, why bother with the risk?
Losses lead to deductions. Close the loopholes!
TO BE FAIR: I am not an expert in the specific tax ploys available to real estate developers but there are a couple of basic strategies that get kicked around every year.
First, recognize losses and defer gains: Trump seems to have structured his 1990 refinancings to formally recognize tax losses while keeping effective control of the properties. Years later, after the Clinton-Giuliani recovery took hold in NYC, he was under no obligation to sell the properties and recognize the income. Instead, like so many homeowners in the early 2000's, he could simply borrow more money against the new, higher value of the properties to pay off his earlier personal obligations.
The upshot - the 1990 collapse could have produced $1 billion in recognized tax losses but the subsequent recovery would not necessarily have produced $1 billion in recognized, taxable income. Ooops.
Seeing his tax returns would certainly be interesting, especially since Trump will be working for tax reform and we have no idea how it might affect him personally (if Hillary lobbied for special treatment for speaking fees, well, we'd all know why).
But the idea that Trump's billion dollar loss was a secret until last weekend? Please.
Megan McArdle is a voice of reason.
And for recap of the circumstances that led to Trump's huge mid-90's loss, we can hear from The Donald himself, in this Art of the Comeback excerpt:
One day, while walking down Fifth Avenue, hand in hand with Marla, I pointed across the street to a man holding a cup and with a Seeing Eye dog. I asked, "Do you know who that is?"
Marla said to me: "Yes, Donald. He's a beggar. Isn't it too bad? He looks so sad!"
I said, "You're right. He's a beggar, but he's worth about $900 million more than me." She looked at me and said, "What do you mean, Donald? How could he possibly be worth $900 million more than you?"
I said, "Let's assume he's worth nothing (only from the standpoint of dollars)--I'm worth minus $900 million."
This was an interesting period of time, because as I told the story I realized in my own mind that what I was saying was true. I also began to realize that I had better get back to work!
And after lots of insight into his multi-faceted greatness (he could have been a great golf coach!) we get this:
By 1993 I began to feel more like Chavez than like Taylor. My personal debt of $975 million had been reduced to $115 million, and I had two years to finish cleaning it up. There was no way to deny that things were going really great. Piece by piece, deal by deal, a beautiful picture was beginning to emerge. What my people and I had already achieved was astonishing.
Those are mere hints, but Trump describes a massive restructuring of the debt in the Trump empire:
My side of the deal looked like this: First, the banks would float me $65 million to keep my head above water. Second, no single bank could lay claim against me for five years (until June 30, 1995). Third, all interest and principal on loans would be deferred until that time. It was a win-win situation for all. I was able to buy some time in hopes that the casino or the real estate markets would rebound. And the banks were able to collateralize their unsecured debt and consolidate the rest.
Somewhere in their, presumably their side of the deal, were personal guarantees or something that led to Trump having what he viewed as $900 million or so in negative net worth; since he later says he paid down his "personal debt of $975 million" it appears that he borrowed a lot of money to cover losses and eventually paid that debt back.
From the Times: Twitter credited the Trump campaign for digging this out of the Times archives from 1995:
After the collapse of the real estate market of the 1980's, Mr. Trump's company was left holding some $8.8 billion in debt, causing his personal net worth to drop to a low of about $1 billion in the red by 1991.
But since then, his fortunes have changed. He continues to pursue the trademark trophy-style projects he is known for, such as a hotel and condominium project on the southwest corner of Central Park that is expected to open by late 1996.
Indeed, about an hour before the luncheon, Mr. Trump and representatives from a Hong Kong development firm huddled over drawings and models for their planned Riverside South development, a 17-building project at the site of the old Pennsylvania Railroad yard on the West Side.
In addition to his real estate ventures, revenues are strong throughout the casino business, where Mr. Trump is one of the most noteworthy operators, owning three gaming establishments in Atlantic City. "The market is quite vibrant," said N. Bruce Turner, a gaming analyst at Solomon Brothers. "It has lifted Donald Trump's vibrancy. Has he come back along with the market? No question."
The piece also includes this mini-gotcha, my emphasis:
In a flattering speech, Lieut. Gov. Betsy McCaughey called Mr. Trump "the comeback kid." Charles A. Gargano, who as chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation is himself considered one of the new powers of the state, joked about a Perot-Trump presidential ticket. "He would be the most loved Vice President since Spiro T. Agnew," he said. Mr. Gargano, who heads the state's economic development efforts, added, "Thank you for your tax dollars."
Trump's businesses pay all sorts pf payroll and property taxes so that may not be a direct reference to Trump's personal income tax.
The NY Times scores a telephone interview with Donald Trump and delivers a second paragraph that is utterly cryptic but has some real newsiness to it. Here we go fro the top:
Donald Trump Opens New Line of Attack on Hillary Clinton: Her Marriage
Donald J. Trump unleashed a slashing new attack on Hillary Clinton over Bill Clinton’s sexual indiscretions on Friday as he sought to put the Clintons’ relationship at the center of his political argument against her before their next debate.
Mr. Trump, aiming to unnerve Mrs. Clinton, even indicated that he was rethinking his statement at their last debate that he would “absolutely” support her if she won in November, saying: “We’re going to have to see. We’re going to see what happens. We’re going to have to see.”
So what does it mean that he was "rethinking his statement at their last debate that he would “absolutely” support her if she won in November"? Let's start by going back to the debate transcript, where the question was about supporting the outcome of the electoral process, not the other candidate:
HOLT: One of you will not win this election. So my final question to you tonight, are you willing to accept the outcome as the will of the voters? Secretary Clinton?
CLINTON: Well, I support our democracy. And sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But I certainly will support the outcome of this election.
And I know Donald’s trying very hard to plant doubts about it, but I hope the people out there understand: This election’s really up to you. It’s not about us so much as it is about you and your families and the kind of country and future you want. So I sure hope you will get out and vote as though your future depended on it, because I think it does.
HOLT: Mr. Trump, very quickly, same question. Will you accept the outcome as the will of the voters?
TRUMP: I want to make America great again. We are a nation that is seriously troubled. We’re losing our jobs. People are pouring into our country.
The other day, we were deporting 800 people. And perhaps they passed the wrong button, they pressed the wrong button, or perhaps worse than that, it was corruption, but these people that we were going to deport for good reason ended up becoming citizens. Ended up becoming citizens. And it was 800. And now it turns out it might be 1,800, and they don’t even know.
HOLT: Will you accept the outcome of the election?
TRUMP: Look, here’s the story. I want to make America great again. I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Hillary will. The answer is, if she wins, I will absolutely support her.
Obviously, Trump gave a bit of a bum answer. Although we retain the concept of a Loyal Opposition, no one expects Hillary to support the policies and legislative proposals of President Trump, nor did she promise to do so - she appropriately indicated, talk being cheap, that she would accept the outcome of the election with grace.
Trump obviously should have stuck with something similar. His phrasing, "if she wins, I will absolutely support her", is ludicrous on the face of it. We certainly hope he will support the outcome of the process but we also hope and expect him to fight Hillary's likely policies and judicial nominees with at least the vim and vigor she and other Democrats would oppose him.
So now he is re-thinking a poorly phrased response. Meaning what? Lacking an interview transcript I have no idea whether he hinted that he is planning to fight an election result he already thinks is rigged, or simply made the obvious point that he will applaud politely during her inauguration but almost surely oppose most of her policies, although he is "going to have to see".
The Times seemed pretty excited in the second paragraph but not excited enough to come back to this. That makes me guess they want their readership to guess the worst but don't have the scary quotes to back that up.
Whatever - there is no chance of honest reporting from the Times over the next seven weeks.
“How Democrats Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Big Donor Money”
Ahh, well, and who among us does not enjoy a Dr. Strangelove reference? Evidently the non-enjoyers include NY Times editors, their readers, the 43% of Democrats who voted for no-PAC Bernie, and even, if we believe what she says rather than what she does, Hillary Clinton.
In any case, the current revised title is
"Democrats Rake In Money, Thanks to Suit by Republicans"
That's not quite "Republicans made us do it!", but it's closer. And it spoils our fun, since it was only last week the Times ran a piece titled
"Liberals See Hillary Clinton’s Focus on Big Donors as Bafflingly Dated".
To be fair there is a lot about Hillary that is baffelingly dated. But in this instance, I think the Times people quickly got the message that running yet another reminder of what a special-interest sell-out their party establishment has foisted on an unhappy Democratic base may not be helpful to the ongoing Hillary cram-down promotional effort.
Showing an utter lack of self-awareness the Times editors assure their readership that, contra Trump and one bad year of crime statistics, crime is NOT out of control and the long term trends have been very good since the 1990's.
Of course, the next time there is a mass shooting and Obama is tearing up on television this will all be forgotten. As will this, from their editorial:
The surge in killings was fueled by street violence in a handful of major cities. While murder rates rose significantly in 25 of the 100 largest cities in 2015, an analysis by The Times found that half of the increase in killings in big cities came from just seven — Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville and Washington — where most of the victims were young African-American males. Guns were used in nearly three-quarters of the 15,696 homicides in 2015.
So basically, young black men in a few big cities are shooting each other, so therefore we should restrict access to firearms across the nation. Because Black Lives Matter.
As to what we shouldn't do:
Unfortunately, the debate over how best to fight crime is always a combustible one, so even relatively small changes in crime rates can lead to big and often destructive changes in law and policy, like mandatory-minimum prison sentences or stop-and-frisk policing. In the name of greater public safety, policies like these have done immense damage to minority communities around the country, and particularly to the young black and Latino men who have borne their brunt, even as evidence shows that they do little if anything to reduce crime.
Hmm - here I thought I just read that crime had been falling since the 90's, yet now I am being told that aggressive policing didn't have anything to do with it. In New York City crime fell during the Giuliani Gulag and the Bloomberg oppression, but their policies had nothing to do with it. Whatever.
Early estimates indicate last night's debate set viewership records.
And I love this picture of the candidates greeting each other:
Lip readers assure us that their greeting was as follows:
"Great to see you. Why aren't you in the hospital?"
"Thanks, and why aren't you in the asylum?"
This exchange at the Trump/Clinton debate is one of many that caught people's attention:
CLINTON: Well, it's also fair to say, if we're going to talk about mayors, that under the current mayor, crime has continued to drop, including murders. So there is...
TRUMP: No, you're wrong. You're wrong.
CLINTON: No, I'm not.
TRUMP: Murders are up. All right. You check it.
The NY Times did check it:
Mr. Trump said that murders are up in New York City. Mrs. Clinton said they are down. Mrs. Clinton is correct. Crime statistics show that murders are down year on year, to 246 from 257. A spokesman for the New York Police Department weighed in on Twitter to say that murders and shootings are down significantly. “#NYC is on pace to have one of the safest years on record for crime.”
Fascinating, because elsewhere in the Times today I read this:
U.S. Murders Surged in 2015, F.B.I. Finds
The country’s murder rate jumped more last year than it had in nearly half a century, newly released federal crime data showed, although the number of homicides remained far below the levels of the 1980s and ’90s.
And closer to home:
Los Angeles had 282 murders in 2015, compared with 262 in 2014, while New York had 352 murders last year, and about 333 in 2014, the report said.
So murders were higher in 2015 than in 2014. One might even say "murders are up" over that time period. But per the Times fact-checkers, that would be inappropriate, wrong, or simply not worth noting - it is the year-to-date figures we should be looking at, for reasons that elude me.
Compounding the mystery - the same CompStat report that shows murders are down by 4.3% year over year show they are up by 7.9% over two years. Another number for the waste basket!
Not that it matters to the Times, but Hillary did say that "under the current mayor, crime has continued to drop, including murders". DeBlasio took office on Jan 2, 2014. Murders dropped from 335 in 2013 to 328 in 2014, rose to 352 in 2015, and are now down a bit in 2016. If (IF!) the 2016 total is 4.3% less that the 352 of 2015 it will be 337.
So from a 335 level in 2013, murders will have been 328, 352 and 337 in the DeBlasio years. Is the Times sure that "down" is the right word to describe that? Of course they are, because it is the word Hillary used!
it's Dreadful vs. Awful, Take One. I can't imagine either candidate changing my mind but there are plenty of undecideds out there to be swayed. Over to Nate Silver, who is taking flak for exposing ardent progressives to the notion that the nation just isn't that into Hillary:
Not all 2-point leads are created equal, and Clinton’s is on the less-safe side, certainly as compared with the roughly 2-point lead that President Obama had over Mitt Romney on the eve of the 2012 election.
Perhaps the most important reason for that is the higher-than-usual number of undecided and third-party voters. Clinton leads Trump roughly 42-40, based on our national polling average; late in the 2012 race, by contrast, Obama led Romney about 48-46. That means about 18 percent of the electorate isn’t yet committed to one of the major-party candidates, as compared with 6 percent late in 2012.1 The number of undecided and third-party voters has a strong historical correlation with both polling volatility and polling error — and in fact, the polls have been considerably more volatile this year than in 2012.
Some of the videotape of the Charlotte shooting has been released. As advertised it is inconclusive as to whether the victim had a gun, but to my untrained eyes he appears disoriented rather than threatening.
Across the continent, a mall shooter in Washington killed five. The shooter appears to have used a conventional hunting rifle rather than a deadly, scary, high-powered assault rifle, so that's something.
Politico delivers a puff piece on Hillary's debate prep which completely ignores the real questions that are no doubt terrifying Team Hillarity!.
Inside Hillary Clinton’s debate prep
The Democrat holds more moot court than mock debate as she prepares to show her opponent as unbalanced and ill prepared.
Via Politico, President Selfie rallies support for Hillary:
An angry Obama puts himself on the ballot
The president delivers a rip-roaring speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner.
The NY Times puts it differently:
Obama Sees ‘Personal Insult’ if Blacks Don’t Rally for Hillary Clinton
By Amy Chozick and Julie Jirschfeld Davis Sept 18 2016
With Democratic leaders increasingly worried about a lack of passion for Hillary Clinton among young black voters, President Obama is rolling out a new and more personal campaign message: “It’s about me.”
The president told African-Americans this weekend he would consider it a “personal insult” if they did not vote for Mrs. Clinton, implicitly putting his name on the line as his former secretary of state struggles to replicate the coalition that delivered him victories in 2008 and 2012.
Isn't suggesting that Hillarity! can't get this done without a man's help like, sexist, or mansplaining, or something? Libs! Who can keep up?
Donna Brazile, no mansplainer she, conforms to gender stereotypes by botching a sports metaphor:
“That speech went beyond the room. It went beyond the moment,” said Donna Brazile, the interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. “That was the president essentially saying, ‘Don’t leave it on the field.’”
Say what? "Don't leave it on the field" might be advice you give to an absent-minded eight year old who is constantly losing his (or her!) baseball mitt. In the heat of athletic competition the conventional exhortation is to deliver a maximum effort by leaving everything on the field. Sort of like, well, a manager telling a pitcher to give the team one more inning and empty the tank (a car and gasoline metaphor, for the Uber-addicted among us).
Now to be fair, a less common meaning of "leave it on the field" is to leave the past in the past - you lost, the refs were dreadful, your opponents cheated, the field was muddy, but it's over so move on. Tomorrow is another day!
So maybe Ms. Brazile meant that Obama's supporters should not leave "it" (The election? Obama's legacy?) on the field because the game is not over. That is a pretty subtle reminder.
Donald Trump’s birther event is the greatest trick he’s ever pulled
Well, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And to complete the circle, the greatest trick the media ever pulled was convincing the world that Trump was the devil.
Which demotes Hillary to mere Anti-Christ. Sexist pigs!
RIGHT AGAIN: In the same vein as not betting against a Sicilian when death is on the line would be to not try to out Reality TV a reality-tv master.
The Times reluctantly undermines their special Trump scandal:
New Records Shed Light on Donald Trump’s $25,000 Gift to Florida Official
The Sentinel’s report, which was published on Sept. 13, 2013, paraphrased Ms. Meale’s response and took it a step further, saying that Ms. Bondi’s office would “determine whether Florida should join the multi-state case.” Four days later, a check for $25,000 from the Donald J. Trump Foundation landed in the Tampa office of a political action committee that had been formed to support Ms. Bondi’s 2014 re-election. In mid-October, her office announced that it would not be acting on the Trump University complaints.
But documents obtained this week by The New York Times, including a copy of Mr. Trump’s check, at least partly undercut that timeline. Although the check was received by Ms. Bondi’s committee four days after the Sentinel report, and was recorded as such in her financial disclosure filings, it was actually dated and signed by Mr. Trump four days before the article appeared.
But keep hope alive!
The check’s date does not categorically demonstrate that Mr. Trump was not seeking to influence Ms. Bondi, a fellow Republican. Even as he has denied trying to do so in this instance, he has boasted brazenly and repeatedly during his presidential campaign that he has made copious campaign contributions over the past two decades, including to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, in order to buy access and consideration for his business dealings.
What is more, when Mr. Trump wrote that check, he still theoretically had reason to be concerned that Florida’s attorney general could become a player in the legal assault on Trump University.
Through 2010, when the company ceased operations, Florida had been one of the most lucrative markets for his unaccredited for-profit school. It ranked second among states in purchases, with 950 transactions, and third in sales, at $3.3 million, according to an analysis of sales data revealed in court filings.
The lawsuit by New York’s Democratic attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, which was announced on Aug. 25, 2013 — two weeks before Mr. Trump wrote the check to And Justice for All on Sept. 9 — did not cite allegations from consumers in Florida. But news organizations had reported as early as 2010 that the attorneys general of Florida and Texas had fielded complaints from consumers who had paid up to $35,000 for Mr. Trump’s seminars and mentoring programs. His contribution, therefore, could have been a pre-emptive investment to discourage Ms. Bondi from joining the New York case.
Could have been!
The Times continues to struggle with a basic difference between Trump and their favored candidate: Trump's message is that the system is corrupt, like every other big hitter he has bought plenty of politicians, but he can't be bought himself.
Hillary's message is that, well, she's never done anything wrong (Never!) but if elected she will revamp the Clinton Foundation and won't be bought (or give that appearance) again. That is quite different, especially since she and her hubby have amassed $100 million as "public servants" since Wild Bill left the White House.
In the course of berating the Trump campaign Timesfolks Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman include this assertion:
But Mr. Trump, who records little support in the polls among racial minorities and educated whites, did not address any of the past remarks that have contributed to his low standing with those groups.
They link to an article noting that Hillary leads Trump among blacks by 91-1, so we might say "little support" was spot-on and "low standing" was overly generous.
But college educated whites? Trump is doing historically poorly in an area of historic Republican strength, but still - "little support"?
Per a recent CNN/ORC poll linked by the Times, we see (p. 22) that among non-whites Clinton leads Trump 70-17. OTOH, among college-educated whites Clinton leads by 49-35, a 14 point spread far above historical norms. But is that really "little support" comparable to the 91-1 trouncing among blacks? If a 14 point margin represents "little support" the Times might one day report (No they won't) that Ms. Clinton has little support among people 45 and older (minus 15 points), men (-20) or non-college grads (-15).
Somewhat like Pauline Kael the Times wants to convince its readers that People Like Us (i.e., them) simply don't imagine for a moment supporting Trump. Facts can't be allowed to trump fashion!
Hillary won't drink but she is driving her staff to it:
Clinton’s reluctance to drink water causing tension with her staff: report
Her spinners need to re-frame as a War on Women's issue since her reluctance to drink, water anyway, is probably due to a lifetime of being a non-athlete who is uncertain where the next clean restroom will be.
And didn't we get a timed (and endless!) bathroom break during one of the debates? Yeah, we are really delving into the issues here.
My goodness - even the Times feels obliged to run this AP story, albeit with a buried lead:
Clinton Says,' I'm Feeling Great'; Had Left 9/11 Event Early
NEW YORK — Hillary Clinton unexpectedly left Sunday's 9/11 anniversary ceremony in New York after feeling "overheated," according to her campaign, and retreated to her daughter's nearby apartment. As she exited the apartment shortly before noon, Clinton said, "I'm feeling great."
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement that the Democratic presidential nominee attended the morning ceremony for 90 minutes "to pay her respects and greet some of the families of the fallen.
"During the ceremony, she felt overheated so departed to go to her daughter's apartment, and is feeling much better," Merrill said.
The statement offered no additional details, including whether the 68-year-old Clinton required medical attention. A senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the matter said that after leaving the memorial plaza, Clinton was observed "fainting" in a departure area.
That official spoke on condition of anonymity, because he wasn't authorized to disclose information publicly.
Wow, what? She fainted yet again? It's only one source, but still...
The Twitterverse has video of Hillary stumbling and maybe fainting as she enters what looks like a hearse. Prior to the swoon an aide is bracing Hillary under her left arm while they wait for the car, so one presumes Hillary had complained about, or displayed, wobbliness.
As metaphors for her campaign go, I would say this is just about perfect - Dems will prop her up and drag her across the finish line whatever it takes.
BTW, I see right through this - the fainting spell is meant to distract us from her deplorable disdain for a huge slice of the American public.
I do love this coverage of our watchdog press:
Clinton's departure from the event was not witnessed by the reporters who travel with her campaign, which did not offer any information about why she left and her whereabouts for more than an hour. The campaign also did not take reporters in the motorcade after Clinton's departure from her daughter's apartment, and it was unclear where she was headed from there.
If she was headed off to a medical facility that would explain the secrecy.
THE TIMES VERSION: Timesfolk Jonathan Martin and Amy Chozick give their version. Some snippets:
Hillary Clinton, Feeling ‘Overheated,’ Leaves 9/11 Ceremony
Mrs. Clinton had arrived at the commemoration event around 8 a.m. and left at about 9:30. But for over an hour after that, her campaign would not offer any information about why she left early or where she was.
Video from the event taken by an attendee captured Mrs. Clinton struggling to steady herself and then stumbling as she stepped off a curb. She required assistance from two Secret Service agents to get into her van. The video, which was posted on Twitter, immediately ricocheted across the internet.
The word "faint" does not appear in their story. Yes, the question of whether she fainted is speculative, but it would have been be easy enough to quote someone offering that description if these "reporters" were so inclined.
So how hot was it?
Mrs. Clinton had arrived at the commemoration event around 8 a.m. and left at about 9:30. ...
Temperatures were in the low 80s on Sunday morning in New York, with considerable humidity.
We hear from a senior Republican also in attendance:
Other attendees at the event said afterward that Mrs. Clinton did not appear ill when she first arrived at the former site of the World Trade Center.
“She seemed fine,” said Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, who recalled greeting and speaking briefly with the former secretary of state around 8:30 a.m.
But about an hour later there was a minor commotion, Mr. King said. A number of New York’s current and former elected officials had been standing in silence as the names of the victims of the attacks were read. Suddenly, Mrs. Clinton, herself a former New York senator, left her position.
Mr. King said it was hot enough that officials working at the event offered the dignitaries bottles of water as they stood. But he noted that he did not see anybody accept a bottle.
NOT HELPING HERSELF:
Hillary brushes off talk of medical issues:
Asked whether she was concerned such questions about her health would affect the election, as the polls have tightened, Mrs. Clinton said, “I’m not concerned about the conspiracy theories. There are so many of them I’ve lost track of them.”
I guess she has lost track of the theory that the concussion has impaired her memory.
Clinton-Half of Trump Supporters Belong in 'Basket of Deplorables'
NEW YORK — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said half the supporters of Republican rival Donald Trump belonged in a "basket of deplorables" of people who were racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, or Islamophobic.
Speaking at a fundraiser on Friday night in New York, Clinton said Trump had given voice to hateful rhetoric through his behaviour as a candidate for the White House in the Nov. 8 election.
"To just be grossly generalistic, you can put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the 'basket of deplorables,'" Clinton said. "Unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up."
Half? That is a lot of citizens. Of course, as a category she left out pay-to-play senior government officials who scoff at the rule of law, such as the Freedom of Information Act, and lie to the public about it. "Deplorable" covers that reasonably well.
Nice to see her common touch though. She's a divider, not a uniter, who will be proud to be President of some Americans.
It was har de har day at the Times as some hayseed libertarian humiliated himself before a national radio audience:
‘What Is Aleppo?’ Gary Johnson Asks, in an Interview Stumble
By ALAN RAPPEPORT
Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential nominee, revealed a surprising lack of foreign policy knowledge on Thursday that could rock his insurgent candidacy when he could not answer a basic question about the crisis in Aleppo, Syria.
“What is Aleppo?” Mr. Johnson said when asked on MSNBC how, as president, he would address the refugee crisis in the war-torn Syrian city.
Well, yes, he shoulda known, as all regular Times readers do. But not all Times writers and editors! Check this Correction-palooza:.
The Times helps Obama contemplate his climate change legacy and our energy future. The results are predictable - disturbing the Upper West Side readership is a no-no, so there is no mention of fracking, which has put more coal plants out of business than any Obama initiative. Also unmentioned (but you know this) is nuclear power and Obama's role, with Sen. Reid, in putting the kibosh on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.
Yeah, it's all anti-science Republicans bought out by the Koch brothers. Whatever.
As a diversion, they do offer up this bit of political analysis about Obama's inability to bring along his own part when he had a mere 59 Democratic Senators and control of the House:
Eight years ago, when Mr. Obama ran for president against Senator John McCain of Arizona, both men had essentially the same position on global warming: It is caused by humans, and Congress should enact legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions and force polluters to buy and trade permits that would slowly lower overall emissions of climate-warming gases.
“One would have hoped for transformational leadership, in the way J.F.K. would have done it,” said Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.
Hmm, when your go-to guy for a quote on JFK's leadership is coming from Germany, that might be a red flag. Kennedy's civil rights initiatives were roughly as dead in Congress as Obama's cap-and-trade, but were eventually muscled through by Lyndon Johnson.
Oh, its the Times - let their readers have their fun.
The NY Times notes a non-irony:
Donald Trump’s Donation Is His Latest Brush With Campaign Fund Rules
By Steve Eder and Meghan Twohey Sept 6 2016
Donald J. Trump, who has repeatedly denounced pay-to-play politics during his insurgent campaign, is now defending himself against claims that he donated $25,000 to a group supporting the Florida attorney general, Pam Bondi, to sway her office’s review of fraud allegations at Trump University.
Please. Trump's message - it's a crooked system, I've bought plenty of these politicians and I won't be bought myself - is quite different from Hillary's message, which amounts to "I won't be for sale anymore". Which, since she and her hubby have amassed a mere $100 million in the course of their public service, seems unlikely - they are relative paupers in the company of their billionaire friends and are still forced to borrow private jets since they can't quite afford to buy one.
IT'S BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE: The Times runs an editorial with several Trump quotes along the lines of "I buy these politicians all the time" without managing to distinguish between being the buyer and being the seller.
When is a snub not a snub? When team Obama wants to pretend that all is well and the NY Times wants to play along:
Obama Plays Down Confrontation With China Over His Plane’s Stairs
By Mark Landler and Jane Perlez Sept 5 2016
HANGZHOU, China — When Air Force One taxied to a stop in eastern China on Saturday afternoon, American and Chinese officials had already engaged in a lengthy, heated dispute over the most mundane of issues: How would the president depart his plane?
China’s handling of President Obama’s arrival for the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hangzhou has created a narrative that the Chinese snubbed the American president. Some Beijing-controlled news outlets are pushing back, fanning nationalist anger by accusing the Americans of arrogance in the squabble.
The reality, American officials and diplomats familiar with China say, is both simpler and more complicated.
See, her parents were coming out on Sunday and they have been worried about her health, so she really needed to pull herself together... oh, wait:
The United States military had flown in a set of rolling air stairs, as it does on all of Mr. Obama’s foreign trips, and the White House had received Chinese approval to use the equipment. But before Mr. Obama’s arrival, a senior administration official said, the Chinese suddenly reversed themselves.
The Americans were willing to use a Chinese stairway, this official said, but the Chinese insisted that the stairs be taken to the plane by a local driver, who the Americans said could not communicate with the White House team about even the simplest tasks. So the White House demanded that he be replaced with an English-speaking driver, a request the Chinese refused.
As Air Force One was landing, the Chinese relented and told the Americans they could use their own stairs. But by then, officials said, there was no time to make a switch.
So it never dawned on the Chinese that this to-ing and fro-ing might prevent a Grand Entrance by Obama. Just bad luck and poor communication. Of course, if the famously subtle Chinese had really wanted to embarrass Obama the Times would have had no trouble finding someone willing to go on the record and say so; since everyone was denying that as their intention, well, they must be telling the absolute truth.
Fine, no one, not even Hu Fuk Nos, ordered the Code Red and all is well. Whatever.
Administration officials disputed the suggestion that the staircase incident was part of a broader attempt to humiliate Mr. Obama. Instead, they said, it reflected how on edge the Chinese have been in hosting the Group of 20, a major summit meeting involving dozens of world leaders.
The ongoing attempt to push Their Gal Hil up the mountain and over the top has clearly drained morale at the NY Times (their latest brush with reality covers her low standing among young black).
However, good news is where you find it, so today Gardiner Harris of the Times is allowed to have some fun and draw some laughs with this:
Lucrative Book Deals Might Finance the Obamas’ Post-White House Life
Barry and Michelle are going to cash in within nano-seconds of moving out? Say it ain't so!?!
The comedy continues:
WASHINGTON — After he is out of the White House, President Obama has said that he wants to become a venture capitalist, own part of an N.B.A. franchise and avoid taking off his shoes during security screenings at commercial airports.
As to imminent Shoeless One, my plan for breezing through airport security incorporates TSA Pre-Check. But Obama taking commerical flights? I'm dying - he will be cadging rides on the private jets of his "friends", just like Bill and Hil.
Mr. Harris builds on the theme:
All of those goals, serious or not, might soon be achievable if Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, sign post-presidency book contracts for what literary agents and major publishers say could amount to $20 million to $45 million — more than enough to pay the estimated $22,000 monthly rent for the nine-bedroom home they will occupy in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington and foot the bill for flights on private jets. (Mr. Obama has said he would like to avoid commercial flights once he surrenders Air Force One.)
We would all like to avoid commercial flights but the idea that Obama will actually be paying for his rides is absurd.
I HAVE TO ADD: We are offered some perspective, and a puzzle:
Memoirs by first ladies have also been profitable. Mrs. Clinton earned an $8 million advance for “Living History” after she left the White House...
"Living History"? Should that have been "Herstory"? Even though, obviously, the boss's wife got where she is thanks to the boss.
Seeking Support and Invoking Faith, Donald Trump Visits a Black Church for the First Time
The article is unexpectedly short of snark and even drifts towards positive, as here:
Mr. Jackson had planned to let Mr. Trump speak for just one minute, but at a reception before the service, aides to Mr. Trump asked Mr. Jackson for more time, and he granted it.
“His people said, ‘Mr. Trump had already written this out and he really feels that if he can say it, it would really be a blessing because this is his heart,’” Mr. Jackson said in an interview.
In his relatively muted address, lasting roughly 10 minutes, Mr. Trump did not employ his typical heated language about urban crime or illegal immigration.
Instead, he offered praise for black Christians and called for a “civil rights agenda for our time,” including support for charter schools and new job growth.
And Mr. Trump, who has not made professions of faith a regular element of his campaign, called on Americans to “turn again to our Christian heritage to lift up the soul of our nation.”
As to their gal Hil, the Times is well aware that she is their candidate so they mostly conceal their class consciousness and imagined solidarity with ordinary Americans. Mostly, but not completely:
Where Has Hillary Clinton Been? Ask the Ultrarich
By Amy Choznick and Jonathan Martin
At a private fund-raiser Tuesday night at a waterfront Hamptons estate, Hillary Clinton danced alongside Jimmy Buffett, Jon Bon Jovi and Paul McCartney, and joined in a singalong finale to “Hey Jude.”
“I stand between you and the apocalypse,” a confident Mrs. Clinton declared to laughs, exhibiting a flash of self-awareness and humor to a crowd that included Calvin Klein and Harvey Weinstein and for whom the prospect of a Donald J. Trump presidency is dire.
Mr. Trump has pointed to Mrs. Clinton’s noticeably scant schedule of campaign events this summer to suggest she has been hiding from the public. But Mrs. Clinton has been more than accessible to those who reside in some of the country’s most moneyed enclaves and are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to see her. In the last two weeks of August, Mrs. Clinton raked in roughly $50 million at 22 fund-raising events, averaging around $150,000 an hour, according to a New York Times tally.
And while Mrs. Clinton has faced criticism for her failure to hold a news conference for months, she has fielded hundreds of questions from the ultrarich in places like the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, Beverly Hills and Silicon Valley.
Well, she needs the money because this fall she will be running lots of expensive ads extolling herself as a champion of the Little Guy.
If Mr. Trump appears to be waging his campaign in rallies and network interviews, Mrs. Clinton’s second presidential bid seems to amount to a series of high-dollar fund-raisers with public appearances added to the schedule when they can be fit in. Last week, for example, she diverged just once from her packed fund-raising schedule to deliver a speech.
She has her reasons:
Mrs. Clinton’s aides have gone to great lengths to project an image of her as down-to-earth and attuned to the challenges of what she likes to call “the struggling and the striving.” She began her campaign last year riding in a van to Iowa from New York and spent much of last summer hosting round-table discussions with a handful of what her campaign called “everyday Americans” in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Yet some of the closest relationships Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have are with their longstanding contributors. If she feels most at ease around millionaires, within the gilded bubble, it is in part because they are some of her most intimate friends.
Oh, please. Even Timefolk Choznick and Martin can't resist this:
...But when she has had a give-and-take this summer about issues, Mrs. Clinton, who has promised to “reshuffle the deck” in favor of the middle class and portrayed Mr. Trump as an out-of-touch billionaire, has almost exclusively been fielding the concerns of the wealthiest Americans.
To businessmen who complain to Mrs. Clinton that President Obama has been unfriendly to their interests, she says she would approach business leaders more like Mr. Clinton did during his administration, which was widely considered amicable to the private sector.
When financiers complain about the regulations implemented by the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, Mrs. Clinton reaffirms her support for strong Wall Street regulation, but adds that she is open to listening to anyone’s ideas and at times notes that she represented the banking industry as a senator.
I can imagine her response to these centi-millionaires worried about a hostile administration:
"Look around and relax" says Imaginary Hillary, "I'm bought and paid for."
The Times also twists the knife by describing the menu and its prices:
For a donation of $2,700, the children (under 16) of donors at an event last month at the Sag Harbor, N.Y., estate of the hedge fund magnate Adam Sender could ask Mrs. Clinton a question. A family photo with Mrs. Clinton cost $10,000, according to attendees.
And when Mrs. Clinton attended a dinner at the Beverly Hills home of the entertainment executive Haim Saban last month, the invitation was very clear. If attendees wanted to dine and receive a photo with Mrs. Clinton they had to pay their own way: “Write not raise” $100,000.
They even highlight Hillary's toughness:
Another advantage to choosing private fund-raisers over town halls or other public events is that Mrs. Clinton can bask in an affectionate embrace as hosts try to limit confrontational engagements.
Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a backer of Democrats and a friend of the Clintons’, made sure attendees did not grill Mrs. Clinton at the $100,000-per-couple lamb dinner Mrs. Forester de Rothschild hosted under a tent on the lawn of her oceanfront Martha’s Vineyard mansion.
“I said, ‘Let’s make it a nice night for her and show her our love,’” Mrs. Forester de Rothschild said.
Hey, Timespeople - Bernie lost. Get over it and get behind Hillary.
Even the Times feels obliged to note a few bits of bad news for Hillary in the labor Day weekend file dump by the FBI:
F.B.I. Papers Offer Closer Look at Hillary Clinton Email Inquiry
By Eric Lichtblau and Adam Goldman Sept 2 2016
WASHINGTON — F.B.I. officials questioned Hillary Clinton extensively about her judgment in using her private email system to discuss classified drone strikes and in allowing aides to destroy large numbers of emails, before ultimately deciding she should not face criminal charges, according to investigative documents released Friday.
The documents provided a number of new details about Mrs. Clinton’s private server, including what appeared to be a frantic effort by a computer specialist to delete an archive of her emails even after a congressional committee had requested they be preserved.
In a 3½-hour interview with the Justice Department’s top counterintelligence officials on July 2, Mrs. Clinton defended her handling of the private email system by repeatedly saying she had deferred to the judgment of her aides, an F.B.I. summary of the interview showed.
Yes, Hillary's pubic position is that she has taken full responsibility for the deplorable decisions of her aides, in which she had no part and never really understood. The buck stops there. Got it.
Blaming Colin Powell:
In its summary of the investigation, the F.B.I. said that Mrs. Clinton had emailed Colin Powell, a former secretary of state, a day after she was sworn in to office about Mr. Powell’s use of a personal email account when he was the country’s top diplomat. Mr. Powell warned Mrs. Clinton that if she used her BlackBerry for official business, those emails could become “official record[s] and subject to the law.”
Mr. Powell, apparently implying that he was cautious in his use of a personal email account, added: “Be very careful. I got around it all by not saying much and not using systems that captured the data.” According to the summary of her interview, Mrs. Clinton said that she did not know exactly what Mr. Powell was saying in that email and that his message “did not factor into her decision to use a personal email account.”
She changed that story for the public.
I blame Hillary. She blames Trump.
In terms of timing:
Mr. Trump is expected to land in Mexico City around 3 p.m. local time (one hour behind Eastern time). He will travel, with hisSecret Service detail to the presidential palace in two helicopters to avoid the frequent gridlock on the capital’s highways. (As a result, Mr. Trump will avoid roadside protestors of his visit.)
• The meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Peña Nieto will start by 4 p.m. local time and last for approximately 50 minutes. The Mexican president, who will be joined by his foreign minister is expected to speak English at the meeting
• Mr. Trump will focus on the positive at the meeting, seeing it as the start of a dialogue about shared economic interests and security interests. Mr. Rubin said he believed Mr. Trump would only briefly mention his intention to build a wall on the U.S-Mexico border and get Mexico to pay for its construction — a deeply offensive proposal to many Mexicans.
• Mr. Trump will depart Mexico City by 5:30 p.m. local time (6:30 p.m. Eastern) en route to Phoenix to deliver his immigration speech.
Well, Trump will make the evening news, if anyone still watches that.
The Times pokes at the raging Colin Kaepernick debate about sports and the national anthem:
Colin Kaepernick’s Anthem Protest Underlines Union of Sports and Patriotism
By Sam Borden Aug 30, 2016
The pressing question for many viewers tuning in to a preseason football game on Thursday night will be whether San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will once more refuse to stand for the national anthem.
But that question obscures some more meaningful ones:
Why is the national anthem a staple of sporting events to begin with? Why does the United States stand apart in making the anthem a part of the pregame ritual? And what does it mean to be patriotic?
Ahh, well... After a bit of background on the Kaepernick details we return to the broader theme:
Lost in that debate, though, is that while high-level sports are a type of entertainment, few other forms of mass-consumed entertainment — movies or concerts or exhibitions — have the anthem ingrained into every performance.
Tens of thousands of theater goers, for instance, have packed a Broadway musical that is devoted to the life and times of one of this country’s founding fathers, yet “Hamilton” does not feature the national anthem. On the other hand, a game between the Cleveland Gladiators and the Arizona Rattlers in the Arena Football League could not begin without it.
Let me chime in before the Times turns to the experts - theatre-goers are generally all on the same side. Do Star Trek fans show up en masse to boo Star Wars openers? Are lots of Jacksonians in the Hamilton audience? I would guess not. Sports events routinely have two sides so a moment of unity prior to the commencement of activities might promote sportsmanship and diminish fan-on-fan violence.
Over to the experts:
The key words there are “in America.” No national anthems are played before a French league soccer game or a German handball league game or a Japanese rugby game. So why does the connection exist in the United States?
According to Eric Liu, a former speechwriter and adviser to President Bill Clinton who co-wrote a 2007 book on patriotism titled “The True Patriot,” the difference probably lies in America’s distinctive foundation.
Unlike a majority of countries in the world, the United States was not created on a common platform of religion or ancestry or, as Liu said, “some origin myth which goes all the way back to the beginning of history.”
Instead, Americans are bound by notions and concepts — that all men are created equal, as one example — and the ethereal nature of those ideas makes anything that Americans can latch on to concretely seem more important.
“I think that’s why this whole thing strikes so many people in such a passionate way,” Liu said. “This is not a country in Europe or Asia that has the traditional patriotic ideas built into it. We are united by a creed, and in a creedal society, the outsize rituals — like the anthem — just carry a lot more weight.”
Hmm, that may explain why we care about the anthem, but it hardly addresses the question of why sporting events but not theatre. Boo this guy off the field!
Anthony Weiner can't stop being Anthony Weiner. Which leaves us wondering - is there any reason to think Bill Clinton has stopped being Bill Clinton? Have age and a vegan diet tamed him or are the interns, and anyone else in a skirt, still at risk in his presence?
I like this Jeb Bush quote:
Mr. Bush, in a radio interview, called Mr. Trump’s shifting speech “abhorrent” and baffling.
“I don’t know what to believe about a guy who doesn’t believe in things,” Mr. Bush said on WABC.
They'll take care of that once you get there:
BOSTON (CBS) – New concerns arise about the mental health of students on college campuses all across the country.
Dr. Gene Beresin, a psychiatrist and Executive Director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital, says 50% to 60% of college students have a psychiatric disorder.
“What I’m including in that is the use of substances, anxiety, depression, problems with relationships, break-ups, academic problems, learning disabilities, attentional problems,” says Dr. Beresin. “If you add them all up 50% doesn’t seem that high.”
The jury is out on whether Bernie Sanders could organize a successful Vermont ski weekend in February. But folks who wonder whether a guy who has never run anything could have been a successful President (NO, we aren't Obama-bashing here!) swill laugh at this:
Bernie Sanders’s New Political Group Is Met by Staff Revolt
By ALAN RAPPEPORT and YAMICHE ALCINDOR
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, his presidential campaign behind him, was looking to advance the movement he built during the Democratic primary race, with the public unveiling on Wednesday of a political organization focused on addressing economic inequality and taking on special interests.
But while the establishment of the new group, Our Revolution, has been eagerly awaited by many of his most ardent supporters, it has been met with criticism and controversy over its financing and management.
A principal concern among backers of Mr. Sanders, whose condemnation of the campaign finance system was a pillar of his presidential bid, is that the group can draw from the same pool of “dark money” that Mr. Sanders condemned for lacking transparency.
The announcement of the group, which was to be live streamed on Wednesday night, also came as a majority of its staff resigned after the appointment last Monday of Jeff Weaver, Mr. Sanders’s former campaign manager, to lead the organization.
Bringing people together! Not his supporters, sadly, but still...
After the resignations, Mr. Sanders spoke to some who had quit and asked them to reconsider, but the staff members refused.
Interesting to know they supported the message and not the man.
At the heart of the issue, according to several people who left, was deep distrust of and frustration with Mr. Weaver, whom they accused of wasting money on television advertising during Mr. Sanders’s campaign; mismanaging campaign funds by failing to hire staff members or effectively target voters; and creating a hostile work environment by threatening to criticize staff members if they quit.
Claire Sandberg, who was the organizing director at Our Revolution and had worked on Mr. Sanders’s campaign, said she and others were also concerned about the group’s tax status — as a 501(c)(4) organization it can collect large donations from anonymous sources — and that a focus by Mr. Weaver on television advertising meant that it would fail to reach many of the young voters who powered Mr. Sanders’s campaign and are best reached online.
“I left and others left because we were alarmed that Jeff would mismanage this organization as he mismanaged the campaign,” she said, expressing concern that Mr. Weaver would “betray its core purpose by accepting money from billionaires and not remaining grass-roots-funded and plowing that billionaire cash into TV instead of investing it in building a genuine movement.”
They are not alone in their concerns:
Republicans in Mr. Sanders’s home state have taken notice of his postcampaign behavior and his new political organization and accused him of violating his own principles.
“He preaches transparency and then he tries to set up the most shadowy of shadowy fund-raising organization to support his causes,” said Brady Toensing, the vice chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, who argued that Mr. Sanders was essentially a big donor. “What I’m seeing here is a senator who is against big money in politics, but only when it’s not his big money,” he said.
Paul S. Ryan, a campaign finance expert at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit political finance group, said that it was unusual for a federal lawmaker to set up such a fund-raising organization and that Mr. Sanders should have to follow the donation limits and disclosure requirements to be in compliance with the Federal Election Commission.
“There are definitely some red flags with respect to the formation of this group that are worth noting and keeping an eye on,” Mr. Ryan said. “We’re in a murky area.”
OK, this is stupid:
In Florida Keys, Some Worry About ‘Science and Government’ More Than Zika
By Lizette Alzarez Aug 23, 2016
KEY HAVEN, Fla. — To live here, along this chain of tiny islands, a place vulnerable to hurricanes and steeped in the lore of piracy and smuggling, requires a blend of carefree eccentricity and go-it-alone grit.
So when, several years ago, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District offered up the peninsula of Key Haven, a tiny suburb of Key West, for the first United States test of genetically modified mosquitoes built to blunt the spread of dengue and Zika, it was only a matter of time before opposition mounted.
Today, even as federal officials have told pregnant women to stay away from parts of Miami-Dade County because of the Zika virus, Key Haven’s hardened position against the trial — or the experiment, as they call it — is hard to miss amid the bougainvillea and hibiscus flowering on lawns here. “No Consent to Release of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes,” red-and-white placards declare.
“People here can survive what nature throws at them,” said Gilda Niles, 64, who arrived in Key West from Cuba in 1967 and moved to Key Haven in 1980, when it was just a plot of earth with cheaper land, water on three sides and more space. “Hurricanes, bring them on; long-timers here seldom evacuate. Mosquitoes, well, that’s the price of paradise. Zika, this too shall pass, like dengue. But science and government, I’m not so sure about.”
Oh, please - Ms. Niles is 64 and won't need to worry about having any tiny-headed tots herself. Of course, when her offspring of child-bearing age stop visiting her, her mind may change.
We get an alternative view:
Phil Goodman, the chairman of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Board of Commissioners, said he opposed the referendum because the board was elected to make these kinds of hard choices “from a position of knowledge, and not emotion.”
“The opponents have very little information, and they are led by a few people who are non-science-based,” Mr. Goodman said. “We have tried to explain the real answers to them. They are not interested in the truth.”
Mr. Goodman said scientists and regulators — including the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — had concluded that there is no evidence that the mosquitoes are harmful to people, animals or the environment. For this reason, the F.D.A. granted final approval to the trial this month.
The NY Times grudgingly notes trouble in Their Blue Heaven:
Hillary Clinton’s 15,000 New Emails to Get Timetable for Release
By Mark Landler and Steven Lee Myers Aug 22, 2016
Well, they have toned down the gloomier front page headline, which reads:
"New Clinton Emails Raise Shadow Over Her Campaign"
Let the sun shine!
There is also a bit of bad-news management in their opening (4th paragraph):
WASHINGTON — The dispute over Hillary Clinton’s email practices now threatens to shadow her for the rest of the presidential campaign after the disclosure on Monday that the F.B.I. collected nearly 15,000 new emails in its investigation of her and a federal judge’s order that the State Department accelerate the documents’ release.
As a result, thousands of emails that Mrs. Clinton did not voluntarily turn over to the State Department last year could be released just weeks before the election in November. The order, by Judge James E. Boasberg of Federal District Court, came the same day a conservative watchdog group separately released hundreds of emails from one of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides, Huma Abedin, which put a new focus on the sometimes awkward ties between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department.
The F.B.I. discovered the roughly 14,900 emails by scouring Mrs. Clinton’s server and the computer archives of government officials with whom she corresponded. In late July, it turned them over to the State Department, which now must set a timetable for their release, according to Judge Boasberg’s order.
While the emails were not in the original trove of 55,000 pages that Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers handed to the State Department last year, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said in July that he did not believe they had been “intentionally deleted.” Still, he characterized Mrs. Clinton’s handling of classified information during her years at the State Department as “extremely careless.”
As to the "intentionally deleted" question, it is clear, if we can believe anything at all that Hillary has said, that her team deleted thousands of emails. We were assured that the deleted emails related to wedding plans and yoga schedules, but that was debunked by James Comey of the FBI when he announced that the FBI had recovered thousands of work-related emails.
And his take about intentional deletion was quite different from the Times presentation today:
The F.B.I. discovered “several thousand” work-related emails that were not in the original trove of 30,000 turned over by Mrs. Clinton to the State Department. Three of those contained information that agencies have concluded was classified, though Mr. Comey said he did not believe Mrs. Clinton deliberately deleted or withheld them from investigators.
The FBI was not investigating violations of the Freedom of Information Act or the National Archives Act, both of which relate to record-keeping and neither of which have criminal penalties. His comment about intentional deletion related to the intentional, or inadvertent, deletion of evidence of mishandling of classified information. In that context, his meaning is clear - Hillary may or may not have lied about circumventing the FOIA and the National Archives Act (OK, she lied) but per Comey she did not deliberately conceal evidence relevant to the FBI investigation.
So I suppose the next Hillary spin will be that these newly discovered work-related emails were just deleted in the normal course of this and that. When they are released, and the push is on to get them out before the election, we may see for ourselves just what sort of "work-related" stuff the FBI found, and whether it overlaps with the pay-to-play connection between State Department access and Clinton Foundation donations.
Will these revelations change any minds? A majority of the US public already considers Hillary untrustworthy.
The other half of Washington's most credible couple makes a promise:
If Hillary Clinton Wins, Foundation Will Stop Accepting Foreign Donations
By Amy Chozick Aug 18 2016
Facing criticism for some of the donations given to his family’s philanthropy, Bill Clinton said on Thursday that the Clinton Foundation would no longer accept foreign or corporate money and that he would resign from its board should Hillary Clinton win the presidency.
Mr. Clinton’s announcement, which he relayed to foundation employees in a meeting on Thursday, followed the recent release of State Department emails mentioning donors to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation who had contact with aides to Mrs. Clinton while she was the secretary of state.
The donations have become a lighting rod in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign against Donald J. Trump, who has repeatedly implied that foreign donors had corrupted his opponent’s tenure as secretary of state. On Tuesday, the Trump campaign pointed to an editorial in The Boston Globe titled “Clinton Foundation Should Stop Accepting Funds.”
So what is this, the "Full Employment for Influence Peddlers and Money Launderers" pledge of 2016? We can color even the Times skeptical:
Mr. Clinton’s decisions were first reported Thursday by The Associated Press and were confirmed by Craig Minassian, a foundation spokesman. The charity will rely only on contributions from American citizens and charities should Mrs. Clinton become president, Mr. Clinton explained.
But the new provision will not necessarily ease concerns about how the foundation and its supporters would be dealt with by a Hillary Clinton Administration.
Ms. Chozick goes on to explain that plenty of American citizens had business before the State Department and will have it it before the Clinton Administration.
And in any case, will this pledge from Mr. Credible prevent foreigners from hiring Bill or other Friends of Hillary for lucrative speeches or "consulting" gigs? Will it prevent a foreigner from using a US based charity as a middleman for a wheel-greasing donation?
And will side deals even be disclosed? I know, right? Back in the days of the controversial uranium sale to the Russkies, Hillary accidentally forgot to keep the White House apprised of her donor list, despite her promise to do so. Ooops.
As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.
And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
But Bill has promised to keep his hand, and Hillary's, and Chelsea's out of the cookie jar, so we can all relax.
From the Times:
U.N. Admits Role in Cholera Epidemic in Haiti
By Jonathan M. Katz Aug 17, 2016
For the first time since a cholera epidemic believed to be imported by United Nations peacekeepers began killing thousands of Haitians nearly six years ago, the office of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged that the United Nations played a role in the initial outbreak and that a “significant new set of U.N. actions” will be needed to respond to the crisis.
The deputy spokesman for the secretary general, Farhan Haq, said in an email this week that “over the past year, the U.N. has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.” He added that a “new response will be presented publicly within the next two months, once it has been fully elaborated, agreed with the Haitian authorities and discussed with member states.”
The weaseling is not necesarily over:
The secretary general’s acknowledgment, by contrast, stopped short of saying that the United Nations specifically caused the epidemic. Nor does it indicate a change in the organization’s legal position that it is absolutely immune from legal actions, including a federal lawsuit brought in the United States on behalf of cholera victims seeking billions in damages stemming from the Haiti crisis.
But it represents a significant shift after more than five years of high-level denial of any involvement or responsibility of the United Nations in the outbreak, which has killed at least 10,000 people and sickened hundreds of thousands. Cholera victims suffer from dehydration caused by severe diarrhea or vomiting.
10,000 dead and cholera continues in Haiti today. As to the outbreak:
The first victims lived near a base housing 454 United Nations peacekeepers freshly arrived from Nepal, where a cholera outbreak was underway, and waste from the base often leaked into the river. Numerous scientists have since argued that the base was the only plausible source of the outbreak — whose real death toll, one study found, could be much higher than the official numbers state — but United Nations officials have consistently insisted that its origins remain up for debate.
Mr. Alston [a New York University law professor who serves as one of a few dozen experts, known as special rapporteurs, who advise the organization on human rights issues] wrote that the United Nations’ Haiti cholera policy “is morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating.” He added, “It is also entirely unnecessary.” The organization’s continuing denial and refusal to make reparations to the victims, he argued, “upholds a double standard according to which the U.N. insists that member states respect human rights, while rejecting any such responsibility for itself.”
So we can pencil Mr. Alston in as "Undecided".
WTF is going on with these US swimmers in Rio?
Considering the early confusion about the Lochte story - Lochte apparently told his mother but not the US Olympic reps or the police, and mom told reporters - one does wonder whether the "we wuz robbed!" story was just a cover for something else.
But a cover-up for what, and why the desire to invent a story? Lochte and his teammates are adults who were done with their Olympic competition, so they shouldn't have been subject to any training rules.
The obvious guess is that they were off looking for illicit entertainment or controlled substances, which would still be a "So what?" unless Lochte's mom asked for a few hundred bucks for a shopping spree and her devoted son had to explain why he had no cash. But still, why let a little white lie escalate like that?
PILING ON: OK, now there is a report that Brazilian police are looking at a new video:
Video shows U.S. swimmer breaking gas station door, fighting guard, per authorities
Which leads to new questions - why say anything that calls attention to their night out if this is true?
And why did they display the calm and relaxed demeanor on the tape showing them re-entering the Olympic Village? That behavior struck a Brazilian judge as inconsistent with a recent robbery, but isn't it also inconsistent with a recent brawl? Of course, they seem in that tape to have wallets and cellphones, which does leave one wondering what the robber or robbers were after.
Well. These Olympians are more accustomed to handling adrenaline surges than I am.
UPDATED: The police version, per their recent press conference:
RIO DE JANEIRO - A Brazilian police official is telling The Associated Press that American swimmer Ryan Lochte fabricated a story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro.
The official, who has direct knowledge of the investigation, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about an ongoing probe.
He said that around 6 a.m. on Sunday, Lochte, along with fellow swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen , stopped at a gas station in Barra da Tijuca, a suburb of Rio where many Olympic venues are located. One of the swimmers tried to open the door of an outside bathroom. It was locked.
A few of the swimmers then pushed on the door and broke it. A security guard appeared and confronted them, the official said.
The official says the guard was armed with a pistol, but he never took it out or pointed it at the swimmers.
According to the official, the gas station manager then arrived. Using a customer to translate, the manager asked the swimmers to pay for the broken door. After a discussion, they did pay him an unknown amount of money and then left.
The official says that swimmers Conger and Bentz, who were pulled off a plane going back to the United States late Wednesday, told police that the robbery story had been fabricated.
On the one hand, this sounds like a plausible drunken escapade. But to tell the police a different story later?!?
I want people to think Trump 'has no organization'
Oh, let's be fair:
Donald Trump's campaign shakeup means nothing more than an expansion, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday, praising the Republican nominee's organization and recent on-message speeches.
"More people. The campaign is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. A lot of people think he has no organization. Good. I like them to think that," Giuliani said during an interview on "Fox & Friends." "The reality is I've traveled to a number of states with Donald and I've seen the organization he has."
The Times opens what looks like a large, six-part elegy for Obama (Metaphor! Please don't anyone shoot the SOB!) with this:
Once Skeptical of Executive Power, Obama Has Come to Embrace It
Mr. Obama will leave the White House as one of the most prolific authors of major regulations in presidential history.
They've noticed! And I assume they are all-in, since it is an evil, hate-filled bunch of Republican bigots blocking this good and sincere man. (OK, I ought to read the piece, but then, I ought to floss regularly and how is that working? (Or should I?)
Anyway, on to the irony utterly lost on Timesman. They are pushing hard for Hillary, who with her private email server has demonstrated a distinct aversion to the Freedom of Information Act, the National Archives Act, and Congressional oversight. She has now had one press conference in the last seven months, and has a well-earned reputation for obfuscation and opacity. As to her disclosure of donors to the Clinton Foundation and their possible conflicts with business before the State Department, don't ask - this legacy article was published by the Times back when Warren and Biden were still in play, but don't look for this sort of coverage between now and November.
And this woman with this record will be succeeding a lauded Democrat who has made it a point to bypass Congress at every opportunity. Sometimes the courts thwart him, but Hillary will have a chance to appoint a fifth liberal Justice and create an open legal and regulatory playground for progressives.
Yet the Times is worried about Trump as a threat to the Constitution? Their list of concerns needs to be lenghtened.