Monthly Archives: September 2016

Hillary Pulls No Punches

This is…unhinged, even for Trump. A few notes. What kind of man stays up all night to smear a woman with lies and conspiracy theories? Alicia deserves praise for courageously standing up to Trump’s attacks. And he has the gall to blame her for his cruel behavior—and even say he “helped”? When something gets under Donald’s thin skin, he lashes out and can’t let go. This is dangerous for a presidential candidate, never mind a president. What’s more: This is a pattern of flying off the handle at women who defy, criticize, or otherwise displease Trump. To Donald, women like Alicia are only as valuable as his personal opinion about their looks. He obsessively bullies Rosie O’Donnell, an accomplished actor. He calls female reporters and news hosts who question him “”crazy”” and “neurotic,” or worse. He insulted Kim Kardashian for her weight—when she was pregnant. It’s pathetic. We’ve heard Donald’s insults for years, and his policies reflect this disregard—even contempt—for women: On equal pay, Trump says women should just “do as good a job” as men. He thinks women who get an abortion should be “punished.” He called pregnancy an “inconvenience” to employers. Wives working are “dangerous.” He’s never hidden how he truly feels about women, but it’s never been clearer than right now: he doesn’t respect half the population of this country—and he doesn’t deserve to lead it.

A photo posted by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on

Judge Roy Moore Is Toast

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended from the bench for telling probate judges to defy federal orders regarding gay marriage.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ) issued the order Friday suspending Moore from the bench for the remainder of his term.

“For these violations, Chief Justice Moore is hereby suspended from office without pay for the remainder of his term. This suspension is effective immediately,” the order stated.

The court found him guilty of all six charges of violation of canon of judicial ethics. Moore’s term is to end in 2019. Gov. Robert Bentley will name a replacement for Moore.

In its order, the COJ wanted to make sure people understood what Moore’s case was and was not about.

“At the outset, this court emphasizes that this case is concerned only with alleged violations of the Canons of Jucial Ethics,” the COJ states. “This case is not about whether same-sex marriage should be permitted: indeed, we recognize that a majority of voters in Alabama adopted a constitutional amendment in 2006 banning same-sex marriage, as did a majority of states over the last 15 years.”

The COJ also stated it is also not a case to review or to editorialize about the United States Supreme Court’s split decision to declare same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

In its 50-page order, the COJ stated it did not find credible Moore’s claim that the purpose for the Jan. 6 order was “merely to provide a ‘status update’ to the state’s probate judges.”

“We likewise do not accept Chief Justice Moore’s repeated argument that the disclaimer in paragraph 10 of the January 6, 2016, order – in which Chief Justice Moore asserted he was ‘not at liberty to provide any guidance … of the effect of Obergefell on the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court’ – negated the reality that Chief Justice More was in fact ‘ordering and directing’ the probate judges to comply with the API orders regardless of Obergefell or the injunction in Strawser (federal case in Alabama).”


Presidential Debate #1 Post Mortem – Trump’s Glass Jaw

Clinton won hands down.  That is the consensus of anyone not fiendishly loyal to Trump.

How did she win? She let Trump be Trump.  Which, as it turns out, was Trump’s strategy.

As might be gleaned from my Tweets there was not a lot of substance and policy sadly from Clinton, although it was clear that Clinton HAD policies and plans.  In fact, at one point, Trump criticized her for having her plan against ISIS on her website, which of course was silly.

Trump was aggressively fact-free. When Clinton pointed out that Trump believed climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese government, he said this was false. But it’s actually what he had said (despite an attempt by someone in the Trump campaign to delete the Tweet). When moderator Lester Holt pressed Trump on his racist birther crusade, Trump again tried to pin birtherism on Clinton and said that he dropped the issue after President Barack Obama produced a long-form birth certificate. That wasn’t true. Asked about race relations in the United States, Trump propounded on the need for “law and order” and declared the murder rate in New York City has gone up. No, not so.

I really thought that Trump would tone down on the lies.  He can get away with them in front of his crowds at rallies; I’m amazed he thought he could get away with them in a general election debate.

Clinton, on the other hand, was moistly policy, as much as she could.  In Clinton’s opening question—responding to a question about the economy—she mentioned about a dozen policy proposals: investing in manufacturing, boosting clean energy programs, raising the minimum wage, equal pay for women, profit-sharing for employees, paid family leave, affordable child care, debt-free college education, ending corporate tax loopholes, increasing taxes on the wealthy, and more. Trump spent his opening moments railing against China and Mexico and decrying jobs “being stolen from us.” It was Clinton the policy wonk promoting nifty ideas to make the nation stronger versus Trump the angry man blaming foreign enemies and vowing in strongman fashion that he will somehow get results.

But mostly she won by putting Trump on the defensive, which is alarmingly easy to do, especially when it came to his money/taxes. It was the tax return question when Hillary broke him. Speculating about the reason Trump wouldn’t release his taxes, Clinton rattled off every single sore spot on Trump’s tender skin. Maybe he wasn’t so rich. Maybe he wasn’t so generous. Maybe he paid no taxes. In response, Trump openly bragged about paying no taxes. It was a response Clinton would use to bludgeon Trump again as someone who didn’t contribute his fair share, and from that point on Trump became less self-possessed, less coherent, less able to restrain himself.

That lack restraint came to head when the debate turned to the topic of women. Clinton brought up Trump’s past derogatory remarks about women’s looks. Trump, the would-be president of the world’s only superpower, responded by referencing his personal feud with Rosie O’Donnell, “I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree that she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her.”

Yup. It was that bad.  Even that alt-right couldn’t spin its way out of it.  Sure, there were some attempts to shill for Trump, as usual, but many in the alt-right are finding it difficult to reasonably deny that Clinton won, in every sense of the word.

Stormfront, the site founded by a Ku Klux Klan leader and seen as a premier website for alt-right neo-Nazis, had several posts from readers indicating their view that Hillary won the debate. Deadspin rounded up some of these posts, and they include at least one person saying, “I’m a hard core  [sic] Trump supporter – and was from the very beginning – but Hillary mopped the floor with Trump tonight.” Another added, “sorry but he got crushed tonight.”

In a word, Trump got Khaned.  Meaning, this:

Before the first presidential debate, the defining confrontation of the general election was an inspiring speech by Khizr Khan, a Muslim-American Gold Star father. Khan’s speech was delivered before prime time, and its unexpected power might have been wasted had Donald Trump not taken the bait by repeatedly attacking Khan and his wife for days afterward. During the closing moments of Monday night’s debate, Clinton provided another Khan moment, and Trump, once again, could not help but reveal his own ugliness.

Clinton had been signaling her intent to focus on Trump’s longtime habit of humiliating women based on their appearance. A few days before, her campaign released an ad counter-posing some of his most infuriating comments about women with images of adolescent girls looking at themselves:

It is clear that Clinton planned to create this moment in the debate, because the question did not arrive organically. Trump had been talking about Iran, and moderator Lester Holt was trying to bring up the final question, when Clinton interrupted to spring her trap. Here is how the exchange begins:

HOLT: We are at — we are at the final question.
CLINTON: Well, one thing. One thing, Lester.
HOLT: Very quickly, because we’re at the final question now.
CLINTON: You know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina. But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs, and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said …
TRUMP: I never said that.
CLINTON: … women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.
TRUMP: I didn’t say that.

Trump has already interrupted Clinton to deny his statements twice before she brings up the point she intends to drive home:

CLINTON: And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman “Miss Piggy.” Then he called her “Miss Housekeeping,” because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.

TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this?
CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado.
TRUMP: Where did you find this?
CLINTON: And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet …
TRUMP: Oh, really?
CLINTON: … she’s going to vote this November.
TRUMP: Where did you find this?

You can easily see why Clinton’s campaign decided this was the perfect anecdote to display his grotesque personal qualities. It contains several elements all at once. There is Trump’s lecherous habit of creeping around beauty contestants, which is its own deep vein of gross behavior. There is the cruel reduction of women to their appearance. And there is the anti-Latina racism.

But what truly made the set piece work was Trump’s response, which Clinton could not have scripted better if she tried. Unlike the previous allegations, he did not deny them, but instead burst out — three times! — “Where did you find this?” I have seen villains in Disney movies presented with damning evidence react this way, but I have never seen an actual human being do it, until now.

Then Clinton capped it off by noting that Machado plans to vote — which was the same response generated by Khan’s speech:

Here it was again, the perfectly selected victim fighting back against Trump by voting, precisely the action Clinton hopes to encourage. Clinton’s campaign immediately capitalized by releasing a new web ad with Machado telling her story. And Trump, despite the entire Republican Party beseeching him to walk away from the Khan fight and never engage in attacks against ordinary Americans, insisted in a Fox & Friends interview on attacking Machado for being too fat:

You can watch the Fox hosts cringe as Trump launches into the diatribe, and then, as they gently try to steer him away, insists on returning to the subject. They can see him destroying himself again, in real time, in exactly the way they begged him to stop doing earlier in the summer, yet they cannot stop it.

Life rarely works out in such a simple and dramatically perfect way. Terrible human beings usually know how to conceal their terribleness. Even a villain as impulsive and egotistical as Trump has the benefit of an entire political party and associated media apparatus throwing itself behind the task of concealing his hideous character through Election Day. Trump, however, is not only a horrible human being but a congenitally incompetent one.

At the end of the day, I think everyone agrees that Trump is….. well, kind of a dick.  Everyone agrees.  His supporters like him to be that way.  Everyone else can’t believe he has made it this far.

Yup, he’s a dick.

FURTHER THOUGHT:  Does Clinton’s win change votes?  What about swing states?

We won’t know for sure, but it may not have made a huge impact, if this Charlotte North Carolina-based focus group is any indication:

Before the debate, the tally was nine Clinton, three Trump, six undecided and three Johnson. Afterward, it became seven Clinton, three Trump, six undecided and five Johnson.


11 of the leading misleading whoppers from the debate….

1) Trump: I do not say” climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.


2) Trump to Clinton: “You’ve been fighting ISIS your whole life.”


3) Trump claimed to have not called women “pigs, slobs, and dogs.”


4) Trump said he was endorsed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement border patrol agency.


5) Trump said he did not support the Iraq War.


6) Trump: I only got a “very small” business loan from my father.


7) Trump denied that he claimed to not care if Asian countries got nukes.


8) Trump claimed he released the “most extensive” financial review in political history.


9) Trump blamed the “birther” conspiracy theories on Clinton allies.


10) Trump claimed American manufacturing is in decline.


11) Trump: NATO focuses on terrorism because of me.