Trump Unfairly Expected to Answer Questions

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Bad Hair

Going back to the debate, which really was the most fun thing that happened this week … now Trump is whining that Lester Holt “went after” him and asked him unfair questions.  In truth, Lester Holt was barely there and only occasionally got in a word edgewise.

But in reviewing the transcript, it struck me that Holt spent more time aiming questions at Trump simply because Trump wouldn’t provide simple answers. Hillary Clinton would answer questions. She spoke in complete sentences that got right to what she wanted to say. Trump would spew out word salad, and Holt kept having to ask the same question again. For example:

HOLT: Mr. Trump, we’re talking about the burden that Americans have to pay, yet you have not released your tax returns. And the reason nominees have released their returns for decades is so that voters will know if their potential president owes money to — who he owes it to and any business conflicts. Don’t Americans have a right to know if there are any conflicts of interest?

TRUMP: I don’t mind releasing — I’m under a routine audit. And it’ll be released. And — as soon as the audit’s finished, it will be released.

But you will learn more about Donald Trump by going down to the federal elections, where I filed a 104-page essentially financial statement of sorts, the forms that they have. It shows income — in fact, the income — I just looked today — the income is filed at $694 million for this past year, $694 million. If you would have told me I was going to make that 15 or 20 years ago, I would have been very surprised.

But that’s the kind of thinking that our country needs. When we have a country that’s doing so badly, that’s being ripped off by every single country in the world, it’s the kind of thinking that our country needs, because everybody — Lester, we have a trade deficit with all of the countries that we do business with, of almost $800 billion a year. You know what that is? That means, who’s negotiating these trade deals?

We have people that are political hacks negotiating our trade deals.

HOLT: The IRS says an audit…

TRUMP: Excuse me.

HOLT: … of your taxes — you’re perfectly free to release your taxes during an audit. And so the question, does the public’s right to know outweigh your personal…

TRUMP: Well, I told you, I will release them as soon as the audit. Look, I’ve been under audit almost for 15 years. I know a lot of wealthy people that have never been audited. I said, do you get audited? I get audited almost every year.

And in a way, I should be complaining. I’m not even complaining. I don’t mind it. It’s almost become a way of life. I get audited by the IRS. But other people don’t.

I will say this. We have a situation in this country that has to be taken care of. I will release my tax returns — against my lawyer’s wishes — when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted. As soon as she releases them, I will release.

(APPLAUSE)

I will release my tax returns. And that’s against — my lawyers, they say, “Don’t do it.” I will tell you this. No — in fact, watching shows, they’re reading the papers. Almost every lawyer says, you don’t release your returns until the audit’s complete. When the audit’s complete, I’ll do it. But I would go against them if she releases her e-mails.

HOLT: So it’s negotiable?

TRUMP: It’s not negotiable, no. Let her release the e-mails. Why did she delete 33,000…

HOLT: Well, I’ll let her answer that.

All that verbiage, and he never answered the question. Then we turn to Secretary Clinton:

HOLT: He also — he also raised the issue of your e-mails. Do you want to respond to that?

CLINTON: I do. You know, I made a mistake using a private e- mail.

TRUMP: That’s for sure.

CLINTON: And if I had to do it over again, I would, obviously, do it differently. But I’m not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake, and I take responsibility for that.

Done and done. Of course, it would have been better had she made that statement earlier, like about 2012. She has her own problem with directly responding to criticism. But she got it right on Monday.

But that’s a pattern that was repeated as the night wore on. Holt asked Clinton a question, and she would answer it. Holt asked Trump a question, and some weird steam-of-consciousness ravings would come out of his mouth that were barely related to the question. So Holt would push the question a couple more times, and Trump would get more agitated and belligerent.

But in truth Lester Holt said very little during the debate, and for long stretches of time it was just the two candidates reacting to each other.

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The Best Is Yet to Come

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Bad Hair

Michael Tomasky points out that there is plenty of ammunition left with which Clinton could destroy Trump. And he doesn’t even list it all. Here are just some of them:

Trump Foundation. By now you know all about this bogus enterprise, thanks to the great reporting of David Farenthold of The Washington Post. I would imagine there’s more coming, possibly having to do with the kinds of business relationships Trump had with the leading donors to the foundation (a ticket-scalper? Come on.). But even if there’s not more coming, there’s material aplenty already, from the serious (the apparent, and apparently illegal, self-dealing) to the comic (the two grandiose portraits of himself the charity spent tens of thousands of dollars to purchase).

But there’s more! A couple of days ago Josh Marshall wrote,

We now have clear evidence of self-dealing in the payouts made by the Foundation and as of yesterday pretty clear evidence that Trump has used the Foundation to avoid paying taxes on income. The combination could spell real legal trouble for Trump, possible even criminal penalties. In short, you’re not allowed to use a family foundation as a piggy bank or slush fund for tax avoidance and personal or business purposes. We’ve proceeded cautiously in what we know and what we don’t. We’ve also tried to be cognizant of the fact that this is an area of criminal law where intent is critical – which is to say, ignorance of the law is a defense. That said, one top former IRS official involved in oversight of tax exempt organizations told TPM, “Once you see a pattern of that kind of egregious nature, you start to think if whether there’s an appropriate criminal referral there.” Here’s the story.

And today, Talking Points Memo reports,

The New York attorney general’s investigation of the Donald J. Trump Foundation appears to have broadened to include new allegations of self-dealing by Trump that surfaced after the probe began, TPM has learned.

The town of Palm Beach, Florida, has provided documents to the New York Attorney General’s Office as part of the probe, a lawyer for the town confirmed to TPM on Wednesday. The documents relate to a legal dispute that Trump settled with the town using foundation money. The details of the 2007 Palm Beach case were first reported by the Washington Post last week. …

…New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had announced earlier this month, before the Washington Post’s reporting on the Palm Beach case, that his office had opened an investigation into Trump Foundation after it was reported that Trump had used foundation money to buy personal gifts for himself.

The contact with Palm Beach by the Attorney General’s Office suggests its probe had widened to include other alleged acts of self-dealing. The Attorney General’s Office declined to comment Thursday.

Oh, but wait. Remember Trump University? Tomasky writes,

Trump University. In a lifetime of scams too numerous to count and too appalling to rank, this may be Trump’s biggest scam of all. Many people lost their money and got nothing whatsoever out of it. There are depositions that have been made public in which Trump U. employees admit they were under instructions to give students a very hard sell and sometimes to lie to them. Then of course there’s the whole way that the states of Texas and Florida dropped their investigations of it, after donations from the…

… from the Trump Foundation! This is what happened in Florida:

Trump, who bragged during the primaries about controlling politicians through financial support, is facing greater scrutiny for a 2013 contribution from his foundation to a political group working to re-elect Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The $25,000 donation came in just days after Bondi’s office said it was considering joining a New York-led investigation of Trump U. Florida ultimately decided against getting involved in the investigation

And this is what happened in Texas:

A few years earlier, Trump U. also caught the attention of the office of Texas’ then-Attorney General, Greg Abbott. In January 2010, his office opened an investigation into the school in response to complaints about deceptive business practices, and later in the year, the school effectively ended operations in the state altogether. Years later, when Abbott was running for governor, Trump made two donations to Abbott’s campaign, one for $25,000 and another for $10,000.

Hmmm. But wait, there’s more! Tomasky doesn’t even mention Newsweek‘s scoop, which is that one of Trump’s companies violated the U.S. embargo against Cuba!

Documents show that the Trump company spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval. But the company did not spend the money directly. Instead, with Trump’s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. Once the business consultants traveled to the island and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers with Trump’s company—then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts—how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.

Wow, that should cost Trump some support in Florida. Elsewhere, an anonymous plaintiff has re-filed her suit against Trump that claims he raped her when she was 13 years old. It’s not clear to me whether anything will happen with this suit before the election, but it’s remarkable so little is said about it. See also Snopes. That’s another one Tomasky left out. Tomasky also didn’t mention that U.S. Intelligence officials are still looking into ties between one of Trump’s advisers and the Kremlin.

Tomasky did go into Modelgate —

Modelgate. And speaking of undocumented workers, one of the better scoops of this season that failed to get the oxygen it deserved was this amazing report by James West in Mother Jones about how young female models in Trump’s employ were working in the country illegally and were treated worse than many people treat their dogs. Only one of these women talked to West on the record, but this is a story that would sicken the women watching the next debate, and the men with consciences, too.

Tomasky also mentioned Trump’s history of ripping off contractors and his plan to  round up and deport 12 million people, which certainly deserves more scrutiny.

Someday, Trump may actually regret he ever tried the running for president thing.

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Facepalm Time for Fox News

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Bad Hair, News Media

This is High Derp, even by Fox standards. Remember this part of last night’s debate?

HOLT: Mr. Trump, a lot of these are judgment questions. You had supported the war in Iraq before the invasion. What makes your…

TRUMP: I did not support the war in Iraq.

HOLT: In 2002…

TRUMP: That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her, because she — frankly, I think the best person in her campaign is mainstream media.

HOLT: My question is, since you supported it…

TRUMP: Just — would you like to hear…

HOLT: … why is your — why is your judgment…

TRUMP: Wait a minute. I was against the war in Iraq. Just so you put it out.

HOLT: The record shows otherwise, but why — why was…

TRUMP: The record does not show that.

HOLT: Why was — is your judgment any…

TRUMP: The record shows that I’m right. When I did an interview with Howard Stern, very lightly, first time anyone’s asked me that, I said, very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows? Essentially. I then did an interview with Neil Cavuto. We talked about the economy is more important. I then spoke to Sean Hannity, which everybody refuses to call Sean Hannity. I had numerous conversations with Sean Hannity at Fox. And Sean Hannity said — and he called me the other day — and I spoke to him about it — he said you were totally against the war, because he was for the war.

HOLT: Why is your judgment better than…

TRUMP: And when he — excuse me. And that was before the war started. Sean Hannity said very strongly to me and other people — he’s willing to say it, but nobody wants to call him. I was against the war. He said, you used to have fights with me, because Sean was in favor of the war.

And I understand that side, also, not very much, because we should have never been there. But nobody called Sean Hannity. And then they did an article in a major magazine, shortly after the war started. I think in ’04. But they did an article which had me totally against the war in Iraq.

And one of your compatriots said, you know, whether it was before or right after, Trump was definitely — because if you read this article, there’s no doubt. But if somebody — and I’ll ask the press — if somebody would call up Sean Hannity, this was before the war started. He and I used to have arguments about the war. I said, it’s a terrible and a stupid thing. It’s going to destabilize the Middle East. And that’s exactly what it’s done. It’s been a disaster.

HOLT: My reference was to what you had said in 2002, and my question was…

TRUMP: No, no. You didn’t hear what I said.

HOLT: Why is your judgment — why is your judgment any different than Mrs. Clinton’s judgment?

TRUMP: Well, I have much better judgment than she does. There’s no question about that. I also have a much better temperament than she has, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

I have a much better — she spent — let me tell you — she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on an advertising — you know, they get Madison Avenue into a room, they put names — oh, temperament, let’s go after — I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament. I have a winning temperament. I know how to win. She does not have a…

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

TRUMP: Wait. The AFL-CIO the other day, behind the blue screen, I don’t know who you were talking to, Secretary Clinton, but you were totally out of control. I said, there’s a person with a temperament that’s got a problem.

HOLT: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Whew, OK.

(LAUGHTER)

Good times. Anyway, are we all clear that Lester Holt said that Trump supported the invasion in 2002? So now Fox News is all GOTCHA LESTER HOLT because it found a news clip in which Trump expressed opposition to the war.

But the clip is from 2003.

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Hillary’s Night?

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Bad Hair, Hillary Clinton

I just re-read what I wrote last night while the debate was going on, and it seems most of the other commentaries I’ve read agree with me. Trump became more and more unglued as the evening wore on, while Clinton kept her cool and smiled serenely while he ranted. This debate should help her; we’ll see.

I also want to point out that every specific policy proposal she made was right out of Bernie Sanders’s playbook. Clintonistas are still complaining that he “damaged” her, and they blame Sanders for the closeness in the poll. But it seems to me he made her a better candidate. Because he challenged her as doggedly as he did, she got a clue what actual voters are concerned about.

T.A. Frank at Vanity Fair summed it up:

Before Monday night’s debate, we all read that Hillary Clinton was planning to bait Donald Trump and that Donald Trump was blowing off debate practice. Two typical responses from jaded readers: 1) If that were Clinton’s real plan, she’d be hiding it. 2) Trump is obviously trying to set expectations low.

But never underestimate the power of incompetence. As it turns out, the pre-debate leaks seem to have been accurate: Clinton baited Trump, and Trump showed up unprepared. So what happened then? Clinton won. If we were to write it as a play:

Clinton campaign pre-debate: We’re going to bait Trump and make him lose his cool.

Trump campaign pre-debate: Whatever.

Hillary Clinton: Bait.

Trump: Loses cool.

Possibly the more important thing is that media are nearly unanimous that Clinton mopped the floor with Trump. Even right-wing media critters are grumbling that he could have done better and that he missed opportunities. So often, we’ve seen that the post-debate spin is more critical to public opinion than the actual debate, and Clinton clearly won the spin.

I mostly disagree with Jeb Lund that Clinton should have been more assertive and gone in for the kill. Yeah, she missed a couple of opportunities to stick a knife between his ribs, so to speak, but she was playing rope-a-dope very well, I thought. A shame Muhammad Ali didn’t live to see it. More assertiveness might have appeared to pull her down to his level.

At one point she even repeated Michelle Obama’s words — When they go low, we go high. Good strategy for last night.

Josh Marshall:

Clinton clearly went into this debate not looking for one or two big “Have you no decency” moments but rather looking to hit him with a rat-tat-tat series of taunts and jabs to see if she could get him to lose his cool and throw him off his game. It ended up happening a lot more quickly than I expected. No more than fifteen minutes in he was getting visibly angry. And he stayed that way for the next hour plus.

From maybe a half hour into the debate Clinton had almost entirely seized the initiative. She was attacking while he responded, sometimes angrily, sometimes with new attacks and very often by doubling down on demonstrable falsehoods he’s been pilloried for for months. At various moments he shuffled in and out of parts of his stump speech. But through most of the exchange he constantly interrupted Clinton, talked over her, denied claims she made which are easily validated. In terms of body language and style it was thermonuclear Rick Lazio.

That said, how this came across to undecided low-information voters is anybody’s guess. But I’ll be surprised if the polls don’t show some improvement in Clinton’s favor in the next few days. Maybe in the next debate she’ll bring the knife. And maybe he’ll actually prepare. But that’s probably expecting too much of him.

As for Lester Holt, seems to me he was barely there. Righties are complaining that his questions favored Clinton, but they were both mostly ignoring his questions anyway and going off on their own tangents. There were several times I wanted him to reign in Trump’s ravings, and Holt sat there and did nothing. That actually may have favored Clinton more than any questions he asked.

Oh, and Amanda Marcotte is already complaining that everything about the debate was sexist. Give it a bleeping rest, Amanda.

Update: Charles Pierce is worth reading.

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Debate Live Blog

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Obama Administration

It’s almost time. I’ve got Bloomberg TV fired up; they promise to do fact checking while the debate goes on.

Lester Holt is on. OK, here’s the candidates.

Achieving Prosperity: Jobs. Let’s go.

Hillary has a granddaughter! Who knew?

So far, so good for Hill. Raise minimum wage, fairer economy, do more to help those struggling to balance family and work. Paid family leave. Debt free college. Wealthy pay fair share; close corporate loopholes.

Trump: Jobs fleeing country, going to Mexico, China, and Trump is sending them. No, he didn’t say that. Thousands of jobs are leaving, etc., says he agrees with Hillary on child care. I think reasonable Trump is trying to show up  here.

Cutting taxes on business to expand business? That hasn’t worked in the states.

Hillary — Donald is proposing trickle down economics. He started his business with 14 million dollars from his father. The more you help wealthy people the better things are? I don’t believe that.

Invest in the middle class! She’s been reading Bernie’s speeches.

Trump says his father gave him only a little money.

Trump’s a one-note speaker — foreign countries stealing jobs.

He’s talking about tariffs. Tax goods coming in.

Oh, she’s taking it to him. He rooted for the housing crisis. He admits it. “That’s called business, by the way.”

Independent experts say that Trump’s plans would cost jobs and start another recession, she says. My plan would grow the economy.

He is interrupting her; she ignores him and keeps talking.

He says Obama doubled the debt. Fact checkers? He’s talking about trickle down economics; giving companies tax incentives to invest. Doesn’t work.

He’s losing it. He’s screaming about NAFTA. He’s interrupting her. Lester needs to reign him in.

Go to HillaryClinton.com for the facts, she said. Your plans would add $5 million to the debt. Raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for investments.

This has to be stopped. He’s on the edge crazy. He wants to cut taxes on the wealthy to help create jobs. Companies are fleeing because taxes are so high. They can’t bring their money into the country because of bureaucratic red tape? He’s not even making sense.

Broad-based inclusive growth is what we need in America, she said, not more benefits for the wealthy. He’s got nothing to say except everything is awful and it’s her fault.

Lester Holt asks him about his tax returns. He says he’ll be happy to release them someday. He says he can’t release the taxes because he’s being audited. Holt says that doesn’t stop him from releasing taxes.

Audience cheers Trump. They shouldn’t have live audiences in these debates.

Clinton — he doesn’t want the American people to know he has paid nothing in federal taxes. “That makes me smart,” he says.

My suspicious is that people who actually like Trump think he is winning. He’s really good at complaining about all the stuff that’s wrong,

She’s going into all the people Trump has stiffed. You’ve taken their labor and taken the work they produced, and you stiffed them.

He’s saying that you can’t blame him for cheating his suppliers because the laws of the U.S. let him do it.

Race — He’s calling for Lawnorder, like Nixon. He’s not addressing racial problems except in terms of disorder.

He’s calling for stop and frisk! Unreal!

She really is doing very well in this debate. I haven’t yet seen her put a foot wrong.

Lester Holt asked Trump about birtherism. He’s now blaming Clinton for birtherism. Now he’s not even making sense.

My guess is that this debate won’t change the trajectory of the polls that much. She’s doing very well; he’s an idiot. But I think the people who are stupid enough to have believed Trump all along are still going to like Trump.

He thinks we should have taken the oil?

He thinks Iran was about to fall? He just makes shit up.

The Donald keeps sniffing. There’s already an Internet rumor that he’s on cocaine.

Lester Holt is insisting that Trump was for the war in Iraq in 2002. He denies it.

I think Clinton has landed some blows during the segment on national security.

China should go into North Korea? And why would China do that?

He saying the Iran deal should have included something about North Korea? WTF?

Trump has been losing it in this last segment. I think several of his rantings in this last segment are going to come back to bite him.

Well, that’s it. In some ways it wasn’t as awful as I had feared. Clinton did very well and hit all the right notes, I think. As the night wore on Trump got more and more defensive and more and more irrational. He didn’t help himself at all, I don’t think, although he probably didn’t drive his core supporters away. She probably helped herself just by demonstrating she doesn’t really have fangs dripping blood, but I don’t think she made any mistakes.

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Startling New Revelation About Al Gore

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elections

So a guy on my Facebook friend’s list posted that Hillary Clinton’s problems in the polls have “everything to do with gender. One only need to look at the false equivalency and over reactions to anything Clinton and the blindness towards Trump’s criminal activity.”

But if you’ve been paying attention these past, oh, 36 years, the false equivalency thing has been going on since the Carter-Reagan contest in 1980. The Dem candidate gets picked apart; the GOP candidate gets a pass.

This reached a peak during the Bush II years. In 2000 Al Gore got slammed for random things like misstating the cost of dog food. Remember when the talking point on Gore was that he was a “serial liar”? Meanwhile Bush had some major ugly things in his background as a businessman and as a governor that got overlooked.

Gore also was called out because of his fashion sense — too many earth tones. Remember that one?

So I’ve come to a startling conclusion: Al Gore is a woman. And maybe John Kerry is, too.

Another Al Gore related tidbit — this weekend I ran into a wingnut making fun of Al Gore’s environmental predictions. Gore had predicted that global climate change would be causing flooding on the coastlines by now. Ha, ha, the wingnut said.

But, dude — global climate change IS causing flooding on the coastlines now.

The wingnuts won’t recognize truth until they’re underwater in boiling seas, I’m afraid.

Also — I’m thinking about live blogging the debate tonight. Anyone interested?

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Why Is It So Close?

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Hillary Clinton

I still expect Clinton to win in November, but I confess I’m surprised the contest is as close as it is right now. Tomorrow’s debate could really matter.

So the question is, why is it so close? Just looking at the Clinton side, here are some possible factors, tossed out off the top of my head —

1. Clinton was never as popular with the Dem voting base as party elites assumed. Over the past few years I heard many bobbleheads on the teevee claim that Hillary Clinton was wildly popular with the base. This notion was placed in their heads, I assume, by the same Democratic Party elites who chose Clinton as the nominee before the primaries had started. But while there were polls taken in 2014 and early 2015 showing that a majority of Democrats would vote for her, I never saw much enthusiasm for her here in Real World Land. Her success in polls was merely a name recognition thing, I suspect. She was getting the same results in 2006 and 2007, BTW.

The way she won the primaries didn’t help her. IMO the primaries usually provide the eventual winner with a pool of supporters whose enthusiasm was whipped up by the primary fight itself. But my sense of things is that while Clinton still has her devoted core supporters who will stand by her through thick and thin, her primary campaign didn’t whip up any enthusiasm among those who weren’t already Hillaryphiles to begin with. Many people voted for her out of duty and because they weren’t sold on the electability of her only rival, the old socialist guy.

2. She’s not getting an expected boost among nonwhite voters. Nate Cohn writes that “Mrs. Clinton is not poised to match the gains Mr. Obama made among nonwhite voters over previous Democratic nominees,” he said.  Put another way, her support among blacks and Latinos was overrated and will not give her the boost in the general that she expected.

3. News Media and false equivalency. Do I have to spell this out? Trump isn’t being vetted in the part of national media that most voters actually see. Clinton, on the other hand, can’t catch a break.

4. The Two Third-Party Challengers. I’m not sure this is really much of a factor, especially the challenge coming from Stein. If it comes down to a very close election in November it might be a factor, however.

5. Independent voters could break either way. The only people who really like Clinton are true blue Dem Party loyalists. Among left-leaning independents, she’s kind of “meh,” if not downright disliked. I don’t think Trump is having the same problem with right-leaning independents.

6. Related to #5 — Trump probably is benefiting from widespread dislike of Clinton. Justified or not, a large portion of Americans genuinely hate Hillary Clinton. I suspect there are a lot of people planning to vote for Trump who wouldn’t consider him if anyone else were the Dem nominee. So while Clinton probably will get some crossover Republican votes, those will be more than offset by anybody-but Clinton voters.

7. Misogyny. I don’t think this is a big a factor as Hillary supporters believe, but it is marginal factor, I’m sure.

8. Young people will sit out this election. She’s not getting the support from younger voters that Obama got. They are less likely to be frightened by Trump and also less likely to vote for someone just because they have a D after their name. She has to give them a reason to vote for her, and so far she hasn’t.

Of course, the other part of this equation is, why are so many people planning to vote for Trump? I’ll cover that in another post.

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Red and Redder

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elections, Obama Administration

I’m getting ready to resurrect the old slogan “Better dead than Red.” Of course, back in the day, “red” meant “Communist.” I’m struggling to come up with a term that sums up what “red” means now, other than “we are so screwed.”

In Red State Missouri the general election candidates are all running on the platform of Redder Than Thou. There’s an open seat in the governor’s mansion; the two candidates are:

  • Chris Koster, the Democrat, who brags about being tough on crime and how he is endorsed by the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police. After Ferguson, that’s, um, a tad alarming.
  • Eric Greitens, the Republican, whose primary campaign ads featured him gunning down some farmer’s field. His major selling point is being former Navy Seal.

I’m pleased to say Kostner is ahead in the polls. Kostner appears to be okay on women’s reproductive rights and also on marriage equality and Obamacare. He may be trusted to continue the illustrious legacy of the current governor, Jay Nixon, who functioned primarily to veto whatever nonsense the legislature came up with. Greitens will, I fear, do to Missouri what Sam Brownback did to Kansas, and also will green light whatever shit-for-brains laws the state legislature comes up with. If Greitens wins, I would advise anyone with business interests in the state to get the hell out before the inauguration.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt, patron saint of lobbyists, is up for re-election. He’s one of those incumbents who feels as if he’s been around since Reconstruction, but it’s probably only been since the Coolidge Administration. The man’s a walking archetype of what’s wrong with Washington. If Blunt were an actor, he’d be the guy they’d always want to cast as the fat cat politician. Naturally, Blunt, who has never served in the military, enjoys the endorsement of the NRA and has featured this prominently in his campaign.

The NRA released an ad attacking Blunt’s opponent, Democrat Jason Kander, who is currently the Missouri Secretary of State. Kander released this ad:

Basically, Kander has the nerve to think there are some people who shouldn’t have guns. People with criminal records, for example. He’s also on the record as being opposed to “stand your ground” laws and thinks there are some places civilians shouldn’t be carrying guns,, such as schools. This makes him an official Enemy of Freedom as far as the gun nuts are concerned.

Gail Collins commented on this race, and added:

Now Hillary Clinton is running on centrist reforms like background checks, while Donald Trump wants to eliminate gun-free zones at, say, nursery schools and give people from Missouri the right to carry their permit-free concealed weapons in Midtown Manhattan.

In gratitude, the N.R.A. has been running an ad that shows an intruder smashing into a house where a woman is sleeping, alone. When the terrified resident opens the safe where she keeps her gun, said weapon vanishes, and it’s pretty much curtains. This could happen to you, if you let Hillary Clinton take away our “right to self-defense.”

Of course, a woman is less likely to be shot by an intruder than by a member of her family. And really, Missouri, do you want to have everybody in St. Louis carrying a concealed weapon? Let’s talk.

Blunt is leading in the polls, but it’s close enough that Kander “has a shot.” Please, oh please …

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Real Courage

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firearms

Josh Marshall:

As I’ve said, I live across the street from where the Chelsea bombing occurred. But I wasn’t there when it happened. I came home with my family Sunday evening. Since subways were still not stopping at the station’s closest to the bomb area we walked ten blocks. Returning to our neighborhood and approaching the guarded perimeter I felt a deep-seated pride in the community I live in, pride as a New Yorker. Immediately outside the sealed off perimeter people were going about their business as if nothing had happened. There was no climate of fear, no sense of a community on lock down. People were walking the streets, going to restaurants and bars.

New Yorkers are the best. Compare/contrast that to the weenies in the Gun Nation video, or this guy who can’t go to a Wal-Mart without an AR-15. Weenies, the lot of them.

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I Love New York

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criminal justice

Today we learn that bombs intended to detonate in New York City and New Jersey were disabled by quick-thinking, patriotic bag-snatchers.

Several bombs planted in both Manhattan and New Jersey—among them one that detonated Saturday night, injuring dozens—were inadvertently disabled by thieves. A pressure cooker bomb was left in a rolling suitcase on West 27th Street in New York City, and according to DNAinfo, well-dressed men allegedly took the bomb out of the bag and then placed it in a garbage bag before stealing the suitcase. By removing it, officials say the unidentified thief accidentally disabled the device. Once disabled, authorities could look at the cellphone attached to the explosive and eventually trace it back to New Jersey resident Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, who is wanted for questioning in more than one explosion over the weekend. “Who in this world finds a pressure cooker with a phone and just takes the bag?” a law-enforcement source asked on Monday.

It’s New York, sweetums. Do you have to ask?

Also, per Wonkette: “Protip: Use a just-purchased burner phone for detonating your IEDs, kids. Don’t terrorists even watch The Wire?” I’d add to that, don’t stash your pressure cooker/IED in a nice rolling suitcase.

Earlier Monday morning, in New Jersey, another set of thieves took a backpack on a trash can that had five bombs, which has also been tied to Rahami. The would-be thieves dropped the bag and called 911, likely preventing it from detonating in a crowded train station later in the day. The bag detonated while police were handling it, but no injuries were reported.

I object to calling these patriotic and quick-thinking New Jerseyites “thieves.” Anything left on a trash can is finders keepers, IMO. Of course, it sounds as if Khan Rahami was not the sharpest bomb-maker on the planet, or the five pipe bombs might have gone off and killed our heroes when they dropped the bag. But all’s well that ends well.

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