The Wires

The Ledes

Monday, September 26, 2016.

New York Times: "Arnold Palmer, the champion golfer whose full-bore style of play, thrilling tournament victories and magnetic personality inspired an American golf boom, attracted a following known as Arnie’s Army and made him one of the most popular athletes in the world, died on Sunday, according to a spokesman for his business enterprises. Palmer was 87." -- CW 

Miami Herald: "Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández, who fled Cuba on a speedboat eight years ago to become one of baseball’s dominant players and a hometown hero to fans well beyond the stadium walls, died early Sunday in a violent boat crash off South Beach. He was 24. Two friends were also killed in the accident, which remains under investigation and led Major League Baseball to promptly cancel Sunday’s home game against the Atlanta Braves." -- CW 

Read more here:

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: (August 2): "Federal health authorities on Monday urged pregnant women not to visit a South Florida neighborhood where new cases of the Zika virus have emerged, the first time officials have warned against travel to part of the continental United States due to the outbreak of an infectious disease.” -- CW

New York Times: "The veteran television personality Jane Pauley will replace Charles Osgood as the anchor of the highly rated CBS show 'Sunday Morning.' Mr. Osgood, who is retiring, announced the news on his last show on Sunday. Ms. Pauley’s first day in the role will be Oct. 9, and she will become only the third anchor of the show, which started in 1979." -- CW 

New York Times: "Modern humans evolved in Africa roughly 200,000 years ago. But how did our species go on to populate the rest of the globe?.... In a series of extraordinary genetic analyses published on Wednesday, researchers believe they have found an answer. In the journal Nature, three separate teams of geneticists survey DNA collected from cultures around the globe, many for the first time, and conclude that all non-Africans today trace their ancestry to a single population emerging from Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.... All non-Africans are closely related to one another, geneticists found, and they all branch from a family tree rooted in Africa.... There are also clues that at least some modern humans may have departed Africa well before 50,000 years ago, perhaps part of an earlier wave of migration." -- CW ...

... CW Note to White Racists: You, too, are black. It's way past time to give up your quest for "racial purity"; it's genetically impossible. This, BTW, is something non-ignoramuses have known for a couple of decades. No wonder you hate science.


The Los Angeles Times has extensive coverage of the Emmy Awards here.

The video below will most likely be taken down for copyright infringement, so watch it while you can. It's pretty funny. Here's a WashPo report on Jeb!'s cameo on the opening bit for the Emmy Awards. Also, ABC may put up a video of it here, but they have nothing at all up on the awards ceremony as of 8:30 am ET, Monday, Sept. 19.

Chris Welch of the Verge: "Twitter is about to make a big change to the way that tweets work.... Beginning September 19th, the company will cut down on exactly which types of content count toward the platform's 140-character limit. Media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce the count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility in composing their messages."

You'll want to supersize this one:


Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, unsuccessful in his bid to become Donald Trump's running mate, has reimagined himself as a celebrity, instead. He'll appear this season on "Dancing with the 'Stars,'" competing against other fabulous celebrities like Ryan Lochte, unless Lochte is unavoidably detained in a Brazilian jail. (Here's a link to Perry's veepstakes proffer. Of course Trump ultimately rejected Perry, but promised to make him head of some agency or department Perry probably can't remember.) CW: As always, we concentrate on the serious, important news because politics ain't funny.

...Washington Post: Charles Osgood, who is 83 years old, announced Sunday, August 28, that he was retiring as host of the long-running CBS show "Sunday Morning." "He will stay on through Sept. 25. Osgood has been the face of the weekly program since 1994, when he took it over from its first host, Charles Kuralt." -- CW 

... Guardian: "The search for life outside our solar system has been brought to our cosmic doorstep with the discovery of an apparently rocky planet orbiting the nearest star to our sun. Thought to be at least 1.3 times the mass of the Earth, the planet lies within the so-called 'habitable zone' of the star Proxima Centauri, meaning that liquid water could potentially exist on the newly discovered world." -- CW 

Guardian: "A fisherman in the Philippines has kept what might be the largest natural pearl ever found hidden in his home for more than 10 years. The enormous pearl is 30cm wide (1ft), 67cm long (2.2ft) and weighs 34kg (75lb). If it is confirmed to have formed within a giant clam, as has been reported, it would likely be valued in excess of US$100m." CW: Looks like there will be a fight on this: when he moved house, the fisherman entrusted it to his aunt for safekeeping. "With his permission, she offered the pearl to the mayor, Lucilo R Bayon, to serve as new tourist attraction of city." -- CW 

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The Commentariat -- Sept. 27, 2016

Afternoon Update:

Nate Silver: "Democrats woke up on Monday to a spate of bad polls for Hillary Clinton, which brought Donald Trump to perhaps his closest position yet in the Electoral College... Clinton bested Trump in the first presidential debate according to a variety of metrics, and the odds are that she’ll gain in head-to-head polls over Trump in the coming days." -- CW 

Jonathan Chait: "Before the first presidential debate, a conventional wisdom had formed that Donald Trump merely needed to appear 'presidential,' which the campaign media had defined as 'non-sociopathic.' He failed to clear that bar.... The final exchange of the debate was the most devastating. Clinton lacerated Trump for his dehumanization of women — the kind of sexualization that offends social conservatives and social liberals alike.... Clinton ... maintained her composure and her dignity, something no Republican who confronted (or was bullied by) Trump in the primary debates managed to do. She had facts at her disposal, she apologized for her poor choice of email systems, and she conveyed that she is sane and competent. The contrast between an obviously and eminently qualified public servant and a ranting bully was as stark as any presidential debate in American history." -- CW 

Frank Rich enjoyed Clinton's near "pitch-perfect delivery" vs. the Trump debacle debate style, including this: "To the vast delight of the internet, Howard Dean tried to explain this performance by tweeting: ;Notice Trump sniffing all the time. Coke user?'” CW: Dean was a family practice doctor, so who nose? Dean might be right.

Trump Points (very short) Fingers After Debate. Could be last debate. Kyle Cheney of Politico. "Donald Trump’s long night on Long Island morphed into a morning of finger-pointing Tuesday, as he revived his brashest personal style to explain an erratic debate performance against Hillary Clinton...Trump’s camp is already hinting he’s considering taking a pass on the next debate. [Rudy] Giuliani told reporters Monday night that he’d advise Trump to drop out of the next meeting because the moderators wouldn’t be fair...Akhilleus

My Mic was bad! No, really! Trump's latest conspiracy theory: Alex Griswold of Mediaite. "According to the Associated Press, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump immediately told reporters following Monday’s presidential debate that there was something wrong with his microphone during his one-on-one with Hillary Clinton. Trump visited the media spin room after the Monday night debate and said, ‘They gave me a defective mic!' AP reported. He said he ‘wonder(s), was that on purpose?'" Akhilleus: Reminds me of a kid who played on my high school baseball team who, every time he struck out (and he struck out a LOT) would look at his bat, incredulously, as if it had somehow caused the latest embarrassment.  Sure, kid. Must've been the bat.

Trumped in Maine. Paul Lepage's Binders of Black Drug Dealers. Kelly Weil of the Daily Beast: "Governor Paul LePage, Maine’s miniature Donald Trump, has said over 90 percent of the state’s drug trafficking comes from black and Hispanic dealers. But his own binder full of alleged drug dealers proves him wrong...contrary to LePage’s claims, '90 percent' of the alleged dealers do not appear to be black or Hispanic. In fact...of the 92 alleged dealers pictured, more than half appear to be white." Akhilleus:  Lepage's response? Something, something, something, er, he didn't actually mean it quite that way. BUT he still thinks its a capital idea to shoot black people suspected of being drug dealers. '"You’ve been in uniform?' he asked a fellow Republican legislator during a press conference. 'You shoot at the enemy... and the enemy right now...are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.'" But, just like his hero Trump, Lepage has never been in uniform either. Nonetheless, calling for the peremptory execution of black people, has Trump has done in the past, is just the thing to cure all ills. Whatever happened to the good old days when binders were full of women?


CW: I haven't been able to post this morning because of a computer-generated emergency! but I'll be back at about 10 am ET if all goes well from here on in. 

Presidential Race

Philip Rucker & Anne Gearan of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump aggressively blamed the nation’s chronic problems on Hillary Clinton yet found himself mostly on the defensive in their first debate here Monday night as she accused him of racist behavior, hiding potential conflicts of interest and 'stiffing' those who helped build his business empire.... Where Clinton was measured in her attacks, Trump was a feisty and sometimes undisciplined aggressor. He regularly interrupted Clinton, as well as the moderator, 'NBC Nightly News' anchor Lester Holt, and raised his voice. At times, Trump delivered rambling, heated and defensive answers." CW: This is a straight news report.

Gail Collins: "Trump lost. Really, I think we can work under the assumption that when a candidate is accused of cheering for the housing crisis, it’s not a good plan to reply: 'That’s called business, by the way.' There had been some speculation that all Trump needed to do was speak in complete sentences to beat expectations, and if that was the bar, the man did great. When Hillary Clinton suggested he might be withholding his federal returns because he never paid any taxes, he responded: 'That makes me smart.' Complete sentence." -- CW 

Josh Marshall of TPM: "Clinton clearly went into this debate ... looking to hit [Trump] 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.... Just a mix of easily demonstrable lies and nonsensical statements." -- CW 

Two Americas. Brian Beutler of the New Republic argues that no debate will make a difference to voters in such a polarized nations. CW: For what it's worth, I think these debates can make a difference to low-information voters who have never seen how Donald Trump behaves. In the two-shot that dominated the debate, more often than not, Clinton looked serious or amused; Trump, IMO, looked angry or annoyed, or fidgety most of the time Clinton spoke, when he wasn't interrupting her. As Gloria wonders (satirically) in today's Comments, "Who'd vote for that face?!"

Josh Voorhees of Slate: "Donald Trump attempted to bully his opponent, the moderator, and reality on Monday night. Hillary Clinton fumbled at first but grew increasingly confident as her opponent’s concentration waned. The question, then, is whether any significant number of American voters will change their minds after watching a 90-minute encapsulation of a general election that’s been dragging on for months."...

... CW: During primary season, a number of commentators noted that Trump seemed to lose energy during the debates. Eventually, he refused to do the primary debates at all because they were "boring." Apparently the same thing happened during his debate preps. One insider said the team had to move the location of the sessions because there were "too many distractions" at the original venue. That is, Donald Trump does not have the ability to concentrate long enough to make the critical decisions a president must make. The reason he accuses Hillary Clinton's of lacking "stamina" is that he doesn't have enough stamina himself to handle the presidency.

Two Americas. Brian Beutler of the New Republic argues that no debate will make a difference to voters in such a polarized nations. CW: For what it's worth, I think these debates can make a difference to low-information voters who have never seen how Donald Trump behaves. In the two-shot that dominated the debate, more often than not, Clinton looked serious or amused; Trump, IMO, looked angry or annoyed, or fidgety most of the time Clinton spoke, when he wasn't interrupting her. As Gloria wonders (satirically) in today's Comments, "Who'd vote for that face?!"

Two Americas. Brian Beutler of the New Republic argues that no debate will make a difference to voters in such a polarized nations. CW: For what it's worth, I think these debates can make a difference to low-information voters who have never seen how Donald Trump behaves. In the two-shot that dominated the debate, more often than not, Clinton looked serious or amused; Trump, IMO, looked angry or annoyed, or fidgety most of the time Clinton spoke, when he wasn't interrupting her. As Gloria wonders (satirically) in today's Comments, "Who'd vote for that face?!"

Dana Milbank: "Donald Trump was trying very hard to be on his best behavior.... Within minutes, he was hectoring and interrupting Clinton when she spoke, glowering, pursing his lips, shaking his head and interjecting one-word retorts.... Soon, Trump was hurling playground taunts.... Trump was louder and nastier. But Clinton wasn’t bullied. She continued talking when he tried to talk over her. Again and again, she forced him to explain himself — his business bankruptcies, his refusal to release his taxes. Trump replied with a series of interruptions and retorts." -- CW 

Emily Crockett of Vox: "... Trump interrupted Clinton 25 times in the first 26 minutes of the debate. Moderator Lester Holt interrupted Clinton 15 times, bringing the total to 40.... Trump started loudly talking over Clinton and at times interrupted her with snide, even childish-sounding remarks.... Many commentators were expecting it would cost Trump dearly if he came off as too domineering or bullying — and that he would moderate his style as a result. Apparently not." -- CW 

Eliza Collins of USA Today: "Four years ago Green party candidate Jill] Stein was arrested for disorderly conduct and handcuffed to a chair at the Hofstra University debate. She tried her luck again this year and has already been escorted off campus." -- CW 

Tonight's presidential debate begins at 9 pm ET. Brian Barrett of Wired lists many of the media outlets that are airing it. -- CW (Also linked yesterday.)

Kelsey Sutton of Politico: "Bloomberg TV will conduct on-screen fact checks of statements made by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during Monday night’s debate, Politico has confirmed. The channel’s decision to conduct an on-screen fact-check sets Bloomberg apart from the other major TV networks, none of whom have committed to doing on-screen fact checks during the debate. Most will leave the fact-checking to segments in the post-debate analysis coverage." CW: Thanks to contributor Diane for the lead. I don't know where Bloomberg is on my channel lineup, but I have a handy remote that allows me to say "Bloomberg" & the TV cuts to the channel, assuming my carrier provides the channel.

Carolyn Ryan of the New York Times: "... The New York Times has assembled a team of 18 fact-checkers for Monday night, drawing on the expertise of some of our most seasoned reporters.... We will also provide continually updated highlights for those joining the debate after it has begun." CW: I'll link the page or pages when they go up. ...

     ... Update. The Times' "real-time analysis" is here. At 8:32 pm ET, reporters are already chatting. The blow-by-blow is here. The Times' fact-check is here. The fact-check is worth at least a quick read. -- CW 

"Post-Truth Politics." Charles Pierce: "What I am fairly sure of now is that there probably is no way for Hillary Rodham Clinton to win the debate." Pierce revisits what th media did to Al Gore during the 2000 campaign. -- CW 

TPM: "Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus further blurred this surreal election year’s line between reality and reality TV on Monday, suggesting that Donald Trump’s tenure as a host on 'The Apprentice' prepared him to face off against Hillary Clinton in the first presidential debate.... 'He did a great job in our primary debates. He's also been through, what, 14 seasons, season finales....'” -- CW 

Judd Legum of Think Progress gives Politico the well-deserved prize for "the worst fact-check ever." CW: This is exactly what I meant when I argued against having a team of fact-checkers sit in on the debates & sound a buzzer every time they "instantly" decided one of the debaters had lied.

Jonathan Chait: "A strange air of unreality has hung over the presidential campaign, in which a candidate who poses a mortal risk to the sanctity of American democracy and world peace has a disconcertingly high chance of winning.... Nate Silver has called the race close to a tie.... You should be freaked out." -- CW 

Yuuge Tax Cheat. David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has received approximately $2.3 million from companies that owed money to Trump or one of his businesses but were instructed to pay Trump’s tax-exempt foundation instead, according to people familiar with the transactions. In cases where he diverted his own income to his foundation, tax experts said, Trump would still likely be required to pay taxes on the income. Trump has refused to release his personal tax returns. His campaign said he paid income tax on one of the donations, but did not respond to questions about the others.... The gifts begin to answer one of the mysteries surrounding the foundation: Why would other people continue giving to Trump’s charity when Trump himself gave his last recorded donation in 2008?... The laws governing the diversion of income into a foundation were written, in part, to stop charity leaders from funneling income that should be taxed into a charity and then using that money to benefit themselves. Such violations can bring monetary penalties, the loss of tax-exempt status, and even criminal charges in extreme cases." -- CW ...

... Jim Fallows of the Atlantic: "In my memory of politics, this is the closest thing we have seen to prima facie evidence of financial misconduct since Spiro Agnew had to resign as vice president for accepting cash bribes.... For years, and most recently yesterday on the front page of the New York Times, the affairs of the Clinton Foundation, have been the subject of stories about “lingering questions,” “clouds of doubt,” “images of corruption.” Nothing that has even been alleged about Clinton Foundation finances comes close to what is now on the record about the Trump Foundation." -- CW 

Jim Tankersley of the Washington Post: "A new, 30-page analysis of Trump's economic proposals, penned by two of his senior policy advisers and issued Sunday evening by Trump's campaign, provides the most detailed look yet into how Trump envisions his economic plan boosting growth, wages and wealth — through policies that together defy partisan convention. It demonstrates, in quantifiable terms, that trade policy is as important to Trump's economic promises as tax cuts — and that if he fails to change the terms of globalization, he will face a huge budget shortfall." -- CW 

Other News & Views

Timothy Williams of the New York Times: "The number of murders in the United States increased sharply in 2015, with significant rises in several large cities, according to an annual report released on Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The 10.8 percent increase in the rate of murders from 2014 to 2015 represented the largest year-to-year jump in at least 20 years, according to the F.B.I. data, but the murder rate remained about half the level from the 1990s, when violent crime reached a modern peak." -- CW 

Beyond the Beltway

... Ted Sherman & Matt Arco of "The day David Wildstein unleashed a traffic nightmare of epic proportions on Fort Lee to punish Mayor Mark Sokolich for his refusal to endorse Gov. Chris Christie, he claimed the governor's own campaign manager was already aware of the plan. Testifying for the second day in federal court in the Bridgegate trial, Wildstein said he informed Bill Stepien, who now works for the Trump campaign, that he was moving forward with a ploy to shut down local access lanes at the George Washington Bridge in a scheme of political retaliation targeting the local mayor.... Wildstein also testified he told Port Authority Commissioner William 'Pat' Schuber, considered 'a loyal member' of Gov. Christie's team and an appointee of the governor.... Neither Stepien nor Schuber have been charged in the case and both denied Wildstein's assertions." -- CW ...

... Noah Remnick of the New York Times: "Even as details of the plan to shut down access lanes to the [George Washington B]ridge have come into focus through the trial of two top officials in the Christie administration, the chronology of the scheme remains somewhat mysterious. It was about two months [before Bridget Anne Kelly of the governor's office ordered the GWB lane closures], [David] Wildstein said, that Christie officials learned that [Fort Lee Mayor Mark ] Sokolich, a Democrat, was 'no longer on the favored mayor list' after declining to endorse Mr. Christie, a Republican, in his 2013 re-election campaign. Now, it was clear they were looking to exact some retribution. '[Kelly] told me the reason was to send Mayor Sokolich a message,' said Mr. Wildstein, a former top official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge.... 'The purpose was to create as big a traffic jam as possible,' said Mr. Wildstein...." -- CW

Lindsay Ellis, et al., of the Houston Chronicle: "Nathan DeSai ... had two .45 caliber firearms and 2,600 rounds of ammunition as he peppered morning commuters with bullets near the corner of Law and Weslayan in southwest Houston, near upscale West University Place. The troubled Houston lawyer, who shot and wounded seven people, was wearing a vintage military uniform and had a Nazi emblem on him when he was killed by police, officials said." -- CW 

Way Beyond

Rick Gladstone & Somini Sengupta of the New York Times: "Undeterred and infuriated by Western accusations of war crimes and barbarity in the aerial assault on Aleppo, the Syrian government and its ally Russia intensively bombed the city in northern Syria on Monday for the fourth consecutive day. Residents and rescuers there described the bombardment as among the worst yet in the five-year war. Both the Kremlin and the Syrian government appeared to harden their position that the United States and its partners had caused the disintegration of a fleeting cease-fire last week." -- CW 

Nicholas Casey of the New York Times: "In a Caribbean resort city, far from the jungles where guerrilla battles once raged, the Colombian government and its largest rebel group signed a peace agreement on Monday evening. A large crowd had gathered for the signing ceremony, held in Cartagena, that brought an end to a 52-year-old war with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, whose Marxist insurgency marked the last major war in the Americas." -- CW 

Ames Alexander of the Charlotte Observer: "Charlotte-Mecklenburg police did not capture key video footage of last week’s fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott because a responding officer apparently didn’t turn on his body camera until after police had already shot the victim – a violation of department policy." -- CW ...

Read more here:

... Mark Price of the Charlotte Observer: "The Charlotte man accused of killing a protester Wednesday during a crowded march in uptown has admitted to the shooting, Assistant District Attorney Clayton Jones said in court Monday. Police say Rayquan Borum, 21, shot and killed Justin Carr, 26, during the second night of Charlotte protests that erupted over the police killing of Keith Scott on Tuesday outside an apartment in the University City area. Borum is charged with first degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon.... It remains unclear if Borum knew the victim." -- CW 

Read more here:

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The Commentariat -- Sept. 26, 2016


Presidential Race

Tonight's presidential debate begins at 9 pm ET. Brian Barrett of Wired lists many of the media outlets that are airing it. -- CW 

The Commission on Presidential Debates has some advice for debate moderators this fall: leave the fact-checking to the candidates. The Trump campaign is taking the same position. So are some former moderators, like Jim Lehrer, who has facilitated twelve presidential debates. But many others -- including a wide array of journalists -- want the man moderating Monday night's debate, Lester Holt, to intervene if egregious lies are said on stage." -- CW ...

... E. J. Dionne: "... the Clinton camp wants the moderators to call out the candidates when they lie, while Trump wants to leave this task to his opponent. Never has a candidate signaled as clearly as Trump that he is terrified of fact-checking.... The notion that moderators can take themselves out of the debate is absurd.... If one candidate actually does lie more than the other, moderators who are passive in the face of whoppers place the more honest candidate at a profound disadvantage." -- CW ...

... CW: There's a very easy way moderators can not-fact-check/fact-check the candidate: "But Mr. Trump, you said the opposite last week. Which one is it?" or "But Mr. Trump, the independent Tax Policy Center said would mostly benefit the rich & would cause the national debt to soar. You have 30 seconds to respond."

The Fox & the Hedgehog. John Cassidy of the New Yorker: "In showcasing her knowledge, her experience, her calmness under pressure, and the range of worthwhile programs she has to offer, Clinton could well end up outfoxing her prickly opponent." CW: This optimistic post may sound quaint tomorrow; I hope not.

Paul Krugman: "... anyone who complains that there aren’t big new ideas in this campaign simply isn’t paying attention. One candidate, at least, has ideas that would make a big, positive difference to millions of American families." -- CW

Steve Coll of the New Yorker: "As this dystopian Presidential campaign enters its final phase, the intermingling of persistent terrorism and resilient Trumpism is painful to contemplate." Trump saber-rattles while Clinton has evidence-based plans to counter domestic terrorism, but the public may be too fearful to opt for sensible. -- CW 

     ... Thanks to P.D. Pepe for the reminder.

** "Why Donald Trump Should Not Be President." The New York Times Editors count the ways.

You know, it doesn't really matter what [the media] write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass. -- Donald Trump, Esquire interview, 1991

... Mary Jordan of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump’s threat to seat Gennifer Flowers, who had an extramarital affair with Bill Clinton, in the front row at Monday night’s presidential debate focuses new attention on Trump’s own history of infidelity and could further weaken his support among female voters.... Trump — who has been married three times — separated from his first wife, Ivana, after his affair with Marla Maples became widely known. Trump and Ivana finalized their divorce in 1992. Trump married Maples in December 1993, two months after she gave birth to a daughter.... When he was single, Trump was frequently seen out on the town with different women. He ... publicly boasted about his sex life.... While Trump made the kind of 'media noise' that he loves to create, [Republican strategist Mike] Murphy said, this move was 'typical Trump: all impulse and no strategy.'” -- CW 

We're going to rebuild our inner cities because our African American communities are absolutely in the worst shape they've ever been in before. Ever, ever, ever. -- Donald Trump, in Kenansville, N.C., last week ...

... Janell Ross of the Washington Post: "In an interview aired Sunday on ABC's 'This Week,' the manager of Donald Trump's campaign, Kellyanne Conway, chided President Obama for his response to claims by the Republican presidential nominee that life has never "ever" been worse for African Americans than it is today. When asked about Trump's characterization of black life, Obama said, 'I think even an 8-year-old will tell you that whole slavery thing wasn't very good for black people. Jim Crow wasn't very good for black people.'... Conway described Obama's comments as inappropriate and did not address the accuracy of Trump's claim." -- CW ...

... "But Hillary Clinton...." Driftglass focuses his almost weekly review of the Sunday showz on Hugh Hewitt's performance & takeover of the pretend-journistic NBC News' effort formerly known as Press the Meat. ...

... ... "But Hillary Clinton...." Matthew Watkins of the Texas Tribune: "One day after endorsing Donald Trump for president, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz refused Saturday to say whether he thinks the Republican nominee is fit to lead the country." -- CW

Other News & Views

Patricia Cohen of the New York Times: "More than seven years after the recession ended, employers are finally being compelled to reach deeper into the pools of untapped labor, creating more jobs, especially among retailers, restaurants and hotels, and paying higher wages to attract workers and meet new minimum wage requirements.... Poverty declined among every group. But African-Americans and Hispanics — who account for more than 45 percent of those below the poverty line of $24,300 for a family of four in most states — experienced the largest improvement.... Over all, 2.9 million more jobs were created from 2014 to 2015, helping millions of unemployed people cross over into the ranks of regular wage earners. Many part-time workers increased the number of hours on the job. Wages, adjusted for inflation, climbed." -- CW

Louisa Loveluck & Liz Sly of the Washington Post: "The United States accused Russia of 'barbarism' and war crimes in Syria on Sunday as Moscow’s airstrikes over Aleppo pushed a humanitarian crisis there to new depths. The nations sparred verbally at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting called to demand that Russia rein in its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and halt the blistering attacks on Syria’s second city." -- CW 

CW: I apologize for not timely embedding President Obama's speech at the opening of the National Museum of African American History & Culture. I had good intentions; thanks to contributor Diane for reminding me to follow thru. How lovely to hear remarks of dignity & hope in this time of our national infamy:

... Mark Landler of the New York Times: "... when Michelle Obama hugged former President George W. Bush on Saturday, at a ceremony to open the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the image quickly took flight online. However one chose to interpret it — and overinterpretation is a hazard in such exercises — it became an instant metaphor. Some saw the lost virtue of civility in politics; others, the unlikely friendships that blossom at the rarefied heights of public life. To critics on the left, it was a shameful case of political amnesia by the wife of a president who spent years cleaning up the mess left by his predecessor." -- CW 

Remember the Supremes! Jeff Toobin of the New Yorker: "For the first time in decades, there is now a realistic chance that the Supreme Court will become an engine of progressive change rather than an obstacle to it.... The hopes for a liberal Court will begin — or, just as certainly, end — with the results on Election Day." -- CW 

Beyond the Beltway

Lindsay Ellis & Dane Schiller of the Houston Chronicle: "Several people have been shot and injured by a shooter in southwest Houston Monday morning. The shooter has now been shot by Houston Police, according to the HPD Twitter page.No information was immediately available on the shooter's current condition." This is a developing story. -- CW 


The Commentariat -- Sept. 25, 2016

This Is Heartbreaking. Richard Fausset, et al., of the New York Times: "Under mounting pressure from politicians, community leaders and boisterous protesters who have brought this city’s main business district to a near-standstill, the Charlotte police chief on Saturday released body and dashboard camera videos of the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a black resident here. While they do not show everything that happened at the scene, the two released videos appear to show Mr. Scott exiting a white sport-utility vehicle, and backing away from it with his hands at his sides. He did not appear to be acting in a threatening or erratic manner. The police said they had recovered a loaded gun with Mr. Scott’s DNA on it, and that he wore an ankle holster. But they did not reveal where they recovered the gun. It was clear from the two angles that he had nothing in his right hand. It was unclear what, if anything, Mr. Scott, who was right-handed, had in his left hand. After Mr. Scott was shot multiple times and fell to the ground, his moans could be heard as officers handcuffed him." Includes video. ...

... CW: No wonder the police didn't want to release the video. This was an unwarranted, unjust killing at the hands of those whose duty it is to protect us.


Presidential Race

Dan Balz & Scott Clement of the Washington Post: "Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will meet Monday night for their first debate in a virtual dead heat in the race for the White House, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.... Likely voters split 46 percent for Clinton and 44 percent for Trump, with Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson at 5 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 1 percent. Among registered voters, Clinton and Trump are tied at 41 percent, with Johnson at 7 percent and Stein at 2 percent.... Some other national polls currently show Clinton with a slightly larger lead, but on balance, the pre-debate survey averages show the margin in the race in low single digits." CW: The Post team led by Michael Kranish, in a report linked below, detail Trump's "dystopian views" of the state of the country. I too hold a "dystopian view." We live in a country where half the people are at the least ignorant & irresponsible, & at the worst horrible human beings. Until now, that's been a rumor or a "feeling"; now, it's a certainty. 

Very "Presidential". David Ferguson of RawStory: "Gennifer Flowers — a woman with whom former Pres. Bill Clinton had an extramarital affair — has announced that she is accepting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s invitation to sit in the front row of Monday night’s presidential debate. BuzzFeed News reported Saturday that Trump posted on Twitter that he would like to see Ms. Flowers in the audience on Monday. Within hours, Flowers announced that she would be happy to be there. The move by the Trump team appears to indicate that Trump will be bringing up former Pres. Clinton’s marital infidelities in an attempt to humiliate Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton at some point during the debate." --safari note: What to do when your candidate is a know-nothing, bombastic moron? Fight dirty. This moves reeks of an Ailes-Gringrich-Breitbert fever dream. How low can you go? We're about to see. ...

... Chas Danner of New York: "Trump threatened, via Twitter, to invite Gennifer Flowers to Monday night’s presidential debate in response to the news that the Clinton campaign had invited billionaire and vocal Trump critic Mark Cuban.... The Trump campaign released a negative ad earlier this week featuring footage of the Clintons being interviewed about the affair with Flowers...." In his tweet, Trump misspelled Flowers' name but later revised it. CW: As safari wrote, "very 'presidential.'" ...

... Steve M.: "This is said to be all Hillary Clinton's fault: 'Remember, if you're grossed out by Trump inviting Gennifer Flowers to the debate: Clinton kicked off this bit of trolling by inviting Cuban' — Edward-Isaac Dovere, [in a tweet].... Of course, Cuban and Flowers are not analogous -- Cuban did not have an affair with Trump's spouse. (As far as we know!).... The only risk is that idiot journalists -- the Chuck Todds, the Mark Halperins -- will think it's a good move.... But I don't think the public will respond well. And if it's just a matter of Flowers sitting mutely in the audience, and later giving an interview to Sean Hannity afterward that will be watched exclusively by people who are already certain to vote for Trump, it won't matter at all." -- CW ...

     ... Update. Kyle Cheney of Politico: "Mike Pence insisted Sunday that Gennifer Flowers ... would not be attending Monday’s debate, despite Donald Trump’s invitation." -- CW ...

... Amie Parnes of the Hill: "Hillary Clinton supporters see a double standard when it comes to Monday's presidential debate, which for the first time will feature a woman debating a man. Throughout the campaign, Clinton has faced questions and criticisms that would not be asked or made to a male candidate, her allies say.The jabs have come even Clinton surrogates such as former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, who this week said he'd like to see Clinton 'smile more' in the debate. The comment left ClintonWorld shaking its collective head." -- CW ...

... Josh Marshall of TPM thinks Trump will have a hard time winning a two person debate, perhaps because he'll say something outrageous, but more likely because he can't answer policy questions in any convincing detail, & his one-line non-answers will reveal to viewers he's not up to the job he seeks. -- CW ...

... Marshall's view jibes with safari's commentary in today's thread (which safari wrote before I linked Marshall's post). Also see Kate M.'s suggestions today for Hillary's guest list.

Roger Angell of the New Yorker: "I am late weighing in on this election — late in more ways than one. Monday brought my ninety-sixth birthday, and, come November, I will be casting my nineteenth ballot in a Presidential election.... My country faces a danger unmatched in our history since the Cuban missile crisis, in 1962, or perhaps since 1943, when the Axis powers held most of Continental Europe, and Imperial Japan controlled the Pacific rim, from the Aleutians to the Solomon Islands, with the outcome of that war still unknown...The first debate impends, and the odds that Donald Trump may be elected President appear to be narrowing. I will cast my own vote for Hillary Clinton with alacrity and confidence." Angell goes on to explain, through his historical experience, why Trump is so dangerous. Worth the read. -safari

** The New York Times Editors endorse Hillary Clinton for president: In any normal election year, we’d compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year. A comparison like that would be an empty exercise in a race where one candidate — our choice, Hillary Clinton — has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway. (We will explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history." CW: Read it.

By Driftglass.

Michael Kranish, et al., of the Washington Post: "An examination by The Washington Post of one week of Trump’s speeches, tweets and interviews show a candidate who not only continues to rely heavily on thinly sourced or entirely unsubstantiated claims but also uses them to paint a strikingly bleak portrait of an impoverished America, overrun by illegal immigrants, criminals and terrorists — all designed to set up his theme that he is specially suited to 'make America great again.'... Trump doubled down during the past week on some of his most controversial and debunked statements and made surprising new ones.” The reporters detail a week of Trumpbull.-- CW

"A Week of Whoppers." Maggie Haberman & Alexander Burns of the New York Times: "... Donald J. Trump has unleashed a blizzard of falsehoods, exaggerations and outright lies in the general election, peppering his speeches, interviews and Twitter posts with untruths so frequent that they can seem flighty or random — even compulsive. However, a closer examination, over the course of a week, revealed an unmistakable pattern: Virtually all of Mr. Trump’s falsehoods directly bolstered a powerful and self-aggrandizing narrative depicting him as a heroic savior for a nation menaced from every direction. Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, described the practice as creating 'an unreality bubble that he surrounds himself with.'” The reporters "assembled a list of his 31 biggest whoppers, many of them uttered repeatedly." -- CW

Michael Finnegan of the Los Angeles Times: "Never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has. Over and over, independent researchers have examined what the Republican nominee says and concluded it was not the truth — but 'pants on fire' (PolitiFact) or 'four Pinocchios' (Washington Post Fact Checker).... And he is dogged in refusing to stop saying things once they are proved untrue.... At a time of deep public mistrust of the news media, the arbitration of statements of fact, long seen as one of reporters’ most basic duties, runs the risk of being perceived as partisan bias. But so does the shirking of that role." -- CW

Kyle Cheney, et al., of Politico: Politico "subjected every statement made by both the Republican and Democratic candidates – in speeches, in interviews and on Twitter – to our magazine’s rigorous fact-checking process. The conclusion is inescapable: Trump’s mishandling of facts and propensity for exaggeration so greatly exceed Clinton’s as to make the comparison almost ludicrous.... According to Politico’s five-day analysis Trump averaged about one falsehood every three minutes and 15 seconds over nearly five hours of remarks.In raw numbers, that’s 87 erroneous statements in five days." -- CW

CW: All of these stories are placed prominently on the sites' online main pages.

"Philanthropy" Trump style: in name only. John Cassidy of the New Yorker: "Trump’s charitable giving has now become a campaign issue, largely due to a series of Post articles written by David Fahrenthold and his colleagues...So what is the bottom line? Even including the $1 million Trump donated to veterans earlier this year (after prodding from Fahrenthold), the public records indicate that, over the past quarter of a century, he has given away less than $5 million of his own money. According to his own estimate, he is worth in excess of $10 billion. If we take him at his word, that means his charitable contributions come to about 0.05 per cent of his fortune, or five cents for every $100...Trump likes to portray of himself as a great philanthropist, and the numbers simply don’t justify that image." --safari

Rebecca Morin of Politico: "Before Donald Trump mocked Hillary Clinton's postponement of a planned trip to Charlotte, the GOP nominee had nixed his own initial plans to visit the North Carolina city beset by protests after a fatal police shooting of an African-American man. Trump's visit was in 'preliminary stages' when he spoke with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday and they agreed to delay the visit, according to a GOP party official." CW: As Politico reported (see yesterday's Commentariat), "Donald Trump ... accus[ed] his opponent of trying to 'grandstand' and call[ed] her initial decision to go to Charlotte 'dumb.'" So he did what she did, but when she did it, it was "grandstanding" & "dumb."

From a 5-part piece by Der Spiegel: "Whoever emerges victorious in the election on Nov. 8 will likely be the president-elect with the least amount of popular support since World War II. The loser will presumably speak of a conspiracy and complain of the numerous untruths that poisoned the campaign. The phenomenon of Donald Trump, who can trace his roots back 131 years ago to the village of Kallstadt, near Mannheim, will certainly not be the end of this toxic development. He likely won't even be its apex.

Liars, after all, are no longer on the political fringe." -- unwashed

Other News & Views

Elise Viebeck of the Washington Post: "Republican lawmakers are under increasing fire for racially insensitive comments after the fatal police shootings of black men sparked unrest in two states.Remarks by Reps. Robert Pittenger (N.C.), Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Steve King (Iowa) and ex-Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee, underscored to some observers Republicans’ tone-deafness on issues of race in a year of unprecedented attention to police bias against African-Americans.... [Pence said] that it is offensive to police to talk about 'institutional racism and institutional bias' after fatal shootings. Donald Trump and I believe there’s been far too much of this talk,' Pence said while campaigning in Colorado. Trump’s campaign has become increasingly identified with racially divisive comments." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Beyond the Beltway

Paige Cornwell, et al., of the Seattle Times: "The search continued Saturday morning for the gunman who fatally shot five people Friday night in the Cascade Mall in Burlington.... The victims[four of them female,] identities have not been released, but authorities say they ranged from a teen to seniors. The suspect was described as a Hispanic male in his late teens to mid-20s with a close-shaved haircut. He used a long gun similar to a hunting rifle.... This marks Washington’s seventh mass shooting with at least four people shot this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Most recently, three people were shot dead at a house party in Mukilteo in July." -- CW  (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Update. Jessica Lee, et al., of the Seattle Times: "Tips and surveillance video led to the arrest of a 20-year-old Oak Harbor man in connection with Friday’s deadly shooting at the Cascade Mall, authorities said Saturday night. The suspect, identified as Arcan Cetin, was arrested Saturday evening as he walked along a street in Oak Harbor. Cetin will be turned over to the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office, according to Island County authorities." -- CW 

Way Beyond

Jonathan Watts & Sibylla Brodzinsky of the Guardian: "In their 52-year fight against the Colombian state, Farc rebels used assault rifles, shrapnel-filled gas canisters, homemade landmines and mortar shells...Those weapons are now set to be silenced forever as part of a historic peace deal with the government, to be signed on Monday...Like many other Marxist and Maoist followers of the “armed struggle”, the Farc were inspired by the audacious exploits of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara...In the 1960s and 70s, guerrilla groups sprang up in every country in the region except Costa Rica...[M]any turned to the ballot box after the restoration of democracy in much of Latin America in the 1980s took away much of their raison d’etre...The longest-enduring groups, however, are in Peru, Paraguay and Colombia – all countries that are not coincidentally centres of drug production and smuggling, which is a source of funds and guns." Includes good historical review of Latin American guerilla movements and the holdouts still active today. --safari

Capitalism is Awesome, Ctd. Ashifa Kassam of the Guardian: "A small town in Ontario, Canada, has prompted fresh scrutiny of the bottled-water industry after its attempt secure a long-term water supply through the purchase of a well was outbid by the food and drinks multinational Nestlé...Nestlé Canada currently has permits that allow it to extract up to 4.7m litres of water a day from sources in Ontario...Last month, after a severe drought triggered questions about the millions of litres a day of water being sold to bottled-water companies in the province, Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s premier, promised a government review into the practice." --safari

Alejandro Dávil Fragoso of ThinkProgress: "Dozens of native tribes from Canada and the United Stateshave joined forces against Alberta’s tar sands crude oil transport with the signing of a treaty Thursday. Calling for a clean and sustainable economy, tribes said any further pipeline or rail development for Canadian tar sands puts indigenous territories and waterways at serious risk to toxic spills." --safari


The Commentariat -- Sept. 24, 2016

Afternoonish Update:

Elise Viebeck of the Washington Post: "Republican lawmakers are under increasing fire for racially insensitive comments after the fatal police shootings of black men sparked unrest in two states.Remarks by Reps. Robert Pittenger (N.C.), Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), Steve King (Iowa) and ex-Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee, underscored to some observers Republicans’ tone-deafness on issues of race in a year of unprecedented attention to police bias against African-Americans.... [Pence said] that it is offensive to police to talk about 'institutional racism and institutional bias' after fatal shootings. Donald Trump and I believe there’s been far too much of this talk,' Pence said while campaigning in Colorado. Trump’s campaign has become increasingly identified with racially divisive comments." -- CW 

Paige Cornwell, et al., of the Seattle Times: "The search continued Saturday morning for the gunman who fatally shot five people Friday night in the Cascade Mall in Burlington.... The victims[four of them female,] identities have not been released, but authorities say they ranged from a teen to seniors. The suspect was described as a Hispanic male in his late teens to mid-20s with a close-shaved haircut. He used a long gun similar to a hunting rifle.... This marks Washington’s seventh mass shooting with at least four people shot this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Most recently, three people were shot dead at a house party in Mukilteo in July." -- CW  


Presidential Race

Annie Karni of Politico: Ahead of Monday's debate, the candidates poke at each other's weak spots. CW: We know Clinton will come prepared with e-mail answers, none of which so far has been either convincing or smoothly delivered. (Maybe Bernie Sanders should have pressed her on that matter. We know Trump will respond to questions about what he called "my facts" with other deranged TrumpFacts. The biggest question is how Lester Holt will handle the candidates. Unless Trump pulls a Trumpertantrum, & he is being coached not to do that, or challenges Clinton to reveal her testosterone level (his is "good," according to Dr. Oz), it seems quite likely that the press will judge him the winner. ... 

... Patrick Healy, et al., of the New York Times on how the candidates are preparing. The Trump dry-runs are pretty funny. -- CW ...

... Tina Nguyen of Vanity Fair: "Judging from virtually every story that has been published about Donald Trump’s presidential-debate prep, the Republican nominee is basically just going to wing the entire thing.... Loose-lipped Trump sources are whispering to the media that Trump’s unstructured debate practice time includes the candidate sitting in a circle of top advisors who 'throw questions at him,' and failed attempts to get Trump to learn from his past mistakes.... With the momentum seemingly behind Trump, who polls have shown closing in on Clinton in recent weeks, the press is primed to declare him the winner if he manages to turn in a serviceable performance." -- CW ...

... ** Lisa Barrett, in a New York Times op-ed: "When Hillary Clinton participated in a televised forum on national security and military issues this month... , [RNC chair] Reince Priebus tweeted that she was 'angry and defensive the entire time — no smile and uncomfortable.' Mrs. Clinton, evidently undaunted by Mr. Priebus’s opinion on when she should and shouldn’t smile, tweeted back, 'Actually, that’s just what taking the office of president seriously looks like.'... This is a classic example of a psychological phenomenon that my lab has studied: how people perceive emotion differently in men’s and women’s faces. It’s something for Americans to consider as they watch the first debate between Mrs. Clinton and Donald J. Trump on Monday.” Read on.

Nolan McCaskill & Cristiano Lima of Politico: "Hillary Clinton's campaign announced late Friday that it was postponing a trip by the Democratic nominee to Charlotte scheduled for Sunday. 'After further discussion with community leaders, we have decided to postpone Sunday's trip as not to impact the City's resources,' Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri wrote in a statement. 'She will plan to visit Charlotte next Sunday, provided circumstances allow.' The rescheduling comes after Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts made a public plea to Clinton and Donald Trump to delay any campaign trips to the city in light of their "very stressed resources." Clinton's campaign had announced the trip earlier Friday.... Donald Trump ... accus[ed] his opponent of trying to 'grandstand' and call[ed] her initial decision to go to Charlotte 'dumb.'" -- CW 

Eric Levitz of New York: "Clinton Reveals Plan to Reduce the Trump Children’s Inheritance.... Taken together..., [Clinton's] proposals would generate $260 billion over the next decade, which Clinton would use to finance some tax cuts on small businesses and an expansion of the child tax credit. (The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan entity that urges fiscal restraint, says that her math checks out). Donald Trump, by contrast, has proposed repealing the estate tax entirely — a policy that would ostensibly provide Trump’s kids with an extra $4 billion in inheritance (assuming he is worth what he claims to be)." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Drip, Drip. Your Friday Afternoon Docudump. Rosalind Helderman, et al., of the Washington Post: "A computer specialist who maintained Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was secretary of state told the FBI that fellow State Department officials had expressed concerns to him about whether the system was properly retaining public records, according to newly released documents from the now-completed [FBI] inquiry. Bryan Pagliano, a former Clinton campaign aide who set up and maintained the server..., said that some agency officials had asked him in late 2009 or early 2010 to convey to Clinton’s 'inner circle' that her use of a private server could pose a 'federal records retention issue,' the documents show. In response, Pagliano said, chief of staff Cheryl Mills told him that other secretaries of state, notably Clinton’s predecessor Colin Powell, had also used private email, according to the documents.... Trump spokesman Jason Miller said the immunity agreements [the FBI granted Pagliano & Mills] showed that Clinton’s email use was 'without a doubt a criminal scheme.'” -- CW ...

... Josh Gerstein & Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "President Barack Obama used a pseudonym in email communications with Hillary Clinton and others, according to FBI records made public Friday.... The interviews [revealed in the FBI docudump] provide more insight into Clinton's lack of technical acumen. According to the FBI's [Huma] Abedin writeup, she 'could not use a computer'; [Monica] Hanley[, a long-time Clinton aide] said Clinton had no idea what her own email password was, and had to rely on aides." -- CW ...

... Rachel Bade of Politico: "The revelation that several Hillary Clinton staffers received partial immunity in the FBI email probe set off another round of partisan fireworks on Friday: Republicans said they're increasingly convinced the Justice Department mishandled the investigation and Democrats accused the GOP of stoking the issue for maximum political damage in the heat of the presidential campaign.... Republicans were also incensed that the immunity deals, which now cover five Clinton staffers at the heart of the controversy, did not require witnesses to cooperate with Congress.... [House Republicans] only learned on Friday of the arrangements with [Clinton aides] ... and almost immediately disclosed them to the AP, which first reported the story.... Democrats also blasted [the House] Oversight [Committee] for failing to make clear earlier Friday that [aides Cheryl] Mills’ and [Heather] Sameuelson’s [sic.] immunity was only 'partial,' meaning it only protected them from any criminal charges that might have arisen from scopes of their laptops — not their statements to the FBI." -- CW 

... Drippitty, Drip, Drip. Mark Landler of the New York Times: "A federal judge on Friday ordered the State Department to finish preparing roughly 1,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails for release by Nov. 4, a more protracted timetable that means the bulk of Mrs. Clinton’s emails that were uncovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation will not be released until after the election.... Under the order issued on Friday, in a lawsuit brought by the conservative group, Judicial Watch, the State Department will release 350 pages of emails by Oct. 7, 350 pages by Oct. 21, and another 350 by Nov. 4." -- CW

Cincinnati Enquirer Editors: "The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century – a tradition this editorial board doesn’t take lightly. But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times. Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best in all Americans, not the worst. That’s why there is only one choice when we elect a president in November: Hillary Clinton." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

** Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News: "U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether [Carter Page,] an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers, has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue." -- CW ...

... Molly O'Toole & Elias Groll of Foreign Policy: Isikoff's "report is only the latest in a series to suggest that the Trump campaign, and especially his aides, have some bottom-line interest in boosting chummy ties with Moscow. But now, with an ongoing federal investigation, the Page revelations provide the strongest hint yet at negotiations with Russian officials, and drop a bombshell into the 2016 campaign just days ahead of the first presidential debate on Monday." The report compiles a list of Trump & his campaign's known pro-Russia comments & ties. -- CW ...

... CW: So what's worse? -- A sloppy secretary of state who uses what was supposed to be a private e-mail account for public business, as a recent predecessor had done? Or a greedy presidential candidate who hopes to use the presidency to bend U.S. foreign policy toward an anti-American country for the purpose of making gobs of money for himself & his cohort?

Jonathan Chait: Two surveys, taken together, show "that Donald Trump has not been 'normalized.' Most Americans see him as a racist would-be authoritarian who is highly likely to start a nuclear war. The trouble is, some voters apparently like that in a president." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Dana Milbank: "In the days since I wrote that Hillary Clinton wasn’t necessarily wrong to say that half of Trump’s supporters are racists and other 'deplorables,' the response has been, well, deplorable. Milbank provides "a sampling of the thousands of emails and social media replies.... I reprint this small sample of the nastygrams not to ruin your next meal but because the half of Trump supporters who aren’t motivated by prejudice, and the few voters who remain genuinely undecided, should be aware of the bigotry that Trump has brought into the open — and that those who vote for Trump are condoning." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Adam Serwer of the Atlantic: Donald Trump’s "rhetoric about black communities reinforces stereotypes about black people, and little else. Like much of what comes out of Trump’s mouth, his 'outreach' to black voters is full of lies and exaggerations.... His speeches do not characterize white communities in the same way. On the contrary, he consistently tells white voters that their problems are the result of a 'rigged system' and the machinations of corrupt elites.... Trump has taken racist beliefs about black Americans – the idea that blacks are violent, uneducated, unemployed criminals – and repackaged them as expressions of concern about the problems of crime, poverty, and education." -- CW 

** Everything You Need to Know about Donald Trump in One Anecdote. Gail Collins: In the 1980s, Trump "acquired a promising 2-year-old racehorse named Alibi." He immediately changed toe colt's name to D.J. Trump. "John O’Donnell, a former Trump casino president, wrote that the colt fell apart when Trump insisted, despite the trainer’s objections, that Alibi be worked out even though a virus was going through his barn. O’Donnell claimed Alibi got very sick as a result — so ill he eventually had to have some of his hooves amputated and was retired. Then, O’Donnell said, Trump announced that he was not buying a defective animal and backed out of the sale." ...

... CW: Reportedly, Gail Collins' long-running meme about Mitt Romney's dog Seamus -- forced to ride on long trips on the roof of the car -- changed votes. A Dogs Against Romney online group formed. I recall seeing a photo of a policeman stopping an anti-Romney motorist with a fake Seamus-on-the-roof because the officer thought the car really did have a dog on the roof. Compared to the Trump, Romney seems like a candidate for a PETA award. The New York Times & other news outlets should dedicate reporters to verifying O'Donnell's story. I'm not kidding. Donald Trump, in his flagrant arrogance & ignorance, would run this country to ruin, just as he did Alibi. And he wouldn't pay a dime for it.

Well, what happened was, after the show, he came out and was just standing there. So I said, 'Mr. Trump, a picture?' And he said, 'You betcha. Just give me a minute.' Then he turns and walks down the hall, all the way to the other end, and gets on the elevator. 'Just give me a minute,' and then he leaves the building. It was hilarious, like a Buster Keaton movie or something. -- Norm MacDonald, on meeting Donald Trump after they both did the Jimmy Fallon show last week

Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "Frustration is growing within Donald Trump’s campaign over the Republican nominee’s yawning money gap with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton -- just as the presidential race heads into its final fall stretch. Trump’s top advisers have held a series of tense conversations in recent days about how to close a fundraising hole that’s grown to over $200 million – a deficit that’s led Trump to essentially cede the TV airwaves to his Democratic rival.... The shortfall is putting Trump at a substantial disadvantage during the remaining few weeks of the campaign, as focus shifts to the clinical – and costly -- process of bringing voters out to the polls." -- CW 

Ed Kilgore: Ted Cruz is reportedly mulling an endorsement of Donald Trump, because he thinks it would be good for the country Ted Cruz. -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Update. "I'm Voting for a Pathological Liar." -- Ted Cruz. Matt Flegenheimer of the New York Times: "Senator Ted Cruz said on Friday that he would vote for Donald J. Trump for president, two months after Mr. Cruz pointedly declined to endorse his former rival in a speech at the Republican National Convention. 'After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump,' Mr. Cruz wrote in a statement on Facebook.... Mr. Cruz said he had based his decision on two factors: a prior pledge to support the Republican nominee — which Mr. Cruz said in July had been 'abrogated' by Mr. Trump’s personal attacks on him — and his desire to defeat Hillary Clinton.... Mr. Cruz’s statement went beyond the perfunctory, praising the policy aims and recent campaign promises of a man he once called a 'pathological liar.'... On Friday, Mr. Trump said he was 'greatly honored' to have the backing of a 'tough and brilliant opponent.'” CW: As Kilgore predicted, Cruz made his non-endorsement endorsement as obscure as possible: on Facebook, on Friday afternoon. ...

... That Was Then; This Is Now. Today, Cruz argues that he's voting for Trump because Hillary Clinton is 'manifestly unfit' to be president. "If Clinton wins, we know — with 100% certainty — that she would deliver on her left-wing promises, with devastating results for our country," he wrote in his announcement. Seems like only yesterday when Cruz tweeted: 'Flexibility is a good thing, but you shouldn’t be flexible on core principles.'" -- CW ...

... Steve M.: "... does this mean that Trumpism is now the undisputed ideology of the Republican Party? Not really. The Republican Party has the same ideology it's had for years, one that can be summed up in one sentence: Democrats are the Antichrist. Foolish pundits, and even politicians like Cruz, think there's more to Republicanism than that, but there isn't. Trumpism is dominant right now because Trump seems like the person who can most effectively cause pain to Democrats, and to the right's other enemies (non-whites, non-conservative women, gay people, climate scientists, etc.).... I think he really thought there'd be a post-November ideological battle, when, really, all there'll be is a contest for who can be nastiest to Democrats." -- CW ...

... Aaron Blake lists "9 truly awful things Ted Cruz & Donald Trump said about each other." One of the reasons Ted gave for not endorsing Trump -- even after the GOP convention -- was this: "I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.... "That pledge [to support the nominee] was not a blanket commitment that if you go and slander my wife that I am going to come like a servile puppy dog for maligning my wife and maligning my father.'" So now that Ted has broken his "principled habit," here's hoping Heidi & Rafael are finding it right comfy under that bus. ...

The Anointed One. Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe. -- Omarosa Manigault, Trump's African-American outreach director

(... CW: Must be true. Even Ted Not-a-Servile-Puppy-Dog Cruz has at last bowed down to the Emperor Trump. ...)

** of the Washington Post: "Corey Lewandowski is set to be paid nearly half a million dollars by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by the end of the year, with almost a quarter of his compensation coming after the controversial political operative was ousted in June as campaign manager. Lewandowski, who is now a paid commentator on CNN, collected at least $415,000 in salary, bonuses and severance from the Trump campaign between April 2015 and August of this year, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal campaign finance filings. Campaign officials said he will continue receiving his $20,000 monthly pay as severance until the end of the year, which would give him a total of $495,000 over two years." -- CW


Other News & Views

Julie Davis of the New York Times: "President Obama vetoed legislation on Friday that would allow families of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot, setting up an extraordinary confrontation with a Congress that unanimously backed the bill and has vowed to uphold it. Mr. Obama’s long-anticipated veto of the measure ... is the 12th of his presidency. But [for the first time in his presidency, Congress is likely to] ...override [his] veto ... — a familiar experience for presidents in the waning months of their terms. In his veto message to Congress, Mr. Obama said the legislation 'undermines core U.S. interests,' upending the normal means by which the government singles out foreign nations as state sponsors of terrorism and opening American officials and military personnel to legal jeopardy." -- CW 

** Liz Sly of the Washington Post: "Syrian and Russian warplanes launched a ferocious assault against rebel-held Aleppo on Friday, burying any hopes that a U.S.-backed cease-fire could be salvaged and calling into question whether the deal would ever have worked.... 'It is a horrific situation now in Aleppo, [said ... Ammar al-Selmo, head of the Aleppo branch of the White Helmets civil defense group.... 'There are dead people in the streets, and fires are burning without control.... It is like the end of the world.'... A meeting in New York between Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ended swiftly....” -- CW 

Michael Shear & Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times: "Hackers on Thursday posted hundreds of emails from a young Democratic operative that contained documents detailing the minute-by-minute schedules and precise movements of the vice president, the first lady and Hillary Clinton during recent campaign fund-raisers and official political events. The emails included names and cellphone numbers of numerous Secret Service agents, spreadsheets with the names and Social Security numbers of campaign donors, and PowerPoint presentations showing step-by-step directions for where officials like Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. should walk when they arrived at events.... The emails were stolen from the personal Gmail account of the Democratic operative, Ian Mellul. They reveal how widely White House officials, Clinton campaign operatives and Secret Service agents have exchanged detailed and sensitive information with people using personal email accounts." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Let No Good Deed Go Unpunished. Ginia Bellafante of the New York Times: Two friends, Lee Parker & Ivan White, were on a beer run Sunday night in Elizabeth, N.J., when they found a backpack on top of a waste bin at the train station. "... the two men opened the backpack and found what appeared to be explosive devices. Undeterred, they carried the backpack to an unpopulated area, so that if it did explode, no one would be harmed. Then they walked to the local police station ... to report what they had discovered." On Monday, Giuliano Farina started a GoFundMe campaign to be split three ways among the two men & the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. (Mr. Parker is currently homeless.) "A backlash developed just as quickly." People questioned Mr. Farina's motives -- he is a founder of another Elizabeth charity. Others didn't think the Elizabeth Coalition, with which Farina is not involved, should be included in the GoFundMe distribution. -- CW 

Richard Fausset & Yamiche Alcindor of the New York Times: "A cellphone camera video made by the wife of Keith Lamont Scott as he was fatally shot by the police here shows the moments before and after the incident, including the wife’s pleas to her husband to get out of his truck and her pleas to the officers not to shoot him. But the video, which was given to The New York Times by lawyers for the family Friday, does not include a view of the shooting itself. Nor does it answer the crucial question of whether Mr. Scott had a gun, as the police have maintained.... At a news conference on Friday, Charlotte officials repeatedly said that the police videos should not be released without a full report.... [Police] Chief [Kerr] Putney said officers had arrested Rayquan Borum and charged him in the death of Justin Carr, who was fatally shot near the Omni Hotel as demonstrators marched through the streets." Includes video. -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Manny Fernandez & Michael Wines of the New York Times report on the history of race relations in Tulsa, Oklahoma. CW: I lived in Tulsa in the 1980s, and I promise you it was chockful of outspoken white racists, and that included the city's leaders, as the reporters' anecdote about former police chief Drew Diamond suggests. The heirs of the Sooners maintained a bastion of the Confederacy. I don't doubt that  Tulsa is still a backwards place in this & other ways.

Beyond the Beltway

How Chris Christie's Criminal Enterprise Worked. Kate Zernike of the New York Times: "The admitted mastermind of the mysterious George Washington Bridge lane closings broke a three-year silence on Friday, testifying in federal court here that everything he did in his job was at the direction and for the benefit of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. David Wildstein ... described the governor and his aides as scheming for creative ways to use government resources to help Mr. Christie’s re-election and, ultimately, his ambitions to run for president.... They saw the Port Authority ...  as a particularly sweet 'goody bag,' as an email revealed in court described it." -- CW ...

... Ted Sherman & Matt Arco of "... Wildstein said his focus while serving as a top political appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was to serve the governor." -- CW ...

... Ted Sherman & Matt Arco: "... the administration's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, or IGA, had the names and details of elected officials. Matt Mowers, a former IGA staffer, told jurors about the details of the list, lifting the curtain on the Christie administration's efforts to systematically curry favor with local leaders in exchange for support [for Christie]. Each person on the list was given a number, which would designate that person's likelihood whether to back Christie in an election that was still years off.... The ['Dem Target] List kept track of the perks given to local elected officials..., Mowers testified. IGA also kept tabs on the amount of money local municipalities received from government entities, including the Port Authority." -- CW 

Ben Guarino of the Washington Post: "The plan was simple: Order a pizza, rob whoever showed up to deliver the pie. But the caper did not go as the four men expected. That was because Napoleon Harris III, arrived with the pizza in hand.... The narrative ... unfolded like the recap of a superhero comic." Read on." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)