The Ledes

Thursday, September 29, 2016.

New York Times: "A commuter train crashed into one of the busiest train stations in the New York area during the morning rush on Thursday, killing at least one person, injuring more than 100 others and creating a scene of chaos and destruction, the authorities and witnesses said. The crash occurred around 8:45 a.m., when a commuter train traveling at a high rate of speed barreled through the barriers meant to stop it and finally stopped against a wall of the Hoboken Terminal building, officials said." -- CW

The Wires

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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Thursday
Sep292016

The Commentariat -- September 30, 2016

Juan Cole: "President Obama vetoed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, but Congress has for the first time in his presidency over-ridden his veto. This is a disastrous law with potentially ruinous effects on the US economy and US policy. Individual tort suits against other countries had been forestalled by a doctrine of sovereign immunity, from which the United States and other countries also benefit. JASTA removes sovereign immunity for any state found to be practicing terrorism anywhere, apparently as defined by US court judges. Saudi Arabia is extremely unpopular in the US, more especially on the Left, but also among right wing Islamophobes. But however appealing it is to let the 9/11 victim families sue Riyadh for the attacks, it is wrong-headed every which way from Sunday." --safari

Presidential Race

Only the "best" criminals.... --safari

...Caroline Linton of CBS News: "A North Carolina gun rights group is raffling off an AR-15, ammunition and a photo of Hillary Clinton that they say is 'very popular at the range.' Grass Roots North Carolina, a political lobbying group, is calling the raffle 'The Hillary Clinton Special.' On the webpage for the raffle, it says 'Of course, we won’t tell you what to do with the photo, but when we ran a picture of Hillary on the front of our newsletter, we heard it was very popular at the range.'" --safari...

...Travis Gettys of RawStory: "A Pennsylvania mayor is being urged to step down for repeatedly posting racist content and remarks on his Facebook page. Charles Wasko, the mayor of West York, compared President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, to monkeys in multiple posts and joked about lynching the nation’s first black president in another social media post, reported the York Dispatch...A friend of Wasko’s suggested lynching Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and other Democratic politicians...The mayor did not respond to repeated requests for comment, but he posted two new items on his Facebook page — one slurring liberals and another promoting Donald Trump for president." --safari...

...A mere coincidence I'm sure. Travis Gettys of RawStory: "The former Donald Trump campaign chair who was forced to resign after blaming President Barack Obama for racism sat onstage behind Mike Pence during an Ohio rally...and met Trump’s running mate after his speech, reported the Youngstown Vindicator. Miller, who apologized for her comments on black Americans but did not retract them, said she and her son got front-row seats because they arrived early." --safari...

...Brad Reed of RawStory: "Although Donald Trump has repeatedly disavowed the support of David Duke and other white nationalists, they’ve never stopped loving him or his campaign. In fact, the Los Angeles Times has an interview with several leading white nationalist figures in which they crow about the ways that Trump’s campaign has given them and their ideas publicity that they never would have had otherwise...In return, it seems that the American neo-Nazi movement is giving Trump an army of grassroots volunteers who will proudly goosestep across the country in their quest to make America great again...'Virtually every alt-right Nazi I know is volunteering for the Trump campaign,' Andrew Anglin, editor of the white nationalist Daily Stormer website, told the Los Angeles Times. Infamous former Klan leader David Duke was similarly giddy about what Trump’s campaign had done for his movement, and he told the LA Times that 'the fact that Donald Trump’s doing so well, it proves that I’m winning.'" --safari.

safari note: Is anyone else seeing a very sickening, sinister pattern emerging here?  

"Watching the debate, the artist Barry Blitt recognized a significant moment in the Presidential campaign. Of all Trump’s dangerous beliefs, Blitt said, his misogyny 'might just be his Achilles’ heel.'" --safari...

...Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Donald Trump and his allies are refusing to let up on their attacks on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, with Newt Gingrich shaming her for gaining weight during her reign and Corey Lewandowski suggesting she’s an attempted murderer. The sustained assault has provided a wide opening for Hillary Clinton’s campaign to drive home the narrative that Trump is a misogynist and a horrible role model for voters’ children." --safari

Jonathan Chait: "Donald Trump’s campaign is signaling that its new, post-first-debate message will be an attack on Hillary Clinton’s finances, under the catchphrase “Follow the money.” This is probably Trump’s most fruitful avenue of attack...And yet the notion that a voter ought to support Trump over Clinton on grounds of financial ethics or transparency is insane. Trump is corrupt on a world-historic scale...How on Earth can a candidate run on the slogan “Follow the money” while stonewalling any questions about his own money?" --safari...

...Josh Israel of ThinkProgess: "Donald Trump’s campaign manager appeared to unwittingly confirm an explosive Newsweek story on Thursday, telling ABC’s The View that a Trump company did indeed spend money in Cuba in 1998, in violation of a longstanding U.S. embargo that Trump has vociferously defended. Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald reported on Thursday that Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts spent at least $68,000 in 1998 in Cuba...Asked about the report, Conway first tried to defend Trump by pointing out that the company ultimately decided not to invest in Cuba and therefore was 'not treasonous.'...Asked if she was denying that they spent the funds, she conceded: 'I think they paid money, as I understand from the story, they paid money in 1998.' --safari

Burgess Everett & Matthew Nussbaum of Politico: "John McCain pointed to the door of Senate subway train, telling a reporter recently to get out 'if you’re going to ask about Trump.' Informed instead the subject was Mike Pence, McCain relaxed, as the Arizona senator and 2008 GOP presidential nominee invited the reporter to ride along...McCain’s willingness to talk Pence but dodge on Trump is shared broadly among his fellow Capitol Hill Republicans and reflects a genuine excitement about the Indiana governor who could be vice president...So far, however, there’s scant evidence that Pence has the pull to bring Trump in his direction. And while campaigning and governance are different, on the trail, at least, Pence has been the one bending to Trump." --safari note: I love how the GOP leaders act like farts in the wind, showing up with vigor unexpectedly and then disappearing without a trace...

...For a few good laughs during these seriously rough political times, check out Seth Meyers' Presidential Debate:  --safari

Remember the Judicial Branch!. Josh Gerstein of Politico: "Conservative states are succeeding in getting friendly federal judges to issue broad—often nationwide—injunctions reining in federal government actions, thwarting key parts of President Barack Obama’s agenda and imperiling some aspects of Hillary Clinton's platform. The tactic—amplified by the 4-4 deadlock in the Supreme Court—has already frozen Obama’s immigration policy, is limiting his efforts to protect transgender rights and could hamstring Clinton’s planned executive actions on immigration, labor and environmental issues if she wins the White House. The shorthanded Supreme Court is expected to start adding new cases to its docket as soon as Thursday, with the new term set to open Monday. But many legal experts say that if the high court remains split down the middle on key issues, the more important action will be in the lower courts, where the red-state-led onslaught is playing out." --safari

Ian Milisiher of ThinkProgress: "Last August, a federal appeals court refused to reinstate a lower court’s order that would have dramatically weakened a voter suppression law in Wisconsin. It did so based on assurances by the state’s attorneys that Wisconsin had already taken adequate steps to mitigate the law’s effect on voters facing disenfranchisement. It turns out those assurances were not true. As Ari Berman reports for The Nation, voters in Wisconsin still face potentially insurmountable obstacles between themselves and the ballot box. And these are the very same obstacles the state told the appeals court that it would eliminate." --safari

Way Beyond

Julian Borger of the Guardian: "The UN’s chief humanitarian official said the people of Aleppo are facing a humanitarian catastrophe worse than anything witnessed so far in Syria’s brutal five-year war. Stephen O’Brien made the remarks to the UN security council on Thursday as Russia rejected calls to halt its bombing campaign on eastern Aleppo, saying it might consider a 48-hour humanitarian “pause” instead...'Syria is bleeding. Its citizens are dying. We all hear their cry for help.' Meanwhile, US officials said they were still considering options for a “plan B” policy in Syria, after the failure of the administration’s “plan A” – the attempt to pursue a ceasefire with Moscow." --safari...

...Martin Chulov & Kareem Shaheen: "As the most intensive air bombardment of the war has rained down on opposition-held east Aleppo this week, an army of some 6,000 pro-government fighters has gathered on its outskirts for what they plan will be an imminent, decisive advance. Among those poised to attack are hundreds of Syrian troops who have eyed the city from distant fixed positions since it was seized by Syrian rebels in mid-2012. But in far greater numbers are an estimated 5,000 foreign fighters who will play a defining role in the battle – and take a lead stake in what emerges from the ruins." --safari

Thursday
Sep292016

The Commentariat -- Sept. 29, 2016

Mid-afternoon Update

Donald Trump. Supporter of Communist Dictators for President! Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek reports that Donald Trump knowingly violated the US embargo against Cuba. "A company controlled by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, secretly conducted business in Communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings.... 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...Once the [Trump] 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."...Akhilleus: Love to see Kellyanne spin this one tomorrow morning. "Oh the Donald needed a few cigars. No biggie. And anyway, when he got there, Hillary was skinny dipping with Fidel." ...

... Marc Caputo of Politico: “'Trump’s business with Cuba appears to have broken the law, flouted U.S. foreign policy, and is in complete contradiction to Trump’s own repeated, public statements that he had been offered opportunities to invest in Cuba but passed them up,' Clinton campaign senior adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.... Trump recently began making a big push to curry the support of Cuban-Americans who live in Miami-Dade, Florida’s most populous county with the most Republicans, 366,000. About 72 percent of them are Hispanic, nearly all Cuban-American. They’re one of the only blocs of voters in the United States who still favor keeping the embargo...." The Newsweek report is not going to go down well with those voters. -- CW 

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump isn't afraid of being labeled as the guy who avoids paying taxes. At all. [In an appearance on Bill O'Reilly's show,] Trump didn't say Wednesday night whether he has paid income taxes over the past several decades, but he did say that someone who avoids paying them is what the country needs.... 'I never said I didn't pay taxes,' Trump maintained. '[Hillary Clinton] said, "Maybe you didn't pay taxes." And I said, "Well, that would make me smart," because tax is a big payment.... One big problem with Trump's comments Wednesday is that there is a record of him paying no or very little income taxes. Of the five years for which we have a record of Trump's taxes, he didn't pay any or nearly any.... A second problem is that he did appear to say Monday night that his past avoidance of income taxes was 'smart.'" -- CW

Quite a Few Tokes Over the Line. Dave Weigel of the Washington Post: In an-hour long interview on Chris Matthews' MSNBC show, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson had a self-described "brain freeze" -- he could not name one single "favorite world leader," even as Matthews & Johnson's running mate William Weld tried to help him out. It really was stunning. Weigel provides a transcript of the entire exchange. CW: MAG already highlighted this incident early in today's comments, but it is remarkable enough to flag again. Maybe Johnson was going to pick Putin, but he realized that name was already taken.

Dara Lind of Vox: "Trump appears to be shutting out not only people who want him to change direction but even people who are just telling him, descriptively, that the debate didn’t work out well for him. Presidents need to be able to hear bad news." -- CW 

Gloria Borger, et al., of CNN: "Donald Trump is angry that his aides and advisers have conceded to reporters -- largely without attribution -- that the Republican nominee struggled in his first presidential debate. In a conference call with surrogates Wednesday afternoon, Trump aides made clear the Republican nominee is upset that his allies publicly acknowledged they pushed him to change his preparation and tactics before his next bout with Hillary Clinton. And he wants them to stop it immediately. The message was 'not subtle,' a source familiar with the call said.Trump wants his supporters to make an energetic defense of his performance and refuse to concede that he didn't nail it." -- CW

Trump Conspiracy Theory No. 137. And He Knows It Must Be True Because He Heard It on the Sputnik News. Jeremy Diamond of CNN: "Donald Trump on Wednesday touted a long-debunked conspiracy theory that [Google,] the most popular internet search engine, suppresses negative headlines about his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Trump didn't cite a source to back up his claim, but the most recent report alleging this came from Sputnik News, a Russian state-owned news agency. 'Google search engine was suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton,' Trump said, apparently referring to Google searches during the first presidential debate on Monday night.... The remark was not an off-the-cuff ad lib -- it was included in the prepared remarks Trump read from during his rally speech Wednesday night." -- CW 

*****

CW Note: I have to be away until mid-afternoon, & there are some other stories I'd like to link, so look for a late afternoon update.

Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post: "Military personnel and veterans challenged President Obama, often aggressively, on his refusal to use the phrase 'Islamic terrorism,' his decision to open combat jobs up to women and the performance of the Department of Veterans Affairs at a town hall meeting [in Fort Lee, Va.,] Wednesday.... Obama’s appearance came on the same day he announced that he was sending 600 more troops to Iraq, a war that the president thought he had ended when he withdrew U.S. forces from the country in late 2011. The additional forces will boost the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to just more than 5,000, ahead of an Iraqi-led offensive on Mosul planned for the coming weeks." -- CW 

Jessica Silver-Greenberg & Michael Corkery of the New York Times: "The federal agency that controls more than $1 trillion in Medicare and Medicaid funding has moved to prevent nursing homes from forcing claims of elder abuse, sexual harassment and even wrongful death into the private system of justice known as arbitration. An agency within the Health and Human Services Department on Wednesday issued a rule that bars any nursing home that receives federal funding from requiring that its residents resolve any disputes in arbitration, instead of court. The rule, which would affect nursing homes with 1.5 million residents, promises to deliver major new protections." -- CW

Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post: "Congress staved off an Oct. 1 government shutdown Wednesday, passing a stopgap spending measure after House Republicans agreed to address the drinking-water crisis in Flint, Mich., removing a major obstacle in negotiations. The bill extends current government funding levels until early December, giving appropriators time to negotiate 2017 spending measures. It also provides year-long funding for veterans programs, $1.1 billion to address the Zika virus and $500 million in emergency flood relief for Louisiana and other states. The House approved the bill in a 342-85 late-night vote, hours after senators voted 77-21 to pass the measure. Lawmakers have now recessed until after the Nov. 8 election." -- CW ...

... Congress Overrides 9/11 Bill: Karoun Demirjian & Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post. "Congress on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to override President Obama’s veto of legislation that would allow 9/11 victims’ families to sue the Saudi Arabian government over its alleged support for the terrorists who carried out the attacks. The votes in the House and Senate amounted to a sweeping, bipartisan rejection of the White House’s argument that the legislation poses a national security threat because it could expose U.S. officials to similar lawsuits abroad. It is the first time during the Obama administration that Congress has voted to override a veto." ...  

     ... Akhilleus: Pursuit of justice sounds nice but lawmakers left open the very real likelihood that they will walk this back after the election. Drive for show, putt for dough, as they say in golf. Most sane legistlators understand the dangerous precedent such an override presents, but right now, they're driving for show. The chance that any 9/11 families will actually be pulling a member of the Saudi royal family into court is close to that of Donald Trump releasing his tax returns. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

... Jordan Fabian of the Hill: "The White House lashed out at the Senate Wednesday for overriding  President Obama’s veto of legislation that would allow U.S. citizens to sue Saudi Arabia over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 'I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983,' Obama spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One.... Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was the sole vote to sustain Obama’s veto. Not a single Democrat came to the Senate floor before the vote to argue in favor of Obama’s position. Obama expressed grave concerns about the measure in his veto message last Friday, warning JASTA would improperly involve U.S. courts in national security matters, including whether foreign governments should be considered state sponsors of terror." CW: Reid, of course, is retiring from the Senate.

Josh Gerstein of Politico: "FBI Director James Comey is passionately defending the integrity of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email setup, arguing that critics are unfair to suggest that agents were biased or succumbed to political pressure. 'You can call us wrong, but don’t call us weasels. We are not weasels,' Comey declared Wednesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. 'We are honest people and … whether or not you agree with the result, this was done the way you want it to be done.' The normally stoic FBI chief grew emotional and emphatic as he rejected claims from Republican lawmakers that the FBI was essentially in the tank for Clinton...." Comey also explained to Republicans who whined about the immunity deals that he gave limited immunity to "Clinton lawyers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to obtain computers containing emails related to the case" because “Anytime you know you’re subpoenaing a laptop from a lawyer that involved a lawyer’s practice of law, you know you’re getting into a big megillah.” -- CW 

Linda Greenhouse: "Would it be unseemly to suggest that only Justice Scalia’s death has preserved democracy in North Carolina? There, I just did. Justice Scalia’s absence is already having an impact on the new term in intriguing ways." -- CW 

California Pony Express Delivers Message to Wells Fargo: Drop Dead. Romy Varghese of Bloomberg: "California, the nation’s largest issuer of municipal bonds, is barring Wells Fargo & Co. from underwriting state debt and handling its banking transactions after the company admitted to opening potentially millions of bogus customer accounts. The suspension, in effect immediately, will remain in place for 12 months, State Treasurer John Chiang said Wednesday. 'Complete and permanent severance' between his office and the bank will occur if it doesn’t change its practices, he said. The treasurer is also suspending his office’s investment in Wells Fargo securities. 'Wells Fargo’s fleecing of its customers by opening fraudulent accounts for the purpose of extracting millions in illegal fees demonstrates, at best, a reckless lack of institutional control and, at worst, a culture which actively promotes wanton greed,' the treasurer said in a statement."...Akhilleus (Also linked yesterday afternoon.

Presidential Race

Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast: Both Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump left unsaid in the first debate many of the attacks they have made against each other. These issues or fake issues are bound to come up in the next two debates. -- CW

She doesn’t have the stamina. I said she doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina. -- Donald Trump, during the presidential debate, on what he meant by saying, repeatedly, that Clinton doesn't have that "presidential look," revealing his sexism, his inability to answer a question, and his stunted command of English ...

... Gail Collins: "Hillary Clinton is 68, and that’s old for a first-term presidential candidate in this country. The one thing we can say with absolute certainty is that we’d hear about it every day were it not for the fact that Donald Trump is 70. Still, Trump seems to be finding ways to get at it." ...

... CW: The "stamina, stamina, stamina" thing is worse than the "presidential look" thing. Where the "look" means that women can't be president, the supposed lack of "stamina" means that women, especially older women, are too fragile, or something, to handle the pressures of the presidency. Trump acolyte Rudy Giuliani may have gotten to the "or something" when he said, "... after being married to Bill Clinton for 20 years, if you didn’t know the moment Monica Lewinsky said that Bill Clinton violated her that she was telling the truth, then you’re too stupid to be president.”

Jim Acosta & Theodore Schleifer of CNN: "Donald Trump's campaign is instructing its supporters to use figures like Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers to beat back concerns about how Trump described a former winner of 'Miss Universe,' according to a copy of Wednesday campaign talking points obtained by CNN. Even though Trump and his children celebrated him for not bringing up the women associated with Bill Clinton's marital scandals during Monday's presidential debate, Trump is encouraging his supporters to do just that. 'Mr. Trump has never treated women the way Hillary Clinton and her husband did when they actively worked to destroy Bill Clinton's accusers,' one talking point reads. 'Hillary Clinton bullied and smeared women like Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky,' reads another." -- CW ...

... OR, as Margaret Hartmann of New York puts it, "Trump Campaign Has Sexist Plan to Fight Allegations of Sexism." Hartmann has a good synopsis of how the Trump campaign is out there playing Clinton's responses to her husband's affairs. ...

... Shawn Boburg of the Washington Post: Hillary Clinton's "detractors ... say that [she] has unfairly lashed out over the years at the women involved in her husband’s indiscretions. Her responses­ have forced her to walk a fine line during the campaign on sexual assault issues, even as she builds strong political support among female voters.... The Trump campaign has argued that the issue facing Hillary Clinton as a candidate is not the behavior of her husband but the role she played in shaping responses to accusers. She discredited claims later revealed to be true and worked behind the scenes to help manage the allegations, according to former aides." Boburg cites instances of Hillary's trashing the women with whom her husband had had affairs. -- CW

The Big Guns Come Out. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post: "[Michelle] Obama was campaigning in Philadelphia — when she absolutely let loose on Republican nominee Donald Trump and his long-running birther insinuations about her husband.... 'Hurtful, deceitful questions deliberately designed to undermine his presidency, questions that cannot be blamed on others or swept under the rug by an insincere sentence uttered at a press conference.... If a candidate is erratic and threatening, if a candidate traffics in prejudice, fears and lies on the campaign trail, if a candidate thinks that not paying taxes makes you smart, or that it's good business when people lose their homes. If a candidate regularly and flippantly makes cruel and insulting comments about women, about how we look and how we act, well, sadly, that's who that candidate really is.'" Akhilleus: Whoa. What I wouldn't pay to watch Sniffles try to take on Michelle Obama. They'd have to have a meat wagon ready to cart off whatever's left. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Dana Milbank: Former Republican Sen. John Warner, whose long career made him an expert on the military, endorsed Hillary Clinton yesterday. "Warner — endorsing the Democratic ticket while standing in Alexandria, Va., with fellow Virginian Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate — spoke bitterly of Trump’s description of the military as a 'disaster' and a 'shambles' with the generals reduced to 'rubble.'... 'Candidate Clinton maintained [her] composure throughout the debate; the other candidate, in my judgment, did not,' Warner said. 'She was firm but fair and, underline, respectful. That’s one word that’s totally lacking on the other side of this ticket.' Warner hailed Kaine, a longtime friend, as a 'beautiful man' of 'unquestioned integrity.'” ...

... CW: I suspect the main reason Trump says the military is a "disaster" & in "shambles" is that a larger percentage of black Americans serve in the military than there are in the general population.

As far as the lawsuit, yes, when I was very young, I went into my father’s company, had a real estate company in Brooklyn and Queens, and we, along with many, many other companies throughout the country — it was a federal lawsuit — were sued. We settled the suit with zero — with no admission of guilt. It was very easy to do. . . . That was a lawsuit brought against many real estate firms, and it’s just one of those things. -- Donald Trump, during the debate, on racial discrimination lawsuits the DOJ brought against Trump companies

On several levels, Trump’s debate answer was misleading. This was not a case brought against many real estate firms; it was brought against Trump and his father. Trump did not get a better deal; he got essentially the same deal, or possibly worse, than the deal he would have gotten if he had settled before spending legal fees for two years. He also failed to live up to the deal and found himself back in court. While Trump touts there was no admission of guilt, that’s rather typical in these sorts of settlements. The Justice Department simply wanted to get the Trumps to agree to rent to African American tenants — which they failed to do even after agreeing to settle the case. -- Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post 

Down in the Drumpfs. Jennifer Wang of Forbes: "Forbes’ new investigation into Trump’s wealth pegs his fortune at $3.7 billion, down $800 million from a year ago. A softening of New York City’s real estate market, particularly in retail and office, where valuations are trending down, has diminished his estimated net worth. New information was also a factor. Of the 28 assets or asset classes scrutinized by Forbes, 18 declined in value, including his trademark Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, his downtown jewel 40 Wall Street and Mar-a-Lago, his private beachfront club in Palm Beach." --CW 

Katie Zezima & Jose DelReal of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump has a serious weight problem: He can’t seem to stop criticizing the girth of others. For decades, Trump has commented on other people’s bodies, particularly women who he believes had gained too much weight or were, in his word, 'fat.'... Trump’s obsession with weight carries some irony for a candidate who boasts about his unhealthy eating habits, dining regularly on McDonald’s hamburgers and buckets of KFC fried chicken on his private jet. By his own public accounting of his medical health, Trump is just five pounds shy of being considered obese under the body mass index. 'I work out on occasion . . . as little as possible,' Trump said at a 1997 news conference during which he mocked the weight of reporters.” CW: This is a straight news story. The reporters cite, among others, GOP strategist Tim Miller: “He’s a middle schooler who is filled with insecurities and insults people to try to deal with his insecurities.” ...

... Nicholas Kristof: "Something about Trump is paradigmatic of the most atrocious kind of seventh-grade boy: The boasts about not doing homework, the habit of blaming others when things go wrong, the penchant for exaggerating everything into the best ever, the braggadocio to mask insecurity about size of hands or genitals, the biting put-downs of others, the laziness, the self-absorption, the narcissism, the lack of empathy — and the immaturity that reduces a woman to her breasts.... Middle school is the wrenching, jungle stage of life that we all must struggle through. Why would we subject ourselves to a 'leader' who is permanently in the seventh grade?" -- CW ...

... The Ages of Trump. " Jonathan Chait: During the debate, "Trump displayed the factual command of a small child, the emotional stability of a hormonal teen, and the stamina of an old man, staggering and losing the thread as the 90 minutes wore on.... Trump, according to the people trying to help him win, is unable to pick good staff, manage his time, follow advice, or even accept the connection between preparing for an event and succeeding at it.... Republicans — without a single exception I have seen — ... have treated their candidate’s glaring unsuitability for high office as, at worst, a handful of discrete errors that in no way reflect on his character, and at best, the dastardly unfairness of the liberal media...." -- CW 

Nancy LeTourneau of the Washington Monthly noticed the tack planned by Trump's debate staff (who spoke to the New York Times -- story by Patrick Healy & others linked in yesterday's Commentariat) to prep the candidate for the next debate. "... there is no discussion about how to work Mr. Trump’s policies or priorities.... It is all about a 'disciplined, strategic attack' to damage Clinton.... 

     ... CW: I think the Trump staff has a pretty good strategy. They know by now there's no way Trump -- who speaks mostly to himself -- is going to learn anything about policy or current facts on the ground. There is a slight possibility, however, that, as a person most interested in his own performance, he can kinda learn how to seamlessly attacks on Clinton into the debate: Martha Raddatz: "Mr. Trump, I'm unclear on your nuclear strategy...." Trump (interrupting the girl reporter): "Hillary Clinton trashed Gennifer Flowers." ...

... Louis Nelson of Politico: Donald Trump's "campaign emailed out a 30-question 'debate preparation survey' to supporters on Wednesday, asking them which issues they thought were Trump’s strongest on Monday night and on which issues he should focus on in the next debate. It also asks supporters if Trump should raise an array of issues, nearly all of them relating to one Clinton scandal or another." -- CW ...

... Ed Kilgore: "... the survey appears to represent an indirect apology for Trump’s failure to cover the anti-Clinton landscape the first time around, along with a permission slip for him to go medieval on his opponent at the next opportunity. Another possible motive could be to set up expectations for what future moderators ought to be asking the candidates about, so that anything other than an inquisition of Hillary Clinton can be described as biased." -- CW 

The Best People. Pema Levy of Mother Jones: "While campaigning for president, Donald Trump often boasts that he hires the 'best people.' But in 2007, he bragged that he hired a woman with no experience because she was hot. His comments came in a speech for the Learning Annex, an adult education firm that reportedly paid Trump $1.5 million per appearance. During the question-and-answer portion of the event, held in San Francisco, a woman in the audience asked Trump, 'How many jets do you have and how might I apply to be a flight attendant?' Trump immediately had the woman brought onstage, where he checked her out, wrapped his arm around her, and and then declared, 'You're hired.' Then Trump launched into an anecdote about a time he hired a woman based solely on her looks." Levy transcribes Trump's remarks. Also includes video. -- CW ...

... Trump Likes 'Em Hot, Ctd. Matt Pearce of the Los Angeles Times: When Donald Trump visited "the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes..., the club’s managers ... scheduled the young, thin, pretty women on staff to work the clubhouse restaurant  — because when Trump saw less-attractive women working at his club, according to court records, he wanted them fired. 'I had witnessed Donald Trump tell managers many times while he was visiting the club that restaurant hostesses were "not pretty enough" and that they should be fired and replaced with more attractive women,' Hayley Strozier, who was director of catering at the club until 2008, said in a sworn declaration.... A similar story is told by former Trump employees in court documents filed in 2012 in a broad labor relations lawsuit brought against one of Trump’s development companies in Los Angeles County Superior Court." -- CW ...

... Then there was the time Trump criticized celebrity Kim Kardashian for being too "large" when she was pregnant. -- CW 

Michael Diehl in a Washington Post op-ed: "I was thrilled to get a $100,000 contract from Trump [in 1989]. It was one of the biggest sales I’d ever made. I was supposed to deliver and tune the pianos; the Trump corporation would pay me within 90 days.... But when I requested payment, the Trump corporation hemmed and hawed.... After a couple of months, I got a letter telling me that the casino was short on funds. They would pay 70 percent of what they owed me. There was no negotiating.... Today, when I hear Trump brag about paying small business owners less than he agreed, I get angry. He’s always suggesting that the people who worked for him didn’t do the right job, didn’t complete their work on time, that something was wrong. But I delivered quality pianos, tuned and ready to go. I did everything right. And then Trump cheated me." -- CW ...

... Daniel Denvir of Salon: "Trump appears, however, to have won a huge amount of support from small business owners and is likely confident that Clinton’s attacks won’t stick. Seeing is believing, and what many Americans see is a man who both literally and figuratively turns what he touches to gold.... Small business owners might also identify with Trump’s braggadocio. After all, they are constantly lauded by every last politician as the moral and economic apex of American capitalism.... The Great Recession put a major squeeze on demand and financing and may have made small business owners receptive to the very economic nationalism that has frightened corporate titans.... At times of economic crisis, small business owners have a reputation for moving far right." -- CW

Hey, Trump supporters say whites & men have "too little influence" in this country, according to a new ABC News-Washington Post poll. What a surprise.

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Now He's an "Independent Journalist," Ha Ha Ha. Hadas Gold of Politico: "Former Donald Trump campaign manager and now CNN contributor Corey Lewandowski is no longer receiving monthly severance payments from the campaign. Instead, the campaign paid off the remainder of his contract in one lump sum, said a CNN executive with knowledge of the situation. CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota made the announcement on Thursday morning." -- CW 

Annals of Journalism, Ctd. Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post: "As if local newspapers did not have enough problems, with plummeting circulation and shrinking staffs, some recent endorsements of Hillary Clinton by [conservative] editorial boards look like more self-inflicted wounds.... Although research shows that most voters say a newspaper editorial had no influence on their vote, two recent studies suggest that there’s one exception to that rule: when the endorsements are unexpected. Surprise editorials are the ones that count, as long as they make sense, given the paper’s usual tone." -- CW 

Beyond the Beltway

Trial of Alabama Chief Justice, Bible Bigot Roy Moore, off to a Roaring Start.  Kent Faulk of Al.com. "The trial of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore began [Wednesday] morning before the Court of the Judiciary in Montgomery. The trial pits Moore and his anti-gay marriage stance versus the rule of law. Did a Jan. 6 administrative order by Moore encourage Alabama probate judges to ignore or defy federal and U.S. Supreme Court orders declaring same-sex marriage legal? Or was Moore simply giving a status update or advice to those judges regarding orders by the Alabama Supreme Court banning same-sex marriage licensing prior to U.S. Supreme Court's ruling making it legal nationwide...?" Akhilleus: Al.com is doing live updates all day on the trial. Supporters for both sides in attendance but Moore supporters seem particularly exercised. Bigotry never rests. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Here They Go Again. As of mid-day Wednesday, police had released little information about the incident, aside from a still photograph showing the African-American man, in what authorities describe as a 'shooting stance,' facing off with two officers in a parking lot. Police have not released the man's name. No gun was found. The Rev. Shane Harris, president of the San Diego chapter of the National Action Network, called releasing the photo 'cowardly.' Harris ... said he had spoken to the dead man's family." Akhilleus: I suppose this is the sort of person Trump is demanding we take the guns away from. A black man who actually has no guns. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

Way Beyond

So far, Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the Mexican border is all talk. Last week, France and Britain actually began building one along theirs. Construction started [in Calais, France,] on a roughly mile-long concrete barrier intended to separate a sprawling migrant camp from the tunnels that offer passage to Britain, the latest attempt in what has become a global effort to throw physical barriers in the way of historic streams of human migration.... Britain has contributed most of the money for the project...." -- CW ...

... Liz Sly & Louisa Loveluck of the Washington Post: Life -- and death -- in war-torn Aleppo is hell. -- CW 

Tuesday
Sep272016

The Commentariat -- Sept. 28, 2016

Afternoon Update

Trial of Alabama Chief Justice, Bible Bigot Roy Moore, off to a roaring start as Trooper threatens to clear the court.  Kent Faulk of Al.com. "The trial of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore began this morning before the Court of the Judiciary in Montgomery. The trial pits Moore and his anti-gay marriage stance versus the rule of law. Did a Jan. 6 administrative order by Moore encourage Alabama probate judges to ignore or defy federal and U.S. Supreme Court orders declaring same-sex marriage legal? Or was Moore simply giving a status update or advice to those judges regarding orders by the Alabama Supreme Court banning same-sex marriage licensing prior to U.S. Supreme Court's ruling making it legal nationwide?" Akhilleus: Al.com is doing live updates all day on the trial. Supporters for both sides in attendance but Moore supporters seem particularly exercised. Bigotry never rests.

Congress Overrides 9/11 Bill: Karoun Demirjian and Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post. "Congress on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to override President Obama’s veto of legislation that would allow 9/11 victims’ families to sue the Saudi Arabian government over its alleged support for the terrorists who carried out the attacks. The votes in the House and Senate amounted to a sweeping, bipartisan rejection of the White House’s argument that the legislation poses a national security threat because it could expose U.S. officials to similar lawsuits abroad. It is the first time during the Obama administration that Congress has voted to override a veto. 'Overriding a presidential veto is something we don’t take lightly, but it was important in this case that the families of the victims of 9/11 be allowed to pursue justice, even if that pursuit causes some diplomatic discomforts,' Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who co-authored the bill with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), said in a statement." Akhilleus: Pursuit of justice sounds nice but lawmakers left open the very real likelihood that they will walk this back after the election. Drive for show, putt for dough, as they say in golf. Most sane legistlators understand the dangerous precedent such an override presents, but right now, they're driving for show. The chance that any 9/11 families will actually be pulling a member of the Saudi royal family into court is close to that of Donald Trump releasing his tax returns.

Here They Go Again. Another unarmed black man killed by police. This one possibly mentally ill: As of mid-day Wednesday, police had released little information about the incident, aside from a still photograph showing the African-American man, in what authorities describe as a 'shooting stance,' facing off with two officers in a parking lot. Police have not released the man's name. No gun was found. The Rev. Shane Harris, president of the San Diego chapter of the National Action Network, called releasing the photo 'cowardly.' Harris, who said he had spoken to the dead man's family, was one of several speakers addressing reporters in front of the El Cajon Police Department." Akhilleus: I suppose this is the sort of person Trump is demanding we take the guns away from. A black man who actually has no guns.

California Pony Express delivers message to Wells Fargo: Drop Dead. Romy Varghese of Bloomberg: "California, the nation’s largest issuer of municipal bonds, is barring Wells Fargo & Co. from underwriting state debt and handling its banking transactions after the company admitted to opening potentially millions of bogus customer accounts. The suspension, in effect immediately, will remain in place for 12 months, State Treasurer John Chiang said Wednesday. 'Complete and permanent severance' between his office and the bank will occur if it doesn’t change its practices, he said. The treasurer is also suspending his office’s investment in Wells Fargo securities. 'Wells Fargo’s fleecing of its customers by opening fraudulent accounts for the purpose of extracting millions in illegal fees demonstrates, at best, a reckless lack of institutional control and, at worst, a culture which actively promotes wanton greed,' the treasurer said in a statement."...Akhilleus.

The Big Guns Come Out. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post: "[Michelle] Obama was campaigning in Philadelphia — when she absolutely let loose on Republican nominee Donald Trump and his long-running birther insinuations about her husband...'Hurtful, deceitful questions deliberately designed to undermine his presidency, questions that cannot be blamed on others or swept under the rug by an insincere sentence uttered at a press conference.... If a candidate is erratic and threatening, if a candidate traffics in prejudice, fears and lies on the campaign trail, if a candidate thinks that not paying taxes makes you smart, or that it's good business when people lose their homes. If a candidate regularly and flippantly makes cruel and insulting comments about women, about how we look and how we act, well, sadly, that's who that candidate really is.'" Akhilleus: Whoa. What I wouldn't pay to watch Sniffles try to take on Michelle Obama. They'd have to have a meat wagon ready to cart off whatever's left.

*************

See also yesterday's Afternoon Update, which is chockful of links to commentary on Monday's presidential debate.

Presidential Race

Arizona Republic Editors: "Since The Arizona Republic began publication in 1890, we have never endorsed a Democrat over a Republican for president. Never.... This year is different. The 2016 Republican candidate is not conservative and he is not qualified. That’s why, for the first time in our history, The Arizona Republic will support a Democrat for president. The challenges the United States faces domestically and internationally demand a steady hand, a cool head and the ability to think carefully before acting. Hillary Clinton understands this. Donald Trump does not. Clinton has the temperament and experience to be president. Donald Trump does not.... She has withstood decades of scrutiny so intense it would wither most politicians. The vehemence of some of the anti-Clinton attacks strains credulity. Trump hasn’t even let the American people scrutinize his tax returns, which could help the nation judge his claims of business acumen." And so forth. -- CW ...

... John Wagner of the Washington Post: "... Hillary Clinton will score another high-powered Republican endorsement on Wednesday, according to a campaign aide: retired senator John Warner of Virginia, a popular GOP maverick with renowned military credentials. Warner’s decision not to support ... Donald Trump, is intended to send a signal in the five-term senator’s battleground home state and beyond that mainstream, security-minded Republicans should side with Clinton." -- CW 

Greg Sargent: "Top Democrats say they’re planning to escalate their attacks on one of the most glaring missteps Donald Trump committed during the debate on Monday night: When confronted over whether he pays nothing in federal taxes, he not only didn’t deny it — he seemed to openly boast about it." -- CW 

A Good Time to Pack a Punch. Josef Adalian of New York: "As expected, Monday’s opening showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump drew a massive — and record-breaking — audience, with at least 80.9 million viewers tuning in across 12 broadcast and cable networks, according to Nielsen data obtained by CNN Money. That makes last night’s 93-minute matchup the most-watched presidential debate ever, and represents a roughly 20 percent jump over the 67.2 million viewers who caught the first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney four years ago. What’s more, the 80.9 million figure will tick even higher once PBS is added to the tally, and it also doesn’t include the millions who likely watched online." --safari ...

Jonathan Mahler of the New York Times: "Per instructions from my editor, I was watching with the sound off. Alone.... She looked as if she was having fun. He, not so much.... He delivered 90 minutes of increasingly exaggerated pantomime, announcing the presence of someone who is restless, impassioned, emphatic and at times belligerent.... Even when it was Mrs. Clinton’s turn to speak, Mr. Trump couldn’t stand still. He fidgeted. He smirked. He grimaced. He squinted. He adjusted his microphone. He grabbed hold of the sides of his lectern. He rocked back and forth on his heels. He pursed his lips. He threw his opponent a disbelieving sidelong glance, and then an eye roll. He shook his head. He appeared to interrupt her, repeatedly.... Mrs. Clinton had a studied serenity.... She appeared unbothered, even amused, by Mr. Trump’s apparent assaults." CW: See also Patrick's comment in yesterday's thread. He listened with the video off & the sound on.

Paul Krugman: "... it seems to be conventional wisdom that Trump did well in the first 15 minutes. And I guess he did if you are impressed by someone talking loudly and confidently about a subject he really doesn’t understand. But really: Trump on trade was ignorance all the way." Krugman briefly explains why. -- CW ...

... Krugman: "... it turns out that Trump wasn’t saying ignorant things off the top of his head: he was saying ignorant things fed to him by his incompetent economic advisers.... Should we be reassured that Trump wasn’t actually winging it here, just taking really bad advice? Not at all. This says that if he somehow becomes president, and decides to take the job seriously, it won’t help — because his judgment in advisers, his notion of who constitutes an expert, is as bad as his judgment on the fly." -- CW 

Robert Windrem & William Arkin of NBC News: "Donald Trump's confusing comments about nuclear weapons in Monday night's debate are not the first time during this presidential campaign that his statements have left nuclear experts wondering just what he might do if he gains access to the nuclear football. On Monday, Trump ... called for more nations to join the nuclear club. He ruled out a 'first strike,' but then revealed not just a willingness to use nukes but also a misunderstanding of the high-stakes balancing act the nuclear superpowers have pursued.... Trump ... also ... may not know the difference between 'first use' and 'first strike.' He responded to a question from [Lester] Holt about 'first use' with a statement about a 'first strike.'... 'First strike' refers to a nuclear power initiating nuclear combat and landing the first blow.... 'First use' is an un-official U.S. prohibition on the use of nuclear weapons against enemies who don't have nuclear capability." -- CW 

Trolls Prefer Crazy Man. Luis Gomez of the San Diego Union-Tribune: While cable news networks and some news organizations ... declared Clinton a winner in the debate, Trump emerged as the winner based on a number of web polls and online forums like Reddit where the candidate’s supporters dominate the conversation. By Tuesday morning, the hashtag #TrumpWon surfaced as the top trending topic on Twitter." -- CW 

Amanda Marcotte of Salon: "... apparently, the sexist id is stronger than common sense, as demonstrated by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his legion of piggy defenders.... Watching Clinton kick his ass all over the debate stage last night exposed the raw insecurities of men across this great nation of ours. While Clinton usually gets yelled at by men for not smiling enough, her grinning visage as she watched her male opponent self-immolate caused this pouty reaction from Atlantic editor David Frum: 'Who told Hillary Clinton to keep smiling like she’s at her granddaughter’s birthday party?'... Whatever position your mouth is in, it’s wrong, ladies!.... On Fox, Brit Hume says Hillary Clinton’s face was 'not necessarily attractive'...” -- CW 

He seemed unable to handle that big stage, and I really did feel that by the end, with the kind of snorting, the water gulping and the leaning on the lectern, that he just seemed really out of gas. -- John Podesta, Clinton campaign chairman, on Donald Trump

He is an imperialistic gringo. -- Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, on Donald Trump ...

Patrick Healy, et al., of the New York Times: "Campaign advisers to Donald J. Trump, concerned that his focus and objectives had dissolved during the first presidential debate on Monday, plan to more rigorously prepare him for his next face-off with Hillary Clinton by drilling the Republican nominee on crucial answers, facts and counterattacks, and by coaching him on ways to whack Mrs. Clinton on issues even if he is not asked about them. Whether he is open to practicing meticulously is a major concern, however, according to some of these advisers and others close to Mr. Trump." -- CW 

Philip Rucker, et al., of the Washington Post: "Hillary Clinton moved to capitalize Tuesday on a sharp-edged debate performance that exposed vulnerabilities for Donald Trump, excoriating his values and character in an effort to expand her coalition of women, minorities and young voters.... While ... [Donald Trump] insisted that he was not unnerved, he and his advisers grasped at excuses to explain why he did not perform better.... Like Trump’s feud this summer with the Muslim parents of a dead U.S. soldier, the [Alicia] Machado episode rapidly emerged as a microcosm of the campaign — and a test of whether Trump can expand his support beyond his base of aggrieved white voters, most of them men." -- CW ...

... The Drumpf & Rudy Show, Ctd. Alexander Burns of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump lashed out on Tuesday in the aftermath of a disappointing first debate with Hillary Clinton, scolding the moderator, criticizing a beauty pageant winner for her physique and raising the prospect of an all-out attack on Bill Clinton’s marital infidelities in the final stretch of the campaign.... As Mrs. Clinton embarked on an ebullient campaign swing through North Carolina, aiming to press her newfound advantage, Mr. Trump vented his grievances in full public view.... 'Anybody who complains about the microphone,' she said [to reporters on her campaign plane], 'is not having a good night.'... At a rally in Raleigh, N.C., Mrs. Clinton, brandishing her opponent’s debate stumbles, assailed Mr. Trump’s comments suggesting he avoided paying taxes and welcomed the 2008 financial crisis as a buying opportunity.... [MEANWHILE, Rudy Giuliani] called Mrs. Clinton 'too stupid to be president.'” -- CW ...

Steve Eder & Patricia Cohen of the New York Times: “'That makes me smart,' Mr. Trump said after Mrs. Clinton brought up how he had paid no taxes more than two decades ago. When she suggested that Mr. Trump was still paying no federal taxes, and had not done so for many years, Mr. Trump offered another retort: 'It would be squandered, too, believe me.'... 'Tell that to the janitor in here who’s paying taxes!' Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., speaking at a rally in Pennsylvania, said of Mr. Trump’s statements. 'It angers me. It angers me.'” CW: The reporters cite records from past proceedings that indicate Trump paid no federal income taxes for at least five years, and his Atlantic City casino losses in the early '90s were such that he might have been able to "eliminate his federal tax bill for years to come." ...

     ... CW: Here's something I didn't know. According to Eder & Cohen, Mitt "Romney and his wife, Ann, even gave up $1.75 million in charitable deductions that they were entitled to, in order to make their tax return consistent with Mr. Romney’s earlier claim that he had paid at least 13 percent of his income in taxes." That is, had he not been running for president, the Romneys' tax rate would have been considerably lower -- and much lower than mine.

** Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker: "Obviously there was something cheering and even comforting in the reality that Trump had 'lost.' But there was something disturbing in seeing Trump once again being normalized by being made part of an ordinary contest in coherence and 'presentation' and 'preparation.' In truth, that was the least of it, because what was really outside any norm of decency was what he thought even after you had dutifully distilled away the incoherence and the manic improvisations.... This was not a bad performance. This is a bad man." -- CW 

Peter Beinart of the Atlantic: "Commentators are declaring Trump’s answers a tactical mistake. But they’re more than that. They show how unmoored he is from conservatism’s conception of America.... America’s most prominent conservative thinkers and politicians have called for both reducing government’s power over the individual and strengthening traditional morality. They’ve squared that circle by emphasizing personal responsibility.... Donald Trump never talks this way.... For more than a half century, conservatives have put families and communities at the center of their conception of a better America. For Trump, by contrast, the heroes are self-interested businessmen and a brutally powerful state. Profit is good; law is good; culture doesn’t matter.... The fact that [Trump's rhetoric] has proven so appealing to so many Republicans shows how weak conservatism’s traditional message now is, even in the precincts where it was thought to be strong." -- CW 

Shitstain Leaves Permanent Stain: Rachel Bade of Politico: "House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday gave a robust endorsement of Donald Trump’s debate performance — even as other Capitol Hill Republicans said he missed opportunities and could have done better. The Wisconsin Republican, who has been highly critical of Trump’s controversial comments in the past, said the GOP nominee gave a 'spirited argument' for Republican priorities, 'passed a number of thresholds' and showed 'he could go toe-to-toe with Hillary Clinton.'" -safari note: These full endorsements cannot be forgotten in history as the GOP tries to sell us Putin-lite. If it hadn't already been declared, "reasonsable" GOP officials are an extinct species.

Lucia Graves of the Guardian: "Alicia Machado became an American citizen just in time to vote against Donald Trump. It’s a vote that has been a long time coming. In May 1996, the Venezuelan beauty queen was just 19 years old when she was crowned the winner of the Miss Universe pageant, which had recently been bought by the Manhattan business mogul.... But when she put on weight soon after winning, Trump Trump turned what should have been a golden year into the most traumatizing one of her life." --safari...

...**Jonathan Chait: "Before the first presidential debate, the defining confrontation of the general election was an inspiring speech by Khizr Khan, a Muslim-American Gold Star father.... During the closing moments of Monday night’s debate, Clinton provided another Khan moment, and Trump, once again, could not help but reveal his own ugliness.... You can easily see why Clinton’s campaign decided this was the perfect anecdote to display his grotesque personal qualities. It contains several elements all at once.... Life rarely works out in such a simple and dramatically perfect way. Terrible human beings usually know how to conceal their terribleness. Even a villain as impulsive and egotistical as Trump has the benefit of an entire political party and associated media apparatus throwing itself behind the task of concealing his hideous character through Election Day." --safari

Other News & Views

Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post: "House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi struck a deal late Tuesday to deliver federal aid to address the water crisis in Flint, Mich., potentially removing a major flashpoint in negotiations to keep the government fully operating past Friday." -- CW 

Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times: "As John G. Stumpf, the chief executive of Wells Fargo, prepares to face a congressional tribunal on Thursday for the second time in two weeks, questions are intensifying about the bank’s sham accounts scandal and its lethargic response to it.... Late Tuesday..., the company’s directors ... announc[ed] an investigation into the bank’s sales practices, the board said Mr. Stumpf would forfeit approximately $41 million worth of stock awards, forgo his salary during the inquiry and receive no bonus for 2016.... The Wells Fargo board also announced the immediate retirement of Carrie L. Tolstedt, the former senior executive vice president of community banking, who ran the unit where the fake accounts were created. She will forfeit $19 million in stock grants, will receive neither a bonus for this year nor a severance, and will be denied certain enhancements in retirement pay, the board said.... These actions by the Wells Fargo board, while welcome, were slow in coming." CW: I guess the board were shocked, shocked to find that thievery was going on in their casino. 

Beyond the Beltway

Time for an Impeachment in Trenton. Kate Zernike of the New York Times: "Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was told about the George Washington Bridge lane closings — and that they were done to punish a mayor who had declined to endorse him for re-election — during a Sept. 11 memorial service two days after they began..., [former ally David Wildstein] testified in federal court [in Newark, N.J.] on Tuesday. Mr. Christie, the witness recalled, laughed at the news. The closings of the access lanes in September 2013 continued for two more days, creating a catastrophic traffic jam.... But Mr. Christie made no effort to reopen the lanes and end the gridlock. Instead, his former ally said, the governor was clearly delighted and seemed to savor the scheme. And after learning that the Fort Lee mayor’s persistent and urgent calls for help were being ignored, Mr. Christie said in a sarcastic tone, 'I imagine he wouldn’t get his calls returned.'” -- CW 

Travis Andrews of the Washington Post: "Police in El Cajon, Calif., about 15 miles northeast of San Diego, fatally shot a black man ... in a strip mall after responding to a call Tuesday afternoon that he was acting in an 'erratic' manner. In a press release, El Cajon police said the man, who remained unnamed, pulled an unidentified object, which was not a firearm, from his pants pocket and assumed 'what appeared to be a shooting stance.' At this point, officers fired on the man. He has 'passed away as a result of his injuries.'... A crowd gathered in the parking lot to protest the shooting, which follows fatal shootings this month of black men by police in Tulsa and Charlotte. -- CW 

Tonya Alanez of the [Orlando] Sun Sentinel: Two former police officers in Lauderhill, Florida, were fired from their jobs after allegedly "coercing two women into performing sex acts." Now it "will cost the two fired cops $6.2 million, a federal judge has ruled.... Jane Doe 1, who claimed she was raped by [Officer Franklin] Hartley on the hood of his patrol car, was awarded $4.5 million in damages. Jane Doe 2, who said [Officer Thomas] Merenda coerced her into indulging his predilection for sexual pain by punching him in the testicles, was awarded $1.7 million in damages, court documents show.... While the federal verdict is the latest consequence to befall the ex-cops, it may amount to nothing more than a symbolic victory if the women are unable to collect from Hartley and Merenda. The pair continue to fight criminal charges resulting from the same incident in Broward Circuit Court." --safari

Way Beyond

** Marilyn Berger of the New York Times: "Shimon Peres, one of the last surviving pillars of Israel’s founding generation, who did more than anyone to build up his country’s formidable military might, then worked as hard to establish a lasting peace with Israel’s Arab neighbors, died on Wednesday in a Tel Aviv area hospital. He was 93." -- CW 

Jon Henley of the Guardian: "A top-secret cold war US military project and the toxic waste it conceals, which had been thought buried forever beneath the Greenland ice cap, are likely to be uncovered by rising temperatures within decades, scientists have warned. Camp Century was excavated by the US army engineering corps in 1959 around 200km (124 miles) inland from the coast of Greenland, which was then part of Denmark." --safari

Capitalism is Awesome, Ctd. Nick Davies & Oliver Holmes of the Guardian: "Officials at the highest level of an Asian government have been helping wildlife criminals smuggle millions of dollars worth of endangered species through their territory, the Guardian can reveal. In an apparent breach of current national and international law, for more than a decade the office of the prime minister of Laos has cut deals with three leading traffickers to move hundreds of tonnes of wildlife through selected border crossings. In 2014 alone, these deals covered $45m (£35m) worth of animal body parts and included agreed quotas requiring the disabling or killing of 165 tigers, more than 650 rhinos and more than 16,000 elephants." --safari

Luke Harding of the Guardian: "Flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine [in July 2014] by a Buk missile brought across the border from Russia and fired from a village under the control of pro-Russian rebels, an international criminal investigation has said. In a press conference on Wednesday in Nieuwegein, in the Netherlands, the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said there was conclusive evidence that a Buk 9M38 missile hit the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, killing all 298 people on board." -- CW: Another reminder to Vlad fanboy Drumpovich on what a "strong leader" Putin is.

Monday
Sep262016

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 

Josh Barro, a moderate conservative, of Business Insider: "... Clinton got the best of Trump at Monday's debate. Prediction markets moved toward Clinton during the debate.... TV news focus groups said Clinton clearly won.... Trump's own surrogates won't argue forcefully that he won.... A CNN panelist who gave the win to Clinton noted, approvingly, that she 'took control of the situation.'... Trump skipped a post-debate victory party he was supposed to attend and went straight home.... Maybe he was sad, or was feeling low-energy, or lacked the stamina to greet his supporters." -- 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 ...

... Claire Landsbaum of New York: "In 1996 — the year Donald Trump took over the pageant — Alicia Machado was crowned Miss Universe. After her victory, she gained weight. Trump ... reportedly called her 'Miss Piggy' and 'Miss Housekeeping' (because she’s from Venezuela) and even forced her to work out in front of hordes of press. Hillary Clinton brought up Trump’s comments about Machado at the tail end of Monday night’s presidential debate, using them to illustrate Trump’s attitude toward women. Then her campaign released a well-timed ad featuring Machado, who talks about how Trump called her 'fat' and 'ugly.'... If you thought all this would cause Trump to rethink his fat-shaming comments, you would be wrong. This morning, during a phone interview on Fox & Friends, Trump doubled down on his insults, calling Machado’s weight 'a real problem.' -- CW 

Ezra Klein: "The first presidential debate featured a man who didn’t know what he was talking about repeatedly shouting over a woman who was extraordinarily prepared. The debate was a collision between Donald Trump’s politics of dominance and Hillary Clinton’s politics of preparation. Clinton’s politics of preparation won." Also, Klein provides a few good examples of Trump's word-salad, stream-of-unconsciousness answers. -- CW 

Tom Sullivan in Hullabaloo: "The Republican candidate who boasts at rallies he will negotiate the best deals, great deals, tre-men-dous deals with world leaders last night could not negotiate 90 minutes against an American one. Hillary Clinton demonstrated she is a leader with knowledge, experience and intelligence that far outstrips Trump's. Within the first half hour, dry mouth set in and Trump had to keep sipping water to stay lubricated. (It didn't make his answers any more coherent.) At one point, he seemed to wipe a bead of sweat from his upper lip. But it was the regular, audible sniffing like a cokehead that started early and continued through most of the debate that had Twitter buzzing. Likely, Donald Trump is allergic to being around strong women." -- 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 thhttp://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/09/26...e 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 NJ.com: "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: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/special-reports/charlotte-shooting-protests/article104228581.html#storylink=cpy

... 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: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/special-reports/charlotte-shooting-protests/article104237666.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/special-reports/charlotte-shooting-protests/article104237666.html#storylink=cpy