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

Washington Post: "Paul Beatty won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday evening in London, becoming the first American ever to take home the prestigious award. His satirical novel 'The Sellout' beat five other finalists for the $60,000 prize, which also essentially guarantees substantial new sales and interest around the world. Amanda Foreman, chair of the Booker judges, called 'The Sellout' 'a novel for our times. . . . Its humor disguises a radical seriousness. Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl.' Originally published last year in the United States, 'The Sellout' is an outrageously funny satire of American race relations. The protagonist, a black man whose father was killed by police, wants to reinstitute segregation in his California town. He eventually lands before the Supreme Court in a bizarre case involving slavery. 'The Sellout' also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in March." -- CW 

Washington Post: "Comic actor, movie star and America’s best friend Bill Murray tried to sum up the emotions of being honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday night [Oct. 23] at the Kennedy Center. 'My theme tonight is what is it like to be beloved,' a straight-faced Murray told the crowd at the end of the two-hour salute. 'It’s hard to listen to all those people be nice to you. You just get so suspicious.'”

Hill: Actor Bill Murray "spoke with President Obama, who congratulated him for winning this year’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, a White House official said. Asked by reporters in the Oval Office if he met with Murray, Obama said 'absolutely,' but didn’t reveal what else they discussed."

Politico's Late Nite Jokes:

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.

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When You Don't Get the "Joke"

Jokes depend upon subtext. When you "get" the joke, it's because you know the subtext. Jokes are funny because the subtext both gives the joke its meaning & creates a momentary bond between teller & hearer. For instance, when Hillary Clinton said at the Al Smith dinner last week, "Usually, I charge a lot for speeches like this," most hearers knew this was a joke at her own expense, and referred to speeches she made to Goldman Sachs & other big corporations and for which she was paid seemingly huge sums for what appeared to be, in each case, about an hour's work. The speeches became campaign issues in both the primary and general elections, particularly because Clinton would not release transcripts or tapes of her remarks. Clinton used fewer than ten words to spoof herself and her critics. We knew that backstory, so we got the joke. Ha ha.

Donald Trump told one "joke" at the dinner I just didn't get: "... here she is tonight — in public — trying to pretend she doesn’t hate Catholics.” Why would anybody even think that, much less say it? I wondered. Other than a few rabid StormTrumpers, who "hates Catholics"?

As Amy Davidson of the New Yorker writes, the excuse for that shocking remark was this: "Trump’s joke was about an e-mail in which Jennifer Palmieri, a Clinton aide who herself is Catholic, referred to Catholicism as 'the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion.' The Trumpian translation turned this into evidence that Clinton was a religious bigot — an anti-Catholic in a room full of Catholics." Mighty obscure, and scarcely a trope worthy of an insult directed at Clinton instead of Palmieri, but maybe that was it. It wasn't.

Near the end of the evening, Hillary Clinton, in what I assumed were more-or-less traditional remarks at Al Smith dinners, said,

And when I think about what Al Smith went through it’s important to just reflect how groundbreaking it was for him, a Catholic, to be my party’s nominee for president. Don’t forget – school boards sent home letters with children saying that if Al Smith is elected president you will not be allowed to have or read a Bible. Voters were told that he would annul Protestant marriages.

And I saw a story recently that said people even claimed the Holland Tunnel was a secret passageway to connect Rome and America, to help the Pope rule our country. Those appeals, appeals to fear and division, can cause us to treat each other as the Other. Rhetoric like that makes it harder for us to see each other, to respect each other, to listen to each other. And certainly a lot harder to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Okay, I thought, she was working Al Smith's misfortune into a criticism of Donald Trump and his whole campaign. Even so, it was quite appropriate, in context. But once again, I think I missed the subtext. 

Michael Daly of the Daily Beast reminded me: Donald Trump's father Fred "was arrested on Memorial Day in 1927 for participating in a Klu Klux Klan riot in his home borough of Queens. The riot was fueled in part by the prospect that Al Smith might become not just the Catholic governor of New York but the first Catholic president of the United States. 'Americans Assaulted by Roman Catholic Police of New York City' read KKK leaflets that went up in Queens the day after the arrest of Fred Trump and others."

In that tiny newspaper story, published nearly 90 years ago, lies Donald's "Rosebud." Religious, racial, ethnic, cultural and gender animus form the core of his twisted belief system. The views Fred Trump held in the 1920s explain why he and Donald didn't mind discriminating against blacks in their housing developments, even when they were operating under a consent decree; why Donald calls Mexicans rapists & criminals; why Donald thinks Americans of Hispanic descent are unfit to serve in high public office; why Donald would discriminate against Muslim men, women and children; why Donald would stereotype Jewish "folks"; why Donald would profile all people of color as part of his "law & order" platform; why Donald -- and his own sons -- would cultivate white supremacists; why Donald would see nothing wrong with getting into a fight with Pope Francis; why Donald would blithely suggest that his opponent "hates Catholics."

Donald Trump has run a hate campaign because hating others -- all others, no matter who -- is a family tradition. Hillary Clinton remarked on that at the Al Smith dinner. Maybe we didn't get it then, but we know it now.


The Commentariat -- October 23, 2016

Presidential Race

Maurice Tamman of Reuters: "... Hillary Clinton maintained her commanding lead in the race to win the Electoral College and claim the U.S. presidency, according to the latest Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project results released on Saturday.... Clinton leads Donald Trump in most of the states that Trump would need should he have a chance to win the minimum 270 votes needed to win. According to the project, she has a better than 95 percent chance of winning, if the election was held this week. The mostly likely outcome would be 326 votes for Clinton to 212 for Trump." CW: This analysis is based on the same poll, also linked yesterday, that shows Trump cutting Clinton's national vote lead in half. ...

... Maurice Tamman: "Only half of Republicans would accept Clinton ... as their president. And if she wins, nearly 70 percent said it would be because of illegal voting or vote rigging, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday. Conversely, seven out of 10 Democrats said they would accept a Trump victory and less than 50 percent would attribute it to illegal voting or vote rigging, the poll showed." -- CW

Hope Yen of the AP: "Hillary Clinton appears to be displaying strength in the crucial battleground states of North Carolina and Florida among voters casting ballots before Election Day, and may also be building an early vote advantage in Arizona and Colorado. Donald Trump, meanwhile, appears to be holding ground in Ohio, Iowa and Georgia, according to data compiled by The Associated Press. Those are important states for Trump, but not sufficient for him to win the presidency if he loses states like Florida or North Carolina." -- CW

Shane Goldmacher of Politico: "Hillary Clinton is so over Donald Trump. Using some of her most dismissive language of the campaign, Clinton said aboard her campaign plane on Saturday that, 'I don't even think about responding to him anymore' after their third and final debate earlier this week. Leading in the polls both nationally and in battleground states, Clinton signaled that she and running mate Tim Kaine instead would be focused on making gains for congressional Democrats in the closing stretch of the campaign." -- CW ...

Pat Toomey heard Donald attack a grieving Gold Star family who lost their son in Iraq, he heard Donald called Mexican immigrants rapists, he heard him say terrible things about women, he heard him spread the lie that our first black president wasn't really born in America. Now how much more does Pat Toomey need to hear? If he doesn't have the courage to stand up to Donald Trump after all this, then can you be sure he'll stand up for you when it counts against powerful interests? -- Hillary Clinton, in Pittsburgh, Pa., Saturday, ragging on the state's Republican U.S. Senator ...

... Philip Rucker, et al., of the Washington Post: "Emboldened by polls predicting an electoral-college landslide in the presidential race, Clinton is shifting her strategy to lift up other Democrats coast to coast. She and her party are rushing to capitalize on a turbulent turn in Trump's candidacy, which has ruptured the Republican Party, to make down-ballot gains that seemed unlikely just a month ago." -- CW

Hillary's Latest Election-Rigging Scheme. Reid Wilson & Joe DiSipio of the Hill: "Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign has built a field team in swing-states across the country that is larger than a U.S. Army brigade, giving her a huge advantage over Republican Donald Trump on Election Day. Between Clinton's presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state party operations, campaign finance reports show Democrats employ 5,138 staffers across 15 battleground states. Clinton is funding the army through tens of millions of dollars raised for state Democratic Parties across the country.... By contrast, Trump's campaign, the Republican National Committee and state parties employ just 1,409 staffers in 16 states. Lindsay Walters, an RNC spokeswoman, said the RNC has paid staffers in 24 states across the country. Trump's campaign has shown little interest in investing in a ground operation." -- CW

New Yorker Editors: "On November 8th, barring some astonishment, the people of the United States will, after two hundred and forty years, send a woman to the White House. The election of Hillary Clinton is an event that we will welcome for its immense historical importance, and greet with indescribable relief. It will be especially gratifying to have a woman as commander-in-chief after such a sickeningly sexist and racist campaign, one that exposed so starkly how far our society has to go. The vileness of her opponent's rhetoric and his record has been so widely aired that we can only hope she will be able to use her office and her impressive resolve to battle prejudice wherever it may be found." -- CW

** Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast: "People ask why [Clinton is] winning, and the usual answer is that Trump is such a catastrophe. And he is, obviously. But I say she's winning mainly because she's one tough dame. She's made of steel. And not Trumpian Chinese steel. And even though she's going to face a wall of total resistance from Congress if she's president, I say history tells us not to sell this woman short.... Donald Trump, who lies when he says 'and' and 'the,' has said one true thing in these last 16 months. She is tough. Tougher than he is. And tougher than all the men who've tried to thwart her, and those about to attempt the job." ...

     ... CW: I do think that what Republicans/many men hate most about Hillary Clinton is that all her life she has been defying their image of the little woman who needs big, strong, manly men to protect her. Particularly in the chivalry-soaked South (ask Mark Twain!), many men depend upon this fiction to assert their patriarchal dominance. The very idea of women being in control, even of their own bodies, is anathema to these imaginary "protectors" of the weaker sex. The fact that Clinton herself s much tougher than the "broad-shouldered" (ask mike pence!), scatter-brained Trumpelthinskin makes them crazy.

Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign -- total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over. -- Donald Trump, attempting to emulate Abraham Lincoln ...

He actually called it 'hollowed ground.' -- digby ...

... Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump came to [Gettysburg's] historic battlefield town Saturday to offer his vision for America's future, saying he hoped to 'heal the divisions' of the country as President Lincoln tried to do here seven score and 13 years go. Yet in his own Gettysburg address Mr. Trump ... did not offer much in the way of race-changing oratory and did not seem to embrace Lincoln's unifying ambition. Instead, the Republican nominee used the first third of what had been promoted as a major new policy speech to nurse personal grievances, grumbling about 'the rigging of this election' and 'the dishonest mainstream media,' and threatening to sue the nearly dozen women who have come forward to accuse him of aggressive sexual advances." -- CW

Rosalind Helderman of the Washington Post: "An adult film actress on Saturday accused ... Donald Trump or someone acting on his behalf of offering her $10,000 and the use of his private jet if she would agree to come alone to his hotel suite at night after a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in 2006. Jessica Drake, who spoke at a news conference alongside attorney Gloria Allred, said she met Trump while working a booth at the tournament for her employer, Wicked Pictures. Trump then invited her and two other women to his suite in the evening, where, while wearing pajamas, Drake said he kissed the women each in turn without their permission. According to Drake, after the group left his suite, a man called and asked her to return alone. When she declined, Drake said she was then called by Trump, who asked to her to come to his suite for dinner and a party. 'What do you want?' she said he asked. 'How much?' Later, she said Trump, or a man calling on his behalf, called again, this time with the monetary offer, which she said she declined.... At the news conference, Drake, which is the actress's stage name, held up a picture of her and Trump from the event and said she had told several friends about the proposition immediately after it occurred." -- CW

Allegra Kirkland of TPM: "The Pennsylvania Republican Party filed a complaint late Friday night asking a federal court to allow out-of-county poll watchers to monitor voting stations on Election Day. Filed on behalf of eight Keystone State voters, the suit alleges that state law restricting poll watchers to the county in which they're registered violates the First Amendment and denies them their right to equal protection under the law. Donald Trump has raised unfounded fears that the Nov. 8 election will be 'rigged' by illegitimate ballots cast by undocumented immigrants, people voting multiple times, and 'dead people.' All of them, he claims, will vote for Hillary Clinton. He has called on his supporters to go 'watch' voters in 'certain areas'..., directing them to communities with large black populations like Philadelphia and Chicago." Election-law expert Rick Hasen calls the First Amendment claim "exceptionally weak." -- CW

Daniel Politi of Slate: "The country's best known LGBT group that is affiliated with the Republican Party will not be endorsing Donald Trump for president. But the group made clear it is not withholding its endorsement because of Trump himself but rather because he 'surrounded himself with senior advisors with a record of opposing LGBT equality, and committed himself to supporting legislation such as the so-called "First Amendment Defense Act" that Log Cabin Republicans opposes.' It marks the first time the group has not endorsed the Republican candidate for president since 2004, when then-President George W. Bush was running and campaigned in favor of a Constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality. The group spends a lot of time in its non-endorsement to praise Trump's views." -- CW

Senate Races

Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: "Surprisingly, Democrats have improved their [U.S. Senate] chances in places like Missouri and North Carolina, where they seemed to have no shot just six months ago, while they have all but given up in Ohio and pulled their money out of Florida, where prospects had seemed bright. Republicans continue to cling to hope in New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania, despite what looks like faltering support for Mr. Trump in those states.... [In Missouri, Democrat Jason] Kander has benefited from being a sui generis blend: At once, he is a gun-wielding Democrat, a veteran, a Georgetown-educated lawyer who wears the outsider label, and the opponent of an incumbent [Roy Blunt] who is the embodiment of Washington longevity." -- CW ...

... Harry Enten of 538: "Thanks to big shifts in several key races, Democrats now have a 73 percent chance of winning the Senate, according to the FiveThirtyEight polls-plus forecast, and a 72 percent chance according to polls-only. Both those numbers are up by more than 15 percentage points from last week, when the polls-plus model gave them a 56 percent chance and the polls-only model 54 percent." -- CW

Other News & Views

Capitalism is Awesome, Ctd. Can You See Me Now? Michael de la Merced of the New York Times: "AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner for more than $80 billion..., a move that would create a new colossus in the worlds of media and telecommunications. The proposed transaction could be announced as soon as Saturday, barring last-minute changes.... Putting together AT&T, a sprawling video and internet empire that encompasses cellphone and cable service along with DirecTV, and Time Warner's media holdings, which include HBO, CNN and the movie studio Warner Bros., would create a formidable new player and potentially spur even more deals. In recent weeks, the family that controls CBS and Viacom has urged the two companies to consider a merger." -- CW ...

     ... Update: "AT&T ... agreed on Saturday to buy Time Warner, the home of HBO and CNN, for about $85.4 billion, creating a new colossus capable of both producing content and distributing it to millions with wireless phones, broadband subscriptions and satellite TV connections." ...

... Where Trump & Franken (Sort of) Agree. Margaret McGill & Tony Romm of Politico: The AT&T/Time Warner deal "is set to become a political battleground for the next U.S. president given the size and scope of the deal.... Already..., Donald Trump has excoriated the deal.... 'As an example of the power structure I'm fighting, AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,' Trump said in Gettysburg.... Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn), for one, said the acquisition 'raises some immediate flags about consolidation in the media market.' 'I'm skeptical of huge media mergers because they can lead to higher costs, fewer choices, and even worse service for consumers,' Franken said in a statement, promising to seek more details about the transaction." ...

     ... CW: Notice how Trump just declares that he will unilaterally cancel the merger (and while he's at it, other past media mergers). It's a lot more complicated than that, & in the end, the administrative agencies must get court approval. The rule of law is meaningless to Trump. His intention is to become a dictator.

Amy Wang of the Washington Post: "Jason C. Finan, a 34-year-old chief petty officer, is the first American killed in the current battle for Mosul, a military push to reclaim the city in northern Iraq from the Islamic State, the Defense Department announced Friday. Finan is survived by his wife, Chariss, and their 7-year-old son, of Imperial Beach, Calif., the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The Pentagon said Finan died Thursday, after sustaining wounds in an improvised explosive device blast. He was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in its fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria." -- CW

Paul Krugman: "There was a time, not long ago, when deficit scolds were actively dangerous -- when their huffing and puffing came quite close to stampeding Washington into really bad policies like raising the Medicare age (which wouldn't even have saved money) and short-term fiscal austerity. At this point their influence doesn't reach nearly that far. But they continue to play a malign role in our national discourse -- because they divert and distract attention from much more deserving problems.... You saw that in the [presidential] debates: four, count them, four questions about debt from the CRFB, not one about climate change. And you see it again in today's Times, with Pete Peterson (of course) and Paul Volcker (sigh) lecturing us about the usual stuff.... My message to the deficit scolds is this: yes, we may face some hard choices a couple of decades from now. But we might not, and in any case there aren't any choices that must be made now.... Your fear-mongering is distracting us from these real problems. Therefore, I would respectfully request that you people just go away." -- CW

Beyond the Beltway

Protesting GOP Vote-Rigging = "Race-Baiting." Dave Weigel of the Washington Post: After Republicans gerrymandered black North Carolinians into one long, squiggly district, they accused a good-government group of "race-baiting" for running an ad that highlights the state's effort -- approved by an elected state supreme court judge -- to segregate black voters into one district. "Reporting on the map, however, backs up the ad-makers. This summer, ruling in Covington v. North Carolina, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge James A. Wynn, Jr. wrote that Democrats were correct to challenge 28 districts that had packed in black and liberal voters, thereby creating a larger number of safe districts for Republicans. 'Race was the predominant criterion in drawing all of the challenged districts,' Wynn wrote. The case became infamous, and a major part of the Democrats' effort to get black voters to the polls." -- CW


The Commentariat -- October 22, 2016

Nicole Perlroth of the New York Times: "Major websites were inaccessible to people across wide swaths of the United States on Friday after a company that manages crucial parts of the internet's infrastructure said it was under attack. Users reported sporadic problems reaching several websites, including Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, Reddit, Etsy, SoundCloud and The New York Times. Dyn, whose servers monitor and reroute internet traffic, said it began experiencing what security experts called a distributed denial-of-service attack just after 7 a.m. Reports that many sites were inaccessible started on the East Coast, but spread westward in three waves as the day wore on and into the evening.... A spokeswoman said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security were looking into the incident and all potential causes, including criminal activity and a nation-state attack." CW: Reality Chex -- and in fact all Squarespace-powered sites -- were down for hours Friday afternoon.

Presidential Race

Emily Stephenson & Chris Kahn of Reuters: "... Donald Trump gained on ... Hillary Clinton among American voters this week, cutting her lead nearly in half, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling released on Friday. The polling data showed Trump's argument that the Nov. 8 election is 'rigged' against him has resonated with members of his party.... Clinton led Trump 44 percent to 40 percent, according to the Oct. 14-20 Reuters/Ipsos poll, a 4-point lead. That compared with 44 percent for Clinton and 37 percent for Trump in the Oct. 7-13 poll released last week." ...

     ... CW: In the last few days, the tracking is moving toward Trump, despite the huge raps against him. Pundits are very overconfident in the intelligence of the American people. Are people right about the "rigged" polls? Yes. Rigged toward the stupid. ...

... BUT. Katie Glueck & Kyle Cheney of Politico: "For much of his campaign, Donald Trump has done more to repel voting women than he has to win them over. Now mounting evidence suggests they are already punishing him for it at the ballot box. In three crucial battlegrounds -- North Carolina, Florida and Georgia -- women are casting early ballots in disproportionate numbers. And in North Carolina, a must-win state for Trump with detailed early voting data available, it's clear that Democratic women have been particularly motivated to turn out or turn ballots in." CW: So far early voters represent only a tiny fraction of the total votes cast. However, the total early vote in 2012 was 32 percent. ...

... AND. Philip Bump of the Washington Post: "... while it's probably not a surprise that early vote tallies in several swing states show a shift to the Democrats since 2012, it still means that Clinton has a greater percentage of banked votes than President Obama did at this point four years ago." -- CW

Abby Phillip of the Washington Post: "Hillary Clinton's ... appeal [to Trump-leaning Ohio voters] is part of a broader strategy by Clinton's campaign to exploit what it says is a new opening in a state where she has long struggled to get a steady footing. According to a Clinton aide, her team thinks that after the presidential debates, Ohio -- one of Trump's best states -- is now winnable for her.... Clinton's stop at Cuyahoga Community College on Friday was just a taste of the renewed attention her campaign is giving to the state. Sen. Tim Kaine ... made two stops in Ohio on Wednesday. Vice President Biden is expected to make two stops Monday, and Chelsea Clinton will campaign in Ohio next week, making three appearances in the state." -- CW

Ken Thomas & Lisa Lerer of the AP: "Hillary Clinton's campaign is increasingly preparing for the possibility that Donald Trump may never concede the presidential election should she win, a development that could enormously complicate the crucial early weeks of her preparations to take office.... Campaign officials stress they are not taking the outcome of the election for granted.... 'I've got to figure out how we heal these divides,' she said in a Friday interview with a Tampa radio station WBTP. 'We've got to get together. Maybe that's a role that is meant to be for my presidency if I'm so fortunate to be there.'" -- CW

Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post: An ad "released by the Clinton campaign on Friday afternoon, features Khizr Khan telling his story again. It's a remarkably powerful ad, connecting Trump's rhetoric on Muslims to the real pain that such a pledge would inflict on Muslim Americans. Real people would be affected by all of [Trump's] proposals, the ad reminds us. It's not just words by Trump. The ad, according to the Clinton campaign, will rotate into swing states, including Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania":

Elliot Smilowitz of the Hill: "Hillary Clinton's Brooklyn campaign headquarters was evacuated Friday after receiving a letter with a suspicious white powder inside. The New York Police Department's Emergency Service Unit determined after testing that the powder was not hazardous, the New York Post reported." -- CW

Ashley Parker & Trip Gabriel of the New York Times: "Addressing a rally in Fletcher, N.C., in the more rural western part of the state, Mr. Trump offered a slightly more restrained version of his typically freewheeling speech, largely seeming to hew to his prepared remarks. Gone were his complaints of a 'rigged' and 'stolen' election ... and he did not, as he has recently, try to beat back accusations from 10 women who have come forward to accuse him of inappropriate sexual advances. Instead, Mr. Trump offered an unusually candid, if still self-congratulatory, assessment of his debate performances -- 'I think the first one was fine, I think we won, easily, the second one, and the third one was our best,' he said -- and acknowledged the possibility that he might not end up in the White House, after all.... Later, at a rally in Johnstown, Pa., Mr. Trump took the stage with a renewed vigor..., complaining of a 'rigged system'...." -- CW ...

... Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: "As he took the stage [in Fletcher, N.C.,] Friday afternoon, Donald Trump was as subdued as the modest crowd that turned out to see him. He complained about the usual things -- the dishonest media, his 'corrupt' rival Hillary Clinton -- but his voice was hoarse and his heart didn't seem in it. He also promised to do all that he could to win, but he explained why he might lose. 'What a waste of time if we don't pull this off,' Trump said. 'You know, these guys have said: "It doesn't matter if you win or lose. There's never been a movement like this in the history of this country." I say, it matters to me if we win or lose. So I'll have over $100 million of my own money in this campaign.'..." -- CW ...

... Aaron Blake of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump offered a new justification on Friday for attacking Bill Clinton's indiscretions and Hillary Clinton's handling of them: Michelle Obama did it first." You'll have to read the details to appreciate how Trump came up with this tenuous claim. -- CW ...

... Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Donald Trump will have 'lots of options' to go after Hillary Clinton if he's elected president, he told supporters Friday. At a rally in Fletcher, North Carolina, Trump again dubbed his opponent 'the most corrupt politician ever to seek the office of the presidency,' a charged comment that sparked raucous chants of 'lock her up' from his supporters.... Based on his past rhetoric, Trump's options would include re-investigating the email controversy that has dogged Clinton's campaign and, as he said in March, appointing Supreme Court justices.... Perhaps unfamiliar with how the Supreme Court works, Trump said during the Republican primary he would 'probably appoint people that would look very seriously at her email disaster because it's criminal activity.'" -- CW

Nick Corasaniti of the New York Times looks into some ways Trump could challenge the election results, but he concludes that none would likely work.

Gail Collins: "There is nothing in the world that Donald Trump can't make worse.... [The Al Smith dinner] has been going on since 1945 without major incident, and it took Donald Trump to screw it up.... The reaction moved into flat-out booing, even before he offered them up the hilarious observation that Clinton was there 'pretending not to hate Catholics.'" -- CW

Tierney Sneed of TPM: "Donald Trump's calls for vigilante poll watchers ... has drawn attention to the consent decree the RNC signed in 1982 that banned the very sort of 'ballot security' measures Trump has encouraged from his supporters. If there's reason to believe the RNC was participating, it could be found in violation of the decree, which could keep the committee under its restrictions for another eight years.... The decree is set to expire in 2017." Despite a claim by Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway that "she is actively working with the national committee, the official party, and campaign lawyers to monitor precincts around the country," according to WashPo reporter Robert Costa, "the RNC has since denied to TPM any coordination on Trump’s supposed voter fraud prevention effort.... Costa told TPM via email that Conway called him back later to tell him she was mistaken about the RNC's involvement." -- CW ...

... BUT. Comrade Trumpski Has a Back-up Plan! Daniel Victor of the New York Times: "At least three American states have turned down Russian requests to monitor polling locations during the election on Nov. 8, as United States officials portrayed the overture as little more than a Russian public relations stunt. Russia's consul general in Houston, Alexander K. Zakharov, wrote letters dated in September to officials in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma requesting that a Russian officer be present 'for a short period of time, when convenient,' with the 'goal of studying the U.S. experience in organization of voting process.'" -- CW

Meet Your Trump Supporters. Ulltra-conservative writer David French of the National Review outlines how many Trump backers have reacted since he un-endorsed Donald Trump. It's truly sickening. -- CW

A Skunk Cabbage by Any Other Name.... Caily Rizzo of Travel & Leisure: "Amidst reports that occupancy rates at Trump Hotels have slipped this election season, the company has announced that new brand hotels will no longer bear the Trump name. The newest line of luxury hotels, geared towards millennials, will be called Scion, the company said.... Although Trump Hotels has said the new name has nothing to do with the eponymous businessman's presidential campaign, empty rooms at the hotels have caused officials 'to reduce rates during the peak season,' according to New York Magazine." -- CW ...

... Digby in Salon: "The Trump brand has a problem and it's spreading beyond his consumer goods to his real estate holdings." -- CW

Crooked Foreigners Try to Influence U.S. Election (Okay, Hayek is a naturalized American, but you know that doesn't count):

     Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Donald Trump told Richard Branson during their first encounter that he would spend the remainder of his life trying to destroy five people he had asked to no avail to aid him after his latest bankruptcy, the English business mogul wrote Friday. Branson, the Virgin Group founder who wrote in his blog last week that Trump would be a 'disaster' as president, described a tale of two lunches Friday, starting with his meeting with Trump.... He [went] on to compare his lunch with Trump to dining with Hillary Clinton. 'Here we talked about education reform, the war on drugs, women's rights, conflicts around the globe and the death penalty. She was a good listener as well as an eloquent speaker, Branson wrote." -- CW ...

     ... Adrian Carrasquillo of BuzzFeed: Actor "Salma Hayek claimed that Donald Trump pursued her while she had a boyfriend, asked her on a date, and then -- angry at being rejected -- planted a National Enquirer story about her being too short for him, in an interview on a nationally syndicated Spanish-language radio show that aired Friday." -- CW

Frank Rich on the presidential race (and whither the GOP post-election): "The GOP elites would have it that [Paul] Ryan is the great white hope (and I do emphasize white) of their party, the 'adult' who will inherit the Earth once the Trump fever has passed. But as [a poll of Republicans] shows yet again, the Republican base doesn't want Ryan any more than it wanted a Kasich (10 percent). It wants another Trump, a new and improved Trump: That's why the aggregate percentage in the poll for the base favorites of the GOP -- Pence, Trump, and Cruz -- is 70 percent as opposed to a total of 25 percent for Ryan and Kasich. So Pence is serving as a placeholder until the next shining demagogue comes along." -- CW

Senate Race

Kevin Robillard of Politico: "Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has qualified for a televised debate in Louisiana's Senate race after a new poll showed him drawing 5 percent of the vote. Duke, a white supremacist, announced he was running late this summer, saying ... Donald Trump had inspired him and drawn more followers to his cause." CW: Congratulations, Louisiana!

Beyond the Beltway

Kaboom! Ted Sherman & Matt Arco of "In an emotional day of testimony, Bridget Anne Kelly ... [told] a jury she told Gov. Chris Christie in advance about the plan to close toll lanes at the George Washington Bridge in 2013, and had gotten his approval for what she thought was a legitimate traffic study.... And she asserted that other higher-ups in the governor's inner circle were all well-aware of what was going on in Fort Lee, long before it played out, and that no one seemed that concerned about it.... The author of the now-infamous message 'time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee' called what has long appeared to be the smoking gun in the case an innocent response to what she called a 'crazy plan' by David Wildstein, the admitted mastermind of the lane shutdowns. Kelly said Wildstein told her he wanted to realign local toll lanes to reduce travel time for commuters..., and wanted the governor's approval. She said she was parroting his language that the realignment would temporarily cause traffic problems in Fort Lee, and only wanted to let him know the governor had agreed to the plan." ...

     ... CW: Do read on. One nice touch: Christie got mad at Kelly about another matter & threw a water bottle at her, hitting her arm. He sounds like a great boss. ...

... Ryan Hutchins of Politico has more on Kelly's testimony. ...

... Kate Zernike has the New York Times' story: Kelly "... has yet to face cross-examination. And in her testimony, which will resume on Monday, she will have to explain an even more damning message, sent to Mr. Wildstein when he told her about the traffic problems on the first day of the purported study. 'Is it wrong that I am smiling?' she wrote." -- CW

Another Court Win for Women. CBS News: "A federal judge has blocked a Mississippi law that banned the state's Medicaid program from spending money with any health care provider that offers abortions. U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III ruled Thursday in a lawsuit filed in mid-June by two Planned Parenthood affiliates. The law took effect July 1. Jordan said every court to consider similar laws has found they violate the 'free-choice-of-provider' provision of federal law. Medicaid is paid by federal and state dollars." CW: Jordan is a Bush II appointee.


The Commentariat -- October 21, 2016

FYI. Ali Breland of the Hill: "A massive denial of service attack slowed major websites to a crawl Friday morning. DynDNS, a tool that helps helps users access websites via simple domain names like instead of by their IP addresses, suffered a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that took down some of its services. Because of the attack, many sites that use Dyn — including Twitter, Reddit and Spotify — reportedly experienced latency or were not accessible.Dyn said Friday morning that has resolved the attack. The attack had primarily affected the U.S. East Coast, according the DNS provider’s status page." CW: If Donald Trump doesn't blame Hillary Clinton for shutting down his Twitter account, I'll eat my new Nasty Woman bumper sticker.

Presidential Race

Nate Silver: "Clinton Probably Finished Off Trump [Wednesday] Night.... Clinton went into the final presidential debate on Wednesday with a lead of about 7 percentage points over Donald Trump. And according to the only two scientific polls we’ve seen, voters thought that Clinton won the debate.... The morning headlines, which focused overwhelmingly on Trump’s refusal to say whether he’ll accept the election results, are potentially worse for Trump than the debate itself." -- CW ...

... Rasmussen Report: "The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S. Voters [CW: which consistently, & often inaccurately, favors Republicans over Democrats] finds Trump with a 43% to 41% lead over his Democratic rival. Five percent (5%) favor Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, while Green Party nominee Jill Stein earns three percent (3%) support. Another three percent (3%) like some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided." -- CW ...

... The USC/Los Angeles Times' daily tracking poll, which has showed Trump leading in general election polling most of the time, has Trump up by one point today. ...

... The New York Times' Upshot, which tracks chances of each candidates' winning based on likely Electoral College votes, "suggests that Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidency [by 93% to 7%], based on the latest state and national polls. A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible...." -- CW 

It's amazing I’m up here after Donald, I didn’t think he’d be OK with a peaceful transition of power. And Donald, after listening to your speech, I will also enjoy listening to Mike Pence deny you ever gave it. -- Hillary Clinton, at the Al Smith dinner, Thursday ...

... Hillary Clinton roast Donald Trump (and Rudy!) at the Al Smith dinner:

The president told me to stop whining, but I have to say the media is more biased this year than ever before. You want the proof? Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it, it’s fantastic, they think she’s absolutely great. My wife Melania gives the exact same speech and people get on her case. I don’t get it, I don’t know why. -- Donald Trump at the Al Smith dinner

     ... Whatever else Donald Trump said at the dinner is here (link fixed). ...

... Ben Kamisar & Harper Neidig of the Hill: "Donald Trump's appearance at Thursday night's charity event took a tough turn as the crowd repeatedly booed the GOP nominee for his sharp-edged jokes about his rival Hillary Clinton." -- CW ...

... Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post: Donald Trump's speech at the Al Smith dinner "might as well have been a eulogy for his presidential campaign.... At one point, he wondered aloud if the crowd was booing him or Clinton, to which someone in the crowd answered: 'You!'” -- CW ...

... Cristiano Lima of Politico: "Hillary Clinton's allies are blasting Donald Trump for attacking the Democratic nominee at New York's Al Smith dinner on Thursday night, an off-key speech that prompted a chorus of boos from those in attendance.... The white-tie charity dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan, which benefits Roman Catholic charities, quickly devolved into an insult comedy special when Trump began ripping Clinton for being 'corrupt' and insinuating that she hated Catholics. The dinner is usually a light-hearted affair, but Trump used the occasion to let fly many of the attack lines he uses on the stump." -- CW ...

... For contrast, see 2012 remarks by Mitt Romney here & President Obama here.

Eric Geller of Politico: "Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account was hacked by the same Russian intelligence-linked hackers that breached the DNC and the DCCC, researchers confirmed Thursday, spurring Clinton's team to immediately lash out at Donald Trump over his ongoing reluctance to blame Moscow for the spate of election-related hacks. The GOP nominee is now President Vladimir Putin's 'puppet,' said Clinton's top foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan, who added that the latest findings are proof that the Kremlin 'is trying to help Donald Trump. It's time for Trump to tell the American people what he knew about these hacks and when he knew it,' Sullivan said." -- CW 

Paul Krugman writes a love letter to Hillary: "... let’s dispel with this fiction that Hillary Clinton is only where she is through a random stroke of good luck. She’s a formidable figure, and has been all along." CW: Krugman thinks voters would not have fallen for, say, Marco Rubio. Sorry, but enough of them fell for George W. Bush that, along with a little help from the Supremes, Bush the Ignorant beat Al Gore, who was nearly as policy-smart as Clinton. -- CW 

Farah Stockman of the New York Times: "In her debate on Wednesday with Donald J. Trump, Hillary Clinton for the first time emerged as the clarion-voiced advocate for women whom many liberal women had been longing for — especially the younger voters she had largely left cold throughout the Democratic primaries.... Perhaps the biggest boost she received, however, was one that neither she nor any army of political operatives could have engineered: when Mr. Trump interjected, 'What a nasty woman,' as Mrs. Clinton was discussing Social Security and taxes. Overnight, his insult became a battle cry for Mrs. Clinton’s partisans — including many whose passions she had not yet stirred." -- CW 

Washington Post Editors: "... it is time to point out another reason Ms. Clinton is winning: She is earning it. She and her campaign have remained disciplined and even-keeled through tempests large and small.... It is not easy to stand on a stage for 90 minutes and parry words with an opponent, moderators and town-hall invitees; still less is it easy to do so while keeping one’s cool amid sleazy provocations and unpredictable insults from Mr. Trump. Through it all, Ms. Clinton has stayed focused on issues, laying out a program for the country that we don’t accept in every particular but that is well within the broad mainstream of plausible policy alternatives. Perhaps most important, she has kept her rhetoric civil and inclusive, in the face of an opponent bent on trashing the norms of democratic discourse." -- CW...

...Ezra Klein explains the importance of Hillary Clinton's prep work and its effects on the debates by bedeviling "Donald". Pretty good. --safari

Krissah Thompson of the Washington Post: "... after a rousing speech last week in New Hampshire in which she passionately renounced Republican Donald Trump, and another in Arizona on Thursday making the case for Clinton’s vision for the presidency, [Michelle] Obama has demonstrated an ability to do what Clinton herself has struggled with for much of her campaign: explain why voters should vote for her.... The first lady has shown a willingness to pitch in wherever Clinton needs her — including a speech in the traditionally red state of Arizona, where Obama’s appearance reflected the campaign’s growing ambitions for a landslide victory on Nov. 8." -- CW  

When you try to sow the seeds of doubt in people’s minds about our elections, that undermines our democracy. You’re doing the work of our adversaries for them. -- President Obama, at a Miami rally, Thursday ...

By Driftglass... Alan Rappeport & Alexander Burns of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump insisted on Thursday that he would not cede the right to contest the outcome of the presidential election, even as Democrats and Republicans expressed concern that his position threatened to upend America’s tradition of peaceful power transfers. But in a small gesture of civility, he suggested that he would not dispute the result if the outcome of the race is clear. Mr. Trump’s reluctance to pledge absolutely that he would honor the election outcome follows a rocky performance in the third and last presidential debate.... On Thursday, Mr. Trump continued to rally his supporters with conspiracy theories about how the race was rigged against him, but he did make clear that there was one result that he would not challenge under any circumstance. 'I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win,' Mr. Trump said to cheers at a rally in Delaware, Ohio." -- CW 

Hahahahahaha. Trump Allies Insist He Respects Democracy. Also, the world is flat. Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "Donald Trump’s allies are furiously trying to neutralize his nuclear statement that he may not accept the outcome of the presidential election, saying he simply wants to make sure there’s not blatant fraud, while claiming Hillary Clinton is the one undermining basic democratic principles. Drowning in headlines highlighting — and editorial boards rebuking — Trump's unprecedented refusal and reversal to say he will abide by political norms, his campaign all but ignored the menacing admission. 'Donald Trump clearly won the debate,' Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway declared in an interview with 'Fox and Friends.' 'With respect to the rigged system and the certification of results, he basically is saying that until he knows — you can lay out any hypothetical — until he knows the results, they’re certified and verified, he’s not going to completely concede an unknown.'" (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...

     ... Akhilleus: Soooo....he respects democracy, but democracy itself is some kind of unknown and he'll let us know later whether it passes the Trump Test (i.e., he wins no matter what).'s all Hillary's fault, whatever it is. Very adult. ...

... CW: If you know anyone who was shocked, shocked by Donald Trump's flouting of Constitutional principles & bedrock traditions, you may want to direct them to Charles Pierce: "It has been an article of faith for the entire Republican Party for a quarter-century now that any elected Democratic president is prima facie illegitimate. Trump is just putting a layer of narcissistic varnish on the bucket containing all the historical deplorables. Further, the history of the country is replete with efforts, some of them violent, by politicians to avoid 'respecting' the results of election.... Donald Trump is just being a little cruder about things than many of our television historians would like. Democracy is not a bedtime story, but the monsters within it are very, very real." -- CW 

Historian Eric Foner and profressor Eddie Glaude put Drumpf's rise into historical perspective and says he is the logical conclusion of the GOP's increasing extremism. They are one and the same.--safari

Tim Egan: Donald Trump's "debate-night threat, holding the validity of the election itself hostage, is no surprise. Trump is bereft of patriotism, and seems to hate the country he wants to lead. He’s been talking down this nation and its most cherished institutions throughout his campaign. Time and again, he would rather defend Russia than the United States." -- CW 

Josh Israel of Think Progress: "In Wednesday’s presidential debate, Donald Trump claimed that new videos proved that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had 'hired people' and 'paid them $1,500' to 'be violent, cause fights, [and] do bad things' at Trump rallies. He was referring to videos released this week by conservative activist James O’Keefe that purport to show pro-Clinton activists boasting of their efforts to bait Trump supporters into violent acts. The videos offer no evidence that Clinton or Obama were aware of or behind the alleged dirty tricks.... Trump neglected, however, to mention ... [that his] own controversial foundation ... gave $10,000 to [O'Keefe's] Project Veritas. Trump, who claimed in the same debate that Hillary Clinton 'shouldn’t be allowed to run' for president 'based on what she did with e-mails and so many other things,' was funding a convicted criminal." -- CW 

By Driftglass.Around the Bend, Starring Donald Trump. David Taintor of NBC News: "Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of having advance notice of the debate questions, a claim for which he offered no evidence. 'Why didn't Hillary Clinton announce that she was inappropriately given the debate questions -- she secretly used them! Crooked Hillary,' Trump tweeted Thursday morning. Akhilleus: Trump offers no evidence for a whackadoodle fantasy claim? Nevah! What's next, she was using Jedi mind tricks to control Chris Wallace? (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

What this shows is Trump doesn’t know a damn thing about military strategy. -- Jeff McCausland, retired Army colonel & former dean at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. ...

... Eric Schmitt of the New York Times: "In Wednesday night’s debate, Donald J. Trump excoriated the American-backed Iraqi military offensive to recapture Mosul from the Islamic State, saying it had forfeited 'the element of surprise' and allowed militant leaders to slip away. 'Douglas MacArthur, George Patton spinning in their graves when they see the stupidity of our country,' Mr. Trump added, invoking two of the greatest American commanders from World War II. Actually, probably not, according to some military historians and senior officers, who said on Thursday that Mr. Trump’s armchair generalship revealed a fundamental lack of understanding of Iraqi politics, military warfare — and even some of the most famous campaigns commanded by MacArthur and Patton.... There are many good reasons to foreshadow an impending ground offensive, like Mosul, mainly to reduce civilian casualties, isolate the enemy and instill fear within its ranks, military scholars and retired commanders said." -- CW

Pam Belluck of the New York Times: "In the presidential debate Wednesday night, Donald J. Trump ... assert[ed] that under current abortion law, 'You can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day.' Doctors say the scenario Mr. Trump described does not occur. 'That is not happening in the United States,' said Dr. Aaron B. Caughey, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health and Science University. 'It is, of course, such an absurd thing to say,' he said. 'I’m unaware of anyone that’s terminating a pregnancy a few days prior to delivery of a normal pregnancy.'” -- CW ...


Laura Dimon and Larry McShane of New York Daily News: "Donald Trump’s latest accuser, with tears streaming down her face, charged the White House hopeful with a U.S. Open groping nearly two decades ago. Wellness expert Karena Virginia alleged Thursday that the billionaire tennis fan touched her breast after making a lecherous comment about her looks — to the entertainment of his male entourage. 'I was in shock,' she recounted at a Manhattan news conference about their 1998 encounter at the tennis championships. 'He said, "Don’t you know who I am?" I felt intimidated and powerless. I said, "Yes.’” Akhilleus. Et maintenant, le deluge. Wonder if Melania [Trump] is thinking about some kind of apology now. (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)

When Paul LePage Calls You Stoopid.... Madeline Conway of Politico: "Even Paul LePage, the controversial governor of Maine who has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump for his loud rhetoric and habit of disparaging the press, is harping on the Republican nominee for his refusal to commit to conceding if he loses the November election. 'Not accepting the results, I think, is just a stupid comment,' LePage said on a Maine radio station on Thursday, responding to Trump’s comments at the third presidential debate. 'I mean, c’mon. Get over yourself.'” -- CW ...

I didn't like the outcome of the 2008 election. But I had a duty to concede, and I did so without reluctance. A concession isn't just an exercise in graciousness. It is an act of respect for the will of the American people, a respect that is every American leader's first responsibility. — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. ...

... The AP publishes statements made by some politicians regarding Donald Trump's refusal to say he would accept the results of the election unless he wins.

Annals of "Journalism," Ctd. Amy Chozick & Michael Barbaro of the New York Times: "In the third and final presidential debate, Mrs. Clinton outmaneuvered Mr. Trump with a surprising new approach: his. Flipping the script, she turned herself into his relentless tormentor, condescending to him repeatedly and deploying some of his own trademark tactics against him. The relatively subdued and largely defanged Republican nominee who showed up onstage at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, was a different figure from the candidate America has watched for the past 16 months. Mr. Trump was, for much of the night, oddly calm and composed. He minimized his name-calling. His interruptions were relatively rare for him." ...

... CW: Really?? Let's Ask Steve. ...

... ** Steve M.: The Times analysis looks like Chozick's "application for Maureen Dowd's job." The Times report doesn't reflect "... what happened. Trump was more subdued than expected, especially in the first twenty minutes or so of the debate, but then the tranquilizers wore off his temper resurfaced and he was his old self again. And Clinton is not like Trump. Clinton doesn't menace. Clinton doesn't try to intimidate. An opponent who was minimally socialized could have had an exchange with her that would have been called 'sharp' or 'heated' or 'barbed,' but wouldn't have descended into a pre-adolescent battle for dominance. Trump, however, always keeps it at the grade-school level." -- CW ...

     ... Read on. Steve explains part of what Trump means by a "rigged election": ... the election is rigged because the press publishes stories he doesn't like.... it's a rigged election because people who have died or moved are still on the voter rolls where they used to vote -- never mind the fact that there's no evidence that "millions" of people try to take advantage of this. And it's a rigged election because Hillary Clinton was allowed to run for president.... No election that includes Clinton could be fair. No election in which the press criticizes Trump could be fair." -- CW ...

...Here's the video I tried to link yesterday. Ari Berman of The Nation gives us a RealityCheck and points the finger of vote rigging at the Republican party. He paints a pretty comprehensive picture about their different strategies of disenfranchisment. Sorry Marie for the link trouble yesterday. Hopefully this one works. --safari

Annals of Journalism, Ctd. Brad Plumer of Vox: "... none of the [debate] moderators asked about global warming at all. Not in the first presidential debate. Not in the vice presidential debate. Not in the second presidential debate.... Not in the third presidential debate. Hillary Clinton name-checked the topic, occasionally, but that was it. Humanity is departing from the stable climatic conditions that allowed civilization to thrive, yet the most powerful nation on Earth can’t set aside five minutes to discuss." -- CW ...

... Joe Romm of Think Progress: Ditto.

(Today's Constitutional Question: Say, what happens if Trump -- who likes to sue everybody (including his underpaid, undocumented Polish workers) -- sues like 37 states for rigging their elections & the suits find their way to the Supreme Court? [Answer Help: Chief Johnnie Balls-and-Strikes does not get to break a tie.])

... AND John Schwartz of the New York Times plans a social-interaction test of Trump's debate tactic: "Today's experiment: During conversations with people around the office, I'll just spontaneously interject 'WRONG' and see how things go." -- CW

Stephen Battaglio of the Los Angeles Times: "Fox News anchor Chris Wallace landed a permanent place on the presidential debate highlight reel when ... Donald Trump said he would not commit to accepting the results of the election.... 'I have been covering Trump for a year and half,' Wallace said Thursday. 'I’ve learned to not be surprised by anything.' But the veteran Washington journalist and first-time presidential debate moderator knew that the magnitude of the response required him to frame the question a second time. 'I thought, "You need to put this in historical context," which is why I asked a follow-up question about one of the long traditions of democracy —  the idea of the peaceful transfer of power and that we accept the results of the election,' said Wallace. 'I wanted to put it in context so that it was clear that whatever Trump said, folks understood how unprecedented this would be.' For Wallace, it was one of the debate highlights that earned him near unanimous kudos on social media....” -- CW 

Alex Isenstadt of Politico: "Jim Murphy, Donald Trump’s national political director, is no longer playing an active role on the campaign, according to three sources briefed on the move – a troubling development for the Republican nominee coming just 19 days before the election. 'I have not resigned but for personal reasons have had to take a step back from the campaign,' Murphy said in a statement to Politico. He did not elaborate on the reasons for his departure. Several Trump aides said that Murphy has been conspicuously absent in recent days as the campaign mobilizes for the final push.... It’s the latest departure in a campaign rife with turnover." -- CW

Congressional Races

Philip Rucker & Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "As [Donald Trump] ... reeled from a turbulent performance in the final debate here in Las Vegas, his party’s embattled senators and House members scrambled to protect their seats and preserve the GOP’s congressional majorities against what Republicans privately acknowledge could be a landslide victory for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. With 19 days until the election, the Republican Party is in a state of historic turmoil, encapsulated by Trump’s extraordinary debate declaration that he would leave the nation in 'suspense' about whether he would recognize the results from an election he has claimed will be 'rigged' or even 'stolen.'” -- CW ...

... For Example. Kelsey Snell of the Washington Post: "Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) is eight points behind her Democratic rival, Gov. Maggie Hassan, in a race that could determine whether Republicans will retain control of the Senate, according to a poll from WMUR and the University of New Hampshire released Thursday.... Trump is trailing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by 15 points in New Hampshire, according to a WMUR poll released Wednesday." -- CW 

Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post: "With presidential pre-election polls heavily favoring Democrat Hillary Clinton, President Obama aimed his attacks Thursday at Sen. Marco Rubio and other Republican officials who have supported GOP nominee Donald Trump, despite his controversial campaign and derogatory remarks about immigrants and women.... Much of Obama’s speech was focused on questioning the honesty and ethics of Republican politicians who have condemned Trump but still back him. He was especially critical of Rubio (R-Fla.), who is in a tough battle for the state's Senate seat with Democrat Patrick Murphy." -- CW 

John Wagner of the Washington Post: "Bernie Sanders can still apparently pack a punch when it comes to fundraising. The senator from Vermont raised just shy of $2 million in two days online this week for 13 like-minded U.S. Senate and House candidates, according to his campaign committee." -- CW 

Other News & Views

Dara Lind of Vox: "... 'law and order' patriots don’t actually think legitimacy is inherent in American laws and government. It’s dependent on whether white people want to see it as legitimate or not. When government acts in accordance with their desires — when it helps them, and especially acts against nonwhites — 'rule of law' and 'law and order' become universal values, and nonwhites are being justifiably punished for violating them. But when government acts to protect nonwhite Americans, it’s seen as a reason to question the legitimacy of the government itself. It’s not really about law. It’s about power. And in America, that power has historically been white supremacy." -- CW 

Ben Kamisar of the Hill: "WikiLeaks has published several emails sent to and from then-Sen. Barack Obama in October 2008, just before he won his first presidential election. The emails sent to John Podesta, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman ... are from, a domain that has never been publicly linked to the president. The email dump is part of the massive hack of Democratic officials and its campaign apparatus.... The emails that include Obama are fairly mundane...." -- CW 

The emails that include Obama are fairly mundane: The correspondence includes some early discussions about his potential Cabinet as well as a memo about his possible participation in the G-20 summit if elected. Most of the emails are written by top aides, with Obama only briefly chiming in.

Burgess Everett of Politico: "Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake has maintained for months that Republicans should take up Merrick Garland's Supreme Court nomination if it looks like the presidential contest is a lost cause for the GOP. It's looking about that time, Flake said in an interview on Thursday. 'I said if we were in a position like we were in in '96 and we pretty much knew the outcome that we ought to move forward. But I think we passed that awhile ago,' Flake said. 'If Hillary Clinton is president-elect then we should move forward with hearings in the lame duck. That's what I'm encouraging my colleagues to do." The political calculus is straightforward: Better to deal with Garland now and avoid swallowing a more liberal nominee from Hillary Clinton." -- CW 

Beyond the Beltway

Marc Tracy of the New York Times: "The University of Louisville on Thursday confirmed that the N.C.A.A. had formally charged current and former staff members in its men’s basketball program, including Coach Rick Pitino, with major rules violations related to a scandal in which a university employee provided prostitutes who performed sexual acts with players and recruits." -- CW 

Way Beyond

Turing's Law. Sewell Chan of the New York Times: "Decades after homosexuality was decriminalized in Britain, the government announced on Thursday that it would posthumously pardon thousands of gay and bisexual men who were convicted, in essence, of having or seeking gay sex. Since 2012, men with such convictions who are still alive have been able to apply to have their names cleared. The law providing for the pardons ... is named for Alan Turing, the mathematician who made a major contribution to Britain in World War II by cracking Germany’s Enigma coding machine and was a central figure in the development of the computer. Turing was convicted on charges of homosexuality in 1952 and committed suicide in 1954. The government apologized in 2009 for its treatment of him, and in 2013, Queen Elizabeth II formally pardoned him." -- CW 

Phillipines' Own Donald Trump Obsequiously Sidles up to China. In a state visit aimed at cozying up to Beijing as he pushes away from Washington, the Philippine President announced his military and economic 'separation' from the United States. 'America has lost now. I've realigned myself in your ideological flow,' he said at a business forum in Beijing on Thursday. 'And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to [Vladimir] Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way.' Akhilleus: Anyone wondering what America under Trump might look like, Duterte offers a good clue. A lawless, undisciplined, ignorant, self-aggrandizing, authoritarian thug. Trump will no doubt play Duterte's entreaties to China as yet another of his favorite dictators who doesn't like America. Damn! (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)