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.'" ...
... 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). And...it's all Hillary's fault, whatever it is. Very adult. ...
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?
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 [Trump] ... 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.
Philippines' Own Donald Trump Obsequiously Sidles up to China. Katie Hunt, et al., of CNN "Rodrigo Duterte left no room for doubt about where his allegiance lies. 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 favorite dictators who doesn't like America.
John Merline of Investor's Business Daily: "After more than a week of blistering attacks from Democrats, celebrities and the press, Donald Trump has managed to pull ahead of Hillary Clinton by a 1.3 percentage point margin -- 41.3% to 40% -- in a four-way matchup, according to the new IBD/TIPP poll released today. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson got 7.6% and Green Party candidate Jill Stein got 5.5%. The results are the first in the IBD/TIPP presidential tracking poll." CW: This is not some nutty poll devised by Steve Bannon. Nate Silver determined that IBD/TIPP had the most accurate 2012 presidential polling. If this isn't an outlier, it appears Stein is killing Clinton.
Chris Megerian of the Los Angeles Times: "After the debate, Hillary Clinton made a beeline for a campaign event in North Las Vegas..., where more than 5,000 supporters had been watching her spar with Donald Trump on a massive screen in an open-air amphitheater. ''We are a better country than Donald Trump is,' Clinton said after taking the stage with her husband. Clinton was introduced in Spanish by Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez, and she urged the largely Latino crowd to help her defeat Trump.... Bill Clinton joined his wife onstage, and they put their arms around each other. 'I want you to know that our family will support your family,' Hillary Clinton said." -- CW
Nolan McCaskill of Politico: "'Just landed in Ohio. Thank you America- I am honored to win the final debate for our MOVEMENT,' Trump tweeted, citing unscientific polls like Drudge that showed the GOP nominee crushing Democrat Hillary Clinton. CNN'S poll showed that a majority of viewers said Clinton won." -- CW
Patrick Healy & Jonathan Martin of the New York Times: "Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he might not accept the results of the presidential election if he felt it was rigged against him -- a stunning statement from a major party nominee and one that Hillary Clinton called 'horrifying' -- in a final debate that swung wildly between civil and caustic.... Mr. Trump, under enormous pressure to halt Mrs. Clinton's steady rise in opinion polls, came across as frustrated and sarcastic at several points.... He lashed out repeatedly, saying that 'she's been proven to be a liar on so many different ways' and that 'she's guilty of a very, very serious crime' over her State Department email practices. And by the end of the debate, when Mrs. Clinton needled him over Social Security, Mr. Trump lost his cool and snapped, 'Such a nasty woman.' Mrs. Clinton was rarely rattled, and made a determined effort to rise above Mr. Trump's taunts while making overtures to undecided voters.... The debate felt less like an argument between equals than a last-ditch attempt by a fading candidate, Mr. Trump, to save himself." -- CW
Jose DelReal & David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post: "... Donald Trump refused to say whether he would accept the results of November's presidential election if he lost -- a startling break with American democratic tradition, and the most striking moment of Wednesday night's final presidential debate. Trump, who came into the debate trailing badly in polls, said that he believed the system was rigged, blaming the news media for 'poisoning' minds against him and the FBI for not recommending charges against rival Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server to handle government business while she was secretary of state. When the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, asked whether Trump would accept a loss and allow for a peaceful transfer of power, Trump replied: 'I will tell you at the time,' meaning after Election Day on Nov. 8. 'I will keep you in suspense.'" -- CW ...
... New York Times Editors: "Donald Trump turned, in the third and final presidential debate, from insulting the intelligence of the American voter to insulting American democracy itself. He falsely insisted there were 'millions of people' registered to participate in the election who did not have the right to vote and declared he would not commit to honoring the outcome.... 'He is talking down our democracy,' Mrs. Clinton warned.... The presidential debate was another exercise in narcissism, bombast and mendacity by Mr. Trump. One could only hope that this might be the last grand display of his gross unfitness to be president.... His trashing of the democratic process, in service of his own ego, risks lasting damage to the country, and politicians of both parties should recoil from him and his cynical example." -- CW
... Gail Collins: "O.K., Donald Trump won't promise to accept the results of the election. That's truly ... good grief.... Hillary Clinton noted that Trump tends to presume that whenever he loses anything, the system was rigged: 'There was even a time when he didn't get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged.' 'I should have gotten it,' Trump retorted. This is obviously what we should have known was coming when the host of 'The Celebrity Apprentice' wound up as a presidential nominee. But jeepers, people, this is serious. Trump was refusing to acknowledge it was even possible for him to lose a fair fight. At one point, he announced the election was rigged because Hillary Clinton was in it. ('She should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with emails.')" -- CW ...
... A Long, Long Time Ago. Neetzan Zimmerman of the Hill: "A 1993 letter written by George H.W. Bush on his last day in office wishing Bill Clinton well has resurfaced following the final presidential debate. Asked Wednesday night if he would accept the results of the election irrespective of the outcome, Donald Trump told debate moderator Chris Wallace that he will wait for the outcome before deciding. The response sparked outrage on both the left and right.... 'A long, long time ago, in a land far far away, politics had grace. George H.W. Bush's letter to Bill Clinton on leaving office: pic.twitter.com/bJn6ojWRS4' [tweeted]-- Saba Gul. 'I wish you great happiness here,' Bush wrote in the note dated January 20, 1993. 'You will be our President when you read this note.'" -- CW
Absolute Proof Clinton Leading Global Conspiracy to Rig U.S. Election:
Washington Post Editors: "... the policy discussion was clarifying also, exposing as it did Mr. Trump's ignorance of -- or is it distaste for? -- facts and policy. He again insisted that the North American Free Trade Agreement has sucked jobs from the country, when economists have found otherwise. He indicated the debt would take care of itself under his economic plan because 'we will have created a tremendous economic machine,' which is pure snake oil. Incoherently, he attacked Ms. Clinton for favoring open borders but also favoring a border wall. In another striking moment, Mr. Trump denied that the Russian government has been meddling in this election, refusing to accept the judgment of the country's intelligence community.... [These lapses] fade to the status of trivia in the face of an opponent who will not accept the basic rules of American democracy." -- CW
Dana Milbank: Donald Trump "set the tone for the last debate by inviting President Obama's half brother, a Trump backer, to the debate, along with the mother who accuses Clinton of murdering her son in Benghazi and a woman who just accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault.... At first -- and probably because [Chris] Wallace chose to begin the debate with substantive issues of policy — Trump was uncharacteristically mild, even as Hillary Clinton tried to needle him.... Gradually, with Clinton's baiting, Trump began to rumble.... Gradually, [Trump's] interruptions increased. 'Wrong!' he said when Clinton justifiably said he had been cavalier about nuclear weapons. 'Wrong!' he said when Clinton correctly noted that he mocked a disabled reporter. When Clinton tried to 'translate' something Trump had said, he blurted out: 'You can't!'... Trump, rather than taking the race in a new direction, decided to do what he's done before when his back is to the wall: lash out with fury." -- CW ...
No puppet! No puppet! You're the puppet. -- Donald Trump, answering Clinton's claim that he was a puppet of Vladimir Putin's
This has to be the most infantile rebuttal in the history of formal debates. I don't mean just presidential debates. I'm talking 8th-grade practice debates. If Clinton were more of "a nasty woman," I believe she could actually have gotten Trump to this. Really -- Constant Weader
... Maureen Dowd: "At the final debate tonight in Las Vegas, Donald Trump once more showed how easily egged on he is.... Hillary Clinton baited Trump into a series of damaging nails-in-the-coffin statements. And it was so easy.... Trump tried to stay calm, but he can never let go of a slight.... He defended himself on groping charges by saying, 'Nobody has more respect for women than I do.' But he ended up, after Clinton's hazing -- 'Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger' -- blurting out as she talked about entitlements: 'Such a nasty woman.'... He was so unnerved, he said one of the most shocking things ever heard in a debate, putting his ego ahead of American democracy.'" -- CW ...
... Shane Goldmacher of Politico zeroes in on the moment Hillary took control of Little Donnie. -- CW
Politico: "Donald Trump cut in 67 times during Wednesday night's presidential debate -- but Hillary Clinton still out-talked him by six minutes in the final meeting between the two candidates." -- CW
Helaine Olen of Slate: "Trump's Defense of His Tax Avoidance Is Getting Even More Brazen." He is blaming Hillary Clinton for a law passed (CW: at his request, BTW) when she was first lady. "And what about now? Clinton is now advocating a plan that would limit developers taking advantage of something called like-kind exchanges -- that's when they avoid paying taxes on profits by taking the money and buying another property -- to $1 million a year. As for Trump, who conveniently didn't say whether he thinks his income tax avoidance was a problem, even though he's criticized much less fortunate Americans for doing the same: His tax plan, according to many analysts, would actually increase the tax breaks available to real estate honchos like himself. Deplorable." -- CW
Can This Marriage Be Saved? (Not That We Care.) Katie Zezima of the Washington Post: "Donald Trump said he didn't apologize to his wife after the release of a video in which he bragged about kissing and groping women without their consent and allegations that he sexually assaulted nine women.... In an interview Monday on CNN, Melania Trump said her husband apologized to her." -- CW
Jennifer Agiesta of CNN: "Hillary Clinton won the final presidential debate, topping Donald Trump by a 13-point margin according to a CNN/ORC poll of debate watchers, giving Clinton a clean sweep across all three of this year's presidential debates. But Wednesday's debate watchers were closely divided on which candidate they trusted more on the issues most important to them.... Half of voters (50%) who watched Wednesday's debate said Clinton agreed with them more on the important issues, while 47% thought Trump did, but by wide margins, they thought Clinton had the better understanding of the issues, 61% to 31%, and was better prepared to handle the presidency, 59% to 35%." -- CW
Here are the debate highlights. CW: Good thing for me because I missed the whole debate when my cheap computer went down:
Aaron Blake of the Washington Post provides an annotated transcript of the debate. ...
... OR you can read Driftglass's liveblog.
New York Times reporters are liveblogging the presidential debate. -- CW
Dave Weigel of the Washington Post: "Scott Foval and Robert Creamer, two little-known but influential Democratic political operatives, have left their jobs after video investigations by James O'Keefe's Project Veritas Action found them entertaining dark notions about how to win elections. Foval was laid off Monday by Americans United for Change, where he had been national field director; Creamer announced Tuesday night that he was 'stepping back' from the work he was doing for the unified Democratic campaign for Hillary Clinton." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)
Peter Sterne of Politico: "Leslie Millwee, a former reporter for local Arkansas TV station KLMN-TV, has accused former president Bill Clinton of sexually assaulting her three times in 1980, while Clinton was the governor of Arkansas, Breitbart News reports. Millwee told Breitbart that she interviewed Clinton about 20 times publicly and met with him in KLMN-TV's editing room, which is where she said he allegedly groped her and rubbed his genitals on her. She also said he once gave her half of his tie and wrote his name on her reporter's notebook, and that he once tried to visit her apartment but left after she did not let him enter. After Clinton came to her apartment, she told Millwee, she decided to quit her job at the station." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)
Max Fisher & Amanda Taub of the New York Times: "Mr. Trump's foreign policy is not a foreign policy at all, but rather a vessel for reaching voters on a purely ideological level.... Mr. Trump has tapped into what scholars call conservation values. People who hold those values prioritize security, conformity and tradition. They also tend to fear physical threats and people they see as outsiders, whether that means foreigners or those of different races or religions. And they often express those values as a particular set of 'hawkish' foreign policy views..., characterized by a desire to shut out the world, ruthlessly promote American interests, reject cooperation and meet threats with overwhelming force.... Supporters do not primarily hear a policy agenda, but a promise: that Mr. Trump understands their fears and will protect them." -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.) ...
... That Was Then, This Is Fear-Mongering. Oliver Darcy of Business Insider: "Donald Trump had a starkly different tone about globalization in a 2013 op-ed published on CNN's website.... [Trump], writing about how Europe was a 'terrific place' for investment, argued at the time that the 2008 recession had made it clear 'the global economy has become truly that -- global.' Trump wrote that 'cultures and economics are intertwined' in today's society, and that it was necessary to 'work with each other for the benefit of all.... In this case, the solution is clear. We will have to leave borders behind and go for global unity when it comes to financial stability.'... [He] concluded ... that the future of the US and Europe 'depends on a cohesive global economy.'" -- CW (Also linked yesterday afternoon.)
Ed Kilgore of New York: "In an atmosphere poisoned by Donald Trump's constant claims that the presidential election has been or will soon be 'stolen,' there are actually some real threats to the integrity of our voting system worth worrying about between now and November 8. These do not include the 'massive voter fraud' chestnut far too many Republicans love to talk about in one of the more obvious racial dog whistles of this and other recent campaigns.... But above and beyond these campaign-generated disruptions, our rickety and radically decentralized system for casting, recording, and reporting votes -- not much improved since the 2000 fiasco -- could fail us or prove an irresistible target for malicious hackers, domestic or foreign.... And consider this: What if the objective of a certain foreign power is less to elect their favorite U.S. major-party presidential candidate than to reinforce said candidate's arguments that this country is in such a state of decay and decline that we cannot even hold an honest election? Yeah, such concerns could make you as jumpy as a Bolshoi ballerina." --safari ...
... Lauren Smiley of the New Republic: "In fact, however, the U.S. election system really is vulnerable -- though not in the way Trump claims.... In July and August, Russian intelligence services hacked voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona. But as menacing as foreign agents meddling with U.S. databases may seem, the biggest threat to the sanctity of the vote is the voting machines themselves. Like so much of America's crumbling infrastructure, the systems we rely on to tabulate our votes fairly and accurately are in dire need of an overhaul. In thousands of precincts, the outcome of the election rides on equipment that's outdated, prone to errors, and difficult or impossible to repair" --safari.
David Mack of BuzzFeed: "Ivanka Trump once told a gathering of friends and acquaintances she had never seen 'a mulatto cock,' BuzzFeed founder and chief executive Jonah Peretti alleged Wednesday. 'Surprised Ivanka would be shocked by lewd language,' Peretti tweeted. 'I met her once & she casually said: "I've never seen a mulatto cock, but I'd like to."'... In a statement, Ivanka Trump called Peretti's words 'a complete and total lie.' Reached by phone, Peretti said he wrote the tweet ... after having read a BuzzFeed News report about [Ivanka's] reaction to the Billy Bush Locker-Room Bus tape]... 'That's not language consistent with any conversation I've ever had with him, certainly, or any conversation I've overheard,' she said at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit. 'So it was a bit jarring for me to hear.'" -- CW
Meet your Trump Supporters, Jeezus Edition. Jonathan Chait: "A belief in the connection between personal morality and fitness for office used to be a bedrock of Republican politics.... Five years ago, white evangelical Protestants were the most heavily Republican voting bloc in the country, and also its most moralistic. Only 30 percent of them believed that 'an elected official can behave ethically even if they have committed transgressions in their personal life.'... But Donald Trump has changed all that. Today, white evangelical Protestants are the least moralistic cohort of voters. According to a new PRRI/Brookings survey, a full 72 percent of them now believe elected officials can behave ethically even if they have committed transgressions in their personal lives.... Trump has cured what used to be called 'the Moral Majority' of its moralism." --safari ...
... Mazin Sidahmed of the Guardian: "A post on the aggregator site Drudge Report sparked a cascade of hate mail and phone calls to the American Muslim Women political action committee(Pac) on Tuesday. Mirriam Seddiq, a criminal defense attorney and the founder of the group, woke up to an email with a link to a site that sold ammunition covered in pork. 'It's bullets made to kill Muslims,' said Seddiq. After showing the email to her Pac colleagues, she realized that Drudge Report had highlighted their seven-week-old Pac at the top of its site. A link that read 'Hijab for Hillary' referred to a press release of the group endorsing Hillary Clinton last week.... The Pac aims to get Muslim women more involved in the election cycle, partly by ensuring more of them register to vote.... Seddiq said that the hate emails and phone calls were exactly the reason they started the Pac to begin with. In response to the hate emails, the Pac is selling pink 'Hijab for Hillary' T-shirts that can be ordered on their site." --safari
Emily Jane Fox of Vanity Fair: "[A]s New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman revealed on stage at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit on Wednesday morning, Trump has lost one key ally: Roger Ailes. The former Fox News boss had reportedly served as an advisor to Trump throughout the campaign. He was said to have played a particularly important role as of late, helping him prepare for the presidential debates.... That's all changed now, according to Sherman and Vanity Fair contributing editor Sarah Ellison. The reason for the fallout depends on who you ask. 'Ailes's camp said Ailes learned that Trump couldn't focus -- surprise, surprise -- and that advising him was a waste of time,' Sherman said.... On the Trump side, Ellison said the story is different: 'Even for the second debate, Ailes kept going off on tangents and talking about his war stories while he was supposed to be prepping Trump.'" --safari ...
... CW: Oh, I thought the falling-out was because Ailes was so shocked by Trump's abuse of women.
Other News & Views
Scott Shane, et al., of the New York Times: "Investigators pursuing what they believe to be the largest case of mishandling classified documents in United States history have found that the huge trove of stolen documents in the possession of a National Security Agency contractor included top-secret N.S.A. hacking tools that two months ago were offered for sale on the internet. They have been hunting for electronic clues that could link those cybertools -- computer code posted online for auction by an anonymous group calling itself the Shadow Brokers -- to the home computers of the contractor, Harold T. Martin III, who was arrested in late August on charges of theft of government property and mishandling of classified information." -- CW
Way Beyond the Beltway
Martin Chulov of the Guardian: "Mosul residents who have fled Islamic State say a homegrown resistance, raised over the past six months, has made plans to launch coordinated attacks against the group as Iraqi and Kurdish forces close in -- a move that could prove influential in the final battle for the city. Though a decisive clash still appears to be weeks away -- by some estimates up to two months -- the residents say an underground movement has organised into cells that are prepared to oppose Isis when they receive sufficient support." --safari: Great news for the fight against ISIS, although publishing the story now could cost many people their lives. I'm sure ISIS leaders read the news.
Nina Lakhani of the Guardian: "Two more land rights activists in Honduras have been murdered amid a continuing wave of violence against community leaders opposing big business interests. Jose Ángel Flores and Silmer Dionicio George -- both members of the Unified Peasant Movement (MUCA) -- were shot dead by a group of men outside the organization's office in Tacoa, in the Bajo Aguán region.... A killing spree triggered by the 2009 coup d'état has made Honduras the world's most dangerous country for environmental and land activists, leaving at least 120 dead, according to the NGO Global Witness." --safari
House of Cards, Karma Edition. Matt Sandy of the Guardian: "Eduardo Cunha, the Brazilian politician who orchestrated the impeachment of the country's first female president, Dilma Rousseff, has been arrested on corruption charges. Federal police detained the former speaker of the lower house in Brasilia on Wednesday and executed a search warrant at his home in Rio de Janeiro...The arrest was ordered by federal judge Sergio Moro, who has gained celebrity in Brazil by leading that probe, which has ensnared dozens of leading politicians. Moro has been investigating Cunha for months but could only arrest him after he was expelled from the chamber of deputies last month, and lost his parliamentary immunity.... Cunha, who built his powerbase on knowing the secrets of others, is said to be writing a book...Opposition politicians predicted if Cunha made a plea bargain with prosecutors, the government could fall." --safari
@safari: Sorry to have lost your video. It seems to have corrupted my cheap computer, so I ran out & got a new cheap computer & have semi-set it up, & it won't load the vid, either. Anyway, it looked like a good one. -- CW