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Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday night soother: the catman of Aleppo

by digby

From The Dodo, a little bit of humanity in the midst of heartbreaking horror and chaos:  
"When people left, the cats started coming to me," Mohammad Alaa Jaleel, who lives in Aleppo, Syria, told BBC News.

Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, has been an almost constant battleground since 2012 as opposing forces have tried to gain control of the city.

To save their own lives, people fled the city of Aleppo — an estimated 40,000 of them.

Alaa started out with about twenty cats who were left behind as people ran for their lives, in addition to the strays he'd taken in. A year later there were over a hundred — and Alaa started a sanctuary known as Il Gattaro d'Aleppo.

"Some people just left them with me, knowing that I love cats," he said.

Now Alaa is known as "the cat man of Aleppo."

One little girl, who was in tears when she brought him her kitten just before her family fled, asked him to take pictures of her cat to send to her — so he does.

Alaa told the girl that he'll take care of her cat until she can come back.

"Since everyone left the country, including my own friends, these cats have become my friends here," he said. "I'll stay with them no matter what happens."
He's not the only one.


Samantha Bee is my voice

by digby

Via Huffington Post: 
While Hillary Clinton studiously prepared for her debate against Donald Trump, Samantha Bee noted that analysts were delivering style and personality pointers to the Democratic presidential nominee and not so much to her GOP rival.

“So, be perfect but not too perfect,” Bee recapped on Wednesday’s “Full Frontal,” which can be seen above. “Save us from fascism, but like, don’t be a bitch about it.”

Still, Bee noted that substance eventually prevailed ― and that Clinton was able to tune out the “pageant moms of punditry” as she “wiped the floor with Trump.”

Instead of fact-checking Clinton’s smile, Bee advised Americans to focus on the fact that the former secretary of state is “one of the only people in the whole goddamn country who’s not afraid of a bully.”

Trump's promise to his daughter

by digby

The casino owner and future Republican nominee told Howard Stern in 1999 that his daughter Ivanka, who was 17 at the time, had made him swear not to date anyone younger than her.

“I have a deal with her. She’s 17 and doing great — Ivanka. She made me promise, swear to her that I would never date a girl younger than her,” Trump said during a taping of Howard Stern’s radio show in June 1999. “So as she grows older, the field is getting very limited.”

“The nerve of her. Now you can’t go out with 16-year-olds,” Howard Stern joked in response.

He was dating the 26 year old Melania at the time.

Speaking of which, this interview with Melania in 1999 after she appeared on Howard Stern is really something.  When Trump was stumping for a potential Reform Party run in 1999 he yelled, "where's my supermodel?" from  the stage at a town hall meeting at the University of Pennsylvania.

Doesn't that remind you of this?


They unleashed the beast

by digby

I wrote about the hate for Salon this morning:

There has been a lot of talk over this presidential campaign about the lack of enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton compared with the excitement and energy among Donald Trump’s followers. It is a bit overblown; there are plenty of highly enthusiastic Clinton fans who are very excited to see the first woman president.

But it is nonetheless true that Trump has inspired a group of remarkably passionate and committed followers. And while many of these people have legitimate economic gripes that are finding expression in Trump’s “angry outsider” populism, what electrifies many of them is something else entirely.

They chant, “Build that wall!” and “Lock her up!” They cheer wildly when Trump says he will ban Muslims and send refugees back where they came from. They catcall the media and shove and hit protesters while Trump cheers them on from the stage. They enthusiastically endorse his promise to torture terrorist suspects and “take out their families” and cheerfully back his calls to let the police take the gloves off to restore law and order. They wear overtly misogynist T-shirts that say “Trump That Bitch” and “Hillary Sucks, But Not Like Monica.” (A new slogan has recently been added to the collection: “I wish Hillary had married O.J.”)

Outside Trump rallies, where Confederate flags are commonly displayed and sold, videos show that people are worked up, energized, febrile. Reporters overhear snippets of conversationlike “You can’t trust Latinos. Some maybe, but not most,” “Immigrants aren’t people, honey” and “You know them crazy black girls, how they are.” Something feral and undomesticated has been set free.

This week the Los Angeles Times reported on the surge of political activity among extremists, particularly white supremacists and the alt-right, noting that online hate groups are now dominated by pro-Trump conversation:

Andrew Anglin, editor of the Daily Stormer website and an emerging leader of a new generation of millennial extremists, said he had “zero interest” in the 2012 general election and viewed presidential politics as “pointless.” That is, until he heard Trump.

“Trump had me at ‘build a wall,’” Anglin said. “Virtually every alt-right Nazi I know is volunteering for the Trump campaign.”

In the same edition, the Times reported that hate crimes hadrisen sharply in the Los Angeles area over the past year. It wasn’t the worst year for hate-inspired violence in recent times (2001 and 2002 hold that record), and when you look at the numbers year over year, you can see that this current is always lurking underneath the surface. What’s unusual about the present moment is that we have a political leader who is unapologetically drawing it to the surface and giving it light to grow and flower.

This is not to say that the right hasn’t been exploiting bigotry and hate for decades to advance its cause. But in the modern era there has been an awareness among political leaders and thinkers that it would be very dangerous to let it run freely. In the early 1960s when the John Birch Society’s anti-communist fervor had evolved into a stew of conspiracy theories and paranoid witch hunts, The National Review’s William F. Buckley condemned such ideas as “drivel” and “lacking common sense,” turning it into a fringe group of pariahs. Buckley had a lot to answer for with his own racist beliefs but his actions in that moment were necessary to stop those dark impulses from getting further out of control.

He’s not the only one. As historian Rick Perlstein pointed out in what I consider to be the most insightful piece about the Trump phenomenon (written a year ago!) most modern conservative leaders have understood that their right-wing fringe was dangerous:

Previous Republican leaders were sufficiently frightened by the daemonic anger that energized their constituencies that they avoided surrendering to it completely, even for political advantage. Think of Barry Goldwater, who was so frightened of the racists supporting him that he told Lyndon Johnson he’d drop out of the race if they started making race riots a campaign issue. And Ronald Reagan refusing to back a 1978 ballot initiative to fire gay schoolteachers in California, at a time vigilantes were hunting down gays in the street. Think of George W. Bush guiding Congress toward a comprehensive immigration bill (akin to that proposed by President Obama) until the onslaught of vitriol that talk-radio hosts directed at Republican members of Congress forced him to quit. Think of George W. Bush’s repeated references to Islam as a “religion of peace.”

Take John McCain in 2008, when confronted with a supporter claiming that Barack Obama was “an Arab.” He corrected her and said, “I have to tell you. Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States.” (Donald Trump, by contrast, spent years demanding Obama’s birth certificate and repeated at this week’s debate that he’s proud to have done it.)

These were all people who knew that the bigots of the far right were part of their coalition but also understood that it had to be restrained. They winked and dog whistled, but when the crazies threatened to get out of hand they pulled them back. This time the crazies have broken the chain and nobody in the Republican political leadership has been brave enough to do anything but run with the pack or get out of the way.

This week’s story in The New York Times Magazine about the conservative media battle over Trump shows just how futile the #NeverTrump movement, led by Buckley’s successors at the National Review, has been. The rest of the right-wing media outlets are reconciling themselves to the fact that they are actually slaves to the mob rather than leaders:

This February, [Rush] Limbaugh, who has applauded Trump without endorsing him outright, posed to [Erick] Erickson the question of whether a commentator should try to act as “the guardian of what it means to be a conservative.” In effect, the legend of talk radio was laying down an unwritten commandment of the trade, which applies as well to cable TV: Do not attempt to lead your following.

That’s what Trump is doing, too, saying out loud what unhinged right-wingers have long been thinking and giving them permission to do publicly what they’ve wanted to do all along: rapturously, ecstatically and openly wallow in hate. They’re having the time of their lives.
"Why does she keep interrupting everybody? It's terrible"

by digby

Watching Clinton get interrupted 51 times during the debate was not surprising to me. Being interrupted by a man while trying to make a serious point is such a common occurrence in my life that I was surprised that anyone even made note of it. This is how women function in this world.

Some people aren't as used to it apparently:

Speaking of which, Trump is also like many men in that he gets very angry when a woman does it:

But they'll let Trump become president

by digby

This article about how members of the military viewed the debate is interesting. They had complaints about both candidates. These were the comments about Trump:

Take Trump’s assertion that his temperament was best suited for the job. That really captured the military’s attention, particularly at the Pentagon, which is filled with commanders who rose through the ranks, in part, because of their perceived temperament on the battlefield.

“I can’t believe he said he had the right temperament to be president while yelling. I’ve seen better in basic training,” a soldier concluded.

And with that, the one Washington institution that was supposed to be insulated from the 2016 election threw itself into the fray, all through personal experiences and recollections.

Trump’s suggestion Monday that the U.S. should have snatched Iraqi oil after the 2003 invasion had eyes popping in the Pentagon. So many currently serving here were deployed to Iraq in the early days of the invasion, and remember their orders at that time. Many noted that the U.S. had said it went to Iraq to spread democracy, not steal oil.
“Remember when people were mad at us for protecting the Ministry of Oil [in the early days of the war] because they said were there for the oil? Now we should have stolen it?” one colonel noted.

Then there was Trump’s ongoing embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin—even as the U.S. and Russia are battling each other in Syria through local proxy forces. Relations are increasingly tense between the two states amid failed ceasefires and growing distrust.

On “the cyber,” as Trump referred to cybersecurity Tuesday, the Republican presidential candidate offered a rambling answer, saying that a “400-pound” individual might have hacked Democratic Party—and not Russian operations, as the U.S. intelligence community has concluded.

Trump’s response elicited a silent shaking of the head from one commander who works cybersecurity.

Here's their issue with Clinton:

Meanwhile, Clinton noted that President Bush, not Obama, said set the withdrawal date and the terms. And she noted that the Iraqis would not give U.S. troops immunity from prosecution, making signing another SOFA, and keeping troops in Iraq, impossible.

But many who served, and remember the tense weeks both before the first SOFA and in the lead up to the withdrawal two years later, said both candidates left out key details. It was Bush who set the terms of the 2011 withdrawal—including the announced withdrawal date.

For her part, Clinton never mentioned that SOFAs can always be renegotiated—and frequently are. And while then-Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would not give U.S. personnel immunity, which the administration said ended SOFA talks, there are other ways to protect troops, like diplomatic notes—agreements between states that promise immunity. The Obama administration secured such a note in 2014 to send U.S. troops and advisers back into Iraq to confront ISIS.

“How the hell else would we have 5,000 troops there now?” one exasperated Army commander asked when he as he and his colleagues debated the debate, citing the diplomatic note. The withdrawal date was imbued with politics. “We left when we did so the president could say he ended the war” by the 2012 election.

“We are the last people to propose announcing a withdrawal date,” he continued.
In other words: both Bush and Obama played a role in the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. At least that is how the commanders remember it.

They also quibbled about her plan for ISIS which they said was already being implemented.

So basically, their problem with Trump is that he's a delusional know-nothing hot-head but Clinton halfway misrepresented how we got out of Iraq and plans to follow the current policy on ISIS. Ok.

Polling shows this:

Military troops favor Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president over Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, according to a new survey.

Johnson garnered 38.7 percent of the active duty vote, versus 30.9 for Trump, and 14.1 for Clinton, according to the survey, which was conducted via the popular military personality Doctrine Man.

Apparently, the military prefers the man who can't name a foreign leader and doesn't recognize the name of a major besieged city in Syria. And if not him, the other man in the race who says he knows a lot more than the generals and whose secret plan is to "take the oil."

It would be a real shame if the military voting for Johnson resulted in a Trump victory. I suspect they will be the ones to pay the heaviest price for that mistake.

Your next president ladies and gentlemen

by digby

Trump was up in the middle of the night doing this:

Even Chuck Todd had to comment:
“On the day that USA Today calls him unfit for the presidency, he wakes up at 3 in the morning, and starts attacking this civilian again,” Todd said.

“This is a pattern for him,” Todd continued. “When he gets into a bad place — and he is in a bad place right now — there is clearly discord in the campaign, the campaign staff’s not happy with him, he’s not happy that they’ve leaked stories — so there’s some anger there.”

Todd expressed concern for Trump’s emotional well-being and his temperament.

“He is an unhappy man — and when he is, he lashes out,” Todd said.

Of course, he's the same guy who did this:



The left itself is on the ballot

by Tom Sullivan

Thomas Geoghegan is a labor attorney who thinks that, while the fate of the Supreme Court is certainly at risk this November, harping on that issue is too obvious. Much more is at stake that gets little mention. Writing for In These Times, Geoghegan argues that the president's ability to make other appointments nobody cares about has a great deal to do with what kind of future Americans will see.

Geoghegan was once a "Schedule C" appointee under Jimmy Carter, the kind of young, idealistic public servant more eager to make the world a better place than to make it to the penthouse. Should Hillary Clinton win the White House, Geoghegan writes, thousands of low-level appointees will make the lives of Americans better in countless ways nobody will notice:

Demographically, because of age and willingness to forgo a private-sector salary, it’s likely that many of these appointees will be Bernie voters. Over the next four years, these thousands of people will perform a million little acts of mercy—for you, me, for all of us. As a lawyer who represents the poor, the middle class, the post-middle class and maybe members of your family, I can swear under oath that many of these appointees will do, off-handedly, the most saintly acts in the world. They will do things that transform so many individual lives, like an NLRB official who gets a 20-year-old black kid back into a Painters Union job. Appointees in the embassies and consulates can sneak in 10-year-olds from Honduras. By your vote—or decision not to vote—you will decide the fates of all of those who could be saved by these little acts of mercy.
You know people like this. I do. They are people who spend years in the Peace Corps who then come home and run for elective office. They are people who attend city council meetings and work tirelessly, unpaid, to make their communities a better place. People with heart. People who care.

I recall being in college and seeing classmates who were on track to go to law school or medical school. Most, it seemed, were on that career track because it was what their parents had done. Because it seemed a guaranteed path to large incomes, and to living in large houses in exclusive neighborhoods.

Then there were others. The neonatal ICU doctor who takes lunch orders for her nurses, who goes home to cry after losing a preemie she fought desperately to save. The former federal public defender (another woman) described as the "most ferocious" anti-death penalty lawyer in the country, who almost never gives interviews, shuns publicity, and fights to keep the most most monstrous murderers of our time off death row. Or the former Deputy Assistant Attorney General (a woman I didn't go to school with) who fights to expose the Koch brothers and other corporate baddies as part of a watchdog organization.

Unlike "the guy who holds fake press conferences, has a fake university, a fake foundation, fake hair, and a fake tan" and who thinks he's smart not to contribute to the country's upkeep like the rest of us, these people aren't in it for the money.

President Obama says his legacy is on the ballot. The left is as well. Geoghegan writes:
The odd thing is, if you want the Left to come back, you have to put the center-left in power. It sounds paradoxical, but it's true: Give people a little taste of equality and they will want even more. The women's movement, the civil rights movement, the huge egalitarian transformations of the 1960s came about in large part because of the much more egalitarian and prosperous country created by the New Deal and yes, the Great Society itself.

Let any Republican get in and it will always go the other way.
It's not just about who is at the top of the ticket. Geoghegan concludes:
When the center-left really is in power, and I mean full power, with true and not just nominal control of Congress, it usually is the heyday of the party's real left. Look at the two great periods when the Democrats were in control: 1935-37, and 1965-66. Social Security, the Wagner Act, in the first, and Medicare, the Voting Rights Act, and the Immigration and Nationality Act in the second, transformed this country. FDR exasperated the Left of his day, and even compared to Hillary Clinton, Lyndon Johnson was no progressive. Yet the lasting legacy of the real Left came in these two fleeting periods when a largely center-left Democratic party had—for once—unchecked control. Why give up any chance to have that happen again? As it is, we’re still living with the legacy of Nixon and our shrugging and letting him in the belief that we could always come back. In many ways, the Left in this country never really came back. Nixon led to Ford who led to Carter who led to Reagan, and to the medieval-like inequality in this country today. And you—who have a real chance to push the country to the left if we can keep the executive branch in the hands of the center-left—will not come back either. The same logic of history is going to apply to you. Not voting for Clinton will just put real change in this country even farther out of reach.
I'm not about to let that happen without a fight. What kind of a country we will be is on the line, and its character will be defined in thousands of small ways by the kinds of people the next president appoints to run it, people committed to the public good, I hope. God help us, it's not Trump and the Midas Cult in charge.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trump's crude attempt at strategery

by digby

Trump's latest ad is so bad you have to wonder if it isn't a black market job by pals in the Russian mob:

This is Trump making a play for millennials. Or perhaps to be more precise, making an argument for millennials to stay home or vote third party, which is really their best chance to win at this point.

But as Jonathan Chait writes, it's a mistake to believe that Wall Street isn't backing Trump because they fear he will regulate them. He's promised the opposite:

A Gallup poll finds that, for voters under 35 years old, the only issue on which Trump beats Clinton is “government regulation of Wall Street and banks.” This is an understandable heuristic based on a combination of Clinton’s paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, Sanders positioning himself to her left on financial regulation, and the uncertainty with which Wall Street views Trump.

But the reality is thatClinton favors strengthening the already-tough regulations on Wall Street created by Dodd-Frank, by levying a risk fee on the largest banks and tightening the Volcker Rule. Trump, on the other hand, proposes “close to dismantling of Dodd-Frank,” which, he claims, “has made it impossible for bankers to function.” This is a conventional Republican policy agenda strongly endorsed by Wall Street. Now, it is true that Wall Street does not like Trump, but this is not because he would regulate their activity, but because he is a dangerous buffoon who might bring down the world economy and them with it.

In this case the Masters of the Universe see the bigger picture. Voters should too.

This is no joke kids

by digby

Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times reviewed this book. You might want to grab a shot of something and sit down before you read it:

How did Adolf Hitler — described by one eminent magazine editor in 1930 as a “half-insane rascal,” a “pathetic dunderhead,” a “nowhere fool,” a “big mouth” — rise to power in the land of Goethe and Beethoven? What persuaded millions of ordinary Germans to embrace him and his doctrine of hatred? How did this “most unlikely pretender to high state office” achieve absolute power in a once democratic country and set it on a course of monstrous horror?

A host of earlier biographers (most notably Alan Bullock, Joachim Fest and Ian Kershaw) have advanced theories about Hitler’s rise, and the dynamic between the man and his times. Some have focused on the social and political conditions in post-World War I Germany, which Hitler expertly exploited — bitterness over the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles and a yearning for a return to German greatness; unemployment and economic distress amid the worldwide Depression of the early 1930s; and longstanding ethnic prejudices and fears of “foreignization.”

Other writers — including the dictator’s latest biographer, the historian Volker Ullrich — have focused on Hitler as a politician who rose to power through demagoguery, showmanship and nativist appeals to the masses. In “Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939,” Mr. Ullrich sets out to strip away the mythology that Hitler created around himself in “Mein Kampf,” and he also tries to look at this “mysterious, calamitous figure” not as a monster or madman, but as a human being with “undeniable talents and obviously deep-seated psychological complexes.”

“In a sense,” he says in an introduction, “Hitler will be ‘normalized’ — although this will not make him seem more ‘normal.’ If anything, he will emerge as even more horrific.”

This is the first of two volumes (it ends in 1939 with the dictator’s 50th birthday) and there is little here that is substantially new. However, Mr. Ullrich offers a fascinating Shakespearean parable about how the confluence of circumstance, chance, a ruthless individual and the willful blindness of others can transform a country — and, in Hitler’s case, lead to an unimaginable nightmare for the world.

Mr. Ullrich, like other biographers, provides vivid insight into some factors that helped turn a “Munich rabble-rouser” — regarded by many as a self-obsessed “clown” with a strangely “scattershot, impulsive style” — into “the lord and master of the German Reich.”

• Hitler was often described as an egomaniac who “only loved himself” — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization and what Mr. Ullrich calls a “characteristic fondness for superlatives.” His manic speeches and penchant for taking all-or-nothing risks raised questions about his capacity for self-control, even his sanity. But Mr. Ullrich underscores Hitler’s shrewdness as a politician — with a “keen eye for the strengths and weaknesses of other people” and an ability to “instantaneously analyze and exploit situations.”

• Hitler was known, among colleagues, for a “bottomless mendacity” that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology (radio, gramophone records, film) to spread his message. A former finance minister wrote that Hitler “was so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth” and editors of one edition of “Mein Kampf” described it as a “swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.”

• Hitler was an effective orator and actor, Mr. Ullrich reminds readers, adept at assuming various masks and feeding off the energy of his audiences. Although he concealed his anti-Semitism beneath a “mask of moderation” when trying to win the support of the socially liberal middle classes, he specialized in big, theatrical rallies staged with spectacular elements borrowed from the circus. Here, “Hitler adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvinist and anti-Semitic listeners,” Mr. Ullrich writes. He peppered his speeches with coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers. Even as he fomented chaos by playing to crowds’ fears and resentments, he offered himself as the visionary leader who could restore law and order.

• Hitler increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising “to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness,” though he was typically vague about his actual plans. He often harked back to a golden age for the country, Mr. Ullrich says, the better “to paint the present day in hues that were all the darker. Everywhere you looked now, there was only decline and decay.”

• Hitler’s repertoire of topics, Mr. Ullrich notes, was limited, and reading his speeches in retrospect, “it seems amazing that he attracted larger and larger audiences” with “repeated mantralike phrases” consisting largely of “accusations, vows of revenge and promises for the future.” But Hitler virtually wrote the modern playbook on demagoguery, arguing in “Mein Kampf” that propaganda must appeal to the emotions — not the reasoning powers — of the crowd. Its “purely intellectual level,” Hitler said, “will have to be that of the lowest mental common denominator among the public it is desired to reach.” Because the understanding of the masses “is feeble,” he went on, effective propaganda needed to be boiled down to a few slogans that should be “persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.”

• Hitler’s rise was not inevitable, in Mr. Ullrich’s opinion. There were numerous points at which his ascent might have been derailed, he contends; even as late as January 1933, “it would have been eminently possible to prevent his nomination as Reich chancellor.” He benefited from a “constellation of crises that he was able to exploit cleverly and unscrupulously” — in addition to economic woes and unemployment, there was an “erosion of the political center” and a growing resentment of the elites. The unwillingness of Germany’s political parties to compromise had contributed to a perception of government dysfunction, Mr. Ullrich suggests, and the belief of Hitler supporters that the country needed “a man of iron” who could shake things up. “Why not give the National Socialists a chance?” a prominent banker said of the Nazis. “They seem pretty gutsy to me.”

• Hitler’s ascension was aided and abetted by the naïveté of domestic adversaries who failed to appreciate his ruthlessness and tenacity, and by foreign statesmen who believed they could control his aggression. Early on, revulsion at Hitler’s style and appearance, Mr. Ullrich writes, led some critics to underestimate the man and his popularity, while others dismissed him as a celebrity, a repellent but fascinating “evening’s entertainment.” Politicians, for their part, suffered from the delusion that the dominance of traditional conservatives in the cabinet would neutralize the threat of Nazi abuse of power and “fence Hitler in.” “As far as Hitler’s long-term wishes were concerned,” Mr. Ullrich observes, “his conservative coalition partners believed either that he was not serious or that they could exert a moderating influence on him. In any case, they were severely mistaken.”

• Hitler, it became obvious, could not be tamed — he needed only five months to consolidate absolute power after becoming chancellor. “Non-National Socialist German states” were brought into line, Mr. Ullrich writes, “with pressure from the party grass roots combining effectively with pseudo-legal measures ordered by the Reich government.” Many Germans jumped on the Nazi bandwagon not out of political conviction but in hopes of improving their career opportunities, he argues, while fear kept others from speaking out against the persecution of the Jews. The independent press was banned or suppressed and books deemed “un-German” were burned. By March 1933, Hitler had made it clear, Mr. Ullrich says, “that his government was going to do away with all norms of separation of powers and the rule of law.”

• Hitler had a dark, Darwinian view of the world. And he would not only become, in Mr. Ullrich’s words, “a mouthpiece of the cultural pessimism” growing in right-wing circles in the Weimar Republic, but also the avatar of what Thomas Mann identified as a turning away from reason and the fundamental principles of a civil society — namely, “liberty, equality, education, optimism and belief in progress.”
Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her husband reads a book of Hitler's collected speeches, My New Order, which he keeps in a cabinet by his bed. Kennedy now guards a copy of My New Order in a closet at his office, as if it were a grenade. Hitler's speeches, from his earliest days up through the Phony War of 1939, reveal his extraordinary ability as a master propagandist.

"Did your cousin John give you the Hitler speeches?" I asked Trump.

Trump hesitated. "Who told you that?"

"I don't remember," I said.

"Actually, it was my friend Marty Davis from Paramount who gave me a copy of Mein Kampf, and he's a Jew." ("I did give him a book about Hitler," Marty Davis said. "But it was My New Order, Hitler's speeches, not Mein Kampf. I thought he would find it interesting. I am his friend, but I'm not Jewish.")

Later, Trump returned to this subject. "If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them."

The difficulty of standing still

by digby

For those who missed the debate, Seth Myers has a fun recap:


You sir, are no Bernie Sanders

by digby

I wrote about Gary Johnson for Salon this morning:

As we hit the final stretch of the most incredible presidential campaign in modern memory, it appears that third-party candidates may end up being more consequential than they’ve been since Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in 2000. It’s very close, and there is a real possibility they could decide the election. With Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, the onetime Republican governor of New Mexico, at nearly 10 percent and pulling more people who say Clinton is their second choice, Donald Trump may be the beneficiary in the all-important battleground states.

After watching Johnson and his running mate Bill Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts, in Wednesday night’s town-hall meeting with Chris Matthews, I think maybe they should let Johnson in the debates so more of these voters could see exactly what they’re voting for. The risk is that while Johnson would reveal himself as a bizarre and ignorant man, he might just make Republican presidential nominee Trump look smart and competent by comparison.

When Johnson was interviewed on “Morning Joe” in early September he made one of the more memorable gaffes in campaign history when his answer to “What would you do about Aleppo?” was “What is Aleppo?” He didn’t recognize it as the name of the second-largest city in Syria, which has been in the headlines for months as a battleground where the government is fighting rebel forces. On Wednesday, Johnson said he took responsibility for his Aleppo gaffe, but further explained that he doesn’t believe that just because “a politician can dot the I’s and cross the T’s on some geographic location or the name of some foreign dictator, now we should believe them when it comes to these interventions.”

I’m not sure who believes that just because someone has educated herself about geography and foreign leadership that her ideas must automatically be followed. It’s just that most of us used to think that presidents should have some basic knowledge of facts before they propose policies. The campaign of 2016 has revealed that such qualifications are no longer considered a requirement for the job — at least not by the half of the electorate who claim to be voting for Trump or Johnson.

And then Johnson did it again. Matthews asked him to name his favorite foreign leader, and Johnson again drew a blank, finally admitting, “I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment.” Unfortunately, the exchange went on and on, with Matthews pushing and Johnson floundering, until Weld finally stepped in to cite Chancellor Angela Merkel as his favorite and the whole thing mercifully came to an end.

When asked by one of the fresh-faced young people in the crowd what he said to people who claim that a vote for Johnson is a wasted vote, the candidate told him, “A wasted vote is a vote for someone you don’t believe in.” Matthews came back with a quote from President Barack Obama from earlier in the day:
If you don’t vote, that’s a vote for Trump. If you vote for a third-party candidate who’s got no chance to win, that’s a vote for Trump.
Johnson’s bizarre nonresponse was to say that Clinton and Trump are doing nothing about Medicare and Medicaid and that “we’re headed to bankruptcy with the size and scope of government.”

When asked about his views on climate change, Johnson rambled on about the coal industry going bankrupt and said he believes the free market is going to fix the problem. How would he make college more accessible to students, a matter central to the Democratic primary campaign and now integral to Hillary Clinton’s platform? Johnson said that the reason why college costs so much is that government-guaranteed student loans have “skewed supply and demand.” In other words, if fewer people go to college, tuition will go down.

A young woman asked if a Johnson administration would cut Planned Parenthood funds, and Johnson said he plans to submit a balanced budget in the first 100 days that would require 20 percent trims across the board. Asked about money in politics, he said he believes there should be no restrictions on campaign contributions. A young man asked him if he would consider rethinking his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and Johnson said absolutely not. He made it very clear that he intends to eliminate every trade barrier he can find.

The theme that Johnson returned to over and over is that he believes in balanced budgets, cutting entitlements and reducing debt over everything else.

Johnson did express the standard libertarian belief that he believes in civil liberties and gay rights, although he fudged his answer about abortion rights. He left out the fact that although he believes in a woman’s right to choose he also believes in a state’s right to take it away, with horrific consequences for women.

He portrayed Hillary Clinton as a psycho who is going to start a nuclear war. When asked about it again later in the broadcast, Johnson said that would happen because Clinton refuses to be “seen as weak” and “she will shoot.” It was yet another absurd statement in a long line of them. There’s only one candidate who’s threatening to start a nuclear war and it isn’t Clinton.

Many young people become attracted to libertarianism for a time after they read Ayn Rand’s novels and are exposed to the seductive lure of selfishness as a philosophy. Some stick with it for a while, or become standard Republicans as time goes on. But judging from the questions at Wednesday’s town hall event, this audience was not a bunch of Rand acolytes eager to talk about the moochers at Planned Parenthood or the parasites who want free college. With the exception of one or two questioners, most sounded like earnest progressives who may have voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders during the primary season.

Johnson’s libertarianism is very, very different from Sanders’ altruistic democratic socialism. Sanders believes that government has an affirmative duty to help people. Johnson believes that government is an impediment to the natural working of the free market. It’s overwhelmingly obvious that Clinton comes much closer to the Sanders philosophy than does Johnson.

Given how close the election is in certain key states, a few protest votes could put Trump in the White House. As Sanders is telling anyone who will listen, “Before you cast a protest vote — because either Clinton or Trump will become president — think hard about it. This is not a governor’s race. It’s not a state legislative race. This is the presidency of the United States.”

It’s also the future of the planet.

Buncha white guys sittin' around talkin' about wimminn gettin' fat

by digby

All those fine fellows in that picture "weighed in" on the fat shaming issue yesterday. I'm sure they had a great deal of insight.

So did this one:
On Wednesday night, Gingrich defended Trump by saying essentially that he had every right to call Machado fat because she did get fat.

“You’re not supposed to gain 60 pounds during the year that you’re Miss Universe,” Gingrich said, according to Politico. Gingrich was speaking in front of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group devoted to representing LGBT conservatives and allies.

Trump also defended his comments on Wednesday night, telling Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he “saved her job because they wanted to fire her for putting on so much weight.” Trump commented that despite wanting to save her job, he never really spoke to her.

“I’ll bet you if you put up and added up all the time I spoke to her, it was probably less than five minutes,” he said, according to Talking Points Memo. “I had nothing to do with this person.”

It's insane to have to get into this but it seems important for the record. Here's a picture of Machado on the day Trump ambushed her by bringing a bunch of reporters to her gym and talking about her weight gain on camera:

Does that look like someone who is 60 pounds overweight? It's ridiculous.

Machado says she gained 19 pounds during that first year because she'd lost that much in the run-up to the contest. I think many women can relate to going on a strict diet to lose weight for an event and not being able to keep it off once it was over. That he had to turn it into a public show of dominance, making her smile and accept the humiliation says everything you need to know.

But then Trump doesn't only believe that women are ornaments that must meet his personal specifications in beauty contests:
After the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes opened for play in 2005, its world-famous owner didn’t stop by more than a few times a year to visit the course hugging the coast of the Pacific.

When Trump did visit, the club’s managers went on alert. They scheduled the young, thin, pretty women on staff to work the clubhouse restaurant — because when Trump saw less-attractive women working at his club, according to court records, he wanted them fired.

"I had witnessed Donald Trump tell managers many times while he was visiting the club that restaurant hostesses were 'not pretty enough' and that they should be fired and replaced with more attractive women,” Hayley Strozier, who was director of catering at the club until 2008, said in a sworn declaration.

Trump told managers to fire restaurant hostesses who were “not pretty enough” and replace them with “more attractive women,” Hayley Strozier, former catering director at the golf club, said in her court declaration.

Initially, Trump gave this command “almost every time” he visited, Strozier said. Managers eventually changed employee schedules “so that the most attractive women were scheduled to work when Mr. Trump was scheduled to be at the club," she said.

A similar story is told by former Trump employees in court documents filed in 2012 in a broad labor relations lawsuit brought against one of Trump’s development companies in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The employees’ declarations in support of the lawsuit, which have not been reported in detail until now, show the extent to which they believed Trump, now the Republican presidential nominee, pressured subordinates at one of his businesses to create and enforce a culture of beauty, where female employees’ appearances were prized over their skills.

A Trump Organization attorney, in a statement to The Times, called the allegations “meritless.”

In a 2009 court filing, the company said that any “allegedly wrongful or discriminatory acts” by its employees, if any occurred, would be in violation of company policy and were not authorized.

Employees said in their declarations that the apparent preference for attractive women came from the top.

“Donald Trump always wanted good looking women working at the club,” said Sue Kwiatkowski, a restaurant manager at the club until 2009, in a declaration. "I know this because one time he took me aside and said, ‘I want you to get some good looking hostesses here. People like to see good looking people when they come in.’ ”

As a result, Kwiatkowski said, "I and the other managers always tried to have our most attractive hostesses working when Mr. Trump was in town and going to be on the premises."
As part of the lawsuit over a lack of meal and rest breaks at Trump’s golf club about 30 miles south of downtown Los Angeles — his largest real estate holding in Southern California — several employees said managers staffed Trump’s clubhouse restaurant with attractive young women rather than more experienced employees in order to please Trump.

The bulk of the lawsuit was settled in 2013, when golf course management, without admitting any wrongdoing, agreed to pay $475,000 to employees who had complained about break policies. An employee’s claim that she was fired after complaining about the company’s treatment of women was settled separately; its terms remain confidential.

The former employees’ statements primarily describe the club’s work culture from the mid- to late 2000s. The Times spoke at length to one of the ex-employees, who described in detail the allegations about workplace culture. The person declined to be quoted by name, citing a fear of being sued.

In their sworn declarations, some employees described how Trump, during his stays in Southern California, made inappropriate and patronizing statements to the women working for him.

On one visit, Trump saw “a young, attractive hostess working named Nicole ... and directed that she be brought to a place where he was meeting with a group of men,” former Trump restaurant manager Charles West said in his declaration.

“After this woman had been presented to him, Mr. Trump said to his guests something like, 'See, you don't have to go to Hollywood to find beautiful women,'” West said. “He also turned to Nicole and asked her, ‘Do you like Jewish men?’"
He's a fucking pimp.

And then there's this:
Female employees said they faced additional pressures.

Strozier, the former catering director, said Vincent Stellio — a former Trump bodyguard who had risen to become a Trump Organization vice president — approached her in 2003 about an employee that Strozier thought was talented.

Stellio wanted the employee fired because she was overweight, Strozier said in her legal filing.

"Mr. Stellio told me to do this because 'Mr. Trump doesn't like fat people' and that he would not like seeing [the employee] when he was on the premises,” wrote Strozier, who said she refused the request. (Stellio died in 2010.)

Hayley Strozier, the former catering director, said a vice president from the Trump Organization told her to fire an employee because “Mr. Trump doesn’t like fat people.”

A year later, Mike van der Goes — a golf pro who had been promoted to be Trump National’s general manager — made a similar request to fire the same overweight employee, Strozier said.

“Mr. van der Goes told me that he wanted me to do this because of [the employee's] appearance and the fact that Mr. Trump didn't like people that looked like her,” Strozier wrote.

When Strozier protested, Van der Goes returned a week later “and announced he had a plan of hiding [the employee] whenever Mr. Trump was on the premises,” Strozier wrote.

West, who worked as a restaurant manager at the club until 2008, wrote that Van der Goes ordered him “to hire young, attractive women to be hostesses.” West also said Van der Goes insisted that he “would need to meet all such job applicants first to determine if they were sufficiently pretty."

What a disgusting meat market. But lean meat only! Even by Hollywood standards he's a crude piece of work.

But I have to say at the very least, he and Newt Gingrich and all those men on that panel in the picture above are in super shape so they're setting a great example:


This man is so odious it's almost beyond belief that anyone would agree to be in the same room with him much less that the Republican Party has nominated him to compete against the nation's first woman nominee for president.  I guess Andrew Dice Clay's repulsive character from the 1980s wasn't available.

This is what the Trumpies hear

by digby

Seconds after the presidential debate ended, Hillary Clinton couldn’t get off the stage fast enough. She went through the proper motions of thanking the moderator and waving at the few fans she had in the audience before her handler whisked her out of the room and down a private tunnel to her car without realizing that a surveillance camera caught what she tried to hide.

Many viewers speculated that Hillary was heavily medicated while on stage to get her through the public event and hide her illness that’s been a plague on her campaign. With the perpetual grin that she displayed but is not usually known to have, slow blinking as she tried to talk, and even a few seconds of appearing as her brain “short-circuited,” she all but had a seizure to prove what many conservatives have been saying for months. Perhaps the medication was starting to wear off after 90-minutes, which was why she was swept away quicker than her counterpart.

Hillary made a beeline to her medically equipped ride through a special tunnel which she thought was private. The ailing Democratic candidate likely wouldn’t have made it to the vehicle had it not been for a special tool, which a security camera caught, exposing what she thought she had disguised well on stage with drugs and prepared answers that she simply had to recite. Secret Service lit the way for Hillary using pointer lights on the ground specifically designed for those with Parkinson’s disease.

The use of these exact lights was discussed by Dr. Ted Noel days before the debate, as seen in this video here. Another thing the camera caught was Donald Trump exiting through the exact same tunnel after Hillary, but no special lights were used to guide him.

With this side-by-side comparison, along with the facts about these pointers, it’s these things against Hillary’s word that she’s healthy. Americans have the right to know if a candidate isn’t equipped for the job. We’ve had eight years of failed leadership, and we don’t need another liar in the White House who can’t even walk without help, let alone run a country. Her desire to be president is to fulfill a personal need for control and power, and that’s not what this country needs after Barack Obama.

I don't know what you do about stuff like this although it might be helpful if mainstream outlets stopped internalizing Drudge's crazy.

"Super Careless, Fragile Ego, Extra Braggadocious"

by Gaius Publius

I couldn't help passing this along. There's a lot of piling on to the veering-off-the-tracks Trump Train, and plenty of eager folks to do it, so I've been mainly looking at other things.

But this is just too good, a terrific parody song by Randy Rainbow. Enjoy!

This is Randy Rainbow:

He's new to me, but what a find. Bio here.



Surreal to a surrealist

by Tom Sullivan

Still from Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog), 1929, by Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel.

Luis Buñuel would have found this election surreal.

Josh Marshall at TPM last night:

In the situation Donald Trump is in with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, any media professional or really anyone with a conscience would say this: "We quarreled many years ago. It's in the past. I truly wish her the best." Done and done.

But just an hour ago Trump went on O'Reilly to again trash Machado, now saying that he saved her job, gave her a shot at not being fat and this is the thanks he gets. Yes, he really said that. "You know, they wanted to fire her. The company itself wanted to fire her. I saved her job ... I saved her job because I said that's going to -- I did that with a number of young ladies. The staff itself [wanted to fire her]. Look what happened. Look what I get out of it. I get nothing. A lot of things are coming out about her."
"Why Would You Vote for a Man This Insecure?" asked the headline on a Charlie Pierce post from Tuesday. Trump's campaign tried to change the subject to Clinton's health or to make her husband's sexual history a campaign issue.

Chris Cillizza tweeted last night "Well I have now seen everything in this election" in response to this:

Dave Weigel replied, "Yes, that is the verified account of the biggest swing state GOP linking InfoWars."

Tuesday morning in the red-state town where I work, two women coming down in the elevator at lunch were speculating whether the careful, measured way Hillary Clinton answered questions during the debate meant she was using a hidden teleprompter. I guess they don't read InfoWars.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) suggested to FBI Director James Comey that "Hillary Clinton had broken her college’s honor code" from 40 years ago by using a private email server.

And in case you missed this tweet on Monday night:

You might need a bottle of Absinthe to weather the next few weeks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

His assets are yuge. Believe me. It's not a problem

by digby

About that White House "delegation" that came to Trump about Iraq

by digby

As expected, it didn't happen:
Trump has repeatedly brought up his opposition to the Iraq invasion. As he put it during the second G.O.P. debate last September: “I think it’s important, because it’s about judgment.”

Much as he did against Clinton, Trump in that earlier debate cited proof that he was, in his words, “the only person that fought very, very hard against” invading Iraq. First, he said, “I’ll give you 25 different stories” — though the only article his campaign would later offer was an interview in Esquire that took place fully a year after the invasion. Intriguingly, Trump also claimed he had a meeting with George W. Bush administration officials to discuss his opposition to the war. “In fact, a delegation” — from the administration, he would later elaborate — “was sent to my office to see me because I was so vocal about it.”

I recently reached out to Trump’s spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, for more details about this meeting. She didn’t provide any, but a high-ranking former Bush White House senior official told me categorically that no such meeting ever happened, and that no one from the administration was deputized to talk to Trump.

Of course not. Because he wasn't speaking out against the war, number one. And nobody in the White House gave a damn about what he was saying about anything anyway.

This man is truly delusional. And that's not just rhetorical hyperbole. He is literally delusional.

Not that we didn't know that:

Colbert on the debate

by digby

Just so good:


He said people who pay taxes are stupid

by digby

The Washington Post reported on a debate focus group:
Trump’s response Monday night when Hillary Clinton accused him of not paying a cent of federal tax left Townley appalled.

“That makes me smart,” Trump said, unapologetic and smiling, during the presidential debate, held in Hempstead, N.Y.

Hillary Clinton suggested a few reasons why Donald Trump is not releasing his tax returns during the first presidential debate, suggesting "maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is" and that he doesn't pay federal income taxes. "That makes me smart," Trump interjected. 
That comment caused a gasp in the hotel conference room where Townley and five other undecided voters in this ­battleground state were watching the debate.

“That’s offensive. I pay taxes,” said Townley, 52, a program ­director for a local council of governments.

“Another person would be in jail for that,” said Jamilla Hawkins, 33, who was sitting beside him in the Crescent conference room at the Embassy Suites in this city of 150,000 near Raleigh.
That focus group of undecided voters mostly seemed to be people who had never seen Donald Trump before.

First a black man, now a woman and it's just too much

by digby

I wrote about the problem of the one-two punch for Salon today:

It has always seemed to me that the extremely close presidential primary campaign of 2008 signaled that America was at a pivotal moment in its history. As the vehicle for social progress and the home of most racial minorities and women, the Democratic Party was naturally the institution that would advance two breakthrough leaders in succession. The time had come, the country had changed and I naively thought it would be easy.

As it turned out, there was an immediate, fierce backlash against the ascendancy of Barack Obama to the presidency called the Tea Party. It was portrayed as a revolutionary anti-government movement but when scholars studied these folks, it turned out that they were simply garden-variety conservatives after all — and they were very, very angry. Harvard’s Theda Skocpol, author of “The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism,” with Vanessa Williamson, explained to Salon in 2013 that Tea Party attitudes about taxes and government reflected something deeper:
There’s no question that at the grass roots, approximately half of all Republican-identifiers who think of themselves as Tea Partyers are a very conservative-minded old group of white people, some of whom do go all the way back to [Barry] Goldwater and the [John] Birch Society. They are skeptical of the Republican Party as it has been run in recent years. But they both hate and fear the Democratic Party and Obama. We argued in many ways that anger comes from alarm on the part of these older conservatives that they’re losing their country — that’s what they say. That they’re the true Americans, and they’re losing control of American politics.
Nothing symbolized that “loss of control” more than the African-American president sitting in the White House. Sadly, it turns out that these older, more affluent conservatives weren’t the only ones who felt that way. White working-class Americans, particularly men, were growing more and more angry about losing their place in the hierarchy of privilege. These two groups make up the Republican coalition that is now expressing the right-wing backlash in the form of explicit white nationalism.

After dealing with a black president and his family occupying the White House for eight long years, accepting a woman taking the job immediately thereafter is more than they can bear. As the National Rifle Association’s president, Wayne LaPierre, quipped, “I have to tell you, eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough.”

The right-wing opposition’s response to the “demographically symbolic” female candidate has been to nominate a famously crude misogynist to restore white male authority once and for all. Rebecca Traister memorably explained it in this Hillary Clinton profile in New York magazine a few months back:
There is an Indiana Jones–style, “It had to be snakes” inevitability about the fact that Donald Trump is Clinton’s Republican rival. Of course Hillary Clinton is going to have to run against a man who seems both to embody and have attracted the support of everything male, white and angry about the ascension of women and black people in America. . . . Of course a woman who wants to land in the Oval Office is going to have to get past an aggressive reality-TV star who has literally talked about his penis in a debate.
Because, of course, conservatives on the right was not going to be able to tolerate yet another living symbol of progress that they see as forcing them further back in the line.

This explains to some extent why we don’t see the kind of rapturous excitement at this “first” that we saw in 2008 for Obama. The sense of violence and hostility that was bubbling just under the surface then and that churned throughout the Obama years has now exploded. It’s frightening and disorienting and it forces optimism to the down-low. The atmosphere is more like a war than a movement.

Clinton’s ad campaign shows the terrain on which this war is being fought. There have been plenty of standard issues ads and character studies, but her most effective spots are those that simply use Donald Trump’s own words against him, showing him insulting people and expressing himself in crude, bullying fashion. They’re presented from the point of view of kids, veterans, seniors, individuals with disabilities, people of color and women who can see how this man who tells his voters, “I am your voice” talks about them.

The ads are not about Clinton and they aren’t really about Trump. They are about us and what Trump’s followers really think of us.

This one, called “Mirrors,” is one of the most powerful:

Many fathers who see the ad are appalled that their daughters have to live in a world where someone like Donald Trump is an acceptable leader. That’s why the experience of Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe who has come forward with her story of being humiliated at Trump’s hands, has such resonance with women and Latinos.

It’s why people with disabilities and their families are frightened by Trump’s cruel mockery of a reporter. It’s the reason that African-Americans feel a chill down their spines when they hear Trump say that the way to achieve racial healing is “law and order” and “stop-and-frisk.” It’s why millions of Americans of all races and creeds were stunned at his blithe dismissal of Khan family members and their sacrifice. These are the people on the other side of all that angry white grievance.

It’s not a coincidence that the first African-American president may be followed by the first woman president. Progress requires that you let the momentum carry you when you have it. But it also shouldn’t be a surprise that the first would enter office on a high note of inspiration and the second would face the inevitable backlash. We should have seen it coming. I get the feeling that Hillary Clinton did.

It's not about her "health"

by digby

Hopefully her debate performance set some minds at ease but I doubt it will have affected many men's point of view on this. It's not about "health" it's a that a woman doesn't have balls and they mean that literally. They just don't think a woman has can do a "man's job."

The "stamina," the "look": A new poll suggests voters are buying in to Donald Trump's insinuations about Hillary Clinton's health. They're ignoring the medical reports.

Voters — especially men — have more confidence that Trump is healthy enough for the presidency than Clinton, according to the Associated Press-GfK poll.

It's a disconnect considering Clinton has released more medical information than Trump, and that outside doctors who've looked at the available data say both candidates seem fine. But it shows the political points Trump scored after the Democratic nominee's much-publicized mild case of pneumonia.

Another gender divide: Nearly half of women but just 4 in 10 men think Clinton's health is getting too much attention, found the poll, which was taken before the presidential candidates' debate on Monday.

"Everybody gets sick," said Sherri Smart, 56, of New York. She said she hasn't decided who to vote for but wishes the candidates would discuss issues instead of sniping about who's most vigorous.

"What's important is, what are you going to do for me?" Smart said.

The AP-GfK poll found 51 percent of voters are very or extremely confident that Trump is healthy enough to be president. In contrast, just over a third of voters — 36 percent — had the same confidence in Clinton's health.

Men are more likely to question Clinton's physical fitness for the job, with 45 percent saying they're only slightly or not at all confident compared to 34 percent of women. Men and women are about equally likely to express confidence in Trump's health. More Democrats are confident of Trump's health than Republicans are of Clinton's.

Health is a legitimate issue as the nation is poised to elect one of its oldest presidents. Trump, 70, for months held off disclosing much about his own fitness while stoking questions about a woman in the White House with his assertion, repeated on national TV Monday, that Clinton lacks the look and stamina for the job. (As for his apparent sniffles during Monday's debate, he blamed a bad microphone.)

"Stamina is a code word for maybe not physically up to the job," said New York University bioethicist Arthur Caplan, who has called for an independent panel to certify the health of presidential candidates. "There's something of a bias about men versus women that subtly Trump has played to, that men are more fit, tough enough to do the job."

Clinton, 68, last year released more detail about her own health history only to buy trouble earlier this month by refusing to take a sick day until a public stumble forced her to reveal the pneumonia diagnosis. But Monday she rebutted Trump's talk of stamina by wondering if he could match her grueling schedule as a secretary of state — traveling to 112 countries, negotiating peace deals, spending 11 hours testifying before a congressional committee.

What exactly do we know about their health? Neither has released their actual medical records, just a summary from their personal physicians with no way to know if anything important was left out.

Yet another disconnect: The AP-GfK poll found nearly 4 in 10 voters don't consider such a release important, and another 2 in 10 say it's only moderately important.

Trump's gastroenterologist in December released a four-paragraph letter saying the GOP nominee would be "the healthiest individual ever elected." Earlier this month, Trump took to "The Dr. Oz Show" to say he felt great, while releasing a bit more detail, such as his cholesterol levels and cancer screenings.

Bottom line: Trump takes a cholesterol-lowering statin medication and a baby aspirin, has some mild plaque in his arteries and is overweight — but was declared generally in good health.

Last summer, Clinton's internist released a two-page letter detailing her family history, prior exams including lab test results, and some prior ailments that have healed — including a 2012 concussion and blood clot Clinton suffered after becoming dehydrated from a stomach virus and fainting. This month, a second letter outlined the mild pneumonia and revealed some updated check-up results.

Bottom line: Clinton takes a blood thinner as a precaution given a history of blood clots, as well as a thyroid medication and allergy relievers — but also was declared generally in good health.

Meanwhile, Trump's obvious mental problems are no big deal and neither is the fact that his primary care "doctor" is a gastro-enterolgist who looks and acts like a character from an R. Crumb comic. This raises no red flags for these people, apparently. But then he has reassured them that he has a huge dick and his testosterone level are through the roof!

This is Drudge's doing all the way.

And Trump had the nerve to call women pigs

by digby

I would call him and his disgusting surrogate Rudy Giuliani pigs but it would be an insult to the animals which actually have a much higher level of intelligence:
The former New York City mayor made the remark, captured on video and posted to Twitter by Elite Daily writer Alexandra Svokos, in response to a question about Clinton’s attack on Trump’s past comments about women. Giuliani defended Trump, labeling him a “feminist” because of how he treats the women he employs, and said he would have responded to Clinton’s attacks much more harshly than the GOP nominee did.

“I sure would’ve talked about what she did to Monica Lewinsky, what that woman standing there did to Monica Lewinsky, trying to paint her as an insane young woman when in fact Monica Lewinsky was an intern,” Giuliani said. “The president of the United States, her husband, disgraced this country with what he did in the Oval Office and she didn’t just stand by him, she attacked Monica Lewinsky. And after being married to Bill Clinton for 20 years, if you didn’t know the moment Monica Lewinsky said that Bill Clinton violated her that she was telling the truth, then you’re too stupid to be president.”

Back when his marriage to Donna Hanover fell apart in 2000, Hanover cited Giuliani's relationship with a staffer just hours after Giuliani suddenly announced their separation. From the Times back then:

Three hours later, Ms. Hanover appeared outside Gracie Mansion and, with a wavering voice and tears in her eyes, said: ''Today's turn of events brings me great sadness. I had hoped to keep this marriage together. For several years, it was difficult to participate in Rudy's public life because of his relationship with one staff member.''

Joannie Danielides, Ms. Hanover's press secretary, said Ms. Hanover was referring to Cristyne Lategano-Nicholas, Mr. Giuliani's former communications director who is now president of NYC and Company, the city's tourism bureau. Friends of Ms. Hanover's said yesterday that she had described the relationship between her husband and Ms. Lategano-Nicholas as intimate while Ms. Lategano-Nicholas worked at City Hall. The mayor has denied having had a romantic relationship with Ms. Lategano-Nicholas, who left City Hall last May and married Nicholas Nicholas, a sports writer, in February.

Apart from the allegation made by Hanover, Giuliani was also having an affair at the time with Judith Nathan, who later become his wife. It was later reported by Politico's Ben Smith, during Giuliani's 2007 presidential run, that Giuliani had been billing "obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons."

This is merely the latest example of top Trump advisers and supporters broaching a topic that Trump himself hasn't yet embraced for a whole host of reasons — not least of which are his own indiscretions.

Giuliani's sex life was the subject of tabloids for years as was Trump's. These old white guys have a lot of nerve making moral judgments.