Archive

October 24th, 2016

It's a shame Clinton wasn't tested in debate

    What a misfortune it is that Hillary Clinton was able to coast through three presidential debates without being pressed significantly on any of her weaknesses.

    At this point, I'm out of ways to express outrage at Donald Trump, who almost certainly will not become president. But let's get this next part out of the way, at least, in reaction to his performance at the third and final debate: It was unacceptable for a major-party candidate to say he refuses to accept in advance the results of the U.S. election and claim that his opponent should not have been "allowed" to run.

    Oh, Trump knew a few catchphrases. He knew to work in "e-mails" every once in a while. And he repeated like a schoolboy who read only one paragraph of the assigned reading that she was caught in a fib over the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the first debate (as he already said in the second debate, she had falsely denied calling it a "gold standard").

    But mostly Trump proved incapable of laying a glove on her. Calling her a "nasty woman" doesn't count.

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October 23rd

Trump in a Bikini

    Is it too late for Hillary Clinton to surrender to Donald Trump’s demand that she take a drug test before this last presidential debate?

    I think she should — if he agrees to a few tests of his own. He can choose any three of the following:

    — Citizenship test. This is what the immigrants he feels so warm and fuzzy about must master to become full-fledged Americans and, for example, vote in presidential elections against the likes of Trump.

    But would he himself pass one?

    He’d surely be able to say who the current speaker of the House of Representatives is, given that he spends much of his time sticking pins in his personal Paul Ryan voodoo doll.

    But the exact count of voting representatives in the House? That’s also on the test.

    We could give him hints: your number of wives plus 432. The amount of federal income taxes you paid in 1995 plus 435.

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The GOP paved Trump's ugly path

    Cratering in the polls, besieged by sexual assault allegations and drowning in his own disgusting rhetoric, Donald Trump has been reduced to hollering that November's election is "rigged" against him. His proof? It looks like he's going to lose.

    Senior Republican leaders are scrambling to distance themselves from this dangerous claim. But Trump's argument didn't spring from nowhere. It's just one more symptom of a long-running effort by Republicans to delegitimize Democratic voters, appointees and leaders. For years, this disease has infected our politics. It cannot be cured until Republican leaders rethink their approach to modern politics.

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Debate Night Yet Again

    We’ve gone through a lot this election year, people. Although the girl-grabbing controversies have at least been educational: The nation is now aware how large a portion of American women have suffered from unwanted touching at some point in their lives — about a third of them, apparently, at the paws of Donald Trump.

    Are you getting tired of hearing Trump call his opponent “Crooked Hillary”? Do you think Clinton should respond with “Dirty Donald”? Let me see a show of hands. Wow.

    The tone of Wednesday’s debate was pretty well set when the Clinton campaign announced it was canceling the traditional spousal handshake, for fear that Melania Trump might bring along some guests who would embarrass Bill Clinton. It seemed like a reasonable precaution, except for the fact that by this point in time, Bill Clinton should have become pretty much embarrassment-proof.

    The guest competition has been going on for weeks, with each side piling up invitees who are supposed to be symbolic of something — Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi controversy or Donald Trump’s mean immigration plan.

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It makes perfect sense for Ecuador to (kind of) turn its back on Assange

    Julian Assange might be forgiven for feeling paranoid. Shortly after WikiLeaks posted a transcript of a speech delivered by Hillary Clinton to Goldman Sachs, his internet access at the Ecuador Embassy in London, where he has lived since 2012, went down. A few days later, a British bank suspended the bank accounts of RT, the Russian state-backed news outlet that has enthusiastically reported on WikiLeaks' recent publications.

    Assange immediately claimed that shadowy forces were acting against the WikiLeaks founder, and accused the U.S. government in a tweet of leaning on Ecuador to shut down his internet. Washington immediately denied the claim.

    Denying Assange internet access amounted to something of a slap on the wrist of Ecuador's moody boarder. But it also represents Quito's acknowledgement that a shifting political and economic environment in Ecuador has turned Assange into a serious liability.

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In Europe, the Green Party is a force. In the US, it's irrelevant

    Many Americans value environmental protection and want to see more of it. But Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, is drawing only 1 to 3 percent in recent polls, even in an election where many voters dislike the major candidates and are looking for alternatives.

    Stein certainly has worked to differentiate herself from the two major party candidates. In July, she asserted that electing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton - probably the choice of most pro-environment voters - would "fan the flames of . . . right-wing extremism" and be as bad as electing Donald Trump.

    While Stein makes anti-establishment statements like this, her German counterparts have been advancing a green agenda in local, regional and national government for the past 30 years. Most recently, Winfried Kretschmann was reelected this year as head of government in Baden-Württemberg, one of Europe's technologically and industrially most advanced regions.

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Billy Bush and Roger Ailes got paid to leave; women should get paid for tolerating them

    Perhaps this marks me as naive, but I've goggled at the sheer sums of money powerful men have recently been paid simply to go away and stop causing trouble. Forty million dollars to Roger Ailes, a man accused of persistent and pervasive sexual harassment? Millions of dollars to Billy Bush, whose appearance cheering Donald Trump's pronouncements about grabbing women on the "Access Hollywood" tape had tanked his already rickety brand?

    It must be extraordinarily pleasant to occupy a world where even after rendering yourself noxious, the sort of person who is more pollutant than asset to a modern corporate environment or the cozy environment of a morning show, you can get paid astonishing sums of money to stop hanging around and causing trouble.

    And it's not only money.

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Women know why Donald Trump's accusers stayed silent for so long

    It's the least surprising October surprise ever: Donald Trump -- who bragged about groping women -- is now facing multiple allegations of groping women.

    Trump's misogyny greatest-hits reel was already as long as your arm, if you had abnormally long arms: calling women "pigs" "slobs," "dogs" and "pieces of ass" (including his own daughter); accusing Fox's Megyn Kelly of having "blood coming out of her wherever"; belittling Heidi Cruz and Carly Fiorina for their looks during the Republican primaries; calling breastfeeding "disgusting"; slut- and-fat-shaming a former Miss Universe; saying of women that "you've got to treat 'em like s-t"; accusing Hillary Clinton -- the first woman to win a major-party presidential nomination - of being insufficiently attractive to satisfy her husband. This is not an exhaustive list.

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If Hillary Clinton is 'such a nasty woman,' she's also a liberated one

    "Such a nasty woman."

    Donald Trump's complaint, grumbled as Hillary Clinton snuck a dig at his record of taxpaying into a discussion of federal trust funds, sent a collective shudder through watchers. On social media and post-debate panels, it neared the top of the list of discussable moments, following close behind Trump's promise to "keep you in suspense" about whether he'll accept the result of the election.

    But instead of outrage, I felt a short, sharp jolt of joy. If it had been me up on that debate stage, I would have been hard-pressed not to break out a shimmy, which is one on the extraordinarily long list of reasons Clinton has the discipline to be president and I do not. As unpleasant as Trump's comment was, and as much as it perfectly embodies the "I'm rubber, you're glue" strategy of his candidacy, the remark provided a perfect illustration of how constrained the limits of acceptable behavior are for women, and how vast and wide open the preserves of allowable conduct are for men, so frontier-like that Trump could wander around them hunting "bad hombres."

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Donald Trump's refusal to say he'll accept election results isn't just shocking. It's also a total flip-flop.

    Donald Trump's comment Wednesday night that he will have to wait and see whether to accept the results of the 2016 election was shocking for a presidential candidate.

    It was also a total flip-flop.

    Asked by debate moderator Chris Wallace whether he would accept the election results, Trump said some version of "I will look at it at the time" repeatedly. He added: "I'll keep you in suspense, OK?"

    What many didn't note on Wednesday night, though, is that Trump has actually been asked this question before - at a debate! - and offered a totally different answer.

    Here's the exchange with NBC's Lester Holt from the first debate, which seems like three months ago but was actually just 25 days ago:

    HOLT: Mr. Trump, very quickly, same question. Will you accept the outcome as the will of the voters?

    It took prodding, but Trump said he would "absolutely" support Clinton as president. It was unmistakable and firm.

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