JUNE 2016

6.29 Eduardo Porter in the Times: “The British political scientist Andrew Gamble at the University of Cambridge has argued that Western capitalism has experienced two transformational crises since the end of the 19th century. The first, brought about by the Depression of the 1930s, ended an era in which governments bowed to the gospel of the gold standard and were expected to butt out of the battles between labor and capital, letting markets function on their own, whatever the consequences.. . .[Keynes’ views provided] the basis for a new post-World War II orthodoxy favoring active government intervention in the economy and a robust welfare state. But that era ended when skyrocketing oil prices and economic mismanagement in the 1970s brought about a combination of inflation and unemployment that fatally undermined people’s trust in the state.. . .The Keynesian era ended when Thatcher and Reagan rode onto the scene with a version of capitalism based on tax cuts, privatization and deregulation that helped revive their engines of growth but led the workers of the world to the deeply frustrating, increasingly unequal economy of today. There are potentially constructive approaches to set the world economy on a more promising path. For starters, what about taking advantage of rock-bottom interest rates to tap the world’s excess funds to build and repair a fraying public infrastructure? That would employ legions of blue-collar workers and help increase economic growth, which has been only inching ahead across much of the industrialized world. After the Brexit vote, Lawrence Summers, former Treasury secretary under President Clinton and one of President Obama’s top economic advisers at the nadir of the Great Recession, laid out an argument for what he called “responsible nationalism,” which focused squarely on the interests of domestic workers. Instead of negotiating more agreements to ease business across borders, governments would focus on deals to improve labor and environmental standards internationally. They might cut deals to prevent cross-border tax evasion. There is, however, little evidence that the world’s leaders will go down that path. Despite the case for economic stimulus, austerity still rules across much of the West. In Europe, most governments have imposed stringent budget cuts — ensuring that all but the strongest economies would stall. In the United States, political polarization has brought fiscal policy — spending and taxes — to a standstill.”
6.29 Paul Simon, quoted in the Times. “I was 21, maybe 22, when I wrote ‘The Sound of Silence,’ which seems to me like quite a big jump from where I was before that,” he said. “And why or where, I have no idea. I thought the same thing when I wrote ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ —whoa, that song is better than what I’ve been doing. Different chords and something special about it. The same feeling with ‘Graceland,’ and ‘Still Crazy After All These Years.’”The successes mystify him, he said: “All of a sudden you’re there, and you’re surprised. This happened to me at times where some line comes out, where I’m the audience and it’s real, and I have to stop, because I’m crying. I didn’t know I was going to say that, didn’t know that I felt that, didn’t know that was really true. I have to stop and catch my breath.” Also: “It’s an act of courage to let go,” Mr. Simon said. “I am going to see what happens if I let go. Then I’m going to see, who am I? Or am I just this person that was defined by what I did? And if that’s gone, if you have to make up yourself, who are you?”

<strong>6.29 Eduardo Porter</strong> in the <em>Times</em>: “The British political scientist <strong>Andrew Gamble</strong> at the University of Cambridge has argued that Western capitalism has experienced two transformational crises since the end of the 19th century. The first, brought about by the Depression of the 1930s, ended an era in which governments bowed to the gospel of the gold standard and were expected to butt out of the battles between labor and capital, letting markets function on their own, whatever the consequences.. . .[Keynes’ views provided] the basis for a new post-World War II orthodoxy favoring active government intervention in the economy and a robust welfare state. But that era ended when skyrocketing oil prices and economic mismanagement in the 1970s brought about a combination of inflation and unemployment that fatally undermined people’s trust in the state.. . .The Keynesian era ended when <strong>Thatcher and Reagan</strong> rode onto the scene with a version of capitalism based on tax cuts, privatization and deregulation that helped revive their engines of growth but led the workers of the world to the deeply frustrating, increasingly unequal economy of today. There are potentially constructive approaches to set the world economy on a more promising path. For starters, what about taking advantage of rock-bottom interest rates to tap the world’s excess funds to build and repair a fraying public infrastructure? That would employ legions of blue-collar workers and help increase economic growth, which has been only inching ahead across much of the industrialized world. After the Brexit vote, <strong>Lawrence Summers</strong>, former Treasury secretary under <strong>President Clinton</strong> and one of <strong>President Obama</strong>’s top economic advisers at the nadir of the Great Recession, laid out an argument for what he called “responsible nationalism,” which focused squarely on the interests of domestic workers. Instead of negotiating more agreements to ease business across borders, governments would focus on deals to improve labor and environmental standards internationally. They might cut deals to prevent cross-border tax evasion. There is, however, little evidence that the world’s leaders will go down that path. Despite the case for economic stimulus, austerity still rules across much of the West. In Europe, most governments have imposed stringent budget cuts — ensuring that all but the strongest economies would stall. In the United States, political polarization has brought fiscal policy — spending and taxes — to a standstill.”<br />
<strong>6.29 Paul Simon</strong>, quoted in the <em>Times</em>. “I was 21, maybe 22, when I wrote ‘The Sound of Silence,’ which seems to me like quite a big jump from where I was before that,” he said. “And why or where, I have no idea. I thought the same thing when I wrote ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ —whoa, that song is better than what I’ve been doing. Different chords and something special about it. The same feeling with ‘Graceland,’ and ‘Still Crazy After All These Years.’”The successes mystify him, he said: “All of a sudden you’re there, and you’re surprised. This happened to me at times where some line comes out, where I’m the audience and it’s real, and I have to stop, because I’m crying. I didn’t know I was going to say that, didn’t know that I felt that, didn’t know that was really true. I have to stop and catch my breath.” Also: “It’s an act of courage to let go,” Mr. Simon said. “I am going to see what happens if I let go. Then I’m going to see, who am I? Or am I just this person that was defined by what I did? And if that’s gone, if you have to make up yourself, who are you?”<br />
<strong>6.29 Henry Porter</strong> in <em>vf.com</em>: “Many Leave supporters, it seems, placed their dislike of immigrants above the economic consequences of seceding from Europe. But outside, in the real world, those consequences are already becoming quite real and far-reaching. The pound has fallen further to reach a 31-year low, and the Dow Jones has dropped 900 points in two days. Britain has lost its AAA credit rating; deals seem to be dead in the water; signs are already emerging that inward investment will begin to dry up; and no one seems to have the faintest idea about how Britain might finance a 7 percent deficit. (The U.K., after all, relies on foreign investors, now spooked, to fund the shortfall on its balance of payments.) A de-valuation of the pound sterling now seems possible. None of this is all that surprising. It was all predicted by those, like myself, who campaigned to remain in the E.U. Now the question is whether Leave voters will change their opinions as interest rates rise and people lose their jobs. Across Britain, there are now large numbers of people already expressing remorse. If we had the vote tomorrow, knowing what we do now, I’m certain that the majority would choose to remain.”<br />
<strong>6.28 Frank Luntz</strong>, quoted in vf.com: “It’s tough, but the positive approach combines offering voters security and independence: security so they can be protected against unpredictability, and independence so they can once again have the potential of achieving their dreams. It requires a safety net and an ability to reach for the stars. . . .If they wanted to push a positive message, they need three attributes. One, they have to demonstrate accountability and willingness to make mistakes, but neither of them are. Two, they have to have a commitment to common sense. The voters in the middle aren’t looking for ideology, they’re looking to get things done. Third, they have to promise a more efficient, more effective, more accountable government. Voters aren’t asking for less government, they’re not asking for a more limited government; whatever government they have, they want it to work.. . .The debates drove me nuts because they were asking candidates to answer complex questions in 60 seconds. You cannot explain foreign policy in 135 words. It’s impossible. You cannot provide a jobs program for those who are chronically unemployed, or a solution to education for our rural areas and our cities in 135 words. It’s impossible. And yet that is what we are not just encouraging, it is what we demand from our candidates. And so you get the superficial and the sound bite rather than the substance. And it’s not just tragic anymore, I think it’s highly destructive.”<br />
<strong>6.29 Henry Porter</strong> in <em>vf.com</em>: “Many Leave supporters, it seems, placed their dislike of immigrants above the economic consequences of seceding from Europe. But outside, in the real world, those consequences are already becoming quite real and far-reaching. The pound has fallen further to reach a 31-year low, and the Dow Jones has dropped 900 points in two days. Britain has lost its AAA credit rating; deals seem to be dead in the water; signs are already emerging that inward investment will begin to dry up; and no one seems to have the faintest idea about how Britain might finance a 7 percent deficit. (The U.K., after all, relies on foreign investors, now spooked, to fund the shortfall on its balance of payments.) A de-valuation of the pound sterling now seems possible. None of this is all that surprising. It was all predicted by those, like myself, who campaigned to remain in the E.U. Now the question is whether Leave voters will change their opinions as interest rates rise and people lose their jobs. Across Britain, there are now large numbers of people already expressing remorse. If we had the vote tomorrow, knowing what we do now, I’m certain that the majority would choose to remain.”</p>
<p><a href=url6.28 Pat Summitt dies at 64
6.28 Buddy Ryan dies at 85
6.28 Frank Luntz, quoted in vf.com: “It’s tough, but the positive approach combines offering voters security and independence: security so they can be protected against unpredictability, and independence so they can once again have the potential of achieving their dreams. It requires a safety net and an ability to reach for the stars. . . .If they wanted to push a positive message, they need three attributes. One, they have to demonstrate accountability and willingness to make mistakes, but neither of them are. Two, they have to have a commitment to common sense. The voters in the middle aren’t looking for ideology, they’re looking to get things done. Third, they have to promise a more efficient, more effective, more accountable government. Voters aren’t asking for less government, they’re not asking for a more limited government; whatever government they have, they want it to work.. . .The debates drove me nuts because they were asking candidates to answer complex questions in 60 seconds. You cannot explain foreign policy in 135 words. It’s impossible. You cannot provide a jobs program for those who are chronically unemployed, or a solution to education for our rural areas and our cities in 135 words. It’s impossible. And yet that is what we are not just encouraging, it is what we demand from our candidates. And so you get the superficial and the sound bite rather than the substance. And it’s not just tragic anymore, I think it’s highly destructive.”
6.28 David Brooks in the Times: Anybody who spends time in the working-class parts of America (and, one presumes, Britain) notices the contagions of drug addiction and suicide, and the feelings of anomie, cynicism, pessimism and resentment. Part of this pain arises from deindustrialization. Good jobs are hard to find. But hardship is not exactly new to these places. Life in, say, a coal valley was never a bouquet of roses. What’s also been lost are the social institutions and cultural values that made it possible to have self-respect amid hardship — to say, “I may not make a lot of money, but people can count on me. I’m loyal, tough, hard-working, resilient and part of a good community.” We all have a sense of what that working-class honor code was, but if you want a refresher, I recommend J.D. Vance’s new book “Hillbilly Elegy.” Vance’s family is from Kentucky and Ohio, and his description of the culture he grew up in is essential reading for this moment in history. He describes a culture of intense group loyalty. Families might be messed up in a million ways, but any act of disloyalty — like sharing personal secrets with outsiders — is felt acutely. This loyalty culture helps people take care of their own, but it also means there can be hostility to those who want to move up and out. And there can be intense parochialism. “We do not like outsiders,” Vance writes, “or people who are different from us, whether difference lies in how they look, how they act, or, most important, how they talk.” It’s also a culture that values physical toughness. It’s a culture that celebrates people who are willing to fight to defend their honor. This is something that progressives never get about gun control. They see a debate about mass murder, but for many people guns are about a family’s ability to stand up for itself in a dangerous world. It’s also a culture with a lot of collective pride. In my travels, you can’t go five minutes without having a conversation about a local sports team. Sports has become the binding religion, offering identity, value, and solidarity. Much of this pride is nationalistic. . . .But the honor code has also been decimated by the culture of the modern meritocracy, which awards status to the individual who works with his mind, and devalues the class of people who work with their hands. Most of all, it has been undermined by rampant consumerism, by celebrity culture, by reality-TV fantasies that tell people success comes in a quick flash of publicity, not through steady work. The sociologist Daniel Bell once argued that capitalism would undermine itself because it encouraged hedonistic short-term values for consumers while requiring self-disciplined long-term values in its workers. At least in one segment of society, Bell was absolutely correct.”
imgres6.26 Dustin Johnson wins the US Open golf tournament, but coverage is dominated by images of hi girlfriend Paulina Gretzky‘s skirt.
6.26 George Will on Trump: “He has an advantage on me, because he can say everything he knows about any subject in 140 characters and I can’t.”
6.25 Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic: “Trump, however, didn’t cause the chaos. The chaos caused Trump. What we are seeing is not a temporary spasm of chaos but a chaos syndrome.Chaos syndrome is a chronic decline in the political system’s capacity for self-organization. It begins with the weakening of the institutions and brokers—political parties, career politicians, and congressional leaders and committees—that have historically held politicians accountable to one another and prevented everyone in the system from pursuing naked self-interest all the time. As these intermediaries’ influence fades, politicians, activists, and voters all become more individualistic and unaccountable. The system atomizes. Chaos becomes the new normal—both in campaigns and in the government itself.6.24 The Washington Post: “That confusion over what Brexit might mean for the country’s economy appears to have been reflected across the United Kingdom on Thursday. Google reported sharp upticks in searches not only related to the ballot measure but also about basic questions concerning the implications of the vote. At about 1 a.m. Eastern time, about eight hours after the polls closed, Google reported that searches for “what happens if we leave the EU” had more than tripled.”
IMG_20696.25 Lunch with my dear friend Jim Noonan at the London Hotel.
6.24 Donald Trump on the impact of Brexit: “You know, when the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly.”
6.23 Michael Gerson in the Washington Post: “Republican convention delegates are sophisticated enough to see what is happening. The Trump campaign claims to be lean; in most of the country, including the battleground states, it is nonexistent. Trump offers his leadership as the solution to every problem yet presides over a campaign organization that is a squabbling, paralyzed amateur hour. Delegates know that even if Trump can boost his poll numbers, he cannot magically create a viable, national campaign structure. If a revolt emerges, it will happen first in the GOP convention rules committee — which meets a week before the convention and is stacked with officials more loyal to the party than to Trump. The simplest move would be to require a supermajority to select a nominee — an approach taken by some Republican state conventions in order to avoid the choice of badly wounded candidates. The goal should be a truly open convention, which does not choose anyone Trump has already beaten.
6.23 Brexit: The UK votes to leave the EU
6.22 Ginny has her knee replaced
6.20 Paul Wideman in the Post: “Unlike some neophyte candidates, Trump not only doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, but also insists that he doesn’t need to know it. Whatever deep insecurities drive his constant preening bluster, he isn’t going to let anyone tell him that he’s anything less than a genius and things aren’t going great. Which means that as the campaign goes on and his situation gets worse, he’ll be exceedingly unlikely to make the kind of changes he needs to reverse his fortunes. Trump is no stranger to failure, but in his life as a businessman he could segregate those failures from the rest of his enterprises, at least enough to keep moving forward and find other ways to make money. He could fail at the casino business, or the steak business, or the vodka business, or the magazine business, or the airline business, or the football business, or the real estate seminar business, or the vitamin pyramid scheme business, and maintain the viability of his overall brand. But he has never been on a stage like this one before. He didn’t have hundreds of reporters on the steak beat scrutinizing every twist and turn in the decline of Trump Steaks and putting the results of their reporting on every front page in America. But now he does, and he can’t just drop one scheme and move on to the next one. In that interview with Hallie Jackson, Trump said, “We really haven’t started. We start pretty much after the convention, during and after.” But his problem isn’t that he hasn’t started; it’s that he started a year ago — digging himself into a hole it’s going to be awfully hard to climb out of.
Yian Q. Mui in the Post: “The size of the nation’s workforce — known as the labor force participation rate — continues to fall. Since the start of the downturn, the percentage of that population that has a job or is looking for one has dropped more than 3 percentage points, to 62.6 percent, a level not seen since the 1970s. The problem is particularly pronounced among men between the ages of 25 and 54, traditionally considered the prime working years. Their participation rate has been declining for decades, but the drop-off accelerated during the recession. The high mark was 98 percent in 1954, and it now stands at 88 percent. A new analysis from the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, slated for release Monday, found that the United States now has the third-lowest participation rate for “prime-age men” among the world’s developed countries. In other words, Greece, Slovenia and Turkey have a larger share of men in their workforces than the United States does. The United States beats only Italy 55ca4f568fbf768838dc8e19_donald-trump-spy-magazine-04and Israel.. . .[T]he CEA concludes that the problem is one of education and the erosion of demand for low-skilled workers. More than 90 percent of college-educated men are in the workforce, compared with 83 percent of those with a high school diploma or less. It’s a theme seen time and again in our increasingly globalized and high-tech economy: Blue-collar jobs that were once the cornerstone of the middle class get outsourced or replaced by automation.
6.20 The Cleveland Cavaliers defeat the Golden State Warriors, becoming the first NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals, and bringing Cleveland its first major league championship since 1964
6.18 Donald Trump: “I feel like a supermodel. Except like times 10. It’s true. I’m a supermodel. I’m on the cover of these magazines—I’m on the cover of the biggest magazines.” Hey Don–Happy to help!
6.17 Ayesha Curry, after Golden State’s defeat in Game 6: ““I’ve lost all respect sorry this is absolutely rigged for money. Or ratings in (sic) not sure which. I won’t be silent . Just saw it live sry.”

CAPITOL ATTRACTIONS IN ALBANY

IMG_2031After meeting with the Gov last Monday, I had a little time to kill. I spent some time admiring the glories of The War Room, a reception area on the second floor of the Capitol Building. The War Room has that name because it is decorated with murals dedicated to the various conflicts in which New Yorkers of European descent have engaged, between the founding of the Dutch colony and World War I. The murals, which were painted by William de Leftwich Dodge, are fairly amazing, in a comic book sort of way. I was pleasantly surprised to see my man Will Cushing kinda sorta honored. In one corner is a frieze that clearly shows the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack, or CSS Virginia. Above the frieze, however, is the legend, Albemarle and Merrimack. I would like to have heard the arguments that got Cushing pushed in, or left out, of that honor.
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One floor down from the War Room is the Flag Room, a place where are stored the battle flags from the 150 or so New York Regiments that fought to preserve the Union. Most are sheathed to contain deterioration, but a few spectacular flags are on display.

JUNE 2016

IMG_20496.16 The turtle returns
6.15 Almost 40 percent of the millennials surveyed by Mintel for its 2015 report said cereal was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it.
6.13 Albany
6.12 49 people are killed by a gunman at a nightclub in Orlando. It was the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history, and the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks in 2001.
6.12 Ken Burns speaks at the commencement ceremonies at Stanford: “As a student of history, I recognize this type. He emerges everywhere and in all eras. We see nurtured in his campaign an incipient Proto-fascism, a nativist anti-immigrant Know Nothing-ism, a disrespect for the judiciary, the prospect of women losing authority over their own bodies, African Americans again asked to go to the back of the line, voter suppression gleefully promoted, jingoistic saber rattling, a total lack of historical awareness, a political paranoia that, predictably, points fingers, always making the other wrong.” But, Burns warned, what makes Trump especially dangerous is the convergence of these tendencies in a single candidate. “These are all virulent strains that have at times infected us in the past,” he told the graduates, their parents and the Stanford faculty. “But they now loom in front of us again — all happening at once. We know from our history books that these are the diseases of ancient and now fallen empires. The sense of commonwealth, of shared sacrifice, of trust, so much a part of American life, is eroding fast, spurred along and amplified by an amoral Internet that permits a lie to circle the globe three times before the truth can get started. This is not a liberal or conservative issue, a red-state, blue-state divide. This is an American issue. Many honorable people, including the last two Republican presidents, members of the party of Abraham Lincoln, have declined to support him,” Burns said. “And I implore those ‘Vichy Republicans’ who have endorsed him to please, please reconsider. We must remain committed to the kindness and community that are the hallmarks of civilization and reject the troubling, unfiltered Tourettes of his tribalism.”
6.10 Gordie Howe dies at 88
6.9 Elizabeth Warren: “Trump tells everyone who will listen that he’s a great businessman, but let’s be honest — he’s just a guy who inherited a fortune and kept it rolling along by cheating people. When that’s your business model, sooner or later you’re probably going to run into legal trouble. And Donald Trump has run into a lot of legal trouble. Ah, yes — Trump University, which his own former employees refer to as one big “fraudulent scheme.” Many of the Trump University victims ended up deep in debt — sometimes tens of thousands of dollars with no way to pay it off. Trump’s employee playbook said to look for people with financial problems — because they make good targets. He even encouraged his salesforce to go after elderly people who were trying to create a little financial security. I taught law for more than 30 years. Ask any lawyer in America and they’ll tell you that sounds like fraud. And that’s exactly what Donald Trump is being sued for — fraud, and worse, for targeting the most vulnerable people he could find, lying to them, taking all their money and leaving them in debt.
Some of those people are fighting back. Because in America, we have the rule of law — and that means that no matter how rich you are, no matter how loud you are, no matter how famous you are, if you break the law, you can be held accountable. Even when your name is Donald Trump. But Trump doesn’t think those rules apply to him. So at a political rally two weeks ago, and almost daily since then, the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States has savagely attacked Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge presiding over his case. “We are in front of a very hostile judge,” Trump said. “Frankly, he should recuse himself. He has given us ruling after ruling, negative, negative, negative.” Understand what this is. Trump is criticizing Judge Curiel for following the law, instead of bending it to suit the financial interests of one wealthy and oh-so-fragile defendant. Trump also whined that he’s being been treated “unfairly” because “the judge … happens to be, we believe, Mexican.” And when he got called out, he doubled down by saying “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest.” He’s personally directed his army of campaign surrogates to step up their own public attacks on Judge Curiel. He’s even condemned federal judges who are Muslim — on the disgusting theory that Trump’s own bigotry compromises the judges’ neutrality. Like all federal judges, Judge Curiel is bound by the federal code of judicial ethics not to respond to these attacks. Trump is picking on someone who is ethically bound not to defend himself — exactly what you’d expect from a thin-skinned, racist bully. Judge Curiel can’t respond — but we can. We can tell his story. Gonzalo Curiel was born in Indiana — not Mexico — to immigrant parents who worked hard their entire lives and were handed nothing. He went to Indiana University for undergrad and then for law school. For thirteen years, he worked as a federal prosecutor in Southern California, fighting the Mexican drug cartels as a leader of that region’s narcotics enforcement division. He collaborated with top Mexican officials to disrupt the culture of corruption between the Mexican government and the most powerful and deadly cocaine smugglers in North America. The effort was impressive. On both sides of the border, money launderers, street gangs, and assassins were arrested and prosecuted. But that success came at great cost. Witnesses were killed. Mexican officials were murdered. Judge Curiel himself was the target of an assassination plot and spent the better part of a year living officially in hiding, under the protection of U.S. Marshals. Later, after his years of service as a prosecutor, Judge Curiel was appointed to the California state courts by a Republican governor who calls him an “American hero.” He was nominated to the federal bench by a Democratic president, and confirmed by a voice vote in the Senate. That’s what kind of a man Judge Curiel is. What kind of a man is Donald Trump? Donald Trump says “Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself.” No, Donald — you should be ashamed of yourself. Ashamed for using the megaphone of a Presidential campaign to attack a judge’s character and integrity simply because you think you have some God-given right to steal people’s money and get away with it. You shame yourself and you shame this great country. Donald Trump says “[t]hey ought to look into Judge Curiel because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace.”
No, Donald — what you are doing is a total disgrace. Race-baiting a judge who spent years defending America from the terror of murderers and drug traffickers simply because long ago his family came to America from somewhere else. You, Donald Trump, are a total disgrace. Judge Curiel is one of countless American patriots who has spent decades quietly serving his country, sometimes at great risk to his own life. Donald Trump is a loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud who has never risked anything for anyone and serves nobody but himself. And that is just one of the many reasons why he will never be President of the United States. And in spite of these shameful attacks, nobody doubts that Judge Curiel will continue to preside over Trump’s case as a fair and neutral judge. Because Judge Curiel is a lawyer with integrity — and that’s what lawyers with integrity do. Judge Curiel has survived far worse than Donald Trump. He has survived actual assassination attempts. He’ll have no problem surviving Trump’s nasty temper tantrums. When first asked if he would condemn Trump’s comments about Judge Curiel, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said, well, gee, you know, “Donald Trump is certainly a different kind of candidate.” After days of pressure, McConnell finally said that attacking the judge is “stupid” and that Trump should “get on script.” What script is that, exactly? And where do you suppose Donald Trump got the idea that he can personally attack judges, regardless of the law, whenever they don’t bend to the whims of billionaires and big business? Trump isn’t a different kind of candidate. He’s a Mitch McConnell kind of candidate. Exactly the kind of candidate you’d expect from a Republican Party whose “script” for several years has been to execute a full-scale assault on the integrity of our courts. Blockading judicial appointments so Donald Trump can fill them. Smearing and intimidating nominees who do not pledge allegiance to the financial interests of the rich and the powerful. Trump is also House Speaker Paul Ryan’s kind of candidate. Paul Ryan condemned Trump’s campaign for its attacks on Judge Curiel’s integrity. Great. Where’s Paul Ryan’s condemnation of the blockade, the intimidation, the smears, and the slime against the integrity of qualified judicial nominees and Judge Garland? Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell want Donald Trump to appoint the next generation of judges. They want those judges to tilt the law to favor big business and billionaires like Trump. They just want Donald to quit being so vulgar and obvious about it.”
6.8 Gov denounces Citizens United, proposes reforms
6.6 A star swimmer at Stanford is sentenced to six months in jail for rape. The felon’s father had written the judge asking for clemency: “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.” Comment stands in sharp contrast to victim’s eloquent letter: “You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me, and that’s why we’re here today,” she read in court. She then described how she decided to attend a party so she could spend time with her younger sister. “I made silly faces, let my guard down, and drank liquor too fast not factoring in that my tolerance had significantly lowered since college,” she said. “The next thing I remember I was in a gurney in a hallway. I had dried blood and bandages on the backs of my hands and elbow. I thought maybe I had fallen and was in an admin office on campus. I was very calm and wondering where my sister was. A deputy explained I had been assaulted. I still remained calm, assured he was speaking to the wrong person. I knew no one at this party. When I was finally allowed to use the restroom, I pulled down the hospital pants they had given me, went to pull down my underwear, and felt nothing.” “I wanted to take off my body like a jacket and leave it at the hospital with everything else.” She described Turner as a predator picking off “the wounded antelope of the herd, completely alone and vulnerable, physically unable to fend for myself. …” She added: “Sometimes I think, if I hadn’t gone, then this never would’ve happened. But then I realized, it would have happened, just to somebody else. You were about to enter four years of access to drunk girls and parties, and if this is the foot you started off on, then it is right you did not continue.” “You do not get to shrug your shoulders and be confused anymore,” she said of his conviction. “You have been convicted of violating me with malicious intent, and all you can admit to is consuming alcohol. Do not talk about the sad way your life was upturned because alcohol made you do bad things.”
6.5 Gov delivers BDS speech
6.2 Hilary Clinton slams Trump, beginning a reversal of fortunes: Because as you know so well, Americans aren’t just electing a President in November. We’re choosing our next commander-in-chief – the person we count on to decide questions of war and peace, life and death. And like many across our country and around the world, I believe the person the Republicans have nominated for President cannot do the job. Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different – they are dangerously incoherent. They’re not even really ideas – just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies. He is not just unprepared – he is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility. This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes – because it’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin. We cannot put the security of our children and grandchildren in Donald Trump’s hands. We cannot let him roll the dice with America. This is a man who said that more countries should have nuclear weapons, including Saudi Arabia. This is someone who has threatened to abandon our allies in NATO – the countries that work with us to root out terrorists abroad before they strike us at home. He believes we can treat the U.S. economy like one of his casinos and default on our debts to the rest of the world, which would cause an economic catastrophe far worse than anything we experienced in 2008. He has said that he would order our military to carry out torture and the murder of civilians who are related to suspected terrorists – even though those are war crimes. He says he doesn’t have to listen to our generals or our admirals, our ambassadors and other high officials, because he has – quote – “a very good brain.” He also said, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.” You know what? I don’t believe him.

ALI, CUOMO AND ABZUG

537743748The incomparable Muhammad Ali died on Friday evening at the age of 74. There are about a million people far better equipped than I to eulogize his life. The only time I ever saw him in person came in September 1977–I’m thinking it was Sunday the 19th. I had been working on the mayoral campaign of Bella Abzug, which ground to a halt on September 9th due to a lack of support. In the run-off between Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo, Bella eventually decided to endorse Cuomo. He also managed to get the endorsement of Ali, and for whatever reason, the campaign decided to package the announcements together. I was with a cheering group somewhere on Central Park West, although this photo looks very Harlemish to me. Maybe they did a tour. Mario said something to the effect that would have to be a good mayor, because if he failed, Ali would punish his body, and Bella would punish his soul. One day I’ll ask my current boss if he was at that event.