OCTOBER 2016 “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”

img_222710.30 Bought a Subaru Forrester
10.29 Interview by Mark Moskowitz for documentary on Lary and Theresa
10.29 Washington Post: “Senior Justice Department officials warned the FBI that Director James B. Comey’s decision to notify Congress about renewing the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server was not consistent with long-standing practices of the department, according to officials familiar with the discussions. The bureau told Justice Department officials that Comey intended to inform lawmakers of newly discovered emails. These officials told the FBI the department’s position “that we don’t comment on an ongoing investigation. And we don’t take steps that will be viewed as influencing an election,” said one Justice Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the high-level conversations. “Director Comey understood our position. He heard it from Justice leadership,” the official said. “It was conveyed to the FBI, and Comey made an independent decision to alert the Hill. He is operating independently of the Justice Department. And he knows it.”’
10.27 Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post: “Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager. She has a kind of genius for assembling random words into very long sentences, which she wields against journalists’ questions the way a Jedi knight uses a light saber to deflect incoming fire. Somehow she is serenely unfazed by direct contradiction. After the first debate, she said that Trump had displayed the “presidential virtue” of restraint by not mentioning Bill Clinton’s affairs. But when Trump brought Clinton’s accusers to the second debate, well, she said that was presidential, too.”
10.27 After Tammy Duckworth said that her family had served in uniform dating back to the Revolution, Sen. Mark Kirk replied “I’d forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.Duckworth’s mother, Lamai, is Thai, but her late father, Franklin, was a Marine veteran whose family roots in this country trace to before the American Revolution.
maggi-peyton-3a20899110.26 Maggi Peyton dies at 82. Harold Holzer: “Maggi Peyton, for more than 40 years the very model of the quintessential and indispensable behind-the-scenes New York City political aide, died at her Manhattan home on Wednesday, after a long illness. She was 82 years old. One of the closest of all the campaign staffers who helped advance the political fortunes (and manage the dispiriting defeats) of the late feminist icon Bella Abzug through many hard-fought state, city, and local election campaigns in the 1970s, Ms. Peyton. . . a onetime ballet dancer and founding member of the Manhattan Women’s Political Caucus. . . was famously tight-lipped about her bosses, politically sophisticated, intensely loyal, unflappably calm, and a brilliant vote counter in tight elections.”
10.26 The Washington Post: “Trump allies are actively laying plans to punish the GOP leadership for failing to fully embrace Trumpism — and, crucially, to keep Trumpism’s legacy very much alive as a malevolent and disruptive political force inside the Republican Party. The Times notes that Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon is intent on forcing out House Speaker Paul Ryan, while other leading congressional supporters of Trump are warning the GOP leadership not to dare moderate on immigration, which could stir the great Trumpian masses to rise up in rage. In other words, the battle lines will roughly divide between GOP leaders, party strategists, and establishment figures who are urging one set of lessons to be drawn from the defeat (that the party needs to make peace with cultural and demographic change), and Trump supporters who are urging that a very different set of lessons be drawn (that the party must embrace Trump’s species of ethno-nationalism and xenophobic, America First populism). As one congressional expert puts it: “I expect civil war within the GOP after November 8th, as party elites inside and outside of Congress jockey to assign blame and claim the GOP mantle going forward.”
imgres10.26 Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon, by Peter Ames Carlin
10.25 Dana Milbank in the Washington Post: “Take the baby boomers. Please.The idealists of the 1960s have come a long way from Woodstock. After a quarter- century of mismanaging the country, they have produced Donald Trump, who with his narcissistic and uncompromising style is a bright orange symbol of what went wrong with the massive generation. And polls show that the boomers are the biggest source of support for Trump.Among voters between age 50 and 64, Trump leads Hillary Clinton by three points in Post-ABC News polling and by a point in NBC-Wall Street Journal polling, equal to the older, smaller Silent Generation’s support of the Republican nominee in the latter poll. The generational support for Trump’s burn-it-all-down campaign is the latest reminder of why the baby boomers are in the running to be remembered as the Worst Generation. But, if I may claim a rare moment of generational pride, there is good news in the polling, too. Generation X — my much-maligned generation — has turned emphatically against Trump. The NBC poll shows Clinton leading by 22 points among those between 35 and 49 — a more lopsided rejection of Trump than even the millennials mustered. This raises hope after the debacle of boomer governance. “It’s really the boomers that are driving the hyperpartisanship and polarization and gridlock,” says David Rosen, a consultant specializing in generational effects in politics. Beginning with the boomer-led 1994 Republican Revolution, “that’s where you see the origin of the insane politics that we have right now. Trump is in some ways taking that style to its most absurd and ridiculous extremes.”
10.22 The Chicago Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-0, and reach World Series for first time since 1945
10.21 In the Washington Post, Trump says “What a waste of time if we don’t pull this off. You know, these guys have said: ‘It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. There’s never been a movement like this in the history of this country.’ I say, it matters to me if we win or lose. So I’ll have over $100 million of my own money in this campaign. So, if I lose,if I lose, I will consider this —”
10.20 Donald Trump at the Al Smith Dinner: “I must say the media is more biased than ever before. Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves her. My wife Melania gives the same speech and people get on her case,” he said.
10.20 Hillary Clinton at The Al Smith Dinner: “People look at the Statue of Liberty, and they see a proud history of a nation of immigrants — a beacon of hope for people around the world. Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a 4. Maybe a 5 if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.”
10.19 Atlas Obscura: “Earlier this October, at a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice, London paid its rent to the Queen. The ceremony proceeded much as it had for the past eight centuries. The city handed over a knife, an axe, six oversized horseshoes, and 61 nails to Barbara Janet Fontaine, the Queen’s Remembrancer, the oldest judicial position in England. The job was created in the 12th century to keep track of all that was owed to the crown. In this case, the Remembrancer has presided over the rent owed on two pieces of property for a very long time—since 1235 in one case, and at least 1211 in the other. Every year, in this Ceremony of Quit Rents, the crown extracts its price from the city for a forge and a piece of moorland. No one knows exactly where these two pieces of land are located anymore, but for hundreds of years the city has been paying rent on them. The rate, however, has not changed—the same objects have been presented for hundreds of years.”
10.19 Wajahat Ali: “Are you not entertained? Is this is not why we’re here? After watching the final presidential debate, and reminiscing about this absolutely absurd and historic election, I’m reminded of the poem “Auto Wreck,” by Karl Shapiro, which I read in elementary school. “The traffic moves around with care, But we remain, touching a wound/That opens to our richest horror.” This election cycle has opened up a uniquely American Pandora’s box of horrors and delights. I am forever changed. How can I ever go back to serious, boring talk about policies that could affect the lives of millions? How can I sit through sober conversations about foreign policy and individual liberties? Who needs elitist jabberwocky, when you’ve just fed me glorious sex talk, bad hombres, Alicia Machado, “Celebrity Apprentice,” Howard Stern, bragging about anatomical size, Mexicans as “rapists,” white supremacists, anti-Semitic trolling, threats against journalists, encouraging foreign governments to hack our emails, reckless allegations of election rigging, threats to jail presidential candidates, “Access Hollywood” videos, Khizr Khan, the mockery of Gold Star mothers, Gennifer Flowers, Ben Carson’s “fruit salad of their lives,” and the use and abuse of Pepe the Frog as a symbol to promote a nativist, racist agenda? Sensationalism has replaced sobriety. Conspiracy theories and baseless allegations have replaced facts. Diplomacy and tact are mocked, and victories are measured not by intelligent policy positions but by snarky tweets and rhetorical low blows. This is the election America deserves, not the one it needs. It encapsulates and unleashes our collective id on the world.”
10.19 10.19 Facial recognition software used by law enforcement agencies across the country has captured information on more than 117 million Americans, according to a report that calls for greater oversight and reviews for possible racial bias. The report, “The Perpetual Line-up,” found that roughly half of all US adults are included in facial recognition databases and 16 states allowed law enforcement officials to run searches against driver’s license photo databases without warrants — a “highly problematic” finding, according to the report released Tuesday by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology.

“SUCH A NASTY WOMEN”

1280_donald_trump_hillary_clinton_2nddebate_2picgetty_6465566_ver1-0Hillary Clinton easily had her strongest debate–confident, she rolled between policy and punches. Very strong. Trump also did well, but he had more to do, and didn’t achieve the heights necessary. As time went on, he knew he was failing, and was left to mutter “Such a nasty woman.” At the end, she was beaming, and he was sullen.

No doubt the biggest headline was Trump’s refusal to say that he would accept the result of the election — a stunning declaration that could upend centuries of US political stability. “I’ll look at it at the time,” said the Republican nominee, instantly providing the headline of the night. “What I’ve seen is so bad. The media is so dishonest and so corrupt and the pile-on is so amazing. I think the voters are seeing through it. I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?”

Among other highlights was what called “this machine-gun burst of damning comparisons” from Clinton: “Back in the 1970s, I worked for the Children’s Defense Fund. And I was taking on discrimination against African American kids in schools. He was getting sued by theJustice Department for racial discrimination in his apartment buildings. In the 1980s, I was working to reform the schools in Arkansas. He was borrowing $14 million from his father to start his businesses. In the 1990s, I went to Beijing and I said women’s rights are human rights. He insulted a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, called her an eating machine. And on the day when I was in the Situation Room, monitoring the raid that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was hosting the ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’” As Warnke said, “In the first debate, Clinton proved she could be as gentle a woman as the country’s men wanted; in the second debate, she’d proved she could be as measured a leader as the country’s people needed; and in the third, she proved she could be as authentically annoyed as she deserved. In three acts, Clinton demonstrated the unlearning process that guides many American women’s experiences: performing for men, leading for others, living true-to-self. We’ve never witnessed such a compressed, gendered metamorphosis in American political life. For many women, Clinton’s movement toward her own power is a historical moment. We’ll remember where we were when fire took our shape.” Among other comments:

Nick Confessore of the Times: “Given his limits as a candidate and temperament, I think this was probably the most mature debater we were likely to see from Donald Trump in this election. There are people out there who just want to hear him talk like a normal Republican for like five minutes so they can tell themselves it’s O.K. to go in there and pull the lever for him. So for those people I think tonight helped a bit. On the other hand, the offsetting problem for him is women and college-educated people and more affluent voters. I think there were many points tonight when he hurt himself with those groups.”

Maureen Dowd in the Times: “He was so unnerved, he said one of the most shocking things ever heard in a debate, putting his ego ahead of American democracy. Asked by the admirable debate moderator, Fox News’ Chris Wallace, if he would accept the results of the election or reject it as rigged, Trump replied coyly and self-destructively: “I will tell you at the time,’’ adding, “I will keep you in suspense.”

Peter Wehner in the Times: “Narcissism — in this instance the inability to accept that he is likely to lose to a woman in the biggest contest in the world — was at the core of Mr. Trump’s answer about not being prepared to say he would abide by the outcome of the election. What Americans saw almost instantaneously in that answer is that the Republican nominee for president puts himself — his vanity, his self-obsession, his need to project dominance and therefore his need to win — far above everything in life, including the best interest of the nation. All of us struggle with pride and none of us is selfless; but no one we have ever seen in American political life is as egotistical and selfish as Donald Trump.”

OCTOBER 2016 “YOU CAN DO ANYTHING”

lwobdqaaqbaj10.18 Stuart Rotherberg in the Washington Post: The newest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll shows Trump doing worse against Clinton than Mitt Romney did against President Obama with almost every demographic group, including men, women, whites, Latinos, Republicans, voters with household incomes of more than $100,000 per year, voters with a college degree, voters with a postgraduate degree and voters 65 and older. African Americans, white men without a college degree and younger voters are among the few groups with which Clinton is underperforming compared with Obama. But that should not give much comfort to Trump, who is drawing only 9 percent of African Americans, compared with the 6 percent that Romney drew against the first African American president. It would be a mistake to call Trump’s current path to an electoral-college victory narrow. It is nonexistent. Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, once part of the Trump scenario, have never been “in play,” and he is not competitive in states Obama won only narrowly in 2012, such as Virginia and Colorado. Trump is more likely to lose North Carolina than win it, which would put him under 200 electoral votes. Frankly, the writing has been on the wall for months about this race. You simply needed to look at the candidates, their campaign teams, the map and the voters.”
10.17 Michael Gerson in the Washington Post: “It is a further indication (as if we needed it) that Trump has no commitment to the American political system. He is perfectly willing to delegitimize democratic institutions as a campaign tactic, squandering a civic inheritance he does not value. Even before his current troubles, he said that an electoral loss would be prima facie evidence of fraud and encouraged supporters to monitor majority-black polling stations in Pennsylvania. Now he is entering uncharted territory. By preemptively questioning the legitimacy of his forthcoming shellacking, Trump is stepping outside the four corners of the constitutional order, on the model of autocratic strongmen he has publicly admired.”
bec975ravens-giants-football10.16 Giants beat Ravens 27-23, as Odell Beckham Jr. scores two touchdowns and accumulates 222 yards
10.15 New Disunion anthology published.
10.14 Toronto Sun: Designated by Cleveland manager Terry Francona as the Tribe’s Game 2 starter, Trevor Bauer managed to cut himself badly enough on the pinky finger of his pitching hand to require stitches and has been pushed back at least until Game 3 on Monday in Toronto. Francona chose to address the crisis with humour. “I think we’ve all, probably everybody in here, have had, at some point or other, a drone-related problem,” said Francona during his press briefing Friday before Game 1. “I think he said it was routine maintenance. And, again, I have no idea what that is.”
10.14 Interview with Steve Schmidt by Andrew Prokop of Vox:
Prokop Stepping back a bit from the swirl of allegations about Trump’s personal behavior in the news, what’s your big-picture view of the state of the Republican Party right now, and our politics in general?
Steve Schmidt One of John McCain’s famous quotes was quoting Chairman Mao: “It’s always darkest before it’s completely black.” The Trump campaign is over — Hillary Clinton is going to be elected president. The question that remains here, the open question, is the degree of the collateral damage, right? The Republicans are going to lose the US Senate. The question is how many seats can they lose in the House. It is possible but not probable yet that they lose the House majority. So the question is, how far below 40 percent is Trump in the popular vote? Then there’s a long-term implication for the civic life of the country, the vandalism being done, which will culminate for the first time in American history with his refusal to make an ordinary concession where he grants to the winner legitimacy by recognizing the legitimacy of the election. I think it’s very clear he’s going to go out saying it’s a rigged system. I think what you’re gonna see is Steve Bannon monetizing 30 percent of the electorate into a UKIP-style movement and a billion-dollar media business. And I think the Republican Party has an outstanding chance of fracturing. There will be the alt-right party; then there will be a center-right conservative party that has an opportunity to reach out, repair damage, and rebuild the brand over time. America, ideologically right now, is a centrist country — it used to be a center-right country — but it’s by no means a Bernie Sanders country. Not even close. The market will demand a center-right party. The last implication for it behaviorally is it exposes at such a massive scale and at such magnitude the hypocrisy of the Tony Perkinses and the Jerry Falwell Jrs. and the Pat Robertsons. These people are literally the modern-day Pharisees, they are the money changers in the temple, and they will forever be destroyed from a credibility perspective. There are millions of decent, faithful, committed evangelicals in this country who have every right to participate in the political process. But this country doesn’t ever need to hear a lecture from any one of these people [Perkins, Falwell, etc.] again on a values issue, or their denigration of good and decent gay people in this country.
Andrew ProkopSteve Schmidt As a political device, the “war on women” trope was effective. Republicans had an unfortunate series of candidates who were able to caricature the party. But the defense of Trump, the cowardice of so many Republican elected officials who won’t confront this — what it exposes is political cowardice on a massive level. It exposes a political class in the Republican Party that simply is unfit to lead the country. As a conservative Republican, I find anathematic the regulatory and tax policies of liberal Democrats. But there’s no question that Republicans — as an institution and what we’re led by — are unfit to run the country, or to govern the country. You have a massive reckoning coming due that will play out over years on the serially putting party above country. We’ve reached the moment in time that George Washington warned about in his farewell address with the danger of factions. You have basically warring tribes that subordinate the national interest to their tribal interest. There’s no higher value obviously for most — though not all — Republican elected officials than maintaining fidelity to Donald Trump. What’s extraordinary about that is that in America, we don’t take an oath to a strongman leader; we take it to the Constitution of the United States. And Donald Trump is obviously manifestly unfit in every conceivable way to occupy the office of the American head of state.
Andrew Prokop What do you think of this new Trump campaign strategy, reportedly being pushed by Steve Bannon and perhaps Roger Stone, to focus on attacking Bill Clinton for alleged sexual misconduct? Does this line of attack have a chance of actually working, or is it more aimed at satisfying, say, the future audience of the media company Trump is rumored to want to start if he loses?
Steve Schmidt Trump’s surrounded by people who have made a living in the Clinton conspiracy business. What’s the point they’re trying to make? That there’s a double standard in the media about how he’s been covered? There is! But this isn’t a strategy for winning a presidential election. This is a strategy born from the fevered imaginations of people who are living in an alternate reality universe. And it won’t be effective. I made this point the other day on MSNBC, and it’s true. In World War II the Japanese adopted a new tactic, kamikaze missions, manned aircraft, fully fueled missions, to fly into American ships. Twenty percent of the kamikaze missions were effective. They hit their targets, they caused death, they were instruments of terror. It was a tactic born from desperation. But it didn’t change the war’s outcome. Yet as the war neared its end, the desperation and the attacks increased. And that’s what’s happening as this race comes to an end.
Andrew Prokop So what would your advice be for Republican candidates on the ballot this year — let’s say for someone who’s supported Trump so far but hasn’t been all that enthusiastic. Is it too late to unendorse?
Steve Schmidt Winston Churchill was a keen observer of character and he said, Americans will always do the right thing, but they’ll wait till the last possible second to do it. And there’s something to that in our national character. Obviously the decision to jump off the Trump train will have been a late one, and it will be criticized by some people. They’ll say, “What was the last straw that broke the camel’s back?” I don’t know if there’s an answer for that. But people who are straddling the line with absurd propositions, like, “I’m voting for him but I don’t endorse him,” it’s a chickenshit position.
Andrew Prokop From a political perspective, isn’t there a counterargument that Republican officials going too openly against Trump would depress base turnout and lead to a bigger loss, handing over more seats to the Democrats?
Steve Schmidt Candidates for federal office have duties and obligations toward the national interest that supersede tactical calculations. And the question is this — I suppose if you believe that Donald Trump has demonstrated fitness to sit atop the national command authority as commander in chief of the world’s most powerful military and its most sophisticated nuclear arsenal, then you should continue to endorse Donald Trump. But for sure, when the election’s over, you’re locked into that position for all time. And the question is, if we haven’t hit the line where you can say, “I can’t support the nominee of the party” — then where is the line?”
10.14 Daniel Halper in the New York Post: “Donald Trump’s campaign says a British man is countering claims that the GOP presidential nominee groped a woman on a cross-country flight more than three decades ago. The man says he was sitting across from the accuser and contacted the Trump campaign because he was incensed by her account — which is at odds with what he witnessed. “I have only met this accuser once and frankly cannot imagine why she is seeking to make out that Trump made sexual advances on her. Not only did he not do so (and I was present at all times) but it was she that was the one being flirtatious,” Anthony Gilberthorpe said in a note provided to The Post by the Trump campaign. Gilberthorpe made headlines in 2014, when he went public with a claim that as a 17-year-old he procured boys (some who “could have been” underage”) for sex parties with high-ranking British politicians. Gilberthorpe has no evidence to back up his claim — just his self-described excellent memory.”
10.13 Bob Dylan is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
10.13 Michelle Obama: “This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful, it is intolerable, and it doesn’t matter what party you belong to. No woman deserves to be treated this way — none of us deserves this kind of abuse. I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women,” the first lady told several hundred voters at a university here. I can’t stop thinking about this — it has shaken me to my core.”
10.13 The United States is no longer a majority white, Christian country, and that is already beginning to have profound social and political implications. At 45 percent of the population, white Christians are a shrinking demographic—and the backlash from many members of the group against the increasing diversification of America has been swift and bitter. “People fight like that when they are losing a sense of place, a sense of belonging, and a sense of the country that they understand and love,” says Robert P. Jones, the author of The End of White Christian America, in this animated interview. “How do they reengage in public life when they can’t be the majority?”
10.12 Barack Obama in Wired: the truth is, if you had to choose any time in the course of human history to be alive, you’d choose this one. Right here in America, right now.
10.7 On a video taped in 2005, Donald Trump is recorded saying: ““I moved on her [Nancy O’Dell} and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and fuck her. She was married. I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture. I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there, and she was married. And then all of a sudden I see her, she’s not got the big phony tits and everything. Whoa, I’ve gotta use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her . . . You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything . . . Grab them by the pussy.”
10.6 Hurricane Matthew skims Florida
img_2200-110.5 Tom Topoussis, Maxwell, Pam Widener
10.5 Mets eliminated by Giants in one game playoff, despite brilliant effort by Noah Syndegaard
10.2 Vin Scully signs off: “Romo out of the stretch, and the 2-2 pitch on the way. Sergio deals a slider hit in the air to left center, coming over is Pagan — he puts it away!
And the Giants are the wild-card team. The city is going wild, appropriately enough, and they are heading for New York. No runs, one hit for the Dodgers, who managed to leave four men on base because they were the only four they got on base. The Giants in the Western division are 45-31, the Dodgers are 43-33, so inside the division, they certainly were the better team. That was awfully nice. The umpire just stood up and said goodbye, as I am saying goodbye. Seven runs, 16 hits for the winning Giants, 1-4-1 for the Dodgers. The winner, Matt Moore, the loser, Kenta Maeda. I have said enough for a lifetime, and for the last time, I wish you all a very pleasant good afternoon.”
10.1 The New York Times: Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show. The 1995 tax records, never before disclosed, reveal the extraordinary tax benefits that Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his ill-fated foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Tax experts hired by The Times to analyze Mr. Trump’s 1995 records said that tax rules especially advantageous to wealthy filers would have allowed Mr. Trump to use his $916 million loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income over an 18-year period.