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    • Trump/Clinton Debate Open Thread
      I used to get paid to watch these things. I don’t any more. So…I’m going to go read a nice novel in a coffee shop. Please feel free to talk about the debate in comments. I will, actually, be curious to hear what people have to say, just not willing to sit through so much […]
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Sniff!

I know, I know, that’s not nice.

But it sure is funny.

We can’t wait for Saturday Night Live.

Poor Ivanka looked so embarrassed.

 

The Mother of All Debates

id-debate-2016Hi guys, I’ve got volunteers at my house phone banking! Did speed cleaning when I got home. Ikea bags are the best thing for cleaning- EVER.

Hope you have friends with you watching the debate. Well, we’re friends here, right? Tonight, I made a pot of chili, crock pot mac and cheese, a salad with red bell peppers, cucumbers, sliced avocado and tomatoes. We have green iced tea, diet iced tea, four flavors of seltzer, soda, a bottle of white wine and some ginever. Plus hummus, chips, crackers cheese. It looks like I’ll have leftovers for a week. And cookies!

I’m not going to give any pre-debate commentary. There’s been  plenty of stoopid commentary all day long. Most of it has to do with strategy, debate tactics, what Hillary has to do, (not sound like a school marm. Can we say offensive, boys and girls?). What Donald has to do (try to pay attention for 90 minutes.). Yadayadayada.

But if Hillary is out there, I would like to say that no matter what happens tonight, we know you are a winner and smart and experienced and honest and determined and unflagging. And we hope that the rest of the country who has never seen you debate before is as impressed with you as we are. No matter what happens tonight, we volunteers in PA have your back and are with you all the way to the end.

I won’t say Good Luck because luck favors a prepared mind and we know you are ready. So, have a good time.

Love Trumps Hate.

 

Playing with my gadget; Watching Donald squirm; Adam Davidson

Some quick notes:

1.) The other day, I was looking for something in my secretary and found an old iPhone. I don’t even know how old it is. It’s probably been in that drawer since before I moved out of NJ to PA three years ago. There’s also an iPhone 5 in the bottom of my bag that I take to work with me. I haven’t used this since March but for some reason can’t bring myself to get rid of an expensive piece of equipment even though it’s unusable. (It’s broken).

The point is, we all have gadgets we haven’t used in awhile. We shouldn’t be surprised that Hillary went through a bunch of Blackberries. In fact, Blackberry always had a kludgy OS.  My daughter had one for awhile. I never liked it. Too many screens, too many layers of stuff to go through to get to what you want. But I’m sure you can make it work for you if you have a few hours to play with your gadget. If you’re Secretary of State, you probably don’t have that luxury. Instead, you might go through a few phones until you find the one that works for you and when they upgrade the OS, you have to relearn everything. In that case, 13 might make sense.

Some of them are probably in the bottom of Huda’s bag.

2.) OooooOOOoooo! Donald is now being asked about his birther history. He doesn’t want to talk about it. His surrogates are being asked about the pay-for-play deal he had with the AG of Florida Pam Bondi. But they don’t want to talk about it. One of his surrogates was pinned down on MSNBC and forced to talk about Donald’s taxes. They always start off talking to the host like they are sharing insider jokes about Hillary. I guess the media was all too willing to play along with that for most of the last two years. But some media types were shamed in the last week to be more critical of Donald. After all, there’s only so much traction you can get out of an email “scandal”.

Michelle Goldberg gave an interview to TrumpCast yesterday where she finally acknowledges that Hillary’s indiscretions pale in comparison to the avalanche of bad juju in Trump’s biography. It probably won’t last but I’ll take it. Maybe Schlafly dying and Roger Ailes being exposed and Fox News imploding has something to do with it. We shall see.

3.) I’m really beginning to despise Adam Davidson. Not only did he intentionally and aggressively go after Elizabeth Warren in 2008 with one of the most ridiculous arguments in favor of the banks after the financial disaster, he seems to be behind the curve on jumping on the “we all hate Hillary, let’s not invite her to sit at our lunch table” bandwagon. His “insider” story about the Clinton Global Initiative completely misses the point of having a president demanding large sums of money from rich people in order to get their pictures taken with him. Only Bill Clinton could sweet talk someone like Exxon to fork over money for a climate change initiative. (I have no idea if this is an actual case but you get the point).

Adam kind of reminds me of one of those ratings agency employees  in The Big Short who gave glowing reviews to the banks on their securities and funds because they were hoping to move up to Goldman Sachs or Merrill Lynch someday.  Adam has the aroma of public radio all over him.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it doesn’t exactly scream success in the Uber-capitalism American ideal sense of the word where you have to be an entrepreneur making bucket loads of cash on what is essentially ad based software or capturing the last full time gig with bennies at the New York Times.

Anyway, Adam’s not as bright as he thinks and his timing is off.

Labor Day and Look-ahead

Happy Labor Day to everyone taking the day off. This year, it’s a paid holiday for me. Last year, it wasn’t. I paid for this day off out of my own pocket. That’s the price you sometimes pay as a contractor. There are a lot more contractors since 2008. The number one problem with this economy as I see it is income instability. That’s when you can’t count on your hours, that the site will stay open, that your start-up might close, that your second job is shopping yourself for the next gig. That’s what’s undermining the middle class. You can’t buy a house, buy a car, have a family, save, take a vacation or keep our consumer based economy going strong when you’re always looking over your shoulder for the guy who is going to lay you off.

Some billionaire entrepreneurs will tell you that fluid labor laws are essential to innovation and making piles of cash. This is not true. Piles of cash were still attainable when we were all gainfully employed in steady jobs.Maybe the piles weren’t quite so high but how many yachts do you need?

In any case, people need breaks or they burn themselves out. So, today, remember the union guys who picketed and stood their ground and gave us the weekend and Labor Day.

Joe Biden and Tim Kaine are in Pittsburgh for a speech and parade. I got up too late to attend but will try to follow up on this later today.

“Let’s fight the right wing, all workers unite”

Best way to fight: VOTE. Pennsylvania residents have until October 11 to register. Do it now.

 

*******************************************************************

Looking ahead:

1.) Today the press starts flying in the same plane as Hillary instead of trailing behind her jet. That should be fun. Her crew has probably thoughtfully replaced the flotation devices in their seat cushions with anchors and the oxygen with nitrous oxide. “Oh, yeah? Who’s laughing now, Andrea??” Maybe Bill will plan the in-flight meals. All vegan. But not the tasty vegan. More of the macrobiotic vegan from 30 years ago with nutritional yeast and bean sprouts. Yum.

2.) The New York Times seems to be going out of its way to Gore Hillary. I’m not linking to any of the articles because why give them clicks? But I will say that after registering voters in predominantly black neighborhoods for the past 6 weeks, I see no lack of enthusiasm for Hillary. The comments on the article were turned off so volunteers can’t give their point of view. Well, we don’t really count anyway, right?

3.) Speaking of getting Gored, the media went on the attack against Gore in 2000. It probably cost him the presidency. Sure, Naderites helped but it shouldn’t have been so close going into the final stretch. Same with Kerry. He was Swift-boated mercilessly and that really contributed to the closeness of the race. Now, it’s Hillary. It’s ALWAYS been Hillary.

I’m trying to find a good explanation why the media seems to be doubling down on her when the alternative is indisputably worse in every possible way. Simplest explanations tend to be the most accurate so I’m going to say that a very large part of it can be attributed to the fact that she is a woman. I say this because the drumbeat of negative coverage of her has been relentless since she went to Washington and from the very beginning defined herself as an atypical first lady. She was clearly feminist, intelligent and not about to let herself get relegated to teas and decorating. There was a cadre of women a little older than her who just missed the cultural revolution, the pill and feminism. And there were plenty of men who weren’t used to talking to a woman as an equal in the halls of power. They weren’t going to let her skirt their rigid rules of gender behavior and get away with it.

But you know, this has gone on for way too long now. Hillary has become a formidable politician in her own right, separate from her husband. It hasn’t stopped the attacks or the coverage of her using the Clinton Rules:

1) Everything, no matter how ludicrous-sounding, is worthy of a full investigation by federal agencies, Congress, the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” and mainstream media outlets

2) Every allegation, no matter how ludicrous, is believable until it can be proven completely and utterly false. And even then, it keeps a life of its own in the conservative media world.

3) The media assumes that Clinton is acting in bad faith until there’s hard evidence otherwise.

4) Everything is newsworthy because the Clintons are the equivalent of America’s royal family

5) Everything she does is fake and calculated for maximum political benefit

As we have seen, it’s not just the Clintons that get this kind of coverage. Gore and Kerry also got it, although Clinton’s seems to be an order of magnitude worse and this has been backed up with a Harvard study.

Curiously, Obama did not get this kind of coverage.

There could be several reasons for this. One is that racism was a shameful thing 8 years ago. Two is that it was a “change election”. Three is something a little less tangible and something I have been trying to explain for 8 years now: Obama is one of them. He is from their class. He’s the Harvard educated lawyer with a fondness for the conventional values and ambitions of the country club Republican class. Note that Michelle was not actively (or publicly) involved in creating policy. She’s the Stay At Home Mom with the garden. That was dog-whistling to the media that he wasn’t going to break any new ground culturally. He’s the guy the financiers love because he’s got status written all over him. He was their human shield against the rabble who wanted the bankers’ heads and higher taxes for the upper crust. Well, we couldn’t have that. They’ll never trust Hillary because they suspect she’s just a bit more liberal than they’re comfortable with.

Anyway, we’re all worse off because the media decided to jump on the bandwagon to gore Gore and Swift-boat Kerry. Hillary seems to be holding her own right now. Trump seems to have a ceiling because he’s only been able to capture the white male vote. There’s a good probability that Hillary is going to be president. But there’s still some volatility too. None of the volunteers I work with are taking this race casually. And we are still getting people who are volunteering voluntarily. I witnessed this yesterday when one of my young black female millenial volunteers registered another young, black millenial female who then OFFERED to volunteer for us.

Take that, New York Times.

I get the feeling that the media right now is reveling in the scads of money they are making off this election. Pumping up Trump and Sanders paid off big for them. It narrowed what should have been a blowout for Hillary. And they sort of have to keep the pressure up now because the candidates are so unequal in every way that to portray them accurately at this point would make it clear who the president should be. There really is no question. But the media needs a photo finish. I guess they think that even bad news is good and if the worst happens, they can always tell Trump that they made him and they can unmake him.

That’s a dangerous game because this guy will hold a grudge forever and use every trick in the book, which is formidable for a president, to take down his enemies. We aren’t talking about a Nixon here. Nixon was subtle compared to Trump. Letting this genie out of the bottle will backfire badly for the media. They need to think this over and decide if they can live with a Madame President who’s a feminazi libtard or a malignant narcissist with his own white nationalist militia and the power to make their lives a lot more miserable than alfalfa sprouts and squishy veggie burgers on Hill Force One.

Yesterday was a bad day for Journalism

b52fc1ea81c221507536aafb47194ff9You know, eight years ago, I gave up on most media sources for news because of the god awful way Hillary Clinton was covered during the 2008 primary. The straw on the camel’s back in 2008 was Keith Olbermann’s clumsy and menacing suggestion that maybe someone take Hillary into a room and only one person come out (presumably not Hillary) to get her to drop her fruitless pursuit of the Democratic party’s nomination for president. That was it for me. I’d put up with Chris Matthews gossipy guy at the block party schtick and Andrea Mitchell’s robotic maliciousness. Olbermann was a bridge too far.

This year, I dipped my toe back in the media coverage of the presidential campaign by listening to CNN on TuneIn on my iPhone while I walked back and forth to the bus from work. Much of it was the same old “both sides do it” crap that I remembered last time Hillary ran. I figured that that is always going to be the noise in the signal and was looking for some indication that journalism was finally starting to get a clue and realize how important it is that they do the right thing this year.

Yesterday disabused me of that notion. It is a day that should live in infamy.

It started for me with Brianna Keiller aggressively questioning a Hillary surrogate, a Senator, over the “appearance of a conflict of interest” with respect to Hillary’s actions as Secretary of State and the Clinton Foundation.

Then I saw a similar confrontation on Twitter between Chuck Todd and a Clinton surrogate on the same topic where Todd was breathless about the shocking “optics” of the Clinton Foundation donors presuming to contact Hillary at the State Department.

I was starting to feel my blood pressure creep up and was going to pack it in for the night when a tweet showed up that Anderson Cooper was going to talk to Hillary in the next hour. Well, that got delayed for one reason or another and I fell asleep with CNN on again.

Early in the morning, I heard one of the CNN hosts talking to Nicholas Kristoff of the NYTimes. Now, I normally like Kristoff and you would think that he and Hillary share many of the same interests, especially when it comes to sex trafficking of women. You’d thing that the empathy that Kristoff displays in his writing on this topic could be extended to the good work that the Clinton Foundation does providing AIDS drugs for poor people around the world, some of whom might have been some of those girls sold into sexual slavery.

You would be wrong.

What I heard was Nick Kristoff dropping what can only be his “life cause” facade to talk about how baaaaad the AP’s irresponsible and inaccurate report on the chummy ties between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department looks for Hillary. The optics look bad even though he acknowledges that the actual facts show that nothing improper happened. Then he said something that makes me think that the media has completely lost the plot and is playing a very dangerous game.

He said that this issue came up in 2009 during Clinton’s confirmation hearings, which I remember well. I remember that Dick Cheney didn’t have to make such outrageous and impossible promises about Halliburton. I can’t remember anyone rigorously enforcing Bush’s blind trusts or making a big deal out of them. No, but I do remember Hillary getting grilled on the Clinton Foundation and watching her bend over backwards to accommodate the impossible standards of the Republicans.

But none of that mattered to Kristoff because Hillary should have known that the media was going to bring this up and make an international incident over anything having to do with the Clinton Foundation. She should have known that the media would be relentless and vicious about it. She should have known that the only reasonable thing to do would be to shut the foundation down back in 2009 so that there would be absolutely no appearances whatsover of impropriety no matter how many lives were being saved in Africa.

Nick evolved into whining about it like he was feeling put out having to feel guilty about it. She should have known they were going to be assholes.

It sounded to me like Hillary wore her skirts too short.

That’s it. I’m done. I can’t listen to this shit anymore. These “journalists” are not taking this seriously. They are letting personal feelings, high school personality culture and sexism drive their coverage this year. I can’t take anymore of it.

They should all be ashamed of themselves.

 

 

Tales from 2016 GOTV: True Story

devjhhr5Yesterday was a beautiful day for voter registration in PA. I’ve been doing these events every weekend for about a month now. I live in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh and this territory includes some of Pittsburgh’s most diverse neighborhoods. Yesterday, I was in East Liberty.

East Liberty has been through cycles of prosperity and decline. It’s now on the upswing. Some of the typically hipster stores are there now: Whole Foods. Trader Joes, West Elm. The population is beginning to look like the future: Techies, immigrants, African Americans.

My method is to keep moving and to talk to everyone on the sidewalk, asking them if they’ve registered to vote. The response is overwhelmingly positive even from people who are already registered to vote. I get a lot of support. I’m registering on behalf of PA Dems but my schtick is non-partisan. We’ll register anyone because we have future canvassing events planned to try to persuade even the Trump supporters.

Anyway, I met an African American man on the sidewalk eating his lunch and we started to talk. He was registered and he said there was no way in hell he was going to vote for Trump and I said something flippant like, “Yeah, especially after what Trump said last night”. The man stopped and looked at me and said, “Tell me what he said”

And I found that I really couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I was so ashamed of the whole condescending, ignorant, insulting crap that vomited forth from Trump’s mouth. I just stood there and stammered and said, “Sir, I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”.

But he persisted. He wanted me to say it looking him right in the eyes. So, I gulped and told him what Trump said about jobs and poverty and “What have you got to lose??” It was awful.

Then he must have seen how upset I was so he gave me a hug.

Every conversation is an opportunity. I spend too much time behind a monitor talking through a keyboard and connecting to digital thoughts. But voter outreach is a different kind of digital diet that allows us all to be human.

*****************************************************************

Another true story: My sister is undecided. I talked to her last night and I was like, “How in the HELL are you UNDECIDED?? Isn’t this an obvious choice? This is not difficult.”

I can’t blame her entirely. People are herd animals. That’s our nature. And she lives in conservative semi-rural Central PA. Probably everyone she knows votes Republican. They might not even remember why they started to vote that way but that’s what their families and neighbors and co-workers do so, you know, vote Republican or you’re not going to have much of a social life.

Maybe I should be relieved that she doesn’t see Trump as an option for her this year. But she’s been marinated in so much anti-Hillary propaganda for so long that even though intellectually she knows there’s no THERE there, the taint of wrongdoing lingers around Hillary like a silent but deadly fart.

I gave her my best stories about Hillary from a personal point of view. Like when I got to ask her a question about infrastructure at YearlyKos in 2007. Infrastructure is one of the highlights of her 2016 campaign so I like to think I was ahead of the curve there. And then there was the time in 2008 when she set up a conference call with all of us unofficial bloggers to thank us for continuing to champion her during the primaries. Katiebird might remember because she got to talk to her while we all listened patiently- for a long, LONG time, but I digress. (I wanted to throttle Katiebird for bogarting the phone call but I’ve given her plenty of reasons to throttle me and we’re still friends.) That was before we went PUMA after the RBC meeting and we were all infuriated with the party for trashing our primary votes.

Anyway, my sister said she might reconsider if she could talk to Hillary personally. And it occurred to me that this was probably a good idea, not that Hillary can have a private conversation with everyone’s sister. But Hillary already has fans like us. We’re going to vote for her. She can put our ballots in her pocket. I won’t be upset if she ignores us for the rest of the campaign. But the thing is we line up and wait for hours to see her campaign events and we are genuinely enthusiastic and like her- because we know her and have had some experience that makes her human to us.

But people like my sister have only heard what comes out of the TV from Fox News and other media outlets that for some reason are desperately frantic to keep Hillary out of the White House and will stop at nothing to smear her reputation. They’re very good at it now. Well they’ve had 25 years of practice.

So, if you’re out there Hillary, consider a small, intimate event in a place like Central PA with a dozen or so undecided Republican women. My sister says she’ll take your call. You know how to reach me.

 

Trump in the Garden of Beasts

gty_kristallnacht_kb_131108_33x16_1600I have a hypothesis about why Donald Trump is saying outrageous, indefensible things. I think he’s worried about looking bad in the debates to come and that worry, combined with Hillary’s growing lead over him, makes it look very likely that he will lose in November. This is a guy who is used to winning. He wins and he wins and he wins. Losing is bad for his image.

Why would a rich, famous guy with a hot Eastern European wife put himself through all  of this if he can’t win? But bailing at this point would look weak. So, he’s going to have his own party pull the plug on him.

There are other possibilities of course. He could really mean what he says and he wants to fire up his base, who have guns. Lots of guns.

What concerns me is the tepid response from the media. The New York Times Editorial was the equivalent of the naughty step. Heidi Li Feldman, formerly of Heidi Li’s Potpourri, pointed me to a criticism in The Guardian of pre-WWII coverage of Germany by British newspapers that also was tepid about what was starting to become an alarming and unusual political movement complete with assassination attempts and thuggish behavior from the leader and his followers.

The danger here is that unless there is a strong public condemnation of this rhetoric and behavior, it’s only going to get worse because we will have acclimated ourselves to it. It will be, “Well, they’re always saying stupid things like that” or, “you should know what you’re getting into if you go to a Trump Rally” or, “Sure they sound like they’re going to aggressively patrol polling stations this fall but what are they going to do to stop people from voting?”. Before you know it, you have another Kristallnacht on your hands.

Now, I’m not saying that this will happen this year to this candidate and his enraged and armed followers. But we need to walk this back- now- because there is no brake on how many people can buy guns in this country. One or a couple or a posse could decide they’ve had enough of commie Hillary and her libtard voters. We know what happens next because we have a lot of history on film.

As much as I’d like to see Donald lose to Hillary by a YUGE margin, it’s safer for all of us if he’s forced out and some “reasonable” Republican got his followers to calm their tits already.