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Category: General

In the last 24 hours Trump has body shamed Clinton and claimed she’s using PEDs

[ 136 ] October 16, 2016 |


At this point he’s got to be trolling LGM. I expect a passionate defense of ketchup shortly.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire (CNN)Donald Trump suggested Saturday that his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, has been “getting pumped up” with performance-enhancing drugs and challenged Clinton to take a drug test before the final debate next week.

Trump argued that Clinton was more energetic during the beginning of their debate last Sunday, but lost her steam by the end of the debate. He offered no evidence to back up his wild claim.

“I think we should take a drug test prior to the debate,” Trump said during a rally here. “Because I don’t know what’s going on with her, but at the beginning of her last debate, she was all pumped up at the beginning, and at the end it was like, huff, take me down. She could barely reach her car.”

Trump appeared to be conflating the debate with last month’s 9/11 ceremony where Clinton struggled to get inside her van on her own due to a bout with pneumonia.

I do like “wild claim” however. It’s nice to see a little bit of a retreat from both sides do it, even if took a literal lunatic winning the GOP nomination for the media to stop Brodering.


There Will Never Be Peak Dreher, But…

[ 162 ] October 15, 2016 |

What can you even say?

I wouldn’t want my children around Donald Trump or Miley Cyrus. But Miley Cyrus is a far more dangerous figure to human dignity and the imago Dei.

If you think that having consensual sexual relations with someone of the same gender is “more dangerous” for human dignity than someone grabbing your genitalia without your consent, your moral compass needs a pretty serious overhaul.

…as DocAmazing observes, the most influential conservative talk show host in the country beat Rod to it.

America’s Last Liberal President (TM) Responds To Attica

[ 106 ] October 15, 2016 |


As most of you know, on September 13, 1971 New York state troopers executed a violent takeover of Attica Correctional Facility, killing 10 hostages and 33 prisoners and seriously injuring scores more. Richard Nixon, America’s Last Liberal President (TM), and his administration had been working with the governor of New York and encouraged a violent takeover rather than a negotiated settlement. When he first heard about the takeover, he told New York’s governor that “I back you to the hilt” and said that, like the massacre of protesters at Kent State, it would “have a salutary effect.”

Not that it’s much of a mitigating factor, but at the time of Nixon’s initial response the media was dutifully spreading the lies of the New York state government, who asserted that the hostages had been tortured and killed by the prisoners, “necessitating” the violent takeover. This lie, however, was quickly exposed. Monroe County medical examiner John Edland performed autopsies on the killed hostages and found they had all been killed by gunfire, which given that the prisoners didn’t have firearms settled the question of whether the hostages had been killed by the troopers or the prisoners. He also found that the alleged castration of a hostage did not happen. New York’s Republican authorities reacted in a familiar manner: by threatening Edland and portraying the conservative Republican as a radical hippie revolutionary bent on smashing the state. After two more medical examiners ignored implicit and implicit threats and also found the bodies of the hostages riddled with bullet holes and without their throats cut, the official narrative finally crumbled (although, of course, once a narrative takes hold it is difficult for mere facts to dislodge it.) Here was Nixon’s reaction upon hearing the news:


As you can see, the violent takeover was enthusiastically ordered by Saint Nelson Rockefeller, another Republican some liberals and left-of-liberals like to compare favorably to contemporary liberal Democrats for roughly the same reasons (and with the same factual basis) that sports broadcasters like to say stuff like “baseball is 90% pitching” and “you just. put. the. points. on. the. board. in. the. NATIONAL. FOOTBALL. LEAGUE!”

In conclusion, if only the liberal Richard Nixon rather than the neoliberal Barack Obama had been president the left might have actually gotten something out of the last 8 years.

All of the facts about Attica are from Heather Ann Thompson’s Blood in the Water. I will have a longer review published later this month, but it is a monumental accomplishment and you should read it.

Is it realistic to hope that a non-trivial percentage of people who say they’re voting for Trump actually won’t?

[ 371 ] October 14, 2016 |


And by “people” I mostly mean “women.” (I’m not feeling very hopeful about the members of my gender at the moment).

I realize Trump is doing badly with women already, but this is just beyond sickening:


Kristin Anderson was deep in conversation with acquaintances at a crowded Manhattan nightspot and did not notice the figure to her right on a red velvet couch — until, she recalls, his fingers slid under her miniskirt, moved up her inner thigh, and touched her vagina through her underwear.

Anderson shoved the hand away, fled the couch and turned to take her first good look at the man who had touched her, she said.

She recognized him as Donald Trump: “He was so distinctive looking — with the hair and the eyebrows. I mean, nobody else has those eyebrows.”

At the time of the incident, which Anderson said took place in the early 1990s, she was in her early twenties, trying to make it as a model. She was paying the bills by working as a makeup artist and restaurant hostess. Trump was a big celebrity whose face was all over the tabloids and a regular presence on the New York club scene.

The episode, as Anderson described it, lasted no more than 30 seconds. Anderson said she and her companions were “very grossed out and weirded out” and thought, “Okay, Donald is gross. We all know he’s gross. Let’s just move on.”

Over the years, Anderson, now 46 and a photographer living in Southern California, has recounted the story to people she knew, casually at first.

One friend, Kelly Stedman, told The Washington Post that Anderson informed her about the encounter a few days after it happened.

“We were out at a girls’ brunch” at the Great Jones Cafe in Manhattan, Stedman said, recalling that when she and two other friends heard the story, they found themselves “laughing at how pathetic it was” on Trump’s part. . .

Anderson, who said she doesn’t support Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton, did not initially approach The Post. A reporter contacted her after hearing her story from a person who knew of it, and she spent several days trying to decide whether to go public.

Anderson’s decision to do so follows last week’s disclosure by The Washington Post of a 2005 video in which Trump boasted to “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush that his celebrity gave him the ability to grab women “by the p—y. You can do anything.”

Trump insisted that his comments were “just words” and dismissed them as “locker room banter.”

. . . and this afternoon Paul Ryan maintained his deeply principled stand of supporting Donald Trump’s presidential bid while very subtly signaling to sympathetic observers that he is not happy about it:

As new sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump emerged Friday afternoon, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) was in Madison, Wisconsin, lecturing college students about why they should vote for Trump.

Ryan didn’t mention Trump’s name, but painted a dystopian picture of America under the rule of Hillary Clinton and her fellow Democrats. In short, Ryan believes America will be a terrible place unless Trump becomes president.

“What vision do Hillary Clinton and her party offer the people? They want an America that does not stand out,” Ryan said. “They want an America that is ordinary — there is kind of a gloom and grayness to things… we are ruled by our betters, by a cold and unfeeling bureaucracy that replaces original thinking.” . . .

The case Ryan made for Trump comes just days after the House Speaker reportedly told Republican caucus members he was done defending his party’s presidential nominee. That decision came in the wake of the October 7 release of a 2005 video of Trump bragging about sexual assault — remarks Ryan said “sickened” him.

But Ryan still hasn’t rescinded his endorsement of Trump. And as he spoke in Madison, news broke of yet another woman alleging Trump groped her. Trump’s camp insists all the women accusing Trump of sexual assault are lying, but many of their stories eerily sync up with behavior Trump bragged about on the 2005 video — forcible kissing and genital grabbing. Many of their accusations are corroborated by people they told about the incidents at the time they occurred.

. . . . also in the same speech from which the clip above is excerpted Trump mocked Hillary Clinton’s body:

[I]n the last couple of days, Trump has sunk to new depths. In a speech yesterday, he charged, “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special-interest friends and her donors” — inflammatory anti-Semitic imagery reminiscent of Charles Coughlin. And then Friday, in possibly the most deranged misogynistic moment of the campaign, Trump insulted Hillary Clinton’s appearance, telling his audience, “when she walked in front of me, believe me, I wasn’t impressed.”

Trump has spent decades reducing all women to their appearance. At the same time, his presidential campaign has forced upon him certain disciplines, one them being the need to conceal this habit. During the primary, he dismissed Carly Fiorina — “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?” – but, when confronted, backed down with an unconvincing denial. The denial indicated Trump’s awareness that this was a line he could not cross, a side of himself he could not show.

But the recent spate of sexual-assault allegations returned Trump to his natural state, and he has spent days boasting that he would never force himself upon the women accusing him of doing so because they are not attractive enough. He then slipped almost naturally into a dismissal of his opponent. Denying his opponent’s charge that he evaluates all women by their looks has become too exhausting a pose to maintain, and, with his polls submerging, the payoff of forbearance has dwindled to too low a level. The mask has slipped, and Trump is thrusting himself before the country as the grossly bigoted misogynist his critics have always known him to be, a disgraceful excuse for a human being, a monster without restraint.

I’m pretty sure Paul Ryan disapproves very, very deeply of this as well.

This is your occasional reminder that the electoral college is an anachronistic piece of 18th century legal ordnance, lying around waiting to detonate unexpectedly

[ 138 ] October 14, 2016 |

18th century court

Could Washington State have another “faithless elector?” Democratic Elector Robert Satiacum, one of twelve Washington State electors, is conflicted and torn over 2016.

“I’m not going to be forced to go in there and pick out your poison. Not happening. Maybe this will start with something, we’ll all stand up and speak up,” he told KING 5. “This is more than a presidential election; the world is in crisis mode!”

A local activist and member of the Puyallup Tribe, Satiacum supported Bernie Sanders for president and still does.

“We had a great deal of hope with Bernie, because he said that. That we’re going to go back and redress the way we’re dealing with Native American people and their concerns and their needs,” he said. . .

While faithless electors have never altered the outcome of a modern day presidential election, it’s a risk that comes with a $1,000 fine and also [a] moral dilemma.

For various reasons this is never going to get fixed until something goes boom first.

Trevor Siemian, All-Pro

[ 89 ] October 14, 2016 |


It is it impossible for a mediocre NCAA quarterback to become a good pro? I suppose not, but it’s certainly massively unlikely. After his good second half against the Chiefs a lot of people were crowing that Trevor Siemian was the exception. I wasn’t ready to go along then and I’m certainly not now:

Quarterback grade: Trevor Siemian, 40.5

The book is out on Siemian

Teams are figuring out the Denver quarterback: Force him to throw deep. And chances are he still won’t. Even with the Broncos behind late in the game and needing multiple scores, Siemian still refused to throw anything other than underneath routes. On the day he completed only one of his nine attempts targeted 10-plus yards down the field. Those are abysmal numbers and the Chargers exploited it by squatting on underneath routes and giving Siemian nowhere to go.

There are capable starting NFL QBs, and there are QBs who throw nothing but checkdowns when trailing by multiple TDs in the 4th quarter, and there’s certainly no overlap in those categories. Maybe Siemian will develop a great deal quickly, but again I know how I’m betting. My basic take on the Broncos before the season started would be that their defense would still be really good but not as dominant as last year’s and their passing game wouldn’t be good enough to make up for that, and as of now I stand by it.

While Siemian may not be better than his predecessor Tim Tebow as a quarterback, though, at least nobody’s trying to pass him off as a professional baseball player:

In his ESPN Insider column today Law eviscerates Tebow-the-baseball player, calling him “an imposter pretending to have talent he does not possess.” Law says that Tebow’s bat speed is terrible, his foot speed is terrible and his routes to baseballs in the outfield are terrible. Law says “there’s absolutely no baseball justification for Tebow to be here.” He then lays into the Mets and Major League Baseball for craven opportunism for Tebow’s presence when, absent his fame, he’d be nowhere near the AFL, which normally caters to top prospects and organizational talent which at least has the pretense of a baseball future.

I’ve noted that, in many respects, ESPN has itself been craven in the promotion of Tebow’s baseball aspirations. He’s an ESPN employee, after all, and the farther he goes in baseball the better chance there is for ESPN to promote its talent and, perhaps, turn this whole baseball business into some shoulder programing in the form of a documentary or extended feature of some type. It’s good to see that at least one ESPN employee — one who knows a thing or three about prospects — isn’t having any of it.

Ah, the American meritocracy! Wasting a roster spot on your lowest minor league team in Tebow is silly, but trivial. Slots in the AFL, though, really should be going to people who are actual prospects. It’s a disgrace that the Mets are trotting him out there.

Son of Serial Sexual Harasser Says Women Should Suck Up Sexual Harassment

[ 142 ] October 14, 2016 |


I must call attention to an example of neoliberal dishonesty from Hillary Clinton:

Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.

I rate the first two claims “mostly false” and the last “extremely true”:

Donald Trump Jr., the embodiment of every stereotype about people named “Jr.”, said in 2013 that women who can’t handle harassment at work “should go maybe teach kindergarten.” He also opined that all-male golf courses are “cool” and that everybody is so uber-sensitive these days. How original!

The comments were uncovered by Buzzfeed News: Trump Jr. made them during a March 2013 episode of The Opie and Anthony Show, a year before one of the hosts was fired for going on an extended racist rant about black people. Trump Jr. said first that he had a hard time letting go of all-male golf courses: “If you have a guys’ place you have a guys’ place.”

Apparently, the orange doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Slightly Defective Robot Repeats Inane, Irrelevant Talking Points

[ 70 ] October 14, 2016 |


It says a great deal about the Republican Party in 2016 that Mike Pence is somehow the more competent and less misogynist politician on the ticket.

A global conspiracy of international bankers and other cosmopolitan elites who control the media

[ 250 ] October 13, 2016 |


This all sounds vaguely familiar somehow:

A conspiracy. As we’ve seen in the WikiLeaks hack, Trump said early in his speech, “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors.”

After this line, the crowd began chanting “lock her up!”

“So true,” Trump responded. “Honestly, she should be locked up. She should be.”

But back to the conspiracy. The vehicle through which this globalist “plot” is carried out, Trump asserted, is the “corporate media,” the “most powerful weapon deployed by the Clintons.” He then went on this rampage:

The corporate media in our country is no longer involved in journalism. They’re a political special interest no different than any lobbyist or other financial entity with a total political agenda. And the agenda is not for you, it’s for themselves. And their agenda is to elect crooked Hillary Clinton at any cost, at any price, no matter how many lives they destroy.

For them, it’s a war. And for them, nothing at all is out of bounds. This is a struggle for the survival of our nation. Believe me. And this will be our last chance to save it on November 8th. Remember that. This election will determine whether we’re a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy but are, in fact, controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system. And our system is rigged. This is reality. You know it. They know it. I know it. And pretty much the whole world knows it.

The establishment and their media enablers wield control over this nation through means that are very well known. Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe and morally deformed. They will attack you. They will slander you. They will seek to destroy your career and your family. They will seek to destroy everything about you, including your reputation. They will lie, lie, lie. And then, again, they will do worse than that. They will do whatever’s necessary. The Clintons are criminals, remember that, they’re criminals.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Jared Kushner used copious amounts of white-out to remove various references to Zionism from the prepared text.

Josh Marshall:

Is it desperation? The themes and instincts of the anti-Semitic radicals and extremists his campaign stews in? A “global conspiracy” of the political elites, international finance and the media who have “robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put the money in the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”

Whatever Trump is thinking or means, the white nationalists and neo-Nazis he’s activated will hear his speech with glee because he’s channeling text book anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, with all the code words and emotional tenor. I genuinely don’t know how much of this he even understands or cares about. But his rage and anger is in tune with these movements. And he’ll cast about for the most coherent and resonant storyline that captures it. It doesn’t matter what he thinks. It matters what he does.

It’s possible these are simply the tropes and storylines of international Jewish conspiracies repurposed with the Jews removed from the picture. But it hardly matters. The substrate of traditional anti-Semitism is just as toxic as what grows from it. These are the kinds of conspiratorial, revanchist fantasies that spur violence and attacks on the mundane ordinariness of democracy itself.

“we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight”

[ 162 ] October 13, 2016 |


Now this is how you call a bluff:

The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation. Mr. Trump has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio host’s request to discuss Mr. Trump’s own daughter as a “piece of ass.” Multiple women not mentioned in our article have publicly come forward to report on Mr. Trump’s unwanted advances. Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.

It is indeed pretty hard for the publication of evidence of conduct you’ve boasted about to be libelous. The whole thing is great:

Donald Trump is a vile human being

[ 80 ] October 13, 2016 |


Calling him a pig would be a grave insult to pigs:

Donald Trump denied a People magazine journalist’s claim that he sexually assaulted her during an interview. His explanation: She’s not attractive enough.

On Wednesday, People magazine journalist Natasha Stoynoff’s alleged that Trump tried to forcibly kiss her while she was on assignment. She wrote that Trump brought her into a room, shut the door, “and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat.”

On Thursday, Trump said it wasn’t true. His proof: Stoynoff’s looks.

“Look at her,” Trump said at a speech on Thursday. “Look at her words. You tell me what you think.”

After this trainwreck has at least temporarily stopped, it’s going to be hard to sort out the extent to which three distinct aspects of Trump’s awfulness affected his electoral performance:

(1) His unapologetic attempt to transform the United States government into a reactionary white ethno-nationalist regime. This is the ideological component of Trumpism, to the extent there is one.

(2) His utterly amateurish and inept campaign.

(3) His despicable personal character.

Much of the GOP, of course, will try to build on (1) as a viable electoral strategy, while jettisoning (2) and (3).

. . . start watching this at the 27:00 mark:

What We Talk About When We Talk About Locker Room Talk

[ 107 ] October 13, 2016 |


Gabriel N. Rosenberg is assistant professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University and the author of The 4-H Harvest: Sexuality and the State in Rural America. His proudest achievement from four years of high school football is that as the starting center he never fumbled a snap.

You already know that Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. And you know that both he and his apologists have responded to this leaked tape by calling it “locker room talk.” In the last few days, jocks, journalists, coaches, and ex-jocks have been rising in defense of locker rooms everywhere to boldly proclaim #NotAllLockerRooms! Many folks seem excited about this response, but it leaves me completely cold.

At the most basic level, this response literalizes “locker room” in a painfully obtuse way. It’s obvious that Trump wasn’t literally engaging in “locker room talk” since he was on a bus. So what is “locker room” a metaphor for? Some research from folks who actually study gender and sexuality could be useful.

“Locker room” is short for male homosocial spaces, particularly those spaces where men are encouraged to exhibit aggression, dominance, and emotional invulnerability. As sociologist C. J. Pascoe notes in her ethnography of a California high school, ritualized bragging about sexual violence is a common way for many adolescent boys to perform masculinity. Pascoe also found that this bragging was consistently validated, countenanced, and sometimes reproduced by authority figures in the school—teachers, coaches, and administrators. Her response to the recent controversy is worth reading in its entirety but I want to foreground this:

“Locker room talk is not ‘just words.’ It is not funny. It is not harmless. And it is certainly not limited to the locker room. This kind of sex talk is a central part of normative masculinity in the global West. It is a way in which some men simultaneously endorse and dodge such endorsement of sexual assault. It is a way in which violence against women and women’s bodies are rendered ‘just jokes’ or ‘guy talk.’ In fact, the girls in my study were often used by young men as props in their competition for status and recognition from one another.”

Parsing whether actual bragging among men in homosocial spaces is identical to or “just as bad” as what Trump said badly misses the point. Bragging need not precisely fit a confession to sexual assault to reproduce the pernicious idea that real men dominate and real women wish to be dominated. Indeed, this is another critical finding of Pascoe and other scholars of American masculinity: talk among boys and men in homosocial spaces contributes to a view of masculinity that makes later sexual harassment and abuse of both girls and other boys more probable.

It’s not surprising, then, that even if one does focus on literal locker rooms, we probably shouldn’t be rushing to defend them. Many locker rooms are awful places! Not only are they where some men brag about sexualized domination in ways that leads to actual sexual violence outside of the locker room; they also happen to be the site of actual sexual violence and harassment in high schools, colleges, and even among professional sports.

I understand the underlying strategic sensibility—I won’t call it wisdom—that parallels the Clinton campaign’s election strategy until recently. Clinton repeatedly claimed that Donald Trump was singularly and historically awful among Republican politicians, such that his campaign represented a departure from the historical appeal of the GOP rather than its natural progression. The strategy gave wavering Republican voters emotional “permission” to dump Trump without feeling like they’d betrayed their party. Similarly, #NotAllLockerRooms offers men an exit ramp from Trump’s violent chauvinism and a way to square masculine identity with a vote for Clinton.

But as many have already noted, this triangulation comes at a serious cost. In the election context, it makes it harder in down-ballot races to tie other Republican candidates to Trump. More broadly, it also makes it harder for people on the left to (correctly) argue that Trump is an expression of the modern Republican party, not a deviation from it. In terms of the politics of sexual assault and Trump’s remarks, this triangulation makes it all the harder to talk about the vile reality of what happens in too many literal and metaphoric locker rooms.

To put it more bluntly, at a moment when Donald Trump is normalizing sexual assault, we are witnessing the obscene spectacle of people rising up to defend the honor of professional athletes. This priority seems, to say the least, misplaced.

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