Monday, October 17, 2016

Why Wikileaks Hasn't Hurt Hillary? The Goldman Sachs Speeches Make Her Look Good.

Sure, there's some inane "political" back-and-forth among her staff in bunches of emails, but, er, ah, DUH! (Big reveal: she's a politician!)

Maybe they're holding back, but so far, huh?

Daniel Drezner in the WaPo gives Hillary's Sachs speeches the once-over and finds the private Hillary more direct and charming that the public one:
As WikiLeaks continues to dump John Podesta’s emails onto the world, there’s a cornucopia of information to digest. I decided to start by focusing on a key source of tension between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary: the transcripts of Clinton’s paid speeches at Goldman Sachs. These were supposed to contain information damaging to Clinton’s campaign.
After reading all three speeches … I don’t understand why Clinton didn’t make them public back in the spring.
Okay, I understand a little. Clinton’s Goldman Sachs transcripts are not speeches per se but rather structured conversations between Clinton and a Goldman Sachs interlocutor, as well as a Q&A with the audience. Clinton references the same Winston Churchill joke a bit much. She praises Chinese President Xi Jinping on occasion, mostly for his political skills and his apparent ability to rein in the People’s Liberation Army. Mostly, however, what comes through is Clinton’s comfort talking about the subtleties of international relations. The contrast with the current GOP nominee is rather striking.
Contrast indeed. Read on.

The Anatomy of a White Nationalist Party: How the GOP Has Transformed Itself, Perhaps Irretrievably

Trump didn't do this by himself (see Goldwater, Barry and Governors, Republican), but 2016 may have delivered a self-inflicted mortal wound to Republicans.

We saw this coming after 2012. Self-deportation happened, er, from the GOP.

Who doesn't remember the self-proclaimed Republican autopsy in 2012? And who doesn't remember its epic fail?

The 2012 Republican autopsy: Why did we lose? What should we change? Uh, never mind!

You don't get to the promised land by changing your mind and going to Hell instead. Essentially, that's what the Republican Party did. The party toyed with an "autopsy," tried to self-examine, and what did they do? From then right up until now, they decided the best course was to further alienate blacks, Latinos, Asians, Muslims, the entire LGBTQ community, and women. Good on ya!

A lot of damage has been done by Donald Trump and many Republicans in the run-up to 2016, but it didn't start there. Read Jamelle Bouie's piece in Slate to get the historical context. It's an eye-opener.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

WikiLeaks Continuing Fail: Clinton Is Polite to Bankers When She Is Face-to-Face with Them.

WikiLeaks releases transcripts of the Goldman Sachs speeches. The smoking gun is that she is polite without saying anything remotely controversial. Fire up the Fox News outrage!!

Hillary Clinton to Wall Street bankers: no wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

Excepts to other Clinton speeches have come out in the past week, but Saturday WikiLeaks apparently dropped the entire transcripts of all three (?) Goldman Sachs speeches, and analysis of them is starting to come out.

Betsy Woodruff offers a take on them, and although she tosses out a "Two-faced?" at the top of the column and hints throughout that there's a divergence between what she tells bankers and what she's offered on the campaign trail, I find the difference innocuous enough that I'm inclined to issue an official meh.

In the speeches she does 1) tell bankers that politicians will inevitably come to them for cash and they will inevitably cough some up, 2) encourage them to use their money to promote policy and changes in the country that they support, and 3) encourage wealthy people to run for office because their wealth may shield them from getting bought out in the process.

Yes, she's harder on them out on the campaign trail. However, on the campaign trail her rhetoric is aimed at getting people to understand that increased taxes on the rich are to benefit those down the income ladder that couldn't finance those benefits if they tried, and that the reduced income inequality that would lead from these tax increases would be a plus. Not Republican goals, but not controversial socialist/new world order dicta either.

That she doesn't openly declare in her Goldman Sachs speeches that "When I get into office my tax increases are going to fuck you up but good" is not surprising. That instead she says "Use your money as a force for good" while not deriding them for abusing derivatives is also not surprising.

Here's Woodruff:
 None of this is necessarily controversial. But it doesn’t exactly comport with Clinton’s campaign trail messaging. On the page of her campaign site about campaign finance reform, she rips the influence donors have on elected politicians.
The bottom line -- as I can make it out so far -- is she tells her supporters on the campaign trail she'll expect the wealthy to pay their fair share and tells Wall Streeters to be thoughtful and constructive with their donations. Sure, donations from Sheldon Adelson are not a force for good in the way, say, those from George Soros are. They're both ridiculously wealthy people, but they use their money for quite different things. Which kind of donation is Hillary encouraging Goldman Sachs people to make?

Nothing nefarious here, but Fox News will use it 24-hours non-stop to cover up new sexual-predator allegations against Trump. Which is worse? The Fox News behavior, I'll warrant.

Donald Trump Is a Sexual Predator, and 40% of Voters Support Him. Boy, Do We Have Work to Do.

It's quite likely Donald Trump will lose. The fact that he got close says volumes about the rot in American culture.

Trump sexual assault victim Summer Zervos.

One of the aspects of Muslim culture in the Middle East that has horrified me is its antiquated and despicable treatment of women. More's the pity that the West, including the U.S., has its own failings in this regard.

I remember around 1970 seeing a book called Our Bodies, Ourselves. It was a seminal book in the feminist movement and the product of the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, and its purpose was for women to begin to influence the medical profession in order to improve the type of care women receive. It was time women began to own their bodies, a concept that today seems archaic. It was far from archaic, even in 1970.

Having grown up in the 50s and 60s, it was clear to me what place women were expected to take in American society. The cultural upheaval of the 60s inspired a different reality. Over the past nearly 5 decades, women have made a lot of progress, though the work is hardly finished.

I understood that Our Bodies, Ourselves announced that women should own their bodies, own their destinies. Having been a willing participant in the 60s counterculture, I was ready to embrace this vital cultural evolution, even as this "novel concept" of women's liberation was considerably intimidating. As a man, I was at least a little bit rattled.

Life with women was never going to be the same, that much I got.

Somewhere else a different world existed. Donald Trump lived in that world. It's apparent now that Trump spent his decades as an unrepentant sexual predator. There have been enough victims with similar stories coming forward that, as in the Bill Cosby case, we're reaching a critical mass. Donald Trump did this, and it will soon be beyond deniability.

As Dahlia Lithwick makes clear in her Slate article about Anita Hill's "moment," Trump is far less likely to skate past charges against him the way Clarence Thomas was able to. Another article in Slate is a moving tribute to Hillary Clinton while simultaneously an examination of college rape. Please read it. Key graph:
Here is what I’ve learned from watching Hillary since 1992: She refuses to be defined by what has happened to her, or by what other people have done. Again and again, she changes the subject back to what she wants to do, to what she can do, to the work at hand. She insists that what she does is who she is. And that gives her power no one has been able to take away, no matter how hard they’ve tried.
I hope all voters consider that, far from being an issue in the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump's sexual predation deserves to be a complete deal breaker. Not only should Donald Trump be shunned as a despicable violator of women's rights and women's dignity, America should use this moment to reexamine where we are in our quest to advance women's rights.

The fact that women's support for Donald Trump dropped significantly after his infamous Access Hollywood tape came out, while support among men and evangelicals barely budged if not increased, shows how far we've come and how far we still have to go. In our current hyperpartisan world, a stubborn 40% of voters refuse to abandon Trump.

Discussions on our college campuses and across the nation have been ongoing as Americans examine our rape culture. Who knew one of our presidential candidates would further that debate in such a vile and unexpected way?

First, vote against Donald Trump. Next, get ready to advance the cause of women's rights, women's dignity, and women's freedom from mistreatment in a 21st century world. It's truly the next battleground as we struggle to build a better world.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Surprise, Surprise: Trump Supporters More Affluent Than Clinton's

Apparently it's not the economy, stupid.

And we thought economic distress and jobs were the problem. So what is it then?

Taking a closer look at just who supports Donald Trump, Vox found that his supporters aren't dispossessed in the way most of us thought:
The press has gotten extremely comfortable with describing a Trump electorate that simply doesn’t exist. Cottle describes his supporters as “white voters living on the edges of the economy.” This is, in nearly every particular, wrong.
There is absolutely no evidence that Trump’s supporters, either in the primary or the general election, are disproportionately poor or working class. Exit polling from the primaries found that Trump voters made about as much as Ted Cruz voters, and significantly more than supporters of either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Trump voters, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver found, had a median household income of $72,000, a fair bit higher than the $62,000 median household income for non-Hispanic whites in America.
A major study from Gallup's Jonathan Rothwell confirmed this. Trump support was correlated with higher, not lower, income, both among the population as a whole and among white people. Trump supporters were less likely to be unemployed or to have dropped out of the labor force. Areas with more manufacturing, or higher exposure to imports from China, were less likely to think favorably of Trump.
The article goes on to point out that low-income white workers have generally supported Democratic candidates in the past. We should watch out what memes we fall for. Trump supporters obviously have different, non-economic agendas driving them.

What might they be? Race? Gender? Xenophobia? Nativism? Cultural issues in general? Maybe.

Stay classy, Trumpsters.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Donald's New Defense: Stop This or Women Will Start Accusing "Incompetent" Obama

Mmkay...All I needed was some straight talk. Thanks, Trump, now I know you're innocent!

How can these women say what they're saying? Everything you know
about me says I'm a teddy bear, right?

Hey, Donald, you had me at Carlos Slim. But this new argument, well, it just makes sense!

Holy crap. Stay classy, Trump.

Trump Jr.: If Woman Can't Cope with Harassment, They Should Stay out of the Workforce.

As Huffington Post said: tree, meet apple.

Open yap, hurt Dad. Thanks a lot, son. (Or maybe he thinks this helps. Hmm.)

Here, from Huffington Post:
Donald Trump Jr. offered some unsolicited career advice for women concerned about sexual harassment in the workplace: Just quit, already.
“If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, then you don’t belong in the workforce,” Donald Trump’s son told The Opie and Anthony Show in a 2013 interview that BuzzFeed just unearthed.
“You should go maybe teach kindergarten,” he said, apparently suggesting that teachers aren’t part of the workforce. “You can’t be negotiating billion-dollar deals if you can’t handle, like, you know.”
Gender-based harassment, both sexual and not, is against the law in the U.S. “It is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general,” according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Where did Donald Trump Jr. acquire this mindset?