Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bring Me the Head of Hillary Clinton




Nominating James Comey as  FBI director back in July, 2013 may have seemed like a pragmatic bipartisan gesture, but I well imagine President Obama is regretting it now.  Comey has gone rogue!  The FBI director crossed the line in sending a letter to Congressional Republican leaders saying that there might be something linked to Hillary Clinton in a new batch of e-mails between Anthony Wiener and his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, who is a close aide to Hillary in her Presidential campaign.

It looks like Comey has done nothing more than throw some red meat to Republicans in an effort to salvage his name in conservative circles.  He took a vicious hit when he came out in July, saying that after a lengthy investigation there was nothing in Hillary's deleted e-mails to suggest she passed along any damaging confidential state information.   Trump assailed Comey on the campaign trail, and now Trump's daughter-in-law is claiming that Trump forced the FBI director's hand.  More likely, Comey couldn't stand the abuse he was getting and decided to play whistleblower, albeit with very little to whistle about.  However, there is just enough to send conservatives on the war path again, demanding Hillary's head.

It's like something out of a 70's B-movie.  One can picture Comey as Bennie, a US Army Officer, hiding out in Mexico, who gets involved in a grisly revenge plot.  Like with Alfredo Garcia, there has been a bounty on Hillary's head throughout this election and it seems Comey thought he knew just how to get it, by planting just enough intrigue in these final two weeks to see her high poll numbers go tumbling down.

James Comey is a Yonkers lawyer who helped bring the Gambino crime family down, and also led the prosecution against Martha Stewart in the early 2000s.  But, the case that lingers in most conservatives' minds is that of Marc Rich, whom Comey helped prosecute, while serving in Giuliani's federal prosecutor's office in New York and then turned against his former boss by finding no wrong doing in Clinton's last-minute pardon that appeared to be a case of quid quo pro with Israel over Rich, who was then an Israeli citizen.

Despite all the controversy surrounding the pardon, Comey was pegged as assistant Deputy Attorney General during the George W. Bush administration, serving as Ashcroft's second in the justice department.  With Ashcroft in the hospital in 2004, Comey made a very unpopular decision in holding up a key provision of the NSA surveillance program that earned him the enmity of the White House, only to have Ashcroft and FBI director Mueller stand behind him.  This kind of rugged bipartisanship is what eventually led Obama to consider him for the post Mueller vacated at the FBI in 2013.

Whether politically intentional or not, the incident makes Comey look like a dirty rat, sending a toxic letter to Republican Congressional leaders with little forewarning and forcing Hillary to have to respond to it.  The White House is outraged.  The Department of Justice has issued a complaint, as Comey has broken with a long-standing tradition of not interfering in the last 60 days of a presidential campaign.   Hillary has also made her feelings vocal.  None of it matters now, because the insinuations are out there and Trump and Congressional Republicans are running with them hoping for a reversal of polls in these last ten days.

It is doubtful the letter will turn the presidential election but it will very likely make it too close for comfort these remaining days, as Trump had already regained ground in Ohio and Arizona in the wake of the wikileaks live stream of the secret workings of the Clinton campaign.   However, it does mean that Hillary Clinton will most likely enter the White House only to find herself immediately the subject of another Congressional investigation, as Republicans still have the overall edge in Congressional races.

Maybe Comey wasn't so much interested in Trump as he was helping to keep a Republican Congressional majority in place so that Hillary would find it very difficult to govern her first four years in office.  This news is more likely to affect down ticket races, as voters will want to keep Hillary in check.  Pretty savvy move if this is the case.



Thursday, October 27, 2016

Say What?




Facebook is a never-ending source of amazement.  Just today I learned that Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King, Jr.  were lifelong Republicans and that "Christian Conservatives" were at the forefront of women's suffrage and the Civil Rights movement.  If that is not enough to make you gawk in wonder, Abraham Lincoln was a "conservative" Republican!

One assumes that a woman couldn't register for a political party before 1920 since she wasn't allowed to vote, but I guess one could make a connection between Susan B. Anthony and the Republican Party, given that the National American Women's Suffrage Association did have ties to the GOP.  However, when the Republicans failed to add women to the 15th amendment they lost a lot of support among women.  Susan B. Anthony felt woman suffrage should be non-partisan, having little faith in the political parties after 1870.

The biggest roadblock was "Christian conservativism," whose political leaders often quoted the Bible in their defense of the voting restrictions.  They were none too pleased about the 15th amendment, which extended voting rights to black men, particularly in the South where Blacks made up a significant percentage of the population.

The suffrage movement gathered steam in the late 19th century and was actively promoted by William Jennings Bryan, a populist Democrat who ran for President in 1896.   William McKinley, the Republican, ran on an anti-tariff platform that year and made little effort to promote women's suffrage after winning the election.  It wouldn't be until 1920 that the 19th amendment was finally ratified thanks to the tireless efforts of Bryan and other prominent political leaders at the tail end of Woodrow Wilson's administration, in which Bryan served.

The Republicans had long ceded progressive issues to the Democrats, something Teddy Roosevelt was deeply frustrated with.  He had tried to revive the Party of Lincoln during his 8-year tenure, only to see it drift back to a party of plutocrats which kept women and labor suppressed.  Roosevelt had recognized the tide was turning, but his fellow Republicans refused to see it, resulting in a hotly contested election in 1912, which saw the GOP split and the Democrats take back the White House for the first time in 16 years.

This was a period that also saw the hard-earned gains black men had made in the South nullified by Jim Crow laws, resulting in most of their voting rights being stripped, not to mention the indignities that came with an officially sanctioned two-tiered society.   So much for Conservatism -- Christian or otherwise.

To be fair, Wilson was an unmitigated racist as well, born in the South with all the ugly baggage that came with it.  Southern Democrats would cast a shadow on the party well into the 1960s because of their refusal to support any legislation that gave Blacks their inalienable rights as citizens.  Franklin Roosevelt, Teddy's Democratic cousin, couldn't even get an anti-lynching bill through Congress because of the stern opposition of Dixiecrats.  Yet, according to multiple conservative sources, Christian Conservatives were at the vanguard of the Civil Rights movement, which the Jim Crow laws had inspired.

In those days Christian Conservatives could be found in both parties, although they had the strongest influence in the Democratic Party.  They believed in a God-fearing society and had little tolerance for progressive ideas.  It was amazing that the 19th amendment had been passed since a women's place was in the home under the watchful eye of her husband. Blacks were clearly seen as second class citizens, forced to take "literacy tests" in order to vote.  Not surprisingly, most failed, since the tests were rigged against them.

Republicans love to point out that Democrats held sway throughout the South during this time.  However, when the Civil Rights Act was finally passed in 1964 guess who most of these Southern Democrats voted for that election year?  It sure as hell wasn't Lyndon B. Johnson.

The so-called Southern strategy was born out of this moment in history, when the political parties saw a major re-alignment.  Southern Democrats shifted heavily toward Republican candidates.  Nixon had only won three Southern states in 1960.  Goldwater won five in 1964.  When Nixon ran again in '68 he and George Wallace, who ran as an Independent, won every Southern state except Texas, stifling Humphrey's bid for the White House.

Yet, a popular myth is that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican, and a conservative one at that.  John Blake debunks this conservative myth and others.  MLK Jr's father had been a Republican, as had many Blacks in the aftermath of the Civil War, yet Blacks had been voting Democratic ever since Wilson, as the Republican Party had long turned its back on them.  MLK Jr. had no political affiliation.  He worked tirelessly with Republican and Democratic leaders alike for the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

None of this information will stop Christian Conservatives from believing what they want to believe.  However, recasting the GOP as the Party of the Lincoln has to be one of the most audacious moves they've made yet, especially since the Republican Party wouldn't have had all these former Dixiecrats and Copperheads had they not repudiated Lincoln in 1964.  By accepting Goldwater with his fierce stand against the Civil Rights Act they opened the door to all the riff-raff that came with it.  The Tea Party and Trumpkins are the end result of this awful decision 52 years ago.  All one has to do is look at all the Republicans in office throughout the South to see that this political re-alignment is complete. Voter ID laws are the contemporary version of "literacy tests," designed to stifle minority voting rights.

Abraham Lincoln would roll over in his grave if he could see what happened to his Republican Party.   This was a progressive party in his day, built largely upon the abolitionist movement that pushed for equal rights.  The concessions to big business would come later as the West opened up to greater speculation with big money to be made off railroads, the cattle industry and mineral rights, all of which Lincoln could not have foreseen before his untimely death.

It is true he loved his Bible, but that is about all he shared with Christian Conservatives.








Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NFL Blues




One would have thought that San Francisco finally deciding to play Colin Kaepernick might have drawn more viewers, if for no other reason than to see him get pounded by nasty defensive linemen.  However, NFL viewer ratings continue to tumble and much of the blame is placed on players protesting the national anthem.

Protests have spread far beyond the NFL with even youth league players taking a knee on the national anthem.  It got very nasty in Beaumont, Texas, where a coach was fired for allegedly making his players take a knee.  The team was ultimately disbanded.

For many Americans, the national anthem is a vital part of athletic events, a confirmation of our allegiance to the nation before engaging in a ritualistic bloodbath.  Fans are highly partisan and no invective is too harsh when browbeating opponents.  Yet, we are all supposed to pause for a moment to honor those who actually gave their lives for the flag.

I don't think Kaepernick had any idea what he unleashed back in the preseason.  Other players have since joined him throughout the league, resulting in a chorus of catcalls from the stands.  Kaepernick was loudly booed when he took the field against Buffalo in his first appearance with the 49ers.   He even drew the attention of the Notorious RBG, only for her to retract her comments when he called her on them.

The main reason for the ratings shortfall is that the quality of play has plummeted.  Seattle and Arizona, considered two of the league's best teams, played to a 6-6 tie in arguably the worst game of the season.  Both kickers missed short field goals in overtime that should have won the game for their teams.  Injuries are part of the problem.  Many teams have their star players sidelined or playing at less than 100 per cent.  The NFL also finds itself competing with the Major League Baseball playoffs.  Cleveland scored as many points in the much anticipated first game of the World Series as did Seattle and Arizona.

The election is also hogging up a lot of media attention.  Trump is a force majeure as far as television ratings are concerned.  The first debate between Trump and Hillary drew a far larger viewing audience than Monday Night Football.  Much more talk is devoted to the scandals swirling around the presidential candidates than to the blown calls and poor coaching decisions being made on a regular basis.  For once, no one seems to really care what's going on in football, other than who will take the knee this week when the national anthem is played.  Even that no longer seems to be much of an issue.

As far as sports go, there is far more interest being expressed in the unlikely match-up of the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians in the World Series.  Cleveland hasn't won a World Series since 1948.  the Cub's drought extends all the way back to 1908 when Teddy Roosevelt was President.  Hollywood celebrities and even presidential candidates are weighing in on the series, with Hillary saying she is a lifelong Cubs' fan.   Not surprisingly, Republicans weren't going to let her get away with that claim.  Will a House investigation follow if she is elected?

I imagine that once the World Series and General Election are over, viewers will go back to watching football.  Hopefully, the second half of the season will be more entertaining than the first half.  I paid $200 for my NFL Game Pass, and so far have had little to cheer about.


Unruffled and Unbowed



Who would have ever thought Hillary would upstage Donald at the Al Smith dinner.  This was his chance to redeem himself after three awful debates but instead his caustic jokes fell flat and he resorted to his usual name-calling as he was unable to fill 15 minutes at the podium at this charity event.  By contrast, Hillary delivered her jokes with ease,  striking back at Donald a few times, and still left the last 5 minutes to offer a touching tribute to all the work Al Smith and Cardinal Timothy Dolan do for children in New York.  Hillary had Al in tears.

One of many accusations Donald leveled at Hillary is that she is anti-Catholic, in reference to recent wikileak revelations.  His comments drew boos from the audience and left Cardinal Dalton noticeably upset.  This is supposed to be a light-hearted affair, but here was Hillary once again forced to defend herself, which she did with ease by pointing to how much Pope Francis has touched everyone's life, including her own, by appealing to our better nature.  All except Donald of course.

What has stood out for me in the debates and the Al Smith dinner is how well Hillary holds herself when being attacked.  The wikileak revelations would make us believe it is a false front, but if it is it is a very good one because she doesn't crack.  As she pointed out, she withstood four and a half hours of Donald's withering barrage during the debates, which no one should be asked to do.  She has commented afterward on talk shows that her rival goes too far but for the most part has shown an uncanny ability to brush off the barbs, which hurts Donald more than anything she could say in return.

Donald prides himself as a man who can get under your skin, force you to think about him long after you want to.  But, you get the sense Hillary gives little thought to him beyond what's necessary to get her through this grueling election cycle.  We have had to endure Donald for 18 months now with virtually no break.  It's not like The Apprentice where you can choose to turn him on or off.  The media runs with Trump stories 24/7 giving us little respite.

Yet, Hillary has somehow been able to ride above Trump TV, unbowed in the face of a constant stream of attacks not just from Donald but from his surrogates. She singled out Rudy Giuliani at the dinner, sitting in the back row with his cockeyed glasses.  She's been the one to get under Donald's skin, who petulantly strikes back at her even at this gala dinner.

What she lacks in charisma she more than makes up with political fortitude.  She may not have had to endure that airstrike she evoked back on the 2008 campaign trail, but she has had to endure more than two decades of blistering attacks on everything from her sexual character to her moral fiber.  The live stream of wikileak releases point to her as a cold, calculating politician who uses people to further her own interests.  That maybe so, but when you think of all she has had to overcome to be where she is it is little wonder she has formed such a tough skin.  This is an asset, not a liability, especially in these troubled times.

It seems that Russia is genuinely afraid of her, given the role they have played in trying to undermine her campaign.  It's not like Julian Assange has been digging up these e-mails on his own.  He is simply a courier.  The trail leads directly to the Kremlin, not some 400 lb. hacker as Trump implied at one of the debates.  Making things even more uncomfortable, Putin has been challenging territorial water and air space not just in Eastern Europe but had the audacity to send a fleet of Russian warships through the English Channel.  It came as little surprise she referenced Russia in her dinner monologue.

If Russia is not enough a concern, Turkey is now trying to lay claim to former Ottoman boundaries, exercising what it believes to be its territorial right to encroach on northern Syria and Iraq in the name of battling ISIS.  This doesn't make the Kurds very happy, who control much of northern Iraq and want to keep a clear boundary between themselves and Turkey.

We seem to forget that the prime responsibility of a President is foreign policy, something the Republican party once prided itself on but now finds itself being led by a "useful idiot" for Putin in this election cycle.  Although it turned out to be a hoax, Trump's apology to Serbia fit right in with the Russian talking points he has favored throughout his campaign.  Even Henry Kissinger commented on how badly Trump bombed at the dinner.

It seems many persons are finally coming to accept Hillary in these final days of the campaign trail. She is the only candidate with the foreign policy chops to serve as President.  That's been the case throughout the election cycle, but there has been little mention of this.  Instead, we were forced to revisit Benghazi time and time again as if this disqualified her.  President Obama quipped at his last correspondents' dinner in April that the only foreign policy experience Donald has had is the Miss Universe pageant.

Although Donald has dominated the media airwaves, this election has been about Hillary from the beginning.  She was the one the Republicans loved to hate, using every opportunity to gainsay her and linking her to one nefarious activity or another.  Trump even went so far as to say she is the most corrupt candidate ever.  Yet, here we are 18 months later and not only is she still standing, but standing tall.

Her performance at the Al Smith dinner maybe the best yet.  She withstood yet another 15-minute harangue to get up and deliver a well-timed monologue that showed once again that she is unruffled by the worst Donald or any other Republican has to say about her.



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Slaying history and everything in its path




Trump's recent visit to Gettysburg is telling in many regards.  While he compared himself to Lincoln, his campaign looks more like Robert E. Lee's infamous charge on Pennsylvania that ended badly in defeat, and paved the way for the Union to take back the South.   Trump's campaign has come to epitomize the Southern Lost Cause, built solely on defiance with no real plan to govern if god forbid he was able to seize the White House.

We saw that with George Bush, although he at least proved shrewd enough to know how to temper his message to get crossover votes.  Not Trump.  He keeps charging up the same hill time and again despite the heavy casualties.  You almost feel sorry for Kellyanne Conway as she tries to explain her boss to the media long after all words fail.

The most amazing thing about Trump's campaign has been the utter disregard for what we would call strategy.  His advisers had to know that this election would come down to a handful of states as have the last six elections.  Surely, they tried to clue Donald in on how the electoral math works and get him to focus on these states.  Instead, it seems Donald goes where he wants regardless of whether he has any chance in that state or not.

Mostly, it seems he is looking for photo ops, and Gettysburg was as good a place as any to launch more broadsides at Hillary.  I guess he felt hampered by the format of the Al Smith Dinner, forced to veil his harsh rhetoric in jokes, most of which fell flat.   He spit out all his venom on the Civil War battlefield, vowing to erase all traces of Obama's administration within his first 100 days in office, as if we haven't heard that before.

This no doubt appeals to teabaggers, especially those with Southern roots, but falls on deaf ears to the general electorate.  The only thing Trump's Gettysburg speech showed is how far apart the Republican Party today is from that of Lincoln seven score and thirteen years ago.  The GOP more closely resembles the tattered rebel soldier crawling home after a series of defeats, still vowing to fight another day.

It would take a miraculous turn of events at this point for Trump to prevail in November but he continues to exhort his followers to fight, although you have to think most of them have given up hope at this point.  The polls look really really bad, even Rasmussen was forced to concede Hillary holds a slight edge, when other polls have her up by as much as 12 percent.

Pennsylvania is so far out of his grasp at this point that you have to wonder what value Gettysburg has other than to try to project himself as Lincoln.  However, there was nothing in his speech to indicate he had any sense of history much less current events.  Lincoln might as well be a vampire hunter for all he knows.



Monday, October 17, 2016

Oh, Rudy!




Trump and his surrogates are sounding the drum beat that the Democrats are rigging the elections, particularly in the inner cities, widely regarded as their stronghold.  Mayor Rudy joined in the act by loudly proclaiming that the Democrats literally raise the dead to turn elections in their favor, although he qualified himself somewhat by saying it can only be seen in "extremely close elections."  His margin for fraud is apparently 5 per cent.

Of course, one has to ask how he was able to survive a close election in 1993, when he edged the incumbent mayor Dave Dinkins by less than three per cent.  As Jaker Tapper learned, it is hard to argue with Mayor Rudy.  Giuliani seems to have taken the Trump happy pills and spouts out whatever nonsense comes to his head.

Allegations of voter fraud are nothing new.  We've seen many states adopt voter ID laws supposedly to stem what they see as a crisis, although there is no evidence to suggest that voter fraud is taking place on the scale Republicans imagine.  Nevertheless, the myth persists thanks to demagogues like Trump and Giuliani, who are looking to raise the hackles of their most rabid conservatives.  Trump has actually encouraged supporters to monitor their voting precincts.  As Garret Epps writes, it is nothing but a form of harassment, as Trump has aimed his message at battleground states where he is looking to get any edge he can get.

What's odd to me is how so much focus has been placed on Pennsylvania, a state that has gone Democratic every presidential election year since 1992.  Trump being perhaps the worst Republican nominee ever put forward, it is safe to say that the Keystone State will vote overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, yet Trump has repeatedly pointed to this state as one to watch for voter fraud.  He is trying to make Pennsylvania into the fallacy that proves his point.

Many conservatives are deluded by syndicated polls that favor their candidate.  Rasmussen has consistently had Trump on top throughout the general election cycle, despite little to support its numbers.  In 2012, Rasmussen not only missed the national popular vote count, but missed many battleground states.  This is what sent Karl Rove into a tizzy fit on Fox News when Ohio didn't turn out the way Rasmussen had projected, literally having it too close to call.  Obama won the state by 3 points.  Although Rasmussen was quick to point out that it was within its margin of error of 4 points, they led many persons to believe Romney could pull out this state and several others that would have turned the electoral count in his favor.

That's why it is important to look at composite averages of polls like Real Clear Politics and 538.  This gives one a clearer picture of what is going on.  Nate Silver's site is perhaps the best in this regard as he analyzes the data and rates the polls within his algorithm, resulting in probabilities.  Currently, Hillary Clinton has an 88% chance of winning this election but don't tell Dirty Donald and Mayor Rudy that.  They seem to be basing their chances solely on Rasmussen and LA Times/USC, which both currently have him ahead of Hillary.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Are you not entertained?




While Trump accuses Hillary of taking drugs to get through the last debate, the news media has seized on the man in the red sweater at the town hall.  Oh, and Mike Pence is trying to tamp down criticism of his response to an 11-year old girl who was worried about what kind of message Trump's unsolicited groping sent to girls like her.  So are the days of our lives this election cycle.

Many have begun to not only question  the sanity of Trump but that of a nation that has sucked up all this reality show fodder.  As Alec Baldwin so perfectly mocked Trump, "Are you not entertained?"  SNL wasn't about to let Ken Bone slide either, offering up yet another spoof of the debates last night, but apparently Donald was not amused.  The cast of SNL hasn't had this much fun with an election cycle since lampooning Sarah Palin in 2008.  They aren't the only ones getting in on the act.  Jimmy Kimmel signed Ken Bone as a special correspondent for the remainder of the campaign trail.

Mercifully, there are only three weeks left of this year's "Access Washington."  I won't say the drug allegations are the last desperate act of Trump, as I imagine there will be more desperate acts.  He compared himself and Hillary to athletes who should be drug tested to insure no one has an unfair advantage.  As you remember in the first debate he blamed a faulty microphone for his sub-par performance.  This time he thinks Hillary took performance enhancing drugs to keep her going through the debate but that they apparently weren't strong enough as she was clearly losing her energy in the end.  Not like Trump, who looked and snorted as though he was high on cocaine.

Of course these distractions ultimately work in his favor as the media focuses on them instead of the issues Donald Trump keeps saying he so much wants to talk about.  His rallies have veered so far off script this month that his handlers are at a loss at how to explain his erratic behavior.  Kellyanne Conway had a particularly rough time doing damage control last week, throwing accusations every which way in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape.

Mike Pence has had a similarly rough time downplaying Trump's provocative tapes and further allegations that have ensued.  His response to the 11-year girl's question on a Virginia news station was priceless.  Rather than offer any kind of emotional support, he claimed that he and Trump would make America safer from terrorists.  The question wasn't about foreign policy.

When the going gets rough, Team Trump immediately deflects the attacks on Hillary, which is what Mike Pence tried to do and failed badly.  Largely because he has no answer for Donald's behavior.  Kellyanne finds herself in the same boat.  As a result, the two are limiting their appearances on television, leaving it up to more callous Trump apologists like Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich to rationalize his behavior or other reasons to vote for him.  Trump himself is speaking at rallies only, as he now feels the media is out to get him.  He has intimated he may not show up for the third and final debate, despite it being in Vegas and moderated by Fox news.

In Sarah's words, Trump has gone rogue stirring up as much shit as he can in the few remaining days of his campaign, hoping to suppress voter turnout so that he might have an outside chance of winning this thing with his angry white male vote.  There has even been a hashtag movement sponsored by Trump supporters for the repeal of the 19th amendment, as if his campaign hasn't already infuriated women enough.  Fortunately, Operation Don't Vote doesn't seem to be working.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Rainy Day Sappho




The Nobel committee has made some interesting choices over the years, but I don't think anyone was ready for Bob Dylan.  For the most part, response has been enthusiastic.  Salman Rushdie and Joyce Carol Oates both offered their hearty congratulations, but other contemporary writers were not so pleased, notably Irvine Welsh, who called it a "nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostrates of senile, gibbering hippies."  Ol' Irvine sure has a way with words.

The problem the Nobel committee has faced in recent years is that there aren't very many great contemporary writers to choose from, certainly few who have responded to pressing social conditions.  Last year, the committee went out on a limb with Belarusian writer, Svetlana Alexievich, who is best known for collecting first-person accounts.   Her books have been called "collective novels."

There were those disgruntled that Haruki Murakami didn't get the award, but Murakami often references Dylan in his novels, so he probably only serves as further proof that the Nobel committee made the right choice.

Of course, one can ask why Rushdie and Oates were passed over, as well as other worthy writers like Don De Lillo.  I guess there was no consensus on any of them.  It would be interesting to know how Dylan sneaked into the race, as no betting site had him in the running.  It's amazing that people actually place bets on this sort of thing.

So far, Dylan has been mum on the subject.  It seems to have taken him by surprise as well.  One assumes he will show up for the awards ceremony in December.  Maybe he will pen a new song especially for the occasion?

Contrary to Irvine's harsh assessment, you'd be pretty hard pressed to name someone who has had such a broad influence on music and literature over the past 50 years.   His body of work is immense and the subject of much scrutiny in recent years.  Sara Danius was effusive in her praise, specifically mentioning Blonde on Blonde, perhaps his greatest album, er collection of poetry.  Dylan is first and foremost a lyricist, a Rainy Day Sappho if you will.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Rolled

or Trump's Long Con



Even with his campaign falling apart around him, Donald J. Trump still manages to find love.  According to Ben Carson, Trump prayed for forgiveness before Sunday night's debate, although you would never know it the way he came out with blood in his eyes.

James Robison administered the duties.  One of several prominent televangelists and religious leaders who are sticking with Trump despite the  lewd videos and audios.  You needn't ask yourself why.  Conservative Evangelists have long had a soft spot for fallen pastors like Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker and countless others who have been tempted by the flesh.  Usually, parishioners would like them  to show some contrition, but in Donald's case a token apology seems to be enough.

Still, his evangelical support is eroding, largely among Mormons who didn't like him very much to begin with.  Jason Chaffetz, a born-again Mormon, has publicly disowned Donald, as has Mia Love, another prominent convert, who said she can't vote for Trump.  This puts Utah in play for Hillary, which would have been inconceivable any other election year.

As many red states turn blue, Trump remains undaunted, proudly proclaiming on Tuesday that the shackles are off and he will go after Hillary and ranking Republican turncoats alike in his defiant bid for the White House.  If I didn't know better, I would say this has been one very clever long con to undermine the Republican Party.  What more can he do to bring the GOP to its knees?

Hardly anything Trump says at this point makes sense.  At a Florida rally he was encouraging supporters to go to the polls on November 28.  He didn't even catch himself in the gaffe.  Once again, he lashed out at Paul Ryan for turning his back on him, although Ryan has yet to "unendorse" him.  He had a few harsh words for Mackie as well, but they ring hollow at this point.  It is hard to imagine Donald thinks he can win the election with his motley crew of supporters.  It brings to mind George Wallace's lost cause in 1968.

Nevertheless, there are those who still think Trump has a path to victory, although you would be hard pressed to find any major media outlet that finds it plausible at this point.  Even Fox seems to have given up on Trump, except for Sean Hannity of course, who was lashing out at everyone this week for abandoning his American Idol.

Still there are four weeks to go and I guess anything can happen.  It seems Julian Assange, with the aid of Russian hackers, is working overtime to find some juicy e-mails to expose to an eager public.  It was pretty amazing last week when conservatives stayed up till  3 am for Assange's much anticipated statement only to discover they had been #wikirolled.

The only question now is how Trump's "second amendment people" are going to respond to a new Clinton administration?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Stalker




The very fact that Donald showed up was a victory in itself.  Not only that but he surrounded himself with Clinton victims beforehand in a brazen effort to deflect media attention away from the misogynistic tapes that grow by the day.  He even wanted to have the women join his family box at the debate, but was refused.  No doubt something he will emphasize this week, hoping to turn attention away from what was another dreadful debate performance.

He lost when he threatened to prosecute Hillary if he is elected President, and petulantly retorted when Hillary challenged him that she would be in jail now if he had been in charge of laws in this country.  He doesn't want to be President, he wants to be dictator, and like his good buddy Vladimir Putin wants to stifle opposition by putting his adversaries behind bars.  What a far cry from the man who just four years ago praised Hillary Clinton as a "great woman."

There was no handshake this time around.  They glowered at each other from the start.  Trump who didn't even try to contain his anger and contempt, in the end projected it on Hillary when asked what he would do to heal the country.  He once again claimed that She and Obama are the ones who divided this nation.

When it came to taxes, he readily admitted he used his monumental losses of 1995 to write off federal income taxes for years afterward, but once again turned the blame on Hillary by saying that she is the one who allowed the loophole in the tax codes for her friends Warren Buffett and George Soros.  I was surprised Anderson Cooper didn't challenge the utter absurdity of this claim.  It is hard to say what time frame Trump was referring to, although it seems he was referring to her time in the Senate from 2001-2009, which doesn't coincide to the time he began writing off his losses.

Trump was brash and unapologetic throughout the debate, determined to rally his alt-conservative base in the general election.  I'm sure in their eyes he came out a big winner, feeding straight into all their fantasies with one conspiracy theory after another as he blamed every ill over the past three decades on Hillary Clinton.  There was absolutely no attempt to ground any of his arguments in fact, whether claiming high crime rates or drugs flooding across the borders or holding Hillary personally responsible for Capt. Humayun Khan's death, saying there would have been no war in Iraq if he had been President.

Like so much that we hear from the alt-conservative universe, everything has become conflated into the last 8 years.  No one remembers that this war started in 2003 or that Capt. Khan was killed in 2004 under Bush's tenure, and that ISIS has been around at least that long.  In Donald's addled mind all the problems we see in the Middle East began in 2011 when we pulled out of Iraq, a war he steadfastly claims he never supported yet blames Obama and Clinton for ending.

Trump continued to talk over Hillary like he did in the first debate. but what was particularly creepy was the way he stalked behind her, reinforcing his predatory nature.  For her part, Hillary returned to her seat after her two minutes, not once interrupting Donald as he flew off on his harangues.  Why should she?  He damaged himself far more than she ever could.

Still, some news outlets are claiming Trump won the debate.  One would expect this from Hannity or Breitbart, but CBS News?   It just shows how much some news stations still want to see a horse race when Donald pulled up lame long ago.  At this point, all he has is his alt-conservative base.  What ever middle ground he was hoping to reach for is gone and he doesn't seem to care.  It's as if he expects some massive turnout of the underclass, like the Brexit vote, to carry him to victory.

Not surprising, Nigel Farage was in his corner after the debate, reminding us just how far this right-wing movement extends beyond our borders.  This isn't a referendum.  It is a Presidential election and Trump has far too many negatives to carry him to victory in November.  But, you have to hand it to Donald, he is not going down without a fight.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hurricane Donald




Ever the blowhard, Donald managed to upstage a hurricane with the latest salacious revelation.  No one expected an apology from our Playboy in Chief, but it came late Friday in an attempt to tamp down the damage from a video and audio leaked to the Washington Post.  Apparently, NBC was planning to release the "sex tape" Monday but someone on their staff wanted to get it out ahead of the debate, forcing Donald and the RNC to have to deal with it over the weekend.

Donald was already in a tailspin, but fellow Republicans were holding up well in Congressional elections across the country and felt pretty confident they could hold onto the House and Senate in November.  This tape changed the dynamics overnight.  It forced supporters like John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Marco Rubio to publicly denounce Trump in no uncertain terms, fearing that Ugly Donald might rub off on them in hotly contested Senate races.  Mind you these are the same GOP Senators who stood by Trump when he disparaged a Gold Star family after the Democratic National Convention, despite their misgivings.

The women vote appears to matter more to Republicans than do Gold Star families, Miss Universe contestants and Fox news hosts.  Trump had established an abusive pattern early in this campaign when he disparaged Megyn Kelly over questions concerning his well-known misogynistic statements.  He later disparaged Carly Fiorina in a debate for not having the face of a Presidential candidate, which he brought up again in his first debate with Hillary.  But, probably Donald's worst moment was when he went after the Khan family following their appearance at the Democratic National Convention.  This did lead to a sharp rebuke from McCain and other leading Republicans, but very few of them pulled their support, as they are doing now.

Too little too late as far as I'm concerned.  The Republican National Committee has no leg to stand on, having made no effort to address his foul mouth at debates or on the campaign trail.  He has repeatedly disparaged and taunted female reporters, gone after the wives of other Presidential candidates in tweets and boasted how much women love him every chance he gets.  Yet, this tape is supposed to be a surprise?

We already knew Trump is a loud obnoxious braggart.  What makes this incident so much worse than all the other incidents before?  John McCain had numerous opportunities to abandon Trump, including the time Trump infamously questioned his role in the Vietnam War, saying, "I like people who weren't captured."  Then came Trump's outrageous attack of a Gold Star family, who had lost their son in Iraq, and most recently dismissing vets with PTSD.  Yet, Mackie only chose to pull his endorsement after these Access Hollywood tapes.

Part of the reason is that Mackie was facing a potentially tough re-election primary.  He is not very popular among his Republican base and didn't want to alienate supporters by distancing himself from Trump.  Having won the primaries, Mackie now has to tack toward the middle and obviously women are a big part of that middle ground, which he can't afford losing over Trump's most recent faux pas. As a result, it becomes very convenient for him to dump Trump.  The only question is whether Arizona teabaggers will accept his about face on Donald, and if women voters will see his recent change of heart any more sincerely than they do Trump's apology?

Donald had a very rough two weeks but there was every reason to think he might turn things around Sunday night with a strong performance.  He even held a mock town hall on Wednesday to prepare for the event, although most critics mocked it.  All he had to do was not be as bad as he was the previous debate.  Throughout this campaign, he has done a great job of lowering the bar.  Any improvement would have been regarded as a "victory," especially in the wake of Pence's "great job" at the Vice-Presidential debate.  But, another funny thing happened along the way.

No one remembers Alicia Machado now.  We have Nancy O'Dell, the "married woman" Trump hoped to score while shopping for furniture, and Arianne Zucker, the lovely soap opera actress in purple that Trump made sure to take some "tic-tacs" before kissing, although he refrained from grabbing her you-know-what.

You had to know women would ultimately bring Trump down.  The scuttlebutt is that Marla Maples is the one who leaked the 1995 tax returns to the New York Times, as she would have been the only one legally able to do so other than Donald, having been married to him at the time.

You play with fire, you get burnt, and that is exactly what has happened to the GOP.  They accepted him in the primaries because he brought star power and boosted television ratings to unprecedented levels.  As much as establishment Republicans loathed what he stood for, they couldn't resist the Hollywood glamour he brought to the elections, if you can call it glamour.  He played the GOP field like he did his contestants on The Apprentice, leaving them to fight among themselves while his status grew through the nomination process.  There were numerous opportunities to dump Trump. There was even talk of an open convention that would have freed delegates to vote for the candidate of their choice on the convention floor, but it never came to pass, and Donald easily won the roll call vote.

Trump has left so many burnt bridges behind him that it wasn't surprising at all this tape came from NBC, which quickly dumped Trump back in June, 2015, after his outlandish statement regarding Mexican immigrants.  NBC has a very big share in the Latin television audience, and wasn't about to let Trump run roughshod over it.  NBC had also been looking into allegations by former Apprentice staff and guests that Trump often used lewd language on the show, demeaning the show's crew and contestants alike.  One thing led to another and this Access Hollywood tape was found in the NBC archives.  As Washington Post gleefully reports, more is soon to follow.

Will this be enough to make Trump drop out of the race?  Many in the RNC desperately want him to do so, hoping to make Mike Pence their new nominee.  However, early voting has already begun in many states and Trump has remained defiant.  Like everything else in this election cycle, we have entered unchartered territory.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Clueless


What is Aleppo?

Perhaps the most deluded candidate of all isn't Donald Trump.  Here is Gary Johnson laying out his case for a great end run to the White House to Katie Couric, despite polling 7 per cent nationally and only 14 per cent in his home state of New Mexico.  Gary actually thinks he is leading Clinton and Trump among Independent and young voters.  But, it looks like he is basing his claims on what pundits have been saying rather than actual numbers.  GenForward has done the most complete survey of voters aged 18-34 to date, and found that only 15% are supporting Johnson or Jill Stein.

Gary has had an unprecedented amount of media coverage for an independent candidate.  CNN has graciously given him two town halls, including this one in August, and he has been the darling of talk shows throughout the election cycle, yet continues to slip in the polls.  It's easy to see why as he often fumbles the simplest questions and continues to play up a false equivalence between Hillary and Trump.   The only people he appeals to are the most dejected of Independent voters who can't bring themselves to align with the two front runners.  Voters who would otherwise stay home on election day.

It seems William Weld even has misgivings, judging by an interview he gave the Boston Globe.  Weld was never a Libertarian to begin with, having joined the ticket when his man, John Kasich, went down in the Republican primaries.  Johnson struck him as the only alternative available as he couldn't bring himself to become a Clinton Republican.  However, at this point Weld is focusing all his venom on Trump.

Couric asked Johnson what he thought of this and Gary gave the kind of "aw-shucks" answer we've come to expect from him.  He said he would just focus more on Hillary in his attacks, which is odd since he claimed from the beginning his candidacy was about a third way.  However, Johnson knows as well as anyone that he is running solely as a spoiler.

His running mate apparently doesn't want to be a spoiler, considering Trump a far greater threat as President than Hillary.  Weld remains supportive of Johnson but no longer seems so intent on campaigning in battleground states where a strong Libertarian showing might actually tip the electoral college in Trump's favor.

Of course, it is very hard to say how many votes the Libertarian ticket is pulling from Trump and Hillary, if it is pulling any votes at all.  Johnson and Weld are shrinking the voting base a little by potentially drawing as much as 10 per cent of the vote in a handful of states.  This may or may not work in Trump's favor, although at this point he is doing a pretty good job of undermining his own campaign.  Let's not forget that Bill Clinton won in 1992 despite a strong showing from Ross Perot, who won almost 20 per cent of the popular vote.

Johnson will get no where near that level of support among any demographic group.  The reason is simple.  He has failed to show himself as a viable alternative despite so many golden opportunities to do so.  The more he talks the more stupid he sounds.  It's not so much his Aleppo moment or his inability to name world leaders as it is the lack of any vision, foreign or domestic.   Basically, he wants a non-interventionist government both at home and abroad, which makes you wonder why he is running for President in the first place?

If he had made this the centerpiece of his campaign he might have gotten more support among Teabaggers and other secession-minded movements, flying the Gadsden flag at his rallies.  The problem is that if we left government totally up to the states, citizens would have no recourse to discriminatory laws like we have seen passed in many conservative states.

Unfortunately, Johnson isn't a very deep thinker.  I wonder if he is a thinker at all, as he hasn't seemed to thought out his positions very well.  The only thing he seems strongly committed to is his belief that the two-party system is a failure and that we need a third party.   Yet, he like so many other independents refuse to engage at the state and local level.  Instead, they air out their grievances every four years and expect us to listen.

Having lured William Weld into their circle, the Libertarians had a great opportunity to make their case for a strong third party, convincing other moderate conservatives that the Republican Party no longer represents their best interests.  But, Johnson failed to close the deal, showing that he had no real awareness how this country works and reverting to non-interventionist stances when pressed to say how he would handle foreign policy issues.  As he whined to George Stephanopolous a vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for Gary Johnson.  It is not a vote for a viable third party

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Gangs of the New World Order




Watching Hungarian PM Viktor Orban last night on television, I was struck by how similar his tactics are to Donald Trump, and to the right wing movement in general.  There he stands with a phalanx of stone-faced ministers behind him telling the assembly how the referendum on barring Syrian refugees justifies his position.  He projects himself as a strong man imposing his will on a weak nation.  Yet, you have to ask yourself, if he is so strong why does he need this guard behind him?

Time and again, Trump has employed the same tactic on the campaign trail - loyal supporters standing or sitting in stone-faced silence behind him.  He has mixed it up in recent weeks, using Sikhs, Blacks and other persons of color to try to give his phalanx the appearance of diversity, but usually it is his elder children and his closest advisers along with body guards.

It's what a gang would do when confronting a rival gang in a street or alley, showing they have their leader's back.  This threatening tactic is used to intimidate opponents.  It has been rarely used in American politics but one seen quite frequently in the European right wing movement, where Trump's tactics appear to owe its fascist origins.

Back in 1988, Costa-Gavras tried to find a connection between these groups in his movie Betrayed, focusing mostly on the right wing movement in the United States.  These fringe movements have risen and fallen in Europe over the years.  There was Jorg Haider in Austria and Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands.  Marine Le Pen has picked up where her father left off in France, and Nigel Farage was one of the active members behind the Brexit movement in the UK.  But Orban is the first to have successfully seized control of government in Hungary, although one could argue that the current government of Poland is also right wing in nature.

What drives all these movements is anti-immigrant sentiments.  They believe their countries are for native-born citizens and that refugees and immigrants are diluting their national identity.  The recent wave of Syrian and North African refugees has emboldened these movements and they have struck emotional chords in their countries, especially with the EU mandating how many refugees member countries should take to alleviate the crisis.

In the UK, it isn't just Muslim immigrants and refugees that stir anger, but Eastern European immigrants as well.  The economic playing field in the EU is heavily tilted toward the West with Eastern European countries lagging far behind Western European countries in terms of salaries and pensions.  This means a lot of Eastern Europeans seek greener pastures in Western Europe, resulting in growing Eastern European communities in Britain.  Much of the violence in the wake of the Brexit vote has been directed toward Eastern Europeans.

These right wing movements have stirred up an ugly nationalism that is all too similar to that between World War I and II.  Many European countries drifted toward autocratic regimes, not just Germany, during these inter-war years.  Much of the anger was directed toward Jews, but Slavs and other Eastern Europeans felt this hatred as well.  The EU finds itself struggling to tamp down these ugly sentiments in the wake of Brexit and Hungary's recent anti-refugee referendum.

Of course, these same feelings have long existed in the United States.  Historically, we have had political parties like the Know Nothing Party with a staunch anti-immigrant platform.  Demagogues play on the emotions of the working class, which feels itself threatened by all these new arrivals.  We went through a particularly violent period in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when we experienced a flood of European refugees and immigrants in the wake of collapsing European states.

This is particularly noteworthy because Donald Trump's grandparents arrived from Germany in 1885, escaping civil unrest in that country.  Germany was going through a massive unification process that saw an autocratic state emerge.  There was a literal flood of German immigrants at this time that greatly impacted American politics.  The labor movement largely sprang from German socialists, hoping to achieve in the US what they had failed to do in their home country.  The worst conflict arose at the Chicago Haymarket in 1886.

Rather than be sympathetic toward new immigrants, second-generation Donald Trump is highly antagonist toward new immigrants.  He proudly cites his family heritage yet denies that they too were subject to reprisals.  So much so that his father Fred often referred to himself as Swedish to avoid associations with Germany before and after WWII.

We are all children of immigrants.  Of course there are those who proudly chart their lineage all the way back to the Mayflower, but these Pilgrims were escaping what they saw as a highly prejudiced British government that stifled their religious liberty.

The funny part about Trump's wall is that the persons he decries were here long before Brits or Germans made their way to the American shores.  At one time, Spain controlled much of what is now continental United States.  Russia actually controlled a large swathe of the West Coast, stretching down to Fort Ross, California.  The Spanish countered by extending their missions all the way up to San Francisco.  It wasn't until the mid-19th century that American interests spread west, claiming the Spanish territories by Manifest Destiny and purchasing Alaska from Russia.  So, if we are going to play this game of who was here first, claiming a Mayflower birthright doesn't carry much weight.

To combat this rough patch in history, many Americans have come to pride themselves on what little "Native American" blood they can claim as if this gives them a special birthright.  Yet, these earlier tribes were immigrants too, coming to this continent by the Bering land bridge or boat centuries before.  The Athabaskans, which form by far the most dominant "native" groups in America, have strong Central Asian roots, and some believe came to America escaping the wrath of Genghis Khan in the 13th century.  This would have been the time of the "little ice age" when the Bering Strait was believed to be frozen over.  The Navajo and Apache were first sighted in the Southwest in the 14th century by earlier Pueblo nations, not long before the Spanish.

The Pueblo Indians believe they came to this continent by boat and some anthropologists have linked their culture with the Jomon culture, which goes back as far as the 10th millennium BC in Japan. The Zuni language shares remarkable characteristics to ancient Japanese.  A very long heritage to be sure, but immigrants nonetheless.

We are all children of immigrants. European history amply illustrates that there is nothing ethnically pure about any of the current nation states.  They are all confederations or rump states of previous confederations that owe their origins to a wide variety of cultural influences, much of it of Eastern origin.  Sanskrit, not Greek or Latin, is the mother language.  Yet, demagogues like Viktor Orban, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump continue to believe that we have some special birthright that makes us uniquely European or American, and that we should protect our countries from unwanted immigrants.

Our countries were shaped by immigrants. perhaps none more so than the United States.  We have a rich history and should be proud of its great ethnic diversity, not try to homogenize it into a singular fictional identity and adopt a threatening gang mentality to enforce it.



Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bonfire of the Vanities




The biggest advantage in winning the first debate is that Hillary can set the talking points for the two weeks until the next debate.  If Alicia Machado wasn't bad enough, the New York Times has hit Donald hard with the release of his 1995 tax returns, revealing nearly a billion dollars in losses, which he most likely has written off his returns for the last two decades.

What makes both these stories interesting is that they have been hanging around for quite sometime.  The Hillary ad takes clips from an interview Machado had with Univision this summer, and Vanity Fair noted the abuse she took in an article, posted in January, on Trump's love of beauty pageants.  Gaming income taxes has similarly been reported, but these were returns from the 1970s he filed for a gambling license in New Jersey.  The '95 returns allow for much better speculation on his current tax situation, which the NYTimes journalists gleefully do.

For the most part the mainstream media previously ignored these stories, too caught up in Trumpmania.  Now, it seems the "bigly" news story is taking Trump down, and just about every newspaper across the country is going after him, including leading conservative papers like the Arizona Republic, New Hampshire Union Leader and Dallas Morning News.  Even USA Today came out strongly against Trump despite a long standing policy of being neutral on presidential elections.

Even worse for Trump, Newsmax is quoting David Axelrod in describing how Trump took the bait on Miss Universe, so unable to get Alicia Machado out of his head that he was making 3 am tweets Friday morning,  three full days after the debate.  This after he left his friends at Fox in silence when he flew into a rage Thursday night on the same subject.

That temperament he bragged about at the debate doesn't look so stable now.  Not that it looked very stable that night.  Trump has always been an outspoken guy but he usually knew how to play the media, often against itself.  In the last full month of campaigning he has lost it, lashing out at everyone, probably his own family members, who have been surprisingly quiet in the wake of the Monday Night Massacre.

Very few persons consider him stable at this point.  Even Newt Gingrich expressed his concerns, failing to understand how Trump could be so obsessed with Machado, but like other conservatives backing Trump he still seems to hope that Trump can pull it together.

Trump was supposed to pivot toward moderate voters back in August, yet flew into a similar rage over the attacks he took at the Democratic National Convention, notably from the Khan family.  This went on for three weeks with him attacking his own backers, Paul Ryan and John McCain, for criticizing him for his response to a Gold Star family.  Eventually, Trump deferred but the damage was done.  The only thing that got him back into the race was all the speculation that swirled around Hillary's health that dominated the media, especially when she lost her footing following a 911 ceremony in New York.  Yet, here he is again unable to contain himself for perceived slights against his character, and threatening to pull out all the stops in the next debate against Hillary.

Team Hillary sized up Donald Trump and knew exactly where to hit him -- his immense ego. This is a guy who values his name at over $3 billion, and has it emblazoned in gold on all his towers.  He can't let anything that besmirches that name go and Hillary knows that.  It could very will be that the Machado story lingers throughout the month, just as the Willie Horton ads continued to haunt Michael Dukakis all the way until election day.

What threatens to bring Donald down is his tax returns.  He all but admitted he hasn't paid any taxes over the last two decades at the debate, and the NYTimes story ads fuel to the fire by showing how he could have avoided paying taxes over this time frame.  All of it may be perfectly legal but isn't going to sit well with a largely middle class electorate that feels it already carries an unfair tax burden because of tax dodgers like Donald J. Trump.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Beauty and the Beast




Who would have ever thought this story could get so much traction.  The Trump campaign was forced to spend the entire week on Alicia Machado, and for the most part making matters worse not better.    The tale of Donald Trump's first Miss Universe struck right to the heart of his vanity.

Try googling Alicia Machado now and you get a long string of porn-related videos put up by Trump hackers.  Trump himself has pointed to a mysterious sex tape as proof positive she was a porn queen as well, but those looking for some juicy video on Alicia will be sorely disappointed because none exists.  If you want a peep show you have to look at the Mexican version of Playboy, one of Donald Trump's favorite magazines.  Nevertheless, fat shaming turned to slut shaming on right-wing radio with Rush Limbaugh leading the charge to discredit her story.

However, it isn't working.  The longer Alicia Machado stays in the news cycle the worse Trump looks.  After all, here is a woman who has obviously taken good care of herself over the years whereas Trump has become a beast.

His surrogates argue that Hillary had no right to bring Machado up in the first debate, and cry over the unfair attack ad that has gone viral.  An exasperated Megyn Kelly was forced to say "Cone on, Kellyanne!" when his campaign adviser pouted over the attack at the debate, saying Trump shouldn't be held accountable for something he said 20 years ago.  But, the ad points to the misogyny we have seen throughout the campaign, his comments earlier this year toward Megyn included.  However, dear Kellyanne seemed oblivious to this.

What is also forgotten is that Trump has repeatedly brought up Bill Clinton's affairs on the campaign trail, and in a twitter war with Mark Cuban threatened to invite Gennifer Flowers to the first debate.  He has also followed the lead of his surrogates in claiming that Hillary was an "enabler" in these affairs.  Yet, he and his surrogates feel that Hillary hit him below the belt with Alicia Machado.

This is why the New Yorker had such great fun with Trump on its latest cover, and offered a number of hard-hitting articles in the issue.  He wants to be free to attack others, but when he suffers a particularly brutal hit cries foul.  It was really hard to gauge whether the Alicia Machado story would hurt him.  Probably not if he had let it glance off him, but Trump simply couldn't let this story go and now he pays the price.