Wednesday, September 28, 2016


One of Trumpy's greatest weaknesses is this need to explain himself, clueless as to why people are bothered, and then in his "explanation" making things worse. A good example at the debate was his attempt to explain why he called Rosie O'Donnell a fat pig -- she DESERVED it, he explained. 

Later Clinton called him out for calling a Miss Universe contestant (Alicia Machado -- remember that name) "Miss Piggy." He initially denied it -- then the next day realized he had said that. So now he needed to "explain" that she DESERVED it too. He has no idea how horribly this comes across.

All of which gives the Clinton campaign fodder for a new video, in Spanish. 

This is one of two massive errors that will haunt Trump throughout the rest of this campaign, I believe
Wounded and angry, this morning on Fox Trump went after that Miss Universe pageant winner who Hillary brought up in the debate. Trump said she was "the worst" and "gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem."

Listen to him:

The new Clinton video: 

[NB: Anti-woman, anti-Latina, and anti-Miss Universe. Perfect!]

"A massive amount of weight"
This is what Alicia Machado looked like when Trump took to publicly & privately humiliating her over her weight. She had just turned 20.  [read on]

We're going to be hearing a lot from Ms. Machado in the coming days, I expect


One of Hillary's best moves, and she did it frequently, was to just stand aside and watch Trump massacre himself

One of the most quoted axioms from "The Art of War" is some variant on the theme: "When your enemy is in the process of destroying himself, stay out of his way."
Hillary Clinton had to do three things in last night’s debate, and she did roughly 2.8 of them very well. First, she had to actually make sounder, and more appealing policy points than Donald Trump did. On the whole, she succeeded—though she still doesn’t really have a good comeback to Trump’s criticism of the past several decades of trade policy (that’s why I only give her a 2.8 of three). Second, she had to get under his skin, so he’d feel compelled to defend himself, which is to say, defend the indefensible. Third, she had to know when to let him go, to rant, to be Donald Trump, and not step on it by interrupting or trying to refute the absurd. On points two and three, she was brilliant. Getting under his skin, she handed him the rope. Letting him rant, she let him hang himself. . . .

"Donald" -- Here's how Clinton did it. She and her handlers did their homework: they set him up and he stepped right into it

Hillary’s Trump trap: Clinton laid a series of snares, and Donald charged right into them
How Clinton Got Inside Trump’s Head
Hillary Clinton Brings Out the Real Donald Trump 

A split screen never mattered so much 

More Trump bashing (thanks to AG for the clip art)
Shortly before the first presidential debate of 2016 got underway, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a prominent Donald Trump ally, insisted that the Republican candidate would “pass the test of being adequately competent” during the showdown with Hillary Clinton. The message drew swift mockery for setting the bar for Trump success at such a woefully low level.  But by the time the dust settled on the debate, Gingrich’s prediction looked even worse – because Trump didn’t come close to demonstrating “adequate competence.” . . .
Donald Trump gave the worst debate performance of any candidate ever
Trump's debate performance was so bad it was ... really bad
Chuck Todd: 'Debate Was The Most Abnormal Event I've Ever Witnessed'
Then due to the vanity and laziness that led him to think he could wing the most important 95 minutes of his life, he lost the thread of his argument, he lost control of his temper and he lost the perspective necessary to correct these mistakes as he went. . . . 

More conservatives who think he blew it:

In the lead-up to the debate, all the analysis was that Trumpy had to make himself palatable to GOP women. He failed spectacularly

Ladies night
Clinton's debate performance spoke to every woman who has had to humor an incompetent man

I almost jumped out of my seat when he said this. This is the second massive error, and it might be unrecoverable
Donald Trump admitted he hasn't paid any taxes

A sound track for the moment:
In the spin room after, he waffled even more when reporters asked him what he meant. On one hand, he said he hadn't, in fact, admitted to not paying federal income taxes. However, presented with multiple opportunities to say definitively that he has and is paying income taxes, he appeared to dodge the questions. . . .

5 Times Trump Bragged About His Shady Business History In The Debate
At each one of these points, I couldn’t help but picture his aides staring wide-eyed at the television screen and shouting, “Noooo!” But it’s these and other moments — when Trump can’t seem to help himself from saying something politically foolish — that he reveals what really matters to him. When it comes to money and business, Trump obviously feels a compelling need to show that he’s the alpha male — he’s the top dog, he’s always winning, and nobody is going to play him for a sucker, whether it’s a contractor or a partner or the federal government. And while there are certainly some voters who find that appealing, Trump doesn’t seem to grasp that bragging about not paying taxes might not be a good idea for a presidential candidate. . . .

Folks, I think she's got him
Trump replied on stage, "That makes me smart."  “Now, if not paying taxes makes him smart, what does that make all the rest of us?” Clinton asked the crowd.  Clinton said that she and her husband Bill “didn’t come from billionaire families” but have been financially successful in their public lives.  “We believe with the blessings we’ve been giving, we should do our part,” she said to cheers from the audience.  

Clinton then went after Trump for boasting to the debate audience at Hofstra University about his past comments calling the housing market bubble a “great opportunity” for his real estate empire. Trump said of those remarks, “That’s called business.”  “What kind of person believes that?” Clinton asked. “What kind of person would want to root for 9 million families losing their homes? One who should never be president is the answer to that question.”

When Trump said that not paying taxes ‘makes me smart,’ undecided voters in N.C. gasped
Dana Bash (CNN): “My question for you is, first of all, it sounds like you admitted that you hadn't paid federal taxes and that that was smart. Is that what you meant to say?   
Trump: “No, I didn't say that at all.” 

I expected this. While taking the high road (he says) and not making an issue of Bill's affairs during the debates, he just turns around and sends out a surrogate to say it
Rudy Giuliani said that Hillary Clinton’s decision to stand by her husband after news of his extramarital affair broke in 1998 proves that the former secretary of state is “too stupid to be president,” Politico reports. 

Now Trump says he might use it next time:

[NB: Having screwed up so badly, if he thinks the solution is to come out more aggressively next time, he's headed for another catastrophe.]

Another lie
No, The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Did Not Endorse Trump 

All hands on deck for damage control
Trump Runs To Hannity For Post-Debate Damage Control
Donald Trump “lashed out wildly on Tuesday. . .” the New York Times reports.
Trump: Lester Holt Asked Me Some 'Unfair' And 'Hostile' Questions
Shortly after the debate on Monday night, however, Trump told CNNMoney that he “thought Lester did a great job,” adding, “I thought it was very fair.”
This Is How Poorly Trump Communicates
Even his supporters struggle to make sense of his word salad.
Trump is Losing the Post-Debate Debate Badly
The debate was bad enough for Donald Trump, but the next day spin made it even worse. These things grow in the telling. . . .

He's STILL complaining about the microphone

Clinton: "Anybody who blames it on the microphone is not having a good night"

In the alternate universe
A Surprising Number of Debate-Watchers Saw What They Wanted to See: A Trump Victory


Trumpy has always said he would self-fund his campaign. Now that promise gets put to the test -- because their big-donor contributions are drying up

The Trump Foundation issues get serious
Trump Could Be in Big Trouble

More on the Trump Foundation: a major issue has been what is called "self-dealing," using charitable resources for personal benefit. There are numerous examples, if you've been following the story, and one of them is a giant portrait of the Orange Haired Monster. Where is it? Adorning the wall of one of his golf courses
Trump is actually doing his foundation a favor, by ‘storing’ its portrait on his golf resort wall, his adviser says

Clinton may have attracted millennials with her debate perfomance

Clinton snags another major Republican endorsement, former Senator John Warner of Virginia

And now this:
The Arizona Republic endorsed a Democrat for the first time since the newspaper’s founding in 1890.

Drudge Report, which was ground zero for the "Hillary is Dying of Something" meme, is ASTONISHED that she made it through the debate without keeling over. So instead of saying, "maybe we were wrong about how weak and frail she is," or even more strongly, that it was TRUMP who clearly ran out of energy, they have their own way of finessing the counterfactual

In other news. . . .

Bridgegate unravels
David Wildstein Testifies: Christie Knew About Lane Closings In Advance


Teen births have plummeted
Bonus item: Seth Meyers on the debate
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Well, let me start by saying: I think he will practice more next time.

The split screen doesn't lie. You saw a calm, confident, knowledgeable candidate who stuck to topics, kept her cool, and delivered clear, informed answers from start to finish. And you saw a petulant, grimacing, defensive, interrupting bully who rarely answered the questions asked and who visibly ran out of gas and became less coherent as the debate went on.

I doubt many Trump true believers will abandon him over this. But I can't imagine that anyone with open questions about his qualifications, his policies, and most of all his temperament could possibly have watched this disaster and been reassured.

It is impossible to cover all the revealing moments in this debacle. Trump blaming Rosie O'Donnell for why he called her a fat pig. Saying that profiting off people losing their homes was "smart business." A terrible slip-up in which it appears that he admitted not paying any taxes (they would have just squandered it anyway, he said). Shifting from saying the Clinton didn't have the "look" to be president to saying he meant she didn't have the stamina.

Well somebody lacked stamina. And discipline. And focus. And self-control
"I said she doesn't have the stamina, and I don't believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina," he continued, before changing course and talking about negotiation skills.  

"Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina," Clinton retorted
The first debate featured an unprepared man repeatedly shouting over a highly prepared woman
Trump interrupted Clinton 51 times at the debate.

“I also have a much better temperament than she has. . . . I think my strongest asset maybe by far is my temperament.”  “I have a winning temperament,” he added. “I know how to win.”  Asked to respond, an amused-looking Clinton wiggled her shoulders, and said, “woo!” to laughter from the audience. 

Did Trump Just Admit He Doesn’t Pay Any Taxes?
Donald Trump’s first presidential debate confirmed he has no idea what he’s talking about
Of course Trump briefly advertised his new hotel during the presidential debate
Donald Trump on rooting for the housing crisis: 'That's called business'

General reactions
[Jonathan Allen] Donald Trump has given us the worst debate performance by any major-party nominee since the advent of television.
Clinton clearly went into this debate not looking for one or two big "Have you no decency" moments but rather looking to hit him with a rat-tat-tat series of taunts and jabs to see if she could get him to lose his cool and throw him off his game. It ended up happening a lot more quickly than I expected. No more than fifteen minutes in he was getting visibly angry. And he stayed that way for the next hour plus. . . .
How Hillary Clinton lured Donald Trump’s sexism out into the open
Trump couldn’t control himself. Not only was the split screen not a friend to Donald Trump’s eye-rolls and grimaces, he produced constant interruptions ranging from groans, snorts, and sniffs, to shouts and interruptions. A four-year-old throwing a fit in Macy’s would have been embarrassed. And It was also clear that Mr. Stamina’s mainspring was windddinnnnggg down after about thirty minutes. Deprived of a raging audience ready to reaffirm his every word, Trump’s energy dropped into the red. . . .
The Five Biggest Moments Of The First Presidential Debate
Towards the end of the debate, Trump claimed his “strongest asset” was his temperament. He did so while interrupting moderator Lester Holt and yelling at Clinton. It’s clear Trump doesn’t really know what “temperament” means.

A few more blunt comments about Trumpy's meltdown:

A very revealing Frank Luntz focus group
[Frank Luntz]  Hillary Clinton has had the best debate training I've seen in years... She knows when to attack and when to explain

These are the moments Clinton won over voters inclined to vote for Trump
Clinton CRUSHES Trump in post-debate polls 

Here is the most amazing thing to me. If Trump's preparers knew anything, it was that he would be asked about why he won't release his taxes. He'd be asked about his claim to have opposed the Iraq war from the very beginning. He'd be asked about why he kept pushing the birther issue for five years after Obama released his birth certificate. On every one of these issues he  was unprepared, incoherent, and inconsistent
Donald Trump Bungles Hillary Clinton’s Tax Returns Attack
In First Debate, Trump Still Lying About His Support For the Iraq War

“I was the one that got him to produce the birth certificate and I think I did a good job,” Trump replied,. . .

“But we’re talking about racial healing in this segment,” Holt pointed out to Trump. “What do you say to African Americans…”  “I say nothing,” he responded defiantly.  “I’m satisfied,” Trump added, again congratulating himself for “getting [President Obama] to release the birth certificate”  When asked to respond, Clinton drew a bit of laughter from the audience with her plain zinger: “Just listen to what you heard.”


Fact checking: count the lies

Donald Trump says American manufacturing is declining. It isn't.
Trump Falsely Claims He Didn't Say That Climate Change Was A Hoax

What Trump DIDN'T say
It doesn't get more peak Trump than this, when Trump said how he was going to have some kind of ugly outburst against Hillary and her family but just couldn't since it would be wrong. He wants credit for not doing it.  

"Hillary is hitting me with tremendous commercials, some of it said in entertainment, somebody who's been very vicious to me, Rosie o'donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree she deserves it, and nobody feels sorry for her. I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, I can't do it. I just can't do it. It's inappropriate. It's not nice, but she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads on me, many of which are absolutely untrue."

Trump Tells Media He’s Too Classy to Bring Up Bill’s Affairs

After the debate. . .
Donald Trump Appears To Have Hissy Fit As He Leaves Debate Venue 

You knew this was coming: attacking the moderator

Rudy Giuliani floated the prospect of Donald Trump not participating in further general election debates, after what he believes was inappropriate meddling by moderator Lester Holt, The Hill reports.  Said Giuliani: “If I were Donald Trump, I wouldn’t participate in another debate unless I was promised the journalist would act like a journalist, and not an ignorant fact check.”
No, it was the  MICROPHONE!
“They gave me a defective mic. Did you notice that? My mic was defective within the room,” Trump said after the debate Tuesday, during a gaggle with reporters. “I wonder, was that on purpose? Was that on purpose? But I had a mic that didn't work properly.”  There was no clear problem with his microphone during the debate.

Well. We know that the bulk of Clinton's ads have been showing what a nightmare Trump would be. But we haven't seen anything like this

Poll panic. I don't want to rehearse again here all the reasons why I'm not freaking out over the polls. But here's an angle I want to consider: EVERYONE has an interest in promoting the "polls are tightening" narrative. For the media it builds suspense and drama. For the pollsters it promotes more interest in the daily deluge of new polls. For the Trumpistas it makes it look like their boy has momentum. 

For the Clinton campaign it motivates their field staff and tells the third party flirters that they don't get a "freebie" because they assume Clinton will win anyway. A close race and the prospect of Trump winning provides leverage for more fundraising, more volunteers, more effort at turnout. No one is talking about the dangers of complacency any more
Are Most Public Polls Garbage? 


It does seem that the press has been shamed into recognizing how they've helped normalize Trumpy's lies
Donald Trump lies. All the time.


But as reporters get more assertive about calling out his lies, his campaign starts attacking them


Yes! Let's start calling it "Charity-gate". How Trump used the Foundation to avoid paying taxes
Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has received approximately $2.3 million from companies that owed money to Trump or one of his businesses but were instructed to pay Trump’s tax-exempt foundation instead, according to people familiar with the transactions.  In cases where he diverted his own income to his foundation, tax experts said, Trump would still likely be required to pay taxes on the income. Trump has refused to release his personal tax returns. His campaign said he paid income tax on one of the donations, but did not respond to questions about the others.


Here's a hint of Trumpy's defense when his Foundation gets nailed
In an interview that aired on Sunday, Donald Trump said he hoped that the Trump Foundation complies with charity laws, indicating that he's not involved in the organization's operations. "Well, I hope so, I mean, my lawyers do it," Trump said when asked on Sharyl Attkisson's "Full Measure" if his foundation follows charity laws. . . .

Big trouble:

Trump's phony excuses for not releasing his taxes
First, what tax years are under audit? Does it go back beyond 2012? If not, can the 2011 return be released?      

....Second, why haven’t the audit notices been released?...There’s nothing so sensitive in such a generic notice that it could not be made public. At this point, Trump has not even offered up this most basic evidence that he is really even under audit. Why hasn’t proof been demanded?      

....Third, for the tax returns that are under audit, why can’t the first two pages be released? After all, those first two pages simultaneously contain the information most relevant to the public about a presidential candidate and contain no information that reveals the issues under audit.

More on Trump's Russia ties

Breaking news:
Trump Campaign Adviser Steps Down While Disputing Claims Of Russia Ties

Did it influence Ted Cruz's decision to switch and support Trump that the Trump campaign has been paying him tens -- perhaps hundreds -- of thousands of dollars?

Wow. Here's an example of media "even-handedness" -- Politico calls it a Clinton lie when she makes an estimate of Trump's tax breaks BASED ON HIS NUMBERS. Since Politico thinks his numbers are phony, this represents an error on Clinton's part

I don't even know what to say here. Apparently, 11% of the people who are voting for Trump . . . don't actually want him to win

Deep from the right-wing fever swamps: Obama's nefarious plan to steal the election (hint: it involves immigrants)

In other news . . .

The murder rate is half of what it was 25 years ago

Bonus item: John Oliver compares the Trump and Clinton "scandals"

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL:

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Monday, September 26, 2016


The debate tonight will be the most-watched debate, ever. And everyone has lots of advice for Hillary
What Hillary needs to do at tomorrow night’s debate
Trump’s Ghostwriter Explains How to Beat Him in a Debate
How to Beat Trump in a Debate
Hillary’s Debate Knockout Punch
Trump team builds 'psychological profile' of Clinton for debate

Interesting move
On the eve of the first presidential debate, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, described her candidate Sunday as “the Babe Ruth of debating,” a glowing assessment that’s unusual at a time when both camps typically work to rein in expectations. “He's a brilliant debater,” Conway said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Newt Gingrich put it best. The former Speaker recently said Donald Trump is the best debater he's ever seen. He's like the Babe Ruth of debating. He really shows up and swings and does a great job.”   

Except that she misquoted Gingrich, who wasn't saying that Trump was the greatest debater of all time, but that he was sort of lazy, at least in his preparation. Via Fox News, 9/07/16: "Trump is a little bit like Babe Ruth. He's like one of those great natural athletes who doesn't do all that well in practice...." [read on] 

I'm already tired of the "moderator as fact checker" debate. Here's what I want much more: if someone doesn't answer the question, follow up

In typical Trump fashion, the gang goes from attacking moderator Lester Holt to praising him extravagantly

“By the way, Lester is a Democrat,” Trump said of NBC’s Lester Holt, who will moderate the first presidential debate, in an interview with Bill O’Reilly on Monday. “It’s a phony system. They are all Democrats. It’s a very unfair system.”

Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway today NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt who will preside over Monday night’s presidential debate a “respected, brilliant newsman” . . .

[NB: So typical. Viciously attack, or suck up. Never anything in between.]

Here's another example:
Ted Cruz won't endorse Donald Trump, but the Republican nominee said Friday he wouldn't take the support even if the Texas senator offered. "If he gives it, I will not accept it," Trump said
[About Cruz and Kasich, who refused to endorse him] "Actually I was happy, because it shows how weak they are, it shows how pathetic they are," Trump said.
The @SenTedCruz endorsement was a wonderful surprise. I greatly appreciate his support! 

The ten signs of a bully -- he's a textbook case
1) Bullying. . . .People with a Narcissistic personality are often bullies. 
2) Unreasonable expectations.  
3) Verbal attacks.
4) Gaslighting. “I didn’t do that. I didn’t say that. I don’t know what you’re talking about. It wasn’t that bad. You’re imagining things. Stop making things up.”
5) Unpredictable responses.  . . . Telling you one day that something’s alright and the next day that it’s not is emotionally abusive behavior.
6) Constant Chaos. . . . [Accusing others of what THE BULLY is doing] This maneuver is a defense mechanism called projective identification.  
7) Emotional Blackmail. . . . You feel manipulated, used, and controlled. 
8 Rejection. . . . [After insulting and pushing you away] try to be affectionate with you. 
9) Withholding affection . . .  It includes a lack of interest in what’s important to you–your job, family . . .
10) Isolating.  . . .This typically involves verbally trashing your friends and family, being overtly hostile . . . You’re left feeling trapped and alone

The press has turned the corner, apparently, and is now quite comfortable using the word "lie" in connection with Trump -- and man, his people DON'T LIKE IT
The New York Times kicked things off this weekend with "A Week of Whoppers From Donald Trump." The Washington Post followed suit with its own compilation of a week of lies. Today, the Los Angeles Times ups the ante with "Scope of Trump's Lies Unmatched"

Trump camp gets touchy-touchy about all the pre-debate coverage of Trump's compulsive lying
Hmm . . . was the Gennifer Flowers invite ever real?

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway attempted to do damage control over the weekend in response to Donald Trump's threat to invite alleged Bill Clinton mistress Gennifer Flowers to Monday night's debate. . . .

Perceptive: Trump's apparent "outreach" to African Americans is really just more white supremacism in disguise 


A scammer's gonna scam: Trump charges Secret Service to fly on his plane

This article is satire -- but here's a question I haven't heard discussed anywhere : If Trump were to win (he won't), would he even LIVE in the White House, or in the new hotel he just built down the street?
Trump Declares He’s ‘Totally Gonna Renovate The White House’ To His Standards

The crucial role of social media in politics: lessons from the Trump campaign
Here is possibly the most pointless article I've seen in a while: How to change the minds of Trump supporters through logic and "nondefensive communication"

[NB: Uhhh . . .  no.]

Chances shrink of a Democratic Senate takeover 

Bonus item: Okay, funny video -- Archie Bunker and Donald Trump. But beneath it is a serious question: What are the underlying dynamics of American politics that make these messages so recurrent? How did something that was an article of satire in the 60's and 70's become accepted as "serious" political discourse a few decades later?

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL:

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***