Oct 20, 2016

Crisis: Presidential Debate, Revolutionary Trump, Senate, Missing, Unhinged Trump
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Live Blog Third Presidential Debate
2. Trump Crosses a Red Line in 3rd Debate, Refusing to
     Say Whether He Would Accept Election Results

4. Missing From the Debates: Climate Change, Poverty,
     Campaign Finance and More

A Candidate Unhinged: Trump Targets the Essence of

This is a Nederlog of Thursday, October 20, 2016.

A. This is a crisis log with 5 items and 5 dotted links (and they are all caused by the last debate between Clinton and Trump): Item 1 is The Intercept's take on the debate: I quote some (but did not quote articles with lots of Twitters: I am sorry, but I find that either stupid or lazy); item 2 is one of the takes on AlterNet, and this one is fair; item 3 is by Robert Reich, and indulges in some - rather fair, I admit - speculations; item 4 is one of the takes on Common Dreams: This is the only one written before the debate, but it is good; and item 5 is Spiegel International's take, which is decent.

-- Constant part, for the moment --

B. In case you visit my Dutch site: I do not know, but it may be you need to click/reload twice or more to see any changes I have made. This certainly held for me, but it is possible this was caused by the fact that I am also writing it from my computer.

In any case, I am now (again) updating the opening of my site with the last day it was updated. (And I am very sorry if you have to click/reload several times to see the last update: It is not what I wish, nor how it was. [1]

C. In case you visit my Danish site: It now works again (!), but I do not know how long it will keep working. The Dutch site still is a mess (it wasn't on Oct 15, but has not worked properly since).

I am very sorry, and none of it is due to me. I am simply doing the same things as I did for 20 or for 12 years, that also went well for 20 or for 12 years.

I will keep this introduction until I get three successive days (!!!) in which both providers work correctly. I have not seen that for many months now.


1. Live Blog Third Presidential Debate

The first item today is by the staff of The Intercept:
  • Live Blog Third Presidential Debate

This starts as follows, with Jon Schwartz (and I selected a few from quite a few more, and had one principle: Persons citing Twitters are excluded [2]):

The United States is unique in many ways, but the most important is that we have had 240 years of uninterrupted peaceful, democratic transitions of power. The military follows civilian orders, so we’ve never had a coup. Presidents who are voted out leave office, so we’ve never had an armed revolution.

No other country in the world comes close. It’s by far American citizens’ most valuable political inheritance.

So it shouldn’t be any surprise that Donald Trump just declared that he’s happy to throw it all away, like an underperforming casino or a 40-year-old first wife.

When asked by moderator Chris Wallace whether he would “absolutely accept the result of the election,” Trump replied “I will look at it at the time” — and then launched into a long diatribe about how the election is unfairly rigged against him.

Yes, indeed. Schwartz's contribution ends thus:

Lots of people and things get called “un-American” and it’s almost never true. But Donald Trump is genuinely, deeply un-American.

I think that is fair. Here is Alex Emmons about Hillary Clinton:

Among other things, the Wikileaks emails show Clinton smearing the anti-fracking movement as a Russian-backed conspiracy, and saying that Wall Street reform should come from industry executives. When asked about those comments, she should not be able to deflect by pointing to how they were disclosed.

Richard Nixon adopted similar distraction tactics in response to the Pentagon Papers, accusing the New York Times of printing “stolen goods.” Many of the most influential leaks in U.S. history have come from stolen property — like when activists in 1970 broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, and discovered that agents were infiltrating activist groups.

The Wikileaks disclosures may have been a grand strategy by Russia to influence the U.S. election. That does not mean that Clinton gets a free pass for what she said while touring the country, getting paid millions of dollars to give closed-door speeches to moneyed interest groups,

Yes, indeed. And here is Zaid Jilani with a brief but quite valid point:

Democratic president, Barack Obama has deported millions of people. Indeed, Obama has deported more people than any modern president.

Jilani illustrates the point with a graphic which I will not reproduce, but here are some numbers taken from it:

  • Between 08 and 14 Obama deported around 400,000 persons each year  (more than 1 per 1000 inhabitants);
  • Between 00 and 08 Bush Jr. deported between 200,000 and 250,000 persons each year;
  • From 1970 till 1995 around 25,000 persons were deported, per year.

I say. There is considerably more in the original, that is recommended.

2. Trump Crosses a Red Line in 3rd Debate, Refusing to Say Whether He Would Accept Election Results

The second item is by Steven Rosenfeld on AlterNet:
  • Trump Crosses a Red Line in 3rd Debate, Refusing to Say Whether He Would Accept Election Results
This starts as follows:
Donald Trump told Americans on Wednesday night they would have to wait and see if he would recognize the results of the presidential election, suggesting in 2016’s last debate there may not be a peaceful transition of power if Hillary Clinton were declared the winner on November 8.

“I will look at it at the time,” Trump said, when pressed by the debate moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News, before reciting one of the Republican Party’s big and thoroughly debunked lies on voter fraud. “If you look at your voter rolls, you will find millions of people there that are registered that shouldn't be registered to vote.”

Trump then abruptly pivoted and declared that Hillary Clinton “shouldn’t be allowed to run—she is guilty of a serious crime… in that respect, it is rigged.”

Wallace then again asked Trump if there would be a peaceful transition of political power.

“I will tell you at the time,” he replied. “I will keep you in suspense.”
I say.

Note that Donald Trump is threatening a revolution here: "
there may not be a peaceful transition of power if Hillary Clinton were declared the winner on November 8".

What do I think about Trump's chances of "winning" the elections after he is defeated? I think they are very small, but there may be considerable amounts of violence in November, simply because millions seem to believe Trump's lies that the elections are rigged.

Then there is this on Trump's falling apart during the debate:
That outburst and Clinton’s response was indicative of the much of what unfolded in the final debate of the presidential campaign. Trump started the evening sounding composed and more serious, but slowly began to unravel, interrupting Clinton, insulting her, repeatedly calling her a liar, and then jumping erratically from topic to topic in his two-minute answers.
It seems as if Trump's - crazy - demand that both candidates were to be drugs-tested before the last debate came to nothing, and I have seen none of the debates (I am sorry: I don't have the patience to swallow those amounts of lies for that amount of time), but I have read that several who did see the debates and who have said that Trump may have been running on cocaine.

I don't know, and Trump's unravelling may also have been due to his very short attention space.

Then there is this about sexual assaults by Trump (who has insisted that he can grab women "by the pussy" because he can do "anything" simply because he "is famous"):
When Trump was asked why nine women had come forward to accuse of him of groping or touching them sexually in uninvited ways, he said they were all lying—and ludicrously accused the Clinton campaign of fabricating the accusations.

But the debate ended in a way that perfectly encapsulated the campaign Americans have had to endure for more than a year. Clinton, in her remarks, took the high road, and said that she was hoping to be the president of all Americans and stand up for average people against the country’s most powerful interests, while helping to crate jobs and solve many problems.

And Trump, as has been the case, painted a dark apocalyptic picture of America falling apart, and demeaned many of the institutions that traditionally have been part of the GOP’s base. He called the military depleted. He said illegal immigrants were getting treated better than veterans. He called for law and order, and said that American inner cities were cauldrons of violence and despair and he “will do more than she can in 10 lifetimes… we will make America great again.”
As to the sexual assaults: Either you believe 9 women (I think more, but let's say 9) who are not billionaires, and who risk the ire of a revenge-oriented crazy billionaire, or you believe the revenge-oriented, insane, 80% lying candidate who has said that he can grab women "by the pussy" because he can do "anything" simply because he "is famous".

I believe the women.

As to the rest: Both candidates lied. Here is the end of the article:

Trump is now polling in the low 40s, which means that in a election where perhaps 125 million people vote, that he will receive upwards of 50 million votes. Trump signaled that he is likely to tell those people that the White House is being stolen from him. How that plays out politically remains to be seen, but you can bet that he is not going to leave the public stage and large audiences will still follow him.
50 million people - voting for an insane neofascist also, as I think - are a lot of people.

My guess is that Trump still has sufficient amounts of self-interest not to say, after he is defeated "Grab your guns, 50 million: We will take the government because we have been rigged!"

But he may, because I think he is insane (and I am a psychologist). And
this is a recommended article.


The third item is by Robert Reich on his site:

This starts as follows:

Amid all the focus on the presidential race it’s also important to keep in mind Democrats have a fighting chance to take back the Senate in November. There are at least 12 races in play. Win five, and Democrats are in control regardless of the outcome of the presidential election.

Many of of the Democrats on the ballot this year are progressives who have been fighting to raise the minimum wage, expand Social Security, provide paid sick leave and paid parental leave. Many are women and people of color who will make the Senate look more like the rest of America.

Win five of these races and we’d have a chance for a Supreme Court that would prioritize the rights and needs of average Americans rather than big corporations and overturn Citizens United!

Win five of these races and we’d put Senate oversight of the government back into the hands of people who care that government actually works.

I agree, but this is speculation. Then again, as Citizen United has shown, the present Supreme Court judge politically rather than legally, and it is very important to have a decent Supreme Court.

Here is some more by Reich:

A Democratic Senate would also give us a line of defense, a countervailing power in budget showdowns, foreign policy lock downs, and threatened government shutdowns.

If Hillary Clinton becomes president, a Democratic Senate will help push her positive agenda, and hold her accountable if she veers away from it. If Donald Trump becomes president – well, let’s just say we’ll need a Democratic Senate more than ever.

So please remember what’s at stake. And Vote on November 8th!

I must say that I don't have much belief in Reich's "a Democratic Senate will help push her positive agenda, and hold her accountable if she veers away from it", for the simple reasons that (i) there are only 100 senators, and (ii) for each senator there seem to be from 10 to 100 lobbyists.

But OK - one may dream, and Reich is more or less justified in dreaming, because it seems likely Clinton will win the presidency.

4. Missing From the Debates: Climate Change, Poverty, Campaign Finance and More

The fourth item today is by Karin Kamp on Common Dreams:

  • Missing From the Debates: Climate Change, Poverty, Campaign Finance and More
This starts as follows, and was clearly written before the debate last night, but is a fine article:

If you plan to tune in tonight to watch the final presidential debate, you probably won’t hear anything about some of our country’s most pressing concerns, like climate change, poverty and campaign finance. Again.

The final debate will be moderated by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who has announced he will ask questions on debt and entitlements, immigration, the economy, the Supreme Court, foreign hot spots and the candidates’ fitness to be president (push-ups on stage — yes!). If these topics sound familiar, that’s because, for the most part, they’ve already been widely covered in previous debates.

Yes, indeed. And what has not been discussed is global warming (apart from being mentioned three times, by Clinton):

While global warming tops the list of potential threats to the global economy in 2016, according to a World Economic Forum survey of global experts, it’s only been mentioned three times in the debates (by Hillary Clinton, in passing, notes FAIR).

We the people are concerned about climate change, with 73 percent of all registered voters saying they care either “a great deal” or “some” about the issue, according to Pew Research. Fifty-two percent of registered voters say the environment is “very important” to their voting decision in 2016. On Open Debates, the forum for submitting questions for the second debate, a climate change question was the fourth most popular. But there hasn’t been — nor is there expected to be — one single question on the issue at the debates.

I don't think this was discussed. What has also not been discussed is poverty:

Despite over 45 million Americans currently living in poverty, not a single question has been asked about that either, and the issue has barely been mentioned. In fact, Democrats had no questions on poverty in any of their primary debates, according to the FAIR analysis.

Child poverty rates in the United States, at 21.6 percent, are nearly double the OECD average of 12.4 percent. Before running for president, in a 2011 Huffington Post blog post, Bernie Sanders called poverty one of the “great moral and economic issues” that we face. He wrote that after the Census revealed that the number of Americans living in poverty had increased to over 46 million, the highest number ever (it has since dropped to 43 million). “Poverty in America today leads not only to anxiety, unhappiness, discomfort and a lack of material goods. It leads to death,” Sanders writes.

But the candidates have faced not one question on a deep problem that affects so many.
45 million Americans = between 10 and 15% of all Americans. And 1 in 5 of American children grow up in poverty. But I don't think this was discussed.

What has also hardly been discussed is campaign finance:

That leads us to the mother of all issues — campaign finance. The fifth most popular question on Open Debates was: Would you act to repeal Citizens United?

It’s an issue that unites us. Eighty-four percent of Americans think money has too much influence in our political campaigns. But moderators have asked not one question about it, and there’s only been one mention so far in the debates.

This, as Clinton and Trump have raised a jaw-dropping $911 million and $423 million respectively, including money from super PACs. In state and local races across the country, donors have poured more than $1 billion so far this year.

This week, as part of his five-point plan for ethics reform, released on Monday (making it newsworthy!), Trump said he supports campaign finance reform that would keep registered foreign lobbyists from raising money in US elections. He also announced a number of proposals for reforming the revolving doors between government and the interests that they lobby.

The one campaign finance mention in the debates thus far came from Hillary Clinton, when she said in the second debate that she wants to “see the Supreme Court reverse Citizens United and get dark, unaccountable money out of our politics.”

In fact, I tend to believe Clinton on Citizens United (one must be careful, since Obama won his presidential campaigns by promising many things he did not really do anything about when elected), and I tend to disbelieve her about her desire to "get dark, unaccountable money out of our politics" simply because she has been funded by millions from Wall Street bankers, and because at present one needs millions to become president.

If you think these were all the themes that either were not or hardly mentioned in any presidential debate, you are mistaken: There also are (I copied): China, gun control, education, student debt, voting rights, drugs, abortion, reproductive health, NSA/privacy/surveillance, Native Americans and LGBTQ:

The other issues that were either barely mentioned or not mentioned at all, and where not one single question was asked: China, gun control, education, student debt, voting rights, drugs, abortion, reproductive health, NSA/privacy/ surveillance, Native Americans and LGBTQ.

As Bill Moyers and Michael Winship recently wrote about the presidential debates, “We can’t go on like this. We can no longer leave the electoral process to the two parties or the media conglomerates with whom they’re in cahoots. The stakes are too high.”

I agree with Moyers and Winship - but these elections as well were organized by "two parties or the media conglomerates with whom they’re in cahoots".

And this is a recommended article.

5. A Candidate Unhinged: Trump Targets the Essence of America

The fifth and last item today is by Charles Hawley on Spiegel International:
  • A Candidate Unhinged: Trump Targets the Essence of America
This is from near the beginning (and I like it - as a psychologist, who has been saying this for nearly eight months now - that Trump is called  "Unhinged", for the simple reason that I think he is unhinged):

One of the great shocks of our current election cycle has been the discovery that the American national myth -- that American democracy -- isn't as robust as we thought. Donald Trump is threatening to destroy both.

To be sure, he is merely the extremely grotesque manifestation of the growing disdain for democracy that has developed in recent years on the American right wing, fostered by a Republican Party that never truly recognized Barack Obama as the rightfully elected president of the United States. (Indeed, at a campaign appearance on Saturday, Trump referred to Obama as the "quote 'president.'") He is the product of government shutdowns, of radio talk show hosts who have spent years spouting conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory, of Tea Party Republicans who rejected the notion of democratic consensus and of the opportunistic anti- intellectualism that has become so entrenched in the Republican Party that anyone with any kind of expertise, particularly journalists, is automatically viewed with suspicion and outright hostility.

Hm, yes and no: It was not a "shock" - let alone "a great shock" - for me to discover that "the American national myth -- that American democracy -- isn't as robust as we thought": I haven't believed in the robustness of "American democracy" for fifty years now.

Then again, I mostly agree with the second paragraph, and especially with "the opportunistic anti-intellectualism that has become so entrenched in the Republican Party", indeed not because I am so very much for "intellectuals" [3] but because I see it as a sign of massive stupidity and/or massive ignorance that moves many of the around 50 million potential Trump voters.

And Charles Hawley seems mostly right on Trump's sexual predatorship and on his "rhetoric of dictatorship":

All it took to reveal the lengths to which Trump is prepared to go was the half-hearted retreat of a few leading Republicans when it became no longer possible to ignore that their nominee was a sexual predator. But now that he has been "unshackled," as he himself has said, it is becoming apparent that Nov. 8 will very likely not be the end of what he has taken to calling his "Patriotic Movement."

The rhetoric that Trump has begun using with ever increasing frequency -- that he would lock up Hillary Clinton if he won, that the election is rigged, that his followers should monitor the polls and "watch other communities," that he would rein in the "corrupt" media -- is the rhetoric of dictatorship. But it also appeals directly to a significant chunk of the population, one that feels abandoned by the country's leadership, left behind by globalization and threatened by demographics.

And here is one of the reasons Charles Hawley calls Trump "unhinged", in which I think he is quite right:

On October 13, Trump held one of his most unhinged campaign speeches yet. At an event in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said that there is a "global power structure" that has robbed the American working class. He also said that Clinton "meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of US sovereignty" and that the election may be "in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system."

If you believe these lies, I take it you are about as "unhinged" as Donald Trump is - but then there may be 50 million Americans (!!) who may believe it.

The article ends as follows:

Having unleashed the promise of a white-power America, it seems doubtful that his followers will slide back into the background after this election. Even if Trump declines the strongman roll he has developed for himself, the movement, the alternative definition of America, will continue.

History has taught us that changing definitions, altering national myths, is an extremely difficult and often bloody proposition. That though -- that and the consequences such a shift necessarily engenders -- will be the true Trump legacy. And it is a horrifying one to contemplate.

Hm. I agree mostly with the first paragraph. The second paragraph I do not understand (I have read history, for one example) but I guess the reason is that it is intentionally unclear: I take it Hawley had in mind what Steven Rosenfeld said, but I don't know.

In any case, for Spiegel International this was a fairly decent article.

[1] Alas, this is precisely as I said it does, and it goes on for months now. I do not know who does it, and I refuse to call the liars of "xs4all" (really: the KPN), simply because these have been lying to me from 2002-2009, and I do not trust anything they say I cannot control myself: They have treated me for seven years as a liar because "you complain about things other people do not complain about" (which is the perfect excuse never to do anything whatsoever for anyone).

[2] I am sorry, but I don't like Twitter, and I doubt your sanity if you want "to discuss" things 148 characters (I think) at the time. And I very much dislike reading lists of Tweets in journalists' articles: It seems very lazy to me, and to add a lot of baloney.

[3] In fact, I am not, at least not if the intellectual is someone with an academic position in a university: What I learned in the University of Amsterdam (which was extremely "leftist" while I studied there) is that at least 95% of the academics they employed were far more interested in their - bureaucratic, quite high - incomes, and were willing to deny almost anything to keep hold of their incomes: It was money that drove them, not ideas or - non-egoistic - values. (Most of them did keep their very well-paying jobs, and extremely few produced anything of any academic value.)

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