Hypocrisy in politics is over-rated, but…

One could make an endless job out of pointing out hypocrisy in politics.  It’s rampant on both right and left, so, there’s not really all that much to be gained by pointing it out.  But this is just so good:

Bill Clinton cheats on his wife. Impeach him. Trump proudly brags about sexual assault (and has cheated on his wives). Elect him. Hillary oversaw the department of state while 4 people died in an embassy attack. Put her in jail. 2 Republicans were in office while over 200 people died in embassy attacks. No problem. Immigrants don’t pay taxes. Round them up and kick them out. Trump doesn’t pay taxes. He’s a business genius. Hillary’s foundation only spent 87% of their donations helping people. She’s a crook. Trumps foundation paid off his debts, bought sculptures of him, and made political donations to avoid investigations while using less than 5% of funds for charity (and he got shut down by NY State). So savvy… Put him in the white house. Trump made 4 billion dollars in 40 years, when an index fund started at the same time with the same “small loans” he received would be worth $12 billion today… without a trail of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits and burned small business owners. He’s a real business whiz. Hillary took a loss of $700k. She’s a criminal. Trump is the first candidate in the modern era not to release his tax returns, and took a billion dollar loss in 1 year. Genius. Hillary takes responsibility for private email servers and apologizes. Not credible. Trump denies saying things (on the record) he actually said (on the record), he’s just telling it like it is.

Your arguments are thin. Your ignorance of reality is shocking. Your double-standards are offensive, and your willingness to blindly support him and recycle the rhetoric is absurd. Your opinion is not fact. Your memes are not news articles. And your hypocrisy is not a platform.

Alex Schiller


The world is Trump’s locker room

This post from Chait is so good:

Trump’s primary defense has rested on the metaphor of the “locker room,” a phrase the candidate and his surrogates have repeated so monotonously that some of them have actually come to believe Trump’s comments were uttered in an actual locker room. (Representative Ted Yoho, yesterday: “I do not make those excuses for somebody that said something 11 years ago in a locker room.”) The locker-room defense is a two-step mental exercise. The first step is to imagine the locker room as a kind of ethereal plane in which men make statements that bear no relationship to their character or events in the actual world. Even the confession of an actual crime becomes meaningless if it can be confined to this realm. The “locker room” is like patients describing their dreams to a psychiatrist. The next step in the exercise is to extend the metaphorical locker room beyond the physical space of a locker room, to include any conversation between men, and ultimately all physical space…

“By what standard are they judging Trump?” asks Limbaugh. The answer is, by the very standard he has said: consent. Trump is harming women by touching them unwillingly. Limbaugh is unable to grasp that “consent” is literally a form of morality — that people should have control over their own sexual decisions, and violating their body against their will is, by this standard, immoral. This is an extremely simple notion of morality, if you think of women as human beings. Limbaugh keeps returning to the putative contradiction, which boggles his primitive brain:

Morality is what it is. Virtue is what it is. And you either are or you aren’t. And the left doesn’t like that so they’ve obscured the lines and the definitions. And the definition now is moral is whatever you can get somebody to do with you, consent. You can do anything. If you could get the dog to consent with you, if you can get the horse to consent, we got no problem with it. And they don’t! So morality has been boiled down to consent, is my point, and it’s true.

Since sexual assault is a way of life for Trump, there is going to be no end to the reporting of them. There could be dozens more stories — journalistic resources being the only limiting factor. Eventually, flyspecking every individual account of Trump’s assaults — what about the armrests? — will become impossible. Either Trump’s supporters will have to argue that they are willing to accept his behavior because they care more about policy, or they will have to follow the path of D’Souza and Limbaugh, extending the logic of the locker room and its limitless zone of male sexual entitlement through to its ultimate conclusion.

Also, so good.  Michelle Obama’s speech today (I skipped to the good part as identified by Drum).  Damn, this woman is awesome.

Why Trump’s groping victims are only coming out now

If you really think that this is only some sort of political dirty tricks with all these women coming out to lie about Trump right now, because, obviously, they would have said something sooner than you are completely clueless (and quite possibly misogynistic).  Do you know how much hell you have to be asking for to simply stand up and say a presidential nominee groped you?  Or, that a world-famous businessman groped you?  Not at all fun.  Much easier to have suffered in relative silence and shared the indignity with only your family and friends.

But once that bastard starts bragging about groping women?  Well, then, people will listen.  When other women come forward about being victimized?  Even more people will listen.  Sure, you will still be attacked mercilessly by Trump, but now you have every reason to think people will actually believe you.  Vox’s Dara Lind:

When several women came forward Wednesday night with allegations that Donald Trump had groped or kissed them without their consent, they were greeted in some quarters with suspicion. Many of these incidents had happened years earlier — why hadn’t they come forward at the time? If they hadn’t reported the assaults when they happened, didn’t that make it more plausible that there had never been any assault?

Trump’s accusers never really got a chance to answer that question. Trump himself answered it for them.

In his speech Thursday responding to the accusations, Trump did everything that survivors of sexual assault say they’re afraid of if they make their accusations public.

He claimed the allegations were orchestrated by the Clinton campaign — discrediting the accusers themselves by portraying them as mere pawns.

He implied that journalist Natasha Stoynoff, who alleged Wednesday night that Trump had forcibly grabbed and kissed her when she was reporting a piece about his marriage to Melania for People magazine, was essentially too ugly to assault: “Look at her. Look at her words. I don’t think so.”

He discredited another accuser, Jill Harth, by saying that she’d repeatedly sought jobs with Trump companies — implying that any continued contact with Trump clearly meant that whatever he’d done to her hadn’t been that bad. This was, he said, “an individual who has been totally discredited based on the many, many e-mails and letters she has sent to our office over the years looking for work.”

Anyway, it’s quite clear why the dam of this has burst now (also, see Roger Ailes).  This is Donald Trump.

You can threaten to sue for libel even if you are clueless about libel claims

I’m sure Donald Trump thinks he has “the best!” lawyers.  He doesn’t.  If they think they have a remotely actionable libel claim they are as clueless as their boss.  The response from the NYT on being told they would be sued for printing allegations of Trump’s groping is brilliant:

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

Oh snap!

And Mark Joseph Stern with a little more on the absurdity of Trump’s claim:

McCraw went on to explain that Trump’s libel threat is ridiculous for another reason: It would violate the First Amendment, which vigorously protects speech on a matter of public concern.

[T]here is a larger and much more important point here. The women quoted in our story spoke out on an issue of national importance—indeed, an issue that Mr. Trump himself discussed with the whole nation watching during Sunday night’s presidential debate. Our reporters diligently worked to confirm the women’s accounts. They provided readers with Mr. Trump’s response, including his forceful denial of the women’s reports. It would have been a disservice not just to our readers but to democracy itself to silence their voices. We did what the law allows: We published newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern.

After schooling Trump and his attorneys on the First Amendment, McCraw invited a court challenge to prove that the Times story is legally protected:

If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.

A word of advice to Trump and his lawyers: A number of extraordinarily powerful people, including an actual president of the United States, have tried to censor theTimes before. They lost. You will too.

Everybody but old people wants legal marijuana

Nice Fact Tank piece from Pew, looking at the latest public opinion data on marijuana.  It’s moving not quite as fast as gay marriage did, but in 2008, we were still a 50-50 country on the issue, but the latest polling has support for legalization up to 57% and opposition only 37%.  That’s a pretty dramatic shift.

Also, note, this is not just generational replacement, but every generation is getting more pro-legalization.  And it should also be noted, that we have reached the point where only old people actually oppose legalization.

So, why aren’t politicians catching up?  Well, in some states they are.  Among other things, it speaks to the hugely disproportionate influence of old people (who always have and always will turn out to vote in disproportionate numbers).

We’re surely not going to have sensible laws on all drugs any time soon.  But damn it, the time is certainly here for sensible laws on marijuana.

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