Friday, October 21, 2016

More Friday Male Beauty

Republicans Abandon Fox News

One of the problems with American society today is the fact free bubble in which much of the far right exists.  Many of the right have literally no knowledge of what is really happening in the world and the causation behind events.  One of the main purveyors of this embrace of ignorance and deliberate refusal to objective reality has heretofore been been Fox News - or Faux News on this blog.  Now, Republicans appear to be abandoning Fox News, because the network is not sufficiently un-tethered to reality.  What is frightening is that many of those walking away from Fox News will likely gravitate to even more ignorance based "news" outlet.  Perhaps these people fleeing from Fox News will opt to make Storm Front or perhaps The Crusader, the KKK's official newspaper as their preferred source of "news."  Salon looks at the phenomenon.  Here are excerpts:
Since January, Fox News has seen a precipitous drop in its reputation amongst its mostly conservative viewership — falling to 50th place on a list of brands most trusted by Republicans over the past two years.
In 2014, the most dominant cable news channel was the 10th best-perceived brand by Republicans, according to AdAge. But in a YouGov Brand Index survey released at the end of February 2016, the perception of Fox News among Republicans had “declined by approximately 50 percent since January of this year” — to a three-year low.
And in a just-released 2016 YouGov BrandIndex ranking, Fox News’ position plummeted to outside of the top-20 for the first time.  
Trump’s feud with Kelly tarnished the networks’ perception amongst viewers who suspected an anti-Trump bias. And while Trump still found safe refuge at “Fox & Friends” and even had Fox News host Sean Hannity appear in a campaign ad on his behalf, the blatant boosting alienated supporters of other Republican candidates.
Then one of the network’s most veteran female anchors accused former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment.
After Gretchen Carlson filed a blockbuster lawsuit against the Fox News boss, the network saw its biggest shake-up with the retirement of longtime host Greta Van Susteren and the ousting of Ailes — who went on to join the Trump campaign as an adviser.
Enter Trump.TV. As Salon’s Matthew Sheffield’s explained, Trump will be ideally situated to benefit from the demise of the Fox News brand among Republicans. Reports since Ailes’ ousting indicate that Rupert Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James, who help run parent company 21st Century Fox, plan to begin shedding the network’s image as a right-wing media outfit in favor of a more serious journalistic effort.
Host Shepard Smith recently told the Huffington Post that Murdoch indicated after the Ailes scandal that he planned to make Fox News “the best news organization in the America.”
But a more mainstream news source is not what Republican viewers want. While Fox News’ reputational ranking went down, Republicans still despise both CNN and MSNBC much more. CNN and MSNBC were ranked 1,470 and 1,471, respectively.
“If you’re tired of biased, mainstream media reporting (otherwise known as Crooked Hillary’s super PAC), tune into my Facebook Live broadcast,” Trump told his supporters ahead of the third presidential debate Wednesday. According to the Financial Times, the nearly four hours of coverage had 8.9 million views by Thursday afternoon.

Trump In 2007: Hot Women Are "My Alcoholism"

Despite Donald Trump's lie claim that he respects women, his past statements and behavior tell a different tale.  With a total of 10 women so far coming forward to describe how Trump engaged in sexual harassment or near sexual assault of precisely the type Trump boasted about in the 2005 Entertainment Tonight tape, it is pretty clear that Trump is a predatory and sexist pig.   The New York Post reports that a new poll found that 63% of Americans surveyed (including a third of Republicans) believe Trump committed sexual assault in the past.  What I find most ironic is that his hometown media is the most vehement in its rejection of Trump and effort to expose him for what he really is.  Perhaps all Trump's years of bullying people, screwing over contractors and investors and riding rough shod over people in the greater New York City area is at last coming home to roost. The New York Daily News is now publicizing Trumps "alcoholism" - Trump's own word - for "hot" teenage girls and "women."  I'd say the best description of the many, in my opinion, falls into the category of "pervert" and "lecher."  Here are highlights from the Daily News:
Donald Trump claims to only hire the “best people,” but also boasted once of hiring a teenager with no experience just because she was beautiful.
In video taken of Trump giving a paid Learning Annex speech in 2007, the Republican presidential candidate — currently accused of groping as many as 11 women against their will — said he insisted on hiring “a beautiful girl, 17 or 18, so beautiful” as a waitress even though she had no work history.
He also told the crowd that hot women are his “alcoholism” and that having one near him was like setting a glass of Scotch in front of a drunk.
The macho-man exchange occurred at a San Francisco Learning Annex talk that Trump was reportedly paid $1.5 million to give.
The cringe-worthy moment began when a woman in the audience asked Trump how many jets he owned and how she could apply to be a flight attendant.
Trump, leaning over the podium, demanded she come up onstage — as wolf whistles and loud cheers erupted from the men in the crowd.
Video of the 2007 event shows the woman, who introduced herself as Juliet, crossing the stage as Trump leers at her low cut blouse and ample cleavage.
After giving her a blatant once over when she arrives at the podium, the married Trump wraps an arm around her squeezes and says, “You’re hired.”
As Juliet pivots and walks away, Trump keeps his eyes trained on her derriere.
“Now if she worked on my plane that’s like a death wish for me,” Trump says, before going into his riff that beautiful women are his biggest addiction and weakness.
Trump, who is trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton in the latest polls by 7 percentage points in the latest polls, saw his 11th accuser emerge Thursday — the day after the third and final presidential debate.
Wellness expert Karena Virginia recounted the humiliating hands-on experience with The Donald during the 1998 edition of the tennis championships.
I was in shock,” she said at a Manhattan news conference about their encounter. “I felt intimidated and powerless.”
The GOP nominee — as he has with the 10 previous women who made similar charges — dismissed Virginia’s tale as bogus.
Virginia, like several other Trump accusers, said she was moved to come forward after a long-buried videotape emerged in which the businessman bragged about his crude treatment of women.
Trump campaign deputy communications director Jessica Ditto ripped the woman’s attorney Gloria Allred, who last week appeared with another of The Donald’s accusers — Summer Zervos, once a contestant on “The Apprentice.” Allred also represents several women accusing Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them.
Having raised a son and now with two grandsons, Trump epitomizes what I would never want these males to be like or think like.  Meanwhile, my two Mellennial generation daughters have jumped on the "nasty woman" meme that mocks Trump and his boorish, low class sexism. 

Friday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 2

In Debates, Clinton Showed Why She Should Be President

Many early on recognized Donald Trump as being spectacularly unfit for the office of President of the United States.  Despite all his boasting, his business record is a mess and the fact that American banks will not make loans to him and his organization - hence his need for Russian money - ought to underscore his unfitness.  And that doesn't even get to the issue of his frightening temperament and uncontrolled narcissism.  The man is a train wreck and only a Republican Party too far gone in the process of hijacking by racists and Christofascists (see the prior post) could have nominated a man so lacking in so many ways.  Had a decent candidate been nominated, Hillary Clinton would face a harder task to win the election.  That said, an editorial in the Washington Post argues why Hillary has proven herself worthy of the presidency.  Here are highlights:
IF PRESENT trends continue — and we emphasize “if” — Hillary Clinton will be elected president on Nov. 8, in an ironic conclusion to a political year that supposedly belonged to outsiders and populists such as Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Why has Ms. Clinton, the “establishment” alternative facing the voters, wound up in the lead at this late date? According to much conventional wisdom, she is the beneficiary of structural factors, such as voter demographics, and of good fortune — in the form of the Republican Party’s spectacularly irresponsible choice of an incompetent nominee. 
Nevertheless, it is time to point out another reason Ms. Clinton is winning: She is earning it. She and her campaign have remained disciplined and even-keeled through tempests large and small — and through the tests of political communication and argument known as the presidential debates, both against Mr. Sanders and against Mr. Trump. It is not easy to stand on a stage for 90 minutes and parry words with an opponent, moderators and town-hall invitees; still less is it easy to do so while keeping one’s cool amid sleazy provocations and unpredictable insults from Mr. Trump. Through it all, Ms. Clinton has stayed focused on issues, laying out a program for the country that we don’t accept in every particular but that is well within the broad mainstream of plausible policy alternatives.
[S]he has kept her rhetoric civil and inclusive, in the face of an opponent bent on trashing the norms of democratic discourse. This is no mere style point. It is in a way substantive too, because this election has taken on importance beyond the already-high stakes for national policy; it has turned into a trial of our democratic culture. Certainly, Ms. Clinton has found ways to needle her opponent. But by preparing for the debates, using them to advance rational arguments and refraining from responding in kind to Mr. Trump’s lowest blows, Ms. Clinton has exemplified what’s still good about that culture. In fact, you might say she has reminded people of what’s good about “establishment” politicians . . . .
[W]e question the common assumption that any conventional Republican would be trouncing Ms. Clinton — especially because most of the Republicans usually cited were themselves trounced by the man now trailing the Democratic nominee. Ms. Clinton’s performance has apparently won her more appreciation from the electorate — a precious measure of political capital she will badly need if it does indeed fall to her to unite the country next year.

The GOP is Past the Point of No Return

As noted in numerous posts, I believe that the Republican Party is beyond the point of no return.  The cancer of Christofascists, white nativists, and outright open racists within the party - and its local city/county committee base - has metastasized to a point where there is no realistic possibility of reform.   The GOP faces either a slow and agonizing death or perhaps a massive flame out in the wake of what will be a historic defeat for Donald Trump and, with luck, many down ticket Republicans.  A piece in Slate looks at the spectacle of the death of a major political party.  Here are highlights:
For most of the now almost-forgotten vice presidential debate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence kept his cool, ignoring, deflecting, or outright denying any effort by Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine to tie him to his running mate, Donald Trump. But it’s hard to keep your composure for the length of a debate. It takes work. And toward the end of the 90-minute showdown, Pence began to falter, and then with a single infelicitous phrase he evoked the only wall Trump will ever build: the one between the Republican Party and Latino voters. It happened after Kaine returned to Trump’s rhetoric, pressing Pence to answer for his running mate’s insults and bigotry. “When Donald Trump says women or Mexicans are rapists and criminals … or John McCain is not a hero, he is showing you who he is,” said the Virginia senator, to which Pence had a reply. “Senator,” he said, “you’ve whipped out that Mexican thing again.” Adding, “There are criminal aliens in this country, Tim, who have come into this country illegally who are perpetrating violence and taking American lives.” That Mexican thing. That Mexican thing, to be precise, is Trump’s anti-Hispanic demagoguery, which stretches back to the beginning of the campaign. . . . They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Hispanic voters, who see Trump as an unacceptable risk. This is no small thing. Political parties can make inroads with groups that disagree with them—that’s just persuasion. But it’s difficult, if not impossible, to make gains with groups that see you as a danger to their futures. By placing Donald Trump at the top of the ticket and indulging his nativism and xenophobia, the Republican Party has said with its actions that it doesn’t want Latinos in its tent. Republicans may thus end up estranged from another group of nonwhite voters. . . . . the GOP has shown itself hostile to the idea of a pluralistic, multiracial America with room and opportunity for Americans of all origins.
 For Trump, Latino immigrants join Muslims and Syrian refugees as potential threats, fundamentally incompatible with American life. If they’re here, they have to be removed, and if they’re not here, they need to be kept out. In turn, for Latino Americans and their families, this makes Trump an existential threat to their lives and livelihoods. Only 21 percent of Latinos say the GOP cares about their community, and 70 percent say that Trump has made the Republican Party more hostile to them. . . . . Eighty-two percent of respondents agreed with the first statement, that Trump makes them fear for their families and their country. The repudiation of Goldwater [in 1964] would be the last step in a realignment of black Americans that had begun in the days of Franklin Roosevelt. From then on, the national Republican Party would struggle to crack double digits with black voters, despite the strength of traditional beliefs and practices among black communities, from religious practice to traditions of self-help and self-reliance. The reason was straightforward: Goldwater wasn’t just offensive; he articulated a vision of national life that would inevitably leave black Americans on the margins as second-class citizens, subject to the whims of segregationists and their allies. And if Goldwater didn’t see it, his explicitly anti-black allies did. Republican politics—is a white ideology. Unresponsive to the particular concerns of nonwhites—around issues of discrimination and racial inequality—it is a drive to preserve a status quo built around the political and economic dominance of white Americans. This is more explicit in the age of Donald Trump, but it’s always been true, from Goldwater to the present.  The Great Recession supercharged anti-immigration—and anti-immigrant—sentiment among GOP voters, and Republican lawmakers followed along, passing restrictive new laws after the party swept statehouses in the 2010 midterm elections. Indeed, we saw an inkling of rising anti-Latino sentiment in 2009, when Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court was met with a wave of racist criticism.  [V]oting and party affiliation are habits. Once set, they tend not to change. And looking forward from the present, there’s a real chance that Latino voting takes the same path as black voting, with routine and overwhelming support going to Democratic presidential candidates. Again, California gives us a glimpse of what this looks like. Following Republican Gov. Pete Wilson’s anti-immigrant crusades in the 1990s, Latino Californians moved decisively into the Democratic column. By the end of the last decade, the state was a Democratic stronghold, . . .
 And for those Republicans who don’t want Trump or Trumpism? It may be too late. The thing about a lily-white Republican Party is that it doesn’t have the diversity it needs to resist white resentment and white rage. Republicans crossed a point of no return. Raw ethnonationalism is their future, even if they don’t want it.

Friday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 1

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Will Arizona Go Blue for Clinton?

Michelle Obama in Arizona
Some of us - including the GOP's own post 2012 loss post mortem - have long said that the GOP was headed toward either oblivion or permanent minority party status if it did not reform itself, drop its racism and homophobia, and end its war on women.  All such warnings have fallen on deaf ears.  Now, as a piece in Politico notes, there is a chance that Arizona, a state that has voted Republican for 15 out of the last 16 election cycles, may go for Hillary Clinton. While Trump has exacerbated the GOP's problems with all but white Christofascists, the party's own policies and bigotry have not only created the problem but gave Trump a platform to use as a launch pad for his message of white nationalism, racism, and religious discrimination.  Here are article highlights:
PHOENIX — First lady Michelle Obama didn’t even need to say the word “Arizona” for the first 20 minutes of her rally here on Thursday to send shock waves across the state.
The very presence of the Democrats’ most coveted surrogate in the traditionally deep-red state was enough to send the message that Hillary Clinton is taking it seriously, and Obama’s appeal to local Democrats just hours after the final debate was designed to make the stakes clear.
The question in Arizona now isn’t whether a state that’s gone Republican in 15 of the past 16 elections is suddenly in play thanks to Trumpmany veteran Republicans concede that it is. The real question is whether Democrats, led by Clinton, are justified in believing that the country has just met its newest swing state.
 “I wouldn’t call it blue or even purple quite yet,” said a longtime Republican strategist with extensive experience in Arizona, who nevertheless expects Clinton to win the state because of Trump’s weaknesses. “I think it’s a perfect storm of factors that have really put it very much in play just this time around." Trump allies reject the idea that Democrats have anything close to a shot here, but even the state’s most skeptical operatives — who acknowledge that Democratic candidates still need to sway large numbers of independents to win state-wide — see Arizona’s battleground status as a fast-approaching reality.
That’s partly due to Trump’s unique unpopularity with Arizona’s large Native American and Mormon populations, Gary Johnson’s appeal to Libertarian-leaning voters in the western part of Arizona, and the conservative business community’s skepticism about Trump's tough talk on Mexico given the state’s trade relationship with the country.
It's why Democrats, led by Clinton’s campaign, are flooding the state with headline-grabbing surrogates — Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Chelsea Clinton — and homestretch advertising and get-out-the-vote resources to the tune of $2 million. And it’s why Democrats are eyeing a chance to lay the groundwork for 2018 and 2020.
One of Trump’s highest-profile long-standing Republican critics is Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, and now his colleague McCain has backed away from his own tepid Trump support, making for an uncomfortable dynamic within the state GOP leadership that recently skewered Washington pols who abandoned the nominee. 
Arizona’s Democrat-leaning Latino population is growing, which has helped shift Phoenix’s Maricopa County away from its Republican tradition, said veteran state Democratic operative Andrew Gordon. If that population were to vote more reliably — as it’s expected to in a year that features anti-illegal immigration crusader Arpaio on the ballot, and trailing — then the state would follow New Mexico and Nevada into the purple-tinted category, he said.

As I have said before, the GOP is focused on the past and caters to a demographic that is literally dying off.  I hope the Democrats put on a major push.  I want to see Trump suffer one of the worse losses in recent memory. The, just maybe, the GOP will get its head out of its ass and throw the Christofascists and white supremacists out of the party.  

Trump Makes an Ass of Himself at Annual Al Smith Fundraiser

UPDATED:  An other article in the Times sums up Trump at the event:

It seemed clear to everyone else. Mr. Trump was being booed at a charity dinner.

As regular readers know, I do not hold the Roman Catholic Church in very high esteem even - or perhaps because - I am a former Catholic.   I hold New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan (a/k/a Porky Pig) in even lower esteem given his past actions prior to coming to New York to screw over victims of priestly sex abuse in his prior diocese.   That said, in New York City there is a long tradition of politicians attending the Al Smith Fundraiser to raise funds to benefit disadvantaged youth through Catholic outreach programs. Driving home from dinner with the husband and friends I happened to catch a portion of Donald Trump's and Hillary Clinton's remarks at the event.  Trump apparently failed to read the memo about being self- deprecation and being funny.  His comments for the most part brought no laughs and many boos, especially as he launched into Hillary Clinton.  In comparison, as has been the case in the presidential debates, Clinton showed herself to be a class act. The New York Times looks at the evening and Trump's leaden performance.  Here are highlights:
Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump appeared together Thursday night for a ritzy gathering, delivering remarks at the white-tie Al Smith charity dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan.
In most presidential campaigns, the dinner, which benefits Roman Catholic charities, functions as a welcome respite, a forum for levity and self-deprecation in the throes of a heated election.
This year, it just so happens that two New Yorkers can also be found at the top of the ballot.
Here are the highlights:
• And so they came, in tails and fuchsia. The introduction of Melania Trump (sans pussybow), then Mrs. Clinton (to cheers and applause), then Mr. Trump (to slightly less effusive cheers, and scattered boos).
• Just like in the last two debates, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump did not shake hands. Instead they beamed and ignored one another, until the evening’s M.C., Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, performed a veritable act of God — inserting himself between the two rivals, with no physical altercation.
Alfred E. Smith IV, the chairman of the dinner, seemed to offer a preview of what may await Mr. Trump as he tries to return to New York society life should he not win the White House in November.
“Before the dinner started, Trump went to Hillary and asked how are you,” Mr. Smith said, setting up the punch line. “She said, ‘I’m fine — now get out of the ladies’ dressing room.’”
Finally, he turned the podium over to Mr. Trump. “No matter how the coin toss ended, our next speaker was going to say it was rigged,” Mr. Smith said, to laughter. “Donald, the microphone is yours and it’s working.”
• Mr. Trump seemed to miss the self-deprecation memo . . . .
“Last night I called Hillary ‘a nasty woman’” Mr. Trump said, reprising a line from Wednesday’s debate that many found sexist and offensive. “But this stuff is all relative. After listening to Hillary rattle on and on and on, I don’t think so badly of Rosie O’Donnell anymore. In fact, I’m actually starting to like Rosie a lot.”
• Mrs. Clinton began with the traditional self-deprecating joke: “I took a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here.” The audience, she added, should be grateful: “Usually I charge a lot for speeches like this.”
• Mrs. Clinton later turned cutting, with a biting edge of hard truth.
“It’s amazing I’m up here after Donald,” she said. “I didn’t think he’d be O.K. with a peaceful transition of power.”
Then, she spoke of the Statue of Liberty, recounting how for most Americans, the green lady of freedom represents a shining beacon and welcome for immigrants arriving on the nation’s shores. But Mr. Trump, she added with a glint of steel, “sees the Statue of Liberty and sees a four.”
• The person who seemed to enjoy the evening least was Mr. Trump. He sat with his arms tightly folded as Mrs. Clinton spoke, a similarly taut smile across his face. But when Mrs. Clinton returned to one of his favorite themes — her health — he seemed momentarily buoyed.
Mr. Trump, the Democratic nominee said, had chivalrously sent a car to ferry her to the dinner. “Actually, it was a hearse,” Mrs. Clinton said.  And finally, Mr. Trump laughed with real joy.
I think I despise Trump more with every passing day.  As for his supporters, I am aghast at how they allow their racism and misogyny to cause them to support a vile individual like Trump.  I am beginning to believe that the belong in the same category as Christofascists: they should not be welcomed in sane and polite company. 

Thursday Morning Male Beauty - Pt 2