Late Night Scary Theatre Open Thread: Trump on A Tear

Jenna Johnson, at the Washington Post, “As news of Trump’s taxes broke, he goes off script at a rally in Pennsylvania”:

MANHEIM, Pa. — Donald Trump’s campaign announced Saturday evening that the candidate would soon deliver a nine-sentence critique of comments Hillary Clinton made months ago about many of the millennials supporting her primary rival, Bernie Sanders. It was an attempt to latch onto a new headline in hopes of finally escaping the controversies that had consumed his week.

It didn’t work.

It took Trump nearly 25 minutes to read the brief statement because he kept going off on one angry tangent after another — ignoring his teleprompters and accusing Clinton of not being “loyal” to her husband, imitating her buckling at a memorial service last month, suggesting that she is “crazy” and saying she should be in prison. He urged his mostly white crowd of supporters to go to polling places in “certain areas” on Election Day to “watch” the voters there. He also repeatedly complained about having a “bum mic” at the first presidential debate and wondered if he should have done another season of “The Apprentice.”…

The rally started more than an hour and 40 minutes late because heavy fog delayed Trump’s arrival. His supporters grew tired of his looping musical playlist, at one point chanting: “Turn it off! Turn it off!”

When Trump finally took the stage, it was clear that he was worked up about something as he quickly rushed through his usual talking points…

Trump yelled at the media to show his crowd, which he said would make for “better television,” pledged to win Pennsylvania and called supporters of international trade “blood suckers.”

“Oh, I could be doing the ‘Apprentice’ right now,” Trump said at one point, seeming to harken back to a happier time in his life. “I loved it — 14 seasons. How good was that? Tremendous success. They wanted to extend — I could be doing the ‘Apprentice’ now. Somehow I think this is a little bit more important. Do we agree? Just a little bit?”

As he spoke, dozens of people left the rally early, tired from standing for hours and hoping to beat the traffic. Those who remained leaned against walls, barricades and each other. One woman rubbed her knees. Another took a phone call: “I’m still here… He started an hour and a half late… I’ll call you whenever we get out of here.”

“I didn’t need to do this, folks,” Trump said of his candidacy. “Believe me. This is tough work… This is hard work. Believe me, folks. This is hard work.”…

Guy is unravelling right before the crowd’s eyes, but the GOP is still determined to drag his bloated carcass around for another six weeks, because what else have they got?

Long Read: “The Sandy Hook Hoax”

If you stare too long into the abyss… Reeves Wiedeman, in NYMag: “Lenny Pozner used to believe in conspiracy theories. Until his son’s death became one“:

On December 14, 2012, Lenny Pozner dropped off his three children, Sophia, Arielle, and Noah, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Noah had recently turned 6, and on the drive over they listened to his favorite song, “Gangnam Style,” for what turned out to be the last time. Half an hour later, while Sophia and Arielle hid nearby, Adam Lanza walked into Noah’s first-grade class with an AR-15 rifle. Noah was the youngest of the 20 children and seven adults killed in one of the deadliest shootings in American history. When the medical examiner found Noah lying face up in a Batman sweatshirt, his jaw had been blown off. Lenny and his wife, Veronique, raced to the school as soon as they heard the news, but had to wait for hours alongside other parents to learn their son’s fate.

It didn’t take much longer for Pozner to find out that many people didn’t believe his son had died or even that he had lived at all. Days after the rampage, a man walked around Newtown filming a video in which he declared that the massacre had been staged by “some sort of New World Order global elitists” intent on taking away our guns and our liberty. A week later, James Tracy, a professor at Florida Atlantic University, wrote a blog post expressing doubts about the massacre. By January, a 30-minute YouTube video, titled “The Sandy Hook Shooting — Fully Exposed,” which asked questions like “Wouldn’t frantic kids be a difficult target to hit?,” had been viewed more than 10 million times…

“I prefer the term hoaxer to truther,” Lenny said, kicking a pair of jeans and Adidas flip-flops onto the footrest of a leather Barcalounger. “There’s nothing truthful about it.” There is no universal Sandy Hook hoax narrative, but the theories generally center on the idea that a powerful force (the Obama administration, gun-control groups, the Illuminati) staged the shooting, with the assistance of paid “crisis actors,” including the Pozners, the other Sandy Hook families, and countless Newtown residents, government officials, and media outlets. The children are said to have never existed or to be living in an elaborate witness-­protection program…
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On Hillary Clinton Asking People with Disabilities for Their Votes

As Tip O’Neill famously said, Everybody likes being asked! And a cynic might say HRC knows what it’s like to live with a disability, because her lack of a penis has been treated as such by every misogynist & pundit for the last 40 years. Should we be happy that more people are finally getting the voice they deserve, or ashamed that it took this long?

ORLANDO — Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is pushing intensively to win over a group of voters who don’t typically get much attention during elections but who have become an increasingly potent political force: disabled people and their families…

Clinton is also targeting Hispanics, women, caretakers of the elderly and sick, and families of gun-violence victims, among other constituencies focused on specific issues. In the case of the disability community, which cuts across all partisan and demographic divides, Clinton may be trying to attract not only ­Democratic-leaning voters who are not excited by her candidacy, but also voters who may be leaning toward Trump — notably disabled veterans.

One very visible piece of the effort came Wednesday in a policy speech here devoted to initiatives to more fully integrate those with disabilities into the nation’s economy. It is an issue, Clinton said, that “really goes to the heart of who we are as Americans.”

Speaking in a packed community-center gym in this presidential battleground state, Clinton pledged to fully support “a group of Americans who are, too often, invisible, overlooked and undervalued, who have so much to offer but are given too few chances to prove it.”…

“A lot of families and people with disabilities are single-issue voters, where this is the primary issue in deciding who to vote for,” said Allison Wohl, executive director of the Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst, a group that seeks employment and self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. “So the campaign sees an opportunity.”

Before Wednesday’s speech, Wohl participated in a conference call between campaign aides and disability advocates to preview what the candidate would say.

And behind the scenes, the campaign had already enlisted more than 200 advocates for disabled people, who have been vouching for Clinton on social media, developing policy positions and raising some $1.3 million for her campaign, according to a Clinton adviser…

Excellent Read: “‘I hate palm trees’: The sentimental journey of Harry Reid”

For certain extremely dry values of ‘sentimental’… President Obama and Joe Biden aren’t the only retiring Democrats keeping rhymes-with-bucket lists, per the Washington Post:

Reid is known as a shrewd tactician, a killer who speaks softly but carries a sharp knife. Ask him about regrets or mistakes and he will often say he doesn’t like to look back. He’s the kind of a guy who hangs up without saying goodbye, who called George W. Bush a “loser” and told him to his face that “your dog is fat.” But as he prepares to leave the Senate, with high hopes for his successors, even Reid can’t avoid displaying something resembling human emotion.

He was spotted crying backstage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia after giving a prime-time speech. He’s been telling the old war stories more often. And for once it seems as if he might actually care, just a little bit, about what people think about him; or at least what they think about the house he once kept. As the Chevrolet Suburban pulled away from the family home, Reid couldn’t help but look back one more away from the family home, Reid couldn’t help but look back one more time.

“You see the house they ruined?” he said…

“It’s going to be an adjustment, I wish I could stay in the Senate forever,” he said earlier that day. Reid, 76, is a remarkably unremarkable-looking man; tall but hunched, a pale face with pale eyes and hair now similarly devoid of color.

He walked to the SUV gingerly, donning sunglasses and leaning on a silver-tipped cane, his new necessities of the past several months. Early last year, the senator had been exercising in his suburban Las Vegas home when the elastic band he was using snapped in half, whacked him in the face and sent him crashing backward into a set of cabinets. He broke multiple bones in his face and remains blind in his right eye. For three months, he had to sleep sitting up in a chair.

“I was hurt, okay?” he said. “Worse than most people know.” Being laid up gave him time to think. He felt lucky to have been so physically able his whole life, and grateful that he and his wife had their health. Though the Senate was his great love, he decided he didn’t have it in him for another run.
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Saturday Morning Open Thread

Since some of you may have missed Michelle Obama’s speech yesterday, here’s something inspirational to start the day. Per CNN:

First Lady Michelle Obama denounced the caustic campaign style of Donald Trump on Friday, demonstrating a new willingness to wade into this year’s messy political battle while arguing for a Hillary Clinton presidency.

While she didn’t mention Trump by name, the first lady aimed squarely at the Republican candidate’s most pronounced positions and tactics, including his persistent challenges to her husband’s eligibility for office.

“There were those who questioned and continue to question for the past eight years, up through this very day, whether my husband was even born in this country,” Obama said in Fairfax, Virginia, during her first solo campaign appearance for Clinton. “Well, during his time in office, I think Barack has answered those questions with the example he set by going high when they go low.”…

In her half-hour-long remarks, she argued Trump’s brand of politics should be kept far from the Oval Office, predicting his bombastic style of campaigning wouldn’t mellow if he wins…

… “If a candidate is erratic and threatening; if a candidate traffics in prejudice, fears and lies on the trail; if a candidate has no clear plans to implement their goals; if they disrespect their fellow citizens, including folks who made extraordinary sacrifices for our country; let me tell you, that is who they are. That is the kind of president they will be, trust me.”…

At her campaign rally, Obama worked to convince her and her husband’s supporters that Clinton is also worthy of their votes. The rally on the campus of George Mason University was timed ahead of the commonwealth’s October 17 voter registration deadline.

“When I hear folks saying they’re not inspired this this election, I disagree. I am inspired,” she said, urging the crowd to register to vote and actually cast ballots for Clinton…

And that reminded me, what with one thing and another, I never got around to sharing Variety‘s recent interview with the First Lady:

… Obama, 52, calls herself “a product of pop culture.” She is convinced of its influence on the public consciousness — in her case to build awareness of her signature policy initiatives, specifically ones tied to healthy eating and exercise, girls’ education, support for military families, and college advancement…

“What I have never been afraid of is to be a little silly, and you can engage people that way,” Obama says in an interview with Variety in her upstairs White House office, decorated in an eclectic mix of abstract art and framed mementos from her tenure. “My view is, first you get them to laugh, then you get them to listen. So I’m always game for a good joke, and I’m not so formal in this role. There’s very little that we can’t do that people wouldn’t appreciate.”

Has it worked?

The first lady is convinced that it has.

A case in point: The Carpool Karaoke segment highlighted one of Obama’s key initiatives, Let Girls Learn, a worldwide plan of action to promote girls’ access to education. She and Corden also sang “This Is for My Girls,” which songwriter Diane Warren wrote several years ago but was recorded as an anthem for the initiative, with Elliott, Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monae, and others participating, and AOL Makers producing….

Obama explains that as she launched the initiatives, she knew it would take “reaching people where they lived on a day-to-day basis, and the next step was, ‘How do you do that? Where are the people?’ Well, they’re not reading the op-ed pieces in the major newspapers. They’re not watching Sunday morning news talk shows. They’re doing what most people are doing: They are watching TV.”

She adds: “A lot of our audiences are kids and teens, and they want to be in on the joke. And they’ll listen again. We’re just a little looser with this stuff than most traditional first ladies.”…

What’s on the agenda for this fine fall day?

Long Read: “Edward Snowden makes ‘moral’ case for presidential pardon “

The Guardian‘s Ewen MacAskill, valiantly soldiering on:

Edward Snowden has set out the case for Barack Obama granting him a pardon before the US president leaves office in January, arguing that the disclosure of the scale of surveillance by US and British intelligence agencies was not only morally right but had left citizens better off.

The US whistleblower’s comments, made in an interview with the Guardian, came as supporters, including his US lawyer, stepped up a campaign for a presidential pardon. Snowden is wanted in the US, where he is accused of violating the Espionage Act and faces at least 30 years in jail.

Speaking on Monday via a video link from Moscow, where he is in exile, Snowden said any evaluation of the consequences of his leak of tens of thousands of National Security Agency and GCHQ documents in 2013 would show clearly that people had benefited…

“I think when people look at the calculations of benefit, it is clear that in the wake of 2013 the laws of our nation changed. The [US] Congress, the courts and the president all changed their policies as a result of these disclosures. At the same time there has never been any public evidence that any individual came to harm as a result.”
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Late Night Open Thread: The Cracks in the Media Village’s Defensive Wall Are Beginning to Show

Murphy the Trickster God bless Newsdiffs! I don’t have the tech skills for a screen shot, so you’ll have to click over to see the color-coded, line-by-line “revision” the NYTimes tried to pull off. To a non-professional observer — and also some of the professionals — it looks like Alexander Burns’ honest description of the event (highlighted in pink) was replaced by Patrick Healy’s (predictable) attack-HRC-kiss-up-to-Trump hit piece (highlighted in green). Except the NYTimes would like to pretend the original article never existed, for some reason.


Matt Lauer’s taking some well-deserved abuse, as well…

Hadas Gold, in Politico, “Media turn on Lauer for not fact-checking Trump“:

… “The main thing is: I have great judgment,” Trump said in response to a question as what he has done in his life that prepared him to send America’s men and women into harm’s way. “I heard Hillary Clinton say I was not against the war in Iraq. I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from 2004. You can look at before that. And I was against the war in Iraq, I said it’s going to totally destabilize the Middle East, which it has. It’s been a disastrous war. And perhaps almost as bad was the way Barack Obama got out. That was a disaster.”
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