The most chilling exchange in last night’s debate

This is what we should fear from a Trump presidency:

I didn’t think I’d say this but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it, but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception, there has never been anything like it and we’re going to have a special prosecutor.

That’s a classic Trumpism, to try to blunt the odious nature of what he is about to say by claiming that he hates to say it. He clearly knows he’s stepping over the line by advocating turning the US into a Stalinesque autocracy because he needed that initial, meaningless disclaimer, but that’s a real threat, and believable because that’s exactly what the Republicans have done over and over again. They drag the country into what ought to literally be described in this case as a witch hunt, led by fanatical inquisitors, over empty accusations. They will consume time and money. They will be nothing but a true distraction from the business of the Oval Office, and we’ve seen it multiple times, from Whitewater to Benghazi, and every time the sanctimonious asshole in charge, whether it’s a Ken Starr or a Trey Gowdy, will persevere despite a lack of evidence, because the purpose is not to arrive at the truth, but to prolong the harassment.

Trump just promised to legally hound a defeated political opponent with the same tactics that have been used against the Clintons for decades…this time, an opponent who would be out of office and out of power. A potential president of the United States just threatened to use all of his power to torment a private citizen.

Clinton stayed cool, and even smiled, and told everyone to go check the facts, that there’s nothing there.

We have literally Trump, you can fact check him in real time. Last time, at the first debate, we had millions of people fact-checking. So I expect we’ll have millions more fact-checking because, you know, it is, it’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.

Yes, go look up the facts. There is nothing criminal in what Clinton did. A Republican FBI director has already thoroughly scrutinized the data determined that there was no intent to hide anything, and that what was deleted was a collection of personal emails, and that Clinton wasn’t even responsible for their removal. But this fluff and nonsense is what Trump thinks is a useful goal.

He also interrupted Clinton’s response.

Because you would be in jail.

A candidate for the American presidency just threatened to abuse his power and imprison his opponent after the election.

Stop right there. The man is incompetent and unfit for office, and wants to be a tyrant. Fear for the Republic.

I’ve started on a bottle of wine

It’s the only way I’m going to be able to survive this debate.

First question to both: do you think you’re a good role model for children? Clinton answers with her goal to bring people together; Trump babbles like a man on quaaludes about the trade deficit, people getting shot, fixing the inner city. HE DOESN’T ANSWER THE QUESTION. Weird.

Asked about the #trumptape, his answer is it was just “locker room talk”, but look! Over there! ISIS is chopping off people’s heads! ISIS, ISIS, ISIS.

Good god, he’s awful and incoherent.

Clinton responds: he’s unfit, and this is exactly what Trump is. Points out all the groups he has denigrated over the course of this campaign.

Waiting for Trump to explode.

Trump: it’s just words. He’s going to help the African-Americans, the Latinos, and Clinton has done nothing. Sniff. Sniff.

New question: Trump says the campaign changed him. When did that happen?

Trump: That was just locker room talk. Bill Clinton was worse. Hillary Clinton laughed at a victim of rape. Sniff.

He doesn’t answer the question again!

Clinton: When they go low, we go high. The audience can judge whether he respects women. Trump never apologizes. Cites several of his attacks and racism that he never apologized for. You owe the president an apology.

Trump: No, you do. Emails. Emails.

Then he threatens that, if he wins, he’s going to get a special prosecutor to go after her.

Clinton just smiles. Tells people to go fact-check him at, and that it’s a good thing Trump isn’t in charge of the legal system.

Trump: Because you’d be in jail. She’s getting to him.

Christ. He just keeps interrupting and whining. It’s one on three, he says. He’s a bullying coward.

Next question: What will you do about Obamacare? Clinton responds with a discussion of what’s work and what needs to be fixed. Trump: “it’s a disaster”. No details. Sniff. Canadian health care is so awful. He just keeps repeating that disaster word.

Next question: how will you help Muslim Americans deal with rising islamophobia?

Trump starts talking about how Muslims have to report terrorists. Radical Islamic Terror!

Clinton points out that Muslims have been in America since the Revolution, mentions Capt. Khan, who gave his life for the country. It’s dangerous to engage in the demagoguery Trump indulges in. Says we’re not at war with Islam, and it plays into the hands of the terrorists to do as Trump does.

A question to Trump: What about your claim that we need a total ban on Muslim immigrants? Trump now calls it “extreme vetting”. Clinton wants to allow in more Muslims! 100s of thousands of people!

Q to Clinton: you propose allowing more Syrians in. How can you justify that risk? She says she’s not talking about allowing risky people in, but is not going to ban people on the basis of their religion, like Trump wants.

I need more wine. Trump is such an asshole.

Tax cuts. Trump says he’s going to reduce taxes for everyone. Clinton says she’s going to raise taxes only on people making over $250K.

Did Trump avoid paying federal income taxes? He took advantage of tax loopholes, like Buffet and Soros…refuses a direct question to say how many years he avoided paying federal taxes.

Somehow he’s talking about ISIS again.

Clinton was a disaster (his word for the evening) as a senator. Clinton recites a long list of her accomplishments in office.

Fuck. If Trump says “disaster” one more time…

Black man asks a question. Trump responds with “inner city” and “disaster”. Fuck him.

“Would you be a disciplined leader?” Trump can’t even be a disciplined debater.

Supreme Court: Clinton will appoint judges who support Roe v. Wade, and marriage equality. Trump will appoint someone like Scalia. Enough said.

Energy policy: Trump says we have “clean coal”. Damn the EPA. Right.

I give up. Can’t take no more.

A prediction: the Republican party is about to divide itself

I’m not going to go so far as to predict that Hillary Clinton will win in this madhouse of an election, but the odds in her favor keep improving.

More icky revelations about Trump are trickling out.

The Republican party is cutting off support to the Trump campaign.

Many Republican leaders are publicly denouncing Trump, although many are not going so far as to decline to endorse him.

Trump donors are pissed off.

Trump refuses to resign. With an ego that size, can anyone imagine that he would?

Now picture this.

He loses big in the election in November. Even if it’s close, maybe especially if it’s close.

Now put yourself in his shoes, with his narcissism. He’s got to blame someone else, right? Who is he going to blame?

Not Clinton. Not some woman, especially not some woman he thinks is a crook. Maybe there will be some whining of voter fraud, but that’s not going to hold up for long.

He’s going to blame those Republican bigshots, Paul Ryan and John McCain and Reince Priebus and all those governors and senators and congresspeople who failed to support him in the face of these terribly unfair attacks. He has been betrayed. He has been stabbed in the back by his own party.

Trump still has fanatical supporters. Look at Breitbart. Look what’s happening: Trump fans are booing Paul Ryan.

This is what has the Republicans sweating bullets right now. You know they’re busy calculating: they have to repudiate what he said, but how far can they go before they alienate the Trumpian base and find themselves a target of their own fanatics in subsequent elections?

Even scarier — what if he wins? Do you think Trump is the kind of fellow who keeps enemy lists, bears a grudge, and is going to screw over anyone who tried to hurt him the campaign? These guys are trapped.

I do think Clinton will win, though, and then that 30-40% of the rabid electorate that was fueled by racial hatred will pin a Dolchstoßlegende on the Republican establishment and turn on them. They won’t go Democrat, though — they’ll sit there simmering in resentment waiting for a fresh demagogue. It’s just going to get uglier and uglier, but I don’t think the Republicans will benefit.

Republicans in disarray!

It’s good to see, finally. The rats are trying to desert the sinking ship, but don’t let them — and it’s not as if they can. It’s only about a month until the election. Deadlines to put names on the ballot have passed; no matter what the other Republicans do, come November, people will go into their voting booths and Trump’s name will be there, even if every other Republican in the country has repudiated him. He will get many votes from angry white people. All that has changed is that the size of his defeat will probably be larger (although we might also get surprised: this much controversy is probably going to increase the turnout, especially among the racist/sexist/white nationalist electorate).

But it’s also too late for the Republican leadership to untangle themselves from the hideous Trump. They endorsed him. They marched out and made their little speeches approving of the man — even Ted Cruz, who told everyone to vote their conscience at the Republican convention, swallowed his pride and got on board the Trump Train. None of these people should be allowed to escape public censure.

It’s particularly galling because we all knew all along that Trump was a racist, sexist, loud-mouthed hateful boor. He declared that Mexicans were racists and that a judge of Mexican descent couldn’t be trusted; they waffled. He announced that he had a plan to deport Muslims, and he took on a running mate who wanted to bar all Syrian refugees; well, that’s all right then. He proposes shutting down Planned Parenthood and bringing in judges who will overthrow Roe v. Wade, and Pence tried to pass a law requiring formal funerals for aborted fetuses; no problem. Trump wants to end marriage equality, and Pence claims tolerance for gay rights will lead to societal collapse; that’s fine, they agree. He calls women pigs, ugly, fat, and mocks them for blood coming out of their wherever; he’s just speaking his mind. He builds a following of openly racist white nationalists, he foments violence at his rallies; Dick Cheney approves this message.

Everyone knew this. These were not secretive attitudes. He was utterly brazen. We also knew that he was incompetent, had a feeble attention span, was anticipating -science, and was totally unqualified for the job, but those are basically the prerequisites for being a Republican nowadays, so we can’t fault them for overlooking that, but the naked hatred was inescapably obvious, and one thing I’ll say for the Republicans, they usually try to keep their hatred discreetly clothed.

So what suddenly turned everyone against Trump? He said lewd things about a white woman. That is unforgivable. Paul Ryan revealed the real problem. Trump was not chivalrous.

Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified.

Fuck you, Paul Ryan. No. Women don’t need you to be their champion, and reverence is not what they are looking for: fairness and equality are. Especially when your version of “reverence” involves supporting a vulgar bigot who doesn’t trust women with their own bodies.

I’ll believe Republicans are sincere in the repudiation of Donald Trump when they also repudiate all the policies and ideas Trump represented. But until then, bury the lot of them in the dung heap of history.

New entertainment: look up all the people and groups who endorsed Trump before this, when he was a known racist and perpetrator of harassment and sexual assault and were undeterred by his history. For example, here’s a page of Scholars and Writers for America, a long list of very serious very intellectual wankers who think…

Given our choices in the presidential election, we believe that Donald J. Trump is the candidate most likely to restore the promise of America, and we urge you to support him as we do.

Where, apparently, the promise of America is to support slavery and not allow women to vote.

Theranos, soon to be a movie

If you’ve wondered about that spectacular flameout by Theranos, the blood testing company, but didn’t want to read all those articles all over the place, the story is now available in cartoon form.


Next, it’s going to be made into a movie with Jennifer Lawrence starring as the grand fraud, Elizabeth Holmes? Say, if I lie and endanger sick people and suck in a few billions from gullible investors, I want George Clooney to play me in the movie of my life.

Very presidential

Ladies and gentlemen, the pick of the evangelical Christian right.

Charles Blow is a bit upset.

Do you think this will change Trump’s supporters’ minds at all? Now you can find out! Breitbart has rather tersely reported the bare facts of this story. Just read the comments.

Lots of “Bill Clinton is worse!” comments.

TRUMP = boys talk. Clinton actually did attacked and raped woman against their will and used his position to do so.

If only it would sink in that Bill Clinton isn’t in the running.

Then there’s the “All men do it” excuse.

If You’re upset about this, you have never been in a mens locker room. Sorry, but men (if they’re straight) talk about women as women talk about men.

Sorry, nope, I don’t, nor do any of my friends.

There are people who are very happy about what Trump said. It makes him a manly man.

BFD! 2005 LMAO, Yawn! At least he’s not a fag!

TRUMP is a true red blooded American, he has AMERICAN CHILDREN not imports or one that is soley a CLINTON political set up

And then there’s simple denial.

Women love Trump and Trump loves women. Nobody cares.

Election fraud!

Oh, look here: the Christian Times has exposed a massive conspiracy, tens of thousands of pre-cast ballots for Hillary Clinton stored in an Ohio warehouse, ready to be released and cheat Trump out of his rightful victory.

According to sources, Randall Prince, a Columbus-area electrical worker, was doing a routine check of his companies wiring and electrical systems when he stumbled across approximately one dozen black, sealed ballot boxes filled with thousands of Franklin County votes for Hillary Clinton and other Democrat candidates.

“No one really goes in this building. It’s mainly used for short-term storage by a commercial plumber,” Prince said.

So when Prince, who is a Trump supporter, saw several black boxes in an otherwise empty room, he went to investigate. What he found could allegedly be evidence of a massive operation designed to deliver Clinton the crucial swing state.

Prince, shown here, poses with his find, as election officials investigate.

Prince, shown here, poses with his find, as election officials investigate.

The article then goes on to state that they don’t actually have any photos of the contents of those ballot boxes, but they have a picture of a sample ballot filled out for the Democrats.

You might be predisposed to be suspicious — wouldn’t this be big news? Why don’t they have any samples of the ballots? You might also look at that photo and be thinking…wait a minute, the words “BALLOT BOX” are just clumsily Photoshopped on, without even an attempt to tweak them into the appropriate perspective.

I bet you wouldn’t even be surprised if I told you that that isn’t Randall Prince. Or that the photo isn’t taken in Ohio. Or that while those actually are ballot boxes, they’re empty.

We know this because the origins of that photo have been tracked down. It’s a stock photo that has been poorly edited of empty ballot boxes being transported in Sheldon Heath, Birmingham, England.

Boy, the residents of Birmingham are sure going to be surprised to learn that they voted to elect Hillary Clinton to the US presidency.

A sharp knife cuts both ways

This is funny. Trump supporters are illogical and full of contradictions.

But it’s also troubling. What would happen if you sent a similar crew of interviewers to a Clinton event? Are they also nonsensical in their reasoning?

I also wonder whether there were Trump supporters who were not amusingly stupid, who weren’t used in the video. How many of them were there? What’s the difference in frequency of idiots between Democratic and Republican voters?

Yeah, I’m looking at a comedy bit and wondering about control groups and sample size and data representation. I’m a science nerd. No apologies.

This stuff matters. We’re kind of lucky that all the witty, sharp, funny comics tend tend to be on the liberal side, while the conservatives have nothing but unfunny smirking dudebros who use racism and misogyny to get laughs, but imagine if a talented, insightful comedian arose among the far-right and turned this same strategy against us. Shall we get into an arms race in which we each raise the worst of the other side as their champions?

Dang, that’s a clever move

I didn’t watch the debate, and I’ve already said I’m unimpressed with trying to declare a winner. The impression I’m getting, though, is that there’s a consensus that Pence was more slick & polished…not that I care, I want to know about the content and the policies. I do think this is neat, though: the latest ad from the Clinton/Kaine campaign shows very clearly that Pence was lying all night long.