Who is to blame for this awful US election?

Yesterday

Fox News? The four horsemen of the Republican apocalypse? The FBI? Whatever the outcome, historians will judge harshly those who did not stop Trump when they could

The US election might not aim tomorrow. Anyone who lived through the photo-finish of 2000, when it took until mid-December for a win to be declared and only then by a ruling of the supreme court will know that a presidential competition does not always make a chairwoman, at the least not right away. But one thing will certainly be over and that is the dizzying, sometimes nauseating, 18 -month-long saga that has been the 2016 campaign.

It is standard to describe a US presidential tournament as bitternes and divisive. In 2012, the Protector front-page tale branded the combat of Barack Obama v Mitt Romney one of the most closely opposed and polarised in recent history. Appearing back, that race looks like a veritable doctrine seminar, exemplary in its civility and decorum, compared with this one.

Americas
Americas search for Obamas successor has been a horror present of lies, bully and the bigotry. Photograph: Robyn Beck/ AFP/ Getty Images

In a crowded field, the 2016 campaign stands out as remarkably awful. Yes, it has been riveting, whether followed from a distance or covered up close. Those who say it has unfolded like a Netflix drama in real day are not exaggerating. Except no drama would have dared offer this cast of characters a real-estate tycoon with a crush on a Russian despot, an ex-congressman investigated for sexting an underage daughter, a former Miss Universe humbled as Miss Piggy or the last-minute reversals of luck. Campaign 2016 has built House of Cards seem tame.

But that cannot disguise the truth: the USs search for Obamas successor has been a horror indicate, uncovering and dredging up a stew of racism, misogyny and casual violence bubbling below the surface of American life. Eight in 10 US voters say the campaign has left them feeling disgusted, according to a CBS/ New York Times poll last week. Not dissatisfied. Disgusted . The platonic ideal of an election is a sober discussion of the questions that will confront the US over the next decade. The reality has been a marathon of insult, menace and lies.

The blame for this belongs to one human. Donald Trump has opposed a presidential campaign like no other. He has mocked opponents for their appears, belittled females, disparaged war heroes, damned ethnic and other minorities in crude, bigoted language, jeered at disabled people, beaten his chest with bellicose promises of state-sponsored violence that would trample on the US constitution and trigger a third world war, and told dozens and dozens of lies every day. While his foe has offered detailed and substantive policy prescriptions, those have scarcely got a mention: Trumps knack for hogging media attention, usually by saying or tweeting something jaw-droppingly outrageous, has left no room. In the four-and-a-half hours of formal presidential debates between Trump and Hillary Clinton, climate change was discussed for not one minute.

But Trump does not bear the blame alone. Also shamed by the 2016 campaign are those institutions and individuals who failed to stand up to him. Some understood the danger he represented, considering in him a would-be despot I alone can fix this! whose contempt for basic democratic norms, from the importance of a free press to the need to respect the outcome of a democratic election, indicated a lurch towards fascism. That small handful will be remembered with appreciation. But, whatever the outcome today, historians of the American republic will judge harshly those who did not stop Trump when they could. It will damn those who pandered, pampered and enabled him to reach this moment: where polls still depict him with a track, albeit narrow, to the White House.

Jeb
Jeb Bush was among the Republican competitors who had no idea how to deal with Trump. Photograph: Spencer Platt/ Getty Images

First in this roll-call of disgrace is the Republican party. Among those hanging their heads should be the 16 competitor an applicant who allowed themselves to be steamrollered by a reality Tv host and serially bankrupted businessman. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and the others had no idea how to deal with Trump. They collectively made a strategic fault by failing to realise their primary task was to take him out. Instead, they opposed one another, each hoping to emerge as the sole, anti-Trump nominee around whom Republicans would unite. That proved a delusion.

As Trumps poll lead increased in late 2015 and early 2016, his contenders grew ever more frightened of taking a shot at him, anxious that they might alienate his supporters or, worse, that he might train his flame back on them. So while, say, Chris Christie mocked Rubio on a Tv debate stage in New Hampshire in February, Trump could literally step back and watch merely to emerge as the win in that states Republican primary a few days later.

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Trump rival and New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Photograph: Mel Evans/ AP

Perhaps the Republican cannot be blamed for the weakness of the field that fought Trump for their partys nomination. Perhaps no traditional legislator no senator or governor could take on Trump when the Republican grassroots, so furious at the political establishment, were hungering for an foreigner.( Although, of course, this anti-establishment ardor, this disgust of all things Washington, was itself stoked for years by Republicans and their allies on Fox News and in the rest of the conservative political-media-entertainment complex. In losing their party to Trump, the Republican were burned by a fire they themselves had started .)

But what shames them is their conduct afterwards. Even as Trump made clear what kind of man he is calling Mexicans rapists, suggesting African-Americans are too lazy to run, that Jews watch everything through the lens of money, calling females puppies and animals, threatening violence against protesters, endorsing torment and the murder of the families of suspected terrorists, calling for a foreign power( Russia) to hack into emails belonging to his political competitor, arguing that women who have abortions should face some sort of punishment, and being uncovered as a proud perpetrator of sexual assault, a man whose approach to girls is to grab them by the pussy even after all this and so much more, most senior Republicans of note stood by him.

To be sure, they denounced him occasionally, when the extremity of their standard bearers behaviour left them no alternative. Paul Ryan, who serves as speaker of the House of Representatives, rightly called it the textbook definition of a racist commentary when Trump used to say Judge Gonzalo Curiel could not be impartial in handling the lawsuit against the so-called Trump University because Curiel was Mexican. In fact, the judge was a US citizen, born in Indiana. Ryan cold-shouldered Trump again, after the release of the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump boasted of his attacks on girls. But he never refuted him fully. Ryan never said Trump was unfit to be president of the United States and that he would not vote for him.

Senator
Senator John McCain initially endorsed Trump. Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/ AP

The same was nearly true of Senator John McCain, tortured for five and a half years in a Hanoi cell and yet mocked as not a hero by Trump( who said he preferred those who were not captured ). McCain swallowed that, along with Trumps promise to ban Muslims and to deport 11 million undocumented migrants merely receding his endorsement last month, after the notorious tape.

Until then, McCain, like most of his fellow Republicans, clung to the fiction that Trump would transform himself into a new being: sober, presidential and, above all, capable of being tamed by the Republican establishment even though there was not a shred of evidence, bar a very occasional willingness on the candidates proportion to read prepared lines from a teleprompter, to subsistence that fantasy.

That puts them on a moral aircraft only slightly above that occupied by Trumps trio of enablers: Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich. Those three horsemen of the Republican apocalypse conspired in the lie that a snake-oil salesman was fit to be president and destroyed what remained of their reputations in the process. As Hillary Clinton pointed out, Giuliani used to prosecute tax-dodgers. In this campaign, he praised Trumps failure to pay income tax for at least two decades as proof of his genius.

And that is to omitted the fourth horseman: Mike Pence, the defender of family values who has served as the running mate of a thrice-married, serially adulterous, self-confessed grabber of women. When the 2005 grab them videotape emerged, Pence went into seclusion. Some thought he might emerge to announce he was discontinuing the Republican ticket. He did no such thing. Instead, he investigated his conscience, detected it pristine and continued to act as a character witness to a man who cheats his taxes, cheats on his spouses and lies every time he opens his mouth.

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Donald Trump and Mike Pence campaign together In Wisconsin. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images

Its easy to attack the spineless leaders of the Republican party. Easy but incomplete. Its a rule of political combat that no one ever, ever, attacks the voters a rule Clinton unwisely violated when she deployed an odd metaphor to describe half of Trumps supporters as a basket of deplorables. But that regulation only applies to candidates for office. Any truthful assessment of a campaign has at least to include those doing the voting.

Some blame surely attaches to the Americans who let Trump keep up the bully and the bigotry and voted for him anyway. There is no escaping the fact that north of 40% of the US electorate have been prepared to vote for Trump despite everything that he has said and done. One poll received 22% of Trumps own advocates believed he would start a nuclear war. They thought that, but were prepared to vote for him anyway. None of them will be able to say: We didnt know.

Notable among that group are Christian evangelical voters, people who used to say that character mattered, that the personal conduct of a candidate was crucial. Five years ago, merely 30% of white evangelicals believed that a person guilty of immoral personal behaviour could behave ethically in a public role. Now that figure stands at 72%, a remarkably rapid change. It means people of supposedly deep moral convictions have been prepared to junk those faiths only to accommodate Trump.

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The Christian referendum: a Republican presidential rally in Mobile Alabama. Photo: Julie Dermansky/ Corbis via Getty Images

Still, they will have had their reasons including, for many millions, an all-consuming loathing of Hillary Clinton, a hatred so deep it blocks out, or at least outweighs, Trumps copious flaws. Analysts have not been sure how to explain the other motives. Some have been compassionate and highlighted the role of economic disadvantage among Trump supporters, those left behind by globalisation. Others have suggested that Trumpism is a howling of often racist, misogynistic rage from angry white humen, furious that their once-privileged place in American life has been supplanted. The latter camp has taken to sharing scenes or reports of overt racism and sexism by Trump advocates with the sarcastic caption: economic nervousnes.

This debate has been exhaustively aired in parts of the American press, but, overall, the media and especially TV shares some responsibility for the dire nation of the 2016 campaign. Its true that the most respectable newspapers and reporters kept tabs on Trumps prodigious lie: one correspondent tweeted out a daily tally, often stretching into the dozens. Others maintained diligent fact-checking services.

But the big picture was indulgence on an epic scale. For months, Trump had unique and unprecedented access to the airwaves of cable TV. Rather than wait to be booked for a set-piece interview, he would simply call up Fox or MSNBC and set himself on the air. He knew he was ratings gold; he knew the networks would not be able to say no. He had a similarly instinctive, reptilian understanding of the medias addiction to outrage: his nocturnal tweeting habit spread offence and insult far and wide but it ensured he remained at the centre of public attention for over a year. According to the media analyst Jack Shafer, the only subject ever to have enjoyed a comparable full-spectrum predominance is 9/11.

Yet that quantitative imbalance was not the only distortion. The media clung to its notion that balance necessitated equivalence, so that if Trump wallowed in dishonesty, involving constant fact-checking, then Clinton had to be treated as equally dishonest. Witness the morning Tv anchor Matt Lauer, widely pilloried for a programme in which he let Trump say anything, much of it false, but played inquisitor-general with Clinton, especially over her emails.( Still, the enduring face of media indulgence of Trump lies in the fact that of late-night TV host Jimmy Fallon, playfully ruffling the hair of the real estate tycoon treating him as merely another lovable rogue .)

The moment when TV host Jimmy Fallon ruffled Trumps hair epitomised the medias indulgence of him.

Nowhere was this mindset more misleading than in the never-ending discussion of those emails, especially in the campaigns final stretch. Which brings us to the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, in particular, its director, James Comey. His decision to announce 10 days before election day that he was, in effect, reopening the FBI probe into the email affair handed the last week of the campaign to Trump. It put Clinton on the defensive, halted her momentum and stopped the bleeding in Team Trump. Many analysts believe that, by bringing Republican voters back home to the party, it will also prevent Democrats retaking the senate.

FBI
FBI director James Comey takes his place in the hall of shame. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/ AP

And all that on what turned out to be an wholly false premise. On Sunday, Comey had to admit that the cache of supposedly new emails was, in fact , nothing of the kind and that there were no grounds to alter his July view that Clinton should face no farther action. But by then the damage had been done. Whether through partisan bias or sheer incompetence, we do not yet fully know.

So Comey takes his place in the vestibule of shame of the 2016 campaign, shuffling into the group photo alongside Julian Assange, who might as well have handed over his WikiLeaks operation to the Trump campaign. Assange kept up a drip feed of leaked emails from the Clinton team, many of them embarrassing , none devastating while conspicuously leaking nothing that might injury the Republican nominee. WikiLeaks never created Trumps tax returns or the outtakes from The Apprentice said to contain yet more evidence that Trump is a bigot and sex predator. It targeted Clinton alone.

Julian
Julian Assanges WikiLeaks operation kept up a drip feed of leaked emails from the Clinton team, while leaking nothing that might damage Trump. Photo: Ken McKay/ ITV/ Rex/ Shutterstock

And there should be room in that photo for Vladimir Putin, whose intelligence agencies are near-universally believed to be behind the wholesale hacking of the Democratic party, and whose goal appears to have been either the process of establishing Trump or, failing that, the sowing of disarray and chaos in the US electoral system.( Some believe Putin is saving his greatest assault till last, dreading he will hack the electronic voting system being implemented in several key US nations, thereby casting doubt on the validity of the result .)

And who would stand on the other side? Who should win a medal for their service in this bloody campaign? Michelle Obama will be remembered for devoting two of the best speeches of recent times, one at the Democratic convention, the other lambasting Trump for his misogyny. The old media behemoths of the New York Times and Washington Post deserve great praise for keeping the spotlight on Trump, the former by uncovering his non-payment of taxation, the latter for the work of David Fahrenthold, who got the scoop on the grab them videotape and who kept excavating at Trumps exaggerated claims of charitable giving. The comedians of Saturday Night Live deserve a mention, too, especially for Alec Baldwins performance, which captured the bullying, meandering emptiness of Trump. Daily Show alumni John Oliver and Samantha Bee also did their bit and did it well.

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The Daily Shows Samantha Bee. Photo: YouTube

Those who can hold their heads highest, however, are the conservatives who set country before party. The Bush family could have gone farther by, say, officially backing Clinton but their refusal to endorse Trump does something to redeem the clans reputation. Newspapers such as the Arizona Republic or the Dallas Morning News broke with their pasts, and their readers, to endorse a Democrat rather than back someone they watched as unfit. The backlash was severe: staff at the Arizona paper received death threats. Individuals including senators Jeff Flake and Ben Sasse and former Bush speechwriter David Frum made a similar choice.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Kenneth Starr’s job in peril for handled in Baylor University sex assault occurrences

9 days ago

Starr, a key figure in the Whitewater dispute , now faces a possible ousting as president of the Texas school for mishandling reports of rape by football players

He was a leading casting member in that seemingly remote drama of Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky and the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Now Kenneth Starr, bete noire of liberals in America, is making a comeback, though not entirely of his choosing.

Starr, the president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, is facing mounting pressure over how the university has handled reports of rape and assault by football players. The university says its governing board is still studying the results of an internal investigation and has refused to confirm speculation that Starr will be ousted.

The scandal comes merely a week after the 69 -year-old caused a stir by heaping kudo on Clinton, his one-time nemesis as a special prosecutor. There are certain tragic dimensions which we all lament, he said during a panel discussion in Philadelphia, referring obliquely to the unpleasantness of that time and lauding Clinton as the most gifted politician of the baby boomer generation.

The remarks were timely as the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump seeks to revive sordid tales of the former chairpeople indiscretions, as weapons in his election campaign against Hillary Clinton. But they also came as no surprise to friends of Starr who say he has been incorrectly demonised and should not be hurriedly judged in the Baylor case.

Im a Clinton person and I hold Ken Starr in the highest regard, said his close friend Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling professor of statute and political science at Yale University, who had a three-hour lunch with him last Sunday. If he believed there was wrongdoing at Baylor, he would never want to cover it up; he would want to get to the bottom of it.

Starr, who was born in Vernon, Texas, and grew up in San Antonio, was a high-flying lawyer before he was Clintons widely despised tormentor. He taught at New York University School of Law, George Mason University School of Law in Fairfax, Virginia and Chapman Law School in Orange, California.

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Starr faces reporters and photographers on 22 January 1998, before making a statement outside his Washington office. Photograph: Doug Mills/ Associated Press

He served as a US circuit court of appeals judge for the District of Columbia for six years, was the attorney general for four years and conducted five investigations as independent counsel.

Amar believes he could have been heading for a seat on the supreme court but, when asked to investigate the president in the 90 s, he did so out of a sense of duty even though, as he afterwards commented wryly, it was not a career-enhancer.

So in 1994 he took over the investigation of the Whitewater property venture and the suicide of Vince Foster, a deputy White House counsel. He also examined the firing of White House travel office workers and charges that White House officials misused FBI files.

Starr expanded the investigation to include Paula Jones, who sued Clinton for sexual harassment over an alleged 1991 incident in which she said he uncovered himself to her( it was determined out of tribunal) and the presidents affair with Lewinsky, then a White House intern, and efforts to cover it up.

Starr concluded that Clinton had committed perjury in sworn testimony denying having had sexual relations with Lewinsky. The House subsequently approved two articles of impeachment against Clinton, but the Senate fell short of the votes are required to convict him. Starr was condemned by Democrat for conducting a politically motivated witch-hunt.

These sordid sagas have been resurrected in recent days as Trump seeks to exploit them for political capital. Whether its Whitewater or whether its Vince or whether its Benghazi, its always a mess with Hillary, he told the Washington Post.

But Amar, a self-described liberal who voted for Bill Clinton twice and will support Hillary, believes his friend they have taught together and bided at one another homes has been harshly judged by history. He painted a portrait of a human who had traditional positions on sexuality and truth-telling and received himself in a position for which he lacked experience, strolling into a firestorm.

I never thought it was ever personal, he told of the Clinton investigation. I think he was not the best attorney because hed never been a prosecutor before. His squad was self-selected and they were all conservatives. That ill-served him but it wasnt his fault.

Starr was also cursed by the independent counsel ordinance, argues Amar, which obliged him to seek Clinton mercilessly. Amar once paraphrased Shakespeares Julius Caesar: The flaw, dear Bill, is not in Ken Starr/ But in the statute.

Hes never told nasty things about anyone behind their backs, said Amar, who has known Starr for 20 years. Hes generous to a fault. Hes the opposite of so many folks who are backstabbing and rancour bearing. He was the Democrat favourite Republican; he had not an foe in the world.

Kenneth
Kenneth Starr speaks outside the supreme court in Washington after arguing a suit on student free-speech rights on 19 March 2007. Photograph: Molly Riley/ Reuters

Starr has often tried to ten-strike an emollient tone in the years since the bitterly partisan drama. In 1999 he told CNN he found Clinton an immensely likable person, adding: I have been with him on several occasions. He has been gracious. He has been friendly. Thats just the kind of person that he is.

On another occasion he expressed regret that he had not focused on the Whitewater land deal and left the Lewinsky matter to someone else.

But Starr is no liberal. In 2009 the devout Christian represented the supporters of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex wedding, during a challenge before the California supreme court and won the case.

He headed the Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, then in 2010 became chairwoman of Baylor, the countrys biggest Baptist university. Starr and football coach-and-four Art Briles now face criticism over whether Baylor ignored allegations of assaults by players, two of whom were later convicted on sexual assault charges.

More than 200 Baylor students, faculty and graduates staged a candlelight vigil outside Starrs Waco residence in February. Baylor is also facing a federal legal action from a former student claiming that it was deliberately indifferent to rape allegations levied against a player, before he was ultimately convicted of assaulting her.

Starr has stayed mostly silent on the assault reports. Amar said: Hes not been able to tell his side of the narrative. When it does come out, it will put things in a different perspective and be quite favourable to him. He has always argued for total transparency; he wants to get the facts out. I have been critical of some things he has done but not this.

Even as Trump intensifies political polarisation in the country, hatred towards Starr has cooled following the adoption of period. One of his adversaries during the Clinton saga, lawyer Stan Brand, said: He did get demonised. He became the symbol of any excess or unfairness. Some of it was his flaw and some of it was institutional.

The fault I had with him was that he has no real prosecutorial experience and he surrounded himself, in my opinion, with prosecutors who were overzealous and he couldnt rein them in. Another part of the problem was the institution of the independent counseling which has outlived its usefulness.

As for Starrs attitude to Clinton today, Brand added: Peoples views are tempered over hour and I suppose thats a measure of his magnanimity.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Benedict Cumberbatch Reads The Tale of Election 2016

2 months, 26 days ago

Sadly democracy failed today, as Donald Trump get voted into office. For us in Germany it as a non-explainable tragedy that feels very surreal just now. Yesterday everything was a lot more funny- like when Cevelig Bumbacatch got to read a little bedtime story for James Corden…

“Nearing bedtime, James Corden calls in his papa, Benedict Cumberbatch, for a tale and resolves on the tale of the 2016 election, pitting Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump.”

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Why You Should Stop Making Jokes About Bill Clinton As First Gentleman

3 months, 1 day ago

With this presidential election, there is a possibility we could have two role-redefining firsts.

If Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination and goes on to win the general election in November, she will be America’s first female president.

And with that, we’d have our first ever first gentleman.

Bill Clinton will step into a role historically held by girls. The role of first spouse in America has evolved over the years, but it is typically concerned with being an anchor in the White House.

First dames traditionally run the daily affairs of the White House, including decorating and picking out menus. Believe about Jackie Kennedy famously dedicating a tour of the White House 😛 TAGEND

Household activitieshave long been considered women’s run; our society has created gender roles with women as housemakers and men as moneymakers. Because of this, lots of people has already begun asking about how Bill, a man and former chairperson, would take on the role of first spouse.

These topics hinge on the apparently unbelievable notion a man coulddo household chores like picking out floral the agreements and china.

Our reaction to even the suggestionof a human doing household work shows how far we still have to go to overcome gendered stereotypes.

Over the past few decades, the corporation has been moving toward housework equality. Women enteredthe workplace in strong numbers and policies like paternal leave are( slowly) becoming less rare.

Still, females do much more unpaid labor at home than men. People hold ingrained beliefs women should be cooking, clean and taking care of children. This holds women back as it takes away their time and energy and induces employers consider them least stable — and therefore less worthy of a promotion.

When we chuckle at the idea of Bill Clinton picking menus, we’re reinforcing gender roles that keep us from equality.

Moreover, we’re showing how little we value housework. Home chores are literally what keep us all running functionally. Having the right decorations and menus at the White House play a significant role in how the country is viewed as a whole.

It doesn’t help Hillary Clinton herself is getting in on the idea Bill can’t pick flowers.

Clinton wasasked about the role of a first spouseat a Democratic debate back in December. ABC News journalist Martha Radditz asked Hillary 😛 TAGEND

You have said that Bill Clinton is a great host and loves dedicating tours but may opt out of picking flower arrangements if you’re elected. Bill Clinton aside, is it time to change the role of a president’s spouse?

Clinton answered Bill would help advise her on issues, but 😛 TAGEND

With respect to my own husband, I am likely still going to pick the flowers and the china for state dinners and stuff like that.

She reemphasized this idea at a campaign stop on Sunday night. Clinton said Bill would be put to work on economic issues were she to become president.

Although Clinton intimated she’d retain traditional gender roles by picking out the flowers, her notions for Bill as first spousespeak to the way she revolutionized the role.

When Bill became chairwoman, Hillary became the first first lady to have had a full-time career outside of her husband’s political career before he became president.

Clinton had a career in statute before Bill ranfor office. While he was president, she did policy work, pushing forward a healthcare act that is likely failed to get passed. The act was called Hillarycare — more than a decade before Obamacare indicated up.

While Bill was operating for office in 1991, Clinton’s role as a wife was publicly debated. She famously said 😛 TAGEND

I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession.

This comment led to ratings of criticism, ultimately inspiring Clinton to submit a cookie recipe to Family Circle magazine to support a more traditionallymaternal image.

Two decades later, we’re still stuck with the idea a first lady has to act like a classic homemaker. Michelle Obama had similar experiences when her husband was first running for president.

Michelle and Barack gratified when Michelle was his mentor at a law firm. Michelle Obama had a successful legal career, much like Clinton. But when Barack was elected, she quit her job as vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals to become first lady.

This pained many peoplefamiliar with the story of women giving up their careers for their husbands’ careers. Michelle evencalled it “a bit disconcerting.”

But over the last seven years, Michelle Obama has supported issues like healthy eating, workout and education( notably, issues that affect children ).

It’s up to everybody to decide for themselves what devotes them value and intent. The one thing we shouldn’t do is induce blanket assumptions.

Thinking a man can’t pick flowers is based on decades of sexism strengthening gender inequality. Believing housework is less important than a career does the same. Supposing all a first spouse does is choose menu dismisses the hard work first dames have done in America’s history.

After all, it was Dolley Madison who saved George Washington’s portrait when the White House was burnt down during the course of its War of 1812.


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How the media missed Bernie Sanders

3 months, 25 days ago

BURLINGTON, VERMONT( CNN) Bernie Sanders, the man who is leading in New Hampshire and giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money in Iowa, is coming to words with a new reality: The media is taking him seriously.

Since launching his campaign last May, Sanders has received vastly less media attention than his chief Democratic opponent, while his chances of becoming the party’s nominee were largely dismissedby pundits and commentators despite the fact that, like a certain senator before him, he draws far larger crowds, boasts a remarkably enthusiastic volunteer base, and, though he doesn’t have as much money as Clinton, set an all-time record with more than 2.3 million campaign contributions last year.

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Here’s what happens if Sanders wins IA& NH

Bursting the Facebook bubble: we asked voters on the left and right to swap feeds

3 months, 28 days ago

Social media has built it easy to live in filter bubbles, sheltered from opposing standpoints. So what happens when liberals and conservatives trade realities?

The 2016 election took place under the spectre of a bubble. Not the subprime mortgage lending bubble that shaped the 2008 election, but the filter bubble. Tens of millions of American voters gets their news on Facebook, where highly personalized news feeds dish up a steady creek of content that reinforces users pre-existing beliefs.

Facebook users are increasingly sheltered from resisting standpoints and dependable news sources and the viciously polarized nation of our national politics appears to be one of the results.

Criticism of the filter bubble, which gained steam after the UKs surprising Brexit referendum, has reached a new level of importance in the wake of Donald Trumps upset victory, despite Mark Zuckerbergs denial it had any influence.

To test the effects of political polarization on Facebook we asked ten US voters five conservative and five liberal to agree to take a scroll on the other side during the final month of the campaign.

We made two Facebook accounts from scratch. Rusty Smith, our right-wing avatar, liked a variety of conservative news sources, organizations, and personalities, from the Wall Street Journal and The Hoover Institution to Breitbart News and Bill OReilly. Natasha Smith, our left-wing persona, preferred The New York Times, Mother Jones, Democracy Now and Think Progress. Rusty liked Tim Tebow and the NRA. Natasha liked Colin Kaepernick and 350. org.

Our liberals were given log-ins to the conservative feed, and vice versa, and we asked our participants to limit their news consumption as much as possible to the feed for the 48 hours following the third debate, the reopening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and the election.

Not all of our participants induced it through to election day. You might as well have been waterboarding a brother, said one of the participants, Alphonso Pines, after his first exposure to the right-wing feed.

But eight of our bubble-busters made multiple forays into the Facebook feed and were interviewed three or four times one even said the experience influenced his final decision. Heres how it impacted them all 😛 TAGEND

Inside the bubble

From Utah to St Louis, and Georgia to San Francisco, most of our participants were aware that they lived in a bubble.

Twelve people have shared a story with me about the Hillary Clinton bus dumping human garbage into the sewer system, said Trent Loos, a farmer and radio host from central Nebraska. I never watch positive stuff about Hillary Clinton. I didnt know that existed.

Trent
Trent Loos, a conservative 50 -year-old farmer from central Nebraska. Photograph: Facebook

Nato Green, a comedian and writer who describes his political orientation as somewhere to the left of Che Guevara, describes a similarly sheltered existence.

I find regular Americans unbelievably exotic, the native San Franciscan said. I know Jill Stein people, and I know dont referendum people, but I dont know Trump people.

Several participants said that they sought out opposing viewpoints outside of Facebook, by watching Fox News( for a liberal) or reading High Country News( for a conservative ), but most had a generally one-sided experience within Facebooks news feed.

If I got any Trump advocates on my page, theyre in the closet, said Pines, a retired union organizer and liberal who lives in Smyrna, Georgia.

Like reading a book by a fool

If there was one thing that our participants agreed on, it was that the Facebook feed the other side reads is largely incorrect.

Its like reading a volume by a fool, said Pine. Its hard to read something you know is a lie.

Andra
Andra Constantin, a conservative 37 -year-old project manager in the construction industry. Photograph: Photo courtesy of Andra Constantin

Another liberal, Nikki Moungo from St Louis county, Missouri, went a step further: Its like being locked into a room full of those suffering from paranoid delusions, she said.

Loos said that he found the left-wing Facebook feed was too restricted and he was frustrated by the liberal medias attempts to spin and justify every negative story about Clinton.

Andra Constantin, a conservative project manager from Westchester County, New York, was frustrated by this whole big brainwashing move to save the world from the horrible climate change.

Both Constantin and Green agreed that a conservative Facebook feed in the run up to the election had more diversity of opinions than a liberal one, largely because Republicans were divided on supporting Trump while liberals can often unified behind Clinton.

I didnt see the issues being discussed, Constantin said of the liberal feed. Even though we can be hateful and nasty, at both ends of the conservative side were talking about the issues a bit more.

When Green returned to his regular liberal feed after the third debate, he felt wholly out of the loop with his cohorts topics of dialogue. I logged in and I was like bad hombres, nasty girls, what is everyone talking about?

They detest me

For several of our participants, reading the alternative Facebook feed was not just surprising, but hurtful.

Its hard for me to read some of it, said Pines, who is black. Its only a racist kind of thing, and I dont think its cleverly disguised. Pines was especially pained by the way in which Obama was portrayed by the right-wing sources, which he described as code and puppy whistlings.

Pam Tau Lee, a retired community organizer and activist from San Francisco, also had difficulty stomaching the right-wing feed.

Everything that they are saying is bad, I fall under that category, said the fourth-generation Chinese-American. The hateful stuff: thats me. They hate me and my community and what I stand for.

Pam
Pam Tau Lee, a retired community organizer from San Francisco. Photograph: Politenes of Pam Tau Lee

Kathleen Matz, who owns a pet care service in Oakland, California, determined the misogyny on sites like Breitbart hurtful.

I just stopped. I couldnt look at it anymore, she said.

But it wasnt merely the liberals who found the experience painful.

Im insuring a lot more hate from the liberal side, said Constantin. Its all about how much of a horrible, fascist, racist, misogynist Trump is.

On her own feed, Constantin detected herself winnowing down her friends in order to avoid arguments.

I did unfollow a lot of friends because I didnt want to feel seduced to correct what they were saying and get in a fight, she said.

Honestly, I detested it, said Janalee Tobias, a longtime conservative activist and is part of Mormons for Trump from South Jordan, Utah. Im seeing a psychiatrist trying to get over the shock and the dislike from the left, she joked. I supposed this would be easier for me to handle, because Im held pretty open minded.

Janalee
Janalee Tobias, a longtime conservative activist. Photograph: Sam Levin for the Guardian

The needle moved

For some of our participants, checking out the other bubble merely confirmed their commitment to staying inside their own.

I learned that[ people on the right] are way more vicious and lack a certain maturity that I would expect of adults, said Moungo, after the election. This just absolutely corroborated it … They are irredeemable monsters.

Seeing the liberal feed pulled me further to the right, said Loos. Without getting the counterpoint, I was drawn more and more to the conservative side. Instead of luring me in, it pushed me away.

But some of our participants determined greater understanding from the experiment.

Kathleen
Kathleen Matz( right ), a liberal, find the misogyny on sites like Breitbart hurtful. Photo: Politenes of Kathleen Matz

Lee said she was impressed by the cleverness of right-wing messaging, which use words like working class and jobs and economic stability. That promise is so great that it overshadows everything else, and I could see that, if thats the only thing that I find, I could understand. I could be swayed.

Asked whether that understanding had resulted in her having more empathy for Trump voters, Lee said: I dont know if Im there yet, but Im working on it. I come from a place where I want to build a movement coming from love and compassion, so Im working on it.

One of our participants, Todd Macfarlane, said his time on the liberal Facebook page influenced his final decision. A rancher and attorney from Kanosh, Utah, Macfarlane is a registered Republican who was considering supporting the GOP nominee, but ultimately chose not to vote for any presidential nominee.

The needle moved, he said after his first exposure to the liberal feed. I was kind of more undecided as I looked at it … I was persuaded to think hes a really bad selection.

Macfarlane didnt encounter any liberal news sources that convinced him to support Clinton, but his time on the feed helped him realize that a Trump presidency could be dangerous.

It had to do with his overall temperament and decorum and demeanor, he said. It only reinforced for me the concern about what he might do with that much power.

Maybe we should stop

It wasnt just his referendum that changed, for Macfarlane. Since participating in the experiment, he said, Im a lot more interested in engaging with people who are open minded and are willing to talk about the whole picture.

Nikki
Nikki Moungo, a liberal from Missouri: Its like being locked into a room full of those suffering from paranoid hallucinations. Photograph: Courtesy of Nikki Moungo

Constantin, who currently relies on Facebook for 100% of her news, said that she has concluded that the platform seems to filter out believable news articles on both ends and feed sensationalist far left/ far right things.

I have to be more proactive about getting good quality content, she said.

Tobias said that exposure to the other side constructed her realize how difficult it might be to find common ground after the election.

Its frightening to me to see how much the left and the right are divided right now, she said. To bring us back together, I dont know what its going to take.

For Green, the lessons of the election are more stark.

Maybe we should stop having social media, he said. For all the things that social media has done in terms of inducing it easier for me to stay in touch with someone that I was vaguely friends with in college, perhaps the ability with social media for people to construct their own reality to create a rabble is not worth it.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Everything The ‘Facebook Politicians’ Forgot To Tell You About The Election

3 months, 29 days ago

Over the summer, I was talking to someone about the presidential election when they looked at me and said, Im sorry this is the first election youre voting in. I promise theyre not usually like this.

At the time, the apology seemed misplaced. Sure, it was absurd to me that Donald Trump was the Republican nominee, but it did not seem all that bad otherwise.

Fast-forward a few months and three debates later, and I get it. At this point, the election seemsmore about spectacle than politics. Ive heard more conversations about emails and grabbing girls by their genitals than Ive heard about policy.

The election has become so sensationalized and full of divisiveness that it has left many people feeling altogether disheartened by the entire process.

If you are anything like me, you try to stay informed on the election by reading and watching the news. But, you also get the majority of your information from what people share on Facebook.

From what I have find on my own Facebook News Feed, some people are so fed up with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton that they dont plan on voting at all.

There a lot of reasons I suppose skipping the polls on November 8 is a bad idea, and there are plenty of other articles and Facebook politicians aka the people who talk about the election all the time on Facebook but couldnt hold their own in an actual debate who can explain why.

But Im going to discuss one specific reason that has not received a great deal of attention throughout this campaign season 😛 TAGEND

When you go to the polls on November 8, youre not only voting for the president, but for Congress as well.

Here are fourreasons thats so important to understand 😛 TAGEND

1. A littlething called checks and balances.

You may recollect learning about checks and balances in a US history class you were forced to take up high school. If you dont remember, here is a little refresher for you 😛 TAGEND

Our system of checks and balances( legislative, executive and judicial) exists in the US in order to make sure no one person or group has too much power.

For example, if Donald Trump is elected president, that does not necessarily entail his plan for a wall paid for by Mexico will actually happen. So, even if youre not happy with who is chairman, you still have the ability to influence what happens within the government.

Who you vote for to represent you in Congress can potentially have a bigger impact thanthe president.


2. Its a style to get your voice heard.

The presidents task is to represent the entire country. Thats roughly 318 million people. Members of the House of Representatives, on the other hand, represent approximately 700,000 people. While this is still a large number, it is substantially smaller than the president.

The chances of your opinions being listened to by your congressman/ woman are much higher than them being heard by thepresident.

Since Congress is a matter of less people than the president, who you check on the ballot for the Senate or House is much more likely to listen to you and fight for the causes you believe in.


3. You may have an easier day discovering someone you want to support.

Throughout the entire campaign season, I hadnt found someone I truly agreed with or supported. I was starting to get frustrated with the election, but then I found information on one of the people running for Congress in my district.

This nominee stood for exactly what I believe in. I signed up to volunteer with his campaign and was immediately filled with hope. My main thought throughout the entire experience was, Maybe the election wontbe so bad after all.

Hot Models Convince Unregistered Millennials To Vote


4. We can be the generation that takes control of ourgovernment.

Its easy to feel like you dont really have any impact on what happens within our government, but we have more of a say than it may feel sometimes.

If every Millennial went out to vote for someone who will trulyrepresent them in Congress, we could completely change the makeup of who is filling the seats in the House and Senate.

If we want a government that represents us and our beliefs, then we cant just sit at our information technology and complain( looking at you, Facebook legislators ). We need to go out and take charge.

Even if itseemstoo late to actually changethe presidential election, we can still control who represents us in Congress.

Ill be voting on November 8 in order for my voice to be heard. Will you?

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Chelsea Handler’s Hillary pledge is no joke to her adherents

4 months, 6 days ago

Comedian Chelsea Handler, starring of the Netflix series” Chelsea Does ,” is no fan of Donald Trump, as a quick scan of her Twitter timeline makes abundantly clear. Fortunately for her, Trump( and the media covering him) don’t hesitate to provide plenty of gag material, such as his reference to his penis size during the most recent Republican debate, and his improvised pledge that looked suspiciously like a Nazi salute in still shots.

That tweet’s a couple of days old. Handler maintained things on the cutting edgetoday by tweeting about #InternationalWomensDay.

That tweet certainly looks like an attempt to squeezing one more gag out of Trump’s loyalty pledge, but Handler’s followers didn’t find it a laughter matter. If you’re a comedian and your audience isn’t sure if what you just said is a joke or not, it might be wise to drop it from the act.

President Hillary Clinton is no laughing matter to these folks.

Read more:

Oh so you a real badass huh

4 months, 7 days ago

Read more: imgflip.com

Junk the system: why young Americans won’t do as they’re told this election

4 months, 8 days ago

The diverse millennial generation has assured too few answers from traditional leadership. Now, many of us are losing patience with the political system

Like any marketing-approved generational epithet, to be a millennial is not as simple as it sounds. If “youre reading” the news, you might be forgiven for thinking that were a mass of social-media-addicted lesbian biracial angels whod rather take a BuzzFeed quiz than guess for ourselves were responsible for the death of the car industry, the cable industry, were lazy, were entrepreneurial, were overly nostalgic and were narcissistic. But however handy the descriptive term, the truth is that were a widely various crowd.

Just look at this election. Millennials are not lining up for Hillary Clinton , nor potential candidates, for that are important. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that support for Hillary Clinton among voters ages 18 -3 4 in a four-person race is a paltry 31%. Libertarian Gary Johnson finished second and secured 29%. For the olds of America, this is a scary prospect.

Supporters
Supporters for third party nominee, Gary Johnson, protest in Boise, Idaho on 22 September 2016. Photograph: Brian Losness/ Reuters

A recent New York Times op-ed by Charles M Blow claimed that young people voting for third-party nominees such elections cycle, watched by many as a form of protest against the creation options, is incredibly problematic and potentially self-destructive. While that might be true, his piece shows a disagreement on how democracy should be structured and how demographics work.

Im not going to berate anyone for rejecting the false binary of American politics. Claiming that someone is wasting their election is undemocratic, even if the outcome is undesirable. In fact, it should be heartening that young people are even aware enough to know that there are more than two political parties in this country. But I do wonder how we got to this point after the utopian high of the 2008 election, when Shepard Fairey posters were hanging on college dorm-room walls and will.i.am was releasing inspirational, triumphalist music videos.

Protesters
Protesters make their way to East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, California, in May to protest against Hillary Clinton. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/ AFP/ Getty Images

Eight years later, whatever people wanted from Barack Obama they didnt quite get, and Clinton is struggling to claim her potential presidency as an extension of his legacy. Besides Clintons unique, complex issues with so-called likability, theres another reason millennials arent lining up to to buy Im With Her tote bag: traditional appeals to court our election no longer run and were losing patience with the political system of this country.

I can still recollect a hour when youth brands felt the need to hawk dusty old concepts like civic responsibility and democracy. Take, for example, this dire MTV Rock the Vote commercial starring Madonna and two anonymous back-up dancers. Marvel at Madges lackadaisical attempt to drum up a modicum of tepid patriotism. If you dont referendum, youre going to get a spanking, she says while sporting nothing but a little bit of red lingerie and an American flag.

In 2004, youth voting ran up again, because of( or perhaps in spite of) Puff Daddys insipid Vote or Die campaign. Vote or Die didnt literally mean that you would die if you didnt election, though there was certainly the implication that you might get drafted and sent to Iraq if you didnt support Democratic nominee John Kerry. Puff Daddy has since been on record saying he guesses voting is a scam. Hes not alone.

These days, youd be better off selling canned farts at a flea market than promoting the necessity of exerting the franchise in November. Despite its association with the grunge 90 s or maybe because of it Rock the Vote still exists, even if the idea of rocking is about as relevant to the youth referendum as a rotary phone. This year, Rock the Vote is joining forces-out with Glamour magazine, Refinery2 9, Jezebel and the Cut to register at least 100,000 girls before the election, an initiative called #OurVoteCounts. As one would imagine with the strategic placement of the hashtag in the name, most of this registration drive will take place online, unlike the TV-centric campaigns of yesteryear. To better appeal to its newer, younger, sexier partners, Rock the Vote might want to also deem rebranding for the 21 st century maybe something like Electric Democracy Carnival? Organizers can hold voter enrollment drives in the desert, hand out glow sticks and pacifiers, and build a giant wooden statue of Thomas Jefferson that they can set on fire every evening.

Kevin
Kevin Liles, Mary J Blige, Russell Simmons, Puff Daddy, and Jay Z on stage at the Last Chance For Change Rally in support of Barack Obama on 2 November 2008 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Photograph: Larry Marano/ Getty Images

Still, its good to see Rock The Vote construct the jump from the airwaves to the internet. Youth political mobilization is occurring online, through organizing techniques that are either independent of any sort of official PAC or are merely social networks of like-minded individuals looking for a tightly sealed echo chamber. Donald Trump manages to stay in the news cycle some days strictly by saying something hateful or stupid on Twitter posing with a taco bowl, blaming Hillary Clinton for any negative headline, and often outright lying. Hillary Clintons recent appearance on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis was a funny, though transparent, attempt to get the kids to be down with her.

The bogeyman of such elections cycle is the alt-right, a movement that doesnt have a central figurehead though Donald Trump is its pet project of the moment and both implicitly and explicitly promotes its agenda but has frightened liberals enough that Hillary Clinton felt compelled to call the movement out in a stump speech.

While the alt-right isnt engaging in get-out-the-vote activities as of yet, supporters are making their voices heard through the favored persuasive tactics of my generation social media harassment and florid suppose pieces( many of which appear on the Breitbart News website ). Whereas Rock the Vote sought to infuse music rebellion into politics, the alt-right seems to be hoping to inject politics into uprising. When diversity and acceptance are buzzwords and mainstream pop culture is increasingly socially liberal, it stands to reason that anyone with a taste for anarchy and infraction would turn to the right.

A
A supporter holds up a sign in support of Senator Barack Obama in Concord, New Hampshire, in 2008. Photograph: M. Spencer Green/ AP

But both sides of the millennial political divide have come to distrust their elders, even if presidential candidates of the ever-expanding fringe Johnson, Trump, Stein, Sanders are old enough to collect whats left of social security. There is an increasing awareness in this country that somethings gone wrong. Millennial discontent with the course that the United States is taking is growing. Earlier this year, the GenForward survey, a collaboration between the Black Youth Project and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago, discovered that 52% of millennials feel the country is falling behind and another 24% believe its failing. That same examine found that 17% of black millennials arent planning to vote, which could be a devastating blow for Hillary Clintons campaign, as shell be relying on the youth and minority vote to overcome Trumps significant advantage with white Americans.

The apathy of the millennial voter might simply be a symptom of having two candidates in their late 60 s or early 70 s who dont have the air of hipness that Barack Obama applied. What pops a pit in that hypothesi is that millennial voting rates fell 7% from 2008 to 2012. Instead, theres the very real potential that as millennials age, they are less apt to stomach a thing called hope. The Obama presidency did not usher in a new age of cooperation. Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner did not announce they would be going on a nationwide concert tour performing the hits of the Carpenters.

Racial tension, climate change, gun violence, terrorism, and poverty persist. Easy answers do not exist, and even if they did, they wouldnt be coming from one of the two major political parties groups often more concerned with their own survival than practical solutions to tangible issues. As the global situation appears to become more and more hopeless thanks to actual horrors, plus the media saturation that occurs after every tragedy, which amplifies our malaise it should come as no surprise that millennials as a group and the nation at large disagree on how to turn things around.

Consensus might just be a thing of the past; MTV is far from the unchallenged thought leader for American youth. What such elections might be remembered for is the moment when the American political system became so ossified and incapable of answers that we chose, at last, to junk it and start from scratch.

Read more: www.theguardian.com