Why do people dislike Hillary Clinton? The tale runs far back

10 days ago

A sense of untrustworthiness has haunted the Democrat this election, but the roots of hostility against her are much deeper

There is and perhaps there always will be a dedicated group of people who dont know Hillary Clinton personally, but nonetheless hate her.

Whether they are truly a vast rightwing conspiracy( as Clinton called them in 1998) or just many in number and conservative in outlook, theres no arguing that they exist or that they continue to try to influence public opinion on the Democratic nominee.

But even if people consider themselves savvy enough to repudiate the strangest conspiracy theories( sample asserts include that she is a mass-murderer, a closeted lesbian faking her 40 -year marriage, a member of the Illuminati and/ or an agent of the devil himself ), there seems little doubt that an undercurrent of hatred spanning decades has had an impact upon how she is viewed.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Paul Ryan deserts Trump campaign but won’t formally drop endorsement

1 month, 12 days ago

A day after contentious debate, the speaker of the House tells congressional members you all need to do whats best for you in your district

Top Republican Paul Ryan deserted Donald Trump on Monday after an aggressive debate attack against Hillary Clinton failed to appease mounting disgust over his attitude toward women.

The speaker of the House told congressional colleagues on a conference call that he would no longer defend Trump or campaign with him. He urged them to do whats best for you to save the partys majority and avoid giving Hillary Clinton a blank check in the White House, though stressed he was not yet formally unendorsing the partys official nominee.

A CNN poll proved 57% of respondents felt Clinton had won the second debate, as a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal survey taken over the weekend showed her leading Trump by 11 phases among likely voters. She is 5. 8 points ahead in polling medians calculated by Real Clear Politics, a position that translates into a base of 260 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, with 165 relatively strong for Trump and 113 to play for.

Trump immediately fired back at Ryan on Twitter.Paul Ryan should expend more day on balancing the budget, employment creation and illegal immigration and not waste his time on opposing Republican nominee, wrote Trump in a blast at the House speaker with whom he has long had a bumpy relationship.

Ryan dragged his heels on endorsing Trump after the real estate developer clinched the Republican nomination in May and disinvited him from a joint appearance in Wisconsin on Saturday in the aftermath of the leaked remarks Trump made about women.

As Clinton climbed the steps to board her airliner in Westchester, New York, on Monday to depart for a campaign rally in Detroit, a reporter hollered a question about whether she believed Trump would show up for the final debate. Laughing, she responded: Yes.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

1 month, 26 days ago

Its unlikely Sanders advocates would jump ship and vote for Trump, but can a Clinton team aware of trust gap within her party win over wary progressives?

As the sun went down over what may prove to be Bernie Sanders last rally as a Democratic presidential nominee the coming week, the conversation among his supporters turned to a topic abruptly back on the lips of many Republicans too.

Can I bring myself to vote for my partys candidate? is not a question that either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would like so many Americans to be grappling with right now. The fact that the presumptive nominees each have record low favourability ratings is one of many factors inducing the 2016 race for the White House a uniquely uncomfortable experience for both parties.

But there is a curious symmetry about the anguish that has also given the campaigns hope a be thought that they can make up for the passion gap in their respective parties by poaching voters from the other side.

Trump was quickest out of the block this week after it became clear that the already dwindling hopes of Sanders voters had been dashed by his disappointing indicating against Clinton in Californias Democratic primary.

For all of those Bernie Sanders voters who will be left out in the cold by a rigged system of superdelegates, we welcome you with open arms, Trump said on Tuesday at Trump National Golf Club Westchester in New York.

The terrible trade deals, that Bernie was so vehemently against and hes right on that will be taken care of far better than anyone ever thought possible. And thats what I do. Were going to have fantastic trade bargains, Trump added, in a direct appeal to the blue collar workers who still doubt Clintons belated conversion to protectionism.

But Clinton has also been stepping up her efforts to woo Republican away from Trump, particularly as it has become clear that victory in his party primary has not led to any tempering of that notorious rhetoric.

In the wake of Trumps latest outrage questioning whether a judge was fit to oversee a lawsuit against him because of Mexican heritage – even those who had reluctantly begun to rally around their candidate are beginning to have second thoughts.

The textbook definition of a racist comment, explosion Paul Ryan, the House speaker. The South Carolina senator Lindsay Graham called Trumps remarks the most un-American thing from a legislator since Joe McCarthy.

Signs indicate no mass exodus of Sanders supporters willing to embrace Trump. Photo: Joshua Roberts/ Reuters

The Clinton campaign has even funded a website, RepublicansAgainstTrump.org, to seek with tongue only half inserted in cheek people to sign a pledge. Donald Trump is not qualified to be president, it reads. He does not represent my notions as a Republican and, more importantly, my values as an American. He does not speak for me and I will not vote for him.

It remains unclear how many will choose to vote for a Democrat instead, but some claim to have spotted the beginnings of a mutiny even in the US Senate. This week the New Yorker quoted Susan Collins, a moderate Maine Republican, saying she was so disgusted with Trump that she had not ruled out voting for Clinton a scenario Collins was later keen to qualify as still unlikely.

Nonetheless, the idea that Trumps belligerence will let Clinton peel off many moderate Republicans at the ballot box in November looks a good deal more likely right now than its opposite. Signs indicate no mass exodus of Sanders supporters willing to embrace Trump.

A poll for the Guardian this week by SurveyUSA procured up to six hours as many dedicated Sanders advocates were willing to hold their snouts and vote for Clinton as were ready to vote Trump.

A smaller number would vote Green, Libertarian or stay home instead, so Clintons conversion rate of 41% was far from a ringing endorsement.

Yet the poll measured alternative voting intentions among those who would ideally prefer to see Sanders operate as an independent candidate a group likely to be his most loyal fans so probably underestimated the willingness of moderate advocates to convert to Clinton.

A mood of resignation surely hung over some of the crowd at the Vermont senators rally in Washington DC on Thursday night.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at an event in Washington DC. Photo: Alex Wong/ Getty Images

Asked whether she would vote for Clinton now it appeared all but certain Sanders would not be on the ticket, Diana Galbraith, a 39 -year-old graduate student from Georgetown University, was blunt: I have to.

Number one: I am Democrat, and number two: Trump cant win or else I have to move to Canada, she explained.

Galbraith remained concerned, however, that not all Sanders supporters would be as willing to compromise. I do guess Trump could win. He has enough cross-appeal there are Democrats who could vote for him, she added.

Others at the rally, which campaign aides said may well be the last if Sanders formally drops out after the Washington DC primary on Tuesday, were more defiant.

I am going to write in Bernie. Whether or not hes on the ticket, hes getting my election, said Chelsea Denman, a 27 -year-old who works in the legal profession in Washington. Hes gotten a motion going thats not dying down anytime soon. He needs to continue on to the convention. He needs to keep himself out there and talk about the issues.

Asked why she was so opposed to Clinton, Denman responded as many do: I dont suppose shes genuine. I guess she says what she guesses she needs to be said to get elected. I dont trust her. I think its unfortunate that as a woman I cant trust potentially the first woman president.

Conscious of this continuing trust gap among young progressives, the Clinton campaign flirted with perhaps the ultimate reaction the coming week by meeting withElizabeth Warren, the popular Massachusetts senator, for what many assumed were talks about making her a possible work mate.

In contrast to pairings with other rumoured nominees, such as the Virginia senator Tim Kaine or the New Jersey senator Cory Booker, sharing a ticket with Warren was once considered an unthinkable lurch to the left by Clinton that is likely to appeased many Sanders loyalists.

I would love Warren, but I only dont believe Hillary is going to appoint her, said Galbraith.

Elizabeth Warren after speaking at the American Constitution Society for Law. Photo: Nick Wass/ AP

If Warren were the vice-presidential nominee, it could also alienate many moderate Republicans, who consider the anti-Wall Street firebrand as a distinctly acquired taste.

Elizabeth Warren could almost persuade me to re-think my opposition to Trump. Shes insufferable, wrote one former adviser to John McCain this week.

For others on the left, the more important question is whether Clinton commits to the policies of Sanders and Warren.

Elizabeth Warren bolstered the suit that the right way to attain Democratic unity is to demonstrate voters that Clinton, Sanders, and the Democratic party stand united behind big, bold, progressive ideas, said Adam Green, founder of the Progressive Change Campaign committee. His list of ideas included expanding social security benefits instead of cutting them, debt-free college, breaking up too-big-to-fail banks, and jailing Wall street bankers who violate the law.

Strong unity depended in part on haste, he added. The sooner Clinton and[ national convention] platform committee members publicly signal they will seek unity around bold progressive ideas, Green said, the sooner Sanders and his supporters will know they have achieved the mission of helping to transform the future of America and the more likely Democrats will win big in November.

In a week in which Democrats began to unify while Republican fell apart, the discussions with Warren increasingly appear to be a sign of confidence. If Trump continues alienating his own party, perhaps Clinton can afford to gamble on a historic two-woman ticket in the hope that they might have a Democratic Congress alongside them too.

Certainly this would be a legacy that many Sanders supporters could live with, even if they would have preferred a more direct track to political revolution.

I think Bernies going to hang in until our primary on Tuesday and then drop out. Today he was laying the groundwork, Galbraith predicted.

It matters and it doesnt matter, because Bernies movement is about more than merely winning the nomination. Its about finding progressive space within the Democratic party.

It would be a political big tent that many Republican cannot even dream about right now.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

My night out in Cleveland with the worst men on the internet

1 month, 29 days ago

At the Republican convention, Laurie Penny was invited to a rally led by alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopolous and an unholy cast of characters united behind Donald Trump for whom turning raw rage into political currency is merely a game

This is a story about how trolls took the wheel of the clown auto of modern politics. Its a narrative about the insider traders of the attention economy. Its a tale about dread and disgust and Donald Trump and you and me. Its not a tale about Milo Yiannopoulos, the professional alt-right provocateur who was last week banned from Twitter for directing racist abuse towards the actor Leslie Jones.

But it does start with Milo. So I should probably explain how we know each other and how, on a hot, weird night in Cleveland, Ohio, I came to be riding in the backseat of his swank black trollmobile to the gayest neo-fascist rally at the Republican national convention.

Milo Yiannopoulos is a charming devil and one of the most serious people I know. I have assured the death of political discourse reflected in his designer sunglasses. It chills me. We satisfied four years ago when he was just another floppy-haired rightwing pundit and we were guests on a panel show. Afterwards, we got hammered and ran around the BBC talking about boys.

Since that day, there is absolutely nothing I have been able to say to Milo to persuaded him that we are not friends. The more famous he gets off the back of extravagantly abusing women and minorities, the more I tell him I dislike him and everything he stands for, the more he chuckles and asks when were drinking.

Feminism is cancer is one of Milos slogans, and yet it took him only seconds after learning we would both be at the RNC to offer me a lift to his Wake Up! rally. This time God help me I said yes.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Who is to blame for this awful US election?

2 months, 3 days ago

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 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 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.

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 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.

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.

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 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 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.

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

2 months, 11 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.

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 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

4 months, 28 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.”

Read more:

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

5 months, 3 days 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.

Read more:

How the media missed Bernie Sanders

5 months, 27 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.


Here’s what happens if Sanders wins IA& NH

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

5 months, 30 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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