CNN Panel Laughs When Trump Backer Says No Evidence To Call Him Racist (VIDEO)

CNN Screen capture


A CNN panel failed to maintain composure on Friday when Donald Trump supporter Gina Loudon insisted there was no evidence to back up claims that the Republican nominee has engaged in racist and misogynistic behavior.

“Words matter,” panelist Symone Sanders told Loudon during a discussion on CNN Tonight. “Donald Trump is running for president of the United States, okay? So, his words are extremely important because as president, your words — I mean we can talk about the fact he’s discriminated against African-Americans, Latinos in this country, Muslims –”

“He has when?” Loudon asked.

CNN analyst Bakari Sellers launched into a summary of Trump’s past treatment of black Americans, citing the housing discrimination lawsuits his family was forced to settle for refusing to rent to black tenants and the full-page New York Times Trump took out calling for the wrongfully incarcerated Central Park Five to be executed.

“Donald Trump had nothing do with that!” Loudon said.

“Wait, wait wait,” host Don Lemon cut in. “You said Donald Trump had nothing do for taking out ads on the Central Park Five?”

“Donald Trump himself,” she answered. “It was not Donald Trump himself.”

Lemon later showed Loudon a photograph of the ad, which bore Trump’s signature.

Things really dissolved when Sellers asked Loudon to name senior black staffers advising Trump’s campaign.

“You named Katrina Pierson. I bet you can’t name two,” he challenged.

“I could go on all day,” Loudon replied. “Omorosa. I mean I could go on all day. I’m not going to play into your little tester—”

Lemon and the rest of the four-person panel burst into laughter, and apparently some CNN staffers did as well.

“Stop. Stop it y’all. People in the studio are even laughing,” Lemon said.


Watch the clip below:

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Asks Curt Schilling To Clarify His Remarks About Jews, It Doesn’t Go Well


Schilling: “I’m Apparently An Anti-Semite Now,” “I’m Not Going To Play The Victim Game Because I’m A White Male Christian, Which Apparently Makes Me A Racist”

From the October 21 edition of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews:

CHRIS MATTHEWS (HOST): Let me ask you about you, you had comments a couple hours ago, with Jake Tapper, talking about how the Jewish vote tends to go Democrat, even though the Democratic Party is not as hawkish as the Republican in the middle east — Republican Party is. Do you want to clarify some of that? Because that’s a tricky topic with people, anything to do with ethnicity or gender, I’ll tell you is tricky, very tricky. So, here’s a chance —

CURT SCHILLING: Well, I mean Chris, I’m apparently an anti-semite now, because I had the gall and the audacity to ask someone of the Jewish faith why or how they believe people of the Jewish faith vote Democrat! I mean, god forbid I listen to someone of the faith, rather than the media, who clearly are not biased and don’t have an agenda. I mean, that to me is just common sense.

I don’t want — I don’t need Chris Matthews to tell me why people of Jewish faith vote the way they do, I want to ask someone of the faith. To me, that’s much more relevant. I think that — and I don’t have a problem asking people questions like that, because I’m not trying to be offensive or racist. I’m clearly curious, because I’ve read my history. I understand my history, that, you know, that this country feels so anti-Israel in the last 15 years, more so than at any point in my life and I can’t figure that out.

MATTHEWS: Well, that’s a legitimate debate we’re all going to have. By the way, left, right on Israel, left, right on Bibi Netanyahu is a popular argument anywhere in the country, by the way. Especially in Israel they argue about that stuff, which is a great thing over there.

But the problem is, people will say is, and I’ll say it, you can’t ask a person of a religious faith or a race to speak for that religious group and to ask them to sort of account for it. You ask them to account for it as an individual.

SCHILLING: No, you can. Chris —

MATTHEWS: Go ahead.

SCHILLING: Not true. Liberals do it with Christians all the time. Liberals do it with Christians all the time, and I’m not going to play the victim game because I’m a white male Christian, which apparently makes me a racist to anybody, that as long as — if I don’t speak out in favor of whatever it is they want me to speak out of.





The Indiana secretary of state claimed a voter registration group had forged applications — but there’s no clear evidence that happened.

WASHINGTON ― Earlier this month, just ahead of Indiana’s voter registration deadline, state police executed a search warrant at the office of an organization that had set out to register black voters in a state with the worst voter turnout in the country.

Officers conducted their search on the Indiana Voter Registration Project’s headquarters just a few weeks after Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson sent a letter to state election officials warning that “nefarious actors are operating” in the Hoosier state and asking them to inform authorities if they received any voter registration forms from the group.

The letter from Lawson ― who, when she was a state legislator, co-sponsoredIndiana’s controversial voter ID law ― amounted to “the voter suppression equivalent of an Amber alert,” said Craig Varoga, the president of Patriot Majority USA, a liberal nonprofit group that ran the Indiana Voter Registration Project.

The publicity surrounding the actions taken by Lawson and Indiana’s state police have cast a shadow over the nonprofits, with many stories accusing them of voter fraud.

Varoga said the Oct. 4 police action prevented the group from registering 5,000 to 10,000 additional voters ahead of Indiana’s Oct. 11 voter registration deadline. He’s worried that clerks won’t count some of the 45,000 applications the group had already collected.

So why did state officials take such a dramatic step in interrupting the IVRP’s work just days ahead of the voter registration deadline?

From what we’ve gathered, it’s not because there’s any mass “voter fraud” scheme to steal an election. Instead, it seems the extraordinary investigation is likely to find no more than potential technical violations of obscure regulations for third-party voter registration groups.

DANIEL ACKER/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES | Ballots sit on a table as a precinct worker waits for residents in a polling station during the presidential primary vote in South Bend, Indiana on May 3.

This all seems to have started after a county clerk’s office received 10 potentially problematic forms allegedly submitted by IVRP canvassers. In mid-September, Lawson issued a press release accusing IVRP of turning in “forged voter registration applications,” even though the evidence wasn’t clear that those forms were actually forged.

Lawson’s office and the Indiana State Police insist that their investigations are separate. Valerie Warycha, deputy chief of staff and communications director for Lawson, said the office had no prior knowledge of the police action on Oct. 4.

“At the onset of the state police investigation they told her they were going to conduct an investigation. They will not brief us on the details of their investigation until the end,” Warycha said. She also said that despite Lawson’s talk of “nefarious” actors, she never directly accused the group of voter fraud.

“She never said fraud or accused anyone of fraud ― including the Indiana Voter Registration Project,” Warycha said. “I am not sure why they are so defensive. Have they done something wrong?”

Despite the public shaming from state officials, IVRP was following the law when it turned in the forms ― even if they were fraudulent.

Individuals conducting voter registration drives are required to turn in each and every voter registration application they receive, even those they believe may not be legitimate. Many states have similar protections in place to make sure organizations are not filtering out voters based on their political party. Bill Buck, a spokesman for Patriot Majority USA, said that IVRP canvassers worked with officials and “flagged applications it thought might have omissions or other problems and asked the clerks to examine them as part of their standard review.”

Sounds responsible, right? But here’s where it gets tricky. Indiana law requires that a person who receives a voter registration application they have “reason to believe” is false, fictitious or fraudulent submit the application “with a statement sworn or affirmed to under the penalties for perjury, setting forth the reasons why the person believes the application may be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent.”

That requirement isn’t mentioned in the voter registration drive flyer published on the Indiana secretary of state’s website, but it is mentioned in a voter registration drive guide published by one Indiana county. A state police official said that part of the investigation is looking at whether IVRP canvassers submitted affidavits when they believed an application was fraudulent.

“You’ve got to comply with all aspects of the law ― not just the part of the law that you like,” Capt. David Bursten, a spokesman for the Indiana State Police, said when he pointed The Huffington Post to that statute.

Asked if IVRP had failed to submit affidavits, Bursten said that’s one piece of the investigation. “We would have no reason for doing this investigation unless there were indications that there are potential violations of state law,” he said.

The Indiana State Police said they have more than two dozen officers working on this case. But it doesn’t take too much effort to figure out that IVRP didn’t submit any affidavits.

“To my knowledge, we did not submit any affidavits,” says Buck, the Patriot Majority USA spokesman. “Canvassers did not know with certainty that the information on any forms was false or fraudulent.”

And it gets more complicated. Under the law, the state police don’t seem to have a role in an investigation into a potential fraudulent voter registration form. Instead, it is up to the county election board to investigate before turning any findings over to a prosecutor.

TASOS KATOPODIS/GETTY IMAGES | Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (R) and Indiana Governor Mike Pence (L) take the stage during a campaign rally at Grant Park Event Center in Westfield, Indiana in July. 

What makes a form fraudulent depends on who you ask. To the county officials who initially called in the state police, it was missing or inaccurate information. But IVRP could not determine whether those inaccuracies were an attempt at fraud or simple human error. Lawson, it seems, is now leaning toward the latter.

“It’s very possible that because of heightened activity this year that many of those changes are changes that the individual made,” Lawson told the Associated Press on Thursday, walking back her initial comments. “That should give Indiana voters the comfort that we are vigilant and we are protecting their rights and the elections here are not rigged.”

State Democrats condemned Lawson’s earlier language as “inflammatory” since she claimed thousands of fraudulent applications had been found but did not release an exact number. But Varoga thinks that comments from other Republicansin an IndyStar story caused her to soften her language.

“The only reason she would walk it back is because members of her own party must have told her she was being reckless,” he said.

The idea that police officers could target a voter registration drive aimed at black voters doesn’t look too good for the state. One registration worker told The New Republic that state police were repeatedly trying to get her to say that the voter registration group set quotas for canvassers and paid them per voter registration received, an allegation the group says is simply untrue.

Voter fraud is incredibly rare. In fact, there’s a greater chance of someone getting struck by lightning than of in-person fraud occurring. A 2014 study from Loyola University analyzed 14 years of voting and found 241 fraudulent ballots out of one billion cast, and just 31 that were potential instances of in-person voter fraud.

But claims of voter fraud and demonization of black voter registration drives have been a component of election cycles long before Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump started warning about “rigged” elections.

Doug Carter, the head of the state police, said the investigation will likely go past Election Day. He denied that Gov. Mike Pence (R) ― the man who appointed him to his job and Trump’s running mate ― had any involvement in an investigation that Pence has mentioned on the campaign trail. (Bursten, the police spokesman, told HuffPost that Carter did not make the decision to launch an investigation into IVRP).

“I wish people could know Mike Pence like I do,” Carter, a Republican donor, said.

The Justice Department, which does not typically say whether it has opened up a voting rights investigation into a particular jurisdiction, declined to comment.

Ryan J. Reilly

Sunday Talk: Trumping the Shark



attribution: None


This week, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (such a nasty woman) faced off in their third and final debate, moderated by Fox NewsChris Wallace.

With his poll numbers in decline amid mounting accusations of sexual assault, Trump desperately needed to change the narrative—and, to a certain extent, he succeeded.

When all was said and done, the conversation had shifted from Trump’s sordid historywith women (and young girls) to his horrifying refusal to accept the election’s results.

By the next morning, the only assault that anybody was talking about was the one thatTrump had launched on democracy itself.

Later that day, Trump and Clinton both spoke at a Catholic charity dinner, whereTrump showed that, in addition to lacking a sense of decency, he also lacks a sense of humor.

Though, in all honesty, the joke he told at his wife’s expense was pretty funny.



Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Tim Kaine; Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway; Roundtable: Tom Friedman (New York Times), Republican Strategist Stuart Stevens,Eliana Johnson (National Review) & Yamiche Alcindor (New York Times).

Face The Nation: RNC Chair Reince Priebus; Democratic StrategistDavid Axelrod; Republican “Messaging Guru” Frank Luntz;Roundtable: Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal), Jamelle Bouie(Slate), Jeffrey Goldberg (The Atlantic) & Ed O’Keefe (Washington Post).

This Week: Douchebag Eric Trump; Clinton Campaign Strategist Joel Benenson; Independent Presidential Candidate Evan McMullin; Defense Secretary Ash Carter; Roundtable: “Independent” StrategistMatthew Dowd, Republican Strategist Sara Fagen, Jonah Goldberg(National Review), Democratic Strategist Jamal Simmons & Katrina vanden Heuvel (The Nation).

Fox News Sunday: Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook; Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway; Former House Spaker Newt Gingrich (R); Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA); Roundtable: Republican Strategist Karl Rove, Bob Woodward (Washington Post, Kimberly Strassel (Wall Street Journal) & Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook; Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway; Roundtable: Former South Carolina State Rep. Bakari Sellers (D), Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE); Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) & Radio Talk Show Host Dana Loesch.

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: a report on battleground state Ohio (preview); an interview with financial adviser Jeff Rubin, who lost his NFL player clients tens of millions of dollars (preview); and, an interview with Kim Kardashian (preview); etc.

Late night shows:

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Monday: Actor Tom Hanks; Comedian Adam Conover.

Tuesday: Actor Will Forte; Actor Dermot Mulroney; Comedian Wyatt Cenac; Indie Rock Performer Mitski.

Wednesday: Actor Joel McHale; Actress Abbi Jacobson; Actor Jon Glaser.

Thursday: Actress Mary-Louise Parker; Hip-Hop Artist Pusha T; Rock Band The Record Company.

Friday: Actor Drew Carey; Actress Claire Foy; Actor Matt Smith; Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Monday: Rerun;  Tuesday: Dana Bash (CNN);  Wednesday: John Della Volpe (Harvard Institute of Politics), Singer-Songwriter Phil CollinsThursday: Rapper Jeezy.


A top Kansas state lawmaker heiled the words of Adolf Hitler.

“Great quote from Hitler in the video,” Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, the No. 3 Republican in the Kansas House, posted to her Facebook page Thursday morning. “Please listen to it closely. His words are profound! Let’s start using discernment.”

She said in another Facebook post that her intent was to compare Planned Parenthood, the country’s largest reproductive health provider, to the Nazi leader and that she “was not in any way agreeing with Hitler’s words.”

“The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan,” Hitler said in the quotation.

In one of her social media posts, Mast wrote: “To clarify the intent of my previous post: Planned Parenthood has learned well the same tactics and deception used by Hitler regarding innocent lives. … I was making a connection between the ideology he used and the arguments made by Planned Parenthood.”

You know who else was impressed with Hitler?

Donald Trump.

During his 2000 consideration of a presidential run, Donald Trump once took a reportedly pretty surreal visit to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

Dana Milbank, then a reporter for the New Republic, followed Trump as he was exploring entering the 2000 presidential race on the Reform Party ticket. As part of a trip to California, Trump toured the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Holocaust remembrance museum named after the famed Nazi hunter.

As Trump visited exhibits dedicated to Bosnia, Rwanda, and the Holocaust, he “seemed detached, focusing his attention on the presentation rather than the content,” Milbank wrote.

At the end of the stop, Trump compared the “racist” views of his Reform Party rival Pat Buchanan to Hitler. “But even here Trump sounded like a developer,” Milbank commented. “He marveled that Hitler came to power ‘so brilliantly.'”


Stephen Baldwin—the Malik Obama of the famous acting family—is not so impressed with his brother Alec’s Trump impersonation.

Stephen Baldwin would like to build a wall around television sets when his brother is portraying Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”

The evangelical Christian actor attended Wednesday night’s debate in Las Vegas as a guest of the Republican presidential candidate — and Trump Ice water is apparently thicker than blood.

“Well he’s got the voice down very well,” Stephen told CBS News of his brother’s impression. “(But) I think it’s getting a little nasty right now.”

“What do I think of Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of Donald Trump on SNL and everything they’re doing, I don’t want to be a party pooper here, but I don’t think it’s very funny.”

Live from Daily Kos, it’s Sunday Talk!

– Trix

Will Trump Resurrect a Violent South?



Hate groups are on the rise. Klan membership is increasing astronomically. In Trumped-up America, are we marching back to Bloody Sunday and Bombingham?

As police shootings of blacks continue, as anti-Muslim speech and violence intensifies, and as Donald Trump surfs a wave of Alt-Right bigotry toward the White House, I can’t help flashing back to the Alabama of my childhood, half a century ago. I grew up in a small town during the heyday of George Wallace and the turbulence of the Civil Rights movement, when wholesale hatred and violence from angry whites were directed against African Americans seeking equality.

I was seven in May 1963, when the police chief in Birmingham turned fire hoses and police dogs loose on Civil Rights protesters. I was still seven in September, when four KKK members planted a bomb beneath the steps ofBirmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, which had played an active role in the movement. The bundle of dynamite—15 sticks say some accounts, 19 say others—went off shortly before the worship service was scheduled to start, killing four girls and injuring more than 20 other people. It was the city’s deadliest bombing, but far from the first: previously some 50 racially motivated explosions had already earned Birmingham the nickname “Bombingham.”

I was nine in March 1965, when state troopers and a mounted sheriff’s posse blocked a march by peaceful protesters in Selma. After a brief standoff, the police attacked the marchers, firing tear gas and clubbing people with wooden nightsticks. At the time, I was too young and too sheltered—I lived in a quiet town of 6,500—to grasp the ferocity of the bigotry and violence.

By the time I was in seventh grade, my school had integrated. One of my basketball teammates was a black boy named Earl—“Earl the Pearl”—who, confounding stereotypes, played as badly as I did. Earl sometimes stopped by my house after school to shoot hoops, but we both remained benchwarmers, sitting side by side: equals, judged not by the color of our skin but by the lameness of our game. Dr. King’s dream had come true, at least in a third-string sort of way.

In high school I got religion and felt called to the ministry; at 16, I landed an appointment as a Methodist lay pastor, preaching the gospel twice a month at a one-room country church whose dead, their graves adorned with dusty plastic flowers, far outnumbered the living. One day early in my appointment, I passed a hand-lettered sign beside the road, less than a mile from my church: Klan Meeting Tonight. I was astonished; I’d imagined the Klan was over and done with. I was also baffled. Who would go to a Klan meeting in this sleepy crossroads? Would Etta Mae, the church’s fifty-something pianist? Her husband, Bob, whom I never saw on Sundays because he had his own pulpit, in a fire-and-brimstone Primitive Baptist church? The handful of quiet farmers and highway-department workers scattered among my pews?

Being young and new and unsure of myself, I didn’t ask about the sign, I’m sorry to say. Over the course of my pastorate—which ended two years later, when I went off to college and lost my theological certainty—I never saw the sign again.

I remember it, though—more often than ever now, against the backdrop of Ferguson and Black Lives Matter and White Lives Matter and Charleston and a sickening rise in hate groups and Klan groups. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose Intelligence Project tracks extremists of all stripes, the number of U.S. hate groups rose last year to more than 1,600—a 14 percent increase in just one year. More alarmingly, says the SPLC, the number of Klan chapters rose by more than 250 percent in 2015, to a total of nearly 200.

Last fall came the mass shootings in San Bernardino and Paris, which killed dozens of people in the name of radical Islam. Those tragedies were followed by a fierce anti-Muslim backlash. Donald Trump vowed to ban Muslim immigration and called for a “national registry” of Muslims already in the country. Trump’s Muslim-bashing was mirrored by (perhaps partly responsible for) a continuing surge of anti-Muslim violence, including incidents of vandalism and arson at mosques, widespread harassment, and violent assaults—beatings and murders—of innocent Muslims.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sympathizing with radicalized terrorists who kill in the name of Allah. Their actions sicken and grieve me, just as “Christian Identity” violence—shootings and bombings at abortion clinics, or calls for the killing of every Jew in America—sickens and grieves me. Murder gives God—any God—a bad rap. You don’t have to be a former preacher boy to realize that.

I no longer live in Alabama; now I’m next door in Georgia, in the music-making, tatted-up town of Athens, home of the University of Georgia. I love it here. And yet: Two weeks after the Charleston church shootings—and less than an hour after my wife and I first arrived in Athens—a shiny crew-cab pickup rumbled past us, cruising the street that doubles as the university’s fraternity row. Two big Confederate battle flags streamed behind it, waved by jeering young white men, and my wife—a newly hired professor of social work and human rights—stopped dead, turned to me, and wept tears of sadness and fury.

Last month, in Covington, Georgia, a Muslim group’s plan to build a mosque was thrown into doubt when a militia group staged a protest at the proposed site. Some of the militia members wore fatigues and carried assault rifles. Their spokesman called the local Muslims “a future ISIS training group.”

It’s not very far to Covington from Athens. Truth is, these days it’s not very far to Covington from anywhere in Georgia. Or Alabama. Or America. The back roads of bigotry and dark alleys of violence could quickly take us all to Covington. From there, it’s only a hop, skip, and a rope back to Bloody Sunday and Bombingham and Klan Meeting Tonight.

Jon Jefferson is a crime novelist in Athens, Georgia.

Jon Jefferson

Tom Hanks Gives Nervous America The Pre-Election Pep Talk It Needs On ‘SNL’


“America’s Dad” had a heart-to-heart with the nation.

Tom Hanks is here, and everything is going to be alright.

America’s Dad” sat down with the nation for a quiet pre-election pep talk on “Saturday Night Live.”

America is feeling a little nervous these days,” said the Hollywood legend. “And I’m a responsible father, so I thought maybe it’s time we had a little chat.”

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The “Inferno” star acknowledged that the U.S. had endured a “rough year” and felt “anxious and conflicted” and “scared” about “what’s gonna happen next.”

But “you’re gonna be fine,” Hanks reassured the country.

“All I came in here to say is you are great,” he said, before trying to boost morale by reeling off a list of the nation’s accomplishments.

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In reference to the upcoming election, he said he knew America will “make the right choice” ― as long as it thinks with its hearts and minds “and not so much down there.”

Hanks ended the heart-to-heart by urging the country to pick itself up, dust itself off “and go show the world what else you can stuff inside a pizza crust.”

Lee Moran

10 things you need to know today: October 22, 2016

Justin Merriman/Getty Images


1. Trump to pitch first 100 days of presidency
Republican Donald Trump will give a major speech in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Saturday morning to lay out his plans for his first 100 days in office if elected president. An advance copy of the speech was not released, but campaign staff said it would be a “very specific, detailed vision” for “economic and physical security.” One Trump aide compared the speech to the 1994 GOP “Contract with America,” and another said rival Hillary Clinton could not make a similar presentation because she “doesn’t have a governing vision for America because she has no vision.” Also on Saturday, the 11th woman to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct is expected to come forward.

Source: Reuters, The Hill

2. WikiLeaks says its supporters are responsible for huge Friday cyberattack
WikiLeaks said its supporters are responsible for the massive cyberattack Friday which took down numerous major websites, including The New York Times, Twitter, Etsy, Tumblr, and more. “Mr. Assange is still alive and WikiLeaks is still publishing,” the organization wrote in a tweet Friday afternoon. “We ask supporters to stop taking down the US internet. You proved your point.” Hacktivist groups Anonymous and New World confirmed the tweet’s implications, saying they orchestrated the attack as retaliation for the Ecuadorian government’s decision to take away internet access from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange following his site’s ongoing release of emails hacked from the Hillary Clinton campaign. The attack took affected pages down for at least two hours Friday morning and sporadically throughout the afternoon. The outages appear to stem from a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack against Dyn, an internet provider company based in New Hampshire.

Source: Politico, The Week

3. Clinton campaign staff evacuate over harmless white powder
Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters were partially evacuated Friday night after a mailed envelope containing a mysterious white powder was discovered. New York City law enforcement investigated the substance and determined it was not hazardous, though its exact nature has not been released. None of the four campaign staffers who had contact with the powder have reported any symptoms of illness. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, similar envelopes of white powder mailed to multiple locations around the United Stateswere found to contain spores of anthrax, a potentially deadly bacteria.

Source: Associated Press, Reuters

4. ISIS kills 284 men and boys in Mosul as Iraqi, U.S. troops approach
Islamic State militants rounded up and murdered 284 men and boys on Thursday and Friday in Mosul, Iraq, an intelligence source told CNN, as Iraqi and American forces continue to make their approach to retake the town. Mosul is the last major city ISIS controls in Iraq, and those killed in this mass slaughter were previously used as human shields by ISIS terrorists attempting to retain territory in the area. CNN’s source says all the victims were shot and buried in a mass grave at a former university.

Source: CNN

5. Defense Secretary Ash Carter makes surprise trip to Iraq
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made an unannounced visit to Iraq Saturday to monitor progress in the joint U.S.-Iraqi attempt torecapture Mosul from the Islamic State. Carter’s visit marked the sixth day of the Mosul campaign and coincided with Iraqi forces successfully reclaiming a village outside Mosul that is predominantly populated by Iraq’s persecuted Christian minority. The village was under ISIS control since 2014. Carter will meet with Iraqi officials during his trip and assess the situation in Mosul.

Source: NBC News, Reuters

6. Facebook declines to censor Trump content, will reduce censorship more broadly
Donald Trump’s posts on Facebook were flagged by users as hate speech, employees told The Wall Street Journal in an article publishedFriday, and some Facebook employees wanted the Republican candidate’s posts pulled from the site. CEO Mark Zuckerberg ultimately ruled against their removal, saying it would send the wrong message to censor a presidential candidate. Also on Friday, the social networking giant announced it would loosen censorship rules when the content in question is adequately newsworthy. “In the weeks ahead, we’re going to begin allowing more items that people find newsworthy, significant, or important to the public interest,” said a statement from two Facebook vice presidents, “even if they might otherwise violate our standards” for graphic or offensive content.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch

7. Trump blames Michelle Obama for Clinton infidelity attacks
While campaigning Friday in Fletcher, North Carolina, Donald Trump justified his attacks on Hillary Clinton’s handling of her husband’s infidelities by claiming first lady Michelle Obama leveled them first. “Wasn’t [Obama] the one that originally started the statement, if you can’t take care of your home … you can’t take care of the White House or the country?” Trump asked — but he failed to note that the full context of Obama’s 2007 remarks indicates she was talking about balancing childcare with presidential obligations.

Source: The Washington Post, The Hill

8. No discipline for Minneapolis cops involved in fatal shooting of Jamar Clark
The two Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officers responsible for the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark followed proper procedure and will not face disciplinary action, the Minneapolis police department chief saidFriday. An internal investigation ruled the officers were in the right when they used deadly force against the 24-year-old black man this past November. The circumstances of Clark’s death were much debated and the subject of Black Lives Matter protests last fall. The officers were attempting to arrest Clark for interfering with paramedics’ treatment of a woman, at which point one of the cops says Clark attempted to take and use his gun, provoking the officers’ escalation as a means of self defense.

Source: Associated Press

9. Former Christie aide testifies bridge closure was proposed as ‘traffic study’
Bridget Anne Kelly, the former aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) who sent the infamous “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email at the center of Christie’s Bridgegate scandal, took the standFriday in the federal trial surrounding the 2013 incident. In her testimony, Kelly claimed the proposal to close access lanes to the bridge was presented to her as a “traffic study.” The governor’s staff is accused of closing the lanes as political retaliation against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich (D), who declined to endorse Christie in his re-election race. Kelly is on trial with Bill Baroni, another former Port Authority official, and each faces conspiracy and fraud charges.

Source: NBC News,

10. New York enacts Airbnb restrictions with fines up to $7,500
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday signed a law authorizing tough new restrictions on Airbnb, the popular peer-to-peer rental service. Advocates of the measure say Airbnb hurts the hotel industry and reduces affordable housing stock in places like New York City. Opponents argue hotels have wrangled special state protection from fair market competition, and New Yorkers should be allowed to rent their homes as they please. The bill comes with fines up to $7,500, though it will be difficult to enforce. Short-term rentals will still be permitted if the resident is present, meaning Airbnb listings can offer a room but not an entire house or apartment.

Source: The Washington Post

The politics of having a Putin ‘puppet’ as president

A child walks past a graffiti depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the walls of a bar in the old town in Vilnius, Lithuania, May 14, 2016. (Photo by Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the walls of a bar in the old town in Vilnius, Lithuania, May 14, 2016 | Photo by Mindaugas Kulbis/AP


At a certain level, Donald Trump must realize that his spirited defenses of Russian President Vladimir Putin do his campaign no favors – but the Republican nominee just can’t seem to help himself.

Earlier this week, Trump said he’d like to incorporate the Russian autocrat into his post-election presidential transition process, effectively rewarding Putin for suspected criminal efforts surrounding intervention in the American election. Last night, Trump read from the same script, pretending Russia may have had nothing to do with the recent email hacks – ignoring his own intelligence briefings that told him the opposite – and raving about Putin “outsmarting” U.S. leaders.

Trump also referred to the START arms agreement as “the start up,” and proceeded to get every relevant detail of the policy wrong.

The result was a stunning exchange, starting with Hillary Clinton’s explanation that Putin would “rather have a puppet as president of the United States.”

TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.

CLINTON: And it’s pretty clear…

TRUMP: You’re the puppet!

CLINTON: It’s pretty clear you won’t admit…

TRUMP: No, you’re the puppet.

Yes, Americans were treated to a debate in which one of the candidates effectively rolled out the “I know you are but what am I” defense when discussing foreign policy.

Substantively, it was worse than the transcript suggests. In practical terms, Trump defended Putin, made excuses for Putin, rejected evidence of wrongdoing implicating Putin, praised Putin, and then said Clinton is actually “the puppet” for the Russian government.

I’m sure someone, somewhere, will make the case that Trump’s posture was coherent, but I’m less sure how they’ll do so with a straight face.

10 things you need to know today: October 21, 2016

Spencer Platt/Getty Images


1. Clinton and Trump tease one another at charity dinner
Fresh off a tense debate, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump met againThursday night for the Al Smith charity dinner in New York, which raised $6 million for Catholic children’s charities. Trump spoke first, ribbing Clinton by saying the event was her first time speaking to corporate leaders “and not getting paid.” He later drew boos for saying Clinton was corrupt, and “pretending not to hate Catholics” at the event. Clinton stuck closer to the dinner’s traditional lightheartedness, poking fun at herself: “I took a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here.” She later tweaked Trump for claiming the election was “rigged” and refusing to promise to accept the result, saying she was surprised he agreed for her to speak after him because she “didn’t think he’d be O.K. with a peaceful transition of power.”

Source: The New York Times

2. Bomb kills soldier in first U.S. combat death in Mosul fight
A U.S. service member was killed by a roadside bomb in northern Iraqon Thursday in the first American combat death in the Iraqi offensive aiming to drive the Islamic State out of the country’s second largest city, Mosul. The improvised explosive device blew up as some of the 100-plus American advisors in the area accompanied local forces advancing toward Mosul. About 100 miles away, ISIS militants armed with assault rifles and explosives attacked police buildings, a power plant, and a government compound in the city of Kirkuk early Friday, in what was interpreted as an attempt to divert Iraqi security forces from the massive Mosul offensive.

Source: Foreign Policy, The Associated Press

3. Trump promises to accept election result… if he wins
Donald Trump said Thursday that he would “totally accept” the result of the Nov. 8 presidential election, “if I win.” The Republican nominee, who has repeatedly said the election is being rigged at polling places and in the media in favor of Democrat Hillary Clinton, faced harsh criticism for refusing to pledge that he would accept the result during the third and final presidential debate. Critics said Trump was raising unprecedented doubts about the integrity of American democracy. After raising concerns about voter fraud, Trump said he reserved the right to contest a questionable vote tally, as Al Gore did in 2000, but would abide by “a clear election result.”

Source: CNN

4. 10th woman accuses Trump of inappropriate comments, touching
Yoga teacher Karena Virginia said Thursday that Donald Trumpsexually harassed and groped her at the 1998 U.S. Open. She is the tenth woman to make such accusations against the Republican presidential nominee. Appearing in a news conference with lawyer Gloria Allred, Virginia said Trump, whom she had never met, eyed her and said, “Look at those legs.” Virginia accused Trump of then grabbing her breast and asking, “Don’t you know who I am?” Allred, who represented several women who accused comedian Bill Cosby of abuse, last week hosted a press conference with a former Apprentice contestant who also accused Trump of unwanted sexual advances.

Source: CBS News

5. Ex-contractor charged with massive theft of NSA secrets
Federal prosecutors in Baltimore said Thursday that they would charge former National Security Agency contractor Harold T. Martin III with stealing “an astonishing quantity” of classified data over 20 years. U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein and two other prosecutors said Martin is accused of the theft of at least 50 terabytes of data and “six full banker’s boxes worth of documents” in what could be the largest theft of government secrets in U.S. history. The 12-page government memo said Martin also allegedly took dozens of computers, thumb drives, and other storage devices, along with government employees’ personal information.

Source: The Washington Post

6. Philippine president says ‘goodbye’ U.S., hello China
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took a first step toward restoring ties with China on Thursday, meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to resume direct talks on disputes in the South China Sea after years of rising tensions over the issue. The visit came a day after Duterte declared it was “time to say goodbye” to the U.S. Though no major deals were made, Xi and Duterte reportedly signed 13 agreements and also agreed to talk further about territorial disputes. The U.S. is watching the budding relationship warily, as the Philippines has long been a key ally in the region.

Source: The Washington Post, The New York Times

7. Trump national political director to ‘step back’ from campaign
Donald Trump’s national political director, Jim Murphy, said Thursdaythat he had decided to “take a step back from the campaign” for personal reasons. Murphy said in a statement to Politico that he was not resigning but assuming a lesser role. The announcement came with just 19 days to go before Election Day, after Trump lost ground to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in polls. Murphy is a longtime GOP operative who joined the Trump campaign in June, and has been establishing field programs in battleground states, in several of which Trump has been losing ground.

Source: Politico

8. South Africa withdrawing from war-crimes court
South Africa has formally begun the process of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, the country’s justice minister, Michael Masutha, said Friday. South Africa has notified the United Nations of the decision. The Rome Statute under which the ICC was set up calls for arresting heads of state if necessary, but South Africa says that would amount to “regime change” and conflict with South African law giving heads of state diplomatic immunity. South Africa last year ignored a warrant to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg, on ICC genocide and war crimes charges. Bashir denies committing atrocities in his country’s Darfur region.

Source: BBC News, Reuters

9. Cybersecurity firm confirms Russian hackers accessed Podesta emails
Independent cybersecurity firm SecureWorks confirmed Thursday that Russian hackers broke into Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account after he fell for a phishing scam involving an alarming email purportedly coming from Google. As first reported byMotherboard, Podesta allegedly clicked on a Bitly link that sent him to a fake Google page, where he entered his login credentials. SecureWorks determined Podesta was likely hacked by the same group, known as Fancy Bear, that is thought to be behind the recent breaches of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Fancy Bear is believed to be connected to Russia’s military intelligence agency.

Source: Politico, Motherboard

10. L.A. Sparks beat Minnesota Lynx to win WNBA title
The Los Angeles Sparks defeated the defending champions, the Minnesota Lynx, 77-76 on Thursday night to win the WNBA championship. The Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike, the league’s most valuable player, grabbed an offensive rebound and put in a short jumper with 3.1 seconds left, giving her team the victory, and its first championship in 14 years. Candace Parker led the Sparks with 28 points and 12 rebounds, and was named the finals’ most valuable player.

Source: The Associated Press

Hillary Clinton’s 3 debate performances left the Trump campaign in ruins


The third and final presidential debate has ended, and it can now be said: Hillary Clinton crushed Donald Trump in the most effective series of debate performances in modern political history.

The polling tells the story. As Nate Silver notes, on the eve of the first presidential debate, Clinton led by 1.5 points. Before the second, she was up by 5.6 points. Before the third, she was winning by 7.1 points. And now, writing after the third debate — a debate in which Trump said he would keep the nation “in suspense” about whether there would be a peaceful transition of power, bragged about not apologizing to his wife, and called Clinton “such a nasty woman” — it’s clear that Trump did himself no favors. Early polls also suggest Clinton won.

And it’s not just the presidential race. Betting markets now predict Democrats will win the Senate. Polls have started showing Democrats in striking distance of the House. The GOP has collapsed into a mid-election civil war, with the party’s presidential nominee openly battling the speaker of the House.

This is not normal. As Andrew Prokop concluded in his review of the political science evidence around presidential debates, “There’s little historical evidence that they’ve ever swung polls by more than a few percentage points.” In this case, they did. And it’s because Clinton executed a risky strategy flawlessly.

The dominant narrative of this election goes something like this. Hillary Clinton is a weak candidate who is winning because she is facing a yet weaker candidate. Her unfavorables are high, her vulnerabilities are obvious, and if she were running against a Marco Rubio or a Paul Ryan, she would be getting crushed. Lucky for her, she’s running against a hot orange mess with higher unfavorables, clearer vulnerabilities, and a tape where he brags about grabbing women “by the pussy.”

There’s truth to this narrative, but it also reflects our tendency to underestimate Clinton’s political effectiveness. Trump’s meltdown wasn’t an accident. The Clinton campaign coolly analyzed his weaknesses and then sprung trap after trap to take advantage of them.

Clinton’s successful execution of this strategy has been, fittingly, the product of traits that she’s often criticized for: her caution, her overpreparation, her blandness. And her particular ability to goad Trump and blunt the effectiveness of his political style has been inextricable from her gender. The result has been a political achievement of awesome dimensions, but one that Clinton gets scarce credit for because it looks like something Trump is doing, rather than something she is doing — which is, of course, the point.

It began in the first debate. “Donald,” she kept saying. No one quite knows why Trump so loathes the sound of his first name, but he does. He quickly tried to shame Clinton into showing him more respect. “Secretary Clinton — yes, is that okay?” he said, after she once again called him Donald. “Good. I want you to be very happy. It’s very important to me.”

Clinton’s next answer: “In fact, Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis…”

Each debate has followed the same pattern. Trump begins calm, but as Clinton needles him, he falls apart, gets angrier, launches bizarre personal attacks, offers rambling justifications for his own behavior, and loses the thread of whatever question was actually asked of him.

Clinton, meanwhile, crisply summarizes the binders full of policy information she absorbed before the debate. The gap in preparation, knowledge, and basic competence has been evident in every contest, and it’s led to polls showing that even voters who loathe Clinton recognize she’s far more qualified and capable than Trump. Nor does Clinton make mistakes — she’s often criticized for being careful and bland in her answers, but here it’s helped her, as she’s never taken the headlines away from Trump’s own gaffes.

But Trump’s true meltdown was triggered in a specific moment at the end of the first debate.

HOLT: We are at — we are at the final question.

CLINTON: Well, one thing. One thing, Lester.

HOLT: Very quickly, because we’re at the final question now.

CLINTON: You know, he tried to switch from looks to stamina. But this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs, and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said…

TRUMP: I never said that.

CLINTON: …women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.

TRUMP: I didn’t say that.

CLINTON: And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman “Miss Piggy.” Then he called her “Miss Housekeeping,” because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.

TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this?

CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado.

TRUMP: Where did you find this?

CLINTON: And she has become a US citizen, and you can bet…

TRUMP: Oh, really?

CLINTON: …she’s going to vote this November.

This was the beginning of Trump’s collapse. He would spend the next few days litigating and relitigating his humiliation of Machado. He took to Twitter in the middle of the night to tell Americans to watch a sex tape of Machado that didn’t exist.

The moment set in motion all that came next. It set off the explosive debate about the language Trump uses to talk about women. It was the context for the leaked audio of Trump from 2005. It’s what led Trump to go full Breitbart and try to turn the second debate into a referendum on Bill Clinton’s sexual past — a strategy that top Republicans had warned him against, and that widened the gap between the GOP and its presidential nominee.

Clinton was able to make Trump’s treatment of women the issue in part because she and her campaign had prepared to make Trump’s treatment of women the issue, and in part because she is a woman and her assault on Trump flummoxed his usual mode of defense, which is to dominate and insult the other men on the stage. By the end of the final debate, Trump was reduce to spitting that Clinton was “such a nasty woman,” a line that spoke to both his horror at being challenged by a woman and his complete inability to control what came out of his mouth after 80 minutes on a stage with Clinton.

Two things have been true throughout the debates. One is that Trump has been, at every turn, underprepared, undisciplined, and operating completely without a strategy. In one of the third debate’s most unintentionally revealing moments, Trump said, “I sat in my apartment today … watching ad after false ad, all paid for by your friends on Wall Street,” an inadvertent admission that he was inhaling cable news when he should have been prepping for the debate.

But the other reality is that Clinton has been, at every turn, prepared, disciplined, and coldly strategic. She triggered Trump’s epic meltdown purposely, and kept Trump off balance over multiple weeks that probably represented his last chance to turn the election around. She was ready for every question, prepared for every attack, and managed to goad Trump into making mistakes that became the main story the day after every single debate.

It is easy, now, to assume her victory was assured, to read Trump’s collapse as inevitable. But remember that he triumphed over a talented, 17-person Republican field in debate after debate to win the primary — one-on-one contests are unique, it’s true, but there was no particular reason to think Trump couldn’t use his bullying, blustering showmanship to take over the stage and expose Clinton as inauthentic and out of touch. The reason he didn’t is because she never let him.

We aren’t used to this kind of victory. We aren’t used to candidates winning not so much because of how they performed but because of how they pushed their opponent into performing. But the fact that we aren’t used to this kind of victory doesn’t make it any less impressive. Hillary Clinton has humbled Donald Trump, and she did it her way.