The Virtual Pub Is Open + Programming Note

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The I'm With Her Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

I've got a friend coming to visit for the next little while, so I will be taking the rest of this week and next week off. Plus, to be perfectly frank, I'm just burned out from blazing the candle at both ends for the past few months, and I need a bit of a break before we head into the final stretch of this election.

I will still be writing for BNR, however, and I'll no doubt be active on Twitter, so you'll be able get a faceful of my contempt whenever you need a dose!

As always, if there are any major news stories, one of us will be sure to put up a thread here.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Aretha Franklin: "Sparkle"

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by summer showers.

Recommended Reading:

Jamil: [Content Note: Racism; voter intimidation] The Un-American Activities of Donald Trump

William: [CN: Sexual assault; apologia] Why We Won't Be Reviewing The Birth of a Nation Upon Its Release

Nikki: [CN: Sexual assault; apologia] Kurt Metzger Needs to Shut Up

(Relatedly: "Define 'recent.'")

Christienna: [CN: Racism] It's Time to Address the Persistent Stereotype That 'Black People Can't Swim'

Zheping: China's Olympic Darling Taught Her Country Swimming on Your Period Is Safe—and There's No Shame in It

Sonja: [CN: Animal endangerment] What Can Be Done to Protect the Incredibly Long-Lived Greenland Shark?

Sam: [CN: Antifeminism] Scottish Crime Writer Shuts Down Sexist Troll

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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Let's just spend the rest of the day watching this video of a reporter asking Hillary Clinton about Donald Trump's conspiracy theories about her health and Hillary responding with the MOST AMAZING contemptuous laughter.

Sometimes I just actually love her. I really do.

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Photo of the Day

image of a little white girl at a Clinton rally, holding up a handmade sign with the Hillary logo and text reading: 'I too can be president.'
[Photo: Michael Davidson for Hillary for America.]

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Wildfire; displacement; video may autoplay at link] Awful: "California's newest huge wildfire advanced on thousands of homes Wednesday, feeding on drought-stricken vegetation and destroying an untold number of structures as it expanded to nearly 47 square miles. CBS Los Angeles reports the fire sweeping San Bernardino County is zero percent contained. Flames from what has been dubbed the Blue Cut Fire climbed the flanks of the San Gabriel Mountains toward the town of Wrightwood, where authorities said that only half of the community's 4,500 residents have complied with evacuation orders. Officials estimated that more than 34,000 homes and some 82,000 people were under evacuation warnings."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Goddamn, Mikhail Baryshnikov's endorsement of Hillary Clinton is incredibly powerful.

[CN: White nationalism] More on Trump mainstreaming white nationalism: "In a major foreign policy speech on Monday, which offered few details and many inaccuracies, GOP nominee Donald Trump attacked his Democratic opponent's stance on immigration and refugees by comparing her to the chancellor of Germany. 'Hillary Clinton wants to be America's Angela Merkel,' he said. ...The line of attack 'baffled' political analysts, who wondered why Trump would possibly think referencing a largely-unknown European leader Merkel would help him win votes in the United States. ...But there is at least one group of Americans well familiar with Merkel, her immigration policies, and her connections to Hillary Clinton: white supremacists. To white nationalist communities that fervently support Trump, Merkel has been a popular villain."

Unreal: "The big health care news this week came from Aetna, which announced on Monday it was dramatically scaling back participation in the Affordable Care Act―thereby reducing insurer competition and forcing customers scattered across 11 states to find different sources of coverage next year. Aetna officials said the pullout was necessary because of Obamacare's problems―specifically, deep losses the insurer was incurring in the law's health insurance exchanges." BUT! "Last month, in a letter to the Department of Justice, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini...made a clear threat: If President Barack Obama's administration refused to allow [Aetna's potentially lucrative merger with Humana] to proceed, he wrote, Aetna would be in worse financial position and would have to withdraw from most of its Obamacare markets, and quite likely all of them."

[CN: Racism] Whut. "Donald Trump offered a blunt explanation for why he wants retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn at his side as he gets his first classified briefing at FBI headquarters on Wednesday—he doesn't trust intelligence information coming from those currently in charge. 'I think he's a great guy. I've gotten to know him. He's been a real fan of mine and defender of mine and he's a terrific guy, a terrific general—tough, smart. Feels like I do about illegal immigration, in particular,' Trump told Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. 'He wants to make sure the right people are coming into our country, not the people that we're probably taking in right now. We don't even know who we're taking in. I mean, we have people coming into our country, we have no idea who they are, where they come from and he's somebody that I believe in.'" That literally doesn't make any fucking sense at all. It has nothing to do with why he wants Flynn "at his side" for an intelligence briefing.

[CN: Carcerality; abuse; misogyny; racism] "Women held in local jails represent the fastest growing population of incarcerated people in the US, according to a new study. The researchers found that trauma, sexual violence, and mental health issues were all closely wrapped up with the swelling numbers. 'While we started to see a decline in the incarceration and jailing of men, we haven't seen a comparable kind of trend for women,' said Laurie Garduque, director of Justice Reform for the MacArthur Foundation, which co-published the report with the Vera Institute. Since 1970, the number of women in US jails has increased by 14 times, far outstripping the growth in the male prison population, even though in raw numbers there remain many more men locked up."

At Colorlines: "Does Team USA's Olympic dominance surprise anybody anymore? Do the pivotal contributions and wins for athletes of color shock anyone? No? Then let's jump into the latest edition of Rio 2016's #POCMedalWatch." Woot!


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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat curled up on the back of the couch, looking very snuggly and cute
Sophie Snugglebuns.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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"Make America Great Again"

[Content Note: White nationalism.]

On Monday, I linked my BNR colleague Peter Daou's series in which he laid out a compelling—and chilling—theory explaining Donald Trump's bizarre presidential campaign as explicitly fomenting a white nationalist awakening, with the presidency itself almost beside the point.

Last night, on Twitter, I laid out (again) the case for how Trump has emerged as the Pokémon final form of the decades-old Republican strategy of exploiting bigotry and eschewing accountability.

This morning, the Washington Post confirmed Peter's theory, with the announcement that Trump had hired Breitbart executive chair Stephen Bannon as his campaign's new chief executive. Under Bannon's leadership, Breitbart has effectively become the media arm of the alt-right.

At BNR, we detail how the extreme right seizing control of the Republican Party at this particular moment in history is no coincidence:

Trump's entry into the political sphere was as a town crier of birtherism against President Obama. His opening salvo when he announced his candidacy was declaring undocumented Mexican immigrants to be rapists, who should be contained behind a border wall. And he careened at full speed through the last year and a half with a hideous litany delivered under the dog whistle "Make America Great Again."
His Alex Jones-style conspiracy-mongering; his meticulously crafted words of incitement and exhortations to violence; his attacks on a federal judge; his description of President Obama as a terrorist (the "founder of ISIS"); his birtherism; his retweets of neo-Nazis; his eliminationist language toward Hillary Clinton; his fierce misogyny and indifference to sexual harassment; his feud with the Khan family; his Muslim ban; his use of anti-Semitic symbols; his embrace of torture; his capriciousness about the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons; his praise for dictators; his flirtations with Putin; his welcoming of Russian cyber-espionage; his undiluted xenophobia; his racist dog whistles ("look at my African-American"); his infamous border wall and relentless anti-Mexican bigotry; his claims of a "rigged" election; his unconcealed calls for voter intimidation; his refusal to disavow ties to white supremacists.
And now comes his hiring of Bannon, overseer of an incubator of white nationalist extremism.

It is no coincidence that white nationalism is going mainstream, ushered to new visibility and prominence by the Republican Party nominee, in this moment.

We sit at a historical pivot point – at the end of the presidency of our nation's first Black president and on the precipice of the likely presidency of our nation's first woman president. White nationalism is about maintaining white supremacy; it is also, and equally, about maintaining male supremacy. The patriarchy and white power have always coexisted, reinforcing each other in a recursive loop to uphold the dominance of white men in America.

The Republican Party has spent decades mastering the exploitation of fear and bigotry, while pretending they weren't. They winked at white nationalists, even as they publicly disavowed them – and now those restless chickens are coming home to roost.

Trump is not an anomaly; he was an inevitability.
There is much, much more at the link.

I wish I had better news to deliver to you. But this is the grim reality, and the worst thing we can do is look away.

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Behold Your Roosting Chickens, Part Wev

[Content Note: Bigotry.]

Meanwhile, this morning it was announced that Trump "shook up" his campaign by installing Stephen Bannon, who runs Breitbart News, as his campaign's new chief executive.

Bannon has overseen the confluence of Breitbart becoming an aggressively pro-Trump outlet and becoming an unapologetically white nationalist space, which endeavors to display every day, in all its hideous grotesquery, how the inextricable systems of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, disablism, and queerphobia undergird white nationalism.

And now he's running Trump's campaign.
"Buckle up," wrote a Trump strategist in a text message Wednesday to The Washington Post.

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On the Proposed HUD Regulations on Transgender Inclusion at Homeless Shelters

[Content Note: Transphobia.]

In September, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will reportedly finalize and issue new guidelines to shelters that receive federal funding, requiring them to provide space to transgender people seeking short-term housing, essentially bringing shelter regulations in line with the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits denial of housing on the basis of race, religion, or gender.

Under the new rules, shelters would not be allowed to turn away transgender women from a women's shelter, which is critically important: Transgender women of color, in particular, are at higher risk for both homelessness and abuse. The National Center for Transgender Equality found [pdf] that trans and gender non-conforming people have a rate of homelessness (2 percent) almost twice the rate of the general population, and that 19 percent of trans or gender-nonconforming people had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. Further, 29 percent of those seeking refuge at a homeless shelter were turned away.

HUD's proposed guideline is critically important. And yet, if you read about it, you are likely to do so under headlines like: "Transgender rules for homeless shelters spark firestorm," over articles that reflexively include deeply transphobic narratives that have become familiar talking points of anti-trans conservatives.

The Hill, whose headline is above, quotes Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, which has a profoundly anti-trans agenda, calling trans people "sexually confused," which is just flatly incorrect; conflating being trans with saying you're a different race, which is also flatly incorrect; and whining: "No one is in favor of beating up transgender people, but why do you have to force other people to feel really uncomfortable, and in some cases unsafe, just to make your political point?"

Providing safe spaces for trans people who are homeless and/or abuse survivors is not "making a political point." But suggesting that cis people's discomfort is more important than trans people's safety surely is.

The Hill also quotes John Ashmen, president of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, who dregs up the thoroughly discredited—and irrelevant—trope of cis men who will pose as trans women in order to get access to women for the purposes of assaulting them.

There is no evidence that expanding access to trans women in any space—whether it be gym locker rooms, bathrooms, or shelters—increases the likelihood that cis male sexual predators will try to masquerade as trans women as part of their predation. And even if there were, the predatory behavior of cis men is not a justification for denying access to trans women in need of safety and security.

That is tasking trans women with the responsibility for the behavior of male sexual predators. It would be like saying that no men should be allowed in bars anymore, because male sexual predators exploit men's access to bars to prey on women.

This guideline is not opening the floodgates to abuse of cis women. To the absolute contrary, it is a much-needed first step in shutting down endemic abuse of trans women, who experience increased vulnerability due to a lack of institutional support and legal discrimination.

What endangers trans people is transphobia—and the cis people who subscribe to it, promulgate it, and act on it.

The Obama administration is taking important steps to provide safe spaces for trans people who urgently need support. Detractors have no good argument against that except discredited narratives and the specter of cis people's discomfort. Which is hardly more important than trans people's lives.

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This Is Exhausting

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

Hillary Clinton has a 23-point lead with women. And that is described by CNN as having "an edge with women over Trump." An edge.

For a moment, let's all just contemplate how it would be described if Trump had a 23-point lead with women—or any demographic—over Clinton. Would it be described as having an edge? The fuck it would.

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Open Thread

image of pomegranates

Hosted by pomegranates.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Titanica: "What movie(s) can you quote from the most? With examples, of course. :)"

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime

Travis: "Be My Baby"

Great cover of this song.

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This Is Real

[Content Note: Incitement.]

From the BNR Team: "EXCLUSIVE: Big Media Mentioned Hillary's Emails EVERY DAY of 2016."

In fact, I can tell you, since I was involved in the research on this project, that the media has mentioned Hillary Clinton's emails every. single. day. for more than a year, back to August 1, 2015. And probably longer, though that's where we stopped.

Peter Daou writes: "It is an unfathomable reality: Donald Trump, who bashes the media with unrestrained aggression, gets a day or two of tepid coverage for profoundly reckless and dangerous statements. Meanwhile Hillary cannot spend a single day campaigning without having the public reminded about a situation for which she apologized and was found by the FBI to have committed no intentional wrongdoing."

Today marks exactly one week since Trump called for the "Second Amendment people" to find a solution for Clinton getting to nominate Supreme Court justices. And I found only three mentions of it in major media today:

1. At CNN: "Yitzhak Rabin's son: 'Words do kill'."

2. At USA Today: "Yuval Rabin: My father was killed at a moment like this."

3. At the Boston Globe: "Donald Trump lays out plan to fight ISIS."

That's it. One week after Trump tacitly incited the assassination of Clinton, there are three articles about it in major media, two of which are because Yuval Rabin is speaking out about it.

Meanwhile, we have had daily mentions of Clinton's email usage for more than a year.

Our media is broken. Profoundly broken.

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Discussion Thread: Trump Dread

[Content Note: Bigotry; anxiety.]

I'm hearing (and feeling myself) a lot of anxiety and anger about Donald Trump's candidacy. Not even necessarily about the possibility he may become president—although that, too—but about just his candidacy and the hatred and violence his rhetoric and policy are inciting.

And I've read a couple of articles lately about couples in which one of them supports Trump, which is devastating the other, and I know that lots of people are experiencing conflict with family members, friends, and coworkers on social media and sometimes face-to-face.

So, if you need to express feelings of stress, anger, regret, fear, frustration, whatever, about Trump's candidacy, his potential presidency, and/or the strife you're experiencing because of interaction with his supporters, etc., here's a place to do it.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt standing in front of me with her chin on my knee, looking up at me
"Two-Legs, may I have some cuddles, please?"
(The answer, of course, was yes. The answer is always yes.)

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Flooding; death; displacement] No words: "An enormous and slow-moving rainstorm has laid waste to much of southern Louisiana, which the National Weather Service has called a '1,000-year' disaster. By Monday afternoon, more than 20,000 residents had been rescued from the historic floodwaters, and as many as seven had died. People here stay prepared for hurricanes, and all the cataclysm they bring. But this storm did not arrive with noise and velocity; instead it unfolded over several days, sneaking up almost without notice. Then the rivers topped their banks."

[CN: War] Um. "Russian bombers launched attacks in Syria from an Iranian air base for the first time on Tuesday, potentially altering the political and military equation in the Middle East. Long-range Tupolev-22M3 bombers, which would otherwise have to fly from Russia, used an Iranian base near Hamadan to hit a series of targets inside Syria, according to a brief statement from the Russian Defense Ministry. The agreement to let Russia use the base significantly deepens the country’s military role in the region, most obviously in Iran."

[CN: War on agency] In good news: "An effort to defund Ohio Planned Parenthood affiliates by Gov. John Kasich (R) and the Republican-held legislature has come to an end. Judge Michael R. Barrett of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio on Friday ruled in Planned Parenthood's favor, granting a permanent injunction on an anti-choice state law."

[CN: Healthcare access; video may autoplay at link] Goddammit: "Health insurer Aetna Inc. will stop selling individual Obamacare plans next year in 11 of the 15 states where it had been participating in the program, joining other major insurers that have pulled out of the government-run markets in the face of mounting losses. Aetna will exit markets including North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Florida, and keep selling plans on state exchanges only in Iowa, Delaware, Nebraska, and Virginia, according to a statement Monday evening. In most areas it's exiting, Aetna will offer individual coverage outside of the program's exchanges. The decision is the latest blow to President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy accomplishment." Yes, and, rather more importantly, the latest blow to people who need healthcare access.

[CN: Racism; video may autoplay at link] What the fuck: "A New Mexico restaurateur is stirring the pot once again with his questionable 'Black Olives Matter' branding—this time on T-shirts and hats. Paisano's owner Rick Camuglia, who came under fire last month for erecting a Black Lives Matter-riffing sign to shill his olive tapenade, recently began selling the merch to offer customers a souvenir from the Italian eatery. 'It's just something to do that's kind of fun now,' Camuglia told local ABC affiliate KOAT, which first reported the news. ...Though many commenters on the Albuquerque joint's Facebook page raged against the political correctness machine and told dissenters to 'quit being a bunch of pansies,' several others panned the restaurant for trivializing a serious social movement." I GUESS BOTH SIDES HAVE A POINT OH WELL. Seethe.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] President Obama 'Tired' of Talking About Donald Trump. You and me both, Mr. President.

[CN: Misogyny] Hey, COOL HEADLINE, Newsweek. "Meet Hillary Clinton's Inner Circle, the Queenmakers Who Won't Rest Until She's President." #HillaryCoverageIsCrap

Lolsob foreverrrr: "CNN's Carol Costello and guest Errol Louis lose it over Mike Pence campaigning with Marco Rubio, who just called Trump a 'con artist' but said he'd still support him." Laughing all the way to America's future nightmare hellscape!

[CN: Misogynist slur, but used positively] This guy really, really, really loves Hillary Clinton!

[CN: Misogyny] Gee, this narrative seems familiar... "It seems that if Ghostbusters wasn't perfect from the second it appeared in theaters, it would be branded a flop, talked about as if it were a flop, no matter what was actually happening."

[CN: Moving gif at link] "This impossibly cute sea creature looks like a googly-eyed cartoon octopus." As advertised!

And finally! PERFECT LIFE. [Video Description: A small tabby cat naps with a toy in a suspended glass bowl, slowly spinning.]

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Top Five

Here is your topic: Top Five Best Days of Your Life.

1. The day Iain and I went hiking in Glen Affric.
2. The day of my 40th birthday party.
3. The day after President Obama was elected, spent walking around Chicago with Iain and the Space Cowpokes.
4. The day Olivia came back after being missing for three days.
5. The day we bought our house.

Please feel welcome to share stories about why your Top Five picks are what they are, though a straight-up list is fine, too. Please refrain from negatively auditing other people's lists, because judgment discourages participation.

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"Hillary’s life has been preparation for this very moment."

I've got a new essay at BNR about Hillary Clinton, her exceptional campaign, and what an extraordinary candidate she is—and would be no matter against whom she was running.

Hillary's life has been preparation for this very moment. She has built a career fighting for educational and housing rights, for women's workplace rights, for healthcare access, for reproductive rights, for people – children and women and first responders and veterans and people who need jobs, childcare, food. For marginalized people who need someone in power to recognize their value, their humanity.

She was listening, and learning, and figuring out how to be a change-maker as a student. As a young attorney. As the First Lady of Arkansas. As the First Lady of the United States. As a U.S. Senator. As a presidential candidate. As Secretary of State. And still, even now, as the first female nominee of a major party in the nation's history.

Long before she even considered that she might one day be president, she was nonetheless preparing for the role – by living a life in pursuit of being as effective an advocate for change as she could be, which eventually led her toward the presidency.

She hasn't spent a lifetime figuring out how to be president. She's spent a lifetime becoming one.

So when we look at the glaring disparities between her opponent, calamitously unfit by every conceivable measure, we shouldn't judge her by his rock-bottom garbage standard, but by the extraordinary standard she has set.
Head on over to read the whole thing.

And, in one of my favorite Twitter responses ever to something I've written:

screen cap of tweet about my article from some dude reading: '@peterdaou Melissa McEwan brushes off the email issue to avoid connecting it
to the foundation questions, which she ignores.  Millennial.' to which I have responded: 'You're about 20 years off, but thanks!'

I feel like I just got carded at a bar.

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