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 on: Sep 27, 2016, 08:23 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Donald Trump turned in a catastrophic performance – and Hillary Clinton handled him just right

The Conversation
27 Sep 2016 at 10:03 ET                   

The big question going into the first debate of the presidential election was whether Donald Trump would decide to tone down the cartoonish, belligerent alpha male shtick that has carried him this far. The debate gave him an opportunity to present himself unfiltered to an audience predicted to rival that of a Super Bowl, and to reinvent himself as a calmer, more coherent candidate for the benefit of the unusually large number of undecided voters up for grabs.

If that was the plan, he didn’t have the self-control to pull it off; perhaps he didn’t even try. And in the end, the tens of millions of people who ultimately tuned in were given a stark view of Trump’s deep – many would say disqualifying – flaws.

He had clearly failed to prepare adequately for the occasion. He was unable to grasp with even moderate seriousness the issues, even when it came to his own proposals, and what positions he did articulate frequently appeared incoherent. He also repeated untruths on which he has previously been corrected – to put it bluntly, lying.

But perhaps the strongest impression he made was in how he carried himself: ranting, hectoring, often shouting. If part of the test was whether the candidates “looked presidential”, it was glaringly obvious by the end that a Trump presidency would radically redefine what that means.

Hillary Clinton’s main task, meanwhile, was to turn the spotlight on Trump’s past sins and to try to provoke him into an intemperate reaction, all without seeming supercilious. It was a slow burn over the course of the debate’s more than 90 minutes, but by the end she had certainly put Trump under pressure and visibly got under his skin.

It was perhaps impossible to avoid a touch of condescension, such was the gulf in knowledge and capability between the candidates. Whether the voters will hold that against her, we shall see – but the gap between the two could not have been more apparent.

The cracks appear

Things actually started in somewhat subdued fashion. As is her trademark, Clinton came out of the gate like someone carrying several binders of preparation in her head, running gamely thorough a list of proposals – employee profit-sharing schemes, the importance of women’s work, paid family leave, debt-free college attendance, and the need to ensure the wealthy pay their fair share of tax.

Trump, also invited to open on the economy, accused China and Mexico of stealing American jobs. It wasn’t coherent by any normal standard, but he did sound a clear anti-trade note consistent with a core campaign theme.

This seemed to set the stage for exactly the debate many had predicted: Clinton vastly superior on range and detail, but failing to connect; Trump shallow and crass, but perhaps sending a clearer and more emotionally engaging signal.

It was enough to make some of those who consider Trump a terrifying threat shift a little nervously in their seats. And then his slow-motion meltdown began.

After some exchanges on trade in which Trump at least stuck to his message, Clinton took her first big swing, needling him on his failure to release his tax returns – as all other modern presidential candidates have.

Hitting her stride, she rattled off a list of the possible reasons Trump would keep them under wraps: that he is not as rich, or as charitable, as he claims; that he doesn’t want to reveal how much money he owes and to whom; or that he pays no federal income tax at all. Whatever the reason, she suggested, “It must be something really important, even terrible he’s trying to hide.”

Trump was stumped. At one point, he even interjected to apparently acknowledge that indeed he didn’t pay federal taxes and that that made him “smart”. He tried to pivot to the lingering topic of Clinton’s controversial use of a private email server while at the State Department, but she deflected that with a simple and direct expression of regret – and Trump duly set off on another tangent never to return to the email theme again.

Clinton followed up swiftly with a hard attack on Trump’s six corporate bankruptcies, and the long line of contractors he has failed to pay for their services over the years.

A new dynamic had taken hold: Clinton was sharp and on the attack, Trump was rattled and incoherent.

Asked to discuss race relations and policing in America, Clinton reached out to African-Americans while also seeking the presidential high ground: “Everyone should be respected by the law, and everyone should respect the law.” For his part, Trump returned to the theme of his dystopian convention speech, “law and order”, before proceeding to tout his endorsement from the Fraternal Order of Police, lament the abolition of much-hated “stop-and-frisk” policies long associated with racial profiling, and raise the spectre of criminal gangs of illegal immigrants roaming the streets.

It would be hard to construct a monologue more likely to alienate African-American and Latino voters.

Later, Trump was asked to address his former leading role in the “birther” movement that for years variously implied and insisted President Obama was not born in the US. Predictably, he dissembled – and Clinton helped seal the tomb of Trump’s relations with minorities. Calling birtherism a “racist lie”, she also took the moment to remind viewers that Trump had “a long record of engaging in racist behaviour”, dating back to discriminatory practices in his property business in the 1970s that attracted the attention of the justice department.

The denouement

The climax of the debate came, however, when the debate turned to foreign policy. At first, it seemed to revert to type. In a riff on cybersecurity, Russia and terrorism, Trump threw out vague assertions that current policy was a failure and that Clinton had been around for a long time but solved no problems; Clinton came off knowledgeable, if a little dry.

Trump did seem to be losing the thread somewhat, as an answer supposed to be about addressing domestic sources of terrorism – and responding to Clinton’s assertion that it was important to show all Muslims respect – turned into a free-associative ramble regarding NATO, the Iranian nuclear deal, Japanese car imports, and plenty else besides.

But it was when moderator Lester Holt pressed Trump on whether or not he had lied about being opposed to the Iraq War before it occurred that something in him seemed to snap. He set off on an epic rant that deserves to be remembered as one of the most spectacular meltdowns in the history of presidential debate.

His voice rose to a fully-fledged shout as he asserted again and again, losing his composure entirely, that his version of events was true. Bizarrely and repeatedly, he directed his questioners to ask Fox News presenter (and avowed Trump supporter) Sean Hannity to testify to their past conversations on the subject. The rant seemed to go on forever, as moderator and opponent looked on silently.

In response to the next question, the steam from his loss of composure still rising, Trump declared, straight-faced: “I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament.” Clinton laughed audibly, and the audience joined in. The most telling point of the night had been made. As the debate shortly turned to nuclear weapons, Clinton barely had to lift a rhetorical finger to remind the audience of the risks of turning over the codes for launch to someone so easily baited.

From that point, the deflating atmosphere of failure seemed to hover around Trump’s performance. He launched an attack on Clinton’s “stamina”, but she responded by listing the three-figure number of countries she visited as Secretary of State.

The moderator raised the topic of Trump’s previous comments about her “look”, and Clinton reminded the audience of Trump’s history of referring to women as “pigs, slobs and dogs”, even managing to work in the repulsive story of his calling a Latina pageant contestant, now an American citizen, “Miss Housekeeping” – a slur that won’t have been lost on Hispanic voters nationwide.

By the end of the debate, it was clear Trump had been defeated. First he was knocked off balance by a simple recitation of the facts of his own past, then he was provoked into a total loss of composure on live TV while applying for a job in which calm judgement is the absolute prerequisite. And finally, he was buried by a reminder of his rank sexism and racism. Clinton performed skilfully, but in the final analysis, he did it to himself.

As of today, there can no longer be any legitimate argument that voters are unaware of what kind of man Donald Trump is. He has been exposed, in the full glare of the public spotlight, as unqualified, unprepared and unfit for office. The only question is whether the American people will be responsible enough to act on that knowledge.

The Conversation

By Adam Quinn, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, University of Birmingham

 on: Sep 27, 2016, 08:22 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Yes .......

 on: Sep 27, 2016, 07:28 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by dollydaydream
In the context of intimate relationships, could this also lead to a person who, when sensing the other is withdrawing or not engaging fully in the relationship, will suddenly bail out of that relationship in order to feel that they have some element of control, to pre-emt being left, so they won't feel abandoned again?

 on: Sep 27, 2016, 06:54 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
U.S. Elections

Hillary Clinton shows strength over Trump in one of history's weirdest, wildest debates

The debate of the century began with a pretence of cordiality at Hofstra University and ended with a few gloves-off zingers from both candidates

David Smith in Washington
Tuesday 27 September 2016 10.07 BST

Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump to order on Monday night in probably the most watched – and certainly the weirdest and wildest – presidential debate in American history. She demanded explanations over his tax returns, his treatment of workers, his temperament as the man with his finger on the nuclear trigger. As he ducked and dived with incoherent excuses, she stared at him with thinly veiled contempt.

Then, right at the end, like a long-suffering, frosty school principal, she decided to expel the ranting, sniffling, whining 70-year-old schoolboy who had not done his homework.

Trump had said she did not have the stamina to be president. Icy and deadly, Clinton replied: “Well, as soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a ceasefire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

Elsewhere, the first female candidate to participate in a US presidential debate pointed to the Republican nominee’s past derogatory comments toward women, invoking Alicia Machado, a beauty pageant contestant he had called “Ms Piggy” and “Ms Housekeeping”. Clinton said: “Donald, she has a name.”

This was not the courtly jousting of Kennedy v Nixon in 1960 – although Clinton constantly addressed her opponent as Donald. “How are you, Donald?” she asked when they first shook hands. “Donald, it’s good to be with you,” she said. And then, as the mood quickly soured: “I’ve met a lot of people who were stiffed by you and your businesses, Donald.”

Trump nearly always called his Democratic rival Secretary Clinton. At the outset he checked: “Is that OK? I want you to be very happy.” But the politeness very quickly faded as he interrupted, heckled, rolled his eyes and tried to throw the authority figure off her game with lies. She missed some opportunities to capitalise as she stared at him with thinly veiled contempt.

The debate of the century at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York, began with Clinton and Trump striding out on a deep blue stage with white stars and a giant seal: the American eagle with an olive branch, a bunch of arrows and the words: “The union and the constitution forever.”

The nation that brought you Batman v Superman and Captain America v Iron Man held its breath for Mrs Know It All v Mr Know Nothing.

Clinton said the central question of the election is what kind of country the US wanted to be: “Today is my granddaughter’s second birthday, so I think about this a lot.” Trump, the former host of The Apprentice, narrowed his eyes, tightened his mouth and stared at the camera, as if trying to plant in the audience’s mind the familiar phrase: “You’re fired.”

But the gloves soon came off. Trump gripped both sides of the lectern, his face grew angry, his voice rose aggressively. There were a series of bitter exchanges that showed the genuine animosity between the two and made for the guilty pleasure of compelling television.

Clinton said Trump had rooted for the housing crisis so he could make money. He couldn’t resist interjecting: “That’s called business, by the way.”

The Republican’s best moment came over trade, his strongest suit in the election campaign. Clinton parried: “I think my husband did a pretty good job in the 1990s. I think a lot about what worked and how we can make it work again …”

Trump barged in: “Well, he approved Nafta.”

Tension mounted as the candidates talked over each other, making prime minister’s questions in Britain look positively tame.

Trump repeated: “He approved Nafta, which is the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country.”

Trump claimed that Clinton supported the Trans Pacific Partnership with Asia then changed her mind. But she shot back with a line that could sum up the entire election for the celebrity businessman: “Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality.”

Much of the night felt like that. As if to prove the point, Trump told Clinton later: “You’ve been fighting Isis your entire adult life.”

Even Clinton hardly knew how to respond to that one. “That’s a – that’s – go to the – please, fact-checkers, get to work.”

Later Clinton mused: “I have a feeling that by the end of this evening, I’m going to be blamed for everything that’s ever happened.”

“Why not?” asked Trump.

“Why not?” responded Clinton. “Yeah, why not?”

The pair also tangled over Trump’s tax returns. Clinton was cutting: “You’ve got to ask yourself, why won’t he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings,” she said, adding that he may not have paid any income tax.

Trump lobbed in: “That makes me smart.”

Had the class clown just admitted on live television, before a global audience of tens of millions, that he has not in fact paid income tax? Clinton squandered the opportunity to pin him down on it.

He offered to release his tax returns if she released her deleted emails, branding her handling of sensitive information “disgraceful”. But even much-criticized NBC presenter Matt Lauer, in the recent “commander-in-chief” forum between the two, had spent longer on the email issue than Trump managed.

There was, finally, a more substantial section on race relations. Trump boasted of his travels to speak to African American voters, telling Clinton: “You’ve seen me, I’ve been all over the place. You decided to stay home and that’s OK.”

But Clinton had a zinger up her sleeve: “I think Donald just criticised me for preparing for this debate. And yes, I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.”

Trump was asked about his crusade to sow doubts over Barack Obama’s birthplace. He flunked the test and this was the turning point in the debate. “I say nothing because I was able to get him to produce [his birth certificate]. He should have produced it a long time before. I say nothing.”

On national security and foreign policy, he was all over the place. Resurrecting one of the best lines from her convention speech, Clinton said: “A man who could be provoked with a tweet should not have his finger anywhere near the button.”

Trump replied: “That line is getting a little bit old.”

Clinton came back: “It’s a good one, though. Well describes the problem.”

Then, in the bottom of the final round, came the knockout punch over sexism and stamina. It was over. Despite the bad blood, the debate of the century ended as it began, with a handshake and Trump twice patting Clinton on the back. Later he told a TV interviewer that he had shown heroic self-restraint in not mentioning Bill Clinton’s past infidelities out of respect for their daughter Chelsea. So yes, it could have been more childish still.

Click to watch the full debate:


Hillary Clinton stays calm while Trump loses cool during first presidential debate

Clinton repeatedly puts Trump on defensive, accusing him of perpetrating a ‘racist lie’ with birther movement and ‘stiffing thousands’ of blue-collar workers   

Dan Roberts, Ben Jacobs and Sabrina Siddiqui in Hempstead, New York
Tuesday 27 September 2016 12.08 BST

Donald Trump’s freewheeling approach spun wildly out of control in the first presidential debate as he was forced on the defensive during a chaotic clash with Hillary Clinton.

Goaded by Clinton and pressed hard by moderator Lester Holt, the Republican nominee angrily defended his record against charges of racism, sexism and tax avoidance for much of the 90-minute debate at Hofstra University, outside New York City.

Trump hit Clinton on trade and her political record – issues that have helped him draw level in recent polls and may yet dominate the election – but appeared thin-skinned and under-prepared as he sniffled his way through the debate.

“It’s all words, it’s all soundbites,” he retorted after a particularly one-sided exchange, adding that Clinton was a “typical politician: all talk, no action”.

But the Democratic nominee seized on Trump’s meandering responses and apparent loss of focus as their long-anticipated meeting wore on.

“Words matter when you run for president, and they really do matter when you are president,” said Clinton.

“I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And yes I did. You know what else I did? I prepared to be president,” she added.

In her sharpest exchanges, the former secretary of state accused Trump of racism for questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship.

“He has a long record of engaging in racist behavior. And the birther lie was a very hurtful one,” said Clinton.

She also accused him of “stiffing thousands” of contractors by declaring bankruptcy as a businessman. And in a powerful closing argument she highlighted Trump’s record of sexism, noted that he had called women pigs and slobs and, in one case, called a beauty contest Miss Housekeeping “because she was Latina”.

In turn, Trump attacked Clinton’s suitability as president in blunt terms. “She doesn’t have the look and she doesn’t have the stamina,” he said. “I’ve been all over the place. You decided to stay home,” he added.

But after rattling off her record of visiting 112 countries in four years as secretary of state, Clinton shot back: “When Donald Trump spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee, he can talk to me about stamina.”

Questions of stamina and temperament were levelled instead at Trump as he appeared to lose concentration during the uninterrupted appearance – his first one-on-one appearance on a political debate stage.

Some of his responses seemed little more than free-associative non-sequiturs. “I have a son who’s 10, he’s so good with computers,” said Trump when asked about US cybersecurity weaknesses.

Trump took to the media spin room immediately after his debate to defend his performance. Boris Epsheteyn, a Trump campaign spokesman, criticized the moderator: “Lester Holt interrupted Mr Trump more. He followed up with Mr Trump more. He was much harder on Mr Trump.” However, Trump himself said that he thought Holt did “a great job”.

Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign basked in a victory lap – declaring that the debate had underscored Trump was both “unhinged and unfit to be president” – but was cautious not to bolster expectations on its impact.

“He came in unprepared and what we saw was kind of a meltdown,” said Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

“We’ll have to see how the voters judge this,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters.

“But I think the consensus of this entire debate was that Secretary Clinton was the only one on that stage prepared to be president, and I think the totality of the debate proved how deeply unfit he was.”

Aides to Clinton said they had expected Trump to showcase a more subdued demeanor, citing his efforts in recent weeks to stick to a teleprompter on the campaign trail and tone down his bombast.

“We thought we’d see a more disciplined Trump tonight – maybe someone who’d try to steal an early headline with a gesture of grace and show some magnanimity,” said Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon.

“Instead, this was the same Donald Trump in the primary. Which, of course, is the true Trump.”

Trump had participated in a pre-debate walk-through of the venue at Hofstra University, 20 miles outside New York City in the densely populated suburbs of Nassau County, while Clinton spent the afternoon preparing with aides at the nearby Garden City Hotel.

Afterwards, while Trump was filmed hastily disappearing in his car, Clinton told supporters at a debate watch party to keep fighting, telling them: “You saw tonight how high the stakes are.”

Inside the hall, a small live audience were given strict instructions not to clap or respond to the debate. Though dwarfed by an estimated television audience of up to 100 million people, they included well-known political figures including former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio as well as celebrities such as billionaire Mark Cuban and controversial boxing promoter Don King.

At first Trump appeared to be trying to rein in his more aggressive tendency. “Is that OK? I want you to be happy. It’s very important to me,” he said to Clinton, using her title, Secretary Clinton.

But Trump, who was sniffing and sounded nasally congested, quickly grew agitated, repeatedly interrupting Clinton and often shouting over her as she attempted to respond to questions.

In particular, he aggressively went after her record on trade – interjecting as Clinton spoke, by pointing to her husband Bill Clinton’s signing of Nafta in the 1990s.

Clinton immediately jabbed at Trump, making reference to the $14m that the Republican nominee got in a series of loans from his father, Fred, to start his business empire. The older Trump, a successful real estate developer, helped to fund his son’s effort to remodel the Grand Hyatt hotel in midtown Manhattan and also aided his son with his political connections. Trump immediately fired back, insisting that “it was only a small loan” from his father, taking the bait offered by his Democratic rival.

Trump then knocked Clinton for previously supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the landmark 12-nation trade pact brokered under the Obama administration. When Clinton sought to clarify that she no longer backed the agreement, Trump intervened again and began drowning her out with shouts of: “Is it President Obama’s fault? Is it President Obama’s fault?”

Clinton largely kept her cool, eventually offering wryly with a smile: “Donald, I know you live in your own reality.”

Moderator Holt at times struggled to remain on topic as Trump and Clinton traded barbs that vacillated between policy and the personal. Trump was especially challenging to control, as he launched frequently into tirades that did not necessarily address the question asked.

The two candidates entered into a fiery exchange about Trump’s taxes as the Republican nominee pledged to release his tax returns provided that Clinton released the 33,000 emails that were deleted from her private home server. Clinton fired back and proceeded to lay out all the hypothetical reasons that Trump, who has claimed he is under a tax inspector’s audit, was not releasing his tax returns. Clinton said perhaps Trump was “not as rich as he says he is, not as charitable as he says he is” and even suggested that Trump hadn’t paid any income tax for several years. The Republican nominee responded “that makes me smart” and Clinton continued to admonish him by suggesting: “I think he is probably not all that enthusiastic about having the rest of the country see because it must be something really important, even terrible that he is trying to hide.”

Afterwards, Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser, avoided repeated questions from reporters about whether the Republican nominee has paid federal income taxes. Miller insisted “of course he pays taxes” and that “he has paid taxes at every level” but repeatedly declined to state whether Trump had paid federal income tax every year in the past 20 years. In two of five years in the 1970s where Trump had to share his tax returns with the New Jersey state casino control commission in order to receive a gaming license, he paid zero taxes.

Trump also had difficulty under attack for on his past support of the Iraq war and of climate change. The Republican nominee repeatedly stood by his false claim that he was against the war in 2002; Trump expressed his support for the invasion of Iraq at the time and has since denied it.

On climate change, Trump denied his past skepticism after Clinton jabbed: “Donald thinks climate change is a hoax by the Chinese.” “I did not say that,” responded the Republican nominee, even though Trump tweeted in November 2012: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” He has also repeatedly called global warming “a hoax”.

Despite Trump’s uneven performance, where he repeatedly contradicted himself –sometimes in the course of the same sentence, the Republican nominee has already persevered through a multitude of controversies and missteps in the course of his campaign.

On this momentous night in a long campaign, he didn’t change his tactics or approach. The question as polls have tightened in recent days is whether voters will end up supporting the uncouth demagogue who has confounded pundits in the past 15 months.


The Guardian view on the US presidential debate: Trump fails the test


If the televised debates matter, then Hillary Clinton clearly did best on Monday night. But American voters may be too angry to care

Tuesday 27 September 2016 12.59 BST

By traditional standards, the first televised US presidential debate on Monday night produced a clear result. Hillary Clinton’s experience, grasp and temperament proved superior qualities to Donald Trump’s forcefulness, rambling and egotism. Fears that Mrs Clinton’s recent bout of pneumonia would cause her to stumble proved unfounded. Instead, Mr Trump’s sniffing caused more comment on the night. But the question, in this most unpredictable of elections and in a new media world, is how far traditional standards matter any more.

Mrs Clinton repeatedly put Mr Trump under pressure on his finances, his taxes, his climate change denial, Iraq, Russia, Barack Obama’s birth, and race. Mr Trump countered with powerful lines about unfair trade deals and immigration and was both personal and boastful. Mrs Clinton stayed careful but grew more relaxed as the 90 minutes evolved. Mr Trump got angry and repeatedly rose to the bait. To adopt the dismal boxing terminology that tends to be wheeled out on such occasions, neither candidate landed the fabled knockout blow. There were plenty of low punches. But Mrs Clinton obviously won on points.

Yet traditional responses to the debate may not suffice. Politics is in flux in many democracies, America included. And both these candidates are already very well known. Neither has to introduce themselves to the voters. Most people have an opinion about both of them. Each is also already a very divisive figure, both to the other side and, to an unusual extent in this race, on their own side too.

The very fact of seeing two such dissimilar figures together in the presidential debate studio was a reminder of how 2016 is different. On the one hand, Mr Trump, a candidate whose self-confidence has swept him to the Republican nomination on a wave of predominantly white anger without any experience of government whatever. On the other Mrs Clinton, whose conventional qualifications for the top job are beyond question, but whose political instincts seem to date from a different era. The fact that here was the first woman to be taking part in a presidential debate almost passed without notice – though Mr Trump could not resist some nasty innuendos.

The televised debates are always built up as great moments of national attention and decision. Sometimes they are. The reality is that while debates may inform opinion, there’s a question as to whether they shift it dramatically. As the Guardian’s Alastair Cooke wrote of the first Nixon-Kennedy debate in 1960, the Republicans to whom he spoke afterwards thought Nixon had won, while the Democrats believed Kennedy was the victor.

There is still a lot of sense in that more circumspect approach today. Most voters already have a preference going into the debate. They look to the exchanges to confirm them in their judgment. Relatively few voters actually tune in with an innocent mind. Last night was no exception to that. Those who are appalled by Mr Trump will have seen and heard a Clinton victory. Those who cannot abide Mrs Clinton will have seen and heard Mr Trump tell truth to power.

The 2016 race may be an exception in other ways. The polls have narrowed in September, both nationally and in the battleground states that will determine the result in November. The debates may therefore make a difference this time. That was a subtext in Monday’s exchanges. Mr Trump name-checked Michigan and Ohio, states he must win, twice in the first 30 minutes. Mrs Clinton aimed a lot of her remarks on criminal justice and police at black and Latino voters, and had sections on the banks and social justice that reached out to wavering supporters of Bernie Sanders.

Both candidates made sure to showcase their well-tested strong messages: Mr Trump to make America great again, Mrs Clinton to question her opponent’s fitness to have his finger on the nuclear trigger. Mrs Clinton certainly missed a lot of opportunities to hit back instantly at Mr Trump’s untruths that a better debater would have seized on. Yet Mr Trump said many things that may come back to haunt him on social media and in campaign ads in the days to come. Mrs Clinton, by contrast, made few gaffes.

Some will say neither candidate is worthy. In the end, though, one of them will be president of the United States in January. Mr Trump came into this week’s debate with an opportunity to show that there is more to his candidacy than the recklessness, rudeness, falsehood and appeal to racism that has marked it over the last months. On Monday he blew his opportunity. On the biggest stage of his career he showed he is unfit to rule, that he is a danger to America and to the rest of the world. But will enough voters care? If one thing came clear and undeflected out of Monday’s debate it is that Americans cannot afford not to.


Presidential debate fact-check: Trump and Clinton's claims reviewed

Alan Yuhas fact-checks the statements of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York

Alan Yuhas in San Francisco
Tuesday 27 September 2016 08.39 BST
Donald Trump’s claims

Trump: “Our jobs are fleeing the country, they’re going to Mexico they’re going to many other countries … Hundreds of hundreds of companies are doing this.”

Trump is primarily talking about the North American Free Trade Agreement, but the long-term decline in manufacturing around the US can’t only be attributed to the trade deal. Economists still debate the effect of the deal on jobs, since US trade with Canada and Mexico is modest at best. In 2015, the Congressional Research Service wrote: “Nafta did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters.”

Manufacturing is down 37% since its peak in 1979, but this change has a great deal to do with the general shift toward a service-based economy, which the US has had surpluses in in recent years. It’s true that many manufacturing jobs have been outsourced, especially since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, but it’s also true that the US has added more than 800,000 factory jobs since 2010.
Trump: “My father gave me a small loan in 1975.”

Trump never struggled for money or started with anything modest. In 1978 his father gave him a loan totaling almost $1m – about $3.7m today – and acted as guarantor for the young Trump’s early projects. A 1981 report by a New Jersey regulator also shows a $7.5m loan from the patriarch, and years later he bought $3.5m in gambling chips to help his son pay off the debts of a failing casino, which was found to have broken the law by accepting them. Trump also borrowed millions against his inheritance before his father’s death, a 2007 deposition shows.

Trump has not proven that he is worth $10bn, though his tax returns, which he has refused to release, could provide a clearer picture of his worth. His financial filings suggest he has less than $250m in liquid assets, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. Trump has a history of overstating his properties: he has, for instance, told the FEC that a New York golf club is worth $50m but also argued in court that it is worth only $1.4m.

Trump claimed that his tax plan will be the largest cuts since Ronald Reagan and create jobs, while in his words Clinton’s would create a huge tax hike.

Trump’s tax plan would disproportionately help the wealthiest Americans, saving them millions of dollars and adding trillions to the national debt, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation, a conservative thinktank. He would reduce the business tax rate to 15%, eliminate the estate tax (aka the “death tax”), which mostly affects wealthy inheritors, and would reduce revenue from taxes by about $5tn. According to the Foundation, the top 1% of earners would see a 10.2% increase to their incomes.

Clinton’s tax plan does not change tax rates for the middle class, but does increase taxes by 4% on people who have an adjusted income of more than $5m, as well as closing corporate loopholes. Only about 0.5% of small businesses in the US reported a profit of more than $1m in 2011, according to the US treasury department. Clinton would increase tax revenue by $1.1tn by taxing the top 1% of earners, increasing the estate tax and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, and by implementing and a more complex tax code, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Trump has not proven that he pays any federal income tax, and did not deny that he doesn’t pay, saying simply that it would prove he’s “smart”.

Trump: “African Americans and Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous. In Chicago they’ve had thousands of shootings since 1 January … Almost 4,000 people in Chicago have been killed since Barack Obama became president.”

Trump often cites Chicago’s shooting crisis as evidence that the US is plagued by dangerous crime, but not even that city, which has the most homicides in the US, compares to a “war zone” as Trump says. In 2015, Chicago had 2,988 people who were victims of gun violence, according to the Chicago Tribune, and 488 homicides in all. The city has more than 500 homicides so far this year, per the paper, and more than 2,100 victims of gun violence.

In Afghanistan – a country Trump often compares the city to – between January and June 2016, 1,601 civilians have been killed and 3,565 injured, according to the United Nations. The figures include 388 killed and 1,121 injured children. The UN reported 3,545 civilians killed and 7,457 injured in 2015. More than 80,000 people have been displaced by violence this year. The US and Afghan forces control only about 70% of the country, while the Taliban and militants control the other 30%, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff told the Senate on Thursday.

Trump on stop and frisk police tactics: “Stop and frisk which worked very well in New York it … It brought the crime rate way down.”

The controversial police tactic of stop and frisk, which became a hallmark of New York policing through the mayorships of Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, has landed the city in federal court, where a judge ruled it unconstitutional. One research paper, unpublished through peer review, found modest drops in some crimes. A second paper, published through peer review, found problems in the first study and “few significant effects” of the tactic.

A New York Civil Liberties Union report, on 12 years’ worth of police data, found young black and Hispanic men were targeted for stops at a vastly higher proportion than white men: more than half the people searched were black and about 30% were Hispanic. Among more than 5m stops during the Bloomberg administration, police found a gun less than 0.02% of the time, according to the report. NYPD records between 2004 and 2012 show similar figures: in 4.4m stops, weapons were seized from 1.0% of black people, 1.1% from Hispanic people and 1.4% of white people.

New York’s long-term decline in crime rates began before Giuliani took office in 1994, and its causes were and are diverse: data-driven policing with the Compstat system, the growth of the police force by 35% over the decade, incarceration increases by 24% and the 39% unemployment decline that matched with national economic growth. Not even the loudest supporters of stop and frisk, including Bloomberg – whose last term Trump has called “a disaster” – have argued the tactic alone reduced crime to its current lows.

Trump said that the tactic was ruled unconstitutional because of a judge “who was against policing”, but his personal opinion about the judge does not mean she did not rule it unconstitutional.
Trump: “We have to take the guns away from the people that shouldn’t have them … These are bad people.”

This argument flies in the face of Trump’s pro-gun rights stance for legal owners; he has repeatedly and falsely insisted that Clinton wants to take away guns from legal owners.

Trump claimed that New York’s crime rate is up since the end of stop and frisk. It remains near historic lows.

Trump blames Sidney Blumenthal, a friend of the Clinton’s, and Patti Solis Doyle, a 2008 campaign manager, for creating the false claim that Barack Obama was not born in the US.

There is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with the false rumors that Barack Obama was not born in the US, nor did Clinton have anything to do with Trump’s five years of questions about birth certificates, which he finally recanted last Friday.

Trump’s campaign has tried to blame several people who were, if at all, tangentially related to the Clinton campaign. There is no evidence that Solis Doyle had anything to do with the claim either. She told CNN that there was a volunteer coordinator in Iowa who forwarded the email and that the volunteer was dismissed, and that she called the Obama campaign to apologize.

A former aide named Mark Penn wrote a 2007 memo that Obama’s “lack of American roots” could “hold him back”. But he added: “We are never going to say anything about his background.” The Clinton campaign never acted on his advice, and he was dismissed in April 2008.

Some Clinton supporters have been blamed over anonymous chain emails for questioning Obama’s citizenship, but none of the rumormongers were linked to the campaign. Philip Berg, a former Pennsylvania official who supported Clinton, filed a lawsuit in 2008 over Obama’s birth certificate; the suit was thrown out because it was groundless. Blumenthal, an old friend of the Clintons who frequently sent them unsolicited advice, reportedly asked reporters to investigate Obama’s birth, but he has denied this and denounced the conspiracy.

As fellow fact-checkers at Politifact have noted, a Texas volunteer for Clinton named Linda Starr eventually joined Berg’s failed lawsuit; there is nothing to suggest Starr had any influence in the campaign at any level. Campaign volunteers who forwarded emails falsely alleging Obama is Muslim resigned when they were found out.

Trump did not answer the question about what convinced him that the president was born in the US, even though the birth certificate has been public for the five years that has Trump continued questioning Obama’s birthplace.

Trump: Clinton has been “fighting Isis your entire adult life”.

The Islamic State’s first segments formed out of the post-invasion civil war in Iraq, while George W Bush was president. The group took root in Syria’s civil war, where the US did not intervene until 2014. The terror group largely formed out of the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s government and the factions that formed al-Qaida in Iraq – all of which happened in the last decade or so. The group also gained international notoriety only in 2014, when it invaded Iraq in significant forces and when Clinton was out of office.

Trump: “Whether [the DNC hack] was Russia, whether that was China, whether that was another country, we don’t know.”

Several independent security firms, in addition to intelligence officials, have pointed to Russian-backed hackers as the culprits behind a hack of the Democratic National Committee. Trump is correct in an extremely technical sense: no one has provided 100% proof that Russia was behind the hack, and the Obama administration has proven loath to escalate a hacking war. But security experts have found technical fingerprints that seem to hint back toward Russia, just as they have found links back to Chinese hacks in unrelated cases.

Trump: “President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum” for Isis.

The claim that Obama and Clinton created the conditions for Isis ignores that Isis’s first segments formed out of the post-invasion civil war in Iraq, while George W Bush was president; that the group took root in Syria’s civil war, where the US did not intervene until 2014; and that Obama withdrew American forces in 2011 under the timeline agreed on by Bush and Baghdad.

Trump has claimed that Nato must turn to a directly anti-terror campaign in the Middle East, and that his urging has already influenced the alliance.

But Nato has had a Defense Against Terrorism program since June 2004, almost a full 12 years before Trump called the alliance “obsolete”. In July its member nations decided to increase efforts against Isis, specifically, in Syria and Iraq, as its leaders had discussed for months. Trump was not involved.
Trump also claimed that his new Washington DC hotel came in before schedule and under budget.

Not quite. Per the AP:

    A June 2013 press release posted on the Trump Organization’s website announced that the redevelopment of the old post office was “expected to start in 2014 with the hotel opening scheduled in 2016”. A few months later, the Trump Organization announced the expected grand opening of the hotel would happen at the end of 2015. The Trump Organization said in a third statement in 2013 ... completion was expected in late 2015.

    In 2014, the Trump Organization went back to announcing the hotel would open in mid-2016. In February, in the midst of Trump’s presidential campaign, the organization shifted and announced the hotel was planned to open in September, “almost two years ahead of schedule, which is unheard of for a project of this size and complexity”, Ivanka Trump is quoted as saying.

    And during a March visit to the site, Donald Trump said: “We’re two years ahead of schedule. We’re going to be opening in September.”

The hotel is now only partly open.

Trump on the Iran nuclear deal: “One of the worst deals ever made by any country in history.” He said $400m in cash was part of that deal – and Clinton was responsible.

Clinton had nothing to do with the delivery of $400m to Iran as part of a settlement for a failed arms deal that Tehran’s pre-revolutionary government had made with the US in the 1970s.

The State Department under John Kerry has admitted, however, that it wanted to use that money as “leverage” to secure the sailors’ release, although its transfer had been mediated through an international court. The money was delivered as foreign currency because US law bars any transaction in US dollars and sanctions make bank transactions difficult.

The US is not giving any of its own money to Iran as part of an international nuclear arms deal meant to prevent the construction of weapons. The deal gradually unfreezes assets that belong to Iran but were frozen under sanctions related to the nation’s nuclear program. Sanctions related to human rights, terrorism and other issues remain in place and still lock Iran out of billions.

Trump’s guess of how much Iran will benefit by unfrozen assets is far higher than most experts’ estimates, though not inconceivable. Treasury secretary Jack Lew has put the number at $56bn, and Iranian officials have said $32bn and $100bn. Independent economists have calculated that Iran will free up anything between $30bn to $100bn. Complicating the math are Iran’s debts: it will have to pay off tens of billions to countries such as China.

There is no evidence that the brief capture in January of 10 American sailors had any effect on the nuclear deal, which had been finalized five months earlier, although the incident rattled fragile relations between Washington and Tehran. A few days after the sailors were released, UN inspectors confirmed that Iran had complied with the deal.

What Iran does next remain an open question – subject to inspection by UN officials – and Clinton’s argument in favor of the deal hinges on a degree of good faith that Tehran will comply by the terms of the deal.

Trump: “I was just endorsed by ICE.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a government agency. It does not endorse political candidates. A group of former customs officials endorsed Trump just before the debate.

Clinton is correct, and Trump unrepentant. In a video made in 2006 for his defunct and legally embattled Trump University, Trump said he hoped for a real estate “bubble burst”.

“I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy” property and “make a lot of money”, he said.

“That’s called business by the way,” Trump interrupted Clinton.
Clinton: “Donald says climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese.”

Trump: “I did not, I do not say that.”

Trump did say that, in a 2012 tweet, right here:

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
    November 6, 2012

    The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

Clinton claimed that African American men are more likely to be killed by guns than other demographics.

She is broadly correct that African American men are disproportionately affected by gun violence, including by police. She’s also correct that crime rates are overall still down from where they were in the 1990s, but she omits the 10.8% single-year increase in murders in 2015. The recent spike in violent crime has been concentrated in a handful of cities, such as Chicago, Washington DC and Baltimore.
Clinton: Trump has been “praiseworthy of Vladimir Putin”. Trump: “Wrong.”

Trump has repeatedly called Russia’s president a “strong leader” and spoken approvingly – “praise” by nearly any definition – of this strength and Putin’s polling numbers. For instance, on 18 December 2015 he told MSNBC: “I’ve always felt fine about Putin. I think that he’s a strong leader.”

He added: “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”

Last September, he told Fox News: “In terms of leadership [Putin’s] getting an A.” In a 10 March debate, Trump tried to hedge on semantics. “Strong doesn’t mean good,” he said. “Putin is a strong leader, absolutely. He is a strong leader. Now I don’t say that in a good way or a bad way. I say it as a fact.”
Clinton: “Donald supported the invasion of Iraq.” Trump: “Wrong.”

This is a lie. In the months before the Iraq war began, the businessman made a tepid endorsement of invasion to radio host Howard Stern, who asked him whether he thought the US should attack Saddam Hussein.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Trump answered.

A few weeks later he told Fox News that George W Bush was “doing a very good job”. Several weeks after the invasion, Trump told the Washington Post: “The war’s a mess.” In August 2004 he told Esquire: “Two minutes after we leave, there’s going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over.”

Even in an interview cited by the Trump campaign to explain his “opposition”, Trump expressed impatience with Bush for not invading sooner. “Whatever happened to the days of the Douglas MacArthur? He would go and attack. He wouldn’t talk.”

Trump also supported complete withdrawal from Iraq, even in the event of continued civil war or authoritarian violence there. “You know how they get out? They get out. That’s how they get out. Declare victory and leave,” he told CNN in 2007. “This is a total catastrophe, and you might as well get out now because you’re just wasting time, and lives.”

Like Clinton, Trump also supported military strikes in Libya, saying in a February 2011 video blog that the US should take “immediate” action against dictator Muammar Ghaddafi.

“We should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically.” No one supported an occupation to “build democracy” there in the model of George W Bush’s occupation of Iraq.


CNN Post-Debate Poll Is A Blowout Win For Hillary Clinton

By Jason Easley on Tue, Sep 27th, 2016 at 12:48 am

The CNN instant post-debate poll results show a blowout victory for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the first presidential debate.

Here are the results of CNN’s post-debate poll:

    Wow. More CNN instapolls show huge Clinton victory.

    "Better understanding of issues"?

    Clinton: 68%
    Trump: 27%

    — Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) September 27, 2016

    CNN insta-poll: "Can Clinton handle presidency?"

    Yes: 67%
    No: 32%

    — Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) September 27, 2016

    Finally: "Can Trump handle presidency?"

    YES: 43%
    NO: 55%

    — Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) September 27, 2016

These are dominant numbers for Hillary Clinton that demonstrate that she not only won the debate but that she blew Donald Trump off of the stage.

Debates don’t move voters as much as they confirm their suspicions. Voters have consistently given Hillary Clinton the edge on qualifications and preparedness, and they have regularly given Trump low marks for lacking qualifications and the temperament to be president.

Hillary Clinton looked, sounded, and acted like a president on the debate stage. Donald Trump demonstrated that he doesn’t know the issues, doesn’t care to learn about the issues, and he lacks the temperament that voters expect from the commander in chief.

The CNN poll confirms that Hillary Clinton was the big winner of 2016’s first presidential debate.


Donald Trump Claims He Lost The Debate Because His Mic Was Defective

By Jason Easley on Tue, Sep 27th, 2016 at 12:27 am

Donald Trump is claiming that his debate performance was so awful because he was given a defective microphone.

Video of Trump in the spin room whining about his mic:

    Video: @realDonaldTrump says Holt did "fine job," claims his mic was "defective"

    — Mosheh Oinounou (@Mosheh) September 27, 2016

The mic was fine. It was the brain of the man who was speaking the words into the microphone that seemed to be defective.

Trump can’t blame a mic for the fact that he appeared to be unprepared for the debate, and lacked the stamina to make it through the full 90 minutes. By the final ten minutes of the debate, Donald Trump was spouting gibberish that made no sense to anyone.

Everyone could hear exactly what Trump was saying, which is the reason why he lost the debate. The excuses have already begun. There are rumblings in Trump world that Donald should skip the final two presidential debates.

Expect Trump to use the mic excuse on the campaign trail, and it should pop up on Fox News by tomorrow morning. Republicans may wish that the problem was a bad mic because the reality is that the GOP’s biggest problem is that they nominated Donald Trump.


Here Are The Winners and Losers From The Clinton/ Trump Presidential Debate

By Jason Easley on Mon, Sep 26th, 2016 at 10:38 pm

There were clear winners and losers at the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Here’s who won, and who lost.

Winners and Losers:


1). Hillary Clinton- Hillary Clinton’s experience shined throughout this debate, but not in the way many expected. Sure, Clinton was knowledgeable about the issues. She had her plans and details, but where she shined was in tone. While Trump was erratic and all over the map with his answers, Clinton controlled the conversation. Hillary Clinton’s debate experience was obvious.

This debate is where Hillary Clinton benefitted from the Democratic primary. Clinton’s debates with Bernie Sanders gave her the tough one on one debating experience that was clearly lacking in Trump. Hillary Clinton was head and shoulders above Trump in this debate. She turned Trump into a weak counter puncher who was stuck in his talking points.

Hillary Clinton needed to stand across from Trump on stage and confirm her stature as presidential. She did exactly that, while Trump was stripped of his side show and revealed to be in way over his head.

2). Lester Holt – Holt did not allow either candidate to ramble, and where Trump was concerned, he pressed the Republican nominee on releasing his tax returns, dropped the facts on stop and frisk, and held both candidates on topic and to the clock.

There was a great deal of concern before the debate that Holt would allow Trump to run wild, or hold him to a lower standard than Hillary Clinton. The NBC Nightly News anchor was a fair moderator who relied on facts and set the standard for how moderators need to conduct themselves in future debates.


1). Donald Trump – Trump had a bad debate on every level. Stripped of audience and ability to freewheel, Trump was flailing and responding to Clinton. Trump botched a question about his tax returns. He used Hillary Clinton’s emails in a defensive manner. Instead of attacking Clinton, Trump was the reactionary candidate.

Donald Trump managed to reinforce his racism when asked the birther question by defending stop and frisk. Trump was steamrolled for much of the debate, and in the final ten minutes, the Republican nominee came unglued and started ranting about Hillary Clinton’s temperament.

Trump had to convince voters that he was prepared, qualified, and could be trusted with the presidency. He failed the test on every level.

 on: Sep 27, 2016, 06:36 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Climate chief: UK must not use Brexit to water down environment laws

Committee on Climate Change adaptation committee chair urges UK to bring in new laws to replace EU legislation and says Scotland must do more to prepare for global warming

Severin Carrell Scotland editor
Tuesday 27 September 2016 00.01 BST

The UK must not water down its environmental laws as it leaves the European Union, one of the government’s most senior advisers on climate change has warned.

Lord Krebs, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) adaptation committee, told the Guardian: “It will be absolutely crucial that governments in the UK replace European legislation and don’t see this as an opportunity to say we can now have dirtier vehicles or less efficient household appliances.”

Krebs said EU regulation played an essential part in setting industrial pollution, energy use and air quality standards in the UK, and also on habitat protection, biodiversity and marine conservation – areas controlled by the UK and devolved governments.

“It is really, really important that we replace that legislation,” he said.

The peer, a former head of the Food Standards Agency, is to tell Scottish ministers on Tuesday their efforts to prepare for the potentially severe impacts of global warming are being undermined by poor monitoring and weak delivery timetables.

He said his experts found there was insufficient evidence to say whether Scotland’s vulnerability to global warming was decreasing or not when they reviewed the Scottish climate change adaptation programme.

In a detailed climate change risk assessment for the UK released in July, the CCC said Scotland was already experiencing the first signs of climatic change, and faced huge risks if manmade warming continued, particularly to infrastructure, farming and housing.

It said annual rainfall had increased 13% since the early 20th century, while sea levels at Aberdeen had increased by about 15cm in the last century. Maximum temperatures had already increased by 1C, cutting average snow cover in the central Highlands.

Under a high-impact scenario, it said, summer temperatures in Edinburgh could rise by 4.4C by 2060, and five-day rainfall levels increase in the city by nearly 25% to 78.4mm.

As well as altering habitats, often to the benefit of farming, that would increase risks of severe flash floods of the type that devastated north-east Scotland earlier this year but also introduce damaging droughts in farming areas – currently a rare occurrence in Scotland.

Data published separately on Monday found that greenhouse gas emissions from Scottish industry had fallen again last year, by 10% for a group of six gases. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said that brought overall emissions down by 34% since 2007.

The CCC’s analysis of the Scottish climate change adaptation programme, published on Tuesday, found that 109 of its 148 policies and proposals for improving resilience had no timescale for delivery, even though ministers said they were “on track”. Another 11 had been revised or delayed, and there was no information on another eight. It said good progress on adapting key target areas was only being made in two out of 28 target areas: roads and railways, and in energy distribution.

Scottish planners and ministers were given a red mark for failing to deal with flood plain developments and for failing to make progress on soils and agriculture; there was an urgent need to address this. In 12 areas there was no information or monitoring, including emergency planning, healthcare, recovery from extreme weather and building on flood plains.

There was still no clear strategy on coastal erosion, damage to biodiversity from warming rivers and lochs and the potential for disruption to telecommunications and digital infrastructure, despite those being raised by the committee nearly five years ago.

Krebs will tell MSPs at Holyrood on Tuesday that even though the Scottish strategy was simpler and clearer than the UK government plan for England, a lack of data and target-setting is now a pressing issue. It was too unclear in many cases who was responsible for these policies, he added, despite clear leadership on climate from Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister.

In many key areas, “we simply don’t know [if resilience is being improved] because we don’t have the data”, Krebs said.

“Scotland and England are in a pretty similar place in terms of progress [but] I would say Scotland wants to put a bit more emphasis on collecting information to show what’s actually happening,” he said.

Roseanna Cunningham, cabinet secretary for climate change in the Scottish government, said the CCC report had found her government’s adaptation programme was “a positive start in taking steps to prepare” and further improvements were under way.

“We have been developing and improving our adaptation response, for example with new indicators and reporting duties on public bodies and our new national centre for resilience. We will continue to develop our approach and the next adaptation programme, due to be published in 2019, will be based on the best available evidence and the advice and recommendations of the [CCC],” she added.

 on: Sep 27, 2016, 06:34 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
China tops WHO list for deadly outdoor air pollution

More than 1 million people died from dirty air in one year, according to World Health Organisation
Children in face masks

Adam Vaughan
Tuesday 27 September 2016 07.00 BST

China is the world’s deadliest country for outdoor air pollution, according to analysis by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The UN agency has previously warned that tiny particulates from cars, power plants and other sources are killing 3 million people worldwide each year.

For the first time the WHO has broken down that figure to a country-by-country level. It reveals that of the worst three nations, more than 1 million people died from dirty air in China in 2012, at least 600,000 in India and more than 140,000 in Russia.

At 25th out of 184 countries with data, the UK ranks worse than France, with 16,355 deaths in 2012 versus 10,954, but not as poorly as Germany at 26,160, which has more industry and 16 million more people. Australia had 94 deaths and 38,043 died in the US that year from particulate pollution.

Maria Neria, director of the WHO’s public health and the environment department, told the Guardian: “Countries are confronted with the reality of better data. Now we have the figures of how many citizens are dying from air pollution. What we are learning is, this is very bad. Now there are no excuses for not taking action.”

Gavin Shaddick, who led the international team that put together the data, said: “Globally, air pollution presents a major risk to public health and a substantial number of lives could be saved if levels of air pollution were reduced.”

Sixteen scientists from eight international institutions worked with WHO on the analysis, which gathered data from 3,000 locations, using pollution monitors on the ground, modelling and satellite readings.

They looked at exposure to tiny particulates 2.5 microns in size, known as PM2.5s, which penetrate the lungs and are the air pollutant most strongly associated with an increased risk of death. “The real driver of ill health is ultra-fine particles, 2.5s – they have the ability to permeate the membrane of the lungs and enter our blood system,” said Shaddick, who is based at the University of Bath. “Increasingly there is an understanding that there are not just respiratory diseases but cardiovascular ones associated with PM2.5s.”

In the UK more than 90% of the population lives in areas with levels of PM2.5s above the WHO’s air-quality limits of 10 micrograms per cubic metre for the annual mean. The government is in the high court on 18 and 19 October facing a legal challenge by environmental law group ClientEarth, which says ministers’ clean-up plans for another pollutant – nitrogen dioxide – are inadequate.

Globally, 92% of the population breathes air that breaches WHO limits but the world map of deaths caused by PM2.5s changes when looked at per capita. When ranked by the number of deaths for every 100,000 people, Ukraine jumps to the top of the list at 120.

It is followed by eastern European and former Soviet states, and Russia itself, probably due to a legacy of heavy industry in the region. China drops down to 10th, at 76 per 100,000, and India falls to 27th, with 49 per 100,000.

Most of the air pollution comes from cars, coal-fired plants and waste burning but not all of it is created by humans. Dust storms in places close to deserts also contribute to dirty air, explaining partly why Iran is at 16th highest for total deaths, at 26,000 a year.

Most of the total deaths worldwide – two out of three – occur in south-east Asia and the western Pacific, which includes China, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, South Korea and small Pacific island states.

Shaddick said: “We might think of [pollution in] Beijing as being very high, but when you fill in the gaps between the big [Chinese] cities, [air pollution in] regions [is] remarkably high compared to the WHO limits [10 grams per cubic metre for the annual mean], up in the 50s and 60s. That’s something we in the west can’t even comprehend. That was probably a bit of a shock [to me].”

The Pacific states of Brunei Darussalam, Fiji and Vanuatu have the lowest number of deaths from air pollution, the WHO found.

Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris and chair-elect of a network of cities combating climate change, said: “Fighting pollution is one of my top priorities as mayor of Paris. It is a vital public health issue and all mayors should take on their responsibility to deliver bold actions.”

The city of Paris voted on Monday to ban cars along a stretch of the river Seine to cut pollution, defeating a minority rightwing opposition.

Hidalgo added: “I have said it before and am saying it again: we cannot negotiate with Parisians’ health.”

Neira said Canada and Scandinavian countries deserved praise for curbing air pollution and singled out France too. “France is taking a lot of action, Paris is taking aggressive measures: aggressive in the good sense. [It] maybe unpopular because it’s for the health of people but they are putting some restrictions on individuals. We all need to understand this is a matter of public health,” she said.

 on: Sep 27, 2016, 06:29 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Can the aviation industry finally clean up its emissions?

With biofuel potential limited and emissions rising, the need for industry to act is urgent. Hopes rest on a global UN carbon offset scheme to be negotiated at the ICAO summit this week - but critics remain unconvinced

John Vidal
Tuesday 27 September 2016 11.24 BST   

When a South Africa Airways scheduled flight flew from Johannesburg to Cape Town last month, it carried nearly 300 passengers.

Neither the passengers or the pilots would have noticed any difference between that flight and any other.

But instead of the usual petroleum-based jet fuel, the plane was burning thousands of litres of a clear liquid derived from the oil of nicotine-free tobacco plants grown by farmers on acres of under-used land in the country’s Limpopo province.

Boeing, KLM, South African Airways, the Dutch government and others who partnered in the trial were cock-a-hoop with the results, which came as part of something called Project Solaris.

It appeared that the fuel was not only efficient, but it was also more or less “sustainable”, because it did not take up farmland needed to grow food or lead to deforestation or ecological problems.

“It showed that a low-carbon aviation biofuel could be be grown that will not affect the environment and could reward farmers,” said Joost Van Lier, a director of South African Sunchem biofuel development, one of the project’s partners.

The tobacco fuel used was much more expensive than regular jet fuel, but because many airlines have committed to reducing CO2 emissions and substituting biofuels for some of their jet fuel by 2020, Project Solaris hopes to ramp up the acreage of tobacco grown to eventually produce millions of litres of the fuel in other southern African countries such as Malawi.

So far, there have been around 2,500 successful flights fuelled by biofuels. In March, United Airlines became the first US airline to use biofuel for regularly scheduled commercial flights from Los Angeles airport, and in June Alaska Airlines flew commercial flights using biofuel based on isobutanol produced from corn.

“Oslo airport now supplies airlines with alternative fuels for regular daily flights. Los Angeles is following and we expect John F Kennedy and other New York airports to stream from 2019,” said Michael Gill, executive director of the Air Transport Action Group, a coalition of aviation industry companies.

But despite successful tests and trials with different crops and waste streams, is there any hope in the forseeable future of aviation biofuels taking off on the scale needed to make even the slightest dent in the 300bn litres of jet fuel used worldwide every year? Worldwide, flights produced nearly 800m tonnes of CO2 in 2015, or up to 5% of all CO2 emissions.

“No credible scenarios exist for large-scale production of biofuels at present,” said Carlos Calvo Ambel, an energy analyst with Brussels-based watchdog group Transport & Environment. “So far, only a handful of companies produce renewable jet fuel on a commercial scale, and a single airport , Oslo, is set up to provide it.”

International aviation and shipping werenot mentioned in the Paris agreement, so it is unclear how their rapidly growing emissions are to be addressed. But the need for the industry to adopt a global scheme is seen as urgent if there is any hope of meeting the Paris agreement’s aspiration of holding temperature rises to 1.5C. As it is, the current industry projections expect aviation emissions to quadruple, potentially to account for 22% of global emissions by 2050.

Instead of relying on biofuels, governments are pinning their hopes on a UN global carbon offset scheme. This is to be negotiated this week in Montreal when 191 governments meet for the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) summit. A draft scheme is backed by US, Canada, Mexico, EU countries including the UK, and Singapore.

According to Transport & Environment, the US wants the new deal to cover as many countries as possible. “Its strategy has been to weaken the agreement’s environmental effectiveness so as to attract more states. China is pursuing a similar strategy, and it has yet to commit itself to signing up,” it said.

But there are grave reservations among NGOs that an offset scheme, which could see other industrial sectors cutting emissions to allow aviation to continue growing, is not ambitious enough and may not even work.

The proposal in the draft text released earlier this month defines a voluntary “pilot and implementation” period from 2021-27 after which countries would have to join in.

“One of the discussions in Montreal will be whether to include Redd [Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation] offsets [offsets based on avoiding deforestation] in ICAO’s offsetting scheme. As a way of addressing climate change, offsetting flying against the carbon stored in forests would be insane,” says Chris Lang, editor of Redd Monitor which has analysed UN proposals to reduce forestry emissions with a similar offset scheme.

“Not only would such a scheme allow the aviation sector to continue expanding and to continue burning fossil fuels, it would rely on carbon being stored in forests. Yet as climate change worsens, the risk of these forests burning and returning the carbon to the atmosphere is increasing,” he said.

The offsetting scheme, which hopes to stabilise aviation emissions at 2020 levels, is strongly defended by Michael Gill, director of the Aviation Transport Action Group (ATAG), an industry coalition.

“Offsetting is not a new concept,” he says. “Indeed, a large number of airlines already offer offsetting to passengers on a voluntary basis. What the industry does need is certainty, with a clear set of metrics defined before the scheme commences and consistently applied throughout its lifetime.”

Alexandre de Juniac, director general of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), said: “I am optimistic that we are on the brink of a historic agreement—a first for an industry sector at the global level. The aviation industry would have preferred a more ambitious timeline than is currently outlined.”

Critics are not convinced. The International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), the only civil society body accredited to observe the aviation proceedings, has strong reservations about the proposed market-based scheme because it would rely on a system of “voluntary, unguaranteed participation with weak environmental safeguards”.

“The new proposed text would allow nations participating ... to opt out with only six months’ notice, raising serious concerns about the durability of the programme,” said the ICSA in a letter to EU commissioners.

The coalition also fears that if the offsets used to achieve the goal of the UN scheme are also credited to other climate goals, emissions will increase while countries and airlines appear to meet their pledges.

Instead they want to see ambitious states and regions allowed to go further in reducing their emissions and clear language introduced to avoid double counting.

The environmental coalition prefers an expansion of the EU emissions trading system (ETS), which controversially included aviation for 10 months in 2012. The scheme involved the EU imposing a cap on carbon dioxide emissions for all planes arriving or departing from EU airports, while allowing airlines to buy and sell “pollution credits” , rewarding low carbon-emitting aviation.

But the EU froze the scheme in November 2012 after the ICAO said it would take global action on emissions from planes.

“The EU stopped the clock on its own ETS to give ICAO time to develop an environmentally meaningful measure, not a voluntary scheme which postpones serious action for a decade or more. Europe should be proud of setting the global benchmark, and never replace it with something inferior that is open to bogus offset programmes,” said Andrew Murphy, aviation policy officer at Transport & Environment.

 on: Sep 27, 2016, 06:27 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Single clothes wash may release 700,000 microplastic fibres, study finds

Tiny plastic particles released by synthetic fabrics can cause harm to marine life when they enter rivers and oceans

Laura Paddison
Tuesday 27 September 2016 01.00 BST

A team at Plymouth University in the UK spent 12 months analysing what happened when a number of synthetic materials were washed at different temperatures in domestic washing machines, using different combinations of detergents, to quantify the microfibres shed.

They found that acrylic was the worst offender, releasing nearly 730,000 tiny synthetic particles per wash, five times more than polyester-cotton blend fabric, and nearly 1.5 times as many as polyester.

“Different types of fabrics can have very different levels of emissions,” said Richard Thompson, professor of marine biology at Plymouth University, who conducted the investigation with a PhD student, Imogen Napper. “We need to understand why is it that some types of [fabric] are releasing substantially more fibres  than others.”

These microfibres track through domestic wastewater into sewage treatment plants where some of the tiny plastic fragments are captured as part of sewage sludge. The rest pass through into rivers and eventually, oceans. A paper published in 2011 found that microfibres made up 85% of human-made debris on shorelines around the world.

The impact of microplastic pollution is not fully understood but studies have suggested that it has the potential to poison the food chain, build up in animals’ digestive tracts, reduce the ability of some organisms to absorb energy from foods in the normal way and even to change the behaviour of crabs.

Clothes washing has been widely reported as a contributor to microplastics pollution. A study released in June by the University of California Santa Barbara, in partnership with a clothes company Patagonia, found that each wash of a synthetic fleece jacket released an average of 1.7g of microfibres.

There has been little quantitative research on the contribution that fibres from synthetic clothing make to other sources of microplastics pollution, according to Thompson. It is too soon to reach firm conclusions, he said, but “our research shows it’s likely to be an important source”.

“More work is needed to understand other factors [that] affect emissions,” he said. He pointed to wash duration, washing machine filter designs and spin speeds as potential factors in the quantity of microfibres released.

“These tiny plastics are just the tip of the iceberg of the estimated 12m tonnes of plastic [that] enters the sea every year,” said Louise Edge, oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK. “From bottles to packaging to microplastics, companies need to take responsibility for what they produce; governments need to legislate for change – and all of us need to change how we think about plastic.”

Governments are already acting on plastic pollution. The UK has announced a ban on microbeads to come into effect by the end of 2017, while in the US they will be banned by mid-2017. “We are not advocating that this research should trigger something similar,” said Thompson. But “industry needs to think about the design of fabrics to ensure their environmental emissions are minimised”.

 on: Sep 27, 2016, 06:25 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Great Barrier Reef: Unesco pushes for tree-clearing controls

UN agency recognises ‘importance of strengthening our vegetation protection laws’, Queensland’s Jackie Trad says

Joshua Robertson
Tuesday 27 September 2016 07.39 BST

Unesco has acknowledged the importance of stymied tree-clearing controls in Queensland to efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef, according to the state’s deputy premier, Jackie Trad.

Trad has emerged from a meeting in Paris with a Unesco official, Fanny Douvere, to declare the state Labor government would restore clearing controls, one of its “key commitments” to the reef, if it won another term of office.

She indicated the defeat of Labor’s clearing controls owing to crossbench opposition in a hung parliament last month had been raised during an otherwise “positive meeting” about the Queensland government’s progress on a long-term conservation plan for the reef.

Australia’s reef 2050 long-term sustainability plan, urgently updated with input by the Palaszczuk government after its election, spared the reef an “in-danger” listing by the UN’s world heritage committee last year.

“While Unesco provided positive feedback on the work already under way, they recognised the importance of strengthening our vegetation protections laws – one of the Palaszczuk government’s key commitments to protect the Great Barrier Reef,” Trad said.

“Despite recent setbacks in parliament, the Palaszczuk government is still resolutely committed to protecting our reef and will reinstate our nation-leading vegetation protection laws if we are returned at the next election.”

The Palaszczuk government argues that tree-clearing controls are critical for the reef by reducing farm runoff pollution and carbon emissions. They are opposed by the farmers’ lobby and some traditional owners concerned about development hurdles.

Australia is due to lodge a formal progress report on its reef plan with Unesco’s World Heritage Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature in December.

Trad said the World Heritage Centre would then carry out “a robust scientific assessment of this report” to hold both the Australian and the Queensland governments to account after their commitments made to a Unesco meeting in Bonn last year.

The reef suffered its world bleaching event on record this Australian summer, killing off 22% of its coral, according to government agencies.

Trad said the state had been “undertaking work to build the resilience of the reef and helping it recover from events like recent coral bleaching”.

She cited the state’s $22m boost in reef water quality programs in 2016 and its $33m investment over four years to target “pollutant hotspots” from grazing and sugarcane growing.

 on: Sep 27, 2016, 06:23 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad

The next step in our understanding of skipped steps is to examine the planetary rulers, by house, sign, and aspects, of both the South and North Nodes. The location of these planetary rulers correlate to the dynamics that the Soul has created that have lead too the skip steps that are symbolized in the house and sign location of the Lunar Nodes themselves.

In our simple example we had the South and North Nodes in the 4th and 10th house, and they were square Venus in the 7th House. We can now example dynamics that have lead to those skipped steps by putting the South Node ruler in the 11th House, and the North Node ruler in the 8th House.

Dynamics in the 11th House that could have lead to the skipped steps could, for example, be various circumstances that the Soul has created to enforce the underlying Soul intention of learning the 4th House evolutionary lesson of to be secure from within itself, and to minimize external dependencies. Such circumstances could be various types of traumas: 11th House. Such traumas could be being born through a mother or father in which one or both desired to have a baby of the opposite gender that the Soul actually chose to be born into. The initial imprinting for the baby upon birth is one of rejection. Another example could be being  born into parents, by the Soul's choice, in which the parents we in some kind of trauma within their own relationship that then caused the Soul be to dislocated from the parents of birth. This dislocation could be being given to one of the child's set of grandparents for example. Another could be being simply given a way to anyone who wanted to raise the child. This could include children's homes. Yet another example is one or both parents having emotionally and psychological reactions to the Soul at birth that were defined by their feeling that the child was so 'different' from them that they could not bond with the child. Within this could be that fact that the mother got pregnant by another man and did not tell her husband, or the subsequent child about this fact.

In these simple examples we can see the dynamics that operate as causes, causative factors, manifesting through the 4th House that have lead to the emotional skipped steps that can then be projected upon the partners in the 7th House Venus.

With the planetary ruler of the N.Node being in the 8th House the Soul has thus felt abandoned, that it's need to create trust with others has been violated, that the core love and acceptance that ANY CHILD NATURALLY EXPECTS FROM THEIR BIOLOGICAL PARENTS has been arrested. As the Soul grows older these arrested emotions, the natural emotions of needing to feel love and acceptance, becomes intensified with the Soul structure itself.  Combined with the planetary ruler of the S.Node in the 11th these displaced emotions, the psychology of them, become projected upon and through the 7th House Venus leading the the skipped steps in our example. The Soul through these displaced emotions rooted in some kind of trauma could then become extremely, 7th house Venus, psychologically demanding, manipulative, and explosive towards others in general, and their intimate others specifically.

This understanding can be applied to all charts in which you see the signature of skipped steps, and your won chart if you have them in your birth chart.

Before we continue on please ask me if you have any questions based on what we have discussed to this point.

God Bless, Rad

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