I hate to be an alarmist, but Donald Trump could be on course to be elected president of the United States – and the decisive moment may well come on Monday night. That’s when he faces Hillary Clinton in what is expected to be one of the most watched events in television history. The TV debates are perhaps the last chance for her to persuade the American people that this man is unqualified for, and unworthy of, the presidency and poses a genuine threat to the republic.
If that sounds like panic, then I’m not the only one. Sweaty-palmed nausea has become a leading symptom among those who tremble at the prospect of a Trump presidency. A new Slate podcast is called Time to Panic. Number cruncher Nate Silver, who gives Trump a 40% probability of winning, triggered another round of liberal angst this week when he tweeted that he had “Never seen otherwise smart people in so much denial about something as they are about Trump’s chances. Same mistake as primaries, Brexit.”
Never seen otherwise smart people in so much denial as they are about Trump’s chances. Same mistake as BrexitContinue reading...
The Israeli novelist Amos Oz talks about prose, poetry and politics in his latest novel, Judas
The novelist Amos Oz has been exploring the complexities of the Israeli experience in a career that stretches back more than 50 years. His latest novel, Judas, examines betrayal and belief in a multi-layered story that moves between Christianity’s early days and 1950s Jerusalem.
When he came to discuss the novel in front of a Guardian Live audience, Oz explained how he started reading the gospels as a teenager and his rage at the inconsistencies at the heart of the Judas story. The wide-ranging discussion included the dangerous appeal of fanaticism, the contested line between reasonable criticism of Israel and antisemitism and his hopes for peace.Continue reading...
As he publishes his first novel in more than a decade, the Israeli author explains why he had to rewrite the toxic story of Judas – and his complicated relationship with his homeland
The man who for decades has been Israel’s best known literary voice is proclaiming his “deep love” for “one of the greatest Jews who ever lived”. Amos Oz recalls falling for “this Jew” many years ago, when, as a teenage kibbutznik, he became enchanted by “his poetry, his humour, his compassion, his warmth, his simplicity”. Oz’s sweet hymn of praise is addressed to Jesus Christ.
If that comes as a surprise, it’s not only because Oz is an Israeli Jew. It’s also because he’s written often – and fiercely – of the role centuries of Christian persecution played in nurturing the Jewish longing for a homeland. But whatever anger he harbours toward Christian Europe, for Jesus, Oz expresses only fond admiration. Even if, the writer adds with a smile, “he and I disagree on many things – like any two Israelis”.
This is not an innocent story. It is responsible for rivers of blood, for generations of hatred and persecution
Judas believed in Jesus more than Jesus believed in himself
Related: Judas by Amos Oz – review
This is my political credo and my business as a novelist: the changes that occur in the hearts and minds of people
Related: Interview: Amos Oz
Societies immersed in conflict tend to become more racist, intolerant and unforgivingContinue reading...
I'm guessing the year was 2000, maybe 2001. It was a morning editorial meeting at the Guardian and someone mentioned plans for coverage of a royal funeral. "When the Queen Mother dies…" he said. "No, no, no," I interrupted. "If the Queen Mother dies."
At that stage, she was 100 years old and seemed destined to go on forever. Some public figures are like that. They've been around so long, captured in photographs from decade after decade, that you come to assume they're part of the fixed landscape, like a geological feature.
In Britain, that role has long been played by the Queen. In Israel, her equivalent has, for years, been Shimon Peres.
Israelis cracked similar jokes about him, riffing on his longevity. On word of a new archaeological discovery, some smart-alec would say: "They found ancient Roman coins, a Maccabean spear - and Shimon Peres's barmitzvah suit."
The assumption was that Peres had been around for eternity and would stay that way. When he stepped down from the presidency, aged 91, Israeli commentators asked: "What will Peres do next?"
Still, and inevitably, when word came last week that Peres had suffered a serious stroke, it was his long past that came to mind.
Think of each Israeli decade and Peres had a prominent role in it: president in the noughties; Prime Minister and Oslo signatory in the '90s; PM and Finance Minister in the '80s; acting PM and Defence Minister in charge of the Entebbe rescue operation in the '70s; rising star minister in the '60s; key player in the Suez drama, and architect of Israel's secret nuclear programme, in the '50s; close aide to David Ben Gurion, in charge of arms procurement for the embryonic IDF, in the 1940s.
It's that last fact that is the most staggering. Only in his twenties, Peres was an influential figure in the 1948 War of Independence and an intimate of the founder of the state of Israel. It's as if in the United States of, say, 1844, there lived a politician who had begun his career advising George Washington. Peres was present at the creation. It makes him the last survivor of the founding generation, the last human link to Israel's birth. As as write, it seems that link will soon be severed.
That is bound to have an effect on the country. I remember Israeli commentators saying something similar a decade ago when Ariel Sharon, then Prime Minister, suffered the stroke that incapacitated him. Now, they wrote, the giants were gone. From now on, only lesser mortals would govern Israel - perhaps bringing an end to the grandiose visions of the past and heralding a future more like a normal country.
I'm not sure. But Israel will certainly feel different when none of the 1948 generation is around, when living memory slips into history. Think of how individuals are once they no longer have a living parent: there's a sense that now it's up to them, that ultimate responsibility falls on them and them alone.
There's something else, too. When the time comes for obituaries, it'll be tempting to laud Peres the way he styled himself, as the "man of peace." After all, Peres won a Nobel prize for his involvement in Oslo, was tenacious in his pursuit of dialogue with Arab and Palestinian partners and was a constant target of the Israeli right for his advocacy of territorial compromise. They mocked him as hopelessly naive, an ingénu even in his nineties.
But that was not the whole picture. Peres was also the godfather of Israel's atom bomb; as a minister, he repeatedly indulged the spread of West Bank settlements and, most notoriously, sat in the prime minister's chair in 1996 when Israel shelled a UN compound in Qana, Lebanon, a horrific, and still contested, episode that took the lives of more than 100 Lebanese civilians, all of them seeking safety.
In other words, Peres can be written up as both a dove and a hawk. The legendary writer Amos Oz, a friend of Peres, likes to point out that it was the pacific figure of Levi Eshkol who ended up building "the largest Jewish empire since King David" while it was the nationalist Menachem Begin who gave away more territory than any Israeli leader before or since.
Oz's point is that people change, surprising both themselves and us. But it is also true that no one is ever just one thing. Peres lived a life in full, notching up a history marked by both pride and shame. Just like Israel itself, the country he shaped from the very start.
Perhaps it’s just spin. Maybe Tony Blair’s announcement that he is winding up his extravagantly lucrative business interests, so that he can concentrate on his charitable work, is just another bit of smooth news management from the master of the art.Continue reading...
Britain’s conservatives used to put practice ahead of theory, leaving ideology to the left. No longer
I’d like to blame the government for the imminent departure, and perhaps demise, of the Great British Bake Off. Partly because it’s a national habit to blame the government for any and every woe. And partly because demise does not seem too pessimistic a forecast for the fate of this much-cherished show once it leaves the BBC.
Plenty of Bake Off devotees saw this week’s news as only the latest gloom-bomb to have been dropped by 2016
What accounts for this war on a UK success story? In part it's commercial interest. But the key motive's ideologicalContinue reading...
When they gave him his send-off just two months ago, the House of Commons was warm and generous to David Cameron. A standing ovation on one side of the chamber, sustained applause on the other. But history won’t be anything like as kind.Continue reading...
- Republican rival attacks Clinton’s ‘biggest mistake of the political season’
- Clinton cancels trip after pneumonia forces departure from 9/11 ceremony
- A week with Trump: inside the campaign that keeps confounding
He was 73, and his aides moved fast to put a positive spin on the tumble: if he can fall down and get right back up again, that proves he’s fit enough for the White House!
Post-speech, Trump hits a diner in suburban Dundalk:
Per pool, Trump is now at a diner in Dundalk as opposed to part of inner city Baltimore that he often expresses concern about
Trump spent a month trying to undercut the impression that he has a problem with bias against women and minorities. He ostensibly reached out to the black community and flirted briefly with softening his position on immigration. But it didn’t work; his numbers with nonwhite voters got worse from August to September, while his numbers with white voters got a little better.
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon is still on TV talking about the candidate’s pneumonia. Fallon has skipped from MSNBC to CNN.
He tells CNN that the candidate is not contagious, AP reports:
Fallon on CNN: "She is not contagious she's been told by her doctor."
If the Democrats take control of the senate, New York senator Chuck Schumer is in line to become majority leader.
But wait – Schumer was diagnosed with pneumonia “several weeks ago,” his office has announced. Unfit to serve?
(AP) — The No. 3 Senate Democrat is disclosing that he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Senator Chuck Schumer was diagnosed several weeks ago
In response to questions from The Associated Press, Schumer spokesman Matt House says in a statement that Schumer was diagnosed with pneumonia and took antibiotics per doctor’s order, and also kept a lighter schedule. House says, “His doctor has pronounced him all cleared up and he’s feeling much better.”
Your pneumonia jokes are hilarious
The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs reports they weren’t all clapping:
Sitting in the audience right now, it's noteworthy that none of the people of color anywhere near me are giving Trump any applause
Which line from this Trump speech is most hypocritical so far?
1 Hillary Clinton despises American voters
Donald Trump - who has not apologized for a single attack he's lobbed this campaign - calls on HRC to apologize for "basket of deplorables"
"Hillary Clinton lives a sequestered life behind gates and walls and guards," says Trump, who lives in a gold-rimmed Trump Tower penthouse.
Trump ends that section of his diatribe. There’s some applause. Is it overwhelming applause? Sounds like even applause. Is the crowd following him in this attack on Clinton?
Trump is still at it. He accuses Clinton of having “contempt” in her heart for the American voter:
You cannot run for president if you have such contempt in your heart for the American voter... Hillary Clinton still hasn’t apologized to those she slandered... if Hillary Clinton will not retract her comments in full, I don’t see how she can credibly campaign any further. Let’s be clear, these were not offhand comments. ...
It was perhaps the most explicit attack on the American voter ever spoken by a major party presidential nominee.
Trump says Clinton looks at Americans "as subjects for her rule"
Trump: "She called patriotic men and women every vile name in the book.”
Trump shifts from praising the national guard to hitting Clinton as hard as he can over the “basket of deplorables” remarks:
I was thus deeply shocked and alarmed to hear my opponent attack, slander, smear, demean these wonderful, amazing people who are supporting our campaign by the millions. Our support ... comes from every walk of life... millions of working class families who just want a better future and a good job.
These were the people Hillary Clinton so viciously demonized. These were among the countless Americans that Hillary Clinton called deplorable, irredeemable and un-American...
Trump tells the national guard they’ll have his support if he’s elected:
If I am given the honor to serve as your president, which I think will happen, and we’re going to soon find out... I will pledge to support you, and give you the... resources you deserve.”
Here’s Trump now. He’s a few minutes early. “This is a great honor,” he begins. “I’ve met more generals than I’ve ever seen in my life. I like them and they like me. A lot of endorsements, I can tell you.”
Donald Trump is due to speak before long at the National Guard Association general conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs is in the room which, he reports, is cold, except for the smooth jazz, an implicitly hot genre.
The grave at Arlington national cemetery of the fallen Muslim army captain whose father’s rousing speech at the Democratic national convention drew insults from Donald Trump has drawn thousands of people who leave letters and make other gestures of support, the New York Times reports:
Since late July, thousands of people — veterans, relatives of fallen soldiers, even those with no connection to the cemetery — have made their way to Captain Khan’s grave, deep inside the cemetery, to bear witness and offer words of support.
“We try to count the messages” left behind, Captain Khan’s father, Khizr, said in an interview on Friday. “We have exhausted number 4,000 and counted on.”
Fallon, the Clinton spokesman, corroborates a report that floated in People magazine earlier today, that many Clinton campaign staff, including campaign director Robbie Mook, had been knocked out in recent days by what sounds like a gnarly bug:
Robbie Mook, Brian Fallon, number of senior staff have been ill with respiratory issues in recent days per @brianefallon
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon is on TV extending communications director Jennifer Palmieri’s earlier message: “we could have done better” in handling the information flow before, during and after Clinton’s collapse yesterday morning caught on video:
"In retrospect, we could have handled it better in providing more information," Clinton spox @brianefallon says on MSNBC. "We regret that."
"If it was up to her, she'd be traveling to California today," @brianefallon says of Clinton, but she is heeding doctor's advice.
Clinton to release additional medical information in coming days "to further put to rest any lingering concerns," @brianefallon says.
Fallon says that Clinton's medical records will show that she has "no other undisclosed condition"
After Fox News this morning allowed Donald Trump to devote minutes of airtime to talking about the grand opening of his new Washington, DC, hotel, Trump keeps up the advertising:
First major party nominee to simultaneously run for presidency & actively promote personal biz interestshttps://t.co/BXuVxnuM5b
You seem to forget Al Smith's Make America Wet Again derby hats from 1928. https://t.co/FEqYNXf7vp
Former Ambassador R. James Woolsey, a CIA director for two years under Bill Clinton, has joined the Trump campaign as a senior adviser, the campaign announced.
Woolsey says in a statement that he supports Trump’s plan to “reinvest in and modernize our military” and reverse “the harmful defense budget cuts” “while acknowledging the need for debt reduction.”
What an irony that Jim Woolsey, who only got the CIA directorship because Bill Clinton knew nothing about the CIA, has gone to Trumpistan.
I have no power to assign @EliLake anything, but the people want an Eli column on Jim Woolsey, Trump's Neocon
This throwback also endorsed Bob Dole in 1996. https://t.co/SM1sWzziHz
Call it bigotry. Call it racism. Call it xenophobia. As a writer – especially one who covers national politics – you chalk it up as coming with the territory, as hurtful and as menacing as it can be. This year, though, it is coming far more frequently. There is no mystery why.
Maybe you don’t believe Donald Trump is a bigot. Or a racist. Or a xenophobe. But the Republican nominee for president certainly has won the support of people who are.
I was born, 35 years ago this week, in Youngstown, Ohio. My mother was born in Youngstown. My father was born in Youngstown. You have to go back four generations – to great-grandparents on both sides of my family – to find relatives born in another country.
@HenryJGomez Big balls on Hank huh? Since we're stereotyping maybe we should start asking to see your green card. You a spic or a beaner?
Axelrod takes a swing at the Trump campaign now for lack of transparency (see earlier):
Donald Trump will respond to calls to discuss his medical records this week in a television appearance with Dr Oz, a popular physician who has been shown to endorse medical treatments that have not been proven effective by evidence-based science, writes the Guardian’s Amanda Holpuch:
Oz shot to fame after appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show, but has lost luster in the medical community in the seven seasons he has hosted his own television show.
Would a Trump administration issue one of these? Here’s a statement by Barack Obama on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, via the White House:
Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslims across our country and around the world who are celebrating Eid al-Adha. This special holiday is a time to honor the sacrifice, resolve, and commitment to God demonstrated by Abraham. It marks the end of the pilgrimage of Hajj performed each year by millions of Muslims who journey from all corners of the world to Mecca as a testament to their faith. It is also a celebration of the ways faith can transcend any differences or boundaries and unite us under the banners of fellowship and love.
During this time, Muslims from all walks of life join their neighbors and friends at their local mosques, community centers, and homes to pray, give alms, exchange gifts, and recommit to helping others. Food and money are distributed to those in need as men, women, and children reflect on their fortune and look towards the next year.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is on Twitter this morning hammering Hillary Clinton for what Conway says is a lack of transparency:
Lack of transparency is an overarching theme. https://t.co/8nzkWd7l7T
In contrast to HRC, Trump has been less transparent than any nominee in modern history. https://t.co/Q50oHK85wQ
The Donald J. Trump Foundation is not like other charities. An investigation of the foundation — including examinations of 17 years of tax filings and interviews with more than 200 individuals or groups listed as donors or beneficiaries — found that it collects and spends money in a very unusual manner.
For one thing, nearly all of its money comes from people other than Trump. In tax records, the last gift from Trump was in 2008. Since then, all of the donations have been other people’s money — an arrangement that experts say is almost unheard of for a family foundation.
If American voters (or journalists) still expect their candidates to be – in the words of a popular musical – young, scrappy and hungry, they have not been paying attention, writes Richard Wolffe for the Guardian:
The primaries have left us with two nominees who are rather geriatric, stiff and well-fed.
Donald Trump will release “very, very specific” results of a physical examination soon, the Republican presidential candidate said on Monday, a day after the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, was revealed to have pneumonia, writes the Guardian’s Martin Pengelly:
“This last week I took a physical and I’ll be releasing when the numbers come in,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News.
A new Trump campaign ad highlights a Hillary Clinton attack on his supporters.
The ad features part of a few lines that Clinton delivered at a Friday fundraiser:
You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it. And unfortunately, there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.
People like you, you and you: deplorable. You know what’s deplorable? Hillary Clinton viciously demonizing hard-working people like you.
A friend sent me this. Apparently I made the cut as one of the Deplorables All kidding aside I am honored to be grouped with the hard working men and women of this great nation that have supported @realdonaldtrump and know that he can fix the mess created by politicians in Washington. He's fighting for you and won't ever quit. Thanks for your trust! #trump2016 #maga #makeamericagreatagain #basketofdeplorables
Political strategist turned academic David Axelrod, who really made his career by helping Obama beat Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, describes what he sees as the central problem for Clinton, in the current conversation about her health, and before that: an “unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems”:
Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What's the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?
Whoa. Well said. https://t.co/GeCfN5jKAN
We could have done better yesterday, but it is a fact that public knows more about HRC than any nominee in history. https://t.co/Q50oHK85wQ
Hello and welcome to our live-wire coverage of the 2016 race for the White House. Donald Trump has expressed hope for a speedy recovery for Hillary Clinton following Clinton’s abrupt and physically shaky departure Sunday from a 9/11 memorial event.
Clinton is resting at home in Chappaqua, New York, after canceling a two-day fundraising trip to California on the advice of her doctor, who said the candidate had been diagnosed Friday with pneumonia.
Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies. On Friday, during follow up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule.
While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now rehydrated and recovering nicely.”
Lesson for the next 4 years: whatever the question is, never believe the first answer from the Hillary Clinton White House.Continue reading...
Twenty years ago, almost to the week, Bob Dole, then the Republican nominee for president, slipped and fell off a stage. He was 73, and his aides moved fast to put a positive spin on the tumble: if he can fall down and get right back up again, that proves he’s fit enough for the White House!
But that’s not how most people saw it. Earlier that same day Dole had offered congratulations to the Brooklyn Dodgers, a team that had not existed for four decades. (They became the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958.) By nightfall TV comedians were renaming the candidate Bob Old. His campaign never recovered.
There have been sick men in the Oval Office: Roosevelt used a wheelchair, while Kennedy had injections for back pain.Continue reading...