Tag Archives: islamic

Road to Riyadh, Day Two

Mother Jones

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When I first saw this picture, I figured it was just a dumb Photoshop and skipped on by. But no. This is real:

King Salman seems genuinely fascinated by this modern miracle. El-Sisi obviously doesn’t give a shit and is just being polite. Trump looks like he’s trying to commune with Sauron. Naturally this turned into a huge Twitter meme instantly, and I imagine we’re going to be seeing this picture around for years.

And contrary to what I reported earlier, it turns out that Trump didn’t quite manage to recite today’s speech off the teleprompter correctly. He was apparently so nervous about the whole radical Islamic terrorism vs. violent extremism vs. Islamist extremism thing that he blew it:

Trump had been in Saudi Arabia for about 36 hours at that point. Only 150 hours to go!

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Road to Riyadh, Day Two

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Here’s Why the Saudis Love Trump

Mother Jones

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Last year, President Obama offered Saudi Arabia an arms deal worth $115 billion. President Trump just closed a deal valued at only $110 billion. He’s also spoken viciously about Islam on the campaign trail and tried to ban the entry of visitors from seven Muslim countries. And yet the Saudis are thrilled to have Trump in office. Why? Molly Hennessy-Fiske explains:

The White House they see now is presided over by a strong leader — a model Gulf monarchs recognize from their own governing styles — and if Trump surrounds himself with business-friendly family members high in his administration, well, so do they.

….“The GCC countries are not only excited about Trump, but the people he’s chosen to have around him,” said Alibrahim, who dismissed Obama as “the worst president ever,” unwilling to confront Iran and its Shiite Muslim proxies in Syria and neighboring Yemen, whom the Sunni leaders of the Gulf see as rivals.

….“Trump is a welcome change from Barack Obama because he does not remind them, does not pressure them, about American values and ideas about human rights and democracy. This president is a hardcore realist: He just doesn’t care. This goes well with many leaders in this part of the world,” Gerges said.

Trump has already impressed Gulf Arab leaders by escalating the war against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria and supporting the Saudi fight against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

As far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, Trump’s anti-Muslim rabble-rousing is just red meat for the American rubes. They don’t take anything Trump says seriously, only what he does. And what’s clear is that (a) Trump’s personal brand of corruption is reassuringly Middle Eastern, (b) he hates Iran, (c) he’s not going to harass the Saudis over trivia like human rights, and (d) he doesn’t care how brutal they get in their war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

That’s it. That’s all they care about. Trump isn’t bringing in more business and he’s not selling them more arms. Nor is his actual policy toward Iran and Yemen more than a few degrees different from Obama’s. He’s just carrying it out with no strings attached. They like that.

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Here’s Why the Saudis Love Trump

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The Entire World Is Adapting to Having an Idiot in the White House

Mother Jones

Over at the Washington Post, Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe report that President Trump is an idiot:

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State….The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said that Trump’s decision to do so risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State.

….“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

Meanwhile, over at Foreign Policy, Robbie Gramer reports that our allies think Trump is an idiot too:

NATO is scrambling to tailor its upcoming meeting to avoid taxing President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention span. The alliance is telling heads of state to limit talks to two to four minutes at a time during the discussion, several sources inside NATO and former senior U.S. officials tell Foreign Policy. And the alliance scrapped plans to publish the traditional full post-meeting statement meant to crystallize NATO’s latest strategic stance.

….“It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump,” said one source briefed extensively on the meeting’s preparations. “It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They’re freaking out.”

The Republican Party has a lot to answer for. When that day comes, it’s going to come hard.


The Entire World Is Adapting to Having an Idiot in the White House

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In Mosul, Yet Another Botched Operation

Mother Jones

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A US airstrike in Mosul last week appears to have killed upwards of 200 civilians. The New York Times reports:

American military officials insisted on Friday that the rules of engagement had not changed. They acknowledged, however, that American airstrikes in Syria and Iraq had been heavier in an effort to press the Islamic State on multiple fronts.

….Col. John J. Thomas, a spokesman for the United States Central Command, said that the military was seeking to determine whether the explosion in Mosul might have been prompted by an American or coalition airstrike, or was a bomb or booby trap placed by the Islamic State….Iraqi officers, though, say they know exactly what happened: Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi, a commander of the Iraqi special forces, said that the civilian deaths were a result of a coalition airstrike that his men had called in, to take out snipers on the roofs of three houses in a neighborhood called Mosul Jidideh. General Saadi said the special forces were unaware that the houses’ basements were filled with civilians.

….Before, Iraqi officers were highly critical of the Obama administration’s rules, saying that many requests for airstrikes were denied because of the risk that civilians would be hurt. Now, the officer said, it has become much easier to call in airstrikes. Some American military officials had also chafed at what they viewed as long and onerous White House procedures for approving strikes under the Obama administration.

This may simply be an appalling incident not related to any change in policy. Even with the best preparation, sometimes horrible things happen when you’re at war. Still, in the past two months we’ve had a botched raid in Yemen; two attacks in Syria with heavy civilian casualties; and now an airstrike in Mosul that left hundreds of civilians dead. It’s fair to wonder if a guy whose idea of military strategy is to “bomb the shit out of ISIS” has also decided that he doesn’t much care about civilian casualties while he’s doing it.

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In Mosul, Yet Another Botched Operation

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Here’s What It’s Like to Be Muslim in the Bible Belt in 2017

Mother Jones

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In August 2012, a mosque opened in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, a bustling college town outside of Nashville that is home to students, long-time residents, refugees, suburban families, and everyone in between. The national headlines for the stories about the event suggested some of the conflicts that had led to this moment: The New York Daily News wrote, “Tennessee Mosque Opens After Years of Controversy,” the New York Times wrote “After a Struggle, Mosque Opens in Tennessee”, and NPR wrote “Murfreesboro Mosque Finally Opens.”

But the summer day when it opened was peaceful and harmonious, with the exception of a lone protester, wearing an “I Love Jesus” hat and a shirt bearing the 10 Commandments. The day was one for celebration, and the members of the Muslim community who had gathered were not dwelling on the fact that during court battles over permits, Rutherford County had spent more than $340,000 in legal fees fighting the right to build this place of worship. Or that the lieutenant governor of Tennessee at the time, Ron Ramsey, had described Islam as a “cult” while voicing opposition to the mosque.

The community itself was split between those attacking the approximately 300 families of the mosque for being Muslim and those who banded with their Muslim neighbors. The peaceful community was the target of a bomb threat—the anonymous caller, later found to be a Texas man, promised it would go off inside the office space where the community was worshipping in the interim on Sept. 11. A vandal scrawled “not welcome” across a sign announcing the construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. Construction equipment used to build the walls of the mosque was set on fire, its charred remains a warning to worshippers that they were not safe. But after two troubled years, the mosque finally opened, and residents began to take its presence on Veals Road for granted.

Then Donald Trump was elected, and the anti-Muslim rhetoric that once inflamed the Bible Belt town of 126,000 was reignited.

Murfreesboro is home to a very small fraction of American Muslims, but it was primed for a backlash in a unique way. Most residents remember the saga of the mosque, and the Baptist church next door made its anti-Islam position very clear by erecting 13 10-foot-tall crosses into the ground “to make a statement.” There are residents of Murfreesboro who stood with their Muslim neighbors, leaving flowers and handwritten cards at the front door of the mosque, but there are increasingly louder voices that threaten the safety of others who happen to be Muslim. It’s a sort of microcosm of what has happened across the country, where tensions and even violence have escalated against Muslims in the wake of the inflammatory rhetoric of President Donald Trump.

“People are afraid, and they won’t tell others about harassment,” says Saleh Sbenaty, a leader in the Muslim community, who was deeply involved in the struggle to get the mosque built. “It’s really scary and dangerous.”

He added that some members of the mosque have told him they are considering not attending services because they are frightened of the possibility of an attack. When news broke that a mosque in Texas had been set on fire shortly after Trump announced an executive order temporarily banning refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, they prayed for safety. When a shooting at a Quebec City mosque by a 27-year-old white male who was reportedly “a right-wing troll who frequently took anti-foreigner and anti-feminist positions and stood up for U.S. President Donald Trump” left six dead and more injured three days after Trump’s executive order, they felt their worst fears were being confirmed.

The Sbenaty family left Syria because it was unsafe, and they wanted a better life for themselves and their children. His daughter Dima was born in Damascus, but her mother brought her to the United States when she was eight months old to join Saleh, who was earning his PhD at the time. Their son, Salim, was born in Murfreesboro. A week after the election, 20-year-old Salim, was waiting tables at a local restaurant when he was asked, “Son, where are you from?”

“I was born and raised here in Murfreesboro,” he replied.

The response was abrupt. “You look foreign.”

“My parents came from Damascus a long time ago,” Salim said. The man stared.

“I’m going to the car to get my gun.”

Later that night, he told his father, who was horrified, and asked how he responded. Salim said the man had probably never met anyone who looked like him before, and he did not want to deepen his hatred. Saleh says many people in the Muslim community in Murfreesboro would have done the same, although he encouraged his son to report the incident.

During his campaign, Trump went back and forth on a proposal to create a “Muslim registry.” When he was asked about it in November 2015, he said, “We’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely. We’re going to have to look at the mosques.” Later, he said he wanted to have a database on Syrian refugees who immigrate into the United States. Less than a month later, in December 2015, he proposed banning all Muslim immigration. Trump has consistently talked about the threat of “radical Islam,” and in an interview with CNN last year, he told Anderson Cooper, “I think Islam hates us.”

Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, has also been vocal about his views on Islam. “We are in an outright war against jihadist, Islamic fascists,” Bannon said in a 2014 speech. He also said the religion was metastasizing—like cancer.

Some Tennessee lawmakers have spouted similar claims—Tennessee state Sen. Mae Beavers told town hall attendees on Feb. 16 that Muslim terrorists were “infiltrating churches” and planning jihad in the Bible Belt. She also has expressed support for Trump’s “Muslim ban.” Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who served as a vice chair of Trump’s transition team, said Trump’s immigration order was a “security test, not a religious one.”

“Our intelligence and security agencies must ascertain the scope of the Islamic terror threat in order to develop proper refugee vetting protocols—if possible,” she wrote in an op-ed for The Tennessean.

And now, according to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, anti-Muslim hate groups have tripled since 2015.

Ossama Bahoul, the former imam at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said there is a big difference between what the Muslim community in Middle Tennessee went through when the mosque was being built and what is happening now. Back then, the government was on their side—it defended his people’s right to worship and promised to take swift action against anyone who threatened them. Now, he hears the Islamophobia that used to come from the mouths of protesters coming from the government. “It is really disturbing for me to be talking about this,” Bahloul said. “The people who are supposed to protect us are singling our community out. That’s tough.”

Bahloul and Saleh Sbenaty tell Mother Jones about women who had been threatened for wearing the hijab and sometimes, Bahloul said, people have tried to assault them. Schoolchildren have come home crying because other children asked if their headscarves are hiding a bomb. Other Muslims have told him they have heard mutterings of “it’s about time to clean up America” and “go back home” when they pass by.

Recently, when another student at school referred to one of the children in his congregation as “Bin Laden,” Bahloul found himself at a loss. “Our kids were born in America—they don’t speak any language but English,” he said. “They are American kids, and they will come at a very young age and say, ‘Why do they hate us?'”

The effects of Trump’s comments about Muslims is not restricted to the random acts of violence directed at Muslims in the United States. The executive order he signed banning refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly-Muslim countries—including Syria—mean the Sbenatys and other families fear they’ll be separated from family members for quite some time. Saleh hasn’t seen his mother, who is 83, in 11 years. He wants to bring her to America, but the recent events make that seem unlikely. His siblings got married after he left Syria, and he has nieces and nephews he has never met. Minutes after the Ninth Circuit Court filed a preliminary injunction against Trump’s immigration order, effectively putting it on hold, Trump tweeted, in all caps: “See you in court, the security of our nation is at stake!”

“Now there is no option for me to go and visit or for them to come over here,” Saleh told Mother Jones before the court ruling. “It’s something you cannot explain in words.”

Dima Sbenaty, Saleh’s daughter, is a 27-year-old clinical coordinator for the stroke unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. The week after Trump’s “Muslim ban” took effect, she spoke at a vigil in support of Muslim Americans. Thousands showed up. “Islam taught me to give back…As a Muslim, it is my obligation to you to be strong, to uphold justice, and to protect your rights,” she told the crowd that night. “That is how America raised me.”

Recently, she decided to start wearing a hijab, and because of the outward signifier that she is Muslim, she has encountered some animosity in the workplace. Sometimes, when she’s out running errands, she gets an uncomfortable sensation, like she’s being watched by someone with less-than-friendly intentions. But she’s determined not to let fear rule her. “I’m practicing my freedom by covering my hair; I’m practicing my freedom by saying that I’m Muslim and going to the mosque,” she tells Mother Jones. “That’s my freedom as an American, and I don’t think I should be afraid…Refugees are leaving a place where they’re being dehumanized. They’re coming into America to seek refuge, and they’re entering another hell.”

As for Imam Bahloul, he is still wrestling with how to explain to the community what is happening and how to deal with being targeted. “For a girl to cry and say, ‘I want to cover my hair, but I’m scared,’ that girl must not be scared in America,” he said. “We’re part of the American fabric.”

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Here’s What It’s Like to Be Muslim in the Bible Belt in 2017

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Cleaning Up After Trump

Mother Jones

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From the Wall Street Journal:

Jim Mattis, on his first trip to Iraq as defense secretary, said he plans to assess the fight against Islamic State in the country and that the U.S. isn’t there to take its oil. “I think all of us here in this room, all of us in America, have paid for our gas and oil all along and I’m sure that we will continue to do so in the future,” he told reporters in Abu Dhabi the day before leaving for Iraq. “We are not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil.”

So far, Mattis and VP Mike Pence have been fanning out across the world to assure our allies that President Trump thinks NATO is great; that America’s support for Europe is “unwavering”; that Trump will be tough on Russia; and that we’re not going to take Iraq’s oil. In other words, basically the opposite of everything Trump himself has said over the past year.

This is becoming the signature of the Trump administration. At home, Trump says something stupid, and Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway gamely go out to clean up the mess and claim that Trump didn’t really mean what he said. Abroad, Mattis and Pence and Rex Tillerson play the same role. They’re like the guys who follow the elephants at a parade.

I’ll bet they didn’t think this was how they’d be spending their time as some of the most powerful people in the world.

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Cleaning Up After Trump

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Fox News Tries to Prove Steve Bannon Isn’t as Bad as ISIS

Mother Jones

Over the weekend, USA Today published an editorial that suggested senior White House adviser Steve Bannon and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi shared “similar world views” that included “apocalyptic visions of a clash” between Islam and the United States.

Among those upset by the unflattering comparison was Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who on Wednesday invited USA Today‘s deputy editorial opinion editor, David Mastio, to join his show and debate Bannon’s record. That’s when Carlson offered up the following chart:

The graphic was roundly mocked on social media, where many skewered Fox News’ absurd effort to present Bannon as an innocent in comparison to a despot and generally missing the point of the editorial.

Sunday’s editorial followed the reports—including this Mother Jones story—outlining Bannon’s record of promoting anti-Islamic propaganda during his tenure as Breitbart CEO and his long-standing predictions of the arrival of a “Judeo-Christian war” against Islam.

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Fox News Tries to Prove Steve Bannon Isn’t as Bad as ISIS

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Chaos Breaks Out in the Wake of Trump’s "Muslim Ban”

Mother Jones

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The impacts of President Donald Trump’s sweeping order to temporarily block refugees from entering the United States and ban immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days were felt immediately around the world on Saturday. Multiple refugees were detained by customs officials across the country, as lawyers scrambled to file lawsuits against the Trump administration, and protesters planned demonstrations outside airports.

On Friday, Trump signed an executive order requiring immigration authorities to:

Suspend all refugee resettlement for 120 days and reduce the number of refugees resettled in the country to 50,000;
Immediately deny entry to the United States to anyone from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days;
Ban Syrian refugees from resettling in the United States;
Prioritize refugee claims “on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”

Confusion reigned as details began to emerge about just how many people might be covered by the executive order—potentially throwing hundreds of thousands of travelers into legal limbo. The State Department issued a statement on Saturday afternoon saying that citizens from the seven banned countries who hold dual nationality would also be blocked from entering the US, according to the Wall Street Journal. (The dual-citizenship restriction won’t apply to those holding US passports.) The ban could also affect some 500,000 people from those countries already in the United States on green cards or other temporary visas, according to ProPublica.

The executive order also opens the door for immigration procedures to become even more restrictive in the future. Read the full order here:

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Donald Trump’s Anti-Refugee Executive Order (PDF)

Donald Trump’s Anti-Refugee Executive Order (Text)

So far, 12 people have been detained at JFK airport in New York, according to CNN. The New York Times reports that passengers were turned away at airports in Dubai and Istanbul, and at least one family was ejected from a flight.

Iran issued a swift response to Trump’s ban, saying it would ban all US citizens from entering the country. “The US decision to restrict travel for Muslims to the US, even if for a temporary period of three months, is an obvious insult to the Islamic world and in particular to the great nation of Iran,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Despite the claims of combating terrorism and keeping American people safe, it will be recorded in history as a big gift to extremists and their supporters.” The ban would remain in place until the US lifted its restrictions on Iran, according to the statement.

Civil rights and refugee resettlement organizations are readying themselves for a fight against the order. On Friday evening, the Council for American-Islamic Relations announced it would file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the executive order. “There is no evidence that refugees—the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation—are a threat to national security,” CAIR national litigation director Lena Masri said in a press release.

The American Civil Liberties Union also filed suit Saturday morning on behalf of two Iraqi men who were already on their way to the United States and had been detained at New York’s JFK airport. One, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who had worked as an interpreter during the Iraq War, was released Saturday afternoon.

Protests broke out in New York Wednesday evening in response to leaked versions of the ban. More protests were planned across the country for Saturday afternoon.

Update: 6:25pm ET January 28, 2017: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo put out the following statement indicating that he has directed the Port Authority (which controls JFK) to “explore all legal options to assist anyone detained at NY airports.”

This is a developing story. We will update the post as more details become available.

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Chaos Breaks Out in the Wake of Trump’s "Muslim Ban”

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Megyn Kelly Is Leaving Fox News. Here’s Why She Belonged There.

Mother Jones

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After more than a dozen years with Fox News, Megyn Kelly confirmed reports on Tuesday that she was leaving the network to join NBC, where she’ll take on three new roles: daytime show star, Sunday news program host, and contributor to coverage of breaking news and political events. The official announcement ended speculation over Kelly’s future at Fox as she entered the final months in her contract with the network that made her a household name and a cable news star.

Media pundits were quick to lavish praise on NBC for landing the much-sought after anchor, but many on social media criticized the network for their high-profile hire, pointing to her frequent race-baiting questions and controversial conflation of Islam and terrorism. Kelly rose to to even greater prominence in breaking with Fox during her public feud with Donald Trump this election season, but she was still a standard bearer for many of the networks favorite causes: anti-immigration, race baiting, and Islamophobia. Here are some of Kelly’s most cringeworthy moments during her tenure at Fox.

December 2010: Kelly compares describing “illegal immigrants” as undocumented to calling “rape nonconsensual sex.”

December 2013: Weighing in on a story by an African American woman describing the pain she felt as a child when she constantly saw only white Santas, Kelly said, “Santa just is white…Jesus was a white man.”

December 2015: During a discussion about Obama’s statement in which he made a distinction between ISIS and Islam, Kelly argued that denying ISIS is Islamic is denying “reality.”

June 2015: After a video surfaced of a McKinney, Texas, police officer body-slamming a teenage girl, Kelly insisted she was “no saint either.”

January 2016: In yet another anti-immigrant moment, this time concerning Germany’s refugee policy, Kelly asked, “Is Germany over as we know it? Is Europe?”

Conservative pundits, however, considered her out of place at Fox and celebrated the news of Kelly’s departure.

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Megyn Kelly Is Leaving Fox News. Here’s Why She Belonged There.

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We’re Live Blogging Round Two of the Presidential Debates

Mother Jones

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A few minutes ago Donald Trump appeared at an impromptu press event with three women who claim to have been abused by Bill Clinton and a fourth who was treated badly by Hillary. That sets a tone, doesn’t it?

10:37 – And that’s a wrap.

10:36 – Trump likes his children too. Trump: “She doesn’t quit, she doesn’t give up. She’s a fighter.”

10:34 – Is there anything you respect in your opponent? Trump doesn’t want to answer. Clinton says she respects Trump’s children.

10:33 – Still no questions about climate change.

10:32 – Clinton, dryly: “That was very interesting.” I have a comprehensive energy policy etc.

10:30 – How about energy? Trump: Hillary Clinton wants to put all the miners out of business. “There’s such a thing as clean coal.” Now we’re on to the steelworkers for some reason. Now back to coal. Coal, coal, coal.

10:27 – Trump: I would appoint judges like Scalia. Judges who respect the Second Amendment. Now Trump is claiming that he’s not taking money from big donors and corporations. He thinks Clinton is rich enough that she ought to be donating lots of money to her own campaign.

10:24 – How would you choose Supreme Court justices? Clinton: I’d like to appoint people with real-life experience. Overturn Citizens United. Uphold civil rights. Stick with Roe v. Wade and marriage equality.

10:22 – Trump is just all over the place now. I can’t keep up. Benghazi, 3 am, tweeting, sex tapes, etc. etc.

10:20 – Trump on Clinton: “She has tremendous hate in her heart.”

10:16 – Question to Trump: “Do you believe that you can be a devoted president to all of the people of the United States?” Weird question.

10:15 – Clinton says she’s in favor of arming the Kurds. Trump complains again that Clinton is getting too much time to speak.

10:13 – Clinton: “Donald says he knows a lot more than the generals. He doesn’t.” Big smirk from Trump.

10:12 – Clinton opposed to using American ground forces in Syria.

10:10 – Is Trump in favor of intervening in Syria? Or staying out? I can’t tell. Now Trump is ranting about not keeping our military plans secret.

10:08 – I literally don’t even know what Trump is saying about Syria. I guess Radisson doesn’t either. “Let me ask the question again.” Trump then says that he disagrees with Mike Pence about Russia.

10:03 – Raddison finally manages to shut Trump down and move on to another subject even though Trump insists that he should be able to respond yet again. Good for her.

10:02 – So far a grand total of two ordinary citizens have asked questions. This isn’t much of a town hall.

10:00 – Why didn’t Clinton change the tax code? Clinton: “Because I was a senator under a Republican president.” Trump interrupts to insist that she could have done it anyway if she really wanted to.

9:58 – Trump now basically admitting he used his $916 million operating loss to avoid paying taxes. “Of course I did.” Now ranting about how everyone does it and Clinton never tried to fix it because her rich donor pals like the tax code the way it is.

9:57 – Clinton hammering on Trump for paying no taxes for past 20 years. Obviously she’s trying to bait Trump.

9:56 – Clinton: “Everything he just said is false. I’m sorry I have to keep saying that.”

9:54 – What will you do ensure that the rich pay their fair share in taxes? Trump mentions the carried interest loophole, and that’s it. The rest of his answer is a long free association that has nothing to do with the rich.

9:52 – Trump is sniffing again. Maybe he really does do this every time he speaks?

9:51 – Trump is talking about Russia, and without a pause starts talking about how great his balance sheet is.

9:48 – How aggressive would Trump be in the debate? We have our answer. He’s just attacking without stop and now griping about not getting enough time. Bush league.

9:42 – Question about Trump’s Muslim ban. Is it still his policy? Trump: Muslim ban “somehow” morphed into “extreme vetting.” Raddison: How did it morph? Trump just repeats it: It’s. Called. Extreme. Vetting.

9:40 – Clinton: “Trump is playing into the hands of the terrorists.”

9:38 – What are you going to do about Islamaphobia? Trump: We have to say “radical Islamic terrorism” as often as possible.

9:36 – Trump is all over the map on how he’ll replace Obamacare. Mostly he’s doubling down on the notion that allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines will fix everything. Clinton is biting her lip to keep from laughing.

9:33 – Trump: Obamacare is a total disaster. Will collapse on its own in 2017. I guess there’s no real need to repeal it, then.

9:29 – Trump is now interrupting constantly. Anderson Cooper tells him to shut up. He won’t. Then he gripes that Cooper hasn’t asked about Clinton’s emails even though they just spent the last five minutes on the topic. “Great, three against one,” Trump whines. I guess “the media hates me” is going to be a big theme tonight.

9:25 – Clinton: “It’s a good thing you’re not in charge of the law in this country.” Trump: “Because you’d be in jail.” Cheering.

9:21 – Trump: Blumenthal started the birther rumors. Michelle Obama hates you. Hillary won a rigged primary against Bernie Sanders. If he wins, he is going to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her. Etc. Iguess this is how Trump is going to play things.

9:20 – Clinton quotes Michelle Obama: “When they go low, you go high.” Even bigger applause. Lotsa Trump haters out there too.

9:19 – There was applause for that? Yikes. Lotsa Bill haters still out there.

9:17 – Trump goes after Bill Clinton. He abused women, and “Hillary Clinton attacked those same women, attacked them viciously.”

9:13 – Clinton not going easy on Trump. The Pussygate tape does show who Trump is. He’s unfit to be president. And it’s not just women. Etc.

9:11 – Anderson Cooper insists that Trump tell us whether he’s ever kissed or groped women without their consent. He says he hasn’t. “No one has greater respect for women than me.”

9:09 – Trump starts out with a very low-key tone. Will it last?

9:08 – Will Hillary Clinton say that we should “move very strongly” on something or other? She should!

9:07 – Has this been an edifying campaign? Hmmm. I’m gonna say no.

9:05 – No handshake! They’re ready to rumble!

9:01 – Dana Bash says Trump’s goal is to keep the Republican Party from abandoning him completely.

8:56 – John King says the town hall format is unpredictable! Sure it is. I think we have a pretty good idea of what’s coming.

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We’re Live Blogging Round Two of the Presidential Debates

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