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Personal Information


Michael Wolraich is a non-fiction writer in New York City. He co-founded dagblog and has contributed  to the Atlantic, the Daily Beast, New York Magazine, CNN.com, TalkingPointsMemo.com, Reuters, and Pando Daily.


Wolraich is also the computer genius who maintains dagblog's state-of-the-art software, but he denies responsibility for technical glitches and advises users to "quit sniveling." In his spare time, Wolraich raises peach mold and performs live impressions of the law of gravity.


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To Trump or Not to Trump

You can't spin sexual assault. You can spin sex. You can spin assault. You can spin talking about sexual assault (Locker room talk!) But sexual assault can't be spun.

Donald Trump's only option is to deny, to call these women liars, which he will do tomorrow.

And then all the Republicans walking that tightrope between endorsing and denouncing will be forced to choose: Trump or his victims.

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Death by Counterpunch

Six months ago, I wrote:

Trump's biggest mistake during the primary was to feud with people who were not running against him...Clinton can exploit Trump's propensity to retaliate against anyone who crosses him by deploying surrogates to batter him with a fusillade of insults. If Trump were smart, he would ignore them and focus on Clinton, but his reaction to Elizabeth Warren's tweets suggests he cannot resist the urge to counterpunch, even when it doesn't serve his interests. With every over-the-top smackdown, he will distract voters from his message and deflate whatever presidential gravitas he manages to muster.

Since then, we have seen this scenario play out repeatedly, most remarkably in the case of Trump's feud with the parents of Humayun Khan.

Now it's happening again, and I believe that this feud with former Ms. Universe Alicia Machado will finally spell the end of his campaign.

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Hillary, Choose Your Trump

Inquiring minds want to know, which Donald Trump will show up to the debate tonight? The name-calling bully? The xenophobic scaremonger? The misogynist jerk? The entertaining clown? The pathological liar? The dog-whistling bigot? The reckless lunatic? The shallow narcissist? Or some new incarnation of softer, smarter Trump who uses big words.

Chris Matthews doesn't know. Mark Halperin doesn't know.  Ed Kilgore doesn't know. Some editor at the Atlantic doesn't know. Hillary Clinton doesn't know.

She literally said, "I do not know which Donald Trump will show up."

Well, she better figure it out, quick. Because if she hopes to triumph at the debate tonight, she can't wait and see which Trump shows up at the lectern. She must choose her Trump.

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The Grey Lady Takes the Gloves Off

"Breaking News," tweeted the New York Times yesterday, "Trump backed off birther claims: 'President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period.'"

Typical of the Times' election reporting, the tweet made no mention of Trump's lies or his dishonest attempt to shift the blame onto Hillary Clinton. (By contrast, the Washington Post called it straight: "Breaking: Trump admits Obama born in U.S. but falsely blames Clinton for starting rumors.")

But today, the Grey Lady took her gloves off. The headline for the lead story on the front page provocatively declares, "Trump Gives Up Lie But Refuses to Repent."

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The New Normal

Everyone wants someone to blame for the election of 2016. It's the media's fault that Donald Trump is running neck and neck with Hillary Clinton. No, it's Hillary's secretiveness and her Wall Street connections. No, it's the bankers. No, it's the economy, stupid. No, it's sexism, racism, reality television. And so on.

Many of these factors do affect the race, but none of them really explains the Trump phenomenon. Sure, Hillary would be further ahead if she were more charismatic or if the press were easier on her, but the real mystery is how a man like Donald Trump is in the race at all.

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Did Trump fake his own "medical report"?

The media has been puzzling for months over Donald Trump's so-called medical record in which his doctor declared, "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."

According to Josh Marshall's theory of Trump's Razor, we should conclude "the stupidest possible scenario that can be reconciled with the available facts."

The stupidest possible scenario is so stupid that it did not even occur to me until now: Trump wrote his own doctor's note and then got his doctor to sign it.

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Chasing the Weasel

How many times will we play the same game? Here's how it goes:

  1. Donald Trump says something outrageous
  2. Outrage ensues
  3. Trump pretends to be misinterpreted.
  4. Pundits argue about whether Trump was misinterpreted

...and repeat.

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Theodore Roosevelt and the Original War on Terror

Some years ago, an unstable young man committed one of the most notorious terrorist acts in U.S. history. He was American-born, but his parents were immigrants, and his allegiance to a radical ideology with foreign origins terrified the public. “They and those like them should be kept out of this country,” railed Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, “and if found here they should be promptly deported to the country whence they came.”

The young man was Leon Czolgosz, a Polish-American anarchist. On August 31, 1901, he fatally shot President William McKinley in the abdomen with .32 caliber revolver. The nation reacted with shock and outrage. McKinley’s successor, President Theodore Roosevelt, denounced anarchy as “a crime against the whole human race” and demanded legislation to restrict immigration and deport suspected anarchists. Congress answered the call with the Anarchist Exclusion Act, which barred anyone “who disbelieves in or who is opposed to all organized government” from becoming citizens.

Full story at The History Reader

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Can Bernie Sanders Overhaul the Democratic Party?

One year ago, Bernie Sanders stood in the sun on the shore of Lake Champlain and opened his presidential campaign with a promise “to build a movement of millions of Americans.” Critics scoffed, dismissing his supporters as callow youngsters destined to drift once #FeelTheBern stops trending. But Sanders’s campaign proved more popular and resilient than anyone expected. Ironically, many Democrats now want him to terminate his movement and convert it into a get-out-the-vote drive for Hillary Clinton.

But that is not how movements work. The celebrated political movements of American history—abolitionism, progressivism, and civil rights—were never subordinate to political parties. Their leaders did not bow to party elites. Great movements transcend partisanship; they are the makers and breakers of parties.

Read the full story at the Daily Beast

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Tit for Trump

Donald Trump likes to brag about his negotiating skills, but for a tough negotiator, he's awfully easy to manipulate. There are two types of people in Trumpland: those who are nice to Donald, and those who are not nice to Donald. If you flatter Trump, he'll treat you well. If you criticize him, he'll retaliate. "I'm a counter-puncher," he once told CNN.

So to win Trump's favor, just say something sweet about him; Vladimir Putin praised him last December, and Trump has been preening over the compliment ever since. And to deliberately draw Trump's fire, say something nasty about him; last week Elizabeth Warren called him a bully and a loser, which dragged him into a distracting and unpresidential tweetfight with someone who is not his opponent.

Read the full story at RollingStone



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