The New York Times kicked things off this weekend with "A Week of Whoppers From Donald Trump." The Washington Post followed suit with its own compilation of a week of lies. Today, the Los Angeles Times ups the ante with "Scope of Trump's Lies Unmatched":

Donald Trump says that taxes in the United States are higher than almost anywhere else on earth. They’re not. He says he opposed the Iraq war from the start. He didn’t. Now, after years of spreading the lie that President Obama was born in Africa, Trump says that Hillary Clinton did it first (untrue) and that he’s the one who put the controversy to rest (also untrue).

Never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has.

Gee I wonder what Lester Holt is going to ask Trump about at tomorrow's debate?

When it comes to charity, Dylan Matthews is pretty hardnosed. To earn his approval, a charity better focus on truly important problems and be damn good at it. So how about the Clinton Foundation? After starting out as a skeptic, he says, "I've come to the conclusion that the Clinton Foundation is a real charitable enterprise that did enormous good." In particular, he praises the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which helped lower the cost of HIV drugs and saved untold lives. But there's a catch:

And—perhaps uncomfortably for liberals and conservatives alike — it is exactly the kind of unsavory-seeming glad-handing and melding of business and politics for which Bill and Hillary Clinton have taken years of criticism that led to its greatest success....The deals made required buy-in from developing governments. The person tasked with getting that buy-in was a former US president with existing relationships with many of those people. Bill Clinton essentially used his chumminess with foreign politicians and pharmaceutical executives, the kind of thing about the Clinton Global Initiative that earns suspicious news coverage, to enlist their help in a scheme to expand access to HIV/AIDS drugs.

I don't get it. Why should this make anyone feel uncomfortable? Lots of people have star power, but very few have star power with both rich people and foreign leaders. Bill Clinton is one of those few, so he chose a project that (a) could save a lot of lives, (b) required buy-in from both rich people and foreign leaders, and (c) was right at the cusp where an extra push could really make a difference.

I can't even imagine why anyone would consider this unsavory, unless they've lived in a cave all their lives and don't understand that glad-handing and chumminess are essential parts of how human societies operate. Matthews may be right that many people feel uneasy about this, but I can't figure out why. It sounds like Clinton chose to do something that his particular mix of experience and character traits made him uncommonly good at. That's pretty smart.

The Wall Street Journal has checked out every Fortune 100 CEO in the country, and not a single one supports Donald Trump:

Most have stayed on the sidelines, with 89 of the 100 top CEOs not supporting either presidential nominee, and 11 backing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton....Hope Hicks, Mr. Trump’s spokeswoman, said the candidate has “tremendous support from small and large business CEOs and business owners,” and added that he “is not beholden to supporters with agendas like CEOs of massive, publicly traded companies.”

You betcha, Hope. Trump never wanted the support of those guys anyway, amirite?

The New York Times has compiled a list of 31 of Donald Trump's "falsehoods, exaggerations and outright lies" today. "A closer examination," they say, "revealed an unmistakable pattern: Virtually all of Mr. Trump’s falsehoods directly bolstered a powerful and self-aggrandizing narrative depicting him as a heroic savior for a nation menaced from every direction."

Quite so, and this would seem unremarkable except for one thing: this list covers only the past week. And it doesn't include "untruths that appeared to be mere hyperbole or humor, or delivered purely for effect, or what could generously be called rounding errors."

In other words, just lies. For one week. And yet a lot of people still believe Trump is going to build a wall and has a foolproof secret plan to crush ISIS. Apparently we are a nation of patsies these days.

About a month ago, I wrote about our latest experiment in how we pay for MoJo's journalism—our first-ever attempt to ask our regular readers to sign up as sustaining donors with a tax-deductible gift that automatically renews every month. The day after our pledge drive went live, the Justice Department announced it would phase out private prison contracts in the wake of Shane Bauer's first-hand investigation into those facilities. In response to that amazing news 1,061 donors signed up, donating $11,792 in just the first nine days.

In the five weeks since then, our results slowed down—but we expected that. In fact, a big part of the experiment was not just learning if we could raise the money, but figuring out how could we do it. We hoped we could do it without blanketing the site with ads or bombarding your inboxes with panicky emails.

So far, so good on that front. You've probably seen a fundraising ad or two over the last few days, but we've managed to avoid the sensational emails. With a week to go, we're currently sitting around $21,500 raised from 1,785 donors—which is pretty generous when you consider that $21,000 each month turns into more than $250,000 a year from now. Still, our goal remains $30,000, and it's going to be a nail-biter whether we can make that next $8,500 before next Friday's deadline.

So here's hoping you'll help us get across the finish line and meet our $30,000 goal—which will turn into $360,000 by this time next year. You can do it by credit card here. If you prefer PayPal, you can give monthly here—just be sure to check the box next to your gift amount.

And now, without further ado, your reward in advance for contributing to Mother Jones: double catblogging. Enjoy!

This video, from NBC News, may be one of the most depressing things you're ever likely to see. You have been warned.

The New York Times tells us today how the two candidates are prepping for Monday's debate. You can probably guess how Hillary Clinton is going about it: methodically, studiously, and seriously. Donald Trump, of course, has no use for actual prep, but nonetheless his team is trying to prepare him for the devious curveballs Clinton is likely to throw at him:

His advisers will try to throw him off balance, and measure his response to possible Clinton jabs like “You’re lying, Donald.”

Clever! Who would ever have guessed she might say something like that to a guy who tells about a dozen lies every day? Then there's this:

He has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials....Mr. Trump can get bored with both debate preparations and debates themselves....His advisers see it as a waste of time to try to fill his head with facts and figures....Some Trump advisers are concerned that he underestimates the difficulty of standing still, talking pointedly and listening sharply for 90 minutes.


Tendency to lie on some issues (like his challenge to President Obama’s citizenship) or use incorrect information or advance conspiracy theories — all of which opens him to counterattack from Mrs. Clinton or rebukes from the moderator. Advisers are urging him to focus on big-picture themes rather than risk mangling facts. If Mrs. Clinton says he is lying, his advisers want him to focus on her trustworthiness and issues like her State Department email and accusations of favors for donors.

Basically, then, Trump's team is just hoping that he can remain in one place for 90 minutes; not get too obviously bored; tell only a bare minimum of lies; avoid facts and figures since he'll just screw them up; and pay attention to what Clinton says. Jonathan Chait comments:

There are two ways to read today’s New York Times report from Donald Trump’s debate preparations, or lack thereof. One is that Trump’s advisers are deliberately setting expectations at rock bottom, so the media will proclaim him the winner if he can merely remain upright for the entire time. A second possibility is that they have come to the horrifying realization that their candidate is delusional, uninformed, lazy, and utterly unsuited to the presidency, and they’re hoping without evidence that these traits can somehow be hidden from the viewing public.

Or maybe both!

Hillary Clinton has proposed an increase in the estate tax:

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would levy a 65% tax on the largest estates....generate $260 billion over the next decade, enough to pay for her plans to simplify small business taxes and expand the child tax credit....The Clinton campaign changed its previous plan—which called for a 45% top rate—by adding three new tax brackets and adopting the structure proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont during the Democratic primaries. She would impose a 50% rate that would apply to estates over $10 million a person, a 55% rate that starts at $50 million a person, and the top rate of 65%, which would affect only those with assets exceeding $500 million for a single person and $1 billion for married couples.

But but but, capital formation! Where will the American economy manage to dredge up any capital if we raise taxes on billion-dollar estates? Plus, as the straight shooters at the Wall Street Journal editorial page point out, there's inflation. Using current dollars, a decade from now that top rate of 65 percent will apply to married couples with a mere $900 million in taxable assets. Surely we can't be serious about this?

And how many people does this affect? Well, in 2014 there were a grand total of 223 estates worth $50 million or more. Given the power-curve nature of income, this suggests that there were maybe, oh, five estates worth $500 million. That's something on the order of a thousand rich kids who will have to pay 15 percent more than the current top rate and maybe a dozen or so who would pay 25 percent more. Those dozen or so would inherit a mere $350 million instead of $600 million. That's a grim fate, to be sure, but I suppose they'll manage to soldier on.

As for all those farmers and family businesses who will be devastated? Forget it. There aren't any—unless you consider the Trump Organization to be a small family business.

As with most policy proposals in this campaign, this is more for show than anything else. A Republican Congress won't take up the estate tax again. Still, it's designed to show whose side Hillary Clinton is on, and it does a pretty good job of that.

Here's your end-of-the-week snapshot of the presidential race, courtesy of Pollster. Hillary Clinton remains in the lead by 4.3 percentage points. There really hasn't been much change since the end of August, when the convention bumps wore off.

Video! It's the format of the future. It's the only thing the kids today will bother with. If you want to get any attention on social media, you gotta get on the video bandwagon. Right?

Big ad buyers and marketers are upset with Facebook Inc. after learning the tech giant vastly overestimated average viewing time for video ads on its platform for two years, according to people familiar with the situation.

....Ad buying agency Publicis Media was told by Facebook that the earlier counting method likely overestimated average time spent watching videos by between 60% and 80%, according to a late August letter Publicis Media sent to clients that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

....The news is an embarrassment for Facebook, which has been touting the rapid growth of video consumption across its platform in recent years. Due to the miscalculated data, marketers may have misjudged the performance of video advertising they have purchased from Facebook over the past two years....Media companies and publishers are affected, too, since they’ve been given inaccurate data about the consumption of their video content across the social network. Many use that information to help determine the types of content they post.

Oh well. Bygones. I'm sure all that money you spent building a huge video content department will still be well spent. Someday.

POSTSCRIPT: I should disclose that I'm a sworn enemy of video. It's handy sometimes, but the information-to-time-spent ratio is usually so abysmal I can't stand watching it. A few seconds for a cute animal video is one thing. Ten or fifteen minutes for an interview or a podcast or an explainer with maybe one or two small snippets of useful information is unbearable.