Monday, June 27, 2016

Is the Worm Finally Turning? Trump Crashes in WaPo Poll

Donald Trump played a brutal game -- as he apparently has throughout his career. Now the bully is being found out.

Trump went to Scotland, where the Scots really didn't want a Trump
golf course, to tell the world how great Brexit is going to be, ignoring
the fact that the Scots were against Brexit. And he did this because?

By now we realize that Donald Trump is not a diplomat. His idea of diplomacy is to go somewhere where he's not wanted and say something that is completely inappropriate and then act as if he's the man of the hour. He definitely did that the day after the Brexit vote passed, standing on his Scottish golf course and praising a decision the Scots hated. Isn't there someone around assigned to keep him on his meds?

Guess not. However, it looks like the American people might impose some discipline on the Donald by expressing their own increasingly negative opinion:
Support for Donald Trump has plunged as he has alienated fellow Republicans and large majorities of voters overall in the course of a month of self-inflicted controversies, propelling Democrat Hillary Clinton to a double-digit lead nationally in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey finds sweeping unease with the presumptive Republican nominee’s candidacy — from his incendiary rhetoric and values to his handling of both terrorism and his own business — foreshadowing that the November election could be a referendum on Trump more than anything else.
At a moment in the presidential election when Donald Trump should be coalescing support around him as he moves toward the Republican National Convention, he instead embarked on The Great Alienation Tour, ostensibly to remind demographic groups why the Republican Party was out of its collective mind to allow such a bullying dolt to become its figurehead.

Now, when a normal candidate would be girding his loins -- a grotesque phrase when applied to the Donald -- for the coming fight, Trump appears, twelve points down, quite nearly already beaten.

The poll, and the article that explains it, goes out of its way to mention Hillary Clinton's unpopularity and Obama's growing popularity, now at 56 percent. This is a most certain double-edged sword. Clinton, regardless of the legitimacy of her unpopularity, will no doubt benefit from having a popular out-going president campaigning for her.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, may have already dug his own grave. If he "pivots" to the general election by reading dull speeches from a teleprompter lacking the fire of his less disciplined screeds, then he'll fail to keep his mob riled up. If Trump decides -- as many expect he will -- to keep his over-the-top rhetoric full of fire and rage, then he risks a growing chorus of complaint from the people he's offended.

Speaking of those he's offended, it seems the entire Republican establishment has no intention of appearing in the national spotlight with him and so intend to ditch the Republican National Convention, a venue most rising political stars would die to achieve. Trump's Trumpness has him Trumped. That's what happened when you're your own worst enemy.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Teleprompter Doesn't Stop Trump's Endless Lies

Politicians lie. Duh. But Donald Trump rarely tells the truth. Plus, his views on issues seem to change at a moment's notice.

The Teleprompter only means Trump's lies are written down.

We've known forever that Donald Trump says whatever the fuck he wants to. Because of his propensity for both exaggeration and outright lying, the truth is only occasionally touched upon.
As Amanda Marcotte noted on Salon already his entire speech was riddled with blatant well-known lies. Trump lied about Clinton being a bigger liar, he lied about starting off “with a small loan” and building a $10 billion  business, he lied about Clinton’s server being hacked by foreign governments, lied about multiple aspects of her immigration policy, lied about Benghazi, lied about his own support for the Iraq War… the list went on and on...
Plus, reporters have already started collecting Trump's "walk-backs," statements he made that he later un-made. Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has an extensive list:
On Friday, Donald Trump offered up this comment on the Orlando shooting: "It's too bad that some of the young people that were killed over the weekend didn't have guns attached to their hip....Had people been able to fire back it would have been a much different outcome."
Presumably Trump figured that this was the "strong" pro-gun position, only to discover that even the NRA thinks it's not a great idea to mix firearms and alcohol. So today he Trumpsplained that he was "obviously" referring only to "additional guards or employees."
This is, obviously, a lie, as even the lightest perusal of his original remarks proves. Nonetheless, the term of art for this is that he "walked back" his comment. If that sounds familiar, it's because Trump has practically made a career of walking back his endless buffoonery. The screen cap below of a Google News search for "Trump walks back" displays it in all its glory.
If we want a president who will lie not only at will but also almost any fucking random time, Donald Trump is our guy!

I've made up my mind, though. I don't want to live in a post-truth world. But, hey, whatever floats your boat.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Brexit Happened. What Now?

The most likely obvious political outcome is that a Trumpish clown of a man -- ever so slightly more sophisticated! -- Boris Johnson, will helm the Tories in Cameron's place. The rest is quite more complicated.

Boris Johnson: When I said Trumpish, I was serious.

So much to say and wonder about the UK's vote to exit the EU. Josh Marshall is a good start. Richard Haass's and Martin Wolf's pieces in the Financial Times are great, and so is Larry Summers in the WaPo. Go find 'em, or just read Josh. Best graph:
One possible contrary note: the UK referendum is not binding in any way. It is purely advisory. That is as a constitutional matter. As a political matter, British politics watchers appear to believe there's no viable way for Parliament to ignore it. Yet Cameron says his resignation will become effective in October - months off - and he will leave to his successor - inevitably a pro-Brexit Tory PM - to invoke the actual mechanism of departure. That's called Article 50. As I said, there's no legal requirement to leave the EU created by this referendum. There's a democratic legitimacy requirement. If the road gets sufficiently bumpy and public opinion shifts, perhaps shifts dramatically, things could change. But don't bet on it.
Really? Did everybody who voted know that? Hmm.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

We Fight the Republicans with the Democratic Party We Have, Not the One We Wish We Had.

I've watched as ostensibly progressive people, angered over Bernie Sanders' defeat, scream they're leaving the Democratic Party. Bad move.

Shades of the civil rights movement. Finally ready to fight?

I fully understand why a disillusioned newcomer to the political process, drawn into party politics by Bernie Sanders, would stand up at Sanders' defeat and cry, "This is bullshit!"

Problem is, it's not bullshit. It's the way things work. Also, and more importantly, leaving the Democratic Party in protest doesn't give you anything, it deprives you of your voice within the party.

Let's say you go, "Fuck it, I'm re-registering as an independent!" What have you gained? Nothing. Now you're in that Democratic-leaning independent demo that can't vote in primary elections. Wow. Progress.

True, you can say, "Fuck them, I'm voting Green!" Great. You vote Green and get President Trump. Well done!

Moral of the story: Do what you can, where you can. If becoming an independent and stewing in your own juices is the best you can do, fine. But it's not a strategy.

A strategy is getting mad and not taking it anymore, like Democrats in the House did yesterday. Jamelle Bouie in Slate makes clear that the Democratic Party is changing and it isn't Bernie Sanders changing the party:
But more important for us, as observers, is that all of this [the House sit-in] is over gun control, and it’s happening with almost unanimous support from congressional Democratic leaders. This wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago, and for good reason. The Democratic majority of 2007–08—and even 2009–10—was more liberal than previous majorities, but it still spanned wide divides of geography and ideology. Conservative and center-right “Blue Dog” Democrats were still an important element of the party’s support, and they had a voice in Congress. A public protest for gun control would have been near-suicidal for those members.
But then came the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections (and the subsequent redistricting), and suddenly, the Democratic Party was purged of its most conservative members. There’s no doubt Pelosi wants a majority, but while she’s in the minority, neither she nor her caucus has to cater to vulnerable Democrats in the rural South or West. The kinds of voters Democrats once tried to attract by shying away from gun politics are Republicans now. And Democrats don’t believe they need to reach out to them. The politics, they argue, have turned.
Yes, by all means, reject Rahm Emanuel-style politics -- which enables Blue-Dog Democratism -- and embrace Bernie-style progressivism. But realize this: When Bernie Sanders decided to go for it, he didn't try it as an independent, he joined the Democrats.

Why? Because outside the two main parties, you're instantly marginalized. What would Bernie have gotten with an independent run? A three-way race between him, Clinton, and Trump? You're damned right, he would. And what would he have accomplished? A President Trump. Bold move!

So, please, fight the Republicans with the party you have, not the party you wish you had. The Democrats are changing -- and this is important -- and Hillary Clinton is changing with it. More Bernies! More Warrens! More John Lewises!

Not more independents sitting around pissed. The Democratic Party is where progressives belong. Go there and make it better.

Final point: If you're a pissed-off Bernie follower who'd vote for Donald Trump because fuck Hillary, then you are not a real progressive, and, frankly, you can fuck off.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Donald Trump Can't Even Run a Campaign. Should We Trust Him with Our Country?

Donald Trump was a wizard at self-promotion during the primaries, and his opponents were inept beyond measure. When his paper tigers disappeared, reality reared its ugly head. The results haven't been pretty.

Donald Trump's campaign may be breaking the mold. Bad move.

It's becoming painfully clear that Donald Trump didn't learn much from defeating "Lyin'" Ted Cruz, "Little Marco" Rubio, and "low-energy" Jeb! Bush. His opponents' shocking ineptitude left Trump with the feeling that all he had to do was start up the insult machine against "Crooked" Hillary Clinton and "Pocahontas" Elizabeth Warren.

Calling people names in front of packed auditoriums in Texas -- a state you don't need to fight for -- isn't a campaign strategy. A better one is fundraising, setting up staff in battleground states, and running attack ads to define your opponent before they manage to define you. Instead, Trump badmouthed Latino judges and female Republican governors. Excellent!

Now his campaign is broke, and he just fired his campaign manager. Excellent!

So, he asks Reince Priebus and the RNC to run his campaign for him. Makes sense. Republicans love outsourcing!

And then there are the donors that Republicans rely on. uh oh.
A related and intertwined problem is Trump’s lack of fundraising. Although he once said he’d raise $1 billion, his new fundraising team—mostly constituted by the RNC, of course—is working to depress expectations, saying there’s little chance he’ll raise that much. In fact, many members told The Wall Street Journal they haven’t even done any work yet. There’s a vicious cycle at work here, which is that as donors see the Trump campaign in chaos, they’re unwilling to fork over their hard-earned cash. Why back a candidate who’s rending the Republican Party apart, doesn’t follow conservative orthodoxy, and seems to have no idea what he’s doing with the money?
CNN reports that the fear is spreading.
Republican donors who are still willing to give to Donald Trump are increasingly uneasy -- not just about the constant controversy surrounding the presumptive GOP nominee but also the perceived total lack of infrastructure related to his nascent fundraising operation.
The list of problems, according to donors and party officials, is both long and not easy to fix over the course of a short period.
In many ways, it's only natural. Trump rolled through the primary haranguing the donor community, including some of the party's top money men and women by name, as he pledged to self-fund his campaign. Some notable top donors, including financier Paul Singer and Joe and Marlene Ricketts, are sitting out the campaign.
It looks like our first Art-of-the-Deal president is pretty lousy at making deals. Go figure.

Question: If Donald Trump loses, will he sue?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

No, the Republicans Aren't Going Away, but They're Fractured.

I'm astounded that 39% of the American electorate say they're voting for Donald Trump. What does that even mean?

Even those of us who believe that the Republican Party's message for the past four decades is largely deceptive and destructive to American society understand that the fraud has not run its course, and the Republican Party, as shattered as it is, isn't going away.

Why not?
  • The core of the Republican base is essentially racist: Calling the Republican Party the White People's Party is demonstrably true. Those who fear the black and the brown and even the tan will have to find a home with the GOP. They have no choice.
  • The NRA and the GOP have convinced a good number of gun owners that Obama and Clinton want to take away all of their guns. That's not true, but those people who believe some form of the lie have nowhere to go politically but the Republican Party.
  • Welfare for the poor or near-poor doesn't cost very much compared to subsidies to energy giants or tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, but a good number of working-class whites -- and just plain "it's my money, fuck you" people who hide behind "personal responsibility" to underfund public services -- will support the Republican Party simply because of identity politics.
  • Where do the anti-abortion evangelicals go? Asked and answered.
  • Because of the size of the military-industrial complex, there are likely several million people who know which side of their bread is buttered and by whom. Fearing the Democrats might dismantle the MIC -- which of course they wouldn't do to any meaningful extent -- leads some of these national-security hawks to stay with the GOP, if only for self-interest and because where would they go?
Thus the momentum of a political movement built on long-disproven economic, social, and political lies is unstoppable in the near term. However, the Republican Party is in tatters, mostly because the white working class that drank the Kool-Aid have come to realize that the GOP isn't delivering, period. If the Democratic Party can deal with the misconceptions and convince an aggrieved class -- and rightfully aggrieved, I should add -- that they are the party of the working class, then the GOP has a right to fear for its existence.

Until then, the Republican Party will sputter along, coasting on its successes on the local and state level. Even that will come under threat as more minorities achieve citizenship and get registered to vote. But the national GOP voice is weak and getting weaker.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Republicans on the Hill Have a Problem: They Hate Trump

My mom bought me a chemistry set when I was a child and warned me to be careful. But nine times out of ten putrid clouds of poison gas would stream from my room. The Republicans were warned, too, about their toxic politics. Oh well.

Sen. Jim Inhofe -- climate-change denier extraordinaire -- is alone
in admiring Trump's reaction to Orlando. Maybe he can be Veep!

Politico reports that despair is the operative emotion among GOP congresscritters. Donald Trump is not pivoting at all. But then, we suspected he might not.
Senate Republicans have tried to work with Donald Trump. They’ve offered gentle advice and firm guidance, hoping he’ll morph into a general election candidate who won’t kill their chances of keeping the Senate, or better yet, will give Hillary Clinton a run for her money.
None of it has worked. And now a palpable mix of despair and resignation has permeated the Senate Republican Conference. Many lawmakers are openly frustrated, and refusing to defend the comments and actions of their own standard-bearer, the man they’ve endorsed for president.
Don't worry, folks. The Orlando news cycle can't last forever. Surely, the Donald will be presidential at the next inflection point. Oh my God, what if he's not?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Feminist Says Toxic Masculinity Is Responsible for Gun Violence. She's Right.

Before we go any further about toxic masculinity and mass shootings, let's gather up all the sisters who've committed one. Oh wait, there are (almost) none.

It's now unclear the true motives of the Orlando shooter, as he joins the rest of the
young males who answered their challenges with shocking levels of gun violence

Amanda Marcotte, who writes often at, points her feminist finger at toxic masculinity as a driver of American gun violence. In my view, she's definitely on to something:
Every time feminists talk about toxic masculinity, there is a chorus of whiny dudes who will immediately assume — or pretend to assume — that feminists are condemning all masculinity, even though the modifier “toxic” inherently suggests that there are forms of masculinity that are not toxic.
So, to be excruciatingly clear, toxic masculinity is a specific model of manhood, geared towards dominance and control. It’s a manhood that views women and LGBT people as inferior, sees sex as an act not of affection but domination, and which valorizes violence as the way to prove one’s self to the world.
What rings true about Marcotte's diagnosis of a particular American male trait -- the need to dominate "inferiors" -- is that it is so prevalent. Stephanie Pappas, writing in LiveScience, suggests that aggression has been reinforced in males throughout history and that sexual frustration may very well play a role:
There are no simple answers. The easiest theory to digest is probably an evolutionary one: Males, over hundreds of thousands of years of development, have historically been rewarded for aggression. A tendency toward violence is seen in chimpanzees, humans' closest living primate relative. (Bonobos, humanity's other close primate family member, are far more peaceful.) Violence can beget status for males, both in chimps and in humans (just look at how many action heroes get the girl). And for males, a lack of status can mean missing out on the chance to mate.
Indeed, sexual frustration is a theme running through the writings of many male mass shooters, Lankford said. Many shooters leave manifestos explicitly detailing their hatred of women and of men who seemed to navigate relationships with women with ease.
"By contrast, I'm not aware of any female attackers, even though we have a small sample, I don't know that any of them complained about not being able to have sex," Lankford said.
- See more at:
 There are no simple answers. The easiest theory to digest is probably an evolutionary one: Males, over hundreds of thousands of years of development, have historically been rewarded for aggression. A tendency toward violence is seen in chimpanzees, humans' closest living primate relative. (Bonobos, humanity's other close primate family member, are far more peaceful.) Violence can beget status for males, both in chimps and in humans (just look at how many action heroes get the girl). And for males, a lack of status can mean missing out on the chance to mate.

Indeed, sexual frustration is a theme running through the writings of many male mass shooters, Lankford said. Many shooters leave manifestos explicitly detailing their hatred of women and of men who seemed to navigate relationships with women with ease.

"By contrast, I'm not aware of any female attackers, even though we have a small sample, I don't know that any of them complained about not being able to have sex," Lankford said.
As Marcotte points out, this leaves conservatives scrambling for a narrative that supports their world view. Orlando may not end up supporting it:
For obvious political reasons, conservatives are hustling as fast as they can to make [the Orlando shooting] about “radical Islam,”  which is to say they are trying to imply that there’s something inherent to Islam and not Christianity that causes such violence. This, of course, is hoary nonsense, as there is a long and ignoble history of Christian-identified men, caught up in the cult of toxic masculinity, sowing discord and causing violence in our country: The gun-toting militiamen that caused a showdown in Oregon, the self-appointed border patrol called the Minutemen that recently made news again as their founder was convicted of child molestation, men who attack abortion clinics and providers.
Toxic masculinity aspires to toughness but is, in fact, an ideology of living in fear: The fear of ever seeming soft, tender, weak, or somehow less than manly. This insecurity is perhaps the most stalwart defining feature of toxic masculinity.
This explains, in part, conservatives' recent obsession with who is using which bathroom. Quite simply, their masculinity is challenged. Pretty insecure, if you ask me.

Marcotte's analysis brings up something that I've been aware of for a while, and that is the fact that Islamic radicals and Christian radicals, especially in the U.S., have shown a disturbingly similar attraction to gun violence. In fact, I'd be willing to posit that gun ownership is more prevalent among white Christians than any other group in America. Wanna bet? Any takers?
According to the startling results of a survey released last week by the Public Religion Research Institute, 57 percent of white evangelicals live in homes where someone owns a gun (compared, for example, with 31 percent of Catholics.) And more startling, even after 20 first-graders were slaughtered in Connecticut at the hands of a madman with an assault rifle, 59 percent of white evangelicals continue to oppose tighter restrictions on gun laws.
Which makes one wonder: How many first-graders would Jesus shoot?

Sorry, got off-track. But it's interesting that women are rarely mass killers, and married women killers are even rarer.
Eric Madfis, assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Washington Tacoma, says he doesn’t know of any cases where a husband-and-wife duo have perpetrated a mass shooting, although there are recorded cases of husband-and-wife teams who were serial killers or domestic terrorists. Most shooters are “single, separated or divorced,” according to a sweeping analysis of mass shooters that the New York Times published this October; Robert Lewis Dear, who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado on the day after Thanksgiving, was twice-divorced and estranged from his children.
Though the average age for mass shooters is 35, many fall in the FBI’s peak window for violent crime, which is 16–24. This is a moment when people “are less likely to have significant attachments in their life that deter them from criminal violence,” as Pete Simi, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Nebraska, has told Vice. “Those of us who are not committing crimes on a regular basis, [it’s] largely because there are constraints in our lives—we have things to lose.” Such a description seemingly wouldn’t apply to the parents of a baby.
So, our final example, the wife and mother who participated in the San Bernardino killings, must have been powerfully motivated to leave a baby behind. But one simple answer exists: She thought she would survive the shootings and make it back to her baby without being caught. It's a pretty persuasive argument, perhaps the only one, and the one that proves the rule.

Obama Nails Trump's Demagoguery

To call Donald Trump a demagogue is like calling a lizard a reptile, if you take my meaning. And Trump's busy proving it all the time.

When Barack Obama wants to deliver the goods politically, he can bring down the hammer, especially if the nail is Donald Trump:


Not All News Is Bad! Court Upholds Net Neutality

When the FCC issued rules that reinforced net neutrality, many in the greater Internet community were relieved. Conservative and business interests fought back. They've lost, for now.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, formerly of  a cable industry lobbyist,
shocked the world by doing the right thing in furthering net neutrality.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals -- with a Reagan appointee dissenting -- upheld a lower court ruling that the FCC's declaration of Internet providers as being public utilities, smoothing the way for regulating them, if not in price, then in service.
A U.S. appeals court upheld the Obama administration's landmark rules barring internet service providers from obstructing or slowing down consumer access to web content on Tuesday, dealing a blow to big cable and mobile phone companies.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit backed the Federal Communications Commission's so-called net neutrality rules put in place last year to make internet service providers treat all internet traffic equally.
The rules prohibited broadband providers from giving or selling access to speedy internet, essentially a "fast lane" on the web's information superhighway.
In siding with the FCC, the court treated the internet like a public utility and opened the door to further government internet regulations.
Yay! (Though Supreme Court here we come.)

Donald Trump: the Face of Fascism

It was hard to escape what Trump's post-Orlando speech implies: Muslim-Americans wearing yellow arm bands and viewed by "Americans" with suspicion.

The face of American fascism.

Slate's Isaac Chotiner lays it out:
Every time a mass shooting occurs in the United States, commentators note how scary it is that we’ve almost become numb to them. But the past year has proven that we also risk becoming numb to another grave threat to America and the world: Donald Trump. His behavior in the past 36 hours has been so horrifically grotesque in so many different ways that it is easy to become emotionally immune to his hideous and bigoted comments, and the soullessness of his response to tragedy.
But we shouldn’t become immune: Trump’s response to the Orlando attack is a frightening window into how he might govern if elected. And his speech on Monday afternoon was the most terrifying of the campaign.
The fact that it was more of the same—demagoguery, fearmongering, outright lies—shouldn’t blind us to its disgusting content. Seemingly of the belief that simply saying “radical Islam” will win the war on terror (in this, at least, he doesn’t depart from the party he now leads), Trump mouthed the phrase many times Monday afternoon. But he also mouthed many other phrases, each one more disturbing than the next. He accused the president of consciously keeping law enforcement from doing its job; he scolded Hillary Clinton for saying Muslims were peaceful; he claimed he was right to call for a Muslim ban; he talked of huddling with the NRA to help prevent attacks. He talked of “these people”; he implied that almost all Afghans were extremists; he lied about the place of birth of the alleged shooter, who was American-born. “Can you imagine what they will do in large groups?” Trump asked, saying Obama had tried to bring “large groups” of Muslims from abroad. He claimed that immigrants would constitute a Trojan horse, implying that Muslims coming here were part of some secret plan.
If America goes this way, we're doomed. Even Republicans are at a loss to explain Donald Trump, with many in his party troubled by Trump's first big "test." The Washington Post, which was banned from Trump events because they have adopted the habit of reporting how often Trump lies, published a fact check of his Orlando speech and found it staggeringly untruthful. (They found a few slightly wobbly statements by Clinton, for so-called "balance.")

Trump has now banned a good number of reporters and media outlets from covering his campaign. What would a President Trump do under the usual scrutiny of American presidents, ban reporters from the White House press corps?

Regardless of how you feel about Hillary Clinton, the only good news in the past couple of days is that her response to Orlando was measured, presidential, and non-hysterical, and her poll numbers against Trump are rising (among white males!), even as Bernie Sanders has yet to encourage his supporters to move over to supporting her. Donald Trump has given him every reason to do so, and he's scheduled to have a live stream to supporters on Thursday, two days after the last (DC) primary takes place.

A vote for Donald Trump is a vote for a new American fascism. Not voting at all is still a vote for a new American fascism. Even Republicans, who are facing an election debacle because of Trump, are hoping to distance themselves from his rhetoric. This is a twin fiasco: Half the GOP recoils from Trump's message, while the other half welcomes it. Today's Republican Party is truly a house divided.

Who's fault is that? A good question.

Note. I almost missed including the paragraph in Chotiner's piece that most clearly illustrated the calamity that is Trump's reaction to a mass shooting of gays -- one that may have had more to do with self-loathing than radical Islamic terrorism per se -- which were mostly Latino and black, by the way:
The lowest moment of the lowest speech in this very low campaign came near the end, when Trump, noting that Muslims must talk to authorities about their neighbors, said, “The Muslim community, so importantly, they have to work with us. They have to cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they know are bad. And they know it. And they have to do it forthwith.” It was all there: the “us” that doesn’t include Muslim-Americans, the not-so-vague menace behind the warning, the claim about what “they” know.
[Boldface mine.]

Monday, June 13, 2016

What Narcissistic Personality Disorder Looks Like

One of the traits of a narcissist is a lack of empathy. Seeing only oneself, it's hard to develop feelings for others. That's increasingly obvious of Donald "I'd like to punch him in the face" Trump.

Being as self-absorbed as Trump, it's easy to not notice you're a horse's behind.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is the closest explanation I can find for what keeps Donald Trump from realizing how vile much of what comes out of his mouth (or Twitter feed) is:

A narcissist's gut instinct is "this is about me." Orlando is about senseless violence and the tragedy that it holds for its many victims. It's apparently beyond Trump to notice that.

Might make one want to shun him and vote for someone else. Here's hoping...

A Vote for a Republican Is a Vote for Continued Gun Violence

If Americans favor gun control -- and they actually do, by hefty margins -- then the reason we don't have it is our recalcitrant Republican Congress. Throw them out, folks, plain and simple.

Would these leaders of Congress allow passage of one gun-control law? Nope.

People are right to be grief-stricken by the Orlando massacre. But are they right to acquiesce to the inaction of Congress, long after it's been made clear that gun violence has spiraled out of control?

No. Let's hear from one ostensible gun-ownership advocate by way of a comment on a Roger Cohen op-ed:
If one could not purchase or possess a weapon of mass destruction, an assault-type weapon and large capacity magazines, such a horrific crime could never take place. Yes, a determined killer could still kill, but if the most lethal weapon they could obtain was a revolver or pump shotgun the numbers would be dramatically reduced, likely on the order of 10% of what we are seeing now in these tragedies. Why is this even an issue? I am a gun owner many times over, but have never seen the need for such a weapon, and never will. Our politicians should have their feet held to the fire on this. Whether terrorism or some other form of murderous insanity, no surveillance system will ever be able to fully protect us, and no further arming of the populace will ever make us safer, it will only make us more vulnerable. If this terrorist had not passed a background check all he currently would have to do is go to a gun show and buy the weapon from one of the numerous "private sellers" wandering the floors with assault weapons slung over their shoulders and For Sale signs hanging off the questions asked, no background check required, none. This needs to stop, period.
What part of that statement makes you stand up and say, "No! We have a constitutional right to military-style assault weapons!"? I'd say, if after Orlando, you still feel good guys with guns are a winning strategy, then God help you. And God help us all.

Throw the bums out. By bums I mean Republicans. And please, don't say Democrats are no better. Sure, we have our Blue Dogs in states like Montana and West Virginia. But a strong Democratic majority in both houses of Congress is our only hope of altering the trajectory of senseless death we've been on for what seems like an eternity -- even though such hopeless violence on such massive scale is a recent phenomenon.

And, finally, don't say we don't have gun control because Americans don't support it. Here:

Americans don't favor gun control per se. But when asked about specific policies, it appears Americans favor the changes we need. If Republicans are resisting the will of the people, throw them out. Period.

The NRA and the Republican Party Are Responsible for This Gun Violence

Blaming the NRA and the GOP for our mass-shooting gun violence isn't hyperbole. It's fact, and it's an undeniable shame.

The AR-15. Who in you neighborhood should have
one of these? Everyone? No one? Why anyone?

It's not complicated: The NRA and the Republican Party are the leading forces in America that prevent this country from enacting effective -- and badly needed -- gun control. After the horrifying Orlando shooting, not to mention the 998 mass shootings since the Sandy Hook shooting of two dozen young students and teachers that one would have though had to lead to real reform but didn't, we wonder if our country is lost to gun violence forever.

What could possibly give us hope? That the horror of Orlando will be some special catalyst for change?

The answer, I suspect, will be, especially in an election year, nothing. Nothing. Think about that, but only for a moment or, at best, for the length of whatever news cycle is generated by this terrifying event. What do you think? A week? Two weeks? Enough to bury the dead and figure out that, yes, one more crazed, hate-filled young male has purchased machines of utter and final death and taken them into some ordinary place and created extraordinary tragedy beyond all comprehension?

And to this the NRA and the Republican Party will double and redouble their efforts to preserve for Americans the right to reenact this madness over and over again.

And we Americans, we will accept this?

Probably, and that is heartbreaking.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Bernie Sanders Can Squander His Movement and Savage His Legacy, or... His Choice.

If Bernie Sanders would rather, like some of his followers, burn down the house, his legacy and his movement die together.

Sanders is right to feel proud of his run. So should his followers. Now, he
falls in line gracefully, or he gets remembered as a whiny loser. His call.

It's clear by now there are deadenders in Bernie Sanders' camp. I've seen many Bernie fans claim that the nomination was "stolen" from him. Funny, but most rational observers pointed out months ago that the math didn't look good for him. This math reality was repeated with the basic changing "he'll have to get 67% of the remaining vote," or "71% of the remaining vote," depending on how well or poorly he did in primaries along the way. No one ever said, "Dude has a chance," except his politically inexperienced followers.

Then California was on the horizon. Over the weekend before California, Clinton picked up a bunch of delegates in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, leaving her 19 short of the nomination, which experienced political hands combined with her extremely likely win in New Jersey, which would report before California wrapped up, to declare her nomination a lock.

Then on Monday before California, the Associated Press, a news organization that is not and never has been, as far as we know, an organ of the Democratic establishment, realized Hillary Clinton was seriously on the brink of wrapping up the nomination. So AP decided to poll those superdelegates who were willing to weigh in. Taking the many superdelegates who said they were absolutely, positively voting for Clinton and combining that with the tallies already taken led AP to declare Hillary Clinton the presumptive Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

You might wish, for some formal sake of the absolute purity of the electoral process, that AP had waited -- thus passing up the chance of going on the record as believing Clinton had it in the bag -- but that didn't happen because the AP is in the business of reporting what it has determined is THE NEWS.

Bernie supporters don't get the make that decision, AP does, and it did.

Just another reminder: Sanders wasn't ever going to win the nomination, and no amount of "The system was rigged!" or "They stole the election!" or "The DNC had its toe on the scales helping Hillary!" or "I'm voting for Trump because of those bastards!" was ever going to make a difference.

And it won't now, either. Hillary Clinton beat him quite soundly, in fact, by a larger margin that the then-insurgent candidate Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton in 2008. The day after California voted in 2008, Clinton gracefully conceded and threw all of her support behind Barack Obama.

What part of "Bernie Sanders should do the same, as soon as possible" don't Sanders and his followers understand?

We'll see. In the meantime, read this smart piece by Bob Cesca on It lays it out Sanders' choices neatly.

As Spike Lee once said, "do the the right thing." In fact, it was the name of one of his movies. Any of you remember how that ended? Netflix it, and then think about burning down the house.

Good luck, and wise choices, to us all.

Paul Krugman Owns the Best Paragraphs of The Day

Paul Krugman gets where this year's election will be shaped. And it ain't pretty.

Krugman took a lot of heat by pointing out Bernie was no match for Hillary
in the primaries. Being right ain't easy among the ideologues.

Speaking truth about the coming battle:

So now comes the general election. I wish I could say that it will be a battle of ideas. But it mostly won’t, and not just because Mr. Trump doesn’t have any coherent policy ideas.

No, this is going to be mostly an election about identity. The Republican nominee represents little more than the rage of white men over a changing nation. And he’ll be facing a woman — yes, gender is another important dimension in this story — who owes her nomination to the very groups his base hates and fears.
The odds are that Mrs. Clinton will prevail, because the country has already moved a long way in her direction. But one thing is for sure: It’s going to be ugly.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hilarious QOTD: McConnell on Trump: "He doesn't know a lot about the issues."

All the more reason to endorse him and vote for him!

For Donald, information is highly overrated. I mean, how hard can issues be?

For more, read this in TPM.

Trump's Nomination Was No Accident. The GOP Admitting Its Racism Was.

When a broad swath of the Republican leadership endorsed Trump, it openly condemned itself to owning its racist underpinnings. Now, what to do?

Hey, Ryan, you opened your yap, now you can't take it back.

Michael Gerson -- for the umpteenth time and not the last -- wrote another GOP "holy shit what have we done" column for the WaPo. How can we regret the Donald? Let me count the ways:
When the choice [of endorsing Trump] came, only a handful of Republicans at the national level answered with a firm “no.” A handful. It was not shocking to me that the plurality of an angry Republican primary electorate — grown distrustful of establishment leaders — might choose a populist who appeals to racial prejudice. It is shocking to me — and depressing and infuriating — that almost no elected Republicans of national standing would stand up to it.
There's nothing really shocking about this at all, unless it's Michael Gerson's ignorance of the fact that the GOP has been courting racists since Nixon pushed for -- and succeeded in -- grabbing the South after the Democrats alienated region by favoring the civil rights acts of the mid-60s. Now the Solid South -- and its many mirrors in the Rust Belt and the Mountain West -- is home to Trump's legions of disaffected white males who, at their core, blame "the other" for their problems. Trump just lit their rage on fire, stoking it with racist and nativist vitriol.

Earth to Michael Gerson: All these years of pumping up the conservative cause? You own this shit, too. You're just more publicly trying to wipe it off is all.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Conservatives' Central Problem: Social Progress Wasn't Made for Them. It Was Made for Social Progressives.

We progressives might gain if we could empathize with conservatives who have so much change to process. It would be wise, I think. But then, part of me says, fuck it, grow up.

Think maybe these are conservatives. Their problem is they don't see social
evolution as progress, as a public good. And the trouble is, they can't.

During my travels through Europe recently, I encountered a young student studying abroad. He was from ordinarily conservative Orange County and attended Cal State Fullerton. We talked about what millennials brought to the table, and he told me, quite simply, it was human rights. He didn't have "politics," per se, but every issue he confronted was run through the human-rights filter.

It's as if I had encountered a world-changer out in the wild. He, his generation, and like-minded Gen Xers, Gen Yers, and Baby Boomers added up to enough momentum to drive social change that we Americans -- and we're all Americans -- had to be ready for. Some of us just weren't ready. And some of us were powerful not ready.

Look, I had to evolve to get to the point where I was ready to support LGBT rights -- all of them -- and before I was ready I probably was as befuddled as the conservatives now are. The ground is shifting around them, and it doesn't feel good. For my part, I shifted with the ground, so I managed.

So before we say, "Fuck those Neanderthal dickheads," try a little tenderness. It might not accomplish any immediate political goal, but you'll be the better for it.

And read this piece by Martin Longman at Political Animal that inspired me.

Post-Truth GOP Intersects with Post-Policy Trump

The Republicans have based their message for so long on falsehoods that they've ushered in the Post-Truth Era. Can it mesh well with Trump's Post-Policy candidacy?

Paul Ryan's budget proposals never added up. Donald
Trump by-passes policy altogether, so, no worries.

It's been a long time since Republican policy has rested on truth.

  • Want to reduce the deficit? Cut taxes!
  • Want to reduce spending? Raise defense spending!
  • Want to repeal and replace Obamacare? Sure, uh, ????
  • Want more "personal responsibility?" Don't reform payday loans!
  • Want to "make America great again?" Defund infrastructure, education, and research spending!
  • Want the free markets to work? Subsidize fossil fuels!
  • Want to reduce medical costs? Don't allow negotiating prices with drug companies!
And what do Republicans call these policies? "Common sense" solutions. Right.

Now comes Trump, who campaigns with slogans, insults, attacks, and threats.
  •  Taxes? "Oh, we're bringing them down, folks, down, I can assure you."
  • Wages? "Too damned high. I don't think the minimum wage is good."
  • Obamacare? "It's a disaster, that's gone, I guarantee, the first thing I do."
  • Defense spending? "Obama's been a disaster for our military, it's falling apart, don't worry, we're gonna fix that."
  • Free trade? "We're gonna stop all these agreements and bring our jobs back. China is stealing our jobs, our businesses. It's gonna stop, it's gonna stop, friends. I love the Chinese, by the way."
  • Defense treaties and pacts? "Why are we paying for all this? Let Japan defend itself. With nukes? Sure."
All that might sound like policy, but it's not. It's post-policy, in the sense that there's nothing underpinning any of the concepts. And it's wildly uninformed, and much of it meshes well with the GOP's post-truth politics.

Political Animal explains:
While they worked to reduce taxes on the wealthy, get rid of government regulations and “drown government in the bathtub (all of which benefit the top 1%), they had to convince everyday Americans that their policies would actually help them.
After the Bush/Cheney era and the Great Recession, being post-truth didn’t work very well anymore. Most Americans saw very clearly what happened when the Republican agenda was enacted. Rather than re-think that agenda, they simply went post-policy and obstructed anything President Obama and the Democrats tried to do. In order to rally their ground troops in support, Republican fanned the flames of racism, fear and anger. As I’ve written before, Donald Trump is the epitome of post-policy nihilism.
The post-truth agenda did roll on in the states, hence the disintegration of services in states like Kansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan. What brought support for these Republican "policies" in the states was the anger by the near-poor toward the real poor, thinking that, through what remains of our welfare state, the poor were taking advantage. Much of this, especially in the South, was driven by racism (even though in the rural South most welfare spending goes to poor whites.)

Here Political Animal quotes Jonathan Chait:
There is nothing inherently racist about Ryan’s policy agenda. The arguments for enormous, regressive tax cuts, deregulation of finance and carbon pollution, and large reductions in spending assistance for the poor may be unpersuasive, but they have no intellectual connection to racism. The trouble for Republicans is that building a real-world constituency for these policies does rely on racism. Conservatives stopped the momentum of the New Deal in the mid-1960s only when they associated it with support for the black underclass. Republican politics has grown increasingly racialized over time, a trend that has dramatically accelerated during the Obama era.
The whole article is fascinating. What it highlights is that this election hinges, for Trump, on exciting his white-racist supporters while somehow "pivoting" to a platform shaped to appeal to more than his racist base. For Clinton's part, she has to appeal to the same disenfranchised (and, yes, racist) whites on a less-charged economic basis and bring a modest amount of them over to her.

For Trump's part, he has to peel off some of Clinton's minority supporters. Who has a better chance of pulling that off? My money's on Clinton. We'll see.

Clinton's chances are muddied by the crazies on the margins of the Bernie crowd, those that believe that the "fix was in" and the "system was rigged." Pointing out that the same system was in place when Clinton lost to Obama, and she conceded gracefully and brought her crowd to Obama's side may or may not assuage the anger. If Bernie can do that, Clinton's chances rise significantly.

On Trump's side, it's unclear the extent that he gets helped by Sanders supporters who flock to him in anger (were they always akin to Trump's gang?) or sit out because #NeverHillary?

Chill the beer and pop the corn. This is going to be one for the ages.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Yes, the System Was Rigged, in Bernie's Favor

Markos Moulitsas -- Kos of Daily Kos -- takes us to school on how Sanders was helped, not hindered by the primary system. Who knew? (Not his legions of followers...)

The system was rigged all right, but in Sanders' favor. Is Sanders the last to know?

Kos's explanation won me over:
Bernie Sanders’ closing argument was predicated on “finishing strong,” which would then give him “momentum” and thus convince superdelegates to overturn the will of the Democratic electorate with a coup of their own. It was never a good argument, but at least it gave him a rationale to stay in the race, bolstered by arguments about a supposed rigged system and a hostile establishment arrayed against him.
Of course, the system was rigged, but in his favor. He benefited with Iowa and New Hampshire, two white states with zero resemblance to the party electorate, then leveraged low-turnout undemocratic caucuses and our proportional allocation of delegates to win far more than his popular vote merited.  While they’re still counting votes in California, as of right now, Sanders has gotten 45.3 percent of the delegates, while notching only 43.3 percent of the popular vote.
Hillary Clinton has won in every category imaginable except caucuses (she’s even won more open contests, even though they should all be closed). And the two caucus states that ​had subsequent higher-turnout primaries, the win flipped from Sanders to Clinton (though it had zero effect on the delegate allocation). Her popular vote lead is now at 3.7 million (including caucuses!), and will be closer to 4 million when California is finished counting and DC has its say (not including non-binding primaries in Washington and Nebraska, which would boost her margin further).  
And she did all that despite being heavily outspent by Sanders. His problem wasn’t that he didn’t have the resources to get his message out. His problem wasn’t that he ran out of time, or that the more people saw of him, the more they liked him. Last night proved that theory wrong. The problem was that in a Democratic primary, Democratic voters went with the person they knew and trusted, who had spent the last three decades helping build the party and getting Democrats elected. And that was doubly so with people of color.
Kos goes on to say he wants the superdelegate system gone. But he maintains the superdelegates went for the person that had supported them for thirty years. The Clintons have been very successful moneyraisers and have spread the wealth around like good party members do. So the superdelegates want to dance with the people that brung 'em, as the saying goes.

One more very telling point: Barack Obama was essentially an insurgent candidate like Sanders. The only difference is Obama by-passed the superdelegates, winning the pledged delegates by winning the party voters. No sniveling, just hard work.

Bernie didn't, maybe couldn't, do that. He lost, Hillary won. It's time to move on. Speaking of moving on,, a big supporter of Sanders, has nudged him in the direction of moving on, too. Take the hint, Bernie.

Now it's Joe Biden. I guess Barack Obama's turn comes tomorrow.

Before You Say You'll Vote for Trump Because You're Angry at the "Process," Watch This.

I know it's too soon, perhaps, to reach out to Bernie supporters, but we have to make a start. This might help.

The heart and soul of Donald Trump.

When someone goes after Donald Trump -- as we now know all too well -- Trump knows no bounds.

I know, the ad tugs a little heavily on the heartstrings, but the message comes through. Trump is a bully and a thug who doesn't care who -- and how -- he hurts.

Never our president, please, never. Do your part.

And while you're at it, read this.

The Job of Politics: Deciding How Capitalism Works

That's it in a nutshell, and it's what politics does the world over -- except where religion mucks it up.

Deng Xiaoping, the father of modern Chinese capitalism.

Yes, an avowed communist, Deng Xiaoping, who lived through the Mao era of China and survived two purges during the Cultural Revolution, outmaneuvered Mao's chosen successor to seize power in 1978. By the time he left power in 1992, China had transitioned to a state-controlled capitalist system, which essentially exists to this day.

I choose Deng as my premier example of what politics is all about to demonstrate that even in a command economy the central role of government is to decide how capitalism works. We in the West -- North America, Europe, and those in our sphere -- define our capitalism as market economies, though many countries, such as those of the socialist-leaning Scandinavian region, thrive under a mix of both.

How does this dynamic work in the U.S.? Right now, quite badly. Yet this is what, for better or worse, shapes our politics.

In a technical sense, this dynamic also leads to our two-party system, which many fault as the bane of our political existence, but I think these people are wrong. I'll explain.
  • Those on the left -- liberals, progressives -- believe that markets aren't efficient and need regulation to function.
  • Those on the right -- conservatives, libertarians -- believe that markets are efficient and government only interferes with their efficient functioning.
To my mind, that sums us up, here in America.

It also helps explain two important political realities: one, why we need a strong, two-party electoral system, and, two, why the Republican Party has utterly collapsed as the representative party of the right.

Why a two-party system? It's fundamentally because splinter parties that those disillusioned with our politics want to flock to -- the Libertarian Party on the right and the Green Party on the left, as examples --  embody views that belong within the confines of our Democratic/Republican divide.

Why? It's relatively simple: Libertarians are conservatives who want government disengaged from as many decisions as possible, and Green Party people are progressives who push environmental concerns. As much as one might want to, you can't separate these elements out of our left/right political split.

A case can be made -- I've made it myself -- that conservatives should embrace Green issues, but they don't, so that's that.

What does this have to do with the collapse of the Republican Party? That's also relatively simple: It's gone so far toward the Dark Side -- the place where politicians live in a closed-loop system of thriving off of the donor class in exchange for letting the donor class run everything for their benefit -- that they've become utterly morally corrupt.

This reality is so clear to so many that it leaves the realm of opinion and enters the realm of fact. As bizarre as it might seem, the angry masses of working-class white males that are the core supporters of Donald Trump -- and now the core of the Republican Party -- are a direct product of the failure of the Republican establishment to pay attention to its core constituency as it gave away the store to the donor-class elite.

So the rise of Trump is, in effect, a market failure. It has become clear that the conservative love of unregulated markets was, in effect, a con game intended to let those markets become totally abused by the donor-class elite. Hence, the burgeoning divide known as Income Inequality.

To finish, let me say that, along with Tom Friedman -- someone I've stopped listening to, though his column today rang quite true, so here's a link -- I believe we need a new Republican Party to allow our politics to do what it's supposed to do, which is navigate our way as a nation to a form of capitalism that works for the common good.

Today's Republican Party can't do the job, so into the dumpster with it, all of it. But we need a party of the right that has a moral center if we're to function well as a nation. Here's hoping that process starts right now in 2016. It appears that it's already underway.

Note. I can hear many people saying, "But, but, the Democratic Party is also corrupt!" Sorry, there's no equivalence here. Sure, many would like money out of all politics, and, sure, many would like the Democrats to lean more to the left -- so would I -- but there's no denying that, from the center-left, they do their job of representing those who want market regulation, as they have proven recently with Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. It's not enough, but it's definitely not nothing.

Also, I didn't explain what I noted in the lede -- that religion mucks up this political process -- because it should be somewhat obvious. Briefly, let me say that it's what keeps the Middle East in such disarray, and it's what keeps American conservatism from doing its job properly, mostly because too many people don't understand the First Amendment. But let's save that for another day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bernie May Fall Victim to Hillary, but the Superdelegate System May Fall Victim to Bernie

Bernie Sanders fought long and hard but ran up against the superdelegates (he ran up against pledged delegates and Democratic primary voters, too, but who's counting?).

Bernie Sanders may take solace in shooting down the superdelegate system.

Bernie Sanders appears to have finally lost his struggle for the Democratic nomination for president. For now, his legions may refuse to face that reality, but they may draw comfort -- and a bit of pride -- if the Democratic Party listens and alters the nomination process:
Toni Yes, it left Sanders in the awkward position of having railed against superdelegates and then basing the entire rest of his campaign on them.
What’s your feeling on the possibility of a change in the superdelegate system at the convention? A compromise to cut them significantly could be a tool for Clinton to make peace with Sanders and his supporters. Elizabeth Warren, who is a superdelegate, has come out against superdelegates, so momentum seems to be building. But getting rid of them entirely wouldn’t be easy, right?
Nate I don’t have a great sense of how likely it is that they’ll change the superdelegates, but they’ve probably been more trouble than they’ve been worth to the Democrats so far. It wouldn’t surprise me if people were willing to cut or reform them in some way.
That's the best prediction about this subject I've heard. If Clinton offers to recommend such a rule change during this convention on superdelegates in the future, she may help bridge the gap between her and Sanders, helping in turn to bring Sanders' mightily disgruntled followers her way. If Sanders has some victory, especially where his followers were most exorcised, it could help draw the splintered party back together.

At a time when the emerging power of the millennial vote is beginning to grow, it would be such a loss to the only progressive party The U.S. has if the millennials were yet lost again.

The AP Surveyed the Superdelegates, Leading to Announcing the Clinton Victory

For better or worse, the superdelegate system exists in the Democratic Party nomination process.

Sanders hoped for a superdelegate superswitch. But a recent survey says otherwise.

When the Associated Press announced, much to the chagrin of Sanders supporters, that Hillary Clinton had wrapped up the Democratic nomination, it was based not on hunches but on a survey of current superdelegate positions:
Hillary Clinton became the first woman to capture the presidential nomination of one of the country’s major political parties on Monday night, according to an Associated Press survey of Democratic superdelegates, securing enough of them to overcome a bruising challenge from Senator Bernie Sanders and turn to a brutal five-month campaign against Donald J. Trump.
Regardless how Bernie Sanders and his massive following may look upon the superdelegate system, it's hard not to see the handwriting on the wall. Sanders, who once vociferously decried the superdelegate system, had been counting on mass defections by superdelegates to carry the day. This survey indicates that that expectation was ill-conceived and may hasten Sanders' eventual concession to Hillary Clinton.

Those in the Clinton camp, anxious to make progress in the coming battle against Donald Trump, must be breathlessly waiting.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Trump Lays Down Ethnicity Marker on Judges. Would He Nominate a Mexican or Muslim Judge?

Donald Trump makes plain that he doesn't think he could get justice from Mexican or Muslim judges. How could he nominate one?

In Donald's world, race and ethnicity are determinate factors
for judges' qualifications. How else can we read it?

One of a U.S. president's most consequential powers is the appointment of judges, including the Supreme Court. Now Trump has openly stated he can't trust Mexican or Muslim judges. Since judging judges by race or ethnicity is patently unconstitutional, isn't that a truly disqualifying position he's taking?

I've always looked askance at statements that a candidate is "disqualified from office because..." However, in this case it's hard not to take such a position with Donald Trump.

Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin has long been both illegal under federal law and considered unconstitutional. Donald Trump's open defiance of these norms -- when as president he'd be bound by them -- is truly a disqualifying act.

The only way to "disqualify" him is at the ballot box. Let's hope the American citizens take that to heart and do their duty.

Friday, June 3, 2016

I Go to Europe for a Month and Look What Happens. WaPo Editorial Explains.

Okay, I stopped blogging from Europe because I was too busy eating, drinking, and walking around in a daze looking at culture. So sue me.

When Europeans look at Trump, they see the right-wing fringe
infesting their own countries because of terrorism and migration.

(Updated below.)

Today the Washington Post editorial board decried Paul Ryan's craven decision to support Donald Trump. Read it here. And read through the comments on the op-ed, too, to understand the depth of negative opinion about Ryan, the Republican Party, and the Donald. It's astonishing.

Holy cow (or something): Michael Gerson, in the same edition of WaPo, warns evangelicals not to deal with the devil:
In legitimizing the presumptive Republican nominee, evangelicals are not merely accepting who he is; they are changing who they are. Trumpism, at its root, involves contempt for, and fear of, outsiders — refugees, undesirable migrants, Muslims, etc. By associating with this movement, evangelicals will bear, if not the mark of Cain, at least the mark of Trump.
This is in regards to an up-coming meeting between Trump and evangelical leaders. Will they, like Ryan, go over to the dark side? Gerson says don't. What will they say? Can Trump manage to drag more than just the GOP down?