Sunday, August 23, 2015

Trump thinks he's serious

This is some of the worst news I've heard. There are indications that Trump is personally serious about his run for president. I think he's a joke candidate, but I thought he understood that--that he's just an egomaniac pretending to run for president, kind of like what happened in the movie Bulworth. He announces he's running (not a serious commitment), says a few snide things, watches his polls, says some more snide things, but it's all just a joke, so who care?

However, Trump is adding some strategy to his campaign, and that has me worried. He just held a huge rally in Alabama, with 30K people clamoring for him. Why Alabama? This is the frightening part:
Trump views Alabama, and the other Southern states that hold March 1st primaries, as the key to locking down the Republican nomination.
If he's seriously trying to win, the party is going to have to knock him down. They were able to do that with the challengers to Romney, but it looks like it might be harder this time. It shouldn't be, but it might be. Trump has got his own money to throw into the race. Perhaps he'll also collect money bombs like Ron Paul did. He could also finance his campaign on credit, then declare bankruptcy (again). The bad news is that lack of money isn't likely to stop him.

I'm not sure what will stop him. Going too far in insulting people hasn't stopped him yet, so I won't bank on that. However, he has a lot of months to say stupid stuff and collapse his campaign. There is plenty of time for bimbo eruption, treasures from legal actions and bankruptcy files, and his own words to choke him.

He may be thinking that he can wrap it all up with the March 1st primaries, but March 1st is over six months from now. Can Trump really last six months without torpedoing himself? I doubt it. I just hopes it happens sooner rather than later. I don't want to be eating my words on March 2nd, or worrying about it throughout January and February. I like risks to be remote, not in my face.


Extras. Trump's list of good journalists includes Geraldo. Telling. Trump knocks an opponent for a Photoshop mistake, so it's not all serious stuff with the Donald.

Last outpost of crazy: Joke candidate surges

The two appropriate responses to much of this presidential campaign so far are laughter or suicide. Today I laughed so hard I was lucky that I didn't have a stroke. Of course I'd heard about the candidacy of Deez Nuts, who I assumed was a rapper. Today I read more about him. Okay, he's actually a 15-year-old Iowa boy. That's a good joke, but not apoplexy-inducing.

What was so funny? The straight-faced verbiage in the Wikipedia article. I'm going to quote in order to capture it for posterity and before someone edits it:
In polls conducted by Public Policy Polling in Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina in mid-August 2015, he polled at 8, 8 and 9 percent respectively, garnering the attention of the media... analyst at Public Policy Polling... [noted] due to a fringe of the population with a penchant towards anti-establishment candidates, "You could call [the third party candidate] anything, and they would get their 7% or 8%."
But the following bit brought on the longest laughing fit I've had this year:
Relationship to Limberbutt McCubbins
Nuts polled his fans on his Facebook page on August 13, 2015, asking whether he should reach out to fellow joke presidential hopeful, Kentucky feline Limberbutt McCubbins, for a possible Nuts/McCubbins ticket. Nuts has acknowledged McCubbins as an inspiration for his presidential run.
Something cracked when I read the phrase "Kentucky feline." A reporter would list a candidate as a Kentucky senator or Kentucky governor, but to refer to a joke candidate was a Kentucky feline is pure brilliance.  That sentence is not only informing us about a joke candidate, but taking down the practice of 'objective reporting' at the same time. If only that was close to enough to tip the scales in favor of sanity. At this point in this presidential campaign, sanity is the clear loser.


Extras. What is Deez Nuts originally? Maybe a hip-hop term, maybe not. Fucked if I can tell, and not worth my time to figure out. Finally, one more tidbit for posterity:


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why I don't care about Hillary's emails

A commenter on Bernstein says: "This is not about party politics silly but ABUSE OF POWER, something we all should be united against."

Well, maybe, kinda, sorta. Hillary probably wanted more control over her documents than the rules gave her, so she went the private email route, which supposedly other Sectaries of State took before her.

She also didn't want to relinquish that control when she left office, so she took her emails with her. When she had to turn some over, again she wanted control, so she sorted them and gave what she felt like giving. This is a bit high-handed of her, but certainly not more than most (or all?) presidents, which is the office she aspires to. And I haven't noticed that we turned a president out of office for not sharing all the information he should have.

That's long way of saying that she behaves like many of her peers. Which means that we have to question why she should be held to higher standard. Sure, I'd like her to follow a higher standard, but I'm not going to eliminate her from consideration as a presidential candidate over this.

Another funny idea is that, in this age of hacks of Sony, the IRS, etc. and hacks by Wikileaks, Manning, and Snowden, it's possible that Hillary did a better job protecting her emails than the State Department would have.

So, again, what am I supposed to be all angry about? She doesn't follow the government rules--I don't follow all of them either. She abuses her power--like so many in top posts, but is she significantly worse? If so, explain how. She didn't secure government secrets--well, she did it better than many other officials, you have to admit that.

I'm sorry, but this just isn't stoking my moral outrage very much. Can't Hillary just do something really, terribly, and clearly awful and unforgivable, like hiring an assassin to kill Jeb Bush, or giving our negotiating strategy to the Iranians, or going to Trump's underground wedding to three 16-year-olds? That would make it easier to summon some outrage.

Then I'd have to hope the Republicans didn't top it the next day...

Everyone looks worse under the microscope.

Update 7/29/16. Well a lot has happened. The biggest is that the director of the FBI said that Hillary was extremely careless with classified documents, but not to the point that she can be prosecuted. GOPers are outraged that HRC isn't headed to prison. Curses, foiled again. What the FBI Director James Comey said in his statement and in his testimony to Congress.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Last outpost of crazy headlines: Guns, confederate flags, Zimmerman

'Muslim-free' gun shop teams with George Zimmerman to sell Confederate flags

There's a double dose of stupid going on with this idea. Really, who was impressed with George Zimmerman and/or his intelligence and decision-making powers? George Zimmerman is an advertisement for stupid use of a gun, but I guess the shop owner isn't too smart either. 

Or maybe he is. He's getting plenty of free publicity. Maybe he should be jacking up his prices too. All the better to fleece the rubes.

Maybe it's just a trial partnership.

Update 9/28/15. That slimeball Zimmerman released a picture of Trayvon Martin dead on the ground. What a pig.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mideast policy proposals: many kinds of stupid

What have we learned about the Mideast?

Top of the list would have to be that there isn't an easy way in and back out. If we try to limit our engagement, the situation on the ground quickly spins out of control (see Libya and Syria). If we put in more resources, we're sucked in for more than we counted on (see Iraq).

The only proven winning strategy is (drum roll) ... non-existent.

That's tempering what Obama is currently doing in the Mideast, but not what some of the GOP candidates are declaring. Joke-candidate Donald Trump says that we can bomb the hell out of the oilfields, encircle them, and then send in Mobil to extract the oil to pay for the mission. This would be the best way to get rid of ISIS, according to him.

Great plan! I don't see anything wrong with it, since it obviously worked for Russia when they wanted Crimea. No one in the whole world will complain and make it stick if we do it. We won't have to worry about the drip-drip-drip of IED warfare because, um, well Donald's not worried about that.

Moving from the laughable to the merely deluded, we have Jeb Bush praising the surge and pretending everything would have been peachy if only Obama had kept troops in Iraq. This strategy worked so well in Afghanistan that we didn't need a surge there, or did we? For some reason, keeping troops in Iraq would have made everything turn out fine in Syria, would have prevented ISIS from invading Iraq, and other magical stuff. Back in the real world, perhaps ISIS wouldn't have taken over as much of Iraq as it did, but assuming better outcomes than that is quite a stretch.

Jeb Bush, of course, isn't deterred from engaging in such fantasy. He declares that by defeating Assad, we'll also defeat ISIS, "but we have to make sure that his regime is not replaced by something as bad or worse." Unfortunately, there weren't any hints on just how we "make sure."

Is anyone falling for that? I doubt it. I don't even think GOP supporters believe it. How could they, after the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, the Syrian civil war (ongoing), Vietnam, and Korea? They may pretend that they believe, just like Trump and Jeb Bush pretend, but that's a whole different thing from actually believing.


Extra. One war Trump definitely could win (funny).

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Boring, predictable, bad

It's a third of the way through August, and I've written only one blog post. Why? Because the Republicans are predictably awful and the Democrats are keeping quiet so that they don't blow it. Nothing much is happening unless you consider what spews from Trump's mouth as something worthy of attention.

I haven't watched the Republican debate yet, but the biggest news from it is whether Donald Trump implied that Megyn Kelly was bitchy to him because she was having her period. This is the actual quote from his complaint the day after the debate:
"She... she gets out there and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. And you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever..."
I doubt that Donald Trump is beyond implying that Megyn Kelly was menstruating, but he's denying the implication now, tweeting that he meant her nose.

This was the biggest story from the debate, as of Monday August 10. That is sad. No wonder there's nothing fit to write about.


Sunday, August 2, 2015

No, Candidate Huckabee didn't say that.

Candidate says he'd use soldiers to stop abortions

Well, he didn't exactly say that, despite the screaming headlines.

Usually it's the conservative media that goes overboard on a trumped up story, a gaff, or an outright lie. This time it's the left-wing media.

Usually I don't read the left-wing media. I get plenty of soft-left spin in the regular media, from CNN to NPR to Bloomberg. However, this one made it onto the Google US news ticker. So I read it. The story was decidedly not as advertised. Here's the real story (abridged from Media Matters):
In response to a question from the audience at the Pizza Ranch in Jefferson, Iowa, Huckabee said he would "invoke the Fifth and 14th Amendments for the protection of every human being."...
"I will not pretend there is nothing we can do to stop this," Huckabee said at the event, where a Topeka Capital-Journal correspondent was present.
At his next stop, in Rockwell City, Huckabee answered follow-up questions from the correspondent, saying: "All American citizens should be protected."
Asked by another reporter how he would stop abortion, and whether this would mean using the FBI or federal forces to accomplish this, Huckabee replied: "We'll see, if I get to be president."
That's it. A reporter asked if Huckabee would use troops, and Huckabee didn't answer. So what media outlets, other than Media Matters, are reporting that Huckabee said he'd use troops to stop abortions?

Here's the [dis]honor roll, though it's probably not a complete list: The Telegraph (UK), Pajamas Media (but they seem to specialize in sensational and questionable stories), Think ProgressBenchmark ReporterByron Shire News (whatever that is), and, most shameful of all, Mother Jones.

However, this isn't nearly as bad as Breitbart, which has pushed such lies as the Shirley Sherrod story and the purchased allegations against Senator Menendez. Still, this is Really. Awful. Journalism.