Thursday, December 29, 2016

Research in the anti-semitism situation in Montana

Most media outlets haven't dug into this story yet. If and when they do, they'll have better resources than me, and maybe reveal more than I've found.

With that caveat, this is what I've found. The mother of a white supremacist political leader Richard Spencer lives in Whitefish, Montana. She owns and manages a building that she developed. Allegedly she's allowed her son to operate from real estate that she owns. Allegedly she was threatened with boycotts and demonstrations if she didn't sell the building. (Please assume "Allegedly for the rest of this post.) The person making the threats was a realtor who also wanted to find a buyer, make a commission, and collect a donation for a local human rights group.

Mom contacted The Daily Mail, which ran a story that was then picked up by a neo-Nazi website. That website printed her side of the story, then also gave names, addresses, emails addresses, personal phone numbers, and business phone numbers of the realtor, a local rabbi, the wife of a local retired rabbi, the retired rabbi, the realtor's teenage (or younger) son, and the realtor's husband.

Here are some of the insults they use in the article:
vicious... evil race of hate-filled psychopaths... a people without shame... she also posts slut pics on the internet... Jew hate group... confirmed super-Jew... extreme Jew... Jew agenda... Jew terrorist group... his whore mother’s vicious attack on the community of Whitefish... kike attorney... get a leash on that hoe...
Oh, but they also admonish their followers, after requesting a troll storm, to do this: "And as always: NO VIOLENCE OR THREATS OF VIOLENCE OR ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE TO THAT."

It looks to me that the message is to harass them, and whatever, but don't threaten them, wink, wink. I mean, there's nothing threatening in this photo, is there? Nothing bad ever happened from wearing or labeling anyone with that yellow star, right?

Image: dailystormer.com

So some Jewish groups complained about the treatment of the Jews identified (by name, picture, address, etc.) by The Daily Stormer, The website then raised the call to march through the town armed, expressing displeasure with any people or businesses that were supporting Jews or anti-hate groups. This could ratchet up even more, particularly if the march does occur. Hopefully, this will die down with no show of strength by neo-Nazis. But certainly I and many others will be watching.

Extras/links. Original Daily Mail story. First story on The Daily Stormer site. Emails provided by Spencer's mother. Her first-person account of the situation. Jewish news organization coverage and follow-up. The Daily Stormer follow-ups. Local coverage. CBS coverage with video about the call to march. Check out more of the lovely graphics and sentiments of The Daily Stormer, versus the anti-hate group they are targeting.

Image: dailystormer.com


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dems in disarray

Here is a great article about the current position of the leaders of the Democratic Party. They will be in the wilderness at the federal level, with no veto power unless the GOP allows continued use of the filibuster. I have strong doubts that the filibuster will survive. It might be gone as soon as January 2017.

Dems haven't figured out what their plan will be in response to GOP control of the legislative agenda and their ability to pass and get bills signed. A lot of bills will probably roll through Congress next year, and it's unclear that the Dems will be able to stop any of them.

Maybe, finally, the Dems will start talking about what should be fixed. They may talk about the downside of the current situation, and how it could get even worse with the GOP plan. My feeling is that the Dems were always too confident in the status quo. There was too much happy talk about Obamacare, and not enough concern about its costs and how to rein them in. There was too much happy talk about the job market improving under Dems, with no strong plan of how.

It's true that the GOP stymied the Dems completely. They couldn't have reformed any part of government if they had wanted to. But the Dems still could have shown the ideas and willingness to try. However, they didn't. They wanted the same path, starting at the status quo and adding more Dem-like programs and spending.

It seems like that plan has been a loser, and now the loss is almost as complete as possible. Will the Dems learn? No signs of it yet.

Image: cracktwo.com

Extra. What Trumps says he'll do in his first 100 days. I should revisit this and make my reality-based guess of what will happen.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Cultivation of a fake news story

Supposedly Clinton blamed her loss partially on 'fake news' stories. Conservative commenters scoff at the idea of fake news, though they never try to tease out what might be real news versus fake news. They pretend that fake news is a liberal term for news that conservative media covers but mainstream media doesn't cover.

I know differently because I've researched some fake news, otherwise known as LIES. It's sad that the state of all media is so degraded that no sources are generally reliable for giving the whole view. However, MSM doesn't generally lie, and are called to account when a media source does lie.

Conservative media, on the other hand, frequently deals in lies and fabrications, and no one is called to account. No one in conservative media suffered for the lying, distorted editing of the Shirley Sherrod video, at least from what I've heard.

But this is repetition of a complaint I've made before. The new info is about a clear case of fake news. Alex Jones of Infowars was promoted the idea that the Clintons are involved in child trafficking. Supposedly the evidence is in the form of 'code words' in the Podesta emails. Jones kept promoting this story until a gunman (influenced by the stories) went into a pizza restaurant to investigate Jones' allegations, fired off a few shots (luckily injuring no one), and was arrested.

Of course Jones can't admit that he was wrong. Instead, he said that the restaurant is now the focus as a coverup of the real trafficking operations. He's still absolutely sure that something is going on.

This is such disgusting lying and incitement. Jones takes no responsibility, and he also is uninterested in whether anything he implies is true or not. Evidence that can be discovered, examined, and tracked to further evidence holds no interest for him at all. He's not an investigator, he's a lying, manipulative conman. It's important to watch his video in this story to see how unrepentant he is. He pretends that he hasn't focused on the pizza restaurant, which is a blatant lie when you look at his website, with its claim that "Pizzagate is global" and its picture of the restaurant itself.

Image: infowars.com

This is the mindset of too many conservative media purveyors, and it becomes the mindset of their listeners. They don't have a clue how to access for truth, for evidence, for possible falsehood in the information they consume. They will make amazingly heinous accusations, like a pizza restaurant sells the opportunity to sexually abuse children. These accusations are based on someone's sense of 'code words' and their interpretation of logos and artwork. Solid evidence isn't necessary--it's fine to broadcast these suspicions because, even though the accusations involve some of the most brutal and repugnant acts, the accused don't deserve a fair hearing. They're just a bunch of libs--not real people. So you (an average real American) shouldn't be accused like that, or your brother, or a preacher, but it's fine to do to those horrible libs.

I suppose that's what it boils down to--it doesn't matter what you say about libs. It can be true, false, scandalous, fictitious, whatever. Just go ahead, because they are horrible and deserve whatever treatment they get. Ugh. There is no honesty, no ethics, and no principles in that way of thinking, but that's where a lot of these conservative are.

Image: knowyourmeme.com

Extras. An interview with Pizzagate gunman. He doesn't sound like a rabidly bad person--religious, concerned. That was lucky, and may account for why no one was hurt. Aide on Trump's transition team is fired for spreading this stuff. Threats to another restaurant due to Pizzagate fake news stories.

Update 12/13/16. More details of the gunman's preparations and what he did in the restaurant.

Friday, November 18, 2016

How bad is the alt-right?

I'm only going to tackle a small piece of this question.

To start, here is David French on the threats he and his wife get daily because he was against Trump. I guess a specialty of some alt-right creeps is to Photoshop his wife's face onto the most disgusting pornographic image they can find and then send her the resulting artwork.

Next, it was instructive to read what Breitbart had to say about the alt-right. Basically, they are currently noisy frat boys, but they're also right:
"In short, they want what every people fighting for self-determination in history have ever wanted, ... — to come out of the woodwork and stand up for their values and culture."
This at the end of an article about the white nationalism, xenophobia, misogyny, and hate in the movement.

A related question is how much Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist and adviser, is a fellow of the alt-right. Ben Shapiro, formerly of Breitbart and thus a colleague of Steve Bannon, drops a lot of stories on him. The charges seem fairly specific, but I can't be an unbiased judge.

However, the press isn't finding very horrendous quotes attached to Bannon. Maybe this will change because he had a radio show, and people may need to listen to a lot of it to find the nastiest bits. Stay tuned.

Image: gotnews.com

Update 2/21/17. Milo Yiannopoulos, author of that article in Breitbart about the alt-right, was invited and then disinvited from this year's CPAC conference. He's been a popular guest on college campuses, invited by conservative groups because he infuriates liberals. But evidently he went too far in talking about sex with underage teens, so his fame and welcome are drying up extremely quickly. Ah, a bit of justice.

Update 3/14/17. I don't generally read The Daily Kos, but this very long article has a surprising number of well-made points, with many links. Not your typical conspiracy theory.

First post-election post

So, President Trump, huh? I went into the election too comfortable, obviously. Also obvious is that my brother's predictions didn't pan out. Election night wasn't fun, slowly realizing that Clinton wouldn't catch up in Wisconsin, and has had lost the election.

The good news is that we won't have Clinton for president, with her defensiveness, 'safe' rather than bold leadership, and playing for popularity. We also will have so much less sniping at her. I feel a lot of relief about that.

The bad news is that we'll have a lot of unknowns with Trump and whatever gaggle of advisers he'll have.

But I'm not a pessimist because the world has generally turned out better than the worst case scenario, often much better. The US and I have survived so many presidents who were supposed to ruin the country that I just can't muster worry because Trump is expected (by some) to be a hundred times worse.

I'll keep my eyes open for signs of authoritarianism, and fight it strenuously if it happens. But I'm not losing sleep over the possibility until I see actual signs.

Changes I do expect:

  • Planned Parenthood will be defunded. That can't be blocked.
  • ACA changes will happen. I might actually support some of the changes.
  • Conservative nominees to the Supreme Court. 
  • Tax cuts with no sunset dates--hopefully not too large. 
Oh, and if there's a registry for Muslims, I guess I'll be one of many in line, from the sounds of it. Not expecting that though. 

Image: michaelmoore.com

Extras. Reports of harassment in Day 1 of Trump's America. I haven't witnessed any, and I won't stand by if I do witness anything. Revisit Michael Moore's prediction

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sharing predictions

I'm not into the scientific prediction business, so I'm not making my own predictions on the presidential elections. Instead, I'm sharing my brother's predictions. They are worthwhile for these reasons:

  • He's a level-headed business owner with a good track record on numbers and predictions. (You have to trust me on this.)
  • He's gathering hard data on early voting.
He's predicting Florida, North Carolina, and Nevada go for Hillary, and those will be enough to give her the win. He also says that Ohio and Iowa are very close and could go either way.

So that's the word. Hillary will be the next prez. The Donald Danger is averted.

Image: wbtw.com

Anti-Trump conservatives

I've been neglecting this story for too long. Some conservatives, and not the usual suspects, have been clearly against Trump. Eric Erickson of RedState makes an impassioned argument against Trump as a wicked person lacking morals. Another writer at RedState blasts Jerry Falwell Jr for supporting Trump. Glenn Beck is also making a moral argument against Trump.

Image: theinsurgent.com

Related Extras. Erickson tells of Trump supporters harassing him, and the deeply difficult decision not to support Trump at a time of great stress in his family. This article lists several prominent conservatives who are against Trump. However, I will never give Mark Levin credit for his stand because I've never known him to do something for the right reason. He's one of the biggest liars I ever seen, including doctoring evidence.

Unrelated Extras. Unbelievable theory that the Trump video was a fake. Why Trump's charges of voter fraud are unbelievable. A prediction that the GOP will continue on a white nationalist course. Former conservative Andrew Sullivan argues that Trump is a fascist.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Short: FBI against Clinton

I have to make this short because 1) I have to get rid of some of my browser tabs, and 2) I want to surf other stuff that's a lot more fun.

So, there have been seriously bad leaks from the FBI, and also a lot of dissension over FBI Director Comey's decision not to indict Clinton. It seems that some FBI agents are fairly partisan and are extremely upset that Clinton hasn't been locked up. Can't give them credit for professionalism on this one.

Some agents were so unprofessional and partisan that they said a Clinton indictment was imminent, and leaked it to media franchises that just loved to hear it. The result was that Bret Baier had to retract a story to that effect. Strange how the retraction was bigger news on Politico than on Baier's own network, the estimable Fox News.

Image: patriotpost.us

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Short: Lesson on being gracious

From CBS news, here's a hand-written note from George H.W. Bush to Bill Clinton:

Image: cbsnews.com



How should the country prepare for post-election tantrums?

Donald Trump continues to troll the entire country with his ludicrous claim that the only way he'll lose the election is by massive voter fraud. In last night's debate, he pointedly refused to say that he'd be bound by the result. Today, he says he'll accept the result if he wins.

And if he loses, as every reality-based analysis points to, what will he do? I'm not expecting a suddenly humble Donald Trump to make a cordial concession speech. I'll be surprised if he concedes at all. But what I fear most is Trump calling for his followers to resist the results.

I think state and federal emergency planners should be preparing for what might happen. But how do you prepare?

First, emergency planners should consider likely scenarios in their particular regions. Here in Massachusetts, the election results are unlikely to be close, so I doubt people will be storming the town halls to 'guard' the ballots. I don't know what is likely to happen elsewhere--that's the kind of local knowledge I don't have but emergency personnel in each area hopefully will have.

The planning for election day and the days around it should be the sort of thing that is familiar to any police department that's had to deal with a controversial trial. Having plenty of personnel on schedule or on call is a good start. Identifying flashpoints is also important. I can't guess much beyond that because that's never been part of my job. It is part for their job, and it's definitely something police chiefs should have underway. I wouldn't be surprised to hear from some national groups making public service announcements about 'American tradition' and 'safe and respectful voting' and 'listening to the voice and votes of the people.'

I'm glad I don't live in a state where open-carry enthusiasts might converge. Hopefully, planning in Texas is well under way. Philadelphia has already been targeted, so they had better be planning too. Other areas where the danger is higher: Georgia, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, and maybe others.

Despite my concerns, I expect a strong and well-planned response by police and government, and minimal trouble with minimal injuries and damage. Not none, but minimal.

Maybe a few days after Election Day, Trump will realize that he can't provoke much reaction anymore, he will good and defeated, and a major threat averted. We shall see, but planning now is important and shouldn't be overlooked.

Image: dreamstime.com


Friday, October 14, 2016

Sexual predators--You are one

Buzzfeed has video of Trump on the Howard Stern show:

Stern: You know about sexual predators...
Off camera woman's voice: You are one. [laughs]

[Trump nods his head and smiles.]

Image: theatlantic.com

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Short: Dilemma of GOP women

The dilemma is intensified if you happen to be a woman senator running for election in a swing state. That's the position New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte is in. She was the loyal partisan... until it became untenable, or until she saw she was losing too many voters and embarrassing herself too much.

Good articles from the Boston Globe and BBC.

Image: cnn.com

Punks everywhere

A few weeks ago, before Trump started his slide, he punked the national media by saying that he was going to make a statement about Obama's birth certificate. Media outlets gave him live coverage as he walked around his new Washington DC hotels and pointed out its wonderful features. Eventually he got to the statement where (naturally) he took credit for ended the controversy.

Then Trump was punked when someone sent three pages of his 1995 tax return to the New York Times, which revealed that Trump has nearly $1 billion loss and probably didn't have to pay federal income tax for 18 years (the moocher).

Then conservatives were punked when Julian Assange corrected their impression that he was going to provide an October surprise that would deeply wound Hillary. There actually was a release, which was a nothingburger ... unless you're under the impression that Hillary is usually extremely candid in all her speeches, avoiding all spin.

Then it was Trump's turn to be punked again, as his favorite journalist at the Washington Post received a video of Trump talking about going after women sexually, "Grab them by the pussy" may be the most famous words in this campaign. Trump had a very rocky weekend after that Friday news story. Even his VP choice, Mike Pence, announced that he was suspending his appearances.

However, NBC was also punked because they had copies of the video, but were letting the lawyers figure out how to handle it (according to the New York Times).

In lesser punk news, the Russian passed on some erroneous information supposedly showing Hillary ally Sidney Blumenthal did something that was just awful (if you're in the conservative media bubble) or inconsequential and hard to follow if you're a normal person. And though Donald didn't melt down during the second debate, he was still punked by Hillary who knows more and fabricates less than he does.

Not the only girl he touched
Image: thehollywoodgossip.com

Extras. Three options for the GOP after Trump loses. None are rosy. Report of some friction inside the Clinton foundation. Sounds like a soap opera. The Wall Street Journal complaining that Clinton has "no core" as though the core of Trump isn't a sewage pipe of epic proportions. Nothing new in their reporting, just as there's nothing unexpected in all the reports of Trump being a handsy lecher. Some conservative media is trying to make a lot about the internal comments about Catholicism being conservative and backward of gender relations (nothing new there either unless you are outraged that people have opinions). Politico on today's crop of charges of inappropriate touching by Trump--again no surprise. From Vox, a survey of conservative media.

Update 10/14/16. Via Sarah Posner, the NYT lawyer, in response of Trump's claim of being defamed, essentially says "You've made your own reputation as lecherous scum. There is no reputation to ruin."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Short: GOP woman cusses out the GOP

This is great. A conservative woman went on a twitter tirade. Here is the capstone:
"If you can’t stand up for women & unendorse this piece of human garbage, you deserve every charge of sexism thrown at you."
 And, for posterity:

Trump women learn to protect the pussy
Image: elleuk.com

Update 10/13/16. It's interesting to see where this twitter tirade is covered as news. MSNBC, NPR, Raw Story, Richocet, Elle UK, and down from there.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Short: Experts discuss a shooting

This is the kind of information we should get about all major shootings. It's a discussion by a group of experts, kind of like the analysis after an airplane accident. In this case, it's a shooting of black man who was sighted with a gun.

Image: nytimes.com

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

There's still time...

... for Donald Trump to leave the campaign in a huff.

I'd like to see this more than any other outcome I can think of. I would hope that some GOPers would learn a lesson from that kind of embarrassment.

Image: twitter.com

Extra. Currently reading "Pence under pressure to stabilize reeling Trump campaign."

Monday, October 3, 2016

Revisiting the stimulus negotiations

I wrote long ago about the breakdown of bipartisanship in 2008/2009 even in the midst of the economic crisis. I was reminded of it today while reading an interview with Obama:
"When I came into office, my working assumption was that because we were in crisis, and the crisis had begun on the Republicans’ watch, that there would be a window in which they would feel obliged to cooperate on a common effort to dig us out of this massive hole. ...I vividly remember having prepared a basic proposal that had a variety of components. We had tax cuts; we had funding for the states so that teachers wouldn’t be laid off and firefighters and so forth; we had an infrastructure component. We felt... we would begin negotiations with the Republicans and they would show us things that they thought also needed to happen. On the drive up to Capitol Hill to meet with the House Republican Caucus, John Boehner released a press statement saying that they were opposed to the stimulus. ...And I think we realized at that point ... was a calculation based on what turned out to be pretty smart politics but really bad for the country: If they cooperated with me, then that would validate our efforts. If they were able to maintain uniform opposition to whatever I proposed, that would send a signal to the public of gridlock, dysfunction, and that would help them win seats in the midterms."
Many conservative commenters have harped on a large meeting Obama had with most of Congress, where he said "I won." They have claimed those two words were enough to ruin the budding relationship, and therefore it was Obama's fault that Republicans didn't work with him. This is such bullshit--that two words would have been enough. But I wanted to look at the contemporaneous reports of this meeting.

From HotAir on 1/23/09, the same day as the meeting:
"Vintage O: Always willing to hear the other side out, never willing to actually vote with them. ... The GOP’s simply not going to obstruct Hopenchange this early, when he has this much goodwill from the public, when the economic circumstances are this dire, and when even conservative economists are endorsing some sort of stimulus."
Fascinating. That conservative author had already decided that Obama was the problem because he wouldn't listen to them. That's such a contrast to Obama's memory of it. I have to support the notion that the GOP already planned to oppose rather than negotiate, and had their talking points prepared, as in this one from Boehner:
"How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives? How does that stimulate the economy?"
The GOP version of the stimulus was to have only permanent tax cuts--no money for states to maintain teachers and police in their jobs, no money for working poor in the form of rebates. The GOP wanted only their version, or there would be no GOP votes for the stimulus.

A few GOP senators defied this solid opposition, or there would have been no stimulus, with the GOP reaping the well-deserved blame. The GOP avoided that big mistake because there were enough Dems to vote for the stimulus, but that only allowed them to continue the strategy of heavy obstruction and almost no negotiation.

That remains their strategy through the present, and probably into the future. That strategy started right at the beginning of 2009, and it wasn't due to intransigence from Obama, no matter what they claim.

...because they didn't win.
Image: pinterest.com

Extras. More talking points from the GOP from January 2009. Tight cooperation between the GOP and Fox News. NY Times report from late January 2009.

Update 10/5/16. A different viewpoint on the incidents discussed here.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Stupid campaigns, stupid candidates

I haven't been writing much about politics because there's nothing positive to inspire me. It's the same stupidity that we've had since 2012. Republicans still don't know how to negotiate on appropriations, so they end up caving and sticking with the status quo.

This year some of the actors on the stage are different and worse. Hillary is still secretive and having trouble admitting her mistakes. Maybe she learned a lesson from her poorly received comments about how the FBI 'exonerated' her, because she was straightforwardly apologetic about her email server during the first presidential debate. However, secrecy does seem to be her to-go method to handle any information that shows her being less than perfect, including the human trait of susceptibility to illness. Hillary and her campaign didn't acknowledge that she was ill with pneumonia until she collapsed at an event. She could have shared the truth, but chose not to. We'll have to see how frequently she hides the truth during the rest of the campaign and in her administration if she's elected.

Although Hillary has a secrecy problem, Donald Trump has more problems than I can count, and they've been erupting despite his campaign's efforts to keep him in check and help him act presidential. Trump is a braggart who is temperamentally unable to back down from a challenge. He claims to be the best in all things so he can't admit or learn from his mistakes. This was clearly on display during the first presidential debate, when Trump was able to temper his comments during the first 30 minutes, but then slid further and further into his reactive mode, being accusatory, interrupting, disrespectful, petulant, and whining (about 'not nice' anti-Trump ads).

Since the debate, Trump has feuded about his treatment of a beauty contest winner (why he was justified in calling her names) and threatened to ramp up his criticism of Clinton into new areas. Some of his comments have come as tweets in the middle of the night, so probably weren't vetted by his campaign advisers. So far Trump hasn't increased his criticism of the Clintons that much. He questioned Hillary's loyalty to Bill and her sanity, but this isn't much of an increase in rhetoric considering what Trump has said about other people.

Yet I sense that Trump could blow at any time, and start spewing all kinds of conspiracy nonsense about the Clintons from the deep well that conservative media has filled for over 20 years. I really think this will happen because Trump has met my low expectations every time. He's fundamentally remained the egotistic blowhard who can't and won't learn to be better than what he already is. He may be able to be rational for a few minutes, hours, or days, but not for an entire week or 5 weeks until the election. I have to wonder what extreme anger Hillary or the media will goad him into. I feel certain there will be more, but I can't predict the direction Trump will spew at. But I am almost certain he will erupt with devastating results.

Image: mirrorspectrum.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Media bias check using Powell email hack

So, here was a great opportunity for a quick check on media bias. Colin Powell's emails were leaked this afternoon. Who is reporting what? I did a quick survey of six sources.

1. Drudge Report. Just one link:
Colin Powell Urged Hillary Clinton’s Team Not to Scapegoat Him for Her Private Server, Leaked Emails Reveal
2. Fox News. Just one link:
Powell warned Clinton not to make him fall guy over email scandal, leaked messages reveal
3. Breitbart. Two links:
Hacked Colin Powell Email: Bohemian Grove Attendees Will Vote Against Trump, Some Support Third Party Candidate
Colin Powell Mocks Clintons: Hillary ‘Greedy’ — Bill Home With ’Bimbos’ 
4. NPR. Just one link:
Powell: Trump A 'National Disgrace'; Clinton 'Screws Up' Everything 'With Hubris' 
5. ABC News. Just one link:
Colin Powell Is Not a Fan of Either Presidential Candidate, Hacked Emails Show
6. CNN. Two links:
Powell: Trump is 'an international pariah'
Colin Powell calls Benghazi a 'stupid witch hunt' in DCleaks emails 
So, three out of three conservative sources have skewed links. Two out of three MSM sources have balanced stories, and one is skewed. Which looks more biased, conservative media or MSM?

Image: wikiquote.org

Monday, August 29, 2016

Loads of good posts

My tab bar is overflowing. Time to clean it up, share, and let this post be the archive.

The tracking average of polls that I've been using is from RealClearPolitics. I like the readability.

Perhaps the best post of all of these: Avik Roy, a conservative with a focus on medical policy, talks about how the GOP and conservatives have become a cloak for white nationalism. The leadership of the party winked at concerns about racism and lack of appeal to minorities, so they didn't see the extent to which it was happening... until this year. My prediction is that the GOP has at least another 4 years of chaos ahead before there is any semblance of unity.

At National Review, there is a long but fast-paced article about the problems with conservative media. The overwhelming problem is that non-conservatives don't get their news and don't trust conservative sources. Then the author inadvertently show why people shouldn't trust conservative media source when he talks about coverage of economics. He used a purely statistical argument to conclude Obama has done worse with the economy, ignoring the context that Obama inherited the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. By the same author, conservative media personalities enrich themselves and conservative media is a hive of charlatans. Conversely, the liberal media has been crying 'wolf' for years before they got someone like Trump who is actually terrifying.

We can't leave the topic of conservative media without some schadenfreude at the infighting between various conservative media outlets over whether Trump is great or an abomination.

All politicians tend to ignore issues that show their weakness. According to Kilgore, terrorism is a weakness among Dems. I agree. It's a serious issue that any government in power needs to deal with. Don't stand there pretending that there aren't dangers because that's denialism.

Trump calling for his supporters to monitor polling places is not only scary, it may be illegal.

A list of Trump's threats and insults. Another list suggesting 33 actions/statements that Trump might regret if he ever decides to get specific about what he might have said that he regrets.

Finally, a completely different sensibility in the analysis/theory that Clinton is trying to reach out to GOPers instead of tarring them as disgusting Trumpettes.

Image: fasthaul.com

Update 9/1/16. More on conservative media, seconding what was already written, but maybe a few good points besides. By Bill Kristol's choice for president.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Trump Shitstorm Warning

Trump had a meeting with some Hispanic supporters (snark--it must have been a very small meeting). One of the supporters reported that Trump "regretted having made those comments." Which comments? Oh, just the ones about Mexicans being rapists and drug dealers.

The article is a must-read. Supposedly Trump promised a fair and humane policy concerning illegal immigrants currently in the US.

What is going to happen when Trump is asked about this? Is he going to repeat that his policy will be fair and humane? Allow me to express my doubts. If he were to repeat that his policies for the illegal immigrants already in this country will be fair and humane, that is when the shitstorm will occur. I think it should be here by midweek unless Trump reiterates his opposition to any kind of amnesty and any 'humane' policies. That is my prediction. Stay tuned for updates. (I may have to eat crow.)

Image: dailycaller.com

Friday, August 12, 2016

Short: More GOPers think Donald is dead

Donald Trump continues to provide most of the fodder for my commentary. Today there's an article about how little hope GOP insiders have, based on surveys of said insiders. Half of them think he's lost already. One question that wasn't asked is whether it would take a miracle for Trump to win--but that's not a very scientific type of question. Nonetheless, Bernstein thinks he's in 'needs a miracle' territory

Good discussion of whether Trump should do the debates and on what conditions.

Image: townhall.com

Update 8/22/16. A ray of hope for Trump and the GOP. More new voters are registering as Republicans than Democrats.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Conservative media lies again Part 537

Alright. I've written before about how MSM lies versus how conservative media lies. I'll repeat it again so no one can accuse me of defending either sort of lie. The MSM lies by skewing what they report, and ignoring or downplaying stories that hurt liberals/progressives. The conservative skews in the same way, but they also report outright lies or fabrications. Their fact-checking is non-existent, and they never apologize for the lies or fabrications they've disseminated.

Ok, that's out of the way. This article discusses several cases of conservative media hyping stories of Clinton's poor health. The Drudge Report, WorldDailyNet, and InfoWars are mentioned.

Plus, there's this claim from a self-declared 'polite' white supremacist. Supposedly the Secret Service carry injectable Valium for Clinton. The evidence is a grainy picture of a person (presumably an agent, but who knows) holding a cylindrical object. It's not clear what he is holding, and certainly not why he is holding it. On this basis, some of the conservative media is making such claims.

Oh, really? Is this any way for a media organization to build credibility? OF COURSE NOT.

Image: thegatewaypundit.com

Update 8/25/16. Health report covered by non-lying media. Obviously not a conservative media outlet.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Who is the good American?

It looks like the speech by Khizr Khan at the Democratic national convention was a turning point in the presidential campaign. Here is my speculation as to why it was a turning point.

Trump likes to pretend he is the greatest at everything. Khan showed very specifically some ways in which Trump is a faker as a good American.

  • Khan's son was so patriotic that he joined the military, put his life at risk, and in fact lost his life. Trump was a coddled rich boy with draft deferments. None of his children joined the military. Most children of liberals don't join the military either. So who is the good American?
  • Khan had been married to the same woman, who has grown old and rather homely. She is a dedicated to her family, grieves for her son, and isn't vain, self-centered, and focused on her own appearance. In contrast, Trump is currently married to his third trophy wife, a former model who is over 20 years younger than him. So who is the good American?
  • Khan credits this country for his success and the ability of their sons to follow their dreams. He declares: "that with hard work and goodness of this country, we could share in and contribute to its blessings..." Contrast this with Donald Trump, who gives credit only to himself and his awesome abilities, and doesn't acknowledge the blessings that have come from others. So who is the good American?
  • Khan lists the people/groups Donald Trumps smears and disrespects: women, Muslims, other minorities, judges, and even the GOP leadership. So who is the good American?
  • Khan asks: "Have you even read the United States Constitution?" Trump, who doesn't acknowledge reading, but only watching TV. He probably doesn't carry a pocket copy of the Constitution in his expensive suits (and neither do most Americans, especially liberals). So who is the good American? 
  • Khan asks "Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery?" All faiths, genders, ethnicities are found there. Trump has made no sacrifices. Perhaps this was the most scathing of the accusations. But it rings so true. So who is the good American?
Did Khizr Khan finally gets stalling voters/undecideds to see that Trump has no clothes, and is an ugly, empty, grasping fake? Perhaps he did. 

So who is the good American?

Image: abcnews.go.com



Extra. Backstory on how the Clinton campaign learned about the Khan family.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Short: Analysis of Trump's campaign strategy

I've written about Trump's ridiculous political strategy that worked to secure him the GOP nomination. This view is from a different angle, which is how Trump is going to keep voters interested in him. So it's more a media strategy than a political strategy. Short, pithy, informative, and funny in a gut-wrenching way.

Image: salon.com

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Short: Defeat of a Freedom Caucus member

Good article about the ins and outs of how a member of the Freedom Caucus was defeated in a primary challenge. The Freedom Caucus are those members of the House who brought down John Boehner and who support shutdowns, debt default, etc.

Guy in the middle - gone!
Image: teapartyexpress.org

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Crazy week for The Donald

Matt Glassman (via twitter): Is this the stupidest week ever in American politics?

Jonathan Bernstein (via twitter): It's Monday.
_____________________________________________________

Yes, it's been a crazy week. Last Thursday, the father of a Muslim-American US Army captain who was killed in Iraq spoke at the Democratic Convention and attacked Trump for his prejudice against Muslims. Trump unwisely has launched attack upon attack back at this family.

Attacking the grieving families of fallen soldiers--not a good tactic. Has Donald Trump adopted the tactics of the reviled Westboro Baptist Church? So it seems. And the conservative media is supporting him in these tactics.

Last night my sweetie was kept awake following myriad tweets about Trump's campaign falling apart. Campaign aides are suicidal. Paul Manafort, his campaign manager, is 'mailing' it in. Trump is feuding with GOP heavyweights John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, and Paul Ryan. The head of the Republican National Committee  (RNC) has called Trump to complain about how he handled the Khan family, and then leaked this information. The RNC has even checked on the official procedure for selecting a new nominee if Trump quits the race. (Source for part of this info.)

Then this morning on Morning Joe, Scarborough revealed that Trump has questioned advisers on why we can't use nuclear weapons since we have them. This is astounding, and the people on Morning Joe were certainly distressed. This is the most terrifying aspect of Trump. He doesn't understand that as president, he needs to be careful not to trigger a chain reaction of nuclear missile launches Because if we start using them, other countries will follow.
______________________________________________________

Hillary hasn't fared that well this week either. She went on Fox News and doubled-down on some claims that the head of the FBI already said weren't true. However, she also repeated that she wouldn't handle email that way again.

And it was uncovered that the US government sent $400 million to Iran on the same day that they released four American prisoners. Though this looks like a ransom, it wasn't a straight ransom, but part of a series of large deals with Iran settling old issues while setting up a new nuclear agreement.

However, any comparison of Hillary's week and Donald's week has Hillary is the big winner. Will it matter on Election Day? I certainly don't know.

Image: @MEMRIReports

Extras. Lots of other sources. Other Republicans support the Khan family. Trump seeks support from Congress, gets little. GOPers trying to talk sense into Trump. Detailed discussion about Khan from Snopes. Trump against Kelly Ayotte. Campaign woes from Vanity Fair:
"The problem is that Trump watches TV every minute that he isn’t actually on his phone, either talking or tweeting. And then he gets angry at what he sees on TV and reacts."
Update 8/4/16. Was there or wasn't there an intervention of the few GOP leaders that Trump might listen to? Maybe there was, because Trump didn't insult the Khan family in the past 24 hours. However, Gingrich is now sadly admitting that Trump is blowing the campaign. Guiliani says "What intervention? There was no such thing. Trump is a great candidate." Well, something like that.

Update 8/7/16. The Huffington Post has a timeline of Trump's week, including additional gaffes and missteps that are too numerous for me to cover. It's rather stilted, and doesn't note the Trump toed the line on Friday. Still, a fun recounting of the many Donald blunders in an amazing week.

Update 8/8/16. A letter signed by 50 former national security officials says Trump "would be the most reckless President in American history." Maybe he'll retaliate by saying he's 'not there yet' in deciding whether these former officials deserve tickets to the next Miss World contest. This deserves to be a big issue. I wonder if/when it will become so.

Update 8/10/16. Here's a CNN article on GOPers who have declared that they don't support Trump. The list goes on and on. I did eventually get to the end.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Short: Who rigged the economy?

I was really hoping that I would get some good insights into how the economy was rigged from this article. After all, it's published on Vox, one of the better site for political analysis.

Alas, the article is a big disappointment. When I wonder which people are using the rules or gaming the system to enrich themselves, I think about politicians, developers, Wall Street types, etc. I was hoping to find out more about how they do it. Instead, this article points at these enemies of fair economics:

  • Dentists
  • Owners of beauty schools
  • Massage therapists
  • Arkansas and its laws on nurse practitioners
WTF? These are the people who have rigged the system so that there aren't many good jobs anymore? The author can't seriously expect me to believe this, can he?

Instead of this being a tell-all article, this reads like a low-rent libertarian rant against licensing. Such rants have their place, but licensure isn't what has rigged the economy. Come on!

Then I did a google check of the author, Will Wilkinson. Yep, he used to work for the Cato Institute. The article is exactly a low-rent libertarian rant. And I wasted my time reading it.

Short: Disenfranchised Texas voters

Finally I saw a number on how many voters had trouble getting acceptable IDs under the Texas voter ID laws. The number is 600K, or 4.5% of voters in Texas.

Then I read more closely, and that is an estimate by plaintiffs in the suit against the state law. They would probably want to overcount  rather than undercount the number affected.

Nonetheless, it's an interesting article on voter ID and remedies for those voters impeded by the voter ID requirements.

Image: soapblox.com

Friday, July 22, 2016

Apologizing for the US

This concept is so clear and easy in retrospect, that it's strange that I didn't realize it before.

It's traitorous, unpatriotic, or evil for US citizens to apologize for or acknowledge:

  • Unsavory business practices of some US companies, past or present.
  • Gingoistic claims by Americans.
  • Covert operations by Americans that have resulting in coups  and/or deaths in other countries.
  • Military actions by American troops that have resulted in civilian casualties and/or coups in other countries.
  • Torture that had been called 'enhanced interrogation.'
On the other hand, it's reasonable to apologize or express shame or remorse for:
  • Civil unrest by US minorities.
  • Shootings of police by US civilians.
  • Previous administrations asking other countries to recognize and honor human rights.
  • Any actions by those evil anti-American presidents, Democrats, liberals, pinkos, and (what the hell) fags. 
What prompted this observation? Donald Trump said this:
"I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country. We have tremendous problems when you have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore... When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger."

Edit, then cut and paste.
Image: 56packardman.wordpress.com

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cruz's splash at the GOP convention

In a nutshell, Ted Cruz, the runner-up in the GOP primary, was slated to speak at the convention. The big question was would he or wouldn't he endorse Trump. Or maybe that wasn't the big question. Maybe no one knew what he was going to do. Cruz has been overshadowed by other events lately: many ghastly shootings of and by police, the countdown to Trump's VP pick announcement, and plagiarism and clumsy denial by the Trump campaign.

So perhaps Cruz was flying under the radar, and people weren't thinking that he might do something dramatic. However, Cruz is Cruz, and he is a drama queen. His speech (per reports--I won't risk vomiting by watching it) was long and full of this usual appeals to righteous conservatism. The delegates, expecting an endorsement, were getting restless. Some started shouting for the endorsement. When Cruz finished the speech without giving an endorsement, he was widely and loudly booed.

It was interesting to me to read various speculations about this incident. Megan McArdle (whom I don't like) thinks that both Cruz and Trump will be hurt by this. Allahpundit at HotAir has a detailed analysis. Key people in Trump's campaign are going to wreak vengeance on Cruz, and it started with the show of him being vociferously booed. Today there are stories that Ted Cruz will be primaried for his senate seat.

I've read a bunch of opinions, and I can't remember them all. I certainly don't agree with those who think it was a masterful turn by Cruz, showing how he's brave and principled. It's certainly believable that Cruz was still angry over Trump's accusations against his wife and his father (the ludicrous story that Cruz's father was involved with Lee Harvey Oswald). I wouldn't forgive insults like that, but then I'm not an opportunist politician.

However, Cruz will suffer because he has again been aggressive and insufferable. He spit in the eye of the GOP delegates, and smiled as he walked away. He's done that before. (At a conference of Arab Christians, he ordered them to support Israel, and then ran out to thunderous booing.) With that kind of character flaw, Cruz will probably never round up enough support to win the presidency. Thank God for that!

Image: kwwl.com

Extras. All the links above are well worth reading. Here are a few others. The Federalist luvs Ted Cruz. Bernstein writes mostly about the chaos at the convention, but this is a great observation:
"Trump doesn't want to unite his party. He wants to bully it into submission. As Ted Cruz's performance showed, the Texas senator yields to no one in the bullying department."

Monday, July 18, 2016

Rant on our horrific choices

How crappy are the political conditions in the US that our choices are Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

In one corner, we have battered Hillary Clinton. She and Bill wanted both money and political power, and they've cut lots of corners to get the money. While there are innumerable false complaints about them, there is plenty slime that they created and sticks to them. Here are some: Vince Foster (FALSE), cattle futures (LIKELY), monetarily motivated pardons (LIKELY), rapes by Bill (HYPED by GOP operatives), State Department favors in exchange for Clinton charity donations (SERIOUS AND PLAUSIBLE).

In the other corner, we have Donald Trump, a modern-day ringmaster with a circus of his own follies. One of his follies is starting to believe his own hype. He's said he's the only one who can fix the problems in the US, the Mideast, and probably the world. Who actually believes that kind of talk? Too many Americans, for one. Maybe half of Trump's supporters believe he has something special. Maybe the other half hope and pray that he'll bring some change to the constipated, blocked, inefficient government we now have. Yes, they hope Trump is the enema that the US needs.

What's especially sad is that these two were picked in competitive primaries. That means the other choices were too weak, too unpopular, or too weird to be chosen. Or perhaps our parties and our politics are frightening away the better candidates, or suppressing them, muzzling them, or turning them into cookie cutter clones.

I hope sometime in the next 10 years to have a candidate I really respect. At the rate we're going, that isn't going to happen, and the US will continue its slow slide down the tubes into mediocrity.

Complete Trump enema kit, backed by Trump University
Image: enemakit.com


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Four stories on the Dallas shootings

I'm deeply saddened by the shooting of police in Dallas during a friendly, non-violent protest against police shootings elsewhere.

We've seen this before--people taking out their hatred by mass killings. This time it was a black man who was angry with whites, particularly police. But daily it's someone angry with this group or other, or just angry at the world. This country isn't a land where everyone has to fear going outdoors because of the high level of violence (countries like Somalia, parts of Mexico, Honduras among others). But this is a glimpse of what it could be like.

The thread of civilization that prevents the general outbreak of such violence has become thinner, and there are more such violent incidents reported even as the overall murder declines. Can you imagine if half a dozen people in every medium-to-large city decided to do what this man did, and murder as many police as possible? What if two days later another person was doing the same thing in the same city?

Actually, now that I write this, I feel confident that our police forces could handle such a situation--that the number of violent people would run out long before our police were swamped. For that I'm very grateful.

After this long prologue, here are the stories:

So will this tragedy spur other angry people to act out, or will it make them rethink? I can't predict. However, I remember the Oklahoma City bombing, and how it was so horrific that it quieted the violence for a while. We can hope for that, but it would be so much better if five police officers didn't need to die for us to learn.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown
Image: fox4newscom


Update 7/11/16. A report of the radical black organizations that the shooter tried to join. None are as radical in tactics as the Black Panthers of 40 years ago, but Lakesia Washington of the Black Riders supports the shooter and the shooting.Update 


The way of a charlatan

This is from the book I'm currently reading on my kindle. It's about growing up in Nazi Germany:

"Smart question, my boy. Our beloved Fuehrer employs the technique of all charlatans who never produce anything. He could not produce a simple salami... So, he does what?"

... Karl ventured a guess, "He promises something?"

"Correct...When you are unable to deliver, you start promising."

For those who haven't gotten the meaning yet, I'm thinking about a presidential candidate who promises to build a border wall, make Mexico pay for it, bring back good jobs to the US, and we will win, WIN, WIN.

Now, in a book about Nazism, I've found the simple words to show what he is and whose footsteps he follows. I think I'll be repeating this on comment pages on the internet. For me, it was electrifying to read this.

Image: crowsnestpolitics.com



Saturday, July 9, 2016

Headline that breaks its promise

Should we hope? Here was the headline:

GOP Close To Dumping Trump As Coup Plotters Near Votes Needed To Cause Nomination Chaos

Then I read the article, and found out that it's about how many members of the rules committee were considering submitting a rule change to unlock delegates. Twenty said they were considering it, and they need 28 to get the rules committee to discuss the change.

That doesn't sound close to 'dumping Trump' to me.

 Image: thedailybeast.com

Monday, July 4, 2016

Supreme Court stubs out abortion ban via regulation

When you can't get what you want by fair play, we can always resort to other methods. So it was with the State of Texas. The majority of legislators want to ban abortion, but certain Supreme Court decisions stand in their way.

Enter a different idea: cloak your ban in the guise of health-based regulations. Since we're already drowning in regulations, it's a common method of changing practice, so why not? It's not that hard to lie about the real reasons for the regulation, like pretending that abortion is more dangerous than childbirth and causes more death than the low death toll from colonoscopies.

So Texas passed its regulations (after an unsuccessful filibuster by Wendy Davis). Lots of abortion clinics closed down, but at least one sued. The case went up to the Supreme Court, where Anthony Kennedy, typically conservative justice, called bullshit on the regulations. Well, they were bullshit, so I'm glad that he didn't play along. Kennedy has called bullshit on other issues too, including the idea that same sex marriage is dangerous to the institution of marriage and family.

Three cheers for Justice Kennedy!

How far you have to travel in Texas
Image: vocativ.com

Short: 'Fix the Debt' is fixed

A great article from Jonathan Chait about a pro-deficit reduction group that is strangely biased towards whatever the GOP offers. Chait takes apart the GOP proposal and Fix-the-Debt's incongruous support of it.

The GOP gets credit for being deficit hawks, but it doesn't deserve 95% of this credit. Sure, they propose cuts here and there, but their major actions have been 1) to stymie systemic reform of the budget and 2) enact deficit-growing tax cuts.

The article has some pointed recent history. It's a good reminder, as history usually is.

New slogan, same old.
Image: yourhoustonnews.com

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Trump finally starts running against Hillary--SPLAT!

Donald, with his usual grandiose bragging and blather,' implied that he was beating Hillary, and that he hadn't "even started yet."

As of June 22, he has now started. He gave a speech about Hillary and "the stakes in this election." It was the usual bragging from Donald. The country's a mess, but it can be fixed, but "only by [him]." Yes, he actually claimed that, but it's so typical that he thinks he is the savior. (Look here at the transcript.) Too bad he's so unclear how he'll do this without causing trade wars-- possibly even global instability on the order of our last massive recession.

What's funny about his speech is how many of his complaints about Hillary also apply to him:

  • "Hillary Clinton who, as most people know, is a world class liar..." (Trump thinks he's world class in everything, so just add 'liar' to the list, since he's deserving.)
  • "Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft." (Trump has done with with his various businesses, including casinos, real estate developments where he cashed in and others lost their investments, and, of course, Trump U.)
  • "She made $21.6 million giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interests – in less than 2 years – secret speeches that she does not want to reveal to the public. (How about Trump and his secret tax returns?)
  • "But she doesn't have the temperament or ... the judgement, to be president." (Trump talking about temperament and judgment? Hahahaha.)
  • "Hillary Clinton gave China millions of our best jobs, and effectively let China completely rebuild itself." (Oh my God! It wasn't the corporations who shipped jobs overseas, it was Hillary!)
  • "But Hillary Clinton learned nothing from Iraq, because when she got into power,she couldn’t wait to rush us off to war in Libya." (First, the war in Libya started as a revolt by Libyans, Second, Trump claims to have a different way to fight wars, and win oil, that's so much better--if you believe in him and fairy dust.)

I can't wait for the commercials blasting Trump. He provides so much ammunition. We'll probably get a dozen reasons not to support him each week, and still not run out of fodder.

Image: slate.com


Extra. Another author's take on the same speech. Very readable and worthwhile.