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:


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.


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.]


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.


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

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

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.


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.


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.

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.