Either Trump is too lazy to quite talking or he is simply pandering to a base of an unknown percentage of the electorate.
First, he went back at Ted Cruz, and again said that Cruz's father was involved in the JFK assassination.
Then this weekend, he said that he felt bad for Roger Ailes and defended him. “I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he's helped them". That line is straight out of Mad Men and the 1950s's
Finally, he said that he might stop any European immigration. Dog whistle. Any immigrant is a bad immigrant because they might take your job.
If he hadn't locked up the support of his unknown percentage of the electorate he continues to try to do so. What he hasn't done, is pivoted to the known large percentage of independent voters.
July 24, 2016
Lets face it. No one is happy about the candidates running. I have been saying for a year, that by 2017, everyone will be pining for Obama; or would at least agree, that Obama would crush HRC and Trump like a bug.
So the 2016 election comes down to voting (not voting is a vote nonetheless) for the least worst option.
Here is the key thing about Trump and HRC: both are highly likely to be impeached.
Trump - who after the convention is back saying Ted Cruz's dad conspired with Oswald to kill JFK - will be impeached for two reasons. First, there are infinite ways Trump will likely conduct an impeachable offense. Just to pick one, illegally using the executive branch to settle scores with anyone that says anything bad about him. Which will be everyone. The second is political. If there is one thing both political parties can agree on, it is that Trump is bad for the country and the Republican party.
HRC - who is at least competent enough to read national security reports every morning, who will not hand Putin the Baltic countries because of de minimis economics and who will not try to renogotiate the national debt at the expense of the value of our currency - is still a Clinton. She and her husband have been mired in controversy since 1992. They blame the reporting of scandals because of a conspiracy by their detractors. Well, Obama, surely has a big set of detractors. And with the legislative branch being in the hands of the other party, if there was dirt on Obama, it would have been reported.
So a vote for HRC is a vote for Tim Kaine. And there is much to like about Tim Kaine.
For those reasons, I am voting for Tim Kaine in November.
July 23, 2016
The inclusion of others isn't a zero sum game.
Bear Bryant, the legendary head coach of Alabama, scheduled a game between his all-white Crimson Tide and an integrated USC. He knew he would lose the game. But that game led to the entire SEC conference being integrated the following year. He did the right thing.
When Marshall lost its entire football team in a plane crash in 1970, Bobby Bowden - the legendary head coach of Florida State who was at West Virginia (Marshall's rival) allowed Marshall to watch game tape to learn how to run the veer offense. He also had his team put Marshall's logo on his team's helmut. Bobby Bowden did the right thing.
As a registered Republican, I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. I have paid an effective tax rate of just under 50% for the last two decades. I have paid my real estate taxes even knowing I would be doubly-taxed by sending my children to private schools from 1990 to 2015. I know that most of my taxes go to others of need. I am anything but perfect. But I have always tried to do the right thing.
After 9/11, George W. Bush defended the rights of Muslims. Bush did the right thing.
After John McCain and Mitt Romney lost to Obama, they were gracious losers. John and Mitt did the right thing.
Even though Obama has deported 2.5 million illegal immigrants, Trump saying that his is going to "save us" from immigrants is the wrong thing. And we know it.
Even though the economy and stock market - which affects 401K plans - is again healthy and at record levels respectively, Trump saying he is going to "restore" the economy, and that only he can do it, is saying the wrong thing. His tax plan to lower taxes for the "rich" to 25% - even though it would lead to deficits of unimaginable proportions, while calling the last eight years "irresponsible", is the wrong thing. And we know it.
Even though the crime rate has dropped by 23% from 2006 to 2016, Trump saying he is "going to restore law and order" is not saying the right thing. And we know it.
Even knowing that the only Syrian refugees - who have to go through a 18 month vetting process before being allowed in the country and are are mostly women and children - are 99.9% pro-American, Trump demonizing them is the wrong thing. And we know it.
Even though underemployment is due to the migration of our economy to being made up of "unique knowledge creators", Trump promising a new day for these unfortunate Americans is the wrong thing. And we know it.
Running a convention, like it is some kind of third world propaganda event, is the wrong thing. A long winded speech saying that the greatest superpower - both militarily and economically - is in shambles, while doing his best imitation of Mussolini, is the wrong thing. And we know it.
This election is now nothing short of a referendum on civility and whether we are going to continue to do the right thing or the wrong thing.
We can't go backwards. We can't let fear trump hope. We can't let hate trump love. We can't let doing the wrong thing trump the right thing.
Only voting for Trump can let bad trump good. Only voting for Trump, can erase everyone who has done the right thing in the past. And only voting for Trump, can endanger the lives of our children and our grandchildren.
This is history. And generations for now will only remember one thing: did this generation do the right thing?
July 22, 2016
If you put every crazy, alternative reality, nonsensical, hateful Christians that act anything but in a room in Cleveland, you get what is happening at the RNC convention. Or in other words Trump has stolen the party convention and turned it into some Nuremberg rally/trial.
The jack boots are now calling for Hillary Clinton to be shot for treason. I don't like her either. But such inflammatory remarks are not only dangerous but also do what seemed impossible: turning HRC into a sympathetic figure.
And now Trump is saying that Mike Pence is going to be his day-to-day Himmler with Trump as the Führer "ensuring" American is Great, presumably from his bunker.
Free at last? No, free as nothing more than a remnant of the past.
All Americans should be bubbling with pride by this regressive rally.
July 20, 2016
Throw out all academic and reasonable logic. Quotes by RNC/Trump delegates tell a real story of racism and Obama hatred despite facts.
Tuesday night’s Republican convention theme was officially Make America Work Again, echoing Donald Trump’s apocalyptic rhetoric about the U.S. economy under President Barack Obama. “The president has been regulating to death a free-market economy he doesn’t like and doesn’t understand,” the GOP platform declares. The delegates here have varying degrees of enthusiasm for Trump, but they all seem to agree the Obama economy is a ghastly mess.
Except for the economy wherever they happen to live.
“Actually, we’re doing great,” says Donna Gottschall, a human resources consultant in Greenville, S.C. “Employment’s up. Housing’s up. Everything’s green in Greenville!”
“Oh, yeah, unemployment is way down,” says Al Baldasaro, a state legislator and retired Marine from Londonderry, N.H. “Obviously, it’s gotten better.”
“Things are wonderful in our town,” says Ranae Lentz, a Republican county chair from Bellefontaine, Ohio. “We can’t fill all the job openings.”
Trump illustrated this problem last week when he introduced his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. He said the “primary reason” for his choice was that Indiana’s unemployment had dropped by 3 to 4 percentage points in four years under Pence, and that its labor force had grown, which he said was “very unusual” for a U.S. state.
“It’s always bad, down, down, down,” Trump said. “Down 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent in some cases.” In fact, the drop in Indiana’s unemployment almost perfectly mirrors the national trend.
Tina Harris, a longtime realtor in Palm Harbor, Florida, told me the housing market is “booming.” But she argued that this was a troubling data point, because buyers were liquidating their 401(k) accounts and taking money out of the “real economy” to purchase homes. “Have you checked your 401(k) lately?” asked her friend Nancy Riley, another veteran realtor in the St. Petersburg area. I said I hadn’t, but I did know the stock market had just hit an all-time high, and I didn’t see why jobs in construction and real estate like theirs shouldn’t count as the real economy.
“I’m not saying everything is horrible,” Harris said. “But it was George W. Bush who put in the policies that got the economy going. Obama did nothing"
These comments are based on an alternative reality. When the party platform - even if I am a Republican donor - is based on "fixing" the American economy, then the reason has to be all about racism and Obama hatred. And the sad fact is that with a weak HRC running against Trump, Trump has a chance to win. And every economist is in agreement that Trump's isolationist economic policies would lead to a US/worldwide depression.
So what we really have is a 21st century political lynching instead of what is really good for America.
Donald Trump's wife's plagiarism in her speech isn't the story.
What is the story, is a continuation of a lack of campaign infrastructure and Trump's intellectual laziness.
When you don't raise enough money and you don't staff a campaign - Trump has no one in charge of speech writing - embarrassing mistakes will happen.
But the biggest story - and one that should worry Americans - is Trump's continued intellectual laziness and ego in which he believes EVERYTHING can be done on the fly and off the cuff.
How elections are run, is the only proxy, voters have for how well a candidate will do when running the country. And Trump's management style, with a reliance on a kitchen cabinet of family advisors, doesn't help allay fears what Trump would do with nuclear launch codes. Not to mention the economy and foreign policy.
July 19, 2016
When talking about the Middle East, the date of delineation, is the US invasion and the toppling of Saddam Hussein.
As I have written before, the two superpowers of the Middle East, have always been Saudi Arabia and Iran. The former Sunni and the latter Shia. Every other Middle East country, has been and always will be, their proxy for disruption and wars. Just like the rest of the world was back in the Cold War.
When the US invaded Iraq and toppled Hussein, a post World War I error was exposed: Iraq was an artificial nation made up of Shia, Sunni and the Kurds. Unlike Yugoslavia - in which post-strongman-Tito saw a similar civil war but the creation of new states - the US tried to keep Humpty Dumpty together again. Which meant that, in a democracy, the Shia majority would move closer to Iran, the Kurdish minority would continue to be autonomous and the Sunni minority would be disenfranchised.
As to the latter, the Sunni minority was always destined to find its power through terrorism. Although there was a brief calm - through the Iraq Surge in which Sunni tribal leaders were bribed - a branch of Al Qaeda became ISIS. Although in retrospect an Arab Spring was always going to bleed into Syria; it became more complicated due to Sunni ISIS as one of the civil war combatants fighting the Alawite-Shia Assad regime.
As to the Iraqi Kurds, because they have enjoyed autonomy since the no-fly post Gulf-war, they have been the US's go-to partner fighting ISIS and Assad in Iraq and Syria.
But the autonomous Iraqi Kurds also have strong ethnic ties with non-autonomous Turkish Kurds.
Thus the latest child of the Iraq War, is being now playing out in Turkey. Turkey's Sunni AKP wants Alawite-Shia strongman Assad out at all costs. And by the US use of the Iraqi Kurds, the AKP continues to fear the formation of a independent Kurdistan. And finally the lines of fighting Sunni-ISIS is a lower priority than getting rid of Assad and curbing an independent Kurdistan.
The Middle East is a very complicated place. It continues be affected by the original sin of the Iraq invasion and the toppling of Hussein. And connecting the dots to Turkey takes some knowledge of all of the above complexities.
I know there are few Americans that can understand this byzantine rubik's cube. And one of the two choices for president most certainly doesn't understand it. Thus the combination of populism with an electorate looking for simple answers is as dangerous as this region is.
July 18, 2016
There is a great deal of investment in the ideals of the GOP establishment. From think tanks, to writers, to donors, to life-long party members and to past and current elected officials.
The ideals were born in the 1960s - with people like William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater - who were fighting a flight toward progressive control from Washington, bigger government and socialism.
Although it would be almost two decades later, the GOP was building an academic and reasoned argument against what was majority populism.
Ronald Reagan didn't invent the modern conservative movement. Rather he was an early disciple who put the ideals into practice as a two-time governor of California when most of the GOP was more Nixionian/Rockefeller-esque.
By his election as president in 1980 - the so called Reagan-Revolution - an academic argument was converted into a practice, a brand for the party and a cohesive set of principles all GOP candidates ran under.
These principles were smaller government, lower taxes, pro-business anti-regulation and an assertive foreign policy.
These same principles are held today by the GOP establishment. And the GOP establishment isn't going to the RNC convention for a reason.
Trump isn't Reagan. He is threatening the entire GOP establishment - some 50 years in the making - by demanding the party be the party of Donald Trump.
Trumpism - an oxymoron because it has no reasoned argument - is nothing but reactionary populism. Exactly what the early conservative movement was fighting against.
Trump's advocacy of isolationism flies in the face of GOP established military and economic principles. There is a reason why Wall Street is against him in this election. It isn't based on banking interests as he says it is. Rather Wall Street understands that economic isolationism = economic contraction/destruction.
The dirty little secret is that the GOP establishment loses if Trump is elected. Most will not support HRC. But they most certainly will not actively support Trump. Because their investment and power will be effectively eviscerated. And a party with no set of comprehensive ideals risks no longer being a viable political party.
July 17, 2016
Well maybe Donald Trump ... who allegedly hasn't read a book in 20 years.
The country of Turkey was established after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. It's founders were passionate democrats. And wrote in their constitution that the military was responsible for keeping it that way.
Although Istanbul is in Europe, the rest of the country is in the Middle East. Having said that, Ankara - the seat of government - had been historically secular. There had been four coups previously. Then the AKP (Justice and Development Party) came into power in 2002. The AKP - despite its name - is an Islamist party. And the AKP has been neutering the military - Turkey's version of checks and balances - for 14 years due to their constitutional power.
If today's coup has indeed been thwarted, it is because the military has been weakened. And Turkey is now firmly an Islamist country that has left Europe. Or even worse, if the military remains powerful, Turkey maybe in the early stages of a civil war.
Besides the stated tension between the AKP and the military, there has been an ongoing tension between the party and the military over ISIS and the Kurds. Until pressured by the US and Nato, the AKP allowed Turkey to be a gateway for ISIS recruits. Through its professional military, with strong links to the US and Nato, and in no small measure due to Islamic on Islamic terrorism, the border has been better sealed and the US uses bases in southern Turkey to launch strikes against ISIS.
With trials, court-martials and death penalties, which are sure to affect thousands of the coup plotters, it is hard to see Turkey's one-half million military not getting the message. And that is going to make Turkey a less helpful partner in the fight against terrorism.
The events in Turkey today shouldn't surprise anyone. And the affects of losing a terrorism partner shouldn't surprise anyone going forward.
July 16, 2016
Presidential elections are usually memorialized by how the winner won instead of how the loser lost.
American voters have two terrible candidates to pick from in 2016. Especially in this election people will vote for who they think is worst.
Historically in 1988 Bush 41 won because Dukakis tried to look tough riding a military tank. Clinton won in 1992 because Bush 41 broke his pledge of "read my lips, no new taxes" which allowed Perot to split the GOP vote. In 2008 Obama won because McCain picked Sarah Palin. In 2012 Obama won again due to Romney's 47% comment at a fund raiser.
If Trump wins, it will be because HRC's husband met with the attorney general a few days before the FBI recommended to the attorney general not to pursue criminal charges against HRC.
While HRC's email scandal has not helpful, it wasn't fatal. But her husband's actions reminded voters of the sleaze of the Clinton presidency. And if she goes on to lose, it will be because of this and memorialized by the 45 minutes "plane chat" of her husband.
I am not saying she will lose. And I am not saying I will vote for her OR Trump. But if she loses it will be because of the 45 minute "plane chat" - and like all things Clinton - it was both secretive and just plan clumsy.
July 13, 2016