Clinton & Warren?

I’ve thought about it and thought about it.

Everyone is wondering whether Hillary Clinton, after that amazing appearance with Elizabeth Warren in Ohio on Monday, is able to throw her notorious caution to the wind and pick Warren as her running mate.

After dismissing the idea for months, I would now say there is a good chance she is ready. After Warren enthusiastically embraced Clinton—“I’m here today because I’m with her! Yes, her!”—the former First Lady’s speech, full of praise for Warren, contained a passage that, with Senator Warren standing just behind her, stood out to me:

I got into this race because I wanted to even the odds for people who have the odds stacked against them.  And this is not a time for half-measures.  To build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, we’ve got to go big and we’ve got to go bold.

One way to go bold would be to go Warren.

I have been trying to figure out whether Warren would help or hurt Democratic Party chances this fall. I’m still not sure, but I’m starting to think that, on balance, picking Warren may help us win. Before I get to the positives, though, let me list some of the negatives, some of them obvious:

  • If Clinton/Warren wins in November, Democrats will, at least temporarily, lose a senate seat in Massachusetts.
  • Her age—she’s 67. Hillary will be 69 by election day.
  • Her almost total lack of foreign policy-national security credentials and experience (although Clinton has enough for two people).
  • The whole woman-woman dynamic in a country that has yet to elect even its first female president.  (And, yes, I know about the whole man-man dynamic since the 18th century.)
  • Warren is relatively unknown among folks who don’t closely follow politics until about now, which means her record can be distorted and her political persona can be partly shaped by Republican propaganda (“She’s a socialist!”).
  • Her presence on the ticket will certainly drive some anti-Trump Republicans away from possibly supporting Clinton and definitely fire up some lukewarm Trumpkins.
  • She may tend to rhetorically and theatrically outshine Clinton at times, but, then, isn’t Clinton selling experience and steadiness and wonkiness?

The upside of a Warren pick would include the following:

  • She is Bernie Sanders without, well, being Bernie Sanders. She would help consolidate and solidify support among skeptical progressives.
  • Her Trump attacks. No one has done it better than she has, and she does seem, as Hillary Clinton mentioned on Monday, to get under Trump’s razor-thin skin.
  • Although she is relatively unknown in the Midwest, her genuine Bernie-esque message should play well from Iowa to Ohio to Pennsylvania, as well as Wisconsin and Michigan.
  • Her non-endorsement of Sanders shows she has a feel for the dynamics of American politics in general and Democratic Party politics in particular. She is progressive without being uncompromisingly dogmatic like Sanders. She seems to understand that establishment figures like Clinton and establishment-run parties tend to get more done because, hey, they tend to get elected.
  • Unlike Sarah Palin, to whom lately she has been compared, she’s educated—can you imagine Palin teaching anything at any college, let alone Harvard?
  • But she’s not a typical member of the so-called liberal elite. She’s from Oklahoma and was raised in a lower middle-class family and comes across as genuinely folksy. In a particularly poignant part of her pre-Clinton speech on Monday, she said:

    So today I want to talk about values. My daddy sold fencing and carpeting, he ended up as a maintenance man. And after his heart attack, my mom answered phones at Sears to keep our family above water. And here are some of the values that I learned, up close and personal.

  • Her three brothers served in the military. One, she says, was “career military” who was part of “288 combat missions in Vietnam.” Another, after leaving the Air Force, “got a good union job operating a crane.” And her youngest brother started a small business after some time in the Army and is now depending on Social Security.
  • She worked her way up the ladder through determination and hard work. Her story is the “classic” American story.
  • She was a Republican until late in her life.  Some 20 years ago she saw the light, which means she can critique the Republican Party in a way Hillary Clinton can’t. And she can speak to folks who aren’t hard-core partisans, those famous “independents.”
  • She’s been divorced and remarried—yes, that can be a plus in politics these days.

This collection of strengths and weaknesses isn’t exhaustive, of course. But it gives you an idea of just how hard the decision is. Warren or Senator Tim Kaine—a good pick, too, despite attacks from Bernie supporters—or someone else?

Normally, VP picks aren’t ultimately game-changers. But this year, as we all know, is very different. Crazy stuff has happened. There’s more crazy stuff to come. And, thus, the Libertarian Party ticket will capture some significant number of anti-Trump (and anti-Hillary) votes. Jill Stein, of the Green Party, is polling too high for my tastes. Every single vote of hers is a vote Hillary Clinton should but won’t get. Stein may end up being this cycle’s Ralph Nader.

And then there is Bernie Sanders. He hasn’t lifted a finger, as of yet, to help Hillary Clinton keep an arrogant and bigoted and dangerously dumb Trump from obtaining presidential power. For all we know, the finger he ends up lifting may be his middle one. Bernie is hard at work trying to force a carbon tax into the Democratic Party platform and thereby force Democratic candidates to defend it against vicious and potentially effective Republican attacks—a carbon tax, by the way, that may be helpful in the fight against climate change but will never pass Congress. So, who knows about him and his strange brand of politics.

In the mean time, there is Elizabeth Warren—again, the “go bold” choice. I, for one, never get tired of hearing her say what she said on Monday:

Now Donald Trump says he’ll make America great again. It’s right there, it’s stamped on the front of his goofy hat. You want to see goofy? Look at him in that hat.

But when Donald Trump says, ‘Great,’ I ask, ‘Great for who, exactly?’ For millions of kids struggling to pay for an education? For millions of seniors barely surviving on Social Security? For families that don’t fly to Scotland to play golf?

When Donald Trump says he’ll make America great, he means make it even greater for rich guys just like Donald Trump. Great for the guys who don’t care how much they’ve already squeezed from everyone else. Great for the guys who always want more.

Because that’s who Donald Trump is—the guy who wants it all for himself. And watch out, because he will crush you into the dirt to get whatever he wants. That’s who he is. Just look at the evidence.

Donald Trump cheered on Britain’s current crisis, which has sucked billions of dollars out of your retirement accounts, because he said, hey, it might bring more rich people to his new golf course.

He cheered on the 2008 housing crash because he could scoop up more real estate on the cheap.

And he cheered on students desperate enough to sign up for his fake university so he could bleed them dry and turn a profit for himself.

What kind of a man does that? What kind of a man roots for people to lose their jobs? To lose their homes? To lose their life savings? I’ll tell you what kind of man: a small, insecure money-grubber who fights for nobody but himself.

What kind of a man? A nasty man who will never become President of the United States!

Damn. “A nasty man”? No wonder she gets under Trump’s skin, thin or otherwise.

[photo cred: Clinton and Warren: Aaron Josefczyk, Reuters; Warren in Iowa: Steve Pope, Getty Images]

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#Shitgibbon

An old friend of this blog, Juan Don, wrote in to say,

Thanks to the colorful Scots, I found a new moniker for Trump: “ferret wearing shitgibbon.”

Juan was referring to the response Trump received to the following tweet:

As anyone paying two minutes worth of attention to the Brexit vote knew, Scotland voted overwhelming to Remain in the European Union. And now there is a real chance that Scotland may itself exit from Great Britain. Trump, of course, was interested only in promoting his new golf course and, as usual, didn’t have the slightest idea what he was talking about. And the Scots and other EU-supporting Brits were quick to let him know. Actually, my friend Juan didn’t quote in full the best response to that typically-Trumpish tripe-tweet. The entire inventive invective, tweeted by “Hamfisted Bun Vendor,” was:

Now, there will be a lot of insults, all deserved, hurled at Trump from now until the possible end of the American Experiment, but “tiny fingered, Cheeto-faced, ferret wearing shitgibbon” will probably never be topped. The hashtag, #shitgibbon, is sort of trending on Twitter. It has generated a new entry on Urban Dictionary. Hamfisted Bun Vendor, who is actually a blogger from South West England, has more than a thousand new followers so far. Good for him.

Thanks to another blogger, Al Bruno III from North Carolina, and Fusion and Buzzfeed, we have a collection of other insults so far generated by Mr. Shitgibbon’s comments on Brexit:

Cockwomble.
Weapons-grade plum.
Tit.
Muppet.
Buttplug face.
Bloviating flesh bag.
Clueless numpty.
Spoon.
Mangled apricot hellbeast.
Weaselheaded fucknugget.
Toupéd fucktrumpet.
WITLESS FUCKING COCKSPLAT!

That represents the King’s English in the age of Trump.

Oh, and speaking of COCKSPLATS!—made famous by British writer Tim Footman—we have Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who obviously wants to be Shitgibbon’s running mate. Regarding Trump’s totally bizarre, completely self-serving, utterly clueless news conference in Turnberry, Scotland—featuring Swastika golf balls!—Corker told CNN’s Jake Tapper:

I thought it was one of his best events. I’m sorry—I know I’m an outlier.

You think? Saying he watched the event live, Corker went on to explain himself:

I thought his answers—I know he began talking about the development itself, he knew reporters were going to ask him about ‘Brexit’—I thought it was one of his best events, and I didn’t take it that he was—he was giving an example, which is obvious, that when the currency fluctuates as it does, more Americans are going to be able to travel to the U.K. more cheaply; some of their exports may go at greater value. I thought it was really just demonstrating, you know, an anecdotal statement relative to its effects. So, again, I thought it was one of his better events.

That kind of sound judgment will no doubt earn Corker a discount on the “incredible suites” at Turnberry, along with the privilege of running with the tiny fingered, Cheeto-faced, ferret wearing shitgibbon who, on behalf of white people everywhere, wants to take back the White’s House.

Thus, how scary is American politics right now? There is Trump. And there is Corker—who has close ties with a company that is under investigation by the FBI and SEC and that happens to own Joplin’s Northpark Mall—who has embraced Trump and who is, uh, the chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations committee.

There is a tiny bit of good news. A new poll came out on Sunday:

While it is quite troubling that at least 4 out of 10 Americans would vote for a shitgibbon, and while it is quite disturbing that a powerful U.S. Senator is sucking up to a shitgibbon, there is some hope that a majority of Americans will reject our version of Brexit.

 

Bernie’s Game Of Chicken

Bernie Sanders is playing a game. And it is a very dangerous game.

Appearing today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” just after yet another weird Trump press conference from Scotland, Sanders said he would vote for Hillary Clinton because “the issue right here is I’m going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump.” There was no Hillary endorsement, just a knock against Trump, whom Sanders rightly called a “pathological liar.” That was about as much as a positive response as Democrats could expect from him, I admit, but—and there is always a but with Bernie—he wasn’t ready to stop his fight over the Democratic party platform and remaking the party in his ideological image. And he said Hillary Clinton had not yet come far enough his way.

In other words, Bernie is tempting fate. When asked if he might want to think of withdrawing from the race, now that everyone but Bernie Bros knows it is over, Bernie said,

Why would I want to do that when I want to fight to make sure that we have the best platform that we possibly can, that we win the most delegates that we can?

He still wants to win delegates? Now why would he want to keep going after more delegates? Power? Is the man playing this game so he can have as much power as possible? Is his ongoing struggle over the soul of the Democratic Party, a party he obviously doesn’t like, worth risking a Trump presidency? I get the impression, from listening to him, that he thinks it is. In fact, and I hate to say this, but I get the impression that what he named this morning as the quite quixotic “goal” of his campaign—“to transform this nation”—is more important than actually electing a Democrat this fall.

Maybe it’s just me, but this man appears to be a disturbing cross between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump: an uncompromising ideologue mixed with an ego much bigger than his delegate count.

Bernie was asked if he was concerned that only about 55% of his voters, according to some polls, were going to vote for Clinton. He wasn’t too worried about it. When asked about disunity in the party, he said,

You talk about disunity, I talk about people in the political process and wanting to have a government and party that represents all of us.

You see? Unity schmunity. Who cares about unity in the party when the party needs to be rebuilt from the ground up? Who cares about unity in the party when Bernie isn’t done having his way with it? Who cares about unity when Bernie still has all those damn delegates!

He was asked what to do about American companies that, say, move to Mexico. He gave the exact same answer Trump has given many times: slap tariffs on them—even though the president can’t do that. When he was told that he sounded just like Trump on that issue he said,

So what?

Yeah. So what? Who cares if Bernie sounds like Donald Trump? Who cares if significant numbers of his voters say they will actually vote for Trump or “anybody but Hillary”? Who cares if Trump is president?

If Bernie cares all that much, he has a funny way of showing it. Appearing a little later on “CBS This Morning,” he was reminded he had yet to endorse Clinton and was asked why he hasn’t done so. He said,

Because I haven’t heard her say the things that I think need to be said.

There you have it. His endorsement is, apparently, contingent on her yielding to his demands. He said he hopes that happens before the convention. But it may not happen before then, he added. They’re in negotiations right now—weeks after the last vote was cast. It took Mrs. Clinton only four days to suspend her campaign and endorse Barack Obama, after it was clear she couldn’t win the nomination in 2008. Yesterday evening I received an email from Bernie that ended with this:

bernie email ending.jpg

Hard to miss that “CONTRIBUTE” button.

Mind you, Bernie’s not doing this for himself. Oh, far from it. He’s not in it for himself, just as Donald Trump says he’s not in it for himself. Bernie, like Trump, says he is in it for the folks. He’s just raising money and keeping this going for, as he said in his email, “the 12 million Americans who voted for a political revolution.” Never mind that almost 16 million Americans didn’t vote for a Bernie-led political revolution during the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Bernie told CBS’s Charlie Rose this morning:

Look, it’s not just me. Charlie, what this campaign has been about is people wanting to transform America.

Transform America? Yes. That could happen for sure. If Mrs. Clinton doesn’t say what Bernie wants her to say, if the Democratic Party doesn’t bend to the will of Bernie Sanders, there may very well be a new America.

And it will have TRUMP stamped all over it.

Never Been Prouder To Be A Democrat

Tonight, Wednesday, June 22, 2016, it continues—

The Democratic Party’s historic “sit-in” in the House of Representatives over the gun issue that plagues the country. Here is an image from MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” late Wednesday evening:

democratic party sit in

Giving words to that image, Elijah Cummings, congressman from a gun violence-infected district in Maryland, said,

It would be legislative malpractice not to deal with these issues.

Amen. And with the support of President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren, among others, the Democratic Party is presenting to the county a stark choice: side with sanity on guns or side with NRA-blessed anarchy.

Couldn’t be prouder to be a Democrat tonight.

Roy Blunt, Terrorist Fighter

Roy Blunt, a United States Senator from my state, is a part of Republican leadership. He is supposed to be one of those “adults” in the Republican Party who is anchored to reality.

Ha.

Blunt voted, along with most Republicans, to make it possible for terrorists to get killing machines known as assault weapons. As you will see, he is a favorite of the NRA. And he is a walking—and tweeting—example of what is wrong, not only with his party, but with the entire conservative establishment and, if he holds onto his senate seat this November, what is wrong with the state of Missouri.

Look at this tweet his reelection campaign crapped out on Monday:

roy blunt tweet

There are other, similar, disgusting tweets from that account, all designed to persuade voters here in Missouri that our Secretary of State, Democrat Jason Kander, who is running for Blunt’s senate seat, is soft on “radical” Islamic terrorism.

Except, you know what? Jason Kander is a veteran. And he’s not just any old veteran. He’s a veteran of the Afghanistan war. Here is his return tweet:

jason kander tweet

It turns out, as The Kansas City Star reported, that Roy Blunt is a chicken hawk. He had his chance to serve his country with the firearms he so loves, but instead, like a lot of Republican library-soldiers, decided student deferments were the way to go:

In a news story posted online Wednesday morning, The Star reported Blunt received three draft deferments while a college student in the late 1960s.

He didn’t just “receive” them. He asked for them. And three draft deferments? He must have been proud of those, right? Wrong:

Blunt’s office did not disclose the deferments in 2015, when the newspaper specifically asked Blunt’s office about the senator’s draft history.

Well, that’s understandable. He was protecting his future bravery, no doubt. Protecting his abstract—and vote-getting—fight against “radical Islamic terrorism.”

So, what is the campaign’s explanation for Blunt’s failure to disclose? Simple: old age or bureaucratic red tape or, hell, Alzheimers:

Blunt’s staff said this week that poor memories and difficult-to-obtain draft records may have contributed to the confusion over the senator’s deferments.

Confusion. That’s it! He was confused about not wanting to get his ass shot at in Vietnam. Very understandable. It is painfully obvious how one could forget or get confused about that.

Truth is, I don’t know what to say about someone who attacks his political opponent in such a way as to suggest Jason Kander is squishy about fighting terrorism when Jason Kander actually risked his life to, uh, fight terrorism. Maybe you have words for such an asswipe. Share them.

In any case, back to Blunt’s vote on allowing terrorists here in America access to killing machines. According to a Washington Post analysis,

Sen. Roy Blunt has received more campaign donations from the National Rifle Association than any other current member of Congress…

I don’t know if that’s true. But if it is, that means Blunt is not only in bed with the gun (manufacturer) lobby, but he is on top. If you know what I mean.

Hey, at least humping the NRA and gun manufacturers is safer than dodging bullets in Vietnam. Or Afghanistan. No confusion about that.

The Arizona Asshole

As you know by now, there was more disappointing news on Monday regarding the attempt to sensibly regulate gun purchases in America. As Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said, “The NRA won again.” Well, I like what Senator Chris Murphy, who led a Democrat filibuster that got Democrats the ability to even vote on gun restraint, said about the whole sorry episode:

chris murphy gun voteWe’ve got to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS…That’s what they’ve decided to do. ISIS has decided that the assault weapon is the new airplane, and Republicans, in refusing to close the terror gap, refusing to pass bans on assault weapons, are allowing these weapons to get in the hands of potential lone-wolf attackers. We’ve got to make this connection and make it in very stark terms.

I like that statement because not only is it true, it allows me to heap a whole lot of orange excrement on war-hero-turned-asshole, John McCain.

Not only does McCain support the racist, xenophobic, misogynistic Trump—even after His Orangeness slandered McCain and other POWs last summer and recently slandered President Obama by suggesting he secretly sides with ISIS—but days ago the Arizona Republican actually blamed Barack Obama for the mass killing in Orlando. He said, three freaking times, that the president was “directly responsible for it.”

Directly. Responsible.

Now, should any future assault rifle-toting terrorist decide to kill innocents, we can use McCain logic and say that John McCain—the sluttiest NRA whore in Congress—and his Republican friends in the Senate (plus Democrats Heidi Heitkamp and Jon Tester) are directly responsible for it.

Directly. Responsible.

Country First, People Last

“America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration.”

Donald Trump, April 27, 2016

A British lawmaker, Jo Cox, was killed today. She was a member of the Labour Party and she was in favor of Britain staying in the European Union. For that, apparently, she was murdered. From Reuters:

Media reports citing witnesses said the attacker had shouted out “Britain First”, which is the name of a right-wing group that describes itself on its website as “a patriotic political party and street defense organization”.

Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, said the attack was “absolutely disgusting” and suggested that Britain first was a common slogan being used in the EU referendum campaign by those who support Brexit.

Britain First. America First. Right-wing groups. Murder. Oh, my.

Two Men History Will Judge

There was this headline today:

Paul Ryan Refuses To Call Out Trump For Renewed Muslim Ban Push

From the story:

When the speaker was asked for his reaction to Trump’s comments on the Orlando shooting, his comments that American Muslims have been harboring terrorists, and his comments questioning whether President Barack Obama really wants to fight terrorism, Ryan saved his harshest criticism for the reporter making the query.

Then there was this today:

Obama Decries Trump’s Muslim Ban, Asks: ‘Where Does This Stop?’

The lede from that story:

In forceful comments Tuesday that repudiated calls to use the term “radical Islam” while underscoring his administration’s efforts to defeat terrorism, President Barack Obama blasted such language as dangerous and reactionary and slammed Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims.

Now, one of these two men—each the highest ranking official in his political party—have it wrong. History will judge one of them, either Speaker Paul Ryan or President Barack Obama, very harshly. For now, you be the judge. To help you do that, I have posted below President Obama’s remarks today about Trump and those Republicans who are with him. Obama made the history-making remarks after first giving Americans an important and lengthy survey of just how much damage has been done to ISIS over the past year or so. Then, with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.—standing beside him, he started to get hot:

It is absolutely true, we cannot prevent every tragedy. But we know that consistent with the Second Amendment, there are common sense steps that could reduce gun violence and could reduce the lethality of somebody who intends to do other people harm. We should give ATF the resources they need to enforce the gun laws that we already have. People with possible ties to terrorism, who are not allowed on a plane should not be allowed to buy a gun.

Enough talking about being tough on terrorism. Actually be tough on terrorism and stop making it easy as possible for terrorists to buy assault weapons. Reinstate the assault weapons ban, make it harder for terrorists to use these weapons to kill us. Otherwise, despite obama on trump.jpgextraordinary efforts across our government, by local law enforcement, by our intelligence agencies, by our military—despite all the sacrifices that folks make—these kinds of events are going to keep on happening. And the weapons are only going to get more powerful.

And let me make a final point. For a while now, the main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against ISIL is to criticize the administration and me for not using the phrase “radical Islam.” That’s the key, they tell us. We cannot beat ISIL unless we call them radical Islamists.

What exactly would using this label would accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to try to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this?

The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.

Since before I was president, I have been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism. As president, I have called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world’s great religions. There has not been a moment in my seven and a half years as president where we have not able to pursue a strategy because we didn’t use the label “radical Islam.” Not once has an adviser of mine said, “Man, if we use that phrase, we are going to turn this whole thing around.” Not once.

So someone seriously thinks that we don’t know who we are fighting? If there is anyone out there who thinks we are confused about who our enemies are—that would come as a surprise to the thousands of terrorists who we have taken off the battlefield.

If the implication is that those of us up here and the thousands of people around the country and around world who are working to defeat ISIL aren’t taking the fight seriously? That would come as a surprise to those who spent these last seven and a half years dismantling Al Qaida in the FATA, for example—including the men and women in uniform who put their lives at risk, and the special forces that I ordered to get bin Laden and are now on the ground in Iraq and in Syria. They know full well who the enemy is.

So do the intelligence and law enforcement officers who spend countless hours disrupting plots and protecting all Americans—including politicians who tweet and appears on cable news shows. They know who the nature of the enemy is. So, there is no magic to the phrase “radical Islam.” It is a political talking point. It is not a strategy.

And the reason I am careful about how I describe this threat has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with actually defeating extremism. Groups like ISIL and Al Qaida want to make this war a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West. They want to claim that they are the true leaders of over a billion of Muslims around the world who reject their crazy notions.

They want us to validate them by implying that they speak for those billion-plus people, that they speak for Islam. That’s their propaganda, that’s how they recruit. And if we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims as a broad brush, and imply that we are at war with the entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.

Now, up until this point, this argument of labels has mostly just been partisan rhetoric, and sadly, we have all become accustomed to that kind of partisanship, even when it involves the fight against these extremist groups. That kind of yapping has not prevented folks across the government from doing their jobs, from sacrificing and working really hard to protect the American people.

But we are now seeing how dangerous this kind of mind set and this kind of thinking can be. We are starting to see where this kind of rhetoric and loose talk and sloppiness about who exactly we are fighting, where this can lead us.

We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States to bar all Muslims from immigrating into America. And you hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complacent in violence.

Where does this stop? The Orlando killer, one of the San Bernardino killers, the Fort Hood killer—they were all U.S. citizens. Are we going to start treating all Muslim-Americans
differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith? We heard these suggestions during the course of this campaign. Do Republican officials actually agree with this?

Because that’s not the America we want. It does not reflect our Democratic ideals. It won’t make us more safe, it will make us less safe, fueling ISIL’s notion that the West hates Muslims, making Muslims in this country and around the world feel like, no matter what they do, they’re going to be under suspicion and under attack. It makes Muslim-Americans feel like their government is betraying them. It betrays the very values America stands for.

We have gone through moments in our history before when we acted out of fear, and we came to regret it. We have seen our government mistreat our fellow citizens, and it has been a shameful part of our history. This is a country founded on basic freedoms, including freedom of religion. We don’t have religious tests here. Our founders, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, are clear about that.

And if we ever abandon those values, we would not only make it a lot easier to radicalize people here and around the world, but we would have betrayed the very things we are trying to protect. The pluralism and the openness, our rule of law, our civil liberties, the very things that make this country great. The very things that make us exceptional. And then the terrorists would have won and we cannot let that happen.

I will not let that happen.

You know, two weeks ago I was at the commencement ceremony of the Air Force Academy and it could not have been more inspiring to see these young people stepping up dedicated to serve and protect this country. And part of what was inspiring was the incredible diversities of these cadets. We saw cadets who are straight applauding classmates who were openly gay. We saw cadets born here in America applauding classmates who are immigrants and love this country so much they decided they wanted to be part of our armed forces.

We saw cadets and families of all religions applaud cadets who are proud, patriotic Muslim-Americans serving their country in uniform ready to lay their lives on the line to protect you and to protect me. We saw male cadets applauding for female classmates who can now serve in combat positions. That’s the American military. That’s America. One team. One nation.

Those are the values that ISIL is trying to destroy and we should not help them do it. Our diversity and our respect for one another, our drawing on the talents of everybody in this country, our making sure that we are treating everybody fairly, that we are not judging people on the basis of what faith they are or what race they are or what ethnicity they are or what their sexual orientation is.

That’s what makes this country great. That’s the spirit we see in Orlando. That’s the unity and resolve that will allow us to defeat ISIL. That’s what will preserve our values and our ideals that define us as Americans. That’s how we are going to defend this nation and that’s how we are going to defend our way of life.

Why There Is A Trump

Other than white fear and anxiety—which I have written about many times—there are two other reasons we have a Trump.

One I found in an L. A. Times article (“News coverage of campaign greatly aided Trump and hurt Clinton, study finds“), which confirmed what anyone who has consumed the news since last June already knew. But it’s nice to have an objective study confirm what may only be personal bias. The lede:

News coverage of the early months of the presidential campaign strongly boosted Donald Trump’s bid and put Hillary Clinton at a disadvantage, according to a new study from Harvard that is likely to add to the heavy volume of complaints that the media aided Trump’s rise.

There’s that.

Then there’s this, which I found on The Hill:

Carl Bernstein: Trump speech ‘abhorrent’ but ‘effective’

Bernstein, unfortunately, is a CNN commentator. The old Watergate-breaking journalist was critiquing the godawful speech Trump gave today on banning Muslims and protecting those newly-lovable gay people that Republicans didn’t use to love until it became politically expedient to love them. Those same newly-lovable gay people that Democrats like Obama and Clinton are failing to protect because those two America-haters allow every gay-hating terrorist in the world to walk into the United States without so much as a howdy. The speech was, as Bernstein said, quite “abhorrent.” But here’s what else Bernstein said about it:

His speech will appeal to independents, even some Democrats and certainly Republicans because Hillary Clinton, Obama and the Democrats are very late to acknowledge by name that there is a real threat of Islamic terrorism in this country and all over the world and they have been very reluctant to use the word Islamic terror and it’s coming back to haunt them. The impression Trump gave today, with some effectiveness, despite his almost neo-fascist rhetoric, is that the Democrats have not done that.

That is so dumb, on so many levels, I can hardly draw a breath.

First, I don’t know one single Democrat who would find that speech appealing. If there are Democrats out there who do find neo-fascism appealing, guess what? They ain’t really Democrats.

bernsteinSecond, Clinton, Obama, and the Democrats are not “very late to acknowledge by name that there is a real threat of Islamic terrorism in this country and all over the world.” There are plenty of dead terrorists out there to refute that very ignorant claim. Just ask Osama bin Laden, the next time you’re snorkeling for seashells.

Third, what about the reluctance “to use the word [sic] Islamic terror”? Bernstein knows, or should know, why there is reluctance to use the word in the way that right-wingers want Democrats to use it. Responsible elected officials, as opposed to Republican elected officials, have to be careful not to alienate the very people who can help stop terrorists from terrorizing. Bernstein said it’s “coming back to haunt” Democrats. Oh, yeah? Where’s the proof of that? Obama was reelected, even though the right made the same attacks on him back in 2012. He’s also fairly popular right now. Does Bernstein think non-Republican people are so dumb that they think just by uttering “Islamic terrorism” all the terrorists out there will turn into Mr. Rogers?  I can pretty much guarantee anyone that ISIS thugs don’t really give a damn whether Hillary Clinton decided to use the term “Islamic terrorism” today. All they care about, besides killing other Muslims, is not having an American drone as a breakfast guest.

Fourth, Bernstein said Trump’s speech used “almost neo-fascist rhetoric.” No. It wasn’t almost neo-fascist. It was the real deal. At least as real as fascism gets in American politics. Bernstein also said that despite the close-to-fascist rhetoric, Trump’s speech was effective. Again, what evidence is there for that? Trump is a known liar and everyone not already hypnotized by authoritarian bombast has ten thousand good reasons not to believe anything he says about Obama, Clinton, or the size of his bratwurst. The only way anyone outside the Trump cult would give any credence to such a neo-fascist speech, which was full of non-facts, is if people like Carl Bernstein gave them reason to.

And that is exactly what he did. Bernstein should have called the speech what it was and not given anyone the impression that Trump is anything other than a dangerous authoritarian, who at times today acted like a lunatic. He should have said that Trump is quite openly telling us how he will change the country for the worse and how he will dramatically expand the powers of the executive branch beyond anything conservatives have imagined Obama doing. Instead, Bernstein practiced the kind of journalism we are too used to seeing since Trump slinked into our politics. The kind of journalism that has placed America dangerously close to electing a neo-fascist.

Ugly

Thanks to Media Matters, we now know that the maker of the assault weapon—forget the distinction some people try to make; the damn thing is an assault weapon as the Orlando massacre proved—used by the gay-hating killer is a corporate donor to the NRA, as well as “the sponsor” of a propaganda series the NRA produces called “Defending Our America.”

Sig Sauer manufacturers the killing and maiming machine that was sold, quite legally, by a gun store owner in St. Lucie, Florida. That gun dealer is a former NYPD cop, Ed Henson, who appeared on television today, as he tried to answer questions about the tran$action. After it was over, MSNBC’s Brian Williams was fairly effusive in his praise for Henson, the owner who profited from—I repeat: profited from—selling an assault weapon to the gay-hating killer—and, no, it doesn’t matter to me that Henson didn’t know he was a gay-hating killer. What matters is that Henson legally profits from selling guns and ammo designed to do what was done in Orlando.

Oh. One more thing. According to the Daily News, Ed Henson is a pathetic, Obama-hating freak. Noting that he frequently posts on Facebook “rants critical of black lives matters protesters and President Obama,” the paper shared one of his Greatest Hits from November:

He should be handcuffed, removed from Office and charged with Treason and then publicly executed! How can the American People and military stand by and do nothing while this piece of s–t puts everyone of us in danger.

That’s just another way of saying what Trump suggested this morning about Obama’s American loyalty, or lack of it. These are very ugly people. And America is getting uglier with every tweet and every speech Trump gives.

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