Trump Says, Go Check Out Some Porn So I Can Be President!

Hillary Clinton asked a rhetorical question this morning“What kind of man stays up all night to smear a woman with lies and conspiracy theories?” No one had to wonder to whom she was referring, of course. Trump had tweeted early this morning,

Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?

But Mrs. Clinton actually asked the wrong question. What she should have asked is, “What kind of man, tweeting in the middle of the night, encourages all of us—men, women, and children—to watch pornography so he can become president of the United States?” Huh? What kind of man does that? Again, that is a rhetorical question. We know what kind of man does that. Cheeto Man. The man who fell for a false, nasty, alt-right smear of Alicia Machado.

My first thought, when I woke this morning to the news of Trump’s porn tweet, was, “What will all those conservative evangelicals, horny for Trump, tell their children?” Will they say, “Go ahead and check out the video, kids! Donald needs an ego boost right now!” Or maybe, “Hey, your father has already seen the video several times and what Trump says is right. It is disgusting!” 

No, what is disgusting is that people who have always claimed the moral high ground for themselves and the Republican Party won’t bat an eye at Trump’s latest demonstration that he is unhinged in very dangerous ways. They will still run over you on their way to vote for him in 39 days.

Think about what we are seeing, people. A man, who will have the power to destroy the world at his fingertips if he wins in November, can’t keep his tiny fingers from tweeting out disturbing instructions—based on lies spread by right-wing racists, sexists, and assorted freaks—to his cult followers in the darkest hours of the night—all because he got debate-slapped by a woman four days ago.

And think about this:

no matter how low Trump sinks,

no matter how many unseemly manifestations of his personality disorder(s) we see,

no matter how many times he cites phony polls, right-wing conspiracy theories, and Internet hoaxes as fact,

no matter the accumulating record of his personal and business corruption,

no matter is unrepentant racism and his flirtation with white supremacists,

no matter his ongoing sexism,

no matter is unfixable ignorance and bigotry,

all of the current Republican Party leadership, most of the party’s rank and file, most of its Bible-thumping crusaders, and a concerning number of working-class Democrats and independents, will follow him to either his end or, sadly, to ours.

In January I published a piece titled, “Donald Trump is God!” Watch the following video from NBC News and weep:

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Randy Turner Gets It Wrong

A local writer and aggregator named Randy Turner recently published a piece of commentary on his website, The Turner Report. He titled it,

If Donald Trump is elected, it won’t be the end of the world

After seeing that title, one would expect that Mr. Turner, a former Middle School teacher, would give us his specific reasons for claiming that a President Trump won’t, accidentally or otherwise, cause the end of civilization. I, for one, would like to be reassured. But Turner didn’t do that. Instead, after a lengthy accounting of a teaching experience he had during the presidential election cycle of 2000 (and a few notes about candidates in other elections), he offered us this:

Now that I think of it, every four years comes around and we end up with two people that we wonder how they ever wound up as their party’s presidential nominees.

Huh? Is everyone who pretends to write objectively about politics prone to promoting this false equivalence nonsense? I grant Turner that a lot of people were, and still are, scratching their heads in wonder at how Donald Trump became the Republican nominee. He stumbled out of Trump Tower and shocked nearly everyone. But Hillary Clinton was expected to be her party’s nominee. There was very little doubt about it from the beginning of the process. And although Bernie Sanders put up a good fight, she won convincingly and put on one hell of a convention and, as we saw during the debate the other night, demonstrated why she is where she is. What Turner says is infected with the fashionable notion that Clinton and Trump are equally repulsive, when clearly they are not.

But that isn’t really my main objection to Turner’s piece. It’s this:

So we end up once more with a choice that is far from perfect, but what can we do about it? Some are talking about staying at home on election day and that is their choice. If those people don’t want to take the time to study the candidates we do have and their stances on various issues and their personal qualities that could either make them great presidents or poor ones, then I would prefer they stayed at home and leave the voting to those who care enough to take the time to study the candidates and the issues.

If we elect Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and it doesn’t work out, it won’t be the end of the world. The Republic will survive. In two years, we can make changes at mid-term elections in the House and Senate, and two years later, we will select two more candidates to run for president.

This is very dangerous thinking in 2016. It’s certainly true we have never in the history of American presidential politics picked a perfect president. That isn’t exactly a profound bit of punditry. But to put Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, after what we have witnessed the last 16 months, into the same class of un-perfect candidates is ridiculous. And to make this a we-can-fix-it-later-if-we-have-to election grossly understates the perils involved.

This isn’t a contest we can take so damned lightly. The fact that Turner felt it necessary to call his piece, “If Donald Trump is elected, it won’t be the end of the world,” should have told him something. And what it should have told him is that a lot of people, especially people in the foreign policy and national security establishment, are scared to death of what might happen if an obviously unqualified and temperamentally unstable man with a fondness for Russian thugs gets in touch with real power.

A voter’s job in this election is not, as Turner suggests, deciding whether Clinton or Trump will make a “great” president or a “poor” one, in terms of how history might judge either in the future. The job in this utterly unique case is to make reasonably sure there is a future in which historians can make such judgments! The voter’s job is, and has been since June of last year, deciding whether an unstable reality TV star is a man Image result for trump and clinton debateAmericans should trust with the world’s most powerful military and nuclear arsenal, with weapons that could very well mean the end of the world, at least as we know it today. And unless Turner has some evidence that the cartoonish con man we have been watching for over a year now will somehow transform himself into a stable, steady, solicitous president, he should spare us the “there’s always the next election” nicety and stop trying to convince voters that they are not making an existential decision. With Trump in the race, that’s exactly what they are doing.

And speaking of the world as we know it today, that 2000 election Turner references in his accounting of his Middle School teaching experience is the perfect example of why he is wrong to so casually assert that we can, when the next election comes around, “make changes” that will, presumably, mitigate the damage done. The damage done to the world by George W. Bush’s Iraq war wasn’t undone in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, or 2014. And it won’t be undone in 2016. The decisions President Bush made changed the world in ways that cannot be fixed anytime soon, if ever. And those world-altering decisions were made by a mentally stable man.

We cannot afford to think that this current election is like any other we have ever seen in our history. We cannot afford to think that our choice is between two imperfect candidates whose personal flaws are roughly the same. On one side we have a woman with unquestionable knowledge, extraordinary experience in government, and a steady temperament. On the other side we have a man who knows nothing about world affairs, who claims he knows how government works because he purchases corrupt politicians, and who has an ego so fragile he can be provoked by an insult on Morning Joe. We cannot afford to think that a President Trump’s mistakes—and we know all presidents make mistakes—can be fixed in two years or four.

Will a President Trump end the world as we know it? That we even have to ask the question tells you all you need to know about the existential nature of this election.

[Image: Timothy A. Clary, Getty Images]

 

Why The Fight Over Contraceptives Is Stupid

We’ve had good economic news lately (although you wouldn’t know it by listening to Republicans). Now some good news on another issue. From Vox (“It’s official: teen births hit an all-time low in 2015“):

The article notes that sexual activity among teens is roughly the same (although there is some evidence that it has been declining recently). So what’s most likely going on? This:

The share of sexually active teens who used at least one type of birth control the last time they had sex rose from 78 percent in 2007 to 86 percent in 2012. More teens gravitated toward better types of birth control — like pills, IUDs, or implants — rather than relying on lower-quality birth control like condoms.

Sex education and contraceptives matter. Fighting over such things is beyond dumb.

Donnie Finally Admits He Is A Sleazy, Cheating, Uncaring Freeloader

Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who spoke so eloquently and powerfully at the Democratic National Convention, said to Donald Trump, “You have sacrificed nothing.” And last night the Republican candidate continued to prove how right Mr. Kahn was.

Anyone so unprepared, so purposely unprepared, really demonstrated an utter lack of respect for the office he seeks and the people from whom he seeks it. It is that simple. If a man doesn’t care enough to get ready, to bone up in order to show he knows something about the world and the way it works and has worked, to curb his weird enthusiasm for juvenile mannerisms and mumbling, then he should just admit he doesn’t think the job is worthy of his time and effort. He should just say that he believes that we the people aren’t Image result for clinton trump debateworth even the smallest sacrifice. We aren’t worth time away from his Twitter feed.

But Trump, tiredly, soldiered on last night, if for no other reason than this isn’t about him becoming president as much as it is about him not becoming a loser and being permanently branded as one. He made it clear last night that he cares nothing about those poor suckers who buy his hats and his hogwash, otherwise he would have put some effort into presenting himself as someone other than the man—half con man and half clown—he has always been. And he made it clear this morning, as he suggested that the debate was somehow rigged against him, that not losing for the sake of not losing is his only priority.

But Trump did perform a valuable service during the debate. We found out some important things about him, all of which he confirmed himself.

First, we found out he is willing to admit that he is a sleazeball, or at least very close to being a sleazeball. He told us that he “was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family. And I said to myself I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. It’s inappropriate, it’s not nice.” He clarified what he meant after the debate:

Everything I wanted to say I got out except for the transgressions of Bill…I’m very happy that I was able to hold back on the indiscretions with respect to Bill Clinton because I have a lot of respect for Chelsea Clinton and I just didn’t want to say what I was going to say.

Except that everyone knew what he was talking about when he brought it up during the debate. And then he doubled down on it afterwards and said he might do it “at the next debate.” So, Trump may just be one debate away from personally and definitively confirming he is a creep.

Then there was his response to Clinton’s charge that he had cheated people who worked for him:

CLINTON: …if your main claim to be president of the United States is your business, then I think we should talk about that. You know, your campaign manager said that you built a lot of businesses on the backs of little guys.

And, indeed, I have met a lot of the people who were stiffed by you and your businesses, Donald. I’ve met dishwashers, painters, architects, glass installers, marble installers, drapery installers, like my dad was, who you refused to pay when they finished the work that you asked them to do.

We have an architect in the audience who designed one of your clubhouses at one of your golf courses. It’s a beautiful facility. It immediately was put to use. And you wouldn’t pay what the man needed to be paid, what he was charging you to do…

TRUMP: Maybe he didn’t do a good job and I was unsatisfied with his work…

He didn’t deny that he “built a lot of businesses on the backs of little guys,” which is what Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager, suggested when she was working for Ted Cruz. No, he didn’t deny it. He actually confirmed it. Right before our eyes.

Then there was another admission:

CLINTON: Well, let’s stop for a second and remember where we were eight years ago. We had the worst financial crisis, the Great Recession, the worst since the 1930s. That was in large part because of tax policies that slashed taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street, and created a perfect storm.

In fact, Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said, back in 2006, “Gee, I hope it does collapse, because then I can go in and buy some and make some money.” Well, it did collapse.

TRUMP: That’s called business, by the way.

He confirmed that he had “rooted for the housing crisis” that, as Clinton pointed out, cost “nine million people” their jobs and wiped out “$13 trillion in family wealth.” He confirmed that all that misery was an opportunity for him to make some money. A real man of the people.

Next, there was the damaging admission about what’s in his tax returns:

CLINTON: Well, I think you’ve seen another example of bait-and- switch here. For 40 years, everyone running for president has released their tax returns. You can go and see nearly, I think, 39, 40 years of our tax returns, but everyone has done it. We know the IRS has made clear there is no prohibition on releasing it when you’re under audit.

So you’ve got to ask yourself, why won’t he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told through investigative reporting that he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.

TRUMP: That makes me smart.

Nothing like a “smart” freeloader. As Clinton pointed out, “if he’s paid zero, that means zero for troops, zero for vets, zero for schools or health.” And Trump did not deny that he pays zero in taxes. He didn’t deny that he is a freeloader, that he enjoys tremendous benefits of living in this country without having to pay anything for them. In labor union parlance, someone who enjoys the benefits of a union without paying dues is a scab. So, Trump admits he is a scab. The people who build his buildings and take care of his golf courses have to pay taxes. The rubes who buy his hats have to pay taxes. The goons who beat up people at his rallies have to pay taxes. But not Trump. He gets a free ride. As Khizr Khan said, he has sacrificed nothing.

So, last night we got a personal confirmation from Trump that,

♦ He was unwilling to sacrifice some time and effort to prepare for a presidential debate.
♦ He is, or will soon demonstrate that he is, a sleazeball.
♦ He cheated “little guys” out of the money he owed them.
♦ He rooted for the housing crisis that devastated millions of Americans.
♦ He hasn’t paid a dime in federal taxes for the privilege of living in our country.

I’d say the debate went fairly well.

Between Trump’s Ears, By Zach Galifianakis

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis has won at least one Emmy Award. If you have ever seen it, you would know why. It is, uh, unique. Barack Obama has appeared on the “interview” show, which usually features celebrities. Hillary Clinton made an appearance last week and not only survived, but was quite funny and entertaining (some 30 million people watched the interview on the first day; I posted it below in case you missed it).

Naturally, Galifianakis was asked if he would interview Donald Trump. Here was his response:

No. That doesn’t interest me. Doing it the other way doesn’t interest me. He’s the kind of guy who likes attention – bad attention or good attention. So you’re dealing with a psychosis there that’s a little weird.

I wouldn’t have somebody on that’s so mentally challenged. I feel like I’d be taking advantage of him. And you can print that.

The comedian had this to say about Hillary Clinton:

I was very impressed with her. I can’t say that she probably has the same thing to say about me. [Laughs] We chatted about a book I didn’t expect her to know about. We kind of bonded over this book called “Amusing Ourselves to Death” [by Neil Postman].

I walked away from that whole interview going, “She’s cool.” I thought she was cool, and I don’t know if that was my impression of her before that.

How about that? Most of the comedians in this country have figured out the essentials of this race. Now if only journalists on TV could figure out what’s going on before it’s too late.

The Trump Dilemma And An Appeal To Anson Burlingame, Part 2

Anson graciously responded to my last post. You can read his response here. I have decided I have to continue this exchange. There is just too much at stake. And besides that, it is therapeutic for me:

Anson,

I appreciate your response, but I confess I am somewhat bewildered by it. 

You seem to be in the grip of the media hysteria (especially on Fox, where you said you were watching TV coverage) surrounding a series of protests in Charlotte, a couple of which evolved into dangerous and counter-productive riots as time went by and law-abiding folks went home. Naturally, news cameras go to where the action is. That is why they weren’t showing scenes from protests in Tulsa. Not much to see there but peaceful protesters. All I ask, regarding the issues related to those protests, is for a little perspective. And you won’t get that perspective by listening to “the on scene reporter at Fox” or Megyn Kelly. However, a discussion about BLM and other issues surrounding police interaction (even black police interaction, as happened in Charlotte) with black people will have to wait for another day (as will a discussion about the white supremacists who are championing Trump). I want to stick to the point of my appeal to you.

You say you still have “confusing thoughts” regarding your vote. You say you are asking yourself who “will do the least harm to America for the next four years.” Then you go on to suggest that the only way Hillary Clinton will get your vote is if she expresses the willingness to “compromise in today’s political divide” and “shows a willingness to at least try to understand her opposition.” Those demands are part of the reason why your response bewilders me. Forget for a moment the idea that compromise is a two-way street and Republicans in Congress have shown almost no willingness to compromise. That has been painfully obvious. And forget the fact that Mrs. Clinton understands her opposition all too well, which is part of the reason she got herself into that whole private server mess. 

Forget all that because the question you asked originally, “who will do the least harm to America for the next four years,” is very close to the right question. And nothing you are requiring of Hillary Clinton has anything to do with answering that question. Why? Because this isn’t an election about policy or ideology or party. We shouldn’t care, at this point, what is his or her position on education policy. Or which one will submit balanced budgets or push for or not push for entitlement reform. Or which one can stand on a debate stage and speak a coherent paragraph or two.

This election is about one thing: preventing an unhinged man with a dangerous personality disorder from becoming president—a man who admires authoritarians like Putin, who would jeopardize NATO and other relationships we have around the world, who doesn’t care about nuclear proliferation, and who does not, in any way, have the temperament to command a small fleet of red wagons, let alone the world’s most powerful military.

I will leave you with the following scenario, based on your experience as a commander of a nuclear submarine, which means you know the temperament required and the challenges involved in such an assignment:

Imagine, in the middle of a hot period during the Cold War, you were Admiral Rickover. Imagine you had to choose a commander of a nuclear submarine. Unfortunately for you, there are only three choices available. Here are their qualifications:

CANDIDATE ONE: Understands how to operate a nuclear reactor and nuclear propulsion systems. Understands the weapons systems on board. Can drive the submarine and chart its position. Knows the communications and intelligence equipment inside and out. Has years of experience involving both shore assignments and command deployments for the U.S. Navy, which is why this candidate is subject to second-guessing for her decision making. 

CANDIDATE TWO: Spent 20 years in the Navy as a Merchant Marine, but most of it was desk duty on shore because he was known for smoking vast quantities of marijuana while serving on civilian ships. Understands nothing about nuclear reactors and nuclear propulsion systems, nor does he know anything about the weapons systems on board nuclear subs. But he says he is willing to learn, if you give him the job.

CANDIDATE THREE: Has never been in the military. Understands nothing about nuclear power or weapons systems or the people who do. Has had no maritime experience other than the fact he does own a yacht, a yacht that someone else commands, even though this candidate claims he “knows more” than the yacht captain.

Those are your only choices, Admiral. Remember, though, by your own admission Candidate Two cannot get the approval of the Secretary of the Navy, which in this scenario is the American electorate. So, you are left with Candidate One or Candidate Three. 

And that is what this election is about.

Duane

The Trump Dilemma And An Appeal To Anson Burlingame

As all you locals know, Anson Burlingame is a man with whom I have spent considerable time and effort debating on this blog and in the Joplin Globe and on his own (now retired) blog. I would characterize him as a conservative with a libertarian streak. Recently I, and others, have been interacting with him over the “Trump Dilemma”: should a conservative opposed to Trump vote for a third party (Anson’s tentative position) or swallow hard and vote for Hillary Clinton in order to make a vote against Trump doubly effective?

The following is my latest, and perhaps last, attempt to convince him to take the latter course:

Anson,

Sorry this is so long. But passions are high.

Nobody is trying to lecture you. We are trying to reason with you. You love your country and you have served it honorably. We love our country, too. And we want to keep loving it. How, we ask, can you (or anyone) turn it over (or risk turning it over by not voting for Trump’s only viable rival) to someone so temperamentally unqualified and imbalanced, so ignorant and bigoted, so self-serving and demonstrably corrupt? 

If you think I am going to spend any time, any time whatsoever, trying to convince you that Hillary’s policy proposals (domestically, especially) are something you, as a conservative, could accept, you’re mistaken. That wouldn’t do one bit of good and we both know that. She is a Democrat with left-of-center views. You’re not. You have right-of-center views. There isn’t much of a match there. And besides that, I realize how much Hillary has been demonized in the conservative press and, alas, in the “mainstream” press. That is tough to overcome in a few blog posts. Thus, my appeal is directed elsewhere.

There is one thing that we all can see with our own eyes: Trump is truly an existential threat to the America we have known. That’s not election year hyperbole. You can see it and I can see it and all but the willfully blind can see it. He doesn’t make much of an effort to hide his instability and ignorance. He merely uses bluster to bully his way through. There isn’t an inch of depth to anything he says. He doesn’t understand our history. He has no clue about the military. He has no conception of how world relations work. He doesn’t know the difference between Shia and Sunni or, for that matter, the difference between a nuclear triad and a triathlon. Our allies fear he will win and wreck what is right with the world. Our enemies, particularly Russia and ISIS, want him to win. Think about that. And then think about it again.

Once-respected Republicans in the national security and intelligence business have overwhelmingly voiced their fear of a Trump presidency. They have said he is a dangerous man. Many of them have said that although they disagree with Hillary Clinton on a number of things, that they have to overlook those disagreements because the stakes are so damned high. That is all I am trying to say here. Sure, you would have a lot of problems with a Clinton presidency, no doubt about that. But at least you will know there will be another election to follow (and potentially correct the previous result) because with Hillary Clinton you have good reason to believe the world won’t go completely to hell in between. We have no reason, absolutely no reason, to believe such a thing under a “President Trump.”

Finally, I have tried to think of the reverse situation, one in which you would be asking me to vote against my ideological or partisan or other preferences in order to stop a Trump-like Democrat from taking office. I confess I can’t think of any potential candidate on my side who would fit. Not one. I have, though, come up with a man from recent history that I will use as a type of candidate I can honestly tell you I would vote against, if he were around today and had received the Democratic nomination. That man is George Wallace.

I hesitate to use Wallace (Democrats rejected him three times as their presidential candidate) because although he was a segregationist and populist (before he repented later in life of his racism and ran, again, as a Democrat in the 1972 primaries), he wasn’t a totally ignorant fool like Trump. He knew how government worked, and if he had become president during his days as a segregationist, there isn’t any reason that I know of to have feared his starting a nuclear holocaust (accidentally or on purpose) or some other such thing. 

Having said all that about Wallace and stipulated that he wasn’t in Trump’s league in terms of an existential risk to the country, I will use him to stand in for a candidate that might set up a “Trump Dilemma” for Democrats like me. If a Wallace-like segregationist were, God forbid, to ever get the Democratic Party nomination, I can assure you that if the polls showed him with even a slight chance of becoming president, I would not vote third party. I’d vote for the candidate with the best chance of beating him. That candidate would, by default, have to be a Republican. And so long as that Republican opposed the bigotry and racist politics of my Wallace-like figure—and showed at least a minimum understanding of how the world works—he or she would have my vote—even if I otherwise stood in ideological opposition to such a candidate. You have my word on that, even as I appreciate the cognitive dissonance of it all. Merely electing such a racist demagogue to high office would do more damage to the country than, say, another tax cut for billionaires.

That lands me here: I, in fact, have voted for Republicans for president. I now vote for Democrats, but it isn’t inconceivable to me that someday I would, depending on how the political parties conduct themselves, vote for a Republican again. And that is the key, Anson. It depends on how the parties conduct themselves. Just look at what has happened to the Republican Party under Trump and ask yourself if that is the proper conduct. Of course it isn’t. And then ask yourself: what is the best way to send a message to the offending political party?

I sent a message to the GOP in 2004, when I voted for my first Democrat, John Kerry. My message was simple: the Republican Party no longer represented my interests and I refused to vote for a guaranteed-to-lose third party that would have only helped the GOP stay in power. I wanted my vote to essentially count twice by not only withholding it from the Republicans, but by giving to the Democrats. It turned out Bush stayed in power anyway. But my conscience was clear, especially when the economy collapsed in 2008. No one could blame my vote for that. 

Again, there is no lecturing here, Anson. I am just trying to, as I said, appeal to reason and common sense. In the end, you and I cast just one vote each. Neither is likely to affect the outcome in the slightest. My efforts to convince you not to vote for a third party and thereby theoretically enhance Trump’s chances to win are somewhat personal. We have gone at each other, mostly with civility, for more than 7 1/2  years. I continue to believe that I have not misjudged you, in terms of your understanding of and appreciation for what is at stake here, when it comes to Trump and the national and world threat he represents—and when it comes to “throwing away” your vote (I think those were your words). My plea is not to throw away that vote. Make it count. At least to those of us who have known and argued with you over the years, mostly with what I won’t hesitate to call mutual respect.

Maybe in the end it will turn out my judgment is faulty. If so, that’s on me not on you. You are who you are and obviously not subject to my judgments or expectations. Both of us are responsible for our own choices, in this case our own history-making votes. I can at least say that my old sparring partner will not actually vote directly for Trump—a prediction I confidently made to someone earlier this year. That may not be enough to stop Trump in this third-party-heavy race (where Johnson and Stein are polling too high for my comfort), but it does say something good about you in that you refuse to follow most conservatives and Republicans into a very dark place.

As far as the larger picture, the collective electorate, I am hoping that there are a lot of Anson Burlingame conservatives out there who, in the end, will do the best thing for the country and hold their noses, if they have to, and vote against a dangerous demagogue by voting for Hillary Clinton.

Duane

The Orange Slime Runneth Over

Taking a break from cataloging Trump’s lies, bigotry, racism, and intimations of violence, let’s add to the list of things we know about Trump involving fraud and cheating and pay-for-play corruption. Here’s two new ones:

Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems

Trump Won Tax Breaks While Donating Tens Of Thousands To Corrupt Official

Meanwhile, there is this:

Republican Voters Are Unifying Behind Donald Trump

Conclusion: The more we learn about Trump’s fraud, cheating, and corruption—added to what we already know about his lies, bigotry, racism, and fondness for violence—the more Republicans like him. Onward Christian soldiers!

Good Cops, Bad Cops

We have all witnessed the amazing police work in New York and New Jersey the past few days. President Obama has praised their quick and “outstanding” work in apprehending Ahmad Khan Rahami, who is the only suspect so far. Who could argue with that?

Most of the work the police do is good work and they deserve much credit for what they usually do. There is no doubt policing can be a difficult job sometimes, especially when officers are confronted with potentially life-and-death situations. But some of the work the police do is bad work, bad policing. We can’t ignore that fact. And we can’t ignore the fact that such bad police work is often, though not exclusively, directed toward people of color. Like in Tulsa last Friday, as told by the Associated Press:

A black man fatally shot by a white Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer responding to a stalled vehicle had no weapon on him or in his SUV, the city’s police chief said Monday.

Local and federal authorities are investigating the death of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said before the department released dashcam footage of Friday’s shooting.

“We will achieve justice in this case,” Jordan said.

Meanwhile, family members and community leaders who have viewed the footage said it clearly shows that Crutcher’s hands were in the air when he was shot.

“We saw that Terence did not have any weapon. Terence did not make any sudden movements. We saw that Terence was not being belligerent,” one of the attorneys for the family, Damario Solomon-Simmons, said at a news conference separate from one police held….

Authorities said the shooting occurred after an officer stopped to investigate a vehicle in the middle of a road. Police said Crutcher approached after officers arrived to assist.

Police spokeswoman Jeanne MacKenzie has said Crutcher refused orders to put up his hands.

Police say Tulsa officer Betty Shelby fired the fatal shot, while officer Tyler Turnbough used a stun gun on Crutcher. Both officers are white, MacKenzie said Monday.

Here is an AP story on the ACLU’s reaction to the shooting:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma is calling for criminal charges in a Tulsa police officer’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, saying he was left to bleed to death while officers stood by without rendering aid.

ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel says Terence Crutcher’s death on Friday shows “how little regard” Tulsa police officers have for minority communities.

Crutcher was shot to death by a Tulsa officer who was responding to a report of a stalled vehicle. Dashcam and aerial footage released Monday by police showed Crutcher lying on the street, bleeding, and no one immediately administered medical aid.

A Tulsa police spokeswoman, Jeanne MacKenzie, said she couldn’t comment Monday on whether officers have a set protocol on when to provide medical assistance.

Here are two videos released so far. If you see a reason—any reason—to shoot Mr. Crutcher, please point it out to me:

Did Donald Trump Hire Someone To Bomb New York City And New Jersey? Some People Are Saying He Did.

Just think about it. Donald Trump had a bad day on Friday. He not only got a lot of hyper-negative press for pulling a con on journalists—by pretending he was going to have a press conference and renounce his birtherism when he really used the event to get free publicity for his new hotel and himself—he also got a lot of bad press for launching yet another Big Lie that it was Hillary Clinton who was responsible for the birther movement (a lie his surrogates spent Sunday perpetuating with Goebbels-like intensity; more below). By all measures, it was a bad day and a bad weekend for Trump.

And there was no better way to make everyone forget about birtherism and Trump’s pathological lying—and, of course, look to him for “tough and smart and vigilant” leadership—than to get a shiny new terrorist attack in the news.  And since terrorists didn’t seem to be cooperating, Trump had to do something. He had to act fast. There was no time to lose.

Now, rightly, you should demand to see just what evidence there is to support the claim that Trump may have been involved in the terrorist attacks on Saturday night. Well, I will use a patented Trumpian analysis of the “facts” and list the evidence for you:

  1. Some people are saying Trump was involved.
  2. Trump’s campaign had riled the press on Friday and he was getting a lot of negative coverage, including journalists actually saying, finally, that he was lying about birtherism. Motive.
  3. Before any local official confirmed what had happened Saturday night, Trump stepped off his plane in Colorado and unequivocally stated that “a bomb went off in New York.” How did he know that? How did he know the explosion wasn’t some kind of gas leak that got ignited and not a bomb at all?
  4. The first blast was in Manhattan. Trump lives in Manhattan.
  5. Other explosions happened in New Jersey. Trump once had casinos in New Jersey and admits he has lots of connections there.
  6. A person police say may be involved in the bombings is a naturalized citizen originally from Afghanistan who now lives in New Jersey. That fits nicely, so nicely, into Trump’s narrative about why we should be scared of all such people.
  7. Dotrump-and-terror-suspecdtnald Trump said almost exactly a year ago—coincidence?—the following to CNN’s Jake Tapper: “I have friends that are Muslims.” Was one of his friends the bomber (or bombers) in New York and New Jersey? Some people are saying they might be.
  8. In December of last year Trump said, “Many Muslim friends of mine are in agreement with me. They say, ‘Donald, you brought something up to the fore that is so brilliant and so fantastic.'” What could be more brilliant and fantastic than a terrorist attack executed just in time to change Trump’s negative coverage on the campaign trail?
  9. Again in December of last year he said, “I have been called by more Muslims saying what you are doing is a great thing, not a bad thing. Believe it or not, I have a lot of friends that are Muslim, and they call me…” So, Trump has admitted he talks to a lot of Muslims. Did he talk to the bomber or bombers in New York and New Jersey? Somewhere, some people are saying he may have.
  10. Trump recently had killing on his mind when he suggested we take the guns away from Hillary Clinton’s security detail and, “Let’s see what happens to her.”

In addition to this “evidence,” we can also see that the Trump campaign, as mentioned, has resorted to keeping alive a Big Lie about Hillary Clinton starting the birther movement, a lie so big and brazen that it would make Joseph Goebbels blush. To remind you, Goebbels was Hitler’s Reich Minister of Propaganda. He famously said,

The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

Just look at the Big Lie repeated on Sunday by some of Trump’s top propagandists:

♦ Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager, told Face the Nation: “This started with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, number one. Number two, it was Donald Trump who put the issue to rest when he got President Obama to release his birth certificate years later…”

♦ CNN’s Jake Tapper tried to correct the record with Chris Christie, the biggest Trump hack in the country:

TAPPER: Just as a point of fact, Donald Trump did not accept when Barack Obama released his birth certificate in 2011. He kept up this whole birther thing until Friday, that’s five years.

CHRISTIE: That’s just not true. It’s just not true that he kept it up for five years.

TAPPER: Sure he did.

CHRISTIE: It’s just not true.

TAPPER: It is true.

CHRISTIE: No, Jake. It wasn’t like he was talking about it on a regular basis until then. And when the issue was raised, he made very clear the other day what he position is.

WORN OUT TAPPER: Okay.

♦ Finally, there was the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus. He said on Face the Nation:

People get convicted every single day with circumstantial evidence that is enough to tip the scale. And by the preponderance of evidence before us, Hillary Clinton or her campaign were definitely involved in this issue. We can’t keep saying it’s not true. That’s ridiculous.

As you can see, Trump and his campaign officials and surrogates (and many conservative media outlets) are willing to employ propaganda techniques in the Goebbels style, “even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

Let’s be clear: Every journalist in the country knows that Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with the birther movement. In fact, the Trump campaign, accidentally, proved she had nothing to do with it when it released a transcript of an interview with Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle. She said that either a volunteer or a paid staffer forwarded “an email that promoted the conspiracy” and that Hillary Clinton “made the decision immediately to let that person go.” Immediately. She didn’t need five years.

And that would be the end of the Hillary-started-it lie in any other universe except a Trump-Goebbels one. And if Trump and his campaign are willing to use such appalling Reich-like tactics, who could put it past them to hire a bomber or two in New York and New Jersey as a way of changing the subject? Let me paraphrase Priebus:

People get convicted every single day with circumstantial evidence that is enough to tip the scale. And by the preponderance of evidence before us, Donald Trump or his campaign were definitely involved in the terrorist attacks in New York and New Jersey. We can’t keep saying it’s not true. That’s ridiculous.

I want to end this piece of Trumpish speculation with something Vin Weber—a former GOP congressman from Minnesota and once a top adviser to then-Speaker Newt Gingrich—said to Jonathan Martin of The New York Times about Donald Trump:

It’s frightening. Our politics, because of him, is descending to the level of a third-world country. There’s just nothing beneath him. And I don’t know why we would think he would change if he became president. That’s what’s really scary.

“There’s just nothing beneath him,” says a fellow Republican. Case closed.

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