Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Trump to Cops: You should do more to physically harm American citizens

And the cops cheered.

Trump gave a talk to a gathering of police out on Long Island, earlier today. It went horribly. There are cops that are going to take Trump’s lead, take what he said seriously, and because of that, they are going to harm or kill Americans and end their own careers, destroying their own families and parts of their communities along the way.

The President of the United States egged the police on to disdain their civilian bosses, and they cheered him. The President of the United States told the police that they should not avoid harming suspects, and they clapped. The President of the United States encouraged the police to injure suspects, and they cheered.

He called American citizens being harassed by the police “animals.”

This was like and unlike Trump’s over-the-top and embarrassing tirade in front of the Boy Scouts. Similar because this was in both cases Trump being an unmitigated and stupid ass. But different because even though both the cops and the Boy Scouts were blindly cheering and clapping and yowling at these obnoxious comments, we could guess that the leaders of the Boy Scouts were potentially embarrassed. Also, for every Boy Scout there is one or more parental unit of some kind, and we knew many of them would be upset about Trump’s yammerings. And that all turned out to be true, and the Boy Scouts eventually, after some pressure, apologized.

But with the cops we should not assume anything like this is true. The only thing worse than a bunch of cops that show up to hassle some citizens is an organized bunch of cops in the form of an association or union. Today, Trump empowered the police, as a faction on our increasingly fractionated society, to become more violent. I don’t think there is any doubt that they will do this.

The New York City police department did not attend the Long Island event. Some see this as a boycott, since New York is a sanctuary city, and Trump intends to crack down on sanctuary cities. But it is not clear what the position of the New York City, or any other police department or group of police is. As far as I can tell, Trump’s new violence is something cops love. You should see the happy glowing faces of the cops standing behind the president when he tells them to treat suspects like animals, knock their heads on their cruisers, and otherwise, hurt them.

Happy glowing faces of cops clapping and cheering because they just got permission from the head of the United States to be physically harm American citizens.

I have been looking for the name of the organization that sponsored this talk, but I haven’t been able to find it. Whatever organization that is, we should demand that they apologize for Trump’s speech. But they won’t. Because they are cops.

Today is also the day that Donald Trump fired his Chief of Staff and replaced him with the Director of Homeland Security. The top security officer, in a sense, the top cop, of the country is now, apparently, at least according to a set of tweets, going to also be the person closest to the President in any official capacity in the West Wing. I wonder who thought of that idea?

Think about that for a minute. This is what dictators do.

Watch Chris Hays alter the anatomy of a Republican Congress member:

Donald Trump Signs Up for On Line Dating

A statement has just been released by the White House, regarding President Donald Trump:

President Trump has a magnetic personality and exudes positive energy, which is infectious to those around him. He has an unparalleled ability to communicate with people, whether he is speaking to a room of three or an arena of 30,000. He has built great relationships throughout his life and treats everyone with respect. He is brilliant with a great sense of humor … and an amazing ability to make people feel special and aspire to be more than even they thought possible.

There are a thousand ways to interpret this. And they are all AT THIS LINK

Hat Tip: Tracy Walker

Good news: We’re going to Mars. Bad news: During Trump’s second term

The Washington Post:

What we are reporting here isn’t fake news. But it doesn’t feel exactly like real news, either. It’s in that foggy realm of Trump news in which everything is slightly ambiguous and wobbly and internally inconsistent and almost certainly improvisational and not actually grounded in what you could call “government policy.”


On being told that a reasonably ambitious plan for going to Mars would get humans there in the 2030s, Trump directed NASA to speed it up and make sure it happens between 4 and 8 years from now.

Sitting in Richard Nixon’s Chair

Yes there are Nixon-Trump similarities. But in the end, probably not many. (A lot of Congresspersons boycotted his second inaugural, by the way). Also, for those who are not familiar with Watergate, I’ll tell you this: The medium to worst case scenario of Trump’s election, which would include Russian Hacking and possibly the Trump Dossier (but you don’t need the dossier in this scenario) is about 400% worse than Watergate. The Watergate scandal, after which we now name all scandals, was also about stealing an election. It is not as clear that the Plumbers stole the election for Nixon that it is clear that Putin stole the election for Trump. Either case is hard to be absolutely certain of, but Nixon trounced his opponent the year he had illegal help from his hired thugs, while Trump actually lost the election in the year he seems to have had help from Putin and Comey.

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 4.44.00 PMBut that is not what I came here to speak with you about today. Rather, I’m just using the Bloggers Prerogative to reminisce about the time that I refused, as an 11 or 12 year old, in New York City, to sit in the chair sat in by Richard Nixon. We were watching Much Ado About Nothing from a box in Winter Garden, and this was, we were told by the usher, the very box Nixon had sat in during the previous performance. (We had seen him leave the theater. What a mess that made of local traffic!) Learning that, I asked which chair Nixon had sat in. The usher pointed to one of the chairs. I asked to have it removed. My hard core Democratic father concurred.

I have no idea if the usher was just playing around with the kid, perhaps even thinking that we would be happy to share Richard Nixon’s butt kooties. And I’ll never know. But I choose to believe that I made a point.

As are these folks:

“We woke up on November 9 just gutted,” he said. “We were planning to get married in July and decided, ‘Let’s get married this weekend. Let’s be as married as we can be, as long as we can be, starting now.'” The couple opted to elope to Las Vegas.

“As soon as we opened up the drapes [we saw] the front of Trump’s building and we’re like ‘Oh, no way,'” he said. “The letters across the top of the tower are just huge. It was a bitter irony that we were running away from him and he was right there.”

Yes, people around the world are asking for rooms that do NOT overlook the giant “TRUMP” that Donald Trump likes to smear across his real estate projects. By the way, many, perhaps most, of these projects simply pay to use the name because it seems good for business. I wonder what those contracts look like, exactly?

The House Should Demand That Trump Apologize For John Lewis Insults

A lot of people are just catching up on who John Lewis is. One way to do that is to read his memoir, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) is presented with the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) is presented with the 2010 Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
He is a senior African American Representative to the House who was famously involved in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, along side Doctor King. If you watch any news at all you’ve seen him plenty of times. He is now also known as the latest person Donald Trump decided to denigrate and insult on Twitter.

I would like to see everyone ask their representatives in the House to treat Donald Trump’s remarks about John Lewis as they would treat similar remarks made by any other member of the House against a colleague. Generally, there are rules and you can’t do or say certain kinds of things, or you get sanctioned. I want Trump’s remarks addressed as though they were remarks on the floor made to another member. To put a point on it, since little that Republicans in Congress do relates to decorum or ethics, since to them it is all partisan politics, let’s assume the hypothetical offender is a Democrat and the remarks are made against a Republican. And when making the remarks a little bit of spit flew out and landed on the guy.

Here’s my letter to my representative, who is, sadly, a Republican. Can you please write a letter too?

Representative Erik Paulsen
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

To the Honorable Erik Paulsen,

I write to ask you to take appropriate action in response to the outrageous statements made by the Republican President Elect in regards to your colleague, the Honorable John Lewis, of Georgia.

On the 14th of January, 2017, President Elect Trump railed against Representative Lewis, and denigrated the important work he has done as a member of Congress and as a leader in the area of Civil Rights, on the very eve of our national celebrations of the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

How many of your colleagues in Congress have literally had their skulls smashed as a result of protesting racial injustice? This is what happened to young John Lewis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965. The Congressman has dedicated his life to fight racism, injustice, and to honorably and effectively represent the people in his district.

Mr. Trump’s remarks are uncalled for, outrageous, and should not go unanswered.

I ask you to stand in defense of the Honorable Mr. Lewis on the floor of the House, to make a public statement responding to the President Elect, and to make clear that this sort of behavior is not acceptable. Alternatively, perhaps you could let me know why you would chose to remain silent, should that be your decision, or why you might support Mr. Trump’s remarks, if that is your intent.

I understand that Mr. Trump is a Republican and so are you, and Mr. Lewis is a Democrat. It is possible that the Republican Party’s position is to denigrate men like Mr. Lewis. If so, that would be a shame. If, on the other hand, you and your Republican colleagues truly represent the citizens of your respective districts, not just the narrow range of folk who voted for you, then you can not sit silently. You have to stand up and say something. As your constituent, I demand this. Do note that several of your colleagues in your party have done so.


Greg Laden

Dear Blue State Republicans: You got screwed bad

Many bad things happened at the Trump news conference. Many bad things. Many many. Unbelievably bad things, I tell ya.

But one thing that happened, as bad as the rest of the things, and covered by the Washington Post, has not gotten sufficient attention.

President-elect Donald Trump twice suggested at his news conference that states that voted for him overwhelmingly during the election would get special attention from his White House, especially on the issue of jobs and trade.

… many states “did get it right” by voting for him and those states would have better jobs, security and veterans services.

“And we focused very hard in those states, and they really reciprocated,” Trump said. “And those states are going to have a lot of jobs, and they’re going to have a lot of security. They’re going to have a lot of good news for their veterans.”

Later, he warned companies against moving jobs to Mexico or other countries from “places that I won.”

“But what really is happening is the word is now out, that when you want to move your plant to Mexico or some other place, and you want to fire all of your workers from Michigan and Ohio and all these places that I won, for good reason, it’s not going to happen that way anymore,” Trump said.

That is not what a President is supposed to do. This is wrong on many levels, and for many reasons. But here, I just want to point out one aspect that we do not want to overlook. I will point this out in the form of a missive:

Dear Republicans who voted for Donald Trump but who live in states where the majority did not:

Please assume the bent over position, because your guy is about to screw you. Have a nice day.


Everyone Else

This is, of course, the message that needs to get to every single Republican, Trump voter or not, in every state that didn’t end up giving Trump Electoral votes.

Why, you ask? Why does it matter, since those are blue states anyway?

Here’s why. I live in MN State 44A, CD03. That means that my State House representative is a Republican. My State Senator is a Republican. My representative to the US House is a Republican. All those people who live in my Minnesota House and Senate district, and this federal Congressional District, who voted in Republicans need to know when the next election comes along that their leader, Donald Trump, vowed today to abandon them.

Many Democrats are saying of Trump: “He is not my president.” Well, if you are a Republican from any state that did not vote overwhelming for Trump, he is not your president either. You got screwed. Bad.

Is Donald Trump A Russian Asset? (Updated after news conference)

It has been suggested that President Elect Trump has been compromised by Vladimir Putin and/or the Russian Intelligence agency. This allegation suggests that Putin and/or the FSB have information, including video of unsavory sexual activities of some sort (loosely defined) and documentation of inappropriate business activities, that could be used to blackmail the future United States President. Since this is something I have been saying for weeks that we would eventually learn, I’m compelled to make a few comments.

What did we sort of know and when did we sort of know it?

In the weeks after the US presidential election, I learned something that a lot of people inside the beltway had known for months. This was third hand plus. Like, ‘a friend of a friend of a friend says this is widely known.’

There are three parts.

First, a commonly known fact was confirmed for me: major intelligence agencies will spend effort trying to compromise highly influential individuals such as real estate tycoons. This is apparently potentially useful for future manipulation of things.

Most such potential targets are intelligent and have a reasonable sense of risk and humility, to the extent that they know they can be compromised and they bother to seek and follow expert advice covering all their security needs. Also, I assume just because it is generally true of humans, that these highly successful and potentially influential people have at least a modicum of self control over what they do and what they say.

The second part is the simple logical idea that since highly influential individuals are likely to be approached or some attempt made to turn or compromise them, that Donald Trump would have been such a target, and that such an effort would likely have worked.

Since none of the aforementioned self protective attributes seem to pertain to Donald Trump, it stands to reason and is apparently fully expected that he would have long ago been compromised by major intelligence agencies. Since Trump has significant business dealings with Russia and has made the trip to Moscow several times, it is reasonable to assume there is a high probability that Putin had long ago compromised trump. Sexual honey pots, attractive but illegal business dealings, challenges to bravado or ego, etc. could all have been used to obtain film of Trump doing what might be widely regarded as inappropriate sexual things, or documentation of engagement in shady financial dealings, and so on.

So part of this was the basic assumption that someone like Trump would be pretty likely to be in Putin’s pocket.

The third part, which goes beyond assumption and speculation, is the belief among intelligence experts that this sort of thing had in fact occurred. Not just that it was highly likely, but that it was actually true.

Again, that is third hand, and it is third hand rumor. In other words, the third generation out from me is not a person who knows this stuff, but a person who is probably in a position to know what is generally known.

I was hoping at the time that individuals in the intelligence community who knew about this would somehow make it generally known, before the Electoral College voted, so there would be some chance of the Russians not placing a compromised agent at the head of the United State government. Indeed, I was hoping for a particular individual to step forward (see below). But that never happened, and the Electors elected a person many inside the beltway suspected to be a Russian puppet as President.

I once knew an evil librarian, story-book evil, surreally evil. Example: one day an employee asked for one day off a week to receive chemotherapy. The evil librarian grudgingly allowed it. Several weeks later the employee’s cancer got worse, and she needed two days a week for a month or so, to get extra chemotherapy. The evil librarian fired her on the spot, in front of the other employees and library patrons, and did so with a lot of screaming and yelling. That sort of thing happened all the time and she kept her job anyway.

Then, one day, the evil librarian made a reference to a particular woman and used the word “bitch” in so doing. Someone who heard her say that reported it to the woman’s husband. That man happened to be the director of the learned institution of which this library was a part. Within minutes Evil Librarian, who had been in her job for well over 20 years, being all evil and stuff the entire time, was fired.

The straw. For want of a straw, the evil librarian was left alone to make many lives miserable without mitigation or abatement. Then the straw, then the termination.

What makes me recall that event? The intelligence community failing to act in accordance with their oath of office. Until the straw.

When Trump was selected by the electors, the intelligence community, or large parts of it, probably knew all about what is in the recently released (and as yet unconfirmed) report indicating that Donald Trump has been compromised by the Russians, and by Putin in particular. But they stood by and did nothing. I now assume that they did nothing because their individual jobs were more important to them than, you know, civilization. Or their oath.

But then, Trump, who had been acting disrespectfully towards the intelligence community all along, started to make noises about making changes in, downgrading, or otherwise damaging the intelligence community. When I saw him doing that, I predicted that the “widely known” but unspoken of potential control Vladimir Putin would have, though blackmail, over the next United States President, would become rather suddenly known, if in fact those rumors had substance. I saw Trump’s threats to the intelligence community as a straw alighting on the back of a Russian camel. As it were.

PDF File of the reported intelligence information

This will all be confirmed, denied, elaborated, clarified, in coming months. At this moment I choose to assume this is mostly true, and that there is likely more. There is a certain strength of argument when something is fully expected for logical reasons, and with a modicum of confirming evidence available in advance, and then the thing actually happens. Of course, there is also conformation bias, where the expected, when it happens, is given more credence than it deserves. But expecting something to happen, then having it happen, is NOT inherently a case of false belief based on confirmation bias. That is why it is called confirmation bias and not confirmation now we know it can’t be true because it happened. Putting this a somewhat different way, I was pretty sure, based on earlier conversations and logical thinking, that Trump would have been, by now, compromised by Putin and/or the FSG, possibly others. I’m still pretty sure. But now, there are as yet unconfirmed details to potentially fill in some of the blanks.

###Trump and Obama may provide confirming evidence

Until a few days ago, Trump was tweeting as per usual, which for him means, obnoxious and inappropriate missives about things the President Elect should not be concerned with. Then, suddenly, he stopped tweeting and his twitter feed became more corporate and informational, more third person, as though his smart phone had been taken away from him, with the campaign taking over the feed. This has happened before.

The confirmation hearings had just started up, and this produced mounds of Trump Twitter fodder. There was a press conference coming up. And, the story we are talking about here was breaking. So, of course, Trump’s local handlers (and maybe his Russian handlers?) made an effort to separate him from his Twitter.

Then, he got it back.

I always wonder what that looks like. Does Trump have a stash of smart phones hidden around the house? Does he pay, or threaten, a household servant to get him a phone? Does he have a tantrum and hold his breath until Melania gives in? But I digress…

Anyway, he got his Twitter access back and started tweeting denials of the story, and this time, he was screaming in ALL CAPS. Also, he let something slipped. He asked how intelligence services could leak fake news. Leak? Fake news? Leak? This makes it sound like he knew it was a leak. Made up fake news would not be a leak. He also invoked Hitler. So, there you go.

Methinks he doth tweet too much.

President Obama essentially but subtly confirmed the story. This story is thought to have been part of the secret part of earlier intelligence briefings. So, this story is either fake made up news, or part of the inside story that would be known to the President (and Trump). If it was fake made up news, and the press asked President Obama about it, he would say “I never heard anything about that, probably fake made up news, watch out for that, there is too much of that going on, cut it out.” But, if it was part of the inside story, but top secret, there is only one thing he could say. “I don’t comment on top secret stuff” or words to that effect.

So, what did President Obama say about the intelligence indicating that Donald Trump paid Russian women to urinate on the bed President Obama and his wife used in the presidential suit in a famous hotel?

From NBC:

In an interview with NBC News before his farewell address Tuesday night in Chicago, President Barack Obama said he had not seen the news accounts of Trump’s Russian ties but noted that “as a matter of principle and national security, I don’t comment on classified information.”

He had not seen the news accounts (and thus has no first hand, comment-able, response) but he does not comment on classified information. So, there you go.


This from NBC regarding the contents of Trump’s intelligence briefing. I think this conflicts with what Trump said during this press conference, in which I think he said he knew about this “false news” from that briefing.

MOSCOW — President-elect Donald Trump was not told about unverified reports that Russia has compromising information on him during last week’s intelligence briefing, according to a senior intelligence official with knowledge of preparations for the briefing.

A summary of the unverified reports was prepared as background material for the briefing, but not discussed during the meeting, the official said.

Two U.S. officials told NBC News that materials prepared for Trump during last week’s intelligence briefing included damaging allegations — unverified by American intelligence agencies — about his dealings with the Russians.

A special word about Mad Dog Mattis

United States Marine Corps General James “Mad Dog” Mattis was selected by Trump to be his Secretary of Defense. When I heard that, I thought there was hope that any widely known but still underground intelligence about Trump being a compromised puppet of Putin would have to come out. After all, if I more or less knew that Trump was compromised by the FSB (or by some other entity but ultimately, by Putin), then Mad Dog Mattis certainly knew it.

Unlike me, Mad Dog has on several occasions taken the oath. He would have put his hand on the Bible and uttered the words “I, James Mattis, do solemnly sear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” And, he knew that he would be taking the oath again if sworn in to be Secretary of Defense.

I assumed that someone, especially someone like General Mattis, would come forward with this intelligence and put a stop to the takeover of the United States government by a foreign power.

But no one did, not even the General.


In his remarks at a news conference that happened as I was writing this post, Trump thanks the news organizations that did NOT report the allegations, and suggests that those specific agencies have now “gone up a notch.” He also suggested that intelligence agencies now have a “blot” on their records.

Trump calls his opponents who released the intelligence reports, which he fully denies, “sick people.”

He admits that Russia did the hacking.

He restates the false claim that the DNC did not have defense against hacking but the RNC did, and that the Russians were unable to break into the RNC.

Trump notes that if Putin likes Donald Trump, that’s an asset. OK, then.

Trump continues to refer to the election and deride Hillary Clinton.

Trump claims that he tells people all the time to be careful of hidden cameras in foreign hotel rooms. That he actually told everyone this all the time should be confirmable.

Trump claims that he has very low debt and zero loans with Russia.

(Note: All the questions are about Russia, Hacking, etc. Trump has no control over the message.)

Trump says he was offered 2 billion dollars to do a number of deals in Dubai. He turned down the deal, though he says he didn’t have to turn it down because he is President. He claims he could run his business and run government at the same time, this would be legal. Also, he claims he would be able to do it and would be good at it.

Reporters claims that nobody but the press cares about his tax returns. This got applause. I suspect not from the reporters. So, apparently, Trump has an audience of sycophants in the room. That feels wrong.

Trump shows a pile of papers indicating that he passed business interests off to his sons. Then, he walked off stage and did not take any more questions. (He returned later to answer questions.)

The post-Trump spokesperson claims that emoluments do not include, for example, foreign visitors paying high prices at Trump hotels. That’s going to leave a mark.

Trump is claiming that profits from foreign business will be donated to the US Treasury.

Other notes on the news conference:

<li>Trump, who is probably anti-vax, spoke out against "pharma." </li>

<li>Oddly, this press conference has applause following some of the remarks.  That seems unusual. </li>

<li>Trump indicates that certain states, but not all states, would benefit from his jobs programs, and the veterans in those states would be taken care of.</li>

<li>Trump states that he has lots of news conferences. This is is first news conference in six months. </li>

Harry Reid Statement on Donald Trump

I thought you should see this, copied from here.

Washington, D.C.
– Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement about the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States:

“I have personally been on the ballot in Nevada for 26 elections and I have never seen anything like the reaction to the election completed last Tuesday. The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America.

“White nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear – especially African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, LGBT Americans and Asian Americans. Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America.

“I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics. Hispanic Americans who fear their families will be torn apart, African Americans being heckled on the street, Muslim Americans afraid to wear a headscarf, gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands. American children waking up in the middle of the night crying, terrified that Trump will take their parents away. Young girls unable to understand why a man who brags about sexually assaulting women has been elected president.

“I have a large family. I have one daughter and twelve granddaughters. The texts, emails and phone calls I have received from them have been filled with fear – fear for themselves, fear for their Hispanic and African American friends, for their Muslim and Jewish friends, for their LBGT friends, for their Asian friends. I’ve felt their tears and I’ve felt their fear.

“We as a nation must find a way to move forward without consigning those who Trump has threatened to the shadows. Their fear is entirely rational, because Donald Trump has talked openly about doing terrible things to them. Every news piece that breathlessly obsesses over inauguration preparations compounds their fear by normalizing a man who has threatened to tear families apart, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and who has directed crowds of thousands to intimidate reporters and assault African Americans. Their fear is legitimate and we must refuse to let it fall through the cracks between the fluff pieces.

“If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans. Donald Trump may not possess the capacity to assuage those fears, but he owes it to this nation to try.

“If Trump wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately.”

Why Trump Won And How To Fix That For Future Elections

Donald Trump is the president elect of the United States. Why?

Trump did not win because he is widely liked. He is NOT widely liked.

A very small number of Americans voted for Trump, and this number was magnified by the conservative-state-favoring electoral college, and most of those who did not vote for him not only don’t prefer him, but find him truly abhorrent. During the campaign, and over his 70 year long life, Donald trump has done or said myriad things each of which is fully disqualifying to be a candidate for president. These deplorable things are, of course, the reason he won this election. Those who voted for him felt that a deplorable man represented them better than established politicians, because they related to that deplorableness.

A word about the Deplorables

Men like me claim (and I believe us) that we do not encounter conversations like the famous Trump Bus conversation released to the public in the latter weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign. But, those conversations are out there. I attended a social event recently, and I had my kindergartener with me. It was a socially required event, or I probably would not have gone. It was attended by men and women ranging in age from their late 20s through their late 60s, along with a couple of younger kids. This was a small number of individuals in one family, their spouses, and on out for a few levels of marriage and consanguineal relation. A clan, if you will.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-12-11-26-pmI did not know people talked like that. I felt like I was in a porn movie except everybody had their clothes on. I’ve seen conversations roughly like this, in terms of risqué-osoty, among younger folks on the convention circuit, but this was different from that in being fully misogynistic and disrespectful, and not jut risqué.

It was bad enough that I endeavored to distract the kindergartener, remove the kindergartener from the environment, sending him out, and getting myself out of there as soon as it was socially acceptable. Well, sooner, actually.

These are the folks, men and women, who find no fault with Donald Trump’s salacio-sexist banter. It is not that they want a profligate leader in the White House, a man who treats women and subcontractors with deep disdain. It is, rather that they don’t mind it, because they are it, and at the same time, they know that electing a Trump is a slap in the face for the elitist, over educated, judgmental, liberal scum over there by the door holding his hands over his son’s ears and trying to get away from the real people. And, they are right. Indeed, it was more than a slap in the face, it was a punch in the gut.

Did deplorable sexists keep Clinton out of the White House?

You might think so, but no.

img_5263There is a long list of reasons one might consider to explain why Hillary Clinton lost or that Donald Trump won. It is possible to point to some of these reasons, on their own, and legitimately claim that if this one reason was not in play, Trump would have lost or Clinton would have won. I want to briefly point them out, and then move on to the actual reason.

In reading through this list, note that “Sexism/Hillary is a woman” is actually part of each and every item. Sexism is so pervasive in this election that sometimes you don’t even see it.

1) If only nobody voted for this or that third party.

This may be worth about 1% of the vote overall, possibly 2%, so if there were no third party candidates in the race at all, perhaps Trump would have lost. Or not. Third party voters may have simply written in The Lizard People. Libertarian third party voters could have split among Trump and Clinton, or been mainly for Trump. I don’t think enough people voted for Jill Stein to matter.

( I quickly add that those who voted for Jill Stein demonstrated with their decision something else that is not especially admirable. I wouldn’t be bragging about it. But I digress.)

Note, by the way, that the third party candidate that got most often picked by those casting protest votes was Gary, not Jill. The boy, not the girl. Significant? You decide.

2) If only the Bernie Bots, the former Sanders supporters, had not …

[voted third party/stayed home/constantly whined about Clinton/made the political process so painful that many simply walked away and never came back/whatever whatever]

This was probably worth a couple percent of the vote, and I think it really mattered. One part of this that mattered the most was the sexist attacks on Hillary, because this gave a lot of people permission to more openly hate the idea of a female president.

Bernie bots ruined politics for a lot of people this year. But, at the same time, Bernie excitement brought new people in to politics,and that is good. Also, I strongly suspect that had Hillary been behind the whole time like Bernie was, and had lost the nomination, there would be a reverse effect. There would be Hillar Bots. There were Hillary Bots in 2008.

I can make a strong argument that the Hillary Bot effect is NOT parallel to the Bernie Bot effect, and would not have been as bad. But if we see the Bernie Bot effect as moving 3% of the vote, enough to have easily elected Clinton, we also need to recognize that the Hillary Bot effect, had it happened, would have been worth about 1.5% of the vote, diluting the imagined no-Bernie-Bot effect enough that it may not matter.

3) The Silent Majority elected Trump.

The number of deplorable, unprincipled, vile, racist, and sexist people in the United States who are of voting age is huge.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-12-13-40-pmAmong these, many don’t vote. Most are white, male, older, and less educated. This has led to a proliferation of comments on social media like, “So, I’m an uneducated white guy, sue me” which makes me think, “can I do that?”

A subset of these dudes don’t vote, and proudly don’t vote. I’ve known guys in this category who will stuff the “I don’t vote, their all crooks” line (and yes, that is how they spell it) down anyone’s throat who will listen, and even won’t listen, as part of almost every conversation they have. It is pretty disgusting. But, sometimes those dudes do vote, and when they do, they are called the Silent Majority.

They are worth 1%–3% of the population, depending on how many get riled up. Oh, and by the way, these dudes don’t talk to pollsters, so in years when they don’t vote, they don’t matter. In years when they do vote, their effect is a surprise. I think they mattered this year, but there isn’t much one can do about them but to wait until they get old and die, and to try to work against the replacement demographic being like them as they grow up by increasing education and awareness.

4) The Bradley Effect.

In 1982, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley ran for governor of California. Bradley showed a significant lead in the polls, and the exit polls backed this up. Then, he lost. One theory is that many white voters claimed to support Bradley in order to not appear racist, but once in the voting booth, voted for the white guy. This then became known as the Bradley Effect.

Further consideration of that race, and subsequent analyses, seem to show that the Bradley Effect as described did not happen then, and does not really happen in general. But it is certainly possible for such a thing, either with respect to race or sex, to occur, so it should always be considered.

Personally, I think the Bradley Effect (a gendered version of it) does not explain anything here, but see #3 above for a related (but different) effect. There was lots of sexism here, but it was not altering the polling results. So, I include Bradley here to be more comprehensive, but I think it counts for 0% of the effect.

5) The Democrats put up the wrong candidate.

I think this mattered, but not for the reasons you may think, and it is not the main thing we need to fix. For that, you’ll have to keep reading.

I love Hillary, and I am certain that the long list of reasons some other people hate her are made up by the vast right wing conspiracy led for many years by Newt Gingrich (look for Gingrich to take his power-place in the Trump administration), Karl Rove, and others. Ironically, the anti-Hillary rhetoric, which killed this election, was created by a corrupt political establishment (the Republican Party) and in so doing convinced may anti-corruption anti political establishment voters to vote for Trump.

I am not suggesting that Sanders would have been a better candidate. He would have lacked the negative baggage, but he would have brought to the table some other problems that may have hurt him. Yes, I know head to head polls put Sanders higher than Clinton against Trump, but those early polls, while interesting, should not be the main basis for a decision as to what to do.

Bernie is a boy, and Hillary is a girl. Putting up a female candidate is roughly like putting up a black candidate. You are asking for trouble, asking for racists/sexist votes to come out in huge numbers against you, etc. You could never win with that strategy, could you?

Well, of course you can, and that is what Obama did. But, realistically, a candidate that has inherent negatives with much of the population is potentially at a disadvantage, so one must carefully consider these things. In thinking about this, about the basic question of whether or not the Democrats screwed themselves (and by themselves I mean ourselves because I’m a Democrat) by putting up a woman before the country was ready, several important and often conflicting truths come to the fore.

The people who would vote against a black man because he is black are not going to vote for very many Democrats. So, Obama did not lose very many votes because of the color of his skin. Meanwhile, the prospect of the first African-American president was so exciting to so many people, that Barack Obama brought people out to the polls in such large numbers that fire marshals around the country freaked out about the crowds.

Is it true that the people who wold vote against a woman because she is a woman are also not going to vote for very many Democrats? In other words, is racism very compartmentalized across party lines, while sexism is not as compartmentalized? I think that might be true, but I’m not sure by how much or if it matters. I would have thought that the excitement of having a woman president would have brought more people to the polls to vote for Hillary, but that is not what happened.

I think that the Democrats needed to run a woman this year, and we need to elect a woman to the presidency, and that there is really nothing stopping us from doing that. Sexism played a role this year, but sexism can be dealt with if we fix the actual problem we have in getting people elected. You’ll have to read down tot he bottom to find out what that is.

But first, look at these numbers and consider what conclusions we might draw from them.


There are 219 million eligible voters in the US, of which about 146 million are registered to vote. About 27% of the adult eligible population, or about 18% of the total population, voted for Trump.

  • Democrats are more popular than Republicans.

  • Obama is wildly popular.

  • Trump is the least popular.

  • Clinton is very unpopular for a Democrat.

  • Voting turnout was biggest in the Election of the Century (2008) and smallest in the “Most Important Election Of Our Time.”

  • The “This is the most important election of our time” memo did not get out, apparently.

Those who show up make the decisions. But if only a few people show up, they’ll make the wrong decision.

This brings us to the real reason that we elected Trump as well as a clear indication of what to do about this.

Trump was elected president because of the failure of the Democratic Party to get Clinton elected. “He’s begging the question,” you are saying to yourself right now. Or, “that’s a tautology.” Well, yes, I’m begging the question by stating a tautology. But tautologies are not logical fallacies. They are logical realities that sometimes lead to explanations. Trump could have won this race by being the winner, but instead, he lost it because the other candidate was the loser. There should have been ten million more people voting than their were, a large proportion of which would have voted for Hillary (or against Trump) but they did not show up. If they did show up, we would not be looking at a Trump presidency.

So we can blame the voters for voting like they did, and especially, a subset of the voters for not voting at all.

The actual number of people in this country who can vote if they wanted to is roughly double the number that showed up. So, about 100,000,000 million people failed Democracy this time around, slightly more than usual. Most importantly, 5% o 10% of those non-voters should have been energized to appear at the voting booth based on prior years’ data. I’d reckon that nearly ALL of voters who would actually prefer Trump showed up, and about 5% of usual voters who would prefer Clinton did NOT show up, giving us Trump.

Minnesota Congressional races as object lessons

Now, I’d like to expand on this from the point of view of what happened in some of the congressional races in Minnesota.

I want to compare three races in Minnesota, CD2, CD5, and CD8.

I am using CD5 to calibrate. Here we re in the upper midwest, the beginning of the plains. East of us is increasingly red Can’t-Even-Get-Rid-Of-Scott-Walker Wisconsin. West of us are North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Idaho, western Washington, etc, all very red. South of us (next to Nebraska) is reddish Iowa. Minnesota is farms and factories, white, pretty conservative overall.

And right there in the middle of it all is MN CD5, wherefrom the most densely populated part of Minnesota is represented by the only Muslim in Congress. Who is black. And who is politically radically left.

All, or at least most, of the DFLers (thats what we Democrats call ourselves round these parts) in Minnesota look at Congressman Keith Ellison with awe, and see him, as a parson, his policies, and his representation of a Congressional District, as about the best thing we’ve got going in the state. Few Minnesota DFLers may be to the left of Ellison, and few are very far right of him either. We’d be happy to have someone with Kieth Ellison’s politics and policy positions representing all of the districts of the state, and it would be especially helpful to our overall social and cultural mission if most of those representatives were in one or more ways not christian-white-male-normative. Not that Christian white male democrats are bad, but we want a good amount of diversity so we can truly represent a diverse, and increasingly diverse, nation.

So that’s the calibration.

Now lets look at the 8th district. This is the Iron Range. Have you seen the movie, “North country”? Maybe we don’t want to use popular culture depictions to represent congressional districts, but if you don’t mind, you could watch this:

White, conservative, industrial, miners, sexist, hockey. This should be a Republican district. But it is also worker, working class, union. And, DFL means “Democrat, Farmer, Labor,” This, the 8th district, is one of those places that actually gave birth to the modern American labor movement. (And played a big role in the environmental movement, by the way.) Democrats are pro union. Republicans are anti union. The workers of the Iron Range know which side of their toast has the butter on it.

So, now, calibrate and contrast. The modal DFL activist is pro environment, and does not want to see copper mining, now being proposed in the Iron Range/8th district. Ask Congressman Ellison, who represents Minneapolis and environs, if he thinks there should be widespread copper mining in the Iron Range, and I’ll bet he’d say no. Ask Congressman Ellison’s constituents in Minneapolis. They’d say no.

MN CD8 Choice (that's Paul Wellstone's picture in the background).
MN CD8 Choice (that’s Paul Wellstone’s picture in the background).
But Democratic Congressman Nolan, who represents the district and just won a tough race with a Frat Boy Libertarian (but Republican) Beer Guzzling Party Boy Yahoo who also happens to be very wealthy, i.e., Donald Trump with a different haircut, and he will tell you different. He’ll tell you that we need to have mining in the 8th district because we need jobs there. When push comes to shove, I’d bet Congressman Nolan will also want to protect the environment, and he’ll be the perfect person in there to insist on working out future mining in a way that makes sense. But he supports it, and his support of it allows him to be a Congressman.

Putting a finer point on this, in case you’ve not already grokked it, the ideal modal democrat can’t be the candidate you run in every district. Republicans CAN do that. They run on ideological issues that play perfectly well everywhere. Every Republican is interchangeable with every other Republican. Not true with Democrats. Think about that for a minute.

This is the reason this country is more likely to elect a Republican president over a Democratic president all else being equal. It is the reason that when Democrats hold a slim majority, they actually don’t hold a majority with respect to most issues, because they fight, they are diverse, they represent a varied landscape of constituency and preference. The Democratic Party is the very definition of a big tent. We have the bigliest tent. Fabulous, yuge tent.

This is also the reason that, in order for Democrats to win at the Congressional level and above, and often at State Senate or lower levels, they have to start out with 60% or more of the population more or less on their side, so that when 5% break off and become radically inflamed or disenfranchised-depressed, the candidates still hold at least a slim majority.

Hillary Clinton had certain characteristics that made her the ideal Democratic candidate, but among those characteristics, she also had serious negatives. I do not think that Clinton lost because she is a woman, though sexism supercharged most of the smaller effects working against her campaign, as enumerated above. Sexism that happened because she was a woman candidate for president, combined with the false but effective “crooked Hillary” trope, may have brought out the “silent majority,” and sharpened the misogynist Bernie-bot effect.

Now lets’ look briefly at CD2 in Minnesota. This was an open seat this year, and I think it should be looked at very closely. The district may be thought of as roughly equivalent to the 8th district in levels of conservatism, but with two important differences. First, the union-labor part is not very strong there, so that natural avenue of support for Democrats is gone. This is mostly farmers, rural conservatives. By rights, CD2 should always be Republican, were it not for the general like of the DFL even by conservative individuals across the state.

Angie Craig
Angie Craig
The second difference is the presence of academic, medical science-linked, relatively liberal Rochester in the district. That allows for a clump of progressive that liberal ice can freeze to and build up over time.

Now, lets look at the candidates. Think Rush Limbaugh vs. Ellen. Sort of. Republican Jason Lewis is a right wing radio shock jock who makes Trump look like an alter boy, and I’m only exaggerating a little. He, like Trump, is temperamentally disqualified to hold major public office. Angie Craig is a first time candidate who hails from the medical insurance industry, so she has experience in an important issue area, is an “outsider,” and all that. She is also a lesbian and is married to a woman, making her one of the handful of same-sex-married candidates that stepped into the political limelight this year.

So, unlike Nolan, one might argue that Angie Craig is more of an ideal modal DFLer, more akin to Congressman Ellison than to an old timey out state labor-loving democrat like Congressman Nolan. And, I can tell you right now, if I want, that it might have been a bad idea to run her in that district, because she is female, gay, and flaunts her female gayosity by going out and marrying a girl. And, yes, she lost the race. The Democrats should have run a straight white farmer in the 2nd district, right?

In retrospect, running Angie Craig in that district was not a bad idea. The fact is, she almost won. This was a nail biter. She was a far superior candidate, and everyone could see that. She should have won and almost did.

So, why didn’t she win? The Democrats would have taken this district had they run, as I noted, an old white farmer or something. A Lutheran Batchelor Farmer preferably. But Democrats strive to do something different. The Minnesota DFL runs plenty of Lutheran Batchelor Farmers all across the state. The calculation that Angie Craig could win this district was made before Trump was recognized as a factor. The right wing radio shock jock won on Trump’s feces covered coattails. And, only barely.

At this point, I can make an argument that we need to do a better job at picking candidates based on their match with the voters, sometimes taking the chance and running individuals who are non-white, non-straight, etc. but otherwise sticking with the candidate that “most resembles” the district at hand, in terms of gender, age, color of skin, and policy. And, yes, that is actually correct, one must consider these things all the time. However, we are the Big Tent people, the Democrats, so naturally we are not going to do that all the time. We will, should, and do, accept the occasional loss because in this or that race we could not fit our giant tent into the local voting booth. In fact, it is only by overreaching and losing that we know where that line is, so we can cross it frequently and therefor move it in the right direction. Losing a race in a place like Minnesota’s Second Congressional District is what we need to do now and then. In two years, we’ll take it back.

But we also need to win races, and that means making good choices. But, although I can make an argument that we need to do a better job at that, that is not the argument I want to make.

The real reason Angie and Hillary lost

The reason that Angie Craig lost in MN CD2 is not because she was female, lesbian, or married to a woman. The reason that Angie Craig lost in MN CD2 is because the National Democratic Party screwed up and a number of people, just a few thousand, that would have voted for Angie, stayed home or didn’t volunteer or otherwise get involved.

We did have high voter turnout in MN, apparently, as we usually do. But in CD2, about 20,000 people didn’t show up. During the last presidential election, 357 thousand voters voted in that district, in contrast to about 337 thousand this year. This perfectly mirrors the national numbers. In the national election, about 6% fewer people voted this year than in 2012. In Minnesota CD2, about 6% fewer people voted this year than last year.

Lack of voter turnout caused both Hillary Clinton and Angie Craig and countless other Democrats to lose to Republicans in 2016.

There is plenty of room in that six percent to work with, to have elected Hillary Clinton as President and Angie Craig to Congress.

(“Hey, but what about the 8th district, was there a similar drop there? Cuz your DFL guy won there. If you’re right, there wasn’t a drop there. Cough up the numbers, Greg.” Answer: There was virtually no difference in that district between 2012 and 2016. Hypothesis survives.)

It is all about voter turnout. The second and third reasons why Democrats lose are: Not enough voter turnout, and voter turnout is too low. Also … voter turnout.

But, why was voter turnout low? Here, we could go back to the other reasons a candidate might win or lose. Hillary was a woman. The Great Right Wing Conspiracy against Hillary. Trump was a TV star. Whatever. And we would still be missing the point.

Since half of the population are women, about 60% of them, apparently, care that a woman is elected president enough go get really excited (the remainder are repressed Republicans or hopelessly sexist), and that should readily offset anti-woman voting from sexist men. Hillary did not lose because she is a woman, but it mattered that a relatively high percentage of sexist people (mostly men, some women) voted in lower population states. In fact, that probably would have killed Hillary’s chances in even more states were she not rescued by the Black and Hispanic communities. Hillary’s negatives mattered a lot, I suspect. If anything, Trump’s very existence, and the entire GOP circus, turned voters off to the entire process, and not just Republican voters. The Bernie Bot’s themselves, with their special snowflake votes, probably didn’t matter much in their voting habits, but their unceasing yammering probably turned some people away. Doesn’t matter. Only one thing matters, because all these things feed into that one thing: Depressed turnout.

How To Win The Elections

In Minnesota, we expected to turn one of our houses Democratic and keep the other Democratic, and to maintain or increase our Democratic delegation to Congress. This did not happen, and our state got redder because the national election sent people away from the polls. There were a lot of things we were going to do over the next two years in this state, and that is over now.

The way to fix this is not to fix the candidates, or to deal with this or that particular problem that emerges in this or that national level election. It is not to forego women candidates, or to avoid men and women in same sex marriages, or to compromise in any other way. It is to make national elections matter less, and local elections matter more, so that every year, on election day, a large part of the population bothers to show up at the voting booth. Twice (primary and main election day).

Instead of the outcome of, and interest in, local elections being determined by the ebb and flow of national elections, so some years we all take it in the neck because the national party is outdone by the other party, or some other effect, killing us all with deadly coattails, by down ticket effects, by all that, the opposite should be true. Local political activity should be broad, wide, and intense, and that activity should determine up ticket effects.

Instead of coattails jerking around state house races, state house races should be the solid foundation for national races. As it stands now, the public face of people we will never really meet, even if we may once shake their hand on a rope line, determines the nature and character of the electoral process every four years, and leaves hanging and ignored, that process in all other years. What should happen is this. The public servants that live next door and who’s houses we can, I don’t know, cover with toilet paper if we want to, and who’s kids go to school with our kids, and all that, should collectively and en masse shape the nature and character of all elections, all the time, every single year, and then of course determine the outcome of that singular and occasional election for President.

I am not the first person to say this. This approach underlies all grassroots activism. Tip O’Neil said it. Marx said it. Everybody said it. But we don’t do it.

We need to do it.

The Democratic Party Party

Consider the amount of money that the Democratic Party or a major Superpac spends on an hour of presidential election season ads in a major market. Take some of that money. Or, maybe just take the total cost of a presidential campaign, about a billion dollars, and put aside a chunk of it.

A Macon County Democratic candidate wining the hearts and minds of the people.
A Macon County Democratic candidate wining the hearts and minds of the people.
Those funds, widely distributed, can pay for clambakes and brat bbqs in state house or senate districts. A Democratic Party Party for all the neighbors, two or three times a year prior to the primaries and again prior to the election. Every year.

Imagine if it was normal for the Democratic Party to have a gathering, a feast, a night-out-thing, a few times a year, EVERY year, regardless of the election cycle, with all invited, not by what party you are in or by what politics you hold, but simply because you are in the neighborhood.

Perhaps the Republicans would start doing it to. If they do, then we really win, because there would be twice as many public, welcoming events without us paying for it, but this technique mainly benefits Democrats. Why? Because a party has tents! Actual tents for our big tent thinking, making the political process a local, regular, normal, social process, embedded in our culture, with clam rolls or brats or crab cakes or whatever your local thing is. And the chicken dance, if you must. And a bounce house.

Choices and chance at the national level turn the turnout dial up or down, unpredictably, every four years, and otherwise not much happens. When turnout is high, Democrats win. This is why Democrats lose in the house race every midterm. The dial is turned down because there is no national election. This is a situation we will never, ever get out of if we leave it be. It is a situation caused by the top to bottom flow of energy, money, and decision making. It is, if you will, a situation caused by the very nature of the Democratic Party establishment of which we hear so many complaints these days.

I propose that we turn a good chunk of that national level money flow to the local level. Put up that tent, have the block party, rent the VFW, the Union Hall, now and then the local church.

A voter registration table, some local candidates, a couple of VERY SHORT speeches. In Minnesota, Al Franken gets up on a chair and draws a map of all 50 states from memory because he can do that. Maybe there is some raising of funds, a money jar, to off set the cost, but this is not a fundraiser but rather, a fun raiser. Did I mention that there will be a bounce house?

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-12-09-04-pmAfter election day, we feast. No particular reason it is done in this order, but every year, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November comes just a few days before the fourth Thursday in November. I propose that we reverse that. Leave Thanksgiving where it is, of course, but add a feast before election day, and another one before that, and two before primary day, or caucus day, or in Minnesota, both. Not political events, but social events that emphasize civic engagement and voting, run by our party, because we have to get the ball rolling. If the other party wants to do it to, fine. They can borrow our Weber.

Obviously, spending the money and resources on a big party is not the actual suggestion I’m making here. It is just one way to do it. Civic engagement at the local level to encourage and expand voting, to raise the turnout rate by double digits. That’s the ticket to turnout.

Minnesota is surrounded by red, and it probably should be red, by comparison. But we are not. Why? Look at this map of the 2012 general election (selected to show a presidential race but not a great outlier i.e. 2008):


Look at the higher turnout zones. Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin are rural farm states that should be pure red, but they are either blue, or trend blue many years, and they have high voter turnout. New Hampshire and Maine should be very conservative, given the demographics, but they trend blue, and have high voter turnout. Virginia is a blue southern state. There is a long list of reasons Virginia is blue and not red,but on that list must be voter turnout. Texas has piles of urban, lost of immigrants from blue states, and a relatively diverse population. Why is it red and not blue? Oh look, Texas has low voter turnout. Colorado, outside of certain areas, is very conservative but tents to vote blue among a sea of red. Look at the voter turnout.

The causal arrow is probably a bit more complex than a simple Turnout—> Blue relationship. But the relationship is known to be real. Hell, if the supports of Democratic Candidates just spent a pile of time and money on voter turnout in general, they would win more. But if the person handing you the free brat and plastic cup of beer happens to be wearing a blue shirt with the name of a Democratic candidate on it …

Basic Standards of Human Decency vs. Donald Trump

First, Michele Obama’s full speech earlier today:

You know two news outlets have produced confirming evidence of actual sexual assault by Donald Trump. So, naturally, Trump intends to sue.

But, this from Media Matters:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s threats to The New York Times for reporting allegations that he committed sexual assault are legally far-fetched and provide a troubling portrait of how a Trump administration would handle the press, according to experts interviewed by Media Matters.

Several experts tell Media Matters his latest threats of legal action against the Times are further evidence of what would likely be a problematic relationship between the press and Trump if he were to be elected president.

“It just confirms how difficult he would be with the press and how he would view the press as an enemy,” George Freeman, Media Law Resource Center executive director and former New York Times assistant legal counsel, said about the latest attack. “It would be a very contentious relationship in all probability, particularly in that his whole character is built on beating up anyone who attacks him.”

Freeman of the Media Law Resource Center called the legal claim “a pure loser.”

“I think it’s all bluster,” he said. “But it’s not surprising given that he is always threatening litigation. As a presidential candidate, he would have to prove actual malice. … It seems to me it would be virtually impossible for Trump to even come close to showing the Times had serious doubts about the claims of groping when the women seem so credible and it was confirmed and substantiated by many other people they had spoken to.”

Read more about that here.

Is Trump Yet Another Russian Oligarch?

There has been a lot of talk about Trump and Russia and Putin. I think most people watching this see some sort of connections. Some go so far as to say that Trump is literally a Russian agent. Here is an interesting perspective from intelligence expert Malcolm Nance, author of The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election

About Nance’s book:

In April 2016, computer technicians at the Democratic National Committee discovered that someone had accessed the organization’s computer servers and conducted a theft that is best described as Watergate 2.0. In the weeks that followed, the nation’s top computer security experts discovered that the cyber thieves had helped themselves to everything: sensitive documents, emails, donor information, even voice mails.

Soon after, the remainder of the Democratic Party machine, the congressional campaign, the Clinton campaign, and their friends and allies in the media were also hacked. Credit cards numbers, phone numbers, and contacts were stolen. In short order, the FBI found that more than twenty-five state election offices had their voter registration systems probed or attacked by the same hackers.

Western intelligence agencies tracked the hack to Russian spy agencies and dubbed them the CYBER BEARS. The media was soon flooded with the stolen information channeled through Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. It was a massive attack on America but the Russian hacks appeared to have a singular goal—elect Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

New York Times bestselling author and career intelligence officer Malcolm Nance’s fast paced real-life spy thriller takes you from Vladimir Putin’s rise through the KGB from junior officer to spymaster-in-chief and spells out the story of how he performed the ultimate political manipulation—convincing Donald Trump to abandon seventy years of American foreign policy including the destruction of NATO, cheering the end of the European Union, allowing Russian domination of Eastern Europe, and destroying the existing global order with America at its lead.

The Plot to Hack America is the thrilling true story of how Putin’s spy agency, run by the Russian billionaire class, used the promise of power and influence to cultivate Trump as well as his closest aides, the Kremlin Crew, to become unwitting assets of the Russian government. The goal? To put an end to 240 years of free and fair American democratic elections.


Republican National Convention: Info, Live Blog, Open Thread

I have no idea if this will be of interest to this community of science oriented and smart readers, but a group called The Republicans is having a big convention this week.

Here’s the basic schedule:

Mon 18 July 1:00 PM EST: Convention Opens
Tue 19 July 5:30 PM EST: Resume convention
Wed 20 July 7:00 PM EST: Resume convention
THU 21 July 7:30 PM EST: Resume convnetion.

Funny how every day they start a bit later.

Here are some of the speakers expected to attend. This information is culled from the NYT.

Watch the RNC Convention Live Here


Pam Bondi

Florida attorney general who had an interesting conversation on CNN with Anderson Cooper after the Orlando massacre. Like this:


Eileen Collins

Collins is the first woman to command a space shuttle mission. Why is she speaking at the convention of the anti-science party that would just as soon shut down NASA?

Here is the only info I could find addressing that, from SpaceNews:

Collins, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who has publicly criticized the way the Obama administration canceled NASA’s Constellation return-to-the-moon program, is scheduled to speak July 20, the day before Donald Trump, the GOP’s presumptive nominee, is due to give his acceptance speech.

In February, she testified at a House Science Committee hearing on long-shot legislation that aims to restructure NASA’s management by, in part, creating a board of directors to choose a NASA administrator who would be given a 10-year term. Currently, NASA administrators are nominated by the White House, confirmed by the Senate and serve at the pleasure of the president.

Testifying alongside former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin — a Bush administration appointee who stepped down when President Barack Obama took office in January 2009 — Collins told the committee she and NASA colleagues were “shocked” by the administration’s 2010 decision to cancel Constellation, saying the timing of the decision, so close to the shuttle’s 2011 retirement, left the agency with few options.

SourGrapesBetWhine“I believe program cancellation decisions that are made by bureaucracies behind closed doors, without input by the people, are divisive, damaging, cowardly and many times more expensive in the long run,” she testified.

Obama’s April 2010 decision to cancel Constellation and direct NASA to send its Orion crew exploration vehicle to an asteroid instead of the Moon followed months of public debate about the future of the U.S. human spaceflight program by a presidential commission. That commission, led by former Lockheed Martin chairman and CEO Norman Augustine, concluded that Constellation was unsustainable and should at least be revamped.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

Some background on Fallin’s politics, from her Wikipedia article:

Fallin was criticized for bias after ordering state-owned National Guard facilities to deny spousal benefits (including the provision of identification cards that would allow them to access such benefits) to all same-sex couples.

Fallin_Botched_Execuation_Of_Clayton_LockettUnder Fallin, Oklahoma has pushed for increased use of lethal injection as a means of ending life in capital punishment, Fallin pushed strongly for the execution of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett to proceed in spite of the lack of tested drugs to use for lethal injection… Lockett’s execution was attempted on April 29, 2014, but was abandoned when he could not be sedated and was left writhing in pain. Lockett died 43 minutes later of a heart attack. Fallin appointed a member of her staff to lead the investigation into the botched execution….

Fallin was a supporter of a controversial Ten Commandments monument that had been erected on the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds in 2012.

During her term as governor, Fallin has signed 18 anti-abortion measures into law. In April 2015, Fallin signed into law a measure banning a common second-trimester abortion procedure, except when necessary to save the life of the woman. In May 2015, Fallin signed into law a measure that tripled the mandatory waiting period in Oklahoma for an abortion, extending it to 72 hours. The measure also included other anti-abortion provisions.

Fallin is part of a group of Republican governors who have said that they will refuse to comply with Environmental Protection Agency regulations to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

In April 2014, Fallin signed into law S.B. 1023, which prohibits cities in Oklahoma from establishing citywide minimum wages or sick-leave requirements….

In May 2015, Fallin signed into law a measure prohibiting Oklahoma local governments from enacting local bans on oil and gas drilling. …

In April 2015, Fallin signed into law a measure that expanded charter schools statewide

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst

Some background on Ernst culled from Wikipedia:

Constitutional and federal issues[edit]

Ernst has proposed eliminating the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Education, and the Environmental Protection Agency

Ernst has expressed her support for allowing law-abiding citizens to “freely carry” weapons but abide by rules against carrying in public buildings like schools.

Joni_ErnstErnst co-sponsored resolutions concerning state nullification of federal law. One such bill asserted that Iowa could ignore any federal laws which “are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment”…

… said that Obama had “become a dictator”, and that if he acted unconstitutionally, he should face the proper repercussions as determined by Congress, “whether that’s removal from office, whether that’s impeachment.” …

… opposes the federal minimum wage…

On the subject of global warming, Ernst has stated: “I don’t know the science behind climate change, I can’t say one way or another what is the direct impact from whether it’s manmade or not”, and believes that any regulatory role by the government to address it needs to be “very small”…

warned … a 1992 United Nations voluntary action plan for sustainable development, could force Iowa farmers off their land, dictate what cities Iowans must live in, and control how Iowa citizens travel from place to place….

… Ernst indirectly endorsed Paul Ryan’s partially privatized Medicare model … supports replacing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act…

… co-sponsored a failed bill to amend the Iowa constitution to have marriage legally defined as between one man and one woman. She opposes same-sex marriage.

… voted for a fetal personhood amendment in the Iowa Senate in 2013 and has said that she would support a federal personhood bill.

Melania Trump


Other Speakers

African American Jamiel Shaw Sr., who’s son was “killed by an undocumented immigrant” will speak. Darryl Glenn, running for Colorado Senate may speak. Highly conservative former football player Tebow may speak, as well as “ultimate fighter” Dana White.

And now …

What do you think of this: Cleveland Police Ask For Emergency Suspension Of Open Carry Laws During Republican Convention

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Ohio is an “open carry” state which allows gun owners to carry them in plain sight. People have been exercising this right around the site of the Republican convention…Strangely, in the area around the convention, “tennis balls, metal-tipped umbrellas or canned goods” are prohibited. But AR-15s or other firearms are not. But now, the Cleveland Police Union has made an emergency request to suspend open carry for the duration of the Republican convention.

Story is here.

Will there be a convention bump for Trump?

There is usually a convention bump. Four years ago, the bump thing was interesting (see this post).

Here is the starting point for this year’s bump-tracking:

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Will Trump pass Clinton in polls after the convention?

Monday’s RNC Convention Speaker

Today’s speakers include but are not limited to:

  • Melania Trump
  • retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
  • Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst
  • Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke
  • veterans activist Jason Beardsley
  • Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty”
  • former Texas Gov. Rick Perry
  • actor Scott Baio
  • Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell
  • Sen. Tom Cotton
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions
  • former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani
  • Which of these speakers will end up in a Trump cabinet, and in what position?

    Pokemon Go at the RNC Convention?

    Apparently it is a thing, tough I’m not sure what it all means.

    Will convention delegates be playing Pokemon Go during the convention?

    Hey, wait a second!

    Gun mayhem fails to develop so far

    Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 4.09.45 PM
    Cleveland Gun Rights Rally on RNC Eve Fails to Draw Crowd

    Protests Erupt Over Rules, Chair Rules Against Roll Call Vote


    NBC covers it here.

    War Hawks

    The Republicans seem bent on entering a major war in the middle east. Or somewhere.

    Also, they are calling for the end of the Geneva Convention. They seem to prefer the “war criminal” method of “defending ourselves.”

    Who are all these anti-war war mongering republicans?

    The Republican Nominating Convention First Night: How did it go?

    I just watched all the clips from last evening’s coverage, mainly on MSNBC. Here is what happened.

    Bla bla bla BENGHAZI! Bla bla bla bla bla BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. Bla Bla Benghazi BlaH! Bla bla bla bla bla BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. Bla bla bla BENGHAZI! Bla bla bla bla bla BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. Bla Bla Benghazi BlaH! Bla bla bla bla bla BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. Bla bla bla. BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. Bla bla bla. Bla Bla. Bla Bla Benghazi BlaH! Bla bla bla bla bla BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. Bla bla bla BENGHAZI! Bla bla bla bla bla BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. Bla Bla Benghazi BlaH! Bla bla bla bla bla BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. BENGHAZI!!! Bla Bla. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama.

    Then, this morning, I watched and listened to news and social media to see what impacts the RNC had. And this is what we have:

    Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama. Melania Trump Plagiarizes Michele Obama.

    So, that’s how it went!

    Here is the moment on MSNBC when Melania Trumped Benghazi:


    And, continuing:

    Public Service Announcement:

    How to not get caught plagiarizing!

    Beware Democratic Party Optimism

    I’ve seen it said again and again that the Trump nomination will be a debacle for the Republicans. The Republican party will fall apart, become small, become insignificant. Clinton will easily crush trump. We’re done. Ding dong.

    But this is all wrong.

    The Republican Party is in power in more state houses than ever, and in most cases, are solid in those state houses.

    There are more Republican governors than Democratic governors, and this is a recent phenomenon never seen before. Most are pretty solid. Even the much maligned Walker of Wisconsin could not be gotten rid of when he messed with the most power parts of the Democratic establishment there.

    The Republicans control both the House and the Senate. I think the Democrats may take the Senate back this year, but these days the Senate goes back and forth pretty regularly. The fact that the Democrats may take a lead by one or two Senators this year does not mean that the Republican Party is done.

    The Republicans will likely control the House after this year. Then, they are likely to strengthen their lead in two years, if Clinton is elected president, because that is what always happens.

    And, Republicans hate Hillary, and will eventually congeal in their support of Trump, who may be busy right now reshaping his message to help make that happen. A Trump loss is not inevitable.

    Notice the date on the tombstone at the top of this post. The Death of the Republican Party has been celebrated before. But always prematurely.

    Complacency is the hobgoblin of defeat. Or defeat is the hobgoblin of complacency. Whatever. Don’t be complacent, don’t be defeated.

    Rachel Maddow and Joy Reid understand this, of course: