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Showing posts from October, 2016

Bring Me the Head of Hillary Clinton

Nominating James Comey as  FBI director back in July, 2013 may have seemed like a pragmatic bipartisan gesture, but I well imagine President Obama is regretting it now.  Comey has gone rogue!  The FBI director crossed the line in sending a letter to Congressional Republican leaders saying that there might be something linked to Hillary Clinton in a new batch of e-mails between Anthony Wiener and his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, who is a close aide to Hillary in her Presidential campaign.

It looks like Comey has done nothing more than throw some red meat to Republicans in an effort to salvage his name in conservative circles.  He took a vicious hit when he came out in July, saying that after a lengthy investigation there was nothing in Hillary's deleted e-mails to suggest she passed along any damaging confidential state information.   Trump assailed Comey on the campaign trail, and now Trump's daughter-in-law is claiming that Trump forced the FBI director's hand.  More lik…

Say What?

Facebook is a never-ending source of amazement.  Just today I learned that Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King, Jr.  were lifelong Republicans and that "Christian Conservatives" were at the forefront of women's suffrage and the Civil Rights movement.  If that is not enough to make you gawk in wonder, Abraham Lincoln was a "conservative" Republican!

One assumes that a woman couldn't register for a political party before 1920 since she wasn't allowed to vote, but I guess one could make a connection between Susan B. Anthony and the Republican Party, given that the National American Women's Suffrage Association did have ties to the GOP.  However, when the Republicans failed to add women to the 15th amendment they lost a lot of support among women.  Susan B. Anthony felt woman suffrage should be non-partisan, having little faith in the political parties after 1870.

The biggest roadblock was "Christian conservativism," whose political lead…

NFL Blues

One would have thought that San Francisco finally deciding to play Colin Kaepernick might have drawn more viewers, if for no other reason than to see him get pounded by nasty defensive linemen.  However, NFL viewer ratings continue to tumble and much of the blame is placed on players protesting the national anthem.

Protests have spread far beyond the NFL with even youth league players taking a knee on the national anthem.  It got very nasty in Beaumont, Texas, where a coach was fired for allegedly making his players take a knee.  The team was ultimately disbanded.

For many Americans, the national anthem is a vital part of athletic events, a confirmation of our allegiance to the nation before engaging in a ritualistic bloodbath.  Fans are highly partisan and no invective is too harsh when browbeating opponents.  Yet, we are all supposed to pause for a moment to honor those who actually gave their lives for the flag.

I don't think Kaepernick had any idea what he unleashed back in t…

Unruffled and Unbowed

Who would have ever thought Hillary would upstage Donald at the Al Smith dinner.  This was his chance to redeem himself after three awful debates but instead his caustic jokes fell flat and he resorted to his usual name-calling as he was unable to fill 15 minutes at the podium at this charity event.  By contrast, Hillary delivered her jokes with ease,  striking back at Donald a few times, and still left the last 5 minutes to offer a touching tribute to all the work Al Smith and Cardinal Timothy Dolan do for children in New York.  Hillary had Al in tears.

One of many accusations Donald leveled at Hillary is that she is anti-Catholic, in reference to recent wikileak revelations.  His comments drew boos from the audience and left Cardinal Dalton noticeably upset.  This is supposed to be a light-hearted affair, but here was Hillary once again forced to defend herself, which she did with ease by pointing to how much Pope Francis has touched everyone's life, including her own, by appea…

Slaying history and everything in its path

Trump's recent visit to Gettysburg is telling in many regards.  While he compared himself to Lincoln, his campaign looks more like Robert E. Lee's infamous charge on Pennsylvania that ended badly in defeat, and paved the way for the Union to take back the South.   Trump's campaign has come to epitomize the Southern Lost Cause, built solely on defiance with no real plan to govern if god forbid he was able to seize the White House.

We saw that with George Bush, although he at least proved shrewd enough to know how to temper his message to get crossover votes.  Not Trump.  He keeps charging up the same hill time and again despite the heavy casualties.  You almost feel sorry for Kellyanne Conway as she tries to explain her boss to the media long after all words fail.

The most amazing thing about Trump's campaign has been the utter disregard for what we would call strategy.  His advisers had to know that this election would come down to a handful of states as have the last…

Oh, Rudy!

Trump and his surrogates are sounding the drum beat that the Democrats are rigging the elections, particularly in the inner cities, widely regarded as their stronghold.  Mayor Rudy joined in the act by loudly proclaiming that the Democrats literally raise the dead to turn elections in their favor, although he qualified himself somewhat by saying it can only be seen in "extremely close elections."  His margin for fraud is apparently 5 per cent.

Of course, one has to ask how he was able to survive a close election in 1993, when he edged the incumbent mayor Dave Dinkins by less than three per cent.  As Jaker Tapper learned, it is hard to argue with Mayor Rudy.  Giuliani seems to have taken the Trump happy pills and spouts out whatever nonsense comes to his head.

Allegations of voter fraud are nothing new.  We've seen many states adopt voter ID laws supposedly to stem what they see as a crisis, although there is no evidence to suggest that voter fraud is taking place on th…

Are you not entertained?

While Trump accuses Hillary of taking drugs to get through the last debate, the news media has seized on the man in the red sweater at the town hall.  Oh, and Mike Pence is trying to tamp down criticism of his response to an 11-year old girl who was worried about what kind of message Trump's unsolicited groping sent to girls like her.  So are the days of our lives this election cycle.

Many have begun to not only question  the sanity of Trump but that of a nation that has sucked up all this reality show fodder.  As Alec Baldwin so perfectly mocked Trump, "Are you not entertained?"  SNL wasn't about to let Ken Bone slide either, offering up yet another spoof of the debates last night, but apparently Donald was not amused.  The cast of SNL hasn't had this much fun with an election cycle since lampooning Sarah Palin in 2008.  They aren't the only ones getting in on the act.  Jimmy Kimmel signed Ken Bone as a special correspondent for the remainder of the campai…

Rainy Day Sappho

The Nobel committee has made some interesting choices over the years, but I don't think anyone was ready for Bob Dylan.  For the most part, response has been enthusiastic.  Salman Rushdie and Joyce Carol Oates both offered their hearty congratulations, but other contemporary writers were not so pleased, notably Irvine Welsh, who called it a "nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostrates of senile, gibbering hippies."  Ol' Irvine sure has a way with words.

The problem the Nobel committee has faced in recent years is that there aren't very many great contemporary writers to choose from, certainly few who have responded to pressing social conditions.  Last year, the committee went out on a limb with Belarusian writer, Svetlana Alexievich, who is best known for collecting first-person accounts.   Her books have been called "collective novels."

There were those disgruntled that Haruki Murakami didn't get the award, but Murakami often references Dy…

Rolled

or Trump's Long Con

Even with his campaign falling apart around him, Donald J. Trump still manages to find love.  According to Ben Carson, Trump prayed for forgiveness before Sunday night's debate, although you would never know it the way he came out with blood in his eyes.

James Robison administered the duties.  One of several prominent televangelists and religious leaders who are sticking with Trump despite the  lewd videos and audios.  You needn't ask yourself why.  Conservative Evangelists have long had a soft spot for fallen pastors like Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker and countless others who have been tempted by the flesh.  Usually, parishioners would like them  to show some contrition, but in Donald's case a token apology seems to be enough.

Still, his evangelical support is eroding, largely among Mormons who didn't like him very much to begin with.  Jason Chaffetz, a born-again Mormon, has publicly disowned Donald, as has Mia Love, another prominent convert, w…

Stalker

The very fact that Donald showed up was a victory in itself.  Not only that but he surrounded himself with Clinton victims beforehand in a brazen effort to deflect media attention away from the misogynistic tapes that grow by the day.  He even wanted to have the women join his family box at the debate, but was refused.  No doubt something he will emphasize this week, hoping to turn attention away from what was another dreadful debate performance.

He lost when he threatened to prosecute Hillary if he is elected President, and petulantly retorted when Hillary challenged him that she would be in jail now if he had been in charge of laws in this country.  He doesn't want to be President, he wants to be dictator, and like his good buddy Vladimir Putin wants to stifle opposition by putting his adversaries behind bars.  What a far cry from the man who just four years ago praised Hillary Clinton as a "great woman."

There was no handshake this time around.  They glowered at each…

Hurricane Donald

Ever the blowhard, Donald managed to upstage a hurricane with the latest salacious revelation.  No one expected an apology from our Playboy in Chief, but it came late Friday in an attempt to tamp down the damage from a video and audio leaked to the Washington Post.  Apparently, NBC was planning to release the "sex tape" Monday but someone on their staff wanted to get it out ahead of the debate, forcing Donald and the RNC to have to deal with it over the weekend.

Donald was already in a tailspin, but fellow Republicans were holding up well in Congressional elections across the country and felt pretty confident they could hold onto the House and Senate in November.  This tape changed the dynamics overnight.  It forced supporters like John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and Marco Rubio to publicly denounce Trump in no uncertain terms, fearing that Ugly Donald might rub off on them in hotly contested Senate races.  Mind you these are the same GOP Senators who stood by Trump when he dispa…

Clueless

Perhaps the most deluded candidate of all isn't Donald Trump.  Here is Gary Johnson laying out his case for a great end run to the White House to Katie Couric, despite polling 7 per cent nationally and only 14 per cent in his home state of New Mexico.  Gary actually thinks he is leading Clinton and Trump among Independent and young voters.  But, it looks like he is basing his claims on what pundits have been saying rather than actual numbers.  GenForward has done the most complete survey of voters aged 18-34 to date, and found that only 15% are supporting Johnson or Jill Stein.

Gary has had an unprecedented amount of media coverage for an independent candidate.  CNN has graciously given him two town halls, including this one in August, and he has been the darling of talk shows throughout the election cycle, yet continues to slip in the polls.  It's easy to see why as he often fumbles the simplest questions and continues to play up a false equivalence between Hillary and Trum…

The Gangs of the New World Order

Watching Hungarian PM Viktor Orban last night on television, I was struck by how similar his tactics are to Donald Trump, and to the right wing movement in general.  There he stands with a phalanx of stone-faced ministers behind him telling the assembly how the referendum on barring Syrian refugees justifies his position.  He projects himself as a strong man imposing his will on a weak nation.  Yet, you have to ask yourself, if he is so strong why does he need this guard behind him?

Time and again, Trump has employed the same tactic on the campaign trail - loyal supporters standing or sitting in stone-faced silence behind him.  He has mixed it up in recent weeks, using Sikhs, Blacks and other persons of color to try to give his phalanx the appearance of diversity, but usually it is his elder children and his closest advisers along with body guards.

It's what a gang would do when confronting a rival gang in a street or alley, showing they have their leader's back.  This threate…

Bonfire of the Vanities

The biggest advantage in winning the first debate is that Hillary can set the talking points for the two weeks until the next debate.  If Alicia Machado wasn't bad enough, the New York Times has hit Donald hard with the release of his 1995 tax returns, revealing nearly a billion dollars in losses, which he most likely has written off his returns for the last two decades.

What makes both these stories interesting is that they have been hanging around for quite sometime.  The Hillary ad takes clips from an interview Machado had with Univision this summer, and Vanity Fair noted the abuse she took in an article, posted in January, on Trump's love of beauty pageants.  Gaming income taxes has similarly been reported, but these were returns from the 1970s he filed for a gambling license in New Jersey.  The '95 returns allow for much better speculation on his current tax situation, which the NYTimes journalists gleefully do.

For the most part the mainstream media previously igno…

Beauty and the Beast

Who would have ever thought this story could get so much traction.  The Trump campaign was forced to spend the entire week on Alicia Machado, and for the most part making matters worse not better.    The tale of Donald Trump's first Miss Universe struck right to the heart of his vanity.

Try googling Alicia Machado now and you get a long string of porn-related videos put up by Trump hackers.  Trump himself has pointed to a mysterious sex tape as proof positive she was a porn queen as well, but those looking for some juicy video on Alicia will be sorely disappointed because none exists.  If you want a peep show you have to look at the Mexican version of Playboy, one of Donald Trump's favorite magazines.  Nevertheless, fat shaming turned to slut shaming on right-wing radio with Rush Limbaugh leading the charge to discredit her story.

However, it isn't working.  The longer Alicia Machado stays in the news cycle the worse Trump looks.  After all, here is a woman who has obviou…