Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why Do They Support Donald Trump?

Answered here.

Why They Support Trump:

Ability to translate the violent dissonance in their heads into cogent, plain-stated hate

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ya Think?

The mea culpas continue...

Sykes’ many arguments with listeners over Donald Trump’s serial outrages have exposed in much of his audience a vein of thinking—racist, anti-constitutional, maybe even fascistic—that has shaken Sykes. It has left him questioning whether he and his colleagues in the conservative media played a role in paving the way for Trump’s surprising and unprecedented rise. 

Ya think? Sheesh...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Trump Supporter Attacks Interracial Couple Kissing in Public

From the Washington Post:
Daniel Rowe was apparently enraged at the sight of a black man and a white woman kissing on the streets of Olympia, Wash., Tuesday night. But police say he hid his violent intent behind a stony face until he was close enough to strike. . . .

Rowe, 32, walked up to the couple and, without warning, yelled a racial slur and lunged with his knife, police say. The blade grazed the woman and went into the man’s hip, according to a news release from Olympia police. . . .
After the attack, Rowe ran off as stunned onlookers dialed 911. The 47-year-old male victim, not realizing how badly he was injured, chased Rowe and “tripped him up,” said Lt. Paul Lower, a police department spokesman. Rowe hit his head on the ground and was knocked unconscious.
No one involved had life-threatening injuries, but police said Rowe’s behavior grew stranger as officers tried to wrestle him into the back of a patrol car.

“He tells them, ‘Yeah, I stabbed them. I’m a white supremacist,'” Lower said. “He begins talking about Donald Trump rallies and attacking people at the Black Lives Matter protest.”

According to court documents obtained by the Olympian, Rowe, who was unconscious when police encountered him, had tattoos that read “skinhead,” “white power” and “hooligan.” One tattoo showed the Confederate flag.
Trump's been egging these guys on for a year now. Is it any surprise they're starting to take action?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Worst Dictator Ever

Friday, August 19, 2016

An Excellent Summation of Conservatives Today

The question is...are these people reachable? Will they change? I find it incredibly difficult to be tolerant of such intolerance. Honestly, I think we just need to leave them behind..

More American Climate Refugees

This past July was the hottest month on record, by a lot. And it wasn't a fluke: it was the 15th straight month of record breaking temperatures.

This has produced crazy floods in Louisiana:
In just one day over the weekend, more than 31 inches of rain fell in some parts of Louisiana. The ground became saturated, and some rivers rose six feet higher than ever recorded. Rescuers evacuated more than 30,000 people, and about one-third of those have been forced to stay in emergency shelters. On Tuesday, the governor also added eight parishes to the list of federal disaster areas, raising the total to 12.
Two months ago West Virginia was hit by a "1,000-year rain," killing 23 people. Last week parts of Minnesota had eight inches of rain -- two months worth -- in just a few hours.
We're having 100-, 500- and 1,000-year rains a couple of times a year, all over the country.

Why? Higher temperatures produce heavier rains because warmer air can hold more water vapor.

Climate change has wrought a different disaster in California: drought, which has brought a slew of wildfires.
A small brush fire that started Tuesday morning near San Bernardino, California, has rapidly spread to 18,000 acres and forced more than 80,000 people from their homes.

California’s drought, now in its fifth year, has left the landscape and its vegetation parched; that, along with hot temperatures and dry winds, has given the Blue Cut fire such explosive growth that Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Bernardino County. The fire was first reported at about 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, and within two hours it’d scorched 1,500 acres. By Wednesday morning, the fire was expanding in every direction. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department went door-to-door asking people to leave their homes, and the fire now threatens to burn several communities in the rural hills in Southern California.
The problem with all that water in the air is that it doesn't come down evenly: geography dictates precipitation patterns, and California and the American West get stiffed on rain because of their mountain ranges and other factors.

Sea level rise is hammering the Alaskan coast, and forcing an island village in Alaska to move:
Residents of Shishmaref, Alaska, voted Wednesday to relocate its ancestral island home to safer ground, escaping eroding shores and rising seas brought on by climate change.

Melting sea ice has strengthened the storms that beat along the island's shores, causing chunks to drop off into the ocean, even as the permafrost on which the community is built is rapidly disappearing.
A band of Louisiana Indians were the first American climate refugees, forced out of their homes in February.

All of these disasters were forecast by climate scientists decades ago. Yet their computer models have historically underestimated the pace of climate change.

It's been 10 years since Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth came out, and most of its warnings have proven true. The prediction that hurricanes in the Atlantic would become more severe hasn't panned out, but it wasn't totally wrong: warmer water in the Pacific has produced a large number of record-breaking tropical cyclones and typhoons in the western Pacific.

Ultimately these problems boil down to simple physics: the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the hotter it gets. The hotter it gets, the more water vapor the air holds, and the more energy in the atmosphere. More water and more energy bring heavier rains and more severe storms, which means more flooding in areas prone to heavy rainfall and drought in other areas.

A Dream of the Future

Hitting Reset Again

The Trump 2016 campaign hit the reset button yet again with the hiring of Brietbart News' Stephen Bannon as its chief executive. Trump also brought Kellyanne Conway on board to be the campaign manager. I guess I'm not sure what the difference is between the two roles. Paul Manafort just resigned as campaign manager so that probably helps with the confusion.

So, basically an already failing campaign now has two bosses instead of one. Bannon has vowed to "let Trump be Trump" but that has actually caused far more damage than anyone in the organization would care to admit.

Donald Trump’s Crucial Pillar of Support, White Men, Shows Weakness

I agree with Nate Silver on this one. Trump is doubling down on a losing strategy. He looked a little more polished yesterday, which the media is attributing to Ms. Conway, but this is only one day. Can he actually sustain this? Worse for him, though, is the fact that his main base of support loves it when he is NOT polished and makes offensive comments.

If he becomes someone else, will they lose their interest?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Portrait of Heartache and Tragedy

The Incoherence of Trump

Recently Donald Trump gave a speech in which he blasted George W. Bush and Barack Obama for "nation building." In that same speech he said, "I have long said that we should have kept the oil in Iraq."

Donald Trump seems to think the oil in Iraq is like the Hope diamond, locked up somewhere in a safe that we could just crack open and bring home.

Never mind that stealing Iraqi oil is a war crime, immoral and unethical, and a violation of the basic tenets of Christianity that forbid stealing and killing. Does it make any kind of economic sense?

Iraq's oil reserves are estimated to be 140 billion barrels. Crude oil production in 2016 was about 4.55 million barrels a day. In 2008 production was half that. The oil fields are spread out over tens of thousands of square miles of mostly desert.

If you do the math, it would take 84 years to implement Donald Trump's plan to steal all Iraq's oil. We would need to have hundreds of thousands of American troops in Iraq for the duration to fight the ongoing insurrection. Furthermore, we would need to embark on a huge ongoing nation building effort in Iraq to repair the infrastructure required to run the oil industry, which Iraqi insurgents would be blowing up constantly, as they did throughout the American occupation from 2003-2011.

For example, oil production requires large amounts of electricity, consuming about 10% of total Iraqi demand. That means you need a functioning electrical grid (one of the big "nation building" projects we spent so much money on in Iraq). This is a problem because power plants and power lines would be constant targets of the Iraqi resistance. No problem, Trump says. Just bring in generators and make electricity in the  field. Not so fast: generators need refined fuel (they can't burn crude). That means you need to haul in diesel fuel (refined in the United States, probably) along the highways that the Iraqi insurgents are blowing up with IEDs all the time.

The Iraqi petroleum industry directly employees thousands of workers. Thousands more are needed to provide basic services (truckers, sailors, mechanics, janitors, cooks, plumbers, electricians, blackjack dealers and hookers -- this is a Trump operation, after all). It was hard to find enough Iraqis willing to assist Americans when we were helping them. How many will collaborate when we're stealing their oil?

Without the Iraqis' help we would have to bring in hundreds of thousands of workers to replace Iraqi workers, which means we'd have to bring in hundreds of thousands more troops to protect the workers. In the end it could take half a million people to steal Iraq's oil.

And the cost would be prohibitive: we spent a trillion dollars on the eight-year Iraq occupation. Eight years of oil is 13 billion barrels. At $50 a barrel, that would be worth $664 billion. Stealing Iraqi oil would cost twice as much as it's worth.

And that cost would likely be much higher, because Americans working in Iraq would get paid 10 to 20 times more than Iraqis. Plus, there's the lifetime medical costs for medical care for the troops. Speaking of which, an 84-year occupation of Iraq would mean the end of the volunteer armed forces. Who would volunteer to die in Iraq to steal oil for Donald Trump? We'd need a draft (imagine how the vote in Congress for this would go down), or we'd have to hire mercenaries on the world market, which would be really pricey.

What kind of an idiotic businessman would go for a deal that costs more than it's worth? No wonder Trump declared bankruptcy so many times.

Now, I assume that Trump doesn't mean any of this. He's just saying stupid stuff because it gets applause at his rallies. His own supporters don't believe he would actually steal Iraq's oil. Nor do they believe he would build the stupid wall, deport all the Mexicans, or ban all the Muslims.

He's just venting anger and hate, and his supporters love anger and hate more than anything else.

Thus, Trump's supporters have absolutely no idea what Trump will do if elected (he doesn't either, it seems). You did get some sort of an idea when he trots out his economic plan: tax cuts for billionaires and the businesses that have been stiffing American workers for decades.

For decades Republicans have succeeded by getting their voters to vote against their own economic self interest by appealing to religious, sexist and racist sentiments. Trump supporters have finally wised up and are mad at establishment: they realize they've been fed a steady diet of Republican bullshit.

But Trump has just repackaged the the same bullshit in an angrier package. Just like his supporters know he won't steal Iraq's oil or build the border wall, they should realize he's not going to stop trade deals or bring back factories back from China and Mexico.

Because after you listen to any Trump speech, after you brush away all the asides, the contradictions, the sarcasm, the insults, the wild tangents, the misplaced adjectives and unintelligible ejaculations, the only thing Trump ever really says is that he's a businessman, and that he would negotiate a "better" deal.

Which is a completely empty promise. What's "better" for Trump and American CEOs is not better for the people who work for Trump and American corporations.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trump Triples Down on Racism and Sexism

As Trump's polling numbers have cratered in the last couple of weeks he has made three new hires.

Paul Manafort, who has sold warlords, dictator and despots to the U.S. government for forty years, is being ousted by two right-wing zealots from Breitbart: Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway.

Breitbart News has been the voice of the "alt-right," pushing racist right-wing conspiracy theories. These people peddle the standard crypto-fascist propaganda about Muslims, blacks and Hispanics. Contributors to Breitbart include Milo Yiannopoulos of Gamergate fame, who openly spout the most vile garbage against women.

Trump has also hired Roger Ailes to help him prepare for the debates, though the Trump campaign denies this because it's so damning with the dozens of former Fox employees who have come out with their own stories of Ailes' abuse.
Ailes was recently fired from Fox News for decades of harassing women in the news room. Several other Fox managers and "personalities" pulled the same sort of thing; women who refused lost their jobs or didn't get plum assignments that were contingent on sexual favors. Bill O'Reilly settled one such harassment suit for an untold sum, but the initial figure mentioned was $60 million.

These moves make it clear Trump intends to amp up his racist and sexist diatribes and has no desire to appeal to anyone but the ever-declining population of old white men and the vanishingly small number of gay men who are virulent misogynists.

Remember President Obama?

All this talk of Trump and Clinton has made most folks forget about our current president who is currently shaping up to be what Ronald Reagan was for the GOP-a legacy president who will be remembered as one of the best. Take a look at this, courtesy of 538.

2000Bill Clinton57%66%
1960Dwight Eisenhower5860
2016Barack Obama53*
1988Ronald Reagan5163
1976Gerald Ford5053
1968Lyndon Johnson4349
1992George H.W. Bush3449
1980Jimmy Carter3434
1952Harry Truman3232
2008George W. Bush2529

Stunning. And this is with all the BS that the right threw at him for the past decade. Essentially what we have here is the recognition that the man deserves from people who live outside of the know, in REALITY.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Watch The Senate Slip Away

538 has a piece up about how Trump is dragging down GOP candidates for Senate in tossup states.

Check it out

Trump may be dragging down Republican Senate candidates

At this point, it seems likely that the Dems will take back the Senate. But by how much?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Trump's Bold New Antiterrorism Plan Is a Questionnaire!

Donald Trump's immigration and anti-terrorism plans are dumb and getting dumber. 

His first plan involved simply banning all Muslim immigrants because they might be terrorists. How would he know they were Muslim? He'd ask them. Because terrorists would never think of lying!

His latest plan will be announced today:
In the speech, Mr. Trump will call for greater scrutiny in screening immigrants, particularly from countries he has described as “exporters” of terrorism. The plan would be to have people answer a questionnaire that could press them on their commitment to “our basic principles of tolerance and pluralism,” on issues ranging from gay rights to women’s rights, Mr. Miller said. If that is not effective, visas could be banned from certain areas of the world.
Yes! Defeating terrorists with paperwork! They will never be able to lie on a questionnaire!

The irony is that Trump's own supporters and the vast majority of conservative Republicans don't believe in "our basic principles of tolerance and pluralism!" Trump's new plan would prevent most Republicans from entering the country.

Trump supporters appararently want to ban all Muslims and think all Mexicans are rapists, based on how much they cheered when Trump spewed that bile. He won the Republican nomination based on those two intolerant and non-pluralistic sentiments.

Trump pays lip service to gay rights (he had to in order to get that campaign cash from Peter Thiel), but the vast majority of conservative Republicans don't believe in equal rights for gay and transgendered people. Witness all the whining about making cakes for gay weddings and all the preposterous bathroom bills flooding Republican statehouses. And of course they are dead-set against a woman's right to control her own body, many of them opposing even birth control.

When people like David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, proclaim their wholehearted support for Trump, you can be sure they don't believe Trump means any of this drivel he spouts about "tolerance and pluralism."

Trump refuses to acknowledge that we're already vetting immigrants from countries that are "exporters" of terrorism with far more stringent procedures than his ridiculous questionnaire. They're subjected to background checks that take months and years to complete. They're interviewed by people who are trained to spot terrorists. These interviewers ask follow-up questions when they sense evasion or mendacity. Something that a questionnaire simply can't do.

Yes, occasionally bad people get in -- or just as likely, they're born here, like the San Bernadino and Orlando shooters. That's the dilemma of a free and open society, and the risk you take when you're the land of the free and the home of the brave.

But Americans are supposed to tough. Should we cower and hide and let millions of innocent people be slaughtered by the likes of ISIS? The more we help oppressed people the more support we'll have in the future, which we need to beat terrorists and tyrants like ISIS, Assad and Putin, who has worsened the civil war in Syria, using it to destabilize Europe with millions of refugees.

Yet Trump talks about cutting deals with Putin to "defeat ISIS," which really means letting Assad stay in power. But it was Assad's crackdown on Arab Spring demonstrators demanding democracy and freedom that sparked the Syrian civil war, which is how ISIS gained so much territory in the first place. Last week Trump "sarcastically" called Obama the founder of ISIS, but the most effective recruiting tools for the terrorist organization have been the wars started by Bashar al-Assad and George W. Bush (Trump himself blamed Bush for 9/11 and ISIS when running against Jeb!(!)).

A questionnaire to fight terrorism? Sheesh! Who's running the Trump campaign? This latest plan sounds like something a lackey in H.R. thought up during lunch hour.

Trump Campaign Chairman Gets Millions from Putin Stooge

According to a secret ledger found in Ukraine, Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's campaign chairman, received $12.7 million in cash payments:
Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.
(The ledger is written in Russian, not Ukrainian, by the way.)

Manafort has acknowledged working for Viktor F. Yanukovych, the corrupt Ukrainian strongman who was ousted by pro-Western parties two years ago. Manafort did the same think for Yanukovych that he's doing for Trump:
Before he fled to Russia two years ago, Mr. Yanukovych and his Party of Regions relied heavily on the advice of Mr. Manafort and his firm, who helped them win several elections. During that period, Mr. Manafort never registered as a foreign agent with the United States Justice Department — as required of those seeking to influence American policy on behalf of foreign clients — although one of his subcontractors did.

It is unclear if Mr. Manafort’s activities necessitated registering. If they were limited to advising the Party of Regions in Ukraine, he probably would not have had to. But he also worked to burnish his client’s image in the West and helped Mr. Yanukovych’s administration draft a report defending its prosecution of his chief rival, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, in 2012. 
Manafort has a long history of selling foreign warlords, tyrants and regimes that abuse human rights to the U.S. government, including Phillipine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Angolan guerilla Jonas Savimbi, Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, Pakistan's ISI agency, and on and on.

Manafort also has ties to offshore shell corporations in the Cayman and Seychelles Islands that laundered money stolen by Ukrainian government cronies.

Trump has raised the ire of many in the Republican Party by praising Vladimir Putin and parroting Putin's Crimean claims. Trump's cronies removed language from the party platform against Russia's actions in Ukraine, though Trump claims he didn't know what they were doing (and foolishly I thought candidates and presidents were supposed to be in charge of these things).

Trump's coddling of Putin's designs in Ukraine and his intimations that he would do nothing if Russia invaded NATO countries are anathema to Republicans: they have built an entire mythology around Ronald Reagan standing up to the Soviet Union.

It makes absolutely no sense for Trump to back away from that history. He sounds like a Russian apologist and a Putin puppet, not the heir to Reagan. Granted, the fall of the Soviet Union had much more to do with Gorbachov's policy of glasnost, the fallout from the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the weakness of the Russian economic system, but at least Reagan was on the side of democracy and freedom. Trump cares nothing about justice and liberty; his only interest seems to be the exercise of naked power.

To all appearances, Trump's strings are being pulled by Manafort, who has long-standing financial and political ties to Russian oligarchs. The Times reports that Manafort's company was still active earlier this year helping the Russian-backed Ukrainian opposition. That would mean Manafort is working on two political campaigns at the same time: Trump's and the enemies of Ukrainian democracy.

Trump himself has connections to Russian mobster and convicted felon Felix Sater. Trump, who says he has such a fabulous memory, claimed in court not to know Sater. Yet here Trump is with him (on the right) at the unveiling of the Trump SoHo in 2007.

The other guy in the photo, Tevfik Arif, was also involved in the Trump SoHo deal. He was recently arrested in Turkey for running a high-priced prostitution ring, in which Eastern European models (the sort of woman Trump favors, like Ivana and Melania) had trysts with wealthy businessmen aboard Kemal Ataturk's yacht.

These are the sort of people that Trump associates with. Trump's history of praising dictators and murders (like the Chinese government that engineered the Tiananmen Square Massacre) show exactly why he should never be president.