Archive for July, 2016

exceptional circumstances in exceptional cases

Sunday, July 31st, 2016


Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is advising intelligence officials that if they end up giving GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump classified briefings during the campaign, they should just fake it and make sure not to divulge anything important.

“How would the CIA and the other intelligence agencies brief this guy? How could they do that? I would suggest to the intelligence agencies, if you’re forced to brief this guy, don’t tell him anything, just fake it, because this man is dangerous,” Reid said in an interview with The Huffington Post Wednesday afternoon. “Fake it, pretend you’re doing a briefing, but you can’t give the guy any information.”

Just to be sure.  In addition to all the presidents elected since Truman initiated the debriefing of possible replacements in 1948 — (Eisenhower, Kennedy — who, it’s worth pointing out used the debriefings for political purposes, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama), Harry Reid is suggesting Trump is exceptional against the likes of Thomas Dewey, Adlai Stevenson, Barry Goldwater, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bob Dole, John Kerry, John McCain, Mitt Romney …

That includes the figures of Goldwater  and George McGovern.

Question:  Was Ross Perot — who was doing well enough to get in the debates (and as all the third party candidates everywhere always have it, that’s the launching pad for victory), and who has had some faintly similar questions posed on his “readiness” (though in Perot’s case runs more toward problems of paranoiac ) debriefed?  I assume the second biggest third party candidate through this time period George Wallace, wasn’t.

Australia may rethink the nuances of the American political calendar

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Sure, sure… Julian Assange really brought out the goods with that last email dump…

“The difficulty that WikiLeaks has, of course, is that we can’t go around speculating on who our sources are. That would be irresponsible,” Assange said in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I do think it’s an interesting question, of course, as to who our sources are. But as a source protection organization that many sources from across the world of many different types rely on to protect their identity, and their rights, to communicate the truth to the public. And that’s what we’re talking about here, communicating the truth.”
“What I can say categorically is that we have published proof that the election campaign of Bernie Sanders was sabotaged in a corrupt manner by [former DNC Chair] Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others within the DNC,” he added. “We can say that categorically. We have published proof. But as for anything else, we can only speculate.” […]
“In order to divert attention from proof that we published that the Sanders campaign was subverted within the DNC,” Assange said on NBC, “the Clinton campaign tries to take attention away from a very serious domestic allegation about election interference and try and bring in foreign policy.”

Actually, if you want to know the brutal truth, I think this email dump would have been much more effective at the end of the convention than at the start of the convention.  Then the big “reach out” from Team Clinton to Team Sanders on all things personal politics and all things domestic policy would have been less so, and the make nice from Team Sanders to herd his supporters behind the Clinton banner would unravel with the new information.
Or, to put it another way… a larger bloc unable to stand the situation.

I’m struck by the banality of everything here.  Like, yes — Sanders was toiling against the Democratic Establishment (as he’s done his political life), and yes, the DNC was scheduling as few debates as they could get away with, and, yes, low level staff suggested questioning Sanders’ religion so all the Southerners who weren’t voting for Sanders would now doubly not vote for him…  AND–?

Maybe he can do better than this, and maybe the fact that Hillary Clinton used a server more hack-able than gmail is more than enough.  And Assange does state here he has no preference for Trump, and then again over there he has some preference for Trump.   And I suppose it is worth more than reading the news reports coming out of the private email correspondence reported over the year in such places as the New York Times where we mostly just end up with a humanized Hillary Clinton sweating out her Senate Benghazi Testimony, a net gain (I suppose)…

“Mr. Gorbachev.  Release naked photographs of Walter Mondale” — (Stephen Colbert parody imagining Trump’s reaction as fitting previous eras.)

And somewhere as things get… stupid.

Khan pushed back on Trump’s suggestion that his wife, who was also on stage at the DNC, was not allowed to speak. He said she has high blood pressure and didn’t want to speak for fear she wouldn’t be able to hold herself together discussing her Gold Star son on stage.
“For this candidate for presidency to not be aware of the respect of a Gold Star mother standing there, and he had to take that shot at her, this is height of ignorance,” Khan said. “This is why I showed him (the) Constitution. Had he read that, he would know the status a Gold Star mother holds in this nation.”
Trump had first suggested Khan’s wife was not allowed to speak in an interview with The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd, saying: “I’d like to hear his wife say something.”
Something along the lines of …
Mr. Trump’s comments, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News that will air on Sunday, drew quick and widespread condemnation and amplified calls for Republican leaders to distance themselves from their presidential nominee. With his implication that the soldier’s mother had not spoken because of female subservience expected in some traditional strains of Islam, his comments also inflamed his hostilities with American Muslims.
I suppose the theory of the campaign lies in the “Telling it like it is” meme: we’re standing up to the Patriarchy inherent in Islam — finally, multiculturalism be damned.  I can’t parse this out fully, sometimes out of touch here “in a world” where a Mosque being built within earshot of “Ground Zero” lands a wave of laws and bills to ban Sharia Law — but I imagine most of America assumes even if she’s piously a shirking violet — a “Who Cares?” is in order.
And we await the next email dump.  And see if it somehow counteracts the antics of Donald Trump.

revolution, my a$$…

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

“We are leaving behind the corruption, the backstabbing and the lies,” Stein told the protesters. “They have said they said bad things about Bernie and have apologized. They have said much more than bad things. They sabotaged a revolutionary campaign.”

So says Green Party stalwart, either nominee or coming nominee Jill Stein.  “Revolutionary”.
Contradicting earlier statements from Jill Stein regarding Bernie Sanders’s campaign, and her bluntly stated political understanding of the situation, and her a’coming (totally understandable)  strategy.

Lacking complete unity on the farthest left flank, Stein sees a huge bounty just around the corner in the form of soon-to-be disgruntled Sanders voters. She is careful not to seem like she is breaking out the popcorn as he suffers the digs and jabs from the Clinton behemoth, genially “wishing” her nominal rival, “all the luck in the world.” But she fully expects him to lose. And when he does, she plans to “let this be a learning experience, the teachable moment” for Sanders backers, so they will discover that “political revolutions that start in the Democratic Party, unfortunately, they die in the Democratic Party.”

Somewhere in the past I saw an Economist (corporate media from Britain, I suppose) analyst of the Democratic primary bunch with the assessment that Bernie Sanders would more likely “bring new voters” in for Hillary Clinton.  And, I suppose by that assessment, some of the new voters would not be voting for Hillary Clinton, and as everyone knows where she’s heading on TPP (MacAulife has spilled the beans on that one)– well, hey… better Jill Stein than, you know… Trump.

History solves nothing

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Sure, sure.  Putin loves Trump.

“Worse than Watergate”, in this context, is hilarious.  Reminds me of something I read, with confusion on the part of Mao ZeDong over the scandals of Richard Nixon — “What’s the deal here, exactly?”  The funny thing here is a role reversal — 2008 saw the Republican Convention and McCain taking to the stand and declaring “We are all Georgians” as against a (supposed) isolationist stance of the Democrats wondering “No we aren’t” (and in Oregon the Republican Senate incumbent Gordeon Smith trying to beat Jeff Merkley with an ad making a deal about him eating a hot dog out of touch with current Russian transgressions.)

So, we have have releases of email showing what everyone already knew — the DNC, under the stewardship of Debra Wasserman Schulz, was an operation in league with the presidential ambition of one Hillary Clinton.  Exasperating the tension of the Democratic divide, the streets outside the convention showing an ap photo of  Sanders supporter waving insisting their guy really won.

Bernie Sanders at once tries his best imitation of Goldwater, circa 1960, insisting to his restless supporters to “Grow Up, and Get to Work”.  And then, unlike Goldwater, bolts the party he was only temporarily a member of anyways.  Then again, Sanders knows the actuaries, and knows he’s not about to be the nominee in 2020.

newrepublicsplit  An interesting pile of opines in the latest New Republic, discussing what Hillary versus Bernie represents.  The starter is Rick Perlstein, author of the series of books stretching regarding the Goldwater campaign, Nixon’s America, and Reagan… and all I can say about the article deliberating the meaning of 1924 and what it shows of the perpetual split in the party is… it gets complicated in a hurry.

Start in 1924, when the party cleaved nearly in two. That year, at Madison Square Garden, the Democratic convention took a record 103 ballots and 16 days to resolve a fight between the party’s urban wing and its conservative opponents. How conservative? Well, the convention was nicknamed the “Klanbake,” because one of the great issues at stake was—no kidding—whether the KKK was a good or a bad thing. The divide was so heated that tens of thousands of hooded Klansmen held a rally and burned crosses to try to bully the party into meeting their demands.

Eight years later, under Franklin Roosevelt, the party’s urban, modernist wing established what would become a long hegemony over its reactionary, Southern one. But that hegemony remained sharply contested from the very beginning. In 1937, bipartisan opponents of FDR banded together to forge the “Conservative Manifesto.” Co-authored by a Southern Democrat, the manifesto called for lowering taxes on the wealthy, slashing government spending, and championing private enterprise. Hillary Clinton’s eagerness to please Wall Street can be traced, in part, to that ideological split during the New Deal.

“Urban, modernist” is a funny phrase, and seems to punt on the problem of using “progressive” or “Liberal” to describe what the heck was happening.   Go back even further, and you have a split between the “urbanist” wing of neo-Grover Cleveland and Tammany hacks and the “populist” agraian wing of Bryan.  In 1932, the base of Roosevelt’s support for the nomination grew out of a connection back to the McAdoo forces from that convention, as against Alfred Smith who had in 1928 taken the party in the corporate direction of his campaign chair and the Du Ponts– in a kind of DLCish fit to assuage the party in these times of 1920s prosperity (except with alcohol…)

But then we get to the complication of describing individual actors…

Indeed, over the years, many of the most “liberal” Democrats have remained sharply conservative on economic questions. Eugene McCarthy, the “peacenik” candidate of 1968, ended up backing Ronald Reagan. Dan Rostenkowski, the lunch-pail chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, proposed a tax package in 1981 that was more corporate-friendly than Reagan’s. Jerry Brown of California, long derided as “Governor Moonbeam,” campaigned for president in 1992 on a regressive flat tax. That same year, Bill and Hillary Clinton won the White House with the business-funded support of the Democratic Leadership Council, which sought to downplay the “big government” solutions championed by FDR.

McCarthy was very much busy in a contrarian-ist spiral, Brown has had about 4 political lives and a need to fulfill the “idiosyncratic and eccentric” venture folds in nicely in the 1992 run for president, and Rostenkowski — look into it — bowed in part by the 1980 landslide and the seeming Big Capitalist times, partially showing the lack of differences between the parties in gnabbing at some of same donors.

 If Hillary has any doubts about embracing the economic agenda laid out by Sanders, she should ask the insurgent of 1992: William Jefferson Clinton. The man who ended a dozen years of presidential exile for the Democrats didn’t do it simply by promising to get tough on crime and to “end welfare as we know it.” He also pledged $80 billion in federal investments to improve America’s cities and to create four million new jobs—not to mention, of course, a plan to deliver health care to all Americans.

Interesting contradiction with premises from earlier in the article, but I always content Clinton 1992 can’t really be said to be the party insurgent.  If he was the insurgent — and he was ultimately favored by the big money donors who seemed to make it a point to keep his fund-raisers going  him as Gennifer Flowers scandal hit– who was the establishment pick?

It’s 1964 or 1980 all over again.

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Ted Cruz’s speech and ensuing controversy jumps me back to two moments in political party convention history…

Nelson Rockefeller.  1964.  Here sayseth Patrick Buchanan, a man loyal to the Republican nominee:

At the Cow Palace in San Francisco in July of 1964, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, having been defeated by Barry Goldwater, took the podium to introduce a platform plank denouncing “extremism.”
Implication: Goldwater’s campaign is saturated with extremists.
Purpose: Advertise Rocky’s superior morality.
Smug and self-righteous, Rocky brayed at the curses and insults, “It’s a free country, ladies and gentlemen.”
Rocky was finished. He would never win the nomination.

All right.  And check this one out.

Richard Nixon took another road, endorsed Goldwater, spoke for him in San Francisco, campaigned for him across America. And in 1968, with Goldwater’s backing, Nixon would rout Govs. George Romney and Rockefeller, and win the presidency, twice.

Sure.  But Nixon also stuck his hand out to made sure his wife didn’t stand up or cheer when the Republican nominee, Goldwater, made that “Extremism in Defense of” remark.

And who the hell is supposed to be the Nixon at this Republican convention?

So sayseth everyone:
Mr. Cruz wants to be the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan, but the party is likely to regard him now as a reincarnation of Nelson Rockefeller, who threw a similar tantrum against the nomination of Barry Goldwater at the Republican convention in 1964. Mr. Rockefeller paid for it by becoming Jerry Ford’s vice president.

Snide final remark… Of course, with Rockefeller and Goldwater, we had a battle between the liberal and conservative wings of the Republican Party.  I don’t know what you call Cruz versus Trump — the Conservative and Reality TV show wings?

Of course, counter to this is 1952 and the anti-Eisenhower pro-Tafties… but then again, this is an era (at the end of that era) when nominations went beyond one ballot.

And then Ted Kennedy, 1980.

Carter desperately needed a show of unity at the DNC that year to take on popular GOP challenger Ronald Reagan. Kennedy received a prime time speaking role at the convention. But if Carter wanted a warm embrace to unify the party, he didn’t get it. Kennedy’s speech barely mentioned Carter. And the Massachusetts Senator deliberately ducked Carter, who followed him around the stage but failed to get hands raised together. Carter’s reelection chances, and the rest, were history. Carter is still bitter about that snub, blaming Kennedy for his loss.

Reportedly, Reagan — who did his show for party unity at the 1976 (a little more Nixon-esque in terms of its deliberate fudging) was watching and marveling at the display.

We’ll find out later in November whether Cruz did the same damage that Kennedy was able to do 36 years ago.

(Sigh).  Odd statement, as causation and correlation and multiple factors in play.  Hell… Didn’t Carter lose because Reagan stopped the hostages from being freed from Iran?  (Or maybe it was because he, you know, had a term of office where his approval rating tended to be in the 30s)?

Either a good point or a not good point is made that all the Republican presidential candidates not up now supporting Trump — including Jeb Bush who is reportedly flirting with a possible endorsement of the libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, or maybe it’s Johnson’s wishful thinking— signed a pledge, forged out of Trump’s famous “Art of the Deal” thinking to allow some “fair play” so the Republican Party would be hampered to stop his nomination — that everyone would support the eventual nominee.  I think this doesn’t state “enthusiastically”, so maybe the better bet for Ted Cruz in his nominating speech would have been to skip it altogether — the snub would have been as noticeable without violating the clause.

And then this floats into the realm of our election year “Did that happen or didn’t it?“…

But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.
Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?
“Making America great again” was the casual reply.Ultimately, Trump chose Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, not Kasich, to be his running mate. (Neither Donald Jr. nor Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, replied to multiple requests on Tuesday for comment for this article. After the article was posted, Donald Jr. disputed the Kasich adviser’s account.

It does remind me of some “Capital Hill Blues” stories from the Bush administration, which were always good to gives outlandish stories that stoked your political bias … But, here it’s a “He said / he said”… Though… um… reality is bending in odd directions all around us.

Trump responded to Cruz’s rationale for denying him an endorsement at the convention — specifically that he had said during the primary campaign that Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, had associated with Lee Harvey Oswald before President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
“There was a picture on the front page of the National Enquirer, which does have credibility,” Trump said to a room of volunteers and staffers in Cleveland, adding that the tabloid “should be very respected.”

Yeah, I know.  They broke John Edwards’s affair.  And — ?

musical acts against the Republican standard-bearer

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

In partial defense of Paul Ryan…

In regards to the great controversy over his fondness for the music of Rage Against the Machine…

Best as I can tell, Paul Ryan did not use their music for a political event (which, unlike some acts, would be incredibly discordant — a Democrat is not going to use the music), so it does not belong on the listings of great Republican uses of music that clashes with the politics of musical acts… even as it seems destined to be stuck in these things

and he threw out the clarifying “politics aside”, meaning he’s, you know, going to listen to the beat and super-impose imagined Ayn Rand love into it…

as is his right…

Meantime, the celebrities stock into the Trump Convention, (Duck Dynasty and all that), and for pop music we’re left with the as now stock Kid Rock comes into focus (and it was a Democrat at a previous convention who complained about Kid Rock’s theatrics — Zell Miller)… I suppose they could bring in Alice Cooper if they want Republican rock stars to appeal to the next generation up…

Though, naturally, you use the sports anthems and…

I see this poster.  Members of Rage Against the Machine and members of Public Enemy and members of various other politically involved bands of yore on a “Make America Rage” tour.  I flash back to 2004, when “Rock Against Bush” was all the thing — the “Get out the Vote” / slash / Musical Gatekeepers to get everyone a’voting for John Kerry as against George Bush or Hillary Clinton as against Donald Trump, even as some politics of some of them veer toward —

— well, Rage Against the Machine was big on Mumia Abu Jamal …

trumpers and anti-trumpers in the streets of Cleveland

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Evidently un-fazed by Trump’s pick of some standard conservative Republican (globalist) as vice president,

… as well as the creeping political affects that show through when one wife has to present herself the same way Obama’s wife had to

Alex Jones is joining the congregation of pro-Trumpers to do battle with the anti-Trumpers on the streets of Cleveland, under the banner of…

(ahem) “America First Unity Rally“.  (America First, the anti-interventionist group proceeding World War 2, which came under fire because of… urm?)

Roger Stone is in attendance, tag-teaming with Alex Jones, and apparently serving as the intermediary between Jones and Trump.  The New York Times ran an article comparing Stone with the Clinton’s David Brock (admittedly a party hack, the committed “ex-member of the other side” syndrome) a while ago, which I suppose is where Paul Krugman is getting at with the standard editorial over “false equivalency”.

As it were, Alex Jones’s websites are railing against the Communist anti-Trumpers and the mainstream media smears of Alex Jones… and trumping black Trump supporters…

So, there Alex Jones stands.  On the brink of joining the elite.  Will he still be able to shout at bull-horns at the Bilderberg Conference once Donald Trump takes office and is doing his famous “art of the deal” in sizing up and cutting down their influences ( but, crucially, not eliminating it?)