2016-10-26T18:40:03ZImagine you have a secret weapon in your home. One that you don’t even think of as a weapon. A vital oh-so-common household appliance that may have been weaponized. And is being used to launch denial of service or other internet attacks on key nodes of the world wide web. Or is even collecting data […]
Imagine you have a secret weapon in your home. One that you don’t even think of as a weapon. A vital oh-so-common household appliance that may have been weaponized. And is being used to launch denial of service or other internet attacks on key nodes of the world wide web. Or is even collecting data on you. You know what it is?
Or maybe your modem. Or maybe your webcam. Or your climate control system. Yes folks, the internet of things or IoT – as smart consumer devices are now called – are being easily hacked and marshalled towards rather un-benign ends by aggressive actors who wish to find devices that are easy to hijack. Like your fridge.
Imagine your fridge being used to launch a denial of service attack – or perhaps another more aggressive attack – on the local power grid. So far, the attacks have been aimed at bringing down websites, but this is just starting. More and more malicious attempts will surely follow.
Is this really necessary? Do you really need a smart fridge? Did anyone ask you personally if you had to have connectivity in just about every household appliance you can imagine? Did we they ask you if you’d like a world with tens of billions of smart devices? All inter-connected?
No they didn’t, although they can surely point to marketing studies. But that’s not really what gets people sooo excited about the internet of things. What has them breathing hard and heavy is the impact of all these smart (or smarter to be more precise) devices on supply chain management. That fridge that someone hacked is being wired (or chipped if you will) to send information all down the supply chain – from the manufacturing, to the shipping to the warehousing and retail stages. People in a control room somewhere will (do!) even know if your smart big fridge overheated somewhere between a plant in Asia and your kitchen.
That means there is no turning back. Too much money and intellectual capital have already been invested. And millennials surely don’t mind the cool new features that even a fridge can now have. It’s the future, and it means only one thing:
You can no longer trust your fridge. A device made overseas is being hijacked – often by actors based overseas – to disrupt internet processes that might affect your life. And no, you can’t even work at the plant manufacturing those fridges, because more often than not, they’re also overseas.
Apparently there are (and will increasingly be) ways to protect your consumer appliances. Can you imagine Norton IoT protection? It’s surely on it’s way. Sorry darling, I’m gonna be late to Joey’s party! I’ve got to update our fridge!
So, in a time when American’s trust in their institutions – whether banks or government departments or legislatures or courts or universities or security and intelligence agencies and on and on – is at all-time lows. In a time when one’s trust in one’s fellow citizens is at an all time low. In a time when political discourse is hyper-partisan and no longer even pretends to be objective. In these times, you now have a new potential enemy that you must view with caution, and even have a protocol – or a good firewall – in place to deal with possible disturbances: your fridge.
2016-10-21T23:06:20ZObamacare – ok the Affordable Care Act, is that better? – is collapsing, state by state. Younger healthier potential enrollees are not enrolling. The incentives – how much premiums you pay and what kind of deductible you face and what kind of coverage you get – are making them choose to stay away and defer […]Obamacare – ok the Affordable Care Act, is that better? – is collapsing, state by state. Younger healthier potential enrollees are not enrolling. The incentives – how much premiums you pay and what kind of deductible you face and what kind of coverage you get – are making them choose to stay away and defer their choices. Perhaps you can construct a longer term economic model based on the expected costs of a health crisis with the likely percentages and the expected cost. And decide that they should enroll, just in case. But by many metrics, younger and healthier people are making a reasonably rational choice. As are sicker, older people who have rationally decided that Obamacare is a good deal for them. Those two subsets of health care consumers means that Obamacare is currently unsustainable without several things: Higher premiums Higher deductibles More bailouts/subsidies courtesy of you the taxpayer And even with all three of these responses factored in, many insurance companies are finding Obamacare unprofitable to say the least. That means that the next president will have to clean up the mess and either reform Obamacare or create a new health care plan. Hillary Clinton likely has plans all set up to effectively dump Obamacare through a vigorous reform program that preserves it only in name and broad outlines, all the while praising her former boss’s flawed plan. Of course Hillary’s reforms will certainly involve lots more regulations. But different regulations. By new agencies or renamed agencies, or re-configured government departments working for you, the health care consumer. Regardless of what state or county you live in. That will work out wonderfully won’t it? Thank goodness we have an alternative with Paul Ryan’s Patient Choice Act. Right?? Uhm. Have you actually looked into the PCA? Have you scanned the long-form summary, for example? Found at Ryan’s house.gov site? Here’s a few gems: If you are on SNAP (what used to be called Food Stamps) then forget about buying junk food with your SNAP card. That means you might have to fork over hard cash for that bag of Nachos that gets you through the weekend. You will be told what to buy with your SNAP card. Or the clerk will be told what you CAN’T buy. How? Who knows? Will there be brawls at convenience stores between clerks and SNAP card people? Seniors who adopt “healthier behaviors” will be rewarded with lower Medicare premiums. Makes sense, in terms of improving health outcomes. But it also adds another layer of paperwork for retired people and means the government is even more involved in your daily life, telling you in minute detail how to live. Of course you could live free … without Medicare. Not an option for many. The CDC would create a web-base prevention tool based on your private data: your health records, how fat you are (sorry! body mass index), your sordid family details (sorry! your family history) which will all go into an Orwellian little app-thingy that will tell you exactly how to eat, drink, sleep, have sex, exercise, and any other part of your personal life the CDC feels is relevant. There are some less invasive ideas in the PCA to be fair. Like reworking the tax code to incentivize health outcomes instead of health insurance outcomes. Like the HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan) combined with HSA, the Health Savings Account. This bundled option offers affordable catastrophe insurance with a tax-free way to save towards your health care costs. But the point is that there is no perfect optimal solution. There are only tough trade-offs. The best you can do with health care is to offer smarter trade o[...]
2016-10-19T19:57:24ZWhat is Guccifer 2.0 up to now? He’s claiming that Trump’s tax returns filed last May ended up “immediately” on DNC servers. And he’s claiming that the Democratic National Committee, in conjunction with media allies, is getting ready to release financial documents relating presumably to Trump’s tax returns. Just in time for the last debate? […]
What is Guccifer 2.0 up to now? He’s claiming that Trump’s tax returns filed last May ended up “immediately” on DNC servers. And he’s claiming that the Democratic National Committee, in conjunction with media allies, is getting ready to release financial documents relating presumably to Trump’s tax returns. Just in time for the last debate?
It’s hard to know exactly who Guccifer is really working for, but Russia would seem to be a logical suspect. Is Guccifer therefore trying to dilute the impact of any financial information on Trump that the Clinton campaign might be releasing? Or merely trying to create an alternative little scandal to turn the media – and half the world’s – attention away from the latest Trump sex scandal? The one that never seems to end.
If Trump’s tax returns truly ended up immediately on DNC servers – a rather unlikely occurrence at best – then there can only be one conclusion that Guccifer is pointing us towards: it’s all rigged folks. His private tax details in possession of the IRS are merely opposition research for their allies in the DNC and in HRC’s campaign staff. Alex Jones, come on down! Hillary should use that in an ad. Oh …
Meanwhile, with Trump filling the headlines with his claims that the elections are rigged, 54 GOP Senators got asked by The Hill if they agreed that the election is indeed rigged. Most chose to not even answer and a few (14 if you have to know) defended the integrity of the electoral process in America. And Jeff Sessions while agreeing that the media bias was a form of rigging the election, did not go so far as to suggest that the countless volunteers and local election officials would be willing, or even capable given how widespread and local the process is, of rigging the election. The way Trump has implied they might.
Not only, as a GOP senator, do you have to worry about holding on to a senate majority, (a big worry in these final weeks), but you have to assure the media and voters that America’s electoral process is fair, and do so without provoking a backlash amongst Trump supporters. Whose votes you still need. So, for the GOP senators and even for the House, the question becomes: is Trump’s the-game-is-rigged final bazooka barrage going to crush ticket-splitting? Or are voters more sensible than that?
The evidence until recently seemed to suggest that voters are more sensible, and that voting not-Trump at the top of the ticket while voting for your local senator or representative at the bottom of the ticket is a likely outcome for many. But if the last slugfest in Vegas drags the campaign even deeper into the mud, a growing number of disgusted voters might just stay away from the polls. Not in large enough numbers to somehow give Trump a victory, but certainly in large enough numbers to damage the prospects for some key senate races. In Indiana, in Missouri, in Nevada where Heck was recently heckled by Trump supporters. In Maine where Ayotte is being crucified for not distancing herself from Trump earlier. In North Carolina where Burr has dropped in the polls and risks losing in the face of low turnout.
Imagine, the GOP is going to have to convince voters that it’s still worth it to vote – especially for your senator – over the sneering dismissals of its own nominee.
2016-10-18T20:32:24ZHow good are you at cryptography? Can you describe how a brute force attack works? Without googling it or going to Wikipedia. How up to date are you on the government’s system of classifying information? A little shaky when it comes to these sorts of matters? Like the overwhelming majority of us? On the other […]
How good are you at cryptography? Can you describe how a brute force attack works? Without googling it or going to Wikipedia. How up to date are you on the government’s system of classifying information? A little shaky when it comes to these sorts of matters? Like the overwhelming majority of us?
On the other hand, how good are you at sitting in front of your TV, or tablet, or laptop, or smartphone; and gawking at a compromising video on Trump? Or a video of a possible victim of an unwanted sexual advance, telling her story to the voracious press? A little easier, right? A lot more moral clarity for most of us, right?
The thing is, the Clinton campaign has not even had to make the false argument that there is no moral equivalence between possibly compromising America’s most sensitive classified information – which a Secretary of State tends to have access to and tends to be a witness of – and boorish behavior with a member of the opposite sex. The unwanted advance story tells itself, echoing around the media over and over again.
While Hillary’s email server scandal seems to have entered the area of diminishing returns, as far as the voting public is concerned. Yes, there are still those who – rightfully, if you believe in the equality before the law of all government officials and employees – firmly believe that Hillary’s server scandal is one more example of her corrupt behavior. Behavior that, in the case of the server, would land almost any other government employee in jail. Or at the very least have them facing charges.
So when the FBI claims that attempts to hack Hillary’s server by what seems to have been Russian actors were unsuccessful, you have to know more than a little cryptography to agree with their assessment. And you have to do so, without the necessary evidence that would enable you to conclude that those Russian actors were unsuccessful. In Trump’s case, you just have to stare at someone in a video talking for a minute or two, and decide if she – or Donald Trump – is telling the truth. You could be right or wrong in either case. But forced to choose between puzzling over cryptography, or catching up on some scandalous gossip, most people would go for the gossip. Even if both events are potentially scandalous and both are quite likely illegal. But only one of them, potentially fatal for American interests. An ugly choice, any way you look at it.
2016-10-14T05:12:13ZYes, each new revelation (usually an older story) is part of a carefully timed media strategy to discredit Trump. Yes, the NYTimes and the folks at WaPo and at various mainstream media platforms despise Trump, and would love to see him lose badly come November. If even half of these accusations are correct, however, then […]
Yes, each new revelation (usually an older story) is part of a carefully timed media strategy to discredit Trump. Yes, the NYTimes and the folks at WaPo and at various mainstream media platforms despise Trump, and would love to see him lose badly come November.
If even half of these accusations are correct, however, then it doesn’t matter anymore how biased much of the media has been since Trump was nominated. Trump will lose because women voters – from evangelicals to pro-choice advocates of abortion – will make sure that he does. And this floating sex scandal will stay afloat for at least until the next debate. With the drip drip of further details. Like the hair raising comment about the young girl about to ride the escalator at Trump Towers.
Think about it. Hillary’s campaign has decided – since at least the first debate – that she will not win this election, as the first female president of America. Nope. Donald Trump will lose this election, as the last male boor to postulate himself for the nation’s highest office. And that’s fine by HRC’s campaign team. She gets to measure the drapes, nominate justices, and sign legislation, whether she wins or Trump loses.
But there is a lingering problem. Yes the glass ceiling will be shattered in what will be a symbolic and very real victory for women. And for Planned Parenthood. And for big government working closely with Wall Street. Lots more compliance-centered reams of regulations coming. Oh yes. But the outrage over Donald’s behavior on the part of many men may just be a touch hypocritical.
If Trump is to be savaged publicly – and perhaps charged someday but who knows? – then how about Bill Clinton? How about Hollywood exec’s? How about accusations against the former GOP governor of California? Yes, Arnie himself. How about sleazy entertainment power brokers? Porn industry leaders? If the term leaders can possibly be applied to them. Or powerful bankers, or businessmen. Athletics? And on and on … down to the local creep in your workplace lunchroom.
In times when a University of Tennessee student is being publicly lynched because he unwittingly wrote the name (Sarah Jackson a very common name) of an apparent porn star in response to a rather bizarre quiz the students had to take. In times when everything is partisan, and privacy is a quaint commodity that is fast disappearing, (no better sign of that than the slew of legislation devoted to protecting privacy). In times when debate between genuinely opposing viewpoints is either a shouting match or deadly silence. In these times, Trump is not some bizarre creature from the depths of Manhattan. Trump is of us. A part of us. A bigger, more narcissistic and wealthier, part of us.
Trump, in fact, is turning out to be the perfect scapegoat. And not just for the elites who under Hillary will retain their influence and power, and wealth. But also a scapegoat for our own incivility. He should have been the flawed bearer of an angry revolt against those elites. Instead, Trump is now Burning Man. And his going down in flames is giving many of the wrong people too many flawed reasons to dance in glee.
2016-10-12T22:54:28ZThe end of days are upon us. Sound a little too dramatic? Not if you’re a conservative Republican like David French, who recently wrote in the National Review that Christians can only really pray and repent as Trump’s campaign descends into a civil war with his own party. Crisis can mean “a turning” in the […]The end of days are upon us. Sound a little too dramatic? Not if you’re a conservative Republican like David French, who recently wrote in the National Review that Christians can only really pray and repent as Trump’s campaign descends into a civil war with his own party. Crisis can mean “a turning” in the original Greek, and to truly learn from the implosion going on in the final weeks of the GOP’s 2016 campaign, the truth has to be acknowledged. According to French. Evangelicals are even dividing along gender after the Trump video release last Friday; with female leaders openly denouncing Trump’s recorded comments, while (some) male leaders remain grimly silent. The RNC is divided among Trump supporters furious with Ryan for cutting local campaigns loose, and NeverTrump’ers furious with Ryan for not having done so earlier. Ryan is being attacked from all sides, in other words, including Steve Bannon. Who apparently is out to destroy the affable Speaker of the House. Not to mention Trump himself. But there’s a problem with this moral hurricane swamping the Republican party: Trump’s lewdness – whether predatory or simply boastful is beside the point – is covering over a simple key fact. The real divide is ideological. Not moral. Yes, Trump is unskilled in hiding his scandals. Unlike JFK or FDR, to name two titans in the hallowed halls of former presidents. As a fallen man himself, the splendidly bombastic Conrad Black in an article for NR, lists some of the rather lewd actions and words of past presidents. Including JFK, an intern, an aide, and a swimming pool. You can read the article to fill in the details. The problem with Trump is his style, his needless boasting, his publicity seeking. That is not an excuse for any possible sexual assault he may have committed. But how many among the powerful political elites – Democrat and Republican – can claim innocence in this matter? We no longer allow a discrete media to look beyond a president’s sins. If Trump is to be cast out for that video – and it sure looks like he will – how many more should join him in the wilderness? How many powerful politicians should face charges for unwanted advances that meet the definition of sexual assault? How many will? Because this method of extreme opp research will not go away. It will be used, over and over. But beyond the moral hypocrisy, there is the ideological divide. It’s about the money more than the sex. With his populist economic policies and hard line on immigration, Trump is a threat to the Washington DC establishment. GOP members have many of them been more afraid of a Trump victory than a loss. But they now realize they may have handed Hillary a landslide victory, and given away the Senate. And maybe, just maybe, the House. And no one in Washington likes giving up power. So things have gotten really nasty, because of the money. The morals – the character issue – are a convenient reason to rage against Trump without being unseemly. How do we know about Masada? Because of 2 women who hid with 5 children in the underground aqueducts, and lived to tell the awful story of the mass suicide to Josephus. As a conservative, it is not heresy to say that DC has seen enough of male rutting – whether crass like Trump, or carefully sensitive like Paul Ryan or Ben Sasse. The changing demographics of America do not portend well for conservatives. But America is not a basket of statistics. It is a set of values and a group of ideas that have lasted over 200[...]
2016-10-11T21:31:30ZRight after the debate, on Fox News, Megyn Kelly’s hand was cupped like an eagle’s talons as she rhetorically pushed back against Laura Ingraham’s downplaying of Trump’s 2005 video. Kelly was referring to Trumps comments about grabbing women, and she was being uncomfortably explicit with her quick but unmistakable gesture, even as her words were […]
Right after the debate, on Fox News, Megyn Kelly’s hand was cupped like an eagle’s talons as she rhetorically pushed back against Laura Ingraham’s downplaying of Trump’s 2005 video. Kelly was referring to Trumps comments about grabbing women, and she was being uncomfortably explicit with her quick but unmistakable gesture, even as her words were as crisp as a prosecuting attorney, gliding in for the kill. Sitting next to her, her co-host Brett Baier seemed a touch surprised at the gesture.
Megyn Kelly made her point. Clearly.
What does a conservative woman do right now? And in November? As Hillary’s campaign team run ads featuring long-time Republican voters who will not be voting for Trump and who – on balance – feel Hillary Clinton is a more reliable choice to be President of the United States, the choices are all sub-optimal if you are a conservative woman. Perhaps a working mother who worries about her daughter’s future. Of course, many conservatives – regardless of gender – feel that their choices are sub-optimal. Do not vote. Vote for Hillary. Vote for Gary Johnson.
But maybe Trump’s crassness is not the most important issue. Writing in the Federalist, Margot Anderson – in sharp contrast to others like her colleague Lumma Simms who insists it is conservative women’s moral obligation to oppose Trump – suggests that it is Hillary’s whole hearted support of abortion that is the much greater moral outrage. If we can be offended to a raging lather by the incivility of Trump, where is the public anger – beyond those who have continually fought to protect and preserve life – at abortion rights? It is the triumph of identity politics over the politics of life.
This is a fundamental debate and neither side can be taken with anything but serious attention and respect. That is why the terrible crime of rape is one where many of those who support pro-life policies, make an agonized exception. One side of this debate, like Simms, would say that is the lack of values – the moral dissolution to put in archaic but still valid language – is what leads to incivility. And can lead to rape. The other side says that the worst crime is that which is committed against the most defenseless, while acknowledging the profound evil of rape.
Of course conservative women have this debate in a world where rape is reduced to the social components of male power. Rather than seen purely as an evil springing from a lack of values, it is a reflection of the power structures in the world. And this view embraces a wide range of offenses: from violent assault on women to someone mansplaining his way to a micro-aggression. All white males are rapists, the radicals furiously chant. Reducing what should be an exceptional and terrible crime to a politically correct absurdity. And breeding false accusations in places like college campuses. Where real rape is a real problem.
One is a fifth or sixth generation version of marxist liberation theory. One is a condemnation of incivility that borders on inquisitional fervor. One is an acceptance of some of the sexist banter, of some males, in order to focus on abortion. These are three separate universes, and two of them are possessed by conservative women. We are divided. All of us. Even if it was Trump that said that.
2016-10-07T17:08:47ZWhy wait until Friday if you want to be noticed? So a group of 30 GOP former legislators added their names to the NeverTrump universe in an open letter to their fellow Republicans. Trump is neither temperamentally nor intellectually fit to be president seems to be their opinion. The list of qualities of character they […]
Why wait until Friday if you want to be noticed? So a group of 30 GOP former legislators added their names to the NeverTrump universe in an open letter to their fellow Republicans. Trump is neither temperamentally nor intellectually fit to be president seems to be their opinion.
The list of qualities of character they feel Trump comes up short on is in fact, a list of 7 deadly virtues: competence; intelligence; knowledge; understanding; empathy; judgement; and in case you missed their drift, temperament. 7 virtues without which America would be neither safe nor steady under a Trump presidency. Deadly, therefore, in their absolute necessity in any conservative candidate worthy of their consideration.
So if this informal politburo of GOP veterans is to be believed, then Trump is: incompetent, dumb, unknowledgeable, cognitively challenged (doesn’t dumb cover that?); unable to feel others’ pain; unable to exercise good judgement, and beset by political distemper, a deadly illness in Washington DC.
Please, tell us how you really feel. Are they pillars of the GOP establishment? Or what remains of it’s formerly impressive edifice? There are recognizable names, and all have been fairly prominent legislators. Mid-level retired soldiers of the Republican legislative army. Their open letter has been timed, naturally, to cause maximum damage to Trump’s campaign and to poison his chances of recovering some ground in Sunday’s 2nd presidential debate.
So it will take up the next day or maybe two in the media. And hopefully, in these former legislators’ plan, work its way into the debate on Sunday, where Hillary’s team is already thinking up folksy, gosh-will-ya-look-at-that, ways to thrust it’s contents in Trump’s face, and delight in his response.
Does Jim Leach – one of the more recognizable members of the Gang of 30 – matter to voters anymore? Perhaps it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t matter to voters, as long as he can ruin Trump’s Sunday night. But there is the question of why they waited so long. Clearly if they feel Trump’s statements and behavior during the primaries and in the general campaign were so alarming that they threaten America itself, as their open letter suggests, why wait until a few weeks before election night?
Do they feel that they can do more damage to Trump now, than perhaps a month or two ago? Has this been in the works for some time now?
This election has been astonishingly unique, to put in civil terms. And the fact that you have everyone from the far left media to conservative former legislators from his own party attacking Trump, means either he is truly unfit, or perhaps the rebellion he has harnessed, and yes manipulated, threatens more than just a few narrow special interests. Hillary managed to kill off the rebellion on the Democratic side. Trump literally lives off the rebellion on the Republican side. And that to almost everyone in the beltway, is truly unacceptable. To take seriously the unwashed anger at the political establishment in America is a deadly sin in their eyes.
In other words, Trump’s supporters are also: incompetent, dumb, uninformed, and intemperate according to the Gang of 30. Deplorable, really.
2016-10-06T19:41:20ZHave you heard of the lovely society? No it’s not a quaint reference to salon life in the Belle Epoque or the Gilded Age. It’s a philosophical concept courtesy of the once-conservative David Brooks, writing in the NYTimes. Roll up your sleeves fellow citizens and do your part. If you are to be part of […]
Have you heard of the lovely society? No it’s not a quaint reference to salon life in the Belle Epoque or the Gilded Age. It’s a philosophical concept courtesy of the once-conservative David Brooks, writing in the NYTimes. Roll up your sleeves fellow citizens and do your part. If you are to be part of the lovelies.
You see, apparently we all have a choice: to be a lovely or not to be a lovely. To be a lovely is to give. To your employer, to your neighborhood (exactly how remains unclear: by buying groceries? by fighting for subsidized rentals so property values decline?), and especially by giving to the government.
You give to the government. The government gives to you.
While this axiom of socially correct behavior inspires a few easy jokes about what the government gives to you and how they give it to you, Brooks’ new socialism is coached in strange, warm and fuzzy language. There is a sweet reverence for all the gifts that have been handed down over the nearly two and a half centuries since America was founded. There is the warm glow of patriotism. (Does David Brooks now call himself a patriot?) A common shared beauty that is the reward for being a lovely. Or is it a lovelite? Is David Brooks the Jane Austen of the New Socialism?
And if you actively seek to legally minimize the taxes you pay, you are of course, an unlovely. And unloved, and soiled even. This is satire right?
No, it’s another attack on Trump and his bragging about using the very legal method of carrying forward tax losses. And an attack on anyone who questions the economic logic of people like Tim Kaine, for example, declaring that tax cuts caused the great recession. And above all, it is merely David Brooks humbly doing his part for the lovely society. There are some nice little quotes – worthy perhaps of a little book? Brooks’ Little Rainbow Book? To wit:
Not apparently the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. In fact, lowering your taxes and advocating for limited government leads away from happiness, according to the lovely society. So while there is a professed sweet reverence for the founders, Brooks comes to bury them. Or at least to try and bury Trump and throw a little dirt on anyone who wishes to lessen the burden of taxes in their lives. And live a little more freely.
2016-10-04T00:23:29ZThe full court press is on. Even if the NBA doesn’t officially start until the 25th, we have the H team hard at work tossing the Tax Trump Story from one pair of eager hands, ready to draw blood at the keyboard, to another. Like an under appreciated point guard, the NYT’s Susanne Craig felt […]
The full court press is on. Even if the NBA doesn’t officially start until the 25th, we have the H team hard at work tossing the Tax Trump Story from one pair of eager hands, ready to draw blood at the keyboard, to another. Like an under appreciated point guard, the NYT’s Susanne Craig felt her heart famously skip a beat when she saw the old-fashioned manila envelope in her mailbox on a Friday night in late September. A real honest to goodness mailbox. She had a strange intuition her hunt for Trump’s Tax Returns (TTR) was about to bear fruit.
She took off the wrapper and swiftly passed the TTR to her colleague Barstow, and then brought in more NYT staff and the battle plan was laid, as they swiftly passed the TTR around as tax experts yelled instructions from courtside.
Last Saturday, they unleashed their volley, and are still eager to tell the story behind the story. Even as the rest of the media runs and runs with the actual story. Because there are so many angles to cover, it’s true.
Never mind that nothing Trump and his advisors seems to have done in preparing his 95 tax returns is illegal. Politically it’s a disaster precisely because Trump refused to release them for so long. The ability to carry forward tax losses to future years (and backwards for a couple of years as well) is now liberated from the world of accounting and tax law, and can roam free in the hearts of frustrated millennials around America. Are you a Bernie supporter who can’t quite trust Hillary? Just look at Trump’s Tax Returns!!
Are you a Trump-suspicious moderate Republican voter? Look at Trump’s Tax Returns!! Hillary herself was rubbing it in on Monday, shouting out how Trump abuses his power and games the system. Games the system. Get it? Games. Casinos in Atlantic City. Bankruptcy proceedings. Impoverished tiling sub-contractors weeping at the kitchen table while their wives (or husbands) put a pot of coffee on the stove and try to console them. It all fits so neatly and brings us … closer together.
How can you possibly not trust Hillary? Look at Trump’s Tax Returns!!
Even in the middle of Watergate – the real one some 40+ years ago – the media didn’t quite display such a profound dislike of Nixon the way they are now, with regard to Trump, in these final weeks of the 2016 campaign. From the halls of Hollywood to the shores of Long Island, they will fight the Democrat’s battles. By taxes, by beauty contestants, by shameless baiting of someone only to glad to take the bait. Once again.
From the New York A.G.’s office putting the kibosh on the Trump Foundation’s ability to fundraise (you didn’t do the paperwork! Ha Ha), to Alec Baldwin doing a pretty good imitation of Trump on a SNL sketch that basically redid the debate, just in case you missed it. Closer Together. In step.
This is why you get ahead of a story like this. Especially since it has been a story for most of the year, if not longer. Just ask Mitt Romney. Too late now. The full court press is on. And the final buzzer is uncomfortably close. Never mind that nothing illegal happened. Just look at those returns!!
2016-09-30T22:28:44ZJust around the time Mary Tyler Moore – make that Mary Richards of course – was moving to Minneapolis, a young college grad from North Carolina moved to NYC and became a teacher. The year Jimmy Carter was elected, she married a banker, having lived through the city’s financial near-collapse. And when the Mary Tyler […]Just around the time Mary Tyler Moore – make that Mary Richards of course – was moving to Minneapolis, a young college grad from North Carolina moved to NYC and became a teacher. The year Jimmy Carter was elected, she married a banker, having lived through the city’s financial near-collapse. And when the Mary Tyler Moore Show ended it’s glorious run in 1977, Carolyn Maloney entered local politics in the city she had adopted as her home. But make no mistake, Carolyn Maloney is no Mary Tyler Moore. She’s a tireless tigress of a legislator who is at the intersection of every major progressive political trend to have surfaced in America over the last generation or so. Including finance. Big finance. And she’s one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest boosters, especially in the House, where she also fights for every last billion of public funds for her constituents. The American Enterprise Institute has just released a report on Chinese investment in America over the last 8 years. You can download the spreadsheet and scroll down the numerous investments – many in the billion dollar range – and you will notice a name that keeps coming up, usually with a large sum next to the details of what company or sector the Chinese invested in. You betcha. Carolyn Maloney. Yes, it’s true. Her district is NYC’s 12th. Which includes the lower East Side and parts of Brooklyn and Queens. And has a per capita income around 75K. A little higher than Kentucky’s 5th congressional district in Lee County. For example. So it’s logical that some big deals get done in Maloney’s district. How big? According to the spreadsheet, 18.54 billion dollars worth. Chinese money, that is. Not total deals. Just Chinese money. Maybe Carolyn Maloney could work with Kentucky’s Hal Rogers and scare up some Chinese investment in coal. Which the Chinese burn a lot of in their homeland. But that won’t happen of course. Not yet at least. Not with Hillary in a still-undecided race with the man who Kentucky’s 5th district will likely be voting for. Not with Obama still in the White House. But it’s not completely out of the question for someone like Maloney. You see, she is the personification of intersectionality in action. Not as a haranguing professor browbeating students in a seminar at Oberlin College. But rather as a legislator who has been everywhere: from the 9/11 Commission Caucus to the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, to Credit Card Legislation, to even helping getting the long-delayed Second-Avenue Subway built. She is ranked as one of the most prolific legislators on the hill. Carolyn Maloney is the Compliance Dame. Everything is interconnected. There is therefore a legislative solution for every problem, imagined or real, objective or felt. You want to drill offshore? Go through Maloney’s Minerals Management Service Improvement Act. You want to fight to maintain subsidies for sugar growers in America? Get Maloney to host a fundraiser. You want universal child care like in Sweden? Start with Maloney’s Childcare Affordability Act. Or her Family Medical Leave and Inclusion Act. Do you need a vetting system to control foreign investments in America after the Dubai Ports World scandal? Go through Maloney. You want to turn your renminbi into dollars and drop a few billion on real estate or finance in America? Go through Carolyn Maloney. You wa[...]
2016-09-28T23:39:13ZPanic in the campaign headquarters. Pressure on the candidate. Mainstream Media sounding the alarms. Yes, Hillary’s campaign has plenty to ponder according to the pundits. Is this the media finally turning a more critical eye on the Democratic nominee? Not really. It’s more like an outsourcing of a portion of her campaign strategy and tactics […]
Panic in the campaign headquarters. Pressure on the candidate. Mainstream Media sounding the alarms. Yes, Hillary’s campaign has plenty to ponder according to the pundits. Is this the media finally turning a more critical eye on the Democratic nominee?
It’s more like an outsourcing of a portion of her campaign strategy and tactics to those in the media who – having decided that the debates are history with Hillary the winner in all 3, ignoring the tiny detail that there are 2 debates still to come – now are helping her shore up any targeted vulnerabilities in her voter base. Call it tough love.
Florida still is key. And like in 2000, there are a couple of problems in Florida for Hillary. She has to solve them to ensure she gets those 29 juicy electoral votes. Black voters are only 85% in her camp. A shameful shortcoming which has to be tackled head on. So her representatives and supporters in the Sunshine State – like Leslie Wimes and Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert – are busy revealing to Politico just how bad things are and how much work has to be done. Here’s a couple of lines from the article:
… she’s polling less than 85 percent among African-American voters in Florida, while Trump polls around 5 percent.
It’s not just Clinton’s margins with black voters that concerns Democrats.
Panic because Hillary’s not at Obama’s 95% mark with black voters in Florida. And then there’s the other problem. Like in 2000 and 1992, we have a third party candidate. We, in fact, have 2 third party candidates who are drawing away millennials from Hillary while barely impacting Trump’s numbers. So to ensure that the Johnson/Weld ticket doesn’t Nader (that’s a verb) Hillary’s election, The Hill helpfully has the most evil photograph of the silliest man in politics who is nothing if not affable and quirky. And the article helpfully lists the policy reasons why millennials will be forever guilty if they vote for Johnson or Stein. Maybe sent to a special place in Hell?
We are in the final weeks, approaching the final 40 days, and the echo chamber is dialed up to 11 to do it’s patriotic duty: ensure that voters are informed of the issues – the ones that make them vote for Hillary. They successfully badgered and browbeat Lester Holt to ensure there was no repeat of Matt Lauer’s performance. And now they have turned their sound system straight at the voters. Those targeted voters who will make the difference in Hillary’s quest for 270 plus electoral votes. They are spinning up a storm as they toss out energy drinks to a reluctant and suspicious crowd of young voters. Slamming the needle, pumping up the volume.
There has rarely if ever been a media storm so one sided in electoral history. And yes, there are more than a few pundits – both conservative as well as liberal – who feel Trump deserves the volume. But they are setting a dangerous precedent.
2016-09-28T00:27:09ZAs the left, from Vox to Politico and from CNN to MSNBC, delight at what they see as Trump’s poor first debate performance, here’s an idea that Donald Trump could use to boost his next performance. Show that the presidency of the United States of America matters more to you than your brand. Because that’s […]
As the left, from Vox to Politico and from CNN to MSNBC, delight at what they see as Trump’s poor first debate performance, here’s an idea that Donald Trump could use to boost his next performance. Show that the presidency of the United States of America matters more to you than your brand.
Because that’s a problem. Not that it is only Donald Trump that has corporate interests that could conflict with his role as the next president of America. The Clinton Foundation mixes money and politics in a shamelessly seamless way. There is nothing shamed or seamed about Bill and Hillary Clinton. But it’s all beltway stuff with the Clintons. Some of it was paid for directly by the U.S. taxpayer, when Hillary received her salary as Senator and then Secretary of State, for example. Some of it was paid by book sales. Much of it was paid for by speaking fees, especially Bill Clinton, but Hillary as well. All of it was directly related to politics. Building their wealth by leveraging their political power in all sorts of ways as they rose through the state and federal political structure of America was the Clinton’s daily bread.
Trump, on the other hand, has been a developer-turned-media-marketing-mogul. He built his brand the old-fashioned way, through bankruptcy and real estate bubbles and busts. And he survived and prospered – exactly by how much he prospered remains to be seen of course. And through it all, the one constant was building and rebuilding his brand.
When he decided to enter politics, Trump had a choice. He could finance and support an existing politician whose views and policies he found engaging. Or he could enter himself. He did and despite the amused predictions of a colorful collapse, he survived. And he did more than survive. He won. He is now 2 debates and a slender few (at this point) percentage points from winning the White House.
Did he really think he’d get this far? It has been suggested that he did not. But the energy and gusto with which he has taken on one challenge after another – whatever antipathy his methods have provoked in both parties – suggests he was in it to win from the start. And whether he really thought he could win it all in the June of 2015 has long been a moot point. Because he really could win it all now.
To do that he needs to let go of his brand. Not his past. His brand. Yes, he needs to effectively point out how he understands job creation from the inside of a business. And not from a policy brief in an office in the White House or on the Hill. But he can never let Hillary bait him so easily by disparaging his brand and questioning how he built it. He has to work past that, if he can.
Is he narcissistic? Pretty clearly, yes he can be. Perhaps he needs to be just a touch more of a sociopath. Able to disconnect and reconnect with whatever emotion is handy at any given moment. And do it on a dime, like Bill Clinton noticing the video camera at Ron Brown’s funeral, and switching from a chuckle to shedding tears at the drop of a hat. Now that’s impressive.
But more than anything, if Trump can keep his brand at an emotional arms length, he might find it easier to avoid the traps that Hillary’s team meticulously laid for him at the Hofstra debate.
2016-09-23T20:09:46ZYou’re nearly as dumb as Gary Johnson, who apparently doesn’t need cannabis to go from affable to really weird at the drop of a hat. You know why you are? Because you don’t get Aleppo. Just like Gary, despite his protestations of: oh, yeah, got it. You don’t get it however. Here’s why. Aleppo is […]
You’re nearly as dumb as Gary Johnson, who apparently doesn’t need cannabis to go from affable to really weird at the drop of a hat. You know why you are? Because you don’t get Aleppo. Just like Gary, despite his protestations of: oh, yeah, got it. You don’t get it however. Here’s why.
Aleppo is hot, dry and in the middle of a hot, dry country. This what those who know tell us. And that is one of the main reasons why people are killing each other and why refugees have been streaming out of Syria and through Turkey and the Balkans and into the EU. There are other minor factors like a ruthless second-generation autocrat killing as many of his fellow Syrians as necessary to cling to power, but you have to keep the weather in mind, don’t you see?
Praise be to Obama then for stroking his pen underneath yet another executive order – who needs Congress? – and pulling together 20 federal agencies of all sorts to ensure that climate change will be placed firmly at the table when the Chiefs of Staff and intelligence agencies analyze the world’s hot spots. A fortunate turn of phrase if you believe the EPA needs to be part of the provisioning of the men and women who risk their lives around the world for the sake of their country.
So there it is: the Presidential Memorandum on Climate Change and National Security. Signed, sealed, but not really delivered. Not yet at least. But here’s the thing. Obama is not crazy. He is not a lone wolf acting on his peculiar vision that makes him hear voices in his head. Would that it would be so simple. But no. He is putting into action what an increasing percentage of the academic and even, yes, the intelligence communities actually believe. It’s a brave, dangerous and exciting new world. You can be a lover of emissions-trading, vegan, environmental analyst. And guess what? There’s a job opening for you at the NSA. Not just the EPA.
And that’s why Congress should have no place in this matter. They would actually strike committees and hold hearings and listen to evidence and debate loudly and publicly amongst themselves. With representatives of industry and science and environmental groups and other stakeholders having their say in front of the media’s prying presence. Both about the actual data on global warming, and on whether an added layer of bureaucracy with it’s own vested interests is the best way to forge national security. For America and for it’s allies. You don’t imagine China striking those sorts of committees, somehow. Or Russia.
By the way, Aleppo has a cool steppe climate and sits on a plateau about twelve hundred feet above sea level. And yes, it’s relatively dry with winters having rare snowfalls. Snow. Falling. But only rarely of course. On Friday it had a high of 77 F and a low of 59.
The bombs being dropped by Syrian and/or Russian jets, however, produce a great deal more heat for the unfortunate souls who have to try and survive them.
2016-09-22T18:13:24ZThe details are different between what happened in Charlotte and Tulsa, and the reaction has been more violent in Charlotte, but certainly angry in Tulsa. And Tulsa is where Trump has decided to stake out a position, by questioning police actions in the shooting of a black man in a strange confrontation involving an abandoned […]
The details are different between what happened in Charlotte and Tulsa, and the reaction has been more violent in Charlotte, but certainly angry in Tulsa. And Tulsa is where Trump has decided to stake out a position, by questioning police actions in the shooting of a black man in a strange confrontation involving an abandoned vehicle in the middle of the road.
If it was Hillary doing this, it would be par for the course. But Trump has suddenly turned on a dime from supporting police forces, after having earned the endorsement of the National Fraternal Order of Police fairly recently, and having been seen as a strong supporter of police officers across the country.
Is it a one-off comment in a church in Cleveland for the benefit of his African American audience? And will it work? And how will police officers associations react?
We’ll see is the best answer that can be given right now. In Tulsa there is clear footage from a helicopter of most of the event. But even then, police officials and supporters and friends and family of Terrence Crutcher have opposing interpretations of the facts. He had his hands up. True. But Officer Shelby states he was refusing her orders to kneel down on the pavement. He lowered his right arm and appears to be reaching into the car. For a gun? No gun was found and the car window was up, apparently. Was Crutcher high on PCP? The narcotic was found in his car, but no results for tests on Crutcher have been released or perhaps even done. Should that have changed Officer Shelby’s attitude?
Crutcher’s family paint the portrait of a decent father who was attending community college. Police seem to have seen a dangerous “bad dude” who happened to be large, and black. And acting strangely, perhaps high on PCP. Does that, however, justify pulling the trigger? Or would Officer Shelby have done better to hold back a few yards and let her colleagues taser the man. Which is exactly what one of the officers was doing at almost the exact moment when she decided to pull the trigger.
And into these turbulent waters Trump has decided to wade. Is he ready to defend his actions? Because Hillary will jump all over his comments on the Tulsa shooting, in order to score points with her audience. And Hillary’s audience would love Trump to be accused of pandering to African Americans for the sake of a town hall in a black church.
One suspects that groups like the Fraternal Order of Police will limit their reactions until more information is available in both cases. And will give Trump a waiver, while expressing their support for the men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis. Trump could have waited perhaps. And he will certainly claim his comments were taken out of context, and that he was merely expressing concern at what he saw in the footage. And that he will wait for more information to come out before making a judgement.
At the same time, in his Hannity Town Hall, Trump praised the results obtained by NYC’s stop-and-frisk program, as a way to reduce black on black violence. And the tweeted calls for unity in Charlotte and Tulsa. One suspects that Hillary’s debate support staff are taking detailed notes.
2016-09-20T17:15:14ZTerrorism has been a defining force in American politics for nearly two decades now. Like it or not. Bush 43 was going to be the education president. He is now remembered as the president who had to take on the war on terror, like no other president before him. And since, unfortunately. One can argue […]Terrorism has been a defining force in American politics for nearly two decades now. Like it or not. Bush 43 was going to be the education president. He is now remembered as the president who had to take on the war on terror, like no other president before him. And since, unfortunately. One can argue over what tactics and strategies are best. The Iraq invasion looks less wise with each passing year. But one cannot argue over George W. Bush’s commitment to fight terrorism. The same cannot be said of President Obama. Because he has willfully refused to define it as a war against terrorism. As if somehow he could negotiate his way around the brutal reality of radical jihadist terrorism. He’s still trying. After the weekend of terrorist attacks in NYC, New Jersey, and Minnesota, Obama lectured the media not to jump to conclusions and “get ahead” of the story. Like a mildly annoyed college professor dressing down his pupils for not turning in well written essays. At every stage of his presidency, Obama has tried to downplay and qualify and relativize islamic terrorism. And as part of his now near-delirious insistence on his view that jihadism is not as great a threat as people think, the West must appease Islam. Or risk angry retaliation on the part of islamic peace-loving faithful who shall be pushed to take up workshops in IED’s because the West, and America, dare to defend themselves. Jihadims is always the West’s fault by his progressively perverse logic. And of course, as Josh Earnest whined in an interview, we can’t let ISIL control the narrative by allowing them to turn their terrorism into a battle of the West versus Islam. Because that’s what will happen if we use phrases like: radical islamic terrorism. Does Earnest really believe what he’s made to say anymore? Maybe he does. Or maybe as a good spokesperson, he does his best to transmit his leader’s will to the public at large. It’s getting to the point where comparing Obama’s foreign policy to Jimmy Carter’s is a bit of an insult to the former governor of Georgia. But Obama is, tragically, not at all alone in this matter. From Merkel opening up the borders of Germany and allowing terrorists in with the refugees, to British police who refuse to take action when they fear it will stir up complaints of islamophobia, even if it involves the abuse of adolescents, leaders in the West are paralyzed by the fear of being branded racist. But that’s what aggressive activists on the left have done to speech in North America and Europe and around the world. Naming and Shaming, in everything from transgender bathrooms to micro-aggressions, has wrought a deadly silence on those who need to muster the strength and courage, but also the intellectual flexibility, to deal with what is a serious problem. And not one that merely affects the West. Terrorism has caused far more deaths in the Middle East and Asia, as well as Africa. But freedom of expression is not always a right in many of these countries. Nor is it expected to be. It is a right in much of the West. At least in theory. Because right now, fear in of being shamed seems greater than the courage to deal with terrorism. Obama, however, is not someone fearful of being shamed. He actually and whole heartedly believes the progressive ideol[...]
2016-09-19T23:17:43ZMillennials would rather hang with Gary What’s-a-Leppo? Johnson than Hillary. Trump has for some unknown reason decided to dig up the birther zombie again and annoy mainstream media at the same time with his version of what a press conference is. And Nate Silver just doesn’t know; as he asks us to wait another week […]Millennials would rather hang with Gary What’s-a-Leppo? Johnson than Hillary. Trump has for some unknown reason decided to dig up the birther zombie again and annoy mainstream media at the same time with his version of what a press conference is. And Nate Silver just doesn’t know; as he asks us to wait another week for the data to show some trend that might impact the final, actual, pull the-damn-lever, vote on November 8th. What five thirty eight’s data guru seems to mean is that, while the polls have gyrated around a trendline or mean of a Hillary 5 point lead, it is almost impossible to suggest this pattern will continue in the final weeks of this very unique election. There is no long term equilibrium seems to be Nate Silver’s big worry. Trump is not a GOP-typical candidate, so you can’t compare him to any other Republican when trying to detect a statistical pattern. At the same time, will Hillary’s ground game overcome the noticeable relative lack of enthusiasm among her supporters? Given that her base of support is far more urban and therefore concentrated, while Trump’s is far more rural and dispersed, will Trump’s enthusiasm advantage translate into actual votes? Doesn’t Trump’s much smaller team (or the RNC structure to be more accurate) have to literally cover way more real estate to get out a similar number of votes? Or is there a silent army of Trump supporters who will drive (rather than walk a few city blocks) to the polls and surprise the predictors? All these questions are producing far more stress than a few months ago, because it is no longer clear that Hillary will be president. The experts – as personified by Silver – are suddenly unsure of the final result in a way that they haven’t been before. And there is now more than a little panic. Among Republicans that is. Not just Dems and MSM pundits. Even as the GOP see their grip on the Senate perhaps being just firm enough to hold on to a slim majority. Never mind Charles Blow or Rachel Maddow. Jim Geraghty of National Review fame listed a very funny but pointed list of some of the consequences of a Trump victory. The finger pointing within the GOP if Trump wins and the Senate is lost would be ugly. Or if Trump loses and the Senate also goes Democrat. Or, if Trump does win, aside from imagining the transition between Obama’s and Trump’s administration, the legacy of Obama’s 8 years would be in tatters. How could a prosperous, happy America elect someone like Trump?, the progressives who adore Obama right now would howl. And Hillary. If she loses to Trump – though the odds still are that she probably won’t – she will be reviled and attacked like no other Democrat. Not even McGovern. With both liberal and conservative media piling on about what a terrible candidacy hers was and how could the Democrats have nominated her? All the questions that were angrily dismissed after her sunny yet righteously angry convention just a few weeks ago will come roaring back in the very mouths of those who dismissed them back in late July. This is starting to look like the election with no winners, precisely because of much of the media’s contempt for Trump. And its partisan water carrying for Hi[...]
2016-09-14T23:48:03ZIt didn’t take long. But we’ll see if it has legs and can last. The Hillary camp – and it’s a really big tent, folks all the way from State AG’s offices to mainstream media outlets like Newsweek – hit back quickly to try and divert some of the lousy press HRC has been getting […]It didn’t take long. But we’ll see if it has legs and can last. The Hillary camp – and it’s a really big tent, folks all the way from State AG’s offices to mainstream media outlets like Newsweek – hit back quickly to try and divert some of the lousy press HRC has been getting over the last week. Especially this last weekend. Never mind that even her own supporters are asking for Hillary to be a little less Nixonian in her attitudes towards transparency. The Trump Empire is an evil one and a widespread one. And one that will cause irreparable damage to America’s foreign policy should Donald J. Trump actually be elected president. And they will kindly share this vital information with the public. As many times as necessary. In a hit piece in Newsweek, Kurt Eichenwald carefully details possible conflicts of interest that might arise from Trump’s numerous business connections around the world. From Korea to India to Russia, and especially the Middle East, Trump’s relationships with local developers – who put the buildings up and then pay Trump to slap his name on them – could cause conflicts of interest between American foreign policy and Trump’s own economic interests.Even if the details seem a little stretched at times. And whether certain developers really did break the rules, or merely fell out of favor with the ruling party is an open question. Trump, and his family, must divest all – they practically shout – after first submitting to an inquiry. Never mind bothering with the Clinton Foundation, which is all about charity and not paying to play, as Eichenwald reassures his readers. It’s Trump’s relationship with (currently out of favor) developers in key ally Turkey that should cause panic. Or in India. And the Gulf States as well. It certainly is valid to seek out information on Trump’s business interests. And the fact that he hasn’t released, and may not release, his tax returns is something that journalists of all persuasions should and do focus on. But the timing of Eichenwald’s piece is a little suspicious. Coming on practically the same day that New York AG Schneiderman announced his office is opening an inquiry into the Donald J. Trump foundation, it feels like a well-marshalled counter attack against Trump’s campaign to try and do something to stop the momentum that is steadily shifting to Trump’s side. Mainstream media has practically sworn to do their best to prevent a Trump presidency, and this certainly is proof of that. Will the inquiry reveal scandalous pay-for-play at Trump’s charity? Trump’s organization donated $25,000 to a political group associated with Florida AG Pam Bondi. And that may have caused her not to open an investigation into Trump University. At least, that’s the accusation. For not disclosing the donation, Trump was fined $2,500, and he also took back the donation. Is this a scandal? Schneiderman will do his best to make sure it becomes one. Time will tell, but the New York AG is not beyond shrill activism, as a few oil company executives will testify to. I know, let’s get CNN’s Anderson Cooper to interview Pam Bondi. It seems clear that Trump’s business act[...]
2016-09-13T00:20:56ZThank you alert Twitter user for your footage of Hillary Clinton having a rough few moments as she was being bundled into her vehicle by the strong arms of her security personnel. Nice that you happened to have a tripod or very steady hands, whoever you were. What if that footage had not happened and […]Thank you alert Twitter user for your footage of Hillary Clinton having a rough few moments as she was being bundled into her vehicle by the strong arms of her security personnel. Nice that you happened to have a tripod or very steady hands, whoever you were. What if that footage had not happened and not gone viral? If Hillary had made it smiling and waving quickly, before climbing into the vehicle and had then collapsed inside? Would we have had disclosure later Sunday on the bare facts of her pneumonia? Or would there have been a discrete silence, followed by an announcement that Bill Clinton would be filling in for her out west in California this week? Followed by speculation about her health. Followed by angry denouncements by her campaign team and her supporters that Trump’s followers and the media had it in for her. Because she happens to be a woman. David Axelrod – who is as responsible as anyone for Obama’s successful election campaigns – expressed concern over Hillary Clinton’s zealous need for privacy, and the “unnecessary problems” that creates. That’s a diplomatic way of summing up Hillary’s biggest vulnerability. People don’t trust her, because they can never believe she’s quite being straight with them. This latest stumble has that lack of trust metastasizing into concerns even on the part of her own party that suddenly she may not be up to the job. In the most basic physical meaning. Yes, FDR’s handlers hid his polio and their candidate became a defining figure in American politics. Yes, Kennedy’s handlers hid his Addison’s disease and more than a few shady dealings. But these are unsustainable options in 21st century politics. All it takes is one Twitter feed, to blow the lid off a hermetically sealed campaign strategy. So now we have good old Bill Clinton on the way to California apparently to fill in. And nasty talk of Joe Biden being considered as a sudden back-up for Hillary should the unthinkable happen, and she be unable to continue in her quest for the presidency. The kind of talk that made Howard Dean furious at that vast right wing media outlet, National Public Radio. In light of this nervous chatter, perhaps Joe Biden offering her his advice to take 6 days off for every 3 days off her doctors recommend is a little unseemly. Even if Biden is more than ready to look forward to his well-earned retirement as he works the hustings one last time for Hillary. Yes, apparently Article 2, Section 7, of the DNC bylaws does give the DNC authority to fill vacancies in the nominees for president and vice president. Donna Brazile, interim chair, suddenly has a possible added task she never thought she’d have. Right? No, Hillary will likely not drop out. Yes, illness is part of many past candidates and office holders. Especially given that most are in their 50’s or older. But once again, the need to carefully control an official story has led to more questions than Hillary’s campaign would like. Will this story really be a problem several weeks from now? It certainly could. It depends on whether Hillary bombs in the debates. Will she then blame Trump’s “deplorables”? Or blame her comments regarding half of[...]
2016-09-09T21:15:49ZIn the new Suffolk University poll, Trump has edged past Hillary Clinton by a slender margin in North Carolina, but well within the margin of error. Ahead none the less. The unfavorables for both candidates are high, higher than their favorables, and as a sort of extension of that, the undecideds are statistically significant. Especially […]In the new Suffolk University poll, Trump has edged past Hillary Clinton by a slender margin in North Carolina, but well within the margin of error. Ahead none the less. The unfavorables for both candidates are high, higher than their favorables, and as a sort of extension of that, the undecideds are statistically significant. Especially seeing we’re in the post-Labor Day stretch. 11% were either unsure of who to vote for for president, or unwilling to say who would be their choice. And in the senate race between GOP incumbent Burr and Democrat challenger Deborah Ross, the don’t-know-won’t-say crowd is double the percentages in the presidential race. 22% either don’t know who they’ll vote for, or won’t say who they’ll vote for when it comes to the senate race. Now, the importance of this election has been broadcast continually for about a year, with even louder cries of how much hangs in the balance since Trump won the nomination of the Republican Party. The Supreme Court. The battle with ISIS and how to keep the nation secure. But especially how to bring back strong economic growth and somehow combat a growing feeling of economic stagnation and lost opportunity that’s backed up by the slow growth numbers and the 6 or 7 million silent army of unemployed middle aged men. These indeed are key issues and who gets elected president on November 8 matters. As does who holds the Senate. So are these fairly sizable number of undecideds a case of just now tuning in to the electoral campaigns? Or is it voters showing their clear hesitancy to embrace either candidate? Or voters keeping their choices to themselves in what is as partisan and hostile an electoral environment as America has seen for some time? Whether North Carolina is indeed a tipping point state, or swing state, or not, every poll from here on in will help clarify the race in ways earlier polls cannot. The Tar Heel State’s 15 electoral college votes are not quite Ohio’s 18 or Pennsylvania’s 20, but it is a significant enough amount. No, it’s not Florida with its 29 electoral votes with the sunshine state’s tight race once again looming large. But maybe it’s a sign that Trump’s tightening the gap is a gaining trend. And if that’s the case, expect Hillary’s campaign to ramp up the attacks to an even nastier level with Trump counter punching as hard as he can. As in the Commander-in-Chief forum moderated/hosted by Matt Lauer, where they each tried to paint the other as unfit to lead the nation’s armed forces. And continued doing so the next day. Yes, the demographics in Florida are very different from those in North Carolina. Florida being just the kind of place that home boy Rubio should have swept in the primaries. Which means nothing can be taken for granted, except maybe that California will stay deeply blue. So as five thirty eight’s Nate Sliver wrote a few days ago, look at how the polls are in a couple of weeks on the eve of the first debate. If Trump is still ahead in places like North Carolina that means he’s fought off a Democratic challenge in what should have been a safe state for him. Whe[...]
2016-09-08T21:00:08ZWith her campaign plane behind her, Hillary berated the assembled press for their unfair treatment of her, the first female president of the United States. In waiting. Unless the polls keep tightening. In which case, it’s not just Hannity’s fault. It’s the entire mainstream media’s fault. 15 minutes and 6 questions. That’s very efficient, isn’t […]
With her campaign plane behind her, Hillary berated the assembled press for their unfair treatment of her, the first female president of the United States. In waiting. Unless the polls keep tightening. In which case, it’s not just Hannity’s fault. It’s the entire mainstream media’s fault.
15 minutes and 6 questions. That’s very efficient, isn’t it? 2 and 1/2 minutes per question on average and you’re back in the air and on to the next stop. And it makes sense to keep the misguided press to questions limited to things like how does it feel to be treated differently because you’re a woman – rather than a single question on the FBI’s latest report on her email scandal – because the real action is elsewhere. As in the vast progressive echo chamber that has been flogging the mainstream media even if it really kinda resembles mainstream media itself. And certainly feeds mainstream media with the Hillary-Correct narrative. Never to be confused with the evil Hillary-Crooked narrative.
Yes Twitter is where the warning shots are being fired. Where the true dem-blue narrative is being nudged into place. Like an Elon Musk rocketship steaming away on it’s launching pad. Nick Merril and Jon Favreau sent out sharp little twit-jabs against reporters who dared talk about Hillary’s health, for example. The WaPo’s Chris Cillizza sneered at those who waste their time on issues like Hillary’s health. And deftly explained why it was valid to worry about McCain’s health, but it is biased and ridiculous to do the same when it’s Hillary Clinton. And Jim Manley helped place all that silly anti-Hillary talk in its proper context: alt-right fringe ranting. Yes, ask a polite question about Hillary Clinton’s health and you will be outed as a white supremacist.
What more do you expect in terms of tactics from the progressively righteous left when they set their sights on controlling a narrative that displeases them? It’s in their DNA to shout down, or attempt to shame, any fact, opinion, or other item of speech that offends them. Or gets in the way of their official narrative of Hillary as the best-prepared candidate for the presidency. Ever. So please stick to the approved script or they will do their best to shut you up. We have all been warned.
2016-09-08T18:30:59ZNow that Myra Adams, writing in the Washington Examiner, has let the world know that Trump TV is not just a rumor but a very real option, a new post-Labor Day question must be asked. What if Trump wins? If Adams is right and the CEO and COO of this yet-to-be media empire is in […]
Now that Myra Adams, writing in the Washington Examiner, has let the world know that Trump TV is not just a rumor but a very real option, a new post-Labor Day question must be asked. What if Trump wins?
If Adams is right and the CEO and COO of this yet-to-be media empire is in fact Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, then maybe Trump TV has both outcomes covered. If Trump loses – especially if it’s a very tight result – then he will assume the chairman’s role at Trump TV and become it’s spiritual leader and branding image. With the rebellion against the establishment still burning in the aftermath of a Hillary victory, what better environment to launch a media network that aims to capture a significant segment of conservative and/or populist voters?
If Trump wins the presidency, then it gets really interesting. If this planned media group is indeed to be mostly internet focused, with advice, but not day to day involvement, from Breitbart’s Steve Bannon, (who left his chairman post at the media group to help run Trump’s campaign), then Jared Kushner will have to build an internet based media group which appeals to Trump’s angry supporters. Who will now have their man in the White House. And theoretically be a little less angry.
Ah, but the separation of powers ensures plenty of anger at every legislative roadblock that President Trump would meet for his ambitious agenda. So Jared could be head of a partisan news and opinion outlet that would help out his father-in-law get his proposals into workable laws. Or he could cheerlead Trump’s suddenly pragmatic coalition building once he’s in the Oval Office, the new president confounding everyone except Rudy Giuliani, Eric, Donald Jr., and Hannity.
Or. Jared could build on his present media holdings, Observer Media, and turn it into an even bigger power player. What would his new and jacked Observer look like? Well, there’s one respected law professor and conservative commentator who might be interested in working with Jared. Greta Van Susteren. And Kushner’s New Observer Media Empire might not turn out to be as pro-Trump as everyone expects it to be. The son-in-law was running his own family’s business well before he hooked up with Ivanka.
There is another possibility. A Third Way if you will. Trump wins. Trump TV goes into production with Trump as a weekly guest. Or the president could appear even more frequently perhaps. Imagine President Trump being as available for interviews as he was back a few months ago. On Trump TV.
Wait a minute. Come on. Jared Kushner would have to rename the media group, if Trump wins in November.
2016-09-02T20:33:57ZIt doesn’t matter who wins the election in November. If you’re Putin, that is. He’s got all the bases covered. That’s essentially the conclusion that John Schindler, writing for Jared Kushner’s Observer, has come to. And this is someone with lots of experience in the security and intelligence areas. While Manafort and others in, or […]It doesn’t matter who wins the election in November. If you’re Putin, that is. He’s got all the bases covered. That’s essentially the conclusion that John Schindler, writing for Jared Kushner’s Observer, has come to. And this is someone with lots of experience in the security and intelligence areas. While Manafort and others in, or out of, Trump’s campaign team have well-known connections to Moscow and Putin allies in the Ukraine, Hillary Clinton is hardly clean when it comes to the Russian connection. Her role in 2010 at State in encouraging major Clinton Foundation donors like Google, Intel, and Cisco to promise billions of spending in Skolkovo, the Russian Silicon Valley that is in fact a military-state espionage center, means she has helped facilitate the transfer of American technology into the hands of Russian hackers and spies. And along with Obama, her reset with Russia and his need to evade confrontations with an aggressive Putin administration, has left the Russian strongman feeling like the bully on the block. And as far as cyber-warfare is concerned, that’s exactly what Russia has become. Now bullies are usually full of bluster and not quite as dangerous as they like us to believe they are, so using a restrained approach to Putin only seems to encourage him. Jill Stein? She was in Moscow last winter, enjoying sightseeing in the Red Square and railing against American exceptionalism at an RT sponsored conference. RT as in Russian Television, the Putin propaganda machine. Gary Johnson? Maybe he’s not quite as explicitly linked to Putin’s propaganda and spy war, but as a non-interventionist, and perhaps an isolationist as well, he would hardly worry Moscow should he somehow manage to slip between Trump and Hillary in a bizarre election upset. And as a libertarian his concerns over internal surveillance add to the declining worth Americans put on their nation’s spies and the dangerous and vital work they do. How do you fight back in a cyber spy war against an authoritarian adversary which is drifting back to it’s totalitarian roots in many small and not so small ways? Does America’s conflicting opinions on how to fight the war against ISIS, for example, with former top soldiers attacking the current strategy, lead to effective military and intelligence policies? Clearly this is asymmetric intelligence warfare, between open democracies and closed thuggish authoritarian regimes. And we haven’t even mentioned China, which while it is more concerned with procuring industrial secrets from America’s top companies, is also aggressively expanding its sphere of influence in the Pacific. And while no one knows what we all don’t know about everything the NSA and other agencies are up to to defend American interests, they have been mercilessly exposed in several damaging scandals, with Russia always in the background. With polls as they are, perhaps the best one can hope for is that Hillary really is a female Nixon and will use her ability to shamelessly deal with and betray Putin [...]
2016-08-31T18:15:28ZNow that Kayla Mueller has been officially sanctified, we can turn our bleeding hearts to a crazed Canadian muslim convert and his American wife in Afghanistan, who have been held in captivity by the Taliban for several years. They went hiking in 2012 in a zone some 40 km from Kabul known to be a […]Now that Kayla Mueller has been officially sanctified, we can turn our bleeding hearts to a crazed Canadian muslim convert and his American wife in Afghanistan, who have been held in captivity by the Taliban for several years. They went hiking in 2012 in a zone some 40 km from Kabul known to be a Taliban stronghold. And guess what? The Taliban picked them up. The Canadian’s name is Joshua Boyle and he has had an obsession with terrorism and Islam for years now, according to a very unflattering profile by a Canadian website owned by Global News. His marriage to Caitlan Coleman is not his first. He was previously married to Omar Khadr’s sister. Yes, the Omar Khadr detained as an enemy combatant in Afghanistan in 2002 and held at Guantanamo Bay until his release a few years ago. Omar Khadr is now in a jail in Alberta. Boyle separated from Omar’s sister a few years ago, hooked up with Caitlan (he apparently met both online) and decided a walk in the hills of Afghanistan would be like, cool. What the hell was he and his poor duped wife up to? Was he looking to work with an NGO as seems to be the official rumor circulating? Was he going to spread his arms out over the bare brown hills and proclaim himself the sacred bridge between the Taliban and Christianity and the whole fricking West while he’s at it? Was he going to dig wells for the villagers? We now have two babies born in captivity and a literal sword hanging over their heads. They willfully walked into this nightmare. And it is more than likely that Joshua Boyle had delusional aspirations of some sort. So now he, his wife, and perhaps their two infant children are bargaining chips to be used by the Taliban against the Afghan government. Kayla Mueller went to Aleppo, a city in Syria just to be clear, after having worked with refugees in Turkey. Accompanied by her Medicines sans Frontiers boyfriend. The official story is they were kidnapped by ISIS. Kidnapped? What they did was like walking with a large target on one’s back into the woods in the middle of hunting season. Or maybe antlers taped to your head. Again, delusional stubbornness in the face of clear and present danger. There is no other way to describe what both couples did. Regardless of how brave they may be, or have been. Their need to confront danger – or far worse, their egotistical belief that they were different and not subject to the same risks – has caused great, great pain to their families and supporters, who will never put it that way for obvious reasons. They have also caused diplomatic and military and intelligence problems for their homelands. But they will be remembered – or welcomed if Boyle and Coleman and their infants manage to get of Afghanistan alive – as heroes and peacemakers. Perhaps Kayla will become a martyr, but of the soggy, feel-good activist sort. We will hear platitudes about how we cannot give in to fear from the mouths of those who would never risk their own lives in such foolhardy ways. But maybe Kayla, who seemed to have a very powerful will, wanted unconsciously perhaps to be something more like the early[...]
2016-08-29T21:37:09ZLabor is just one big happy family. Just ask James P. Hoffa, Jimmy’s son. And since the late 90’s, President of the Teamster’s. As he was slowly working his way up the ranks as a union lawyer from the late 60’s through the 70’s and 80’s, the Teamsters and other major unions were under mob […]
Labor is just one big happy family. Just ask James P. Hoffa, Jimmy’s son. And since the late 90’s, President of the Teamster’s. As he was slowly working his way up the ranks as a union lawyer from the late 60’s through the 70’s and 80’s, the Teamsters and other major unions were under mob control. Even if his progress went a little slower than hoped in the early years, given that his father was under investigation, or fighting charges, or in jail, or finally getting a pardon from Nixon in 1971
It’s an old story. Much older even than James P.’s father Jimmy Hoffa. Since at least the start of the 20th century, and likely decades earlier, organized crime and union politics have worked hand in glove. Or foot in concrete sometimes. And while you’ll be glad to know that mob rule in union business is less nowadays – thanks in part to crusading work by a then U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, Rudy Giuliani, in the mid-80’s – it ain’t quite over yet.
It certainly wasn’t over when Donald Trump was paying – like every major builder in New York City – a mob tax on concrete, for example. Even in 2014, a WSJ article quoted sources that stated the Luchese and Genovese crime families still had influence, or had been able to once again infiltrate several unions.
So maybe Trump feels a little betrayed by the Teamsters endorsing Hillary Clinton. Or maybe James P. – having seen more than his fair share of dirty politics, and worse, over his lifetime – placed what he feels is a safe bet on the outcome in November. After watching from the sidelines for more than a few months.
Why is it that unions and mob corruption seem to end up in bed, over and over again? The rough and tumble world of late 19th century labor organizing in the face of sometimes deadly strikebreakers was indeed a survival of the fittest. Or the thugiest. Violent and hierarchical. Just like Organized Crime. Yes, the world has changed, but the links still linger.
How will Hillary spin this latest endorsement? Seeing that the Teamsters shared the stage with Bernie Sanders recently, and seeing that union thuggery (whether physical or symbolic) and Democrat politicians have a long, if certainly not exclusive, relationship, this endorsement will likely be spun as just working women and men getting behind Hillary.
It’s funny, but this race at times seems to resemble a race somehow between Goldwater and Nixon. With The Teamsters on her side, just like Nixon in 1972, maybe Hillary really is in cruise control, if a little panicked as of late. She must hope that the Nixon-in-72 analogy ends on November 9, 2016, however. With no 1973-1974 style misfortunes waiting for Hillary. But that, BleachBits and all, remains to be seen.
2016-08-26T23:07:58ZIf she could just get Jeb Bush to campaign with her, Hillary would have Florida all sewn up, wouldn’t she? They could share the stage and talk about immigration and Common Core and Lincoln and diversity, and what the GOP should stand for. And give a nice thumbs up to Bush 43. Hillary’s game for […]
If she could just get Jeb Bush to campaign with her, Hillary would have Florida all sewn up, wouldn’t she? They could share the stage and talk about immigration and Common Core and Lincoln and diversity, and what the GOP should stand for. And give a nice thumbs up to Bush 43. Hillary’s game for anything, except perhaps doing much to placate Bernie Sanders stragglers and doubters.
If Trump engineered a takeover of a divided GOP, it seems Hillary is trying to behave like a Vulture investor, flapping in with claws bared and bloodied beak wide open, to feast on the morsels of those who cannot and will not and shall not follow Trump.
The problem is, who wants to be the afternoon snack of a foul smelling carrion-eater? Who wants to be thought of as carrion in the first place?? You think you’re marching heroically through the symbolic smoke of Saratoga, or Gettysburg, with shredded uniform but with rifle still in hand, and suddenly you’re told you’re just a corpse waiting to be picked apart, bite by bite?
In other words, will Hillary’s aggressive bid to shame independents and doubters into voting for her, or at least hiding at home on November 8, actually work? Her ad campaign is beyond over-the-top with her KKK footage. And all this from a deeply untrustworthy candidate in most voters’ eyes, during an election that has been about voter rebellion against the status quo. In both parties.
That depends on how hard she continues to push it. And it also depends on how Trump reacts. His response in New Hampshire seemed smart and reasonable, by accusing her of smearing decent people. A sentiment more than a few Republican voters, even those inclined against Trump, would share. Will Trump, however, be tempted to fire back in ways that backfire? Seeing that Steve Bannon is as much of a target of Hillary’s latest attacks as Trump himself is, it is key how Bannon advises Trump to respond to the charges that his followers are crazed, fringe racists. Which a few undoubtedly are, but most would and do angrily reject the charge.
It’s about 2 and 1/2 weeks before the State Department has to start releasing some of the 14,900 emails recently uncovered, according to the latest judicial order. For now, Hillary has filled the stage with the smoke of racist-themed battles, and managed to divert the snipers from targeting the Clinton Foundation’s relationship with her, during her time at State.
But the story will re-emerge with details like the BleachBit app that apparently was used to wipe her server clean. That’s an industrial cleaner, if you will, used to get rid of information you don’t want anyone looking into. Some of that info appears to have been reconstructed. So for now, the battle is about the alt-right and Trump. But we’ll see what the headlines are in the 10-odd days leading up to the first debate in September.
2016-08-25T18:33:04ZThe Southern border is anything you want it to be. If you’re Erica Grieder, it’s a waterway (where the Rio Grande is the border, that is) that Texans have a historical and apparently ecological right to access. If you’re a libertarian NeverTrump’er, it’s a delusional fantasy to build any structure, and all of that should […]The Southern border is anything you want it to be. If you’re Erica Grieder, it’s a waterway (where the Rio Grande is the border, that is) that Texans have a historical and apparently ecological right to access. If you’re a libertarian NeverTrump’er, it’s a delusional fantasy to build any structure, and all of that should be forgotten about. If you’re an angry pro-immigration activist, it’s an oppressive barrier to the free movement of your constituency, illegals. If you’re a progressive policy wonk, the border is a mere transition space that responds to the mix of economic incentives and cultural push and pull that affect the flows of people across it. If you’re a employer in industries like hospitality or fast food or construction, it’s the gateway to lower labor costs. And if you’re a drug dealer, it represents the frontier between areas of production and consuming markets. Of course, if you believe that a border demarcates the limits of the sovereign territory of the United States of America, then it should be a controlled and secure frontier where the American government and it’s agents determine who enters and leaves. And how. Which is what borders have tended to mean around the globe, until the specifics of illegal migration into America over the past few decades grabbed the concept and dragged it into the realm of social policy. And the border became a metaphorical and even a real magnet for activists of all sorts to hang their radical goals on. And many have gladly and glibly gone along with the ride, because they couldn’t stand the guy pointing out what a border should mean. But then Trump took the issue away from Ted Cruz, and then people really, really got righteous at the idea that a border means something legal and sovereign. And so, for Donald Trump, here in late August, what does the border now mean? Don’t ask Steve Bannon, he’s nowhere to be seen in these last few days. He’s likely more focused on Hillary and the Clinton Foundation scandals. Instead, it’s Kellyanne Conway and Mike Pence who are doing most of the message refining on the part of Trump, who has been pivoting just a little in the last area people expected him to pivot: immigration. A speech is coming, perhaps not this Thursday, but within the next few days, but a speech on immigration is coming. What will Trump say? In the last week or so, what he says on immigration has depended in part on his audience: softer with Hispanics, harder with his standard audience. So for now the border has become a high-wire balancing act for The Donald. With Law and Order on one side, and a vague promise not to implement mass deportations on the other. Immigration and trade have been two core issues for Trump and are vital concerns for much of his supporters. Can he find a way to justify pulling back on threatened deportations in a way that does not erode his credibility as the law and order candidate in the e[...]
2016-08-24T16:27:17ZOne of the many skill sets you need as president is how to fire people. In many ways. Sometimes with effusive praise, especially if they’ve taken a bullet for you. Sometimes with concerned humanitarianism, if the fired subordinate has been a crazy fool. Sometimes with crisp formality if it was really a mess that necessitated […]One of the many skill sets you need as president is how to fire people. In many ways. Sometimes with effusive praise, especially if they’ve taken a bullet for you. Sometimes with concerned humanitarianism, if the fired subordinate has been a crazy fool. Sometimes with crisp formality if it was really a mess that necessitated the firing. So the fact that Trump accepted Manafort’s resignation in a rather gracious and classic way – fairly standard presidential boilerplate stuff – means he is accumulating a skill set which may perhaps be useful come late January. Manafort’s resignation/firing come as news about possible undisclosed payments by Ukranian clients with links to Putin had been weighing uncomfortably on the Trump campaign. In the middle of a bumpy few weeks thanks to a string of other controversies. Manafort was apparently brought in to manage a possibly contested convention with Ted Cruz. But Manafort’s ambitions went far beyond that, and Lewandowski’s exit had something to do with those ambitions. Even if Lewandowski’s credibility in the eyes of Ivanka and Eric and Don Jr. was already eroded. So far we’ve seen a fair bit of campaign manager Kellyanne Conway in the media, explaining Trump’s newly changed approach to the campaign. We’ve seen less of campaign CEO Steve Bannon, and it’s too early to tell how much he’s helped Trump focus his message in his latest speeches. Will Trump fire Bannon in a few weeks? Likely not, if the focus and energy of the latest appearances continues. And critics of the turbulence in the Trump campaign should remember that a rebellion often feeds on itself. This is not a year for smooth-sailing campaigns. A thought experiment: imagine that Jeb Bush won the nomination, and that much of his team of advisors were familiar faces from his brother’s campaign. Imagine that no-one was fired, or hired from say sometime last fall. A well-oiled, low-key machine quietly humming along to victory in the nomination process, and presiding over a seamless GOP convention where every speaker was experienced, not too cautious, and fit just right with Jeb’s message of an immigration-tolerant, trade-friendly, common core-boosting GOP. Should I stop now? Did we pass absurd before finishing even the first sentence of said thought-experiment? To expect no turbulence in the Trump campaign’s structure is like sailing into a perfect storm while relaxing in sun-chairs on the deck. Trump’s campaign is different. It does not have an easy, knowable set of precedents to refer to. Despite many critics helpfully offering some from mid-20th century Germany and Italy, for example. That means adjusting tactics in the middle of the firestorms that the media whips up because Trump does indeed provoke them. Because he questions established norms and truths, sometimes in dangerous and divisive ways. But he usually stirs trouble where there already is trouble, or frust[...]
2016-08-18T21:36:59ZGeorge Soros’ Open Society Foundations, handles lots of money, dispensing it around the world. Billions and billions of dollars. Maybe that’s small change when you’re working up a continuing resolution on Capitol Hill, but in many of the places where the money is apparently spent, it has made a difference. But one has to remember […]George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, handles lots of money, dispensing it around the world. Billions and billions of dollars. Maybe that’s small change when you’re working up a continuing resolution on Capitol Hill, but in many of the places where the money is apparently spent, it has made a difference. But one has to remember that the Open Society Foundations did not merely spring from Soros’ ambitious brow, and his enormous bank balances. It has a history that goes back to the Congress for Cultural Freedom, or CCF, founded in 1950 in the early years of the Cold War, and used by the CIA and State – thank God – as a platform to influence and discredit the alarmingly widespread cultural nods of approval towards marxism and socialism in places like Western and Eastern Europe, and right around the world. The CCF was renamed the International Association for Cultural Freedom (IACF) in the mid-60’s and one of its affiliates was merged with Soros’ Open Society around 1990. Just as the Berlin Wall was coming down. Soros had already been present in his native Hungary since the mid-80’s, presumably working to prepare for the day that the iron curtain would finally be torn away. And the Open Society was very much present in Eastern Europe throughout the turbulent 90’s. One wonders whether the UK deliberately avoided charging Soros with currency speculation when he shorted the pound sterling to the tune of 10 billion in 1992, making off with a cool billion for himself, because it was understood that he would be spending at least some of those funds helping Eastern Europe rid itself of the legacy of decades of totalitarian, socialist rule. Big money, big history, big politics, big ideas. Like Karl Popper. Like the Mount Pelerin Society. Soros would love to be called professor Soros no doubt, and he is indeed a billionaire yearning to unleash his inner think-tank wonk-beast on the world. And he has. For decades now. But what worked in places like Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia was due in large part to the iron will of Thatcher and the steely optimism of Reagan and their impressive coalition with Pope John Paul II. It was under the umbrella of their focused and relentless foreign policy, one that was also willing to negotiate, that the Open Society Foundations’ cultural work was made possible. Even in the years after they were out of office. Soros is not the secret operating code that brought an end to the Cold War. He’s an app, an important one, but one that fails when the operating system is not robust. Like with the Obama administration and the Iran deal. Iran is not analogous to countries like Poland or Hungary. It is more like Russia, caught in a totalitarian theocracy, with bubbling ethnic tensions ready to erupt when the ayatollah’s lose their grip on power. So it’s no surprise that The Ploushares Fund, would approach the Open Societ[...]
2016-08-17T21:45:20ZSo it was Manafort who has had to step sideways and maybe down a few flights of stairs in the Trump Tower penthouse suite. The man who has more political experience than the rest of Trump’s team combined, has been struggling with an Eastern European albatross draped over his elegantly suited shoulders in the last […]
So it was Manafort who has had to step sideways and maybe down a few flights of stairs in the Trump Tower penthouse suite. The man who has more political experience than the rest of Trump’s team combined, has been struggling with an Eastern European albatross draped over his elegantly suited shoulders in the last few weeks. The Russia connection is all over the media, and questions about possible under-the-table payments totalling around $12 million have linked Manafort to Russia and Ukraine’s ousted President Yanucovych, a key Putin ally.
Throw in the DNC and DCC hacks which seem to come from Russian hackers and add in Wikileaks as a Putin agitprop media machine and you have Trump’s campaign beseiged by the type of conspiracy theories that Trump himself has been accused of fostering. Plus poll numbers are depressingly low as of late, and staying that way.
Something had to give. And that was Manafort, who now has to share duties with … Steve Bannon! And Kellyanne Conway, a GOP pollster who previously worked with pro-Cruz Super PAC Keep the Promise, and specializes in trying to bridge the gender gap that many GOP candidates face. Oh. And also, rumor has it that Roger Ailes is helping Trump prep for the upcoming debates, starting September 26.
Did Corey Lewandowski have a heads up on all this when he gleefully re-tweeted the NYT article on Manafort and the possible payments from associates linked with Putin? Regardless, Trump is going to double down on doubling down. He will do it His Way, or no way at all. Expect an even nastier campaign from here on forward than the already lurid expectations coming from most in the media.
The irony is that up in West Bend, Wisconsin Trump gave perhaps the best speech of his campaign by doing what many – like Manafort and others – have been pleading for him to do all along; being focused, disciplined and sticking to his law and order message. But bringing it down to the level of neighborhood safety and job security. While his appeal to black voters may not move the needle much at all at this point, he clearly made a case for why his positions on immigration, trade, and local policing are ones that should matter to large numbers of African American workers who have to deal with the negative consequences of illegal immigration, trade deals and insecurity in their neighborhoods on an almost daily basis.
But that speech may go unnoticed for at least a few days. Right now, everyone will be talking about Breitbart’s Steve Bannon and how his flamethrower approach will make Trump’s campaign even more controversial and theatrical than before. Anything is possible in Trump’s world. Even a well-focused political speech.