Facebook and the “oh shit” moment when Trump supporters reveal their true nature

Trump hate cartoonBecause of what they call “political correctness” (and the normal world calls decency) conservatives have long hidden their true selves. But now, they’re emboldened by the election and thanks to tools like Facebook, we get to see who they truly are.

In January of 1979, the Shah of Iran was deposed by Ayatollah Khomeini. Like all liberal types of the time, I thought that was a great thing. The Shah had been a brutal ruler, overseen an inefficient kleptocracy and been prone to ridiculous personal excess. I seem to remember photos of the Shah at the time always involved lots of gold—gold furniture, gold clothes, etc. I didn’t know much about the Ayatollah, but he had to be better than the Shah, right? Yay freedom!

One day, I found myself in the student lounge with Amir, a quiet exchange student from Iran. Continue reading

I almost got in a fight last night

Trump-BrownshirtsIf you back down from loudmouths it just encourages them.

Last night I saw guy wearing a “Make America Great Again” tee-shirt at the Y. He was about 35, wore a Navy cap, and was walking with his young son who wore a karate uniform. He was a large man and muscular. I quietly told him I found his tee-shirt offensive. He raised his voice and followed me into the locker room. Continue reading

Trump voters and the need to feel superior

Faulkner was wrong. Mankind will not prevail.


Part 2 of a series

After weeks of pondering, I think I finally understand the election.

Full disclosure. I am an older white male. I grew up in the projects in the South, which was several social rungs below a trailer park because it meant living side by side with negroes. We were impoverished, living from paycheck to emergency loan to charity to government assistance to paycheck. I grew up in a family of virulent racists, proud that our ancestors had fought for the Confederacy and ridden with the Klan. My mother never finished high school and no one in my direct family line had ever completed college. I’ve been married 38 years to the same woman, have children and grandchildren and live in rural Indiana.

Trump’s tax plan will save me about $12,000 a year and will save my kids over a million dollars in inheritance taxes. I should’ve been a Trump supporter. Continue reading

Do Trump voters really think they’ve won?

There’s good news and bad news for poor white Trump supporters.

Trump votersPart 1 of a series

I’ve now gone through my seven stages of grieving over the election. But I’m not at peace. Instead I’m left with a nasty black residue like the stuff on beaches after an oil spill. It’s best summed up by an old joke.

Two guys show up at the gates of Heaven. St. Peter meets them and says, “I’ve got some bad news. Heaven’s a little full right now. We’re sending you back. We’ll come get you when we finish the new addition.”

He turns to one. “Now you’ve been a great person. You’ve been kind and generous. You’ve never done anything bad to anyone. You weren’t rich or famous, but you worked hard and maintained your dignity. I’m going to give you a $25 million dollar head start.” Continue reading

Donald Trump is a genius

It’s easy to be dismissive of Trump. But is it safe to think he’ll get his in the end?

Donald-Trump-snake-oilNo, he’s not a genius like Stephen Hawking or David Foster Wallace or Prince. Nor is he even Warren Buffet or Bill Gates. Rather, Trump is a genius in the same way as the raccoon which continues to get into the bungeed garbage can in my garage that holds the cat food is a genius. He is an intuitive genius.

Donald Trump is a genius at using people. Ask Chris Christie. Many observers point to the turnover in Trump’s campaign leadership as bad management. It’s anything but. Corey Lewandowski did his job, getting Trump through a crowded field of candidates. But by June, despite his primary success, there was still a chance the GOP Establishment would the rules process to deny him the nomination. Lewandowski was an outsider who couldn’t help with that. So Trump discarded him. (Check out Ernst Rohm on Wikipedia. But I digress.) Continue reading

The Trump Problem: is it too late for GOP elites to step in?

Donald-Trump-snake-oilNothing much surprises me at this stage of my life. And then again there’s the Republican Party.

I wasn’t at all surprised when Donald Trump won 13 million votes in the GOP primary. George Wallace won just under 10 million back in 1968. Factor in fifty years of population growth and that says there are probably about 16 million hard core segregationists in the U.S. I was mildly surprised that no one else got more votes than Trump. But then again, it was a very large field of weak and candidates with narrow bases.

However, I was stunned at the feeble effort of the elite to stop Trump. Continue reading

Brexit: “Leave” voters are stupid

BrexitBrexit will decrease the standard of living and increase the gap between rich and poor.

Okay, let’s dispense with all the “respect the decision of the people” nonsense. Brexit is stupid. It’s a stupid decision that will hurt Britain in both the short and long term.  And the people who voted for it are stupid. Not only ignorant, not only frightened, not uninformed. Stupid. Continue reading

Three lies that are going to cost the GOP this election

Sometimes lies don’t matter. Sometimes they do.

Donald-Trump-snake-oilIt really doesn’t matter if you think you’re a great dancer when you’re not, or that a comb-over is a good look. However, sometimes lies do matter. The Republicans are well on their way to selecting an unelectable candidate, be it Trump or Cruz, and it’s a direct result of media which has lied to them.

Not too long ago, I was engaged in a discussion with a right wing acquaintance, who cited a “fact” that was not only demonstrably false, but violated the laws of mathematics. When I called him on it, he smugly replied, “Well, you have your facts and I have mine.” And sadly, that’s true. The right wing has their own set of “facts,” and many of those simply aren’t true. Continue reading

Ten takeaways from Terrific Tuesday

Super Tuesday results: The GOP is ridiculous. The Democrats are ridiculous. And it ain’t over yet.

Hillary Trump1. What flavor of NY Moderate do you want for your next president? Hillary from the burbs, Donnie from Queens, or Mike from Manhattan?

2. Chris Christie is now officially a punk. He’s like Richard Speck in that awful clandestine video, who after having been turfed out of his gang became the sex toy of a rival gang to survive. What’s next, Chris, is The Donald going to make you wear a collar and leash like a character from Mad Max? I guess it’s not enough for Christie to be a pariah in his party and state (the lowest approval ratings in history and subject of a six newspaper editorial asking him to resign) he wants to be the subject of scorn nationally.

3. Sexism is the new racism. Hillary won white women. She lost white men. Continue reading

Is the GOP intentionally tanking the presidential race?

It’s The Donald vs the Establishment, and the Establishment is taking a dive.

Donald-Trump-snake-oilI’m pissed. My S&R claim to fame, such as it is, is predicting the outcomes of political contests well before those outcomes became obvious. When asked to make a prediction this year, I declined, arguing this election was so obvious it wasn’t worth the pixels. By obvious, I meant Clinton defeating Rubio.

I thought the GOP elite would select Rubio. He’s a hard core ideologue who sounds reasonable. He’s young, telegenic and Hispanic, which could mean he’ll bring new voters to the party. It’s hard to stick anything on him because he hasn’t really done anything. And best of all, he’s a tool. But it looks like the Republicans may choose Trump instead. Continue reading

Dear Hillary: America’s just not that into you

He’s Just Not That Into You was a book and a movie, and sadly, it may prove to be the fate of Hillary Clinton.

Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton is a person of phenomenal accomplishment. She’s brilliant and hard-working. She’s got a long string of firsts—first commencement speaker at her college, first partner at her law firm, etc, etc. She’s been a successful Senator and Secretary of State and a powerful and passionate advocate for the disadvantaged. She’s smashed through the glass ceiling. She’s exactly what most of us say we want in a President.

And yet….

…we just aren’t that into her. She’s like the girl (or boy) that all of us have dated at least once in our lives, the one we should love, but don’t. When we kiss there’s just no spark there. It’s mechanical, not magical.

It’s hard to say why. Maybe it’s a comparison thing. Yes, she’s fabulously accomplished, but she’s the second (or perhaps third) best talent in her own household. Continue reading

Sanders and Trump have something in common

My friends from both sides of the aisle become apoplectic at comparisons between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. But they’re wrong.

atlanta march bernieNow, the similarity is not about “year of the outsider” or any of that nonsense. There have always been “outsider” candidates, from H. Ross Perot to Pat Buchanan to Barack Obama.

Nor is it about anger.

Yes, the far right is angry. They’re stewing in anger. Listen to right wing radio, or to Fox News, or look at your Facebook feed and see what your right wing friends are posting to their boards. It’s beyond anger. It’s fury. They’re angry because they feel betrayed, lied to, and left behind, well, because they have been and they are. Continue reading

Mississippi gun store shootout reaffirms our faith in humanity

Okay, I’m a few days late with this one, but it’s so interesting and its implications so profound that it’s taken me some time to fully digest it.

On Saturday, a father and son entered a gun store in Mississippi to pick up a firearm they’d left for repair. When presented with a bill for $25, the two began arguing with the store owner and his son. No one is quite sure what happened next, but somehow the argument turned violent, and both sides shot at the other. The episode ended with the gun store owner and his son dead and the customer and his son in the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Continue reading

God works in mysterious ways. In front of strip clubs. At 2am. The Cleanthony Early story…

Early Wednesday a.m., six masked men with guns robbed 24 year-old professional athlete Cleanthony Early as he was leaving a birthday party at a strip club in New York. One robber shot him in the knee, which presumably was intended to end his career but didn’t, as somehow the shooter missed hitting anything important.

On the face of it, it’s not a very remarkable story.

Cleanthony Early was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Well, young men are stupid. When I was a young man I put myself in any number of extremely wrong places, that in hindsight could have resulted in me either getting badly hurt or incarcerated for a long time. To paraphrase a popular commercial, that’s what young men do.

And professional athletes get robbed with some regularity. Continue reading

How dangerous is Donald Trump to the GOP?

Donald TrumpSam Harris has said something about how reading something never changes anyone’s mind, no matter how correct or well-reasoned the argument. He’s right about that—it’s why I’ve pretty much given up blogging—but it is possible to change your mind by writing one.

This blog started out as a gleeful rant about how Donald Trump was putting a desperate Republican Party into an untenable position. Either he’d win the nomination or lose and run as a third party candidate, which would split the party, which could lead to the Dixiecrat wing seceding and setting up their own party.

And then I did some analysis.

Bummer. The truth is the Republican Party Establishment has nothing to worry about from Trump.

He’s not going to win the nomination. Their strategy to stop him is working. Continue reading

Sports: it’s how America deals with big social issues

SEC-football-modern-plantation-systemAhhhh sports. For whatever reason, we’ve decided that the best way to deal with our most pressing national issues isn’t directly through our elected representatives, but metaphorically, through sports.

Guns, drugs, income inequality, violence against women, gender identification, homosexual rights—you name it, our sports venues are where those issues are debated.

This week end was a big one on the metaphorical battlefront. Continue reading

America, refugees and assimilation

twelve-syrians-drown-heading-from-turkey-to-greek-island-1441235628-2607Jeb Bush has proposed only admitting Christian Syrian refugees. On the face of it, it’s an obnoxious, bigoted suggestion, a clear violation of the fundamental principle of separation of church and state, and flies in the face of all this country stands for. But what if he’s right?

The problem is not so much that some of the refugees could be terrorists, although that’s certainly a possibility, e.g., the Tsarnaev brothers, as it is that they could form a potential breeding ground for future terrorists. The risk is second-generation terrorists. Continue reading

The human detritus of war

After the U.S. Civil War, the violence didn’t stop. Numerous gangs of bandits continued to fight on for almost thirty years after the war was officially over. The most famous of course was the James-Younger Gang, but there were also the Daltons and the Doolins, Henry Berry Lowrie and the Swamp Outlaws in North Carolina, the Baldknobbers in Arkansas and the Klan. Some of these are purely for-profit initiatives, but as often as not, they have a political bent. They are, along with the maimed, widowed and orphaned, and dislocated and impoverished, the human detritus of war.

Some wars produce more. The Hundred Years War in Europe produced so many companies of bandits that various popes proposed Crusades in an attempt to siphon them off into hopefully deadly wars, just as the French would later enlist SS into the Foreign Legion after WWII and sent them to Indochina. Others produce only a few. The Vietnam War contributed a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Gulf War Timothy McVeigh. Sometimes so many are produced that they destroy entire countries, as the Liberia Civil War ended up ravaging Sierra Leone.

Regardless of nuance, the basic formula is the same. Angry young men, trained in the art of war, who come back disaffected and often with limited prospects. So they do what they know how to do—blow shit up and kill people.

Now we’re seeing the same thing in the recent wave of terrorism. New York, Madrid, London, Mumbai, Boston, and now Paris, again. We don’t know all the details yet, but what we do know suggests military grade weapons handled with military-level expertise in a military-like operation.

It’s not really about Islam or a reaction to the devastation created by the foolish adventuring of the Bushes and Cheney. It’s much simpler than that. They’re young, impassioned, angry and deadly and there are simply too many of them.