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How to prepare for a Donald Trump presidency without inducing apoplexy

rum_make_america_great_again-_4513393379There are lots of reasons to bemoan the choices in this year’s Presidential elections. The weaknesses of both candidates are manifest and telling, and have resulted in the largest collective moan from the voting public in decades. Moreover, the country is now faced with the prospect of Donald Trump being elected to the US Presidency. This has induced a collective panic unlike I have seen since, well, the prospect of Ronald Reagan becoming President. (Corey Robin has an excellent piece on the institutional amnesia of today’s commentators.) It’s interesting how people seem to have forgotten how genuinely awful the Reagan Presidency actually was—it’s all taken on some hazy glow, largely as the result of a still-supine media. But it initiated and validated the general meanness of the modern Republican Party, which has now reached extreme proportions, but the ground rules of which were initially laid out by Reagan and his Southern California car dealer and real estate buddies. Yes, yes, I’ve seen all the comparisons of Trump and Nixon, but Nixon wasn’t necessarily an awful President, although he was an awful person. Reagan was a genuinely awful President, and the county has been impoverished, both literally and culturally, by his legacy. Continue reading

Pew Research, February data, and Trump’s assault on separation of church and state

ZOMG, it must be a right-wing plot!

Maybe.

But Pew Research posted this data on the relationship between U.S. religious groups and their political leanings not so very long ago. Consider this when considering the ramifications of Trump’s promise to make speech free at the pulpit again. Continue reading

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An American president under age 35? Oh, my …

Captain Morgan’s real campaign premise here is just to increase its share of the rum market.

Tcm_logo_image-e1427478632990rump (age 70) vs. Clinton (age 68)? This is the best choice the vaunted two-party system can provide for Americans?

If they’d like better, they ought to begin drinking rum. Especially Captain Morgan, a brand owned by Diageo, which bills itself as “the world’s leading premium drinks business.”

Captain Morgan will campaign for a constitutional change — allowing American residents under 35 years old to serve as president.  A petition is already parked at the White House, hopeful of attracting at least 100,000 signees.

According to AdAge, “The effort will get significant paid support, including a print ad running in Tuesday’s New York Times.” Continue reading

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Peace so far at the RNC in CLE

Raise2Day 2 of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland is beginning peacefully. And, quite frankly, that’s just the way we like it. There are thousands of people who are trying to keep it that way. Because we know that if peace prevails in Cleveland, we win.

The Donald Trump campaign knows that, too. They depend on turmoil as a substitute for substance. And they admitted it on Day 1:

At a breakfast discussion here Monday, Donald Trump’s top campaign adviser suggested that “lawlessness” surrounding the Republican National Convention could benefit Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.

“Frankly, that impact will probably help the campaign,” Paul Manafort told his audience, reports Bloomberg Politics, which hosted the session.

Since well before the RNC convened, while the barriers were going up to divide us, people in Northeast Ohio were looking for ways to pull together for our own good and for the good of the country. Continue reading

What’s a little martial law between friends?

Wait, isn’t that what they’re asking for?

Cleveland Police Calling for Open Carry Ban at RNC After Baton Rouge Shootings

This just gets touchier and more complex as the hours roll by. I feel like I’m watching a tennis match. I’m seriously gonna get a crick in my neck at this rate.

Martial law, simplified: when the government suspends ordinary law for the sake of keeping things orderly and peaceful during the kinds of extreme circumstances the government claims warrant their entirely reasonable reaction.

Look out. We’re gonna get martial law! Continue reading

Donald Trump

New Yorker starts analysis of Trump with, “honestly…”

What have we learned about that?

Well, actually, the headline is just a hair away from that, “Being honest about Trump.” I think it qualifies, though. So would WSJ in this piece, I think.

For all of my complaints about Glopnik’s article, I love his description of the center:

“While the habits of hatred get the better of the right, the habits of self-approval through the fiction of being above it all contaminate the center.”

One has to love this much naive honesty. The problem with their fiction is that they’ve believed their own PR just a bit too much. Continue reading

#HopeTuesday: Let’s #takebackourfuture, one day at a time

Today we launch a new campaign aimed at taking back the future.

#hopetuesday #TakeBAckOurFuture #breathe

The original text for this meme was a lot longer. But when you boil it down to its essence, the message is pretty straightforward. We have become so incredibly negative that it’s eroding our ability to even consider the positive. We’re so terrified of where we are that we have ceased thinking about where we want to be.

In a world that’s 100% about problems, we have no energy left to discuss solutions. Nobody is for anything, only against.

Continue reading

PoliticalMonkey2

An open letter to right-wing RNC protesters

RNCFountain1Dear Right-Wing Protesters,

Please don’t destroy the city of Cleveland or its people who have opened their doors to a candidate and his followers who we may not vote for, but we will still treat with with respect and decency. Most of us will, anyway. We are, however, wary of your intentions.

In fact a lot of Clevelanders have left town. Entire offices have been abandoned for the week. People are working from home, other offices, or taking vacations. “Working remotely.” We’ve been planning on that for months. We will admit to a fairly high level of caution and fear that has grown over the past year.

At first we were concerned that there would be no candidate with a majority and that the convention would be truly contested, perhaps to the point of violence between the supporters of various candidates. I even had this brief fantasy of settling the candidacy with a cage match at Browns Stadium. That vision somehow fit with the whole unreal reality show that the primary show became. Continue reading

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An open letter to left-wing RNC protesters

Cleveland is not your enemy.

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50 years ago in Hough

Dear Left-Wing Protesters,

Please don’t destroy the city of Cleveland or its people in which you could find so much sympathy, support, and common ground. Whatever your cause, someone here will hear you out. Not everyone all the time. But you’ll find people who will listen.

Here’s something to start with: Monday, July 18, 2016–the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland–is the 50th anniversary of the Hough Riots. The Hough Riots were a violent clash between police, the National Guard and residents of the Hough neighborhood on the East Side of Cleveland.

Hough had been home to people from Eastern Europe and Appalachia during the first half of the twentieth century. Continue reading

BLM

#WhichCorpsesMatter

That’s what I want to know

Here’s my big reason to care about the #BlackLivesMatter versus #AllLivesMatter jousting match. I’m not the sentimental sort. I don’t have a deeply personal interest in the deeply personal pain countless families are feeling, whether by race, or by innocence of victim, or even the families of the police. If I spent time on those feelings, it would just be sadness. My sadness and $5 will get you a cup of fancy coffee somewhere. My reason is abstract, because any particular dead person is a particular case of a general phenomenon, and might not adhere to any particular script very well.

I’m even cynical enough to consider the striking possibility that both sides are “wrong” depending on how one defines the sides and defines what they mean by wrong. Continue reading

Cui bono: how did Berrien County, Michigan hit the headlines?

Horse race reportage, part umpteen. Special Edition: Not Election Coverage

I first spotted this tragic news at BBC, when there wasn’t yet anything world newsworthy about it, even from their own coverage perspective. One might notice the author was in such a rush to post they didn’t even bother to finish writing it first. The telltale error of haste that reveals the race to the bottom should embarrass an author not yet qualified to have their own byline.

Rule 1 of race to the bottom reporting: Be sure to include factoids that do not advance the non-story even a little, and don’t bother to edit it when done. Continue reading

Sports

Fighter jets and paratroopers and black knights, oh my: sports totems as a reflection of militaristic cultural norms

It’s not enough to accept military vehicles, body armor and weaponry from our civilian police. We now have to cheer for it.

by Michael Smith

There was a chapter in a Carl Sagan book from the mid-nineties, Billions and Billions, where he wrote about how totems of North American sports teams had been changing over the years from traditional animals for older clubs — like the Bears, the Tigers, and the Lions — to newer ones more reflective of concerns over atmosphere and the environment — like the Hurricanes, the Avalanche, the Lightning, and the Heat, etc. His point was that we no longer feared animals — there were no more bears in Chicago, after all — so they were no longer acceptable totems for making our team represent power; striking fear into the opposition. Whether or not everyone consciously accepted the reality of climate change in the ’90s, it had become enough of a subconscious concern in our lizard brains that these newer totems felt edgy and fierce.

I think that’s what’s been bothering me about the most recent changes in the NHL. Continue reading

PoliticalMonkey2

RNC train wreck heading for Cleveland

RNCitemswIt will be an interesting couple of weeks in the CLE…

Whenever someone mentions the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which is about every hour if not more often, I can’t help but have Johnny’s Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” play in my head:

I hear the train a comin’
It’s rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when. . . .

The accompanying mental mashup is a combination of the train wreck in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth and any Insane Clown Posse video. On any level, this is not a cheery picture. And every day there is some new wrinkle, some plot twist that keeps this impending disaster from being just a week-long annoyance. It’s mesmerizing enough to make me want to go downtown a couple of times just to witness the disaster first-hand. Yes, I realize that is potentially dangerous – but there it is. Continue reading

#blacklivesmatter versus #alllivesmatter

White man ISO white people to explain something to me

I have yet to take a strong stand on this whole #blacklivesmatter and #alllivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter and #enoughwiththehashtagsmatter issue, and I’m fairly certain it’s a privilege thing that I, as a cisgendered white hetero man in farm country, have this luxury. I can’t help that. Continue reading

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Chilcot is out, and it’s devastating

photo-op-0011 So, after seven years and lots of pounds, the Chilcot report on “lessons to be learned” from Iraq has finally been published. It tells us nothing we didn’t already know, frankly, and takes away the rationale for the ongoing denial we have continued to see among Blairites over the years, although god knows they’re still trying. I could write a long post on this. Or I could just let The Independent summarize in seven sentences,which they have done, and which admirably seems to sum up the entire enterprise. Continue reading

CATEGORY: UnitedStates

Another Fourth, another episode of blissful national blindness

No red, white, and blue adorn my flagpole. No patriotic bunting arches over my front door. No fireworks await their flaming demise. I no longer enjoy the nation’s formal parting from Great Britain (which was on July 2, anyway).

2f45d-free_wallpaper_patriotic_eagle_american_flag_background-1-1024x768I suppose, at one time, July Fourth carried great meaning to all Americans. After all, because of the acts of the Continental Congress and subsequent versions of it, I can (and do) criticize my government without fear or favor. I can own a weapon. My home and person cannot be searched or seized without cause. I am not obligated to incriminate myself. I can practice the religion of my choice — or decide not to — without government coercion. I can peaceably assemble with others to protest almost any damn thing I want to. I can vote to select who will govern me. And Congress cannot prevent me from owning a press in which I tell others what I see and what I know and what I feel.

I love my country because of the ideals inherent in the Constitution and especially in the Bill of Rights.

But lately, I have come to dislike this overwrought holiday. Continue reading

Brexit

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

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Does Trump actually want the job?

If Donald Trump really is running for president, he’s doing it all wrong.

trump-hillaryNew poll this morning:

In new poll, support for Trump has plunged, giving Clinton a double-digit lead

Support for Donald Trump has plunged as he has alienated fellow Republicans and large majorities of voters overall in the course of a month of self-inflicted controversies, propelling Democrat Hillary Clinton to a double-digit lead nationally in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

For pure political theater, there simply hasn’t been anything like this in my lifetime. Continue reading