Monday, July 25, 2016

From Russia, With Trump?

Now, if you've gotten to know me at all from the past 9 year or so journey of my blog, you know that I adore reason. I don't buy into idle gossip and conspiracy theory, and for what it's worth, I kind of distrust people who do. But the release by WikiLeaks of DNC information secured by Russian hackers is just a little bit much for me, coming as it does on the eve of the Democratic Convention. So, there's coincidence, and then there is what looks like enemy action. Guccifer lying about whether he hacked Clinton's server was part of the pattern. The knowledge that Russian hackers hit the DNC is another. There's your three.

This is the kind of thinking that comes courtesy of the Cold War, naturally.  I think Generation Xers get this a bit better than Millennials do because the Cold War was at least a part of our formative years, but unlike with Boomers, it didn't predominate our ideas about foreign policy. It's just that when the Clinton campaign--and others--imply that what is coming out now is a conspiracy by Russia to interfere with US democracy, I don't really bat an eyelash.

Wouldn't they?  Because Trump is actually pretty "buy and saleable", despite his claim that he isn't and that he's really self-funding and independent. Oh really? Because the financial indebtedness with Deutsche Bank is nothing compared to the rumors of what Trump's Russian connections are.  And his known admiration for Putin, and other dictators, don't make it seem out of the realm of possibility that he wants to act as the US's strongman. His statements regarding NATO and the EU are also kind of damning--is he really this big a dope regarding how post WW-2 treaties worked, or is he just being idiotic on purpose for reasons? Either one is treacherous.  But look at who the Trump campaign has drawn close.

It starts looking a little bit a lot like someone wants to cast doubt on the Hillary Clinton candidacy by queering the narrative of her treatment by the DNC, creating the impression that they conspired to do Senator Sanders in, politically speaking, not because they especially love Sanders, but because they want to delegitimize Trump's opponent.

And it's rubbish.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Donald Trump is a Man of the Terrible People



Now, the thing is, Meet the Press labels this clip as "Trump Quickly Rebukes David Duke" Well sure. But he also said "depending on the Democrat."

Depending on the Democrat, the Klan guy might be okay. The reason why this matters?

Klan and other racism-adjacent people are thinking he is totally standing for them. It may not be the case, but he left this speculation wide open.

But here's another thing he's fucking up, message-wise: women should not actually be sexually harassed. See, even though Roger Ailes is a kind of monster of sexist bullshit, and yet Trump supports this asshole.

Who got tens of millions severance to reward him for not just running a partisan shit-show of a news station, but to also feel great about all the ass he caressed, the blouses he looked down, and the actual human beings he objectified and made the working life of, actual shit, creating a corporate culture that was also based in treating women like shit. But let's just luxuriate in how Trump agrees that women shouldn't complain about sexual harassment because they were given opportunities--like, men can get stuff because of their merits, but women need to go down that extra piece.

Is there any terrible shit Trump doesn't endorse? I dunno. I just don't. I think horribleness is like his batsignal, and he's always for it.

Friday, July 22, 2016

VA Governor Terry McAuliffe is My Kind of SOB

Speaking of Democratic Virginia Governors with all kinds of bronzed ones, VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe is doing the solid thing for voting rights in his state, because when the Court denied his petition to reinstate voting rights for ex-felons, he decided he would sign the orders to reinstate one by one.

He believes in their rights. Because they did their time and still live there. And he is completely right. And if you want my basic opinion on this one, he's circumventing a voter suppression ethos based on politics. You can read the opinion of the court, and realize what they are doing. And I salute McAuliffe for trying to undo it.

I Like Sen.Tim Kaine and I'm Glad He's With Her

The (somewhat dated and ableist) 1990 Dudley Moore movie Crazy People featured a burnt-out ad man who had hit on a weird but attractive gimmick for his promotions--honesty, resulting in slogans for products like "Volvos, they are boxy, but they're safe."

Well, maybe Hillary Clinton's VP pick is sort of a Volvo--he's a bit boxy or "boring", but he's safe. And that's not a knock at all. I think picking a sensible, smart, decent person who can step in and be president if he has to is exactly what Clinton was supposed to do--and that's exactly what she did. I'm seeing some progressive folks rolling their eyes wishing she picked someone who was more their idea of an ideal VP pick--someone exciting, or someone who sent a message to her progressive base, or who turns them on in some way.

I get it. I was kind of turned on by the possibility of a Clinton/Warren ticket as being a kind of feminist rebuke to the idea a man had to be on the ticket at all, with two exceptional progressives who would just flay the shit out of Trump/Pence in debates on the basis of stone cold knowing their business. I also was warm to the idea of Labor Sec. Tom Perez as a great lefty choice.  But I'm already trusting Secretary Clinton to be my presidential candidate, so I'm just going to go ahead and think about what her calculations are and what she needs to get the job done.

And that's how I know Sen. Kaine is a solid choice. Because she already is comfortable that she will have a positive working relationship with Kaine. She and he share important values, like the application of faith to their work, the importance of standing with people identified as "the Other" and a vision of success coming in well-fought, strategic increments. I like his record, which is very progressive for the state of Virginia.

In some ways, their differences are complementary--he has a 100% NARAL rating, but has expressed qualms of some aspects of reproductive health care--and yet Clinton represents as strong a belief in the primacy of bodily autonomy as could be hoped for. Clinton retains support for the death penalty, Kaine has long been opposed (although he respected it as the law of the land which Governor of Virginia). He has worked with Republican Senator Jeff Flake on the issue of restricting executive power with respect to war. He is well-rounded and hasn't got much in the way of baggage.

I do not expect, nor have I ever experienced, the sensation that I had found a candidate for any office that I agreed with or was going to agree with 100%. So while I respect the personal opnions of other lefties who have solid criticisms, I still understand why Clinton made the choice she did, and am pretty glad--I like Sen. Kaine. I think they could be a great team.

Also--he's not that boring. He only looks that way in the age of Trump.

The Wobbling Pivot

So, about that pivot where Donald Trump is going to focus on the general election now that the GOP convention is over?

Yeah, there might be a bit of a hitch to that, as apparently, Ted Cruz is still on Trump's mind, bigly: Yep, he resurrected the conspiracy theory about Cruz's dad and Lee Harvey Oswald. Because nothing says calm, presidential focus like still fighting the primaries with weaponized batshit.

Oh, and he's also thinking about destroying Ted Cruz and John Kasich's political careers going forward by creating SuperPACS . Because...?

But other than that...

Edit: Not that he's actually going to do any such thing, necessarily. But why threaten it? It's like he can't let any damn dumb thing go. What a pricklepants.

He Hates America--It's What He Does


Donald Trump has been talking about how he would make America "great" again, as if it was not now pretty great, as if it was not the land of opportunity that immigrants want to come to, as if it wasn't a place where at least people like himself enjoyed civil liberties like freedom of speech, as experienced by him as around the clock media coverage.

Here's the son of an immigrant, and the heir to a fortune, who wants to complain about how America is treating people. Like himself. Who was always, always, always, insanely privileged. Cash to burn up getting recognized as a building magnate. Cash to burn up on this campaign against someone who will actually commit to doing the job of governing this country, which Trump is too full of himself to do. And a mouth full of how this country is crime-ridden and terrorism-threatened. He says he's the man to rescue us. But how?

He hates us. He hates immigrants, especially if you are brown and speak something other than English. He hates gays, or he would not have picked Mike Pence, no matter what he says. He hates people who practice Islam. He hates. He promises us the truth--and he lies.

He set out his speech, which should have been positively about how he would make America better, with a hatenanny about how today's America sucks. I won't forget that his "Make America Great" is based on thinking we are not--he thinks we are losers. He doesn't get us. We deserve better.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"I Don't Know" is a Terrible Answer



Here's the thing--it's pretty apparent that there is not one single way this person could have been more compliant or conveyed more clearly how completely not wanting to get shot he was.

Here's the second thing--the police issued an explanation that the shooting was actually directed at the disabled client of Charles Kinsey, who was carrying a threatening...toy truck. That's hardly more reassuring--taking aim at an equally innocent person and missing, causing bodily harm to another person, is just incompetent. And if this shooting was just a terrible accident, why would Charles Kinsey be handcuffed and left to bleed before getting first aid?

And yet there's people out there looking for any narrative that makes this look less damaging for the police, "to be fair" or some such nonsense. Is it that impossible to suppose that there are LE who think their guns are the only and best tools at their disposal, even when they are not necessary at all? Is it that impossible to suppose that instead of admitting this situation was screwed up, the cops tried to sprinkle a little doubt around by treating a shooting victim as a perpetrator?

What a messed-up situation--but one that reveals that despite some of the nonsense people try to pass around: "Just comply with the cops and don't be a thug", that won't always help. It's up to departments to get people to look at their weapon as one of several tools, to de-escalate tense situations, and use better judgment. And to be accountable when there's a fuck up.