Monthly Archives: February 2016

RT @JohnnyMcNulty: In the spirit of being serious for 5 fucking seconds, here’s the anti-sexual-violence link Biden mentioned: https://t.co…

RT @A_Evangelista_: Clarence Thomas breaks his 10 year silence… To complain that domestic abusers should keep their guns…

Is Trump Knowingly Lying About His Immigration Position?

Mmmmmaybe.

There’s a rumor going around, encouraged in no small part by this article, to the effect that Trump was talking off-the-record with a New York Times reporter, and what he said called into question whether he would stand by his views on immigration:

Trump visited the paper’s Manhattan headquarters on Tuesday, Jan. 5, part of a round of editorial board meetings that — as is traditional — the Democratic candidates for president and some of the Republicans attended. The meetings, conducted partly on the record and partly off the record in a 13th floor conference room, give candidates a chance to make their pitch for the paper’s endorsement.

After a dispute over Trump’s suggestion of tariffs on Chinese goods, the Timesreleased a portion of the recording. But that was from the on-the-record part of the session.

The author of the article, Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith goes on:

Sources familiar with the recording and transcript — which have reached near-mythical status at the Times — tell me that the second sentence is a bit more than speculation. It reflects, instead, something Trump said about the flexibility of his hard-line anti-immigration stance.

So what exactly did Trump say about immigration, about deportations, about the wall? Did he abandon a core promise of his campaign in a private conversation with liberal power brokers in New York?

I wasn’t able to obtain the recording, or the transcript, and don’t know exactly what Trump said. Neither Baquet, Collins, nor various editorial board members I reached would comment on an off-the-record conversation, which the Times essentially said they cannot release without approval from Trump, given the nature of the off-the-record agreement.

Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal told me he would not comment “on what was off the record at our meeting with him.”

The New York Times isn’t going to release the transcript unless Trump says it is okay.  Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have called on Trump to consent to its release:

“If Donald didn’t say that to the New York Times then he deserves to have that cleared up and releasing the tape can clear it up,” Cruz said.

“The alternative is that it is true.”

This put Trump in a bit of a bind, especially if it is true.

I suspect he might argle bargle a little bit, and threaten to sue Ben Smith and/or the New York Times, and surely that will satisfy his current supporters who (as Trump says) wouldn’t care if he killed an old lady.  But as for other potential supporters — which Trump still needs for the general election — this could be very bad for Trump.  It could show that he really is a politician after all — saying what he knows the GOP base wants to hear, but has no intention of doing that.

How does Trump get out of this?  I think the only way is to consent and hope for the best.  Stalling looks bad.

RELATED:  A secret service agent at a Trump rally took down a photographer rather hard.  No surprise — in fact, it was late in coming.  But watch for an increase in this kind of violence.

Trump’s Weekend Foray Into Fascism

“Fascism” is a word that rarely appears in modern political discourse, and when it does, it usually is in an Internet flame.  It’s intended to be incendiary — it is hyperbole.

But not this time.  When I say that Donald Trump — GOP presidential candidate and likely nominee for the Republicans — flirted with fascism this weekend, I mean it.

It started with re-tweeting Mussolini quote:

The @ilduce2016 feed is a parody account by Gawker, with a profile picture that is a composite of Trump’s hair and Mussolini’s face. “Il Duce” was how Mussolini was known by Italians.  The account was set up basically to troll Trump, and it worked.

Trump, in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said he was unaware that it had been a quote from Mussolini. But he didn’t seem to care, saying “It’s a very good quote.  I didn’t know who said it, but what difference does it make if it was Mussolini or somebody else — it’s a very good quote.”  Asked whether he wanted to be associated with Mussolini, Trump replied, ‘No, I want to be associated with interesting quotes.” And he added, “Hey, it got your attention, didn’t it?”

As if that wasn’t enough, Trump went on CNN and was interviewed by Jake Tapper.  He was asked if he would denounce David Duke and white supremacist groups — a softball question really — and Trump just wouldn’t denounce.

Here’s the relevant part:

And while it is true that Trump had denounced David Duke before (even as recently as last Friday), the fact that he claimed not to know who Duke was or to denounce him yet again (on CNN to a broader audience) is giving everyone pause.  It is not unusual for a candidate to get asked the same question many times, and they know to give the same answer (how many times has Trump himself been asked about how he will pay for the wall).  So one has to wonder why the refusal to denounce the Duke/white supremacist endorsement here.

But this morning, Trump offers a lame excuse:

Donald Trump blamed CNN for providing a “lousy earpiece” in explaining his non-answer to the network on Sunday when asked to disavow the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke.

“I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece that they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he was saying. But what I heard was various groups, and I don’t mind disavowing anybody, and I disavowed David Duke and I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference, which is surprising because he was at the major news conference, CNN was at the major news conference, and they heard me very easily disavow David Duke,” the Republican presidential frontrunner explained on NBC’s “Today.”

“Now, I go, and I sit down again, I have a lousy earpiece that is provided by them, and frankly, he talked about groups,” Trump said, referring to the question from CNN’s Jake Tapper, who asked him about a call from the Anti-Defamation League to denounce the groups endorsing his presidential run. “He also talked about groups. And I have no problem with disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are. It would be very unfair to disavow a group, Matt, if the group shouldn’t be disavowed. I have to know who the groups are. But I disavowed David Duke.”

The problem with that is that Trump clearly understood the question:

TAPPER: “Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don’t want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?”

TRUMP: “Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.  So, I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me or what’s going on, because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.”

He repeated Duke’s name twice and mentioned white supremacists three times.  And he understood it was about endorsements.  So Trump is BSing.

Not that this is likely to hurt him.  Trump is doing better than ever — the latest poll (from CNN) shows him with a 33 point lead over the remaining four candidates — Trump is at 49%:

cnnpoll

That’s an uptick in the poll averages since the last debate (where Trump supposedly got beat up):

RCP polls 2-29-16latest gop polls

On a state by state basis, Trump leads every poll except Texas, where he is tried with Cruz.  And if Cruz can’t win Texas (his home state) tomorrow, he’s done.

Trump’s unfavorables remain extremely high, which is good news for the general election.  And John Oliver did the ultimate Trump takedown this weekend:

If the Clinton people are smart, this will be the template to fight Trump in the general election.

“Fight The Power” as the closing theme song? That’s a little TOO on the nose, isn’t it? #Oscars

I didn’t like Leo’s performance in.The Revenent as much as I liked his Oscar speech. Kudos. #Oscars

Yay, Spotlight!!! Yay, Academy, for getting it right this year. A much better picture than The Revenent! #Oscars

RT @elizabethforma: Congratulations #SpotlightMovie! Courageous work of our own @BostonGlobe should be cheered around the world. #Oscars

RT @hodgman: ROOM is a tremendously affecting and beautiful film. I mean it.

RT @JoshMalina: Don’t you dare…turn out to be a Cadillac ad.

In 1927, Donald Trump’s father was arrested after a Klan riot in Queens https://t.co/lKteNpi29y

RT @Lin_Manuel: Morricone=The Greatest.

Uncle Joe shows up to talk about campus rape and introduces Gaga singing “The Hunting Ground” song. Perfect. #Oscars

RT @AmandaMarcotte: I so want to believe Lady Gaga and Joe Biden hang out.

Patricia Arquette’s Eyeglasses would be a great band name.too #Oscars

RT @mental_floss: Sylvester Stallone holds the record for most time between nominations (39 years) for playing the same character. https://…
rt-mental_floss-sylvester-stallone-holds-the-record-for-most-time-between-nominations-39-years-for-playing-the-same-character-https 

Love all the best supporting actor nominees. Happy with Rylance’s win. #Oscars

Kate Winslet’s Eyeglasses would be a great band name. #Oscars

RT @annetdonahue: “Bear Story won?” Leonardo rises. “No,” Iñárritu stops him. “Ours is called something different.” #Oscars

RT @KenJennings: Joan Allen now only plays parents of kids who disappeared

What if the minions announced the wrong winner? Who would know? #Oscars

Love that Ex Machina won for visual effects against Mad Max and.Star Wars! #Oscars

RT @hodgman: They recast Whoopi as a young white woman

Glad Mad Max is winning all these tech awards. #Oscars

RT @JoshMalina: I’m pretending she just won for Ex Machina. #Oscars2016

RT @hodgman: Can we put Russell and Ryan’s banter in a crawl at the bottom of the screen?

I’m not a huge Chris Rock fan but his opening monologue addressing the “race” controversy was perfect in tone. #AcademyAwards

“Spotlight” was a fantastic movie. Glad it win something #Oscars

When Trump waffles on condemning Duke, he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s trying not to offend racists, plain and simple. #NeverTrump

I like that #IlDouche is trending because of Trump’s tweet of a Mussolini quote (and Trump admits he knew it was Il Duce’s) #NeverTrump

Trump retweets a Mussolini quote and won’t renounce his white supremacist supporters. Yes, really. Must be a Sunday. #NeverTrump

Oscar Predictions 2016

I don’t care a lot this year, mostly because “The Revenent” will take many awards, and while I liked the movie, I wasn’t blown away and I didn’t care for DiCaprio.

“The Revenent” will win Best Movie, Best Actor (DiCaprio), and Best Director.

Best Actress will be Bree Larson for “Room” (a fantastic movie).

Best Supporting Actor will be Sylvester Stallone for “Creed” which will be a nice moment, although I really liked Mark Ruffolo in “Spotlight” (my favorite movie that I saw)’

Best Supporting Actress will be Kate Winslet for “Steve Jobs”

Best Original Screenplay to “Spotlight” and Adapted Screenplay to “Room”.

And the rest I don’t know.

if Trump wins the GOP nomination, expect ads like these in the general: https://t.co/yoaKMsKAXT

The Correctest Thing Rich Lowry has Ever Written

This bizarre campaign season has made for strange bedfellows, and I find myself reading the most repugnant conservative pundits, and saying, “Yes!  You’re right!”

Consider Rich Lowry for National Review, the man who was wrong about virtually everything last decade especially and including the Iraq War:

Republicans are outsourcing the vetting of their front-runner to the other party. At this rate, they will make Trump their de facto standard-bearer in a little less than three weeks, never having run him through the paces of the painful testing that is usually inherent to the process.,,,k If Trump romps to the nomination by mid-March, non-Trump Republicans will have lost to him in part through a lack of trying. That will never be true of the Democrats, who will gleefully and maliciously do the Trump vetting that the GOP race has, so far, been missing.

Yyyyyup.

RT @reidepstein: Re Trump and “open up libel laws.”

All libel lawsuits are done in state court. There’s no federal libel law.

Doug

I really don’t know what to write.  I don’t know how to begin.

This blog has been in existence for over 12 years.  It was around before Facebook and Twitter and before most people even knew the word “blog”.  And at times, it has been a platform for personal things (shows I’m doing, etc.), but it has evolved more into a lengthy observation of the world I live in.  I guess that’s because as I get older, I’m more interested in that than I am in, well, me.  But I can’t not write about my brother Doug, who passed away on February 26, 2015.  I intended to do it on the one-month anniversary of his death.  But I didn’t; the thoughts hadn’t coalesced.

Almost six months on, and my thought still hadn’t coalesced.

And here it is.  One year.

RT @RobGeorge: Trump-Christie, “Walls & Bridges Tour 2016”

Breaking: Chris Christie Endorses Trump

Guess this explains why Christie (the other bully) never attacked Trump.

This is a significant crack in the establishment vs Trump meme.  I can’t look into Christie’s heart and mind, but I can’t help but see this as simply an attempt to grab the vice presidency.  Or attorney-general.

Trump/Christie 2016?

Aaaaand once again, Trump does something to take the news cycle away from the others (in this case, Rubio).

UPDATE:  Great picture from the endorsement earlier today.  I think Christie is endorsing Trump as the main course.

CcKczHtUYAA4FsR

RT @MittRomney: No legit reason @realDonaldTrump can’t release returns while being audited, but if scared, release earlier returns no longe…

Footnote on Scalia

Thanks New York Times for casual mention about something that — if Scalia hadn’t died — would go unreported:

WASHINGTON — Antonin Scalia was the longest-tenured justice on the current Supreme Court and the country’s most prominent constitutionalist. But another quality also set him apart: Among the court’s members, he was the most frequent traveler, to spots around the globe, on trips paid for by private sponsors.

When Justice Scalia died two weeks ago, he was staying, again for free, at a West Texas hunting lodge owned by a businessman whose company had recently had a matter before the Supreme Court.

Not Mentioned In The Debate — Another Mass Shooting

Guess it isn’t newsworthy to the right:

A gunman killed three people in shootings that ended at a lawn care company in Kansas on Thursday, authorities said.

An additional 14 people were injured — 10 of whom are in critical condition at local hospitals.

The shooter was also killed by police, bringing the total number of fatalities to four.

Authorities first got calls about a man shooting from a vehicle in Newton about 5 p.m., the Harvey County Sheriff’s Office said.

Minutes later, there were reports of a shooting at Excel Industries, which makes lawn care equipment in Hesston, Kansas.

“Everybody says it can’t happen here,” Walton said. “And here we are. It happened here.”

The shooter, Cedric Ford, was served with a protection order 90 minutes before his shooting spree, and we can presume that was the “trigger” (no pun intended).  He drove through two towns randomly shooting people before returning to his workplace.

David Brooks Still Wearing Blindfold

New York Times columnist David Brooks is stupid:

We live in a big, diverse society. There are essentially two ways to maintain order and get things done in such a society — politics or some form of dictatorship. Either through compromise or brute force. Our founding fathers chose politics.

Politics is an activity in which you recognize the simultaneous existence of different groups, interests and opinions. You try to find some way to balance or reconcile or compromise those interests, or at least a majority of them. You follow a set of rules, enshrined in a constitution or in custom, to help you reach these compromises in a way everybody considers legitimate.

The downside of politics is that people never really get everything they want. It’s messy, limited and no issue is ever really settled. Politics is a muddled activity in which people have to recognize restraints and settle for less than they want. Disappointment is normal.

But that’s sort of the beauty of politics, too. It involves an endless conversation in which we learn about other people and see things from their vantage point and try to balance their needs against our own. Plus, it’s better than the alternative: rule by some authoritarian tyrant who tries to govern by clobbering everyone in his way.

All true.  Learned that in sixth grade civics class, but okay…. he’s right so far.

Over the past generation we have seen the rise of a group of people who are against politics. These groups — best exemplified by the Tea Party but not exclusive to the right — want to elect people who have no political experience. They want “outsiders.” They delegitimize compromise and deal-making. They’re willing to trample the customs and rules that give legitimacy to legislative decision-making if it helps them gain power.

Ultimately, they don’t recognize other people. They suffer from a form of political narcissism, in which they don’t accept the legitimacy of other interests and opinions. They don’t recognize restraints. They want total victories for themselves and their doctrine.

Aaaaaaaaand fail.

Where is the left equivalent of the Tea Party?  Who is the “outsider” with no political experience that the left has ever put up for election — one who doesn’t recognize restraints and won’t compromise, etc.?

Seriously, who?

The bashing of government, and politics, is purely a right-wing phenomenon, shown by that fact that 2 of the five candidates on the debate stage last night had never run for political office before – one is a real estate tycoon, and the other (and I still can’t believe this) a doctor.

Brooks needs to open his eyes.

The Last GOP Debate Before Super Tuesday

That is the tweet a few minutes ago from Trump who apparently cannot spell “lightweight” or “choker”.  And that’s not a typo because earlier, he tweeted this:

**************************

UPDATE: It took a couple hours but Trump deleted the tweets and retweeted them with correct spellings.  Rubio had fun anyway this morning:

Rubio took out his cellphone and began to read Trump’s tweets from stage. Noting that some had misspellings, he cracked that the billionaire businessman “must have hired a foreign worker to do his own tweets.”

So did the dictionary people:

**************************

Spelling errors aside, it isn’t what one could call “presidential”, but with Trump fans, not being presidential is a feature, not a bug.

And no surprise, the entire debate was very fact-free.

Last night’s debate was clearly the most bizarre debate in presidential history.  The three ring circus of Rubio, Trump and Cruz lacked substance and dignity, and both Rubio and Cruz tried to take down Trump, who has been receiving a pass from the candidates and the media for most of the GOP campaign.  Suddenly (and finally) we heard about Trump’s hiring of illegal immigrants and getting fined for it, the fraudulent Trump “University” scheme, and Trump’s balking at turning over his tax returns.

And then, on the sideshow, you had Ben Carson talking strangely about “fruit salad” and God knows what.  Kasich was actually the only one talking and behaving presidential, and it was so out-of-place that even that looked bizarre.

Here’s the debate in three minutes:’

In a normal world, Rubio won the “debate” in that he was the most effective at taking down Trump.  But this is not a normal world politically, and I am sure Trump supporters think Trump walked away with it.

Rubio may have saved his candidacy for post Super-Tuesday.  Which is saying something.  But I think even though he handily did what he needed to do last night, it was probably too little too late.

I think Trump has this nomination, and last night’s debate was a preview of the problems he will have in the general: (1) not conservative enough for GOP base (soft on pro-Israel stance, said good things about Planned Parenthood, etc.); (2) shady business dealings in the past (four bankruptcies, etc); (3)  Kind of a Johnny One Note (the wall, the wall, the wall…) and (4) his shtick gets old.

This isn’t the end of the Trump, but it is the beginning of the end.

RT @maggieNYT: Trump stoking anti-IRS sentiment with the GOP base by claiming to Chris Cuomo he’s targeted for audits for his Christian fai…

Rubio won. Cruz lost. Trump lost big. But it may be too late to make a difference..#GOPDebate

Cruz is mistating the facts about the Apple-HBO dispute. #GOPDebate

Why is Kasich sounding like Capone? #GOPDebate

RT @WillMcAvoyACN: pre-schoolers are better behaved by this.

Rubio is mistating the facts about the Apple-HBO dispute. #GOPDebate

Odd to hear Republicans complaining that Democrats got rid of Khaddafi. #GOPDebate

Ask about Flint. Ask about the 4 dead on today’s mass shooting. #GOPDebate

RT @FrankLuntz: The winner of the first half of tonight’s #GOPDebate?

16 say Rubio, 6 say Trump, and 1 says Kasich. Zero say Cruz or Cars…