The Moderate Voice http://themoderatevoice.com An Internet hub with domestic and international news, analysis, original reporting, and popular features from the left, center, indies, centrists, moderates, and right Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:31:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Ideology Damaging American Businesses http://themoderatevoice.com/207174/ideology-damaging-american-businesses/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207174/ideology-damaging-american-businesses/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:31:18 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207174 America is seen by the world as the fount of capitalism, ideologues on both the right and the left are hurting U.S. businesses in their attempts to compete globally. Constraints on companies’ profits, sales, and development are occurring because politicians in legislative bodies and government agencies on the federal, state, and local levels are making [...]

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shutterstock_4026964America is seen by the world as the fount of capitalism, ideologues on both the right and the left are hurting U.S. businesses in their attempts to compete globally. Constraints on companies’ profits, sales, and development are occurring because politicians in legislative bodies and government agencies on the federal, state, and local levels are making policy decisions about how firms should be run and what actions are necessary to provide support.

The problems originating from the right come from their rigid adherence to primitive free market concepts as they would exist in an ideal world. Conservatives are unwilling to accept or understand the fact that other governments, including America’s major competitors, subsidize their industries, either directly, or indirectly through currency manipulation. In China, land may be provided to companies to build factories and low-cost loans are given by government-run banks for construction. Then, once the goods are being manufactured, the government or government-run banks may guarantee loans to other countries to purchase the output of the factories.

This system of guaranteed loans to buy various products from the nations making the loans has been an accepted way of doing business for decades. It has been an integral and automatic part of United States companies selling their products to other countries, with the Export-Import Bank (a government agency) guaranteeing the loans. The loans have been profitable for the government and Congress has renewed the Bank without much debate until this year, when right-wing conservatives labeled it “corporate welfare” and vowed to block it. In spite of conservative opposition, it did pass the Senate and now goes to the House for approval. Though a majority of Representatives support the renewal, the question is whether the conservative leadership of the House will allow it to come to the floor for a vote. If it does not pass, both large and small U.S. companies will be competing at a distinct disadvantage compared to other nations.

In addition to the Export-Import Bank, the government should be increasing rather than cutting funds for basic research as other competing nations are doing. Conservative ideologues do not see this as a role for government and want private industry to replace government spending in this area. However, industry is interested in the bottom line and does not want to support long-term research that may or may not have a return. They are more likely to give money to projects that will generate an immediate bang for the bucks invested. Government basic research projects have been crucial in the development of the Internet, drone technology, global positioning systems, numerous drugs to fight cancer and infections, and so forth, so they have been quite worthwhile for society.

Conservatives’ primary goal is to reduce the size of government and taxes on high-income individuals and corporations. But in order to somewhat level the playing field and for American industries to be able to compete in the cutthroat global trading system, government support of various kinds is required, including the Export-Import Bank and investment in basic research.

Left-wing ideologues want to distort the free-market in wages and employment by raising the minimum wage by government decree. This may be necessary to provide a living wage for laborers, restaurant and hospitality workers, and to slightly diminish income inequality, but is it a role that government should assume? Currently, only some states and municipalities have passed increases in the minimum wage, with Congress unwilling to take a stand on this issue. (However, President Obama did issue an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 per hour, which many would not consider a living wage.)

Democrats generally feel a raise in the minimum wage to at least $15 hourly is necessary and would not have significant economic ramifications, such as job losses, or making American products less affordable abroad. Republicans disagree and believe mandating wage increases would cause a jump in unemployment and American good less competitive. Because some cities and states have already boosted the minimum wage, its effect on employment will be able to be measured in the next few years.

The size of the government and the role it should play in the economy depends on whether you look at these issues through right-wing or left-wing lenses. In a global economy, with governments supporting industry in most countries, the United States must do whatever is necessary to compete, whether or not free market axioms are followed. Pragmatism should trump ideology.

Resurrecting Democracy

www.robertlevinebooks.com

Image by Shutterstock

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UK Moves to Banish Oil Companies from Cultural Institutions http://themoderatevoice.com/207172/uk-moves-to-banish-oil-companies-from-cultural-institutions/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207172/uk-moves-to-banish-oil-companies-from-cultural-institutions/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:27:35 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207172 We heard recently about efforts in the Netherlands to sue the government over its failure to act on climate change. A similar effort was unsuccessful in the US a number of years ago, but the shadow of possibility still exists. Now, we have another story—this time out of the UK—about efforts by activists to forcibly eject Big Oil [...]

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We heard recently about efforts in the Netherlands to sue the government over its failure to act on climate change. A similar effort was unsuccessful in the US a number of years ago, but the shadow of possibility still exists.

Now, we have another story—this time out of the UK—about efforts by activists to forcibly eject Big Oil and its corrupting influence from Britain’s cultural institutions.

Under the guise of “sponsorships,” some of the world’s biggest “supermajor” oil companies—particularly British Petroleum (BP)—have been enjoying close ties with important cultural treasures such as the National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum, the Royal Opera House, and Tate Britain. Given that BP was the recipient of a $13.7 billion fine in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, it seems curious at best that they would be allowed so visible a platform upon which to build their false reputation as a socially responsible company.

The mistake would be pretending that BP’s huge fine is not heavily symbolic; indeed, it represents one of the clearest examples that major oil companies no longer operate with the best intentions of the public at heart—if they ever did. Given all that, allowing them to leverage cultural institutions for their own PR purposes seems like a reprehensible lack of judgment.

It’s a story we’ve already seen play out in the United States with tobacco companies. Tobacco sponsorship, for the most part, is now a thing of the past. The parallel is appropriate; I’d be just as uncomfortable seeing a BP logo plastered all over MoMA as I would be if it was Marlboro or Camel instead.

At this point, you may be wondering where sponsorship money might come from if these companies are forced to pull out. You’re not alone; the prevailing narrative right now is that some of Britain’s cultural institutions are being buoyed by these corporate entities, but the truth is a little different. It turns out that BP’s contribution to, for example, Tate Britain, does little to ensure that admission remains free.

What Impact Will This Have?

As an overture to the more forcible litigation in motion now, an earlier legal battle forced BP to disclose just how much money it contributes to Tate. The results were a little underwhelming. From 1991 to 2007, BP’s contributions averaged $364,000 per year. In other words, this is pocket change for the company that commands the world’s fifth-largest revenue stream.

But, you might be thinking, Surely that money means more to Tate than it does to BP. Are they not making a difference? The answer is no. Not really. BP’s sponsorship represents barely 0.5% of Tate’s total annual income. In other words, BP contributes almost nothing.

The Court of Public Opinion

In his recent book, Artwash: Big Oil and the ArtsMel Evans explores why this kind of sponsorship isn’t sitting well with the general public: “Sponsorship buys you so much more than advertising—it’s about this association with prestigious institutions that are central to Britain’s cultural imagination and history. These sponsorships are essential to their daily operations; without them they are outsiders, multinational corporations in tax havens.”

An apt description, and one that’s hardly unique to British companies. In America we also have a tendency to enshrine in law helpful considerations for multinational corporations, particularly destructive ones. These range from tax breaks and subsidies to full-blown tax loopholes that nobody in Congress seems particularly interested in closing (Gee, I wonder why).

But I find BP’s infiltration of cultural symbols to be, if possible, even more upsetting and creepy. Art and culture are meant to speak to something within us—to give us something to identify with on a personal level that yet binds us together as members of society. Turning this universal forum into yet another advertising medium shouldn’t sit well with any of us.

If you’re looking for an even stronger indictment of oil companies’ motivations, just ask Raoul Martinez, who’s on record describing their motives as “a crime against humanity on par with genocide.”

More Than Backlash

Society thrives when it’s able to reach consensus. And except for a few out-of-touch or hopelessly corrupt old, white men in Congress, the world agrees: fossil fuels are, well, fossils. They belong to an age when scientific ignorance shielded them and when there was no Internet to fully disclose and disseminate the true scope of their crimes.

In other words, big oil companies have completely squandered whatever good will they used to have, and instead of working to earn it back by investing in clean sources of energy or efforts to engage in civic involvement (as some smaller companies do) they’re doubling down on fracking and drilling and attempting to force unnecessary, ill-advised, and (depending on who you askillegal pipelines down the throat of a nation that’s simply had enough of their greed.

In speaking about banishing BP from Tate: “It is an act of democracy,” agrees Mel. “The ballot box is not enough. If these spaces really are public, then we, the public, have to be able to change them.”

And change them we will. I’m pleased that the UK is making progress banishing these companies from public cultural forums. That space should be reserved for people—and perhaps even corporations—who have not failed so spectacularly at being good citizens.

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Website Changes Story About John Kerry http://themoderatevoice.com/207169/website-changes-story-about-john-kerry/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207169/website-changes-story-about-john-kerry/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:19:00 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207169 This writer quoted VERBATIM a story about John Kerry. Then the quote source changed its story. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [...]

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This writer quoted VERBATIM a story about John Kerry. Then the quote source changed its story. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In his TMV post “John Kerry not committed to following the law?“, this writer quotes verbatim a story about John Kerry that was published by TheHill.com.

Here is what the story said at the time that this writer read it:

He [Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)] asked Kerry whether the administration would “follow the law” if Congress passes a resolution of disapproval and then overrides a presidential veto of it.
Kerry said he would he would have to consult with the president first, to which Sherman retorted, “So you’re not committed to following the law?”

After this writer published the above verbatim quote, TheHill.com story was changed to read as follows:

He [Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)] also appeared annoyed with Kerry when the secretary said he would need to consult with the president about whether the deal would be implemented if Congress passes a resolution of disapproval — and overrides an expected veto by President Obama.
“So you’re not committed to following the law?” Sherman snapped.

As it turns out, the writers of that above-quoted story left out something important. TheBlaze.com gives a different account as to what was said during that committee hearing (Hat Tip to TMV reader DdW):

Things got slightly tense when Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) pressed Kerry on whether or not he would follow the “law” if Congress decided to override a presidential veto to block the Iran deal.
“Will you follow the law even though you think it violates this agreement clearly and even if you think it’s absolutely terrible policy?” Sherman asked.
“I can’t begin to answer that at this point without consulting with the president and determining what the circumstances are,” Kerry responded.
“So you’re not committed to following the law?” the Democrat said.
“No, I said I’m not going to deal with a hypothetical, that’s all,” Kerry shot back.

This isn’t the first time that a quoted source either left out important information or worded something the wrong way. For example, in his Wizbang post “Did Jerusalem Post writer incorrectly quote President Obama?“, this writer defends President Obama after a writer for the Jerusalem Post misquoted an interview of the President.

The benefit of being a political moderate is that one is willing to correct the record when one obtains information that refutes one’s previous comments. Being that this particular writer doesn’t have an agenda or a political ax to grind, he admits to being in error in his aforementioned previous TMV post.

By the way, even a highly-professional journalist can get something completely wrong. For example, during the night of the 2000 presidential election, NBC News prematurely declared a winner. Upon realizing the mistake was made, NBC anchor Tom Brokaw said to his audience. “We don’t have egg on our face. We have an entire omelette.”

If Tom Brokaw can make such an admission, then this writer can, too.

Egg on Face - full image

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Personal Note: This writer has never claimed to be a journalist.
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All images used with this post are the creation of this post’s author.

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Politix Update: The Republican War On Women Grinds On and On. Why? http://themoderatevoice.com/206120/politix-update-the-republican-war-on-women-grinds-on-and-on-why/ http://themoderatevoice.com/206120/politix-update-the-republican-war-on-women-grinds-on-and-on-why/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:30:01 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=206120 Like the White Queen in her youth, the contemporary Republican politician must be capable of believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast. ~ JACOB WEISBERG The news is going from bad to worse for Republicans when it comes to working women. You know, the people who give birth to and raise children, take [...]

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whats-on-my-to-do-list-mother-work-difficult

Like the White Queen in her youth, the contemporary Republican politician must be capable
of believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
~ JACOB WEISBERG

The news is going from bad to worse for Republicans when it comes to working women. You know, the people who give birth to and raise children, take them to daycare and later soccer practice and piano lessons and care for elderly parents while juggling their careers, who pack lunches and cook meals, have to make tough reproductive decisions, balance the family checkbook and . . . oh yeah, vote.

There has been a gender gap in party identification for at least 30 years. In 1983, 43 percent of women identified themselves as Democrats and 21 percent as Republicans. In 2014, 40 percent of women identified themselves as Democrats and 20 percent as Republicans. Those numbers do not include Independents or swing voters, but that’s still bad news for the GOP as it struggles to remain relevant nationally against a deck that it alone has stacked.

And now there is worse news: Three elections ago, nearly half of all working mothers voted for George W. Bush. In 2008, that dropped to 40 percent for Senator John McCain. And by 2012, only 33 percent backed Mitt Romney, who tanked with women because, among his other smug anti-woman overtures to conservatives, he pledged to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood after supporting the lifeline organization as Massachusetts governor and having contributed to it personally.

I have written often (14 posts and counting) about what I call the Republican War on Women, and an excerpt from a March 2012 piece is typical:

Why would a political party go out of its way to alienate the key bloc of voters — in this case Independent women — in a presidential election year? In other words, why would Republicans oppose contraception and preventive health care, favor laws prohibiting abortions for even the victims of rape and incest, and now in essence come out in support of violence against women?

The answer is that some Republican politicians are so beholden to the right-wing and evangelical base that has taken over the party that they’d rather forsake votes that might help them recapture the White House, or end up with a loon like Rick Santorum as their nominee who couldn’t capture the White House with a Christo-sized net.

So what has changed since the last presidential election, a period during which some party officials soul searched and concluded that a preponderance of women, notably those all-important swing voters, view the GOP negatively? Absolutely nothing.

And are any of the many Republicans who are running for president likely to attract women who might otherwise vote for Hillary Clinton or sit out the election? Absolutely not.

This has Sabrina Schaeffer worried, or although it’s not very womanly, perhaps really pissed off.

“For years now, Democrats have been saying: ‘We are focused on women in the workplace,’ ” said Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum, a nonprofit organization that promotes conservative policies. “For whatever reason, Republicans keep ignoring these issues. It’s the absolute worst thing they can do. They need to understand, engage and offer better solutions. They can’t be afraid.”

Some Republican strategists say that many of the party’s presidential wannabes are planning to wait until after the bruising primary season to take up such ideas. Translation: They’ll tack to the right so as to not alienate social conservatives and then suddenly morph into moderates a la Romney if they get the nomination. This rationale is pathetic, as well as unrealistic because many of the candidates make no secret of their view that the little woman should stay at home. Romneyesque flip-flopping won’t fool swing-voting women.

Only 13 percent of American workers, meanwhile, have access to paid family leave or time away from work to recover from a pregnancy and bond with a newborn, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. Hillary Clinton pledges to change that, as well as push for more affordable child-care options, but about the best Republican wannabes can come up with is expanding the child tax credit.

It’s also difficult to imagine any of them endorsing the Affordable Care Act, which has begun to address the disparity in the level of medical care women receive and, according to a new study, saved them $1.4 billion in contraception costs in the first year of Obamacare alone as the price of birth control pills has plummeted. In fact, under the ACA many women are able to fill a prescription for contraception without paying a cent, while easing financial barriers to birth control reduces unintended pregnancies and ultimately the taxpayer burden. This result is well documented by health economists but is anathema to Republican social conservatives, many of them fundamentalist Christians, who believe, in effect, that women should be kept barefoot and pregnant . . . and in the kitchen, as well. And staying at home sure would take care of daycare costs, wouldn’t it?

Republicans who acknowledge their woman problem say it’s not that they don’t want to help them, they just would rather help them “the conservative way.”

This enables them to fall back on the party’s tried-and-untrue free market mantra, which goes something like this: A rising economic tide raises all boats. But . . . and you knew there was going to be a but . . . considerations for working women should be balanced against the needs of small businesses.

“The Republican position is: There is only so much employers can bear before they stop hiring people and before the economy starts to suffer,” said Katie Packer Gage, a former Romney strategist in an outburst of candor. “Democrats are always going to hand out more tax dollars. But what is the breaking point?”

Some party strategists go so far as to claim candidates might be staying silent on work-life balance issues because “anything we offer, the Democrats will offer 10 times that,” as former senior McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin puts it. Translation: Why bother when we’ll be (pardon the pun) out trumped.

Puh-thetic.

INMATES RUNNING THE ASYLUM — SENATE EDITION

Speaking of Obamacare, the Republicans are up to their old tricks.

Although their very own Supreme Court has validated two key elements of the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land and the House has voted over 50 times to repeal it, the Senate voted the other day to do exactly that on a 49-43 party-line vote, the august chamber’s first attempt to get rid of it since Republicans took control in January. Three-fifths of the Senate would have had to vote to add the repeal to a highway funding bill.

WHERE YOU BEEN, MARCO?

Marco Rubio has been absent from Capitol Hill more than any other senator seeking the Republican nomination, having been AWOL for 42 roll calls, or more than one-third, since announcing his run in mid-April. Senators Lindsay Graham (37 roll calls missed) and Ted Cruz (33 missed) are a close second and third.

Meanwhile, Senator Rand Paul has missed just two votes.

COJONES? WE AIN’T GOT NO STINKING COJONES

In 2010, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie singlehandedly killed a planned $8.7 billion commuter train tunnel under the Hudson River that virtually everyone else believed would ensure the future health of the New York region’s economy. Christie argued that it was just too damned expensive for the frugal times in which he governed, an argument that held little water then and has now sprung a ginormous leak as a series of severe commuter rail delays because of the two existing — and ancient and badly deteriorating — tunnels threaten to bring regional rail service to a halt.

What Christie planned to do all along was use New Jersey’s share of tunnel construction dough to bail out the state’s highway and bridge system, which under his “leadership” had been driven deeply into debt. And he did.

Now semi-chastened presidential candidate Christie is singing a different tune:

“If I am president of the United States, I [will] call a meeting between the president, my secretary of transportation, the governor of New York and the governor of New Jersey and say, ‘Listen, if we are all in this even Steven, if we are all going to put in an equal share, then let’s go build these tunnels under the Hudson River,’ ” said in a radio interview.

I would say that it took balls for Christie to even allude to his monumental screw-up, but he doesn’t have any.

PHILLY CLAIMS ANOTHER CHEESESTEAK DIPLOMACY VICTIM

Scott Walker this week became the latest presidential wannabe to founder on the treacherous shoals of Philadelphia cheesesteak diplomacy. As John Kerry and many another visiting pol before him had found to their embarrassment, Walker’s faux pax was to order the wrong kind of cheese.

The governor of Wisconsin (the cheese state, right?), being careful to not play favorites, made obligatory stops at rival sandwich shops Pat’s and Geno’s during a campaign swing through the City of Brotherly Love. His crime was to order a steak wid, in Philly parlance, American cheese and not Cheez Whiz, the local favorite. He also opted against onions, another local must-have.

While Walker’s gaff had the locals clucking, his culinary sin was a far cry from John Kerry’s. In 2003, the then-Massachusetts senator asked for . . . get this, Swiss cheese, at Pat’s while running for president.

For the record, I preferred Pat’s over Geno’s back in my meat-eating days. Always wid Cheez Whiz, onions and sauteed mushrooms.

Politix Update is an irregular compendium written by veteran journalist Shaun Mullen, for whom the 2016
presidential campaign is his (gasp!) 12th since 1968. Click here for an index of previous
Politix Updates.

Image courtesy of Wit Be a Woman. Used with permission.

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Cartoon: ISIS recruitment poster – For Him http://themoderatevoice.com/207160/cartoon-isis-recruitment-poster-for-him/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207160/cartoon-isis-recruitment-poster-for-him/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:10:10 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207160 The post Cartoon: ISIS recruitment poster – For Him appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

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Cecil The Lion Death: Dr. Palmer Dental Office Tweets Tasteless, Odd Jokes Following Shooting http://themoderatevoice.com/207158/cecil-the-lion-death-dr-palmer-dental-office-tweets-tasteless-odd-jokes-following-shooting/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207158/cecil-the-lion-death-dr-palmer-dental-office-tweets-tasteless-odd-jokes-following-shooting/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:05:13 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207158 The whole world is mad at Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist who killed a beloved Zimbabwean lion (Cecil the lion) in a hunt that lured the lion from the protection of a national park under the cover of darkness, removed his GPS collar and left the decapitated and skinned body behind. Once the identity of [...]

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You Tube image of Cecil the lion

You Tube image of Cecil the lion

The whole world is mad at Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist who killed a beloved Zimbabwean lion (Cecil the lion) in a hunt that lured the lion from the protection of a national park under the cover of darkness, removed his GPS collar and left the decapitated and skinned body behind. Once the identity of the…

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An Evolving Conventional Wisdom On The Democratic Race http://themoderatevoice.com/207154/an-evolving-conventional-wisdom-on-the-democratic-race/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207154/an-evolving-conventional-wisdom-on-the-democratic-race/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:03:49 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207154 Not long ago the conventional wisdom was that Hillary Clinton was the inevitable Democratic candidate for president for the 2016 election. After bad polling data and unfavorable publicity, the conventional wisdom is starting to shift with some political writers starting to talk about Clinton being defeatable. Chris Cillizza pointed out poor results for Clinton in [...]

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Gallup-Clinton-Sanders-July-2015

Not long ago the conventional wisdom was that Hillary Clinton was the inevitable Democratic candidate for president for the 2016 election. After bad polling data and unfavorable publicity, the conventional wisdom is starting to shift with some political writers starting to talk about Clinton being defeatable. Chris Cillizza pointed out poor results for Clinton in four recent polls, noting that while it was expected her favorability would drop in a political campaign, the magnitude of her fall is significant:

But, if Clinton’s sinking poll numbers were to be expected as she re-entered the arena, the pace of their drop and the depths to which they have fallen are surprising. Looking at the national numbers, Clinton’s favorable numbers have come close to collapsing over the past eight months or so; her unfavorable numbers in Iowa and New Hampshire are, without exaggeration, near Trump-ian levels — and that’s a very bad thing considering they are the first two states that will cast votes in the primaries and two key swing states in the general election…

My working theory is that Clinton not only returned to the political world but also did so in the least desirable way possible for people who were already predisposed not to like her: Riding a series of stories about her e-mails and the Clinton Foundation donors.

Clinton has had a remarkably bad run of press since she officially became a candidate — punctuated by the now-almost-a-week-long focus on the investigations into whether or not she sent classified materials from her private e-mail address. To date there have only really been two storylines surrounding Clinton in the presidential contest: 1) How she is inevitable as the Democratic nominee, and 2) How her past dealings at the State Department (and after it) are problematic for her presidential campaign.

Neither of those storylines work in Clinton’s favor when it comes to the Republicans and independents with whom she has lost ground. The lack of a series primary fight drives the coronation idea which independents blanch at, and the focus on her e-mails and donations to the Clinton Foundation remind unaffiliated voters and Republicans of all the things they didn’t like about the Clintons back in the 1990s. One thing that isn’t problematic for Clinton is her standing among Democrats, which, as the chart above shows, have stayed not only consistent but consistently high not only nationally but in early states too.

Which leads to the question: How much does Clinton’s unpopularity really matter?

After discussing this issue further, he concluded (emphasis mine):

For Clinton, these polls argue that she may be hard pressed to win a traditional presidential election in which likability matters most. To get to the White House, Clinton almost certainly needs to turn the choice into one about experience and readiness to do the job at hand. If it’s a popularity contest, these early returns suggest she will lose.

The possibility that Clinton would make a poor candidate in the general election could change the willingness of many Democrats to hand her the nomination.

Mark Halparin looked more closely at the dangers to Clinton posed by Bernie Sanders in writing, Hillary Clinton’s Bernie Sanders Problem Is Bigger Than Anyone Realizes. Well, maybe not bigger than anyone realizes. I’m finding many liberal Democrats who are increasingly confident that Bernie can win the nomination, and that he will make a stronger general election candidate than Clinton. Halparin concentrated more on how Sanders could create problems for Clinton, but the more he creates problems for Clinton, it becomes more likely that, as in 2008, she might be defeated for the nomination.

Ron Brownstein provides a look at what the media narrative on the email scandal can be in an article entitled, Parsing Clinton: What Is She Hiding?Her slippery defense of the email scandal requires a Clintonologist.

Clinton has put herself in a box. She can either hand the server over to an independent third party, who would protect her private email and our government’s working email. Or she can stonewall.

The latter course gives every voter the right—and every self-respecting journalist the responsibility—to ask, “What were you hiding, Hillary?”

What are you hiding?

Even Democratic voters who are now in denial that this is a serious scandal might began to worry about this before the convention.

As I said above, many liberals are more optimistic about Sanders’ chances. H. A. Goodman wrote at Huffington Post last month, Why Bernie Sanders Will Become the Democratic Nominee and Defeat Any Republican in 2016:

What gives Hillary Clinton a better chance of winning states like Ohio (Brookings has a study titledDid Manufacturing Job Losses Hold the Midwest Back) than Bernie Sanders? Unlike Sanders, Hillary was for the TPP and voters weary of China and Vietnam taking jobs away from Americans will think twice about Hillary Clinton.

Also, communities around the country hit by the repercussions of American counterinsurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where close to 7,000 Americans died, over 50,000 wounded in combat, and over 900,000 injured, will think twice about voting for Hillary Clinton after her Iraq War vote. Bernie Sanders, however, was on the right side of history with Iraq and Afghanistan, he’s always against horrible trade agreements, supported gay marriage and marijuana legalization (Hillary was against even the decriminalization of marijuana not long ago) and championed a range of other issues.

In other words, the electoral map shows that Bernie Sanders is not only a realistic candidate for president, but his record on a number of issues speaks to a wide range of voters. If Democrats simply vote based on their value system (considering demographic shifts favor Democrats), Bernie Sanders can easily win the presidency. If they nominate Hillary Clinton out of despair, thinking this is still 1999, then email scandals and an Iraq War vote could mitigate any advantages a Democratic challenger has over Jeb Bush or another Republican.

After recent polls came out, Goodman wrote, Reason #1 to Vote Bernie: Sanders Does ‘Better Than Clinton’ Against GOP in Swing States:

It’s believed by some people that Clinton is the only way for Democrats to win the White House. However, this mentality ignores the key issue of trust and how this sentiment will decide the presidential election. For example, Quinnipiac states that, “For 38 percent of Ohio voters, honesty is the top quality in a candidate.” The belief system stating only Clinton can beat a GOP challenger also ignores the recent finding from Quinippiac that reads, “In several matchups in Iowa and Colorado, another Democratic contender, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, runs as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush and Walker.”

Furthermore, the number one reason for Democrats to vote for Bernie Sanders in 2016 is that swing states are already moving away from Clinton (in search of more honest candidates like Sanders) and Election Day is just over 470 days away. If Bernie Sanders has gone from an impossibility, to drawing crowds of thousands, and now running “as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush, and Walker,” then imagine the political world 470 days from now…

Ultimately, in terms of trust, nobody has ever accused Bernie Sanders of being untrustworthy; in fact his honesty at times has been seen as a political liability. If polls had once convinced some voters that Sanders couldn’t win, these same polls should now illuminate a rapidly changing political evolution in key swing states. Quinnipiac recently stated “Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is behind or on the wrong side of a too-close-to-call result in matchups with three leading Republican contenders.” Those words, as well as the finding that “U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, runs as well as, or better than Clinton against Rubio, Bush and Walker,” should be the number one reason to vote for the Vermont Senator in 2016.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

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Cartoon: ISIS recruitment poster — for her http://themoderatevoice.com/207155/cartoon-isis-recruitment-poster-for-her/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207155/cartoon-isis-recruitment-poster-for-her/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:58:07 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207155 The post Cartoon: ISIS recruitment poster — for her appeared first on The Moderate Voice.

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Trump going after Scott Walker http://themoderatevoice.com/207152/trump-going-after-scott-walker/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207152/trump-going-after-scott-walker/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:54:26 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207152 Jeb Bush is malingering at a mere 14% support and Scott Walker even less than that and most of the rest in that clown car are floundering in the single digits. What does this mean? Nothing. Unless you have the creepy sensation that Americans have dumped democracy in favor of entertainment. ___ Molly Ball, writing [...]

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Jeb Bush is malingering at a mere 14% support and Scott Walker even less than that and most of the rest in that clown car are floundering in the single digits. What does this mean? Nothing. Unless you have the creepy sensation that Americans have dumped democracy in favor of entertainment.

___

Molly Ball, writing in The Atlantic, watches Donald Trump in action down on the border — in Laredo.

The pundits love to talk about what Trump is really doing, because he can’t really be running to be president. Is he trying to boost his brand? Is he trying to make more money? But money-wise, this deal is a loser for Trump. He has lost his hit TV show and his Macy’s clothing line. Univision refused to air the Trump-owned Miss USA pageant. He is funding the campaign out of his own pocket.

What if—the most terrifying thought of all—the presidency, not approval or money or anything else, is what he really wants? “I’m in first place by a lot, it seems, according to all the polls,” Trump says, in his New York accent, with his usual facial expression: a sort of perpetually nonplussed duckface, like he is continually being impressed with himself anew. “We’ll see soon enough, but I think I’ll get the nomination.”

___

All of this leaves Ted Cruz — who just knows he’s what America really needs in the White House* — pissed off and acting out. Also in The Atlantic, Russell Berman describes Cruz getting himself and his demon ego in trouble. He calls Senate Majority Leader a liar.

Accusing another senator of lying on the Senate floor is not just rare—it runs counter to the Senate’s rules:

“No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”

Cruz’s rant against his party leader was all the more notable because he has repeatedly refused to denounce Donald Trump’s critique of immigrants, or his later attack on John McCain, because, Cruz told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press: “I’m not interested in Republican-on-Republican violence.” That principled stand appears to have given way to Cruz’s desire for the votes that Trump is now hogging.

___

Thing is, the Republican party is in a state of embarrassing frustration. Just look at what they’re up to:

On consecutive days last week, two Republican senators, both of whom are hoping to be the next President, released videos in which they destroyed stuff. First, Rand Paul went at a pile of paper, which he said was the United States tax code, with fire, a wood chipper, and a chain saw. (He wore safety goggles—he may be against regulations, but he’s also an ophthalmologist.) The next day saw Lindsey Graham attacking his Samsung flip phone with a cleaver, a blender, and a golf club. He also dropped a concrete block on it, threw it off a roof, and doused it with lighter fluid and ignited it. These videos suggest that Fox News, which is co-hosting the first G.O.P. Presidential debate, in Cleveland, on August 6th, should have in place firm rules regarding props, and that, perhaps, extra fire marshals should be deployed. With sixteen declared candidates, there is already a crowd-control problem; now the campaign threatens to be defined by demolition. …AmyDavidson,NewYorker

Busy, busy, busy!

___

*Let me revise that. Ted Cruz is not likely to be satisfied with the White House. He has the look of a fella who just knows he’s born and educated to be emperor of all he can see. The White House is just another short-term lake cabin rental for lesser beings.

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

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Cartoon: The party of Lincoln http://themoderatevoice.com/207150/cartoon-the-party-of-lincoln/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207150/cartoon-the-party-of-lincoln/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:44:28 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207150 See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune


See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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John Kerry not committed to following the law? http://themoderatevoice.com/207147/john-kerry-not-committed-to-following-the-law/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207147/john-kerry-not-committed-to-following-the-law/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:28:17 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207147 Secretary of State John Kerry gave testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, during which time he put his foot in his mouth. Here is an excerpt from a story by TheHill.com. He [Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)] asked Kerry whether the administration would “follow the law” if Congress passes a resolution of disapproval and then [...]

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Secretary of State John Kerry gave testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, during which time he put his foot in his mouth.

Here is an excerpt from a story by TheHill.com.

He [Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.)] asked Kerry whether the administration would “follow the law” if Congress passes a resolution of disapproval and then overrides a presidential veto of it.

Kerry said he would he would have to consult with the president first, to which Sherman retorted, “So you’re not committed to following the law?”

Being hesitant to follow the law is what one would expect from a political extremist. Thankfully, a non-extremist Democrat challenged Kerry’s answer. (Yes, Virginia, there are extremists in the Democratic Party, too.)

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Featured Image from Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com

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Explaining Politics http://themoderatevoice.com/206903/explaining-politics/ http://themoderatevoice.com/206903/explaining-politics/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 21:48:20 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=206903 How would one go about explaining politics to someone who knows nothing about it? Can a simple explanation be offered? Well, perhaps there is a simple explanation. Here is a look at politics on Earth from the perspective of a newspaper for extraterrestrials. —————————————————————————————————————– CREDITS: Featured Image is an altered version of an image from [...]

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Vote for Clown
How would one go about explaining politics to someone who knows nothing about it? Can a simple explanation be offered? Well, perhaps there is a simple explanation.

Here is a look at politics on Earth from the perspective of a newspaper for extraterrestrials.
Alien Newspaper
Politics Explanation in Black and White

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CREDITS:

Featured Image is an altered version of an image from shutterstock. Image altered by this post’s author.

Other images in post created by post’s author.

Concept of planet Melmac and its natives is the creation of puppeteer and actor Paul Fusco.

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Cartoon: Huckabee http://themoderatevoice.com/207142/cartoon-huckabee/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207142/cartoon-huckabee/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:19:09 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207142 See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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 Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons


Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons

See great cartoons by all the top political cartoonists at http://cagle.com. To license this cartoon for your own site, visit http://politicalcartoons.com

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NATO supports Turkey on tackling ISIL and PKK threats http://themoderatevoice.com/207140/nato-supports-turkey-on-tackling-isil-and-pkk-threats/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207140/nato-supports-turkey-on-tackling-isil-and-pkk-threats/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:14:28 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207140 NATO has offered political support for Turkey’s campaign against fighters in Syria and Iraq at a rare meeting in Brussels, as Ankara said the alliance may have a “duty” to become more involved. The extraordinary meeting at the NATO headquarters on Tuesday is the fifth in the organisation’s 66-year history. It came just days after [...]

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NATO has offered political support for Turkey’s campaign against fighters in Syria and Iraq at a rare meeting in Brussels, as Ankara said the alliance may have a “duty” to become more involved. The extraordinary meeting at the NATO headquarters on Tuesday is the fifth in the organisation’s 66-year history. It came just days after Ankara…

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Washington forgets the art of friendship (Guest Voice) http://themoderatevoice.com/207137/washington-forgets-the-art-of-friendship-guest-voice/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207137/washington-forgets-the-art-of-friendship-guest-voice/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:00:03 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207137 Washington forgets the art of friendship by Dana Milbank Washington Post Writers Group Columnist WASHINGTON — Bob Dole, now 92 and in a wheelchair, made a rare return visit to Congress on Monday to celebrate this week’s 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act — the sort of big bipartisan triumph of yore that [...]

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Washington forgets the art of friendship
by Dana Milbank
Washington Post Writers Group Columnist

WASHINGTON — Bob Dole, now 92 and in a wheelchair, made a rare return visit to Congress on Monday to celebrate this week’s 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act — the sort of big bipartisan triumph of yore that now seems unimaginable.

How, I asked Dole, can we get back to the days when Washington worked?

“Get us back in Congress,” Dole quipped.

If only.

The Kansas Republican, in his nearly 28 years in the Senate, was one of the great legislators of the 20th century. But the sad truth is Dole, even if he wanted to serve, probably couldn’t be elected to Congress as a Republican today, much less become Senate majority leader or the party’s presidential nominee. Neither could George H.W. Bush, who signed the ADA into law. Both would be dubbed RINOs — Republicans in Name Only — because of their nasty habit of compromise.

There are several reasons for the decline in Washington’s functionality, including the growing polarization of both parties and the obvious reality that Dole’s Republican Party has gone particularly bonkers. Dole, joined in the Capitol complex by other veterans of the 1990 ADA effort — Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., former senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and former Rep. Steve Bartlett, R-Texas — spoke with disdain of the 50-odd Republican members of the House who refuse to compromise on anything: “I don’t know what they are,” he said.

But Dole also attributed the decline to the lost art of friendship. “We were D’s and R’s, but beyond that we were friends,” he said. “We worked together because it was the right thing to do.” Dole spoke of “friends on both sides of the aisle” scratching each other’s backs. “Sometimes we’d vote with Democrats, sometimes they would vote with us,” he said. “In some cases you can’t agree and you just vote. But I think in most cases you can work it out.”

Dole’s talk of friendship sounded particularly quaint on Monday, following another low in interpersonal relations on Capitol Hill. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, struggling in his presidential bid, went on the Senate floor Friday and called Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fellow Republican, a liar.

“Not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again, was a simple lie,” said Cruz, upset that McConnell allowed a vote to renew the Export-Import Bank despite what Cruz felt were assurances to the contrary. “I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie.”

Hoyer singled out this “egregious violation of civility” — a break with the long-standing custom in the Senate of refraining from attacks on fellow members’ integrity. With Dole nodding vigorous agreement, Hoyer also defended House Republican leaders in their struggles with rebellious conservatives: “Speaker [John] Boehner, I think, is not the problem, but he has some people who are not cooperating with their own leadership.”

As would happen two decades later during the Obamacare fight, there were bitter partisan squabbles during the ADA debate, and some serious opposition from business. But there was a crucial difference. “I never heard anyone ever say, ‘No, we can’t do it,’” recalled Harkin, a key figure in both the ADA and Obamacare. “There was no one who said, ‘No, we’ve got to stop this.’”

Dole, in retirement, has seen the change, too. In 2012, he pushed for the Senate to ratify a U.N. treaty protecting those with disabilities. But the Republicans rebuffed him, leaving America in the company of Congo and Ghana as nations that haven’t joined the treaty.

Dole’s view, that “‘compromise’ is not a bad word,” prevailed in the days when ADA became law, before Newt Gingrich’s rise. That’s when members of the Greatest Generation, including war-wounded Dole, still dominated politics and governed with a sense that country was above party. The camaraderie of those times seemed anachronistic when reprised during Monday’s commemoration at the Capitol.

Dole, frail but sharp, offered a bit of optimism, both for the future of bipartisanship — “I see a little hope that things are going to get back to where they were,” he said — and for his own longevity: “I just turned 92 last Wednesday, and I’m looking forward to my 102nd birthday.”

Wait: That’s 10 years — and a Senate term is only six.

Dole in ’16?

Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank. (c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group

graphic via shutterstock.com

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Sen. Claire McCaskill: Trump’s Lawyer Michael Cohen “Giving Akin a Run for his Money” http://themoderatevoice.com/207133/sen-claire-mccaskill-trumps-lawyer-michael-cohen-giving-akin-a-run-for-his-money/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207133/sen-claire-mccaskill-trumps-lawyer-michael-cohen-giving-akin-a-run-for-his-money/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:44:23 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207133 Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) invoked Todd Akin’s name after Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen says a husband can’t rape his spouse. McCaskill tweeted Cohen is “giving Akin a run for his money.” Cohen was upset over a Daily Beast article on how Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana Trump, alleged that he had raped her, though she walked [...]

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Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) invoked Todd Akin’s name after Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen says a husband can’t rape his spouse. McCaskill tweeted Cohen is “giving Akin a run for his money.”

Cohen was upset over a Daily Beast article on how Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana Trump, alleged that he had raped her, though she walked it back saying she felt violated.

Cohen said, “By the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse..It’s true. You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill tweeted: “Most shocking part of this? Trump’s lawyer thinks it’s legal to rape your spouse. Giving Akin a run for his money.” She followed up with a second tweet in response to a critic:  “I spent years in the courtroom as a prosecutor, and it is incompetent for any lawyer to not know that rape is rape.”

You will recall Todd Akin said victims of legitimate rape do not get pregnant.

Political news cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

graphic via wikimedia commons

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Trump Not as Fringe as You Think http://themoderatevoice.com/206980/trump-not-fringe-think/ http://themoderatevoice.com/206980/trump-not-fringe-think/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:08:22 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=206980 Michael Arceneaux argues Donald Trump may not represent just the GOP fringe on Talking Points Memo. Trump may rightly be accused of bigotry, but he’s no worse than, say, homophobia’s grand slam champ Rick Santorum, who has compared gay sex to bestiality. And genuine or not, the GOP has never had a problem playing on [...]

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Michael Arceneaux argues Donald Trump may not represent just the GOP fringe on Talking Points Memo.

Trump may rightly be accused of bigotry, but he’s no worse than, say, homophobia’s grand slam champ Rick Santorum, who has compared gay sex to bestiality. And genuine or not, the GOP has never had a problem playing on its core base’s prejudices to win political office. So while RNC Chairman Reince Priebus may have reportedly asked Trump to “tone down” his controversial remarks about immigration—you know, referring to Mexicans as “rapists”—this is the same party that demonizes immigrants regularly. Look at Arizona’s fervent (and eventually unsuccessful) attempts at racial profiling. Look at Iowa GOP congressman Steve King, who has compared immigrants to dogs.

 

Or look at the wave of “birtherism” that the likes of Trump and many, many Republicans across the country aimed at President Obama for years. There was no widespread condemnation by GOP leaders. Asking Trump to “tone down” his language won’t alter the reality that the GOP is not a friend to immigrants. Or blacks. Or women. Or gays. Or trans men and women. Or the poor.

 

Tellingly, the only hard line the GOP has taken is in response to Trump’s comments about Senator John McCain. RNC chief strategist and communications director, Sean Spicer, said, “Senator McCain is an American hero because he served his country and sacrificed more than most can imagine. Period. There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”

 

McCain may have taken issue with the swift-boating of then Democratic presidential contender, John Kerry, in 2004, but the national party sure didn’t.

 

I was initially annoyed with the attention lavished on Trump’s run for the presidency, but now I realize it’s a valuable opportunity to illustrate how Trump is a monster Republicans helped create. He is nothing more than a louder, shameless example of what the GOP has become. Let’s not pretend he’s a Republican outlier; he’s their id.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2015/07/trump-not-as-fringe-as-you-think.html

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The Olympics http://themoderatevoice.com/207124/the-olympics/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207124/the-olympics/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:46:36 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207124 Few if any cities or countries have been better off after they hosted the Olympic Games.  The people of Boston have figured that out and told the Olympic Committee no thanks. The city of Boston is ending its bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, conceding to residents who’ve vocally protested the idea for months. Poll [...]

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Boston_Financial_District_skylineFew if any cities or countries have been better off after they hosted the Olympic Games.  The people of Boston have figured that out and told the Olympic Committee no thanks.

The city of Boston is ending its bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, conceding to residents who’ve vocally protested the idea for months. Poll numbers have shown that a majority of people in the region were opposed to hosting the Games, which have become increasingly costly, and opponents had threatened to put the question to what would have been an embarrassing ballot measure.

On Monday morning, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he wouldn’t sign a bid document that required the city to guarantee any cost overruns associated with the Games. Later in the day, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced that it would scramble to find another American city to compete for the 2024 job.

The news is a big victory for Bostonians who believed the Olympics would distract the city — and sap resources — from deep challenges with its transit, housing and education. And it’s a resounding defeat for the logic that Boston — or any city — needs to take on a massive sporting event to solve such problems.

City taxpayers, so often duped by the allure of sports, finally heard a promise they couldn’t believe.

And judging from past games they were right not to believe it.     Boston has some major infrastructure problems but hosting the Olympic Games won’t solve them.  It’s not unlike the habit here in the United States for tax payer dollars to build venues for sports teams, the toys of billionaires.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Olympic Games are a good thing but 2 or 3 locations should be chosen to hold the games so the venues can be used over and over again.  The entire bidding process is a recipe for fraud and corruption.  And while we are at it we should chose a location for the winter games where there might actually be real snow although that’s going to become more difficult as climate change kicks in.

Image via Wikimedia

 

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Donald Trump’s Amazing Somersaults http://themoderatevoice.com/207120/donald-trumps-amazing-somersaults/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207120/donald-trumps-amazing-somersaults/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:10:41 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207120 The term — the phenomenon — (political) “flip-flopping” goes back as far as 1890 when the New York Times reported on a campaign speech by New York City candidate for district attorney John W. Goff, referring to a “flip-flop” by one of his opponents. The “flip-flopper” accusation has been used in “modern times” against Jimmy [...]

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The term — the phenomenon — (political) “flip-flopping” goes back as far as 1890 when the New York Times reported on a campaign speech by New York City candidate for district attorney John W. Goff, referring to a “flip-flop” by one of his opponents.

The “flip-flopper” accusation has been used in “modern times” against Jimmy Carter, Richard Gephardt and more (in)famously against John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election when Kerry tried to explain his vote for supplemental funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by saying, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.”

Of course there have been numerous other instances of political flip-flopping, but in this author’s opinion none have been so numerous, so gigantic, so acrobatic and so obvious as the circus somersaults “performed” over the years by this presidential elections’ most famous and agile — despite the risk of messing up his coiffe — Republican clown bus occupant, Donald Trump.

In Politico, Timothy Noah asks the “real Donald Trump [to] please stand up” and describes the backbreaking somersaults performed over the years by the most popular occupant of the clown bus.

Perhaps the most significant flip-flops are Trump’s drifting and changing political party affiliations.

Noah:

Over the past two decades he was a Republican, then an independent, then a Democrat, then a Republican. Now, registered as an independent, he leads the Republican 2016 presidential field.

But Trump also flirted with the Reform Party which he quit in 2001 when he registered as a Democrat and is now threatening to run as a third party — whatever he may call that party — candidate if not coddled by the GOP..

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/will-the-real-donald-trump-please-stand-up-120607.html#ixzz3h767R5U6

Read here how Trump once endorsed a massive surtax on the rich, but now wants the top income tax rate cut in half.

How he opposed the war in Iraq, but now says that he has a “foolproof but secret way to defeat ISIL, secret because he doesn’t want ISIL to know how he’ll do it.

How, although he opposed the Iraq War, Trump wrote in his 2011 book, “if any country in the Middle East won’t sell us their oil at fair market price — oil that we discovered, we pumped and we made profitable for the countries of the Middle East in the first place — we have every right to take it.”

It is not clear to this writer how Trump plans to do this is, but it certainly has to entail more than just giving away cell phone numbers.

Read also how Trump has praised single-payer health care in the past, even “proposed ‘health marts’ that sound suspiciously like today’s Obamacare exchanges” before “[loathing] Obamacare.”

How Trump “generally” opposed gun control, but supported the ban on assault weapons and “a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” before telling the Web site Ammoland earlier this month, “Gun-banners are unfortunately preoccupied with … magazine capacity, grips and other aesthetics, precisely because of its popularity. To the left every weapon is an assault weapon,” and also said: “I do not support expanding background checks. The current background checks do not work.”

However, Noah does give Trump credit for his consistency in his support for private sector unions, although Trump has “low regard for teacher’s unions” and “would also appear to share fellow GOP candidate Scott Walker’s disdain for public employee unions in general…”

Read more here.

In an earlier piece at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza quotes Fix’s Hunter Schwarz:

[Trump] loved Hillary Clinton; now he thinks she’s the worst. He was very much in favor of abortion rights before he opposed them. And he might be running as a Republican today, but he was once a registered Democrat who called for legalizing drugs, a massiveone-time 14.25 percent tax on the wealthy and staying out of wars that didn’t present a “direct threat” to the U.S. In many ways, he’s been to the left of Clinton and even Bernie Sanders on some issues.

The piece is accompanied by a video that “explains” in living color (including Trump’s coiffe) and in 113 seconds “The massive flip-floppery of Donald Trump”

Watch it here.

Lead image: www.shutterstock.com

Follow Dorian de Wind on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ddewind99

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We cannot give up http://themoderatevoice.com/207122/we-cannot-give-up/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207122/we-cannot-give-up/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:04:22 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207122 The inspiration for this post came from a conversation with my sister. We were talking about the influence Fox News and the right wing conservatives have on the voters. As my sister pointed out, millions of dollars are constantly being poured in to advertising to promote a very specific message that appeals to a group [...]

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I Voted!

The inspiration for this post came from a conversation with my sister. We were talking about the influence Fox News and the right wing conservatives have on the voters. As my sister pointed out, millions of dollars are constantly being poured in to advertising to promote a very specific message that appeals to a group of people who vote in every election. Along with the money, there is also the problem of gerrymandering which is not a new issue but has certainly become more prevalent. All of which seems to bode well for conservative Republicans and doom the Democrats.

But money cannot not vote. Corporations cannot vote. The 1% can not cast more votes than the 99%. Yes, the corporations can try to persuade their workers and the conservative Christian preachers can often sway their parishioners. But I still believe there are more people who oppose the policies of the Right Wing Republicans than support them. The problem is that all those people do not always go out and vote. The core voters in the Republican Party, the ones that will vote in every election, out-number those same voters in the Democratic Party. Why? The simple answer is that the Republicans are much better at getting out their message than the Democrats are at getting out their message.

The liberal groups on Facebook constantly post about what the Republicans are doing and how harmful their policies are. But that didn’t seem to matter enough to prevent Republican victories in the last election. So what does matter? When people choose to stay home rather than vote, they allow others to make choices for them. Why do they choose to not vote? Some people do not think their vote will matter, but it will, if only they would cast it. If only they would add their votes to all the others who also believe their vote will not make a difference.

We are stronger when we stand together. We can create change when we work together to make the change happen. We can not and must not give up because that is what the conservatives and billionaires are counting on to happen. They want us to believe that we are defeated. They want us to believe that our votes do not count. But the only way our votes will not count, the only way we will be unable to create the change we want, the change that is what our country needs, is if we stay home and do not vote!

Stand up, stand together, go to the polls, vote and with each vote we will echo the words of Abraham Lincoln “that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth.”

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Profile vs. talent in politics http://themoderatevoice.com/207118/profile-vs-talent-in-politics/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207118/profile-vs-talent-in-politics/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:39:43 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207118 The first Republican presidential debate is two weeks away and for those not in the top tier the pressure is on to find a way to get in. Fox News, which will run the first debate in Cleveland, is limiting participation to 10 candidates based on five polls, though we don’t yet know which polls [...]

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The first Republican presidential debate is two weeks away and for those not in the top tier the pressure is on to find a way to get in.

Fox News, which will run the first debate in Cleveland, is limiting participation to 10 candidates based on five polls, though we don’t yet know which polls will be used.

Using an average based upon on five polls tracked by RealClearPolitics, we can identify eight candidates likely to get in, with the remaining two spots very much undetermined. In fact, The Hill notes that for candidates currently ranked between 9th and 14th place the “polling differential is negligible.”

“It’s a roll of the dice,” said Monmouth University polling director Patrick Murray. “It’s going to come down to the vagaries of how independent pollsters round off their results — we’re talking tenths of decimal points. It could come down to the five or six people who didn’t pick up their phones for a national survey and the five or six people who did.”

According to some strategist, candidates on the edges of participation are being forced to spend money on national ad buys to boost their polling numbers for just this purpose. To complicate matters further, Donald Trump’s dominance of earned media is making it very difficult for other candidates to get noticed at all.

People can talk all they want. It’s difficult to know if exclusion from this first debate is going to be decisive. But it is dangerous to use early polling numbers to include or exclude candidates from participating in meaningful ways out of the gate.

Donald Trump is a master at getting noticed, but may not have staying power. On the other side, American politics is full of slow starters who became strong finishers.

Early polls are notoriously unreliable at determining anything, but creating an early and potentially false impression in voters minds of who is and who isn’t supposed to count may matter in the long run.

The famous always have a leg up in politics and usually start out stronger because people don’t pay enough attention to distinguish talent from profile. This debate structure just formalizes that fact, and that’s a problem.

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With Infrastructure, Government Failure Buoys The Private Sector http://themoderatevoice.com/207114/with-infrastructure-government-failure-buoys-the-private-sector/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207114/with-infrastructure-government-failure-buoys-the-private-sector/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:07:11 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207114 The United States is home to many contradictions, but none are as perplexing as what our great country can and cannot afford. We are told, for example, that our economy cannot afford a living wage, even as Congress continues to favor the rich with tax breaks and loopholes. But wages are far from the only [...]

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The United States is home to many contradictions, but none are as perplexing as what our great country can and cannot afford. We are told, for example, that our economy cannot afford a living wage, even as Congress continues to favor the rich with tax breaks and loopholes.

But wages are far from the only casualty of our government’s spectacularly poor stewardship of public funds. In fact, most of us witness some of the most egregious problems every time we commute to work.

The short version? America’s infrastructure is falling apart all around us. Much of the problem might be invisible to the casual observer, but it’s become clear thanks to several independent and non-partisan groups that America has a serious problem. These days, even basic maintenance seems beyond our grasp.

Making the Grade

The good news is, you don’t have to take my word for it—or the government’s. The American Society of Civil Engineers publishes an annual Report Card for America’s infrastructure, and the results have been embarrassingly bad for years: in 2013, America received a grade of D+, indicating that we need to come up with a $3.6 trillion investment by 2020.

But if you’re looking for a second opinion, we can turn to ARC Document Solutions, which publishes an annual Construction Trends Survey. They collect and interprets data from over 1,000 U.S.-based construction professionals and firms.

To begin with, respondents were asked about the importance of different kinds of construction projects in the country, and the overwhelming majority ranked projects that benefit the “public good” as among the most important. 83% of survey respondents specifically named “rebuilding aging infrastructure” as the single most important construction priority. The next-most favored priority, coming in at 51%, was “building clean power plants.”

Receiving zero votes was “reclaiming the world’s tallest building status”—which, when combined with the other heartening results from the survey, indicate that the kind of American exceptionalism that’s defined America’s fiscal policy for so long seems to be bowing in favor of more immediate and more tangibly beneficial projects.

Familiar Problems Need Radical Solutions

Considering the almost overwhelming importance placed on public works by the private sector, one senses a kind of contradiction at work here. Is it not the domain of the government to look out for the good of the public? Are shared structures such as bridges, airports, and roads not a worthy use of tax dollars?

The answer, unfortunately, appears to be no—and it has been for quite some time now. The unfortunate reality is that American politicians seem to have too thoroughly distracted themselves with infighting to really dig into the problem at hand.

For example, Congress has recently been accused of “paralysis” when it comes to funding transportation projects, and for good reason: for the past six years, Congress has played a high-stakes game of whack-a-mole when it comes to funding. To be exact, our government has passed more than 30 short-term extensions for infrastructure investments. There have been fruitless talks of a longer-term fix for some time now, but the usual partisan bickering has resulted in brief and bitter arguments followed by patchwork legislation that funds our transportation projects for just one year at a time.

Unfortunately, the loudest voices are frequently the most intractable, as when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) repeats, ad nauseum, “We’re not going to raise the gas tax [in order to fund infrastructure improvement].” That would be well and good if he had a counter-proposal, but he, like many American politicians, seems willing to bet on the safety of American commuters in the name of holding the party line.

One of the few common sense proposals we’ve heard recently come from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders—the one man who seems destined to overturn Hillary Clinton’s applecart. He’s been proposing a $1 trillion infrastructure investment for quite some time now, which might sound like financial foolishness until you remember that other piece of true foolishness: tax breaks and corporate welfare for America’s wealthiest citizens. In 2014, Citizens for Tax Justice estimated that just 30 American companies had managed to park $1.2 trillion overseas in order to avoid taxes on their earnings.

In other words, the problems that dog us now aren’t even political in nature: they are matters of financial common sense.

The Political Ouroboros

Our government is eating its own tail. We continue to elect politicians who tell us that our public servants are impotent or out-of-touch, and so, when they live up to their own low standards, we cannot hold them accountable.

The only good news to come of this downward spiral is that it’s created significant opportunities for the private sector. There was a time in American history when the federal government was recognized as a world-class job creator, thanks to longer-term public works projects that kept Americans working and made sure our vitally important infrastructure could be relied on to get us where we need to go.

But these days, the private sector seems to be running circles around the government when it comes to finding efficient solutions to infrastructure problems. Part of the issue comes from the fact that many in Washington would prefer to leave the states to their own devices when it comes to shoring up public infrastructure. There are practical arguments for and against this approach, but even the private sector has acknowledged that cooperation between governments—including cooperative purchasing—could be the first decisive step we take toward a reasonable, sustainable solution.

In other words, dividing our efforts even further is the last thing we want; the government needs to provide a firm hand that we’ve sorely lacked for far too long now.

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Clinton Denies Sending Classified Information From Private Server http://themoderatevoice.com/207107/clinton-denies-sending-classified-information-from-private-server/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207107/clinton-denies-sending-classified-information-from-private-server/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:19:55 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207107 Following reports that two Inspectors General have requested an investigation regarding the possibility of Hillary Clinton having sent classified email from her private server, Clinton has denied the accusations. Politico reports: Hillary Clinton said she is confident none of the emails she sent or received using her private email server while secretary of state contained [...]

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Clinton Email Classified

Following reports that two Inspectors General have requested an investigation regarding the possibility of Hillary Clinton having sent classified email from her private server, Clinton has denied the accusations. Politico reports:

Hillary Clinton said she is confident none of the emails she sent or received using her private email server while secretary of state contained information that was classified when she sent them.

Clinton, speaking to reporters Saturday after a presidential campaign event here, said she has “no idea” which are the four emails an inspector general review has determined were classified “secret” at the time.

“I am confident I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received,” Clinton said. “What I think you’re seeing is a very typical kind of discussion to some extent, disagreement among various parts of the government over what should or what should not be publicly released.”

Having followed this scandal closely, I believe Clinton might be telling the truth on this one point, but the current reports do raise serious concerns. Whether or not Clinton was telling the truth on this point, her subsequent statements were misleading when she discussed the entire issue. Whether she did knowingly send classified email, this does not change the fact that Clinton violated the rules in effect in 2009. It does not change the fact that she destroyed around 30,000 email messages and edited others, which includes email related to Libya and Terrorism and was not personal email as she previously claimed

The fact checking sites have repeatedly stated that Clinton’s statements have been false regarding the email on many other points. The Washington Post Fact Checker has given Clinton and her defenders Three Pinocchios for their claims on at least two separate occasions (here and here). The top Freedom of Information Act official at the Justice Department has stated that Clinton was in violation of the rules and the State Department’s top Freedom of Information Act officer has called her use of a private server unacceptable.

Clinton has also been criticized for being deceptive when she said at her press conference that none of the email was classified. This very well might technically be true, however the statement was considered deceptive as the email she sent did include sensitive email.

We do know that some of the email was reclassified as classified when reviewed by the State Department after she turned it over. This by itself does not indicate any wrong-doing by Clinton. The question is whether she was careless and sent email which she should have known should be classified. The reports that at least four email messages which were classified at the time were sent by Clinton raises further questions. An investigation of this is complicated by the fact that she has destroyed so much of the email. If it is verified that she did send four or more emails which were classified at the time we may have a much more serious situation.

As I said, my gut feeling is that, while Clinton did many things wrong related to her exclusive use of a private server, she very well might not have knowingly sent classified email. However, while I have discounted criticism of Clinton for sending classified email in the past when raised by Republicans, the most recent reports do raise new concerns.

Regardless of whether Clinton actually did knowingly send classified email, this issue will remain alive through the election (if Clinton wins the nomination) due to Clinton having destroyed thousands of email messages and edited others. This very well might make it impossible to ever answer this question. Clinton certainly deserves no presumption of innocence on this after deleting and editing email. If I went into a malpractice suit having deleted some progress notes and editing others, this would lead to a strong presumption of guilt. Only under the Clinton Rules could Hillary delete the email, after having violated the rules, and expect people to take her word for it that she is innocent.

As a minor sidelight to this issue, some Clinton supporters are greatly exaggerating the issue of The New York Times making corrections to its original story. It is common in the internet age, when everyone is in a rush to get their stories on-line first, for some stories to later receive corrections. The initial errors in the first story, which have been corrected, have no real bearing on the overall email scandal. This in no way means that either this aspect of the story, or the larger story of the scandal, have been “debunked” as many Clinton supporter are claiming.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

Update: Ron Fournier writes, Parsing Clinton: What Is She Hiding? Her slippery defense of the email scandal requires a Clintonologist.

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Stiglitz On Greece http://themoderatevoice.com/207115/stiglitz-on-greece/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207115/stiglitz-on-greece/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:51:18 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207115 Joe Stiglitz has been spending the last little while in Greece, checking out the state of affairs. Those affairs, he predicts, will get worse and follow a course of events which keep repeating themselves: As I read the details, I had a sense of déjà vu. As chief economist of the World Bank in the [...]

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Joe Stiglitz has been spending the last little while in Greece, checking out the state of affairs. Those affairs, he predicts, will get worse and follow a course of events which keep repeating themselves:

As I read the details, I had a sense of déjà vu. As chief economist of the World Bank in the late 1990s, I saw firsthand in East Asia the devastating effects of the programs imposed on the countries that had turned to the I.M.F. for help. This resulted not just from austerity but also from so-called structural reforms, where too often the I.M.F. was duped into imposing demands that favored one special interest relative to others. There were hundreds of conditions, some little, some big, many irrelevant, some good, some outright wrong, and most missing the big changes that were really required.

Greece, he writes, is a sacrficical lamb on the altar of neo-liberalism:

Austerity is largely to blame for Greece’s current depression — a decline of gross domestic product of 25 percent since 2008, an unemployment rate of 25 percent and a youth unemployment rate twice that. But this new program ratchets the pressure up still further: a target of 3.5 percent primary budget surplus by 2018 (up from around 1 percent this year). Now, if the targets are not met, as they almost surely won’t be because of the design of the program itself, additional doses of austerity become automatic. It’s a built-in destabilizer. The high unemployment rate will drive down wages, but the troika does not seem satisfied by the pace of the lowering of Greeks’ standard of living. The third memorandum also demands the “modernization” of collective bargaining, which means weakening unions by replacing industry-level bargaining.

That’s not to say that structural reforms aren’t needed. But, as in the past, those in charge have got their economics wrong:

Structural reforms are needed, just as they were in Indonesia, but too many that are being demanded have little to do with attacking the real problems Greece faces. The rationale behind many of the key structural reforms has not been explained well, either to the Greek public or to economists trying to understand them. In the absence of such an explanation, there is a widespread belief here in Greece that special interests, in and out of the country, are using the troika to get what they could not have obtained by more democratic processes.

Special interests. Does that sound familiar? The results could well be catastrophic — not just for Greece but for all of Europe. Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

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Political Extremists: The Lions in a Circus Act http://themoderatevoice.com/206931/political-extremists-the-lions-in-a-circus-act/ http://themoderatevoice.com/206931/political-extremists-the-lions-in-a-circus-act/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:07:35 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=206931 Political extremists are a rather odd lot. They think they’re mainstream when they’re not. In a commentary published by The Washington Times, Joseph Curl writes, “This is, of course, the “Silly Season” — the dog days of summer when almost no regular people are paying attention to politics and those who are flirt with some [...]

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Lion Tamer

Political extremists are a rather odd lot. They think they’re mainstream when they’re not.

In a commentary published by The Washington Times, Joseph Curl writes, “This is, of course, the “Silly Season” — the dog days of summer when almost no regular people are paying attention to politics and those who are flirt with some oddballs.”

Absent a Ringling Brothers Circus to go to, folks enjoy the antics of political extremists. For example, people are flocking to events featuring Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, as if the two were modern-day prophets. Are Sanders and Trump really that good, or are people merely enthralled by the untamed protein filaments on the top of the two’s heads? After all, some folks are just wild about hairy.
Trump and Sanders

Sanders and Trump aren’t the only political extremists making national news. Recently, the Oklahoma GOP landed in hot water after it posted a controversial statement on Facebook. A July 15th story in the Tulsa World states, “The Oklahoma Republican Party is again the center of controversy, this time following a social media posting comparing welfare recipients to animals.”

Here is the Facebook post that the story refers to.*

OK GOP Screenshot

Now, the current chairman of the Oklahoma GOP has upped the ante. A July 25th Tulsa World story reports the following.

Oklahoma should ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision and outlaw all forms of abortion immediately, state Republican Party Chairman Randy Brogdon said Friday.

“The federal courts don’t have the authority to make us kill babies,” Brogdon said. “Are the Supreme Court justices going to come down to Oklahoma and make us stop?”

Granted, people on the right end of the political spectrum don’t have a monopoly on extremism. In June of 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 against an extremist act committed by President Obama. A Washington Post story about that decision states this:

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that President Obama exceeded his constitutional authority in making high-level government appointments in 2012 when he declared the Senate to be in recess and unable to act on the nominations.

Obama made appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at a time when the Senate was holding pro forma sessions every three days precisely to thwart the president’s ability to exercise the power.

“The Senate is in session when it says it is,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for the court, stressing that if the Senate is able to conduct business, that is enough to keep the president from making recess appointments.

Some extremists on the political left haven’t reacted well to SCOTUS losses by the Executive Branch during Mr. Obama’s tenure as POTUS. In a commentary titled “The Supreme Court’s Relentless War Against President Obama“, Earl Ofari Hutchinson writes, “Past presidents have generally gotten most of what they want from the high court. According to Adam Winkler, UCLA constitutional law professor, on average they presidents have won about 70 percent of the cases the court’s decided that their administration backed. Obama is not even close to that number.”**

Apparently, Hutchinson has surmised that the conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court are at war against President Obama, despite the fact that liberal members of the Court have also voted against positions taken by the Obama Administration.

Then again, political extremists tend to engage in histrionics whenever a SCOTUS ruling goes against whatever they favor. Such was the case during the 2000 presidential election when the Court ruled in Bush v. Gore that the “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was being violated in an attempt to enable Gore to win in Florida. Left-wing extremists wanted Gore to win so badly that they were willing to overlook a violation of the U.S. Constitution as long as Gore won. Even today, some extremists continue to make the false claim that the Court gave the 2000 election to Bush.

Whether they be on the far left or the far right, political extremists don’t hesitate to use ad hominem against anyone who refuses to join them in their extremist echo chambers.

Political Extremism

Like lion tamers, folks in the political mainstream have to face the extremists instead of running away from them. Members of the political left need to confront the far-left extremists, while members of the political right need to confront the far-right extremists. Such extremism is a poison that harms liberals, moderates and conservatives alike.

It is reasonable for people to engage in political debates, but such debates don’t need to be turned into a circus act.

Political extremists might roar like circus lions, but in reality they are house cats with an exaggerated sense of self grandeur.

Cat sees lion in mirror

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NOTES

* Oklahoma GOP chairman Randy Brogdon has offered an apology for the above-reported Facebook post.

** This author realizes that some of his examples of extremism are considered to be “old” news. Nevertheless, those examples illustrate that no one political party has a monopoly on extremism.

Featured Image from Library of Congress.

Photos of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders: Origins unknown.

Drawing created by this post’s author.

Bottom Image from Shutterstock.

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Politix Update: The Republican Party’s Next Headache Is A Guy Who Wears A Funny Hat http://themoderatevoice.com/206985/politix-update-the-republican-partys-next-headache-is-a-guy-who-wears-a-funny-hat/ http://themoderatevoice.com/206985/politix-update-the-republican-partys-next-headache-is-a-guy-who-wears-a-funny-hat/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 09:35:02 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=206985 As if the Republican Party didn’t have enough negative publicity-grabbing problems with a man who is not serious about wanting to be president leading an overcrowded field of people who really want to be president and a president who is doing a pretty good job of being president, now comes (well, pretty soon, anyway) the [...]

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pope-francis-vatican-GC4W-Global-Educational-Fund-for-Disabled-Girls

As if the Republican Party didn’t have enough negative publicity-grabbing problems with a man who is not serious about wanting to be president leading an overcrowded field of people who really want to be president and a president who is doing a pretty good job of being president, now comes (well, pretty soon, anyway) the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Servant of the Servants of God, and Holy Father.

You can call him Francis, but the GOP probably would rather he be calling long distance than embarking on a whirlwind U.S. tour that will include a September 24 address to a joint session of Congress, the first in history by a pontiff.

The visit, which is taking on the hype of a Beatles reunion tour, will be a celebratory occasion for many people, but for Republicans it will be a stark reminder that the man who is the closest thing on earth to God for America’s 69 million Catholics (and presumably the 33 percent of congressfolk who are Catholic, as well) is a flaming social liberal who has forcefully staked out ideological positions diametrically opposite to that of the Republican Party at a time when its efforts to broaden its base seem, well, less than holy, which is to say somewhere between halfhearted and desultory.

While the Republicans are pushing for spending cuts that would disproportionately impact on the poor, Francis has called the excesses of capitalism the “dung of the devil.” While Republicans believe that human-caused global warming is either a hoax or a liberal plot against big business, Francis has inveigled against its “devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.” While Republicans adamantly oppose the new accord with Iran on its nuclear program, Francis believes that the pact “may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.” And while most Republicans oppose immigration reform, Francis has frequently confronted the “racist and xenophobic attitudes” that often face undocumented aliens and has said immigrant children “must be welcomed and protected.”

The pope’s visit is especially problematic for House Speaker John Boehner, who is a poster boy for a party that self-righteously jams God (well, that white Christian god, anyway) into just about everything it says and does. And if the GOP plays its cards right, it will have engineered the latest government shutdown about the time Francis alights on Capitol Hill.

Boehner, who frequently invokes his working-class Catholic roots in Reading, Ohio, where his father was a tavern owner, has invited popes to address Congress for the last 20 years, but Francis is the first to accept.

It should be noted that Francis, while speaking out forcefully on issues Republicans pray will magically disappear for the duration of his Washington visit but will not, has made no changes in church doctrine. This includes opposition to two Democratic grails — abortion and same-sex marriage. And perhaps not surprisingly, the pope’s honeymoon with American Catholics is pretty much over. Although a little more than seven in 10 still have a favorable image of Francis, according to a new Gallup poll, that is a drop of 18 percentage points from last year. The drop is even more marked among conservative Catholics, just 45 percent of whom have a positive opinion of him.

Despite the potential for conflict, Boehner says he is just thrilled at the prospect of he and his fellow congressfolk meeting and greeting the Holy Father, as well as surely hopes that there won’t be any intemperate outbursts from his flock like Joe Wilson’s “You lie!” rant during President Obama’s rollout of the Affordable Care Act in a speech to Congress in 2009.

“Well, listen, there’s one thing we know about this pope,” Boehner says. “He’s not afraid to take on the status quo or not afraid to say what he really thinks. And I can tell you this: I’m not about to get myself into an argument with the pope. So I’m sure the pope will have things to say that people will find interesting, and I’m looking forward to his visit.”

A FAIR SHARE FOR WORKERS

You don’t have to be the pope to know that the Republican Party is on the wrong side of history an awful lot these days. Such is the case with a surprise issue of the 2016 presidential race — the federal minimum wage.

Raising the federal minimum wage from a paltry $7.25 an hour, let alone doubling it as have New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. this month for certain workers, would hurt business owners, argue Republicans. The reality is just the opposite: Putting more money in workers’ pockets helps everyone, but for the GOP to acknowledge that would undermine “trickle-down” economics, that frayed conservative security blanket that the party has been sucking on for years in claiming that rewarding the rich and screwing the middle class and poor actually helps everyone.

Democrats Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton advocate raising the minimum wage; Sanders wants to double it. The Fair Shot campaign, as the effort to hike the minimum wage is often called, is bound to give Republicans fits as it spreads, and deservedly so. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of curmudgeons.

BEWARE OF REPUBLICANS BEARING GIFTS

The U.S. isn’t Greece, but there is a lesson in its ongoing financial disaster: Leading Republicans believe in the very policies that have gotten it in such trouble.

“On one side, just about everyone in the GOP demands that we reduce government spending, especially aid to lower-income families,” writes economist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman in the New York Times.

“On the other side, leading Republicans like Representative Paul Ryan incessantly attack the Federal Reserve for its efforts to boost the economy, delivering solemn lectures on the evils of ‘debasing the dollar’ when the main difference between the effects of austerity in Canada and in Greece was precisely that Canada could ‘debase’ its currency, while Greece couldn’t. Oh, and many Republicans hanker for a return to the gold standard, which would effectively put us into a euro-like straitjacket.”

Got that, kiddies? Slashing spending a la Ryan while blocking any offsetting monetary easing will bring the policies behind the Greek collapse to the U.S.

YOUR DONALD UPDATE

I would be remiss not to mention Donald Trump, as tiresome as he has become, and there are two developments related to him of note, or perhaps notoriety: Despite his slander of John McCain, he continues to lead in most national polls (which I predicted), has actually extended his lead in some polls, and is guaranteed a spot in at least the first presidential teevee debate. And he is threatening to bolt the GOP and run as a third-party candidate (which anyone with a pulse could have predicted) if the Republican Party doesn’t kiss his ring.

Party bigs have pretty much resigned themselves to Trump’s bomb throwing, which is drowning out the messages of the other candidates in the overcrowded field, and provoking him would clearly backfire at this stage of the game. That is why a proposal floated at a Republican Governors Association meeting to force Trump out of the forthcoming debates was DOA.

Under the proposal, the three leading candidates not named Trump — Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Marco Rubio — would refuse to participate in the debates if Trump was included because of his threat to bolt the party. The other candidates would then get on board, or so the wishful thinking went, and the television networks would be forced to show Trump the door.

I suppose there is a third development, as well: It is now widely acknowledged that Trump’s ascendancy is a direct result of the toxicity of the Republican brand, an inescapable reality that I first wrote about in May:

“In the last two-plus decades as the Republican Party’s drift to the right morphed into a full-blown gallop and the party’s base came to be dominated by Bible thumpers and angry white men — and frequently Bible thumping angry white men — the GOP has won only two of six presidential elections, one because the Supreme Court gave the Constitution the finger and the other because Republicans had perfected their fear machine message and the Democratic candidate was weak. It is probable that Republicans will not halt their losing streak in 2016.”

Probable is quickly morphing into likely, and that is not the fault of Trump, who is leading in many polls precisely because he is an unserious man who has no desire to become president. Put another way: Trump is a symptom of the rot in the Grand Old Party, not a cause.

Politix Update is an irregular compendium written by veteran journalist Shaun Mullen, for whom the 2016
presidential campaign is his (gasp!) 12th since 1968. Click here for an index of previous
Politix Updates.

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Senate GOP leaders blast Cruz for calling McConnell a liar http://themoderatevoice.com/207112/senate-gop-leaders-blast-cruz-for-calling-mcconnell-a-liar/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207112/senate-gop-leaders-blast-cruz-for-calling-mcconnell-a-liar/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 06:29:50 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207112 WASHINGTON ?? The Senate’s Republican leadership rhetorically took Sen. Ted Cruz to the woodshed Sunday for calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar last week on the chamber’s floor. The admonishment of Cruz, R-Texas, and the Republican presidential candidate’s unapologetic defense, was a prelude to a series of votes that advanced language to revive [...]

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WASHINGTON ?? The Senate’s Republican leadership rhetorically took Sen. Ted Cruz to the woodshed Sunday for calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar last week on the chamber’s floor. The admonishment of Cruz, R-Texas, and the Republican presidential candidate’s unapologetic defense, was a prelude to a series of votes that advanced language to revive the…

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Racist tweet mars U.S. – Israel relations (Guest Voice) http://themoderatevoice.com/207110/racist-tweet-mars-u-s-israel-relations-guest-voice/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207110/racist-tweet-mars-u-s-israel-relations-guest-voice/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 06:00:38 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207110 Racist tweet mars U.S. – Israel relations by Rabbi Ben Kamin ENCINITAS, California — The Washington Post and other sources have reported on a regrettable tweet dispatched—and then withdrawn—by Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, who is married to Israel’s deputy prime minster, Silvan Shalom. She is also is a prominent media personality in her own right. The [...]

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Racist tweet mars U.S. – Israel relations
by Rabbi Ben Kamin

ENCINITAS, California — The Washington Post and other sources have reported on a regrettable tweet dispatched—and then withdrawn—by Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes, who is married to Israel’s deputy prime minster, Silvan Shalom. She is also is a prominent media personality in her own right. The despicable tweet was as follows:

“Do u know what Obama Coffee is? Black and weak.”

Ms. Shalom Nir-Mozes apologized for, and deleted, the post—after a wave of criticism. No wonder: the unfortunate message was as revealing as it was, by her own admission, “stupid.” The underlying implication of this folly is more than stupid. It is yet another destructive act or statement in the unraveling of the once-lauded black-Jewish political alliance.

Exactly because I love Israel, I so lament this racialist and decadent lapse by yet another prominent Israeli. Shameful! And the sentiment is hardly unknown among regular Israeli citizens. Many people in the Jewish state had issues with the foreign policy of President George H. W. Bush. The elder Bush had as thorny a relationship with the-then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir as President Obama has with the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The clashes between Bush Sr. and Shamir hardly disintegrated into repugnant personal and ethnic slurs. The disagreements that many of us have with President Obama over his nuclear appeasement of Iran do not give us license to indulge in this kind of racial licentiousness. One is mortified by this coffee joke; it is colored with contempt and elitism and has nothing whatsoever to do with Israel’s historic narrative following the Holocaust.

When I lived in as a child in Israel, I learned the national creation story that sprung from “the ingathering of the exiles.” Everyone was welcome and equal. My own parents were soldiers in that postwar saga. My birth land was the manifestation of merciful inclusiveness and social parity—in direct response to the horror of Nazi/Ayran, genocidal supremacy.

How is it possible that the ruling elite of the State of Israel, their legitimate security concerns notwithstanding, can treat the President of the United States with such degradation?

President Dwight D. Eisenhower was deeply affected by his discovery of the Nazi death camps at the end of the war. Yet he jolted Israel during the 1956 Suez War. People did not celebrate this in the Jewish state and they remember it with some bitterness. But “Ike” has rarely been eviscerated on a personal basis in Jewish quarters.

Richard M. Nixon was, without question, a reckless anti-Semite. Yet he is extolled as Israel’s savior in the aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War—transferring desperately needed armaments to Israel just as it was about to be overrun and by Egyptian and Syrian forces.

From the moment that President Harry S. Truman unilaterally recognized the new State of Israel in May, 1948, the United States has remained Israel’s unequivocal and indispensable ally—and been rewarded with Israel’s explicit friendship and strategic support.

This is not the time for Israelis to drink the bitter coffee of ingratitude. Nor for Jews in general to stir such a toxic brew. Especially when the cup is so tainted with racism.
*
Rabbi Kamin is an author and freelance writer based in the San Diego suburb of Encinitas, California. You may comment to him at ben.kamin@sdjewishworld.com. This article is reprinted from San Diego Jewish World which, along with The Moderate Voice, is a member of the San Diego Online News Association.

Photo by Jon Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Americans polarized but ambivalent http://themoderatevoice.com/207108/americans-polarized-but-ambivalent/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207108/americans-polarized-but-ambivalent/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 05:13:45 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207108 WASHINGTON — So accustomed are we to highlighting the polarized nature of our politics that we often forget how many Americans decline to be painted in bright reds or bright blues. Among us, there are pinks and turquoises and even purples. And these voters will matter a great deal to the elections in 2016 and [...]

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WASHINGTON — So accustomed are we to highlighting the polarized nature of our politics that we often forget how many Americans decline to be painted in bright reds or bright blues. Among us, there are pinks and turquoises and even purples. And these voters will matter a great deal to the elections in 2016 and beyond.

To understand a rather strange moment during which Donald Trump exercises a hypnotic control over the media (I’m as guilty as the next person), it’s important to keep two seemingly contradictory ideas in our heads at the same time.

On the one hand, polarization is real. It’s not an invention of the elites. The sharp partisan divide affects a majority of the country, and it’s especially powerful among Americans most likely to vote and to be active in politics.

On the other hand, a very large share of us (including some staunch Democrats and Republicans) hold nuanced views on many questions. There are a lot of “yes, but” and “both/and” voters out there.

Since elections are won by a combination of mobilizing committed partisans and persuading the now relatively small number of moveable voters, forgetting either of these realities can be politically fatal.

Taken together, three studies published last week brought home the subtleties of our collective attitudes.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 52 percent of Americans support the Supreme Court’s recent ruling legalizing same-sex marriage while 44 percent oppose it. There is no question that the long-term trend in opinion is dramatically in favor of marriage equality and of gay and lesbian rights.

But when asked how they felt about “the country’s overall direction on social issues these days,” a majority expressed discomfort: 42 percent were “strongly uncomfortable,” 21 percent were “somewhat uncomfortable,” 21 percent were “somewhat comfortable,” and 14 percent were “strongly comfortable.”

Peyton Craighill, the Post’s polling director, provided me with more additional detail. It’s clear that the “strongly uncomfortable” group is, compared to the country as a whole, disproportionately older, more conservative and more Republican.

The group to watch: the “somewhat uncomfortables.” They are significantly more likely to describe themselves as politically moderate and include a disproportionate number of African-Americans and Latinos. These Americans cannot be classified as hostile to changes on “social issues” — a term that, it should be said, is open to a variety of interpretations — but they do need reassurance. There are lessons here for both liberals (further social progress requires sensitivity to those whose feelings are torn) and conservatives (a hard-line insistence on rolling back social change will turn off large numbers of Americans).

Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center released findings that should alarm Republicans. Its survey found that only 32 percent of Americans had a favorable view of the Republican Party — down nine points since January — while 60 percent had an unfavorable view. For Democrats, the numbers were 48 percent favorable (up two points) and 47 percent unfavorable.

The 16-point favorability gap shows what the GOP is up against, and why Hillary Clinton has maintained a lead in the national polls — by six points over Jeb Bush in the latest Post/ABC News poll, for example.

And when Pew broke down these numbers at my request, the polarization in the electorate across so many demographic lines was sharp: Those with favorable opinions about of the Republicans were overwhelmingly white (72 percent) and tilted conservative (52 percent). Those favorable toward the Democrats were more racially and ethnically diverse (only 55 percent white) and less likely to be conservative (20 percent).

And a hint about the source of Trump’s surge: Among the 26 percent who see both parties unfavorably, conservatives outnumbered liberals by almost 3-to-1.

But the third study, a joint product of the Democratic Strategist website and Washington Monthly magazine, points to the work Democrats need to do with white working-class voters.

One key finding, from pollster Stan Greenberg: Such voters are “open to an expansive Democratic economic agenda” but “are only ready to listen when they think that Democrats understand their deeply held belief that politics has been corrupted and government has failed.” This calls for not only “populist measures to reduce the control of big money and corruption” but also, as Mark Schmitt of the New America Foundation argued, “high-profile efforts to show that government can be innovative, accessible and responsive.”

This ambivalent feeling about government is the most important “yes, but” impulse in the American electorate, and the party that masters this blend of hope and skepticism will win the 2016 election.

E.J. Dionne’s email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne.
(c) 2015, Washington Post Writers Group

Map by Lbousa28 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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The questionable integrity of Jeb Bush http://themoderatevoice.com/207105/the-questionable-integrity-of-jeb-bush/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207105/the-questionable-integrity-of-jeb-bush/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 23:40:22 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207105 Having been around in the early 1970s I do recall the very effective propaganda use made by President Nixon of the return of Vietnam prisoners of war. As Rick Perlstein so brilliantly describes it in his book, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, the war was lost but Americans [...]

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screen-shot-2015-07-09-at-85852-amHaving been around in the early 1970s I do recall the very effective propaganda use made by President Nixon of the return of Vietnam prisoners of war.

As Rick Perlstein so brilliantly describes it in his book, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, the war was lost but Americans were willing to be convinced that getting our POWs home was enough of a victory to at least blunt the humiliation of having been defeated by a bunch of communists from a backward Asian country.

Again, if you were around at the time, you will remember that the POWs and their return was reported and discussed as a reflection of all that was good and pure about America. It wasn’t exactly clear why that should be true, but Americans believed it, and much of the moral ambiguity that was felt about the war was washed away by the sacrifice of those who survived sometimes years of brutal captivity.

What is interesting to me is that those returning POWs have always had a special status as heroes, in part because of the effectiveness of the propaganda machine at the time. I was therefore a little surprised that Trump went there, whether or not it ends up having an impact on his campaign.

As we know, there was no similar propaganda machine for others who served, and I am not suggesting for a moment that there should have been, only that there wasn’t.

Certainly anyone who was critical of the war after serving could never be considered a hero, whatever their actions in wartime might have been.

All of this is prelude to a specific instance of hypocrisy by Jeb Bush, who was quick to defend John McCain but, you guessed it, didn’t feel the same way about John Kerry.

…that outrage was missing ten years ago, when a political group attacked another Vietnam veteran — then-Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic nominee who sought to unseat Bush’s brother, the incumbent president, during the 2004 election.

Instead, [Jeb] Bush praised Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that lobbed attacks questioning Kerry’s service record in Vietnam — attacks McCain unequivocally criticized in 2004 as “dishonest and dishonorable.”

As CNN reported last week, in a letter they obtained to the head of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, “Bush thanked Col. George Day for his ‘unwavering support’ and thanked the group for ‘their willingness to stand up against John Kerry.’”

Is there any other way to interpret “standing up to John Kerry” as anything other than support for the lies the group told about Kerry’s service record?

The CNN story confirms what we know, which is that the charges made by the group were “contradicted by official military records and almost all of the men who served with Kerry came out in defense of their former crewmate, praising his courage.”

Look, I’m not shocked by any of this. But I do sometimes think people view “Jeb” as an aw-chucks, straight-shooting decent sort of fellow simply because many of the other Republican contenders are so morally deficient.

You want to make this election about integrity, I know which column this one goes under.

(Cross-posted at Phantom Public.)

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SciFi Weekend: Hannibal; Mr. Robot; Humans; Jonathan Strange; Sense8 http://themoderatevoice.com/207104/scifi-weekend-hannibal-mr-robot-humans-jonathan-strange-sense8/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207104/scifi-weekend-hannibal-mr-robot-humans-jonathan-strange-sense8/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 23:08:58 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207104 The third season of Hannibal was initially to be about Hannibal Lecter as a fugitive in Europe, mirroring the Hannibal novel. With Bryan Fuller realizing that this would probably be the final season of Hannibal on NBC, with its future after that still unknown, he reduced this to about half the season so he could [...]

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hannibal-the-great-red-69441_big

The third season of Hannibal was initially to be about Hannibal Lecter as a fugitive in Europe, mirroring the Hannibal novel. With Bryan Fuller realizing that this would probably be the final season of Hannibal on NBC, with its future after that still unknown, he reduced this to about half the season so he could move on to Red Dragon. That has probably worked out for the better as the first half of this season was the weakest in the show’s run, and I don’t know if they could have stretched this out for an entire season.

The Great Red Dragon skips ahead three years, and doesn’t have a recipe as its title. Hannibal is locked up in the psychiatric hospital, which is seen as a sort of victory for him as, at least in the mythology of the show, Hannibal Lecter is not insane. He is a monster who operates under his own moral code. He is shown to be living in his mind-palace, continuing to share meals with those visiting him. He is even allowed to make desserts, although presumably without human ingredients. He is open about the meals he previously served, as in this exchange after Hannibal asked Alana if she still drinks beer.

Alana: “I stopped drinking been when I found out what you were putting in mine.”

Hannibal “Who.”

Hannibal “Who.”

Will now has a family, which is important as it was the manner in which the Tooth Fairy kills regular families, as Will now has, which led to Will rejoining the FBI. (And yes, I’m sure that Hannibal is right that he does not like to be called the Tooth Fairy). Once Will is back investigating the Tooth Fairy’s murders, the series feels much more like the first season, even with Hannibal having surrendered, and no longer fooling anyone.

Hannibal - Season 3

Richard Armitage was introduced as the Tooth Fairy, or Red Dragon. Unlike so many characters who were notable for their intellectual banter, the Tooth Fairy is capable of saying very little. Richard Armitage discussed the role with TV Line:

TVLINE | The first impression we get of Francis is someone who is completely tortured and conflicted. Even in the moment where he’s exiting the crime scene covered in blood, the horror in his own eyes is palpable. How did you come to play him in that way?
It was an organic process. We always had the novel to refer to, so everything that I found really came from Thomas Harris’ books, Bryan [Fuller] and my own interpretation. One of the things in my first episode that I found so interesting is that this man is so alone in the world, so isolated. There was a rejection in his childhood because of his disfigurement and because his character was orphaned; he was raised by his grandmother and abused by step-siblings.

But when we find him in this world, he works in a very isolated environment in the film-processing laboratory, and he lives alone. Thomas Harris describes him as having only set foot in two other people’s houses in his entire life — and certainly no one has ever come into his world. But for someone that is so alone, his mind is so busy and full of things. He has the subject matter of the films that he’s studying. He has voices in his head. He’s haunted by so many different things, like his mind is so far from silent, and that to me was something which was fascinating.

TVLINE | Your first episode is essentially wordless — which means much of what we learn about Dolarhyde is in the initial sequence of him doing physical exercises and contorting his body. There’s a sense he’s transforming into something else in that moment. Walk me through all that.
Yes, it’s really interesting the way it takes a long time before you hear Francis speak. He’s a man who is so uncomfortable in his skin, who is somehow at odds with his outer body and is almost outgrowing his physical form. So you see that conversation happening physically before you hear it verbally. And actually, for someone that has such trouble speaking and forming words, the first time we hear him speak is in Episode 9, and it’s a struggle. It’s really like baby steps when he speaks. And as an audience, we see him before we hear him, so we have a real sense of who he is or who he’s becoming and what it is that he’s pressing against or running away from.

TVLINE | What did you have to do to transform your own physique and your own way of moving your body to get in touch with the character?
Obviously, I read the book, and he’s described as a bodybuilder. So, before I got up to Toronto, I was in the gym doing intense workout sessions, since we needed to fill him out in the way that Harris wanted. But I also found something in the book where he’s described as moving in a very stylized way. Harris describes him as a Balinese dancer, so when he’s committing his crimes, I understood to be something of a performance for himself, that he’s trying to somehow be theatrical in his approach.

I couldn’t work out what that was, but then I stumbled on a Japanese form of a physical expression, an artistic art form called Butoh, which is sometimes called the Dance of Death. It’s a biological observation of the body in extremis, which I thought was perfect for this scenario. And so I used a lot of that. I also used some stress positions that I’d been working with previously on The Crucible, because I felt like the character was putting himself through something rather than changing himself for vanity sake. He’s wanting to torture his own body.

What you see in the opening exercise sequence, though, I put a metronome on in the room and just worked for 20 to 30 minutes, distorting my body and doing these exercises, and the crew just kept on filming.

TVLINE | In this episode, we get to see Dolarhyde after his second murder, out in the snow, covered in blood splatter. And there’s also that twisted but sort of artful scene where your character gets wrapped up in a film reel and is in this intense state of panic. How much of those moments were actually filmed organically versus post-production manipulation?
The filming in the snow was actually one of my first shots in the entire series, and it was about 17 below outside, a very cold night shoot. Very little of that is post-production. They used a sugar blood that stains black and thankfully, they heated it beforehand.

The scene with the celluloid wrapped around Dolarhyde’s head is a combination of digital work and some practical stuff. They did create a fake head. And they also wrapped celluloid around my head and we filmed it again. It was a bit of an exploration of literally, physically getting tangled up in his world of celluloid. It’s Bryan’s imagination at work in the best way, you know.

TVLINE | Looking forward to the coming weeks, how freaky-scary should we expect this arc to get? And knowing Francis is about to embark on a romance of sorts with a character played by True Blood’s Rutina Wesley, how will that work? What can you tease?
You know what, we really do honor the book, and so you see the full extent of that tragic love story. To me, really, the crimes aside — and remember, I never actually had to portray any of the crimes, so I suppose I compartmentalized them — Dolarhyde and Reba represent a tragic, romantic love story, which really doesn’t end well and escalates into a Shakespearian opera of the proportions that Thomas Harris really explores in the novel.

Mr. Robot - Pilot

In other summer genre shows, Mr. Robot was better this week after its one-episode slide when it spent far too much time on Elliot’s drug trips last week. Remember, Mr. Robot is the show which has no robots–its entire cast is human. The other top new genre show of the summer, Humans, is about robots. This is by far has been the best of the genre shows of the summer (although Hannibal might compete now that it is moving onto the Red Dragon storyline).

Humans is highly recommended but I am not writing about the episodes to avoid any risk of spoiling the story. I am watching by downloading the episodes from the U.K. where the show is ahead of the US episodes. So much is revealed every week and I do not want to discuss episodes airing in the US with my knowledge of what is revealed in subsequent episodes.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is in the same situation as I completed the series a couple of weeks ago from downloading UK episodes. It is also recommended.

Sense8

The same issue is present for shows on Netflex, which different people watch at different times. I held off on starting Sense8 due to variable reviews of the early episodes, but I did begin to watch after reliable sources advised that the first couple of episodes start slowly to introduce the characters, but the show becomes much more interesting once you get into it. I am quite intrigued by the story, which reminds me of the early episodes of Orphan Black, when viewers initially did not know what was going on at all. As I still have several episodes to go, I still wonder if they will satisfactorily explain what is happening.

The show was created and written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski. Both have created excellent work with the first Matrix movie and Babylon 5. However after the initial setup, the two sequels to The Matrix were awful, and the explanation behind Babylon 5 was not entirely satisfactory. Complicating matters further, the show has a planned five year arc, and it is not known if Netflix will continue the show that long. At least there is a far better chance that Netflix will continue the show as long as there is interest than a network would.

Related Posts: , , , , , , , , ,

Originally posted at Liberal Values

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Military Weekend 3 http://themoderatevoice.com/207081/military-weekend-3/ http://themoderatevoice.com/207081/military-weekend-3/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 21:46:41 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=207081 The islands of Hawai’i are one of America’s favorite vacation destinations. They are also some of our most strategic national security assets and home to the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM), a command whose area of responsibility covers about half the earth’s surface, from the shores of California and Alaska to India, from Antarctica to [...]

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Hawaii aerial by Preston

The islands of Hawai’i are one of America’s favorite vacation destinations.

They are also some of our most strategic national security assets and home to the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM), a command whose area of responsibility covers about half the earth’s surface, from the shores of California and Alaska to India, from Antarctica to the North Pole.

A command that boasts approximately 360,000 military and civilian personnel and approximately 200 ships — including five aircraft carrier strike groups — and nearly 600 aircraft.

The tragic yet historic event on that “date which will live in infamy;” the many reminders of that date; the key role the islands played during the rest of World War II in the Pacific; the many military facilities and the presence of military personnel make it virtually impossible not to notice, remember and honor Hawaii’s history, memorials and military presence while enjoying the islands’ unmatched natural beauty and its people’s superb charm, friendliness and hospitality.

Here are some images of all of the above. But first one indelible historic image:

Pearl Harbor USS Arizona

The USS Arizona burns after being hit by a Japanese bomb while U.S. sailors aboard the neighboring USS Tennessee spray fire hoses to force burning oil away from their ship during the air attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941. (U.S. Navy photo, National Archives collection.)

USS Arizona by David


The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, marking the final resting place of 1,103 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. Many survivors have elected to have their ashes interred within the wreck. (Photo: David de Wind)

Arizona memorial wall

The marble walls in the Memorial that bear the names of all those killed on the Arizona.(Photo: Carol de Wind)

Arizona turret

Oil continues to seep to the surface from the sunken battleship and is often referred to as the “tears of the Arizona”. (Photo: Carol de Wind)

DSCN0720

The torpedo room of the USS Bowfin, a Balao-class submarine with nine patrols in the Pacific during World War II and many sunken enemy vessels to her credit, now on display and open to public tours at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (Photo by author)

USS Missouri

The Battleship Missouri, or “Mighty Mo,” was commissioned in June 1944 and docked at Pearl Harbor in 1999. It is upon its deck, while in Tokyo Bay, where the Japanese surrendered to the United States. The “pairing” of the Missouri and the Arizona has become “an evocative symbol of the beginning and end of the United States’ participation in the war.” (Photo: Carol de Wind)

With 30 miles of beautiful beaches on the island of Oahu alone, what does one do for the military and their families on a summer weekend?

Bellows beach

Beaches at Bellows Air Force Station, Oahu, Hawaii. (Photo by author’s grandson)

Throw a beachside picnic for 1500 military members and their families of course, as PACOM did this weekend on the beautiful beaches of Bellows Air Force Station, a 1,570-acre paradise within a paradise with miles and miles of pristine beaches tucked away on the Windward side of Oahu.

DSCN0763

Complete with a band (Photo by author)

DSCN0765

Demonstrations of military working dogs in action. (Photo by author)

DSCN0771

And all the trimmings…

Thank you for your service and Aloha to all military personnel in “paradise.”

Hawaii orchid

(Photo: Carol de Wind)

Lead photo of Oahu’s coast line by author’s grandson

Follow Dorian de Wind on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ddewind99

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