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 Mon, 25 Jul 2016 06:53:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.7 http://themoderatevoice.com http://themoderatevoice.com/media/favicon.ico The Moderate Voice Yes on Prop. 66 – Death Penalty Reform – Fixing California’s Broken System (Guest Voice) http://themoderatevoice.com/yes-on-prop-66-death-penalty-reform-fixing-californias-broken-system-guest-voice/ http://themoderatevoice.com/yes-on-prop-66-death-penalty-reform-fixing-californias-broken-system-guest-voice/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 06:51:20 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218254 jkj;kj;kjoijpijpi[ip9hph

Yes on Prop. 66 – Death Penalty Reform – Fixing California’s Broken System by Michael Hestrin, Riverside District Attorney Historically, Californians have overwhelmingly supported the death penalty. Yet, during every election cycle a ballot measure comes up looking to repeal it. Well this year is no different. Governor Brown and a host of Hollywood elite [...]

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Yes on Prop. 66 – Death Penalty Reform – Fixing California’s Broken System
by Michael Hestrin, Riverside District Attorney

Historically, Californians have overwhelmingly supported the death penalty. Yet, during every election cycle a ballot measure comes up looking to repeal it. Well this year is no different. Governor Brown and a host of Hollywood elite are actively pushing Prop. 62, which would repeal the death penalty, granting criminals convicted of murder with special circumstances, a life sentence instead.

Opponents of the death penalty try to point out the possibility of persons being wrongly convicted of capital offenses, sentenced to death and then being executed. The fact is there is no documented case of this EVER taking place in California due to the expertise and painstaking quality of investigation and prosecutorial work that has gone into death penalty cases.

Instead of abolishing the death penalty altogether, a smarter move is to mend a broken system. Prop. 66 is the answer Californians are looking for. The goals behind Proposition 66 are laudable and more in line with the thinking of the California electorate that voted to reinstitute the death penalty to begin with mend it, don’t end it.

Prop. 66 reforms will speed up the appeals process, ensuring appeals are heard within 5 years and no innocent person is executed. It doesn’t do so in a hasty way intended to cut corners. It does so by eliminating legal and procedural delay tactics while still respecting the legal rights and recourse for those convicted.

Proposition 66 would ensure that every person sentenced to death has qualified death penalty appeals counsel assigned immediately, eliminating the current wait of five years or more. The appeals would then be expedited without endangering due process, and initiated at the trial court level where the facts of the cases are best known.

Death row inmates have murdered over 1000 victims, including 226 children and 43 police officers; 294 victims were raped and/or tortured. It’s time California reformed our death penalty process so it works and provides murder victims and their families with some sense of closure. Instead of talking about how barbaric and unfair the death penalty in California is, those seeking to abolish it should give thought to those victims who had their lives taken from them, often in truly brutal and horrific ways, and their families who have had to live with the knowledge that the murders of their loved ones continue to live at the expense of the taxpayer.

And regarding the expense, those backing repeal of the death penalty try to point to a great windfall of savings for the taxpayer if those on death row simply spend that time in prison for life rather than face execution. Even at an estimated $150 million reduction in annual costs, one would still have to concede that the savings is a paltry drop in the bucket compared to the vast size of California’s budget and hardly the worst use of taxpayer funds. Instead, under Prop 62, taxpayers are on the hook to feed, clothe, house, guard and provide healthcare to brutal killers until they die of old age costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Criminals don’t end up on death row unless they are convicted of the worst crimes. Victims left behind, grieving families throughout California and their loved ones, don’t deserve anything less than justice. Justice is a reformed, not eliminated death penalty.

We urge a No vote on Proposition 62 and a Yes vote on Proposition 66.

Michael Hestrin was sworn in as the Riverside District Attorney in 2015. Prior to being sworn as the DA, Hestrin spent 18 years as a line prosecutor in the DA’s Office.

graphic via graphicstock.com

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Report: How Putin Weaponized Wikileaks to Influence the Election of an American President http://themoderatevoice.com/report-how-putin-weaponized-wikileaks-to-influence-the-election-of-an-american-president/ http://themoderatevoice.com/report-how-putin-weaponized-wikileaks-to-influence-the-election-of-an-american-president/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 06:22:46 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218250 14601882594_50d2f7eb98_b

The timing has seemed just too coincidental. Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump has made it clear he admires Russian President Vladimir Putin and has even discounted charges that Putin has had some political foes killed. Putin has made it clear that he admires Trump. And, as Josh Marshall has reported, Trump has some ties to [...]

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The timing has seemed just too coincidental. Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump has made it clear he admires Russian President Vladimir Putin and has even discounted charges that Putin has had some political foes killed. Putin has made it clear that he admires Trump. And, as Josh Marshall has reported, Trump has some ties to Russian financiers. Now stories are surfacing quoting experts who believe Putin, using some plausible deniability, is trying to undermine the Dems and help elect Trump. The weapon: hacked emails from the DNC.

Defense One has this:

Evidence suggests that a Russian intelligence group was the source of the most recent Wikileaks intel dump, which was aimed to influence the U.S. election.

Close your eyes and imagine that a hacking group backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin broke into the email system of a major U.S. political party. The group stole thousands of sensitive messages and then published them through an obliging third party in a way that was strategically timed to influence the United States presidential election. Now open your eyes, because that’s what just happened.

On Friday, Wikileaks published 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee. They reveal, among other things, thuggish infighting, a push by a top DNC official to use Bernie Sanders’ religious convictions against him in the South, and attempts to strong-arm media outlets. In other words, they reveal the Washington campaign monster for what it is.

But leave aside the purported content of the Wikileaks data dump (to which numerous other outlets have devoted considerable attention) and consider the source. Considerable evidence shows that the Wikileaks dump was an orchestrated act by the Russian government, working through proxies, to undermine Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign.

“This has all the hallmarks of tradecraft. The only rationale to release such data from the Russian bulletproof host was to empower one candidate against another. The Cold War is alive and well,” Tom Kellermann, the CEO of Strategic Cyber Ventures told Defense One.

Go to the link to read the entire article.
The New York Times:

An unusual question is capturing the attention of cyberspecialists, Russia experts and Democratic Party leaders in Philadelphia: Is Vladimir V. Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election?

Until Friday, that charge, with its eerie suggestion of a Kremlin conspiracy to aid Donald J. Trump, has been only whispered.

But the release on Friday of some 20,000 stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, many of them embarrassing to Democratic leaders, has intensified discussion of the role of Russian intelligence agencies in disrupting the 2016 campaign.

The emails, released first by a supposed hacker and later by WikiLeaks, exposed the degree to which the Democratic apparatus favored Hillary Clinton over her primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and triggered the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chairwoman, on the eve of the convention’s first day.

Proving the source of a cyberattack is notoriously difficult. But researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies, which were the same attackers behind previous Russian cyberoperations at the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year. And metadata from the released emails suggests that the documents passed through Russian computers. Though a hacker claimed responsibility for giving the emails to WikiLeaks, the same agencies are the prime suspects. Whether the thefts were ordered by Mr. Putin, or just carried out by apparatchiks who thought they might please him, is anyone’s guess.

On Sunday morning, the issue erupted, as Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, argued on ABC’s “This Week” that the emails were leaked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump” citing “experts” but offering no other evidence. Mr. Mook also suggested that the Russians might have good reason to support Mr. Trump: The Republican nominee indicated in an interview with The New York Times last week that he might not back NATO nations if they came under attack from Russia — unless he was first convinced that the counties had made sufficient contributions to the Atlantic alliance.

It was a remarkable moment: Even at the height of the Cold War, it was hard to find a presidential campaign willing to charge that its rival was essentially secretly doing the bidding of a key American adversary. But the accusation is emerging as a theme of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, as part of an attempt to portray Mr. Trump not only as an isolationist, but also as one who would go soft on confronting Russia as it threatens nations that have shown too much independence from Moscow or, in the case of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, joined NATO.

And:

It may take months, or years, to figure out the motives of those who stole the emails, and more important, whether they were being commanded by Russian authorities, and specifically by Mr. Putin. But the theft from the national committee would be among the most important state-sponsored hacks yet of an American organization, rivaled only by the attacks on the Office of Personnel Management by state-sponsored Chinese hackers, and the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, which Mr. Obama blamed on North Korea. There, too, embarrassing emails were released, but they had no political significance. The WikiLeaks release, however, has more of a tinge of Russian-style information war, in which the intent of the revelations is to alter political events. Exactly how, though, is a bit of a mystery, apart from embarrassing Democrats and further alienating Mr. Sanders’s supporters from Mrs. Clinton.

Evidence so far suggests that the attack was the work of at least two separate agencies, each apparently working without the knowledge that the other was inside the Democrats’ computers. It is unclear how WikiLeaks obtained the email trove. But the presumption is that the intelligence agencies turned it over, either directly or through an intermediary. Moreover, the timing of the release, between the end of the Republican convention and the beginning of the Democratic one, seems too well-planned to be coincidental.

Go to the link to read the entire article.

Paranoia? A new form of McCarthyism? Given Putin’s record, Trump’s comments about Putin, Trump’s business interests, Putin’s feelings about Trump, and the emerging consensus of experts, it is a credible issue. One one hand, the question arises: is this theory just too easy? On the other hand (a bigger hand) the question is: isn’t the timing of the leaks telling?

How to judge more on this issue?

As the Democratic convention unfolds this week, will there be more email leaks aimed at detouring the press coverage and putting the Democrats on the offensive, followed by email-leak related tweets by Trump?

Will there be any email leaks that are unfavorable to Trump?

If there are more email leaks about the Dems this week and none that are unflattering to Trump then — using that trite and awful phrase the media uses — the email leaks won’t pass “the smell test.”

photo credit: Vladimir Putin via photopin (license)

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Leading Illinois Republican legislator resigns abruptly http://themoderatevoice.com/218249/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218249/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 06:21:30 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218249 laptop computer

Illinois Rep. Ron Sandack cited recent "cyber security issues".

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Illinois House Republican floor leader Rep. Ron Sandack resigned abruptly Sunday evening, citing recent “cyber security issues”.

The Daily Herald reported:

Sandack had been facing a re-election race in November and is well known in Illinois politics for his heavy use of Twitter and Facebook… Last week, some of Sandack’s social media accounts disappeared, raising questions because he’s so vocal on the platforms.

Gizmodo noted that:

In June, Rep. Sandack appeared on The Daily Show in a segment about Illinois’s budget crisis, which has resulted in the state withholding money from social service providers, like those that support homeless youth, government contractors, and state colleges. In the segment, Sandack defended Bruce Rauner, Illinois’s Republican Governor, for vetoing the state budget.

Sandack represents the 81st district southwest of Chicago and has been involved in elected politics since 2007. He is a partner at the Chicago law firm of Gaido & Fintzen.

Featured image: Death to the Stock Photo

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Cartoon: Timmy and Debbie http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-timmy-and-debbie/ http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-timmy-and-debbie/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 05:56:04 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218247 cjones07272016

Timmy and Debbie by Clay Jones I’m posting this with a Surface Pro I have not bought a keyboard for yet so if there are any typographical errors go suck a lemon. Hillary Clinton made Virginia senator Tim Kaine, my senator, her veep pick. It’s a good pick. If it doesn’t make Bernie supporters happy, [...]

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Timmy and Debbie
by Clay Jones

I’m posting this with a Surface Pro I have not bought a keyboard for yet so if there are any typographical errors go suck a lemon.

Hillary Clinton made Virginia senator Tim Kaine, my senator, her veep pick. It’s a good pick. If it doesn’t make Bernie supporters happy, they can suck a lemon too. Does she really have to bend over backwards to appease liberals so they won’t allow a Donald Trump presidency? Grow up.

Debbie Wassermann Schultz, chair of the Democratic party, was ousted after leaks showed, SURPRISE they did want Hillary to win.

I have a lot more to say but this no keyboard thing is hard.

This cartoon and post by Clay Jones are from his website www.claytoonz.com

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Clinton’s Philadelphia vs. Trump’s Cleveland http://themoderatevoice.com/218245/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218245/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 05:26:04 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218245 dncc16logo (3)

PHILADELPHIA — After a raucous Republican convention nominated the very conservative Barry Goldwater in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson’s campaign ran an advertisement quoting William Scranton, Pennsylvania’s moderate governor, describing “Goldwaterism” as a “crazy-quilt collection of absurd and dangerous positions.” Welcome to what will certainly be one of the central themes of the Democratic National Convention. [...]

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PHILADELPHIA — After a raucous Republican convention nominated the very conservative Barry Goldwater in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson’s campaign ran an advertisement quoting William Scranton, Pennsylvania’s moderate governor, describing “Goldwaterism” as a “crazy-quilt collection of absurd and dangerous positions.”

Welcome to what will certainly be one of the central themes of the Democratic National Convention. Donald Trump’s nomination at a dark and angry convention in Cleveland and his acceptance speech embracing a racially tinged authoritarian nationalism open up a wealth of opportunities for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

This is the week in which Clinton could nail down the support of the nation’s Latino and African-American voters while sowing deep doubts about Trump among what is likely to be the election’s key target group: college-educated white voters.

She reinforced her appeal to them by picking Tim Kaine as her running mate. He’s thoughtful, experienced and respected, broadly progressive yet with a moderate, conciliatory demeanor.

But Clinton has real work to do on her own behalf, which is why the Democrats’ conclave will be far more positive and upbeat than the GOP’s gloomy attack-fest. One objective will be to boost Clinton’s favorable ratings after a rocky period during which FBI Director James Comey’s verbal excoriation of her use of a private email server set her up for a polling tumble.

Democrats will be battling what they see as a false equivalency in the media that casts both major party candidates in the same light because of surveys giving each of them historically high negative scores. Clinton’s campaign wants Democrats (who will form a large part of the television audience) to come away with new enthusiasm for their candidate, and swing voters to see Clinton as far more ready than Trump, by experience and temperament, to be president.

Accentuating the positive will also be important because Trump has bet his candidacy on his ability to persuade a sufficient share of the electorate that the nation really is in the midst of a catastrophic crisis.

Here is where the minority of Americans who pay close attention to both conventions will suffer from an acute case of whiplash: Democrats will not only be arguing that Clinton offers a better future; they will be vigorously defending President Obama’s legacy.

Republicans may thus come to regret their decision to harness Clinton and Obama together as twin authors of national apocalypse. At a time when the president’s approval ratings have been healthy, the GOP helped lock in Obama’s strongest supporters behind the woman who had once been his political adversary.

The ferocity of Trump’s attacks on Obama paradoxically make it easier for Clinton to advance the dual-track case she needs to make: that she will build on rather than demolish the president’s achievements while also tending to long-standing problems that predated the Obama years. The GOP’s picture of Obama is a wildly distorted parody, and parodies are more vulnerable to the facts than are honest descriptions of reality.

And this convention will also be an opportunity to offer a gentle reminder that the last time someone named Clinton was president, the nation enjoyed a run of peace and prosperity. During the GOP gathering, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., declared that incomes had not recovered since their high in 1999. Trump made the same point using the year 2000. Neither mentioned who was president back then.

But the Philadelphia Democrats also have a moral obligation: They cannot concede the white working-class to Donald Trump.

Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s primary rival, will play a vital role in seeing that they don’t, and shrewd vote counters know that surrendering this constituency could endanger Clinton in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. But more than calculation is involved. Democrats have a responsibility to unite a fractured nation. The pain faced by those who work for wages transcends the lines of race and ethnicity.

There are also the party’s oldest commitments to defend. When the Democrats last met in Philadelphia in 1948, President Harry Truman insisted it was their party that had served as “the haven of the ordinary people of this land and not of the favored classes or the powerful few.” It was here 12 years earlier that Franklin Roosevelt declared: “Liberty requires opportunity to make a living — a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.”

Clinton has to cut through the static surrounding her to persuade those whom Trump is wooing with the politics of fear that she and her party still offer a credible politics of hope.


E.J. Dionne’s email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne.(c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group

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Donate to TMV http://themoderatevoice.com/donate-to-tmv/ http://themoderatevoice.com/donate-to-tmv/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 05:17:32 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=217415 donate-1331096_640

No this isn’t a formal fundraiser. However, if you like The Moderate Voice and its mix of features, donations are always welcome. As many readers are well aware, we had to do a fundraiser last year due to brutal DoS attacks that nearly destroyed the site. This led to a new design aimed at above [...]

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No this isn’t a formal fundraiser. However, if you like The Moderate Voice and its mix of features, donations are always welcome. As many readers are well aware, we had to do a fundraiser last year due to brutal DoS attacks that nearly destroyed the site. This led to a new design aimed at above all trying to remove vulnerabilities. Aesthetics came after. Then we had to work out some bugs, which have been worked out.

TMV has certain paid features and expenses that have normally been at least covered by ad revenues. Like many sites, particularly blogs that are not sharply right or sharply left, TMV has seen a decline in ad revenues (many blogs have died off or get far fewer hits then they used to as social media becomes more popular). We are determined no matter what NOT to pull any paid features through 2016 and if ad revenue increases keep them for 2017.

But within a few months TMV may be operating at a loss. Unlike many other blogs and websites, there is NO big bankroller for TMV. It has survived on some fundraisers done sparingly and its ad revenues. No matter what, it’ll operate full blast through 2016 but donations could help. Many websites regularly ask for reader support. (A GoFundMe has been considered but won’t be done yet).

SO if you like the site and want to donate, just hit the donate button.

AND MANY THANKS to the TMV readers who have set up small reoccurring donations to TMV paid via PayPal. They DO help — and add up.

Even if you can’t donate, THANKS for reading TMV — and please do spread the (hopefully good) word.

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Iran destroys 100,000 ‘corrupting’ satellite dishes http://themoderatevoice.com/iran-destroys-100000-corrupting-satellite-dishes/ http://themoderatevoice.com/iran-destroys-100000-corrupting-satellite-dishes/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 04:55:34 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218243 assetContent (3)

Iranian authorities have destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes and receivers as part of a widespread crackdown against illegal devices they say “deviate morality and culture”. General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the head of Iran’s Basij militia, oversaw the destruction ceremony in Tehran on Sunday and warned of the impact that satellite television was having in the country. [...]

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Iranian authorities have destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes and receivers as part of a widespread crackdown against illegal devices they say “deviate morality and culture”. General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, the head of Iran’s Basij militia, oversaw the destruction ceremony in Tehran on Sunday and warned of the impact that satellite television was having in the country. “The…

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The Fix Was In the Mail http://themoderatevoice.com/the-fix-was-in-the-mail/ http://themoderatevoice.com/the-fix-was-in-the-mail/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 02:52:11 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218238 26606306003_9b56cb4227

Bernie Sanders was right all along, when he accused Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic National Committee of fixing the primary against him. The DNC emails leaked the day before the convention are incontestable. Schultz was forced to step down before the big event. Donna Brazile will take over, and the show will go on. [...]

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Bernie Sanders was right all along, when he accused Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic National Committee of fixing the primary against him. The DNC emails leaked the day before the convention are incontestable. Schultz was forced to step down before the big event. Donna Brazile will take over, and the show will go on. Bernie is furious, and he has the right to be.

One word from him, and the convention would devolve into a riot that would make the recently finished Republican debacle seem as placid as High Tea. Bernie won’t do that. He stated clearly today that beating Trump was his paramount concern. Tearing down the Democrats would be counterproductive. His supporters will be unruly bout they will follow suit.

Bernie is holding a marker, though, and it will be interesting to see when and how he cashes it in. Bernie’s top concern is campaign finance and income inequality. He will undoubtedly have a place at the table in the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. Merrick Garland’s dream is over now, no matter the promises that had been made to him. The next person on the bench will be as far to the left as the Senate can pass. I expect also that he will want a voice in Treasury for the overhaul of tax policy and enforcement.

Unless Hillary was involved and sloppy enough to use email, the bleeding will stop here. It’s a political party. Congressional Republicans can’t hold a hearing. They can only criticize. If anyone is holding an Ace, it’s Bernie. I’m sure he’s mad, but he’d prefer to get even.

photo credit: IMG_5689 via photopin (license)

Republished from © The Revolted Colonies 2016

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Ethical collapse of Republican leaders is scarier than Trump’s rise http://themoderatevoice.com/ethical-collapse-of-republican-leaders-is-scarier-than-trumps-rise/ http://themoderatevoice.com/ethical-collapse-of-republican-leaders-is-scarier-than-trumps-rise/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 23:59:38 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218234 shutterstock_200269595-2 (1)

As Hillary Clinton prepares her own ascension next week, the rise of inflammatory fear-monger Donald Trump was not the scariest thing last week for foreign observers of the current democratic process in America. Rather, it was the astonishing collapse of ethics in Republican Party leaders and their unbridled greed for power at any cost to [...]

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As Hillary Clinton prepares her own ascension next week, the rise of inflammatory fear-monger Donald Trump was not the scariest thing last week for foreign observers of the current democratic process in America.

Rather, it was the astonishing collapse of ethics in Republican Party leaders and their unbridled greed for power at any cost to their own reputations and America’s prestige in the world.

The deep question now is whether the Democratic Party establishment stands at the threshold of comparable intellectual bankruptcy.

This cannot be ruled out since it seems ground down between the left wing radicalism of Bernie Sanders and Clinton’s somewhat plaintive cries of “Choose me because Trump is an ogre!”.

The worrisome dearth continues of positive arguments capable of overwhelming Trump’s demagoguery of fear, discord and hate.

Trump has conquered the Republican establishment’s elites, the people he most disdains, judging among other things from the 2016 Republican Party Platform’s apparent entitlement to stand above the US Constitution.

This startling scorn for the Constitution and the inalienable rights central to its protections gives much cause for new concern about where the American people are headed.

Governments around the world will have to review their takes on US democracy and the venerable Republican Party since the Constitution underpins America’s entire legal and governance systems and serves as a model for more than half the world’s republics.

“Veni, vidi, vinci” sums up Trump’s extraordinary performance judging by the rapturous applause, decibel levels and unprecedented length of his acceptance speech at the RNC.

The adulation was remarkable because his speech was composed mainly of staccato shouts, frequent incoherence and non sequiturs. although he did try to sound more Presidential by toning down some of his usually florid rhetoric.

The authoritarian Presidents of Russia and China, and scores of theological and other autocrats in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere must be rubbing their eyes with amazement at the choices America’s conservative voters prefer. They will jig with glee if November favors Trump.

Clinton might win in November because some may vote for anyone other than Trump. But the Republican Party with its almost theological, nativist, isolationist and protectionist Platform may block her every move during her four years.

The new gridlocks at Capitol Hill could be far shriller and “politically incorrect” than during President Barack Obama’s two terms and some sections of the Bill Clinton presidency.

There are many theses about why Trump is so admired and Clinton has so few fervent acolytes. Perhaps he says out loud what others merely dare to think.

Some opine that the populism, nativism and distaste for the ways of immigrants apparently fueling Trump’s engines may soon spread to France, Holland, Britain and several other European countries, including Scandinavia, Greece, Central and Eastern Europe.

Whatever happens across the great pond would not mitigate the damage to America’s reputation and its foreign policy. The greatness that Trump and his supporters pine for depends on dozens of sovereign countries in Europe and elsewhere working in favor of US positions rather than being opponents overtly or covertly in their regions.

It is quite conceivable that many of those countries will quietly turn against the economic, financial, social and military order that the US has lead mostly through compromise since the 1950s.

They will do so not because of Trump. If he is democratically elected, all governments will try of work with his administration.

But his election will have bared the weakness of the American people for all to see. The US military would continue to be the world’s most powerful and its economy the richest, most innovative and diverse – far beyond any competitor.

But the 2016 Republican Party Platform and Trump’s election on that trampoline will expose the deep flaws embedded in the processes of US democracy and the profound confusion plaguing the American people.

Any nation is strong because of its people. Military power and economic prowess are pluses but not the core attributes of a nation’s strength. The people’s attitudes and actions are its strengths.

The 2016 Republican Party Platform reveals that American conservatism is turning towards bigotry, blind hunger for power and disregard for the Constitution to occupy the White House.

And it is doing so unheedful of the harm caused to the Republican Party’s values and principles that conservatives around the world have long looked up to as models for their own thinking.

Emulation by others of this surrender of conservative principles to Trump is unlikely to lead to a world safer for Americans and America.

The religious dogmatism coloring the new American conservatism may also embolden religious fundamentalists around the world. That will certainly not be good for Americans.

graphic via shutterstock.com

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Don’t Be a Dolt – Get Out There and Vote! http://themoderatevoice.com/218230/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218230/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 22:17:49 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218230 shutterstock_274063685

In a little less than four months, millions of Americans (hopefully 219 million of them) will be casting their votes to select the next president who will continue to keep our country free and great in what many are calling the most consequential presidential election in a generation. Why “hopefully 219 million Americans”? Well, that [...]

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In a little less than four months, millions of Americans (hopefully 219 million of them) will be casting their votes to select the next president who will continue to keep our country free and great in what many are calling the most consequential presidential election in a generation.

Why “hopefully 219 million Americans”?

Well, that is the total number of Americans who were eligible to vote in 2012.

OK, let’s be a little more realistic and say, hopefully 146 million Americans will vote this November — that would be the total number of Americans who were registered to vote in 2012.

On second thought, perhaps we shouldn’t set our sights so high: Let us hope that at least the same number of Americans who voted in the 2012 presidential election — 126 million — will cast ballots in November.

Some will rightly say, there should be more Americans voting this election since there are definitely more Americans today than four years ago and, although the data is not out yet, there must be more Americans eligible to vote, ergo more Americans registered to vote. Again, let us hope so.

The 126 million represents a meager 57.5* percent of Americans who were eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election.

Why did the other 42.5 of Americans not vote?

According to statisticbrain.com, these were some of the most common reasons:

• Too busy/ conflicting schedule: 17.5%
• Illness or disability: 14.9%
• Not interested: 13.4 %
• Did not like candidates or campaign issues 12.9%

There were also a 7% of the potential voters who didn’t know why they didn’t vote and 2.6% who forgot.

One statistic is especially worrisome. In 2012 when we had Barack Obama running against Mitt Romney, a whopping 12.9% did not like either of the candidates or the campaign issues.

Worrisome because we are hearing from so many voters that they don’t like either of the candidates — with a passion.

In an election that supposedly may be the most important election of our lifetime, this phenomenon does not bode well for our democracy.

I will not bore the reader with stories about how the U.S. voting record is dismal compared with other developed democracies; how in other countries voting is compulsory; how in other countries people would die for the right to vote, and so on.

I will just share a poem by a good friend, a combat vet, a patriot, hoping that you won’t be “a dolt.”

Don’t be a Dolt – Get out there and Vote!

It would be a tragic shame
If from voting you abstain
You may dislike the choice between two charged with “sleaze”
As rational voters you are caught in a squeeze
But listen up, if you please – Take some time – get on your knees
Consider what happens if you walk away
The ideologues and extremists will vote –they’ll have their say
Democracy requires active participation
Don’t get caught up in mental constipation

Voting is a patriotic duty that many died to defend
Without your involvement Democracy could end
Many are swayed by nostalgia of a former “glory”
But it’s a new “globalized” world – it’s a whole new story
A return to the past is like promising you the Fountain of Youth
So remember that when in the voting booth

The U.K. Brexit result is an example prime
The young put in a nickel, the old put in a dime
The young wanted in but only 36% voted
The old listened to “back to old Glories” and bolted
Make up your mind, even though you may find it a bitter pill
If you leave it to others you could pay a heavy bill
For each vote you do not send – power to an ideologue you lend
You double their power, so think hard about it, my friend

Now just a reminder if you think I over-state
In 2014 there was a dismal 36.3% USA voting rate
We now have a “grid-locked” Congress with disapproval of 80 %
And in 2012’s Presidential election only 53.6% in the booth went

It’s not just for a President on whom to decide.
We need a Congress that does something, not everything decry.
And future judges Supreme Court judges are at stake
With our “grid-locked” Congress they more decisions make

Now I’ll say it one more time, I can’t say it any louder
As an old combat vet, of the USA I could not be prouder
But it won’t stay the same if our own vote we give away
To ideologues who by fear and nostalgia arguments are swayed

Don’t be a Dolt – Get out there and Vote


===

* Voting statistics vary slightly depending on the source.

Additional sources for voting data:

Pewreserach.org

wikipedia.org/

Lead image: shutterstock.com

Edited to make clear that the 126 million who voted in the 2012 presidential election represent “a meager 57.5* percent” of Americans who were eligible to vote.

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Former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg to endorse Clinton http://themoderatevoice.com/former-ny-mayor-michael-bloomberg-to-endorse-clinton/ http://themoderatevoice.com/former-ny-mayor-michael-bloomberg-to-endorse-clinton/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:39:48 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218229 CZfg5qoWEAEPRe5 (3)

Michael Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York, will endorse Hillary Clinton for President in a prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) starting tomorrow (Monday) in Philadelphia. Mr. Bloomberg had considered running for President himself as a third-party candidate earlier in this election cycle, ultimately choosing to stay out. He has not been [...]

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Michael Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York, will endorse Hillary Clinton for President in a prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) starting tomorrow (Monday) in Philadelphia. Mr. Bloomberg had considered running for President himself as a third-party candidate earlier in this election cycle, ultimately choosing to stay out. He has not been a…

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Togetherness is good for our country (Guest Voice) http://themoderatevoice.com/togetherness-is-good-for-our-country-guest-voice/ http://themoderatevoice.com/togetherness-is-good-for-our-country-guest-voice/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:32:37 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218227 ffffffff

Togetherness is good for our country by Jordan Cooper Pray. Hope. Work. Talk. Love. These essential four-letter words are missing from the American psyche. The violence is not the America we pray for. This lack of civility is not the America we hope for. The play of hooky to doing work for the good of [...]

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Togetherness is good for our country
by Jordan Cooper

Pray. Hope. Work. Talk. Love. These essential four-letter words are missing from the American psyche. The violence is not the America we pray for. This lack of civility is not the America we hope for. The play of hooky to doing work for the good of our people is leaving our country vacant of solutions, but overwhelmed with problems. The absence of optimistic talk with strategies to better our country is keeping the American Dream away from our inhabitants. In conclusion, the void of love for our country makes our matters in disarray as ever.

We argue without coming to agreement. We protest without priorities to correct situations. We do nothing as evil continues to show itself in our world. We treat bad happenings as a must-see event in our media and not to merely apprise our fellow citizens. We need to wake up everyday and ask what we can do to help America be the best. If we pray to God we will be able to react to all things with poise. If we hope we will have the motivation to take on any task. If we work will be able to succeed in any of our goals. If we talk issues can be handled that will not lead to more disorder. Lastly, if we love each other we can appreciate what every person can, is, and will bring for America.

We are all destined to be vessels of the most high’s goodness in whatever we do. God has a plan for you and he doesn’t scribble. So, don’t treat his memo like a meme. Also, don’t keep your ambition at bay let it drive you all night like an Uber when you’re out of town. Yet, stay sober with your thoughts, so you’ll never stray from your destiny like a pet kennel.

Accidents hurt people, but the careless thoughts from human beings make us die too habitually. The bullets from guns tear apart the bodies of individuals, but reckless reasons from people send innocent people to their eternity too frequently. The good Lord gives us access granted to a good life. We need not take it for granted and be conscientious of ourselves.

We as human beings are not to disrupt the natural maturations of human beings by violence, unmindful nonsense, and concealed incompetency from professionals. Our lives are made to be influential for the longest time allowed by God.

Jordan Thomas Cooper is a 2015 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in History and a 2010 graduate of the RealEstate School of Success in Irmo. He is the first African-American to serve in both the governor and lieutenant governor’s office as an aide and first to serve in the Inspector General’s Office in S.C. (Haley) He is also the first person to serve in the top three offices in the gubernatorial line of succession in South Carolina (Haley, Bauer, McConnell). He says research shows he is the second black presidential campaign speechwriter in American history and the first for a GOP presidential campaign (Bush 2015). He also played football for Coach Steve Spurrier.

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Cartoon: Trump Voters http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-trump-voters/ http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-trump-voters/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:17:29 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218224 Sean Delonas, CagleCartoons.com

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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Sean Delonas, CagleCartoons.com
Sean Delonas, CagleCartoons.com

Sean Delonas, CagleCartoons.com

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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Controversial Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will resign after convention http://themoderatevoice.com/controversial-democratic-national-committee-chairwomandebbie-wasserman-schultz-will-resign-after-convention/ http://themoderatevoice.com/controversial-democratic-national-committee-chairwomandebbie-wasserman-schultz-will-resign-after-convention/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 21:07:09 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218222 20130825100258001_hd (1)

The Democratic National Committee’s controversial chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has issued a statement saying that she will to resign at the end of this week’s Democratic Convention. She has been under fire from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and his supporters for months amid charges that she was biased in a favor of getting former Secretary [...]

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The Democratic National Committee’s controversial chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has issued a statement saying that she will to resign at the end of this week’s Democratic Convention. She has been under fire from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and his supporters for months amid charges that she was biased in a favor of getting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton nominated. Recently leaked emails confirmed that belief. And as Clinton’s camp negotiated with the Sanders camp, it became clear in recent days that they wanted Schultz to go. Sanders today said “she should resign, period.” DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile, who has apologized to the Sanders campaign over what the leaked emails show, will reportedly be Interim Chair through the election.

The Hill:

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention (DNC), will resign when the convention closes at the end of the week.

“Going forward, the best way for me to accomplish those goals is to step down as Party Chair at the end of this convention,” the Florida Democrat said in a statement. “As Party Chair, this week I will open and close the Convention and I will address our delegates about the stakes involved in this election not only for Democrats, but for all Americans.”

Wasserman Schultz was under fire during the primaries due to the contrast in the way debates for each two parties were conducted. The Republican Party had a slew of debates slated for key viewership hours. The Democratic Party had far fewer debates, often slated at times that fed the argument that the DNC was trying to limit Sanders’ chance to be seen by as large a number of Democratic voters as possible to maintain the front-runner status of Democratic establishment favorite Clinton.

But it was clear that she was going to either be asked to leave or be shown the DNC door. Earlier, a DNC official made it clear that there had to be consequences for some due to the revelations in the email leaks:

An officer at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is calling for a staff shake-up in the wake of an email controversy that exploded over the weekend and threatens to derail the party’s national convention as it gets underway Monday in Philadelphia.

Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a vice chairman at the DNC, told The Hill on Sunday that those involved in scheming to undermine Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign should either resign immediately or be fired.

“The DNC needs to make a clear statement that this was wrong and that any member of the staff involved in criticizing another candidate, especially using DNC offices and equipment, should be fired,” Rybak said. “If any officer played a role in helping another candidate when we’re supposed to be neutral, they should resign. It’s that simple. Make a clear statement. Clean up this mess so we can move on and work together.”

A cache of emails released Friday by WikiLeaks revealed at least two instances of DNC officials openly discussing ways to undermine the Vermont senator’s campaign.

Sanders and his top aides hit the Sunday talk show circuit to reiterate their demands that DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resign.

They have long claimed that Wasserman Schultz was in the tank for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and working to undermine Sanders.

Rybak on Sunday stopped short of calling on Wasserman Schultz to resign — but he came close.

“I’ve been clear that I think she has not been effectively unifying the party, and this makes it harder,” Rybak said. “She should examine her actions and ask whether she’s been fair and if she hasn’t been, or if she becomes an issue, she should get out of the way so that we’re talking about Hillary Clinton and not Debbie Wasserman Schultz.”

The chairwoman had already been effectively demoted in terms of the role she would have at the convention, versus the role she was supposed to have been. According to various reports, one reason why her role was diminished: her mere appearance could spark angry boos among Sanders delegates at the convention. In short, she was damaged political good if the convention was to unify the wounds of the primaries.

According to multiple reports, the chairwoman will see a greatly diminished role at the coming convention. Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio will instead preside in Philadelphia.

One email revealed by WikiLeaks showed DNC press secretary Mark Paustenbach writing to communications director Luis Miranda about planting a narrative to the media that Sanders’s “campaign was a mess.”

Another email, from DNC CFO Brad Marshall, outlines a plan to question Sanders’s religion ahead of primaries where he had a lead over Clinton.

Sanders today had called for her to go:

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday that in the wake of the leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee its chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, should step down.

“I think she should resign, period,” as chair of the DNC, Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I told you long time ago that the DNC was not running a fair operation, that they were supporting Secretary Clinton,” Sanders told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Sunday on “This Week.” “So what I suggested to be true six months ago turned out to be true.”

Sanders says he is “disappointed” by what the leaked emails show but “not shocked.”

“Our campaign was about revitalizing American democracy. I want to see that incorporated into the Democratic Party,” Sanders said. “And I don’t believe that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is the person to be able to do that.”

WikiLeaks released about 20,000 emails on Friday, just days before Democratic National Convention is set to kick off in Philadelphia, that appear to show Democratic National Committee officials attempting to aid Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the party’s primary.

Several of the emails released indicate that the officials, including Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, grew increasingly agitated with Sanders and his campaign as the primary season advanced.

One email exchange suggested bringing up Sanders’ religious beliefs as a way to hurt his campaign in parts of the country.

“It might may [sic] no difference, but for KY and WA can we get someone to ask his belief,” Brad Marshall, CFO of DNC, wrote in an email on May 5, 2016. “Does he believe in God. He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My southern baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”

Amy Dacey, CEO of the DNC, subsequently responded “AMEN,” according to the emails.

Brad Marshall did apologize to Sen. Sanders, and Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told Stephanopoulos that apologizing is an “appropriate step.”

He continued that “Obviously, nobody should — in politics — be attacked for their religion, ever. And I think the DNC needs to get to the bottom of the facts and then take appropriate action on any of these emails.”

UPDATE: More perspective from Politico:

But Wasserman Schultz became fatally damaged goods in her own party after WikiLeaks released a trove of internal DNC emails, including correspondence in which Wasserman Schultz referred to Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver as a “damn liar” and an “ASS” and said the senator has “never been a member of the Democratic Party and has no understanding of what we do.”
The emails fed the criticism from progressives and Sanders’ supporters that Wasserman Schultz and her team were hostile to his campaign and had done their best to help Hillary Clinton win the Democratic nomination. Before the tussle with Sanders, Wasserman Schultz clashed with fellow Democrats in congress, the White House and even a top party donor in Florida, John Morgan.
“This is so humiliating,” said Morgan, who became a Wasserman Schultz foe after she trashed his Florida ballot initiative to legalize medical-marijuana.
Before Wasserman Schultz resigned, Morgan predicted she was finished as party chair. He and others thought she wouldn’t even speak at the convention because would be booed off stage.
Wasserman Schultz spent Sunday afternoon hiding from reporters and huddling with advisers and Democrats connected to Clinton who urged her to quit, sources said. The DNC chair was nowhere to be found at the Democratic convention (it was easier to find her at the Republican convention last week). She canceled a speech at a DNC credentialing committee.
This final blow to her reputation caps a long, slow-motion fall from grace for Wasserman Schultz, who now faces her first Democratic primary opponent in 24 years, Tim Canova.
Canova searched his name in the WikiLeaks database and saw that he was mentioned in about 70 emails. He said it appeared DNC staff was acting like an arm of Wasserman Schultz’s reelection effort and might have violated campaign-finance laws.
“We think there might have been a violation of the law and we’re checking with lawyers,” Canova told POLITICO. “I might file an FEC.”

There’s lots of comments on Twitter, inluding a flood of Tweets from angry Sanders supporters:





















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10 reasons why VP pick Tim Kaine may be the anti-Trump http://themoderatevoice.com/218218/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218218/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 15:25:59 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218218 Clinton and Kaine

Liberal Democrats who can’t shake the Bernie-or-bust mentality have already let loose with their collective groan over Hillary Clinton’s selection of Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia as her VP pick. Those on the left complain that he is the typical moderate Democrat, supportive of free-trade deals, cautious about new spending programs, somewhat hawkish on foreign [...]

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Clinton and Kaine

Liberal Democrats who can’t shake the Bernie-or-bust mentality have already let loose with their collective groan over Hillary Clinton’s selection of Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia as her VP pick.

Those on the left complain that he is the typical moderate Democrat, supportive of free-trade deals, cautious about new spending programs, somewhat hawkish on foreign policy, a backer of certain abortion restrictions such as ban on “partial-birth” abortions and, worst of all, a drab, fiftysomething white guy.

Yet, all those can be nice additions to a presidential ticket if you’re interested in securing votes from independents and mainstream America.

Some pundits say Kaine is incapable of playing the traditional role of running mates as the attack dog biting at the opposition’s heels. But in this most unusual election year dominated by the Republicans’ political pit bull, Donald Trump, Kaine fits the bill nicely. The senator may play a different role — the kind of all-American nice guy who, in another vein, prompts parents to say to their rebellious/obnoxious son, “Why can’t you be more like Tim?”

If one assumes that Trump will relegate his vice presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, to a minor role in the upcoming general election, Kaine, the former governor of Virginia, a swing state, may serve as the Democrats anti-Trump at each stop along the campaign trail. Lead by example and you expose the enemy for who he is.

Here are 10 reasons why Kaine may give Trump fits from now until Election Day:

1. Kaine is known for his modesty, quick with a smile or a laugh, and he has shown an affable, pragmatic manner while reaching out to Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Trump demonstrates a narcissistic, bullying persona that resulted in juvenile attacks on his Republican primary opponents and the dark demonization of his Democratic foe, Clinton.

2. Kaine is a devout Catholic, Jesuit-educated, from the Midwest (Minnesota) who took time out from Harvard Law School to do Christian missionary work in Honduras. Trump struggles to portray himself as a religious man and he spent his early years as a rich New York City playboy whose goal was to buy up large chunks of expensive Manhattan real estate.

3. Kaine is fluent in Spanish, shifting between the two languages on the stump with little effort and demonstrating an affinity with the Hispanic community. Trump has crassly targeted Hispanics with harsh, xenophobic views, to the point of receiving public shaming from top Republicans.

4. In addition to serving as senator and governor, Kaine was a civil rights attorney specializing in housing discrimination cases and he was elected the first white mayor of Richmond in a quarter century. In a recent C-SPAN interview, Kaine said that his time as a city councilman and mayor in Richmond was his most valuable experience because local government service forces officials to deal with people’s specific problems one-on-one and to practice retail politics. Trump’s experience consists of building hotels, casinos and golf courses. He has shown little interest in retail politics, instead playing an emperor-like role in front of raucous crowds where his minions shout slogans such as, “Build a wall.”

5. Kaine is a low-key workhorse; Trump is the ultimate showhorse.

6. The father of a Marine, Kaine serves on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees where he pushed for congressional authorization of military force against ISIS and has supported anti-terror measures. Sen.Angus King, an Independent from Maine, said last week that Kaine is “thoughtful and knowledgeable in foreign policy and has engaged with the leaders of the world’s most troublesome places.” Trump has no foreign policy experience and he said months ago that his solution to terrorism would be to “bomb the sh—“out of ISIS. His views on the role of NATO expressed last week were so far out of the mainstream that they emerged as somewhat of an international incident and sparked widespread condemnation from Republican officials.

7. As a former Democratic National Committee chairman, Kaine understands the inner workings of party politics and the need for a unified team approach. Trump has battled with Republican National Committee leaders from the day he announced his candidacy in June 2015.

8. Kaine’s political talents were recognized early on, as he was on Barack Obama’s short list of potential VP picks in 2008. As recently as four years ago, Trump’s status with the GOP was so weak that presidential candidates successfully boycotted a debate that was planned with Trump as the moderator.

9. Kaine’s wife, the nation’s potential Second Lady, Anne Holton, is a former judge who serves as the state education secretary in Virginia. Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, became entangled in an imbroglio at last week’s GOP convention for giving a speech with passages that plagiarized Michelle Obama. That dust-up led to accusations that she has falsely claimed to hold a college degree.

10. Kaine has readily acknowledged his lack of charisma, even pushing back against speculation about his future previously by saying that he is too boring to win a spot on the Democratic ticket. Trump’s bloviating manner assures that he will never be accused of being boring. But Kaine, who has never lost an election, may be just the kind of regular guy to give Trump just enough rope to hang himself.

Photo: Clinton campaign

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Clinton, Kaine and the Four Corners Offense http://themoderatevoice.com/218213/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218213/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 10:41:13 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218213 Four Corners

College basketball didn’t have a shot clock. It had the Four Corners offense, a stall tactic to run down the game clock so the trailing team couldn’t catch up. The stall only worked if there were no turnovers. It was boring to watch, and the college game now has a shot clock. The Four Corners [...]

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Four Corners
Four Corners

Four Corners

College basketball didn’t have a shot clock. It had the Four Corners offense, a stall tactic to run down the game clock so the trailing team couldn’t catch up. The stall only worked if there were no turnovers. It was boring to watch, and the college game now has a shot clock. The Four Corners offense is still used in hockey, a game played with pads, and politics, a game played without them.

Hillary Clinton went into a Four Corners set yesterday, naming Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. She might think if she plays mistake-free till November she will beat Donald Trump. She’s not clearly ahead in many polls but she is ahead in most of them. She expects Trump to continue to have fiascoes, as he did all this week. The RNC was entertaining as Trump predicted. Instead of a Beauty Pageant, however, it was Demolition Derby. Clinton shouldn’t count on Trump’s continued self-destruction, although he is not a quick learner. .

Clinton of all people shouldn’t feel safe. In 2008, then-Senator Obama came out of nowhere, overwhelmed and outperformed her. The Coronation was suspended due to a leaky foundation. Clinton was outdone by a superb, unflappable politician, who as President has presided over eight stormy years of American life.

“The best person did not win,” a Hillary supporter has said. “You are what your record says you are,” Bill Parcells said. The better campaign won.

In 2008, her campaign staff was a shambles. In 2016, Clinton’s entire organization has run smoothly. Their ground-game and strategy have kept her ahead in the delegate count from the beginning. She had the super-delegates and kept them. Bernie is a Johnny-Come-Lately to the Party. Hillary is the Queen of Clubs. Props to Bernie Sanders for making it a close race, but she played the system better. Her political team has been out in front since the beginning, and there have been no new mistakes. Clinton’s challenge is neutralizing her past mistakes and reining in Mr. Bill, a heat-seeking missile with faulty guidance.

Tim Kaine was sent over from Central Casting. He looks old enough to be President and has the requisite experience in federal and state government, executive and legislative. He is a Liberal who can win in Virginia, a big purple blotch on the electoral map. He is neutral enough to make Bernie’s supporters squeal with disappointment. With a Democrat now in the Virginia Governor’s mansion, Kaine’s Senate seat is safe if he has to be replaced after the election. It’s a smart political move. Not edgy or inspired, not desperate or impulsive. Hillary made a high percentage pass, but there is still plenty of time on the game clock.

(C) The Revolted Colonies 2016

Republished with permission of The Revolted Colonies

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Sorry, Was that Your Bump I Stepped On? http://themoderatevoice.com/sorry-was-that-your-bump-i-stepped-on/ http://themoderatevoice.com/sorry-was-that-your-bump-i-stepped-on/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 10:28:17 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218211 height.630.no_border.width.1200 (3)

While Hillary Clinton introduced Tim Kaine as her new running mate, he sat upstage, beaming past the TV camera and out into the firmament. He clapped when the crowd did, out of habit, even when clapping for himself. Then he stepped forward to greet the crowd. “Bienvenidos a todos,” — Greetings to you all. A [...]

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While Hillary Clinton introduced Tim Kaine as her new running mate, he sat upstage, beaming past the TV camera and out into the firmament. He clapped when the crowd did, out of habit, even when clapping for himself. Then he stepped forward to greet the crowd. “Bienvenidos a todos,” — Greetings to you all. A roar arose from the Miami audience. The aftershocks can be felt in places as far away as Texas, Arizona and California. Picking Kaine was a very good opening move, even if speaking Spanish fails to answer the question,” ¿Y que?” The Latin community is looking for more than lip service from the next administration.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine is the retail politician this campaign has lacked. He is the new star attraction, a positive charge to offset the negatives. His smile and energy are infectious. And when in Miami, he speaks both its languages. He will be a big help on the campaign trail in places where Hillary Clinton could use a lift. As a progressive, he has taken stands that he now may have to retract, like his opposition to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu or the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Nevertheless, it was clear as well that Clinton was buoyed by his presence, just as Elizabeth Warren’s joint appearance made her appear less tense. Hillary is better in a team than as a solo act. Kaine, somewhat like Bill Clinton, enjoys the public side of politics. For Hillary, it seems a necessary part of the package. When a true crowd-pleaser like Kaine takes the stage, she genuinely enjoys it, as well as she appreciates the attention shifting away from her. Unlike Bill Clinton, Kaine is there to play a supporting role, and no doubt he will. But it’s not hard to see him soar to the best ratings of the four remaining prospects. Kaine is more than likeable enough.

It’s still Clinton’s race, of course. She will have to run smart wire to wire. His well-received appearance took the spotlight away from the RNC. Whatever bump they hoped to get, if indeed there was a bump at all, would be overshadowed by the new bright, shiny object.

© The Revolted Colonies 2016

Republished from The Revolted Colonies (TM)

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Washington Post op-ed disses Trump, ignores media complicity http://themoderatevoice.com/wa-post-op-ed-disses-trump-ignores-media-complicity/ http://themoderatevoice.com/wa-post-op-ed-disses-trump-ignores-media-complicity/#comments Sun, 24 Jul 2016 00:25:34 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218202 Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump gives two thumbs up as he arrives to speak during the final session at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

This Washington Post editorial calls Donald Trump "uniquely unqualified" to be president, but it ignores the media's role in his rise to power and brushes aside the anger, much of it justified, that created a following.

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Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump gives two thumbs up as he arrives to speak during the final session at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome… The party’s failure of judgment leaves the nation’s future where it belongs, in the hands of voters.

I have such mixed feelings about this Washington Post editorial, some of it because of the “mired inside-the-Beltway” mentality. Most of it rests in the “it’s pretty damn late to be doing your job” category.

It does little to acknowledge the anger and frustration that propelled this man to this place in history.

The Trump litany of victimization has resonated with many Americans whose economic prospects have stagnated. They deserve a serious champion, and the challenges of inequality and slow wage growth deserve a serious response.

That’s it.

But in December, Pew reported:

Fully 49% of U.S. aggregate income went to upper-income households in 2014, up from 29% in 1970. The share accruing to middle-income households was 43% in 2014, down substantially from 62% in 1970.

What has the Post said about this issue since it opined in 2014 that middle-class stagnation was “a threat”? Even with middle class wealth (not income) being defined as $50,000 – $500,000 (not a realistic comparison), Americans are “worse off” than the global middle class.

The Post fact-checked Mitch McConnell but as far as I can tell has made no calls (“serious response”) in the past year for public policy changes. And not a lot in the way of analysis.

income inequality

Via WonkBlog

 

Moreover, it is unlikely to persuade anyone who does not already believe that “Donald Trump is a unique threat to American democracy.” Those folks don’t read the WaPost.

Finger pointing is misplaced

The Post wags its finger at the party, as though “the party” is an entity with agency.

VOTERS who identify with the GOP selected Donald Trump in the caucuses and primaries prior to the convention. And that selection was not to-the-wire like it was on the Democratic side.

Consequently this week, “the party” had its HANDS TIED because of VOTERS.

Blaming the GOP, today (well, technically, Friday), for something that voters led over the course of several months is counterproductive.

There is no mea culpa

The editorial does not acknowledge, much less absolve, the media — as an economic sector — of its role in Trump’s elevation to the top of the GOP ticket.

Granted, I followed this week’s events tangentially (unlike one of my friends, who has a mental constitution to feared: she took it all in), but I did not see this until now:

With one exception (Bob Dole), the living Republican presidents and presidential nominees of the past three decades all stayed away.

WHAT?

Why did I not know this? Might it be because it wasn’t an MSM story? (NPR being an exception but they are not profit-driven-MSM.) Or because Presidents Bush (41) and Bush (43) made their announcements back in May, it was somehow reduced to “old news”?

The most illustrative/information headline is from … Breitbart News. The story is comprehensive and well-done.

Google screencaps

CNN story from May

Google screencaps

Google screen captures, Saturday 23 July, about 2 pm Pacific

 

Why was it not newsworthy enough to be its own story, repeated a few different ways, this week?

Just another example of how the media, as a group, are complicit in Trump’s rise to power through news choice.

What is the media’s role during the nomination process?

Yes, the Post editorial board makes a compelling and reasoned case as to why this man should not be president.

But here’s the rub.

What this editorial makes clear is that TRUMP WASN’T QUALIFIED TO BE A NOMINEE.

The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament… there is nothing on Mr. Trump’s résumé to suggest he could function successfully in Washington… He also is contemptuous of fact. Throughout the campaign, he has unspooled one lie after another… Worse than the flip-flops is the absence of any substance in his agenda… He doesn’t know what is in the nation’s founding document… Worse, he doesn’t seem to care about its limitations on executive power.

But the media not only treated him like he was equal to all the other GOP nominees — the media as an economic sector GAVE HIM FREE TIME AND INCHES. Over. And over. And over.

Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy [analysis] shows that during the year 2015, major news outlets covered Donald Trump in a way that was unusual given his low initial polling numbers—a high volume of media coverage preceded Trump’s rise in the polls. Trump’s coverage was positive in tone—he received far more “good press” than “bad press.” The volume and tone of the coverage helped propel Trump to the top of Republican polls.

 

The picture did not change in 2016. A subsequent Shorenstein Center report showed that media gave Trump more coverage than each Republican candidate every week. And except for one or two weeks in February, more coverage than any candidate, Democrat or Republican.

Media coverage

Media coverage of presidential candidates, January-June 2016. Harvard Shorenstein Center.

 

Until the WaPost editorial board can look in the mirror and see their own culpability as well as the culpability of the media sector, then own up and tell us what they’ve learned and how they are going to change, I cannot do much more than read this and SMH.

:: Follow me on Twitter, @kegill
:: Kathy E. Gill
:: Updated at 7:40 pm with chart from Harvard with 2016 media coverage.

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Disinformation and Its Guzzlers http://themoderatevoice.com/218206/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218206/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 23:47:59 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218206 cartoon-mask-stock-licensed to Hart Williams

For left-wing anti-Hillary zealots, the news is "too good to be true" outstripping their wildest conspiracy theories.

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cartoon-mask-stock-licensed to Hart Williams

There’s an old saying in journalism: if something is too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

Bernie Sanders Campaign Chief Says Someone Must Be ‘Accountable’ for What DNC Emails Show
MaryAlice Parks / ABC News!

—  Bernie Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said his team was “disappointed” by the emails from the Democratic National Committee leaked through WikiLeaks, which seemed to reveal staff in the party working to support Hillary Clinton.

For left-wing anti-Hillary zealots, the news is “too good to be true” outstripping their wildest conspiracy theories. Now, given that, how credible would you say these documents are?

detective-face sheer luck sherlock

Let’s start with what we know: the documents were hacked. We KNOW that.  So, hacked by whom?

Let’s start here appropriately, on Flag Day:

Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump
By Ellen Nakashima
June 14, 2016

The Washington Post

Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee and gained access to the entire database of opposition research on GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach. The intruders so thoroughly compromised the DNC’s system that they also were able to read all email and chat traffic, said DNC officials and the security experts.

The intrusion into the DNC was one of several targeting American political organizations. The networks of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were also targeted by Russian spies, as were the computers of some Republican political action committees, U.S. officials said…..

And here’s the callout (summary):

Russian goverment hackers penetrated the Democratic National Committee and had access to the DNC network for about a year, but all were expelled earlier in June.

OK.  Now we know WHO.

smiley-vector-illustration-jester-face

Thence, a “hacker” named  Guccifer 2.0 who claims to be a solo “Romanian” hacker, but can’t, evidently, speak Romanian very well. Wikileaks has confirmed that the documents were provided by the “Romanian” hacker who can’t speak Romanian. See more about him here:

Guccifer 2.0 releases new DNC docs
The documents include a Democratic research file on Sarah Palin.
THEHILL.COM

Here’s a relevant paragraph from the report:

“Our experts are confident in their assessment that the Russian government hackers were the actors responsible for the breach detected in April, and we believe that the subsequent release and the claims around it may be a part of a disinformation campaign by the Russians,” a senior DNC official said in a written statement.

And that report actually comes to us from July 13. The agent of chaos has been steadily releasing DNC internal documents with the (self-)evident intent of sabotaging the Democratic presidential campaign. Now we KNOW that’s what he’s trying to do, no matter what quibbles we have about whether it’s a self-described “hacker” or, as our intelligence agencies have concluded, Vladimir Putin’s KGB (whatever they’re calling themselves these daze).

putin chicken

Sam Biddle at The Intercept received notification that Wikileaks had just dumped 20,000 hacked documents and wrote the utterly predictable story. Please note that I said “UTTERLY PREDICTABLE.” Why? Because if disinformation is your goal, this is exactly the article you WANT written:

New Leak: Top DNC Official Wanted to Use Bernie Sanders’s Religious Beliefs Against Him
by Sam Biddle
The Intercept
July 22 2016, 9:38 a.m. (no time zone given)

AMONG THE NEARLY 20,000 internal emails from the Democratic National Committee, released Friday by Wikileaks and presumably provided by the hacker “Guccifer 2.0,” is a May 2016 message from DNC CFO Brad Marshall. In it, he suggested that the party should “get someone to ask” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders about his religious beliefs….

And he adds this CRUCIAL bit of information:

[UPDATE at 5:10 p.m. ETIn a private message, the hacker “Guccifer 2.0” confirmed he provided the email trove to Wikileaks, saying “Yeah man, as I promised.”]

Zowie! It’s TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE! Listen:

[UPDATE at 1:03 p.m. ET: Marshall emails to say “I do not recall this. I can say it would not have been Sanders. It would probably be about a surrogate.” We have asked him who that surrogate could possibly be.]

And although Sanders is not mentioned by name, he was the only Jewish candidate from either party — an apparent weakness that Marshall believed the party could exploit in favor of Hillary Clinton.

It is also unclear why the Democratic National Committee, which isn’t supposed to favor one Democratic candidate over another until they receive a nomination, would have attempted to subvert the Sanders campaign on the grounds that “he is an atheist.”

Antisemitism at the DNC? A GOP/#NeverHillary dream come true.

And the timing? How much BETTER could it have possibly been for the seeming intent to make sure that Hillary Clinton can’t gain any traction, and to turn the left wing of her party blatantly against here … favoring, by logical elimination, Donald Trump for president. Can anyone doubt WHY Vladimir Putin would prefer a thin-skinned, easily-baited and utterly inexperienced politician as US president?

Too good to be true.

! just say no

And here’s where critical thinking fails our media. In the chain of custody of documents, where is the guarantee of authenticity? Where is the proof that documents haven’t been forged, altered and doctored to create what the HACKER (OK,  most probably the Russian Government and NOT our chatty can’t-speak-Romanian faux-hacker) wants to create?

THE QUESTION NOT ASKED IS: CAN THESE DOCUMENTS BE ACCEPTED AT FACE VALUE AS CREDIBLE?

(Uh … NO!)

Especially when “he” has indicated by “his” actions that this “too good to be true” Antisemitic letter would create JUST the effect that it has, thus far, created in an uncritical media. (I hope you understand that Wikileaks is now complicit, by the by.)

man hold brain

Let’s take you through the short version of the likely scenario:

  1. Putin hacks DNC.
  2. Then Wikileaks releases DNC internal documents on the best possible day to cause chaos at the Democratic Convention.
  3. And, with zero proof that these documents aren’t altered or forged, the media and angry Bernie supporters do Putin’s work for him.
  4. Right? Or are we smarter than that?

Evidently not. Very few — if any — grains of salt have appeared in breathless stories of Hillary scandal. The Wikileaks “Guccifer” Russian connection is not so much as examined and is given TOTAL credibility.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Occam’s Razor suggests a lack of credibility.

This is journalistic malpractice, pure and simple.

But, after a week in the Fact Free Zone, nobody seems to care that an intentional agent of chaos has used Wikileaks to create the impression of “credible” stolen documents from a thief. And nobody “gets” it.

Somewhere in Moscow, the laughter flows as freely as the vodka, and the vodka is flowing pretty freely. The entire US “free press” has done precisely what it was intended to do with this “document dump” and no one thinks to ask whether the transparent motives of the leaker/leakers might not be simon-pure.

Too true to be good.

cartoon-mask-stock-licensed to Hart Williams

From The Hill (ibid.) on July 13:

“The press [is] gradually forget[ing] about me, [W]ikileaks is playing for time and [I] have some more docs,” [Guccifer 2.0] said in electronic chat explaining his rationale.  The documents provide some insight into how the DNC handled high-profile donation scandals. But the choice of documents revealed to The Hill also provides insight into the enigmatic Guccifer 2.0.
… Guccifer 2.0 has claimed to be a Romanian hacker with no strong political leanings. Guccifer 2.0’s choice to release documents from Magliocchetti and Hsu, whose cases are now six and seven years old, shows a detailed knowledge of American politics seemingly at odds with the backstory provided by the hacker.
Experts have questioned whether Guccifer 2.0 is Romanian or even a single person. Tools used in the attack were matched to Russian intelligence agencies and, when tested, Guccifer 2.0 has struggled to speak in Romanian.

Somewhere in literary hell, Iago is applauding.

Congratulations on your non-existent critical skills.

By the way, I’m the Queen of the May, and I have the documents here, somewhere, to pr0ve it.

You believe me, of course.

putin manipulation

Because you’re gullible, evidently. Or, perhaps it’s just the “journalists” of our press corpse who can’t pass “evidence and reasoning 101.”

Funny, though. Dan Rather was removed from his CBS anchor position for questions about a document far more credible than these Wikileaks-fronted hacks.

Courage.

Cross-posted from his vorpal sword.

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Military Weekend: On Military Family Separations http://themoderatevoice.com/military-weekend-on-military-family-separations/ http://themoderatevoice.com/military-weekend-on-military-family-separations/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 21:22:16 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218197

The year was 1962. I had just been selected to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) at an Air Force base in Texas. I knew it would be a very tough six-month course — it turned out to be even tougher — but there was one bright spot. After three months, I would get a one-week [...]

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Jovel with Daughter

The year was 1962.

I had just been selected to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) at an Air Force base in Texas.

I knew it would be a very tough six-month course — it turned out to be even tougher — but there was one bright spot.

After three months, I would get a one-week break and would be able to witness the birth of our first child in Florida. An event that was “scheduled” to occur right in the middle of my break.

Right on schedule I flew to Florida during my break and had the immense pleasure of seeing my very pregnant wife.

As the days of my very short break ticked away, we kept hoping that the baby would be born soon, before my return to OCS.

But it was not to be.

I was later told that as soon as the aircraft that was taking me back to Texas took off, my wife went into labor.

Back at my “labor camp,” I was able to sneak in a phone call or two to my wife while she was in the hospital.

She had given birth to a healthy, beautiful baby boy.

The baby was so healthy and content that he hardly ever cried.

Hoping to hear his “voice,” I called a couple more times — no luck.

Remember, these were the days before the internet, before video conferences.

Not having the luxury of long phone conversations and desperate to hear “proof of life” at the other end of the line, my wife and I agreed that desperate times called for desperate measures and she pinched the baby — not too hard I hope.

Lo and behold, I heard our son “talk” for the first time, although a little angry with his mother for “making him talk.”

It was probably the most beautiful sound I had ever heard, a sound that kept me going for the next three months of hell.

Why am I telling you all this?

Perhaps to illustrate a little bit the family separations our military endure when they sign up to serve their country, as I promised in a comment here.

Now, this little “incident” and some of the relatively short separations from my family which I experienced during my military career don’t hold a candle to what so many of our service men and women endure.

I am referring to those military Dads who don’t see their loved ones for months — sometimes longer — while at some remote assignment or during combat duty.

I am referring to military Dads who don’t get to hold their babies for weeks and months after they are born — sometimes do not even see their images for days or weeks.

I am referring to military Dads — and now Moms, too — who embrace their young ones one final time as they embark upon assignments that will take them thousands of miles away for what must seem an eternity to them.

Of course, today these men and women have a choice.

They don’t have to join our Armed Forces. They can stay home, get an education, get a good job, buy a nice home and see and hug their loved ones morning, noon and night — day after day. No one would or should criticize them for making such a choice.

They know that, if they “join,” they will endure separations from their loved ones — sometimes for weeks or months, sometimes longer.

As Army Sgt. Walter H. Lowell, from the 17th Sustainment Brigade at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, puts it, “It’s a tale as old as time: soldiers bidding farewell to their families to serve in a faraway land.”

Some of our military Dads are fortunate enough to be able come home to hold their newborn in their arms even if it is for just a few days, as four Nevada Army National Guardsmen deployed to the Middle East, 7,000 miles away from home, did so recently.

But even so, the military leave period runs out way to soon and then it is time to return to the ship, post, camp or base and, if they are lucky, watch their babies grow via the internet.

And, yes, the internet is a blessing.

One of four Guardsmen mentioned here, who recently were able to visit their newborns, Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Reed, is one of those lucky ones:

Reed uses any chance he gets to talk to his daughter. “I get to video chat with them all the time,” he said. “I get to watch her grow up. She is growing fast.”

“The internet connection now is much better,” Reed said. “It’s hard being away from them, but with technology, it’s as if you’re right there with them too, and the time will go by so quick while you’re here.”

Reed's Daughter

Ave, daughter of Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Reed, an information technology specialist with the 17th Sustainment Brigade, Kuwait, was born Feb. 17, 2016. Courtesy photo

Not being there for the birth of your first child; missing out on your children’s birthdays, graduations, perhaps even a wedding; not being home for the holidays, missing your son’s first baseball game or your daughter’s prom or first date, all on top of frequent moves, jerking your kids in and out of schools, etc. are just some of the sacrifices our military make. Then there is the “ultimate sacrifice.”

Most young men and women know darn well the hardships that await them in the military.

So why do they serve?

I know why I did.

Some may do it for the training, education, travel, “adventure,” medical benefits, etc.

Yet, I am sure that the vast majority decide to serve their country in the armed forces to “serve” in every sense of that word, to protect their country.

One thing for sure, one does not join the military to get rich or for pure financial reasons.

No reenlistment bonus, no meager “family separation allowance,” no combat pay, no hardship duty pay, no hazardous duty pay is worth leaving your loved ones behind or being absent for the most precious events in their lives.

It has to be something else. Could it perhaps be just plain, old-fashioned patriotism?

Lead photo: Army Staff Sgt. Bryan Jovel, currently deployed to the Middle East with the 17th Sustainment Brigade, kisses his daughter, Brooklyn, born April 15, 2016. Courtesy photo

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Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin http://themoderatevoice.com/donald-trump-vladimir-putin/ http://themoderatevoice.com/donald-trump-vladimir-putin/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 21:19:33 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218160 25549297376_7c998d91fb_z (1)

Josh Marshall explores the disturbing relationship between Donald Trump and the regime of Russia under Vladimir Putin on Talking Points Memo. Over the last year there has been a recurrent refrain about the seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. More seriously, but relatedly, many believe Trump is an admirer and would-be [...]

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25549297376_7c998d91fb_z (1)

Josh Marshall explores the disturbing relationship between Donald Trump and the regime of Russia under Vladimir Putin on Talking Points Memo.

Over the last year there has been a recurrent refrain about the seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. More seriously, but relatedly, many believe Trump is an admirer and would-be emulator of Putin’s increasingly autocratic and illiberal rule. But there’s quite a bit more to the story. At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support of Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.

Let’s start with the basic facts. There is a lot of Russian money flowing into Trump’s coffers and he is conspicuously solicitous of Russian foreign policy priorities.

I’ll list off some facts.

1. All the other discussions of Trump’s finances aside, his debt load has grown dramatically over the last year, from $350 million to $630 million. This is in just one year while his liquid assets have also decreased. Trump has been blackballed by all major US banks.

2. Post-bankruptcy Trump has been highly reliant on money from Russia, most of which has over the years become increasingly concentrated among oligarchs and sub-garchs close to Vladimir Putin.

3. One example of this is the Trump Soho development in Manhattan, one of Trump’s largest recent endeavors. The project was the hit with a series of lawsuits in response to some typically Trumpian efforts to defraud investors by making fraudulent claims about the financial health of the project. Emerging out of that litigation however was news about secret financing for the project from Russia and Kazakhstan. Most attention about the projects has focused on the presence of a twice imprisoned Russian immigrant with extensive ties to the Russian criminal underworld. 

After his bankruptcy and business failures roughly a decade ago Trump has had an increasingly difficult time finding sources of capital for new investments. As I noted above, Trump has been blackballed by all major US banks with the exception of Deutschbank, which is of course a foreign bank with a major US presence. He has steadied and rebuilt his financial empire with a heavy reliance on capital from Russia. At a minimum the Trump organization is receiving lots of investment capital from people close to Vladimir Putin.

Trump’s tax returns would likely clarify the depth of his connections to and dependence on Russian capital aligned with Putin. And in case you’re keeping score at home: no, that’s not reassuring.

4. Then there’s Paul Manafort, Trump’s nominal ‘campaign chair’ who now functions as campaign manager and top advisor. Manafort spent most of the last decade as top campaign and communications advisor for Viktor Yanukovych, the Pro-Russian Ukrainian Prime Minister and then President whose ouster in 2014 led to the on-going crisis and proxy war in Ukraine. Yanukovych was and remains a close Putin ally. Manafort is running Trump’s campaign.

5. Trump’s foreign policy advisor on Russia and Europe is Carter Page, a man whose entire professional career has revolved around investments in Russia and who has deep and continuing financial and employment ties to Gazprom. If you’re not familiar with Gazprom, imagine if most or all of the US energy industry were rolled up into a single company and it were personally controlled by the President who used it as a source of revenue and patronage. That is Gazprom’s role in the Russia political and economic system. It is no exaggeration to say that you cannot be involved with Gazprom at the very high level which Page has been without being wholly in alignment with Putin’s policies. Those ties also allow Putin to put Page out of business at any time.

6. Over the course of the last year, Putin has aligned all Russian state controlled media behind Trump. As Frank Foer explains here, this fits a pattern with how Putin has sought to prop up rightist/nationalist politicians across Europe, often with direct or covert infusions of money. In some cases this is because they support Russia-backed policies; in others it is simply because they sow discord in Western aligned states. Of course, Trump has repeatedly praised Putin, not only in the abstract but often for the authoritarian policies and patterns of government which has most soured his reputation around the world.

7. Here’s where it gets more interesting. As TPM’s Tierney Sneed explained in this article, one of the most enduring dynamics of GOP conventions (there’s a comparable dynamic on the Dem side) is more mainstream nominees battling activists over the party platform, with activists trying to check all the hardline ideological boxes and the nominees trying to soften most or all of those edges. This is one thing that made the Trump convention very different. The Trump Camp was totally indifferent to the platform. So party activists were able to write one of the most conservative platforms in history. Not with Trump’s backing but because he simply didn’t care. With one big exception: Trump’s team mobilized the nominee’s traditional mix of cajoling and strong-arming on one point: changing the party platform on the assistance to Ukraine against Russian military operations in eastern Ukraine…But the singlemindedness of this focus on this one issue – in the context of total indifference to everything else in the platform – speaks volumes.

To put this all into perspective, if Vladimir Putin were simply the CEO of a major American corporation and there was this much money flowing in Trump’s direction, combined with this much solicitousness of Putin’s policy agenda, it would set off alarm bells galore. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. And yet Putin is not the CEO of an American corporation. He’s the autocrat who rules a foreign state, with an increasingly hostile posture towards the United States and a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons. The stakes involved in finding out ‘what’s going on’ as Trump might put it are quite a bit higher.

There is something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence for a financial relationship between Trump and Putin or a non-tacit alliance between the two men. Even if you draw no adverse conclusions, Trump’s financial empire is heavily leveraged and has a heavy reliance on capital infusions from oligarchs and other sources of wealth aligned with Putin. That’s simply not something that can be waved off or ignored.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2016/07/donald-trump-and-vladimir-putin.html

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Lessons from the Trump-a-Thon http://themoderatevoice.com/lessons-from-the-trump-a-thon/ http://themoderatevoice.com/lessons-from-the-trump-a-thon/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 17:50:56 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218196 2016 Republican National Convention logo (PRNewsFoto/2016 RNC)

The four day Trump-a-thon, sometimes noted as the Republican National Convention, ended this week in Cleveland, with the Republican party still divided and Donald Trump’s ego inflated larger than a Macy’s parade balloon. Trump was all over the convention hall, the hotels, and in the media, chatting, arguing, scowling, and boasting. It was Trump’s convention, [...]

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2016 Republican National Convention logo (PRNewsFoto/2016 RNC)
2016 Republican National Convention logo (PRNewsFoto/2016 RNC)

2016 Republican National Convention logo (PRNewsFoto/2016 RNC)

The four day Trump-a-thon, sometimes noted as the Republican National Convention, ended this week in Cleveland, with the Republican party still divided and Donald Trump’s ego inflated larger than a Macy’s parade balloon. Trump was all over the convention hall, the hotels, and in the media, chatting, arguing, scowling, and boasting. It was Trump’s convention, and he knew it.

Trump had begun his run for the nomination with a simple but powerful campaign theme, “Make America Great Again,” refusing to accept the reality that most countries see the United States as the world’s most powerful country and its president is one of the world’s most respected leaders. Slipping into the campaign, promoted by the Tea Party wing, is a plea to “Take Our Country Back.” Back to what? To the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s and the House Un-American Activities Committee witch hunts of the 1950s? To the worst recession since the Great Depression that had begun in 1929? To the race riots of the late 1960s? The two slogans, appearing on almost every piece of campaign memorabilia, are part of what “communicologists” call “branding.”

In his run to make America great, Trump used vulgar language to ridicule a Fox News female anchor, questioned the integrity of a judge who has Mexican parents, mocked a disabled reporter, declared he would build a wall on the U.S./Mexican border and require Mexico to pay for it, demanded that the U.S. block the entry of anyone who is a Muslim, declared if he was president he would abolish Obamacare, claimed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was no hero for enduring almost seven years in a Vietnamese prison camp, boldly stated he would be able to destroy ISIS, demanded that his potential vice-president candidates submit 10 years of tax returns while he refused to release any of his own financial reports, and juggled the facts worse than any circus clown with grease on his hands.

State after state, Trump energized the disgruntled and disillusioned who believed they were ignored by the leadership of their party and who opposed just about anything the Obama administration tried to do. He got sustained applause when he attacked the “lyin’ lib’ral media,” but was adept at using the media to get his message to the conservative wing of the party. His speeches and constant Twitter messages established him not as a savior of Republican values, but as a populist demagogue. However, his greatest trick was to convince Republican voters that a billionaire real estate tycoon who had a small fleet of airplanes and boats, who once was a Democrat, and who once praised Hillary Clinton, was an outsider who could relate to them.

In December, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) condemned Trump for his bigotry—which was embraced by several million Americans who had given him the nomination. “It’s not who we are as a people or a country,” said Ryan, who now in the convention gave Trump his endorsement. Ironically, while the conservative base refuses to accept LGBTQ individuals and condemns same-sex marriage, Trump has repeatedly said they have civil rights that must be acknowledged. There is just enough in Trump’s political beliefs to entice moderates and even liberals.

On the first day of the convention, long after Trump had secured enough votes to be the party’s nominee, the Colorado delegation, which supported Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), walked out, showing disrespect for the leadership that wasn’t open to modifying party rules.

Boycotting the convention were several prominent Republican leaders, including six governors and 21 senators, as well as former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, Sen. McCain, the party’s nominee in 2008, and Mitt Romney, the party’s nominee in 2012, none of whom were pleased that Trump would be the 2016 standard bearer.

Also missing was Ohio Gov. John Kasich. About one-fifth of the Ohio delegation told the Columbus Dispatch they would not vote for Trump under any condition; about two-fifths of the Ohio delegation said they would not campaign for him. About 85 percent said Trump—who has been married three times, who has committed adultery, whose profanity-laced rhetoric and outrageous comments about other Republicans in the primary race—was not the best choice to lead the self-proclaimed “family values” party into the November general election. To blunt those who wanted their candidate to reflect the family values that pervaded 1950s TV shows, Trump constantly praised his wife and children, something necessary to establish the nominee as a family member and keep any more delegates from defecting.

The division became more hostile on the third night of the convention when Cruz, the last of a field of 17 major Republican candidates to seek the Republicans’ nomination, and a strong supporter of Tea Party politics, didn’t endorse Trump and asked the nation to “vote your conscience.” His declaration of separation was greeted by cheers, boos, and phrases that aren’t usually published or aired by establishment media.

The prime-time speeches were short on substance and heavy with hyperbolic rhetoric, filled with fear-mongering and jingoistic appeals to a conservative base that is largely middle-class whites. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) summed up much of the Republican grassroots base when he claimed whites contributed more to civilization than any other group.

Melania Trump’s first night speech was so well delivered that the speech writer resigned. The Trumps refused to accept her resignation, however, saying that all people make innocent mistakes. Her mistake, as reported by almost every reporter at the convention, was that she copied a few sentences from Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic convention. Trump spent almost two days denying plagiarism charges before acknowledging the problem.

Most of the speakers, possibly lining up to get cabinet appointments and ambassadorships in a Trump presidency, reflected Trump’s views of society. They
touted his business acumen as an indicator he would be far superior than anyone else in dealing with the economy, even though most economists from all political perspectives have debunked Trump’s economic plan, which would add about $30–35 trillion to the national debt, and would rival the recession of the last two years of the George W. Bush presidency. The convention speakers didn’t mention anything about Trump’s four bankruptcies, his proposal to give additional tax breaks to millionaires and corporations, or lawsuits filed by individuals and the state of New York against Trump for illegal business practices and for defrauding students who enrolled in Trump University, which was neither accredited nor gave college credits.

The speakers, facing TV audiences that varied from 20 to 30 million viewers, praised Trump’s philosophy that a livable wage of $15 an hour is too much for businesses to survive, and that a low minimum wage is desirable. They didn’t mention that during the primary campaign Trump pushed for American-made products while he outsourced much of his Trump-named products to countries where 12-hour working days, unsafe work places, and low wages are common. To thunderous applause, they did mention that Trump would curb the power of unions, something that the candidate has already done with many of his properties where workers don’t have unions to protect them.

Conservatives emphasized that they, and they alone, are patriotic Americans. For those on the far-right of the political spectrum, being a patriot to conservatives means being willing to spend more than half of the nation’s budget on defense and having the power to send youth to fight wars half a hemisphere away. It doesn’t align with Dwight Eisenhower’s philosophy that “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

The conservative movement, represented by 2,472 delegates claimed they, and they alone, could be entrusted to defend the Constitution, although the part they know seems to be confined to nuzzling up to the NRA and the 2nd Amendment, and defending a non-existent right to own every kind of weapon short of a nuclear bomb, but were pleasantly secure within a gun-free zone that surrounded their convention.
They frequently declared they, and they alone, would be the ones best able to lower crime, disregarding numerous studies that show a decline in crime during the the Obama administration.

They also believe in creationism, question the theory of evolution, believe that merging religion and the state is acceptable, and Planned Parenthood isn’t. They oppose abortion, even if it’s to preserve a mother’s life, and then devote millions of dollars to oppose programs that help low-income families.

Climate change is a liberal myth say a solid minority of delegates. Fracking is good and would make the U.S. energy-independent, they claim, skating around the facts that oil and gas corporations, which accept more than $20 billion in taxpayer subsidies a year, are exporting oil and natural gas. Fossil fuel is the past, present, and future, they claim, blindly ignoring the reality that there are more jobs in the renewable energy industry than in fossil fuels, and that most nations, especially those in the Middle East oil-exporting countries, are significantly increasing the use of solar and wind energy.

They believe in private schools, private retirement plans, and want to sell off public land. They want to “reign in” the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, which they see as having too much regulatory power, apparently believing that oil and gas and food and pharmaceutical corporations will do what’s best for the consumer and not what’s best for the stockholders.

Throughout the convention, the delegates and speakers unleashed their venom on Hillary Rodham Clinton, Trump’s Democratic opponent, calling her evil, corrupt, a liar, and someone who should be in prison. Many delegates compared her to Satan. Licking County (Ohio) Commissioner Duane Flowers said Clinton “should be hanging from a tree.” Clinton, said Al Baldasaro, a senior Trump advisor and a delegate from New Hampshire, “should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” Their statements reflected the far-right demeanor that has been guiding the party.

Donald Trump, who can be charming and who delivered a brilliant and presidential-like 76-minute final convention speech, seldom smiles, his demeanor noted by his lips, which are constantly frowning or sneering, reflecting his party’s campaign strategy of bar-room profanity-laced anger rather than substance. He is the face of what the Republican party has become.

[Dr. Brasch, an award-winning journalist and university professor, has covered politics and government for more than four decades. His latest book is Fracking America: Sacrificing Health and the Environment for Short-Term Economic Benefit.]

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If You Love “Harry Potter,” You Probably Dislike Donald Trump http://themoderatevoice.com/if-you-love-harry-potter-you-probably-dislike-donald-trump/ http://themoderatevoice.com/if-you-love-harry-potter-you-probably-dislike-donald-trump/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 16:26:40 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218194 Lord Voldemort.

J.K. Rowling has made no secret of her dislike for Donald Trump, but for “Harry Potter” readers, it would seem Trump is basically a real life version of Lord Voldemort. This would perhaps go a long way in explaining the findings of a new study published in the latest edition of the journal PS: Political [...]

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Lord Voldemort.
Lord Voldemort.

Lord Voldemort.

J.K. Rowling has made no secret of her dislike for Donald Trump, but for “Harry Potter” readers, it would seem Trump is basically a real life version of Lord Voldemort. This would perhaps go a long way in explaining the findings of a new study published in the latest edition of the journal PS: Political Science…

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Cartoon: The Trump Family Pressures Donald http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-the-trump-family-pressures-donald/ http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-the-trump-family-pressures-donald/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 05:59:29 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218191 adafasf

Mike Slosberg is a cartoonist and novelist. He lives with his wife and hundreds of drawing pens on the Upper Westside of Manhattan, New York. You can see more of his cartoons and learn about his books by going to: mikeslosbergbooks.com

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adafasf

Mike Slosberg is a cartoonist and novelist. He lives with his wife and hundreds of drawing pens on the Upper Westside of Manhattan, New York. You can see more of his cartoons and learn about his books by going to: mikeslosbergbooks.com

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On Human Rights, California is Better than Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, and Texas! http://themoderatevoice.com/on-human-rights-california-is-better-than-japan-thailand-taiwan-singapore-and-texas/ http://themoderatevoice.com/on-human-rights-california-is-better-than-japan-thailand-taiwan-singapore-and-texas/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 05:44:30 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218189 © WikiMedia (Open Clipart Library)

On Human Rights, California is Better than Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, and Texas! by Stephen Cooper Speaking in favor of Proposition 66, the ballot initiative that seeks to speed up executions in California to Texas-like levels of lethality, Los Angeles deputy district attorney Michele Hanisee told legislators during testimony before the Public Safety Committee in [...]

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© WikiMedia (Open Clipart Library)
© WikiMedia (Open Clipart Library)

© WikiMedia (Open Clipart Library)

On Human Rights, California is Better than Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, and Texas!
by Stephen Cooper

Speaking in favor of Proposition 66, the ballot initiative that seeks to speed up executions in California to Texas-like levels of lethality, Los Angeles deputy district attorney Michele Hanisee told legislators during testimony before the Public Safety Committee in May: “The suggestion that civilized societies don’t support the death penalty is inaccurate. Many countries such as Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and Singapore have the death penalty.”

Ms. Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys. She is being sued for lying in a declaration she made under oath during a murder prosecution and, just recently, her claims of “absolute immunity” for that egregious conduct were rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. While this alone clouds Hanisee’s credibility on the death penalty debate in California (whether the punishment should be ended forever or be “speeded up”), the countries whose justice systems Hanisee extols are even more troubling. Perhaps, in addition to remedial ethics courses on an attorney’s duty of candor to the court, Ms. Hanisee should also take a closer look at the countries she is suggesting Californians emulate with their vote on the death penalty this fall.

For example, in Japan, it has been documented that death sentences are “implemented with disregard for international law, including denying the right of prisoners to seek appeal.” The condemned are subject to “degrading and inhuman treatment” which includes “prolonged solitary confinement.” Japan even executed an 89-year-old man last year who spent 46 years on death row protesting his innocence – all the way to his long-awaited, abominable end.

In Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore, death sentences can be meted out for drug crimes alone. Furthermore, in Thailand, allegations of the torture of suspects charged with capital offenses have been substantiated by the Thai National Human Rights Commission. Taiwan, which is moving toward abolishing the death penalty, has a record of executing “psychologically or mentally impaired prisoners,” and failing to have “a clear and complete procedure for appeals for clemency.” Last fall, in an article for Slate called, “Singapore’s harsh death penalty: Inside the fight to save one man from the city-state’s death row,” Kirsten Han wrote about, “Singapore’s mandatory death penalty regime” where, under Singapore law, “anyone convicted of murder must be sentenced to death, with no chance for mitigating factors to be taken into account.” (In Singapore, prisoners convicted of low-level property crimes can even be caned, a punishment Berkeley Law Professor Jerome H. Skolnick called “brutal,” describing how a “martial artist strikes the offenders” with “a half-inch rattan cane moistened to break the skin and inflict severe pain” often causing significant “loss of blood” and “shock.”)

Like Ms. Hanisee, Ms. Bethany Webb, who lost her sister in the 2011 mass shooting at a hair salon in Seal Beach, also got a chance to address the Public Safety Committee this past May. In her courageous testimony, Ms. Webb explained her support for Proposition 62 (which would, among other things, replace the death penalty in California with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole). In voicing her opposition to the countervailing initiative, Proposition 66, Ms. Webb told lawmakers: “We could be more like Texas. We could start mass producing murder. Well, I’m sorry, California is better than Texas . . . We’re better than Texas.”

Ms. Webb is right. When it comes to respecting human rights, California is better than Texas, where the lust for speedy executions has led to the execution of a panoply of potentially innocent men. And, despite what Ms. Hanisee thinks, we are also better than Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and Singapore. Or, at least, we will be – as soon as we vote for Proposition 62 and against Proposition 66 – ending capital punishment forever in California.

Stephen Cooper is a former D.C. public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes full-time and lives in Woodland Hills, California. This column was first published by JURIST and is being reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Mike Peters Guest Cartoon: Some final Republican convention thoughts http://themoderatevoice.com/mike-peters-guest-cartoon-some-final-republican-convention-thoughts/ http://themoderatevoice.com/mike-peters-guest-cartoon-some-final-republican-convention-thoughts/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 05:07:35 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218187 cvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

Some final Republican convention thoughts by Mike Peters OF RELATED INTEREST: —Analysis: The Republican convention as reality TV. Not in a good way —12 Most WTF Moments From a Very WTF Republican Convention —10 takeaways from Donald Trump’s Republican Convention —The RNC: Fear and Puking In Cleveland Mike Peters is recognized as one of our [...]

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Some final Republican convention thoughts
by Mike Peters

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OF RELATED INTEREST:
Analysis: The Republican convention as reality TV. Not in a good way
12 Most WTF Moments From a Very WTF Republican Convention
10 takeaways from Donald Trump’s Republican Convention
The RNC: Fear and Puking In Cleveland

Mike Peters
is recognized as one of our nation’s most prominent cartoon artists for his outstanding work as both a political and comic strip cartoonist. His favorite expression “WHAT A HOOT” certainly sums up his outlook on his life and work which are inexorably entwined. Mike’s warm, easygoing and zany demeanor is evidence that his personality matches his creative talents. As so eloquently phrased by a colleague — “Mike is the Peter Pan of the cartooning world; he’s boyishly charming, good with a rapier and doesn’t spend a lot of time on the ground. And he doesn’t seem to want to grow up”.

The Comic Strip Mother Goose & Grimm appears in over 800 newspapers worldwide and consistently places in the top 10 most popular ratings. Licensees distribute Grimmy products all over the world, and the Grimmy TV show continues to air in several countries. Mother Goose & Grimm is included in the Toon Lagoon theme park at Universal Studios that opened in July 1999. This copyrighted cartoon is licensed to be run on TMV and is from his website.

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Possible Vote Clinton/Kaine Strategy http://themoderatevoice.com/possible-strategy-for-clintonkaine-ticket/ http://themoderatevoice.com/possible-strategy-for-clintonkaine-ticket/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 02:18:17 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218184 Clinton/Kaine

Well, Hillary Clinton announced today that Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is her running mate for Vice President. I wonder what their strategy will be? This new www.voteclintonkaine.org website might give us a clue. Then again, it is getting harder and harder to tell what is a joke these days in the world of political theater. [...]

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Clinton/Kaine

Well, Hillary Clinton announced today that Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is her running mate for Vice President. I wonder what their strategy will be? This new www.voteclintonkaine.org website might give us a clue. Then again, it is getting harder and harder to tell what is a joke these days in the world of political theater.

www.voteclintonkaine.org

Clinton/Kaine

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Trump’s acceptance speech: Seeking victory by scaring the country to death http://themoderatevoice.com/218181/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218181/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 01:36:23 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218181 jjfjkfjfjfjfjfjfjfjf

CLEVELAND — Perhaps you thought, or hoped, that Donald Trump would use his acceptance speech to offer a softer tone, to sketch a more compassionate vision of the nation, or to reach out to skeptics and former opponents. Trump chose a different path — or, more precisely, the same path he has taken from the [...]

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CLEVELAND — Perhaps you thought, or hoped, that Donald Trump would use his acceptance speech to offer a softer tone, to sketch a more compassionate vision of the nation, or to reach out to skeptics and former opponents.

Trump chose a different path — or, more precisely, the same path he has taken from the outset of the campaign. Trump will be running as Trump, the candidate of the angriest wing of the Republican Party and the most disaffected members of the American electorate.

He will run as a hard man, a tough, nationalist authoritarian for whom order is paramount. And he will advance his case by offering a dismal and profoundly gloomy account of what he called “a moment of crisis for our nation.”

“The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life,” he declared. “Any politician who does not grasp this danger is not fit to lead our country.” He spoke of a nation characterized by “violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities.”

He blamed Hillary Clinton for “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

He cherry-picked statistics to suggest that the nation is in the midst of a wave of criminality at a moment of historically low crime numbers. He manipulated the facts on immigration, suggesting huge flows of illegal entrants after a long period of low or even negative immigration. If reality does not conform to what Trump needs reality to be to support his case, he will invent a new reality.

He explicitly reached out to supporters of Bernie Sanders, to “the laid-off factory workers,” and to “the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals.” The billionaire will run as a populist and he cast Clinton as a politician supported by “big business, elite media and major donors” committed to keeping “our rigged system in place.”

“She is their puppet,” he said, “and they pull the strings.”

But economics took third place behind crime and immigration. His language was incendiary and often demagogic.

He claimed that the Obama administration was indifferent to the fate of a young woman killed by an illegal immigrant, saying it viewed her as “one more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders.” It is hard to imagine any other presidential candidate making such a charge.

And he repeatedly presented himself as a national savior who would single-handedly reverse the tide of lawlessness. “I have a message to every last person threatening the peace on our streets and the safety of our police,” Trump said. “When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country.”

He came back to this idea again and again. “On January 21st of 2017, the day after I take the oath of office,” he said, “Americans will finally wake up in a country where the laws of the United States are enforced.”

And lest anyone miss his point, he put it in rhetorical italics: “I am the law-and-order candidate.”

As a political matter, Trump made clear he will be a moving target. Like leaders of the European far right, he combined economic nationalism (“America First”) and populism (he pledged to be the voice of the “forgotten men and women of our country”) with his hard line on crime, immigration and “political correctness.”

His daughter Ivanka’s speech, which included a strong focus on gender equality and workplace fairness, suggested he will freely try to steal Hillary Clinton’s best issues.

But his core strategy is rooted not only in exploiting the fears of Americans but in heightening them. He will repeat his calls for “law and order” over and over. A man who has spent his life among the country’s wealthiest and most influential people will make the “elites” his whipping boy. He will paint a dark picture of his foes as serving interests other than those of their fellow citizens: “Americanism not globalism will be our credo.”

And he will play racial politics by accusing President Obama, as he did Thursday, of using “the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color” and making “America a more dangerous environment for everyone.”

We are thus about to have the ugliest and most divisive presidential campaign in our history. Trump is an effective demagogue. Republicans have allowed him to take over their party. It falls to the rest of the country to resist being seduced by anger, resentment and fear.

E.J. Dionne’s email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne. (c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group

graphic: graphicstock.com

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Morning in America it wasn’t http://themoderatevoice.com/morning-america-wasnt/ http://themoderatevoice.com/morning-america-wasnt/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 01:25:57 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218179

CLEVELAND — It was a grand old party at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday night. Delegates wore cowboy hats, straw hats, tricorn hats, stovepipe hats, cheesehead hats, evergreen hats and Uncle Sam hats. They bopped to the music of a seven-piece band and waved red, white and blue pompoms. There was a Donald Trump action [...]

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CLEVELAND — It was a grand old party at Quicken Loans Arena on Thursday night.

Delegates wore cowboy hats, straw hats, tricorn hats, stovepipe hats, cheesehead hats, evergreen hats and Uncle Sam hats. They bopped to the music of a seven-piece band and waved red, white and blue pompoms. There was a Donald Trump action figure here, a Donald Trump superhero cape there — and little sign of the NeverTrump dissension that marred the early days of the convention.

But as the hour grew late, just after Ivanka Trump declared brightly that “come Jan. 17 all things will be possible again,” the tone in the room took a dark turn.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appeared on stage to the “Air Force One” movie theme and beneath 15-foot letters shouting TRUMP. For more than an hour, he shook his fists, chopped the air, stuck out his chin, bared his bottom teeth, paced behind the lectern, tugged on his lapels — and delivered the darkest piece of rhetoric spoken by a major political figure in modern American history.

“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation,” he warned. “The attacks on our police, and the terrorism in our cities, threaten our very way of life.”

Trump’s portrait of America was dystopian and desperate:

“Violence in our streets.”

“Chaos in our communities.”

“We don’t have much time.”

“One international humiliation after another.”

“Disasters unfolding.”

“In ruins.”

“Helpless to die at the hands of savage killers.”

“Worse than it has ever been.”

“Poverty and violence at home, war and destruction abroad.”

“Ignored, neglected and abandoned.”

“Communities crushed.”

“Horrible and unfair.”

“Corruption has reached a level like never, ever before.”

“Brutally executed.”

“Men, women and children viciously mowed down.”

“Families ripped apart.”

“Damage and devastation.”

“Such egregious crime.”

“This,” Trump concluded, “is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

Morning in America it wasn’t. The delegates, so recently partying, were now booing and jeering at the horrors their candidate recited.

They booed more than 25 times during the speech. They booed, among other things, crime statistics, the debt, trade deals, illegal immigrants, Lyndon Johnson, NATO members and, above all, Clinton.

Trump invoked “mothers and fathers who have lost their children to violence spilling across our border.”

“Build a wall! Build a wall!” the delegates chanted.

“America is far less safe,” he said, “than when President Obama made the decision to put Hillary Clinton in charge of America’s foreign policy.”

“Lock her up! Lock her up!” they chanted. Trump nodded in approval at the controversial chant, then reconsidered. “Let’s defeat her in November,” he proposed.

Trump, by design, echoed the “law and order” theme from Richard Nixon’s 1968 acceptance speech in Miami. But this went far beyond Nixon, who in that speech took pains to answer “those who say that law and order is the code word for racism.”

Trump made no such qualification as he repeatedly employed that same racially loaded phrase. “When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country,” he said.

His acceptance speech made clear that there will be no “pivot” to the general election. His will be a turnout strategy, trying to mobilize the same aggrieved, older, white, less-educated, less well-off voters who flocked to him during the primaries.

But this isn’t 1968 — the year of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy assassinations, Vietnam strife and race riots. Even those in the hall didn’t seem to share Trump’s sense of an existential crisis.

“I’m not despairing,” said Ohio’s Jerry Hruby, who, at age 68, recalled 1968 being much worse. “People were just so unhappy.”

I sampled delegates across the floor — from Missouri, Washington, Florida — and found none calling the current environment a crisis.

But Trump’s warnings of imminent catastrophe serve a purpose: In times of panic, the appeal of an authoritarian is greater. And Trump presented himself as the classic strongman.

“Beginning on Jan. 20th of 2017, safety will be restored,” he promised, later declaring that “I alone” can fix a broken system.

When demonstrators briefly interrupted his speech, he paused while they were hauled off, then remarked: “How great are our police!”

“I am your voice!” he assured those he had driven to despair. Though others only talk, he said, “I’m going to do it.”

“Yes, you will!” the delegates chanted.

There was a delay before the balloon-and-confetti drop at the end, and maybe they should have skipped it entirely. The rage and despair Trump generated hardly seemed to be cause for celebration.

Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank. (c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group

photo credit: noir city via photopin (license)

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Cartoons: Republican Boogas http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoons-republican-boogas/ http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoons-republican-boogas/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 01:17:29 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218177 94d2b2d1-cb00-49dc-aba6-c1724763725e (1)

Republican Boogas by Clay Jones Damn I drew a lot of cartoons this week. I’m three days ahead of schedule with my syndication. Thank god this convention is over and after I draw cartoons on Hillary’s veep pick and Roger Ailes’ horniness, I can take a nap….oh wait. There’s another convention next week. Didn’t they [...]

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94d2b2d1-cb00-49dc-aba6-c1724763725e (1)

94d2b2d1-cb00-49dc-aba6-c1724763725e (1)

Republican Boogas
by Clay Jones

Damn I drew a lot of cartoons this week. I’m three days ahead of schedule with my syndication. Thank god this convention is over and after I draw cartoons on Hillary’s veep pick and Roger Ailes’ horniness, I can take a nap….oh wait. There’s another convention next week. Didn’t they used to take a month between these things?

The Republican convention started with hate, continued with hate, and ended with hate. Donald Trump started his speech by “humbly” accepting his party’s nomination. He gave the longest speech ever for a Republican nominee. He read it off a teleprompter. He read it very slowly. David Duke tweeted out how much he loved it.

High points for his speech includes he didn’t once refer to Hillary Clinton as “Crooked Hillary.” When he talked about banning immigrants, he didn’t mention them being Muslim immigrants. When he talked about the wall he left out the part about Mexico paying for it. When he got one protester during the speech, he didn’t veer off the script to tell the audience to beat her up.

The biggest plus for his speech is when he said we needed to protect LGBTQ from Muslim terrorists. He didn’t mention protecting them from his vice presidential pick, but it’s a start. The Republican audience actually cheered for this and he thanked them.

The rest of the speech was doom and gloom. Basically America is Gotham City run amock with criminals and gangsters and Donald Trump is the only billionaire caped crusader who can save us. We should have a Trump signal. It should look like the lips I give him in every cartoon. What do you think, yes? Though thinking about it, that image high above in the clouds above all of us could make the entire nation crap itself.

Two questions coming out of this convention: Will he get a bounce in the polls? You would think not since the entire thing was one big discombobulated dumpster fire full of hate, vinegar, and cat piss, but a lot of Americans may buy into the fear thing.

The other question is: Will Hillary try to kill his momentum Friday or Saturday by announcing her pick (Tim Kaine) as her veep? I’m not sure she should try to distract from his convention with it being the lukewarm Nazi rally that it was. Let it sink in for a day.

This cartoon and post by Clay Jones are from his website www.claytoonz.com

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Hillary Clinton Picks Kaine – In Her Own Words (Updates) http://themoderatevoice.com/hillary-clinton-picks-kaine-in-her-own-words/ http://themoderatevoice.com/hillary-clinton-picks-kaine-in-her-own-words/#comments Sat, 23 Jul 2016 01:00:03 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218172 Tim Kaine

Update II: As I indicated in the comments section, I thought Time Kaine did pretty well in his first joint appearance with his running mate, Hillary Clinton, in Miami today. He even spoke Spanish very well, saying among other that he and Hillary Clinton will be “compañeros del alma” y que “somos todos Americanos.” One [...]

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Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine

Update II:

As I indicated in the comments section, I thought Time Kaine did pretty well in his first joint appearance with his running mate, Hillary Clinton, in Miami today.

He even spoke Spanish very well, saying among other that he and Hillary Clinton will be “compañeros del alma” y que “somos todos Americanos.”

One reporter who was totally impressed with Kaine’s performance — and very excited — is Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast.

Tomasky “shouts,” “Holy Crap, Tim Kaine Just Killed It In His First Speech With Clinton

And continues, “Holy crap. He killed it.”

He then says,

I’m not trying to spin you. I’m sitting here in shock. Shock. Tim Kaine was unbelievable.

He was natural. He was smart. He was relaxed and funny, and he was serious. He was proud of himself and his wife and family but never arrogant. He was humble without ever being cloying in that way the politically humble can often be. He was genuine. He was unbelievable.

All very true, but it gets better:

After commending Kaine’s wonderful job of communicating his values — in English and Spanish — his sense of humor, his character, Tomasky says:

But the most important thing about the speech wasn’t any of these things. It was the vision for the country embedded within it. If Kaine made a convincing case Saturday afternoon that he’s a perfect companion to Clinton, he made an even stronger case that he represents the antidote to savage Trumpism and Uriah Heep-grim Pence-ism. Yes, there are problems in the country and world, obviously. But we don’t confront them by insulting people and pumping fear into people and calling our military a disaster and trying to pass severe discrimination laws. We confront them by heeding the words of Harry Truman: “America was not built on fear. It was built on courage, imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”

And he did it all without an ounce of ego. That maybe was what was most refreshing of all.

Tomasky then concludes, “Holy crap, this guy is killing it! How did we not know this?”

I think Tomasky “killed it,” too.

Read it all here.

==
Update I:

President Obama has expressed his agreement with Hillary Clinton’s selection for her running mate and his support for the ticket:

I wanted to take a moment to tell you why I’m so proud that Hillary has chosen Senator Tim Kaine to join her on the Democratic ticket this fall.

Nothing can really prepare you for this job. You come to learn that it’s about having a firm grasp of the issues, sound judgment, and the tenacity never to stop fighting to make people’s lives better.

The thing about Hillary is, she already understands all that. She does her homework, she masters the issues, and she never gives up. She gets the job done. And more than almost anyone I’ve worked with in Washington, Hillary’s the kind of person who sees a problem and says, “How can I fix this? What can I do to help?”

But this job is also about surrounding yourself with the best possible people. And there’s no more important decision you’ll make as a presidential candidate than choosing a vice president. There are basically two paths you can take. You can pick someone for purely political reasons — or you can pick someone who will be your partner in government. Someone who shares your values. Someone who will make you a better president.

That’s why I picked Joe Biden — and it’s a testament to Hillary’s character and integrity that she chose a man like Tim Kaine.

Like Hillary, Tim is an optimist. But like Hillary, he is also a progressive fighter. He’s the son of a teacher and an iron worker who’s always got working families on his mind. For nearly two decades, he specialized in representing people who had been denied fair access to housing just because of what they looked like, or because they had a disability. And when a gunman killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech, Tim knew he had a responsibility as governor to offer more than thoughts and prayers to the community he mourned with — and as a gun owner, he stood up to the gun lobby on their behalf.

There aren’t a lot of elected officials in Washington whom people like even more when the cameras are off than when the cameras are on. But Tim is that kind of guy. He’s a man who’s risen to the highest levels of government but still lives in the same neighborhood he did as a city councilmember in Richmond. You just can’t find anyone with a bad thing to say about him, from the staff who’ve worked for him to the Republicans who’ve served alongside him.

Simply put: Tim is a good man. He’s a true progressive. And he will make a great vice president.

I could not be prouder to support our Democratic ticket — please join me in welcoming Tim Kaine to this team…

Thanks for everything you’ve done and will do to elect Hillary and Tim.

Barack

====

Original Post:

Hillary Clinton has just announced she has selected Tim Kaine, a Popular Senator From Virginia, as Running Mate.

Above is a video, courtesy the New York Times, on the Senator.

Below is an e-mail from Hillary Clinton explaining why she selected Senator Kaine.

I’m thrilled to share this news: I’ve chosen Tim Kaine as my running mate.

Tim is a lifelong fighter for progressive causes and one of the most qualified vice presidential candidates in our nation’s history.

But his credentials alone aren’t why I asked him to run alongside me.

Like me, Tim grew up in the Midwest. During law school, he too took an unconventional path — he took time off and went to Honduras to work with missionaries, practicing both his faith and his Spanish.

When he returned to the states and graduated from Harvard Law, he could have done anything. But instead of going to some big corporate firm, he chose to fight housing discrimination as a civil rights lawyer in Richmond. He and his wife joined a church, built a home centered around their faith, and raised three beautiful children. Then, after 17 years of practicing law, Tim ran for city council — and won.

Tim says his experience on city council taught him everything he knows about politics. To the people in Richmond, an underfunded school wasn’t a Democratic or Republican problem. It was simply a problem that needed fixing, and his constituents were counting on him to solve it. So Tim would do it. He’d roll up his sleeves and get the job done, no matter what.

He’s a man of relentless optimism who believes no problem is unsolvable if you’re willing to put in the work. That commitment to delivering results has stayed with him throughout his decades-long career as a public servant. So I could give you a laundry list of things he went on to accomplish — as mayor of Richmond, governor of Virginia, and in the United States Senate.

But this is what’s important: Tim has never taken a job for the glory or the title. He’s the same person whether the cameras are on or off. He’s sincerely motivated by the belief that you can make a difference in people’s lives through public service.

That quality comes through in every interaction. To know Tim is to love him. When I was talking to people about this decision, I couldn’t find anyone — Democrat or Republican — who had a bad thing to say about him. From his staff over the last 20 years to his colleagues in the Senate, Tim’s beloved.

He is a genuinely nice person, but Tim is no one’s punching bag. He will fight tooth and nail for American families, and he’ll be a dogged fighter in our campaign against Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

Dorian, I want you to know that I didn’t make this decision lightly.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing two presidents and two vice presidents up close. I want a vice president who can be my partner in bringing this country together. I want someone who will be able to give me their best advice, look me in the eye, and tell me they disagree with me when they do.

But what matters most is a simple test that’s not so simple to meet: whether the person could step in at a moment’s notice and serve as president.

I have no doubt that Tim can do the job.

I want him by my side on the trail and in the White House.

Lead photo: Kaine During Filibuster: “We Have To Stop Being Bystanders To The Carnage Of Gun Violence”

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After the Republican Convention Make-Believe, Back to the Cruel Reality Called Trump http://themoderatevoice.com/after-the-republican-convention-make-believe-back-to-the-cruel-reality-called-trump/ http://themoderatevoice.com/after-the-republican-convention-make-believe-back-to-the-cruel-reality-called-trump/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 21:52:33 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218169 Trump by DonkeyHotey

The balloons have been popped, the confetti has been swept up, the fireworks have fizzled, the lies have been told, the fear mongering has reached its climax and the thunderous, obscene “lock her up,” and worse, cheers and shouts have subsided — for now. But even before all this happened, the still presumptive but already [...]

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Trump by DonkeyHotey

Trump by DonkeyHotey

The balloons have been popped, the confetti has been swept up, the fireworks have fizzled, the lies have been told, the fear mongering has reached its climax and the thunderous, obscene “lock her up,” and worse, cheers and shouts have subsided — for now.

But even before all this happened, the still presumptive but already presumptuous Republican presidential nominee put his foot once more in his mouth showing once again his ignorance and immaturity and displaying his total lack of commitment and ability to lead the free world.

In an interview with the New York Times , the GOP presidential nominee trashed a key pillar of U.S. national security policy, saying, in essence, that if Russia attacked the Baltic States – NATO members — he would decide whether to come to their defense only after determining whether the Baltic States had fulfilled their financial obligations to NATO — in other words whether they had coughed up enough money.

Trump’s exact words according to the Times, “We’re talking about countries that are doing very well. Then yes, I would be absolutely prepared to tell those countries, ‘Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.’”

Such an irresponsible and reckless position is, in my opinion, comparable to a father telling his children that if they are attacked by some hoodlums he would come to their defense only after reviewing if they had done their chores satisfactorily — or an older brother telling his young siblings in trouble a similar story.

Even the conservative Wall Street Journal slammed Trump on this: “Such a change in policy would put the alliance into question and fundamentally rewrite the rules of European security that have been in place since the end of World War II.”

There has been immediate and indignant reaction from both sides of the Atlantic and from both sides of the U.S. political aisle.

Here are some:

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, fired back, according to the Journal:

The head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization took the unusual step of wading into the U.S. presidential campaign on Thursday after nominee Donald rekindled a foreign policy debate by saying the U.S. may not come to the aid of alliance members if they are attacked by Russia.

“I will not interfere in the U.S. election campaign, but what I can do is say what matters for NATO,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. “Solidarity among allies is a key value for NATO.”

Without mentioning Mr. Trump by name, Mr. Stoltenberg said alliance members “defend one another.” Article 5 of the 1949 treaty that established NATO stipulates that an attack on one member represents an attack on all and requires the alliance to come to the defense of any country attacked.

“NATO is the basis for our security,” Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka reportedly said in response to Trump’s comments at a news conference in Poland. “I expect that also in the United States, whoever wins the presidential election, I hope the United States will remain a solid NATO partner,” says Defense News.

Estonia’s President Toomas Hendrik, the leader of a small country that fought with us in Afghanistan and “one of five NATO allies in Europe that have in fact met the 2%” of gross domestic product NATO expects its members to contribute to defense, twitted: “We are equally committed to all our NATO allies, regardless of who they may be. That’s what makes them allies.”

The White House said that President Barack Obama has an “ironclad” commitment to NATO allies. “There should be no mistake or miscalculation made about this country’s commitment to our Transatlantic alliance,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest according to the Journal.

Secretary of State John Kerry, while declining to address Trump’s comments further, said, “This administration, like every single administration, Republican and Democratic alike, since 1949, remains fully committed to the NATO alliance and our security commitments under Article 5.”

The Journal adds:

“Statements like these make the world more dangerous and the U.S. less safe,” U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) said in a statement, adding they would make Russian President Vladimir Putin “a very happy man.”

“The Republican nominee for president is essentially telling the Russians and other bad actors that the U.S. is not fully committed to supporting the NATO alliance,” Mr. Graham said, adding he hoped Mr. Trump would correct himself.

Of course, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign “quickly seized upon Mr. Trump’s comments.”

“Ronald Reagan would be ashamed. Harry Truman would be ashamed,” said Jake Sullivan, senior policy adviser to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, in a statement. “Republicans, Democrats and Independents who (helped) build NATO into the most successful military alliance in history would all come to the same conclusion: Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit and fundamentally ill-prepared to be our commander-in-chief.”

Mr. Sullivan said the Republican nominee’s comments “flatly contradicted” a Wednesday convention speech by Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, who said Mr. Trump would stand with the U.S.’s allies.

For good measure, the Journal adds:

Over the course of the campaign, Mr. Trump has taken other unorthodox positions that have roiled the national security establishment.

This year, the Republican nominee said it wouldn’t be so bad if Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia obtained nuclear weapons of their own, saying that nuclear proliferation would “happen anyway.”

In the New York Times interview on Wednesday, he said the U.S. wouldn’t pressure Turkey or other countries to stop authoritarian behavior, saying Washington doesn’t have a right to lecture others and should fix its own mess first.

Finally, according to Defense News:

Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis, whose last post was a four-year stint as supreme allied commander at NATO, overseeing the alliance’s military operations across the globe, tweeted Thursday: “Trump on NATO: deeply dangerous will dismay our closest Allies but great cheer in Kremlin: I can hear Vladimir Putin chortling from here.”

Donald Trump is no longer the “presumptive” Republican presidential nominee. He is it now and there is not much time left for him to brush up on something other than making a fortune and making a fool of himself by reviving old, outrageous accusations.

Lead image: The fabulous work of DonkeyHotey

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Trump used up his lifetime supply of self-discipline last night http://themoderatevoice.com/218166/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218166/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 18:40:52 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218166 image

Prior to Donald Trump’s convention speech, I wondered, as I’m sure many did, if the GOP presidential nominee would we be able to stick to the prepared script or if he would veer off in ways unhelpful to his campaign’s ultimate goal. I’m sure his team (his family?) insisted that he restrain himself, in particular [...]

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imagePrior to Donald Trump’s convention speech, I wondered, as I’m sure many did, if the GOP presidential nominee would we be able to stick to the prepared script or if he would veer off in ways unhelpful to his campaign’s ultimate goal. I’m sure his team (his family?) insisted that he restrain himself, in particular because of how badly things had gone earlier in the week, and he mostly did.

Still, in the past, we have seen Trump bring up problematic issues that were beginning to die down simply because he was standing in front of a hot microphone and one more chance to explain things to us was too sweet an opportunity to pass up. I thought for sure he would at least revisit the Melania speech flap and take another shot at Ted Cruz.

To his credit he did neither, though it must have taken all the self-discipline he could muster.

Steve Benen at MaddowBlog had a piece today on, if you can believe it, comments Trump made this morning in an event with supporters in Ohio revisiting Trump’s earlier claim that Ted Cruz’s father had something to do with the assassination of JFK. Beside talking about what a top-notch news source the National Inquirer is for having originally “broken” the story, he said that he was simply pointing out that no one has denied some kind of connection between Cruz, Sr. and Lee Harvey Oswald. He was just “pointing that out.”

The allegations are so foolish that we would be best to ignore them, but for the fact that the man making them is the GOP presidential nominee. And then there is this, which Benen argues and I think is quite credible:

This is obviously speculative, but my suspicion is that Trump was so careful last night, adding very little to his prepared text, that it left him uncomfortable. The Republican nominee had so much craziness he was eager to add to his speech, but everyone told him to stick to the script, and he reluctantly agreed. But now that the convention is over, Trump no longer feels constrained, and he can return to the craziness that he kept bottled up for one whole day.

Even though I think Trump’s convention speech was pitched mostly to voters already likely to vote for him, one could take the position that his restraint last night suggests that some kind of pivoting is possible, that if he continues to do as he is told, he could begin to say things that appeal to a wider audience. I mean, it’s possible.

If, however, Benen is right, last night was a one shot deal and Trump will continue to shoot from the lip to say the kinds of things that make most people very uncomfortable with the thought of him anywhere near the Oval Office. Put another way, Donald Trump spent all the ego strength he had last night repressing that destructive id of his, and he won’t be able to help himself from here on out.

As difficult as it was to watch him such spew hatred and appeal to voters’ baser instincts, there was a focus to it that if continued could be effective. I’m wagering that he is simply not capable.

Next up: Obnoxious Trump tweets during the Democratic National Convention.

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Scary in So Many Ways http://themoderatevoice.com/scary-many-ways/ http://themoderatevoice.com/scary-many-ways/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 18:25:44 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=217786 abstract six line blue transparent vector

By Andrew Feinberg Some smart commentators said Trump’s acceptance speech read better than it sounded. This is an important, if scary, thought. It suggests that if uttered more conversationally, with smaller dollops of rage and fewer Mussolini head bobs, the message could eventually prove more attractive to voters than it seemed to many of us [...]

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abstract six line blue transparent vector

By Andrew Feinberg

Some smart commentators said Trump’s acceptance speech read better than it sounded. This is an important, if scary, thought. It suggests that if uttered more conversationally, with smaller dollops of rage and fewer Mussolini head bobs, the message could eventually prove more attractive to voters than it seemed to many of us last night.

Michael Moore said this week that Trump will win and, although I disagree, the acceptance speech suggests why this is very possible. Yes, we know from fact-checkers that violent crime is still close to historic lows, that illegal immigrants are less likely than native-born Americans to commit violent crimes and that police deaths under President Obama have fallen dramatically—but if you talk to any fact-phobic Trump supporters, you know that statistical truth may not count for much in this election. My Manhattan friends don’t think America is on the wrong track, but 69% of Americans do. As Trump would say, there’s something going on.

Despite his ridiculously over-the-top delivery, Trump’s fusion of crime statistics (true, but out of context), illegal immigrant atrocities (true, but designed to distort reality) and real terror threats was powerful. (As I’m watching TV right now at 1:54 p.m. New York time, MSNBC is covering a shooting at a Munich shopping center that seems to be a terror attack. Even if it isn’t, my first thought was terror. Trump knows he profits from this. I fear ISIS wants him to win.) Trump’s ability to stoke fear and to link it to the nation’s economic “decline” makes it seem a little less crazy that his strongman appeal—“I alone can fix it”—could win over millions of undecided voters.

On the surface, his statement that “Crime and violence will soon, and very soon, come to an end” is lunacy, but we shouldn’t ignore its emotional appeal. If people feel that a President Trump will make them safer, Hillary Clinton could be in trouble. Jeff Greenfield in Politico called Trump’s appeal Caesarism, which sounds right. He didn’t say it couldn’t work.

Garry Kasparov tweeted, “I’ve heard this sort of speech a lot in the past 15 years and trust me, it doesn’t sound any better in Russian.” Trump would naturally respond, “So who’s running Russia today?”

But there are reasons for hope. The speech did little to humanize Trump and nothing to connect his concerns with other times in American history. The speech was bizarrely ahistorical. Astoundingly, he reprised Mitt Romney’s mistake of failing to acknowledge our troops in harm’s way. (Boy, does this campaign not get the little things right.) And, of course, he did not utter the words “climate change.” (You know a party’s leaders are in full climate change denial when the only speaker who mentions it is Harold Hamm, the billionaire fracking mogul.)

As I thought of how to combat Trump’s arguments in ads and debates, I remembered the final 2012 presidential debate and how a statement can be true and ridiculous at the same time. Romney kept dwelling on the size of the Navy and President Obama skewered him with the facts.

“You mention the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916,” the president said. “Well governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets. We have these things called aircraft carriers and planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.

“It’s not a game of battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s ‘What are our capabilities?’”

Can you imagine how enraged Trump might become if treated similarly?

Andrew Feinberg is the author of Four Score and Seven (https://www.amazon.com/Four-Score-Seven-Andrew-Feinberg/dp/0692664009), a novel that imagines that Abe Lincoln comes back to life for two weeks during the 2016 campaign and encounters a candidate who, some say, resembles Donald Trump. He also writes a daily anti-Trump humor page at https://www.facebook.com/MeBabyDonDon.

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Politix Update: GOP Is Left In The Gutter As Trump’s Lemmings March To The Sea http://themoderatevoice.com/politix-update-gop-is-left-in-the-gutter-as-trumps-lemmings-march-to-the-sea/ http://themoderatevoice.com/politix-update-gop-is-left-in-the-gutter-as-trumps-lemmings-march-to-the-sea/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 14:04:58 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218162 13716155_1127620630618160_7567251959061011362_n

Let us begin this jeremiad with a couple, three acknowledgements: Despite the innumerable pre-mortems, the Republican Party is not dead, and despite the extraordinary spectacle of fear and loathing that low-crawled to a merciful conclusion last night in Cleveland, there always will be a place — and should always be a place — for conservatism [...]

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13716155_1127620630618160_7567251959061011362_n

Let us begin this jeremiad with a couple, three acknowledgements: Despite the innumerable pre-mortems, the Republican Party is not dead, and despite the extraordinary spectacle of fear and loathing that low-crawled to a merciful conclusion last night in Cleveland, there always will be a place — and should always be a place — for conservatism in the America. Still, what we saw this week was nothing less than assault and battery on a political ideology by gun-hugging merchants of intolerance carried out with nary a whimper of dissent from a cowardly party establishment that has been left trampled in the gutter by a xenophobic horde marching toward an electoral cliff and into the sea behind Donald Trump.

This makes shocking images like the one above not just appropriate, but necessary. It matters not that the Republican nominee isn’t really a Nazi, merely a neo-fascist who couldn’t tell the difference between a swastika and a swizzle sticka, while the resemblance of the Trump-Pence campaign logo to a symbol so freighted with evil is surely a coincidence. Really.

But as someone who was born a mere two years after fascism was defeated at the cost of upwards of 80 million people, including relatives whom I never knew who perished on the beaches of Anzio and Iwo Jima and in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau, whose neighbors didn’t let their kids play with me because my parents were civil rights activists who invited Negros to swim in our backyard pool, I kept experiencing flashes of nausea as I heard speaker after speaker declare this week that Trump would make America afraid again and saw talk radio hate merchant Laura Ingraham give what was easy to interpret as a Heil Hitler salute at the end of her valentine to the nominee.

That special moment had competition from another — Ted Cruz being invited to speak at the big dance and then peeing all over the carpet — which sadly relegated Melania Trump’s clinic on plagiarism to a sloppy third.

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History will less remember the 2016 Republican National Convention for the coronation of the man with the small hands and peculiar hair amidst a balloon drop of dystopian gloom. It will less remember Donald Trump’s blown opportunity to prove himself to be someone other than a caricature with his specifics-free, apocalyptically self-righteous acceptance speech. It will be even less remembered for the smorgasbord of inchoate threats, the overwhelming whiteness of the delegates or whether more of them wanted to jail Hillary Clinton than kill her, let alone that Lucifer’s name seemed to have been invoked more times than the nominee’s. But it will be remembered for who stood with Trump.

The politicians who supported Red-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s have been treated with a deserved harshness by historians. Like Trump, McCarthy exploited fears through defamation and demagoguery. He eventually was censured by the Senate and died a bitter and broken man, while Trump is assured a lifetime of celebrity even if he is crushed by She Who Wears Pants Suits in November. Which he will be.

The notables who flocked to shores of Lake Erie to kiss Trump’s ring can look forward to the same sort of historic purgatory as McCarthy’s sycophants. These most conspicuously include Chris Christie, whose political career is forever poisoned, and Trump enthusiasts Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who stayed home but already have reservations for a special place in Hell. Pat Buchanan booked their rooms.

Then there are Scott Brown, Trent Lott, Rick Santorum, Bob Dole and Dan Quayle, among other testicle-free party faithful who endorsed Trump and showed up, as well as senators who stayed home like John McCain, Rob Portman and Pat Toomey, all of whom are not coincidentally fighting for their political lives in an election in which the standard bearer will have no coattails just as the emperor had no clothes.

But Paul Ryan, the House speaker, Republican Party head honcho and convention emcee, heads the list of the shameful.

Rather unbelievably, Ryan is getting accolades for keeping the GOP together while never coming right out and endorsing Trump. Which is like keeping Nero’s fiddle in tune while not advocating the burning of Rome.

Ryan had a dilemma which if addressed nobly would have salvaged his marginal reputation in the eyes of history and would have become the stuff of momentous decision-making that recalled great statesmen like Lincoln and Churchill: Ryan could reject Trump, keep the party together and lose the election, or he could embrace Trump, lose the party’s soul and the election.

Ryan made the worst possible — which is to say most cowardly — choice as principle got mugged on the path of least resistance.

In the run-up to Cleveland, he did not see Trump’s racism as a character issue although he spoke out against racism in principle.

Nor did he see Trump’s sordid history as a scam artist as a potent issue for the Democrats. Or Trump’s view of the GOP as just another piece of real estate to be bought and sold. Trump’s addiction to crisis as political propellant. Trump’s chronic inability to distinguish fact from fantasy, his isolationist bent and man crush on Vladimir Putin, all of these character deficits as anything more than “things I don’t agree with.” That became one of Ryan’s go-to lines. The others were a word from George Bush’s rich vocabulary — he didn’t want to “dis-unify” the party — and when backed into a corner, the meek rejoinder that “No two people agree on everything.”

But Ryan surely must realize that Trump is the Republican Party’s nominee today because rank-and-file Republicans turned their anger at Barack Obama into a deep loathing for party leaders like himself who never had any intention of fulfilling their vacuous promises.

ASDFAFAFAF

And all the while social conservatives have taken advantage of Ryan’s timidity and Trump’s ignorance to drive the Republican Party even further to the right and away from the ever growing number of voters who don’t happen to be white. Even Ted Cruz’s Texas may be on the verge of turning blue.

Cruz, of course, is the guy who kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign by hijacking the convention with a speech in which he repeatedly baited the party faithful, seeming to come thisclose to endorsing Trump but never doing so, in what must nevertheless be characterized as a rare moment of political courage.

The delegates who had not already left the hall booed Cruz lustily and encouraged by Trump himself as he pumped his fist in the backstage shadows like an evil apparition, booed louder still, drowning out Cruz’s closing words. When Cruz’s stunt appeared to have backfired by the dawn’s early light, and already being the most hated man in Washington, he said the outrage over his party pooping merely proved he was not an establishment toady. Ha!

Major damage had been inflicted on Trump well before Cruz strode to the podium. The endless series of vapid and emotionless Z-list speakers talking to empty seats assured that would be so. (Where was Clint Eastwood when his party really needed him?) If Ryan was Nero’s fiddler tuner, Cruz played Brutus to Caesar.

Cruz’s antics deliciously reinforced the week’s big takeaway: Trump has little control over himself, had little control over the convention, which was supposed to showcase party unity, and will have even less control over what transpires between now and Election Day.

POLITIX UPDATE IS WRITTEN BY SHAUN MULLEN, A VETERAN JOURNALIST AND BLOGGER FOR WHOM THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS HIS 12th SINCE 1968. CLICK HERE FOR AN INDEX OF PREVIOUS COLUMNS.
© 2015-2016 SHAUN D. MULLEN

TOP IMAGE FROM LATHERLAND / OTHER IMAGES BY DONKEYHOTEY

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Yglesias: GOP-not just Trump-is the Problem http://themoderatevoice.com/yglesias-gop-not-just-trump-problem/ http://themoderatevoice.com/yglesias-gop-not-just-trump-problem/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 13:29:07 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218120 looney-tunes-original-screen (1)

Matthew Yglesias explains on vox.com. A broad range of perfectly mainstream Republican Party politicians — Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida, and so forth — revealed a political party that completely apart from Trump [...]

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Matthew Yglesias explains on vox.com.

A broad range of perfectly mainstream Republican Party politicians — Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida, and so forth — revealed a political party that completely apart from Trump is utterly debauched.

Not everything in American conservatism is toxic, but the convention has revealed a profound and genuinely unusual intellectual and moral rot in the Republican Party. A weakness for outlandish conspiracies and a preference for talk radio antics over the necessarily-somewhat-dull work of practical politics. Trump is not so much the cause of this rot as the man who simply has the daring to punch the tree and send it tumbling down. The run-of-the-mill elected officials and the rank-and-file delegates who cheered them on did the damage.

Lost in the debate over the propriety of the convention’s loud and lusty “lock her up” chants, for example, has been insufficient focus on the basic ridiculousness of the argument.

Hillary Clinton’s email server, after all, has already been extensively investigated by a team of FBI agents and federal prosecutors. She’s not going to be locked up because she’s not going to be put on trial because James Comey, a Republican and George W. Bush administration veteran, determined that given the facts “no reasonable prosecutor would file charges.”

Under the circumstances, why on earth should she be locked up? Are Comey and the whole FBI in on the cover-up? Why?

They don’t know and they don’t care to ask. Or they do know and they just don’t care that they’re wrong. Or something.

There is a palpable discomfort with Trump among many of the establishment politicians who are supporting his presidential campaign.

Ryan’s speech introducing Pence lavished praise on his character and commitment to conservative ideas that were entirely absent from his main address to the convention. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a rote statement that electing Trump would be good because it would let senate Republicans govern. Even loopier speeches from elected officials like Christie or Florida Gov. Rick Scott didn’t dwell on making Mexico pay for a wall, banning Muslim immigration, opening up libel laws, abrogating NATO and NAFTA or other signature Trump themes.

But these establishment speeches were, on their own terms, fairly bonkers.

Their slams on Clinton veered, repeatedly, into tinfoil hat territory. They were completely out of touch with the state of the economic recovery. They relied heavily on the idea that President Obama could defeat ISIS through rote incantation of magic words (“radical Islamic terrorism”). And while they avoided most of Trump’s big crazy policy ideas, they did so mostly by avoiding speaking about any policy ideas at all.

The problem wasn’t Trump’s relatives or Scott Baio, it was largely the delegates themselves. Rank and file activists reared on a generation’s worth of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News through a pathetic conclave in which governors and senators stooped to talk radio antics in a desperate quest for applause, only to be trounced by Laura Ingraham — a real deal talk radio host who, even more than Trump himself, perfectly captured the mood of a party that’s become completely indifferent to the work of governance.

Cross-posted from The Sensible Center

http://thesensiblecentercom.blogspot.com/2016/07/yglesias-gop-not-just-trump-is-problem.html

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No, But I Play One on TV http://themoderatevoice.com/no-but-i-play-one-on-tv/ http://themoderatevoice.com/no-but-i-play-one-on-tv/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 12:14:41 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218158 In Happier Times

Donald Trump offered John Kasich the Vice-Presidency with virtually unlimited powers. Trump’s son, who had the discussion with Kasich, denies the allegation. “You know the way I conduct myself. Do you really believe I would say, ‘(John Kasich) is in charge of foreign and domestic policy and (Donald Trump) will focus on making America great [...]

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In Happier Times
In Happier Times

In Happier Times

Donald Trump offered John Kasich the Vice-Presidency with virtually unlimited powers. Trump’s son, who had the discussion with Kasich, denies the allegation.

“You know the way I conduct myself. Do you really believe I would say, ‘(John Kasich) is in charge of foreign and domestic policy and (Donald Trump) will focus on making America great again’? What am I, a meathead?” he told CNN. Sometimes, I really love rhetorical questions. Kasich’s version fits Trump’s m.o. better than Trump’s version. Trump wants to be a brand.

Forget all the lying eyes from Ivanka Trump about him being a lunch pail kind of guy. Trump is a brand. Nothing beats the brand like President Trump. I think Kasich is “truthier” and in this case, the glove fits.

Trump supporters by now must recognize that their guy is a mile wide and an inch deep. He’s looking forward to working 18 hours day like he’s looking forward to a case of shingles.

Republished from The Revolted Colonies

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Trump GOP Anthems: Praise Illegal Drugs & Song Written by a Gay Zoroasterian http://themoderatevoice.com/trump-gop-anthems-praises-illegal-drugs-and-song-written-by-a-zoroasteran/ http://themoderatevoice.com/trump-gop-anthems-praises-illegal-drugs-and-song-written-by-a-zoroasteran/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 11:06:49 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218157 abstract six line blue transparent vector

The Rolling Stones song, “You cant always get what you want,” is a song about drugs, and death. It was played at the close of the GOP convention 2016 in Cleveland, chosen by Donald Trump & Company as they closed the convention. As per friends who knew the scene back in the day: “For years, [...]

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The Rolling Stones song, “You cant always get what you want,” is a song about drugs, and death. It was played at the close of the GOP convention 2016 in Cleveland, chosen by Donald Trump & Company as they closed the convention.

As per friends who knew the scene back in the day: “For years, ‘the connection’ was understood by many to mean one’s drug dealer… Footloose used to mean, without direction, wandering about, free but at such cost… The ‘drugstore’ is a literal pun… ‘Cherry red’ used to be a hip term for multi-colored drugs of a certain kind… Choose your fav color. ‘Going down to the demonstration’was the end of an era esp in Britain, wherein of sex, drugs and rock and roll … at least one of the three often proved literally deadly for the young who engaged. The woman is Lady Death, who represents drinking and drugging, and she holds the outcome of what the era has brought too much of: Death. There is a dead man in the glass of wine she is drinking, a death waiting for any who partake of what seemed so fun but proved so deadly for many.”

The irony is just nearly too much.

{Partial lyrics of the song]
I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she would meet her connection
At her feet was a footloose man

No, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need

And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, “We’re gonna vent our frustration
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a 50-amp fuse”

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need

I went down to the Chelsea drugstore
To get your prescription filled
I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy
And man, did he look pretty ill
We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy
Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was “dead”

I said to him
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need

I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need.

On another note, the song chosen by Trump & Co. on the second night of the GOP convention came from a man named Farrokh Bulsara a/k/a Freddie Mercury, ‘We Are the Champions,’.

This song We are the Champions, was written and performed by a man born in the Sultanate of Zanzibar, now Tanzania. Forrokh Bulsara and his parents are Zoroasterians, which predates Muslims/Islam in Persia by about 10 centuries.

A odd pick of song and songwriter/musician for the GOP and Trump for several reasons.

The writer and QUEEN performer Farrokh Bulsara/ a/k/a Freedie Mercury, was a Parsi, originally a Persian ethnic group –who follow still, Zoroastrianism. The surname Bulsara is after “a city in the East Indian state of Gujarat where many Zoroastrians migrated. In the 17th century, Bulsar was one of the five major centers of the Zoroastrian religion wherein the devout, along with Muslims and their religion, and other religious groups lived intermingled.

Freddie Mercury of “We are the Champions” was gay, and ‘out’ for the most part.

Not a shy man, he gave highly dramatic performances with high energy and much body ‘language’.

He is counted amongst the vernable ‘Who’s Who’ of homosexual personalities who are revered by many.

“We are the Champions” has his own life as subtext. And he wanted it to be an anthem for football games as he admired the sport, and also the men playing the sport.

Forrokh Bulsara, also known as Freddie Mercury, contracted HIV AIDs and publicly said so. An advocate for full rights for gays and those with other gender ways, he died at the very young age of 45.

CODA
Both the songs are very familiar songs to many across the world for many different reasons. But the songs’ underlying stories and ideals ought not be, [and the very complex lives of their lyricists and musicians who made the songs come alive, ought not be,] out of respect, shorn from the songs –especially when efforts are made to use these two so very sensorily-arousing songs as some kind of rallying ‘souvenir’, by some who appear to want to forget, or strip the songs of their true roots…

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Yes, he is a fascist. http://themoderatevoice.com/218152/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218152/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 06:14:14 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218152 bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

Very interesting article by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker on what Donald Trump brings to our politics. Wouldn’t surprise me if, as in so many moments during the 1990’s and at the present time, the deliberate manipulation of language by the Right isn’t responsible for what we think know. It’s an old trick. Propaganda. [...]

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Very interesting article by Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker on what Donald Trump brings to our politics.

Wouldn’t surprise me if, as in so many moments during the 1990’s and at the present time, the deliberate manipulation of language by the Right isn’t responsible for what we think know. It’s an old trick. Propaganda.

Gopnik points out that Donald Trump presents us with “a candidate for President who is the announced enemy of the openness that America has traditionally stood for and that drew persecuted émigrés … to America as to a golden land…”…Gopnik,NYer

Then (again) we’re confronted with the F-word: “fascist.”

Then a candidate who embraces the mottos and rhetoric of the pro-fascist groups of that same wretched time, has taken over one of our most venerable political parties, and he seems still in the ascendancy. His language remains not merely sloppy or incendiary but openly hostile to the simplest standards of truth and decency that have governed American politics. …Gopnik,NYer

No. I don’t think “Fascist” is an exaggeration. The parallels with Germany in the 1930’s is eerie.

What all forms of fascism have in common is the glorification of the nation, and the exaggeration of its humiliations, with violence promised to its enemies, at home and abroad; the worship of power wherever it appears and whoever holds it; contempt for the rule of law and for reason; unashamed employment of repeated lies as a rhetorical strategy; and a promise of vengeance for those who feel themselves disempowered by history. It promises to turn back time and take no prisoners. That it can appeal to those who do not understand its consequences is doubtless true. But the first job of those who do understand is to state what those consequences invariably are. Those who think that the underlying institutions of American government are immunized against it fail to understand history. In every historical situation where a leader of Trump’s kind comes to power, normal safeguards collapse. Ours are older and therefore stronger? Watching the rapid collapse of the Republican Party is not an encouraging rehearsal. Donald Trump has a chance to seize power. …Gopnik,NYer

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

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A more restrained tone and an appeal to populism: 5 takeaways from Trump’s acceptance speech http://themoderatevoice.com/a-more-restrained-tone-and-an-appeal-to-populism-5-takeaways-from-trumps-acceptance-speech/ http://themoderatevoice.com/a-more-restrained-tone-and-an-appeal-to-populism-5-takeaways-from-trumps-acceptance-speech/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 06:03:45 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218150 ,,kp[k

CLEVELAND — The balloons have dropped, the smiling family members have embraced, and Donald J. Trump has accepted the Republican nomination for the presidency. Here are our first impressions from Trump’s 75-minute address. — A tempered tone Trump’s improbable run has been propelled by the aura of unpredictability; his seemingly improvised, and often outlandish, riffs [...]

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CLEVELAND — The balloons have dropped, the smiling family members have embraced, and Donald J. Trump has accepted the Republican nomination for the presidency. Here are our first impressions from Trump’s 75-minute address. — A tempered tone Trump’s improbable run has been propelled by the aura of unpredictability; his seemingly improvised, and often outlandish, riffs at…

graphic via DonkeyHotey/Flickr

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Trump accepts Republican nomination, vows to put “America first” http://themoderatevoice.com/218145/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218145/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 05:32:21 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218145 Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump gives two thumbs up as he arrives to speak during the final session at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

By Steve Holland CLEVELAND (Reuters) – Donald Trump accused Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of a legacy of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness” as U.S. secretary of state and vowed to be tough on crime and illegal immigrants in a speech on Thursday accepting the Republican presidential nomination. Trump’s 75-minute speech was designed to set the [...]

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Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump gives two thumbs up as he arrives to speak during the final session at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump gives two thumbs up as he arrives to speak during the final session at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump gives two thumbs up as he arrives to speak during the final session at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

By Steve Holland

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – Donald Trump accused Democratic rival Hillary Clinton of a legacy of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness” as U.S. secretary of state and vowed to be tough on crime and illegal immigrants in a speech on Thursday accepting the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump’s 75-minute speech was designed to set the tone for the general election campaign against Clinton, an answer to Republicans who say the best way he can unify the divided party is to detail why the Democrat should not be elected on Nov. 8.

As the crowd chanted: “Lock her up” for her handling of U.S. foreign policy, Trump waved them off and said: “Let’s defeat her in November.” Thousands of supporters who were gathered in the convention hall roared their approval.

When it was over, Trump was joined on stage by family members as balloons cascaded from above and confetti blew around the arena.

A CNN snap poll of viewers of the speech said 57 percent had a “very positive reaction” to the address and 18 percent a somewhat positive reaction, while 24 percent said it had a negative effect.

Social media sentiment toward Trump based on tweets that mentioned his name was slightly more negative than positive shortly after his speech.

The acceptance speech by Trump, 70, closed out a four-day convention that underscored his struggle to heal fissures in the Republican Party over his anti-illegal-immigrant rhetoric and concerns about his temperament. The event was boycotted by many big-name establishment Republicans, such as 2012 nominee Mitt Romney and members of the Bush family that gave the party its last two presidents.

Trump presented a bleak view of America under siege from illegal immigrants, threatened by Islamic State militants, hindered by crumbling infrastructure and weakened by unfair trade deals and race-related violence.

Accusing illegal immigrants of taking jobs from American citizens and committing crimes, Trump vowed to build a “great border wall” against the border-crossers.

“We will stop it,” Trump said.

Trump took positions in conflict with traditional Republican policies. He said he would avoid multinational trade deals but instead pursue agreements with individual countries. He would renegotiate the NAFTA trade accord linking the United States, Canada and Mexico. He would penalize companies that outsource jobs and then export their foreign-made products back into the United States.

“We will never sign bad trade deals,” Trump thundered. “America first!”

The New York businessman, who has never held elected office, filled his speech with some of the bravado he used to win the Republican nomination over 16 rivals, punctuating his rhetorical points by waving an index finger.

“I have joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on people that cannot defend themselves,” Trump said. “Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”

In his speech, Trump portrayed himself as a fresh alternative to traditional politicians, willing to consider new approaches to vexing problems and help working-class people who may feel abandoned.

Laying out his case against Clinton, he denounced nation-building policies that were actually put in place to some extent by George W. Bush, without mentioning by name the Republican president who launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Trump said policies pursued by Clinton in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria had made a bad situation worse. He blamed her for the rise of Islamic State militants and blasted her willingness to accept thousands of Syrian refugees.

“After 15 years of wars in the Middle East, after trillions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, the situation is worse than it has ever been before. This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness,” Trump said.

Clinton senior adviser John Podesta dismissed the speech as painting “a dark picture of an America in decline” and called it a reminder that Trump “is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be president of the United States.”

John Weaver, a senior adviser to Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich, a former presidential rival to Trump, said in a tweet that Trump had delivered the “saddest, darkest, most depressing acceptance speech in modern history.”

‘THINGS HAVE TO CHANGE’

Trump needed a strong performance on Thursday night to improve his chances of getting a boost in opinion polls as Democrats prepare for their own, more scripted convention next week in Philadelphia.

In a contest that pits two politicians viewed as unfavorable by large segments of the American people, Trump also accused Clinton, 68, of being the puppet of big business, elite media and major donors who want to preserve the current political system.

“That is why Hillary Clinton’s message is that things will never change. My message is that things have to change – and they have to change right now,” Trump said.

Trump said he would speedily address the violence that has dominated headlines, such as the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers earlier this month. He vowed to defeat “the barbarians of ISIS,” the acronym for Islamic State.

“I have a message for all of you: The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on Jan. 20, 2017, safety will be restored,” Trump said. The next president takes office on Jan. 20.


CONVENTION DISCORD

The prevailing narrative at the Cleveland convention has not been about Trump’s positions, but dominated instead by the failure of he party’s various factions to unite behind Trump.

A series of distractions at the convention largely thwarted a bid by the Trump campaign to show him as a caring father and magnanimous business leader who would bring greater prosperity and safety to the United States.

But in the end, many of these points were made when Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter, introduced her father.

“I have seen him fight for his family. I have seen him fight for his employees. I have seen him fight for his company and now I am seeing him fight for our country,” she said.

Trump’s text of his speech, released by his campaign, included extensive footnotes to show where the material originated.

That was perhaps in reaction to the speech given on Monday night by Trump’s wife Melania, who was accused of plagiarism when she repeated lines from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama, Obama’s wife.

A staff writer for the Trump Organization later took responsibility for the misstep.

(Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson, Angela Moon, Michelle Conlin and David Alexander; Writing by Steve Holland; Editing by Howard Goller and Peter Cooney)

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Who is Lori Gayne, aka whitepride? And is she representative of Trump supporters? http://themoderatevoice.com/who-is-lori-gayne-aka-whitepride/ http://themoderatevoice.com/who-is-lori-gayne-aka-whitepride/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2016 01:14:15 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218142 YouTube

Is Lori Gayne an abberation? Or are her beliefs about skin color mainstream among Trump supporters?

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Lori Gayne, a Chicago-area mortgage banker and former Internet talk show host, got booted from the Republican National Convention on Wednesday after making a racist post on Facebook.

Our brave snipers just waiting for some N—- to try something. Love them.

Gayne confirmed to the Illinois Republican party and the Chicago Sun-Times that she posted a photo on Facebook of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the site of the RNC welcome party, that showed law enforcement officials on the roof; it was accompanied by the abbreviated racial slur.

She issued a public apology.

She was one of the 39 Donald Trump delegates from Illinois attending the Republican National Convention. Before the convention, the Chicago Tribune had profiled Trump delegation members:

Take Lori Gayne, an admittedly outspoken former Internet talk show host from Chicago, who said she voted for President Barack Obama in his first bid for the White House in 2008.

One of Gayne’s social media handles is “whitepride.”

“With all the racism going on today, I’m very proud to be white. Just like black people are proud to be black and now, as white people, whenever we say something critical we’re punished as if we’re racists. I’m tired of it. I’m very proud,” Gayne said.

“I’m so angry I don’t even feel like I live in America. You can call me a racist. Black Lives Matter? Those people are out of control,” she said.

“I’m all for closing the borders. I’m all for not allowing Muslims in this country. I’m all for keeping illegals out and get as many of them who are here out as soon as possible. … Why do I want my taxpayer money taking care of criminals and murderers who aren’t supposed to be here?”

Gayne was not the only member of the Illinois Trump delegation who went on the (social media) record with racist remarks.

“If Trump wins the election, it’ll be the first time in history that a billionaire moved into public housing vacated by a black family!” [Facebook post shared by Rita Gaus]

Not an abberation

Those Illinois delegate sentiments are not an aberration, although having them uttered by women might be.

Exit poll data suggest Trump supporters are much more likely to be male than female.

These tweets were directed at protesters at a Trump rally in Chicago in March:

Perhaps Gayne’s only problem this week was one of timing.

Or not being quite high profile enough:

Racism is definitely at play.

What is racism?

Racism: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

Harvard professor Danielle Allen compiled a Storify in February to document racist, anti-Semitic and sexist tweets she received from Donald Trump supporters in response to a Washington Post column critical of Trump’s candidacy.

In March, the NY Daily News has posted emails it received from Trump supporters that reveal racism, bigotry and uncontrolled anger.

Those who express more resentment toward African Americans, those who think the word “violent” describes Muslims well, and those who believe President Obama is a Muslim have much more positive attitudes of Trump compared with Clinton (Vox).

 
Sadly, Trump supporters do not have a monopoly on racism. Reuters also reported that 1-in-3 Clinton supporters “described blacks as more ‘violent’ and ‘criminal’ than whites.” And 1-in-4 believe black Americans are more “lazy” than whites.

Reuters political candidate supporters

Reuters/Ipsos poll, March-April 2016

But so is a generalized fear of “the other”.

National survey data about Trump supporters reveal a definite dislike/distrust towards those who are culturally different, which is a broader category of “other” than skin color. Reuters reported in June:

When asked about where they wanted to live, 36 percent of Trump supporters said, “I prefer to live in a community with people who come from diverse cultures,” compared with 46 percent of Cruz supporters, 55 percent of Kasich supporters and 70 percent of Clinton supporters.

In March, Matthew MacWilliams, a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told The Atlantic:

The best predictor of Trump support isn’t income, education, or age, he says. In South Carolina, it was “authoritarianism … [and] a personal fear of terrorism” that best predicted Trump’s support.

Which brings us full circle.

Because race is a social construct.

More than 100 years ago, American sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois was concerned that race was being used as a biological explanation for what he understood to be social and cultural differences between different populations of people…Today, the mainstream belief among scientists is that race is a social construct without biological meaning… Assumptions about genetic differences between people of different races have had obvious social and historical repercussions, and they still threaten to fuel racist beliefs.

 

To answer my opening question, yes, Gayne is representative of a vocal sub-set of Trump supporters. How large a sub-set remains to be seen.

 
Updated with more recent Reuters/Ipsos chart that includes Sanders supporters.

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Ailing Fox News Channel http://themoderatevoice.com/ailing-fox-news-channel/ http://themoderatevoice.com/ailing-fox-news-channel/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 22:47:03 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218139 Fox Health

Employees of the ailing Fox News Channel have been on pins and needles ever since the surfacing of rumors that FNC CEO Roger Ailes might be on his way out the door. Now, he is out the door. It is not unreasonable to ask why Ailes would resign if he were innocent of wrongdoing at [...]

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Fox Health

Employees of the ailing Fox News Channel have been on pins and needles ever since the surfacing of rumors that FNC CEO Roger Ailes might be on his way out the door.

Now, he is out the door.

It is not unreasonable to ask why Ailes would resign if he were innocent of wrongdoing at FNC.

This soap opera started when Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual-harassment lawsuit against him. At that point, it was a simple case of he-said/she-said. After all, nobody else associated with FNC openly defended Carlson.

Then came the CNN story “Former Fox staffers have Ailes stories — here’s why they’re afraid to speak”:

Why are some women who want to support Gretchen Carlson in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes not speaking up publicly? The answer involves strict non-disparagement clauses that some former Fox employees must sign. In confidential interviews with CNNMoney, several women who formerly held on-air jobs at Fox said they believed Carlson’s allegations and have stories of their own. But the women were reluctant to talk, citing the restrictive contract language.”

It is difficult to have a case of he-said/they-said if “they” can’t say anything for fear of being sued for a contract violation. After all, would “they” be able to afford to defend themselves if sued?

One person who could afford a defense is Megyn Kelly.

New York Magazine took the risk of publishing “Sources: Megyn Kelly Told Murdoch Investigators That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Her”:

“As a chorus of prominent Fox News women have gone public defending Roger Ailes against the wave of sexual-harassment allegations sparked by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit, the network’s biggest star, Megyn Kelly, has been conspicuously silent. Kelly’s refusal to join in Ailes’s orchestrated defense has led to speculation about why.

Now we have the answer. According to two sources briefed on parent company 21st Century Fox’s outside probe of the Fox News executive, led by New York–based law firm Paul, Weiss, Kelly has told investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances toward her about ten years ago when she was a young correspondent at Fox. Kelly, according to the sources, has described her harassment by Ailes in detail.”

The public may never be told why Ailes is out at FNC. A lack of a public disclosure could fuel speculation that Gretchen Carlson is telling the truth about Ailes making inappropriate sexual comments to her.

Other speculation pertains to how FNC personalities might respond to Ailes’ departure. Breitbart reports, “At least one top talent inside Fox News has confirmed to Breitbart News that a major talent meeting among various different hosts is scheduled, and they are considering leaving with Roger Ailes to form a new network to compete with Fox.”

FNC would definitely be ailing if there were a sudden exodus of its personalities. However, ailing organizations can be resilient. The world will soon find out just how resilient the Fox News Channel is.

Fox Health

Side Note: Yes, it could be that Ailes was told by his bosses to either resign or be fired. If that is the case, then what do the latter know about the former that would provoke such an ultimatum?

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2020 Hindsight http://themoderatevoice.com/2020-hindsight/ http://themoderatevoice.com/2020-hindsight/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 22:21:08 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218140 abstract six line blue transparent vector

When Ted Cruz took the RNC stage and refused to endorse Donald Trump, he was playing Crazy Eights for 2020. Cruz, Senate pariah, never backs away from a fight, especially when he’s going to get trampled. The Von Trump family, arrayed in the Royal Box, was stupefied. They stood there slack-jawed, except for Trump himself, [...]

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In Happier Times March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

In Happier Times
March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

When Ted Cruz took the RNC stage and refused to endorse Donald Trump, he was playing Crazy Eights for 2020. Cruz, Senate pariah, never backs away from a fight, especially when he’s going to get trampled. The Von Trump family, arrayed in the Royal Box, was stupefied. They stood there slack-jawed, except for Trump himself, whose face was tightly clenched, like the Death Mask of someone who died from self-inflicted temporomandibular joint syndrome.

Cruz is a smart cookie. He tricked Trump into letting him speak. While other Republicans cursed the nominee privately and endorsed him publicly, Cruz did the opposite. He knew that he would be jeered for it, and he was. He and his wife left the convention, and they didn’t get one of those wrist bands to get back in. Gone, gone, gone.

The Republican Party used to be about discipline. The smart ones made a deal with the crazy ones, and they shook on it. The new Republican Party looks as perplexed as the Democrats used to be. There are wheels within wheels within wheels. Cruz’s stand is a bizarre exercise in self-interest, not easy to dope out. Trump is a flawed, perhaps fatally flawed candidate. Cruz and maybe the party have resigned themselves to a Clinton victory. Cruz is still in the Senate, where he is loathed. Mitch McConnell can barely stomach Trump but he is a creature of party loyalty. Cruz’s apostasy won’t sit well with the Senate Majority Leader or anyone in the Republican caucus. If Cruz was thinking that his enemy’s enemy is his friend, he didn’t figure that disloyalty itself, a reminder of Cruz’s power plays last year, would further turn off leadership to him.

Without party leadership, he has only his base to fall back on. Cruz was the second highest vote-getter but he fell far short of a mandate. The Republican Party does not distinguish between Conservatives, like Kasich, and Reactionaries, like Cruz. Trump has scooped up those Reactionaries for now. Cruz is betting that they will return to him when the Trump Tower elevator winds up in the basement. The reactionary wing of the Republican party may be the rump party coming out of 2012, but it is nowhere near a majority party for national elections. It may continue to control the House for a while through gerrymandering, but the Senate and White House will be out of its reach.

It could be that Cruz was falling on his sword. He recognizes that he is at the end of the line electorally. He can be a Senator for Texas for as long. Bigger ambitions are probably out of his reach, unless he or circumstances change profoundly. There is a word for the pleasure I feel when, in damaging Trump, Cruz destroys himself. Schadenfruede

Republished from The Revolted Colonies

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Mr. Justice, Hulk Hogan http://themoderatevoice.com/mr-justice-hulk-hogan/ http://themoderatevoice.com/mr-justice-hulk-hogan/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 22:03:26 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218123 abstract six line blue transparent vector

I know what you’re thinking: that’s crazy. Go ahead and laugh. Not only is the former professional wrestler eligible to sit on the Supreme Court, he is far from the worst possible choice. Corey Lewandowski is also eligible, and let’s face it: Trump owes him huge. The Senate is the only thing standing between Trump [...]

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[UNSET]

I know what you’re thinking: that’s crazy. Go ahead and laugh. Not only is the former professional wrestler eligible to sit on the Supreme Court, he is far from the worst possible choice. Corey Lewandowski is also eligible, and let’s face it: Trump owes him huge. The Senate is the only thing standing between Trump and the appointment of the guy from Duck Dynasty to the Bench.

The Constitution does not specify qualifications for Justices such as age, education, profession, or native-born citizenship. A Justice does not have to be a lawyer or a law school graduate.– Supreme Court.gov FAQ.

It may be true that Hulk would have trouble with the legal analysis of the right of privacy, as falling under the penumbra of rights created by the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution. But who needs that? Hulk can follow the beginner’s prescript: write what you know. All he has to do is say, “No way, Brother.” We can look forward eagerly to Hulk’s pithy opinions.

Hogan, whose name is Terry Bollea, holds a judgment of $140 million against Gawker Entertainment for posting a sex movie of him and Heather Clem, ex-wife of Bubba the Love Sponge. Gawker is fighting the judgment. If the case ever reaches the High Court, Hulk no doubt would recuse himself.

This can only happen if Trump and the GOP run the table this fall. Trump and especially the Senate may take some heat for allowing a retired wrestler to be seated for life. A filibuster-proof majority sure can ease the sting.

Considering the alternatives, Hulk might be the best of the lot. Trump has a long list of unemployed celebrity endorsers, and they can’t all be Ambassadors. Gary Busey, for instance, hasn’t gotten much work lately. His appointment would make oral arguments more lively. Charlie Sheen’s presence in case conferences would change the Court’s internal dynamics. I assume RBG will not be attending the opera with him. Trump is deeply indebted to Sarah Palin, and she would be a popular pick. But how will she know when to step down halfway through a lifetime appointment?

Considering the possibilities, Trump’s appointment of his sister, Senior Circuit Judge Maryanne Barry, would give Nepotism a good name.

Republished from The Revolted Colonies (TM)

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Just the Facts – The Stock Market http://themoderatevoice.com/just-the-facts-the-stock-market/ http://themoderatevoice.com/just-the-facts-the-stock-market/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 20:02:52 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218138 abstract six line blue transparent vector

This week the Republicans have been demanding change. So, I thought I would post, over the next few weeks, a moderate’s view of the facts and determine what it is they want to change. I thought I would start with the stock markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was at 7949 on the day [...]

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This week the Republicans have been demanding change. So, I thought I would post, over the next few weeks, a moderate’s view of the facts and determine what it is they want to change. I thought I would start with the stock markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was at 7949 on the day Obama took office. It is now at about 18,500. That is an increase of about 230%. Even before the recent leap, the market had doubled during Obama’s term.

To compare, the DJIA fell under George Bush II by over 25% in his eight years.

It rose by 326% under Bill Clinton, 145% under Bush I, and 235% under President Reagan.

Based on that, the market has performed during President Obama’s time in office about as well as it did during renowned Republican Ronald Reagan’s eight years. Of course Bill Clinton wins this one big.

But that is just one market. Let’s look at a couple of others.

The S&P 500 is up about 250% under Obama.

It fell by over 35% under Bush II.

The S&P rose by over 300% under Clinton, 153% under Bush I, and 214% under Reagan.

Again, the S&P’s performance during President Obama’s tenure, at least to this point, rivals any of our previous four presidents. President Clinton wins again.

The NASDAQ has risen over 300% in the eight years President Obama has been in charge. That is the best performance of any of his four predecessors. Obama wins this one pretty handily.

It dropped by 17% under Bush II.

It rose 250% during Clinton, 170% under Bush I and 232% under Reagan.

So, is the change the Republicans desire to go back to a slower growth in the stock markets or even a decrease over eight years?

Just wondering.

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Cruz takes on the Trump brand http://themoderatevoice.com/218136/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218136/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 16:33:18 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218136 image

There is one school of thought emerging that Donald Trump and his campaign team approved Ted Cruz’s speech last night knowing it contained no mention of an endorsement for the GOP presidential nominee. The argument goes that they hoped the convention would come together in shared disgust for Cruz for not honouring his pledge to [...]

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imageThere is one school of thought emerging that Donald Trump and his campaign team approved Ted Cruz’s speech last night knowing it contained no mention of an endorsement for the GOP presidential nominee. The argument goes that they hoped the convention would come together in shared disgust for Cruz for not honouring his pledge to formally get behind the primary process winner. Trump would, according to this view, be seen as a victim and most of those on the convention floor and many at home would in one fell swoop become committed Trump supporters.

Pretty clever, that Donald Trump, but I’m not buying.

What is more likely is well stated by Josh Marshall who writes:

…there is simply no way Trump’s and Priebus’s convention managers okayed that speech. No way. The fact that they allowed him on stage to give that speech will go down as one of the greatest organizational pratfalls in convention history. Whether Cruz got them to agree not to review the speech or whether he substituted another speech, I don’t know. But something very wrong went down there.

Those who think Cruz’s non-endorsement is a great thing for Trump are smoking something funny. As Marshall continues, “Cruz came into Trump’s house, Trumps party, and humiliated him.” Trump’s brand is domination, and he got dominated. It’s as simple as that.

Cruz’s game is clear. He is wagering that Trump fails badly in November, and that the party forgets Trump quickly in order to get behind the guy who most forcefully distanced himself from the mess, the guy who will be a real constitional conservative for 2020. If Cruz loses his bet and Trump wins, Cruz’s political career is toast, probably losing his Senate seat in two years.

All by itself the Cruz speech is not deadly. Trump can put things on a better path with a good speech tonight. But, just to be clear, Cruz stood up to the bully and did a little damage to the brand. As much as Cruz is one of the creepier people currently in politics, it took a lot to do that, and it sure was fun to watch.

Even more fun were the looks on the faces of the Trump children, confused and dazed at the thought that not everyone can be fully diminished by their daddy’s power and influence. I sure hope they can recover.

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Division in the GOP: Kill Hillary Clinton or jail her? http://themoderatevoice.com/division-in-the-gop-kill-hillary-clinton-or-jail-her/ http://themoderatevoice.com/division-in-the-gop-kill-hillary-clinton-or-jail-her/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 15:57:34 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218134 Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

CLEVELAND — Delegates to the Republican National Convention are divided this week over a crucial question: Should Hillary Clinton be summarily executed? Or merely imprisoned without trial? Most favor the latter position, judging from the nightly chants of “Lock her up!” from the convention floor and the regular calls from convention speakers to outfit Clinton [...]

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Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune
Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

CLEVELAND — Delegates to the Republican National Convention are divided this week over a crucial question:

Should Hillary Clinton be summarily executed? Or merely imprisoned without trial?

Most favor the latter position, judging from the nightly chants of “Lock her up!” from the convention floor and the regular calls from convention speakers to outfit Clinton in a jumpsuit or stripes and place her behind bars.

But a minority would deal more decisively with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. On Wednesday, word broke in Cleveland that New Hampshire state Representative and Donald Trump delegate Al Baldasaro, who has shared the stage with Trump at campaign events, said in a radio interview that “Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.”

The Republican nominee and his advisers themselves are split on the issue. “Hillary Clinton has to go to jail, OK? She has to go to jail,” the candidate declared last month. “She’s guilty as hell.”

But his longtime adviser Roger Stone has long argued for more. “Hillary must be brought to justice — arrested, tried and executed for murder,” he tweeted two years ago. Stone suggested anew this week (at a rally also attended by Baldasaro) that Clinton murdered her friend Vince Foster.

In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is imprisoning his foes without trial. In Russia, enemies of Vladimir Putin have been killed. But in America, we usually deal with political opponents in elections.

Those at Quicken Loans Arena have other thoughts.

“Lock her up!” said Michael Flynn, retired general and Trump’s national-security adviser, chanting with the delegates. “If I did a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today.”

“Lock her up,” veteran Jason Beardsley, another convention speaker, concurred.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday night ignited the crowd by saying: “If she were any more on the inside she’d be in prison.”

Darryl Glenn, Senate candidate and county commissioner in Colorado, told the convention-goers that “she loves her pantsuits” but “she deserves a bright orange jumpsuit.”

Chris Christie, in his Star Chamber presentation to the convention Tuesday night, held a mock trial to “hold Hillary Rodham Clinton accountable.”

“Lock her up!” the delegates chanted.

“We’re getting there,” Christie replied.

He and the audience went on to convict Clinton on numerous charges, including being “an apologist for an al-Qaeda affiliate in Nigeria, resulting in the capture of innocent young women.”

Those surprised by this week’s vengeful words probably weren’t paying attention earlier.

Trump lawyer Michael Cohen last month tweeted the allegation that Clinton “murdered an ambassador.” Corey Stewart, chairman of Trump’s Virginia campaign, accused Clinton of “essentially encouraging the murder” of police officers. Rocker Ted Nugent, a prominent Trump supporter, said Clinton and President Obama “should be tried for treason and hung.”

Trump himself often speaks favorably of violence (“Punch him in the face. … Knock the crap out of them”) and has talked of using presidential powers to torture suspects, target innocent relatives of terrorists, restrict press freedoms, go after a judge presiding over a fraud case against him, and get the Justice Department to investigate opponents.

Is it OK for political figures to talk this way?

Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who previously represented Ferdinand Marcos, Mobutu Sese Seko and other strongmen, doesn’t seem to mind.

Asked at a news conference Wednesday morning about “how angry” the convention has been, Manafort replied, “The tone that I saw was of joy.” Asked about the “Lock her up” chant, Manafort opined that “it probably reflects the attitude of a lot of people in America.”

Reflects? Or encourage those who have violent thoughts of extra-constitutional remedies?

Calls for killing Clinton have been heard before at Trump events. At an event this month, one man repeatedly shouted, “Hang that b—-!”

Last week, a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, Mike Folk, tweeted that Clinton “should be tried for treason, murder” and then “hung on the Mall in Washington.”

At the Republican convention here, sales of “Hillary for Prison” T-shirts have been brisk. And the hateful have felt emboldened: Officials shut down the chat function on the convention’s live-stream after a barrage of anti-Semitic comments.

Will the cries for blood and vengeance cause a backlash outside this angry convention?

“Hillary Clinton now belongs in prison? C’mon,” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz, a Never Trump holdout, tweeted Tuesday night. “We can make the case that she shouldn’t be elected without jumping the shark.”

Sorry, Fonzie. This shark was jumped many episodes ago.

Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank. (c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group

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The long capitulation to Trumpism http://themoderatevoice.com/218133/ http://themoderatevoice.com/218133/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 15:45:32 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218133 hjhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

CLEVELAND — The Donald Trump Family Reunion, formerly known as the Republican National Convention, illustrates how a once great political party now sees its main purpose as harnessing the opposition to the devil. There were chuckles and dismissals when Ben Carson, the brilliant neurosurgeon turned right-wing crank, used his convention speech Tuesday night to tie [...]

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CLEVELAND — The Donald Trump Family Reunion, formerly known as the Republican National Convention, illustrates how a once great political party now sees its main purpose as harnessing the opposition to the devil.

There were chuckles and dismissals when Ben Carson, the brilliant neurosurgeon turned right-wing crank, used his convention speech Tuesday night to tie Hillary Clinton to the left-wing organizer Saul Alinsky, and then Alinsky to Lucifer. Presto: In the apotheosis of guilt by association by association, Carson concluded that Clinton “has, as their role model, somebody who acknowledges Lucifer.” Using the plural “their” presumably makes Clinton an even bigger threat. She contains multitudes.

In fact, Carson’s turn toward the Satanic was entirely in keeping with the one and only argument being advanced here consistently this week: That Clinton is someone who should be locked up. Or worse. A New Hampshire delegate who advises Trump on veterans issues said in a radio interview that “Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” Go forth, Republicans, and tell the world that this devout Methodist is actually a worshiper of The Evil One.

The journey into what once would have been written off as the land of the lunatic fringe explains how Trump has seized control of the GOP and forced traditional Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to bend to his will. Far from being an intermeddling alien force, Trump represents the true center of gravity in a party that has spent a quarter-century defining itself through extravagant shows of opposition first to the Clinton family and then to Barack Obama.

Since 1992, mainstream Republican politicians have not simply cast their opponents as wrong or misguided. They have asserted that presidents of the other party were illegitimate. They have declared that Democrats and liberals reside outside the patriotic ambit of “the real America” whose geography encompasses only the states that regularly vote Republican. Whole parts of the country (including Trump’s home state of New York) were written off as seditious.

In Bill Clinton’s case, the legitimacy wars led to impeachment proceedings that a significant majority of the country opposed. In the Obama years, they produced the birtherism that Trump shrewdly promoted as his ticket to the big time.

That the likes of McConnell and Ryan are falling into line disheartens many principled Republican opponents of Trump — and yes, for a contrast, let’s pause to praise Ohio Gov. John Kasich for his righteous refusal to play a role in this at-times spine-chilling political meeting.

But the capitulation began long before Trump’s rise. The so-called establishment tolerated, and often encouraged, the wildest of conspiracy charges, from allegations that Bill Clinton was responsible for the death of family friend Vince Foster (who tragically committed suicide) to claims that Obama is a secret Muslim.

The difference with Trump is that he has never pretended to respectability. He has been willing to get down there with the conspiracy peddlers and proudly claim that he is one of them. He is the (BEG ITAL)real(END ITAL) real America.

Accompanying all this has been an ersatz anti-elitism, with Republicans who champion tax cuts for the wealthy insisting that they are the authentic voices of the working class because they love guns, hate political correctness, and tout their affection for country music.

Trump outdid the party leadership on that front, too, and the absurd logic of this chicken-fried Marxism was reached on Tuesday night when the proletarian Donald Trump Jr. denounced “a special class of crony elites at the top of the heap.” The word “chutzpah” will be retired when this campaign ends.

Now Trump will try to play the game in which Ryan and McConnell are the pros and take another stab at looking presidential. It’s said that Trump has been studying Richard Nixon’s law-and-order rhetoric, and Nixon’s 1968 acceptance speech is, indeed, a model of how to translate the gut anger of a large swath of voters into a kind of lyricism.

But while it may seem strange to say it, comparisons between Trump and Nixon do a disservice to the guy Pat Buchanan likes to refer to as “the old man.”

For all his faults, Nixon had public purposes and a nuanced worldview. Politics has deteriorated since his time. Trumpism is an ideological wasteland where anger is the only point and winning is the only objective. Here in Cleveland, we have seen what the wasteland looks like.


E.J. Dionne’s email address is ejdionne@washpost.com. Twitter: @EJDionne. (c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group

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Cartoon: Trump elephant cemetery http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-trump-elephant-cemetery/ http://themoderatevoice.com/cartoon-trump-elephant-cemetery/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 14:03:56 +0000 http://themoderatevoice.com/?p=218127 Tom Janssen, The Netherlands

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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Tom Janssen, The Netherlands
Tom Janssen, The Netherlands

Tom Janssen, The Netherlands

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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