Link Roundup, 8/10/16

From Politico: The GOP Exodus is accelerating.

On a related note, the Clinton campaign has launched Together for America, an effort to reach out to disaffected Republicans.

From the New York Times: Make America Great Again? There are 11 aircraft carriers in the world and 10 of them are ours. The other belongs to France.

From the Washington Post: What an enormous heatwave could tell us about our climate future.

From Wired: Russian hackers appear to have breached Oracle’s point-of-sale system.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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164 comments on “Link Roundup, 8/10/16
  1. With respect to our naval prowess, my son served his first sea tour on the Enterprise, which was commissioned in *1962*. As a pilot in HS-11, he was flying SH-60Fs commissioned in the year of his birth. He’s currently a pilot instructor at NAS Whiting (Pensacola), serving with HT-8 and flying TH-57s first commissioned in *1968*. The majority of the air frames in his squadron are older than he is. Needless to say, this does not give his mother a warm and fuzzy sense of security.

    China is doing its level best (and has been for several decades now) to render carrier groups obsolete. Land-based, mobile Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) systems like the ubiquitous DF-21 close at speeds in excess of mach 10, and sport ranges of 1,000 miles or more. The new DF-26 is believed to have a range of nearly 2,500 miles. The volume of defense munitions a carrier group can field is of course limited; the Chinese strategy is to simply overwhelm defenses with sheer volume of missiles. To mitigate the ammo capacity issue, the Navy is working hard on directed energy weapon systems, but none are yet operational (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/04/21/us-navy-tests-laser-weapons). There is a very simple explanation for China’s ongoing belligerence in the S. China Sea – they know they can get away with it, because we are literally powerless to stop them.

    The bottom line is that in any direct conflict with powers like China or Russia, our carrier assets would be in high jeopardy and would likely be rapidly depleted, were we to be so rash as to attempt to use them for their intended purpose. Instead of sniping about how great we supposedly are, we might want to think about devoting significant resources to making sure that the men and women we send into harm’s way actually have a chance to acquit themselves well on our behalf, instead of having their lives wasted in a fight they can’t win.

  2. 1mime says:

    I’ve read two articles this week in the Houston Chronicle about America’s mayors. They are getting things done the best way they can without the help of Congress. These elected officials live in the communities they represent. They attend meetings in these communities. They are highly visible and accessible. And, they have no where else to go but their citizenry to solve problems that have to be addressed but for which federal help is not forthcoming. They put on their “smart hats”, convene committees of experts and community members, and they deal with problems with the resources and skills they can muster.

    Here are a couple of examples of mayors making a difference on big problems. Why? Because they care AND because they have to. It’s expected. There is no place for them to hide. They know the people who are affected. Personally. It matters.

    http://www.pressreader.com/usa/houston-chronicle/20160812/281492160712692

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/albuquerque-mayor-heres-a-crazy-idea-lets-give-homeless-people-jobs/

    • Hmm. Do you mean that government is best which is closest to the people? Imagine that. And yet, you champion a party and a politician intent on increasing centralization of power in Washington. Why?

      • flypusher says:

        Given those mayors aren’t dealing with people on their city councils who are as deliberately obstructionist as the GOP members of Congress, your local vs federal zinger falls flat.

      • 1mime says:

        I think that certain functions of government are best that are closest to the people. But in a country as big as the U.S., there are many common needs and services that can and should be coordinated at a federal level. Local level politics is a very different process. I’ve served there and I know from first hand experience. You should try it. It has made me both humble and cynical about what to expect from government. But I do not back away for one minute on the importance and value of federal government even as I support putting responsibility closest to the point of demand and need whenever possible and appropriate.

        And, about right now, I’m very proud of my Democratic Party. How do you feel about your party now?

        Tracy, you never responded to my question to you regarding the strict gun laws in Hawaii. There’s a fine example of local control that seems to be working – in Hawaii.

      • Getting government closer to the people starts with letting people know that their voices are being heard, and that starts with letting them know that their vote counts.

        Curiously, which party was it that’s intent on enforcing voter ID laws with ridiculous new requirements (see N. Carolina’s now struck down law) and gerrymandering districts all across the country that dilutes voters’ choices for who they want to see in control of Congress?

        That said, that’s not to say that Democrats don’t have their own fair share of problems (they certainly do), but Republicans have hardly been the bastions of championing your inferred ideal of government. They’ve been just as bad, if not worse.

      • RobA says:

        Certain functions are best performed by local government, others best performed at the federal level.

        To say one is always “best” is just unsophisticated analysis.

    • 1mime says:

      Now I’d like to speak up for our judges…..who….since Scalia’s death, have come out of their cocoons and are starting to render rulings that actually seem both rational and fair. It seems to me, (I am not an attorney) that lower courts are feeling more comfortable in ruling more independently – knowing that appellate courts will more likely have their backs, as they have demonstrated in recent rulings throughout the country. Further, I wonder if lower court judges are quietly doing what they can to reduce staggering case loads in those jurisdictions that are tremendously understaffed due to blocked judicial nominations. Is there a tipping point in the courts that has been reached where judges are tired of being the political puppets for special interest groups and legislatures? Pure speculation on my part, but something seems different.

      I know we’ve got some legal eagles who post here, what do you think of my crazy theory?

      http://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/615986277b4b4cc8a59e8450b5a9ba18/judge-blocks-ohio-law-divert-planned-parenthood-money?utm_source=nl-politics-daily-081216

  3. RobA says:

    Jake Tapper right now with a panel including Kayleigh Something (Trump surrogate), Van Jones and Bill Kristol.

    The segment was a perfect microcosm of the race and the broader dynamics of American politics right now: Kristol and Kaylee arguing passionately with each other about Trump, while Van Jones sits there with a bemused smile on his face not even trying to speak, letting them destroy each other.

    Pretty much an exact replay of the campaign, with Van Jones playing HRC and Kristol/Kaleigh playing the role of the GOP.

  4. tuttabellamia says:

    Check out this article, about a lady whose obit listed the 2016 presidential campaign as a cause of death:

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Texas-woman-s-obit-lists-cause-of-death-as-2016-8400609.php#photo-10521327

  5. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Here’s an interesting article about college-educated whites moving toward Clinton.

    As reasons, those quoted cite:

    -a general belief that America is a melting pot, a good thing, and a concept most educated Americans agree with; Rump’s segmentation of the citizenry disrupts that concept and is causing them to put that concept above economic concerns;

    -the Republican candidate is out of the mainstream on Russian President Vladimir Putin, freedom of the press, mass deportations, the wall, the Khans, sexual harassment

    Also included is a very interesting chart that shows, by state, how educational attainment influences whether a state is likely to go blue or red. Texas is oddly placed.

    http://www.npr.org/2016/08/12/489499596/the-latest-clinton-converts-white-college-educated-voters

    • 1mime says:

      That was interesting, Bobo. Think maybe that’s why so many of our large city mayors are Democrats (-; And, why blue states send more money to the federal government than red states.

      Things happen for reasons – reasons which are finally being unmasked….and, that’s a very good thing. The basic issue is that the Republican Party has focused so extensively on serving the wealthy that they have lost both awareness and ability to cope with problems that ordinary Americans, the other 90% experience in everyday life.

      It can’t come soon enough. There are too many people hurting from neglect and obstructive tactics that haven’t allowed government to function efficiently and effectively, not to mention, humanely. Preparing for automation? Who cares about those people who will be replaced? That is a problem government needs to address and it should not be a partisan issue.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        In that vein, the lack of zika money from congress is making me crazy.

        For those congressional Rs who went on vacation rather than deal honestly with it, the suffering of a child, the family and the local community might as well be invisible.

        They only act when a tax break for some big entity is a possible solution.

        Other people’s suffering means nothing to elected republicans.

        No zika money for prevention, no abortions if a fetus is deformed by zika — a perfect storm by hidebound ideologues.

        They disgust me.

      • 1mime says:

        It doesn’t affect them personally, Bobo. Plus, they are using this as a wedge issue to require O to transfer funds (unused but dedicated and needed) form other health divisions. HHS today sent over $81M just so research could continue but it is a pittance of what is needed. Supposedly, Gov Scott (FL) and Rubio, are urging Congress to act but why act when you can use it to embarrass and intimidate the O administration?

      • RobA says:

        Bobo, I think a lot of pplnare feeling that way about the GOP and the entire Conservative movement right now.

        Certainly, anecdotally, I find a type of awareness about how truly terrible this party is for the country that I haven’t seen before. Regular ppl who I have always known as apolitical are all of a sudden talking about failed trickle down economics, or police brutality, or bigoted evangelicals, or what have you. There seems to be a certain type of “woke” happening.

        And then when you look and see HRC pulling into double digit leads everywhere, putting dark red States in play that have no business being in play, Obama inching towards high 50’s approval rating……I’m starting to get a feeling like big changes might happen in November. I think the House is in play. It is starting to dawn on the independents and moderate R’s how truly unfit Trump is, and so astonishingly unfit that his mere presence on the ballot could fully expose the GOP for the toxic cesspool that it currently is.

        Trump could be an extinction level event for the GOP.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Rob, I hope you’re right.

        Conservatives are a destructive force. They need to be kicked to the curb.

        GOTV.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Actually, I do think I’ve seen a shift in the tone of comments, especially on the Washington Post.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      From the article posted by Bobo:

      “Camooso Miller also observed that college-educated voters probably prefer Clinton’s stability and predictability, regardless of whether they agree with her specific policy proposals.”
      *********************************
      I think this is really the crux of it. Some people are afraid of Mr. Trump and feel more secure with Mrs. Clinton, and for others, Mr. Trump actually provides a sense of safety and security.

      • 1mime says:

        I am sure there are some who are afraid of Donald Trump. I feel that there are far more who are “appalled” at Donald Trump – a man who lacks the ability to reason, accept advice, and subjugate his own self-interest for his country. A man who doesn’t understand decency or loss. A man who has never suffered nor grieved nor gone without. Those qualities alone would be sufficient reason to oppose Donald Trump, the fact that he is all of these things is what makes rational people fear what he would do as POTUS.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Count me among the afraid.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Actually, count me among the fed up. I want to get this election over with.

  6. flypusher says:

    This column expressed my post-election concerns very well:

    http://www.theweek.com/articles/642447/what-happen-trumpism-after-trump

    “So what about the GOP? Could it become a party of kindler, gentler Trumpism?

    That’s what conservative intellectuals Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam recently called for, in so many words. The GOP should admit that the Iraq War was a mistake, and champion a genuinely more restrained foreign policy that defines the national interest more narrowly. It should advocate an approach to immigration that sidelines racial and cultural anxieties in favor of recruiting immigrants that will bring the most benefit and cause the least burden to American citizens, and the least pressure on blue collar wages. And, most radically, the GOP should abandon upper-income tax cuts and the privatization of entitlements in favor of reforms aimed at making our social and health insurance systems more effective, comprehensive, and progressive.”

    “And on both immigration and national security issues, a Republican leader looking to embrace a “moderate Trumpist” line would simultaneously have to win the confidence of Trump’s voters and fend off attacks — from both the Democrats and from GOP elites — that he or she is a racist, isolationist know-nothing just like Trump. It’s much more likely that the next would-be leader of the GOP will focus on winning back traditional Republican voters who defected to Clinton or to Gary Johnson, which will require repudiating Trump and everything he stood for.

    So the legitimate issues that Trump has raised are very likely to be frozen out of elite political conversation, at least in the short term. ”

    ==============

    Even a vulgar, narcissist bigot can have a valid point.

    • 1mime says:

      I believe Clinton understands these are legitimate problems while her solutions may differ from the GOP approach. One of the fair criticisms of both campaigns is that there is not enough focus on how to address the problems of the poor – real specifics, which Clinton offers more tangible ideas than Trump, but not enough. And our working class clearly sees the void in candidate focus. Election rhetoric not backed up by discrete programs/ideas is not selling with people who struggle to simply eat and pay the rent. Our political process is so dysfunctional, that whichever party gains power in these presidential election cycles, there is so much they have to do within the short window available to them by virtue of the looming next election which can flip the Senate, that they have to focus on the seriously neglected, horribly wrong issues that exist before they can approach the broader, and more difficult issues such as: poverty, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, tax reform, workplace re-alignment, education.

      I wish our election cycle was constructed differently. IOW, longer terms for all members which would reduce the never ending cycle of campaigning and allow more work to get done. There is the danger that an irresponsible or self-serving majority could abuse a longer period in office, but the system as it is doesn’t encourage long range planning, consensus building, or acquisition of experience and knowledge by those who are responsible for making decisions. The door revolves and revolves and too little substantive work gets done.

      Lifer has pointed out numerous times that our world, and especially America, being so advanced, is transforming and it will impact jobs and education/skills training. This is part of the larger poverty issue we are witnessing unfold and it is largely a problem that is outside of the individual’s ability to resolve….especially middle age workers who lack both college educations and savings. And, the robotization of jobs is continuing unabated.

      Here’s a look at what is happening in the robotization front. It is real and it cannot be ignored by our leaders if we are to help our people transition. It brings up the UBI as a tool that should be on the drawing board as our nation shifts from industrialization to full scale robotization.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-brave-new-world-of-robots-and-lost-jobs/2016/08/11/e66a4914-5fff-11e6-af8e-54aa2e849447_story.html?utm_term=.89352597ac7e&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

    • RobA says:

      In some ways, I think Trump could be a blessing, with the caveat that he must lose (preferably very badly).

      But if nothing else, he’s proven that you don’t need to be a social conservative or evangelical panderer to win in the GOP. Hopefully this frees up sane Republicans to act sane.

      • 1mime says:

        So……in order to incentivize “sane” Republicans to act sane, there has to be an insane takeover of the party? But, just ever so briefly, lest there be no chance at recovery to sanity?

        Count me as totally cynical on this point, Rob. I see far too many among the Republican Party willing to “go along at any cost” in order to avoid political losses. The rank and file appear to be in a “holding patter”, hoping they’ll pull this win out. You have to understand – Republicans clearly believe they are going to win. They are making no provisions for defeat except for nascent discussions about re-directing big donor funding to down ticket races….Even this has not jelled…why? Because they still believe they will win!

        Until the Republican Party is willing to do the hard work contained in the 2012 election autopsy report, why should anyone think they have any serious understanding or intent to purge the racist, elitist, anti-woman/anti-brown foundation they have so carefully built over decades. I don’t see the Republican Party having either the humility or the intellectual honest to come to terms with what their party has become and what must be changed in order to become relevant again. The nation is changing all around them. Tricky laws, voter suppression, gerrymandering, SC run -arounds, more tax cuts/less revenue/more poverty – these things have to change and they will. It’s simply a matter of time. I hope that time is now.

      • flypusher says:

        “Count me as totally cynical on this point, Rob. I see far too many among the Republican Party willing to “go along at any cost” in order to avoid political losses. ”

        The silver lining is realized if enough of them get a strong rebuke at the polls, McCain in particular.

      • 1mime says:

        The silver lining …. a rebuke at the polls. I’ve given that some thought, predicated upon what the Repub Party should have learned in 2012…but didn’t. Thing is, they see the Presidency as a “one off”, and the huge election successes they’ve enjoyed in Congress, state legislatures and gubernatorial seats as affirmation. And, I understand that. What is happening now, however, is that T has blown the lid off the hoax that Republicans have been perpetrating to their base and the world. Their racism, elitism, anti-woman, anti-lower class, is hanging out there now for all to see. It ain’t pretty but it is finally “known”. They essentially have been rewarded despite their ugly, self-serving agenda, and now Trump, if he has done nothing else, has exposed them for what and who they really are.

      • 1mime says:

        Speaking of sane politicians, here’s another defection, and he is a Mormon. UT is looking more and more interesting as a potential battleground state….

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-mormon-republicans_us_57adfc14e4b069e7e504f281?

  7. rulezero says:

    I’m going to make a statement on here that I’ve told my wife. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek but maybe there’s some substance to it.

    I believe that if Trump loses bigly, he’ll come out for his concession speech and berate all of the people who supported him. “I said the most outlandish, horrible things imaginable and you all still supported me. This is the reason that your party is dying. Shame on all of you.”

    Maybe he’ll say it because he’s been a sleeper agent for HRC this whole time. Maybe he’ll say it just to save face at losing. Maybe he doesn’t even want to be president.

    This is literally the only explanation that I can think of for why he continues to open his mouth.

    • Griffin says:

      Nope he’s mostly serious about running. Trumps biographer describes him as a massive narcissist who wants to be in the White House cause that’s the “big man”, no one can top it, and to get the Trump name out there. That’s it. It just HAPPENS that Trump is also a conspiracy nut and bigot and there’s a failed party around that’s easy to hijack because those things play well to its base. It took X, Y, and Z all coming together at the right (wrong) time for the monstrosity we see now.

    • flypusher says:

      I do have to wonder if we’re seeing the political remake of “The Producers”. I have no doubt the standing in front of a cheering crowd is like crack to him. But I wonder if he initially thought that he’d run, make a strong showing but not enough to win, and then cut a deal with whoever was the front runner: I’ll support you in exchange for future favors. That all got ruined when he happened to be the right authoritarian bigot at the right time to tap into all that lower class White rage. I find the speculation that he really doesn’t want the job to be credible, but he doesn’t want to outright quit, not yet. There’s still adulation from worshipping crowds to bask in. His ego is built on the notion that he’s a winner. The excuses (the elections/ debates are rigged), the even more outrageous statements (Obama founded ISIS !!???) look like he’s trying to make a path out. I wonder what odds Vegas has on if/when he quits.

    • 1mime says:

      The one thing you won’t have to worry about rulezero, is that T is a sleeper agent for Clinton. Put that on the crazy stack with all the other “stuff”.

      • RobA says:

        I don’t think rulezero is saying Trump is a double agent (so to speak). I think he means that if he loses badly, he could insinuate that, as a face saving measure.

        I have no doubt he’s trying desperately to win. But barring that, it’ll be sour grapes as in “I never really wanted to win anyways”

    • RobA says:

      It’s funny I was thinking the same thing. He’ll have no compunctions whatsoever about destroying the party. Plus, he’s smart enough to know that the circles he wants to run in are typically liberal (new York high society) and he may feel if he plays it like that (“I was trying to destroy you guys the whole time!”) He could undo some of the damage to his brand.

      I don’t think it would work or it would portray him in a favorable light, just saying I could see him doing that. It’s how his mind works.

      • 1mime says:

        One thing his withdrawal would not achieve is bringing more working class people to his businesses….or purchase any of his brands….this class doesn’t have the money nor the interest in the “symbols” that drive Trump’s brand…

    • formdib says:

      Once again I feel like the key thing to remember when making Trump predictions are as follows:

      1) He has no shame,

      2) He has no self-doubt.

      That is why he opens his mouth and that is why he has already provided the excuses he’ll give. The ones he’s ALREADY PROVIDED are:

      1) Was all rigged against me.
      a) The Dems
      b) The Media
      c) The GOP

      2) The Republicans didn’t help. I gave them everything, and they gave me nothing.

      3) YOU PEOPLE, (his voters) didn’t turn up. It’s your fault.

      He has already stated these arguments. The third is one of the most important, because it’s how abusive people work. They blame the victim. See also: gaslighting:

      “Oh you didn’t understand me. That’s okay. You didn’t understand but it’s okay.”

      Dude’s an abuser.

      With that in mind he doesn’t have to pretend to be a false flag operation, nor wave it all off as a lark. He’s already the victim here, don’t you see, and his loss is proof of all the horrible things he’s said about people.

  8. formdib says:

    75 Republicans sign letter to Prince Rebus telling him to put RNC funding directly to down ballot races instead of wasting it on Trump:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/08/11/dozens-of-republicans-urge-rnc-to-spend-money-on-congressional-races-not-trump/

    “Andrew Weinstein, a former spokesman for Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich, said the letter was a cooperative effort among Republicans who were growing increasingly concerned at the idea that Trump could imperil the Republican majority in Congress. He said at least 17 former RNC staffers have signed the letter, which will be delivered to the committee next week. Signatures are still being collected.

    Weinstein said the signatories aren’t endorsing a particular candidate and vary on whom they will support in November. Weinstein has said he plans to vote for Clinton.”

  9. formdib says:

    I wondered if this would happen and it seems it’s happening.

    Trump has gotten tired of people telling him to try a different tactic and he’s gotten tired of people debating the meaning of his words. Hence:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/12/us/politics/donald-trump-obama-isis.html

    “On CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday, when an interviewer pressed Mr. Trump on the propriety of claiming that Mr. Obama had founded the Islamic State, Mr. Trump said it was “absolutely” the case and added: “Is there something wrong with saying that? Are people complaining that I said he was the founder of ISIS?”

    Later, in an interview with the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Mr. Trump was given an opportunity to clarify. But he did not budge.

    “You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace,” Mr. Hewitt suggested, leaving Mr. Trump an opening.

    “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do,” Mr. Trump said. “He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.””

    So now even sympathetic media that is attempting to nudge him into the right dog whistle pitch is having to deal with him being ‘un-PC.’

    • flypusher says:

      He can lie that blatantly, but Hillary is the one who’s supposed to be more untrustworthy?? He’s totally making crap up, yet he will get at least 30% of the vote. America is not looking very good here. The bar is too damn low.

    • 1mime says:

      Formdib, I hope you have time to read the NYT 5-part piece, “Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart” I linked earlier. Book mark it because it is such great analysis and historical recap on this region for reading when you have time. The intro and preface are not too long and will give you a lot of information right away. Trump would benefit from reading this extraordinary piece and getting a crash course in Middle East history and politics……if he only cared. He’s deflecting and sensationalizing again….thinks it works for him…loves to hear his name in the news even when it’s said with derision….

      I suspect Trump believes he does best with his base when he speaks off the cuff. Which could be possible if the base is ill informed. He is not used to having to explain himself nor defend his comments – to anyone. He must really be pissed that he is so underappreciated. He reminds me so much of Sara Palin – no one could tell her anything – she wouldn’t do the work – felt that when she followed instructions it didn’t work – didn’t make sense – was totally self-absorbed…..If ever two politicians were cut from the same cloth, those two are. We are all amazed that the Republican Party has Trump for the nominee – but, they’ve been there, done that with Palin…..

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      To be fair, churches have a natural concern about religious liberty. The real question is what sort of stances these groups are taking. From my history with the Catholic church, I’d imagine that the Catholic Church is preaching religious tolerance (and trying to welcome and convert the unbelievers who are immigrating to the US) and tolerance of immigrants. Economic inequality is another thing that the Catholics speak about.

      On the other hand, I can imagine conservative churches which are the exact opposite.

      Though god, 29% hear about abortion at church.

    • RobA says:

      I heard a great comeback regarding gay marriage a while ago, I think it was from Ricky Gervais.

      It was something like “wanting to be able to marry the person you love isn’t granting them “special rights”. It’s just giving then the same rights as everyone else. ” special rights” would be something like not paying taxes…..you know, like churches don’t “.

      I see no reason why churches need or should be entitled too tax free status unless they spend a minimum threshold of their income on charitable activities.

      • 1mime says:

        And churches that are politically active? Whether that means preaching politics or actively promoting it in other ways. The link I posted from a survey of churchgoers affirmed that a large percentage hear politics discussed in their churches. You can’t have it both ways, folks, I don’t care what C.U. says. There still is some separation of church and state remaining in America.

  10. formdib says:

    For some levity, Cards Against Humanity here again with the lulz:

    https://americavoteswithcardsagainsthumanity.com/

    “Today, we’re letting America choose between two new expansion packs about either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

    At the end of this promotion, Cards Against Humanity will tally up the sales of both packs, and depending on which pack gets more support, we will donate all the money in support of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

    • flypusher says:

      Having played this game, and on the assumption that most people try for the most politically incorrect card combinations, I would predict the Trump expansion pack to be the overwhelming favorite.

      • formdib says:

        As of typing, 62376 for Trump stagnant, but 76188 and counting for Hillary. However, I think that has to do with the fact that CAH already released a Trump expansion pack (with different cards), so a lot of regulars need the Hillary one for balance.

  11. RobA says:

    Clinton up double digits in Wisconsin.

    Very interesting to see if/how this affects Paul Ryan. Perhaps he should start thinking about his own seat beyond November instead of backing a toxic character in order to cut taxes on the rich.

  12. Proof that there is absolutely no point bring up pesky facts when talking to Republicans! 41% of Republicans still think Obama was born someplace other than the United States! My opinion is the blame falls fully on the Republican leaders who fueled these rumors with their comments and support. At this point, there is no way the Republicans who believe this stuff are ever going to change their minds. They believe what they want to believe!

    http://www.mediaite.com/online/new-poll-shows-that-41-of-republicans-still-dont-think-obama-was-born-in-the-u-s/

  13. As 2016 marches onward, a group of true believers down in Texas are working to build the largest monument to the Confederacy in a century and a worthwhile article explores the mindset and views of those who support that.

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/texas-confederacy-rising-again-214159

    How ironic that those whose ancestors sought to keep African-Americans in chains are themselves tied by the chains of history.

  14. As we’re getting closer to debate season, some are raising the prospect of Trump merely making excuses (which he totally is), but that at the end of the day, he will definitely show up. As long as he can get some ceremonial change to prove his YUGE negotiating skills, all will be well.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/08/why_donald_trump_is_moaning_that_the_debates_will_be_rigged.html

    Just one caveat ’bout that though; The Donald has no leverage to force that.

    If, for whatever bullshit reason he chose to bow out, the Clinton campaign would have a field day with it and never let Trump live it down. They would force it down his throat every minute of every day, portraying him as a coward and rightly so.

    But what do you think? Would the Clinton campaign feel the need to acquiesce Trump on any such whims or not? Would the Commission? I certainly don’t think so.

  15. antimule says:

    Chris, do you think the House is at all competitive now?

  16. Stephen says:

    In 2010 a (census year) a backlash against the ACA and Obama gave Republicans control of the majority of state governments.They proceeded to gerrymander away. At the time they though this was cute and smart.They outfoxed themselves.They packed the most extreme right wing ones in their safe districts. Now they need those votes to avoid being primaried. So if they buck the Orange One their own constituents will turn on them. But demographics are changing. And the emerging electorate are not going to be forgetting. You win by building coalitions.Their present one of white bigots and rich men rent seeking is declining. They should be building a new one.Years ago I also was a Republican committeeman at the County level and I tried to warn and reform. I was blown off. Problem with so many people is they lack imagination and can only think short term. I am being proved right. But if you follow the wrong leaders there is a price to pay. Let’s hope the country as a whole makes the right one in this election.

    • 1mime says:

      The list of Republican defections from supporting Trump is getting longer….not many expressing support for Clinton, though there are a few for her as well as some for Libertarian candidate Johnson. And, it’s only August 10th. We are officially 90 days til Nov. 8th, election day.

      http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/290999-republican-exodus-from-trump-grows

    • RobA says:

      Interesting angle.

      I agree.

    • Gerrymandering isn’t as absolute as many would think. A lot of districts were made more Republican-leaning, but not that much more; in other words, they’re not unwinnable. Also, the flip side of that is that it creates a lot of safe districts for the out party that they never have to worry about either, so they can focus their resources on competing in the tougher districts.

      Put simply, gerrymandering creates a safe buffer wall in a normal election year; not so much in a wave election.

      • 1mime says:

        Ryan, that is not what I understand about gerrymandering, i.e., it’s not that much of a problem. In watching how state legislatures shaped districts in TX and FL and LA, three states where I’ve lived for several years each. Both parties have done it, but Republicans have perfected it once they took control of both chambers in state legislatures. It is not the only impediment to the democratic process, but it is real. Can you elaborate as to why you don’t feel this is so?

      • Fair Economist says:

        The Republican gerrymanders are generally too extreme for that. The only gerrymandered states with a number of flippable districts in that fashion are Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Generally the gerrymandered districts are R+8 or more so you’d need to see the popular vote for Congress to go 58-42 to start flipping them. I saw a list of 56 districts that will control the House (if the Dems start winning a significant number beyond that list they’ll already have control.) Of these only *3* were in red gerrymandered states. The majority are in Blue states. Gerrymandered states generally have at most one district that might plausibly flip even in a wave election. Sometimes they have none (Ohio, North Carolina).

        tldr; Control of the House will be determined by red districts in blue states.

      • @1mime: Answer-wise, you sum it up with two words: “marginal districts”.

        Look at Pennsylvania, where Democratic House candidates won 75,000 more votes than Republicans, but the GOP still won 13 out of 18 seats. That’s generally what sets people’s hair on fire when they think about gerrymandering.

        Given a closer look though, a solid four of those districts are rated R+1, R+2 or Even; hardly insurmountable given the right conditions. While the remaining nine are solidly Republican; ideally, there would be an even split of nine Dems and Repubs from PA.

        See what I mean? Republicans made things more advantageous for themselves, but not overwhelmingly so. A wave election would have a very good chance of flipping those four PA districts. That’s four out of thirty right there, and it’s what Fair Economist is talking about when he says control of the House comes down to the blue states.

        Know how many R+2 or less districts there are across the nation? 37, more than enough to flip control of the House when the conditions are right. Additionally, there are 18 districts rated R+3 or R+4; more competitive to be sure, but not beyond competition.

        https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/files/2016/08/Partisan-gerrymandering-Figure-Gastil.jpg&w=1484

      • 1mime says:

        There are other POV, including the Republican version of the benefits of gerrymandering.

        http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/gop-memo-gerrymandering-won-us-the-house-majority

      • @1mime: >] “There are other POV, including the Republican version of the benefits of gerrymandering.

        That’s the thing though, mime. I don’t disagree with that POV, but that’s only half the story. Media pundits and the like talk about gerrymandering as if it’s some unassailable strategy that guarantees a Republican-controlled House, no matter the circumstances. We see that mindset around here all the time.

        What I and many others, like Bruce Bartlett, are arguing is that it’s not nearly as foolproof as that. In a normal election year, I’d say Dems had almost no chance. This is most certainly not a normal election year, and there are more than enough close House districts that could flip in a wave.

        If that does happen, and I’m not saying it will, then I’d be hard pressed to imagine how Democrats wouldn’t do everything in their power to reverse the tide of gerrymandering in this country once and for all. They could pass a law just like California did, requiring that all states have independent commissions to draw congressional districts. Doing that probably wouldn’t help them in time for 2018, but 2020 and beyond? Republicans’ lock on Congress could be much more short-lived than they imagined.

      • 1mime says:

        In a landslide year, I agree. All bets are off. BUT, absent that, gerrymandering remains a potent tool. Also, there will be tremendous challenges to a top down change on states rights to re-district. Many believe that this is a constitutional provision, and if I am not mistaken, the SC has already ruled that states do indeed have the right to either directly design voting districts, or, to allow other methods – such as we have seen occur in a few states with independent, non-partisan voting district commissions. Personally, I’m watching CA’s experiment with their new ranking voting process. That seems easier, and less expensive than run off elections….for everyone.

        I am not trying to be argumentative, but gerrymandering in my opinion is an unconstitutional abridgment of voting rights. We live in the age of computerization and there is no reason or justification that election districts can’t be draw by “bots.”

      • @1mime: Part of the reason why this election is so terribly important, and we all know it; the Supreme Court. In 2004, conservatives on the court handed down a decision that essentially handicapped federal courts from intruding on gerrymandering.

        With a liberal majority, to put it in your words, all bets are off. I imagine quite a few cases will be eager to make their way to the high court when that happens.

      • 1mime says:

        Good point, but my hope is that we have a balanced court, not a liberal Scalia court. Put fair minded, smart, experienced and competent judges on the SC and I will be happy. Garland is about as middle of the road with a conservative lean as you can get. I’d be very happy to see him join the court.

        Yes, for the informed, it’s really ALL about SCOTUS. But, doesn’t that bother you? Shouldn’t our 3 divisions of government work independently and serve as a healthy checks and balance system on one another? Not a work around system? There is a great deal that needs to be fixed and I don’t think it’s going to happen in one term of any president, no matter how well intending.

      • WX Wall says:

        1mime-

        Ryan is right. As bad as gerrymandering is, it isn’t magic, just math, which means there are constraints. In general that means the more favorable a map you draw for yourself in *normal* elections, the more vulnerable you are to massive sweeps in *wave* elections. That’s the tradeoff.

        It helps to look at the math. Assume there are 100 voters, 50D/50R, and 10 districts need to be drawn. Each district must of course have 10 voters. I’ll use the notation xD/yR X Z to mean x Dem voters, y Repub voters, and Z number of districts. What most voters would probably like is to draw 50/50 districts (i.e. 5D/5Rx10districts). This would make each district competitive. But there are other strategies.

        When the state govt is divided (e.g. governor and assembly controlled by different parties), they usually compromise and go for incumbent protection, which means drawing districts like so: 10D/0Rx5 + 0D/10Rx5. Does that make sense? Now, neither party’s incumbents will ever be voted out.

        Say the Repubs gain control and want to get the biggest advantage possible. First, they create one super-dem district: 10D/0Rx1. That leaves 40 Dems and 50 Repubs to spread across the nine remaining districts, which you do thusly: 4.5D/5.5Rx9 (forget the rounding error :-). That gives you an amazing 9-1 advantage out of a 50/50 electorate. This is called packing & cracking in gerrymander parlance (yes, there is a lingo to all this, along with very lucrative careers as gerrymander consultants): you ‘pack’ your opponents’ voters into supermajority districts, and you ‘crack’ your opponents natural majorities into small minorities and spread them around.

        But notice what you’ve done: your opponent will never lose that 1 district because it’s packed. On the other hand, all of your own districts are only +1 voting advantage. Assuming the 50/50 split holds (i.e. it’s a normal election year), you will win your districts. But if there’s a +1 wave, you will be washed out.

        If you want a little more protection, you might do the following: 10D/0Rx2, 3.75D/6.25Rx8. This gives your opponent one more district, but gives you a margin of 2.5 against a wave.

        This is the art of gerrymandering: how many districts do you want to reach for vs. how much protection do you want against shifts in the electorate (remember, the districts must withstand the vagaries of 5 election cycles, plus 10 years of demographic shifts).

        So in reality, parties generally don’t go for the most extreme gerrymandering, because given the practical limits (despite everything, practical consideration must be given to current incumbents, geography, statistical uncertainty in voter party affiliations, etc. which means the perfect theoretical examples given above are never attained), plus the need to plan for 10 years, you want at least a little protection.

        So why has gerrymandering gotten “worse” now than before? Because the *science* of gerrymandering has gotten so much better. In the old days, you had a bunch of people staring at maps and drawing lines by hand based on their local knowledge of how people in neighborhoods might vote. This meant the data available to base your decisions on were much less thorough, so you needed a bigger “buffer” to be sure things didn’t backfire. But now, with Big Data, where you can combine census data with marketing data, credit card purchases, etc., you can know a person’s party affiliation to a much higher degree, and then use computers to optimize maps literally down to the house (i.e. you can draw a line that specifically excludes a house from a district, say the house of the opposing congressperson, so he’s forced to run in a district that’s not familiar with him).

        Since the science of gerrymandering has gotten better, the buffer you need to achieve the same statistical predictive power (i.e. how this district will behave under various electoral scenarios) is less, which means you can safely tilt the balance toward reaching for a few more districts. That’s what’s happening now.

        But with all that said, the fundamental tension between maximizing the number of districts vs maximizing the safety of districts is always there. It remains to be seen whether Republicans went too far in one direction this election. Here’s hoping their sophisticated software didn’t consider a Trump scenario 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        That was helpful, WX Wall. You sound like you have been/are involved in the process in some manner. The closest I ever came to the process of drawing districts was when I served on a bi-racial committee that was charged to develop guidelines for a school board appeal to the federal courts to lift an integration order. We had to work with maps (this was in the mid nineties so hand done as you stated), didn’t have any data other than age and race to work with. (Which, for our purposes was precisely enough.} I am pleased to say our ten-person committee did its work well, the courts were pleased, and the school board forced into an uncomfortable posture of having to approve a plan that reversed years of gerrymandered school districts. It was an enlightening, satisfying experience but lots of work.

        Fast forward to today. I maintain that gerrymandering is unconstitutional and one day, the process for designing voting districts will be changed. Maybe to an at large, ranking process, maybe something brand new. This much I do know, when politicians or those working for politicians are involved in designing voting districts, one can expect there to be shenanigans.

      • WX Wall says:

        1mime-

        Another note, once you understand gerrymandering: there’s a very interesting debate about the effect of the Voting Rights Act on black political power. Because states under VRA jurisdiction cannot crack minority districts to minimize their power, many Republicans realized this: if you do the reverse and go above and beyond the VRA and give minorities supermajority districts, you can remove their votes from white Democrats and therefore replace white Democratic districts with white Republican districts, at the expense of creating a few fortress black Dem districts. This is what happened in the South, and is a prime reason why in the South, there are very few white Democratic congresspeople, and the parties have split on racial lines.

        The difficult question many black political leaders had to answer in the 70s when these decisions were made was this: is it better to have a black Dem Congressman from a 90% black district, or is it better to have 2 white Dem Congressman, each with 35% black voters (the rest of the majority being white Dem voters)? Is it better to have 2 Congressman who are partially accountable to your interests, or 1 Congressman who is completely devoted to your interests? Black leaders at the time preferred the former.

        And thus was born one of the most unusual alliances in the U.S., between black civil rights leaders and white segregationists…

      • 1mime says:

        Strange bedfellows, indeed. Black leadership has had to be very sophisticated in order to have any representation. Their fight has been long and hard. That’s why I am so angry about the voter suppression tactics Republicans are enacting and that the courts have until now, allowed. Gutting the VRA a year or so ago was a huge set back. Thanks for the info, WX Wall.

        Another point about Black people – Voting has been so difficult that many – especially the younger Blacks who don’t grasp the sacrifices made by Lewis and others to gain the right to vote – just don’t go to the trouble. There are many ways to discourage people – be it through gerrymandering, voter suppression, or outright intimidation. Black numbers are not increasing as fast as Hispanic numbers are thus it’s even more important that they vote and participate in the democratic process.

      • WX Wall says:

        I’ve never done any nitty-gritty redistricting work myself. You actually have me beat in that regard 🙂 and kudos that you became involved at the local level and did something to improve your community! That’s the type of hard, unglamorous work that actually accomplishes something and eventually bubbles up to force change at a broader level.

        (Also, i realize I had former / latter mixed up in my post above. Black leaders chose to have black supermajority districts rather than white partial majority districts, if that wasn’t clear…)

      • 1mime says:

        I learned a lot from that experience, WX Wall. It gave me confidence that when you feel strongly about something, you can make a difference. Helping those who have so few advocates was a rewarding experience, even if it was small scale.

      • @1mime: >] “And thus was born one of the most unusual alliances in the U.S., between black civil rights leaders and white segregationists…

        Wall just raised an excellent point, and we have a recent example to look at in Florida.

        You remember how the FL Supreme Court just had the congressional districts redrawn for better representation? Well, one of those districts is held by a black congresswoman, Corrine Brown. Her district was shaped like ill-conceived paint splatter, and even though the redrawing would mean that Democrats would likely gain a net total of seats from it, Brown herself was far more likely to a challenge from a Republican and could well be ousted in November. That did not sit well with many prominent African-American congressmen and women and activist groups.

        Strange bedfellows, as they say…

      • Chris L says:

        It’s interesting from a mathmatics point of view how a wholly declining party, through a series of lucky breaks, can still exist in power as though they were competitive for a majority.

        It’s amusing how gerrymandering is even still a thing, as much as neither party would be particularly welcoming to that reform. GOP has had a good decade for a ground game at the state level, gaining governorships, judges, and legislatures.

        Ultimately, it can’t hold. Something has to give, and this is the stuff that causes civil wars (historically speaking). I’m curious just how much more raw partisan antipathy the Constitution can withstand. I doubt we’re there yet. The self-marginalizing GOP still believes like it has avenues to power, so there are still ways within the system to blow off steam.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m the “stuck” record repeating again and again that the Republican Party really believes they will win this election. There are a number of reasons for their confidence, one of which Larry Sabato with the U of VA Center for Politics describes in this piece. It’s called: “Time for Change Model”, and its predictive success record is pretty remarkable.

        “The Time for Change forecasting model has correctly predicted the winner of the national popular vote in every presidential election since 1988. ” Based upon this model, “Trump should be a clear but not overwhelming favorite to defeat Clinton: There should be about a 66% chance of a Republican victory.”

        He throws some caveats out there, but a 100% accurate predictive model should not be ignored just because Trump is such an aberrant candidate.

        I know, Clinton leads by a bunch and the electoral college is not the popular vote, and Trump is an *ss, but, just way too early to get cocky.

        http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/forecasting-the-2016-presidential-election-will-time-for-change-mean-time-for-trump/

  17. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    The Bundy family. Remember how some alt-right conservatives (like Sean Hannity, Rick Perry and Nevada state assemblywoman Michele Fiore) lined up to support them in there armed standoffs with the government.

    Here is what some of those dang Bundys are up to now…

    “Ryan Bundy Declares Himself An ‘Idiot’ Not Subject To US Courts”

    http://www.opb.org/news/series/burns-oregon-standoff-bundy-militia-news-updates/ryan-bundy-incompetent-subject-federal-law/

    “Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupier Ryan Bundy filed a series of court motions late Thursday, declaring himself a sovereign citizen who isn’t subject to federal laws.”

    “Bundy, who is representing himself in the conspiracy case against the refuge occupiers, declares himself an “idiot of the ‘Legal Society’” and not subject to federal law, according to the documents.”

    “I, ryan c, man, am an idiot of the ‘Legal Society’; and; am an idiot (layman, outsider) of the ‘Bar Association’; and; i am incompetent; and; am not required by any law to be competent,” Bundy wrote in a motion filed to U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown.

    “The filings are the latest in increasingly defiant and strange behavior from Bundy, including an alleged escape attempt from the Multnomah County Detention Center.”

    “As justification for the filings separating himself from U.S. laws, Bundy filed a motion declaring himself a sovereign citizen of the “bundy society.” Within that filing, he declared himself a creation of God rather than a “person” as defined by legal dictionaries, and therefore is not subject to laws.”

    Um… OKAAY? I would love to see a legal debate between him and Barack Obama.

    “Ryan Bundy Placed In Disciplinary Housing”

    http://www.opb.org/news/series/burns-oregon-standoff-bundy-militia-news-updates/ryan-bundy-jail-staff-incident/

    “Ryan Bundy, one of the leaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, has been placed in disciplinary housing at the Multnomah County Detention Center.
    The county sheriff’s office said Bundy tried to avoid being handcuffed and threatened staff Tuesday.”

    “Around 6 a.m., jail staff were preparing Bundy for a transport with the U.S. Marshals Service.”

    “Multnomah County Sheriff’s Cpt. Steve Alexander declined to say where Bundy was going, but said the occupation leader became argumentative with deputies when they tried to remove him from his cell.”

    “He was definitely resisting the transport,” Alexander said.
    As a sergeant went to handcuff Bundy behind his back, Bundy turned around on the sergeant, Alexander said.”

    “The sergeant ended up using force to get him down to the ground so they could get him handcuffed, and at that point inmate Bundy kept his arms underneath him,” Alexander said. “The sergeant called back up and a couple other deputies arrived and they ended up getting him handcuffed.”

    Fortunately he is a simple minded anti-government, gun fanatic, white person from the Southwest, not a unarmed simple minded black person in Florida. Those “people” get killed by the police in “clean shoots”.

    So he should be relatively fine till trial. Here is a picture of him from more peaceful times.

    • Fair Economist says:

      I am impressed with whatever prankster managed to convince these “sovereign citizen” folks that they needed to refer to themselves as “idiots” in official legal documents. That’s just brilliance.

    • RobA says:

      Kinda looks like a Mr. Potato Head doll, if Mr. PH was a seditionist scofflaw.

      • 1mime says:

        I recall he has a birth defect of some kind, Rob.

      • Griffin says:

        He got hit by a car when he was seven. Well, a car apparently stalled on his head, then drove away.

        He’s a political lunatic but I feel bad for him. He was raised and surrounded by political fringe lunatics his entire life and then he gets disfigured as a child on top of that. He’s a loon who needlessly endagers people and subscribes to some (IMO) pretty horrid beliefs but while it’s not an EXCUSE for his actions life has nontheless not really smiled on Ryan Bundy.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks for that clarification, Griffin. I had the wrong information on his disfigurement and mental issues. You’d think his parents would protect him more….

  18. tmerritt15 says:

    To add to the NY Times link regarding aircraft carriers. All ten of the US fleet carriers and the Charles de Gaulle are nuclear powered and use catapult launch mechanisms. The catapult launch allows the use of high performance jet aircraft such as the current mainstay, F/A-18 and the F-35 which is nearing combat readiness. That is one of the reasons the Charles de Gaulle is highly rated. The other carriers, including the Chinese one, which has received so much attention, have an elevated take-off ramp, similar to a ski jump. The aircraft on these carriers typically do not have the performance capabilities of the top of the line aircraft on the US carriers. More typically the aircraft on those carriers are more like short-take-off-and-landing planes and helicopters. As the article points out these carriers are more like escort carriers, of which the US has a number. Those are used for amphibious support and do not get much publicity.

    To see a fully loaded F/A-18 launched from a carrier is truly impressive. They are accelerated from zero speed to flying speed in a short distance. Then they start climbing at a steep rate. Prior to departure for their mission they are typically aerial refueled, using tankers based on the carrier. The capability of aerial refueling is another feature that separates the US Navy from the rest of the world. The aircraft can also be refueled from US Air Force land based tankers. All this makes the US essential to the maintenance of the current global system based on liberal (classical definition) norms and rules, as opposed to the historical and chaotic situation of great power competition which preceded the first attempt at globalization during the Pax Britannica, which broke down when Germany challenged Britain for supremacy prior to WWI. To think that the US should retreat from global leadership, as Trump suggests, is absurd.

    BTW, I live in Seattle, WA. There are two Nimitz class carriers based in Puget Sound plus a Naval Air Station and a large portion of the Pacific submarine fleet. Also the largest Army base west of the Rockies is in this area. So the military is a constant presence here and gets a moderate amount of attention.

    • 1mime says:

      Tmerritt15, given what you’ve stated about land-based refueling tankers for US aircraft, do you have any concerns about the hostile relationship that seems to be developing from Turkey’s Erdogan? I have read that Turkey offers important land access for various U.S. military functions.

      • tmerritt15 says:

        Not at this point. Certainly, Turkey is an important member of NATO and incirlik Air Base is important to the US. But also remember Russia has historically sought to dominate Turkey and has been a historic enemy, so Erdogan is going to be very careful. Actually the Crimea was once part of the Ottoman Empire, prior to being seized by the first Russian Empire in the 18th Century. He will not want to totally turn his back on the European Union or leave NATO. My thought is that this current movement is more political maneuvering to ease the Russian sanctions and economic pressure. In the final analysis, I do not think Turkey will want to jeopardize its future. Also it does not want the Islamic State to succeed. It does not want a state like that on its border. Turkey is also concerned that the Kurds will form a separate state. All this makes the situation in the Middle East devilishly difficult and complex. There are no simple solutions there.

        Perhaps, Turkey could deny the use of Incirlik to the US. It did that for some time. Denial would handicap the effort against the Islamic State, but the US has other alternatives. If there is a geopolitical conflict (not necessarily war) between Russia and the West, Turkey will be there.

      • 1mime says:

        I read a piece that affirmed that the U.S. does have other choices than Turkey for its middle east operations. Given Erdogan’s coyness playing up to Putin, why wouldn’t it be wise to exercise those other options? Erdogan has not exactly been a friend to the U.S…..the relationship is very strained, and his governance borders on dictatorship. What would the U.S. stand to lose?

      • Chris L says:

        Turkey is fine being somewhat tsundere, as long as they stay friendly to NATO. Russia is a fairly close geographic neighbor (and threat), so it makes sense for some ‘live along, get along’ to happen.

        We’re long past imperialist times where we feel we have to micromanage the politics of our allies. I don’t see an issue letting them balance their own priorities as long as they don’t collapse in the process. Unless Putin lives to the ripe old age of 402, odds are Russia won’t always be so brusque and aggressive on the world stage. The Cold War may very well pass with him, depending on his successor(s)

      • 1mime says:

        The only strategic value of Turkey is its location and NATO affiliation, from America’s pov. I don’t think they’re big trade partners with us and Erdogan surely hasn’t been a friendly ally. That area of the world is such a quagmire that even as America must try to maintain friendly relations with someone over there, it is a constant challenge in knowing who to trust and how far.

      • 1mime says:

        Tmerritt and Chris L, my brother pointed out this outstanding 5-part story on how the Middle East has evolved and what has gone wrong in this region. It’s a long read, but incredibly well researched. A major effort by NYT staff. I think you’ll find it worth your time.

        http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/11/magazine/isis-middle-east-arab-spring-fractured-lands.html

  19. 1mime says:

    Correction to my comment above to Rob at 12:59. ” Lifer has seen what has been happening to his party for a long time and even he refused to give up (via resignation) until he realized his party was not going to denounce Trump, a man he knows is the antithesis of all that is “”wrong”” with the GOP plus his own unique shortcomings.”

    “wrong” – Improper word, should have been “admirable”

  20. Yet another Republican who thinks the GOP majority in Congress could get wiped out in November.

    http://nypost.com/2016/08/09/why-the-gop-majority-could-get-wiped-out-in-november/

    • cjfarls says:

      I think there will be enough split balloting to retain the House. My guess is the Dems pick 15-20 seats, but not enough to take control. Senate is definitely flipping though, and the big question is how bad it gets both in numbers, and GOP brand damage, to whether the GOP can get it back in 2018.

  21. flypusher says:

    Trump is now crying “media bias” over his latest thoughtless and inflammatory statement. He has a semi-point; the media is finally starting to hold him accountable. But the press is still not where they need to be. Trump needs to go under the exact same media microscope that Clinton has been under.

    • vikinghou says:

      On “Morning Joe” this morning, Joe and Mika were working hard to walk back their early coverage of Trump. Longtime viewers of the show will remember that Trump would often call into the show and receive fawning treatment. Now they’re claiming that they were just doing their jobs as objective journalists by letting Trump say outrageous things. Right. Interestingly, Mika predicted early on that Trump would win the nomination. She received a lot of abuse for months from the other panelists, but got the last laugh in the end.

      • Edward R. Murrow was a journalist. Walter Cronkite was a journalist. Joe Scarborough can be summed up thusly:

        “You can take the politician out of politics, but you can’t take the politics out of the politician.”

        And Mark Halperin isn’t much better. I wouldn’t say he outright sucks, but watch him long enough and the obvious bias and tilt he puts into his words becomes annoyingly apparent.

      • 1mime says:

        Boy, do I agree on Halperin. I will never forget the gaffe when he was caught off-mike saying Obama was a “dick”. I don’t think he is as smart as he imagines and his presentation style is very boring. He needs to be in another career.

    • Fair Economist says:

      It’s not possible for Trump to go under the (hostile) media microscope that Clinton has. There’s not enough time in the day to deal with Trump’s many, many issues (taxes, foreign entanglement, fraudulent business, racist statement, incitements to violence, etc.) with anything even close to proportionate attention to Clinton’s emails and speeches. It can’t be done.

      They are at least getting better and not letting him completely slide on almost all his outrages. The tax returns deserve a lot more attention though. The media should be speculating and investigating what exactly in his taxes he’s so desperate to conceal.

  22. Creigh says:

    David Frum had a really interesting piece in The Atlantic recently, paraphrasing why Trump supporters say they support him. It seemed to boil down to something like what FDR is supposed to have said about a certain South American dictator: “He might be a SOB, but he’s our SOB.”

  23. RobA says:

    That aircraft carrier stat is pretty amazing.

    In the modern age, carriers and their ability to rapidly project enourmous military power is probably one of the major barometers of global military might. For a presidential nominee of a country that owns over 90% of the global fleet to say things like “America is weak” or “nobody respects us” is akin to Warren Buffet claiming that he needs to “become rich again”.

    It’s absurd on its face.

    The media reports on Trumps idiotic statements in the frame of ” did Trump go too far with his words” which implies that his underlying statement was more or less accurate and were just arguing about semantics.

    They need to challenge the underlying statement too, because they are almost entirely wrong, this making the whole debate pointless.

    It’d be like arguing if male unicorns or female unicorns make better pets without challenging the implied assumption that unicorns obviously exist (or else why debate their pet friendliness?).

    I dont entirely blame them because political journalistic standards are based on the underlying assumption that the candidates at least have a modicum of respect for truth and facts. Journalistic schools need to go back to the drawing board after this one.

    • RobA says:

      Another topical example: the media is focusing (rightly) on Trump ridiculous 2A comment. But at some point, shouldn’t they also focus on the inherent untrue nature of the underlying statement that “Hillary wants to abolish the 2A”?

      This is demonstrably untrue.

      • 1mime says:

        Clinton’s team should be demanding this from the media as Trump will keep lying about it. After all, the NRA is the ONLY major political group that is spending $$ on Trump.

        She won’t change their opposition but she should at least lean on media to correct this obviously inaccurate statement by Trump. She has repeatedly stated she doesn’t advocate repeal of the 2nd amendment, but does support expansion of background checks and some other common sense gun regulations. As we have seen right here on this blog, gun proponents are totally closed to any change and thus as far as they are concerned, Clinton is the enemy.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        The fine people at the National Review aka the “Against Trump” people have a response for you…

        No, it is all true.

        “Of Course Hillary Wants to ‘Abolish’ the Second Amendment”

        http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/438836/course-hillary-wants-abolish-second-amendment

        I leave it to you to read their response to this latest controversy and unpack the logic(or lack there of) of their apparent agreement with the Grand Orange One.

        Side note:
        Sometimes I call Trump by the acronym of Grand Orange One… “GOO”.

        Goo- Any semi-solid or liquid substance; especially one that is sticky, gummy or slippery; frequently of vague or unknown composition, or a bodily fluid.

        It really is the perfect designation for him : )

      • Fair Economist says:

        “Grand Orange One” sounds like one of Lovecraft’s Elder Gods. It’s perfect!

      • flypusher says:

        ‘ “Grand Orange One” sounds like one of Lovecraft’s Elder Gods. It’s perfect!’

        My favorite snarky moniker is “Comrade Combover”.

        (Not mine)

      • RobA says:

        I’m partial to The Angry Sweet Potato.

      • flypusher says:

        There’s also the Tiny-handed-talking-yam-of-evil-&-chaos.

        Or the treasure trove of tweets from Scotland.

  24. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    There are compromises one makes in life, there are things one does that are publicly humiliating that are done in order to survive… and then there is the recent position of the young Latino scion of the Bush family, George P. Bush.

    It belongs in its own special category of political self-flagellation

    From the Washington Post:

    “Every Republican who has bucked Trump can be pretty easily categorized. A clear pattern emerges: The less directly and immediately accountable to Republican base voters an elected official is, the more likely he or she is to break with Trump.”

    “Case in point 1: Compare George P. Bush to his father, uncle and grandpa. The Texas land commissioner wants to be governor someday — 2022 maybe? — and he knows that will be harder if the Trump diehards are out to get him. So this weekend he urged Republicans to support Trump. Jeb, 41 and 43 will, of course, never be on a ballot again. So they are safe to stay on the sidelines.”

    “Ask yourself: Could you bring yourself to endorse a guy who disparaged your mom, said that your dad’s position on immigration was based on the fact that she was born in Mexico and then refused to apologize for it?”

    Well I for damn sure couldn’t.

    One of the reasons Trumpism has dug in deep like a parasite into the Republican Party and by extension the conservative movement is the shameless and mind boggling awful compromises its members have made in the vain hope this will earn them victory in some future primary or general election.

    What George P. Bush is doing is no less horrible and reprehensible than what Steve Scalise has done to curry favor with the supporters of the most odious David Duke (a Trump admirer less one forgets) in Louisiana.

    Perhaps George P. Bush should select a catchy new nickname when he inevitably runs for governor in Texas…

    How about Tio Tomas?

    Trump and his outsized influence in the party probably won’t be snuffed out unless these self-degrading acts of false “party loyalty” end.

    • RobA says:

      At some point, GOP leaders need to understand that, politically, they’re pretty much damned if they do and damned if they don’t and just take a principled stand. If you try to position yourself to be in the best position politically on this, you’re just going to tie yourself in knots and lose everybody.

      • flypusher says:

        Their “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” conundrum is of their own making. The question is (and needs to be asked relentlessly) which comes 1st with you, country or party?

        If getting more tax cuts for the rich is so important to you that you are willing to put a dangerously incompetent fool into the Oval Office, then you hate America.

      • 1mime says:

        Fly, “which comes first, country or party” isn’t even relevant. It is obviously, party, and has been for long time. The Repubs just “cloak” their rhetoric about country and constitution as their cape, but underneath, the body is ugly. Of course they will say “country”, but, who believes this anymore?

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, here’s what I think is happening. First, the GOPe still believes they will win this thing. Further, they believe their efforts to focus on down ticket wins will succeed. Big donors are being re-directed to fund this effort. Finally, and most sadly, the anger, vitriol, and lies that have been perpetuated throughout this campaign have a dual purpose: (1) to win if they can what they can; (2) cripple Clinton from being able to govern if she wins – just as they did with Obama, and (3) prepare for a sweep in 2018 to re-take Senate (Dems have a lot of seats to defend – Repubs few, so chances good to accomplish this). Don’t look for much “soul-searching” on the part of the GOPe if the election is poor for them. Their track record is poor in this regard, AND, they have so much invested in obstruction that they won’t give it up to reform or re-build the party. I expect the Republican Party to double down on crazy. If there is to be any progress, the current party needs to burn down, just as Lifer stated.

        The big GOP gamble is losing both President and Senate majority this election. Because if they do, the SC gets new appointments (possibly up to 3) and they lose their backstop to pass conservative litigation that couldn’t make it through Congress. If Hillary wins, like Obama, she will have only 2 years to get the “big” stuff done. He didn’t know how to work the system as she does and Republicans know this. Wonk that she is, she will have plans in place to hit the ground running and get as much done as possible within the narrow two-year framework that she is guaranteed. Once/IF the GOP re-takes the Senate in 2018, all progress grinds to a halt.

        The positive aspect Clinton brings which is underappreciated by Republicans, is that she has a record of successfully working across the aisle. IF she wins in a landslide (by no means assured), and IF there are lots of down ticket changes on the GOP side – EVEN if it is a rotation to new GOP faces – she will have a shot at using her skills for consensus building. I think she’ll do a better job than Obama here. If they will let her.

        We still have a lot of time for things to go terribly wrong for her. Frankly, I think we’ve seen the underbelly of Trump so probably not too many surprises there. Remember, the judge on Trump U. case will not allow the case to resume until after the election. And, the video depositions have also been declared off limits, so we may only have more potty mouth, over the top garbage from Trump – which “sells” for his base.

      • RobA says:

        Mime I think you’re right in your assessment.

        By my reckoning, the GOPe is dangerously close to losing ANY moral high ground (if they haven’t already).

        Waiting until the polls suggest an almost guaranteed Trump loss to unendorse is not going to be any sort of moral victory.

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, what you can’t understand (neither do I) is that the Republicans CAN”T believe Hillary Clinton will win! They will wait until hell freezes over to avoid doing anything that could conceivably help her win this election. The party faithful have made the calculated decision there is a shot and they are going to stay with this hope. It’s already too late from the standpoint of “principle”. Lifer has seen what has been happening to his party for a long time and even he refused to give up (via resignation) until he realized his party was not going to denounce Trump, a man he knows is the antithesis of all that is wrong with the GOP plus his own unique shortcomings.

        The Hillary hate is so strong that they just cannot see straight. As I think Viking pointed out, by voting 3rd party (Johnson), even if they do it in the secrecy of the voting booth, they are still hoping to deprive Clinton of the 270 minimum number of electoral votes she needs and force this election into the House where they will select the next POTUS. Anyone who thinks this isn’t possible is not watching closely enough. Unlikely? Probably. Impossible? Not on your life would I take that bet.

      • 1mime says:

        Stuff like this will be coming out steadily and forcefully to chip away at Clinton’s reputation and personal credibility. We haven’t even begun to see how ugly this campaign is going to get.

        http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/291006-critics-seen-signs-of-improper-ties-in-new-clinton-emails

      • flypusher says:

        “By my reckoning, the GOPe is dangerously close to losing ANY moral high ground (if they haven’t already).”

        Close??? I’ve got to quibble with you on that one. They’re backing someone who is dangerously incompetent with the hope that’s he’ll play figurehead and sign off on their regressive agenda. They’ve had more than enough time to decide where to stand. Anyone still on the Trump train wreck is a power hungry hypocritical partisan hack devoid of morals or ethics.

      • Greg Wellman says:

        “If you can’t do something smart, do something right.”

    • 1mime says:

      I posted a link to an article that listed all of the actions of politicians who either un-endorsed Trump, endorsed a 3rd party candidate, or bucked the GOPe in some fashion. Tio Tomas made the list. The article explained that he wants to run for TX Governor in a few years and is positioning himself accordingly. It may turn out to be the wrong choice, but obviously his handlers think it will help him.

    • vikinghou says:

      Duncan Hunter’s explanation for Trump’s recent 2nd Amendment comments is beyond pathetic.

      I gagged when I saw this.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Holy sh*t.

        This is so awful. Keeping his mouth shut for 2 minutes of awkward silence would have been a better option. What is the matter with people in this party?

        These politicians are from the party of Abraham Lincoln.
        So my advice to them is this… act like it muthaf***ers!

        Do they have any high rhetorical standards anymore?

        Do they realize how horrible they sound when they defend Trump in this fashion… over this? As a voter I am supposed to accept “Gold-plated King Trump” is now no longer subject to the English language?

        Why would anyone vote for someone like that?

      • 1mime says:

        I can assure you that if Trump is elected POTUS, America’s allies and enemies won’t be so forgiving of his rhetoric – unintentional or not. As Obama stated, what a President says is important as is how he/she says it.

      • flypusher says:

        So you’re going with “he’s inarticulate” as your defense. For endorsing him for a job where being articulate is an important skill.

        The bar is too damn low.

      • 1mime says:

        There’s a “bar”? (for T)

      • flypusher says:

        Rudy’s excuse:

        “You know how speeches go. He was talking about how they [gun rights advocates] have the power to keep her out of office. That’s what he was talking about,” he added. “With a crowd like that, if that’s what they thought he’d meant, they’d have gone wild.”

        He’s got a point.

  25. 1mime says:

    Being rewarded for inflammatory rhetoric is fattening Trump’s campaign fund. Just hours after Trump’s mispeak (how very presidential) –

    “the NRA went public with its biggest gift yet to the Republican nominee – a $3 million ad buy attacking Clinton as a hypocrite….the biggest single ad buy for Trump this cycle and it brings the NRA’s total spending this cycle to around $6 million.”

    “No other major political group is spending money on the Republican nominee.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/donald-trump-nra-guns-226852#ixzz4GvBX9mbC

  26. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    Interesting opinion piece from the Guardian.

    It may not have all the answers or all of its conclusion may not pan out, but I think it is spot on on how the GOP/conservative obsession with Obama is causing their whole political project to crater.

    If this is indeed the case no one should blame Obama for being a more savvy politician than the hordes of GOP cultural troglodytes (examples: Palin, Trump and Steve King).

    The one thing that infuriates me about his treatment by his opponents is that they demand Obama must meet high standards that they are never subject to.

    Oh, Obama is a novice, no real experience. He’s not ready for the big chair! So who’s your nominee this year GOP? It’s Donald Trump!

    Yeah. Of course it is. Someone who is so clearly experienced and presidential! Donald Trump’s candidacy is almost the penultimate example of white privilege.

    It’s that type of blatant double standard that drives minorities (esp. black people) quietly insane as they struggle and often succeed in the face of significant professional and personal adversity.

    “The Republicans tried to sink Obama. Instead, the party imploded”

    Choice quote:

    “If your political priorities are the total defeat of a single politician – not the advancement of your own policies – it fans the flames of extremism”

    Which reminds me…thank you Mitch McConnell.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/09/gop-tried-sink-obama-imploded-extremism

    • flypusher says:

      Thanks for that link. A “3rd Obama term” would be the best revenge. And better for the country.

      • Mr Obama is a lawyer by trade.

        He has a record of being about as bipartisan as he could be, considering.

        There’s a spare Supreme Court seat which needs a lawyer to fill it.

        I can spot an elegant solution.

      • 1mime says:

        EJ, that possibility has come up in discussion, and here is the best link I could find on the subject. I think he would be wonderful but I’ll let the link speak for itself.

        http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/president-obama-supreme-court-justice-obama

      • flypusher says:

        I like that, but Obama replacing Thomas someday would be even better. Plus I am rooting for Garland.

      • Thanks for the link, 1mime. As ever you are the most well informed among us. The deciding factor in that matter seems to be that Mr Obama does not want to be nominated. Since it would be difficult to place someone on the bench nonconsensually, it seems that the matter can go no further.

        I’m interested that Mr Benen, who wrote that piece, appears to believe that Mrs Clinton may not be willing to pick a fight over the Supreme Court nominee with the Republican House. I can spot two issues with this:

        A) Given the difficulty that Mr Obama had with nominating even a centre-right justice, it seems strange to think that there won’t be a fight over whomever Mrs Clinton nominates anyway.

        B) Given the endless rounds of Benghazi hearings, it seems strange to think of Mrs Clinton as being afraid of said fight.

      • 1mime says:

        I actually think that it’s not that Clinton is “afraid” to risk confrontation, but that she wants to make her own judicial selection, independent of any preconceived candidate choices. I also think she has her own agenda and will prioritize accordingly. She has indicated that she likes Garland as a SC nominee and will move on replacing the 9th justice asap…assuming Dems take a majority in the US Senate. If they don’t, that could make any plans more difficult, of which the SCOTUS appointment would be just one.

        Personally, I think having a SC Justice who can break out in song, is just what the nation needs (-; I don’t think any of us truly realizes how difficult these two terms have been for President Obama and his family. He might change his mind as he gets his “second wind”, but I’ll bet he would more likely return to teaching law. The Obamas kept their Chicago residence, so this may be where he prefers to spend the latter years of his life following his extended D.C. stay (to allow daughter to finish school). He enjoys people, he’s got a gift for gab, he’s super smart, and has a great sense of humor. IOW, he’ll do great post-POTUS, no matter what he decides to do.

        Our presidents and their families give up a great deal to serve their country – even the ones I don’t vote for. I respect that and wish Obama, Michelle, and their girls great happiness and success in the years ahead.

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, there are lots of super smart people who comment on Lifer’s blog. I post a lot because I have more time than most and enjoy the repartee. But, thanks, anyway (-:

      • flypusher says:

        “I’m interested that Mr Benen, who wrote that piece, appears to believe that Mrs Clinton may not be willing to pick a fight over the Supreme Court nominee with the Republican House. I can spot two issues with this:”

        A 3rd issue is that a GOP House can’t do anything about Clinton’s judicial picks. If the Dems flip the Senate, her picks would go through. After all the GOP obstruction, a Dem majority wouldn’t hesitate to nuke any fillabusters of Presidential nominees. They would have a 2 year window to get judicial slots filled.

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