Monday, November 30, 2015

Hillary Clinton Unveils $275 Billion Dollar Infrastructure Plan

This is on top of her plan to cut the taxes of many of the nonrich.

"Clinton is rolling up endorsements from big-city mayors. And that was before she unveiled her $275 billion infrastructure plan.
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Standing in front of a cheering crowd of 800 construction trade union members and supporters inside Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall with Mayor Marty Walsh by her side, Hillary Clinton turned Sunday to a subject that she hasn’t devoted much time to on the campaign trail: pothole politics.

At an event billed as “Hard Hats for Hillary,” Clinton unveiled a $275 billion infrastructure proposal to fix highways, trains, airports, aging sewer systems and the country’s frayed electrical grid.

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Hillary's rollout is good politics as well as good policy.

"For Clinton, the event presented an opportunity to roll out her jobs and five-year infrastructure plan, which includes creating an infrastructure bank, funded by $25 billion in federal dollars. But Clinton also managed to underscore her strength in one of the party's bedrock constituencies – the traditional big-city Democratic stronghold.

"Her campaign has been assiduously collecting big-city mayors from across the country in a show of muscle that Clinton hopes can help block any challenge from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on the left. Nearly all of the Democratic mayors of the 10 most populous cities in the nation have publicly endorsed her; last month, the campaign unveiled an endorsement list of 85 mayors from across the nation, including leading progressives like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio."

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She also has a very important proposal for updating regulations and labor laws to the Uber economy. Her plan impressed me as being really forward thinking. Sure, the important thing is to raise wages-but how do you get it done.

One issue has been the minimum wage. Bernie argues he's the 'true progressive' because he wants a $15 MW and she has called for $12. This ignores that there is no ability to get either so long as we have the GOP House.

Many economists argue that while it's a positive thing to have a $15 MW in certain cities and regions, it might be est to see how it works at the local level first.

The cost of living also varies greatly from locality to locality.

And then when you look at it, you see Bernie hedges as well by saying we should get to $15 gradually. Well, with Hillary too we'd get there at some point. That's just it will always be gradual.

But her plans for the Uber economy look at other ways besides just the MW raise wages-while it's an important lever, it's not the only one.

Colorado Springs Police are Still Pretending not to Know Richard Dear's Motive

It's amazing but even after Dear's allusion to 'no more baby parts' the police are still acting as if there's ambiguity regarding the motive.

This was what was stated by a reporter this morning on MSNBC's Live With Jose Diaz-Balart-which is on at 9 A.M. during weekdays.

This agnosticism over motive is not innocent. I spoke of the agnosticism of the press yesterday.

At least I know I agree with Josh Marshall.

UPDATE: Josh has a followup piece today similar to this one in many ways.

As for the police, you have to keep in mind that Colorado Springs has long been a hotbed of anti abortion activism.

One other striking aspect of Diaz-Balart's show. They played the words of Leyote Chandler who's brother, Ke-arre Stewart, was one of the three murdered Friday night.

Stewart, who is an Iraqi vet, was there with his girlfriend, Jennifer Markovsky, who was having an abortion.

In Leyote Chandler's statement, he said that Dear took his only brother from him, the brother he grew up and loved. Then he said  that 'it's hard but I forgive him.'

I have to say, Mr. Chandler is a better man than me. I don't forgive what was done-this isn't the time for us as a nation to close this chapter.

Let's hope that the media will be compelled to cover this act of anti abortion terrorism more seriously in the coming days. Anti abortion terrorism must be stopped.

Meanwhile. Carly Fiorina who did a large part of the work in fomenting this denies any responsibility. No surprise here.

"Carly Fiorina called efforts to link the shooting to anti-abortion rhetoric part of “typical left-wing tactics.” Lest we forget, Fiorina has been one of the most adamant in espousing lies against Planned Parenthood, even going as far as to falsely claim in a debate that undercover video shot in the organization had shown “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”
“This is so typical of the left, to immediately begin demonizing the messenger because they don’t agree with the message,” Fiorina said on Fox News Sunday. “What I would say to anyone who would try to link this terrible tragedy to anyone who opposes abortion or the sale of body parts, is this is typical, left-wing tactics.” She said protesters should be peaceful, regardless of their cause. “Any protesters should always be peaceful, whether it’s Black Lives Matter or pro-life protesters,” she said. “Protesters should always be peaceful and respectful.”
Gee, you're right, Carly. Let's just not worry about it. Let's just forget what happened and go play golf or go to Starbucks. 
Meanwhile, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper gets it right. 
"And I think maybe it's time to look at, how do we tone down some of that rhetoric? Obviously, no one is going to try and reduce free speech in this country, but that rhetoric clearly is -- if people are in some way emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced, that intensity of rhetoric sometimes seems to pull a trigger in their brain that they lose contact with what reality is."
It's not only bloggers of course, It's more or less the entire GOP. The anti PP hearings. Carly Fiorina with her mawkish tales. 
I don't know how you get people like that to tone down their rhetoric-there is no way but ultimately to marginalize them. But no doubt they all have blood on their hands today as they blithely try to forget this. 

President Obama on the Stakes of Climate Talks

He warns that on climate control, there is the danger of being too late-he's channeling the late Martin Luther King Jr. here.

"Obama casts climate talks as world's last best chance There is such a thing as being too late,' the president warns, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr."

"President Barack Obama urged the world to consider the climate talks that kicked off here Monday as potentially the last chance to make a meaningful impact on combating climate change."

"What the world needs to agree on, Obama told the 150-odd other world leaders gathered in Paris for the two-week conference, is “not a stopgap solution, but a long term strategy that gives the world confidence in a low-carbon future.”

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Still, he presents things as not hopeless-if we act now it won't be too late.

Obama quoted Martin Luther King Jr., saying, “There is such a thing as being too late.”

“When it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us. But if we act here, now, if we place our short term interests behind the air that our children will breathe and the water our children will drink,” Obama said. “Then we will not be too late for them.”

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This is kind of the best way to frame things. The urgency of now, but its not too late-which then leads to resignation.

Of course, what kind of accord we can get remains to be seen. The President is representing our country but one of our own political parties literally denies that climate change even exists.

And the fact is that the willingness of most countries to take strong steps is more or less proportionate to where they are in terms of economic development.

"The scheduled two-week summit, housed in a conference center in the suburbs of the French capital, will be seeking a collective, non-binding agreement among nations setting their own plans to cut carbon emissions, largely through switching to renewable energy production over fossil fuels. The burden falls differently on countries at various stages of development: The United States and China, the two largest carbon emitters, are pledging to cut their own production and increase clean up efforts, while developing countries worry that they will be left behind by restrictions that keep them from ever reaching that level of industrialization."

"Obama addressed this imbalance directly, warning that all would suffer if the planet continues to grow warmer at its current pace, but that smaller economies could suffer most from drought, famine and other environmental impacts."

"A future of rising seas and temperatures, Obama said, “is not one of strong economies, nor is it where fragile states can find their footing. That future is one that we have the power to change, right here, right now. But only if we rise to this moment.”

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So countries at lower stages of industrialization are less willing to go along. The idea of this agreement will e that the big carbon emitters-the US and China-will lead the way.

It is also worth celebrating that this is being done in Paris just a few weeks after the attacks.

"Obama noted the backdrop of the Nov. 13 terror attacks, casting a climate agreement as a rebuke to the terrorists, much as he did in speaking at his press conference with French President François Hollande at the White House last week."

"We salute the people of Paris for insisting this crucial conference go on," Obama said, calling it, "an act of defiance that proves nothing will deter us for building the future we want for our children."

"Through our presence here today, we show that we are stronger than the terrorists," German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed in her own remarks.

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"As the agreement being sought is nonbinding,, at least it won't require Congressional authorization to go through. While two thirds of Americans see climate change as a serious threat, the GOP is still in the climate denial stages."

"Since the agreement being sought is non-binding, it wouldn’t require congressional authorization if it comes through. Back home, there does seem to be a growing sense of the threat posed by climate change, with two-thirds of people calling it a serious threat in a new ABC News poll out Monday morning — but the sense of what to do about it isn’t falling where Obama would like: Just 43 percent of people believe most scientists agree on the causes (the number within the scientific community is close to 99 percent agreement about humans causing the changes), and only 47 percent, say the federal government should do more than it is doing now to try to deal with global warming, down from a high of 70 percent under the Bush administration eight years ago."

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reflected those sentiments in an interview on “Morning Joe” Monday morning, calling Obama’s warning of global warming as a top threat “one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard in politics.”

“When we have large groups of people that want to blow up every one of our cities, that want to destroy our country, that want to kill our people, and he’s worried about global warming,” Trump said. “I think it’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen, or perhaps most naïve.”

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 Trump here is just giving the standard GOP talking points on climate change. They see the whole thing as just an obsession of point headed college professors or something. 

Again, you see that the GOP has won some major political battles here. Even though two thirds of Americans think climate change is a serious problem only 47% think the federal government should actually do something about it-so there are 20% of Americans who think it's a serous problem and yet don't want to do anything about it. 

And just like the lies the Bushies used to get us into Iraq worked as most Americans ended up believing there was a link between Saddam and 9/11, so now under half of Americans know that scientists overwhelmingly agree about the occurrence of climate change. 

But while the media is very concerned about calling out Trump on his whoppers, the kind of lies the GOP has told for years about climate change or the link between Saddam and 9/11 are ones the media considers respectable lies.

Ted Cruz's Surge Sends Rubio into Fellow Senators' Arms

There seems to be more movement that shows Rubio becoming the establishment candidate.

Cruz's surge is worrying his fellow GOP Senators who are throwing their support around their other Senate colleague running for President.

As Cruz gains, GOP senators rally for Rubio

The idea of Cruz as the nominee makes fellow GOP senators shudder.

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That in a nutshell is why I want Cruz over Rubio any day of the week. Whatever the GOP establishment wants, I cheer for the opposite.

If only I had the money, I'd run anti Rubio ads all around the country in the important districts. I'd have ads that showed Rubio's vote for amnesty and replay this in GOP enclaves in NH, etc. again and again.

At the same time I'd play Rubio now repudiating his vote for immigration reform and even saying he'd overturn Obama's executive actions for Dreamers in 2011 and 2013 in Latino areas.

That'd be fun. Maybe I'd also make sure the base knows it's Kasich that is calling The Donald a Nazi.

"Senior Republican senators who’ve clashed with Cruz for years have had nothing but nice things to say about Rubio even as he’s dissed — and largely ditched — his day job in the Capitol. Just this month, Rubio has racked up endorsements from nine members of Congress, compared with two for early GOP front-runner Jeb Bush. More House endorsements for Rubio are set to roll out in December, according to campaign sources, and several GOP senators said privately they expect their colleagues to get behind Rubio once the GOP field thins."

"The movement toward Rubio appears to be as much about anxiety over the possibility of Cruz going up against Hillary Clinton as it is affection for the Florida senator. The idea of Cruz as the nominee is enough to send shudders down the spines of most Senate Republicans."

"Mainstream elected Republicans now see Cruz as a bigger threat than Donald Trump or Ben Carson to clinch the nomination — but equally damaging to their party’s chances of winning the White House and keeping the Senate next fall. Rubio would be a much stronger general election standard bearer, they believe."

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It's not hard to understand why no one in the Senate likes Cruz. But what makes the Senate GOPers hate Cruz is exactly what makes the base love him. So if things go according to form two things have happened here.

1. The Nate Silvers of the world will hail this as Rubio's race to lose as he's getting all these wonderful endorsments by all these party insiders.

2. What this ignores though is that for the GOP base this year, being an insider is the kiss of death. So expect this to if anything raise Cruz's stock with the base and maybe even hurt Cruz.

After all, he's got the backing of Mitch McConnell, which is almost as dirty a couple of words for the base as President Obama.

Rubio also has the support of Darrell Issa-another arch insider.

Rep. Darrell Issa threw his support behind Marco Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, hailing his fellow lawmaker as someone who has "been fighting the same fights" on the campaign trail as he has done in Congress.

"Marco Rubio really is an exciting candidate, and I'm pleased to be able to endorse him and to work for him for the presidency," the California Republican and former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said in an interview with "Fox and Friends."

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Yes, Congressman, and your excitement makes him less exciting for the base. 

Why is the Media So Obsessed With Getting Trump to Admit Muslims Weren't Cheering?

Again, obviously, Trump is repeating a tall tale-that had been reported by that Washington Post article he cited and repeated on the Internet.

Ok, so it's not true. But my problem is when did the media become so worried about the truth? Seriously, if there was a time anyone thinks it was let me know.

It's not hard to see why Trump keeps doubling and tripling down. This is the base's illusions. It's why even now he will never admit that Obama was born in America.

But the media's obsession with Trump's lies here-that they keep pushing it and pushing it-interests me as well.

 They let all kinds of lies be told.

Some think it's good that they're demanding some sort of limits on wild stories. They are in some sense trying to increase the Reality Quotient or limit it's diminishing at least. But I don't really think this is what's going on here. What they are doing is setting up a tiered system of acceptable lies and unacceptable likes.

First of all, many economists and wonkish types cut their teeth in the 2000 election. Krugman, Matt Yglesias, many say that 'radicalized' them. The media let W go on his lies and factual inaccuracies on his tax plan while accusing Gore of being an a pathological liar because they falsely claimed he said he invented the Internet.

They weren't bothered by W's lies but they were bothered by Gore's attending a Buddhist temple-so this was a clear play to bigotry.

This morning on Morning Joe there was the perfect example of what I'm getting at. Joe Scarborough and some of his guests were rightly pointing out that after 9/11 most of the Muslim world was on America's side and totally repudiated Bin Laden, et. al.

But then Joe said 'The only people cheering were the Palestinians and Saddam Hussein.'

That brings back the spectre of Iraq. Here was a big series of lies W told us to get us in Iraq and yet Joe has the nerve to bring up Saddam as cheering for the attack-as another proactive pretense for why we were in Iraq.

But the media was totally in the tank when those lies were being told. It would have been much more impressive had they held Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld as accountable as they are trying to hold Trump here.

There are acceptable, respectable lies and those the media feels aren't respectable. They are totally complicit in the environment that makes Trump possible.

So much of what makes a lie acceptable is who tells it. The problem with Trump is not his lies or his bigotry but because he's broken some cardinal rules for the GOP Establishment and the Beltway press.

They want him gone to keep the world safe for respectable lies-and respectable bigotry.

Perfect case in point. They are up in arms at Trump's anti Muslim slurs but not that the US House just passed a meanspirited and totally counterproductive anti refugee bill. The media wasn't up in arms at all about that but to the contrary largely treated it as a reasonable bipartisan bill-as 47 chickenshit Democrats voted for it.

When a CNN reporter tweeted in sympathy for the refugees she was suspended.

If this were really a war against lies and bigotry it would be a great thing. What it really amounts to is an assertion that the Beltway gets to decide what is respectable bigotry and lies and who is allowed to get away with it.

I maintain-Trump's campaign has been a very positive development. We are learning a lot more about all kinds of elements of our politics than we would if he weren't running.

This article nails it-Trump is the Frankenstein monster of the GOP's own mode of operation for years.

Krugman has made the point that the media seems to want the GOP base to know which conspiracy theories it's allowed to believe and which it's supposed to rule out.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Josh Marshall Gets it on Planned Parenthood Attack

Finally someone gets it. This is why I love Josh Marshall. So often I find that he and I are on the same wavelength. I've been on about this all weekend.

Josh sees it as I do:

"Caution in the light of factual uncertainty is almost always a laudable stance for journalists and public officials. But from the beginning of yesterday's attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs there's been an odd reluctance to state what appears to be obvious: that the attacker, now identified as 57 year old Robert Lewis Dear, was motivated by extremist anti-abortion politics. The Denver Post headline states "Planned Parenthood shootings increasingly seem politically motivated" - and this after numerous accounts state that Dear was ranting about "no more baby parts" after his arrest, almost certainly a reference to the incitement earlier this fall over a doctored anti-Planned Parenthood sting video. Let's remember, false claims and incitement about selling "body parts" were a staple of Fox News segments and tirades from Republican presidential candidates all through the Fall."

"What also has me curious is that Colorado Springs is widely known as something of a Mecca for evangelicals and high profile right-wing Christian organizations like Focus on the Family. One of the murder victims in this case was a police officer. And there has been zero indication that the authorities were anything less than aggressive in responding to the attack. But it would stand to reason - indeed, hardly be surprising - that some level of awkwardness or tension might arise as the parties involved respond to an attack on a Planned Parenthood facility in a city dominated by anti-abortion politics."

"For now it simply seems worth saying what appears transparently obvious, if downplayed in the local press, which is that this was the latest instance of anti-abortion rights terrorism in the country and appears directly linked to the incitement stemming from false claims about Planned Parenthood being involved in the trafficking of body parts from aborted fetuses. You can, if you're inclined, add here all manner of arch comments about the great majority of right-wing Christians opposing anti-abortion terrorism. But let's call this what it is."

I've also pointed out, though, that the fact that many perhaps most anti-abortion groups oppose such terrorism is also problematic, It suggests on some level they don't believe their own rhetoric-that abortion is murder. If it really were then Dear is not a crazed killer but instead a hero or martyr.

A tough question for such anti terrorist anti abortion groups is why Dear is not a hero.

Marshall is the only one I've seen who has pointed this out-other than myself. I've noticed that even liberal blogs like Huffington Post and Think Progress have kept up the narrative that the 'motive is unclear' throughout yesterday at least. 

Gun control is divisive but what Friday shows is that even more divisive is a woman's right to choose. We at least discuss gun control even though we never end up doing anything about it. 

On violence against women's health clinics the silence is just deafening.

The NH Leader Endorses Christie; So What?

The Very Serious Pundits are falling all over themselves now in delight-The NH Leader endorses Christie!

This could be a game changer they exclaim. Well anything could be a game changer. By why would this endorsement in particular change everything?

You'd have to believe that the NH Republican primary voters tend to vote in lockstep with whoever the NH Leader endorses.

So who did they endorse in 2012? Newt Gingrich. Yes, that sure was a game changer. I mean let's be honest here. Was there any chance that they would endorse Trump, who is leading NH polls by over 14 points according to the Real Clear Politics average?

Of course not. You knew they'd choose an establishment candidate. That they chose Christie over Rubio might be a mild surprise though not an earth shattering one. Christie is polling at 5.3 in NH compared to Rubio's 12.5.

So what is this hoopla really about? Simple-the Serious Pundits have taken it upon themselves to take Trump down. They now believe that they have to save our democracy by doing anything they can to take down his numbers.

It offends them when they accuse him of lying or being racist and yet his numbers don't tank, or even rise.

Please note that they are not nearly so offended by lying or racism, just that when they call someone this it should matter.

Meanwhile, speaking of Christie, the attack on Planned Parenthood by anti abortion fanatic Richard Dear is embarrassing for the entire GOP field which is why so few of them have said much of anything about it.

To even admit that Dear, while maybe mentally ill-to talk about mental illness in this way is quite banal; for who that does something like this would you like to declare them mentally healthy?-was motivated by hatred of abortion-and evidently the doctored tapes about PP is to admit that there is something wrong with calling those who believe in a woman's right to choose baby killers.

But Christie has a further problem. He is now pretending he didn't enter politics in the early 90s as an advocate for sensible gun control.

You wonder if the media can take a moment from fact checking Muslim tailgate parties in 2001 to noticing this. But of course, this is a respectable lie the media has no trouble abiding.

What the Very Serious Marco Rubio Has Said About Colorado Springs Shooting

The answer is a whole lot of nothing. He tweeted to followers to stay warm and buy his crappy merchandise Friday night.

We played the game yesterday about Gee, I wonder what could have propelled a man in his 50s to storm Planned Parenthood. It's too hard, we may never guess his true motivations. 

Now though the political motivations are becoming impossible to ignore-though some news organizations still are playing coy.

"Robert Lewis Dear allegedly killed three people and injured 9 others yesterday at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In the hours after the shooting little was known about Dear or his motivations."

"Saturday evening, those motivations began to come into focus. NBC News and the Washington Post reported that, after the shooting, Dear told law enforcement officials “no more baby parts.”

"The phrase clearly references a series of videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion advocacy group. The videos alleged that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling body parts from fetuses for profit. These allegations were untrue and the videos relied ondeceptive editing."

"Still, the videos have become a rallying cry for the right, including the Republican presidential candidates. In August, Marco Rubio said, “what’s happening at Planned Parenthood, what’s being revealed in these videos, is atrocious, it’s grotesque, it’s barbaric.” Rubio later accused Planned Parenthood of pushing women into getting abortions “so that those tissues can be harvested and sold for a profit.” He told TMZ that people should be more “fired up” about the Planned Parenthood video."

"Speaking on the Senate floor in September Ted Cruz declared that “we are now a nation that harvests the body parts of little baby boys and girls. It is the very definition of inhumanity to treat children like agriculture, to be grown and killed for their body parts, to be sold for profit.”

"NBC News cautions that Dear’s motivations could be multifaceted and the alleged shooter “also mentioned President Barack Obama in statements.”

Oh c'mon. I mean, it is to laugh. Multifaceted because he mentioned President Obama? Right it's impossible to be an anti abortion zealot and hate President Obama at the same time.
It's not surprising that Rubio has nothing to say as he has said so much to fan the flames on the phony video. 
But then this is a guy who magnanimously is willing to sign either anti abortion legislation that carries exceptions for rape and incest or anti abortion legislation that doesn't make these exceptions. 
Nothing extremist about that. 
Contrast this to Trump that the media is frantically telling us has no chance to do anything. Hes over will because the media says so. Well, at least he admits that PP provides other services than abortions. 
He also clearly believes in exceptions to rape, and incest. If anything, you suspect that hes even more liberal on abortion but is editing his view here. 
No one can ever go broke overestimating the Serious Pundits penchant for priggish hypocrisy. 
The same media that made a reporter apologize for expressing sympathy with the Syrian refugees, is outraged about Trump's database. 
You've got to divide respectable Islamophobia-like passing an anti refugee law-from the dangerous, unacceptable kind. 

All Out Panic Over Trump

How many times have we heard that This is it, Trump has now gone too far? I always want to ask Too far for whom? For the GOP base voters who have put him on top of the polls? 

We could put together a pretty neat collage of all the times that Trump's imminent end has been predicted. Think Progress, has in fact done this:

"The Republican establishment is nearing full-blown panic about Donald Trump."

"The demise of Trump’s candidacy has been predicted by centrist Republicans and the media alike virtually since the day it began. But there is no empirical evidence at all to suggest it is happening."

"Last month, the liberal ThinkProgress collated more than 30 predictions of the business mogul’s imminent demise. One typical example was The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, who discerned “the beginning of the end of Trump” in mid-July, soon after the mogul criticized the Vietnam War record of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) "

"Despite all that, Trump has led the RealClearPolitics (RCP) polling average in a virtually unbroken spell for four months. The only person to briefly wrest the lead away from him, Dr. Ben Carson, appears to be fading. And numerous polls show Trump drawing double the support of his closest establishment-friendly rival, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) "

"Add to all this the fact that Trump’s lead over the rest of the GOP field has expanded since the terrorist attacks in Paris, and it becomes clear why anxiety among his many Republican critics is reaching new heights."

“He has a real shot at this. He is the clear front-runner,” said Ron Bonjean, a consultant and former aide to GOP leaders on Capitol Hill.
How you can still claim he doesn't have a nontrivial chance of winning is beyond me, but Nate Silver and friends still love to tell us that the polls mean nothing, and that no one is paying attention. 
Evidently, everyone will decide on the 11;30 p.m. before the Iowa Caucus in February. What has happened the last week is interesting. Because-contrary to what Nate says-we are getting perilously close to Iowa, a load of pundits-Jonathan Alter is a classic example-who are simply declaring Trump is over now. 
It's going to happen this time. He went too far in making fun of that journalist who wrote the piece years ago about the rumor that there were Muslims cheering in a tailgate party on 9/11. 
He was mocking the disabled the Very Serious Pundits cry and this is it. He's finished. He's gone too far. Meanwhile, you have Kaisch's anti Trump ads that compare Trump to Hitler-the Muslim database, beating up the Black Lives Matter protesters, etc.
Alter has been simply declaring this a fact that this is it for Trump. He will drop now. The pundits are simply discussing it as already established fact that Trump has dropped or will definitely start to ASAP and that this is now a race with Rubio and Cruz, full stop. 
Fascinating anxiety formation. At this point I think the chances of Trump not at least being a factor well into Spring and quite possibly up until the convention are remote indeed. But this is what the Serious Pundits are telling us. 
Yet it seems quite plausible that this will backfire-certainly that's the impression you get from Rush. The base may well not take kindly to Kaisch calling them Nazis. 
The pundit have been wrong 30 times but surely they are right this time. Of course, the real answer to this is what Krugman says. What is the real difference between Trump and the more serious candidates?
As to the database, Rubio himself didn't rule it out but suggested he'd expand it beyond only mosques. But we're supposed to ignore that. Rubio didn't mean it. We know because he's such an honest fellow, dark money and all.
Yet, Rubio is supposedly the serious candidate. Meanwhile with the attack of an anti abortion fanatic on Planned Parenthood on Friday, Rubio has nothing to say.
Not surprising from someone who says he'd be willing to support legislation with exceptions for rape and incest though he'd also be willing to support legislation without those exceptions. 

Coloardo Springs as a Crime Against Women

Despite all the heroic attempts to blame the attack on the Planned Parenthood on anything but prolife ideology, that's what it was.

It's been interesting to watch the media squirm around motive the last few days. They feel we should be 'methodical' about this and not claim a motive. This is because admitting the obvious motive would be to take sides in the abortion fight and the media has convinced itself that they're job is to be neutral and just call balls and strikes.

The trouble is that the debate over abortion is very fraught. Anti abortion activists pulled of a coup in the early 80s by calling themselves prolife. . This is already an incitement to violence.

When you call your political opponents murderers and baby killers how do you then say that folks like Richard Dear are wrong to do what he did Friday night? While I appreciate the many prolife groups that condemned the attack, it begs the question why?

"The anti-abortion activists, part of a group called the Center for Medical Progress, denounced the "barbaric killing spree in Colorado Springs by a violent madman" and offered prayers for the dead and wounded and for their families."

Ok, give them credit for that-though they have to cover their asses. But why was Dear a madman-if abortion is really murder? This is why I think the media has been so ginger about motivation-to even admit that Dear was a prolife fanatic then makes you admit that abortion isn't really murder. If it were then, Dear is a hero or martyr.

As US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, says this was a crime against women. Thank you. Finally some honesty.

"Attorney General Loretta Lynch released a statement on Saturday evening, describing the attack as "not only a crime against the Colorado Springs community, but a crime against women receiving healthcare services at Planned Parenthood, law enforcement seeking to protect and serve, and other innocent people."

What's very interesting here is that we have the cross section of two very fraught political issues-gun control and abortion.

What we have learned is that while gun control is divisive, it can at least be discussed. Abortion is so polarizing, it can't even be openly discussed. The media pretends to sweep the very subject under the rug.

Again, regarding prolife the very term is one of extreme aggression and you can plausibly argue it represents an incitement to violence.

For this reason, I think that we should refer to them not as prolife but what they are-anti abortion activists. Hopefully some news organizations will consider this.

I can imagine that such anti abortion groups will not like this at all. At the least they'll say, we should stop calling their opponents prochoice in that case. 

But this is the problem. The two sides are asymmetric. To say you're prochoice is not to demonize your opponents. Prolife was a brilliant political coup but it is too good-it literally calls your opponents murderers, and baby killers. 

The anti abortion activists would probably say that prochoicers should call themselves pro abortion. But this is a clear fallacy. To say you are pro choice doesn't mean you are pro abortion, just that you think the choice-for or against having an abortion-rests with the women whose body the pregnancy grows in, not anyone else's. 

To be pro choice is not like the NRA with guns where they desire to maximize not just gun sales, but literally gun shots-as many shots fired as possible. 

To be pro choice doesn't mean you want to maximize-or minimize-the number of abortions performed.

Planned Parenthood Shooting: 'This was Definitely Political'

Ok, so I guess now it's ok to stop pretending we don't know the motive of Friday night's shootout at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.

"Source: Colorado shooter politically motivated, said ‘no more baby parts’ after attacking Planned Parenthood."

"The gunman suspected of storming a Planned Parenthood clinic and killing a police officer and two others told the officers who arrested him “no more baby parts,’’ after being taken into custody, according to a law enforcement official."

"The attack on the clinic was “definitely politically motivated,’’ the official — who has been briefed on the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity because it is still unfolding — told The Washington Post. NBC News, which first reported the comment attributed to suspect Robert Lewis Dear, said Dear also mentioned President Obama in a range of statements to investigators that left unclear his precise motivation in targeting the clinic."

Yet, as you see even here, the Washington Post is feigning agnosticism as to the motivation. 'Gee he said no more baby parts and mentioned President Obama. Whatever could be his motivation?'

This is really not hard. Indeed, it's hard to the extent that you try to make it hard. It's really harder to say the motive is hard to ascertain than just telling the truth. This guy was motivated by prolife ideology. His reference to 'baby parts' goes back to that doctored video that claims PP was selling baby parts. Remember Carly Fiorina's absurd theatrics?

Let me help you if you still find his motivation hard to read. He said 'No more baby parts.' This meant he attacked the PP clinic to make sure they don't sell any more baby parts. If you have another more intuitive reading than that, I'd love to hear it.

In that passage from WP, it's almost like they are seriously claiming that because he also mentioned Obama, this makes his motivation hard to guess-'He did say no more baby parts but then he said something wholly different, he said Obama, so which is it? It's so hard, we may never know.'

But of course in the mind of the extreme prolife Right, Obama is a godless, socialist who has the blood of babies on his hands. Really, is this hard to tease out?

I had a previous post yesterday that, partly in response to Tom Brown argued that while the media in this case seems extremely timid in terms of connecting the logical dots and making any speculations no matter how reasonable, they are not nearly so humbly agnostic when it's regarding foreign terrorism.

Then they are quick to speculate that it's ISIS, that it was due to Obama's 'feckless ISIS policy' , etc. When the Russian airplane went down, pundits like Chuck Todd had one response. 'Was it a bomb? Oh, so you think it was a bomb? Could it have been a bomb" Oh, so it was a bomb?'

But in this sort of domestic terrorism, they engage in this sort of extreme soft-pedaling.

I for my part was pretty certain it was about abortion from the first moment. What else could it be about? Ok, it was logically possible that it targeted PP totally coincidentally, but what is the likelihood of that?

There's such a thing as paralysis of analysis. Yes, there is the amassing of evidence but there is also intuition. Certainly my intuition told me this had to be about PP, which totally confirms it is.

To claim otherwise is simply laughable. We have the fact taht since that video, threats and violence against PP has increased exponentially.

Tom said he thinks there's no coverup. But let's be clear what I'm alleging.I'm not saying there was literally a bunch of people in a room that agreed to coverup the motive. But there are matters of fact and matters of framing. Lies of commission and lies of omission.

The media tends to frame thing one way in terms of foreign terrorism, another way in terms of domestic terrorism.

It is very sensitive about being nonpartisan-especially ways in which the Right complains about.

I had another piece yesterday that argued that the very term prolife' could be read as hate speech, or at least incitement to violence. Think about it: if abortion really is morally speaking murder, then how can you say it's wrong for someone to do what was done Friday night?

You can argue he was a hero or martyr. Many prolife groups have condemned the violence and they deserve credit for that.

Yet, if they deserve credit, it also begs the question: why, if they believe abortion is murder, do they condemn the violence? Why not look upon Robert Lewis Dear as a modern day John Brown who was willing to destroy property and attack plantations in order to free the slaves and end slavery?

Now you can counter that many-most-prolifers don't condone what Dear did.

But the stubborn question remains why? I can only surmise that this shows that most prolifers on some level know abortion is not murder.  It is something other than that. If it isn't then why is Dear a crazed gunman and not a hero or a martyr?

I think this is why the media is so ginger here about admitting Dear's motivation. They so hate to take sides and so much love to be neutral and 'nonpartisan'-but what this ends up doing so often is leading them to side with the Right.

They want to feel like they are just calling balls and strikes here. But to even admit here that Dear was motivated by prolife ideology-I argue that calling them prolife rather than antiabortion is in itself incitement to violence-is forcing them to take sides with the prochoice side.

If you admit that Dear is antiabortion then you're also admitting that it's wrong to go on terrorist Jihads against abortion clinics. But once you do that, you're already sort of admitting that abortion isn't really murder.

So the media is in hyper hairsplitting mode as to motive.

"Yet even as authorities worked to determine the exact motive and released few details about Friday’s shootings, the politics of the highly charged abortion issue seemed to outstrip their efforts to be methodical. While anti-abortion activists denied any knowledge of Dear and said he is not affiliated with their movement, pro-choice activists countered that rhetoric by conservatives against Planned Parenthood had precipitated the nation’s latest mass shooting."
Let's be clear that when they say methodical they mean nonpolitical. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

On the Media's Handling of the Planned Parenthood Attack

Tom Brown has raised some questions about it based on my earlier posts on the latest Colorado mass shooting.

"My impression so far is not that this is a cover up, but that just maybe the situation is a little unclear. You quoted an article that said the gunman said three were killed and others shot INSIDE the clinic. It was unclear to me who you were quoting, but nowhere else have I seen a description of who was killed and where they were located. One article implied that at least some of the people were shot in a shopping mall nearby."

I'm not sure which quote Tom is referring to that he's unclear about. If he were to quote me with the link to the post I'm sure I could show him. I must have linked to an article-I quoted from Talking Points Memo, and other sources earlier.

"I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt (the news orgs that is) and assume they don't want to turn speculation into a false headline."

I find that I'm less ready to do that. I find it very hard to believe that there is any motive here other than the obvious one. Planned Parenthood performs abortion videos and there was the recent fake videos. That already makes it a pretty huge coincidence that he just so happened to choose PP purely randomly.

There's different ways of analyzing such a tragedy. Tom seems to want to stick to painstakingly reading every single article out there and coming up with a verdict based on the preponderance of these many articles.

That's part of it but I think to really be able to understand what happened in such events you also have to use your intuition.

"So I thought the easiest way to cut to the chase on this was to look up who was killed and where... (for example, if it said "abortion doctor and nurse killed" then I'd know exactly what was going on)... but so far nothing."

"Did he kill PP personnel right away (doctors and nurses or patients?), and then barricade himself, only wounding others in the mall in his shootout will police outside?"

"Did he directly target people in this mall? Are the other two who died mall shoppers?"

So there is empirical evidence and intuition. My intuition makes me very skeptical that there was any other motive. I find this extreme agnosticism over motive pretty suspicious.

PP has been a lightning rod  and anyone who provides abortion services has been in danger for years. There is a history of threats and violence against such health clinics that has gone up exponentially since the fake PP video.

Tom on the other hand wants to just trust the media to be trying to do the right thing. Maybe he feels good about them right now as they are working so hard to destroy Trump. LOL.

I have to say that one issue I have with is something Tom ha said before-it was the exact same thing Sumner has said: I take people at their word.

There's the suggestion that you have to e pretty out there not to. I will admit to being a little more skeptical. I wouldn't say I always take people at their word-it depends who it is. Is it someone to paraprhase Kevin McCarthy who's 'trustable?' LOL.

What I do always do is factor in people's word. But I also factor in other things.

The one thing I will say to Tom is this: Just because someone isn't obviously crazy a la Ben Carson, just because they 'sound reasonable' to the casual eye doesn't mean they are reasonable, much less honest.

Here's a big point of contention I have. In this case, the media seems to want to painstakingly cautious, where no speculation whatsoever is allowed to be entertained.

You're not allowed to connect the dots like I have done. Yet, when the subject is say the Paris attacks or the attack on the Russian plane a few weeks ago, the attitude is very different.

When the Russian plane went down no one knew for sure what happened. However, Chuck Todd and the rest of the Beltway press-Andrea Mitchell, Joe Scarborough-were very anxious to say that they thought it was likely ISIS.

Now it seems ISIS was behind it. ISIS has taken credit, Russia has agreed-so at this point I agree we have to take this as what happened-unless we learn something new that changes things markedly.

But even before the facts were in the media was willing to connect the dots. What I find is that on issues of foreign terrorism the media is usually much less shy about speculating who might have done it and not mind quite possibly being wrong later.

But on what we should call domestic terrorism, the media seems to want it to be a speculation freezone.

What I do want to say is that there is a real desire among the Right to ascribe what happened yesterday to being about something other than abortion ,anything other than abortion.

Some might just be prepared to wait and see what the media turns up. But the Right is not waiting. They were not shy about claiming this was nothing but a bank robbery that went bad.

My reason why I feel like I can't just do what Tom is doing and 'wait for the facts' is that there are opponents of a woman's right to choose that are not waiting in the least and are determined to frame this narrative.

So for me, personally, being too timid to speculate whatsoever is not a luxury I feel that I and anyone who is concerned about a woman's right to choose can afford.

UPDATE: Here is the latest from the media after most of the day is done.

"Three people were killed and nine injured on Friday at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic in a mass shooting and standoff that the organization at first suggested was "domestic terrorism" before replacing that language with "horrific tragedy."

"The mayor of Colorado Springs, John Suthers, on Saturday said authorities aren't ready to discuss a possible motive of the gunman but people can make "inferences from where it took place."

Read more:

So at least Mayor Suthers is allowing us to make inferences. The Right is going to want this to be ascribed to just a guy with mental illness. Of course, just because he's mentally ill doesn't mean he has no motive.

"Suthers says investigators have interviewed the suspect, 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear of North Carolina, but authorities still want to learn more about him, suggesting that his mental health was part of the investigation, according to the Associated Press. Multiple media reports drawing on neighbors' testimony painted a picture of a recluse with a history of acting strangely."

Read more:

There you go. It was nothing to do with prolifers. The mental illness made him do it. Meanwhile. it's not enough that PP was the victim of this attack, GOPers are openly bullying them in addition.
"Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican, criticized Planned Parenthood's initial statement on the shooting as "very premature" in an appearance on CNN. "If we find out that he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that," he said.

"Obviously, this is a person that has a mental health issue, that's to some level psychotic and crazy,” he said. "And if he's targeting Planned Parenthood — and again, we don't know — if he is, he has taken a legitimate disagreement with the practice and turned it into an evil response, which is to go in and shoot people."

Read more:

Blaming it all on mental illness. No need for gun control. No need to protect women's healthcare clinics. Just mentally ill people that nothing much can be done about. This is the narrative. 

Et Tu President Obama? POTUS Fails to Mention Planned Parenthood in Statement

I discussed in a previous post that there is such hostility of a woman's right to choose in our country-and I personally have had conversations that show even many women seem to be shaky about this discussion; I was attacked by many female followers on Twitter as well when I pointed out Biden's terrible record on abortion. One claimed that as a man I was trying to force women to have abortions!

In the aftermath of yesterday's awful attack on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, Hillary was attacked for simply saying she stands with PP. None of the GOP presidential candidates have even mentioned the mass shooting which has left 3 dead and 11 injured.

The media has pretended that we don't know the motive-gee, whatever could it be?

There seems to be a conscious desire to edit out that this was an attack on Planned Parenthood and that death threats have spiraled against it an other clinics since that phony video about selling organs

So we hear about the police officers slain trying to end the attack and about local businesses and motorists endangered, but the fact that it was at PP is treated as almost incidental.

I'm sorry to have to say that President Obama's first statement was in this meme.

"President Barack Obama on Saturday said that "enough is enough" in a statement released in the wake of the mass shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic."

"The last thing Americans should have to do, over the holidays or any day, is comfort the families of people killed by gun violence -- people who woke up in the morning and bid their loved ones goodbye with no idea it would be for the last time. And yet, two days after Thanksgiving, that’s what we are forced to do again."

His statement noted many details of Friday's attack in Colorado Springs, which left three dead and nine injured, were still unknown, including the shooter's motive.

"What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect. We know that law enforcement saved lives, as so many of them do every day, all across America. And we know that more Americans and their families had fear forced upon them."

"This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this -- if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience -- then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough."

"Obama has been forthright in his criticism of federal and local gun laws and has urged Americans who want to see tighter gun control to become "single issue" voters"

Read more:

Gun violence is to be sure a very contentious issue. But at least you are able to discuss it as he did there. To even admit that this was an attack on clinics that provide abortion services to women, is considered to explosive to even acknowledge.

You know me if you have read me for any length of time. I will fight to the death to defend the President. But here, this is a glaring omission.

I'm hoping the President later expands his comments.

UPDATE: It looks like this Politico piece left out the full statement of Obama which does mention PP.

On Planned Parenthood Attack, a Silence That Speaks Volumes

It's just what someone says but what they don't say that speaks to where they are. There is a deafening silence in response to the PP attacks. 

The media has acted as if we don't know the motive of an attack at Planned Parenthood.

The GOP Presidential candidates have simply refused to say anything about the attacks at all.

For today's GOP, even comdemning a mass shooting at Planned Parenthood is a bridge too far.

Hillary Clinton was excoriated for opportunism on Twitter by prolife activists for simply tweeting this.

"Today and every day, we #StandWithPP. "

These prolifers feel that she should have not mentioned PP but just the police shot as well as the motorists and other local businesses-everyone but PP, ie,

Even Benie seems to have somewhat blunted his message. 

We proudly #StandWithPP of Colorado Springs and the brave law enforcement personnel who fought to protect it."

Ok, I don't know maybe I'm reading into it but you wonder if he mentions the police to make up for saying something positive about PP.

Overall, a woman's right to choose seems to have fewer friends than most any issue you care to think of. At least gun control is discusses, albeit never done.

What Happened in Colorado Springs Didn't Happen in a Vacuum

The real scandal is that many in the media today are pretending they don't know what the motive was.

In my last piece, I argued that the very term prolife, while brilliant framing for abortion opponents is in itself a clear incitement to violence. After all, if you really believe abortion is murder why not use any means to put a stop to it like abolitionist John Brown used with slavery.

That this is the implication tells you right away that there is something morally perverse about the claim that abortion is murder.

There has been a clear uptick in recent threats and violence against clinics.

"The New, Ugly Surge in Violence and Threats Against Abortion Providers"

"The deadly shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic is part of a disturbing trend."

"Three people were shot dead and nine injured Friday at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, the first time since 2009 that anyone has been killed in an incident linked to activity at an abortion clinic. The attack comes amid an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral—and widely debunked—videos."

"While police have not discussed the alleged motives of the suspect, who has been arrested, the attack began at the clinic. According to authorities the gunman entered the facility Friday afternoon and began shooting. During an hours-long standoff, he exchanged fire with police, killing one officer."

"Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress' videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood selling fetal issue, harassment, threats, and attacks against abortion providers, their staff, and facilities have surged dramatically across the country, according to new numbers from the National Abortion Federation."
So that doctored video-that Carly Fiorina lied so theatrically about at the 2nd GOP debate-has a lot of blood on its hands.
This is a conversation that is even more taboo than the one about gun violence-that this latest killing is just another example of. 

UPDATE: I should have included these quotes:

"Since the series of highly-edited, misleading anti-abortion videos was released in July, we have seen an unprecedented increase in hate speech and threats against abortion providers" says Vicki Saporta, the president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, which has been tracking violence against providers since the 1970s."

"We have been quite worried that this increase in threats would lead to a violent attack like we saw" on Friday, she added.

"The Federation is suing Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress for allegedly setting up a sham biomedical organization and misrepresenting their identities in order to gain access to and record a federation meeting."

"Abortion providers have grappled with harassment and threats for years, but the tide of vitriol began rising dramatically in July, after the first video was released. Soon after that, an anonymous reader posted a message on Fox Nation's website."

"I'll pay ten large to whomever kills Dr. Deborah Nucatola. [She] should be summarily executed. I'll do it myself if no one else does." A month later, another physician, Dr. Savita Ginde, came home to find 50 people protesting outside her door. They left fliers around her neighborhood that said, "Savita Ginde Murders Children."

Prolife Activism and Hate Speech

First of all, can the media stop saying we don't know the motive? The motive couldn't be more obvious. Those who work at facilities that offer abortion services are under constant threat of attack.

But somehow here it's 'politicizing a tragedy' even to admit that this targeting of Planned Parenthood was no happy accident.

"Anti-abortion videos inspired recent spike in threats, arson against Planned Parenthood and may have led to fatal shooting in Colorado Springs: pro-choice activists"

My use of the phrase 'happy accident'', alas, is no accident as aren't prolife folks happy today?

This is an uncomfortable truth of the prolife position. It was very smart framing in the early 80s when anitabortion activists started calling themselves 'prolife.' It immediately puts those who support a woman's right to choose on the defensive as being against life. 

But isn't the very phrase 'prolife' in a sense an incitement to violence and indeed murder at abortion clinics?

After all, if you really believe that this is murder then how do you say it's wrong to try to stop them by any means necessary? 

Taking this logic to its logical conclusion then you end up where Robert Lewis, last night's Planned Parenthood killer stood. In hims mind he probably thinks he's defending life not taking it. 

Of fighting a murderous practice sanctioned by a cold, amoral, secular humanist, socialist government. 

What I'm saying here is intended to be controversial. That the very phrase prolife is an incitement to violence and murder. 

We have the comments of Ben Carson that liken abortion to slavery. This puts a Robert Lewis in the same camp as John Brown, the radical abolitionist who was willing to engage in terrorist violence to free the slaves.

Calling themselves prolife is the brilliant strategy that abortion opponents have demonized their opponents into literal murderers. 

Yesterday, is an example of what this has reaped. 

On the Latest Colorado Shooting

You hate to put it that way but during our gun epidemic we've many mass shootings in Colorado and of course, the first such shooting that really brought this to national attention was Columbine.

It seems that for her to even say the words 'Planned Parenthood' is exploitation in this context. A bunch of Right wing trolls on Twitter feel she should stand with the other businesses in the area-that were;n't the target. 

With ISIS, Democrats are wrong not to say 'Islamic terrorism' but here she's wrong for saying Planned Parenthood. 

But of course, this is what makes this mass shooting different. It's targeting of PP. In the minds of Republicans you're not allowed to do anything about PP but spit. Gee, could this maybe be exactly how the killer felt?

And of course, what happened to PP is an ongoing war on a woman's right to choose, where many red states have basically ended it-as there are very few places a woman can get an abortion in the state. And all PP clinics and all doctors and facilities that offer abortion services are under the constant threat of what happened yesterday. 

Whenever there is another mass shooting we are told we can blame anything but guns. But this will provoke and even more virulent reaction on the Right. There is such hatred of woman's right to choose. 

In this case, the Right doesn't even want to acknowledge what happened. Not one of the 14 GOP candidates have even commented on what happened. Rubio was saying 'Gee, just stay warm and buy some of my wonderful merchandise.'

UPDATE: Meanwhile, I notice that a lot of the media is pretending we don't know the motive of the 57 year old male gunman. I'm sure the choice of PP was just a little coinkidink. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Two Things the GOP Establishment Fears Most If Trump Wins the Nomination

Tom Brown brought this up yesterday-what do the GOPers do if Trump really wins the nomination?

"If Trump becomes the nominee, and he's openly fascist at the time (I don't think he's necessarily there yet, but I'm extrapolating), then perhaps (just perhaps!) a few of the big GOP donors might actually sit it out."

"I could see Jennifer Rubin (for example) actually endorsing HRC if Trump were the nominee. For fuck's sake, she's already said he's "totalitarian." And she's already stated that HRC is to the right of Cruz and Trump on foreign policy (to the right, being a good thing in her book). I could see Rand Paul and McCain doing the same. Perhaps the WSJ too would endorse HRC. Trump might evolve into such a vile candidate, that a David Vitter type reaction takes place. That would be an incremental improvement in my book, even if it only influences a small minority of GOP voters. Perhaps Sheldon Adleson would refuse his millions, if they'd go towards a Trump campaign. I could see Trump getting into a conflict with Adleson... wouldn't take much for him to fly off the handle and say something antisemitic or insulting towards a donor class guy like Adleson. It's unlikely, but it's far from inconceivable. The ADL (on their website today) seems pretty alarmed by the fascistic tone coming from "some candidates."

"Wouldn't it be ironic if in the end, ... if Trump is the official GOP nominee, that the OTHER candidates (except Cruz and Carson perhaps), actually refuse to support him? Lol... Here Fox was trying to trap Trump (w/ the 1st question of the 1st debate) into being the one guy who'd be a backstabber to the GOP should he lose the nomination, when I could actually see the tables exactly reversed (and a majority of the other candidates refusing to support Trump)... should Trump continue on his trajectory towards fascism but simultaneously win the nomination. That outcome would split the GOP into two or more parties I think."

The GOP fears that Hillary would trounce Trump in Goldwater terms.

"The Republican Party faces a nightmare scenario with Trump as its nominee, with two possible outcomes—both of which are unappetizing. The more likely possibility is that Trump could so offend the general public that the GOP would get a historic electoral drubbing to rival the 1964 defeat of Barry Goldwater, who carried only a handful of states and handed over super-majorities to Democrats in Congress and the Senate. Democrats are highly unlikely to win such super-majorities in 2016, but with the Republican ticket headed by a loudmouth bigot they could certainly pick up seats in the House and re-take the Senate."

But as bad as that would be, the GOP has an even larger fear. What could be worse than Hillary blowing away Trump?

"But the other possible outcome is even worse for the GOP: Trump could win the presidency. A recent Washington Post article about panic within the Republican establishment made clear that there are leading figures in the party who are terrified at the prospect of a Trump presidency. “We’re potentially careening down this road of nominating somebody who frankly isn’t fit to be president in terms of the basic ability and temperament to do the job,” one GOP strategist told the Post. “It’s not just that it could be somebody Hillary could destroy electorally, but what if Hillary hits a banana peel and this person becomes president?” Here is a Republican strategist having nightmares about a Republican candidate winning the White House."

Meanwhile. a dittohead told Rush yesterday that if the Establishment destroys Trump, he'll vote for Hillary himself. 

So we've come full circle. The Establishment would rather Hillary than Trump. And the base would rather Hillary than Rubio. 

Funny, I feel the same way.

Has Marco Rubio Made a Sincere Comment Since Puberty?

Alan Grayson says no, and it's hard to argue with him.

"Before the Paris attacks, Rubio, who comes from an immigrant family himself, said that he was open to permitting "some" refugees to resettle in the U.S. The Florida senator then changed his tune, suggesting that someone with a terrorist background may "sneak in" with the displaced Syrians. More recently, Rubio added that "common-sense" exceptions, like a "5-year-old orphan" or a "90-year-old widow," would apply to his closed-door policy."

"He's doing what Marco Rubio always does," Grayson told HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. "He's trying to make a political calculation about which position will win him the most votes or the most money from his campaign supporters. That's pathetic. People's lives are at stake here. Thousands and thousands of lives are at stake here."

Grayson added that Rubio's position on the issue lacked sincerity.

"As far as I can tell, Marco Rubio has never been sincere in any statement that he's made since puberty," Grayson said.

"Before the Paris attacks, Rubio, who comes from an immigrant family himself, said that he was open to permitting "some" refugees to resettle in the U.S. The Florida senator then changed his tune, suggesting that someone with a terrorist background may "sneak in" with the displaced Syrians. More recently, Rubio added that "common-sense" exceptions, like a "5-year-old orphan" or a "90-year-old widow," would apply to his closed-door policy."

"He's doing what Marco Rubio always does," Grayson told HuffPost Live's Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani. "He's trying to make a political calculation about which position will win him the most votes or the most money from his campaign supporters. That's pathetic. People's lives are at stake here. Thousands and thousands of lives are at stake here."

Grayson added that Rubio's position on the issue lacked sincerity.
"As far as I can tell, Marco Rubio has never been sincere in any statement that he's made since puberty," Grayson said.

I do have,however, a bone to pick with the Huff Po journalist who seemed to be trying to blame Trump for what Rubio is saying.

This is something that drives me nuts. I'm not just going to presume that he doesn't really mean what he's saying in this primary. Who wants to vote for the guy who either is a huge bigot, or pretended he was just to win the GOP nomination? Not that his previous view was anything to write home about-'We can take some refugees.'

Krugman hits the nub if the faux media and GOP Establishment indignation over Trump.

"Greg Sargent has lately been driving home the point that Donald Trump just isn’t vulnerable to typical establishment attacks — at least in the Republican primary. (The general election might be different.) Catch him making an utterly false assertion, and his supporters just see it as the liberal media conspiring against him. It’s driving the establishment Republicans wild."

"But really, why should they be shocked? Think about what the establishment has to say on other issues. The chairman of the House science committee says that global warming is a fraud, perpetrated by a vast conspiracy at the NOAA, which is presumably part of a global scientific conspiracy. When the administration reported large numbers of people signing up for Obamacare, leading Republican Senators accused it of cooking the books — and I’m unaware of any apology or even acknowledgement that they were wrong. Rush Limbaugh claimed that one of the Batman films was an anti-Romney conspiracy. And on and on."

"So how are base voters supposed to know that Trump’s claims that the media suppressed films of Muslims cheering on 9/11 mark him as crazy, while all the other conspiracy theories on the right are OK? I guess someone could try to put out a cheat sheet listing acceptable and unacceptable tin-hat views; but Trump would just call that part of the conspiracy, and a lot of people would believe him."

"Sorry, guys, you created this monster, and now he’s coming for you"

Thank you! As usual it takes Krugman to most succinctly put the rise of Trump in its proper perspective. Trump is doing things that the Establishment has done and condoned for years. But suddenly it's out of bounds?

Syrian Refugees: the Day Assad Leaves Syria I Will Return

This is kind of food for thought. Most Syrian refugees are fleeing Assad not ISIS first and foremost-not to say they are fond of ISIS.

But Assad is what drove the refugee problem in the first place.

In camps in Greece, Austria and now in the Netherlands, every Syrian I have interviewed has said they would have stayed at home, if at all possible. I ask Samer the question I ask everyone: “When the war ends, will you return to Syria or would you prefer to stay here in Europe?”

His answer is immediate:

“The day Assad leaves Syria, I will return, even if that is tomorrow — or today!”

I press him: “But if there is still fighting among rebels? What will be left, after years of war?”

Samer doesn’t budge.

“I will return.”

I remind him of the presence of ISIL in large swaths of the country, and he gives this serious consideration. “If Assad and ISIL leave, then I will return.”

This underscores that if we are able to get Russia into a coalition that ends the civil war, they will hav to be flexible on Assad. 

He really is the locus of the problem. He drove ISIS into Syria in the first place. 

According to David Ignatious, we are getting closer to a solution to the civil war. 

"Diplomatic negotiations on Syria got lost in the aftermath of the Paris attacks a week ago. But the talks have made surprising progress — and they may prove a crucial part of any successful strategy for combating terrorists from the Islamic State."

"Secretary of State John F. Kerry managed to gather all the major players — Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and the key European nations — in Vienna last weekend. Just getting them to the table is an accomplishment — and a move back from the Saudi-Iranian proxy war that has helped drive the Syrian nightmare."

"The next step would be a cease-fire between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the non-terrorist opposition. Such a truce would allow a multi-pronged assault on the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria. Here, too, there has been unexpected progress."

"A test of the delicate process will be whether it includes an Islamist opposition group called Ahrar al-Sham. This rebel group has been backed by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and it has fought alongside Jabhat al-Nusra against the regime and its Russia ally. But, interestingly, the United States and the Assad government both seem willing to allow Ahrar al-Sham into the non-extremist tent, so long as it agrees to accept a cease-fire."
“If you come to the party, then you’re on the guest list,” says one source who’s close to the Assad regime. A similar thought is expressed from the other side of the conflict by one Gulf official: “If there’s a cease-fire, then whoever continues to fight will be on the ‘red list.’

It will certainly solve some real problems if there is a cease-fire. That would be major progress. Hopefully they can keep Russia on the same page after what happened with Turkey.