Archive

October 3rd, 2016

Why red-state newspaper endorsements of Clinton are not as dumb as they look

    Why bother?

    As if local newspapers did not have enough problems, with plummeting circulation and shrinking staffs, some recent endorsements of Hillary Clinton by editorial boards look like more self-inflicted wounds by an industry that specializes in them.

    When the Arizona Republic endorsed Clinton this week, longtime readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions - and many others trashed the paper on Facebook. When the Dallas Morning News endorsed the Democratic presidential nominee earlier this month, cancellations followed, and protesters picketed the building

    "We've paid a price for our presidential recommendation," Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson told Poynter.org, a site for news about the media, but he would not say exactly how many subscriptions had been lost.

    In both cases (and quite a few others, including the Cincinnati Enquirer), these papers had not endorsed a Democrat for president in generations.

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Who’s Really Older, Trump or Clinton?

     Strange we haven’t been talking more about age.

    Hillary Clinton is 68, and that’s old for a first-term presidential candidate in this country. The one thing we can say with absolute certainty is that we’d hear about it every day were it not for the fact that Donald Trump is 70.

    Still, Trump seems to be finding ways to get at it. Asked during the debate about his comment that Clinton doesn’t have “a presidential look,” Trump rejoined: “She doesn’t have the stamina. I said she doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country, you need tremendous stamina.”

    I believe he’s suggesting a question about stamina. Andrew Scharlach, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in aging issues, heard “a code for ‘She’s old! She’s a woman! You know how old women are.'”

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What Cruz's Support of Trump Says about the GOP

    Sen. Ted Cruz's humiliating capitulation last week to the Republican presidential nominee raises anew the question of what exactly the Republican Party is - and what it will be after November.

    Cruz had initially bet he could command the support of the party's reactionary base and ride it to the nomination. When Donald Trump claimed the base instead, Cruz withheld his support, calculating that Trump's buffoonery would make opposition to him appear principled, serious and conservative.

    That gambit, too, collapsed as Trump consolidated support from previously reluctant Republican voters, and Trump supporters in Texas began undermining Cruz's own standing at home, where he is up for re-election in 2018 and looking vulnerable to a primary challenge.

    Cruz not only endorsed Trump. He also dutifully stated Tuesday that Trump had maintained "the upper hand" throughout his hapless debate performance the prior night. An excellent debater himself, Cruz pledged to help with the next debate if Trump called on him.

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Trump's suburban problem -- and the GOP's

    Donald Trump's near meltdown in Monday's debate surely gave queasy stomachs to Republicans who have bowed before his candidacy despite their better judgments. Trump threatens to give conservative appeasers a very bad name.

     Let it be said that at least some in the party will be able to stand proudly after this god-awful election is over. We're witnessing real courage among those members of the party of Lincoln willing to say openly how genuinely dangerous a Trump presidency would be.

     For those whose livelihoods depend on building big audiences among pro-Trump rank-and-file conservatives (think radio talk show hosts and commentators of various kinds), joining the Never Trump camp carries real risks. For liberals, opposing Trump is about the easiest thing in the world, so we should honor the daring of our temporary comrades.

    Unfortunately, the Never Trumpers are a minority on the right. More typical are House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the most prominent among the GOP contortion artists who are hedging their bets.

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Trump is trying to pull Republicans back in to their bubble of delusion

    After a widely panned performance in the first presidential debate, Donald Trump quickly moved to deliver two seemingly contradictory messages to his supporters: First, I really won. Bigly. And second, if I didn't win, it was only because the whole thing was rigged.

    Remember the conservative information bubble that caused them so many problems in 2012? Trump is trying to reconstruct it, and if he succeeds, it could be a serious problem he'll leave behind if he loses in November, not just his party but for all of us.

    If we know anything about Trump by now, it's that as far as he's concerned, he's a winner who always wins, because he knows how to win and he wins, with so much winning you get bored of the winning. So naturally, he declared himself the victor after Monday's debate. "Every on-line poll, Time Magazine, Drudge etc., has me winning the debate" he tweeted . "Thank you to Fox & Friends for so reporting!" Well yes, thank you, Fox & Friends.

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Trump? How Could We?

    My reaction to the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton debate can be summarized with one word: “How?”

    How in the world do we put a man in the Oval Office who thinks NATO is a shopping mall where the tenants aren’t paying enough rent to the U.S. landlord?

    NATO is not a shopping mall; it is a strategic alliance that won the Cold War, keeps Europe a stable trading partner for U.S. companies and prevents every European country — particularly Germany — from getting their own nukes to counterbalance Russia, by sheltering them all under America’s nuclear umbrella.

    How do we put in the Oval Office a man who does not know enough “beef” about key policies to finish a two-minute answer on any issue without the hamburger helper of bluster, insults and repetition?

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Scott Walker’s Political Magic

    In a mindboggling trick, some magicians levitate themselves. But remember, the key word in “magic trick” — is trick.

    And magicians aren’t the only ones performing. Scott Walker, for example, is quite the political trickster.

    This right-wing extremist became so unpopular in his first term as Wisconsin’s governor that he faced a recall election in 2012. Yet, he seemed to rise in front of our very eyes, miraculously lifting himself above the public’s anger to avoid defeat.

    How’d he do that?

    As reported by The Guardian, some 1,500 secret emails, court testimonies, and financial records were recently uncovered, revealing that Walker had a hidden lifeline of corporate cash hoisting him up.

    Despite a Wisconsin law specifically prohibiting corporations from funding political candidates, millions of those banned dollars were pumped into the governor’s campaign.

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It's official: Fox News can do whatever the heck it wants

    Twenty years of living beyond the realm of consequence has its consequences. If Fox News wishes to say that concrete is soft; that the sun is cold; that dirt is clean; and that its news coverage is fair and balanced, it may do so. Its audience will be there to hear all about it.

    Such is the takeaway from this remarkable piece: "2003 clip backs up Trump on Iraq War opposition." To judge from the article's positioning and labeling, it has the full force of the network's straight-news operation behind it. For one, it comes from the "Fox News Politics" vertical on FoxNews.com, and it has nothing marking it "opinion" or otherwise stemming from the voice of a pro-Donald Trump partisan.

    As the article itself explains, Trump on Monday night at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University got himself in trouble again over Iraq. He continued insisting that he had opposed the March 2003 invasion launched by President George W. Bush. Debate moderator Lester Holt challenged him on this front, in a memorable exchange:

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In debate, Trump's lack of nuclear knowledge was on display

    When nuclear weapons policy came up in Monday's presidential debate, Donald Trump showed once again that he doesn't have basic knowledge of the details and hasn't thought through how he would handle America's nuclear arsenal if elected. It's only the latest example of his refusal to study up on national security.

    Hillary Clinton first brought up the subject of nuclear weapons Monday as an argument that Trump doesn't have the temperament to be commander in chief. She referred to Trump's previous statements endorsing the idea that allies including Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia might get their own nuclear weapons.

    "He even said, well, you know, if there were nuclear war in East Asia, well, you know, that's fine, have a good time folks," she said.

    "Wrong." Trump responded. "Nuclear is the single greatest threat."

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I sold Trump $100,000 worth of pianos. Then he stiffed me.

    At Monday night's debate, Donald Trump was called out for stiffing the people who work for him. Trump has been accused of failing to pay hundreds of contractors. And so far, he hasn't seemed very sorry. When asked about failing to pay someone by Hillary Clinton this week, Trump replied, "Maybe he didn't do a good job and I was unsatisfied with his work."

    I take that attack personally. I'm one of the many small business owners who've been used by Trump, exploited and forced to suffer a loss because of his corporation's shady practices.

    My relationship with Trump began in 1989, when he asked me to supply several grand and upright pianos to his then-new Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. I'd been running a music store for more than 30 years at that point, selling instruments to local schools and residents. My business was very much a family affair (my grandsons still run the store). And I had a great relationship with my customers -- no one had ever failed to pay.

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