Archive

October 3rd, 2016

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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October 2nd

What does it mean that Donald Trump lost the debate?

    What does it mean that Donald Trump lost Monday night's presidential debate?

    Sure, Trump had no real answer to Lester Holt's point that economic conditions are, in fact, improving. Or Holt's point that he carried on with his racist "birtherism" long after President Barack Obama released his birth certificate. Or Holt's point that he has no good reason to refuse to release his tax returns. Or Holt's point that he said he favored the Iraq War in 2002. Or Hillary Clinton's point that his fixation on trade agreements is myopic. Or Clinton's point that his tax plan would increase the very national debt he has been railing against. Or Clinton's point that experts predict his economic policies would throw the country into recession.

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How Donald Trump would worsen America's trade deficit

    Thirty-six hours after the first presidential debate of the general election season, the conventional wisdom has pretty much calcified: Donald Trump started out reasonably well but lacked the stamina to stay engaged in the debate as it wore on, leading to Hillary Clinton cleaning his clock. Both the New York Times' Jackie Calmes and The Washington Post's Jim Tankersley argue that Trump's protectionist rhetoric probably played well with voters. As Tankersley put it:

    "The first exchange of the first debate of the 2016 general election was Donald Trump's best moment of the night. The topic was jobs, and Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, had used it to distill her complicated economic plan into a tight two-minute bundle.

    "Trump spent almost his entire answer on a single issue, trade, to hammer home a simple theme: I'm for the working Americans who've been screwed by globalization; she's one of the politicians who let them get screwed."

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Five questions we need to answer before colonizing Mars

    For all the attention paid to billionaire Elon Musk's announcement this week that he hopes to get humans to Mars as early as 2024, the early news stories about his efforts focused mostly on the logistics of the effort, including funding, and the fact that the first pioneers to the red planet will probably die there. That's not to say that these are unimportant issues: There's no point to thinking about what life on Mars might be like if we can never actually get there or viably inhabit the planet.

    But if Musk envisions Mars and other planets as a potential escape hatch for humanity, it's worth thinking about what kind of society we might build as we spread out into the universe. And fiction like Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy and the "Expanse" series pose some important questions we all might want to consider.

 

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Debate round one goes to Clinton

    Near the end of Monday night's first presidential debate, Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed champion counter-puncher, led with his chin when asked by moderator Lester Holt of NBC News what he meant by saying rival Hillary Clinton did not have "a presidential look."

    "She doesn't have the look," Trump replied. "She doesn't have the stamina." But as the television split screen captured them standing side-by-side after 90 minutes of intensive verbal combat, Clinton seemed as alert and on her game as he did, despite the bout with pneumonia that had temporarily forced her off the campaign trail.

    She pounced on Trump's answer, converting it deftly to cast it in sexist terms. "He tried to switch from looks to stamina," she said, "but this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs." In one phrase, she kept Trump on the defensive as he had been most of the night.

    After the opening minutes, in which he presented a deferential and insult-free Donald, Clinton's relentless reminders of the more aggressive and intemperate Donald seemed increasingly to get under his thin skin.

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