Archive

September 13th, 2016

Temperatures Rise, and We’re Cooked

    One of Donald Trump’s 100 wackiest ideas is that climate change is a hoax fabricated by China to harm the United States.

    “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing uncompetitive,” Trump once tweeted.

    He later said, unconvincingly, that he had been kidding about China, but he has emphasized that he does not believe in climate change and would end serious efforts to prevent it.

    That obstinacy confronts a new wave of research showing that climate change is much more harmful than we had imagined.

    Until now, the focus has been on rising seas, more intense hurricanes, acidification of oceans, drought and crop failures. But new studies are finding that some of the most important effects will be directly on our bodies and minds.

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I'm the first Muslim in Congress. I believe America can beat Islamophobia.

    Fifteen years ago, the United States was attacked by terrorists claiming to act in the name of Islam. America's response? "United We Stand." Yet now it feels like Muslims face more hatred in 2016 than on Sept. 11, 2001.

    Back then, President George W. Bush, no liberal, visited a mosque in Washington, D.C., just days later to show solidarity with Muslims, saying, "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war." People came together in gratitude for those who risked everything rescuing others during the attacks, including Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a 23-year-old first responder who died saving lives in the World Trade Center. He was Muslim. So am I.

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An open letter to Donald Trump

    Mr. Trump, with all due respect to you as the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, you cannot credibly serve as commander in chief if you embrace Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader has repeatedly shown himself to be an adversary of the United States. Putin, during his long tenure, has repeatedly pursued policies that undermine U.S. interests and those of our allies and partners. He has steadily but systematically moved Russia from a fledgling democratic state to an authoritarian one. He is the last foreign leader you should be praising.

    Abroad, Putin has interfered in the internal affairs of a host of nations on his periphery - through information operations, manipulation of elections and direct support, including providing weapons, to insurgent groups. Most significant, in the past decade, Putin has invaded two neighbors, Georgia and Ukraine - including annexing Crimea, the first major land grab in Europe since World War II. Putin's goal in doing this is to keep the nations of the former Soviet Union from linking their futures to that of Europe and the West. Do you back these actions?

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Why Trump's insurgency isn't like Goldwater's

    Half a century ago, a Republican rode his party's divisions to a presidential nomination by defying its establishment and empowering a populist base. Sen. Barry Goldwater dismayed Republican liberals who thought him extreme and some conservatives who foresaw his landslide defeat.

    Now Donald Trump is repeating history, minus the Republican liberals. Commentators have noted the parallels, some of them predicting that Trump will transform his party as Goldwater unexpectedly did in 1964 by mobilizing conservative forces that eventually produced the Reagan revolution.

    But there's a huge difference. Once nominated, Goldwater eventually commanded at least rhetorical support from Republican leaders. While a few regulars bailed out and many remained vexed, most went along because that's what you do.

    But not with Trump. Never has a candidate been rejected by such a diverse range of his own party's prominent figures. What's unprecedented is how many of them proclaim that he's not qualified for the job.

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Wells Fargo opened a couple million fake accounts

    Two basic principles of management, and regulation, and life, are:

    - You get what you measure.

    - The thing that you measure will get gamed.

    Really that's just one principle: You get what you measure, but only exactly what you measure. There's no guarantee that you'll get the more general good thing that you thought you were approximately measuring. If you want hard workers and measure hours worked, you'll get a lot of workers surfing the internet until midnight. If you want low banking bonuses and measure bonus-to-base-salary ratios, you'll get high base salaries. Measurement is sort of an evil genie: It grants your wishes, but it takes them just a bit too literally.

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September 12th

How the government could resist President Trump's orders

    If Donald Trump is elected, he's promised to move quickly - with head-spinning alacrity, in fact - to suspend Muslim immigration, or maybe even stop people from entering the United States "from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism." We'll withdraw from NATO unless all other members pay their fair share, either renegotiate or shred NAFTA, and begin "extreme vetting" of immigrants to make sure they aren't sneaking in any "hostile attitudes toward our country or its principles." Before you can say "Geneva Conventions," he'll order the waterboarding of suspected terrorists and approve interrogation techniques "a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding," too, even ordering the killing of the families of terrorism suspects. He might (or might not, or might) deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. But "on Day One," he insists, we will definitely "begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall."

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Trump, Clinton plan to stick to low road

    This should have been the week when both presidential candidates, the summer behind them, seized a back-to-school opportunity for a fresh start -- No. 2 pencils sharpened, pristine notebooks, a new backpack, a fresh chance to elevate the campaign to a level deserving of the office they aspire to. No such luck.

    All hopes for a new narrative were dashed when Donald Trump violated the vow all presidential candidates must take not to reveal anything about the classified intelligence briefings they get. It's never been dishonored, but at a joint "commander-in-chief forum" in New York on Sept. 7, Trump tried to leverage his access to score some cheap political points.

    His first briefing, he said, left him "shocked," because of the information it contained about an unspecified decision by President Barack Obama and his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, that had led to an unspecified "total disaster." His briefers, he said, were "not happy about" Obama's failure to "follow what our experts" advised.

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The glass ceiling isn't shattered yet

    There are many better reasons to oppose Donald Trump than his rampant sexism. But the brazenness of Trump's recent comments, and the not-so-subtle piling on by the Republican National Committee, demand some attention. The remarks are worth noting not only because of what they tell us about Trump & Co., but also because they illustrate some of the gender-based challenges that Hillary Clinton confronts as she seeks to become the nation's first female president, and that she would continue to face in office.

    At NBC's Commander-in-Chief Forum on Wednesday night, Trump was asked about his 2013 tweet on sexual assaults in the military: "What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?"

    There is only one possible answer when questioned about this tweet: "That was dumb, and I retract it."

    It will not surprise you that this was not Trump's response. "It is a correct tweet," he told Matt Lauer.

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The Conscience of the Contrarian Voter

    I met Gary Johnson, the somewhat-surging Libertarian Party candidate for president, years ago in one of those beautiful Western settings full of mostly awful people at the time — that is, lobbyists and various sycophants who attach themselves to any gathering of power.

    He was then the Republican governor of New Mexico, a rare politician with a glib sense of humor, rolling his eyes as his fellow Western politicians sucked up to bolo-tied suits from the oil industry. We talked mostly about marathons and mountains; he’s run the 26-mile race in less than three hours, and climbed the apex of the planet, Mount Everest, as well.

    I liked him instantly. And as I’ve followed him since then, my regard for Johnson has grown. Now that he’s running for president, and polling at 15 percent or better in at least 15 states, would I ever vote for him?

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Sexism: Let’s Deconstruct Donald

    Are Donald Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton sexist? To be fair, Trump is a guy who makes insulting personal remarks about everyone he disagrees with, regardless of gender. Let’s not jump to conclusions. This deserves a serious breakdown.

 

— Yelling

     Trump frequently complains that Clinton yells too much. “That’s why I turned her off last night ... I just couldn’t stand it. I got such a headache,” he told a rally this year. “But I won’t say it, because I’m not allowed to say it, right?” He added that he had “great respect for women, believe me.”

    Rule No. 1: When grading a candidate’s level of sexism, add one point for every time he says that what he just said is not politically correct. Add two if he interjects that he has great respect for women.

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