Archive

October 18th, 2016

At long last!

    At long last several GOP leaders have withdrawn their support of their party's presidential nominee. Let us hope these withdrawals last longer than some of the earlier statements that they would never support this creep; however, the attitude quickly changed once he became the nominee. Some of them refused to state his name saying only they would support the party nominee, as if his being the nominee made it OK.

    Even now the Speaker of the House may have refused to campaign for him but still refuses to make a simple statement that he will not vote for him. After earlier joining the chorus of supporting the nominee Senator John McCain has once again found his moral voice to recognize that this man is not fit to be President of this great nation. There is nothing truly new about what the candidate said that left no doubt of his immoral proclivities. It simply reinforced what was already plainly apparent about the man's character. It would seem that in the world of these supporters the "boys will be boys" attitude is alive (and un-well) so long as it is their man instead of Bill Clinton.

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Why we shouldn't forgive the Republicans who sold their souls

    Of the remarkable things we have learned this election year, the most significant is that the current Republican Party is unfit to lead the country. It has failed the greatest test a political leader or party can face, and failed spectacularly.

    It has abandoned its principles out of a combination of cowardice and opportunism. It has worked to place in the White House the most dangerous threat to U.S. democracy since the Civil War. And perhaps just as revealing, it has in the process engineered its own suicide. Not only has the party refused to save the country, but also it has proved too helpless, too incompetent and too craven even to save itself.

    These are the people we're supposed to put in charge of the House and Senate for another two years? Whom we're then supposed to rally behind in the battle for the White House in 2020? No. Not this group. We know too much. We know all we need to know.

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October 17th

Learning to live without freedom

    "A sub . . . what?" I asked. My doctor described my ailment during a visit to her in early August.

    "It's called a subacute thyroiditis. Means your thyroid is infected and that's why you have fever. We think it is viral. But seeing how many people are showing up with this lately, I can only imagine it has something to do with what is happening in the country."

    Great. On top of ruining my television career, inhibiting my journalism and cannibalizing all my mental space, Turkey's repression was now destroying my body too.

    As if a full-blown insurgency in the Kurdish areas and a string of Islamic State bombings in Istanbul this year were not enough, we survived a horrifying military coup on the night of July 15 -- complete with with low-flying F16's, sonic bombs, gunfire and incessant calls from minarets to resist the uprising echoing in our small apartment on the Bosphorus.

    A few weeks and many sleepless nights after the failed coup, I was a complete wreck. Anxious. Sleepless. I suffered from fever and aches.

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What Donald Trump Is Right About

    Astonishingly, Donald Trump is right about something!

    After recently being caught on a 2005 tape gloating about sexual assaults, Trump issued an unapologetic apology in which he focused on the “big difference” between words and actions. And he has a point.

    But there’s abundant evidence that Trump has indulged in not just scurrilous rhetoric, but also in heinous actions. Several more women have stepped forward to offer on-the-record accounts of having been aggressively groped or kissed by Trump against their will, right after he met them.

    I also find entirely credible the allegations of Jill Harth, a former business partner of Trump’s, that he assaulted her in 1992 and 1993. Equally credible is the assertion by a former Miss Utah that Trump inappropriately kissed beauty contestants on the lips.

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What a court got wrong about dreadlocks and race

    Is it unlawful race discrimination for a company to ban dreadlocks in the workplace? In a decision that has become a topic of debate among law professors, a federal appeals court said no last month. The case is so important because the court defined race as biology, emphasizing "immutable characteristics" as the subject of anti-discrimination law. But for more than 75 years, scholars have understood that race is as much or more a matter of culture than it is about biological reality. The decision in EEOC v. Catastrophic Management Solutions is therefore built on quicksand -- and it's a mistake to embrace it, even if on some level the result might seem like common sense.

    In 2010, Chastity Jones applied to work as a customer service representative for Catastrophic Management Solutions. The job would not have involved any in-person contact with customers; she would be sitting at a computer in a call center.

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Trump just said he doesn't 'believe' he's losing women. He's wrong.

    In the wake of the sex tape revelations, more polls are showing Donald Trump sinking fast, even as Republican anxiety is mounting over what the GOP's ongoing crack-up could mean for the party's chances of holding the Senate and the House. But Donald Trump insists everything is just fine.

    Indeed, Trump made two remarkable assertions in a new interview with Bill O'Reilly: First, with Paul Ryan and other Republicans deserting him, Trump claimed he doesn't even want Ryan's support at this point. And second, he said his chief vulnerability -- his awful performance among female voters -- may not exist. That latter exchange is remarkable:

    O'REILLY: You're behind with women.

    TRUMP: I'm not sure I believe that.

    O'REILLY: Whether you believe it or not, that's what the polling says.

    TRUMP: Yeah.

    O'REILLY: Do you have any plan to speak to women directly?

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Trump disaster allows GOP to slide on tax policy

    In a kinder, gentler, alternate universe, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the Republican nominee for president. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is out stumping for Kasich and plotting the education and immigration policies that he'll pursue in the vice president's office. (Substitute Sen. Marco Rubio in the veep slot if you prefer; I went with the Floridian who demonstrated superior character.)

    With the electoral votes of Ohio and Florida in the bag, and two decent, smart, sunny-side-up conservatives on the trail, the GOP ticket is cruising comfortably toward the White House.

    Meanwhile, if anyone in the political world cares -- and in our alternate reality, they don't -- Donald Trump is preoccupied with a new reality-television show in which he gives away cash prizes to poor young women who excel in science. (The show is part of a settlement of a class-action suit against Trump.)

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The GOP's Trumpian moment of truth

    What is the Republican Party?

    Suddenly, this has become one of the central questions of the 2016 campaign. It's not simply a matter of whether the GOP is the party of Donald Trump or the party of Paul Ryan. It is also an issue of whether Republican congressional leaders have any connection with the seething grass roots whose anger they stoked during the Obama years but always hoped to contain. Trump is the product of their colossal miscalculations.

    And then there are the ruminations of millions of quiet Republicans -- local business people and doctors and lawyers and coaches and teachers. They are looking on as the political institution to which they have long been loyal is refashioned into a house of bizarre horrors so utterly distant from their sober, community-minded and, in the truest sense of the word, conservative approach to life.

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Reflections on two wildly different tax proposals

    Donald Trump's tax plan gives rich households -- those in the top 1 percent, with an average income of $2.4 million -- a tax cut of $215,000 next year and more than $300,000 once it's fully phased in.

    Hillary Clinton raises taxes on those same households by $118,000 initially and $164,000 upon full phase-in.

    Trump's plan loses $6.2 trillion in revenue over a decade.

    Clinton's plan raises $1.4 trillion.

    Trump's plan cuts the corporate tax rate by more than half, and it allows the top rate on many partnerships and other "pass-through" businesses to go from a 40 percent rate today to a 15 percent rate.

    Clinton hasn't yet proposed any changes to corporate tax rates, but she makes it harder and more expensive for U.S. multinational businesses to "invert" (incorporate abroad to avoid U.S. taxes), eliminates tax subsidies for fossil fuels, and imposes a "risk fee" on large, highly leveraged banks, as well as a tax on high-frequency traders who cancel big-batch orders.

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New Bill Clinton Biography Deserves More Credit

    Any way you look at it, Bill and Hillary Clinton are among the incomprehensible wonders of the political world. Reading my friend and former co-author Joe Conason's new book, "Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton," one thought recurred: Is it even possible to grasp the essence of this brilliant, mercurial, many-sided man, and his equally enigmatic and deeply ambitious wife -- much less to fully comprehend their passionate alliance?

    Maybe not. Indeed, reading a peevish, small-minded Washington Post review of Conason's book by one Carla Anne Robbins, I wondered if the journalistic phenomenon I call "The Clinton Rules" isn't mainly a defensive reaction.

    See, if the former president of the United States, aged 70, can devote his time between heart surgeries to exhausting tours of remote African villages checking on the Clinton Health Access Initiative' progress in saving millions of children from the ravages of HIV/AIDS, then what's your excuse?

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