Friday Reads: Shock and Awe on the American Campaign Trail

Good Morning!

Well, I  am supposed to be waiting to hear the Big Dawg speak at an event today. Instead, I’m sitting here with a flat tire waiting.  I’ve heard Bill Clinton speak quite a few times down here including with George H.W. Bush in a small tent on campus right after Katrina when I was one of two profs actually teaching on the UNO campus.  Exactly one building was open.  He’s really a great speaker and he has the ability to make you feel like the most important person he’s ever met when he’s one on one.  I wanted to see if he still had it frankly.

I’m still stunned by the so-called “debate” last night between the remaining Republican Presidential Candidates. Did you ever think you’d see ten minutes of one of these things dedicated to the penis size of the front runner?  Did you even think that a member of the U.S. Senate would be the one to bring it up on national TV?  I’d like to go on record saying that the Republican party needs to goes the way of the Dodo.  I’m not sure if there are any sane people left in the infrastructure, but whatever grown ups are left need to just turn off the lights and start over.  They need to send the racists and the religious kooks and the enablers that make them deny economic and scientific reality back to whatever self-created hell realm they’ve emanated from. Paul Krugman isn’t very generous about their shit show either.

So Republicans are going to nominate a candidate who talks complete nonsense on domestic policy; who believes that foreign policy can be conducted via bullying and belligerence; who cynically exploits racial and ethnic hatred for political gain.

But that was always going to happen, however the primary season turned out. The only news is that the candidate in question is probably going to be Donald Trump. Establishment Republicans denounce Mr. Trump as a fraud, which he is. But is he more fraudulent than the establishment trying to stop him? Not really.

Actually, when you look at the people making those denunciations, you have to wonder: Can they really be that lacking in self-awareness?

Donald Trump is a “con artist,” says Marco Rubio — who has promised to enact giant tax cuts, undertake a huge military buildup and balance the budget without any cuts in benefits to Americans over 55.

“There can be no evasion and no games,” thunders Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House — whose much-hyped budgets are completely reliant on “mystery meat,” that is, it claims trillions of dollars in revenue can be collected by closing unspecified tax loopholes and trillions more saved through unspecified spending cuts.

Mr. Ryan also declares that the “party of Lincoln” must “reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry.” Has he ever heard of Nixon’s “Southern strategy”; of Ronald Reagan’s invocations of welfare queens and “strapping young bucks” using food stamps; of Willie Horton?

Put it this way: There’s a reason whites in the Deep South vote something like 90 percent Republican, and it’s not their philosophical attachment to libertarian principles.

The Republican Party is capable of nothing these days but ruining the states they govern,  stopping any kind of governance on the Federal level,

and making laws to make lives miserable for any one that isn’t either white male or white male property and branded the right kind of  “christian”.  The one thing I will say about the ongoing shit show is that people that have been voting Republican under the mistaken idea that Republicans are anything but a party of rich dudes getting political favors and racists, misogynist, homobigoted religious freaks are finally finding out what’s been the underlying theme of insurrection since the Reagan Shit show. The Republican Party is not the Party of Lincoln or even Ronald Reagan.  It’s the party of George Wallace, at best.


The Republicans have become so obsessed with one policy–subsidizing the extremely rich--they’ve also tanked any possible hope that we can get reasonable trade policies or any kind of reasonable form of government spending to include fixing the damn roads and bridges.  If you look around the world, you can see how trade has been creating healthy middle classes.  There’s a lot of money that flows into countries from trade and a hell of a lot of it goes to workers and smaller businesses because responsible government ensures this through good policy.  NOT in this country, however.  They’ve destroyed the decades of what economics has taught us they way they’ve turned racism, misogyny and bigotry into religious freedom.

The Econ-101 case for free trade is straightforward: Trade benefits those who produce exports and those who consume imports (including producers who use imported goods as inputs). It hurts the producers of goods which can be made better or more cheaply abroad. But the gains to the winners exceed the gains to the losers: that is, the winners could make the losers whole and still come out ahead themselves. Therefore, trade passes the Pareto test.

[Yes, this elides a number of issues, including path-dependency in increasing-returns and learning-by-doing markets on the pure-economics side and the salting of actual agreements with provisions that create or protect economic rents on the political-economy side. It also ignores the biggest gainers from trade: workers in low-wage countries, most notably the Chinese factory workers whose parents were barefoot peasants.]

So when the modern Republican Party (R.I.P), in the name of “small government” and opposition to “class warfare,” set its face against policies to redistribute the gains from economic growth, it destroyed the theoretical basis for thinking that a rising tide would lift all the boats, rather than lifting the yachts and swamping the trawlers. Free trade without redistribution (especially the corrupt version of “free trade” with corporate rent-seeking written into it) is basically class warfare waged downwards.

Trade by itself can’t account for all of the fractal growth in incomes, with the top half of earners (mostly college graduates) pulling away from the less-educated bottom half, the top decile pulling away from the rest of the top half, the top 1% pulling away from the rest of the top decile, and the top tenth of 1% pulling away from the rest of the top percentile. (I suspect that the billionaires have also been pulling away from the merely rich, but I’m not sure there’s data to support that.) The increasing importance of “winner-take-all” phenomena (linked to the information revolution and the increasing importance of very-low-marginal-cost goods as well as trade), the combination of dual incomes and assortative mating, and the destruction of labor unions have all done their share.

But the bottom line is that all of the gains, not merely from trade but from economic growth, have been concentrated in the hands of a relative few.  And worsening inequality harms the relative losers even if their absolute incomes do not fall.

Have we finally reached a critical mass where folks on both sides of the aisles will realize that all they do is lie and that if Bernie Bros or Hillary Haters repeat their lies, we’re as good as cooked.   Donald Trump has pretty much killed the narrative that the Republicans are a Big Tent party that are just interested in a different approach to governing. 

Reeling from a second straight loss to Barack Obama, a flailing Republican Party in 2013 found its culprit: Mitt Romney’s callous tone toward minorities. Instead of being doomed to irrelevance in a changing America, the party would rebrand as a kinder, more inclusive GOP. They called their findings an “autopsy,” and party leaders from Paul Ryan to Newt Gingrich welcomed it with fanfare.

But even then, Donald Trump was lurking.

Now, with Trump’s GOP takeover fully underway, interviews with four co-authors of the 2012 autopsy and 10 other Republican leaders reveal a party establishment terrified that Trump is not only repeating the party’s failures — he’s destroying the party in the process. And while the leaders continue to insist that their report laid out the Republican Party’s best chance of victory, they fear Trump’s dominance will tear the party apart before they ever get a chance to put it in play. “New @RNC report calls for embracing ‘comprehensive immigration reform,’” he wrote in a little-noticed tweet, nestled alongside digs at Mark Cuban and Anthony Weiner on the day of the report’s release. “Does the @RNC have a death wish?”

Pundits laughed it off as the buffoonish ramble of a fringe New York billionaire on that March 2013 day, but what Trump didn’t say — and what the party establishment couldn’t have imagined — is that, three years later, he would be the one on the verge of making that death wish come true. The billionaire has not only ignored the report’s conclusions, he has run a campaign that moved the party in the exact opposite direction.

This is the same candidate that has open support of David Duke and white supremacists and answers questions about that support with “meh”. You need look no farther than Trump Rallies to find them out in the open and acting like goons. White nationalists shoved and assaulted a young black woman with absolute impunity.

White supremacists and other Donald Trump supporters could face charges for altercations that broke out during a Kentucky campaign rally — but so could protesters.

Video showed a white nationalist leader shoving and screaming at a black woman who protested the Republican presidential candidate’s rally Tuesday at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville.

Matthew Heimbach, head of the Traditionalist Youth Network, admits he was involved in an altercation with a black woman who he said was screaming obscenities and creating a disturbance, but he denied the woman’s claims that he used racial slurs.

One of the protesters, Henry Brousseau, filed a police report alleging that he was punched in the stomach by a woman in Heimbach’s group for shouting “Black Lives Matter,” reported the Courier-Journal.

The 17-year-old Brousseau said he did not know the woman’s name but took a photo of her before he was ejected from the event by what he believes was a combination of Trump security guards, Louisville Metro Police officers and Secret Service agents.

Trump interrupted his roughly 40-minute speech at least a half-dozen times to call for the removal of protesters, reported WDRB-TV, and some of the demonstrators said the candidate’s supporters roughed them up before they were ejected.

“I didn’t expect hands to be placed on me,” said protester Shalonte Branham. “I expected security to say, ‘It’s time to go,’ but I did not expect people to try and harm me.”

Karma has been swift for these horrible people in the world of social media.  Those of us living in the world outside Trump’s wet dreams are ensuring that chickens come home to roost.

Imagine if you will that you are one of the dullards who frequents Donald Trump rallies. Imagine that Donald Trump’s rhetoric is actually exciting enough for you to become energized when he hits the stage. Now imagine that because you are of the low-information variety American voter, your favorite part of the show is the racism.

You would be just like young Joseph Pryor, who was just kicked off of the US Marines’ delayed enlistment program, meaning he will not EVER be a United States Marine, because of the antics he pulled in connection with the assault of a black woman at a recent Trump rally in Kentucky.

Louisville police added to the mess the Trump supporters got themselves into by announcing they’re looking at filing criminal charges against several people. There has been some speculation that Trump himself may be facing charges as a ringleader, but that is unconfirmed at this time. What we do know is that a woman was treated with the utmost of disrespect, was physically and verbally assaulted and quite possibly had her civil rights violated for no reason other than the color of her skin.
It’s a common scene at these things. Protesters stand as quietly as they can and are eventually discovered and removed with extreme prejudice. Trump security personnel, local police and tens of thousands of unruly thugs in red hats solves those issues while Trump stands on stage scanning for the next people to have booted out. It’s nothing but a reality TV hook.

Now this poor young man, whose racism may have just been a side-effect of being raised by idiots and who may have had hope with just a few more IQ points, will tell the story of how he sacrificed his military service for Donald Trump. His friends will toast him with Natural Ice until the day he dies of liver failure. He’ll be buried with full honors by his World Of Warcraft buddies in a casket draped with the Gadsden Flag In an unsanmctioned cemetery slated to be paved for the new Walmart Supercenter parking lot.

This guy isn’t the first person to go full stupid for Donald Trump and lose big and he certainly won’t be the last.  But, so many folks are also

falling for horrid Republican lies about Hillary Clinton.  Last night, Rubio out right lied about the focus of the FBI interest in Clinton’s emails which were first outlined here.   Politico fact checked it last night along with other blatant lies last night.  The entire lot of them lie like a warehouse filled with rugs.

Marco takes two shots at Hillary on Benghazi; misses

Rubio launched a late attack on Hillary Clinton that contained what were at best two distortions. First, he said she’s under FBI investigation. In fact, the FBI is investigating handling of classified information on her email server, which is not quite the same as investigating her—at least not yet. Second, Rubio said Clinton lied to the families of the victims of the attack in Benghazi. But there’s no way to know: PolitiFact has delved into this before and determined “there simply is not enough concrete information in the public domain for Rubio or anyone to claim as fact that Clinton did or did not lie to the Benghazi families.” Clinton and the families disagree about what was said, but even if she blamed the video mocking Islam for triggering the attacks, that might not have been an intentional lie given the intelligence at the time.

— Isaac Arnsdorf

This morning our local published an Op Ed a local freaking Republican pol repeating the same damned lie!  (H/T to Adrastonos.)  “There is no FBI or DOJ email investigation of Hillary Clinton.”  Immunity granted to Bryan Pagliano does not look bad for her or mean she’s done something criminal at all.   There are now lies!  damned lies!  and Republican lies!!!

What about Clinton – does Pagliano’s immunity somehow count against her? Hardly. Again, it is only what it is.  The whole country saw her on live television being questioned by a Republican-majority House Committee. They can decide about her from what they saw themselves.

WAPO puts it this way: “Clinton emails continue to be non-scandal, disappointing Republicans”.  So, they lie.

US citizens of goodwill can no longer take the Republican Party seriously.  This morning, Fox News is trying to push Kasich as the reasonable one left

in the room.  This is the governor that is trying to take credit for both Obama’s and Clinton’s legacy while simultaneously damning them.  He is no moderate. Never has been or will be.

For all of Kasich’s supposed moderation, he is one of the most extreme antiabortion politician in America. Such views, however, seem to have little impact on Kasich’s moderate image.

Consider that, since Kasich took office in 2011, he has signed into law 16 antiabortion measures. These include a ban on abortions after 20 weeks; a mandatory ultrasound for women having abortions in clinics that receive state funding; and a provision in the state’s budget bill that prevents rape crisis counselors from providing women with information about abortion services. Onerous regulations on abortion providers have led half the abortion clinics in the state to shut down. All of this would seem to reflect Kasich’s “Christian moral imperative” too.

“John Kasich also peddles economic quackery and social conservatism.”

While there’s substantial evidence that Kasich is not consumed with a sociopathic loathing of immigrants and the poor, that’s a remarkably low bar to clear to merit the “moderate” appellation. To be sure, Kasichhas not quite followed the ultraconservative path charted by, say, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — but it’s not for lack of trying. Just as Walker did, Kasich signed a law stripping public employees of collective bargaining rights shortly after taking office in 2011 — and like Walker, Kasich witnessed a plunge in his standing in the polls; one April 2011 survey pegged Kasich’s approval rating at a mere 30 percent. Unlike Wisconsin, Ohio lacked a law providing for a gubernatorial recall, so opponents of Kasich’s anti-union law staged a November 2011 referendum on it instead. The outcome was a humiliating rebuke to the new governor; by a margin of 61 percent to 39 percent, voters overturned the law — a chastening result that informed Kasich’s subsequent decision not to pursue legislation making Ohio a so-called right-to-work state.

It is imperative that more and more people see exactly what the Republican Party has become.  For that, I’m thankful for the Trump candidacy.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


36 Comments on “Friday Reads: Shock and Awe on the American Campaign Trail”

  1. dakinikat says:

    This guy lives in an alternate universe:

    Bernie Sanders tells Ed Schultz: Southern Democrats are tired of being abandoned by the party

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Great post!

    • dakinikat says:

      Thx. Still can’t completely grok last night.

      • Fannie says:

        Can’t wait to see where Louisiana is going with the vote!

        • dakinikat says:

          Hillary will win big. Probably Trump for repubs.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            The last poll I saw from Louisiana has Hillary ahead 61% to 14%. I’d love to see it end up even more lopsided than that. In all of these contests delegates are awarded on a proportional basis, so the more she can run up the score on Bernie the better.

          • dakinikat says:

            Should be really lopsided for her.

          • Fannie says:

            Hillary’s the winner, and we are playing to win.

          • ThisIsWhereANameGoes says:

            Oh yeah a lopsided victory in a state almost guaranteed to vote Republican in the general election giving a shit ton of delegates to Hillary is ‘great,’ while she loses in the states that actually matter.

            Right now you’d better pray for a Trump presidency cause that is Hillary’s only chance of winning a national election when the states that will actually decide who our next president is aren’t all that ‘Ready’ for Hillary.

            Seriously the fact the south is giving such a lopsided victory to Clinton is TERRIBLE. It won’t really matter if the Democrats lose a state by 10% or 15% – what will matter is that +/-5% in states where it means the difference between going red or going blue.

            And you people think Sanders supporters are living a pipe dream. Sheesh.

          • dakinikat says:

            Are you aware that Louisiana went for Bill Clinton twice? We just elected a Dem Governor too and the financial crisis caused by Bobby Jindal and his cronies is making the current lege look really bad. Also, New Orleans is nearly back to full size and I can guarantee you that the folks moving in are not gonna vote repub. Plus, your elitist attitude towards the huge number of black voters down here in the South have a duty and right to weigh in. And which freaking state–other than Mass and Texas–has tons of electoral votes? Wait until this and next Tuesday and it will be abundantly clear in States like Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania weigh in. After that last Republican debate, I’ve had many die-hard Republicans tell me they’re voting for her in the fall.

          • dakinikat says:

            And she has coattails as well as fundraising ability for downticket Dems which is absolutely necessary for anything to actually change anywhere in this country.

          • bostonboomer says:

            To the drop-in commenter above:

            Louisiana isn’t at all guaranteed to go to the GOP in November. Hillary will win plenty of northern states, but her victories in the South are not irrelevant. So many ignorant people just want to erase the black vote, which will be vital in the Fall. African Americans don’t vote differently in the North and South, despite what you may have heard from Bernie Sanders.

            I’m still trying to figure out why you think we should hope for a Trump presidency. WTF?

          • dakinikat says:

            We have much bigger Hispanic population now since Katrina. They are extremely excited about her and both Hispanics and Blacks are turning out.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            You faux berners just never give up with the ongoing Hillary hate. We’ve been listening to your Hillary hate for decades and it’s become so GOP/TeaParty. Give up, you’re boring the shit out of us.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            “Are you aware that Louisiana went for Bill Clinton twice? We just elected a Dem Governor too and the financial crisis caused by Bobby Jindal and his cronies is making the current lege look really bad.”

            This dipstick doesn’t care about the truth or the possibilities, it’s all about the Bern! Here’s the only bern you’re going to feel brother!

          • ANonOMouse says:

            “but her victories in the South are not irrelevant.”

            Hillary is going to take Florida on March 15th, and she’s likely to win it again in November. That’s as far South as you can get.

            I can tell you how to treat the bern, HEALLARY!!!!!!!!

  3. jackyt says:

    What a bleak picture you paint… photo-realism is a bitch in this political landscape. The following link takes you to Tabatha Southey’s column in today’s Globe & Mail. Thank heavens for humour… how else will we survive??!!??

    and the top comment:
    There’s a tweet going around, attributed to Stephen King:

    “Conservatives who for 8 years sowed the dragon’s teeth of partisan politics are horrified to discover they have grown an actual dragon.”


  4. janicen says:

    This is making the rounds on FB. It will blow you away, I promise.

  5. William says:

    To me, the most important issue facing us is global warming. And the Republicans do not intend to ever do one single thing to deal with it, or even to admit it is a fact. If for nothing else, that should utterly disqualify anyone of that party from ever holding any elective office. They are complete slaves to the Kochs and the other billionaire oil and coal and pharma barons. They do not have any independent thoughts. they are like puppets. Their only raison d’etre is to get themselves elected, and then do whatever their masters tell them.

    To say one Republican is better than another, is akin to discussing the relative efficacy of nooses. And I do not even think that there are more than a handful of Republican voters who are still reasonably moderate; and the way that you can see this, is that they continue to vote for a Radical Right party which is devoid of moderates, and which always votes in Congressional lockstep on any issue; and which yearly threatens to shut down the government; and which will not care a whit of the entire planet burns up.

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    Last night’s “debate” – or whatever the hell they are calling that debacle – was like watching an episode of a “Real Housewives” show. Screaming, yelling, insulting and “in your face” crudeness that turned out to be real. The only thing missing was someone throwing a drink in another’s face. Maybe next time.

    How anyone would choose any of those candidates and the party they represent is amazing. We are talking POTUS here not the head of a Rotary Club. Can anyone truthfully envision any one of these assholes representing our nation on the national stage?

    What a mess and the GOP is wholly responsible for how low the national dialogue has descended.

    Disgusting is too mild a word to describe what we witnessed.

    • Fannie says:

      You speak a truth, a beauty, and I see harm everywhere I look. I am angry with them, because they allowed this to happen, they made no effort to stop this, and now we have hostilities, everywhere we look.

      I think it was BB, who mentioned that we are all bound to develop ulcers, and in need of medicine. It is sick, sick, sick. I heard that Medgar Evers brother is voting for Trump. And I wanted to send him a photo of a linen closet full of white satin sheets. What happened to freedom, doesn’t he know of all people who have fought for it, how scary it is under Trump.

      I hope that we can keep trying to fight for freedom. Those voting for Trump might as well cut there right arms off, and hand it to him.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        I am amazed at any minority voting Republican. The entire agenda is designed to exclude them.

  7. ANonOMouse says:

    “Have we finally reached a critical mass where folks on both sides of the aisles will realize that all they do is lie and that if Bernie Bros or Hillary Haters repeat their lies, we’re as good as cooked.”

    I’ve been reading the supposed bernie bros for months and their rhetoric toward Hillary is exactly the same as the GOP’s rhetoric toward Hillary. I think what we’re seeing is a massive online ratfucking effort. In many ways this reminds me of 2008, except this time my attention and the attention of other Hillary supporters will not be diverted from the goal. Hillary 2016!!!

    • janicen says:

      100% agree with you, mouse. Most of the rancor on the Dem’s side is coming from ratfuckers. The strategy is to damage her as much as possible during the primary. The general election will be even worse.