Thursday Reads: Preventing a Trump Presidency

Henri Matisse, Girl with a black cat

Henri Matisse, Girl with a black cat

Good Morning!!

President Obama spoke at a press conference today in Japan, and he talked about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

NBC News: Obama: Trump Candidacy Has ‘Rattled’ World Leaders.

During a press conference in Japan, Obama said the American presidential election is being “very” closely watched oversees. He told reporters that “it’s fair to say” world leaders are “surprised” Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee.

“They are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements but they’re rattled by him — and for good reason, because a lot of the proposals that he’s made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude,” Obama added.

He suggested Trump’s controversial proposals were more about “getting tweets and headlines” than “actually thinking through” what’s needed to keep America safe or the “world on an even keel.”

Woman with a Cat c.1880 Edouard Manet

Woman with a Cat c.1880 Edouard Manet

Trump has made China a frequent target of his attacks — such as saying the country will “suck the blood” out of the U.S.

He also has said he wants to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., called the Iran deal “horrendous,” pledged to “build a wall” along the Mexican border and that he’d have “no problem speaking to” North Korea’s dictator.

Such a conversation would mark a major shift in U.S. policy towards Pyongyang — a country Obama earlier Thursday said was a “big worry.”  ….

Trump also said he was unlikely to have a “very good relationship” with the U.K. — one of America’s strongest allies — though later walked those comments back.

Obama will visit the Hiroshima Peace Park Memorial tomorrow.

President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima is stirring conflicting emotions on both sides of the Atlantic.

Some 140,000 people were killed when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the city on Aug. 6, 1945. Countless others suffered after-effects that endure to this day.

The White House has stressed Obama will not apologize for America’s use of the bombs when he visits the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on Friday — the first sitting president to do so….

“Of course everyone wants to hear an apology. Our families were killed,” Hiroshi Shimizu, general secretary of the Hiroshima Confederation of A-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, told The Associated Press.

Woman with a cat, Auguste Renoir

Woman with a cat, Auguste Renoir

However, it would risk alienating Americans back home — especially giving the trip’s timing just ahead of Memorial Day.

Retired Army Staff Sgt. Lester Tenney, 95, spent more than three years in Japanese prison camps, and still has the blood-stained, bamboo stick Japanese troops used to beat him across the face.

“If you didn’t walk fast enough, you were killed. If you didn’t say the right words, you were killed, and if you were killed, you were either shot to death, bayoneted, or decapitated,” he told The Associated Press. “I’ll never forget it. And so for that reason … there’s no reason for us to apologize to them, not any reason whatsoever.

I have mixed emotions too. I’ve written here before that I probably wouldn’t be here today if Truman had not dropped the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My father was on a ship to Japan when the news came, and he and the rest of his companions celebrated, because it meant they would be going home instead of to their likely deaths. How can I not be glad that my father survived?

When I worked at M.I.T., the head of my department was a man who had survived the Bataan Death March and then spent years in a Japanese prison camp. He was lucky to come through that alive; hundreds of Americans and Filipino prisoners did not.

Pablo Picasso, Reclining female nude playing with a cat

Pablo Picasso, Reclining female nude playing with a cat

From the LA Times: Obama can’t endorse during the Democratic primary, so he’s just pointing out how hard the job is instead.

…Obama’s week abroad not so subtly serves a purpose beyond foreign relations: how he can help Democrats’ looming campaign against the billionaire GOP presidential candidate.

Pledging to stay neutral in the Democratic primary, Obama has instead struck a middle ground to help the party’s likely nominee, Hillary Clinton. He has engaged in a twist on the so-called Rose Garden campaign strategy where incumbent presidents lean on the trappings of their office to remind voters of their power and achievements. Obama is instead reminding voters of the seriousness of the job and, by extension, his belief in Clinton’s readiness for it.

On Friday, this president who has repeatedly pointed to the heady challenges on his desk as an argument against making a former reality show star the next commander in chief travels to Hiroshima, where one of two nuclear bombs ever used in warfare was dropped, to underscore the horrors of war and the life-or-death decisions that presidents face.

He doesn’t plan to talk about presidential politics at all in proximity to his trip to a memorial for victims of the atomic blast that killed about 140,000 people, a grim reminder of the devastating impact of a military attack that Obama finds defensible.

But the trip nonetheless provides a vivid illustration for the question Obama wants voters to ask themselves as they consider a presidential candidate — can you trust this person with the nuclear codes?

“We are in serious times, and this is a really serious job,” Obama said from behind the seal of the president at the White House lectern this month. “This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show.”

White House officials say that the president is eager to begin making a case to voters about the stakes of the race to replace him in the Oval Office, and will do so vigorously once the primaries are over.

Lilla Cabot Perry, Woman with cat

Lilla Cabot Perry, Woman with cat

I can’t wait until President Obama hits the campaign trail for Hillary! One thing we Democrats have over the Republicans is some very powerful surrogates who will work hard to hold onto the White House and save the country from Trump: Elizabeth Warren, John Lewis, Joe Biden, Elijah Cummings, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, and so many more.

Warren has been getting under Trump’s skin for awhile now, and on Tuesday she attacked him in a high-profile speech.

Greg Sargent: Elizabeth Warren just absolutely shredded Donald Trump. There’s a lot more like this to come.

Elizabeth Warren delivered an extensive, blistering speech last night about Trump that will serve as a template for how Democrats will attack him — both in terms of how they’ll prosecute his business past and how they’ll try to undercut his central arguments about the economy….

The line that is driving all the attention this morning is Warren’s suggestion, in the context of Trump’s 2006 comment that a housing crash might enrich him, that the Donald is a “small, insecure money-grubber.” But Warren isn’t merely dissing Trump’s manhood. Warren — who went on to note that Trump “roots for people to get thrown out of their house” because he “doesn’t care who gets hurt, as long as he makes a profit” — is making a broader argument. Trump is not just a small, greedy person, but a cruel one, too.

That theme is also threaded through Warren’s broadside against Trump on taxes. He isn’t just paying as little as possible — and openly boasting about it — because he’s greedy. He isn’t just refusing to release his returns because he doesn’t want to reveal he’s not as rich as he claims (another shot at Trump’s self-inflated masculinity). All this, Warren suggests, also reflects a larger moral failing: Trump plays by his own set of rules, engorging himself, while simultaneously heaping explicit scorn on social investments designed to help those who are struggling in the same economy that made him rich. Warren notes that Trump recently likened paying his taxes to “throwing money down the drain” — i.e., he is reneging on the social contract — after “inheriting a fortune from his father” and “keeping it going by scamming people.” Thus, Warren is making a broader argument about Trump’s fundamental cruelty.

Here’s a video:


It’s time for the media to stop helping Trump and start dealing with the danger he poses to the country. If nothing else, they should be motivated by his attacks on the reporters who cover his campaign and on the the First Amendment. A few days ago, Jake Tapper gave a clinic for journalists on how to handle Trump’s outrageous lies.

Raw Story: Jake Tapper hammers Trump’s Vince Foster murder conspiracy mongering as ‘fiction born of delusion.’

CNN host Jake Tapper laid into GOP candidate Donald Trump for dredging up a debunked conspiracy theory that his likely opponent in the general election, Hillary Clinton, was somehow responsible for the death of then-Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster.

Foster’s 1993 death was ruled a suicide.

Tapper called Trump out for saying in an interview that the circumstances around Foster’s death were “very fishy,” adding, “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”

“Except of course you just did that, Mr. Trump,” Tapper said. “But you’re right, it’s not fair that you did that, certainly not to Mr. Foster’s widow or their three children.”

Watch the video:


We need much more of this kind of fact-checking of Trump from the media and a whole lot less obsessing about Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Another good treatment of Trump from CNN: Donald Trump has a woman problem — 3 of them.

The presumptive Republican nominee spent the past 24 hours blasting his likely opponent, Hillary Clinton, and his most provocative antagonist, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
But he didn’t stop there. He also slammed New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the nation’s only Latina governor and a Republican. Martinez might be seen as an obvious choice for diplomacy, or even intensive courtship, given Trump’s standing among women and Hispanics.
Trump chose a different approach: He told the residents of New Mexico to get rid of her.
In all three cases, the clashes were classic Trump. Slight him, diss him, hit him — and he’ll hit back harder. Much harder.
But they also could play right into Democrats’ plans to brand Trump as a serial misogynist as he goes up against a rival who could become the first female president in history. His poor standing with women — a CNN/ORC poll in March found he was viewed unfavorably by 73% of registered female voters — is one of his biggest liabilities heading into the fall.
“He makes a habit of insulting women,” Clinton said Wednesday afternoon as a campaign stop in California. “He seems to have something about women.”

Let’s hope Don the Con keeps this up. If Republican women vote against Trump, he could lose all 50 states.

Giovanni Boldini, Woman with cat

Giovanni Boldini, Woman with cat

Finally, folks in Cleveland are getting nervous about the upcoming Trump convention: “Will Cleveland’s GOP convention be a mistake by the lake or a moment in the sun?”

Amid recurring violence at political rallies held by presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, many local officials and activists are increasingly worried that this lakeside city is ill-prepared to deal with tens of thousands of protesters and agitators expected to descend on the Republican National Convention here in July.

Some worry that police might be overrun or that the city has not stockpiled enough water to hydrate the masses in the mid-summer heat. Others, particularly on the left, oppose new restrictions that will be placed on demonstrators and object to the kind of military-style equipment law enforcement authorities may use to control the crowds.

There is also unhappiness among groups on both sides over the slow progress the city has made in approving parade and demonstration permits with less than two months to go.

On Wednesday, under the threat of a federal lawsuit by some groups upset by delays, city officials finally unveiled an official parade route and speakers’ platform in a major downtown park. Parades and protests will be allowed, but plans by some groups to bring in trucks, horses and, in one case, a giant bomb-shaped balloon might need to be rethought.

A bomb-shaped balloon?! So classy.

So . . . what stories are you following today? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a tremendous Thursday!

46 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Preventing a Trump Presidency”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Markos Moulitsas rips Bernie Sanders at The Hill: Sanders’s socialist coup.

    Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed democratic socialist, would toss aside the “democratic” part of his self-identification, becoming an old-school autocratic socialist. It’s breathtaking how nonchalantly the presidential contender and his campaign can talk about subverting the democratic will of the voters [by asking superdelegates to nominate him], as if his purer ideology excused all excesses.

    At the Democratic state convention in Nevada several weeks ago, hotel security had to shut down the event as Sanders delegates nearly rioted in anger. Their attempts to squeeze more delegates than deserved given election night results had been thwarted. The senator himself, in a statement, shrugged off the violence and misogynistic threats hurled at the state party chairwoman: “If the Democratic Party is to be successful in November, it is imperative that all state parties treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned.” Nice party you have there — sure would be a shame if something happened to it.

    Just as distressing, consider the big story of this Democratic primary: The party’s growth demographics — Latinos, African-Americans and women — have chosen a woman for the first time. Sanders and his people are arguing that should be thrown by the wayside because white voters prefer a white male candidate. If you ever wondered what “white privilege” was, well, you now have Exhibit A. The arrogance is astonishing, as is the lack of awareness of what he is suggesting….

    Sanders’s final play this cycle is an attempt to disenfranchise the party’s voters, and in particular, the brown and black alliance that propelled Hillary Clinton to victory. Is that really the legacy he wants to leave behind?

    • janicen says:

      I was just thinking this yesterday because of a book I’m reading. Bernie is nothing like the cuddly socialist we thought him to be before this election season, he is an old fashioned autocratic socialist the world came to fear and despise. There were plenty of Europeans and Americans as well who stood with the Nazis out of fear that communism would take hold. Neither of these extremes is acceptable or in any way good for the world. Bernie is a throwback to the bad old days, just like Trump.

      • bostonboomer says:

        What book are you reading?

        • janicen says:

          The Return Of The Dancing Master by Henning Mankell. Mankell is the author of the Wallander detective series, you probably watched the episodes on PBS Mystery. He died this past October and I decided to read all of the Wallander books. Once I got through them, I moved on to other Mankell books. The Return Of the Dancing Master is a detective novel which touches upon the network of Europeans who supported Hitler because they were opposed the what they perceived as the spread of communism from Russia. It’s a really good novel and I love getting a perspective on Sweden that differs from what we normally think of it.

        • roofingbird says:

          Sounds like a great summer project!

  2. janicen says:

    Elizabeth Warren is a national treasure.

    • Joanelle says:

      Yes, she is Janice. She’s brave bold , smart as heck and a wonderful role model for young women – and she’s Hill’ bud!

  3. dakinikat says:

    Love the artwork! Trump was just joking about debating Bernie and the tweets are hilarious!

    I haven’t read one foreign policy expert or journalist that has a nice thing to say about Trump. I can image the world things we’ve finally gone over the edge! The man is just unfit for office. I don’t understand his appeal. Maybe all his establishment fundraisers will freak out his base now.

  4. Written by Barney Frank in July 2015, this is a piece of unqualified prescience:

  5. Jslat says:

    WTF! Is this a maneuver to get Hillary to debate him? Sanders is open to debating T-RUMP before CA primary.

    T-RUMP will use the opportunity to attack Hillary not Sanders IMO. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

    • Jslat says:

      Hope you’re right, dak. That it is just a joke.

      • dakinikat says:

        Just put a link up

      • Jslat says:

        Still think this is a way for them to try to pressure Hillary into debating.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Very likely.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            Well, news is breaking late this afternoon that the Sanders Campaign planted that question on Jimmy Kimmel show last night and that they are serious about the debate. In fact I heard on Rachel Maddow tonight that the Sanders campaign is negotiating with the Trump campaign even as I type this. What an asshole Bernie Sanders is.

        • Jslat says:

          It may very well happen. No downside for T-RUMP. Lots of exposure for Sanders. And it will be a debate against Hillary from two sides!

          Jeff Weaver saying that he hopes T-RUMP doesn’t”chicken out” is almost guaranteeing the debate will happen. Fox News wants to host it.

          OMG WHEN WILL THIS END?!!!

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Forbes: State Department Report On Email Vindicates Clinton Rather Than Nails Her.

    The report released Wednesday by the State Department Inspector General on its email records management is being reported as heavy-duty criticism of former Secretary Hillary Clinton. However, the report has more in it that vindicates Clinton than nails her.

    It does not add any new serious charges or adverse facts. And, it shows she was less out of line with her predecessors, notably Colin Powell, than has been charged. Powell’s handling of his email was so similar, in fact, that when House Republicans drag this issue through hearings up to Election Day, Powell should be called as a witness – a witness for Clinton. To put it differently, she is having a double standard applied to her. Here are five key aspects of the report.

    • NW Luna says:

      Double standard — who would a thunk it?! Glad to see she actually got a positive headline out of this.

  7. janicen says:

    Ken Starr has been fired from his position as President of Baylor U. amid allegations that the university mishandled sexual assault allegations made against athletes. Wow. I seem to remember he was quick to persecute and jail anyone who wouldn’t give him lurid details, whether true or not, about Bill Clinton.

    • NW Luna says:

      Starr was convinced Bill Clinton was as bad as he (Starr) is.

    • Fannie says:

      You know how it works, it’s a good thing for the ashol Ken Starr. Baylor’s Board of Regents dismissed him as President, but he will remain as Chancellor, and as a law professor. This is how they roll. Hypocrites, and nobody questions it.

  8. William says:

    Hillary’s campaign rally in San Jose today will be shown live on CSPAN at 1:30 PM PST. I plan to watch it, as I’m sure it will be encouraging to see her live, not filtered by the dark prism of the cable network news stations.

  9. Gilbert MonDragon says:

    Posted this on my Face Book page earlier today. I hope it’s okay to repost it here.

    Yep….Read this on the Interweb today and it says it all in one sentence:

    — Quote:

    “Do you have any Trump voting friends? They know what he is. And apparently they don’t care. What does that say about them?”

    “he’s simply unfit for the presidency in every way and most of them know it. As a citizen you have a responsibility to look beyond this tribalism when Hitler’s on the ballot and recognize that something more important is at stake. And these Republican voters aren’t doing it. It’s telling.”


    I sit and listen to many friends and family that I “know’ are highly educated, intelligent, kind people.
    They tell me why they are voting for this maniac, and I ask them to help me understand why, Their responses tell me so much more about them. Uncomfortable insights into their thinking, their true thoughts about me as a so-called “minority.”
    To be fair, not all of them are lumped into this category. Some just genuinely hate Democrats and would never vote for one. I get it. I understand the Tribal nature of politics. It is what it is But for some, it has gone beyond that. It has gotten ugly and dangerous
    Trump has allowed them to voice what they have been suppressing for so long…Their hatred of anything or anyone that does not look, think or act like them. History is littered with the corpse of humanity that fell prey to this group madness. Countless wars have been fought because of it. You would think, history would have shown these people what this kind of madness leads to.

    It hasn’t.

    So, for those few that I thought I knew. That I shared bread with. Laughter, Sadness. Joy and sorrow….I am sorry to say….

    I never really knew you.

    There is a saying: “In Vino Veritas”…………”In wine truth.”
    This seems to fit what is now happening in our country only it is not spirit drinkers voicing their truths, it is those that have always held these beliefs unshackled and unashamed now to voice those opinions.

    What does this say about supporters of this Homophobic, Racist, Con man?
    I don’t believe they are racist but I do believe many of them have allowed themselves to be carried along by their hatred of anything Democratic and by doing so, have allowed themselves to vote against their own interests…and allowed the worst of human nature to manifest in them……

    I am truly stunned and gobsmacked. I thought better of many of them.

  10. Fannie says:

    Here we go again, Idaho has had another horrific hate crime, this one should be considered a Disability Hate Crime. It truly hard to stomach, but happened last Oct 2015, and this is the first time I’ve heard about it. It’s another High School Football team the “Blue Devils” at Dietrich HS, located in Lincoln County. Three football players raped a disabled black student with a coat hanger. I am really pissed because the guy you reported this, Michael E. Miller, says that this was a dark crime, and followed it up by saying an even darker turn happened with the boy’s family filed a 10 million lawsuit against the school, and 11 employees did nothing to stop the physical assault, the harassment and the bullying, and verbal abuse that the victim had been dealing with for some time.

    I called the School District, they did not answer, but had a machine. I called the US Att. General Office and was told that Idaho does not have it’s own code for hate crime, and that they do not adhere to the Federal Code. Two of the boys, are going to tried as adults, the other juvenile case which is sealed.

    The community is all up in denial, and the so called well known football player is blaming this whole thing on the boy who move from Texas to Idaho.

    Isn’t there a website, or group who are watching hate crimes in America. This is sickening.

  11. Jslat says:

    No good will come of it. Debate talks between T-RUMP and the Bern camps on going.

  12. ANonOMouse says:

    Because he’s an Attention whore!

  13. ANonOMouse says:

    If the reason Trump isn’t choosing a woman or a person of color for his VP is because he doesn’t want to pander, isn’t that pandering to men?

  14. ANonOMouse says:

    Until recently I haven’t thought that choosing Warren as a running mate was a good idea. AND THEN she began waging battle against Donald Trump on Twitter, and my eyes were opened. She is exactly what a VP choice should be. Apparently Josh Marshall feels the same.