Monday, April 30, 2018

Do It

As regular readers- both of you- of this blog would know, I am no fan of David Axelrod who, were he a churchgoing Christian, would have been busy yesterday praying in the name of the Father, the Son, and Barack Obama. Still, he got off the best comment about Michelle Wolf's routine at Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner when he tweeted
Evidently, many a truth is said in jest.  Realistically, the most important point was made by CNN correspondent Jim Acosta. He himself was ridiculed by Wolf- "it's shirts and skins and this time don't be such a little bitch, Jim Acosta"- but not being a GOP apologist, did not whine. Instead, he tweeted (among other things)
But having read this piece by CNN contributor Chris Cillizza, I was struck by

Cillizza catalogued "the 57 most outlandish, outrageous and offensive lines from Trump's Michigan rally," better identified as another of his Nuremberg rallies. His lines "Mars is waiting for us; "We are at the top of the charts") were more humorous than Wolf's. They were, however, dangerous, typically misleading, contemptous of the USA and of Michigan voters, and incomparably braggodocious for a "baby Christian." In some cases- although Cillizza did not use the term- they were statements any President would know were inaccurate, and not judgement calls.  They are- when not referring to the President of the United States of America- called lies":

 "President Trump" had "everything to do with" the recent moves toward reconciliation made by North and South Korea;

"The only collusion is the Democrats colluding with the Russians, the Democrats colluding with lots of other people."

"They start something based on a document paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton."

"Chrsyler is moving back to Michigan from Mexico."

 "We have spent 7 trillion dollars in the Middle East."

 "There were 32,000 people. I finished speaking at 1:00 in the morning on Election Day. 32,000 people."

 "And nobody knows what a community college is."

 "Not come in based on some random lottery system."

Since he retired, former NBA superstar Charles Barkley been both a successful commercial spokesperso nand popular sports broadcaster. However, during his active career he misbehaved on several occasions, after which many fans would criticize him while others excused his actions as "just Charles being Charles."

Donald J. Trump is not 10% of the person or the man Charles Barkley was or is. But Trump, as Barkley was at one time, is given a pass by some members of the media because his crass and loathsome words and actions are so common.  Confronted with a lie from the President, these weary and sometimes intimidated professionals should act upon Kendzior's advice: "Do your damn jobs.",

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Leaks Ill-Advised

In the list of most obnoxious and/or ridiculous Trump surrrogates, Jason Miller is far from the top of the list. Still, it was gratifying to learn that he was checkmated by host Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday":

JASON MILLER, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well, I think this investigation is imploding under the weight of there being absolutely nothing there. I mean the fact that we're a year and a half --

WALLACE: Well, well, wait, we don't know that.

MILLER: Well, there -- nothing has been proven. We're over a year and a half into this thing and there's absolutely nothing --

WALLACE: We don't -- we don't know.

MILLER: But nothing in Washington.

WALLACE: Jason --

MILLER: Chris, in Washington.

WALLACE: We don't --

MILLER: Where everything is --

WALLACE: I'm talking about the Mueller investigation.

MILLER: Right.

WALLACE: We have no idea what he's finding.

MILLER: But there is -- if --

WALLACE: I'm not saying that he's finding anything, but we don't know the --

MILLER: If there would have been something on collusion, that would have leaked out. That would have gotten out so long ago. There is nothing to (INAUDIBLE) --

WALLACE: So, wait, wait. So you're now saying, because there isn't a leak -- I mean I thought you condemned leaks?

MILLER: No, a leak is terrible.

Leaks are terrible, unless they come from GOP members of Congress vainly trying to smear James Comey or the President bragging to Russian officials. Wallace continues, asking "which is it, are leaks good or bad?" followed by

MILLER: No, leaks are terrible, but you know that the -- if there was a way to hurt President Trump, it would have leaked out and that would have been out there. There's been no evidence, after a year and a half plus of searching, of any collusion. There's been nothing that's been proven to that point.

Comey has gone from the quintessential g-man (ph) to basically just another political hack. I mean this is very clearly a politically driven operation.

WALLACE: I'm talk about Mueller now, not Comey.

MILLER: Right. And so far there's been nothing untoward about the president or his activity or anything that has been put forward. So I think that most of the people around the country are taking a look at this and saying, you know what, the president's probably right, this is a witch hunt and it needs to get wrapped up.

Mueller's people generally haven't been leaking because they're professional. They also realize that it's not good technique to allow the individuals being investigated to know what you have. The only exception to that is if the investigation is flailing about, coming up with little, and can only be helped by strategic release of information which might panic the subjects into admission of self-incriminating facts.

But Mueller probably has quite a bit and needs to shield the fruits of his investigation from the general public, including Team Russia. Laying out the evidence to Captain Trump would be like waving a red flag in front of a bull (were this fok tale not actually a fallacy, but never mind).

If the President knew the cards Mueller were holding, he would give in to his instincts and impulsiveness and fire Sessions and/or Rosenstein, and move to restrict significantly the scope of the inquiry or strangle its budget.  Mueller must not allow Trump to conclude that therein lies the path to the President's self-preservation.

Miller told Wallace he believes that Mueller will "ultimately" be allowed to finish the investigation. If so, when the story of this period is written, historians will wonder why the guy who was smart enough to bamboozle the American people into electing him did not realize early that if his activities were fully scrutinized, he would be dead meat.

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Shifting Leadership

Donald Trump held a news conference Friday with the leader of the free world and remarked

We need a reciprocal relationship, which we don't have. The United States right now has a trade deficit with the European Union of $151 billion. And the chancellor and I have discussed it today at length and we're working on it. And we want to make it more fair and the chancellor wants to make it more fair.

Same thing with NATO, we have a far greater burden than we should have. Other countries should be paying more. And I'm not saying Germany alone; other countries should be paying more. We're protecting Europe and, yet, we pay, by far, more than anybody else. And NATO is wonderful but it helps Europe more than it helps us. And why are we paying the vast majority of the costs.

So we're working on those things, it's been unfair. And I don't blame the chancellor and I don't Germany, I don't even blame the European Union; I blame the people that preceded me for allowing this to happen.

Trump periodically blames European nations for not paying their share of the NATO budget. However, as was pointed out the last time he complained, the 2% of their budget member nations are urged to pay goes not into NATO operations, but into their particular defense budget.

Berlin pays less than 2%. But over the last few years, they have paid in other ways.  Although in 2017 Germany accepted only 186,644 asylum seekers, they had taken in approximately 280,000 in 2016 and 890,0000 in 2015.

In comparison, we learned from Pew that as of October 2017

about 28,000 refugees have been resettled in the U.S., far less than in 2016, according to U.S. State Department data. If the number of refugees worldwide remains the same as in 2016 and if few refugees enter the U.S. for the rest of 2017, the U.S. is on track to accept just 0.2% of the world’s refugee population – far less than the historic average of 0.6%, and lower even than the share admitted in 2001 and 2002, in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Each year, the president’s administration sets the ceiling for how many refugees are resettled in the United States. In fiscal 2017, the Trump administration used an executive order to reduce the number of refugee admissions previously set by the outgoing Obama White House to be less than half the initial ceiling. Looking ahead to fiscal 2018, the Trump administration has proposed a refugee resettlement ceiling of 45,000 to Congress. The White House has also asked Congress for lower annual admissions of refugees as part of their immigration principles for immigration legislation.

In the year that ended in September 2016, the USA accepted 84,995 refugees. By contrast, Germany accepted in 2015 more refugees than the USA had in the previous ten years.  It did so while its population was only approximately 26% that of the USA and its gross domestic product only about 19% that of the USA. This is not an example of American exceptionalism.

Leadership is difficult to come by. It's a difficult role for Berlin because of a measure of distrust engendered by the Holocaust and its role in World War II. It's also not a huge nation and is less prosperous (by wealth) and less powerful than the USA.

Not willing to lead, Donald Trump should follow or get out of the way. Instead, by refusing to acknowledge Berlin's role and attacking it, President Trump is not only further relinquishing America's moral leadership, but attacking the Trans-Pacific partnership and the ability of the European Union to contribute to global security.

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A Reveal

He's telling us again.

I'm not referring to comments made by the President during an event with Team USA Olympians and Paralympians on Friday when President Trump declared "what happened with the Palympics was so incredible and so inspiring to me. And I watched- it's a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could.

Donald Grump already made clear his opinion of handicapped individuals when in November 2015 he imprersonated Serge Kovaleski. As reported by NBC News, "Now, the poor guy- you ought to see the guy: 'Uh, I don't know what I said, I don't remember,' Trump said as he contorted his arms in an apprent imitation of Kovaleski, who suffers from arthogryposis."

Trump went on to gain the GOP nomination for President and win the general election, and, frankly, almost no one cares. This sort of thing has no more impact on the general public than the revelation that Trump committed adultery last year would have on Christian moralists. None.

I'm referring to something more astonishing- but whose import has gone completely unnoticed. Sitting yesterday in the Oval Office with the default leader of the free world, President Trump stated

We were honored. It was a great report, no collusion, which I knew anyway, no coordination, no nothing. It's a witch hunt, that's all it is. There was no collusion with Russia, you can believe this one. She (Merkel) probably can't believe it, who can? But the report was very powerful, very strong, there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian people. Cause I've said many times before, I've always said there was no collusion, but I've also said there has been nobody tougher on Russia than me. With that all being said, if we can get along with Russia, that's a good thing, not a bad thing, but there has been nobody tougher on Russia than me.

There was no collusion with Russia, you can believe this one. She (Merkel) probably can't believe it, who can?

Colloquiallisms change over time, and thus mean something different to individuals of one background than another. But being of the same race and age, from the same part of the country as Trump and only six years younger than he, I can tell you "She probably can't believe it, who can" means "This thing sounds so ridiculous, who would actually realize it's true." President Trump is telling us there was collusion, whether it involved himself or only his campaign. 

To make things even clearer, he combines "I've always said there was no collusion" with "I've also said there has been nobody tougher on Russia than me"- which nearly everyone (including Trump himself) knows is poppycock. He has equated the two: the denial of collusion with the boast which is transparently baseless, and is recognized as such.

Or perhaps he's telling us there was a conspiracy. Media reports focus on Trump repeatedly claiming there was "no collusion" but, as lawyers will point out, there is no "collusion" provision in the U.S. code. There is, however, a generic concept of "collusion," to which Trump probably was referring. He is conceding- almost boasting- that collusion did occur.

Trump's admissions often are hiding in plain sight. Just as he pushed the envelope with his cracks during the campaign about Christianity (and found Christians were unmoved by humiliation of their religion by a conservative Republican), "she probably can't believe it, who can" is Trump pushing the envelope. He's trying to determine how naive the American people can be.  So far, he deserves to chuckle to himself.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Who Is Dr. Jackson?

Director of the White House medical unit, Admiral Ronny Jackson never was qualified to head  the Department of Veterans Affairs with its 377,000 employees.

That was irrelevant to the President. As he demonstrated when he gave his news conference on January 16 assessing the President's health as "excellent" for a 71-year-old, who probably possesses"incredible genes" from "the way God made him," Jackson is great on television.  However, this past week

new details were emerging about the allegations against Jackson. A 2012 inspector general report released on Tuesday afternoon found that he and Dr. Jeffrey Kuhlman, a rival in the White House Medical Unit, had behaved unprofessionally. Though the report placed more blame on Kuhlman, the working environment was described as “being caught between parents going through a bitter divorce.”

Then, on Tuesday evening, Senator Jon Tester, the top Democrat on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, described claims the panel received from more than 20 military employees in several interviews. He said the misconduct allegations mostly surrounded Jackson’s behavior on overseas trips when he was attending to President Obama. Per the New York Times:

On one trip during Barack Obama’s presidency, White House staff needed to reach Dr. Jackson for medical reasons and found him passed out in his hotel room after a night of drinking, Tester aides said. The staff members took the medical supplies they were looking for without waking Dr. Jackson.

“He is the primary attendant of the president, the most powerful man in the world,” Mr. Tester said in an interview late Tuesday. “You don’t know when he is going to need you.”

On CNN, Tester said they received reports of Jackson walking down the aisle way of the airplane during long presidential trips, offering prescription drugs that promote sleep or wakefulness to anyone who wanted them. Tester said they were told some White House staffers called Jackson the “candy man” because he “handed out prescriptive drugs like they were candy.”

Soon afterward, the sycophantic Jackson withdrew as the President's nominee to be VA secretary, because Trump is almost constitutionally unable to fire anyone, and is unable to fire anyone wearing a uniform.

Jackson may be presiding over- and even cotributing to- a hostile workplace.  He allegedly "wrecked" a government automobile while drunk, reportedly has been under the influence when on the job, and promiscuously gave out unnecessary medication.  And Donald Trump nominated him to be Secretary of the Veterans Administration.

If  allegations are accurate, the personal physician to the President of the United States of America also is a drug pusher. And this is the man who claims the President did "exceedingly well" on a cognitive exam (which Trump may have practiced beforehand).

The presumption, even assumption, among members of the pundit class unwilling to bow down to the magnifence of Donald J. Trump has been that Dr. Jackson was tapped only because he was poorly vetted.

But it is possible that the President selected Jackson despite being aware of the (unproven) charges against him- or worse, because of them.

The President yearns to privatize the Veterans Administration in a continuing effort to turn the government of the United States and the welfare of its people over to the corporate sector. If he knew that Jackson was a flawed candidate and person, the latter could be easily controlled.   The door  may swing both ways, with the physician aware of embarrassing details of Donald J. Trump's health which are unknown to the public.

The effort to foist this man upon the American people and its veterans has fallen apart. However, charges made about him should be resolved because he remains in an important and prestigious position. If what has been alleged about him is valid, he should not be.


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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Transparent Intentions

Politico reports

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he may change his position to not be involved with the Justice Department’s sprawling probe into whether his campaign colluded with Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

“Because of the fact that they have this witch hunt going on with people in the Justice Department that shouldn't be there, they have a witch hunt against the president of the United States going on, I‘ve taken the position, and I don't have to take this position, and maybe I'll change, that I will not be involved with the Justice Department,” Trump said in a wide-ranging interview with "Fox & Friends" on Thursday morning.

“I will wait until this is over. It is a total, it is all lies and it is a horrible thing that is going on, a horrible thing,” the president continued.

Well, yes, his presidency is a horrible thing- but it can get much worse.

The President's rhetorical shift, the threat to become directly involved in the Special Counsel's probe, is a precursor to a (unlikely) second term. It is one of the ways in which he has chosen to warn us of what is coming, if  he is allowed to have his way.

Generally defending former FBI director James Comey in the lawfare blog, Benjamin Wittes has written

I believed that Trump would fire Comey because it was clear who Trump is, and I knew who Comey is. I had a feeling they could not coexist. A tyranny cannot have independent law enforcement and remain an effective tyranny. A would-be tyrant thus must purge government of law enforcement that would be independent. He simply must get the law enforcement apparatus under his control—that is, protecting his friends and himself and arrayed against his enemies. I did not know who would be the Trump administration’s attorney general or deputy attorney general. But I knew that Trump would not be able to get law enforcement under his control with Comey in office—so I worried that he would remove Comey sooner or later. That this came to pass, and quickly, is not a reflection of my prescience. It is a reflection of what Comey, in his testimony to the Senate intelligence committee, called “the nature of the person.”

On Air Force One earlier this month, Trump argued he had nothing to do with the payoff to Stormy Daniels, claiming "You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael.” On the Fox and Friends segment, President Trump reversed course and admittted "He (Cohen) represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me."

Comey maintained in his memoranda that Trump told him that he did not stay overnight in Moscow during the 2013 Miss America pageant. Evidence has mounted, however, that Trump stayed through at least one night and today Grump shifted significantly his story: "I stayed there a very short period of time but of course I stayed. Well, his memo said I left immediately. I never said that. I never said I left immediately."

Donald Trump lies and does so effortlessly, but also can turn on a dime. Today he denigrates the FBI and the "deep state" but if re-elected, may use the FBI as his private police force and ingratiate himself seemlessly into whatever the heck the "deep state" is.

He'll do that because

A tyranny cannot have independent law enforcement and remain an effective tyranny. A would-be tyrant thus must purge government of law enforcement that would be independent. He simply must get the law enforcement apparatus under his control—that is, protecting his friends and himself and arrayed against his enemies.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Making Of President Trump

On May 3, 2017 Rebecca Savransky of The Hill wrote

Democratic strategist David Axelrod says Hillary Clinton would be well served to move on from last year's presidential election and stop talking about it.

"It takes a lot of work to lose to Donald Trump," Axelrod told CNN on Wednesday. "Let me tell you, he was the least popular presidential candidate to win in the history of polling."

No, Ms. Savransky- David Axelrod was not, and is not, a Democratic strategist; he is a Barack Obama strategist.

If Axelrod were not an Obama strategist, he wouldn't have been repeating this grotesquely misleading theme since November 8, 2016 because he would recognize the role of President Obama in Hillary Clinton's defeat.

I'm not speaking here of Obama's failure to inform the public that intelligence agencies had concluded that the Kremlin had interfered in the American electoral process in order to promote Donald Trump's general election candidacy. Nor am I referring to the "red line" the President drew on Syria until Damascus crossed it and he ignored it, an issue effectively exploited by Donald Trump in the campaign.

Neither am I referring to North Korea, which was allowed to continue its nuclear program without interference by the Obama Administration, with a concomitant inability to gain assistance by mainland China to downgrade the program- while the USA's trade imbalance with China only grew. The Administration's slap on the wrist of Wall Street offenders, which candidate Trump (dishonestly) helped use to run his disingenuous "drain the swamp" campaign, is an unrelated matter.

And I'm not speaking- not directly, anyway- of President Obama's decision to ignore the national party, which partly as a result was shellacked in state and congressional elections during his time as head of the Party.

President Obama facilitated the defeat of his party's presidential nominee of 2016 in a manner for which he cannot be held accountable, though must be held responsible.

The recent study "Understanding White Polarization in the 2016 Vote for President: The Sobering Role of Racism and Sexism"observed that the tendency of whites without a college education to vote Republican emerged in 2000, rose through 2012, and increased further in 2016. Researchers Brian Schaffner et al. controlled for both general populist and authoritarian values but as the Pacific Standard's Tom Jacobs summarized
"While the economic variables in our models were significantly associated with vote choice, those effects were dwarfed by the relationship between hostile sexism and denial of racism and voting for Trump," the researchers report. "Moving from one end of the sexism scale to the other was associated with more than a 30-point increase in support for Trump among the average likely voter. The relationship for the denial-of-racism scale was nearly identical. Moving from the highest levels of acknowledgement and empathy for racism to the lowest level was associated with about a 30-point increase in support for Trump."

Neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton can be blamed, or commended, for being black or female.  However, significantly one represented a racial minority, the other a gender minority (in power and societal status). Unsurprisingly, therefore, University of Pennsylvania political science and communications professor Diana C. Mutz in a published article concluded "status threat,not economic hardship, explains the 2016 presidential vote." In a recent interview with Slate's Isaac Chotiner, Mutz explained

One indicator that people feel increasing threat is social dominance orientations: the extent to which you feel your group should be put above others. We don’t define the groups for people. It is whatever groups they think they are. That [feeling] went up between 2012 and 2016. In addition, though, we have measures that ask people to what extent they think men are discriminated against in American society, to the extent women are, and the same with whites, blacks, Hispanics, Christians, Muslims, etc. And it’s those who are particularly likely to see the dominant groups—whites, Christians, men—as currently being discriminated against that are supporting Trump.

Mutz was given an opportunity to clarify and emphasize her interpretation of the election when asked by Chotiner "what is your response to people who say, 'A lot of these people voted for Obama in 2012. It can’t be race?'” She replied

It’s not racism of the traditional variety that we think of. This is status threat. It’s not thinking blacks are poor and uneducated. It’s the idea that they are actually doing better and may threaten the control of dominant whites in society, and have more control of our political process, and so forth. And this is something that having Obama as president actually highlighted. Here we have a very well-educated, very accomplished, and very powerful black man in the White House. That doesn’t suggest the usual negative stereotypes about minorities. It suggests instead that the status quo hierarchical nature of our national culture is changing in some ways. And it’s the same kind of thing with “Make America Great Again”—that we aren’t the superpower we once were, and we need to regain that superior, dominant status in the world.

Having all this publicity about the rise of majority-minority America at the same time as the news about the rise of China—all of these things make people feel like, “Gosh, we need to fight back.”

Republicans, who are targeting Hillary Clinton as their boogeyman, will not admit this. Democrats will not  admit this because, as Axelrod exemplifies, too many Democrats still look admiringly and almost lovingly upon the first black President of our country. Fortunately, there are researchers who- though not framing their conclusion in as many words- have inescapably concluded: without President Obama there would have been no President Trump.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Man In Need Of A Mirror

When Bill Maher welcomed onto his set Canadian author and professor Jordan Peterson on the April 13 episode of Real Time, he told Peterson "I'm a big fan, as you might have guessed."

Maher, as a supporter of freedom of the press, academic freedom, and free and open inquiry, believed (and may still believe) Peterson is an ideological blood brother. But he is nothing of the sort.

The first hint should have been when Maher, accurately and objectively, defined "political correctness" as the "elevation of sensitivity over truth."  Peterson responded "it's even worse.  It's more like the elevation of moral posturing of sensitivity over truth."

Remarkably, Maher agreed, though there is a stark and critical difference between the two definitions. Maher recognizes that the "politically correct" are sensitive, overly so in his view; Peterson accuses them of faking it, of not even being sensitive, of wallowing in "moral posturing."

It really is a brilliant move on the part of the guest. As Sam Seder notes in the video  (a commentary upon the "overtime" segment of the broadcast) below, Peterson's approach "shows this guy has an agenda."  This was clear when Peterson claimed in the main broadcast we "can pretty much blame it (political correctness) on the universities" in their "pursuit of policy- a radical left policy with an overlay of post-modernism." He has subtly shifted from defining p.c.- as Maher does- as over-sensitivity to defining it as the liberal sentiment common on campuses.

On the overtime segment (video below), Peterson- as Seder emphasizes- defends Trump voters and states

There are all these people in the U.S. who are on the conservative side who agreed with Trump for all sorts of reasons and there's all this tension around this presidency and attempts to pull him out of his office for various reasons. And what do you think will happen if that comes to pass?

What do you think will happen to these people who have identified with Trump? And, like, how is that Democratic types, for example, are holding out their hand to, say, these conservative types to say "welcome back into the fold," because it looks to me from an outsider's perspective that your country is polarizing in a way that's not good and that people are going after Trump. And I understand that. It's not like I don't understand that but there are all these people that elected him and that are identified with him and they're- they're not taking this well.  

Give them a cookie, I say- and give Peterson the next couple of cookies. Maher responded well (though he still may not understand where Peterson is coming from), replying that Donald Trump is not at all like any President we've ever had. In his own analysis, Seder points out that this isn't the first time this nation has been divided. Most recently we had a President which many- if not most- of the individuals who went on to vote for Trump- would not even acknowledge was born in the USA. And there was the matter of the Civil War and Jim Crow.

But Peterson, as Seder recognizes, is part of the conservative "personal aggrievement industry that this guy totally feeds off of."   Peterson deserves a pat on the head with those cookies, for the sensiivity he oozes is a near-perfect embodiment of political correctness.

A majority of the electorate (as Seder notes) did not vote for Trump, and fewer voted for him than for his major rival. Even if he had won the popular vote, it is such exquisite sensitivity to suggest that criticism of the President be quashed because his supporters are "not taking this well."

"How did we get to the place where we're so fragile?" Maher asks Jordan Peterson.  Little did he know that Peterson, while posturing otherwise, is among those who are the most fragile.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Acknowledging Witches

There have been numerous instances in which President Trump has labeled as a "witch hunt" the investigation by the Special Counsel into possible conspiracy by him and/or his presidential campaign with Russians and related matters.  Application of the term has been- as Vox's Dylan Scott and Tara Isabella Burton explain- misplaced, disingenuous, and inaccurate. (Video immediately below is from the Huffington Post on 4/11/18.)

Most recently (as of this morning), Trump employed the smear on Saturday, April 21 when he

attacked The New York Times for its reporting on his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and expressed confidence Cohen will remain loyal to him while under federal investigation. 

“The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will ‘flip,’ ” Trump tweeted. 

Stephanie Clifford attorney Mark Avenatti and many others have speculated that Donald Trump doesn't have effective legal representation. Certainly, his lawyers have been unable to keep him and his director of social media from implicating the President.

That has given us a window into Trump's thinking and motivation(s). So consider a hypothetical scenario in which

Although no body has been recovered, police are convinced that your next-door neighbor, who was your insurance carrier, has been the victim of murder. The deceased was known as friendly and he entertained many residents of the neighborhood at his home, where police suspect he was killed, notwithstanding no evidence of forced entry

Your ex-wife, with whom you have been close but whom you are known to have ridiculed in private, knows that you recently had a big blow-up with the neighbor- and that you committed the murder, with her support. Unfortunately (for you), she herself is being investigated by the Police Department for having allegedly conspired with you a few years earlier in committing insurance fraud.

This is a perilous situation, and now her house and current place of business have been raided and the Prosecutor's Office has seized a treasure trove of documents and electronic communications.  The media has reported that the authorities believe this material may contain evidence that you committed the murder.  Possessed of righteous indignation, you issue a statement arguing "reporters are going out of their way to destroy my wife and her relationship with me in the hope that she will flip."

Obviously, the remark "reporters are going out of their way to destroy" my ex-wife is hostile to the press. Additionally, it is a statement of support for her.

But it is something additional. You have just denied "that she will flip." Two closely related questions thus arise: what flip- and how could she "flip" if there is nothing to "flip" about?

President Trump now complains that The New York Times and one of its Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters are hoping that Michael Cohen will flip. But one cannot flip if there is nothing to flip to.

Candidate Donald Trump referred to "Two Corinthians," "my little wine (and) my little cracker" in referring to communion (which he misrepresented), and admitted- at a gathering of evangelicals- he never asked God for forgiveness. President Trump attacked Dreamers on Easter Sunday.

You can take a horse to water but you can't make him drink. It's not Donald Trump's fault that white Christian evangelicals haven't yet realized- no matter how clear he has made it- that he has only contempt for them and what they believe. Similarly, he now has told us, at least implicitly, that Michael Cohen has the goods on him.

We know Michael Cohen is being investigated for bank fraud, wire fraud,and campaign finance violations. We know also that Donald Trump is implicated, and he has recently admitted it to us.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Still Waiting For The Transformation

Responding on the overtime segment of Real Time with Bill Maher to a question about President Obama's legacy, the former Missouri Secretary of State and failed Democratic nominee for US Senator stated

I would argue that President Obama's legacy is also wider than his policy achievements. You look at the way the millenial generation, my generation, generation Z is stepping up. I think you can trace that directly back to a transformative leader who told us, you know, we're the ones we've been waiting for.  And I think that ultimately our salvation will come not from- it will come from his legacy which made a lot of people, which includes my generation, believe you can do that.

And I would argue that it takes two blacks (writing well before Jason Kander's remarks) to explain (indirectly) how utterly naive and ridiculous that is. Last October, Joy-Ann  Reid observed

As Ta-Nehisi Coates points out in his brilliant Atlantic essay, “The First White President,” for Trump’s supporters, his election was itself the point. Putting a human wrecking ball against political correctness, feminism, multiculturalism and even decency was the ballgame.

Kander should have noticed that Barack Obama's presidency was immediately succeeded by Donald Trump's presidency, and should realize that the latter never would have been anywhere near materializing without the first. Reid explains that once Henry Louis Gates had his famous confrontation with a white police officer outside of Boston

the pleasant fiction of a “post-racial America” exploded. Police groups and Republican lawmakers pounced. Obama’s approval rating with white Americans dropped 8 points immediately, according to a Pew Research Center poll, from 53 percent to 46 percent. (Though his overall approval held steady at 54 percent.) It never recovered. Not even after a hastily staged “beer summit,” at which Vice President Joe Biden, Obama’s white working-class whisperer, played peacemaker.

Obama’s reaction to the incident dominated race-related discussions that summer, both in the mainstream media and, especially, right-wing talk radio. It joined health-care reform as a topic of intense racial polarization. And the decline in Obama’s popularity was particularly acute among working-class whites.

Lest you protest that he was reelected with the help of the whitish, heartland states of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, recall that

Three year’s later, Obama was re-elected despite being crushed by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney among every white American demographic. As Ron Brownstein explained in an election analysis for The Atlantic the following September:

“In 2012, Obama won a smaller share of white Catholics than any Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1980; lost groups ranging from white seniors to white women to white married and blue-collar men by the widest margin of any Democrat since Ronald Reagan routed Walter Mondale in 1984; and even lost among Democratic-leaning college-educated women by the widest margin since Michael Dukakis in 1988.”

Obama's victory in 2012, Reid adds

demonstrated the power of a non-white constituency to do the once-impossible: deliver the White House, twice.

Embedded in Obama’s political resilience, however, was a growing racial polarization that would make the heady 2016 predictions of Democratic inevitability in the White House inoperable. With Obama’s double victories, the seeds of a backlash were sown.

The evidence of our divided racial self was all over the Obama presidency from the beginning: from the shouts of “you lie” from the well of Congress as he spoke to a joint session, to the unprecedented spectacle of American conservatives rooting against their own country being awarded the Olympic Games.

Nowhere was the acidity more evident than each time the black man in the White House talked about race — whether empathizing with a dead black teenager, Trayvon Martin, or elaborating on our often cruel racial history in his eulogies for nine slain slain Emanuel AME Church parishioners in South Carolina or five slain police officers in Dallas.

President Obama's first term had been reasonably successful and Chief Justice Roberts, joining the four liberals on the court, broke the back of the GOP's main argument in campaign 2012 by finding the Affordable Care Act constitutional.  The incumbent's victory masked the racial tension which, in Reid's telling, had re-emerged with the incident in Cambridge.

In 2016, another minority- this time a gender minority- stepped up to try to break her own glass ceiling and discovered that a huge swath of America believed the glass ceiling already had been broken and was not in the mood to cast aside its doubts in order to accomodate the yearning of the other America to "make history" again.

President Obama spent eight years as less the "transformative leader" Jason Kander imagines than as one who avoided making the country worse. Kim Jong-un did not invade South Korea nor launch any missiles toward the American mainland.  Israel is still an independent Jewish nation while hope of a Palestinian state remains.  There was not another financial crisis, though Wall Street scoundrels avoided the federal penitentiary they deserved.

It's questionable whether young people really believe "we are the ones we've been waiting for" when cynicism about the ability of government- or even society- to make necessary change appears to have risen, not declined. (It's even more questionable whether encouraging the narcissism inherent in the self-congratulatory "we are the ones we've been waiting for" would even be a positive development.)  And it looks increasingly unlikely that the idealism Kander believes Obama inspired in young people will result in effective gun safety legislation on the federal level.

Without a President Obama, there is no President Trump.  That is through no fault of Barack Obama, but is still an evident truth that the center and the left don't understand, and most glaringly the white segment of that electorate.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

More Than Ted Cruz

It's obscured, arguably concealed, yet potentially extremely important.

TIME annually publishes a list of the 100 most influential people in the world and the blurb recognizing Donald Trump was written by Texas senator Cruz, who (in full) remarked

President Trump is a flash-bang grenade thrown into Washington by the forgotten men and women of America. The fact that his first year as Commander in Chief disoriented and distressed members of the media and political establishment is not a bug but a feature.

The same cultural safe spaces that blinkered coastal elites to candidate Trump’s popularity have rendered them blind to President Trump’s achievements on behalf of ordinary Americans. While pundits obsessed over tweets, he worked with Congress to cut taxes for struggling families. While wealthy celebrities announced that they would flee the country, he fought to bring back jobs and industries to our shores. While talking heads predicted Armageddon, President Trump’s strong stand against North Korea put Kim Jong Un back on his heels.

President Trump is doing what he was elected to do: disrupt the status quo. That scares the heck out of those who have controlled Washington for decades, but for millions of Americans, their confusion is great fun to watch.

It's hard to imagine so much minsinformation in seven sentences, but most reaction- understandably- has been on the effusive praise given freely to a man who has so insulted (first video from 3/16; the latter from 5/16)the Senator's family. Typical was one from a Matt Fuller:

Cruz will be easily renominated but is in very serious danger of losing his November re-election bid to Democrat Beta O'Rourke. Therefore, it's counter-intuitive that he would strive to endear himself to Trumpists while risking support among independents and right-leaning Democrats. Steve M, however, suggests the possiblility "he grovels because he thinks he's going to lose in November. Hey, there are sure to be some openings in the Trump administration in 2019, right?"

Not only will there be openings in the Trump administration in 2019, but even more in the unlikely event of a second Trump term.

Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz has argued nine times before the US Supreme Court and is seemingly unaware that the US Constitution establishes the President as Commander in Chief only "of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several states, when called into the actual Service of the United States."

But of course he does know that because he is the same Rafael Edward Cruz of whom Al Franken once said "I like Ted Cruz more than my colleagues like Ted Cruz, and I hate Ted Cruz." Veiled and obscured in fulsome praise in TIME, the message is: do not question Donald Trump- he is our Commander in Chief, to whom full obedience is due.

Ted Cruz was, is, and evermore shall be a con man. However, this goes well beyond Ted Cruz.  If the President is re-elected, he will need the cooperation of his minions to get out the messages that dissent is unpatriotic and all resistance is futile.  Fulfilling the latter aim would be law enforcement agencies which would be called into service at each level of government- perhaps assuming credibility by acting on behalf of the "Commander in Chief."

But there will be individuals tasked with the first aim and expected to undermine the First Amendment's protections of a free press and freedom of speech.  It would be too important to leave to the President, who on his own cannot destroy the fabric of society. In this first term, congressional Republicans offer no resistance to the President, and often serve as his attack dog.  In a second term, the stakes would be much higher, and Ted Cruz has performed very well indeed in his first audition.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Timid Trio

Enabling President Trump to continue his antisocial behavior, Jeff Flake has voted for all of the President's legislative priorities while posing as a fervent critic of Mr. Trump Therefore, at first thought, it was simply another example of Flakes' uselessness when

A confluence of events put President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead NASA on the verge of an unexpected blockade Wednesday afternoon.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona had initially voted against limiting debate on the nomination of GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, but after almost an hour, he switched his vote.

While Flake was recorded against the cloture motion on Bridenstine, the vote was deadlocked 49-49. His reversal allowed the nomination to move forward 50-48. A confirmation vote is likely before the Senate wraps up work for the week on Thursday.

Under the normal course of events, a generally partisan tie vote could have been overcome with the assistance of Vice President Mike Pence, voting to break the tie in favor of Trump’s nominee.

Wednesday, however, Pence was joining Trump for meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida. So the Senate would have needed to hold open the Bridenstine vote, potentially for hours.

All 98 of the 100 senators expected to be available to vote Wednesday were present, with John McCain battling brain cancer in Arizona and Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, taking leave after giving birth on April 9.

The first thought would be inaccurate, however, as Flake appears to have gotten a concession, albeit unknown and probably minor and irreversible, from the Administration on either immigration or Cuba.

But not every Republican senator who gets an A+ on Submission 101 has gotten something in return.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asserted that (assuming it is approved next week in committee) he would not put on the floor a bipartisan, combined (Tillis-Coons/Graham-Booker) bill which would give Special Counsel Robert Mueller an opportunity to appeal a presidential decision to fire him. Though McConnell is understandably loathe to admit it, his strategy will protect members of his caucus from casting a vote, which in either direction would leave them electorally vulnerable.

However, most Republican senators, though relieved McConnell is blocking the legislation, nevertheless have a different strategic consideration:

South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds said Tuesday that Trump should make the decision on his own and be responsible for the consequences.

"I think having Congress tell him what we believe he should do in this case is simply poking the bear, and I'd just prefer not to do that," Rounds said.

Oklahoma Sen. Jim Lankford said the bill is a "political distraction."

"You create this whole constitutional political stir over something that is not going to happen," he said.

Others said there was little point.

"It's about as popular as cholera with the leader in the Senate and it's about as popular as malaria in the House," said Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, a member of the Judiciary panel. "I think most people think we're picking an unnecessary fight with the president."

(Below: Deficit hawk Lankford pleads his concern about the deficit before voting for a tax bill increasing deficits $1.4 trillion over ten years.)

Picking a fight. Political distraction. Poking the bear.  Against such fear, logic cannot prevail, though Delaware's

Coons bristled at the criticism that the legislation is unconstitutional, noting that several courts have upheld similar special counsel statutes.

"If I were convinced this were unconstitutional, I would not be moving it," said Coons, a lawyer.

(Warning: antiquated phrases ahead.) In the bygone days of an era long gone, we youngsters would call the likes of Rounds, Lankford, and Kennedy "scaredy cats." They are frightened, craven men shivering in a corner, afraid that Donald Trump will send out an upsetting tweet if they do the wrong thing by him.

Republican Robert Mueller has been a highly decorated Marine and platoon commander, head of the criminal division of the Justice Department, and director of the FBI. That's not a bad resume, and is only part of it.

Senators Tillis, Coons, Graham, and Booker aim only to offer the Special Counsel a judicial review if removed- but there are Republican senators simply too intimidated to back their colleagues and Mueller.  Although somewhat spineless, Jeff Flake seems to be a little principled. But these other guys are damaging to the Republic and are truly wretched.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Something Missing In This Story

The "liberal media" is at it again.

We begin with the oft-conservative The Hill, which reports

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the Senate would not take up legislation limiting President Trump's ability to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

"I'm the one who decides what we take to the floor, that's my responsibility as the majority leader, and we will not be having this on the floor of the Senate," he told Fox News.

McConnell has an explanation, as The Hill adds

But McConnell has said for months that he does not believe legislation protecting Mueller is necessary. He told reporters last week that he had seen no need to pass such a bill. 

"That's not necessary. There's no indication that Mueller is going to be fired. I don't think the president's going to do that. And just a practical matter even if we passed it, why would he sign it?" McConnell said Tuesday on Fox News.

We move on to USA Today, which also notes that the Majority Leader stated “We'll not be having this on the floor of the Senate" and "there's no indication that Mueller's going to be fired."

Roll Call points out that McConnell maintained Mueller shouldn't be fired and won't be fired “so, this is a piece of legislation that’s not necessary in my judgement."

Surely, President Trump's "Fake News CNN," which is not only "FAKE" but a "loser," would be more thorough. Unfortunately, it also quotes McConnell as contending "I don't think he should fire Mueller and I don't think he's going to "so this is a piece of legislation that isn't necessary in my judgment."

In his effort to get The Washington Post to shut up, the President has gone after owner Jeff Bezos personally and the paper generally, claiming Amazon, also owned by Bezos, is profiting off the US Postal Service and government leaks. Yet, its coverage of McConnell's decision not to deter Trump from firing the Special Counsel is similar to the others, adding that McConnell stated “Just as a practical matter, even if we pass it, why would he sign it?”

The "paper of record" with "all the news that's fit to print," which President Grump calls "the failing New York Times," also fails, as does US edition of the liberal/progressive The Guardian.

Six respected news organizations and not one of them found it important even to mention a critical fact about the Senate Majority Leader.

Mitch McConnell is married to Elaine Chao. That's Elaine Chao, as in Secretary of the Department of Transportation Elaine Chao, as a cabinet member serving at the pleasure of President Donald J. Trump.

That may not be the primary reason McConnell refuses to put up the bill sponsored by conservative Republican Thom Tillis of North Carolina and centrist Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware.   The Majority Leader is not anxious to force Republican senators to cast a vote in the affirmative- which would put them at jeopardy with the GOP popular base- or in the negative, which would reveal them as members of Team Russia and would not well serve those senators up for re-election.

But except in the extremely remote possibility that Chao is looking for an exit strategy from Trump's cabinet, McConnell's decision has been affected by his wife's situation. Unless all these co-conspirators simultaneously dreamt that this is no factor, it still would be something worth mentioning who one of the three most powerful politicians in the country is married to.

It would be recognized as important to a coldly objective press. However,  the press itself and Democratic politicians portray it as objective while  the GOP slams it as as "liberal," largely because most reporters lean left.

Yet, most reporters, performing as professionally as they're able, will not allow their personal biases to determine their coverage. Perhaps yhey are affected by the preferences of their employers, most of which are corporations. Or they are intimidated by media-bashing Republican politicians and conservatives in the public. Maybe there is an element of groupthink. Whatever the mix of influences or motives, the mainstream media (let alone the powerful right-wing media) on balance skews Republican, as coverage of this issue exemplifies.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Boon, Not A Bug

No doubt up early for church, the President on Sunday tweeted "Unbelievably, James Comey states that Polls, where Crooked Hillary was leading, were a factor in the handling (stupidly) of the Clinton Email probe. In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job. Slimeball!"

Dressing furiously so as not to be late for the pastor's opening announcements, Trump paused briefly to inform everyone "I never asked Comey for Personal Loyalty. I hardly even knew this guy. Just another of his many lies. His “memos” are self serving and FAKE!" and "Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!"

The President would never chance missing worship were it not to warn Americans that the former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is the worst FBI dirctor ever, a fake, and a slimeball.

There was no reason that this Lord's Day should have been any different from any other for a President who actually did chance to visit a church on Easter Sunday. This followed a series of tweets including  "Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. 'Caravans' coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!" On church grounds, he readied his heart for prayer by condemning immigrants and Democrats.

The President obviously is at his classiest on Sunday mornings, even though the Los Angeles Times later on Easter rudely suggested "The tone of the president's holiday tweets differed markedly from the sentiments of goodwill commonly expressed by previous U.S. chief executives on national or religious occasions."

The pettiness and the nastiness have affected upon the President's popularity.  On April 11, history professor Rodney Hessinger observed

The most recent Pew polls suggest that President Donald Trump hasn't just held his support amongst white evangelicals but actually has grown his support since the Stormy Daniels story took hold.

With his white evangelical support having dropped to 61 percent in December, Trump now enjoys 78 percent support, just a shade beneath the support he won from white evangelicals on Election Day.

Hessinger notes

Many commentators have puzzled about the seeming hypocrisy of those who would see adultery and womanizing as grave sins. And yet for those who know the history of evangelicalism in America, this should be no surprise at all.

In fact, there are good reasons why we should expect this result. The history and sexual politics of evangelicalism in America fit well with Donald Trump and his message.

Whatever the history and sexual politics of evangelicalism in the USA, Donald Trump can no longer be validly seen as enormously popular with the white Christian right despite his attitude, language, and behavior.

"Christian conservatives," NYT columnist Michelle Golberg notes, "may believe strongly in their own righteousness. But from the outside, it looks as if their movement was never really about morality at all."  Ironically, in the case of Trump, maybe it is about morality- except in reverse.

Donald Trump lacks regard for traditional Christian virtues as sexual morality, honesty, kindness, charity toward others, compassion, humility, personal responsibility. He openly exhibits contempt for Christian customs, such as communion, the virgin birth, and asking for forgiveness. For him, these are not barriers to popularity with his most enthusiastic constituency. They are an admission ticket.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Changing Circumstances

It's too early to handicap the 2016 presidential race. It's too early to predict the outcome of the general election or even the outcome of the primary race in the Democratic Party. (It's even too early to do so for the GOP nomination, though if a President Trump runs for re-election, the outcome is predetermined.)

It's too early in part because we don't know who, or how many candidates, will vie for the Democratic nomination.  Mentioned at one time or another have been Kamala Harris, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swallwell of California; John Hickenlooper of Colorado; Chris Murphy of Connecticut; Joseph Biden of Delaware; Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Steve Bullock of Montana; Cory Booker of New Jersey; Andrew Cuomo and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Sherrod Brown and Tim Ryan of Ohio; Joaquin Castro of Texas; Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Terry McAuliffe and Tim Kaine of Virginia. Your mileage may vary.

Some of these guys and gals will decide against competing for the nomination but other politicans, not yet thought of, will do so. Additionally, there is the possibility of celebrities, most controversially Oprah Winfrey, and oddly including Michelle Obama. That a couple of months ago Steve Zuckerberg was floated- seriously- as a possible candidate demonstrates how a list can change in almost the blink of an eye.

And so it is with appropriate caution that Steve Mahtesian would consider in Politico Magazine the likelihood of Joe Biden, "the rare national Democrat who can connect with blue-collar constituencies that have long since left the fold," running for, and winning, the Democratic presidential nomination.

Yet, in "Joe Biden Is The Front-Runner. Uh-Oh," Mahtesian acknowledges that the former vice-president has had in his career conflicting views about financial reform, abortion, and criminal justice reform.  He concludes "as a septuagenarian white male, Biden is a highly unlikely prospect to lead that new coalition" of Democrats committed to a decidely liberal or progressive perspective on these issues.

That's accurate as far as it goes, including the immediately following and final remark "it's a testament to his talents that it's even subject to debate."

But hold on there- on the notions that he would be a longshot or that it's subject to debate.

If individuals change (as they do), events, the mood of the public, and rivals change even more.  That's demonstrated by an extremely informative, even insightful, article by Five Thirty Eight's David Wasserman dated February 12, 2016. Given Hillary Clinton's defeat in the 2016 general election and the most common explanation of it, the piece comes with what now appears to be an ironic, if not myopic, title. However, in the body of the article Wasserman explains

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Hillary Clinton is relying on a coalition that looks almost the opposite of the one she assembled in 2008. Eight years ago, she prevailed among working-class whites while losing well-educated whites and African-Americans to Barack Obama. But her path to overcoming Bernie Sanders and winning the 2016 nomination now appears to rely on a marriage of upscale whites and African-Americans.

As in 2008, Clinton supporters are still likelier to be older voters, women and self-identified Democrats rather than independents. But in terms of class and race, Clinton’s support looks surprisingly similar to Obama’s. Maybe that shouldn’t be so shocking: Clinton has talked up her connections to Obama, bringing him up repeatedly during the debate Thursday night, and primary voters who preferred to “generally continue Obama’s policies” backed Clinton by 42 percentage points in Iowa and by 25 points in New Hampshire.

Eight years ago, in the run-up to New Hampshire, Obama seemed poised to simply run away with the nomination after Iowa gave him a convincing win and signaled the viability of his candidacy to African-American voters elsewhere. But Clinton’s stunning upset in New Hampshire revealed for the first time that she could count on working-class white Democrats, who loudly and clearly told Obama, “not so fast.”

This is a crucial bit of electoral history that is conveniently ignored because it doesn't fit into the narrative of the 2016 presidential election in which Hillary Clinton beat opponent Donald Trump among young people, racial/ethnic minorities, and affluent and educated voters while getting clobbered by the white working class (and the elderly).

Admittedly, that narrative is borne out in significant part by the vote breakdown nationally, as well as Clinton's stunning and ultimately decisive defeat in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, states traditionally won by Democrats and arguably dominated by the white working-class. Additionally, Clinton was defeated by Trump in the huge swing state of Ohio (another "working-class" state), won in November 2008 and November 2012 by the Democratic nominee, as well as in nearby Kentucky and West Virginia.

Ironically, in her New Hampshire contest with Barack Obama in 2008 (video below from primary night 4/08 in Pennsylvania)

her entire 7,589-vote victory was attributable to big margins in just five working-class Granite State towns: Manchester, Nashua, Rochester, Salem and Berlin. This pattern became a blueprint for Clinton’s later primary wins in working-class states like Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

In the 2016 primary campaign, Clinton generally beat Sanders among more affluent voters and especially the better educated, and among blacks. Similarly, among whites in the general election, she garnered more support than did Trump from blacks and hispanics and the more highly educated.

In those states which Obama won and Clinton lost in the month of November, several factors intervened, including Obama's superior campaign skills, the opposition each faced, and the issues highlighted during the campaigns. Further, the Party has increasingly responded to a constituency- which Obama himself emphasized- of ethnic and sexual minorities, the well-educated, secular individuals, urbanites, and women voluntarily single. These groups have noticed. So have the others.

Hillary Clinton found it far easier to capture the support of white working-class (and elderly) voters when she ran against Barack Hussein Obama than she did running against Donald Trump.  However Clinton has changed probably was the least significant factor in this shift. Additionally, times change; issues change; voters change.

Democratic Party activists generally are energized by the need to regulate the financial services industry, expand reproductive and other rights of women, and reform law enforcement and criminal justice.  Intuitively, therefore, it's likely that candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr. would face obstacles with the popular base while continuing to appeal to white working-class voters. But as Hillary Clinton would admit if subjected to truth serum:  don't bet on it.

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The Lie Laughed At Around the World

I suppose if a guy would in the Oval Office advocate the execution of "a staffer who leaked a story ," it's not surprising th...