Revolted Colonies

U.S. Politics and Culture

Month: September 2016 (Page 1 of 2)

The Election Goes Into The Stretch Run

There is a little over a month before we go to the polls.   In this campaign each day feels like a month, like the end of a pro basketball game, when one minute of playing time takes ten minutes of realtime.  It’s excruciating, and not in a good way. Pundits are out of words and ideas.  They gawk at the spectacle and listen carefully, their jaws slack.  And the band plays on.

These pundits are zeroing in on Millennials, those citizens who came of age around the turn of the century. They have succeeded the Baby Boomers as the country’s largest voting bloc – assuming they will vote.  It’s an enormous group, and they defy generalizations.

Millennial turnout and voting will turn the election.  A large turnout favors the Democrat. Low turnout or diversion of votes to a minor-party candidate favors the Republican.  The nation is their future, and their future is the nation.  How they vote, if they vote, is the most important story of this election. For this one, seemingly endless month, we will be hearing a lot about Millennials, as if you can understand  an ocean by looking at the shore.  The voting will tell us, and we would be wise to pay attention. By that we may see the breadth of the nation beyond the horizon. 

 

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Punchlines From the First Presidential Debate

The air has finally gone out of the buffoon. At last night’s debate, Hillary Clinton landed a series of stinging punches when Trump lied, producing a grunted “Wrong,” from him. But Clinton wasn’t wrong. The jabs stung, and that Barbaric Yawp was Trump expelling air like an antelope felled on the South African grasslands.

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Clinton invited the audience to follow in real-time fact-checking at home, anticipating Trump’s dishonesty. It has been a mainstay of his campaign. He was trapped. Either he had to renounce a year’s worth of lies or go with what got him this far.

 

“Yawp!” he grunted, when confronted by 1973 consent decrees against his company for discriminatory housing practices.

“Yawp!” he brayed, about his 2002 remark to Howard Stern in support of the Iraq invasion.

“Yawp!” he bellowed when confronted by the refusal to give up his birther claim for five years after Obama authorized the release of definitive proof of his American birth.

“Yawp!” he howled when Clinton confronted Trump with his spurious claim that climate change is a hoax hatched by the Chinese.

Toward the end of the evening, Trump dodged a question about Clinton not looking Presidential. The lioness moved in on her prey.

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“And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman “Miss Piggy.” Then he called her “Miss Housekeeping,” because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name… “

“Where did you find this? Where did you find this?”

“Her name is Alicia Machado…”

“Where did you find this?”

“And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet… (“Where did you find this?”)… she’s going to vote this November!”

“Yawp! Yawp! Yawp! Yawp!”

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Clinton landed a Haymaker, and Trump went down like a bag of rocks.
Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe from Venezuela, is now 36 years-old, living in L.A., and carries the scars of Trump’s sadistic treatment of the teenager. She gave an interview to the New York Times this spring. The Times kept it quiet, although the Clinton camp obviously found out.

Clinton gave Trump a September Surprise, pulling out this disgusting story that captures his misogynistic side perfectly. Trump had nothing new to say. He may not have an October Surprise to spring because the GOP has chased down every nasty tidbit about Hillary and disgorged it already.

Maybe the media has not been so passive after all. They may have gathered information and held it back to be used in September and October. By this time, Trump has shot his wad, and he has nothing left.

And that one, my friends, is called the Rope-a-Dope.

Trump 1600: Plan to Dismantle the White House

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Trump 1600 – Artist’s Rendering

The Plan

It’s either brilliant or the height of arrogance. Six weeks ahead of the election, the Trump Organization has submitted a building plan to the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development to repurpose the White House. Eric Trump has taken the lead on project code-named Trump 1600, which is part of the overall the Trump Office Administration Development (TOAD). The plans call for the ground floor to stay “commercial.” The upper floors will be left intact, and they will raise the roof. A 25-story penthouse tower will soar above the existing residence, with views of Virginia, Maryland, and the “Historic District Skyline.” The northern wall of the tower will boast enormous bay windows to echo the famous portico. Eric Trump indicated that he “knows a guy” and has been promised that the plan review will go ahead so that “we are shovel-ready on day one.”

Cease and Desist

The National Park Service has taken immediate steps to halt review of the plan. It’s filed for a cease and desist order against the D.C.H.C.D. However, the Superior Court denied the motion, ruling that the Park Service had no standing for any development above the top of the White House.

“The owner of air rights over the said dwelling, be it publicly or privately owned, is vested with an interest superior to that of any other party, including the federal government,” said Superior Court Judge Bertha Denier in a brief opinion. “This is especially the case when the holder of those rights has submitted plans that are terrific and will make the location the biggest and most spectacular Presidential Resort in the world. It will be huge,” the court concluded.

Judge Denier refused to comment on her ruling. It is reported that she declined to stay review pending appeal, as she was en route to Mar-a-Lago for her reelection fund-raiser.

 Compounding Interest

At the same time, Trump Organization lawyers have filed for eminent domain of Lafayette Park and Blair House. They also have filed an unsolicited sealed bid to buy the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for private development. The proposed name is the Trump District District. It will offer a high-rise of sixty-four floors of “the world’s most amazing condominiums, overlooking the Trump Marquis de Lafayette Golf Club, consisting of a clubhouse and the most challenging three-hole course in the Western Hemisphere.”  A draft prospectus certifies that the bunkers will be “100% American sand.”

The present West Wing would become a museum dedicated to the memory of the Presidency with the Oval Office becoming a virtual reality exhibition. Customers will experience the feeling of being President by playing one on TV.

The Rest of the Plan

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The proposed Florida White House

If elected, Trump would keep one of the penthouses available for his occasional visits. Trump will open his primary office in Mar-a-Lago, his Florida residence, with the rest of the West Wing operation in a nearby strip mall leased from a Trump donor. The rest of the executive branch will work out of an existing government building a few minutes by air from the putative Florida White House. Rather than bring in private contractors, the Trumps will use a government labor force to convert the existing prison at Guantanamo Bay into a warren of executive offices with overflow for rental. Acres that have been neglected for decades would be put out to bid for beach front development under a 99-year lease. The plan includes an elaborate common area provisionally named the Bertha Denier Clubhouse.

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Site of the new Executive Branch

Universal Backlash

Almost everyone in the country is outraged by at least some part of TOAD. In addition to the Park Service  lawsuit, the A.C.L.U. plans to file to stop the loss of Lafayette Park as a site for assembly and protest. The National Heritage Conservancy has fast-tracked recognition of the White House as a landmark of historic significance. Many groups have joined in a mass filing with the D.C. Zoning Commission to limit the redevelopment of the White House to five stories. This would make TOAD unprofitable.

The proposed relocation of the Presidential headquarters has drawn international scorn as well. Trump is the first private citizen to be censured by the United Nations General Assembly. Al Qaeda and ISIS have threatened reprisals if a Trump-led U.S. follows through on the plan to recast the Cuban prison as a government enclave and pleasure palace. Eric Trump uncharacteristically tried to appease those enraged by his plan.

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Happy Government Laborers

“All workers will get first-class meals and comfortable lodgings as long as the project lasts. Their efforts will be recognized,” said Eric Trump.  Then he held up the sign to be affixed to each building: “This House Was Built by Enemy Combatants.”

 

Coin Toss: The First Presidential Debate

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The Sacagawea $1.00 Coin

 

The NFL and the Commission For Presidential Debates jointly announced today that an NFL team of the referees slated to officiate Monday Night Football instead will oversee the first Clinton-Trump Presidential Debate.  Lester Holt, the Debate moderator originally named, will work the Falcons-Saints game.  The switch supposedly was made for Holt’s personal safety. The two events air at the same time

This extraordinary change actually may have been triggered by doubts following Matt Lauer’s sniveling performance last week at the Commander-in-Chief Forum, anonymous sources say, and because the NFL crew is better prepared to prevent cheap shots.

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Referees Conferring

False Starts

 The topics announced are America’s Direction, Achieving Prosperity, and Securing America. However, the candidates will ask themselves  questions, which they need not answer. The format has been divided into halves, each consisting of two quarters, with each candidate having two time-outs and two challenges per half. Choice of the north or south podium will remain a game-time decision based on the coin toss. The Clinton Team will attempt a triangulation formation.

Trump’s Roster

Mr. Trump’s team pushed for the unprecedented use of substitute debaters.  The CPD rejected the proposal, insisting that the public should hear from the people who will  be responsible for setting policy. Thereupon, Mr. Trump resubmitted his proposal with a list of names, assuring CPD that the public would.  The CPD criticized this tactic and was particularly  distressed that one of his proposed  substitutions requires a Russian interpreter.  Mr. Trump’s new request for a life-line was under review as this story went to press. Roger Ailes, who has prepped Trump for the debate, planned to attend the Hofstra event.  Unfortunately, he will not be in attendance.   The terms of his recently settled sexual discrimination case require him to be least 2,000 feet away from the school.

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Pre-Debate Maneuvers

The Clinton team believes that the use of the officiating crew is more likely to keep the questions  and answers on topic it has challenged the all-male composition. The Trump team has publicly stated of the switch that the game is rigged. Trump offspring have been deployed to check if any of the refs have favorite charities in need of a boost.

Nevertheless, both camps have approved the challenge system. For the first time in the history of the Debates, slow-motion replays will be available. The stoppage of play opened up ad opportunities sought by the candidates, who nevertheless lost out to the Canadian Tourist Board, the high bidder.

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Courtesy of Canadian Tourism Board

The Trump campaign made a last-ditch effort to postpone the debate until 2017, to coincide the groundbreaking of the site of Trump Hall and Lounge, which is to house a center that will provide sanctuary to female models  from former Warsaw Pact nations. Hofstra, the hosting institution, was dumbstruck, the first and possibly the last time, it hears of this generous gift.

Spin Control

The new format permits each team its own play-by-play announcers. The teams will  not have to wait until the end of the contest to spin the result. They can roll it out as the candidates are speaking. This will put the Trump campaign at a distinct advantage, as Kellyanne Conway, the rapid-fire Trump campaign manager, seems to answer questions before they are asked.

Mr. Trump has said that he will not depart much from his Playbook of the last year.  Notably, his team has said that he might refine his immigration policy to include Guatemalans, Nicaraguans and Easter Islanders, in addition to Mexicans.  He does seem intent on pursuing his ban of Muslims and will extend it to Muslim-types, by which he means all non-Caucasian people.

Team Clinton

Preparation on the Clinton team has been rigorous.   They are gearing to their candidate’s strength, focusing on misdirection and hidden ball plays.  Bill Clinton, one of his era’s greatest debaters, will  confer on matters of strategy and tone but  is expected to spend the bulk of this time auditioning cheerleaders. Clinton’s preparation has been physical as well as mental.  She has approached her task with dedication, especially the walking-back drills designed for defensive play on questions regarding Whitewater, the Rose law firm, Vince Foster, Troopergate, Travelgate, Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, the entire female population of Chappaqua, the Iraq War, Benghazi, Goldman Sachs, the 2008 Campaign, Muhammad Yunus, the  Deplorables, and the Clinton Foundation.  The team has set aside ten minutes for issues about the future.

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Clinton’s inner circle has scored a coup by hiring Trump ghost writer Tony Schwartz to coach Special Teams.  He has recruited many former Trump girlfriends and wives,  except for those still on the Trump payroll.

Rules Committee

Most NFL rules will be suspended during the debate. For example, Trump successfully petitioned to suspend Unlawful Use of Hands. Clinton meanwhile was able to invalidate the False Start rule, giving her the ability to switch positions during the course of her answer.   Naturally, Taunting and Unsportsmanlike Conduct rules will not be in effect.

Uh Oh, He Used the H (Hitler) Word!

When it comes to mass murder, Hitler runs a distant third. He trails Stalin by about 10 million and Mao by about 70 million. image I don’t mean to say that Adolph was a poser but frankly he was out of their league. Mao and Stalin were long-lasting tyrants, holding unquestioned, terrifying political power for five decades. The Third Reich of a thousand years lasted but twelve. Still, Hitler was unique as these monsters go. imageHe committed an incredible number of murders in those twelve years. They’re not Hall of Fame stats but he sure had a meteoric career.

Now, here comes Trump, 70 years old. No private army, no loyalty from the military, no secret police. Nothing like an SS. How can the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen, a very sharp guy, compare him to the Führer?

It’s possible that Trump followers could egg a few federal buildings after he’s shut down their agencies– why not? But it’s not even close to setting fire to the Reichstag, the German Parliament. He’s not about to lock up Jews, Blacks and Mexicans. Ok, maybe a few Mexicans. And Muslims probably shouldn’t back-order anything just now. Trump talks guns and doesn’t even wear a uniform. Mao, Joe and Adolph always dressed to kill. How can you take the guy seriously?

The press is always building people up just to shoot them down. The next Dylan, the next Mantle, the next Adolph. It will be the same with Trump. “Believe me!” He won’t even chart as high as Pol Pot or Idi Aminimage

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What’s got Richard Cohen’s hair on fire is the lies. “Trump lies, then he lies about the lies!” That wasn’t Hitler. It was really more Goebbels. Goebbels was all about the Big Lie: if you say something outrageous long and loud enough it starts to seem true. Trump tried it with the Birther thing. Trump made the hats and shirts, but it never took off. People just weren’t buying it. I’ve seen the facsimile Kenyan birth certificates stacked up at the Dollar Store. His licensees must have taken a real beating on that one.

Besides, since when is lying a sin? The Eighth Commandment doesn’t say anything about lying exactly. It says not to bear false witness,  lying under oath, which means don’t swear to it. Big difference. Ask any lawyer.

There’s always going to be a few people who believe him. After all, he’s a billionaire (maybe). He must be right about something! Trump is pretty good at separating fools from their money and maybe from their votes too. That doesn’t make him Hitler. It might make him P.T. Barnum.

P. T. Barnum, circus producer, stands next to a table on which Charles Stratton, a dwarf who came to be known as Tom Thumb, stands. Barnum hired Stratton at the age of five and Stratton became the first major attraction the circus owner promoted. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

P. T. Barnum, circus producer, and Tom Thumb

 

 

Here’s That The Ring of Fire You Told Me About

The political class holds the view that every successful candidate must go through a Ring of Fire, a test that can sink a campaign. The successful candidate will withstand the Ring of Fire. The candidate must confront a negative and neutralize it or turn it positive.

Clinton’s Struggle

Frontrunner Hillary Clinton has endured many trying moments in her campaign but has held on to a lead, now dwindling, from the day she declared. The lead withstood the Benghazi Inquisition, the Goldman Bounty, The Global Path to Power, the Email Enigma and even the Escape from Pneumonia. Can she surmount the final and ultimate hurdle: The Flight of the Millennials?
Over the past week, Clinton’s slipping numbers have not been Trump’s increase, but they have been his gain. There is evidence to support the view that, although Clinton beats Trump head to head among Millennials, her support drops substantially in a four-way race that includes Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, and Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee.

Election 2000 Redux?

Ralph Nader’s Green Party candidacy siphoned off enough votes from Al Gore to turn a comfortable margin in Florida into a deficit of 537 and a calamitous recount. We learned about hanging chads and butterfly ballots, a wrongly announced time for poll closing by the five major media outlets, vote scrubbing – the wrongful removal of non-felons from the Florida voting rolls, vote pairing – a vote trade that is meant to altecarviller electoral college results, combativeness during the recount and finally the Supreme Court hijacking the recount process from Florida. The only election result that counted was 5-4, the court split in Bush v. Gore. But Nader’s participation made it possible.

Doing the Math

At this point, the “I’m With Her” team has lost its swagger and is grappling with the departure of Millennial support.millennialscollage Voters that abandon Clinton for Johnson or Stein are taking their votes off the board because only Clinton and Trump are competitive. The smaller total favors Trump. Those departing voters effectively are throwing their votes toward Trump.

Here then is Hillary Clinton’s Ring of Fire, the ultimate challenge to her bid to become President, the first female to hold the office. The challenge folds in the earlier crises that have come to represent a penchant for secrecy, deviousness and legalistic parsing of words. In one sense, she cannot meet the ultimate test without shutting down a lot of the other ones. In another sense, she must make her case to the young constituency directly and convincingly.
People don’t use logic in voting. They vote on emotion, personal attachment to a candidate or, in this year’s pageant, detachment from one or both. The logic is there for Clinton to make her case to the Millennials. She will need to deliver it with sincerity and passion, concern for the lives of our children and our children’s children. When she delivers her message, she ought to be thinking about her daughter Chelsea, who is a Millennial. She should speak to Chelsea or her friends find out how she’s letting them down and move quickly to persuade them – through acts, not words – that she can be trusted to carry out an agenda that holds promise for them. This is her Ring of Fire, the ultimate test of her candidacy. Hillary has always been a top student. Let’s see if she can ace the final.

Trump is an Authoritarian, not a Conservative

A quote from John Dean, former Nixon White House counsel:

“Social conservatism and neoconservatism have revived authoritarian conservatism, and not for the better of conservatism or American democracy. True conservatism is cautious and prudent. Authoritarianism is rash and radical. American democracy has benefited from true conservatism, but authoritarianism offers potentially serious trouble for any democracy.”
― John W. Dean, Conservatives Without Conscience

Release of Trump Prostate Exam Result Delayed

On the advice of his attorney, accountant and urologist, Donald Trump will not release the results of his prostate examination. Dr. Seymour Hair performed the examination in June 2016, shortly before the Republican National Convention. He confirmed that he performed the exam and was paid for his services. He has no knowledge of an issue with regard to the EOB. When Dr. Hair was asked about the exam result, he would only say, “What a hole!”

Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway responded to a barrage of questions as to why Trump has reversed his promise to release this report.

“Mr. Trump never promised to release this record, but he will once the Explanation of Benefits review of the insurance claim has been fully reviewed and addressed. Mr. Trump’s health insurer reportedly issued a four-page statement as to payment for the digital examination.”

Conway could not say when the EOB results would be available or if he had gotten his reimbursement.  Conway said that Trump would release his prostate results when Hillary Clinton releases hers.

The insurance carrier, Trump Blue Cross, could not be reached for comment.

When It Comes to Health, The Cure Is Worse Than The Illness

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People have made too big a deal about Hillary Clinton’s health. If so, it’s because the candidate has done that by her own handling of the weekend health scare. On Sunday, Clinton did a half-gainer into her SUV after swooning at the 9/11 Remembrance. It was captured on video, and it looked like she was unable to stand up. True to form, her campaign was spinning the story about her health before the car doors closed. “It’s the flu.” “No, it’s dehydration.” “She’s fine.” “Her doctor told her to stay home.” The health reports wiggled and waggled while the candidate was driven to her daughter’s apartment nearby. After a brief recuperation, she came out for an unassisted walk, as if to say, “false alarm.”

Disclosure

Hillary has been open about her health history, disclosing medical information earlier in the campaign. Yet her management has been criticized for failing to disclose immediately after the incident that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia. At first her staff reported dehydration as the cause. Maybe it was, but maybe she was more vulnerable due to pneumonia. The view here is that it would have been better to announce the bug last Friday and then emerge briefly on Sunday.

Voters have a real concern about a President’s health, unlike much of the junk a candidate gets lambasted for. When the issue affects Hillary, she takes a second beating for “lack of candor.” She concealed that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia last Friday. Of course, not every tick is newsworthy. If so, she might have found a less perilous way to observe Sunday’s long and solemn event. The follow-up stroll was absurd once the diagnosis was revealed.

Long in the Teeth

Clinton and Trump are the two oldest people to run for President. The winner will probably not run for reelection in 2020. They are at an age when medical issues happen. It’s a legitimate concern for voters. The readiness of running mates takes on a greater importance because of the ages of the candidates. Sixty is not the new forty. Maybe it’s the new fifty-two. Both of these folks are geezers. Trump handed out a one-page ghostwritten statement signed by his one-time gastroenterologist. Clinton disclosed her medical history but was coy about her current, albeit temporary, condition.

“No Big Deal” is The Big Deal

To explain her reason for not disclosing the pneumonia, Clinton said that it was “no big deal.” But it turned into a big deal precisely because it had been concealed. She could have announced having a bug, made a brief appearance and departed while she was still upright. It could have been handled better, which is the criticism even her friends and allies level at her. David Axelrod, a master campaign strategist, tweeted, “Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What’s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?”

In Memory Of 9/11

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