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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 25, 2019 by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy Give No Heed to the Walking Dead [The Scholar’s Stage, via Naked Capitalism 8-18-19] The People’s Republic of China is wealthier than any rival America has faced. Its leaders are convinced […]
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Gunfight at the Cleveland Corral

ok-corralIt just keeps getting better on the right side of the aisle. Digby posted about a request from 2nd Amendment group that wants attendees to the Republican convention to be able to carry guns.

You would think that the Quicken Loans Arena’s refusal to allow guns on the premises would be in compliance with the concept of presidential candidates requiring Secret Service protection. Think Robert Kennedy. But that’s not the way these people see it. They see it as a violation of their constitutional rights.

You know what? I think they should be able to do it. Yeah, why not? At least for one night before the roll call vote when all of the candidates are out of the room, let’s just let everyone bring their guns and settle it. We’ll lock them all in and let the debate begin. Whoever has the most delegates standing at dawn the next day wins the nomination.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, The Donald and sad face Cruz are about to go mano a mano over their wives. Someone posted one of many of Melania Trump’s scantily clad modeling poses and Trump insulted Cruz’s wife Heidi, who is no model.

And this is supposed to make us believe that Trump is the worst misogynist in the world. Really? Worse than Cruz who purports to love strong women? Ted Cruz’s evangelical base has no respect for strong women. Women were born to be helpers to men and to defer to them in all things in Cruz world. So, you know, save your breath, Ted. We’ve seen what nearly forty years of Republican “family values” have done for women.

If Ted gets the nomination, he and his fanbase will be all over Hillary the Strong, tearing her down any way they can. Butcha know, the voting booth is a private place, and provided women can actually circumvent the regressive voting restrictions designed to keep them out, they can even the playing field this November. Think about that, Ted. We’re the majority of the population. That’s potentially a much bigger cohort of disaffected voters for 2016 than in 2008. Even Heidi might come over to the dark side. Ted will never know. Bwahahahahahahhhhhhh!

As for The Donald, his stupid comb over and self-tanner accidents, we can only come to one conclusion when we see beautiful, smart Melania Trump by his side:

The sexiest thing in Donald Trump’s pants is his wallet.

I keep thinking the Republicans can’t continue to parody themselves without truly endangering their party’s viability but I seem to underestimate their constituents’ tolerance of more and more crazy.

Are we watching the death of the Republican party or will they manage to pull themselves out of this at the last moment? Have them finally mutated one too many times?

And if it does fall apart, what will rise to take its place? Who will the Koch’s throw all their money to? My best guess is that they’ll continue to support down ticket Republicans. But does The Donald have the power to take them all down?

Oh, Please! PLEASE!, carry guns to your convention.

 

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How to beat Trump

bilde-262x300After 8 long years of deliberately isolating myself from cable news, I listened to CNN on TuneIn radio on my iPhone last night. For three long hours, I listened to Anderson Cooper, followed by some new dude who appears to be Larry King’s replacement, talk about Trump.

It was all Trump, all the time.

It reminded me of the good old Monica Lewinsky era.

They talked about Trump rallies, how he has the worst negatives of any presidential candidate in human history, the math to the nomination, how the GOP would react to Trump’s nomination, would they give him the nomination, would there be riots, are there riots right now, and Megyn Kelly.

Let’s stop right there. Is there anything weirder than Fox News writing a perfectly reasonable statement defending Megyn Kelly against sexism and misogyny and Donald Trump’s crazy, scary obsession with her?

Sometimes I think that if Donald Trump didn’t exist, the Democrats would have to invent him. Because who in their right mind would vote for this guy, right?? It’s got to be a shoe in for Hillary. Then I think that’s what a rational person would think and nothing about this year is remotely rational. In fact, the more the media covers him and points out what a creepy, disgusting, violence inciting, self-tanning mistake of a human being firmly pinned to one end of the narcissistic personality disorder spectrum he is, the more supporters he gets.

I could almost hear the gears whirring in the noggins of Anderson Cooper and his guests trying to figure out how to stop him. “We cover him and he does outrageous things and it’s clear that someone is going to get hurt eventually and women are really going to suffer under a Trump regime, and the more we cover this, the more people want to elect him. What if we… Nahhh, we can’t”

Yes, you can. You can just stop covering him. No, I take that back. Someone might say that it is your responsibility to cover a “legitimate” presidential candidate. Yes, it is, which is why it was so surprising that Hillary’s name was uttered so infrequently last night. And Bernie Sanders wasn’t mentioned at all. If, god forbid, something caused Hillary to drop out, Democrats would happily get behind Sanders in a way that Republicans would not get behind Ted Cruz. But nary a peep about Bernie Sanders. The network has been completely highjacked by Trump.

Think, people, think! You’ve been doing your best work against the Clintons.Why has Trump completely emasculated you??

All you need to do is cover him in completely misleading ways. You know how this is done. Get snippets of his speeches and paste them together to make it sound like he said something his supporters don’t want to hear. Like, “Putin and I are golf buddies. We’re going to talk trade policy and I’m going to get the best deal for both countries.” or “If you lose your job, you can apply for one at Mar-a-Lago. Can you speak Spanish?” or “I’m going to work with Congress and learn to play its game”. Tinker with the color balance in the shots you take of him. Drain the orange from his face and replace it with a nice shade of light bluish gray. Catch him being nice to a Mexican on his estate or accepting some small gift from the King of Saudi Arabia. Or laughing in the Green Room with Megyn Kelly. Find footage of him attending a LaMaze class with Melania.

You know how to do it.

If you really have to cover the candidates, you have to cover all of them, not just the ones that look like the car wreck you’ve been waiting impatiently in your car for 45 minutes to see.

I gave CNN three hours of my life I can’t get back. I now realize that I had made the right choice eight years ago. But not all of us can get beneficially nauseated by the news to stay away from it. If CNN is really that worried about the gigantic asteroid called Trump that is hurtling towards us, it needs to apply the Clinton rules of coverage to him now.

If it doesn’t, then it’s just looking for ratings and it’s part of the problem.

GOP Petard

petardFor decades, the Republicans have been running campaigns based around hatred of anyone who is not a white anglo-saxon protestant male. If you are any other color, gender, religion or ethnic origin, you are persona non grata to the Republican party.

It has been phenomenally successful with this strategy. Their wins have been tremendous. YUGE!

With this strategy of always appealing to the mean little white man in every voter, they have managed to have a stranglehold on the Supreme Court, a stranglehold on the House of Representatives (by having control of Congress during census and redistricting years, this is how they do it) a stranglehold on many state legislatures. If you are angry at the ‘establishment’ and the way you have lost ground over the years, and that you’re always afraid that some Muslim is going to chop off your head some night when you’re sleeping, then you should ask yourself if maybe you let Republicans persuade you to vote for them one too many times.

But now, the GOP is freaking out because they didn’t anticipate that voters would be so irate, so irrationally angry, so fed up with the way everything is run, and probably confused by the sensation that maybe they’ve been suckers for close to 40 years, that they would actually vote for a guy who can’t seem to get his fake tan right in spite of his million dollar grooming budget.

Their only hope at this point is to get some of the rest of their candidates to drop out and have more reasonable voters coalesce around the alternative to Mr. Creamsicle. What’s really weird is that a more reasonable voter is now considered to be a more devout, evangelical white anglo-saxon protestant voter. Frankly, I fail to see the difference between voting groups except the evangelicals are less rude and do not swear. Otherwise, they’re just as unreasonably and uncompromisingly conservative.

What gets lost in primary season is what about the rest of us? You know, those of us who live in cities and on the coasts in the most populous states. Why do we always find ourselves held hostage by places like Texas? And why is it that Democrats can’t get their act together in downticket races? Will Hillary have coat tails this year and will she bring in more progressive people into Congress or just another bunch of student body presidents? Because, in this respect, I’m as skeptical as a Donald Drumpf voter but in my case, more likely to turn to a Bernie Sanders type alternative, in spite of Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s hand picked bland congressional candidates. But I digress. We could have a field day with Debbie in another post.

In the meantime, grab some popcorn and watch the Republicans try to stop Drumpf. If they can. They don’t have much to work with. I just can’t see Cruz as a viable candidate and Rubio looks like a lightweight. Hillary would crush him like a bug in debate (unless Congress sees no alternative but to pre-emptively indict her for no reason. Would they do that? Um, yeah, I could see it.) Not that Republican voters care all that much about whether Hillary is a formidable, experienced, very well qualified opponent. It’s impossible to be rational with very angry people.

Maybe Republicans have gone too far with the Rush Limbaughing and the Glenn Becking and the Muslims Under the Bedding?

Nahhh.

Democratic Poo Flinging Debate?

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Reaction to an unexpected opportunity

Oh, we got trouble. We’ve got The Donald flirting with his dark side and scaring Americans to death over Muslims. And by the way, did Ted Cruz really say that only Christian refugees from the middle east should be let into the country? How is he going to know whether they’re really Christian? Do they have to bring baptismal certificates with them? Yeah, I can see that being the first thing to grab when you’re leaving your house in a war zone. “Honey, where did we put those baptism pictures from last year’s evangelical revival tent show in Homs?”

Wait! What about agnostics or atheists? Are they allowed into the country as long as they’re not Muslim? You gotta ask these questions because from what I can recall, nobody is hated more than an atheist. Or how about panentheists? What kind of religious test are we going for here? What if you just don’t believe the Bible is an inspired godly text that needs to be followed, um, religiously?

I only ask.

But let’s get real. This debate is going to be about whether Hillary and Bernie can talk the nation off a ledge or whether they’re going to snap at each other over some stupid data model that presumes that we can all be broken down into our socio economic group and grocery store buying habits?

Bring it on.

Live blog the atrocities here.

Note that the debate is on ABC tonight. ABC isn’t streaming in Pittsburgh and I’m not dragging my butt down to my chilly basement family room to watch it on the big screen. But you can stream the audio on TuneIn radio. Go to the WSB station.

Presidential Campaign 2016 Kickoff: Ted Cruz, Hillary/Obama redux, notes on focus groups

Ahhh, campaign season. I guess we are officially in it now that Ted Cruz is going to announce. I don’t have much more to say about Cruz except that he is typical of his clan and will probably fluff the panties of the typical conformist, senior “I-got-mine-fend-for-yourself”, moralizing, judgmental, creationist conservative Fox News viewer. If there is anyone who has a different point of view, add it to the comments section.

****************************************

Yesterday, commenter Perplexed left the kind of comment we have been dealing with for about seven years on his here blog. It was along the lines of blaming Bill Clinton for NAFTA (the deal was written by the time he took office. He tried unsuccessfully to get labor protections) and the financial catastrophe (for the record, the roll back of Glass Steagall was accomplished by an OVERWHELMING, veto proof majority in Congress. It was the Gramm-Leach bill, or something like that. Clinton couldn’t have stopped that train if he tried.). It is worth noting that Bill Clinton has said publicly that he regrets listening to some of his economic advisors. I’m guessing he particularly regrets the Summers and Geithner partnership that suppressed the warnings of Brooksley Born. I could go over other areas that I think the left protests too much in Bill Clinton’s record. He wasn’t perfect but he was the best president I have ever voted for and I don’t regret voting for him- twice.

But as for what happened in 2008 and why I think there WAS a difference between Hillary and Obama, I do have something to add. (By the way, I don’t buy the left’s facile excuses for why they preferred Obama over Clinton. These include, 1.) there was no difference between them 2.) We decided to let Obama go first and then Hillary and 3.) he ran an awesomer campaign. This is all bullshit. The real answer was Obama’s campaign donors offered the Democratic party more money for the following reasons.):

I think I understand your perplexity. Over the past 7 years, I’ve gone over this territory quite a number of times. I’m not going to go over it in detail today. But I do want to talk about something I think is the key to the whole Hillary/Obama mystery. There is genuine value in experience. A person who has spent a lot of time in government in various capacities has a lot of it. When we talk about the Clintons, we are talking about years of accumulated experience in many different areas and two major branches of government. We are talking about people who have done statewide politics and federal politics. They have foreign policy experience and legislative experience. Think of the first job you ever had. Now, think about all of the things you have learned since then. What you are today is a product of the opportunities you were presented, the risks you took, the envelopes you pushed. At one time, all these things were outside your comfort zone. But you either taught yourself on the job or you got an education or you learned from the experience of others. And with experience and accumulated knowledge and colleagues that you’ve known and worked with, comes power. For the Clintons, that power is substantial. They didn’t come into Washington knowing everything but they know quite a bit now.
Back in 2008, the financiers had a choice of two candidates to back. One had experience, a mentor, and a lot of mojo. That person would have known how to stand up for herself and which buttons to push, who to call and what to look for. She wouldn’t have been easy to control.
The other was a senator from Illinois with less than a single term to his name in Washington. He’d never worked on major legislation and all of the friends he had in Washington were bought for him.
If you were a big money entity and you saw a looming catastrophe coming at you and you wanted to make sure you controlled what happened to you, which one would you choose?

That’s it in a nutshell and something the right will ponder and roll around in its collective hive mind. That’s a pretty powerful motive to vote for someone. You could make a case that the political dwarfs that the right is planning to roll out won’t hold a candle to Hillary’s accomplishments and experience. Which brings me to my next point:

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Notes on Focus Groups

If you are a writer or commenter on a political blog, your comments and writings will be mined for information about what makes you tick, the strength of your arguments and trigger words. The right does it and the left does it. They might even float someone over to ask a particular question in order to gather information. They will use this information to shape a narrative or crush your point of view. It happens.

This is all normal. Do not let it bother you.

It goes without saying that we do not disclose your email address or any other personal information to any entity. We’re not into that. We believe in privacy.

But don’t be surprised if you find that something you followed here or on another lefty or independent blog gets warped or exploited in ways you find unexpected. This is campaign season. It is what it is.

Other than that, feel free to contradict your own side. The left got pretty good at psychological manipulation in 2008. We like to poke holes in consensus reality. You’ll be safe here.