Did Trump Really Need To Self-Deport Today?

Some say–Senator Harry Reid, for example–that Donald Trump, before he does any “extreme, extreme vetting” of other people, ought to take a naturalization test his own self. But Trump, believe me, just trust me, has as usual gone beyond the norm and flat-out self-deported. Some, actually many, thought he wanted to lose, just secretly. But few (because we are mostly losers) predicted that Trump would scram completely out of the country in the middle of summertime and into the frozen zone (per Vladimir Putin) of Transtrumpistan. Have a very, very nice, very long vacation, Mister.

Trump Colors Inside The Lines

OK maybe that was sarcasm; or not, trust me.

Many say Trump made a fool of mainstream media this week by getting them to take seriously his “sarcastic” remarks about Second Amendment “people” assassinating Hillary Clinton or her judicial appointees, as well as his “sarcastic” accusation that President Obama “founded” ISIS. Maybe he did make a fool of some “senior correspondents.” But I am not voting for best media personality, nor for Jackass-in-Chief. I like to believe I am still voting for a president of the United States. Not for somebody who controls the nukes, drones, soldiers, ships, and fighter jets–and who just hasn’t shown he can color inside any lines for more than a few minutes at a stretch. I certainly don’t have time or energy for four years of worry about his issues. Hillary has issues but I hope to be able to ignore them most of the time.

Radical Stochastic Terrorism

“Using language and other forms of communication ‘to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.” That is “stochastic terrorism” (see David S. Cohen at RollingStone.com yesterday) and it is not just Trump doing it. ISIS and Al Qaeda got there before Trump, and the Israeli right wing before that (with vicious verbal slurs that inspired Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin).   Many reasonable people have said Fox News makes a specialty of more or less deniable stochastic terroristic rhetoric.  American politics ain’t beanbag, and plausibly deniable racist dog whistles are nothing new, but Trump’s race to and beneath the bottom is startling and truly unsettling.  There is little plausibility to denying that Trump is responsible for what people hear him saying, as former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden said yesterday.

Speaking of the “deep state,” I think it is a positive development that so many of its mandarins, unlike the older couple behind Trump at the Wilmington rally, are not at all amused by his thinly veiled threats.  The deep state may be helpful in a pinch, heaven forbid.   More decisively, the voting public in swing states seems up to the challenge of holding its collective nose and voting defensively. If voters act in a truly conservative way, Trump is political toast and will only utterly delegitimize himself when he refuses to concede defeat.

I Am Totally Ready For A White Male President–Just Not That One

And furthermore, forget about Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. The embers of his hash pipe are still warm, I hear. And his VP Bill Weld has the party animal spirit, but please.

Otherwise, what are my choices if I am pining for a white male president? Right, so I’ll check back in with my fellow mortified white males in four years, or eight, depending on who’s available–aren’t there fifty million or more eligible fellows?

Defiant Comeback For Horrific Political Correctness?

Wondering if just maybe political correctness isn’t so horrific after all we’ve seen so far in 2016.  Do we have Trump to thank for opening our eyes to the feeling that there are worse things in the world than being “PC”? Could it even be that sometimes political correctness is just another way of saying “politeness”?

“If the alternative to political correctness is Trumpism, then most people of good will are likely to pick the former,” writes Ilya Somin in the Washington Post (Volokh Conspiracy blog). Somin equates the “zero-sum identity politics” of the “PC far left” with Trump’s “zero-sum identity politics for whites.” I agree with Somin and other rightist libertarians to the extent that some universities have failed in their mission and opened themselves to ridicule by favoring “safe spaces” over free speech rights. Nevertheless, the spectacle of Trump with nuclear codes is a far clearer and more present danger.

American culture has its strengths, but decorum, civility, and politeness are not always among them. Even so, we do not have to race all the way to the bottom this November.

Paul Ryan: “Putin Is A Devious Thug”–Yes, We Knew That Already, But How About Trump?

Trump is a big strong man who is also begging Vladimir Putin to help him beat Hillary Clinton. Republicans from Mike Pence to Speaker Paul Ryan have responded to Trump’s remarks today by condemning Putin. We know plenty about Putin already. Could you brave defenders of freedom show some courage and say Trump’s words amount to treason? If Hillary Clinton asked for political help from Russian military intelligence, how long would it take for Republicans to call for her imprisonment–oh, they did that already, eh?

How Strong Can Trump Be If He Needs Putin’s Help To Beat Hillary?

Not strong at all. I thought it was a sign of weakness and derangement when Trump disrespected John McCain for becoming a war prisoner. I expected stronger pushback from actual conservative Republicans running against him over Trump’s ignorance of the Constitution and complete lack of interest in liberty or freedom or limited government. That was then. Now Trump has gone full “Siberian candidate,” (hat tip Paul Krugman) and Hillary Clinton is the only obstacle left to a Trump presidency. There are no Republican elites with enough national constituency or credibility to oppose Trump. That leaves the donor class and the owners of Fox, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, the AP and NYT to get over their bothsiderism and show some news judgment about where the threat to democracy lies.

Will Mitch McConnell Write The Foreword To The 2017 Reissue Of Franz Von Papen’s Memoirs?

Senator Mitch McConnell does seem to be channelling the chancellor of Germany circa 1932, Franz von Papen. Von Papen was confident that Hitler could be contained and manipulated. Hindenburg and von Papen gave Hitler’s Nazi party control over only three ministries, so how much could go wrong? McConnell has looked down his nose at Trump, and fidgeted a bit over a few of the more openly bigoted outbursts and retweets, but has spent more effort excusing and minimizing.  Fritz Stern, who lived through “Five Germanies,” condemned von Papen as “the frivolous gravedigger of what was left of German democracy” in the early 1930s.  Does McConnell want to be judged as a 21st-century American von Papen?

McConnell made light a couple of days ago of Trump’s remarks to the NYT undercutting NATO.  A “rookie mistake,” said the senator, who went on to say that Trump was not unfit to be commander-in-chief because his implicit invitation to Putin to expand Russia’s hybrid warfare into NATO territory would be contrary to the views of “anybody he might make secretary of state or secretary of defense” (source: Greg Sargent, Washington Post Plum Line, July 21). Sargent comments: “We’ve reached a new level of absurdity. Now we are basically being told that the check against the threat Trump poses will come from his own cabinet officials.” Richard J. Evans wrote in The Coming of the Third Reich that “the complacent belief of Franz von Papen and his friends that they had Hitler where they wanted him did not last long” (p. 316). I wonder if Mitch McConnell is as complacent as von Papen? Maybe not, but he is so far nowhere near dropping Trump “like a hot rock,” as he is reported to have promised his Republican Senate colleagues earlier this year. If and when McConnell does take a look at Franz von Papen’s Memoirs, I hope that he can do so without the impediment of a President Trump whose Minister of Propaganda has “opened up the libel laws.”

Transylvania Vants “Valiant” Trump

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gave lots of love to “valiant” Donald Trump today in Transylvania, and why not? I am not saying that Donald Trump was actually in Transylvania himself yesterday, nor that Trump sustains himself as an undead vampire. Not at all. Even if the National Enquirer flipped positions and published a story that Trump kept himself alive in an unnatural way, I would want to fact check that before believing it.  If you prefer reliable sources, see the Financial Times for details.

Why I Am Not Going To Worry About Totalitarianism For The Next Few Days

Yes it is OK to take a break from totalitarianism-angst. It will still be there on Friday. Polling has been quite stable. Hillary still doesn’t have a compelling theme but I am not waiting to exhale about it. Reminder to self: reading Hannah Arendt or Plato’s Republic or a biography of Mussolini or Richard J. Evans on The Third Reich in Memory and History does not count as a break from worrying.

Will Our Next President Be Capable Of “Masterly Inactivity”?

Even the birthers are likely to miss Barack Obama by this time next year, in part because we are unlikely to have a president capable of masterly inactivity. Obama’s motto, “don’t do stupid s–t” is a vulgar way of expressing the modus operandi. Masterly inactivity can certainly be overrated and fetishized (as J. Peter Scoblic points out in a recent Washington Post opinion piece on Trump’s incapacity for inaction).  Examples of this include Obama’s Syria flipflops, and perhaps Abraham Lincoln’s almost complete silence for months in 1860 and early 1861, wishing to keep his options open and not to inflame tensions–see Harold Holzer’s “The Sound of Lincoln’s Silence,” NYT Disunion blog, 11/23/2010, and his 2010 book Lincoln: President-Elect, which explores in depth the pros and cons of Lincoln’s refusal to “open his mouth, save only to eat,”  as one of his political allies put it.  But there is some real danger, I believe, that a President Hillary Clinton will feel compelled to prove her toughness in ways that won’t serve the nation well. The much greater danger is that we could easily, out of a misplaced faith in his “law and order” rhetoric, elect Trump, who seems utterly incapable of inaction, even when it’s most called for. “Watchful waiting” is a critically important capability of 21st-century presidents, and it is about the last thing that I associate with “Trump.”  Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy in the mid-20th century were capable of watchful waiting.  I hope our next president will study their example.

Political Barbarism Watch: Hopeless But Not Serious

That old Russian saying that the situation is “hopeless but not serious” appeals to me in the midst of Trump’s bumbling rollout of his most important pre-election decision, picking a running mate. I’m glad that he refuses to be, or can’t stand to be, normal and boring the way he promised he would. That makes it clearer that we the people would be quite a bit nuts to elect him. He shows most every day that he is a barbarian at the gate, not the one to protect us against the other barbarians. He’s right about this, though–we voters do have to be smart and tough–which to me means we have to hold our noses if need be and make the binary choice that is (too much some days) right in front of our faces. Trump is not the answer to the Goths and the Vandals, he is the rude barbarian. He doesn’t say much at all about freedom or liberty for a reason: he has little if any feeling for their value.  To speak his ancestral tongue,  Herrschaft means a lot more to Trump than freiheit.  I say things are hopeless but not serious because even though this summer’s drumbeat of ugly news is demoralizing, I do not believe we are going to fling ourselves over a cliff by electing a man who understands less about what makes our country great than any presidential candidate I have ever seen.

Did Defiant Notorious RBG Start New Twitter Feed “Nolo Cholo Trump” Or Not?

Did Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg go too far by starting up a new anti-Trump Twitter account? Is it “Nolo Cholo Trump” or “Nolo Cholo Anglo Trump”? Only the justice knows, and despite her recent public candor re Trump, she has not confirmed or denied anything, that I know of.

“We Have Never Been Held Together By Blood Or Background”

So said former President George W. Bush at the memorial service in Dallas, Texas today for the five police officers killed last week. George W. Bush should be–though he is sometimes not–credited with scrupulous avoidance of anti-Muslim rhetoric after September 11, 2001. President Obama also addressed the memorial in a realistic and uplifting spirit.

We are burdened as a country this year with a presidential candidate who has, through insinuations and barely coded messages of exclusion if not through outright bigotry, has almost succeeded in normalizing white nationalist rhetoric. He, Donald Trump, has been abetted by our mainstream media’s addiction to false equivalence, as if politics was purely tactical and completely separated from morality and ethics.

George W. Bush’s words today did not, of course, mention his party’s nominee, but his comments stand as an implicit rebuke to the fantasy of restoring our lost greatness by building a giant wall to keep out otherness. We have had just one non-churched president, Abraham Lincoln. Trump would be our first openly, frankly heathen president.

The “Dream Ticket” According To Trump

That’d be Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama–according to the real 2008 version of Trump, according to today’s Wall Street Journal. And Hillary Clinton would make a “good president,” said Trump on his own radio program, the one that started with the “money, money, money, money” jingle. So we really have no choice. We cannot possibly vote for a chaos and disorder candidate like Donald Trump unless and until he explains why Hillary Clinton would make a good president. Once he does explain, then we can vote for Hillary. I have, quite frankly, qualms about Hillary, but if Trump thought she would be good, I guess I can set my suspicions of her aside.

The Chaos And Disorder Candidate

Seeing a new shiny object, “law and order,” Trump proclaims himself its candidate. I had been thinking that most of his appeal was chaos and disorder. If you want a president who has zero regard for our constitutional protections, Trump seems to me to be the guy for you. If you could care less about freedom of the press, government neutrality regarding religion, protections against government searches and seizures, and independent judges following the rule of law rather than executive whims, Trump has a lot to offer, at least as entertainment.

If I actually felt President Trump could reduce the temperature, reduce violent killings, increase respect for authority and government, and deliver law and order within constitutional limits, I might see him as an attractive candidate. But Jeb Bush was right–Trump stands for chaos and disorder. Here’s hoping that’s not what 51% of voters are looking for.

We Have No Choice

Until we understand what the hell is going on with Donald Trump running off to Scotland, we have no choice but to vote for Hillary Clinton. We simply cannot take a chance that Trump is applying for Scottish citizenship right now.  We cannot take a chance that we have an agent of a foreign power running our country and especially our borders. Not if we want our country to start winning again.  I do not know for a fact that Trump is eligible for German citizenship either, but he sure looks and sounds like one of them, and I love bratwurst but we cannot take a chance on a President Brat Wurst. That would be sad!  We are not going to be great again that way.  We won’t have tremendous winning success if we don’t figure out why Trump said “Scotland is going wild over the vote” to “take their country back” when Scotland actually just voted huge to stay in the EU and and voted two years ago to stay part of the United Kingdom. I don’t know whether Trump is really German instead of Scottish, but there’s something going on with him. I wish we could be politically correct and say that it doesn’t matter if Trump is taking orders from Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, but we have no choice, we just don’t have a choice any more.

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Is That Muslim Ban Still “Just A Suggestion”?

First Trump was going to ban all Muslims until we figured out what the hell is going on. Then it was just “a suggestion.” Now we seem to be back to a new improved expanded ban.

I could not agree more that the U.S. government, and the American people, should be smart, tough, and vigilant. But that is completely empty talk without the details.  Would bringing back the lapsed assault-weapons ban be not smart, not tough, or not vigilant?

They Were Both Born In Queens–What Might Trump Know?

Donald Trump and the Orlando killer/hater/terrorist were born in the same place: Queens, New York. Trump falsely claimed that the man was “an Afghan.” Trump insinuated that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were somehow to blame. The man was born in Queens during the Reagan presidency. Is Ronald Reagan to blame for letting him and his family into this country? Not a big Reagan fan, but I doubt it. He got his job as a security guard, with clearances, during the George W. Bush presidency. Was President Bush asleep at the wheel? Can’t really say that with a straight face. But he and Trump are both Queens boys. Does cholo anglo Trump know something he isn’t saying? I hate to say that if we elect Trump, we will deserve him.

Why It’s Not So Hard To Be An Unbiased Judge Of (Guilty! Guilty As Charged!) Trump

Judges are used to defendants’ excuses and rationalizations and special pleading and ranting. So Trump is not much different than many if not most defendants. It will therefore not be so difficult for Judge Curiel, or any judge in other Trump-related legal proceedings, to be fair.

But most defendants, from the lowlife petty criminal to the high-stakes masterminds in the 1% of the 1%, are wise and savvy enough to let attorneys speak on their behalf. Trump, the exception here, nonetheless proves the rule: as he continues to insist on pleading his own cases (political as well as legal) he has a fool for a client.