DonaldAs noted in a thread below, Donald Trump involved himself in only one aspect of the GOP platform, and that was to scrub all wording in support of Ukrainian sovereignty.  Two weeks ago in an interview he stated that he might not defend NATO allies who are invaded by Russia.  He has bragged about his conversations with Putin, but is now downplaying them, claiming in contradiction to prior claims that he’s never met Putin.  So was he lying before, or is he lying now?

And this is chilling., as quoted in a Wapo op piece.

QUESTION: I would like to know if you became president, would you recognize (inaudible) Crimea as Russian territory? And also if the U.S. would lift sanctions that are (inaudible)?

TRUMP: We’ll be looking at that. Yeah, we’ll be looking.

What’s there to be looking at?  It’s sovereign territory currently held by ethnic Russians will all kinds of evidence of direct Russian involvement.

And then we have the hacking job re the DNC emails, for which some officials claim there is evidence of Russian hacking.  What the emails revealed about DNC insular culture and possible involvement in the primaries are the issues, so we shouldn’t get distracted about the claims of Russian hacking.  I don’t care if they were hacked by David Duke.  The emails themselves are the problem for Democrats.  But if they were hacked to assist Trump in winning the election, that’s a separate issue altogether.

So today Trump was begging Russia to hack and produce Clinton’s deleted emails.  His words:  “Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by the press.”  And he’s been in damage control all day.  Whether or not he’s an “agent,” a suggestion some Democrats have thrown around, he’s clearly a fan.

Paul Ryan is in hiding, but issued the following statement which reveals a bit:  “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.”

Now Trump’s dodging questions about business relationships with Russia.

Trump’s allies are trying to clean it up for him, alternately claiming that he was joking or saying that what he really meant was that Russia should dutifully turn the emails over to the FBI.

Now, Leon Panetta is a Democrat.  I know this because I used to vote for his representation in Congress when I lived in Santa Cruz.  So take it with a partisan grain of salt, but he’s questioning whether Trump should be receiving intel briefings in light of the situation.  In other words, they’re saying he’s a potentially traitorous Moscow ally!  Harry Reid’s all over it this afternoon.

It’s really weird for Democrats to be attacking the Republican candidate for ties to Russia.  It’s hard to explain to millennials how bizarre it is in light of US political history.  But the Cold War is something you only read about.  To those of us who lived it, this story is borderline nuts.

The mural is in Lithuania, one of the Baltic states Trump said he would ditch in the event of a Russian invasion.

A view.jpg

ClintonI’ve been saying this and promising an explanation.  Well, its not just one thing.  It’s a number of factors.  I don’t have Nate Silver’s  psephology to work with.

What is going against her?  Donald’s angry approach fitting well into the current climate of weekly terror attacks.  The degree to which so many people dislike her.  The anger and disappointment of Sanders people – which seems to be melting away quickly.  The anti-status quo sentiment pervading the political climate, at least so far.  The scandals which are always simmering no matter how incompetent the Republicans are in trying to exploit them.  And yes, Trump appears to have generated a poll “bounce” following the convention, though the it’s extent seems to vary greatly from poll to poll.

These aren’t minor issues.  And any one of them could combine with some new development and turn the race around for Trump.  But I don’t think that’s likely.

So let me list the reasons I predict a Clinton blowout.

  1.  The polls. Yes, Clinton is ahead in some polls even after Trump’s “bounce.”  But that’s not the point.  Polls move up and down based upon the random thought processes of about twenty percent of people who probably have a hard time making up their minds on anything.  However, where Trump is doing well is in polls where third parties are doing well and there are high numbers of undecideds.  In polls which include the third parties, his numbers rarely go over 45 percent, and very often don’t exceed 40 percent.  This means that his support is almost exclusively the angry white crowd and the always-vote-Republican crowd.  I don’t see him drawing much from the center, and his convention was not aimed at the center (with the dubious exception of gay-friendliness in attacking Muslims).  But he appears to have a cap.  Where the polls are close, there are high numbers for third parties and undecideds.  When they are not, she has the latter in hand.  This suggests that those votes are hers to earn.
  2. Pantheon of political figures with gravitas – Bernie, Obama, Bill, Elizabeth, and so many others will be pumping for Clinton, and Bernie and Elizabeth will probably cut into that third party vote.  Trump has Christie and Giuliani.  Every other advocate is a nut, because the Republican leaders are running from him like he has the plague.
  3. Trump – he’s a one mood note – I watched his speech and thought that if I believed half of what he was saying I’d feel like committing suicide.  What Reagan knew, what Nixon knew, what Bush knew, but which McCain, Romney, and Trump seem to have forgotten is that you need a message of hope.  And you have to offer solutions – not too much detail, but independents want to know what you’re going to do.  Not just “trust me, it’ll be great.”  And his temperament plays well for angry white people.  But he’s not in Republican primaries anymore.  He’s in the real world now.
  4. The debates – the Republicans weren’t ready for Trump.  They got rattled.  They tried to get into the gutter with him, but he thrives their.  They lost their cool.  It’s natural for him.  Not for them.  Clinton has been attacked probably more viciously and broadly than any other figure in politics in the past couple of decades.  She has thick skin and she plays it cool.  And whether you like her policy, she knows much, much more about the world than Trump – at least in terms of policy.  She’s been attacked on Benghazi – slid through a hostile hearing and came out of it smelling like perfume while the Republicans were wrapping themselves in bandages.  The emails.  A slew of other scandals, mostly fabricated or exaggerated, but thrown at her constantly and relentlessly.   He may try to avoid debates, but that will cost him as well.
  5. The electoral map – It really doesn’t favor Republicans anymore.  Maybe Trump can draw some blood in the rust belt by attacking her from the left on trade, but I doubt it.  And the polls have them close in Georgia and Utah – the latter of which is about the most red state in the country.
  6. The organization.  Clinton has an enormous and intricate ground game and they’re organizing as I type.  They’ve invited a bunch of the Bernie folk who are young and social media savvy.
  7. The declining influence of money – over the past decade the actual results impact of large campaign donations has declined.  That’s not to say it’s isn’t a factor, nor to suggest that the obscene private donation amounts facilitated by Citizens United shouldn’t be regulated.  But the bulk of money has traditionally gone to television ad buys.  The problem for the Koch Brothers is that nobody under 60 watches commercial television anymore  Messages and images which have effect “go viral” online virtually for free, and having a younger crowd in your organization helps.
  8. It’s a much more liberal country than it was in years past.  The religious right has lost the culture war.  Capitalism has failed the millennial generations.  Even the terror attacks aren’t bringing out massive lizard brain calls for the alpha male approach  We may have turned a corner in American politics.
  9. Clinton – she’s going to be brutal.  It’s going to be a bloodbath, but she doesn’t have to hold back like she did with Sanders.  She has to be upbeat, but she can lay into Trump.  And Trump seems to freak out when attacked by women – his irrational responses to Elizabeth Warren were ill-advised and over-the-top.
  10. Authoritarianism – He’s an authoritarian who believes not necessarily in dictatorship, but in the strongman model of governance.  It’s in his business model, where it probably works for him.  His affinity for Putin, Erdoğan, and even Hussein is going to hurt him.  He stayed out of his party’s platform fight with the exception of one issue and one only – he demanded that the wording be scrubbed of all references to support for Ukrainian sovereignty.  He freaked out NATO allies last week by saying that he wouldn’t necessarily defend Baltic members from a Russian invasion.  This might play well, again, with certain elements of conservatism, but the country as a whole is saturated with democratic values whether or not they get practiced.
  11. President Obama’s freakishly high approval ratings, apparently setting records for an 8th year President.  Nobody seems to know why, but this can’t bode well for Trump or his ideology.  It suggests that Clinton can do very well if she can find a way to step into his shoes.

This is a partial list, and combined I just think there’s too big of a structural advantage to Clinton. Barring a major screwup, the collapse of the economy, or a major terror attack on American soil (and maybe not even then) I don’ see how Trump wins this.  The biggest thing – the campaign of “we” beats the campaign of “I” almost everytime.  I don’t believe there’s much of a “we” to the Clinton psyche, but she is selling it.

If his endorsement of Clinton came as a surprise to you, then you’ve known nothing about his politics from the beginning. I could have told you this would happen two years ago. It’s consistent with the politics he chose to play from the beginning of his career – certainly since he was elected to Congress in 1990. He is not a radical, but chose to fight within the framework of what Michael Harrington called “the left wing of the possible.” You can criticize the strategy and the compromises you have to make if you choose to play in that game, but there was no false advertising. It is consistent with his pattern of practice for decades. His politics are based upon a recognition that real change comes painfully slow – a game of inches at a time – and that you have to rigorously defend every inch you win. If you were looking for anything else, you’ve been supporting the wrong candidate from the beginning.

More later.

I was doing a radio show tonight so I missed most of the 74 minute Trumpsplainin speech, but what I heard was so dark – you would think we were living in one of those 1970s dystopian science fiction movies. I felt like stopping the car and going onto an overpass on 101 and screaming “Solyent Green is peeeeeeeopllllllle!!!!!”

It’s midnight in America I guess.  Gloom and Doom.

I mean, you have to feel for all the delegates.  One minute it’s “We’re all going to die!”  The next it’s “Look at all those pretty balloons”


Tonight Bob Froehlich will join me in an attempt to apply critical thinking to the Presidential election campaign in its craziest phase – the conventions. Specifically we want to invite those of you who supported Bernie to call in and discuss your November vote. How do you think you will vote and why? Obviously Bob and I can’t advocate for one position or another, but we do want to explore the thought processes. As someone who has voted both “lesser evil” and “third party protest” in the past I am very curious as to where local Bernie supporters are leaning. Join us at 7:00 p.m.


Tune into KMUD tonight, July 7 from 7-8 pm, for the first show in a new monthly series called “Thinking Clearly” – a show about critical thinking, with hosts Julia Minton and Bob Froehlich. This first show will be an introduction to critical thinking, why it’s important, key terms and concepts and plans for future shows. Call-ins (707-923-3911 or 1-800-KMUD-RAD) will start around 7:30.

Julia Minton's photo.

Discussing Brexit and the potential impact on American politics with Chuck Rogers on Thursday Night Talk tonight. 7:00.

TNT Logo

Probably on par with Cap Weinberger’s myth of “Soviet Superiority” which then President Reagan used to jack up spending to pull out of his double-dip recession – which had been facilitated by supply side economics which he quickly ditched.  Instead, Reagan spent into a deficit which by 1984 exceeded all deficits combined since Washington’s Presidency.

Really, deficits are a minor economic issue unless they are high in proportion to Gross Domestic Product. But what Reagan came to understand for the late 80s was what Clinton learned in the 90s and the Republican opposition has refused to understand over the past decade is that the only way to reduce deficits is to expand the economy to increase revenue generating transactions.

President Obama, whatever his shortcomings, understands economics.  And during his Presidency, the deficit has been reduced by one trillion – something which has never been accomplished before.  But you wouldn’t know that from the media coverage.

From the article:

“The Republican rhetoric was ridiculously wrong. We don’t have a trillion-dollar deficit; the deficit isn’t the ultimate problem; and it’s not growing.
Strong growth in individual tax collection drove the U.S. budget deficit to a fresh Obama-era low in fiscal 2015, the Treasury Department said Thursday.
For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 the shortfall was $439 billion, a decrease of 9%, or $44 billion, from last year. The deficit is the smallest of Barack Obama’s presidency and the lowest since 2007 in both dollar terms and as a percentage of gross domestic product.
Keep in mind, in the Obama era, the deficit has shrunk by $1 trillion. That’s “trillion,” with a “t.” As a percentage of the economy, the deficit is now down to just 2.5%, which is below the average of the past half-century, and down from 9.8% when the president took office.”

Budget Deficit

Again, I am not an expert on what I know nothing about.  Any experts want to comment?

Update:  Look, its a Facebook meme – this image is used over and over again for many different themes.  I don’t know anything about copper sulphate.  This was a critical thinking exercise.


Bob Froelich and I will discuss anarchism tonight – specifically the nature and practice of anarchy as it affects the existing political system.  Alas, Julia will be out of town so we’ll have to follow up in discussion with her another time.  7:00 p.m. at 91.1.


July 2016
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