Thursday, August 11, 2016

Follow-Up: Trump Asks ‘Is There Something Wrong’ With Calling Obama ‘Founder Of ISIS?’
Does Trump Suffer Alzheimer's?
Is Trump FAKING Alzheimer's?

Be forewarned: my speculation at the conclusion of this post is 1) no sure thing, but if true, 2) as sad as sad can be.

Here's Caitlin MacNeal at TPM again:
Donald Trump on Thursday morning refused to back down from his Wednesday night claim that President Obama is the "founder of ISIS."

"He was the founder of ISIS, uh, absolutely," Trump said on CNBC's "Squawkbox" when asked if it was "appropriate" to say that Obama founded a terrorist organization.

And later in the interview, Trump seemed confused as to why he was asked whether his comments were appropriate.

"Is there something wrong with saying that? Why? Are people complaining that I said he was the founder of ISIS?" he asked.

I can only shake my head, shed a tear, and wonder... here's the speculation... whether Mr. Trump is entering the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

I am not an MD, let alone a psychiatrist. But I do have some close experience with Alzheimer's disease: my late mother, may she rest in peace, suffered Alzheimer's for about two years before she died, presumably of complications of the brain damage that dread disease causes.

I am not especially the praying type, and I confess I detested Mr. Trump up to the moment I saw his possible affliction. But if that is the cause of his nonsensical pronouncements, he is more to be pitied than loathed, and he and his family deserve our prayers. For me, that's going to be a difficult transition: I wouldn't wish Alzheimer's disease on my worst enemy. For his sake, I hope I am wrong, and Trump is merely a power-mad nutjob.

But if Trump is showing the early signs of SDAT, he must not be allowed to take control of the world's most powerful office. I don't know what the provisions are, if any, for a president who becomes unfit to serve even before he is elected, but if the problem is in fact Alzheimer's, then Trump would become, long before the end of a single presidential term, incapable of even minimally adequate service as president.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

AFTERTHOUGHT: It is just barely possible he is faking dementia. That's harder to do than you might imagine, so it's unlikely. Besides, what possible motivation could a candidate for high office have for faking a mind-destroying illness?

AFTERTHOUGHT: The nature of a person with early Alzheimer's is not entirely predictable, of course, but my mother talked about individuals who obviously did not exist and events that clearly never occurred. These persons and events were as real to her as if the persons did exist and the events had happened. There was no use trying to talk her out of seeing them; they were as real to her as... well, as Obama's founding of ISIS apparently is to Donald Trump.

FINAL THOUGHT: Nah. I saw him on the evening news last night, and he didn't act like someone with dementia. Trump is playing us all for suckers. If Americans let him get away with it, we're all fv<ked. Trump is willing to destroy America in order to own America, goddamn him.

Trump: Obama Is ‘Founder Of ISIS’; Hillary Is ‘Co-Founder’

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM:
During a rant about the Middle East at a Wednesday night rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Donald Trump called President Obama the "founder of ISIS."

“In many respects, you know, they honor President Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama,” Trump said. “He’s the founder of ISIS. He founded ISIS. And I would say the co-founder would be Crooked Hillary Clinton.”

I'd say Trump's campaign is beginning to, uh, founder.

But seriously, folks... how could Trump believe that? or is this just another of his off-the-cuff remarks aimed at the most ignorant of his base, a remark that, if Trump were president, could endanger every American?

I am not in the habit of advocating formal psychological sanity testing for presidential candidates, but I hope someone in Clinton's campaign is tasked with assembling all these full-blown-batsh!t-crazy Trump clips into pithy campaign ads. Forget about Trump's base; members of the American public who don't pay attention need to understand just how fv<king crazy he is before they elect him president.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sell Texas, Live In Hell

According to the local ABC station, Houston's heat index high yesterday was 116°F. Today is forecast to be similar.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Trump Hints To Gun Nuts: Assassinate Hillary

This just came out in The Guardian:
Donald Trump has hinted at the assassination of Hillary Clinton by supporters of gun rights.

The Republican nominee was speaking at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, about the next president’s power to appoint supreme court justices. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” he said, adding: “Although the second amendment people – maybe there is, I don’t know.

The second amendment to the constitution protects the right of Americans to bear arms. Trump has accused his Democratic rival of wanting to abolish it, a charge that she denies.

“This is simple—what Trump is saying is dangerous,” said Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook. “A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.

This is getting out of hand. Republicans: when are you going to remove this reckless sociopath from the top of your ticket?

Robert Reich Vs. Chris Hedges On How Bernie Sanders Supporters Should Vote

Robert Reich, who was Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor working for progressive reform in spite of most of what Bill himself believed, debates reporter and activist Chris Hedges, on Democracy Now! Here's the short version:

Hedges: vote for the Green candidate because there's no substantive difference between Trump and Hillary.

Reich: vote for Hillary because there would be a chance under her presidency to continue the political revolution Bernie started, while a President Trump would have a real opportunity (e.g., through judicial appointments) to establish the actual fascist state that Hedges is rightly worried about.

Bates: does no one remember Nader the Spoiler? A vote for the Green presidential candidate is virtually always a de facto vote for the Republican candidate, and if you're reading this site, you probably agree with me that a Republican in the White House is always a catastrophe for America.

I used to admire Hedges, and there is still much to admire in his person and his political philosophy, but I have to list him as one more lefty who is willing to sacrifice America to save America. Sorry; I'm not that kind of lefty.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

David Cay Johnston...

... knows a lot of facts about the evil man of the hour, and reveals more than a few of them in his book, The Making of Donald Trump. If you can't get a hold of the book (or on the book; HPL is taking its time responding to my hold request) right away, at least read Kathy Kiely's review at ... I have a lot of respect for Johnston, and when he lets rip with flames like those described in Kiely's review, you can expect your hair to be singed.

(Speaking of hair, is it a coincidence that Johnston's hair and beard look very much like mine? Probably wishful thinking on my part.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

So Much For A 'Public Trial'...

AP via The Guardian UK:

[US district judge Gonzalo Curiel]’s refusal to release video of Donald Trump testifying in a lawsuit about the now defunct Trump University denies critics of the Republican presidential nominee a chance to use potentially powerful images against him.

Transcripts of Trump’s depositions have been released over the past few months but videos remained sealed. ...
Read the article for more about what the videos show. This is not a criminal action against Trump; it is a lawsuit, so the Sixth Amendment may not apply. But the judge who is hearing the suit is the one Trump criticized for his "Mexican heritage," and it seems to me Trump owes him an apology. Fat chance of that!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Since Khan-Trump Exchange, Constitution Becomes Bestseller

Too bad I won't be rushing out to buy one; I've had a pocket copy since 1976, though it's missing one amendment. I keep it in the bed headboard, along with a book-sized copy annotated by Linda Monk.

And yes, Lyin' Donald, you can bet your fat ass I've read it, all the way through perhaps a half dozen times over the years, and individual pieces of it several times a month as issues arise.

Oh, and Scott Bixby tweeted (see last graf at Guardian link above), "Donald Trump mocks Hillary Clinton for wanting to build schools, declares he wants to build a $100 million ballroom for the White House." Hmm. I wouldn't have thought Donald Trump's balls required all that much room. Maybe that's his brains I'm thinking of...

Trump Says He Is 'Afraid The [General] Election's Gonna Be Rigged'

What can I say... no one is better positioned than Trump to know whether the election is being rigged.

Apparently Trump intends to challenge the general election. If he does, I want the results of the 2000 [S]Election reopened and challenged as well: I'm still angry enough to want to see (especially) Dick Cheney in prison, and I wouldn't cry if James Baker saw bars as well...

Trump & Co.'s Relationship To Truth: Always Tell It? Never Tell It? Neither: They Say Whatever They Want, With Utter Indifference To Whether It Is True

They can talk about "Lyin' Hillary" all they want, but every new article on Trump's (or any Trump surrogate's) response to criticism reveals their utter indifference to whether that criticism is true or... and this is my complaint... whether their response contains any shred of truth. Katherine Krueger at TPM:

Amid Donald Trump's ongoing attacks on the family of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim-American solider who was killed fighting in Iraq, a number of his supporters latched onto a conspiracy theory that Khan's father is a "Muslim Brotherhood agent" and his son was on an "Islamist mission."

The execrable Roger Stone is apparently involved with this, but Trump himself is no better: he would speak any nasty fiction about an American hero if he thought it would gain him a quarter point in any poll.

Trump hasn't yet figured out that a lie to the public has to be breathtakingly big for the public to react, "Surely he wouldn't say that if it weren't true!" His succession of little lies only increases public mistrust of the man, and proves what a deep-seated bastard he is.

The Khans do not deserve this, but I am sure Trump doesn't give a flying fv<k...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

GOP Adviser Resurrects 2008 ‘Lock-And-Load’ Meme

Josh Marshall voices his concern over the Trump campaign's winking at staffers' and other RWNJs' threats to murder Hillary Clinton. His specific example is the ranting of New Hampshire state Rep. Al Baldasaro, an adviser to the Trump campaign on veterans' affairs, who, speaking recently on a RWNJ talk show, said of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, "[Clinton] should be put in the firing line and shot for treason" for her actions regarding Benghazi.

Marshall's primary concern is that Trump and company are "wink-winking" at campaign staffers and spokespeople who make such threats, thus implicitly advocating the assassination of his opponent. One spokesperson for the campaign (see first article linked above) said, "We’re incredibly grateful for [Baldasaro's] support, but we don’t agree with his comments." Wink-wink, indeed; I fully agree with Marshall's assessment of the intended message, and of its direly unacceptable nature.

The only thing Marshall omits (as far as I can tell) is that THIS IS NOT NEW BEHAVIOR FOR THE GOP IN A PRESIDENTIAL RACE. Surely other Democrats remember Sarah Palin's repeated exhortations to "[l]ock and load," delivered to audiences full of gun-toting Republicans more concerned with their personal right to carry than anyone else's right to stay alive.

This is a trend. This is the second consecutive presidential election in which a candidate or his/her surrogates has urged a Republican audience to exercise their Second Amendment right by threatening (at least) to shoot an opposing candidate, or opposing voters, or anyone they don't like the looks of. THE GOP HAS BECOME THE PARTY OF VIOLENCE DIRECTED AGAINST ITS POLITICAL OPPONENTS. I cannot put an end to the threats, but I damned surely can voice my objection to them. America is in theory a representative democracy; WE DO NOT SETTLE DISPUTES ABOUT LEADERSHIP BY MURDERING POLITICAL OPPONENTS. PERIOD!

I am somewhat relieved to see that the Secret Service is investigating Rep. Baldasaro about his naked threat against Secy. Clinton... not that I really expect them to do anything about it, but at least they are making some noises that they will take an "appropriate" action. It's not much, and it won't save Mrs. Clinton from a Glock-toting RWNJ, but it's better than nothing.

Monday, July 18, 2016

GOP National Convention Starts Today, Monday...

... but a quick flip of the remote will transport me to Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.

♪ Would you be my neighbor? ♪ And honestly: which of these two would you welcome in your neighborhood?

Each of them lives in his own land of make-believe; the difference is that Daniel Tiger admits it upfront.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pounds For Trump, Pence For Indigent Women And All LGBTs

Trump is about to choose Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate.

Should you care?
  • If you are an American woman of childbearing age, especially one who doesn't have the money for reproductive healthcare, you have a strong financial interest in Pence and his unconcealed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • If you are an LGBT American, you have a deep interest in Pence's efforts to pass the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would allow business owners to refuse to serve LGBTs on religious grounds. (He signed such a law, later mitigated slightly, but if he were the Veep instead of a state governor, he would surely push for a law on the national level. Never forget what President, uh, I mean, Vice President Dick Cheney managed to ram through when second to a president about as incompetent as Trump would be.)
  • If you can remember the roaring 1990s, remember that Pence was then a right-wing radio talk show host, known by some people as "Rush Limbaugh on decaf."
Trump has made his first presidential decision, and it couldn't be a worse decision if he tried. Never forget it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton For President

My head and my heart are both with Bernie Sanders... but Bernie is no longer running for president.

We surely owe Bernie a debt of gratitude for what he accomplished both in influencing Secy. Clinton's policy positions on a great number of issues and in using his five members of the Democratic Party's Platform Committee to embed those improved positions as planks in the platform. Many of us had serious hopes that, in the process, Sen. Sanders would amass enough convention delegates to win the nomination himself. That hope has since been dashed, and Sanders has taken the sensible step of withdrawing from the race and formally endorsing Secy. Clinton for president. That alone is reason to consider, seriously, voting for her.

But you all know there's another reason for doing so: clearly our nation's next president will be either Hillary Clinton or... wince... Donald Trump. No third candidate has a remote chance, and Sanders, unlike (say) Ralph Nader, understands the folly of a third-party run.

So as the slogan goes, I'm with her. The YDDV endorses Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. Do some reading about her; we could do much worse... we could, for example, end up with the DT without even taking a drink.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Cat's Paws

I started out looking for my speaker wires, lost since our move seven or eight years ago, so that I could set up the one stereo in the house that can connect with my decent turntable. That task proving hopeless, I switched to searching YouTube for a particular piece from the Glogauer Liederbuch, a set of 13th-century partbooks with some truly charming ensemble works including this one, called Die Katzenpfote, which in my playing days I had the pleasure of playing many times and actually performing a couple of times.

Here are four settings by several different ensembles; the third one probably most resembles our performances:

Monday, July 4, 2016

‘We Lived So Well So Long...’

That's Paul Simon, from American Tune... suitable Independence Day music for young and old alike. I've already put on my blue-and-white shirt and red shorts; now all I have to do is put on my best singing voice... [ahem] never mind. If that's not what you had in mind, here's something bombastic, pretentious, LOUD; in other words, thoroughly American...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Finally I Get It - Why Bernie Must Stay In The Race Until The Convention

It took The Young Turks to explain it to me... well, them and the short Bernie clip they play in this segment. Bernie cannot drop out now and accomplish his most significant goal, specifically, shifting the Democratic Party... the party platform and Clinton's expressed positions... leftward far enough to make a difference.

Bernie is not stupid, far from it. And I understand he would make a great president... if there were a way for him to get from here to there. But there's not. Any honest American (and that certainly includes Bernie) knows that the president who takes office in January will be the candidate of one of the two major political parties, Democratic or Republican, not anyone else. Bernie will not be one of those candidates... but even so he has a real opportunity from his current position to influence the behavior of one of those parties, by staying in the race all the way to the Democratic convention. If he withdraws earlier, he loses that power. If he announces a third-party presidential run, he becomes Ralph Nader writ large, almost certainly assuring a President Trump (about whom, not so incidentally, I agree with Bernie: America would collapse in chaos within a year if Trump became president).

So Bernie, smart guy that he is, does the one thing open to him that accomplishes the most significant of his goals. In support of his run... even if its success in the usual sense is certainly unrealizable... I continue to endorse him, on this site and in personal conversations, until he and his surrogates have accomplished what they can at the convention. At that point, if I'm still alive, you can anticipate a "Clinton for President" banner in the left column of this blog. Politics makes strange bedfellows, a fact that in this case I willingly accept.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Two Must-Read Posts From Staff

I've come to believe that no one has assembled a more astute team of political analysts than Bill Moyers. In these posts, my belief is reinforced; both are well worth your time:
  • What Will The Democratic Party Stand for in 2016?
    Analyst John Light begins
    Last week made clear that Bernie Sanders won’t be the Democratic nominee. But a meeting of the Democratic Platform Committee in Washington also made it clear that the Vermont senator will wield considerable influence over the party’s future.
    and follows through with an examination of the role of the Democratic Platform Committee, including excerpts from testimony before it.
  • The ‘Truth’ According to Trump
    Prof. Todd Gitlin (jounalism, sociology; Columbia U.) examines how Trump uses a vituperative personal style to convey half-truths and unprovable outright falsehoods to stir up a base that is all too ready to believe the worst about anyone but themselves:
    After the weekend’s carnage in Orlando, Donald Trump didn’t wait long before launching yet another guided missile full of insinuation. He didn’t exactly say that the massacre was the doing of an unreconstructed Mau-Mau descendant born in Kenya. Trump is craftier than that. Monday morning, he told Fox News:
    Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind — you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on… [Obama] doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands — it’s one or the other and either one is unacceptable. [[Gitlin's] italics]

    Later he told NBC’s Today’s Savannah Guthrie:

    … There are a lot of people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it. A lot of people think maybe he doesn’t want to know about it. I happen to think that he just doesn’t know what he’s doing, but there are many people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it. He doesn’t want to see what’s really happening. And that could be. [[Gitlin's] italics]

    Something else in mind… Can’t believe it… There’s something going on… Maybe he doesn’t want to get it… People cannot believe… A lot of people think… These are Trump’s characteristic high-frequency whistles, repeated and restated and re-repeated to make sure he gets through to the feebler dogs out on the periphery of his adoring crowd. [Final boldface SB]
That is precisely what Trump is doing. If the American electorate buys into it, we are, in the words of George H.W. Bush, "in deep doodoo." And even if they don't, we're in for a campaign season as unpleasant as any we've ever seen, facing perhaps the most vulgar man ever to run for President.

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