Friday, September 16, 2016

Trump (finally) says, "“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period."

Trump finally admits Obama was born in the U.S. But what about that team of investigators Trump sent to Hawaii a few years ago, who were supposedly hot on the trail, are we to just assume they found nothing? To help refresh your memory:
"I have people that have been studying it and they cannot believe what they're finding," Trump said an interview that aired Thursday Morning. Asked if he has assigned people specifically to search in Hawaii, Trump said, "Absolutely."
Of course we can assume there never was a team sent to Hawaii. It's like nearly everything Trump utters, fictional hot air.

But this is another instance where the media needs to follow up and ask him about these investigators, whether or not they found anything. If Trump is allowed to continue lying with no follow-up by the media, then how is the public expected to realize that he's lying? People are busy, with work and family, sure they should be better informed, but unfortunately many (most?) are not. That's why the media is so important, it's their job to get at the truth because the public does not have the time to do the necessary digging.

That will be a disturbing legacy from this election, regardless of who wins, the way the media has dropped the ball when covering a candidate like Trump. We've seen false equivalence in the past, but this is getting to be absurd.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

GW/Cheney kept us safe (well, except that one time....)

Today marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11, a day that remains as one of the most tragic in our nation's history.

And yet it's as if many Republicans have completely forgotten about this horrific act of terror against the United States. The video below includes just a small sample of the convenient amnesia that has befallen many notable Republicans.

Needless to say, if 9/11 occurred with a Democrat in the White House, we would have never heard the end of it, never. Republicans in conjunction with the far-right screech machine would have been reminding us of who was president then 24/7, non-stop, to this day and into the future.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Placing The Blame

Incredible. Trump continues to publicly state his preference for Putin over our own US president. Recall when GW was commander in chief and many Democrats questioned going to war in Iraq, how they were regarded as being unpatriotic. And yet we have Trump embracing and praising Putin over Obama -- where is the Republican outrage over this blatant unpatriotic act?! 

Then we have Trump stating that he could tell by the body language of intelligence officials that they were displeased with Obama's policies. Again, incredible. An egregiously false assertion that is beyond the pale. Intelligence briefers are career professionals who's primary role is to deliver intel in a neutral fashion. 

Look, as much as we continue to be shocked by Trump (just when you think it was no longer possible!), the fact that needs to be continuously stressed is there is no Trump without his GOP supporters.  Who is truly to blame here? Yes, Trump is an ignorant and dangerous sociopath, but he would be that same person high up in a tower in NYC and NOT a presidential candidate if not for his supporters. Republicans put him where he is (and I'm convinced Trump never expected to be the nominee) so they are the real problem.

If someone brought a skunk into a room, are you going to blame the skunk for the stench? The skunk didn't just saunter into the room!

This fact always comes to mind whenever I hear a Republican friend admit wholeheartedly that Trump is a nut and they will not vote for him. They say it as if they want me, the liberal Democrat, to congratulate them or pat them on the head, as if they're proudly making it known, "see, I'm not one of those crazy Republicans!"

But what they fail to say or recognize is that their own party spawned this mess. Trump hatched from their party. They act as if Trump is some kind of one-off mistake, an outlier event that certainly won't happen again in their party. Huh?! Why not? 

The only way to prevent another Trump from happening is for the Republican Party to undergo a massive transformation, top to bottom. Short of that occurring, at the very least they need to find a way to lock up their crazies in the basement. 

Reagan was very good at pretending to hear the extremists, and then ultimately ignoring most of them. But as we know, the insane are now running the asylum.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Current state of the GOP: expecting a pile of manure to not attract flies

Good article.

But can't ignore one fact: Trump won the nomination of his party fair and square. All Republicans can't bemoan this fact as if a bad dream. It's not as if it happened magically. It's like a crystal meth user, abusing his body for years, looks in mirror and sees horrible face, no teeth, deep wrinkles, and wonders why?

Trump's rise is not by accident. Someone like this guy should never be the popular winner of the party -- and yet he is. 

It's time for serious introspection and change for the GOP. It's not enough for "sane" Republicans to condemn him as it will only repeat. Before Trump there were the nutball Tea Party folks, leading up to Trump. Who next? David Duke? It's been a gradual devolution. 

Current (delusional) state of the GOP: expecting a pile of manure to not attract flies. 

Why the fuss now about EpiPen?

I have a serious question: why is everyone making such a fuss about the recent price hike of the EpiPen? It's not as if Mylan raised the price overnight by 500%. No, it took the company the last nine years to do that, as depicted in this chart:

In this time, inflation was just under 20% in total, FYI.

I ask: why is it when Mylan jacked up the price of EpiPen to $200 in 2012, or by 100% since 2007, nothing was said? Or when the price doubled again to $400 by 2015, the same, crickets, no blaring headlines or public outcry. But when it hit $600 this month, suddenly bedlam, outrage, and the Mylan CEO quickly becomes the face of what's wrong in this country.

The price of EpiPen went from $100 to $600, a 500% increase in nine years, and it was only the recent hike from $530 to $609 that went too far? Huh??

There's ample blame to go around for the health care cost fiasco, but I suspect some of it has been due to a combination of understandable public ignorance and the lack of a boogeyperson to target. The public ignorance of these egregious price hikes is due to a lack of media coverage. It's really only since last year, thanks to Martin Shkreli, that the media decided to focus on this long-standing problem. Shkreli instantly became the "bad boy" (to quote George in a Seinfeld episode), easily embodying a sinister poster boy for all that was wrong with this practice and the health care industry in general.

No, I don't blame the public for the delayed outrage but rather the media, which was asleep at the wheel and needed a John-McEnroe-of-pharma figure to finally kindle their interest.

And now they have Mylan CEO Heather Bresch to demonize.

Yet recall the Enron scandal, truly a despicable episode in corporate America history, but it really only kicked into a new gear when the media attached faces to it, namely Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, i.e. boogeymen. The fact is Enron was outrageous and scornful enough in and of itself, which should not have required "evil" humans as proverbial pinatas to incite our condemnation.

I'm afraid that's what has occurred here. These exorbitant price increases have been taking place for many years, contributing to runaway health care costs, but there's been little to no public outcry, and no politicians promising to look into it further. Until the media finally found a convenient scapegoat in Shkreli.

It's really a sad statement all around, about much more than just price gouging.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit result was all about young versus old

The Brexit outcome boiled down to age demographics:

The younger the voter, the more likely they were to vote against Brexit. And yet the younger the voter, the more likely they did not show up to vote.

We're hearing much about how the old have decided the fate for the young in the UK, but the young(er) have only themselves to blame. Wake up young people, not voting has consequences!

The Brexit outcome proves two things: 1) younger voters are lazy, and 2) older voters are gullible, misinformed -- but gosh darn it, they will show up to vote, a dangerous combo!

USA, you are forewarned!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Republicans: You have met the enemy and he is you

Can all too many Republicans please stop bemoaning the fact that Trump is going to be your nominee?! As if he has accidentally done so well for so long in their own political party that it's just some weird happenstance event, something that is completely befuddling -- oh please!

Wake up Republicans, all of you, every single one, and look in the mirror. This hair-challenged buffoon won easily versus your supposed best of the lot (and there were lots of them). All comers gradually fell by the wayside leaving Trump the winner, fair and square. Where is the debate? What is the argument? If Trump does not represent the Republican Party, then how the heck did he win in a relative cake-walk to become the presumptive nominee of the party?

It's understandable how many "respectable" Republicans have chosen to deny what has in fact occurred, to believe that the Trump ascendency is a indeed a fluke, an outlier outcome due to this reason or that. But the key word with such folks is "denial" or even better "delusion," as these more "serious" Republicans willfully rationalize away the rise of Trump in their midst.

Again, Republicans need to collectively take a good long whiff from a trough of smelling salts. Trump is just chum in the water. His foul bile and hate-speech is nectar to the ears of the susceptible and ignorant.

The entire Trump ascendancy is looking like a Twilight Zone episode. How many times did Rod Serling portray the dangers of mass hysteria and paranoia, the caving in to fear which quickly leads to animosity and violence?

And only at the end of the episode do the individuals realize what has happened, that they are the ugly, the ones to be condemned.

Trump would be nothing if not for his ample support. Look around Republicans, see who stands with you in your "big tent." It's long overdue to do so some serious inventory checking. Perhaps that tent is only big enough to accept what won't be accepted elsewhere.

And I would finally just ask, what about Trump's many liberal positions, past or present, which for some reason his many far-right supporters have no problem overlooking or ignoring? Cruz or Rubio or any of the other one-time candidates would've been crucified for these "waffling" leftist positions, but Trump has been afforded a free pass -- why? Could it be his racist vitriol and tough-guy rhetoric provide more than enough red meat to pacify his supporters, effectively blinding them to his more moderate stances?

But let's be serious, as we approach November, Republicans will unify, as they do, and coalesce around Trump. The media will play their part in enabling Trump to be considered a "serious" candidate.

In the end, Republicans are obligatory lemmings. They would unite to vote for a block of gouda cheese if the framing and messaging were right. And it usually is.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

It's simple, direct answers, stupid.

Kevin Drum writes about why Hillary continues to be hounded by skepticism concerning her forthrightness, especially when it comes to Millennials. It has to be the #1 problem adversely affecting her likeability or favorability ratings.

As Kevin says, many believe she's just too "slippery." A reason for this sentiment is that Bernie gives very blunt and unequivocal answers to questions, whereas Hillary does not. Instead she offers very nuanced answers that often come off as seemingly disingenuous or hiding something.

Important: it's not that Hillary is actually hiding something or dodging or lying, rather that it just sounds that way. However that is the crux of her problem, the appearance of sounding evasive or waffling. And it's no doubt amplified with straight-talk Bernie as a foil. In fact, what better opposing candidate to shine a bright light on Hillary's trust problem than an older, frumpy, plain-spoken Independent?

Kevin discusses the Clinton burn out experienced by many of us. We became numb to the incessant witch hunts leading to nowhere. But Millennials were spared this nonsense, so what gives with their heightened skepticism?

I think the lingering email controversy is the problem. Millennials may not know the details concerning the Clintons in the '90s, but they hear things, they Google, they learn just enough to be suspicious -- and then this email thing comes along and it's game over for many. To them it screams poor decision process (I too wonder, why did she do it?!), leave aside legality. It's about judgement and that could very well have Millennials thinking if she did this then what would she do in office? Fair? Maybe, maybe not, but the damage is done.

And I've also heard some Millennials make the point of privilege (a very big word with Millennials), that anybody else would be going to prison for this email crap. True? Maybe, maybe not, but the damage is done.

So given her unfortunate history, unjustifiably hounded, etc., Hillary's decision to sidetrack emails was indeed a profoundly poor one. And it does not matter if it's technically legal.

If not for Bernie, Democrats would be suffering from low turnout in primaries. The youth vote went big for Obama and they're going big for Bernie, helping him win one of biggest upsets in polling history (Michigan), but will these Millennials show up for Hillary when it truly counts?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Watch what you wish for....

For quite some time now I've felt Trump has been punking us. I've always believed that he entered this race as just another vanity endeavor (much like many of his endeavors), and as with The Apprentice, which caught on like wildfire and he rode until it inevitably burnt out, he's again riding this streak. 

Yes, this is not his first rodeo, he's run for president in the past, but this time around he learned a thing or two. From who? From Mitt Romney. Once a moderate Republican, who no less gave birth to Obamacare in MA, Romney learned quickly when he was running to be the Republican nominee that he had to start saying outrageous nonsense and fact-free crap to win over the kooky GOP base. And lo and behold, it worked and Romney became the chosen one. Trump likely saw that it worked for Romney and decided to do it on steroids -- and what a shocker, it's working! 

Implicit in all of this is I have to (or want to) believe that Trump is not actually as crazy as he sounds. Indeed, Trump has supported more liberal positions in the past (such as Planned Parenthood to this day). In fact, I predict in about a year or so that Trump will appear on his buddy Howard Stern's radio show and admit that he was just saying the most outrageous fact-free crap because he knew much of the GOP base would love it (and of course he's right, as we can plainly see).  This does not excuse what he's doing or saying, but it at least professes that he's been acting. In stark contrast to Cruz and Rubio who actually believe the crap they spout, they are definitely for real, and therefore they're much scarier than Trump.

So what Trump is doing might be a gag (as I'm positing), but it's a gag that's working. So what does that say about the modern day Republican? As in the the classic movie "Network," Howard Beale was mentally incapacitated, going through a crisis, and yet the people loved and adored him. I'm not suggesting Trump is Beale, disassociated from knowing what he's doing or saying, far from it, but rather that the audience, or the people (in this case Republicans) are the fuel to the fire. There would be no Trump mania at this point if not for the popularity giveth by Republican voters. 

And yet "respectable" Republicans are freaking out. Trump is throwing a monkey wrench into the plan of how it's supposed to go.

But back to Trump himself, I have to think a part of him just can't believe it, that these rubes are eating up his crap, he probably didn't think he'd go this far for so long, and now he has to keep going (like rollercoaster, strapped in, can't get off now). In large part, perhaps, it's why he keeps upping the ante with his comments, like his penis size reference and go-beyond-waterboarding stance in the last debate, like he's almost trying to get out of this. And yet the more outrageous and crazy and fact-free he gets, the more the base loves him. Recall that when Howard Beale started to convey facts, albeit dour messaging, his popularity plummeted.

Trust me, when the GOP finally does implode, they'll be writing about this moment, when a billionaire with funny hair said all kinds of irresponsible nonsense and the "adults' in the room, i.e. Republican voters, ate it up and applauded. It's why Louis CK is not too far off in making Hitler comparisons to Trump, as Hitler said all kinds of crazy hateful rhetoric and yet the German public loved it and hoisted him into power. Hitler of course was absolute evil, but he couldn't have done it without the many Germans supporting him. 

If Republicans want to get angry at Trump, just look in mirror, he wouldn't be where he is right now without the help of Mr. & Ms. Republican. You reap what you sow.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

My recent exchange with a sane Republican friend

All Republicans are not crazy. Some are just delusional and/or in denial -- and/or a friend.

From a text exchange tonight with a non-crazy Republican friend who was bemoaning Trump's popularity, my response:
The rest of the Republicans are kooks, and yet Republicans have to vote for someone. 
The party is imploding, a long slow car crash.
They only have Congress due to gerrymandering.
Trump's popularity in the GOP is not really surprising, just look at their last two picks, Romney and McCain. Two guys who were actually more moderate at one point in time. Like Trump. But were forced (?) to say crazy things to become the nominee. Presumably like Trump. We'll learn the truth one day on a Howard Stern (confessional) show.
As I said, this party is imploding.
More/less half the people in it declare themselves to be "independent" (code for embarrassed Republican) or want to vote for a foreigner like Merkel.
Good luck winning the White House with that!