I pass along this from Lawyers, Guns & Money not so much because it’s from an intriguing piece (which it is, so go read it), but because the italicized metaphor is new to me and I want to nail it down in the few seconds before the next squirrel attracts my own attention.
Exceptionalism means never having to be sorry that your side elected a president who is overdrawn at the First Bank of Fucks and has the attention span of a dog at a squirrel farm. In fact, it means being glad about it. After all, he’ll sign anything we give him. Just tell him it’s an autograph for a fashion model who really digs yams, hooray!
This from The Washington Post:
As advanced CT scans and other analytical techniques become cheaper and more widely available, scientists are able to noninvasively tease out secrets locked within ancient sarcophagi. After examining what was long thought a jar of organs, Cambridge archaeologists discovered a tiny Egyptian mummy in May. The embalmed fetus, as young as 16 weeks, is the smallest yet found.And this from our next vice president:
A few months later, Dutch museum curators were shocked to see the bodies of 47 mummified infant crocodiles lining the walls of a sarcophagus. The curators were expecting to find just two adolescent reptiles.
The sweeping abortion bill that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law in March gained national attention for prohibiting women from electing to have an abortion due to the race, gender, or disability of the fetus. But the bill contained another unusual provision: It required that aborted fetuses receive what amounts to a funeral…
This sort of fetus funeral provision has recently gained traction in legislatures around the country: Arkansas and Georgia have similar laws on the books, while Ohio, South Carolina, and Mississippi have all considered similar measures in the last year.
All right, so maybe one of Trump’s cabinet picks isn’t all bad. Fair is fair, so I direct you to the Salon article from which this comes:
If liberals like to claim that they don’t think in simple black-and-white terms, perhaps they would consider the important work Sessions has done for the past decade and a half with Bob Woodson, an African-American community leader awarded a MacArthur fellowship (commonly known as a “genius grant”) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush…
Four years of Donald Trump is almost too much to bear. For the record, I don’t think he’s a genuine Nazi or a fascist. I think his racism was mostly an election ploy. He scoped out a demographic and hit their sweet spots. The real danger of his presidency will stem from the fact that he’s temperamentally unsuited to lead. He’s more interested in tweeting and grabbing pussy than doing the dull work of governance. He just doesn’t have the patience or the attention span to be a genuine dictator. It’s hard work — no one put in more time and effort than Joseph Stalin, who toiled into the wee hours signing execution orders and concocting five year plans. Trump just doesn’t have it. He’ll be a strutting, tweeting, TV nation Mussolini while the real business of government is carried out by Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, and they are going to unleash the most reactionary, corporate friendly agenda we’ve ever seen. It’s going to be worse than Bush’s first term. It’s the Koch Brothers’ country now, and they’re going to nail down the plutocracy and make it a permanent fact of our national life. Given the state of the climate, it’s questionable whether the planet can endure the four years of witless environmental despoliation that Trump and the Republicans are promising to bring. It is horrifying beyond words.
On the other hand, Trump is an extremely vindictive man and he holds grudges. He’ll abuse his power in a multitude of petty and vile ways. He will bully and browbeat the press. He will sue newspapers into bankruptcy. He’ll sic the IRS on his political opponents. He may well fling bombs all over the Middle East. If the economy crashes or we suffer terrorist attack, America will be finished. We really are entering one of the darkest periods in our history.
Fidel Castro died yesterday at the age of 90.
The fact is barely mentioned in the New York Times obituary, but America at first welcomed as a hero the man who overthrew Batista. In our great lack of wisdom, however, we soon decided that Cuba — Cuba! — posed an existential threat to the United States. John F. Kennedy would have blown up the world to save it if the grownups in Moscow hadn’t stopped him.
To remind us of our brief pre-paranoia honeymoon with Fidel, though, here’s Sam Smith at Undernews:
One night in April 1959 Allison was conducting his program as usual – sometime between ten thirty and one am – at Cores Restaurant, 1305 E St NW, when the recently victorious Fidel Castro and his aides came into the restaurant looking for something to eat without any idea a radio program was underway. Castro had come to Washington to speak at the National Press Club, right around the corner from the restaurant.
Here is the tape of what happened next as reported on the program that followed. It is extraordinary:
And here’s more from Smith, who was a reporter for the Harvard student radio station in those days:
“The most noteworthy figure to appear at Harvard during my tenure was the newly victorious Fidel Castro, who spoke to 8,000 enthusiastic faculty and students (including one from Brandeis named Abbie Hoffman) at Dillon Field House. Castro was still considered a hero by many Americans for having overthrown the egregious Batista. While those of us who had taken Soc Sci 2 knew that not all revolutions were for the better, there was about this one a romance that took my thoughts far from Harvard Square as a top Castro lieutenant, sitting in front of my little recorder in the Bick, told me of his days with Fidel in the mountains. Castro was booed only once according to my broadcast report later that evening, when he “attempted to defend the execution of Cuban war criminals after the revolution.”
A question often served up in middle-brow documentaries and popular history books is to wonder how Germany, one of the most advanced and civilized countries in Europe, could have sunk into Nazi savagery. How did the nation of Goethe and Beethoven produce Hitler, Goebbels and the Holocaust? Future historians, assuming there will be any, won’t face any such troubling questions about America’s lapse into right wing authoritarianism. Their task will be much simpler. They won’t have to ask how it happened, they’ll simply scratch their heads and wonder what the hell took it so long.
They’ll note that the country had a trial run between 2001-2004, when a virulently right wing administration assumed unconstitutional police powers and effortlessly lied the country into war. They’ll remark how easily the population was cowed by phantom dangers, and how readily they sold out their vaunted principles of freedom and constitutional government in exchange for security. The USA was kidnapping people and throwing them into torture chambers overseas, and its people cheered (or, more typically, yawned). The White House spokesman at the time, Ari Fleischer, warned Americans that they needed to “watch what they say, watch what they do,” and announcing that you were opposed to the invasion of Iraq invited suspicious glances from good solid middle class Americans who regarded such an opinion as seditious. In fact, were it not for the staggering hubris and ineptitude of the Bush administration, the USA might well have expedited its date with fascism by a good twelve or thirteen years.…Read on
I can’t help thinking of Donald Trump as Zaphod Beeblebrox minus one of the heads and with only two arms.
To begin with, I expect that in the privacy of his shower (unless he pays someone to do that for him) Trump would agree with Zaphod that “If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now”. And he resembles Zaphod’s personality: “he is, according to screening tests that he ran on himself in the Heart of Gold’s medical bay, ‘clever, imaginative, irresponsible, untrustworthy, extrovert, nothing you couldn’t have guessed’”. Zaphod’s fame rests in part on being the only man to have survived the Total Perspective Vortex, which gives anyone who experiences it a sense of their place in the total arc of the universe. Most people are reduced to blithering idiots by the sense of how trivial they are, but Zaphod’s lifelong conviction that he’s the most important person in the galaxy turns out to have some basis in fact, which makes him even more insufferable.
In one respect, though, the two differ. Zaphod was briefly President of the Galaxy, which Wikipedia describes as “a role that involves no power whatsoever, and merely requires the incumbent to attract attention so no one wonders who’s really in charge, a role for which Zaphod was perfectly suited”. Trump, of course, is slated to occupy a role of considerably more power, though the element of misdirection is still relevant. But it already looks like his enthusiasm for the job has been tempered as he becomes more aware of what it involves. It’s certainly bigger than he realized:
During their private White House meeting on Thursday, Mr. Obama walked his successor through the duties of running the country, and Mr. Trump seemed surprised by the scope, said people familiar with the meeting. Trump aides were described by those people as unaware that the entire presidential staff working in the West Wing had to be replaced at the end of Mr. Obama’s term.
Looks an awful lot like the job Trump was shooting for was more like President of the Galaxy than the one he actually got.
When I played football, our coach forbade us from complaining about bad calls. If you lose a game because of a bad call, he sternly admonished us, you didn’t deserve to win in the first place. “Winners win in spite of adversity!” was his blunt response to whining of any kind.
This was Pop Warner, mind you, and I was only about, oh, eleven or twelve. It’s a pity the leaders of the Democratic party never received this bit of Pee Wee football tough love. Apparently they don’t teach it on the playing fields of Palo Alto or the Acela Corridor, or any of the other nurseries of the best and the brightest. They’re primarily responsible for a Dubya-sized political disaster, but rather than admit any culpability, they’re blaming everyone but themselves.
It was Jill Stein. It was the Bernie Bros. It was Putin. It was Wikileaks. It was the media. And now Hillary herself is whining that is was all James Comey’s fault:
“There are lots of reasons why an election like this is not successful,” Clinton told top donors on a farewell conference call Saturday.
“But our analysis is that [FBI Director James B.] Comey’s letter raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum,” she said.
What, one wonders in despair, will it ever take to make these people stop and question their analyses? Not since the economic crash, when Alan Greenspan admitted there was a flaw in his model of how the world worked, have we seen such a stark example of elite cluelessness and failure, but rather than admit that her campaign may have been flawed, Hillary is complaining she lost because she was stabbed in the back.
Yeah, that explains the amazing feat of losing Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, states that have been reliably blue for decades. It had nothing to do with the fact that these states are sunk in stagnant misery, and Clinton offered them nothing but four more years of the same doldrums. It had nothing to do with the fact that Team Clinton strolled into the game thinking they could win with one or two predictable stock plays — “Trump is a horrid meanie!” and “I’ll be the first woman president ever!”— while making no further adjustments and offering no positive reasons to vote for her at all. One waited in vain for Clinton’s campaign to start hammering through the wall of Trumpian bullshit with ads about what she would actually do as president. It didn’t happen.
She took it for granted that all she had to do was scare people about the monster Trump in order to coast into the White House, just as she took it for granted that she would sail unopposed to the nomination in 2016, which was the exact same mistake she made in 2008. She was consistently overconfident, consistently made miscalculations, consistently took the wrong advice, and was consistently blind to threats that were visible from a mile away. What makes you think she would have governed any differently?
I agree with Chuck. We need to send these people packing. No more Clintons. No Robby Mooks, John Podestas, Debbie Wasserman Schultzes, Ed Rendells and Tim Kaines. They’ve forfeited all claims to our support. They grossly mishandled the election, partly because they are blinkered and out of touch, and partly because they didn’t really want to do anything for people at all. They just wanted to scare us into voting for them so they could go back to pushing the same neoliberal shit that got is into this mess in the first place. Now that they’ve gotten they’re asses whipped, they’re poking around looking for scapegoats and concluding that, well, Virginia, I guess half the country is just deplorable. Yeah, well, they’re deplorable too.
After the election it took me a day or two to recover my wits, but I’m not yet past the anger. Not so much at the people who voted for Trump; some of them are racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic pigs, but it remains to be seen whether that’s actually a majority. I’m guessing that more are in the mold of the poor folks who actually expect him to bring jobs back to their neck of the woods. And by poor I don’t necessarily mean impoverished; many of those interviewed by the Times currently have good jobs but expect or fear to lose them in the near future, for instance the employees of the Carrier plant in Indiana Trump often used as an example of how he’d save and repatriate jobs lost to lower-wage countries. I mean poor in the sense of pitiable, because they’re so completely deluded about the solutions to the situation they’re struggling against.
Which is not to minimize that situation. I imagine that much of the eastern Kentucky town where I grew up, once unionized and Democratic, voted for Trump, and though racism and the other hatreds form an undoubted subtext the wish for the return of good economic times is real and pervasive. The town is a third smaller than it was when coal mines, steel mills, chemical plants, and oil refineries provided good-paying jobs for anyone with a high-school education, and even a better-than-subsistence level of existence to those without that qualification. Nowadays the median age is 41 and the per capita income is a little over $19K, which means 18% of the population lives below the poverty line (including 28% of those under 18). The town remains over 95% white, so racism doesn’t really arise in daily life; it’s more of a philosophical stance, similar to the belief that travel and education leave you less pure and farther from God. These folks, bless their hearts, often don’t have the information, or the information-processing power, to see past the hucksterism. Often this ignorance is carefully tended, but it’s still a handicap I can empathize with.
No, what really makes me angry is the struggle by the now completely discredited Clinton/DLC wing of the Democratic party to externalize blame for the disaster of a Trump presidency, transparently attempting to shift responsibility from their own decision-making. Blaming those who voted against you is not only bad politics; in this case it’s particularly idiotic, because as even David Axelrod has pointed out the party’s candidate was not a great one in general and was remarkably unsuited for the country’s mood at present. And that’s coming from one of Obama’s top advisors, not someone with left-wing sympathies.
What fascinates me now is the struggle to head up the DNC. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren agree that Keith Ellison would be perfect for the job, and they’ve managed to bring Chuck Schumer, of all people, on board. So now there’s a flurry of establishment types from Howard Dean to Xavier Becerra offering themselves as preferable candidates for the task at hand, with Martin O’Malley, fresh off a tremendously successful run for the Presidential nomination, claiming some unique ability to mediate between the two groups.
To which I say, fuck that. I don’t want mediation. I want a purge. Clinton/DLC people, move across the aisle where you’ve always really belonged. Or get on board with where the Democratic party and the country have been for decades; but that would mean relinquishing a hold on personal power for the good of the country, which has never been a strong point for the Clinton/Podesta wing. Fortunately the old order’s rapidly fading, as one Nobel prize winner put it. Or as Bill Greider says,
Let’s be honest with ourselves. The old political order deserved to die. The moneyed interests that manipulate both political parties and finance the elaborate electoral machinery that shapes so-called “public opinion” effectively suffocated American democracy a long while back. In our modern high-tech society, the notion that we are self-governing citizens has been turned into a cynical joke.
People knew this, sort of. As long as things were going good in their lives, most people learned to live with it. Both parties made pretty promises during campaigns, but average folks understood that these were mostly garbage. Whatever it took to win the election. Voting became a marginal option, since most people had learned to expect that not much would be changed.
The actual facts of governing — the real meat of power politics — were reserved for privileged circles who needed to know what was going down, the lobbyists and do-gooders and agents of heavyweight influence. The news media made sure that the real struggles of governing were dumbed down for average readers so as not to disturb their innocent ignorance.
That worked for the Democrats for many years. Worked, that is, in the sense of keeping the establishment in power; it’s been quite a long time since it worked for individuals who voted Democratic, as the party cooperated in the neoliberal project of hollowing out the manufacturing base and concentrating wealth in the hands of financiers. Speaking of which, can you name a Democrat more closely associated with that neoliberal project than Hillary Clinton? Okay, maybe her husband, but who else?
Until the Democrats become once again a party of the working class, by which we don’t mean people who work for banks and investment companies, they’ll be irrelevant at every level of government.
Don’t despair, my friends. Things are bad but they’re not hopeless. The Force resides in another who is destined to come along and save us from our national nightmare:
While some pundits are declaring the Clinton political dynasty dead, sources tell us that it is far from over. Chelsea Clinton is being groomed for the New York seat held by Rep. Nita Lowey.
Chelsea could run for the seat in NYC’s 17th Congressional District once Lowey, a respected, 79-year-old career politician with nearly 30 years in office, decides to retire, we have exclusively learned.
The Clintons are taking a much needed break in order to regroup, but Chelsea, we’re informed, is poised and articulate, just like Mom, and would be “the next extension of the Clinton brand.”
Granted, this is The New York Post, but still. Words fail.
There’s much still to be learned about the roots of our national disaster as the data are gathered and analyzed. For example, early indications seem to be that Trump pretty much matched Romney’s popular vote but Clinton underperformed Obama by enough to lose. If this turns out to hold up then that will tell us something important.
But even before all the data arrive we’re forced to ask ourselves, How could this have happened?
First of all, of course, it’s now looking like polls are a 20th-century artifact that no longer works in the 21st century. In this regard the upcoming French and German elections are perhaps even a bit more momentous. The betting markets were wrong too, but they’re heavily poll-based in terms of the raw data they consider, so if the polls are badly off the markets will be out of kilter. They’re not, as they’re sometimes considered, two separate views on the same situation, but rather two different ways of looking at and processing information from a single view.
Democratic partisans will no doubt blame James Comey, who clearly influenced the election with his October surprise nothingburger. Fortunately for his career Trump won. But if such a nothingburger of implication is sufficient to turn a winning campaign into a losing one, considerations beyond the momentary call out for consideration.
The problem with Clinton wasn’t her peculiarity but her typicality. It was characteristic of this Democratic Party that the power players in Washington decided on the nominee — with overwhelming endorsements — many months before a single ballot was cast.
They made a fateful choice for all of us by stacking the deck, decisively, against the kind of politics that could win: a working-class politics.
Seventy-two percent of Americans who voted last night believed that “the economy is rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful.” Sixty-eight percent agreed that “traditional parties and politicians don’t care about people like me.”
Surprisingly, these folks didn’t see Clinton as their avatar. Whether it was her craven vote for the most recent war on Iraq, her latecomer status to many of the party’s identity-politics positions, or perhaps her longstanding integration into the Borg of Wall Street, somehow Hillary didn’t embody the anger and frustration of those who feel the system is rigged against them.
In the long term, the Democratic party will either follow the Republican party in moving to where its base lives, or it will continue to diminish in national influence outside of the Presidential election cycle every four years. The Democratic party elites’ belief that the professional class would be preferable partners to the working class has cost the party dearly in terms of offices and power, but even more dearly in terms of legitimacy.
Dear Alan Tucker…
Who reports receiving this cry for help:
I need your advice. This is a year of public dilemmas. First, the head of the FBI, Mr. Comey, had to make an agonizing personal decision. Should he hold off for a few weeks on publicly revealing the newly discovered cache of e-mails on the shared laptop of Hillary aide Huma, so as not to disrupt the course of a presidential election for the entire nation? Or should he reveal that immediately to Congress, to save himself from the post-election wrath of half of Congress? One man’s passing discomfort versus the disruption of a defining national process. He weighed one side — one man (himself) — against the other side — the nation — and made his choice. Himself.
But then there’s little undecided me, Alan. As a result of Mr. Comey’s choice, I now have to face my own dilemma on how to vote for President. To punish Hillary for a possible role in overseeing the placing of possibly unauthorized e-mails on the laptop her aide Huma once shared with her sicko ex-husband … and as a result help elect a raving lunatic to the Presidency? Or vote for Hillary and in effect reward her for sloppy handling of sensitive e-mails? One side — just deserts for a careless cabinet officer — against the other — a narcissist demagogue administering our country for the next four years.
Alan, I ask you. This is a tough one, and I’m unable to sleep. Thanks in advance for your advice,
The election is rigged:
A woman in Iowa was arrested this week on suspicion of voting twice in the general election, court and police records show.
Terri Lynn Rote, a 55-year-old Des Moines resident, was booked Thursday on a first-degree charge of election misconduct, according to Polk County Jail records. The charge is considered a Class D felony under Iowa state law.
…in New Jersey? Easy peasy. Just take on a divorced mother of four as your client and then throw her under a bus driven by a fat bully who thinks it’s going to Washington:
Even in January 2014, when a subpoena revealed the incriminating email Ms. Kelly had written before the closings — “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” — Mr. Christie and his aides were struggling to get their story straight. They found her a lawyer who assured her that everything was going to be fine and that they would find another job for her; then they fired her. (Ms. Kelly subsequently found another lawyer herself; Mr. Christie recently successfully nominated her original lawyer, Walter F. Timpone, to the state’s highest court.)
From the New York Times:
“A lot of guys resort to asking questions on Reddit, because they don’t know where else to go,” said Emily Weiss, the founder and chief executive of Glossier, a site that, along with Man Repeller and Refinery29, served as inspiration for Very Good Light. “The younger generation of men are embracing beauty and skin care in a more open-minded and forward-thinking way.”
From the New York Times:
Mr. Baroni, once Mr. Christie’s top staff appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is accused of scheming to close access lanes to the bridge in September 2013 to punish a mayor who had declined to endorse the governor for re-election, and then covering it up. His co-defendant is Bridget Anne Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie…Yaddada, yaddada, and the band plays on, stuck on the wrong tune. Every sentient human being with an IQ reaching into the double digits is aware that Christie either must have known in advance or a few minutes afterward that the busiest bridge in the world had been throttled. The governor’s office was equipped with telephones, television and Wi-Fi. Whether he ordered the closing is irrelevant. What is relevant is that he could have stopped it immediately and didn’t — for four days.
In the military this would be called dereliction of duty, punishable under United States Code Title 10, Section 892, Article 92 by dishonorable discharge and confinement for up to one year. New Jersey has no such statute, but perhaps there is a higher law.
How else to explain that the fat bully from New Jersey has been turned into a poodle licking the boots of an even bigger bully until November 8. On that date both creatures will be paroled into irrelevance, proving that God is just. Now and then, anyway.
Zoe Williams is talking about British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, BoJo as he’s derisively called by those who think him a clown, “who tries on opinions like clothes, discarding them as the mood and weather takes him.” In the process she makes some cogent observations that might actually find some application here in the States, noting for example that “…we‘re forced to think deeply about the actions of a politician who wouldn‘t himself entertain such an activity for longer than five minutes.”
Only now does the picture solidify: we are in the grip of the most fervent radicals, people willing to sacrifice everything — grants, investment, trade, security, standing, solidarity, legal apparatus built up by decades of painstaking cooperation — at the altar of a concept (sovereignty) that nobody really understands, and a principle (taking back control) that is abstract to the point of meaninglessness.
On this side of the pond, at least, the principle is more readily operationalized. The importance to the Trump campaign of the alt-right and its white nationalists is well understood and agreed to by all sides, though they may differ on the meaning of this collaboration. The concept is thus discerned to be the maintenance of the American tradition that white folks, especially males, stand the top of society’s heap. Of course that’s still the case for professionals, as anyone who’s not a white male can attest. But time was when non-college-educated white males, particularly those in rural areas, the type I grew up around and who constitute Trump’s most reliable demographic group, could in the face of life’s disappointments and humiliations console themselves with the knowledge that at least they were white and thus by definition not at the back of the line. Many of these folks, who in earlier years at least were often poor and thus truly did not feel privileged, now regret the loss of social status they feel as people from other societies and religions are gradually but increasingly accepted as equal Americans.
Many of these people are indeed willing to sacrifice long-standing American traditions — the integrity of the electoral process, the assumption of basic civility among seekers of high office, the condemnation rather than encouragement of violence at political rallies — because they’re just sufficiently pissed off. Having felt anger toward the federal government myself at earlier points in my life I can somewhat relate, but my anger was over Vietnam. Then again, there’s a reasonable chance many of Trump’s supporters are still mad about that one too.
Hot off the AP wire:
Donald Trump is accusing rival Hillary Clinton of being on some kind of drug during the last debate, and says that both candidates should be tested for substances ahead of the next one.
The Republican presidential nominee offered no evidence to support the bizarre claim, which he appeared to base on his belief that Clinton was energetic at the start of their second debate and downbeat at its conclusion.
He says, “I think she’s actually getting pumped up” while she’s off the trail. He also mocked Clinton for what he suggested was wasting time by preparing for their debates.
Trump called on both candidates to take a drug test prior to the final debate on Wednesday.
The GOP nominee made the extraordinary, baseless assertion when speaking at an outdoor rally on Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Older non-Muslim native-born whites it turns out. From his own demographic, that deplorable basket. Read this from The Los Angeles Times, and feel free to giggle.
FBI statistics show that the number of violent crime arrests in 2015 fell by about 2,000 among teenagers and young adults under age 30 even as they rose by 7,000 among older age groups. The Feds don’t provide age-by-race breakdowns — but California does, and California may be a suitable proxy for what’s going on across the country because it’s experiencing similar overall trends.
In 2015, according to statistics compiled by the California Department of Justice, violent crime in California went up 8% and homicide went up 9%. Violence arrests were down (around 700) among those under age 30 and up (around 2,600) for those over 30.
Here’s the racial-demographic data behind these increases: In 2015, murder arrests in California rose sharply among whites 30 and older (up 16%) but fell among people younger than 30 of all races (down 5%), including young people of color (also down 5%).
Violent crime, which includes murder, rape, robbery and assault, rose 4% among older whites but decreased by 2% among those under age 30, with younger African, Latino and Asian Americans showing the biggest drop (down 8%). Trends in violence rates among older Californians of color lay in between (up 3%).
A similar pattern prevailed for drug arrests. Though major reforms in drug laws have brought down arrests for all Californians, older whites showed the least decline in drug arrest rates of any demographic (down 6%, compared with a 12% decline for younger people, including a 15% decline for young people of color). Again, older nonwhites were in between (down 11%).
In a truly stunning reversal of past trends, more older white Californians are now getting arrested for drug offenses than younger people of color. And though imprisonment rates for older whites have not yet caught up with those of younger people of color, the race/age gap has narrowed astonishingly.
Over the last 25 years — even with falling crime and recent reforms that reduced California’s prison population — older whites are the only group that has shown increased levels of imprisonment, while rates for young people of color have plummeted.
Groucho Marx had a gimmick on his early TV quiz show: a “secret word” was shown the audience before a contestant came on camera. A common word like “body” or “misunderstood.” If a contestant said the secret word during repartee with Groucho, a stuffed animal or something like that would drop down on a cord, and the speaker would get a big additional prize. We now have this concept in our Presidential election campaigning.
Candidate for President of the United States Donald Trump insulted Mexicans … insulted a federal judge on having Hispanic ethnicity … insulted John McCain for having gotten captured … advocated barring Muslims from entering the US … insulted the family of an American officer killed in combat … insulted women as “fat” … suggested that his followers beat up protesters … was revealed to have run a scam university operation … transparently suggested that his followers snuff his Democratic opponent … refused to show his tax returns … has continued to question Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship to this day – all with seeming impunity.
After all that and lots more, what is it that seems finally to have tripped him up, perhaps fatally? He said the secret word. Pussy. This is what finally rises to disqualification of someone for the Presidency of this great and exceptional nation.
Only in America, with our intense obsession with sex blended with guilt and embarrassment about anything to do with sex. This patented national hypocrisy tops all other hypocrisies in our great nation. With apology to Einstein, it is an American power far stronger than compound interest. How to explain this? Is it only, as some have claimed, because of the religious intolerance exhibited by Protestants that emerged here after they fled the anti-Protestant intolerance in the Old World? Amplified by Reform Protestantism of the early South and West?
I can’t say for sure. Well, let’s just choose to be proud of our American exceptionalism: we are probably the world leaders in hypocrisy – although the export market for it is an uphill battle. When we eventually grow up as a nation, we may even look back on it with nostalgia.
/s/ Al, (who used the secret word at least 100,000 times in college and the Navy, but never ran for public office, and so dodged the bullet.)
From the New York Times. Smith now heads the National Association of Broadcasters.
The videos reveal clubby exchanges between the leaders, most of whom belong to the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the church’s second-highest leadership body after the First Presidency), and Mormon politicians and other experts invited in to brief the apostles. In a presentation that has provoked some criticism, former Senator Gordon H. Smith, a Republican of Oregon, shared with the apostles that he voted in favor of the Iraq War partly because he believed it could open the region for Mormon missionaries.
“If that succeeds, there will be an opportunity to begin building the church in the Middle East, which is a deeply troubled place,” said Mr. Smith, who at the time had recently lost a re-election campaign after two terms in the Senate.
Here is Fred Reed, explaining why humans have always been and will always be irremediably, stupidly and suicidally vicious. And now that we have the hydrogen bomb the question is not whether we will use it. The question is when.
Another thing that makes human behavior hopelessly awful is the dog-pack instinct. We have an insuperable tendency to form packs and bark at other packs. In the case of some species, such as ours, a powerful territoriality is also in play. The urge to merge into a pack and fight with others is perhaps stronger than the sex drive. It is not unique to humans — ants do it, for example — but it is unusual in nature. Intelligent species, such as horses, form herds but don’t fight each other. So do whales. Cats don’t bother at all.
Countries (very large packs) fight and growl at each other, and form larger packs — NATO, the Warsaw Pact — to fight and growl at each other. These are immensely territorial. Members of these fanged herds do not actually pee on the borders to mark them, but come close…
Countries behave as idiotically as dogs because they are ruled by people as idiotic as dogs. Male dogs in a pack want to be alpha-dog, and fight to get there. Male politicians, to include the marginally female, want to be alpha-pol and fight, scratch, claw, lie, cheat, and steal to get there. Politics rewards the unprincipled and truculent, and thus those most likely to start wars. A fairly small number of these pathologically combative people decide whether a country of three hundred million go to war with another that most of the population has never heard of.
Misfortune can follow when people with instincts suited perhaps to small bands living in the wild decide on war for nations of hundreds of millions with nuclear arms. Their hormonal urges are exactly those encountered in bar fights. The pack follows them because, again, we are pack animals. It is what we do.
…of the 1940s was probably never caught, although the ever-admirable Chicago police succeeded in framing a teenage boy for the three murders. After one of them the real serial killer had left this note written in lipstick on the victim’s wall:
Sake catch me
Before I kill more
I cannot control myself
“After years of failure, she complains about how I’ve used tax laws of this country to my benefit. Then I ask a simple question: Why didn’t she ever try to change those laws so I couldn’t use them?”
If Badtux the Snarky Penguin isn’t on your list of blogs to check every day, put him there right away. Two recent samples: One and Two. Day after day, Badtux explains the news in more depth and fewer words than The New York Times.
Would you like to read a swell poem by America’s number one poet? Sure you would. Here it is then, from The New Yorker:
As famous as a broken disc,
thanks for coming all this way.
That’s why I have to do it,
to be a goon that matters
into another person’s life.
You have a lousy voice, but
a good tenor. There, I’ve said it.
You’ll have to quickly get back
on the job, brothers brothers.
In her transparent hair
she is, well, just a person,
And that stuff is now getting cold.
I’ll be there for you;
they want to cut them off from other
getting—getting old again,
Hold that opera—you made the lyrics.
You remind me of you.
We had been up to Speculator once before.
Off you go then.
Here, rescued from the trumpster for your reading pleasure, is the candidate being presidential on Saturday:
“In a really sarcastic tone because she’s a sarcastic woman,” Trump dryly said, going off-script. He resumed his scripted spot: “To sum up…” But he interrupted himself: “And I’ll tell you the other thing: She’s an incompetent woman. And I’ve seen it. She’s an incompetent woman.”
He told the crowd to get a group of friends together on Election Day, vote and then go to “certain areas” and “watch” the voters there. "I hear too many bad stories, and we can't lose an election because of you know what I'm talking about,” Trump said. “So, go and vote and then go check out areas because a lot of bad things happen, and we don't want to lose for that reason.”
He said Clinton could not fight bad trade deals or Russian President Vladimir Putin because “she can't make it 15 feet to her car,” alluding to video that showed Clinton buckling as she unexpectedly left a 9/11 memorial service early. Her doctor later said she had pneumonia. Trump then imitated Clinton by flailing his arms and jostling side to side. He walked unsteadily away from the podium as if he were about to fall over. “Folks, we need stamina,” Trump said. “We need energy.”
He claimed that he has a “winning temperament” while Clinton has “bad temperament.” Trump continued: “She could be crazy. She could actually be crazy.”
Trump read one more sentence of the statement, then brought up Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. “She should be in prison, let me tell you,” Trump said. “She should be in prison.”
“Hillary Clinton’s only loyalty is to her financial contributors and to herself,” Trump said. “I don’t even think she’s loyal to Bill, if you want to know the truth.”
The crowd gasped and many shouted: “Ohhhhh!”
…but Michael Moore got there first:
Someone in the audience shouted out, “What about Jill Stein?” and Moore gently said that he really does support most of what the Green Party stands for and that he’s voted third party a couple of times. But this year, Moore said, “Voting that way just makes you kind of like Trump. You’re being narcissistic. You’re only voting that way because it makes you feel good to say you didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton.” Sometimes, Moore continued, “you just gotta suck it up and vote for the good of the country.” In other words, Moore, who called Bill Clinton the “best Republican president we ever had,” doesn’t buy the liberal bullshit that Trump and Clinton are alike. Trump is different. And you’re a fucking idiot if you don’t get that.
This from Bertrand Russell:
Animals, machines, thunderstorms, and all forms of manual work, arouse the curiosity of children, whose thirst for knowledge puts the most intelligent adult to shame. This impulse grows weaker with advancing years, until at last what is unfamiliar inspires only disgust, with no desire for a closer acquaintance. This is the stage at which people announce that the country is going to the dogs, and that “things are not what they were in my young days.” The thing which is not the same as it was in that far-off time is the speaker’s curiosity. And with the death of curiosity we may reckon that active intelligence, also, has died.
From Gabriel Sherman’s excavation of Roger Ailes in New York magazine:
Still, the whispers about Ailes and women were growing louder. Karem Alsina, a former Fox makeup artist, told me she grew suspicious when Fox anchors came to see her before private meetings with Ailes to have their makeup done. “They would say, ‘I’m going to see Roger, gotta look beautiful!’ ” she recalled. “One of them came back down after a meeting, and the makeup on her nose and chin was gone.”