"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Trump Doesn’t Really Mean It About The Riots?”: The Aftermath Is Sure To Be Messy If Trump Is Denied

Well, you can relax. It turns out that when Donald Trump said there would be riots in Cleveland if he is denied the nomination, he was only speaking figuratively. So says the Republican National Committee’s chief strategist and spokesman, Sean Spicer:

“Well first of all, I assume he’s speaking figuratively,” Sean Spicer, the RNC’s chief strategist and spokesman, told CNN. “I think if we go into a convention, whoever gets 1,237 delegates becomes the nominee. It’s plain and simple.”

CNN host Carol Costello pushed back, remarking that she did not think Trump was speaking figuratively when he told the network’s morning show that in the event he comes up short of the nomination, “I think you’d have riots. I think you’d have riots.”

Spicer disputed the assessment, remarking, “It’s the left, and the people on the left that have disrupted events are trying to go in and undermine people’s First Amendment rights,” a possible allusion to protesters supporting Bernie Sanders who forced the cancellation of Trump’s rally in Chicago last Friday.

Given the definition of figuratively, we have to assume that Spicer doesn’t believe Trump meant it when he said that there would be riots. Maybe he thinks whatever fisticuffs occur among foaming-mad delegates won’t rise to the level where the term “riot” would “literally” apply.

If Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot, the question will be whether the riot occurs right then and there in an effort to intimidate those intriguing against him, or if the riot only breaks out after Trump has been outmaneuvered and sidelined.

I’m pretty sure that it will prove impossible to have a “plain and simple” second ballot vote, but the aftermath is sure to be messy if Trump is denied. Will Trump’s delegates file peacefully out of the convention hall in protest? Will Trump take to the podium and promise to pay their legal fees if they assault opposing delegates?

It’s not going to be orderly. I’m sure of that.


By: Martin Longman, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, March 16, 2015

March 17, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Republican National Committee | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Pandering To Prejudice”: Trump Loses Two Delegates Because Of Their Foreign-Sounding Names

Two Trump delegates with foreign-sounding (i.e., Muslim) names failed to make the top three spots during last night’s Illinois primary, despite overwhelming Trump support in the districts they represented.

The state has one of the most complex delegate allotment schemes in the country. Rather than receiving just one delegate per electoral district, the Illinois primary provides three delegates per electoral district. That means that Illinois has 54 delegates who have already pledged to a presidential candidate to draw from its 18 electoral districts. And following the results of the primary, the first place candidate, is awarded another 15 delegates during the national convention.

The results were further proof of Trump’s pandering to prejudice in his run for the Republican nomination. The two candidates, Nabi Fakroddin and Raja Sadiq, prevented Trump from winning even more candidates in Illinois. The drop in support for the two was notable because Trump delegates won in the third and sixth districts. In the sixth district, Paul Minch won the district with 35,435 votes while Barbara Kois got 35,120 votes. But Fakroddin finished sixth with 5,000 fewer votes, despite running as a Trump delegate. That allowed a John Kasich supporter to take the third place spot, giving the Ohio governor an extra delegate.

The same took place with Sadiq in the third district. He should have finished somewhere in the top three, again, given that Trump won the state. But he also finished in sixth place, with 25 percent fewer votes than Doug Hartmann, the Trump candidate who won. Ted Cruz supporters took second, third and fourth place there. Even the fifth place finisher, Toni Gauen, also a Trump delegate, got 4,000 more votes than Sadiq.

While the loss of a couple delegates won’t hurt Trump as he bulldozes his way to the Republican nomination, the virulent form of Islamophobia he has espoused likely played a roll in the results for Fakroddin and Sadiq. Trump’s supporters are among the most hostile to Muslims. Some 67 percent hold unfavorable views of American Muslims, while 87 percent said they support his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country.

It’s unlikely that this phenomenon will repeat itself, simply because there aren’t many Muslims supporting Trump. But if the Republican frontrunner’s targeting of other minorities (Mexicans, Hispanics, African Americans, women) continues, Trump delegates with non-white names could see themselves losing primary races due to the same man they represent. In that case, it would be perhaps the only time Trump’s overt appeals to white nationalism haven’t helped his campaign in some way.


By: Saif Alnuweiri,   The National Memo, March 16, 2016

March 17, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Islamophobia, Trump Supporters | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Trump’s Brand Is Chaos”: Riots-R-Us, Straight Out Of The WWE “Wrestlemania” Playbook

It’s not for nothing that Donald J. Trump was inducted into the professional wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013. The billionaire braggart’s entire presidential campaign is straight out of the WWE “Wrestlemania” playbook—all preposterous boasts, racialized taunts and simulated mayhem that threatens to turn into the real thing. And wouldn’t TV news networks just love it?

Back last summer, when this column first took note of his uncanny impersonation of 1950s charismatic bleach-blonde bad guy Dr. Jerry Graham (“I have the body that men fear and women adore”) I was unaware of Trump’s enshrinement. Having outgrown pro-wrestling after eighth-grade, I’d never witnessed the 2007 “Battle of the Billionaires” between Trump and WWE impresario Vincent McMahon.

Anyway, if you want a laugh, Google the fool thing. Sure, it’s several minutes of your life you’ll never get back, but watching Trump posing, preening and throwing what a Rolling Stone reporter accurately characterized as “some of the worst punches in wrestling history” might wise you up to the game.

Alternatively, you could be a chump and show up at one of his campaign events to scream insults at some similarly deluded fool, or even get cold-cocked by a 78 year-old patriot and watch it being broadcast in an endless loop by CNN.

“I’d like to punch him in the face,” Trump said of a protestor at an earlier event, one of several similar incitements.

Yeah, well, the guy would probably survive.

For all The Donald’s penchant for sleeping with friends’ wives and bragging about it (Chapter 11, “The Art of the Deal”) I doubt he’s had much pugilistic experience. Very few guys with full-time butlers also have educated left-hooks. Surrounded by bodyguards most of his life, Trump appears to enjoy watching them bully people. But could things get out of hand as the campaign proceeds? Sure they could. This is the USA. Riots-R-Us. Scaring people into supporting a strongman is Trump’s only real hope of running this scam all the way to the White House.

“For the Manhattan billionaire,” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough commented in the Washington Post, “manufactured chaos is just as profitable for his brand as Paris Hilton’s sex tape was for hers.”

Never mind that Scarborough and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski until quite recently fawned over Trump almost daily. He followed former Obama White House chief of staff (and son of Chicago Mayor-for-Life Richard J. Daley) in suggesting that the candidate scheduled a campaign event on the inner-city University of Illinois-Chicago campus precisely “for the purpose of provoking protests that would energize Trump’s own supporters.”

Let’s you and him fight. Worked perfectly too. Does it matter that the students who boasted of their ability to shut the Trump rally down are Bernie Sanders supporters? No, but it figures.

As Scarborough also correctly observed, they’re political naïfs who got played, giving Trump a fine opportunity to whine “on cable news channels about how his First Amendment rights were being violated. He was doing all of this while reaching a far larger audience than he could have ever done while actually speaking at a rally.”

Sanders would do well to emphasize to supporters his own reverence for free speech rights, which I do not doubt. Why give the bully a chance to play at being the REAL victim?

On his Esquire Politics blog, my man Charles P. Pierce addressed the issue with characteristic understatement: “let’s all stipulate that chanting for Bernie Sanders while you’re shutting down a Trump rally is just about as stupid a political move as there is.”

You want to protest? Fine. Pierce suggested setting up picket lines outside the arena. “Stop being played for such suckers. Stop enlisting yourself in his bloody vaudeville.”

Meanwhile, let’s remain calm, shall we? This is nothing close to 1968, that annus horribilis in American life. No Vietnam War, with its hundreds of conscripted dead every week. No cities in flames, and prayerfully nothing like the Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy assassinations that broke the nation’s heart.

A handful of hotheads at Trump rallies shouldn’t blind us to the fact, as President Obama recently pointed out, that the angriest people in America are those without a clue about what’s actually going on.

Asked if he bore responsibility for the nation’s “incredibly polarized political climate,” Obama was scathing.

“I have been blamed by Republicans for a lot of things,” he said “but being blamed for their primaries and who they’re selecting for their party is novel.”

“Think about it: if somebody told you seven years ago we’d have 4.9% unemployment, 20 million newly insured, gas is $1.80, deficits cut by three-quarters, marriage equality a reality, bin Laden out of the picture, Wall Street reform in place you wouldn’t have believed me….Imagine what Trump would say if he actually had a record like this—instead of selling steaks.”

And shadow-boxing with college kids.


By: Gene Lyons, The National Memo, March 16, 2016

March 17, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Protestors, Trump Supporters | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I Have A Very Good Brain”: Trump’s Foreign Policy Sage Is Himself, Of Course

Hot off winning every state but Ohio last night, Donald Trump has taken his campaign of self-aggrandizement to the realm of international politics. According to Trump, there’s no one better suited to provide foreign policy insight than… himself.

Trump appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier today. When asked who his foreign policy advisors were, Trump responded, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.”

What any of that means to anyone is unclear. But does Trump have “a very good brain” when it comes to foreign policy? Does he have the wisdom necessary to make decisions whose consequences may take years to unfold? History says no: just look at Trump’s vacillation over the 2003 Iraq invasion.

One of the greatest foreign policy blunders ever committed by this country, the power vacuum left behind in Iraq — after George W. Bush dismantled the Iraqi army — aided in the rise of ISIS years later. Trump, who presents himself as a tough guy who would bring back torture to keep America safe, started off by claiming that he was against the invasion of Iraq. In a 2002 Howard Stern interview, he was asked directly if he supported the invasion. “Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded. “I wish the first time it was done correctly.”

This was not a one-off case of supporting interventionist foreign policy. In his book The America We Deserve, he wrote, “We still don’t know what Iraq is up to or whether it has the material to build nuclear weapons. I’m no warmonger,” Trump wrote. “But the fact is, if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion. When we don’t, we have the worst of all worlds: Iraq remains a threat, and now has more incentive than ever to attack us.”

In fact, in parroting the provocations of the Bush administration, Trump very much was a war-monger.

Fast forward to 2016, and Trump, in an effort to display his solid foreign policy insights, said during a Republican debate in Vermont, “I’m the only one up here, when the war of Iraq — in Iraq, I was the one that said, ‘Don’t go, don’t do it, you’re going to destabilize the Middle East.’” It was not the first time he claimed to be opposed to military intervention.

Even then, his commitment to non-intervention is political opportunism at best, given only 32 percent of registered voters still think the invasion was a good idea. He returned to espousing militaristic rhetoric during a campaign rally in which he promised to bomb ISIS — and the millions of civilians living under their rule — out of existence. “I would bomb the shit out of them,” said Trump during a rally in November. “I would just bomb those suckers, and that’s right, I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up ever single inch, there would be nothing left.”

While Trump may think that he is the best at everything, from his relationship with “the blacks” to world-altering foreign policy calculations, his comfort with taking seemingly opposing positions should worry his supporters. But who are we kidding — it probably won’t.


By: Saif Alnuweiri, The National Memo, March 16, 2016

March 17, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Foreign Policy, Iraq War | , , , , | Leave a comment

“Ignore It And It Will Go Away”: Gov. Scott’s Unwritten Policy On Climate Change — Don’t Talk About It

Dear Florida Gov. Rick Scott:

So it turns out the experts were mistaken. It turns out the impact of climate change on Florida — and much of the coastal United States — is not going to be anywhere near as bad as had been predicted. Apparently, it’s going to be much worse.

That’s the sobering finding of a study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. Previous scenarios, grim as they were, failed to take into account projected population growth. Factor that in, say the researchers, and the number of people likely to be affected by rising sea levels caused by melting polar ice caps explodes to triple the previous most dire estimates.

The brunt of the catastrophe is expected to be felt in the Southeast, cities like Biloxi, Mississippi, Charleston, South Carolina, and an obscure little seaside hamlet called Miami, Florida. Already, tourists in Miami Beach have to slosh through ankle-deep waters when the tide is especially high. By 2100, that might be regarded as the good old days.

The new study projects a future in which as many as 13.1 million Americans, nearly half of them in Florida, find themselves forced to flee or adapt as seawater rises toward their doorsteps. A child born today might be part of the nation’s largest mass exodus since the Great Migration a century ago.

Interestingly enough, governor, those frightful projections come a year almost to the day after a Miami Herald report that revealed your unwritten policy for dealing with climate change: Don’t talk about it. Forbid state officials from using the very words.

Yes, you claimed no such policy exists, but you were contradicted by multiple ex-employees of the state Department of Environmental Protection, and their testimony was compelling. “We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability,’” said Christopher Byrd, a former state Department of Environmental Protection attorney.

This strategy — essentially a governmental gag order — is one your Republican Party has frequently used in recent years. The apparent idea is that if you forbid discussion of it, a problem resolves itself. We’ve repeatedly seen the great success of this policy. George W. Bush’s ban on U.S. funding to international groups that provide information on pregnancy termination brought abortion to a screeching halt. A congressional ban on research into gun violence helped make mass shootings a thing of the past.

Sorry, governor. Pulling your leg.

Actually, the most recent figures available from the World Health Organization tell us the international abortion rate stands at 28 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, about where it’s been since the turn of the century. And there were at least 10 mass shootings in this country just last week — 40 people wounded, 14 killed.

The truth is, sir, “Ignore it and it will go away” is a policy more suited to children than to adults. And past a certain age, even kids learn the untenability of such thinking. The disastrous report card you stuff down in your backpack is always dug out. The broken vase you sweep under the couch is always discovered.

Similarly, the environmental disaster whose discussion you forbid will flood your streets and put property valued in the tens of billions of dollars at risk, whether it is talked about or not.

Governor, your party is forever taking action to fight “dangers” — mass voter fraud, sharia law — that do not exist. It is beyond unconscionable that it and you stick your fingers in your ears when confronted with a threat that is not only real but, conceivably, existential.

The science is clear, sir. The trend lines are, too. Americans are rushing to the shore. Housing and infrastructure are rising to meet them.

The potential price of silence was already high a year ago. It just rose higher still.


By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, March 16, 2016

March 17, 2016 Posted by | Climate Change, Global Warming, Rick Scott | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: