(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)
(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)
A progressive perspective on politics, culture and the media
We shouldn’t overstate Putin’s efforts, which will hardly determine the outcome of the election. Still, we should think of the Trump campaign as the moral equivalent of Henry Wallace’s communist-infiltrated campaign for president in 1948, albeit less sincere and idealistic than that. A foreign power that wishes ill upon the United States has attached itself to a major presidential campaign. [snip]
Is Putin already meddling in this campaign? In his chilly way, he has signaled his rooting interest. He praised Trump as “very talented.” His mouthpieces are more effusive. Vladimir Yakunin, the former chairman of Russian Railways, has said of Trump, “He is addressing some internal failings of the American people.” The Kremlin doesn’t seem much bothered to disguise its help. Soon after the discovery of Russian intelligence hacking into Clinton servers, documents suddenly materialized on the web: a PDF of the DNC’s opposition research file and a trove of spreadsheets, including a list of donors to the Clinton Foundation. [snip]
In the end, we only have circumstantial evidence about the Russian efforts to shape this election—a series of disparate data points and a history of past interference in similar contests. But the pattern is troubling, and so is the premise. If Putin wanted to concoct the ideal candidate to serve his purposes, his laboratory creation would look like Donald Trump. The Republican nominee wants to shatter our military alliances in Europe; he cheers the destruction of the European Union; he favors ratcheting down tensions with Russia over Ukraine and Syria, both as a matter of foreign policy and in service of his own pecuniary interests. A Trump presidency would weaken Putin’s greatest geo-strategic competitor. By stoking racial hatred, Trump will shred the fabric of American society. He advertises his willingness to dismantle constitutional limits on executive power. In his desire to renegotiate debt payments, he would ruin the full faith and credit of the United States. One pro-Kremlin blogger summed up his government’s interest in this election with clarifying bluntness: “Trump will smash America as we know it, we’ve got nothing to lose.” (our emphasis)This isn't yet getting the attention of the corporate media that it should, which is still trying to find ways to "normalize" Rump. Here's how the demagogue weasel is using his Russian- provided hammer:
Leaked e-mails of DNC show plans to destroy Bernie Sanders. Mock his heritage and much more. On-line from Wikileakes, really vicious. RIGGED— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2016
To be clear: the Trump/Putin connection is not a "conspiracy." It's all out in the open, unfolding in public. https://t.co/0oaoSet40M— Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) July 22, 2016
Russian intelligence hacks US political party. Putin-supporting candidate uses material. This is unprecedented stuff https://t.co/ZMnwqjLCoU— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) July 23, 2016
Any mention of Russian hacking destined to promote Trump? Kinda big news, no? Foreign interference in our politics. https://t.co/0C1ZFZxbW5— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) July 23, 2016
Russian cut-out @wikileaks leaks DNC emails to assist Russian puppet Donald Trump.— (((Jamie Kirchick))) (@jkirchick) July 22, 2016
The only way there's a Trump SuperPAC primarying people after November is if Putin's paying for it.— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) July 22, 2016
Kaine's ratings from key progressive groups:— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) July 23, 2016
Brady Campaign 100%
Human Rights Campaign 100%
Planned Parenthood 100%
AFL CIO 96%
... It was the most disturbing, demagogic and deluded acceptance speech by any major party nominee in the modern political era. It’s no wonder so many Republicans -- including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich -- are refusing to endorse Trump. When the idea of “voting your conscience” becomes a source of division within a party, something is terribly wrong.Washington Post:
DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.Jeff Greenfield:
In this speech, we have finally seen the answer to the perplexing question of just what political philosophy Donald Trump embraces. It is Caesarism: belief in a leader of great strength who, by force of personality, imposes order on a land plagued by danger. If you want to know why Trump laid such emphasis on “law and order”—using Richard Nixon’s 1968 rhetoric in a country where violent crime is at a 40-year low—it is because nations fall under the sway of a Caesar only when they are engulfed by fear. And the subtext of this acceptance speech was: be afraid; be very afraid.
It is impossible to imagine anyone else giving an acceptance speech so disconnected from anything in the American political tradition. Whether voters see that departure as a cause for celebration or worry may help decide what happens in November.Miami Herald:
Donald Trump’s angry, divisive, dark and, frankly, frightening acceptance speech, after a glowing introduction by daughter Ivanka, was pure Donald, unfortunately showing little growth from when he started on this journey: the threat of “roaming” and murderous illegal immigrants and vows to impose law and order. Like many a politician, he flaunted half-truths and selective, out-of-context assertions. And, of course, Hillary Clinton was an unpunished “criminal” salivating to throw open America’s doors to rampant, unrelenting immigration. Nonsense.Finally, a humorous take from Andy Borowitz:
Donald J. Trump was jubilant Thursday night after accomplishing his goal of delivering a speech that no one will ever want to plagiarize, Trump aides confirmed.
According to his staff, Trump and his speechwriters had been working overtime during the week to create a tirade that was sufficiently bloated, unhinged, and terrifying to discourage potential plagiarists from reusing excerpts in the future.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, said that, right until the hour the candidate took the stage, the billionaire’s writing team was scrubbing the speech of any marginally coherent passages that might prove tempting to plagiarists.
“There was one sentence toward the beginning that had traces of humanity and rational thought,” Manafort said. “Fortunately, we caught it in time.”With Rump, what you see is what you get: not a "presidential" pivot, but an unrelenting display of ego, anger, authoritarianism, demagoguery, deceit and arrogance.
I'm thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who's devoted his life to fighting for others. -H pic.twitter.com/lTVyfztE5Z— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 23, 2016
Donald Trump may be a real estate tycoon, but Ted Cruz is currently living in his head rent-free.— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) July 22, 2016
"1. Conventionalism: rigid adherence to conventional middle-class values.It's worth noting that "The Authoritarian Personality" grew out of a desire by social scientists to study the origins of the Nazi movement, which led to World War II and the Holocaust.
2. Authoritarian submission: uncritical acceptance of authority.
3. Authoritarian aggression: a tendency to condemn anyone who violates conventional norms.
4. Anti-intraception: rejection of weakness or sentimentality.
5. Superstition and stereotypy: belief in mystical determinants of action and rigid, categorical thinking.
6. Power and toughness: preoccupation with dominance over others.
7. Destructiveness and cynicism: a generalized feeling of hostility and anger.
8. Projectivity: a tendency to project inner emotions and impulses outward.
9. Sex: exaggerated concern for proper sexual conduct."
The facts: According to PolitiFact, 59% of Trump's checked claims have been deemed false or "Pants on Fire" false, versus 12% for Clinton.We're certain Rump's percentage went way up after last night.
This speech is a relentless, unyielding, humorless, hectoring appeal to fear and loathing.— Bret Stephens (@StephensWSJ) July 22, 2016
Indeed.David Duke on Donald's speech: "Couldn't have said it better." Need we say more? https://t.co/Y5E18ltz45— Bret Stephens (@StephensWSJ) July 22, 2016
Make America Loud and Sweaty Again— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) July 22, 2016
This guy reads slower than I walk.— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) July 22, 2016
Just drop the damn balloons already.— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) July 22, 2016
Notice how she recoils?what is wrong with this man pic.twitter.com/svd4zLpunk— Maryellen Stewart (@Maryellen) July 22, 2016
We joke about all of his creepy incestuous fantasies, but this is not something normal dads do. pic.twitter.com/MztJUNdR72— Bob Schooley (@Rschooley) July 22, 2016
I’ve heard this sort of speech a lot in the last 15 years and trust me, it doesn’t sound any better in Russian.— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) July 22, 2016
And the illusion of being a party built on policies and principles, rather than cultural and economic resentments, seems lost to the latest generation of Know-Nothings. Free trade has been all but abandoned but the anti-gay platform has been enhanced.
Hating Hillary, a time-honored pastime in conservative circles, has become the glue that holds this motley crew together. But even that partisan emotional outlet has crossed the line from typical team-ism to something darker and more surreal. A recurring theme in the convention hall is the chant to “Lock Her Up” while wearing T-shirts that say “Hillary for Prison.” There are countries where political opponents are threatened with imprisonment. America hasn’t traditionally been one of them.
But this time it feels different. America is on the knife-edge of something dangerous.
21st Century Fox today announced that Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations, has resigned from his role effective immediately.
Rupert Murdoch will assume the role of Chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.Not a word in the statement about the sexual harassment suit and allegations leveled by multiple Fox female employees, of course. It remains to be seen whether Jabba acolytes and defenders Bill "O'Liely" O'Reilly, Sean "Heil" Hannity and Greta Van