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Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

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Hullabaloo


Thursday, May 05, 2016

 
Don't depend on the kindness of strangers

by digby
















They might disapprove of your politics.

When 25-year-old Cassandra McWade got in a car accident on a highway in Asheville, North Carolina, on Monday, Ken Shupe drove his tow truck to the scene. But when he saw that McWade, who has disabilities, had Bernie Sanders signs on her Toyota Camry, he decided he wouldn’t help.

“He said, ‘I can’t tow you ... you’re a Bernie supporter,’” McWade recalled. “I was like, ‘Wait, are you serious? You’re kidding me.’”

Ken Shupe, a 51-year-old from Travelers Rest, South Carolina, was very serious. “I’m a conservative Christian, I’ve just drawn a line in the sand,” he said. “I’m not going to associate or conduct business with them.” (The incident was first reported by FOX Carolina 21.)

McWade was heading home to Travelers Rest on I-26 when a tractor trailer hit the front of her car, she said. Afterward, her car wouldn’t start, and a first responder moved it to the side of the interstate. The driver’s door was approximately two feet from the highway line, she recalled.

McWade said she collects disability payments and has psoriatic arthritis, impaired mobility, early stage Crohn’s disease, severe fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. (She sent HuffPost a picture of the disability tag, as well as a photo of her many medications.)

“I was in a little bit of a shock, and definitely a little scared,” she said.

Shupe showed up, saw the Sanders signs, and drove back to South Carolina without sticking around. McWade was “sitting there in a very safe area ... with her air conditioning on and her car locked, she was perfectly fine,” he said. He didn’t know she had disabilities, he said, but noted, “there’s a huge difference between being disabled and drawing disability.”

This tow truck driver decided to teach this Bernie supporter a lesson by refusing to help her. He told her this to her face and left her sitting on the side of the road. Apparently he doubts that she's really disabled.

Oh, and he calls himself a Christian. It's unlikely that's what Jesus would do. In fact, we know it's the opposite. Helping people was his big thing.

.



 
Trump wins GOP nomination. Village says "Thanks Obama!"

by digby

Get a load of this one:


It's the hippies fault you see. The Republicans were ever so willing to negotiate in good faith when Obama came into office and he just spit in their faces and did it his way. And now look at the result: Donald Trump. I hope he can live with himself.

Basically, the Villager logic is this: because Republicans represent Real America, when they win Democrats should enact the GOP agenda. When Democrats win, they have won with "coastal elites" who are out of touch with Real America so they should enact the GOP agenda.

*Needless to say, anyone over 5 years old remembers that Obama went out of his way to work with Republicans  throughout his first term, short selling the stimulus, offering up Social Security and Medicare and extending most of the Bush tax cuts. They would have none of it and even said up front their primary goal was to make him a one term president by obstructing everything he did no matter what it was.  Unfortunately for them, Democrats decided it was important to pass some health care reforms so that millions of Americans could stop going bankrupt and dying for lack of health insurance. What  a bunch of assholes. Now we have Trump. Thanks Obama!

.
 

A sternly worded letter

by Tom Sullivan

Just weeks before North Carolina Republicans enacted their insta-infamous HB2 transgender discrimination law, I wrote that the M.O. of the extremist Republican Party is this: find the lines, cross them, dare people to push them back. Yesterday the U.S. Department of Justice pushed back:

RALEIGH — U.S. Justice Department officials repudiated North Carolina’s House Bill 2 on Wednesday, telling Gov. Pat McCrory that the law violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX – a finding that could jeopardize billions in federal education funding.

The department gave state officials until Monday to respond “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.”
This was not unexpected. When Republican legislators placed an anti-marriage equality amendment to the North Carolina state constitution on the 2012 primary ballot, then N.C. House Speaker (now U.S. Senator) Thom Tillis told the NCSU newspaper, “If it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years.” That assessment did not stop them. Amendment 1 did pass. A federal court declared it unconstitutional in two.

HB2 has been in place less than two months.

Knowing they could not stop it, Democratic legislators (IIRC) made a deal to move the divisive Amendment 1 to the 2012 primary ballot instead of the fall ballot. Rumor has it that the NCGOP has been kicking around the idea of placing some version of HB2 on the fall ballot this year to help get out the conservative vote. (Republican politicians do nothing that isn't at least a twofer.) The Department of Justice may have just put the brakes on that.

The DOJ letter to Pat McCrory says (via TPM):
“The State is engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees and both you, in your official capacity, and the State are engaging in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of Title VII rights by transgender employees of public agencies,” Principal Deputy Assistant General Vanita Gupta wrote in the letter to McCrory obtained by local Raleigh TV station WRAL.

The Justice Department letter was focused specifically on transgender state employees.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits an employer from discriminating against an individual based on sex. The DOJ alleged that HB2 also violates Title IX, which prohibits education discrimination based on sex.

“HB 2, which took effect on March 23, 2016, is facially discriminatory against transgender employees on the basis of sex because it treats transgender employees, whose gender identity does not match their biological sex, as defined by HB2, differently from similarly situated non transgender employees,” the letter reads.
McCrory's Democratic challenger this fall, Attorney General Roy Cooper, said, "Enough is enough. It's time for the Governor to put our schools and economy first and work to repeal this devastating law."

A new poll has McCrory trailing Cooper by five points.


Wednesday, May 04, 2016

 
What I wrote when Trump announced

by digby

























This seems like a good day to re-run it since everyone's looking back at all the punditry that gave him no chance:


The GOP race for the presidency has been upgraded from a clown car to a three-ring circus with the official entry of Donald Trump into the race. After daughter Ivanka delivered a stirring introduction worthy of Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill, the audience waited expectantly for the great man to appear. And it waited. And waited. Finally after several long moments, the great man finally emerged above the crowd on the mezzanine level of the glittering Trump Tower building waving as if he were Juan Peron (or the Queen of England). As Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World” continued to play over and over again, he then descended to the stage on an excruciatingly slow-motion escalator and began his speech by insulting his fellow Republican candidates for failing to know how to put on a competent political event.

It was a perfect beginning to what is going to be an astonishing political spectacle.

Right out of the gate he began to free-associate like a drunken Tea Partyer on 2 Shots For A Buck night, insulting Mexican immigrants by calling them rapists and drug dealers, asking when we’ve ever beaten China or Japan (!) at anything, declaring himself to be potentially the greatest jobs president God has ever created and more. Oh, and he also told us that he’s worth $8,737,540,000 — more or less. It was the best presidential campaign announcement ever, even better than Lindsey Graham’s.

The media seemed a little bit shell-shocked in the early going — perhaps they’ve never actually heard what the average right-winger believes. They seemed to find it noteworthy that he was incoherent and contradictory, with promises of totally free trade even as he said he would make Mexico pay a tariff to construct the Great Wall he envisions building on the border.

And they didn’t seem to know what to think about his endless gobbledygook about “making” the world do what he wants it to do. They are clearly unaware that members of the far right don’t follow the philosophy of Edmund Burke. They follow the philosophy of Glenn Beck, Joe McCarthy and P.T. Barnum. Not even Roger Ailes can control the way their minds work.

Donald Trump may not make sense to the average journalist — but to the average Tea Partyer, he’s telling it like it is, with a sort of free-floating grievance about everyone who doesn’t agree with them mixed with simplistic patriotic boosterism and faith in the fact that low taxes makes everybody rich. It’s not about policy or even politics. It’s about following your instincts. (“In your heart you know he’s right.”)

But it wasn’t long before Twitter lit up with insider jokes and insults among the Village press. Salon chronicled some of them here. The only one to take Trump seriously was Bloomberg News’ Mark Halperin, whose first impression was quite a bit less derisive than anyone else’s, giving him a solid B- on his tiresome political report card:

Substance: Made a concerted and admirable effort to laundry-list his presidential plans before the speech was finished, calling for the replacement of Obamacare, cautioning foreign adversaries about messing with the U.S., expressing opposition to the current trade bill, promising to build a southern border wall and sticking Mexico with the bill, terminating Obama’s executive order on immigration, supporting the Second Amendment, ending Common Core, rebuilding infrastructure, resisting cuts in entitlement programs. Still, left open too many questions about the hows and wherefores, given that he has never run for nor held office. 
Best moment: Protracted run-up to formal declaration of candidacy was spirited and engaging. 
Worst moment: Lost his rhythm a bit whenever cheerful supporters in the crowd tossed out helpful prompts or encouraging chants. 
Overall: A madcap production–garrulous, grandiose, and intense—that displayed his abundant strengths and acute weaknesses. For the first time in decades, Trump is a true underdog, but his ability to shape the contours of the nomination fight should not be ignored. On the debate stage, through TV advertising (positive and negative), in earned media, and by drawing crowds, Trump has the potential to be a big 2016 player. He staged an announcement event like no other, and now he will deliver a candidacy the likes of which the country has never seen.

What is it they say about a stopped clock? Well, even Mark Halperin is right twice a day. The Villagers in general may not be able to see it — but for reasons about which we can’t even speculate, Mark Halperin is on to something when it comes to Donald Trump.

First, let’s dispense with the fact that his ideas are more bizarre than anyone else in the field. They are not. Say what you will about the Donald, but nobody can bring the wingnut cha-cha-cha like Tea Party fave Dr. Ben Carson:

“I mean, [our society is] very much like Nazi Germany. And I know you’re not supposed to say ‘Nazi Germany,’ but I don’t care about political correctness. You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.”

This week’s latest poll actually shows him in first place.

Lindsey Graham often appears on television and breathlessly proclaims that we must stop ISIS “before we all get killed here at home!” Presumed top-tier Scott Walker makes so many gaffes you can’t count them anymore, including some doozies like musing publicly with Glenn Beck about shutting down legal immigration.

Compared to that, building a wall on the border is standard boilerplate on the right and it certainly isn’t hard to find candidates who are willing to demagogue China or Japan and claim that liberals have destroyed the American way of life. Trump’s style is colorful, to be sure. His ideas are disjoined and irrational. But they are hardly unique. In fact, he represents a very common strain in American political life: the right-wing blowhard.

Trump actually has something that none of these other candidates have and they’re pretty important. First, of course, is the money. Trump says he’s worth 9 billion. Let’s assume he’s exaggerating by 50 percent. That’s still a whole lot of money, more than enough to finance a presidential campaign for as long as he wants to do it. The Beltway wags seem to believe that he’s only announcing so that he can get himself into the debates but it seems more likely that he’s finally so wealthy that the cost of a campaign is so negligible he figures he’s got nothing to lose. After all, if he were to spend even a hundred million on the primary it wouldn’t make a serious dent in his bottom line. What else has he got to do?

But there is something else he has that may be even more valuable than money: stardom. I don’t think it’s possible to place a political value on the fact that Trump has had a prime-time network TV show for over 10 years with “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice.”

“The Apprentice” averaged 6 to 7 million viewers a show with finales sometimes getting between 10 and 20 million viewers. Last year’s “Celebrity Apprentice” averaged 7.6 million a show. Fox News’ highest rated shows rarely get more than a couple of million viewers and they are all elderly hardcore Republicans. The Donald has a wider reach and might even appeal to the most sought-after people in the land: non-voters.

It’s impossible to know if that’s a serious possibility. But it’s fair to say that many more people in the country know the name of Donald Trump than know anyone else in the race (with the possible exception of Jeb Bush). It’s hard to quantify that kind of name recognition but it’s certainly not worthless in our celebrity-obsessed culture. And remember, Trump would not be the first show business celebrity who everyone assumed was too way out there to ever make a successful run for president. The other guy’s name was Ronald Reagan.

Obviously, Trump is no Reagan. But he does bear a passing resemblance to another wealthy presidential gadfly who wasn’t taken seriously by the political cognoscenti: Ross Perot. 1992 featured a Republican incumbent who was widely considered a shoo-in for reelection and a Democratic Party offering up a long list of people who were trying out for what was assumed to be the next opening in 1996. When Perot appeared on the scene with his quirky style and his facile prescriptions for the nation’s intractable problems (“I’ll get under the hood and fix it”) nobody thought he was more than a flash in the pan. But he ended up getting 20 percent of the vote in the general election — and that was after a couple of epic implosions that had undoubtedly eroded much greater support.

So far, Trump is running as a Republican and there’s no reason to think he would go third party as Perot did. But if he had the slightest encouragement, can anyone think he wouldn’t? After what he said about his fellow Republicans today, it certainly doesn’t appear that he cares what they think.

Sure, Trump is a clown. But he’s a very rich and a very famous clown. And he’s really not much more clownish than many of the current contenders or some serious contenders in the past. It’s interesting that the one time Mark Halperin deviates from the conventional wisdom he may actually have seen something more interesting than the rest of his cohort: the fact that Donald Trump has the potential to be a serious 2016 player. And that says everything you need to know about the Republican presidential field and the state of our politics today.



 
Tanned rested and ready ...

by digby




All the grifters went with Trump. I wonder why that is?

.




 
"The fires of nationalism, the fires of identity, the fires of anger against the corrupt establishment are arising..."

by digby


















Peter Montgomery at Right Wing Watch surveys today's Trump victory celebrations on certain corners of the right. They are soooo excited:
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been energizing and electrifying white supremacists, and their excitement is hitting new highs now that he is clearly the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee. 
The neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, which endorsed Trump two weeks after his immigrant-disparaging campaign launch, is filled with posts celebrating the GOP candidate’s victory this morning. “White men in America and across the planet are partying like it’s 1999 following Trump’s decisive victory over the evil enemies of our race,” 
says one post, which also celebrates that “[t]he Jews are in full-on freak-out mode.”
The site is also promoting a video parody in which Trump and other political figures are spliced into clips from the movie “300” and Trump is portrayed as “leading an army of the White race against the barbarian hordes.” Daily Stormer is also glad that Trump helped move his ally Alex Jones from “tinfoil goofiness” and into “nationalism.” 
White nationalist Richard Spencer’s Twitter feed is similarly filled with celebratory gloating. 
White nationalist leader Matthew Heimbach, chair of the pro-Trump Traditionalist Worker Party, recently celebrated Trump for having gone “full ‘America First’ for his foreign policy plan.” On his Daily Traditionalist show on Radio Aryan this morning, Heimbach and co-host Sven Longshanks praised the way Trump’s campaign has “opened up so much political space for nationalists” and made it easier for people in both the U.S. and Europe to say things that were previously impossible to say in public discourse. 
Heimbach said Trump’s campaign has also helped his Traditionalist Worker Party’s organizing because areas in which Trump does well provide fertile ground for recruiting. There’s a need for long-term organizing, he said, and while Trump takes the beachhead, nationalists will provide the reinforcements.
The fires of nationalism, the fires of identity, the fires of anger against the corrupt establishment are arising all around Europe, all around America, all around the entire world. So we just need to strap in, because the future is gonna definitely be interesting, and I believe we could have a switch in our direction even more…Hail, Emperor Trump! And hail, victory! 
The white nationalist website VDARE leads with an article by James Kirkpatrick celebrating the meltdown of the conservative “establishment” and the conversion of the Republican Party into a nationalist party. A few days earlier, after Trump’s wins in the so-called “Acela primaries,” Kirkpatrick declared that Trump “is creating a new opportunity for the American Right, which either needs to embrace nationalism and identity policies or suffer slow extinction in a Third World America.” - 

And keep in mind that Trump has been promising to bring a lot of new people into the process ...

.
 
Trump the dove

by digby











We can totally trust him when he says he's going to be "neutral" on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. After all, he says "I know more about foreign policy than anyone else, believe me." He understands it all:
Donald Trump came down foursquare in favor of new construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank on Monday, telling Dailymail.com that the controversial practice has to 'keep going' and 'keep moving forward.'

There are 'thousands of missiles being launched into Israel,' he said Monday. 'Who would put up with that? Who would stand for it?'

Trump said last year he would like to initially remain 'neutral' in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as president, a position that he believes would allow him a better opportunity to be seen as a peace broker.

Meanwhile he has repeatedly expressed his love for Israel and increasingly his support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his policies, all while repeatedly trashing the Barack Obama-backed Iran nuclear deal.

But in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Trump came out for the continued construction of new settlements irrespective of Israeli government policy.


Asked whether there should be a pause in new construction – which the Obama administration has pressured Netanyahu's government to observe in order to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table – Trump responded: 'No, I don't think it is, because I think Israel should have – they really have to keep going. They have to keep moving forward.'

'No, I don't think there should be a pause,' Trump said. 'Look: Missiles were launched into Israel, and Israel, I think, never was properly treated by our country. I mean, do you know what that is, how devastating that is?'

'With all of that being said, I would love to see if peace could be negotiated. A lot of people say that's not a deal that's possible. But I mean lasting peace, not a peace that lasts for two weeks and they start launching missiles again. So we'll see what happens,' Trump added.

'I'd love to negotiate peace. I think that, to me, is the all-time negotiation,' Trump said, in reference to stalled peace talks – which Palestinian negotiators say won't occur without a halt in new construction.
What a  sophisticated thinker he is.

.
 
Trump's America

by digby





















I read this story the other day and reserved judgment because I didn't know if the perpetrator might just be a mentally ill street person. Now that I've seen the video, it does not appear to be a street person. Perhaps she is mentally ill but if so, Donald Trump is inspiring her thoughts:




A Washington, D.C. Muslim woman says she was attacked by a Donald Trump supporter while sitting outside a coffee shop, WJLA reports.

The woman, who did not give her name, is African-American and wears the hijab, a head covering that devout Muslim women wear. She told WJLA she was sitting outside a Starbucks on April 21. Police have since released surveillance footage that shows the woman yelling in the victim’s face, then returning with a bottle of liquid and dousing her.

“A Caucasian lady with blond hair walked right past me,” she told the station. “Then as soon as she sat down she started talking about me. Saying ‘F-ing Muslim. Trash, worthless piece of Muslim trash. You all need to go back to where you came from.”

The woman was able to record a brief video, on which the attacker can be heard saying, “You’re a terrorist. So stupid.”

According to a video released by MyNews4, the woman is wanted for simple assault.

The victim says the attacker said she supports GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“She says if Donald Trump wins the nomination I’m going to vote for him so he can send all of you all back to where you came from,” she told WJLA.

He's unleashed the beast.

.
 
RIP to the True Believer

by digby
























I wrote about Lyin' Ted for Salon this morning. I'm going to miss him. But I'll bet we haven 't seen the last of him yet.

If anyone thought Trump might go easy down the stretch, yesterday's circus sideshow before the vote should disabuse them of that fact. On the day he was projected to win a yuuuuuge victory in Indiana, which was widely assumed to spell the end of the #nevertrump movement and be Ted Cruz's last stand, Trump decided to take a gratuitous swipe at Cruz by parroting a National Enquirer article that accused Cruz's father of being in on the Kennedy assassination:

TRUMP: And, you know, his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. I mean they don’t even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it. But I think it’s horrible. I think it’s absolutely horrible that a man can go and do that, what he’s saying there.

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Right. There was a picture out there that reportedly shows Rafael Cruz standing with Lee Harvey Oswald —

TRUMP: I mean what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death, before the shooting? It’s horrible.

KILMEADE: Crazy.

Cruz was clearly angry about that and with some justification. If anyone else had said something like this it would have been considered a heinous smear unworthy of a presidential candidate. With Trump it was just another Tuesday.

Cruz came out swinging and staged an election day press conference like nothing we've ever seen before. “Pathological liar", “narcissist", “serial philanderer” are just a few of the words he used to describe his rival. He reminded people that Trump has said he regards “his battle with venereal disease as his own personal Vietnam” and said he was "nuts." And that was just for starters.

"Lyin' Ted" spoke the truth. Trump is all those things and more. But he's Teflon Don and nobody cares.

Cruz also showed that he had finally figured out how to grab the microphone from Trump and use him as a foil to get media attention. He managed to do it with the Fiorina announcement, his weird confrontation with a Trump yahoo on Monday and now this. The problem is that he figured it out too late. And even if he had done this earlier instead of being too clever by half by clutching Trump to his bosom, assuming he would implode and he'd inherit his votes there's still the problem of Cruz's truly unpleasant personality which puts people off so much they're willing to take a chance on putting the country into the hands of Donald Trump.

And as if he were a big cat playing with mouse, Trump responded to Cruz's angry tirade with this:

Ted Cruz is a desperate candidate trying to save his failing campaign. I is no surprise he has resorted to his usual tactics of over-the-top rhetoric that nobody believes.Over the last week I have watched "Lyin' Ted become more and more unhinged as he is unable to react under the pressure and stress of losing.

Within 12 hours of Donald Trump accusing his father of being involved in the JFK assassination, Ted Cruz dropped out of the race. Donald Trump is officially the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.

You have to give Cruz credit. He was almost as much of a long shot as Trump when this whole thing started. And he turned out to be the runner-up in a field that had been touted as an embarrassment of political riches. Nobody expected him to do as well as he did and for good reason. He is an extremist much too far right to win a national election and way too unpopular in the party establishment. Nonetheless, he might have been able to pull it off if it weren't for the fact that Trump exposed a major tear in the GOP matrix. It turns out that at least half of those who call themselves evangelicals aren't quite as principled as they like to pretend. They succumbed to the siren's call of a decadent, thrice married billionaire who hates foreigners and women a lot more than he loves Jesus. Cruz had planned to get the whole Christian Right on his team but was only able to corner the market on those who aren't hypocrites. Unfortunately for him, it turns out that there aren't as many ultra-conservative right wing ideologues in the Republican party as we all thought.

But despite setbacks, he proved to be a smart tactician who used sophisticated modern methods to analyse the electorate and was nimble enough to switch gears when things weren't working. (Recall that his original plan was to sweep the hard right conservatives in the deep south, which had to give way when Trump was so strong there.) He fought hard all the way through yesterday, trying anything and everything to gather delegates by hook or by crook, planning for a contested convention by lining up 2nd ballot delegates all over the country.

As loathsome as I find his politics, I cannot help but feel sorry for him. Ted Cruz was everything the base of the GOP said it wanted. He is an evangelical Christian, a social and fiscal conservative, a demagogic warrior for the far right who went to Washington and did exactly what all these people say they wanted the Republicans to do when they voted for them in the 2010 and 2014 midterms. He obstructed the president at every turn, angrily defied the GOP leadership and answered only to the Tea Party base. It wasn't good enough.

The problem for Ted Cruz was made clear on the day before the Indiana election by a protester he engaged on the sidewalk outside one of his events. People in the crowd were yelling, "career politicians have killed America" and "Trump'll take down ISIS, he'll take down the whole damn thing" and the man to whom Cruz was speaking directly looked right in his face and said, "you are the problem, politician, you are the problem."

The Trump phenomenon isn't a rejection of ideology, it's a rejection of politics. Trump and the people who are voting for him aren't interested in fancy ideas or academic theory and they do not care about the principles that inform our system of government. They just want action and a lot of them obviously think Donald Trump might just be a superhero who can make things happen by sheer will and the power of his out sized personality.

No one would ever mistake Ted Cruz for a superhero. He's just a True Believer and that's no fun at all.

I'm going to miss Cruz being in the race. Throughout this amazing primary season he has offered us the purest example of what the modern conservative movement has to offer. As horrifying as his program for the country is, it's rational and familiar, subject to scrutiny and analysis and argument. Trump is something else entirely.

The good news for Trump is that the media simply refuses to accept that he is serious about what he says, which means that his inane gibberish will continue to be normalized.






Nate Silver pointed out that during the fallow period in the campaign when Trump was failing to get traction he whined and complained a out the system being rigged and threatened to riot at the convention if he didn't get his way. You have to wonder if he'll have a similar effect on the general electorate --- he's going to make it s ugly that people will tune out. The only voters who aroused by his schtick are Republicans. Everyone else is repulsed.
 

Requiem for a movement?

by Tom Sullivan

Donald Trump all but officially clinched the 2016 Republican nomination for president when Sen. Ted Cruz bowed out last night after a crushing loss in the Indiana primary. Bernie Sanders upset Hillary Clinton to keep his campaign alive, but because Democrats assign delegates proportionally, he gained little ground in the delegate chase.

Politico reports that Sen. Elizabeth Warren wasted no time in launching an assault on the presumptive Republican nominee, "hitting him with a blistering late-night tweetstorm in which she cast the presumptive Republican nominee as a racist with a dangerous authoritarian streak." She defined the challenge ahead both for herself and the country:

Warren is not the only one. Republicans are already declaring they will not support Trump. A Republican foreign policy expert from the American Enterprise Institute tells Think Progress:

“If a conservative emerges that approaches foreign policy in a principled, coherent manner, and that understands and values the important role that America plays in world affairs, I will support them,” he wrote in a text. “Otherwise, I have faith that Clinton’s foreign policy would align with what I’m looking for, and she would have my vote.”
Philip Klein, the conservative Washington Examiner's managing editor tweeted:

Perhaps the most dramatic response came in the form of a mea culpa posted to Red State Monday night, nearly 24 hours before Indiana polls closed. "Donald Trump is my fault as much as anyone else’s," wrote Ben Howe. He built alliances with people with whom he fundamentally disagreed out of expedience:

I justified it quietly to myself the way we had at the beginning of the tea party when such things would happen. People would say outlandish things and I would find myself nodding my head and awkwardly walking away, not calling them out for their silliness.

After all, there were more pressing matters.

And so, as I said, I kept quiet about these allies in new media and in Washington. People who I thought I agreed with only 70% of the time. Which normally is a great reason to consider someone an ally, but not when the other 30% is cringe-inducing paranoia and vapid stupidity.

I chose peace over principle. I chose to go along with those I disagreed with on core matters because I believed we were jointly fighting for other things that were more important. I ignored my gut and my moral compass.

The result is that, almost to a man, every single person I cringed at or thought twice about, is now a supporter and cheerleader of Donald Trump.
It is perhaps too early to write the requiem for the conservative movement. Conservatism can never fail. It is only failed by people who were never really true conservatives. True conservatives will construct a stirring counter-narrative about how they were stabbed in the back once again by false ones who, as the Jesus-Only people believe, should be condemned to hell on a technicality because they failed to get the right baptism.




Tuesday, May 03, 2016

 
Trump's and his fanboys

by digby























Via 538:
A survey by the Republican analytics firm Evolving Strategies found that anti-Trump messages were far more likely to hit the mark with women than with men. After women viewed one of three ads that questioned Trump’s character, their support for Trump dropped from 52 percent to 44 percent. But the needle didn’t move for men sampled.

Hey, if you don't count women, he's really popular, amirite?

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Somebody's delusional

by digby



















Or he senses some kind of opportunity:

Hillary Clinton represents all of the elements of Washington DC that people are in rebellion against… I think a lot of the millennials who were voting for Bernie Sanders are not going to vote for Hillary Clinton. I think they think she’s not honest. I think they’re bothered by her scandals with the Clinton Foundation, her scandals with her email server… There’ll be a lot of Democrats out there looking for someone to go to. In addition, Trump has somehow communicated with blue collar workers across America and we certainly see this in terms of registration numbers… We’ve had a 60% increase in Republican turnout this year compared to four years ago. There’s been about a 30% Democrat turnout decrease over 2008, the last time they had a contested nomination… Secretary Clinton is not exactly rousing people’s excitement…

I think it’s important this year because of the unique moment in time and because of the uniqueness of Donald Trump to erase all of our thinking about what kind of states could be in play. I think if Trump runs as aggressive campaign in the general election as he has done in the primaries all 50 states could be in play.

Why delusional?

Our previous survey results suggested that as of early January, 46.7 percent of voters would vote for a Democrat and 43.1 percent would vote for a Republican in the upcoming presidential election. These results suggested a greater vote for the Democratic candidate. In March, our results indicate that 53.0 percent of voters will vote for a Democrat, and 37.9 percent will vote for a Republican in the upcoming presidential election, suggesting that the Democratic candidates are pulling ahead of the Republicans in the national vote.

I guess they have to say this. And who knows? Maybe it will happen that way. A lot of Republicans seem to think that because the young progressives prefer Bernie Sanders and both candidates are against trade deals, they are ripe for the picking. Let's just say that's not born out by the polling which shows that only 17% of millennials have a favorable opinion of Trump.

But Gingrich is a demagogue and an authoritarian tyrant too so he's naturally drawn to Trump. They are cut from the same cloth. (It's doubtful that Trump has the same regard for him, however.  He's a "loser" who was ignominiously forced to resign from his leadership position.) Gingrich is undoubtedly very impressed with Trump's ability to command the attention of the media and the country and his ability to run his campaign on his own terms. He was that kind of politician himself although without the resources and the glamour.

But Gingrich and Trump are both convinced of something that just isn't true: that the majority of Americans like what Trump is selling when the evidence is that the more people see of him the more they loathe him. Yes, Republicans are starting to accept that he's going to be the nominee but he's hardly winning the nomination by acclamation.

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Super duper conspiracy a-go-go

by digby




Wow:
Donald Trump on Tuesday alleged that Ted Cruz’s father was with John F. Kennedy’s assassin shortly before he murdered the president, parroting a National Enquirer story claiming that Rafael Cruz was pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald handing out pro-Fidel Castro pamphlets in New Orleans in 1963.

A Cruz campaign spokesperson told the Miami Herald, which pointed out numerous flaws in the Enquirer story, that it was “another garbage story in a tabloid full of garbage.”

“His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous,” Trump said Tuesday during a phone interview with Fox News. “What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don't even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it.”

“I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?” Trump continued. “It’s horrible.”
Remember this:
Trump and Enquirer chief executive David Pecker are reportedly palsy — "very close," according to the New York Daily News, and "friends for years," according to New York magazine. Conservative radio host Michael Savage, a Trump backer, told listeners last week that "David Pecker flies to Florida from New York on Trump's private jet." In 2013, Trump even suggested Pecker ought to take over Time magazine.

Trump has written several articles for the Enquirer during the campaign, including one that appears to have been recycled from 2011, when the tabloid was cheering the billionaire real estate mogul toward a White House run that he ultimately decided not to make. The contents are a glorious fusion of Trump's bombast and the Enquirer's gratuitous use of exclamation points.

After hearing this accusation about his father Cruz proceeded to go before the press and let fly:




What a circus sideshow. Unbelievable. Trump really can get away with saying anything. And Cruz was a little too clever by half when he helped fluff Trump all fall and winter in the hopes that he would inherit all those Trump voters once he dispensed with the rest of the competition for him and then imploded. That was a bad bet. It didn't work out.

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Liberty U lawyers: Your guns are going to cost you money
by Spocko
Liberty University to allow handguns in dorm rooms

Next fall, Liberty University students with concealed handgun permits from the state can get permission from the school to keep their guns in safes in their dorm rooms 

   —Jesse Pounds, Daily Progress)

Liberty has been increasing the places that guns can be carried concealed on campus since 2011. The residents’ hall is one of the last places they were forbidden. Officials have downplayed the number of students who might have guns in the dorm, as well as the risk.

They might also be downplaying their financial liability if someone is injured in a gun accident while in a Liberty dorm or on campus.
Lately I’ve been reading stories of gun accidents. Every day I get about three that trigger my “accidental shooting” alert. I know there are more, but these are the ones that make the news. Check out the last few days: 3-year-old, 3-year-old, 2-year-old, 3-year-old, 3-year-old. 16-year-old 77-year-old. In the newsbiz, three is a trend. It looks like we are on the way to a trend of toddlers killing more Americans than terrorists.

After I read these I wonder, “Could this have been prevented?” Sure, through proper handling, storage and transportation, but also through not having a gun. No gun = no gun accident. QED.

However, sometimes your gun-owning neighbor, his 3-year-old or a gun-carrying student has an accident with a gun, and hits others. Some of these incidents are classified as an accident, others as criminal negligence.
How many people who had an “accident” while cleaning their gun were actually suicides? If they can prove suicide, insurance won’t pay.
It depends on the circumstances and how it is classified by the police. This distinction is important because when innocent people are injured or killed by accident, it’s treated differently by the law–and by insurance companies– than when the injury or death happens because of negligence, intent or a criminal act.

I wondered, when a student at Liberty injures someone with a gun by accident, who is liable?

Let’s say a student who lives on campus has a gun accident and injures others. If he is a minor, his parent will be liable for damages in a civil case– and so will the school. The injured people will sue both the student’s parents and the school. In some cases they will settle with an insurance company in others it will go to trail and a court will determined the percent liability each has and determine compensation.

Why sue the school? Two legal reasons and a financial one:

1) Schools must have liability coverage to remain open

2) Schools actually have a duty to keep the people on the property reasonably safe—and they failed

3) Schools usually have deeper pockets than a student or his parents
I was going to get all technical about the Liberty’s duties to their licensees and invitees vs. trespassersas defined in the book Premises Security: A Guide for Security Professionals and Attorneys,William F. Blake, CPP, CFE and Walter F. Bradley, Esq. But insurance legalese is the most boring of all the major legalese, it’s designed so you don’t read the fine print –until you are sued, or want to make a claim and find out you aren’t covered.
 Here’s the thing: this area of law and insurance is built on legal precedence and historical data, not wishful thinking and anecdotal stories from different situations.

University officials are welcome to teach students to prepare to stop the “bad guy with a gun.” They are free to make some security decisions based on what they think will work to protect their employees, students and guests. But, if they are wrong, there will be a huge price to pay, in the death and suffering of the students, staff and guests–and also financially.

By not adhering to the norms for security in the industry–and going against the advice of law-enforcement–when there is a gun incident, the University will bear greater liability.

Maybe Liberty’s insurance carriers will stand by them, but in a recent lawsuit Citizens Insurance Co. of America and Hanover Insurance said they had no duty to defend them.
It is quite possible that Liberty’s current underwriters will follow the same path as EMC, Kansas’ primary insurer for schools, who told all the schools in Kansas that they won’t cover any school with armed teachers. (Liberty has armed teachers and students. It’s also a good thing underage students in the dorms never drink! “Hold my beer + What Could Go Wrong = gun video below.)

However, even when Liberty is covered, when there is a gun accident the plaintiff’s lawyers will point to the school’s policy and say, “Not only didn’t this policy keep the person safe, it would not have happened if the student did not have a gun. The University’s policy of allowing and encouraging guns on campus has made this injury/death possible.”

Liberty U adminstrators won’t listen to reason, but they will listen to money

Read more »
 
Seeing red first thing in the morning

by digby




















If Clinton wins the nomination it's going to be a very long six months:




He's insulting women right to their faces and it's clear he doesn't care one whit. And the crowd loves him for it. He is to sexism what George Wallace was to racism.

It is profoundly depressing.

It's 2016, people.

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Like chickens in a bell jar

by Tom Sullivan

Pretty soon Republicans won't need to insist voters present photo identity cards at the polls. The will have trained "wrong thinking people" not to try. The New York Times reported on studies indicating how that works: people confused about how the ID laws work simply stay home:

“What voters hear is that you need to have an ID,” said Mark P. Jones of the Baker Institute, an author of the study. “But they don’t get the second part that says if you have one of these types of IDs, you’re O.K.”
Representative Pete Gallego, a Texas Democrat, lost his 2014 reelection bid by just 2,422 votes. This year he is asking voters if they have a driver's license.
After Mr. Gallego’s narrow loss in 2014, researchers from the Baker Institute and the University of Houston’s Hobby Center for Public Policy polled 400 registered voters in the district who sat out the election. All were asked why they did not vote, rating on a scale of 1 to 5 from a list of seven explanations — being ill, having transportation problems, being too busy, being out of town, lacking interest, disliking the candidates and lacking a required photo identification.

Nearly 26 percent said the main reason was that they were too busy. At the other end, 5.8 percent said the main reason was lacking a proper photo ID, with another 7 percent citing it as one reason. Most surprising, however, was what researchers found when they double-checked that response: The vast majority of those who claimed not to have voted because they lacked a proper ID actually possessed one, but did not know it.

Moreover, Dr. Jones of the Baker Institute said, “The confused voters said they would have voted overwhelmingly for Gallego.”
The Times cites researcher Zoltan L. Hajnal (whom we have mentioned before) whose studies indicate “We’re finding typically that strict voter ID laws double or triple the gap in turnout between whites and nonwhites.” That paper is here. Charlie Pierce casts a jaundiced eye on the excuse that these laws are needed to combat fraud:
But the most pungent of these flavors has been the technique of requiring the ID, and then either making the ID almost impossible to acquire or failing to inform the voters what kind of ID they need. In both cases, if things work the way they're designed to work, enough of the voters you're trying to screw out of their franchise just give up and stay home. Then, when the election comes out the way you want it to come out, you can shake your head sadly at how lazy said voters are. After a couple of election cycles, the frustration sets in generally and the people you don't want involved in government remove themselves from it. Then you get to write earnest op-eds wondering where civic engagement has gone.
There is that (apocryphal?) story about a chicken raised inside a bell jar. When one day researchers removed the jar, the chicken continued to walk around in circles as though the glass barrier were still in place. Republicans hope to raise vast numbers of minority voters inside bell jars against the day when these ID laws fall. But by then said voters will have internalized the limits to their citizenship and keep walking in circles.


Monday, May 02, 2016

 
Combustible pants

by digby

























Trump's been telling everyone who'll listen that women hate Hillary Clinton and love him. It's far fetched to say the least. Politifact took a look:
During a May 2 interview on CNN’s New Day, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump doubled down on his charge that his potential Democratic rival in November, Hillary Clinton, is playing the "woman card."

"She's playing the woman card," Trump told host Chris Cuomo. "And if she didn't play the woman card, she would have no chance whatsoever of winning."

Trump went on to say that Clinton’s standing among female voters in particular is nothing to write home about.

"Frankly, (Hillary Clinton) doesn’t do very well with women," Trump said. "If you look at what happened recently, … in the last two weeks, including New York. I won with women by vast, vast majorities. I was way, way up with women far above anybody else in the exit polls of the recent election."

Clinton may have gleefully embraced Trump’s "woman card" attack line, but we thought it’s still worth checking whether Trump is right that Clinton "doesn’t do very well with women."

Trump, as it turns out, couldn’t be more wrong.

The recent primaries

Let’s give Trump his due: He has a right to be braggadocious about his own record with women voters in recent GOP primaries.

Trump unquestionably routed his opponents among female voters during the four recent primaries for which exit polls exist. He won 57 percent of women in the New York primary, 55 percent of women in the Connecticut primary, 50 percent of women in the Maryland primary, and 54 percent of women in the Pennsylvania primary.

That said, even among women voting in these GOP primaries, Trump experiences a gender gap: According to these exit polls, women -- by a modest but consistent margin -- supported Trump by smaller margins than men did. In New York, he was six points stronger among men. In Connecticut that gap was five points, in Maryland it was nine points, and in Pennsylvania it was seven points.

And there’s an even more important problem for Trump’s claim: His own success among Republican women doesn’t have anything to say about how well or poorly Clinton is doing with women.

Polling a Clinton vs. Trump matchup 
We found seven April polls at realclearpolitics.com that asked respondents about how they would vote if Clinton faced off against Trump in November. Here’s a rundown:



Clearly, this doesn’t support Trump’s assertion that Clinton "doesn’t do very well with women."

We are still a long way from Election Day, of course, but if this pattern holds, it would represent a gender gap of historic proportions. Here’s how women have split their vote in presidential elections going back to 1980, as collected by Rutgers University's Center for the American Woman and Politics:



So, Clinton’s 19-point average lead over Trump among women -- if it held all the way to November -- would give her the biggest winning margin among women of any presidential candidate since at least 1980.[...]

Our ruling

Trump said, "Frankly, (Hillary Clinton) doesn’t do very well with women."

The evidence he used to support this claim during the CNN interview -- his large margins among women in recent GOP primaries -- is undeniable, but says nothing about how well Clinton does among women. In fact, looking at a cross-section of April polls, Clinton’s average lead over Trump among female voters is bigger than any nominee has registered in an actual presidential election election in at least 36 years. We rate Trump’s statement Pants on Fire.

It's also true that Democrats do not win a majority of white women's votes. Their advantage is with the huge majorities with women of color. Trump might change that this year. He's such a lying pig that I could some percentage of moderate GOP women being unable to hold their noses and vote for him no matter what.

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A progressive hero for congress

by digby

A few years back I was privileged to speak on a panel with two of America's most prestigious experts on the Social Security program, Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson. If you are grateful that the fight to save Social Security over the past decade has been successful and that Democrats are now running on the proposal to raise benefits, you have those two people largely to thank for it. Their book Social Security Works!: Why Social Security Isn't Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All and the advocacy group Social Security Works have been instrumental in not only battling back the decades long conservative project to destroy the program, but have actually managed to get the ball rolling on much needed expansion.

Now Eric Kingson has decided to leave the hallowed halls of academia to run for congress and Blue America has been thrilled to endorse him. He's in a tough primary and he needs our help.



Blue America is firing up our trusty mobile billboard truck again and taking Eric Kingson's important message to upstate New Yorkers in Syracuse, Manlius, Fulton, Oswego, Auburn, Weedsport and into the eastern suburbs of Rochester. Can you help with a little gas money?

We want the truck to ply the highways and byways-- and city streets-- of NY-24 right up until the June 28th primary. The picture above is a rendering of one of the two billboards on the truck. Our Independent Expenditure Committee already paid for it. We'd like to raise the $12,500 it'll take to keep it on the road until primary day. Any contribution would be awesome; our average has been $46.75.

If you want to contribute to Eric Kingson's campaign directly, you can do it here.

It is very difficult to persuade good people to run for office. It's become a nasty, negative, horrible project and life is short. You cannot blame anyone for feeling their time on this earth might be better spent.

A hero like Eric Kingson is someone whose contributions already put him in the progressive hall of fame and he could easily rest on his laurels.  Instead he's putting himself out there to run for congress to try to make our government more progressive and more decent.

If you think that's important, as I do, please consider helping us to help him get there. 

Thanks. 

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QOTD: Richard M Nixon

by digby
















Rick Perlstein wrote in to point out that the Nixon quote I featured yesterday is actually much more interesting:
I don't think any woman should be in any government job whatsoever. I mean I really don't. The reason I do is mainly because they are erratic. And emotional. Men are erratic and emotional too but the point is that women are more likely to be.

"Right"

"The second problem is that in terms of the Court I know that that's like living with somebody inside a spaceship.

"Yep"

"See, you're just one little group of people"

"Absolutely"

"What about that poor Burger? What he'd have to go through? So from the standpoint of that I just think we shouldn't have a woman. There should never be a woman there."

He did go on to game out whether it might buy him some votes and concluded that if it could get him a couple of points it might be worth it.

You don't hear a lot of that sort of talk these days among politicians although Donald Trump is coming close when he says something like this:

"Frankly, all I'm doing is stating the obvious. Without the woman's card, Hillary would not even be a viable person to run for city council."

As we watch the Republican party start to coalesce around their self-declared presumptive nominee keep in mind that he's an unreconstructed Nixon on this particular issue (and plenty of others.) And millions of Republicans don't seem to mind.

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Cruz goes into the belly of the beast

by digby












This is a fascinating exchange between Ted Cruz and a Trump supporter in Indiana today. I urge you to watch the whole thing. I think it perfectly illustrates two of the fault lines in the GOP today:



Cruz deploys all the usual right wing talking points and exposes Trump as the liar and hypocrite he is. But it does little good. Trump's supporters show exactly why they love Trump: he distills politics down to zingers and attitude. Cruz is a completely different animal.

These supporters are clearly following this election very closely and know all the controversies and details. Trump is hero to them, speaking for them. It has absolutely nothing to do with policies or even politics. This is about winning, just like the Donald always says.

Here is some of the stuff that was said or shouted to Cruz in that scrum:

Lyin' Ted!

The Wall.That's the main thing!

He'll take down ISIS, he'll take down the whole damn thing

Career politicians have killed America!

Ok Lyin' Ted

You are the problem, politician, you are the problem!

Where's your Goldman Sachs jacket at we know your wife works there.

I believe in Trump he's the only one who's gonna put us where we need to be

What are you gonna do about the 2nd Amendment?

You're lying like you always do

Indiana don't want you ...

Personally I think it takes some guts to do that. Cruz is a nerd and it shows and these aren't the kind of people who are going to be persuaded by his arguments. But if they show it on TV in Indiana tonight a few people might think to themselves that Cruz has a little more intestinal fortitude than they realized.

I don't know how many of those Trump folks exist in the country but it numbers in the many millions I'm sure. They don't respond to arguments. They respond to dominance. And Trump's delivering it.


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Imperialist thug

by digby















I wrote about Trump's foreign policy for Salon this morning:


So Maureen Dowd officially weighed in on the probable general election match-up this past week-end with her standard take on everything: politics as a never-ending battle between macho men, effeminate boys and masculine girls. Normally this breaks down for Dowd as the tiresome Daddy and Mommy party split with the swaggering, manly Republicans vs the timorous girly-men Democrats. She flips the script when a Democratic woman is running, portraying her as a steely battle-ax squaring off with a needy, epicene male.  This is how Maureen Dowd arrived at the laughable notion that Donald Trump is a "dove" compared to Hillary Clinton's  "hawk".

Maureen Dowd's puerile, genderized cartoon version of American politics is nothing if not predictable. In fairness, however, others have come to the same conclusion for different reasons.  But however it's arrived at, it's completely absurd. Hillary Clinton may be hawkish, depending on your perspective. But Donald Trump, by any comparison, is not a dove. He's not even a hawk. He's a bloodthirsty, prehistoric bird of prey.

Let's first dispense with Trump's main claim to dovish "prognostication", the insistence that he spoke out against the Iraq war when everyone else was enthusiastically jumping on the bandwagon. That's a very brave tale except for the fact that nobody found a scintilla of evidence of it being true.  Here's what Trump was saying in January of 2003, before the invasion:

Cavuto: If you had to sort of breakdown for the president, if you were advising him, how much time do you commit to Iraq versus how much time you commit to the economy, what would you say?
Trump: Well, I’m starting to think that people are much more focused now on the economy. They are getting a little bit tired of hearing, we’re going in, we’re not going in, the — you know, whatever happened to the days of the Douglas MacArthur. He would go and attack. He wouldn’t talk. We have to — you know, it’s sort like either do it or don’t do it. When I watch Dan Rather explaining how we are going to be attacking, where we’re going to attack, what routes we’re taking, what kind of planes we’re using, how to stop them, how to stop us, it is a little bit disconcerting. I’ve never seen this, where newscasters are telling you how — telling the enemy how we’re going about it, we have just found out this and that. It is ridiculous.
That's hardly a scathing indictment of the war. In fact it sounds like he's for it he just thinks they should do it more efficiently. Indeed, that concept forms the basis of his "unpredictability doctrine" in which the most powerful nation on earth transforms itself into a guerilla army that only travels at night, "takes out" the enemy and then sends the world the bill.  That line of criticism is common in his stump speech today in which he extols the virtues of maverick Generals MacArthur and George Patton as men who can get the job done and get it done quickly. And the job, you may have heard, is winning. He's not particular how they do it.

But perhaps you think he means something other than military victory when he says that. And you'd be  right. He wants to "send messages" too and let's just say they aren't messages of peace. In California this past week-end he repeated this lurid tale about another of his favorite Generals who knew how to win, "Black Jack" Pershing in the Spanish American War. The story goes that Pershing was trying to put down a Muslim insurgency in the Philippines and Trump likes to tell th story of how Pershing easily dealt with the problem:
“They took the 50 [Muslim insurgents], they lined them up. They took a pig and then took a second pig and they cut the pig open and they took the bullets from the rifles. And they dumped the bullets into the pigs and they swashed it around. Then they took the bullets and they shot 49 of the 50 people. The fiftieth person, they said, ‘Take this bullet and bring it back to all of the people causing the problem’ and tell ‘em what happened tonight. And for 42 years they didn’t have a problem with radical Islamic terrorism, folks, OK believe me.”
There is no word on why they needed two pigs to get the job done. And there's also no word on why he says at some stops that they didn't "have a problem" for 25 years and at others for 42 years. But it doesn't matter since the story is apocryphal at best and a hoax at worst.  Regardless, you have the front runner of the Republican Party openly celebrating a war crime.  But then, he's all for summary execution of American soldiers too if they get out of line too so it's not as if he's unusually bigoted about it.

That is not the only war crime Trump endorses, of course. This is a man who reiterated his full support for torture, just last week in Indiana: 
 “They asked me, What do you think about waterboarding, Mr. Trump?’ I said I love it. I love it, I think it’s great. And I said the only thing is, we should make it much tougher than waterboarding, and if you don’t think it works folks, you’re wrong."
Somebody finally told him that torture is illegal so he now adds a disclaimer about how we have to "strengthen" the laws to allow for more torture. It's unknown if he understands the history of "legalizing" torture in the Bush administration but it doesn't really matter. One can be fairly sure there will always be some people who are willing to do such wet work if some kind of legal authority can be produced. After all, no members of the Bush administration or the CIA were ever so much as reprimanded and they left a long paper trail showing how to legalize it, so there is little exposure for those who carry out such orders.  Torture has been illegal in America for a very long time but it didn't stop them from doing it before and it's reasonable to assume that a President Trump will find a way.

His love for war crimes knows no bounds:
"ISIS is our No. 1 threat. I would knock the hell out of them. I like to do one thing at a time." 
Asked about the possibility of civilian casualties, Trump initially pointed to civilians being used as human shields before suggesting the families of terrorists should be targeted. 
"I would do my best, absolute best — I mean, one of the problems we have or one of the reasons we're so ineffective, you know, they're trying to, they're using them as shields. It's a horrible thing But we're fighting a very politically correct war. And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. 
When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. But they say they don't care about their lives. You have to take out their families." 
That speaks for itself.

And then there is the nuclear issue. He has confusingly said that nuclear proliferation is the world's greatest challenge while also suggesting that countries such as Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia should have them so as to save the US from having to provide military protection.  And he won't rule out using them. Even against Europe:
"Look, nuclear should be off the table, but would there a time when it could be used? Possibly," Trump said. 
Matthews asked Trump to tell the Middle East and Europe that he would never use nuclear weapons, but Trump continued to evade. Asked again if he'd use nuclear weapons in Europe, Trump held firm. "I am not—I am not taking cards off the table," Trump responded.
This does not sound like a dove. Or a sane person.

Some people will undoubtedly try to separate these violent, sociopathic comments from what they hopefully perceive as his more "isolationist" worldview. (The fact that he plans to vastly increase military spending escapes their notice.) But this January article in Politico by Thomas Wright  shows that his foreign policy philosophy something else entirely.

Wright went back over three decades and examined Trumps rhetoric and found that Trump has been saying exactly the same things in exactly the same way for 30 years. He's not opportunistically jumping on the zeitgeist or following a trend. For instance, he gave an interview 26 years ago to Playboy and was asked what a president Trump would do if he were president. He said:
“He would believe very strongly in extreme military strength. He wouldn’t trust anyone. He wouldn’t trust the Russians; he wouldn’t trust our allies; he’d have a huge military arsenal, perfect it, understand it. Part of the problem is that we’re defending some of the wealthiest countries in the world for nothing. ... We’re being laughed at around the world, defending Japan. 
We Americans are laughed at around the world for losing a hundred and fifty billion dollars year after year, for defending wealthy nations for nothing, nations that would be wiped off the face of the earth in about 15 minutes if it weren’t for us. Our ‘allies’ are making billions screwing us.”
In that Playboy article he said he thought Gorbachev didn't have a strong enough hand and expressed disgust for the Tienanmen Square protesters,“when the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak ... as being spit on by the rest of the world.” His admiration for Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un is well known.

In 1988 he told Oprah Winfrey that "Kuwait should pay the United States 25 percent of their oil profits because the United States “makes it possible for them to sell it" and “the United States would make a hell of a lot of money from those nations that have been taking advantage of us.” Quite simply, it appears that Donald Trump wants to "make deals" for the US to sell its "protection" to the world. And if they refuse to pay, well the world will just have to bear the consequences.

This is certainly a break from the post WWII foreign policy consensus which should always be subject to reassessment and adjustment. But he was saying exactly the same things at a time when the world was in a completely different place. These ideas are not responsive to globalization or a need for post-Cold War realignment. He literally hasn't had a new thought about any of this since the 1980s.

They certainly aren't dovish and they aren't isolationist and it would be a mistake to confuse them for anything but what they are: a belief in American global dominance:
“The first thing you have to do is get them to respect the West and respect us. And if they’re not going to respect us it’s never going to work. This has been going on for a long time. I don’t think you can do anything and I don’t think you’re going to be successful unless they respect you. They have no respect for our president and they have no respect for our country right now.” 
This is the simple-minded philosophy, formed decades ago and suspended in amber, of an imperial thug. It's hard to imagine anything more dangerous.

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