Saturday, August 8, 2015

Berned At The Stake

Things didn't go so well for Bernie Sanders when he stopped today in Seattle for a rally and was once again confronted by Black Lives Matters activists on the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, Missouri.

A planned speech in Seattle by presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders celebrating the anniversary of Social Security and Medicare was scuttled Saturday after protesters from Black Lives Matter took the stage and demanded that the crowd hold Sanders “accountable” for not doing enough, in their view, to address police brutality and other issues on the group’s agenda.

Sanders, who has emerged as the leading alternative to Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination, was the final speaker scheduled on a long program. Shortly after the senator from Vermont started speaking, a small group of protesters took the microphone, shared a series of local grievances with the crowd, including school disparities and gentrification in Seattle, and then asked for a period of silence to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown being shot and killed during a confrontation with a police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Organizers allowed the period of silence, as some in the large crowd booed and shouted for the protesters to leave the stage. Afterward, Marrisa Janae Johnson, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement in Seattle, asked the crowd to “join us now in holding Bernie Sanders accountable for his actions.” She motioned for Sanders to join her at the microphone.

After several minutes of frantic conversations, Sanders left the stage and greeted people in the large crowd who had turned out to see him. Many chanted his name.

The tense scene, which was streamed live by a Seattle television station, was reminiscent of one July 18 in Phoenix, when a larger group of Black Lives Matter activists disrupted a Democratic presidential forum at the liberal Netroots Nation gathering that featured both Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley.

Bernie left the stage rather than deal with the activists.  For the second time in as many months. The Black Lives Matter Seattle chapter did apologize on Twitter for the incident, but that hasn't stopped the Sanders people from going nuts.

The irony is that it's the Sanders people who demanded that Democrats needed "a real debate" among the candidates on the issues rather than simply staying silent as witnesses to a Hillary Clinton coronation.

They got the debate.  It wasn't the one the Sanders people wanted, now is it?

The Kroog Versus The Clown Bus

For while it’s true that Mr. Trump is, fundamentally, an absurd figure, so are his rivals. If you pay attention to what any one of them is actually saying, as opposed to how he says it, you discover incoherence and extremism every bit as bad as anything Mr. Trump has to offer. And that’s not an accident: Talking nonsense is what you have to do to get anywhere in today’s Republican Party.

For example, Mr. Trump’s economic views, a sort of mishmash of standard conservative talking points and protectionism, are definitely confused. But is that any worse than Jeb Bush’s deep voodoo, his claim that he could double the underlying growth rate of the American economy? And Mr. Bush’s credibility isn’t helped by his evidence for that claim: the relatively rapid growth Florida experienced during the immense housing bubble that coincided with his time as governor.

Mr. Trump, famously, is a “birther” — someone who has questioned whether President Obama was born in the United States. But is that any worse than Scott Walker’s declaration that he isn’t sure whether the president is a Christian?

Mr. Trump’s declared intention to deport all illegal immigrants is definitely extreme, and would require deep violations of civil liberties. But are there any defenders of civil liberties in the modern G.O.P.? Notice how eagerly Rand Paul, self-described libertarian, has joined in the witch hunt against Planned Parenthood.

And while Mr. Trump is definitely appealing to know-nothingism, Marco Rubio, climate change denier, has made “I’m not a scientist” his signature line. (Memo to Mr. Rubio: Presidents don’t have to be experts on everything, but they do need to listen to experts, and decide which ones to believe.)

The point is that while media puff pieces have portrayed Mr. Trump’s rivals as serious men — Jeb the moderate, Rand the original thinker, Marco the face of a new generation — their supposed seriousness is all surface. Judge them by positions as opposed to image, and what you have is a lineup of cranks. And as I said, this is no accident. 
It has long been obvious that the conventions of political reporting and political commentary make it almost impossible to say the obvious — namely, that one of our two major parties has gone off the deep end. Or as the political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein put it in their book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,” the G.O.P. has become an “insurgent outlier … unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science.” It’s a party that has no room for rational positions on many major issues.

Or to put it another way, modern Republican politicians can’t be serious — not if they want to win primaries and have any future within the party. Crank economics, crank science, crank foreign policy are all necessary parts of a candidate’s resume.

The problem is not "Donald Trump is insane."  The problem is "The entire Republican Party is insane."   The even larger problem is that people keep voting for them, because there's tens of millions of voters who are driven by getting revenge on the country for daring to elect Barack Obama.  Right now Donald Trump looks like he's the most willing to punish those who voted for our current President and so he's ahead, but let's be honest here. All the GOP candidates are willing to punish particular groups in order to win.

Republicans are the party of vengeance, and baby, vengeance sells.

Trumped Card

Looks like The Donald has pissed off the stiffs with his debate antics Thursday and in a major way.  He's been kicked out of Jackass Jackassson's shindig this weekend.

So there really is something Trump can do to get grounded, and that's go after FOX News's Megyn Kelly.

I have tried to give a great deal of latitude to Donald Trump in his run for the Presidency.

He is not a professional politician and is known for being a blunt talker. He connects with so much of the anger in the Republican base and is not afraid to be outspoken on a lot of issues. But there are even lines blunt talkers and unprofessional politicians should not cross.

Decency is one of those lines.

As much as I do personally like Donald Trump, his comment about Megyn Kelly on CNN is a bridge too far for me.

In a CNN interview, Mr. Trump said of Megyn Kelly, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.”

It was not the “blood coming out of her eyes” part that was the problem.

I think there is no way to otherwise interpret Mr. Trump’s comment. In an attempted clarification, Mr. Trump’s team tells me he meant “whatever”, not “wherever.”

So, implying that Megyn Kelly was on her period was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back, not any of the other massively misogynist or racist or generally awful crap he's spouted.

OK Eric, whatever
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