Monday, February 29, 2016

Last Call For Network News

Leslie Moonves can appreciate a Donald Trump candidacy.

Not that the CBS executive chairman and CEO might vote for the Republican presidential frontrunner, but he likes the ad money Trump and his competitors are bringing to the network.

"It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS," he said of the presidential race.

Moonves called the campaign for president a "circus" full of "bomb throwing," and he hopes it continues.

"Most of the ads are not about issues. They're sort of like the debates," he said.

"Man, who would have expected the ride we're all having right now? ... The money's rolling in and this is fun," he said.

"I've never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going," said Moonves.

You think ol' Les here is going to be hurt in any way by a Trump presidency?


Rally Points

Nate Silver says the math doesn't add up when it comes to Republicans backing Trump, in particular conservatives who've long hated him and found him distasteful, or something.

If a realignment is underway, then it poses a big empirical challenge. Presidential elections already suffer from the problem of small sample sizes — one reason a lot of people, certainly including us, shouldn’t have been so dismissive of Trump’s chances early on. Elections held in the midst of political realignments are even rarer, however. The rules of the old regime — the American political party system circa 1980 through 2012 — might not apply in the new one. And yet, it’s those elections that inform both the conventional wisdom and statistical models of American political behavior. 
This doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be completely in the dark. For one thing, the polls — although there’s reason to be concerned about their condition in the long-term — have been reasonably accurate so far in the primaries. And some of the old rules will still apply. It’s probably fair to guess that Pennsylvania and Ohio will vote similarly, for example. 
Still, one should be careful about one’s assumptions. For instance, the assumption that the parties will rally behind their respective nominees may or may not be reliable. True, recent elections have had very little voting across party lines: 93 percent of Republicans who voted in 2012 supported Romney, for example, despite complaints from the base that he was insufficiently conservative. And in November 2008, some 89 percent of Democrats who voted supported Barack Obama after his long battle with Hillary Clinton.
But we may be entering a new era, and through the broader sweep of American history, there’s sometimes been quite a bit of voting across party lines. The table below reflects, in each election since 1952, what share of a party’s voters voted against their party’s presidential candidate (e.g., a Democrat voting Republican or for a third-party ticket). There’s a lot of fascinating political history embedded in the table, but one theme is that divisive nominations have consequences.


Silver has a mild point.  Reagan Democrats in 1980 and 1984 did make a difference, as did the Dems who jumped ship on McGovern in 72. and those elections certainly broke that mold, but look at the last 4 presidential elections.  

There's very little party-flipping, and what does happen effectively cancels out.

So no, I see something very close to what we've seen before, somewhere around a meager 10% of voters switching up, and it happening on both sides, effectively neutralizing the phenomenon.  90% of voters are going to stick with their party in November.

Another massive Democratic defection like 1972 or 1980 isn't going to happen in our heavily partisan body politic.  Worst case scenario is 1992, where about 25% of voters switched up, but it happened on both sides, and that was with Perot clogging up the works.

I don't think you'll see mass defections on either side.  Too much tribalism. 

Trump Cards, Con't

WaPo's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa document the atrocities as the GOP goes into full Conserva-Schism ahead of Super Tuesday.

The implosion over Donald Trump’s candidacy that Republicans had hoped to avoid arrived so virulently this weekend that many party leaders vowed never to back the billionaire and openly questioned whether the GOP could come together this election year.

At a moment when Republicans had hoped to begin taking on Hillary Clinton — who is seemingly on her way to wrapping up the Democratic nomination — the GOP has instead become consumed by a crisis over its identity and core values that is almost certain to last through the July party convention, if not the rest of the year.

A campaign full of racial overtones and petty, R-rated put-downs grew even uglier Sunday after Trump declined repeatedly in a CNN interview to repudiate the endorsement of him by David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Trump had disavowed Duke at a news conference on Friday, but he stammered when asked about Duke on Sunday.

Marco Rubio, who has been savaging Trump as a “con man” for three days, responded by saying that Trump’s defiance made him “unelectable.” The senator from Florida said at a rally in Northern Virginia, “We cannot be the party that nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists.”

The fracas comes as the presidential race enters a potentially determinative month of balloting, beginning with primaries and caucuses in 11 states on Tuesday. As the campaign-trail rhetoric grew noxious over the weekend, a sense of fatalism fell over the Republican firmament, from elected officials and figureheads to major donors and strategists.

“This is an existential choice,” said former Minnesota senator Norm Coleman, who is backing Rubio. Asked how the party could unite, Coleman said, “It gets harder every day when you hear things like not disavowing the KKK and David Duke. It’s not getting easier; it’s getting more difficult. . . . I’m hopeful the party won’t destroy itself.”

The choice for voters is not simply one of preference but rather a fundamental one about the direction they want to take the country, with the insurgent Trump promising utter transformation.

“For many Republicans, Trump is more than just a political choice,” said Kevin Madden, a veteran operative who advised 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. “It’s a litmus test for character.”

Madden, like some of his peers, said he could never vote for Trump. If he is the nominee, Madden said, “I’m prepared to write somebody in so that I have a clear conscience.”

And ladies and gentlemen, I am here to call absolute BS on the notion that Republicans would ever sit out, write-in, or flip to the Dems to avoid Trump.  The racism Trump demonstrates has been at the heart of the GOP for decades and it hasn't bothered their consciences yet.  Why would it start now that Trump has figured out how to win with it?

Unlike some Democrats, who I really do believe would vote for Trump to sabotage the country if their candidate doesn't win the primary, the GOP hates Democrats more than they like themselves, it is what always has united them.  The notion that they would vote for Sanders or Clinton instead of Trump is laughable, as laughable as the notion that they will write in Romney or someone else, or that the GOP will split into a third party.

Maybe, maybe they will stay home.  Maybe a few.  But considering Mitt Romney got 60 million votes in 2012 and everyone basically hated the guy, Trump will get at least that in 2016 and probably more.


The support for the loud, obnoxious racist demagogue is baked in, folks.  Tens of millions of Americans are perfectly okay with it.  And they're going to vote for Trump.  Let's get this notion that Republican voters don't know what they're getting with Trump out of the way. They know exactly what they are getting, and he's winning for a reason.

Republicans could have chosen to stop Trump at any time.  They haven't.  They won't.  Stopping Trump is up to the rest of us.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Last Call For Slept Away

I've been asked by a reader to take a look at another Black Lives Matter story, this time in Inglewood, CA where two are dead in a police shooting that seems tremendously suspicious to me.

Both the man and woman who were mortally wounded during an officer involved shooting were unconscious when Inglewood police first responded to where they were sitting in a car, said Inglewood Mayor James Butts Tuesday in response to questions about the incident. 
For at least 45 minutes, police attempted "to rouse" them in an effort "to de-escalate the situation," said Butts. It is the first public explanation for what transpired early Sunday morning during the time between the initial call and the shooting. Police previously had stated responding officers saw the woman had a gun, retreated to behind cover, and then gave orders for the couple to exit the vehicle.

"Obviously at some point they were conscious because somebody felt threatened," said Butts, a retired law enforcement officer who previously had served as police chief in other cities. He said it is important for police to finish their investigation, and verify facts, before commenting further.

During his comments, Mayor Butts made a point of extending his condolences to the families of those who died.

"It's more tragic because they had children," Butts said. 
The deceased have been identified by family members as Kisha Michael, 31, a single mother of three sons, and Marquintan Sandlin, 32, a single father of four daughters.  
Michael's twin sister Trisha has said it is possible that returning home after a night out, Kisha may have passed out in the car.  
Police have made no comment on what specific threat officers perceived.  
The families have demanded explanations and expressed frustration. 
"The police ain't telling us nothing," said Trisha Michael.

Nor has experience told me that the police ever will tell the family anything, other than a load of crap.  Are you seriously telling me that some Inglewood cops gunned down people asleep in their car?  Somehow they were a threat?  The cops opened up with rifles on the car because they "thought" they saw a gun?

This is depressing and stupid, even for police killing of black lives.  Now we hear that the police involved have changed their story?

This one is rotten as hell, guys.

Hillary The Hawk

As Hillary Clinton rolled to an easy victory in South Carolina last night, NY Times writers Jo Becker and Scott Shane apparently have little time to waste ahead of Super Tuesday pinning the Obama administration's regime change in Libya and its less-than-successful outcome squarely on Hillary's "smart power" doctrine.

BY THE TIME Mahmoud Jibril cleared customs at Le Bourget airport and sped into Paris, the American secretary of state had been waiting for hours. But this was not a meeting Hillary Clinton could cancel. Their encounter could decide whether America was again going to war.

In the throes of the Arab Spring, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi was facing a furious revolt by Libyans determined to end his quixotic 42-year rule. The dictator’s forces were approaching Benghazi, the crucible of the rebellion, and threatening a blood bath. France and Britain were urging the United States to join them in a military campaign to halt Colonel Qaddafi’s troops, and now the Arab League, too, was calling for action.

President Obama was deeply wary of another military venture in a Muslim country. Most of his senior advisers were telling him to stay out. Still, he dispatched Mrs. Clinton to sound out Mr. Jibril, a leader of the Libyan opposition. Their late-night meeting on March 14, 2011, would be the first chance for a top American official to get a sense of whom, exactly, the United States was being asked to support.

In her suite at the Westin, she and Mr. Jibril, a political scientist with a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh, spoke at length about the fast-moving military situation in Libya. But Mrs. Clinton was clearly also thinking about Iraq, and its hard lessons for American intervention.

Did the opposition’s Transitional National Council really represent the whole of a deeply divided country, or just one region? What if Colonel Qaddafi quit, fled or was killed — did they have a plan for what came next?

“She was asking every question you could imagine,” Mr. Jibril recalled.

Mrs. Clinton was won over. Opposition leaders “said all the right things about supporting democracy and inclusivity and building Libyan institutions, providing some hope that we might be able to pull this off,” said Philip H. Gordon, one of her assistant secretaries. “They gave us what we wanted to hear. And you do want to believe.”

 And then we get into the brutal truth.

Her conviction would be critical in persuading Mr. Obama to join allies in bombing Colonel Qaddafi’s forces. In fact, Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, would later say that in a “51-49” decision, it was Mrs. Clinton’s support that put the ambivalent president over the line.

The consequences would be more far-reaching than anyone imagined, leaving Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven, a place where the direst answers to Mrs. Clinton’s questions have come to pass.

This is the story of how a woman whose Senate vote for the Iraq war may have doomed her first presidential campaign nonetheless doubled down and pushed for military action in another Muslim country. As she once again seeks the White House, campaigning in part on her experience as the nation’s chief diplomat, an examination of the intervention she championed shows her at what was arguably her moment of greatest influence as secretary of state. It is a working portrait rich with evidence of what kind of president she might be, and especially of her expansive approach to the signal foreign-policy conundrum of today: whether, when and how the United States should wield its military power in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

There is a reason I didn't vote for Clinton in 2008, even living in Kentucky where I knew Barack Obama had no electoral chance.  As much as I think Bernie Sanders really doesn't have a grasp of foreign policy issues, and Donald Trump's grasp of them is that of a six-year-old with a shiny red button marked "Blow shit up!", Hillary Clinton has extensive foreign policy experience, and that more than anything else makes me wish for an Obama third term.

I will settle for Sanders or Clinton.  Trump will have started WW III by this time next year.  But yes, let us not forget Hillary is a hawk, and Libya is a mess that we rarely hear about because Syria is so much worse right now.

I'd dare say that the Libya mess made us so hesitant on Syria that we under-reacted to Assad.  If we had not gone after Qaddafi, would Assad still be an issue?  Probably, but it's worth mulling over when you go to the primary polls.

Yes, I would still vote for Hillary or Bernie over any Republican.  But I'm still not sure which one I want, and there are things I like and dislike about both.

It's the timing of the article I question, especially given this.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in his bid to become President of the United States this morning on "Meet the Press." She also resigned as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Just last month, she said she couldn't take sides due to her position with the DNC.

Gabbard specifically pointed to Sanders' position on military intervention as part of her endorsement reasoning.

"As a veteran, as a soldier, I've seen firsthand the true cost of war. … As we look at our choices as to who our next Commander-in-chief will be is to recognize the necessity to have a Commander-in-chief who has foresight. Who exercises good judgment. Who looks beyond the consequences -- who looks at the consequences of the actions that they are willing to take before they take those actions. So that we don't continue to find ourselves in these failures that have resulted in chaos in the Middle East and so much loss of life," Gabbard said.

So the same time this article drops,  Rep. Gabbard resigns from the DNC to back Bernie over Hillary's hawk positions, both dropping the day after Bernie gets cremated in SC by 45 points.

That's not a coincidence, considering Super Tuesday is in less than 72 hours.  Taken collectively, that bothers me.

We'll see.

Sunday Long Read: Thrown Away

Detroit Metro Times reporter Allie Gross covers the murders of seven trans women over five years, and the stories these women left behind are terrifying examples of brutal violence, crushing poverty, and bigotry that turns deadly.

AT 10:21 A.M. On a smotheringly humid July morning this past summer, a woman on Detroit's west side dialed 9-1-1.

Six minutes later, a second call came through. The message was more or less the same: A lady, who appeared to be naked, was lying in the intersection of McGraw and 25th Street. She was possibly moving. Maybe hit by a car.

When first responder Officer Michelle Jones arrived at the scene she found a 25-year-old transgender woman, who would later be identified as Ashton O'Hara, lying in a pool of her own blood. Dressed in nothing but a black tank top, red bra, and black footies, Ashton was naked from the waist down. A wig lay 50 feet away from her body. She had been discarded and left behind, like the cracked hubcaps and plastic soda bottles littering the rest of the street.

Shallow breaths puffed Ashton's sternum skyward, an indication to Officer Jones that the victim was still alive. But barely. Ashton had been run over by a car not once but twice and both of her shins were severely fractured, causing tremendous blood loss. The leg injuries were just the beginning. Ashton's body was riddled with stab wounds. Medical examiner Jeffrey Hudson would later testify that many of the cuts were on Ashton's outer wrists. Crossing his arms like a shield and holding them in front of his face, Hudson would explain that the location of the gashes are typically suggestive of self-defense.

At 11:17 a.m., upon arrival at DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, Ashton was pronounced dead. While she didn't have an ID on her, rumors of the murder skittered across town. Within the hour, Ashton's mom, Rebecca O'Hara, was at the hospital. She identified her child's body and buried Ashton the following Monday.

"It was just overwhelming," O'Hara says, dabbing away tears as she sits in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit, waiting for the jury to deliberate in the trial of Larry Gaulding, the man who killed her "Woogie" — a nickname Ashton was given as a toddler because of the way she used to laugh when being tickled — just five months earlier.

Since Ashton was a little kid playing with Barbie dolls and testing out different shades of nail polish, O'Hara wrestled with anxiety about her child's interests and identity. Not because of who Ashton was, but because of what the world was.

The anxiety calcified as Ashton grew into an adult.

While O'Hara was aware of America's seeming progression toward gay rights and equality — as well as the uptick in trans-visibility in mainstream media, including the 16.9 million people who tuned in to watch Caitlyn Jenner's 20/20 special — she was also clued in to the less appetizing facts.

Facts like: One in four transgender people lives in extreme poverty, with an income of less than $10,000 a year. Nearly 25 percent of trans people in Michigan who took part in the last comprehensive survey of the population said they became homeless because of their gender identity and/or expression. Ten percent of trans people drop out of school because of bullying — something Ashton decided to do after the ninth grade.

O'Hara knew these facts and she knew how they translated to real life. She knew that because of job discrimination and a lack of opportunities and education, many trans women, specifically trans women of color like Ashton, turn to survival economies, like sex work, to get by. And she also knew how dangerous this could be, hearing stories of trans women coming up missing, being shot, or found in dumpsters after nights on the "stroll" — a stretch of Woodward between Six Mile and Seven Mile, where Johns look for transgender women for dates.

O'Hara knew that while the LGBTQ community had PRIDE and other celebratory festivities, the trans community had Trans Remembrance Day, a day to honor those who lost their lives to violence and hate. A day defined by grief and mourning, not progress and hope.

These were the realities that were on her mind. She feared that the world, despite all its real and apparent headway, wasn't truly ready for biological boys who liked to wear mascara and mini-skirts.

So when the call summoned O'Hara to DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, when she learned of her child's death and the circumstances behind it, the news was harrowing but also — and her whole body tightens up as she says this — anticipated.

"It was something I was scared of," she says, "for a very long time."

It's sobering even by standards of Sunday Long Reads.  America has come far, but the journey is by no means complete.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Last Call For Ths Is Sparta(nburg)!

And the Associated Press called the SC primary for Clinton within minutes of the polls closing.  She will win by 35 points or more, and the exit poll numbers are murderous for Sanders.  Here's the big one:

In SC, black voters were a massive two thirds of primary voters, and black women were 40%.  That is gigantic.  Bernie still won white voters though, splitting white women evenly and winning white men by more than 2-to-1.

And here, voters in SC overwhelmingly want to continue President Obama's policies, and of those who did, 80% voted for Clinton.  And finally:

This race was over months ago.  Sanders never had a chance here.
Related Posts with Thumbnails