Monday, March 21, 2016

Mitt Romney, Elizabeth Warren, and other tools of Wall St. all agree on one thing

Trump must be stopped at all cost to protect the oligarchy of professional Democrats/Republicans!

(I think it's awesome that Trump is exposing the oligarchy, of which Elizabeth Warren and Mitt Romney are only two examples.)


Earlier this month in “GOP Leaders, Tech Execs Plot Against Trump At Secret NeoCon Island Meeting,” we discussed the American Enterprise Institute’s annual World Forum, an event held on Sea Island, Georgia.
It’s a notoriously secretive affair and is off limits to the press. “We can’t even get a snow update,” Bloomberg joked last year.
At this year’s gathering the main topic, according to Huff Post, was “how to stop Donald Trump.” Attendees included Tim Cook, Larry Page, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and even Karl Rove himself who reportedly gave a presentation outlining what he says are Trump's weaknesses.
The AEI confab amounts to more evidence that establishment conservatives are getting very, very worried about what they see as an existential threat to the Republican party. As we and others have written, a Trump nomination would be devastating for the GOP. That’s why the party is hard at work behind the scenes crafting a plan to effectively steal the nomination from Trump at the convention in July (see here,here, and here for more).
Thanks to FEC filings out Sunday we discover still more evidence that conspiracies to “stop Trump” are proliferating.
A trio of conservative groups not affiliated with any candidate has spent about $28 million against [Trump], mostly on negative ads that aired in the past few weeks,”Bloomberg writes, adding that “so far, the effort has failed to dent his popularity.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How Orwellian can this get?—a division of the Center for American Progress, founded by Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta—ran an account under the approving headline “How Activists Mobilized to Shut Down Trump in Chicago”:
Organizations “tapped into existing networks of pro-Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter activists,” as NBC News explained. Representatives of student groups from the Black Student Union and Fearless and Undocumented were present at a meeting and decided to protest outside, while a Facebook event page promoted the protest to get people inside. The page included links to getting tickets to Trump’s rally.
One undocumented student started a petition on calling on the school to cancel the event, claiming that Trump’s visit was a “standards and safety issue” at the UIC campus. chipped in money for banners as well after the student’s petition garnered 50,000 signatures. As more than 1,000 students gathered for the march, Trump’s team cancelled his appearance.

At a Democratic fundraiser Saturday, President Obama alluded to Trump when he said: “Those who aspire to be our leaders should be trying to bring us together, and not turning us against one another—and speak out against violence, and reject efforts to spread fear or turn us against one another.”
Fair enough—but consider the source. Yesterday’s New York Times featured an interesting story on Trump’s rise to political prominence. It’s mostly about “a Republican Party that placated and indulged him,” but it begins with the following anecdote:
Donald J. Trump arrived at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in April 2011, reveling in the moment as he mingled with the political luminaries who gathered at the Washington Hilton. . . .
A short while later, the humiliation started.
The annual dinner features a lighthearted speech from the president; that year, President Obama chose Mr. Trump, then flirting with his own presidential bid, as a punch line.
He lampooned Mr. Trump’s gaudy taste in d├ęcor. He ridiculed his fixation on false rumors that the president had been born in Kenya. He belittled his reality show, “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
Mr. Trump at first offered a drawn smile, then a game wave of the hand. But as the president’s mocking of him continued and people at other tables craned their necks to gauge his reaction, Mr. Trump hunched forward with a frozen grimace.
After the dinner ended, Mr. Trump quickly left, appearing bruised. . . .
That evening of public abasement, rather than sending Mr. Trump away, accelerated his ferocious efforts to gain stature within the political world. And it captured the degree to which Mr. Trump’s campaign is driven by a deep yearning sometimes obscured by his bluster and bragging: a desire to be taken seriously.
We now have a major candidate for president who diminishes the office he seeks by engaging in juvenile taunts directed against his opponents. That is partly because we have a president who is known to do the same.

The new despostism

The Wall St. Journal is often a source of NEWSPEAK, but here it identifies one of the most pervasive Orwellian developments of our time. The real fascists--the oligarchy in Washington DC, abetted by the media--are calling Trump a fascist because Trump is exposing their corruption. Let's hope the people support Trump this time around.

Hillary’s Soft Despotism

She prefers the hidden authoritarianism of the vast and growing administrative state.

Donald Trump is Hilter. Donald Trump is a fascist. Donald Trump is a dictator.
Certainly Mr. Trump has a mouth, and he’s not afraid to use it. He also speaks to adoring crowds who cheer when he says to respond in kind to activists trying to disrupt his rallies. Even so, the over-the-top claims that Mr. Trump is the new Il Duce may be distracting attention from the soft despotism that Tocqueville deemed the far likelier menace to American liberties.
This kind of authoritarianism doesn’t come with goose steps or brown shirts or large populist movements. It prefers bureaucracy to bombast. It presents itself as a solution to the complexities of modern government, and it’s called the administrative state.
Philip Hamburger—a Columbia law professor and author of the 2015 book “Is Administrative Law Unlawful?”—defines the administrative state as the substitution of regulatory edicts for laws passed by the people’s elected representatives. In the American iteration, at least, this often means the same federal agency that writes the rules also enforces and adjudicates them—a confluence of powers Madison once called the “very definition of tyranny.”
Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally in Chicago, March 14.ENLARGE
Hillary Clinton at a campaign rally in Chicago, March 14. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Mr. Hamburger maintains that the threat of the administrative state is nothing new, notwithstanding the assumption of some conservatives who would date it to the progressive theories of Woodrow Wilson or the rise of the New Deal. By contrast, Mr. Hamburger says the Founders well understood this threat, familiar as they were with English constitutional history and the centuries-long struggle to limit the extralegal prerogatives of kings (Star Chambers anyone?).
Now, it’s certainly possible that a President Trump would seed the federal agencies with men and women who would abuse their powers for Trumpian outcomes. In real life, however, the compulsion to decree to one’s neighbor what’s best for him (and use the federal government to enforce it) is an affliction of modern American liberalism. In other words, the kind of people Hillary Clinton, if elected, would rely on to fill the federal bureaucracies, every last one of them eager and willing to impose rules on the American people that would never fly in Congress.
What kind of rules and regulations? Here are a few instances from recent years:
• In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, the IRS targets groups regarded as enemies of the president—pro-Israel, pro-life, pro-tea-party, etc. When this became public, its officials, including the new IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, make clear their contempt for congressional panels trying to investigate.
• In a frontal assault on religious liberty, the Department of Health and Human Services issues a mandate that would force the Little Sisters of the Poor, Catholic nuns who run homes for the elderly poor, to offer their employees contraceptives the sisters regard as a violation of their faith. They are threatened with fines of $100 per employee per day if they refuse, which adds up to $70 million a year—equal to about a third of their operating budget.
• Andy Johnson builds a pond on his Wyoming property to provide water for his horses and cattle after securing all the required local and state permits. The Environmental Protection Agency steps in and accuses him of violating the Clean Water Act (even though he in fact has created a wetlands) and orders him to undo what he’d done—or face fines of $37,500 per day. As Mr. Johnson fights, he has racked up accumulated fines of $20 million.
According to the most recent edition of “Ten Thousand Commandments”—the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s annual survey of federal regulations—in 2014 federal agencies issued 3,554 regulations while Congress passed only 224 new laws. That is 16 new regulations for every new law.
The result is the effective transfer of power from the American people acting through their elected representatives to the American people being told what to do—and threatened with crushing fines if they do not—by federal bureaucracies that use the vague congressional language in everything from Dodd-Frank to the Affordable Care Act to impose their own interpretations. Even worse, under the Supreme Court’s 1984 Chevrondecision, the courts are basically told they must defer.
President Obama didn’t create rule by the administrative state. But he may have best captured its spirit two years ago when, in response to a question about congressional resistance to his agenda, he declared his pen mightier than the law: “I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.”
And he has.
Now he hopes to pass the pen to Mrs. Clinton. And surely the one Hillary promise we can all believe is that, when it comes to ruling by executive fiat and using the federal bureaucracies to impose her agenda, she stands to outdo even Mr. Obama.
Which leaves us here: At a moment when the media is thick with characterizations of Donald Trump as the new Hitler, America might do well to devote some attention to the soft despotism of the woman who promises to further embolden this unelected, unaccountable and out-of-control fourth branch of government.

Monday, March 14, 2016


The WSJ claims Obama is more sophisticated and articulate, but I think Obama is just less of a threat to the oligarchy. 

The Donald and The Barack

Obama is Trump’s more sophisticated, articulate liberal antecedent.

President Obama is said to be a reflective man, and often he is the one saying so, but you wouldn’t know it from his Thursday press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Asked about political polarization and the Donald Trump phenomenon, Mr. Obama denied all responsibility. He doesn’t seem to appreciate the kind of country he will leave behind.
“What I’m not going to do is to validate some notion that the Republican crack-up that’s been taking place is a consequence of actions that I’ve taken,” Mr. Obama said. He explained Mr. Trump’s ascent as the result of “the nasty tone of our politics, which I certainly have not contributed to.” He blamed Republicans for this tone, as ever.
“Objectively,” Mr. Obama said, “it’s fair to say that the Republican political elites and many of the information outlets—social media, news outlets, talk radio, television stations—have been feeding the Republican base for the last seven years a notion that everything I do is to be opposed; that cooperation or compromise somehow is a betrayal.” He listed a few more GOP shortcomings, but you’ve got to hand it to him for that “objectively.”
As Mr. Obama tells it, all of this reflexive Obama bashing created “an environment where somebody like a Donald Trump can thrive. He’s just doing more of what has been done for the last seven and a half years.” In other words, Republicans didn’t clean up the standing water in their own backyard and now they’re complaining about mosquitoes.
One irony is that even as Mr. Obama denied any liability for Mr. Trump, he lapsed into the same rhetorical habit that helped fuel the businessman’s ascent. For Mr. Obama, principled opposition to his policies is always illegitimate or motivated by bad faith.
Like the President’s nonstop moral lectures about “our values” and “who we are as Americans,” by which he means liberal values and who we are as Democrats, he reads his critics out of politics. No wonder so many Americans feel disenfranchised and powerless.
And if we’re being objective, maybe Mr. Obama could account for the populist uprising among disaffected Democratic primary voters for a 74-year-old Vermont socialist vowing an economic revolution. Bernie Sanders is Mr. Trump’s leftward duplicate. The difference is that the Democratic establishment is doing a better job keeping their outsider away from a delegate majority.
The source of this public frustration is no great mystery. For the 10th straight year, the U.S. economy is growing by less than 3%. Such a long stretch of underperformance hasn’t happened since the 1930s. Slow growth for a decade means middle-class incomes are stagnant, which in turn increases economic anxiety, which in turn creates political unrest.
As for tone, the 1980s and 1990s featured bitter partisan conflicts—and for that matter so did the 1880s and 1790s. But the late 20th century had popular two-term Presidencies almost back to back, and the era didn’t produce backlash candidates promising to burn Washington to the ground and salt the earth. The reason is that the economy was booming.
Mr. Obama’s apologists claim 2%-2.5% growth is the best we can do, but the truth is that the natural dynamism of the U.S. economy has been swamped by waves of Mr. Obama’s bad policy. Instead of a second term that is bereft of domestic achievements, in an alternate universe he might have worked with the duly elected Republican majority and started to repair the economy from the center out.
Instead, Mr. Obama has shown contempt for institutions that he doesn’t run, and, notably, most of his growth-subtracting policies have been imposed through unilateral executive action. He doesn’t do persuasion and compromise. Some policies were intendedto sow division, like his lawless immigration order that inflamed the restrictionist right, divided Republican elites and was only stopped by the courts.
The nature of Mr. Trump’s appeal can be explained by Mr. Obama’s own rule-by-regulation governing methods and polarizing political style. You might even call him The Barack, the more articulate and sophisticated liberal antecedent to The Donald.
The stability of the American political system depends on deeply rooted norms. What this primary season has revealed is that when a President violates these unwritten rules, the damage to self-government leads into uncharted territory.

Road to Serfdom

From economist Friedrich Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” (1944):
It is in connection with the deliberate effort of the skillful demagogue to weld together a closely coherent and homogeneous body of supporters that the third and perhaps most important negative element of selection enters. It seems to be almost a law of human nature that it is easier for people to agree on a negative program—on the hatred of an enemy, on the envy of those better off—than on any positive task. The contrast between the “we” and the “they,” the common fight against those outside the group, seems to be an essential ingredient in any creed which will solidly knit together a group for common action. It is consequently always employed by those who seek, not merely support of a policy, but the unreserved allegiance of huge masses. From their point of view it has the great advantage of leaving them greater freedom of action than almost any positive program. The enemy, whether he be internal, like the “Jew” or the “kulak,” or external, seems to be an indispensable requisite in the army of a totalitarian leader.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Romney and Big Brother

I probably won't hear a more Orwellian speech in my lifetime, so I can't resist commenting on Romney's speech. I'm not getting into the hypocrisy of it the way Stockman did so well here: "During his 16-years at Bain Capital, fully one-fourth or $600 million of the firms cumulative $2.5 billion of profits were scalped from companies which went bankrupt soon after Mitt and his partners got out of town with the loot. No wonder the American voters did not believe him when he claimed to be the “job creator”!" A sample of other critiques is here.

I'm focusing on Romney's rhetoric. And, for that matter, his wife's, who thanked Trump in 2012 here.

Mitt Romney, March 3, 2016, Salt Lake City:

I am not here to announce my candidacy for office. I am not going to endorse a candidate today. Instead, I would like to offer my perspective on the nominating process of my party. In 1964, days before the presidential election which, incidentally, we lost, [like in 2012] Ronald Reagan went on national television and challenged America saying that it was a “Time for Choosing.” He saw two paths for America, one that embraced conservative principles dedicated to lifting people out of poverty and helping create opportunity for all, and the other, an oppressive government that would lead America down a darker, less free path. I’m no Ronald Reagan and this is a different moment but I believe with all my heart and soul that we face another time for choosing, one that will have profound consequences for the Republican Party and more importantly, for the country. [Politicians say this at every election. It's always an election that is going to change the course of history, will have profound consequences, etc.]
I say this in part because of my conviction that America is poised to lead the world for another century. Our technology engines, our innovation dynamic, and the ambition and skill of our people will propel our economy and raise our standard of living. [Except the oligarchs such as Romney outsource industry and import lower-wage workers.] America will remain as it is today, the envy of the world. [This is a nativist perspective; other parts of the world look at America and are disgusted by the amoral and hedonistic culture and the high levels of violent crime, extreme wealth disparity, and other excesses.]
Warren Buffett was 100% right when he said last week that “the babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.” [That's true of everyone living in in the world today, thanks to the Internet and technological development in medicine and other fields, but has nothing to do with who is elected in the U.S.]
That doesn’t mean we don’t have real problems and serious challenges. At home, poverty persists and wages are stagnant. [Thanks to Bain and similar companies who, by manipulating the government, enrich themselves at the expense of the middle class.] The horrific massacres of Paris and San Bernardino, [both pale in comparison to the drone strikes, not to mention the disastrous invasion of Iraq] the nuclear ambitions of the Iranian mullahs, the aggressions of Putin, the growing assertiveness of China and the nuclear tests of North Korea confirm that we live in troubled and dangerous times.
But if we make the right choices, America’s future will be even better than our past and better than our present. [Another election-year cliche repeated ad nauseum.]
On the other hand, if we make improvident choices, the bright horizon I foresee will never materialize. Let me put it plainly, if we Republicans choose Donald Trump as our nominee, the prospects for a safe and prosperous future are greatly diminished. [I.e., if the oligarchs are forced to give up power, their safe and prosperous future will be greatly diminished--but the lower and middle classes will be much better off.]
Let me explain why.
First, the economy: If Donald Trump’s plans were ever implemented, the country would sink into a prolonged recession.
A few examples: His proposed 35% tariff-like penalties would instigate a trade war that would raise prices for consumers, kill export jobs, and lead entrepreneurs and businesses to flee America. [Trump has explained (which Romney ignores) that his "tariff-like penalties" will be threats to be implemented only if other countries don't eliminate their existing tariff-like penalties! Mitt and the oligarchs know that China, Mexico, Japan, etc. already impose these penalties on imports from the U.S. Trump wants free trade, but also fair trade. To the oligarchs, fair trade is anathema.] His tax plan, in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and to honestly address spending would balloon the deficit and the national debt. [This is pure establishment rhetoric and could have been spoken by Hillary, Cruz, Rubio, or any other Wall St. tool. Trump's plan is more effective than anything those tools have proposed.] So even as Donald Trump has offered very few specific economic plans, what little he has said is enough to know that he would be very bad for American workers and for American families. [Exactly what the oligarchs want people to believe. Their tools have been saying this for decades.]
But wait, you say, isn’t he a huge business success that knows what he’s talking about? No he isn’t. His bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who worked for them. [Seriously? Mitt Romney of all people saying this? Trump companies have had 4 bankruptcies, mostly in New Jersey, along with many others. Everyone in business knows the risk of bankruptcy and takes precautions accordingly.] He inherited his business, he didn’t create it. [That's patently false, and ironic because that's exactly what people said about Mitt's inheritance from George.] And what ever happened to Trump Airlines? [Trump sold it.] How about Trump University? [Long story, but Trump has explained this at length, and he's restarting it as soon as the litigation is ended, which he could settle at any time but refuses to do.] And then there’s Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks, [All these are still in business, unlike the companies Bain destroyed when Mitt was running the place, although there have been changes in them, as shown here. But overall, Trump's successes far outweigh the failures.] and Trump Mortgage? [I don't know much about this, but a slew of mortgage companies failed in 2008.] A business genius he is not. [This is laughable, considering what Mitt said 4 years earlier, but it also defies the reality of Trump's business empire, which he disclosed in his FEC filings. Everyone knows Trump owns some of the best real estate on the planet, debt free. I'm not aware of anyone other than oil barons and Internet billionaires who own more valuable real estate.]
Now not every policy Donald Trump has floated is bad. He wants to repeal and replace Obamacare. He wants to bring jobs home from China and Japan. But his prescriptions to do these things are flimsy at best. [Real leaders set the agenda and establish objectives. They don't sit around writing think-tank, oligarchy approved white papers that will be ignored once elected (or, as in Mitt's case, once defeated).] At the last debate, all he could remember about his healthcare plan was to remove insurance boundaries between states. [That's what Marco Rubio wanted people to think, but there was more to it than that.] Successfully bringing jobs home requires serious policy and reforms that make America the place businesses want to plant and grow. [Uh, you mean like lowering taxes and making trade fair instead of just "free" for the oligarchs?] You can’t punish business into doing the things you want. Frankly, the only serious policy proposals that deal with the broad range of national challenges we confront, come today from Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich. One of these men should be our nominee. [Yes, because the oligarchy approved white papers always look so great--until the candidate is elected and abandons them. All of their policy proposals are more of the same, except for Cruz's promise to abolish the IRS and replace it with another enforcement agency with a different name.]
I know that some people want the race to be over. They look at history and say a trend like Mr. Trump’s isn’t going to be stopped.
Perhaps. [Hopefully.] But the rules of political history have pretty much all been shredded during this campaign. [Yes! For once, the people are seeing through the oligarchy's NEWSPEAK!] If the other candidates can find common ground, I believe we can nominate a person who can win the general election and who will represent the values and policies of conservatism. [Not conservatism, but the oligarchy, who will win whether they get Hillary or Cruz/Rubio/Kasich elected.] Given the current delegate selection process, this means that I would vote for Marco Rubio in Florida, for John Kasich in Ohio, and for Ted Cruz or whichever one of the other two contenders has the best chance of beating Mr. Trump in a given state. [IOW, Mitt wants a brokered convention where the oligarchy can choose the candidate instead of the people.]
Let me turn to national security and the safety of our homes and loved ones. Trump’s bombast is already alarming our allies and fueling the enmity of our enemies. [ha-ha, how about one specific?] Insulting all Muslims will keep many of them from fully engaging with us in the urgent fight against ISIS. [Trump has never insulted all Muslims; quite the opposite. And Romney seriously thinks these unidentified "Muslims" are not going to fight ISIS because they were "insulted" by Trump? That is a comical argument.] And for what purpose? Muslim terrorists would only have to lie about their religion to enter the country. [This is a childish argument on Mitt's part.]
What he said on “60 Minutes” about Syria and ISIS has to go down as the most ridiculous and dangerous idea of the campaign season: Let ISIS take out Assad, he said, and then we can pick up the remnants. [Another simplistic soundbite argument.] Think about that: Let the most dangerous terror organization the world has ever known take over a country? This is recklessness in the extreme.
Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart. I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart. [This is funny. Usually Trump is criticized for advocating that the Russians should be allowed to take out ISIS. From what I've heard, Trump's point is that the policies of Bush/Obama (read: neoconservatives and oligarchy) created these problems and that we need to destroy ISIS but let the Arabs sort out their own problems.]
I am far from the first to conclude that Donald Trump lacks the temperament of be president. After all, this is an individual who mocked a disabled reporter, who attributed a reporter’s questions to her menstrual cycle, who mocked a brilliant rival who happened to be a woman due to her appearance, [All of this is the media spin on what Trump said/did, contrary to Trump's own explanations.] who bragged about his marital affairs, and who laces his public speeches with vulgarity. [If we're electing a church leader, I'd agree. I don't think much of Trump's manners. OTOH, he's a strong advocate of no smoking, no drugs, no alcohol, which, if others followed his example, would eliminate a major chunk of health care costs, low productivity, and other economic waste. I'd be happy to trade that for a few vulgarities and whatever he said about marital affairs.]
Donald Trump says he admires Vladimir Putin, while has called George W. Bush a liar. That is a twisted example of evil trumping good. [Romney's characterization is a twisted example. Trump is far more nuanced than this.]
There is dark irony in his boasts of his sexual exploits during the Vietnam War while John McCain, whom he has mocked, was imprisoned and tortured. [I don't agree that Trump mocked McCain, but I do agree that McCain was more honorable than Trump during the 1960s. Since then, though, McCain has become a warmonger while Trump is more prudent.]
Dishonesty is Trump’s hallmark: He claimed that he had spoken clearly and boldly against going into Iraq. Wrong, he spoke in favor of invading Iraq. [The evidence on this is equivocal, but Trump said very little publicly about the war back then.] He said he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11. Wrong, he saw no such thing. He imagined it. [Distinguishing between someone's memory and imagination is always a challenge, but in this very speech Romney has lied about Trump's businesses, or was he merely imagining those businesses failed? There were Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11; it's a question of how many, and whether Trump conflated that with the thousands of Palestinians who celebrated.] His is not the temperament of a stable, thoughtful leader. His imagination must not be married to real power. [This is true of everyone, as Mitt demonstrated in this very speech. But Trump has a long history of dealing with reality in business. Otherwise, he wouldn't be successful. He has buildings to show; Mitt has only a big bank account built from destroying businesses.]
The President of the United States has long been the leader of the free world. The president and yes the nominees of the country’s great parties help define America to billions of people. All of them bear the responsibility of being an example for our children and grandchildren.
Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities, the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. We have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He is the only person in America to whom we have added an article before his name. It wasn’t because he had attributes we admired. [Well, Mitt greatly admired him 4 years earlier. His reputation is that he succeeds and wins. That's what the U.S. needs most.]
Now imagine your children and your grandchildren acting the way he does. Will you welcome that? [In some respects no, in others yes--just like with every other human being.] Haven’t we seen before what happens when people in prominent positions fail the basic responsibility of honorable conduct? We have, and it always injures our families and our country. [Who knows what Mitt is referring to here.]
Watch how he responds to my speech today. Will he talk about our policy differences or will he attack me with every imaginable low road insult? This may tell you what you need to know about his temperament, his stability, and his suitability to be president. [Well played by Trump, who held a press conference featuring the very companies Mitt claims had failed. He even complimented Mitt as a good guy, explaining this speech as the product of not getting over his own failed election.]
Trump relishes any poll that reflects what he thinks of himself. But polls are also saying that he will lose to Hillary Clinton. [Polls go both ways on this, but so far, Trump has done better than any of the pundits expected.]
On Hillary Clinton’s watch at the State Department, America’s interests were diminished in every corner of the world. She compromised our national secrets, dissembled to the families of the slain, and jettisoned her most profound beliefs to gain presidential power.
For the last three decades, the Clintons have lived at the intersection of money and politics, trading their political influence to enrich their personal finances. They embody the term “crony capitalism.” It disgusts the American people and causes them to lose faith in our political process.[And that's why the American people didn't elect Mitt!]
A person so untrustworthy and dishonest as Hillary Clinton must not become president. But a Trump nomination enables her victory. The audio and video of the infamous Tapper-Trump exchange on the Ku Klux Klan will play a hundred thousand times on cable and who knows how many million times on social media. [This is one of the most preposterous claims yet, because Trump disavowed the Klan and David Duke before and after that exchange and has never been considered a racist.]
There are a number of people who claim that Mr. Trump is a con man, a fake. There is indeed evidence of that. Mr. Trump has changed his positions not just over the years, but over the course of the campaign, and on the Ku Klux Klan, daily for three days in a row. [All of this has been well explained for those who listen to explanations. Mitt is cherry-picking and disregarding the evidence.]
We will only really know if he is the real deal or a phony if he releases his tax returns and the tape of his interview with the New York Times. I predict that there are more bombshells in his tax returns. I predict that he doesn’t give much if anything to the disabled and to our veterans. I predict that he told the New York Times that his immigration talk is just that: talk. And I predict that despite his promise to do so, first made over a year ago, he will never ever release his tax returns. Never. Not the returns under audit, not even the returns that are no longer being audited. He has too much to hide. Nor will he authorize the Times to release the tapes. If I’m right, you will have all the proof you need to know that Donald Trump is a phony. [Mitt lost this debate with Harry Reid and it may have cost him the election, so he's trying it out on his former ally. This is just pathetic. It gives you a good idea of how sincere Mitt Romney really is when he highly praises Trump just four years earlier. Plus, Mitt ignores the extensive financial disclosures Trump already made to the FEC.]
Attacking me as he surely will won’t prove him any less of a phony. It’s entirely in his hands to prove me wrong. All he has to do is to release his back taxes like he promised he would, and let us hear what he said behind closed doors to the New York Times. [Good for Trump for not falling for this patently childish argument.]
Ronald Reagan used to quote a Scottish philosopher who predicted that democracies and civilizations couldn’t last more than about 200 years. John Adams wrote this: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” I believe that America has proven these dire predictions wrong for two reasons.
First, we have been blessed with great presidents, with giants among us. Men of character, integrity and selflessness have led our nation from its very beginning. None were perfect: each surely made mistakes. But in every case, they acted out of the desire to do what was right for America and for freedom. [Which is exactly what Trump is trying to do, over the fierce opposition of the oligarchs who are destroying freedom.]
The second reason is because we are blessed with a great people, people who at every critical moment of choosing have put the interests of the country above their own.
These two things are related: our presidents time and again have called on us to rise to the occasion. John F. Kennedy asked us to consider what we could do for our country. Lincoln drew upon the better angels of our nature to save the union. [Exactly what Trump is doing with his Make America Great Again slogan and his constant expression that the people of the country are fantastic and are being held back only by the oligarchy.]
I understand the anger Americans feel today. In the past, our presidents have channeled that anger, and forged it into resolve, into endurance and high purpose, and into the will to defeat the enemies of freedom. Our anger was transformed into energy directed for good. [? So now Obama is doing a great job?]
Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes. He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants, he calls for the use of torture and for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit first amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss. [I completely disagree with this caricature.]
Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers: He gets a free ride to the White House and all we get is a lousy hat. [This is the essential paragraph of Romney's speech: Romney is jealous. Trump is spending less money than Romney did (and a much smaller percentage of his net worth), but he's doing what Romney was unable to do, and in one try instead of Romney's two tries. It's hardly a free ride; Trump is fighting against tens of millions of dollars of negative ads from so-called Republicans who really care only about keeping the oligarchy in power. They are the ones who gave Mitt $1 billion 4 years ago and who demanded that Mitt come out and give this stupid speech.]
His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.
America has greatness ahead. This is a time for choosing. God bless us to choose a nominee who will make that vision a reality. [That will happen only if Trump is nominated. The others are more of the same.]

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Romney vs Trump

On March 3, 2016, Mitt Romney gave an anti-Trump speech that was as Orwellian as anything I've heard in a while. I won't go through it in detail, but juxtaposed with Romney's smiling acceptance of Trump's endorsement four years ago, when he praised Trump's business success and knowledge about the economy, Romney's latest speech would have been shocking coming from anyone who wasn't a politician tool of the establishment.

One commentary headline: "Romney attacks Trump. But who is the real phony and fraud?" Another meekly points out this: "Romney redux: Why he's the wrong messenger for he stop-Trump gang."

I watched the speech in stunned disbelief. Here's a corporate raider, the former head of Bain, falsely claiming that Trump inherited his company and criticizing a businessman who has actually started successful companies. By contrast, Romney made his millions playing financial games with Wall St., closing and "consolidating" businesses while extracting the pension funds and other assets for Bain's own benefit. True, Trump has had some businesses fail, but far more of his projects have been successful. Customers sort the winners from the losers.

Now Romney is making robo-calls for Rubio. I hope voters realize how ridiculous Romney's efforts how, how he is destroying his legacy, and how, if he's successful, he's insuring that the Establishment (Big Brother) will endure, whether the next President is Clinton, Cruz, or Rubio.

There is another possible explanation for Romney's antics. Maybe whatever hedge fund he's working with now is planning a takeover of Trump's businesses and he's trying to knock down the valuations. Unlikely, sure, but far preferable to the more likely explanation that Romney is repaying the rich elite establishment who gave him $1 billion four years ago.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Voter turnout

The usual meme presented by the media is that large voter turnout favors Democrat politicians, but now another reality is finally breaking through:

The prospect that Trump might turn out new voters who are highly motivated and not on anyone’s radar can’t be ignored, said Doug Rubin, a Democratic strategist who’s advised Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
"One thing that scares me the most about Trump is the fact that every one of these Republican primaries to date has record turnout. And I think a large part of that, though not all of that, but a large part of that is that Trump is bringing out people who don't normally vote, and adding to the Republican mix on those things and so I worry that in the general election along with the traditional Republican voters that he has the opportunity to bring out a chunk of voters that don't normally vote in those elections and in some elections that could tip the scales,” he said.

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