Monday, August 15, 2016

Cruising the Web

Mollie Hemingway scorns the media's hysterical reaction to Trump's ISIS comments. She points out that he's been saying things like this for months and they didn't bother with it until now when he's the nominee. That's so true of a lot of the media hysteria about Trump. Also, they took him literally as if he really meant that Obama founded ISIS instead of creating the power vacuum in which they prospered. Also, they continually ignore all the times that Democrats have criticized Republicans for helping ISIS.
People accuse their political opponents of being responsible for bad things all the time. Clinton accused Trump of being ISIS’ top recruiter. Bush’s CIA and NSA chief said Trump was a “recruiting sergeant” for ISIS. Former NYC mayor Rudy Guiliani said Hillary Clinton could be considered a founding member of ISIS....

Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum placed blame for ISIS on Obama and Clinton. Sen. John McCain said Obama was “directly responsible” for the Orlando ISIS attack due to his failure to deal with the terror group. President Obama said he couldn’t think of a more potent recruiting tool for ISIS than Republican rhetoric in support of prioritizing help for Christians who had been targeted by the group. Last year, Vanity Fair published a piece blaming George W. Bush for ISIS. Heck, so did President Obama.

There are many other examples. This type of rhetoric may not be exemplary, but we shouldn’t pretend it’s unique to Trump. (Links in original)
And Trump's foreign policy pronouncements are basically to do the same things that Obama has been doing. Hemingway links to Andrew Kaczynski who first pointed out Trump's hypocrisy.
But lost in Trump’s immediate comments is that, for years, he pushed passionately and forcefully for the same immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq. In interview after interview in the later 2000s, Trump said American forces should be removed from Iraq.
“First, I’d get out of Iraq right now,” Trump said to British GQ in a 2008 interview. “And by the way, I am the greatest hawk who ever lived, a far greater hawk even than Bush. I am the most militant military human being who ever lived. I’d rebuild our military arsenal, and make sure we had the finest weapons in the world. Because countries such as Russia have no respect for us, they laugh at us. Look at what happened in Georgia, a place we were supposed to be protecting.”

Later, Trump said he wished Arizona Sen. John McCain, whom he was backing in the election, had supported pulling troops out of Iraq faster.

“I wish he would promise to get us out of Iraq faster,” said Trump. “I am not in love with that aspect of what he represents.”
So instead of hyperventilating about Trump's extreme rhetoric, the media could have been asking him how what Trump recommended eight years ago is any different from what Obama did.

My criticism of Trump's statement is not that he went too far, but that, by speaking in such an extreme manner, he gives the media and Democrats permission to ignore his point and concentrate on his rhetoric. He plays into the media's hands. They don't want to talk about mistakes that Obama may or may not have made; they just want to bemoan Trump's language.

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Ross Douthat builds on a column John Podhoretz had written a few months ago about how Trump and Hillary both represent part of the 1960s with Trump representing the early, Rat Pack era of the 1960s and Hillary representing the "boomer liberalism" of the later sixties. Douthat likens Trump to Hugh Hefner.
It was Hefner who fully embodied the male sexual revolt. Today he’s just a sleazy oldster, but in the beginning he was a faux philosopher, preaching a gospel cribbed from bohemia and various Freudian enemies of repression, in which the blessed pursuit of promiscuity was the human birthright. But really a male birthright, for a certain kind of man: The sort of hep cat who loved inviting the ladies back to his pad “for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex.”

That was the ideal, at least. Trump, the thrice-married ubermensch who jokes about Megyn Kelly’s period, is the more usual reality. (So, albeit with more surface class, was the ultimate early-’60s man, the sex-addicted J.F.K.)

That obvious gulf helps explain why Hefner passed from a phenomenon to a sideshow, while a more feminist vision of liberation became the official ideology of the liberal upper class.

But only gradually and partially. The men’s sexual revolution, in which freedom meant freedom to take your pleasure while women took the pill, is still a potent force, and not only in the halls of Fox News. From Hollywood and college campuses to rock concert backstages and Bill Clinton’s political operation, it has persisted as a pervasive but unspoken philosophy in precincts officially committed to cultural liberalism and sexual equality.

It has also endured by going downmarket in the culture. If you watched “The Girls Next Door,” the TV show about Hefner’s ménage, you noticed that the Playboy mystique was emphatically not a joke in the lower middle class environs that produced his centerfolds and their most adoring fans. Like Trumpism, Hefnerian values have prospered in the blue-collar vacuum created by religion’s retreat, community’s unraveling.

Then finally, among men who were promised pliant centerfolds and ended up single with only high-speed internet to comfort them, the men’s sexual revolution has curdled into a toxic subculture, resentful of female empowerment in all its forms.

This is where you find Trump’s strongest (and, yes, strangest) fans. He’s become the Daddy Alpha for every alpha-aspiring beta male, whose mix of moral liberation and misogyny keeps the Ring-a-Ding-Ding dream alive.

There aren’t nearly enough of these fans to win him the election. Steinem’s revolution (Clintonian complications and all) should easily beat Hef’s at the ballot box this year.

But the cultural conflict between these two post-revolutionary styles — between frat guys and feminist bluestockings, Gamergaters and the diversity police, alt-right provocateurs and “woke” dudebros, the mouthbreathers who poured hate on the all-female “Ghostbusters” and the tastemakers who pretended it was good — is likely here to stay. With time and Christianity’s further decline, it could eclipse older culture war battles; in the pop culture landscape, it already does.

Ten years ago, liberals pined for a post-religious right, a different culture war.

Be careful what you wish for.

Paul Waldman ponders
the Republicans' chances of, for the first time, losing the college-educated white vote. He points out the contradictions of the Democrats admiring supposed intellectuals while still courting the votes of the working class. The Republicans then tried to whip up resentments of the working class against the elites who looked down on the working class on whose votes they depended.
In the years since, Democrats never stopped nominating intellectual candidates, not so much because that's what they thought the country wanted, but because that's what they themselves were attracted to. So there was an enduring contradiction: Democrats wanted to be simultaneously the party of the working person and the party of intellectuals. It was a contradiction Republicans exploited mercilessly, fostering resentment at the intellectual and cultural elite as a way of shifting focus from the economic elite on whose behalf they always labored. Don't worry about those tax cuts for the wealthy, they said, what you should really be angry about is a professor of ethnic studies no one has ever heard of who said something ridiculous. Those limousine liberals look down their nose at you and your small-town lowbrow ways, don't you know? Pull the lever for us, and you'll really show 'em.

But here's another contradiction: Even as Republicans encouraged everyone to sneer at the tweed-and-elbow-patch set, they were consistently winning the support of college-educated voters, especially college-educated whites. In fact, since we first started systematically collecting polling data in the 1950s, the Republican presidential candidate has never lost the college-educated white vote.

Donald Trump could be the first.

Over that history, this has been a story largely about class and race. But what's happening in 2016 is still striking: Many college-educated white voters seem to be deserting Trump, in large enough numbers that it could put the election out of reach for him, particularly when combined with his huge deficits among African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans.
I would quarrel with the idea that all the Democratic nominees since Adlai Stevenson have been intellectuals. They might have had pretenses at being intellectual like Kerry or they might have had good political IQs like Clinton and Obama, but that doesn't make them intellectuals. And for all the Democrats' contempt at the Republican nominees, I don't think any of them were stupid. The real division is between those who seemed to aspire to be thought of as intellectuals and those who didn't care. But Waldman is correct that Trump has low appeal for white college-educated voters and that he's just about gotten all the white, working-class voters there are for him to get.
If we accept that racial minorities are lost to Trump, the only way he could make up for not winning college-educated whites (and winning them bigly, as he'd say) would be to run up enormous numbers among the working-class whites who make up much of his base. The problem is that he's already got them, and doesn't have much room to grow. Barack Obama lost them by 26 points in 2012 and still won comfortably. That's because they're declining as a proportion of the population with each passing year, because of fast-growing minority populations and increasing levels of education.

The limits on the size of this population that forms the core of Trump's support is creating problems for him in some unusual places. As Nate Cohn of The New York Times observes, Trump is underperforming in some Southern states like Georgia because there just aren't any more working-class white voters for him to win over. They're (almost) all Republicans already, so while he alienates minorities and college-educated whites, he can't make it up by winning over working-class white Democrats the way he might have a chance to in a place like Ohio or Michigan. And swing states with lots of college-educated whites, like Virginia or Colorado, are looking increasingly out of reach for him.

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I was wondering when we would get this.
A website tied to the hacking scandal of the Democratic Party has now posted a small batch of leaked emails from Republican campaigns and state GOP staffers.

The emails on the site, known as DCLeaks, appear to be from state party officials and former Republican presidential candidates, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). The messages range from June to October of 2015.
It sounds like there was nothing of interest (read: nothing scandalous) in Lindsay Graham's messages. Does that surprise anyone? But it does demonstrate how these Russian-backed hackers seem to be able to get it into American files at will. Does anyone doubt that they could if they haven't already have gotten into the Trump campaign's files? Though I suspect that there would be few surprises in such a hackery dump since he seems to have no screen between what enters his mind and comes out of his mouth.

Well, this is a vain hope.
Hillary Clinton has taken too much money from people with business before the government to dismiss concerns about conflicts of interest out of hand.

She’s taken it in smaller sums from direct donors to her campaigns for Senate and president, much larger contributions to the party she now runs, eye-popping personal payments for speeches and astronomical gifts to the Clinton Foundation.

The public deserves to know how she plans to prevent all that money from unduly influencing her if she is elected president.
Yeah, that's going to happen. The Democrats had the opportunity to block her from getting the nomination and a septuagenarian socialist who had only recently become a Democrat came close to doing it. But no other possible candidate was willing to jump in the race and make Clinton sleaze a topic of debate. Bernie wasn't even willing to do it. She's only in the lead because she's running against such an objectionable and ineffective candidate. Just imagine if Trump had the ability to guard his tongue and could focus on Hillary while reassuring voters about his own capabilities and character. But he can't even do that for two days in a row much less for the length of a campaign. So don't go expecting her to talk about how she will refrain from the sleazy sorts of deals she and her husband have been making for around 30 years.

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So Bill Clinton had a public rant against the FBI's serving up "the biggest load of bull" about Hillary's emails and server. His lame defense is that there were lots of career State Department employees also on the emails.
On Friday, Bill Clinton went on to say it is inconceivable his wife was threatening national security.

“Do you really believe there are 300 career diplomats because that’s how many people were on these emails, all of whom were careless with national security? Do you believe that? Forget about Hillary, forget about her. Is that conceivable?”
Well, yes it is conceivable. They worked for her. Some might not have known that the emails were going to an unprotected server. Is Bill saying that Comey lied about what happened while he was letting Hillary off the hook? And you know why else it is conceivable? Because that is what frickin' happened.

Ben Shapiro explains why Laura Ingraham has been so unsuccessful in persuading him to vote for Trump. It isn't enough that she argues that not voting for Trump is a vote for Hillary; it is that she pretends that Trump isn't the man we can all see him to be.
In order to justify her support for Donald Trump, Ingraham is forced to embrace and purvey a series of lies.

Those lies are why I don’t plan to vote for Trump.

She lies that Trump is conservative.

He isn’t. That’s why I didn’t support him in the primaries, while Ingraham stumped for him: Trump wants to raise the deficit; he ripped Romney for being too tough on illegal immigration before changing his tune, and even now tells The New York Times that his positions are negotiable; he said Obama was doing a great job and funded Hillary Clinton and paid her to come to his wedding; he supported same-sex marriage years ago and has been utterly vague on religious freedom restoration laws on the state level; he backed partial-birth abortion until five minutes ago and says Planned Parenthood does wonderful things; he wants to impose massive interventionist tariffs on free trade. There's a reason Trump gave more money to Democrats than Republicans between 1980 and 2010.

She lies that anyone who opposes Trump is an establishment lackey.

That’s pure nonsense. The people loudly supporting Trump are alt-right ethnonationalist droogs and establishment Republican cheerleaders who make their money by “backing the nominee.” Yes, there are the people who hold their noses and vote Trump, many of them conservative – and as I’ve said, I sympathize and consider whether they’re right every day. But those opposing Trump aren’t the establishment. Paul Ryan, Reince Preibus, and Mitch McConnell all support Trump. Ingraham whips herself into a lather attacking those leading establishment figures, then says that conservatives are establishment if we don’t follow their lead in bowing before Trump.

She lies that Trump won’t damage conservatism.

He already has. She’s the living proof. She’s lying for him every day, informing her audience of positions he doesn’t hold and blaming all his failures and evils on his opponents.

She lies that other Republicans will stand up to Trump.

She knows that one’s a lie – she’s spent most of her career rightly blasting Republicans for caving to President Clinton and President Obama. Yet she somehow maintains that with Trump in power, Ryan and McConnell will turn into models of testicular fortitude – and that she won’t undercut them if they cross Trump.

Finally, she lies that opposing Trump means supporting Hillary.

This is the final resort of the ardent Trump supporter: if you won’t back their man, you must back his opponent. This is simple-minded. I don’t owe my vote to anyone. I certainly don’t owe it to Donald Trump. If I choose to vote for Trump, that’s one vote for Trump and one against Hillary. If I chose, God forbid, to vote for Hillary, that would be one vote for Hillary and one against Trump. If I choose neither, neither gains nor loses a vote.

This is called mathematics.

And by the way, I choose neither. Hillary Clinton is a terrible person, a cesspool of corruption and avarice. I wouldn't vote for her if you put a gun to my head.

But Trump supporters don’t care about my vote or those of #NeverTrump – as Trump himself has said, we’re a small movement. No, they want us to lie alongside them. They want fellow shills. They want people who will spend all their time either ignoring Trump’s inanities and insanities or excusing them.

Lies are not conservative. Worshipful lies on behalf of a petty authoritarian narcissist are even less conservative.

Voting is one thing. Endorsing, praising, and promoting lies are another.
Exactly. I don't have to worry about my public persona. I can just oppose Trump because I find him hideous. And I can oppose Hillary because I find her hideous. I don't have to lie to myself or others to support one or the others. And I don't care if people tell me that I'm harming conservatism by not supporting Trump because he's not a conservative and I don't have to lie to myself to pretend to believe that. If that comforts Laura Ingraham, that's her problem, but I've lost a lot of respect for her this season now that I've seen the extent to which she's willing to lie, whether it's to maintain her audience or comfort herself with her support of Trump.
Laura Ingraham thinks she’s made a moral choice.

She has: to lie for Trump.

Those who don’t buy her lies aren’t abandoning the Republican Party or the country itself, though Ingraham accuses us of doing just that. We just think it’s immoral to lie. There is good logic and a moral argument for supporting Trump to stop Hillary. There is good logic and a moral argument to skipping the vote altogether, to supporting neither.

There is no logic or morality to lying to your audience.

Those at war with the truth are at war with conservatism.

And those ardent Trump supporters promoting Trump’s lies are the chief obstacle preventing the consolidation of conservatives around their man. They’ve turned a lesser-of-two-evils political decision into a decision about the future of the conservative soul. And they’re on the wrong side.

So yesterday, there was the story that Ryan Lochte and other American swimmers had been robbed at gunpoint according to Lochte's mother. The IOC spokesman came out to deny the statement and said that it was "absolutely not true." Lochte's coach and the coach for the US swim team also denied it. So we were left wondering whom to believe, the IOC spokesman and USOC official or Ryan Lochte's mother. I knew who had less credibility in my mind. And sure enough the IOC spokesman had to come out and apologize and blame the US Olympic Committee for saying it wasn't true. Perhaps. But I'm sure that the immediate reaction of anyone official associated with the Olympics is to downplay the tales of violence against athletes and visitors for the Olympics even if they have to basically call the mother of one of the reported victims a liar.

Another story that isn't getting a lot of media play is the demonstrated anti-Semitism by many of the Arab athletes at the Olympics. Bre Payton reports,
Throughout the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Israeli athletes have encountered stark anti-Semitism.

After losing a judo match on Friday, Islam el-Shehaby, a fighter from Egypt, refused to shake his Israeli opponent’s hand — a major breach of judo etiquette. After beating him handily, Israeli fighter Or Sasson extended his hand to el-Shehaby. In response, the Egyptian fighter backed away, refusing to reciprocate the gesture...

In an Olympic qualifying match, Ala Ghasoun, a boxer from Syria, refused to fight an Israeli athlete. Ghasoun said competing with an athlete from Israel “would mean that I, as an athlete, and Syria, as a state, recognize the state of Israel.”

Earlier this week, another judo fighter reportedly forfeited a match so as not to face an Israeli athlete in a later round. Saudi Arabian officials tweeted out that judo fighter Joud Fahmy dropped out of a preliminary round due to an injury sustained during training, but multiple media outlets reported later that she was not injured....

Last week, the head of the Lebanese Olympic delegation refused to let Israeli athletes board a bus the two countries were supposed to share en route to the opening ceremonies, The Washington Times reports. Olympic organizers had to send a separate bus to transport the stranded Israeli athletes so they could get to the games.

Just before the start of the games, media outlets pushed a sob story about Palestinian swimmer Mary al-Atrash, claiming she was unable to use an Olympic-sized pool for training.

“There is no Olympic-sized swimming pool in the Palestinian territories that Palestinians are allowed to use, so Atrash practices at the YMCA in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem,” Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported. “The pool is 25 meters long, half the length of the facility she’ll compete in at Rio.”

In a Facebook post, Israeli officials called out Atrash, saying she refused to apply for a permit to travel to Jerusalem to use their facilities. Liel Liebovitz of Tablet Magazine pointed out that there are several full-sized pools within the Palestinian territories she could have used as well.
So much for the spirit of the Olympics. If country's athletes want to demonstrate their hatred of another country's athletes, that's fine as long as those are Israeli athletes. Can you imagine the brouhaha if Americans refused to compete against any other country's athletes?

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Well, there goes the theory of how people emigrated by walking down an ice-free corridor to South America about 12,600 years ago. Scientists had believed this for years, but now are discovering that there wasn't enough plant or forest growth to provide food and warmth for people to have walked that way. Instead, the current hypothesis is that a different people traveled by boat once ice broke up.

I'm a big San Antonio Spurs fan and Manu Ginobli is one of my favorite players. This is a lovely profile of him and his career. That led me to watch and enjoy a video of Manu's 10 greatest shots.

And here is another reason
to love Tim Duncan - the guy just stays true to himself no matter who is asking him to be different.