Michael Wolraich's picture

    Did Trump fake his own "medical report"?

    The media has been puzzling for months over Donald Trump's so-called medical record in which his doctor declared, "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."

    According to Josh Marshall's theory of Trump's Razor, we should conclude "the stupidest possible scenario that can be reconciled with the available facts."

    The stupidest possible scenario is so stupid that it did not even occur to me until now: Trump wrote his own doctor's note and then got his doctor to sign it.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Chasing the Weasel

    How many times will we play the same game? Here's how it goes:

    1. Donald Trump says something outrageous
    2. Outrage ensues
    3. Trump pretends to be misinterpreted.
    4. Pundits argue about whether Trump was misinterpreted

    ...and repeat.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Theodore Roosevelt and the Original War on Terror

    Some years ago, an unstable young man committed one of the most notorious terrorist acts in U.S. history. He was American-born, but his parents were immigrants, and his allegiance to a radical ideology with foreign origins terrified the public. “They and those like them should be kept out of this country,” railed Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, “and if found here they should be promptly deported to the country whence they came.”

    The young man was Leon Czolgosz, a Polish-American anarchist. On August 31, 1901, he fatally shot President William McKinley in the abdomen with .32 caliber revolver. The nation reacted with shock and outrage. McKinley’s successor, President Theodore Roosevelt, denounced anarchy as “a crime against the whole human race” and demanded legislation to restrict immigration and deport suspected anarchists. Congress answered the call with the Anarchist Exclusion Act, which barred anyone “who disbelieves in or who is opposed to all organized government” from becoming citizens.

    Full story at The History Reader

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Can Bernie Sanders Overhaul the Democratic Party?

    One year ago, Bernie Sanders stood in the sun on the shore of Lake Champlain and opened his presidential campaign with a promise “to build a movement of millions of Americans.” Critics scoffed, dismissing his supporters as callow youngsters destined to drift once #FeelTheBern stops trending. But Sanders’s campaign proved more popular and resilient than anyone expected. Ironically, many Democrats now want him to terminate his movement and convert it into a get-out-the-vote drive for Hillary Clinton.

    But that is not how movements work. The celebrated political movements of American history—abolitionism, progressivism, and civil rights—were never subordinate to political parties. Their leaders did not bow to party elites. Great movements transcend partisanship; they are the makers and breakers of parties.

    Read the full story at the Daily Beast

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Tit for Trump

    Donald Trump likes to brag about his negotiating skills, but for a tough negotiator, he's awfully easy to manipulate. There are two types of people in Trumpland: those who are nice to Donald, and those who are not nice to Donald. If you flatter Trump, he'll treat you well. If you criticize him, he'll retaliate. "I'm a counter-puncher," he once told CNN.

    So to win Trump's favor, just say something sweet about him; Vladimir Putin praised him last December, and Trump has been preening over the compliment ever since. And to deliberately draw Trump's fire, say something nasty about him; last week Elizabeth Warren called him a bully and a loser, which dragged him into a distracting and unpresidential tweetfight with someone who is not his opponent.

    Read the full story at RollingStone

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    The Republican Race is Over

    As I read article after article about brokered conventions and #NeverTrump campaigns and "paths" to the nomination, I'm struck by the sad futility of it all.

    It may still be numerically possible for Trump to lose the nomination, but practically speaking, les jeux sont faits.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Where were you, Senator?

    Any time you leave a bad idea or a dangerous idea alone, any time you ignore what could become an evil force, you wind up regretting it.

    -- Lindsey Graham

    Thank you for these wise words, Senator. I couldn't agree with you more. But pardon me for asking, where the hell have you been?

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Mr. Robot

    You know who I'm talking about. At first, I thought I was experiencing a deja vu. My wife thought there was a technical glitch. After the third repetition, she became convinced that he was suffering from a neurological condition. I just started laughing.

    This was was Rubio's Howard Dean scream. Not just because the performance was cringe-inducing and is destined to be endlessly rehearsed and enhanced on YouTube but because it cemented the perception that he's an automaton.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Two Types

    There are two types of Democrats in this world: Hillary supporters and Bernie supporters.

    If you're a Hillary supporter, then you must be a plutocrat, an angry feminist, or a moron.

    If you're a Bernie supporter, then you must be a naive dreamer, a misogynist, or a moron.

    Conclusion: The Democratic Party is composed of plutocrats, angry feminists, naive dreamers, misogynists, and morons.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Why Paul Krugman’s Wrong About Bernie Sanders

    Paul Krugman may be a terrific economist, but he should study his history. In a trenchant New York Times column titled “How Change Happens,” Dr. Krugman asserts that legislative change requires “hardheaded realism” and “accepting half loaves.” Dismissing presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’s uncompromising idealism as “happy dreams” and “destructive self-indulgence,” he asks rhetorically, “When has their theory of change ever worked? Even F.D.R., who rode the depths of the Great Depression to a huge majority, had to be politically pragmatic, working not just with special interest groups but also with Southern racists.”

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Insurgency: The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans

    The insurgent impulse is not unique to Republicans. The right has its Trump. The left has its Sanders. But last night's debate illuminated the stark contrast between Democratic insurgents and Republican insurgents.

    In his debate performance, Bernie Sanders showed himself to be principled, passionate, knowledgeable, and virtuous. He argued relentlessly against the corruption of money and the plight of American workers--as he has for decades. When he had an opportunity to prick Hillary Clinton over the email scandal, Sanders chose instead to dismiss the brouhaha as a distraction from the issues that matter. He is a revolutionary in the finest tradition of high-minded American revolutionaries, from George Washington to F.D.R., who would change the world without sacrificing dignity or decency. He is, to use my grandfather's term of highest praise, a mensch.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Who Won the Republican Debate?

    The pundits are all over the map. The NYT's Nate Cohn picked Rubio, Walker, and Kasich. He thinks Bush flubbed it, and Trump "had the weakest performance." But the Atlantic called Trump's performance "one of the standouts of the night," lauding him for turning "weaknesses into strengths" and says Jeb made "a strong impression." CNN and WaPo opinionators agree with Cohn that Rubio was the winner, but Josh Marshall calls him "all but invisible." Ann Coulter weighs in, "Every GOP I'm talking to hated Rubio & Kasich, " but Laura Ingraham at Fox News tweets "@GovMikeHuckabee and @JohnKasich." A Republican focus group in Pella, Iowa described Ben Carson as "ready for prime time," "brilliant," and "someone you can really trust."

    Go figure.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    The Myth of the Militant Homosexual

    Indiana Governor Mike Pence is shocked—shocked—that people see anything objectionable in Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “Was I expecting this kind of backlash?” he exclaimed, “Heavens no.”

    After all, who could object to religious freedom?

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    I Sorted Hillary’s Email

    When Hillary Clinton released emails from her personal account last week, many assumed that her attorneys had personally reviewed the messages before sending them to the State Department, but that’s not what happened. As detailed in her press statement, the review team used keyword searches to automatically filter over 60,000 messages, flagging about half as work related.

    “I have absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department,” Clinton declared.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Do You "Like" Dag?

    Ramona and I have been whipping dagblog's Facebook page into shape after a long period of neglect. If you haven't done so, head over to facebook.com/dagblog and show us some "like." Then our posts and news links will start appearing in your Facebook feed.

    And if you already like us, spread the like by inviting your friends. Just click the unassuming box in the left column that helpfully suggests, "Invite your friends to like dagblog."

    PS We're on twitter too.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    MW on the TV

    Just in case anyone wants to see how I look like on the small screen...

    Obama & Teddy Roosevelt: Similar Legislative Strategies?

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    American Democracy - Not Dead Yet

    Thanks to Michael M. for highlighting Matthew Yglesias's Cassandra prophesy at Vox: "American Democracy is Doomed." In the piece, Yglesias warns that political polarization will sooner or later trigger "a collapse of the legal and political order" in the United States. "If we're lucky," he adds gloomily, "it won't be violent."

    You don't have to be a seer to see that the federal government is in crisis. We have been reading about congressional paralysis for five years straight. The immediate cause is no mystery--the American checks-and-balances system does not handle polarization well. The founding fathers, in their zeal to prevent totalitarianism, designed a system that empowers its various branches to sabotage one another for political gain.

    If Yglesias had limited his conclusions to these observations, the result would have been an interesting if prosaic political commentary. But where's the fun in that? Headline-grabbing doom prophesies trend much better than humdrum political commentary. Fortunately for the health of American democracy, they are invariably specious, and this one is no exception.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Dagblog Hack Alert

    Hi everyone, I recently discovered that dagblog has been hacked. The North Korean government denies responsibility, but supreme leader Kim Jong Un has been known to harbor animosity against dagblog after we suspended his account for ad hominem attacks, hijacking comment threads, crimes against humanity, and other ToS violations. Homeland Security has been notified and promises to take unspecified reprisals against unspecified nations as soon as they figure out their funding situation.

    In all seriousness, the site was hacked. I don't believe that the hackers did anything other than use our server as a spam-generator, but as a precaution, I suggest that you make sure that you're not using your dagblog email and password on other sites that have more sensitive information. If you are, I recommend that you change your passwords on those other sites. There is no need to change your dagblog password. I don't think the hackers are interested is blogging here. But if it makes you feel more comfortable, you can change it here or go to My Account in the top bar.

    I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. I will add additional security precautions to prevent this from happening in the future.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Best o' Dag 2014 - Seeking Nominations

    Hello folks. Our old friend Wolfrum passed on a splendid invitation to me yesterday. In the early-ish days of the blogosphere, a writer named Al Weisel launched a faux-conservative blog under the pseudonym Jon Swift. His hilarious, award-winning satire quickly propelled him to the top ranks of the blog community, but he generously supported smaller bloggers struggling to gain an audience. One of his outreach projects was an annual competition called, "Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves."

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Ken Burns and the Myth of Theodore Roosevelt

    The Roosevelts, a new PBS documentary by director Ken Burns, presents President Theodore Roosevelt as a political superhero. In photo after photo, Burns’s famous pan-and-zoom effect magnifies Roosevelt’s flashing teeth and upraised fist. The reverential narrator hails his fighting spirit and credits him with transforming the role of American government through sheer willpower. “I attack,” an actor blusters, imitating Roosevelt’s patrician cadence, “I attack iniquities.”

    Though exciting to watch, Burns’s cinematic homage muddles the history. Roosevelt was a great president and brilliant politician, but he was not the progressive visionary and fearless warrior that Burns lionizes. He governed as a pragmatic centrist and a mediator who preferred backroom deal-making to open warfare. At the time, many of his progressive contemporaries criticized him for excessive caution. The “I attack” quote, for example, came from a 1915 interview in which Roosevelt defended himself from accusations that he had been too conciliatory.

    Read the full article at New York Magazine's culture website, Vulture.com

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