Michael Maiello's picture

    Fun at the Ballot Box (Election Open Thread)

    Voting from the safety of a blue, blue state, I get to have a little more fun with my ballot than a lot of people in battlegrounds.

    Sorry, Andrew Cuomo -- you'll win anyway, so I voted for Howie Hawkins.

    Sorry, Kirsten Gillibrand -- I couldn't resist writing in a vote for Al Franken.

    If you're a friend of mine, I might have written you in for New York Supreme Court or for Civil Court judge. Let me know if you win.  You're welcome!

    Anyway, here's an election open thread.

     

     

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Death of Whitey Bulger

    I never thought I would be upset to see Whitey Bulger die. But somehow that happened. Because Bulger's death, like Bulger's life, promoted organized crime.

    I'm seeing a lot of the usual nonsense about the man, filled with praise he never deserved, from people who should know better. I blogged about the Whitey myth, and the way he the press builds him up into a folk hero, back when he was first arrested:

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    Birthright Citizenship is Important

    I highly doubt that the President can use an executive order to nullify an amendment to the Constitution, but I do take seriously that Trump will attempt to end the notion that anybody born on American soil can lay a claim to citizenship. It's all about who challenges him and what the law allows, after all.

    The arguments against "anchor babies" is soundbite ready. As Trump puts it:

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Talk Like Crazy People Are Listening

    Dear politicians: talk like crazy people are listening to you. Because they are. We're a big country, with hundreds of millions of people and no guaranteed health care. That means there are a lot of Americans who are mentally ill, and a lot of those people can't get proper treatment. Every time you speak in public, remember that there are some disturbed people who will take what you say, whatever you say, seriously, and that they might act on it.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    What Just Happened in Northeast Massachusetts [UPDATED]

    Dozens of fires and explosions broke out in three small Massachusetts cities tonight. Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover have been evacuated, and power has been cut off to prevent more houses from blowing up. People are injured. Many have lost their homes. And at least one man is dead, because his chimney fell onto his car.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    I Am Part of the Resistance Inside King Lear's Court

    King Lear is facing a test to his monarchy unlike any other faced by a fictitious British monarch. It is not just that he parceled out his kingdom and left himself nothing. Or that the country is bitterly divided between his scheming, ungrateful daughters. Or even that the kingdom may soon be overwhelmed by French invaders.
     
    The tragedy – which he does not fully grasp – is that many of his own followers are working diligently from within to frustrate his goals.
     
    I would know.
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    How Robert Mueller Outfoxed Donald Trump

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller faces a unique challenge in his investigation of Russian influence during the 2016 election. In addition to gathering information and prosecuting criminals, he has had to avoid getting fired by his resentful, mercurial, and unscrupulous commander-in-chief. Fifteen months into the investigation, he appears to have done a masterful job. By manipulating and distracting Donald Trump and his team of lawyers, he has not only preserved his job, he has maintained complete autonomy and seeded a cluster of spinoff investigations that will be nearly impossible for the White House to stifle. And despite Trump’s insistence that he’s “totally allowed” to intervene whenever he chooses, he won’t dare make a move this close to the midterm election, which means Mueller’s investigation will be protected for at least three more months.

    How has he done it?

    Read the article at Daily Beast

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Some Bodies Matter More Than Others: The Judith Butler Thing

    This week I started an online petition calling for Judith Butler to resign as president-elect of the Modern Language Association. If you're a member or past member of MLA, I'd invite you to sign it and to share it as widely as you are comfortable doing. Here is a letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education making a similar case.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Tariffs: the Time Bomb That Could Shatter the GOP

    “Tariffs are the greatest!” President Trump crowed on Twitter on Tuesday morning. If that represents a break from contemporary Republican orthodoxy, it’s a message other GOP presidents once embraced. Trump has previously quoted William McKinley declaring that tariffs made Americans lives “sweeter and brighter and brighter and brighter.” (For the record, McKinley only said “brighter” once.) And after Congress passed the Tariff Act of 1909, William Taft declared it “the best bill that the Republican party ever passed.”

    But the voters disagreed, vehemently. In the next two elections, they obliterated the GOP’s congressional majority, crushed Taft’s reelection hopes, and sent the party into a tailspin. Tariff policy was one of the most divisive issues in American politics, because its costs and benefits were unevenly distributed. Protectionist policies offered windfalls to large corporations while burdening small businesses and farmers with higher prices. That stirred bitter resentments in less industrialized, agricultural regions, fueling North-South discord before the Civil War, and inflaming Midwestern populism in the early 20th century, splitting political parties in the process. If Trump continues his protectionist his course, it could happen again.

    Read the full story at the Atlantic

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The International League of Dark Money

    Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are bent on destroying the peaceful international order that the United States built after World War II. They're hostile to the World Trade Organization, NATO, you name it. But Trump is not the only complicit American here. Because Trump and Putin are champions are a very different, more lawless international order, which many wealthy Americans participate in and derive benefit from: the international league of dark money.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Trump Has No Character

    "It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth...arrogance into humility…brutality into patriotism. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character."

    Joseph Heller Catch-22

     

    Truth, sometimes, is stranger than fiction. This quote, in some form or another, has been used to describe Donald Trump by a number of people. His performance in Helsinki and the subsequent press conference to clean up that mess is par for this presidency.

     

    Donald Trump had a complete meltdown less than 10 feet from Vladimir Putin. He proved once and for all that he is a Beta male using bravado to hide his insecurities. Watch the video again; his discomfort was visible. I wasn't surprised by his lying and scapegoating: he does that almost every time he's in front of cameras, but the timidity was stunning. He looked like a child with a disappointing report card.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Service Guarantees Citizenship

    In the dystopian Starship Troopers an Earth at war with a race of sentient insects solves its military recruiting problems by tying military service with the right to vote.

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    Ramona's picture

    Trouble at the Red Hen

    I've been thinking a lot about the Red Hen controversy--about whether Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of the restaurant, should have told Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave her establishment. No guesswork for me.  I'm on the side of Stephanie Wilkinson. 

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    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Politics of Personal Immunity

    Last night, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and entourage were booted from the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia by a co-owner who just couldn’t bring himself to serve a servant of the Trump Administration and boy was she mad about it and boy are the usual suspects, members of the namby-pamby D.C. press commentariat concerned about civility, too.  This on the heels of Trump adviser Stephen Miller and Department of Homeland Security Head Kirstjen Nielsen being heckled by fellow diners while separately trying to dine out on high end Mexican food.

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    Ramona's picture

    The Children are Lost and Someone Must Pay

    The stories coming out of Texas this week are horrific and heartbreaking. They're far past maddening and into territory where heads explode.

    No other way to put this: our government has been kidnapping refugee children and hiding them all across the country.

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    Ramona's picture

    Why It Means Something When De Niro Says It

    You could spend many wasteful hours going back through at least 30 years of my public utterances--blogs, essays, articles, comments--but you'll never find an F-bomb in any of them. That's not me. It's not my most hated word--that would be the C-word--but it's right up there.

    Ramona's picture

    Democrats, Get Fierce

    (Hi, Daggers, I'm so glad to see my name still up there with those other guys.  I've been hiding for a while, and I've missed you, but I see you're all still in fine fettle. I see, too, that Trump is still president. I guess that means retirement is out of the question?)

    President Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act, on August 14, 1935. Attending were: (L-R) Representative Robert Doughton (D-NC), Senator Robert Wagner (D-NY), Representative John Dingell (D-MI), Representative Joshua Twing Brooks (D-Pennsylvania), Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, Senator Pat Harrison (D-MS), and Representative David Lewis (D-MD). (Library of Congress)

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    What Kim Jong-Un Wants

    What does Kim Jong-Un want from this week's summit from President Trump? More than anything else, he wants what he has always wanted, like his father and grandfather before him: to split the U.S. off from its allies South Korea and Japan. The worst part is, he is already getting what he wants.

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