Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don’t know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses.
For only the third time in its almost 160 year history, The Atlantic has endorsed a candidate for President:
Hillary Rodham Clinton has more than earned, through her service to the country as first lady, as a senator from New York, and as secretary of state, the right to be taken seriously as a White House contender. She has flaws (some legitimately troubling, some exaggerated by her opponents), but she is among the most prepared candidates ever to seek the presidency. We are confident that she understands the role of the United States in the world; we have no doubt that she will apply herself assiduously to the problems confronting this country; and she has demonstrated an aptitude for analysis and hard work.
But the animus towards Donald Trump is the true motivator for this endorsement:
Donald Trump, on the other hand, has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office. His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.
This judgment is not limited to the editors of The Atlantic. A large number—in fact, a number unparalleled since Goldwater’s 1964 campaign—of prominent policy makers and officeholders from the candidate’s own party have publicly renounced him. Trump disqualified himself from public service long before he declared his presidential candidacy. In one of the more sordid episodes in modern American politics, Trump made himself the face of the so-called birther movement, which had as its immediate goal the demonization of the country’s first African American president. Trump’s larger goal, it seemed, was to stoke fear among white Americans of dark-skinned foreigners. He succeeded wildly in this; the fear he has aroused has brought him one step away from the presidency.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bruce Springsteen shows he has a deeper understanding of what’s going on in this country and why Trump is popular than most political professionals (hint: the interesting part isn’t where he calls Trump a moron):
Well, you know, the republic is under siege by a moron, basically. The whole thing is tragic. Without overstating it, it’s a tragedy for our democracy. When you start talking about elections being rigged, you’re pushing people beyond democratic governance. And it’s a very, very dangerous thing to do. Once you let those genies out of the bottle, they don’t go back in so easy, if they go back in at all. The ideas he’s moving to the mainstream are all very dangerous ideas – white nationalism and the alt-right movement. The outrageous things that he’s done – not immediately disavowing David Duke? These are things that are obviously beyond the pale for any previous political candidate. It would sink your candidacy immediately.
And in particular:
I believe that there’s a price being paid for not addressing the real cost of the deindustrialization and globalization that has occurred in the United States for the past 35, 40 years and how it’s deeply affected people’s lives and deeply hurt people to where they want someone who says they have a solution. And Trump’s thing is simple answers to very complex problems. Fallacious answers to very complex problems. And that can be very appealing.
Pretty much exactly right. All the economic forces that have been putting downward pressure on the middle class for decades, and that were exacerbated and accelerated by the 2008 financial crisis, leads directly to Trump.
Donald Trump, doing what comes most natural, lying about his years of spreading racist conspiracy theories about President Obama:
In his news conference Friday, Mr. Trump falsely accused Hillary Clinton of having first raised questions about Mr. Obama’s birthplace during the 2008 Democratic primary.
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” Mr. Trump said. “I finished it.”
Mr. Trump’s assertion was false. During the 2008 Democratic contest, Mrs. Clinton’s senior strategist at one point pondered, in an internal memo that was later leaked, the ways in which Mr. Obama’s personal background differed from many Americans’. But neither Mrs. Clinton nor her campaign ever publicly questioned Mr. Obama’s citizenship or birthplace, in Hawaii.
Donald Trump lies about absolutely everything, all the time. You can’t just walk away from literally years of spreading this garbage.
From The Washington Post:
Donald Trump was in a tuxedo, standing next to his award: a statue of a palm tree, as tall as a toddler. It was 2010, and Trump was being honored by a charity — the Palm Beach Police Foundation — for his “selfless support” of its cause.
His support did not include any of his own money.
Instead, Trump had found a way to give away somebody else’s money and claim the credit for himself.
Everything about this man is a lie. Everything. And the lies often involved his boundless narcissism.
From The New York Times:
The Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, described to CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday the amount of confusion the armed protesters initially caused.
He said the event had attracted “20 or 30 people” who “showed up with AR-15 rifles slung across their shoulder.”
“They were wearing gas masks,” Mr. Brown said. “They were wearing bulletproof vests and camo fatigues, for effect, for whatever reason.”
When the shooting started, “they began to run,” he said. And because they ran in the middle of the shooting, he said, the police on the scene viewed them as suspects. “Someone is shooting at you from a perched position, and people are running with AR-15s and camo gear and gas masks and bulletproof vests, they are suspects, until we eliminate that.”
The right-wing fantasy that armed citizens will make everyone safer by firing back during an event like this is exposed for what it is. Armed morons run away just like everyone else, and make the jobs of the trained professionals who are trying to make people safe harder.
Great list of the conspiracy theories Donald Trump traffics in:
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump not only surrounds himself with conspiracy theorists, he has spent years pushing conspiracy theories himself, much to the delight of his supporters.
At times, Trump tries to remain evasive about whether he actually believes these conspiracy theories, insisting that he simply “heard” or “read” them somewhere or is just asking a question.
We found at least 58 instances of Trump promoting false conspiracy theories on everything from immigration to President Obama’s birthplace.
When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.
We’ll see what China has to say about all this. Absent a new trade deal with China, Trump says he’ll impose tariffs on Chinese goods of up to 45 percent. Trump all but dismisses China’s threat in the South China Sea, believing that the economic carrot will make them heel. It won’t. The Chinese are very subtle, and they expect subtlety in return. They equate it with strength. Where there is lack of subtlety, China sees opportunity.
They will surely renegotiate on trade, but in return for the withdrawal of a carrier battle group, or even recognition that the Spratly Islands belong to China. And how will Trump, short-term thinker that he is, refuse the chance to claim victory on his signature issue?
So China and Russia are free to expand. Our commitments are torn up, and Americans are are left with — what? A few more nickels left in their pockets, at the cost of an earthquake across the world. If Japan doesn’t come through with protection payments, will American troops remain to defend them? If not, they’ll be forced to acquire nuclear weapons. Will Turkey align with Russia? Malaysia with China? Pakistan with Iran?
Given that he learns all he needs from watching “the shows,” Trump can’t answer. It doesn’t interest him, either. His thinking resembles your old aunt who’s too blind to read the newspaper — Remember when they made spark plugs in Yonkers? Those were the days. Peace, a chicken in every pot, and, by God, no Mexicans on the factory floor.
It’s a mistake to sneer at it, though. Taft was a fat judge who ran a nation of small farmers and the newly rich; at the time his isolationism was conventional, the result of ignorance. Lindbergh was a bigot who got swallowed up by the Second World War. But Trump is a man for his time. When people have long been poor, when they’re exhausted by 15 years of war and kill themselves with pills for want of jobs, Trump sounds good.
Scratch your neighbor’s back first. Bring the troops home. Make the bastards abroad show their appreciation. Give nothing away for free. “Make America Great Again.”
In spirit, it’s all anyone has the right to expect. But Trump’s penny-pinching, shoelace-staring foreign policy is 150 years out of date. It’s not just an immediate threat to peace — it will permanently discredit and destroy American power in the world.
Excellent piece by David Frum on how Trump is destroying the fragile norms and conventions that define our democracy:
The television networks that promoted Trump; the primary voters who elevated him; the politicians who eventually surrendered to him; the intellectuals who argued for him, and the donors who, however grudgingly, wrote checks to him—all of them knew, by the time they made their decisions, that Trump lied all the time, about everything. They knew that Trump was ignorant, and coarse, and boastful, and cruel. They knew he habitually sympathized with dictators and kleptocrats—and that his instinct when confronted with criticism of himself was to attack, vilify, and suppress. They knew his disrespect for women, the disabled, and ethnic and religious minorities. They knew that he wished to unravel NATO and other U.S.-led alliances, and that he speculated aloud about partial default on American financial obligations. None of that dissuaded or deterred them.
Donald Trump is surely the most policy-ignorant major party nominee of modern times, or perhaps of any time. As with the lies, it’s almost impossible to keep track of the revelations of gaps in his knowledge. The most spectacular may have been talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt’s exposure of the fact that Trump lacked the most basic understanding of the structure and mission of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
It’s a fair generalization that Republicans demand less policy expertise from their national leaders than Democrats have usually expected from theirs. Ronald Reagan was less well-informed than Jimmy Carter; George W. Bush had mastered less detail than Al Gore. Yet both Reagan and Bush had at least proven themselves successful governors of important states. Both men offered clear and plausible presidential platforms, which both men implemented in their first year in office more or less as advertised.
What’s different now is the massive Republican and conservative rejection of the idea that a candidate for president should know anything substantive about governing at all. As of November, 2015, 62 percent of Republicans insisted that “ordinary Americans” would do a better job solving the country’s problems than professional politicians. While 80 percent of Democrats wanted experience in government in the next president, according to post-Super Tuesday 2016 exit polls, only 40 percent of Republicans did so. The larger share, 50 percent, preferred an “outsider.”
The idea that the government is so corrupt that we need an “outsider” who doesn’t know anything about government to come in and shake things up is such a silly fantasy. Government service requires expertise just like any other profession. A reality television star has about as much qualification for being President of the United States as I do in trying to right the ship of a failing steak company. What do I know about steaks, about selling food, food distribution, marketing, retailing, or literally anything having to do with selling steaks? Nothing, so I would fail if I tried. Similarly, if we ever elect one of these “outsider” candidates, we’ll soon discover the same: they have no idea what they’re doing, and they will fail.
More broadly, though, Donald Trump represents an existential threat to our government. It’s important to understand this fundamentally. It’s not just picking the person who would appoint the judges you prefer. In this unique case, it’s picking a person who tramples on all the norms and conventions that make up the civil society that define the legal structures created by the Constitution. Those norms and conventions are hard to build up, and they’re fragile and easy to tear down. People take them for granted, but they shouldn’t. The rapid rate at which the cowards in the Republican Party have bent the knee before the ignorant bully shows how easy these norms can be destroyed.