Saturday, August 13, 2016

In This Election No One Wants to Utter the Name: Voldemort BUSH

Oh YES!  I have wondered about this, too. NOBODY mentions BUSH/CHENEY and WHY the Middle East is in such a mess today!!!!  Hillary doesn't want to mention Bush because she voted for the invasion of Iraq. Trump won't mention Bush because he doesn't want to be tainted by that name (not that it would matter at this point -- Trump himself is a Giant Taint on the Republican Party all by himself), and the pundits on TV and in the papers won't mention Bush because most of them were FOR the war. Nobody wants to be reminded of the BIG ELEPHANT in the living room and how they allowed him to s--t all over the place while praising him back in the day.  And so, we don't hear the name of Voldemort Bush in this election cycle... except when someone very intelligent and perspicacious brings it up and shouts, "Hey, REMEMBER HIM???!" while rubbing all those noses in the truth, as in the following article by William Rivers Pitt:

EXCERPT:

This flame-decked train wreck has been a long time coming, and the GOP has nothing to blame but itself. Begin with the serial defections from the Democratic Party after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, augment with Nixon's "Southern Strategy" to promote racism and xenophobia within the party base, and then inject that strategy with steroids under Reagan by embracing right-wing fire-and-brimstone evangelical Christianity. Lose a war and collapse the economy in the middle.

Despise the immigrant, demonize the Other. Spend eight years howling THERE'S A BLACK KENYAN MUSLIM TERRORIST COMMUNIST SOCIALIST FASCIST MAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, YOU GUYS, EVERYONE FREAK OUT, season to taste with millions of guns and the paranoia they pack, put it all in a bag and shake it, and what you get when you crack the seal is Donald Trump: a racist, sexist, xenophobic fool who doesn't know that he doesn't know anything, surrounded by a growling herd of loyalists.

The Invisible Man: George W. Bush and a Hole in History
by William Rivers Pitt | August 13, 2016 

After Donald Trump blew into his dog saxophone and invited "Second Amendment people" to assassinate Hillary Clinton before she could appoint any judges, American politics went into China Syndrome meltdown mode in a way not seen since Preston Brooks beat Charles Sumner very nearly to death in the well of the Senate, 160 years ago almost to the day. Republicans who had endorsed Trump immediately fled en masse to Outer Mongolia to become anonymous yak herders, and witnesses reported seeing House Speaker Paul Ryan climb a large oak tree while muttering, "I hate this job, I hate this job, there's no place like home, I hate this job."

This flame-decked train wreck has been a long time coming, and the GOP has nothing to blame but itself. Begin with the serial defections from the Democratic Party after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, augment with Nixon's "Southern Strategy" to promote racism and xenophobia within the party base, and then inject that strategy with steroids under Reagan by embracing right-wing fire-and-brimstone evangelical Christianity. Lose a war and collapse the economy in the middle.

Despise the immigrant, demonize the Other. Spend eight years howling THERE'S A BLACK KENYAN MUSLIM TERRORIST COMMUNIST SOCIALIST FASCIST MAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, YOU GUYS, EVERYONE FREAK OUT, season to taste with millions of guns and the paranoia they pack, put it all in a bag and shake it, and what you get when you crack the seal is Donald Trump: a racist, sexist, xenophobic fool who doesn't know that he doesn't know anything, surrounded by a growling herd of loyalists.

There's a missing page to this recipe, one that has been deliberately deleted like a classified email from The Book Of Days. Trump runs around blaming Secretary Clinton for the state of the economy while arguing in tandem that Clinton and President Obama created ISIS out of thin air. "He's the founder of ISIS," Trump said on Wednesday. "He's the founder of ISIS. He's the founder. He founded ISIS. I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton." The corporate "news" media lap it up because it's "good television," and even his most ardent opponents fail to say the one missing word.

Bush.

Noam Chomsky explained the phenomenon best, and it is remarkable to watch it unfold in real time. According to Chomsky, the most effective way to control a populace is to severely limit the parameters of debate, but have the debate within those hedged parameters be vigorous so people think something of worth is actually taking place. Hence, they shout and stomp about responsible budget priorities without ever discussing the bloated "defense" budget, because that topic has been deemed off limits. Likewise, they shout and stomp about ISIS and the economy without ever mentioning George W. Bush, because he is simply too embarrassing to too many people sitting behind important desks with a lot to lose.

Think on it. Even with his towering hubris, Donald Trump knows better than to bring up Bush, but instead will lay the whole mess on Obama and Clinton regardless of the incoherence of the argument, because it's red meat for the base. Clinton wants no part of having Bush in the discussion because it underscores her craven Iraq War vote and its calamitous consequences. The corporate "news" media? Forget it. They hauled water for him like Gunga Din in the name of ratings and advertising dollars, and are now slicked to the elbows in innocent blood. Best not to bring all that up. Eight long years have been summarily erased.

Here's the thing, though: Like many of us, I remember. They can ignore it all they want, but I was there and I wrote it down every day. I watched two towers explode while Bush was "protecting" us, watched two foolish wars collapse into a bloodbath of folly as the Treasury was looted, watched the budget surplus be given away to rich people by way of ruinous tax cuts, watched lawfully produced subpoenas be ignored by the highest office in the land, watched torture become mainstream, watched the dark wings of total surveillance unfold over the nation entire, and watched Dick Cheney say the Vice President was not part of the Executive Branch because he didn't want to give his official papers to the National Archive as required by three different laws.

More than that, I remember plastic sheeting and duct tape, and an administration all too happy to peddle fear to lubricate the rails toward its goals. I remember a cowed populace being told to watch what they say, I remember terror alerts popping like firecrackers whenever the administration found itself in political hot water, I remember the serial lies, and I remember the adoration of the Republican base poured upon a strongman president who gave no damns for decorum or due process. George W. Bush and his crew trashed the economy, trashed Iraq and by proxy Syria, created ISIS by disbanding the Iraqi army and walked away with money falling out of their pockets.

Fear and hatred are powerful elixirs, and George W. Bush trained the nation well to imbibe them, and thus accept what he foisted upon us for personal gain. He is one page in a recipe that is more than 50 years old, and none of the people who pushed that poison want you to remember him. Trump is no mystery, no anomaly. He is the culmination of decades, the perfect avatar of the effort.

They don't talk about Bush. Why? So they can avoid taking responsibility for Trump, and all he represents.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Conservative legal scholars would rather have a liberal SCOTUS than Trump as President

Conservative Legal Scholars Prefer A Liberal Supreme Court To A President Trump

"The court is important, to be sure — but not nearly that important."

By Michelle Fields

Conservative legal luminaries distancing themselves from Donald Trump could potentially undermine one of the few remaining threads tying him to the GOP establishment.

Some Republicans have argued that conservatives skeptical of Donald Trump should vote for him anyway, if only to prevent Hillary Clinton from nominating liberals to the Supreme Court. But the right's leading legal scholars reject that idea: the risks of a President Trump would outweigh his influence on the high court.

"The only glimmer of hope in the Trump fiasco" is the list of 11 judges the candidate put forward as suitable Supreme Court nominees, said Richard Epstein, a Hoover Institution Fellow and professor at both New York University School of Law and the University of Chicago Law School. But that is based "on the questionable assumption that a man of his mercurial temperament and intellectual ignorance will keep to his word," he said.

Even if a President Trump did honor that promise, "influence on the courts take time, and foreign affairs and domestic crises come up immediately," Epstein said.  And that's not a risk the highly respected conservative legal scholar thinks is worth taking. "He is wholly unfit to deal with either of these two areas. In all other matters he is deficient," Epstein added.

Trump has a terrible record on constitutional issues.

In May, Trump's campaign released the list of judges he would consider nominating to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. It was an attempt to appease conservative critics (though he later said he reserved the right to nominate someone not on the list). The list included six federal appeals court judges that then-President George W. Bush appointed and five state supreme court judges Republican governors selected. Conservatives in the media and in Congress roundly praised Trump's list. Yet many right-leaning legal scholars tell The Huffington Post that, as important as the Supreme Court may be, it does not override all other issues when considering his candidacy.  

"The Supreme Court—and judicial appointments more broadly—is probably the single best reason to vote for Trump," said Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute. "But even then, there's a lot of uncertainty. How hard would Trump push to get a nominee confirmed? What would he do if his first choice were rejected? Would he make a 'fabulous deal' to trade judicial appointments for other priorities?"

"Trump put out a genuinely excellent list of potential appointees, but how much can we trust that list?" Shapiro continued. "Even Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, who were committed to appointing principled originalists and textualists, made mistakes; how would a president who knows nothing about the Constitution and thinks that judges 'sign bills' fare?"

These conservative legal luminaries distancing themselves from Trump has the potential to undermine one of the few remaining threads tying the candidate to the Republican establishment. For some senators, it may give an additional push to allow consideration of President Barack Obama's nominee to the court, Merrick Garland, based on the belief that he would be better than any potential Clinton pick.

Trump, however, remains confident that skeptical Republicans will inevitably vote for him out of concern for the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court.

"Even if people don't like me, they have to vote for me. They have no choice," Trump said in July. "Even if you can't stand Donald Trump, even if you think I'm the worst, you're going to vote for me. You know why? Justices of the Supreme Court."

The idea that it makes sense to trade a single justice for all of Trump's terrible baggage ... strikes me as thoroughly preposterous.

Some conservatives, like radio host Hugh Hewitt, agree with Trump. Hewitt, who himself teaches constitutional law, argued in July that voting for Trump is a no-brainer because, "It's the Supreme Court, stupid." He suggested that if conservatives have "any doubts at all," they should "take a course in con law."  

"If Hillary wins, the casebook you use to do so will simply be a history book, not a guide to how the Supreme Court should decide things based on precedent," he wrote in his column for The Washington Examiner.

Prominent theology professor Wayne Grudem, of the Phoenix Seminary in Arizona, made a similar point. He wrote that a Clinton presidency would lead to an America that would, "no longer be ruled by the people and their elected representatives, but by unelected, unaccountable, activist judges who would dictate from the bench about whatever they were pleased to decree."

But many of the country's top right-leaning legal scholars ― the people who understand the importance of the Supreme Court more than anyone ― just don't find that argument compelling.  

"The court is important, to be sure ― but not nearly that important," said retired Temple University Law School Professor David Post, who now writes for the conservative website the Volokh Conspiracy. "With all due respect to my colleagues who might feel differently, this one strikes me as a no-brainer." The next president might end up only filling a single seat on the court, Post said. "The idea that it makes sense to trade a single justice for all of Trump's terrible baggage ― his bullying, his ignorance, his appalling tendency to shoot his mouth off without thinking, and all the rest of it ― strikes me as thoroughly preposterous," he added.

Ilya Somin, who teaches law at George Mason University and also blogs for the Volokh Conspiracy, argues that a Trump presidency might even be worse for the courts than a Clinton one.

"Trump has a terrible record on constitutional issues," he said. "He seeks to gut freedom of speech and constitutional property rights, and undermine constitutional constraints on executive power even more than Bush and Obama have."

"Moreover, over the long term, a Trump victory increases the likelihood that the GOP will become a big-government xenophobic party hostile to civil liberties and opposed to most constitutional constraints on government power ― much like the far-right nationalist parties of Western Europe, whose platforms are very similar to his," he continued. "Such a party is likely to do far more to undermine the Constitution than even a Hillary Clinton victory."

Epstein believes that most of his fellow legal scholars aren't buying the argument that conservatives must support Trump for fear of Clinton's potential Supreme Court nominees.

"I am beginning to think that my views are now mainstream among serious defenders of any version of the conservative or classical liberal traditions," Epstein said.


Trump as a Batman Villain, But Sadly, He's Real


Everything Burns: Gotham in the Age of Trump
by William Rivers Pitt | August 12, 2016 - 7:45am

— from Truthout

I've been jokingly calling Ted Cruz a Batman villain for a while now because the comparison seemed to fit so well, right down to the features of his face: the taut planes of his cheeks, the vulpine peaks of his ears, the hollowness in his eyes that makes him look like a shark even as he smiles. In recent weeks, however, it has become clear that Donald Trump is the true Batman villain in this race, and not just because he won the GOP nomination by breaking all the furniture in the room, or because he dog-whistled his supporters to assassinate Hillary Clinton.

Consider Trump in the context of the old, terrible '60s Batman TV series. Here's a villain with gross orange facepaint, a truly stupid live-ocelot-on-his-head hairdo, an astonishingly outsized sense of self-importance. It would not at all surprise me if, not long from now, Trump went off on one of his blundering rants and the cartooned words BAM! PHIZ! GOMP! TWEE! started appearing after he drops his silly little verbal bricks. Trump and Adam West would have made boon foes in the age of bell bottoms and Nixon.

He's even got the better name for the gig: Trump! What can you do with "Cruz," really? He'll "Cruz to world domination"? That sucks. When Evil Villain Donald pulls off one of his stunts, at least he can say, "You've been Trumped! Mwah ha ha ha ha!" Hell, even The Penguin had a catchphrase of sorts. Kind of a necessary ingredient, yeah? There is also this: Cruz has a plan. Granted, it's Dominionist right-wing gibberish, but it's a plan. Trump, on the other hand, has no plan. Like, at all. He's traffic on I-95 at quitting time, all mad speed and no pattern and lots of broken glass.

I'm a fan of Christopher Nolan's rendition of the Batman film franchise, and especially of Heath Ledger's astonishing turn as The Joker in The Dark Knight. The films themselves are the absence of camp, deadly serious, as if Jason Bourne put on a bat suit, and Ledger's Joker is the stuff of legend. In Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne's stalwart sidekick Alfred tried to explain The Joker to his master. "Some men aren't looking for anything logical like money," he said. "They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn." Later, when The Joker ignites a towering pile of gas-soaked cash with a lit cigar after killing half the people in the room, he says, "It's not about the money. It's about sending a message. Everything burns."

That's Trump to the letter, sitting in the dark with his smartphone, the glow of the screen illuminating the diabolical look on his face as he tries to figure out how to wreck stuff in 140 characters or less. His aides should have snapped his thumbs off a year ago. He doesn't want to be president. He wants to nuke Europe, sell missiles to Japan, purge Muslims and Mexicans from the land and make women respect and adore him because these aren't tiny hands so stop saying that -- but he doesn't want to be president.

This isn't a campaign. It's just another reality TV show titled "Everything Burns." Note well, Hollywood: Reality TV and Donald Trump are what happens when you don't pay your writers.

So if Trump doesn't want to be president, what happens if he makes it to the White House? As always, the genuinely important part is The Crew. The candidate for president doesn't govern; the hundreds of people who slither through the door after victory do that. George W. Bush didn't wreck the country; he hired the people who did. Donald Trump has been peddling this preposterous billionaire-populist nonsense since his campaign began, but the announcement of his economic team tells you all you need to know about where he's coming from:

The advisory team of 13 men -- and no women -- reflects a wide range of people from the higher echelons of American finance, including hedge fund managers and real estate investors. The median net worth of Trump's official economic advisers appears to be at least several hundred million dollars. Trump's outsider crew at times conflicts with his message of economic populism. He has painted Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as the candidate of Wall Street, but his team is filled with hedge fund managers, bankers and real estate speculators.

Trump's pitch has always been, in part, what you might call trickle-down expertise: The most successful members of the business worlds, the titans of the 1 percent, know what it takes to save to save the middle class. The advisers reinforce that idea. Trump also takes economic advice from several people who aren't listed in Friday's release, including Arthur Laffer, the former Reagan economist who is the godfather of supply-side economics; Larry Kudlow, a financial commentator who is a Laffer disciple; and Trump's own children, including his daughter Ivanka.

Laffer, Kudlow and Ivanka. Those three could wreck an economy if they were 10 miles down a mineshaft with no candles and a bad map. Trump himself delivered on Monday one of the most vapid economic speeches in human history. It was like watching a rat terrier try to do math inside an activated blender, and this is the guy who is going to hand-pick a national economics team? He should stick to the stuff in his wheelhouse: Yelling at houseplants about how hot it is in here, making tiny little circles with his thumb and forefinger, and making promises his hairdo can't keep.

Yeah, Gotham is in pretty deep trouble. Everything does burn when enough heat is applied. We could light the Bat Signal, I guess, but no one is coming to the rescue. This mess we have to clean up ourselves.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

New movie with Meryl Streep: Florence Foster Jenkins - should be a good one

Listen to the real Florence Foster Jenkins sing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMu9PKWthLE

She has often been called the "worst singer in the world."  A flibberty-jibbet society matron, she thought of herself as the equal of famous operatic sopranos. Upon receiving a legacy fortune in her 50s, she launched herself into a singing career and "entertained" thousands, no doubt in an unintended way. Listen and hear for yourself why people would want to pay to hear her sing (often wearing diaphanous, flowing costumes decorated with tinsel and angel wings attached to her back).  Give yourself a break from Trump and Clinton and uplift your spirits.  She's given me my laughs for the week/month/year. (~ .~) I feel sorry for her challenged accompanist whom you can hear over and over trying to return her to somewhere near the true notes, without avail.  Reviews of the movie now coming out with Meryl Streep as Florence have been excellent -- it's said that Streep gives a great imitation of Florence's voice.

Read more about the real Florence at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Foster_Jenkins  and an article at:  http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/going-out/film/florence-foster-jenkins-worlds-worst-7666091 with tidbits about her life.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Love this guy's observations -- same as mine


It's almost painful watching the Donald reading the notes he's been given as a guide for his speeches. His lack of enthusiasm while doing so is definitely being noticed by his rabid supporters who expect the crazy man they are used to. Never mind. The crazy man can't help himself and keeps tearing holes in the box the GOP has put him in. He's already chewing his way out, screaming out invectives against Hillary that more appropriately fit himselfHe's not creative enough to think up something really substantive against her and, like a kid on the playground, simply echoes what he himself has just been called, yelling "Oh yeah? Well, That's what YOU are!"  It's hard to believe this is what we are seeing in the year 2016 as a nominee for leadership of our nation. The dust must be rising in huge clouds over the graves of our forefathers as they spin wildly beneath the soil.

The kinder, gentler, doomed Donald Trump

by P.M. Carpenter | August 7, 2016 - 9:07am

And so it becomes necessary for Trump to destroy his campaign to save it. How fitting that this madman would redeploy the catastrophic logic of a half-century-old misadventure. And yet, he has little choice. Call it the Trump Paradox: It is necessary for him to discard (temporarily; more later) his old strategy of multiple train wrecks and instead behave more like a traditional, party-unifying presidential candidate — to embrace, that is, the wicked "establishment" — even though his revised behavior risks devastating much of the anti-establishment support he has.

On the stump, Trump is now stiffly reading from notes and woodenly throwing in the towel in his domination struggle with "elitist" pols and mechanically praising the likes of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, the GOP saint of autopsies and inclusiveness. He is — yawn — applauding "the wisdom of Ronald Reagan's big tent within the party. Big, big tent. Remember?"

Such as seating for Democrats. Hey boys and girls of Wisconsin, how many of you are out there tonight? — which he asked last night. I was watching, and I heard or rather didn't hear what the NY Times didn't hear: "Hardly anyone made a sound. Mr. Trump, looking unimpressed, offered that he did not need Democrats anyway."

Well, so much for that tack. This is why comedy plays tour the backwater provinces before opening on Broadway. If a joke flops, it gets stricken from the script.

As for merely unifying Wisconsin Republicans? There was another sort of comedy awaiting Trump. In an open letter to his fellow GOPers, the speaker of the state's House of Representatives announced that he's "embarrassed that [Trump is] leading our ticket." The speaker was, from there, even more aggressive in his disapproval. "As Donald Trump has said stupid things and been rude to so many people over the past year, I usually chalked it up to inexperience and the spotlight of an incredibly hostile press. But since the convention, his lack of judgment has got to concern even the most ardent Trump supporters."

Party unity was also looking a bit shaky in Ohio. Just as Wisconsin's speaker and the U.S. speaker were hoping that Trump "doesn't keep doing things like this" — meaning acting like Trump — Gov. John Kasich was telling CNN "that he was considering voting Democratic for the first time." Well hell, if Republican Kasich had been at Trump's Wisconsin rally, he could have hooted and raised his hand when the nominee asked how many Democrats were out there.

Still, the real key to GOP unity, as we all know (and as Trump has had to be reminded), is a scorched-earth campaign against the diabolical Hillary Clinton. And there, Trump laid it on as thick as his brain. Yesterday his pop guns were blazing, charging that Clinton is "pretty close to unhinged," she is "unbalanced," she is "unstable," she is "dangerous," she is a "pathological liar," as president she would destroy "this country from within," she is "death, destruction, chaos and weakness" themselves.

And (my favorite) in an Obama-Derangement redux, The Donald charged that Hillary would be a powerful tyrant of insufferable impotence: "In one way she's a monster. In another way she's a weak person. She's actually not strong enough to be president."

But here's the thing. Such is the rancid raw meat so loved by the base. Yet Trump, in Wisconsin, was reading this garbage from his notes — carefully, slowly, studiously. This just wasn't the old Donald. Earlier in the day there was the occasional "Kill her!" or "Lock her up!" at his Iowa rally, however Trump's Wisconsin audience last night seemed — sounded — oddly subdued, disappointed no doubt that the Swaggartlike madman they once loved was morphing into a rather conventional Episcopalian pastor. The obligatory hatred of Pure Clintonesque Satanism was there; the animated passion was not.

And it was absent by design. To save his campaign, it had become necessary for Trump to destroy it. The upside? I am profoundly skeptical that Trump can sustain his restraint. Within days, he'll be back to saving his campaign by destroying it the old way. Because he just can't help himself.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

An Important Message from Bernie Sanders

Of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: It might have been.   Sigh.  However, Bernie is right. To prevent a Trump presidency, we must vote for Clinton.  We can console ourselves that Bernie's strong candidacy did get a few progressive ideals into the Democratic platform (it remains to be seen how many will be honored in a Clinton presidency, but that's another story for the future when We, the People will have to hold her feet to the fire with our votes). In this election, Clinton is our strongest protection against a sociopathic narcissist demagogue.  Right now, we have to make sure Donald Trump NEVER GETS NEAR THE WHITE HOUSE OR THE SUPREME COURT.  His ignorance/arrogance are staggering. He is bringing down the Republican Party and would do the same thing to our nation and the world, if given the chance.  

I Support Hillary Clinton. So Should Everyone Who Voted for Me.
by Bernie Sanders | August 6, 2016 - 8:38am

The conventions are over and the general election has officially begun. In the primaries, I received 1,846 pledged delegates, 46% of the total. Hillary Clinton received 2,205 pledged delegates, 54%. She received 602 superdelegates. I received 48 superdelegates. Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee and I will vigorously support her.

Donald Trump would be a disaster and an embarrassment for our country if he were elected president. His campaign is not based on anything of substance — improving the economy, our education system, healthcare or the environment. It is based on bigotry. He is attempting to win this election by fomenting hatred against Mexicans and Muslims. He has crudely insulted women. And as a leader of the "birther movement," he tried to undermine the legitimacy of our first African American president. That is not just my point of view. That's the perspective of a number of conservative Republicans.

In these difficult times, we need a president who will bring our nation together, not someone who will divide us by race or religion, not someone who lacks an understanding of what our Constitution is about.

On virtually every major issue facing this country and the needs of working families, Clinton's positions are far superior to Trump's. Our campaigns worked together to produce the most progressive platform in the history of American politics. Trump's campaign wrote one of the most reactionary documents.

Clinton understands that Citizens United has undermined our democracy. She will nominate justices who are prepared to overturn that Supreme Court decision, which made it possible for billionaires to buy elections. Her court appointees also would protect a woman's right to choose, workers' rights, the rights of the LGBT community, the needs of minorities and immigrants and the government's ability to protect the environment.

Trump, on the other hand, has made it clear that his Supreme Court appointees would preserve the court's right-wing majority.

Clinton understands that in a competitive global economy we need the best-educated workforce in the world. She and I worked together on a proposal that will revolutionize higher education in America. It will guarantee that the children of any family in this country with an annual income of $125,000 a year or less – 83% of our population – will be able to go to a public college or university tuition free. This proposal also substantially reduces student debt.

Trump, on the other hand, has barely said a word about higher education.

Clinton understands that at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, it is absurd to provide huge tax breaks to the very rich.

Trump, on the other hand, wants billionaire families like his to enjoy hundreds of billions of dollars in new tax breaks.

Clinton understands that climate change is real, is caused by human activity and is one of the great environmental crises facing our planet. She knows that we must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and move aggressively to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

Trump, on the other hand, like most Republicans, rejects science and the conclusions of almost all major researchers in the field. He believes that climate change is a "hoax," and that there's no need to address it.

Clinton understands that this country must move toward universal healthcare. She wants to see that all Americans have the right to choose a public option in their healthcare exchange, that anyone 55 or older should be able to opt in to Medicare, and that we must greatly improve primary healthcare through a major expansion of community health centers. She also wants to lower the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs.

And what is Donald Trump's position on healthcare? He wants to abolish the Affordable Care Act, throw 20 million people off the health insurance they currently have and cut Medicaid for lower-income Americans.

During the primaries, my supporters and I began a political revolution to transform America. That revolution continues as Hillary Clinton seeks the White House. It will continue after the election. It will continue until we create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent – a government based on the principle of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.

I understand that many of my supporters are disappointed by the final results of the nominating process, but being despondent and inactive is not going to improve anything. Going forward and continuing the struggle is what matters. And, in that struggle, the most immediate task we face is to defeat Donald Trump.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Wonder why Trump supporters can't be deterred in their love for Trump? Here's the answer.

As the author says, "Of course these explanations do not apply to all Trump supporters. In fact, some are likely intelligent people who know better, but are supporting Trump to be rebellious or to introduce chaos into the system. They may have such distaste for the establishment and Hillary Clinton that their vote for Trump is a symbolic middle finger directed at Washington."  But it's very  possible the explanation below applies to MOST Trump supporters. One who was interviewed by a cable network journalist said he would vote for Trump even if he murdered someone--and even more so depending on who the person was whom he murdered.  And there you have it, from the mouth of a devoted Trumpster and Tea Party member who is working hard to make sure Donald Trump has his finger on the nuclear button.

A neuroscientist explains what may be wrong with Trump supporters' brains

By Bobby Azarian

There's no doubt that Donald Trump has said many things that would have been political suicide for any other Republican candidate. And almost every time he made one of these shocking statements, political analysts on both the left and the right predicted that he'd lose supporters because of it. But as we have clearly seen over the past year, they were dead wrong every time. Trump appears to be almost totally bulletproof.

The only thing that might be more perplexing than the psychology of Donald Trump is the psychology of his supporters. In their eyes, The Donald can do no wrong. Even Trump himself seems to be astonished by this phenomenon. "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK? It's, like, incredible."

Senator John McCain, who has been a regular target for Trump during his campaign, has a simple explanation for his unwavering support. "What he did was he fired up the crazies."

While the former Republican presidential nominee may be on to something, he doesn't exactly provide a very satisfying scientific explanation.  So how exactly are Trump loyalists psychologically or neurologically different from everyone else? What is going on in their brains that makes them so blindly devoted?

  1. The Dunning-Kruger Effect:

Some believe that many of those who support Donald Trump do so because of ignorance — basically they are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand. When Trump tells them that crime is skyrocketing in the United States, or that the economy is the worst it's ever been, they simply take his word for it.

The seemingly obvious solution would be to try to reach those people through political ads, expert opinions, and logical arguments that educate with facts. Except none of those things seem to be swaying any Trump supporters from his side, despite great efforts to deliver this information to them directly.

The Dunning-Kruger effect explains that the problem isn't just that they are misinformed; it's that they are completely unaware that they are misinformed. This creates a double burden.

Studies have shown that people who lack expertise in some area of knowledge often have a cognitive bias that prevents them from realizing that they lack expertise. As psychologist David Dunning puts it in an op-ed for Politico, "The knowledge and intelligence that are required to be good at a task are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one is not good at that task — and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at the task. This includes political judgment." Essentially, they're not smart enough to realize they're dumb.

And if one is under the illusion that they have sufficient or even superior knowledge, then they have no reason to defer to anyone else's judgment. This helps explain why even nonpartisan experts — like military generals and Independent former Mayor of New York/billionaire CEO Michael Bloomberg — as well as some respected Republican politicians, don't seem to be able to say anything that can change the minds of loyal Trump followers.

Out of immense frustration, some of us may feel the urge to shake a Trump supporter and say, "Hey! Don't you realize that he's an idiot?!" No. They don't. That may be hard to fathom, but that's the nature of the Dunning-Kruger effect — one's ignorance is completely invisible to them.

  1. Hypersensitivity to Threat

Science has unequivocally shown that the conservative brain has an exaggerated fear response when faced with stimuli that may be perceived as threatening. A classic study in the journal Psychophysiology found that conservatives have a stronger physiological reaction to startling noises and graphic images compared to liberals. A brain-imaging study published in Current Biology revealed that those who lean right politically tend to have a larger amygdala — a structure that is electrically active during states of fear and anxiety. And a 2014 fMRI study found that it is possible to predict whether someone is a liberal or conservative simply by looking at their brain activity while they view threatening or disgusting images, such as mutilated bodies. Specifically, the brains of self-identified conservatives generated more activity overall in response to the disturbing images.

So how does this help explain the unbridled loyalty of Trump supporters? These brain responses are automatic, and not influenced by logic or reason. As long as Trump continues his fear mongering by constantly portraying Muslims and Mexican immigrants as imminent dangers, many conservative brains will involuntarily light up like light bulbs being controlled by a switch. Fear keeps his followers energized and focused on safety. And when you think you've found your protector, you become less concerned with remarks that would normally be seen as highly offensive.

  1. Terror Management Theory

A well-supported theory from social psychology, called Terror Management Theory, explains why Trump's fear mongering is doubly effective.

The theory is based on the fact that humans have a unique awareness of their own mortality. The inevitably of one's death creates existential terror and anxiety that is always residing below the surface. In order to manage this terror, humans adopt cultural worldviews — like religions, political ideologies, and national identities — that act as a buffer by instilling life with meaning and value.

Terror Management Theory predicts that when people are reminded of their own mortality, which happens with fear mongering, they will more strongly defend those who share their worldviews and national or ethnic identity, and act out more aggressively towards those who do not. Hundreds of studies have confirmed this hypothesis, and some have specifically shown that triggering thoughts of death tends to shift people towards the right.

Not only do death reminders increase nationalism, they influence actual voting habits in favor of more conservative presidential candidates. And more disturbingly, in a study with American students, scientists found that making mortality salient increased support for extreme military interventions by American forces that could kill thousands of civilians overseas. Interestingly, the effect was present only in conservatives, which can likely be attributed to their heightened fear response.

By constantly emphasizing existential threat, Trump creates a psychological condition that makes the brain respond positively rather than negatively to bigoted statements and divisive rhetoric. Liberals and Independents who have been puzzled over why Trump hasn't lost supporters after such highly offensive comments need look no further than Terror Management Theory.

  1. High Attentional Engagement

According to a recent study that monitored brain activity while participants watched 40 minutes of political ads and debate clips from the presidential candidates, Donald Trump is unique in his ability to keep the brain engaged. While Hillary Clinton could only hold attention for so long, Trump kept both attention and emotional arousal high throughout the viewing session. This pattern of activity was seen even when Trump made remarks that individuals didn't necessarily agree with. His showmanship and simple messages clearly resonate at a visceral level.

Essentially, the loyalty of Trump supporters may in part be explained by America's addiction with entertainment and reality TV. To some, it doesn't matter what Trump actually says because he's so amusing to watch. With Donald, you are always left wondering what outrageous thing he is going to say or do next. He keeps us on the edge of our seat, and for that reason, some Trump supporters will forgive anything he says. They are happy as long as they are kept entertained.

Of course these explanations do not apply to all Trump supporters. In fact, some are likely intelligent people who know better, but are supporting Trump to be rebellious or to introduce chaos into the system. They may have such distaste for the establishment and Hillary Clinton that their vote for Trump is a symbolic middle finger directed at Washington.

So what can we do to potentially change the minds of Trump loyalists before voting day in November? As a cognitive neuroscientist, it grieves me to say that there may be nothing we can do. The overwhelming majority of these people may be beyond reach, at least in the short term. The best we can do is to motivate everyone else to get out to the booths and check the box that doesn't belong to a narcissistic nationalist who has the potential to damage the nation beyond repair.

Bobby Azarian is a neuroscientist affiliated with George Mason University and a science writer. His research has been published in journals such as Cognition & Emotion and Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, and he has written for The New York Times, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Slate, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post.