gemli is a trusted commenter Boston

For all the talk of moral journeys and bending arcs, for all the work it took to bring this country to a point where race and gender don’t matter, we’ve got Donald Trump nipping at Hillary’s heels and making a mockery of everything this country stands for.

The poise and intelligence of Barack Obama count for nothing with Republicans, who have demonized and insulted him from the day he was elected. His endorsement of Hillary Clinton means nothing to them. Even a Republican like Paul Ryan who can’t stomach Donald Trump has joined the chorus of Republicans who are demonizing Clinton.

Hillary’s foolish use of a private email server pales in comparison to Trump’s sleazy deceit, profound ignorance, vulgar tone and narcissistic self-aggrandizement. Yet Republicans are suddenly outraged by the fact that Hillary committed no crime. The system is rigged, shouts Trump.

In a way, Trump is right. That anyone with his utter lack of presidential qualities could be so close to achieving the presidency means that something is seriously wrong, either with the rules, the swarming media coverage or the people who think he’s a good idea. Clearly qualifications don’t matter.

The security of our country and our standing in the world are at stake. But even as we speak, the man who would be the first Emperor of America is being fitted for invisible clothes.

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gemli is a trusted commenter Boston

Yes, it’s fun to visit the poverty zoo. Some of the little ones are so cute. They scamper around, clearly uncomfortable with the basics of the modern economy, but they delight us in the way they clamber over the obstacles of broken families, poverty, drug abuse and lack of basic needs. Darn if some of them don’t actually manage to eke out a meager existence.

Sometimes, amid the millions who don’t make it, you’ll meet a one or two people in Albuquerque who will make your day. In a grim, soulless world that makes drug addiction commonplace and yet a crime, it’s a treat to see the few who somehow manage to get through the gauntlet.

Fortunately, there are local community volunteers to deal with crushing childhood anxiety, depression and unprocessed grief. Sure, it’s hit or miss, but if not for those volunteers, government would have to step in and provide actual social services and qualified counselors.

It’s good that we look for small moments of connection. The alternative would involve reining in rampant unfettered capitalism, and asking the poor, put-upon 0.1 percent to pony up a few bucks to save children’s lives.

Little girls in Texas with nowhere else to go will sit in a circle and get tongue twisters instead of sex education. With no access to family planning services, they’ll have lots of unwanted babies who will then sit in other circles, and around and around it goes.

Who can say Rubber Republican Baby Buggy Bumpers six times real fast?

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gemli is a trusted commenter Boston 1 day ago

Trump isn’t illiterate. He’s anti-literate. He’s the spokesman for the party with nothing to say about the reality of climate change, along with several other topics, such as taxation, international relations, immigration policy, law enforcement and abortion, just for starters.

I’d say he makes it up as he goes along, but you can’t make this stuff up. He has an unreal view of the real world, full of snap judgments and unashamed to wax philosophic on topics he’s clearly never spent a second thinking about.

Most politicians talk about building bridges. They want to connect people together, to achieve accommodation and balance. But Trump’s a fan of building walls to keep out not only rising seas and illegal immigrants but the rest of the real world as well.

Nero merely fiddled while Rome burned, but Trump will lead an orchestra of the ignorant, each harping on some conspiracy theory or denying some reality for personal gain.

Maybe we’ll get lucky, and the rising sea levels will put out the forest fires. With Trump at the helm, that may be the best we can hope for.

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gemli is a trusted commenter from Boston — 15 hours ago

Liberal thinking emerges from enlightenment. It’s the realization that we’re all in the same boat, regardless of gender or skin color or sexual identity. It’s the opposite of tribalism, and the religions we create to justify rewarding the chosen few and sending undesirables to hell.

The 20th century saw an awakening of the idea that everyone deserved a decent life. Robber barons were cast out by unions, the old were granted financial security in retirement and women wrested their right to vote from a male-dominated society. The self-evident superiority of one race over another was shown to be based on ignorance. Sexuality was found not to be a choice, but a natural part of biology that existed along a spectrum.

Nothing lasts forever. For the last twenty years there has been a backlash against liberalism from a bitter contingent of conservatives who miss the good old days. They recall the old tribal imperatives when they wrap themselves in the flag and clutch a Bible to their chests. They deny science in favor of revealed truths that come from their God. They proclaim exceptionalism even as we sink on every scale by which it is measured.

Mr. Douthat thinks there is good to be found in the reactionary slide that gave us Trump and Cruz. He thinks calling this bitter philosophy by another name will make it palatable, and we can profit from its “insights.”

Conservatism isn’t something we embrace. It’s something we recover from. Let the healing begin.

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I came across this astute comment this morning after reading Paul Krugman’s Op-Ed, Health Care Reform Lives!

“Reality Based” from Flyover Country

America had a sixty vote Democratic Senate majority for only about sixty days early in the Obama administration. It was never veto-proof because one of them was one Joseph Lieberman, who opposed any universal system, as did every Republican.

It is the height of foolishness that many “progressives” are still blaming Obama for the lack of a universal system. And electing Bernie Sanders without a Democratic, veto-proof Congress will accomplish exactly nothing. A Democratic congress is virtually impossible due to the Republican gerrymandered congressional districts. They have replaced the power of the ballot with the power of money. Thank you, Republican Supreme Court.

Thank you “Reality Based” from “Flyover Country”.

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Carly Fiorina, whose very presence makes large, thriving companies wither and die, and whose ignorance of politics is her greatest strength, is running for president of the United States. She may not know much, such as whether a video of a fetus has anything to do with Planned Parenthood, but she knows that she is passionate about the right to life. True, she also thinks vaccination is optional, but she is complex. But as long as the fetus is a burden for the woman, she will defend its right to life as an unwanted child, to be raised by a woman who is unready, unwilling or unable to be a mother.

Women who take advantage of Planned Parenthood’s medical services are often poor, so naturally they are in the Republican’s crosshairs. But Republicans are fair. In trying to destroy Obamacare, they’re making it clear that they’re not singling out single mothers. They want all desperate, poor and sick people to suffer.

Republican candidates are competing for the coveted position of being the hardest on women. They want them invaded, probed, and psychologically tormented for daring to exercise their right to an abortion. They are having none of it, not abortion, not contraception, not gay marriage, nothing that involves s-e-x. Their religion tells them that everything below the belt is the devil’s playground. They’re so preoccupied by that region that we need a name for this combination of fundamentalist fervor and fear of the naughty bits. I’m suggesting Evangenitals.

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Here’s a comment this morning by “Reality Based” on Paul Krugman’s article. It about sums up what our problem has been in this country for many years.

Reality Based: Flyover Country

We now have thirty five years of financial/economic history that should have destroyed forever the Great Lie that Voodoo economics creates anything but deficit bubbles, which are then used to attack and destroy social programs for the poor and middle class. Reagan tripled federal deficits in order to cut taxes in half for the wealthy, while weaponry expenditures exploded. Bush One left office with historic deficits and a sinking economy, which Bill Clinton remedied by returning to progressive taxation on high incomes. Every Republican in Congress said it would destroy the economy, and instead we had 20 million new jobs and zero deficits by 2000. Republicans responded with smears and impeachment. Bush2 insisted upon a return to Voodoo Economics combined with huge upper end tax cuts and two wars, which along with a financial de-regulation frenzy re-created the same enormous deficits, which were then used to try and destroy Social Security. This idiocy nearly brought down the world financial system. Obama’s sane economic advisers restored job growth and eliminated most of the deficits, but sixteen Republicans are all ready to return to the same policies that have been failing for a third of a century.

The Republican Party exists to enrich the wealthy, and empower a tiny elite. It has been concentrating income and wealth, by redistributing it upwards for thirty five years. This, of course, is only possible with a politics based totally on deceit, which is the whole point.

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gemli is a trusted commenter Boston

Republicans have created a political and intellectual vacuum, and Trump is rushing in to fill it. Like all vacuums, it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t suck in the smartest, or the wisest or the best. It just sucks. If sensible discourse prevailed in Washington there would be no place for Donald Trump. He would look like nothing more than the incongruously wealthy bombastic TV spokesmodel that he is. Instead, he’s a contender.

It hasn’t helped that the media can’t get enough of him, or that low-information voters find in him the ideal low-information option. We might expect the presidential debates to weed out these bombastic and outrageous candidates, but instead we find other candidates emulating Trump and making their own outrageous statements.

We had an opportunity to put the country on the right track with the election of president Obama, but a virulent right-wing faction commandeered the discourse. Trump championed the birther distraction and helped to hobble the president during the first two years of his administration. He was midwife at the birth of a kind of cheesy tabloid-style of attack politics that aided and abetted the Tea Party’s goal of shutting down government rather than governing.

It’s ironic when Brooks and other pundits suggest that Sanders and Biden are not serious candidates, while Trump deserves a full column. The reality is that years of manufactured inaction have made Congress look like a joke, and Trump is the punch line.

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gemli is a trusted commenter Boston

I was wondering how to find the political tie-in to this column about a country full of grinning idiots who are grateful for waffle makers at a Motel 6, but mercifully Mr. Brooks provided it. He wants us to be thankful as we eke out an existence in our capitalist meritocracy*. Lower your expectations, America, and be grateful for what little you’ve got. It’s the first plank in the Republican platform.

This country may have been a capitalist meritocracy years ago but now it’s more of a plutocratic kleptocracy, in which a few rich people get richer by using their political power to further fill their offshore bank accounts. They’ve found a way to run the economic engine in reverse, sucking money from the poor and middle class while ignoring government’s responsibility to invest in infrastructure, and to take care of the citizens who made their wealth possible.

Instead of a real economy, Brooks recommends that we appreciate a magical economy. This would be heartwarming and delightful if we were stupid, and didn’t know when we were being scammed.

The galling part is that we’re supposed to be thankful for it. Be glad as corporations are given the rights of people. Smile as their religions decide what your insurance will cover. Feel safe knowing that one day all immigrants and minorities will be securely locked away in privatized prisons.
*Technically, a country in which Donald Trump is the Republican front-runner isn’t so much a meritocracy as an idiocracy.

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