Day 63: Bathroom Bill Godmother Phyllis Schlafly is Dead

New York Times:

Phyllis Schlafly, whose grass-roots campaigns against Communism, abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment galvanized conservatives for almost two generations and helped reshape American politics, died on Monday. She was 92.

Her death was confirmed by the Eagle Forum, the conservative organization she founded in 1975.

In her time, Mrs. Schlafly was one of the most polarizing figures in American public life, a self-described housewife who displayed a moral ferocity reminiscent of the ax-wielding prohibitionist Carry Nation. Richard Viguerie, who masterminded the use of direct mail to finance right-wing causes, called her “the first lady of the conservative movement.”

On the left, Betty Friedan, the feminist leader and author, compared her to a religious heretic, telling her in a debate that she should burn at the stake for opposing the Equal Rights Amendment. Ms. Friedan called Mrs. Schlafly an “Aunt Tom.”

I hope that in death she finds the peace she so querulously denied her fellow genderists as well as LGBTQI Americans throughout her life.

Maybe now, finally, America can pass the E.R.A. and the Equality Act.

(Oh, and I’m going on vacation!  See you next week….)


Day 66: POLITICO panel of “expert GOPs” see Trump’s trip as a success

There’s never been any question that something’s seriously awry with the perceptive capabilities of the entire Grand Old Party about its own successes and failures — most recently, 2012’s “skewed polls” nonsense and Mitt Romney’s belief in his bad polling and Karl Rove’s Election Night meltdown live on FOX News over Ohio being called for Barack Obama.  Now we have further evidence: the professional GOP evaluation of Donald Trump’s disastrous trip to Mexico.

You recall this week’s trip?  Where Donald Trump was contradicted about illegal immigration, in Spanish, by the President of Mexico, from an adjacent podium?  Where Donald Trump was rebuked by the Mexican president for his lies about whether the ‘paid-for-by-Mexico wall’ even came up?  Where Donald Trump traveled afterwards to Phoenix to give the darkest speech yet of his presidential campaign?

POLITICO has a panel of professionals in eleven swing states.  Some are Democrats; some are GOPs.  They have been surveyed throughout the campaign for their opinions about the state of the race.  And the panel of GOPs was just surveyed for their opinion of Trump’s trip.

How did a large majority of these professional Republicans characterize his trip?


Two-thirds of GOP members of The POLITICO Caucus — a panel of activists, operatives and strategists in 11 key battleground states — rated the Republican nominee’s meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto, followed by an evening rally in Phoenix in which he reiterated his robust immigration proposals, as hugely or moderately successful, despite the potential contradiction between the two events.

These are the people running the GOP in the few swing states that left in this election.  They consider this trip, the presidential “summit” in Mexico and the Phoenix speech, a great  success.


“A week after teasing a softening, Trump went full Viagra in his Phoenix speech, burying the crowd in red meat as he returned to his portrayal of America as a dystopian wasteland ruled by criminal aliens,” one Iowa Republican said. “


“He’s like a kid who takes Ritalin in the morning, and it wears off in the late afternoon,” said a New Hampshire Republican. “The result is two totally different kids in the same day. His parents are constantly monitoring how long it’s been since he took his last dose.”

But one Virginia Republican disagreed. “No one will remember the speech in a week,” the Republican said. “The visual of him with the Mexican president will be in peoples’ minds.”

For Democrats, Trump’s day was almost unanimously a failure: Only a combined 17 percent rated it moderately or hugely successful.

I don’t know if the Republican or Democratic experts are right.  But their perceptions sure are different, and GOP perceptions have been very wrong recently.  It’s almost as if they don’t have their finger on the pulse of the *entire* electorate, only a sliver of it.

As long as these incorrect perceptions are reaching the top of the Trump campaign, I think they’ll make the same mistakes Mitt Romney made: belief in their own victory, despite reality’s known liberal bias.


Day 73: White Supremacy and Race Hatred

Now, suddenly this week, it’s okay to talk about White Supremacy and Race Hatred as part of the presidential campaign.  America has been waiting for this moment since at least 1948, when Strom Thurmond led the Dixiecrats out of the Democratic National Convention to seek the presidency on an explicitly segregationist platform — which is what they called White Supremacy in the mid-20th century.

It might be called the Alt-Right now, but it’s the same viewpoint as then: white people are better than anyone.  Finally, Americans can talk about it as part of our presidential campaign, because one candidate (Hillary Clinton) finally had the courage to speak out about her opponent’s bigotry, race-baiting, and explicit, welcomed support among White Supremacists.  No candidate — not Richard Nixon in 1968, not George McGovern in 1972, not Jimmy Carter in 1980 — none has spoken as openly as Hillary Clinton has this week about an opponent’s campaign’s foundation in the race hatred that is America’s original sin.

Now, we can all talk about it.

We can speak openly, finally, about the Southern strategy, the Second Jim Crow Wave of voter suppression, the White Pride at the core of the Grand Old Party of the 21st century — and whether Black Lives Matter in America.  It’s okay for everyone to talk about it, because a candidate put the topic on the table for the very first time in 2016.

So — let’s all talk about it.

Let’s talk about White Supremacy.  Let’s talk about race hatred.  Let’s all discuss Racism in its many and varied institutional, societal, ingrained forms in American society.   Hillary Clinton, for the first time among presidential candidates, has given the American people permission to talk about it during a presidential campaign.

Let’s start.

Day 76: Hate Group Head Gets Trump’s $100K Louisiana Flood Relief Check

Notorious LGBT-hate group head Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council (designated by the Southern Policy Law Center a hate group, and fighting back over it) pocketed a “flood relief” check from Donald Trump for $100,000 to the church he interim-heads in Louisiana.

Trump visited the church, located in the Baton Rouge suburb of Greenwell Springs, and made other stops in the area at the invitation of Perkins. The church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, which believes that being LGBT is a sin. The Greenwell Springs church’s website includes a “Statement on Marriage and Sexuality,” which reads in part:

We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.

It asks church employees and volunteers to “abide by and agree to” the statement and “conduct themselves accordingly.”

Perkins has opinions on floods, you know — this current one and those occurring earlier:

He said: “This flood I would have to say is near biblical proportions.

“This is unlike anything we have ever seen before.”

Last year, Perkins was interviewing Jonathan Cahn, who claims to be a Christian prophet, when the guest said that Hurricane Joaquin was a sign of God’s wrath for legalising gay marriage.

Perkins agreed, saying while “those on the left like to mock these things”, it was often “God trying to send us a message” through natural disasters.

I’m waiting for the first of Rush Limbaugh’s fearsome “lesbian hillbilly couples” to apply for aid from Tony Perkins’ church because they were flooded out.  Do you suppose the hater will help?

I doubt it, not with a Statement like the one above.

Day 77: Eric Trump Surrogating Wrong on Time-Traveling Syrian Refugees

When you’re family, and family is practically all the Trump Campaign™ has going for it in the Surrogate Department, it’s important to get it right.  Eric Trump isn’t:

“I mean, wages have been stagnant for the last 15 years and it’s because you have, you know, Syrian refugees coming in. It’s because you have, you know, thousands of people coming over the border. I mean, Americans are suffering because of it, and that’s his point,” Eric Trump said on Fox & Friends, explaining his father’s views on immigration.

So much wrong here!

First of all, “coming over the border?”  We have a border with Syria now?

Because I was not aware of that.

Second, “wages have been stagnant for the last 15 years?”  Nope.

Compensation for the median worker, or the person making exactly the middle of compensation, adjusted for inflation, grew just 8.7 percent between 1973 and 2014, or a 0.2 percent annual rate. Yet net productivity grew at a 1.33 percent annual pace in the same time. Things have gotten even worse since 2000: net productivity has grown 21.6 percent since then, yet inflation-adjusted compensation for the median worker grew just 1.8 percent.

Finally, the whole “Syrian refugees coming in” — that’s more a problem because of the time-travel, Eric:

But we’ve not had masses of Syrian refugees coming to this country for 15 years, either. The Syrian refugee crisis has only heated up since the Syrian civil war began in 2011. During that time, the United States has endeavored to provide refuge for Syrians fleeing certain death. But of the some 5 million Syrians who have left their country, very few have made it to these shores.

Eric Trump, you Patrick Bateman lookalike: — if you know about Syrian refugees who’ve caused wage stagnation, either for the last 15 years or since the 1970s, the issue isn’t that they are Syrian and stealing Americans’ jobs.  They’ve only been refugee-ing since 2011.

The issue is that they are time travelers.

Alert the media, sure; but prioritize what you alert the media about, okay, bucko?  Important stuff first.  Like time travel!

Day 79: Trump’s Foreign Policy Adviser

There’s probably not many GOPs who’ll admit openly they advise Donald Trump on foreign policy, but one appeared last night in Minneapolis, at a private closed-press fundraiser, speaking to media as she entered the venue:

“People want to live, mind their own business and have a good job, and I think that’s something Donald Trump understands,” former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said on her way inside.

Bachmann said she has known Trump for five years and has advised him on foreign policy and faith issues.

“He’s a common-sense guy, not into political correctness,” Bachmann said. “He has turned businesses around, and that’s what he wants to do with the country.”

Michele Bachmann brings a non-unique but disturbing viewpoint on foreign policy to the Trump Campaign™:

Last year, after falsely claiming that President Obama was aiding Al Qaeda, Bachmann cited the non-existent aid to Al Qaeda as proof that “we are in God’s End Times history” and that “we need to rejoice, Maranatha come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand. When we see up is down and right is called wrong, when this is happening, we were told this; these days would be as the days of Noah. We are seeing that in our time.”

Additionally, her views regarding Hillary Clinton are quite clear:

She also contends that the Obama administration, especially the State Department under former Secretary of State Clinton, has experienced “deep penetration” by Muslim Brotherhood agents and as a result U.S. officials have “embraced the worldview aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

If Bachmann does decide to become a leading conservative voice on foreign affairs as a “foil” to Clinton, we shouldn’t forget that Bachmann sees the End Times struggle taking place today, and has already claimed that God is not on Clinton’s side

Claiming your chosen higher power is on your candidate’s side is one thing.

Basing your foreign policy recommendations on the view that the other candidate does not have God on her side is quite something else entirely.

Not that it will matter to the fact-free Trump Campaign™ but sometimes Bachmann gets, um, confused:

Bachmann has sometimes gotten her foreign policy facts mixed up. In 2007 she told a Minnesota newspaper that the United States should stay the course in Iraq because:

“Iran is the trouble maker, trying to tip over apple carts all over Baghdad right now because they want America to pull out. And do you know why? It’s because they’ve already decided that they’re going to partition Iraq.

“And half of Iraq, the western, northern portion of Iraq, is going to be called the Iraq State of Islam, something like that. And I’m sorry, I don’t have the official name, but it’s meant to be the training ground for the terrorists. There’s already an agreement made.

“They are going to get half of Iraq and that is going to be a terrorist safe haven zone where they can go ahead and bring about more terrorist attacks in the Middle East region and then to come against the United States because we are their avowed enemy.”

Bachmann later said that her comments had been “misconstrued.” Northern Iraq is dominated by Sunni Kurds, and western Iraq by Sunni Arabs. Neither group has much interest in allying with Shiite Persians.

Despite not knowing the geography of the place and the sectarian allegiance of its inhabitants, Bachmann has long wanted boots, or more boots, on the ground.

Boots on the ground” = American troops will die.  She wants American troops to die again in Iraq:

Asked whether Congress should vote on a resolution authorizing force in the lame-duck session, a move supported by some in her caucus, Bachmann demurred.

“I think we should have voted on it before we left,” she told The Huffington Post following the speech. “The president wants to have it two ways. He wants to pretend we’re not at war and yet be at war. We have to be adult about this. It isn’t just the Islamic State. It’s Islamic jihad. It’s important that we declare war, and defeat them quickly. I think ultimately there will be boots on the ground.”

She calls this wanting “our 1980s foreign policy back.”  I guess reading about those Marines Reagan got killed in Lebanon gives her a kind of nostalgia?  Or perhaps she longs for the distracting effect of small-country invasions in the wake of those disasters, like in Granada?  Or perhaps she yearns for more baked-good based diplomacy?

Anyway, whatever aspect of the Reagan 1980s foreign policy fiasco Michele Bachmann longs for, someone should ask Donald Trump if he wants American troops to die again in Iraq.  Because his “foreign policy adviser” Michele Bachmann does.

Does he?

Day 83: Trump Campaign™ Steps on “Black Voter Outreach” Speech with Staff Shakeup


Last night, in 1% African-American West Bend, Wisconsin, Donald Trump read aloud his second “teleprompter speech” in as many days.  Billed as a Law-and-Order speech, it was recognized among the GOP cognoscenti as an historic outreach to African-American voters, like never seen before:


“Consider how dangerous that was,” Giuliani said. “Going into Milwaukee in the middle of the riot and talking about law and order, but also talking about what needs to be done to help minority communities, African-American communities, poor communities, to come out of the situation that they’re in.”

“I think this is the best speech that any Republican, at least, has ever given,” Giuliani said of Trump’s address Tuesday night.

Poor Abe!  Poor TR!  Poor Ike!  Poor Ronnie!  The GOP pantheon brought low….

The very next day, however, Our Liberal Media shifted focus entirely, ignoring this ahistoric rehash of Richard Nixon’s 1968 anti-crime speechifying to instead cover minor changes in the Trump Campaign™.

LAS VEGAS — Donald J. Trump has shaken up his presidential campaign for the second time in two months, hiring a top executive from the conservative website Breitbart News and promoting a senior adviser in an effort to right his faltering campaign.

Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, will become the Republican campaign’s chief executive, and Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser and pollster for Mr. Trump and his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, will become the campaign manager.

Who is Steve Bannon?  Why, only the most dangerous political operative in America, according to Bloomberg News:

Bannon’s life is a succession of Gatsbyish reinventions that made him rich and landed him squarely in the middle of the 2016 presidential race: He’s been a naval officer, investment banker, minor Hollywood player, and political impresario. When former Disney chief Michael Ovitz’s empire was falling to pieces, Bannon sat Ovitz down in his living room and delivered the news that he was finished. When Sarah Palin was at the height of her fame, Bannon was whispering in her ear. When Donald Trump decided to blow up the Republican presidential field, Bannon encouraged his circus-like visit to the U.S.-Mexico border. John Boehner just quit as House speaker because of the mutinous frenzy Bannon and his confederates whipped up among conservatives. Today, backed by mysterious investors and a stream of Seinfeld royalties, he sits at the nexus of what Hillary Clinton once dubbed “the vast right-wing conspiracy,” where he and his network have done more than anyone else to complicate her presidential ambitions—and they plan to do more. But this “conspiracy,” at least under Bannon, has mutated into something different from what Clinton described: It’s as eager to go after establishment Republicans such as Boehner or Jeb Bush as Democrats like Clinton.

Just the kind of guy to help Donald Trump pivot to being presidential in the general election, wouldn’t you say?  A Palin-whisperer!

Roger Ailes righted the Reagan campaign with his cri du coeur: “Let Ronnie Be Ronnie!”

The question, three decades later: will “Let Donnie Be Donnie!” resonate as well?