Blogs | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/rss http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Twitter Makes Total Sense If You Understand It Properly http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/twitter-makes-total-sense-understand-properly <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Matt Yglesias speaks truth to power today:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">When Twitter goes bankrupt and people need to blog again, the world will be a better place. <a href="https://t.co/UPTWpzWqcy">https://t.co/UPTWpzWqcy</a></p> &mdash; Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) <a href="https://twitter.com/mattyglesias/status/768176228763402240">August 23, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>I can't tell you the number of times I've cut off a conversation on Twitter with something like "Signing off now. Twitter is a horrible place to discuss anything more complicated than a cookie." And it is! People try endlessly to turn it into something it isn't, and the result is that I routinely get told to go take a look at some "epic tweetstorm" or other that "must be Storified." Usually it turns out to be a grand total of about 300 words split up into awkward 20-word chunks. Milton would not be impressed. It could be done way better, and possibly faster, as a simple blog post.</p> <p>In fact, I've long imagined that Twitter originated something like this:</p> <hr width="30%"><p>JACK DORSEY and BIZ STONE are sitting in a dorm hallway at NYU, where they are undergrads.<sup>1</sup> A half-smoked joint lies between them. Earlier in the day they got assigned their class project for Communications 152.</p> <blockquote> <p>DORSEY: Oh man. "Develop a communications medium that demonstrates as many principles of accurate information exchange as possible." WTF?</p> <p>STONE: I know. Jesus.</p> </blockquote> <p>Next day. DORSEY and STONE are in DORSEY's dorm room.</p> <blockquote> <p>DORSEY: Hey, I had an idea. How about if we do a proof by contradiction?</p> <p>STONE: What?</p> <p>DORSEY: Let's develop the worst communications medium possible and show how it screws things up!</p> <p>STONE: Dude. That's brilliant. Like what?</p> <p>DORSEY: Well, good communication requires enough bandwidth to express an idea fully. Let's limit ours to just a few words at a time.</p> <p>STONE: And strong emotions interfere with accuracy. Let's develop something that encourages outrage. That means digital. Like a chatroom or something. People are always going postal on those.</p> <p>DORSEY: We could make it even worse. Maybe by screwing around with response times?</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_twitter_crash.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">STONE: Sure. Latency should be just long enough to allow other people to barge in during the middle of a conversation. It would drive people crazy.</p> <p>DORSEY: You'd never be sure who's responding to what!</p> <p>STONE: Right. And it should be wide open to everyone, so people can join in even if they have no idea what the conversation is about.</p> <p>DORSEY: And then other people see the newcomers, and barge in themselves. It's like the ultimate game of telephone.</p> <p>STONE: You'd end up with viral mobs! It's the worst possible environment for communicating.</p> <p>DORSEY: Sure, because no one who piles on knows if they're the only critic, or if thousands have already jumped in. You never really know who your audience is, which is one of the linchpins of good communication.</p> <p>STONE: Nuance and tone are important too. We need to eliminate those.</p> <p>DORSEY: We can do that by making messages <em>really</em> short. Text message sized. You can barely even speak English in text messages, let alone add caveats and nuance.</p> <p>STONE: And no editing. Once you've said something, you can't change it even if you realize you screwed up.</p> <p>DORSEY: It's tailor made for misunderstanding.</p> <p>STONE: And if it were marketed right, highly verbal people would be its main consumers. They'd go nuts trying to carry on conversations on complex topics 140 characters at a time.</p> <p>DORSEY: And the campus language police! Can you imagine how they'd react to every little miscue?</p> <p>STONE: This is great. It's like cutting out everyone's tongues and dumping them into a big overheated room.</p> <p>DORSEY: And it would still be good for jokes and cat videos, which would demonstrate something important about jokes and cat videos.</p> </blockquote> <p>Twelve weeks later. DORSEY and STONE are back in the hallway.</p> <blockquote> <p>DORSEY: He gave us a C-? That's brutal.</p> <p>STONE: "Interesting concept, but too divorced from reality."</p> <p>DORSEY: Sheesh.</p> </blockquote> <p>Ten years later. DORSEY and STONE are drinking margaritas on DORSEY'S yacht.</p> <blockquote> <p>DORSEY: Man, people sure are stupid.</p> <p>STONE: But we're rich!</p> <p>DORSEY: Yeah. It'll be kind of a drag if Trump wins, though. I wasn't really expecting that.</p> <p>STONE: Chill, dude. We're rich!</p> </blockquote> <p>Ship sails into sunset. DORSEY and STONE have enigmatic expressions on their faces. Curtain.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Yes, I know they didn't go to college together. Work with me here.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 23 Aug 2016 22:29:34 +0000 Kevin Drum 312316 at http://www.motherjones.com Please: Donald Trump Is Not "Courting the Black Vote" http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/please-donald-trump-not-courting-black-vote <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-courts-black-vote-while-avoiding-african-american-communities-1471944606" target="_blank">Here is the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> today:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Donald Trump Courts Black Vote While Avoiding African-American Communities</strong></p> <p>Donald Trump for the last week has been asking for support from African-American voters who have long backed Democrats, but his campaign has for months rebuffed invitations from supporters for the Republican presidential nominee to appear before black audiences.</p> <p>....Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, said he has passed along requests from historically black colleges for Mr. Trump to speak....<strong>&ldquo;You don&rsquo;t go to a white community to talk about black folks. Hello, it doesn&rsquo;t make sense.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>Ms. Manigault,<sup>1</sup> who was appointed to her position in July, said she would answer questions about her work for the Trump campaign over email but then <strong>didn't respond to emailed questions</strong>. Trump campaign <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_poll_black.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">spokeswoman Hope Hicks <strong>didn't respond to requests for comment</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>In a way, I guess I feel sorry for the authors of this piece. I mean, it's obvious what's going on. Trump couldn't care less about black votes. His speeches are aimed like a laser at his white base, using language carefully calculated to assuage their fear of being called racist if they support him. Nobody in their right mind would give the speeches he gave if they were truly trying to address African-Americans.</p> <p>But even though this is obvious to everybody, Reid Epstein and Michael Bender can't come right out and say it. They can sort of imply it, if you're smart enough to read all the hints in their piece. But most people probably aren't that savvy. They'll just see yet another back-and-forth about process and strategy in the Trump campaign and then turn the page.</p> <p>I don't know what the answer is. Tossing objective reporting onto the ash heap of history isn't the answer. It's extremely useful to have people who at least try to write neutrally. And yet, too often this gets in the way of reporting plain facts. So what should we do about this?</p> <p><sup>1</sup>This would be Omarosa Manigault, a contestant on the first season of <em>The Apprentice</em>. She is now Trump's director of African-American outreach, which should give you a pretty good idea of just how much he cares about the black vote.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:37:59 +0000 Kevin Drum 312296 at http://www.motherjones.com Everyone Considering Voting For Donald Trump Should See This Brutal Video. http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2016/08/everyone-considering-voting-donald-trump-should-see-brutal-video <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The brutal attack on Donald Trump was made by Marianne DeMarco, who first posted a version of it to her <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFZ-1EojoFM" target="_blank">YouTube channel in March</a>. Bravo, Marianne DeMarco!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fbusiness.facebook.com%2Fmotherjones%2Fvideos%2Fvb.7642602143%2F10153990510052144%2F%3Ftype%3D3&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="560"></iframe></p></body></html> Contributor Tue, 23 Aug 2016 17:52:50 +0000 Mother Jones 312261 at http://www.motherjones.com Economic Anxiety Is All About Progress, Not Income http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/economic-anxiety-all-about-progress-not-income <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The debate continues over whether Donald Trump's blue-collar supporters&mdash;virtually of them white&mdash;are motivated by economic anxiety or racial anxiety. I think the evidence is pretty clear that racial anxiety plays the larger role, but it's hardly the only role. Economic anxiety is real too.</p> <p>The usual response is that this just can't be true. White men make more money than black men, which means they have <em>less</em> economic anxiety than black men. So why do they support Trump and black men don't? It must be racial animus.</p> <p>But this is wrong. I've made this point before, but I want to make it again: economic contentment is largely related to <em>change</em>, not to absolute levels of income. A Chinese peasant who makes $10 per day lives in dire poverty. But if that peasant made $5 per day a few years ago and now has indoor plumbing, he's probably pretty happy. Things are getting better. On the flip side, an American manager <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_income_gains_40_years_white_black_hispanic.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">who makes $80,000 has a pretty good income. But if he made $100,000 a couple of years ago, he's probably tearing his hair out. He built a life around his $100,000 income&mdash;mortgage payments, car payments, property taxes, insurance, etc.&mdash;and suddenly he has to cut back and probably go into debt. Life sucks.</p> <p>This should be obvious. In the Middle Ages, pretty much everyone lived in grinding poverty by today's standards. Do we suppose that all of them were desperately unhappy? Of course not. As long as things were going the same as always, they were probably about as happy as us. But if a crop failed, they became desperate.</p> <p>I've long thought that the single most interesting finding of behavioral economics is the fact that people respond to loss far more sharply than they respond to gain.<sup>1</sup> In money terms, it's a factor of about 2:1. Even a small loss&mdash;in money, in status, in living standards&mdash;will cause enormous anxiety. And that loss can be relative as well as absolute.</p> <p>I've posted the chart on the right before, and I can't guarantee that it's precisely accurate. But it's roughly correct, and what it shows is that every demographic has made economic progress over the past 40 years except for one: white men. Some of those gains might be small&mdash;11 percent over four decades for black men isn't much&mdash;but at least it's a gain. White men alone have lost ground. And more to the point, in relative terms they've lost <em>lots</em> of ground.</p> <p>So is it plausible that a lot of white men feel economically anxious even if their absolute incomes are still higher than women, higher than blacks, and higher than Hispanics? Sure. What matters is loss, and white men have been losing relative ground for a long time. They've lost ground economically and they've lost status as well. White men used to be kings of the hill, but now they can hear the footsteps of other folks catching up to them. Economic anxiety, gender anxiety, and racial anxiety are all perfectly normal consequences of this.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Needless to say, economists didn't really <em>discover</em> this. They just quantified it. But this dynamic has been obvious for a very long time to observers of human nature. Examples are legion, but here's one my readers might appreciate. It's from Isaac Asimov's <em>Caves of Steel</em>, published in 1953:</p> <blockquote> <p>It was the addition of status that brought the little things: a more comfortable seat here, a better cut of meat there, a shorter wait in line at the other place. To the philosophical mind, these items might seem scarcely worth any great trouble to acquire. Yet no one, however philosophical, could give up those privileges, <em>once acquired</em>, without a pang.</p> </blockquote> <p>There's more after that. Just generally, though, writers throughout history have acknowledged that the humiliation which accompanies a loss of status is a very strong emotion indeed.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 23 Aug 2016 16:42:32 +0000 Kevin Drum 312276 at http://www.motherjones.com Hillary Clinton Ran a Very Tight Ship As Secretary of State http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/hillary-clinton-ran-very-tight-ship-secretary-state <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The way Washington works&mdash;in fact, the way everything works&mdash;is that people socialize; they develop relationships; and they often try to leverage those relationships to call in favors. We have laws and institutions to try to put boundaries on this kind of thing, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hillary_clinton_state.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">but it's still ubiquitous. This is just the way homo sapiens is wired.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-emails-show-clinton-foundation-sought-access-to-state-department-on-donors-behalf-1471891203" target="_blank">So now we have some more emails related to Hillary Clinton,</a> and what have we learned? The crown prince of Bahrain wanted to meet with the Secretary of State, and in addition to making a request through normal channels he also talked to someone at the Clinton Foundation, who then called Huma Abedin. The meeting took place, which is entirely unexceptional since meeting with people like this is the Secretary of State's job. There's no indication that the extra push by the Foundation had any particular effect.</p> <p>Another time, someone at the Foundation called Abedin to see if she could expedite a visa. She said this made her nervous, and the Foundation guy backed off.</p> <p>On another occasion, a lobbyist who had formerly been a Democratic staffer asked for a meeting with her client, a coal company executive. Abedin blew her off.</p> <p>We might yet find a smoking gun in all these emails. But so far, the trend is clear: lots of people talked to Huma Abedin to try to set up meetings with Hillary Clinton. Generally speaking, Abedin treated them politely but told them to get lost. That's about it.</p> <p>If some of these efforts had succeeded, that would hardly be noteworthy. It's the kind of thing that happens all the time. What's really noteworthy about the most recent email releases is that they demonstrate a surprisingly high level of integrity from Hillary Clinton's shop at Foggy Bottom. Huma Abedin was tasked with running interference on favor seekers, and she seems to have done exactly that. There's no evidence at all that being a donor to the Clinton Foundation helped anyone out.</p> <p>So tell me again what the issue is here?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 23 Aug 2016 15:28:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 312251 at http://www.motherjones.com My Social Security Reform Plan: One-Third-One-Third-One-Third http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/my-retirement-reform-plan-one-third-one-third <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Atrios says that 401(k) retirement plans <a href="http://www.eschatonblog.com/2016/08/let-us-know-how-that-worked-out-in.html" target="_blank">have been a disaster:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The current system has failed, and the exciting plan to "fix" the failed system is run the same experiment, with minor tweaks, over for another 40 years and see how that works. Of course if you just grab your trusty envelope back and do The Math, the pittance people will save in these exciting new plans will be just that, a pittance.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is a common view on the left, usually delivered with no evidence because it's considered so obvious that no evidence is needed. On the occasions when there is evidence, it's usually something about the stock market being in bad shape circa 2010.</p> <p>So let's take a look at the evidence. I've put all of this up before, but not in one place. So let's collect it. Here's chart #1:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_median_income_age_2.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 20px;"></p> <p>Retirement-age folks have done better than any other age group since 1974, and <em>way</em> better since 2000. So far so good. Here's chart #2:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_retirement_income_projection_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #999999; margin: 15px 0px 15px 110px;"></p> <p>This is Social Security's projection of median elderly income over the next 25 years. It looks pretty good too. There's no evident crisis in these numbers. And this is not from some think tank with an axe to grind. It's from the Social Security Administration's MINT projection, which is probably the most comprehensive look we have at all sources of income among retired folks. Here's chart #3:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_pension_wealth_1984_2012.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #999999; margin: 15px 0px 15px 110px;"></p> <p>This comes from the Center for Retirement Research, a decidedly liberal outfit. They've been a longtime proponent of the view that 401(k) plans are worse than old-style defined benefit pensions, but last year they revisited this question using better data. What they found is that for the past 30 years, pension wealth has stayed steady even as 401(k) plans have become more popular and DB plans have gone the way of the dodo (except in the public sector, where they're still common). In other words 401(k)s aren't a failure.</p> <p>My final bit of data, sadly, doesn't lend itself to chart format, so we shall have to use words instead. In 2006, Congress passed the Pension Protection Act, something that most critics of 401(k) plans seem to ignore&mdash;or perhaps are blissfully unaware of. In the past 10 years, it's accomplished the following:</p> <ul><li>Allowed companies to automatically enroll workers (subject to an opt-out), thus increasing the number of people with 401(k)s.</li> <li>Made 401(k)s more accessible to small businesses.</li> <li>Increased 401(k) participation considerably among young workers and low-income workers, who need them the most.</li> <li>Encouraged the use of lifecycle funds, the best type for retirement plans.</li> </ul><p>Put all these things together, and there's very little evidence for any kind of broad retirement crisis. Retirement readiness in America seems to be about the same as it's always been.</p> <p>Does that mean everything is hunky-dory? Of course not. 401(k) fees are still too high, something that I'd dearly love to see Hillary Clinton address with new federal regulation. It's probably also true that old-style pensions were a little more generous for low-income workers than 401(k)s, though the evidence on this score is fuzzy. What's more, although retirement readiness is no worse than it's been in the past, it's not really any better either. In particular, folks at the bottom of the income ladder still don't participate much in 401(k) programs and rely entirely on Social Security, which is pretty stingy for low earners.</p> <p>My answer to this is Kevin's One-Third-One-Third plan. That is, Social Security payments for the bottom third should be increased by a third. This would make a huge difference to the lowest-income workers, but at a pretty reasonable price. My back-of-the-envelope chicken scratchings suggest it would cost about $20-30 billion. That's politically within reason.</p> <p>There's one other change I'd like to see, but I'll leave that for another time. In a nutshell, there really doesn't appear to be any kind of broad-based retirement crisis. 401(k) plans have performed decently and are likely to perform even better in the future. Our biggest retirement problem is with the lowest-income workers, and that could be fixed at a pretty modest cost if we could only muster the political will to do it.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:</strong> I really wanted my plan to be called "One-Third-One-Third-One-Third," but I couldn't think of a third "One-Third." However, @Noman suggested raising the Social Security earnings cap to pay for my plan, and it turns out that an increase in the cap of one-third would raise roughly $30 billion. Isn't it great when a plan comes together?</p> <p>So now it's the One-Third-One-Third-One-Third plan: payments to the bottom third should be boosted one-third by raising the earnings cap one-third. Take that, Herman Cain.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 22 Aug 2016 22:46:36 +0000 Kevin Drum 312221 at http://www.motherjones.com Housekeeping Note http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/housekeeping-note <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I have to schlep up to LA this morning for&mdash;something. To be honest, I'm not sure what. It's a routine follow-up from my stem cell transplant last year, but the last time I did this nobody did anything useful. There were no tests. No questions that my regular oncologist hadn't already asked. No advice. No nothing.</p> <p>So I don't really know what the point is. Nonetheless, off I go. There's no telling when I'll be back, but this is probably about it for blogging today. See you tomorrow!</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:</strong> Nothing new to report. We just reviewed all the stuff I already knew and then I got my latest round of baby vaccines. (After the stem cell transplant, all my immunities were wiped out.) So I'm once again safe from polio, rusty nails, and pneumococcal something or other.</p> <p>But I guess I did learn one new thing. For the past two months I've been unusually tired, and sure enough, that turns out to be an effect of the maintenance med I'm taking. It also means it's not going away anytime soon, and might even get worse. Blah.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 22 Aug 2016 17:06:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 312156 at http://www.motherjones.com Why Has Only Hillary Clinton Turned Over All Her Emails? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/why-has-only-hillary-clinton-turned-over-all-her-emails <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I have a dumb question. Hillary Clinton has been forced, via FOIA request, to release all of her work-related emails from her term as Secretary of State. Today we learned there may be <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/fbi-uncovered-at-least-14900-more-documents-in-clinton-email-investigation/2016/08/22/36745578-6643-11e6-be4e-23fc4d4d12b4_story.html" target="_blank">more to come.</a> By the time it's all over, we'll have something like 30-40,000 emails that have been made public.</p> <p>So here's my dumb question: why has this happened only to Hillary Clinton? If FOIA can be used to force the release of every email sent or received by a cabinet member, why haven't FOIA requests been submitted for all of them? It would certainly be interesting and newsworthy to see all of Leon Panetta's emails. Or all of Condi Rice's. Or all of Henry Paulson's.</p> <p>So what's the deal? Why has this happened only to Hillary Clinton?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 22 Aug 2016 17:02:21 +0000 Kevin Drum 312151 at http://www.motherjones.com Swift Boat 2.0 Is Now Underway. Where's the Press? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/swift-boat-20-now-underway-wheres-press <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As we all know, the loathsome Swift boating of John Kerry in 2004 worked a treat. So this year Trump supporters are engaging in Swift boat 2.0: a surprisingly overt campaign claiming that Hillary Clinton is seriously ill but covering it up. Sean Hannity has been the ringleader, talking it up almost nightly on his show. Rudy Giuliani joined the fun this weekend, and Katrina Pierson, the Baghdad Bob of spokespeople, suggested that Hillary has "dysphasia." Even the candidate himself has gotten into the act:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WheresHillary?src=hash">#WheresHillary</a>? Sleeping!!!!!</p> &mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/766791143291916288">August 20, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Trump has followed this up with references to Hillary not having the "mental and physical stamina" to be president&mdash;wink-wink-nudge-nudge.</p> <p>This is all literally built on nothing. There's a video of Hillary slipping on an icy step outside a church a few months ago. There's a video of her making a funny face while talking to some supporters. That's it. Unlike Trump himself, Hillary has released a detailed statement from her doctor, and there's nothing wrong with her.</p> <p>I know how tiresome it is to wonder how the press would treat something like this if it came from the other side, but, um, how <em>would</em> the press treat this if it were coming from the Hillary Clinton campaign? My guess: it would be like World War III. They would be demanding proof, writing endlessly about how this "once again" raised trust issues, and just generally raising front-page hell over it. Which would be perfectly fair! But when Trump does it, it's just another boys-will-be-boys moment. Yawn.</p> <p>Trump has done so many disgusting things that I know it's hard to keep track sometimes. But this ranks right up there, and he deserves brutal coverage over it. He's not really getting it, though. All the usual liberal suspects are on this, but the mainstream press has treated it like yet another occasional A14 blurb. Where's the outrage, folks?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:14:06 +0000 Kevin Drum 312146 at http://www.motherjones.com Iran Tosses Out Russia For Blabbing Too Much http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/iran-tosses-out-russia-blabbing-too-much <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Last week Russia announced that it would start attacking Syria using bombers based in Iran. This produced a huge reaction both inside and outside Russia. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-ends-russian-use-of-air-base-because-of-unwanted-publicity/2016/08/22/87364e5e-2dbe-4544-889b-2cb7f233fc62_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_iran-810a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory" target="_blank">Today Iran decided to kick out the Russians:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Iran's sudden reversal Monday showed that allies with a common cause, fighting against Assad's enemies, maintain diverse goals in the region. While Russian politicians indicated a long-term deployment, saying that warplanes stationed in Iran would conserve fuel instead of flying a longer route from the Russian Caucasus, <strong>Iranian officials made clear that they were unhappy about the publicity and being seen as a Russian client in the region.</strong></p> <p>Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan on Monday attacked publications of the Russian military press that reported the use of Iran's air base. <strong>&ldquo;There has been a kind of showing-off and inconsiderate attitude behind the announcement of this news,&rdquo;</strong> he told an Iranian television channel.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is the Vladimir Putin/Donald Trump approach to world affairs: Boast endlessly about even small things, substituting braggadocio for substance. The problem is that the targets of your boasting probably don't like it much.</p> <p>This is why quiet diplomacy is so often better than Trumpism. If you just want to feel good, then big talk is your friend. If you actually want to accomplish something, hard work and a willingness to keep your mouth shut are usually a better bet.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 22 Aug 2016 14:42:16 +0000 Kevin Drum 312141 at http://www.motherjones.com BREAKING: Donald Trump Avoids Imploding For Two Days! http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/breaking-donald-trump-avoids-imploding-two-days <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_lat_trump_stays_on_message.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Here's the front page of the <em>LA Times</em> this morning. I have to say I'm impressed. Donald Trump gets a huge headline in the lead spot for spending&mdash;what? Two days? Maybe three? Anyway, two or three days without doing anything egregiously idiotic. It's like the way we lavish praise on a two-year-old for not throwing his food all over the kitchen.</p> <p>According to the story itself, Trump gave a good speech! He ran some TV ads! He visited Baton Rouge for 49 seconds! The first was <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/08/trumps-bleached-appeal-to-black-voters.html" target="_blank">plainly aimed at his white base,</a> not at the African-Americans it was putatively meant for. The second is the bare minimum that any presidential campaign is expected to do. And the third was <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/online/watch-donald-trump-spend-exactly-49-seconds-helping-out-louisiana-flood-victims/" target="_blank">transparent hucksterism.</a> Still, he managed to avoid imploding the entire time. Good boy, Donald!</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 21 Aug 2016 01:27:44 +0000 Kevin Drum 312121 at http://www.motherjones.com They Hate Us, They Really Hate Us http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/they-hate-us-they-really-hate-us <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So I'm reading a Jay Nordlinger piece over at <em>The Corner</em>, and he's pretty unhappy with both Donald Trump and his new campaign guru, Steve Bannon. I'm nodding along as Nordlinger refers to some of the crude hatred that Bannon spews, <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/439210/conservatives-right-and-american-future" target="_blank">when I come to this:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>It occurred to me that the two phrases already mentioned &mdash; &ldquo;turn on the hate&rdquo; and &ldquo;burn this bitch down&rdquo; &mdash; are perfect mottos for the new GOP: the Trump GOP.</p> <p>I thought of what Roger Scruton said to Mona Charen and me, in a podcast last year:</p> <p>&ldquo;I think that, in the end, there is something that unites all conservatives, which is that they are pursuing something they love. <strong>My view is that the Left is united by hatred, but we are united by love: love of our country, love of institutions, love of the law, love of family,</strong> and so on. And what makes us conservatives is the desire to protect those things, and we&rsquo;re up against people who want to destroy them, and it&rsquo;s very simple.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Seriously? You think lefties are motivated by hatred of our country, hatred of our institutions, hatred of the law, hatred of the family, "and so on"? I know that liberals and conservatives don't see eye to eye on this stuff, but you've at least talked to a few liberals now and then, haven't you? The ones I know don't feel anything close to this way. It's true that there are some aspects of country/institutions/law/family that we'd like to change, but then again, that's true of conservatives too. Right?</p> <p>Anyway, if this is truly what you believe, then it's a little hard for me to see much daylight between you and Trump. What's your real beef with him, Jay?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 20 Aug 2016 18:54:37 +0000 Kevin Drum 312116 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 19 August 2016 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/friday-cat-blogging-19-august-2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here is Hopper posing for a glamor shot on a gray-and-white blanket that matches her coloring. We call this look "Blue Squeal." She's not the most cooperative model in the world.</p> <p>Hilbert deserves the same treatment, of course, but that will have to wait until I get hold of a Shamu-colored blanket.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2016_08_19.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 5px 130px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 19 Aug 2016 19:04:19 +0000 Kevin Drum 312096 at http://www.motherjones.com The Leaking Wars Have Begun Over Hillary Clinton's FBI File http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/leaking-wars-have-begun-over-hillary-clintons-fbi-file <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_magic_8_ball_signs_yes.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;"><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/19/us/politics/hillary-clinton-told-fbi-colin-powell-advised-her-to-use-private-email.html?_r=1" target="_blank">From the <em>New York Times</em> on Thursday:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Pressed by the F.B.I. about her email practices at the State Department, Hillary Clinton told investigators that former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had advised her to use a personal email account. <strong>The account is included in the notes the Federal Bureau of Investigation handed over to Congress on Tuesday,</strong> relaying in detail the three-and-a-half-hour interview with Mrs. Clinton in early July that led to the decision by James B. Comey, the bureau&rsquo;s director, not to pursue criminal charges against her.</p> </blockquote> <p>Well, that didn't take long. Should we assume that basically everything in the FBI file is going to be steadily leaked to the press? Magic 8-Ball says "Signs point to yes."</p> <p>And I don't even know which side leaked this. Democrats who figured it justified Hillary's behavior? Republicans trying to make it look like Hillary is passing the buck? Hard to say. At this point, though, Congress might as well just release the entire package. Whatever's in it, we're better off getting the whole thing instead of periodic leaks strategically taken out of context to make Hillary look either good or bad.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 19 Aug 2016 18:46:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 312091 at http://www.motherjones.com Hillary Clinton Needs to Run a Squeaky Clean Presidency http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/hillary-clinton-needs-run-squeaky-clean-presidency <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Jon Chait argues that although Hillary Clinton obviously isn't the monster that conservatives paint her as, <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/08/clintons-ethics-problems-worse-than-she-understands.html" target="_blank">she really does have <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hillary_clinton_hearing.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">some ethical problems that she needs to deal with:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The most enduring aftereffect of her extended primary fight with Sanders was to import Republican attacks on her character into liberal messaging. Sanders emphasized real issues like collecting speaking fees from Goldman Sachs rather than fake issues like the murder of Vince Foster, but the impact was the same &mdash; <strong>it reintroduced Clinton, to a generation that had never voted for her or her husband, as a shadowy, duplicitous insider.</strong> Endorsing all sorts of liberal programs Congress will never pass and letting Sanders&rsquo;s supporters write the party platform hardly solves this problem.</p> <p>The risk that Clinton&rsquo;s tainted image will defeat her is small but real enough to merit concern. <strong>The much larger risk is that her lax approach to rule-following and ethical conflicts will sink her presidency.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>A little appreciated facet of Obama's presidency is that it was almost entirely scandal free. This didn't stop Republicans from trying to invent scandals, of course, as the endless Benghazi witch hunt proves. But none of the Obama "scandals" ever caught on. There are two potential reasons for this:</p> <ol><li>They were all ridiculous.</li> <li>Obama has such a clean reputation that they just didn't stick.</li> </ol><p>If you think the answer is #1, then I admire your optimistic view of Washington and the political press corps and wish you the best of luck in your future political analysis.</p> <p>The real answer, plainly, is #2. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been the target of dozens of equally invented scandals. In Clinton's case, the press follows them endlessly. In Obama's case they don't. Why? Because in Obama's case they don't fit a narrative. Obama has a reputation as a wonky guy who runs a tight ship and doesn't play games. Because of this, invented nonsense will get a few days or weeks of coverage, but that's usually it.</p> <p>Clinton, needless to say, has a reputation that's just the opposite. Mostly this is undeserved, but not entirely. That doesn't really matter, though. What matters is that she has the reputation she does, and that means scandals fit the press narrative of who she is. So when Republicans launch attacks on her, it doesn't much matter if there's any substance to them. The press will play along endlessly.</p> <p>This means that Chait is right: if Hillary wants to avoid a failed presidency, she needs to be squeaky clean. That won't stop the attacks, but at least it will blunt them. Conversely, if there's even one scandal that has some real truth to it, it will dog her for her entire presidency. I hope she gets this.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 19 Aug 2016 16:52:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 312066 at http://www.motherjones.com Welcome to the Dark Side http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/welcome-dark-side <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_palpatine_lightsaber.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Scientists report that they might have discovered a <a href="http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-fifth-force-of-nature-20160816-snap-story.html" target="_blank">fifth basic force of nature:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Researchers at UC Irvine say they&rsquo;ve found evidence for a fifth force&nbsp;&mdash; one carried by a particle that they&rsquo;re calling &ldquo;boson X.&rdquo;...Tait said that their discovery might be a doorway to eventually creating a model that more accurately describes the universe....<strong>&ldquo;This could actually be the dark force,&rdquo; Tait said.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Boson X? Please. This is obviously the long-sought midichloriton. Get it together, scientists.</p> <p><strong>POSTSCRIPT:</strong> Why yes, I <em>am</em> having a little trouble finding things to blog about this morning. Why do you ask?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 19 Aug 2016 16:10:15 +0000 Kevin Drum 312056 at http://www.motherjones.com Paul Manafort Is the Latest Casualty on Team Trump http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/paul-manafort-latest-casualty-team-trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Paul Manafort has <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/08/19/trump-campaign-chairman-paul-manafort-resigns/" target="_blank">resigned</a> as chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. Is this because of his shady Ukraine dealings? Because Trump brought on Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway to run the campaign? Because he didn't want to be associated with an epic loss in November? Because he wanted to spend more time with his family?</p> <p>There's no telling. But here's the good news: He's now free to sign up with CNN as an election analyst! I can't wait.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 19 Aug 2016 14:57:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 312051 at http://www.motherjones.com Donald Trump Has a Few Regrets http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/donald-trump-has-few-regrets <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Donald Trump said today that <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/19/us/politics/donald-trump-steps-out-of-character-to-voice-unexplained-regrets.html" target="_blank">there were a few things he regretted saying</a> in the heat of the campaign. However, he didn't say <em>what</em> he regretted, and everyone immediately suggested that reporters should ask him for specifics. The list below is just off the top of my head, but here are a few things he might admit that he regrets:</p> <ol><li>Saying I opposed the Iraq War, even though it was a lie.</li> <li>Implying that I opposed withdrawing from Iraq, even though it was a lie.</li> <li>Attacking a Muslim family that lost their son in Iraq.</li> <li><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_cruz_jfk_assassination.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 25px 0px 15px 30px;">Suggesting that we should register all Muslims in the US.</li> <li>Saying that Ted Cruz's father was involved in the JFK assassination.</li> <li>Calling Hillary Clinton the "founder" of ISIS.</li> <li>Saying that I might break our NATO guarantee by not defending the Baltics.</li> <li>Trying to renege on a $1 million donation to a vets charity until the <em>Washington Post</em> embarrassed me into it.</li> <li>Saying the real unemployment rate was 44 percent, which I knew was a lie.</li> <li>Saying that my companies offered child care to their employees, which was another lie.</li> <li>Confirming a story that I sent my personal jet to ferry soldiers stuck at Camp Lejeune, yet another lie.</li> <li>Continually claiming that neighbors of the San Bernardino shooters saw bombs in their apartment, also a lie.</li> <li>Claiming that I saw a video of Iran unloading pallets of cash.</li> <li>Claiming that I saw thousands of Muslims celebrating on 9/11, even though I didn't.</li> <li>Tweeting that 81 percent of white homicide victims are killed by blacks.</li> <li>Saying that the Obama administration was deliberately sending Syrian refugees to red states, which was a lie.</li> <li>Saying that Carly Fiorina is ugly.</li> <li>Repeatedly claiming that America has the highest tax rate in the world, a huge lie.</li> <li>Telling Anderson Cooper that I still don't really know if Barack Obama was born in the US.</li> <li>Claiming that more than 300,000 veterans have died waiting for VA care.</li> <li>Saying that vaccines cause autism, which is a disturbing and genuinely damaging lie.</li> <li>Denying that I suggested Japan should get nuclear weapons, even though I said exactly that to Chris Wallace of Fox News.</li> <li>Calling Hillary Clinton a liar when she said&mdash;accurately&mdash;that I had suggested Japan should get nuclear weapons.</li> <li>Claiming that judge Gonzalo Curiel was biased against me because of his Hispanic heritage.</li> <li>Promising that I would tell all Trump properties to allow guns on their premises.</li> <li>Slyly implying that maybe President Obama is actually sympathetic to ISIS.</li> <li>Not releasing my income tax returns even though I promised to, and then lying about this being due to an IRS audit.</li> <li><iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="225" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/PX9reO3QnUA?start=15" style="margin: 25px 0px 15px 30px;" width="400"></iframe>Saying that John McCain was no kind of war hero because he got captured.</li> <li>Mocking a disabled reporter in front of a huge crowd.</li> <li>Claiming in a debate that I never called Marco Rubio "Mark Zuckerberg&rsquo;s personal senator" even though that's exactly what I called him.</li> <li>Being a cheapskate who never donates any money to charity.</li> <li>Saying that I support torturing enemy combatants.</li> <li>Suggesting that maybe somebody ought to assassinate Hillary Clinton.</li> </ol><p>I'm sure there are plenty of big insults and lies not on this list. I don't have the memory of a 20-year-old anymore. But this should be enough to get everyone started.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 19 Aug 2016 04:00:15 +0000 Kevin Drum 312041 at http://www.motherjones.com Yet More Phony "Charity" From Donald Trump http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/yet-more-phony-charity-donald-trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_magic_8_ball_very_doubtful.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">We already know that Donald Trump is a cheapskate whose unwillingness to help others is truly off the charts. We also know that he's an epic blowhard who likes to pretend that he's a brilliant businessman and generous philanthropist. What happens when you put those two things together?</p> <p>Answer: You host a show in which you flamboyantly claim to personally donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity, but when the cameras are off you donate nothing. That's what Trump did on <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em>, and his phony philanthropy became even more pronounced in 2012. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-promised-personal-gifts-on-celebrity-apprentice-heres-who-really-paid/2016/08/18/b8d087b4-5d9a-11e6-af8e-54aa2e849447_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_trumpcelebs-2pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory" target="_blank">But why?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>After <em>The Post&rsquo;s</em> close look at Trump&rsquo;s promises&shy; on the show, a mystery remained: <strong>What happened in 2012 to make Trump so much more generous on the air?</strong></p> <p>In the tax records of the Trump Foundation &mdash; which Trump used to pay off most of those new promises &mdash; there is no record of a donation from Trump himself in 2012....<strong>But, in 2012, the Trump Foundation&rsquo;s records show a large gift from NBC,</strong> the network that aired the show. That was more than enough to cover all the foundation&rsquo;s gifts to &ldquo;Celebrity Apprentice&rdquo; contestants&rsquo; charities, both before 2012 and since.</p> <p>....<strong>Did NBC give Trump&rsquo;s foundation money, so that Trump could appear to be more generous on-camera?</strong> An NBC spokeswoman declined to comment.</p> </blockquote> <p>Does Trump ever keep <em>any</em> of his promises? Magic 8-Ball says "Very doubtful."</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 18 Aug 2016 23:26:40 +0000 Kevin Drum 312021 at http://www.motherjones.com Driverless Taxis Are Coming to Pittsburgh http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/driverless-taxis-are-coming-pittsburgh <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Uber is planning to beta test driverless Volvo taxis in Pittsburgh. <a href="http://www.eschatonblog.com/2016/08/sorry-i-was-totes-wrong.html" target="_blank">Atrios</a>, as always, is skeptical because Uber is planning to keep human "safety drivers" in the cars for a while until all the bugs are worked out. But this seems to me like nothing more than the standard way progress works. Eventually the Volvos will log enough miles to be sure the cars are safe, and Uber will apply for a permit to operate them totally autonomously. <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_uber_driverless_car.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">Another few million miles and they'll be approved for permanent use. How else would you do it?</p> <p>That aside, there are some <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-08-18/uber-s-first-self-driving-fleet-arrives-in-pittsburgh-this-month-is06r7on" target="_blank">interesting tidbits in the Bloomberg article:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>On a recent weekday test drive, the safety drivers were still an essential part of the experience, as Uber&rsquo;s autonomous car briefly turned un-autonomous, while crossing the Allegheny River. A chime sounded, a signal to the driver to take the wheel. A second ding a few seconds later indicated that the car was back under computer control. <strong>&ldquo;Bridges are really hard,&rdquo; Krikorian says. &ldquo;And there are like 500 bridges in Pittsburgh.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Wait. Why are bridges hard?</p> <blockquote> <p>Bridges are hard in part because of the way that Uber&rsquo;s system works. Over the past year and a half, the company has been creating extremely detailed maps that include not just roads and lane markings, but also buildings, potholes, parked cars, fire hydrants, traffic lights, trees, and anything else on Pittsburgh's streets. As the car moves, it collects data, and then using a <strong>large, liquid-cooled computer in the trunk,</strong> it compares what it sees with the preexisting maps to identify (and avoid) pedestrians, cyclists, stray dogs, and anything else. Bridges, unlike normal streets, offer few environmental cues&mdash;there are no buildings, for instance&mdash;making it hard for the car to figure out exactly where it is. <strong>Uber cars have Global Positioning System sensors, but those are only accurate within about 10 feet; Uber&rsquo;s systems strive for accuracy down to the inch.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>A large liquid-cooled computer in the trunk! That actually sounds like a bit of a problem for a taxi, but I guess they'll stay away from airports for the time being.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 18 Aug 2016 16:35:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 311996 at http://www.motherjones.com Trump Plays the Tough Guy Yet Again http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/trump-plays-tough-guy-yet-again <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_meltdown.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Here is Donald Trump's latest <a href="http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-hannity-town-hall-expel-us-citizens" target="_blank">pathetic bid for attention:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Hannity asked Trump what he would do about individuals like Seddique Mateen, the Afghanistan-born father of the man who killed dozens in an Orlando nightclub in June and has criticized the U.S. &ldquo;What do we do when we find somebody that has extreme views?&rdquo; Hannity asked in a town hall that was taped Tuesday but aired Wednesday so that it wouldn&rsquo;t interfere with the live broadcast of Trump&rsquo;s speech in Milwaukee. &ldquo;Do we throw them the hell out?</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I'd throw him out,&rdquo; Trump said of Mateen, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen. &ldquo;If you look at him, I'd throw him out.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Yeah yeah. Maybe Hillary Clinton will throw Trump out after she becomes president. He's been pretty critical of America, after all. Unfortunately, she'd have the same problem Trump would have if he tried to expel Mateen: nobody would take him.<sup>1</sup></p> <p>This is just the latest in Trump's transparent bids for attention. He's not going to throw anyone out. He knows he's not going to throw anyone out. Hannity knows it. The audience knows it. I know it. You know it.</p> <p>But maybe it will get a headline or two. If it doesn't, he'll suggest building a prison for all these America haters at the North Pole. Maybe that will get him some attention. If not, how about Mars? What do you think about <em>that</em>?</p> <p><sup>1</sup>That's aside from the fact that it would be totally illegal, of course.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 18 Aug 2016 16:04:30 +0000 Kevin Drum 311991 at http://www.motherjones.com Table of the Day: Ageism in Silicon Valley http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/table-day-ageism-silicon-valley <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/upshot/as-more-older-people-seek-work-they-are-put-into-old-person-jobs.html" target="_blank">Over at the Upshot,</a> Quoctrung Bui writes about some research showing which jobs older applicants (55+) are most and least likely to get. It's no surprise that older workers are less likely to get physically demanding jobs, but that's not actually the category that toughest on older workers:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_least_common_old_jobs_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 15px 35px;"></p> <p>This is the Silicon Valley mentality at work. The hiring managers at these companies simply don't believe that anyone over 50 can possibly learn anything new. Nor will these oldsters work 100 hours a week (which is probably true). This is a message to the young bucks of the coding world: you'd better treat your career the same way football players do. You may be on top of the world right now, but in 20 years you'll be considered a dinosaur too. If you don't make enough money so you can retire at 50, you'll be screwed.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 18 Aug 2016 15:31:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 311976 at http://www.motherjones.com Says Who? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/says-who <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Today's ubiquitous new internet meme is "Says who?" It's based on this simultaneously hilarious and awkward 25-second clip of an interview with Donald Trump's famously dickish lawyer, Michael Cohen:</p> <p><iframe align="middle" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/m-Z9lTUu3e8?start=0;end=25" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 60px;" width="500"></iframe></p> <p>I dunno. Maybe this kind of stuff works during depositions of small-time contractors who are trying to get Trump to pay his bills. In the big leagues, not so much. Here's the inevitable response:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">#2016, in 37 seconds: <a href="https://t.co/WHmYV6jnbZ">https://t.co/WHmYV6jnbZ</a> <a href="https://t.co/k2uDbkc1gQ">pic.twitter.com/k2uDbkc1gQ</a></p> &mdash; Rebecca Sinderbrand (@sinderbrand) <a href="https://twitter.com/sinderbrand/status/766031196983795712">August 17, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>The next 12 weeks are going to be a barrel of laughs.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 17 Aug 2016 22:48:53 +0000 Kevin Drum 311966 at http://www.motherjones.com One of Donald Trump's Top Advisers Just Lost It on CNN—and the Video Is Hilarious http://www.motherjones.com/contributor/2016/08/this-is-so-good <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Donald Trump is getting smoked <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/hillary-clinton-absolutely-kicking-donald-trumps-ass" target="_blank">in the polls right now</a> because he has run the most inept campaign in the history of campaigns and also he's a fundamentally unlikable racist who lies a lot.</p> <p>So with that being the state of the race on this balmy Wednesday, the 17th of August in the year of our Lord 2016, Michael Cohen, one of Donald Trump's top advisers, went on CNN to talk about how his boss is great and has very pretty eyes and is totally going to win. Anchor Brianna Keilar asked Cohen about these polls that say the exact opposite. Cohen was not having any of it!</p> <p>Watch what happens when the unstoppable force of stupidity meets the unmovable object of reality.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Watch Michael Cohen, counsel to Donald Trump, repeatedly ask "says who?!" on CNN when told Trump is losing. Amazing. <a href="https://t.co/OlCPxwWugM">pic.twitter.com/OlCPxwWugM</a></p> &mdash; Chad Mosher (@ChadMosher) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChadMosher/status/766020239293292547">August 17, 2016</a></blockquote> <p><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>"All of them."</p> <p>What a time to be alive.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE UPDATE: </strong>Oh my God, the full interview is even more insane.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KnYHqg6ICoA" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Contributor Wed, 17 Aug 2016 21:43:52 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 311961 at http://www.motherjones.com Why Is Aetna Pulling Out of Nice, Profitable Pennsylvania? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/08/why-aetna-pulling-out-nice-profitable-pennsylvania <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Last night I linked to a letter from Aetna to the Department of Justice explaining what they would do if their merger with Humana wasn't approved. The answer, basically, was that they'd pull out of a bunch of Obamacare exchanges. <a href="https://www.balloon-juice.com/2016/08/17/aetna-cynicism-and-pennsylvania/" target="_blank">As insurance pro Richard Mayhew puts it:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>TLDR:</strong> Nice exchanges there, be a pity if anything happened.</p> </blockquote> <p>But Mayhew points out something else. Aetna claims that they're not <em>really</em> threatening the Obama administration. They're losing money! If the merger isn't approved, they really have no choice but to pull back from the exchanges. It's sad, but what are you gonna do?</p> <p>And yet&mdash;in 2015 they made $13.6 million in the individual market in Pennsylvania. That's a very healthy 19 percent of premium revenue. But one of the states they're pulling back from is...Pennsylvania. Nice, profitable, Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania. It's very peculiar, isn't it?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 17 Aug 2016 19:29:21 +0000 Kevin Drum 311941 at http://www.motherjones.com