Monday, October 31, 2016

How Big is Your Pumpkin?


UPDATE V: Is this a scary pumpkin? It depends on your party affiliation:

UPDATE IV: What is your all-time favorite horror flick? Vote at the Washington Post, Halloween is nigh: What's the scariest movie?

UPDATE III: And what to do with all those pumkins, how about shooting some out of a cannon. Read The New York Times, Smasher, Smasher, How Do Your Pumpkins Throw?

Boys will be boys.

UPDATE II: Just 1,531 pounds. That's puny by comparison. Rea The New York Times, 1,810-Pound Wis. Pumpkin Named World's Heaviest.

And check out these other Guinness World Records other astounding Halloween-themed records this season.

UPDATE: You could always buy an ugly pumpkin.

At the "Pumpkinville" (Ellicottville, NY) pumpkin festival the winning pumpkin weighed 1,531 pounds.

That's a 'Great Pumpkin:'

Happy Halloween!!


Nana - Nana - Nana! I got you first! and you can't get me back!

You've been mooned!!

One rule to this game.... You can NOT get someone who has already gotten you! Now go out there and get as many people as you can, before they get you!

And remember, we do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.

Halloween Light Show


"4 singing pumpkin faces, tombstones, hand carved pumpkins, strobes, floods and thousands of lights":

Why Dogs Hate Halloween

Updated and reposted:

For other photos, click here.

Happy Halloween!


"Hundreds of years ago, ignorance about decomposition and disease sparked fears that the dead returned to drink the blood of the living."

Read Slate, What Vampire Graves Tell Us About Ancient Superstitions

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dems Thank The Republi-CON Media CONplex

UPDATE:  Worse yet, Obama told ya so also!

He "has hit the trail for Hillary Clinton with an elan that recalls his days as a swaggering presidential candidate in 2008. . .

Obama is repurposing a critique he’s been making for years, in public and in private, directed at Republican officeholders themselves. His retooled stump speech is crafted not just to fire up Democratic voters against Trump, but to overwhelm other Republican politicians with a sense of dread by making them recognize the huge mistake they made by not listening to him.

Some of these Republicans are only now realizing that Obama was right all along. But it’s too late. Obama’s taking his argument to the voting public, and Trump is precisely the totem he needs to make it stick.

On the stump, Obama now regularly links Trump’s candidacy, and the bind he’s created for down-ballot Republicans, to a greater theory about the way the right has practiced politics throughout his presidency.

'For years,' Obama said in Las Vegas, 'Republican politicians and the far-right media outlets have pumped up all kinds of crazy stuff about me, about Hillary, about Harry [Reid]. They said I wasn’t born here. They said climate change is a hoax. They said that I was going to take everybody’s guns away.'

Obama went on:

    '[T]here are a lot of politicians who knew better. There are a lot of senators who knew better. But they went along with these stories because they figured, you know what, this will help rile up the base, it will give us an excuse to obstruct what we’re trying to do, we won’t be able to appoint judges, we’ll gum up the works, we’ll create gridlock, it will give us a political advantage. So they just stood by and said nothing. And their base began to actually believe this crazy stuff.

    So Donald Trump did not start this. Donald Trump didn’t start it. He just did what he always did, which is slap his name on it, take credit for it, and promote it. That’s what he does. And so now when suddenly it’s not working, and people are saying, wow, this guy is kind of out of line, all of a sudden, these Republican politicians who were okay with all this crazy stuff up to a point, suddenly they’re all walking away. “Oh, this is too much.” … Well, what took you so long? What the heck?

It should be alarming to Republican strategists that the outgoing Democratic president has a better handle on what’s happened to their party than GOP politicians and conservative intellectuals—many of whom blame Trump’s rise on the media, or liberal dirty tricks.' . .

But the content of Obama’s argument shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention, because he’s been making it for practically his entire presidency. . .

It is gratifying, in some ways, to watch Obama take this final victory lap. There can be no more fitting repudiation of the the massive resistance strategy Republicans deployed against him than to leave office a political giant, with high approval ratings, and a list of substantive achievements to rival the greatest presidents in U.S. history—while the opposing party’s nominee, the embodiment of the Republican id, loses ignominiously."

Read the New Republic, Obama Was Right About Republican Extremism All Along

Another I told ya so!

In November 2008 just after the 2008 presidential election, I asked: "Did Obama win because FOXNews and talk radio, a constant source of right-wing fantasies, promote obsessions that are not the issues that are important to American voters?" See Dems Thank FOXNews.

Now, eight years later, others are realizing that "Trump's rise was no accident; rather, it was a natural outgrowth of a growing and influential faction of conservative media that for years fed the Republican base a steady diet of fringe theories masqueraded as news.

And Republicans allowed it to happen, as Obama noted.

"They just stood by and said nothing, even though they knew better, while their base actually started believing some of this stuff," he said. . .

Trump did not create the conditions ripe for his candidacy. The conservative media industrial complex and apprehensive Republican leaders were responsible for that.

Years before the real-estate tycoon entered onto the political stage, the conservative press — made up of a handful of websites, talk radio, and Fox News opinion programming — started to move the center of gravity in the Republican base further and further right. . .

Perhaps more important, however, the conservative media industrial complex successfully managed over the years to lock the Republican Party away from access to its own base. Those who consumed conservative media were taught not to trust politicians or, even worse, the mainstream media.

As a result, party leaders were beholden to a handful of individuals who controlled the conservative media and, thus, held the keys to their voters. Elected officials and candidates seeking office dared not criticize the conservative media’s most powerful members, for fear of the wrath that would ensue if they did.

The power the conservative press held allowed its members to decide who was accepted by the base and who wasn’t. . .

Republicans instead allowed their base to be held captive by a conservative press that moved their base further right, pushed conspiracy theories about Obama, and set unrealistic exceptions for them while in office.

So it should not be surprising that when Trump came along in 2016 and aggressively echoed this rhetoric, a significant portion of the base accepted him. . .

Questions about what the Republican Party will do in the aftermath of yet another presidential-election defeat are already buzzing in political circles.

"There is no autopsy this year that does not include dealing with the right-wing media," Sykes said. "There is none."

There is a reason, however, that this issue has been ignored for so long.

The Republican base still remains largely unreachable, locked away in a space in which only figures like talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, Fox News host Sean Hannity, and internet titan Matt Drudge hold the keys.

[And] those 'who were wrong' this year [have] 'an enormous power to control the narrative.'

'Drudge, Breitbart, Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, [Laura] Ingraham — those people are completely invested in another false narrative to cover up the first false narrative, . . . 'and if there's one thing I have ever learned in life, it is far easier to dupe people than to convince them that they have been duped.'"

Read Business Insider, The GOP must do something about the conservative media industrial complex if it wants to survive.

There are many such articles being written, including in the Washington Post:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Don't Vote Hate, Your Vote Must Humiliate & Repudiate

If "Trump is to be denied in his bid to subvert democratic institutions by claiming a rigged election, he needs to be defeated resoundingly, removing all doubt. Clinton needs to run up the score.

The need to deal Trump a humiliating defeat has a sociological basis in the 'degradation ceremony' in which the perpetrator (Trump) is held by denouncers (officeholders and others in positions of influence) to be morally unacceptable, and witnesses (the public) agree that the perpetrator is no longer held in good standing.

Psychologist Wynn Schwartz, who teaches at Harvard Medical School, explained to me that what’s needed to have a successful degradation of Trump is an epic defeat. 'If it is lopsided enough,' he said, 'you don’t have critical masses of people who feel disenfranchised” or “who feel justified in saying that it was stolen.'

But if Clinton’s victory is narrow, the degradation ceremony fails, because a large chunk of the population feels swindled and remains loyal to Trump. 'The margin matters a lot,' Schwartz said.

Trump’s recent actions — talking about a 'rigged' election while laying the foundation for a Trump TV network — suggest that he will attempt to defy the degradation ceremony that a loss typically confers. Hence the importance of a landslide."

Read the Washington Post, Trump can’t just be defeated. He must be humiliated.

Read also the Washington Post, Americans are repudiating Trump’s ‘rigged election’ lies. By voting., which notes that "[o]ne good way for Americans to repudiate Trump’s efforts to shake faith in our democracy — and let’s be clear, this is exactly what he is trying to do — is by voting."

Friday, October 14, 2016

It's HER Fault

"It is time someone got to the bottom of everything that people say about Hillary Clinton. Who is she? More importantly, WHAT is she? . . .

[In 2016 s]he activates a spell cast on Donald Trump decades before at his wedding, which causes everything that comes out of his mouth to sound like the racist, sexist ramblings of a deranged conspiracy theorist. Trump tries valiantly to lay all her activities bare to the American people, but people cannot hear his truth through Hillary Clinton’s powerful cloud of witchcraft, which she uses to summon women everywhere whom he has wronged. "

Read the Washington Post, The hideous, diabolical truth about Hillary Clinton, which has compiled a full "timeline of her life by combining all the actual theories about her. When lined up together, they form quite a biography."

NO NEVER MEANS YES: The Republi-CON Moral Hypocrisy, Debasement & Obscenity in Defense of Donald Trump

 The Republi-CON Party claims it is the paragon of family values.

In the past, I have used examples of Republi-CONs hypocrisy when it comes to those so-called family values they claim to hold in such high regard.

Now, in defense of the indefensible, in order to win the election, none other than the Republi-CON's leading media cheerleader is excusing and condoning rape.

"Rush Limbaugh addressed what he called the 'Donald Trump sex-talk scandal' on his radio show Wednesday, mocking liberals and how, he said, they view the concept of consent.

'You know what the magic word, the only thing that matters in American sexual mores today is? One thing,' the conservative commentator said, according to audio released by Media Matters for America. 'You can do anything — the left will promote and understand and tolerate anything — as long as there is one element. Do you know what it is? Consent.

'If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it's perfectly fine. Whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there's no consent in part of the equation, then here come the rape police. But consent is the magic key to the left.' . .

In 2014, Limbaugh expressed frustration about the definition of consent.

'How many of you guys, in your own experience with women, have learned that 'no' means ‘yes’ if you know how to spot it?' he said on his radio show, according to the Huffington Post. In modern times, Limbaugh said, 'that is simply, that's not tolerated. People aren't even going to try to understand that one. I mean, it used to be used as a cliche. It used to be part of the advice young boys were given.

'See, that's what we've got to change. We have got to reprogram the way we raise young men. ... Are these not lawsuits just waiting to happen?"

Read the Washington Post, ‘Here come the rape police’: Rush Limbaugh reacts to Trump’s ‘sex-talk scandal’

As an attorney (& father), let me be clear, NO NEVER MEANS YES, no matter how rich or famous you think you are!!

Will You Be Voting for Moral Bankruptcy?

UPDATE III:  "It’s no longer a question of who is going to win; that’s a foregone conclusion. The issue is whether a party and individuals want to be remembered for defending a moral monster. And even if those calling for Trump’s head do want Clinton as the lesser of two evils, it’s hard to argue with that assessment. They’re entitled to more credence, not less. They knew months ago he was manifestly unfit." (Emphasis added.)

Read the Washington Post, The 7 dumbest arguments in defense of Trump.

UPDATE II: "Trump continues to display the symptoms of narcissistic alexithymia, the inability to understand or describe the emotions in the self. Unable to know themselves, sufferers are unable to understand, relate or attach to others.

To prove their own existence, they hunger for endless attention from outside. Lacking internal measures of their own worth, they rely on external but insecure criteria like wealth, beauty, fame and others’ submission.

In this way, Trump seems to be denied all the pleasures that go with friendship and cooperation. Women could be sources of love and affection, but in his disordered state he can only hate and demean them. His attempts at intimacy are gruesome parodies, lunging at women as if they were pieces of meat.

Most of us derive a warm satisfaction when we feel our lives are aligned with ultimate values. But Trump lives in an alternative, amoral Howard Stern universe where he cannot enjoy the sweetness that altruism and community service can occasionally bring.

Bullies only experience peace when they are cruel. Their blood pressure drops the moment they beat the kid on the playground."

Read The New York Times, Donald Trump’s Sad, Lonely Life.

UPDATE: It appears some Republicans may not be.

"The Republican Party tumbled toward anarchy Monday over its presidential nominee, as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) cut Donald Trump loose in an emergency maneuver to preserve the party’s endangered congressional majorities.

Ryan’s announcement that he would no longer defend or campaign with Trump prompted biting condemnations from within his caucus and from Trump himself, who publicly lashed out at the speaker.

It was an extraordinary display of personal animus just four weeks before the election, destroying any semblance of party unity behind a nominee who many GOP leaders said they could no longer stomach because of his character traits and tawdry campaign tactics.

New national and battleground-state polls showed Trump sliding since Friday’s publication of a 2005 video of him bragging about sexual assault, putting Clinton in position for a possible electoral landslide. Clinton surged to an 11 percentage point lead nationally in an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll conducted over the weekend."

Read the Washington Post, The GOP tumbles toward anarchy: ‘It’s every person for himself or herself’.

"Over the weekend, Donald Trump did what he always does when things go south for him. He walked away. He announced he is not the man at 70 he had been at 59 when he had boasted of sexual assault, and he pledged “to be a better man tomorrow.” With that, he effectively declared moral bankruptcy, paying about a dime on the dollar of sincerity.

It was, of course, what Trump had done six times in business, only this time the crisis was not about his finances, but his character. He had been caught talking trash about women. He has been caught boasting about committing the sort of sex crimes transit cops are always on the lookout for. He said he had hit on a married woman soon after he himself had been married. For all of that, he had “regret.”

Then, like the angel he thinks he is, he took flight. . .

Trump’s diversion worked. He lives to fight another day, to continue to bring embarrassment and shame to the Republican Party and the political careerists who would risk a debacle of a presidency rather than take a stand on principle. Lies spill from Trump’s mouth and he exudes bigotry, yet he learned long ago that only suckers pay their debts and take responsibility for what they’ve done. He simply moves on. If he succeeds this time, then we are not his creditors, but as morally bankrupt as he is."

Read the Washington Post, Trump files for moral bankruptcy.

Monday, October 10, 2016

SNL's Takedown of The Donald

It's lengthy, but hilarious. Watch it:

The Republi-CON Media CONplex, CONtinued

"This election year is memorable for many reasons but among the most important is showing Republicans the cost of their infatuation with 'alternative' news sources.

The rise of the conservative alternative media can be traced back to the founding of the newspaper Human Events in 1944, Regnery Publishing in 1947 and National Review in 1955. But it did not become a mass phenomenon until the debut of Rush Limbaugh’s national radio show, in 1988, followed in 1996 by the launch of the Fox News Channel and the Drudge Report. Those still remain three of the most popular outlets on the right, but they have been joined by radio hosts such as Mark Levin and Michael Savage, authors such as Ann Coulter and Dinesh D’Souza, and websites such as Breitbart News, TheBlaze, Infowars and Newsmax.

The original impetus for these outlets was to offer a different viewpoint that people could not get from the more liberal TV networks, newspapers and magazines. But soon the alternative media moved from propounding their own analyses to concocting their own 'facts,' turning into an incubator of conspiracy theories such as 'Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster' and 'Barack Obama is a Muslim.'

This might have been dismissed at one time as a fringe phenomenon. But it has moved into the mainstream now that the Republican presidential nominee has turned over his campaign to Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart . . .

Where might Trump get [many of his] nutty ideas? . . . ”

You can and should blame Trump for believing so much of the nonsense that is spouted by the alternative media, but the deeper problem is with the outlets themselves. The right wing has created its own echo chamber which is increasingly disconnected from reality. There are millions of Americans who share Trump’s outré beliefs — which helps to explain why his presidential campaign has done better than expected.

But in the long term, the right’s addiction to its own news has become destructive — it promotes the election of tea party absolutists to Congress and the nomination of presidential candidates who have trouble appealing to swing voters. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence but in the 28 years since Limbaugh was syndicated, Republican presidential candidates have won a popular majority only once (2004); in the 28 years before then, Republicans won the popular vote five times (1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988). Whether Trump wins or loses, conservatives need to re-evaluate their infatuation with 'alternative' news sources that tell them what they want to hear and join a more mainstream conversation that includes different points of view."

Read the Washington Post, Republicans are paying the price for their addiction to their own media.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Where's The Donald?

UPDATE:  "There is no new Donald Trump. What you see is what you get. Trump is a living, breathing example of how all of the best-laid plans go out the window after you get punched in the face. Even if he knows what he should do — or at least what people like his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway need him to do — in this second debate, Trump's performance in New Hampshire on Thursday night shows that he is simply incapable of executing a plan that runs counter to his freewheeling, stream-of-consciousness approach.

He just doesn't have it in him. To expect a different Trump at this point in the campaign is to believe something against mountains of evidence to the contrary."

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump’s debate prep is going great!!!

Say good bye to old narcissistic, egomaniacal, religiously bigoted, misogynistic, racist, xenophobe (did I miss anything?) The Donald

Say hello to new & improved The Donald.

Read the Washington Post, Trump just said he won’t attack Bill Clinton’s affairs, after all. Here’s why.

Is anybody really fooled?

And how long will it last?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Don't Vote Hate

See UPDATE XI (10/03/16) below.


Lord knows we need reform in this country. This blog explains why.

And I had great hope that The Donald could be a reformer.

But now I believe that The Donald is a narcissistic, egomaniacal, religiously bigoted, misogynistic, racist, xenophobe. (Did I miss anything?)

He is our Hitler, and all good Americans have a duty to fight him and defeat him.

God will accept nothing less.


UPDATE:  "'Kill her.'

'Trump that bitch!'

'Build a wall — kill them all.'

New York Times reporters have spent over a year covering Donald J. Trump’s rallies, witnessing so many provocations and heated confrontations at them that the cumulative effect can be numbing: A sharp sting that quickly dulls from repetition.:

Read The New York Times, Voices From Donald Trump’s Rallies, Uncensored.

Or watch the video:

UPDATE II: You must read this article by a conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin with the Washington Post, New campaign shake-up, same old awful Trump, which notes:

"Republicans have deluded themselves long enough. He’s not stable, coherent or knowledgeable. The man who never apologizes and thinks he has run a perfect campaign will not shift gears. If anything, he is doubling and tripling down. If Republicans cannot declare him ready right now to govern and recommend Trump as he is right now — not after being sprinkled with presidential pixie dust — they should leave him to his own devices and get on with the business of trying to save the House and Senate majorities." (Emphasis in original.)

The rats are abandoning ship.

UPDATE III:  Another must read article by a conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin with the Washington Post, Trump flunks the commander-in-chief test, which notes:

"Hillary Clinton did not have a great night at NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum on Wednesday. Donald Trump had a horrendous one. It was in that sense a microcosm of the race: Only against Trump could Clinton seem far and away the most responsible contender. . .

 None of that — if you can believe it — was anywhere as awful as Trump's rambling, incoherent and at times jaw-dropping performance. He once again fawned over Vladimir Putin, who has invaded his neighbors and repressed his citizens. Besides, Putin has an 82 percent approval! (That's like saying Bashar al-Assad is the world's most popular ruler since he gets 99 percent of the vote.) He declared, "I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin. And I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Russia." He went back to the topic shortly thereafter: "If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him." It's a telling comment: Trump's sole concern is himself; the interests of the United States don't come into consideration.

Trump repeatedly insulted the military. . .

He repeated his nonsensical position that we should take Iraq's oil . . .

Trump nevertheless is going to demand that the generals come up with a plan for beating the Islamic State. Trump told us he has a plan but apparently he does not, or wants to compare notes with the generals. But they'll be different from the ones reduced to rubble, I guess.

Trump also seemed unaware in discussing sexual assault that there is a military system of justice. ("And the best thing we can do is set up a court system within the military. Right now, the court system practically doesn't exist.") He also objects to women serving next to men in the military.

It is obvious that Trump has learned nothing in more than a year of campaigning. Perhaps that is because, as he acknowledged, he is still running his business. (Blind trust? Conflict of interest?) Maybe it is because he is surrounded by sycophants of Putin. Then again, it may be that he is ignorant and cannot process information that might contradict the rubbish occupying his brain. . .

The worst of the worst, however, might go to the hapless Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who tweeted that Clinton was "angry and defensive" and didn't smile. No, really, he wants the lady to smile more. Is there some kind of contest at the RNC to see how big a gender gap a Republican can achieve? Priebus is a constant reminder that the GOP may be, after this election, unsalvageable."

Read also, the Washington Post, Don’t be fooled — Donald Trump’s foreign policy is as scary as ever, which noted:

"Trump’s vision of foreign policy seems to be a kind of authoritarian “big guys” club — stealing other countries’ oil, sacking generals, politicizing intelligence and buddying up to a Russian leader who’s running a covert action against the U.S. political system."

UPDATE IV:  What type of Trump supporter are you?

"If you are 'very enthusiastic' about a candidate who has based his campaign on scapegoating immigrants, Latinos and African Americans, talked of banning Muslims from the country, hesitated to disown the Ku Klux Klan and employed anti-Semitic imagery — well, you might be a racist. But if you are holding your nose and supporting Trump only because you think him better than Clinton, that doesn’t put you in the basket.

The new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds the two groups roughly equal: Forty-six percent of Trump supporters say they are 'very enthusiastic' about his candidacy. The rest were 'somewhat' or not terribly enthusiastic."

Read the Washington Post, Yes, half of Trump supporters are racist.

BTW, early in the campaign I was the second type of Trump supporter, until I finally realized that even if Trump wasn't racist he was clearly appealing to fear, anger and hatred to win the election.

UPDATE V:  "Hitler was a psychopath. Trump is just a con man. . .

There’s a difference. Trump is a two-bit con man. He’s playing the fools.

Whether he’s jacking up room rates 400 percent when his campaign uses his hotels, or spending campaign money to buy his own books, or blowing racial dog whistles and then accusing his rival of being a bigot, or lying about crime rates to win African American votes, or just plain old running out on his bills — it is all, top to bottom, one long con. A scheme. A grift. To make a buck, to get out of hock, to get some fame, to get his own TV network — the ignominious ends always justify the ignoble means. Even his run for president is a con, a way to gain even more power than this millionaire’s son was already born with. It certainly isn’t to implement any deeply felt ideas. It can’t be. He hasn’t got any. It’s all about the con.

And give the man credit, by the way — he’s good at it. He is, as he says, the best. The white nationalists are eating it up, and they are a tough, tough room. The guy is a fantastic con man.

But he’s no Hitler. Not even close. . .

Is Trump a megalomaniacal demagogue? Yes. Is he a sociopath? Undoubtedly. Is he dangerous? Maybe.

Which bring me to the second reason the comparison of Trump to Hitler bothers me: This isn’t the comparison that matters. It’s the easy comparison, the one that leaves us — We The People — safe from criticism.

The comparison that matters is not, “Is Donald Trump like Hitler?” but, “Are we like Hitler’s willing executioners?”

Will we look the other way, say we didn’t know, stand silently by while millions of our neighbors are rounded up, while women who get abortions are “punished,” while immigrants are given “ideology tests” and our leader heaps praise on oppressive tyrants?

Well? Will we?

Are we that terrified? Are we that hateful? Are we that frightened, that cowardly, that selfish, that helpless, that cold-hearted, that dumb, that easily manipulated, that easily provoked? Are we so bereft of answers, so pathetically hopeless, that all we can come up with is easy scapegoating and blind fealty to Our Great Leader? Are We The People really going to fall for the dumbest, oldest, easiest trick in the book?

Because if we are, then we won’t need an Adolf Hitler to embrace that darkness. Even a two-bit con man like Donald Trump will be enough."

Read the Washington Post, Don’t compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. It belittles Hitler.

UPDATE VI:  And another must read article by a conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin with the Washington Post, Who will hold the right-wing media charlatans accountable, which notes:

"David Rothkopf writes that instrumental in Donald Trump’s rise was the 'chorus of toxic commentators … the Rush Limbaugh phenomenon and the Black Helicopter guys. They have embraced smear, conspiracy theories, inflammatory language, and gross incivility to drum up ratings and stir up emotions.' They’ve sown not skepticism but hatred and unwarranted distrust of all government. They’ve indulged in climate-change denial and economic nincompoopery.

For a while, they played the ideological purity game. Anyone who deviated from the Heritage Action script or the NRA scorecard or the anti-gay-marriage hymnal was a 'RINO.' (The problem with Jeb Bush, you see, was that he was too liberal.) Trump, it must be said, revealed all of these folks to be frauds. The media chorus that hounded impure conservatives now embraces Trump and the worst excesses of the welfare state (subsidized health care for Ivanka Trump?!). They’ve decided that large swaths of America are made up of victims, driven to madness by elites who refused to say 'Merry Christmas' and deprived them of $30-per-hour jobs that required no college education. They have gone from hawking traditional marriage to embracing a thrice-married adulterer. . .

They used to resent racial- and gender-grievance mongering. Now they coddle non-college-educated white males whose lives have been ruined by … what? Free trade that saves them hundreds of dollars a year at Walmart? By the idea that the rich have gamed the system? (It may be objectionable, but crony capitalism did not stymie the job prospects of high school dropouts in Appalachia.)

The conspiracy generators — Sen. Mitch McConnell sold them out! 9/11 was an inside job! President Obama was born in Kenya! — assumed that their audience was stupid. They then concocted a brew of urban myth and racial resentment that made their audience even stupider. It used to be that Republicans were the ideas party (Milton Friedman! James Q. Wilson!), while the Democrats were the coalition party (minorities, unions, etc.). Now the Republicans’ 'big idea' is that whites are persecuted and Christians get no respect. The right-wing media rails about public schools that don’t teach history adequately — and then spews a fractured fairy tale about U.S. history and make mincemeat of the Constitution when it suits their purposes. . .

They are, on the whole, far less informative, honest and fair than the mainstream media (which has its own problems). They sure are less civil. After the election, it will be a good time to name names, to end the Fox News network monopoly on evening conservative news-ish programming, to debunk the false narratives and grotesque sexism and simply to tune out the gibberish. Shining a bright light on charlatans and encouraging more speech have always been the antidote to noxious, false and destructive speech."

UPDATE VII:  "Trump has virtually no qualifications to be president, repeatedly failed as a businessman, has no history of public service, is the target of multiple investigations into possibly illegal activities, has regularly expressed racist and misogynist views throughout his career and during this campaign, and has deliberately and systematically reached out to groups that can only be described as “deplorable” — including white supremacists, anti-Semites, and other hate-mongers. Further, he has repeatedly expressed (including on Russian-state TV) his admiration for Vladimir Putin, a man who has systematically suppressed democracy in Russia, invaded his neighbors, scoffed at international law, and sought to undercut the interests of the United States. Worse, he has hired top aides who worked closely with the Moscow regime and sought to take advantage of a shockingly overt campaign by Russian intelligence to interfere in the U.S. election cycle.

Trump has repeatedly insulted and attacked the U.S. military and intelligence community, its leadership, and performance — while showing such utter contempt for the electorate that he has made no visible effort to come to understand America’s situation in the world or how foreign policy works. What is more, he has demonstrated his derision for the First Amendment to the Constitution and regularly sought to block, quash, and intimidate the press. If there were a more textbook example of the narcissistic, brutal personality type from which authoritarian thugs are made, it is hard to imagine. Trump is not just an American Berlusconi, he is our Putin- or Mugabe-in-waiting.

In an election year in which inequality and economic insecurity rank atop the list of voter concerns, Trump is a billionaire who has made his money by gaming the system and stiffing the little guy. He is odious and offensive; a poster child for everything wrong with the U.S. system. Indeed, the fact that he is not broke or in jail is powerful testimony to the special and unfair advantages the very rich have in America today. (See, for example, the evolving pay-to-play corruption scandal involving him and Florida’s attorney general.)

In fact, by any rational calculus the only federal office for which Trump seems suited is one with bars on the windows. The notion that somehow he has become a champion for Joe Lunch Bucket is beyond ludicrous. . .

Theories about how we got here are plentiful. We could trace the rise of Trump back to Goldwater or Reagan and the rise of the modern right wing in America. We could trace it to Gingrich and the obstructionists who first shut down the government in the 1990s, proponents of a political scorched-earth policy that has only grown worse in the years since. (The Democrats, it must be said, are not without blame here. After all, it was a Democratic effort to shape the Supreme Court that gave us the verb “to bork.”) We could trace it to the concurrent emergence of the fringe right that stretches from Pat Buchanan to Pat Robertson, from Michele Bachmann to Rick Santorum, from Sarah Palin to the Tea Party. And certainly, elements of all of these movements led us here.

So, too, has the chorus of toxic commentators played a role in this — the Rush Limbaugh phenomenon and the Black Helicopter guys. They have embraced smear, conspiracy theories, inflammatory language, and gross incivility to drum up ratings and stir up emotions. They have a special role to play in moving the media world along the spectrum from light to heat. But cable news networks (Fox and MSNBC) and websites (Drudge, Breitbart, and the liberal equivalents) have all seen their success and aped it, valuing conflict over insight, cage-matches over thoughtful, unbiased analysis.

There is a special place in this demonology, by the way, for the right-wing newspaper commentators who developed a strategy and a series of code words that made them sound patriotic but in actuality were dog whistles for the haters. . .

Something catalyzed all these forces and produced this inexplicable outcome. Determining it scientifically is impossible, of course. The rise of the echo-chamber-within-an-echo-chamber media phenomenon has helped isolate groups from one another and has deepened the us-versus-them mindset. The nonstop Twitter and social media conversation — wherein many of us get most of our news from friends, with whom we share values — is also to blame.

But something else has happened. The 15th anniversary of 9/11 underscores this for me. The entire country endured a psychic shock unlike any other in modern history as we collectively watched a human atrocity and national tragedy unfold. This made us feel more vulnerable and at risk than ever before. It created a level of fear that surpassed that all but the darkest days of the Cold War. This despite the fact that then, as now, we are probably safer than at any time since World War II. We’re stronger. We face no real strategic threat (except those from within our own borders). And the enemies we face, while awful, are weak, small, disparate, and doomed to fail.

The lingering sense of vulnerability indicates the severity of the trauma. It also suggests that subsequent shocks — notably the global financial crisis — deepen the psychological damage. We, as a country, are still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. And Trump is a symptom of our distress."

Read Foreign Policy, Donald Trump Is the Symptom of Our PTSD.

UPDATE VIII:  "No matter what Hillary Clinton’s faults — and they are many — it is hard to seriously argue that a man who would lead a racist conspiracy theory and then try to blame his opponent is fit to be president. Trump, like a small child caught misbehaving, simply denies the evidence or blames someone else or lashes out in anger. (He also this weekend called former defense secretary Robert Gates a “clown” in response to Gates’s well-reasoned argument that Trump is unfit to serve as commander in chief.) Again and again he’s proven his views so extreme (e.g., rounding up 11 million people), his judgement so egregious (e.g., embracing Vladimir Putin) and his character so twisted that only someone in deep denial or blinded by partisanship could defend him and insist he is worthy of the office.

As for the fate of the GOP, the evidence mounts that it cannot go merrily on its way after the election. A party that would sanction people who call out a racist deserves to go out of business. A party whose congressional leaders remain supportive of a nominee who incites violence, perpetuates racism, blatantly, and traffics in conspiracy theories loses the moral authority to govern.

In essence, birtherism is a lenient dividing line."

Read the Washington Post, The GOP died this weekend.

UPDATE IX:  He was 'pathetic dunderhead,' a 'big mouth', and a 'most unlikely pretender to high state office', "who rose to power through demagoguery, showmanship and nativist appeals to the masses."

"[R]egarded by many as a self-obsessed 'clown' with a strangely 'scattershot, impulsive style', he focused on social and political conditions, expertly exploiting unemployment, economic distress, and bitterness, as well as a yearning for a return to greatness and and longstanding ethnic prejudices and fears of 'foreignization' to become lord and master of the country.

He persuaded millions to embrace him and his doctrine of hatred, achieving absolute power in a once democratic country and set it on a course of monstrous horror.

He "was often described as an egomaniac who 'only loved himself' — a narcissist with a taste for self-dramatization and . . . a 'characteristic fondness for superlatives.' His manic speeches and penchant for taking all-or-nothing risks raised questions about his capacity for self-control, even his sanity. But . . . his shrewdness as a politician — with a 'keen eye for the strengths and weaknesses of other people' and an ability to 'instantaneously analyze and exploit situations.'"

He "was known, among colleagues, for a 'bottomless mendacity' that would later be magnified by a slick propaganda machine that used the latest technology . . . to spread his message. . . [He was described as] 'so thoroughly untruthful that he could no longer recognize the difference between lies and truth' and editors of one edition of [one of his books] described it as a 'swamp of lies, distortions, innuendoes, half-truths and real facts.'"

He "was an effective orator and actor, . . . assuming various masks and feeding off the energy of his audiences. Although he concealed his [demagoguery] beneath a 'mask of moderation' when trying to win the support of the socially liberal middle classes, he specialized in big, theatrical rallies staged with spectacular elements borrowed from the circus. . . . Here, [he] adapted the content of his speeches to suit the tastes of his lower-middle-class, nationalist-conservative, ethnic-chauvinist and anti-Semitic listeners . . .  He peppered his speeches with coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers. Even as he fomented chaos by playing to crowds’ fears and resentments, he offered himself as the visionary leader who could restore law and order."

He "increasingly presented himself in messianic terms, promising 'to lead [the country] to a new era of national greatness,' though he was typically vague about his actual plans. He often harked back to a golden age for the country, . . . the better 'to paint the present day in hues that were all the darker. Everywhere you looked now, there was only decline and decay.'"

His "repertoire of topics . . . was limited, and reading his speeches in retrospect, 'it seems amazing that he attracted larger and larger audiences' with 'repeated mantralike phrases' consisting largely of ‘accusations, vows of revenge and promises for the future.' But [he] virtually wrote the modern playbook on demagoguery, . . .  [he knew] that propaganda must appeal to the emotions — not the reasoning powers — of the crowd . . . effective propaganda needed to be boiled down to a few slogans that should be 'persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.'"

His "rise was not inevitable . . . There were numerous points at which his ascent might have been derailed. . . He benefited from a 'constellation of crises that he was able to exploit cleverly and unscrupulously' — in addition to economic woes and unemployment, there was an 'erosion of the political center' and a growing resentment of the elites. . . and the belief of [his] supporters that the country needed 'a man of iron' who could shake things up. 'Why not give [him] a chance?'"

His "ascension was aided and abetted by the naïveté of domestic adversaries who failed to appreciate his ruthlessness and tenacity . . . [His] style and appearance . . . led some critics to underestimate the man and his popularity, while others dismissed him as a celebrity, a repellent but fascinating 'evening’s entertainment.' Politicians, for their part, suffered from the delusion that the dominance of traditional conservatives in the cabinet would neutralize the threat of [his] abuse of power and . . . 'his conservative coalition partners believed either that he was not serious or that they could exert a moderating influence on him. In any case, they were severely mistaken.'"

He "it became obvious, could not be tamed — he needed only five months to consolidate absolute power . . . 'with pressure from the party grass roots combining effectively with pseudo-legal measures ordered by the . . . government. Many [people] jumped on the [party] bandwagon not out of political conviction but in hopes of improving their career opportunities, . . while fear kept others from speaking out . . . The independent press was banned or suppressed and books deemed 'un-[patriotic]' were burned. [Soon] . . . 'his government was going to do away with all norms of separation of powers and the rule of law.'"

He "had a dark, Darwinian view of the world. And he would not only become . . . 'a mouthpiece of the cultural pessimism' growing in right-wing circles in the [country], but also the avatar of what Thomas Mann identified as a turning away from reason and the fundamental principles of a civil society — namely, 'liberty, equality, education, optimism and belief in progress.'"

Read The New York Time, In 'Hitler,' an Ascent From 'Dunderhead' to Demagogue, a review of a book offering "a fascinating Shakespearean parable about how the confluence of circumstance, chance, a ruthless individual and the willful blindness of others can transform a country — and, in Hitler’s case, lead to an unimaginable nightmare for the world."

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

UPDATE X:  "#NeverTrump Republicans warned [this] would happen: An emotionally unstable, raging narcissist would suffer some type of public breakdown, confirming the gross malfeasance of the Republican National Committee and the foolishness of his backers.

Trump could take the GOP down the tubes in an election that was eminently winnable — until the party nominated a lunatic."

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump’s 3 a.m. moment.

Read also the Washington Post, ‘Public slut-shaming’ and Donald Trump’s attack on a former Miss Universe’s alleged sex history and Before 6 a.m., Donald Trump proved Hillary Clinton’s point about his temperament.

UPDATE XI:  "Trump all along has been a clinically self-involved con man who never took the issues, the presidency or the future of our country seriously. Can there be any doubt that his campaign is a branding exercise gone, quite literally, mad?

Trump’s gift to voters was a series of tweets he started sending out at 3:20 a.m. Friday morning. His behavior gives new meaning to the old ads about 3 a.m. phone calls questioning how a would-be president might respond to crisis. Beware any human being who feels an impulse to send out angry tweets at that hour. . .

If an onslaught against a Gold Star family didn’t stop him, why should his wee-hours-of-the-morning storm of vicious invective be any different?

The answer is that this episode should finally force everyone to say: enough. Trump is neither normal nor stable. He is manifestly dangerous to our country and erratic in everything except his unrestrained meanness. He should not be given fifth, sixth and seventh chances. He has shown us who he is. We should believe what we see."

Read the Washington Post, Trump’s last tweet?