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September 26, 2016


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Politics is rough business. I submit that if there is a President wherein there might be an issue as to their actual birthplace, it's game on.

Whether that President is black or white.

That's where (as I pointed out) your logic is typically faulty. It's not that he was a black man; it's that he was an opponent.

You see racial motives where there are none.


New Times honored Rogue Columnist in its latest "Best of Phoenix." It writes:

"Former Arizona Republic columnist Jon Talton now lives in Washington state and writes about economics for the Seattle Times, but the Grand Canyon State remains very much on his mind. His David Mapstone mysteries are set in Arizona, and he maintains a regular blog on all things Phoenix, entitled "Rogue Columnist," where he opines on everything from Phoenix's lost (or about to be lost) architectural gems, to the unsolved and unresolved Don Bolles case, to the Republican's misplaced faith in tax cuts, and so on. Consider this: He writes the blog pro bono publica, despite having to churn out several columns a week for the Seattle paper. Now that's love, baby. True love. Because it's obvious from Talton's blogs that he cares deeply about Phoenix and Arizona and the quality of life here, and so expends a terrific amount of intellectual energy on serious discussions of Phoenix's past, present, and future. We hope Talton never grows tired of writing about Arizona, because we know we'll never grow tired of reading him."


I give some of the credit to you intelligent commenters.

Hey, Jon! Congrats on the Best of Phoenix nod. You've earned it.

Thanks for the insightful commentary.

JON, My Hats of to you, keep scribbling.

Comon, INPHX, even a blithering idiot knows that a huge issue with the bigots and kooks in this world is they would do anything to keep a black man from the WHITE house. (maybe it should be renamed something like the Presidents abode.
Every day I encounter poor to wealthy WHITE folks that say things like, "my daddy said never let a nigger be in charge".
Not in my neighborhood.
A few days ago I got an email from a well off white 80 year old that wants to have segregation and wants separate countries for non-white people. What ever that is.

Congrats Jon.

Don't believe cal. If he took off his hat, no one would recgnize him.

I imagine you'll also place first in the category of - best blog about Phoenix by someone who no longer lives here but still owns a place here and visits regularly and pays taxes here.

I love all the categories that have been added over the years.

Were back to 1877 to the 1960's. Trump encourages bringing back lynching. Even of his white opponents.


But U can believe Ruben, a wealthy indigenous american ( a white north European dude took his grandmothers scalp) living in White LDS country, where the Weed grows tall.

Culled from the collected wisdom of INPHX:

The "looney left" believes in knowledge and facts.

That's certainly a damning accusation.

(I say better that than the looney right's belief in bile, an imaginary past, and a disassociation from history and reality.)

And racism doesn't exist--except in the fever dreams of the "looney left". What looks like racism on the right is simply a deep respect for law and order, and the rights of property owners.

Does that about cover it?

As far as I can find this probably a factual story.
Nine cops and one hungry black kid.
Or Murder by White cop.
Cover up by White corner in White Georgia!

INPHX, there was never any reason to doubt Obama's birthplace. Never one. So pursuing this absurd allegation as a legitimate issue reveals the underlying racist motive: delegitimize Obama by painting him as the "other". That you subscribed to the racist Trump strategy tells me where you heart really is: among white nationalists and those who condone racism as a political tactic.

People who don't stand up to evil (look in the mirror) are as responsible for this evil as those as those who actively undertake it (see: the guy you're voting for). There's no reason to pretend you ever had justifiable motives here. You didn't except legitimizing a racist trope to further Republican goals. Even here you can't tell the truth. The moral squalor of the modern GOP is not merely a convenience for the right's power elite. It discloses the perennial darkness that is core Republican message. Racism works. Trump proves it.

Soleri, even if there was a reason to doubt, no le hace,
even if he was from Mars
Americans voted him in twice by big margins.
And now its history.
And twenty years from now if Obama wrote a bio and said he was born in Kenya, I would find it hilarious, particularly since regardless of the bigots attempts to make him a do nothing president, historians will rank him in the top twelve (12) of the best presidents. Right up their with Teddy Rossevewlt and Abe Lincoln. ( Interesting many of the older white folks I encounter today Hate Lincoln)

The man that would bang your granddaughter.

(as long as she was white?).



Thanks for making my point; seeing racism where there is none.

The GOP impeached Bill Clinton. Was it because he was white? Were Hillary's attacks on Bernie because he was Jewish? Old? This country is littered with stories of hard ball politics at all levels over the years. Did Trump attack Ben Carson?

Widely predicted on the right, by the way. Any issues related to Obama are driven by racism.

It's just confirmation bias for your rarely well functioning brain. Just like Trayvon Martin. Or Chicago crime. Or to dream that taxes are already too high. Racist, racist, racist.

It's also the ultimate out for simpletons like you. Question Obamacare?-- racist; discussion over.

I guess it's a nice rock to crawl under

sj, I use the phrase Total Explanation to describe a way of people demanding a shorthand way of describing impossibly complex reality. It's not a theory, just a construction I came up with (I capitalize it to suggest it may already have one among political scientists). It's akin, I suppose, to glittering generalizations or conspiracy theories. For example, many if not most Bernie Bros know that Hillary Clinton is "evil" not because there's any evidence for such a metaphysical slander but because it's a convenient way of saying you don't like her and this is the reason. Which turns out to be an unreason but it works just as well.

I didn't call you a right-winger. I said you employ right-wing propaganda from a left-wing position. I noticed this phenomenon first on Facebook last spring where those most caught up in demonizing her where calling her Killary and Shrillary. Then they called her a "corporatist" and "corrupt". Once again, there's really not much evidence beyond merely being human here but where you're living in a closed echo chamber there is no demand for accuracy, just identifying yourself tribally.

I asked Cal around this time what Hillary's lies were since he believed the meme she is a liar. He couldn't name one but that he'd get back to me. Politifact rated her as the most honest candidate out there during the primaries (Bernie was right behind her). Trump was the least truthful by a mile. This explains why right-wingers love him so much: "telling it like it is" means lying pathologically.

Not everyone loves my comments, of course, although I appreciate all the attention they generate. We all want to break the spell, as it were. There is so much collective hypnosis in our politics that it's easy to just get lost in the consensus reality of other peoples' opinions. I would encourage you to think more critically about your suppositions for this reason. For example, how do you create a politics that isn't incremental? I was a history major in college and one lesson I finally grokked was that there really is no short cut to paradise, be it a worker's or the peace that passeth all understanding. As Robinson Jeffers once put it, history passes like falling rocks. Revolutions rarely accomplish what they intend to. Youthful idealism is great buy you need a program, discipline, compromise, and patience to achieve something on this earthly plane. You need more than jargon and certitude. How to get from point A to point B may be the greatest lesson you'll ever learn.

Your incoherent response to my comment (Bill Clinton was white! Bernie Sanders is Jewish! Etc, etc.) seems to suggest that a not-so-subtle attack on the Americanism of a sitting US president is okay because lies are just hardball politics.

Yes, YOUR hardball, right-wing politics where lying is perfectly acceptable. And why would a majority of Republicans find these transparent lies credible. let me think......

Donald Trump is not an accident. He's the logical culmination of 40+ years of the Southern Strategy where xenophobia, racism, and moral squalor occupy positions of honor in the GOP playbook.

Everyone knew at the time Trump was lying. Trump himself knew it, too. He excused his lie this: "it seems to be popular among many people". That's your excuse as well: it's okay to despicably lie about a US president not being an American because.....it's popular!

Really, you people have the morals of a biker gang.

Cal, I did read the Salon piece from Robert Reich. I don't disagree with it, but it begs another question about Hillary's sincerity as a candidate. Even if it's smart politics, is it wise to fundamentally blame our political decline on the "elites" and "establishment"? We get what we pay for in American political life, and most Americans seem fine with voting for Republican congressmen who vote to cut the taxes of the rich, deny people health care, vote for trade deals like TPP, and not raise the minimum wage. This isn't the "establishment" or "elites" doing this to us. We're the fucking morons doing this.

One reason why Hillary won't take Reich's advice is that she is necessarily having to reach out to Republican women. Millenials, sad to say, think voting is mostly an act of self-expression rather than conscious choosing. Ergo, they are seriously considering a libertarian stoner for president who has no idea how the world works except weed should be legal. Then, there's the attractive option of an utterly unqualified Green Party doctor with no political track record but plenty of simplistic solutions for what ails the imaginary body politic.

I do think Reich is an extraordinarily decent man but he's never run for office. Hillary has and while she's not a great political talent, she is undeniably brilliant. I'll have to trust her on this.

Sorry to keep filibustering this thread but I want to respond to Cal's description of Sunnyslope as a key to understanding me. I never used salty language growing up and only learned it in the military. Not too long after, I began reading people like Hunter Thompson, Charles Bukowski, and Philip Roth. I've been contaminated by that virus ever since.

But the Sunnyslope meme does explain something germane here. My father wanted to be the King of Sunnyslope and he sort of fulfilled that pathetic ambition by building the most outlandish house in that hardscrabble community. He then built an even more outlandish hospital, and finally topped himself by building a white elephant so bizarre that it still has people slowing down on north 19th Avenue and muttering "what the hell....."

My father presaged Donald Trump. He was obsessive, grandiose, charismatic, and narcissistic. By age 50, his inner gyroscope had a pronounced wobble. By 60, he was virtually delusional with paranoia. He self-medicated with vodka and amphetamines. Through a fortuitous chain of events, he managed to sell the white elephant and spent the remainder of his life in comfort while remodeling the family house into possibly the most palatial hovel in America.

I totally get Donald Trump for this reason. He could have been my father. You don't elect either of them president unless you enjoy things going boom unexpectedly. It's okay to think that colorful people rather than boring wonks should be on TV. You could argue that "authenticity" matters more than knowledge and pedigree. But you don't put people like them anywhere near real power unless you think driving with your eyes closed is really exciting.


Without sounding too touchy . . . did you just gently pat me on the head and tell me that I will grow up, and understand all of these complex matters, one of these days?

Just so you know, I'm not a whippersnapper. I'm a limping grey old dog. Any youthful idealism that I had was brutally excised many moons ago.

You have an interesting theory (Total Explanation), but the use of generalities and jargon has been the common language of humans for quite a while. It allows us to engage in conversation; skip preliminaries; cut out extraneous explanations; hit the high points. Granted, sometimes we all need to back up a pace or two and clarify. However, I'm not generally given to the offensive “glittering generalities.”

I've never called HRC evil. That's going a bit far. I do believe she is a corporate shill, and she is in the pocket of Wall Street. Glass-Stegall anyone?

I've never called HRC a liar. I don't think she is particularly trustworthy, though. She is not a leader, she is a political chameleon; she is always testing which way the wind is blowing and adjusting accordingly (i.e., gay marriage, minimum wage; Black Lives Matter; college debt). I don't have any confidence that she will follow through on the promises of the Dem platform.

I'm not caught up in social media; I don't do Facebook. I'm not lost in a haze of other people's opinions. I'm a reasonably well-educated citizen, an adult (eligible for my senior discount, thank you), a life-long voter, and I'm just not drinking the 2-party kool-aid this election season. I know this whole politics thing is complex, but, shucks, I'll just have to muddle my way through.

sj, thanks for all those clarifications. I apologize for assuming you were young and naive.

I don't want to reprise all the arguments I made with Ross. I'll just reiterate my core argument that politically our only power is one another. The leader, in that respect, is less important than the coalition itself. We either exercise our collective power or we splinter into factions. If we do the latter, we lose and the reactionaries win.

I learned all this the hard way. There is no change without power. We have to win. In 1996, I was so fed up with Bill Clinton's triangulation that I wouldn't vote for him. When impeachment happened, I woke up. Republicans were so rabidly divisive that they attacked a president who could easily have been one of their own. I realized that the Republican Party has marinated so deeply pathology of racism and cruelty that it was no longer civil or humane or pragmatic. It's governing spirit was embodied by the loathsome Newt Gingrich, a vector for total political war.

It's only gotten worse since then. White nationalism is now its only operational principle. Greed is its only virtue. The love of Aryan Jesus is its only poetry. We can speculate how all this came to be. My own theory is that its Southern Strategy bore toxic fruit in the electronic media where inflammatory rhetoric and ugly imagery thrive.

If we were a parliamentary system, then the binary party system could be abandoned. But we're not and the Constitutional framework is the reason. If we do factionalize, we still have to invent a way for third parties to thrive where coalitions rather than ideologies dominate. We have yet to solve this puzzle. In 2000, the left collapsed all meaningful distinctions and helped elect George W Bush. A similar disaster is within the realm of possibility this year. There is no guarantee that disaster will midwife revolution. Rather, it will empower the worst elements in American life to impose their damaging values on everyone else.

I want the Bernie Bros to consider these consequences. Incrementalism is necessary. It's not a conspiracy, it's the way our system works. And if we abandon this system either from impatience or anger, we help the reactionaries. Bernie Sanders understands this. I hope you will,at the very least, consider that he might be right.


I must say that I agree with virtually your entire post, barring some of your conclusions.

I don't choose to disengage with this election because of impatience or anger, but rather despair.

I am completely fed up, and I won't be fooled again. A pox on both their houses.

Both the Democrats and the Republicans have screwed us all over for decades. I think it may be you, friend, who has a bit of youthful idealism left.

Bernie said from the beginning that the revolution was not about him, but about mobilizing the people. I'll be sure to go to the polls and vote for all the down-ballot races.

I'm assuming you're in Arizona. The Arizona down ballot races won't feature any socialists, or Green Party candidates...

So, you're stuck with choosing from Democrats, Republicans, or the occasional Space Cadet Libertarian.

Some Revolution, huh?

There is no third/fourth party coalition just waiting to rise up and "fix" things.

What ya gonna do then?

Wait until 2020? 2024? 2026?

Yes, I am in Arizona. There is a Green Party candidate (Trujillo) on the ballot for the House in my district. There are several very progressive Democrats also running for State House (Blanc & Salman). Another for State Senate (Mendez). I plan to go listen to all of them at our local clean elections debate.

Also, a progressive is running for County Recorder (Fortes).

And we should all be voting Arpaio out of office! Vote Penzone!

sj, in this instance, the moral import of not voting is voting for Trump. There is no escape from your own moral agency. You either exercise it consciously or you abdicate responsibility.

What concerns me most about people who put their own moral vanity above the lives of other people is what they're really saying. Essentially, it's I don't care! I have good "reasons" such as "despair", therefore let a dangerous demagogue win the presidency. Let climate change go unaddressed. Freeze the minimum wage at poverty levels. Let the rich walk away from their responsibilities for society. Let the sociopaths and pirates of the financial sector triumph. Let systemic racism flourish. I don't care anymore. Because "reasons".

None of us is in this boat alone. We all row together or we collapse the effort and the boat eventually sinks from neglect and cynicism. This, in fact, is the Republican intention. Divide people against one another, foster contempt and fear, preach "personal responsibility" instead of shared responsibility. You see this ethic triumphing in states like Arizona and Kansas and the damage it has done. But instead of beseeching others to join with you to fight this cancer, you posit a false equivalence between the two political parties, damning all those people who are your allies in a fit of pique. Your "despair" is a very expensive affectation. It has rendered you ineffective.

Human beings are not perfect. We're often pigheaded, uninformed, unconcerned with others, self-involved, and even cruel. All you can do is fight this cancer of selfishness with your own resolve. But you need to stop damning the good for being imperfect. Work with others, set an example, organize a "revolution" in your neighborhood. Don't give up.

We're sustained by a vast web of interdependence, by the good acts of other people, by unseen angels and millions who lived anonymously but kept the faith that life matters more than riches, righteousness and social status. These people are your allies. Don't abandon them.

Well I hate to jump in now since it has really gone well while I was out on top of South mountain with my lady friend.
Recently Some really good stuff by all those above. Thanks for sharing.

Now Soleri I really have been avoiding this crappola and now it really doesn't matter since, Trump the worlds most insane bipolar psychopath has given the world the worst and most dangerous bullshit ever.

But here you go U can sort it out.

PS, I think Gary Johnson's running mate just endorsed Clinton, well sorta.

Soleri, looks like a tie to me?
Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact checking website, looked at on the record statements by the candidates since 2007, and found the following:

Candidate % of statements found mostly false, false, or Pants on Fire:

Trump 76%

Cruz 66%

Sanders 28%

Clinton 28%

Obama 26%

and then there's this poll??

Cal, I looked at your links and finally understood how you can believe Hillary is a liar. The meme really got started with William Safire's column in 1996. It became right-wing chapter and verse of the entire smear campaign. Safire himself was scarcely an authority on truth since he himself was a ardent partisan. I remember this piece fairly well and Safire's role in the Clinton Wars that rage to this day.

Hillary is more than honest enough. Yes, she's lawyerly and obscure when it suits her purposes. Still, she's vastly more truthful than the average Republican, elected or no. The proof is the political class who vet her, who have to rely on her word, and not merely the hatchet men who endeavor to shape public opinion. If she wasn't, then the system wouldn't function and you would hear examples of her mendacity from her peers.

To a certain extent, another pol's word is his - or her - bond. Hillary has been a very effective player, which mean the ones she works with trust her. Ulitmately, that's all that matters.

The inane - and yes I mean INANE - preoccupation about one's personal relationship to political candidates results in hopelessly naive judgments about them. "I'm not sure I can trust her!" is meaningless twaddle. We're not electing her to be your spouse, girlfriend, or mother confessor. The hoi polloi loved and trusted Ronald Reagan who actually did some fairly serious lying in areas like foreign policy (Iran-Contra), his successor (the same), and Bill Clinton (sexual relationship with "that woman"), and George W Bush (WMD as a pretext for war). I suspect their veracity was of less concern to you than Hillary supposedly being this evil witch. You probably didn't waste much time feeling betrayed after voting for them.

You're only as smart as your media. Since I'm forever receiving your links from far-left websites that suggest Hillary is Voldemort in a pant-suit, I can understand your aversion to her. It's pretty much confirmation bias. Let me suggest to you one way to winnow the flood of crapola you swim in: don't believe everything you read. Either that, or read so widely so you can account for the complexity of a human being and not simply the cartoon version. There's one other way: find a guide and trust that person to do the winnowing for you. How about the New Times' Blog of the Year, for example? Talton provides excellent links but more importantly, you can trust his perspective. Have you ever been curious why your friend doesn't have the same qualms you do? Ask him someday.

My only opinion - and that's all it is - remains that misogyny is an extremely potent way of sliming powerful women. There's something about Hillary I don't like easily becomes I don't trust her and she's a liar. I would contend that our real complaint about Hillary is not that she's a liar but that she doesn't lie well. She's not an intuitive politician. You can see the wheels turning in her head before she answers questions, etc. We loved Reagan and W because they were actually very good liars (when Reagan won the 1980 debate with that "there you go again!" remark against Jimmy Carter, few stopped to consider that Carter had actually been completely honest in that debate. It was Reagan who......well......was lying. People didn't care because he was so congenial and charming.

I understand political theater is important and it doesn't redound to Hillary's credit that she's a mediocre political performer on stage. If she somehow loses to the most pathologically lying candidate ever in American history, that will be the reason why. It's amazing to think the public trusts that scam artist more than her. But what they really trust is their faith in bullshit. We live in an idiocracy but we can rise above it. One way is to be skeptical of popular memes.

From another point of view (an article in New York Times Magazine), George Will's take on not voting for either Trump or HRC:

“I haven’t decided,” [Will] said. “You can imagine — I get tons of emails: ‘I, too, have left the Republican Party. What should I do?’ Well, there are a number of legitimate options. Not voting is a legitimate expression of opinion.”

Just sayin'.

Full article: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/how-donald-trump-set-off-a-civil-war-within-the-right-wing-media/ar-BBwM4oB?li=BBnb2gg&ocid=edgsp

sj, to George Will, democracy itself is a questionable concept. He's a Tory who believes in hierarchy and a class system. Why you want to join hands with these people strikes me as strange. You really trust George Will? You're not quite the revolutionary you think you are.

One more time: this election is less about D vs R than good vs evil. You don't compromise with evil unless you are so nihilistic and "despairing" that you no longer care about your fellow citizens or the future. George Will, like Donald Trump, thinks global warming is a hoax, so I can easily understand he wouldn't worry his aristocratic noggin about unimportant things like the survival of several billion people. Your mileage may vary! Let's pray it does.

Soleri said, “Hillary is more than honest enough.” (I say we all lie, even ole Harry even told a whopper once in a while).
Soleri said, “The hoi polloi loved and trusted Ronald Reagan who actually did some fairly serious lying in areas like foreign policy (Iran-Contra), his successor (the same), and Bill Clinton (sexual relationship with "that woman"), and George W Bush (WMD as a pretext for war). I suspect their veracity was of less concern to you than Hillary supposedly being this evil witch. You probably didn't waste much time feeling betrayed after voting for them.”
I say, George Bush Jr was the worst president ever and a coward and mentally defective. Ronnie R was a liar big time. (Although I am a republican even back in Reagans days I thought he was a wind bag that had been a small pond lifeguard and a third rate movie star, his greatest acting was pretending (like Bush) to be president. Economics brought down the Berlin wall, Ronnie just happened to be around. Billy Clinton has to have been the creepiest president we ever had and he is still trying to be trailer park slick willy, a consummate sex addicted lying piece of shit. I wouldn’t walk across the street to say hello to him.
Probably even my Hero presidents lied a bit. George the Cherry tree chopper and Abe, T.R. Ike and Humble Harry.
Soleri said, “You're only as smart as your media.”
I say, I am as smart as the Media I read and EXPERIENCE. I read everything from Aljazeera to Zephyr news. (But Talton is my favorite place to go). AND I got about 8 years on you pal. I went to work at nine (9) and by ten (10) was in your neighborhood selling doughnuts and desert tortoises and chuckwallas along with a paper route. At 14 (Jack) I was on the road by thumb and bus, throwing hay and milking cows. All while you being pampered with silver spoons and fed tons of intellectual chit and living in a palace with a fish pond that came into the house from outside. And you got to have large monkeys as pets. Sorry my police partner shot one of them. He got fired later for stealing from Goodwill boxes. And I was the Tetherball champ at Sunnyslope grade school and had a good marble collection taken from sniveling fellow classmates. Consequently I had to fight my way home to that very small house at 9822 N 3rd street more than once, but it took at least five (5) kids to get me down.
Soleri said, “Since I'm forever receiving your links from far-left websites that suggest Hillary is Voldemort in a pant-suit” and “My only opinion - and that's all it is - remains that misogyny is an extremely potent way of sliming powerful women”
I say, I think you’re implying here that I think women should be home in the kitchen brewing recipes from Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry. Could be no further from the fact. And the second statement is somewhat insulting. I am a complete fan of Elizabeth Warren, a small liar. I thought she was a much better choice than Bernie or Hillary and I think she is smarter than Bernie or Hillary. I have always sought out strong smart women in my 76 years. My current brilliant and artistic lady friend was chosen by the Kerry bumper sticker on her ancient Volvo with 260000 miles on its body. One of the strongest women I knew was a stanch conservative republican and she and I and the two Marxists from our philosophy classes spent many a day at the Wineburger next to Mary Coyle Ice cream on 19th Avenue and Bethany Home road, drinking wine, arguing politics and writing poetry in circles on napkins. Somehow she got away and I now not where to this day.
Soleri said, “One way is to be skeptical of popular memes.”
Of course and I am sure you have figured out by now that a lot of what I share is to stoke the flames, to watch the responses. I like to see the words afire late into the nite to keep the goblins from eating us all.
Thanks for sharing. Thanks everyone on this blog for hanging in there and Thank you Jon for allowing us to comment on your brilliant and challenging essays.

Soleri, speaking of Smart Honest Women, I just picked up at Changing Hands, Tempe, the book "Citizen Scientist", by Mary Ellen Hannibal.

And also a copy of "A beautiful Question" by Frank Wilczek. Be happy to ship these off to you in the near future?

Of note, at least to me, is the fact that one of the communists I drank wine with went on to become president of a postal workers union while this republican went on to become president of a police union.

I am sure Ruben will be able to comment on such.

Good stuff cal, you make me proud to know you.

Cal, FWIW, I don't think you're a misogynist, and I wasn't aiming that at you. I was struggling to come with an explanation why Clinton's lawyerly equivocations excite such fury while no one really hates Trump for being a world-class liar. I do agree that we're all liars to one degree or another. It's one of those gray areas we all live in when it comes to friends and family. People have fragile egos as Eugene O'Neil noted in The Iceman Cometh. We occasionally tell ourselves stories to keep the pain at bay. And we're very defensive about our own tribe and its failings since they reflect back on us. All that said, it's really not the lies that infuriate us. I think it's more the sense of being vulnerable, flawed, and unworthy of respect. My sense of Clinton is that she struggles to find the balance here in a marketplace that rewards chutzpah and delights in tearing down people. I don't think Trump struggles at all in this way. He's simply too unconscious and identified with his own ego. There's no crack there to let the light in. Hillary's dignity, I think, derives from a crack just wide enough in her ego so that she is recognizably decent to other people. That's all any of us can ask for in a leader on a human level.

A note: for the future, and keep coming back.
“Doc would listen to any kind of nonsense and change it for you into a kind of wisdom. His mind had no horizon-and his sympathy had no warp”.
John Steinbeck, Cannery Row.

I quoted George Will earlier, to provide another perspective. I didn't jump in bed with him.

Yeah, but George Will has always been kind of a dick, so...not really sure what his perspective is worth.

Oh, I know we're supposed to value all sides of the debate; but honestly, some sides are completely worthless.

"some sides are completely worthless".
I take it thats your subjective humble ass opinion?
Personally I prefer my Kuluha on the side,
of my coffee. And I prefer the left side of the bed but the right side (and window seat) of the airplane.

Well, then...

I agree with you on the left side of the bed, but I prefer Irish Whiskey in my coffee. And the aisle seat. Because I'd rather be disturbed by someone than disturb someone.

And the sides that are "completely worthless" include Ann Coulter's, Peggy Noonan's, Pat Buchanan's, Maureen Dowd's, and Rush Limbaugh's, in addition to the forementioned George Will's--in my "humble ass opinion".

But would it be Amerika without them?

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice that Rudy
Giuliani may have contracted rabies and is in the late stage of the disease?

Is he kept in a kennel in between interviews?

Ruben he has gone back to his hero, Mussolini.
In defense of, El Loco, Fuhrer Trump.

sj, I don't object to Will as a counterweight or point of view. But as long as you're rejecting Bernie Sanders' opinion and using Bernie's opposite to prop up your really bad decision - morally and politically - I'll note the irony.

Irony is the overriding theme of this election.

On the one hand, you've got a guy who vows to be the friend and savior of the working classes, whose almost every action has been to the detriment of the working classes. He "supports" American workers by outsourcing to China, importing non-union labor from Poland, and screwing any subcontractor he can. He'd rather sue than pay what he owes.

He uses his charity to collect baubles for himself.

He's shown himself to be incapable of learning from or listening to anyone else. He thinks he's too smart for that kind of thing.

Oh, and by the way, apparently he doesn't pay any Federal taxes. Because, in keeping with the immortal words of Leona Helmsley, "only the little people pay taxes."

And yet, the white working class males roar with approval at his every word.

Because he's going to make them great again.

Sure he is.

And on the other hand, you've got a woman who has been tarred and feathered for 24 years. Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, Benghazi, emails--millions of tax payer dollars spent investigating, countless hours of talk radio heavy breathing, and what crimes have been proven? None. Nada. Zip.

Yet she's the one millions of "low information voters" call "crooked".

Ironic, ain't it?

I think it's safe to say that Trump voters are pre-rational, at best. They don't think logically or skeptically as adults would. They think tribally. So, some guy promises to govern like a blowhard on talk radio, and they roar their approval. Finally, someone who's telling it like is!

During the RNC convention, Trump said only he can fix the system because he knows so well how to scam it. Normally, a red flag might go up among sentient types; maybe a self-confesseed con artist is not the person you would trust with such an endeavor. But all things are possible to those who believe.

During the debate, he complained about American infrastructure and how he would fix it. This was before proclaiming himself "smart" for not paying taxes. Normally, a red flag might go up among nominal adults. Do you really trust someone to undertake massive public works' projects while not paying taxes himself and promising to slash taxes on the very wealthiest taxpayers at the same time? Oh, ye of little faith.

Trump is a man-child appealing to children in search of a rich uncle who will wave his magic wand and make America white again. When he sings his anthem, they feel like it's completely possible because the melody is so catchy. Granted, the lyrics are sort of jumbled and don't really rhyme. But that's not the issue. Finally, someone is singing directly to them: you're the real victims!

It's probably wrong to call Trump a liar since he probably believes a good part of his own bullshit. But there's something desperate about him nonetheless. Intelligence officials worry he could be easily played by someone like Vladimir Putin who recognizes a needy narcissist with no inner life as an easy mark. But what can you say about a nation where nearly half the citizens are so lacking in common sense that they can't even see the obvious?

Let's call them Trumped Nation.

Irony? You find it ironic that an arch-conservative pundit and a lefty/pinko Arizona voter are both so disgusted by the major political parties (not to mention the candidates put forward by each of those parties) that not voting seems a viable option?

It's something, but not irony.


Don't vote.

That'll show 'em!

That would be a big F-U to The Man.

That'll solve everything.

Of course, you could vote for Gary Johnson, who seems, uh, what's the current acceptable term? Intellectually challenged?

Or Jill Stein, who seems like an extremely nice person, but whose only experience in government is a Town Meeting seat in Lexington, Massachusetts, and who has no possible coalition in Congress. Oh, and no conceivable chance of winning, either.

But voting for her would be a statement, that's for sure.

So I guess we're back to Don't Vote.


Okay, ross, I give up. We should vote against an imminently sane and cautious politician because.....er......jargon!

The left-wing analog of the Tea Party may not have enough panache to wear tricorn hats but they more than make up for it with their flying unicorns shitting idiocies on the internet.


I'm not persuaded that an uninformed vote is better than none at all. Read a newspaper. Read quality journalism. Read history, especially what makes you uncomfortable. Then vote.

Cal sent me this link about a Trump supporter in Pennsylvania: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/finally-someone-who-thinks-like-me/2016/10/01/c9b6f334-7f68-11e6-9070-5c4905bf40dc_story.html

It's probably not a coincidence that an unhinged candidate attracts unhinged supporters. That said, there's always going to be a heavy burden of projection in politics. A skilled politician understands this, trying on the one hand to make himself or herself a vessel for some of the more hopeful and positive elements in the American psyche. This was the core Obama strategy in 2008, for example. Trump's candidacy, by contrast, plumbs the depths of American fear and loathing. Making American Great Again is not hopeful since it's predicated on loss and disinheritance. There's a compulsive need in all of us to explain why bad things happened, and Trump is more than willing to provide toxic conspiracy theories to people impatient with process and complexity.

I would submit that part of our core responsibility as somewhat sentient adults is to keep the project of politics clear of this detritus. If we don't, there's diminished capacity for any real debate let alone accommodation to different viewpoints. Politics only works when we agree to disagree about actual policy proposals and legislation. When it decides instead to demonize other people, whether they be black, Latino, Muslim, or gays, you get something that looks like democracy's demolition derby. Politics isn't beanbag, of course. It will always be rough around the edges. But insofar as we have any collective future, you need to call out the vandals who wantonly chip away at the foundations of democracy itself. Most of these vandals are on the far right: Senator Joe McCarthy was one. The John Birch Society was another. Militia groups, the KKK, the alt-right, and Donald Trump are others.

The Bernie or Busters belong to this group as well. Positing a false equivalence between the practictioners of politics and the vandals is their favorite method. They don't merely damn incremental progress, they undermine the very possibility of it. Paul Krugman writes this morning:

Finally, it’s dismaying to see the fecklessness of those on the left supporting third-party candidates. A few seem to believe in the old doctrine of social fascism — better to see the center-left defeated by the hard right, because that sets the stage for a true progressive revolution. That worked out wonderfully in 1930s Germany.

But for most it seems to be about politics as personal expression: they dislike Mrs. Clinton — partly because they’ve bought into a misleading media image — and plan to express that dislike by staying at home or voting for someone like Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. If polls are to be believed, something like a third of young voters intend to, in effect, opt out of this election. If they do, Mr. Trump might yet win.

Please, do vote. But don't pretend your vote to undermine democracy itself is high-minded. No. You need to exercise more responsibility than you would when it comes to buying a pair of jeans or a bag of potato chips. You need to honor this process with adult discernment and leave the spiteful pique where it belongs in the bathroom commode.


Let me get this straight. We live in a Democratic Republic where we are allowed to vote for who ever we choose but a vote for Trump is treason and a vote for a minor party is a waste and not voting is apostasy.

Why don't you just say what you mean


Earth to Ross: this is a political blog. We talk about stuff like this not to upset you but because this is what blogs do. If you feel you're here against your will, you can always troll other blogs. Freedom: what a concept!



Welcome to Soleri- land, where those who run against the cult are encouraged to leave.

How much arrogance does someone have to exhibit when they tell someone, with complete certainty, who to vote for and why?

Wait a minute.
Soleri is telling U who he THINKS U should vote for. I agree that he is entitled to his opinion. However I see no reason for anyone to leave the blog. KEEP COMING BACK.

TAX RECORDS: I do not think anyone's tax records should be public knowledge except when they are made available in a criminal court case.
So far I think the only people influenced negatively by Trumps tax history are folks that were not going to vote for him to begin with?
Probably a large number of wealthy Republicans that are NOT going to vote for Trump would just as soon not care that you know they also "legally" take advantage of the current tax and bankruptcy laws.

What do U all think?

INPHX, how many racists lies can Donald Trump tell before you feel a tad squeamish?

That's right. None.

Clara Jones of Mother Jones on Millennials:



INPHX, I think you are confusing a sane, rational, knowledgeable examination of the facts with "arrogance".

Oh, wait...to a conservative Republican that is arrogance.

Sorry. My bad.

Cal, I'm tempted to agree with you on tax records, except...

Every other candidate has released theirs for the last 40 years or so...

And, more importantly, one party in particular whines constantly about how "overtaxed" we are, and what a burden that puts on the economy, and yet, when we finally see their taxes, we find that, despite their greater wealth, and their incessant complaints, they are usually paying at a much lower rate than the typical voter.

So, whatever its flaws, it can serve a very useful purpose.

Ben writes:

when we finally see their taxes, we find that, despite their greater wealth, and their incessant complaints, they are usually paying at a much lower rate than the typical voter.

How many have you seen?

The current Time Magazine has two must-read articles. One is on the Russian hacking of the American voting systems alone with private e-mails targeting Democrats and Hillary Clinton. The other is on the secretive hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer who funds far-right campaigns. His pro-Ted Cruz PACs eventually became the brains and voice behind the Trump campaign (his gift to America is Kellyanne Conway).

It's clear Vladimir Putin has a stake in undermining liberal democracies, particularly ours and those in Europe. In this light, it's disturbing to think Donald Trump has some as-yet undisclosed relationship to Russian interests (tax returns might illuminate how deeply in hock Trump is to Russian oligarchs). Trump's anti-NATO talking points could have been written in the Kremlin. For the faux patriots supporting Trump, all that matters is that Trump is an inspiring contrast to our "weak" leader, Obama. Of course, it helps that he's also white.

The far-left site Wikileaks appears to be working with the Russians, too. For those of you who tend to romanticize people like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, it might help to put in perspective how your hysterical idealism contains a bit of useful idiocy.

Trump, it goes without say, is an authoritarian. His followers, too, are classic rubes who would prefer to be ruled than governed. One reason why this election is so vital to our democracy is the stunning example of hostility to open societies you see on the right. There is no democracy in America that doesn't also have dramatically less income inequality and more social justice. Things simply begin to crack up once these social and political tensions become acute. In whose interest is it to exacerbate these tensions? I would suggest it's in the interests of Putin and his tool, Donald Trump.

B. I don't disagree with what U said but personally I am opposed to publicly revealing "anyones" tax records except where so ordered by an official court order.
Just because "everyone" else did something for 40 years (something about a mythical flood?), doesn't make it OK.
I think that's what Bernie Burn Millineals are yelling about.

"Fifty percent of people don't vote. And fifty percent don't read newspapers. I hope it's the same fifty percent." — Gore Vidal

INPHX, as I recall Mr. 47% paid 12% Federal and Mr. Make America Great Again apparently paid no Federal...

Now, I expect you to supply links to articles about every other candidate for President for the last 40 years (to prove just how wrong I am) AND links showing how our onerous corporate tax rates are just killing the economy. (That would be the onerous corporate tax rate that no large corporation ever pays.)

Don't disappoint me.

But Cal, a candidate for President of the richest, most powerful nation on the face of the earth isn't just "anyone."

And if they claim to be a great, fantastic businessman, we should have access to some verifiable, unbiased proof of that, shouldn't we?

And if they claim to be holier than thou, as many seem to these days, I'm afraid that their personal life becomes fair game too.

You give up a certain amount of privacy when you enter public life. However, no one is forced run for President. They choose to.


That's two.

Think you need to edit your broad, vapid sweeping, generalization?

Come to think of it, no need.

Not on this blog.

Two isn't enough? Even when it's the most recent two? Isn't that a trend? As in 100% of the recent GOP candidates for President have been tax weasels?

And the one before that has lived off his wife's family money--and influence--since he entered politics. And her family's money came from a connection with a Kemper Marley. Who was more or less a criminal.

Oh, and the Bush family made part of their fortune from dealing with the Nazi's. Though that probably wouldn't show up on their taxes.

And still no links?

Gosh I miss the links...

U made your points about politicians being "fair game" but for taxes I am
sticking with this.

"personally I am opposed to publicly revealing "ANYONE'S" tax records except where so ordered by an official court order".

Will Hillary like St. Janet fly to Salt Lake shortly after her election to convert?
And what does Donald have in common with FLDS thoughts on Sex and girls.




You wrote:

And, more importantly, one party in particular whines constantly about how "overtaxed" we are, and what a burden that puts on the economy, and yet, when we finally see their taxes, we find that, despite their greater wealth, and their incessant complaints, they are usually paying at a much lower rate than the typical voter.

In order for that to be meaningful (not that your posts ever are), you have to have seen the tax rates for "their" (which I think refers to the entire GOP) taxes and the tax rates for the typical voter. So, you either have that information or you're just spewing nonsense on what pretends to be a reality based blog.

You also have to define which taxes you're evaluating- federal, state, real property, gas, personal property, utility, sales, FICA, Medicare, excise--it's a long, long list.

So go ahead. Impress us with your vast knowledge and access to data.

I don't need any links; I didn't make the stupid assertion.

comon INPHX, not necessary.
"In order for that to be meaningful (not that your posts ever are)"

And yet, INPHX, you feel the need to respond to my meaningless posts.

Slow day?

Simply put, Mitt Romney (remember him?) paid an approximately 12% Federal income tax rate. And Donald J. Trump doesn't seem to pay any Federal income tax.

You seem pretty typical. Is your Federal tax rate higher than theirs?

As far as all those other taxes you listed to dissemble and confuse the issue, you know what you can do with those, right?

B. Franklin,

Your second rate imitation of soleri is pretty sad.

To quote your mentor, why don't you just shut up.

Ruben, out of courtesy for your long patronage here I am not taking down your post. If it were someone new, I would. Commenters need to add value — as B. Franklin does — and not tell others to shut up (when Soleri has done this, it was a rhetorical device as part of a larger argument).

Just for the official record, while I usually agree with Soleri's politics, I certainly don't consider him to be a mentor (old men like me don't have mentors); and if I were ever to attempt a written imitation of anyone, I would lean more toward Gore Vidal, Charles Pierce, Groucho Marx, or Monty Python.

PS: my original point about Republican Presidential candidates and their taxes remains valid, whatever INPHX says.

B why is making public anyone's taxes that has not been convicted of tax fraud, VALID?

Ok I looked up rhetorical (it came up in google even though i misspelled it, retorecal)
and I'm not "empressed" by "shut up" no matter who uses it. Some of the audience here is not educated in the use of rather complicated language devices. But I'm learning even at this late stage in life.

Cal, my point was that when, for instance, we do find out about Romney and/or Trump's taxes, all of their whining about high tax rates, and how unfair it is to regular citizens and corporations and therefore destructive to our nation's economic welfare, is shown to be just that--whining. Now it may be entirely legal that they ultimately pay a lower rate than a typical middle class family, but is it fair and just? And their pretending to be champions of fairness for all while constantly gaming the system for every advantage strikes me as the definition of hypocrisy.

As far as "valid", as someone said way back at the beginning of this thread, "politics is a rough game."

Why the Clintons concern me? Hope Hillary sees better.

and Immigration by Bill.

20 years ago today, one of the worst laws you’ve never heard of was signed by President Bill Clinton. IIRIRA, also known on Wikipedia as the Mexican Exclusionary Act of 1996, is a major reason that our immigration system is broken. It laid the groundwork for millions of families to be ripped apart. Unless these laws are changed in some way, millions more will be deported regardless of who is elected the next President.1

There are many parts of IIRIRA that need to be repealed or fixed, but Bill Clinton can start with a simple step: he can support the campaign to #BringJoseBack being led by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, and the Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization.2

Yes, he should.

I noticed that it passed the House by 278-176 and the Senate by 72-27, which makes me think a Clinton veto would have been overturned, even if he was predisposed to do so.

Seeing as how he was running for re-election that year this was probably another case of Clinton calculated tri-angulation.

That House count can't be correct. I should know better than to trust Wikipedia's numbers.

Anyway, the point is it passed both Houses easily.

Apology to B. Franklin. Firewater got the best of me.

cal, no side comment needed.

Appreciate this long thread and all the comments. And Congrats to Jon on the New Times award.

Whether I agree or disagree I always respect the passion and the honest commitment to wanting to foster improvements.

I really appreciate everyone who cares about this metro region and this state, regardless of how much I agree or disagree with their politics or proposed solutions. That mindset leads to solutions; a selfish or disengaged mindset leads to entropy/atrophy/people taking advantage of the situation for personal gain, etc.

Mr. Talton:

"The worse, the better," some say...

Of all the damnable moral rationalizations this is the most evil. To voice it you have to believe at least 2 things:

1) You know the only true correct political path for the country.

2) You hope to see people suffer in large numbers so that they'll finally see the truth you see too.

Mr. Talton likens this rationalization to that of a traitor. That's too kind. It's the morality of the terrorist who expects bombs to birth a paradise here on earth.

Koreyel, I think I get what you posted but Im not sure as I am not very smart as are a lot of us out thar.

So I appear to be a treasonous terrorist.
So have why have a place for write in votes, Oh I know for stupid people.

So Rogue.

What do you make of this weeks fodder, I mean news.

How about the arrest of all those unarmed Americans defending their lands and waters? Gassed, beaten, bitten, and strip searched by a militarized police force paid to defend the rights of a soulless corporation out to pump as much C02 into the atmosphere as possible before it gets declared a Planetary bio-toxin. On the same day we are shocked to hear of the letting off, Scot free, of a basket of deplorable welfare cowboys and wanabees who staged an armed invasion of a Federal Wildlife Refuge?

Whata country!

Now we got the head of the FBI apparently giving the Attorney General the finger and letting out the State Secret that there are more emails to be looked at and maybe there could be a problem. With so many emails still unaccounted for that isn't as surprising as the timing.

Am I just a conspiracy theorist or does it look like there may be a little strife within the security state?


I answered your post on the most recent column ("Brewer tells the truth"). It's where the traffic is now.

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