The Phony Campaign

2016-08-14 Update

PredictWise (as I type) puts Hillary's election probability at 80%, up 5% from last week. Congratulations to the GOP for putting forth such a strong candidate.

To quote Homer Simpson and Donald Trump: "Oh by the way, I was being sarcastic."

But, dear readers, there's a near three-way tie in our phony poll:

Query String Hit Count Change Since
2016-08-07
"Donald Trump" phony 873,000 -217,000
"Hillary Clinton" phony 871,000 +27,000
"Jill Stein" phony 840,000 +212,000
"Gary Johnson" phony 47,300 -61,700

  • What's behind Jill Stein's dramatic rise in phony hit counts? Drudge quotes Julian Assange speaking via video link to the Green Party convention, in a response to a softball "what can we do" question:

    JULIAN ASSANGE: All right, great question. Well, first of all, have coherency in your own movement. I mean, you have to have coherency to be able to understand your own view of the world and the attacks that are occurring, which -- let me tell you that I've just seen that the attacks have started to ramp up on Jill Stein. They are going to go through the roof. I've had attacks from what is effectively the Clinton threat machine. They're now post-convention. You guys are going to be post-convention. Those attacks are going to be ferocious. But you'll see from that and learn lessons from that about how the media works and how one can defend your principles and ideas in the face of that kind of media corruption. ...

    As if on cue, one Chris Sosa wrote at the Huffington Post about "Jill Stein’s Dangerous Anti-Science Campaign".

    Stein’s plan to court left-wing voters disillusioned with the Democrats worked better than political watchers had anticipated. Her media stock rose as she engaged in pointed anti-Clinton rhetoric. In Stein’s world, Hillary Clinton is irredeemably corrupt with an appetite for war and loathing for the environment. Never mind that Clinton’s actual voting record doesn’t support the caricature. Stein’s barbs aren’t meant to reveal truth, rather provoke. Her style is remarkably similar to Donald Trump in its vapidity. One of her nastiest tweets attacked Clinton as a mother.

    Basically, it's a plea to Sanders supporters to forget all the nasty (but true) things Bernie said about Hillary and get in line like good little Democrats. (The "Anti-Science" bit refers to Green Party positions on vaccinations and homeopathy, etc.)

  • For an even less reality-tethered alternate take, check out one Bruce E. Levine at Counterpunch: "Naked Cynicism—Can I Be Bribed to Vote for a Phony, Hedge-Fund Loving Warmonger?"

    Short answer: yes, if and only if Hillary, the Clinton Foundation, and "the entire Democratic Party establishment" creates a “Student-Loan Debtor Foundation", and funds it to the tune of $10 billion.

    More than 43 million Americans have student-loan debt, many with monthly payments that are so crippling that I am ashamed to be part of a Baby Boomer generation that allowed this to happen. So, Democratic Party, prior to Election Day—because I don’t trust you will keep your commitment afterward—start getting those checks in the mail to the most desperate student-loan debtors. That’s the bribe I need—and of course will never get—in order to vote for a phony, hedge-fund whore warmonger.

    In addition to his accurate characterization of Hillary, Bruce deserves some additional credit for proposing a non-government program to help out all those women's studies majors who can't afford both their student loan payments and a hefty supply of decent Chardonnay.

  • Kevin D. Williamson writes at National Review "Thank Goodness Trump Is a Compulsive Liar".

    Wha…? Oh, the subtitle: "Otherwise, he’d just be bonkers."

    At issue is Trump's position(s) on entitlement reform, mostly Social Security and Medicare. Kevin notes the dismal math ("the shortfall of our total future government obligations — not the obligations themselves, just how short we are of paying them — almost equals the entire stock of wealth accumulated by the entire human race over the course of its history"), and Trump's utter inability to offer anything approaching a coherent policy to deal with the issue. But:

    Console yourselves with this: Donald Trump is a habitual, incorrigible liar. He lies about almost every subject he mentions: He lies about his real-estate holdings, lies about his bankruptcies, lies to his business partners, lies to his family, and he lies constantly to the rubes who have bought into his snake-oil presidential campaign.

    Read the whole thing, as you should do with all things Williamson.

  • Also at NR, Ben Shapiro looks at Trump's economic-policy speech in Detroit, and concludes that, as far as principled conservatism goes, Trump is a "Stranger in a Strange Land". His political pretensions are based in ignorance, taken "in order to get where he wants to be."

    Because conservatism is a foreign land to Trump, he regularly and unintentionally demeans conservative positions and philosophies. He allows the media to caricature conservatism as everything leftists have always believed conservatism to be: nasty, parochial, violent, and stupid. And thus conservatives have to spend more time re-explaining their positions than Trump spends defending them and promoting them to the American people.

    Ben also makes a lot of sense.

  • And not to turn this into an NR-fest, but David French asks: "Does Donald Trump Lie Under Oath?" And the conclusion is: well, of course. With examples.

    Trump seems to lie as easily as he breathes. Yes, he inflates his own accomplishments, but that’s not the only reason he lies. He lies to cover ignorance, to win debates, and to make news. He’ll like just because he wants to. In short, much like his Democratic competitor, he says and does whatever advances his perceived self-interest in the moment — often without regard to foreseeable, relatively immediate blowback.

    It's a tough call on whether Trump or Hillary is the worse liar, since their styles are so dissimilar. (French: "They’re the Steph Curry and LeBron James of lies")

  • I'm not sure of the best word to describe this Trump tweet:

    Delusional? As in, "those idiots cannot comprehend my genius"?

  • Betsy Newmark pens a ruthless takedown of a New York Times article, which purports (sympathetically, of course) to explain why Hillary is such a money-grubber.

    It's all because of the scare she got when Bill lost reelection for governor in 1980. There they were - a young couple with a baby and she had to worry about working and providing for them because Bill was, apparently, useless. He was only earning $55,000 a year which is about $160,800 today. What poverty! She was forced, forced mind you, to go work for the Rose Law Firm and become a corporate lawyer instead of working in public service. And then when Bill won back the governorship in 1982, she was forced, forced to keep on working there because she was so scarred. And that whole turning $1000 into 100,000 based on a a tip and the help from a rich friend for cattle futures was so very nerve-wracking.

    They had to move out of the governor's mansion and buy a house that was one of the smaller ones in the neighborhood. And, horrors of horrors, they had to buy furniture from thrift stores that DIDN'T MATCH. And, get this! The poor woman had to raise their 9-month baby without the free help they had used when he was governor. She had to be a working mother while there were people in Arkansas at that time who were making fortunes because they actually, you know, produced things that people wanted like Walmart or Tyson Foods. Yet she was able to buy a home that was worth $112,000 in 1980 which is about $327, 600 today. Not too shabby, but it wasn't like the other mansions that richer people had.

    Betsy's pretty good when she's mad.

Hello, My Name Is Doris

[4.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

It's easy to make fun of Sally Field, because of (1) Gidget; (2) The Flying Nun. But that was (honest) nearly 50 years ago. And I don't know if I'm getting sentimental and sappy in my old age, but I found her to be excellent in this movie.

Yes, I can't deny the fact that I like her, right now, I like her! This movie could have been awful, but she makes it very enjoyable with her powerful performance.

Let me explain: Ms. Field plays the titular Doris. As the movie opens, she's bidding farewell to her mom, who she's been taking care of for decades in Mom's humble Staten Island home. She has problems: The house is stuffed to the gills with horded crap. She dresses funny and wears a ludicrous wig. She wears two pairs of glasses simultaneously. She has a Manhattan office job, but it seems she's kind of the female version of Milton from Office Space: a tolerated oddball.

But a chance meeting with a new employee, John, sets her mind reeling with improbably romantic scenarios. (Oh, yeah: she's also prone to spacing out while constructing inner fantasies.) Guess what? At this point, a few minutes into the movie Ms. Field has managed to make me care about what happens to Doris next. (A life-changing odyssey, as it turns out.)

The movie also has a clever script, and a great supporting cast: Stephen Root as Doris's brother, Wendi McLendon-Covey as his wife, Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley!) as a gay co-worker, Tyne Daly (Cagney, no Lacey) as Doris's best friend, Peter Gallagher as a self-help guru who actually seems to believe his own bullshit. Even Max Greenfield, who plays John: he could have been one of those interchangeable Hollywood pretty guys—I thought for a moment he was the guy who plays the Flash on TV—but he gives a fine performance too.