Trump’s voter information grab

In a supposed attempt to uncover voter fraud, the Trump administration has demanded that states turn over vast amounts of information about voters. Its infamous letter calls on the state governments to turn over “if publicly available under the laws of your state, the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information.” (emphasis added)

It further states: “Please be aware that any documents that are submitted to the full Commission will also be made available to the public.” Yes, that’s right; the commission intends to make the last four digits of every voter’s Social Security number public, to the extent that it can!
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Trump’s lie about New Hampshire

Trump’s claim that thousands of people were bused into New Hampshire and fraudulently voted in the 2016 election is a plain lie. It has no supporting evidence, and Trump has a long record of gross dishonesty. I stood outside the polls in Kingston, NH for hours, watching for any signs of intimidation, and didn’t see any kind of irregularities. I certainly would have noticed a busload of voters arrive. Many people were similarly watchful at other locations in the state.

As I noted in an earlier post, Kingston’s town clerk suppressed vote totals on the website. However, the votes were reported correctly to the state, as far as I can tell. What she did was biased and improper, but it didn’t affect the official totals.

Some people think Trump is delusional and believes his claim. I think he has set out to discredit the election process. New Hampshire is disproportionately important in presidential elections, so it’s easy to see why he’s smearing my state’s voting system.

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Trump keeps his promises — in blood

In 2015 Donald Trump said, “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families.”

Nawar al-AwlakiHe has kept his promise. Trump’s first military raid killed Nawar al-Awlaki, the 8-year-old American-born daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, whom the US had previously killed. Calling Anwar al-Awlaki a terrorist is stretching a point; he preached violence but isn’t known to have directly engaged in terrorist acts. That was good enough for Obama to order his assassination, though, and it’s likely Trump considers him a terrorist as well. (He’d have been allowed in the US under Trump’s ban, though, since he was a US citizen.)

Are there any words left?

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The progressives’ wall around themselves

Insulting the opposition didn’t win Clinton the election — it may even have helped her lose it — but the only lesson the progressive movement seems to have learned is that Trump did a better job of it, so they have to catch up and pass him.

It’s become a race among themselves to come up with the strongest insults. “Racist” isn’t good enough; now it has to be “white supremacist.” “Alt-right” isn’t good enough; according to John Scalzi, it now has to be “Nazis.”
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The morning after

No, I didn’t think it was possible either.
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Understanding Trumpism and progressivism

The election will soon be over, and it’s likely that Trump will lose. Once it’s over, we need to understand what happened and why, in order to understand what will follow.

The core of Trumpism is a highly authoritarian movement that wants a leader with unprecedented power. This is a small group compared with the number of voters who simply consider Trump less bad than Clinton, though progressives keep inflating its importance by ascribing its motives to every Trump voter.
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A note on the election

Clinton is terrible, but Trump is far worse.

Both are hostile to freedom. Clinton’s highest priority is to gut the First Amendment in order to settle a personal grudge about a video she wanted to censor. Trump ‘s highest priority is to exercise dictatorial power. Both want to escalate the current set of undeclared wars. Both want to use the terrorist watch list, a set of secret accusations that you can’t defend yourself against, to restrict people’s freedoms.
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Militarists bash Trump

Like a stopped clock, Trump is occasionally right. I don’t see much to disagree with in this statement:

When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat — and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it. And they see horror stories. They see events that you couldn’t see in a movie. Nobody would believe it.

The “you’re strong and you can handle it” sounds like pandering to the audience. But leave that out and what he’s saying is that war is hell and it breaks people. This idea doesn’t play well with Clinton, who’s generally more enthusiastic for wars than Trump is.
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Trumpism as alternate reality

Trump can tell the most absurd lies without suffering in the polls. When he declared that “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it,” it was obvious that he is a totally dishonest person. No one who had followed the news or Trump’s campaign at all could believe it.

Or could they? It depends on what you mean by “believe.” To a rational or mostly rational person, belief means regarding a claim as conforming to reality. If a friend says, “I went shopping yesterday,” I believe her if I think she went shopping yesterday. My only evidence may be that she’s honest and has no motive to lie, but it’s still the reality that counts.

But there’s another kind of belief, where it’s not reality but the authority making the statement that governs. If there’s a disagreement between the authority and reality, it’s reality that’s wrong. This is the belief of the “true believer.”
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Rand Paul’s stealth campaign for Trump

Rand Paul has sunk to rock bottom, sneakily campaigning for Trump. Someone on Google+ found this video. It’s “unlisted,” meaning that YouTube doesn’t show it in search results or suggestions. Private videos are a different category, and only people with authorized accounts can view them.

If Paul had said that Trump is less horrible than Clinton, I could live with that, but he declares:

I signed a document with my word on it, saying that I would support who won. … But I’ve often supported Republican nominees who I wasn’t particularly fond of. Never of us ever have a nominee —  in fact, you probably don’t agree with me a hundred percent on every issue. But the thing is, we support who we agree with the most and we get there.

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