Tuesday, 1 March 2016

US politics on eve of Super Tuesday

"The GOP Is On The Verge Of A Meltdown": Senior Republicans Threaten To Vote For Hillary

28 February, 2016

With Donald Trump set for a yuuge victory in tomorrow's Super Tuesday slugfest - oddsmakers see 80% chance of Trump being the nominee - tensions are mounting dramatically within the Republican establishment. As The FT reports, many mainstream Republicans believe Mr Trump would struggle to beat Hillary Clinton and are urgently rallying around their man Rubio with some senior Republicans saying privately that they might consider voting for Mrs Clinton if Mr Trump were to end up as their party nominee as one conservative commentator exclaimed "we are on the verge of a real meltdown in the Republican party."
Trump's lead in the polls over his GOP nominee 'peers' continues to grow...

As The FT reports, while Mr Rubio and Mr Trump ramp up their attacks on each other ahead of the March 1 primaries, Republican grandees and lawmakers are turning to the Florida senator as they become increasingly worried that the property tycoon could lock up the GOP presidential nomination within three weeks.

They fear that a victory for Mr Trump could fatally fracture the party and prevent them from winning the White House in November.
Many mainstream Republicans believe Mr Trump would struggle to beat Hillary Clinton, the clear Democratic frontrunner after her resounding victory over Bernie Sanders in South Carolina on Saturday, given the comments he has made about Hispanics, Muslims, women, disabled people and people who have criticised his campaign.

But, as the following chart shows, it's far too close to call...

The FT goes on to note that Mr Trump on Sunday issued a thinly-veiled warning that he would consider running as an independent.

The Republican Establishment has been pushing for lightweight Senator Marco Rubio to say anything to “hit” Trump. I signed the pledge-careful,” he tweeted, a reference to a pledge that all candidates signed to back the party’s eventual nominee.

As panic is setting in within The GOP...

We are on the verge of a real meltdown in the Republican party,” Hugh Hewitt, the influential conservative radio talk-show host told ABC television on Sunday.
Some senior Republicans have said privately that they might consider voting for Mrs Clinton if Mr Trump were to end up as their party nominee. “You’ll see a lot of Republicans do that,” Christine Whitman, the former New Jersey governor who previously compared Mr Trump to Hitler, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
We don’t want to. But I know I won’t vote for Trump.”

But none other than Rupert Murdoch chimed in at the craziness and infighting...

Both "establishment" Republicans and Trump need to cool it and close ranks to fight real enemy. Trump, Rubio, Kasich could all win general.
And now the neocons are declaring war on Trump (as The Intercept notes)...

Donald Trump’s runaway success in the GOP primaries so far is setting off alarm bells among neoconservatives who are worried he will not pursue the same bellicose foreign policy that has dominated Republican thinking for decades.
Neoconservative historian Robert Kagan — one of the prime intellectual backers of the Iraq warand an advocate for Syrian intervention —  announced in the Washington Post last week that if Trump secures the nomination “the only choice will be to vote for Hillary Clinton.”
Max Boot, an unrepentant supporter of the Iraq war, wrote in the Weekly Standard that a “Trump presidency would represent the death knell of America as a great power,” citing, among other things, Trump’s objection to a large American troop presence in South Korea.
Trump has done much to trigger the scorn of neocon pundits. He denounced the Iraq war as a mistake based on Bush administration lies, just prior to scoring a sizable victory in the South Carolina GOP primary. In last week’s contentious GOP presidential debate, he defended the concept of neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is utterly taboo on the neocon right. “It serves no purpose to say you have a good guy and a bad guy,” he said, pledging to take a neutral position in negotiating peace.

With Trump’s ascendancy, it’s possible that the parties will re-orient their views on war and peace, with Trump moving the GOP to a more dovish direction and Clinton moving the Democrats towards greater support for war.

Military Would Revolt Against Trump, Former CIA Director Says

28 February, 2016

Earlier today, we noted that America’s presumed candidate for the GOP nomination is busy retweetingMussolini quotes.

That’s not necessarily a reflection of an explicit desire to move America towards fascism.

It’s not entirely clear that Donald Trump understands the movement he’s started. But America's entrenched political establishment is now scrambling to understand how to deal with the Trump juggernaut and it's not just politicians who are concerned. 

Indeed, former intelligence officials now say the brazen billionaire could face a veritable security rebellion if he's elected. 

I would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign,” Former CIA director Michael Hayden said, in an interview with Bill Maher. Hayden also says that the armed forces would simply refuse to follow Trump's orders were he to be elected and follow through on his campaign promises.  

Here's what Hayden had to say about Trump's promise to kill family members of ISIS: "God, no! Let me give you a punchline: If he were to order that once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act. You cannot—you are not committed, you are not required, in fact you’re required to not follow an unlawful order. That would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict. There would be a coup in this country."

Would Trump face a military coup or would Trump simply commandeer the military? You decide. Here's the clip: 

Here's some mainstream coverage

Tulsi Gabbard talks Sanders endorsement

Super Tuesday scenarios: Can Bernie
Sanders stop Hillary ...

Super Tuesday scenarios: Can Donald
Trump be stopped?

Caught On Tape: Aggressive Time Reporter "Choke Slammed" At Trump Rally By Secret Service

Donald Trump is causing quite the ruckus in American politics.

What started as a parody campaign has now, nine months later, mushroomed into a legitimate bid for the White House. That's upsetting to the political establishment on both sides of the aisle and now, both the media and America's entrenched political establishment are struggling to come to terms with the brazen billionaire's success.

Last week, in what some view as a prelude to a fascist future for America, Trump suggested he would change libel laws in order to give himself greater scope to sue journalists who pen negative articles about him. But as you'll see from the clip shown below, he may have had a legitimate reason for his position.

Here is the start of the altercation:

"I never touched him," Morris says, in what appears to be a lie.

Moments ago the Secret Service officially admitted that the photographer really did attack a secret service agent, who perhaps was expecting the altrecation to be with a paid Trump bodyguard, which would allow him to claim media repression.

It did not quite work out that way.

As The Hill adds, in an afternoon blog post, Time confirmed that Morris was the photographer involved and explained, step by step, what the magazine believes happened. 

"TIME has contacted the U.S. Secret Service to express concerns about the level and nature of the agent’s response. Morris has also expressed remorse for his part in escalating the confrontation," according to the post.

A spokesman said in the statement, “We are relieved that Chris is feeling OK, and we expect him to be back at work soon.”

The reporter, Perticone, published additional video on Twitter he says occurred moments before the interaction between the security guard and Morris "got physical."

The guard says to Morris, "Get in the pen." Morris is then heard to say, "F--- you."
Also shown in Perticone's second video are African-American protesters walking past the press pen chanting and shaking their fists.

WSET reporter Annie Anderson posted a third video in which she says she interviewed Morris as he was being escorted out of the Trump rally.

In the video, Morris says, "I never punched him. I never touched him. At the very end I tried to show ... the press lead what he did to me. And I said he choked me so I put my hand on him. And that's when I was arrested."

Which is odd, because it doesn't appear that Morris was actually arrested at any time during the encounter

Donald Trump Is Winning 

Because White America Is 


Noam Chomsky says Trump's rise is partly due to deeply rooted -- and potentially fatal -- feelings of fear and anger.

By Matt Ferner

29 February, 2016

February 29, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Huffington Post" -  Noam Chomsky, the renowned scholar and MIT professor emeritus, says that the rise of Donald Trump in American politics is, in part, fueled by deeply rooted fear and hopelessness that may be caused by an alarming spike in mortality rates for a generation of poorly educated whites.

He’s evidently appealing to deep feelings of anger, fear, frustration, hopelessness, probably among sectors like those that are seeing an increase in mortality, something unheard of apart from war and catastrophe," Chomsky told The Huffington Post in an interview on Thursday.

Trump's rise as the Republican presidential front-runner has been confounding for Americans across the political spectrum. The bombastic, billionaire demagogue has won three of the first four primary states and holds a lead in the polls, both nationwide and in upcoming primary contests. He now appears poised to take an insurmountable delegate lead over the next several weeks, based on a platform of hate and vitriol targeted at womenLatinosMuslims and otherminorities.

A legion of less educatedworking-class white men has fueled Trump’s rise. And while many say the business mogul is capitalizing on their fears about the perceived decline of white dominance in America, Chomsky says there may also be more existential forces at play.

Life expectancy, in general, has increased steadily over time. And thanks largely to advances in health care, many people around the world live longer lives. There are exceptions, of course -- during war or natural catastrophes, for example. But what’s happening now in America, he says, is “quite different.”

Despite vast wealth and modern medicine, the U.S. has lower average life expectancy than many other nations. And while the average has been increasing recently, the gains are not evenly spread out. Wealthier Americans are living longer lives, while the poor are living shorter ones.

Poorly educated, middle-aged American white males are particularly affected, multiple recentstudies suggest. While Americans from other age, racial and ethnic groups are living longer lives than ever before, this particularly segment of the population is dying faster.

study on the issue found that the rising death rate for this group is not due to the ailments that commonly kill so many Americans, like diabetes and heart disease, but rather by an epidemic of suicides, liver disease caused by alcohol abuse, and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.

No war, no catastrophe," Chomsky says, has caused the spiking mortality rate for this population. "Just the impact of policies over a generation that have left them, it seems, angry, without hope, frustrated, causing self-destructive behavior."
That could well explain Trump’s appeal, he speculated.

In an interview with Alternet this week, Chomsky compared the poverty that many Americans now face with the conditions an older generation confronted during the Great Depression.

It’s interesting to compare the situation in the ‘30s, which I’m old enough to remember,” he said. “Objectively, poverty and suffering were far greater. But even among poor working people and the unemployed, there was a sense of hope that is lacking now.”

Chomsky attributes some of that Depression-era hope to the growth of an aggressive labor movement and the existence of political organizations outside of the mainstream.

Today, however, he says the mood is quite different for Americans who are deeply affected by poverty.

[They] are sinking into hopelessness, despair and anger -- not directed so much against the institutions that are the agents of the dissolution of their lives and world, but against those who are even more harshly victimized,” he said. “Signs are familiar, and here it does evoke some memories of the rise of European fascism.”.

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