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Profile Information

Name: David Allen
Gender: Male
Hometown: Washington, DC
Home country: USA
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 63,070

Journal Archives

NYT: Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?

This op-ed on the New York Times does a good job explaining why I find Trump so alarming. Worth reading the whole thing...


Donald J. Trump’s election has raised a question that few Americans ever imagined asking: Is our democracy in danger? With the possible exception of the Civil War, American democracy has never collapsed; indeed, no democracy as rich or as established as America’s ever has. Yet past stability is no guarantee of democracy’s future survival.

We have spent two decades studying the emergence and breakdown of democracy in Europe and Latin America. Our research points to several warning signs.

The clearest warning sign is the ascent of anti-democratic politicians into mainstream politics. Drawing on a close study of democracy’s demise in 1930s Europe, the eminent political scientist Juan J. Linz designed a “litmus test” to identify anti-democratic politicians. His indicators include a failure to reject violence unambiguously, a readiness to curtail rivals’ civil liberties, and the denial of the legitimacy of elected governments.

Mr. Trump tests positive. In the campaign, he encouraged violence among supporters; pledged to prosecute Hillary Clinton; threatened legal action against unfriendly media; and suggested that he might not accept the election results.

More: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/16/opinion/sunday/is-donald-trump-a-threat-to-democracy.html

The 10 most badass moments of the Obama presidency

After eight years, President Barack Obama's term in the Oval Office is finally coming to an end. And throughout the ups and downs of Obama's historic presidency, there's one thing that has become overwhelmingly clear: Our president is a badass.

Read more: https://mic.com/articles/161135/the-10-most-badass-moments-of-obama-s-presidency-show-exactly-why-so-many-will-miss-him

Memo to Democrats: Look to the Southwest and Southeast, Not Midwest

Hidden in the wreckage of the election there may be some good news. But I must admit I'm skeptical. I'm not sure if the places we improved our margins are specific to 2016 or if they indicate a longer-term trend. Still, an interesting perspective...

A common lesson drawn from this November’s presidential elections is that to win the presidency, the Democratic Party has to start paying much closer attention to white working-class voters in the Midwest states who delivered the Electoral College majority to Republican Donald J. Trump.

Three weeks after election day, and the once-renowned “blue wall” of Democratic states in the Midwest is in shambles — Trump is the first Republican nominee since the 1980s to win either Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, and not since Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign has a Republican won all three.

But Trump’s Midwestern victories shouldn’t have shocked anyone. Democrats have been struggling there for a generation. Wisconsin has elected Democrats in just two of their last eight gubernatorial elections, and the GOP has held a state assembly majority for 19 of the last 21 years. In Michigan, Republicans have won five of the last seven gubernatorial races, and have held an uninterrupted state senate majority for more than 30 years. Even in Minnesota, which Clinton won, Democrats have won just two of the last seven gubernatorial elections.

The Midwest isn’t safe Democratic territory, but truth be told, the hand-wringing about the Democrats’ woes misses a larger truth. Lost in much of the analyses this year is just how significantly the Trump-Pence ticket underperformed among many traditionally Republican-leaning groups and in some GOP-dominant areas — and of what this possibly portends in future elections. Voting trends suggest a possible realigning of the electorate at work that can bring back the big prize to the Democrats despite their increasingly difficult Electoral College status.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/11/democrats-electoral-map-midwest-southwest-southeast-demographics-214489

Move two state borders and Hillary Clinton wins

I'm not trying to make excuses by posting this. But it does provide some interesting context. Exact same votes, totally different post-election narrative...

Here's a fun little thought experiment demonstrating the fundamental arbitrariness of the electoral college: Had two state borders been drawn just a little bit differently, shifting a total of four counties from one state to another, Hillary Clinton would have won the election.

Take a look at the imaginary map above, which comes from an nifty online tool called Redraw the States. It was created by Kevin Hayes Wilson, a mathematician and data scientist working in computer science education.

This map moves Lake County, Ill. to Wisconsin, turning that state blue. It moves Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties from the Florida panhandle to neighboring Alabama. That's enough to turn Florida blue. With victories in Wisconsin and Florida, Clinton squeaks to victory in the electoral college, 270 to 268.

Exact same votes, slightly different borders, radically different outcome: the capriciousness of the electoral college laid bare

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/29/how-the-electoral-college-gerrymanders-the-presidential-vote/

Without free and open elections a government leader is not legitimate.

You can talk all you want about Cuba's record on literacy and health care. But there is no ignoring the fact that the Cuban people do not have any legitimate mechanism to peacefully select those who rule them.

You might think Fidel was swell, but there is no legitimate way of knowing whether the Cuban people thought so. Because Fidel never had the guts -- or the respect for his own people -- to stand for free, fair and open elections.

Yes, I know what the Cuba-apologists are going to say. You are going to claim that the sham one-party elections in Cuba where candidates must get approval from the government to run unopposed are more democratic than the American system because electoral college, campaign contributions, hacked voting machines, Trump, imperialist Yankee propaganda. And I don't doubt you believe it. But that doesn't make it true.

Elections. There is no substitute.

This dog just won the mannequin challenge

(DEBUNKED!) Ivanka Trump in 2006: "If he wasn't my father, I would spray him with Mace."

Snopes says this is FAKE.

In my defense, I actually checked the original source in the Chicago Tribune before I posted to verify. I guess you can't trust anyone these days.


The president-elect has been known to say disgusting things about his daughter, most notably, that he'd be interested in dating her if he wasn't her father.

A newly uncovered quote from a 2006 Chicago Tribune piece revealed Donald Trump's eldest daughter, Ivanka, is definitely creeped out by her dad.

Writer Sarah Kendzior found and tweeted a screenshot of the piece on Thursday, in which Ivanka says: "If he wasn't my father, I would spray him with Mace." The piece goes on to say Ivanka's statement was in response to "her father complimenting her figure."

More: https://m.mic.com/articles/160358/ivanka-trump-once-said-if-he-wasn-t-my-father-i-would-spray-him-with-mace

Fake news story says pizzeria is the center of child abuse ring led by Hillary Clinton, John Podesta

This is insanity.

WASHINGTON — Days before the presidential election, James Alefantis, owner of a local pizza restaurant called Comet Ping Pong, noticed an unusual spike in the number of his Instagram followers.

Within hours, menacing messages like “we’re on to you” began appearing in his Instagram feed. In the ensuing days, hundreds of death threats — one read “I will kill you personally” — started arriving via texts, Facebook and Twitter. All of them alleged something that made Mr. Alefantis’s jaw drop: that Comet Ping Pong was the home base of a child abuse ring led by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief, John D. Podesta.

When Mr. Alefantis discovered that his employees were getting similar abusive messages, he looked online to unravel the accusations. He found dozens of made-up articles about Mrs. Clinton kidnapping, molesting and trafficking children in the restaurant’s back rooms. The articles appeared on Facebook and on websites such as The New Nationalist and The Vigilant Citizen, with one headline blaring: “Pizzagate: How 4Chan Uncovered the Sick World of Washington’s Occult Elite.”

None of it was true. While Mr. Alefantis has some prominent Democratic friends in Washington and was a supporter of Mrs. Clinton, he has never met her, does not sell or abuse children, and is not being investigated by law enforcement for any of these claims. He and his 40 employees had unwittingly become real people caught in the middle of a storm of fake news.

More: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/technology/fact-check-this-pizzeria-is-not-a-child-trafficking-site.html

Bernie Sanders: Trump Infrastructure plan a "scam that gives massive tax breaks to large companies"

Let’s Rebuild our Infrastructure, Not Provide Tax Breaks to Big Corporations and Wall Street

By Bernie Sanders

Our infrastructure is collapsing, and the American people know it. Every day, they drive on roads with unforgiving potholes and over bridges that are in disrepair. They wait in traffic jams and ride in overcrowded subways. They see airports bursting at the seams. They see the need for a modern rail system. They worry that a local levee or dam could fail in a storm.

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump correctly talked about rebuilding our country’s infrastructure. But the plan he offered is a scam that gives massive tax breaks to large companies and billionaires on Wall Street who are already doing phenomenally well. Trump would allow corporations that have stashed their profits overseas to pay just a fraction of what the companies owe in federal taxes. And then he would allow the companies to “invest” in infrastructure projects in exchange for even more tax breaks. Trump’s plan is corporate welfare coming and going.

More: http://bit.ly/2geGDBp

Anyone else get faked-out by Trump's "White House" pictures?

This is a pretty genius bit of political theater from the Trump people. I keep seeing these pictures of Donald Trump in what appears to be the entrance to the White House.

It's actually the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey.

But still. Surely it's just a coincidence that out of all the properties Trump owns, he's holding photo-ops at the one that looks like a door to the White House.

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