I'm speaking at Politicon, the “Non-Partisan Politics and Entertainment Fan-Fest,” June 25-26 in Pasadena. It's gonna be fun AND totally weird in the best way.
Sessions include an “Ann Coulter vs. Van Jones” smackdown, and Jon Ronson asking the timeless question, “Is Donald Trump a Psychopath.”
Some of the other politicians, pundits, and possible psychopaths on the schedule: Bill Nye, Sarah Palin, Larry Wilmore, Vicente Fox, James Carville, Glenn Beck. The original Daily Show cast will be in the house, too.
Holy hell, what a lineup. Join me there, and use the Boing Boing discount code BOINGBOING to get 25% off tickets.
Despite a couple of recent outliers, Donald Trump's polling is grim: 94% unfavorability among black voters being one new number doing the rounds. It's so dire, in fact, Hillary appears set to win in a landslide despite her own shortcomings. Jeet Heer:
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Trump’s manic, narcissistic, and immature response to the Orlando massacre has been a key turning point—or, looked at another way, a final straw. Just as Republican elites were learning to live with Trump, so long as he kept his promise to act more “presidential,” he’s now made it clear that he’ll continue to be the same old Trump the world has known for decades. The result is that elected Republican officials are starting to un-endorse Trump or say they won’t back his presidential bid. Republican governors in Maryland, Michigan, and Massachusetts have all said they won’t vote for Trump.
This kid from Chicago has a bright future ahead of him, in political personality impersonations. His Hillary, Trump, Obama, and Bernie Sanders impressions are all great.
Earlier this week Crowdstrike, a security company hired by the Democratic National Committee, announced that the party's servers had been deeply penetrated by hackers working for the Russian government, who had made off with many sensitive files, including the DNC's Trump oppo research spreadsheet. Read the rest
Sen Chris Murphy [D-CT] and colleagues are attempting to push an amendment to a spending bill that would require background checks on gun sales and exclusion of terror suspects from sales. Read the rest
Donald Trump's butt-hurt, thin-skinned response to the Washington Post's basic, journalistic skepticism about his Obama-conspires-with-terrorists was to yank the paper's media credentials, adding them to the growing pool of media that is barred from Trump events, which includes "Politico, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Gawker, Foreign Policy, Fusion, Univision, Mother Jones, the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Des Moines Register and the Daily Beast" -- as well as any previously accredited news outlet that Trump doesn't feel like admitting on any given day. Read the rest
Little-mentioned but often-said is Trump's other catchphrase: "there's something going on." It's used to insinuate a conspiracy, to trigger feelings of paranoia and fear in his audience without committing to specifics. He screwed up over the weekend and attached it to a too-concrete suggestion that President Obama was somehow involved in the Orlando nightclub massacre.
In the fallout, he ended up withdrawing the Washington Post's credentials to cover his rallies and press events after the newspaper reported plainly on his remarks. So who better than them to explain that now-obvious phrase's meaning?
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That phrase, according to political scientists who study conspiracy theories, is characteristic of politicians who seek to exploit the psychology of suspicion and cynicism to win votes.
The idea that people in positions of power or influence are conspiring to conceal sinister truths from the public can be inherently appealing, because it helps make sense of tragedy and satisfies the human need for certainty and order. Yet politicians hoping to take advantage of these tendencies must rely on vague and suggestive statements, since any specific accusation could be easily disproved.
"He's leaving it to the audience to piece together what he's saying," said Joseph Uscinski, a political scientist at the University of Miami, in a recent interview.
Before Peter Thiel became infamous for being a thin-skinned scheming billionaire who secretly financed Hulk Hogan's lawsuit in a petty bid for revenge against Gawker for being mean to him, he was infamous for being a California delegate for Donald Trump, who shares his fondness for limiting press-freedom with exercises of coercive power. Read the rest
With 147 day to go until election day, Trump's imagination has hardly been tested. David A. Graham at The Atlantic reports that the top Republican suggested President Obama is "involved in the Orlando shooting." Somehow!
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In an almost entirely unprecedented moment, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, suggested in interviews Monday morning that President Obama may have somehow been involved in Sunday’s massacre in Orlando. ... “He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands—it’s one or the other and either one is unacceptable,” Trump said on Fox News. He had already called in a statement Sunday for Obama to resign from office. Trump added on Monday: "Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind—you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on."
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
Whatever you are doing, feeling or thinking today, stop: he wants toughness and vigilance.
Former US Secret Service agent Lee Robert Moore was indicted in a Florida federal court Thursday on child porn and teen sex charges. He is being held in federal custody in Delaware on separate charges that while he was on White House duty, Moore sexted a Delaware Child Predator Task Force undercover officer, whom he believed to be a teenage girl.
Trump's new relationship with the teleprompter didn't last long. Yesterday he gave a free-form speech at a rally in Richmond, Virginia where he repeatedly referred to Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahontas," an attempted jab at her for saying she has Native American ancestry. Read the rest
Matt Taibbi takes to Rolling Stone to tell us about the lessons that the US military learned from the powerful bruising it received from Muhummad Ali's refusal to fight in Vietnam: namely, that America should fight its wars with all-volunteer armies whose ranks were disproportionately drawn from the poor and desperate, which dissipated the political pressure that arose from drafting the rich, the powerful and the famous to fight. Read the rest