Elizabeth Warren vs. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf

In the video below, Elizabeth Warren (blessed be she) rips Mr. Stumpf, CEO of Wells Fargo, a new asshole. Beautiful.

But what’s not so beautiful is that Mr. Stumpf then gets to stand up, leave the room without being arrested, and laugh all the way to the bank.


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Trump’s Birtherism: Will Americans Finally Snap Awake As To Who This Man Is Who Wants To Be President?

Birtherism comes from a dark, dark place in the white racist’s heart, and Trump led it. He led it. For years. And today, he didn’t apologize for the damage, racist debasement, coarsening, and poisoning of public discourse his birtherist movement caused.

Remember, he entered politics on birtherism, and he rode it to victory in the Republican primaries. His street cred as the true alt-right candidate in the race came from his birtherism.

And now it’s finally hurting him politically (only two days ago, he refused to say that Obama was born in this country). So all he did today was to tersely and without elaboration admit the obvious to stop his political bleeding: Obama, obviously, was born in the United States. No apology for the defamation. No apology to the African American community. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

That this is coming up now, and how he handled it today (again, not a single word of apology), ought to be a bracing reminder of what’s at stake in this election. This man has repeatedly broken the social contract with groups of Americans–and should never, ever be rewarded for his evil behavior with the White House.

Make no mistake, birtherism is an evil. And Trump led it. He led it. Birtherism is a deliberate and grotesque evil visited upon African Americans, not just President Obama, tapping into the worst aspects of white racist attitudes toward the status of blacks in America. It seems to me unthinkable that a man who could do this could also get a majority of Americans to elect him as President. Maybe this has come up at just the right moment to wake up Americans as to who this man is.

Mr. Trump said he would like to move on from the conspiracy theory that said the president was not born in the United States, which he has been clinging to for years.
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A Stairway to Nowhere in NYC

Hmm. Moloch? A face mask without a self? Ever bigger guys pressing down on the littlest guy? There’s something Kafkaesque about this “stairway to nowhere.” An Escher painting catching real humans? It recalls a trilobite or exoskeleton–or perhaps an ant farm. It catches light and the eye (and “the light of the body is the eye”), and yet it seems to be a metaphor for something alienating and dark: perhaps the breastplate of Achilles pushing through a grove of trees, heading for war. Perhaps the silent monolith from Kubrick’s 2001. Who will inquire of this Sphinx? And now I see an orgy of giant tarantulas back to back to back. Where are we going? Is this the herald of the death of God?


Stephen M. Ross, who is developing Hudson Yards, has a nickname for Thomas Heatherwick’s 15-story structure on the plaza: “the social climber.”
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Evolution Lowdown: Earth is a Big Blue Petri Dish in Space


In the video above, from Harvard Medical School, bacterial evolution is on display in real time. At the end of the video, there’s even an overlay of the the branching family trees that developed in the experiment.

That’s the best part from my vantage. Darwin would have been delighted to see those branching trees, as they look like the famous one he sketched in his notebook when first formulating his theory of evolution by natural selection.

And here’s the trippy part: we got here the way the bacteria above did. In other words, our ancestors adapted to a succession of environments that have reached the environment we inhabit now. The variations we inherited from our parents make us more or less well adapted to this early 21st century environment (thanks, mom and dad!), and if we leave offspring, they will in turn inhabit different mid-to-late 21st century environments in which they’ll thrive to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the variations they inherited from us.

And of course, our children’s offspring will be exposed to 22nd century environments to which some will be well adapted and others not. Just like the bacteria in Harvard’s giant Petri dish, as living organisms we too are competing and evolving all along the way, and being–yikes!–plowed under and to the sidelines if we’re not as well adapted to our environment as the organisms around us. Not a pleasant thought, but that’s the world we’re in. Our planet is a very large, very old, and very blue Petri dish in space.


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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: Two Saturns Eating Their Children

Two Saturns eating their children. That’s what this election has become. Both Trump and Hillary boxed out young people to reach this point, and now here we are: one has pneumonia, the other eats Kentucky Fried Chicken on his private jumbo jet with a fork.

Hillary should leave the race to Tim Kaine to defeat the Republican Saturn, otherwise, the most likely outcome of this election cycle is…President Trump–which means untold numbers of young people (and old) cast into the jaws of his dangerous politics.

But she won’t do it, will she?

If Hillary now fails to leave the race to a generic Democrat like Tim Kaine (someone who can actually defeat Trump decisively), the country is likely to spend literally decades undoing Trump’s damage–presuming of course that the planet itself survives a nuclear-weaponized Donald Trump.

So this is a tragic moment for our country–and the planet. (Recall that Trump, in addition to being nuke-curious, doesn’t believe the warnings of climate scientists concerning global warming.)

I’d love to see the first woman President–and I’d be happy for Hillary on a personal level if she reached the White House. But her (let’s be honest, frail) balloon is losing altitude rapidly now, and this could fall out of reach of any Democrat if she isn’t decisive on leaving the race immediately.

I’ll vote for her, I’ll vote for her. If she stays to the bitter end, I’ll vote for her. But as the cliche goes, if this isn’t a mess, it will do till the mess gets here. This has become a hostage crisis. We’ve got two stubborn baby boomers who are temperamentally incapable of releasing the world to the young; who think the world actually needs them personally. It doesn’t. They need to go now. And to get rid of both of them, unfortunately, it’s growing increasingly apparent that Hillary needs to go first.


Saturn Devouring His Son is the name given to a painting by Spanish artist Francisco Goya. According to the traditional interpretation, it depicts the Greek myth of the Titan Cronus (in the title Romanized to Saturn), who, fearing that he would be overthrown by one of his children,…
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Clit Rubbing Bonobos: A Clue to the Evolutionary Origin of Human Homosexuality?

Not to be crude, but gays and lesbians may function in humans as akin to the large clitorises in bonobos.

In the bonobo female, the clitoris is unusually large, and it’s used to bond socially with other females. They rub their large clitorises on each other. Sexual bonding gives the females an enhanced solidarity with one another against the males. By displaying this behavioral preference, it has put selective pressure on the bonobo clitoris to enlarge over time–and so it must be conferring a benefit to the species as a whole (for females to gather collective power against the males).

But to what evolutionary benefit, exactly?

Perhaps females that are tightly bonded and share greater power with males constitute a successful evolutionary group strategy in primates (or at least an alternative strategy to the male dominated sort).

Now apply this to humans. Have you noticed the coalition of gays and lesbians with feminists and liberals in our species? What if homosexuality lingers in the human population as a function of equalizing, to some degree, group dynamics between males and females?

Perhaps liberal vs. authoritarian in our politics reflects our evolution: the tensions between bonobo vs. chimp in terms of evolutionary strategy (in their social relations, bonobos being a more hippie-like species, chimps being more male dominated).

Of course, to consider this idea of women’s bodies producing at least some gays and lesbians in the population so as to nudge the species’ gender relations in a gentler direction, one would also have to accept the controversial proposal of group selection in evolution.

In any case, I’ve never heard or read of what I’m proposing before, but it occurred to me, and so I’m putting it out here. Maybe a biologist will notice the post, and set me straight–or find it intriguing (or point to where it has already been proposed somewhere else before).


UPDATE. I’d also like to put forward something a bit provocative in this context. What if religion functions in part as a patriarchal counter-balance to the evolution of homosexuality in our species? Traditionally, who ends up in large numbers (per capita) among the clergy? And what do patriarchal religions tend to promote surrounding sex and the naturalness of male rule?

You can see where I’m going here. Perhaps male-dominated religion functions in part as a way to defang the coalitional strength of heterosexual women aligned with gays and lesbians. By diverting gay men into the clergy, an alliance of males against females is forged, and the evolutionary nudge toward bonobo-like behavior that homosexuality represents in the ongoing evolution of our species is hijacked.

But perhaps with the ongoing decline of religion in the 21st century, it will prove ever more difficult for authoritarian males to counter the evolution-generated alliance of females with gays and lesbians. Maybe, in place of religion, they’ll come up with a different strategy?

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Clinton vs. Trump: It’s Late In The Game, Yet Still Close. How Can This Be?

Hmm. I simply don’t understand how this election is still so close. Why aren’t women 70/30 for Hillary in polls? (Hillary is actually losing in polls among married women, for instance.)

And why aren’t Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans more obviously galvanized and motivated to vote against Trump in record numbers? How is it that “likely voters” are keeping the polls so close? Shouldn’t Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans be among the most likely of “likely voters” in this election cycle? If polls among “likely voters” are close, it probably means that there’s no unusual enthusiasm to vote being registered among, say, Hispanics.

But how could this be? Hillary’s got all the money in the world right now to get her voters registered and to the polls in November–so what does this mean that she’s in a dead heat among likely voters in places like Nevada?

I can see Trump getting 55% of the white vote–but 60% or 65%? Again, how can that be?

I quite obviously don’t understand the majority of my fellow Americans at all (what motivates them; how they think, etc.). How, for instance, does anyone with a college degree, after learning Trump rejects the science on global warming, vote for him anyway?

Shouldn’t that be a veto right there?

If a seventy year old man was in a job interview with you, and he couldn’t follow the science on global warming coherently, and confessed to distrusting scientific consensus, would you give him a position of serious responsibility–or nuclear codes?

But nothing seems to veto Trump with the electorate. He has yet to sufficiently alarm a clear majority of voters. He’s still competitive as we speak. There’s even a possibility that Hillary could collapse in the polls here in the stretch (much like she did against Bernie in certain states). Despite his disorganization, Trump could literally run away with this–exactly as he did in the Republican primary.

I’m feeling helpless and hopeless. I feel like I want to drive out to Nevada and hand out voter registration cards at Walmart–but why am I begging people to vote? If Hillary’s voters haven’t registered already, what is wrong with them? What is wrong with me? What is wrong with Hillary?

To echo Trump in another context, What the hell is going on?

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The Eagle Has (Crash) Landed

Chaos, zig-zag, and scatter. With just ten weeks remaining, Donald Trump still has not settled on a path to 270, nor on a strategy for executing it. Imagine him as President–and with access to nuclear codes–flailing and winging-it 24/7. A mercurial and disorganized authoritarian at the wheel. Genuinely scary.

Three weeks until early voting, the campaign scrambles to pick a path and stay on it.
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Fox News Is A Safe Space For Donald Trump–But Not Andrea Tantaros And Gretchen Carlson?



What gives?

Fox News is Herr Trump’s safe space. He is treated with the utmost respect there. But if Gretchen Carlson–and now Andrea Tantaros, in a separate lawsuit, are to be believed, it appears the same respect is not extended to women who work at the network. Believe these two conservative women?


After complaining, a former Fox News host was banned from his show.
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Trump’s Racialism

As reported in The Washington Post article below, Donald Trump is going for broke with the racialist vote:

When Trump made Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon his campaign’s chief executive last week, [racialist Jared] Taylor found reasons to celebrate. It was the latest sign for white nationalists, once dismissed as fringe, that their worldview was gaining popularity and that the old Republican Party was coming to an end. The rise of the alt-right — named for the Alternative Right website that the ‘identitarian’ nationalist Richard Spencer set up in 2010 and adopted by those opposed to multiculturalism and mass immigration — has come to define how many of its adherents see Trump. There’s less talk now about a ‘pivot,’ or a moment when Trump will adopt the ideas of people that he conquered. His strategy now resembles the alt-right dream of maximizing the white vote — even as polling shows his standing with white voters falls short of Mitt Romney’s in 2012.

Racialism, it appears, means never having to say you’re racist.
White nationalists see their worldview as ascendant within the GOP.
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Trump. Naked. (Can You Find Troll-Dough?)

In the below image, would-be Emperor Golden Pubes has no clothes. “Friends, white Americans, countrymen, lend me your tighty-whities, fast, okay?”

The inclusion by the photographer of King Tut and Whole Foods in the image are nice touches, capturing the tensions of the cultural moment (anal-gold-bug-money-grubbing-authoritarian state vs. green and connected–and also, admittedly, money-grubbing–liberal state).

And far in back, on a window, is the word “trolls,” which seems to devilishly hover and preside over a Dante-like hell-room consisting of 1980s pastel flames.

Hmm, I wonder who should be consigned to that room.

So, Sesame Street friends, can you tell us which of these things in the foreground of this image is not like the others? Which of these things does not belong? The election schwings on it.

Where’s Troll-dough?

The activist group INDECLINE put naked Donald Trump statues in New York, San…
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Trump is Bleeding White Men

Herr Trump’s hold on the white male voter is fraying. Of course it is. Who wants to vote for a coward wed to nostalgia? What a bore. No vision for a brave adult future.

Most of us who are white males are not whiny and paranoid hysterics, afraid of trade, women, religious doubt, immigrants, scientists, blacks, critical thinking, nuance, and Muslims. We don’t want to hide and cower with Trump in Trump’s high tower. We like being in the thick of things, engaged with reality as it is, not playing life safe behind a phalanx of silly Norman Vincent Peale religious platitudes, lawyers, and walls (as Trump has done his whole life).

How humiliating to be a Trump voter. It means being someone who votes for a man whose temperament and modus operandi are set on PANIC and accompanied by cowardly acting out, punching down, and bullying–all for personal attention-getting, and always–always–from a safe distance.

So I think it’s time for a little riff on James Brown: Say it loud, I’m white (male) and I’m proud–to vote for Hillary.

And, obviously, I’m not alone. What self-respecting 21st century man of any race–with confidence in his own capacity to thrive and compete in a complex world, and with even an ounce of bravery toward facing the future–would vote for a bunker-cowering and magical thinking Mussolini jerk-off and over-simplifier like Herr Trump?

It appears that after a stream of provocations, insults and reckless remarks, Mr. Trump has damaged himself with the one demographic that stands as a bulwark…
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A White Guy Goes Up To A Black Woman And Says: Remember, You Can Only Vote Once Today

Imagine a white man going up to a black woman on November 8th of this year and having the gall, while she is walking to her polling place, to remind her that she is to vote only once.

Herr Trump, in his conspiracy-fueled paranoia and fundamental distrust of racial minorities, is calling on the most ghoulish and fanatical among his supporters, on election day, to “monitor” (presumably African American and Hispanic majority) polling stations for “fraud.” His call for an army of white poll monitors implies, and amounts to, not just extra-legal surveillance, but undisguised distrust of his fellow nonwhite Americans. And such surveillance can readily lapse into voter intimidation.

I regard this latest dog whistle to white racists as yet another major Trump misstep that is at once contrary to America’s pluralistic values and tone deaf–and it’s going to make white liberals, white moderates, and nonwhite voters even more determined to reach the polls on election day.

Here’s Daniel Politi at Slate on this matter:

[T]he Republican presidential candidate straight out told supporters on Friday that there’s only one possible explanation if he ends up losing the crucial state of Pennsylvania: through cheating. “The only way we can lose, in my opinion—I really mean this, Pennsylvania—is if cheating goes on,” he said late Friday. Nevermind that the Real Clear Politics polling average notes Hillary Clinton has a 9.2-point advantage over Trump in recent surveys. “We’re going to have unbelievable turnout, but we don’t want to see people voting five times, folks,” the Republican presidential nominee said. Particularly concerning about his warnings was how he noted that he’d “heard some stories about certain parts of the state, and we have to be very careful.” Trump added that there would be a lot of people watching on Election Day. “We have to call up law enforcement, and we have to have the sheriffs and the police chiefs and everybody watching,” he said. But law enforcement won’t be enough, he warned, and called on supporters to help detect any voting irregularities, expressing shock at the lack of voter ID requirements. “I hope you people can sort of not just vote on the eighth, go around and look and watch other polling places […]”

Donald Trump is doubling down with the “rigged election” claims. Rather than walk back his past statement, or claim he was being sarcastic, the Republi …
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Military and Civilian Disobedience: Thoreau, General John Allen, and Trump

An internal military crisis if Trump wins. Why? Because of his potential for ordering extreme actions (deploying nuclear weapons in otherwise conventional battle theaters, authorizing torture and other war crimes worse than waterboarding, etc.).

Obey such orders from Trump? What’s a general or admiral to do? What’s a soldier to do?

General John Allen, in the YouTube at the bottom of this post, eviscerates Trump on such matters, and expresses his concerns.

And on the civilian side, is there no place for a free citizen in a Trump society outside of jail? Do we need to do a Thoreau and simply refuse to pay our taxes–if Trump wins?

How prepared are we to enable Trump with our taxes if he wins?

During the War with Mexico and the time of slavery, Henry David Thoreau famously refused to pay his taxes, landing him in jail. His friend Ralph Waldo Emerson came to visit him and said, “Henry, what are you doing in there?”–to which Thoreau replied, “Ralph, what are you doing out there?”

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Is Trump Putin or Hitler?

Sobering reading. The pieces of the puzzle are falling together. Trump is Putin. And that’s if we’re lucky. He might be Hitler. And if he is, the likelihood of stopping him after he takes the oath of office is small.

A deeply, deeply disturbing article in The Washington Post below on how Trump is poised to transform the American presidency into something akin to that of Putin’s in Russia (a truly one man dictatorial show with little by way of checks and balances on his exercise of power).

According to the article, a confluence of historical circumstances is aligning for this dangerous moment; this fascist moment. When Trump says he’ll do things fast, the article explains exactly how he could actually fulfill this promise (or threat), bypassing the legal barriers that many of us imagine must surely be in place to prevent an imperial presidency.

When Trump says he’ll bring back torture and expand it, or says he’ll consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East, believe him. And if you think Congress or generals are likely to stall his actions, think again. If Hillary loses, the country we thought we knew may morph quickly and dramatically into something else.

And lest you think the Hitler analogy is overblown, I’d ask you to follow the two links in the following quote from Matthew Rozsa:

[B]ecause there are legitimate concerns about Trump’s mental health, his blasé attitude toward nuclear weapons poses an existential threat to not just our nation, but the entire world.

The White House is now so powerful Trump could legally fulfill many promises unchecked by Congress.
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Trump Attacks the Mother of a Slain American Soldier

First, Donald Trump attacked John McCain, a Vietnam POW. Today, Trump attacked the mother of a slain soldier.

A slain soldier. A mother. Think about that.

And Trump didn’t even serve in the military himself when he was of the age to do so. Trump let others fight and die in Vietnam on his behalf.

Trump has never made any serious sacrifices for this country. He’s a coward, but he poses as this tough guy–a tough guy who can casually trash-talk the mother–the mother!–of a slain American soldier.

So not only is he tough with the feelings of a woman who lost her son, but he’s classy.

Trump also attacked the slain soldier’s father. Of course he did. He insinuated that the father was insincere in his remarks, and said the mother didn’t speak in public because her religion forbade it.

In point of fact, it was the mother’s grief, not her religion, that led her to decline to speak that evening. And the mother did give a one-on-one, sit-down interview to MSNBC on the following day.

So imagine if the parents of this slain American soldier were not Muslims, but Orthodox Jews or Pentecostals, and Trump said the father was insincere, reading from a teleprompter what Clinton’s campaign had put up for him, and that the woman didn’t speak in public because her religion is so alien, freakish, and beyond-the-pale of American norms, that it forbade her from doing so.

Trump both stereotyped and demeaned the parents of an American soldier. A slain American soldier. And the father in the image below is holding up a copy, not of the Quran, but of the Constitution.

In an ABC interview, Mr. Trump implied that Ghazala Khan’s silence while her husband spoke about their soldier son’s death at the Democratic convention may…
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Good Polling News for Clinton

Did Clinton get a fifteen point bounce out of the Democratic Convention? The first poll, post-convention, suggests so: Clinton 46%; Trump 31%.

Somewhere in Pennsylvania, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton smiles a cautious smile. All right: we do not actually know that that is wha …
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Imagine Trump As Dangerous–Because He Is

Let’s do a little imagining together.

Imagine a man with an authoritarian, conspiratorial, and mercurial temperament who praises Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-un, and Vladimir Putin; tweets quotes from Mussolini and images from antisemitic message boards; invites the demagogic and un-American chant from audiences, “Yes he will!”; and says he’ll do everything “really fast, believe me,” as if he neither knows nor cares that the Constitution has severe legal checks and balances on the divided branches of government.

Imagine such a man on the verge of reaching the White House.

Now imagine that same man, angry at a free press criticizing him, publicly threatening Jeff Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, that if he reaches the White House, Bezos is going to have antitrust laws and the IRS directed his way because he “can’t let him [Bezos] get away with it” (owning both The Washington Post and Amazon).

Now imagine that this very same man invites from his audiences the following chant directed at his political opponent, who also happens to be a woman: “Lock her up!”

Imagine still further that he not only doesn’t rebuke the chant, but says he agrees with it.

That’s where we’re at in 2016. If Clinton loses, she may literally have to leave the country to avoid a midnight knock on the door by Federal marshals.

Oh, but one might say, Trump is only joking. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Are you prepared to risk America’s future on that bet?

Hitler in Mein Kampf made a plethora of outrageous statements and threatened to drive the Jews out of Europe and into Palestine, but few took him at his word. They downplayed his public statements.

Again, what sort of risk are you prepared to take with the country–with your life and the lives of your children–that Trump won’t be so bad?

If Trump reaches the White House, I think people are going to look back and say, “We should have taken what he said more seriously.” He’s not clowning. He’s not just a harmless and naughty teddy bear who doesn’t know what he’s saying. He’s dangerous. He’ll have access to everything from tactical nuclear weapons to federal marshals to the CIA.

And in a crisis, he’ll be the sort of person who escalates.

That’s what we’re facing. This isn’t a nightmare. It’s not a novel. If Trump wins, we’re not going to wake up on November 8th living in the same country. The loss of the separation of powers can happen here. It is on the verge of happening here. It’s real.




He also vowed “no more Mr. Nice Guy.” So be ready.
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Someday Donald Trump Will Be PRESIDENT?

In 1995, citing it as offensive to “family values,” Walmart banned a t-shirt that shows Margaret from Dennis the Menace saying optimistically, “Someday a woman will be PRESIDENT!”

Fast-forward to 2016, and here’s a Walmart spokesperson: “Wow, it still pains me that we made this mistake 20 years ago.”

And yet I’ll bet that if you go into Walmart today, you won’t be able to find a t-shirt to purchase with anything like these words on it.

Maybe in a few weeks? But then, perhaps far-right conservatives will complain, asking for a retort shirt: “Someday Donald Trump will be PRESIDENT!” (On that one, I’d put Mussolini, Hitler, or a leaping Vladimir Putin.)

Here’s the shirt the store once said violated its “family values.”
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Would You Have Resisted Hitler? Are You Resisting Trump?

Freud’s id has landed. David Brooks nails it. If Trump still wins after this week, then obviously there’s something going on in the psyche of the majority of Americans that craves vengeance, authoritarianism, harshness, and Nietzschean indifference toward the weak.

It won’t be Jefferson’s America, or Eisenhower’s America. It will be Putin’s Russia, Mussolini’s Italy, or Hitler’s Germany circa 1933.

If you think, had you been alive in the 1930s, that you would have resisted Mussolini and Hitler after they reached power, you may soon get your test in real time.

Women, demographics, and Trump. I’ve long thought the resonances of Weimar Germany with our contemporary politics were obviously there, but I just never seriously believed it could rise to this level of existential threat–until this year. I thought demographics would save us. And women tend to vote in greater numbers than men–and with a competent woman leading one of the parties, it still seems logical this year that they’ll break for her in large numbers, given the historic nature of her candidacy. The ascent of a dictator (“Yes he will!”) who explicitly dog whistles to white supremacists and preaches blood and soil nationalism, seems impossible in America, 2016.

Yet here we are. Alarmingly, the Republican Party first buckled, then swooned, then collapsed like a house of cards before such a man. Now it appears the Republican Party is firmly united behind Trump. In Trump, George Wallace now meets Adolf Hitler meeting the Republican Party–and it isn’t pretty.

Perhaps the country’s demographics as a whole will indeed save us. But if so, it will be by a hair. That means that if you aren’t voting against Herr Trump in November, and if you’re not speaking out loudly–loudly and unmistakably now–then you’re responsible for whatever Herr Trump does when he reaches the Oval Office.

Vladimir Putin in the Lincoln Bedroom? In his essay, Brooks is most angry with Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, etc. for caving to Herr Trump, and for now functioning as the ongoing enablers of Herr Trump.

So it’s on the rest of us right now. We either defeat Herr Trump–with moderate Democrats, Republicans, and Independents turning hard against him together in the last months of this election–or we perhaps spend literally decades fighting to get back to even the semblance of the America we thought we knew.

Will the center hold? Or will we find Herr Trump inviting his good friend Vladimir Putin to spend nights in the Lincoln Bedroom?

Tactical nuclear weapons and the loss of civil liberties? If you have small children or grandchildren, you may literally be deciding in November what sort of country they will inherit as adults decades from now. If you vote for Trump, you may even be condemning them to death in a civilizational war akin to the two fought in the last century. (Do not put it past Trump to escalate to the use of tactical nuclear weapons very quickly in a crisis, then locking down on the country domestically–then finding the crises he has exacerbated spinning beyond his control.)

So this isn’t the usual swing of the left-right pendulum with checks and balances securely in place. That’s what we’ve known for over two centuries. The choice in November is to upend this arrangement fundamentally. We literally risk a fatal compromising of our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, and our nuclear arsenal (in the sense that Trump may be foolish enough to start making use of it).

And yet there are people who say this is not a fundamental election; that Trump won’t be so bad.

Trump and global warming. Poo-pooing Trump’s danger is akin to poo-pooing global warming. If you deny even the basic threat, then you can blindly court disaster without even offering supporting arguments. You don’t have to have a consequential debate because you won’t start with the premise that something consequential is going on.

So this is the question every Trump supporter should be confronted with again and again until November: In a crisis, what makes you think Herr Trump won’t use tactical nuclear weapons? How confident are you about this? And if he does, what makes you think a broader war won’t necessarily break out, accompanied by still other war crimes and deployments of still more tactical nuclear weapons–and that our domestic civil liberties will go on being reliably protected after that?

It’s not how Trump might behave in the absence of crisis that makes him so startlingly dangerous, but how he might behave in a crisis. And the truth is that we don’t know. Nobody knows. We don’t have a clue. So don’t call yourself a conservative if your choice this year is not Hillary. There’s nothing “conservative” or “pro-American” about voting for a mercurial and temperamental authoritarian who might use a tactical nuclear weapon in a fit of pique.

But it may not matter which party had the better convention.
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