Photo of the day

One more from my vacation.  Some amazing color in the sky over the Atlantic most evenings.  This was a couple of hours after the rainbow I posted last week.

IMG_3715

Wasserman and the email link (and Russia!)

Oh, boy, I’m shocked, shocked that the institutional elites of the Democratic Party supported Hillary Clinton and not Bernie Sanders.  Yes, the DNC is supposed to be officially neutral, but of course people who spent years working with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party as an institution are going to support her over somebody who is not even really a member of the Democratic Party.

But, I get it, Wasserman Schultz’s got to go so Democrats can put this in the rear-view mirror as fast as possible.  I did an interview on this today with questions as if it is actually some huge thing.  How many Democrats even know who the hell Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is?  Like her emails are going to affect the election.  This is not exactly Hillary Clinton’s emails saying, “how can we smear Bernie Sanders?!”  But, boy, does the media love conflict in the face of a convention (Ted Cruz, anybody).

Now, it hurts, because this is not what Democrats want to be talking about, but again, the idea that this actually matters in the big scope of the election is the conflict-driven media fantasy.

And, while we’re at it, the best evidence is that the Russian government is truly behind this because Putin truly wants Trump to be President.  That should sure as hell give people pause and be getting way more prominent coverage that the Democratic party disunity.  This Post article seemed like it almost had to feel bad that not just Clinton’s campaign, but actual cyber-security experts and Russia experts think the Russians are behind the email leak:

We’ve been looking at this very closely from both the technical and non-technical spheres,” said Rich Barger, chief information officer for ThreatConnect, a cyber intelligence software firm. “Based on our analysis, we strongly feel Guccifer 2 is linked to a Russian information operations campaign and is not the independent Romanian hacker that he claims to be.” …

The apparent link to Russian intelligence raises troubling implications for U.S. foreign relations and national security. Russia has not to date tried to interfere in U.S. elections, analysts say. But if this is a deliberate effort by the Kremlin to meddle, it is worrisome, they say.

Fiona Hill, a former Russia expert on the National Intelligence Council, said putting the emails out on WikiLeaks for the world to see is consistent with her view of the modus operandi of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence.

“They’re doing what they do best,” said Hill, now a Brookings senior fellow. “They would not be doing their jobs as intelligence officers if they were not trying to outsmart their main opponent and to have influence on their politics.”

But, Rid points out, “what we don’t know is whether this is a top-down order or not.”

Meanwhile, this CNN report is a classic case of the worst sort of journalism.  Clinton’s campaign manager lays out the case for the Russian’s being behind this (and it’s a compelling one) and then we get Trump’s campaign saying this is just laughable and Clinton will say anything to win.

Horrible!  Talk to some actual experts instead of just the most lazy, he said, she said.  Do we know the Russians are behind this.  Nope.  But do many uninvolved experts thing it is entirely plausible?  Indeed.  And that sure as hell matters.  Shame on any news organization that reports the story this way.  Now that I think about it, I’ll think I’ll save these two stories for my media class this coming semester.

Oh, and Trump and the Russians, Josh Marshall was all over it even before the leak:

To put this all into perspective, if Vladimir Putin were simply the CEO of a major American corporation and there was this much money flowing in Trump’s direction, combined withthis much solicitousness [emphases in original] of Putin’s policy agenda, it would set off alarm bells galore. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. And yet Putin is not the CEO of an American corporation. He’s the autocrat who rules a foreign state, with an increasingly hostile posture towards the United States and a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons. The stakes involved in finding out ‘what’s going on’ as Trump might put it are quite a bit higher.

More Kaine

Some more good reactions on Tim Kaine I wanted to share.  Larry Sabato:

Vice-presidential candidates can be divided into two categories: political choices selected for what they can deliver on Election Day and governing picks who can do some heavy lifting in the White House.

By choosing Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton will get both.

Clinton has been the favorite to win in Virginia since the Republicans chose Donald Trump, whose backing in heavily populated suburbs such as Northern Virginia should lag behind the previous three Republican presidential candidates. But with Kaine on the ticket, Virginia can probably retire its swing-state jersey for this year. A good-size Democratic victory in this once-reliable GOP state should be expected, likely larger than President Obama’s 3.9 point margin in 2012. Recent studies have suggested that a solid running mate can add two to three percentage points in his or her home state.

Kaine will also add more than home-state votes. Experience matters greatly to success on the campaign trail and in office, and Kaine has experience at every level. He has spent more than two decades learning local, state and federal government through service as a city council member, mayor, lieutenant governor, governor and U.S. senator — all the while never losing an election. Even Republican politicians have acknowledged that Kaine mastered each job, and many have praised Kaine’s savvy and collegiality…

If Clinton wins, Kaine could be an enormously valuable vice president. Moreover, one can easily imagine Kaine as president if it ever should prove necessary. In recent history, this hasn’t always been the case with running mates.

And Greg Sargent:

 2) Kaine is good on other issues important to progressives. Kaine, who is fluent in Spanish after having worked as a Catholic missionary in Honduras, has been a longtime advocate of immigration reform that includes a path to legalization for the undocumented…

Kaine has been a longtime proponent of closing the gun background check loophole, and has brought his personal experiences to bear in advocating for gun reform, having been Governor of Virginia at the time of the Virginia Tech massacre. Kaine would thus be well positioned to act as Clinton’s point man on the issue if she wins the presidency, much as Joe Biden has done for President Obama. It’s true that Kaine is personally anti-abortion, but he has voted for funding Planned Parenthood and against restricting access to abortion.  And as Ed Kilgore recently explained, in one sense his approach to the issue shows off a type of depth that could help politically: Kaine is skilled and experienced at navigating hot-button religious and cultural issues and explaining nuanced positions in that context, even if he isn’t fully aligned with progressives on them…

3) Kaine’s position on trade and Wall Street is nuanced. He is not a class warrior in the Sanders mold, but neither is Clinton…

It’s also worth noting that Kaine supports Dodd-Frank and has voted against efforts to gut the law’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Clinton adviser confirms that Kaine has pledged to support her Wall Street reform agenda, which includes defending Dodd-Frank and boosting oversight of the shadow banking sector. Here again, this is something that we could see confirmed publicly in the near future, and this is something progressives can hold the ticket to later…

Mo Elleithee, a Democratic operative who has advised Kaine for many years, agrees that Kaine does not really share Sanders’s ideological and economic worldview. But he says Kaine views government as having an important role in leveling the economic playing field, noting that Kaine ran a vocational school for poor children in Honduras and later acted as a civil rights attorney on housing cases. “Kaine has never been a class warrior,” Elleithee tells me. “But he believes that government ought to be used to help increase opportunity and boost economic mobility for everyone.” [emphases  mine]…

In a sense, all this makes Kaine a good fit for Clinton, both ideologically and temperamentally. If Kaine does not fully share Bernie Sanders’s worldview, particularly his view of politics through the prism of class struggle and the imperative of breaking the power of the plutocracy, neither does she. But both Kaine and Clinton have been devoted to public service for much of their lives. Both have long been more comfortable talking and thinking about policy than about politics. Both care deeply about government, which they see as an essential agent for improving people’s lives. And both have long been more in the workhorse mold than in the showhorse one.

And Krystal Ball with”the progressive case for Tim Kaine:”

Ahh but perhaps Kaine abandoned all his lofty principles in a quest for political power in a conservative Southern state! If that’s your concern, perhaps you should just ask the NRA how they feel about Tim Kaine. Here’s how his elections in Virginia typically go: the NRA gives him an F rating, fear mongers about how he’s going to take everyone’s guns, spends massively against him, and then Tim goes on to win anyway…

Maybe though, Kaine was able to be bold on guns because he was right of center on everything else. Yeah, not so much. In Virginia, Kaine raised taxes, spearheaded efforts for universal pre-K, made Virginia the first Southern state to ban smoking in public places, and consistently opposed the death penalty. Let me repeat that last one. Tim Kaine consistently opposed the death penalty in a state that trails only Texas in number of executions. As governor, he bucked the prevailing law and order winds and vetoed eight different bills that would have expanded capital punishment. The issue was front and center in his gubernatorial race but he stuck to the Catholic values that have guided his life and never backed down.

Speaking of Catholic values, shouldn’t pro-choice progressives be terrified of Tim Kaine on the ticket? After all, he has said he is personally opposed to abortion. If you didn’t look any further, then a pro-choice feminist like myself might have cause for concern. Continue digging just one inch deeper though and you’ll find that Kaine has consistently supported Roe v Wade. In the Senate, he actually enjoys a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood. Based on Kaine’s record, it seems he would be entirely comfortable backing Hillary Clinton’s strongly pro-choice positions and in the unlikely event he would find himself President and making Supreme Court picks, there is every reason to expect Kaine would seek out Justices who would uphold Roe. He has been quite clear that while he may have his own personal objections to abortion, he has no interest in policing the lives of others. I, for what it’s worth, have no interest in policing the thoughts of others. Kaine doesn’t want to control my body and I don’t want to control his mind, so we’re all good there…

Look, anyone who has served as long and in as many ways as Tim Kaine is going to have taken positions you don’t agree with. I’m not saying the guy is perfect. But having watched a long time and gotten to see the man up close, I can tell you he is courageous, principled, and value driven. I can also tell you that this progressive who begged HRC not to run and drove 12 hours to be able to vote for Bernie would be delighted to see him on the Dem ticket.

And, lastly, the kind of liberal response that so annoys me from Nora Caplan-Bricker:

He’s also, at least in his personal views, opposed to abortion due to his Catholic faith—a symbolic kick in the teeth for the feminist organizations that faithfully championed Hillary over Bernie throughout the long primary season. “Is Clinton a progressive? Not if she chooses Tim Kaine,” Jodi Jacobson of the reproductive rights site Rewirewrote Thursday.

That’s not to say that Kaine is running to be a heartbeat from the presidency while nursing a secret plot to overturn Roe v. Wade. Like Vice President Joe Biden—another Catholic, personally anti-abortion Democrat—he’s said that he supports the Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to choose; also like Biden, Kaine has seemed to drift leftward on the issue of late. But his personal beliefs have sometimes seemed to influence his public policymaking, making his selection an optical, and perhaps actual, move toward the center for Hillary.

Among Kaine’s anti-abortion sins:

Two years later, Kaine incensed local and national women’s rights groups by signing a law that allowed the sale of “Choose Life” license plates whose proceeds went to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. “It is unfortunate that, even after receiving thousands of messages from Virginians and pro-choice activists across the country, Gov. Kaine has opted to sign a bill that advances a divisive political ideology at the expense of women’s health,” Nancy Keenan, then-president of NARAL, said at the time.

Well, there goes Roe v. Wade.  In fairness, there’s more:

In 2005, he ran for governor on promises to promote adoption, reduce abortion, and support the farce that is abstinence-only sex education. While in office, he backed a so-called partial birth abortion ban, which prohibits a certain method of mid- and late-term abortion, though he supported exceptions in cases where a woman’s health was endangered. He also supported a parental consent law that requires minors to get a parent’s signoff before obtaining an abortion—and though that law theoretically includes a “judicial bypass” option, teens are often prevented from using it by misinformation, as the HuffingtonPost has reported.

Is this a solidly, 100% pro-choice record?  Nope.  It is actually quite reflective of the real-world compromises even many pro-choice Americans are quite comfortable with?  Yes indeed.  Look, he’d clearly appoint judges who would uphold Roe and it also seems clear that he strongly supports Planned Parenthood and that he would not at all seek to initiate legislation limiting abortion in any meaningful way.  That sounds plenty pro-choice enough for me.  Oh, and lastly, the idea that deviating from the hard-line pro-choice view on the single issue of abortion automatically makes one “moderate” or “centrist” is simply misleading in my book.

 

Trump’s speech

Read lots of good stuff after Trump’s speech and I’ve been meaning to post my favorites.  I love Jamelle Bouie’s succinct take that Trump is basically a scam artist:

The point is not to give the public an accurate sense of its safety. The point is to paint a picture of disorder and violence, to scare Americans into flocking under Trump’s banner. And to that end, he has crafted a demagogic speech of lies, misrepresentations, and plain, unadulterated bullshit.

Consider this, another “fact” from Trump’s address: “Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.”

This is the first of Trump’s dubious assertions of immigrant crime. And it’s nonsense, a “fact” without provenance beyond the nativist and white supremacist websites that form the fetid swamps of the internet…

The whole speech was a trash heap of falsehoods. At one point, Trump claimed that Obama had almost doubled the national debt. It actually increased from $11.1 trillion to $19.2 trillion. He described an America of record unemployment and disadvantage. Even granting the decline in labor force participation, there are more Americans working now than at any point in the past 10 years, with two years of the strongest private sector job growth since the 1990s. He attacked the administration’s Iran deal for giving the nation “$150 billion” (false). He accused Obama and Hillary Clinton of opening the United States to “massive refugee flows” (false) and suggested there’s no screening of refugees (also false)…

Scam. This gets to the essential truth of Trump’s speech. The world as described by Trump doesn’t exist. The Trump as described by Trump doesn’t exist. As a businessman, Donald Trump’s career is defined by failure, fraud, and mismanagement. He has little knowledge of domestic and foreign affairs and shows little interest in the basic work of running a campaign, much less serving as president. Remove family members and employees from the mix, and there’s no one in Trump’s orbit—not ghostwriters, not business associates, not former contractors—who will attest to any of the qualities he claimed onstage tonight. The prototypical Trump story isn’t the success of some municipal project; it is theft: from small businesses, from ordinary investors, from desperate students. [emphases mine]

Ezra Klein’s take was, of course, spot-on and hits on many similar points, though with a different frame:

Donald Trump is not a candidate the American people would turn to in normal times. He’s too inexperienced, too eccentric, too volatile, too risky. Voting Trump is burning down the house to collect the insurance money — you don’t do it unless things are really, really bad.

Here is Trump’s problem: Things are not really, really bad. In fact, things are doing much better than when President Obama came into office…

So Trump needs to convince voters that things are bad, even if they’re not. He needs to make Americans afraid again. And tonight, he tried…

As Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for Obama, wrote on Twitter, this was Trump’s “Nightmare in America” speech. The address had one goal, and one goal only: to persuade Americans that their country is a dangerous, besieged hellscape, and only Donald Trump can fix it.

Here’s the part I really love:

Perhaps the night’s ugliest moment came when he spoke of Sarah Root, a college student killed by a drunk driver who was also an unauthorized immigrant. “I’ve met Sarah’s beautiful family,” Trump said. “But to this administration, their amazing daughter was just one more American life that wasn’t worth protecting. One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders.”

For the record, almost 10,000 people were killed in America by drunk drivers in 2010 — the overwhelming majority of them by American citizens. Trump had neither answers for nor interest in their deaths.

And it is when you tug on these threads that Trump’s speech unspools and its grossness, and uselessness, becomes clear.

And, finally, Yglesias on the intellectual barrenness of Trump’s “law and order” focus:

Donald Trump devoted all of one sentence to his solution for what he cited as the biggest problem facing the nation in his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination:

I will work with, and appoint, the best prosecutors and law enforcement officials in the country to get the job done.

 That’s it.

For a candidate who just delivered an entire high-profile speech on the supposedly sky-high crime rates in the US, he doesn’t seem to have very many ideas about fixing them…

On the economy and foreign policy, Trump at least has a handful of terrible ideas. On crime, he has none whatsoever. He sort of vaguely implies that Black Lives Matter protests are causing crime, but even if that’s true, Trump isn’t (I hope) going to eliminate the First Amendment, so he can’t stop people from criticizing the police if they want to…

Trump is too lazy to be president

Law and order is Trump’s signature theme. Crime is out of control. And here, again, is his plan in its entirety:

I will work with, and appoint, the best prosecutors and law enforcement officials in the country to get the job done.

An easy excuse for Trump would be to say that he doesn’t have anything more substantive to say because crime control is overwhelmingly a state and local matter in the United States. That’s true, but it’s also inadequate…

The reason Trump doesn’t have anything to say about any of this is that he’s too lazy to look into it and come up with anything. And that’s why even his one lame idea — hire the best people and work with them — can’t be counted on. The president really does have to do a lot of hiring of people and a lot of managing of the interagency and intergovernmental process, and, like a lot of presidential stuff, it can all get a little tedious.

Trump can’t be bothered. And it’s frightening. Much more frightening than anything happening recently with the crime rate.

 

Why you don’t really know your own mind

One of the things you learn in studying attitudes and public opinion is just how little most people understand what they believe.  Public opinion polls can be great with simple questions, “who will you vote for?” “do you approve of President Obama?” etc., but when we start asking questions like “why do you oppose Obamacare?” “why do you support Donald Trump?” “what should we do about the civil war in Syria?” the answers get pretty meaningless?  Why– because people are pretty horrible at really understanding what they believe.  This Alex Rosenberg essay in the NYT offers the most compelling explanation for why this is that I have yet seen.  Really fascinating stuff:

Introspection, “the mind’s eye,” assures us with the greatest confidence that it is the best, in some cases the only authority on how the mind works, because we all think it has direct, first person access to itself. We’re all very confident that we just know what’s going on in our own minds, from the inside, so to speak…

In fact, controlled experiments in cognitive science, neuroimaging and social psychology have repeatedly shown how wrong we can be about our real motivations, the justification of firmly held beliefs and the accuracy of our sensory equipment. This trend began even before the work of psychologists such as Benjamin Libet, who showed that the conscious feeling of willing an act actually occurs after the brain process that brings about the act — a result replicated and refined hundreds of times since his original discovery in the 1980s…

Despite these assurances from philosophy, empirical science has continued to build up an impressive body of evidence showing that introspection and consciousness are not reliable bases for self-knowledge. As sources of knowledge even about themselves, let alone anything else human, both are frequently and profoundly mistaken… [emphases mine]

After a certain point in the evolutionary past, organisms began needing to predict whether others posed threats in order to protect themselves, and later needed to coordinate to attain outcomes not achievable alone. This environment strongly selected for mind reading. Had variation in cognitive abilities not hit on this adaptation, puny creatures like us would never have survived in the face of savanna megafauna.

 Mind reading, even in our own hands, is a very imperfect tool: We have to go on others’ behavior (including verbal behavior). We can’t really tell with much precision exactly what others believe or want, because we can’t get inside their heads. So our predictions are often pretty vague and frequently false. Like other Darwinian adaptations, mind reading is an imperfect, “quick and dirty” solution to a “design problem.” It was just good enough that, equipped with this theory of mind, we managed to gradually climb to the top of the food chain. We were able to do so in large part because once mind reading was in place human language, which requires it, became possible…
Most important, there is compelling evidence that our own self-awareness is actually just this same mind reading ability, turned around and employed on our own mind, with all the fallibility, speculation, and lack of direct evidence that bedevils mind reading as a tool for guessing at the thought and behavior of others…
Of course we have a lot more sensory data — images and silent speech instead of visual experience and heard speech — to go on in trying to figure out our own desires and beliefs than what other people’s behavior reveals about what is going on in their minds. That’s part of what makes for the illusion that we know our own minds so much better. But the difference is only the amount of data, not its quality or source. We never have direct access to our thoughts. As Peter Carruthers first argued, self-consciousness is just mind reading turned inward.
Personally, I find this concept pretty mind-blowing.  This is definitely going to impact how I think about my own mind and what I think I know.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Evolution is happening faster than we thought.

2) Kristof asks, “is Trump a racist?”  Yeah, not a hard question.  And there’s way more to this than just his campaign statements:

My view is that “racist” can be a loaded word, a conversation stopper more than a clarifier, and that we should be careful not to use it simply as an epithet. Moreover, Muslims and Latinos can be of any race, so some of those statements technically reflect not so much racism as bigotry. It’s also true that with any single statement, it is possible that Trump misspoke or was misconstrued.

And yet.

Here we have a man who for more than four decades has been repeatedly associated with racial discrimination or bigoted comments about minorities, some of them made on television for all to see. While any one episode may be ambiguous, what emerges over more than four decades is a narrative arc, a consistent pattern — and I don’t see what else to call it but racism.

3) Jeffrey Goldberg on the Republican cowards who could have done something to stop Trump, but didn’t.

4) How humans have actually co-evolved with the bacteria in our gut.

5) Yes, high-quality pre-K is awesome.  Too much pre-K, though, is kids standing in line and transitioning all day long.  That needs to change.

6) Robert Frank on the value of finding a job you love (I heartily agree).  I’m reading Frank’s Success and Luck right now and it’s quite good.

There is, of course, no guarantee that you’ll become the best at what you choose to do, or that even if you do you’ll find practical ways to extend your reach enough to earn a big paycheck. But by choosing to concentrate on a task you love, you’ll enjoy the considerable proportion of your life that you spend at work, which is much more than billions of others can say.

Again, you’ll have bills to pay, so salary matters. But social science findings establish clearly that once you have met your basic obligations, it’s possible to live a very satisfying life even if you don’t earn a lot of money.

The bottom line: Resist the soul-crushing job’s promise of extra money and savor the more satisfying conditions you’ll find in one that pays a little less.

7) Katy Chatel writes about how she is raising her child “outside gender assumptions and stereotypes.”  Well, yes, there’s something to that, but somehow pretending that gender in our society doesn’t exist makes for a complicated childhood.  How nice for her to make a political statement with her child’s life.

8) Derek Thompson on how the political vocabularies of Democrats and Republicans have diverged.

9) A nice Op-Ed on Colorado’s successful battle against teen pregnancy.  LARC’s for teens, damn it!  Seriously, you want one single policy change that will dramatically reduce teen pregnancy, poverty, and abortion (hey, bipartisan!) this is it.  This so needs to expand everywhere.

10) Former Reagan adviser, Bruce Bartlett, on how the GOP has become the party of hate.

11) Jeffrey Goldberg on how Trump is doing all he can to help Putin.  Seriously:

The Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has chosen this week to unmask himself as a de facto agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, [emphases mine] a KGB-trained dictator who seeks to rebuild the Soviet empire by undermining the free nations of Europe, marginalizing NATO, and ending America’s reign as the world’s sole superpower.

I am not suggesting that Donald Trump is employed by Putin—though his campaign manager, Paul Manafort,was for many years on the payroll of the Putin-backed former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. I am arguing that Trump’s understanding of America’s role in the world aligns with Russia’s geostrategic interests; that his critique of American democracy is in accord with the Kremlin’s critique of American democracy; and that he shares numerous ideological and dispositional proclivities with Putin—for one thing, an obsession with the sort of “strength” often associated with dictators. Trump is making it clear that, as president, he would allow Russia to advance its hegemonic interests across Europe and the Middle East. His election would immediately trigger a wave of global instability—much worse than anything we are seeing today—because America’s allies understand that Trump would likely dismantle the post-World War II U.S.-created international order. Many of these countries, feeling abandoned, would likely pursue nuclear weapons programs on their own, leading to a nightmare of proliferation.

12) New research finds that those who read Harry Potter (not just watching the movies) are less supportive of Trump.  Presumably, readers are making some Trump-Voldemort connections or learning the values of tolerance that Trump disdains.  After a quick look at the study, I think it reasonably likely they are missing a confound that has nothing to do with HP books in particular, but the types of person who reads HP books.  I’d feel far more confident in these results if there were any other questions on reading habits (fiction reading, YA fiction reading, etc.).

13) New research suggests no benefit of redshirting kids for kindergarten.

14) Great, great post from Ezra Klein laying out all the reasons Donald Trump makes him genuinely (and, appropriately) afraid.  A good one to bookmark.  If my dad starts leaning Trump under the influence of my not-wicked, but very conservative, stepmother, this is what I’m pulling out.  (For now, my dad– a genuine independent– sees Trump for the bully and blowhard he is).

15) Really enjoyed When Breath Becomes Air.  Not exactly light beach-reading for last week, though.  So sad.

16) Mann and Ornstein with a must-read on how Donald Trump is absolutely the culmination of the GOP’s increasingly radical, anti-government philosophy.

Quick hits

Decided I didn’t want to spend the last day at the beach working on quick hits for Saturday, so, here you go with an evening edition instead.  Lots of good stuff.

1) Reviews of two books that take dramatically differing views of America’s police.  Of course, one is far more grounded in reality.

2) The Prosperity Gospel is such a disgusting perversion of Christianity.  Donald Trump is a disgusting perversion of American politics.  Naturally, they are a great fit.

3) Sure, politicians are not typically known for their honesty, but, not surprisingly, Donald Trump’s mendaciousness is clearly in a class by itself.

4) Bill Ayers on why he hates electoral politics:

For now, what bothers me so much about the whole mess is the extent to which elections have become an exercise in emotion-driven identity politics. This is true for nearly all people and across pretty much all issues. We want very much to think that elections, and politics in general, are about ideas, about figuring out what’s best for the country. But very little that has been said over the past year, and nothing that will be said from here on forward, is really about any of that.

What we’re really engaged in is a collective effort at ego protection, wishful thinking, and massive cognitive distortion brought about by emotion-driven biases. [emphasis mine]

5) I was shocked, shocked(!) to learn that Donald Trump doesn’t much believe in reading.

6) In other shocking news, GOP Congressional interns are really, really white.

7) Trump’s Art of the Deal ghostwriter thinks he’s a sociopath who would start a nuclear war.

8) I listened to Trump’s recent 60 Minutes interview.  The part about ISIS was truly, truly pathetic, as Drum points out:

This is pathetic. Trump acts like he’s back in the Celebrity Apprentice boardroom playacting a tough guy for the cameras. He declares that he will get “unbelievable intelligence”; he will “get rid of ISIS big league”; and he will “wipe them out.” But when Lesley Stahl repeatedly asks him about ground troops, he repeatedly says this isn’t in the cards. Maybe NATO will do it. Maybe other Arab countries will do it. Maybe troops will magically appear from a genie’s bottle. Even though Trump claims that we’re at war and President Obama is too weak and stupid to get it, in the end he basically endorses what Obama is doing right now. Like all the other armchair generals, he doesn’t have the backbone to risk taking an unpopular stand, even if it’s the only thing that would actually make a significant difference.

And when he’s done with this empty blather, what does Mike Pence say? “This is the kind of leadership America needs.” Heaven help us.

9) Drum also calls out Lesley Stahl for enabling Trump’s serial lying.

10) Slate with a list of (only) 141 reasons Trump is unfit to be president.

11) David Pogue is right.  We should be so done with passwords.  The technology is certainly there.

12) Can’t say I’m all that surprised to learn that the whole customized helmet to unflatten you child’s head (of course, I’m on record as being skeptical of the whole backsleeping thing anyway) is not medically necessary but largely being pushed by the customized helmet industry.

13) Sharp satire on Republicans coming out against Trump.

14) Nice Vox feature on how Trump won the primaries.  I like how it points out the number of truly lucky breaks that Trump got along the way in terms of where and when his opponents won and lost (e.g., I really do think thinks could have turned out different if not for Marcobot in NH).

15) Great New Yorker profile of America’s best jailhouse lawyer.  Mostly, it made me so sad and depressed at how institutionally corrupt our criminal justice system is.  And makes me think there’s probably tens of thousands of innocent people in prison.

16) Loved Brooks on Trump’s Pence announcement:

If you had to do a rough diagram of the Trump remarks it would be something like this: Pence … I was right about Iraq … Pence … Hillary Clinton is a crooked liar … I was right about “Brexit” … Pence … Hillary Clintons ads are filled with lies … We’re going to bring back the coal industry … Christians love me … Pence … I talk to statisticians … Pence is good looking My hotel in Washington is really coming along fantastically … Pence.

Donald Trump is in his moment of greatest triumph, but he seems more resentful and embattled than ever. Most political conventions are happy coronations, but this one may come to feel like the Alamo of aggrieved counterattacks.

17) It’s not nothing at all that Coach K has called North Carolina’s HB2 “embarrassing.”  K is a long-time, staunch Republican.

18) The psychology of why Americans are afraid of low crime levels.

19) Hans Noel argues that more contested conventions would be a good thing– and certainly help us avoid more Trumps.

20) They say a picture is worth 1000 words.  Love this tweet.

21) This USA Today is really harsh on HBO’s new Vice Principals.  And, you know what?  Strikes me as deserved.  I loved “Eastbound and Down,” but found the first episode of this new show simply unpleasant to watch.

22) That’s okay.  More time for me to watch season 3 of Bojack Horseman, which is getting rave reviews.

23) Love this from Will Saletan.  The headline captures it well, “Mike Pence’s New God:
The Christian conservative was supposed to bring morality to Trump’s campaign. Instead he caved to Trump.”

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