Saturday, July 30, 2016

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks)

Click here for an article at How-to Geek entitled "How to Choose the Best VPN Service for Your Needs." It gives a fairly thorough explanation of VPNs, and gives three recommendations -- StrongVPN, SurfEasy, and Tunnel Bear.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ezra Klein On Trump

Click here for an article by Ezra Klein at Vox entitled "Donald Trump’s nomination is the first time American politics has left me truly afraid." This is the best, most comprehensive takedown of Trump I've read recently (no doubt there'll be lots more as the election approaches).

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Longtime Republican Activist Quits The Party

I've cut-and-pasted this directly from a Digby article at Hullabaloo. She links an article she's written for Salon entitled "The beginning of the end: Trump's nomination signals the collapse of an ideological movement and a political party": click here. (The subheading of the article: "Trump's disturbing speech showed exactly why American conservatism is in its death knell.")
Yesterday I resigned my position in the York Township Republican Committeemen’s Organization. Below is the letter I sent to the chairman explaining my decision.


Chairman Cuzzone:

We come together in political parties to magnify our influence. An organized representative institution can give weight to our will in ways we could not accomplish on our own. Working with others gives us power, but at the cost of constant, calculated compromise. No two people will agree on everything. There is no moral purity in politics.

If compromise is the key to healthy politics, how does one respond when compromise descends into complicity? To preserve a sense of our personal moral accountability we must each define boundaries. For those boundaries to have meaning we must have the courage to protect them, even when the cost is high.

Almost thirty years ago as a teenager in Texas, I attended my first county Republican convention. As a college student I met a young Rick Perry, fresh from his conversion to the GOP, as he was launching his first campaign for statewide office. Through Associated Republicans of Texas I contributed and volunteered for business-friendly Republican state and local candidates.

Here in DuPage County I’ve been a precinct committeeman since 2006. Door to door I’ve canvased my precinct in support of our candidates. Trudging through snow, using a drill to break the frozen ground, I posted signs for candidates on whom I pinned my hopes for better government. Among Illinois Republicans I found an organization that seemed to embody my hopes for the party nationally. Pragmatic, sensible, and focused on solid government, it seemed like a GOP Jurassic Park, where the sensible, reliable Republicans of old still roamed the landscape.

At the national level, the delusions necessary to sustain our Cold War coalition were becoming dangerous long before Donald Trump arrived. From tax policy to climate change, we have found ourselves less at odds with philosophical rivals than with the fundamentals of math, science and objective reality.

The Iraq War, the financial meltdown, the utter failure of supply-side theory, climate denial, and our strange pursuit of theocratic legislation have all been troubling. Yet it seemed that America’s party of commerce, trade, and pragmatism might still have time to sober up. Remaining engaged in the party implied a contribution to that renaissance, an investment in hope. Donald Trump has put an end to that hope.

From his fairy-tale wall to his schoolyard bullying and his flirtation with violent racists, Donald Trump offers America a singular narrative – a tale of cowards. Fearful people, convinced of our inadequacy, trembling before a world alight with imaginary threats, crave a demagogue. Neither party has ever elevated to this level a more toxic figure, one that calls forth the darkest elements of our national character.

With three decades invested in the Republican Party, there is a powerful temptation to shrug and soldier on. Despite the bold rhetoric, we all know Trump will lose. Why throw away a great personal investment over one bad nominee? Trump is not merely a poor candidate, but an indictment of our character. Preserving a party is not a morally defensible goal if that party has lost its legitimacy.

Watching Ronald Reagan as a boy, I recall how bold it was for him to declare ‘morning again’ in America. In a country menaced by Communism and burdened by a struggling economy, the audacity of Reagan’s optimism inspired a generation.

Fast-forward to our present leadership and the nature of our dilemma is clear. I watched Paul Ryan speak at Donald Trump’s convention the way a young child watches his father march off to prison. Thousands of Republican figures that loathe Donald Trump, understand the danger he represents, and privately hope he loses, are publicly declaring their support for him. In Illinois our local and state GOP organizations, faced with a choice, have decided on complicity.

Our leaders’ compromise preserves their personal capital at our collective cost. Their refusal to dissent robs all Republicans of moral cover. Evasion and cowardice has prevailed over conscience. We are now, and shall indefinitely remain, the Party of Donald Trump.

I will not contribute my name, my work, or my character to an utterly indefensible cause. No sensible adult demands moral purity from a political party, but conscience is meaningless without constraints. A party willing to lend its collective capital to Donald Trump has entered a compromise beyond any credible threshold of legitimacy. There is no redemption in being one of the “good Nazis.”

I hereby resign my position as a York Township Republican committeeman. My thirty-year tenure as a Republican is over.


Chris Ladd

Gary Kasparov On Trump's Convention Speech

Gary Kasparov, who has been a prominent Russian dissident for many years, now self-exiled because he fears if he returned to Russia he would never be allowed to leave, tweeted the following:
I’ve heard this sort of speech a lot in the last 15 years and trust me, it doesn’t sound any better in Russian.

Bill Clinton Feels Your Pain

Watch this clip of the Big Dog making an effective emotional connection with a questioner at one of the Bush/Clinton debates in 1992.

Fareed Zakaria At CNN Rebuts Trump's Convention Tirade

This video clip is 4.5 minutes long.
  Ann Coulter (racist? Heaven forfend!) tweeted in response:
I like hearing CNN's Fareed Zakaria ask in a thick Indian accent, "What kind of America do we want to return to?"
Zakaria is a native of India. He became a naturalized American citizen in 2001. He has a bachelor's degree from Yale and a Ph.D. from Harvard.

Coulter later followed up with this gem:
Now, Australian Danielle Pletka says Trump sounds like a national leader "OF RUSSIA." Pro Tip: Try to get Americans tell us what's American.
Pletka too is a naturalized American citizen (since 1992).

Jon Stewart On Colbert, Post Republican Convention

this is a 13.5-minute clip of Jon Stewart on Colbert's show just after Trump's windup of the Republican convention. On his radio show, Sean Hannity (or Lumpy, as Stewart calls him) retorted with what Eric Sullivan at Crooks & Liars called "potty mouth":
He first said, grossly, that "that idiot Jon Stewart" had his "head so far up Obama's ass" and now has his head up Clinton's too. He continued:

"I know you're a rich liberal. Are you donating money to those families, the 46 million American families on food stamps, Jon? Hey, Jon, are you helping out the 50 million Americans in poverty? Hey, Jon, are you going to help use your wealth from all your comedy writers that lay out the material for you, are you going to help pay down the debt that Obama's accumulated?"
Sullivan adds:
Mind you, this is a show Hannity generally tapes from the confines of his mansion in Centre Island, one of the most exclusive and expensive towns in New York. And who knows, maybe he spends moments off-air helping those on food stamps, tackling the issue of poverty in a solutions-focused way, and assisting with national-debt reduction. But the mountains of misinformation he's spread throughout his career has done far more damage than he'd ever be able to make up for.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Thirst For Blood At The Republican Convention

A video clip of Trump supporters who believe Hillary Clinton should be executed for treason.
A video clip of Trump voters who believe Hillary Clinton should be executed for treason.

Chris Christie's Lies Attacking Clinton

Click here for an article in Slate by Fred Kaplan entitled "Let's Count the Lies in Christie's Attack on Clinton." You'll have to scroll down; I couldn't isolate that particular article.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Chilcot Inquiry And Tony Blair

Click here for an article entitled "The war in Iraq was not a blunder or a mistake. It was a crime." by Owen Jones in The Guardian.