Every Iowa Republican official supports Trump

I’ve said various mean things about Donald Trump on this blog, and you might think I’m painting his party with too broad a brush, saying the Republican Party totally backs him and no Republican can claim to be free of the stink.  You would be mistaken to think that.

Why is this so important to what Iowa Republican leaders decide to do next? Because you are nationally recognized as the staunchest group of Republican defenders of Donald Trump in the entire country. There were no major holdouts from Iowa elected officials, Terry Branstad’s son is running Trump’s state operation, Joni Ernst embraced him as her headline speaker at her Roast and Ride and Chuck Grassley is holding open a Supreme Court seat just for him. The Republican Party of Iowa is the Trump Party of Iowa, now and forever, if you do not move to immediately denounce Trump and withdraw your support. (And, yes, you should have done this for any number of his previous comments, but hey, here we are.)

His denials don’t pass the giggle test

The Trump campaign says this proves he’s innocent.

The “evidence” concerned the charge of Jessica Leeds that Trump had groped her – putting his hand up her skirt –  on a flight from Dallas to New York in 1980. Trump has denied even knowing her. The Trump campaign put forward an Englishman named Anthony Gilberthorpe, now 54, to say that he was on the same flight, sitting nearby, saw the whole transaction, remembers it with “photographic memory,” and observed Leeds flirting with Trump rather than Trump assaulting Leeds. Pretty convincing, right?

Yes, but.

  • If Gilberthorpe is now 54, he must have been 18 in 1980. I suppose it’s possible that an English eighteen-year-old was flying first class from Dallas to New York, but it’s not especially plausible, and he doesn’t seem to have provided any explanation.
  • Trump flatly denied that he’d ever met Leeds. So if Gilberthorpe is telling the truth, Trump isn’t. He also contradicts the narrative of Trump surrogates that the incident couldn’t have happened because Trump is and always has been too precious to fly commercial.

So he either thinks you don’t care whether he sexually assaulted a woman, or he thinks you’re too stupid to see through his lies.

 

Trump vows to abuse power to throw Clinton in jail

The President of the United States can’t throw his political opponents in jail.  A threat to do so is an affront to the Constitution.  And yet we now have the spectacle of the Republican nominee pushing for throwing Hillary Clinton in jail, and her attorneys too.  It wasn’t a “debate quip,” it’s become a central part of his campaign, repeated in his stump speech and on social media over and over.

“It’s a chilling thought,” said Michael Chertoff, a former federal appeals court judge who also served as the secretary of Homeland Security and head of the Justice Department’s criminal division in the George W. Bush administration. Mr. Chertoff, who has announced that he will vote for Mrs. Clinton, added, “It smacks of what we read about tin-pot dictators in other parts of the world, where when they win an election their first move is to imprison opponents.”

Let’s hear from the Iowa Republican Party on this.  Where do they stand on the whole dictatorship thing?  You can guess the answer.  If you’re voting Republican, campaigning as a Republican, refusing to denounce the Republican Party all the way up and down the ballot, history will record that you were willing to let a fascist take the Presidency.

Republicans are shocked, shocked

 

A solid majority of Republican officials, including all Republican leaders in Congress, still back Donald Trump.  But dozens of Republicans are trying to publicly distance themselves from their nominee by withdrawing various endorsements.  Why now?

Anyone who bails or rushes to condemn him now implicitly accepted everything that’s come before — his saying Mexicans are rapists, that Megyn Kelly must have been menstruating when she aggressively questioned him at an early primary debate, that Muslims should be banned, that he didn’t know enough about David Duke to condemn the former Ku Klux Klan wizard, that women should be punished for having abortions, all while welcoming the support of Nazis and white nationalists, mocking a reporter for his disabled arm, insisting a judge with Latino heritage couldn’t rule fairly against him, smearing Khizr and Ghazala Khan, suggesting Hillary Clinton be shot, keeping up his birtherism softshoe and encouraging Russian hackers to go after his opponent’s files.

Every candidate running on a Republican ballot line knows who they nominated, and they loved him until now.  Suddenly they’re shocked, shocked, to discover their guy is a creep.  Be honest now:  is anyone, of any party, surprised by this latest atrocity?

How not to apologize

By now you know that Donald Trump was, as recently as 10 years ago, bragging about sexually assaulting women.  The outrage has been so intense that Trump has taken the unusual step of admitting he could improve.

Trump does say the words “I was wrong, I apologize.”  That’s the beginning and the end of the apology, in a statement 247 words long.

  • He emphasizes that the video is more than 10 years old—not a strong argument coming from a 70 year old man, especially when
  • He again brings up Bill Clinton’s infidelity from 30 years ago,
  • As if Hillary were responsible for her husband’s bad behavior.
  • He says the video is a distraction from the important issues, which means…what?  That treating women like meat isn’t important?  That women aren’t important?  Or is it just the obvious:  please stop paying attention to my sins, and concentrate on those of others?
  • He claims “These words don’t reflect who I am.”  Literally all the evidence points in the opposite direction.  Wasn’t he fat-shaming a woman just days ago?

All the media are calling it an apology, but with Trump, they’re grading on a generous curve.  Virtually the whole statement was the opposite of an apology.

Veterans with PTSD are not weak, Mister Trump

This morning the Republican standard bearer, Donald Trump, spoke on veterans issues.  It did not go well.

When asked how he would approach mental health issues such as PTSD and if he would support spiritual counseling for veterans affected by them, Trump implied that veterans who are “strong” don’t suffer from such afflictions.

“When you talk about the mental health problems,” he said, “when people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in the room have seen many times over and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it.”

This, from a candidate who avoided military service during the Vietnam War, who claims to respect veterans, as long as they didn’t get captured, who wants to privatize the Veterans Administration, who got caught lying about giving to veterans’ charities.  Is this a political party that can get your vote?

Republicans fail at governing, again

After passing a bill they were warned would create problems, and overriding the President’s veto of the bill, Republican leaders are now saying that they made a mistake.  You’ll never guess who is to blame.

Republicans said Thursday the White House should have done more to alert them earlier in the process of the bill’s possible consequences.

“That was a good example, it seems to me, of failure to communicate early about the potential consequences of a piece of legislation that was obviously very popular,” Mr. McConnell said Thursday.

Of course they were warned months ago, in writing, that it was a bad bill.  What’s shocking is not that they would ignore good advice.  I could respect them deciding they were right and the President was wrong, and sticking to their guns.  But no, they’re saying (a) the President was right all along, and (b) it is the President’s fault that they didn’t know what they were doing.  This is not how you talk if you’re a political party that knows how to run a government.

Republicans versus the Constitution

Conservatives like to declare their love the the Constitution, but it’s more of an abusive-boyfriend kind of love.  Republicans have nominated a Presidential candidate, with overwhelming support, that would be a one-man constitutional crisis, according to Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director.

Trump’s mass deportation scheme would mean arresting more than 15,000 people a day on immigration charges, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  From a civil liberties standpoint, there is no conceivable mechanism to accomplish the roundup that Trump has promised while respecting basic constitutional rights….

Trump’s plan would undoubtedly violate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition “against unreasonable searches and seizures.” [It would rely on tactics] like suspicionless interrogations and arrests, unjustified traffic stops, warrantless searches of workplaces and homes, and door-to-door raids of immigrant neighborhoods….

If Trump were to try and make good on his promise to speedily deport more than 11 million people, he could only do so by trampling on the Fifth Amendment’s due process protections….There is no way around it: Donald Trump’s deportation policy would be an unconstitutional apparatus of human misery, which would effectively turn large areas around the Southwest border into a police state….

Trump’s message couldn’t be any clearer: Immigrants and their American-born descendants, particularly Muslims, aren’t really Americans. Worse, they’re a potential fifth column subverting the nation from within. In a nation of immigrants, this sentiment is as un-American as it gets….

By singling out Muslims, his entry ban would violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment by explicitly disapproving of one religion and implicitly favoring other faiths….

Trump’s Muslim ban could also run afoul of international law, such as the Refugee Convention and the Convention Against Torture, by refusing asylum to people fleeing persecution and violence….

If a President Trump acted unilaterally — or somehow convinced Congress — to implement a surveillance program explicitly targeting Muslims because of their faith, he would face an impossible task of defending such a policy as constitutional in court….

The Supreme Court has warned that “a law targeting religious beliefs as such is never permissible.” This apparently doesn’t give Trump pause when he calls for unmerited law enforcement attention devoted to American Muslim communities across the country….

He has also said he would authorize torture in a manner that would comply with controlling “laws and treaties.” And if that doesn’t work — and it couldn’t — a President Trump would seek to change the laws to permit torture….That torturing people again is even on the agenda is nothing short of an abomination….

The international legal prohibition of the practice was enshrined in domestic law when the United States signed and ratified the Convention Against Torture decades ago. When President Ronald Reagan sent the convention to the Senate, he wrote that the Senate’s consent to ratify would “demonstrate unequivocally our desire to bring an end to the abhorrent practice of torture.”

During a February campaign stop in Texas, Trump had news for The New York Times and The Washington Post: If he wins the presidency, the Times and the Post will “have problems….”

Despite his lack of legal authority to “open up our libel laws,” a President Trump would almost certainly limit the individual rights enshrined in the First Amendment. Regularly on the campaign trail, he has shown contempt not only for free speech but also the freedom of the press and the right to protest….

Trump’s rhetoric and aggressive policing of his events also call into question how a Trump administration would respond to nonviolent protest. There have been at least 20 incidents of violence at Trump events since last October….

[I]t is important to remember those dark times when the U.S. government — often with public support — conspired against the nation’s most cherished ideals of liberty and equality for all. Among the more unsavory chapters of U.S. history are the Alien and Sedition Acts, Japanese-American imprisonment during World War II, and the long dark night of Jim Crow. Many Americans today rightfully look back at these injustices with horror and shame.

Under a Trump presidency, whole categories of people — Latinos and Hispanics, American Muslims, and reporters and vocal critics of Trump — could potentially be deprived of their constitutional rights because of their immigration status, their religion, their political beliefs, or their livelihoods. This is to say nothing of millions of women who might face prosecution for seeking an abortion if Trump once again changes his mind on this issue.

 

Republicans won’t let an anti-bullying bill pass

Iowa House Republicans have blocked anti-bulling legislation for the past six years.  It is overwhelmingly supported by Iowans, even by Governor Branstad, and has overwhelmingly passed the Iowa Senate.

In the 2015 session, Republicans objected that parents wouldn’t always be notified if a student was bullied.  Who could disagree?  Well, the bill required parental notification, but allowed school officials to make an exception if they believe the child would be abused or threatened at home as a result.  Such as, for example, if the child is being bullied for being gay, and the parents might join in the bullying.  Republicans are apparently OK with that.  Certainly Matt Windschitl is OK with bullying gay kids, he wanted to exclude gay kids from the protections enjoyed by straight kids.