Archive for the ‘California Politics’ Category

Trump the Isolationist is Really an Imperlialist

Monday, September 12th, 2016

ObamaSamIn deciding who they want for president, American voters are looking for two things in one person: a hard head and a soft heart.

This is the formulation coined years ago by Ralph Whitehead of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, describing voters’ yearning for a chief executive and commander in chief who is tough on economic and security issues but compassionate on social and cultural issues.

Voters don’t want someone with a hard head and a hard heart. Or a person with a soft head and a soft heart. Or someone with a soft head and a hard heart.

CLEVELAND, USA - JULY 21: Donald Trump accepts the Republican nomination for President at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, USA on July 21, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)Narcissists Need Not Apply: In a nutshell, this defines the divide between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. She actually has proven that she has a hard head (resilient) and soft heart. He has a demonstrated record as a man with a soft head and hard (cold-blooded) heart, who pretends just the opposite.

When measuring the Commander in Chief dimension of the presidency, most people gravitate toward the candidate who seems more hard headed. That doesn’t mean most extreme. Voters have rejected extremism at least since 1964, when Barry Goldwater extolled its virtue in the pursuit of freedom.

As a prime example of a man with narcissistic personality disorder (as Calbuzz was first to report in May of 2015) Trump can sound like he’s hard headed with great ease, but because he has no empathy for other human beings, he fails even to sound like he has a soft heart.

Moreover, when he ventures into the military dimensions of hard-headedness, he often comes at it with such ignorance combined with certainty, that his stances are often absurd.

lauerwclintonMatt Lauer Fail: Last week’s MSNBC’s Commander in Chief Forum, absurdly and incompentently hosted by the Today Show’s Matt Lauer, offered up a new doubling-down on one of Trump’s absurdist military hard lines. (Picking Lauer to host the interviews further demonstrated that the MSM refuses to learn from its mistakes: He had demonstrated his inappropriate and ignorant talents in the 2010 governor’s debate between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman, but we digress.)

Trump glibly not only stood by his assertion that he knows more than the generals about ISIS, but said the generals, under Barack Obama, “have been reduced to rubble.” He argued that his plan to defeat ISIS has to remain a secret so that he won’t tip off the bad guys. Oy.

And he insisted, despite actual evidence, that he always opposed the invasion of Iraq. [The facts on this are simple:  Trump told Howard Stern he would support invading Iraq on Sept. 11, 2002 -- before and during debate in Congress which approved Bush's war authority on Oct. 16, 2002.] Instead, Trump told Lauer, “I’ve always said, shouldn’t be there but if we’re gonna get out, take the oil. If we would have taken the oil you wouldn’t have ISIS because ISIS formed with the power and the wealth of that oil.”

usimperialismTrumpism, the Lowest Order of Imperialism: “How are we going to take the oil?” Lauer asked.

“You would leave a certain group behind and you would take various sections where they have the oil,” Trump said. “People don’t know that about Iraq but they have among the largest oil reserves in the entire world. And we’re the only ones, we go in, we spend $3 trillion, we lose thousands and thousands of lives, and then, Matt, what happens is we get nothing. You know it used to be that to the victors belong the spoils. There was no victor there, believe me. There was no victor, But I always said take the oil.”

This is as brazen a statement of U.S. imperialism as we’ve heard since the notion was last openly floated in the 1950s, when President Dwight Eisenhower argued that the U.S. had a national interest in securing the natural resources – tin, rubber, oil, etc. – of Indochina, which gave us cause to intervene in Vietnam.

Even the neocons have argued, not for U.S. expropriation of Middle East oil, but for ensuring that oil flows to regional allies that possess it who will then sell it to us and not the Russians or Chinese. Few on the far right continue to suggest that only U.S. oil companies should have total control over Mideast oil.

troopsHow Many Troops, Donald? But did Lauer pick up of what Trump had just suggested? Of course not. He didn’t note that Trump had just suggested using American troops to seize and hold Iraq’s most important natural asset. He didn’t respond with incredulity: “How many troops are you will to commit to the capture and holding of Iraqi oil fields? 10,000; 20,000; 200,000? How many would it take and how long would the mission be?”

Neither did he note that this sounds like advocacy for outright American occupation of a foreign country. Nor did he then ask Trump how he justifies stealing appropriating another country’s natural resources?

The point was not lost of Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe and Iraq war commander, who later told Anderson Cooper:

“[Trump’s plan] implies the American military is a mercenary force … It is not the American way of war to go and occupy a land, steal its resources, rape its women and do the kinds of things that Mr. Trump is saying. It is a simplistic approach that is appealing to a certain percentage of Americans.”

Now we don’t know that Trump is advocating raping Iraqi women in oil-rich areas, but Hertling’s point is well taken. And while the Indian Wars, the Mexican-American War and many others suggest that the U.S. military was, for more decades than not, a tool for U.S. imperial interests, we have, as a society, in modern times, rejected the notion that the U.S. has a right to appropriate other country’s resources by brute force.

In fact, our claim to American exceptionalism rests in part on the notion that we believe in and will support national self-determination of peoples and nations throughout the world. We self-righteously oppose countries that invade and occupy or control other sovereign nations.

putintrumpThe Donald and Vlad show: Roger Simon tweeted out a lovely summation of  Trump’s twisted narcissistic world view in which praise from Vladimir Putin is a good thing.

So it makes sense that Trump longs for the day when “to the victors go the spoils” – an argument with which Joseph Stalin surely agreed, following the Allied victory in Europe in 1945.

If Trump truly believes that “to the victors go the spoils,” he will surely urge his party pals in the U.S. Senate to rubber-stamp Hillary Clinton’s appointments in 2017 to her cabinet and to the United States Supreme Court. That’ll be refreshing.

Op Ed: How the CA Nurses are Failing All Labor

Monday, September 5th, 2016

canursesforbernieBy Steve Maviglio
Special to Calbuzz

Bernie Sanders announced recently that he would launch a nationwide effort to help elect Hillary Clinton to the presidency, promising to fill up stadiums in key swing states. He’s headed to New Hampshire for Labor Day rallies and seemingly is pulling out all the stops to help the Clinton campaign.

Good for him. And it seems to be convincing his supporters to do the same: A Pew poll finds that more than 90 percent of his supporters are solidly behind Hillary Clinton.

Nearly all of his major supporters have gotten the message, except for one lone standout: the California Nurses Association and its affiliate, National Nurses United.

goregrimaceHands that Elected Bush For unexplainable reasons, the union’s leadership is still sitting on its hands. Or as Politico headlined its story on the union’s refusal to join the labor effort to put Clinton in the White House: “ODD UNION OUT.”

None of this should come as a surprise: this is the same union leadership that endorsed Ralph Nader rather than Al Gore in 2000.  We know how that election turned out.

At the time, well-respected Assemblywoman Helen Thompson of Davis, a registered nurse herself, called that move a “political and tactical mistake.” And when the Florida results were tabulated, that proved to be true, with Gore narrowly losing. And, something the union still fails to admit, along with it were lost the chances of improved health care for millions of Americans.

Yet that lesson seems like one the union may soon repeat. And the antics of the union — once held in high esteem for its publicity stunts that used to attract widespread media attention — are beginning to come into question from within the media and the labor movement itself.

DNCprotestersConvention hecklers Last week, Buzzfeed’s Cora Lewis wrote extensively about “the one lonely union that still isn’t on Team Clinton.” She noted the “radical” union’s behavior at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia where “representatives from NNU booed, heckled, and held up signs reading “Oligarch” to express dissent for the party’s nomination of Clinton.”

(Having personally sat as a delegate, in front of several members of the union’s leadership, I can attest to these antics, including disrespectfully booing First Lady Michelle Obama and even President Obama).

demorroandbernieMs Bomb Thrower Reported Lewis: “Not everyone within organized labor appreciated NNU’s tactics. One high-ranking public union official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said some within unions saw (CNA Executive Director RoseAnn) DeMoro as a ‘bomb thrower, not a bridge builder.’”

Lewis also noted that “The nurses’ stance sets them apart from their union colleagues — and far from the Working Families Party, a longtime bastion of Sanders support.” The Working Families Party voted to endorse Clinton after more than two-thirds of its members voted in support of that move.

The Communications Workers of America and the American Postal Workers Union, also backers of Sanders, also have endorsed Clinton. As has the Amalgamated Transit Union, considered by many as the most liberal union in America, which added its support last week.

Earlier in the year, major unions like SEIU, AFSCME, NEA went big and early for Hillary Clinton. They deployed active field campaigns in key battleground states.

cnaberniebusBussing Bernie’s backside  Not CNA. It deployed souped-up a “Bernie Bus” that traveled around the nation, burning through more than $5 million of union members’ money, funded by an independent expenditure committee, for which Sanders received heavy criticism. The bus’s main feature appears to have been for its members to take selfies with, and the union’s website still features a “Bernie Store” where you can order a “Bernie Sanders Head Tattoo” for 15 cents.

Even in the union’s home bastion of California and neighboring Nevada, the effort did little to help Sanders, who lost both states to Clinton.

Worse, the SuperPAC-ish effort sometimes left the Sanders campaign uncomfortable; and whenever Sanders tried to beat up Clinton for her SuperPAC support, the media pointed to CNA’s effort backing Sanders, undermining Sanders’ message.

This $5 million failure follows several other expensive political and media flops by the union.

chevronCNA double standard In late May, Sacramento Bee editorial board editor Dan Morain wrote a column about the union, questioning its commitment to progressive politics after it made contributions to a tobacco and oil industry-controlled political action committee. He pointed out that the candidate benefiting from the PAC’s contribution had voted against “one of the most important health care bills to come before the Legislature in years, one to require public school kids to get vaccinated.”

That candidate, known as “Chevron Cheryl” also is a backer of fracking. Yet union leader RoseAnn DeMoro says one of the leading reasons she didn’t support Hillary Clinton was because of her fracking stance. Go figure.

In late 2014, the union tried to take political advantage of the Ebola scare. At a press conference outside the governor’s office calling for increased protective equipment to prevent exposure for nurses (Brown didn’t attend), DeMoro was confronted by reporters who remembered her union’s opposition to legislation that would have required health care personnel to get annual flu shots or wear surgical masks.

A spokesperson for the California Hospital Association noted “If they’re complaining so much about getting protective equipment, why wouldn’t they support getting flu shots?”

 An indignant DeMoro refused to discuss the apparent hypocrisy.

JerryHill2Slashing innuendo Last week, the union was it again, when it attacked progressive Senate Democrat Jerry Hill, who has a 100% rating on his legislative scorecard from the California Labor Federation.  While he has been endorsed by for re-election by the union coalition, CNA essentially accused him of being a stooge for right-wing political interests.

“There is a chilling undertone to this legislation that parallels the anti-regulatory agenda of the far right American Legislative Exchange Council in seeking to eliminate regulatory protections that are critical to health and safety oversight on public boards,” wrote CNA co-president Deborah Burger in assailing Hill.

It’s that kind of “bomb-throwing” that reduces political effectiveness, whether it be in California’s capital or on the national stage.

maviglioCan CNA redeem itself? DeMoro told Bee columnist Morain that she shudders at the thought of a Trump presidency. Perhaps she can use Labor Day as an appropriate time to look at her history, and join the rest of organized labor to prevent a repeat performance of her 2000 Bush-Gore election antics.

Steve Maviglio is a Sacramento-based Democratic public affairs consultant. He served as press secretary to Gov. Gray Davis and was a Clinton delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. 

Clinton’s Strategy: Isolating Trump as a Party of One

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

hillaryaltrightWe take only scant satisfaction in noting that the MSM finally show signs of understanding what Calbuzz laid out more than a month ago: that in their speeches to the Democratic National Convention in July,  President Obama and Hillary Clinton herself reframed the 2016 presidential election by isolating Trumpism as a singular, virulent strain of nativistic ignorance, distinct from Republican, Democratic and all other American values and ideals.

The analytical point is simple. The American political landscape is divided in two parts: 1) Democrats, Republicans, independents, the middleclass, working people, women, blacks, Latinos and other minority groups and 2) Donald Trump.

As if struck by a blinding insight, the TV yackers seemed to have actually listened this time when Clinton said: “From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He’s taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party. His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.”

abraham-lincoln-pictureHonest Abe, rolling in grave Even the sluggish commentators got the point when Clinton called the 2016 election “a moment of reckoning for every Republican dismayed that the party of Lincoln has become the party of Trump.”

“This is not conservatism as we have known it. This is not Republicanism as we have known it,” Clinton said. “We have our disagreements. We need good debates. Need to do it in respectful way. Not finger- pointing. Every day, more Americans are standing up and saying “enough is enough” — including a lot of Republicans,” Clinton said. “I’m honored to have their support. And I promise you this: With your help, I will be a president for Democrats, Republicans and Independents. For those who vote for me and those who don’t. For all Americans.”

usandthem“Us and Them,” Redefined Clinton was merely building on the analysis Obama had advanced in his speech to the DNC where he said:

“Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that. it’s precisely this contest of ideas that pushes our country forward.

“But what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican and it sure wasn’t conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems, just the fanning of resentment and blame and anger and hate. And that is not the America I know.”

As we wrote on July 28: “Barack Obama on Wednesday masterfully reshaped Donald Trump’s division of the nation into “us and them” — putting Hillary Clinton, the middle class and American values on one side and the New York narcissist alone on the other.”

Left-Liberal Critics We should note that some left-wing Democrats (many with more theory than practical experience) don’t like the notion of isolating Mr. “I alone can fix it” from the Republican Party. They argue that Trump is nothing more than the personification of all that Republicans have represented and fought for. It’s a mistake, they insist, to make Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell the “good guys” when they will ultimately be just as obstructionist toward a Clinton administration as they have been to the Obama administration.

Perhaps. But before there even can be a Clinton administration, Trump must be dispatched. And if isolating him from moderate or even traditionalist Republican voters works, it matters little what else Trump tries to do to shore up his base. And it appears to be working, which is why Trump is scrambling to keep from losing broad swaths of GOP voters.

His phony “outreach” to blacks and Latinos, for example, has nothing to do with trying to recover his footing among these two behemoth voting blocs: it’s an attempt to reassure Republican women in particular that he is not the raving racist demonstrated by his past comments – about Mexican immigrants, Muslims, a Mexican-American federal judge, inner-city blacks, etc.

It’s as if he’s saying, “What are you going to believe: everything you’ve heard and seen from me for more than a year, or what I’m telling you now?”

Too late, Donald.

Trump’s Impotence: Why He Cannot Stand Criticism

Monday, August 8th, 2016

trumpsneerSome in the MSM have already concluded that Donald Trump is not just unfit to be president but that “a Trump presidency would be dangerous for the nation and the world,” as the editorial board of the Washington Post put it. But others keep holding out irrational hope that, perhaps with an “intervention,” he’ll somehow change, become more “presidential,” or otherwise prove himself worthy of election.

Here’s why that won’t happen, which we wish the damn TV bloviators would get:

Trump can’t help himself. He’s a 70-year-old man with an extreme narcissistic personality disorder, and, as such, is psychologically incapable of altering who he is and how he reacts to the world.

khanwconstitutionWhat makes a nacrissist tick? Why, some obscenely overpaid commentators ask endlessly, did Trump attack Khizr and Glazala Khan, the Pakistani American parents of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 during the Iraq War?

Of course it made no political sense, it was beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior for anyone in American politics and ultimately, blew up in Trump’s face.

Because, you dolts, he HAD to attack the Khans. He couldn’t NOT attack them. Because a narcissist cannot allow any critique – let alone an eloquent public shaming – to go unanswered. In fact, as narcissists are well known to do, he had to strike back with even greater force than the original critique.

These are the classic characteristics of NPO:

Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance; expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it; exaggerating one’s achievements and talents; being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate; believing that one is superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people; requiring constant admiration; having a sense of entitlement; expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with one’s expectations; taking advantage of others to get what one wants; having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others; being envious of others and believing others envy you; behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner.

Beyond this, Trump in his eagerness to respond proved he has no clue what the U.S. Constitution says (or at least his ignorance of the rights granted by the First Amendment) when he tweeted: “Mr. Khan, who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim I have never read the Constitution, which is false.” [Emphasis ours]. Great, crazy and stupid.

hearseenoevilHis ego can’t tolerate critique A few years ago, Dr. Leon Selzer wrote in Psychology Today:

When criticized, narcissists show themselves woefully incapable of retaining any emotional poise, or receptivity. And it really doesn’t much matter whether the nature of that criticism is constructive or destructive. They just don’t seem to be able to take criticism, period. At the same time, these disturbed individuals demonstrate an abnormally developed capacity to criticize others (as in, “dish it out” to them).

Although narcissists don’t (or won’t) show it, all perceived criticism feels gravely threatening to them (the reason that their inflamed, over-the-top reactions to it can leave us so surprised and confused). Deep down, clinging desperately not simply to a positive but grandiose sense of self, they’re compelled at all costs to block out any negative feedback about themselves. Their dilemma is that the rigidity of their defenses, their inability ever to let their guard down (even with those closest to them), guarantees that they’ll never get what they most need, which they themselves are sadly–no, tragically–oblivious of.

Selfie-Stick-Mann-Selfie-Fun-S7Me, Me, Me: Trump, who has argued “America First” and “Only I can fix it,” has conflated the nation with himself. As Dr. Judith Orloff, wrote of narcissists:

Their motto is “Me first!” Everything’s all about them. They have a grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement, crave admiration and attention. A legend in their own mind, the world is reflected in their image. They’ll corner you at a party, recount their life saga. Some narcissists are unlikable, flagrant egotists. Others can be charming, intelligent, caring–that is, until their guru-status is threatened. When you stop stroking their ego or beg to disagree, they can turn on you and become punishing. Once you catch onto this pattern, a narcissist seems about as charming as a banana peel.

These people are so dangerous because they lack empathy, have a limited capacity for unconditional love. Sadly, their hearts either haven’t developed or have been shut down due to early psychic trauma, such as being raised by narcissistic parents, a crippling handicap both emotionally and spiritually. (The damage of narcissistic parenting is outstandingly detailed in Alice Miller’s “Drama of the Gifted Child”). Hard as it may be to comprehend, these people have little insight into their actions, nor do they regret them. Though often highly intuitive, they mainly use intuition for self-interest and manipulation.  As the Hassidic proverb cautions, “There is no room for God in him that is full of himself.”

With children who seem to suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, immigrant or low-IQ wives in relationships where he has all the power, and a sick fixation on the size of his teeny little hands, Trump is psychologically unable to respond to his critics with any degree of moderation.

They can’t help themselves: This was outlined convincingly in an article titled “Impulsivity and the Self-Defeating Behavior of Narcissists,” by Simmie Vazire of the University of Texas and David Funder of UC Riverside, in the journal “Personality and Social Psychology Review.”

hillarycoolWhy do narcissists engage in behaviors that undermine their urgent goals of power and recognition? We have argued here that sometimes the answer may be very simple: Because they can’t help it.[Emaphasis ours] The paradoxical behavior of narcissists, such as their limitless self-enhancement, counterproductive aggression, and preference for short-term immediate gratification over long-term benefits may be driven in part by their dispositional impulsivity.

Hillary Clinton was exactly correct when she said, “Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

If the MSM would get what Calbuzz has been arguing for a year now, they would be able to explain why Trump can only perform as the narcissist who ate New York.

Toldja! We Warned A Year Ago He Was Nuts

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

USA-ELECTIONS/TRUMPABC (Always Believe Calbuzz): Donald Trump’s bona fide mental illness at last has become so public, so manifest and undeniable, that big names and big feet among the MSM finally have been forced to confront the menacing implications of his full-bore crazy.

Ah, if only they’d heeded the alarm bells we rang as loudly as this space allowed a year ago this month. Back when the Beltway battalions of bloviators, wheezers and specious tweeters were still intent on normalizing Trump’s madness by drawing constant false equivalence between him and every other presidential wannabe, we nailed the nut job.

All it took was a bit of Actual Reporting, which led us to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the 2013 version of the American Psychiatric Association’s foundational classification and diagnostic instrument.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.

But behind this mask of ultra confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.

More details here.

robinsonIf it’s news, it’s news to us: After Trump’s stunning meltdown this week, Yahoo News senior editor Dylan Stableford rounded up a raft of recent Beltway punditry questioning Trump’s sanity in a take whose lede aptly asked, “Is Donald Trump Insane?” Most prominently featured was no less a figure than our old friend Gene Robinson, progressive fixture of the WashPost op-ed page:

During the primary season, as Donald Trump’s bizarre outbursts helped him crush the competition, I thought he was being crazy like a fox. Now I am increasingly convinced that he’s just plain crazy.


megwhitmannewMega-kudos to eMeg: Loyal Calbuzzers know that no media outlet in California (or the world, for that matter) has been more critical of Meg Whitman, the high-and-mighty billionairess who envisioned in 2010 that she could enter politics on the strength of $144 million in personal spending and land at the top of the heap as governor of the Golden State. We even accused her of killing truth. 

So we were stunned, in a good way, when the former e-Bay exec, now Hewlett Packard CEO and Republican fundraiser, came out this week in favor of Hillary Clinton in order to defeat Donald the Dangerous Demagogue Trump. Here’s e-Meg’s Facebook post:

As a proud Republican, casting my vote for President has usually been a simple matter. This year is different. To vote Republican out of party loyalty alone would be to endorse a candidacy that I believe has exploited anger, grievance, xenophobia and racial division. Donald Trump’s demagoguery has undermined the fabric of our national character.

Trump’s reckless and uninformed positions on critical issues — from immigration to our economy and foreign policy — have made it abundantly clear that he lacks both the policy depth and sound judgment required as President. Trump’s unsteady hand would endanger our prosperity and national security. His authoritarian character could threaten much more.

Therefore, I have decided to support Hillary Rodham Clinton. It is clear to me that Secretary Clinton’s temperament, global experience and commitment to America’s bedrock national values would make her the far better choice in 2016 for President of the United States. In a tumultuous world, America needs the kind of stable and aspirational leadership Secretary Clinton can provide. I urge all Republicans to reject Donald Trump this November.

“Reckless,” “uninformed,” “authoritarian” — you don’t often hear critiques like that of a Republican candidate from another Republican. But eMeg is one of the smart ones who understands that Trump is sowing the seeds of destruction of the Republican Party itself, not to mention threatening the GOP’s control of the Senate and House.

Bravo, Meg. Maybe now you’ll take us up on our offer to take you to dinner.