erik lundegaard

Politics posts

Friday October 09, 2015

The House She Lives In

From William Finnegan's excellent profile of Univision's Jorge Ramos, “The Man Who Wouldn't Sit Down”:

In May, Ann Coulter appeared on Ramos's Fusion show. They taped the interview in front of a live audience, and Coulter's eagerness to give offense was breathtaking. At one point, she said, “I have a little tip. If you don't want to be killed by ISIS, don't go to Syria. If you don't want to be killed by a Mexican, there's nothing I can tell you.” Ramos likes to say that silence is death on TV, but at that moment he said nothing. The audience, too, seemed shocked into silence. After a long, awkward pause, Coulter went on, “Very easy to avoid being killed by ISIS. Don't fly to Syria.” Ramos finally asked, “Are you really saying . . . ? We're talking about forty million immigrants in this country.” Coulter, arguing for an end to immigration, talked about how certain “cultures” from which large numbers of people immigrate to the U.S. “are obviously deficient,” making cryptic reference to “uncles raping their nieces.” It was, in its way, good TV.

Do people still debate Coulter? Why? The only honest reaction is to shrug and say that there have always been people like her: Americans warning Americans about the latest group of people wanting to be Americans, who are “obviously deficient”: Irish, Italian, Jews. Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese. Muslims. Yet in many ways, there's no one more American, more positively American, than the immigrant, who knows what it's like where they're from, and who risked everything to get here.

Cf. Sinatra

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Posted at 11:42 AM on Oct 09, 2015 in category Politics
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Sunday October 04, 2015


Kristof gun deaths

From Kristof's column, “A New Way to Tackle Guns.” 

Kristof's new way doesn't really feel new but it does feel reasonable: universal background checks, tighter regulation of gun dealers, a 10-year prohibition on possessing guns for anyone convicted of domestic violence, assault or similar offenses. The problem is he's trying to talk to unreasonable people.

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Posted at 08:22 AM on Oct 04, 2015 in category Politics
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Thursday September 17, 2015

Ranking the Sad, Orwellian, Burt-Reynolds-in-a-1970s-Car-Chase-Movie Codenames the GOP Candidates Chose for Themselves

2015 GOP candidates Trump Bush Walker

Il Ducebag, Twig, DietKoch

I didn't watch the GOP Debates last night. I had somewhere else to be, better people to see, different drinking games to play. 

But I liked one of the questions posed to the candidates: If elected, what would they want their Secret Service codename to be?

Fun question. Godawful answers. 

Let's group them:


  • John Kasich: “Unit One”
  • Ben Carson: “One Nation”


  • Chris Christie: “True Heart”

Really Orwellian

  • Jeb Bush: “Ever-Ready”

So Orwellian it makes Orwell throw up

  • Donald Trump: “Humble”

A rebooted 1970s Burt Reynolds car chase movie

  • Marco Rubio: “Gator”
  • Scott Walker: “Harley”
  • Mike Huckabee: “Duck Hunter”

Or a '80s Sylvester Stallone flick directed by Robert Rodriguez

  • Ted Cruz: “Cohiba”

A bigger lie than Trump's lie

  • Rand Paul: “Justice Never Sleeps”

The final insult

  • Carly Fiorina: “Secretariat”

Which is the worst? You can dismiss all the “ones” as forgettable, and all the guys trying to associate themselves with motorcycles and cigars and huntin' as pathetic. Jeb's is sad, too, trying to associate himself with his opposite and thus coming off like a Glee Club president.

Trump? Well, he's obviously enjoying himself with that one. He's obviously thumbing his nose at anyone who gives a shit about holding these guys, and this forum, to any kind of standard. He's saying, “I play by my own rules.” It's beyond Truthiness. It's Trumpiness. 

Paul's answer is close to the worst. Anyone who pays any attention to the world knows that justice not only sleeps, she sleeps like a cat: 18 hours a day.

But I give Fiorina the prize. When I'm low, I watch the 1973 Belmont Stakes to pick me up; to remind myself that greatness exists. Fiorina is assocating herself with the greatest racehorse who ever lived and right now she isn't even in the race. I wouldn't even associate her with Secretariat's great rival, Sham, because Sham was a helluva horse. Fiorina should realize that: She isn't even a sham. She has to work just to become a sham.  

Oh, and for the record, my Secret Service codename would be YankeesSuck. I know. Shocking. 

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Posted at 09:15 AM on Sep 17, 2015 in category Politics
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Thursday August 27, 2015

If You Google 'Trump Mussolini'...

...on Google images, these are the first two photos you see:

Donald Trump and Benito Mussolini

And they're not together. These are separate images from separate sites. You don't even have to work to make the comparison. Hell, Trump looks more like Mussolini than Mussolini does. 

I get the feeling that as the election season progresses, and if Trump's rhetoric stays at the same inflammatory level while his polls stay at the same high level—that he gets ahead by selling to us the worst in ourselves—you'll be seeing this comparison made more and more. Because #ItCantHappenHere.

Recommended reading:

Donald Trump: Making America grate again.

Posted at 01:02 PM on Aug 27, 2015 in category Politics
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Sunday August 16, 2015

Michael Medved on that 2012 Romney Landslide

I'm reading Michael Medved's “Hollywood vs. America” (don't ask) and it's a slog at times, particularly when he gets to television in the early 1990s. I'm reading it mostly for the movie stuff, for the “What Liberal Hollywood?” stuff, but his critique of TV is so dated. Half the shows he mentions I've never heard of, and about 40% (including his bete noir “Married with Children”) I never watched. Essentially he's complaining about all the stuff that deserved a quick and deep burial, but he gave them a longer life. They live through him now. 

So I searched for a more recent critique from the man. 

That's how I found the e-book “The Odds Against Obama,” which was published in August 2012. Here's an Amazon customer review from Sept. 2012 that 26 of 32 people found helpful:

If you are tired of hearing constantly from virtually every media source that it is an almost foregone conclusion that Obama takes the election in November, you need to read this ebook. Medved, one of the most fair-minded conservatives in the political arena, deconstructs that facade brick-by-brick until there is nothing left standing.

As Medved outlines, general sentiment, logic, and Obama's record of failure (which is outlined very well in the awesome quick read 2012 Election: The 106 BEST Reasons NOT to Vote for Obama) make his re-election a very dicey proposition. The author boils it down to a coin toss, with the result hinging on one question: Will enough people believe Obama CAN be beaten? Reading this book makes a Romney win seem not only possible, but likely, with the potential for a landslide of 300+ electoral votes. While many factors may be lined up against Mitt (the media and entertainment world portrayal of him, the general angst of certain parts of the populace aimed at “the rich”, etc), Obama faces even more hurdles. Economic data and projections are just part of the President's problem.

I found this review helpful, too. It made me feel good all over.

Posted at 06:24 PM on Aug 16, 2015 in category Politics
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